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Eugene Aram
Edward Bulwer-Lytton


SIR,--It has long been my ambition to add some humble tribute to the
offerings laid upon the shrine of your genius. At each succeeding book
that I have given to the world, I have paused to consider if it were
worthy to be inscribed with your great name, and at each I have played
the procrastinator, and hoped for that morrow of better desert which
never came. But 'defluat amnis',--the time runs on; and I am tired of
waiting for the ford which the tides refuse. I seize, then, the present
opportunity, not as the best, but as the only one I can be sure of
commanding, to express that affectionate admiration with which you have
inspired me in common with all your contemporaries, and which a French
writer has not ungracefully termed "the happiest prerogative of genius."
As a Poet and as a Novelist your fame has attained to that height in
which praise has become superfluous; but in the character of the writer
there seems to me a yet higher claim to veneration than in that of the
writings. The example your genius sets us, who can emulate? The example
your moderation bequeaths to us, who shall forget? That nature must
indeed be gentle which has conciliated the envy that pursues intellectual
greatness, and left without an enemy a man who has no living equal in

You have gone for a while from the scenes you have immortalized, to
regain, we trust, the health which has been impaired by your noble labors
or by the manly struggles with adverse fortunes which have not found the
frame as indomitable as the mind. Take with you the prayers of all whom
your genius, with playful art, has soothed in sickness, or has
strengthened, with generous precepts, against the calamities of life.

   [Written at the time of Sir W. Scott's visit to Italy, after the
   great blow to his health and fortunes.]

          "Navis quae, tibi creditum
           Debes Virgilium . . .
           Reddas incolumem!"

     "O ship, thou owest to us Virgil! Restore in
     safety him whom we intrusted to thee."

You, I feel assured, will not deem it presumptuous in one who, to that
bright and undying flame which now streams from the gray hills of
Scotland,--the last halo with which you have crowned her literary
glories,--has turned from his first childhood with a deep and unrelaxing
devotion; you, I feel assured, will not deem it presumptuous in him to
inscribe an idle work with your illustrious name,--a work which, however
worthless in itself, assumes something of value in his eyes when thus
rendered a tribute of respect to you.


LONDON, December 22, 1831.


             TO THE EDITION OF 1831.

Since, dear Reader, I last addressed thee, in "Paul Clifford," nearly two
years have elapsed, and somewhat more than four years since, in "Pelham,"
our familiarity first began. The Tale which I now submit to thee differs
equally from the last as from the first of those works; for of the two
evils, perhaps it is even better to disappoint thee in a new style than
to weary thee with an old. With the facts on which the tale of "Eugene
Aram" is founded, I have exercised the common and fair license of writers
of fiction it is chiefly the more homely parts of the real story that
have been altered; and for what I have added, and what omitted, I have
the sanction of all established authorities, who have taken greater
liberties with characters yet more recent, and far more protected by
historical recollections. The book was, for the most part, written in the
early part of the year, when the interest which the task created in the
Author was undivided by other subjects of excitement, and he had leisure
enough not only to be 'nescio quid meditans nugarum,' but also to be
'totes in illis.'

   ["Not only to be meditating I know not what of trifles, but also to
   be wholly engaged on them."]

I originally intended to adapt the story of Eugene Aram to the Stage.
That design was abandoned when more than half completed; but I wished to
impart to this Romance something of the nature of Tragedy,--something of
the more transferable of its qualities. Enough of this: it is not the
Author's wishes, but the Author's books that the world will judge him by.
Perhaps, then (with this I conclude), in the dull monotony of public
affairs, and in these long winter evenings, when we gather round the
fire, prepared for the gossip's tale, willing to indulge the fear and to
believe the legend, perhaps, dear Reader, thou mayest turn, not
reluctantly, even to these pages, for at least a newer excitement than
the Cholera, or for momentary relief from the everlasting discussion on
"the Bill." [The year of the Reform Bill.]

LONDON, December 22, 1831.


             TO THE EDITION OF 1840.

The strange history of Eugene Aram had excited my interest and wonder
long before the present work was composed or conceived. It so happened
that during Aram's residence at Lynn his reputation for learning had
attracted the notice of my grandfather,--a country gentleman living in
the same county, and of more intelligence and accomplishments than, at
that day, usually characterized his class. Aram frequently visited at
Heydon (my grandfather's house), and gave lessons--probably in no very
elevated branches of erudition--to the younger members of the family.
This I chanced to hear when I was on a visit in Norfolk some two years
before this novel was published; and it tended to increase the interest
with which I had previously speculated on the phenomena of a trial which,
take it altogether, is perhaps the most remarkable in the register of
English crime. I endeavored to collect such anecdotes of Aram's life and
manners as tradition and hearsay still kept afloat. These anecdotes were
so far uniform that they all concurred in representing him as a person
who, till the detection of the crime for which he was sentenced, had
appeared of the mildest character and the most unexceptionable morals. An
invariable gentleness and patience in his mode of tuition--qualities then
very uncommon at school--had made him so beloved by his pupils at Lynn
that, in after life, there was scarcely one of them who did not persist
in the belief of his innocence.

His personal and moral peculiarities, as described in these pages, are
such as were related to me by persons who had heard him described by his
contemporaries, the calm, benign countenance; the delicate health; the
thoughtful stoop; the noiseless step; the custom, not uncommon with
scholars and absent men, of muttering to himself; a singular eloquence in
conversation, when once roused from silence; an active tenderness and
charity to the poor, with whom he was always ready to share his own
scanty means; an apparent disregard for money, except when employed in
the purchase of books; an utter indifference to the ambition usually
accompanying self-taught talent, whether to better the condition or to
increase the repute: these, and other traits of the character portrayed
in the novel, are, as far as I can rely on my information, faithful to
the features of the original.

That a man thus described--so benevolent that he would rob his own
necessities to administer to those of another, so humane that he would
turn aside from the worm in his path--should have been guilty of the
foulest of human crimes, namely, murder for the sake of gain; that a
crime thus committed should have been so episodical and apart from the
rest of his career that, however it might rankle in his conscience, it
should never have hardened his nature; that through a life of some
duration, none of the errors, none of the vices, which would seem
essentially to belong to a character capable of a deed so black, from
motives apparently so sordid, should have been discovered or
suspected,--all this presents all anomaly in human conduct so rare and
surprising that it would be difficult to find any subject more adapted
for that metaphysical speculation and analysis, in order to indulge
which, Fiction, whether in the drama or the higher class of romance,
seeks its materials and grounds its lessons in the chronicles of passion
and crime.

   [For I put wholly out of question the excuse of jealousy, as
   unsupported by any evidence, never hinted at by Aram himself
   (at least on any sufficient authority), and at variance with the
   only fact which the trial establishes; namely, that the robbery was
   the crime planned, and the cause, whether accidental or otherwise,
   of the murder.]

The guilt of Eugene Aram is not that of a vulgar ruffian; it leads to
views and considerations vitally and wholly distinct from those with
which profligate knavery and brutal cruelty revolt and displease us in
the literature of Newgate and the hulks. His crime does, in fact, belong
to those startling paradoxes which the poetry of all countries, and
especially of our own, has always delighted to contemplate and examine.
Whenever crime appears the aberration and monstrous product of a great
intellect or of a nature ordinarily virtuous, it becomes not only the
subject for genius, which deals with passions, to describe, but a problem
for philosophy, which deals with actions, to investigate and solve; hence
the Macbeths and Richards, the Iagos and Othellos. My regret, therefore,
is not that I chose a subject unworthy of elevated fiction, but that such
a subject did not occur to some one capable of treating it as it
deserves; and I never felt this more strongly than when the late Mr.
Godwin (in conversing with me after the publication of this romance)
observed that he had always thought the story of Eugene Aram peculiarly
adapted for fiction, and that he had more than once entertained the
notion of making it the foundation of a novel. I can well conceive what
depth and power that gloomy record would have taken from the dark and
inquiring genius of the author of "Caleb Williams." In fact, the crime
and trial of Eugene Aram arrested the attention and engaged the
conjectures of many of the most eminent men of his own time. His guilt or
innocence was the matter of strong contest; and so keen and so enduring
was the sensation created by an event thus completely distinct from the
ordinary annals of human crime that even History turned aside from the
sonorous narrative of the struggles of parties and the feuds of kings to
commemorate the learning and the guilt of the humble schoolmaster of
Lynn. Did I want any other answer to the animadversions of commonplace
criticism, it might be sufficient to say that what the historian relates
the novelist has little right to disdain.

Before entering on this romance, I examined with some care the
probabilities of Aram's guilt; for I need scarcely perhaps observe that
the legal evidence against him is extremely deficient,--furnished almost
entirely by one (Houseman) confessedly an accomplice of the crime and a
partner in the booty, and that in the present day a man tried upon
evidence so scanty and suspicious would unquestionably escape conviction.
Nevertheless, I must frankly own that the moral evidence appeared to me
more convincing than the legal; and though not without some doubt, which,
in common with many, I still entertain of the real facts of the murder, I
adopted that view which, at all events, was the best suited to the higher
purposes of fiction. On the whole, I still think that if the crime were
committed by Aram, the motive was not very far removed from one which led
recently to a remarkable murder in Spain. A priest in that country,
wholly absorbed in learned pursuits, and apparently of spotless life,
confessed that, being debarred by extreme poverty from prosecuting a
study which had become the sole passion of his existence, he had reasoned
himself into the belief that it would be admissible to rob a very
dissolute, worthless man if he applied the money so obtained to the
acquisition of a knowledge which he could not otherwise acquire, and
which he held to be profitable to mankind. Unfortunately, the dissolute
rich man was not willing to be robbed for so excellent a purpose; he was
armed and he resisted. A struggle ensued, and the crime of homicide was
added to that of robbery. The robbery was premeditated; the murder was
accidental. But he who would accept some similar interpretation of Aram's
crime must, to comprehend fully the lessons which belong to so terrible a
picture of frenzy and guilt, consider also the physical circumstances and
condition of the criminal at the time,--severe illness, intense labor of
the brain, poverty bordering upon famine, the mind preternaturally at
work devising schemes and excuses to arrive at the means for ends
ardently desired. And all this duly considered, the reader may see the
crime bodying itself out from the shades and chimeras of a horrible
hallucination,--the awful dream of a brief but delirious and convulsed
disease. It is thus only that we can account for the contradiction of one
deed at war with a whole life,--blasting, indeed, forever the happiness,
but making little revolution in the pursuits and disposition of the
character. No one who has examined with care and thoughtfulness the
aspects of Life and Nature but must allow that in the contemplation of
such a spectacle, great and most moral truths must force themselves on
the notice and sink deep into the heart. The entanglements of human
reasoning; the influence of circumstance upon deeds; the perversion that
may be made, by one self-palter with the Fiend, of elements the most
glorious; the secret effect of conscience in frustrating all for which
the crime was done, leaving genius without hope, knowledge without fruit,
deadening benevolence into mechanism, tainting love itself with terror
and suspicion,--such reflections (leading, with subtler minds, to many
more vast and complicated theorems in the consideration of our nature,
social and individual) arise out of the tragic moral which the story of
Eugene Aram (were it but adequately treated) could not fail to convey.

BRUSSELS, August, 1840.



If none of my prose works have been so attacked as "Eugene Aram," none
have so completely triumphed over attack. It is true that, whether from
real or affected ignorance of the true morality of fiction, a few critics
may still reiterate the old commonplace charges of "selecting heroes from
Newgate," or "investing murderers with interest;" but the firm hold which
the work has established in the opinion of the general public, and the
favor it has received in every country where English literature is known,
suffice to prove that, whatever its faults, it belongs to that legitimate
class of fiction which illustrates life and truth, and only deals with
crime as the recognized agency of pity and terror in the conduct of
tragic narrative. All that I would say further on this score has been
said in the general defence of my writings which I put forth two years
ago; and I ask the indulgence of the reader if I repeat myself:--

   "Here, unlike the milder guilt of Paul Clifford, the author was not
   to imply reform to society, nor open in this world atonement and
   pardon to the criminal. As it would have been wholly in vain to
   disguise, by mean tamperings with art and truth, the ordinary habits
   of life and attributes of character which all record and remembrance
   ascribed to Eugene Aram; as it would have defeated every end of the
   moral inculcated by his guilt, to portray, in the caricature of the
   murderer of melodrama, a man immersed in study, of whom it was noted
   that he turned aside from the worm in his path,--so I have allowed
   to him whatever contrasts with his inexpiable crime have been
   recorded on sufficient authority. But I have invariably taken care
   that the crime itself should stand stripped of every sophistry, and
   hideous to the perpetrator as well as to the world. Allowing all by
   which attention to his biography may explain the tremendous paradox
   of fearful guilt in a man aspiring after knowledge, and not
   generally inhumane; allowing that the crime came upon him in the
   partial insanity produced by the combining circumstances of a brain
   overwrought by intense study, disturbed by an excited imagination
   and the fumes of a momentary disease of the reasoning faculty,
   consumed by the desire of knowledge, unwholesome and morbid, because
   coveted as an end, not a means, added to the other physical causes
   of mental aberration to be found in loneliness, and want verging
   upon famine,--all these, which a biographer may suppose to have
   conspired to his crime, have never been used by the novelist as
   excuses for its enormity, nor indeed, lest they should seem as
   excuses, have they ever been clearly presented to the view. The
   moral consisted in showing more than the mere legal punishment at
   the close. It was to show how the consciousness of the deed was to
   exclude whatever humanity of character preceded and belied it from
   all active exercise, all social confidence; how the knowledge of the
   bar between the minds of others and his own deprived the criminal of
   all motive to ambition, and blighted knowledge of all fruit.
   Miserable in his affections, barren in his intellect; clinging to
   solitude, yet accursed in it; dreading as a danger the fame he had
   once coveted; obscure in spite of learning, hopeless in spite of
   love, fruitless and joyless in his life, calamitous and shameful in
   his end,--surely such is no palliative of crime, no dalliance and
   toying with the grimness of evil! And surely to any ordinary
   comprehension and candid mind such is the moral conveyed by the
   fiction of 'Eugene Aram.'"--[A word to the Public, 1847]

In point of composition "Eugene Aram" is, I think, entitled to rank
amongst the best of my fictions. It somewhat humiliates me to acknowledge
that neither practice nor study has enabled me to surpass a work written
at a very early age, in the skilful construction and patient development
of plot; and though I have since sought to call forth higher and more
subtle passions, I doubt if I have ever excited the two elementary
passions of tragedy,--namely, pity and terror,--to the same degree. In
mere style, too, "Eugene Aram," in spite of certain verbal oversights,
and defects in youthful taste (some of which I have endeavored to remove
from the present edition), appears to me unexcelled by any of my later
writings,--at least in what I have always studied as the main essential
of style in narrative; namely, its harmony with the subject selected and
the passions to be moved,--while it exceeds them all in the minuteness
and fidelity of its descriptions of external nature. This indeed it ought
to do, since the study of external nature is made a peculiar attribute of
the principal character, whose fate colors the narrative. I do not know
whether it has been observed that the time occupied by the events of the
story is conveyed through the medium of such descriptions. Each
description is introduced, not for its own sake, but to serve as a
calendar marking the gradual changes of the seasons as they bear on to
his doom the guilty worshipper of Nature. And in this conception, and in
the care with which it has been followed out, I recognize one of my
earliest but most successful attempts at the subtler principles of
narrative art.

In this edition I have made one alteration somewhat more important than
mere verbal correction. On going, with maturer judgment, over all the
evidences on which Aram was condemned, I have convinced myself that
though an accomplice in the robbery of Clarke, he was free both from the
premeditated design and the actual deed of murder. The crime, indeed,
would still rest on his conscience and insure his punishment, as
necessarily incidental to the robbery in which he was an accomplice, with
Houseman; but finding my convictions, that in the murder itself he had no
share, borne out by the opinion of many eminent lawyers by whom I have
heard the subject discussed, I have accordingly so shaped his confession
to Walter.

Perhaps it will not be without interest to the reader if I append to this
preface an authentic specimen of Eugene Aram's composition, for which I
am indebted to the courtesy of a gentleman by whose grandfather it was
received, with other papers (especially a remarkable "Outline of a New
Lexicon"), during Aram's confinement in York prison. The essay I select
is, indeed, not without value in itself as a very curious and learned
illustration of Popular Antiquities, and it serves also to show not only
the comprehensive nature of Aram's studies and the inquisitive eagerness
of his mind, but also the fact that he was completely self-taught; for in
contrast to much philological erudition, and to passages that evince
considerable mastery in the higher resources of language, we may
occasionally notice those lesser inaccuracies from which the writings of
men solely self-educated are rarely free,--indeed Aram himself, in
sending to a gentleman an elegy on Sir John Armitage, which shows much,
but undisciplined, power of versification, says, "I send this elegy,
which, indeed, if you had not had the curiosity to desire, I could not
have had the assurance to offer, scarce believing I, who was hardly
taught to read, have any abilities to write."


These rural entertainments and usages were formerly more general all over
England than they are at present, being become by time, necessity, or
avarice, complex, confined, and altered. They are commonly insisted upon
by the reapers as customary things, and a part of their due for the toils
of the harvest, and complied with by their masters perhaps more through
regards of interest than inclination; for should they refuse them the
pleasures of this much-expected time, this festal night, the youth
especially, of both sexes would decline serving them for the future, and
employ their labors for others, who would promise them the rustic joys of
the harvest-supper, mirth and music, dance and song. These feasts appear
to be the relics of Pagan ceremonies or of Judaism, it is hard to say
which, and carry in them more meaning and are of far higher antiquity
than is generally apprehended. It is true the subject is more curious
than important, and I believe altogether untouched; and as it seems to be
little understood, has been as little adverted to. I do not remember it
to have been so much as the subject of a conversation. Let us make, then,
a little excursion into this field, for the same reason men sometimes
take a walk. Its traces are discoverable at a very great distance of time
from ours,--nay, seem as old as a sense of joy for the benefit of
plentiful harvests and human gratitude to the eternal Creator for His
munificence to men. We hear it under various names in different counties,
and often in the same county; as, "melsupper," "churn-supper,"
"harvest-supper," "harvest-home," "feast of in-gathering," etc. And
perhaps this feast had been long observed, and by different tribes of
people, before it became preceptive with the Jews. However, let that be
as it will, the custom very lucidly appears from the following passages
of S. S., Exod. xxiii. 16, "And the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of
thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field." And its institution as a
sacred rite is commanded in Levit. xxiii. 39: "When ye have gathered in
the fruit of the land ye shall keep a feast to the Lord."

The Jews then, as is evident from hence, celebrated the feast of harvest,
and that by precept; and though no vestiges of any such feast either are
or can be produced before these, yet the oblation of the Primitae, of
which this feast was a consequence, is met with prior to this, for we
find that "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the
Lord" (Gen. iv. 3).

Yet this offering of the first-fruits, it may well be supposed was not
peculiar to the Jews either at the time of, or after, its establishment
by their legislator; neither the feast in consequence of it. Many other
nations, either in imitation of the Jews, or rather by tradition from
their several patriarchs, observed the rite of offering their Primitiae,
and of solemnizing a festival after it, in religious acknowledgment for
the blessing of harvest, though that acknowledgment was ignorantly
misapplied in being directed to a secondary, not the primary, fountain of
this benefit,--namely to Apollo, or the Sun.

For Callimachus affirms that these Primitiae were sent by the people of
every nation to the temple of Apollo in Delos, the most distant that
enjoyed the happiness of corn and harvest, even by the Hyperboreans in
particular,--Hymn to Apol., "Bring the sacred sheafs and the mystic

Herodotus also mentions this annual custom of the Hyperboreans, remarking
that those of Delos talk of "Holy things tied up in sheaf of wheat
conveyed from the Hyperboreans." And the Jews, by the command of their
law, offered also a sheaf: "And shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye
shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of the harvest unto the priest."

This is not introduced in proof of any feast observed by the people who
had harvests, but to show the universality of the custom of offering the
Primitiae, which preceded this feast. But yet it maybe looked upon as
equivalent to a proof; for as the offering and the feast appear to have
been always and intimately connected in countries affording records, so
it is more than probable they were connected too in countries which had
none, or none that ever survived to our times. An entertainment and
gayety were still the concomitants of these rites, which with the vulgar,
one may pretty truly suppose, were esteemed the most acceptable and
material part of them, and a great reason of their having subsisted
through such a length of ages, when both the populace and many of the
learned too have lost sight of the object to which they had been
originally directed. This, among many other ceremonies of the heathen
worship, became disused in some places and retained in others, but still
continued declining after the promulgation of the Gospel. In short, there
seems great reason to conclude that this feast, which was once sacred to
Apollo, was constantly maintained, when a far less valuable
circumstance,--i.e., "shouting the churn,"--is observed to this day by
the reapers, and from so old an era; for we read of this exclamation,
Isa. xvi. 9: "For the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest
is fallen;" and again, ver. 10: "And in the vineyards there shall be no
singing, their shouting shall be no shouting." Hence then, or from some
of the Phoenician colonies, is our traditionary "shouting the churn." But
it seems these Orientals shouted both for joy of their harvest of grapes
and of corn. We have no quantity of the first to occasion so much joy as
does our plenty of the last; and I do not remember to have heard whether
their vintages abroad are attended with this custom. Bread or cakes
compose part of the Hebrew offering (Levit. xxiii. 13), and a cake thrown
upon the head of the victim was also part of the Greek offering to Apollo
(see Hom., Il., a), whose worship was formerly celebrated in Britain,
where the May-pole yet continues one remain of it. This they adorned with
garlands on May-day, to welcome the approach of Apollo, or the Sun,
towards the North, and to signify that those flowers were the product of
his presence and influence. But upon the progress of Christianity, as was
observed above, Apollo lost his divinity again, and the adoration of his
deity subsided by degrees. Yet so permanent is custom that this rite of
the harvest-supper, together with that of the May-pole (of which last see
Voss. de Orig. and Prag. Idolatr., 1, 2), have been preserved in Britain;
and what had been anciently offered to the god, the reapers as prudently
ate up themselves.

At last the use of the meal of the new corn was neglected, and the
supper, so far as meal was concerned, was made indifferently of old or
new corn, as was most agreeable to the founder. And here the usage itself
accounts for the name of "Melsupper" (where mel signifies meal, or else
the instrument called with us a "Mell," wherewith antiquity reduced their
corn to meal in a mortar, which still amounts to the same thing); for
provisions of meal, or of corn in furmety, etc., composed by far the
greatest part in these elder and country entertainments, perfectly
conformable to the simplicity of those times, places, and persons,
however meanly they may now be looked upon. And as the harvest was last
concluded with several preparations of meal, or brought to be ready for
the "mell," this term became, in a translated signification, to mean the
last of other things; as, when a horse comes last in the race, they often
say in the North, "He has got the mell."

All the other names of this country festivity sufficiently explain
themselves, except "Churn-supper;" and this is entirely different from
"Melsupper:" but they generally happen so near together that they are
frequently confounded. The "Churn-supper" was always provided when all
was shorn, but the "Melsupper" after all was got in. And it was called
the "Churn-supper" because, from immemorial times, it was customary to
produce in a churn a great quantity of cream, and to circulate it by
dishfuls to each of the rustic company, to be eaten with bread. And here
sometimes very extraordinary execution has been done upon cream. And
though this custom has been disused in many places, and agreeably
commuted for by ale, yet it survives still, and that about Whitby and
Scarborough in the East, and round about Gisburn, etc., in Craven, in the
West. But perhaps a century or two more will put an end to it, and both
the thing and name shall die. Vicarious ale is now more approved, and the
tankard almost everywhere politely preferred to the Churn.

This Churn (in our provincial pronunciation Kern) is the Hebrew Kern, or
Keren, from its being circular, like most horns; and it is the Latin
'corona',--named so either from 'radii', resembling horns, as on some
very ancient coins, or from its encircling the head: so a ring of people
is called corona. Also the Celtic Koren, Keren, or corn, which continues
according to its old pronunciation in Cornwall, etc., and our modern word
horn is no more than this; the ancient hard sound of k in corn being
softened into the aspirate h, as has been done in numberless instances.

The Irish Celtae also called a round stone 'clogh crene', where the
variation is merely dialectic. Hence, too, our crane-berries,--i.e.,
round berries,--from this Celtic adjective 'crene', round.

The quotations from Scripture in Aram's original MS. were both in the
Hebrew character, and their value in English sounds.


                 BOOK I.





















                BOOK II.

















                BOOK III.













                BOOK IV.























                 BOOK V.













               EUGENE ARAM

                 BOOK I.

                CHAPTER I.


"Protected by the divinity they adored, supported by the earth which they
cultivated, and at peace with themselves, they enjoyed the sweets of
life, without dreading or desiring dissolution." Numa Pompilius.

In the country of--there is a sequestered hamlet, which I have often
sought occasion to pass, and which I have never left without a certain
reluctance and regret. It is not only (though this has a remarkable spell
over my imagination) that it is the sanctuary, as it were, of a story
which appears to me of a singular and fearful interest; but the scene
itself is one which requires no legend to arrest the traveller's
attention. I know not in any part of the world, which it has been my lot
to visit, a landscape so entirely lovely and picturesque, as that which
on every side of the village I speak of, you may survey. The hamlet to
which I shall here give the name of Grassdale, is situated in a valley,
which for about the length of a mile winds among gardens and orchards,
laden with fruit, between two chains of gentle and fertile hills.

Here, singly or in pairs, are scattered cottages, which bespeak a comfort
and a rural luxury, less often than our poets have described the
characteristics of the English peasantry. It has been observed, and there
is a world of homely, ay, and of legislative knowledge in the
observation, that wherever you see a flower in a cottage garden, or a
bird-cage at the window, you may feel sure that the cottagers are better
and wiser than their neighbours; and such humble tokens of attention to
something beyond the sterile labour of life, were (we must now revert to
the past,) to be remarked in almost every one of the lowly abodes at
Grassdale. The jasmine here, there the vine clustered over the threshold,
not so wildly as to testify negligence; but rather to sweeten the air
than to exclude it from the inmates. Each of the cottages possessed at
its rear its plot of ground, apportioned to the more useful and
nutritious product of nature; while the greater part of them fenced also
from the unfrequented road a little spot for the lupin, the sweet pea, or
the many tribes of the English rose. And it is not unworthy of remark,
that the bees came in greater clusters to Grassdale than to any other
part of that rich and cultivated district. A small piece of waste land,
which was intersected by a brook, fringed with ozier and dwarf and
fantastic pollards, afforded pasture for a few cows, and the only
carrier's solitary horse. The stream itself was of no ignoble repute
among the gentle craft of the Angle, the brotherhood whom our
associations defend in the spite of our mercy; and this repute drew
welcome and periodical itinerants to the village, who furnished it with
its scanty news of the great world without, and maintained in a decorous
custom the little and single hostelry of the place. Not that Peter
Dealtry, the proprietor of the "Spotted Dog," was altogether contented to
subsist upon the gains of his hospitable profession; he joined thereto
the light cares of a small farm, held under a wealthy and an easy
landlord; and being moreover honoured with the dignity of clerk to the
parish, he was deemed by his neighbours a person of no small
accomplishment, and no insignificant distinction. He was a little, dry,
thin man, of a turn rather sentimental than jocose; a memory well stored
with fag-ends of psalms, and hymns which, being less familiar than the
psalms to the ears of the villagers, were more than suspected to be his
own composition; often gave a poetic and semi-religious colouring to his
conversation, which accorded rather with his dignity in the church, than
his post at the Spotted Dog. Yet he disliked not his joke, though it was
subtle and delicate of nature; nor did he disdain to bear companionship
over his own liquor, with guests less gifted and refined.

In the centre of the village you chanced upon a cottage which had been
lately white-washed, where a certain preciseness in the owner might be
detected in the clipped hedge, and the exact and newly mended style by
which you approached the habitation; herein dwelt the beau and bachelor
of the village, somewhat antiquated it is true, but still an object of
great attention and some hope to the elder damsels in the vicinity, and
of a respectful popularity, that did not however prohibit a joke, to the
younger part of the sisterhood. Jacob Bunting, so was this gentleman
called, had been for many years in the king's service, in which he had
risen to the rank of corporal, and had saved and pinched together a
certain small independence upon which he now rented his cottage and
enjoyed his leisure. He had seen a good deal of the world, and profited
in shrewdness by his experience; he had rubbed off, however, all
superfluous devotion as he rubbed off his prejudices, and though he drank
more often than any one else with the landlord of the Spotted Dog, he
also quarrelled with him the oftenest, and testified the least
forbearance at the publican's segments of psalmody. Jacob was a tall,
comely, and perpendicular personage; his threadbare coat was scrupulously
brushed, and his hair punctiliously plastered at the sides into two stiff
obstinate-looking curls, and at the top into what he was pleased to call
a feather, though it was much more like a tile. His conversation had in
it something peculiar; generally it assumed a quick, short, abrupt turn,
that, retrenching all superfluities of pronoun and conjunction, and
marching at once upon the meaning of the sentence, had in it a military
and Spartan significance, which betrayed how difficult it often is for a
man to forget that he has been a corporal. Occasionally indeed, for where
but in farces is the phraseology of the humorist always the same? he
escaped into a more enlarged and christianlike method of dealing with the
king's English, but that was chiefly noticeable, when from conversation
he launched himself into lecture, a luxury the worthy soldier loved
greatly to indulge, for much had he seen and somewhat had he reflected;
and valuing himself, which was odd in a corporal, more on his knowledge
of the world than his knowledge even of war, he rarely missed any
occasion of edifying a patient listener with the result of his

After you had sauntered by the veteran's door, beside which you
generally, if the evening were fine, or he was not drinking with
neighbour Dealtry--or taking his tea with gossip this or master that--or
teaching some emulous urchins the broadsword exercise--or snaring trout
in the stream--or, in short, otherwise engaged; beside which, I say, you
not unfrequently beheld him sitting on a rude bench, and enjoying with
half-shut eyes, crossed legs, but still unindulgently erect posture, the
luxury of his pipe; you ventured over a little wooden bridge; beneath
which, clear and shallow, ran the rivulet we have before honorably
mentioned; and a walk of a few minutes brought you to a moderately sized
and old-fashioned mansion--the manor-house of the parish. It stood at the
very foot of the hill; behind, a rich, ancient, and hanging wood, brought
into relief--the exceeding freshness and verdure of the patch of green
meadow immediately in front. On one side, the garden was bounded by the
village churchyard, with its simple mounds, and its few scattered and
humble tombs. The church was of great antiquity; and it was only in one
point of view that you caught more than a glimpse of its grey tower and
graceful spire, so thickly and so darkly grouped the yew tree and the
larch around the edifice. Opposite the gate by which you gained the
house, the view was not extended, but rich with wood and pasture, backed
by a hill, which; less verdant than its fellows, was covered with sheep:
while you saw hard by the rivulet darkening and stealing away; till your
sight, though not your ear, lost it among the woodland.

Trained up the embrowned paling on either side of the gate, were bushes
of rustic fruit, and fruit and flowers (through plots of which green and
winding alleys had been cut with no untasteful hand) testified by their
thriving and healthful looks, the care bestowed upon them. The main
boasts of the garden were, on one side, a huge horse-chesnut tree--the
largest in the village; and on the other, an arbour covered without with
honeysuckles, and tapestried within by moss. The house, a grey and quaint
building of the time of James I. with stone copings and gable roof, could
scarcely in these days have been deemed a fitting residence for the lord
of the manor. Nearly the whole of the centre was occupied by the hall, in
which the meals of the family were commonly held--only two other
sitting-rooms of very moderate dimensions had been reserved by the
architect for the convenience or ostentation of the proprietor. An ample
porch jutted from the main building, and this was covered with ivy, as
the windows were with jasmine and honeysuckle; while seats were ranged
inside the porch covered with many a rude initial and long-past date.

The owner of this mansion bore the name of Rowland Lester. His
forefathers, without pretending to high antiquity of family, had held the
dignity of squires of Grassdale for some two centuries; and Rowland
Lester was perhaps the first of the race who had stirred above fifty
miles from the house in which each successive lord had received his
birth, or the green churchyard in which was yet chronicled his death. The
present proprietor was a man of cultivated tastes; and abilities,
naturally not much above mediocrity, had been improved by travel as well
as study. Himself and one younger brother had been early left masters of
their fate and their several portions. The younger, Geoffrey, testified a
roving and dissipated turn. Bold, licentious, extravagant,
unprincipled,--his career soon outstripped the slender fortunes of a
cadet in the family of a country squire. He was early thrown into
difficulties, but, by some means or other they never seemed to overwhelm
him; an unexpected turn--a lucky adventure--presented itself at the very
moment when Fortune appeared the most utterly to have deserted him.

Among these more propitious fluctuations in the tide of affairs, was, at
about the age of forty, a sudden marriage with a young lady of what might
be termed (for Geoffrey Lester's rank of life, and the rational expenses
of that day) a very competent and respectable fortune. Unhappily,
however, the lady was neither handsome in feature nor gentle in temper;
and, after a few years of quarrel and contest, the faithless husband, one
bright morning, having collected in his proper person whatever remained
of their fortune, absconded from the conjugal hearth without either
warning or farewell. He left nothing to his wife but his house, his
debts, and his only child, a son. From that time to the present little
had been known, though much had been conjectured, concerning the
deserter. For the first few years they traced, however, so far of his
fate as to learn that he had been seen once in India; and that previously
he had been met in England by a relation, under the disguise of assumed
names: a proof that whatever his occupations, they could scarcely be very
respectable. But, of late, nothing whatsoever relating to the wanderer
had transpired. By some he was imagined dead; by most he was forgotten.
Those more immediately connected with him--his brother in especial,
cherished a secret belief, that wherever Geoffrey Lester should chance to
alight, the manner of alighting would (to use the significant and homely
metaphor) be always on his legs; and coupling the wonted luck of the
scapegrace with the fact of his having been seen in India, Rowland, in
his heart, not only hoped, but fully expected, that the lost one would,
some day or other, return home laden with the spoils of the East, and
eager to shower upon his relatives, in recompense of long desertion,

"With richest hand ... barbaric pearl and gold."

But we must return to the forsaken spouse.--Left in this abrupt
destitution and distress, Mrs. Lester had only the resource of applying
to her brother-in-law, whom indeed the fugitive had before seized many
opportunities of not leaving wholly unprepared for such an application.
Rowland promptly and generously obeyed the summons: he took the child and
the wife to his own home,--he freed the latter from the persecution of
all legal claimants,--and, after selling such effects as remained, he
devoted the whole proceeds to the forsaken family, without regarding his
own expenses on their behalf, ill as he was able to afford the luxury of
that self-neglect. The wife did not long need the asylum of his
hearth,--she, poor lady, died of a slow fever produced by irritation and
disappointment, a few months after Geoffrey's desertion. She had no need
to recommend her children to their kindhearted uncle's care. And now we
must glance over the elder brother's domestic fortunes.

In Rowland, the wild dispositions of his brother were so far tamed, that
they assumed only the character of a buoyant temper and a gay spirit. He
had strong principles as well as warm feelings, and a fine and resolute
sense of honour utterly impervious to attack. It was impossible to be in
his company an hour and not see that he was a man to be respected. It was
equally impossible to live with him a week and not see that he was a man
to be beloved. He also had married, and about a year after that era in
the life of his brother, but not for the same advantage of fortune. He
had formed an attachment to the portionlesss daughter of a man in his own
neighbourhood and of his own rank. He wooed and won her, and for a few
years he enjoyed that greatest happiness which the world is capable of
bestowing--the society and the love of one in whom we could wish for no
change, and beyond whom we have no desire. But what Evil cannot corrupt
Fate seldom spares. A few months after the birth of a second daughter the
young wife of Rowland Lester died. It was to a widowed hearth that the
wife and child of his brother came for shelter. Rowland was a man of an
affectionate and warm heart: if the blow did not crush, at least it
changed him. Naturally of a cheerful and ardent disposition, his mood now
became soberized and sedate. He shrunk from the rural gaieties and
companionship he had before courted and enlivened, and, for the first
time in his life, the mourner felt the holiness of solitude. As his
nephew and his motherless daughters grew up, they gave an object to his
seclusion and a relief to his reflections. He found a pure and unfailing
delight in watching the growth of their young minds, and guiding their
differing dispositions; and, as time at length enabled the to return his
affection, and appreciate his cares, he became once more sensible that he
had a HOME.

The elder of his daughters, Madeline, at the time our story opens, had
attained the age of eighteen. She was the beauty and the boast of the
whole country. Above the ordinary height, her figure was richly and
exquisitely formed. So translucently pure and soft was her complexion,
that it might have seemed the token of delicate health, but for the dewy
and exceeding redness of her lips, and the freshness of teeth whiter than
pearls. Her eyes of a deep blue, wore a thoughtful and serene expression,
and her forehead, higher and broader than it usually is in women, gave
promise of a certain nobleness of intellect, and added dignity, but a
feminine dignity, to the more tender characteristics of her beauty. And
indeed, the peculiar tone of Madeline's mind fulfilled the indication of
her features, and was eminently thoughtful and high-wrought. She had
early testified a remarkable love for study, and not only a desire for
knowledge, but a veneration for those who possessed it. The remote corner
of the county in which they lived, and the rarely broken seclusion which
Lester habitually preserved from the intercourse of their few and
scattered neighbours, had naturally cast each member of the little circle
upon his or her own resources. An accident, some five years ago, had
confined Madeline for several weeks or rather months to the house; and as
the old hall possessed a very respectable share of books, she had then
matured and confirmed that love to reading and reflection, which she had
at a yet earlier period prematurely evinced. The woman's tendency to
romance naturally tinctured her meditations, and thus, while they
dignified, they also softened her mind. Her sister Ellinor, younger by
two years, was of a character equally gentle, but less elevated. She
looked up to her sister as a superior being. She felt pride without a
shadow of envy, at her superior and surpassing beauty; and was
unconsciously guided in her pursuits and predilections, by a mind she
cheerfully acknowledged to be loftier than her own. And yet Ellinor had
also her pretensions to personal loveliness, and pretensions perhaps that
would be less reluctantly acknowledged by her own sex than those of her
sister. The sunlight of a happy and innocent heart sparkled on her face,
and gave a beam it gladdened you to behold, to her quick hazel eye, and a
smile that broke out from a thousand dimples. She did not possess the
height of Madeline, and though not so slender as to be curtailed of the
roundness and feminine luxuriance of beauty, her shape was slighter,
feebler, and less rich in its symmetry than her sister's. And this the
tendency of the physical frame to require elsewhere support, nor to feel
secure of strength, influenced perhaps her mind, and made love, and the
dependence of love, more necessary to her than to the thoughtful and
lofty Madeline. The latter might pass through life, and never see the one
to whom her heart could give itself away. But every village might possess
a hero whom the imagination of Ellinor could clothe with unreal graces,
and to whom the lovingness of her disposition might bias her affections.
Both, however, eminently possessed that earnestness and purity of heart,
which would have made them, perhaps in an equal degree, constant and
devoted to the object of an attachment, once formed, in defiance of
change and to the brink of death.

Their cousin Walter, Geoffrey Lester's son, was now in his twenty-first
year; tall and strong of person, and with a face, if not regularly
handsome, striking enough to be generally deemed so. High-spirited, bold,
fiery, impatient; jealous of the affections of those he loved; cheerful
to outward seeming, but restless, fond of change, and subject to the
melancholy and pining mood common to young and ardent minds: such was the
character of Walter Lester. The estates of Lester were settled in the
male line, and devolved therefore upon him. Yet there were moments when
he keenly felt his orphan and deserted situation; and sighed to think,
that while his father perhaps yet lived, he was a dependent for
affection, if not for maintenance, on the kindness of others. This
reflection sometimes gave an air of sullenness or petulance to his
character, that did not really belong to it. For what in the world makes
a man of just pride appear so unamiable as the sense of dependence?



"Ah, Don Alphonso, is it you? Agreeable accident! Chance presents you to
my eyes where you were least expected." Gil Blas.

It was an evening in the beginning of summer, and Peter Dealtry and the
ci-devant Corporal sate beneath the sign of The Spotted Dog (as it hung
motionless from the bough of a friendly elm), quaffing a cup of boon
companionship. The reader will imagine the two men very different from
each other in form and aspect; the one short, dry, fragile, and betraying
a love of ease in his unbuttoned vest, and a certain lolling, see-sawing
method of balancing his body upon his chair; the other, erect and solemn,
and as steady on his seat as if he were nailed to it. It was a fine,
tranquil balmy evening; the sun had just set, and the clouds still
retained the rosy tints which they had caught from his parting ray. Here
and there, at scattered intervals, you might see the cottages peeping
from the trees around them; or mark the smoke that rose from their
roofs--roofs green with mosses and house-leek,--in graceful and spiral
curls against the clear soft air. It was an English scene, and the two
men, the dog at their feet, (for Peter Dealtry favoured a wirey
stone-coloured cur, which he called a terrier,) and just at the door of
the little inn, two old gossips, loitering on the threshold in familiar
chat with the landlady, in cap and kerchief,--all together made a groupe
equally English, and somewhat picturesque, though homely enough, in

"Well, now," said Peter Dealtry, as he pushed the brown jug towards the
Corporal, "this is what I call pleasant; it puts me in mind--"

"Of what?" quoth the Corporal.

"Of those nice lines in the hymn, Master Bunting.

     'How fair ye are, ye little hills,
       Ye little fields also;
      Ye murmuring streams that sweetly run;
       Ye willows in a row!'

"There is something very comfortable in sacred verses, Master Bunting;
but you're a scoffer."

"Psha, man!" said the Corporal, throwing out his right leg and leaning
back, with his eyes half-shut, and his chin protruded, as he took an
unusually long inhalation from his pipe; "Psha, man!--send verses to the
right-about--fit for girls going to school of a Sunday; full-grown men
more up to snuff. I've seen the world, Master Dealtry;--the world, and be
damned to you!--augh!"

"Fie, neighbour, fie! What's the good of profaneness, evil speaking and

     'Oaths are the debts your spendthrift soul must pay;
      All scores are chalked against the reckoning day.'
      Just wait a bit, neighbour; wait till I light my pipe."

"Tell you what," said the Corporal, after he had communicated from his
own pipe the friendly flame to his comrade's; "tell you what--talk
nonsense; the commander-in-chief's no Martinet--if we're all right in
action, he'll wink at a slip word or two. Come, no humbug--hold jaw. D'ye
think God would sooner have snivelling fellow like you in his regiment,
than a man like me, clean limbed, straight as a dart, six feet one
without his shoes!--baugh!"

This notion of the Corporal's, by which he would have likened the
dominion of Heaven to the King of Prussia's body-guard, and only admitted
the elect on account of their inches, so tickled mine host's fancy, that
he leaned back in his chair, and indulged in a long, dry, obstreperous
cachinnation. This irreverence mightily displeased the Corporal. He
looked at the little man very sourly, and said in his least smooth

"What--devil--cackling at?--always grin, grin, grin--giggle, giggle,

"Why really, neighbour," said Peter, composing himself, "you must let a
man laugh now and then."

"Man!" said the Corporal; "man's a noble animal! Man's a musquet, primed,
loaded, ready to supply a friend or kill a foe--charge not to be wasted
on every tom-tit. But you! not a musquet, but a cracker! noisy,
harmless,--can't touch you, but off you go, whizz, pop, bang in one's

"Well!" said the good-humoured landlord, "I should think Master Aram, the
great scholar who lives down the vale yonder, a man quite after your own
heart. He is grave enough to suit you. He does not laugh very easily, I

"After my heart? Stoops like a bow!"

"Indeed he does look on the ground as he walks; when I think, I do the
same. But what a marvellous man it is! I hear, that he reads the Psalms
in Hebrew. He's very affable and meek-like for such a scholard."

"Tell you what. Seen the world, Master Dealtry, and know a thing or two.
Your shy dog is always a deep one. Give me a man who looks me in the face
as he would a cannon!"

"Or a lass," said Peter knowingly.

The grim Corporal smiled.

"Talking of lasses," said the soldier, re-filling his pipe, "what
creature Miss Lester is! Such eyes!--such nose! Fit for a colonel, by
God! ay, or a major-general!"

"For my part, I think Miss Ellinor almost as handsome; not so grand-like,
but more lovesome!"

"Nice little thing!" said the Corporal, condescendingly. "But, zooks!
whom have we here?"

This last question was applied to a man who was slowly turning from the
road towards the inn. The stranger, for such he was, was stout,
thick-set, and of middle height. His dress was not without pretension to
a rank higher than the lowest; but it was threadbare and worn, and soiled
with dust and travel. His appearance was by no means prepossessing; small
sunken eyes of a light hazel and a restless and rather fierce expression,
a thick flat nose, high cheekbones, a large bony jaw, from which the
flesh receded, and a bull throat indicative of great strength,
constituted his claims to personal attraction. The stately Corporal,
without moving, kept a vigilant and suspicious eye upon the new comer,
muttering to Peter,--"Customer for you; rum customer too--by Gad!"

The stranger now reached the little table, and halting short, took up the
brown jug, without ceremony or preface, and emptied it at a draught.

The Corporal stared--the Corporal frowned; but before--for he was
somewhat slow of speech--he had time to vent his displeasure, the
stranger, wiping his mouth across his sleeve, said, in rather a civil and
apologetic tone,

"I beg pardon, gentlemen. I have had a long march of it, and very tired I

"Humph! march," said the Corporal a little appeased, "Not in his
Majesty's service--eh?"

"Not now," answered the Traveller; then, turning round to Dealtry, he
said: "Are you landlord here?"

"At your service," said Peter, with the indifference of a man well to do,
and not ambitious of halfpence.

"Come, then, quick--budge," said the Traveller, tapping him on the back:
"bring more glasses--another jug of the October; and any thing or every
thing your larder is able to produce--d'ye hear?"

Peter, by no means pleased with the briskness of this address, eyed the
dusty and way-worn pedestrian from head to foot; then, looking over his
shoulder towards the door, he said, as he ensconced himself yet more
firmly on his seat--

"There's my wife by the door, friend; go, tell her what you want."

"Do you know," said the Traveller, in a slow and measured accent--"Do you
know, master Shrivel-face, that I have more than half a mind to break
your head for impertinence. You a landlord!--you keep an inn, indeed!
Come, Sir, make off, or--"

"Corporal!--Corporal!" cried Peter, retreating hastily from his seat as
the brawny Traveller approached menacingly towards him--"You won't see
the peace broken. Have a care, friend--have a care I'm clerk to the
parish--clerk to the parish, Sir--and I'll indict you for sacrilege."

The wooden features of Bunting relaxed into a sort of grin at the alarm
of his friend. He puffed away, without making any reply; meanwhile the
Traveller, taking advantage of Peter's hasty abandonment of his
cathedrarian accommodation, seized the vacant chair, and drawing it yet
closer to the table, flung himself upon it, and placing his hat on the
table, wiped his brows with the air of a man about to make himself
thoroughly at home.

Peter Dealtry was assuredly a personage of peaceable disposition; but
then he had the proper pride of a host and a clerk. His feeling were
exceedingly wounded at this cavalier treatment--before the very eyes of
his wife too--what an example! He thrust his hands deep into his breeches
pockets, and strutting with a ferocious swagger towards the Traveller, he

"Harkye, sirrah! This is not the way folks are treated in this country:
and I'd have you to know, that I'm a man what has a brother a constable."

"Well, Sir!"

"Well, Sir, indeed! Well!--Sir, it's not well, by no manner of means; and
if you don't pay for the ale you drank, and go quietly about your
business, I'll have you put in the stocks for a vagrant."

This, the most menacing speech Peter Dealtry was ever known to deliver,
was uttered with so much spirit, that the Corporal, who had hitherto
preserved silence--for he was too strict a disciplinarian to thrust
himself unnecessarily into brawls,--turned approvingly round, and nodding
as well as his stock would suffer him at the indignant Peter, he said:
"Well done! 'fegs--you've a soul, man!--a soul fit for the forty-second!
augh!--A soul above the inches of five feet two!"

There was something bitter and sneering in the Traveller's aspect as he
now, regarding Dealtry, repeated--

"Vagrant--humph! And pray what is a vagrant?"

"What is a vagrant?" echoed Peter, a little puzzled.

"Yes! answer me that."

"Why, a vagrant is a man what wanders, and what has no money."

"Truly," said the stranger smiling, but the smile by no means improved
his physiognomy, "an excellent definition, but one which, I will convince
you, does not apply to me." So saying, he drew from his pocket a handful
of silver coins, and, throwing them on the table, added: "Come, let's
have no more of this. You see I can pay for what I order; and now, do
recollect that I am a weary and hungry man."

No sooner did Peter behold the money, than a sudden placidity stole over
his ruffled spirit:--nay, a certain benevolent commiseration for the
fatigue and wants of the Traveller replaced at once, and as by a spell,
the angry feelings that had previously roused him.

"Weary and hungry," said he; "why did not you say that before? That would
have been quite enough for Peter Dealtry. Thank God! I am a man what can
feel for my neighbours. I have bowels--yes, I have bowels. Weary and
hungry!--you shall be served in an instant. I may be a little hasty or
so, but I'm a good Christian at bottom--ask the Corporal. And what says
the Psalmist, Psalm 147?--

     'By Him, the beasts that loosely range
       With timely food are fed:
      He speaks the word--and what He wills
       Is done as soon as said.'"

Animating his kindly emotions by this apt quotation, Peter turned to the
house. The Corporal now broke silence: the sight of the money had not
been without an effect upon him as well as the landlord.

"Warm day, Sir:--your health. Oh! forgot you emptied jug--baugh! You said
you were not now in his Majesty's service: beg pardon--were you ever?"

"Why, once I was; many years ago."

"Ah!--and what regiment? I was in the forty-second. Heard of the
forty-second? Colonel's name, Dysart; captain's, Trotter; corporal's,
Bunting, at your service."

"I am much obliged by your confidence," said the Traveller drily. "I dare
say you have seen much service."

"Service! Ah! may well say that;--twenty-three years' hard work: and not
the better for it! A man that loves his country is 'titled to a
pension--that's my mind!--but the world don't smile upon

Here Peter re-appeared with a fresh supply of the October, and an
assurance that the cold meat would speedily follow.

"I hope yourself and this gentleman will bear me company," said the
Traveller, passing the jug to the Corporal; and in a few moments, so well
pleased grew the trio with each other, that the sound of their laughter
came loud and frequent to the ears of the good housewife within.

The traveller now seemed to the Corporal and mine host a right jolly,
good-humoured fellow. Not, however, that he bore a fair share in the
conversation--he rather promoted the hilarity of his new acquaintances
than led it. He laughed heartily at Peter's jests, and the Corporal's
repartees; and the latter, by degrees, assuming the usual sway he bore in
the circle of the village, contrived, before the viands were on the
table, to monopolize the whole conversation.

The Traveller found in the repast a new excuse for silence. He ate with a
most prodigious and most contagious appetite; and in a few seconds the
knife and fork of the Corporal were as busily engaged as if he had only
three minutes to spare between a march and a dinner.

"This is a pretty, retired spot," quoth the Traveller, as at length he
finished his repast, and threw himself back on his chair--a very pretty
spot. Whose neat old-fashioned house was that I passed on the green, with
the gable-ends and the flower-plots in front?

"Oh, the Squire's," answered Peter; "Squire Lester's an excellent

"A rich man, I should think, for these parts; the best house I have seen
for some miles," said the Stranger carelessly.

"Rich--yes, he's well to do; he does not live so as not to have money to
lay by."

"Any family?"

"Two daughters and a nephew."

"And the nephew does not ruin him. Happy uncle! Mine was not so lucky,"
said the Traveller.

"Sad fellows we soldiers in our young days!" observed the Corporal with a
wink. "No, Squire Walter's a good young man, a pride to his uncle!"

"So," said the pedestrian, "they are not forced to keep up a large
establishment and ruin themselves by a retinue of servants?--Corporal,
the jug."

"Nay!" said Peter, "Squire Lester's gate is always open to the poor; but
as for shew, he leaves that to my lord at the castle."

"The castle, where's that?"

"About six miles off, you've heard of my Lord--, I'll swear."

"Ah, to be sure, a courtier. But who else lives about here? I mean, who
are the principal persons, barring the Corporal and yourself, Mr.
Eelpry--I think our friend here calls you."

"Dealtry, Peter Dealtry, Sir, is my name.--Why the most noticeable man,
you must know, is a great scholard, a wonderfully learned man; there
yonder, you may just catch a glimpse of the tall what-d'ye-call-it he has
built out on the top of his house, that he may get nearer to the stars.
He has got glasses by which I've heard that you may see the people in the
moon walking on their heads; but I can't say as I believe all I hear."

"You are too sensible for that, I'm sure. But this scholar, I suppose, is
not very rich; learning does not clothe men now-a-days--eh, Corporal?"

"And why should it? Zounds! can it teach a man how to defend his country?
Old England wants soldiers, and be d--d to them! But the man's well
enough, I must own, civil, modest--"

"And not by no means a beggar," added Peter; "he gave as much to the poor
last winter as the Squire himself."

"Indeed!" said the Stranger, "this scholar is rich then?"

"So, so; neither one nor t'other. But if he were as rich as my lord, he
could not be more respected; the greatest folks in the country come in
their carriages and four to see him. Lord bless you, there is not a name
more talked on in the whole county than Eugene Aram."

"What!" cried the Traveller, his countenance changing as he sprung from
his seat; "what!--Aram!--did you say Aram? Great God! how strange!"

Peter, not a little startled by the abruptness and vehemence of his
guest, stared at him with open mouth, and even the Corporal took his pipe
involuntarily from his lips.

"What!" said the former, "you know him, do you? you've heard of him, eh?"

The Stranger did not reply, he seemed lost in a reverie; he muttered
inaudible words between his teeth; now he strode two steps forward,
clenching his hands; now smiled grimly; and then returning to his seat,
threw himself on it, still in silence. The soldier and the clerk
exchanged looks, and now outspake the Corporal.

"Rum tantrums! What the devil, did the man eat your grandmother?"

Roused perhaps by so pertinent and sensible a question, the Stranger
lifted his head from his breast, and said with a forced smile, "You have
done me, without knowing it, a great kindness, my friend. Eugene Aram was
an early and intimate acquaintance of mine: we have not met for many
years. I never guessed that he lived in these parts: indeed I did not
know where he resided. I am truly glad to think I have lighted upon him
thus unexpectedly."

"What! you did not know where he lived? Well! I thought all the world
knew that! Why, men from the univarsities have come all the way, merely
to look at the spot."

"Very likely," returned the Stranger; "but I am not a learned man myself,
and what is celebrity in one set is obscurity in another. Besides, I have
never been in this part of the world before!"

Peter was about to reply, when he heard the shrill voice of his wife

"Why don't you rise, Mr. Lazyboots? Where are your eyes? Don't you see
the young ladies."

Dealtry's hat was off in an instant,--the stiff Corporal rose like a
musquet; the Stranger would have kept his seat, but Dealtry gave him an
admonitory tug by the collar; accordingly he rose, muttering a hasty
oath, which certainly died on his lips when he saw the cause which had
thus constrained him into courtesy.

Through a little gate close by Peter's house Madeline and her sister had
just passed on their evening walk, and with the kind familiarity for
which they were both noted, they had stopped to salute the landlady of
the Spotted Dog, as she now, her labours done, sat by the threshold,
within hearing of the convivial group, and plaiting straw. The whole
family of Lester were so beloved, that we question whether my Lord
himself, as the great nobleman of the place was always called, (as if
there were only one lord in the peerage,) would have obtained the same
degree of respect that was always lavished upon them.

"Don't let us disturb you, good people," said Ellinor, as they now moved
towards the boon companions, when her eye suddenly falling on the
Stranger, she stopped short. There was something in his appearance, and
especially in the expression of his countenance at that moment, which no
one could have marked for the first time without apprehension and
distrust: and it was so seldom that, in that retired spot, the young
ladies encountered even one unfamiliar face, that the effect the
stranger's appearance might have produced on any one, might well be
increased for them to a startling and painful degree. The Traveller saw
at once the sensation he had created: his brow lowered; and the same
unpleasing smile, or rather sneer, that we have noted before, distorted
his lip, as he made with affected humility his obeisance.

"How!--a stranger!" said Madeline, sharing, though in a less degree, the
feelings of her sister; and then, after a pause, she said, as she glanced
over his garb, "not in distress, I hope."

"No, Madam!" said the stranger, "if by distress is meant beggary. I am in
all respects perhaps better than I seem."

There was a general titter from the Corporal, my host, and his wife, at
the Traveller's semi-jest at his own unprepossessing appearance: but
Madeline, a little disconcerted, bowed hastily, and drew her sister away.

"A proud quean!" said the Stranger, as he re-seated himself, and watched
the sisters gliding across the green.

All mouths were opened against him immediately. He found it no easy
matter to make his peace; and before he had quite done it, he called for
his bill, and rose to depart.

"Well!" said he, as he tendered his hand to the Corporal, "we may meet
again, and enjoy together some more of your good stories. Meanwhile,
which is my way to this--this--this famous scholar's--Ehem?"

"Why," quoth Peter, "you saw the direction in which the young ladies
went; you must take the same. Cross the stile you will find at the
right--wind along the foot of the hill for about three parts of a mile,
and you will then see in the middle of a broad plain, a lonely grey house
with a thingumebob at the top; a servatory they call it. That's Master

"Thank you."

"And a very pretty walk it is too," said the Dame, "the prettiest
hereabouts to my liking, till you get to the house at least; and so the
young ladies think, for it's their usual walk every evening!"

"Humph,--then I may meet them."

"Well, and if you do, make yourself look as Christian-like as you can,"
retorted the hostess.

There was a second grin at the ill-favoured Traveller's expense, amidst
which he went his way.

"An odd chap!" said Peter, looking after the sturdy form of the
Traveller. "I wonder what he is; he seems well edicated--makes use of
good words."

"What sinnifies?" said the Corporal, who felt a sort of fellow-feeling
for his new acquaintance's brusquerie of manner;--"what sinnifies what he
is. Served his country,--that's enough;--never told me, by the by, his
regiment;--set me a talking, and let out nothing himself;--old soldier
every inch of him!"

"He can take care of number one," said Peter. "How he emptied the jug;
and my stars! what an appetite!"

"Tush," said the Corporal, "hold jaw. Man of the world--man of the
world,--that's clear."



          "A fellow by the hand of Nature marked,
          Quoted, and signed, to do a deed of shame."
                 --Shakspeare.--King John.

          "He is a scholar, if a man may trust
          The liberal voice of Fame, in her report.
           Myself was once a student, and indeed
           Fed with the self-same humour he is now."
             --Ben Jonson.--Every Man in his Humour.

The two sisters pursued their walk along a scene which might well be
favoured by their selection. No sooner had they crossed the stile, than
the village seemed vanished into earth; so quiet, so lonely, so far from
the evidence of life was the landscape through which they passed. On
their right, sloped a green and silent hill, shutting out all view beyond
itself, save the deepening and twilight sky; to the left, and immediately
along their road lay fragments of stone, covered with moss, or shadowed
by wild shrubs, that here and there, gathered into copses, or breaking
abruptly away from the rich sod, left frequent spaces through which you
caught long vistas of forestland, or the brooklet gliding in a noisy and
rocky course, and breaking into a thousand tiny waterfalls, or mimic
eddies. So secluded was the scene, and so unwitnessing of cultivation,
that you would not have believed that a human habitation could be at
hand, and this air of perfect solitude and quiet gave an additional charm
to the spot.

"But I assure you," said Ellinor, earnestly continuing a conversation
they had begun, "I assure you I was not mistaken, I saw it as plainly as
I see you."

"What, in the breast pocket?"

"Yes, as he drew out his handkerchief, I saw the barrel of the pistol
quite distinctly."

"Indeed, I think we had better tell my father as soon as we get home; it
may be as well to be on our guard, though robbery, I believe, has not
been heard of in Grassdale for these twenty years."

"Yet for what purpose, save that of evil, could he in these peaceable
times and this peaceable country, carry fire arms about him. And what a
countenance! Did you note the shy, and yet ferocious eye, like that of
some animal, that longs, yet fears to spring upon you."

"Upon my word, Ellinor," said Madeline, smiling, "you are not very
merciful to strangers. After all, the man might have provided himself
with the pistol which you saw as a natural precaution; reflect that, as a
stranger, he may well not know how safe this district usually is, and he
may have come from London, in the neighbourhood of which they say
robberies have been frequent of late. As to his looks, they are I own
unpardonable; for so much ugliness there can be no excuse. Had the man
been as handsome as our cousin Walter, you would not perhaps have been so
uncharitable in your fears at the pistol."

"Nonsense, Madeline," said Ellinor, blushing, and turning away her
face;--there was a moment's pause, which the younger sister broke.

"We do not seem," said she, "to make much progress in the friendship of
our singular neighbour. I never knew my father court any one so much as
he has courted Mr. Aram, and yet, you see how seldom he calls upon us;
nay, I often think that he seeks to shun us; no great compliment to our
attractions, Madeline."

"I regret his want of sociability, for his own sake," said Madeline, "for
he seems melancholy as well as thoughtful, and he leads so secluded a
life, that I cannot but think my father's conversation and society, if he
would but encourage it, might afford some relief to his solitude."

"And he always seems," observed Ellinor, "to take pleasure in my father's
conversation, as who would not? how his countenance lights up when he
converses! it is a pleasure to watch it. I think him positively handsome
when he speaks."

"Oh, more than handsome!" said Madeline, with enthusiasm, "with that
high, pale brow, and those deep, unfathomable eyes!"

Ellinor smiled, and it was now Madeline's turn to blush.

"Well," said the former, "there is something about him that fills one
with an indescribable interest; and his manner, if cold at times, is yet
always so gentle."

"And to hear him converse," said Madeline, "it is like music. His
thoughts, his very words, seem so different from the language and ideas
of others. What a pity that he should ever be silent!"

"There is one peculiarity about his gloom, it never inspires one with
distrust," said Ellinor; "if I had observed him in the same circumstances
as that ill-omened traveller, I should have had no apprehension."

"Ah! that traveller still runs in your head. If we were to meet him in
this spot."

"Heaven forbid!" cried Ellinor, turning hastily round in alarm--and, lo!
as if her sister had been a prophet, she saw the very person in question
at some little distance behind them, and walking on with rapid strides.

She uttered a faint shriek of surprise and terror, and Madeline, looking
back at the sound, immediately participated in her alarm. The spot looked
so desolate and lonely, and the imagination of both had been already so
worked upon by Ellinor's fears, and their conjectures respecting the
ill-boding weapon she had witnessed, that a thousand apprehensions of
outrage and murder crowded at once upon the minds of the two sisters.
Without, however, giving vent in words to their alarm, they, as by an
involuntary and simultaneous suggestion, quickened their pace, every
moment stealing a glance behind, to watch the progress of the suspected
robber. They thought that he also seemed to accelerate his movements; and
this observation increased their terror, and would appear indeed to give
it some more rational ground. At length, as by a sudden turn of the road
they lost sight of the dreaded stranger, their alarm suggested to them
but one resolution, and they fairly fled on as fast as the fear which
actuated, would allow, them. The nearest, and indeed the only house in
that direction, was Aram's, but they both imagined if they could come
within sight of that, they should be safe. They looked back at every
interval; now they did not see their fancied pursuer--now he emerged
again into view--now--yes--he also was running.

"Faster, faster, Madeline, for God's sake! he is gaining upon us!" cried
Ellinor: the path grew more wild, and the trees more thick and frequent;
at every cluster that marked their progress they saw the Stranger closer
and closer; at length, a sudden break,--a sudden turn in the
landscape;--a broad plain burst upon them, and in the midst of it the
Student's solitary abode!

"Thank God, we are safe!" cried Madeline. She turned once more to look
for the Stranger; in so doing, her foot struck against a fragment of
stone, and she fell with great violence to the ground. She endeavoured to
rise, but found herself, at first, unable to stir from the spot. In this
state she looked, however, back, and saw the Traveller at some little
distance. But he also halted, and after a moment's seeming deliberation,
turned aside, and was lost among the bushes.

With great difficulty Ellinor now assisted Madeline to rise; her ancle
was violently sprained, and she could not put her foot to the ground; but
though she had evinced so much dread at the apparition of the stranger,
she now testified an almost equal degree of fortitude in bearing pain.

"I am not much hurt, Ellinor," she said, faintly smiling, to encourage
her sister, who supported her in speechless alarm: "but what is to be
done? I cannot use this foot; how shall we get home?"

"Thank God, if you are not much hurt!" said poor Ellinor, almost crying,
"lean on me--heavier--pray. Only try and reach the house, and we can then
stay there till Mr. Aram sends home for the carriage."

"But what will he think? how strange it will seem!" said Madeline, the
colour once more visiting her cheek, which a moment since had been
blanched as pale as death.

"Is this a time for scruples and ceremony?" said Ellinor. "Come! I
entreat you, come; if you linger thus, the man may take courage and
attack us yet. There! that's right! Is the pain very great?"

"I do not mind the pain," murmured Madeline; "but if he should think we
intrude? His habits are so reserved--so secluded; indeed I fear--"

"Intrude!" interrupted Ellinor. "Do you think so ill of him?--Do you
suppose that, hermit as he is, he has lost common humanity? But lean more
on me, dearest; you do not know how strong I am!"

Thus alternately chiding, caressing, and encouraging her sister, Ellinor
led on the sufferer, till they had crossed the plain, though with
slowness and labour, and stood before the porch of the Recluse's house.
They had looked back from time to time, but the cause of so much alarm
appeared no more. This they deemed a sufficient evidence of the justice
of their apprehensions.

Madeline would even now fain have detained her sister's hand from the
bell that hung without the porch half imbedded in ivy; but Ellinor, out
of patience--as she well might be--with her sister's unseasonable
prudence, refused any longer delay. So singularly still and solitary was
the plain around the house, that the sound of the bell breaking the
silence, had in it something startling, and appeared in its sudden and
shrill voice, a profanation to the deep tranquillity of the spot. They
did not wait long--a step was heard within--the door was slowly unbarred,
and the Student himself stood before them.

He was a man who might, perhaps, have numbered some five and thirty
years; but at a hasty glance, he would have seemed considerably younger.
He was above the ordinary stature; though a gentle, and not ungraceful
bend in the neck rather than the shoulders, somewhat curtailed his proper
advantages of height. His frame was thin and slender, but well knit and
fair proportioned. Nature had originally cast his form in an athletic
mould; but sedentary habits, and the wear of mind, seemed somewhat to
have impaired her gifts. His cheek was pale and delicate; yet it was
rather the delicacy of thought than of weak health. His hair, which was
long, and of a rich and deep brown, was worn back from his face and
temples, and left a broad high majestic forehead utterly unrelieved and
bare; and on the brow there was not a single wrinkle, it was as smooth as
it might have been some fifteen years ago. There was a singular calmness,
and, so to speak, profundity, of thought, eloquent upon its clear
expanse, which suggested the idea of one who had passed his life rather
in contemplation than emotion. It was a face that a physiognomist would
have loved to look upon, so much did it speak both of the refinement and
the dignity of intellect.

Such was the person--if pictures convey a faithful resemblance--of a man,
certainly the most eminent in his day for various and profound learning,
and a genius wholly self-taught, yet never contented to repose upon the
wonderful stores it had laboriously accumulated.

He now stood before the two girls, silent, and evidently surprised; and
it would scarce have been an unworthy subject for a picture--that ivied
porch--that still spot--Madeline's reclining and subdued form and
downcast eyes--the eager face of Ellinor, about to narrate the nature and
cause of their intrusion--and the pale Student himself, thus suddenly
aroused from his solitary meditations, and converted into the protector
of beauty.

No sooner did Aram gather from Ellinor the outline of their story, and of
Madeline's accident, than his countenance and manner testified the
liveliest and most eager sympathy. Madeline was inexpressibly touched and
surprised at the kindly and respectful earnestness with which this
recluse scholar--usually so cold and abstracted in mood--assisted and led
her into the house: the sympathy he expressed for her pain--the sincerity
of his tone--the compassion of his eyes--and as those dark--and to use
her own thought--unfathomable orbs bent admiringly and yet so gently upon
her, Madeline, even in spite of her pain, felt an indescribable, a
delicious thrill at her heart, which in the presence of no one else had
she ever experienced before.

Aram now summoned the only domestic his house possessed, who appeared in
the form of an old woman, whom he seemed to have selected from the whole
neighbourhood as the person most in keeping with the rigid seclusion he
preserved. She was exceedingly deaf, and was a proverb in the village for
her extreme taciturnity. Poor old Margaret; she was a widow, and had lost
ten children by early deaths. There was a time when her gaiety had been
as noticeable as her reserve was now. In spite of her infirmity, she was
not slow in comprehending the accident Madeline had met with; and she
busied herself with a promptness that shewed her misfortunes had not
deadened her natural kindness of disposition, in preparing fomentations
and bandages for the wounded foot.

Meanwhile Aram, having no person to send in his stead, undertook to seek
the manor-house, and bring back the old family coach, which had dozed
inactively in its shelter for the last six months, to convey the sufferer

"No, Mr. Aram," said Madeline, colouring; "pray do not go yourself:
consider, the man may still be loitering on the road. He is armed--good
Heavens, if he should meet you!"

"Fear not, Madam," said Aram, with a faint smile. "I also keep arms, even
in this obscure and safe retreat; and to satisfy you, I will not neglect
to carry them with me."

"As he spoke, he took from the wainscoat, from which they hung, a brace
of large horse pistols, slung them round him by a leather belt, and
flinging over his person, to conceal weapons so alarming to any less
dangerous passenger he might encounter, the long cloak then usually worn
in inclement seasons, as an outer garment, he turned to depart.

"But are they loaded?" asked Ellinor.

Aram answered briefly, in the affirmative. It was somewhat singular, but
the sisters did not then remark it, that a man so peaceable in his
pursuits, and seemingly possessed of no valuables that could tempt
cupidity, should in that spot, where crime was never heard of, use such
habitual precaution.

When the door closed upon him, and while the old woman, relieved with a
light hand and soothing lotions, which she had shewn some skill in
preparing, the anguish of the sprain, Madeline cast glances of interest
and curiosity around the apartment into which she had had the rare good
fortune to obtain admittance.

The house had belonged to a family of some note, whose heirs had
outstripped their fortunes. It had been long deserted and uninhabited;
and when Aram settled in those parts, the proprietor was too glad to get
rid of the incumbrance of an empty house, at a nominal rent. The solitude
of the place had been the main attraction to Aram; and as he possessed
what would be considered a very extensive assortment of books, even for a
library of these days, he required a larger apartment than he would have
been able to obtain in an abode more compact and more suitable to his
fortunes and mode of living.

The room in which the sisters now found themselves was the most spacious
in the house, and was indeed of considerable dimensions. It contained in
front one large window, jutting from the wall. Opposite was an antique
and high mantelpiece of black oak. The rest of the room was walled from
the floor to the roof with books; volumes of all languages, and it might
even be said, without much exaggeration, upon all sciences, were strewed
around, on the chairs, the tables, or the floor. By the window stood the
Student's desk, and a large old-fashioned chair of oak. A few papers,
filled with astronomical calculations, lay on the desk, and these were
all the witnesses of the result of study. Indeed Aram does not appear to
have been a man much inclined to reproduce the learning he
acquired;--what he wrote was in very small proportion to what he had

So high and grave was the reputation he had acquired, that the retreat
and sanctum of so many learned hours would have been interesting, even to
one who could not appreciate learning; but to Madeline, with her peculiar
disposition and traits of mind, we may readily conceive that the room
presented a powerful and pleasing charm. As the elder sister looked round
in silence, Ellinor attempted to draw the old woman into conversation.
She would fain have elicited some particulars of the habits and daily
life of the recluse; but the deafness of their attendant was so obstinate
and hopeless, that she was forced to give up the attempt in despair. "I
fear," said she at last, her good-nature so far overcome by impatience as
not to forbid a slight yawn; "I fear we shall have a dull time of it till
my father arrives. Just consider, the fat black mares, never too fast,
can only creep along that broken path,--for road there is none: it will
be quite night before the coach arrives."

"I am sorry, dear Ellinor, my awkwardness should occasion you so stupid
an evening," answered Madeline.

"Oh," cried Ellinor, throwing her arms around her sister's neck, "it is
not for myself I spoke; and indeed I am delighted to think we have got
into this wizard's den, and seen the instruments of his art. But I do so
trust Mr. Aram will not meet that terrible man."

"Nay," said the prouder Madeline, "he is armed, and it is but one man. I
feel too high a respect for him to allow myself much fear."

"But these bookmen are not often heroes," remarked Ellinor, laughing.

"For shame," said Madeline, the colour mounting to her forehead. "Do you
not remember how, last summer, Eugene Aram rescued Dame Grenfeld's child
from the bull, though at the literal peril of his own life? And who but
Eugene Aram, when the floods in the year before swept along the low lands
by Fairleigh, went day after day to rescue the persons, or even to save
the goods of those poor people; at a time too, when the boldest villagers
would not hazard themselves across the waters?--But bless me, Ellinor,
what is the matter? you turn pale, you tremble.'

"Hush!" said Ellinor under her breath, and, putting her finger to her
mouth, she rose and stole lightly to the window; she had observed the
figure of a man pass by, and now, as she gained the window, she saw him
halt by the porch, and recognised the formidable Stranger. Presently the
bell sounded, and the old woman, familiar with its shrill sound, rose
from her kneeling position beside the sufferer to attend to the summons.
Ellinor sprang forward and detained her: the poor old woman stared at her
in amazement, wholly unable to comprehend her abrupt gestures and her
rapid language. It was with considerable difficulty and after repeated
efforts, that she at length impressed the dulled sense of the crone with
the nature of their alarm, and the expediency of refusing admittance to
the Stranger. Meanwhile, the bell had rung again,--again, and the third
time with a prolonged violence which testified the impatience of the
applicant. As soon as the good dame had satisfied herself as to Ellinor's
meaning, she could no longer be accused of unreasonable taciturnity; she
wrung her hands and poured forth a volley of lamentations and fears,
which effectually relieved Ellinor from the dread of her unheeding the
admonition. Satisfied at having done thus much, Ellinor now herself
hastened to the door and secured the ingress with an additional bolt, and
then, as the thought flashed upon her, returned to the old woman and made
her, with an easier effort than before, now that her senses were
sharpened by fear, comprehend the necessity of securing the back entrance
also; both hastened away to effect this precaution, and Madeline, who
herself desired Ellinor to accompany the old woman, was left alone. She
kept her eyes fixed on the window with a strange sentiment of dread at
being thus left in so helpless a situation; and though a door of no
ordinary dimensions and doubly locked interposed between herself and the
intruder, she expected in breathless terror, every instant, to see the
form of the ruffian burst into the apartment. As she thus sat and looked,
she shudderingly saw the man, tired perhaps of repeating a summons so
ineffectual, come to the window and look pryingly within: their eyes met;
Madeline had not the power to shriek. Would he break through the window?
that was her only idea, and it deprived her of words, almost of sense. He
gazed upon her evident terror for a moment with a grim smile of contempt;
he then knocked at the window, and his voice broke harshly on a silence
yet more dreadful than the interruption.

"Ho, ho! so there is some life stirring! I beg pardon, Madam, is Mr.
Aram--Eugene Aram, within?"

"No," said Madeline faintly, and then, sensible that her voice did not
reach him, she reiterated the answer in a louder tone. The man, as if
satisfied, made a rude inclination of his head and withdrew from the
window. Ellinor now returned, and with difficulty Madeline found words to
explain to her what had passed. It will be conceived that the two young
ladies watched the arrival of their father with no lukewarm expectation;
the stranger however appeared no more; and in about an hour, to their
inexpressible joy, they heard the rumbling sound of the old coach as it
rolled towards the house. This time there was no delay in unbarring the



          "Or let my lamp at midnight hour
          Be seen in some high lonely tower,
          Where I may oft outwatch the Bear,
          Or thrice-great Hermes, and unsphere
          The spirit of Plato."
              --Milton.--Il Penseroso.

As Aram assisted the beautiful Madeline into the carriage--as he listened
to her sweet voice--as he marked the grateful expression of her soft
eyes--as he felt the slight yet warm pressure of her fairy hand, that
vague sensation of delight which preludes love, for the first time, in
his sterile and solitary life, agitated his breast. Lester held out his
hand to him with a frank cordiality which the scholar could not resist.

"Do not let us be strangers, Mr. Aram," said he warmly. "It is not often
that I press for companionship out of my own circle; but in your company
I should find pleasure as well as instruction. Let us break the ice
boldly, and at once. Come and dine with me to-morrow, and Ellinor shall
sing to us in the evening."

The excuse died upon Aram's lips. Another glance at Madeline conquered
the remains of his reserve: he accepted the invitation, and he could not
but mark, with an unfamiliar emotion of the heart, that the eyes of
Madeline sparkled as he did so.

With an abstracted air, and arms folded across his breast, he gazed after
the carriage till the winding of the valley snatched it from his view. He
then, waking from his reverie with a start, turned into the house, and
carefully closing and barring the door, mounted with slow steps to the
lofty chamber with which, the better to indulge his astronomical
researches, he had crested his lonely abode.

It was now night. The Heavens broadened round him in all the loving yet
august tranquillity of the season and the hour; the stars bathed the
living atmosphere with a solemn light; and above--about--around--

"The holy time was quiet as a nun Breathless with adoration." He looked
forth upon the deep and ineffable stillness of the night, and indulged
the reflections that it suggested.

"Ye mystic lights," said he soliloquizing: "worlds upon
worlds--infinite--incalculable.--Bright defiers of rest and change,
rolling for ever above our petty sea of mortality, as, wave after wave,
we fret forth our little life, and sink into the black abyss;--can we
look upon you, note your appointed order, and your unvarying course, and
not feel that we are indeed the poorest puppets of an all-pervading and
resistless destiny? Shall we see throughout creation each marvel
fulfilling its pre-ordered fate--no wandering from its orbit--no
variation in its seasons--and yet imagine that the Arch-ordainer will
hold back the tides He has sent from their unseen source, at our
miserable bidding? Shall we think that our prayers can avert a doom woven
with the skein of events? To change a particle of our fate, might change
the destiny of millions! Shall the link forsake the chain, and yet the
chain be unbroken? Away, then, with our vague repinings, and our blind
demands. All must walk onward to their goal, be he the wisest who looks
not one step behind. The colours of our existence were doomed before our
birth--our sorrows and our crimes;--millions of ages back, when this
hoary earth was peopled by other kinds, yea! ere its atoms had formed one
layer of its present soil, the Eternal and the all-seeing Ruler of the
universe, Destiny, or God, had here fixed the moment of our birth and the
limits of our career. What then is crime?--Fate! What life?--Submission!"

Such were the strange and dark thoughts which, constituting a part indeed
of his established creed, broke over Aram's mind. He sought for a fairer
subject for meditation, and Madeline Lester rose before him.

Eugene Aram was a man whose whole life seemed to have been one sacrifice
to knowledge. What is termed pleasure had no attraction for him. From the
mature manhood at which he had arrived, he looked back along his youth,
and recognized no youthful folly. Love he had hitherto regarded with a
cold though not an incurious eye: intemperance had never lured him to a
momentary self-abandonment. Even the innocent relaxations with which the
austerest minds relieve their accustomed toils, had had no power to draw
him from his beloved researches. The delight monstrari digito; the
gratification of triumphant wisdom; the whispers of an elevated vanity;
existed not for his self-dependent and solitary heart. He was one of
those earnest and high-wrought enthusiasts who now are almost extinct upon
earth, and whom Romance has not hitherto attempted to pourtray; men not
uncommon in the last century, who were devoted to knowledge, yet
disdainful of its fame; who lived for nothing else than to learn. From
store to store, from treasure to treasure, they proceeded in exulting
labour, and having accumulated all, they bestowed nought; they were the
arch-misers of the wealth of letters. Wrapped in obscurity, in some
sheltered nook, remote from the great stir of men, they passed a life at
once unprofitable and glorious; the least part of what they ransacked
would appal the industry of a modern student, yet the most superficial of
modern students might effect more for mankind. They lived among oracles,
but they gave none forth. And yet, even in this very barrenness, there
seems something high; it was a rare and great spectacle--Men, living
aloof from the roar and strife of the passions that raged below, devoting
themselves to the knowledge which is our purification and our immortality
on earth, and yet deaf and blind to the allurements of the vanity which
generally accompanies research; refusing the ignorant homage of their
kind, making their sublime motive their only meed, adoring Wisdom for her
sole sake, and set apart in the populous universe, like stars, luminous
with their own light, but too remote from the earth on which they looked,
to shed over its inmates the lustre with which they glowed.

From his youth to the present period, Aram had dwelt little in cities
though he had visited many, yet he could scarcely be called ignorant of
mankind; there seems something intuitive in the science which teaches us
the knowledge of our race. Some men emerge from their seclusion, and
find, all at once, a power to dart into the minds and drag forth the
motives of those they see; it is a sort of second sight, born with them,
not acquired. And Aram, it may be, rendered yet more acute by his
profound and habitual investigations of our metaphysical frame, never
quitted his solitude to mix with others, without penetrating into the
broad traits or prevalent infirmities their characters possessed. In
this, indeed, he differed from the scholar tribe, and even in abstraction
was mechanically vigilant and observant. Much in his nature would, had
early circumstances given it a different bias, have fitted him for
worldly superiority and command. A resistless energy, an unbroken
perseverance, a profound and scheming and subtle thought, a genius
fertile in resources, a tongue clothed with eloquence, all, had his
ambition so chosen, might have given him the same empire over the
physical, that he had now attained over the intellectual world. It could
not be said that Aram wanted benevolence, but it was dashed, and mixed
with a certain scorn: the benevolence was the offspring of his nature;
the scorn seemed the result of his pursuits. He would feed the birds from
his window, he would tread aside to avoid the worm on his path; were one
of his own tribe in danger, he would save him at the hazard of his
life:--yet in his heart he despised men, and believed them beyond
amelioration. Unlike the present race of schoolmen, who incline to the
consoling hope of human perfectibility, he saw in the gloomy past but a
dark prophecy of the future. As Napoleon wept over one wounded soldier in
the field of battle, yet ordered without emotion, thousands to a certain
death; so Aram would have sacrificed himself for an individual, but would
not have sacrificed a momentary gratification for his race. And this
sentiment towards men, at once of high disdain and profound despondency,
was perhaps the cause why he rioted in indolence upon his extraordinary
mental wealth, and could not be persuaded either to dazzle the world or
to serve it. But by little and little his fame had broke forth from the
limits with which he would have walled it: a man who had taught himself,
under singular difficulties, nearly all the languages of the civilized
earth; the profound mathematician, the elaborate antiquarian, the
abstruse philologist, uniting with his graver lore the more florid
accomplishments of science, from the scholastic trifling of heraldry to
the gentle learning of herbs and flowers, could scarcely hope for utter
obscurity in that day when all intellectual acquirement was held in high
honour, and its possessors were drawn together into a sort of brotherhood
by the fellowship of their pursuits. And though Aram gave little or
nothing to the world himself, he was ever willing to communicate to
others any benefit or honour derivable from his researches. On the altar
of science he kindled no light, but the fragrant oil in the lamps of his
more pious brethren was largely borrowed from his stores. From almost
every college in Europe came to his obscure abode letters of
acknowledgement or inquiry; and few foreign cultivators of learning
visited this country without seeking an interview with Aram. He received
them with all the modesty and the courtesy that characterized his
demeanour; but it was noticeable that he never allowed these
interruptions to be more than temporary. He proffered no hospitality, and
shrunk back from all offers of friendship; the interview lasted its hour,
and was seldom renewed. Patronage was not less distasteful to him than
sociality. Some occasional visits and condescensions of the great, he had
received with a stern haughtiness, rather than his wonted and subdued
urbanity. The precise amount of his fortune was not known; his wants were
so few, that what would have been poverty to others might easily have
been competence to him; and the only evidence he manifested of the
command of money, was in his extended and various library.

He had now been about two years settled in his present retreat. Unsocial
as he was, every one in the neighbourhood loved him; even the reserve of
a man so eminent, arising as it was supposed to do from a painful
modesty, had in it something winning; and he had been known to evince on
great occasions, a charity and a courage in the service of others which
removed from the seclusion of his habits the semblance of misanthropy and
of avarice. The peasant drew aside with a kindness mingled with his
respect, as in his homeward walk he encountered the pale and thoughtful
Student, with the folded arms and downeast eyes, which characterised the
abstraction of his mood; and the village maiden, as she curtsied by him,
stole a glance at his handsome but melancholy countenance; and told her
sweetheart she was certain the poor scholar had been crossed in love.

And thus passed the Student's life; perhaps its monotony and dullness
required less compassion than they received; no man can judge of the
happiness of another. As the Moon plays upon the waves, and seems to our
eyes to favour with a peculiar beam one long track amidst the waters,
leaving the rest in comparative obscurity; yet all the while, she is no
niggard in her lustre--for though the rays that meet not our eyes seem to
us as though they were not, yet she with an equal and unfavouring
loveliness, mirrors herself on every wave: even so, perhaps, Happiness
falls with the same brightness and power over the whole expanse of Life,
though to our limited eyes she seems only to rest on those billows from
which the ray is reflected back upon our sight.

From his contemplations, of whatsoever nature, Aram was now aroused by a
loud summons at the door;--the clock had gone eleven. Who could at that
late hour, when the whole village was buried in sleep, demand admittance?
He recollected that Madeline had said the Stranger who had so alarmed
them had inquired for him, at that recollection his cheek suddenly
blanched, but again, that stranger was surely only some poor traveller
who had heard of his wonted charity, and had called to solicit relief,
for he had not met the Stranger on the road to Lester's house; and he had
naturally set down the apprehensions of his fair visitants to a mere
female timidity. Who could this be? no humble wayfarer would at that hour
crave assistance;--some disaster perhaps in the village. From his lofty
chamber he looked forth and saw the stars watch quietly over the
scattered cottages and the dark foliage that slept breathlessly around.
All was still as death, but it seemed the stillness of innocence and
security: again! the bell again! He thought he heard his name shouted
without; he strode once or twice irresolutely to and fro the chamber; and
then his step grew firm, and his native courage returned. His pistols
were still girded round him; he looked to the priming, and muttered some
incoherent words; he then descended the stairs, and slowly unbarred the
door. Without the porch, the moonlight full upon his harsh features and
sturdy frame, stood the ill-omened Traveller.



          "Can he not be sociable?"
                 --Troilus and Cressida.

        "Subit quippe etiam ipsius inertiae dulcedo;
         et invisa primo desidia postremo amatur."

          "How use doth breed a habit in a man!
          This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,
          I better brook than flourishing people towns."
                 --Winter's Tale.

The next day, faithful to his appointment, Aram arrived at Lester's. The
good Squire received him with a warm cordiality, and Madeline with a
blush and a smile that ought to have been more grateful to him than
acknowledgements. She was still a prisoner to the sofa, but in compliment
to Aram, the sofa was wheeled into the hall where they dined, so that she
was not absent from the repast. It was a pleasant room, that old hall!
Though it was summer--more for cheerfulness than warmth, the log burnt on
the spacious hearth: but at the same time the latticed windows were
thrown open, and the fresh yet sunny air stole in, rich from the embrace
of the woodbine and clematis, which clung around the casement.

A few old pictures were paneled in the oaken wainscot; and here and
there the horns of the mighty stag adorned the walls, and united with the
cheeriness of comfort associations of that of enterprise. The good old
board was crowded with the luxuries meet for a country Squire. The
speckled trout, fresh from the stream, and the four-year-old mutton
modestly disclaiming its own excellent merits, by affecting the shape and
assuming the adjuncts of venison. Then for the confectionery,--it was
worthy of Ellinor, to whom that department generally fell; and we should
scarcely be surprised to find, though we venture not to affirm, that its
delicate fabrication owed more to her than superintendence. Then the ale,
and the cyder with rosemary in the bowl, were incomparable potations; and
to the gooseberry wine, which would have filled Mrs. Primrose with envy,
was added the more generous warmth of port which, in the Squire's younger
days, had been the talk of the country, and which had now lost none of
its attributes, save "the original brightness" of its colour.

But (the wine excepted) these various dainties met with slight honour
from their abstemious guest; and, for though habitually reserved he was
rarely gloomy, they remarked that he seemed unusually fitful and sombre
in his mood. Something appeared to rest upon his mind, from which, by the
excitement of wine and occasional bursts of eloquence more animated than
ordinary, he seemed striving to escape; and at length, he apparently
succeeded. Naturally enough, the conversation turned upon the curiosities
and scenery of the country round; and here Aram shone with a peculiar
grace. Vividly alive to the influences of Nature, and minutely acquainted
with its varieties, he invested every hill and glade to which remark
recurred with the poetry of his descriptions; and from his research he
gave even scenes the most familiar, a charm and interest which had been
strange to them till then. To this stream some romantic legend had once
attached itself, long forgotten and now revived;--that moor, so barren to
an ordinary eye, was yet productive of some rare and curious herb, whose
properties afforded scope for lively description;--that old mound was yet
rife in attraction to one versed in antiquities, and able to explain its
origin, and from such explanation deduce a thousand classic or celtic

No subject was so homely or so trite but the knowledge that had neglected
nothing, was able to render it luminous and new. And as he spoke, the
scholar's countenance brightened, and his voice, at first hesitating and
low, compelled the attention to its earnest and winning music. Lester
himself, a man who, in his long retirement, had not forgotten the
attractions of intellectual society, nor even neglected a certain
cultivation of intellectual pursuits, enjoyed a pleasure that he had not
experienced for years. The gay Ellinor was fascinated into admiration;
and Madeline, the most silent of the groupe, drank in every word,
unconscious of the sweet poison she imbibed. Walter alone seemed not
carried away by the eloquence of their guest. He preserved an unadmiring
and sullen demeanour, and every now and then regarded Aram with looks of
suspicion and dislike. This was more remarkable when the men were left
alone; and Lester, in surprise and anger, darted significant and
admonitory looks towards his nephew, which at length seemed to rouse him
into a more hospitable bearing. As the cool of the evening now came on,
Lester proposed to Aram to enjoy it without, previous to returning to the
parlour, to which the ladies had retired. Walter excused himself from
joining them. The host and the guest accordingly strolled forth alone.

"Your solitude," said Lester, smiling, "is far deeper and less broken
than mine: do you never find it irksome?"

"Can Humanity be at all times contented?" said Aram. "No stream,
howsoever secret or subterranean, glides on in eternal tranquillity."

"You allow, then, that you feel some occasional desire for a more active
and animated life?"

"Nay," answered Aram; "that is scarcely a fair corollary from my remark.
I may, at times, feel the weariness of existence--the tedium vitae; but I
know well that the cause is not to be remedied by a change from
tranquillity to agitation. The objects of the great world are to be
pursued only by the excitement of the passions. The passions are at once
our masters and our deceivers;--they urge us onward, yet present no limit
to our progress. The farther we proceed, the more dim and shadowy grows
the goal. It is impossible for a man who leads the life of the world, the
life of the passions, ever to experience content. For the life of the
passions is that of a perpetual desire; but a state of content is the
absence of all desire. Thus philosophy has become another name for mental
quietude; and all wisdom points to a life of intellectual indifference,
as the happiest which earth can bestow."

"This may be true enough," said Lester, reluctantly; "but--"

"But what?"

"A something at our hearts--a secret voice--an involuntary
impulse--rebels against it, and points to action--action, as the true
sphere of man."

A slight smile curved the lip of the Student; he avoided, however, the
argument, and remarked,

"Yet, if you think so, the world lies before you; why not return to it?"

"Because constant habit is stronger than occasional impulse; and my
seclusion, after all, has its sphere of action--has its object."

"All seclusion has."

"All? Scarcely so; for me, I have my object of interest in my children."

"And mine is in my books."

"And engaged in your object, does not the whisper of Fame ever animate
you with the desire to go forth into the world, and receive the homage
that would await you?"

"Listen to me," replied Aram. "When I was a boy, I went once to a
theatre. The tragedy of Hamlet was performed: a play full of the noblest
thoughts, the subtlest morality, that exists upon the stage. The audience
listened with attention, with admiration, with applause. I said to
myself, when the curtain fell, 'It must be a glorious thing to obtain
this empire over men's intellects and emotions.' But now an Italian
mountebank appeared on the stage,--a man of extraordinary personal
strength and slight of hand. He performed a variety of juggling tricks,
and distorted his body into a thousand surprising and unnatural postures.
The audience were transported beyond themselves: if they had felt delight
in Hamlet, they glowed with rapture at the mountebank: they had listened
with attention to the lofty thought, but they were snatched from
themselves by the marvel of the strange posture. 'Enough,' said I; 'I
correct my former notion. Where is the glory of ruling men's minds, and
commanding their admiration, when a greater enthusiasm is excited by mere
bodily agility, than was kindled by the most wonderful emanations of a
genius little less than divine?' I have never forgotten the impression of
that evening."

Lester attempted to combat the truth of the illustration, and thus
conversing, they passed on through the village green, when the gaunt form
of Corporal Bunting arrested their progress.

"Beg pardon, Squire," said he, with a military salute; "beg pardon, your
honour," bowing to Aram; "but I wanted to speak to you, Squire, 'bout the
rent of the bit cot yonder; times very hard--pay scarce--Michaelmas close
at hand--and--"

"You desire a little delay, Bunting, eh?--Well, well, we'll see about it,
look up at the Hall to-morrow; Mr. Walter, I know wants to consult you
about letting the water from the great pond, and you must give us your
opinion of the new brewing."

"Thank your honour, thank you; much obliged I'm sure. I hope your honour
liked the trout I sent up. Beg pardon, Master Aram, mayhap you would
condescend to accept a few fish now and then; they're very fine in these
streams, as you probably know; if you please to let me, I'll send some up
by the old 'oman to-morrow, that is if the day's cloudy a bit."

The Scholar thanked the good Bunting, and would have proceeded onward,
but the Corporal was in a familiar mood.

"Beg pardon, beg pardon, but strange-looking dog here last evening--asked
after you--said you were old friend of his--trotted off in your
direction--hope all was right, Master?--augh!"

"All right!" repeated Aram, fixing his eyes on the Corporal, who had
concluded his speech with a significant wink, and pausing a full moment
before he continued, then as if satisfied with his survey, he added:

"Ay, ay, I know whom you mean; he had known me some years ago. So you saw
him! What said he to you of me?"

"Augh! little enough, Master Aram, he seemed to think only of satisfying
his own appetite; said he'd been a soldier."

"A soldier, humph!"

"Never told me the regiment, though,--shy--did he ever desert, pray, your

"I don't know;" answered Aram, turning away. "I know little, very little,
about him!" He was going away, but stopped to add: "The man called on me
last night for assistance; the lateness of the hour a little alarmed me.
I gave him what I could afford, and he has now proceeded on his journey."

"Oh, then, he won't take up his quarters hereabouts, your honour?" said
the Corporal, inquiringly.

"No, no; good evening."

"What! this singular stranger, who so frightened my poor girls, is really
known to you;" said Lester, in surprise: "pray is he as formidable as he
seemed to them?"

"Scarcely," said Aram, with great composure; "he has been a wild roving
fellow all his life, but--but there is little real harm in him. He is
certainly ill-favoured enough to--" here, interrupting himself, and
breaking into a new sentence, Aram added: "but at all events he will
frighten your nieces no more--he has proceeded on his journey northward.
And now, yonder lies my way home. Good evening." The abruptness of this
farewell did indeed take Lester by surprise.

"Why, you will not leave me yet? The young ladies expect your return to
them for an hour or so! What will they think of such desertion? No, no,
come back, my good friend, and suffer me by and by to walk some part of
the way home with you."

"Pardon me," said Aram, "I must leave you now. As to the ladies," he
added, with a faint smile, half in melancholy, half in scorn, "I am not
one whom they could miss;--forgive me if I seem unceremonious. Adieu."

Lester at first felt a little offended, but when he recalled the peculiar
habits of the Scholar, he saw that the only way to hope for a continuance
of that society which had so pleased him, was to indulge Aram at first in
his unsocial inclinations, rather than annoy him by a troublesome
hospitality; he therefore, without further discourse, shook hands with
him, and they parted.

When Lester regained the little parlour, he found his nephew sitting,
silent and discontented, by the window. Madeline had taken up a book, and
Ellinor, in an opposite corner, was plying her needle with an air of
earnestness and quiet, very unlike her usual playful and cheerful
vivacity. There was evidently a cloud over the groupe; the good Lester
regarded them with a searching, yet kindly eye.

"And what has happened?" said he, "something of mighty import, I am sure,
or I should have heard my pretty Ellinor's merry laugh long before I
crossed the threshold."

Ellinor coloured and sighed, and worked faster than ever. Walter threw
open the window, and whistled a favourite air quite out of tune. Lester
smiled, and seated himself by his nephew.

"Well, Walter," said he, "I feel, for the first time in these ten years,
I have a right to scold you. What on earth could make you so inhospitable
to your uncle's guest? You eyed the poor student, as if you wished him
among the books of Alexandria!"

"I would he were burnt with them!" answered Walter, sharply. "He seems to
have added the black art to his other accomplishments, and bewitched my
fair cousins here into a forgetfulness of all but himself."

"Not me!" said Ellinor eagerly, and looking up.

"No, not you, that's true enough; you are too just, too kind;--it is a
pity that Madeline is not more like you."

"My dear Walter," said Madeline, "what is the matter? You accuse me of
what? being attentive to a man whom it is impossible to hear without

"There!" cried Walter passionately; "you confess it; and so for a
stranger,--a cold, vain, pedantic egotist, you can shut your ears and
heart to those who have known and loved you all your life; and--and--"

"Vain!" interrupted Madeline, unheeding the latter part of Walter's

"Pedantic!" repeated her father.

"Yes! I say vain, pedantic!" cried Walter, working himself into a
passion. What on earth but the love of display could make him monopolize
the whole conversation?--What but pedantry could make him bring out those
anecdotes and allusions, and descriptions, or whatever you call them,
respecting every old wall or stupid plant in the country?

"I never thought you guilty of meanness before," said Lester gravely.


"Yes! for is it not mean to be jealous of superior acquirements, instead
of admiring them?"

"What has been the use of those acquirements? Has he benefited mankind by
them? Shew me the poet--the historian--the orator, and I will yield to
none of you; no, not to Madeline herself in homage of their genius: but
the mere creature of books--the dry and sterile collector of other men's
learning--no--no. What should I admire in such a machine of literature,
except a waste of perseverance?--And Madeline calls him handsome too!"

At this sudden turn from declamation to reproach, Lester laughed
outright; and his nephew, in high anger, rose and left the room.

"Who could have thought Walter so foolish?" said Madeline.

"Nay," observed Ellinor gently, "it is the folly of a kind heart, after
all. He feels sore at our seeming to prefer another--I mean another's
conversation--to his!"

Lester turned round in his chair, and regarded with a serious look, the
faces of both sisters.

"My dear Ellinor," said he, when he had finished his survey, "you are a
kind girl--come and kiss me!"



          "The soft season, the firmament serene,
          The loun illuminate air, and firth amene
          The silver-scalit fishes on the grete
          O'er-thwart clear streams sprinkillond for the heat,"
                 --Gawin Douglas.

                    "Ilia subter
          Caecum vulnus habes; sed lato balteus auro

Several days elapsed before the family of the manor-house encountered
Aram again. The old woman came once or twice to present the inquiries of
her master as to Miss Lester's accident; but Aram himself did not appear.
This want to interest certainly offended Madeline, although she still
drew upon herself Walter's displeasure, by disputing and resenting the
unfavourable strictures on the scholar, in which that young gentleman
delighted to indulge. By degrees, however, as the days passed without
maturing the acquaintance which Walter had disapproved, the youth relaxed
in his attacks, and seemed to yield to the remonstrances of his uncle.
Lester had, indeed, conceived an especial inclination towards the
recluse. Any man of reflection, who has lived for some time alone, and
who suddenly meets with one who calls forth in him, and without labour or
contradiction, the thoughts which have sprung up in his solitude,
scarcely felt in their growth, will comprehend the new zest, the
awakening, as it were, of the mind, which Lester found in the
conversation of Eugene Aram. His solitary walk (for his nephew had the
separate pursuits of youth) appeared to him more dull than before; and he
longed to renew an intercourse which had given to the monotony of his
life both variety and relief. He called twice upon Aram, but the student
was, or affected to be, from home; and an invitation he sent him, though
couched in friendly terms, was, but with great semblance of kindness,

"See, Walter," said Lester, disconcerted, as he finished reading the
refusal--"see what your rudeness has effected. I am quite convinced that
Aram (evidently a man of susceptible as well as retired mind) observed
the coldness of your manner towards him, and that thus you have deprived
me of the only society which, in this country of boors and savages, gave
me any gratification."

Walter replied apologetically, but his uncle turned away with a greater
appearance of anger than his placid features were wont to exhibit; and
Walter, cursing the innocent cause of his uncle's displeasure towards
him, took up his fishing-rod and went out alone, in no happy or
exhilarated mood.

It was waxing towards eve--an hour especially lovely in the month of
June, and not without reason favoured by the angler. Walter sauntered
across the rich and fragrant fields, and came soon into a sheltered
valley, through which the brooklet wound its shadowy way. Along the
margin the grass sprung up long and matted, and profuse with a thousand
weeds and flowers--the children of the teeming June. Here the ivy-leaved
bell-flower, and not far from it the common enchanter's night-shade, the
silver weed, and the water-aven; and by the hedges that now and then
neared the water, the guelder-rose, and the white briony, overrunning the
thicket with its emerald leaves and luxuriant flowers. And here and
there, silvering the bushes, the elder offered its snowy tribute to the
summer. All the insect youth were abroad, with their bright wings and
glancing motion; and from the lower depths of the bushes the blackbird
darted across, or higher and unseen the first cuckoo of the eve began its
continuous and mellow note. All this cheeriness and gloss of life, which
enamour us with the few bright days of the English summer, make the
poetry in an angler's life, and convert every idler at heart into a
moralist, and not a gloomy one, for the time.

Softened by the quiet beauty and voluptuousness around him, Walter's
thoughts assumed a more gentle dye, and he broke out into the old lines:

"Sweet day, so soft, so calm, so bright; The bridal of the earth and
sky," as he dipped his line into the current, and drew it across the
shadowy hollows beneath the bank. The river-gods were not, however, in a
favourable mood, and after waiting in vain for some time, in a spot in
which he was usually successful, he proceeded slowly along the margin of
the brooklet, crushing the reeds at every step, into that fresh and
delicious odour, which furnished Bacon with one of his most beautiful

He thought, as he proceeded, that beneath a tree that overhung the waters
in the narrowest part of their channel, he heard a voice, and as he
approached he recognised it as Aram's; a curve in the stream brought him
close by the spot, and he saw the student half reclined beneath the tree,
and muttering, but at broken intervals, to himself.

The words were so scattered, that Walter did not trace their clue; but
involuntarily he stopped short, within a few feet of the soliloquist: and
Aram, suddenly turning round, beheld him. A fierce and abrupt change
broke over the scholar's countenance; his cheek grew now pale, now
flushed; and his brows knit over his flashing and dark eyes with an
intent anger, that was the more withering, from its contrast to the usual
calmness of his features. Walter drew back, but Aram stalking directly up
to him, gazed into his face, as if he would read his very soul.

"What! eaves-dropping?" said he, with a ghastly smile. "You overheard me,
did you? Well, well, what said I?--what said I?" Then pausing, and noting
that Walter did not reply, he stamped his foot violently, and grinding
his teeth, repeated in a smothered tone "Boy! what said I?"

"Mr. Aram," said Walter, "you forget yourself; I am not one to play the
listener, more especially to the learned ravings of a man who can conceal
nothing I care to know. Accident brought me hither."

"What! surely--surely I spoke aloud, did I not?--did I not?"

"You did, but so incoherently and indistinctly, that I did not profit by
your indiscretion. I cannot plagiarise, I assure you, from any scholastic
designs you might have been giving vent to."

Aram looked on him for a moment, and then breathing heavily, turned away.

"Pardon me," he said; "I am a poor half-crazed man; much study has
unnerved me; I should never live but with my own thoughts; forgive me,
Sir, I pray you."

Touched by the sudden contrition of Aram's manner, Walter forgot, not
only his present displeasure, but his general dislike; he stretched forth
his hand to the Student, and hastened to assure him of his ready
forgiveness. Aram sighed deeply as he pressed the young man's hand, and
Walter saw, with surprise and emotion, that his eyes were filled with

"Ah!" said Aram, gently shaking his head, "it is a hard life we bookmen
lead. Not for us is the bright face of noon-day or the smile of woman,
the gay unbending of the heart, the neighing steed, and the shrill trump;
the pride, pomp, and circumstance of life. Our enjoyments are few and
calm; our labour constant; but that is it not, Sir?--that is it not? the
body avenges its own neglect. We grow old before our time; we wither up;
the sap of youth shrinks from our veins; there is no bound in our step.
We look about us with dimmed eyes, and our breath grows short and thick,
and pains and coughs, and shooting aches come upon us at night; it is a
bitter life--a bitter life--a joyless life. I would I had never commenced
it. And yet the harsh world scowls upon us: our nerves are broken, and
they wonder we are querulous; our blood curdles, and they ask why we are
not gay; our brain grows dizzy and indistinct, (as with me just now,)
and, shrugging their shoulders, they whisper their neighbours that we are
mad. I wish I had worked at the plough, and known sleep, and loved
mirth--and--and not been what I am."

As the Student uttered the last sentence, he bowed down his head, and a
few tears stole silently down his cheek. Walter was greatly affected--it
took him by surprise; nothing in Aram's ordinary demeanour betrayed any
facility to emotion; and he conveyed to all the idea of a man, if not
proud, at least cold.

"You do not suffer bodily pain, I trust?" asked Walter, soothingly.

"Pain does not conquer me," said Aram, slowly recovering himself. "I am
not melted by that which I would fain despise. Young man, I wronged
you--you have forgiven me. Well, well, we will say no more on that head;
it is past and pardoned. Your father has been kind to me, and I have not
returned his advances; you shall tell him why. I have lived thirteen
years by myself, and I have contracted strange ways and many humours not
common to the world--you have seen an example of this. Judge for yourself
if I be fit for the smoothness, and confidence, and ease of social
intercourse; I am not fit, I feel it! I am doomed to be alone--tell your
father this--tell him to suffer me to live so! I am grateful for his
goodness--I know his motives--but have a certain pride of mind; I cannot
bear sufferance--I loath indulgence. Nay, interrupt me not, I beseech
you. Look round on Nature--behold the only company that humbles me
not--except the dead whose souls speak to us from the immortality of
books. These herbs at your feet, I know their secrets--I watch the
mechanism of their life; the winds--they have taught me their language;
the stars--I have unravelled their mysteries; and these, the creatures
and ministers of God--these I offend not by my mood--to them I utter my
thoughts, and break forth into my dreams, without reserve and without
fear. But men disturb me--I have nothing to learn from them--I have no
wish to confide in them; they cripple the wild liberty which has become
to me a second nature. What its shell is to the tortoise, solitude has
become to me--my protection; nay, my life!"

"But," said Walter, "with us, at least, you would not have to dread
restraint; you might come when you would; be silent or converse,
according to your will."

Aram smiled faintly, but made no immediate reply.

"So, you have been angling!" he said, after a short pause, and as if
willing to change the thread of conversation. "Fie! It is a treacherous
pursuit; it encourages man's worst propensities--cruelty and deceit."

"I should have thought a lover of Nature would have been more indulgent
to a pastime which introduces us to her most quiet retreats."

"And cannot Nature alone tempt you without need of such allurements?
What! that crisped and winding stream, with flowers on its very tide--the
water-violet and the water-lily--these silent brakes--the cool of the
gathering evening--the still and luxuriance of the universal life around
you; are not these enough of themselves to tempt you forth? if not, go
to--your excuse is hypocrisy."

"I am used to these scenes," replied Walter; "I am weary of the thoughts
they produce in me, and long for any diversion or excitement."

"Ay, ay, young man! The mind is restless at your age--have a care.
Perhaps you long to visit the world--to quit these obscure haunts which
you are fatigued in admiring?"

"It may be so," said Walter, with a slight sigh. "I should at least like
to visit our great capital, and note the contrast; I should come back, I
imagine, with a greater zest to these scenes."

Aram laughed. "My friend," said he, "when men have once plunged into the
great sea of human toil and passion, they soon wash away all love and
zest for innocent enjoyments. What once was a soft retirement, will
become the most intolerable monotony; the gaming of social existence--the
feverish and desperate chances of honour and wealth, upon which the men
of cities set their hearts, render all pursuits less exciting, utterly
insipid and dull. The brook and the angle--ha!--ha!--these are not
occupations for men who have once battled with the world."

"I can forego them, then, without regret;" said Walter, with the
sanguineness of his years. Aram looked upon him wistfully; the bright
eye, the healthy cheek, and vigorous frame of the youth, suited with his
desire to seek the conflict of his kind, and gave a naturalness to his
ambition, which was not without interest, even to the recluse.

"Poor boy!" said he, mournfully, "how gallantly the ship leaves the port;
how worn and battered it will return!"

When they parted, Walter returned slowly homewards, filled with pity
towards the singular man whom he had seen so strangely overpowered; and
wondering how suddenly his mind had lost its former rancour to the
Student. Yet there mingled even with these kindly feelings, a little
displeasure at the superior tone which Aram had unconsciously adopted
towards him; and to which, from any one, the high spirit of the young man
was not readily willing to submit.

Meanwhile, the Student continued his path along the water side, and as,
with his gliding step and musing air, he roamed onward, it was impossible
to imagine a form more suited to the deep tranquillity of the scene. Even
the wild birds seemed to feel, by a sort of instinct, that in him there
was no cause for fear; and did not stir from the turf that neighboured,
or the spray that overhung, his path.

"So," said he, soliloquizing, but not without casting frequent and
jealous glances round him, and in a murmur so indistinct as would have
been inaudible even to a listener--"so, I was not overheard,--well, I
must cure myself of this habit; our thoughts, like nuns, ought not to go
abroad without a veil. Ay, this tone will not betray me, I will preserve
its tenor, for I can scarcely altogether renounce my sole
confidant--SELF; and thought seems more clear when uttered even thus.
'Tis a fine youth! full of the impulse and daring of his years; I was
never so young at heart. I was--nay, what matters it? Who is answerable
for his nature? Who can say, 'I controlled all the circumstances which
made me what I am?' Madeline,--Heavens! did I bring on myself this
temptation? Have I not fenced it from me throughout all my youth, when my
brain did at moments forsake me, and the veins did bound? And now, when
the yellow hastens on the green of life; now, for the first time, this
emotion--this weakness--and for whom? One I have lived
with--known--beneath whose eyes I have passed through all the fine
gradations, from liking to love, from love to passion? No;--one, whom I
have seen but little; who, it is true, arrested my eye at the first
glance it caught of her two years since, but with whom till within the
last few weeks I have scarcely spoken! Her voice rings on my ear, her
look dwells on my heart; when I sleep, she is with me; when I wake, I am
haunted by her image. Strange, strange! Is love then, after all, the
sudden passion which in every age poetry has termed it, though till now
my reason has disbelieved the notion? ... And now, what is the question?
To resist, or to yield. Her father invites me, courts me; and I stand
aloof! Will this strength, this forbearance, last?--Shall I encourage my
mind to this decision?" Here Aram paused abruptly, and then renewed: "It
is true! I ought to weave my lot with none. Memory sets me apart and
alone in the world; it seems unnatural to me, a thought of dread--to
bring another being to my solitude, to set an everlasting watch on my
uprisings and my downsittings; to invite eyes to my face when I sleep at
nights, and ears to every word that may start unbidden from my lips. But
if the watch be the watch of love--away! does love endure for ever? He
who trusts to woman, trusts to the type of change. Affection may turn to
hatred, fondness to loathing, anxiety to dread; and, at the best, woman
is weak, she is the minion to her impulses. Enough, I will steel my
soul,--shut up the avenues of sense,--brand with the scathing-iron these
yet green and soft emotions of lingering youth,--and freeze and chain and
curdle up feeling, and heart, and manhood, into ice and age!"


               ITS EFFECTS.

       MAD. "Then, as Time won thee frequent to our hearth,

       Didst thou not breathe, like dreams, into my soul

       Nature's more gentle secrets, the sweet lore

       Of the green herb and the bee-worshipp'd flower?

       And when deep Night did o'er the nether Earth

       Diffuse meek quiet, and the Heart of Heaven

       With love grew breathless--didst thou not unrol

       The volume of the weird chaldean stars,

       And of the winds, the clouds, the invisible air,

       Make eloquent discourse, until, methought,

       No human lip, but some diviner spirit

       Alone, could preach such truths of things divine?

       And so--and so--"

       ARAM. "From Heaven we turned to Earth,

       And Wisdom fathered Passion."

         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

       ARAM. "Wise men have praised the Peasant's thoughtless lot,

       And learned Pride hath envied humble Toil;

       If they were right, why let us burn our books,

       And sit us down, and play the fool with Time,

       Mocking the prophet Wisdom's high decrees,

       And walling this trite Present with dark clouds,

       'Till Night becomes our Nature; and the ray

       Ev'n of the stars, but meteors that withdraw

       The wandering spirit from the sluggish rest

       Which makes its proper bliss. I will accost

       This denizen of toil."

    --From Eugene Aram, a MS. Tragedy.

       "A wicked hag, and envy's self excelling

       In mischiefe, for herself she only vext,

       But this same, both herself and others eke perplext."

       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

       "Who then can strive with strong necessity,

       That holds the world in his still changing state,

       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

       Then do no further go, no further stray,

       But here lie down, and to thy rest betake."


Few men perhaps could boast of so masculine and firm a mind, as, despite
his eccentricities, Aram assuredly possessed. His habits of solitude had
strengthened its natural hardihood; for, accustomed to make all the
sources of happiness flow solely from himself, his thoughts the only
companion--his genius the only vivifier--of his retreat; the tone and
faculty of his spirit could not but assume that austere and vigorous
energy which the habit of self-dependence almost invariably produces; and
yet, the reader, if he be young, will scarcely feel surprise that the
resolution of the Student, to battle against incipient love, from
whatever reasons it might be formed, gradually and reluctantly melted
away. It may be noted, that the enthusiasts of learning and reverie have,
at one time or another in their lives, been, of all the tribes of men,
the most keenly susceptible to love; their solitude feeds their passion;
and deprived, as they usually are, of the more hurried and vehement
occupations of life, when love is once admitted to their hearts, there is
no counter-check to its emotions, and no escape from its excitation.
Aram, too, had just arrived at that age when a man usually feels a sort
of revulsion in the current of his desires. At that age, those who have
hitherto pursued love, begin to grow alive to ambition; those who have
been slaves to the pleasures of life, awaken from the dream, and direct
their desire to its interests. And in the same proportion, they who till
then have wasted the prodigal fervours of youth upon a sterile soil; who
have served Ambition, or, like Aram, devoted their hearts to Wisdom;
relax from their ardour, look back on the departed years with regret, and
commence, in their manhood, the fiery pleasures and delirious follies
which are only pardonable in youth. In short, as in every human pursuit
there is a certain vanity, and as every acquisition contains within
itself the seed of disappointment, so there is a period of life when we
pause from the pursuit, and are discontented with the acquisition. We
then look around us for something new--again follow--and are again
deceived. Few men throughout life are the servants to one desire. When we
gain the middle of the bridge of our mortality, different objects from
those which attracted us upward almost invariably lure us to the descent.
Happy they who exhaust in the former part of the journey all the foibles
of existence! But how different is the crude and evanescent love of that
age when thought has not given intensity and power to the passions, from
the love which is felt, for the first time, in maturer but still youthful
years! As the flame burns the brighter in proportion to the resistance
which it conquers, this later love is the more glowing in proportion to
the length of time in which it has overcome temptation: all the solid
and, concentred faculties ripened to their full height, are no longer
capable of the infinite distractions, the numberless caprices of youth;
the rays of the heart, not rendered weak by diversion, collect into one
burning focus;

   [Love is of the nature of a burning glass, which kept
    still in one place, fireth; changed often it doth nothing!"
  --Letters by Sir John Suckling.]

the same earnestness and unity of purpose which render what we undertake
in manhood so far more successful than what we would effect in youth, are
equally visible and equally triumphant, whether directed to interest or
to love. But then, as in Aram, the feelings must be fresh as well as
matured; they must not have been frittered away by previous indulgence;
the love must be the first produce of the soil, not the languid

The reader will remark, that the first time in which our narrative has
brought Madeline and Aram together, was not the first time they had met;
Aram had long noted with admiration a beauty which he had never seen
paralleled, and certain vague and unsettled feelings had preluded the
deeper emotion that her image now excited within him. But the main cause
of his present and growing attachment, had been in the evident sentiment
of kindness which he could not but feel Madeline bore towards him. So
retiring a nature as his, might never have harboured love, if the love
bore the character of presumption; but that one so beautiful beyond his
dreams as Madeline Lester, should deign to exercise towards him a
tenderness, that might suffer him to hope, was a thought, that when he
caught her eye unconsciously fixed upon him, and noted that her voice
grew softer and more tremulous when she addressed him, forced itself upon
his heart, and woke there a strange and irresistible emotion, which
solitude and the brooding reflection that solitude produces--a reflection
so much more intense in proportion to the paucity of living images it
dwells upon--soon ripened into love. Perhaps even, he would not have
resisted the impulse as he now did, had not at this time certain thoughts
connected with past events, been more forcibly than of late years
obtruded upon him, and thus in some measure divided his heart. By
degrees, however, those thoughts receded from their vividness, into the
habitual deep, but not oblivious, shade beneath which his commanding mind
had formerly driven them to repose; and as they thus receded, Madeline's
image grew more undisturbedly present, and his resolution to avoid its
power more fluctuating and feeble. Fate seemed bent upon bringing
together these two persons, already so attracted towards each other.
After the conversation recorded in our last chapter, between Walter and
the Student, the former, touched and softened as we have seen, in spite
of himself, had cheerfully forborne (what before he had done reluctantly)
the expressions of dislike which he had once lavished so profusely upon
Aram; and Lester, who, forward as he had seemed, had nevertheless been
hitherto a little checked in his advances to his neighbour by the
hostility of his son, now felt no scruple to deter him from urging them
with a pertinacity that almost forbade refusal. It was Aram's constant
habit, in all seasons, to wander abroad at certain times of the day,
especially towards the evening; and if Lester failed to win entrance to
his house, he was thus enabled to meet the Student in his frequent
rambles, and with a seeming freedom from design. Actuated by his great
benevolence of character, Lester earnestly desired to win his solitary
and unfriended neighbour from a mood and habit which he naturally
imagined must engender a growing melancholy of mind; and since Walter had
detailed to him the particulars of his meeting with Aram, this desire had
been considerably increased. There is not perhaps a stronger feeling in
the world than pity, when united with admiration. When one man is
resolved to know another, it is almost impossible to prevent him: we see
daily the most remarkable instances of perseverance on one side
conquering distaste on the other. By degrees, then, Aram relaxed from his
insociability; he seemed to surrender himself to a kindness, the
sincerity of which he was compelled to acknowledge; if he for a long time
refused to accept the hospitality of his neighbour, he did not reject his
society when they met, and this intercourse by little and little
progressed, until ultimately the recluse yielded to solicitation, and
became the guest as well as companion. This, at first accident, grew,
though not without many interruptions, into habit; and at length few
evenings were passed by the inmates of the Manor-house without the
society of the Student. As his reserve wore off, his conversation mingled
with its attractions a tender and affectionate tone. He seemed grateful
for the pains which had been taken to allure him to a scene in which, at
last, he acknowledged he found a happiness that he never experienced
before: and those who had hitherto admired him for his genius, admired
him now yet more for his susceptibility to the affections.

There was not in Aram any thing that savoured of the harshness of
pedantry, or the petty vanities of dogmatism: his voice was soft and low,
and his manner always remarkable for its singular gentleness, and a
certain dignified humility. His language did indeed, at times, assume a
tone of calm and patriarchal command; but it was only the command arising
from an intimate persuasion of the truth of what he uttered. Moralizing
upon our nature, or mourning over the delusions of the world, a grave and
solemn strain breathed throughout his lofty words and the profound
melancholy of his wisdom; but it touched, not offended--elevated, not
humbled--the lesser intellect of his listeners; and even this air of
unconscious superiority vanished when he was invited to teach or explain.
That task which so few do gracefully, that an accurate and shrewd thinker
has said: "It is always safe to learn, even from our enemies; seldom safe
to instruct even our friends," [Note: Lacon.] Aram performed with a
meekness and simplicity that charmed the vanity, even while it corrected
the ignorance, of the applicant; and so various and minute was the
information of this accomplished man, that there scarcely existed any
branch even of that knowledge usually called practical, to which he could
not impart from his stores something valuable and new. The agriculturist
was astonished at the success of his suggestions; and the mechanic was
indebted to him for the device which abridged his labour in improving its

It happened that the study of botany was not, at that day, so favourite
and common a diversion with young ladies as it is now, and Ellinor,
captivated by the notion of a science that gave a life and a history to
the loveliest of earth's offspring, besought Aram to teach her its

As Madeline, though she did not second the request, could scarcely absent
herself from sharing the lesson, this pursuit brought the pair--already
lovers--closer and closer together. It associated them not only at home,
but in their rambles throughout that enchanting country; and there is a
mysterious influence in Nature, which renders us, in her loveliest
scenes, the most susceptible to love! Then, too, how often in their
occupation their hands and eyes met:--how often, by the shady wood or the
soft water-side, they found themselves alone. In all times, how dangerous
the connexion, when of different sexes, between the scholar and the
teacher! Under how many pretences, in that connexion, the heart finds the
opportunity to speak out.

Yet it was not with ease and complacency that Aram delivered himself to
the intoxication of his deepening attachment. Sometimes he was studiously
cold, or evidently wrestling with the powerful passion that mastered his
reason. It was not without many throes, and desperate resistance, that
love at length overwhelmed and subdued him; and these alternations of his
mood, if they sometimes offended Madeline and sometimes wounded, still
rather increased than lessened the spell which bound her to him. The
doubt and the fear--the caprice and the change, which agitate the
surface, swell also the tides, of passion. Woman, too, whose love is so
much the creature of her imagination, always asks something of mystery
and conjecture in the object of her affection. It is a luxury to her to
perplex herself with a thousand apprehensions; and the more restlessly
her lover occupies her mind, the more deeply he enthrals it.

Mingling with her pure and tender attachment to Aram, a high and
unswerving veneration, she saw in his fitfulness, and occasional
abstraction and contradiction of manner, a confirmation of the modest
sentiment that most weighed upon her fears; and imagined that at those
times he thought her, as she deemed herself, unworthy of his love. And
this was the only struggle which she conceived to pass between the
affection he evidently bore her, and the feelings which had as yet
restrained him from its open avowal.

One evening, Lester and the two sisters were walking with the Student
along the valley that led to the house of the latter, when they saw an
old woman engaged in collecting firewood among the bushes, and a little
girl holding out her apron to receive the sticks with which the crone's
skinny arms unsparingly filled it. The child trembled, and seemed
half-crying; while the old woman, in a harsh, grating croak, was
muttering forth mingled objurgation and complaint.

There was something in the appearance of the latter at once impressive
and displeasing; a dark, withered, furrowed skin was drawn like parchment
over harsh and aquiline features; the eyes, through the rheum of age,
glittered forth black and malignant; and even her stooping posture did
not conceal a height greatly above the common stature, though gaunt and
shrivelled with years and poverty. It was a form and face that might have
recalled at once the celebrated description of Otway, on a part of which
we have already unconsciously encroached, and the remaining part of which
we shall wholly borrow.

"--On her crooked shoulders had she wrapped The tattered remnants of an
old stript hanging, That served to keep her carcase from the cold, So
there was nothing of a piece about her. Her lower weeds were all o'er
coarsely patched With different coloured rags, black, red, white, yellow,
And seemed to speak variety of wretchedness."

"See," said Lester, "one of the eyesores of our village, (I might say)
the only discontented person."

"What! Dame Darkmans!" said Ellinor, quickly. "Ah! let us turn back. I
hate to encounter that old woman; there is something so evil and savage
in her manner of talk--and look, how she rates that poor girl, whom she
has dragged or decoyed to assist her!"

Aram looked curiously on the old hag. "Poverty," said he, "makes some
humble, but more malignant; is it not want that grafts the devil on this
poor woman's nature? Come, let us accost her--I like conferring with

"It is hard labour this?" said the Student gently.

The old woman looked up askant--the music of the voice that addressed her
sounded harsh on her ear.

"Ay, ay!" she answered. "You fine gentlefolks can know what the poor
suffer; ye talk and ye talk, but ye never assist."

"Say not so, Dame," said Lester; "did I not send you but yesterday bread
and money? and when do you ever look up at the Hall without obtaining

"But the bread was as dry as a stick," growled the hag: "and the money,
what was it? will it last a week? Oh, yes! Ye think as much of your doits
and mites, as if ye stripped yourselves of a comfort to give it to us.
Did ye have a dish less--a 'tato less, the day ye sent me--your charity I
'spose ye calls it? Och! fie! But the Bible's the poor cretur's comfort."

"I am glad to hear you say that, Dame," said the good-natured Lester;
"and I forgive every thing else you have said, on account of that one

The old woman dropped the sticks she had just gathered, and glowered at
the speaker's benevolent countenance with a malicious meaning in her dark

"An' ye do? Well, I'm glad I please ye there. Och! yes! the Bible's a
mighty comfort; for it says as much that the rich man shall not inter the
kingdom of Heaven! There's a truth for you, that makes the poor folk's
heart chirp like a cricket--ho! ho! I sits by the imbers of a night, and
I thinks and thinks as how I shall see you all burning; and ye'll ask me
for a drop o' water, and I shall laugh thin from my pleasant seat with
the angels. Och--it's a book for the poor that!"

The sisters shuddered. "And you think then that with envy, malice, and
all uncharitableness at your heart, you are certain of Heaven? For shame!
Pluck the mote from your own eye!"

"What sinnifies praching? Did not the Blessed Saviour come for the poor?
Them as has rags and dry bread here will be ixalted in the nixt world;
an' if we poor folk have malice as ye calls it, whose fault's that? What
do ye tache us? Eh?--answer me that. Ye keeps all the larning an' all the
other fine things to yoursel', and then ye scould, and thritten, and hang
us, 'cause we are not as wise as you. Och! there is no jistice in the
Lamb, if Heaven is not made for us; and the iverlasting Hell, with its
brimstone and fire, and its gnawing an' gnashing of teeth, an' its
theirst, an' its torture, and its worm that niver dies, for the like o'

"Come! come away," said Ellinor, pulling her father's arm.

"And if," said Aram, pausing, "if I were to say to you,--name your want
and it shall be fulfilled, would you have no charity for me also?"

"Umph," returned the hag, "ye are the great scolard; and they say ye
knows what no one else do. Till me now," and she approached, and
familiarly, laid her bony finger on the student's arm; "till me,--have ye
iver, among other fine things, known poverty?"

"I have, woman!" said Aram, sternly.

"Och ye have thin! And did ye not sit and gloat, and eat up your oun
heart, an' curse the sun that looked so gay, an' the winged things that
played so blithe-like, an' scowl at the rich folk that niver wasted a
thought on ye? till me now, your honour, till me!"

And the crone curtesied with a mock air of beseeching humility.

"I never forgot, even in want, the love due to my fellow-sufferers; for,
woman, we all suffer,--the rich and the poor: there are worse pangs than
those of want!"

"Ye think there be, do ye? that's a comfort, umph! Well, I'll till ye
now, I feel a rispict for you, that I don't for the rest on 'em; for your
face does not insult me with being cheary like their's yonder; an' I have
noted ye walk in the dusk with your eyes down and your arms crossed; an'
I have said,--that man I do not hate, somehow, for he has something dark
at his heart like me!"

"The lot of earth is woe," answered Aram calmly, yet shrinking back from
the crone's touch; "judge we charitably, and act we kindly to each other.
There--this money is not much, but it will light your hearth and heap
your table without toil, for some days at least!"

"Thank your honour: an' what think you I'll do with the money?"


"Drink, drink, drink!" cried the hag fiercely; "there's nothing like
drink for the poor, for thin we fancy oursels what we wish, and," sinking
her voice into a whisper, "I thinks thin that I have my foot on the
billies of the rich folks, and my hands twisted about their intrails, and
I hear them shriek, and--thin I'm happy!"

"Go home!" said Aram, turning away, "and open the Book of life with other

The little party proceeded, and, looking back, Lester saw the old woman
gaze after them, till a turn in the winding valley hid her from his

"That is a strange person, Aram; scarcely a favourable specimen of the
happy English peasant;" said Lester, smiling.

"Yet they say," added Madeline, "that she was not always the same
perverse and hateful creature she is now."

"Ay," said Aram, "and what then is her history?"

"Why," replied Madeline, slightly blushing to find herself made the
narrator of a story, "some forty years ago this woman, so gaunt and
hideous now, was the beauty of the village. She married an Irish soldier
whose regiment passed through Grassdale, and was heard of no more till
about ten years back, when she returned to her native place, the
discontented, envious, altered being you now see her."

"She is not reserved in regard to her past life," said Lester. "She is too
happy to seize the attention of any one to whom she can pour forth her
dark and angry confidence. She saw her husband, who was afterwards
dismissed the service, a strong, powerful man, a giant of his tribe, pine
and waste, inch by inch, from mere physical want, and at last literally
die from hunger. It happened that they had settled in the country in
which her husband was born, and in that county, those frequent famines
which are the scourge of Ireland were for two years especially severe.
You may note, that the old woman has a strong vein of coarse eloquence at
her command, perhaps acquired in (for it partakes of the natural
character of) the country in which she lived so long; and it would
literally thrill you with horror to hear her descriptions of the misery
and destitution that she witnessed, and amidst which her husband breathed
his last. Out of four children, not one survives. One, an infant, died
within a week of the father; two sons were executed, one at the age of
sixteen, one a year older, for robbery committed under aggravated
circumstances; and the fourth, a daughter, died in the hospitals of
London. The old woman became a wanderer and a vagrant, and was at length
passed to her native parish, where she has since dwelt. These are the
misfortunes which have turned her blood to gall; and these are the causes
which fill her with so bitter a hatred against those whom wealth has
preserved from sharing or witnessing a fate similar to hers."

"Oh!" said Aram, in a low, but deep tone, "when--when will these hideous
disparities be banished from the world? How many noble natures--how many
glorious hopes--how much of the seraph's intellect, have been crushed
into the mire, or blasted into guilt, by the mere force of physical want?
What are the temptations of the rich to those of the poor? Yet see how
lenient we are to the crimes of the one,--how relentless to those of the
other! It is a bad world; it makes a man's heart sick to look around him.
The consciousness of how little individual genius can do to relieve the
mass, grinds out, as with a stone, all that is generous in ambition; and
to aspire from the level of life is but to be more graspingly selfish."

"Can legislators, or the moralists that instruct legislators, do so
little, then, towards universal good?" said Lester, doubtingly.

"Why? what can they do but forward civilization? And what is
civilization, but an increase of human disparities? The more the luxury
of the few, the more startling the wants, and the more galling the sense,
of poverty. Even the dreams of the philanthropist only tend towards
equality; and where is equality to be found, but in the state of the
savage? No; I thought otherwise once; but I now regard the vast
lazar-house around us without hope of relief:--Death is the sole

"Ah, no!" said the high-souled Madeline, eagerly; "do not take away from
us the best feeling and the highest desire we can cherish. How poor, even
in this beautiful world, with the warm sun and fresh air about us, that
alone are sufficient to make us glad, would be life, if we could not make
the happiness of others!"

Aram looked at the beautiful speaker with a soft and half-mournful smile.
There is one very peculiar pleasure that we feel as we grow older,--it is
to see embodied in another and a more lovely shape the thoughts and
sentiments we once nursed ourselves; it is as if we viewed before us the
incarnation of our own youth; and it is no wonder that we are warmed
towards the object, that thus seems the living apparition of all that was
brightest in ourselves! It was with this sentiment that Aram now gazed on
Madeline. She felt the gaze, and her heart beat delightedly, but she sunk
at once into a silence, which she did not break during the rest of their

"I do not say," said Aram, after a pause, "that we are not able to make
the happiness of those immediately around us. I speak only of what we can
effect for the mass. And it is a deadening thought to mental ambition,
that the circle of happiness we can create is formed more by our moral
than our mental qualities. A warm heart, though accompanied but by a
mediocre understanding, is even more likely to promote the happiness of
those around, than are the absorbed and abstract, though kindly powers of
a more elevated genius; but (observing Lester about to interrupt him),
let us turn from this topic,--let us turn from man's weakness to the
glories of the mother-nature, from which he sprung."

And kindling, as he ever did, the moment he approached a subject so dear
to his studies, Aram now spoke of the stars, which began to sparkle
forth,--of the vast, illimitable career which recent science had opened
to the imagination,--and of the old, bewildering, yet eloquent theories,
which from age to age had at once misled and elevated the conjecture of
past sages. All this was a theme which his listeners loved to listen to,
and Madeline not the least. Youth, beauty, pomp, what are these, in point
of attraction, to a woman's heart, when compared to eloquence?--the magic
of the tongue is the most dangerous of all spells!



       "Alc.--I am for Lidian:
       This accident no doubt will draw him from his hermit's life!

       "Lis.--Spare my grief, and apprehend
       What I should speak."
         --Beaumont and Fletcher.--The Lovers' Progress.

In the course of the various conversations our family of Grassdale
enjoyed with their singular neighbour, it appeared that his knowledge had
not been confined to the closet; at times, he dropped remarks which
shewed that he had been much among cities, and travelled with the design,
or at least with the vigilance, of the observer; but he did not love to
be drawn into any detailed accounts of what he had seen, or whither he
had been; an habitual though a gentle reserve, kept watch over the
past--not indeed that character of reserve which excites the doubt, but
which inspires the interest. His most gloomy moods were rather abrupt and
fitful than morose, and his usual bearing was calm, soft, and even

There is a certain charm about great superiority of intellect, that winds
into deep affections which a much more constant and even amiability of
manners in lesser men, often fails to reach. Genius makes many enemies,
but it makes sure friends--friends who forgive much, who endure long, who
exact little; they partake of the character of disciples as well as
friends. There lingers about the human heart a strong inclination to look
upward--to revere: in this inclination lies the source of religion, of
loyalty, and also of the worship and immortality which are rendered so
cheerfully to the great of old. And in truth, it is a divine pleasure to
admire! admiration seems in some measure to appropriate to ourselves the
qualities it honours in others. We wed,--we root ourselves to the natures
we so love to contemplate, and their life grows a part of our own. Thus,
when a great man, who has engrossed our thoughts, our conjectures, our
homage, dies, a gap seems suddenly left in the world; a wheel in the
mechanism of our own being appears abruptly stilled; a portion of
ourselves, and not our worst portion, for how many pure, high, generous
sentiments it contains, dies with him! Yes! it is this love, so rare, so
exalted, and so denied to all ordinary men, which is the especial
privilege of greatness, whether that greatness be shewn in wisdom, in
enterprise, in virtue, or even, till the world learns better, in the more
daring and lofty order of crime. A Socrates may claim it to-day--a
Napoleon to-morrow; nay, a brigand chief, illustrious in the circle in
which he lives, may call it forth no less powerfully than the generous
failings of a Byron, or the sublime excellence of the greater Milton.

Lester saw with evident complacency the passion growing up between his
friend and his daughter; he looked upon it as a tie that would
permanently reconcile Aram to the hearth of social and domestic life; a
tie that would constitute the happiness of his daughter, and secure to
himself a relation in the man he felt most inclined, of all he knew, to
honour and esteem. He remarked in the gentleness and calm temper of Aram
much that was calculated to ensure domestic peace, and knowing the
peculiar disposition of Madeline, he felt that she was exactly the
person, not only to bear with the peculiarities of the Student, but to
venerate their source. In short, the more he contemplated the idea of
this alliance, the more he was charmed with its probability.

Musing on this subject, the good Squire was one day walking in his
garden, when he perceived his nephew at some distance, and remarked that
Walter, on seeing him, was about, instead of coming forward to meet him,
to turn down an alley in an opposite direction.

A little pained at this, and remembering that Walter had of late seemed
estranged from himself, and greatly altered from the high and cheerful
spirits natural to his temper, Lester called to his nephew; and Walter,
reluctantly and slowly changing his purpose of avoidance, advanced and
met him.

"Why, Walter!" said the uncle, taking his arm; "this is somewhat unkind,
to shun me; are you engaged in any pursuit that requires secrecy or

"No, indeed, Sir!" said Walter, with some embarrassment; "but I thought
you seemed wrapped in reflection, and would naturally dislike being

"Hem! as to that, I have no reflections I wish concealed from you,
Walter, or which might not be benefited by your advice." The youth
pressed his uncle's hand, but made no reply; and Lester, after a pause,

"You seem, Walter, I am most delighted to think, entirely to have
overcome the little unfavourable prepossession which at first you
testified towards our excellent neighbour. And for my part, I think he
appears to be especially attracted towards yourself, he seeks your
company; and to me he always speaks of you in terms, which, coming from
such a quarter, give me the most lively gratification."

Walter bowed his head, but not in the delighted vanity with which a young
man generally receives the assurance of another's praise.

"I own," renewed Lester, "that I consider our friendship with Aram one of
the most fortunate occurrences in my life; at least," added he with a
sigh, "of late years. I doubt not but you must have observed the
partiality with which our dear Madeline evidently regards him; and yet
more, the attachment to her, which breaks forth from Aram, in spite of
his habitual reserve and self-control. You have surely noted this,

"I have," said Walter, in a low tone, and turning away his head.

"And doubtless you share my satisfaction. It happens fortunately now,
that Madeline early contracted that studious and thoughtful turn, which I
must own at one time gave me some uneasiness and vexation. It has taught
her to appreciate the value of a mind like Aram's. Formerly, my dear boy,
I hoped that at one time or another, she and yourself might form a dearer
connection than that of cousins. But I was disappointed, and I am now
consoled. And indeed I think there is that in Ellinor which might be yet
more calculated to render you happy; that is, if the bias of your mind
should ever lean that way."

"You are very good," said Walter, bitterly. "I own I am not flattered by
your selection; nor do I see why the plainest and least brilliant of the
two sisters must necessarily be the fittest for me."

"Nay," replied Lester, piqued, and justly angry, "I do not think, even if
Madeline have the advantage of her sister, that you can find any fault
with the personal or mental attractions of Ellinor. But indeed this is
not a matter in which relations should interfere. I am far from any wish
to prevent you from choosing throughout the world any one whom you may
prefer. All I hope is, that your future wife will be like Ellinor in
kindness of heart and sweetness of temper."

"From choosing throughout the world!" repeated Walter; "and how in this
nook am I to see the world?"

"Walter! your voice is reproachful!--do I deserve it?"

Walter was silent.

"I have of late observed," continued Lester, "and with wounded feelings,
that you do not give me the same confidence, or meet me with the same
affection, that you once delighted me by manifesting towards me. I know
of no cause for this change. Do not let us, my son, for I may so call
you--do not let us, as we grow older, grow also more apart. Time divides
with a sufficient demarcation the young from the old; why deepen the
necessary line? You know well, that I have never from your childhood
insisted heavily on a guardian's authority. I have always loved to
contribute to your enjoyments, and shewn you how devoted I am to your
interests, by the very frankness with which I have consulted you on my
own. If there be now on your mind any secret grievance, or any secret
wish, speak it, Walter:--you are alone with the friend on earth who loves
you best!"

Walter was wholly overcome by this address: he pressed his good uncle's
hand to his lips, and it was some moments before he mustered
self-composure sufficient to reply.

"You have ever, ever been to me all that the kindest parent, the
tenderest friend could have been:--believe me, I am not ungrateful. If of
late I have been altered, the cause is not in you. Let me speak freely:
you encourage me to do so. I am young, my temper is restless; I have a
love of enterprise and adventure: is it not natural that I should long to
see the world? This is the cause of my late abstraction of mind. I have
now told you all: it is for you to decide."

Lester looked wistfully on his nephew's countenance before he replied--

"It is as I gathered," said he, "from various remarks which you have
lately let fall. I cannot blame your wish to leave us; it is certainly
natural: nor can I oppose it. Go, Walter, when you will!"

The young man turned round with a lighted eye and flushed cheek.

"And why, Walter?" said Lester, interrupting his thanks, "why this
surprise? why this long doubt of my affection? Could you believe I should
refuse a wish that, at your age, I should have expressed myself? You have
wronged me; you might have saved a world of pain to us both by
acquainting me with your desire when it was first formed; but, enough. I
see Madeline and Aram approach,--let us join them now, and to-morrow we
will arrange the time and method of your departure.

"Forgive me, Sir," said Walter, stopping abruptly as the glow faded from
his cheek, "I have not yet recovered myself; I am not fit for other
society than yours. Excuse my joining my cousin, and--"

"Walter!" said Lester, also stopping short and looking full on his
nephew, "a painful thought flashes upon me! Would to heaven I may be
wrong!--Have you ever felt for Madeline more tenderly than for her

Walter literally trembled as he stood. The tears rushed into Lester's
eyes:--he grasped his nephew's hand warmly--

"God comfort thee, my poor boy!" said he, with great emotion; "I never
dreamt of this."

Walter felt now that he was understood. He gratefully returned the
pressure of his uncle's hand, and then, withdrawing his own, darted down
one of the intersecting walks, and was almost instantly out of sight.



          "This great disease for love I dre,
           There is no tongue can tell the wo;
          I love the love that loves not me,
           I may not mend, but mourning mo."
                --The Mourning Maiden.

          "I in these flowery meads would be,
          These crystal streams should solace me,
          To whose harmonious bubbling voice

          I with my angle would rejoice."
              --Izaac Walton.

When Walter left his uncle, he hurried, scarcely conscious of his steps,
towards his favourite haunt by the water-side. From a child, he had
singled out that scene as the witness of his early sorrows or boyish
schemes; and still, the solitude of the place cherished the habit of his

Long had he, unknown to himself, nourished an attachment to his beautiful
cousin; nor did he awaken to the secret of his heart, until, with an
agonizing jealousy, he penetrated the secret at her own. The reader has,
doubtless, already perceived that it was this jealousy which at the first
occasioned Walter's dislike to Aram: the consolation of that dislike was
forbid him now. The gentleness and forbearance of the Student's
deportment had taken away all ground of offence; and Walter had
sufficient generosity to acknowledge his merits, while tortured by their
effect. Silently, till this day, he had gnawed his heart, and found for
its despair no confidant and no comfort. The only wish that he cherished
was a feverish and gloomy desire to leave the scene which witnessed the
triumph of his rival. Every thing around had become hateful to his eyes,
and a curse had lighted upon the face of Home. He thought now, with a
bitter satisfaction, that his escape was at hand: in a few days he might
be rid of the gall and the pang, which every moment of his stay at
Grassdale inflicted upon him. The sweet voice of Madeline he should hear
no more, subduing its silver sound for his rival's ear:--no more he
should watch apart, and himself unheeded, how timidly her glance roved in
search of another, or how vividly her cheek flushed when the step of that
happier one approached. Many miles would at least shut out this picture
from his view; and in absence, was it not possible that he might teach
himself to forget? Thus meditating, he arrived at the banks of the little
brooklet, and was awakened from his reverie by the sound of his own name.
He started, and saw the old Corporal seated on the stump of a tree, and
busily employed in fixing to his line the mimic likeness of what anglers,
and, for aught we know, the rest of the world, call the "violet fly."

"Ha! master,--at my day's work, you see:--fit for nothing else now. When
a musquet's halfworn out, schoolboys buy it--pop it at sparrows. I be
like the musket: but never mind--have not seen the world for nothing. We
get reconciled to all things: that's my way--augh! Now, Sir, you shall
watch me catch the finest trout you have seen this summer: know where he
lies--under the bush yonder. Whi--sh! Sir, whi--sh!"

The Corporal now gave his warrior soul up to the due guidance of the
violet-fly: now he shipped it lightly on the wave; now he slid it
coquettishly along the surface; now it floated, like an unconscious
beauty, carelessly with the tide; and now, like an artful prude, it
affected to loiter by the way, or to steal into designing obscurity under
the shade of some overhanging bank. But none of these manoeuvres
captivated the wary old trout on whose acquisition the Corporal had set
his heart; and what was especially provoking, the angler could see
distinctly the dark outline of the intended victim, as it lay at the
bottom,--like some well-regulated bachelor who eyes from afar the charms
he has discreetly resolved to neglect.

The Corporal waited till he could no longer blind himself to the
displeasing fact, that the violet-fly was wholly inefficacious; he then
drew up his line, and replaced the contemned beauty of the violet-fly,
with the novel attractions of the yellow-dun.

"Now, Sir!" whispered he, lifting up his finger, and nodding sagaciously
to Walter. Softly dropped the yellow-dun upon the water, and swiftly did
it glide before the gaze of the latent trout; and now the trout seemed
aroused from his apathy, behold he moved forward, balancing himself on
his fins; now he slowly ascended towards the surface; you might see all
the speckles of his coat;--the Corporal's heart stood still--he is now at
a convenient distance from the yellow-dun; lo, he surveys it steadfastly;
he ponders, he see-saws himself to and fro. The yellow-dun sails away in
affected indifference, that indifference whets the appetite of the
hesitating gazer, he darts forward; he is opposite the yellow-dun,--he
pushes his nose against it with an eager rudeness,--he--no, he does not
bite, he recoils, he gazes again with surprise and suspicion on the
little charmer; he fades back slowly into the deeper water, and then
suddenly turning his tail towards the disappointed bait, he makes off as
fast as he can,--yonder,--yonder, and disappears! No, that's he leaping
yonder from the wave; Jupiter! what a noble fellow! What leaps he at?--a
real fly--"Damn his eyes!" growled the Corporal.

"You might have caught him with a minnow," said Walter, speaking for the
first time.

"Minnow!" repeated the Corporal gruffly, "ask your honour's pardon.
Minnow!--I have fished with the yellow-dun these twenty years, and never
knew it fail before. Minnow!--baugh! But ask pardon; your honour is very
welcome to fish with a minnow if you please it."

"Thank you, Bunting. And pray what sport have you had to-day?"

"Oh,--good, good," quoth the Corporal, snatching up his basket and
closing the cover, lest the young Squire should pry into it. No man is
more tenacious of his secrets than your true angler. "Sent the best home
two hours ago; one weighed three pounds, on the faith of a man; indeed,
I'm satisfied now; time to give up;" and the Corporal began to disjoint
his rod.

"Ah, Sir!" said he, with a half sigh, "a pretty river this, don't mean to
say it is not; but the river Lea for my money. You know the Lea?--not a
morning's walk from Lunnun. Mary Gibson, my first sweetheart, lived by
the bridge,--caught such a trout there by the by!--had beautiful
eyes--black, round as a cherry--five feet eight without shoes--might have
listed in the forty-second."

"Who, Bunting!" said Walter smiling, "the lady or the trout?"

"Augh!--baugh!--what? Oh, laughing at me, your honour, you're welcome,
Sir. Love's a silly thing--know the world now--have not fallen in love
these ten years. I doubt--no offence, Sir, no offence--I doubt whether
your honour and Miss Ellinor can say as much."

"I and Miss Ellinor!--you forge yourself strangely, Bunting," said
Walter, colouring with anger.

"Beg pardon, Sir, beg pardon--rough soldier--lived away from the world so
long, words slipped out of my mouth--absent without leave."

"But why," said Walter, smothering or conquering his vexation,--"why
couple me with Miss Ellinor? Did you imagine that we,--we were in love
with each other?"

"Indeed, Sir, and if I did, 'tis no more than my neighbours imagine too."

"Humph! your neighbours are very silly, then, and very wrong."

"Beg pardon, Sir, again--always getting askew. Indeed some did say it was
Miss Madeline, but I says,--says I,--'No! I'm a man of the world--see
through a millstone; Miss Madeline's too easy like; Miss Nelly blushes
when he speaks;'scarlet is love's regimentals--it was ours in the
forty-second, edged with yellow--pepper and salt pantaloons! For my part
I think,--but I've no business to think, howsomever--baugh!"

"Pray what do you think, Mr. Bunting? Why do you hesitate?"

"'Fraid of offence--but I do think that Master Aram--your honour
understands--howsomever Squire's daughter too great a match for such as

Walter did not answer; and the garrulous old soldier, who had been the
young man's playmate and companion since Walter was a boy; and was
therefore accustomed to the familiarity with which he now spoke,
continued, mingling with his abrupt prolixity an occasional shrewdness of
observation, which shewed that he was no inattentive commentator on the
little and quiet world around him.

"Free to confess, Squire Walter, that I don't quite like this larned man,
as much as the rest of 'em--something queer about him--can't see to the
bottom of him--don't think he's quite so meek and lamb-like as he
seems:--once saw a calm dead pool in foren parts--peered down into it--by
little and little, my eye got used to it--saw something dark at the
bottom--stared and stared--by Jupiter--a great big alligator!--walked off
immediately--never liked quiet pools since--augh, no!"

"An argument against quiet pools, perhaps, Bunting; but scarcely against
quiet people."

"Don't know as to that, your honour--much of a muchness. I have seen
Master Aram, demure as he looks, start, and bite his lip, and change
colour, and frown--he has an ugly frown, I can tell ye--when he thought
no one nigh. A man who gets in a passion with himself may be soon out of
temper with others. Free to confess, I should not like to see him married
to that stately beautiful young lady--but they do gossip about it in the
village. If it is not true, better put the Squire on his guard--false
rumours often beget truths--beg pardon, your honour--no business of
mine--baugh! But I'm a lone man, who have seen the world, and I thinks on
the things around me, and I turns over the quid--now on this side, now on
the other--'tis my way, Sir--and--but I offend your honour."

"Not at all; I know you are an honest man, Bunting, and well affected to
our family; at the same time it is neither prudent nor charitable to
speak harshly of our neighbours without sufficient cause. And really you
seem to me to be a little hasty in your judgment of a man so inoffensive
in his habits and so justly and generally esteemed as Mr. Aram."

"May be, Sir--may be,--very right what you say. But I thinks what I
thinks all the same; and indeed, it is a thing that puzzles me, how that
strange-looking vagabond, as frighted the ladies so, and who, Miss Nelly
told me, for she saw them in his pocket, carried pistols about him, as if
he had been among cannibals and hottentots, instead of the peaceablest
county that man ever set foot in, should boast of his friendship with
this larned schollard, and pass a whole night in his house. Birds of a
feather flock together--augh!--Sir!"

"A man cannot surely be answerable for the respectability of all his
acquaintances, even though he feel obliged to offer them the
accommodation of a night's shelter."

"Baugh!" grunted the Corporal. "Seen the world, Sir--seen the
world--young gentlemen are always so good-natured; 'tis a pity, that the
more one sees the more suspicious one grows. One does not have gumption
till one has been properly cheated--one must be made a fool very often in
order not to be fooled at last!"

"Well, Corporal, I shall now have opportunities enough of profiting by
experience. I am going to leave Grassdale in a few days, and learn
suspicion and wisdom in the great world."

"Augh! baugh!--what?" cried the Corporal, starting from the contemplative
air which he had hitherto assumed. "The great world?--how?--when?--going
away;--who goes with your honour?"

"My honour's self; I have no companion, unless you like to attend me;"
said Walter, jestingly--but the Corporal affected, with his natural
shrewdness, to take the proposition in earnest.

"I! your honour's too good; and indeed, though I say it, Sir, you might
do worse; not but what I should be sorry to leave nice snug home here,
and this stream, though the trout have been shy lately,--ah! that was a
mistake of yours, Sir, recommending the minnow; and neighbour Dealtry,
though his ale's not so good at 'twas last year; and--and--but, in short,
I always loved your honour--dandled you on my knees;--You recollect the
broadsword exercise?--one, two, three--augh! baugh!--and if your honour
really is going, why rather than you should want a proper person who
knows the world, to brush your coat, polish your shoes, give you good
advice--on the faith of a man, I'll go with you myself!"

This alacrity on the part of the Corporal was far from displeasing to
Walter. The proposal he had at first made unthinkingly, he now seriously
thought advisable; and at length it was settled that the Corporal should
call the next morning at the manor-house, and receive instructions as to
the time and method of their departure. Not forgetting, as the sagacious
Bunting delicately insinuated, "the wee settlements as to wages, and
board wages, more a matter of form, like, than any thing else--augh!"



          Two such I saw, what time the laboured ox
          In his loose traces from the furrow came.

          Pedro. Now do me noble right.
          Rod. I'll satisfy you;
          But not by the sword.
           --Beaumont and Fletcher.--The Pilgrim.

While Walter and the Corporal enjoyed the above conversation, Madeline
and Aram, whom Lester soon left to themselves, were pursuing their walk
along the solitary fields. Their love had passed from the eye to the lip,
and now found expression in words.

"Observe," said he, as the light touch of one who he felt loved him
entirely rested on his arm,--"Observe, as the later summer now begins to
breathe a more various and mellow glory into the landscape, how
singularly pure and lucid the atmosphere becomes. When, two months ago,
in the full flush of June, I walked through these fields, a grey mist hid
yon distant hills and the far forest from my view. Now, with what a
transparent stillness the whole expanse of scenery spreads itself before
us. And such, Madeline, is the change that has come over myself since
that time. Then, if I looked beyond the limited present, all was dim and
indistinct. Now, the mist had faded away--the broad future extends before
me, calm and bright with the hope which is borrowed from your love!"

We will not tax the patience of the reader, who seldom enters with keen
interest into the mere dialogue of love, with the blushing Madeline's
reply, or with all the soft vows and tender confessions which the rich
poetry of Aram's mind made yet more delicious to the ear of his dreaming
and devoted mistress.

"There is one circumstance," said Aram, "which casts a momentary shade on
the happiness I enjoy--my Madeline probably guesses its nature. I regret
to see that the blessing of your love must be purchased by the misery of
another, and that other, the nephew of my kind friend. You have doubtless
observed the melancholy of Walter Lester, and have long since known its

"Indeed, Eugene," answered Madeline, "it has given me great pain to note
what you refer to, for it would be a false delicacy in me to deny that I
have observed it. But Walter is young and high-spirited; nor do I think
he is of a nature to love long where there is no return!"

"And what," said Aram, sorrowfully,--"what deduction from reason can ever
apply to love? Love is a very contradiction of all the elements of our
ordinary nature,--it makes the proud man meek,--the cheerful, sad,--the
high-spirited, tame; our strongest resolutions, our hardiest energy fail
before it. Believe me, you cannot prophesy of its future effect in a man
from any knowledge of his past character. I grieve to think that the blow
falls upon one in early youth, ere the world's disappointments have
blunted the heart, or the world's numerous interests have multiplied its
resources. Men's minds have been turned when they have not well sifted
the cause themselves, and their fortunes marred, by one stroke on the
affections of their youth. So at least have I read, Madeline, and so
marked in others. For myself, I knew nothing of love in its reality till
I knew you. But who can know you, and not sympathise with him who has
lost you?"

"Ah, Eugene! you at least overrate the influence which love produces on
men. A little resentment and a little absence will soon cure my cousin of
an ill-placed and ill-requited attachment. You do not think how easy it
is to forget."

"Forget!" said Aram, stopping abruptly; "Ay, forget--it is a strange
truth! we do forget! the summer passes over the furrow, and the corn
springs up; the sod forgets the flower of the past year; the battle-field
forgets the blood that has been spilt upon its turf; the sky forgets the
storm; and the water the noon-day sun that slept upon its bosom. All
Nature preaches forgetfulness. Its very order is the progress of
oblivion. And I--I--give me your hand, Madeline,--I, ha! ha! I forget

As Aram spoke thus wildly, his countenance worked; but his voice was
slow, and scarcely audible; he seemed rather conferring with himself,
than addressing Madeline. But when his words ceased, and he felt the soft
hand of his betrothed, and turning, saw her anxious and wistful eyes
fixed in alarm, yet in all unsuspecting confidence, on his face; his
features relaxed into their usual serenity, and kissing the hand he
clasped, he continued, in a collected and steady tone,

"Forgive me, my sweetest Madeline. These fitful and strange moods
sometimes come upon me yet. I have been so long in the habit of pursuing
any train of thought, however wild, that presents itself to my mind, that
I cannot easily break it, even in your presence. All studious men--the
twilight Eremites of books and closets, contract this ungraceful custom
of soliloquy. You know our abstraction is a common jest and proverb: you
must laugh me out of it. But stay, dearest!--there is a rare herb at your
feet, let me gather it. So, do you note its leaves--this bending and
silver flower? Let us rest on this bank, and I will tell you of its
qualities. Beautiful as it is, it has a poison."

The place in which the lovers rested, is one which the villagers to this
day call "The Lady's-seat;" for Madeline, whose history is fondly
preserved in that district, was afterwards wont constantly to repair to
that bank (during a short absence of her lover, hereafter to be noted),
and subsequent events stamped with interest every spot she was known to
have favoured with resort. And when the flower had been duly conned, and
the study dismissed, Aram, to whom all the signs of the seasons were
familiar, pointed to her the thousand symptoms of the month which are
unheeded by less observant eyes; not forgetting, as they thus reclined,
their hands clasped together, to couple each remark with some allusion to
his love or some deduction which heightened compliment into poetry. He
bade her mark the light gossamer as it floated on the air; now soaring
high--high into the translucent atmosphere; now suddenly stooping, and
sailing away beneath the boughs, which ever and anon it hung with a
silken web, that by the next morn, would glitter with a thousand dew
drops. "And, so," said he fancifully, "does Love lead forth its
numberless creations, making the air its path and empire; ascending aloof
at its wild will, hanging its meshes on every bough, and bidding the
common grass break into a fairy lustre at the beam of the daily sun!"

He pointed to her the spot, where, in the silent brake, the harebells,
now waxing rare and few, yet lingered--or where the mystic ring on the
soft turf conjured up the associations of Oberon and his train. That
superstition gave licence and play to his full memory and glowing fancy;
and Shakspeare--Spenser--Ariosto--the magic of each mighty master of
Fairy Realm--he evoked, and poured into her transported ear. It was
precisely such arts, which to a gayer and more worldly nature than
Madeline's might have seemed but wearisome, that arrested and won her
imaginative and high-wrought mind. And thus he, who to another might have
proved but the retired and moody Student, became to her the very being of
whom her "Maiden meditation" had dreamed--the master and magician of her

Aram did not return to the house with Madeline; he accompanied her to the
garden gate, and then taking leave of her, bent his way homeward. He had
gained the entrance of the little valley that led to his abode, when he
saw Walter cross his path at a short distance. His heart, naturally
susceptible to kindly emotion, smote him as he remarked the moody
listlessness of the young man's step, and recalled the buoyant lightness
it was once wont habitually to wear. He quickened his pace, and joined
Walter before the latter was aware of his presence.

"Good evening," said he, mildly; "if you are going my way, give me the
benefit of your company."

"My path lies yonder," replied Walter, somewhat sullenly; "I regret that
it is different from yours."

"In that case," said Aram, "I can delay my return home, and will, with
your leave, intrude my society upon you for some few minutes."

Walter bowed his head in reluctant assent. They walked on for some
moments without speaking, the one unwilling, the other seeking an
occasion, to break the silence.

"This to my mind," said Aram at length, "is the most pleasing landscape
in the whole country; observe the bashful water stealing away among the
woodlands. Methinks the wave is endowed with an instinctive wisdom, that
it thus shuns the world."

"Rather," said Walter, "with the love for change which exists everywhere
in nature, it does not seek the shade until it has passed by 'towered
cities,'and 'the busy hum of men.'"

"I admire the shrewdness of your reply," rejoined Aram; "but note how far
more pure and lovely are its waters in these retreats, than when washing
the walls of the reeking town, receiving into its breast the taint of a
thousand pollutions, vexed by the sound, and stench, and unholy
perturbation of men's dwelling-place. Now it glasses only what is high or
beautiful in nature--the stars or the leafy banks. The wind that ruffles
it, is clothed with perfumes; the rivulet that swells it, descends from
the everlasting mountains, or is formed by the rains of Heaven. Believe
me, it is the type of a life that glides into solitude, from the
weariness and fretful turmoil of the world.

'No flattery, hate, or envy lodgeth there,
There no suspicion walled in proved steel,
Yet fearful of the arms herself doth wear,
Pride is not there; no tyrant there we feel!'"

[Phineas Fletcher.]

"I will not cope with you in simile, or in poetry," said Walter, as his
lip curved; "it is enough for me to think that life should be spent in
action. I hasten to prove if my judgment be erroneous."

"Are you, then, about to leave us?" inquired Aram.

"Yes, within a few days."

"Indeed, I regret to hear it."

The answer sounded jarringly on the irritated nerves of the disappointed

"You do me more honour than I desire," said he, "in interesting yourself,
however lightly, in my schemes or fortune!"

"Young man," replied Aram, coldly, "I never see the impetuous and
yearning spirit of youth without a certain, and it may be, a painful
interest. How feeble is the chance, that its hopes will be fulfilled!
Enough, if it lose not all its loftier aspirings, as well as its brighter

Nothing more aroused the proud and fiery temper of Walter Lester than the
tone of superior wisdom and superior age, which his rival assumed towards
him. More and more displeased with his present companion, he answered, in
no conciliatory tone, "I cannot but consider the warning and the fears of
one, neither my relation nor my friend, in the light of a gratuitous

Aram smiled as he answered,

"There is no occasion for resentment. Preserve this hot spirit, and high
self-confidence, till you return again to these scenes, and I shall be at
once satisfied and corrected."

"Sir," said Walter, colouring, and irritated more by the smile than the
words of his rival, "I am not aware by what right or on what ground you
assume towards me the superiority, not only of admonition but reproof. My
uncle's preference towards you gives you no authority over me. That
preference I do not pretend to share."--He paused for a moment, thinking
Aram might hasten to reply; but as the Student walked on with his usual
calmness of demeanour, he added, stung by the indifference which he
attributed, not altogether without truth, to disdain, "And since you have
taken upon yourself to caution me, and to forebode my inability to resist
the contamination, as you would term it, of the world, I tell you, that
it may be happy for you to bear so clear a conscience, so untouched a
spirit as that which I now boast, and with which I trust in God and my
own soul I shall return to my birth-place. It is not the holy only that
love solitude; and men may shun the world from another motive than that
of philosophy."

It was now Aram's turn to feel resentment, and this was indeed an
insinuation not only unwarrantable in itself, but one which a man of so
peaceable and guileless a life, affecting even an extreme and rigid
austerity of morals, might well be tempted to repel with scorn and
indignation; and Aram, however meek and forbearing in general, testified
in this instance that his wonted gentleness arose from no lack of man's
natural spirit. He laid his hand commandingly on young Lester's shoulder,
and surveyed his countenance with a dark and menacing frown.

"Boy!" said he, "were there meaning in your words, I should (mark me!)
avenge the insult;--as it is, I despise it. Go!"

So high and lofty was Aram's manner--so majestic was the sternness of his
rebuke, and the dignity of his bearing, as he now waving his hand turned
away, that Walter lost his self-possession and stood fixed to the spot,
absorbed, and humbled from his late anger. It was not till Aram had moved
with a slow step several paces backward towards his home, that the bold
and haughty temper of the young man returned to his aid. Ashamed of
himself for the momentary weakness he had betrayed, and burning to redeem
it, he hastened after the stately form of his rival, and planting himself
full in his path, said, in a voice half choked with contending emotions,

"Hold!--you have given me the opportunity I have long desired; you
yourself have now broken that peace which existed between us, and which
to me was more bitter than wormwood. You have dared,--yes, dared to use
threatening language towards me. I call on you to fulfil your threat. I
tell you that I meant, I designed, I thirsted to affront you. Now resent
my purposed--premeditated affront as you will and can!"

There was something remarkable in the contrasted figures of the rivals,
as they now stood fronting each other. The elastic and vigorous form of
Walter Lester, his sparkling eyes, his sunburnt and glowing cheek, his
clenched hands, and his whole frame, alive and eloquent with the energy,
the heat, the hasty courage, and fiery spirit of youth; on the other
hand,--the bending frame of the student, gradually rising into the
dignity of its full height--his pale cheek, in which the wan hues neither
deepened nor waned, his large eye raised to meet Walter's bright, steady,
and yet how calm! Nothing weak, nothing irresolute could be traced in
that form--or that lofty countenance; yet all resentment had vanished
from his aspect. He seemed at once tranquil and prepared.

"You designed to affront me!" said he; "it is well--it is a noble
confession;--and wherefore? What do you propose to gain by it?--a man
whose whole life is peace, you would provoke to outrage? Would there be
triumph in this, or disgrace?--A man whom your uncle honours and loves,
you would insult without cause--you would waylay--you would, after
watching and creating your opportunity, entrap into defending himself. Is
this worthy of that high spirit of which you boasted?--is this worthy a
generous anger, or a noble hatred? Away! you malign yourself. I shrink
from no quarrel--why should I? I have nothing to fear: my nerves are
firm--my heart is faithful to my will; my habits may have diminished my
strength, but it is yet equal to that of most men. As to the weapons of
the world--they fall not to my use. I might be excused by the most
punctilious, for rejecting what becomes neither my station nor my habits
of life; but I learnt this much from books long since, 'hold thyself
prepared for all things:'--I am so prepared. And as I can command the
spirit, I lack not the skill, to defend myself, or return the hostility
of another." As Aram thus said, he drew a pistol from his bosom; and
pointed it leisurely towards a tree, at the distance of some paces.

"Look," said he, "you note that small discoloured and white stain in the
bark--you can but just observe it;--he who can send a bullet through that
spot, need not fear to meet the quarrel which he seeks to avoid."

Walter turned mechanically, and indignant, though silent, towards the
tree. Aram fired, and the ball penetrated the centre of the stain. He
then replaced the pistol in his bosom, and said:--

"Early in life I had many enemies, and I taught myself these arts. From
habit, I still bear about me the weapons I trust and pray I may never
have occasion to use. But to return.--I have offended you--I have
incurred your hatred--why? What are my sins?"

"Do you ask the cause?" said Walter, speaking between his ground teeth.
"Have you not traversed my views--blighted my hopes--charmed away from me
the affections which were more to me than the world, and driven me to
wander from my home with a crushed spirit, and a cheerless heart. Are
these no cause for hate?"

"Have I done this?" said Aram, recoiling, and evidently and powerfully
affected. "Have I so injured you?--It is true! I know it--I perceive
it--I read your heart; and--bear witness Heaven!--I felt for the wound
that I, but with no guilty hand, inflict upon you. Yet be just:--ask
yourself, have I done aught that you, in my case, would have left undone?
Have I been insolent in triumph, or haughty in success? if so, hate me,
nay, spurn me now."

Walter turned his head irresolutely away.

"If it please you, that I accuse myself, in that I, a man seared and lone
at heart, presumed to come within the pale of human affections;--that I
exposed myself to cross another's better and brighter hopes, or dared to
soften my fate with the tender and endearing ties that are meet alone for
a more genial and youthful nature;--if it please you that I accuse and
curse myself for this--that I yielded to it with pain and with
self-reproach--that I shall think hereafter of what I unconsciously cost
you with remorse--then be consoled!"

"It is enough," said Walter; "let us part. I leave you with more soreness
at my late haste than I will acknowledge, let that content you; for
myself, I ask for no apology or--."

"But you shall have it amply," interrupted Aram, advancing with a cordial
openness of mien not usual to him. "I was all to blame; I should have
remembered you were an injured man, and suffered you to have said all you
would. Words at best are but a poor vent for a wronged and burning heart.
It shall be so in future, speak your will, attack, upbraid, taunt me, I
will bear it all. And indeed, even to myself there seems some witchcraft,
some glamoury in what has chanced. What! I favoured where you love? Is it
possible? It might teach the vainest to forswear vanity. You, the young,
the buoyant, the fresh, the beautiful?--And I, who have passed the glory
and zest of life between dusty walls; I who--well, well, fate laughs at

Aram now seemed relapsing into one of his more abstracted moods; he
ceased to speak aloud, but his lips moved, and his eyes grew fixed in
reverie on the ground. Walter gazed at him for some moments with mixed
and contending sensations. Once more, resentment and the bitter wrath of
jealousy had faded back into the remoter depths of his mind, and a
certain interest for his singular rival, despite of himself, crept into
his breast. But this mysterious and fitful nature, was it one in which
the devoted Madeline would certainly find happiness and repose?--would
she never regret her choice? This question obtruded itself upon him, and
while he sought to answer it, Aram, regaining his composure, turned
abruptly and offered him his hand. Walter did not accept it, he bowed
with a cold respect. "I cannot give my hand without my heart," said he;
"we were foes just now; we are not friends yet. I am unreasonable in
this, I know, but--"

"Be it so," interrupted Aram; "I understand you. I press my good will on
you no more. When this pang is forgotten, when this wound is healed, and
when you will have learned more of him who is now your rival, we may meet
again with other feelings on your side."

Thus they parted, and the solitary lamp which for weeks past had been
quenched at the wholesome hour in the Student's home, streamed from the
casement throughout the whole of that night; was it a witness of the calm
and learned vigil, or of the unresting heart?



                    So we grew together
          Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
          But yet an union in partition.
              --Midsummer Night's Dream.

        The Corporal had not taken his measures so badly
        in this stroke of artilleryship.--Tristram Shandy.

It was late that evening when Walter returned home, the little family
were assembled at the last and lightest meal of the day; Ellinor silently
made room for her cousin beside herself, and that little kindness touched
Walter. "Why did I not love her?" thought he, and he spoke to her in a
tone so affectionate, that it made her heart thrill with delight. Lester
was, on the whole, the most pensive of the group, but the old and young
man exchanged looks of restored confidence, which, on the part of the
former, were softened by a pitying tenderness.

When the cloth was removed, and the servants gone, Lester took it on
himself to break to the sisters the intended departure of their cousin.
Madeline received the news with painful blushes, and a certain
self-reproach; for even where a woman has no cause to blame herself, she,
in these cases, feels a sort of remorse at the unhappiness she occasions.
But Ellinor rose suddenly and left the room.

"And now," said Lester, "London will, I suppose, be your first
destination. I can furnish you with letters to some of my old friends
there: merry fellows they were once: you must take care of the
prodigality of their wine. There's John Courtland--ah! a seductive dog to
drink with. Be sure and let me know how honest John looks, and what he
says of me. I recollect him as if it were yesterday; a roguish eye, with
a moisture in it; full cheeks; a straight nose; black curled hair; and
teeth as even as dies:--honest John shewed his teeth pretty often, too:
ha, ha! how the dog loved a laugh. Well, and Peter Hales--Sir Peter now,
has his uncle's baronetcy--a generous, open-hearted fellow as ever
lived--will ask you very often to dinner--nay, offer you money if you
want it: but take care he does not lead you into extravagances: out of
debt, out of danger, Walter. It would have been well for poor Peter
Hales, had he remembered that maxim. Often and often have I been to see
him in the Marshalsea; but he was the heir to good fortunes, though his
relations kept him close; so I suppose he is well off now. His estates
lie in--shire, on your road to London; so, if he is at his country-seat,
you can beat up his quarters, and spend a month or so with him: a most
hospitable fellow."

With these little sketches of his cotemporaries, the good Squire
endeavoured to while the time; taking, it is true, some pleasure in the
youthful reminiscences they excited, but chiefly designing to enliven the
melancholy of his nephew. When, however, Madeline had retired, and they
were alone, he drew his chair closer to Walter's, and changed the
conversation into a more serious and anxious strain. The guardian and the
ward sate up late that night; and when Walter retired to rest, it was
with a heart more touched by his uncle's kindness, than his own sorrows.

But we are not about to close the day without a glance at the chamber
which the two sisters held in common. The night was serene and starlit,
and Madeline sate by the open window, leaning her face upon her hand, and
gazing on the lone house of her lover, which might be seen afar across
the landscape, the trees sleeping around it, and one pale and steady
light gleaming from its lofty casement like a star.

"He has broken faith," said Madeline: "I shall chide him for this
to-morrow. He promised me the light should be ever quenched before this

"Nay," said Ellinor in a tone somewhat sharpened from its native
sweetness, and who now sate up in the bed, the curtain of which was
half-drawn aside, and the soft light of the skies rested full upon her
rounded neck and youthful countenance--"nay, Madeline, do not loiter
there any longer; the air grows sharp and cold, and the clock struck one
several minutes since. Come, sister, come!"

"I cannot sleep," replied Madeline, sighing, "and think that yon light
streams upon those studies which steal the healthful hues from his cheek,
and the very life from his heart."

"You are infatuated--you are bewitched by that man," said Ellinor,

"And have I not cause--ample cause?" returned Madeline, with all a girl's
beautiful enthusiasm, as the colour mantled her cheek, and gave it the
only additional loveliness it could receive. "When he speaks, is it not
like music?--or rather, what music so arrests and touches the heart?
Methinks it is Heaven only to gaze upon him--to note the changes of that
majestic countenance--to set down as food for memory every look and every
movement. But when the look turns to me--when the voice utters my name,
ah! Ellinor, then it is not a wonder that I love him thus much: but that
any others should think they have known love, and yet not loved him! And,
indeed, I feel assured that what the world calls love is not my love. Are
there more Eugenes in the world than one? Who but Eugene could be loved
as I love?"

"What! are there none as worthy?" said Ellinor, half smiling.

"Can you ask it?" answered Madeline, with a simple wonder in her voice;
"Whom would you compare--compare! nay, place within a hundred grades of
the height which Eugene Aram holds in this little world?"

"This is folly--dotage;" said Ellinor, indignantly: "Surely there are
others, as brave, as gentle, as kind, and if not so wise, yet more fitted
for the world."

"You mock me," replied Madeline, incredulously; "whom could you select?"

Ellinor blushed deeply--blushed from her snowy temples to her yet whiter
bosom, as she answered,

"If I said Walter Lester, could you deny it?"

"Walter!" repeated Madeline, "the equal to Eugene Aram!"

"Ay, and more than equal," said Ellinor, with spirit, and a warm and
angry tone. "And indeed, Madeline," she continued, after a pause, "I lose
something of that respect, which, passing a sister's love, I have always
borne towards you, when I see the unthinking and lavish idolatry you
manifest to one, who, but for a silver tongue and florid words, would
rather want attractions than be the wonder you esteem him. Fie, Madeline!
I blush for you when you speak, it is unmaidenly so to love any one!"

Madeline rose from the window, but the angry word died on her lips when
she saw that Ellinor, who had worked her mind beyond her self-control,
had thrown herself back on the pillow, and now sobbed aloud.

The natural temper of the elder sister had always been much more calm and
even than that of the younger, who united with her vivacity something of
the passionate caprice and fitfulness of her sex. And Madeline's
affection for her had been tinged by that character of forbearance and
soothing, which a superior nature often manifests to one more imperfect,
and which in this instance did not desert her. She gently closed the
window, and, gliding to the bed, threw her arms round her sister's neck,
and kissed away her tears with a caressing fondness, that, if Ellinor
resisted for one moment, she returned with equal tenderness the next.

"Indeed, dearest," said Madeline, gently, "I cannot guess how I hurt you,
and still less, how Eugene has offended you?"

"He has offended me in nothing," replied Ellinor, still weeping, "if he
has not stolen away all your affection from me. But I was a foolish girl,
forgive me, as you always do; and at this time I need your kindness, for
I am very--very unhappy."

"Unhappy, dearest Nell, and why?"

Ellinor wept on without answering.

Madeline persisted in pressing for a reply; and at length her sister
sobbed out:

"I know that--that--Walter only has eyes for you, and a heart for you,
who neglect, who despise his love; and I--I--but no matter, he is going
to leave us, and of me--poor me, he will think no more!"

Ellinor's attachment to their cousin, Madeline had long half suspected,
and she had often rallied her sister upon it; indeed it might have been
this suspicion which made her at the first steel her breast against
Walter's evident preference to herself. But Ellinor had never till now
seriously confessed how much her heart was affected; and Madeline, in the
natural engrossment of her own ardent and devoted love, had not of late
spared much observation to the tokens of her sister's. She was therefore
dismayed, if not surprised, as she now perceived the cause of the
peevishness Ellinor had just manifested, and by the nature of the love
she felt herself, she judged, and perhaps somewhat overrated, the anguish
that Ellinor endured.

She strove to comfort her by all the arguments which the fertile
ingenuity of kindness could invent; she prophesied Walter's speedy
return, with his boyish disappointment forgotten, and with eyes no longer
blinded to the attractions of one sister, by a bootless fancy for
another. And though Ellinor interrupted her from time to time with
assertions, now of Walter's eternal constancy to his present idol; now,
with yet more vehement declarations of the certainty of his finding new
objects for his affections in new scenes; she yet admitted, by little and
little, the persuasive power of Madeline to creep into her heart, and
brighten away its griefs with hope, till at last, with the tears yet wet
on her cheek, she fell asleep in her sister's arms.

And Madeline, though she would not stir from her post lest the movement
should awaken her sister, was yet prevented from closing her eyes in a
similar repose; ever and anon she breathlessly and gently raised herself
to steal a glimpse of that solitary light afar; and ever, as she looked,
the ray greeted her eyes with an unswerving and melancholy stillness,
till the dawn crept greyly over the heavens, and that speck of light,
holier to her than the stars, faded also with them beneath the broader
lustre of the day.

The next week was passed in preparations for Walter's departure. At that
time, and in that distant part of the country, it was greatly the fashion
among the younger travellers to perform their excursions on horseback,
and it was this method of conveyance that Walter preferred. The best
steed in the squire's stables was therefore appropriated to his service,
and a strong black horse with a Roman nose and a long tail, was consigned
to the mastery of Corporal Bunting. The Squire was delighted that his
nephew had secured such an attendant. For the soldier, though odd and
selfish, was a man of some sense and experience, and Lester thought such
qualities might not be without their use to a young master, new to the
common frauds and daily usages of the world he was about to enter.

As for Bunting himself, he covered his secret exultation at the prospect
of change, and board-wages, with the cool semblance of a man sacrificing
his wishes to his affections. He made it his peculiar study to impress
upon the Squire's mind the extent of the sacrifice he was about to make.
The bit cot had been just white-washed, the pet cat just lain in; then
too, who would dig, and gather seeds, in the garden, defend the plants,
(plants! the Corporal could scarce count a dozen, and nine out of them
were cabbages!) from the impending frosts? It was exactly, too, the time
of year when the rheumatism paid flying visits to the bones and loins of
the worthy Corporal; and to think of his "galavanting about the country,"
when he ought to be guarding against that sly foe the lumbago, in the
fortress of his chimney corner!

To all these murmurs and insinuations the good Lester seriously inclined,
not with the less sympathy, in that they invariably ended in the
Corporal's slapping his manly thigh, and swearing that he loved Master
Walter like gunpowder, and that were it twenty times as much, he would
cheerfully do it for the sake of his handsome young honour. Ever at this
peroration, the eyes of the Squire began to twinkle, and new thanks were
given to the veteran for his disinterested affection, and new promises
pledged him in inadequate return.

The pious Dealtry felt a little jealousy at the trust imparted to his
friend. He halted, on his return from his farm, by the spruce stile which
led to the demesne of the Corporal, and eyed the warrior somewhat sourly,
as he now, in the cool of the evening, sate without his door, arranging
his fishing-tackle and flies, in various little papers, which he
carefully labelled by the help of a stunted pen which had seen at least
as much service as himself.

"Well, neighbour Bunting," said the little landlord, leaning over the
stile, but not passing its boundary, "and when do you go?--you will have
wet weather of it (looking up to the skies)--you must take care of the
rumatiz. At your age it's no trifle, eh--hem."

"My age! should like to know--what mean by that! my age
indeed!--augh!--bother!" grunted Bunting, looking up from his occupation.
Peter chuckled inly at the Corporal's displeasure, and continued, as in
an apologetic tone,

"Oh, I ax your pardon, neighbour. I don't mean to say you are too old to
travel. Why there was Hal Whittol, eighty-two come next Michaelmas, took
a trip to Lunnun last year--

"For young and old, the stout--the poorly,--The eye of God be on them

"Bother!" said the Corporal, turning round on his seat.

"And what do you intend doing with the brindled cat? put'un up in the
saddle-bags? You won't surely have the heart to leave'un."

"As to that," quoth the Corporal, sighing, "the poor dumb animal makes me
sad to think on't." And putting down his fish-hooks, he stroked the sides
of an enormous cat, who now, with tail on end, and back bowed up, and
uttering her lenes susurros--anglicae, purr;--rubbed herself to and fro,
athwart the Corporal's legs.

"What staring there for? won't ye step in, man? Can climb the stile I

"No thank'ye, neighbour. I do very well here, that is, if you can hear
me; your deafness is not so troublesome as it was last win--"

"Bother!" interrupted the Corporal, in a voice that made the little
landlord start bolt upright from the easy confidence of his position.
Nothing on earth so offended the perpendicular Jacob Bunting, as any
insinuation of increasing years or growing infirmities; but at this
moment, as he meditated putting Dealtry to some use, he prudently
conquered the gathering anger, and added, like the man of the world he
justly plumed himself on being--in a voice gentle as a dying howl, "What
'fraid on? come in, there's good fellow, want to speak to ye. Come
do--a-u-g-h!" the last sound being prolonged into one of unutterable
coaxingness, and accompanied with a beck of the hand and a wheedling

These allurements the good Peter could not resist--he clambered the
stile, and seated himself on the bench beside the Corporal.

"There now, fine fellow, fit for the forty-second;" said Bunting,
clapping him on the back. "Well, and--a--nd--a beautiful cat, isn't her?"

"Ah!" said Peter very shortly--for though a remarkably mild man, Peter
did not love cats: moreover, we must now inform the reader, that the cat
of Jacob Bunting was one more feared than respected throughout the
village. The Corporal was a cunning teacher of all animals: he could
learn goldfinches the use of the musket; dogs, the art of the broadsword;
horses, to dance hornpipes and pick pockets; and he had relieved the
ennui of his solitary moments by imparting sundry accomplishments to the
ductile genius of his cat. Under his tuition, Puss had learned to fetch
and carry; to turn over head and tail, like a tumbler; to run up your
shoulder when you least expected it; to fly, as if she were mad, at any
one upon whom the Corporal thought fit to set her; and, above all, to rob
larders, shelves, and tables, and bring the produce to the Corporal, who
never failed to consider such stray waifs lawful manorial acquisitions.
These little feline cultivations of talent, however delightful to the
Corporal, and creditable to his powers of teaching the young idea how to
shoot, had nevertheless, since the truth must be told, rendered the
Corporal's cat a proverb and byeword throughout the neighbourhood. Never
was cat in such bad odour: and the dislike in which it was held was
wonderfully increased by terror; for the creature was singularly large
and robust, and withal of so courageous a temper, that if you attempted
to resist its invasion of your property, it forthwith set up its back,
put down its ears, opened its mouth, and bade you fully comprehend that
what it feloniously seized it could gallantly defend. More than one
gossip in the village had this notable cat hurried into premature
parturition, as, on descending at day-break into her kitchen, the dame
would descry the animal perched on the dresser, having entered, God knows
how, and gleaming upon her with its great green eyes, and a malignant,
brownie expression of countenance.

Various deputations had indeed, from time to time, arrived at the
Corporal's cottage, requesting the death, expulsion, or perpetual
imprisonment of the favourite. But the stout Corporal received them
grimly, and dismissed them gruffly; and the cat still went on waxing in
size and wickedness, and baffling, as if inspired by the devil, the
various gins and traps set for its destruction. But never, perhaps, was
there a greater disturbance and perturbation in the little hamlet, than
when, some three weeks since, the Corporal's cat was known to be brought
to bed, and safely delivered of a numerous offspring. The village saw
itself overrun with a race and a perpetuity of Corporal's cats! Perhaps,
too, their teacher growing more expert by practice, the descendants might
attain to even greater accomplishment than their nefarious progenitor. No
longer did the faint hope of being delivered from their tormentor by an
untimely or even natural death, occur to the harassed Grassdalians. Death
was an incident natural to one cat, however vivacious, but here was a
dynasty of cats! Principes mortales, respublica eterna!

Now the Corporal loved this creature better, yes better than any thing in
the world, except travelling and board-wages; and he was sorely perplexed
in his mind how he should be able to dispose of her safely in his
absence. He was aware of the general enmity she had inspired, and
trembled to anticipate its probable result, when he was no longer by to
afford her shelter and protection. The Squire had, indeed, offered her an
asylum at the manor-house; but the Squire's cook was the cat's most
embittered enemy; and who can answer for the peaceable behaviour of his
cook? The Corporal, therefore, with a reluctant sigh, renounced the
friendly offer, and after lying awake three nights, and turning over in
his own mind the characters, consciences, and capabilities of all his
neighbours, he came at last to the conviction that there was no one with
whom he could so safely entrust his cat as Peter Dealtry. It is true, as
we said before, that Peter was no lover of cats, and the task of
persuading him to afford board and lodging to a cat, of all cats the most
odious and malignant, was therefore no easy matter. But to a man of the
world, what intrigue is impossible?

The finest diplomatist in Europe might have taken a lesson from the
Corporal, as he now proceeded earnestly towards the accomplishment of his

He took the cat, which by the by we forgot to say that he had thought fit
to christen after himself, and to honour with a name, somewhat lengthy
for a cat, (but indeed this was no ordinary cat!) viz. Jacobina. He took
Jacobina then, we say, upon his lap, and stroking her brindled sides with
great tenderness, he bade Dealtry remark how singularly quiet the animal
was in its manners. Nay, he was not contented until Peter himself had
patted her with a timorous hand, and had reluctantly submitted the said
hand to the honour of being licked by the cat in return. Jacobina, who,
to do her justice, was always meek enough in the presence, and at the
will, of her master, was, fortunately this day, on her very best

"Them dumb animals be mighty grateful," quoth the Corporal.

"Ah!" rejoined Peter, wiping his hand with his pocket handkerchief.

"But, Lord! what scandal there be in the world!"

"'Though slander's breath may raise a storm, It quickly does decay!'"
muttered Peter.

"Very well, very true; sensible verses those," said the Corporal,
approvingly; "and yet mischief's often done before the amends come. Body
o' me, it makes a man sick of his kind, ashamed to belong to the race of
men, to see the envy that abounds in this here sublunary wale of tears!"
said the Corporal, lifting up his eyes.

Peter stared at him with open mouth; the hypocritical rascal continued,
after a pause,--

"Now there's Jacobina, 'cause she's a good cat, a faithful servant, the
whole village is against her: such lies as they tell on her, such
wappers, you'd think she was the devil in garnet! I grant, I grant,"
added the Corporal, in a tone of apologetic candour, "that she's wild,
saucy, knows her friends from her foes, steals Goody Solomon's butter;
but what then? Goody Solomon's d--d b--h! Goody Solomon sold beer in
opposition to you, set up a public;--you do not like Goody Solomons,
Peter Dealtry?"

"If that were all Jacobina had done!" said the landlord, grinning.

"All! what else did she do? Why she eat up John Tomkins's canary-bird;
and did not John Tomkins, saucy rascal, say you could not sing better nor
a raven?"

"I have nothing to say against the poor creature for that," said Peter,
stroking the cat of his own accord. "Cats will eat birds, 'tis the
'spensation of Providence. But what! Corporal!" and Peter hastily
withdrawing his hand, hurried it into his breeches pocket--"but what! did
not she scratch Joe Webster's little boy's hand into ribbons, because the
boy tried to prevent her running off with a ball of string?"

"And well," grunted the Corporal, "that was not Jacobina's doing, that
was my doing. I wanted the string--offered to pay a penny for it--think
of that!"

"It was priced three pence ha'penny," said Peter.

"Augh--baugh! you would not pay Joe Webster all he asks! What's the use
of being a man of the world, unless one makes one's tradesmen bate a bit?
Bargaining is not cheating, I hope?"

"God forbid!" said Peter.

"But as to the bit string, Jacobina took it solely for your sake. Ah, she
did not think you were to turn against her!"

So saying, the Corporal, got up, walked into his house, and presently
came back with a little net in his hand.

"There, Peter, net for you, to hold lemons. Thank Jacobina for that; she
got the string. Says I to her one day, as I was sitting, as I might be
now, without the door, 'Jacobina, Peter Dealtry's a good fellow, and he
keeps his lemons in a bag: bad habit,--get mouldy,--we'll make him a net:
and Jacobina purred, (stroke the poor creature, Peter!)--so Jacobina and
I took a walk, and when we came to Joe Webster's I pointed out the ball
o'twine to her. So, for your sake, Peter, she got into this here

"Ah!" quoth Peter laughing, "poor Puss! poor Pussy! poor little Pussy!"

"And now, Peter," said the Corporal, taking his friend's hand, "I am
going to prove friendship to you--going to do you great favour."

"Aha!" said Peter, "my good friend, I'm very much obliged to you. I know
your kind heart, but I really don't want any"--

"Bother!" cried the Corporal, "I'm not the man as makes much of doing a
friend a kindness. Hold jaw! tell you what,--tell you what: am going away
on Wednesday at day-break, and in my absence you shall--"

"What? my good Corporal."

"Take charge of Jacobina!"

"Take charge of the devil!" cried Peter.

"Augh!--baugh!--what words are those? Listen to me."

"I won't!"

"You shall!"

"I'll be d--d if I do!" quoth Peter sturdily. It was the first time he
had been known to swear since he was parish clerk.

"Very well, very well!" said the Corporal chucking up his chin, "Jacobina
can take care of herself! Jacobina knows her friends and her foes as well
as her master! Jacobina never injures her friends, never forgives foes.
Look to yourself! look to yourself! insult my cat, insult me! Swear at
Jacobina, indeed!"

"If she steals my cream!" cried Peter--

"Did she ever steal your cream?"

"No! but, if--"

"Did she ever steal your cream?"

"I can't say she ever did."

"Or any thing else of yours?"

"Not that I know of; but--"

"Never too late to mend."


"Will you listen to me, or not?"


"You'll listen?"


"Know then, that I wanted to do you kindness."


"Hold jaw! I taught Jacobina all she knows."

"More's the pity!"

"Hold jaw! I taught her to respect her friends,--never to commit herself
in doors--never to steal at home--never to fly at home--never to scratch
at home--to kill mice and rats--to bring all she catches to her
master--to do what he tells her--and to defend his house as well as a
mastiff: and this invaluable creature I was going to lend you:--won't
now, d--d if I do!"


"Hold jaw! When I'm gone, Jacobina will have no one to feed her. She'll
feed herself--will go to every larder, every house in the place--your's
best larder, best house;--will come to you oftenest. If your wife
attempts to drive her away, scratch her eyes out; if you disturb her,
serve you worse than Joe Webster's little boy:--wanted to prevent
this--won't now, d--d if I do!"

"But, Corporal, how would it mend the matter to take the devil in-doors?"

"Devil!" Don't call names. Did not I tell you, only one Jacobina does not
hurt is her master?--make you her master: now d'ye see?"

"It is very hard," said Peter grumblingly, "that the only way I can
defend myself from this villainous creature is to take her into my

"Villainous! You ought to be proud of her affection. She returns good for
evil--she always loved you; see how she rubs herself against you--and
that's the reason why I selected you from the whole village, to take care
of her; but you at once injure yourself and refuse to do your friend a
service. Howsomever, you know I shall be with young Squire, and he'll be
master here one of these days, and I shall have an influence over
him--you'll see--you'll see. Look that there's not another 'Spotted Dog'
set up--augh!--bother!"

"But what would my wife say, if I took the cat? she can't abide its

"Let me alone to talk to your wife. What would she say if I bring her
from Lunnun Town a fine silk gown, or a neat shawl, with a blue
border--blue becomes her; or a tay-chest--that will do for you both, and
would set off the little back parlour. Mahogany tay-chest--inlaid at
top--initials in silver--J. B. to D. and P. D.--two boxes for tay, and a
bowl for sugar in the middle.--Ah! ah! Love me, love my cat! When was
Jacob Bunting ungrateful?--augh!"

"Well, well! will you talk to Dorothy about it?"

"I shall have your consent, then? Thanks, my dear, dear Peter; 'pon my
soul you're a fine fellow! you see, you're great man of the parish. If
you protect her, none dare injure; if you scout her, all set upon her.
For as you said, or rather sung, t'other Sunday--capital voice you were
in too--

"The mighty tyrants without cause Conspire her blood to shed!"

"I did not think you had so good a memory, Corporal," said Peter
smiling;--the cat was now curling itself up in his lap: "after all,
Jacobina--what a deuce of a name--seems gentle enough."

"Gentle as a lamb--soft as butter--kind as cream--and such a mouser!"

"But I don't think Dorothy--"

"I'll settle Dorothy."

"Well, when will you look up?"

"Come and take a dish of tay with you in half an hour;--you want a new
tay-chest; something new and genteel."

"I think we do," said Peter, rising and gently depositing the cat on the

"Aha! we'll see to it!--we'll see! Good b'ye for the present--in half an
hour be with you!"

The Corporal left alone with Jacobina, eyed her intently, and burst into
the following pathetic address.

"Well, Jacobina! you little know the pains I takes to serve you--the lies
I tells for you--endangered my precious soul for your sake, you jade! Ah!
may well rub your sides against me. Jacobina! Jacobina! you be the only
thing in the world that cares a button for me. I have neither kith nor
kin. You are daughter--friend--wife to me: if any thing happened to you,
I should not have the heart to love any thing else. Any body o' me, but
you be as kind as any mistress, and much more tractable than any wife;
but the world gives you a bad name, Jacobina. Why? Is it that you do
worse than the world do? You has no morality in you, Jacobina; well, but
has the world?--no! But it has humbug--you have no humbug, Jacobina. On
the faith of a man, Jacobina, you be better than the world!--baugh! You
takes care of your own interest, but you takes care of your master's
too!--You loves me as well as yourself. Few cats can say the same,
Jacobina! and no gossip that flings a stone at your pretty brindled skin,
can say half as much. We must not forget your kittens, Jacobina;--you
have four left--they must be provided for. Why not a cat's children as
well as a courtier's? I have got you a comfortable home, Jacobina--take
care of yourself, and don't fall in love with every Tomcat in the place.
Be sober, and lead a single life till my return. Come, Jacobina, we will
lock up the house, and go and see the quarters I have provided for

As he finished his harangue, the Corporal locked the door of his cottage,
and Jacobina trotting by his side, he stalked with his usual stateliness
to the Spotted Dog.

Dame Dorothy Dealtry received him with a clouded brow, but the man of the
world knew whom he had to deal with. On Wednesday morning Jacobina was
inducted into the comforts of the hearth of mine host;--and her four
little kittens mewed hard by, from the sinecure of a basket lined with

Reader. Here is wisdom in this chapter: it is not every man who knows how
to dispose of his cat!



       Fall. Out, out, unworthy to speak where he breatheth....

       Punt. Well now, my whole venture is forth, I will resolve
          to depart.
           --Ben Jonson.--Every Man out of his Humour.

It was now the eve before Walter's departure, and on returning home from
a farewell walk among his favourite haunts, he found Aram, whose visit
had been made during Walter's absence, now standing on the threshold of
the door, and taking leave of Madeline and her father. Aram and Walter
had only met twice before since the interview we recorded, and each time
Walter had taken care that the meeting should be but of short duration.
In these brief encounters, Aram's manner had been even more gentle than
heretofore; that of Walter's, more cold and distant. And now, as they
thus unexpectedly met at the door, Aram, looking at him earnestly, said:

"Farewell, Sir! You are to leave us for some time, I hear. Heaven speed
you!" Then he added in a lower tone, "Will you take my hand, now, in

As he said, he put forth his hand,--it was the left.

"Let it be the right hand," observed the elder Lester, smiling: "it is a
luckier omen."

"I think not," said Aram, drily. And Walter noted that he had never
remembered him to give his right hand to any one, even to Madeline; the
peculiarity of this habit might, however, arise from an awkward early
habit, it was certainly scarce worth observing, and Walter had already
coldly touched the hand extended to him: when Lester carelessly renewed
the subject.

"Is there any superstition," said he gaily, "that makes you think, as
some of the ancients did, the left hand luckier than the right?"

"Yes," replied Aram; "a superstition. Adieu."

The Student departed; Madeline slowly walked up one of the garden alleys,
and thither Walter, after whispering to his uncle, followed her.

There is something in those bitter feelings, which are the offspring of
disappointed love; something in the intolerable anguish of well-founded
jealousy, that when the first shock is over, often hardens, and perhaps
elevates the character. The sterner powers that we arouse within us to
combat a passion that can no longer be worthily indulged, are never
afterwards wholly allayed. Like the allies which a nation summons to its
bosom to defend it from its foes, they expel the enemy only to find a
settlement for themselves. The mind of every man who conquers an
unfortunate attachment, becomes stronger than before; it may be for evil,
it may be for good, but the capacities for either are more vigorous and

The last few weeks had done more for Walter's character than years of
ordinary, even of happy emotion, might have effected. He had passed from
youth to manhood, and with the sadness, had acquired also something of
the dignity, of experience. Not that we would say that he had subdued his
love, but he had made the first step towards it; he had resolved that at
all hazards it should be subdued.

As he now joined Madeline, and she perceived him by her side, her
embarrassment was more evident than his. She feared some avowal, and from
his temper, perhaps some violence on his part. However, she was the first
to speak: women, in such cases, always are.

"It is a beautiful evening," said she, "and the sun set in promise of a
fine day for your journey to-morrow."

Walter walked on silently; his heart was full. "Madeline," he said at
length, "dear Madeline, give me your hand. Nay, do not fear me; I know
what you think, and you are right; I loved--I still love you! but I know
well that I can have no hope in making this confession; and when I ask
you for your hand, Madeline, it is only to convince you that I have no
suit to press; had I, I would not dare to touch that hand."

Madeline, wondering and embarrassed, gave him her hand; he held it for a
moment with a trembling clasp, pressed it to his lips, and then resigned

"Yes, Madeline, my cousin, my sweet cousin; I have loved you deeply, but
silently, long before my heart could unravel the mystery of the feelings
with which it glowed. But this--all this--it were now idle to repeat. I
know that I have no hope of return; that the heart whose possession would
have made my whole life a dream, a transport, is given to another. I have
not sought you now, Madeline, to repine at this, or to vex you by the
tale of any suffering I may endure: I am come only to give you the
parting wishes, the parting blessing, of one, who, wherever he goes, or
whatever befall him, will always think of you as the brightest and
loveliest of human beings. May you be happy, yes even with another!"

"Oh, Walter!" said Madeline, affected to tears, "if I ever encouraged--if
I ever led you to hope for more than the warm, the sisterly affection I
bear you, how bitterly I should reproach myself!"

"You never did, dear Madeline; I asked for no inducement to love you,--I
never dreamed of seeking a motive, or inquiring if I had cause to hope.
But as I am now about to quit you, and as you confess you feel for me a
sister's affection, will you give me leave to speak to you as a brother

Madeline held her hand to him in frank cordiality: "Yes!" said she,

"Then," said Walter, turning away his head in a spirit of delicacy that
did him honour, "is it yet all too late for me to say one word of caution
as relates to--Eugene Aram?"

"Of caution! you alarm me, Walter; speak, has aught happened to him? I
saw him as lately as yourself. Does aught threaten him? Speak, I implore

"I know of no danger to him!" replied Walter, stung to perceive the
breathless anxiety with which Madeline spoke; "but pause, my cousin, may
there be no danger to you from this man?"


"I grant him wise, learned, gentle,--nay, more than all, bearing about
him a spell, a fascination, by which he softens, or awes at will, and
which even I cannot resist. But yet his abstracted mood, his gloomy life,
certain words that have broken from him unawares,--certain tell-tale
emotions, which words of mine, heedlessly said, have fiercely aroused,
all united, inspire me,--shall I say it,--with fear and distrust. I
cannot think him altogether the calm and pure being he appears. Madeline,
I have asked myself again and again, is this suspicion the effect of
jealousy? do I scan his bearing with the jaundiced eye of disappointed
rivalship? And I have satisfied my conscience that my judgment is not
thus biassed. Stay! listen yet a little while! You have a high--a
thoughtful mind. Exert it now. Consider your whole happiness rests on one
step! Pause, examine, compare! Remember, you have not of Aram, as of
those whom you have hitherto mixed with, the eye-witness of a life! You
can know but little of his real temper, his secret qualities; still less
of the tenor of his former life. I only ask of you, for your own sake,
for my sake, your sister's sake, and your good father's, not to judge too
rashly! Love him, if you will; but observe him!"

"Have you done?" said Madeline, who had hitherto with difficulty
contained herself; "then hear me. Was it I? was it Madeline Lester whom
you asked to play the watch, to enact the spy upon the man whom she
exults in loving? Was it not enough that you should descend to mark down
each incautious look--to chronicle every heedless word--to draw dark
deductions from the unsuspecting confidence of my father's friend--to lie
in wait--to hang with a foe's malignity upon the unbendings of familiar
intercourse--to extort anger from gentleness itself, that you might wrest
the anger into crime! Shame, shame upon you, for the meanness! And must
you also suppose that I, to whose trust he has given his noble heart,
will receive it only to play the eavesdropper to its secrets? Away!"

The generous blood crimsoned the cheek and brow of this high-spirited
girl as she uttered her galling reproof; her eyes sparkled, her lip
quivered, her whole frame seemed to have grown larger with the majesty of
indignant love.

"Cruel, unjust, ungrateful!" ejaculated Walter, pale with rage, and
trembling under the conflict of his roused and wounded feelings. "Is it
thus you answer the warning of too disinterested and self-forgetful a

"Love!" exclaimed Madeline. "Grant me patience!--Love! It was but now I
thought myself honoured by the affection you said you bore me. At this
instant, I blush to have called forth a single sentiment in one who knows
so little what love is! Love!--methought that word denoted all that was
high and noble in human nature--confidence, hope, devotion, sacrifice of
all thought of self! but you would make it the type and concentration of
all that lowers and debases!--suspicion--cavil--fear--selfishness in all
its shapes! Out on you--love!"

"Enough, enough! Say no more, Madeline, say no more. We part not as I had
hoped; but be it so. You are changed indeed, if your conscience smite you
not hereafter for this injustice. Farewell, and may you never regret, not
only the heart you have rejected, but the friendship you have belied."
With these words, and choked by his emotions, Walter hastily strode away.

He hurried into the house, and into a little room adjoining the chamber
in which he slept, and which had been also appropriated solely to his
use. It was now spread with boxes and trunks, some half packed, some
corded, and inscribed with the address to which they were to be sent in
London. All these mute tokens of his approaching departure struck upon
his excited feelings with a suddenness that overpowered him.

"And it is thus--thus," said he aloud, "that I am to leave, for the first
time, my childhood's home."

He threw himself on his chair, and covering his face with his hands,
burst, fairly subdued and unmanned, into a paroxysm of tears.

When this emotion was over, he felt as if his love for Madeline had also
disappeared; a sore and insulted feeling was all that her image now
recalled to him. This idea gave him some consolation. "Thank God!" he
muttered, "thank God, I am cured at last!"

The thanksgiving was scarcely over, before the door opened softly, and
Ellinor, not perceiving him where he sat, entered the room, and laid on
the table a purse which she had long promised to knit him, and which
seemed now designed as a parting gift.

She sighed heavily as she laid it down, and he observed that her eyes
seemed red as with weeping.

He did not move, and Ellinor left the room without discovering him; but
he remained there till dark, musing on her apparition, and before he went
down-stairs, he took up the little purse, kissed it, and put it carefully
into his bosom.

He sate next to Ellinor at supper that evening, and though he did not say
much, his last words were more to her than words had ever been before.
When he took leave of her for the night, he whispered, as he kissed her
cheek; "God bless you, dearest Ellinor, and till I return, take care of
yourself, for the sake of one, who loves you now, better than any thing
on earth."

Lester had just left the room to write some letters for Walter; and
Madeline, who had hitherto sat absorbed and silent by the window, now
approached Walter, and offered him her hand.

"Forgive me, my dear cousin," she said, in her softest voice. "I feel
that I was hasty, and to blame. Believe me, I am now at least grateful,
warmly grateful, for the kindness of your motives."

"Not so," said Walter, bitterly, "the advice of a friend is only

"Come, come, forgive me; pray, do not let us part unkindly. When did we
ever quarrel before? I was wrong, grievously wrong--I will perform any
penance you may enjoin."

"Agreed then, follow my admonitions."

"Ah! any thing else," said Madeline, gravely, and colouring deeply.

Walter said no more; he pressed her hand lightly and turned away.

"Is all forgiven?" said she, in so bewitching a tone, and with so bright
a smile, that Walter, against his conscience, answered, "Yes."

The sisters left the room. I know not which of the two received his last

Lester now returned with the letters. "There is one charge, my dear boy,"
said he, in concluding the moral injunctions and experienced suggestions
with which the young generally leave the ancestral home (whether
practically benefited or not by the legacy, may be matter of
question)--"there is one charge which I need not entrust to your
ingenuity and zeal. You know my strong conviction, that your father, my
poor brother, still lives. Is it necessary for me to tell you to exert
yourself by all ways and in all means to discover some clue to his fate?
Who knows," added Lester, with a smile, "but that you may find him a rich
nabob. I confess that I should feel but little surprise if it were so;
but at all events you will make every possible inquiry. I have written
down in this paper the few particulars concerning him which I have been
enabled to glean since he left his home; the places where he was last
seen, the false names he assumed, I shall watch with great anxiety for
any fuller success to your researches."

"You needed not, my dear uncle," said Walter seriously, "to have spoken
to me on this subject. No one, not even yourself, can have felt what I
have; can have cherished the same anxiety, nursed the same hope, indulged
the same conjecture. I have not, it is true, often of late years spoken
to you on a matter so near to us both, but I have spent whole hours in
guesses at my father's fate, and in dreams that for me was reserved the
proud task to discover it. I will not say indeed that it makes at this
moment the chief motive for my desire to travel, but in travel it will
become my chief object. Perhaps I may find him not only rich,--that for
my part is but a minor wish,--but sobered and reformed from the errors
and wildness of his earlier manhood. Oh, what should be his gratitude to
you for all the care with which you have supplied to the forsaken child
the father's place; and not the least, that you have, in softening the
colours of his conduct, taught me still to prize and seek for a father's

"You have a kind heart, Walter," said the good old man, pressing his
nephew's hand, "and that has more than repaid me for the little I have
done for you; it is better to sow a good heart with kindness, than a
field with corn, for the heart's harvest is perpetual."

Many, keen, and earnest were that night the meditations of Walter Lester.
He was about to quit the home in which youth had been passed, in which
first love had been formed and blighted: the world was before him; but
there was something more grave than pleasure, more steady than
enterprise, that beckoned him to its paths. The deep mystery that for so
many years had hung over the fate of his parent, it might indeed be his
lot to pierce; and with a common waywardness in our nature, the restless
son felt his interest in that parent the livelier from the very
circumstance of remembering nothing of his person. Affection had been
nursed by curiosity and imagination, and the bad father was thus more
fortunate in winning the heart of the son, than had he perhaps, by the
tenderness of years, deserved that affection.

Oppressed and feverish, Walter opened the lattice of his room, and looked
forth on the night. The broad harvest-moon was in the heavens, and filled
the air as with a softer and holier day. At a distance its light just
gave the dark outline of Aram's house, and beneath the window it lay
bright and steady on the green, still church-yard that adjoined the
house. The air and the light allayed the fitfulness at the young man's
heart, but served to solemnize the project and desire with which it beat.
Still leaning from the casement, with his eyes fixed upon the tranquil
scene below, he poured forth a prayer, that to his hands might the
discovery of his lost sire be granted. The prayer seemed to lift the
oppression from his breast; he felt cheerful and relieved, and flinging
himself on his bed, soon fell into the sound and healthful sleep of
youth. And oh! let Youth cherish that happiest of earthly boons while yet
it is at its command;--for there cometh the day to all, when "neither the
voice of the lute or the birds"

           [Quotation from Horace]

shall bring back the sweet slumbers that fell on their young eyes, as
unbidden as the dews. It is a dark epoch in a man's life when Sleep
forsakes him; when he tosses to and fro, and Thought will not be
silenced; when the drug and draught are the courters of stupefaction, not
sleep; when the down pillow is as a knotted log; when the eyelids close
but with an effort, and there is a drag and a weight, and a dizziness in
the eyes at morn. Desire and Grief, and Love, these are the young man's
torments, but they are the creatures of Time; Time removes them as it
brings, and the vigils we keep, "while the evil days come not," if weary,
are brief and few. But Memory, and Care, and Ambition, and Avarice, these
are the demon-gods that defy the Time that fathered them. The worldlier
passions are the growth of mature years, and their grave is dug but in
our own. As the dark Spirits in the Northern tale, that watch against the
coming of one of a brighter and holier race, lest if he seize them
unawares, he bind them prisoners in his chain, they keep ward at night
over the entrance of that deep cave--the human heart--and scare away the
angel Sleep!

                BOOK II.


               ARAM'S LOVE.

        Love is better than a pair of spectacles, to make
        every thing seem greater which is seen through it.
             --Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia.

Aram's affection to Madeline having now been formally announced to
Lester, and Madeline's consent having been somewhat less formally
obtained, it only remained to fix the time for their wedding. Though
Lester forbore to question Aram as to his circumstances, the Student
frankly confessed, that if not affording what the generality of persons
would consider even a competence, they enabled one of his moderate wants
and retired life to dispense, especially in the remote and cheap district
in which they lived, with all fortune in a wife, who, like Madeline, was
equally with himself enamoured of obscurity. The good Lester, however,
proposed to bestow upon his daughter such a portion as might allow for
the wants of an increased family, or the probable contingencies of Fate.
For though Fortune may often slacken her wheel, there is no spot in which
she suffers it to be wholly still.

It was now the middle of September, and by the end of the ensuing month
it was agreed that the spousals of the lovers should be held. It is
certain that Lester felt one pang for his nephew, as he subscribed to
this proposal; but he consoled himself with recurring to a hope he had
long cherished, viz. that Walter would return home not only cured of his
vain attachment to Madeline, but of the disposition to admit the
attractions of her sister. A marriage between these two cousins had for
years been his favourite project. The lively and ready temper of Ellinor,
her household turn, her merry laugh, a winning playfulness that
characterised even her defects, were all more after Lester's secret heart
than the graver and higher nature of his elder daughter. This might
mainly be, that they were traits of disposition that more reminded him of
his lost wife, and were therefore more accordant with his ideal standard
of perfection; but I incline also to believe that the more persons
advance in years, the more, even if of staid and sober temper themselves,
they love gaiety and elasticity in youth. I have often pleased myself by
observing in some happy family circle embracing all ages, that it is the
liveliest and wildest child that charms the grandsire the most. And after
all, it is perhaps with characters as with books, the grave and
thoughtful may be more admired than the light and cheerful, but they are
less liked; it is not only that the former, being of a more abstruse and
recondite nature, find fewer persons capable of judging of their merits,
but also that the great object of the majority of human beings is to be
amused, and that they naturally incline to love those the best who amuse
them most. And to so great a practical extent is this preference pushed,
that I think were a nice observer to make a census of all those who have
received legacies, or dropped unexpectedly into fortunes; he would find
that where one grave disposition had so benefited, there would be at
least twenty gay. Perhaps, however, it may be said that I am taking the
cause for the effect!

But to return from our speculative disquisitions; Lester then, who,
though he so slowly discovered his nephew's passion for Madeline, had
long since guessed the secret of Ellinor's affection for him, looked
forward with a hope rather sanguine than anxious to the ultimate
realization of his cherished domestic scheme. And he pleased himself with
thinking that when all soreness would, by this double wedding, be
banished from Walter's mind, it would be impossible to conceive a family
group more united or more happy.

And Ellinor herself, ever since the parting words of her cousin, had
seemed, so far from being inconsolable for his absence, more bright of
cheek and elastic of step than she had been for months before. What a
world of all feelings, which forbid despondence, lies hoarded in the
hearts of the young! As one fountain is filled by the channels that
exhaust another; we cherish wisdom at the expense of hope. It thus
happened from one cause or another, that Walter's absence created a less
cheerless blank in the family circle than might have been expected, and
the approaching bridals of Madeline and her lover, naturally diverted in
a great measure the thoughts of each, and engrossed their conversation.

Whatever might be Madeline's infatuation as to the merits of Aram, one
merit--the greatest of all in the eyes of a woman who loves, he at least
possessed. Never was mistress more burningly and deeply loved than she,
who, for the first time, awoke the long slumbering passions in the heart
of Eugene Aram. Every day the ardour of his affections seemed to
increase. With what anxiety he watched her footsteps!--with what idolatry
he hung upon her words!--with what unspeakable and yearning emotion he
gazed upon the changeful eloquence of her cheek. Now that Walter was
gone, he almost took up his abode at the manor-house. He came thither in
the early morning, and rarely returned home before the family retired for
the night; and even then, when all was hushed, and they believed him in
his solitary home, he lingered for hours around the house, to look up to
Madeline's window, charmed to the spot which held the intoxication of her
presence. Madeline discovered this habit, and chid it; but so tenderly,
that it was not cured. And still at times, by the autumnal moon, she
marked from her window his dark figure gliding among the shadows of the
trees, or pausing by the lowly tombs in the still churchyard--the
resting-place of hearts that once, perhaps, beat as wildly as his own.

It was impossible that a love of this order, and from one so richly
gifted as Aram; a love, which in substance was truth, and yet in language
poetry, could fail wholly to subdue and inthral a girl so young, so
romantic, so enthusiastic, as Madeline Lester. How intense and delicious
must have been her sense of happiness! In the pure heart of a girl loving
for the first time--love is far more ecstatic than in man, inasmuch as it
is unfevered by desire--love then and there makes the only state of human
existence which is at once capable of calmness and transport!



      Titinius Capito is to rehearse. He is a man of an excellent
      disposition, and to be numbered among the chief ornaments of
      his age. He cultivates literature--he loves men of learning,
           --Lord Orrery: Pliny.

About this time the Earl of ______, the great nobleman of the district,
and whose residence was within four miles of Grassdale, came down to pay
his wonted yearly visit to his country domains. He was a man well known
in the history of the times; though, for various reasons, I conceal his
name. He was a courtier;--deep--wily--accomplished; but capable of
generous sentiments and enlarged views. Though, from regard to his
interests, he seized and lived as it were upon the fleeting spirit of the
day--the penetration of his intellect went far beyond its reach. He
claims the merit of having been the one of all his co-temporaries (Lord
Chesterfield alone excepted), who most clearly saw, and most distinctly
prophesied, the dark and fearful storm that at the close of the century
burst over the vices, in order to sweep away the miseries, of France--a
terrible avenger--a salutary purifier.

From the small circle of sounding trifles, in which the dwellers of a
court are condemned to live, and which he brightened by his abilities and
graced by his accomplishments, the sagacious and far-sighted mind of
Lord--comprehended the vast field without, usually invisible to those of
his habits and profession. Men who the best know the little nucleus which
is called the world, are often the most ignorant of mankind; but it was
the peculiar attribute of this nobleman, that he could not only analyse
the external customs of his species, but also penetrate their deeper and
more hidden interests.

The works, and correspondence he has left behind him, though far from
voluminous, testify a consummate knowledge of the varieties of human
nature The refinement of his taste appears less remarkable than the
vigour of his understanding. It might be that he knew the vices of men
better than their virtues; yet he was no shallow disbeliever in the
latter: he read the heart too accurately not to know that it is guided as
often by its affections as its interests. In his early life he had
incurred, not without truth, the charge of licentiousness; but even in
pursuit of pleasure, he had been neither weak on the one hand, nor gross
on the other;--neither the headlong dupe, nor the callous sensualist: but
his graces, his rank, his wealth, had made his conquests a matter of too
easy purchase; and hence, like all voluptuaries, the part of his worldly
knowledge, which was the most fallible, was that which related to the
sex. He judged of women by a standard too distinct from that by which he
judged of men, and considered those foibles peculiar to the sex, which in
reality are incident to human nature.

His natural disposition was grave and reflective; and though he was not
without wit, it was rarely used. He lived, necessarily, with the
frivolous and the ostentatious, yet ostentation and frivolity were
charges never brought against himself. As a diplomatist and a statesman,
he was of the old and erroneous school of intriguers; but his favourite
policy was the science of conciliation. He was one who would so far have
suited the present age, that no man could better have steered a nation
from the chances of war; James the First could not have been inspired
with a greater affection for peace; but the Peer's dexterity would have
made that peace as honourable as the King's weakness could have made it
degraded. Ambitious to a certain extent, but neither grasping nor mean,
he never obtained for his genius the full and extensive field it probably
deserved. He loved a happy life above all things; and he knew that while
activity is the spirit, fatigue is the bane, of happiness.

In his day he enjoyed a large share of that public attention which
generally bequeaths fame; yet from several causes (of which his own
moderation is not the least) his present reputation is infinitely less
great than the opinions of his most distinguished cotemporaries

It is a more difficult matter for men of high rank to become illustrious
to posterity, than for persons in a sterner and more wholesome walk of
life. Even the greatest among the distinguished men of the patrician
order, suffer in the eyes of the after-age for the very qualities, mostly
dazzling defects, or brilliant eccentricities, which made them most
popularly remarkable in their day. Men forgive Burns his amours and his
revellings with greater ease than they will forgive Bolingbroke and Byron
for the same offences.

Our Earl was fond of the society of literary men; he himself was well,
perhaps even deeply, read. Certainly his intellectual acquisitions were
more profound than they have been generally esteemed, though with the
common subtlety of a ready genius, he could make the quick adaptation of
a timely fact, acquired for the occasion, appear the rich overflowing of
a copious erudition. He was a man who instantly perceived, and liberally
acknowledged, the merits of others. No connoisseur had a more felicitous
knowledge of the arts, or was more just in the general objects of his
patronage. In short, what with all his advantages, he was one whom an
aristocracy may boast of, though a people may forget; and if not a great
man, was at least a most remarkable lord.

The Earl of--, in his last visit to his estates, had not forgotten to
seek out the eminent scholar who shed an honour upon his neighbourhood;
he had been greatly struck with the bearing and conversation of Aram, and
with the usual felicity with which the accomplished Earl adapted his
nature to those with whom he was thrown, he had succeeded in ingratiating
himself with Aram in return. He could not indeed persuade the haughty and
solitary Student to visit him at the castle; but the Earl did not disdain
to seek any one from whom he could obtain instruction, and he had twice
or thrice voluntarily encountered Aram, and effectually drawn him from
his reserve. The Earl now heard with some pleasure, and more surprise,
that the austere Recluse was about to be married to the beauty of the
county, and he resolved to seize the first occasion to call at the
manor-house to offer his compliments and congratulations to its inmates.

Sensible men of rank, who, having enjoyed their dignity from their birth,
may reasonably be expected to grow occasionally tired of it; often like
mixing with those the most who are the least dazzled by the
condescension; I do not mean to say, with the vulgar parvenus who mistake
rudeness for independence;--no man forgets respect to another who knows
the value of respect to himself; but the respect should be paid easily;
it is not every Grand Seigneur, who like Louis XIVth., is only pleased
when he puts those he addresses out of countenance.

There was, therefore, much in the simplicity of Lester's manners, and
those of his nieces, which rendered the family at the manor-house,
especial favourites with Lord--; and the wealthier but less honoured
squirearchs of the county, stiff in awkward pride, and bustling with yet
more awkward veneration, heard with astonishment and anger of the
numerous visits which his Lordship, in his brief sojourn at the castle,
always contrived to pay to the Lesters, and the constant invitations,
which they received to his most familiar festivities.

Lord--was no sportsman, and one morning, when all his guests were engaged
among the stubbles of September, he mounted his quiet palfrey, and gladly
took his way to the Manor-house.

It was towards the latter end of the month, and one of the earliest of
the autumnal fogs hung thinly over the landscape. As the Earl wound along
the sides of the hill on which his castle was built, the scene on which
he gazed below received from the grey mists capriciously hovering over
it, a dim and melancholy wildness. A broader and whiter vapour, that
streaked the lower part of the valley, betrayed the course of the
rivulet; and beyond, to the left, rose wan and spectral, the spire of the
little church adjoining Lester's abode. As the horseman's eye wandered to
this spot, the sun suddenly broke forth, and lit up as by enchantment,
the quiet and lovely hamlet embedded, as it were, beneath,--the cottages,
with their gay gardens and jasmined porches, the streamlet half in mist,
half in light, while here and there columns of vapour rose above its
surface like the chariots of the water genii, and broke into a thousand
hues beneath the smiles of the unexpected sun: But far to the right, the
mists around it yet unbroken, and the outline of its form only visible,
rose the lone house of the Student, as if there the sadder spirits of the
air yet rallied their broken armament of mist and shadow.

The Earl was not a man peculiarly alive to scenery, but he now
involuntarily checked his horse, and gazed for a few moments on the
beautiful and singular aspect which the landscape had so suddenly
assumed. As he so gazed, he observed in a field at some little distance,
three or four persons gathered around a bank, and among them he thought
he recognised the comely form of Rowland Lester. A second inspection
convinced him that he was right in his conjecture, and, turning from the
road through a gap in the hedge, he made towards the group in question.
He had not proceeded far, before he saw, that the remainder of the party
was composed of Lester's daughters, the lover of the elder, and a fourth,
whom he recognised as a celebrated French botanist who had lately arrived
in England, and who was now making an amateur excursion throughout the
more attractive districts of the island.

The Earl guessed rightly, that Monsieur de N--had not neglected to apply
to Aram for assistance in a pursuit which the latter was known to have
cultivated with such success, and that he had been conducted hither, as a
place affording some specimen or another not unworthy of research. He
now, giving his horse to his groom, joined the group.



       ARAM. If the witch Hope forbids us to be wise,
       Yet when I turn to these--Woe's only friends,
       And with their weird and eloquent voices calm
       The stir and Babel of the world within,
       I can but dream that my vex'd years at last
       Shall find the quiet of a hermit's cell:--
       And, neighbouring not this hacked and jaded world,
       Beneath the lambent eyes of the loved stars,
       And, with the hollow rocks and sparry caves,
       The tides, and all the many-music'd winds

       My oracles and co-mates;--watch my life
       Glide down the Stream of Knowledge, and behold
       Its waters with a musing stillness glass
       The thousand hues of Nature and of Heaven.
           --From Eugene Aram, a MS. Tragedy.

The Earl continued with the party he had joined; and when their
occupation was concluded and they turned homeward, he accepted the
Squire's frank invitation to partake of some refreshment at the
Manor-house. It so chanced, or perhaps the Earl so contrived it, that
Aram and himself, in their way to the village lingered a little behind
the rest, and that their conversation was thus, for a few minutes, not
altogether general.

"Is it I, Mr. Aram?" said the Earl smiling, "or is it Fate that has made
you a convert? The last time we sagely and quietly conferred together,
you contended that the more the circle of existence was contracted, the
more we clung to a state of pure and all self-dependent intellect, the
greater our chance of happiness. Thus you denied that we were rendered
happier by our luxuries, by our ambition, or by our affections. Love and
its ties were banished from your solitary Utopia. And you asserted that
the true wisdom of life lay solely in the cultivation--not of our
feelings, but our faculties. You know, I held a different doctrine: and
it is with the natural triumph of a hostile partizan, that I hear you are
about to relinquish the practice of one of your dogmas;--in consequence,
may I hope, of having forsworn the theory?"

"Not so, my Lord," answered Aram, colouring slightly; "my weakness only
proves that my theory is difficult,--not that it is wrong. I still
venture to think it true. More pain than pleasure is occasioned us by
others--banish others, and you are necessarily the gainer. Mental
activity and moral quietude are the two states which, were they perfected
and united, would constitute perfect happiness. It is such a union which
constitutes all we imagine of Heaven, or conceive of the majestic
felicity of a God."

"Yet, while you are on earth you will be (believe me) happier in the
state you are about to choose," said the Earl. "Who could look at that
enchanting face (the speaker directed his eyes towards Madeline) and not
feel that it gave a pledge of happiness that could not be broken?"

It was not in the nature of Aram to like any allusion to himself, and
still less to his affections: he turned aside his head, and remained
silent: the wary Earl discovered his indiscretion immediately.

"But let us put aside individual cases," said he,--"the meum and the tuum
forbid all argument:--and confess, that there is for the majority of
human beings a greater happiness in love than in the sublime state of
passionless intellect to which you would so chillingly exalt us. Has not
Cicero said wisely, that we ought no more to subject too slavishly our
affections, than to elevate them too imperiously into our masters? Neque
se nimium erigere, nec subjacere serviliter."

"Cicero loved philosophizing better than philosophy," said Aram, coldly;
"but surely, my Lord, the affections give us pain as well as pleasure.
The doubt, the dread, the restlessness of love,--surely these prevent the
passion from constituting a happy state of mind; to me one knowledge
alone seems sufficient to embitter all its enjoyments,--the knowledge
that the object beloved must die. What a perpetuity of fear that
knowledge creates! The avalanche that may crush us depends upon a single

"Is not that too refined a sentiment? Custom surely blunts us to every
chance, every danger, that may happen to us hourly. Were the avalanche
over you for a day,--I grant your state of torture,--but had an avalanche
rested over you for years, and not yet fallen, you would forget that it
could ever fall; you would eat, sleep, and make love, as if it were not!"

"Ha! my Lord, you say well--you say well," said Aram, with a marked
change of countenance; and, quickening his pace, he joined Lester's side,
and the thread of the previous conversation was broken off.

The Earl afterwards, in walking through the gardens (an excursion which
he proposed himself, for he was somewhat of an horticulturist), took an
opportunity to renew the subject.

"You will pardon me," said he, "but I cannot convince myself that man
would be happier were he without emotions; and that to enjoy life he
should be solely dependant on himself!"

"Yet it seems to me," said Aram, "a truth easy of proof; if we love, we
place our happiness in others. The moment we place our happiness in
others, comes uncertainty, but uncertainty is the bane of happiness.
Children are the source of anxiety to their parents;--his mistress to the
lover. Change, accident, death, all menace us in each person whom we
regard. Every new tie opens new channels by which grief can invade us;
but, you will say, by which joy also can flow in;--granted! But in human
life is there not more grief than joy? What is it that renders the
balance even? What makes the staple of our happiness,--endearing to us
the life at which we should otherwise repine? It is the mere passive, yet
stirring, consciousness of life itself!--of the sun and the air of the
physical being; but this consciousness every emotion disturbs. Yet could
you add to its tranquillity an excitement that never exhausts
itself,--that becomes refreshed, not sated, with every new possession,
then you would obtain happiness. There is only one excitement of this
divine order,--that of intellectual culture. Behold now my theory!
Examine it--it contains no flaw. But if," renewed Aram, after a pause, "a
man is subject to fate solely in himself, not in others, he soon hardens
his mind against all fear, and prepares it for all events. A little
philosophy enables him to bear bodily pain, or the common infirmities of
flesh: by a philosophy somewhat deeper, he can conquer the ordinary
reverses of fortune, the dread of shame, and the last calamity of death.
But what philosophy could ever thoroughly console him for the ingratitude
of a friend, the worthlessness of a child, the death of a mistress?
Hence, only when he stands alone, can a man's soul say to Fate, 'I defy

"You think then," said the Earl, reluctantly diverting the conversation
into a new channel "that in the pursuit of knowledge lies our only active
road to real happiness. Yet here how eternal must be the disappointments
even of the most successful! Does not Boyle tell us of a man who, after
devoting his whole life to the study of one mineral, confessed himself,
at last, ignorant of all its properties?"

"Had the object of his study been himself, and not the mineral, he would
not have been so unsuccessful a student," said Aram, smiling. "Yet,"
added he, in a graver tone, "we do indeed cleave the vast heaven of Truth
with a weak and crippled wing: and often we are appalled in our way by a
dread sense of the immensity around us, and of the inadequacy of our own
strength. But there is a rapture in the breath of the pure and difficult
air, and in the progress by which we compass earth, the while we draw
nearer to the stars,--that again exalts us beyond ourselves, and
reconciles the true student unto all things,--even to the hardest of them
all,--the conviction how feebly our performance can ever imitate the
grandeur of our ambition! As you see the spark fly upward,--sometimes not
falling to earth till it be dark and quenched,--thus soars, whither it
recks not, so that the direction be above, the luminous spirit of him who
aspires to Truth; nor will it back to the vile and heavy clay from which
it sprang, until the light which bore it upward be no more!"



          I weigh not fortune's frown or smile,
           I joy not much in earthly joys,
          I seek not state, I seek not stile,
           I am not fond of fancy's toys;
          I rest so pleased with what I have,
          I wish no more, no more I crave.
              --Joshua Sylvester.

The reader must pardon me, if I somewhat clog his interest in my tale by
the brief conversations I have given, and must for a short while cast
myself on his indulgence and renew. It is not only the history of his
life, but the character and tone of Aram's mind, that I wish to stamp
upon my page. Fortunately, however, the path my story assumes is of such
a nature, that in order to effect this object, I shall never have to
desert, and scarcely again even to linger by, the way.

Every one knows the magnificent moral of Goethe's "Faust!" Every one
knows that sublime discontent--that chafing at the bounds of human
knowledge--that yearning for the intellectual Paradise beyond, which "the
sworded angel" forbids us to approach--that daring, yet sorrowful state
of mind--that sense of defeat, even in conquest, which Goethe has
embodied,--a picture of the loftiest grief of which the soul is capable,
and which may remind us of the profound and august melancholy which the
Great Sculptor breathed into the repose of the noblest of mythological
heroes, when he represented the God resting after his labours, as if more
convinced of their vanity than elated with their extent!

In this portrait, the grandeur of which the wild scenes that follow in
the drama we refer to, do not (strangely wonderful as they are) perhaps
altogether sustain, Goethe has bequeathed to the gaze of a calmer and
more practical posterity, the burning and restless spirit--the feverish
desire for knowledge more vague than useful, which characterised the
exact epoch in the intellectual history of Germany, in which the poem was
inspired and produced.

At these bitter waters, the Marah of the streams of Wisdom, the soul of
the man whom we have made the hero of these pages, had also, and not
lightly, quaffed. The properties of a mind, more calm and stern than
belonged to the visionaries of the Hartz and the Danube, might indeed
have preserved him from that thirst after the impossibilities of
knowledge, which gives so peculiar a romance, not only to the poetry, but
the philosophy of the German people. But if he rejected the
superstitions, he did not also reject the bewilderments of the mind. He
loved to plunge into the dark and metaphysical subtleties which human
genius has called daringly forth from the realities of things:--

                "To spin

       A shroud of thought, to hide him from the sun

       Of this familiar life, which seems to be,

       But is not--or is but quaint mockery

       Of all we would believe;--or sadly blame

       The jarring and inexplicable frame

       Of this wrong world: and then anatomize

       The purposes and thoughts of man, whose eyes

       Were closed in distant years; or widely guess

       The issue of the earth's great business,

       When we shall be, as we no longer are,

       Like babbling gossips, safe, who hear the war

       Of winds, and sigh!--but tremble not!"

Much in him was a type, or rather forerunner, of the intellectual spirit
that broke forth when we were children, among our countrymen, and is now
slowly dying away amidst the loud events and absorbing struggles of the
awakening world. But in one respect he stood aloof from all his tribe--in
his hard indifference to worldly ambition, and his contempt of fame. As
some sages have seemed to think the universe a dream, and self the only
reality, so in his austere and collected reliance upon his own mind--the
gathering in, as it were, of his resources, he appeared to consider the
pomps of the world as shadows, and the life of his own spirit the only
substance. He had built a city and a tower within the Shinar of his own
heart, whence he might look forth, unscathed and unmoved, upon the deluge
that broke over the rest of earth.

Only in one instance, and that, as we have seen, after much struggle, he
had given way to the emotions that agitate his kind, and had surrendered
himself to the dominion of another. This was against his theories--but
what theories ever resist love? In yielding, however, thus far, he seemed
more on his guard than ever against a broader encroachment. He had
admitted one 'fair spirit' for his 'minister,' but it was only with a
deeper fervour to invoke 'the desert' as 'his dwelling-place.' Thus, when
the Earl, who, like most practical judges of mankind, loved to apply to
each individual the motives that actuate the mass, and who only
unwillingly, and somewhat sceptically, assented to the exceptions, and
was driven to search for peculiar clues to the eccentric
instance,--finding, to his secret triumph, that Aram had admitted one
intruding emotion into his boasted circle of indifference, imagined that
he should easily induce him (the spell once broken) to receive another,
he was surprised and puzzled to discover himself in the wrong.

Lord--at that time had been lately called into the administration, and he
was especially anxious to secure the support of all the talent that he
could enlist in its behalf. The times were those in which party ran high,
and in which individual political writings were honoured with an
importance which the periodical press in general has now almost wholly
monopolized. On the side opposed to Government, writers of great name and
high attainments had shone with peculiar effect, and the Earl was
naturally desirous that they should be opposed by an equal array of
intellect on the side espoused by himself. The name alone of Eugene Aram,
at a day when scholarship was renown, would have been no ordinary
acquisition to the cause of the Earl's party; but that judicious and
penetrating nobleman perceived that Aram's abilities, his various
research, his extended views, his facility of argument, and the heat and
energy of his eloquence, might be rendered of an importance which could
not have been anticipated from the name alone, however eminent, of a
retired and sedentary scholar; he was not therefore without an interested
motive in the attentions he now lavished upon the Student, and in his
curiosity to put to the proof the disdain of all worldly enterprise and
worldly temptation, which Aram affected. He could not but think, that to
a man poor and lowly of circumstance, conscious of superior acquirements,
about to increase his wants by admitting to them a partner, and arrived
at that age when the calculations of interest and the whispers of
ambition have usually most weight;--he could not but think that to such a
man the dazzling prospects of social advancement, the hope of the high
fortunes, and the powerful and glittering influence which political life,
in England, offers to the aspirant, might be rendered altogether

He took several opportunities in the course of the next week, of renewing
his conversation with Aram, and of artfully turning it into the channels
which he thought most likely to produce the impression he desired to
create. He was somewhat baffled, but by no means dispirited, in his
attempts; but he resolved to defer his ultimate proposition until it
could be made to the fullest advantage. He had engaged the Lesters to
promise to pass a day at the castle; and with great difficulty, and at
the earnest intercession of Madeline, Aram was prevailed upon to
accompany them. So extreme was his distaste to general society, and, from
some motive or another more powerful than mere constitutional reserve, so
invariably had he for years refused all temptations to enter it, that
natural as this concession was rendered by his approaching marriage to
one of the party, it filled him with a sort of terror and foreboding of
evil. It was as if he were passing beyond the boundary of some law, on
which the very tenure of his existence depended. After he had consented,
a trembling came over him; he hastily left the room, and till the day
arrived, was observed by his friends of the Manor-house to be more gloomy
and abstracted than they ever had known him, even at the earliest period
of acquaintance.

On the day itself, as they proceeded to the castle, Madeline perceived
with a tearful repentance of her interference, that he sate by her side
cold and rapt; and that once or twice when his eyes dwelt upon her, it
was with an expression of reproach and distrust.

It was not till they entered the lofty hall of the castle, when a vulgar
diffidence would have been most abashed, that Aram recovered himself. The
Earl was standing--the centre of a group in the recess of a window in the
saloon, opening upon an extensive and stately terrace. He came forward to
receive them with the polished and warm kindness which he bestowed upon
al his inferiors in rank. He complimented the sisters; he jested with
Lester; but to Aram only, he manifested less the courtesy of kindness
than of respect. He took his arm, and leaning on it with a light touch,
led him to the group at the window. It was composed of the most
distinguished public men in the country, and among them (the Earl himself
was connected through an illegitimate branch with the reigning monarch,)
was a prince of the blood royal.

To these, whom he had prepared for the introduction, he severally, and
with an easy grace, presented Aram, and then falling back a few steps, he
watched with a keen but seemingly careless eye, the effect which so
sudden a contact with royalty itself would produce on the mind of the shy
and secluded Student, whom it was his object to dazzle and overpower. It
was at this moment that the native dignity of Aram, which his studies,
unworldly as they were, had certainly tended to increase, displayed
itself, in a trial which, poor as it was in abstract theory, was far from
despicable in the eyes of the sensible and practised courtier. He
received with his usual modesty, but not with his usual shrinking and
embarrassment on such occasions, the compliments he received; a certain
and far from ungraceful pride was mingled with his simplicity of
demeanour; no fluttering of manner, betrayed that he was either dazzled
or humbled by the presence in which he stood, and the Earl could not but
confess that there was never a more favourable opportunity for comparing
the aristocracy of genius with that of birth; it was one of those homely
every-day triumphs of intellect, which please us more than they ought to
do, for, after all, they are more common than the men of courts are
willing to believe.

Lord--did not however long leave Aram to the support of his own
unassisted presence of mind and calmness of nerve; he advanced, and led
the conversation, with his usual tact, into a course which might at once
please Aram, and afford him the opportunity to shine. The Earl had
imported from Italy some of the most beautiful specimens of classic
sculpture which this country now possesses. These were disposed in niches
around the magnificent apartment in which the guest were assembled, and
as the Earl pointed them out, and illustrated each from the beautiful
anecdotes and golden allusions of antiquity, he felt that he was
affording to Aram a gratification he could never have experienced before;
and in the expression of which, the grace and copiousness of his learning
would find vent. Nor was he disappointed. The cheek, which till then had
retained its steady paleness, now caught the glow of enthusiasm; and in a
few moments there was not a person in the group, who did not feel, and
cheerfully feel, the superiority of the one who, in birth and fortune,
was immeasurably the lowest of all.

The English aristocracy, whatever be the faults of their education, (and
certainly the name of the faults is legion!) have at least the merit of
being alive to the possession, and easily warmed to the possessor, of
classical attainment: perhaps even from this very merit spring many of
the faults we allude to; they are too apt to judge all talent by a
classical standard, and all theory by classical experience.
Without,--save in very rare instances,--the right to boast of any deep
learning, they are far more susceptible than the nobility of any other
nation to the spiritum Camoenae. They are easily and willingly charmed
back to the studies which, if not eagerly pursued in youth, are still
entwined with all their youth's brightest recollections; the schoolboy's
prize, and the master's praise,--the first ambition, and its first
reward. A felicitous quotation, a delicate allusion, is never lost upon
their ear; and the veneration which at Eton they bore to the best
verse-maker in the school, tinctures their judgment of others throughout
life, mixing I know not what, both of liking and esteem, with their
admiration of one who uses his classical weapons with a scholar's
dexterity, not a pedant's inaptitude: for such a one there is a sort of
agreeable confusion in their respect; they are inclined, unconsciously,
to believe that he must necessarily be a high gentleman--ay, and
something of a good fellow into the bargain.

It happened then that Aram could not have dwelt upon a theme more likely
to arrest the spontaneous interest of those with whom he now
conversed--men themselves of more cultivated minds than usual, and more
capable than most (from that acute perception of real talent, which is
produced by habitual political warfare,) of appreciating not only his
endowments, but his facility in applying them.

"You are right, my Lord," said Sir--, the whipper-in of the--party,
taking the Earl aside; "he would be an inestimable pamphleteer."

"Could you get him to write us a sketch of the state of parties;
luminous, eloquent?'" whispered a lord of the bed-chamber.

The Earl answered by a bon mot, and turned to a bust of Caracalla.

The hours at that time were (in the country at least) not late, and the
Earl was one of the first introducers of the polished fashion of France,
by which we testify a preference of the society of the women to that of
our own sex; so that, in leaving the dining-room, it was not so late but
that the greater part of the guests walked out upon the terrace, and
admired the expanse of country which it overlooked, and along which the
thin veil of the twilight began now to hover.

Having safely deposited his royal guest at a whist table, and thus left
himself a free agent, the Earl, inviting Aram to join him, sauntered
among the loiterers on the terrace for a few moments, and then descended
a broad flight of steps, which brought them into a more shaded and
retired walk; on either side of which rows of orange-trees gave forth
their fragrance, while, to the right, sudden and numerous vistas were cut
among the more irregular and dense foliage, affording glimpses--now of
some rustic statue--now of some lone temple--now of some quaint fountain,
on the play of whose waters the first stars had begun to tremble.

It was one of those magnificent gardens, modelled from the stately
glories of Versailles, which it is now the mode to decry, but which
breathe so unequivocally of the Palace. I grant that they deck Nature
with somewhat too prolix a grace; but is beauty always best seen in
deshabille? And with what associations of the brightest traditions
connected with Nature they link her more luxuriant loveliness! Must we
breathe only the malaria of Rome to be capable of feeling the interest
attached to the fountain or the statue?

"I am glad," said the Earl, "that you admired my bust of Cicero--it is
from an original very lately discovered. What grandeur in the brow!--what
energy in the mouth, and downward bend of the head! It is pleasant even
to imagine we gaze upon the likeness of so bright a spirit;--and confess,
at least of Cicero, that in reading the aspirations and outpourings of
his mind, you have felt your apathy to Fame melting away; you have shared
the desire to live to the future age,--'the longing after immortality?"

"Was it not that longing," replied Aram, "which gave to the character of
Cicero its poorest and most frivolous infirmity? Has it not made him,
glorious as he is despite of it, a byword in the mouths of every
schoolboy? Wherever you mention his genius, do you not hear an appendix
on his vanity?"

"Yet without that vanity, that desire for a name with posterity, would he
have been equally great--would he equally have cultivated his genius?"

"Probably, my Lord, he would not have equally cultivated his genius, but
in reality he might have been equally great. A man often injures his mind
by the means that increase his genius. You think this, my Lord, a
paradox, but examine it. How many men of genius have been but ordinary
men, take them from the particular objects in which they shine. Why is
this, but that in cultivating one branch of intellect they neglect the
rest? Nay, the very torpor of the reasoning faculty has often kindled the
imaginative. Lucretius composed his sublime poem under the influence of a
delirium. The susceptibilities that we create or refine by the pursuit of
one object, weaken our general reason; and I may compare with some
justice the powers of the mind to the faculties of the body, in which
squinting is occasioned by an inequality of strength in the eyes, and
discordance of voice by the same inequality in the ears."

"I believe you are right," said the Earl; "yet I own I willingly forgive
Cicero for his vanity, if it contributed to the production of his
orations and his essays; and he is a greater man, even with his vanity
unconquered, than if he had conquered his foible, and in doing so taken
away the incitements to his genius."

"A greater man in the world's eye, my Lord, but scarcely in reality. Had
Homer written his Iliad and then burnt it, would his genius have been
less? The world would have known nothing of him, but would he have been a
less extraordinary man on that account? We are too apt, my Lord, to
confound greatness and fame.

"There is one circumstance," added Aram, after a pause, "that should
diminish our respect for renown. Errors of life, as well as foibles of
characters, are often the real enhancers of celebrity. Without his
errors, I doubt whether Henri Quatre would have become the idol of a
people. How many Whartons has the world known, who, deprived of their
frailties, had been inglorious! The light that you so admire, reaches you
only through the distance of time, on account of the angles and
unevenness of the body whence it emanates. Were the surface of the moon
smooth, it would be invisible."

"I admire your illustrations," said the Earl; "but I reluctantly submit
to your reasonings. You would then neglect your powers, lest they should
lead you into errors?"

"Pardon me, my Lord; it is because I think all the powers should be
cultivated, that I quarrel with the exclusive cultivation of one. And it
is only because I would strengthen the whole mind that I dissent from the
reasonings of those who tell you to consult your genius."

"But your genius may serve mankind more than this general cultivation of

"My Lord," replied Aram, with a mournful cloud upon his countenance;
"that argument may have weight with those who think mankind can be
effectually served, though they may be often dazzled, by the labours of
an individual. But, indeed, this perpetual talk of 'mankind' signifies
nothing: each of us consults his proper happiness, and we consider him a
madman who ruins his own peace of mind by an everlasting fretfulness of

This was a doctrine that half pleased, half displeased the Earl--it
shadowed forth the most dangerous notions which Aram entertained.

"Well, well," said the noble host, as, after a short contest on the
ground of his guest's last remark, they left off where they began, "Let
us drop these general discussions: I have a particular proposition to
unfold. We have, I trust, Mr. Aram, seen enough of each other, to feel
that we can lay a sure foundation for mutual esteem. For my part, I own
frankly, that I have never met with one who has inspired me with a
sincerer admiration. I am desirous that your talents and great learning
should be known in the widest sphere. You may despise fame, but you must
permit your friends the weakness to wish you justice, and themselves
triumph. You know my post in the present administration--the place of my
secretary is one of great trust--some influence, and large emolument. I
offer it to you--accept it, and you will confer upon me an honour and an
obligation. You will have your own separate house, or apartments in mine,
solely appropriated to your use. Your privacy will never be disturbed.
Every arrangement shall be made for yourself and your bride, that either
of you can suggest. Leisure for your own pursuits you will have, too, in
abundance--there are others who will perform all that is toilsome in your
office. In London, you will see around you the most eminent living men of
all nations, and in all pursuits. If you contract, (which believe me is
possible--it is a tempting game,) any inclination towards public life,
you will have the most brilliant opportunities afforded you, and I
foretell you the most signal success. Stay yet one moment:--for this you
will owe me no thanks. Were I not sensible that I consult my own
interests in this proposal, I should be courtier enough to suppress it."

"My Lord," said Aram, in a voice which, in spite of its calmness,
betrayed that he was affected, "it seldom happens to a man of my secluded
habits, and lowly pursuits, to have the philosophy he affects put to so
severe a trial. I am grateful to you--deeply grateful for an offer so
munificent--so undeserved. I am yet more grateful that it allows me to
sound the strength of my own heart, and to find that I did not too highly
rate it. Look, my Lord, from the spot where we now stand" (the moon had
risen, and they had now returned to the terrace): "in the vale below, and
far among those trees, lies my home. More than two years ago, I came
thither, to fix the resting-place of a sad and troubled spirit. There
have I centered all my wishes and my hopes; and there may I breathe my
last! My Lord, you will not think me ungrateful, that my choice is made;
and you will not blame my motive, though you may despise my wisdom."

"But," said the Earl astonished, "you cannot foresee all the advantages
you would renounce. At your age--with your intellect--to choose the
living sepulchre of a hermitage--it was wise to reconcile yourself to it,
but not to prefer it! Nay, nay; consider--pause. I am in no haste for
your decision; and what advantages have you in your retreat, that you
will not possess in a greater degree with me? Quiet?--I pledge it to you
under my roof. Solitude?--you shall have it at your will. Books?--what
are those which you, which any individual possesses, to the public
institutions, the magnificent collections, of the metropolis? What else
is it you enjoy yonder, and cannot enjoy with me?"

"Liberty!" said Aram energetically.--"Liberty! the wild sense of
independence. Could I exchange the lonely stars and the free air, for the
poor lights and feverish atmosphere of worldly life? Could I surrender my
mood, with its thousand eccentricities and humours--its cloud and
shadow--to the eyes of strangers, or veil it from their gaze by the
irksomeness of an eternal hypocrisy? No, my Lord! I am too old to turn
disciple to the world! You promise me solitude and quiet. What charm
would they have for me, if I felt they were held from the generosity of
another? The attraction of solitude is only in its independence. You
offer me the circle, but not the magic which made it holy. Books! They,
years since, would have tempted me; but those whose wisdom I have already
drained, have taught me now almost enough: and the two Books, whose
interest can never be exhausted--Nature and my own Heart--will suffice
for the rest of life. My Lord, I require no time for consideration."

"And you positively refuse me?"

"Gratefully refuse you."

The Earl walked peevishly away for one moment; but it was not in his
nature to lose himself for more.

"Mr. Aram," said he frankly, and holding out his hand; "you have chosen
nobly, if not wisely; and though I cannot forgive you for depriving me of
such a companion, I thank you for teaching me such a lesson. Henceforth,
I will believe, that philosophy may exist in practice; and that a
contempt for wealth and for honours, is not the mere profession of
discontent. This is the first time, in a various and experienced life,
that I have found a man sincerely deaf to the temptations of the
world,--and that man of such endowments! If ever you see cause to alter a
theory that I still think erroneous, though lofty--remember me; and at
all times, and on all occasions," he added, with a smile, "when a friend
becomes a necessary evil, call to mind our starlit walk on the castle

Aram did not mention to Lester, or even Madeline, the above conversation.
The whole of the next day he shut himself up at home; and when he again
appeared at the Manor-house, he heard with evident satisfaction that the
Earl had been suddenly summoned on state affairs to London.

There was an unaccountable soreness in Aram's mind, which made him feel a
resentment--a suspicion against all who sought to lure him from his
retreat. "Thank Heaven!" thought he, when he heard of the Earl's
departure; "we shall not meet for another year!" He was
mistaken.--Another year!



      Being got out of town in the road to Penaflor, master of my own
      action, and forty good ducats; the first thing I did was to
      give my mule her head, and to go at what pace she pleased.
             . . . . . . . . . . . . .
      I left them in the inn, and continued my journey; I was hardly
      got half-a-mile farther, when I met a cavalier very genteel,
                  --Gil Blas.

It was broad and sunny noon on the second day of their journey, as Walter
Lester, and the valorous attendant with whom it had pleased Fate to endow
him, rode slowly into a small town in which the Corporal in his own
heart, had resolved to bait his roman-nosed horse and refresh himself.
Two comely inns had the younger traveller of the twain already passed
with an indifferent air, as if neither bait nor refreshment made any part
of the necessary concerns of this habitable world. And in passing each of
the said hostelries, the roman-nosed horse had uttered a snort of
indignant surprise, and the worthy Corporal had responded to the
quadrupedal remonstrance by a loud hem. It seemed, however, that Walter
heard neither of the above significant admonitions; and now the town was
nearly passed, and a steep hill that seemed winding away into eternity,
already presented itself to the rueful gaze of the Corporal.

"The boy's clean mad," grunted Bunting to himself--"must do my duty to
him--give him a hint."

Pursuant to this notable and conscientious determination, Bunting jogged
his horse into a trot, and coming alongside of Walter, put his hand to
his hat and said:

"Weather warm, your honour--horses knocked up--next town far as
hell!--halt a bit here--augh!"

"Ha! that is very true, Bunting; I had quite forgotten the length of our
journey. But see, there is a sign-post yonder, we will take advantage of

"Augh! and your honour's right--fit for the forty-second;" said the
Corporal, falling back; and in a few moments he and his charger found
themselves, to their mutual delight, entering the yard of a small, but
comfortable-looking inn.

The Host, a man of a capacious stomach and a rosy cheek--in short, a host
whom your heart warms to see, stepped forth immediately, held the stirrup
for the young Squire, (for the Corporal's movements were too stately to
be rapid,) and ushered him with a bow, a smile, and a flourish of his
napkin, into one of those little quaint rooms, with cupboards bright with
high glasses and old china, that it pleases us still to find extant in
the old-fashioned inns, in our remoter roads and less Londonized

Mine host was an honest fellow, and not above his profession; he stirred
the fire, dusted the table, brought the bill of fare, and a newspaper
seven days old, and then bustled away to order the dinner and chat with
the Corporal. That accomplished hero had already thrown the stables into
commotion, and frightening the two ostlers from their attendance on the
steeds of more peaceable men, had set them both at leading his own horse
and his master's to and fro' the yard, to be cooled into comfort and

He was now busy in the kitchen, where he had seized the reins of
government, sent the scullion to see if the hens had laid any fresh eggs,
and drawn upon himself the objurgations of a very thin cook with a

"Tell you, ma'am, you are wrong--quite wrong--have seen the world--old
soldier--and know how to fry eggs better than any she in the three
kingdoms--hold jaw--mind your own business--where's the

So completely did the Corporal feel himself in his element, while he was
putting everybody else out of the way; and so comfortable did he find his
new quarters, that he resolved that the "bait" should be at all events
prolonged until his good cheer had been deliberately digested, and his
customary pipe duly enjoyed.

Accordingly, but not till Walter had dined, for our man of the world knew
that it is the tendency of that meal to abate our activity, while it
increases our good humour, the Corporal presented himself to his master,
with a grave countenance.

"Greatly vexed, your honour--who'd have thought it?--but those large
animals are bad on long march."

"Why what's the matter now, Bunting?"

"Only, Sir, that the brown horse is so done up, that I think it would be
as much as life's worth to go any farther for several hours."

"Very well, and if I propose staying here till the evening?--we have
ridden far, and are in no great hurry."

"To be sure not--sure and certain not," cried the Corporal. "Ah, Master,
you know how to command, I see. Nothing like discretion--discretion, Sir,
is a jewel. Sir, it is more than jewel--it's a pair of stirrups!"

"A what? Bunting."

"Pair of stirrups, your honour. Stirrups help us to get on, so does
discretion; to get off, ditto discretion. Men without stirrups look fine,
ride bold, tire soon: men without discretion cut dash, but knock up all
of a crack. Stirrups--but what sinnifies? Could say much more, your
honour, but don't love chatter."

"Your simile is ingenious enough, if not poetical," said Walter; "but it
does not hold good to the last. When a man falls, his discretion should
preserve him; but he is often dragged in the mud by his stirrups."

"Beg pardon--you're wrong," quoth the Corporal, nothing taken by
surprise; "spoke of the new-fangled stirrups that open, crank, when we
fall, and let us out of the scrape." [Note: Of course the Corporal does
not speak of the patent stirrup: that would be an anachronism.]

Satisfied with this repartee, the Corporal now (like an experienced
jester) withdrew to leave its full effect on the admiration of his
master. A little before sunset the two travellers renewed their journey.

"I have loaded the pistols, Sir," said the Corporal, pointing to the
holsters on Walter's saddle. "It is eighteen miles off to the next
town--will be dark long before we get there."

"You did very right, Bunting, though I suppose there is not much danger
to be apprehended from the gentlemen of the highway."

"Why the Landlord do say the revarse, your honour,--been many robberies
lately in these here parts."

"Well, we are fairly mounted, and you are a formidable-looking fellow,

"Oh! your honour," quoth the Corporal, turning his head stiffly away,
with a modest simper, "You makes me blush; though, indeed, bating that I
have the military air, and am more in the prime of life, your honour is
well nigh as awkward a gentleman as myself to come across."

"Much obliged for the compliment!" said Walter, pushing his horse a
little forward--the Corporal took the hint and fell back.

It was now that beautiful hour of twilight when lovers grow especially
tender. The young traveller every instant threw his dark eyes upward, and
thought--not of Madeline, but her sister. The Corporal himself grew
pensive, and in a few moments his whole soul was absorbed in
contemplating the forlorn state of the abandoned Jacobina.

In this melancholy and silent mood, they proceeded onward till the shades
began to deepen; and by the light of the first stars Walter beheld a
small, spare gentleman riding before him on an ambling nag, with cropped
ears and mane. The rider, as he now came up to him, seemed to have passed
the grand climacteric, but looked hale and vigorous; and there was a
certain air of staid and sober aristocracy about him, which involuntarily
begat your respect.

He looked hard at Walter as the latter approached, and still more hard at
the Corporal. He seemed satisfied with the survey.

"Sir," said he, slightly touching his hat to Walter, and with an
agreeable though rather sharp intonation of voice, "I am very glad to see
a gentleman of your appearance travelling my road. Might I request the
honour of being allowed to join you so far as you go? To say the truth, I
am a little afraid of encountering those industrious gentlemen who have
been lately somewhat notorious in these parts; and it may be better for
all of us to ride in as strong a party as possible."

"Sir," replied Walter, eyeing in his turn the speaker, and in his turn
also feeling satisfied with the scrutiny, "I am going to--, where I shall
pass the night on my way to town; and shall be very happy in your

The Corporal uttered a loud hem; that penetrating man of the world was
not too well pleased with the advances of a stranger.

"What fools them boys be!" thought he, very discontentedly; "howsomever,
the man does seem like a decent country gentleman, and we are two to one:
besides, he's old, little, and--augh, baugh--I dare say, we are safe
enough, for all he can do."

The Stranger possessed a polished and well-bred demeanour; he talked
freely and copiously, and his conversation was that of a shrewd and
cultivated man. He informed Walter that, not only the roads had been
infested by those more daring riders common at that day, and to whose
merits we ourselves have endeavoured to do justice in a former work of
blessed memory, but that several houses had been lately attempted, and
two absolutely plundered.

"For myself," he added, "I have no money, to signify, about my person: my
watch is only valuable to me for the time it has been in my possession;
and if the rogues robbed one civilly, I should not so much mind
encountering them; but they are a desperate set, and use violence when
there is nothing to be got by it. Have you travelled far to-day, Sir?"

"Some six or seven-and-twenty miles," replied Walter. "I am proceeding to
London, and not willing to distress my horses by too rapid a journey."

"Very right, very good; and horses, Sir, are not now what they used to be
when I was a young man. Ah, what wagers I used to win then! Horses
galloped, Sir, when I was twenty; they trotted when I was thirty-five;
but they only amble now. Sir, if it does not tax your patience too
severely, let us give our nags some hay and water at the half-way house

Walter assented; they stopped at a little solitary inn by the side of the
road, and the host came out with great obsequiousness when he heard the
voice of Walter's companion.

"Ah, Sir Peter!" said he, "and how be'st your honour--fine night, Sir
Peter--hope you'll get home safe, Sir Peter."

"Safe--ay! indeed, Jock, I hope so too. Has all been quiet here this last
night or two?"

"Whish, Sir!" whispered my host, jerking his thumb back towards the
house; "there be two ugly customers within I does not know: they have got
famous good horses, and are drinking hard. I can't say as I knows any
thing agen 'em, but I think your honours had better be jogging."

"Aha! thank ye, Jock, thank ye. Never mind the hay now," said Sir Peter,
pulling away the reluctant mouth of his nag; and turning to Walter,
"Come, Sir, let us move on. Why, zounds! where is that servant of yours?"

Walter now perceived, with great vexation, that the Corporal had
disappeared within the alehouse; and looking through the casement, on
which the ruddy light of the fire played cheerily, he saw the man of the
world lifting a little measure of "the pure creature" to his lips; and
close by the hearth, at a small, round table, covered with glasses,
pipes, he beheld two men eyeing the tall Corporal very wistfully, and of
no prepossessing appearance themselves. One, indeed, as the fire played
full on his countenance, was a person of singularly rugged and sinister
features; and this man, he now remarked, was addressing himself with a
grim smile to the Corporal, who, setting down his little "noggin,"
regarded him with a stare, which appeared to Walter to denote
recognition. This survey was the operation of a moment; for Sir Peter
took it upon himself to despatch the landlord into the house, to order
forth the unseasonable carouser; and presently the Corporal stalked out,
and having solemnly remounted, the whole trio set onward in a brisk trot.
As soon as they were without sight of the ale-house, the Corporal brought
the aquiline profile of his gaunt steed on a level with his master's

"Augh, Sir!" said he, with more than his usual energy of utterance, "I
see'd him!"

"Him! whom?"

"Man with ugly face what drank at Peter Dealtry's, and knew Master
Aram,--knew him in a crack,--sure he's a Tartar!"

"What! does your servant recognize one of those suspicious fellows whom
Jock warned us against?" cried Sir Peter, pricking up his ears.

"So it seems, Sir," said Walter: "he saw him once before, many miles
hence; but I fancy he knows nothing really to his prejudice."

"Augh!" cried the Corporal; "he's d--d ugly any how!"

"That's a tall fellow of yours," said Sir Peter, jerking up his chin with
that peculiar motion common to the brief in stature, when they are
covetous of elongation. "He looks military:--has he been in the army? Ay,
I thought so; one of the King of Prussia's grenadiers, I suppose? Faith,
I hear hoofs behind!"

"Hem!" cried the Corporal, again coming alongside of his master. "Beg
pardon, Sir--served in the 42nd--nothing like regular line--stragglers
always cut off--had rather not straggle just now--enemy behind!"

Walter looked back, and saw two men approaching them at a hand-gallop.
"We are a match at least for them, Sir," said he, to his new

"I am devilish glad I met you," was Sir Peter's rather selfish reply.

"'Tis he! 'tis the devil!" grunted the Corporal, as the two men now
gained their side and pulled up; and Walter recognised the faces he had
marked in the ale-house.

"Your servant, gentlemen," quoth the uglier of the two; "you ride fast--"

"And ready;--bother--baugh!" chimed in the Corporal, plucking a gigantic
pistol from his holster, without any farther ceremony.

"Glad to hear it, Sir!" said the hard-featured Stranger, nothing dashed.
"But I can tell you a secret!"

"What's that--augh?" said the Corporal, cocking his pistol.

"Whoever hurts you, friend, cheats the gallows!" replied the stranger,
laughing, and spurring on his horse, to be out of reach of any practical
answer with which the Corporal might favour him. But Bunting was a
prudent man, and not apt to be choleric.

"Bother!" said he, and dropped his pistol, as the other stranger followed
his ill-favoured comrade.

"You see we are too strong for them!" cried Sir Peter, gaily; "evidently
highwaymen! How very fortunate that I should have fallen in with you!"

A shower of rain now began to fall. Sir Peter looked serious--he halted
abruptly--unbuckled his cloak, which had been strapped before his
saddle--wrapped himself up in it--buried his face in the collar--muffled
his chin with a red handkerchief, which he took out of his pocket, and
then turning to Walter, he said to him, "What! no cloak, Sir? no wrapper
even? Upon my soul I am very sorry I have not another handkerchief to
lend you!"

"Man of the world--baugh!" grunted the Corporal, and his heart quite
warmed to the stranger he had at first taken for a robber.

"And now, Sir," said Sir Peter, patting his nag, and pulling up his
cloak-collar still higher, "let us go gently; there is no occasion for
hurry. Why distress our horses?--"

"Really, Sir," said Walter, smiling, "though I have a great regard for my
horse, I have some for myself; and I should rather like to be out of this
rain as soon as possible."

"Oh, ah! you have no cloak. I forgot that; to be sure--to be sure, let us
trot on, gently--though--gently. Well, Sir, as I was saying, horses are
not so swift as they were. The breed is bought up by the French! I
remember once, Johnny Courtland and I, after dining at my house, till the
champagne had played the dancing-master to our brains, mounted our
horses, and rode twenty miles for a cool thousand the winner. I lost it,
Sir, by a hair's breadth; but I lost it on purpose; it would have half
ruined Johnny Courtland to have paid me, and he had that delicacy,
Sir,--he had that delicacy, that he would not have suffered me to refuse
taking his money,--so what could I do, but lose on purpose? You see I had
no alternative!"

"Pray, Sir," said Walter, charmed and astonished at so rare an instance
of the generosity of human friendships--"Pray, Sir, did I not hear you
called Sir Peter, by the landlord of the little inn? can it be, since you
speak so familiarly of Mr. Courtland, that I have the honour to address
Sir Peter Hales?"

"Indeed that is my name," replied the gentleman, with some surprise in
his voice. "But I have never had the honour of seeing you before."

"Perhaps my name is not unfamiliar to you," said Walter. "And among my
papers I have a letter addressed to you from my uncle Rowland Lester.

"God bless me!" cried Sir Peter, "What Rowy!--well, indeed I am overjoyed
to hear of him. So you are his nephew? Pray tell me all about him, a
wild, gay, rollicking fellow still, eh?" Always fencing, sa--sa! or
playing at billiards, or hot in a steeple chace; there was not a jollier,
better-humoured fellow in the world than Rowy Lester.

"You forget, Sir Peter," said Walter, laughing at a description so unlike
his sober and steady uncle, "that some years have passed since the time
you speak of."

"Ah, and so there have," replied Sir Peter; "and what does your uncle say
of me?"

"That, when he knew you, you were generosity, frankness, hospitality

"Humph, humph!" said Sir Peter, looking extremely disconcerted, a
confusion which Walter imputed solely to modesty. "I was hairbrained
foolish fellow then, quite a boy, quite a boy; but bless me, it rains
sharply, and you have no cloak. But we are close on the town now. An
excellent inn is the 'Duke of Cumberland's Head,' you will have charming
accommodation there."

"What, Sir Peter, you know this part of the country well!"

"Pretty well, pretty well; indeed I live near, that is to say not very
far from, the town. This turn, if you please. We separate here. I have
brought you a little out of your way--not above a mile or two--for fear
the robbers should attack me if I was left alone. I had quite forgot you
had no cloak. That's your road--this mine. Aha! so Rowy Lester is still
alive and hearty, the same excellent, wild fellow, no doubt. Give my
kindest remembrance to him when you write. Adieu, Sir."

This latter speech having been delivered during a halt, the Corporal had
heard it: he grinned delightedly as he touched his hat to Sir Peter, who
now trotted off, and muttered to his young master:--

"Most sensible man, that, Sir!"


               READ TO SEE.

          Nihil est aliud magnum quam multa minuta.
              --Vetus Auctor.

          [Nor is their anything that hath so great
          a power as the aggregate of small things.]

"And so," said Walter, the next morning to the head waiter, who was
busied about their preparations for breakfast; "and so, Sir Peter Hales,
you say, lives within a mile of the town?"

"Scarcely a mile, Sir,--black or green? you passed the turn to his house
last night;--Sir, the eggs are quite fresh this morning. This inn belongs
to Sir Peter."

"Oh!--Does Sir Peter see much company?"

The waiter smiled.

"Sir Peter gives very handsome dinners, Sir; twice a year! A most clever
gentleman, Sir Peter! They say he is the best manager of property in the
whole county. Do you like Yorkshire cake?--toast? yes, Sir!"

"So so," said Walter to himself, "a pretty true description my uncle gave
me of this gentleman. 'Ask me too often to dinner, indeed!'--'offer me
money if I want it!'--'spend a month at his house!'--'most hospitable
fellow in the world!'--My uncle must have been dreaming."

Walter had yet to learn, that the men most prodigal when they have
nothing but expectations, are often most thrifty when they know the
charms of absolute possession. Besides, Sir Peter had married a Scotch
lady, and was blessed with eleven children! But was Sir Peter Hales much
altered? Sir Peter Hales was exactly the same man in reality that he
always had been. Once he was selfish in extravagance; he was now selfish
in thrift. He had always pleased himself, and damned other people; that
was exactly what he valued himself on doing now. But the most absurd
thing about Sir Peter was, that while he was for ever extracting use from
every one else, he was mightily afraid of being himself put to use. He
was in parliament, and noted for never giving a frank out of his own
family. Yet withal, Sir Peter Hales was still an agreeable fellow; nay,
he was more liked and much more esteemed than ever. There is something
conciliatory in a saving disposition; but people put themselves in a
great passion when a man is too liberal with his own. It is an insult on
their own prudence. "What right has he to be so extravagant? What an
example to our servants!" But your close neighbour does not humble you.
You love your close neighbour; you respect your close neighbour; you have
your harmless jest against him--but he is a most respectable man.

"A letter, Sir, and a parcel, from Sir Peter Hales," said the waiter,

The parcel was a bulky, angular, awkward packet of brown paper, sealed
once and tied with the smallest possible quantity of string; it was
addressed to Mr. James Holwell, Saddler,--Street,--The letter was
to--Lester Esq., and ran thus, written in a very neat, stiff, Italian

"Dr Sr,

"I trust you had no difficulty in findg ye Duke of Cumberland's Head, it
is an excellent In.

"I greatly regt yt you are unavoidy oblig'd to go on to Londn; for,
otherwise I shd have had the sincerest please in seeing you here at dinr,
introducing you to Ly Hales. Anothr time I trust we may be more

"As you pass thro' ye litte town of ..., exactly 21 miles from hence, on
the road to Londn, will you do me the favr to allow your servt to put the
little parcel I send into his pockt, drop it as directd. It is a bridle I
am forc'd to return. Country workn are such bungrs.

"I shd most certainy have had ye honr to wait on you persony, but the
rain has given me a mo seve cold;--hope you have escap'd, tho' by ye by,
you had no cloke, nor wrappr!

"My kindest regards to your mo excellent unce. I am quite sure he's the
same fine merry fellw he always was,--tell him so!

"Dr Sr, Yours faithy,

"Peter Grindlescrew Hales.

"P.S. You know perhs yt poor Jno Courtd, your uncle's mo intime friend,
lives in ..., the town in which your servt will drop ye bride. He is much
alter'd,--poor Jno!"

"Altered! alteration then seems the fashion with my uncle's friends!"
thought Walter, as he rang for the Corporal, and consigned to his charge
the unsightly parcel.

"It is to be carried twenty-one miles at the request of the gentleman we
met last night,--a most sensible man, Bunting."

"Augh--whaugh,--your honour!" grunted the Corporal, thrusting the bridle
very discontentedly into his pocket, where it annoyed him the whole
journey, by incessantly getting between his seat of leather and his seat
of honour. It is a comfort to the inexperienced, when one man of the
world smarts from the sagacity of another; we resign ourselves more
willingly to our fate. Our travellers resumed their journey, and in a few
minutes, from the cause we have before assigned, the Corporal became
thoroughly out of humour.

"Pray, Bunting," said Walter, calling his attendant to his side, "do you
feel sure that the man we met yesterday at the alehouse, is the same you
saw at Grassdale some months ago?"

"Damn it!" cried the Corporal quickly, and clapping his hand behind.

"How, Sir!"

"Beg pardon, your honour--slip tongue, but this confounded

"Why don't you carry it in your hand?"

"'Tis so ungainsome, and be d--d to it; and how can I hold parcel and
pull in this beast, which requires two hands; his mouth's as hard as a

"You have not answered my question yet?"

"Beg pardon, your honour. Yes, certain sure the man's the same; phiz not
to be mistaken."

"It is strange," said Walter, musing, "that Aram should know a man, who,
if not a highwayman as we suspected, is at least of rugged manner and
disreputable appearance; it is strange too, that Aram always avoided
recurring to the acquaintance, though he confessed it." With this he
broke into a trot, and the Corporal into an oath.

They arrived by noon, at the little town specified by Sir Peter, and in
their way to the inn (for Walter resolved to rest there), passed by the
saddler's house. It so chanced that Master Holwell was an adept in his
craft, and that a newly-invented hunting-saddle at the window caught
Walter's notice. The artful saddler persuaded the young traveller to
dismount and look at "the most convenientest and handsomest saddle what
ever was seed;" and the Corporal having lost no time in getting rid of
his encumbrance, Walter dismissed him to the inn with the horses, and
after purchasing the saddle, in exchange for his own, he sauntered into
the shop to look at a new snaffle. A gentleman's servant was in the shop
at the time, bargaining for a riding whip; and the shopboy, among others,
shewed him a large old-fashioned one, with a tarnished silver handle.
Grooms have no taste for antiquity, and in spite of the silverhandle, the
servant pushed it aside with some contempt. Some jest he uttered at the
time, chanced to attract Walter's notice to the whip; he took it up
carelessly, and perceived with great surprise that it bore his own crest,
a bittern, on the handle. He examined it now with attention, and
underneath the crest were the letters G. L., his father's initials.

"How long have you had this whip?" said he to the saddler, concealing the
emotion, which this token of his lost parent naturally excited.

"Oh, a nation long time, Sir," replied Mr. Holwell; "it is a queer old
thing, but really is not amiss, if the silver was scrubbed up a bit, and
a new lash put on; you may have it a bargain, Sir, if so be you have
taken a fancy to it."

"Can you at all recollect how you came by it," said Walter, earnestly;
"the fact is that I see by the crest and initials, that it belonged to a
person whom I have some interest in discovering."

"Why let me see," said the saddler, scratching the tip of his right ear,
"'tis so long ago sin I had it, I quite forgets how I came by it."

"Oh, is it that whip, John?" said the wife, who had been attracted from
the back parlour by the sight of the handsome young stranger. "Don't you
remember, it's a many year ago, a gentleman who passed a day with Squire
Courtland, when he first come to settle here, called and left the whip to
have a new thong put to it. But I fancies he forgot it, Sir, (turning to
Walter,) for he never called for it again; and the Squire's people said
as how he was a gone into Yorkshire; so there the whip's been ever sin. I
remembers it, Sir, 'cause I kept it in the little parlour nearly a year,
to be in the way like."

"Ah! I thinks I do remember it now," said Master Holwell. "I should think
it's a matter of twelve yearn ago. I suppose I may sell it without fear
of the gentleman's claiming it again."

"Not more than twelve years!" said Walter, anxiously, for it was some
seventeen years since his father had been last heard of by his family.

"Why it may be thirteen, Sir, or so, more or less, I can't say exactly."

"More likely fourteen!" said the Dame, "it can't be much more, Sir, we
have only been a married fifteen year come next Christmas! But my old man
here, is ten years older nor I."

"And the gentleman, you say, was at Mr. Courtland's."

"Yes, Sir, that I'm sure of," replied the intelligent Mrs. Holwell; "they
said he had come lately from Ingee."

Walter now despairing of hearing more, purchased the whip; and blessing
the worldly wisdom of Sir Peter Hales, that had thus thrown him on a
clue, which, however faint and distant, he resolved to follow up, he
inquired the way to Squire Courtland's, and proceeded thither at once.



   God's my life, did you ever hear the like, what a strange man is
What you have possessed me withall, I'll discharge it amply.
--Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Humour.

Mr. Courtland's house was surrounded by a high wall, and stood at the
outskirts of the town. A little wooden door buried deep within the wall,
seemed the only entrance. At this Walter paused, and after twice applying
to the bell, a footman of a peculiarly grave and sanctimonious
appearance, opened the door.

In reply to Walter's inquiries, he informed him that Mr. Courtland was
very unwell, and never saw "Company."--Walter, however, producing from
his pocket-book the introductory letter given him by his father, slipped
it into the servant's hand, accompanied by half a crown, and begged to be
announced as a gentleman on very particular business.

"Well, Sir, you can step in," said the servant, giving way; "but my
master is very poorly, very poorly indeed."

"Indeed, I am sorry to hear it: has he been long so?"

"Going on for ten--years, sir!" replied the servant, with great gravity;
and opening the door of the house which stood within a few paces of the
wall, on a singularly flat and bare grass-plot, he showed him into a
room, and left him alone.

The first thing that struck Walter in this apartment, was its remarkable
lightness. Though not large, it had no less than seven windows. Two sides
of the wall, seemed indeed all window! Nor were these admittants of the
celestial beam-shaded by any blind or curtain,--

   "The gaudy, babbling, and remorseless day"

made itself thoroughly at home in this airy chamber. Nevertheless, though
so light, it seemed to Walter any thing but cheerful. The sun had
blistered and discoloured the painting of the wainscot, originally of a
pale sea-green; there was little furniture in the apartment; one table in
the centre, some half a dozen chairs, and a very small Turkey-carpet,
which did not cover one tenth part of the clean, cold, smooth, oak
boards, constituted all the goods and chattels visible in the room. But
what particularly added effect to the bareness of all within, was the
singular and laborious bareness of all without. From each of these seven
windows, nothing but a forlorn green flat of some extent was to be seen;
there was not a tree, or a shrub, or a flower in the whole expanse,
although by several stumps of trees near the house, Walter perceived that
the place had not always been so destitute of vegetable life.

While he was yet looking upon this singular baldness of scene, the
servant re-entered with his master's compliments, and a message that he
should be happy to see any relation of Mr. Lester.

Walter accordingly followed the footman into an apartment possessing
exactly the same peculiarities as the former one; viz. a most
disproportionate plurality of windows, a commodious scantiness of
furniture, and a prospect without, that seemed as if the house had been
built on the middle of Salisbury plain.

Mr. Courtland, himself a stout man, and still preserving the rosy hues
and comely features, though certainly not the same hilarious expression,
which Lester had attributed to him, sat in a large chair, close by the
centre window, which was open. He rose and shook Walter by the hand with
great cordiality.

"Sir, I am delighted to see you! How is your worthy uncle? I only wish he
were with you--you dine with me of course. Thomas, tell the cook to add a
tongue and chicken to the roast beef--no,--young gentleman, I will have
no excuse; sit down, sit down; pray come near the window; do you not find
it dreadfully close? not a breath of air? This house is so choked up;
don't you find it so, eh? Ah, I see, you can scarcely gasp."

"My dear Sir, you are mistaken; I am rather cold, on the contrary: nor
did I ever in my life see a more airy house than yours."

"I try to make it so, Sir, but I can't succeed; if you had seen what it
was, when I first bought it! a garden here, Sir; a copse there; a
wilderness, God wot! at the back: and a row of chesnut trees in the
front! You may conceive the consequence, Sir; I had not been long here,
not two years, before my health was gone, Sir, gone--the d--d vegetable
life sucked it out of me. The trees kept away all the air--I was nearly
suffocated, without, at first, guessing the cause. But at length, though
not till I had been withering away for five years, I discovered the
origin of my malady. I went to work, Sir; I plucked up the cursed garden,
I cut down the infernal chesnuts, I made a bowling green of the
diabolical wilderness, but I fear it is too late. I am dying by
inches,--have been dying ever since. The malaria has effectually tainted
my constitution."

Here Mr. Courtland heaved a deep sigh, and shook his head with a most
gloomy expression of countenance.

"Indeed, Sir," said Walter, "I should not, to look at you, imagine that
you suffered under any complaint. You seem still the same picture of
health, that my uncle describes you to have been when you knew him so
many years ago."

"Yes, Sir, yes; the confounded malaria fixed the colour to my cheeks; the
blood is stagnant, Sir. Would to God I could see myself a shade
paler!--the blood does not flow; I am like a pool in a citizen's garden,
with a willow at each corner;--but a truce to my complaints. You see,
Sir, I am no hypochondriac, as my fool of a doctor wants to persuade me:
a hypochondriac shudders at every breath of air, trembles when a door is
open, and looks upon a window as the entrance of death. But I, Sir, never
can have enough air; thorough draught or east wind, it is all the same to
me, so that I do but breathe. Is that like hypochondria?--pshaw!
But tell me, young gentleman, about your uncle; is he quite
well,--stout,--hearty,--does he breathe easily,--no oppression?"

"Sir, he enjoys exceedingly good health: he did please himself with the
hope that I should give him good tidings of yourself, and another of his
old friends whom I accidentally saw yesterday,--Sir Peter Hales."

"Hales, Peter Hales!--ah! a clever little fellow that: how delighted
Lester's good heart will be to hear that little Peter is so improved;--no
longer a dissolute, harum-scarum fellow, throwing away his money, and
always in debt. No, no; a respectable steady character, an excellent
manager, an active member of Parliament, domestic in private life,--Oh! a
very worthy man, Sir, a very worthy man!"

"He seems altered indeed, Sir," said Walter, who was young enough in the
world to be surprised at this eulogy; "but is still agreeable and fond of
anecdote. He told me of his race with you for a thousand guineas."

"Ah, don't talk of those days," said Mr. Courtland, shaking his head
pensively, "it makes me melancholy. Yes, Peter ought to recollect that,
for he has never paid me to this day; affected to treat it as a jest, and
swore he could have beat me if he would. But indeed it was my fault, Sir;
Peter had not then a thousand farthings in the world, and when he grew
rich, he became a steady character, and I did not like to remind him of
our former follies. Aha! can I offer you a pinch of snuff?--You look
feverish, Sir; surely this room must affect you, though you are too
polite to say so. Pray open that door, and then this window, and put your
chair right between the two. You have no notion how refreshing the
draught is."

Walter politely declined the proffered ague, and thinking he had now made
sufficient progress in the acquaintance of this singular
non-hypochondriac to introduce the subject he had most at heart, hastened
to speak of his father.

"I have chanced, Sir," said he, "very unexpectedly upon something that
once belonged to my poor father;" here he showed the whip. "I find from
the saddler of whom I bought it, that the owner was at your house some
twelve or fourteen years ago. I do not know whether you are aware that
our family have heard nothing respecting my father's fate for a
considerably longer time than that which has elapsed since you appear to
have seen him, if at least I may hope that he was your guest, and the
owner of this whip; and any news you can give me of him, any clue by
which he can possibly be traced, would be to us all--to me in
particular--an inestimable obligation."

"Your father!" said Mr. Courtland. "Oh,--ay, your uncle's brother. What
was his Christian name?--Henry?"


"Ay, exactly; Geoffrey! What, not been heard of?--his family not know
where he is? A sad thing, Sir; but he was always a wild fellow; now here,
now there, like a flash of lightning. But it is true, it is true, he did
stay a day here, several years ago, when I first bought the place. I can
tell you all about it;--but you seem agitated,--do come nearer the
window:--there, that's right. Well, Sir, it is, as I said, a great many
years ago,--perhaps fourteen,--and I was speaking to the landlord of the
Greyhound about some hay he wished to sell, when a gentleman rode into
the yard full tear, as your father always did ride, and in getting out of
his way I recognised Geoffrey Lester. I did not know him well--far from
it; but I had seen him once or twice with your uncle, and though he was a
strange pickle, he sang a good song, and was deuced amusing. Well, Sir, I
accosted him, and, for the sake of your uncle, I asked him to dine with
me, and take a bed at my new house. Ah! I little thought what a dear
bargain it was to be. He accepted my invitation, for I fancy--no offence,
Sir,--there were few invitations that Mr. Geoffrey Lester ever refused to
accept. We dined tete-a-tete,--I am an old bachelor, Sir,--and very
entertaining he was, though his sentiments seemed to me broader than
ever. He was capital, however, about the tricks he had played his
creditors,--such manoeuvres,--such escapes! After dinner he asked me if I
ever corresponded with his brother. I told him no; that we were very good
friends, but never heard from each other; and he then said, 'Well, I
shall surprise him with a visit shortly; but in case you should
unexpectedly have any communication with him, don't mention having seen
me; for, to tell you the truth, I am just returned from India, where I
should have scraped up a little money, but that I spent it as fast as I
got it. However, you know that I was always proverbially the luckiest
fellow in the world--(and so, Sir, your father was!)--and while I was in
India, I saved an old Colonel's life at a tiger-hunt; he went home
shortly afterwards, and settled in Yorkshire; and the other day on my
return to England, to which my ill-health drove me, I learned that my old
Colonel was really dead, and had left me a handsome legacy, with his
house in Yorkshire. I am now going down to Yorkshire to convert the
chattels into gold--to receive my money, and I shall then seek out my
good brother, my household gods, and, perhaps, though it's not likely,
settle into a sober fellow for the rest of my life.' I don't tell you,
young gentleman, that those were your father's exact words,--one can't
remember verbatim so many years ago;--but it was to that effect. He left
me the next day, and I never heard any thing more of him: to say the
truth, he was looking wonderfully yellow, and fearfully reduced. And I
fancied at the time, he could not live long; he was prematurely old, and
decrepit in body, though gay in spirit; so that I had tacitly imagined in
never hearing of him more--that he had departed life. But, good Heavens!
did you never hear of this legacy?"

"Never: not a word!" said Walter, who had listened to these particulars
in great surprise. "And to what part of Yorkshire did he say he was

"That he did not mention."

"Nor the Colonel's name?"

"Not as I remember; he might, but I think not. But I am certain that the
county was Yorkshire, and the gentleman, whatever was his name, was a
Colonel. Stay! I recollect one more particular, which it is lucky I do
remember. Your father in giving me, as I said before, in his own humorous
strain, the history of his adventures, his hair-breadth escapes from his
duns, the various disguises, and the numerous aliases he had assumed,
mentioned that the name he had borne in India, and by which, he assured
me, he had made quite a good character--was Clarke: he also said, by the
way, that he still kept to that name, and was very merry on the
advantages of having so common an one. 'By which,' he said wittily, 'he
could father all his own sins on some other Mr. Clarke, at the same time
that he could seize and appropriate all the merits of all his other
namesakes.' Ah, no offence; but he was a sad dog, that father of yours!
So you see that, in all probability, if he ever reached Yorkshire, it was
under the name of Clarke that he claimed and received his legacy."

"You have told me more," said Walter joyfully, "than we have heard since
his disappearance, and I shall turn my horses' heads northward to-morrow,
by break of day. But you say, 'if he ever reached Yorkshire,'--What
should prevent him?"

"His health!" said the non-hypochondriac, "I should not be greatly
surprised if--if--In short you had better look at the grave-stones by the
way, for the name of Clarke."

"Perhaps you can give me the dates, Sir," said Walter, somewhat cast down
from his elation.

"Ay! I'll see, I'll see, after dinner; the commonness of the name has its
disadvantages now. Poor Geoffrey!--I dare say there are fifty tombs, to
the memory of fifty Clarkes, between this and York. But come, Sir,
there's the dinner-bell."

Whatever might have been the maladies entailed upon the portly frame of
Mr. Courtland by the vegetable life of the departed trees, a want of
appetite was not among the number. Whenever a man is not abstinent from
rule, or from early habit, as in the case of Aram, Solitude makes its
votaries particularly fond of their dinner. They have no other event
wherewith to mark their day--they think over it, they anticipate it, they
nourish its soft idea with their imagination; if they do look forward to
any thing else more than dinner, it is--supper!

Mr. Courtland deliberately pinned the napkin to his waistcoat, ordered
all the windows to be thrown open, and set to work like the good Canon in
Gil Blas. He still retained enough of his former self, to preserve an
excellent cook; so far at least as the excellence of a she-artist goes;
and though most of his viands were of the plainest, who does not know
what skill it requires to produce an unexceptionable roast, or a
blameless boil? Talk of good professed cooks, indeed! they are plentiful
as blackberries: it is the good, plain cook, who is the rarity!

Half a tureen of strong soup; three pounds, at least, of stewed carp; all
the under part of a sirloin of beef; three quarters of a tongue; the
moiety of a chicken; six pancakes and a tartlet, having severally
disappeared down the jaws of the invalid,

        "Et cuncta terrarum subacta
        Praeter atrocem animum Catonis,"

        [And everything of earth subdued,
        except the resolute mind of Cato.]

he still called for two deviled biscuits and an anchovy!

When these were gone, he had the wine set on a little table by the
window, and declared that the air seemed closer than ever. Walter was no
longer surprised at the singular nature of the nonhypochondriac's

Walter declined the bed that Mr. Courtland offered him--though his host
kindly assured him that it had no curtains, and that there was not a
shutter to the house--upon the plea of starting the next morning at
daybreak, and his consequent unwillingness to disturb the regular
establishment of the invalid: and Courtland, who was still an excellent,
hospitable, friendly man, suffered his friend's nephew to depart with
regret. He supplied him, however, by a reference to an old note-book,
with the date of the year, and even month, in which he had been favoured
by a visit from Mr. Clarke, who, it seemed, had also changed his
Christian name from Geoffrey, to one beginning with D--; but whether it
was David or Daniel the host remembered not. In parting with Walter,
Courtland shook his head, and observed:--"Entre nous, Sir, I fear this
may be a wildgoose chase. Your father was too facetious to confine
himself to fact--excuse me, Sir--and perhaps the Colonel and the legacy
were merely inventions--pour passer le temps--there was only one reason
indeed, that made me fully believe the story."

"What was that, Sir?" asked Walter, blushing deeply, at the universality
of that estimation his father had obtained.

"Excuse me, my young friend."

"Nay, Sir, let me press you."

"Why, then, Mr. Geoffrey Lester did not ask me to lend him any money."

The next morning, instead of repairing to the gaieties of the metropolis,
Walter had, upon this slight and dubious clue, altered his journey
northward, and with an unquiet yet sanguine spirit, the adventurous son
commenced his search after the fate of a father evidently so unworthy of
the anxiety he had excited.



          Quale per incertam Lunam sub luce maligna
          Est iter.

          [Even as a journey by the upropitious light
          of the uncertain moon.]

The road prescribed to our travellers by the change in their destination
led them back over a considerable portion of the ground they had already
traversed, and since the Corporal took care that they should remain some
hours in the place where they dined, night fell upon them as they found
themselves in the midst of the same long and dreary stage in which they
had encountered Sir Peter Hales and the two suspected highwaymen.

Walter's mind was full of the project on which he was bent. The reader
can fully comprehend how vivid must have been his emotions at thus
chancing on what might prove a clue to the mystery that hung over his
father's fate; and sanguinely did he now indulge those intense
meditations with which the imaginative minds of the young always brood
over every more favourite idea, until they exalt the hope into a passion.
Every thing connected with this strange and roving parent, had possessed
for the breast of his son, not only an anxious, but so to speak,
indulgent interest. The judgment of a young man is always inclined to
sympathize with the wilder and more enterprising order of spirits; and
Walter had been at no loss for secret excuses wherewith to defend the
irregular life and reckless habits of his parent. Amidst all his father's
evident and utter want of principle, Walter clung with a natural and
self-deceptive partiality to the few traits of courage or generosity
which relieved, if they did not redeem, his character; traits which, with
a character of that stamp, are so often, though always so unprofitably
blended, and which generally cease with the commencement of age. He now
felt elated by the conviction, as he had always been inspired by the
hope, that it was to be his lot to discover one whom he still believed
living, and whom he trusted to find amended. The same intimate persuasion
of the "good luck" of Geoffrey Lester, which all who had known him
appeared to entertain, was felt even in a more credulous and earnest
degree by his son. Walter gave way now, indeed, to a variety of
conjectures as to the motives which could have induced his father to
persist in the concealment of his fate after his return to England; but
such of those conjectures as, if the more rational, were also the more
despondent, he speedily and resolutely dismissed. Sometimes he thought
that his father, on learning the death of the wife he had abandoned,
might have been possessed with a remorse which rendered him unwilling to
disclose himself to the rest of his family, and a feeling that the main
tie of home was broken; sometimes he thought that the wanderer had been
disappointed in his expected legacy, and dreading the attacks of his
creditors, or unwilling to throw himself once more on the generosity of
his brother, had again suddenly quitted England and entered on some
enterprise or occupation abroad. It was also possible, to one so reckless
and changeful, that even, after receiving the legacy, a proposition from
some wild comrade might have hurried him away on any continental project
on the mere impulse of the moment, for the impulse of the moment had
always been the guide of his life; and once abroad he might have returned
to India, and in new connections forgotten the old ties at home. Letters
from abroad too, miscarry; and it was not improbable that the wanderer
might have written repeatedly, and receiving no answer to his
communications, imagined that the dissoluteness of his life had deprived
him of the affections of his family, and, deserving so well to have the
proffer of renewed intercourse rejected, believed that it actually was
so. These, and a hundred similar conjectures, found favour in the eyes of
the young traveller; but the chances of a fatal accident, or sudden
death, he pertinaciously refused at present to include in the number of
probabilities. Had his father been seized with a mortal illness on the
road, was it not likely that he would, in the remorse occasioned in the
hardiest by approaching death, have written to his brother, and
recommending his child to his care, have apprised him of the addition to
his fortune? Walter then did not meditate embarrassing his present
journey by those researches among the dead, which the worthy Courtland
had so considerately recommended to his prudence: should his expedition,
contrary to his hopes, prove wholly unsuccessful, it might then be well
to retrace his steps and adopt the suggestion. But what man, at the age
of twenty-one, ever took much precaution on the darker side of a question
on which his heart was interested?

With what pleasure, escaping from conjecture to a more ultimate
conclusion--did he, in recalling those words, in which his father had
more than hinted to Courtland of his future amendment, contemplate
recovering a parent made wise by years and sober by misfortunes, and
restoring him to a hearth of tranquil virtues and peaceful enjoyments! He
imaged to himself a scene of that domestic happiness, which is so perfect
in our dreams, because in our dreams monotony is always excluded from the
picture. And, in this creation of Fancy, the form of Ellinor--his
bright-eyed and gentle cousin, was not the least conspicuous. Since his
altercation with Madeline, the love he had once thought so ineffaceable,
had faded into a dim and sullen hue; and, in proportion as the image of
Madeline grew indistinct, that of her sister became more brilliant.
Often, now, as he rode slowly onward, in the quiet of the deepening
night, and the mellow stars softening all on which they shone, he pressed
the little token of Ellinor's affection to his heart, and wondered that
it was only within the last few days he had discovered that her eyes were
more beautiful than Madeline's, and her smile more touching. Meanwhile
the redoubted Corporal, who was by no means pleased with the change in
his master's plans, lingered behind, whistling the most melancholy tune
in his collection. No young lady, anticipative of balls or coronets, had
ever felt more complacent satisfaction in a journey to London than that
which had cheered the athletic breast of the veteran on finding himself,
at last, within one day's gentle march of the metropolis. And no young
lady, suddenly summoned back in the first flush of her debut, by an
unseasonable fit of gout or economy in papa, ever felt more irreparably
aggrieved than now did the dejected Corporal. His master had not yet even
acquainted him with the cause of the countermarch; and, in his own heart,
he believed it nothing but the wanton levity and unpardonable fickleness
"common to all them ere boys afore they have seen the world." He
certainly considered himself a singularly ill-used and injured man, and
drawing himself up to his full height, as if it were a matter with which
Heaven should be acquainted at the earliest possible opportunity, he
indulged, as we before said, in the melancholy consolation of a whistled
death-dirge, occasionally interrupted by a long-drawn interlude half
sigh, half snuffle of his favourite augh--baugh.

And here, we remember, that we have not as yet given to our reader a
fitting portrait of the Corporal on horseback. Perhaps no better
opportunity than the present may occur; and perhaps, also, Corporal
Bunting, as well as Melrose Abbey, may seem a yet more interesting
picture when viewed by the pale moonlight.

The Corporal then wore on his head a small cocked hat, which had formerly
belonged to the Colonel of the Forty-second--the prints of my uncle Toby
may serve to suggest its shape;--it had once boasted a feather--that was
gone; but the gold lace, though tarnished, and the cockade, though
battered, still remained. From under this shade the profile of the
Corporal assumed a particular aspect of heroism: though a good-looking
man on the main, it was his air, height, and complexion, which made him
so; and a side view, unlike Lucian's one-eyed prince, was not the most
favourable point in which his features could be regarded. His eyes, which
were small and shrewd, were half hid by a pair of thick shaggy brows,
which, while he whistled, he moved to and fro, as a horse moves his ears
when he gives warning that he intends to shy; his nose was straight--so
far so good--but then it did not go far enough; for though it seemed no
despicable proboscis in front, somehow or another it appeared exceedingly
short in profile; to make up for this, the upper lip was of a length the
more striking from being exceedingly straight;--it had learned to hold
itself upright, and make the most of its length as well as its master!
his under lip, alone protruded in the act of whistling, served yet more
markedly to throw the nose into the background; and, as for the
chin--talk of the upper lip being long indeed!--the chin would have made
two of it; such a chin! so long, so broad, so massive, had it been put on
a dish might have passed, without discredit, for a round of beef! it
looked yet larger than it was from the exceeding tightness of the stiff
black-leather stock below, which forced forth all the flesh it
encountered into another chin,--a remove to the round. The hat, being
somewhat too small for the Corporal, and being cocked knowingly in front,
left the hinder half of the head exposed. And the hair, carried into a
club according to the fashion, lay thick, and of a grizzled black, on the
brawny shoulders below. The veteran was dressed in a blue coat,
originally a frock; but the skirts, having once, to the imminent peril of
the place they guarded, caught fire, as the Corporal stood basking
himself at Peter Dealtry's, had been so far amputated, as to leave only
the stump of a tail, which just covered, and no more, that part which
neither Art in bipeds nor Nature in quadrupeds loves to leave wholly
exposed. And that part, ah, how ample! had Liston seen it, he would have
hid for ever his diminished--opposite to head!--No wonder the Corporal
had been so annoyed by the parcel of the previous day, a coat so short,
and a--; but no matter, pass we to the rest! It was not only in its
skirts that this wicked coat was deficient; the Corporal, who had within
the last few years thriven lustily in the inactive serenity of Grassdale,
had outgrown it prodigiously across the chest and girth; nevertheless he
managed to button it up. And thus the muscular proportions of the wearer
bursting forth in all quarters, gave him the ludicrous appearance of a
gigantic schoolboy. His wrists, and large sinewy hands, both employed at
the bridle of his hard-mouthed charger, were markedly visible; for it was
the Corporal's custom whenever he came into an obscure part of the road,
carefully to take off, and prudently to pocket, a pair of scrupulously
clean white leather gloves which smartened up his appearance prodigiously
in passing through the towns in their route. His breeches were of yellow
buckskin, and ineffably tight; his stockings were of grey worsted, and a
pair of laced boots, that reached the ascent of a very mountainous calf,
but declined any farther progress, completed his attire.

Fancy then this figure, seated with laborious and unswerving
perpendicularity on a demi-pique saddle, ornamented with a huge pair of
well-stuffed saddle-bags, and holsters revealing the stocks of a brace of
immense pistols, the horse with its obstinate mouth thrust out, and the
bridle drawn as tight as a bowstring! its ears laid sullenly down, as if,
like the Corporal, it complained of going to Yorkshire, and its long
thick tail, not set up in a comely and well-educated arch, but hanging
sheepishly down, as if resolved that its buttocks should at least be
better covered than its master's!

And now, reader, it is not our fault if you cannot form some conception
of the physical perfections of the Corporal and his steed.

The reverie of the contemplative Bunting was interrupted by the voice of
his master calling upon him to approach.

"Well, well!" muttered he, "the younker can't expect one as close at his
heels as if we were trotting into Lunnon, which we might be at this time,
sure enough, if he had not been so damned flighty,--augh!"

"Bunting, I say, do you hear?"

"Yes, your honour, yes; this ere horse is so 'nation sluggish."

"Sluggish! why I thought he was too much the reverse, Bunting? I thought
he was one rather requiring the bridle than the spur."

"Augh! your honour, he's slow when he should not, and fast when he should
not; changes his mind from pure whim, or pure spite; new to the world,
your honour, that's all; a different thing if properly broke. There be a
many like him!"

"You mean to be personal, Mr. Bunting," said Walter, laughing at the
evident ill-humour of his attendant.

"Augh! indeed and no!--I daren't--a poor man like me--go for to presume
to be parsonal,--unless I get hold of a poorer!"

"Why, Bunting, you do not mean to say that you would be so ungenerous as
to affront a man because he was poorer than you?--fie!"

"Whaugh, your honour! and is not that the very reason why I'd affront
him? surely it is not my betters I should affront; that would be ill
bred, your honour,--quite want of discipline."

"But we owe it to our great Commander," said Walter, "to love all men."

"Augh! Sir, that's very good maxim,--none better--but shows ignorance of
the world, Sir--great!"

"Bunting, your way of thinking is quite disgraceful. Do you know, Sir,
that it is the Bible you were speaking of?"

"Augh, Sir! but the Bible was addressed to them Jew creturs! How somever,
it's an excellent book for the poor; keeps 'em in order, favours
discipline,--none more so." "Hold your tongue. I called you, Bunting,
because I think I heard you say you had once been at York. Do you know
what towns we shall pass on our road thither?"

"Not I, your honour; it's a mighty long way.--What would the Squire
think?--just at Lunnon, too. Could have learnt the whole road, Sir, inns
all, if you had but gone on to Lunnon first. Howsomever, young gentlemen
will be hasty,--no confidence in those older, and who are experienced in
the world. I knows what I knows," and the Corporal recommenced his

"Why, Bunting, you seem quite discontented at my change of journey. Are
you tired of riding, or were you very eager to get to town?"

"Augh! Sir; I was only thinking of what best for your honour,--I!--'tis
not for me to like or dislike. Howsomever, the horses, poor creturs, must
want rest for some days. Them dumb animals can't go on for ever, bumpety,
bumpety, as your honour and I do.--Whaugh!" "It is very true, Bunting,
and I have had some thoughts of sending you home again with the horses,
and travelling post."

"Eh!" grunted the Corporal, opening his eyes; "hopes your honour ben't

"Why if you continue to look so serious, I must be serious too; you
understand, Bunting?"

"Augh--and that's all, your honour," cried the Corporal, brightening up,
"shall look merry enough to-morrow, when one's in, as it were, like, to
the change of road. But you see, Sir, it took me by surprise. Said I to
myself, says I, it is an odd thing for you, Jacob Bunting, on the faith
of a man, it is! to go tramp here, tramp there, without knowing why or
wherefore, as if you was still a private in the Forty-second, 'stead of a
retired Corporal. You see, your honour, my pride was a hurt; but it's all
over now;--only spites those beneath me,--I knows the world at my time o'

"Well, Bunting, when you learn the reason of my change of plan, you'll be
perfectly satisfied that I do quite right. In a word, you know that my
father has been long missing; I have found a clue by which I yet hope to
trace him. This is the reason of my journey to Yorkshire."

"Augh!" said the Corporal, "and a very good reason: you're a most
excellent son, Sir;--and Lunnon so nigh!"

"The thought of London seems to have bewitched you; did you expect to
find the streets of gold since you were there last?"

"A--well Sir; I hears they be greatly improved."

"Pshaw! you talk of knowing the world, Bunting, and yet you pant to enter
it with all the inexperience of a boy. Why even I could set you an

"'Tis 'cause I knows the world," said the Corporal, exceedingly nettled,
"that I wants to get back to it. I have heard of some spoonies as never
kist a girl, but never heard of any one who had kist a girl once, that
did not long to be at it again."

"And I suppose, Mr. Profligate, it is that longing which makes you so hot
for London?"

"There have been worse longings nor that," quoth the Corporal gravely.

"Perhaps you meditate marrying one of the London belles; an heiress--eh?"

"Can't but say," said the Corporal very solemnly, "but that might be
'ticed to marry a fortin, if so be she was young, pretty, good-tempered,
and fell desperately in love with me,--best quality of all."

"You're a modest fellow."

"Why, the longer a man lives, the more knows his value; would not sell
myself a bargain now, whatever might at twenty-one!"

"At that rate you would be beyond all price at seventy," said Walter:
"but now tell me, Bunting, were you ever in love,--really and honestly in

"Indeed, your honour," said the Corporal, "I have been over head and
ears; but that was afore I learnt to swim. Love's very like bathing. At
first we go souse to the bottom, but if we're not drowned, then we gather
pluck, grow calm, strike out gently, and make a deal pleasanter thing of
it afore we've done. I'll tell you, Sir, what I thinks of love: 'twixt
you and me, Sir, 'tis not that great thing in life, boys and girls want
to make it out to be; if 'twere one's dinner, that would be summut, for
one can't do without that; but lauk, Sir, Love's all in the fancy. One
does not eat it, nor drink it; and as for the rest,--why it's bother!"

"Bunting, you're a beast," said Walter in a rage, for though the Corporal
had come off with a slight rebuke for his sneer at religion, we grieve to
say that an attack on the sacredness of love seemed a crime beyond all
toleration to the theologian of twenty-one.

The Corporal bowed, and thrust his tongue in his cheek.

There was a pause of some moments.

"And what," said Walter, for his spirits were raised, and he liked
recurring to the quaint shrewdness of the Corporal, "and what, after all,
is the great charm of the world, that you so much wish to return to it?"

"Augh!" replied the Corporal, "'tis a pleasant thing to look about un
with all one's eyes open; rogue here, rogue there--keeps one alive;--life
in Lunnon, life in a village--all the difference 'twixt healthy walk, and
a doze in arm-chair; by the faith of a man, 'tis!"

"What! it is pleasant to have rascals about one?"

"Surely yes," returned the Corporal drily; "what so delightful like as to
feel one's cliverness and 'bility all set an end--bristling up like a
porkypine; nothing makes a man tread so light, feel so proud, breathe so
briskly, as the knowledge that he's all his wits about him, that he's a
match for any one, that the Divil himself could not take him in. Augh!
that's what I calls the use of an immortal soul--bother!"

Walter laughed.

"And to feel one is likely to be cheated is the pleasantest way of
passing one's time in town, Bunting, eh?"

"Augh! and in cheating too!" answered the Corporal; "'cause you sees,
Sir, there be two ways o' living; one to cheat,--one to be cheated. 'Tis
pleasant enough to be cheated for a little while, as the younkers are,
and as you'll be, your honour; but that's a pleasure don't last
long--t'other lasts all your life; dare say your honour's often heard
rich gentlemen say to their sons, 'you ought, for your own happiness'
sake, like, my lad, to have summut to do--ought to have some profession,
be you niver so rich,'--very true, your honour, and what does that mean?
why it means that 'stead of being idle and cheated, the boy ought to be
busy and cheat--augh!"

"Must a man who follows a profession, necessarily cheat, then?"

"Baugh! can your honour ask that? Does not the Lawyer cheat? and the
Doctor cheat? and the Parson cheat, more than any? and that's the reason
they all takes so much int'rest in their profession--bother!"

"But the soldier? you say nothing of him."

"Why, the soldier," said the Corporal, with dignity, "the private
soldier, poor fellow, is only cheated; but when he comes for to get for
to be as high as a corp'ral, or a sargent, he comes for to get to bully
others, and to cheat. Augh! then 'tis not for the privates to
cheat,--that would be 'sumpton indeed, save us!"

"The General, then, cheats more than any, I suppose?"

"'Course, your honour; he talks to the world 'bout honour an' glory, and
love of his Country, and sich like--augh! that's proper cheating!"

"You're a bitter fellow, Mr. Bunting: and pray, what do you think of the
Ladies--'are they as bad as the men?'"

"Ladies--augh! when they're married--yes! but of all them ere creturs, I
respects the kept Ladies, the most--on the faith of a man, I do! Gad! how
well they knows the world--one quite invies the she rogues; they beats
the wives hollow! Augh! and your honour should see how they fawns and
flatters, and butters up a man, and makes him think they loves him like
winkey, all the time they ruins him. They kisses money out of the miser,
and sits in their satins, while the wife, 'drot her, sulks in a gingham.
Oh, they be cliver creturs, and they'll do what they likes with old Nick,
when they gets there, for 'tis the old gentlemen they cozens the best;
and then," continued the Corporal, waxing more and more loquacious, for
his appetite in talking grew with that it fed on,--"then there be another
set o' queer folks you'll see in Lunnon, Sir, that is, if you falls in
with 'em,--hang all together, quite in a clink. I seed lots on 'em when
lived with the Colonel--Colonel Dysart, you knows--augh?"

"And what are they?"

"Rum ones, your honour; what they calls Authors."

"Authors! what the deuce had you or the Colonel to do with Authors?"

"Augh! then, the Colonel was a very fine gentleman, what the larned calls
a my-seen-ass, wrote little songs himself, 'crossticks, you knows, your
honour: once he made a play--'cause why, he lived with an actress!"

"A very good reason, indeed, for emulating Shakespear; and did the play

"Fancy it did, your honour; for the Colonel was a dab with the scissors."

"Scissors! the pen, you mean?"

"No! that's what the dirty Authors make plays with; a Lord and a Colonel,
my-seen-asses, always takes the scissors."


"Why the Colonel's Lady--had lots of plays--and she marked a scene
here--a jest there--a line in one place--a sentiment in t' other--and the
Colonel sate by with a great paper book--cut 'em out, pasted them in
book. Augh! but the Colonel pleased the town mightily."

"Well, so he saw a great many authors; and did not they please you?"

"Why they be so damned quarrelsome," said the Corporal, "wringle,
wrangle, wrongle, snap, growl, scratch; that's not what a man of the
world does; man of the world niver quarrels; then, too, these creturs
always fancy you forgets that their father was a clargyman; they always
thinks more of their family, like, than their writings; and if they does
not get money when they wants it, they bristles up and cries, 'not
treated like a gentleman, by God!' Yet, after all, they've a deal of
kindness in 'em, if you knows how to manage 'em--augh! but, cat-kindness,
paw today, claw to-morrow. And then they always marries young, the poor
things, and have a power of children, and live on the fame and forten
they are to get one of these days; for, my eye! they be the most
sanguinest folks alive!"

"Why, Bunting, what an observer you have been! who could ever have
imagined that you had made yourself master of so many varieties in men!"

"Augh! your honour, I had nothing to do when I was the Colonel's valley,
but to take notes to ladies and make use of my eyes. Always a 'flective

"It is odd that, with all your abilities, you did not provide better for

"'Twas not my fault," said the Corporal, quickly; "but somehow, do what
will--'tis not always the cliverest as foresees the best. But I be young
yet, your honour!"

Walter stared at the Corporal and laughed outright: the Corporal was
exceedingly piqued.

"Augh! mayhap you thinks, Sir, that 'cause not so young as you, not young
at all; but, what's forty, or fifty, or fifty-five, in public life? never
hear much of men afore then. 'Tis the autumn that reaps, spring sows,

"Very true and very poetical. I see you did not live among authors for

"I knows summut of language, your honour," quoth the Corporal

"It is evident."

"For, to be a man of the world, Sir, must know all the ins and outs of
speechifying; 'tis words, Sir, that makes another man's mare go your
road. Augh! that must have been a cliver man as invented language;
wonders who 'twas--mayhap Moses, your honour?"

"Never mind who it was," said Walter gravely; "use the gift discreetly."

"Umph!" said the Corporal--"yes, your honour," renewed he after a pause.
"It be a marvel to think on how much a man does in the way of cheating,
as has the gift of the gab. Wants a Missis, talks her over--wants your
purse, talks you out on it--wants a place, talks himself into it.--What
makes the Parson? words!--the lawyer? words--the Parliament-man?
words!--words can ruin a country, in the Big House--words save souls, in
the Pulpits--words make even them ere authors, poor creturs, in every
man's mouth.--Augh! Sir, take note of the words, and the things will take
care of themselves--bother!"

"Your reflections amaze me, Bunting," said Walter smiling; "but the night
begins to close in; I trust we shall not meet with any misadventure."

"'Tis an ugsome bit of road!" said the Corporal, looking round him.

"The pistols?"

"Primed and loaded, your honour."

"After all, Bunting, a little skirmish would be no bad
sport--eh?--especially to an old soldier like you."

"Augh, baugh! 'tis no pleasant work, fighting, without pay, at least;
'tis not like love and eating, your honour, the better for being, what
they calls, 'gratis!'"

"Yet I have heard you talk of the pleasure of fighting; not for pay,
Bunting, but for your King and Country!"

"Augh! and that's when I wanted to cheat the poor creturs at Grassdale,
your honour; don't take the liberty to talk stuff to my master!"

They continued thus to beguile the way, till Walter again sank into a
reverie, while the Corporal, who began more and more to dislike the
aspect of the ground they had entered on, still rode by his side.

The road was heavy, and wound down the long hill which had stricken so
much dismay into the Corporal's stout heart on the previous day, when he
had beheld its commencement at the extremity of the town, where but for
him they had not dined. They were now little more than a mile from the
said town, the whole of the way was taken up by this hill, and the road,
very different from the smoothened declivities of the present day, seemed
to have been cut down the very steepest part of its centre; loose stones,
and deep ruts encreased the difficulty of the descent, and it was with a
slow pace and a guarded rein that both our travellers now continued their
journey. On the left side of the road was a thick and lofty hedge; to the
right, a wild, bare, savage heath, sloped downward, and just afforded a
glimpse of the spires and chimneys of the town, at which the Corporal was
already supping in idea! That incomparable personage was, however,
abruptly recalled to the present instant, by a most violent stumble on
the part of his hard-mouthed, Romannosed horse. The horse was all but
down, and the Corporal all but over.

"Damn it," said the Corporal, slowly recovering his perpendicularity,
"and the way to Lunnon was as smooth as a bowling-green!"

Ere this rueful exclamation was well out of the Corporal's mouth, a
bullet whizzed past him from the hedge; it went so close to his ear, that
but for that lucky stumble, Jacob Bunting had been as the grass of the
field, which flourisheth one moment and is cut down the next!

Startled by the sound, the Corporal's horse made off full tear down the
hill, and carried him several paces beyond his master, ere he had power
to stop its career. But Walter reining up his better managed steed,
looked round for the enemy, nor looked in vain.

Three men started from the hedge with a simultaneous shout. Walter fired,
but without effect; ere he could lay hand on the second pistol, his
bridle was seized, and a violent blow from a long double-handed bludgeon,
brought him to the ground.

                BOOK III.



          AUF.--"Whence comest thou--what wouldst thou?"

One evening Aram and Madeline were passing through the village in their
accustomed walk, when Peter Dealtry sallied forth from The Spotted Dog,
and hurried up to the lovers with a countenance full of importance, and a
little ruffled by fear.

"Oh, Sir, Sir,--(Miss, your servant!)--have you heard the news? Two
houses at Checkington, (a small town some miles distant from Grassdale,)
were forcibly entered last night,--robbed, your honour, robbed. Squire
Tibson was tied to his bed, his bureau rifled, himself shockingly
confused on the head; and the maidservant Sally--her sister lived with
me, a very good girl she was,--was locked up in the--the--the--I beg
pardon, Miss--was locked up in the cupboard. As to the other house, they
carried off all the plate. There were no less than four men, all masked,
your honour, and armed with pistols. What if they should come here! such
a thing was never heard of before in these parts. But, Sir,--but,
Miss,--do not be afraid, do not ye now, for I may say with the Psalmist,

          'But wicked men shall drink the dregs
           Which they in wrath shall wring,
          For I will lift my voice, and make
           Them flee while I do sing!'"

"You could not find a more effectual method of putting them to flight,
Peter," said Madeline smiling; "but go and talk to my uncle. I know we
have a whole magazine of blunderbusses and guns at home: they may be
useful now. But you are well provided in case of attack. Have you not the
Corporal's famous cat Jacobina,--surely a match for fifty robbers?"

"Ay, Miss, on the principle of set a thief to catch a thief, perhaps she
may; but really it is no jesting matter. Them ere robbers flourish like a
green bay tree, for a space at least, and it is 'nation bad sport for us
poor lambs till they be cut down and withered like grass. But your house,
Mr. Aram, is very lonesome like; it is out of reach of all your
neighbours. Hadn't you better, Sir, take up your lodgings at the Squire's
for the present?"

Madeline pressed Aram's arm, and looked up fearfully in his face. "Why,
my good friend," said he to Dealtry, "robbers will have little to gain in
my house, unless they are given to learned pursuits. It would be
something new, Peter, to see a gang of housebreakers making off with a
telescope, or a pair of globes, or a great folio covered with dust."

"Ay, your honour, but they may be the more savage for being

"Well, well, Peter, we will see," replied Aram impatiently; "meanwhile we
may meet you again at the hall. Good evening for the present."

"Do, dearest Eugene, do, for Heaven's sake," said Madeline, with tears in
her eyes, as they, now turning from Dealtry, directed their steps towards
the quiet valley, at the end of which the Student's house was situated,
and which was now more than ever Madeline's favourite walk, "do, dearest
Eugene, come up to the Manor-house till these wretches are apprehended.
Consider how open your house is to attack; and surely there can be no
necessity to remain in it now."

Aram's calm brow darkened for a moment. "What! dearest," said he, "can
you be affected by the foolish fears of yon dotard? How do we know as
yet, whether this improbable story have any foundation in truth. At all
events, it is evidently exaggerated. Perhaps an invasion of the
poultry-yard, in which some hungry fox was the real offender, may be the
true origin of this terrible tale. Nay, love, nay, do not look thus
reproachfully; it will be time enough for us when we have sifted the
grounds of alarm to take our precautions; meanwhile, do not blame me if
in your presence I cannot admit fear. Oh Madeline, dear, dear Madeline,
could you know, could you dream, how different life has become to me
since I knew you! Formerly, I will frankly own to you, that dark and
boding apprehensions were wont to lie heavy at my heart; the cloud was
more familiar to me than the sunshine. But now I have grown a child, and
can see around me nothing but hope; my life was winter--your love has
breathed it into spring."

"And yet, Eugene--yet--" "Yet what, my Madeline?"

"There are still moments when I have no power over your thoughts; moments
when you break away from me; when you mutter to yourself feelings in
which I have no share, and which seem to steal the consciousness from
your eye and the colour from your lip."

"Ah, indeed!" said Aram quickly; "what! you watch me so closely?"

"Can you wonder that I do?" said Madeline, with an earnest tenderness in
her voice.

"You must not then, you must not," returned her lover, almost fiercely;
"I cannot bear too nice and sudden a scrutiny; consider how long I have
clung to a stern and solitary independence of thought, which allows no
watch, and forbids account of itself to any one. Leave it to time and
your love to win their inevitable way. Ask not too much from me now. And
mark, mark, I pray you, whenever, in spite of myself, these moods you
refer to darken over me, heed not, listen not--Leave me! solitude is
their only cure! promise me this, love--promise."

"It is a harsh request, Eugene, and I do not think I will grant you so
complete a monopoly of thought;" answered Madeline, playfully, yet half
in earnest.

"Madeline," said Aram, with a deep solemnity of manner, "I ask a request
on which my very love for you depends. From the depths of my soul, I
implore you to grant it; yea, to the very letter."

"Why, why, this is--" began Madeline, when encountering the full, the
dark, the inscrutable gaze of her strange lover, she broke off in a
sudden fear, which she could not analyse; and only added in a low and
subdued voice, "I promise to obey you."

As if a weight were lifted from his heart, Aram now brightened at once
into himself in his happiest mood. He poured forth a torrent of grateful
confidence, of buoyant love, that soon swept from the remembrance of the
blushing and enchanted Madeline, the momentary fear, the sudden
chillness, which his look had involuntarily stricken into her mind. And
as they now wound along the most lonely part of that wild valley, his arm
twined round her waist, and his low but silver voice pouring magic into
the very air she breathed--she felt perhaps a more entire and unruffled
sentiment of present, and a more credulous persuasion of future,
happiness, than she had ever experienced before. And Aram himself dwelt
with a more lively and detailed fulness, than he was wont, on the
prospects they were to share, and the security and peace which retirement
would instill into their mode of life.

"Is it not," said he, with a lofty triumph that we shall look from our
retreat upon the shifting passions, and the hollow loves of the distant
world? We can have no petty object, no vain allurement to distract the
unity of our affection: we must be all in all to each other; for what
else can there be to engross our thoughts, and occupy our feelings here?

"If, my beautiful love, you have selected one whom the world might deem a
strange choice for youth and loveliness like yours; you have, at least,
selected one who can have no idol but yourself. The poets tell you, and
rightly, that solitude is the fit sphere for love; but how few are the
lovers whom solitude does not fatigue! they rush into retirement, with
souls unprepared for its stern joys and its unvarying tranquillity: they
weary of each other, because the solitude itself to which they fled,
palls upon and oppresses them. But to me, the freedom which low minds
call obscurity, is the aliment of life; I do not enter the temples of
Nature as the stranger, but the priest: nothing can ever tire me of the
lone and august altars, on which I sacrificed my youth: and now, what
Nature, what Wisdom once were to me--no, no, more, immeasurably more than
these, you are! Oh, Madeline! methinks there is nothing under Heaven like
the feeling which puts us apart from all that agitates, and fevers, and
degrades the herd of men; which grants us to control the tenour of our
future life, because it annihilates our dependence upon others, and,
while the rest of earth are hurried on, blind and unconscious, by the
hand of Fate, leaves us the sole lords of our destiny; and able, from the
Past, which we have governed, to become the Prophets of our Future!"

At this moment Madeline uttered a faint shriek, and clung trembling to
Aram's arm. Amazed, and roused from his enthusiasm, he looked up, and on
seeing the cause of her alarm, seemed himself transfixed, as by a sudden
terror, to the earth.

But a few paces distant, standing amidst the long and rank fern that grew
on either side of their path, quite motionless, and looking on the pair
with a sarcastic smile, stood the ominous stranger, whom the second
chapter of our first volume introduced to the reader.

For one instant Aram seemed utterly appalled and overcome; his cheek grew
the colour of death; and Madeline felt his heart beat with a loud, a
fearful force beneath the breast to which she clung. But his was not the
nature any earthly dread could long abash. He whispered to Madeline to
come on; and slowly, and with his usual firm but gliding step, continued
his way.

"Good evening, Eugene Aram," said the stranger; and as he spoke, he
touched his hat slightly to Madeline.

"I thank you," replied the Student, in a calm voice; "do you want aught
with me?"

"Humph!--yes, if it so please you?"

"Pardon me, dear Madeline," said Aram softly, and disengaging himself
from her, "but for one moment."

He advanced to the stranger, and Madeline could not but note that, as
Aram accosted him, his brow fell, and his manner seemed violent and
agitated; but she could not hear the words of either; nor did the
conference last above a minute. The stranger bowed, and turning away,
soon vanished among the shrubs. Aram regained the side of his mistress.

"Who," cried she eagerly, "is that fearful man? What is his business?
What his name?"

"He is a man whom I knew well some fourteen years ago," replied Aram
coldly, and with ease; "I did not then lead quite so lonely a life, and
we were thrown much together. Since that time, he has been in unfortunate
circumstances--rejoined the army--he was in early life a soldier, and had
been disbanded--entered into business, and failed; in short, he has
partaken of those vicissitudes inseparable from the life of one driven to
seek the world. When he travelled this road some months ago, he
accidentally heard of my residence in the neighbourhood, and naturally
sought me. Poor as I am, I was of some assistance to him. His route
brings him hither again, and he again seeks me: I suppose too that I must
again aid him."

"And is that indeed all," said Madeline, breathing more freely; "well,
poor man, if he be your friend, he must be inoffensive--I have done him
wrong. And does he want money? I have some to give him--here Eugene!" And
the simple-hearted girl put her purse into Aram's hand.

"No, dearest," said he, shrinking back; "no, we shall not require your
contribution; I can easily spare him enough for the present. But let us
turn back, it grows chill."

"And why did he leave us, Eugene?"

"Because I desired him to visit me at home an hour hence."

"An hour! then you will not sup with us to-night?"

"No, not this night, dearest."

The conversation now ceased; Madeline in vain endeavoured to renew it.
Aram, though without relapsing into any of his absorbed reveries,
answered her only in monosyllables. They arrived at the Manor-house, and
Aram at the garden gate took leave of her for the night, and hastened
backward towards his home. Madeline, after watching his form through the
deepening shadows until it disappeared, entered the house with a listless
step; a nameless and thrilling presentiment crept to her heart; and she
could have sate down and wept, though without a cause.



          The spirits I have raised abandon me,
          The spells which I have studied baffle me.

Meanwhile Aram strode rapidly through the village, and not till he had
regained the solitary valley did he relax his step.

The evening had already deepened into night. Along the sere and
melancholy wood, the autumnal winds crept, with a lowly, but gathering
moan. Where the water held its course, a damp and ghostly mist clogged
the air, but the skies were calm, and chequered only by a few clouds,
that swept in long, white, spectral streaks, over the solemn stars. Now
and then, the bat wheeled swiftly round, almost touching the figure of
the Student, as he walked musingly onward. And the owl [Note: That
species called the short-eared owl.] that before the month waned many
days, would be seen no more in that region, came heavily from the trees,
like a guilty thought that deserts its shade. It was one of those nights,
half dim, half glorious, which mark the early decline of the year. Nature
seemed restless and instinct with change; there were those signs in the
atmosphere which leave the most experienced in doubt, whether the morning
may rise in storm or sunshine. And in this particular period, the skiey
influences seem to tincture the animal life with their own mysterious and
wayward spirit of change. The birds desert their summer haunts; an
unaccountable inquietude pervades the brute creation; even men in this
unsettled season have considered themselves, more (than at others)
stirred by the motion and whisperings of their genius. And every creature
that flows upon the tide of the Universal Life of Things, feels upon the
ruffled surface, the mighty and solemn change, which is at work within
its depths.

And now Aram had nearly threaded the valley, and his own abode became
visible on the opening plain, when the stranger emerged from the trees to
the right, and suddenly stood before the Student. "I tarried for you
here, Aram," said he, "instead of seeking you at home, at the time you
fixed; for there are certain private reasons which make it prudent I
should keep as much as possible among the owls, and it was therefore
safer, if not more pleasant, to lie here amidst the fern, than to make
myself merry in the village yonder."

"And what," said Aram, "again brings you hither? Did you not say, when
you visited me some months since, that you were about to settle in a
different part of the country, with a relation?"

"And so I intended; but Fate, as you would say, or the Devil, as I
should, ordered it otherwise. I had not long left you, when I fell in
with some old friends, bold spirits and true; the brave outlaws of the
road and the field. Shall I have any shame in confessing that I preferred
their society, a society not unfamiliar to me, to the dull and solitary
life that I might have led in tending my old bed-ridden relation in
Wales, who after all, may live these twenty years, and at the end can
scarce leave me enough for a week's ill luck at the hazard-table? In a
word, I joined my gallant friends, and entrusted myself to their
guidance. Since then, we have cruised around the country, regaled
ourselves cheerily, frightened the timid, silenced the fractious, and by
the help of your fate, or my devil, have found ourselves by accident,
brought to exhibit our valour in this very district, honoured by the
dwelling-place of my learned friend, Eugene Aram."

"Trifle not with me, Houseman," said Aram sternly; "I scarcely yet
understand you. Do you mean to imply, that yourself, and the lawless
associates you say you have joined, are lying out now for plunder in
these parts?"

"You say it: perhaps you heard of our exploits last night, some four
miles hence?"

"Ha! was that villainy yours?"

"Villainy!" repeated Houseman, in a tone of sullen offence. "Come, Master
Aram, these words must not pass between you and me, friends of such date,
and on such a footing."

"Talk not of the past," replied Aram with a livid lip, "and call not
those whom Destiny once, in despite of Nature, drove down her dark tide
in a momentary companionship, by the name of friends. Friends we are not;
but while we live, there is a tie between us stronger than that of

"You speak truth and wisdom," said Houseman, sneeringly; "for my part, I
care not what you call us, friends or foes."

"Foes, foes!" exclaimed Aram abruptly, "not that. Has life no medium in
its ties?--pooh--pooh! not foes; we may not be foes to each other."

"It were foolish, at least at present," said Houseman carelessly.

"Look you, Houseman," continued Aram drawing his comrade from the path
into a wilder part of the scene, and, as he spoke, his words were couched
in a more low and inward voice than heretofore. "Look you, I cannot live
and have my life darkened thus by your presence. Is not the world wide
enough for us both? Why haunt each other? what have you to gain from me?
Can the thoughts that my sight recalls to you be brighter, or more
peaceful, than those which start upon me, when I gaze on you? Does not a
ghastly air, a charnel breath, hover about us both? Why perversely incur
a torture it is so easy to avoid? Leave me--leave these scenes. All earth
spreads before you--choose your pursuits, and your resting place
elsewhere, but grudge me not this little spot."

"I have no wish to disturb you, Eugene Aram, but I must live; and in
order to live I must obey my companions; if I deserted them, it would be
to starve. They will not linger long in this district; a week, it may be;
a fortnight, at most; then, like the Indian animal, they will strip the
leaves, and desert the tree. In a word, after we have swept the country,
we are gone."

"Houseman, Houseman!" said Aram passionately, and frowning till
his brows almost hid his eyes, but that part of the orb which
they did not hide, seemed as living fire; "I now implore, but I can
threaten--beware!--silence, I say;" (and he stamped his foot violently on
the ground, as he saw Houseman about to interrupt him;) "listen to me
throughout--Speak not to me of tarrying here--speak not of days, of
weeks--every hour of which would sound upon my ear like a death-knell.
Dream not of a sojourn in these tranquil shades, upon an errand of dread
and violence--the minions of the law aroused against you, girt with the
chances of apprehension and a shameful death--" "And a full confession of
my past sins," interrupted Houseman, laughing wildly.

"Fiend! devil!" cried Aram, grasping his comrade by the throat, and
shaking him with a vehemence that Houseman, though a man of great
strength and sinew, impotently attempted to resist.

"Breathe but another word of such import; dare to menace me with the
vengeance of such a thing as thou, and, by the God above us, I will lay
thee dead at my feet!"

"Release my throat, or you will commit murder," gasped Houseman with
difficulty, and growing already black in the face.

Aram suddenly relinquished his gripe, and walked away with a hurried
step, muttering to himself. He then returned to the side of Houseman,
whose flesh still quivered either with rage or fear, and, his own
self-possession completely restored, stood gazing upon him with folded
arms, and his usual deep and passionless composure of countenance; and
Houseman, if he could not boldly confront, did not altogether shrink
from, his eye. So there and thus they stood, at a little distance from
each other, both silent, and yet with something unutterably fearful in
their silence.

"Houseman," said Aram at length, in a calm, yet a hollow voice, "it may
be that I was wrong; but there lives no man on earth, save you, who could
thus stir my blood,--nor you with ease. And know, when you menace me,
that it is not your menace that subdues or shakes my spirit; but that
which robs my veins of their even tenor is that you should deem your
menace could have such power, or that you,--that any man,--should
arrogate to himself the thought that he could, by the prospect of
whatsoever danger, humble the soul and curb the will of Eugene Aram. And
now I am calm; say what you will, I cannot be vexed again."

"I have done," replied Houseman coldly; "I have nothing to say;
farewell!" and he moved away among the trees.

"Stay," cried Aram in some agitation; "stay; we must not part thus. Look
you, Houseman, you say you would starve should you leave your present
associates. That may not be; quit them this night,--this moment: leave
the neighbourhood, and the little in my power is at your will."

"As to that," said Houseman drily, "what is in your power is, I fear me,
so little as not to counterbalance the advantages I should lose in
quitting my companions. I expect to net some three hundreds before I
leave these parts."

"Some three hundreds!" repeated Aram recoiling; "that were indeed beyond
me. I told you when we last met that it is only by an annual payment I
draw the little wealth I have."

"I remember it. I do not ask you for money, Eugene Aram; these hands can
maintain me," replied Houseman, smiling grimly. "I told you at once the
sum I expected to receive somewhere, in order to prove that you need not
vex your benevolent heart to afford me relief. I knew well the sum I
named was out of your power, unless indeed it be part of the marriage
portion you are about to receive with your bride. Fie, Aram! what,
secrets from your old friend! You see I pick up the news of the place
without your confidence."

Again Aram's face worked, and his lip quivered; but he conquered his
passion with a surprising self-command, and answered mildly, "I do not
know, Houseman, whether I shall receive any marriage portion whatsoever:
If I do, I am willing to make some arrangement by which I could engage
you to molest me no more. But it yet wants several days to my marriage;
quit the neighbourhood now, and a month hence let us meet again. Whatever
at that time may be my resources, you shall frankly know them."

"It cannot be," said Houseman; "I quit not these districts without a
certain sum, not in hope, but possession. But why interfere with me? I
seek not my hoards in your coffer. Why so anxious that I should not
breathe the same air as yourself?"

"It matters not," replied Aram, with a deep and ghastly voice; "but when
you are near me, I feel as if I were with the dead; it is a spectre that
I would exorcise in ridding me of your presence. Yet this is not what I
now speak of. You are engaged, according to your own lips, in lawless and
midnight schemes, in which you may, (and the tide of chances runs towards
that bourne,) be seized by the hand of Justice."

"Ho," said Houseman, sullenly, "and was it not for saying that you feared
this, and its probable consequences, that you well-nigh stifled me, but
now?--so truth may be said one moment with impunity, and the next at
peril of life! These are the subtleties of you wise schoolmen, I suppose.
Your Aristotles, and your Zenos, your Platos, and your Epicurus's, teach
you notable distinctions, truly!"

"Peace!" said Aram; "are we at all times ourselves? Are the passions
never our masters? You maddened me into anger; behold, I am now calm: the
subjects discussed between myself and you, are of life and death; let us
approach them with our senses collected and prepared. What, Houseman, are
you bent upon your own destruction, as well as mine, that you persevere
in courses which must end in a death of shame?"

"What else can I do? I will not work, and I cannot live like you in a
lone wilderness on a crust of bread. Nor is my name like yours, mouthed
by the praise of honest men: my character is marked; those who once knew
me, shun now. I have no resource for society, (for I cannot face myself
alone,) but in the fellowship of men like myself, whom the world has
thrust from its pale. I have no resource for bread, save in the pursuits
that are branded by justice, and accompanied with snares and danger. What
would you have me do?"

"Is it not better," said Aram, "to enjoy peace and safety upon a small
but certain pittance, than to live thus from hand to mouth? vibrating
from wealth to famine, and the rope around your neck, sleeping and awake?
Seek your relation; in that quarter, you yourself said your character was
not branded: live with him, and know the quiet of easy days, and I
promise you, that if aught be in my power to make your lot more suitable
to your wants, so long as you lead the life of honest men, it shall be
freely yours. Is not this better, Houseman, than a short and sleepless
career of dread?"

"Aram," answered Houseman, "are you, in truth, calm enough to hear me
speak? I warn you, that if again you forget yourself, and lay hands on
me--" "Threaten not, threaten not," interrupted Aram, "but proceed; all
within me is now still and cold as ice. Proceed without fear of scruple."

"Be it so; we do not love one another: you have affected contempt for
me--and I--I--no matter--I am not a stone or stick, that I should not
feel. You have scorned me--you have outraged me--you have not assumed
towards me even the decent hypocrisies of prudence--yet now you would ask
of me, the conduct, the sympathy, the forbearance, the concession of
friendship. You wish that I should quit these scenes, where, to my
judgment, a certain advantage waits me, solely that I may lighten your
breast of its selfish fears. You dread the dangers that await me on your
own account. And in my apprehension, you forebode your own doom. You ask
me, nay, not ask, you would command, you would awe me to sacrifice my
will and wishes, in order to soothe your anxieties, and strengthen your
own safety. Mark me! Eugene Aram, I have been treated as a tool, and I
will not be governed as a friend. I will not stir from the vicinity of
your home, till my designs be fulfilled,--I enjoy, I hug myself in your
torments. I exult in the terror with which you will hear of each new
enterprise, each new daring, each new triumph of myself and my gallant
comrades. And now I am avenged for the affront you put upon me."

Though Aram trembled, with suppressed passions, from limb to limb, his
voice was still calm, and his lip even wore a smile as he answered,--"I
was prepared for this, Houseman, you utter nothing that surprises or
appalls me. You hate me; it is natural; men united as we are, rarely look
on each other with a friendly or a pitying eye. But Houseman; I know
you!--you are a man of vehement passions, but interest with you is yet
stronger than passion. If not, our conference is over. Go--and do your

"You are right, most learned scholar; I can fetter the tiger within, in
his deadliest rage, by a golden chain."

"Well, then, Houseman, it is not your interest to betray me--my
destruction is your own."

"I grant it; but if I am apprehended, and to be hung for robbery?"

"It will be no longer an object to you, to care for my safety. Assuredly,
I comprehend this. But my interest induces me to wish that you be removed
from the peril of apprehension, and your interest replies, that if you
can obtain equal advantages in security, you would forego advantages
accompanied by peril. Say what we will, wander as we will, it is to this
point that we must return at last."

"Nothing can be clearer; and were you a rich man, Eugene Aram, or could
you obtain your bride's dowry (no doubt a respectable sum) in advance,
the arrangement might at once be settled."

Aram gasped for breath, and as usual with him in emotion, made several
strides forward, muttering rapidly, and indistinctly to himself, and then

"Even were this possible, it would be but a short reprieve; I could not
trust you; the sum would be spent, and I again in the state to which you
have compelled me now; but without the means again to relieve myself. No,
no! if the blow must fall, be it so one day as another."

"As you will," said Houseman; 'but--' Just at that moment, a long shrill
whistle sounded below, as from the water. Houseman paused abruptly--"That
signal is from my comrades; I must away. Hark, again! Farewell, Aram."

"Farewell, if it must be so," said Aram, in a tone of dogged sullenness;
"but to-morrow, should you know of any means by which I could feel
secure, beyond the security of your own word, from your future
molestation, I might--yet how?"

"To-morrow," said Houseman, "I cannot answer for myself; it is not always
that I can leave my comrades; a natural jealousy makes them suspicious of
the absence of their friends. Yet hold; the night after to-morrow, the
Sabbath night, most virtuous Aram, I can meet you--but not here--some
miles hence. You know the foot of the Devil's Crag, by the waterfall; it
is a spot quiet and shaded enough in all conscience for our interview;
and I will tell you a secret I would trust to no other man--(hark,
again!)--it is close by our present lurking-place. Meet me there!--it
would, indeed, be pleasanter to hold our conference under shelter--but
just at present, I would rather not trust myself beneath any honest man's
roof in this neighbourhood. Adieu! on Sunday night, one hour before

The robber, for such then he was, waved his hand, and hurried away in the
direction from which the signal seemed to come.

Aram gazed after him, but with vacant eyes; and remained for several
minutes rooted to the spot, as if the very life had left him.

"The Sabbath night!" said he, at length, moving slowly on; "and I must
spin forth my existence in trouble and fear till then--till then! what
remedy can I then invent? It is clear that I can have no dependance on
his word, if won; and I have not even aught wherewith to buy it. But
courage, courage, my heart; and work thou, my busy brain! Ye have never
failed me yet!"



        Not my own fears, nor the prophetic soul
        Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come,
        Can yet the lease of my true love controul.
           --Shakspeare: Sonnets.

        Commend me to their love, and I am proud, say,
        That my occasions have found time to use them
        Toward a supply of money; let the request
        Be fifty talents.
           --Timon Of Athens.

The next morning the whole village was alive and bustling with terror and
consternation. Another, and a yet more daring robbery, had been committed
in the neighbourhood, and the police of the county town had been
summoned, and were now busy in search of the offenders. Aram had been
early disturbed by the officious anxiety of some of his neighbours; and
it wanted yet some hours of noon, when Lester himself came to seek and
consult with the Student.

Aram was alone in his large and gloomy chamber, surrounded, as usual, by
his books, but not as usual engaged in their contents. With his face
leaning on his hand, and his eyes gazing on a dull fire, that crept
heavily upward through the damp fuel, he sate by his hearth, listless,
but wrapt in thought.

"Well, my friend," said Lester, displacing the books from one of the
chairs, and drawing the seat near the Student's--"you have ere this heard
the news, and indeed in a county so quiet as ours, these outrages appear
the more fearful, from their being so unlooked for. We must set a guard
in the village, Aram, and you must leave this defenceless hermitage and
come down to us; not for your own sake,--but consider you will be an
additional safeguard to Madeline. You will lock up the house, dismiss
your poor old governante to her friends in the village, and walk back
with me at once to the hall."

Aram turned uneasily in his chair.

"I feel your kindness," said he after a pause, "but I cannot accept
it--Madeline," he stopped short at that name, and added in an altered
voice; "no, I will be one of the watch, Lester; I will look to her--to
your--safety; but I cannot sleep under another roof. I am superstitious,
Lester--superstitious. I have made a vow, a foolish one perhaps, but I
dare not break it. And my vow binds me, save on indispensable and urgent
necessity, not to pass a night any where but in my own home."

"But there is necessity."

"My conscience says not," said Aram smiling: "peace, my good friend, we
cannot conquer men's foibles, or wrestle with men's scruples."

Lester in vain attempted to shake Aram's resolution on this head; he
found him immoveable, and gave up the effort in despair.

"Well," said he, "at all events we have set up a watch, and can spare you
a couple of defenders. They shall reconnoitre in the neighbourhood of
your house, if you persevere in your determination, and this will serve
in some slight measure to satisfy poor Madeline."

"Be it so," replied Aram; "and dear Madeline herself, is she so alarmed?"

And now in spite of all the more wearing and haggard thoughts that preyed
upon his breast, and the dangers by which he conceived himself beset, the
Student's face, as he listened with eager attention to every word that
Lester uttered concerning his niece, testified how alive he yet was to
the least incident that related to Madeline, and how easily her innocent
and peaceful remembrance could allure him from himself.

"This room," said Lester, looking round, "will be, I conclude, after
Madeline's own heart; but will you always suffer her here? students do
not sometimes like even the gentlest interruption."

"I have not forgotten that Madeline's comfort requires some more cheerful
retreat than this," said Aram, with a melancholy expression of
countenance. "Follow me, Lester; I meant this for a little surprise to
her. But Heaven only knows if I shall ever show it to herself?"

"Why? what doubt of that can even your boding temper discover?"

"We are as the wanderers in the desert," answered Aram, "who are taught
wisely to distrust their own senses: that which they gaze upon as the
waters of existence, is often but a faithless vapour that would lure them
to destruction."

In thus speaking he had traversed the room, and, opening a door, showed a
small chamber with which it communicated, and which Aram had fitted up
with evident, and not ungraceful care. Every article of furniture that
Madeline might most fancy, he had sent for from the neighbouring town.
And some of the lighter and more attractive books that he possessed, were
ranged around on shelves, above which were vases, intended for flowers;
the window opened upon a little plot that had been lately broken up into
a small garden, and was already intersected with walks, and rich with

There was something in this chamber that so entirely contrasted the one
it adjoined, something so light, and cheerful, and even gay in its
decoration and its tout ensemble, that Lester uttered an exclamation of
delight and surprise. And indeed it did appear to him touching, that this
austere scholar, so wrapt in thought, and so inattentive to the common
forms of life, should have manifested this tender and delicate
consideration. In another it would have been nothing, but in Aram, it was
a trait, that brought involuntary tears to the eyes of the good Lester.
Aram observed them: he walked hastily away to the window, and sighed
heavily; this did not escape his friend's notice, and after commenting on
the attractions of the little room--Lester said: "You seem oppressed in
spirits, Eugene: can any thing have chanced to disturb you, beyond, at
least, these alarms which are enough to agitate the nerves of the
hardiest of us?"

"No," said Aram; "I had no sleep last night, and my health is easily
affected, and with my health my mind; but let us go to Madeline; the
sight of her will revive me."

They then strolled down to the Manor-house, and met by the way a band of
the younger heroes of the village, who had volunteered to act as a
patrole, and who were now marshalled by Peter Dealtry, in a fit of heroic

Although it was broad daylight, and, consequently, there was little cause
of immediate alarm, the worthy publican carried on his shoulder a musket
on full cock; and each moment he kept peeping about, as if not only every
bush, but every blade of grass contained an ambuscade, ready to spring up
the instant he was off his guard. By his side the redoubted Jacobina, who
had transferred to her new master, the attachment she had originally
possessed for the Corporal, trotted peeringly along, her tail
perpendicularly cocked, and her ears moving to and fro, with a most
incomparable air of vigilant sagacity. The cautious Peter every now and
then checked her ardour, as she was about to quicken her step, and
enliven the march by the gambols better adapted to serener times.

"Soho, Jacobina, soho! gently, girl, gently; thou little knowest the
dangers that may beset thee. Come up, my good fellows, come to the
Spotted Dog; I will tap a barrel on purpose for you; and we will settle
the plan of defence for the night. Jacobina, come in, I say, come in,--

       "'Lest, like a lion, they thee tear,
        And rend in pieces small;
        While there is none to succour thee,
        And rid thee out of thrall.'

What ho, there! Oh! I beg your honour's pardon! Your servant, Mr. Aram."

"What, patroling already?" said the squire; "your men will be tired
before they are wanted; reserve their ardour for the night."

"Oh, your Honour, I have only been beating up for recruits; and we are
going to consult a bit at home. Ah! what a pity the Corporal isn't here:
he would have been a tower of strength unto the righteous. But
howsomever, I do my best to supply his place--Jacobina, child, be still:
I can't say as I knows the musket-sarvice, your honour; but I fancy's as
how, like Joe Roarjug, the Methodist, we can do it extemporaneous-like at
a pinch."

"A bold heart, Peter, is the best preparation," said the squire.

"And," quoth Peter quickly, "what saith the worshipful Mister Sternhold,
in the 45th psalm, 5th verse,--

'Go forth with godly speed, in meekness, truth, and might,
And thy right hand shall thee instruct in works of dreadful might.'"

Peter quoted these verses, especially the last, with a truculent frown,
and a brandishing of the musket, that surprisingly encouraged the hearts
of his little armament; and with a general murmur of enthusiasm, the
warlike band marched off to The Spotted Dog.

Lester and his companion found Madeline and Ellinor standing at the
window of the hall; and Madeline's light step was the first that sprang
forward to welcome their return: even the face of the Student brightened,
when he saw the kindling eye, the parted lip, the buoyant form, from
which the pure and innocent gladness she felt on seeing him broke forth.

There was a remarkable trustingness, if I may so speak, in Madeline's
disposition. Thoughtful and grave as she was, by nature, she was yet ever
inclined to the more sanguine colourings of life; she never turned to the
future with fear--a placid sentiment of Hope slept at her heart--she was
one who surrendered herself with a fond and implicit faith to the
guidance of all she loved; and to the chances of life. It was a sweet
indolence of the mind, which made one of her most beautiful traits of
character; there is something so unselfish in tempers reluctant to
despond. You see that such persons are not occupied with their own
existence; they are not fretting the calm of the present life, with the
egotisms of care, and conjecture, and calculation: if they learn anxiety,
it is for another; but in the heart of that other, how entire is their

It was this disposition in Madeline which perpetually charmed, and yet
perpetually wrung, the soul of her wild lover; and as she now delightedly
hung upon his arm, uttering her joy at seeing him safe, and presently
forgetting that there ever had been cause for alarm, his heart was filled
with the most gloomy sense of horror and desolation. "What," thought he,
"if this poor, unconscious girl could dream that at this moment I am
girded with peril, from which I see no ultimate escape? Delay it as I
will, it seems as if the blow must come at last. What, if she could think
how fearful is my interest in these outrages, that in all probability, if
their authors are detected, there is one who will drag me into their
ruin; that I am given over, bound and blinded, into the hands of another;
and that other, a man steeled to mercy, and withheld from my destruction
by a thread--a thread that a blow on himself would snap. Great God!
wherever I turn, I see despair! And she--she clings to me; and beholding
me, thinks the whole earth is filled with hope!"

While these thoughts darkened his mind, Madeline drew him onward into the
more sequestered walks of the garden, to show him some flowers she had
transplanted. And when an hour afterwards he returned to the hall, so
soothing had been the influence of her looks and words upon Aram, that if
he had not forgotten the situation in which he stood, he had at least
calmed himself to regard with a steady eye the chances of escape.

The meal of the day passed as cheerfully as usual, and when Aram and his
host were left over their abstemious potations, the former proposed a
walk before the evening deepened. Lester readily consented, and they
sauntered into the fields. The Squire soon perceived that something was
on Aram's mind, of which he felt evident embarrassment in ridding
himself: at length the Student said rather abruptly: "My dear friend, I
am but a bad beggar, and therefore let me get over my request as
expeditiously as possible. You said to me once that you intended
bestowing some dowry upon Madeline; a dowry I would and could willingly
dispense with; but should you of that sum be now able to spare me some
portion as a loan,--should you have some three hundred pounds with which
you could accommodate me.--" "Say no more, Eugene, say no more,"
interrupted the Squire,--"you can have double that amount. Your
preparations for your approaching marriage, I ought to have foreseen,
must have occasioned you some inconvenience; you can have six hundred
pounds from me to-morrow."

Aram's eyes brightened. "It is too much, too much, my generous friend,"
said he; "the half suffices--but, but, a debt of old standing presses me
urgently, and to-morrow, or rather Monday morning, is the time fixed for

"Consider it arranged," said Lester, putting his hand on Aram's arm, and
then leaning on it gently, he added, "And now that we are on this
subject, let me tell you what I intended as a gift to you, and my dear
Madeline; it is but small, but my estates are rigidly entailed on Walter,
and of poor value in themselves, and it is half the savings of many

The Squire then named a sum, which, however small it may seem to our
reader, was not considered a despicable portion for the daughter of a
small country squire at that day, and was in reality, a generous
sacrifice for one whose whole income was scarcely, at the most, seven
hundred a year. The sum mentioned doubled that now to be lent, and which
was of course a part of it; an equal portion was reserved for Ellinor.

"And to tell you the truth," said the Squire, "you must give me some
little time for the remainder--for not thinking some months ago it would
be so soon wanted, I laid out eighteen hundred pounds, in the purchase of
Winclose Farm, six of which, (the remainder of your share,) I can pay off
at the end of the year; the other twelve, Ellinor's portion, will remain
a mortgage on the farm itself. And between us," added the Squire, "I do
hope that I need be in no hurry respecting her, dear girl. When Walter
returns, I trust matters may be arranged, in a manner, and through a
channel, that would gratify the most cherished wish of my heart. I am
convinced that Ellinor is exactly suited to him; and, unless he should
lose his senses for some one else in the course of his travels, I trust
that he will not be long returned before he will make the same discovery.
I think of writing to him very shortly after your marriage, and making
him promise, at all events, to revisit us at Christmas. Ah! Eugene, we
shall be a happy party, then, I trust. And be assured, that we shall beat
up your quarters, and put your hospitality, and Madeline's housewifery to
the test."

Therewith the good Squire ran on for some minutes in the warmth of his
heart, dilating on the fireside prospects before them, and rallying the
Student on those secluded habits, which he promised him he should no
longer indulge with impunity.

"But it is growing dark," said he, awakening from the theme which had
carried him away, "and by this time Peter and our patrole will be at the
hall. I told them to look up in the evening, in order to appoint their
several duties and stations--let us turn back. Indeed, Aram, I can assure
you, that I, for my own part, have some strong reasons to take
precautions against any attack; for besides the old family plate, (though
that's not much,) I have,--you know the bureau in the parlour to the left
of the hall--well, I have in that bureau three hundred guineas, which I
have not as yet been able to take to safe hands at--, and which, by the
way, will be your's to-morrow. So, you see, it would be no light
misfortune to me to be robbed."

"Hist!" said Aram, stopping short, "I think I heard steps on the other
side of the hedge."

The Squire listened, but heard nothing; the senses of his companion were,
however, remarkably acute, more especially that of hearing.

"There is certainly some one; nay, I catch the steps of two persons,"
whispered he to Lester. "Let us come round the hedge by the gap below."

They both quickened their pace, and gaining the other side of the hedge,
did indeed perceive two men in carters' frocks, strolling on towards the

"They are strangers too," said the Squire suspiciously, "not Grassdale
men. Humph! could they have overheard us, think you?"

"If men whose business it is to overhear their neighbours--yes; but not
if they be honest men," answered Aram, in one of those shrewd remarks
which he often uttered, and which seemed almost incompatible with the
tenor of the quiet and abstruse pursuits that he had adopted, and that
generally deaden the mind to worldly wisdom.

They had now approached the strangers, who, however, appeared mere rustic
clowns, and who pulled off their hats with the wonted obeisance of their

"Hollo, my men," said the Squire, assuming his magisterial air, for the
mildest Squire in Christendom can play the Bashaw, when he remembers he
is a Justice of the Peace. "Hollo! what are you doing here this time of
day? you are not after any good, I fear."

"We ax pardon, your honour," said the elder clown, in the peculiar accent
of the country, "but we be come from Gladsmuir; and be going to work at
Squire Nixon's at Mow-hall, on Monday; so as I has a brother living on
the green afore the Squire's, we be a-going to sleep there to-night and
spend the Sunday, your honour."

"Humph! humph! What's your name?"

"Joe Wood, your honour, and this here chap is, Will Hutchings."

"Well, well, go along with you," said the Squire: "And mind what you are
about. I should not be surprised if you snare one of Squire Nixon's hares
by the way."

"Oh, well and indeed, your honour."--"Go along, go along," said the
Squire, and away went the men.

"They seem honest bumpkins enough," observed Lester.

"It would have pleased me better," said Aram, "had the speaker of the two
particularized less; and you observed that he seemed eager not to let his
companion speak; that is a little suspicious."

"Shall I call them back?" asked the Squire.

"Why it is scarcely worth while," said Aram; "perhaps I over refine. And
now I look again at them, they seem really what they affect to be. No, it
is useless to molest the poor wretches any more. There is something,
Lester, humbling to human pride in a rustic's life. It grates against the
heart to think of the tone in which we unconsciously permit ourselves to
address him. We see in him humanity in its simple state; it is a sad
thought to feel that we despise it; that all we respect in our species is
what has been created by art; the gaudy dress, the glittering equipage,
or even the cultivated intellect; the mere and naked material of Nature,
we eye with indifference or trample on with disdain. Poor child of toil,
from the grey dawn to the setting sun, one long task!--no idea
elicited--no thought awakened beyond those that suffice to make him the
machine of others--the serf of the hard soil! And then too, mark how we
scowl upon his scanty holidays, how we hedge in his mirth with laws, and
turn his hilarity into crime! We make the whole of the gay world, wherein
we walk and take our pleasure, to him a place of snares and perils. If he
leave his labour for an instant, in that instant how many temptations
spring up to him! And yet we have no mercy for his errors; the gaol--the
transport-ship--the gallows; those are our sole lecture-books, and our
only methods of expostulation--ah, fie on the disparities of the world!
They cripple the heart, they blind the sense, they concentrate the
thousand links between man and man, into the two basest of earthly
ties--servility, and pride. Methinks the devils laugh out when they hear
us tell the boor that his soul is as glorious and eternal as our own; and
yet when in the grinding drudgery of his life, not a spark of that soul
can be called forth; when it sleeps, walled around in its lumpish clay,
from the cradle to the grave, without a dream to stir the deadness of its

"And yet, Aram," said Lester, "the Lords of science have their ills.
Exalt the soul as you will, you cannot raise it above pain. Better,
perhaps, to let it sleep, when in waking it looks only upon a world of

"You say well, you say well," said Aram smiting his heart, "and I
suffered a foolish sentiment to carry me beyond the sober boundaries of
our daily sense."



      Falstaff.--"Bid my Lieutenant Peto meet me at the town's end.
      . . I pressed me none but such toasts and butter, with hearts
      in their bellies no bigger than pins' heads."
        --Henry IV.

They had scarcely reached the Manor-house, before the rain, which the
clouds had portended throughout the whole day, began to descend in
torrents, and to use the strong expression of the Roman poet--the night
rushed down, black and sudden, over the face of the earth.

The new watch were not by any means the hardy and experienced soldiery,
by whom rain and darkness are unheeded. They looked with great dismay
upon the character of the night in which their campaign was to commence.
The valorous Peter, who had sustained his own courage by repeated
applications to a little bottle, which he never failed to carry about him
in all the more bustling and enterprising occasions of life, endeavoured,
but with partial success, to maintain the ardour of his band. Seated in
the servants' hall of the Manor-house, in a large arm-chair, Jacobina on
his knee, and his trusty musket, which, to the great terror of the
womankind, had never been uncocked throughout the day, still grasped in
his right hand, while the stock was grounded on the floor; he indulged in
martial harangues, plentifully interlarded with plagiarisms from the
worshipful translations of Messrs. Sternhold and Hopkins, and psalmodic
versions of a more doubtful authorship. And when at the hour of ten,
which was the appointed time, he led his warlike force, which consisted
of six rustics, armed with sticks of incredible thickness, three guns,
one pistol, a broadsword, and a pitchfork, (a weapon likely to be more
effectively used than all the rest put together;) when at the hour of ten
he led them up to the room above, where they were to be passed in review
before the critical eye of the Squire, with Jacobina leading the
on-guard, you could not fancy a prettier picture for a hero in a little
way, than mine host of the Spotted Dog.

His hat was fastened tight on his brows by a blue pocket-handkerchief; he
wore a spencer of a light brown drugget, a world too loose, above a
leather jerkin; his breeches of corduroy, were met all of a sudden half
way up the thigh, by a detachment of Hessians, formerly in the service of
the Corporal, and bought some time since by Peter Dealtry to wear when
employed in shooting snipes for the Squire, to whom he occasionally
performed the office of game-keeper; suspended round his wrist by a bit
of black ribbon, was his constable's baton; he shouldered his musket
gallantly, and he carried his person as erect as if the least deflexion
from its perpendicularity were to cost him his life. One may judge of the
revolution that had taken place in the village, when so peaceable a man
as Peter Dealtry was thus metamorphosed into a commander-in-chief. The
rest of the regiment hung sheepishly back; each trying to get as near to
the door, and as far from the ladies, as possible. But Peter having made
up his mind, that a hero should only look straight forward, did not
condescend to turn round, to perceive the irregularity of his line.
Secure in his own existence, he stood truculently forth, facing the
Squire, and prepared to receive his plaudits.

Madeline and Aram sat apart at one corner of the hearth, and Ellinor
leaned over the chair of the former; the mirth that she struggled to
suppress from being audible, mantling over her arch face and laughing
eyes; while the Squire, taking the pipe from his mouth, turned round on
his easy chair, and nodded complacently to the little corps, and the
great commander.

"We are all ready now, your honour," said Peter, in a voice that did not
seem to belong to his body, so big did it sound, "all hot, all eager."

"Why you yourself are a host, Peter," said Ellinor with affected gravity;
"your sight alone would frighten an army of robbers: who could have
thought you could assume so military an air? The Corporal himself was
never so upright!"

"I have practised my present attitude all the day, Miss," said Peter,
proudly, "and I believe I may now say as Mr. Sternhold says or sings, in
the twenty-sixth Psalm, verse twelfth.

        'My foot is stayed for all assays,
         It standeth well and right,
        Wherefore to God--will I give praise
         In all the people's sight!'

Jacobina, behave yourself, child. I don't think, your honour, that we
miss the Corporal so much as I fancied at first, for we all does very
well without him."

"Indeed you are a most worthy substitute, Peter; and now, Nell, just
reach me my hat and cloak; I will set you at your posts: you will have an
ugly night of it."

"Very indeed, your honour," cried all the army, speaking for the first

"Silence--order--discipline," said Peter gruffly. "March!"

But instead of marching across the hall, the recruits huddled up one
after the other, like a flock of geese, whom Jacobina might be supposed
to have set in motion, and each scraping to the ladies, as they shuffled,
sneaked, bundled, and bustled out at the door.

"We are well guarded now, Madeline," said Ellinor; "I fancy we may go to
sleep as safely as if there were not a housebreaker in the world."

"Why," said Madeline, "let us trust they will be more efficient than they
seem, though I cannot persuade myself that we shall really need them. One
might almost as well conceive a tiger in our arbour, as a robber in
Grassdale. But dear, dear Eugene, do not--do not leave us this night;
Walter's room is ready for you, and if it were only to walk across that
valley in such weather, it would be cruel to leave us. Let me beseech
you; come, you cannot, you dare not refuse me such a favour."

Aram pleaded his vow, but it was overruled; Madeline proved herself a
most exquisite casuist in setting it aside. One by one his objections
were broken down; and how, as he gazed into those eyes, could he keep any
resolution, that Madeline wished him to break! The power she possessed
over him seemed exactly in proportion to his impregnability to every one
else. The surface on which the diamond cuts its easy way, will yield to
no more ignoble instrument; it is easy to shatter it, but by only one
substance can it be impressed. And in this instance Aram had but one
secret and strong cause to prevent his yielding to Madeline's wishes;--if
he remained at the house this night, how could he well avoid a similar
compliance the next? And on the next was his interview with Houseman.
This reason was not, however, strong enough to enable him to resist
Madeline's soft entreaties; he trusted to the time to furnish him with
excuses, and when Lester returned, Madeline with a triumphant air
informed him that Aram had consented to be their guest for the night."

"Your influence is indeed greater than mine," said Lester, wringing his
hat as the delicate fingers of Ellinor loosened his cloak; "yet one can
scarcely think our friend sacrifices much in concession, after proving
the weather without. I should pity our poor patrole most exceedingly, if
I were not thoroughly assured that within two hours every one of them
will have quietly slunk home; and even Peter himself, when he has
exhausted his bottle, will be the first to set the example. However, I
have stationed two of the men near our house, and the rest at equal
distances along the village."

"Do you really think they will go home, Sir?" said Ellinor, in a little
alarm; "why they would be worse than I thought them, if they were driven
to bed by the rain. I knew they could not stand a pistol, but a shower,
however hard, I did imagine would scarcely quench their valour."

"Never mind, girl," said Lester, gaily chucking her under the chin, "we
are quite strong enough now to resist them. You see Madeline has grown as
brave as a lioness--Come, girls, come, let's have supper, and stir up the
fire. And, Nell, where are my slippers?"

And thus on the little family scene, the cheerful wood fire flickering
against the polished wainscot; the supper table arranged, the Squire
drawing his oak chair towards it, Ellinor mixing his negus; and Aram and
Madeline, though three times summoned to the table, and having three
times answered to the summons, still lingering apart by the hearth--let
us drop the curtain.

We have only, ere we close our chapter, to observe, that when Lester
conducted Aram to his chamber he placed in his hands an order payable at
the county town, for three hundred pounds. "The rest," he said in a
whisper, "is below, where I mentioned; and there in my secret drawer it
had better rest till the morning."

The good Squire then, putting his finger to his lip, hurried away, to
avoid the thanks, which, indeed, however he might feel them, Aram was no
dexterous adept in expressing.


            --AND AN EVENT.

          Juliet.--My true love is grown to such excess,
          I cannot sum up half my sum of wealth.
              --Romeo and Juliet.

          Eros.--Oh, a man in arms;
          His weapon drawn, too!
              --The False One.

It was a custom with the two sisters, when they repaired to their chamber
for the night, to sit conversing, sometimes even for hours, before they
finally retired to bed. This indeed was the usual time for their little
confidences, and their mutual dilations over those hopes and plans for
the future, which always occupy the larger share of the thoughts and
conversation of the young. I do not know any thing in the world more
lovely than such conferences between two beings who have no secrets to
relate but what arise, all fresh, from the springs of a guiltless
heart,--those pure and beautiful mysteries of an unsullied nature which
warm us to hear; and we think with a sort of wonder when we feel how arid
experience has made ourselves, that so much of the dew and sparkle of
existence still linger in the nooks and valleys, which are as yet virgin
of the sun and of mankind.

The sisters this night were more than commonly indifferent to sleep.
Madeline sate by the small but bright hearth of the chamber, in her night
dress, and Ellinor, who was much prouder of her sister's beauty than her
own, was employed in knotting up the long and lustrous hair which fell in
rich luxuriance over Madeline's throat and shoulders.

"There certainly never was such beautiful hair!" said Ellinor admiringly;
"and, let me see,--yes,--on Thursday fortnight I may be dressing it,
perhaps, for the last time--heigho!"

"Don't flatter yourself that you are so near the end of your troublesome
duties," said Madeline, with her pretty smile, which had been much
brighter and more frequent of late than it was formerly wont to be, so
that Lester had remarked "That Madeline really appeared to have become
the lighter and gayer of the two."

"You will often come to stay with us for weeks together, at least
till--till you have a double right to be mistress here. Ah! my poor
hair,--you need not pull it so hard."

"Be quiet, then," said Ellinor, half laughing, and wholly blushing.

"Trust me, I have not been in love myself without learning its signs; and
I venture to prophesy that within six months you will come to consult me
whether or not,--for there is a great deal to be said on both sides of
the question,--you can make up your mind to sacrifice your own wishes,
and marry Walter Lester. Ah!--gently, gently. Nell--" "Promise to be

"I will--I will; but you began it."

As Ellinor now finished her task, and kissed her sister's forehead, she
sighed deeply.

"Happy Walter!" said Madeline.

"I was not sighing for Walter, but for you."

"For me?--impossible! I cannot imagine any part of my future life that
can cost you a sigh. Ah! that I were more worthy of my happiness."

"Well, then," said Ellinor, "I sighed for myself;--I sighed to think we
should so soon be parted, and that the continuance of your society would
then depend not on our mutual love, but the will of another."

"What, Ellinor, and can you suppose that Eugene,--my Eugene,--would not
welcome you as warmly as myself? Ah! you misjudge him; I know you have
not yet perceived how tender a heart lies beneath all that melancholy and

"I feel, indeed," said Ellinor warmly, "as if it were impossible that one
whom you love should not be all that is good and noble; yet if this
reserve of his should increase, as is at least possible, with increasing
years; if our society should become again, as it once was, distasteful to
him, should I not lose you, Madeline?"

"But his reserve cannot increase: do you not perceive how much it is
softened already? Ah! be assured that I will charm it away."

"But what is the cause of the melancholy that even now, at times,
evidently preys upon him?--has he never revealed it to you?"

"It is merely the early and long habit of solitude and study, Ellinor,"
replied Madeline; "and shall I own to you I would scarcely wish that
away; his tenderness itself seems linked with his melancholy. It is like
a sad but gentle music, that brings tears into our eyes, but which we
would not change for gayer airs for the world."

"Well, I must own," said Ellinor, reluctantly, "that I no longer wonder
at your infatuation; I can no longer chide you as I once did; there is,
assuredly, something in his voice, his look, which irresistibly sinks
into the heart. And there are moments when, what with his eyes and
forehead, his countenance seems more beautiful, more impressive, than any
I ever beheld. Perhaps, too, for you, it is better, that your lover
should be no longer in the first flush of youth. Your nature seems to
require something to venerate, as well as to love. And I have ever
observed at prayers, that you seem more especially rapt and carried
beyond yourself, in those passages which call peculiarly for worship and

"Yes, dearest," said Madeline fervently, "I own that Eugene is of all
beings, not only of all whom I ever knew, but of whom I ever dreamed, or
imagined, the one that I am most fitted to love and to appreciate. His
wisdom, but more than that, the lofty tenor of his mind, calls forth all
that is highest and best in my own nature. I feel exalted when I listen
to him;--and yet, how gentle, with all that nobleness! And to think that
he should descend to love me, and so to love me. It is as if a star were
to leave its sphere!"

"Hark! one o'clock," said Ellinor, as the deep voice of the clock told
the first hour of morning. "Heavens! how much louder the winds rave. And
how the heavy sleet drives against the window! Our poor watch without!
but you may be sure my uncle was right, and they are safe at home by this
time; nor is it likely, I should think, that even robbers would be abroad
in such weather!"

"I have heard," said Madeline, "that robbers generally choose these dark,
stormy nights for their designs, but I confess I don't feel much alarm,
and he is in the house. Draw nearer to the fire, Ellinor; is it not
pleasant to see how serenely it burns, while the storm howls without! it
is like my Eugene's soul, luminous, and lone, amidst the roar and
darkness of this unquiet world!"

"There spoke himself," said Ellinor smiling to perceive how invariably
women, who love, imitate the tone of the beloved one. And Madeline felt
it, and smiled too.

"Hist!" said Ellinor abruptly, "did you not hear a low, grating noise
below? Ah! the winds now prevent your catching the sound; but hush,
hush!--now the wind pauses,--there it is again!"

"Yes, I hear it," said Madeline, turning pale, "it seems in the little
parlour; a continued, harsh, but very low, noise. Good heavens! it seems
at the window below."

"It is like a file," whispered Ellinor: "perhaps--" "You are right," said
Madeline, suddenly rising, "it is a file, and at the bars my father had
fixed against the window yesterday. Let us go down, and alarm the house."

"No, no; for God's sake, don't be so rash," cried Ellinor, losing all
presence of mind: "hark! the sound ceases, there is a louder noise
below,--and steps. Let us lock the door."

But Madeline was of that fine and high order of spirit which rises in
proportion to danger, and calming her sister as well as she could, till
she found her attempts wholly ineffectual, she seized the light with a
steady hand, opened the door, and Ellinor still clinging to her, passed
the landing-place, and hastened to her father's room; he slept at the
opposite corner of the staircase. Aram's chamber was at the extreme end
of the house. Before she reached the door of Lester's apartment, the
noise below grew loud and distinct--a scuffle--voices--curses--and
now--the sound of a pistol!--in a moment more the whole house was
stirring. Lester in his night robe, his broadsword in his hand, and his
long grey hair floating behind, was the first to appear; the servants,
old and young, male and female, now came thronging simultaneously round;
and in a general body, Lester several paces at their head, his daughters
following next to him, they rushed to the apartment whence the noise, now
suddenly stilled, had proceeded.

The window was opened, evidently by force; an instrument like a wedge was
fixed in the bureau containing Lester's money, and seemed to have been
left there, as if the person using it had been disturbed before the
design for which it was introduced had been accomplished, and, (the only
evidence of life,) Aram stood, dressed, in the centre of the room, a
pistol in his left hand, a sword in his right; a bludgeon severed in two
lay at his feet, and on the floor within two yards of him, towards the
window, drops of blood yet warm, showed that the pistol had not been
discharged in vain.

"And is it you, my brave friend, that I have to thank for our safety?"
cried Lester in great emotion.

"You, Eugene!" repeated Madeline, sinking on his breast.

"But thanks hereafter," continued Lester; "let us now to the
pursuit,--perhaps the villain may have perished beneath your bullet?"

"Ha!" muttered Aram, who had hitherto seemed unconscious of all around
him; so fixed had been his eye, so colourless his cheek, so motionless
his posture. "Ha! say you so?--think you I have slain him?--no, it cannot
be--the ball did not slay, I saw him stagger; but he rallied--not so one
who receives a mortal wound!--ha! ha!--there is blood, you say, that is
true; but what then!--it is not the first wound that kills, you must
strike again--pooh, pooh, what is a little blood!"

While he was thus muttering, Lester and the more active of the servants
had already sallied through the window, but the night was so intensely
dark that they could not penetrate a step beyond them. Lester returned,
therefore, in a few moments; and met Aram's dark eye fixed upon him with
an unutterable expression of anxiety.

"You have found no one," said he, "no dying man?--Ha!--well--well--well!
they must both have escaped; the night must favour them."

"Do you fancy the villain was severely wounded?"

"Not so--I trust not so; he seemed able to--But stop--oh
God!--stop!--your foot is dabbling in blood--blood shed by me,--off!

Lester moved aside with a quick abhorrence, as he saw that his feet were
indeed smearing the blood over the polished and slippery surface of the
oak boards, and in moving he stumbled against a dark lantern in which the
light still burnt, and which the robbers in their flight had left.

"Yes," said Aram observing it. "It was by that--their own light that I
saw them--saw their faces--and--and--(bursting into a loud, wild laugh)
they were both strangers!"

"Ah, I thought so, I knew so," said Lester plucking the instrument from
the bureau. "I knew they could be no Grassdale men. What, did you fancy,
they could be? But--bless me, Madeline--what ho! help!--Aram, she has
fainted at your feet."

And it was indeed true and remarkable, that so utter had been the
absorption of Aram's mind, that he had been insensible not only to the
entrance of Madeline, but even that she had thrown herself on his breast.
And she, overcome by her feelings, had slid to the ground from that
momentary resting-place, in a swoon which Lester, in the general tumult
and confusion, was now the first to perceive.

At this exclamation, at the sound of Madeline's name, the blood rushed
back from Aram's heart, where it had gathered, icy and curdling; and,
awakened thoroughly and at once to himself, he knelt down, and weaving
his arms around her, supported her head on his breast, and called upon
her with the most passionate and moving exclamations.

But when the faint bloom retinged her cheek, and her lips stirred, he
printed a long kiss on that cheek--on those lips, and surrendered his
post to Ellinor; who, blushingly gathering the robe over the beautiful
breast from which it had been slightly drawn; now entreated all, save the
women of the house, to withdraw till her sister was restored.

Lester, eager to hear what his guest could relate, therefore took Aram to
his own apartment, where the particulars were briefly told.

Suspecting, which indeed was the chief reason that excused him to himself
in yielding to Madeline's request, that the men Lester and himself had
encountered in their evening walk, might be other than they seemed, and
that they might have well overheard Lester's communication, as to the sum
in his house, and the place where it was stored; he had not undressed
himself, but kept the door of his room open to listen if any thing
stirred. The keen sense of hearing, which we have before remarked him to
possess, enabled him to catch the sound of the file at the bars, even
before Ellinor, notwithstanding the distance of his own chamber from the
place, and seizing the sword which had been left in his room, (the pistol
was his own) he had descended to the room below.

"What!" said Lester, "and without a light?"

"The darkness is familiar to me," said Aram. "I could walk by the edge of
a precipice in the darkest night without one false step, if I had but
once passed it before. I did not gain the room, however, till the window
had been forced; and by the light of a dark lantern which one of them
held, I perceived two men standing by the bureau--the rest you can
imagine; my victory was easy, for the bludgeon, with which one of them
aimed at me, gave way at once to the edge of your good sword, and my
pistol delivered me of the other.--There ends the history."

Lester overwhelmed him with thanks and praises, but Aram, glad to escape
them, hurried away to see after Madeline, whom he now met on the
landing-place, leaning on Ellinor's arm and still pale.

She gave him her hand, which he for one moment pressed passionately to
his lips, but dropped, the next, with an altered and chilled air. And
hastily observing he would not now detain her from a rest which she must
so much require, he turned away and descended the stairs. Some of the
servants were grouped around the place of encounter; he entered the room,
and again started at the sight of the blood.

"Bring water," said he fiercely: "will you let the stagnant gore ooze and
rot into the boards, to startle the eye, and still the heart with its
filthy, and unutterable stain--water, I say! water!"

They hurried to obey him, and Lester coming into the room to see the
window reclosed by the help of boards found the Student bending over the
servants as they performed their reluctant task, and rating them with a
raised and harsh voice for the hastiness with which he accused them of
seeking to slur it over.



                   Luce non grata fruor;
          Trepidante semper corde, non mortis metu
              --Seneca: Octavia, act i.

The two men servants of the house remained up the rest of the night; but
it was not till the morning had progressed far beyond the usual time of
rising in the fresh shades of Grassdale, that Madeline and Ellinor became
visible; even Lester left his bed an hour later than his wont; and
knocking at Aram's door, found the Student was already abroad, while it
was evident that his bed had not been pressed during the whole of the
night. Lester descended into the garden, and was there met by Peter
Dealtry, and a detachment of the band; who, as common sense and Lester
had predicted, were indeed, at a very early period of the watch, driven
to their respective homes. They were now seriously concerned for their
unmanliness, which they passed off as well as they could upon their
conviction "that nobody at Grassdale could ever really be robbed;" and
promised with sincere contrition, that they would be most excellent
guards for the future. Peter was, in sooth, singularly chop-fallen; and
could only defend himself by an incoherent mutter, from which the Squire
turned somewhat impatiently, when he heard, louder than the rest, the
words "seventy-seventh psalm, seventeenth verse,

"The clouds that were both thick and black,

          Did rain full plenteously."

Leaving the Squire to the edification of the pious host, let us follow
the steps of Aram, who at the early dawn had quitted his sleepless
chamber, and, though the clouds at that time still poured down in a dull
and heavy sleet, wandered away, whither he neither knew, nor heeded. He
was now hurrying, with unabated speed, though with no purposed bourne or
object, over the chain of mountains that backed the green and lovely
valleys, among which his home was cast.

"Yes!" said he, at last halting abruptly, with a desperate resolution
stamped on his countenance, "yes! I will so determine. If, after this
interview, I feel that I cannot command and bind Houseman's perpetual
secrecy, I will surrender Madeline at once. She has loved me generously
and trustingly. I will not link her life with one that may be called
hence in any hour, and to so dread an account. Neither shall the grey
hairs of Lester be brought with the sorrow of my shame, to a dishonoured
and untimely grave. And after the outrage of last night, the daring
outrage, how can I calculate on the safety of a day? though Houseman was
not present, though I can scarce believe that he knew or at least abetted
the attack; yet they were assuredly of his gang: had one been seized, the
clue might have traced to his detection--and he detected, what should I
have to dread! No, Madeline! no; not while this sword hangs over me, will
I subject thee to share the horror of my fate!"

This resolution, which was certainly generous, and yet no more than
honest, Aram had no sooner arrived at, than he dismissed, at once, by one
of those efforts which powerful minds can command, all the weak and
vacillating thoughts that might interfere with the sternness of his
determination. He seemed to breathe more freely, and the haggard wanness
of his brow, relaxed at least from the workings that, but the moment
before, distorted its wonted serenity, with a maniac wildness.

He pursued his desultory way now with a calmer step.

"What a night!" said he, again breaking into the low murmur in which he
was accustomed to hold commune with himself. "Had Houseman been one of
the ruffians! a shot might have freed me, and without a crime, for ever!
And till the light flashed on their brows, I thought the smaller man bore
his aspect. Ha, out, tempting thought! out on thee!" he cried aloud, and
stamping with his foot, then recalled by his own vehemence, he cast a
jealous and hurried glance round him, though at that moment his step was
on the very height of the mountains, where not even the solitary
shepherd, save in search of some more daring straggler of the flock, ever
brushed the dew from the cragged, yet fragrant soil. "Yet," he said, in a
lower voice, and again sinking into the sombre depths of his reverie, "it
is a tempting, a wondrously tempting thought. And it struck athwart me,
like a flash of lightning when this hand was at his throat--a tighter
strain, another moment, and Eugene Aram had not had an enemy, a witness
against him left in the world. Ha! are the dead no foes then? Are the
dead no witnesses?" Here he relapsed into utter silence, but his gestures
continued wild, and his eyes wandered round, with a bloodshot and unquiet
glare. "Enough," at length he said calmly; and with the manner of one
'who has rolled a stone from his heart;' [Note: Eastern saying.] "enough!
I will not so sully myself; unless all other hope of self-preservation be
extinct. And why despond? the plan I have thought of seems well-laid,
wise, consummate at all points. Let me consider--forfeited the moment he
enters England--not given till he has left it--paid periodically, and of
such extent as to supply his wants, preserve him from crime, and forbid
the possibility of extorting more: all this sounds well; and if not
feasible at last, why farewell Madeline, and I myself leave this land for
ever. Come what will to me--death in its vilest shape--let not the stroke
fall on that breast. And if it be," he continued, his face lighting up,
"if it be, as it may yet, that I can chain this hell-hound, why, even
then, the instant that Madeline is mine, I will fly these scenes; I will
seek a yet obscurer and remoter corner of earth: I will choose another
name--Fool! why did I not so before? But matters it? What is writ is
writ. Who can struggle with the invisible and giant hand, that launched
the world itself into motion; and at whose predecree we hold the dark
boon of life and death?"

It was not till evening that Aram, utterly worn out and exhausted, found
himself in the neighbourhood of Lester's house. The sun had only broken
forth at its setting; and it now glittered from its western pyre over the
dripping hedges, and spread a brief, but magic glow along the rich
landscape around; the changing woods clad in the thousand dies of Autumn;
the scattered and peaceful cottages, with their long wreaths of smoke
curling upward, and the grey and venerable walls of the Manor-house, with
the Church hard by, and the delicate spire, which, mixing itself with
heaven, is at once the most touching and solemn emblem of the Faith to
which it is devoted. It was a sabbath eve; and from the spot on which
Aram stood, he might discern many a rustic train trooping slowly up the
green village lane towards the Church; and the deep bell which summoned
to the last service of the day now swung its voice far over the sunlit
and tranquil scene.

But it was not the setting sun, nor the autumnal landscape, nor the voice
of the holy bell that now arrested the step of Aram. At a little distance
before him, leaning over a gate, and seemingly waiting till the ceasing
of the bell should announce the time to enter the sacred mansion, he
beheld the figure of Madeline Lester. Her head, at the moment, was
averted from him, as if she were looking after Ellinor and her uncle, who
were in the churchyard among a little group of their homely neighbours;
and he was half in doubt whether to shun her presence, when she suddenly
turned round, and seeing him, uttered an exclamation of joy. It was now
too late for avoidance; and calling to his aid that mastery over his
features, which, in ordinary times, few more eminently possessed, he
approached his beautiful mistress with a smile as serene, if not as
glowing, as her own. But she had already opened the gate, and bounding
forward, met him half way.

"Ah, truant, truant," said she, the whole day absent, without inquiry or
farewell! After this, when shall I believe that thou really lovest me?

"But," continued Madeline, gazing on his countenance, which bore witness,
in its present languor, to the fierce emotions which had lately raged
within, "but, heavens! dearest, how pale you look; you are fatigued; give
me your hand, Eugene,--it is parched and dry. Come into the house;--you
must need rest and refreshment."

"I am better here, my Madeline,--the air and the sun revive me: let us
rest by the stile yonder. But you were going to Church? and the bell has

"I could attend, I fear, little to the prayers now," said Madeline,
"unless you feel well enough and will come to Church with me."

"To Church!" said Aram, with a half shudder, "no; my thoughts are in no
mood for prayer."

"Then you shall give your thoughts to me and I, in return, will pray for
you before I rest."

And so saying, Madeline, with her usual innocent frankness of manner,
wound her arm in his, and they walked onward towards the stile Aram had
pointed out. It was a little rustic stile, with chesnut-trees hanging
over it on either side. It stands to this day, and I have pleased myself
with finding Walter Lester's initials, and Madeline's also, with the date
of the year, carved in half-worn letters on the wood, probably by the
hand of the former.

They now rested at this spot. All around them was still and solitary; the
groups of peasants had entered the Church, and nothing of life, save the
cattle grazing in the distant fields, or the thrush starting from the wet
bushes, was visible. The winds were lulled to rest, and, though somewhat
of the chill of autumn floated on the air, it only bore a balm to the
harassed brow and fevered veins of the Student; and Madeline!--she felt
nothing but his presence. It was exactly what we picture to ourselves of
a sabbath eve, unutterably serene and soft, and borrowing from the very
melancholy of the declining year an impressive, yet a mild solemnity.

There are seasons, often in the most dark or turbulent periods of our
life, when, why we know not, we are suddenly called from ourselves, by
the remembrances of early childhood: something touches the electric
chain, and, lo! a host of shadowy and sweet recollections steal upon us.
The wheel rests, the oar is suspended, we are snatched from the labour
and travail of present life; we are born again, and live anew. As the
secret page in which the characters once written seem for ever effaced,
but which, if breathed upon, gives them again into view; so the memory
can revive the images invisible for years: but while we gaze, the breath
recedes from the surface, and all one moment so vivid, with the next
moment has become once more a blank!

"It is singular," said Aram, "but often as I have paused at this spot,
and gazed upon this landscape, a likeness to the scenes of my childish
life, which it now seems to me to present, never occurred to me before.
Yes, yonder, in that cottage, with the sycamores in front, and the
orchard extending behind, till its boundary, as we now stand, seems lost
among the woodland, I could fancy that I looked upon my father's home.
The clump of trees that lies yonder to the right could cheat me readily
to the belief that I saw the little grove in which, enamoured with the
first passion of study, I was wont to pore over the thrice-read book
through the long summer days;--a boy,--a thoughtful boy; yet, oh! how
happy! What worlds appeared then to me, to open in every page! how
exhaustless I thought the treasures and the hopes of life! and beautiful
on the mountain tops seemed to me the steps of Knowledge! I did not dream
of all that the musing and lonely passion that I nursed was to entail
upon me. There, in the clefts of the valley, or the ridges of the hill,
or the fragrant course of the stream, I began already to win its history
from the herb or flower; I saw nothing, that I did not long to unravel
its secrets; all that the earth nourished ministered to one desire:--and
what of low or sordid did there mingle with that desire? The petty
avarice, the mean ambition, the debasing love, even the heat, the anger,
the fickleness, the caprice of other men, did they allure or bow down my
nature from its steep and solitary eyrie? I lived but to feed my mind;
wisdom was my thirst, my dream, my aliment, my sole fount and sustenance
of life. And have I not sown the whirlwind and reaped the wind? The glory
of my youth is gone, my veins are chilled, my frame is bowed, my heart is
gnawed with cares, my nerves are unstrung as a loosened bow: and what,
after all, is my gain? Oh, God! what is my gain?"

"Eugene, dear, dear Eugene!" murmured Madeline soothingly, and wrestling
with her tears, "is not your gain great? is it no triumph that you stand,
while yet young, almost alone in the world, for success in all that you
have attempted?"

"And what," exclaimed Aram, breaking in upon her, "what is this world
which we ransack, but a stupendous charnel-house? Every thing that we
deem most lovely, ask its origin?--Decay! When we rifle nature, and
collect wisdom, are we not like the hags of old, culling simples from the
rank grave, and extracting sorceries from the rotting bones of the dead?
Every thing around us is fathered by corruption, battened by corruption,
and into corruption returns at last. Corruption is at once the womb and
grave of Nature, and the very beauty on which we gaze and hang,--the
cloud, and the tree, and the swarming waters,--all are one vast panorama
of death! But it did not always seem to me thus; and even now I speak
with a heated pulse and a dizzy brain. Come, Madeline, let us change the

And dismissing at once from his language, and perhaps, as he proceeded,
also from his mind, all of its former gloom, except such as might shade,
but not embitter, the natural tenderness of remembrance, Aram now
related, with that vividness of diction, which, though we feel we can
very inadequately convey its effect, characterised his conversation, and
gave something of poetic interest to all he uttered; those reminiscences
which belong to childhood, and which all of us take delight to hear from
the lips of any one we love.

It was while on this theme that the lights which the deepening twilight
had now made necessary, became visible in the Church, streaming afar
through its large oriel window, and brightening the dark firs that
overshadowed the graves around: and just at that moment the organ, (a
gift from a rich rector, and the boast of the neighbouring country,)
stole upon the silence with its swelling and solemn note. There was
something in the strain of this sudden music that was so kindred with the
holy repose of the scene, and which chimed so exactly to the chord that
now vibrated in Aram's mind, that it struck upon him at once with an
irresistible power. He paused abruptly "as if an angel spoke!" that sound
so peculiarly adapted to express sacred and unearthly emotion none who
have ever mourned or sinned can hear, at an unlooked for moment, without
a certain sentiment, that either subdues, or elevates, or awes. But
he,--he was a boy once more!--he was again in the village church of his
native place: his father, with his silver hair, stood again beside him!
there was his mother, pointing to him the holy verse; there the half
arch, half reverent face of his little sister, (she died young!)--there
the upward eye and hushed countenance of the preacher who had first
raised his mind to knowledge, and supplied its food,--all, all lived,
moved, breathed, again before him,--all, as when he was young and
guiltless, and at peace; hope and the future one word!

He bowed his head lower and lower; the hardness and hypocrisies of pride,
the sense of danger and of horror, that, in agitating, still supported,
the mind of this resolute and scheming man, at once forsook him. Madeline
felt his tears drop fast and burning on her hand, and the next moment,
overcome by the relief it afforded to a heart preyed upon by fiery and
dread secrets, which it could not reveal, and a frame exhausted by the
long and extreme tension of all its powers, he laid his head upon that
faithful bosom, and wept aloud.



          Macbeth. Now o'er the one half world
               Nature seems dead.

          Donalbain.  Our separated fortune
               Shall keep us both the safer.

          Old Man. Hours dreadful and things strange.

"And you must really go to _____ to pay your importunate creditor this
very evening. Sunday is a bad day for such matters; but as you pay him by
an order, it does not much signify; and I can well understand your
impatience to feel discharged of the debt. But it is already late; and if
it must be so, you had better start."

"True," said Aram to the above remark of Lester's, as the two stood
together without the door; "but do you feel quite secure and guarded
against any renewed attack?"

"Why, unless they bring a regiment, yes! I have put a body of our patrole
on a service where they can scarce be inefficient, viz. I have stationed
them in the house, instead of without; and I shall myself bear them
company through the greater part of the night: to-morrow I shall remove
all that I possess of value to--(the county town) including those unlucky
guineas, which you will not ease me of."

"The order you have kindly given me will amply satisfy my purpose,"
answered Aram: "And so, there has been no clue to these robberies
discovered throughout the day?"

"None: to-morrow, the magistrates are to meet at--, and concert measures:
it is absolutely impossible, but that we should detect the villains in a
few days, viz. if they remain in these parts. I hope to heaven you will
not meet them this evening."

"I shall go well armed," answered Aram, "and the horse you lend me is
fleet and strong. And now farewell for the present; I shall probably not
return to Grassdale this night, or if I do, it will be at so late an
hour, that I shall seek my own domicile without disturbing you."

"No, no; you had better remain in the town, and not return till morning,"
said the Squire; "and now let us come to the stables."

To obviate all chance of suspicion as to the real place of his
destination, Aram deliberately rode to the town he had mentioned, as the
one in which his pretended creditor expected him. He put up at an inn,
walked forth as if to visit some one in the town, returned, remounted,
and by a circuitous route, came into the neighbourhood of the place in
which he was to meet Houseman: then turning into a long and dense chain
of wood, he fastened his horse to a tree, and looking to the priming of
his pistols, which he carried under his riding-cloak, proceeded to the
spot on foot.

The night was still, and not wholly dark; for the clouds lay scattered
though dense, and suffered many stars to gleam through the heavy air; the
moon herself was abroad, but on her decline, and looked forth with a man
and saddened aspect, as she travelled from cloud to cloud. It has been
the necessary course of our narrative, to pourtray Aram, more often than
to give an exact notion of his character we could have altogether wished,
in his weaker moments; but whenever he stood in the actual presence of
danger, his whole soul was in arms to cope with it worthily: courage,
sagacity, even cunning, all awakened to the encounter; and the mind which
his life had so austerely cultivated repaid him in the urgent season,
with its acute address, and unswerving hardihood. The Devil's Crag, as it
was popularly called, was a spot consecrated by many a wild tradition,
which would not, perhaps, be wholly out of character with the dark thread
of this tale, were we in accordance with certain of our brethren, who
seem to think a novel like a bundle of wood, the more faggots it contains
the greater its value, allowed by the rapidity of our narrative to relate

The same stream which lent so soft an attraction to the valleys of
Grassdale, here assumed a different character; broad, black, and rushing,
it whirled along a course, overhung by shagged and abrupt banks. On the
opposite side to that by which Aram now pursued his path, an almost
perpendicular mountain was covered with gigantic pine and fir, that might
have reminded a German wanderer of the darkest recesses of the Hartz; and
seemed, indeed, no unworthy haunt for the weird huntsman, or the forest
fiend. Over this wood the moon now shimmered, with the pale and feeble
light we have already described; and only threw into a more sombre shade
the motionless and gloomy foliage. Of all the offspring of the forest,
the Fir bears, perhaps, the most saddening and desolate aspect. Its long
branches, without absolute leaf or blossom; its dead, dark, eternal hue,
which the winter seems to wither not, nor the spring to revive, have, I
know not what of a mystic and unnatural life. Around all woodland, there
is that horror umbrarum which becomes more remarkably solemn and awing
amidst the silence and depth of night: but this is yet more especially
the characteristic of that sullen evergreen. Perhaps, too, this effect is
increased by the sterile and dreary soil, on which, when in groves, it is
generally found; and its very hardiness, the very pertinacity with which
it draws its strange unfluctuating life, from the sternest wastes and
most reluctant strata, enhance, unconsciously, the unwelcome effect it is
calculated to create upon the mind. At this place, too, the waters that
dashed beneath gave yet additional wildness to the rank verdure of the
wood, and contributed, by their rushing darkness partially broken by the
stars, and the hoarse roar of their chafed course, a yet more grim and
savage sublimity to the scene.

Winding a narrow path, (for the whole country was as familiar as a garden
to his footstep) that led through the tall wet herbage, almost along the
perilous brink of the stream, Aram was now aware, by the increased and
deafening sound of the waters, that the appointed spot was nearly gained;
and presently the glimmering and imperfect light of the skies, revealed
the dim shape of a gigantic rock, that rose abruptly from the middle of
the stream; and which, rude, barren, vast, as it really was, seemed now,
by the uncertainty of night, like some monstrous and deformed creature of
the waters, suddenly emerging from their vexed and dreary depths. This
was the far-famed Crag, which had borrowed from tradition its evil and
ominous name. And now, the stream, bending round with a broad and sudden
swoop, showed at a little distance, ghostly and indistinct through the
darkness, the mighty Waterfall, whose roar had been his guide. Only in
one streak a-down the giant cataract, the stars were reflected; and this
long train of broken light glittered preternaturally forth through the
rugged crags and the sombre verdure, that wrapped either side of the
waterfall in utter and rayless gloom.

Nothing could exceed the forlorn and terrific grandeur of the spot; the
roar of the waters supplied to the ear what the night forbade to the eye.
Incessant and eternal they thundered down into the gulf; and then
shooting over that fearful basin, and forming another, but a mimic fall,
dashed on, till they were opposed by the sullen and abrupt crag below;
and besieging its base with a renewed roar, sent their foamy and angry
spray half way up the hoar ascent.

At this stern and dreary spot, well suited for such conferences as Aram
and Houseman alone could hold; and which, whatever was the original
secret that linked the two men thus strangely, seemed of necessity to
partake of a desperate and lawless character, with danger for its main
topic, and death itself for its colouring, Aram now paused, and with an
eye accustomed to the darkness, looked around for his companion.

He did not wait long: from the profound shadow that girded the space
immediately around the fall, Houseman now emerged and joined the Student.
The stunning noise of the cataract in the place where they met, forbade
any attempt to converse; and they walked on by the course of the stream,
to gain a spot less in reach of the deafening shout of the mountain giant
as he rushed with his banded waters, upon the valley like a foe.

It was noticeable that as they proceeded, Aram walked on with an
unsuspicious and careless demeanour; but Houseman pointing out the way
with his hand, not leading it, kept a little behind Aram, and watched his
motions with a vigilant and wary eye. The Student, who had diverged from
the path at Houseman's direction, now paused at a place where the matted
bushes seemed to forbid any farther progress; and said, for the first
time breaking the silence, "We cannot proceed; shall this be the place of
our conference?"

"No," said Houseman, "we had better pierce the bushes. I know the way,
but will not lead it."

"And wherefore?"

"The mark of your gripe is still on my throat," replied Houseman,
significantly; "you know as well as I, that it is not always safe to have
a friend lagging behind."

"Let us rest here, then," said Aram, calmly, the darkness veiling any
alteration of his countenance, which his comrade's suspicion might have

"Yet it were much better," said Houseman, doubtingly, "could we gain the
cave below."

"The cave!" said Aram, starting, as if the word had a sound of fear.

"Ay, ay: but not St. Robert's," said Houseman; and the grin of his teeth
was visible through the dullness of the shade. "But come, give me your
hand, and I will venture to conduct you through the thicket:--that is
your left hand," observed Houseman with a sharp and angry suspicion in
his tone; "give me the right."

"As you will," said Aram in a subdued, yet meaning voice, that seemed to
come from his heart; and thrilled, for an instant, to the bones of him
who heard it; "as you will; but for fourteen years I have not given this
right hand, in pledge of fellowship, to living man; you alone deserve the

Houseman hesitated, before he took the hand now extended to him.

"Pshaw!" said he, as if indignant at himself, "what! scruples at a
shadow! Come," (grasping the hand) "that's well--so, so; now we are in
the thicket--tread firm--this way--hold," continued Houseman, under his
breath, as suspicion anew seemed to cross him; "hold! we can see each
other's face not even dimly now: but in this hand, my right is free, I
have a knife that has done good service ere this; and if I feel cause to
suspect that you meditate to play me false, I bury it in your heart; do
you heed me?"

"Fool!" said Aram, scornfully, "I should dread you dead yet more than

Houseman made no answer; but continued to grope on through the path in
the thicket, which he evidently knew well; though even in daylight, so
thick were the trees, and so artfully had their boughs been left to cover
the track, no path could have been discovered by one unacquainted with
the clue.

They had now walked on for some minutes, and of late their steps had been
threading a rugged, and somewhat precipitous descent: all this while, the
pulse of the hand Houseman held, beat with as steadfast and calm a throb,
as in the most quiet mood of learned meditation; although Aram could not
but be conscious that a mere accident, a slip of the foot, an
entanglement in the briars, might awaken the irritable fears of his
ruffian comrade, and bring the knife to his breast. But this was not that
form of death that could shake the nerves of Aram; nor, though arming his
whole soul to ward off one danger, was he well sensible of another, that
might have seemed equally near and probable, to a less collected and
energetic nature. Houseman now halted, again put aside the boughs,
proceeded a few steps, and by a certain dampness and oppression in the
air, Aram rightly conjectured himself in the cavern Houseman had spoken

"We are landed now," said Houseman, "but wait, I will strike a light; I
do not love darkness, even with another sort of companion than the one I
have now the honour to entertain!"

In a few moments a light was produced, and placed aloft on a crag in the
cavern; but the ray it gave was feeble and dull, and left all beyond the
immediate spot in which they stood, in a darkness little less Cimmerian
than before.

"'Fore Gad, it is cold," said Houseman shivering, "but I have taken care,
you see, to provide for a friend's comfort;" so saying, he approached a
bundle of dry sticks and leaves, piled at one corner of the cave, applied
the light to the fuel, and presently, the fire rose crackling, breaking
into a thousand sparks, and freeing itself gradually from the clouds of
smoke in which it was enveloped. It now mounted into a ruddy and cheering
flame, and the warm glow played picturesquely upon the grey sides of the
cavern, which was of a rugged shape, and small dimensions, and cast its
reddening light over the forms of the two men.

Houseman stood close to the flame, spreading his hands over it, and a
sort of grim complacency stealing along features singularly ill-favoured,
and sinister in their expression, as he felt the animal luxury of the

Across his middle was a broad leathern belt, containing a brace of large
horse pistols, and the knife, or rather dagger, with which he had menaced
Aram, an instrument sharpened on both sides, and nearly a foot in length.
Altogether, what with his muscular breadth of figure, his hard and rugged
features, his weapons, and a certain reckless, bravo air which
indescribably marked his attitude and bearing, it was not well possible
to imagine a fitter habitant for that grim cave, or one from whom men of
peace, like Eugene Aram, might have seemed to derive more reasonable
cause of alarm.

The Scholar stood at a little distance, waiting till his companion was
entirely prepared for the conference, and his pale and lofty features,
hushed in their usual deep, but at such a moment, almost preternatural
repose. He stood leaning with folded arms against the rude wall; the
light reflected upon his dark garments, with the graceful riding-cloak of
the day half falling from his shoulder, and revealing also the pistols in
his belt, and the sword, which, though commonly worn at that time, by all
pretending to superiority above the lower and trading orders, Aram
usually waived as a distinction, but now carried as a defence. And
nothing could be more striking, than the contrast between the ruffian
form of his companion, and the delicate and chiselled beauty of the
Student's features, with their air of mournful intelligence and serene
command, and the slender, though nervous symmetry of his frame.

"Houseman," said Aram, now advancing, as his comrade turned his face from
the flame, towards him; "before we enter on the main subject of our
proposed commune--tell me, were you engaged on the attempt last night
upon Lester's house?"

"By the Fiend, no!" answered Houseman, nor did I learn it till this
morning; it was unpremeditated till within a few hours of the time, by
the two fools who alone planned it. The fact is, that myself and the
greater part of our little band, were engaged some miles off, in the
western part of the county. Two--our general--spies, had been, of their
own accord, into your neighbourhood, to reconnoitre. They marked Lester's
house during the day, and gathered, (as I can say by experience it was
easy to do) from unsuspected inquiry in the village, for they wore a
clown's dress, several particulars which induced them to think it
contained what might repay the trouble of breaking into it. And walking
along the fields, they overheard the good master of the house tell one of
his neighbours of a large sum at home; nay, even describe the place where
it was kept: that determined them;--they feared, (as the old man indeed
observed,) that the sum might be removed the next day; they had noted the
house sufficiently to profit by the description given: they resolved,
then, of themselves, for it was too late to reckon on our assistance, to
break into the room in which the money was kept--though from the aroused
vigilance of the frightened hamlet and the force within the house, they
resolved to attempt no farther booty. They reckoned on the violence of
the storm, and the darkness of the night to prevent their being heard or
seen; they were mistaken--the house was alarmed, they were no sooner in
the luckless room, than--"Well, I know the rest; was the one wounded
dangerously hurt?"

"Oh, he will recover, he will recover; our men are no chickens. But I own
I thought it natural that you might suspect me of sharing in the attack;
and though, as I have said before, I do not love you, I have no wish to
embroil matters so far as an outrage on the house of your father-in-law,
might be reasonably expected to do:--at all events, while the gate to an
amicable compromise between us is still open."

"I am satisfied on this head," said Aram, "and I can now treat with you
in a spirit of less distrustful precaution than before. I tell you,
Houseman, that the terms are no longer at your control; you must leave
this part of the country, and that forthwith, or you inevitably perish.
The whole population is alarmed, and the most vigilant of the London
Police have been already sent for. Life is sweet to you, as to us all,
and I cannot imagine you so mad, as to incur not the risk, but the
certainty, of losing it. You can no longer therefore, hold the threat of
your presence over my head. Besides, were you able to do so, I at least
have the power, which you seem to have forgotten, of freeing myself from
it. Am I chained to yonder valleys? have I not the facility of quitting
them at any moment I will? of seeking a hiding-place, which might baffle,
not only your vigilance to discover me, but that of the Law? True, my
approaching marriage puts some clog upon my wing, but you know that I, of
all men, am not likely to be the slave of passion. And what ties are
strong enough to arrest the steps of him who flies from a fearful death?
Am I using sophistry here, Houseman? Have I not reason on my side?"

"What you say is true enough," said Houseman reluctantly; "I do not
gainsay it. But I know you have not sought me, in this spot, and at this
hour, for the purpose of denying my claims: the desire of compromise
alone can have brought you hither."

"You speak well," said Aram, preserving the admirable coolness of his
manner; and continuing the deep and sagacious hypocrisy by which he
sought to baffle the dogged covetousness and keen sense of interest with
which he had to contend. "It is not easy for either of us to deceive the
other. We are men, whose perceptions a life of danger, has sharpened upon
all points; I speak to you frankly, for disguise is unavailing. Though I
can fly from your reach--though I can desert my present home and my
intended bride, I would fain think I have free and secure choice to
preserve that exact path and scene of life which I have chalked out for
myself: I would fain be rid of all apprehension from you. There are two
ways only by which this security can be won: the first is through your
death;--nay, start not, nor put your hand on your pistol; you have not
now cause to fear me. Had I chosen that method of escape, I could have
effected it long since: When, months ago, you slept under my roof--ay,
slept--what should have hindered me from stabbing you during the slumber?
Two nights since, when my blood was up, and the fury upon me, what should
have prevented me tightening the grasp that you so resent, and laying you
breathless at my feet? Nay, now, though you keep your eye fixed on my
motions, and your hand upon your weapon, you would be no match for a
desperate and resolved man, who might as well perish in conflict with
you, as by the protracted accomplishment of your threats. Your ball might
fail--(even now I see your hand trembles)--mine, if I so will it, is
certain death. No, Houseman, it would be as vain for your eye to scan the
dark pool into whose breast you cataract casts its waters, as for your
intellect to pierce the depths of my mind and motives. Your murder,
though in self-defence, would lay a weight upon my soul, which would sink
it for ever: I should see, in your death, new chances of detection spread
themselves before me: the terrors of the dead are not to be bought or
awed into silence; I should pass from one peril into another; and the
law's dread vengeance might fall upon me, through the last peril, even
yet more surely than through the first. Be composed, then, on this point!
From my hand, unless you urge it madly upon yourself, you are wholly
safe. Let us turn to my second method of attaining security. It lies, not
in your momentary cessation from persecutions; not in your absence from
this spot alone; you must quit the country--you must never return to
it--your home must be cast, and your very grave dug in a foreign soil.
Are you prepared for this? If not, I can say no more; and I again cast
myself passive into the arms of Fate."

"You ask," said Houseman, whose fears were allayed by Aram's address,
though, at the same time, his dissolute and desperate nature was subdued
and tamed in spite of himself, by the very composure of the loftier mind
with which it was brought in contact: "You ask," said he, "no trifling
favour of a man--to desert his country for ever; but I am no dreamer, to
love one spot better than another. I should, perhaps, prefer a foreign
clime, as the safer and the freer from old recollections, if I could live
in it as a man who loves the relish of life should do. Show me the
advantages I am to gain by exile, and farewell to the pale cliffs of
England for ever!"

"Your demand is just," answered Aram; "listen, then. I am willing to coin
all my poor wealth, save alone the barest pittance wherewith to sustain
life; nay, more, I am prepared also to melt down the whole of my possible
expectations from others, into the form of an annuity to yourself. But
mark, it will be taken out of my hands, so that you can have no power
over me to alter the conditions with which it will be saddled. It will be
so vested that it shall commence the moment you touch a foreign clime;
and wholly and for ever cease the moment you set foot on any part of
English ground; or, mark also, at the moment of my death. I shall then
know that no farther hope from me can induce you to risk this income;
for, as I should have spent my all in attaining it, you cannot even
meditate the design of extorting more. I shall know that you will not
menace my life; for my death would be the destruction of your fortunes.
We shall live thus separate and secure from each other; you will have
only cause to hope for my safety; and I shall have no reason to shudder
at yours. Through one channel alone could I then fear; namely, that in
dying, you should enjoy the fruitless vengeance of criminating me. But
this chance I must patiently endure: you, if older, are more robust and
hardy than myself--your life will probably be longer than mine; and, even
were it otherwise, why should we destroy one another? At my death-bed I
will solemnly swear to respect your secret; why not on your part, I say
not swear, but resolve, to respect mine? We cannot love one another; but
why hate with a gratuitous and demon vengeance? No, Houseman, however
circumstances may have darkened or steeled your heart, it is touched with
humanity yet--you will have owed to me the bread of a secure and easy
existence--you will feel that I have stripped myself, even to penury, to
purchase the comforts I cheerfully resign to you--you will remember that,
instead of the sacrifices enjoined by this alternative, I might have
sought only to counteract your threats, by attempting a life that you
strove to make a snare and torture to my own. You will remember this; and
you will not grudge me the austere and gloomy solitude in which I seek to
forget, or the one solace with which I, perhaps vainly, endeavour to
cheer my passage to a quiet grave. No, Houseman, no; dislike, hate,
menace me as you will, I still feel I shall have no cause to dread the
mere wantonness of your revenge."

These words, aided by a tone of voice, and an expression of countenance
that gave them perhaps their chief effect, took even the hardened nature
of Houseman by surprise; he was affected by an emotion which he could not
have believed it possible the man who till then had galled him by the
humbling sense of inferiority, could have created. He extended his hand
to Aram.

"By--," he exclaimed, with an oath which we spare the reader, "you are
right! you have made me as helpless in your hands, as an infant. I accept
your offer--if I were to refuse it, I should be driven to the same
courses I now pursue. But look you; I know not what may be the amount of
the annuity you can raise. I shall not, however, require more than will
satisfy wants, which, if not so scanty as your own, are not at least very
extravagant or very refined. As for the rest, if there be any surplus, in
God's name keep it for yourself, and rest assured that, so far as I am
concerned, you shall be molested no more."

"No, Houseman," said Aram, with a half smile, "you shall have all I first
mentioned; that is, all beyond what nature craves, honourably and fully.
Man's best resolutions are weak: if you knew I possessed aught to spare,
a fancied want, a momentary extravagance might tempt you to demand it.
Let us put ourselves beyond the possible reach of temptation. But do not
flatter yourself by the hope that the income will be magnificent. My own
annuity is but trifling, and the half of the dowry I expect from my
future father-in-law, is all that I can at present obtain. The whole of
that dowry is insignificant as a sum. But if this does not suffice for
you, I must beg or borrow elsewhere."

"This, after all, is a pleasanter way of settling business," said
Houseman, "than by threats and anger. And now I will tell you exactly the
sum on which, if I could receive it yearly, I could live without looking
beyond the pale of the Law for more--on which I could cheerfully renounce
England, and commence 'the honest man.' But then, hark you, I must have
half settled on my little daughter."

"What! have you a child?" said Aram eagerly, and well pleased to find an
additional security for his own safety.

"Ay, a little girl, my only one, in her eighth year; she lives with her
grandmother, for she is motherless, and that girl must not be left quite
penniless should I be summoned hence before my time. Some twelve years
hence--as poor Jane promises to be pretty--she may be married off my
hands, but her childhood must not be left to the chances of beggary or

"Doubtless not, doubtless not. Who shall say now that we ever outlive
feeling?" said Aram, "Half the annuity shall be settled upon her, should
she survive you; but on the same conditions, ceasing when I die, or the
instant of your return to England. And now, name the sum that you deem

"Why," said Houseman, counting on his fingers, and muttering
"twenty--fifty--wine and the creature cheap abroad--humph! a hundred for
living, and half as much for pleasure. Come, Aram, one hundred and fifty
guineas per annum, English money, will do for a foreign life--you see I
am easily satisfied."

"Be it so," said Aram, "I will engage by one means or another to procure
it. For this purpose I shall set out for London to-morrow; I will not
lose a moment in seeing the necessary settlement made as we have
specified. But meanwhile, you must engage to leave this neighbourhood,
and if possible, cause your comrades to do the same, although you will
not hesitate, for the sake of your own safety, immediately to separate
from them."

"Now that we are on good terms," replied Houseman, "I will not scruple to
oblige you in these particulars. My comrades intend to quit the country
before to-morrow; nay, half are already gone; by daybreak I myself will
be some miles hence, and separated from each of them. Let us meet in
London after the business is completed, and there conclude our last
interview on earth."

"What will be your address?"

"In Lambeth there is a narrow alley that leads to the water-side, called
Peveril Lane. The last house to the right, towards the river, is my usual
lodging; a safe resting-place at all times, and for all men."

"There then will I seek you. And now, Houseman, fare-you-well! As you
remember your word to me, may life flow smooth for your child."

"Eugene Aram," said Houseman, "there is about you something against which
the fiercer devil within me would rise in vain. I have read that the
tiger can be awed by the human eye, and you compel me into submission by
a spell equally unaccountable. You are a singular man, and it seems to me
a riddle, how we could ever have been thus connected; or how--but we will
not rip up the past, it is an ugly sight, and the fire is just out. Those
stories do not do for the dark. But to return;--were it only for the sake
of my child, you might depend upon me now; better too an arrangement of
this sort, than if I had a larger sum in hand which I might be tempted to
fling away, and in looking for more, run my neck into a halter, and leave
poor Jane upon charity. But come, it is almost dark again, and no doubt
you wish to be stirring: stay, I will lead you back, and put you on the
right track, lest you stumble on my friends."

"Is this cavern one of their haunts?" said Aram.

"Sometimes: but they sleep the other side of the Devil's Crag to-night.
Nothing like a change of quarters for longevity--eh?"

"And they easily spare you."

"Yes, if it be only on rare occasions, and on the plea of family
business. Now then, your hand, as before. Jesu! how it rains--lightning
too--I could look with less fear on a naked sword, than those red,
forked, blinding flashes--Hark! thunder."

The night had now, indeed, suddenly changed its aspect; the rain
descended in torrents, even more impetuously than on the former night,
while the thunder burst over their very heads, as they wound upward
through the brake. With every instant, the lightning broke from the riven
chasm of the blackness that seemed suspended as in a solid substance
above, brightened the whole heaven into one livid and terrific flame, and
showed to the two men the faces of each other, rendered deathlike and
ghastly by the glare. Houseman was evidently affected by the fear that
sometimes seizes even the sturdiest criminals, when exposed to those more
fearful phenomena of the Heavens, which seem to humble into nothing the
power and the wrath of man. His teeth chattered, and he muttered broken
words about the peril of wandering near trees when the lightning was of
that forked character, accelerating his pace at every sentence, and
sometimes interrupting himself with an ejaculation, half oath, half
prayer, or a congratulation that the rain at least diminished the danger.
They soon cleared the thicket, and a few minutes brought them once more
to the banks of the stream, and the increased roar of the cataract. No
earthly scene perhaps could surpass the appalling sublimity of that which
they beheld;--every instant the lightning, which became more and more
frequent, converting the black waters into billows of living fire, or
wreathing itself in lurid spires around the huge crag that now rose in
sight; and again, as the thunder rolled onward, darting its vain fury
upon the rushing cataract, and the tortured breast of the gulf that raved
below low. And the sounds that filled the air were even more fraught with
terror and menace than the scene;--the waving, the groans, the crash of
the pines on the hill, the impetuous force of the rain upon the whirling
river, and the everlasting roar of the cataract, answered anon by the yet
more awful voice that burst above it from the clouds.

They halted while yet sufficiently distant from the cataract to be heard
by each other. "My path," said Aram, as the lightning now paused upon the
scene, and seemed literally to wrap in a lurid shroud the dark figure of
the Student, as he stood, with his hand calmly raised, and his cheek
pale, but dauntless and composed; "My path now lies yonder: in a week we
shall meet again."

"By the fiend," said Houseman, shuddering, "I would not, for a full
hundred, ride alone through the moor you will pass. There stands a gibbet
by the road, on which a parricide was hanged in chains. Pray Heaven this
night be no omen of the success of our present compact!"

"A steady heart, Houseman," answered Aram, striking into the separate
path, "is its own omen."

The Student soon gained the spot in which he had left his horse; the
animal had not attempted to break the bridle, but stood trembling from
limb to limb, and testified by a quick short neigh the satisfaction with
which it hailed the approach of its master, and found itself no longer

Aram remounted, and hastened once more into the main road. He scarcely
felt the rain, though the fierce wind drove it right against his path; he
scarcely marked the lightning, though at times it seemed to dart its
arrows on his very form; his heart was absorbed in the success of his

"Let the storm without howl on," thought he, "that within hath a respite
at last. Amidst the winds and rains I can breathe more freely than I have
done on the smoothest summer day. By the charm of a deeper mind and a
subtler tongue, I have then conquered this desperate foe; I have silenced
this inveterate spy: and, Heaven be praised, he too has human ties; and
by those ties I hold him! Now, then, I hasten to London--I arrange this
annuity--see that the law tightens every cord of the compact; and when
all is done, and this dangerous man fairly departed on his exile, I
return to Madeline, and devote to her a life no longer the vassal of
accident and the hour: but I have been taught caution. Secure as my own
prudence may have made me from farther apprehension of Houseman, I will
yet place myself wholly beyond his power: I will still consummate my
former purpose, adopt a new name, and seek a new retreat; Madeline may
not know the real cause; but this brain is not barren of excuse. Ah!" as
drawing his cloak closer round him, he felt the purse hid within his
breast which contained the order he had obtained from Lester; "Ah! this
will now add its quota to purchase, not a momentary relief, but the
stipend of perpetual silence. I have passed through the ordeal easier
than I had hoped for. Had the devil at his heart been more difficult to
lay, so necessary is his absence, that I must have purchased it at any
cost. Courage, Eugene Aram! thy mind, for which thou hast lived, and for
which thou hast hazarded thy soul--if soul and mind be distinct from each
other--thy mind can support thee yet through every peril: not till thou
art stricken into idiotcy, shalt thou behold thyself defenceless. How
cheerfully," muttered he, after a momentary pause, "how cheerfully, for
safety, and to breathe with a quiet heart, the air of Madeline's
presence, shall I rid myself of all save enough to defy want. And want
can never now come to me, as of old. He who knows the sources of every
science from which wealth is wrought holds even wealth at his will."

Breaking at every interval into these soliloquies, Aram continued to
breast the storm until he had won half his journey, and had come upon a
long and bleak moor, which was the entrance to that beautiful line of
country in which the valleys around Grassdale are embosomed: faster and
faster came the rain; and though the thunder-clouds were now behind, they
yet followed loweringly, in their black array, the path of the lonely

But now he heard the sound of hoofs making towards him; he drew his horse
on one side of the road, and at that instant a broad flash of lightning
illumining the space around, he beheld four horsemen speeding along at a
rapid gallop; they were armed, and conversing loudly--their oaths were
heard jarringly and distinctly amidst all the more solemn and terrific
sounds of the night. They came on, sweeping by the Student, whose hand
was on his pistol, for he recognised in one of the riders the man who had
escaped unwounded from Lester's house. He and his comrades were
evidently, then, Houseman's desperate associates; and they too, though
they were borne too rapidly by Aram to be able to rein in their horses on
the spot, had seen the solitary traveller, and already wheeled round, and
called upon him to halt!

The lightning was again gone, and the darkness snatched the robbers and
their intended victim from the sight of each other. But Aram had not lost
a moment; fast fled his horse across the moor, and when, with the next
flash, he looked back, he saw the ruffians, unwilling even for booty to
encounter the horrors of the night, had followed him but a few paces, and
again turned round; still he dashed on, and had now nearly passed the
moor; the thunder rolled fainter and fainter from behind, and the
lightning only broke forth at prolonged intervals, when suddenly, after a
pause of unusual duration, it brought the whole scene into a light, if
less intolerable, even more livid than before. The horse, that had
hitherto sped on without start or stumble, now recoiled in abrupt
affright; and the horseman, looking up at the cause, beheld the Gibbet of
which Houseman had spoken immediately fronting his path, with its ghastly
tenant waving to and fro, as the winds rattled through the parched and
arid bones; and the inexpressible grin of the skull fixed, as in mockery,
upon his countenance.

                BOOK IV.



        Let a Physician be ever so excellent,
        there will be those that censure him.
           --Gil Blas.

We left Walter in a situation of that critical nature, that it would be
inhuman to delay our return to him any longer. The blow by which he had
been felled, stunned him for an instant; but his frame was of no common
strength and hardihood, and the imminent peril in which he was placed,
served to recall him from the momentary insensibility. On recovering
himself, he felt that the ruffians were dragging him towards the hedge,
and the thought flashed upon him that their object was murder. Nerved by
this idea, he collected his strength, and suddenly wresting himself from
the grasp of one of the ruffians who had seized him by the collar, he had
already gained his knee, and now his feet, when a second blow once more
deprived him of sense.

When a dim and struggling consciousness recurred to him; he found that
the villains had dragged him to the opposite side of the hedge and were
deliberately robbing him. He was on the point of renewing an useless and
dangerous struggle, when one of the ruffians said, "I think he stirs, I
had better draw my knife across his throat."

"Pooh, no!" replied another voice, "never kill if it can be helped: trust
me 'tis an ugly thing to think of afterwards. Besides, what use is it? A
robbery, in these parts, is done and forgotten; but a murder rouses the
whole country."

"Damnation, man! why, the deed's done already, he's as dead as a

"Dead!" said the other in a startled voice; "no, no!" and leaning down,
the ruffian placed his hand on Walter's heart. The unfortunate traveller
felt his flesh creep as the hand touched him, but prudently abstained
from motion or exclamation. He thought, however, as with dizzy and
half-shut eyes he caught the shadowy and dusk outline of the face that
bent over him, so closely that he felt the breath of its lips, that it
was one that he had seen before; and as the man now rose, and the wan
light of the skies gave a somewhat clearer view of his features, the
supposition was heightened, though not absolutely confirmed. But Walter
had no farther power to observe his plunderers: again his brain reeled;
the dark trees, the grim shadows of human forms, swam before his glazing
eye; and he sunk once more into a profound insensibility.

Meanwhile, the doughty Corporal had at the first sight of his master's
fall, halted abruptly at the spot to which his steed had carried him; and
coming rapidly to the conclusion that three men were best encountered at
a distance, he fired his two pistols, and without staying to see if they
took effect, which, indeed, they did not, galloped down the precipitous
hill with as much despatch, as if it had been the last stage to "Lunnun."

"My poor young master!" muttered he: "But if the worst comes to the
worst, the chief part of the money's in the saddle-bags any how; and so,
messieurs thieves, you're bit--baugh!"

The Corporal was not long in reaching the town, and alarming the loungers
at the inn-door. A posse comitatus was soon formed; and, armed as if they
were to have encountered all the robbers between Hounslow and the
Apennine, a band of heroes, with the Corporal, who had first deliberately
reloaded his pistols, at their head, set off to succour "the poor
gentleman what was already murdered."

They had not got far before they found Walter's horse, which had luckily
broke from the robbers, and was now quietly regaling himself on a patch
of grass by the roadside. "He can get his supper, the beast," grunted the
Corporal, thinking of his own; and bid one of the party try to catch the
animal, which, however, would have declined all such proffers, had not a
long neigh of recognition from the roman nose of the Corporal's steed,
striking familiarly on the straggler's ear, called it forthwith, to the
Corporal's side; and (while the two chargers exchanged greeting) the
Corporal seized its rein.

When they came to the spot from which the robbers had made their sally,
all was still and tranquil; no Walter was to be seen: the Corporal
cautiously dismounted, and searched about with as much minuteness as if
he were looking for a pin; but the host of the inn at which the
travellers had dined the day before, stumbled at once on the right track.
Gouts of blood on the white chalky soil directed him to the hedge, and
creeping through a small and recent gap, he discovered the yet breathing
body of the young traveller.

Walter was now conducted with much care to the inn; a Surgeon was already
in attendance; for having heard that a gentleman had been murdered
without his knowledge, Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave had rushed from his house,
and placed himself on the road, that the poor creature might not, at
least, be buried without his assistance. So eager was he to begin, that
he scarce suffered the unfortunate Walter to be taken within, before he
whipped out his instruments, and set to work with the smack of an

Although the Surgeon declared his patient to be in the greatest possible
danger, the sagacious Corporal, who thought himself more privileged to
know about wounds than any man of peace, by profession, however
destructive by practice, could possibly be, had himself examined those
his master had received, before he went down to taste his long-delayed
supper; and he now confidently assured the landlord, and the rest of the
good company in the kitchen, that the blows on the head had been mere
fly-bites, and that his master would be as well as ever in a week at the

And, indeed, when Walter the very next morning woke from the stupor,
rather than sleep, he had undergone, he felt himself surprisingly better
than the Surgeon, producing his probe, hastened to assure him he possibly
could be.

By the help of Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave, Walter was detained several days
in the town; nor is it wholly improbable, but that for the dexterity of
the Corporal, he might be in the town to this day; not, indeed in the
comfortable shelter of the old-fashioned inn, but in the colder quarters
of a certain green spot, in which, despite of its rural attractions, few
persons are willing to fix a permanent habitation.

Luckily, however, one evening, the Corporal, who had been, to say truth,
very regular in his attendance on his master; for, bating the
selfishness, consequent, perhaps, on his knowledge of the world, Jacob
Bunting was a good-natured man on the whole, and liked his master as well
as he did any thing, always excepting Jacobina, and board-wages; one
evening, we say, the Corporal coming into Walter's apartment, found him
sitting up in his bed, with a very melancholy and dejected expression of

"And well, Sir, what does the Doctor say?" asked the Corporal, drawing
aside the curtains.

"Ah, Bunting, I fancy it's all over with me!"

"The Lord forbid, Sir! you're a-jesting, surely?"

"Jesting! my good fellow, ah! just get me that phial."

"The filthy stuff!" said the Corporal, with a wry face; "Well, Sir, if I
had had the dressing of you--been half way to Yorkshire by this. Man's a
worm; and when a doctor gets un on his hook, he is sure to angle for the
devil with the bait--augh!"

"What! you really think that damned fellow, Fillgrave, is keeping me on
in this way?"

"Is he a fool, to give up three phials a day, 4s. 6d. item, ditto,
ditto?" cried the Corporal, as if astonished at the question; "but don't
you feel yourself getting a deal better every day? Don't you feel all
this ere stuff revive you?"

No, indeed, I was amazingly better the first day than I am now; I
progress from worse to worse. Ah! Bunting, if Peter Dealtry were here, he
might help me to an appropriate epitaph: as it is, I suppose I shall be
very simply labelled. Fillgrave will do the whole business, and put it
down in his bill--item, nine draughts--item, one epitaph.

"Lord-a-mercy, your honour," said the Corporal, drawing out a little
red-spotted pocket-handkerchief; "how can--jest so?--it's quite moving."

"I wish we were moving!" sighed the patient.

"And so we might be," cried the Corporal; "so we might, if you'd pluck up
a bit. Just let me look at your honour's head; I knows what a confusion
is better nor any of 'em."

The Corporal having obtained permission, now removed the bandages
wherewith the Doctor had bound his intended sacrifice to Pluto, and after
peering into the wounds for about a minute, he thrust out his under lip,
with a contemptuous, "Pshaugh! augh! And how long," said he, "does Master
Fillgrave say you be to be under his hands,--augh!"

"He gives me hopes that I may be taken out an airing very gently, (yes,
hearses always go very gently!) in about three weeks!"

The Corporal started, and broke into a long whistle. He then grinned from
ear to ear, snapped his fingers, and said, "Man of the world, Sir,--man
of the world every inch of him!"

"He seems resolved that I shall be a man of another world," said Walter.

"Tell ye what, Sir--take my advice--your honour knows I be no fool--throw
off them ere wrappers; let me put on scrap of plaister--pitch phials to
devil--order out horses to-morrow, and when you've been in the air half
an hour, won't know yourself again!"

"Bunting! the horses out to-morrow?--faith, I don't think I could walk
across the room."

"Just try, your honour."

"Ah! I'm very weak, very weak--my dressing-gown and slippers--your arm,
Bunting--well, upon my honour, I walk very stoutly, eh? I should not have
thought this! leave go: why I really get on without your assistance!"

"Walk as well as ever you did."

"Now I'm out of bed, I don't think I shall go back again to it."

"Would not, if I was your honour."

"And after so much exercise, I really fancy I've a sort of an appetite."

"Like a beefsteak?"

"Nothing better."

"Pint of wine?"

"Why that would be too much--eh?"

"Not it."

"Go, then, my good Bunting; go and make haste--stop, I say that d--d
fellow--" "Good sign to swear," interrupted the Corporal; "swore twice
within last five minutes--famous symptom!"

"Do you choose to hear me? That d--d fellow, Fillgrave, is coming back in
an hour to bleed me: do you mount guard--refuse to let him in--pay him
his bill--you have the money. And harkye, don't be rude to the rascal."

"Rude, your honour! not I--been in the Forty-second--knows
discipline--only rude to the privates!"

The Corporal, having seen his master conduct himself respectably toward
the viands with which he supplied him--having set his room to rights,
brought him the candles, borrowed him a book, and left him for the
present in extremely good spirits, and prepared for the flight of the
morrow; the Corporal, I say, now lighting his pipe, stationed himself at
the door of the inn, and waited for Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave. Presently the
Doctor, who was a little thin man, came bustling across the street, and
was about, with a familiar "Good evening," to pass by the Corporal, when
that worthy, dropping his pipe, said respectfully, "Beg pardon, Sir--want
to speak to you--a little favour. Will your honour walk in the

"Oh! another patient," thought the Doctor; "these soldiers are careless
fellows--often get into scrapes. Yes, friend, I'm at your service."

The Corporal showed the man of phials into the back-parlour, and, hemming
thrice, looked sheepish, as if in doubt how to begin. It was the Doctor's
business to encourage the bashful.

"Well, my good man," said he, brushing off, with the arm of his coat,
some dust that had settled on his inexpressibles, "so you want to consult

"Indeed, your honour, I do; but--feel a little awkward in doing so--a
stranger and all."

"Pooh!--medical men are never strangers. I am the friend of every man who
requires my assistance."

"Augh!--and I do require your honour's assistance very sadly."

"Well--well--speak out. Any thing of long standing?"

"Why, only since we have been here, Sir."

"Oh, that's all! Well."

"Your honour's so good--that--won't scruple in telling you all. You sees
as how we were robbed--master at least was--had some little in my
pockets--but we poor servants are never too rich. You seems such a kind
gentleman--so attentive to master--though you must have felt how
disinterested it was to 'tend a man what had been robbed--that I have no
hesitation in making bold to ask you to lend us a few guineas, just to
help us out with the bill here,--bother!"

"Fellow!" said the Doctor, rising, "I don't know what you mean; but I'd
have you to learn that I am not to be cheated out of my time and
property. I shall insist upon being paid my bill instantly, before I
dress your master's wound once more."

"Augh!" said the Corporal, who was delighted to find the Doctor come so
immediately into the snare;--"won't be so cruel surely,--why, you'll
leave us without a shiner to pay my host here."

"Nonsense!--Your master, if he's a gentleman, can write home for money."

"Ah, Sir, all very well to say so;--but, between you and me and the
bed-post--young master's quarrelled with old master--old master won't
give him a rap,--so I'm sure, since your honour's a friend to every man
who requires your assistance--noble saying, Sir!--you won't refuse us a
few guineas;--and as for your bill--why--" "Sir, you're an impudent
vagabond!" cried the Doctor, as red as a rose-draught, and flinging out
of the room; "and I warn you, that I shall bring in my bill, and expect
to be paid within ten minutes."

The Doctor waited for no answer--he hurried home, scratched off his
account, and flew back with it in as much haste as if his patient had
been a month longer under his care, and was consequently on the brink of
that happier world, where, since the inhabitants are immortal, it is very
evident that doctors, as being useless, are never admitted.

The Corporal met him as before.

"There, Sir," cried the Doctor, breathlessly, and then putting his arms
akimbo, "take that to your master, and desire him to pay me instantly."

"Augh! and shall do no such thing."

"You won't?"

"No, for shall pay you myself. Where's your wee stamp--eh?"

And with great composure the Corporal drew out a well-filled purse, and
discharged the bill. The Doctor was so thunderstricken, that he pocketed
the money without uttering a word. He consoled himself, however, with the
belief that Walter, whom he had tamed into a becoming hypochondria, would
be sure to send for him the next morning. Alas, for mortal
expectations!--the next morning Walter was once more on the road.



        This way of talking of his very much enlivens the
        conversation among us of a more sedate turn.
           --Spectator, No. 3.

Walter found, while he made search himself, that it was no easy matter,
in so large a county as Yorkshire, to obtain even the preliminary
particulars, viz. the place of residence, and the name of the Colonel
from India whose dying gift his father had left the house of the worthy
Courtland, to claim and receive. But the moment he committed the inquiry
to the care of an active and intelligent lawyer, the case seemed to
brighten up prodigiously; and Walter was shortly informed that a Colonel
Elmore, who had been in India, had died in the year 17--; that by a
reference to his will it appeared that he had left to Daniel Clarke the
sum of a thousand pounds, and the house in which he resided before his
death, the latter being merely leasehold at a high rent, was specified in
the will to be of small value: it was situated in the outskirts of
Knaresborough. It was also discovered that a Mr. Jonas Elmore, the only
surviving executor of the will, and a distant relation of the deceased
Colonel's, lived about fifty miles from York, and could, in all
probability, better than any one, afford Walter those farther particulars
of which he was so desirous to be informed. Walter immediately proposed
to his lawyer to accompany him to this gentleman's house; but it so
happened that the lawyer could not, for three or four days, leave his
business at York, and Walter, exceedingly impatient to proceed on the
intelligence thus granted him, and disliking the meagre information
obtained from letters, when a personal interview could be obtained,
resolved himself to repair to Mr. Jonas Elmore's without farther delay;
and behold, therefore, our worthy Corporal and his master again mounted,
and commencing a new journey.

The Corporal, always fond of adventure, was in high spirits.

"See, Sir," said he to his master, patting with great affection the neck
of his steed, "See, Sir, how brisk the creturs are; what a deal of good
their long rest at York city's done'em. Ah, your honour, what a fine town
that ere be!--yet," added the Corporal, with an air of great superiority,
"it gives you no notion of Lunnun, like--on the faith of a man, no!"

"Well, Bunting, perhaps we may be in London within a month hence."

"And afore we gets there, your honour,--no offence,--but should like to
give you some advice; 'tis ticklish place, that Lunnun, and though you be
by no manner of means deficient in genus, yet, Sir, you be young, and I
be--" "Old,--true, Bunting," added Walter very gravely.

"Augh--bother! old, Sir, old, Sir!--A man in the prime of life,--hair
coal black, (bating a few grey ones that have had, since twenty--care,
and military service, Sir,)--carriage straight,--teeth strong,--not an
ail in the world, bating the rheumatics--is not old, Sir,--not by no
manner of means,--baugh!"

"You are very right, Bunting; when I said old, I meant experienced. I
assure you I shall be very grateful for your advice; and suppose, while
we walk our horses up this hill, you begin lecture the first. London's a
fruitful subject. All you can say on it won't be soon exhausted."

"Ah, may well say that," replied the Corporal, exceedingly flattered with
the permission he had obtained, "and any thing my poor wit can suggest,
quite at your honour's sarvice--ehem!--hem! You must know by Lunnun, I
means the world, and by the world means Lunnun,--know one--know t'other.
But 'tis not them as affects to be most knowing as be so at bottom.
Begging your honour's pardon, I thinks gentlefolks what lives only with
gentlefolks, and call themselves men of the world, be often no wiser nor
Pagan creturs, and live in a gentile darkness."

"The true knowledge of the world," said Walter, "is only then for the
Corporals of the Forty-second,--eh, Bunting?"

"As to that, Sir," quoth the Corporal, "'tis not being of this calling or
of that calling that helps one on; 'tis an inborn sort of genus the
talent of obsarving, and growing wise by obsarving. One picks up crumb
here, crumb there: but if one has not good digestion, Lord, what
sinnifies a feast?--Healthy man thrives on a 'tatoe, sickly looks pale on
a haunch. You sees, your honour, as I said afore, I was own sarvant to
Colonel Dysart; he was a Lord's nephy, a very gay gentleman, and great
hand with the ladies,--not a man more in the world;--so I had the
opportunity of larning what's what among the best set; at his honour's
expense, too,--augh! To my mind, Sir, there is not a place from which a
man has a better view of things than the bit carpet behind a gentleman's
chair. The gentleman eats, and talks, and swears, and jests, and plays
cards and makes love, and tries to cheat, and is cheated, and his man
stands behind with his eyes and ears open,--augh!"

"One should go to service to learn diplomacy, I see," said Walter,
greatly amused.

"Does not know what 'plomacy be, Sir, but knows it would be better for
many a young master nor all the Colleges;--would not be so many bubbles
if my Lord could take a turn now and then with John. A-well, Sir!--how I
used to laugh in my sleeve like, when I saw my master, who was thought
the knowingest gentleman about Court, taken in every day smack afore my
face. There was one lady whom he had tried hard, as he thought, to get
away from her husband; and he used to be so mighty pleased at every
glance from her brown eyes--and be d--d to them!--and so careful the
husband should not see--so pluming himself on his discretion here, and
his conquest there,--when, Lord bless you, it was all settled 'twixt man
and wife aforehand! And while the Colonel laughed at the cuckold, the
cuckold laughed at the dupe. For you sees, Sir, as how the Colonel was a
rich man, and the jewels as he bought for the lady went half into the
husband's pocket--he! he!--That's the way of the world, Sir,--that's the
way of the world!"

"Upon my word, you draw a very bad picture of the world: you colour
highly; and, by the way, I observe that whenever you find any man
committing a roguish action, instead of calling him a scoundrel, you show
those great teeth of yours, and chuckle out 'A man of the world! a man of
the world!"'

"To be sure, your honour; the proper name, too. 'Tis your green-horns who
fly into a passion, and use hard words. You see, Sir, there's one thing
we larn afore all other things in the world--to butter bread. Knowledge
of others, means only the knowledge which side bread's buttered. In
short, Sir, the wiser grow, the more take care of oursels. Some persons
make a mistake, and, in trying to take care of themsels, run neck into
halter--baugh! they are not rascals--they are would-be men of the world.
Others be more prudent, (for, as I said afore, Sir, discretion is a pair
of stirrups;) they be the true men of the world."

"I should have thought," said Walter, "that the knowledge of the world
might be that knowledge which preserves us from being cheated, but not
that which enables us to cheat."

"Augh!" quoth the Corporal, with that sort of smile with which you see an
old philosopher put down a sounding error from the lips of a young
disciple who flatters himself he has uttered something prodigiously
fine,--"Augh! and did not I tell you, t'other day, to look at the
professions, your honour? What would a laryer be if he did not know how
to cheat a witness and humbug a jury?--knows he is lying,--why is he
lying? for love of his fees, or his fame like, which gets fees;--Augh! is
not that cheating others?--The doctor, too, Master Fillgrave, for
instance?--" "Say no more of doctors; I abandon them to your satire,
without a word."

"The lying knaves! Don't they say one's well when one's ill--ill when
one's well?--profess to know what don't know?--thrust solemn phizzes into
every abomination, as if larning lay hid in a--? and all for their
neighbours' money, or their own reputation, which makes money--augh! In
short, Sir--look where will, impossible to see so much cheating allowed,
praised, encouraged, and feel very angry with a cheat who has only made a
mistake. But when I sees a man butter his bread carefully--knife
steady--butter thick, and hungry fellows looking on and licking
chops--mothers stopping their brats--'See, child--respectable man--how
thick his bread's buttered!--pull off your hat to him:'--When I sees
that, my heart warms: there's the true man of the world--augh!"

"Well, Bunting," said Walter, laughing, "though you are thus lenient to
those unfortunate gentlemen whom others call rogues, and thus laudatory
of gentlemen who are at best discreetly selfish, I suppose you admit the
possibility of virtue, and your heart warms as much when you see a man of
worth as when you see a man of the world?"

"Why, you knows, your honour," answered the Corporal, "so far as vartue's
concerned, there's a deal in constitution; but as for knowledge of the
world, one gets it oneself!"

"I don't wonder, Bunting--as your opinion of women is much the same as
your opinion of men--that you are still unmarried."

"Augh! but your honour mistakes!--I am no mice-and-trope. Men are neither
one thing nor t'other--neither good nor bad. A prudent parson has nothing
to fear from 'em--nor a foolish one any thing to gain--baugh! As to the
women creturs, your honour, as I said, vartue's a deal in the
constitution. Would not ask what a lassie's mind be--nor what her
eddycation;--but see what her habits be, that's all--habits and
constitution all one--play into one another's hands."

"And what sort of signs, Bunting, would you mostly esteem in a lady?"

"First place, Sir--woman I'd marry, must not mope when alone!--must be
able to 'muse herself; must be easily 'mused. That's a great sign, Sir,
of an innocent mind, to be tickled with straws. Besides, employments
keeps 'em out of harm's way. Second place, should obsarve, if she was
very fond of places, your honour--sorry to move--that's a sure sign she
won't tire easily; but that if she like you now from fancy, she'll like
you by and by from custom. Thirdly, your honour, she should not be avarse
to dress--a leaning that way shows she has a desire to please: people who
don't care about pleasing, always sullen. Fourthly, she must bear to be
crossed--I'd be quite sure that she might be contradicted, without
mumping or storming;--'cause then, you knows, your honour, if she wanted
any thing expensive--need not give it--augh! Fifthly, must not be over
religious, your honour; they pyehouse she-creturs always thinks themsels
so much better nor we men;--don't understand our language and ways, your
honour: they wants us not only to belave, but to tremble--bother!"

"I like your description well enough, on the whole," said Walter, "and
when I look out for a wife, I shall come to you for advice."

"Your honour may have it already--Miss Ellinor's jist the thing."

Walter turned away his head, and told Bunting, with great show of
indignation, not to be a fool.

The Corporal, who was not quite certain of his ground here, but who knew
that Madeline, at all events, was going to be married to Aram, and deemed
it, therefore, quite useless to waste any praise upon her, thought that a
few random shots of eulogium were worth throwing away on a chance, and
consequently continued.

"Augh, your honour--'tis not 'cause I have eyes, that I be's a fool. Miss
Ellinor and your honour be only cousins, to be sure; but more like
brother and sister, nor any thing else. Howsomever, she's a rare cretur,
whoever gets her has a face that puts one in good-humour with the world,
if one sees it first thing in the morning--'tis as good as the sun in
July--augh! But, as I was saying, your honour--'bout the women-creturs in
general--" "Enough of them, Bunting; let us suppose you have been so
fortunate as to find one to suit you--how would you woo her? Of course,
there are certain secrets of courtship, which you will not hesitate to
impart to one, who, like me, wants such assistance from art--much more
than you can do, who are so bountifully favoured by Nature."

"As to Nature," replied the Corporal, with considerable modesty, for he
never disputed the truth of the compliment--"'tis not 'cause a man be six
feet without's shoes, that he's any nearer to lady's heart. Sir, I will
own to you, howsomever it makes 'gainst your honour and myself, for that
matter--that don't think one is a bit more lucky with the ladies for
being so handsome! 'Tis all very well with them ere willing ones, your
honour--caught at a glance; but as for the better sort, one's beauty's
all bother! Why, Sir, when we see some of the most fortunatest men among
she-creturs--what poor little minnikens they be! One's a dwarf--another
knock-kneed--a third squints--and a fourth might be shown for a hape!
Neither, Sir, is it your soft, insinivating, die-away youths, as seem at
first so seductive; they do very well for lovers, your honour; but then
it's always rejected ones! Neither, your honour, does the art of
succeeding with the ladies 'quire all those finniken, nimini-pinimi's,
flourishes, and maxims, and saws, which the Colonel, my old master, and
the great gentlefolks, as be knowing, call the art of love--baugh! The
whole science, Sir, consists in these two rules--'Ask soon, and ask

"There seems no great difficulty in them, Bunting."

"Not to us who has gumption, Sir; but then there is summut in the
manner of axing--one can't be too hot--can't flatter too much--and,
above all, one must never take a refusal. There, Sir, now--if you
takes my advice--may break the peace of all the husbands in

"My uncle little knows what a praiseworthy tutor he has secured me in
you, Bunting," said Walter, laughing: "And now, while the road is so
good, let us make the most of it."

As they had set out late in the day, and the Corporal was fearful of
another attack from a hedge, he resolved, that about evening, one of the
horses should be seized with a sudden lameness, (which he effected by
slily inserting a stone between the shoe and the hoof,) that required
immediate attention and a night's rest; so that it was not till the early
noon of the next day that our travellers entered the village in which Mr.
Jonas Elmore resided.

It was a soft, tranquil day, though one of the very last in October; for
the reader will remember that Time had not stood still during Walter's
submission to the care of Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave, and his subsequent
journey and researches.

The sun-light rested on a broad patch of green heath, covered with furze,
and around it were scattered the cottages and farm-houses of the little
village. On the other side, as Walter descended the gentle hill that led
into this remote hamlet, wide and flat meadows, interspersed with several
fresh and shaded ponds, stretched away towards a belt of rich woodland
gorgeous with the melancholy pomp by which the "regal year" seeks to veil
its decay. Among these meadows you might now see groups of cattle quietly
grazing, or standing half hid in the still and sheltered pools. Still
farther, crossing to the woods, a solitary sportsman walked careless on,
surrounded by some half a dozen spaniels, and the shrill small tongue of
one younger straggler of the canine crew, who had broke indecorously from
the rest, and already entered the wood, might be just heard, softened
down by the distance, into a wild, cheery sound, that animated, without
disturbing, the serenity of the scene.

"After all," said Walter aloud, "the scholar was right--there is nothing
like the country!"

       "'Oh, happiness of sweet retired content,
        To be at once secure and innocent!'"

"Be them Verses in the Psalms, Sir?" said the Corporal, who was close

"No, Bunting; but they were written by one who, if I recollect right, set
the Psalms to verse:--[Denham.] I hope they meet with your approbation?"

"Indeed, Sir, and no--since they ben't in the Psalms, one has no right to
think about 'em at all."

"And why, Mr. Critic?"

"'Cause what's the use of security, if one's innocent, and does not mean
to take advantage of it--baugh! One does not lock the door for nothing,
your honour!"

"You shall enlarge on that honest doctrine of yours another time;
meanwhile, call that shepherd, and ask the way to Mr. Elmore's."

The Corporal obeyed, and found that a clump of trees, at the farther
corner of the waste land, was the grove that surrounded Mr. Elmore's
house; a short canter across the heath brought them to a white gate, and
having passed this, a comfortable brick mansion of moderate size stood
before them.



Upon inquiring for Mr. Elmore, Walter was shown into a handsome library,
that appeared well-stocked with books, of that good, old-fashioned size
and solidity, which are now fast passing from the world, or at least
shrinking into old shops and public collections. The time may come, when
the mouldering remains of a folio will attract as much philosophical
astonishment as the bones of the mammoth. For behold, the deluge of
writers hath produced a new world of small octavo! and in the next
generation, thanks to the popular libraries, we shall only vibrate
between the duodecimo and the diamond edition. Nay, we foresee the time
when a very handsome collection may be carried about in one's
waistcoat-pocket, and a whole library of the British Classics be neatly
arranged in a well-compacted snuff-box.

In a few minutes Mr. Elmore made his appearance; he was a short,
well-built man, about the age of fifty. Contrary to the established mode,
he wore no wig, and was very bald; except at the sides of the head, and a
little circular island of hair in the centre. But this defect was
rendered the less visible by a profusion of powder. He was dressed with
evident care and precision; a snuff-coloured coat was adorned with a
respectable profusion of gold lace; his breeches were of plum-coloured
satin; his salmon-coloured stockings, scrupulously drawn up, displayed a
very handsome calf; and a pair of steel buckles in his high-heeled and
square-toed shoes, were polished into a lustre which almost rivalled the
splendour of diamonds. Mr. Jonas Elmore was a beau, a wit, and a scholar
of the old school. He abounded in jests, in quotations, in smart sayings,
and pertinent anecdotes: but, withal, his classical learning, (out of the
classics he knew little enough,) was at once elegant, but wearisome;
pedantic, but profound.

To this gentleman Walter presented a letter of introduction which he had
obtained from a distinguished clergyman in York. Mr. Elmore received it
with a profound salutation--"Aha, from my friend, Dr. Hebraist," said he,
glancing at the seal, "a most worthy man, and a ripe scholar. I presume
at once, Sir, from his introduction, that you yourself have cultivated
the literas humaniores. Pray sit down--ay--I see, you take up a book, an
excellent symptom; it gives me an immediate insight into your character.
But you have chanced, Sir, on light reading,--one of the Greek novels, I
think,--you must not judge of my studies by such a specimen."

"Nevertheless, Sir, it does not seem to my unskilful eye very easy

"Pretty well, Sir; barbarous, but amusing,--pray continue it. The
triumphal entry of Paulus Emilius is not ill told. I confess, that I
think novels might be made much higher works than they have been yet.
Doubtless, you remember what Aristotle says concerning Painters and
Sculptors, 'that they teach and recommend virtue in a more efficacious
and powerful manner, than Philosophers by their dry precepts, and are
more capable of amending the vicious, than the best moral lessons without
such aid.' But how much more, Sir, can a good novelist do this, than the
best sculptor or painter in the world! Every one can be charmed by a fine
novel, few by a fine painting. 'Indocti rationem artis intelligunt,
indocti voluptatem.' A happy sentence that in Quinctilian, Sir, is it
not? But, bless me, I am forgetting the letter of my good friend Dr.
Hebraist. The charms of your conversation carry me away. And indeed I
have seldom the happiness to meet a gentleman so well-informed as
yourself. I confess, Sir, I confess that I still retain the tastes of my
boyhood; the Muses cradled my childhood, they now smooth the pillow of my
footstool--Quem tu, Melpomene, are not yet subject to gout, dira podagra:
By the way, how is the worthy Doctor since his attack?--Ah, see now, if
you have not still, by your delightful converse, kept me from his
letter--yet, positively I need no introduction to you, Apollo has already
presented you to me. And as for the Doctor's letter, I will read it after
dinner; for as Seneca--" "I beg your pardon a thousand times, Sir," said
Walter, who began to despair of ever coming to the matter which seemed
lost sight of beneath this battery of erudition, "but you will find by
Dr. Hebraist's letter, that it is only on business of the utmost
importance that I have presumed to break in upon the learned leisure of
Mr. Jonas Elmore."

"Business!" replied Mr. Elmore, producing his spectacles, and
deliberately placing them athwart his nose,

      "'His mane edictum, post prandia Callirhoen, etc.

"Business in the morning, and the ladies after dinner. Well, Sir, I will
yield to you in the one, and you must yield to me in the other: I will
open the letter, and you shall dine here, and be introduced to Mrs.
Elmore;--What is your opinion of the modern method of folding letters?
I--but I see you are impatient." Here Mr. Elmore at length broke the
seal; and to Walter's great joy fairly read the contents within.

"Oh! I see, I see!" he said, refolding the epistle, and placing it in his
pocket-book; "my friend, Dr. Hebraist, says you are anxious to be
informed whether Mr. Clarke ever received the legacy of my poor cousin,
Colonel Elmore; and if so, any tidings I can give you of Mr. Clarke
himself; or any clue to discover him will be highly acceptable. I gather,
Sir, from my friend's letter, that this is the substance of your business
with me, caput negotii;--although, like Timanthes, the painter, he leaves
more to be understood than is described, 'intelligitur plus quam
pingitur,' as Pliny has it."

"Sir," said Walter, drawing his chair close to Mr. Elmore, and his
anxiety forcing itself to his countenance, "that is indeed the substance
of my business with you; and so important will be any information you can
give me that I shall esteem it a--" "Not a very great favour, eh?--not
very great?"

"Yes, indeed, a very great obligation."

"I hope not, Sir; for what says Tacitus--that profound reader of the
human heart,--'beneficia eo usque loeta sunt,' favours easily repaid
beget affection--favours beyond return engender hatred. But, Sir, a truce
to trifling;" and here Mr. Elmore composed his countenance, and
changed,--which he could do at will, so that the change was not expected
to last long--the pedant for the man of business.

"Mr. Clarke did receive his legacy: the lease of the house at
Knaresborough was also sold by his desire, and produced the sum of seven
hundred and fifty pounds; which being added to the farther sum of a
thousand pounds, which was bequeathed to him, amounted to seventeen
hundred and fifty pounds. It so happened, that my cousin had possessed
some very valuable jewels, which were bequeathed to myself. I, Sir,
studious, and a cultivator of the Muse, had no love and no use for these
baubles; I preferred barbaric gold to barbaric pearl; and knowing that
Clarke had been in India, from whence these jewels had been brought, I
showed them to him, and consulted his knowledge on these matters, as to
the best method of obtaining a sale. He offered to purchase them of me,
under the impression that he could turn them to a profitable speculation
in London. Accordingly we came to terms: I sold the greater part of them
to him for a sum a little exceeding a thousand pounds. He was pleased
with his bargain; and came to borrow the rest of me, in order to look at
them more considerately at home, and determine whether or not he should
buy them also. Well, Sir, (but here comes the remarkable part of the
story,) about three days after this last event, Mr. Clarke and my jewels
both disappeared in rather a strange and abrupt manner. In the middle of
the night he left his lodging at Knaresborough, and never returned;
neither himself nor my jewels were ever heard of more!"

"Good God!" exclaimed Walter, greatly agitated; "what was supposed to be
the cause of his disappearance?"

"That," replied Elmore, "was never positively traced. It excited great
surprise and great conjecture at the time. Advertisements and handbills
were circulated throughout the country, but in vain. Mr. Clarke was
evidently a man of eccentric habits, of a hasty temper, and a wandering
manner of life; yet it is scarcely probable that he took this sudden
manner of leaving the country either from whim or some secret but honest
motive never divulged. The fact is, that he owed a few debts in the
town--that he had my jewels in his possession, and as (pardon me for
saying this, since you take an interest in him,) his connections were
entirely unknown in these parts, and his character not very highly
estimated,--(whether from his manner, or his conversation, or some
undefined and vague rumours, I cannot say)--it was considered by no means
improbable that he had decamped with his property in this sudden manner
in order to save himself that trouble of settling accounts which a more
seemly and public method of departure might have rendered necessary. A
man of the name of Houseman, with whom he was acquainted, (a resident in
Knaresborough,) declared that Clarke had borrowed rather a considerable
sum from him, and did not scruple openly to accuse him of the evident
design to avoid repayment. A few more dark but utterly groundless
conjectures were afloat; and since the closest search--the minutest
inquiry was employed without any result, the supposition that he might
have been robbed and murdered was strongly entertained for some time; but
as his body was never found, nor suspicion directed against any
particular person, these conjectures insensibly died away; and being so
complete a stranger to these parts, the very circumstance of his
disappearance was not likely to occupy, for very long, the attention of
that old gossip the Public, who, even in the remotest parts, has a
thousand topics to fill up her time and talk. And now, Sir, I think you
know as much of the particulars of the case as any one in these parts can
inform you."

We may imagine the various sensations which this unsatisfactory
intelligence caused in the adventurous son of the lost wanderer. He
continued to throw out additional guesses, and to make farther inquiries
concerning a tale which seemed to him so mysterious, but without effect;
and he had the mortification to perceive, that the shrewd Jonas was, in
his own mind, fully convinced that the permanent disappearance of Clark
was accounted for only by the most dishonest motives.

"And," added Elmore, I am confirmed in this belief by discovering
afterwards from a tradesman in York who had seen my cousin's jewels--that
those I had trusted to Mr. Clarke's hands were more valuable than I had
imagined them, and therefore it was probably worth his while to make off
with them as quietly as possible. He went on foot, leaving his horse, a
sorry nag, to settle with me and the other claimants.

        "I, pedes quo te rapiunt et aurae!"

"Heavens!" thought Walter, sinking back in his chair sickened and
disheartened, "what a parent, if the opinions of all men who knew him be
true, do I thus zealously seek to recover!"

The good-natured Elmore, perceiving the unwelcome and painful impression
his account had produced on his young guest, now exerted himself to
remove, or at least to lessen it; and turning the conversation into a
classical channel, which with him was the Lethe to all cares, he soon
forgot that Clarke had ever existed, in expatiating on the unappreciated
excellences of Propertius, who, to his mind, was the most tender of all
elegiac poets, solely because he was the most learned. Fortunately this
vein of conversation, however tedious to Walter, preserved him from the
necessity of rejoinder, and left him to the quiet enjoyment of his own
gloomy and restless reflections.

At length the time touched upon dinner; Elmore, starting up, adjourned to
the drawing-room, in order to present the handsome stranger to the
placens uxor--the pleasing wife, whom, in passing through the hall, he
eulogized with an amazing felicity of diction.

The object of these praises was a tall, meagre lady, in a yellow dress
carried up to the chin, and who added a slight squint to the charms of
red hair, ill concealed by powder, and the dignity of a prodigiously high
nose. "There is nothing, Sir," said Elmore, "nothing, believe me, like
matrimonial felicity. Julia, my dear, I trust the chickens will not be

"Indeed, Mr. Elmore, I cannot tell; I did not boil them."

"Sir," said Elmore, turning to his guest, I do not know whether you will
agree with me, but I think a slight tendency to gourmandism is absolutely
necessary to complete the character of a truly classical mind. So many
beautiful touches are there in the ancient poets--so many delicate
allusions in history and in anecdote relating to the gratification of the
palate, that if a man have no correspondent sympathy with the illustrious
epicures of old, he is rendered incapable of enjoying the most beautiful
passages, that--Come, Sir, the dinner is served:

      "'Nutrimus lautis mollissima corpora mensis.'"

As they crossed the hall to the dining-room, a young lady, whom Elmore
hastily announced as his only daughter, appeared descending the stairs,
having evidently retired for the purpose of re-arranging her attire for
the conquest of the stranger. There was something in Miss Elmore that
reminded Walter of Ellinor, and, as the likeness struck him, he felt, by
the sudden and involuntary sigh it occasioned, how much the image of his
cousin had lately gained ground upon his heart.

Nothing of any note occurred during dinner, until the appearance of the
second course, when Elmore, throwing himself back with an air of content,
that signified the first edge of his appetite was blunted, observed, Sir,
the second course I always opine to be the more dignified and rational
part of a repast--

      "'Quod nunc ratio est, impetus ante fuit.'"
   [That which is now reason, at first was but desire.]

"Ah! Mr. Elmore," said the lady, glancing towards a brace of very fine
pigeons, "I cannot tell you how vexed I am at a mistake of the
gardener's: you remember my poor pet pigeons, so attached to each
other--would not mix with the rest--quite an inseparable friendship, Mr.
Lester--well, they were killed by mistake, for a couple of vulgar
pigeons. Ah! I could not touch a bit of them for the world."

"My love," said Elmore, pausing, and with great solemnity, "hear how
beautiful a consolation is afforded to you in Valerius Maximus:--'Ubi
idem et maximus et honestissimus amor est, aliquando praestat morte jungi
quam vitae distrahi;' which being interpreted, means, that wherever, as
in the case of your pigeons, a thoroughly high and sincere affection
exists, it is sometimes better to be joined in death than divided in
life.--Give me half the fatter one, if you please, Julia."

"Sir," said Elmore, when the ladies withdrew, "I cannot tell you how
pleased I am to meet with a gentleman so deeply imbued with classic lore.
I remember, several years ago, before my poor cousin died, it was my lot,
when I visited him at Knaresborough, to hold some delightful
conversations on learned matters with a very rising young scholar who
then resided at Knaresborough,--Eugene Aram. Conversations as difficult
to obtain as delightful to remember, for he was exceedingly reserved."

"Aram!" repeated Walter.

"What, you know him then?--and where does he live now?"

"In--, very near my uncle's residence. He is certainly a remarkable man."

"Yes, indeed he promised to become so. At the time I refer to, he was
poor to penury, and haughty as poor; but it was wonderful to note the
iron energy with which he pursued his progress to learning. Never did I
see a youth,--at that time he was no more,--so devoted to knowledge for

      'Doctrin' pretium triste magister habet.'"

"Methinks," added Elmore, "I can see him now, stealing away from the
haunts of men,

      'With even step and musing gait,'--

across the quiet fields, or into the woods, whence he was certain not to
re-appear till night-fall. Ah! he was a strange and solitary being, but
full of genius, and promise of bright things hereafter. I have often
heard since of his fame as a scholar, but could never learn where he
lived or what was now his mode of life. Is he yet married?"

"Not yet, I believe; but he is not now so absolutely poor as you describe
him to have been then, though certainly far from rich."

"Yes, yes, I remember that he received a legacy from a relation shortly
before he left Knaresborough. He had very delicate health at that time:
has he grown stronger with increasing years?"

"He does not complain of ill health. And pray, was he then of the same
austere and blameless habits of life that he now professes?"

"Nothing could be so faultless as his character appeared; the passions of
youth--(ah! I was a wild fellow at his age,) never seemed to venture near

      'Quem casto erudit docta Minerva sinu.'

Well, I am surprised he has not married. We scholars, Sir, fall in love
with abstractions, and fancy the first woman we see is--Sir, let us drink
the ladies."

The next day Walter, having resolved to set out for Knaresborough,
directed his course towards that town; he thought it yet possible that he
might, by strict personal inquiry, continue the clue that Elmore's
account had, to present appearance, broken. The pursuit in which he was
engaged, combined, perhaps, with the early disappointment to his
affections, had given a grave and solemn tone to a mind naturally ardent
and elastic. His character acquired an earnestness and a dignity from
late events; and all that once had been hope within him, deepened into
thought. As now, on a gloomy and clouded day he pursued his course along
a bleak and melancholy road, his mind was filled with that dark
presentiment--that shadow from the coming event, which superstition
believes the herald of the more tragic discoveries, or the more fearful
incidents of life; he felt steeled, and prepared for some dread
denouement,--to a journey to which the hand of Providence seemed to
conduct his steps; and he looked on the shroud that Time casts over all
beyond the present moment with the same intense and painful resolve with
which, in the tragic representations of life, we await the drawing up of
the curtain before the last act, which contains the catastrophe--that
while we long, we half shudder to behold.

Meanwhile, in following the adventures of Walter Lester, we have greatly
outstript the progress of events of Grassdale, and thither we now return.



       Her thoughts as pure as the chaste morning's breath,
       When from the Night's cold arms it creeps away,
       Were clothed in words.
           --Sir J. Suckling--Detraction Execrated

"You positively leave us then to-day, Eugene?" said the Squire.

"Indeed," answered Aram, "I hear from my creditor, (now no longer so,
thanks to you,) that my relation is so dangerously ill, that if I have
any wish to see her alive, I have not an hour to lose. It is the last
surviving relative I have in the world."

"I can say no more, then," rejoined the Squire shrugging his shoulders:
"When do you expect to return?"

"At least, ere the day fixed for the wedding," answered Aram, with a
grave and melancholy smile.

"Well, can you find time, think you, to call at the lodging in which my
nephew proposed to take up his abode,--my old lodging;--I will give you
the address,--and inquire if Walter has been heard of there: I confess
that I feel considerable alarm on his account. Since that short and
hurried letter which I read to you, I have heard nothing of him."

"You may rely on my seeing him if in London, and faithfully reporting to
you all that I can learn towards removing your anxiety."

"I do not doubt it; no heart is so kind as yours, Eugene. You will not
depart without receiving the additional sum you are entitled to claim
from me, since you think it may be useful to you in London, should you
find a favourable opportunity of increasing your annuity. And now I will
no longer detain you from taking your leave of Madeline."

The plausible story which Aram had invented of the illness and
approaching death of his last living relation, was readily believed by
the simple family to whom it was told; and Madeline herself checked her
tears that she might not, for his sake, sadden a departure that seemed
inevitable. Aram accordingly repaired to London that day,--the one that
followed the night which witnessed his fearful visit to the "Devil's

It is precisely at this part of my history that I love to pause for a
moment; a sort of breathing interval between the cloud that has been long
gathering, and the storm that is about to burst. And this interval is not
without its fleeting gleam of quiet and holy sunshine.

It was Madeline's first absence from her lover since their vows had
plighted them to each other; and that first absence, when softened by so
many hopes as smiled upon her, is perhaps one of the most touching
passages in the history of a woman's love. It is marvellous how many
things, unheeded before, suddenly become dear. She then feels what a
power of consecration there was in the mere presence of the one beloved;
the spot he touched, the book he read, have become a part of him--are no
longer inanimate--are inspired, and have a being and a voice. And the
heart, too, soothed in discovering so many new treasures, and opening so
delightful a world of memory, is not yet acquainted with that
weariness--that sense of exhaustion and solitude which are the true pains
of absence, and belong to the absence not of hope but regret.

"You are cheerful, dear Madeline," said Ellinor, "though you did not
think it possible, and he not here!"

"I am occupied," replied Madeline, "in discovering how much I loved him."

We do wrong when we censure a certain exaggeration in the sentiments of
those who love. True passion is necessarily heightened by its very ardour
to an elevation that seems extravagant only to those who cannot feel it.
The lofty language of a hero is a part of his character; without that
largeness of idea he had not been a hero. With love, it is the same as
with glory: what common minds would call natural in sentiment, merely
because it is homely, is not natural, except to tamed affections. That is
a very poor, nay, a very coarse, love, in which the imagination makes not
the greater part. And the Frenchman, who censured the love of his
mistress because it was so mixed with the imagination, quarrelled with
the body, for the soul which inspired and preserved it.

Yet we do not say that Madeline was so possessed by the confidence of her
love, that she did not admit the intrusion of a single doubt or fear;
when she recalled the frequent gloom and moody fitfulness of her
lover--his strange and mysterious communings with self--the sorrow which,
at times, as on that Sabbath eve when he wept upon her bosom, appeared
suddenly to come upon a nature so calm and stately, and without a visible
cause; when she recalled all these symptoms of a heart not now at rest,
it was not possible for her to reject altogether a certain vague and
dreary apprehension. Nor did she herself, although to Ellinor she so
affected, ascribe this cloudiness and caprice of mood merely to the
result of a solitary and meditative life; she attributed them to the
influence of an early grief, perhaps linked with the affections, and did
not doubt but that one day or another she should learn its secret. As for
remorse--the memory of any former sin--a life so austerely blameless, a
disposition so prompt to the activity of good, and so enamoured of its
beauty--a mind so cultivated, a temper so gentle, and a heart so easily
moved--all would have forbidden, to natures far more suspicious than
Madeline's, the conception of such a thought. And so, with a patient
gladness, though not without some mixture of anxiety, she suffered
herself to glide onward to a future, which, come cloud, come shine, was,
she believed at least, to be shared with him.

On looking over the various papers from which I have woven this tale, I
find a letter from Madeline to Aram, dated at this time. The characters,
traced in the delicate and fair Italian hand coveted at that period, are
fading, and, in one part, wholly obliterated by time; but there seems to
me so much of what is genuine in the heart's beautiful romance in this
effusion, that I will lay it before the reader without adding or altering
a word.

"Thank you, thank you, dearest Eugene! I have received, then, the first
letter you ever wrote me. I cannot tell you how strange it seemed to me,
and how agitated I felt on seeing it, more so, I think, than if it had
been yourself who had returned. However, when the first delight of
reading it faded away, I found that it had not made me so happy as it
ought to have done--as I thought at first it had done. You seem sad and
melancholy; a certain nameless gloom appears to me to hang over your
whole letter. It affects my spirits--why I know not--and my tears fall
even while I read the assurances of your unaltered, unalterable love--and
yet this assurance your Madeline--vain girl!--never for a moment
disbelieves. I have often read and often heard of the distrust and
jealousy that accompany love; but I think that such a love must be a
vulgar and low sentiment. To me there seems a religion in love, and its
very foundation is in faith. You say, dearest, that the noise and stir of
the great city oppress and weary you even more than you had expected. You
say those harsh faces, in which business, and care, and avarice, and
ambition write their lineaments, are wholly unfamiliar to you;--you turn
aside to avoid them,--you wrap yourself up in your solitary feelings of
aversion to those you see, and you call upon those not present--upon your
Madeline! and would that your Madeline were with you! It seems to
me--perhaps you will smile when I say this--that I alone can understand
you--I alone can read your heart and your emotions;--and oh! dearest
Eugene, that I could read also enough of your past history to know all
that has cast so habitual a shadow over that lofty heart and that calm
and profound nature! You smile when I ask you--but sometimes you
sigh,--and the sigh pleases and soothes me better than the smile.

"We have heard nothing more of Walter, and my father begins at times to
be seriously alarmed about him. Your account, too, corroborates that
alarm. It is strange that he has not yet visited London, and that you can
obtain no clue of him. He is evidently still in search of his lost
parent, and following some obscure and uncertain track. Poor Walter! God
speed him! The singular fate of his father, and the many conjectures
respecting him, have, I believe, preyed on Walter's mind more than he
acknowledged. Ellinor found a paper in his closet, where we had occasion
to search the other day for something belonging to my father, which was
scribbled with all the various fragments of guess or information
concerning my uncle, obtained from time to time, and interspersed with
some remarks by Walter himself, that affected me strangely. It seems to
have been from early childhood the one desire of my cousin to discover
his father's fate. Perhaps the discovery may be already made;--perhaps my
long-lost uncle may yet be present at our wedding.

"You ask me, Eugene, if I still pursue my botanical researches. Sometimes
I do; but the flower now has no fragrance--and the herb no secret, that I
care for; and astronomy, which you had just begun to teach me, pleases me
more;--the flowers charm me when you are present; but the stars speak to
me of you in absence. Perhaps it would not be so, had I loved a being
less exalted than you. Every one, even my father, even Ellinor, smile
when they observe how incessantly I think of you--how utterly you have
become all in all to me. I could not tell this to you, though I write it:
is it not strange that letters should be more faithful than the tongue?
And even your letter, mournful as it is, seems to me kinder, and dearer,
and more full of yourself, than with all the magic of your language, and
the silver sweetness of your voice, your spoken words are. I walked by
your house yesterday; the windows were closed--there was a strange air of
lifelessness and dejection about it. Do you remember the evening in which
I first entered that house? Do you--or rather is there one hour in which
it is not present to you? For me, I live in the past,--it is the
present--(which is without you,) in which I have no life. I passed into
the little garden, that with your own hands you have planted for me, and
filled with flowers. Ellinor was with me, and she saw my lips move. She
asked me what I was saying to myself. I would not tell her--I was praying
for you, my kind, my beloved Eugene. I was praying for the happiness of
your future years--praying that I might requite your love. Whenever I
feel the most, I am the most inclined to prayer. Sorrow, joy, tenderness,
all emotion, lift up my heart to God. And what a delicious overflow of
the heart is prayer! When I am with you--and I feel that you love me--my
happiness would be painful, if there were no God whom I might bless for
its excess. Do those, who believe not, love?--have they deep
emotions?--can they feel truly--devotedly? Why, when I talk thus to
you--do you always answer me with that chilling and mournful smile? You
would make religion only the creation of reason--as well might you make
love the same--what is either, unless you let it spring also from the

"When--when--when will you return? I think I love you now more than ever.
I think I have more courage to tell you so. So many things I have to
say--so many events to relate. For what is not an event to US? the least
incident that has happened to either--the very fading of a flower, if you
have worn it, is a whole history to me.

"Adieu, God bless you--God reward you--God keep your heart with Him,
dearest, dearest Eugene. And may you every day know better and better how
utterly you are loved by your


The epistle to which Lester referred as received from Walter, was one
written on the day of his escape from Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave, a short
note, rather than letter, which ran as follows.

"My dear Uncle, I have met with an accident which confined me to my
bed;--a rencontre, indeed, with the Knights of the Road--nothing serious,
(so do not be alarmed!) though the Doctor would fain have made it so. I
am just about to recommence my journey, but not towards London; on the
contrary, northward.

"I have, partly through the information of your old friend Mr. Courtland,
partly by accident, found what I hope may prove a clue to the fate of my
father. I am now departing to put this hope to the issue. More I would
fain say; but lest the expectation should prove fallacious, I will not
dwell on circumstances which would in that case only create in you a
disappointment similar to my own. Only this take with you, that my
father's proverbial good luck seems to have visited him since your latest
news of his fate; a legacy, though not a large one, awaited his return to
England from India; but see if I am not growing prolix already--I must
break off in order to reserve you the pleasure (may it be so!) of a full

"God bless you, my dear Uncle! I write in spirits and hope; kindest love
to all at home.

"Walter Lester.

"P. S. Tell Ellinor that my bitterest misfortune in the adventure I have
referred to, was to be robbed of her purse. Will she knit me another? By
the way, I encountered Sir Peter Hales; such an open-hearted, generous
fellow as you said! 'thereby hangs a tale.'"

This letter, which provoked all the curiosity of our little circle, made
them anxiously look forward to every post for additional explanation, but
that explanation came not. And they were forced to console themselves
with the evident exhilaration under which Walter wrote, and the probable
supposition that he delayed farther information until it could be ample
and satisfactory.--"Knights of the Road," quoth Lester one day, "I wonder
if they were any of the gang that have just visited us. Well, but poor
boy! he does not say whether he has any money left; yet if he were short
of the gold, he would be very unlike his father, (or his uncle for that
matter,) had he forgotten to enlarge on that subject, however brief upon

"Probably," said Ellinor, "the Corporal carried the main sum about him in
those well-stuffed saddle-bags, and it was only the purse that Walter had
about his person that was stolen; and it is probable that the Corporal
might have escaped, as he mentions nothing about that excellent

"A shrewd guess, Nell: but pray, why should Walter carry the purse about
him so carefully? Ah, you blush: well, will you knit him another?"

"Pshaw, Papa! Good b'ye, I am going to gather you a nosegay."

But Ellinor was seized with a sudden fit of industry, and somehow or
other she grew fonder of knitting than ever.

The neighbourhood was now tranquil and at peace; the nightly depredators
that had infested the green valleys of Grassdale were heard of no more;
it seemed a sudden incursion of fraud and crime, which was too unnatural
to the character of the spot invaded to do more than to terrify and to
disappear. The truditur dies die; the serene steps of one calm day
chasing another returned, and the past alarm was only remembered as a
tempting subject of gossip to the villagers, and (at the Hall) a theme of
eulogium on the courage of Eugene Aram.

"It is a lovely day," said Lester to his daughters, as they sate at the
window; "come, girls, get your bonnets, and let us take a walk into the

"And meet the postman," said Ellinor, archly.

"Yes," rejoined Madeline in the same vein, but in a whisper that Lester
might not hear, "for who knows but that we may have a letter from

How prettily sounds such raillery on virgin lips. No, no; nothing on
earth is so lovely as the confidence between two happy sisters, who have
no secrets but those of a guileless love to reveal!

As they strolled into the village, they were met by Peter Dealtry, who
was slowly riding home on a large ass which carried himself and his
panniers to the neighbouring market in a more quiet and luxurious
indolence of action than would the harsher motions of the equine species.

"A fine day, Peter: and what news at market?" said Lester.

"Corn high,--hay dear, your honour," replied the clerk.

"Ah, I suppose so; a good time to sell ours, Peter;--we must see about it
on Saturday. But, pray, have you heard any thing from the Corporal since
his departure?"

"Not I, your honour, not I; though I think as he might have given us a
line, if it was only to thank me for my care of his cat, but--

      'Them as comes to go to roam,
      Thinks slight of they as stays at home.'"

"A notable distich, Peter; your own composition, I warrant."

"Mine! Lord love your honour, I has no genus, but I has memory; and when
them ere beautiful lines of poetry-like comes into my head, they stays
there, and stays till they pops out at my tongue like a bottle of
ginger-beer. I do loves poetry, Sir, 'specially the sacred."

"We know it,--we know it."

"For there be summut in it," continued the clerk, "which smooths a man's
heart like a clothes-brush, wipes away the dust and dirt, and sets all
the nap right; and I thinks as how 'tis what a clerk of the parish ought
to study, your honour."

"Nothing better; you speak like an oracle."

"Now, Sir, there be the Corporal, honest man, what thinks himself mighty
clever,--but he has no soul for varse. Lord love ye, to see the faces he
makes when I tells him a hymn or so; 'tis quite wicked, your honour,--for
that's what the heathen did, as you well know, Sir.

       "'And when I does discourse of things
        Most holy, to their tribe;
        What does they do?--they mocks at me,
        And makes my harp a gibe.'

"'Tis not what I calls pretty, Miss Ellinor."

"Certainly not, Peter; I wonder, with your talents for verse, you never
indulge in a little satire against such perverse taste."

"Satire! what's that? Oh, I knows; what they writes in elections. Why,
Miss, mayhap--" here Peter paused, and winked significantly--"but the
Corporal's a passionate man, you knows: but I could so sting him--Aha!
we'll see, we'll see.--Do you know, your honour," here Peter altered his
air to one of serious importance, as if about to impart a most sagacious
conjecture, "I thinks there be one reason why the Corporal has not
written to me."

"And what's that, Peter?"

"Cause, your honour, he's ashamed of his writing: I fancy as how his
spelling is no better than it should be--but mum's the word. You sees,
your honour, the Corporal's got a tarn for conversation-like--he be a
mighty fine talker surely! but he be shy of the pen--'tis not every man
what talks biggest what's the best schollard at bottom. Why, there's the
newspaper I saw in the market, (for I always sees the newspaper once a
week,) says as how some of them great speakers in the Parliament House,
are no better than ninnies when they gets upon paper; and that's the
Corporal's case, I sispect: I suppose as how they can't spell all them
ere long words they make use on. For my part, I thinks there be mortal
desate (deceit) like in that ere public speaking; for I knows how far a
loud voice and a bold face goes, even in buying a cow, your honour; and
I'm afraid the country's greatly bubbled in that ere partiklar; for if a
man can't write down clearly what he means for to say, I does not thinks
as how he knows what he means when he goes for to speak!"

This speech--quite a moral exposition from Peter, and, doubtless,
inspired by his visit to market--for what wisdom cannot come from
intercourse?--our good publican delivered with especial solemnity, giving
a huge thump on the sides of his ass as he concluded.

"Upon my word, Peter," said Lester, laughing, "you have grown quite a
Solomon; and, instead of a clerk, you ought to be a Justice of Peace, at
the least: and, indeed, I must say that I think you shine more in the
capacity of a lecturer than in that of a soldier."

"'Tis not for a clerk of the parish to have too great a knack at the
weapons of the flesh," said Peter, sanctimoniously, and turning aside to
conceal a slight confusion at the unlucky reminiscence of his warlike
exploits; "But lauk, Sir, even as to that, why we has frightened all the
robbers away. What would you have us do more?"

"Upon my word, Peter, you say right; and now, good day. Your wife's well,
I hope? and Jacobina--is not that the cat's name?--in high health and

"Hem, hem!--why, to be sure, the cat's a good cat; but she steals Goody
Truman's cream as she sets for butter reg'larly every night."

"Oh! you must cure her of that," said Lester, smiling, "I hope that's the
worst fault."

"Why, your gardiner do say," replied Peter, reluctantly, "as how she goes
arter the pheasants in Copse-hole."

"The deuce!" cried the Squire; "that will never do: she must be shot,
Peter, she must be shot. My pheasants! my best preserves! and poor Goody
Truman's cream, too! a perfect devil. Look to it, Peter; if I hear any
complaints again, Jacobina is done for--What are you laughing at, Nell?"

"Well, go thy ways, Peter, for a shrewd man and a clever man; it is not
every one who could so suddenly have elicited my father's compassion for
Goody Truman's cream."

"Pooh!" said the Squire, "a pheasant's a serious thing, child; but you
women don't understand matters."

They had now crossed through the village into the fields, and were slowly
sauntering by

      "Hedge-row elms on hillocks green,"

when, seated under a stunted pollard, they came suddenly on the
ill-favoured person of Dame Darkmans: she sat bent (with her elbows on
her knees, and her hands supporting her chin,) looking up to the clear
autumnal sky; and as they approached, she did not stir, or testify by
sign or glance that she even perceived them.

There is a certain kind-hearted sociality of temper that you see
sometimes among country gentlemen, especially not of the highest rank,
who knowing, and looked up to by, every one immediately around them,
acquire the habit of accosting all they meet--a habit as painful for them
to break, as it was painful for poor Rousseau to be asked 'how he did' by
an applewoman. And the kind old Squire could not pass even Goody
Darkmans, (coming thus abruptly upon her,) without a salutation.

"All alone, Dame, enjoying the fine weather--that's right--And how fares
it with you?"

The old woman turned round her dark and bleared eyes, but without moving
limb or posture. "'Tis well-nigh winter now: 'tis not easy for poor folks
to fare well at this time o' year. Where be we to get the firewood, and
the clothing, and the dry bread, carse it! and the drop o' stuff that's
to keep out the cold. Ah, it's fine for you to ask how we does, and the
days shortening, and the air sharpening."

"Well, Dame, shall I send to--for a warm cloak for you?" said Madeline.

"Ho! thankye, young leddy--thankye kindly, and I'll wear it at your
widding, for they says you be going to git married to the larned man
yander. Wish ye well, ma'am, wish ye well."

And the old hag grinned as she uttered this benediction, that sounded on
her lips like the Lord's Prayer on a witch's; which converts the devotion
to a crime, and the prayer to a curse.

"Ye're very winsome, young lady," she continued, eyeing Madeline's tall
and rounded figure from head to foot. "Yes, very--but I was as bonny as
you once, and if you lives--mind that--fair and happy as you stand now,
you'll be as withered, and foul-faced, and wretched as me--ha! ha! I
loves to look on young folk, and think o' that. But mayhap ye won't live
to be old--more's the pity, for ye might be a widow and childless, and a
lone 'oman, as I be; if you were to see sixty: an' wouldn't that be
nice?--ha! ha!--much pleasure ye'd have in the fine weather then, and in
people's fine speeches, eh?"

"Come, Dame," said Lester, with a cloud on his benign brow, "this talk is
ungrateful to me, and disrespectful to Miss Lester; it is not the way
to--" "Hout!" interrupted the old woman; "I begs pardon, Sir, if I
offended--I begs pardon, young lady, 'tis my way, poor old soul that I
be. And you meant me kindly, and I would not be uncivil, now you are
a-going to give me a bonny cloak,--and what colour shall it be?"

"Why, what colour would you like best, Dame--red?"

"Red!--no!--like a gypsy-quean, indeed! Besides, they all has red cloaks
in the village, yonder. No; a handsome dark grey--or a gay, cheersome
black, an' then I'll dance in mourning at your wedding, young lady; and
that's what ye'll like. But what ha'ye done with the merry bridegroom,
Ma'am? Gone away, I hear. Ah, ye'll have a happy life on it, with a
gentleman like him. I never seed him laugh once. Why does not ye hire me
as your sarvant--would not I be a favourite thin! I'd stand on the
thrishold, and give ye good morrow every day. Oh! it does me a deal of
good to say a blessing to them as be younger and gayer than me. Madge
Darkman's blessing!--Och! what a thing to wish for!"

"Well, good day, mother," said Lester, moving on.

"Stay a bit, stay a bit, Sir;--has ye any commands, Miss, yonder, at
Master Aram's? His old 'oman's a gossip of mine--we were young
togither--and the lads did not know which to like the best. So we often
meets, and talks of the old times. I be going up there now.--Och! I hope
I shall be asked to the widding. And what a nice month to wid in;
Novimber--Novimber, that's the merry month for me! But 'tis cold--bitter
cold, too. Well, good day--good day. Ay," continued the hag, as Lester
and the sisters moved on, "ye all goes and throws niver a look behind. Ye
despises the poor in your hearts. But the poor will have their day. Och!
an' I wish ye were dead--dead--dead, an' I dancing in my bonny black
cloak about your graves;--for an't all mine dead--cold--cold--rotting,
and one kind and rich man might ha' saved them all."

Thus mumbling, the wretched creature looked after the father and his
daughters, as they wound onward, till her dim eyes caught them no longer;
and then, drawing her rags round her, she rose, and struck into the
opposite path that led to Aram's house.

"I hope that hag will be no constant visitor at your future residence,
Madeline," said the younger sister; "it would be like a blight on the

"And if we could remove her from the parish," said Lester, "it would be a
happy day for the village. Yet, strange as it may seem, so great is her
power over them all, that there is never a marriage, nor a christening in
the village, from which she is absent--they dread her spite and foul
tongue enough, to make them even ask humbly for her presence."

"And the hag seems to know that her bad qualities are a good policy, and
obtain more respect than amiability would do," said Ellinor. "I think
there is some design in all she utters."

"I don't know how it is, but the words and sight of that woman have
struck a damp into my heart," said Madeline, musingly.

"It would be wonderful if they had not, child," said Lester, soothingly;
and he changed the conversation to other topics.

As concluding their walk, they re-entered the village, they encountered
that most welcome of all visitants to a country village, the postman--a
tall, thin pedestrian, famous for swiftness of foot, with a cheerful
face, a swinging gait, and Lester's bag slung over his shoulder. Our
little party quickened their pace--one letter--for Madeline--Aram's
handwriting. Happy blush--bright smile! Ah! no meeting ever gives the
delight that a letter can inspire in the short absences of a first love
"And none for me," said Lester, in a disappointed tone, and Ellinor's
hand hung more heavily on his arm, and her step moved slower. "It is very
strange in Walter; but I am more angry than alarmed."

"Be sure," said Ellinor, after a pause, "that it is not his fault.
Something may have happened to him. Good Heavens! if he has been attacked
again--those fearful highwaymen!"

"Nay," said Lester, "the most probable supposition after all is, that he
will not write until his expectations are realized or destroyed. Natural
enough, too; it is what I should have done, if I had been in his place."

"Natural," said Ellinor, who now attacked where she before
defended--"Natural not to give us one line, to say he is well and
safe--natural; I could not have been so remiss!"

"Ay, child, you women are so fond of writing,--'tis not so with us,
especially when we are moving about: it is always--'Well, I must write
to-morrow--well, I must write when this is settled--well, I must write
when I arrive at such a place;'--and, meanwhile, time slips on, till
perhaps we get ashamed of writing at all. I heard a great man say once,
that 'Men must have something effeminate about them to be good
correspondents;' and 'faith, I think it's true enough on the whole."

"I wonder if Madeline thinks so?" said Ellinor, enviously glancing at her
sister's absorption, as, lingering a little behind, she devoured the
contents of her letter.

"He is coming home immediately, dear father; perhaps he may be here
to-morrow," cried Madeline abruptly; "think of that, Ellinor! Ah! and he
writes in spirits!"--and the poor girl clapped her hands delightedly, as
the colour danced joyously over her cheek and neck.

"I am glad to hear it," quoth Lester; "we shall have him at last beat
even Ellinor in gaiety!"

"That may easily be," sighed Ellinor to herself, as she glided past them
into the house, and sought her own chamber.



          Rollo. Ask for thyself.
          Lat. What more can concern me than this?
              --The Tragedy of Rollo.

It was an evening in the declining autumn of 1758; some public ceremony
had occurred during the day, and the crowd, which it had assembled was
only now gradually lessening, as the shadows darkened along the streets.
Through this crowd, self-absorbed as usual--with them--not one of
them--Eugene Aram slowly wound his uncompanioned way. What an
incalculable field of dread and sombre contemplation is opened to every
man who, with his heart disengaged from himself, and his eyes accustomed
to the sharp observance of his tribe, walks through the streets of a
great city! What a world of dark and troublous secrets in the breast of
every one who hurries by you! Goethe has said somewhere, that each of us,
the best as the worst, hides within him something--some feeling, some
remembrance that, if known, would make you hate him. No doubt the saying
is exaggerated; but still, what a gloomy and profound sublimity in the
idea!--what a new insight it gives into the hearts of the common
herd!--with what a strange interest it may inspire us for the humblest,
the tritest passenger that shoulders us in the great thoroughfare of
life! One of the greatest pleasures in the world is to walk alone, and at
night, (while they are yet crowded,) through the long lamplit streets of
this huge metropolis. There, even more than in the silence of woods and
fields, seems to me the source of endless, various meditation.

There was that in Aram's person which irresistibly commanded attention.
The earnest composure of his countenance, its thoughtful paleness, the
long hair falling back, the peculiar and estranged air of his whole
figure, accompanied as it was, by a mildness of expression, and that
lofty abstraction which characterises one who is a brooder over his own
heart--a ponderer and a soothsayer to his own dreams;--all these arrested
from time to time the second gaze of the passenger, and forced on him the
impression, simple as was the dress, and unpretending as was the gait of
the stranger, that in indulging that second gaze, he was in all
probability satisfying the curiosity which makes us love to fix our
regard upon any remarkable man.

At length Aram turned from the more crowded streets, and in a short time
paused before one of the most princely houses in London. It was
surrounded by a spacious court-yard, and over the porch, the arms of the
owner, with the coronet and supporters, were raised in stone.

"Is Lord--within?" asked Aram of the bluff porter who appeared at the

"My Lord is at dinner," replied the porter, thinking the answer quite
sufficient, and about to reclose the gate upon the unseasonable visitor.

"I am glad to find he is at home," rejoined Aram, gliding past the
servant, with an air of quiet and unconscious command, and passing the
court-yard to the main building.

At the door of the house, to which you ascended by a flight of stone
steps, the valet of the nobleman--the only nobleman introduced in our
tale, and consequently the same whom we have presented to our reader in
the earlier part of this work, happened to be lounging and enjoying the
smoke of the evening air. High-bred, prudent, and sagacious, Lord--knew
well how often great men, especially in public life, obtain odium for the
rudeness of their domestics, and all those, especially about himself, had
been consequently tutored into the habits of universal courtesy and
deference, to the lowest stranger, as well as to the highest guest. And
trifling as this may seem, it was an act of morality as well as of
prudence. Few can guess what pain may be saved to poor and proud men of
merit by a similar precaution. The valet, therefore, replied to Aram's
inquiry with great politeness; he recollected the name and repute of
Aram, and as the Earl, taking delight in the company of men of letters,
was generally easy of access to all such--the great man's great man
instantly conducted the Student to the Earl's library, and informing him
that his Lordship had not yet left the dining-room, where he was
entertaining a large party, assured him that he should be informed of
Aram's visit the moment he did so.

Lord--was still in office: sundry boxes were scattered on the floor;
papers, that seemed countless, lay strewed over the immense
library-table; but here and there were books of a more seductive
character than those of business, in which the mark lately set, and the
pencilled note still fresh, showed the fondness with which men of
cultivated minds, though engaged in official pursuits, will turn, in the
momentary intervals of more arid and toilsome life, to those lighter
studies which perhaps they in reality the most enjoy.

One of these books, a volume of Shaftesbury, Aram carefully took up; it
opened of its own accord in that most beautiful and profound passage
which contains perhaps the justest sarcasm, to which that ingenious and
graceful reasoner has given vent.

"The very spirit of Faction, for the greatest part, seems to be no other
than the abuse or irregularity of that social love and common affection
which is natural to mankind--for the opposite of sociableness, is
selfishness, and of all characters, the thorough selfish one--is the
least forward in taking party. The men of this sort are, in this respect,
true men of moderation. They are secure of their temper, and possess
themselves too well to be in danger of entering warmly into any cause, or
engaging deeply with any side or faction."

On the margin of the page was the following note, in the handwriting of

"Generosity hurries a man into party--philosophy keeps him aloof from it;
the Emperor Julian says in his epistle to Themistius, 'If you should form
only three or four philosophers, you would contribute more essentially to
the happiness of mankind than many kings united.' Yet, if all men were
philosophers, I doubt whether, though more men would be virtuous, there
would be so many instances of an extraordinary virtue. The violent
passions produce dazzling irregularities."

The Student was still engaged with this note when the Earl entered the
room. As the door through which he passed was behind Aram, and he trod
with a soft step, he was not perceived by the Scholar till he had reached
him, and, looking over Aram's shoulder, the Earl said:--"You will dispute
the truth of my remark, will you not? Profound calm is the element in
which you would place all the virtues."

"Not all, my Lord," answered Aram, rising, as the Earl now shook him by
the hand, and expressed his delight at seeing the Student again. Though
the sagacious nobleman had no sooner heard the Student's name, than, in
his own heart, he was convinced that Aram had sought him for the purpose
of soliciting a renewal of the offers he had formerly refused; he
resolved to leave his visitor to open the subject himself, and appeared
courteously to consider the visit as a matter of course, made without any
other object than the renewal of the mutual pleasure of intercourse.

"I am afraid, my Lord," said Aram, "that you are engaged. My visit can be
paid to-morrow if--" "Indeed," said the Earl interrupting him, and
drawing a chair to the table, "I have no engagements which should deprive
me of the pleasure of your company. A few friends have indeed dined with
me, but as they are now with Lady--, I do not think they will greatly
miss me; besides, an occasional absence is readily forgiven in us happy
men of office--we, who have the honour of exciting the envy of all
England, for being made magnificently wretched."

"I am glad you allow so much, my Lord," said Aram smiling, "I could not
have said more. Ambition only makes a favourite to make an ingrate;--she
has lavished her honours on Lord--, and see how he speaks of her bounty?"

"Nay," said the Earl, "I spoke wantonly, and stand corrected. I have no
reason to complain of the course I have chosen. Ambition, like any other
passion, gives us unhappy moments; but it gives us also an animated life.
In its pursuit, the minor evils of the world are not felt; little
crosses, little vexations do not disturb us. Like men who walk in sleep,
we are absorbed in one powerful dream, and do not even know the obstacles
in our way, or the dangers that surround us: in a word, we have no
private life. All that is merely domestic, the anxiety and the loss which
fret other men, which blight the happiness of other men, are not felt by
us: we are wholly public;--so that if we lose much comfort, we escape
much care."

The Earl broke off for a moment; and then turning the subject, inquired
after the Lesters, and making some general and vague observations about
that family, came purposely to a pause.

Aram broke it:--"My Lord," said he, with a slight, but not ungraceful,
embarrassment, "I fear that, in the course of your political life, you
must have made one observation, that he who promises to-day, will be
called upon to perform to-morrow. No man who has any thing to bestow, can
ever promise with impunity. Some time since, you tendered me offers that
would have dazzled more ardent natures than mine; and which I might have
advanced some claim to philosophy in refusing. I do not now come to ask a
renewal of those offers. Public life, and the haunts of men, are as
hateful as ever to my pursuits: but I come, frankly and candidly, to
throw myself on that generosity, which proffered to me then so large a
bounty. Certain circumstances have taken from me the small pittance which
supplied my wants;--I require only the power to pursue my quiet and
obscure career of study--your Lordship can afford me that power: it is
not against custom for the Government to grant some small annuity to men
of letters--your Lordship's interest could obtain for me this favour. Let
me add, however, that I can offer nothing in return! Party
politics--Sectarian interests--are for ever dead to me: even my common
studies are of small general utility to mankind--I am conscious of
this--would it were otherwise!--Once I hoped it would be--but--" Aram
here turned deadly pale, gasped for breath, mastered his emotion, and
proceeded--"I have no great claim, then, to this bounty, beyond that
which all poor cultivators of the abstruse sciences can advance. It is
well for a country that those sciences should be cultivated; they are not
of a nature which is ever lucrative to the possessor--not of a nature
that can often be left, like lighter literature, to the fair favour of
the public--they call, perhaps, more than any species of intellectual
culture, for the protection of a government; and though in me would be a
poor selection, the principle would still be served, and the example
furnish precedent for nobler instances hereafter. I have said all, my

Nothing, perhaps, more affects a man of some sympathy with those who
cultivate letters, than the pecuniary claims of one who can advance them
with justice, and who advances them also with dignity. If the meanest,
the most pitiable, the most heart-sickening object in the world, is the
man of letters, sunk into the habitual beggar, practising the tricks,
incurring the rebuke, glorying in the shame, of the mingled mendicant and
swindler;--what, on the other hand, so touches, so subdues us, as the
first, and only petition, of one whose intellect dignifies our whole
kind; and who prefers it with a certain haughtiness in his very modesty;
because, in asking a favour to himself, he may be only asking the power
to enlighten the world?

"Say no more, Sir," said the Earl, affected deeply, and giving gracefully
way to the feeling; "the affair is settled. Consider it utterly so. Name
only the amount of the annuity you desire."

With some hesitation Aram named a sum so moderate, so trivial, that the
Minister, accustomed as he was to the claims of younger sons and widowed
dowagers--accustomed to the hungry cravings of petitioners without merit,
who considered birth the only just title to the right of exactions from
the public--was literally startled by the contrast. "More than this,"
added Aram, "I do not require, and would decline to accept. We have some
right to claim existence from the administrators of the common
stock--none to claim affluence."

"Would to Heaven!" said the Earl, smiling, "that all claimants were like
you: pension lists would not then call for indignation; and ministers
would not blush to support the justice of the favours they conferred. But
are you still firm in rejecting a more public career, with all its
deserved emoluments and just honours? The offer I made you once, I renew
with increased avidity now."

"'Despiciam dites,'" answered Aram, "and, thanks to you, I may add,
'despiciamque famem.'"



             Clem. 'Tis our last interview!
             Stat. Pray Heav'n it be.

On leaving Lord _____'s, Aram proceeded, with a lighter and more rapid
step, towards a less courtly quarter of the metropolis.

He had found, on arriving in London, that in order to secure the annual
sum promised to Houseman, it had been necessary to strip himself even of
the small stipend he had hoped to retain. And hence his visit, and hence
his petition to Lord--. He now bent his way to the spot in which Houseman
had appointed their meeting. To the fastidious reader these details of
pecuniary matters, so trivial in themselves, may be a little wearisome,
and may seem a little undignified; but we are writing a romance of real
life, and the reader must take what is homely with what may be more
epic--the pettiness and the wants of the daily world, with its loftier
sorrows and its grander crimes. Besides, who knows how darkly just may be
that moral which shows us a nature originally high, a soul once all
a-thirst for truth, bowed (by what events?) to the manoeuvres and the
lies of the worldly hypocrite?

The night had now closed in, and its darkness was only relieved by the
wan lamps that vista'd the streets, and a few dim stars that struggled
through the reeking haze that curtained the great city. Aram had now
gained one of the bridges 'that arch the royal Thames,' and, in no time
dead to scenic attraction, he there paused for a moment, and looked along
the dark river that rushed below.

Oh, God! how many wild and stormy hearts have stilled themselves on that
spot, for one dread instant of thought--of calculation--of resolve--one
instant the last of life! Look at night along the course of that stately
river, how gloriously it seems to mock the passions of them that dwell
beside it;--Unchanged--unchanging--all around it quick death, and
troubled life; itself smiling up to the grey stars, and singing from its
deep heart as it bounds along. Beside it is the Senate, proud of its
solemn triflers, and there the cloistered Tomb, in which as the loftiest
honour, some handful of the fiercest of the strugglers may gain
forgetfulness and a grave! There is no moral to a great city like the
River that washes its walls.

There was something in the view before him, that suggested reflections
similar to these, to the strange and mysterious breast of the lingering
Student. A solemn dejection crept over him, a warning voice sounded on
his ear, the fearful Genius within him was aroused, and even in the
moment when his triumph seemed complete and his safety secured, he felt
it only as

      "The torrent's smoothness ere it dash below."

The mist obscured and saddened the few lights scattered on either side
the water. And a deep and gloomy quiet brooded round;

        "The very houses seemed asleep,
        And all that mighty heart was lying still."

Arousing himself from his short and sombre reverie, Aram resumed his way,
and threading some of the smaller streets on the opposite side of the
water, arrived at last in the street in which he was to seek Houseman.

It was a narrow and dark lane, and seemed altogether of a suspicious and
disreputable locality. One or two samples of the lowest description of
alehouses broke the dark silence of the spot;--from them streamed the
only lights which assisted the single lamp that burned at the entrance of
the alley; and bursts of drunken laughter and obscene merriment broke out
every now and then from these wretched theatres of Pleasure As Aram
passed one of them, a crowd of the lowest order of ruffian and harlot
issued noisily from the door, and suddenly obstructed his way; through
this vile press reeking with the stamp and odour of the most repellent
character of vice was the lofty and cold Student to force his path! The
darkness, his quick step, his downcast head, favoured his escape through
the unhallowed throng, and he now stood opposite the door of a small and
narrow house. A ponderous knocker adorned the door, which seemed of
uncommon strength, being thickly studded with large nails. He knocked
twice before his summons was answered, and then a voice from within,
cried, "Who's there? What want you?"

"I seek one called Houseman."

No answer was returned--some moments elapsed. Again the Student knocked,
and presently he heard the voice of Houseman himself call out, "Who's
there--Joe the Cracksman?"

"Richard Houseman, it is I," answered Aram, in a deep tone, and
suppressing the natural feelings of loathing and abhorrence.

Houseman uttered a quick exclamation; the door was hastily unbarred All
within was utterly dark; but Aram felt with a thrill of repugnance, the
gripe of his strange acquaintance on his hand.

"Ha! it is you!--Come in, come in!--let me lead you. Have a care--cling
to the wall--the right hand--now then--stay. So--so"--(opening the door
of a room, in which a single candle, wellnigh in its socket, broke on the
previous darkness;) "here we are! here we are! And, how goes it--eh!"

Houseman, now bustling about, did the honours of his apartment with a
sort of complacent hospitality. He drew two rough wooden chairs, that in
some late merriment seemed to have been upset, and lay, cumbering the
unwashed and carpetless floor, in a position exactly contrary to that
destined them by their maker;--he drew these chairs near a table strewed
with drinking horns, half-emptied bottles, and a pack of cards. Dingy
caricatures of the large coarse fashion of the day, decorated the walls;
and carelessly thrown on another table, lay a pair of huge horse-pistols,
an immense shovel hat, a false moustache, a rouge-pot, and a riding-whip.
All this the Student comprehended with a rapid glance--his lip quivered
for a moment--whether with shame or scorn of himself, and then throwing
himself on the chair Houseman had set for him, he said, "I have come to
discharge my part of our agreement."

"You are most welcome," replied Houseman, with that tone of coarse, yet
flippant jocularity, which afforded to the mien and manner of Aram a
still stronger contrast than his more unrelieved brutality.

"There," said Aram, giving him a paper; "there you will perceive that the
sum mentioned is secured to you, the moment you quit this country. When
shall that be? Let me entreat haste."

"Your prayer shall be granted. Before day-break to-morrow, I will be on
the road."

Aram's face brightened.

"There is my hand upon it," said Houseman, earnestly. "You may now rest
assured that you are free of me for life. Go home--marry--enjoy your
existence--as I have done. Within four days, if the wind set fair, I am
in France."

"My business is done; I will believe you," said Aram, frankly, and

"You may," answered Houseman. "Stay--I will light you to the door. Devil
and death--how the d--d candle flickers."

Across the gloomy passage, as the candle now flared--and now was
dulled--by quick fits and starts,--Houseman, after this brief conference,
reconducted the Student. And as Aram turned from the door, he flung his
arms wildly aloft, and exclaimed in the voice of one, from whose heart a
load is lifted--"Now, now, for Madeline. I breathe freely at last."

Meanwhile, Houseman turned musingly back, and regained his room,
muttering, "Yes--yes--my business here is also done! Competence and
safety abroad--after all, what a bugbear is this conscience!--fourteen
years have rolled away--and lo! nothing discovered! nothing known! And
easy circumstances--the very consequence of the deed--wait the remainder
of my days:--my child, too--my Jane--shall not want--shall not be a
beggar nor a harlot."

So musing, Houseman threw himself contentedly on the chair, and the last
flicker of the expiring light, as it played upward on his rugged
countenance--rested on one of those self-hugging smiles, with which a
sanguine man contemplates a satisfactory future.

He had not been long alone, before the door opened; and a woman with a
light in her hand appeared. She was evidently intoxicated, and approached
Houseman with a reeling and unsteady step.

"How now, Bess? drunk as usual. Get to bed, you she shark, go!"

"Tush, man, tush! don't talk to your betters," said the woman, sinking
into a chair; and her situation, disgusting as it was, could not conceal
the rare, though somewhat coarse beauty of her face and person.

Even Houseman, (his heart being opened, as it were, by the cheering
prospects of which his soliloquy had indulged the contemplation,) was
sensible of the effect of the mere physical attraction, and drawing his
chair closer to her, he said in a tone less harsh than usual.

"Come, Bess, come, you must correct that d--d habit of yours; perhaps I
may make a lady of you after all. What if I were to let you take a trip
with me to France, old girl, eh? and let you set off that handsome face,
for you are devilish handsome, and that's the truth of it, with some of
the French gewgaws you women love. What if. I were? would you be a good
girl, eh?"

"I think I would, Dick,--I think I would," replied the woman, showing a
set of teeth as white as ivory, with pleasure partly at the flattery,
partly at the proposition: "you are a good fellow, Dick, that you are."

"Humph!" said Houseman, whose hard, shrewd mind was not easily cajoled,
"but what's that paper in your bosom, Bess? a love-letter, I'll swear."

"'Tis to you then; came to you this morning, only somehow or other, I
forgot to give it you till now!"

"Ha! a letter to me?" said Houseman, seizing the epistle in question.
"Hem! the Knaresbro' postmark--my mother-in-law's crabbed hand, too! what
can the old crone want?"

He opened the letter, and hastily scanning its contents, started up.

"Mercy, mercy!" cried he, "my child is ill, dying. I may never see her
again,--my only child,--the only thing that loves me,--that does not
loath me as a villain!"

"Heyday, Dicky!" said the woman, clinging to him, "don't take on so, who
so fond of you as me?--what's a brat like that!"

"Curse on you, hag!" exclaimed Houseman, dashing her to the ground with a
rude brutality, "you love me! Pah! My child,--my little Jane,--my pretty
Jane,--my merry Jane,--my innocent Jane--I will seek her
instantly--instantly; what's money? what's ease,--if--if--" And the
father, wretch, ruffian as he was, stung to the core of that last
redeeming feeling of his dissolute nature, struck his breast with his
clenched hand, and rushed from the room--from the house.


         --A LANDSCAPE.--A RETURN.

          'Tis late, and cold--stir up the fire,
          Sit close, and draw the table nigher;
          Be merry and drink wine that's old,
          A hearty medicine 'gainst a cold,
          Welcome--welcome shall fly round!
        --Beaumont and Fletcher: Song in the Lover's Progress.

As when the Great Poet,--

          Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
          In that obscure sojourn; while, in his flight
          Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
          He sang of chaos, and eternal night:--

As when, revisiting the "Holy Light, offspring of heaven first-born," the
sense of freshness and glory breaks upon him, and kindles into the solemn
joyfulness of adjuring song: so rises the mind from the contemplation of
the gloom and guilt of life, "the utter and the middle darkness," to some
pure and bright redemption of our nature--some creature of "the starry
threshold," "the regions mild of calm and serene air." Never was a nature
more beautiful and soft than that of Madeline Lester--never a nature more
inclined to live "above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, which men
call earth"--to commune with its own high and chaste creations of
thought--to make a world out of the emotions which this world knows
not--a paradise, which sin, and suspicion, and fear, had never yet
invaded--where God might recognise no evil, and Angels forebode no

Aram's return was now daily, nay, even hourly expected. Nothing disturbed
the soft, though thoughtful serenity, with which his betrothed relied
upon the future. Aram's letters had been more deeply impressed with the
evidence of love, than even his spoken vows: those letters had diffused
not so much an agitated joy, as a full and mellow light of happiness over
her heart. Every thing, even Nature, seemed inclined to smile with
approbation on her hopes. The autumn had never, in the memory of man,
worn so lovely a garment: the balmy and freshening warmth, which
sometimes characterises that period of the year, was not broken, as yet,
by the chilling winds, or the sullen mists, which speak to us so
mournfully of the change that is creeping over the beautiful world. The
summer visitants among the feathered tribe yet lingered in flocks,
showing no intention of departure; and their song--but above all, the
song of the sky-lark--which, to the old English poet, was what the
nightingale is to the Eastern--seemed even to grow more cheerful as the
sun shortened his daily task;--the very mulberry-tree, and the rich
boughs of the horse chesnut, retained something of their verdure; and the
thousand glories of the woodland around Grassdale were still chequered
with the golden hues that herald, but beautify Decay. Still, no news had
been received of Walter: and this was the only source of anxiety that
troubled the domestic happiness of the Manor-house. But the Squire
continued to remember, that in youth he himself had been but a negligent
correspondent; and the anxiety he felt, assumed rather the character of
anger at Walter's forgetfulness, than of fear for his safety. There were
moments when Ellinor silently mourned and pined; but she loved her sister
not less even than her cousin; and in the prospect of Madeline's
happiness, did not too often question the future respecting her own.

One evening, the sisters were sitting at their work by the window of the
little parlour, and talking over various matters of which the Great
World, strange as it may seem, never made a part.

They conversed in a low tone, for Lester sat by the hearth in which a
wood fire had been just kindled, and appeared to have fallen into an
afternoon slumber. The sun was sinking to repose, and the whole landscape
lay before them bathed in light, till a cloud passing overhead, darkened
the heavens just immediately above them, and one of those beautiful sun
showers, that rather characterize the spring than autumn, began to fall;
the rain was rather sharp, and descended with a pleasant and freshening
noise through the boughs, all shining in the sun light; it did not,
however, last long, and presently there sprang up the glorious rainbow,
and the voices of the birds, which a minute before were mute, burst into
a general chorus, the last hymn of the declining day. The sparkling drops
fell fast and gratefully from the trees, and over the whole scene there
breathed an inexpressible sense of gladness--

        "The odour and the harmony of eve."

"How beautiful!" said Ellinor, pausing from her work--"Ah, see the
squirrel, is that our pet one? he is coming close to the window, poor
fellow! Stay, I will get him some bread."

"Hush!" said Madeline, half rising, and turning quite pale, "Do you hear
a step without?"

"Only the dripping of the boughs," answered Ellinor.

"No--no--it is he--it is he!" cried Madeline, the blood rushing back
vividly to her cheeks, "I know his step!"

And--yes--winding round the house till he stood opposite the window, the
sisters now beheld Eugene Aram; the diamond rain glittered on the locks
of his long hair; his cheeks were flushed by exercise, or more probably
the joy of return; a smile, in which there was no shade or sadness,
played over his features, which caught also a fictitious semblance of
gladness from the rays of the setting sun which fell full upon them.

"My Madeline, my love, my Madeline!" broke from his lips.

"You are returned--thank God--thank God--safe--well?"

"And happy!" added Aram, with a deep meaning in the tone of his voice.

"Hey day, hey day!" cried the Squire, starting up, "what's this? bless
me, Eugene!--wet through too, seemingly! Nell, run and open the
door--more wood on the fire--the pheasants for supper--and stay, girl,
stay--there's the key of the cellar--the twenty-one port--you know it.
Ah! ah! God willing, Eugene Aram shall not complain of his welcome back
to Grassdale!"



          Hope is a lover's staff; walk hence with that,
          And manage it against despairing thoughts.
              --Two Gentlemen of Verona.

If there be any thing thoroughly lovely in the human heart, it is
Affection! All that makes hope elevated, or fear generous, belongs to the
capacity of loving. For my own part, I do not wonder, in looking over the
thousand creeds and sects of men, that so many religionists have traced
their theology,--that so many moralists have wrought their system
from--Love. The errors thus originated have something in them that charms
us even while we smile at the theology, or while we neglect the system.
What a beautiful fabric would be human nature--what a divine guide would
be human reason--if Love were indeed the stratum of the one, and the
inspiration of the other! What a world of reasonings, not immediately
obvious, did the sage of old open to our inquiry, when he said the
pathetic was the truest part of the sublime. Aristides, the painter,
created a picture in which an infant is represented sucking a mother
wounded to the death, who, even in that agony, strives to prevent the
child from injuring itself by imbibing the blood mingled with the milk.
[Note: Intelligitur sentire mater et timere, ne mortuo lacte sanguinem
lambat.] How many emotions, that might have made us permanently wiser and
better, have we lost in losing that picture!

Certainly, Love assumes a more touching and earnest semblance, when we
find it in some retired and sequestered hollow of the world; when it is
not mixed up with the daily frivolities and petty emotions of which a
life passed in cities is so necessarily composed: we cannot but believe
it a deeper and a more absorbing passion: perhaps we are not always right
in the belief.

Had one of that order of angels to whom a knowledge of the future, or the
seraphic penetration into the hidden heart of man is forbidden, stayed
his wings over the lovely valley in which the main scene of our history
has been cast, no spectacle might have seemed to him more appropriate to
that lovely spot, or more elevated in the character of its tenderness
above the fierce and short-lived passions of the ordinary world, than the
love that existed between Madeline and her betrothed. Their natures
seemed so suited to each other! the solemn and undiurnal mood of the one
was reflected back in hues so gentle, and yet so faithful, from the
purer, but scarce less thoughtful character of the other! Their
sympathies ran through the same channel, and mingled in a common fount;
and whatever was dark and troubled in the breast of Aram, was now
suffered not to appear. Since his return, his mood was brighter and more
tranquil; and he seemed better fitted to appreciate and respond to the
peculiar tenderness of Madeline's affection. There are some stars which,
viewed by the naked eye, seem one, but in reality are two separate orbs
revolving round each other, and drinking, each from each, a separate yet
united existence: such stars seemed a type of them.

Had anything been wanting to complete Madeline's happiness, the change in
Aram supplied the want. The sudden starts, the abrupt changes of mood and
countenance, that had formerly characterized him, were now scarcely, if
ever, visible. He seemed to have resigned himself with confidence to the
prospects of the future, and to have forsworn the haggard recollections
of the past; he moved, and looked, and smiled like other men; he was
alive to the little circumstances around him, and no longer absorbed in
the contemplation of a separate and strange existence within himself.
Some scattered fragments of his poetry bear the date of this time: they
are chiefly addressed to Madeline, and, amidst the vows of love, a
spirit, sometimes of a wild and bursting--sometimes of a profound and
collected happiness, are visible. There is great beauty in many of these
fragments, and they bear a stronger impress of heart--they breathe more
of nature and truth, than the poetry that belongs of right to that time.

And thus day rolled on day, till it was now the eve before their bridals.
Aram had deemed it prudent to tell Lester, that he had sold his annuity,
and that he had applied to the Earl for the pension which we have seen he
had been promised. As to his supposed relation--the illness he had
created he suffered now to cease; and indeed the approaching ceremony
gave him a graceful excuse for turning the conversation away form any
topics that did not relate to Madeline, or to that event.

It was the eve before their marriage; Aram and Madeline were walking
along the valley that led to the house of the former.

"How fortunate it is!" said Madeline, "that our future residence will be
so near my father's. I cannot tell you with what delight he looks forward
to the pleasant circle we shall make. Indeed, I think he would scarce
have consented to our wedding, if it had separated us from him."

Aram stopped, and plucked a flower.

"Ah! indeed, indeed, Madeline! Yet in the course of the various changes
of life, how more than probable it is that we shall be divided from
him--that we shall leave this spot."

"It is possible, certainly; but not probable, is it, Eugene?"

"Would it grieve thee irremediably, dearest, were it so?" rejoined Aram,

"Irremediably! What could grieve me irremediably, that did not happen to

"Should, then, circumstances occur to induce us to leave this part of the
country, for one yet more remote, you could submit cheerfully to the

"I should weep for my father--I should weep for Ellinor; but--"

"But what?"

"I should comfort myself in thinking that you would then be yet more to
me than ever!"


"But why do you speak thus; only to try me? Ah! that is needless."

"No, my Madeline; I have no doubt of your affection. When you loved such
as me, I knew at once how blind, how devoted must be that love. You were
not won through the usual avenues to a woman's heart; neither wit nor
gaiety, nor youth nor beauty, did you behold in me. Whatever attracted
you towards me, that which must have been sufficiently powerful to make
you overlook these ordinary allurements, will be also sufficiently
enduring to resist all ordinary changes. But listen, Madeline. Do not yet
ask me wherefore; but I fear, that a certain fatality will constrain us
to leave this spot, very shortly after our wedding."

"How disappointed my poor father will be!" said Madeline, sighing.

"Do not, on any account, mention this conversation to him, or to Ellinor;
'sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.'"

Madeline wondered, but said no more. There was a pause for some minutes.

"Do you remember," observed Madeline, "that it was about here we met that
strange man whom you had formerly known?"

"Ha! was it?--Here, was it?"

"What has become of him?"

"He is abroad, I hope," said Aram, calmly. "Yes, let me think; by this
time he must be in France. Dearest, let us rest here on this dry mossy
bank for a little while;" and Aram drew his arm round her waist, and, his
countenance brightening as if with some thought of increasing joy, he
poured out anew those protestations of love, and those anticipations of
the future, which befitted the eve of a morrow so full of auspicious

The heaven of their fate seemed calm and glowing, and Aram did not dream
that the one small cloud of fear which was set within it, and which he
alone beheld afar, and unprophetic of the storm, was charged with the
thunderbolt of a doom, he had protracted, not escaped.



          Long had he wandered, when from far he sees
          A ruddy flame that gleamed betwixt the trees.
          . . . . Sir Gawaine prays him tell
          Where lies the road to princely Corduel.
              --The Knight of the Sword.

"Well, Bunting, we are not far from our night's resting-place," said
Walter, pointing to a milestone on the road.

"The poor beast will be glad when we gets there, your honour," answered
the Corporal, wiping his brows.

"Which beast, Bunting?"

"Augh!--now your honour's severe! I am glad to see you so merry."

Walter sighed heavily; there sat no mirth at his heart at that moment.

"Pray Sir," said the Corporal after a pause, "if not too bold, has your
honour heard how they be doing at Grassdale?"

"No, Bunting; I have not held any correspondence with my uncle since our
departure. Once I wrote to him on setting off to Yorkshire, but I could
give him no direction to write to me again. The fact is, that I have been
so sanguine in this search, and from day to day I have been so led on in
tracing a clue, which I fear is now broken, that I have constantly put
off writing till I could communicate that certain intelligence which I
flattered myself I should be able ere this to procure. However, if we are
unsuccessful at Knaresbro' I shall write from that place a detailed
account of our proceedings."

"And I hopes you will say as how I have given your honour satisfaction."

"Depend upon that."

"Thank you Sir, thank you humbly; I would not like the Squire to think
I'm ungrateful!--augh,--and mayhap I may have more cause to be grateful
by and by, whenever the Squire, God bless him, in consideration of your
honour's good offices, should let me have the bit cottage rent free."

"A man of the world, Bunting; a man of the world!"

"Your honour's mighty obleeging," said the Corporal, putting his hand to
his hat; "I wonders," renewed he, after a short pause, "I wonders how
poor neighbour Dealtry is. He was a sufferer last year; I should like to
know how Peter be getting on--'tis a good creature."

Somewhat surprised at this sudden sympathy on the part of the Corporal,
for it was seldom that Bunting expressed kindness for any one, Walter

"When I write, Bunting, I will not fail to inquire how Peter Dealtry
is;--does your kind heart suggest any other message to him?"

"Only to ask arter Jacobina, poor thing; she might get herself into
trouble if little Peter fell sick and neglected her like--augh. And I
hopes as how Peter airs the bit cottage now and then; but the Squire, God
bless him, will see to that, and the tato garden, I'm sure."

"You may rely on that, Bunting," said Walter sinking into a reverie, from
which he was shortly roused by the Corporal.

"I'spose Miss Madeline be married afore now, your honour: well, pray
Heaven she be happy with that ere larned man!"

Walter's heart beat faster for a moment at this sudden remark, but he was
pleased to find that the time when the thought of Madeline's marriage was
accompanied with painful emotion was entirely gone by; the reflection
however induced a new train of idea, and without replying to the
Corporal, he sank into a deeper meditation than before.

The shrewd Bunting saw that it was not a favourable moment for renewing
the conversation; he therefore suffered his horse to fall back, and
taking a quid from his tobacco-box, was soon as well entertained as his
master. In this manner they rode on for about a couple of miles, the
evening growing darker as they proceeded, when a green opening in the
road brought them within view of a gipsy's encampment; the scene was so
sudden and so picturesque, that it aroused the young traveller from his
reverie, and as his tired horse walked slowly on, the bridle about its
neck, he looked with an earnest eye on the vagrant settlement beside his
path. The moon had just risen above a dark copse in the rear, and cast a
broad, deep shadow along the green, without lessening the vivid effect of
the fires which glowed and sparkled in the darker recess of the waste
land, as the gloomy forms of the Egyptians were seen dimly cowering round
the blaze. A scene of this sort is perhaps one of the most striking that
the green lanes of Old England afford,--to me it has always an
irresistible attraction, partly from its own claims, partly from those of
association. When I was a mere boy, and bent on a solitary excursion over
parts of England and Scotland, I saw something of that wild
people,--though not perhaps so much as the ingenious George Hanger, to
whose memoirs the reader may be referred, for some rather amusing pages
on gipsy life. As Walter was still eyeing the encampment, he in return
had not escaped the glance of an old crone, who came running hastily up
to him, and begged permission to tell his fortune and to have her hand
crossed with silver.

Very few men under thirty ever sincerely refuse an offer of this sort.
Nobody believes in these predictions, yet every one likes hearing them:
and Walter, after faintly refusing the proposal twice, consented the
third time; and drawing up his horse submitted his hand to the old lady.
In the mean while, one of the younger urchins who had accompanied her had
run to the encampments for a light, and now stood behind the old woman's
shoulder, rearing on high a pine brand, which cast over the little group
a red and weird-like glow.

The reader must not imagine we are now about to call his credulity in aid
to eke out any interest he may feel in our story; the old crone was but a
vulgar gipsy, and she predicted to Walter the same fortune she always
predicted to those who paid a shilling for the prophecy--an heiress with
blue eyes--seven children--troubles about the epoch of forty-three,
happily soon over--and a healthy old age with an easy death. Though
Walter was not impressed with any reverential awe for these
vaticinations, he yet could not refrain from inquiring, whether the
journey on which he was at present bent was likely to prove successful in
its object.

"'Tis an ill night," said the old woman, lifting up her wild face and
elfin locks with a mysterious air--"'Tis an ill night for them as seeks,
and for them as asks.--He's about--"


"No matter!--you may be successful, young Sir, yet wish you had not been
so. The moon thus, and the wind there--promise that you will get your
desires, and find them crosses."

The Corporal had listened very attentively to these predictions, and was
now about to thrust forth his own hand to the soothsayer, when from a
cross road to the right came the sound of hoofs, and presently a horseman
at full trot pulled up beside them.

"Hark ye, old she Devil, or you, Sirs--is this the road to Knaresbro'?"

The Gipsy drew back, and gazed on the countenance of the rider, on which
the red glare of the pine-brand shone full.

"To Knaresbro', Richard, the dare-devil? Ay, and what does the ramping
bird want in the ould nest? Welcome back to Yorkshire, Richard, my ben

"Ha!" said the rider, shading his eyes with his hand, as he returned the
gaze of the Gipsy--"is it you, Bess Airlie: your welcome is like the
owl's, and reads the wrong way. But I must not stop. This takes to
Knaresbro' then?"

"Straight as a dying man's curse to hell," replied the crone, in that
metaphorical style in which all her tribe love to speak, and of which
their proper language is indeed almost wholly composed.

The horseman answered not, but spurred on.

"Who is that?" asked Walter earnestly, as the old woman stretched her
tawny neck after the rider.

"An ould friend, Sir," replied the Egyptian, drily. "I have not seen him
these fourteen years; but it is not Bess Airlie who is apt to forgit
friend or foe. Well, Sir, shall I tell your honour's good luck?"--(Here
she turned to the Corporal, who sat erect on his saddle with his hand on
his holster)--"the colour of the lady's hair--and--"

"Hold your tongue, you limb of Satan!" interrupted the Corporal fiercely,
as if his whole tide of thought, so lately favourable to the Soothsayer,
had undergone a deadly reversion. "Please your honour, it's getting late,
we had better be jogging!"

"You are right," said Walter spurring his jaded horse, and nodding his
adieu to the Gipsy,--he was soon out of sight of the encampment.

"Sir," said the Corporal joining his master, "that is a man as I have
seed afore; I knowed his ugly face again in a crack--'tis the man what
came to Grassdale arter Mr. Aram, and we saw arterwards the night we
chanced on Sir Peter Thingumybob."

"Bunting," said Walter, in a low voice, "I too have been trying to recal
the face of that man, and I too am persuaded I have seen it before. A
fearful suspicion, amounting almost to conviction, creeps over me, that
the hour in which I last saw it was one when my life was in peril. In a
word, I do believe that I beheld that face bending over me on the night
when I lay under the hedge, and so nearly escaped murder! If I am right,
it was, however, the mildest of the ruffians; the one who counselled his
comrades against despatching me."

The Corporal shuddered.

"Pray, Sir!" said he, after a moment's pause, "do see if your pistols are
primed--so--so. 'Tis not out o' nature that the man may have some
'complices hereabout, and may think to way-lay us. The old Gipsy,
too, what a face she had! depend on it, they are two of a

And the Corporal grunted his most significant grunt.

"It is not at all unlikely, Bunting; and as we are now not far from
Knaresbro', it will be prudent to ride on as fast as our horses will
allow us. Keep up alongside."

"Certainly--I'll purtect your honour," said the Corporal, getting on that
side where the hedge being thinnest, an ambush was less likely to be
laid. "I care more for your honour's safety than my own, or what a brute
I should be--augh!"

The master and man had trotted on for some little distance, when they
perceived a dark object moving along by the grass on the side of the
road. The Corporal's hair bristled--he uttered an oath, which by him was
always intended for a prayer. Walter felt his breath grow a little thick
as he watched the motions of the object so imperfectly beheld; presently,
however, it grew into a man on horseback, trotting very slowly along the
grass; and as they now neared him, they recognised the rider they had
just seen, whom they might have imagined, from the pace at which he left
them before, to have been considerably a-head of them.

The horseman turned round as he saw them.

"Pray, gentlemen," said he, in a tone of great and evident anxiety, "how
far is it to Knaresbro'?"

"Don't answer him, your honour!" whispered the Corporal.

"Probably," replied Walter, unheeding this advice, "you know this road
better than we do. It cannot however be above three or four miles hence."

"Thank you, Sir,--it is long since I have been in these parts. I used to
know the country, but they have made new roads and strange enclosures,
and I now scarcely recognise any thing familiar. Curse on this brute!
curse on it, I say!" repeated the horseman through his ground teeth in a
tone of angry vehemence, "I never wanted to ride so quick before, and the
beast has fallen as lame as a tree. This comes of trying to go faster
than other folks.--Sir, are you a father?"

This abrupt question, which was uttered in a sharp, strained voice, a
little startled Walter. He replied shortly in the negative, and was about
to spur onward, when the horseman continued--and there was something in
his voice and manner that compelled attention: "And I am in doubt whether
I have a child or not.--By G--! it is a bitter gnawing state of mind.--I
may reach Knaresbro' to find my only daughter dead, Sir!--dead!"

Despite of Walter's suspicions of the speaker, he could not but feel a
thrill of sympathy at the visible distress with which these words were

"I hope not," said he involuntarily.

"Thank you, Sir," replied the Horseman, trying ineffectually to spur on
his steed, which almost came down at the effort to proceed. "I have
ridden thirty miles across the country at full speed, for they had no
post-horses at the d--d place where I hired this brute. This was the only
creature I could get for love or money; and now the devil only knows how
important every moment may be.--While I speak, my child may breathe her
last!--" and the man brought his clenched fist on the shoulder of his
horse in mingled spite and rage.

"All sham, your honour," whispered the Corporal.

"Sir," cried the horseman, now raising his voice, "I need not have asked
if you had been a father--if you had, you would have had compassion on me
ere this,--you would have lent me your own horse."

"The impudent rogue!" muttered the Corporal.

"Sir," replied Walter, "it is not to the tale of every stranger that a
man gives belief."

"Belief!--ah, well, well, 'tis no matter," said the horseman, sullenly.
"There was a time, man, when I would have forced what I now solicit; but
my heart's gone. Ride on, Sir--ride on,--and the curse of--"

"If," interrupted Walter, irresolutely--"if I could believe your
statement:--but no. Mark me, Sir: I have reasons--fearful reasons, for
imagining you mean this but as a snare!"

"Ha!" said the horseman, deliberately, "have we met before?"

"I believe so."

"And you have had cause to complain of me? It may be--it may be: but were
the grave before me, and if one lie would smite me into it, I solemnly
swear that I now utter but the naked truth."

"It would be folly to trust him, Bunting?" said Walter, turning round to
his attendant.

"Folly!--sheer madness--bother!"

"If you are the man I take you for," said Walter, "you once lifted your
voice against the murder, though you assisted in the robbery of a
traveller:--that traveller was myself. I will remember the mercy--I will
forget the outrage: and I will not believe that you have devised this
tale as a snare. Take my horse, Sir; I will trust you."

Houseman, for it was he, flung himself instantly from his saddle. "I
don't ask God to bless you: a blessing in my mouth would be worse than a
curse. But you will not repent this: you will not repent it!"

Houseman said these few words with a palpable emotion; and it was more
striking on account of the evident coarseness and hardened vulgarity of
his nature. In a moment more he had mounted Walter's horse, and turning
ere he sped on, inquired at what place at Knaresborough the horse should
be sent. Walter directed him to the principal inn; and Houseman, waving
his hand, and striking his spurs into the animal, wearied as it was, was
out of sight in a moment.

"Well, if ever I seed the like!" quoth the Corporal. "Lira, lira, la, la,
la! lira, lara, la, la, la!--augh!--whaugh!--bother!"

"So my good-nature does not please you, Bunting."

"Oh, Sir, it does not sinnify: we shall have our throats cut--that's all.

"What! you don't believe the story."

"I? Bless your honour, I am no fool."



"You forget yourself."


"So you don't think I should have lent the horse?"

"Sartainly not."

"On occasions like these, every man ought to take care of himself?
Prudence before generosity?"

"Of a sartainty, Sir."

"Dismount, then,--I want my horse. You may shift with the lame one."

"Augh, Sir,--baugh!"

"Rascal, dismount, I say!" said Walter angrily: for the Corporal was one
of those men who aim at governing their masters; and his selfishness now
irritated Walter as much as his impertinent tone of superior wisdom.

The Corporal hesitated. He thought an ambuscade by the road of certain
occurrence; and he was weighing the danger of riding a lame horse against
his master's displeasure. Walter, perceiving he demurred, was seized with
so violent a resentment, that he dashed up to the Corporal, and, grasping
him by the collar, swung him, heavy as he was,--being wholly unprepared
for such force,--to the ground.

Without deigning to look at his condition, Walter mounted the sound
horse, and throwing the bridle of the lame one over a bough, left the
Corporal to follow at his leisure.

There is not perhaps a more sore state of mind than that which we
experience when we have committed an act we meant to be generous, and
fear to be foolish.

"Certainly," said Walter, soliloquizing, "certainly the man is a rascal:
yet he was evidently sincere in his emotion. Certainly he was one of the
men who robbed me; yet, if so, he was also the one who interceded for my
life. If I should now have given strength to a villain;--if I should have
assisted him to an outrage against myself! What more probable? Yet, on
the other hand, if his story be true;--if his child be dying,--and if,
through my means, he obtain a last interview with her! Well, well, let me
hope so!"

Here he was joined by the Corporal, who, angry as he was, judged it
prudent to smother his rage for another opportunity; and by favoring his
master with his company, to procure himself an ally immediately at hand,
should his suspicions prove true. But for once, his knowledge of the
world deceived him: no sign of living creature broke the loneliness of
the way. By and by the lights of the town gleamed upon them; and, on
reaching the inn, Walter found his horse had been already sent there,
and, covered with dust and foam, was submitting itself to the tutelary
hands of the hostler.



          I made a posy while the day ran by,
          Here will I smell my remnant out, and tie
          My life within this band.
              --George Herbert.

                 The time approaches,
          That will with due precision make us know,

The next morning Walter rose early, and descending into the court-yard of
the inn, he there met with the landlord, who--a hoe in his hand,--was
just about to enter a little gate that led into the garden. He held the
gate open for Walter.

"It is a fine morning, Sir; would you like to look into the garden," said
mine host, with an inviting smile.

Walter accepted the offer, and found himself in a large and well-stocked
garden, laid out with much neatness and some taste; the Landlord halted
by a parterre which required his attention, and Walter walked on in
solitary reflection.

The morning was serene and clear, but the frost mingled the freshness
with an "eager and nipping air," and Walter unconsciously quickened his
step as he paced to and fro the straight walk that bisected the garden,
with his eyes on the ground, and his hat over his brows.

Now then he had reached the place where the last trace of his father
seemed to have vanished; in how wayward and strange a manner! If no
further clue could be here discovered by the inquiry he purposed; at this
spot would terminate his researches and his hopes. But the young heart of
the traveller was buoyed up with expectation. Looking back to the events
of the last few weeks, he thought he recognised the finger of Destiny
guiding him from step to step, and now resting on the scene to which it
had brought his feet. How singularly complete had been the train of
circumstance, which, linking things seemingly most trifling--most
dissimilar, had lengthened into one continuous chain of evidence! the
trivial incident that led him to the saddler's shop; the accident that
brought the whip that had been his father's, to his eye; the account from
Courtland, which had conducted him to this remote part of the country;
and now the narrative of Elmore leading him to the spot, at which all
inquiry seemed as yet to pause! Had he been led hither only to hear
repeated that strange tale of sudden and wanton disappearance--to find an
abrupt wall, a blank and impenetrable barrier to a course, hitherto so
continuously guided on? had he been the sport of Fate, and not its
instrument? No; he was filled with a serious and profound conviction,
that a discovery that he of all men was best entitled by the unalienable
claims of blood and birth to achieve was reserved for him, and that this
grand dream and nursed object of his childhood was now about to be
embodied and attained. He could not but be sensible, too, that as he had
proceeded on his high enterprise, his character had acquired a weight and
a thoughtful seriousness, which was more fitted to the nature of that
enterprise than akin to his earlier temper. This consciousness swelled
his bosom with a profound and steady hope. When Fate selects her human
agents, her dark and mysterious spirit is at work within them; she moulds
their hearts, she exalts their energies, she shapes them to the part she
has allotted them, and renders the mortal instrument worthy of the solemn

Thus chewing the cud of his involved and deep reflection, the young
adventurer paused at last opposite his host, who was still bending over
his pleasant task, and every now and then, excited by the exercise and
the fresh morning air, breaking into snatches of some old rustic song.
The contrast in mood between himself and this!

"Unvexed loiterer by the world's green ways" struck forcibly upon him.
Mine host, too, was one whose appearance was better suited to his
occupation than his profession. He might have told some three-and-sixty
years, but it was a comely and green old age; his cheek was firm and
ruddy, not with nightly cups, but the fresh witness of the morning
breezes it was wont to court; his frame was robust, not corpulent; and
his long grey hair, which fell almost to his shoulder, his clear blue
eyes, and a pleasant curve in a mouth characterized by habitual good
humour, completed a portrait that even many a dull observer would have
paused to gaze upon. And indeed the good man enjoyed a certain kind of
reputation for his comely looks and cheerful manner. His picture had even
been taken by a young artist in the neighbourhood; nay, the likeness had
been multiplied into engravings, somewhat rude and somewhat unfaithful,
which might be seen occupying no inconspicuous or dusty corner in the
principal printshop of the town: nor was mine host's character a
contradiction to his looks. He had seen enough of life to be intelligent,
and had judged it rightly enough to be kind. He had passed that line so
nicely given to man's codes in those admirable pages which first added
delicacy of tact to the strong sense of English composition. "We have
just religion enough," it is said somewhere in the Spectator, "to make us
hate, but not enough to make us love one another." Our good landlord,
peace be with his ashes! had never halted at this limit. The country
innkeeper might have furnished Goldsmith with a counterpart to his
country curate; his house was equally hospitable to the poor--his heart
equally tender, in a nature wiser than experience, to error, and equally
open, in its warm simplicity, to distress. Peace be with thee--Our
grandsire was thy patron--yet a patron thou didst not want. Merit in thy
capacity is seldom bare of reward. The public want no indicators to a
house like thine. And who requires a third person to tell him how to
appreciate the value of good nature and good cheer?

As Walter stood, and contemplated the old man bending over the sweet
fresh earth, (and then, glancing round, saw the quiet garden stretching
away on either side with its boundaries lost among the thick evergreen,)
something of that grateful and moralizing stillness with which some
country scene (the rura et silentium) generally inspires us, when we
awake to its consciousness from the troubled dream of dark and unquiet
thought, stole over his mind: and certain old lines which his uncle, who
loved the soft and rustic morality that pervades the ancient race of
English minstrels, had taught him, when a boy, came pleasantly into his

      "With all, as in some rare-limn'd book, we see
      Here painted lectures of God's sacred will.
      The daisy teacheth lowliness of mind;
      The camomile, we should be patient still;
      The rue, our hate of Vice's poison ill;
      The woodbine, that we should our friendship hold;
      Our hope the savory in the bitterest cold."
        --[Henry Peacham.]

The old man stopped from his work, as the musing figure of his guest
darkened the prospect before him, and said:

"A pleasant time, Sir, for the gardener!"

"Ay, is it so ... you must miss the fruits and flowers of summer."

"Well, Sir,--but we are now paying back the garden, for the good things
it has given us.--It is like taking care of a friend in old age, who has
been kind to us when he was young."

Walter smiled at the quaint amiability of the idea.

"'Tis a winning thing, Sir, a garden!--It brings us an object every day;
and that's what I think a man ought to have if he wishes to lead a happy

"It is true," said Walter; and mine host was encouraged to continue by
the attention and affable countenance of the stranger, for he was a
physiognomist in his way.

"And then, Sir, we have no disappointment in these objects:--the soil is
not ungrateful, as, they say, men are--though I have not often found them
so, by the by. What we sow we reap. I have an old book, Sir, lying in my
little parlour, all about fishing, and full of so many pretty sayings
about a country life, and meditation, and so forth, that it does one as
much good as a sermon to look into it. But to my mind, all those sayings
are more applicable to a gardener's life than a fisherman's."

"It is a less cruel life, certainly," said Walter.

"Yes, Sir; and then the scenes one makes oneself, the flowers one plants
with one's own hand, one enjoys more than all the beauties which don't
owe us any thing; at least, so it seems to me. I have always been
thankful to the accident that made me take to gardening."

"And what was that?"

"Why, Sir, you must know there was a great scholar, though he was but a
youth then, living in this town some years ago, and he was very curious
in plants and flowers and such like. I have heard the parson say, he knew
more of those innocent matters than any man in this county. At that time
I was not in so flourishing a way of business as I am at present. I kept
a little inn in the outskirts of the town; and having formerly been a
gamekeeper of my Lord--'s, I was in the habit of eking out my little
profits by accompanying gentlemen in fishing or snipe-shooting. So, one
day, Sir, I went out fishing with a strange gentleman from London, and,
in a very quiet retired spot some miles off, he stopped and plucked some
herbs that seemed to me common enough, but which he declared were most
curious and rare things, and he carried them carefully away. I heard
afterwards he was a great herbalist, I think they call it, but he was a
very poor fisher. Well, Sir, I thought the next morning of Mr. Aram, our
great scholar and botanist, and thought it would please him to know of
these bits of grass: so I went and called upon him, and begged leave to
go and show the spot to him. So we walked there, and certainly, Sir, of
all the men that ever I saw, I never met one that wound round your heart
like this same Eugene Aram. He was then exceedingly poor, but he never
complained; and was much too proud for any one to dare to offer him
relief. He lived quite alone, and usually avoided every one in his walks:
but, Sir, there was something so engaging and patient in his manner, and
his voice, and his pale, mild countenance, which, young as he was then,
for he was not a year or two above twenty, was marked with sadness and
melancholy, that it quite went to your heart when you met him or spoke to
him.--Well, Sir, we walked to the place, and very much delighted he
seemed with the green things I shewed him, and as I was always of a
communicative temper, rather a gossip, Sir, my neighbours say, I made him
smile now and then by my remarks. He seemed pleased with me, and talked
to me going home about flowers, and gardening, and such like; and after
that, when we came across one another, he would not shun me as he did
others, but let me stop and talk to him; and then I asked his advice
about a wee farm I thought of taking, and he told me many curious things
which, sure enough, I found quite true, and brought me in afterwards a
deal of money But we talked much about gardening, for I loved to hear him
talk on those matters; and so, Sir, I was struck by all he said, and
could not rest till I took to gardening myself, and ever since I have
gone on, more pleased with it every day of my life. Indeed, Sir, I think
these harmless pursuits make a man's heart better and kinder to his
fellow-creatures; and I always take more pleasure in reading the Bible,
specially the New Testament, after having spent the day in the garden.
Ah! well, I should like to know, what has become of that poor gentleman."

"I can relieve your honest heart about him. Mr. Aram is living in--, well
off in the world, and universally liked; though he still keeps to his old
habits of reserve."

"Ay, indeed, Sir! I have not heard any thing that pleased me more this
many a day."

"Pray," said Walter, after a moment's pause, "do you remember the
circumstance of a Mr. Clarke appearing in this town, and leaving it in a
very abrupt and mysterious manner?"

"Do I mind it, Sir? Yes, indeed. It made a great noise in
Knaresbro'--there were many suspicions of foul play about it. For my
part, I too had my thoughts, but that's neither here nor there;" and the
old man recommenced weeding with great diligence.

"My friend," said Walter, mastering his emotion; "you would serve me more
deeply than I can express, if you would give me any information, any
conjecture, respecting this--this Mr. Clarke. I have come hither, solely
to make inquiry after his fate: in a word, he is--or was--a near relative
of mine!"

The old man looked wistfully in Walter's face. "Indeed," said he, slowly,
"you are welcome, Sir, to all I know; but that is very little, or nothing
rather. But will you turn up this walk, Sir? it's more retired. Did you
ever hear of one Richard Houseman?"

"Houseman! yes. He knew my poor--, I mean he knew Clarke; he said Clarke
was in his debt when he left the town so suddenly."

The old man shook his head mysteriously, and looked round. "I will tell
you," said he, laying his hand on Walter's arm, and speaking in his
ear--"I would not accuse any one wrongfully, but I have my doubts that
Houseman murdered him."

"Great God!" murmured Walter, clinging to a post for support. "Go
on--heed me not--heed me not--for mercy's sake go on."

"Nay, I know nothing certain--nothing certain, believe me," said the old
man, shocked at the effect his words had produced: "it may be better than
I think for, and my reasons are not very strong, but you shall hear them.

"Mr. Clarke, you know, came to this town to receive a legacy--you know
the particulars."

Walter impatiently nodded assent.

"Well, though he seemed in poor health, he was a lively careless man, who
liked any company who would sit and tell stories, and drink o'nights; not
a silly man exactly, but a weak one. Now of all the idle persons of this
town, Richard Houseman was the most inclined to this way of life. He had
been a soldier--had wandered a good deal about the world--was a bold,
talking, reckless fellow--of a character thoroughly profligate; and there
were many stories afloat about him, though none were clearly made out. In
short, he was suspected of having occasionally taken to the high road;
and a stranger who stopped once at my little inn, assured me privately,
that though he could not positively swear to his person, he felt
convinced that he had been stopped a year before on the London road by
Houseman. Notwithstanding all this, as Houseman had some respectable
connections in the town--among his relations, by the by, was Mr. Aram--as
he was a thoroughly boon companion--a good shot--a bold rider--excellent
at a song, and very cheerful and merry, he was not without as much
company as he pleased; and the first night, he and Mr. Clarke came
together, they grew mighty intimate; indeed, it seemed as if they had met
before. On the night Mr. Clarke disappeared, I had been on an excursion
with some gentlemen, and in consequence of the snow which had been heavy
during the latter part of the day, I did not return to Knaresbro' till
past midnight. In walking through the town, I perceived two men engaged
in earnest conversation: one of them, I am sure, was Clarke; the other
was wrapped up in a great coat, with the cape over his face, but the
watchman had met the same man alone at an earlier hour, and putting aside
the cape, perceived that it was Houseman. No one else was seen with
Clarke after that hour."

"But was not Houseman examined?"

"Slightly; and deposed that he had been spending the night with Eugene
Aram; that on leaving Aram's house, he met Clarke, and wondering that he
the latter, an invalid, should be out at so late an hour, he walked some
way with him, in order to learn the cause; but that Clarke seemed
confused, and was reserved, and on his guard, and at last wished him
good-b'ye abruptly, and turned away. That he, Houseman, had no doubt he
left the town that night, with the intention of defrauding his creditors,
and making off with some jewels he had borrowed from Mr. Elmore."

"But, Aram? was this suspicious, nay, abandoned character--this Houseman,
intimate with Aram?"

"Not at all; but being distantly related, and Houseman being a familiar,
pushing sort of a fellow, Aram could not, perhaps, always shake him off;
and Aram allowed that Houseman had spent the evening with him."

"And no suspicion rested on Aram?"

The host turned round in amazement.--"Heavens above, no! One might as
well suspect the lamb of eating the wolf!"

But not thus thought Walter Lester; the wild words occasionally uttered
by the Student--his lone habits--his frequent starts and colloquy with
self, all of which had, even from the first, it has been seen, excited
Walter's suspicion of former guilt, that had murdered the mind's
wholesome sleep, now rushed with tenfold force upon his memory.

"But no other circumstance transpired? Is this your whole ground for
suspicion; the mere circumstance of Houseman's being last seen with

"Consider also the dissolute and bold character of Houseman. Clarke
evidently had his jewels and money with him--they were not left in the
house. What a temptation to one who was more than suspected of having in
the course of his life taken to plunder! Houseman shortly afterwards left
the country. He has never returned to the town since, though his daughter
lives here with his wife's mother, and has occasionally gone up to town
to see him."

"And Aram--he also left Knaresbro' soon after this mysterious event?"

"Yes! an old Aunt at York, who had never assisted him during her life,
died and bequeathed him a legacy, about a month afterwards. On receiving
it, he naturally went to London--the best place for such clever

"Ha! But are you sure that the aunt died?--that the legacy was left?
Might this be no tale to give an excuse to the spending of money
otherwise acquired?"

Mine host looked almost with anger on Walter.

"It is clear," said he, "you know nothing of Eugene Aram, or you would
not speak thus. But I can satisfy your doubts on this head. I knew the
old lady well, and my wife was at York when she died. Besides, every one
here knows something of the will, for it was rather an eccentric one."

Walter paused irresolutely. "Will you accompany me," he asked, "to the
house in which Mr. Clarke lodged,--and indeed to any other place where it
may be prudent to institute inquiry?"

"Certainly, Sir, with the biggest pleasure," said mine host: "but you
must first try my dame's butter and eggs. It is time to breakfast."

We may suppose that Walter's simple meal was soon over; and growing
impatient and restless to commence his inquiries, he descended from his
solitary apartment to the little back-room behind the bar, in which he
had, on the night before, seen mine host and his better-half at supper.
It was a sung, small, wainscoated room; fishing-rods were neatly arranged
against the wall, which was also decorated by a portrait of the landlord
himself, two old Dutch pictures of fruit and game, a long,
quaint-fashioned fowling-piece, and, opposite the fireplace, a noble
stag's head and antlers. On the window-seat lay the Izaak Walton to which
the old man had referred; the Family Bible, with its green baize cover,
and the frequent marks peeping out from its venerable pages; and, close
nestling to it, recalling that beautiful sentence, "suffer the little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not," several of those little
volumes with gay bindings, and marvellous contents of fay and giant,
which delight the hearth-spelled urchin, and which were "the source of
golden hours" to the old man's grandchildren, in their respite from
"learning's little tenements,"

      "Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound,
      And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around."
        --[Shenstone's Schoolmistress.]

Mine host was still employed by a huge brown loaf and some baked pike;
and mine hostess, a quiet and serene old lady, was alternately regaling
herself and a large brindled cat from a plate of "toasten cheer."

While the old man was hastily concluding his repast, a little knock at
the door was heard, and presently an elderly gentleman in black put his
head into the room, and, perceiving the stranger, would have drawn back;
but both landlady and landlord bustling up, entreated him to enter by the
appellation of Mr. Summers. And then, as the gentleman smilingly yielded
to the invitation, the landlady, turning to Walter, said: "Our clergyman,
Sir: and though I say it afore his face, there is not a man who, if
Christian vartues were considered, ought so soon to be a bishop."

"Hush! my good lady," said Mr. Summers, laughing as he bowed to Walter.
"You see, Sir, that it is no trifling advantage to a Knaresbro'
reputation to have our hostess's good word. But, indeed," turning to the
landlady, and assuming a grave and impressive air, "I have little mind
for jesting now. You know poor Jane Houseman,--a mild, quiet, blue-eyed
creature, she died at daybreak this morning! Her father had come from
London expressly to see her: she died in his arms, and, I hear, he is
almost in a state of frenzy."

The host and hostess signified their commiseration. "Poor little girl!"
said the latter, wiping her eyes; "her's was a hard fate, and she felt
it, child as she was. Without the care of a mother,--and such a father!
Yet he was fond of her."

"My reason for calling on you was this," renewed the Clergyman,
addressing the host: "you knew Houseman formerly; me he always shunned,
and, I fancy, ridiculed. He is in distress now, and all that is
forgotten. Will you seek him, and inquire if any thing in my power can
afford him consolation? He may be poor: I can pay for the poor child's
burial. I loved her; she was the best girl at Mrs. Summers' school."

"Certainly, Sir, I will seek him," said the landlord, hesitating; and
then, drawing the Clergyman aside, he informed him in a whisper of his
engagement with Walter, and with the present pursuit and meditated
inquiry of his guest; not forgetting to insinuate his suspicion of the
guilt of the man whom he was now called upon to compassionate.

The Clergyman mused a little, and then, approaching Walter, offered his
services in the stead of the Publican in so frank and cordial a manner,
that Walter at once accepted them.

"Let us come now, then," said the good Curate--for he was but the
Curate--seeing Walter's impatience; "and first we will go to the house in
which Clarke lodged; I know it well."

The two gentlemen now commenced their expedition. Summers was no
contemptible antiquary; and he sought to beguile the nervous impatience
of his companion by dilating on the attractions of the antient and
memorable town to which his purpose had brought him;--

"Remarkable," said the Curate, "alike in history and tradition: look
yonder" (pointing above, as an opening in the road gave to view the
frowning and beetled ruins of the shattered Castle); "you would be at
some loss to recognize now the truth of old Leland's description of that
once stout and gallant bulwark of the North, when he 'numbrid 11 or 12
towres in the walles of the Castel, and one very fayre beside in the
second area.' In that castle, the four knightly murderers of the haughty
Becket (the Wolsey of his age) remained for a whole year, defying the
weak justice of the times. There, too, the unfortunate Richard the
Second,--the Stuart of the Plantagenets--passed some portion of his
bitter imprisonment. And there, after the battle of Marston Moor, waved
the banners of the loyalists against the soldiers of Lilburne. It was
made yet more touchingly memorable at that time, as you may have heard,
by an instance of filial piety. The town was greatly straitened for want
of provisions; a youth, whose father was in the garrison, was accustomed
nightly to get into the deep dry moat, climb up the glacis, and put
provisions through a hole, where the father stood ready to receive them.
He was perceived at length; the soldiers fired on him. He was taken
prisoner, and sentenced to be hanged in sight of the besieged, in order
to strike terror into those who might be similarly disposed to render
assistance to the garrison. Fortunately, however, this disgrace was
spared the memory of Lilburne and the republican arms. With great
difficulty, a certain lady obtained his respite; and after the conquest
of the place, and the departure of the troops, the adventurous son was

"A fit subject for your local poets," said Walter, whom stories of this
sort, from the nature of his own enterprise, especially affected.

"Yes: but we boast but few minstrels since the young Aram left us. The
castle then, once the residence of Pierce Gaveston,--of Hubert III.--and
of John of Gaunt, was dismantled and destroyed. Many of the houses we
shall pass have been built from its massive ruins. It is singular, by the
way, that it was twice captured by men of the name of Lilburn, or
Lilleburn, once in the reign of Edward II., once as I have related. On
looking over historical records, we are surprised to find how often
certain names have been fatal to certain spots; and this reminds me, by
the way, that we boast the origin of the English Sibyl, the venerable
Mother Shipton. The wild rock, at whose foot she is said to have been
born, is worthy of the tradition."

"You spoke just now," said Walter, who had not very patiently suffered
the Curate thus to ride his hobby, "of Eugene Aram; you knew him well?"

"Nay: he suffered not any to do that! He was a remarkable youth. I have
noted him from his childhood upward, long before he came to Knaresbro',
till on leaving this place, fourteen years back, I lost sight of
him.--Strange, musing, solitary from a boy! but what accomplishment of
learning he had reached! Never did I see one whom Nature so emphatically
marked to be GREAT. I often wonder that his name has not long ere this
been more universally noised abroad: whatever he attempted was stamped
with such signal success. I have by me some scattered pieces of poetry
when a boy; they were given me by his poor father, long since dead; and
are full of a dim, shadowy anticipation of future fame. Perhaps, yet,
before he dies,--he is still young,--the presentiment will be realized.
You too know him, then?"

"Yes! I have known him. Stay--dare I ask you a question, a fearful
question? Did suspicion ever, in your mind, in the mind of any one, rest
on Aram, as concerned in the mysterious disappearance of my--of Clarke?
His acquaintance with Houseman who was suspected; Houseman's visit to
Aram that night; his previous poverty--so extreme, if I hear rightly; his
after riches--though they perhaps may be satisfactorily accounted for;
his leaving this town so shortly after the disappearance I refer
to;--these alone might not create suspicion in me, but I have seen the
man in moments of reverie and abstraction, I have listened to strange and
broken words, I have noted a sudden, keen, and angry susceptibility to
any unmeant excitation of a less peaceful or less innocent remembrance.
And there seems to me inexplicably to hang over his heart some gloomy
recollection, which I cannot divest myself from imagining to be that of

Walter spoke quickly, and in great though half suppressed excitement; the
more kindled from observing that as he spoke, Summers changed
countenance, and listened as with painful and uneasy attention.

"I will tell you," said the Curate, after a short pause, (lowering his
voice)--"I will tell you: Aram did undergo examination--I was present at
it--but from his character and the respect universally felt for him, the
examination was close and secret. He was not, mark me, suspected of the
murder of the unfortunate Clarke, nor was any suspicion of murder
generally entertained until all means of discovering Clarke were found
wholly unavailing; but of sharing with Houseman, some part of the jewels
with which Clarke was known to have left the town. This suspicion of
robbery could not, however, be brought home, even to Houseman, and Aram
was satisfactorily acquitted from the imputation. But in the minds of
some present at that examination, a doubt lingered, and this doubt
certainly deeply wounded a man so proud and susceptible. This, I believe,
was the real reason of his quitting Knaresbro' almost immediately after
that examination. And some of us, who felt for him and were convinced of
his innocence, persuaded the others to hush up the circumstance of his
examination, nor has it generally transpired, even to this day, when the
whole business is well nigh forgot. But as to his subsequent improvement
of circumstance, there is no doubt of his aunt's having left him a legacy
sufficient to account for it."

Walter bowed his head, and felt his suspicions waver, when the Curate

"Yet it is but fair to tell you, who seem so deeply interested in the
fate of Clarke, that since that period rumours have reached my ear that
the woman at whose house Aram lodged has from time to time dropped words
that require explanation--hints that she could tell a tale--that she
knows more than men will readily believe--nay, once she was even reported
to have said that the life of Eugene Aram was in her power."

"Father of mercy! and did Inquiry sleep on words so calling for its
liveliest examination?"

"Not wholly--on their being brought to me, I went to the house, but found
the woman, whose habits and character are low and worthless, was abrupt
and insolent in her manner; and after in vain endeavouring to call forth
some explanation of the words she was reported to have uttered, I left
the house fully persuaded that she had only given vent to a meaningless
boast, and that the idle words of a disorderly gossip could not be taken
as evidence against a man of the blameless character and austere habits
of Aram. Since, however, you have now re-awakened investigation, we will
visit her before you leave the town; and it may be as well too, that
Houseman should undergo a further investigation before we suffer him to

"I thank you! I thank you--I will not let slip one thread of this dark

"And now," said the Curate, pointing to a decent house, "we have reached
the lodging Clarke occupied in the town!"

An old man of respectable appearance opened the door, and welcomed the
Curate and his companion with an air of cordial respect which attested
the well-deserved popularity of the former.

"We have come," said the Curate, "to ask you some questions respecting
Daniel Clarke, whom you remember as your lodger. This gentleman is a
relation of his, and interested deeply in his fate!"

"What, Sir!" quoth the old man, "and have you, his relation, never heard
of Mr. Clarke since he left the town? Strange!--this room, this very room
was the one Mr. Clarke occupied, and next to this,--here--(opening a
door) was his bed-chamber!"

It was not without powerful emotion that Walter found himself thus within
the apartment of his lost father. What a painful, what a gloomy, yet
sacred interest every thing around instantly assumed! The old-fashioned
and heavy chairs--the brown wainscot walls--the little cupboard recessed
as it were to the right of the fire-place, and piled with morsels of
Indian china and long taper wine glasses--the small window-panes set deep
in the wall, giving a dim view of a bleak and melancholy-looking garden
in the rear--yea, the very floor he trod--the very table on which he
leant--the very hearth, dull and fireless as it was, opposite his
gaze--all took a familiar meaning in his eye, and breathed a household
voice into his ear. And when he entered the inner room, how, even to
suffocation, were those strange, half sad, yet not all bitter emotions
increased. There was the bed on which his father had rested on the night
before--what? perhaps his murder! The bed, probably a relic from the
castle, when its antique furniture was set up to public sale, was hung
with faded tapestry, and above its dark and polished summit were
hearselike and heavy trappings. Old commodes of rudely carved oak, a
discoloured glass in a japan frame, a ponderous arm-chair of Elizabethan
fashion, and covered with the same tapestry as the bed, altogether gave
that uneasy and sepulchral impression to the mind so commonly produced by
the relics of a mouldering and forgotten antiquity.

"It looks cheerless, Sir," said the owner, "but then we have not had any
regular lodger for years; it is just the same as when Mr. Clarke lived
here. But bless you, Sir, he made the dull rooms look gay enough. He was
a blithesome gentleman. He and his friends, Mr. Houseman especially, used
to make the walls ring again when they were over their cups!"

"It might have been better for Mr. Clarke," said the Curate, "had he
chosen his comrades with more discretion. Houseman was not a creditable,
perhaps not a safe companion."

"That was no business of mine then," quoth the lodging-letter; "but it
might be now, since I have been a married man!"

The Curate smiled, "Perhaps you, Mr. Moor, bore a part in those revels?"

"Why, indeed, Mr. Clarke would occasionally make me take a glass or so,

"And you must then have heard the conversations that took place between
Houseman and him? Did Mr. Clarke, ever, in those conversations, intimate
an intention of leaving the town soon? and where, if so, did he talk of

"Oh! first to London. I have often heard him talk of going to London, and
then taking a trip to see some relations of his in a distant part of the
country. I remember his caressing a little boy of my brother's; you know
Jack, Sir, not a little boy now, almost as tall as this gentleman. 'Ah,'
said he with a sort of sigh, 'ah! I have a boy at home about this
age,--when shall I see him again?'"

"When indeed!" thought Walter, turning away his face at this anecdote, to
him so naturally affecting.

"And the night that Clarke left you, were you aware of his absence?"

"No! he went to his room at his usual hour, which was late, and the next
morning I found his bed had not been slept in, and that he was gone--gone
with all his jewels, money, and valuables; heavy luggage he had none. He
was a cunning gentleman; he never loved paying a bill. He was greatly in
debt in different parts of the town, though he had not been here long. He
ordered everything and paid for nothing."

Walter groaned. It was his father's character exactly; partly it might be
from dishonest principles superadded to the earlier feelings of his
nature; but partly also from that temperament at once careless and
procrastinating, which, more often than vice, loses men the advantage of

"Then in your own mind, and from your knowledge of him," renewed the
Curate, "you would suppose that Clarke's disappearance was intentional;
that though nothing has since been heard of him, none of the blacker
rumours afloat were well founded?"

"I confess, Sir, begging this gentleman's pardon who you say is a
relation, I confess I see no reason to think otherwise."

"Was Mr. Aram, Eugene Aram, ever a guest of Clarke's? Did you ever see
them together?"

"Never at this house. I fancy Houseman once presented Mr. Aram to Clarke;
and that they may have met and conversed some two or three times, not
more, I believe; they were scarcely congenial spirits, Sir."

Walter having now recovered his self-possession, entered into the
conversation; and endeavoured by as minute an examination as his
ingenuity could suggest, to obtain some additional light upon the
mysterious subject so deeply at his heart. Nothing, however, of any
effectual import was obtained from the good man of the house. He had
evidently persuaded himself that Clarke's disappearance was easily
accounted for, and would scarcely lend attention to any other suggestion
than that of Clarke's dishonesty. Nor did his recollection of the
meetings between Houseman and Clarke furnish him with any thing worthy of
narration. With a spirit somewhat damped and disappointed, Walter,
accompanied by the Curate, recommenced his expedition.



              ALL is not well;
      I doubt some foul play.
      . . . . . . . . . . . .
              Foul deeds will rise,
      Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.

As they passed through the street, they perceived three or four persons
standing round the open door of a house of ordinary description, the
windows of which were partially closed.

"It is the house," said the curate, "in which Houseman's daughter
died,--poor, poor child! Yet why mourn for the young? Better that the
light cloud should fade away into heaven with the morning breath, than
travel through the weary day to gather in darkness and end in storm."

"Ah, sir!" said an old man, leaning on his stick and lifting his hat, in
obeisance to the curate, "the father is within, and takes on bitterly. He
drives them all away from the room, and sits moaning by the bedside, as
if he was a going out of his mind. Won't your reverence go in to him a

The curate looked at Walter inquiringly. "Perhaps," said the latter, "you
had better go in: I will wait without." While the curate hesitated, they
heard a voice in the passage; and presently Houseman was seen at the far
end, driving some women before him with vehement gesticulations. "I tell
you, ye hell-hags," shrieked his harsh and now straining voice, "that ye
suffered her to die! Why did ye not send to London for physicians? Am I
not rich enough to buy my child's life at any price? By the living ___, I
would have turned your very bodies into gold to have saved her! But she's
DEAD! and I ___ Out of my sight; out of my way!" And with his hands
clenched, his brows knit, and his head uncovered, Houseman sallied forth
from the door, and Walter recognized the traveller of the preceding
night. He stopped abruptly as he saw the little knot without, and scowled
round at each of them with a malignant and ferocious aspect. "Very well,
it's very well, neighbors!" said he at length, with a fierce laugh; "this
is kind! You have come to welcome Richard Houseman home, have ye? Good,
good! Not to gloat at his distress? Lord, no! Ye have no idle curiosity,
no prying, searching, gossiping devil within ye that makes ye love to
flock and gape and chatter when poor men suffer! This is all pure
compassion; and Houseman, the good, gentle, peaceful, honest Houseman,
you feel for him,--I know you do! Hark ye, begone! Away, march, tramp,
or--Ha, ha! there they go, there they go!" laughing wildly again as the
frightened neighbors shrank from the spot, leaving only Walter and the
clergyman with the childless man.

"Be comforted, Houseman!" said Summers, soothingly; "it is a dreadful
affliction that you have sustained. I knew your daughter well: you may
have heard her speak of me. Let us in, and try what heavenly comfort
there is in prayer."

"Prayer! pooh! I am Richard Houseman!"

"Lives there one man for whom prayer is unavailing?"

"Out, canter, out! My pretty Jane! And she laid her head on my bosom, and
looked up in my face, and so--died!"

"Come," said the curate, placing his hand on Houseman's arm, "come."

Before he could proceed, Houseman, who was muttering to himself, shook
him off roughly, and hurried away up the street; but after he had gone a
few paces, he turned back, and approaching the curate, said, in a more
collected tone: "I pray you, sir, since you are a clergyman (I recollect
your face, and I recollect Jane said you had been good to her),--I pray
you go and say a few words over her. But stay,--don't bring in my name;
you understand. I don't wish God to recollect that there lives such a man
as he who now addresses you. Halloo! [shouting to the women] my hat, and
stick too. Fal la! la! fal la!--why should these things make us play the
madman? It is a fine day, sir; we shall have a late winter.

"Curse the b____, how long she is! Yet the hat was left below. But when a
death is in the house, sir, it throws things into confusion: don't you
find it so?"

Here one of the women, pale, trembling, and tearful, brought the ruffian
his hat; and placing it deliberately on his head, and bowing with a
dreadful and convulsive attempt to smile, he walked slowly away and

"What strange mummers grief makes!" said the curate. "It is an appalling
spectacle when it thus wrings out feeling from a man of that mould! But
pardon me, my young friend; let me tarry here for a moment."

"I will enter the house with you," said Walter. And the two men walked
in, and in a few moments they stood within the chamber of death.

The face of the deceased had not yet suffered the last withering change.
Her young countenance was hushed and serene, and but for the fixedness of
the smile, you might have thought the lips moved. So delicate, fair, and
gentle were the features that it was scarcely possible to believe such a
scion could spring from such a stock; and it seemed no longer wonderful
that a thing so young, so innocent, so lovely, and so early blighted
should have touched that reckless and dark nature which rejected all
other invasion of the softer emotions. The curate wiped his eyes, and
kneeling down prayed, if not for the dead (who, as our Church teaches,
are beyond human intercession), perhaps for the father she had left on
earth, more to be pitied of the two! Nor to Walter was the scene without
something more impressive and thrilling than its mere pathos alone. He,
now standing beside the corpse of Houseman's child, was son to the man of
whose murder Houseman had been suspected. The childless and the
fatherless,--might there be no retribution here?

When the curate's prayer was over, and he and Walter escaped from the
incoherent blessings and complaints of the women of the house, they, with
difficulty resisting the impression the scene had left upon their minds,
once more resumed their errand.

"This is no time," said Walter, musingly, "for an examination of
Houseman; yet it must not be forgotten."

The curate did not reply for some moments; and then, as an answer to the
remark, observed that the conversation they anticipated with Aram's
former hostess might throw some light on their researches. They now
proceeded to another part of the town, and arrived at a lonely and
desolate-looking house, which seemed to wear in its very appearance
something strange, sad, and ominous. Some houses have an expression, as
it were, in their outward aspect that sinks unaccountably into the
heart,--a dim, oppressive eloquence which dispirits and affects. You say
some story must be attached to those walls; some legendary interest, of a
darker nature, ought to be associated with the mute stone and mortar; you
feel a mingled awe and curiosity creep over you as you gaze. Such was the
description of the house that the young adventurer now surveyed. It was
of antique architecture, not uncommon in old towns; gable ends rose from
the roof; dull, small, latticed panes were sunk deep in the gray,
discolored wall; the pale, in part, was broken and jagged; and rank weeds
sprang up in the neglected garden, through which they walked towards the
porch. The door was open; they entered, and found an old woman of coarse
appearance sitting by the fireside, and gazing on space with that vacant
stare which so often characterizes the repose and relaxation of the
uneducated poor. Walter felt an involuntary thrill of dislike come over
him as he looked at the solitary inmate of the solitary house.

"Hey day, sir!" said she, in a grating voice, "and what now? Oh! Mr.
Summers, is it you? You're welcome, sir! I wishes I could offer you a
glass of summut, but the bottle's dry--he! he!" pointing, with a
revolting grin, to an empty bottle that stood on a niche within the
hearth. "I don't know how it is, sir, but I never wants to eat; but ah!
't is the liquor that does un good!"

"You have lived a long time in this house?" said the curate.

"A long time,--some thirty years an' more."

"You remember your lodger, Mr. Aram?"


"An excellent man--"


"A most admirable man!"

"A-humph! he!--humph! that's neither here nor there."

"Why, you don't seem to think as all the rest of the world does with
regard to him?"

"I knows what I knows."

"Ah! by the by, you have some cock-and-a-bull story about him, I fancy,
but you never could explain yourself,--it is merely for the love of
seeming wise that you invented it, eh, Goody?"

The old woman shook her head, and crossing her hands on her knee, replied
with peculiar emphasis, but in a very low and whispered voice, "I could
hang him!"


"Tell you I could!"

"Well, let's have the story then!"

"No, no! I have not told it to ne'er a one yet, and I won't for nothing.
What will you give me? Make it worth my while."

"Tell us all, honestly, fairly, and fully, and you shall have five golden
guineas. There, Goody."

Roused by this promise, the dame looked up with more of energy than she
had yet shown, and muttered to herself, rocking her chair to and fro:
"Aha! why not? No fear now, both gone; can't now murder the poor old
cretur, as the wretch once threatened. Five golden guineas,--five, did
you say, sir, five?"

"Ah! and perhaps our bounty may not stop there," said the curate.

Still the old woman hesitated, and still she muttered to herself; but
after some further prelude, and some further enticement from the curate,
the which we spare our reader, she came at length to the following

"It was on the 7th of February, in the year '44,--yes, '44, about six
o'clock in the evening, for I was a-washing in the kitchen,--when Mr.
Aram called to me an' desired of me to make a fire upstairs, which I did;
he then walked out. Some hours afterwards, it might be two in the
morning, I was lying awake, for I was mighty bad with the toothache, when
I heard a noise below, and two or three voices. On this I was greatly
afeard, and got out o' bed, and opening the door, I saw Mr. Houseman and
Mr. Clarke coming upstairs to Mr. Aram's room, and Mr. Aram followed
them. They shut the door, and stayed there, it might be an hour. Well, I
could not a think what could make so shy an' resarved a gentleman as Mr.
Aram admit these 'ere wild madcaps like at that hour; an' I lay awake a
thinking an' a thinking, till I heard the door open agin, an' I went to
listen at the keyhole, an' Mr. Clarke said: 'It will soon be morning, and
we must get off.' They then all three left the house. But I could not
sleep, an' I got up afore five o'clock; and about that hour Mr. Aram an'
Mr. Houseman returned, and they both glowered at me as if they did not
like to find me a stirring; an' Mr. Aram went into his room, and Houseman
turned and frowned at me as black as night. Lord have mercy on me, I see
him now! An' I was sadly feared, an' I listened at the keyhole, an' I
heard Houseman say: 'If the woman comes in, she'll tell.'

"'What can she tell?' said Mr. Aram; 'poor simple thing, she knows
nothing.' With that, Houseman said, says he: 'If she tells that I am
here, it will be enough; but however [with a shocking oath], we'll take
an opportunity to shoot her.'

"On that I was so frighted that I went away back to my own room, and did
not stir till they had gone out, and then--"

"What time was that?"

"About seven o'clock. Well--You put me out! where was I? Well, I went
into Mr. Aram's, an' I seed they had been burning a fire, an' that all
the ashes were taken out o' the grate; so I went an' looked at the
rubbish behind the house, and there sure enough I seed the ashes, and
among 'em several bits o' cloth and linen which seemed to belong to
wearing apparel; and there, too, was a handkerchief which I had obsarved
Houseman wear (for it was a very curious handkerchief, all spotted)
many's the time, and there was blood on it, 'bout the size of a shilling.
An' afterwards I seed Houseman, an' I showed him the handkerchief; and I
said to him, 'What has come of Clarke?' An' he frowned, and, looking at
me, said, 'Hark ye, I know not what you mean; but as sure as the devil
keeps watch for souls, I will shoot you through the head if you ever let
that d---d tongue of yours let slip a single word about Clarke or me or
Mr. Aram,--so look to yourself!

"An' I was all scared, and trimbled from limb to limb; an' for two whole
yearn afterwards (long arter Aram and Houseman were both gone) I never
could so much as open my lips on the matter; and afore he went, Mr. Aram
would sometimes look at me, not sternly-like, as the villain Houseman,
but as if he would read to the bottom of my heart. Oh! I was as if you
had taken a mountain off o' me when he an' Houseman left the town; for
sure as the sun shines I believes, from what I have now said, that they
two murdered Clarke on that same February night. An' now, Mr. Summers, I
feels more easy than I has felt for many a long day; an' if I have not
told it afore, it is because I thought of Houseman's frown and his horrid
words; but summut of it would ooze out of my tongue now an' then, for
it's a hard thing, sir, to know a secret o' that sort and be quiet and
still about it; and, indeed, I was not the same cretur when I knew it as
I was afore, for it made me take to anything rather than thinking; and
that's the reason, sir, I lost the good crackter I used to have."

Such, somewhat abridged from its "says he" and "says I," its involutions
and its tautologies, was the story which Walter held his breath to hear.
But events thicken, and the maze is nearly thridden.

"Not a moment now should be lost," said the curate, as they left the
house. "Let us at once proceed to a very able magistrate, to whom I can
introduce you, and who lives a little way out of the town."

"As you will," said Walter, in an altered and hollow voice. "I am as a
man standing on an eminence, who views the whole scene he is to travel
over, stretched before him, but is dizzy and bewildered by the height
which he has reached. I know, I feel, that I am on the brink of fearful
and dread discoveries; pray God that--But heed me not, sir, heed me not;
let us on, on!"

It was now approaching towards the evening; and as they walked on, having
left the town, the sun poured his last beams on a group of persons that
appeared hastily collecting and gathering round a spot, well known in the
neighborhood of Knaresborough, called Thistle Hill.

"Let us avoid the crowd," said the curate. "Yet what, I wonder, can be
its cause?" While he spoke, two peasants hurried by towards the throng.

"What is the meaning of the crowd yonder?" asked the curate.

"I don't know exactly, your honor, but I hears as how Jem Ninnings,
digging for stone for the limekiln, have dug out a big wooden chest."

A shout from the group broke in on the peasant's explanation,--a sudden
simultaneous shout, but not of joy; something of dismay and horror seemed
to breathe in the sound.

Walter looked at the curate. An impulse, a sudden instinct, seemed to
attract them involuntarily to the spot whence that sound arose; they
quickened their pace, they made their way through the throng. A deep
chest, that had been violently forced, stood before them; its contents
had been dragged to day, and now lay on the sward--a bleached and
mouldering skeleton! Several of the bones were loose, and detached from
the body. A general hubbub of voices from the spectators,--inquiry,
guess, fear, wonder,--rang confusedly around.

"Yes!" said one old man, with gray hair, leaning on a pickaxe, "it is now
about fourteen years since the Jew pedlar disappeared. These are probably
his bones,--he was supposed to have been murdered!"

"Nay!" screeched a woman, drawing back a child who, all unalarmed, was
about to touch the ghastly relics, "nay, the pedlar was heard of
afterwards. I'll tell ye, ye may be sure these are the bones of
Clarke,--Daniel Clarke,--whom the country was so stirred about when we
were young!"

"Right, dame, right! It is Clarke's skeleton," was the simultaneous cry.
And Walter, pressing forward, stood over the bones, and waved his hand as
to guard them from further insult. His sudden appearance, his tall
stature, his wild gesture, the horror, the paleness, the grief of his
countenance, struck and appalled all present. He remained speechless, and
a sudden silence succeeded the late clamor.

"And what do you here, fools?" said a voice, abruptly. The spectators
turned: a new comer had been added to the throng,--it was Richard
Houseman. His dress loose and disarranged, his flushed cheeks and rolling
eyes, betrayed the source of consolation to which he had flown from his
domestic affliction. "What do ye here?" said he, reeling forward. "Ha!
human bones? And whose may they be, think ye?"

"They are Clarke's!" said the woman, who had first given rise to that

"Yes, we think they are Daniel Clarke's,--he who disappeared some years
ago!" cried two or three voices in concert. "Clarke's?" repeated
Houseman, stooping down and picking up a thigh-bone, which lay at a
little distance from the rest; "Clarke's? Ha! ha! they are no more
Clarke's than mine!"

"Behold!" shouted Walter, in a voice that rang from cliff to plain; and
springing forward, he seized Houseman with a giant's grasp,--"behold the

As if the avenging voice of Heaven had spoken, a thrilling, an electric
conviction darted through the crowd. Each of the elder spectators
remembered at once the person of Houseman, and the suspicion that had
attached to his name.

"Seize him! seize him!" burst forth from twenty voices. "Houseman is the

"Murderer!" faltered Houseman, trembling in the iron hands of
Walter,--"murderer of whom? I tell ye these are not Clarke's bones!"

"Where then do they lie?" cried his arrester.

Pale, confused, conscience-stricken, the bewilderment of intoxication
mingling with that of fear, Houseman turned a ghastly look around him,
and, shrinking from the eyes of all, reading in the eyes of all his
condemnation, he gasped out, "Search St. Robert's Cave, in the turn at
the entrance!"

"Away!" rang the deep voice of Walter, on the instant; "away! To the
cave, to the cave!"

On the banks of the River Nid, whose waters keep an everlasting murmur to
the crags and trees that overhang them, is a wild and dreary cavern,
hollowed from a rock which, according to tradition, was formerly the
hermitage of one of those early enthusiasts who made their solitude in
the sternest recesses of earth, and from the austerest thoughts and the
bitterest penance wrought their joyless offerings to the great Spirit of
the lovely world. To this desolate spot, called, from the name of its
once celebrated eremite, St. Robert's Cave, the crowd now swept,
increasing its numbers as it advanced.

The old man who had discovered the unknown remains, which were gathered
up and made a part of the procession, led the way; Houseman, placed
between two strong and active men, went next; and Walter followed behind,
fixing his eyes mutely upon the ruffian. The curate had had the
precaution to send on before for torches, for the wintry evening now
darkened round them, and the light from the torch-bearers, who met them
at the cavern, cast forth its red and lurid flare at the mouth of the
chasm. One of these torches Walter himself seized, and his was the first
step that entered the gloomy passage. At this place and time, Houseman,
who till then, throughout their short journey, had seemed to have
recovered a sort of dogged self-possession, recoiled, and the big drops
of fear or agony fell fast from his brow. He was dragged forward forcibly
into the cavern; and now as the space filled, and the torches flickered
against the grim walls, glaring on faces which caught, from the deep and
thrilling contagion of a common sentiment, one common expression, it was
not well possible for the wildest imagination to conceive a scene better
fitted for the unhallowed burial-place of the murdered dead.

The eyes of all now turned upon Houseman; and he, after twice vainly
endeavoring to speak, for the words died inarticulate and choked within
him, advancing a few steps, pointed towards a spot on which, the next
moment, fell the concentrated light of every torch. An indescribable and
universal murmur, and then a breathless silence, ensued. On the spot
which Houseman had indicated, with the head placed to the right, lay what
once had been a human body!

"Can you swear," said the priest, solemnly, as he turned to Houseman,
"that these are the bones of Clarke?"

"Before God, I can swear it!" replied Houseman, at length finding his

"MY FATHER!" broke from Walter's lips as he sank upon his knees; and that
exclamation completed the awe and horror which prevailed in the breasts
of all present. Stung by a sense of the danger he had drawn upon himself,
and despair and excitement restoring, in some measure, not only his
natural hardihood, but his natural astuteness, Houseman, here mastering
his emotions, and making that effort which he was afterwards enabled to
follow up with an advantage to himself of which he could not then have
dreamed,--Houseman, I say, cried aloud,

"But I did not do the deed; I am not the murderer."

"Speak out! Whom do you accuse?" said the curate. Drawing his breath
hard, and setting his teeth as with some steeled determination, Houseman

The murderer is Eugene Aram!"

"Aram!" shouted Walter, starting to his feet: "O God, thy hand hath
directed me hither!" And suddenly and at once sense left him, and he
fell, as if a shot had pierced through his heart, beside the remains of
that father whom he had thus mysteriously discovered.

                 BOOK V.

        Surely the man that plotteth ill against his
        neighbor perpetrateth ill against himself,
        and the evil design is most evil to him that
        deviseth it.



      JAM veniet virgo, jam dicetur Hymenaeus,
      Hymen, O Hymenae! Hymen ades, O Hymenae!
               CATULLUS: Carmen Nuptiale.

It was now the morning in which Eugene Aram was to be married to Madeline
Lester. The student's house had been set in order for the arrival of the
bride; and though it was yet early morn, two old women, whom his domestic
(now not the only one, for a buxom lass of eighteen had been transplanted
from Lester's household to meet the additional cares that the change of
circumstances brought to Aram's) had invited to assist her in arranging
what was already arranged, were bustling about the lower apartments and
making matters, as they call it, "tidy."

"Them flowers look but poor things, after all," muttered an old crone,
whom our readers will recognize as Dame Darkmans, placing a bowl of
exotics on the table. "They does not look nigh so cheerful as them as
grows in the open air."

"Tush! Goody Darkmans," said the second gossip. "They be much prettier
and finer, to my mind; and so said Miss Nelly when she plucked them last
night and sent me down with them. They says there is not a blade o' grass
that the master does not know. He must be a good man to love the things
of the field so."

"Ho!" said Dame Darkmans, "ho! When Joe Wrench was hanged for shooting
the lord's keeper, and he mounted the scaffold wid a nosegay in his hand,
he said, in a peevish voice, says he: 'Why does not they give me a
tarnation? I always loved them sort o' flowers,--I wore them when I went
a courting Bess Lucas,--an' I would like to die with one in my hand!' So
a man may like flowers, and be but a hempen dog after all!"

"Now don't you, Goody; be still, can't you? What a tale for a marriage

"Tally vally!" returned the grim hag, "many a blessing carries a curse in
its arms, as the new moon carries the old. This won't be one of your
happy weddings, I tell ye."

"And why d' ye say that?"

"Did you ever see a man with a look like that make a happy husband? No,
no! Can ye fancy the merry laugh o' childer in this house, or a babe on
the father's knee, or the happy, still smile on the mother's winsome
face, some few years hence? No, Madge! the devil has set his black claw
on the man's brow."

"Hush, hush, Goody Darkmans; he may hear o' ye!" said the second gossip,
who, having now done all that remained to do, had seated herself down by
the window, while the more ominous crone, leaning over Aram's oak chair,
uttered from thence her sibyl bodings.

"No," replied Mother Darkmans, "I seed him go out an hour agone, when the
sun was just on the rise; and I said, when I seed him stroam into the
wood yonder, and the ould leaves splashed in the damp under his feet, and
his hat was aboon his brows, and his lips went so,--I said, says I, 't is
not the man that will make a hearth bright that would walk thus on his
marriage day. But I knows what I knows, and I minds what I seed last

"Why, what did you see last night?" asked the listener, with a trembling
voice; for Plother Darkmans was a great teller of ghost and witch tales,
and a certain ineffable awe of her dark gypsy features and malignant
words had circulated pretty largely throughout the village.

"Why, I sat up here with the ould deaf woman, and we were a drinking the
health of the man and his wife that is to be, and it was nigh twelve o'
the clock ere I minded it was time to go home. Well, so I puts on my
cloak, and the moon was up, an' I goes along by the wood, and up by
Fairlegh Field, an' I was singing the ballad on Joe Wrench's hanging, for
the spirats had made me gamesome, when I sees somemut dark creep, creep,
but iver so fast, arter me over the field, and making right ahead to the
village. And I stands still, an' I was not a bit afeared; but sure I
thought it was no living cretur, at the first sight. And so it comes up
faster and faster, and then I sees it was not one thing, but a many, many
things, and they darkened the whole field afore me. And what d' ye think
they was? A whole body o' gray rats, thousands and thousands on 'em; and
they were making away from the outbuildings here. For sure they knew, the
witch things, that an ill luck sat on the spot. And so I stood aside by
the tree, an' I laughed to look on the ugsome creturs as they swept close
by me, tramp, tramp! and they never heeded me a jot; but some on 'em
looked aslant at me with their glittering eyes, and showed their white
teeth, as if they grinned, and were saying to me, 'Ha, ha! Goody
Darkmans, the house that we leave is a falling house, for the devil will
have his own.'"

In some parts of the country, and especially in that where our scene is
laid, no omen is more superstitiously believed evil than the departure of
these loathsome animals from their accustomed habitation; the instinct
which is supposed to make them desert an unsafe tenement is supposed also
to make them predict, in desertion, ill fortune to the possessor. But
while the ears of the listening gossip were still tingling with this
narration, the dark figure of the student passed the window, and the old
women, starting up, appeared in all the bustle of preparation, as Aram
now entered the apartment.

"A happy day, your honor; a happy good morning," said both the crones in
a breath; but the blessing of the worse-natured was vented in so harsh a
croak that Arum turned round as if struck by the sound, and still more
disliking the well-remembered aspect of the person from whom it came,
waved his hand impatiently, and bade them begone.

"A-whish, a-whish!" muttered Dame Darkmans,--"to spake so to the poor;
but the rats never lie, the bonny things!"

Aram threw himself into his chair, and remained for some moments absorbed
in a revery, which did not bear the aspect of gloom. Then, walking once
or twice to and fro the apartment, he stopped opposite the chimney-piece,
over which were slung the firearms, which he never omitted to keep
charged and primed.

"Humph!" he said, half aloud, "ye have been but idle servants; and now ye
are but little likely ever to requite the care I have bestowed upon you."

With that a faint smile crossed his features; and turning away, he
ascended the stairs that led to the lofty chamber in which he had been so
often wont to outwatch the stars,--

     "The souls of systems, and the lords of life,
      Through their wide empires."

Before we follow him to his high and lonely retreat we will bring the
reader to the manor-house, where all was already gladness and quiet but
deep joy.

It wanted about three hours to that fixed for the marriage; and Aram was
not expected at the manor-house till an hour before the celebration of
the event. Nevertheless, the bells were already ringing loudly and
blithely; and the near vicinity of the church to the house brought that
sound, so inexpressibly buoyant and cheering, to the ears of the bride
with a noisy merriment that seemed like the hearty voice of an
old-fashioned friend who seeks in his greeting rather cordiality than
discretion. Before her glass stood the beautiful, the virgin, the
glorious form of Madeline Lester; and Ellinor, with trembling hands (and
a voice between a laugh and a cry), was braiding up her sister's rich
hair, and uttering her hopes, her wishes, her congratulations. The small
lattice was open, and the air came rather chillingly to the bride's

"It is a gloomy morning, dearest Nell," said she, shivering; "the winter
seems about to begin at last."

"Stay, I will shut the window. The sun is struggling with the clouds at
present, but I am sure it will clear up by and by. You don't, you don't
leave us--the word must out--till evening."

"Don't cry!" said Madeline, half weeping herself, and sitting down, she
drew Ellinor to her; and the two sisters, who had never been parted since
birth, exchanged tears that were natural, though scarcely the unmixed
tears of grief.

"And what pleasant evenings we shall have," said Madeline, holding her
sister's hands, "in the Christmas time! You will be staying with us, you
know; and that pretty old room in the north of the house Eugene has
already ordered to be fitted up for you. Well, and my dear father, and
dear Walter, who will be returned long ere then, will walk over to see
us, and praise my housekeeping, and so forth. And then, after dinner, we
will draw near the fire,--I next to Eugene, and my father, our guest, on
the other side of me, with his long gray hair and his good fine face,
with a tear of kind feeling in his eye,--you know that look he has
whenever he is affected. And at a little distance on the other side of
the hearth will be you--and Walter; I suppose we must make room for him.
And Eugene, who will be then the liveliest of you all, shall read to us
with his soft, clear voice, or tell us all about the birds and flowers
and strange things in other countries. And then after supper we will walk
half-way home across that beautiful valley--beautiful even in
winter--with my father and Walter, and count the stars, and take new
lessons in astronomy, and hear tales about the astrologers and the
alchemists, with their fine old dreams. Ah! it will be such a happy
Christmas! And then, when spring comes, some fine morning--finer than
this--when the birds are about, and the leaves getting green, and the
flowers springing up every day, I shall be called in to help your toilet,
as you have helped mine, and to go with you to church, though not, alas!
as your bridesmaid. Ah! whom shall we have for that duty?"

"Pshaw!" said Ellinor, smiling through her tears.

While the sisters were thus engaged, and Madeline was trying, with her
innocent kindness of heart, to exhilarate the spirits, so naturally
depressed, of her doting sister, the sound of carriage-wheels was heard
in the distance,--nearer, nearer; now the sound stopped, as at the gate;
now fast, faster,--fast as the postilions could ply whip and the horses
tear along. While the groups in the church-yard ran forth to gaze, and
the bells rang merrily all the while, two chaises whirled by Madeline's
window and stopped at the porch of the house. The sisters had flown in
surprise to the casement.

"It is, it is--good God! it is Walter," cried Ellinor; "but how pale he

"And who are those strange men with him?" faltered Madeline, alarmed,
though she knew not why.



        NEQUICQUAM thalamo graves
        Hastas . . . .
        Vitabis strepitumque et celerem sequi
            --HORACE: Od. xv. lib. 1.

        ["In vain within your nuptial chamber will you
        shun the deadly spears, ... the hostile shout,
        and Ajax eager in pursuit."]

Alone in his favorite chamber, the instruments of science around him, and
books, some of astronomical research, some of less lofty but yet
abstruser lore, scattered on the tables, Eugene Aram indulged the last
meditation he believed likely to absorb his thoughts before that great
change of life which was to bless solitude with a companion.

"Yes," said he, pacing the apartment with folded arms, "yes, all is safe!
He will not again return; the dead sleeps now without a witness. I may
lay this working brain upon the bosom that loves me, and not start at
night and think that the soft hand around my neck is the hangman's gripe.
Back to thyself, henceforth and forever, my busy heart! Let not thy
secret stir from its gloomy depth! The seal is on the tomb; henceforth be
the spectre laid. Yes, I must smooth my brow, and teach my lip restraint,
and smile and talk like other men. I have taken to my hearth a watch,
tender, faithful, anxious,--but a watch. Farewell the unguarded hour! The
soul's relief in speech, the dark and broken, yet how grateful,
confidence with self, farewell! And come, thou veil! subtle, close,
unvarying, the everlasting curse of entire hypocrisy, that under thee, as
night, the vexed world within may sleep, and stir not! and all, in truth
concealment, may seem repose!"

As he uttered these thoughts, the student paused and looked on the
extended landscape that lay below. A heavy, chill, and comfortless mist
sat saddening over the earth. Not a leaf stirred on the autumnal trees,
but the moist damps fell slowly and with a mournful murmur upon the
unwaving grass. The outline of the morning sun was visible, but it gave
forth no lustre: a ring of watery and dark vapor girded the melancholy
orb. Far at the entrance of the valley the wild fern showed red and
faded, and the first march of the deadly winter was already heralded by
that drear and silent desolation which cradles the winds and storms. But
amidst this cheerless scene the distant note of the merry marriage-bell
floated by, like the good spirit of the wilderness, and the student
rather paused to hearken to the note than to survey the scene. "My
marriage-bell!" said he. "Could I, two short years back, have dreamed of
this? My marriage-bell! How fondly my poor mother, when first she learned
pride for her young scholar, would predict this day, and blend its
festivities with the honor and the wealth her son was to acquire! Alas!
can we have no science to count the stars and forebode the black eclipse
of the future? But peace! peace! peace! I am, I will, I shall be happy
now! Memory, I defy thee!"

He uttered the last words in a deep and intense tone; and turning away as
the joyful peal again broke distinctly on his ear,--

"My marriage-bell! Oh, Madeline, how wondrously beloved, how unspeakably
dear thou art to me! What hast thou conquered! How many reasons for
resolve, how vast an army in the Past, has thy bright and tender purity
overthrown! But thou--No, never shalt thou repent!" And for several
minutes the sole thought of the soliloquist was love. But scarce
consciously to himself, a spirit, not, to all seeming, befitted to that
bridal-day,--vague, restless, impressed with the dark and fluttering
shadow of coming change,--had taken possession of his breast, and did not
long yield the mastery to any brighter and more serene emotion.

"And why," he said, as this spirit regained its empire over him, and he
paused before the "starred tubes" of his beloved science,--"and why this
chill, this shiver, in the midst of hope? Can the mere breath of the
seasons, the weight or lightness of the atmosphere, the outward gloom or
smile of the brute mass called Nature, affect us thus? Out on this empty
science, this vain knowledge, this little lore, if we are so fooled by
the vile clay and the common air from our one great empire, self! Great
God! hast thou made us in mercy, or in disdain? Placed in this narrow
world, darkness and cloud around us; no fixed rule for men; creeds,
morals, changing in every clime, and growing like herbs upon the mere
soil,--we struggle to dispel the shadows; we grope around; from our own
heart and our sharp and hard endurance we strike our only light. For
what? To show us what dupes we are,--creatures of accident, tools of
circumstance, blind instruments of the scorner Fate; the very mind, the
very reason, a bound slave to the desires, the weakness of the clay;
affected by a cloud, dulled by the damps of the foul marsh; stricken from
power to weakness, from sense to madness, to gaping idiocy, or delirious
raving, by a putrid exhalation! A rheum, a chill, and Caesar trembles!
The world's gods, that slay or enlighten millions, poor puppets to the
same rank imp which calls up the fungus or breeds the worm,--pah! How
little worth is it in this life to be wise! Strange, strange, how my
heart sinks. Well, the better sign, the better sign! In danger it never

Absorbed in these reflections, Aram had not for some minutes noticed the
sudden ceasing of the bell; but now, as he again paused from his
irregular and abrupt pacings along the chamber, the silence struck him,
and looking forth, and striving again to catch the note, he saw a little
group of men, among whom he marked the erect and comely form of Rowland
Lester, approaching towards the house.

"What!" he thought, "do they come for me? Is it so late? Have I played
the laggard? Nay, it yet wants near an hour to the time they expected me.
Well, some kindness, some attention from my good father-in-law; I must
thank him for it. What! my hand trembles. How weak are these poor nerves;
I must rest and recall my mind to itself!"

And indeed, whether or not from the novelty and importance of the event
he was about to celebrate, or from some presentiment, occasioned, as he
would fain believe, by the mournful and sudden change in the atmosphere,
an embarrassment, a wavering, a fear, very unwonted to the calm and
stately self-possession of Eugene Aram, made itself painfully felt
throughout his frame. He sank down in his chair and strove to re-collect
himself; it was an effort in which he had just succeeded, when a loud
knocking was heard at the outer door; it swung open; several voices were
heard. Aram sprang up, pale, breathless, his lips apart.

"Great God!" he exclaimed, clasping his hands. "'Murderer!'--was that the
word I heard shouted forth? The voice, too, is Walter Lester's. Has he
returned? Can he have learned--?"

To rush to the door, to throw across it a long, heavy iron bar, which
would resist assaults of no common strength, was his first impulse. Thus
enabled to gain time for reflection, his active and alarmed mind ran over
the whole field of expedient and conjecture. Again, "Murderer!" "Stay me
not," cried Walter, from below; "my hand shall seize the murderer!"

Guess was now over; danger and death were marching on him. Escape,--how?
whither? The height forbade the thought of flight from the casement! The
door?--he heard loud steps already hurrying up the stairs; his hands
clutched convulsively at his breast, where his fire-arms were generally
concealed,--they were left below. He glanced one lightning glance round
the room; no weapon of any kind was at hand. His brain reeled for a
moment, his breath gasped, a mortal sickness passed over his heart, and
then the MIND triumphed over all. He drew up to his full height, folded
his arms doggedly on his breast, and muttering, "The accuser comes,--I
have it still to refute the charge!" he stood prepared to meet, nor
despairing to evade, the worst.

As waters close over the object which divided them, all these thoughts,
these fears, and this resolution had been but the work, the agitation,
and the succeeding calm of the moment; that moment was past.

"Admit us!" cried the voice of Walter Lester, knocking fiercely at the

"Not so fervently, boy," said Lester, laying his hand on his nephew's
shoulder; "your tale is yet to be proved,--I believe it not. Treat him as
innocent, I pray,--I command,--till you have shown him guilty."

"Away, uncle!" said the fiery Walter; "he is my father's murderer. God
hath given justice to my hands." These words, uttered in a lower key than
before, were but indistinctly heard by Aram through the massy door.

"Open, or we force our entrance!" shouted Walter again; and Aram,
speaking for the first time, replied in a clear and sonorous voice, so
that an angel, had one spoken, could not have more deeply impressed the
heart of Rowland Lester with a conviction of the student's innocence,

"Who knocks so rudely? What means this violence? I open my doors to my
friends. Is it a friend who asks it?"

"I ask it," said Rowland Lester, in a trembling and agitated voice.
"There seems some dreadful mistake: come forth, Eugene, and rectify it by
a word."

"Is it you, Rowland Lester? It is enough. I was but with my books, and had
secured myself from intrusion. Enter." The bar was withdrawn, the door
was burst open, and even Walter Lester, even the officers of justice with
him, drew back for a moment as they beheld the lofty brow, the majestic
presence, the features so unutterably calm, of Eugene Aram. "What want
you, sirs?" said he, unmoved and unfaltering, though in the officers of
justice he recognized faces he had known before, and in that distant town
in which all that he dreaded in the past lay treasured up. At the sound
of his voice the spell that for an instant had arrested the step of the
avenging son melted away.

"Seize him!" he cried to the officers; "you see your prisoner."

"Hold!" cried Aram, drawing back. "By what authority is this
outrage,--for what am I arrested?"

"Behold," said Walter, speaking through his teeth, "behold our warrant!
You are accused of murder! Know you the name of Richard Houseman,--pause,
consider,--or that of Daniel Clarke?"

Slowly Aram lifted his eyes from the warrant, and it might be seen that
his face was a shade more pale, though his look did not quail, or his
nerves tremble. Slowly he turned his gaze upon Walter; and then, after
one moment's survey, dropped it once more on the paper.

"The name of Houseman is not unfamiliar to me," said he calmly, but with

"And knew you Daniel Clarke

"What mean these questions?" said Aram, losing temper, and stamping
violently on the ground. "Is it thus that a man, free and guiltless, is
to be questioned at the behest, or rather outrage, of every lawless boy?
Lead me to some authority meet for me to answer; for you, boy, my answer
is contempt."

"Big words shall not save thee, murderer!" cried Walter, breaking from
his uncle, who in vain endeavored to hold him, and laying his powerful
grasp upon Aram's shoulder. Livid was the glare that shot from the
student's eye upon his assailer; and so fearfully did his features work
and change with the passions within him that even Walter felt a strange
shudder thrill through his frame.

"Gentlemen," said Aram at last, mastering his emotions, and resuming some
portion of the remarkable dignity that characterized his usual bearing,
as he turned towards the officers of justice, "I call upon you to
discharge your duty. If this be a rightful warrant, I am your prisoner,
but I am not this man's. I command your protection from him!"

Walter had already released his gripe, and said, in a muttered voice,

"My passion misled me; violence is unworthy my solemn cause. God and
Justice--not these hands--are my avengers."

"Your avengers!" said Aram. "What dark words are these? This warrant
accuses me of the murder of one Daniel Clarke. What is he to thee?"

"Mark me, man!" said Walter, fixing his eyes on Aram's countenance. "The
name of Daniel Clarke was a feigned name; the real name was Geoffrey
Lester: that murdered Lester was my father, and the brother of him whose
daughter, had I not come to-day, you would have called your wife!"

Aram felt, while these words were uttered, that the eyes of all in the
room were on him; and perhaps that knowledge enabled him not to reveal by
outward sign what must have passed within during the awful trial of that

"It is a dreadful tale," he said, "if true,--dreadful to me, so nearly
allied to that family. But as yet I grapple with shadows."

"What! does not your conscience now convict you?" cried Walter, staggered
by the calmness of the prisoner. But here Lester, who could no longer
contain himself, interposed; he put by his nephew, and rushing to Aram,
fell, weeping, upon his neck.

"I do not accuse thee, Eugene, my son, my son! I feel, I know thou art
innocent of this monstrous crime; some horrid delusion darkens that poor
boy's sight. You, you, who would walk aside to save a worm!" and the poor
old man, overcome with his emotions, could literally say no more.

Aram looked down on Lester with a compassionate expression; and soothing
him with kind words, and promises that all would be explained, gently
moved from his hold, and, anxious to terminate the scene, silently
motioned the officers to proceed. Struck with the calmness and dignity of
his manner, and fully impressed by it with the notion of his innocence,
the officers treated him with a marked respect; they did not even walk by
his side, but suffered him to follow their steps. As they descended the
stairs, Aram turned round to Walter, with a bitter and reproachful

"And so, young man, your malice against me has reached even to this! Will
nothing but my life content you?"

"Is the desire of execution on my father's murderer but the wish of
malice?" retorted Walter; though his heart yet well-nigh misgave him as
to the grounds on which his suspicion rested.

Aram smiled, as half in scorn, half through incredulity; and, shaking his
head gently, moved on without further words.

The three old women, who had remained in listening astonishment at the
foot of the stairs, gave way as the men descended; but the one who so
long had been Aram's solitary domestic, and who, from her deafness, was
still benighted and uncomprehending as to the causes of his seizure,
though from that very reason her alarm was the greater and more acute,
she, impatiently thrusting away the officers, and mumbling some
unintelligible anathema as she did so, flung herself at the feet of a
master whose quiet habits and constant kindness had endeared him to her
humble and faithful heart, and exclaimed,--

"What are they doing? Have they the heart to ill-use you? O master, God
bless you! God shield you! I shall never see you, who was my only
friend--who was every one's friend--any more!"

Aram drew himself from her, and said, with a quivering lip to Rowland

"If her fears are true--if--if I never more return hither, see that her
old age does not starve--does not want." Lester could not speak for
sobbing, but the request was remembered. And now Aram, turning aside his
proud head to conceal his emotion, beheld open the door of the room so
trimly prepared for Madeline's reception: the flowers smiled upon him
from their stands. "Lead on, gentlemen," he said quickly. And so Eugene
Aram passed his threshold!

"Ho, ho!" muttered the old hag whose predictions in the morning had been
so ominous,--"ho, ho! you'll believe Goody Darkmans another time!
Providence respects the sayings of the ould. 'T was not for nothing the
rats grinned at me last night. But let's in and have a warm glass. He,
he! there will be all the strong liquors for us now; the Lord is merciful
to the poor!"

As the little group proceeded through the valley, the officers first,
Aram and Lester side by side, Walter, with his hand on his pistol and his
eye on the prisoner, a little behind, Lester endeavored to cheer the
prisoner's spirits and his own by insisting on the madness of the charge
and the certainty of instant acquittal from the magistrate to whom they
were bound, and who was esteemed the one both most acute and most just in
the county. Aram interrupted him somewhat abruptly,

"My friend, enough of this presently. But Madeline, what knows she as

"Nothing; of course, we kept--"

"Exactly, exactly; you have done wisely. Why need she learn anything as
yet? Say an arrest for debt, a mistake, an absence but of a day or so at
most,--you understand?"

"Yes. Will you not see her, Eugene, before you go, and say this

"I!--O God!--I! to whom this day was--No, no; save me, I implore you,
from the agony of such a contrast,--an interview so mournful and
unavailing. No, we must not meet! But whither go we now? Not, not,
surely, through all the idle gossips of the village,--the crowd already
excited to gape and stare and speculate on the--"

"No," interrupted Lester; "the carriages await us at the farther end of
the valley. I thought of that,--for the rash boy behind seems to have
changed his nature. I loved--Heaven knows how I loved my brother! But
before I would let suspicion thus blind reason, I would suffer inquiry to
sleep forever on his fate."

"Your nephew," said Aram, "has ever wronged me. But waste not words on
him; let us think only of Madeline. Will you go back at once to
her,--tell her a tale to lull her apprehensions, and then follow us with
haste? I am alone among enemies till you come."

Lester was about to answer, when, at a turn in the road which brought the
carriage within view, they perceived two figures in white hastening
towards them; and ere Aram was prepared for the surprise, Madeline had
sunk pale, trembling, and all breathless on his breast.

"I could not keep her back," said Ellinor, apologetically, to her father.

"Back! and why? Am I not in my proper place?" cried Madeline, lifting her
face from Aram's breast; and then, as her eyes circled the group, and
rested on Aram's countenance, now no longer calm, but full of woe, of
passion, of disappointed love, of anticipated despair, she rose, and
gradually recoiling with a fear which struck dumb her voice, thrice
attempted to speak, and thrice failed.

"But what--what is--what means this?" exclaimed Ellinor. "Why do you
weep, father? Why does Eugene turn away his face? You answer not. Speak,
for God's sake! These strangers,--what are they? And you, Walter,
you,--why are you so pale? Why do you thus knit your brows and fold your
arms! You, you will tell me the meaning of this dreadful silence,--this
scene. Speak, cousin, dear cousin, speak!"

"Speak!" cried Madeline, finding voice at length, but in the sharp and
straining tone of wild terror, in which they recognized no note of the
natural music. The single word sounded rather as a shriek than an
adjuration; and so piercingly it ran through the hearts of all present
that the very officers, hardened as their trade had made them, felt as if
they would rather have faced death than answered that command.

A dead, long, dreary pause, and Aram broke it. "Madeline Lester," said
he, "prove yourself worthy of the hour of trial. Exert yourself; arouse
your heart; be prepared! You are the betrothed of one whose soul never
quailed before man's angry word. Remember that, and fear not!"

"I will not, I will not, Eugene! Speak, only speak!"

"You have loved me in good report; trust me now in ill. They accuse me of
a crime,--a heinous crime! At first I would not have told you the real
charge. Pardon me, I wronged you,--now, know all! They accuse me, I say,
of crime. Of what crime? you ask. Ay, I scarce know, so vague is the
charge, so fierce the accuser; but prepare, Madeline,--it is of murder!"

Raised as her spirits had been by the haughty and earnest tone of Aram's
exhortation, Madeline now, though she turned deadly pale, though the
earth swam round and round, yet repressed the shriek upon her lips as
those horrid words shot into her soul.

"You!--murder!--you! And who dares accuse you?"

"Behold him,--your cousin!"

Ellinor heard, turned, fixed her eyes on Walter's sullen brow and
motionless attitude, and fell senseless to the earth. Not thus Madeline.
As there is an exhaustion that forbids, not invites repose, so when the
mind is thoroughly on the rack, the common relief to anguish is not
allowed; the senses are too sharply strung, thus happily to collapse into
forgetfulness; the dreadful inspiration that agony kindles, supports
nature while it consumes it. Madeline passed, without a downward glance,
by the lifeless body of her sister; and walking with a steady step to
Walter, she laid her hand upon his arm, and fixing on his countenance
that soft clear eye, which was now lit with a searching and preternatural
glare, and seemed to pierce into his soul, she said,

"Walter, do I hear aright? Am I awake? Is it you who accuse Eugene
Aram,--your Madeline's betrothed husband,--Madeline, whom you once loved?
Of what? Of crimes which death alone can punish. Away! It is not you,--I
know it is not. Say that I am mistaken,--that I am mad, if you will.
Come, Walter, relieve me; let me not abhor the very air you breathe!"

"Will no one have mercy on me?" cried Walter, rent to the heart, and
covering his face with his hands. In the fire and heat of vengeance he
had not reeked of this. He had only thought of justice to a father,
punishment to a villain, rescue for a credulous girl. The woe, the horror
he was about to inflict on all he most loved: this had not struck upon
him with a due force till now!

"Mercy--you talk of mercy! I knew it could not be true!" said Madeline,
trying to pluck her cousin's hand from his face; "you could not have
dreamed of wrong to Eugene and--and upon this day. Say we have erred, or
that you have erred, and we will forgive and bless you even now!" Aram
had not interfered in this scene; he kept his eyes fixed on the cousins,
not uninterested to see what effect Madeline's touching words might
produce on his accuser. Meanwhile she continued: "Speak to me, Walter,
dear Walter, speak to me'. Are you, my cousin, my playfellow,--are you
the one to blight our hopes, to dash our joys, to bring dread and terror
into a home so lately all peace and sunshine, your own home, your
childhood's home? What have you done? What have you dared to do? Accuse
him! Of what? Murder! Speak, speak. Murder, ha! ha!--murder! nay, not so!
You would not venture to come here, you would not let me take your hand,
you would not look us, your uncle, your more than sisters, in the face if
you could nurse in your heart this lie,--this black, horrid lie!"

Walter withdrew his hands, and as he turned his face said,--

"Let him prove his innocence. Pray God he do! I am not his accuser,
Madeline. His accusers are the bones of my dead father! Save these,
Heaven alone and the revealing earth are witness against him!"

"Your father!" said Madeline, staggering back,--"my lost uncle! Nay, now
I know indeed what a shadow has appalled us all! Did you know my uncle,
Eugene? Did you ever see Geoffrey Lester?"

"Never, as I believe, so help me God!" said Aram, laying his hand on his
heart. "But this is idle now," as, recollecting himself, he felt that the
case had gone forth from Walter's hands, and that appeal to him had
become vain. "Leave us now, dearest Madeline, my beloved wife that shall
be, that is! I go to disprove these charges. Perhaps I shall return
to-night. Delay not my acquittal, even from doubt,--a boy's doubt. Come,

"O Eugene! Eugene!" cried Madeline, throwing herself on her knees before
hint, "do not order me to leave you now, now in the hour of dread! I will
not. Nay, look not so! I swear I will not! Father, dear father, come and
plead for me,--say I shall go with you. I ask nothing more. Do not fear
for my nerves,--cowardice is gone. I will not shame you, I will not play
the woman. I know what is due to one who loves him. Try me, only try me.
You weep, father, you shake your head. But you, Eugene,--you have not the
heart to deny me? Think--think if I stayed here to count the moments till
you return, my very senses would leave me. What do I ask? But to go with
you, to be the first to hail your triumph! Had this happened two hours
hence, you could not have said me nay,--I should have claimed the right
to be with you; I now but implore the blessing. You relent, you relent; I
see it!"

"O Heaven!" exclaimed Aram, rising, and clasping her to his breast, and
wildly kissing her face, but with cold and trembling lips, "this is
indeed a bitter hour; let me not sink beneath it. Yes, Madeline, ask your
father if he consents; I hail your strengthening presence as that of an
angel. I will not be the one to sever you from my side."

"You are right, Eugene," said Lester, who was supporting Ellinor, not yet
recovered,--"let her go with us; it is but common kindness and common

Madeline uttered a cry of joy (joy even at such a moment!), and clung
fast to Eugene's arm, as if for assurance that they were not indeed to be

By this time some of Lester's servants, who had from a distance followed
their young mistresses, reached the spot. To their care Lester gave the
still scarce reviving Ellinor; and then, turning round with a severe
countenance to Walter, said, "Come, sir, your rashness has done
sufficient wrong for the present; come now, and see how soon your
suspicions will end in shame."

"Justice, and blood for blood!" said Walter, sternly; but his heart felt
as if it were broken. His venerable uncle's tears, Madeline's look of
horror as she turned from him, Ellinor all lifeless, and he not daring to
approach her,--this was HIS work! He pulled his hat over his eyes, and
hastened into the carriage alone. Lester, Madeline, and Aram followed in
the other vehicle; and the two officers contented themselves with
mounting the box, certain the prisoner would attempt no escape.



          Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
              --Measure for Measure.

On arriving at Sir--'s, a disappointment, for which, had they previously
conversed with the officers they might have been prepared, awaited them.
The fact was, that the justice had only endorsed the warrant sent from
Yorkshire; and after a very short colloquy, in which he expressed his
regret at the circumstance, his conviction that the charge would be
disproved, and a few other courteous common-places, he gave Aram to
understand that the matter now did not rest with him, but that it was to
Yorkshire that the officers were bound, and before Mr. Thornton, a
magistrate of that country, that the examination was to take place. "All
I can do," said the magistrate, "I have already done; but I wished for an
opportunity of informing you of it. I have written to my brother justice
at full length respecting your high character, and treating the habits
and rectitude of your life alone as a sufficient refutation of so
monstrous a charge."

For the first time a visible embarrassment came over the firm nerves of
the prisoner: he seemed to look with great uneasiness at the prospect of
this long and dreary journey, and for such an end. Perhaps, the very
notion of returning as a suspected criminal to that part of the country
where a portion of his youth had been passed, was sufficient to disquiet
and deject him. All this while his poor Madeline seemed actuated by a
spirit beyond herself; she would not be separated from his side--she held
his hand in hers--she whispered comfort and courage at the very moment
when her own heart most sank. The magistrate wiped his eyes when he saw a
creature so young, so beautiful, in circumstances so fearful, and bearing
up with an energy so little to be expected from her years and delicate
appearance. Aram said but little; he covered his face with his right hand
for a few moments, as if to hide a passing emotion, a sudden weakness.
When he removed it, all vestige of colour had died away; his face was
pale as that of one who has risen from the grave; but it was settled and

"It is a hard pang, Sir," said he, with a faint smile; "so many miles--so
many days--so long a deferment of knowing the best, or preparing to meet
the worst. But, be it so! I thank you, Sir,--I thank you all,--Lester,
Madeline, for your kindness; you two must now leave me; the brand is on
my name--the suspected man is no fit object for love or friendship!

"We go with you!" said Madeline firmly, and in a very low voice.

Aram's eye sparkled, but he waved his hand impatiently.

"We go with you, my friend!" repeated Lester.

And so, indeed, not to dwell long on a painful scene, it was finally
settled. Lester and his two daughters that evening followed Aram to the
dark and fatal bourne to which he was bound.

It was in vain that Walter, seizing his uncle's hands, whispered,

"For Heaven's sake, do not be rash in your friendship! You have not yet
learnt all. I tell you, that there can be no doubt of his guilt!
Remember, it is a brother for whom you mourn! will you countenance his

Lester, despite himself, was struck by the earnestness with which his
nephew spoke, but the impression died away as the words ceased: so strong
and deep had been the fascination which Eugene Aram had exercised over
the hearts of all once drawn within the near circle of his attraction,
that had the charge of murder been made against himself, Lester could not
have repelled it with a more entire conviction of the innocence of the
accused. Still, however, the deep sincerity of his nephew's manner in
some measure served to soften his resentment towards him.

"No, no, boy!" said he, drawing away his hand, "Rowland Lester is not the
one to desert a friend in the day of darkness and the hour of need. Be
silent I say!--My brother, my poor brother, you tell me, has been
murdered. I will see justice done to him: but, Aram! Fie! fie! it is a
name that would whisper falsehood to the loudest accusation. Go, Walter!
go! I do not blame you!--you may be right--a murdered father is a dread
and awful memory to a son! What wonder that the thought warps your
judgment? But go! Eugene was to me both a guide and a blessing; a father
in wisdom, a son in love. I cannot look on his accuser's face without
anguish. Go! we shall meet again.--How! Go!"

"Enough, Sir!" said Walter, partly in anger, partly in sorrow--"Time be
the judge between us all!"

With those words he turned from the house, and proceeded on foot towards
a cottage half way between Grassdale and the Magistrate's house, at
which, previous to his return to the former place, he had prudently left
the Corporal--not willing to trust to that person's discretion, as to the
tales and scandal that he might propagate throughout the village on a
matter so painful and so dark.

Let the world wag as it will, there are some tempers which its
vicissitudes never reach. Nothing makes a picture of distress more sad
than the portrait of some individual sitting indifferently looking on in
the back-ground. This was a secret Hogarth knew well. Mark his deathbed
scenes:--Poverty and Vice worked up into horror--and the Physicians in
the corner wrangling for the fee!--or the child playing with the
coffin--or the nurse filching what fortune, harsh, yet less harsh than
humanity, might have left. In the melancholy depth of humour that steeps
both our fancy and our heart in the immortal Romance of Cervantes (for,
how profoundly melancholy is it to be compelled by one gallant folly to
laugh at all that is gentle, and brave, and wise, and generous!) nothing
grates on us more than when--last scene of all, the poor Knight lies
dead--his exploits for ever over--for ever dumb his eloquent discourses:
than when, I say, we are told that, despite of his grief, even little
Sancho did not eat or drink the less:--these touches open to us the real
world, it is true; but it is not the best part of it. What a pensive
thing is true humour! Certain it was, that when Walter, full of
contending emotions at all he had witnessed,--harassed, tortured, yet
also elevated, by his feelings, stopped opposite the cottage door, and
saw there the Corporal sitting comfortably in the porch,--his vile
modicum Sabini before him--his pipe in his mouth, and a complacent
expression of satisfaction diffusing itself over features which
shrewdness and selfishness had marked for their own;--certain it was,
that, at this sight Walter experienced a more displeasing revulsion of
feeling--a more entire conviction of sadness--a more consummate disgust
of this weary world and the motley masquers that walk thereon, than all
the tragic scenes he had just witnessed had excited within him.

"And well, Sir," said the Corporal, slowly rising, "how did it go
off?--Wasn't the villain bash'd to the dust?--You've nabbed him safe, I

"Silence," said Walter, sternly, "prepare for our departure. The chaise
will be here forthwith; we return to Yorkshire this day. Ask me no more

"A--well--baugh!" said the Corporal.

There was a long silence. Walter walked to and fro the road before the
cottage. The chaise arrived; the luggage was put in. Walter's foot was on
the step; but before the Corporal mounted the rumbling dickey, that
invaluable domestic hemmed thrice.

"And had you time, Sir, to think of poor Jacob, and look at the cottage,
and slip in a word to your uncle about the bit tato ground?"

We pass over the space of time, short in fact, long in suffering, that
elapsed, till the prisoner and his companions reached Knaresbro'. Aram's
conduct during this time was not only calm but cheerful. The stoical
doctrines he had affected through life, he on this trying interval called
into remarkable exertion. He it was who now supported the spirits of his
mistress and his friend; and though he no longer pretended to be sanguine
of acquittal--though again and again he urged upon them the gloomy
fact--first, how improbable it was that this course had been entered into
against him without strong presumption of guilt; and secondly, how little
less improbable it was, that at that distance of time he should be able
to procure evidence, or remember circumstances, sufficient on the instant
to set aside such presumption,--he yet dwelt partly on the hope of
ultimate proof of his innocence, and still more strongly on the firmness
of his own mind to bear, without shrinking, even the hardest fate.

"Do not," he said to Lester, "do not look on these trials of life only
with the eyes of the world. Reflect how poor and minute a segment in the
vast circle of eternity existence is at the best. Its sorrow and its
shame are but moments. Always in my brightest and youngest hours I have
wrapt my heart in the contemplation of an august futurity.

          "'The soul, secure in its existence, smiles
          At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.'

"If I die even the death of the felon, it is beyond the power of fate to
separate us for long. It is but a pang, and we are united again for ever;
for ever in that far and shadowy clime, where the wicked cease from
troubling, and the weary are at rest.' Were it not for Madeline's dear
sake, I should long since have been over weary of the world. As it is,
the sooner, even by a violent and unjust fate, we leave a path begirt
with snares below and tempests above, the happier for that soul which
looks to its lot in this earth as the least part of its appointed doom."

In discourses like this, which the nature of his eloquence was peculiarly
calculated to render solemn and impressive, Aram strove to prepare his
friends for the worst, and perhaps to cheat, or to steel, himself. Ever
as he spoke thus, Lester or Ellinor broke on him with impatient
remonstrance; but Madeline, as if imbued with a deeper and more mournful
penetration into the future, listened in tearless and breathless
attention. She gazed upon him with a look that shared the thought he
expressed, though it read not (yet she dreamed so) the heart from which
it came. In the words of that beautiful poet, to whose true nature, so
full of unuttered tenderness--so fraught with the rich nobility of
love--we have begun slowly to awaken,

       "Her lip was silent, scarcely beat her heart.
       Her eye alone proclaimed 'we will not part!'
       Thy 'hope' may perish, or thy friends may flee.
       Farewell to life--but not adieu to thee!"

They arrived at noon at the house of Mr. Thornton, and Aram underwent his
examination. Though he denied most of the particulars in Houseman's
evidence, and expressly the charge of murder, his commitment was made
out; and that day he was removed by the officers, (Barker and Moor, who
had arrested him at Grassdale,) to York Castle, to await his trial at the

The sensation which this extraordinary event created throughout the
country, was wholly unequalled. Not only in Yorkshire, and the county in
which he had of late resided, where his personal habits were known, but
even in the Metropolis, and amongst men of all classes in England, it
appears to have caused one mingled feeling of astonishment, horror, and
incredulity, which in our times has had no parallel in any criminal
prosecution. The peculiar turn of the prisoner--his genius--his
learning--his moral life--the interest that by students had been for
years attached to his name--his approaching marriage--the length of time
that had elapsed since the crime had been committed--the singular and
abrupt manner, the wild and legendary spot, in which the skeleton of the
lost man had been discovered--the imperfect rumours--the dark and
suspicious evidence--all combined to make a tale of such marvellous
incident, and breeding such endless conjecture, that we cannot wonder to
find it afterwards received a place, not only in the temporary
chronicles, but even the most important and permanent histories of the

Previous to Walter's departure from Knaresbro' to Grassdale, and
immediately subsequent to the discovery at St. Robert's Cave, the
coroner's inquest had been held upon the bones so mysteriously and
suddenly brought to light. Upon the witness of the old woman at whose
house Aram had lodged, and upon that of Houseman, aided by some
circumstantial and less weighty evidence, had been issued that warrant on
which we have seen the prisoner apprehended.

With most men there was an intimate and indignant persuasion of Aram's
innocence; and at this day, in the county where he last resided, there
still lingers the same belief. Firm as his gospel faith, that conviction
rested in the mind of the worthy Lester; and he sought, by every means he
could devise, to soothe and cheer the confinement of his friend. In
prison, however (indeed after his examination--after Aram had made
himself thoroughly acquainted with all the circumstantial evidence which
identified Clarke with Geoffrey Lester, a story that till then he had
persuaded himself wholly to disbelieve) a change which, in the presence
of Madeline or her father, he vainly attempted wholly to conceal, and to
which, when alone, he surrendered himself with a gloomy abstraction--came
over his mood, and dashed him from the lofty height of Philosophy, from
which he had before looked down on the peril and the ills below.

Sometimes he would gaze on Lester with a strange and glassy eye, and
mutter inaudibly to himself, as if unaware of the old man's presence; at
others, he would shrink from Lester's proffered hand, and start abruptly
from his professions of unaltered, unalterable regard; sometimes he would
sit silently, and, with a changeless and stony countenance, look upon
Madeline as she now spoke in that exalted tone of consolation which had
passed away from himself; and when she had done, instead of replying to
her speech, he would say abruptly, "Ay, at the worst you love me,
then--love me better than any one on earth--say that, Madeline, again say

And Madeline's trembling lips obeyed the demand.

"Yes," he would renew, "this man, whom they accuse me of murdering,
this,--your uncle,--him you never saw since you were an infant, a mere
infant; him you could not love! What was he to you?--yet it is dreadful
to think of--dreadful, dreadful;" and then again his voice ceased; but
his lips moved convulsively, and his eyes seemed to speak meanings that
defied words. These alterations in his bearing, which belied his steady
and resolute character, astonished and dejected both Madeline and her
father. Sometimes they thought that his situation had shaken his reason,
or that the horrible suspicion of having murdered the uncle of his
intended wife, made him look upon themselves with a secret shudder, and
that they were mingled up in his mind by no unnatural, though unjust
confusion, with the causes of his present awful and uncertain state. With
the generality of the world, these two tender friends believed Houseman
the sole and real murderer, and fancied his charge against Aram was but
the last expedient of a villain to ward punishment from himself, by
imputing crime to another. Naturally, then, they frequently sought to
turn the conversation upon Houseman, and on the different circumstances
that had brought him acquainted with Aram; but on this ground the
prisoner seemed morbidly sensitive, and averse to detailed discussion.
His narration, however, such as it was, threw much light upon certain
matters on which Madeline and Lester were before anxious and inquisitive.

"Houseman is, in all ways," said he, with great and bitter vehemence,
"unredeemed, and beyond the calculations of an ordinary wickedness; we
knew each other from our relationship, but seldom met, and still more
rarely held long intercourse together. After we separated, when I left
Knaresbro', we did not meet for years. He sought me at Grassdale; he was
poor, and implored assistance; I gave him all within my power; he sought
me again, nay, more than once again, and finding me justly averse to
yielding to his extortionate demands, he then broached the purpose he has
now effected; he threatened--you hear me--you understand--he threatened
me with this charge--the murder of Daniel Clarke, by that name alone I
knew the deceased. The menace, and the known villainy of the man,
agitated me beyond expression. What was I? a being who lived without the
world--who knew not its ways--who desired only rest! The menace haunted
me--almost maddened! Your nephew has told you, you say, of broken words,
of escaping emotions, which he has noted, even to suspicion, in me; you
now behold the cause! Was it not sufficient? My life, nay more, my fame,
my marriage, Madeline's peace of mind, all depended on the uncertain fury
or craft of a wretch like this! The idea was with me night and day; to
avoid it, I resolved on a sacrifice; you may blame me, I was weak, yet I
thought then not unwise; to avoid it, I say I offered to bribe this man
to leave the country. I sold my pittance to oblige him to it. I bound him
thereto by the strongest ties. Nay, so disinterestedly, so truly did I
love Madeline, that I would not wed while I thought this danger could
burst upon me. I believed that, before my marriage day, Houseman had left
the country. It was not so, Fate ordered otherwise. It seems that
Houseman came to Knaresbro' to see his daughter; that suspicion, by a
sudden train of events, fell on him, perhaps justly; to skreen himself he
has sacrificed me. The tale seems plausible; perhaps the accuser may
triumph. But, Madeline, you now may account for much that may have
perplexed you before. Let me remember--ay--ay--I have dropped mysterious
words--have I not? have I not?--owning that danger was around me--owning
that a wild and terrific secret was heavy at my breast; nay, once,
walking with you the evening before, before the fatal day, I said that we
must prepare to seek some yet more secluded spot, some deeper retirement;
for, despite my precautions, despite the supposed absence of Houseman
from the country itself, a fevered and restless presentiment would at
some times intrude itself on me. All this is now accounted for, is it
not, Madeline? Speak, speak!"

"All, love all! Why do you look on me with that searching eye, that
frowning brow?"

"Did I? no, no, I have no frown for you; but peace, I am not what I ought
to be through this ordeal."

The above narration of Aram's did indeed account to Madeline for much
that had till then remained unexplained; the appearance of Houseman at
Grassdale,--the meeting between him and Aram on the evening she walked
with the latter, and questioned him of his ill-boding visitor; the
frequent abstraction and muttered hints of her lover; and as he had said,
his last declaration of the possible necessity of leaving Grassdale. Nor
was there any thing improbable, though it was rather in accordance with
the unworldly habits, than with the haughty character of Aram, that he
should seek, circumstanced as he was, to silence even the false accuser
of a plausible tale, that might well strike horror and bewilderment into
a man much more, to all seeming, fitted to grapple with the hard and
coarse realities of life, than the moody and secluded scholar. Be that as
it may, though Lester deplored, he did not blame this circumstance, which
after all had not transpired, nor seemed likely to transpire; and he
attributed the prisoner's aversion to enter farther on the matter, to the
natural dislike of so proud a man to refer to his own weakness, and to
dwell upon the manner in which, despite of that weakness, he had been
duped. This story Lester retailed to Walter, and it contributed to throw
a damp and uncertainty over those mixed and unquiet feelings with which
the latter waited for the coming trial. There were many moments when the
young man was tempted to regret that Aram had not escaped a trial which,
if he were proved guilty, would for ever blast the happiness of his
family; and which might, notwithstanding such a verdict, leave on
Walter's own mind an impression of the prisoner's innocence; and an
uneasy consciousness that he, through his investigations, had brought him
to that doom.

Walter remained in Yorkshire, seeing little of his family, of none indeed
but Lester; it was not to be expected that Madeline would see him, and
once only he caught the tearful eyes of Ellinor as she retreated from the
room he entered, and those eyes beamed kindness and pity, but something
also of reproach.

Time passed slowly and witheringly on: a man of the name of Terry having
been included in the suspicion, and indeed committed, it appeared that
the prosecutor could not procure witnesses by the customary time, and the
trial was postponed till the next assizes. As this man was however, never
brought up to trial, and appears no more, we have said nothing of him in
our narrative, until he thus became the instrument of a delay in the fate
of Eugene Aram. Time passed on, Winter, Spring, were gone, and the glory
and gloss of Summer were now lavished over the happy earth. In some
measure the usual calmness of his demeanour had returned to Aram; he had
mastered those moody fits we have referred to, which had so afflicted his
affectionate visitors; and he now seemed to prepare and buoy himself up
against that awful ordeal of life and death, which he was about so soon
to pass. Yet he,--the hermit of Nature, who--

                "Each little herb
       That grows on mountain bleak, or tangled forest,
       Had learnt to name;"
           --Remorse, by S. T. Coleridge

he could not feel, even through the bars and checks of a prison, the soft
summer air, 'the witchery of the soft blue sky;' he could not see the
leaves bud forth, and mellow into their darker verdure; he could not hear
the songs of the many-voiced birds; or listen to the dancing rain,
calling up beauty where it fell; or mark at night, through his high and
narrow casement, the stars aloof, and the sweet moon pouring in her
light, like God's pardon, even through the dungeon-gloom and the desolate
scenes where Mortality struggles with Despair; he could not catch,
obstructed as they were, these, the benigner influences of earth, and not
sicken and pant for his old and full communion with their ministry and
presence. Sometimes all around him was forgotten, the harsh cell, the
cheerless solitude, the approaching trial, the boding fear, the darkened
hope, even the spectre of a troubled and fierce remembrance,--all was
forgotten, and his spirit was abroad, and his step upon the mountain-top
once more.

In our estimate of the ills of life, we never sufficiently take into our
consideration the wonderful elasticity of our moral frame, the unlooked
for, the startling facility with which the human mind accommodates itself
to all change of circumstance, making an object and even a joy from the
hardest and seemingly the least redeemed conditions of fate. The man who
watched the spider in his cell, may have taken, at least, as much
interest in the watch, as when engaged in the most ardent and ambitious
objects of his former life; and he was but a type of his brethren; all in
similar circumstances would have found some similar occupation. Let any
man look over his past life, let him recall not moments, not hours of
agony, for to them Custom lends not her blessed magic; but let him single
out some lengthened period of physical or moral endurance; in hastily
reverting to it, it may seem at first, I grant, altogether wretched; a
series of days marked with the black stone,--the clouds without a
star;--but let him look more closely, it was not so during the time of
suffering; a thousand little things, in the bustle of life dormant and
unheeded, then started froth into notice, and became to him objects of
interest or diversion; the dreary present, once made familiar, glided
away from him, not less than if it had been all happiness; his mind dwelt
not on the dull intervals, but the stepping-stone it had created and
placed at each; and, by that moral dreaming which for ever goes on within
man's secret heart, he lived as little in the immediate world before him,
as in the most sanguine period of his youth, or the most scheming of his

So wonderful in equalizing all states and all times in the varying tide
of life, are these two rulers yet levellers of mankind, Hope and Custom,
that the very idea of an eternal punishment includes that of an utter
alteration of the whole mechanism of the soul in its human state, and no
effort of an imagination, assisted by past experience, can conceive a
state of torture which custom can never blunt, and from which the
chainless and immaterial spirit can never be beguiled into even a
momentary escape.

Among the very few persons admitted to Aram's solitude, was Lord--That
nobleman was staying, on a visit, with a relation of his in the
neighbourhood, and he seized with an excited and mournful avidity, the
opportunity thus afforded him of seeing, once more, a character that had
so often forced itself on his speculation and surprise. He came to offer
not condolence, but respect; services, at such a moment, no individual
could render,--he gave however, what was within his power--advice,--and
pointed out to Aram the best counsel to engage, and the best method of
previous inquiry into particulars yet unexplored. He was astonished to
find Aram indifferent on these points, so important. The prisoner, it
would seem, had even then resolved on being his own counsel, and
conducting his own cause; the event proved that he did not rely in vain
on the power of his own eloquence and sagacity, though he might on their
result. As to the rest, he spoke with impatience, and the petulance of a
wronged man. "For the idle rumours of the world, I do not care," said he,
"let them condemn or acquit me as they will;--for my life, I might be
willing indeed, that it were spared,--I trust it may be, if not, I can
stand face to face with Death. I have now looked on him within these
walls long enough to have grown familiar with his terrors. But enough of
me; tell me, my Lord, something of the world without, I have grown eager
about it at last. I have been now so condemned to feed upon myself, that
I have become surfeited with the diet;"--and it was with great difficulty
that the Earl drew Aram back to speak of himself: he did so, even when
compelled to it, with so much qualification and reserve, mixed with some
evident anger at the thought of being sifted and examined--that his
visitor was forced finally to drop the subject, and not liking, nor
indeed able, at such a time, to converse on more indifferent themes, the
last interview he ever had with Aram terminated much more abruptly than
he had meant it. His opinion of the prisoner was not, however, shaken in
the least. I have seen a letter of his to a celebrated personage of the
day, in which, mentioning this interview, he concludes with saying,--"In
short, there is so much real dignity about the man, that adverse
circumstances increase it tenfold. Of his innocence I have not the
remotest doubt; but if he persist in being his own counsel, I tremble for
the result,--you know in such cases how much more valuable is practice
than genius. But the judge you will say is, in criminal causes, the
prisoner's counsel,--God grant he may here prove a successful one! I
repeat, were Aram condemned by five hundred juries, I could not believe
him guilty. No, the very essence of all human probabilities is against

The Earl afterwards saw and conversed with Walter. He was much struck
with the conduct of the young Lester, and much impressed with a feeling
for a situation, so harassing and unhappy.

"Whatever be the result of the trial," said Walter, "I shall leave the
country the moment it is finally over. If the prisoner be condemned,
there is no hearth for me in my uncle's home; if not, my suspicions may
still remain, and the sight of each other be an equal bane to the accused
and to myself. A voluntary exile, and a life that may lead to
forgetfulness, are all that I covet.--I now find in my own person," he
added, with a faint smile, "how deeply Shakspeare had read the mysteries
of men's conduct. Hamlet, we are told, was naturally full of fire and
action. One dark discovery quells his spirit, unstrings his heart, and
stales to him for ever the uses of the world. I now comprehend the
change. It is bodied forth even in the humblest individual, who is met by
a similar fate--even in myself."

"Ay," said the Earl, "I do indeed remember you a wild, impetuous,
headstrong youth. I scarcely recognize your very appearance. The elastic
spring has left your step--there seems a fixed furrow in your brow. These
clouds of life are indeed no summer vapour, darkening one moment and gone
the next. But my young friend, let us hope the best. I firmly believe in
Aram's innocence--firmly!--more rootedly than I can express. The real
criminal will appear on the trial. All bitterness between you and Aram
must cease at his acquittal; you will be anxious to repair to him the
injustice of a natural suspicion: and he seems not one who could long
retain malice. All will be well, believe me."

"God send it!" said Walter, sighing deeply.

"But at the worst," continued the Earl, pressing his hand in parting, "if
you should persist in your resolution to leave the country, write to me,
and I can furnish you with an honourable and stirring occasion for doing

While Time was thus advancing towards the fatal day, it was graving deep
ravages within the pure breast of Madeline Lester. She had borne up, as
we have seen, for some time, against the sudden blow that had shivered
her young hopes, and separated her by so awful a chasm from the side of
Aram; but as week after week, month after month rolled on, and he still
lay in prison, and the horrible suspense of ignominy and death still hung
over her, then gradually her courage began to fail, and her heart to
sink. Of all the conditions to which the heart is subject, suspense is
the one that most gnaws, and cankers into, the frame. One little month of
that suspense, when it involves death, we are told, in a very remarkable
work lately published by an eye-witness. [Note: See Mr. Wakefield's work
on 'The Punishment of Death.'] is sufficient to plough fixed lines and
furrows in the face of a convict of five-and-twenty--sufficient to dash
the brown hair with grey, and to bleach the grey to white. And this
suspense--suspense of this nature, for more than eight whole months, had
Madeline to endure!

About the end of the second month the effect upon her health grew
visible. Her colour, naturally delicate as the hues of the pink shell or
the youngest rose, faded into one marble whiteness, which again, as time
proceeded, flushed into that red and preternatural hectic, which once
settled, rarely yields its place but to the colours of the grave. Her
flesh shrank from its rounded and noble proportions. Deep hollows traced
themselves beneath eyes which yet grew even more lovely as they grew less
serenely bright. The blessed Sleep sunk not upon her brain with its
wonted and healing dews. Perturbed dreams, that towards dawn succeeded
the long and weary vigil of the night, shook her frame even more than the
anguish of the day in these dreams one frightful vision--a crowd--a
scaffold--and the pale majestic face of her lover, darkened by
unutterable pangs of pride and sorrow, were for ever present before her.
Till now, she and Ellinor had always shared the same bed: this Madeline
would not now suffer. In vain Ellinor wept and pleaded. "No," said
Madeline, with a hollow voice; "at night I see him. My soul is alone with
his; but--but,"--and she burst into an agony of tears--"the most dreadful
thought is this, I cannot master my dreams. And sometimes I start and
wake, and find that in sleep I have believed him guilty. Nay, O God! that
his lips have proclaimed the guilt! And shall any living being--shall any
but God, who reads not words but hearts, hear this hideous
falsehood--this ghastly mockery of the lying sleep? No, I must be alone!
The very stars should not hear what is forced from me in the madness of
my dreams."

But not in vain, or not excluded from her, was that elastic and consoling
spirit of which I have before spoken. As Aram recovered the tenor of his
self-possession, a more quiet and peaceful calm diffused itself over the
mind of Madeline. Her high and starry nature could comprehend those
sublime inspirations of comfort, which lift us from the lowest abyss of
this world to the contemplation of all that the yearning visions of
mankind have painted in another. She would sit, rapt and absorbed for
hours together, till these contemplations assumed the colour of a gentle
and soft insanity. "Come, dearest Madeline," Ellinor would say,--"Come,
you have thought enough; my poor father asks to see you."

"Hush!" Madeline answered. "Hush, I have been walking with Eugene in
heaven; and oh! there are green woods, and lulling waters above, as there
are on earth, and we see the stars quite near, and I cannot tell you how
happy their smile makes those who look upon them. And Eugene never starts
there, nor frowns, nor walks aside, nor looks on me with an estranged and
chilling look; but his face is as calm and bright as the face of an
angel;--and his voice!--it thrills amidst all the music which plays there
night and day--softer than their softest note. And we are married,
Ellinor, at last. We were married in heaven, and all the angels came to
the marriage! I am now so happy that we were not wed before! What! are
you weeping, Ellinor? Ah, we never weep in heaven! but we will all go
there again--all of us, hand in hand!"

These affecting hallucinations terrified them, lest they should settle
into a confirmed loss of reason; but perhaps without cause. They never
lasted long, and never occurred but after moods of abstraction of unusual
duration. To her they probably supplied what sleep does to others--a
relaxation and refreshment--an escape from the consciousness of life. And
indeed it might always be noted, that after such harmless aberrations of
the mind, Madeline seemed more collected and patient in thought, and for
the moment, even stronger in frame than before. Yet the body evidently
pined and languished, and each week made palpable decay in her vital

Every time Aram saw her, he was startled at the alteration; and kissing
her cheek, her lips, her temples, in an agony of grief, wondered that to
him alone it was forbidden to weep. Yet after all, when she was gone, and
he again alone, he could not but think death likely to prove to her the
most happy of earthly boons. He was not sanguine of acquittal, and even
in acquittal, a voice at his heart suggested insuperable barriers to
their union, which had not existed when it was first anticipated.

"Yes, let her die," he would say, "let her die; she at least is certain
of Heaven!" But the human infirmity clung around him, and notwithstanding
this seeming resolution in her absence, he did not mourn the less, he was
not stung the less, when he saw her again, and beheld a new character
from the hand of death graven upon her form. No; we may triumph over all
weakness, but that of the affections. Perhaps in this dreary and haggard
interval of time, these two persons loved each other more purely, more
strongly, more enthusiastically, than they had ever done at any former
period of their eventful history. Over the hardest stone, as over the
softest turf, the green moss will force its verdure and sustain its life!



       Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
       For Sorrow's eye, glazed with blinding tears,
       Divides one thing entire to many objects.
          . . . . . . . . . . . . .
             [Hope] is a flatterer,
       A parasite, a keeper back of death;
       Who gently would dissolve the bands of death
       Which false Hope lingers in extremity?
                 --Richard II.

It was the evening before the trial. Lester and his daughters lodged at a
retired and solitary house in the suburbs of the town of York; and
thither, from the village some miles distant, in which he had chosen his
own retreat, Walter now proceeded across fields laden with the ripening
corn. The last and the richest month of summer had commenced, but the
harvest was not yet begun, and deep and golden showed the vegetation of
life, bedded among the dark verdure of the hedge-rows, and "the merrie
woods!" The evening was serene and lulled; at a distance arose the spires
and chimneys of the town, but no sound from the busy hum of men reached
the ear. Nothing perhaps gives a more entire idea of stillness than the
sight of those abodes where "noise dwelleth," but where you cannot now
hear even its murmurs. The stillness of a city is far more impressive
than that of Nature; for the mind instantly compares the present silence
with the wonted uproar. The harvest-moon rose slowly from a copse of
gloomy firs, and diffused its own unspeakable magic into the hush and
transparency of the night. As Walter walked slowly on, the sound of
voices from some rustic party going homeward, broke jocundly on the
silence, and when he paused for a moment at the stile, from which he
first caught a glimpse of Lester's house, he saw, winding along the green
hedgerow, some village pair, the "lover and the maid," who could meet
only at such hours, and to whom such hours were therefore especially
dear. It was altogether a scene of pure and true pastoral character, and
there was all around a semblance of tranquillity, of happiness, which
suits with the poetical and the scriptural paintings of a pastoral life;
and which perhaps, in a new and fertile country, may still find a
realization. From this scene, from these thoughts, the young loiterer
turned with a sigh towards the solitary house in which this night could
awaken none but the most anxious feelings, and that moon could beam only
on the most troubled hearts.

       "Terra salutiferas herbas, eademque nocentes
       Nutrit; et urticae proxima saepe rosa est."

He now walked more quickly on, as if stung by his reflections, and
avoiding the path which led to the front of the house, gained a little
garden at the rear, and opening a gate that admitted to a narrow and
shaded walk, over which the linden and nut trees made a sort of
continuous and natural arbour, the moon, piercing at broken intervals
through the boughs, rested on the form of Ellinor Lester.

"This is most kind, most like my own sweet cousin," said Walter
approaching; "I cannot say how fearful I was, lest you should not meet me
after all."

"Indeed, Walter," replied Ellinor, "I found some difficulty in concealing
your note, which was given me in Madeline's presence; and still more, in
stealing out unobserved by her, for she has been, as you may well
conceive, unusually restless the whole of this agonizing day. Ah, Walter,
would to God you had never left us!"

"Rather say," rejoined Walter--"that this unhappy man, against whom my
father's ashes still seem to me to cry aloud, had never come into our
peaceful and happy valley! Then you would not have reproached me, that I
have sought justice on a suspected murderer; nor I have longed for death
rather than, in that justice, have inflicted such distress and horror on
those whom I love the best!"

"What! Walter, you yet believe--you are yet convinced that Eugene Aram is
the real criminal?"

"Let to-morrow shew," answered Walter. "But poor, poor Madeline! How does
she bear up against this long suspense? You know I have not seen her for

"Oh! Walter," said Ellinor, weeping bitterly, "you would not know her, so
dreadfully is she altered. I fear--" (here sobs choaked the sister's
voice, so as to leave it scarcely audible)--"that she is not many weeks
for this world!"

"Great God! is it so?" exclaimed Walter, so shocked, that the tree
against which he leant scarcely preserved him from falling to the ground,
as the thousand remembrances of his first love rushed upon his heart.
"And Providence singled me out of the whole world, to strike this blow!"

Despite her own grief, Ellinor was touched and smitten by the violent
emotion of her cousin; and the two young persons, lovers--though love was
at this time the least perceptible feeling of their breasts--mingled
their emotions, and sought, at least to console and cheer each other.

"It may yet be better than our fears," said Ellinor, soothingly. "Eugene
may be found guiltless, and in that joy we may forget all the past."

Walter shook his head despondingly. "Your heart, Ellinor, was always kind
to me. You now are the only one to do me justice, and to see how utterly
reproachless I am for all the misery the crime of another occasions. But
my uncle--him, too, I have not seen for some time: is he well?"

"Yes, Walter, yes," said Ellinor, kindly disguising the real truth, how
much her father's vigorous frame had been bowed by his state of mind.
"And I, you see," added she, with a faint attempt to smile,--"I am, in
health at least, the same as when, this time last year, we were all happy
and full of hope."

Walter looked hard upon that face, once so vivid with the rich colour and
the buoyant and arch expression of liveliness and youth, now pale,
subdued, and worn by the traces of constant tears; and, pressing his hand
convulsively on his heart, turned away.

"But can I not see my uncle?" said he, after a pause.

"He is not at home: he has gone to the Castle," replied Ellinor.

"I shall meet him, then, on his way home," returned Walter. "But,
Ellinor, there is surely no truth in a vague rumour which I heard in the
town, that Madeline intends to be present at the trial to-morrow."

"Indeed, I fear that she will. Both my father and myself have sought
strongly and urgently to dissuade her; but in vain. You know, with all
that gentleness, how resolute she is when her mind is once determined on
any object."

"But if the verdict should be against the prisoner, in her state of
health consider how terrible would be the shock!--Nay, even the joy of
acquittal might be equally dangerous--for Heaven's sake! do not suffer

"What is to be done, Walter?" said Ellinor, wringing her hands. "We
cannot help it. My father has, at last, forbid me to contradict the wish.
Contradiction, the physician himself says, might be as fatal as
concession can be. And my father adds, in a stern, calm voice, which it
breaks my heart to hear, 'Be still, Ellinor. If the innocent is to
perish, the sooner she joins him the better: I would then have all my
ties on the other side the grave!'"

"How that strange man seems to have fascinated you all!" said Walter,

Ellinor did not answer: over her the fascination had never been to an
equal degree with the rest of her family.

"Ellinor!" said Walter, who had been walking for the last few moments to
and fro with the rapid strides of a man debating with himself, and who
now suddenly paused, and laid his hand on his cousin's arm--"Ellinor! I
am resolved. I must, for the quiet of my soul, I must see Madeline this
night, and win her forgiveness for all I have been made the unintentional
agent of Providence to bring upon her. The peace of my future life may
depend on this single interview. What if Aram be condemned--and--and--in
short, it is no matter--I must see her."

"She would not hear of it, I fear," said Ellinor, in alarm. "Indeed, you
cannot--you do not know her state of mind."

"Ellinor!" said Walter, doggedly, "I am resolved." And so saying, he
moved towards the house.

"Well, then," said Ellinor, whose nerves had been greatly shattered by
the scenes and sorrow of the last several months, "if it must be so, wait
at least till I have gone in, and consulted or prepared her."

"As you will, my gentlest, kindest cousin; I know your prudence and
affection. I leave you to obtain me this interview; you can, and will, I
am convinced."

"Do not be sanguine, Walter. I can only promise to use my best
endeavours," answered Ellinor, blushing as he kissed her hand; and,
hurrying up the walk, she disappeared within the house.

Walter walked for some moments about the alley in which Ellinor had left
him, but growing impatient, he at length wound through the overhanging
trees, and the house stood immediately before him,--the moonlight shining
full on the window-panes, and sleeping in quiet shadow over the green
turf in front. He approached yet nearer, and through one of the windows,
by a single light in the room, he saw Ellinor leaning over a couch, on
which a form reclined, that his heart, rather than his sight, told him
was his once-adored Madeline. He stopped, and his breath heaved
thick;--he thought of their common home at Grassdale--of the old
Manor-house--of the little parlour with the woodbine at its casement--of
the group within, once so happy and light-hearted, of which he had
formerly made the one most buoyant, and not least-loved. And now this
strange--this desolate house--himself estranged from all once regarding
him,--(and those broken-hearted,)--this night ushering what a morrow!--he
groaned almost aloud, and retreated once more into the shadow of the
trees. In a few minutes the door at the right of the building opened, and
Ellinor came forth with a quick step.

"Come in, dear Walter," said she; "Madeline has consented to see
you--nay, when I told her you were here, and desired an interview, she
paused but for one instant, and then begged me to admit you."

"God bless her!" said poor Walter, drawing his hand across his eyes, and
following Ellinor to the door.

"You will find her greatly changed!" whispered Ellinor, as they gained
the outer hall; "be prepared!"

Walter did not reply, save by an expressive gesture; and Ellinor led him
into a room, which communicated, by one of those glass doors often to be
seen in the old-fashioned houses of country towns, with the one in which
he had previously seen Madeline. With a noiseless step, and almost
holding his breath, he followed his fair guide through this apartment,
and he now stood by the couch on which Madeline still reclined. She held
out her hand to him--he pressed it to his lips, without daring to look
her in the face; and after a moment's pause, she said--

"So, you wished to see me, Walter! It is an anxious night this for all of

"For all!" repeated Walter, emphatically; and for me not the least!"

"We have known some sad days since we last met!" renewed Madeline; and
there was another, and an embarrassed pause.

"Madeline--dearest Madeline!" said Walter, at length dropping on his
knee; "you, whom while I was yet a boy, I so fondly, passionately
loved;--you, who yet are--who, while I live, ever will be, so
inexpressibly dear to me--say but one word to me on this uncertain and
dreadful epoch of our fate--say but one word to me--say you feel you are
conscious that throughout these terrible events I have not been to
blame--I have not willingly brought this affliction upon our house--least
of all upon that heart which my own would have forfeited its best blood
to preserve from the slightest evil;--or, if you will not do me this
justice, say at least that you forgive me!"

"I forgive you, Walter! I do you justice, my cousin!" replied Madeline,
with energy; and raising herself on her arm. "It is long since I have
felt how unreasonable it was to throw any blame upon you--the mere and
passive instrument of fate. If I have forborne to see you, it was not
from an angry feeling, but from a reluctant weakness. God bless and
preserve you, my dear cousin! I know that your own heart has bled as
profusely as ours; and it was but this day that I told my father, if we
never met again, to express to you some kind message as a last memorial
from me. Don't weep, Walter! It is a fearful thing to see men weep! It is
only once that I have seen him weep,--that was long, long ago! He has no
tears in the hour of dread and danger. But no matter, this is a bad
world, Walter, and I am tired of it. Are not you? Why do you look so at
me, Ellinor? I am not mad! Has she told you that I am, Walter? Don't
believe her! Look at me! I am calm and collected! Yet to-morrow is--O
God! O God!--if--if!--"

Madeline covered her face with her hands, and became suddenly silent,
though only for a short time; when she again lifted up her eyes, they
encountered those of Walter; as through those blinding and agonised
tears, which are only wrung from the grief of manhood, he gazed upon that
face on which nothing of herself, save the divine and unearthly
expression which had always characterised her loveliness, was left.

"Yes, Walter, I am wearing fast away--fast beyond the power of chance!
Thank God, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, if the worst happen,
we cannot be divided long. Ere another Sabbath has passed, I may be with
him in Paradise! What cause shall we then have for regret?"

Ellinor flung herself on her sister's neck, sobbing violently.--"Yes, we
shall regret you are not with us, Ellinor; but you will also soon grow
tired of the world; it is a sad place--it is a wicked place--it is full
of snares and pitfalls. In our walk to-day lies our destruction for
to-morrow! You will find this soon, Ellinor! And you, and my father, and
Walter, too, shall join us! Hark! the clock strikes! By this time
to-morrow night, what triumph!--or to me at least (sinking her voice into
a whisper, that thrilled through the very bones of her listeners) what

Happily for all parties, this distressing scene was here interrupted.
Lester entered the room with the heavy step into which his once elastic
and cheerful tread had subsided.

"Ha, Walter!" said he, irresolutely glancing over the group; but Madeline
had already sprang from her seat.

"You have seen him!--you have seen him! And how does he--how does he
look? But that I know; I know his brave heart does not sink. And what
message does he send to me? And--and--tell me all, my father: quick,

"Dear, miserable child!--and miserable old man!" muttered Lester, folding
her in his arms; "but we ought to take courage and comfort from him,
Madeline. A hero, on the eve of battle, could not be more firm--even more
cheerful. He smiled often--his old smile; and he only left tears and
anxiety to us. But of you, Madeline, we spoke mostly: he would scarcely
let me say a word on any thing else. Oh, what a kind heart!--what a noble
spirit! And perhaps a chance tomorrow may quench both. But, God! be just,
and let the avenging lightning fall on the real criminal, and not blast
the innocent man!"

"Amen!" said Madeline deeply.

"Amen!" repeated Walter, laying his hand on his heart.

"Let us pray!" exclaimed Lester, animated by a sudden impulse, and
falling on his knees. The whole group followed his example; and Lester,
in a trembling and impassioned voice, poured forth an extempore prayer,
that Justice might fall only where it was due. Never did that majestic
and pausing Moon, which filled that lowly room as with the presence of a
spirit, witness a more impressive adjuration, or an audience more
absorbed and rapt. Full streamed its holy rays upon the now snowy locks
and upward countenance of Lester, making his venerable person more
striking from the contrast it afforded to the dark and sunburnt
cheek--the energetic features, and chivalric and earnest head of the
young man beside him. Just in the shadow, the raven locks of Ellinor were
bowed over her clasped hands,--nothing of her face visible; the graceful
neck and heaving breast alone distinguished from the shadow;--and, hushed
in a death-like and solemn repose, the parted lips moving inaudibly; the
eye fixed on vacancy; the wan transparent hands, crossed upon her bosom;
the light shone with a more softened and tender ray upon the faded but
all-angelic form and countenance of her, for whom Heaven was already
preparing its eternal recompense for the ills of Earth!


       "Equal to either fortune."--Speech of Eugene Aram.

A thought comes over us, sometimes, in our career of pleasure, or the
troublous exultation of our ambitious pursuits; a thought come over us,
like a cloud, that around us and about us Death--Shame--Crime--Despair,
are busy at their work. I have read somewhere of an enchanted land, where
the inmates walked along voluptuous gardens, and built palaces, and heard
music, and made merry; while around, and within, the land, were deep
caverns, where the gnomes and the fiends dwelt: and ever and anon their
groans and laughter, and the sounds of their unutterable toils, or
ghastly revels, travelled to the upper air, mixing in an awful
strangeness with the summer festivity and buoyant occupation of those
above. And this is the picture of human life! These reflections of the
maddening disparities of the world are dark, but salutary:--

   "They wrap our thoughts at banquets in the shroud;" [Young.]

but we are seldom sadder without being also wiser men!

The third of August 1759 rose bright, calm, and clear: it was the morning
of the trial; and when Ellinor stole into her sister's room, she found
Madeline sitting before the glass, and braiding her rich locks with an
evident attention and care.

"I wish," said she, "that you had pleased me by dressing as for a
holiday. See, I am going to wear the dress I was to have been married

Ellinor shuddered; for what is more appalling than to find the signs of
gaiety accompanying the reality of anguish!

"Yes," continued Madeline, with a smile of inexpressible sweetness, "a
little reflection will convince you that this day ought not to be one of
mourning. It was the suspense that has so worn out our hearts. If he is
acquitted, as we all believe and trust, think how appropriate will be the
outward seeming of our joy! If not, why I shall go before him to our
marriage home, and in marriage garments. Ay," she added after a moment's
pause, and with a much more grave, settled, and intense expression of
voice and countenance--"ay; do you remember how Eugene once told us, that
if we went at noonday to the bottom of a deep pit, [Note: The remark is
in Aristotle. Buffon quotes it, with his usual adroit felicity, in, I
think, the first volume of his great work.] we should be able to see the
stars, which on the level ground are invisible. Even so, from the depths
of grief--worn, wretched, seared, and dying--the blessed apparitions and
tokens of Heaven make themselves visible to our eyes. And I know--I have
seen--I feel here," pressing her hand on her heart, "that my course is
run; a few sands only are left in the glass. Let us waste them bravely.
Stay, Ellinor! You see these poor withered rose-leaves: Eugene gave them
to me the day before--before that fixed for our marriage. I shall wear
them to-day, as I would have worn them on the wedding-day. When he
gathered the poor flower, how fresh it was; and I kissed off the dew: now
see it! But, come, come; this is trifling: we must not be late. Help me,
Nell, help me: come, bustle, quick, quick! Nay, be not so slovenly; I
told you I would be dressed with care to-day."

And when Madeline was dressed, though the robe sat loose and in large
folds over her shrunken form, yet, as she stood erect, and looked with a
smile that saddened Ellinor more than tears at her image in the glass,
perhaps her beauty never seemed of a more striking and lofty
character,--she looked indeed, a bride, but the bride of no earthly
nuptials. Presently they heard an irresolute and trembling step at the
door, and Lester knocking, asked if they were prepared.

"Come in, father," said Madeline, in a calm and even cheerful voice; and
the old man entered.

He cast a silent glance over Madeline's white dress, and then at his own,
which was deep mourning: the glance said volumes, and its meaning was not
marred by words from any one of the three.

"Yes, father," said Madeline, breaking the pause,--"We are all ready. Is
the carriage here?"

"It is at the door, my child."

"Come then, Ellinor, come!"--and leaning on her arm, Madeline walked
towards the door. When she got to the threshold, she paused, and looked
round the room.

"What is it you want?" asked Ellinor.

"I was but bidding all here farewell," replied Madeline, in a soft and
touching voice: "And now before we leave the house, Father,--Sister, one
word with you;--you have ever been very, very kind to me, and most of all
in this bitter trial, when I must have taxed your patience sadly--for I
know all is not right here, (touching her forehead)--I cannot go forth
this day without thanking you. Ellinor, my dearest friend--my fondest
sister--my playmate in gladness--my comforter in grief--my nurse in
sickness;--since we were little children, we have talked together, and
laughed together, and wept together, and though we knew all the thoughts
of each other, we have never known one thoughts that we would have
concealed from God;--and now we are going to part?--do not stop me, it
must be so, I know it. But, after a little while may you be happy again,
not so buoyant as you have been, that can never be, but still happy!--You
are formed for love and home, and for those ties you once thought would
be mine. God grant that I may have suffered for us both, and that when we
meet hereafter, you may tell me you have been happy here!"

"But you, father," added Madeline, tearing herself from the neck of her
weeping sister, and sinking on her knees before Lester, who leaned
against the wall convulsed with his emotions, and covering his face with
his hands--"but you,--what can I say to you?--You, who have never,--no,
not in my first childhood, said one harsh word to me--who have sunk all a
father's authority in a father's love,--how can I say all that I feel for
you?--the grateful overflowing, (paining, yet--oh, how sweet!)
remembrances which crowd around and suffocate me now?--The time will come
when Ellinor and Ellinor's children must be all in all to you--when of
your poor Madeline nothing will be left but a memory; but they, they will
watch on you and tend you, and protect your grey hairs from sorrow, as I
might once have hoped I also was fated to do."

"My child! my child! you break my heart!" faltered forth at last the poor
old man, who till now had in vain endeavoured to speak.

"Give me your blessing, dear father," said Madeline, herself overcome by
her feelings;--"Put your hand on my head and bless me--and say, that if I
have ever unconsciously given you a moment's pain--I am forgiven!"

"Forgiven!" repeated Lester, raising his daughter with weak and trembling
arms as his tears fell fast upon her cheek,--"Never did I feel what an
angel had sate beside my hearth till now!--But be comforted--be cheered.
What, if Heaven had reserved its crowning mercy till this day, and Eugene
be amongst us, free, acquitted, triumphant before the night!"

"Ha!" said Madeline, as if suddenly roused by the thought into new
life:--"Ha! let us hasten to find your words true. Yes! yes!--if it
should be so--if it should. And," added she, in a hollow voice, (the
enthusiasm checked,) "if it were not for my dreams, I might believe it
would be so:--But--come--I am ready now!"

The carriage went slowly through the crowd that the fame of the
approaching trial had gathered along the streets, but the blinds were
drawn down, and the father and daughter escaped that worst of tortures,
the curious gaze of strangers on distress. Places had been kept for them
in court, and as they left the carriage and entered the fatal spot, the
venerable figure of Lester, and the trembling and veiled forms that clung
to him, arrested all eyes. They at length gained their seats, and it was
not long before a bustle in the court drew off attention from them. A
buzz, a murmur, a movement, a dread pause! Houseman was first arraigned
on his former indictment, acquitted, and admitted evidence against Aram,
who was thereupon arraigned. The prisoner stood at the bar! Madeline
gasped for breath, and clung, with a convulsive motion, to her sister's
arm. But presently, with a long sigh she recovered her self-possession,
and sat quiet and silent, fixing her eyes upon Aram's countenance; and
the aspect of that countenance was well calculated to sustain her
courage, and to mingle a sort of exulting pride, with all the strained
and fearful acuteness of her sympathy. Something, indeed, of what he had
suffered, was visible in the prisoner's features; the lines around the
mouth in which mental anxiety generally the most deeply writes its
traces, were grown marked and furrowed; grey hairs were here and there
scattered amongst the rich and long luxuriance of the dark brown locks,
and as, before his imprisonment, he had seemed considerably younger than
he was, so now time had atoned for its past delay, and he might have
appeared to have told more years than had really gone over his head; but
the remarkable light and beauty of his eye was undimmed as ever, and
still the broad expanse of his forehead retained its unwrinkled surface
and striking expression of calmness and majesty. High, self-collected,
serene, and undaunted, he looked upon the crowd, the scene, the judge,
before and around him; and, even among those who believed him guilty,
that involuntary and irresistible respect which moral firmness always
produces on the mind, forced an unwilling interest in his fate, and even
a reluctant hope of his acquittal.

Houseman was called upon. No one could regard his face without a certain
mistrust and inward shudder. In men prone to cruelty, it has generally
been remarked, that there is an animal expression strongly prevalent in
the countenance. The murderer and the lustful man are often alike in the
physical structure. The bull-throat--the thick lips--the receding
forehead--the fierce restless eye--which some one or other says reminds
you of the buffalo in the instant before he becomes dangerous, are the
outward tokens of the natural animal unsoftened--unenlightened
--unredeemed--consulting only the immediate desires of his nature,
whatever be the passion (lust or revenge) to which they prompt. And this
animal expression, the witness of his character, was especially wrought,
if we may use the word, in House-man's rugged and harsh features;
rendered, if possible, still more remarkable at that time by a mixture
of sullenness and timidity. The conviction that his own life was saved,
could not prevent remorse at his treachery in accusing his comrade--a
sort of confused principle of which villains are the most susceptible,
when every other honest sentiment has deserted them.

With a low, choked, and sometimes a faltering tone, Houseman deposed,
that, in the night between the 7th and 8th of January 1744-5, sometime
before 11 o'clock, he went to Aram's house--that they conversed on
different matters--that he stayed there about an hour--that some three
hours afterwards he passed, in company with Clarke, by Aram's house, and
Aram was outside the door, as if he were about to return home--that Aram
invited them both to come in--that they did so--that Clarke, who intended
to leave the town before day-break, in order, it was acknowledged, to
make secretly away with certain property in his possession, was about to
quit the house, when Aram proposed to accompany him out of the town--that
he (Aram) and Houseman then went forth with Clarke--that when they came
into the field where St. Robert's Cave is, Aram and Clarke went into it,
over the hedge, and when they came within six or eight yards off the
Cave, he saw them quarrelling--that he saw Aram strike Clarke several
times, upon which Clarke fell, and he never saw him rise again--that he
saw no instrument Aram had, and knew not that he had any--that upon this,
without any interposition or alarm, he left them and returned home--that
the next morning he went to Aram's house, and asked what business he had
with Clarke last night, and what he had done with him? Aram replied not
to this question; but threatened him, if he spoke of his being in
Clarke's company that night; vowing revenge either by himself or some
other person if he mentioned any thing relating to the affair. This was
the sum of Houseman's evidence.

A Mr. Beckwith was next called, who deposed that Aram's garden had been
searched, owing to a vague suspicion that he might have been an
accomplice in the frauds of Clarke--that some parts of clothing, and also
some pieces of cambric which he had sold to Clarke a little while before,
were found there.

The third witness was the watchman, Thomas Barnet, who deposed, that
before midnight (it might be a little after eleven) he saw a person come
out from Aram's house, who had a wide coat on, with the cape about his
head, and seemed to shun him; whereupon he went up to him, and put by the
cape of his great coat, and perceived it to be Richard Houseman. He
contented himself with wishing him good night.

The officers who executed the warrant then gave their evidence as to the
arrest, and dwelt on some expressions dropped by Aram before he arrived
at Knaresbro', which, however, were felt to be wholly unimportant.

After this evidence there was a short pause;--and then a shiver, that
recoil and tremor which men feel at any exposition of the relics of the
dead, ran through the court; for the next witness was mute--it was the
skull of the Deceased! On the left side there was a fracture, that from
the nature of it seemed as it could only have been made by the stroke of
some blunt instrument. The piece was broken, and could not be replaced
but from within.

The surgeon, Mr. Locock, who produced it, gave it as his opinion that no
such breach could proceed from natural decay--that it was not a recent
fracture by the instrument with which it was dug up, but seemed to be of
many years' standing.

This made the chief part of the evidence against Aram; the minor points
we have omitted, and also such as, like that of Aram's hostess, would
merely have repeated what the reader knew before.

And now closed the criminatory evidence--and now the prisoner was asked,
in that peculiarly thrilling and awful question--What he had to say in
his own behalf? Till now, Aram had not changed his posture or his
countenance--his dark and piercing eye had for one instant fixed on each
witness that appeared against him, and then dropped its gaze upon the
ground. But at this moment a faint hectic flushed his cheek, and he
seemed to gather and knit himself up for defence. He glanced round the
court, as if to see what had been the impression created against him. His
eye rested on the grey locks of Rowland Lester, who, looking down, had
covered his face with his hands. But beside that venerable form was the
still and marble face of Madeline; and even at that distance from him,
Aram perceived how intent was the hush and suspense of her emotions. But
when she caught his eye--that eye which even at such a moment beamed
unutterable love, pity, regret for her--a wild, a convulsive smile of
encouragement, of anticipated triumph, broke the repose of her colourless
features, and suddenly dying away, left her lips apart, in that
expression which the great masters of old, faithful to Nature, give alike
to the struggle of hope and the pause of terror.

"My Lord," began Aram, in that remarkable defence still extant, and still
considered as wholly unequalled from the lips of one defending his own,
and such a, cause;--"My Lord, I know not whether it is of right, or
through some indulgence of your Lordship, that I am allowed the liberty
at this bar, and at this time, to attempt a defence; incapable and
uninstructed as I am to speak. Since, while I see so many eyes upon me,
so numerous and awful a concourse, fixed with attention, and filled with
I know not what expectancy, I labour, not with guilt, my Lord, but with
perplexity. For, having never seen a court but this, being wholly
unacquainted with law, the customs of the bar, and all judiciary
proceedings, I fear I shall be so little capable of speaking with
propriety, that it might reasonably be expected to exceed my hope, should
I be able to speak at all.

"I have heard, my Lord, the indictment read, wherein I find myself
charged with the highest of human crimes. You will grant me then your
patience, if I, single and unskilful, destitute of friends, and
unassisted by counsel, attempt something perhaps like argument in my
defence. What I have to say will be but short, and that brevity may be
the best part of it.

"My Lord, the tenor of my life contradicts this indictment. Who can look
back over what is known of my former years, and charge me with one
vice--one offence? No! I concerted not schemes of fraud--projected no
violence--injured no man's property or person. My days were honestly
laborious--my nights intensely studious. This egotism is not
presumptuous--is not unreasonable. What man, after a temperate use of
life, a series of thinking and acting regularly, without one single
deviation from a sober and even tenor of conduct, ever plunged into the
depth of crime precipitately, and at once? Mankind are not
instantaneously corrupted. Villainy is always progressive. We decline
from right--not suddenly, but step after step.

"If my life in general contradicts the indictment, my health at that time
in particular contradicts it yet more. A little time before, I had been
confined to my bed, I had suffered under a long and severe disorder. The
distemper left me but slowly, and in part. So far from being well at the
time I am charged with this fact, I never, to this day, perfectly
recovered. Could a person in this condition execute violence against
another?--I, feeble and valetudinary, with no inducement to engage--no
ability to accomplish--no weapon wherewith to perpetrate such a
fact;--without interest, without power, without motives, without means!

"My Lord, Clarke disappeared: true; but is that a proof of his death? The
fallibility of all conclusions of such a sort, from such a circumstance,
is too obvious to require instances. One instance is before you: this
very castle affords it.

"In June 1757, William Thompson, amidst all the vigilance of this place,
in open daylight, and double-ironed, made his escape; notwithstanding an
immediate inquiry set on foot, notwithstanding all advertisements, all
search, he was never seen or heard of since. If this man escaped unseen
through all these difficulties, how easy for Clarke, whom no difficulties
opposed. Yet what would be thought of a prosecution commenced against any
one seen last with Thompson?

"These bones are discovered! Where? Of all places in the world, can we
think of any one, except indeed the church-yard, where there is so great
a certainty of finding human bones, as a hermitage? In times past, the
hermitage was a place, not only of religious retirement, but of burial.
And it has scarce, or never been heard of, but that every cell now known,
contains, or contained these relics of humanity; some mutilated--some
entire! Give me leave to remind your Lordship, that here sat SOLITARY
SANCTITY, and here the hermit and the anchorite hoped that repose for
their bones when dead, they here enjoyed when living. I glance over a few
of the many evidences that these cells were used as repositories of the
dead, and enumerate a few of the many caves similar in origin to St.
Robert's, in which human bones have been found." Here the prisoner
instanced, with remarkable felicity, several places, in which bones had
been found, under circumstances, and in spots analogous to those in
point. [Note: See his published defence.] And the reader, who will
remember that it is the great principle of the law, that no man can be
condemned for murder unless the body of the deceased be found, will
perceive at once how important this point was to the prisoner's defence.
After concluding his instances with two facts of skeletons found in
fields in the vicinity of Knaresbro', he burst forth--"Is then the
invention of those bones forgotten or industriously concealed, that the
discovery of these in question may appear the more extraordinary?
Extraordinary--yet how common an event! Every place conceals such
remains. In fields--in hills--in high-way sides--on wastes--on commons,
lie frequent and unsuspected bones. And mark,--no example perhaps occurs
of more than one skeleton being found in one cell. Here you find but one,
agreeable to the peculiarity of every known cell in Britain. Had two
skeletons been discovered, then alone might the fact have seemed
suspicious and uncommon. What! Have we forgotten how difficult, as in the
case of Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Symnell, it has been sometimes to
identify the living; and shall we now assign personality to bones--bones
which may belong to either sex? How know you that this is even the
skeleton of a man? But another skeleton was discovered by some labourer!
Was not that skeleton averred to be Clarke's full as confidently as this?

"My Lord, my Lord--must some of the living be made answerable for all the
bones that earth has concealed and chance exposed? The skull that has
been produced, has been declared fractured. But who can surely tell
whether it was the cause or the consequence of death. In May, 1732 the
remains of William Lord Archbishop of this province were taken up by
permission in their cathedral, the bones of the skull were found broken
as these are. Yet he died by no violence! by no blow that could have
caused that fracture. Let it be considered how easily the fracture on the
skull produced is accounted for. At the dissolution of religious houses,
the ravages of the times affected both the living and the dead. In search
after imaginary treasures, coffins were broken, graves and vaults dug
open, monuments ransacked, shrines demolished, Parliament itself was
called in to restrain these violations. And now are the depredations, the
iniquities of those times, to be visited on this? But here, above all,
was a castle vigorously besieged; every spot around was the scene of a
sally, a conflict, a flight, a pursuit. Where the slaughtered fell, there
were they buried. What place is not burial earth in war? How many bones
must still remain in the vicinity of that siege, for futurity to
discover! Can you, then, with so many probable circumstances, choose the
one least probable? Can you impute to the living what Zeal in its fury
may have done; what Nature may have taken off and Piety interred, or what
War alone may have destroyed, alone deposited?

"And now, glance over the circumstantial evidence, how weak, how frail! I
almost scorn to allude to it. I will not condescend to dwell upon it. The
witness of one man, arraigned himself! Is there no chance that to save
his own life he might conspire against mine?--no chance that he might
have committed this murder, if murder hath indeed been done? that
conscience betrayed to his first exclamation? that craft suggested his
throwing that guilt on me, to the knowledge of which he had unwittingly
confessed? He declares that he saw me strike Clarke, that he saw him
fall; yet he utters no cry, no reproof. He calls for no aid; he returns
quietly home; he declares that he knows not what became of the body, yet
he tells where the body is laid. He declares that he went straight home,
and alone; yet the woman with whom I lodged declares that Houseman and I
returned to my house in company together;--what evidence is this? and
from whom does it come?--ask yourselves. As for the rest of the evidence,
what does it amount to? The watchman sees Houseman leave my house at
night. What more probable, but what less connected with the murder, real
or supposed, of Clarke? Some pieces of clothing are found buried in my
garden. But how can it be shewn that they belonged to Clarke? Who can
swear to, who can prove any thing so vague? And if found there, even if
belonging to Clarke, what proof that they were there deposited by me? How
likely that the real criminal may in the dead of night have preferred any
spot, rather than that round his own home, to conceal the evidence of his

"How impotent such evidence as this! and how poor, how precarious, even
the strongest of mere circumstantial evidence invariably is! Let it rise
to probability, to the strongest degree of probability; it is but
probability still. Recollect the case of the two Harrisons, recorded by
Dr. Howell; both suffered on circumstantial evidence on account of the
disappearance of a man, who, like Clarke, contracted debts, borrowed
money, and went off unseen. And this man returned several years after
their execution. Why remind you of Jaques du Moulin, in the reign of
Charles the Second?--why of the unhappy Coleman, convicted, though
afterwards found innocent, and whose children perished for want, because
the world believed the father guilty? Why should I mention the perjury of
Smith, who, admitted king's-evidence, screened himself by accusing
Fainloth and Loveday of the murder of Dunn? the first was executed, the
second was about to share the same fate, when the perjury of Smith was
incontrovertibly proved.

"And now, my Lord, having endeavoured to shew that the whole of this
charge is altogether repugnant to every part of my life; that it is
inconsistent with my condition of health about that time; that no
rational inference of the death of a person can be drawn from his
disappearance; that hermitages were the constant repositories of the
bones of the recluse; that the proofs of these are well authenticated;
that the revolutions in religion, or the fortune of war, have mangled or
buried the dead; that the strongest circumstantial evidence is often
lamentably fallacious, that in my case, that evidence, so far from being
strong, is weak, disconnected, contradictory; what remains? A conclusion,
perhaps, no less reasonably than impatiently wished for. I, at last,
after nearly a year's confinement, equal to either fortune, entrust
myself to the candour, the justice, the humanity of your Lordship, and to
yours, my countrymen, gentlemen of the jury."

The prisoner ceased: and the painful and choking sensations of sympathy,
compassion, regret, admiration, all uniting, all mellowing into one
fearful hope for his acquittal, made themselves felt through the crowded

In two persons only, an uneasy sentiment remained--a sentiment that the
prisoner had not completed that which they would have asked from him. The
one was Lester;--he had expected a more warm, a more earnest, though,
perhaps, a less ingenious and artful defence. He had expected Aram to
dwell far more on the improbable and contradictory evidence of Houseman,
and above all, to have explained away, all that was still left
unaccounted for in his acquaintance with Clarke (as we will still call
the deceased), and the allegation that he had gone out with him on the
fatal night of the disappearance of the latter. At every word of the
prisoner's defence, he had waited almost breathlessly, in the hope that
the next sentence would begin an explanation or a denial on this point:
and when Aram ceased, a chill, a depression, a disappointment, remained
vaguely on his mind. Yet so lightly and so haughtily had Aram approached
and glanced over the immediate evidence of the witnesses against him,
that his silence her might have been but the natural result of a disdain,
that belonged essentially to his calm and proud character. The other
person we referred to, and whom his defence had not impressed with a
belief in its truth, equal to an admiration for its skill, was one far
more important in deciding the prisoner's fate--it was the Judge!

But Madeline--Great God! how sanguine is a woman's heart, when the
innocence, the fate of the one she loves is concerned!--a radiant flush
broke over a face so colourless before; and with a joyous look, a kindled
eye, a lofty brow, she turned to Ellinor, pressed her hand in silence,
and once more gave up her whole soul to the dread procedure of the court.

The Judge now began.--It is greatly to be regretted, that we have no
minute and detailed memorial of the trial, except only the prisoner's
defence. The summing up of the Judge was considered at that time scarce
less remarkable than the speech of the prisoner. He stated the evidence
with peculiar care and at great length to the jury. He observed how the
testimony of the other deponents confirmed that of Houseman; and then,
touching on the contradictory parts of the latter, he made them
understand, how natural, how inevitable was some such contradiction in a
witness who had not only to give evidence against another, but to refrain
from criminating himself. There could be no doubt but that Houseman was
an accomplice in the crime; and all therefore that seemed improbable in
his giving no alarm when the deed was done, was easily rendered natural,
and reconcileable with the other parts of his evidence. Commenting then
on the defence of the prisoner (who, as if disdaining to rely on aught
save his own genius or his own innocence, had called no witnesses, as he
had employed no counsel), and eulogizing its eloquence and art, till he
destroyed their effect by guarding the jury against that impression which
eloquence and art produce in defiance of simple fact, he contended that
Aram had yet alleged nothing to invalidate the positive evidence against

I have often heard, from men accustomed to courts of law, that nothing is
more marvellous, than the sudden change in a jury's mind, which the
summing up of the Judge can produce; and in the present instance it was
like magic. That fatal look of a common intelligence, of a common assent,
was exchanged among the doomers of the prisoner's life and death as the
Judge concluded.

They found the prisoner guilty.

The Judge drew on the black cap.



                 "Lay her i' the earth,
          And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
          May violets spring."
             . . . . . . . . . . .
          "See in my heart there was a kind of fighting

          That would not let me sleep."

"Bear with me a little longer," said Madeline. "I shall be well, quite
well presently."

Ellinor let down the carriage window, to admit the air; and she took the
occasion to tell the coachman to drive faster. There was that change in
Madeline's voice which alarmed her.

"How noble was his look! you saw him smile!" continued Madeline, talking
to herself: "And they will murder him after all. Let me see, this day
week, ay, ere this day week we shall meet again."

"Faster; for God's sake, Ellinor, tell them to drive faster!" cried
Lester, as he felt the form that leant on his bosom wax heavier and
heavier. They sped on; the house was in sight; that lonely and cheerless
house; not their sweet home at Grassdale, with the ivy round its porch,
and the quiet church behind. The sun was setting slowly, and Ellinor drew
the blind to shade the glare from her sister's eyes.

Madeline felt the kindness, and smiled. Ellinor wiped her eyes, and tried
to smile again. The carriage stopped, and Madeline was lifted out; she
stood, supported by her father and Ellinor, for a moment on the
threshold. She looked on the golden sun, and the gentle earth, and the
little motes dancing in the western ray--all was steeped in quiet, and
full of the peace and tranquillity of the pastoral life! "No, no," she
muttered, grasping her father's hand. "How is this? this is not his hand!
Ah, no, no; I am not with him! Father," she added in a louder and deeper
voice, rising from his breast, and standing alone and unaided. "Father,
bury this little packet with me, they are his letters; do not break the
seal, and--and tell him that I never felt how deeply I--I--loved
him--till all--the world--had--deserted him!"--

She uttered a faint cry of pain, and fell at once to the ground; she
lived a few hours longer, but never made speech or sign, or
evinced token of life but its breath, which died at last

On the following evening Walter obtained entrance to Aram's cell: that
morning the prisoner had seen Lester; that morning he had heard of
Madeline's death. He had shed no tear; he had, in the affecting language
of Scripture, "turned his face to the wall;" none had seen his emotions;
yet Lester felt in that bitter interview, that his daughter was duly

He did not lift his eyes, when Walter was admitted, and the young man
stood almost at his knee before he perceived him. He then looked up and
they gazed on each other for a moment, but without speaking, till Walter
said in a hollow voice: "Eugene Aram!"


"Madeline Lester is no more."

"I have heard it! I am reconciled. Better now than later."

"Aram!" said Walter, in a tone trembling with emotion, and passionately
clasping his hands, "I entreat, I implore you, at this awful time, if it
be within your power, to lift from my heart a load that weighs it to the
dust, that if left there, will make me through life a crushed and
miserable man;--I implore you, in the name of common humanity, by your
hopes of Heaven, to remove it! The time now has irrevocably passed when
your denial or your confession could alter your doom; your days are
numbered, there is no hope of reprieve; I implore you then, if you were
led, I will not ask how or wherefore, to the execution of the crime for
the charge of which you die, to say, to whisper to me but one word of
confession, and I, the sole child of the murdered man, will forgive you
from the bottom of my soul."

Walter paused, unable to proceed.

Aram's brow worked; he turned aside; he made no answer; his head dropped
on his bosom, and his eyes were unmovedly fixed on the earth.

"Reflect," continued Walter, recovering himself, "Reflect! I have been
the mute instrument in bringing you to this awful fate, in destroying the
happiness of my own house--in--in--in breaking the heart of the woman
whom I adored even as a boy. If you be innocent, what a dreadful memory
is left to me! Be merciful, Aram! be merciful. And if this deed was done
by your hand, say to me but one word to remove the terrible uncertainty
that now harrows up my being. What now is earth, is man, is opinion, to
you? God only now can judge you. The eye of God reads your heart while I
speak, and in the awful hour when Eternity opens to you, if the guilt has
been indeed committed, think, oh think, how much lighter will be your
offence, if, by vanquishing the stubborn heart, you can relieve a human
being from a doubt that otherwise will make the curse--the horror of an
existence. Aram, Aram, if the father's death came from you, shall the
life of the son be made a burthen to him, through you also?"

"What would you have of me? speak!" said Aram, but without lifting his
face from his breast.

"Much of your nature belies this crime.--You are wise, calm, beneficent
to the distressed. Revenge, passion,--nay, the sharp pangs of hunger, may
have urged to one deed; but your soul is not wholly hardened: nay, I
think I would so far trust you, that, if at this dread moment--the clay
of Madeline Lester scarce yet cold, woe busy and softening at your
breast, and the son of the murdered dead before you;--if at this moment
you can lay your hand on your heart, and say: 'Before God, and at peril
of my soul, I am innocent of this deed,' I will depart--I will believe
you, and bear, as bear I may, the reflection, that, in any way I have
been one of the unconscious agents of condemning to a fearful death an
innocent man! If innocent in this--how good! how perfect in all else!
But, if you cannot at so dark a crisis take that oath,--then! oh then! be
just--be generous, even in guilt, and let me not be haunted throughout
life by the spectre of a ghastly and restless doubt! Speak! oh! speak!"

Well, well may we judge how crushing must have been that doubt in the
breast of one naturally bold and fiery, when it thus humbled the very son
of the murdered man to forget wrath and vengeance, and descend to prayer!
But Walter had heard the defence of Aram; he had marked his mien: not
once in that trial had he taken his eyes from the prisoner, and he had
felt, like a bolt of ice through his heart, that the sentence passed on
the accused, his judgment could not have passed! How dreadful must then
have been the state of his mind when, repairing to Lester's house he
found it the house of death--the pure, the beautiful spirit gone--the
father mourning for his child, and not to be comforted--and Ellinor!--No!
scenes like these, thoughts like these, pluck the pride from a man's

"Walter Lester!" said Aram, after a pause; but raising his head with
dignity, though on the features there was but one expression--woe,
unutterable woe. "Walter Lester! I had thought to quit life with my tale
untold: but you have not appealed to me in vain! I tear the self from my
heart!--I renounce the last haughty dream, in which I wrapt myself from
the ills around me. You shall learn all, and judge accordingly. But to
your ear the tale can scarce be told:--the son cannot hear in silence
that which, unless I too unjustly, too wholly condemn myself, I must say
of the dead! But Time," continued Aram, mutteringly, and with his eyes on
vacancy, "Time does not press too fast. Better let the hand speak than
the tongue:--yes; the day of execution is--ay, ay--two days yet to
it--to-morrow? no! Young man," he said abruptly, turning to Walter, "on
the day after to-morrow, about seven in the evening, the eve before that
morn fated to be my last--come to me. At that time I will place in your
hands a paper containing the whole history that connects myself with your
father. On the word of a man on the brink of another world, no truth that
imparts your interest therein shall be omitted. But read it not till I am
no more; and when read, confide the tale to none, till Lester's grey
hairs have gone to the grave. This swear! 'tis an oath difficult perhaps
to keep, but--" "As my Redeemer lives, I will swear to both conditions!"
cried Walter, with a solemn fervour.

"But tell me now at least"--"Ask me no more!" interrupted Aram, in his
turn. "The time is near, when you will know all! Tarry that time, and
leave me! Yes, leave me now--at once--leave me!"

To dwell lingeringly over those passages which excite pain without
satisfying curiosity, is scarcely the duty of the drama, or of that
province even nobler than the drama; for it requires minuter
care--indulges in more complete description--yields to more elaborate
investigation of motives--commands a greater variety of chords in the
human heart--to which, with poor and feeble power for so high, yet so
ill-appreciated a task we now, not irreverently if rashly, aspire!

We pass at once--we glance not around us at the chamber of death--at the
broken heart of Lester--at the two-fold agony of his surviving child--the
agony which mourns and yet seeks to console another--the mixed emotions
of Walter, in which, an unsleeping eagerness to learn the fearful all
formed the main part--the solitary cell and solitary heart of the
convicted--we glance not at these;--we pass at once to the evening in
which Aram again saw Walter Lester, and for the last time.

"You are come, punctual to the hour," said he, in a low clear voice: "I
have not forgotten my word; the fulfilment of that promise has been a
victory over myself which no man can appreciate: but I owed it to you. I
have discharged the debt. Enough!--I have done more than I at first
purposed. I have extended my narration, but, superficially in some parts,
over my life: that prolixity, perhaps I owed to myself. Remember your
promise: this seal is not broken till the pulse is stilled in the hand
which now gives you these papers!"

Walter renewed his oath, and Aram, pausing for a moment, continued in an
altered and softening voice:

"Be kind to Lester: soothe, console him--never by a hint let him think
otherwise of me than he does. For his sake more than mine I ask this.
Venerable, kind old man! the warmth of human affection has rarely glowed
for me. To the few who loved me, how deeply I have repaid the love! But
these are not words to pass between you and me. Farewell! Yet,
before we part, say this much: whatever I have revealed in this
confession--whatever has been my wrong to you, or whatever (a less
offence) the language I have now, justifying myself, used to--to your
father--say, that you grant me that pardon which one man may grant

"Fully, cordially," said Walter.

"In the day that for you brings the death that to-morrow awaits me," said
Aram, in a deep tone, "be that forgiveness accorded to yourself!
Farewell. In that untried variety of Being which spreads beyond us, who
knows, but progressing from grade to grade, and world to world, our
souls, though in far distant ages, may meet again!--one dim and shadowy
memory of this hour the link between us, farewell--farewell!"

For the reader's interest we think it better (and certainly it is more
immediately in the due course of narrative, if not of actual events) to
lay at once before him the Confession that Aram placed in Walter's hands,
without waiting till that time when Walter himself broke the seal of a
confession, not of deeds alone, but of thoughts how wild and
entangled--of feelings how strange and dark--of a starred soul that had
wandered from, how proud an orbit, to what perturbed and unholy regions
of night and chaos! For me, I have not sought to derive the reader's
interest from the vulgar sources, that such a tale might have afforded; I
have suffered him, almost from the beginning, to pierce into Aram's
secret; and I have prepared him for that guilt, with which other
narrators of this story might have only sought to surprise.



        "In winter's tedious nights, sit by the fire
        With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales
        Of woful ages long ago betid:
        And ere thou bid good night, to quit their grief,
        Tell them the lamentable fall of me."
                    --Richard II.

"I was born at Ramsgill, a little village in Netherdale. My family had
originally been of some rank; they were formerly lords of the town of
Aram, on the southern banks of the Tees. But time had humbled these
pretensions to consideration; though they were still fondly cherished by
the heritors of an ancient name, and idle but haughty recollections. My
father resided on a small farm, and was especially skilful in
horticulture, a taste I derived from him. When I was about thirteen, the
deep and intense Passion that has made the Demon of my life, first
stirred palpably within me. I had always been, from my cradle, of a
solitary disposition, and inclined to reverie and musing; these traits of
character heralded the love that now seized me--the love of knowledge.
Opportunity or accident first directed my attention to the abstruser
sciences. I poured my soul over that noble study, which is the best
foundation of all true discovery; and the success I met with soon turned
my pursuits into more alluring channels. History, poetry, the mastery of
the past, the spell that admits us into the visionary world, took the
place which lines and numbers had done before. I became gradually more
and more rapt and solitary in my habits; knowledge assumed a yet more
lovely and bewitching character, and every day the passion to attain it
increased upon me; I do not, I have not now the heart to do it--enlarge
upon what I acquired without assistance, and with labour sweet in
proportion to its intensity.

   [We learn from a letter of Eugene Aram's, now extant, that his
   method of acquiring the learned languages, was, to linger over five
   lines at a time, and never to quit a passage till he thought he had
   comprehended its meaning.]

The world, the creation, all things that lived, moved, and were, became
to me objects contributing to one passionate, and, I fancied, one exalted
end. I suffered the lowlier pleasures of life, and the charms of its more
common ties, to glide away from me untasted and unfelt. As you read, in
the East, of men remaining motionless for days together, with their eyes
fixed upon the heavens, my mind, absorbed in the contemplation of the
things above its reach, had no sight of what passed around. My parents
died, and I was an orphan. I had no home, and no wealth; but wherever the
field contained a flower, or the heavens a star, there was matter of
thought and food for delight to me. I wandered alone for months together,
seldom sleeping but in the open air, and shunning the human form as that
part of God's works from which I could learn the least. I came to
Knaresbro': the beauty of the country, a facility in acquiring books from
a neighbouring library that was open to me, made me resolve to settle
there. And now, new desires opened upon me with new stores: I became
seized, possessed, haunted with the ambition of enlightening my race. At
first, I had loved knowledge solely for itself: I now saw afar an object
grander than knowledge. To what end, said I, are these labours? Why do I
feed a lamp which consumes itself in a desert place? Why do I heap up
riches, without asking who shall gather them? I was restless and
discontented. What could I do? I was friendless; I was strange to my
kind; I was shut out from all uses by the wall of my own poverty. I saw
my desires checked when their aim was at the highest: all that was proud,
and aspiring, and ardent in my nature, was cramped and chilled. I
exhausted the learning within my reach. Where, with my appetite excited
not slaked, was I, destitute and penniless, to search for more? My
abilities, by bowing them to the lowliest tasks, but kept me from
famine:--was this to be my lot for ever? And all the while, I was thus
grinding down my soul in order to satisfy the vile physical wants, what
golden hours, what glorious advantages, what openings into new heavens of
science, what chances of illumining mankind were for ever lost to me!
Sometimes when the young, whom I taught some elementary, all-unheeded,
initiations into knowledge, came around me; when they looked me in the
face with their laughing eyes; when, for they all loved me, they told me
their little pleasures and their petty sorrows, I have wished that I
could have gone back again into childhood, and becoming as one of them,
enter into that heaven of quiet which was denied me now. Yet more often
it was with an indignant and chafed rather than a sorrowful spirit that I
looked upon my lot; and if I looked beyond it, what could I see of hope?
Dig I could; but was all that thirsted and swelled within to be dried up
and stifled, in order that I might gain the sustenance of life? Was I to
turn menial to the soil, and forget that knowledge was abroad? Was I to
starve my mind, that I might keep alive my body? Beg I could not. Where
ever lived the real student, the true minister and priest of knowledge,
who was not filled with the lofty sense of the dignity of his calling?
Was I to shew the sores of my pride, and strip my heart from its
clothing, and ask the dull fools of wealth not to let a scholar starve?
Pah!--He whom the vilest poverty ever stooped to this, may be the quack,
but never the true disciple, of Learning. Steal, rob--worse--ay, all
those I or any of my brethren might do:--beg? never! What did I then? I
devoted the lowliest part of my knowledge to the procuring the bare means
of life, and the grandest,--the knowledge that pierced to the depths of
earth, and numbered the stars of heaven--why, that was valueless, save to
the possessor.

"In Knaresbro', at this time, I met a distant relation, Richard Houseman.
Sometimes in our walks we encountered each other; for he sought me, and I
could not always avoid him. He was a man like myself, born to poverty,
yet he had always enjoyed what to him was wealth. This seemed a mystery
to me; and when we met, we sometimes conversed upon it. 'You are poor,
with all your wisdom,' said he. 'I know nothing; but I am never poor. Why
is this? The world is my treasury.--I live upon my kind.--Society is my
foe.--Laws order me to starve; but self-preservation is an instinct more
sacred than society, and more imperious then laws.'

"The undisguised and bold manner of his discourse impressed while it
revolted me. I looked upon him as a study, and I combated, in order to
learn, him. He had been a soldier--he had seen the greatest part of
Europe--he possessed a strong shrewd sense--he was a villain--but a
villain bold--adroit--and not then thoroughly unredeemed. His
conversation created dark and perturbed reflections. What was that state
of society--was it not at war with its own elements--in which vice
prospered more than virtue? Knowledge was my dream, that dream I might
realize, not by patient suffering, but by active daring. I might wrest
from society, to which I owed nothing, the means to be wise and great.
Was it not better and nobler to do this, even at my life's hazard, than
lie down in a ditch and die the dog's death? Was it not better than such
a doom--ay better for mankind--that I should commit one bold wrong, and
by that wrong purchase the power of good? I asked myself that question.
It is a fearful question; it opens a labyrinth of reasonings, in which
the soul may walk and lose itself for ever.

"One day Houseman met me, accompanied by a stranger who had just visited
our town, for what purpose you know already. His name--supposed name--was
Clarke. Man, I am about to speak plainly of that stranger--his character
and his fate. And yet--yet you are his son! I would fain soften the
colouring; but I speak truth of myself, and I must not, unless I would
blacken my name yet deeper than it deserves, varnish truth when I speak
of others. Houseman joined, and presented to me this person. From the
first I felt a dislike creep through me at the stranger, which indeed it
was easy to account for. He was of a careless and somewhat insolent
manner. His countenance was impressed with the lines and character of a
thousand vices: you read in the brow and eye the history of a sordid yet
reckless life. His conversation was repellent to me beyond expression. He
uttered the meanest sentiments, and he chuckled over them as the maxims
of a superior sagacity; he avowed himself a knave upon system, and upon
the lowest scale. To overreach, to deceive, to elude, to shuffle, to
fawn, and to lie, were the arts that he confessed to with so naked and
cold a grossness, that one perceived that in the long habits of
debasement he was unconscious of what was not debased. Houseman seemed to
draw him out: he told us anecdotes of his rascality, and the distresses
to which it had brought him; and he finished by saying: 'Yet you see me
now almost rich, and wholly contented. I have always been the luckiest of
human beings; no matter what ill-chances to-day, good turns up to-morrow.
I confess that I bring on myself the ill, and Providence sends me the
good.' We met accidentally more than once, and his conversation was
always of the same strain--his luck and his rascality: he had no other
theme, and no other boast. And did not this stir into gloomy speculation
the depths of my mind? Was it not an ordination that called upon men to
take fortune in their own hands, when Fate lavished her rewards on this
low and creeping thing, that could only enter even Vice by its sewers and
alleys? Was it worth while to be virtuous, and look on, while the bad
seized upon the feast of life? This man was instinct with the basest
passions, the pettiest desires: he gratified them, and Fate smiled upon
his daring. I, who had shut out from my heart the poor temptations of
sense--I, who fed only the most glorious visions, the most august
desires--I, denied myself their fruition, trembling and spell-bound in
the cerements of human laws, without hope, without reward,--losing the
very powers of virtue because I would not stray into crime.

"These thoughts fell on me darkly and rapidly; but they led to no result.
I saw nothing beyond them. I suffered my indignation to gnaw my heart;
and preserved the same calm and serene demeanour which had grown with my
growth of mind. Nay, while I upbraided Fate, I did not cease to love
mankind. I envied--what? the power to serve them! I had been kind and
loving to all things from a boy; there was not a dumb animal that would
not single me from a crowd as its protector, [Note: All the authentic
anecdotes of Aram corroborate the fact of his natural gentleness to all
things. A clergyman (the Rev. Mr. Hinton) said that he used frequently to
observe Aram, when walking in the garden, stoop down to remove a snail or
worm from the path, to prevent its being destroyed. Mr. Hinton
ingeniously conjectured that Aram wished to atone for his crime by
shewing mercy to every animal and insect: but the fact is, that there are
several anecdotes to shew that he was equally humane before the crime was
committed. Such are the strange contradictions of the human heart!] and
yet I was doomed--but I must not premeditate my tale. In returning, at
night, to my own home, from my long and solitary walks, I often passed
the house in which Clarke lodged; and sometimes I met him reeling by the
door, insulting all who passed; and yet their resentment was absorbed in
their disgust. 'And this loathsome, and grovelling thing,' said I, inly,
'squanders on low excesses, wastes upon outrages to society, that with
which I could make my soul as a burning lamp, that should shed a light
over the world!"

"There was that in this man's vices which revolted me far more than the
villainy of Houseman. The latter had possessed no advantages of
education; he descended to no minutiae of sin, he was a plain, blunt,
coarse wretch, and his sense threw something respectable around his
vices. But in Clarke you saw the traces of happier opportunities of
better education; it was in him not the coarseness of manner so much as
the sickening, universal canker of vulgarity of mind. Had Houseman money
in his purse, he would have paid a debt and relieved a friend from mere
indifference; not so the other. Had he been overflowing with wealth, he
would have slipped from a creditor, and duped a friend; there was a
pitiful and debasing weakness in his nature, which made him regard the
lowest meanness as the subtlest wit. His mind too was not only degraded,
but broken by his habits of life; a strange, idiotic folly, that made him
love laughing at his own littleness, ran through his character. Houseman
was young; he might amend; but Clarke had grey hairs and dim eyes; was
old in constitution, if not years; and every thing in him was hopeless
and confirmed; the leprosy was in the system. Time, in this, has made
Houseman what Clarke was then.

"One day, in passing through the street, though it was broad noon, I
encountered Clarke in a state of intoxication, and talking to a crowd he
had collected around him. I sought to pass in an opposite direction; he
would not suffer me; he, whom I sickened to touch, to see, threw himself
in my way, and affected gibe and insult, nay even threat. But when he
came near, he shrank before the mere glance of my eye, and I passed on
unheeding him. The insult galled me; he had taunted my poverty, poverty
was a favourite jest with him; it galled me; anger, revenge, no! those
passions I had never felt for any man. I could not rouse them for the
first time for such a cause; yet I was lowered in my own eyes, I was
stung. Poverty! he taunt me! He dream himself, on account of a little
yellow dust, my superior! I wandered from the town, and paused by the
winding and shagged banks of the river. It was a gloomy winter's day, the
waters rolled on black and sullen, and the dry leaves rustled desolately
beneath my feet. Who shall tell us that outward nature has no effect upon
our mood? All around seemed to frown upon my lot. I read in the face of
heaven and earth a confirmation of the curse which man hath set upon
poverty. I leant against a tree that overhung the waters, and suffered my
thoughts to glide on in the bitter silence of their course. I heard my
name uttered--I felt a hand on my arm, I turned, and Houseman was by my

"'What, moralizing?' said he, with his rude smile.

"I did not answer him.

"'Look,' said he, pointing to the waters, 'where yonder fish lies waiting
his prey, that prey his kind. Come, you have read Nature, is it not so

"I did not answer him.

"'They who do not as the rest,' he renewed, 'fulfil not the object of
their existence; they seek to be wiser than their tribe, and are fools
for their pains. Is it not so? I am a plain man, and would learn.'

"Still I did not answer.

"'You are silent,' said he; 'do I offend you?'


"'Now, then,' he continued, 'strange as it may seem, we, so different in
mind, are at this moment alike in fortunes. I have not a guinea in the
wide world; you, perhaps, are equally destitute. But mark the difference,
I, the ignorant man, ere three days have passed, will have filled my
purse; you, the wise man, will be still as poor. Come, cast away your
wisdom, and do as I do.'


"'Take from the superfluities of others what your necessities crave. My
horse, my pistol, a ready hand, a stout heart, these are to me, what
coffers are to others. There is the chance of detection and of death; I
allow it. But is not this chance better than some certainties?'

"I turned away my face. In the silence of my chamber, and in the solitude
of my heart, I had thought, as the robber spoke--there was a strife
within me.

"'Will you share the danger and the booty?' renewed Houseman, in a low

"I turned my eyes upon him. 'Speak out,' said I; 'explain your purpose!'

"Houseman's looks brightened.

"'Listen!' said he; 'Clarke, despite his present wealth lawfully gained,
is about to purloin more; he has converted his legacy into jewels; he has
borrowed other jewels on false pretences; he purposes to make these also
his own, and to leave the town in the dead of night; he has confided to
me his intention, and asked my aid. He and I, be it known to you, were
friends of old; we have shared together other dangers, and other spoils;
he has asked my assistance in his flight. Now do you learn my purpose?
Let us ease him of his burthen! I offer to you the half; share the
enterprise and its fruits.'

"I rose, I walked away, I pressed my hands on my heart; I wished to
silence the voice that whispered me within. Houseman saw the conflict; he
followed me; he named the value of the prize he proposed to gain; that
which he called my share placed all my wished within my reach!--the means
of gratifying the one passion of my soul, the food for knowledge, the
power of a lone blessed independence upon myself,--and all were in my
grasp; no repeated acts of fraud; no continuation of sin, one single act
sufficed! I breathed heavily, but I threw not off the emotion that seized
my soul; I shut my eyes and shuddered, but the vision still rose before

"'Give me your hand,' said Houseman. [Note: Though, in the above part of
Aram's confession, it would seem as if Houseman did not allude to more
than the robbery of Clarke; it is evident from what follows, that the
more heinous crime also was then at least hinted at by Houseman.]

"'No, no,' I said, breaking away from him. 'I must pause--I must
consider--I do not yet refuse, but I will not now decide.'--

"Houseman pressed, but I persevered in my determination;--he would have
threatened me, but my nature was haughtier than his, and I subdued him.
It was agreed that he should seek me that night and learn my choice--the
next night was the one on which the deed was to be done. We parted--I
returned an altered man to my home. Fate had woven her mesh around me--a
new incident had occurred which strengthened the web: there was a poor
girl whom I had been accustomed to see in my walks. She supported her
family by her dexterity in making lace,--a quiet, patient-looking, gentle
creature. Clarke had, a few days since, under pretence of purchasing
lace, decoyed her to his house (when all but himself were from home),
where he used the most brutal violence towards her. The extreme poverty
of the parents had enabled him easily to persuade them to hush up the
matter, but something of the story got abroad; the poor girl was marked
out for that gossip and scandal, which among the very lowest classes are
as coarse in the expression as malignant in the sentiment; and in the
paroxysm of shame and despair, the unfortunate girl had that day
destroyed herself. This melancholy event wrung forth from the parents the
real story: the event and the story reached my ears in the very hour in
which my mind was wavering to and fro. Can you wonder that they fixed it
at once, and to a dread end? What was this wretch? aged with
vice--forestalling time--tottering on to a dishonoured grave--soiling all
that he touched on his way--with grey hairs and filthy lewdness, the
rottenness of the heart, not its passion, a nuisance and a curse to the
world. What was the deed--that I should rid the earth of a thing at once
base and venomous? Was it crime? Was it justice? Within myself I felt the
will--the spirit that might bless mankind. I lacked the means to
accomplish the will and wing the spirit. One deed supplied me with the
means. Had the victim of that deed been a man moderately good--pursuing
with even steps the narrow line between vice and virtue--blessing none
but offending none,--it might have been yet a question whether mankind
would not gain more by the deed than lose. But here was one whose steps
stumbled on no good act--whose heart beat to no generous emotion;--there
was a blot--a foulness on creation,--nothing but death could wash it out
and leave the world fair. The soldier receives his pay, and murthers, and
sleeps sound, and men applaud. But you say he smites not for pay, but
glory. Granted--though a sophism. But was there no glory to be gained in
fields more magnificent than those of war--no glory to be gained in the
knowledge which saves and not destroys? Was I not about to strike for
that glory, for the means of earning it? Nay, suppose the soldier struck
for patriotism, a better feeling than glory, would not my motive be yet
larger than patriotism? Did it not body forth a broader circle? Could the
world stop the bound of its utilities? Was there a corner of the
earth--was there a period in time, which an ardent soul, freed from, not
chained as now, by the cares of the body, and given wholly up to wisdom,
might not pierce, vivify, illumine? Such were the questions which I
asked:--time only answered them.

"Houseman came, punctual to our dark appointment. I gave him my hand in
silence. We understood each other. We said no more of the deed itself,
but of the manner in which it should be done. The melancholy incident I
have described made Clarke yet more eager to leave the town. He had
settled with Houseman that he would abscond that very night, not wait for
the next, as at first he had intended. His jewels and property were put
in a small compass. He had arranged that he would, towards midnight or
later, quit his lodging; and about a mile from the town, Houseman had
engaged to have a chaise in readiness. For this service Clarke had
promised Houseman a reward, with which the latter appeared contented. It
was arranged that I should meet Houseman and Clarke at a certain spot in
their way from the town, and there--! Houseman appeared at first fearful,
lest I should relent and waver in my purpose. It is never so with men
whose thoughts are deep and strong. To resolve was the arduous step--once
resolved, and I cast not a look behind. Houseman left me for the present.
I could not rest in my chamber. I went forth and walked about the town;
the night deepened--I saw the lights in each house withdrawn, one by one,
and at length all was hushed--Silence and Sleep kept court over the
abodes of men. That stillness--that quiet--that sabbath from care and
toil--how deeply it sank into my heart! Nature never seemed to me to make
so dread a pause. I felt as if I and my intended victim had been left
alone in the world. I had wrapped myself above fear into a high and
preternatural madness of mind. I looked on the deed I was about to commit
as a great and solemn sacrifice to Knowledge, whose Priest I was. The
very silence breathed to me of a stern and awful sanctity--the repose,
not of the charnel-house, but the altar. I heard the clock strike hour
after hour, but I neither faltered nor grew impatient. My mind lay hushed
in its design.

"The Moon came out, but with a pale and sickly countenance. Winter was
around the earth; the snow, which had been falling towards eve, lay deep
upon the ground; and the Frost seemed to lock the Universal Nature into
the same calm and deadness which had taken possession of my soul.

"Houseman was to have come to me at midnight, just before Clarke left his
house, but it was nearly two hours after that time ere he arrived. I was
then walking to and fro before my own door; I saw that he was not alone,
but with Clarke. 'Ha!' said he, 'this is fortunate, I see you are just
going home. You were engaged, I recollect, at some distance from the
town, and have, I suppose, just returned. Will you admit Mr. Clarke and
myself for a short time--for to tell you the truth,' said he, in a lower
voice--'The watchman is about, and we must not be seen by him! I have
told Clarke that he may trust you, we are relatives!'

"Clarke, who seemed strangely credulous and indifferent, considering the
character of his associate,--but those whom fate destroys she first
blinds, made the same request in a careless tone, assigning the same
cause. Unwillingly, I opened the door and admitted them. We went up to my
chamber. Clarke spoke with the utmost unconcern of the fraud he purposed,
and with a heartlessness that made my veins boil, of the poor victim his
brutality had destroyed. All this was as iron bands round my purpose.
They stayed for nearly an hour, for the watchman remained some time in
that beat--and then Houseman asked me to accompany them a little way out
of the town. Clarke seconded the request. We walked forth; the rest--why
need I repeat? Houseman lied in the court; my hand struck--but not
the death-blow: yet, from that hour, I have never given that right hand in
pledge of love or friendship--the curse of memory has clung to it.

"We shared our booty; mine I buried, for the present. Houseman had
dealings with a gipsy hag, and through her aid removed his share, at
once, to London. And now, mark what poor strugglers we are in the eternal
web of destiny! Three days after that deed, a relation who neglected me
in life, died, and left me wealth!--wealth at least to me!--Wealth,
greater than that for which I had . . .! The news fell on me as a
thunderbolt. Had I waited but three little days! Great God! when they
told me,--I thought I heard the devils laugh out at the fool who had
boasted wisdom! Tell me not now of our free will--we are but the things
of a never-swerving, an everlasting Necessity!--pre-ordered to our
doom--bound to a wheel that whirls us on till it touches the point at
which we are crushed! Had I waited but three days, three little
days!--Had but a dream been sent me, had but my heart cried within
me,--'Thou hast suffered long, tarry yet!' [Note: Aram has hitherto been
suffered to tell his own tale without comment or interruption. The chain
of reasonings, the metaphysical labyrinth of defence and motive, which he
wrought around his act, it was, in justice to him, necessary to give at
length, in order to throw a clearer light on his character--and lighten,
perhaps, in some measure the heinousness of his crime. No moral can be
more impressive than that which teaches how man can entangle himself in
his own sophisms--that moral is better, viewed aright, than volumes of
homilies. But here I must pause for one moment, to bid the reader mark,
that that event which confirmed Aram in the bewildering doctrines of his
fatalism, ought rather to inculcate the Divine virtue--the foundation of
all virtues, Heathen or Christian--that which Epictetus made clear, and
Christ sacred--FORTITUDE. The reader will note, that the answer to the
reasonings that probably convinced the mind of Aram, and blinded him to
his crime, may be found in the change of feelings by which the crime was
followed. I must apologize for this interruption--it seemed to me
advisable in this place;--though, in general, the moment we begin to
inculcate morality as a science, we ought to discard moralizing as a
method.] No, it was for this, for the guilt and its penance, for the
wasted life and the shameful death--with all my thirst for good, my
dreams of glory--that I was born, that I was marked from my first sleep
in the cradle!

"The disappearance of Clarke of course created great excitement;--those
whom he had over-reached had naturally an interest in discovering him.
Some vague surmises that he might have been made away with, were rumoured
abroad. Houseman and I, owing to some concurrence of circumstance, were
examined,--not that suspicion attached to me before or after the
examination. That ceremony ended in nothing. Houseman did not betray
himself; and I, who from a boy had mastered my passions, could master
also the nerves, which are the passions' puppets: but I read in the face
of the woman with whom I lodged, that I was suspected. Houseman told me
that she had openly expressed her suspicion to him; nay, he entertained
some design against her life, which he naturally abandoned on quitting
the town. This he did soon afterwards. I did not linger long behind him.
I dug up my jewels,--I concealed them about me, and departed on foot to
Scotland. There I converted my booty into money. And now I was above
want--was I at rest? Not yet. I felt urged on to wander--Cain's curse
descends to Cain's children. I travelled for some considerable time,--I
saw men and cities, and I opened a new volume in my kind. It was strange;
but before the deed, I was as a child in the ways of the world, and a
child, despite my knowledge, might have duped me. The moment after it, a
light broke upon me,--it seemed as if my eyes were touched with a charm,
and rendered capable of piercing the hearts of men! Yes, it was a
charm--a new charm--it was Suspicion! I now practised myself in the use
of arms,--they made my sole companions. Peaceful, as I seemed to the
world, I felt there was that eternally within me with which the world was
at war.

"I do not deceive you. I did not feel what men call remorse! Having once
convinced myself that I had removed from the earth a thing that injured
and soiled its tribes,--that I had in crushing one worthless life, but
without crushing one virtue--one feeling--one thought that could benefit
others, strode to a glorious end;--having once convinced myself of this,
I was not weak enough to feel a vague remorse for a deed I would not
allow, in my case, to be a crime. I did not feel remorse, but I felt
regret. The thought that had I waited three days I might have been saved,
not from guilt, but from the chance of shame,--from the degradation of
sinking to Houseman's equal--of feeling that man had the power to hurt
me--that I was no longer above the reach of human malice, or human
curiosity--that I was made a slave to my own secret--that I was no longer
lord of my heart, to shew or to conceal it--that at any hour, in the
possession of honours, by the hearth of love, I might be dragged forth
and proclaimed a murderer--that I held my life, my reputation, at the
breath of accident--that in the moment I least dreamed of, the earth
might yield its dead, and the gibbet demand its victim;--this could I
feel--all this--and not make a spectre of the past:--a spectre that
walked by my side--that slept at my bed--that rose from my books--that
glided between me and the stars of heaven, that stole along the flowers,
and withered their sweet breath--that whispered in my ear, 'Toil, fool,
and be wise; the gift of wisdom is to place us above the reach of
fortune, but thou art her veriest minion!' Yes; I paused at last from my
wanderings, and surrounded myself with books, and knowledge became once
more to me what it had been, a thirst; but not what it had been, a
reward. I occupied my thoughts--I laid up new hoards within my mind--I
looked around, and I saw few whose stores were like my own,--but where,
with the passion for wisdom still alive within me--where was that once
more ardent desire which had cheated me across so dark a chasm between
youth and manhood--between past and present life--the desire of applying
that wisdom to the service of mankind? Gone--dead--buried for ever in my
bosom, with the thousand dreams that had perished before it! When the
deed was done, mankind seemed suddenly to have grown my foes. I looked
upon them with other eyes. I knew that I carried within, that secret
which, if bared to-day, would make them loath and hate me,--yea, though I
coined my future life into one series of benefits on them and their
posterity! Was not this thought enough to quell my ardour--to chill
activity into rest? The more I might toil, the brighter honours I might
win--the greater services I might bestow on the world, the more dread and
fearful might be my fall at last! I might be but piling up the scaffold
from which I was to be hurled! Possessed by these thoughts, a new view of
human affairs succeeded to my old aspirings;--the moment a man feels that
an object has ceased to charm, he reconciles himself by reasonings to his
loss. 'Why,' said I; 'why flatter myself that I can serve--that I can
enlighten mankind? Are we fully sure that individual wisdom has ever, in
reality, done so? Are we really better because Newton lived, and happier
because Bacon thought?' This dampening and frozen line of reflection
pleased the present state of my mind more than the warm and yearning
enthusiasm it had formerly nourished. Mere worldly ambition from a boy I
had disdained;--the true worth of sceptres and crowns--the inquietude of
power--the humiliations of vanity--had never been disguised from my
sight. Intellectual ambition had inspired me. I now regarded it equally
as a delusion. I coveted light solely for my own soul to bathe in. I
would have drawn down the Promethean fire; but I would no longer have
given to man what it was in the power of circumstance alone (which I
could control not) to make his enlightener or his ruin--his blessing or
his curse. Yes, I loved--I love still;--could I live for ever, I should
for ever love knowledge! It is a companion--a solace--a pursuit--a Lethe.
But, no more!--oh! never more for me was the bright ambition that makes
knowledge a means, not end. As, contrary to the vulgar notion, the bee is
said to gather her honey unprescient of the winter, labouring without a
motive, save the labour, I went on, year after year, hiving all that the
earth presented to my toils, and asking not to what use. I had rushed
into a dread world, that I might indulge a dream. Lo! the dream was fled;
but I could not retrace my steps.

"Rest now became to me the sole to kalon--the sole charm of existence. I
grew enamoured of the doctrine of those old mystics, who have placed
happiness only in an even and balanced quietude. And where but in utter
loneliness was that quietude to be enjoyed? I no longer wondered that men
in former times, when consumed by the recollection of some haunting
guilt, fled to the desert and became hermits. Tranquillity and Solitude
are the only soothers of a memory deeply troubled--light griefs fly to
the crowd--fierce thoughts must battle themselves to rest. Many years had
flown, and I had made my home in many places. All that was turbulent, if
not all that was unquiet, in my recollections, had died away. Time had
lulled me into a sense of security. I breathed more freely. I sometimes
stole from the past. Since I had quitted Knaresbro' chance had thrown it
in my power frequently to serve my brethren--not by wisdom, but by
charity or courage--by individual acts that it soothed me to remember. If
the grand aim of enlightening a world was gone--if to so enlarged a
benevolence had succeeded apathy or despair, still the man, the human
man, clung to my heart--still was I as prone to pity--as prompt to
defend--as glad to cheer, whenever the vicissitudes of life afforded me
the occasion; and to poverty, most of all, my hand never closed. For oh!
what a terrible devil creeps into that man's soul, who sees famine at his
door! One tender act and how many black designs, struggling into life
within, you may crush for ever! He who deems the world his foe, convince
him that he has one friend, and it is like snatching a dagger from his

"I came to a beautiful and remote part of the country. Walter Lester, I
came to Grassdale!--the enchanting scenery around--the sequestered and
deep retirement of the place arrested me at once. 'And among these
valleys,' I said, 'will I linger out the rest of my life, and among these
quiet graves shall mine be dug, and my secret shall die with me!'

"I rented the lonely house in which I dwelt when you first knew
me--thither I transported my books and instruments of science. I formed
new projects in the vast empire of wisdom, and a deep quiet, almost
amounting to content, fell like a sweet sleep upon my soul!

"In this state of mind, the most free from memory and from the desire to
pierce the future that I had known for twelve years, I first saw Madeline
Lester. Even with that first time a sudden and heavenly light seemed to
dawn upon me. Her face--its still--its serene--its touching beauty, shone
upon me like a vision. My heart warmed as I saw it--my pulse seemed to
wake from its even slowness. I was young once more. Young! the youth, the
freshness, the ardour--not of the frame only, but of the soul. But I then
only saw, or spoke to her--scarce knew her--not loved her--nor was it
often that we met. When we did so, I felt haunted, as by a holy spirit,
for the rest of the day--an unquiet yet delicious emotion agitated all
within--the south wind stirred the dark waters of my mind, but it passed,
and all became hushed again. It was not for two years from the time we
first saw each other, that accident brought us closely together. I pass
over the rest. We loved! Yet oh what struggles were mine during the
progress of that love! How unnatural did it seem to me to yield to a
passion that united me with my kind; and as I loved her more, how far
more urgent grew my fear of the future! That which had almost slept
before awoke again to terrible life. The soil that covered the past might
be riven, the dead awake, and that ghastly chasm separate me for ever
from HER! What a doom, too, might I bring upon that breast which had
begun so confidingly to love me! Often--often I resolved to fly--to
forsake her--to seek some desert spot in the distant parts of the world,
and never to be betrayed again into human emotions! But as the bird
flutters in the net, as the hare doubles from its pursuers, I did but
wrestle--I did but trifle--with an irresistible doom. Mark how strange
are the coincidences of fate--fate that gives us warnings and takes away
the power to obey them--the idle prophetess--the juggling fiend! On the
same evening that brought me acquainted with Madeline Lester, Houseman,
led by schemes of fraud and violence into that part of the country,
discovered and sought me! Imagine my feelings, when in the hush of night
I opened the door of my lonely home to his summons, and by the light of
that moon which had witnessed so never-to-be-forgotten a companionship
between us, beheld my accomplice in murder after the lapse of so many
years. Time and a course of vice had changed and hardened, and lowered
his nature; and in the power, at the will of that nature, I beheld myself
abruptly placed. He passed that night under my roof. He was poor. I gave
him what was in my hands. He promised to leave that part of England--to
seek me no more.

"The next day I could not bear my own thoughts, the revulsion was too
sudden, too full of turbulent, fierce, torturing emotions; I fled for a
short relief to the house to which Madeline's father had invited me. But
in vain I sought, by wine, by converse, by human voices, human kindness,
to fly the ghost that had been raised from the grave of time. I soon
returned to my own thoughts. I resolved to wrap myself once more in the
solitude of my heart. But let me not repeat what I have said before,
somewhat prematurely, in my narrative. I resolved--I struggled in vain,
Fate had ordained, that the sweet life of Madeline Lester should wither
beneath the poison tree of mine. Houseman sought me again, and now came
on the humbling part of crime, its low calculations, its poor defence,
its paltry trickery, its mean hypocrisy! They made my chiefest penance! I
was to evade, to beguile, to buy into silence, this rude and despised
ruffian. No matter now to repeat how this task was fulfilled; I
surrendered nearly my all, on the condition of his leaving England for
ever: not till I thought that condition already fulfilled, till the day
had passed on which he should have left England, did I consent to allow
Madeline's fate to be irrevocably woven with mine. Fool that I was, as if
laws could bind us closer than love had done already.

"How often, when the soul sins, are her loftiest feelings punished
through her lowest! To me, lone, rapt, for ever on the wing to unearthly
speculation, galling and humbling was it indeed, to be suddenly called
from the eminence of thought, to barter, in pounds and pence, for life,
and with one like Houseman. These are the curses that deepen the tragedy
of life, by grinding down our pride. But I wander back to what I have
before said. I was to marry Madeline,--I was once more poor, but want did
not rise before me; I had succeeded in obtaining the promise of a
competence from one whom you know. For that I had once forced from my
kind, I asked now, but not with the spirit of the beggar, but of the just
claimant, and in that spirit it was granted. And now I was really happy;
Houseman I believed removed for ever from my path; Madeline was about to
be mine: I surrendered myself to love, and blind and deluded, I wandered
on, and awoke on the brink of that precipice into which I am about to
plunge. You know the rest. But oh! what now was my horror! It had not
been a mere worthless, isolated unit in creation that I had blotted out
of the sum of life. I had shed the blood of his brother whose child was
my betrothed! Mysterious avenger--weird and relentless fate! How, when I
deemed myself the farthest from her, had I been sinking into her grasp!
Mark, young man, there is a moral here that few preachers can teach thee!
Mark. Men rarely violate the individual rule in comparison to their
violation of general rules. It is in the latter that we deceive by
sophisms which seem truths. In the individual instance it was easy for me
to deem that I had committed no crime. I had destroyed a man, noxious to
the world; with the wealth by which he afflicted society I had been the
means of blessing many; in the individual consequences mankind had really
gained by my deed; the general consequence I had overlooked till now, and
now it flashed upon me. The scales fell from my eyes, and I knew myself
for what I was! All my calculations were dashed to the ground at once,
for what had been all the good I had proposed to do--the good I had
done--compared to the anguish I now inflicted on your house? Was your
father my only victim? Madeline, have I not murdered her also? Lester,
have I not shaken the sands in his glass? You, too, have I not blasted
the prime and glory of your years? How incalculable--how measureless--how
viewless the consequences of one crime, even when we think we have
weighed them all with scales that would have turned with a hair's weight!
Yes; before I had felt no remorse. I felt it now. I had acknowledged no
crime, and now crime seemed the essence itself of my soul. The Theban's
fate, which had seemed to the men of old the most terrible of human
destinies, was mine. The crime--the discovery--the irremediable
despair--hear me, as the voice of a man who is on the brink of a world,
the awful nature of which Reason cannot pierce--hear me! when your heart
tempts to some wandering from the line allotted to the rest of men, and
whispers 'This may be crime in others, but is not so in thee'--tremble;
cling fast, fast to the path you are lured to leave. Remember me!

"But in this state of mind I was yet forced to play the hypocrite. Had I
been alone in the world--had Madeline and Lester not been to me what they
were, I might have avowed my deed and my motives--I might have spoken out
to the hearts of men--I might have poured forth the gloomy tale of
reasonings and of temptings, in which we lose sense, and become the
archfiend's tools! But while their eyes were on me; while their lives and
hearts were set on my acquittal, my struggle against truth was less for
myself than them. For them I girded up my soul, a villain I was; and for
them, a bold, a crafty, a dexterous, villain I became! My defence
fulfilled its end: Madeline died without distrusting the innocence of him
she loved. Lester, unless you betray me, will die in the same belief. In
truth, since the arts of hypocrisy have been commenced, the pride of
consistency would have made it sweet to me to leave the world in a like
error, or at least in doubt. For you I conquer that desire, the proud
man's last frailty. And now my tale is done. From what passes at this
instant within my heart, I lift not the veil! Whether beneath, be
despair, or hope, or fiery emotions, or one settled and ominous calm,
matters not. My last hours shall not belie my life: on the verge of death
I will not play the dastard, and tremble at the Dim Unknown. The thirst,
the dream, the passion of my youth, yet lives; and burns to learn the
sublime and shaded mysteries that are banned Mortality. Perhaps I am not
without a hope that the Great and Unseen Spirit, whose emanation within
me I have nursed and worshipped, though erringly and in vain, may see in
his fallen creature one bewildered by his reason rather than yielding to
his vices. The guide I received from Heaven betrayed me, and I was lost;
but I have not plunged wittingly from crime to crime. Against one guilty
deed, some good, and much suffering may be set: and, dim and afar off
from my allotted bourne, I may behold in her glorious home the starred
face of her who taught me to love, and who, even there, could scarce be
blessed without shedding the light of her divine forgiveness upon me.
Enough! ere you break this seal, my doom rests not with man nor earth.
The burning desires I have known--the resplendent visions I have nursed--
the sublime aspirings that have lifted me so often from sense and clay--
these tell me, that, whether for good or ill--I am the thing of an
Immortality, and the creature of a God! As men of the old wisdom drew
their garments around their face, and sat down collectedly to die, I wrap
myself in the settled resignation of a soul firm to the last, and taking
not from man's vengeance even the method of its dismissal. The courses of
my life I swayed with my own hand: from my own hand shall come the manner
and moment of my death!

                     "Eugene Aram."

On the day after that evening in which Aram had given the above
confession to Walter Lester;--on the day of execution, when they entered
the condemned cell, they found the prisoner lying on the bed; and when
they approached to take off the irons, they found, that he neither
stirred nor answered to their call. They attempted to raise him, and he
then uttered some words in a faint voice. They perceived that he was
covered with blood. He had opened his veins in two places in the arm with
a sharp instrument he had some time since concealed. A surgeon was
instantly sent for, and by the customary applications the prisoner in
some measure was brought to himself. Resolved not to defraud the law of
its victim, they bore him, though he appeared unconscious of all around,
to the fatal spot. But when he arrived at that dread place, his sense
suddenly seemed to return. He looked hastily round the throng that swayed
and murmured below, and a faint flush rose to his cheek: he cast his eyes
impatiently above, and breathed hard and convulsively. The dire
preparations were made, completed; but the prisoner drew back for an
instant--was it from mortal fear? He motioned to the Clergyman to
approach, as if about to whisper some last request in his ear. The
clergyman bowed his head,--there was a minute's awful pause--Aram seemed
to struggle as for words, when, suddenly throwing himself back, a bright
triumphant smile flashed over his whole face. With that smile, the
haughty Spirit passed away, and the law's last indignity was wreaked upon
a breathless corpse!



          "The lopped tree in time may grow again,
          Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
          The sorriest wight may find release from pain,
          The driest soil suck in some moistening shower:
          Time goes by turns, and chances change by course
          From foul to fair."
                  --Robert Southwell, the Jesuit.

Sometimes towards the end of a gloomy day, the sun before but dimly
visible, breaks suddenly out, and clothes the landscape with a smile;
then beneath your eye, which during the clouds and sadness of day, had
sought only the chief features of the prospect around, (some grey hill,
or rising spire, or sweeping wood,) the less prominent, yet not less
lovely features of the scene, mellow forth into view; over them, perhaps,
the sun sets with a happier and richer glow than over the rest of Nature;
and thus they leave upon your mind its last grateful impression, and
console you for the gloom and sadness which the parting light they catch
and reflect, dispels.

Just so in our tale; it continues not in cloud and sorrow to the last;
some little ray breaks forth at the close; in that ray, characters which
before received but a slight portion of the interest that prouder and
darker ones engrossed, are thrown into light, and cheer from the mind of
him who hath watched and tarried with us till now,--we will not say all
the sadness that may perhaps linger on his memory,--and yet something of
the gloom.

It was some years after the date of the last event we have recorded, and
it was a fine warm noon in the happy month of May, when a horseman was
slowly riding through the long--straggling--village of Grassdale. He was
a man, though in the prime of youth, (for he might yet want some two
years of thirty,) that bore the steady and earnest air of one who has
seen not sparingly of the world; his eye keen but tranquil, his sunburnt
though handsome features, which either exertion or thought, or care, had
despoiled of the roundness of their early contour, leaving the cheek
somewhat sunken, and the lines somewhat marked, were impressed with a
grave, and at that moment with a melancholy and soft expression; and now,
as his horse proceeded slowly through the green lane, which in every
vista gave glimpses of rich verdant valleys, the sparkling river, or the
orchard ripe with the fragrant blossoms of spring; his gaze lost the calm
expression it habitually wore, and betrayed how busily Remembrance was at
work. The dress of the horseman was of foreign fashion, and at that day,
when the garb still denoted the calling, sufficiently military to show
the profession he had belonged to. And well did the garb become the short
dark moustache, the sinewy chest and length of limb of the young
horseman: recommendations, the two latter, not despised in the court of
the great Frederic of Prussia, in whose service he had borne arms. He had
commenced his career in that battle terminating in the signal defeat of
the bold Daun, when the fortunes of that gallant general paled at last
before the star of the greatest of modern kings. The peace of 1763 had
left Prussia in the quiet enjoyment of the glory she had obtained, and
the young Englishman took the advantage it afforded him of seeing as a
traveller, not despoiler, the rest of Europe.

The adventure and the excitement of travel pleased and left him even now
uncertain whether or not his present return to England would be for long.
He had not been a week returned, and to this part of his native country
he had hastened at once.

He checked his horse as he now past the memorable sign, that yet swung
before the door of Peter Dealtry; and there, under the shade of the broad
tree, now budding into all its tenderest verdure, a pedestrian wayfarer
sate enjoying the rest and coolness of his shelter. Our horseman cast a
look at the open door, across which, in the bustle of housewifery, female
forms now and then glanced and vanished, and presently he saw Peter
himself saunter forth to chat with the traveller beneath his tree. And
Peter Dealtry was the same as ever, only he seemed perhaps shorter and
thinner than of old, as if Time did not so much break as wear mine host's
slender person gradually away.

The horseman gazed for a moment, but observing Peter return the gaze, he
turned aside his head, and putting his horse into a canter, soon passed
out of cognizance of the Spotted Dog.

He now came in sight of the neat white cottage of the old Corporal, and
there, leaning over the pale, a crutch under one arm, and his friendly
pipe in one corner of his shrewd mouth, was the Corporal himself. Perched
upon the railing in a semi-doze, the ears down, the eyes closed, sat a
large brown cat: poor Jacobina, it was not thyself! death spares neither
cat nor king; but thy virtues lived in thy grandchild; and thy
grandchild, (as age brings dotage,) was loved even more than thee by the
worthy Corporal. Long may thy race flourish, for at this day it is not
extinct. Nature rarely inflicts barrenness on the feline tribe; they are
essentially made for love, and love's soft cares, and a cat's lineage
outlives the lineage of kaisars.

At the sound of hoofs the Corporal turned his head, and he looked long
and wistfully at the horseman, as, relaxing his horse's pace into a walk,
our traveller rode slowly on.

"'Fore George," muttered the Corporal, "a fine man--a very fine man;
'bout my inches--augh!"

A smile, but a very faint smile, crossed the lip of the horseman, as he
gazed on the figure of the stalwart Corporal.

"He eyes me hard," thought he; "yet he does not seem to remember me. I
must be greatly changed. 'Tis fortunate, however, that I am not
recognised: fain, indeed, at this time, would I come and go unnoticed and

The horseman fell into a reverie, which was broken by the murmur of the
sunny rivulet, fretting over each little obstacle it met, the happy and
spoiled child of Nature! That murmur rang on the horseman's ear like a
voice from his boyhood, how familiar was it, how dear! No tone of
music--no haunting air, ever recalled so rushing a host of memories and
associations as that simple, restless, everlasting sound!
Everlasting!--all had changed,--the trees had sprung up or decayed,--some
cottages around were ruins,--some new and unfamiliar ones supplied their
place, and on the stranger himself--on all those whom the sound recalled
to his heart, Time had been, indeed, at work, but with the same exulting
bound and happy voice that little brook leaped along its way. Ages hence,
may the course be as glad, and the murmur as full of mirth! They are
blessed things, those remote and unchanging streams!--they fill us with
the same love as if they were living creatures!--and in a green corner of
the world there is one that, for my part, I never see without forgetting
myself to tears--tears that I would not lose for a king's ransom; tears
that no other sight or sound could call from their source; tears of what
affection, what soft regret; tears that leave me for days afterwards, a
better and a kinder man!

The traveller, after a brief pause, continued his road; and now he came
full upon the old Manorhouse. The weeds were grown up in the garden, the
mossed paling was broken in many places, the house itself was shut up,
and the sun glanced on the deep-sunk casements without finding its way
into the desolate interior. High above the old hospitable gate hung a
board, announcing that the house was for sale, and referring the curious,
or the speculating, to the attorney of the neighbouring town. The
horseman sighed heavily, and muttered to himself; then turning up the
road that led to the back entrance, he came into the court-yard, and
leading his horse into an empty stable, he proceeded on foot through the
dismantled premises, pausing with every moment, and holding a sad and
ever-changing commune with himself. An old woman, a stranger to him, was
the sole inmate of the house, and imagining he came to buy, or at least,
examine, she conducted him through the house, pointing out its
advantages, and lamenting its dilapidated state. Our traveller scarcely
heard her,--but when he came to one room which he would not enter till
the last, (it was the little parlour in which the once happy family had
been wont to sit,) he sank down in the chair that had been Lester's
honoured seat, and covering his face with his hands, did not move or look
up for several moments. The old woman gazed at him with
surprise.--"Perhaps, Sir, you knew the family, they were greatly

The traveller did not answer; but when he rose, he muttered to
himself,--"No, the experiment is made in vain! Never, never could I live
here again--it must be so--my forefathers' house must pass into a
stranger's hands." With this reflection he hurried from the house, and
re-entering the garden, turned through a little gate that swung half open
on its shattered hinges, and led into the green and quiet sanctuaries of
the dead. The same touching character of deep and undisturbed repose that
hallows the country church-yard,--and that more than most--yet brooded
there as when, years ago, it woke his young mind to reflection then
unmingled with regret.

He passed over the rude mounds of earth that covered the deceased poor,
and paused at a tomb of higher, though but of simple pretensions; it was
not yet discoloured by the dews and seasons, and the short inscription
traced upon it was strikingly legible, in comparison with those around.

              Rowland Lester,
             Obiit 1760, aet. 64.
    Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

By that tomb the traveller remained in undisturbed contemplation for some
time, and when he turned, all the swarthy colour had died from his cheek,
his eyes were dim, and the wonted pride of a young man's step and a
soldier's bearing, was gone from his mien.

As he looked up, his eye caught afar, embedded among the soft verdure of
the spring, one lone and grey house, from whose chimney there rose no
smoke--sad, inhospitable, dismantled as that beside which he now
stood;--as if the curse which had fallen on the inmates of either
mansion, still clung to either roof. One hasty glance only, the traveller
gave to the solitary and distant abode,--and then started and quickened
his pace.

On re-entering the stables, the traveller found the Corporal examining
his horse from head to foot with great care and scrupulosity.

"Good hoofs too, humph!" quoth the Corporal, as he released the front
leg; and, turning round, saw, with some little confusion, the owner of
the steed he had been honouring with so minute a survey. "Oh,--augh!
looking at the beastie, Sir, lest it might have cast a shoe. Thought your
honour might want some intelligent person to shew you the premises, if so
be you have come to buy; nothing but an old 'oman there; dare say your
honour does not like old 'omen--augh!"

"The owner is not in these parts?" said the horseman.

"No, over seas, Sir; a fine young gentleman, but hasty; and--and--but
Lord bless me! sure--no, it can't be--yes, now you turn--it is--it is my
young master!" So saying, the old Corporal, roused into affection,
hobbled up to the wanderer, and seized and kissed his hand. "Ah, Sir, we
shall be glad, indeed, to see you back after such doings. But's all
forgotten now, and gone by--augh! Poor Miss Ellinor, how happy she'll be
to see your honour. Ah! how she be changed, surely!"

"Changed; ay, I make no doubt! What! does she look in weak health?"

"No; as to that, your honour, she be winsome enough still," quoth the
Corporal, smacking his lips; "I seed her the week afore last, when I went
over to--, for I suppose you knows as she lives there, all alone like, in
a small house, with a green rail afore it, and a brass knocker on the
door, at top of the town, with a fine view of the--hills in front? Well,
Sir, I seed her, and mighty handsome she looked, though a little thinner
than she was; but, for all that, she be greatly changed."

"How! for the worse?"

"For the worse, indeed," answered the Corporal, assuming an air of
melancholy and grave significance; "she be grown religious, Sir, think of

"Is that all?" said Walter, relieved, and with a slight smile. "And she
lives alone?"

"Quite, poor young lady, as if she had made up her mind to be an old
maid; though I know as how she refused Squire Knyvett of the Grange
waiting for your honour's return, mayhap!"

"Lead out the horse, Bunting; but stay, I am sorry to see you with a
crutch; what's the cause? no accident, I trust?"

"Merely rheumatics--will attack the youngest of us; never been quite
myself since I went a travelling with your honour--augh!--without going
to Lunnon arter all. But I shall be stronger next year, I dare to say--!"

"I hope you will, Bunting. And Miss Lester lives alone, you say?"

"Ay; and for all she be so religious, the poor about do bless her very
footsteps. She does a power of good; she gave me half-a-guinea, your
honour; an excellent young lady, so sensible like!"

"Thank you; I can tighten the girths!--so!--there, Bunting, there's
something for old companion's sake."

"Thank your honour; you be too good, always was--baugh! But I hopes your
honour be a coming to live here now; 'twill make things smile agin!"

"No, Bunting, I fear not," said Walter, spurring through the gates of the
yard; "Good day."

"Augh, then," cried the Corporal, hobbling breathlessly after him, "if so
be as I shan't see your honour agin, at which I am extramely consarned,
will your honour recollect your promise, touching the 'tato ground? The
steward, Master Bailey, 'od rot him, has clean forgot it--augh!"

"The same old man, Bunting, eh? Well, make your mind easy, it shall be

"Lord bless your honour's good heart; thankye; and--and"--laying his hand
on the bridle--"your honour did say, the bit cot should be rent-free. You
see, your honour," quoth the Corporal, drawing up with a grave smile, "I
may marry some day or other, and have a large family; and the rent won't
sit so easy then--augh!"

"Let go the rein, Bunting--and consider your house rent-free."

"And, your honour--and--"

But Walter was already in a brisk trot; and the remaining petitions of
the Corporal died in empty air.

"A good day's work, too," muttered Jacob, hobbling homeward. "What a
green un 'tis still! Never be a man of the world--augh!"

For two hours Walter did not relax the rapidity of his pace; and when he
did so at the descent of a steep hill, a small country town lay before
him, the sun glittering on its single spire, and lighting up the long,
clean, centre street, with the good old-fashioned garden stretching
behind each house, and detached cottages around, peeping forth here and
there from the blossoms and verdure of the young may. He rode into the
yard of the principal inn, and putting up his horse, inquired in a tone
that he persuaded himself was the tone of indifference, for Miss Lester's

"John," said the landlady, (landlord there was none,) summoning a little
boy of about ten years old--"run on, and shew this gentleman the good
lady's house: and--stay--his honour will excuse you a moment--just take
up the nosegay you cut for her this morning: she loves flowers. Ah! Sir,
an excellent young lady is Miss Lester," continued the hostess, as the
boy ran back for the nosegay; "so charitable, so kind, so meek to all.
Adversity, they say, softens some characters; but she must always have
been good. And so religious, Sir, though so young! Well, God bless her!
and that every one must say. My boy John, Sir, he is not eleven yet, come
next August--a 'cute boy, calls her the good lady: we now always call her
so here. Come, John, that's right. You stay to dine here, Sir? Shall I
put down a chicken?"

At the farther extremity of the town stood Miss Lester's dwelling. It was
the house in which her father had spent his last days; and there she had
continued to reside, when left by his death to a small competence, which
Walter, then abroad, had persuaded her, (for her pride was of the right
kind,) to suffer him, though but slightly, to increase. It was a detached
and small building, standing a little from the road; and Walter paused
for some moments at the garden-gate, and gazed round him before he
followed his young guide, who, tripping lightly up the gravel-walk to the
door, rang the bell, and inquired if Miss Lester was within?

Walter was left for some moments alone in a little parlour:--he required
those moments to recover himself from the past that rushed sweepingly
over him. And was it--yes, it was Ellinor that now stood before him!
Changed she was, indeed; the slight girl had budded into woman; changed
she was, indeed; the bound had for ever left that step, once so elastic
with hope; the vivacity of the quick, dark eye was soft and quiet; the
rich colour had given place to a hue fainter, though not less lovely. But
to repeat in verse what is poorly bodied forth in prose--

       "And years had past, and thus they met again;
       The wind had swept along the flower since then,
       O'er her fair cheek a paler lustre spread,
       As if the white rose triumphed o'er the red.
       No more she walk'd exulting on the air;
       Light though her step, there was a languour there;
       No more--her spirit bursting from its bound,--
       She stood, like Hebe, scattering smiles around."

"Ellinor!" said Walter mournfully, "thank God! we meet at last."

"That voice--that face--my cousin--my dear, dear Walter!"

All reserve--all consciousness fled in the delight of that moment; and
Ellinor leant her head upon his shoulder, and scarcely felt the kiss that
he pressed upon her lips.

"And so long absent!" said Ellinor, reproachfully.

"But did you not tell me that the blow that had fallen on our house had
stricken from you all thoughts of love--had divided us for ever? And
what, Ellinor, was England or home with out you?"

"Ah!" said Ellinor, recovering herself, and a deep paleness succeeding to
the warm and delighted flush that had been conjured to her cheek, "Do not
revive the past--I have sought for years--long, solitary, desolate years,
to escape from its dark recollections!"

"You speak wisely, dearest Ellinor; let us assist each other in doing so.
We are alone in the world--let us unite our lot. Never, through all I
have seen and felt,--in the starry nightwatch of camps--in the blaze of
courts--by the sunny groves of Italy--in the deep forests of the
Hartz--never have I forgotten you, my sweet and dear cousin. Your image
has linked itself indissolubly with all I conceived of home and
happiness, and a tranquil and peaceful future; and now I return, and see
you, and find you changed, but, oh, how lovely! Ah, let us not part
again! A consoler, a guide, a soother, father, brother, husband,--all
this my heart whispers I could be to you!"

Ellinor turned away her face, but her heart was very full. The solitary
years that had passed over her since they last met, rose up before her.
The only living image that had mingled through those years with the
dreams of the departed, was his who now knelt at her feet;--her sole
friend--her sole relative--her first--her last love! Of all the world, he
was the only one with whom she could recur to the past; on whom she might
repose her bruised, but still unconquered affections.

And Walter knew by that blush--that sigh--that tear, that he was
remembered--that he was beloved--that his cousin was his own at last!

"But before you end," said my friend, to whom I shewed the above pages,
originally concluding my tale with the last sentence, "you must, it is a
comfortable and orthodox old fashion, tell us a little about the fate of
the other persons, to whom you have introduced us;--the wretch

"True; in the mysterious course of mortal affairs, the greater villain
had escaped, the more generous and redeemed one fallen. But though
Houseman died without violence, died in his bed, as honest men die, we
can scarcely believe that his life was not punishment enough. He lived in
strict seclusion--the seclusion of poverty, and maintained himself by
dressing flax. His life was several times attempted by the mob, for he
was an object of universal execration and horror; and even ten years
afterwards, when he died, his body was buried in secret at the dead of
night, for the hatred of the world survived him!"

"And the Corporal, did he marry in his old age?"

"History telleth of one Jacob Bunting, whose wife, several years younger
than himself, played him certain sorry pranks with the young curate of
the parish: the said Jacob, knowing nothing thereof, but furnishing great
objectation unto his neighbours, by boasting that he turned an excellent
penny by selling poultry to his reverence above market prices,--'For
Bessy, my girl, I'm a man of the world--augh!'"

"Contented! a suitable fate for the old dog--But Peter Dealtry?"

"Of Peter Dealtry know we nothing more, save that we have seen at
Grassdale church-yard, a small tombstone inscribed to his memory, with
the following sacred poesy thereto appended,--

          "'We flourish, saith the holy text
          One hour, and are cut down the next:
          I was like grass but yesterday,
          But Death has mowed me into hay.'"

"And his namesake, Sir Peter Grindlescrew Hales?"

"Went through a long life, honoured and respected, but met with domestic
misfortunes in old age. His eldest son married a maid servant, and his
youngest daughter--"

"Eloped with the groom?"

"By no means,--with a young spendthrift;--the very picture of what Sir
Peter was in his youth: they were both disinherited, and Sir Peter died
in the arms of his eight remaining children, seven of whom never forgave
his memory for not being the eighth, viz. chief heir."

"And his cotemporary, John Courtland, the non-hypochondriac?"

"Died of sudden suffocation, as he was crossing Hounslow Heath."

"But Lord--?"

"Lived to a great age; his last days, owing to growing infirmities, were
spent out of the world; every one pitied him,--it was the happiest time
of his life!"

"Dame Darkmans?"

"Was found dead in her bed, from over fatigue, it was supposed, in making
merry at the funeral of a young girl on the previous day."

"Well!--hem,--and so Walter and his cousin were really married; and did
they never return to the old Manor-house?"

"No; the memory that is allied only to melancholy, grows sweet with
years, and hallows the spot which it haunts; not so the memory allied to
dread, terror, and something too of shame. Walter sold the property with
some pangs of natural regret; after his marriage with Ellinor he returned
abroad for some time, but finally settling in England, engaged in active
life, and left to his posterity a name they still honour; and to his
country, the memory of some services that will not lightly pass away."

But one dread and gloomy remembrance never forsook his mind, and
exercised the most powerful influence over the actions and motives of his
life. In every emergency, in every temptation, there rose to his eyes the
fate of him so gifted, so noble in much, so formed for greatness in all
things, blasted by one crime--self-sought, but self-denied; a crime, the
offspring of bewildered reasonings--all the while speculating upon
virtue. And that fate revealing the darker secrets of our kind, in which
the true science of morals in chiefly found, taught him the twofold
lesson, caution for himself, and charity for others. He knew henceforth
that even the criminal is not all evil; the angel within us is not easily
expelled; it survives sin, ay, and many sins, and leaves us sometimes in
amaze and marvel, at the good that lingers round the heart even of the
hardiest offender.

And Ellinor clung with more than revived affection to one with whose lot
she was now allied. Walter was her last tie upon earth, and in him she
learnt, day by day, more lavishly to treasure up her heart. Adversity and
trial had ennobled the character of both; and she who had so long seen in
her cousin all she could love, beheld now in her husband that greater and
more enduring spell--all that she could venerate and admire. A certain
religious fervour, in which, after the calamities of her family, she had
indulged, continued with her to the last; but, (softened by human ties,
and the reciprocation of earthly duties and affections,) it was
fortunately preserved either from the undue enthusiasm or the undue
austerity into which it would otherwise, in all likelihood, have merged.
What remained, however, uniting her most cheerful thoughts with something
serious, and the happiest moments of the present with the dim and solemn
forecast of the future, elevated her nature, not depressed, and made
itself visible rather in tender than in sombre, hues. And it was sweet
when the thought of Madeline and her father came across her, to recur at
once for consolation to that Heaven in which she believed their tears
were dried, and their past sorrows but a forgotten dream! There is,
indeed, a time of life when these reflections make our chief, though a
melancholy, pleasure. As we grow older, and sometimes a hope, sometimes a
friend, is shivered from our path, the thought of an immortality will
press itself forcibly upon us! and there, by little and little, as the
ant piles grain after grain, the garners of a future sustenance, we learn
to carry our hopes, and harvest, as it were, our wishes.

Our cousins then were happy. Happy, for they loved one another entirely;
and on those who do so love, I sometimes think, that, barring physical
pain and extreme poverty, the ills of life fall with but idle malice.
Yes, they were happy in spite of the past, and in defiance of the future.

"I am satisfied then," said my friend,--"and your tale is fairly done!"

And now, Reader, farewell! If, sometimes as thou hast gone with me to
this our parting spot, thou hast suffered thy companion to win the
mastery over thine interest, to flash now on thy convictions, to touch
now thy heart, to guide thy hope, to excite thy anxiety, to gain even
almost to the sources of thy tears--then is there a tie between thee and
me which cannot readily be broken! And when thou hearest the malice that
wrongs affect the candour which should judge, thou wilt be surprised to
feel how unconsciously He who has, even in a tale, once wound himself
around those feelings not daily excited, can find in thy sympathies the
defence, or, in thy charity the indulgence,--of a friend!


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