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Title: Ormond
Author: Charles Brockden Brown
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eBook No.: 0605271.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: August 2006
Date most recently updated: August 2006

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Ormond: or, The Secret Witness
Charles Brockden Brown



You are anxious to obtain some knowledge of the history of Constantia
Dudley. I am well acquainted with your motives, and allow that they
justify your curiosity. I am willing, to the utmost of my power, to
comply with your request, and will now dedicate what leisure I have to
the composition of her story.

My narrative will have little of that merit which flows from unity of
design. You are desirous of hearing an authentic, and not a fictitious
tale. It will, therefore, be my duty to relate events in no artificial
or elaborate order, and without that harmonious congruity and luminous
amplification, which might justly be displayed in a tale flowing
merely from invention. It will be little more than a biographical
sketch, in which the facts are distributed and amplified, not as a
poetical taste would prescribe, but as the materials afforded me,
sometimes abundant and sometimes scanty, would permit.

Constance, like all the beings made known to us, not by fancy, but
experience, has numerous defects. You will readily perceive, that her
tale is told by her friend, but I hope you will not discover many or
glaring proofs of a disposition to extenuate her errors or falsify her

Ormond will, perhaps, appear to you a contradictory or unintelligible
being. I pretend not to the infallibility of inspiration. He is not a
creature of fancy. It was not prudent to unfold all the means by which
I gained a knowledge of his actions; but these means, though
singularly fortunate and accurate, could not be unerring and compleat.
I have shewn him to you as he appeared, on different occasions and at
successive periods, to me. This is all that you will demand from a
faithful biographer.

If you were not deeply interested in the fate of my friend, yet my
undertaking will not be useless, inasmuch as it will introduce you to
scenes to which you have been hitherto a stranger. The modes of life,
the influence of public events upon the character and happiness of
individuals in America, are new to you. The distinctions of birth, the
artificial degrees of esteem or contempt which connect themselves with
different professions and ranks in your native country, are but little
known among us. Society and manners constitute your favorite study,
and I am willing to believe, that my relation will supply you with
knowledge, on these heads, not to be otherwise obtained. If these
details be, in that respect, unsatisfactory, all that I can add, is,
my counsel to go and examine for yourself.

S. C.


Stephen Dudley was a native of New-York. He was educated to the
profession of a painter. His father's trade was that or an apothecary.
But this son, manifesting an attachment to the pencil, he was resolved
that it should be gratified. For this end Stephen was sent at an early
age to Europe, and not only enjoyed the instructions of Fuzeli and
Bartolozzi, but spent a considerable period in Italy, in studying the
Augustan and Medicean monuments. It was intended that he should
practise his art in his native city, but the young man, though
reconciled to this scheme by deference to paternal authority, and by a
sense of its propriety, was willing, as long as possible to postpone
it. The liberality of his father relieved him from all pecuniary
cares. His whole time was devoted to the improvement of his skill in
his favorite art, and the enriching of his mind with every valuable
accomplishment. He was endowed with a comprehensive genius and
indefatigable industry. His progress was proportionably rapid, and he
passed his time without much regard to futurity, being too well
satisfied with the present to anticipate a change. A change however
was unavoidable, and he was obliged at length to pay a reluctant
obedience to his father's repeated summons. The death of his wife had
rendered his society still more necessary to the old gentleman.

He married before his return. The woman whom he had selected was an
unportioned orphan, and was recommended merely by her moral qualities.
These, however, were eminent, and secured to her, till the end of her
life, the affection of her husband. Though painting was capable of
fully gratifying his taste as matter of amusement, he quickly found
that, in his new situation it would not answer the ends of a
profession. His father supported himself by the profits of his shop,
but with all his industry he could do no more than procure a
subsistence for himself and his son.

Till his father's death young Dudley attached himself to painting. His
gains were slender but he loved the art, and his father's profession
rendered his own exertions in a great degree superfluous. The death of
the elder Dudley introduced an important change in his situation. It
thenceforth became necessary to strike into some new path, to deny
himself the indulgence of his inclinations, and regulate his future
exertions by a view to nothing but gain. There was little room for
choice. His habits had disqualified him for mechanical employments. He
could not stoop to the imaginary indignity which attended them, nor
spare the time necessary to obtain the requisite degree of skill. His
father died in possession of some stock, and a sufficier. portion of
credit to supply its annual decays. He lived at what they call a good
stand, and enjoyed a certain quantity of permanent custom. The
knowledge that was required was as easily obtained as the elements of
any other profession, and was not wholly unallied to the pursuits in
which he had sometimes engaged. Hence he could not hesitate long in
forming his resolution, but assumed the management of his father's
concerns with a cheerful and determined spirit.

The knowledge of his business was acquired in no long time. He was
stimulated to the acquisition by a sense of duty, he was inured to
habits of industry, and there were few things capable to resist a
strenuous exertion of his faculties. Knowledge of whatever kind
afforded a compensation to labour, but the task being finished, that
which remained, which, in ordinary apprehensions would have been
esteemed an easy and smooth path, was to him insupportably disgustful.
The drudgery of a shop, where all the faculties were at a stand, and
one day was an unvaried repetition of the foregoing, was too
incongenial to his disposition not to be a source of discontent. This
was an evil which it was the tendency of time to increase rather than
diminish. The longer he endured it the less tolerable it became. He
could not forbear comparing his present situation with his former, and
deriving from the contrast perpetual food for melancholy.

The indulgence of his father had contributed to instill into him
prejudices, in consequence of which a certain species of disgrace was
annexed to every employment of which the only purpose was gain. His
present situation not only precluded all those pursuits which exalt
and harmonize the feelings, but was detested by him as something
humiliating and ignominious. His wife was of a pliant temper, and her
condition less influenced by this change than that of her husband. She
was qualified to be his comforter, but instead of dispelling his gloom
by judicious arguments, or a seasonable example of vivacity, she
caught the infection that preyed upon his mind and augmented his
anxieties by partaking in them.

By enlarging in some degree, the foundation on which his father had
built, he had provided the means of a future secession, and might
console himself with the prospect of enjoying his darling case at some
period of his life. This period was necessarily too remote for his
wishes, and had not certain occurrences taken place, by which he was
flattered with the immediate possession of ease, it is far from being
certain that he would not have fallen a victim to his growing

He was one morning engaged behind his counter as usual, when a youth
came into his shop, and, in terms that bespoke the union of
fearlessness and frankness, enquired whether he could be engaged as an
apprentice. A proposal of this kind could not be suddenly rejected or
adopted. He stood in need of assistance, the youth was manly and
blooming, and exhibited a modest and ingenuous aspect. It was possible
that he was, in every respect, qualified for the post for which he
applied, but it was previously necessary to ascertain these
qualifications. For this end he requested the youth to call at his
house in the evening, when he should be at leisure to converse with
him and furnished him with suitable directions.

The youth came according to appointment. On being questioned as to his
birth-place and origin, he stated that he was a native of Wakefield,
in Yorkshire; that his family were honest, and his education not mean;
that he was the eldest of many children, and having attained an age at
which he conceived it his duty to provide for himself, he had, with
the concurrence of his friends, come to America, in search of the
means of independant subsistence; that he had just arrived in a ship
which he named, and, his scanty stock of money being likely to be
speedily consumed, this had been the first effort he had made to
procure employment.

His tale was circumstantial and consistent, and his veracity appeared
liable to no doubt. He was master of his book and his pen, and had
acquired more than the rudiments of Latin. Mr. Dudley did not require
much time to deliberate. In a few days the youth was established as a
member of his family, and as a coadjutor in his shop, nothing but
food, clothing, and lodging being stipulated as the reward of his

The young man improved daily in the good opinion of his master. His
apprehension was quick, his sobriety invariable, and his application
incessant. Tho' by no means presumptuous or arrogant, he was not
wanting in a suitable degree of self-confidence. All his propensities
appeared to concentre in his occupation and the promotion of his
master's interest, from which he was drawn aside by no allurements of
sensual or intellectual pleasure. In a short time he was able to
relieve his master of most of the toils of his profession, and Mr.
Dudley a thousand times congratulated himself on possessing a servant
equally qualified by his talents and his probity. He gradually
remitted his attention to his own concerns, and placed more absolute
reliance on the fidelity of his dependant.

Young Craig, that was the name of the youth, maintained a punctual
correspondence with his family, and confided to his patron, not only
copies of all the letters which he himself wrote, but those which,
from time to time, he received. He had several correspondents, but the
chief of those were his mother and his eldest sister. The sentiments
contained in their letters breathed the most appropriate simplicity
and tenderness, and flowed with the nicest propriety, from the
different relationships of mother and sister. The style and even the
penmanship were distinct and characteristical.

One of the first of these epistles, was written by the mother to Mr.
Dudley, on being informed by her son of his present engagement. It was
dictated by that concern for the welfare of her child befitting the
maternal character. Gratitude, for the ready acceptance of the youth's
services, and for the benignity of his deportment towards him, a just
representation of which had been received by her from the boy himself,
was expressed with no inconsiderable elegance; as well as her earnest
wishes that Mr. Dudley should extend to him not only the indulgence,
but the moral superintendance of a parent.

To this Mr. Dudley conceived it incumbent upon him to return a
consenting answer, and letters were in this manner occasionally
interchanged between them.

Things remained in this situation for three years, during which period
every day enhanced the reputation of Craig, for stability and
integrity. A sort of provisional engagement had been made between the
parents, unattended however by any legal or formal act, that things
should remain on their present footing for three years. When this
period terminated, it seemed as if a new engagement had become
necessary. Craig expressed the utmost willingness to renew the former
contract, but his master began to think that the services of his pupil
merited a higher recompence. He ascribed the prosperity that had
hitherto attended him, to the disinterested exertions of his
apprentice. His social and literary gratifications had been increased
by the increase of his leisure. These were capable of being still more
enlarged. He had not yet acquired what he deemed a sufficiency, and
could not therefore wholly relieve himself from the turmoils and
humiliation of a professional life. He concluded that he should at
once consult his own interest and perform no more than an act of
justice to a faithful servant, by making Craig his partner, and
allowing him a share of the profits, on condition of his discharging
all the duties of the trade.

When this scheme was proposed to Craig, he professed unbounded
gratitude, considered all that he had done as amply rewarded by the
pleasure of performance, and as being nothing more than was prescribed
by his duty. He promised that this change in his situation should have
no other effect, than to furnish new incitements to diligence and
fidelity, in the promotion of an interest, which would then become in
a still higher degree than formerly, a common one. Mr. Dudley
communicated his intention to Craig's mother, who, in addition to many
grateful acknowledgements, stated that a kinsman of her son, had
enabled him, in case of entering into partnership, to add a small sum
to the common stock, and that for this sum, Craig was authorized to
draw upon a London banker.

The proposed arrangement was speedily effected. Craig was charged with
the management of all affairs, and Mr. Dudley retired to the enjoyment
of still greater leisure. Two years elapsed and nothing occurred to
interrupt the harmony that subsisted between the partners. Mr.
Dudley's condition might be esteemed prosperous. His wealth was
constantly accumulating. He had nearly attained all that he wished,
and his wishes still aimed at nothing less than splendid opulence. He
had annually increased the permanent sources of his revenue. His
daughter was the only survivor of many children, who perished in their
infancy, before habit and maturity bad rendered the parental tie
difficult to break. This daughter had already exhibited proofs of a
mind susceptible of high improvement, and the loveliness of her person
promised to keep pace with her mental acquisitions. He charged himself
with the care of her education, and found no weariness or satiety in
this task that might not be amply relieved by the recreations of
science and literature. He flattered himself that his career, which
had hitherto been exempt from any considerable impediment, would
terminate in tranquility. Few men might, with more propriety, have
discarded all apprehensions respecting futurity.

Craig had several sisters and one brother younger than himself. Mr.
Dudley desirous of promoting the happiness of this family, proposed to
send for this brother, and have him educated to his own profession,
insinuating to his partner that at the time when the boy should have
gained sufficient stability and knowledge, he himself might be
disposed to relinquish the profession altogether, on terms
particularly advantageous to the two brothers who might thenceforth
conduct their business jointly. Craig had been eloquent in praise of
this lad, and his testimony had, from time to time, been confirmed by
that of his mother and sister. He had often expressed his wishes for
the prosperity of the lad, and when his mother had expressed her
doubts as to the best method of disposing of him, modestly requested
Mr. Dudley's advice on this head. The proposal therefore, might be
supposed to be particularly acceptable, and yet Craig expressed
reluctance to concur with it. This reluctance was accompanied with
certain tokens which sufficiently shewed whence it arose. Craig
appeared unwilling to increase those obligations under which he
already laboured. His sense of gratitude was too acute to allow him to
heighten it by the reception of new benefits.

It might be imagined that this objection would be easily removed; but
the obstinacy of Craig's opposition was invincible. Mr. Dudley could
not relinquish a scheme to which no stronger objection could be made.
And, since his partner could not be prevailed upon to make this
proposal to the friends of the lad, he was determined to do it
himself. He maintained an intercourse by letters with several of those
friends which he formed in his youth. One of them usually resided in
London. From him he received about this time, a letter, in which,
among other information, the writer mentioned his intention of setting
out on a tour through Yorkshire and the Scottish highlands. Mr. Dudley
thought this a suitable opportunity for executing his design in favor
of young Craig. He entertained no doubts about the worth and condition
of this family, but was still desirous of obtaining some information
on this head from one who would pass through this town where they
resided, who would examine with his own eyes, and on whose discernment
and integrity he could place an implicit reliance. He concealed this
intention from his partner, and entrusted his letter to a friend who
was just embarking for Europe. In due season he received an answer,
confirming, in all respects, Craig's representations, but informing
him that the lad had been lately disposed of in a way not equally
advantageous with that which Mr. Dudley had proposed, but such as
would not admit of change.

If doubts could possibly be entertained respecting the character and
views of Craig, this evidence would have dispelled them: But plans
however skilfully contrived, if founded on imposture, cannot fail of
being sometimes detected. Craig had occasion to be absent from the
city for some weeks. Meanwhile a letter had been left at his lodgings
by one who merely enquired if that were the dwelling of Mr. Dudley,
and being answered by the servant in the affirmative, left the letter
without further parley. It was superscribed with a name unknown to any
of the family, and in a hand which its badness rendered almost
illegible. The servant placed it in a situation to be seen by his

Mr. Dudley allowed it to remain unopened for a considerable time. At
length, deeming it excusable to discover, by any means, the person to
whom it was addressed, he ventured to unseal it. It was dated at
Portsmouth in New-Hampshire. The signature was Mary Mansfield. It was
addressed to her son, and was a curious specimen of illiterateness.
Mary herself was unable to write, as she reminds her son, and had
therefore procured the assistance of Mrs. Dewitt, for whose family she
washed. The amanuensis was but little superior in the arts of
penmanship to her principal. The contents of the epistle were made out
with some difficulty. This was the substance of it.

Mary reproaches her son for deserting her, and letting five years pass
away without allowing her to hear from him. She informed him of her
distresses as they flowed from sickness and poverty, and were
aggravated by the loss of her son who was so handsome and promising a
lad. She related her marriage with Zekel Hackney, who first brought
her tidings of her boy. He was master, it seems, of a fishing smack,
and voyaged sometimes to New-York. In one of his visits to this city,
he met a mighty spry young man, on whom he thought he recognized his
wife's son. He had traced him to the house of Mr. Dudley, and on
enquiry, discovered that the lad resided here. On his return he
communicated the tidings to his spouse, who had now written to
reproach him for his neglect of his poor old mother, and to intreat
his assistance to relieve her from the necessity of drudging for her

This letter was capable of an obvious construction. It was, no doubt,
founded in mistake, though, it was to be acknowledged, that the
mistake was singular. Such was the conclusion immediately formed by
Mr. Dudley. He quietly replaced the letter on the mantlepiece, where
it had before stood, and dismissed the affair from his thoughts.

Next day Craig returned from his journey. Mr. Dudley was employed in
examining some papers in a desk that stood behind the door, in the
apartment in which the letter was placed. There was no other person in
the room when Craig entered it. He did not perceive Mr. Dudley, who
was screened from observation, by his silence and by an open door. As
soon as he entered, Mr. Dudley looked at him, and made no haste to
speak. The letter whose superscription was turned towards him,
immediately attracted Craig's attention. He seized it with some degree
of eagerness, and observing the broken seal, thrust it hastily into
his pocket, muttering, at the same time, in a tone, betokening a
mixture of consternation and anger, "Damn it."--He immediately left
the room, still uninformed of the presence of Mr. Dudley, who began to
muse, with some earnestness, on what he had seen. Soon after he left
this room and went into another, in which the family usually sat. In
about twenty minutes, Craig made his appearance with his usual freedom
and plausibility. Complimentary and customary topics were discussed.
Mrs. Dudley and her daughter were likewise present. The uneasiness
which the incident just mentioned had occasioned in the mind of Mr.
Dudley, was at first dispelled by the disembarrassed behaviour of his
partner, but new matter of suspicion was speedily afforded him. He
observed that his partner spoke of his present entrance as of the
first since his arrival, and that when the lady mentioned that he had
been the subject of a curious mistake, a letter being directed to him
by a strange name, and left there during his absence, he pretended
total ignorance of the circumstance. The young lady was immediately
directed by her mother to bring the letter which lay, she said, on the
mantle-tree in the next room.

During this scene Mr. Dudley was silent. He anticipated the
disappointment of the messenger, believing the letter to have been
removed. What then was his surprise when the messenger returned
bearing the letter in her hand! Craig examined and read it and
commented, with great mirth, on the contents, acting, all the while,
as if he had never seen it before. These appearances were not
qualified to quiet suspicion. The more Dudley brooded over them, the
more dissatisfied he became. He, however, concealed his thoughts as
well from Craig himself as his family, impatiently waiting for some
new occurrence to arise by which he might square his future

During Craig's absence, Mrs. Dudley had thought this a proper occasion
for cleaning his apartment. The furniture, and among the rest, a large
chest strongly fastened, was removed into an adjoining room which was
otherwise unoccupied, and which was usually kept locked. When the
cleansing was finished, the furniture was replaced, except this trunk,
which its bulk, the indolence of the servant, and her opinion of its
uselessness, occasioned her to leave in the closet.

About a week after this, on a Saturday evening, Craig invited to sup
with him a friend who was to embark, on the ensuing Monday, for
Jamaica. During supper, at which the family were present, the
discourse turned on the voyage on which the guest was about to enter.
In the course of talk, the stranger expressed how much he stood in
need of a strong and commodious chest, in which he might safely
deposit his cloaths and papers. Not being apprized of the early
departure of the vessel, he had deferred till it was too late,
applying to an artizan.

Craig desired him to set himself at rest on that head, for that he
had, in his possession, just such a trunk as he described. It was of
no use to him, being long filled with nothing better than refuse and
lumber, and that, if he would, he might send for it the next morning.
He turned to Mrs. Dudley and observed, that the trunk to which he
alluded was in her possession, and he would thank her to direct its
removal into his own apartment, that he might empty it of its present
contents, and prepare it for the service of his friend. To this she
readily assented.

There was nothing mysterious in this affair, but the mind of Mr.
Dudley was pained with doubts. He was now as prone to suspect, as he
was formerly disposed to confidence. This evening he put the key of
the closet in his own pocket. When enquired for the next day, it was,
of course, missing. It could not be found on the most diligent search.
The occasion was not of such moment as to justify breaking the door.
Mr. Dudley imagined that he saw, in Craig, more uneasiness at this
disappointment, than he was willing to express. There was no remedy.
The chest remained where it was, and, next morning, the ship departed
on her voyage.

Craig accompanied his friend on board, was prevailed upon to go to sea
with him, designing to return with the pilot-boat, but when the pilot
was preparing to leave the vessel, such was this man's complaisance to
the wishes of his friend, that he concluded to perform the remainder
of the voyage in his company. The consequences are easily seen. Craig
had gone with a resolution of never returning. The unhappy Dudley was
left to deplore the total ruin of his fortune which had fallen a prey
to the arts of a subtle imposter.

The chest was opened, and the part which Craig had been playing for
some years, with so much success, was perfectly explained. It appeared
that the sum which Craig had contributed to the common stock, when
first admitted into partnership, had been previously pursoined from
the daily receipts of his shop, of which an exact register was kept.
Craig had been so indiscrete as to preserve this accusing record, and
it was discovered in this depository: He was the son of Mary Mansfield
and a native of Portsmouth. The history of the Wakefield family,
specious and complicated as it was, was entirely fictitious. The
letters had been forged, and the correspondence supported by his own
dexterity. Here was found the letter which Mr. Dudley had written to
his friend requesting him to make certain enquiries at Wakefield, and
which he imagined that he had delivered with his own hands to a trusty
bearer. Here was the original draught of the answer he received. The
manner in which this stratagem had been accomplished came gradually to
light. The letter which was written to the Yorkshire traveller had
been purloined, and another, with a similar superscription, in which
the hand of Dudley was exactly imitated, and containing only brief and
general remarks, had been placed in its stead. Craig must have
suspected its contents, and by this suspicion have been incited to the
theft. The answer which the Englishman had really written, and which
sufficiently corresponded with the forged letter, had been intercepted
by Craig, and furnished him a model from which he might construct an
answer adapted to his own purposes.

This imposture had not been sustained for a trivial purpose. He had
embezzled a large share of the stock, and had employed the credit of
the house to procure extensive remittances to be made to an agent at a
distance, by whom the property was effectually secured. Craig had gone
to participate these spoils, while the whole estate of Mr. Dudley was
insufficient to pay the demands that were consequently made upon him.

It was his lot to fall into the grasp of men, who squared their
actions by no other standard than law, and who esteemed every claim to
be incontestably just, that could plead that sanction. They did not
indeed throw him into prison. When they had despoiled him of every
remnant of his property, they deemed themselves entitled to his
gratitude for leaving his person unmolested.


Thus in a moment was this man thrown from the summit of affluence to
the lowest indigence. He had been habituated to independance and ease.
This reverse, therefore, was the harder to bear. His present situation
was much worse than at his father's death. Then he was sanguine with
youth and glowing with health. He possessed a fund on which he could
commence his operations. Materials were at hand, and nothing was
wanted but skill to use them. Now he had advanced in life. His frame
was not exempt from infirmity. He had so long reposed on the bosom of
opulence and enjoyed the respect attendant on wealth, that he felt
himself totally incapacitated for a new station. His misfortune had
not been foreseen. It was imbittered by the consciousness of his own
imprudence, and by recollecting that the serpent which had stung him,
was nurtured in his own bosom.

It was not merely frugal fare and an humble dwelling to which he was
condemned. The evils to be dreaded were beggary and contempt. Luxury
and leisure were not merely denied him. He must bend all his efforts
to procure cloathing and food, to preserve his family from nakedness
and famine. His spirit would not brook dependance. To live upon
charity, or to take advantage of the compassion of his friends, was a
destiny far worse than any other. To this therefore he would not
consent. However irksome and painful it might prove, he determined to
procure his bread by the labour of his hands.

But to what scene or kind of employment should he betake himself? He
could not endure to exhibit this reverse of fortune on the same
theatre which had witnessed his prosperity. One of his first measures
was to remove from New-York to Philadelphia. How should he employ
himself in his new abode? Painting, the art in which he was expert,
would not afford him the means of subsistence. Tho' no despicable
musician, he did not esteem himself qualified to be a teacher of this
art. This profession, besides, was treated by his new neighbours, with
general, though unmerited contempt. There were few things on which he
prided himself more than on the facilities and elegances of his
penmanship. He was besides well acquainted with arithmetic and
accompting. He concluded therefore, to offer his services as a writer
in a public office. This employment demanded little bodily exertion.
He had spent much of his time at the book and the desk: his new
occupation, therefore, was further recommended by its resemblance to
his ancient modes of life.

The first situation of this kind, for which he applied, he obtained.
The duties were constant, but not otherwise toilsome or arduons. The
emoluments were slender, but by contracting, within limits as narrow
as possible, his expenses, they could be made subservient to the mere
purposes of subsistence. He hired a small house in the suburbs of the
city. It consisted of a room above and below, and a kitchen. His wife,
daughter and one girl, composed its inhabitants.

As long as his mind was occupied in projecting and executing these
arrangements, it was diverted from uneasy contemplations. When his
life became uniform, and day followed day in monotonous succession,
and the novelty of his employment had disappeared, his cheerfulness
began likewise to fade, and was succeeded by unconquerable melancholy.
His present condition was in every respect the contrast of his former.
His servitude was intolerable. He was associated with sordid
hirelings, gross and uneducated, who treated his age with rude
familiarity, and insulted his ears with ribaldry and scurril jests. He
was subject to command, and had his portion of daily drudgery allotted
to him, to be performed for a pittance no more than would buy the
bread which he daily consumed. The task assigned him was technical and
formal. He was perpetually encumbered with the rubbish of law, and
waded with laborious steps through its endless tautologies, its
impertinent circuities, its lying assertions, and hateful artifices.
Nothing occurred to relieve or diversify the scene. It was one tedious
round of scrawling and jargon; a tissue made up of the shreds and
remnants of barbarous antiquity, polluted with the rust of ages, and
patched by the stupidity of modern workmen, into new deformity.

When the day's task was finished, jaded spirits, and a body enfeebled
by reluctant application, were but little adapted to domestic
enjoyments. These indeed were incompatible with a temper like his, to
whom the privation of the comforts that attended his former condition,
was equivalent to the loss of life. These privations were still more
painful to his wife, and her death added one more calamity to those
under which he already groaned. He had always loved her with the
tenderest affection, and he justly regarded this evil as surpassing
all his former woes.

But his destiny seemed never weary of persecuting him. It was not
enough that he should fall a victim to the most atrocious arts, that
he should wear out his days in solitude and drudgery, that he should
feel not only the personal restraints and hardships attendant upon
indigence, but the keener pangs that result from negligence and
contumely. He was imperfectly recovered from the shock occasioned by
the death of his wife, when his sight was invaded by a cataract. Its
progress was rapid, and terminated in total blindness.

He was now disabled from pursuing his usual occupation. He was shut
out from the light of heaven, and debarred of every human comfort.
Condemned to eternal dark, and worse than the helplessness of infancy,
he was dependant for the meanest offices on the kindness of others,
and he who had formerly abounded in the gifts of fortune, thought only
of ending his days in a gaol or an alms-house.

His situation however was alleviated by one circumstance. He had a
daughter whom I have formerly mentioned, as the only survivor of many
children. She was sixteen years of age when the storm of adversity
fell upon her father's house. It may be thought that one educated as
she had been, in the gratification of all her wishes, and at an age of
timidity and inexperience, would have been less fitted than her father
for encountering misfortune, and yet when the task of comforter fell
upon her, her strength was not found wanting. Her fortitude was
immediately put to the test. This reverse did not only affect her
obliquely and through the medium of her family, but directly and in
one way usually very distressful to female feelings.

Her fortune and character had attracted many admirers. One of them had
some reason to flatter himself with success. Miss Dudley's notions had
little in common with those around her. She had learned to square her
conduct, in a considerable degree, not by the hasty impulses of
inclination, but by the dictates of truth. She yielded nothing to
caprice or passion. Not that she was perfectly exempt from intervals
of weakness, or from the necessity of painful struggles, but these
intervals were transient, and these struggles always successful. She
was no stranger to the pleadings of love from the lips of others, and
in her own bosom, but its tumults were brief, and speedily gave place
to quiet thoughts and steadfast purposes.

She had listened to the solicitations of one, not unworthy in himself,
and amply recommended by the circumstances of family and fortune. He
was young and therefore impetuous. Of the good that he sought, he was
not willing to delay the acquisition for a moment. She had been taught
a very different lesson. Marriage included vows of irrevocable
affection and obedience. It was a contract to endure for life. To form
this connection in extreme youth, before time had unfolded and
modelled the characters of the parties, was, in her opinion, a proof
of pernicious and opprobrious temerity. Not to perceive the propriety
of delay in this case, or to be regardless of the motives that would
enjoin upon us a deliberate procedure, furnished an unanswerable
objection to any man's pretensions. She was sensible, however, that
this, like other mistakes, was curable. If her arguments failed to
remove it, time, it was likely, would effect this purpose. If she
rejected a matrimonial proposal for the present, it was for reasons
that might not preclude her future acceptance of it.

Her scruples, in the present case, did not relate to the temper or
person, or understanding of her lover, but to his age, to the
imperfectness of their acquaintance, and to the want of that
permanence of character, which can flow only from the progress of time
and knowledge. These objections, which so rarely exist, were
conclusive with her. There was no danger of her relinquishing them in
compliance with the remonstrances of parents and the solicitations of
her lover, though the one and the other were urged with all the force
of authority and insinuation. The prescriptions of duty were too clear
to allow her to hesitate and waver, but the consciousness of rectitude
could not secure her from temporary vexations.

Her parents were blemished with some of the frailties of that
character. They held themselves entitled to prescribe in this article,
but they forbore to exert their power. They condescended to persuade,
but it was manifest, that they regarded their own conduct as a
relaxation of right, and had not the lover's importunities suddenly
ceased, it is not possible to tell how far the happiness of Miss
Dudley might have been endangered. The misfortunes of her father were
no sooner publicly known, than the youth forbore his visits, and
embarked on a voyage which he had long projected, but which had been
hitherto delayed by a superior regard to the interests of his passion.

It must be allowed that the lady had not foreseen this event. She had
exercised her judgment upon his character, and had not been deceived.
Before this desertion, had it been clearly stated to her apprehension,
she would have readily admitted it to be probable. She knew the
fascmation of wealth, and the delusiveness of self-confidence. She was
superior to the folly of supposing him exempt from sinister
influences, and deaf to the whispers of ambition, and yet the manner
in which she was affected by this event, convinced her that her heart
had a larger share than her reason in dictating her expectations.

Yet it must not be supposed that she suffered any very acute distress
on this account. She was grieved less for her own sake than his. She
had no design of entering into marriage, in less than seven years from
this period. Not a single hope, relative to her own condition, had
been frustrated. She had only been mistaken in her favourable
conceptions of another. He had exhibited less constancy and virtue
than her heart had taught her to expect.

With those opinions, she could devote herself, with a single heart, to
the alleviation of her parent's sorrows. This change in her condition
she treated lightly, and retained her cheerfulness unimpaired. This
happened because, in a rational estimate, and so far as it affected
herself, the misfortune was slight, and because her dejection would
only tend to augment the disconsolateness of her parents, while, on
the other hand, her serenity was calculated to infuse the same
confidence into them. She indulged herself in no fits of exclamation
or moodiness. She listened in silence to their invectives and laments,
and seized every opportunity that offered to inspire them with
courage, to set before them the good as well as ill, to which they
were reserved, to suggest expedients for improving their condition,
and to soften the asperites of his new mode of life, to her father,
by every species of blandishment and tenderness.

She refused no personal exertion to the common benefit. She incited
her father to diligence, as well by her example, as by her
exortations; suggested plans, and superintended or assisted in the
execution of them. The infirmities of sex and age vanished before the
motives to courage and activity flowing from her new situation. When
settled in his new abode, and profession, she began to deliberate what
conduct was incumbent on herself, how she might participate with her
father, the burthen of the common maintainance, and blunt the edge of
this calamity by the resources of a powerful and cultivated mind.

In the first place, she disposed of every superfluous garb and
trinket. She reduced her wardrobe to the plainest and cheapest
establishment. By this means alone, she supplied her father's
necessities with a considerable sum. Her music and even her books were
not spared, not from the slight esteem in which these were held by
her, but because she was thenceforth to become an economist of time as
well as of money, because musical instruments are not necessary to the
practice of this art in its highest perfection, and because, books,
when she should procure leisure to read, or money to purchase them,
might be obtained in a cheaper and more commodious form, than those
costly and splendid volumes, with which her father's munificence had
formerly supplied her.

To make her expences as limited as possible was her next care. For
this end she assumed the province of cook, the washing of house and
cloaths, and the cleansing of furniture. Their house was small, the
family consisted of no more than four persons, and all formality and
expensiveness were studiously discarded, but her strength was unequal
to unavoidable tasks. A vigorous constitution could not supply the
place of laborious habits, and this part of her plan must have been
changed for one less frugal. The aid of a servant must have been
hired, if it had not been furnished by gratitude.

Some years before this misfortune, her mother had taken under her
protection a girl, the daughter of a poor woman, who subsisted by
labour, and who dying, left this child without friend or protector.
This girl possessed no very improveable capacity, and therefore, could
not benefit by the benevolent exertions of her young mistress as much
as the latter desired, but her temper was artless and affectionate,
and she attached herself to Constance with the most entire devotion.
In this change of fortune she would not consent to be separated, and
Miss Dudley, influenced by her affection to her Lucy, and reflecting
that on the whole it was most to her advantage to share with her, at
once, her kindness and her poverty, retained her as her companion.
With this girl she shared the domestic duties, scrupling not to divide
with her the meanest and most rugged, as well as the lightest offices.

This was not all. She, in the next place, considered whether her
ablity extended no farther than to save. Could she not by the
employment of her bands increase the income as well as diminish the
expense? Why should she be precluded from all lucrative occupation?
She soon came to a resolution. She was mistress of her needle, and
this skill she conceived herself bound to employ for her own

Cloathing is one of the necessaries of human existence. The art of the
taylor is scarcely of less use than that of the tiller of the ground.
There are few the gains of which are better merited, and less
injurious to the principles of human society. She resolved therefore
to become a workwoman, and to employ in this way, the leisure she
possessed from household avocations. To this scheme she was obliged to
reconcile not only herself but her parents. The conquest of their
prejudices was no easy task, but her patience and skill finally
succeeded, and she procured needle work in sufficient quantity to
enable her to enhance in no trivial degree, the common fund.

It is one thing barely to comply with the urgencies of the case, and
to do that which, in necessitous circumstances is best. But to conform
with grace and cheerfulness, to yield no place to fruitless
recriminations and repinings, to contract the evils into as small a
compass as possible, and extract from our condition all possible good,
is a task of a different kind.

Mr. Dudley's situation required from him frugality and diligence. He
was regular and unintermitted in his application to his pen. He was
frugal. His slender income was administered agreeably to the maxims of
his daughter: but he was unhappy. He experienced in its full extent
the bitterness of disappointment.

He gave himself up for the most part to a listless melancholy.
Sometimes his impaticnce would produce effects less excusable; and
conjure up an accusing and irascible spirit. His wife and even his
daughter he would make the objects of peevish and absurd reproaches.
These were moments when her heart drooped indeed, and her tears could
not be restrained from flowing. These fits were transitory and rare,
and when they had passed, the father seldom failed to mingle tokens of
contrition and repentance with the tears of his daughter. Her
arguments and soothings were seldom disappointed of success. Her
mother's disposition was soft and pliant, but she could not
accommodate herself to the necessity of her husband's affairs. She was
obliged to endure the want of some indulgences, but she reserved to
herself the liberty of complaining, and to subdue this spirit in her
was found utterly impracticable. She died a victim to discontent.

This event deepened the gloom that shrouded the soul of her father,
and rendered the task of consolation still more difficult. She did not
despair. Her sweetness and patience was invincible by any thing that
had already happened, but her fortitude did not exceed the standard of
human nature. Evils now began to menace her, to which it is likely she
would have yielded, had not their approach been intercepted by an evil
of a different kind.

The pressure of grief is sometimes such as to prompt us to seek a
refuge in voluntary death. We must lay aside the burthen which we
cannot sustain. If thought degenerate into a vehicle of pain, what
remains but to destroy that vehicle? For this end, death is the
obvious, but not the only, or morally speaking, the worst means. There
is one method of obtaining the bliss of forgetfulness, in comparison
with which suicide is innocent.

The strongest mind is swayed by circumstances. There is no firmness of
integrity, perhaps, able to repel every species of temptation, which
is produced by the present constitution of human affairs, and yet
temptation is successful, chiefly by virtue of its gradual and
invisible approaches. We rush into danger, because we are not aware of
its existence, and have not therefore provided the means of safety,
and the dmon that seizes us is hourly reinforced by habit. Our
opposition grows fainter in proportion as our adversary acquires new
strength, and the man becomes enslaved by the most sordid vices, whose
fall would, at a former period, have been deemed impossible, or who
would have been imagined liable to any species of depravity, more than
to this.

Mr. Dudley's education had entailed upon him many errors, yet who
would have supposed it possible for him to be enslaved by a depraved
appetite; to be enamoured of low debauchery, and to grasp at the
happiness that intoxication had to bestow? This was a mournful period
in Constantia's history. My feelings will not suffer me to dwell upon
it. I cannot describe the manner in which she was affected by the
first symptoms of this depravity, the struggles which she made to
counteract this dreadful infatuation, and the grief which she
experienced from the repeated miscarriage of her efforts. I will not
detail her various expedients for this end, the appeals which she made
to his understanding, to his sense of honor and dread of infamy, to
the gratitude to which she was entitled, and to the injunctions of
parental duty. I will not detail his fits of remorse, his fruitless
penitence, and continual relapses, nor depict the heart-breaking
scenes of uproar and violence, and foul disgrace that accompanied his
paroxysms of drunkenness.

The only intellectual amusement which this lady allowed herself was
writing. She enjoyed one distant friend, with whom she maintained an
uninterrupted correspondence, and to whom she confided a
circumstantial and copious relation of all these particulars. That
friend is the writer of these memoirs. It is not impossible but that
these letters may be communicated to the world, at some future period.
The picture which they exhibit is hourly exemplified and realized,
though, in the many-coloured scenes of human life, none surpasses it
in disastrousness and horror. My eyes almost wept themselves dry over
this part of her tale.

In this state of things Mr. Dudley's blindness might justly be
accounted, even in its immediate effects, a fortunate event. It
dissolved the spell, by which he was bound, and which, it is probable,
would never have been otherwise broken. It restored him to himself and
shewed him, with a distinctness which made him shudder, the gulf to
which he was hastening. But nothing can compensate to the sufferer the
evils of blindness. It was the business of Constantia's life to
alleviate those sufferings, to cherish and console her father, and to
rescue him, by the labour of her hands from dependance on public
charity. For this end, her industry and solicitude were never at rest.
She was able, by that industry, to provide him and herself with
necessaries. Their portion was scanty, and, if it sometimes exceeded
the standard of their wants, not less frequently fell short of it. For
all her toils and disquietudes she esteemed herself fully compensated
by the smiles of her father. He indeed could seldom be prompted to
smile, or to suppress the dietates of that despair which flowed from
his sense of this new calamity, and the aggravations of hardship which
his recent insobrieties had occasioned to his daughter.

She purchased what books her scanty stock would allow, and borrowed
others. These she read to him when her engagements would permit. At
other times she was accustomed to solace herself with her own music.
The lute which her father had purchased in Italy, and which had been
disposed of among the rest of his effects, at public sale, had been
gratuitously restored to him by the purchaser, on condition of his
retaining it in his possession. His blindness and inoccupation now
broke the long silence to which this instrument had been condemned,
and afforded an accompaniment to the young lady's voice.

Her chief employment was conversation. She resorted to this as the
best means of breaking the monotony of the scene; but this purpose was
not only accomplished, but other benefits of the highest value accrued
from it. The habits of a painter eminently tended to vivify and make
exact her father's conceptions and delineations of visible objects.
The sphere of his youthful observation comprised more ingredients of
the picturesque, than any other sphere. The most precious materials of
the moral history of mankind, are derived from the revolutions of
Italy. Italian features and landscape, constitute the chosen field of
the artist. No one had more carefully explored this field than Mr.
Dudley. His time, when abroad, had been divided between residence at
Rome, and excursions to Calabria and Tuscany. Few impressions were
effaced from his capacious register, and these were now rendered by
his eloquence, nearly as conspicuous to his companion as to himself.

She was imbued with an ardent thirst of knowledge, and by the
acuteness of her remarks, and the judiciousness of her enquiries,
reflected back upon his understanding as much improvement as she
received. These efforts to render his calamity tolerable, and enure
him to the profiting by his own resources, were aided by time, and,
when reconciled by habit to unrespited gloom, he was, sometimes,
visited by gleams of cheerfulness, and drew advantageous comparisons
between his present and former situation. A stillness not unakin to
happiness, frequently diffused itself over their winter evenings.
Constance enjoyed, in their full extent, the felicities of health and
self-approbation. The genius and eloquence of her father, nourished by
perpetual exercise, and undiverted from its purpose by the intrusion
of visible objects, frequently afforded her a delight in comparison
with which all other pleasures were mean.


This period of tranquillity was short. Poverty hovered at their
threshold, and in a state precarious as their's, could not be long
excluded. The lady was more accustomed to anticipate good than evil,
but she was not unconscious that the winter, which was hastening,
would bring it with numerous inconveniences. Wants during that season
are multiplied, while the means of supplying them either fail or are
diminished. Fuel is alone, a cause of expense equal to all other
articles of subsistence. Her dwelling was old, crazy, and full of
avenues to air. It was evident that neither fire nor cloathing would,
in an habitation like that, attemper the chilling blasts. Her scanty
gains were equal to their needs, during summer, but would probably
fall short during the prevalence of cold.

These reflections could not fail sometimes to intrude. She indulged
them as long as they served merely to suggest expedients and
provisions for the future, but laboured to call away her attention
when they merely produced anxiety. This she more easily effected, as
some months of summer were still to come, and her knowledge of the
vicissitudes to which human life is subject, taught her to rely upon
the occurrence of some fortunate, though unforeseen event.

Accident suggested an expedient of this kind. Passing through an
alley, in the upper part of the town, her eye was caught by a label on
the door of a small house, signifying that it was to be let. It was
smaller than that she at present occupied, but it had an aspect of
much greater comfort and neatness. Its situation, near the centre of
the city, in a quiet, cleanly, and well paved alley, was far
preferable to that of her present habitation, in the suburbs, scarcely
accessible in winter for pools and gullies, and in a neighbourhood
abounding with indigence and profligacy. She likewise considered that
the rent of this might be less, and that the proprietor of this might
have more forbearance and benignity than she had hitherto met with.

Unconversant as she was with the world, imbued with the timidity of
her sex and her youth, many enterprizes were arduous to her, which
would, to age and experience, have been easy. Her reluctances,
however, when required by necessity, were overcome, and all the
measures which her situation prescribed, executed with address and
dispatch. One, marking her deportment, would have perceived nothing
but dignity and courage. He would have regarded these as the fruits of
habitual independence and exertion, whereas they were merely the
results of clear perceptions and inflexible resolves.

The proprietor of this mansion was immediately sought out, and a
bargain, favorable as she could reasonably desire, concluded.
Possession was to be taken in a week. For this end carters and draymen
were to be engaged, household implements to be prepared for removal,
and negligence and knavery prevented by scrupulous attention. The
duties of superintendence and execution devolved upon her. Her
father's blindness rendered him powerless. His personal case required
no small portion of care. Household and professional functions were
not to be omitted. She stood alone in the world. There was none whose
services or counsel she could claim. Tortured by multiplicity of
cares, shrinking from exposure to rude eyes, and from contention with
refractory and insolent spirits, and overpowered with fatigue and
disgust, she was yet compelled to retain a cheerful tone in her
father's presence, and to struggle with his regrets and his

O my friend! Methinks I now see thee, encountering the sneers and
obstinacy of the meanest of mankind, subjecting that frame of thine,
so exquisitely delicate, and therefore so feeble, to the vilest
drudgery. I see thee, leading thy unhappy father to his new dwelling,
and stifling the sign produced by his fruitless repinings and
unseasonable seruples--Why was I not partaker of thy cares and
labours? Why was I severed from thee by the ocean, and kept in
ignorance of thy state? I was not without motives to anxiety, for I
was friendless as thou, but how unlike to thine was my condition! I
reposed upon down and tissue, never moved but with obsequious
attendance and pompous equipage, painting and music were consolations
ever at hand, and my cabinet was stored with poetry and science.
These, indeed, were insufficient to exclude care, and with regard to
the past, I have no wish but that I had shared with my friend her
toilsome and humiliating lot. However an erroneous world might judge,
thy life was full of dignity, and thy moments of happiness not few,
since happiness is only attendant on the performance of our duty.

A toilsome and sultry week was terminated by a sabbath of repose. Her
new dwelling possessed indisputable advantages over her old. Not the
least of these benefits consisted in the vicinity of people, peaceable
and honest, though poor. She was no longer shocked by the clamours of
debauchery, and exposed, by her situation, to the danger of being
mistaken by the profligate of either sex, for one of their own class.
It was reasonable to consider this change of abode, as fortunate, and
yet, circumstances quickly occurred which suggested a very different

She had no intercourse, which necessity did not prescribe, with the
rest of the world. She screened herself as much as possible from
intercourse with prying and loquacious neighbours. Her father's
inclinations in this respect coincided with her own, though their love
of seclusion was prompted by different motives. Visitants were hated
by the father, because his dignity was hurt by communication with the
vulgar. The danghter set too much value upon time willingly to waste
it upon trifles and triflers. She had no pride to subdue, and
therefore never escaped from well meant importunity at the expense of
politeness and good humour. In her moments of leisure, she betook
herself to the poet and the moralist for relief.

She could not at all times, suppress the consciousness of the evils
which surrounded and threatened her. She could not but rightly
estimate the absorbing and brutifying nature of that toil to which she
was condemned. Literature had hitherto been regarded as her solace.
She knew that meditation and converse as well as books and the pen,
are instruments of knowledge, but her musing thoughts were too often
fixed upon her own condition. Her father's soaring moods and luminous
intervals grew less frequent. Conversation was too rarely abstracted
from personal considerations, and strayed less often than before into
the wilds of fancy or the mazes of analysis.

These circumstances led her to reflect whether subsistence might not
be obtained by occupations purely intellectual. Instruction was needed
by the young of both sexes. Females frequently performed the office of
teachers. Was there no branch of her present knowledge which she might
claim wages for imparting to others? Was there no art within her reach
to acquire, convertible into means of gain? Women are generally
limited to what is sensual and ornamental: Music and painting, and the
Italian and French languages, are bounds which they seldom pass. In
these pursuits it is not possible, nor is it expected, that they
should arrive at the skill of adepts. The education of Constance had
been regulated by the peculiar views of her father, who sought to make
her, not alluring and voluptuous, but eloquent and wise. He therefore
limited her studies to Latin and English. Instead of familiarizing her
with the amorous effusions of Petrarcha and Racine, he made her
thoroughly conversant with Tacitus and Milton. Instead of making her a
practical musician or pencilist, he conducted her to the school of
Newton and Hartley, unveiled to her the mathematical properties of
light and sound, taught her as a metaphysician and anatomist, the
structure and power of the senses, and discussed with her the
principles and progress of human society.

These accomplishments tended to render her superior to the rest of
women, but in no degree qualified her for the post of a female
instructor. She saw and lamented her deficiencies, and gradually
formed the resolution of supplying them. Her knowledge of the Latin
tongue and of grammatical principles, rendered easy the acquisition of
Italian and French, these being merely Scions from the Roman stock.

Having had occasion, previous to her change of dwelling, to purchase
paper at a bookseller's, the man had offered her at a very low price,
a second-hand copy of Veneroni's grammar. The offer had been declined,
her views at that time being otherwise directed. Now, however, this
incident was remembered, and a resolution instantly formed to purchase
the book. As soon as the light declined, and her daily task at the
needle had drawn to a close, she set out to execute this purpose.
Arriving at the house of the book-seller, she perceived that the doors
and windows were closed. Night having not yet arrived, the conjecture
easily occurred, that some one had died in the house. She had always
dealt with this man for books and paper, and had always been treated
with civility. Her heart readily admitted some sympathy with his
distress, and to remove her doubts, she turned to a person who stood
at the entrance of the next house, and who held a cloth steeped in
vinegar to his nostrils. In reply to her question, the stranger said
in a tone of the deepest consternation--Mr. Watson do you mean? He is
dead: He died last night of the yellow fever.

The name of this disease was not absolutely new to her ears. She had
been apprized of its rapid and destructive progress in one quarter of
the city, but, hitherto, it had existed, with regard to her, chiefly
in the form of rumour. She had not realized the nature or probable
extent of the evil. She lived at no great distance from the seat of
the malady, but her neighbourhood had been hitherto exempt. So wholly
unused was she to contemplate pestilence except at a distance, that
its actual existence in the bosom of this city was incredible.

Contagious diseases, she well knew, periodically visited and laid
waste the Greek and Egyptian cities. It constituted no small part of
that mass of evil, political and physical, by which that portion of
the world has been so long afflicted. That a pest equally malignant
had assailed the metropolis of her own country, a town famous for the
salubrity of its airs and the perfection of its police, had something
in it so wild and uncouth that she could not reconcile herself to the
possibility of such an event.

The death of Watson, however, filled her mind with awful reflections.
The purpose of her walk was forgotten amidst more momentous
considerations. She bent her steps pensively homeward. She had now
leisure to remark the symptoms of terror with which all ranks appeared
to have been seized. The streets were as much frequented as ever, but
there were few passengers whose countenances did not betray alarm, and
who did not employ the imaginary antidote to infection, vinegar.

Having reached home, she quickly discovered in her father, an unusual
solemnity and thoughtfulness. He had no power to conceal his emotions
from his daughter, when her efforts to discover them were earnestly
exerted. She learned that, during her absence he had been visited by
his next neighbour, a thrifty, sober and well meaning, but ignorant
and meddling person, by name Whiston. This person, being equally
inquisitive into other men's affairs, and communicative of his own,
was always an unwelcome visitant. On this occasion, he had come to
disburthen on Mr. Dudley his fears of disease and death. His tale of
the origin and progress of the epidemic, of the number and suddenness
of recent deaths was delivered with endless prolixity. With this
account he mingled prognostics of the future, counselled Mr. Dudley to
fly from the scene of danger, and stated his own schemes and
resolutions. After having thoroughly affrighted and wearied his
companion he took his leave.

Constance endeavoured to remove the impression which had been thus
needlessly made. She urged her doubts as to the truth of Whiston's
representations, and endeavoured, in various ways, to extenuate the

Nay, my child, said her father, thou needest not reason on the
subject. I am not affraid. At least, on my own account I fear nothing.
What is life to me that I should dread to lose it? If on any account I
should tremble it is on thine, my angelic girl. Thou dost not deserve
thus early to perish: And yet if my love for thee were rational,
perhaps, I ought to wish it. An evil destiny will pursue thee to the
close of thy life, be it never so long.

I know that ignorance and folly breed the phantoms by which themselves
are peplexed and terrified, and that Whiston is a fool, but here the
truth is too plain to be disguised. This malady is pestilential.
Havock and despair will accompany its progress and its progress will
be rapid. The tragedies of Marseilles and Messina will be reacted on
this stage.

For a time, we in this quarter will be exempt, but it will surely
reach us at last, and then, whither shall we fly? For the rich, the
whole world is a safe asylum, but for us, indigent and wretched, what
fate is reserved but to stay and perish? If the disease spare us, we
must perish by neglect and famine. Alarm will be far and wide
diffused. Fear will hinder those who supply the market, from entering
the city. The price of food will become exorbitant. Our present source
of subsistence, ignominious and scanty as it is, will be cut off.
Traffic and labour of every kind will be at an end. We shall die, but
not until we have witnessed and endured horrors that surpass thy
powers of conception.

I know full well the enormity of this evil. I have been at Messina,
and talked with many who witnessed the state of that city in 1743. I
will not freeze thy blood with the recital. Anticipation has a
tendency to lessen or prevent some evils, but pestilence is not of
that number. Strange untowardness of destiny! That thou and I should
be cast upon a scene like this!

Mr. Dudley joined with uncommon powers of discernment, a species of
perverseness not easily accounted for. He acted as if the inevitable
evils of her lot was not sufficient for the trial of his daughter's
patience. Instend of comforter and counsellor, he fostered impatience
in himself, and endeavoured, with the utmost diligence, to undermine
her fortitude and disconcert her schemes. The task was assigned to
her, not only of subduing her own fears, but of maintaining the
contest with his disastrous eloquence. In most cases she had not
failed of success. Hitherto their causes of anxiety, her own
observation had, in some degree, enabled her to estimate at their just
value. The rueful pictures which his imagination was wont to pourtray,
affected her for a moment; but deliberate scrutiny commonly enabled
her to detect and demonstrate their falacy. Now, however, the theme
was new. Panick and foreboding found their way to her heart in
defiance of her struggles. She had no experience by which to
counteract this impulse. All that remained was to beguile her own and
her father's cares by counterfeiting cheerfulness and introducing new

This panic, stifled for a time, renewed its sway when she retired to
her chamber. Never did futurity wear, to her fancy, so dark an hue.
Never did her condition appear to her in a light so dreary and
forlorn. To fly from the danger was impossible. How should
accommodation at a distance, be procured? The means of subsistence
were indissolubly connected with her present residence, but the
progress of this disease would cut off these means, and leave her to
be beset not only with pestilence but famine. What provision could she
make against an evil like this?


The terms on which she had been admitted into this house, included the
advance of one quarter's rent and the monthly payment of subsequent
dues. The requisite sum had been with difficulty collected, the
landlord had twice called to remind her of her stipulation, and this
day had been fixed for the discharge of this debt. He had omitted,
contrary to her expectations and her wishes, to come. It was probable,
however, that they should meet on the ensuing day. If he should fail
in this respect, it appeared to be her duty to carry the money to his
house, and this it had been her resolution to perform.

Now, however, new views were suggested to her thoughts. By the payment
of this debt she should leave herself nearly destitute. The flight and
terror of the citizens would deprive her of employment. Want of food
was an immediate and inevitable evil which the payment of this sum
would produce. Was it just to incur this evil? To retain the means of
luxurious gratification would be wrong, but to bereave herself and her
father of bare subsistance was surely no dictate of duty.

It is true the penalty of nonpayment was always in the landlord's
hands. He was empowered by the law to sell their moveables and expel
them from his house. It was now no time for a penalty like this to be
incurred. But from this treatment it was reasonable to hope that his
lenity would save them. Was it not right to wait till the alternative
of expulsion or payment was imposed? Meanwhile, however, she was
subjected to the torments of suspense and to the guilt of a broken
promise. These consequences were to be eluded only in one way: By
visiting her landlord and stating her true condition, it was possible
that his compassion would remit claims which were, in themselves,
unreasonable and uncommon. The tender of the money accompanied by
representations sufficiently earnest and pathetic, might possibly be

These reflections were, next morning, submitted to her father. Her
decision in this case was of less importance in his eyes, than in
those of his daughter. Should the money be retained, it was, in his
opinion, a pittance too small to afford them effectual support.
Supposing provisions to be had at any price, which was, itself
improbable, that price would be exorbitant. The general confusion
would probably last for months, and thirty dollars would be devoured
in a few weeks even in a time of safety. To give or to keep was
indifferent for another reason. It was absurd for those to consult
about means of subsistence for the next month, when it was fixed that
they should die to-morrow--The true proceeding was obvious. The
landlord's character was well known to him by means of the plaints and
invectives of their neighbours, most of whom were tenants of the same
man. If the money were offered his avarice would receive it, in spite
of all the pleas that she should urge. If it were detained without
lieve, an officer of justice would quickly be dispatched to claim it.

This statement was sufficient to take away from Constance the hope
that she had fostered. What then, said she, after a pause, is my
father's advice? Shall I go forthwith and deliver the money?

No, said he, stay till he sends for it. Have you forgotten that
Mathews resides in the very midst of this disease. There is no need to
thrust yourself within its fangs. They will reach us time enough. It
is likely his messenger will be an agent of the law. No matter. The
debt will be merely increased by a few charges. In a state like ours,
the miserable remnant is not worth caring for.

This reasoning, did not impart conviction to the lady. The danger,
flowing from a tainted atmosphere was not small, but to incur that
danger was wiser than to exasperate their landlord, to augment the
debt and to encounter the disgrace, accruing from a constable's
visits. The conversation was dropped and, presently after, she set out
on a visit to Mathews.

She fully estimated the importance to her happiness of the sum which
she was going to pay. The general panic had already, in some degree,
produced the effect she chiefly dreaded; the failure of employment for
her needle. Her father had, with his usual diligence at self-torment,
supplied her with sufficient proofs of the covetous and obdurate
temper of her creditor. Insupportable, however, as the evil of payment
was, it was better to incur it spontaneously, than by means of legal
process. The desperateness of this proceeding therefore, did not
prevent her from adopting it, but it filled her heart with the
bitterest sensations. Absorbed as she past along, by these, she was
nearly insensible to the vacancy which now prevailed in a quarter
which formerly resounded with the din of voices and carriages.

As she approached the house to which she was going, her reluctance to
proceed increased. Frequently she paused to recollect the motives that
had prescribed this task, and to reinforce her purposes. At length she
arrived at the house. Now, for the first time, her attention was
excited by the silence and desolation that surrounded her. This
evidence of fear and of danger struck upon her heart. All appeared to
have fled from the presence of this unseen and terrible foe. The
temerity of adventuring thus into the jaws of the pest, now appeared
to her in glaring colours.

Appearances suggested a reflection which had not previously occurred
and which tended to console her. Was it not probable that Mathews had
likewise flown? His habits were calculated to endear to him his life:
He would scarcely be among the last to shun perils like these: The
omission of his promised visit on the preceding day, might be owing to
his absence from the city, and thus, without subjection to any painful
alternative, she might be suffered to retain the money.

To give certainty to this hope, she cast her eye towards the house
opposite to which she now stood. Her heart drooped on perceiving
proofs that the dwelling was still inhabited. The door was open and
the windows in the second and third story were raised. Near the
entrance, in the street, stood a cart. The horse attached to it, in
his form and furniture and attitude, was an emblem of torpor and
decay. His gaunt sides, motionless limbs, his gummy and dead eyes, and
his head hanging to the ground, were in unison with the craziness of
the vehicle to which he belonged, and the paltry and bedusted harness
which covered him. No attendant nor any human face was visible. The
stillness, though at an hour customarily busy, was uninterrupted
except by the sound of wheels moving at an almost indistinguishable

She paused for a moment to contemplate this unwonted spectacle. Her
trepidations were mingled with emotions not unakin to sublimity, but
the consciousness of danger speedily prevailed, and she hastened to
acquit herself of her engagement. She approached the door for this
purpose, but before she could draw the bell her motions were arrested
by sounds from within. The staircase was opposite the door. Two
persons were now discovered descending the stair. They lifted between
them an heavy mass, which was presently discerned to be a coffin.
Shocked by this discovery and trembling she withdrew from the

At this moment a door on the opposite side of the street opened and a
female came out. Constance approached her involuntarily and her
appearance not being unattractive, adventured, more by gestures than
by words, to enquire whose obsequies were thus unceremoniously
conducted. The woman informed her that the dead was Mathews, who, two
days before, was walking about, indifferent to, and braving danger.
She cut short the narrative which her companion seemed willing to
prolong, and to embellish with all its circumstances, and hastened
home with her utmost expedition.

The mind of Constance was a stranger to pusillanimity. Death, as the
common lot of all, was regarded by her without perturbation. The value
of life, though not annihilated, was certainly diminished by
adversity. With whatever solemnity contemplated, it excited on her own
account, no aversion or inquietude. For her father's sake only, death
was an evil to be ardently deprecated. The nature of the prevalent
disease, the limits and modes of its influence, the risque that is
incurred by approaching the sick or the dead, or by breathing the
surrounding element, were subjects foreign to her education. She
judged like the mass of mankind from the most obvious appearances, and
was subject like them to impulses which disdained the controul of her
reason. With all her complacency for death and speculative resignation
to the fate that governs the world, disquiet and alarm pervaded her
bosom on this occasion.

The deplorable state to which her father would be reduced by her
death, was seen and lamented, but her tremulous sensations flowed not
from this source. They were, in some sort, inexplicable and
mechanical. In spite of recollection and reflection, they bewildered
and harassed her, and subsided only of their own accord.

The death of Mathews was productive of one desirable consequence. Till
the present tumult were passed, and his representatives had leisure to
inspect his affairs, his debtors would probably remain unmolested. He,
likewise, who should succeed to the inheritance, might possess very
different qualities, and he as much distinguished for equity as
Mathews had been for extortion. These reflections lightened her
footsteps as she hied homeward. The knowledge she had gained, she
hoped would counterpoise, in her father's apprehension, the perils,
which accompanied the acquisition of it.

She had scarcely passed her own threshhold, when she was followed by
Whiston. This man pursued the occupation of a Cooper. He performed
journey-work in a shop, which, unfortunately for him, was situated
near the water, and at a small distance from the scene of original
infection. This day his employer had dismissed his workman, and
Whiston was at liberty to retire from the city; a scheme, which had
been the theme of deliberation and discussion during the preceding

Hitherto his apprehensions seemed to have molested others more than
himself. The rumours and conjectures industriously collected during
the day, were, in the evening, copiously detailed to his neighbours,
and his own mind appeared to be disburthened of its cares, in
proporation as he filled others with terror and inquietude. The
predictions of physicians, the measures of precaution prescribed by
the government, the progress of the malady, and the history of the
victims who were hourly destroyed by it, were communicated with
tormenting prolixity and terrifying minuteness.

On these accounts as well as on others, no one's visits were more
unwelcome than his. As his deportment was sober and honest, and his
intentions harmless, he was always treated, by Constantia, with
politeness, though his entrance always produced a momentary depression
of her spirits. On this evening she was less fitted than ever to repel
those anxieties which his conversation was qualified to produce. His
entrance, therefore, was observed with sincere regret.

Contrary, however, to her expectation, Whiston brought with him new
manners and a new expression of countenance. He was silent,
abstracted, his eye was full of inquietude, and wandered with
perpetual restlessness. On these tokens being remarked, he expressed,
in faultering accents his belief, that he had contracted this disease,
and that now it was too late for him to leave the city.

Mr. Dudley's education was somewhat medical. He was so far interested
in his guest as to enquire into his sensations. They were such as were
commonly the preludes to fever. Mr. Dudley, while he endeavoured by
cheerful tones, to banish his dejection, exhorted him to go home, and
to take some hot and wholesome draught, in consequence of which, he
might rise tomorrow with his usual health. This advice was gratefully
received, and Whiston put a period to his visit much sooner than was

Mr. Dudley entertained no doubts that Whiston was seized with the
reigning disease, and extingnished the faint hope which his daughter
had cherished, that their district would escape. Whiston's habitation
was nearly opposite their own, but as they made no use of their front
room, they had seldom an opportunity of observing the transactions of
their neighbours. This distance and seclusion were congenial with her
feelings, and she derived pleasure from her father's confession, that
they contributed to personal security.

Constance was accustomed to rise with the dawn, and traverse, for an
hour, the State-house Mall. As she took her walk the next morning, she
pondered with astonishment on the present situation of the city. The
air was bright and pure, and apparently salubrious. Security and
silence seemed to hover over the scene. She was only reminded of the
true state of things by the occasional appearance of carriages loaded
with household utensils tending towards the country, and by the odour
of vinegar by which every passenger was accompanied. The public walk
was cool and fragrant as formerly, skirted by verdure as bright, and
shaded by foliage as luxuriant, but it was no longer frequented by
lively steps and cheerful countenances. Its solitude was uninterrupted
by any but herself.

This day passed without furnishing any occasion to leave the house.
She was less sedulously employed than usual, as the cloaths, on which
she was engaged, belonged to a family who had precipitately left the
city. She had leisure therefore to ruminate. She could not but feel
some concern in the fate of Whiston. He was a young man who subsisted
on the fruits of his labour, and divided his gains with an only sister
who lived with him, and who performed every household office.

This girl was humble and innocent, and of a temper affectionate and
mild. Casual intercourse only had taken place between her and
Constance. They were too dissimilar for any pleasure to arise from
communication, but the latter was sufficiently disposed to extend to
her harmless neighbour, the sympathy and succour which she needed.
Whiston had come from a distant part of the country, and his sister
was the only person in the city with whom he was connected by ties of
kindred. In case of his sickness, therefore, their cons dition would
be helpless and deplorable.

Evening arrived, and Whiston failed to pay his customary visit. She
mentioned this omission to her father, and expressed her apprehension
as to the cause of it. He did not discountenance the inference which
she drew from this circumstance, and assented to the justice of the
picture which she drew of the calamitous state to which Whiston and
his sister would be reduced by the indisposition of either. She then
ventured to suggest the propriety of visiting the house, and of thus
ascertaining the truth.

To this proposal Mr. Dudley urged the most vehement objectioes. What
purpose could be served by entering their dwelling? What benefit would
flow but the gratification of a dangerous curiosity? Constance was
disabled from furnishing pecuniary aid. She could not act the part of
physician or nurse. Her father stood in need of a thousand personal
services, and the drudgery of cleansing and cooking, already exceeded
the bounds of her strength. The hazard of contracting the disease by
conversing with the sick, was imminent. What services was she able to
render equivalent to the consequences of her own sickness and death?

These representations had temporary influence. They recalled her for a
moment, from her purpose, but this purpose was speedily re-embraced.
She reflected that the evil to herself, formidable as it was, was
barely problematical. That converse with the sick would impart this
disease, was by no means certain. Whiston might at least be visited.
Perhaps she should find him well. If sick, his disease might be
unepidemical, or curable by seasonable assistance. He might stand in
need of a physician, and she was more able than his sister, to summon
this aid.

Her father listened calmly to her reasonings. After a pause, he gave
his consent. In doing this he was influenced not by the conviction
that his daughter's safety would be exposed to no hazard, but from a
belief that though she might shun infection for the present, it would
inevitably seize her during some period of the progress of this pest.


It was now dusk and she hastened to perform this duty. Whiston's
dwelling was wooden and of small dimensions. She lifted the latch
softly and entered. The lower room was unoccupied. She advanced to the
foot of a narrow staircase, and knocked and listened, but no answer
was returned to the summons. Hence there was reason to infer that no
one was within, but this, from other considerations, was extremely
improbable. The truth could be ascertained only by ascending the
stair. Some feminine scruples were to be subdued before this
proceeding could be adopted.

After some hesitation, she determined to ascend. The staircase was
terminated by a door at which she again knocked, for admission, but in
vain. She listened and presently heard the motion as of some one in
bed. This was succeeded by tokens of vehement exertions to vomit.
These signs convincing her that the house was not without a tenant,
she could not besitate to enter the room.

Lying in a tattered bed, she now discovered Mary Whiston. Her face was
flushed and swelled, her eyes closed and some power appeared to have
laid a leaden hand upon her faculties. The floor was moistened and
stained by the effusion from her stomach. Constance touched her hand,
and endeavoured to rouse her. It was with difficulty that her
attention was excited. Her languid eyes were scarcely opened before
they again closed and she sunk into forgetfulness.

Repeated efforts, however, at length recalled her to herself, and
extorted from her some account of her condition. On the day before, at
noon, her stomach became diseased, her head dizzy, and her limbs
unable to support her. Her brother was absent, and her drowsiness,
interrupted only by paroxysms of vomiting, continued till his return
late in the evening. He had then shewn himself, for a few minutes, at
her bedside, had made some enquiries and precipitately retired, since
when he had not reappeared.

It was natural to imagine that Whiston had gone to procure medical
assistance. That he had not returned, during a day and a half was
matter of surprize. His own indisposition was recollected and his
absence could only be accounted for by supposing that sickness had
disabled him from regaining his own house. What was his real destiny,
it was impossible to conjecture. It was not till some months after
this period that satisfactory intelligence was gained upon this head.

It appeared that Whiston had allowed his terrors to overpower the
sense of what was due to his sister and to humanity. On discovering
the condition of the unhappy girl, he left the house, and, instead of
seeking a physician, he turned his steps towards the country. After
travelling some hours, being exhausted by want of food, by fatigue,
and by mental as well as bodily anguish, he laid himself down under
the shelter of an hayrick, in a vacant field. Here he was discovered
in the morning by the inhabitants of a neighbouring farm house. These
people had too much regard for their own safety to accommodate him
under their roof, or even to approach within fifty paces of his

A passenger whose attention and compassion had been excited by this
incident, was endowed with more courage. He lifted the stranger in his
arms, and carried him from this unwholesome spot to a barn. This was
the only service which the passenger was able to perform. Whiston,
deserted by every human creature, burning with fever, tormented into
madness by thirst, spent three miserable days in agony. When dead, no
one would cover his body with earth, but he was suffered to decay by

The dwelling, being at no great distance from the barn, could not be
wholly screened from the malignant vapour which a corpse, thus
neglected, could not fail to produce. The inhabitants were preparing
on this account, to change their abode, but, on the eve of their
departure, the master of the family became sick. He was, in a short
time, followed to the grave by his mother, his wife and four children.

They probably imbibed their disease from the tainted atmosphere around
them. The life of Whiston and their own lives, might have been saved
by affording the wanderer an asylum and suitable treatment, or at
least, their own deaths might have been avoided by interring his

Meanwhile Constantia was occupied with reflecting on the scene before
her. Not only a physician but a nurse was wanting. The last province
it was more easy for her to supply than the former. She was acquainted
with the abode but of one physician. He lived at no small distance
from this spot. To him she immediately hastened, but he was absent,
and his numerous engagements left it wholly uncertain when he would
return and whether he would consent to increase the number of his
patients. Direction was obtained to the residence of another, who was
happily disengaged, and who promised to attend immediately. Satisfied
with this assurance, she neglected to request directions, by which she
might regulate herself on his failing to come.

During her return her thoughts were painfully employed in considering
the mode proper for her to pursue, in her present perplexing
situation. She was for the most part unacquainted with the character
of those who composed her neighbourhood. That any would be willing to
undertake the tendance of this girl was by no means probable. As wives
and mothers, it would perhaps be unjust to require or permit it. As to
herself there were labours and duties of her own sufficient to engross
her faculties, yet, by whatever foreign cares or tasks she was
oppressed, she felt that, to desert this being, was impossible.

In the absence of her friend, Mary's state exhibited no change.
Constance, on regaining the house, lighted the remnant of a candle,
and resumed her place by the bed side of the sick girl. She
impatiently waited for the arrival of the physician, but hour
succeeded hour and he came not. All hope of his coming being
extinguished, she bethought herself that her father might be able to
inform her of the best manner of proceeding. It was likewise her duty
to relieve him from the suspence in which her absence would
unavoidably plunge him.

On entering her own apartment she found a stranger in company with Mr.
Dudley. The latter perceiving that she had returned, speedily
acquainted her with the views of their guest. His name was M`Crea; he
was the nephew of their landlord and was now become, by reversion, the
proprietor of the house which they occupied. Mathews had been buried
the preceding day, and M`Crea, being well acquainted with the
engagements which subsisted between the deceased and Mr. Dudley, had
come, thus unseasonably, to demand the rent. He was not unconscious of
the inhumanity and sordidness of this proceeding, and therefore,
endeavoured to disguise it by the usual pretences. All his funds were
exhausted. He came not only in his own name, but in that of Mrs.
Mathews his aunt, who was destitute of money to procure daily and
indispensible provision, and who was striving to collect a sufficient
sum to enable her and the remains of her family, to fly from a spot
where their lives were in perpetual danger.

These excuses were abundantly fallacious, but Mr. Dudley was too proud
to solicit the forbearance of a man like this. He recollected that the
engagement on his part was voluntary and explicit, and he disdained to
urge his present exigences as reasons for retracting it. He expressed
the utmost readiness to comply with the demand, and merely desired him
to wait till Miss Dudley returned. From the inquietudes with which the
unusual duration of her absence had filled him, he was now relieved by
her entrance.

With an indignant and desponding heart, she complied with her father's
directions, and the money being reluctantly delivered, M`Crea took an
hasty leave. She was too deeply interested in the fate of Mary
Whiston, to allow her thoughts to be diverted for the present into a
new channel. She described the desolate condition of the girl to her
father, and besought him to think of something suitable to her relief.

Mr. Dudley's humanity would not suffer him to disapprove of his
daughter's proceeding. He imagined that the symptoms of the patient
portended a fatal issue. There were certain complicated remedies which
might possibly be beneficial, but these were too costly, and the
application would demand more strength than his daughter could bestow.
He was unwilling, however, to leave any thing within his power,
untried. Pharmacy had been his trade, and he had reserved, for
domestic use, some of the most powerful evacuants. Constantia was
supplied with some of these, and he consented that she should spend
the night with her patient, and watch their operation.

The unhappy Mary received whatever was offered, but her stomach
refused to retain it. The night was passed by Constantia without
closing her eyes. As soon as the day dawned, she prepared once more to
summon the physician, who had failed to comply with his promise. She
had scarcely left the house, however, before she met him. He pleaded
his numerous engagements in excuse for his last night's negligence,
and desired her to make haste to conduct him to the patient.

Having scrutinized her symptoms, he expressed his hopelessness of her
recovery. Being informed of the mode in which she had been treated, he
declared his approbation of it, but intimated, that these being
unsuccessful, all that remained was to furnish her with any liquid she
might chuse to demand, and wait patiently for the event. During this
interview, the physician surveyed the person and dress of Constance
with an inquisitive eye. His countenance betrayed marks of curiosity
and compassion, and had he made any approaches to confidence and
friendliness, Constance would not have repelled them. His air was
benevolent and candid, and she estimated highly the usefulness of a
counsellor and friend in her present circumstances. Some motive,
however, hindered him from tendering his service, and, in a few
moments, he withdrew.

Mary's condition hourly grew worse. A corroded and gangrenous stomach
was quickly testified by the dark hue and poisonous malignity of the
matter which was frequently ejected from it. Her stupor gave place to
some degree of peevishness and restlessness. She drank the water that
was held to her lips with unspeakable avidity, and derived from this
source a momentary alleviation of her pangs. Fortunately for her
attendant, her agonies were not of long duration. Constantia was
absent from her bedside as rarely, and for periods as short as
possible. On the succeeding night, the sufferings of the patient
terminated in death.

This event took place at two o'clock in the morning. An hour whose
customary stillness was, if possible, encreased tenfold by the
desolation of the city. The poverty of Mary and of her nurse, had
deprived the former of the benefits resulting from the change of bed
and cloaths. Every thing about her was in a condition noisome and
detestable. Her yellowish and haggard visage, conspicuous by a feeble
light, an atmosphere freighted with malignant vapours, and reminding
Constance at every instant, of the perils which encompassed her, the
consciousness of solitude and sensations of deadly sickness in her own
frame, were sufficient to intimidate a soul of firmer texture than

She was sinking fast into helplessness, when a new train of
reflections shewed her the necessity of perseverance. All that
remained was to consign the corpse to the grave. She knew that
vehicles for this end were provided at the public expense, that notice
being given of the occasion there was for their attendance, a
receptacle and carriage for the dead would be instantly provided.
Application, at this hour, she imagined would be unseasonable. It must
be deferred till the morning which was yet at some distance.

Meanwhile to remain at her present post, was equally useless and
dangerous. She endeavoured to stifle the conviction, that some mortal
sickness had seized upon her own frame. Her anxieties of head and
stomach, she was willing to impute to extraordinary fatigue and
watchfulness; and hoped that they would be dissipated by an hour's
unmolested repose. She formed the resolution of seeking her own

At this moment, however, the universal silence underwent a slight
interruption. The sound was familiar to her ears. It was a signal
frequently repeated at the midnight hour during this season of
calamity. It was the slow movement of an hearse, apparently passing
along the street, in which the alley, where Mr. Dudley resided,
terminated. At first, this sound had no other effect than to aggravate
the dreariness of all around her. Presently it occured to her that
this vehicle might be disengaged She conceived herself bound to see
the last offices performed for the deceased Mary. The sooner so
irksome a duty was discharged the better. Every hour might augment her
incapacity for exertion. Should she be unable when the morning
arrived, to go as far as the city-hall, and give the necessary
information, the most shocking consequences would ensue. Whiston's
house and her own were opposite each other, and not connected with any
on the same side. A narrow space divided them, and her own chamber was
within the sphere of the contagion which would flow, in consequence of
such neglect, from that of her neighbour.

Influenced by these considerations she passed into the street, and
gained the corner of the alley, just as the carriage, whose movements
she had heard, arrived at the same spot. It was accompanied by two
men, negroes, who listened to her tale with respect. Having already a
burthen of this kind, they could not immediately comply with this
request. They promised that, having disposed of their present charge,
they would return forthwith and be ready to execute her orders.

Happily one of these persons was known to her. At other seasons his
occupation was that of woodcarter, and as such he had performed some
services for Mr. Dudley. His temper was gentle and obliging. The
characser of Constance had been viewed by him with reverence, and his
kindness had relieved her from many painful offices. His old
occupation being laid aside for a time, he had betaken himself, like
many others of his colour and rank, to the conveyance and burial of
the dead.

At Constantia's request, he accompanied her to Whiston's house, and
promised to bring with him such assistance, as would render her
further exertions and attendance unnecessary. Glad to be absolved from
any new task, she now retired to her own chamber. In spite of her
distempered frame, she presently sunk into sweet sleep. She awoke not
till the day had made considerable progress, and found herself
invigorated and refreshed. On re-entering Whiston's house, she
discovered that her humble friend had faithfully performed his
promise, the dead body having disappeared. She deemed it unsafe, as
well as unnecessary, to examine the cloaths and other property
remaining, but leaving every thing in the condition in which it had
been found, she fastened the windows and doors, and thenceforth kept
as distant from the house as possible.


Constantia had now leisure to ruminate upon her own condition. Every
day added to the devastation and confusion of the city. The most
populous streets were deserted and silent. The greater number of
inhabitants had fled, and those who remained were occupied with no
cares but those which related to their own safety. The labours of the
artizan and the speculations of the merchant were suspended. All
shops, but those of the apothecaries were shut. No carriage but the
herse was seen, and this was employed, night and day, in the removal
of the dead. The customary sources of subsistence were cut off. Those,
whose fortunes enabled them to leave the city, but who had deferred
till now their retreat, were denied an asylum by the terror which
pervaded the adjacent country, and by the cruel prohibitions which the
neighbouring towns and cities thought it necessary to adopt. Those who
lived by the fruits of their daily labour were subjected, in this
total inactivity, to the alternative of starving, or of subsisting
upon public charity.

The meditations of Constance, suggested no alternative but this. The
exactions of M`Crea had reduced her whole fortune to five dollars.
This would rapidly decay, and her utmost ingenuity could discover no
means of procuring a new supply. All the habits of their life had
combined to fill both her father and herself with aversion to the
acceptance of charity. Yet this avenue, opprobrious and disgustful as
it was, afforded the only means of escaping from the worst extremes of

In this state of mind it was obvious to consider in what way the sum
remaining might be most usefully expended. Every species of provision
was not equally nutritious or equally cheap. Her mind, active in the
pursuit of knowledge and fertile of resources, had lately been
engaged, in discussing with her father, the best means of retaining
health, in a time of pestilence. On occasions, when the malignity of
contagious diseases has been most signal, some individuals have
escaped. For their safety, they were doubtless indebted to some
peculiarities in their constitution or habits. Their diet, their
dress, their kind and degree of exercise, must some-what have
contributed to their exemption from the common destiny. These,
perhaps, could be ascertained, and when known it was surely proper to
conform to them.

In discussing these ideas, Mr. Dudley introduced the mention of a
Benedictine of Messina, who, during the prevalence of the plague in
that city, was incessantly engaged in administering assistance to
those who needed. Notwithstanding his perpetual hazards, he retained
perfect health, and was living thirty years after this event. During
this period, he fostered a tranquil, fearless, and benevolent spirit,
and restricted his diet to water and pollenta. Spices, and meats, and
liquors, and all complexities of cookery were utterly discarded.

These facts now occurred to Constantia's reflections with new
vividness, and led to interesting consequences. Pollenta and hasty-
pudding or samp, are preparations of the same substance; a substance
which she needed not the experience of others to convince her was no
less grateful than nutritive. Indian meal was procurable at ninety
cents per bushel. By recollecting former experiments, she knew that
this quantity, with no accompaniment but salt, would supply wholesome
and plentiful food for four months to one person. The inference was
palpable. Three persons were now to be supplied with food, and this
supply could be furnished, during four months, at the trivial expence
of three dollars. This expedient was at once so uncommon and so
desirable, as to be regarded with temporary disbelief. She was
inclined to suspect some latent error in her calculation. That a sum
thus applied, should suffice for the subsistence of a year, which, in
ordinary cases, is expended in a few days, was scarcely credible. The
more closely, however, the subject was examined, the more
incontestably did this inference flow. The mode of preparation was
simple and easy, and productive of the fewest toils and
inconveniences. The attention of her Lucy was sufficient to this end,
and the drudgery of marketing was wholly precluded.

She easily obtained the concurrence of her father and the scheme was
found as practicable and beneficial as her fondest expectations had
predicted. Infallible security was thus provided against hunger. This
was the only care that was urgent and immediate. While they had food
and were exempt from disease, they could live, and were not without
their portion of comfort. Her hands were unemployed, but her mind was
kept in continual activity. To seclude herself as much as possible
from others, was the best means of avoiding infection. Spectacles of
misery which she was unable to relieve, would merely tend to harrass
her with useless disquietudes and make her frame more accessible to
disease. Her father's instructions were sufficient to give her a
competent acquaintance with the Italian and French languages. His
dreary hours were beguiled by this employment, and her mind was
furnished with a species of knowledge, which she hoped, in future, to
make subservient to a more respectable and plentiful subsistence than
she had hitherto enjoyed.

Meanwhile the season advanced, and the havoc which this fatal malady
produced, increased with portentous rapidity. In alleys and narrow
streets, in which the houses were smaller, the inhabitants more
numerous and indigent, and the air pent up within unwholesome limits,
it raged with greatest violence. Few of Constantia's neighbours
possessed the means of removing from the danger. The inhabitants of
this alley consisted of three hundred persons. Of these eight or ten
experienced no interruption of their health. Of the rest two hundred
were destroyed in the course of three weeks. Among so many victims, it
may be supposed that this disease assumed every terrific and agonizing

It was impossible for Constantia to shut out every token of a calamity
thus enormous and thus near. Night was the season usually selected for
the removal of the dead. The sound of wheels thus employed was
incessant. This, and the images with which it was sure to be
accompanied, bereaved her of repose. The shrieks and laments of
survivors, who could not be prevented from attending the remains of an
husband or child to the place of interment, frequently struck her
senses. Sometimes urged by a furious delirium, the sick would break
from their attendants, rush into the streets, and expire on the
pavement, amidst frantic outcries and gestures. By these she was often
roused from imperfect sleep, and called to reflect upon the fate which
impended over her father and herself.

To preserve health in an atmosphere thus infected, and to ward off
terror and dismay in a scene of horrors thus hourly accumulating, was
impossible. Constanee found it vain to contend against the inroads of
sadness. Amidst so dreadful a mortality, it was irrational to cherish
the hope that she or her father would escape. Her sensations, in no
long time, seemed to justify her apprehensons. Her appetite forsook
her, her strength failed, the thirst and lassitude of fever invaded
her, and the grave seemed to open for her reception.

Lucy was assailed by the same symptoms at the same time. Household
offices were unavoidably neglected. Mr. Dudley retained his health,
but he was able only to prepare his scanty food, and supply the
cravings of his child, with water from the well. His imagination
marked him out for the next victim. He could not be blind to the
consequences of his own indisposition, at a period so critical.
Disabled from contributing to each others assistance, destitute of
medicine and food, and even of water to quench their tormenting
thirst, unvisited, unknown, and perishing in frightful solitude!--
These images had a tendency to prostrate the mind, and generate or
ripen the seeds of this fatal malady, which, no doubt, at this period
of its progress, every one had imbibed.

Contrary to all his fears, he awoke each morning free from pain,
though not without an increase of debility. Abstinence from food, and
the liberal use of cold water seemed to have a medicinal operation on
the sick. Their pulse gradually resumed its healthful tenor, their
strength and their appetite slowly returned, and in ten days they were
able to congratulate each other on their restoration.

I will not recount that series of disastrous thoughts which occupied
the mind of Constance during this period. Her lingering and sleepless
hours were regarded by her as preludes to death. Though at so immature
an age, she had gained large experience of the evils which are
allotted to man. Death, which, in her prosperous state, was peculiarly
abhorrent to her feelings, was now disrobed of terror. As an entrance
into scenes of lightsome and imperishable being, it was the goal of
all her wishes. As a passage to oblivion it was still desirable, since
forgetfulness was better than the life which she had hitherto led, and
which, should her existence be prolonged, it was likely that she could
continue to lead.

These gloomy meditations were derived from the langours of her frame.
When these disappeared, her cheerfulness and fortitude revived. She
regarded with astonishment and delight, the continuance of her
father's health and her own restoration. That trial seemed to have
been safely undergone, to which the life of every one was subject. The
air which till now had been arid and sultry, was changed into cool and
moist. The pestilence had reached its utmost height, and now symptoms
of remission and decline began to appear. Its declension was more
rapid than its progress, and every day added vigour to hope.

When her strength was somewhat retrieved, Constantia called to mind a
good woman who lived in her former neighbourhood, and from whom she
had received many proofs of artless affection. This woman's name was
Sarah Baxter. She lived within a small distance of Constantia's former
dwelling. The trade of her husband was that of porter, and she
pursued, in addition to the care of a numerous family, the business of
a Lanndress. The superior knowledge and address of Constance, had
enabled her to be serviceable to this woman in certain painful and
perplexing circumstances.

This service was repaid with the utmost gratitude. Sarah regarded her
benefactress with a species of devotion. She could not endure to
behold one, whom every accent and gesture proved to have once enjoyed
affluence and dignity, performing any servile office. In spite of her
own multiplied engagements, she compelled Constance to acsept her
assistance on many occasions, and could scarcely be prevailed upon to
receive any compensation for her labour. Washing cloaths was her
trade, and from this task she insisted on relieving her lovely

Constantia's change of dwelling produced much regret in the kind
Sarah. She did not allow it to make any change in their previous
arrangements, but punctually visited the Dudleys once a week, and
carried home with her whatever stood in need of ablution. When the
prevalence of disease disabled Constance from paying her the usual
wages, she would, by no means, consent to be absolved from this task.
Her earnestness on this head was not to be eluded, and Constance, in
consenting that her work should, for the present, be performed
gratuitously, solaced herself with the prospect of being able, by some
future change of fortune, amply to reward her.

Sarah's abode was distant from danger, and her fears were turbulent.
She was, nevertheless, punctual in her visits to the Dudleys, and
anxious for their safety. In case of their sickness, she had declared
her resolution to be their attendant and nurse. Suddenly, however, her
visits ceased. The day on which her usual visit was paid, was the same
with that on which Constantia sickened, but her coming was expected in
vain. Her absence was, on some accounts, regarded with pleasure, as it
probably secured her from the danger connected with the office of a
nurse, but it added to Constantia's cares, inasmuch as her own
sickness, or that of some of her family, was the only cause of her

To remove her doubts, the first use which Constantia made of her
recovered strength, was to visit her laundress: Sarah's house was a
theatre of suffering. Her husband was the first of his family assailed
by the reigning disease. Two daughters, nearly grown to womanhood,
welldisposed and modest girls, the pride and support of their mother,
and who lived at service, returned home, sick, at the same time, and
died in a few days. Her husband had struggled for eleven days with his
disease, and was seized, just before Constantia's arrival, with the
pangs of death.

Baxter was endowed with great robustness and activity. This disease
did not vanquish him but with tedious and painful struggles. His
muscular force now exhausted itself in ghastly contortions, and the
house resounded with his ravings. Sarah's courage had yielded to so
rapid a succession of evils. Constantia found her shut up in a
chamber, distant from that of her dying husband, in a paroxysm of
grief, and surrounded by her younger children.

Constantia's entrance was like that of an angelic comforter. Sarah was
unqualified for any office but that of complaint. With great
difficulty she was made to communicate the knowledge of her situation.
Her visitant then passed into Baxter's apartment. She forced herself
to endure this tremendous scene long enough to discover that it was
hastening to a close. She left the house, and hastening to the proper
office, engaged the immediate attendance of an hearse. Before the
lapse of an hour, Baxter's lifeless remains were thrust into a coffin
and conveyed away.

Constance now exerted herself to comfort and encourage the survivors.
Her remonstrances incited Sarah to perform with alacrity the measures
which prudence dictates on these occasions. The house was purified by
the admission of air and the sprinkling of vinegar. Constantia applied
her own hand to these tasks, and set her humble friend an example of
forethought and activity. Sarah would not consent to part with her
till a late hour in the evening.

These exertions had like to have been fatally injurious to Constance.
Her health was not sufficiently confirmed to sustain offices so
arduous. In the course of the night her fatigue terminated in fever.
In the present more salubrious state of the atmosphere, it assumed no
malignant symptoms, and shortly disappeared. During her indisposition,
she was attended by Sarah, in whose honest bosom no sentiment was more
lively than gratitude. Constantia having promised to renew her visit
the next day, had been impatiently expected, and Sarah had come to her
dwelling in the evening, full of foreboding and anxiety, to ascertain
the cause of her delay. Having gained the bed-side of her patronness,
no consideration could induce her to retire from it.

Constantia's curiosity was naturally excited as to the causes of
Baxter's disease. The simple-hearted Sarah was prolix and minute in
the history of her own affairs. No theme was more congenial to her
temper than that which was now proposed. In spite of redundance and
obscurity in the style of the narrative, Constantia found in it
powerful excitements of her sympathy. The tale, on its own account, as
well as from the connection of some of its incidents with a subsequent
part of these memoirs, is worthy to be here inserted. However foreign
the destiny of Monrose may at present appear to the story of the
Dudleys, there will hereafter be discovered an intimate connection
between them.


Adjacent to the house occupied by Baxter was an antique brick
tenement. It was one of the first erections made by the followers of
William Penn. It had the honor to be used as the temporary residence
of that venerable person. Its moss-grown penthouse, crumbling walls,
and ruinous porch, made it an interesting and picturesque object.
Notwithstanding its age, it was still tenable.

This house was occupied, during the preceding months, by a Frenchman.
His dress and demeanour were respectable. His mode of life was frugal
almost to penuriousness, and his only companion was a daughter. The
lady seemed not much less than thirty years of age, but was of a small
and delicate frame. It was she that performed every household office.
She brought water from the pump and provisions from the market. Their
house had no visitants, and was almost always closed. Duly, as the
morning returned, a venerable figure was seen issuing from his door,
dressed in the same style of tarnished splendour and old-fashioned
preciseness. At the dinner hour he as regularly returned. For the rest
of the day he was invisible.

The habitations in this quarter are few and scattered. The pestilence
soon shewed itself here, and the flight of most of the inhabitants,
augmented its desolateness and dreariness. For some time, Monrose,
that was his name, made his usual appearance in the morning. At length
the neighbours remarked that he no longer came forth as usual. Baxter
had a notion that Frenchmen were exempt from this disease. He was,
besides, deeply and rancorously prejudiced against that nation. There
will be no difficulty in accounting for this, when it is known that he
had been an English grenadier at Dettingen and Minden. It must
likewise be added, that he was considerably timid, and had sickness in
his own family. Hence it was that the disappearance of Monrose excited
in him no inquisitiveness as to the cause. He did not even mention
this circumstance to others.

The lady was occasionally seen as usual in the street. There were
always remarkable peculiarities in her behaviour. In the midst of
grave and disconsolate looks, she never laid aside an air of solemn
dignity. She seemed to shrink from the observation of others, and her
eyes were always fixed upon the ground. One evening Baxter was passing
the pump while she was drawing water. The sadness which her looks
betokened, and a suspicion that her father might be sick, had a
momentary effect upon his feelings. He stopped and asked how her
father was. She paid a polite attention to his question, and said
something in French. This and the embarrassment of her air, convinced
him that his words were not understood. He said no more (what indeed
could he say?) but passed on.

Two or three days after this, on returning in the evening to his
family, his wife expressed her surprise in not having seen Miss
Monrose in the street that day. She had not been at the pump, nor had
gone, as usual, to market. This information gave him some disquiet;
yet he could form no resolution. As to entering the house and offering
his aid, if aid were needed, he had too much regard for his own
safety, and too little for that of a frog-eating Frenchman, to think
serieusly of that expedient. His attention was speedily diverted by
other objects, and Monrose was, for the present, forgotten.

Baxter's profession was that of a porter. He was thrown out of
employment by the present state of things. The solicitude of the
guardians of the city was exerted on this occasion, not only in
opposing the progress of disease, and furnishing provisions to the
destitute, but in the preservation of property. For this end the
number of nightly watchmen was increased. Baxter entered himself in
this service. From nine till twelve o'clock at night it was his
province to occupy a certain post.

On this night he attended his post as usual. Twelve o'clock arrived,
and he bent his steps homeward. It was necessary to pass by Monrose's
door. On approaching this house, the circumstance mentioned by his
wife recurred to him. Something like compassion was conjured up in his
heart by the figure of the lady, as he recollected to have lately seen
it. It was obvious to conclude that sickness was the cause of her
seclusion. The same, it might be, had confined her father. If this
were true, how deplorable might be their present condition! Without
food, without physician or friends, ignorant of the language of the
country, and thence unable to communicate their wants or solicit
succour; fugitives from their native land, neglected, solitary, and

His heart was softened by these images. He stopped involuntarily when
opposite their door. He looked up at the house. The shutters were
closed, so that light, if it were within, was invisible. He stepped
into the porch, and put his eye to the key-hole. All was darksome and
waste. He listened and imagined that he heard the aspirations of
grief. The sound was scarcely articulate, but had an electrical effect
upon his feelings. He retired to his home full of mournful

He was willing to do something for the relief of the sufferers, but
nothing could be done that night. Yet succour, if delayed till the
morning, might be ineffectual. But how, when the morning came, should
he proceed to effectuate his kind intentions? The guardians of the
public welfare, at this crisis, were distributed into those who
counselled and those who executed. A set of men, self-appointed to the
generous office, employed themselves in seeking out the destitute or
sick, and imparting relief. With this arrangement, Baxter was
acquainted. He was resolved to carry tidings of what he had heard and
seen to one of those persons early the next day.

Baxter, after taking some refreshment, retired to rest. In no long
time, however, he was awakened by his wife, who desired him to notice
a certain glimmering on the ceiling. It seemed the feeble and flitting
ray of a distant and moving light, coming through the window. It did
not proceed from the street, for the chamber was lighted from the
side, and not from the front of the house. A lamp borne by a
passenger, or the attendants of an hearse, could not be discovered in
this situation. Besides, in the latter case, it would be accompanied
by the sound of the vehicle, and probably, by weeping and exclamations
of despair. His employment, as the guardian of property, naturally
suggested to him the idea of robbery. He started from his bed, and
went to the window.

His house stood at the distance of about fifty paces from that of
Monrose. There was annexed to the latter, a small garden or yard,
bounded by an high wooden fence. Baxter's window overlooked this
space. Before he reached the window, the relative situation of the two
habitations occurred to him. A conjecture was instantly formed that
the glimmering proceeded from this quarter. His eye, therefore, was
immediately fixed upon Monrose's back door. It caught a glimpse of an
human figure, passing into the house, through this door. The person
had a candle in his hand. This appeared by the light which streamed
after him, and which was perceived, though faintly, through a small
window of the dwelling, after the back door was closed.

The person disappeared too quickly to allow him to say whether it was
male or female. This scrutiny confirmed, rather than weakened the
apprehensions that first occurred. He reflected on the desolate and
helpless condition of this family. The father might be sick; and what
opposition could be made by the daughter to the stratagems or violence
of midnight plunderers. This was an evil which it was his duty, in an
extraordinary sense, to obviate. It is true, the hour of watching was
passed, and this was not the district assigned to him; but Baxter was,
on the whole, of a generous and intrepid spirit: In the present case,
therefore, he did not hesitate long in forming his resolution. He
seized an hanger that hung at his bed-side, and which had hewn many an
Hungarian and French hussar to pieces. With this he descended to the
street. He cautiously approached Monrose's house. He listened at the
door, but heard nothing. The Iower apartment, as he discovered through
the key-hole, was deserted and dark. These appearances could not be
accounted for. He was, as yet, unwilling to call or to knock. He was
solicitous to obtain some information by silent means, and without
alarming the persons within, who, if they were robbers, might thus be
put upon their guard, and enabled to escape. If none but the family
were there, they would not understand his signals, and might impute
the disturbance to the cause which he was desirous to obviate. What
could he do? Must he patiently wait till some incident should happen
to regulate his motions?

In this uncertainly, he bethought himself of going round to the back
part of the dwelling, and watching the door which had been closed. An
open space, filled with rubbish and weeds, adjoined the house and
garden on one side. Hither he repaired, and raising his head above the
fence, at a point directly opposite the door, waited with considerable
impatience for some token or signal, by which he might be directed in
his choice of measures.

Human life abounds with mysterious appearances. A man, perched on a
fence, at midnight, mute and motionless, and gazing at a dark and
dreary dwelling, was an object calculated to rouse curiosity. When the
muscular form, and rugged visage, scarred and furrowed into something
like ferocity, were added; when the nature of the calamity, by which
the city was dispeopled, was considered, the motives to plunder, and
the insecurity of property, arising from the pressure of new wants on
the poor, and the flight or disease of the rich, were attended to, an
observer would be apt to admit fearful conjectures.

I know not how long Baxter continued at this post. He remained here,
because he could not, as he conceived, change it for a better. Before
his patience was exhausted, his attention was called by a noise within
the house. It proceeded from the lower room. The sound was that of
steps, but this was accompanied with other inexplicable tokens. The
kitchen door at length opened. The figure of Miss Monrose, pale,
emaciated, and haggard, presented itself. Within the door stood a
candle. It was placed on a chair within sight, and its rays streamed
directly against the face of Baxter, as it was reared above the top of
the fence. This illumination, faint as it was, bestowed a certain air
of wildness on features which nature, and the sanguinary habits of a
soldier, had previously rendered, in an eminent degrce, harsh and
stern. He was not aware of the danger of discovery, in consequence of
this position of the candle. His attention was, for a few seconds,
engrossed by the object before him. At length he chanced to notice
another object.

At a few yards distance from the fence, and within it, some one
appeared to have been digging. An opening was made in the ground, but
it was shallow and irregular. The implement which seemed to have been
used, was nothing more than a fire shovel, for one of these he
observed lying near the spot. The lady had withdrawn from the door,
though without closing it. He had leisure, therefore, to attend to
this new circumstance, and to reflect upon the purpose for which this
opening might have been designed.

Death is familiar to the apprehensions of a soldier. Baxter had
assisted at the hasty interment of thousands, the victims of the sword
or of pestilence. Whether it was because this theatre of human
calamity was new to him, and death, in order to be viewed with his
ancient unconcern, must be accompanied in the ancient manner, with
halberts and tents, certain it is, that Baxter was irresolute and
timid in every thing that respected the yellow fever. The
circumstances of the time suggested that this was a grave, to which
some victim of this disease was to be consigned. His teeth chattered
when he reflected how near he might now be to the source of infection:
yet his curiosity retained him at his post.

He fixed his eyes once more upon the door. In a short time the lady
again appeared at it. She was in a stooping posture, and appeared to
be dragging something along the floor. His blood ran cold at this
spectacle. His fear instantly figured to itself a corpse, livid and
contagious. Still he had no power to move. The lady's strength,
enfeebled as it was by grief, and perhaps by the absence of
nourishment, seemed scarcely adequate to the task which she had
assigned herself.

Her burthen, whatever it was, was closely wrapt in a sheet. She drew
it forward a few paces, then desistsd, and seated herself on the
ground apparently to recruit her strength, and give vent to the agony
of her thoughts in sighs. Her tears were either exhausted or refused
to flow, for none were shed by her. Presently she resumed her
undertaking. Baxter's horror increased in proportion as she drew
nearer to the spot where he stood, and yet it seemed as if some
fascination had forbidden him to recede.

At length the burthen was drawn to the side of the opening in the
earth. Here it seemed as if the mournful task was finished. She threw
herself once more upon the earth. Her senses seemed for a time to have
forsaken her. She sat buried in reverie, her eyes scarcely open and
fixed upon the ground, and every feature set to the genuine expression
of sorrow. Some disorder, occasioned by the circumstance of dragging,
now took place in the vestment of what he had rightly predicted to be
a dead body. The veil by accident was drawn aside, and exhibited, to
the startled eye of Baxter, the pale and ghastly visage of the unhappy

This incident determined him. Every joint in his frame trembled, and
he hastily withdrew from the fence. His first motion in doing this
produced a noise by which the lady was alarmed: she suddenly threw her
eyes upward, and gained a full view of Baxter's extraordinary
countenance, just before it disappeared. She manifested her terror by
a piercing shriek. Baxter did not stay to mark her subsequent conduct,
to confirm or to dissipate her fears, but retired, in confusion, to
his own house.

Hitherto his caution had availed him. He had carefully avoided all
employments and places from which he imagined imminent danger was to
be dreaded. Now, through his own inadvertency, he had rushed, as he
believed, into the jaws of the pest. His senses had not been assailed
by any noisome effluvia This was no unplausible ground for imagining
that this death had some other cause than the yellow fever. This
circumstance did not occur to Baxter. He had been told that Frenchmen
were not susceptible of this contagion. He had hitherto believed this
assertion, but now regarded it as having been fully confuted. He
forgot that Frenchmen were undoubtedly mortal, and that there was no
impossibility in Monrose's dying, even at this time, of a malady
different from that which prevailed.

Before morning he began to feel very unpleasant symptoms. He related
his late adventure to his wife. She endeavoured, by what arguments her
slender ingenuity suggested, to quiet his apprehensions, but in vain.
He hourly grew worse, and as soon as it was light, dispatched his wife
for a physician. On interrogating this messenger, the physician
obtained information of last night's occurrences, and this being
communicated to one of the dispensers of the public charity, they
proceeded, early in the morning, to Monrose's house. It was closed as
usual. They knocked and called, but no one answered. They examined
every avenue to the dwelling, but none of them were accessible. They
passed into the garden, and observed, on the spot marked out by Baxter
a heap of earth. A very slight exertion was sufficient to remove it
and discover the body of the unfortunate exile beneath.

After unsuccessfully trying various expedients for entering the house,
they deemed themselves authorised to break the door. They entered,
ascended the staircase, and searched every apartment in the house, but
no human being was discoverable. The furniture was wretched and
scanty, but there was no proof that Monrose had fallen a victim to the
reigning disease. It was certain that the lady had disappeared. It was
inconceivable whither she had gone.

Baxter suffered a long period of sickness.---The prevailing malady
appeared upon him in its severest form. His strength of constitution,
and the careful attendance of his wife, were insufficient to rescue
him from the grave. His case may be quoted as an example of the force
of imagination. He had probably already received, through the medium
of the air, or by contact of which he was not conscious, the seeds of
this disease. They might perhaps have lain dormant, had not this panic
occurred to endow them with activity.


Such were the facts circumstantially communicated by Sarah. They
afforded to Constance a theme of ardent meditation. The similitude
between her own destiny and that of this unhappy exile, could not fail
to be observed. Immersed in poverty, friendless, burthened with the
maintenance and nurture of her father, their circumstances were nearly
parallel. The catastrophe of her tale, was the subject of endless but
unsatisfactory conjecture.

She had disappeared between the flight of Baxter and the dawn of day.
What path had she taken? Was she now alive? Was she still an
inhabitant of this city? Perhaps there was a coincidence of taste as
well as fortunes between them. The only friend that Constantia ever
enjoyed, congenial with her in principles, sex and age, was at a
distance that forbad communication. She imagined that Ursula Monrose
would prove worthy of her love, and felt unspeakable regret at the
improbability of their ever meeting.

Meanwhile the dominion of cold began to be felt, and the contagious
fever entirely disappeared. The return of health was hailed with
rapture, by all ranks of people. The streets were once more busy and
frequented. The sensation of present security seemed to shut out from
all hearts the memory of recent disasters. Public entertainments were
thronged with auditors. A new theatre had lately been constructed, and
a company of English Comedians had arrived during the prevalence of
the malady. They now began their exhibitions, and their audiences were

Such is the motly and ambiguous condition of human society, such is
the complexity of all effects from what cause soever they spring, that
none can tell whether this destructive pestilence was, on the whole,
productive of most pain or most pleasure. Those who had been sick and
had recovered, found, in this circumstance, a source of exultation.
Others made haste, by new marriages, to supply the place of wives,
husbands and children, whom the scarcely extinguished pestilence had
swept away.

Constance, however, was permitted to take no share in the general
festivity. Such was the colour of her fate, that the yellow fever, by
affording her a respite from toil, supplying leisure for the
acquisition of a useful branch of knowledge, and leading her to the
discovery of a cheaper, more simple, and more wholesome method of
subsistence, had been friendly, instead of adverse, to her happiness.
Its disappearance, instead of relieving her from suffering, was the
signal for the approach of new cares.

Of her ancient customers, some were dead, and others were slow in
resuming their ancient habitations, and their ordinary habits.
Meanwhile two wants were now created and were urgent. The season
demanded a supply of fuel, and her rent had accumulated beyond her
power to discharge. M`Crea no sooner returned from the country, than
he applied to her for payment. Some proprietors, guided by humanity,
had remitted their dues, but M`Crea was not one of these. According to
his own representation, no man was poorer than himself, and the
punctual payment of all that was owing to him, was no more than
sufficient to afford him a scanty subsistence.

He was aware of the indigence of the Dudleys, and was therefore
extremely importunate for payment, and could scarcely be prevailed
upon to allow them the interval of a day, for the discovery of
expedients. This day was passed by Constantia in fruitless anxieties.
The ensuing evening had been fixed for a repetition of his visit. The
hour arrived, but her invention was exhausted in vain. M`Crea was
punctual to the minute. Constance was allowed no option. She merely
declared that the money demanded she had not to give, nor could she
foresee any period at which her inability would be less than it then

These declarations were heard by her visitant, with marks of
unspeakable vexation. He did not fail to expatiate on the equity of
his demands, the moderation and forbearance he had hitherto shewn,
notwithstanding the extreme urgency of his own wants, and the
inflexible rigour with which he had been treated by his creditors.
This rhetorick was merely the prelude to an intimation that he must
avail himself of any lawful means, by which he might gain possession
of his own.

This insinuation was fully comprehended by Constance, but it was heard
without any new emotions. Her knowledge of her landlord's character
taught her to expect but one consequence. He paused to observe what
effect would be produced by this indirect menace. She answered,
without any change of tone, that the loss of habitation and furniture,
however inconvenient at this season, must be patiently endured. If it
were to be prevented only by the payment of money, its prevention was

M`Crea renewed his regrets that there should be no other alternative.
The law sanctioned his claims and justice to his family, which was
already large, and likely to increase, required that they should not
be relinquished, yet such was the mildness of his temper and his
aversion to proceed to this extremity, that he was willing to dispense
with immediate payment on two conditions. First, that they should
leave his house within a week, and secondly, that they should put into
his hands some trinket or moveable, equal in value to the sum
demanded, which should be kept by him as a pledge.

This last hint suggested an expedient for obviating the present
distress. The lute with which Mr. Dudley was accustomed to solace his
solitude, was, if possible, more essential to his happiness than
shelter or food. To his daughter it possessed little direct power to
please. It was inestimable merely for her father's sake. Its intrinsic
value was at least equal to the sum due, but to part with it was to
bereave him of a good, which nothing else could supply. Besides, not
being a popular and saleable instrument, it would probably be
contemptuously rejected by the ignorance and avarice of M`Crea.

There was another article in her possession, of some value in traffic,
and of a kind which M`Crea was far more likely to accept. It was the
miniature portrait of her friend, executed by a German artist, and set
in gold. This image was a precious though imperfect substitute for
sympathy and intercourse with the original. Habit had made this
picture a source of a species of idolatry. Its power over her
sensations was similar to that possessed by a beautiful Madonna over
the heart of a juvenile enthusiast. It was the mother of the only
devotion which her education had taught her to consider as beneficial
or true.

She perceived the necessity of parting with it on this occasion, with
the utmost clearness, but this necessity was thought upon with
indescribable repugnance. It seemed as if she had not thoroughly
conceived the extent of her calamity till now. It seemed as if she
could have endured the loss of eyes with less reluctance than the loss
of this inestimable relique. Bitter were the tears which she shed over
it as she took it from her bosom, and consigned it to those rapacious
hands, that were stretched out to receive it. She derived some little
consolation from the promises of this man, that he would keep it
safely till she was able to redeem it.

The other condition, that of immediate removal from the house, seemed
at first sight impracticable. Some reflection, however, shewed her,
that the change might not only be possible but useful. Among other
expedients for diminishing expence, that of limiting her furniture and
dwelling to the cheapest standard, had often occurred. She now
remembered, that the house occupied by Monrose, was tenantless; that
its antiquity, its remote and unpleasant situation, and its small
dimensions, might induce M`Crea, to whom it belonged, to let it at a
much lower price than that which he now exacted. M`Crea would have
been better pleased if her choice had fallen on a different house, but
he had powerful though sordid reasons for desiring the possession of
this tenement. He assented therefore to her proposal, provided her
removal took place without delay.

In the present state of her funds this removal was impossible. Mere
shelter, would not suffice during this inclement season. Without fuel,
neither cold could be excluded, nor hunger relieved. There was
nothing, convertible into money, but her lute. No sacrifice was more
painful, but an irresistible necessity demanded it.

Her interview with M`Crea took place while her father was absent from
the room. On his return she related what had happened, and urged the
necessity of parting with his favorite instrument. He listened to her
tale with a sigh. Yes, said he, do what thou wilt, my child. It is
unlikely that any one will purchase it. It is certain that no one will
give for it what I gave: but thou may'st try.

It has been to me a faithful friend. I know not how I should have
lived without it. Its notes have cheered me with the sweet
remembrances of old times. It was, in some degree, a substitute for
the eyes which I have lost, but now let it go, and perform for me
perhaps the dearest of its services. It may help us to sustain the
severities of this season.

There was no room for delay. She immediately set out in search of a
purchaser. Such an one was most likely to be found in the keeper of a
musical repository, who had lately arrived from Europe. She
entertained but slight hopes that an instrument, scarcely known among
her neighbours, would be bought at any price, however inconsiderable.

She found the keeper of the shop engaged in conversation with a lady,
whose person and face instantly arrested the attention of Constance. A
less sagacious observer would have eyed the stranger with
indifference. But Constance was ever busy in interpreting the language
of features and looks. Her sphere of observation had been narrow, but
her habits of examining, comparing and deducing, had thoroughly
exhausted that sphere. These habits were eminently strong, with
relation to this class of objects. She delighted to investigate the
human countenance, and treasured up numberless conclusions as to the
coincidence between mental and external qualities.

She had often been forcibly struck by forms that were accidentally
seen, and which abounded with this species of mute expression. They
conveyed at a single glance, what could not be imparted by volumes.
The features and shape sunk, as it were, into perfect harmony with
sentiments and passions. Every atom of the frame was pregnant with
significance. In some, nothing was remarkable but this power of the
outward figure to exhibit the internal sentiments. In others, the
intelligence thus unveiled, was remarkable for its heterogenious or
energetic qualities; for its tendency to fill her heart with
veneration or abhorrence, or to involve her in endless perplexities.

The accuracy and vividness with which pictures of this kind presented
themselves to her imagination, resembled the operations of a sixth
sense. It cannot be doubted, however, that much was owing to the
enthusiastic tenor of her own conceptions, and that her conviction of
the truth of the picture, principally flowed from the distinctness and
strength of its hues.

The figure which she now examined, was small but of exquisite
proportions. Her complexion testified the influence of a torrid sun,
but the darkness veiled, without obscuring, the glowing tints of her
cheek. The shade was remarkably deep, but a deeper still was required
to become incompatible with beauty. Her features were irregular, but
defects of symmetry were amply supplied by eyes that anticipated
speech and positions which conveyed that to which language was

It was not the chief tendency of her appearance to seduce or to melt.
Her's were the polished cheek and the mutability of muscle, which
belong to woman, but the genius conspicuous in her aspect, was heroic
and contemplative. The female was absorbed, so to speak, in the
rational creature, and the emotions most apt to be excited in the
gazer, partook less of love than of reverence.

Such is the portrait of this stranger, delineated by Constance. I copy
it with greater willingness, because if we substitute a nobler
stature, and a complexion less uniform and delicate, it is suited,
with the utmost accuracy, to herself. She was probably unconscious of
this resemblance, but this circumstance may be supposed to influence
her in discovering such attractive properties in a form thus vaguely
seen. These impressions, permanent and cogent as they were, were
gained at a single glance. The purpose which led her thither was too
momentous to be long excluded.

Why, said the master of the shop, this is lucky. Here is a lady who
has just been enquiring for an instrument of this kind. Perhaps the
one you have will suit her. If you will bring it to me, I will examine
it, and if it is compleat, will make a bargain with you.--He then
turned to the lady who had first entered, and a short dialogue in
French ensued between them. The man repeated his assurances to
Constance, who, promising to hasten back with the instrument, took her
leave. The lute, in its structure and ornaments, has rarely been
surpassed. When scrutinized by this artist, it proved to be compleat,
and the price demanded for it was readily given.

By this means the Dudleys were enabled to change their habitation, and
to supply themselves with fuel. To obviate future exigences,
Constantia betook herself, once more, to the needle. They persisted in
the use of their simple fare, and endeavoured to contract their wants
and methodize their occupations, by a standard as rigid as possible.
She had not relinquished her design of adopting a new and more liberal
profession, but though, when indistinctly and generally considered, it
seemed easily effected, yet the first steps which it would be proper
to take, did not clearly or readily suggest themselves. For the
present she was contented to pursue the beaten tract, but was prepared
to benefit by any occasion that time might furnish, suitable to the
execution of her plan.


It may be asked, if a woman of this character did not attract the
notice of the world. Her station, no less than her modes of thinking,
excluded her from the concourse of the opulent and the gay. She kept
herself in privacy, her engagements confined her to her own fire-side,
and her neighbours enjoyed no means of penetrating through that
obscurity in which she wrapt herself. There were, no doubt, persons of
her own sex, capable of estimating her worth, and who could have
hastened to raise so much merit from the indigence to which it was
condemned. She might, at least, have found associates and friends,
justly entitled to her affection. But whether she were peculiarly
unfortunate in this respect, or whether it arose from a jealous and
unbending spirit that would remit none of its claims to respect, and
was backward in its overtures to kindness and intimacy, it so happened
that her hours were, for a long period, enlivened by no companion but
her father and her faithful Lucy. The humbleness of her dwelling, her
plain garb, and the meanness of her occupation, were no passports to
the favor of the rich and vain. These, added to her youth and beauty,
frequently exposed her to insults, from which, though productive for a
time of mortification and distress, she, for the most part, extricated
herself by her spirited carriage, and presence of mind.

One incident of this kind it will be necessary to mention. One evening
her engagements carried her abroad. She had proposed to return
immediately, finding by experience the danger that was to be dreaded
by a woman young and unprotected. Somewhat occurred that unavoidably
lengthened her stay, and she set out on her return at a late hour. One
of the other sex offered her his guardianship, but this she declined,
and proceeded homeward alone.

Her way lay through streets but little inhabited, and whose few
inhabitants were of the profligate class. She was conscious of the
inconveniences to which she was exposed, and therefore tripped along
with all possible haste. She had not gone far before she perceived,
through the dusk, two men standing near a porch before her. She had
gone too far to recede or change her course without exciting
observation, and she flattered herself that the persons would be have
with decency. Encouraged by these reflections, and somewhat hastening
her pace, she went on. As soon as she came opposite the place where
they stood, one of them threw himself round, and caught her arm,
exclaiming, in a broad tone, "Whither so fast, my love, at this time
of night?"---The other, at the same time, threw his arms round her
waist, crying out, "A pretty prize, by G--: just in the nick of time."

They were huge and brawny fellows, in whose grasp her feeble strength
was annihilated. Their motions were so sudden, that she had not time
to escape by flight. Her struggles merely furnished them with a
subject of laughter. He that held her waist, proceeded to pollute her
cheeks with his kisses, and drew her into the porch. He tore her from
the grasp of him who first seized her, who seemed to think his
property invaded, and said, in a surly tone: "What now, Jemmy? Damn
your heart, d'ye think I'll be fobbed. Have done with your slabbering,
Jemmy. First come, first served;" and seemed disposed to assert his
claims by force.

To this brutality, Constantia had nothing to oppose but fruitless
struggles and shrieks for help. Succour was, fortunately, at hand. Her
exclamations were heard by a person across the street, who instantly
ran, and with some difficulty disengaged her from the grasp of the
ruffians. He accompanied her the rest of the way, bestowed on her
every polite attention, and, though pressed to enter the house,
declined the invitation. She had no opportunity of examining the
appearance of her new friend. This, the darkness of the night and her
own panick, prevented.

Next day a person called upon her whom she instantly recognized to be
her late protector. He came with some message from his sister. His
manners were simple and unostentatious, and breathed the genuine
spirit of civility. Having performed his commission, and once more
received the thanks which she poured forth with peculiar warmth, for
his last night's interposition, he took his leave.

The name of this man was Balfour. He was middle-aged, of a figure
neither elegant nor ungainly, and an aspect that was mild and placid,
but betrayed few marks of intelligence. He was an Adventurer from
Scotland, whom a strict adherence to the maxims of trade had rendered
opulent. He was governed by the principles of mercantile integrity in
all his dealings, and was affable and kind, without being generous, in
his treatment of inferiors. He was a stranger to violent emotions of
any kind, and his intellectual acquisitions were limited to his own

His demeanour was tranquil and uniform. He was sparing of words, and
these were uttered in the softest manner. In all his transactions, he
was sedate and considerate. In his dress and mode of living, there
were no appearances of parsimony, but there were, likewise, as few
traces of profusion.

His sister had shared in his prosperity. As soon as his affairs would
permit, he sent for her to Scotland, where she had lived in a state
little removed from penury, and had for some years, been vested with
the superintendance of his houshold. There was a considerable
resemblance between them in person and character. Her profession, or
those arts in which her situation had compelled her to acquire skill,
had not an equal tendency to enlarge the mind, as those of her
brother, but the views of each were limited to one set of objects. His
superiority was owing, not to any inherent difference, but to

Balfour's life had been a model of chastness and regularity: though
this was owing more to constitutional coldness, and a frugal spirit,
than to virtuous forbearance; but, in his schemes for the future, he
did not exclude the circumstance of marriage. Having attained a
situation secure, as the nature of human affairs will admit, from the
chances of poverty, the way was sufficiently prepared for matrimony.
His thoughts had been for some time employed in the selection of a
suitable companion, when this rencounter happened with Miss Dudley.

Balfour was not destitute of those feelings which are called into play
by the sight of youth and beauty in distress. This incident was not
speedily forgotten. The emotions produced by it were new to him. He
reviewed then oftener, and with more complacency, than any which he
had before experienced. They afforded him so much satisfaction, that,
in order to preserve them undiminished, he resolved to repeat his
visit. Constantia treated him as one from whom she had received a
considerable benefit. Her sweetness and gentleness were uniform, and
Balfour found that her humble roof promised him more happiness than
his own fire-side, or the society of his professional brethren.

He could not overlook, in the course of such reflections as these, the
question relative to marriage, and speedily determined to solicit the
honor of her hand. He had not decided without his usual foresight and
deliberation; nor had he been wanting in the accuracy of his
observations and enquiries. Those qualifications, indeed, which were
of chief value in his eyes, lay upon the surface. He was no judge of
her intellectual character, or of the loftiness of her morality. Not
even the graces of person, or features, or manners, attracted much of
his attention. He remarked her admirable economy of time, and money,
and labour, the simplicity of her dress, her evenness of temper, and
her love of seclusion. These were essential requisites of a wife in
his apprehension. The insignificance of his own birth, the lowness of
his original fortune, and the efficacy of industry and temperance to
confer and maintain wealth, had taught him indifference as to birth or
fortune in his spouse. His moderate desires in this respect were
gratified, and he was anxious only for a partner that would aid him in
preserving, rather than in enlarging his property. He esteemed himself
eminently fortunate in meeting with one in whom every matrimonial
qualification concentred.

He was not deficient in modesty, but he fancied that, on this
occasion, there was no possibility of miscarriage. He held her
capacity in deep veneration, but this circumstance rendered him more
secure of success. He conceived this union to be even more eligible
with regard to her than to himself; and confided in the rectitude of
her understanding, for a decision favorable to his wishes.

Before any express declaration was made, Constantia easily predicted
the event from the frequency of his visits, and the attentiveness of
his manners. It was no difficult task to ascertain this man's
character. Her modes of thinking were, in few respects, similar to
those of her lover. She was eager to investigate, in the first place,
the atrributes of his mind. His professional and household maxims were
not of inconsiderable importance, but they were subordinate
considerations. In the poverty of his discourse and ideas, she quickly
found reasons for determining her conduct.

Marriage she had but little considered, as it is in itself. What are
the genuine principles of that relation, and what conduct with respect
to it, is prescribed to rational beings, by their duty, she had not
hitherto investigated: But she was not backward to enquire what are
the precepts of duty, in her own particular case. She knew herself to
be young; she was sensible of the daily enlargement of her knowledge;
every day contributed to rectify some error or confirm some truth.
These benefits she owed to her situation, which, whatever were its
evils, gave her as much freedom from restraint as is consistent with
the state of human affairs. Her poverty fettered her exertions, and
circumscribed her pleasures. Poverty, therefore, was an evil, and the
reverse of poverty to be desired. But riches were not barren of
constraint, and its advantages might be purchased at too dear a rate.

Allowing that the wife is enriched by marriage, how humiliating were
the conditions annexed to it in the present case? The company of one
with whom we have no sympathy, nor sentiments in common, is, of all
species of solitude, the most loathsome and dreary. The nuptual life
is attended with peculiar aggravations, since the tie is infrangible,
and the choice of a more suitable companion, if such an one should
offer, is for ever precluded. The hardships of wealth are not
incompensated by some benefits, but these benefits, false and hollow
as they are, cannot be obtained by marriage. Her acceptance of Balfour
would merely aggravate her indigence.

Now she was at least mistress of the product of her own labour. Her
tasks were toilsome, but the profits, though slender, were sure, and
she administered her little property in what manner she pleased.
Marriage would annihilate this power. Henceforth she would be bereft
even of personal freedom. So far from possessing property, she herself
would become the property of another.

She was not unaware of the consequences flowing from differences of
capacity; and, that power, to whomsoever legally granted, will be
exercised by the most addressful; but she derived no encouragement
from these considerations. She would not stoop to gain her end by the
hateful arts of the sycophant; and was too wise to place an unbounded
reliance on the influence of truth. The character, likewise, of this
man sufficiently exempted him from either of those influences.

She did not forget the nature of the altar-vows. To abdicate the use
of her own understanding, was scarcely justifiable in any case, but to
vow an affection that was not felt, and could not be compelled, and to
promise obedience to one, whose judgment was glaringly defective, were
acts atrociously criminal. Education, besides, had created in her an
insurmountable abhorrence of admitting to conjugal privileges, the man
who had no claim upon her love. It could not be denied that a state of
abundant accommodation was better than the contrary, but this
consideration, though in the most rational estimate, of some weight,
she was not so depraved and effeminate as to allow to overweigh the
opposite evils. Homely liberty was better than splendid servitude.

Her resolution was easily formed, but there were certain impediments
in the way of its execution. These chiefly arose from deference to the
opinion, and compassion for the infirmities of her father. He assumed
no controul over her actions. His reffections in the present case,
were rather understood than expressed. When uttered it was with the
mildness of equality, and the modesty of persuasion. It was this
circumstance that conferred upon them all their force. His decision,
on so delicate a topic, was not wanting in sagacity and moderation;
but, as a man, he had his portion of defects, and his frame was
enfeebled by disease and care; yet he set no higher value on the ease
and independance of his former condition, than any man of like
experience. He could not endure to exist on the fruits of his
daughter's labour. He ascribed her decision to a spirit of excessive
refinement, and was, of course, disposed to give little quarter to
maiden scruples. They were phantoms, he believed, which experience
would dispel. His morality, besides, was of a much more flexible kind;
and the marriage vows were, in his opinion, formal and unmeaning, and
neither in themselves, nor in the apprehension of the world,
accompanied with any rigorous obligation. He drew more favorable omens
from the known capacity of his daughter, and the flexibility of her

She demanded his opinion and advice. She listened to his reasonings,
and revolved them with candour and impartiality. She stated her
objections with simplicity, but the difference of age and sex was
sufficient to preclude agreement. Arguments were of no use but to
prolong the debate; but, happily, the magnanimity of Mr. Dudley would
admit of no sacrifice. Her opinions, it is true, were erroneous; but
he was willing that she should regulate her conduct by her own
conceptions of right, and not by those of another. To refuse Balfour's
offers was an evil; but an evil inexpressibly exceeded by that of
accepting them contrary to her own sense of propriety.

Difficulties, likewise, arose from the consideration of what was due
to the man who had already benefited her, and who, in this act,
intended to confer upon her further benefit. These, though the source
of some embarrassments, were not sufficient to shake her resolution.
Balfour could not understand her principal objections. They were of a
size altogether disproportioned to his capacity. Her moral
speculations were quite beyond the sphere of his reflections. She
could not expatiate, without a breach of civility, on the disparity of
their minds, and yet this was the only or principal ground on which
she had crected her scruples.

Her father loved her too well not to be desirous of relieving her from
a painful task, though undertaken without necessity, and contrary to
his opinion. Refer him to me, said he; I will make the best of the
matter, and render your refusal as palatable as possible, but do you
authorize me to make it absolute, and without appeal?--

My dear father! how good you are! but that shall be my province. If I
err, let the consequences of my mistake be confined to myself. It
would be cruel indeed, to make you the instrument in a transaction
which your judgment disapproves. My reluctance was a weak and foolish
thing. Strange, indeed, if the purity of my motives will not bear me
out on this, as it has done on many more arduous occasions.--

Well, be it so; that is best I believe. Ten to one but I, with my want
of eyes, would blunder, while yours will be of no small use, in a
contest with a lover. They will serve you to watch the transitions in
his placid physiognomy, and overpower his discontents.

She was aware of the inconveniences to which this resolution would
subject her, but since they were unavoidable, she armed herself with
the requisite patience. Her apprehensions were not without reason.
More than one conference was necessary to convince him of her meaning,
and in order to effect her purpose, she was obliged to behave with so
much explicitness, as to hazard giving him offence. This affair was
productive of no small vexation. He had put too much faith in the
validity of his pretensions, and the benefits of perseverance, to be
easily shaken off.

This decision was not borne by him with as much patience as she
wished. He deemed himself unjustly treated, and his resentment
exceeded those bounds of moderation which he prescribed to himself on
all other occasions. From his anger, however, there was not much to be
dreaded, but, unfortunately, his sister partook of his indignation and
indulged her petulance, which was enforced by every gossiping and
tatling propensity, to the irreparable disadvantage of Constantia.

She owed her support to her needle. She was dependant therefore on the
caprice of customers. This caprice was swayable by every breath, and
paid a merely subordinate regard, in the choice of workwomen, to the
circumstances of skill, cheapness and diligence. In consequence of
this, her usual sources of subsistence began to fail.

Indigence, as well as wealth, is comparative. He, indeed, must be
wretched, whose food, cloathing and shelter are limited, both in kind
and quantity, by the standard of mere necessity; who, in the choice of
food, for example, is governed by no consideration but its cheapness,
and its capacity to sustain nature. Yet to this degree of wretchedness
was Miss Dudley reduced.

As her means of subsistence began to decay, she reflected on the
change of employment that might become necessary. She was mistress of
no Iucrative art, but that which now threatened to be useless. There
was but one avenue through which she could hope to escape from the
pressure of absolute want. This, she regarded with an aversion, that
nothing but extreme necessity, and the failure of every other
expedient, would be able to subdue. This was the hiring herself as a
servant. Even that could not answer all her purposes. If a subsistence
were provided by it for herself, whither should her father, and her
Lucy betake themselves for support.

Hitherto her labour had been sufficient to shut out famine and the
cold. It is true she had been cut off from all the direct means of
personal or mental gratification: But her constitution had exempted
her from the insalutary effects of sedentary application. She could
not tell how long she could enjoy this exemption, but it was absurd to
anticipate those evils which might never arrive. Meanwhile, her
situation was not destitute of comfort. The indirect means of
intellectual improvement, in conversation and reflection, the
inexpensive amusement of singing, and, above all, the consciousness of
performing her duty, and maintaining her independance inviolate, were
still in her possession. Her lodging was humble, and her fare frugal,
but these, temperance and a due regard to the use of money, would
require from the most opulent.

Now, retrenchments must be made even from this penurious provision.
Her exertions might somewhat defer, but could not prevent the ruin of
her unhappy family. Their landlord was a severe exacter of his dues.
The day of quarterly payment was past, and he had not failed in his
usual punctuality. She was unable to satisfy his demands, and Mr.
Dudley was officially informed, that unless payment was made before a
day fixed, resort would be had to the law, in that case made and

This seemed to be the completion of their misfortunes. It was not
enough to soften the implacability of their landlord. A respite might
possibly be obtained from this harsh sentence. Intreaties might
prevail upon him to allow of their remaining under this roof for some
time longer; but shelter at this inclement season was not enough.
Without fire they must perish with the cold; and fuel could be
procured only for money, of which the last shilling was expended. Food
was no less indispensible, and, their credit being gone, not a loaf
could be extorted from the avarice of the bakers in the neighbourhood.

The sensations produced by this accumulation of distress may be more
easily conceived than described. Mr. Dudley sunk into despair, when
Lucy informed him that the billet of wood she was putting on the fire
was the last. Well, said he, the game is up. Where is my daughter?---
The answer was, that she was up stairs.

Why, there she has been this hour. Tell her to come down and warm
herself. She must needs be cold and here is a cheerful blaze. I feel
it myself. Like the lightning that precedes death, it beams thus
brightly, though, in a few moments, it will be extinguished forever.
Let my darling come, and partake of its comforts before they expire.

Constantia had retired in order to review her situation, and devise
some expedients that might alleviate it. It was a sore extremity to
which she was reduced. Things had come to a desperate pass, and the
remedy required must be no less desperate. It was impossible to see
her father perish. She herself would have died before she would have
condescended to beg. It was not worth prolonging a life which must
subsist upon alms. She would have wandered into the fields at dusk,
have seated herself upon an unfrequented bank, and serenely waited the
approach of that death, which the rigours of the season would have
rendered sure. But, as it was, it became her to act in a very
different manner.

During her father's prosperity, some mercantile intercourse had taken
place between him and a merchant of this city. The latter, on some
occasion, had spent a few nights at her father's house. She was
greatly charmed with the humanity that shone forth in his conversation
and behaviour. From that time to this, all intercourse had ceased. She
was acquainted with the place of his abode, and knew him to be
affluent. To him she determined to apply as a suppliant in behalf of
her father. She did not inform Mr. Dadley of this intention,
conceiving it best to wait till the event had been ascertained, for
fear of exciting fallacious expectations. She was further deterred by
the apprehension of awakening his pride, and bringing on herself an
absolute prohibition.

She arrived at the door of Mr. Melbourne's house, and enquiring for
the master of it, was informed that he had gone out of town, and was
not expected to return within a week.

Her scheme, which was by no means unplausible, was thus compleatly
frustrated. There was but one other resource, on which she had already
deliberated, and to which she had determined to apply, if that should
fail. That was to claim assistance from the superintendants of the
poor. She was employed in considering to which of them, and in what
manner she should make her application, when she turned the corner of
Lombard and Second Streets. That had scarcely been done, when, casting
her eyes mournfully round her, she caught a glimpse of a person whom
she instantly recognized, passing into the market-place. She followed
him with quick steps, and, on a second examination, found that she had
not been mistaken. This was no other than Thomas Craig, to whose
malignity and cunning, all her misfortunes were imputable.

She was at first uncertain what use to make of this discovery. She
followed him almost instinctively, and saw him at length enter the
Indian Queen Tavern. Here she stopped. She entertained a confused
conception, that some beneficial consequences might be extracted from
this event. In the present hurry of her thoughts she could form no
satisfactory conclusion: But it instantly occurred to her that it
would, at least be proper to ascertain the place of his abode. She
stept into the inn, and made the suitable enquiries. She was informed
that the gentleman had come from Baltimore, a month before, and had
since resided at that house. How soon he meant to leave the city, her
informant was unable to tell.

Having gained this intelligence, she returned home, and once more shut
herself in her chamber to meditate on this new posture of affairs.


Craig was indebted to her father. He had defrauded him by the most
attrocious and illicit arts. On either account he was liable to
prosecution, but her heart rejected the thought of being the author of
injury to any man. The dread of punishment, however, might induce him
to refund, uncoercively, the whole or some part of the stolen
property. Money was at this moment necessary to existence, and she
conceived herself justly entitled to that, of which her father had
been perfidiously despoiled.

But the law was formal and circuitous. Money itself was necessary to
purchase its assistance. Besides, it could not act with unseen virtue
and instantaneous celerity. The co-operation of advocates and officers
was required. They must be visited, and harangued, and importuned. Was
she adequate to the task? Would the energy of her mind supply the
place of experience, and, with a sort of miraculous efficacy, afford
her the knowledge of official processes and dues? As little, on this
occasion, could be expected from her father, as from her. He was
infirm and blind. The spirit that animated his former days was flown.
His heart's blood was chilled by the rigours of his fortune. He had
discarded his indignation and his enmities, and, together with them,
hope itself had perished in his bosom. He waited in tranquil despair,
for that stroke which would deliver him from life, and all the woes
that it inherits.

But these considerations were superfluous. It was enough that justice
must be bought, and that she had not the equivalent. Legal proceedings
are encumbered with delay, and her necessities were urgent. Succour,
if withheld till the morrow, would be useless. Hunger and cold would
not be trifled with. What resource was there left in this her
uttermost distress? Must she yield, in imitation of her father, to the
cowardly suggestions of despair?

Craig might be rich. His coffers might be stuffed with thousands. All
that he had, according to the principles of social equity, was her's;
yet he, to whom nothing belonged, rioted in superfluity, while she,
the rightful claimant, was driven to the point of utmost need. The
proper instrument of her restoration was law, but its arm was
powerless, for she had not the means of bribing it into activity. But
was law the only instrument?

Craig, perhaps, was accessible. Might she not, with propriety, demand
an interview, and lay before him the consequences of his baseness? He
was not divested of the last remains of humanity. It was impossible
that he should not relent at the picture of those distresses of which
he was the author. Menaces of legal prosecution she meant not to use,
because she was unalterably resolved against that remedy. She confided
in the efficacy of her pleadings to awaken his justice. This interview
she was determined immediately to seek. She was aware that by some
accident her purpose might be frustrated. Access to his person, might,
for the present, be impossible, or might be denied. It was proper
therefore to write him a letter, which might be substituted in place
of an interview. It behoved her to be expeditious, for the light was
failing, and her strength was nearly exhausted by the hurry of her
spirits. Her fingers, likewise, were benumbed with the cold. She
performed her task, under these disadvantages, with much difficulty.
This was the purport of her letter:


Thomas Craig.

An hour ago I was in Second-Street, and saw you. I followed you till
you entered the Indian Queen-Tavern. Knowing where you are, I am now
preparing to demand an interview. I may be disappointed in this hope,
and therefore write you this.

I do not come to upbraid you, to call you to a legal, or any other
account for your actions. I presume not to weigh your merits. The God
of cquity be your judge. May he be as merciful, in the hour of
retribution, as I am disposed to be.

It is only to inform you that my father is on the point of perishing
with want. You know who it was that reduced him to this condition. I
persuade myself I shall not appeal to your justice in vain. Learn of
this justice to afford him instant succour.

You know who it was that took you in, an houseless wanderer; protected
and fostered your youth, and shared with you his confidence and his
fortune. It is he who now, blind and indigent, is threatened, by an
inexorable landlord, to be thrust into the street; and who is, at this
moment, without fire and without bread.

He once did you some little service: now he looks to be compensated.
All the retribution he asks, is to be saved from perishing. Surely you
will not spurn at his claims. Thomas Craig has done nothing that shews
him dcaf to the cries of distress. He would relieve a dog from such

Forget that you have known my father in any character but that of a
supplicant for bread. I promise you that, on this condition, I, also,
will forget it. If you are so far just, you have nothing to fear. Your
property and reputation shall both be safe. My father knows not of
your being in this city. His enmities are extinct, and if you comply
with this request, he shall know you only as a benefactor.

C. Dudley.

Having finished and folded this epistle, she once more returned to the
tavern. A waiter informed her that Craig had lately been in, and was
now gone out to spend the evening. Whither had he gone? she asked.

How was he to know where gentlemen eat their suppers? Did she take him
for a witch? What, in God's name, did she want with him at that hour?
Could she not wait, at least, till he had done his supper? He
warranted her pretty face would bring him home time enough.

Constantia was not disconcerted at this address. She knew that females
are subjected, through their own ignorance and cowardice, to a
thousand mortifications. She set its true value on base and low-minded
treatment. She disdained to notice this ribaldry, but turned away from
the servant to meditate on this disappointment.

A few moments after, a young fellow smartly dressed, entered the
apartment. He was immediately addressed by the other, who said to him,
Well, Tom, where's your master. There's a lady wants him, pointing to
Constantia, and laying a grinning emphasis on the word lady. She
turned to the new-comer: Friend, are you Mr. Craig's servant?

The fellow seemed somewhat irritated at the bluntness of her
interrogatory. The appellation of servant sat uneasily, perhaps, on
his pride, especially as coming from a person of her appearance. He
put on an air of familiar ridicule, and surveyed her in silence. She
resumed, in an authoritative tone, where does Mr. Craig spend this
evening? I have business with him of the highest importance, and that
will not bear delay. I must see him this night.--He seemed preparing
to make some impertinent answer, but she anticipated it. You had
better answer me with decency. If you do not, your master shall hear
of it.

This menace was not ineffectual. He began to perceive himself in the
wrong, and surlily muttered, Why, if you must know, he is gone to Mr.
Ormond's. And where lived Mr. Ormond? In Arch-Street; he mentioned the
number on her questioning him to that effect.

Being furnished with this information, she left them. Her project was
not to be thwarted by slight impediments, and she forthwith proceeded
to Ormond's dwelling. Who was this Ormond? she enquired of herself as
she went along: whence originated, and of what nature is the
connection between him and Craig? Are they united by union of designs
and sympathy of character, or is this stranger a new subject on whom
Craig is practising his arts? The last supposition is not impossible.
Is it not my duty to disconcert his machinations, and save a new
victim from his treachery? But I ought to be sure before I act. He may
now be honest, or tending to honesty, and my interference may cast him
backward, or impede his progress.

The house to which she had been directed was spacious and magnificent.
She was answered by a servant, whose uniform was extremely singular
and fanciful, and whose features and accents bespoke him to be
English, with a politeness to which she knew that the simplicity of
her garb gave her no title. Craig, he told her, was in the drawing-
room above stairs. He offered to carry him any message, and ushered
her, meanwhile, into a parlour. She was surprized at the splendour of
the room. The ceiling was painted with a gay design, the walls
stuccoed in relief, and the floor covered with a Persian carpet, with
suitable accompaniments of mirrors, tables and sofas.

Craig had been seated at the window above. His suspicions were ever on
the watch. He suddenly espied a figure and face on the opposite side
of the street, which an alteration of garb and the improvements of
time, could not conceal from his knowledge. He was startled at this
incident, without knowing the extent of its consequences. He saw her
cross the way opposite this house, and immediately after heard the
bell ring. Still he was not aware that he himself was the object of
this visit, and waited, with some degree of impatience, for the issue
of this adventure.

Presently he was summoned to a person below, who wished to see him.
The servant shut the door, as soon as he had delivered the message,
and retired.

Craig was thrown into considerable perplexity. It was seldom that he
was wanting in presence of mind and dexterity, but the unexpectedness
of this incident, made him pause. He had not forgotten the awful
charms of his summoner. He shrunk at the imagination of her rebukes.
What purpose could be answered by admitting her? It was, undoubtedly,
safest to keep at a distance, but what excuse should be given for
refusing this interview? He was roused from his reverie by a second
and more urgent summons. The person could not conveniently wait; her
business was of the utmost moment, and would detain him but a few

The anxiety which was thus expressed to see him, only augmented his
solicitude to remain invisible. He had papers before him which he had
been employed in examining. This suggested an excuse. Tell her that I
am engaged just now, and cannot possibly attend to her. Let her leave
her business. If she has any message you may bring it to me.

It was plain to Constance that Craig suspected the purpose of her
visit. This might have come to his knowledge by means impossible for
her to divine. She now perceived the wisdom of the precaution she had
taken. She gave her letter to the servant with this message: Tell him
I shall wait here for an answer, and continue to wait till I receive

Her mind was powerfully affected by the criticalness of her situation.
She had gone thus far, and saw the necessity of persisting to the end.
The goal was within view, and she formed a sort of desperate
determination not to relinquish the pursuit. She could not overlook
the possibility that he might return no answer, or return an
unsatisfactory one. In either case, she was resolved to remain in the
house till driven from it by violence. What other resolution could she
form? To return to her desolate home, penniless, was an idea not to be

The letter was received, and perused. His conscience was touched, but
compunction was a guest, whose importunities he had acquired a
peculiar facility of eluding. Here was a liberal offer. A price was
set upon his impunity. A small sum, perhaps, would secure him from all
future molestation.--She spoke, to be sure, in a damned high tone.
'Twas a pity that the old man should be hungry before snpper-time.
Blind too! Harder still, when he cannot find his way to his mouth.
Rent unpaid, and a flinty-hearted landlord. A pretty pickle to be
sure. Instant payment she says. Won't part without it. Must come down
with the stuff. I know this girl: When her heart is once set upon a
thing, all the devils will not turn her out of her way. She promises
silence. I can't pretend to bargain with her. I'd as lief be ducked,
as meet her face to face. I know she'll do what she promises. That was
always her grand failing. How the little witch talks! Just the dreamer
she ever was! Justice! Compassion! Stupid fool! One would think she'd
learned something of the world by this time.

He took out his pocket book. Among the notes it contained the lowest
was fifty dollars. This was too much, yet there was no alternative,
something must be given. She had detected his abode, and he knew it
was in the power of the Dudleys to ruin his reputation, and obstruct
his present schemes. It was probable, that if they should exert
themselves, their cause would find advocates and patrons. Still the
gratuitous gift of fifty dollars, sat uneasily upon his avarice. One
idea occurred to reconcile him to the gift. There was a method he
conceived of procuring the repayment of it with interest. He inclosed
the note in a blank piece of paper and sent it to her.

She received the paper, and opened it with trembling fingers. When she
saw what were its contents, her feelings amounted to rapture. A sum
like this was affluence to her in her present condition. At least it
would purchase present comfort and security. Her heart glowed with
exultation, and she seemed to tread with the lightness of air, as she
hied homeward. The langour of a long fast, the numbness of the cold,
were forgotten. It is worthy of remark how much of human accommodation
was comprized within this small compass; and how sudden was this
transition from the verge of destruction to the summit of security.

Her first business was to call upon her landlord and pay him his
demand. On her return she discharged the little debts she had been
obliged to contract, and purchased what was immediately necessary.
Wood she could borrow from her next neighbour, and this she was
willing to do, now that she had the prospect of repaying it.


On leaving Mr. Ormond's house, Constance was met by that gentleman. He
saw her as she came out, and was charmed with the simplicity of her
appearance. On entering, he interrogated the servant as to the
business that brought her thither.

So, said he, as he entered the drawing-room, where Craig was seated,
you have had a visitant. She came, it seems, on a pressing occasion,
and would be put off with nothing but a letter.

Craig had not expected this address, but it only precipitated the
execution of a design that he had formed. Being aware of this or
similar accidents, he had constructed and related on a previous
occasion to Ormond, a story suitable to his purpose.

Aye, said he, in a tone of affected compassion, it is a sad affair
enough. I am sorry 'tis not in my power to help the poor girl. She is
wrong in imputing her father's misfortunes to me, but I know the
source of her mistake. Would to heaven it was in my power to repair
the wrongs they have suffered, not from me, but from one whose
relationship is a disgrace to me.

Perhaps, replied the other, you are willing to explain this affair.

Yes, I wish to explain it. I was afraid of some such accident as this.
An explanation is due to my character. I have already told you my
story. I mentioned to you a brother of mine. There is scarcely
thirteen months difference in our ages. There is a strong resemblance
between him and me, in our exterior, though I hope there is none at
all in our minds. This brother was a partner of a gentleman, the
father of this girl, at New-York. He was, a long time, nothing better
than an apprentice to Mr. Dudley, but he advanced so much in the good
graces of his master, that he finally took him into partnership. I did
not know till I arrived on the continent, the whole of his misconduct.
It appears that he embezzled the property of the house, and fled away
with it, and the consequence was, that his quondam master was ruined.
I am often mistaken for my brother, to my no small inconvenience: but
all this I told you formerly. See what a letter I just now received
from this girl.

Craig was one of the most plausible of men. His character was a
standing proof of the vanity of physiognomy. There were few men who
could refuse their confidence to his open and ingenuous aspect. To
this circumstance, perhaps, he owed his ruin. His temptations to
deceive were stronger than what are incident to most other men.
Deception was so easy a task, that the difficulty lay, not in infusing
false opinions respecting him, but in preventing them from being
spontaneously imbibed. He contracted habits of imposture
imperceptibly. In proportion as he deviated from the practice of
truth, he discerned the necessity of extending and systematizing his
efforts, and of augmenting the original benignity and attractiveness
of his looks, by studied additions. The further he proceeded, the more
difficult it was to return. Experience and habit added daily to his
speciousness, till at length, the world perhaps might have been
searched in vain for his competitor.

He had been introduced to Ormond under the most favorable auspices. He
had provided against a danger which he knew to be imminent, by
relating his own story as if it were his brother's. He had, however,
made various additions to it, serving to aggravate the heinousness of
his guilt. This arose partly from policy, and partly from the habit of
lying, which was prompted by a fertile invention, and rendered
inveterate by incessant exercise. He interwove in his tale, an
intrigue between Miss Dudley and his brother. The former was seduced,
and this man had employed his skill in chirographical imitation, in
composing letters from Miss Dudley to his brother, which sufficiently
attested her dishonor. He and his brother, he related, to have met in
Jamaica, where the latter died, by which means his personal property
and papers came into his possession.

Ormond read the letter which his companion presented to him on this
occasion. The papers which Craig had formerly permitted him to
inspect, had made him familiar with her hand-writing. The penmanship
was, indeed, similar, yet this was written in a spirit not quite
congenial with that which had dictated her letters to her lover. But
he reflected that the emergency was extraordinary, and that the new
scenes through which she had passed, had, perhaps, enabled her to
retreave her virtue and enforce it. The picture which she drew of her
father's distresses, affected him and his companion very differently.
He pondered on it for some time, in silence; he then looked up, and
with his usual abruptness said, I suppose you gave her something?

No. I was extremely sorry that it was not in my power. I have nothing
but a little trifling silver about me. I have no more at home than
will barely suffice to pay my board here, and my expenses to
Baltimore. Till I reach there I cannot expect a supply. I was less
uneasy I confess, on this account, because I knew you to be equally
willing and much more able to afford the relief she asks.

This, Mr. Ormond had predetermined to do. He paused only to deliberate
in what manner it could, with most propriety, be done. He was always
willing, when he conferred benefits, to conceal the author. He was not
displeased when gratitude was misplaced, and readily allowed his
instruments to act as if they were principals. He questioned not the
veracity of Craig, and was, therefore, desirous to free him from the
molestation that was threatened in the way which had been prescribed.
He put a note of one hundred dollars into his hand, and enjoined him
to send it to the Dudleys that evening, or early the next morning. I
am pleased, he added, with the style of this letter: It can be of no
service to you; leave it in my possession.

Craig would much rather have thrown it into the fire; but he knew the
character of his companion, and was afraid to make any objection to
his request. He promised to send, or carry the note, the next morning,
before he set out on his intended journey.

This journey was to Baltimore, and was undertaken so soon merely to
oblige his friend, who was desirous of remitting to Baltimore a
considerable sum in English guineas, and who had been for some time in
search of one who might execute this commission with fidelity. The
offer of Craig had been joyfully accepted, and next morning had been
the time fixed for his departure, a period the most opportune for
Craig's designs, that could be imagined.--To return to Miss Dudley.

The sum that remained to her after the discharge of her debts, would
quickly be expended. It was no argument of wisdom to lose sight of the
future in the oblivion of present care. The time would inevitably come
when new resources would be necessary. Every hour brought nearer the
period without facilitating the discovery of new expedients. She
related the recent adventure to her father. He acquiesced in the
propriety of her measures, but the succour that she had thus obtained
consoled him but little. He saw how speedily it would again be
required, and was hopeless of a like fortunate occurrence.

Some days had elapsed, and Constantia had been so fortunate as to
procure some employment. She was thus engaged in the evening when they
were surprised by a visit from their landlord. This was an occurrence
that foreboded them no good. He entered with abruptness and scarcely
noticed the salutations that he received. His bosom swelled with
discontent, which seemed ready to be poured out upon his two
companions. To the enquiry as to the condition of his health and that
of his family, he surlily answered; Nevermind how I am: None the
better for my tenants I think. Never was a man so much plagued as I
have been; what with one putting me off from time to time: What with
another quarrelling about terms, and denying his agreement, and
another running away in my debt, I expect nothing but to come to
poverty, God help me, at last: but this was the worst of all. I was
never before treated so in all my life. I don't know what or when I
shall get to the end of my troubles. To be fobbed out of my rent and
twenty five dollars into the bargain! It is very strange treatment, I
assure you, Mr. Dudley.

What is it you mean? replied that gentleman. You have received your
dues, and---

Received my dues, indeed! High enough too! I have received none of my
dues. I have been imposed upon. I have been put to very great trouble
and expect some compensation. There is no knowing the character of
one's tenants. There is nothing but knavery in the world, one would
think. I'm sure no man has suffered more by bad tenants than I have.
But this is the strangest treatment I ever met with. Very strange
indeed Dudley, and I must be paid without delay. To lose my rent and
twenty five dollars into the bargain, is too hard. I never met with
the equal of it, not I: Besides, I wou'dn't be put to all this trouble
for twice the sum.

What does all this mean, Mr. M'Crea? You seem inclined to scold, but I
cannot conceive why you came here for that purpose. This behaviour is

No, its very proper, and I want payment of my money. Fifty dollars you
owe me. Miss comes to me to pay me my rent as I thought. She brings me
a fifty dollar note; I changes it for her, for I thought to be sure, I
was quite safe: but, behold, when I sends it to the bank to get the
money, they sends me back word that it's forged, and calls on me,
before a magistrate to tell them where I got it from. I'm sure I never
was so flustered in my life. I would not have such a thing for ten
times the sum.

He proceeded to descant on his loss without any interruption from his
auditors, whom this intelligence had struck dumb. Mr. Dudley instantly
saw the origin, and full extent of this misfortune. He was,
nevertheless, calm, and indulged in no invectives against Craig. It is
all of a piece, said he: Our ruin is inevitable. Well, then, let it

After M'Crea had railed himself weary, he flung out of the house,
warning them that, next morning he should destrain for his rent, and,
at the same time, sue them for the money that Constance had received
in exchange for her note.

Miss Dudley was unable to pursue her task. She laid down her needle,
and fixed her eyes upon her father. They had been engaged in earnest
discourse when their landlord entered. Now there was a pause of
profound silence, till the affectionate Lucy, who sufficiently
comprehended this scene, gave vent to her affliction in sobs. Her
mistress turned to her:

Cheer up, my Lucy. We shall do well enough my girl. Our state is bad
enough, without doubt, but despair will make it worse.

The anxiety that occupied her mind related less to herself, than to
her father. He, indeed, in the present instance, was exposed to
prosecution. It was he who was answerable for the debt, and whose
person would be thrown into durance by the suit that was menaced. The
horrors of a prison had not hitherto been experienced, or anticipated.
The worst evil that she had imagined was inexpressibly inferior to
this. The idea had in it something of terrific and loathsome. The mere
supposition of its being possible was not to be endured. If all other
expedients should fail, she thought of nothing less than desperate
resistance. No. It was better to die than to go to prison.

For a time, she was deserted of her admirable equanimity. This no
doubt, was the result of surprise. She had not yet obtained the
calmness necessary to deliberation. During this gloomy interval, she
would, perhaps, have adopted any scheme, however dismal and atrocious,
which her father's despair might suggest. She would not refuse to
terminate her own and her father's unfortunate existence, by poison or
the chord.

This confusion of mind could not exist long. It gradually gave place
to cheerful prospects. The evil perhaps was not without its timely
remedy. The person whom she had set out to visit, when her course was
diverted by Craig, she once more resolved to apply to; to lay before
him, without reserve, her father's situation, to entreat pecuniary
succour, and to offer herself as a servant in his family, or in that
of any of his friends who stood in need of one. This resolution, in a
slight degree, consoled her; but her mind had been too thoroughly
disturbed to allow her any sleep during that night.

She equipped herself betimes, and proceeded with a doubting heart to
the house of Mr. Melbourne. She was informed that he had risen, but
was never to be seen at so early an hour. At nine o'clock he would be
disengaged, and she would be admitted. In the present state of her
affairs, this delay was peculiarly unwelcome. At breakfast, her
suspense and anxieties would not allow her to eat a morsal, and when
the hour approached, she prepared herself for a new attempt.

As she went out, she met at the door a person whom she recognized, and
whose office she knew to be that of a constable. Constantia had
exercised, in her present narrow sphere, that beneficence which she
had formerly exerted in a larger. There was nothing, consistent with
her slender means, that she did not willingly perform for the service
of others. She had not been sparing of consolation and personal aid in
many cases of personal distress that had occurred in her
neighbourhood. Hence, as far as she was known, she was reverenced.

The wife of their present visitant had experienced her succour and
sympathy, on occasion of the death of a favorite child. The man,
notwithstanding his office, was not of a rugged or ungrateful temper.
The task that was now imposed upon him, he undertook with extreme
reluctance. He was somewhat reconciled to it by the reflection that
another might not perform it with that gentleness and lenity which he
found in himself a disposition to exercise on all occasions, but
particularly on the present.

She easily guessed at his business, and having greeted him with the
utmost friendliness, returned with him into the house. She endeavoured
to remove the embarrassment that hung about him, but in vain. Having
levied what the law very properly calls a distress, he proceeded,
after much hesitation, to inform Dudley that he was charged with a
message from a Magistrate, summoning him to come forthwith, and
account for having a forged bank-note in his possession.

M'Crea had given no intimation of this. The painful surprise that it
produced, soon yielded to a just view of this affair. Temporary
inconvenience and vexation was all that could be dreaded from it. Mr.
Dudley hated to be seen or known. He usually walked out in the dusk of
evening, but limited his perambulations to a short space: At all other
times, he was obstinately recluse. He was easily persuaded by his
daughter to allow her to perform this unwelcome office in his stead.
He had not received, nor even seen the note. He would have willingly
spared her the mortification of a judicial examination, but he knew
that this was unavoidable. Should he comply with this summons himself,
his daughter's presence would be equally necessary.

Influenced by these considerations, he was willing that his daughter
should accompany the messenger, who was content that they should
consult their mutual convenience in this respect. This interview was
to her, not without its terrors, but she cherished the hope that it
might ultimately conduce to good. She did not foresee the means by
which this would be effected, but her heart was lightened by a secret
and inexplicable faith in the propitiousness of some event that was
yet to occur. This faith was powerfully enforced when she reached the
magistrate's door, and found that he was no other than Melbourne,
whose succour she intended to solicit. She was speedily ushered, not
into his office, but into a private apartment, where he received her

He had been favorably prepossessed with regard to her character by the
report of the officer, who, on being charged with the message, had
accounted for the regret which he manifested, by dwelling on the
merits of Miss Dudley. He behaved with grave civility, requested her
to be seated, and accurately scrutinized her appearance. She found
herself not decived in her preconceptions of this gentleman's
character, and drew a favorable omen as to the event of this
interview, by what had already taken place. He viewed her in silence
for some time, and then, in a conciliating tone, said:

It seems to me, madam, as if I had seen you before. Your face, indeed,
is of that kind which, when once seen, is not easily forgotten. I know
it is a long time since, but I cannot tell when or where. If you will
not deem me impertinent, I will venture to ask you to assist my
conjectures. Your name as I am informed, is Acworth--I ought to have
mentioned that Mr. Dudley on his removal from New-York, among other
expedients to obliterate the memory of his former condition, and
conceal his poverty from the world, had made this change in his name.

That, indeed, said the lady, is the name, which my father, at present,
bears. His real name is Dudley. His abode was formerly in Queen-
Street, New-York. Your conjecture, Sir, is not erroneous. This is not
the first time we have seen each other. I well recollect your having
been at my father's house in the days of his prosperity.

Is it possible? exclaimed Mr. Melbourne, starting from his seat in the
first impulse of his astonishment: Are you the daughter of my friend
Dudley, by whom I have so often been hospitably entertained. I have
heard of his misfortunes, but knew not that he was alive, or in what
part of the world he resided.

You are summoned on a very disagreeable affair, but I doubt not you
will easily exculpate your father. I am told that he is blind, and
that his situation is by no means as comfortable as might be wished. I
am grieved that he did not confide in the friendship of those that
knew him. What could prompt him to conceal himself?

My father has a proud spirit. It is not yet broken by adversity. He
disdains to beg, but I must now assume that office for his sake. I
came hither this morning to lay before you his situation, and to
entreat your assistance to save him from a prison. He cannot pay for
the poor tenement he occupies, and our few goods are already under
distress. He has, likewise, contracted a debt. He is, I suppose,
already sued on this account, and must go to gaol unless saved by the
interposition of some friend.

It is true, said Melbourne, I yesterday granted a warrant against him
at the suit of Malcolm M'Crea. Little did I think that the defendant
was Stephen Dudley; but you may dismiss all apprehensions on that
score. That affair shall be settled to your father's satisfaction:
Meanwhile, we will, if you please, dispatch this unpleasant business
respecting a counterfeit note, received in payment from you by this

Miss Dudley satisfactorily explained that affair. She stated the
relation in which Craig had formerly stood to her father, and the acts
of which he had been guilty. She slightly touched on the distresses
which the family had undergone during their abode in this city, and
the means by which she had been able to preserve her father from want.
She mentioned the circumstances which compelled her to seek his
charity as the last resource, and the casual encounter with Craig, by
which she was for the present diverted from that design. She laid
before him a copy of the letter she had written, and explained the
result in the gift of the note which now appeared to be a counterfeit.
She concluded with stating her present views, and soliciting him to
receive her into his family, in quality of servant, or use his
interest with some of his friends to procure a provision of this kind.
This tale was calculated deeply to affect a man of Mr. Melbourne's

No, said he, I cannot listen to such a request. My inclination is
bounded by my means. These will not allow me to place you in an
independent situation; but I will do what I can. With your leave, I
will introduce you to my wife, in your true character. Her good sense
will teach her to set a just value on your friendship. There is no
disgrace in earning your subsistence by your own industry. She and her
friends will furnish you with plenty of materials, but if there ever
be a deficiency, look to me for a supply.

Constantia's heart overflowed at this declaration. Her silence was
more eloquent than any words could have been. She declined an
immediate introduction to his wife, and withdrew, but not till her new
friend had forced her to accept some money.

Place it to account, said he. It is merely paying you before hand, and
discharging a debt at the time when it happens to be most useful to
the creditor.

To what entire and incredible reverses is the tenor of human life
subject. A short minute shall effect a transition from a state utterly
destitute of hope, to a condition where all is serene and abundant.
The path, which we employ all our exertions to shun, is often found,
upon trial, to be the true road to prosperity.

Constantia retired from this interview with an heart bounding with
exultation. She related to her father all that had happened. He was
pleased on her account, but the detection of his poverty by Melbourne
was the parent of new mortification. His only remaining hope relative
to himself, was that he should die in his obscurity, whereas, it was
probable that his old acquaintance would trace him to his covert. This
prognostic filled him with the deepest inquietude, and all the
reasonings of his daughter were insufficient to appease him.

Melbourne made his appearance in the afternoon. He was introduced, by
Constantia, to her father. Mr. Dudley's figure was emaciated, and his
features corroded by his ceaseless melancholy. His blindness produced
in them a woeful and wildering expression. His dress betokened his
penury, and was in unison with the meanness of his habitation and
furniture. The visitant was struck with the melancholy contrast, which
these appearances exhibited, to the joyousness and splendour that he
had formerly witnessed.

Mr. Dudley received the salutations of his guest with an air of
embarrassment and dejection. He resigned to his daughter the task of
sustaining the conversation, and excused himself from complying with
the urgent invitations of Melbourne, while at the same time, he
studiously forbore all expressions tending to encourage any kind of
intercourse between them.

The guest came with a message from his wife, who intreated Miss
Dudley's company to tea with her that evening, adding that she should
be entirely alone. It was impossible to refuse compliance with this
request. She cheerfully assented, and, in the evening, was introduced
to Mrs. Melbourne, by her husband.

Constantia found in this lady nothing that called for reverence or
admiration, though she could not deny her some portion of esteem. The
impression which her own appearance and conversation made upon her
entertainer, was much more powerful and favorable. A consciousness of
her own worth, and disdain of the malevolence of fortune, perpetually
shone forth in her behaviour. It was modelled by a sort of mean
between presumption on the one hand, and humility on the other. She
claimed no more than what was justly due to her, but she claimed no
less. She did not soothe our vanity nor fascinate our pity by
diffident reserves and flutterings. Neither did she disgust by
arrogant negligence, and uncircumspect loquacity.

At parting, she received commissions in the way of her profession,
which supplied her with abundant and profitable employment. She
abridged her visit on her father's account, and parted from her new
friend just early enough to avoid meeting with Ormond, who entered the
house a few minutes after she had left it.

What pity, said Melbourne to him, you did not come a little sooner.
You pretend to be a judge of beauty. I should like to have heard your
opinion of a face that has just left us.

Describe it, said the other.

That is beyond my capacity. Complexion, and hair, and eyebrows may be
painted, but these are of no great value in the present case. It is in
the putting them together, that nature has here shewn her skill, and
not in the structure of each of the parts, individually considered.
Perhaps you may at some time meet each other here. If a lofty fellow
like you, now, would mix a little common sense with his science, this
girl might hope for an husband, and her father for a natural

Are they in search of one or the other?

I cannot say they are. Nay, I imagine they would bear any imputation
with more patience than that, but certain I am, they stand in need of
them. How much would it be to the honor of a man like you rioting in
wealth, to divide it with one, lovely and accomplished as this girl
is, and struggling with indigence.

Melbourne then related the adventure of the morning. It was easy for
Ormond to perceive that this was the same person of whom he already
had some knowledge--but there were some particulars in the narrative
that excited surprise. A note had been received from Craig, at the
first visit in the evening, and this note was for no more than fifty
dollars. This did not exactly tally with the information received from
Craig. But this note was forged. Might not this girl mix a little
imposture with her truth? Who knows her temptations to hypocrisy? It
might have been a present from another quarter, and accompanied with
no very honorable conditions. Exquisite wretch! Those whom honesty
will not let live, must be knaves. Such is the alternative offered by
the wisdom of society.

He listened to the tale with apparent indifference. He speedily
shifted the conversation to new topics, and put an end to his visit
sooner than ordinary.


I know no task more arduous than a just delineation of the character
of Ormond. To scrutinize and ascertain our own principles are
abundantly difficult. To exhibit these principles to the world with
absolute sincerity, can scarcely be expected. We are prompted to
conceal and to feign by a thousand motives; but truly to pourtray the
motives, and relate the actions of another, appears utterly
impossible. The attempt, however, if made with fidelity and diligence,
is not without its use.

To comprehend the whole truth, with regard to the character and
conduct of another, may be denied to any human being, but different
observers will have, in their pictures, a greater or less portion of
this truth. No representation will be wholly false, and some though
not perfectly, may yet be considerably exempt from error.

Ormond was, of all mankind, the being most difficult and most
deserving to be studied. A fortunate concurrence of incidents has
unveiled his actions to me with more distinctness than to any other.
My knowledge is far from being absolute, but I am conscious of a kind
of duty, first to my friend, and secondly to mankind, to impart the
knowledge I possess.

I shall omit to mention the means by which I became acquainted with
his character, nor shall I enter, at this time, into every part of it.
His political projects are likely to possess an extensive influence on
the future condition of this western world. I do not conceive myself
authorized to communicate a knowledge of his schemes, which I gained,
in some sort, surreptitiously, or at least, by means of which he was
not apprized. I shall merely explain the maxims by which he was
accustomed to regulate his private deportment.

No one could entertain loftier conceptions of human capacity than
Ormond, but he carefully distinguished between men, in the abstract,
and men as they are. The former were beings to be impelled, by the
breath of accident, in a right or a wrong road, but whatever direction
they should receive, it was the property of their nature to persist in
it. Now this impulse had been given. No single being could rectify the
error. It was the business of the wise man to form a just estimate of
things, but not to attempt, by individual efforts, so chimerical an
enterprize as that of promoting the happiness of mankind. Their
condition was out of the reach of a member of a corrupt society to
controul. A mortal poison pervaded the whole system by means of which
every thing received was converted into bane and purulence. Efforts
designed to ameliorate the condition of an individual, were sure of
answering a contrary purpose. The principles of the social machine
must be rectified, before men can be beneficially active. Our motives
may be neutral or beneficent, but our actions tend merely to the
production of evil.

The idea of total forbearance was not less delusive. Man could not be
otherwise than an cause of perpetual operation and efficacy. He was
part of a machine, and as such had not power to withhold his agency.
Contiguousuess to other parts, that is, to other men, was all that was
necessary to render him a powerful concurrent. What then was the
conduct incumbent on him? Whether he went forward, or stood still,
whether his motives were malignant, or kind, or indifferent, the mass
of evil was equally and necessarily augmented. It did not follow from
these preliminaries that virtue and duty were terms without a meaning,
but they require us to promote our own happiness and not the happiness
of others. Not because the former end is intrinsically preferable, not
because the happiness of others is unworthy of primary consideration,
but because it is not to be attained. Our power in the present state
of things is subjected to certain limits. A man may reasonably hope to
accomplish his end, when he proposes nothing but his own good: Any
other point is inaccessible.

He must not part with benevolent desire: This is a constituent of
happiness. He sees the value of general and particular felicity; he
sometimes paints it to his fancy, but if this be rarely done, it is in
consequence of virtuous sensibility, which is afflicted on observing
that his pictures are reversed in the real state of mankind. A wise
man will relinquish the pursuit of general benefit, but not the desire
of that benefit, or the perception of that in which this benefit
consists, because these are among the ingredients of virtue and the
sources of his happiness.

Principles, in the looser sense of that term, have little influence on
practice. Ormond was, for the most part, governed, like others, by the
influences of education and present circumstances. It required a
vigilant discernment to distinguish whether the stream of his actions
flowed from one or the other. His income was large, and he managed it
nearly on the same principles as other men. He thought himself
entitled to all the splendour and ease which it would purchase, but
his taste was claborate and correct. He gratified his love of the
beautiful, because the sensations it afforded were pleasing, but made
no sacrifices to the love of distinction. He gave no expensive
entertainments for the sake of exciting the admiration of stupid
gazers, or the flattery or envy of those who shared them. Pompous
equipage and retinue were modes of appropriating the esteem of mankind
which he held in profound contempt. The garb of his attendants was
fashioned after the model suggested by his imagination, and not in
compliance with the dictates of custom.

He treated with systematic negligence, the ettiquette that regulates
the intercourse of persons of a certain class. He, every where, acted,
in this respect, as if he were alone, or among familiar associates.
The very appellations of Sir, and Madam, and Mister, were, in his
apprehension, servile and ridiculous, and as custom or law had annexed
no penalty to the neglect of these, he conformed to his own opinions.
It was easier for him to reduce his notions of equality to practice
than for most others. To level himself with others was an act of
condescension and not of arrogance. It was requisite to descend rather
than to rise; a task the most easy, if we regard the obstacles flowing
from the prejudice of mankind, but far most difficult, if the motives
of the agent be considered.

That in which he chiefly placed his boast, was his sincerity. To this
he refused no sacrifice. In consequence of this, his deportment was
disgusting to weak minds, by a certain air of ferocity and haughty
negligence. He was without the attractions of candour, because he
regarded not the happiness of others, but in subservience to his
sincerity. Hence it was natural to suppose that the character of this
man was easily understood. He affected to conceal nothing. No one
appeared more exempt from the instigations of vanity. He set light by
the good opinions of others, had no compassion for their prejudices,
and hazarded assertions in their presence which he knew would be, in
the highest degree, shocking to their previous notions. They might
take it, he would say, as they list. Such were his conceptions, and
the last thing he wonld give up was the use of his tongue. It was his
way to give utterance to the suggestions of his understanding. If they
were disadvantageous to him in the opinions of others, it was well. He
did not wish to be regarded in any light, but the true one. He was
contented to be rated by the world, at his just value. If they
esteemed him for qualities he did not possess, was he wrong in
rectifying their mistake: But in reality, if they valued him for that
to which he had no claim, and which he himself considered as
contemptible, he must naturally desire to shew them their error, and
forfeit that praise which, in his own opinion, was a badge of infamy.

In listening to his discourse, no one's claim to sincerity appeared
less questionable. A somewhat different conclusion would be suggested
by a survey of his actions. In early youth he discovered in himself a
remarkable facility in imitating the voice and gestures of others. His
memory was eminently retentive, and these qualities would have
rendered his career, in the theatrical profession, illustrious, had
not his condition raised him above it. His talents were occasionally
exerted for the entertainment of convivial parties, and private circle
but he gradually withdrew from such scenes, as he advanced in age, and
devoted his abilities to higher purposes.

His aversion to duplicity had flowed from experience of its evils. He
had frequently been made its victim; In consequence of this his temper
had become suspicious, and he was apt to impute deceit on occasions
when others, of no inconsiderable sagacity, were abundantly disposed
to confidence. One transaction had occurred in his life, in which the
consequences of being misled by false appearances were of the utmost
moment to his honor and safety. The usual mode of solving his doubts,
he deemed insufficient, and the eagerness of his curiosity tempted
him, for the first time, to employ, for this end, his talents at
imitation. He therefore assumed a borrowed character and guise, and
performed his part with so much skill as fully to accomplish his
design. He whose mask would have secured him from all other attempts,
was thus taken through an avenue which his caution had overlooked, and
the hypocrisy of his pretensions unquestionably ascertained.

Perhaps, in a comprehensive view, the success of this expedient was
unfortunate. It served to recommend this method of encountering
deceit, and informed him of the extent of those powers which are so
liable to be abused. A subtlety much inferior to Ormond's would
suffice to recommend this mode of action. It was defensible on no
other principle than necessity. The treachery of mankind compelled him
to resort to it. If they should deal in a manner as upright and
explicit as himself, it would be superfluous. But since they were in
the perpetual use of stratagems and artifices, it was allowable, he
thought, to wield the same arms.

It was easy to perceive, however, that this practice was recommended
to him by other considerations. He was delighted with the power it
conferred. It enabled him to gain access, as if by supernatural means,
to the privacy of others, and baffle their profoundest contrivances to
hide themselves from his view. It flattered him with the possession of
something like Omniscience. It was besides an art, in which, as in
others, every accession of skill, was a source of new gratification.
Compared with this the performance of the actor is the sport of
children. This profession he was accustomed to treat with merciless
ridicule, and no doubt, some of his contempt arose from a secret
comparison, between the theatrical species of imitation and his own.
He blended in his own person the functions of poet and actor, and his
dramas were not fictitious but real. The end that he proposed was not
the amusement of a play-house mob. His were scenes in which hope and
fear exercised a genuine influence, and in which was maintained that
resemblance to truth, so audaciously and grossly violated on the

It is obvious how many singular conjunctures must have grown out of
this propensity. A mind of uncommon energy like Ormond's, which had
occupied a wide sphere of action, and which could not fail of
confederating its efforts with those of minds like itself, must have
given birth to innumerable incidents, not unworthy to be exhibited by
the most eloquent historian. It is not my business to relate any of
these. The fate of Miss Dudley is intimately connected with his. What
influence he obtained over her destiny, in consequence of this
dexterity, will appear in the sequel.

It arose from these circumstanees, that no one was more impenetrable
than Ormond, though no one's real character seemed more easily
discerned. The projects that occupied his attention were diffused over
an ample space; and his instruments and coadjutors were culled from a
field, whose bounds were those of the civilized world. To the vulgar
eye, therefore, he appeared a man of speculation and seclusion, and
was equally inscrutible in his real and assumed characters. In his
real, his intents were too lofty and comprehensive, as well as too
assiduously shrowded from profane inspection, for them to scan. In the
latter, appearances were merely calculated to mislead and not to

In his youth he had been guilty of the usual excesses incident to his
age and character. These had disappeared and yielded place to a more
regular and circumspect system of action. In the choice of his
pleasures he still exposed himself to the censure of the world. Yet
there was more of grossness and licentiousness in the expression of
his tenets, than in the tenets themselves. So far as temperance
regards the maintainance of health, no man adhered to its precepts
with more fidelity, but he esteemed some species of connection with
the other sex as venial, which mankind in general are vehement in

In his intercourse with women, he deemed himself superior to the
allurements of what is called love. His inferences were drawn from a
consideration of the physical propensities of an human being. In his
scale of enjoyments the gratifications which belonged to these, were
placed at the bottom. Yet he did not entirely disdain them, and when
they could be purchased without the sacrifice of superior advantages,
they were sufficiently acceptable.

His mistake on this head was the result of his ignorance. He had not
hitherto met with a female worthy of his confidence. Their views were
limited and superficial, or their understandings were betrayed by the
tenderness of their hearts. He found in them no intellectual energy,
no superiority to what he accounted vulgar prejudice, and no affinity
with the sentiments which he cherished with most devotion. Their
presence had been capable of exciting no emotion which he did not
quickly discover to be vague and sensual; and the uniformity of his
experience at length instilled into him a belief, that the
intellectual constitution of females was essentially defective. He
denied the reality of that passion which claimed a similitude or
sympathy of minds as one of its ingredients.


He resided in New-York some time before he took up his abode in
Philadelphia. He had some pecuniary concerns with a merchant of that
place. He occasionally frequented his house, finding, in the society
which it afforded him, scope for amusing speculation, and
opportunities of gaining a species of knowledge of which at that time
he stood in need. There was one daughter of the family who of course
constituted a member of the domestic circle.

Helena Cleves was endowed with every feminine and fascinating quality.
Her features were modified by the most transient sentiments and were
the seat of a softness at all times blushful and bewitching. All those
graces of symmetry, smoothness and lustre, which assemble in the
imagination of the painter when he calls from the bosom of her natal
deep, the Paphian divinity, blended their perfections in the shape,
complexion and hair of this lady. Her voice was naturally thrilling
and melodious, and her utterance clear and distinct. A musical
education had added to all these advantages the improvements of art,
and no one could swim in the dance with such airy and transporting

It is obvious to enquire whether her mental, were, in any degree, on a
level with her exterior accomplishments. Should you listen to her
talk, you would be liable to be deceived in this respect. Her
utterance was so just, her phrases so happy, and her language so
copious and correct, that the hearer was apt to be impressed with an
ardent veneration of her abilities, but the truth is, she was
calculated to excite emotions more voluptuous than dignified. Her
presence produced a trance of the senses rather than an illumination
of the soul. It was a topic of wonder how she should have so carefully
separated the husk from the kernel, and be so absolute a mistress of
the vehicle of knowledge, with so slender means of supplying it: Yet
it is difficult to judge but from comparison. To say that Helena
Cleves was silly or ignorant would be hatefully unjust. Her
understanding bore no disadvantageous comparison with that of the
majority of her sex, but when placed in competition with that of some
eminent females or of Ormond, it was exposed to the risque of

This lady and Ormond were exposed to mutual examination. The latter
was not unaffected by the radiance that environed this girl, but her
true character was easily discovered, and he was accustomed to regard
her merely as an object charming to the senses. His attention to her
was dictated by this principle. When she sung or talked, it was not
unworthy of the strongest mind to be captivated with her music and her
elocution: But these were the limits which he set to his
gratifications. That sensations of a different kind, never ruffled his
tranquility must not be supposed, but he too accurately estimated
their consequences to permit himself to indulge them.

Unhappily the lady did not exercise equal fortitude. During a certain
interval Ormond's visits were frequent, and she insensibly contracted
for him somewhat more than reverence. The tenour of his discourse was
little adapted to cherish her hopes. In the declaration of his
opinions he was never withheld by scruples of decorum, or a selfish
regard to his own interest. His matrimonial tenets were harsh and
repulsive. A woman of keener penetration would have predicted from
them, the disappointment of her wishes, but Helena's mind was
uninnured to the discussion of logical points and the tracing of
remote consequences. His presence inspired feelings which would not
permit her to bestow an impartial attention on his arguments. It is
not enough to say that his reasonings failed to convince her: The
combined influence of passion and an unenlightened understanding
hindered her from fully comprehending them. All she gathered was a
vague conception of something magnificent and vast in his character.

Helena was destined to experience the vicissitudes of fortune. Her
father died suddenly and left her without provision. She was compelled
to accept the invitations of a kinswoman, and live, in some sort, a
life of dependance. She was not qualified to sustain this reverse of
fortune, in a graceful manner. She could not bear the diminution of
her customary indulgences, and to these privations were added the
inquietudes of a passion which now began to look with an aspect of

These events happened in the absence of Ormond. On his return he made
himself acquainted with them. He saw the extent of this misfortune to
a woman of Helena's character, but knew not in what manner it might be
effectually obviated. He esteemed it incumbent on him to pay her a
visit in her new abode. This token at least of respect or remembrance
his duty appeared to prescribe.

This visit was unexpected by the lady. Surprise is the enemy of
concealment. She was oppressed with a sense of her desolate situation.
She was sitting in her own apartment in a museful posture. Her fancy
was occupied with the image of Ormond, and her tears were flowing at
the thought of their eternal separation, when he entered softly and
unperceived by her. A tap upon the shoulder was the first signal of
his presence. So critical an interview could not fail of unveiling the
true state of the lady's heart. Ormond's suspicions were excited, and
these suspicions speedily led to an explanation.

Ormond retired to ruminate on this discovery. I have already mentioned
his sentiments respecting love. His feelings relative to Helena did
not contradict his principles, yet the image which had formerly been
exquisite in loveliness, had now suddenly gained unspeakable
attractions. This discovery had set the question in a new light. It
was of sufficient importance to make him deliberate. He reasoned
somewhat in the following manner.

Marriage is absurd. This flows from the general and incurable
imperfection of the female character. No woman can possess that worth
which would induce me to enter into this contract, and bind myself,
without power of revoking the decree, to her society. This opinion may
possibly be erroneous, but it is undoubtedly true with respect to
Helena, and the uncertainty of the position in general, will increase
the necessity of caution in the present case. That woman may exist
whom I should not fear to espouse. This is not her. Some accident may
cause our meeting. Shall I then disable myself, by an irrevocable
obligation, from profiting by so auspicious an occurrence?

This girl's society was to be enjoyed in one of two ways. Should he
consult his inclination there was little room for doubt. He had never
met with one more highly qualified for that spccies of intercourse
which he esteemed rational. No man more abhored the votaries of
licentiousness. Nothing was more detestable to him than a mercenary
alliance. Personal fidelity and the existence of that passion, of
which he had, in the present case, the good fortune to be the object,
were indispensible in his scheme. The union was indebted for its value
on the voluntariness with which it was formed, and the entire
acquiescence of the judgment of both parties in its rectitude.
Dissimulation and artifice were wholly foreign to the success of his
project. If the lady thought proper to assent to his proposal, it was
well. She did so because assent was more eligible than refusal.

She would, no doubt, prefer marriage. She would deem it more conducive
to happiness. This was an error. This was an opinion, his reasons for
which he was at liberty to state to her; at least it was justifiable
in refusing to subject himself to loathsome and impracticable
obligations. Certain inconveniences attended women who set aside, on
these occasions, the sanction of law, but these were imaginary. They
owed their force to the errors of the sufferer. To annihilate them, it
was only necessary to reason justly, but allowing these inconveniences
their full weight and an industructable existance, it was but a choice
of evils. Were they worse in this lady's apprehension, than an eternal
and hopeless separation? Perhaps they were. If so, she would make her
election accordingly. He did nothing but lay the conditions before
her. If his scheme should obtain the concurrence of her unbiassed
judgment he should rejoice. If not, her conduct should be uninfluenced
by him. Whatever way she should decide, he would assist her in
adhering to her decision, but would, meanwhile, furnish her with the
materials of a right decision.

This determination was singular. Many will regard it as incredible. No
man, it will be thought can put this deception on himself, and imagine
that there was genuine beneficence in a scheme like this. Would the
lady more consult her happiness by adopting than by rejecting it?
There can be but one answer. It cannot be supposed that Ormond, in
stating this proposal, acted with all the impartiality that he
pretended; that he did not employ falacious exaggerations and
ambiguous expedients; that he did not seize every opportunity of
triumphing over her weakness, and building his success rather on the
illusions of her heart than the convictions of her understanding. His
conclusions were specious but delusive, and were not uninfluenced by
improper byasses; but of this he himself was scarcely conscious, and
it must be, at least, admitted that he acted with serupulous

An uncommon degree of skill was required to introduce this topic so as
to avoid the imputation of an insult. This scheme was little in unison
with all her preconceived notions. No doubt, the irksomeness of her
present situation, the allurements of luxury and ease, which Ormond
had to bestow, and the revival of her ancient independance and
security, had some share in dictating her assent.

Her concurrence was by no means cordial and unhesitating. Remorse and
the sense of dishonor pursued her to her retreat, though chosen with a
view of shunning their intrusions, and it was only when the reasonings
and blandishments of her lover were exhibited, that she was lulled
into temporary tranquility.

She removed to Philadelphia. Here she enjoyed all the consolations of
opulence. She was mistress of a small but elegant mansion. She
possessed all the means of solitary amusement, and frequently enjoyed
the company of Ormond. These however were insufficient to render her
happy. Certain reflections might, for a time, be repressed or divested
of their sting, but they insinuated themselves at every interval, and
imparted to her mind, a hue of dejection from which she could not
entirely relieve herself.

She endeavoured to acquire a relish for the pursuits of literature, by
which her lonely hours might be cheered; but of this, even in the
blithsomeness and serenity of her former days, she was incapable. Much
more so now when she was the prey of perpetual inquietude. Ormond
perceived this change, not without uneasiness. All his efforts to
reconcile her to her present situation were fruitless. They produced a
momentary effect upon her. The softness of her temper and her
attachment to him, would, at his bidding, restore her to vivacity and
ease, but the illumination seldom endured longer than his presence,
and the novelty of some amusement which he had furnished her.

At his next visit, perhaps, he would find that a new task awaited him.
She indulged herself in no recriminations or invectives. She could not
complain that her lover had deceived her. She had voluntarily and
deliberately accepted the conditions prescribed. She regarded her own
disposition to repine as a species of injustice. She laid no claim to
an increase of tenderness. She hinted not a wish for a change of
situation: yet she was unhappy. Tears stole into her eyes, and her
thoughts wandered into gloomy reverie, at moments when least aware of
their reproach, and least willing to indulge them.

Was a change to be desired? Yes; provided that change was equally
agreeable to Ormond, and should be seriously proposed by him, of this
she had no hope. As long as his accents rung in her ears, she even
doubted whether it were to be wished. At any rate, it was impossible
to gain his approbation to it. Her destiny was fixed. It was better
than the cessation of all intercourse, yet her heart was a stranger to
all permanent tranquility.

Her manners were artless and ingenuous. In company with Ormond her
heart was perfectly unveiled. He was her divinity to whom every
sentiment was visible, and to whom she spontaneously uttered what she
thought, because the employment was pleasing; because he listened with
apparent satisfaction; and because, in fine, it was the same thing to
speak and to think in his presence. There was no inducement to conceal
from him the most evanescent and fugitive ideas.

Ormond was not an inattentive or indifferent spectator of those
appearances. His friend was unhappy. She shrunk aghast from her own
reproaches and the contumelies of the world. This morbid sensibility
he had endeavoured to cure, but hitherto in vain. What was the amount
of her unhappiness? Her spirits had formerly been gay, but her gaiety
was capable of yielding place to soul-ravishing and solemn tenderness.
Her sedateness was, at those times, the offspring not of reflection
but of passion. There still remained much of her former self. He was
seldom permitted to witness more than the traces of sorrow. In answer
to his enquiries, she, for the most part, described sensations that
were gone, and which she flattered himself and him would never return;
but this hope was always doomed to disappointment. Solitude infalibly
conjured up the ghost which had been laid, and it was plain that
argument was no adequate remedy for this disease.

How far would time alleviate its evils? When the novelty of her
condition should disappear, would she not regard it with other eyes?
By being familiar with contempt, it will lose its sting; but is that
to be wished? Must not the character be thoroughly depraved, before
the scorn of our neighbours shall become indifferent? Indifference,
flowing from a sense of justice, and a persuasion that our treatment
is unmerited, is characteristic of the noblest minds, but indifference
to obloquy because we are habituated to it, is a token of peculiar
baseness. This therefore was a remedy to be ardently deprecated.

He had egregiously over-rated the influence of truth and his own
influence. He had hoped that his victory was permanent. In order to
the success of truth, he was apt to imagine, that nothing was needful
but opportunities for a compleat exhibition of it. They that enquire
and reason with sufficient deliberateness and caution, must inevitably
accomplish their end. These maxims were confuted in the present case.
He had formed no advantageous conceptions of Helena's capacity. His
aversion to matrimony arose from those conceptions, but experience had
shewn him that his conclusions, unfavorable as they were, had fallen
short of the truth. Convictions, which he had conceived her mind to be
sufficiently strong to receive and retain, were proved to have made no
other, than a momentary impression. Hence his objections to ally
himself to a mind inferior to his own were strengthened rather than
diminished. But he could not endure the thought of being instrumental
to her misery.

Marriage was an efficacious remedy, but he could not as yet bring
himself to regard the aptitude of this cure as a subject of doubt. The
idea of separation sometimes occurred to him. He was not
unapprehensive of the influence of time and absence, in curing the
most vehement passion, but to this expedient the lady could not be
reconciled. He knew her too well to believe that she would willingly
adopt it. But the only obstacle to this scheme did not flow from the
lady's opposition. He would probably have found upon experiment as
strong an aversion to adopt it in himself as in her.

It was easy to see the motives by which he would be likely to be
swayed into a change of principles. If marriage were the only remedy,
the frequent repetition of this truth must bring him insensibly to
doubt the rectitude of his determinations against it. He deeply
reflected on the consequences which marriage involves. He scrutinized
with the utmost accuracy, the character of his friend, and surveyed it
in all its parts. Inclination could not fail of having some influence
on his opinions. The charms of this favorite object tended to impair
the clearness of his view, and extenuate or conceal her defects. He
entered on the enumeration of her errors with reluctance. Her
happiness had it been wholly disconnected with his own, might have had
less weight in the ballance, but now, every time the scales were
suspended, this consideration acquired new weight.

Most men are influenced, in the formation of this contract, by regards
purely physical. They are incapable of higher views. They regard with
indifference every tie that binds them to their contemporaries, or to
posterity. Mind has no part in the motives that guide them. They chuse
a wife as they chuse any household moveable, and when the irritation
of the senses has subsided, the attachment that remains is the
offspring of habit.

Such were not Ormond's modes of thinking. His creed was of too
extraordinary a kind not to merit explication. The terms of this
contract were, in his eyes, iniquitous and absurd. He could not think
with patience of a promise which no time could annull, which pretended
to ascertain contingencies and regulate the future. To forego the
liberty of chusing his companion, and bind himself to associate with
one whom he despised, to raise to his own level one whom nature had
irretreavably degraded; to avow, and persist in his adherence to a
falsehood, palpable and loathsome to his understanding; to affirm that
he was blind, when in full possession of his senses; to shut his eyes
and grope in the dark, and call upon the compassion of mankind on his
infirmity, when his organs were, in no degree, impaired, and the scene
around him was luminous and beautiful, was an height of infatuation
that he could never attain. And why should he be thus self-degraded?
Why should he take a laborious circuit to reach a point which, when
attained, was trivial, and to which reason had pointed out a road
short and direct?

A wife is generally nothing more than a household superintendant. This
function could not be more wisely vested than it was at present. Every
thing, in his domestic system, was fashioned on strict and inflexible
principles. He wanted instruments and not partakers of his authority.
One whose mind was equal and not superior to the cogent apprehension
and punctual performance of his will. One whose character was squared,
with mathematical exactness, to his situation. Helena, with all her
faults, did not merit to be regarded in this light. Her introduction
would destroy the harmony of his scheme, and be, with respect to
herself, a genuine debasement. A genuine evil would thus be
substituted for one that was purely imaginary.

Helena's intellectual deficiencies could not be concealed. She was a
proficient in the elements of no science. The doctrine of lines and
surfaces was as disproportionate with her intellects as with those of
the mock-bird. She had not reasoned on the principles of human action,
nor examined the structure of society. She was ignorant of the past or
present condition of mankind. History had not informed her of the one,
nor the narratives of voyagers, nor the deductions of geography of the
other. The heights of eloquence and poetry were shut out from her
view. She could not commune in their native dialect, with the sages of
Rome and Athens. To her those perennial fountains of wisdom and
refinement were sealed. The constitution of nature, the attributes of
its author, the arrangement of the parts of the external universe, and
the substance, modes of operation, and ultimate destiny of human
intelligence, were enigmas unsolved and insoluble by her.

But this was not all. The superstructure could for the present be
spared. Nay it was desirable that the province of rearing it, should
be reserved for him. All he wanted was a suitable foundation; but this
Helena did not possess. He had not hitherto been able to create in her
the inclination or the power. She had listened to his precepts with
docility. She had diligently conned the lessons which he had
prescribed, but the impressions were as fleeting as if they had been
made on water. Nature seemed to have set impassable limits to her

This indeed was an unwelcome belief. He struggled to invalidate it. He
reflected on the immaturity of her age. What but crude and hasty views
was it reasonable to expect at so early a period. If her mind had not
been awakened, it had proceeded, perhaps, from the injudiciousness of
his plans, or merely from their not having been persisted in. What was
wanting but the ornaments of mind to render this being all that poets
have feigned of angelic nature. When he indulged himself in imaging
the union of capacious understanding with her personal loveliness, his
conceptions swelled to a pitch of enthusiasm, and it seemed as if no
labour was too great to be employed in the production of such a
creature. And yet, in the midst of his glowings, he would sink into
sudden dejection at the recollection of that which passion had, for a
time, excluded. To make her wise it would be requisite to change her
sex. He had forgotten that his pupil was a female, and her capacity
therefore limited by nature. This mortifying thought was outbalanced
by another. Her attainments, indeed, were suitable to the imbecility
of her sex; but did she not surpass, in those attainments, the
ordinary rate of women? They must not be condemned, because they are
outshone by qualities that are necessarily male births.

Her accomplishments formed a much more attractive theme. He overlooked
no article in the catalogue. He was confounded at one time, and
encouraged at another, on remarking the contradictions that seemed to
be included in her character. It was difficult to conceive the
impossibility of passing that barrier which yet she was able to touch.
She was no poet. She listened to the rehearsal, without emotion, or
was moved, not by the substance of the passage, by the dazzling image
or the magic sympathy, but by something adscititious: yet usher her
upon the stage, and no poet would wish for a more powerful organ of
his conceptions. In assuming this office, she appeared to have drank
in the very soul of the dramatist. What was wanting in judgment, was
supplied by memory, in the tenaciousness of which, she has seldom been

Her sentiments were trite and undigested, but were decorated with all
the fluences and melodies of elocution. Her musical instructor had
been a Sicilian, who had formed her style after the Italian model.
This man had likewise taught her his own language. He had supplied her
chiefly with Sicilian compositions, both in poetry and melody, and was
content to be unclassical, for the sake of the feminine and voluptuous
graces of his native dialect.

Ormond was an accurate judge of the proficiency of Hellen, and of the
felicity with which these accomplishments were suited to her
character. When his pupil personated the victims of anger and grief,
and poured forth the fiery indignation of Calista, or the maternal
despair of Constance, or the self-contentions of Ipsipile, he could
not deny the homage which her talents might claim.

Her Sicilian tutor had found her no less tractable as a votary of
painting. She needed only the education of Angelica, to exercise as
potent and prolific a pencil. This was incompatible with her
condition, which limited her attainments to the elements of this art.
It was otherwise with music. Here there was no obstacle to skill, and
here the assiduities of many years, in addition to a prompt and ardent
genius, set her beyond the hopes of rivalship.

Ormond had often amused his fancy with calling up images of excellence
in this art. He saw no bounds to the influence of habit, in augmenting
the speed and multiplying the divisions of muscular motion. The
fingers, by their form and size, were qualified to outrun and elude
the most vigilant eye. The sensibility of keys and wires had limits,
but these limits depended on the structure of the instrument, and the
perfection of its structure was proportioned to the skill of the
artist. On well constructed keys and strings, was it possible to carry
diversities of movement and pressure too far. How far they could be
carried was mere theme of conjecture, until it was his fate to listen
to the magical performances of Hellen, whose votant finger seemed to
be self-impelled. Her touches were creative of a thousand forms of
Piano, and of numberless transitions from grave to quick, perceptible
only to ears like her own.

In the selection and arrangement of notes, there are no limits to
luxuriance and celerity. Hellen had long relinquished the drudgery of
imitation. She never played but when there were motives to fervour,
and when she was likely to ascend without impediment, and to maintain
for a suitable period her elevation, to the element of new ideas. The
lyrics of Milton and of Metastasio, she sung with accompaniments that
never tired, because they were never repeated. Her harp and clavichord
supplied her with endless combinations, and these in the opinion of
Ormond were not inferior to the happiest exertions of Handel and Arne.

Chess was his favorite amusement. This was the only game which he
allowed himself to play. He had studied it with so much zeal and
success, that there were few with whom he deigned to contend. He was
prone to consider it as a sort of criterion of human capacity. He who
had acquired skill in this science, could not be infirm in mind; and
yet he found in Hellen, a competitor not unworthy ofall his energies.
Many hours were consumed in this employment, and here the lady was
sedate, considerate, extensive in foresight, and fertile in

Her deportment was graceful, inasmuch as it flowed from a
consciousness of her defects. She was devoid of arrogance and vanity,
neither imagining himself better than she was, and setting light by
those qualifications which she unquestionably possessed. Such was the
mixed character of this woman.

Ormond was occupied with schemes of a rugged and arduous nature. His
intimate associates and the partakers of his confidence, were embrued
with the same zeal, and ardent in the same pursuits. Helena could lay
no claim to be exalted to this rank. That one destitute of this claim
should enjoy the privileges of his wife, was still a supposition truly
monstrous: Yet the image of Helena, fondly loving him, and a model as
he conceived of tenderness and constancy, devoured by secret remorse,
and pursued by the scorn of mankind; a mark for slander to shoot at,
and an outcast of society, did not visit his meditations in vain. The
rigour of his principles began now to relent.

He considered that various occupations are incident to every man. He
cannot be invariably employed in the promotion of one purpose. He must
occasionally unbend, if he desires that the springs of his mind should
retain their due vigour. Suppose his life were divided between
business and amusement. This was a necessary distribution, and
sufficiently congenial with his temper. It became him to select with
skill his sources of amusement. It is true that Helena was unable to
participate in his graver occupations; What then? In whom were blended
so many pleasurable attributes? In her were assembled an exquisite and
delicious variety. As it was, he was daily in her company. He should
scarcely be more so, if marriage should take place. In that case, no
change in their mode of life would be necessary. There was no need of
dwelling under the same roof. His revenue was equal to the support of
many household establishments. His personal independence would remain
equally inviolate. No time, he thought, would diminish his influence
over the mind of Helena, and it was not to be forgotten that the
transition would to her be happy. It would reinstate her in the esteem
of the world, and dispel those phantoms of remorse and shame by which
she was at present persecuted.

These were plausible considerations. They tended at least to shake his
resolutions. Time would probably have compleated the conquest of his
pride, had not a new incident set the question in a new light.


The narrative of Melbourne made a deeper impression on the mind of his
guest than was at first apparent. This man's conduct was directed by
the present impulse, and however elaborate his abstract notions, he
seldom stopped to settle the agreement between his principles and
actions. The use of money was a science like every other branch of
benevolence, not reducible to any fixed principles. No man, in the
disbursement of money, could say whether he was conferring a benefit
or injury. The visible and immediate effects might be good, but evil
was its ultimate and general tendency. To be governed by a view to the
present, rather than the future, was a human infirmity from which he
did not pretend to be exempt. This, though an insufficient apology for
the conduct of a rational being, was suitable to his indolence, and he
was content in all cases to employ it. It was thus that he reconciled
himself to beneficent acts, and humorously held himself up as an
object of censure, on occasions when most entitled to applause.

He easily procured information as to the character and situation of
the Dudleys. Neigh bours are always inquisitive, and happily, in this
case, were enabled to make no unfavorable report. He resolved, without
hesitation, to supply their wants. This he performed in a manner truly
characteristic. There was a method of gaining access to families, and
marking them in their unguarded attitudes more easy and effectual than
any other: It required least preparation and cost least pains: The
disguise, also, was of the most impenetrable kind. He had served a
sort of occasional apprenticeship to the art, and executed its
functions with perfect case. It was the most entire and grotesque
metamorphosis imaginable. It was stepping from the highest to the
lowest rank in society, and shifting himself into a form, as remote
from his own, as those recorded by Ovid. In a word, it was sometimes
his practice to exchange his complexion and habiliments for those of a
negro and a chimney-sweep, and to call at certain doors for
employment. This he generally secured by importunities, and the
cheapness of his services.

When the loftiness of his port, and the punctiliousness of his nicety
were considered, we should never have believed, what yet could be
truly asserted, that he had frequently swept his own chimneys, without
the knowledge of his own servants. It was likewise true, though
equally incredible, that he had played at romps with his scullion, and
listened with patience to a thousand slanders on his own character.

In this disguise he visited the house of Mr. Dudley. It was nine
o'clock in the morning. He remarked, with critical eyes, the minutest
circumstance in the appearance and demeanour of his customers, and
glanced curiously at the house and furniture. Every thing was new and
every thing pleased. The walls, though broken into roughness, by
carelessness or time, was adorned with glistening white. The floor,
though loose and uneven, and with gaping seams, had received all the
improvements which cloth and brush could give. The pine tables, rush
chairs, and uncurtained bed, had been purchased at half price, at
vendue, and exhibited various tokens of decay, but care and neatness
and order were displayed in their condition and arrangement.

The lower apartment was the eating and sitting room. It was likewise
Mr. Dudley's bed chamber. The upper room was occupied by Constance and
her Lucy. Ormond viewed every thing with the accuracy of an artist,
and carried away with him a catalogue of every thing visible. The
faded form of Mr. Dudley that still retained its dignity, the
sedateness, graceful condescension and personal elegance of
Constantia, were new to the apprehension of Ormond. The contrast
between the house and its inhabitants, rendered the appearance more
striking. When he had finished his task, he retired, but returning in
a quarter of an hour, he presented a letter to the young lady. He
behaved as if by no means desirous of eluding her interrogatories, and
when she desired him to stay, readily complied. The letter, unsigned
and unsuperscribed, was to this effect.

"The writer of this is acquainted with the transaction between Thomas
Craig and Mr. Dudley. The former is debtor to Mr. Dudley in a large
sum. I have undertaken to pay as much of this debt, and at such times
as suits my convenience. I have had pecuniary engagements with Craig.
I hold myself, in the sum inclosed, discharging so much of his debt.
The future payments are uncertain, but I hope they will contribute to
relieve the necessities of Mr. Dudley."

Ormond had calculated the amount of what would be necessary for the
annual subsistence of this family, on the present frugal plan. He had
regulated his disbursements accordingly.

It was natural to feel curiosity as to the writer of this epistle. The
bearer displayed a prompt and talkative disposition. He had a staring
eye and a grin of vivacity forever at command. When questioned by
Constantia, he answered that the gentleman had forbidden him to
mention his name or the place where he lived. Had he ever met with the
same person before? O yes. He had lived with him from a child. His
mother lived with him still and his brothers. His master had nothing
for him to do at home, so he sent him out sweeping chimneys, taking
from him only half the money that he earned, that way. He was a very
good master.

Then the gentleman had been a long time in the city?

O yes. All his life he reckoned. He used to live in Walnut-Street, but
now he's moved down town. Here he checked himself, and added, but I
forgets. I must not tell where he lives. He told me I must'nt.

He has a family and children, I suppose?

O yes. Why don't you know Miss Hetty and Miss Betsy----there again. I
was going to tell the name, that he said I must not tell.

Constantia saw that the secret might be easily discovered, but she
forbore. She disdained to take advantage of this messenger's imagined
simplicity. She dismissed him with some small addition to his demand,
and with a promise always to employ him in this way.

By this mode, Ormond had effectually concealed himself. The lady's
conjectures, founded on this delusive information, necessarily
wandered widely from the truth. The observations that he had made
during this visit afforded his mind considerable employment. The
manner in which this lady had sustained so cruel a reverse of fortune,
the cheerfulness with which she appeared to forego all the
gratifications of affluence; the skill with which she selected her
path of humble industry, and the steadiness with which she pursued it,
were proofs of a moral constitution, from which he supposed the female
sex to be debarred. The comparison was obvious between Constantia and
Hellen, and the result was by no means advantageous to the latter. Was
it possible that such an one descended to the level of her father's
apprentice? That she sacrificed her honor to a wretch like that? This
reflection tended to repress the inclination he would otherwise have
felt for cultivating her society, but it did not indispose him to
benefit her in a certain way.

On his next visit to his "bella Siciliana," as he called her, he
questioned her as to the need in which she might stand of the services
of a seamstress, and being informed that they were sometimes wanted,
he recommended Miss Acworth to her patronage. He said that he had
heard her spoken of in favorable terms, by the gossips at Melbourne's.
They represented her as a good girl, slenderly provided for, and he
wished that Hellen would prefer her to all others.

His recommendation was sufficient. The wishes of Ormond, as soon as
they became known, became hers. Her temper made her always diligent in
search of novelty. It was easy to make work for the needle. In short
she resolved to send for her the next day. The interview accordingly
took place on the ensuing morning, not without mutual surprise, and,
on the part of the fair Sicilian, not without considerable

This circumstance arose from their having changed their respective
names, though from motives of a very different kind. They were not
strangers to each other, though no intimacy had ever subsisted between
them. Each was merely acquainted with the name, person, and general
character of the other. No circumstance in Constantia's situation
tended to embarrass her. Her mind had attained a state of serene
composure, incapable of being ruffled by an incident of this kind. She
merely derived pleasure from the sight of her old acquaintance. The
aspect of things around her was splendid and gay. She seemed the
mistress of the mansion, and her name was changed. Hence it was
unavoidable to conclude that she was married.

Helena was conscious that appearances were calculated to suggest this
conclusion. The idea was a painful one. She sorrowed to think that
this conclusion was fallacious. The consciousness that her true
condition was unknown to her visitant, and the ignominiousness of that
truth, gave an air of constraint to her behaviour, which Constance
ascribed to a principle of delicacy.

In the midst of reflections relative to herself, she admitted some
share of surprise at the discovery of Constance, in a situation so
inferior to that in which she had formerly known her. She had heard,
in general terms, of the misfortunes of Mr. Dudley, but was
unacquainted with particulars; but this surprize, and the difficulty
of adapting her behaviour to circumstances, was only in part the
source of her embarrassment, though by her companion it was wholly
attributed to this cause. Constance thought it her duty to remove it
by open and unaffected manners. She therefore said, in a sedate and
cheerful tone, You see me, Madam, in a situation somewhat unlike that
in which I formerly was placed. You will probably regard the change as
an unhappy one, but I assure you, I have found it far less so than I
expected. I am thus reduced not by my own fault. It is this reflection
that enables me to conform to it without a murmur. I shall rejoice to
know that Mrs. Eden is as happy as I am.

Helena was pleased with this address, and returned an answer full of
sweetness. She had not, in her compassion for the fallen, a particle
of pride. She thought of nothing but the contrast between the former
situation of her visitant and the present. The fame of her great
qualities had formerly excited veneration, and that reverence was by
no means diminished by a nearer scrutiny. The consciousness of her own
frailty, meanwhile, diffused over the behaviour of Hellen, a timidity
and dubiousness uncommonly fascinating. She solicited Constantia's
friendship in a manner that shewed she was afraid of nothing but
denial. An assent was eagerly given, and thenceforth a cordial
intercourse was established between them.

The real situation of Helena was easily discovered. The officious
person who communicated this information, at the same time cautioned
Constance against associating with one of tainted reputation. This
information threw some light upon appearances. It accounted for that
melancholy which Hellen was unable to conceal. It explained that
solitude in which she lived, and which Constantia had ascribed to the
death or absence of her husband. It justified the solicitous silence
she had hitherto maintained respecting her own affairs, and which her
friend's good sense forbad her to employ any sinister means of

No long time was necessary to make her mistress of Helena's character.
She loved her with uncommon warmth, though by no means blind to her
defects. She formed no expectations, from the knowledge of her
character, to which this intelligence operated as a disappointment. It
merely excited her pity, and made her thoughtful how she might assist
her in repairing this deplorable error.

This design was of no ordinary magnitude. She saw that it was
previously necessary to obtain the confidence of Helena. This was a
task of easy performance. She knew the purity of her own motives and
the extent of her powers, and embarked in this undertaking with full
confidence of success. She had only to profit by a private interview,
to acquaint her friend with what she knew, to solicit a compleat and
satisfactory disclosure, to explain the impressions which her
intelligence produced, and to offer her disinterested advice. No one
knew better how to couch her ideas in words, suitable to the end
proposed by her in imparting them.

Hellen was at first terrified, but the benevolence of her friend
quickly entitled her to confidence and gratitude that knew no limits.
She had been deterred from unveiling her heart by the fear of exciting
contempt or abhorrence: But when she found that all due allowances
were made, that her conduct was treated as erroneous in no atrocious
or inexpiable degree, and as far from being insusceptible of remedy;
that the obloquy with which she had been treated, found no vindicator
or participator in her friend, her heart was considerably relieved.
She had been long a stranger to the sympathy and intercourse of her
own sex. Now, this good, in its most precious form, was conferred upon
her, and she experienced an increase, rather than diminution of
tenderness, in consequence of her true situation being known.

She made no secret of any part of her history. She did full justice to
the integrity of her lover, and explained the unforced conditions on
which she had consented to live with him. This relation exhibited the
character of Ormond in a very uncommon light. His asperities wounded,
and his sternness chilled. What unauthorised conceptions of
matrimonial and political equality did he entertain! He had fashioned
his treatment of Helena on sullen and ferocious principles. Yet he was
able, it seemed, to mould her, by means of them, nearly into the
creature that he wished. She knew too little of the man justly to
estimate his character. It remained to be ascertained whether his
purposes were consistent and upright, or were those of a villain and

Meanwhile what was to be done by Hellena? Marriage had been refused on
plausible pretences. Her unenlightened understanding made her no match
for her lover. She would never maintain her claim to nuptial
privileges in his presence, or if she did, she would never convince
him of their validity.

Were they indeed valid? Was not the desparity between them incurable?
A marriage of minds so dissimilar could only be productive of misery
immediately to him, and by a reflex operation, to herself. She could
not be happy in a union that was the source of regret to her husband.
Marriage therefore was not possible, or if possible, was not, perhaps,
to be wished. But what was the choice that remained?

To continue in her present situation was not to be endured. Disgrace
was a dmon that would blast every hope of happiness. She was excluded
from all society but that of the depraved. Her situation was eminently
critical. It depended, perhaps, on the resolution she should now form
whether she should be enrolled among the worst of mankind. Infamy is
the worst of evils. It creates innumerable obstructions in the path of
virtue. It manacles the hand, and entangles the feet that are active
only to good. To the weak it is an evil of much greater magnitude. It
determines their destiny, and they hasten to merit that reproach,
which, at first it may be, they did not deserve.

This connection is intrinsically flagitious. Hellen is subjected by it
to the worst ills that are incident to humanity, the general contempt
of mankind, and the reproaches of her own conscience. From these,
there is but one method from which she can hope to be relieved. The
intercourse must cease.

It was easier to see the propriety of separation, than to project
means for accomplishing it. It was true that Helena loved; but what
quarter was due to this passion when divorced from integrity? Is it
not in every bosom a perishable sentiment? Whatever be her warmth,
absence will congeal it. Place her in new scenes, and supply her with
new associates. Her accomplishments will not fail to attract votaries.
From these she may select a conjugal companion suitable to her
mediocrity of talents.

But alas! What power on earth can prevail on her to renounce Ormond?
Others may justly entertain this prospect, but it must be invisible to
her. Besides, is it absolutely certain that either her peace of mind
or her reputation will be restored by this means? In the opinion of
the world her offences cannot, by any perseverance in penitence, be
expiated. She will never believe that separation will exterminate her
passion. Certain it is, that it will avail nothing to the
reestablishment of her fame: But if it were conducive to these ends,
how chimerical to suppose that she will ever voluntarily adopt it? If
Ormond refuse his concurrence, there is absolutely an end to hope. And
what power on earth is able to sway his determinations? At least what
influence was it possible for her to obtain over them?

Should they separate, whither should she retire? What mode of
subsistence should she adopt? She has never been accustomed to think
beyond the day. She has eaten and drank, but another has provided the
means. She scarcely comprehends the principle that governs the world,
and in consequence of which, nothing can be gained but by giving
something in exchange for it. She is ignorant and helpless as a child,
on every topic that relates to the procuring of subsistence. Her
education has disabled her from standing alone.

But this was not all. She must not only be supplied by others, but
sustained in the enjoyment of a luxurious existence. Would you bereave
her of the gratifications of opulence? You had better take away her
life. Nay, it would ultimately amount to this. She can live but in one

At present she is lovely, and, to a certain degree, innocent, but
expose her to the urgencies and temptations of want, let personal
pollution be the price set upon the voluptuous affluences of her
present condition, and it is to be feared there is nothing in the
contexture of her mind to hinder her from making the purchase. In
every respect therefore the prospect was an hopeless one. So hopeless
that her mind insensibly returned to the question which she had at
first dismissed with very slight examination, the question relative to
the advantages and probabilities of marriage. A more accurate review
convinced her that this was the most eligible alternative. It was,
likewise, most easily effected. The lady, of course, would be its
fervent advocate. There did not want reasons why Ormond should finally
embrace it. In what manner appeals to his reason or his passion might
most effectually be made, she knew not.

Hellen was illy qualified to be her own advocate. Her unhappiness
could not but be visible to Ormond. He had shewn himself attentive and
affectionate. Was it impossible that, in time, he should reason
himself into a spontaneous adoption of this scheme? This, indeed, was
a slender foundation for hope, but there was no other on which she
could build.

Such were the meditations of Constantia on this topic. She was deeply
solicitous for the happiness of her friend. They spent much of their
time together. The consolations of her society were earnestly sought
by Helena, but to enjoy them, she was for the most part obliged to
visit the former at her own dwelling. For this arrangement, Constance
apologized by saying, You will pardon my requesting you to favor me
with your visits, rather than allowing you mine. Every thing is airy
and brilliant within these walls. There is, besides, an air of
seclusion and security about you that is delightful. In comparison, my
dwelling is bleak, comfortless, and unretired, but my father is
entitled to all my care. His infirmity prevents him from amusing
himself, and his heart is cheered by the mere sound of my voice,
though not addressed to him. The mere belief of my presence seems to
operate as an antidote to the dreariness of solitude; and now you know
my motives, I am sure you will not only forgive but approve of my


When once the subject had been introduced, Helena was prone to descant
upon her own situation, and listened with deference to the remarks and
admonitions of her companion. Constantia did not conceal from her any
of her sentiments. She enabled her to view her own condition in its
true light, and set before her the indispensible advantages of
marriage, while she, at the same time, afforded her the best
directions as to the conduct she ought to pursue in order to effect
her purpose.

The mind of Helena was thus kept in a state of perpetual and uneasy
fluctuation. While absent from Ormond, or listening to her friend's
remonstrances, the deplorableness of her condition, arose in its most
disastrous hues, before her imagination. But the spectre seldom failed
to vanish at the approach of Ormond. His voice dissipated every

She was not insensible of this inconstancy. She perceived and lamented
her own weakness. She was destitute of all confidence in her own
exertions. She could not be in the perpetual enjoyment of his company.
Her intervals of tranquility therefore were short, while those of
anxiety and dejection were insupportably tedious. She revered, but,
believed herself incapable to emulate the magnanimity of her monitor.
The consciousness of inferiority, especially in a case like this, in
which her happiness so much depended on her own exertions, excited in
her the most humiliating sensations.

While indulging in fruitless melancholy, the thought one day occurred
to her, why may not Constantia be prevailed upon to plead my cause?
Her capacity and courage are equal to any undertaking. The reasonings
that are so powerful in my eyes, would they be trivial and futile in
those of Ormond? I cannot have a more pathetic and disinterested

This idea was cherished with uncommon ardour. She seized the first
opportunity that offered itself to impart it to her friend. It was a
wild and singular proposal and was rejected at the first glance. This
scheme, so romantic and impracticable as it at first seemed, appeared
to Hellen in the most plausible colours. She could not bear to
relinquish her new born hopes. She saw no valid objection to it. Every
thing was easy to her friend, provided her sense of duty and her zeal
could be awakened. The subject was frequently suggested to
Constantia's reflections. Perceiving the sanguineness of her friend's
confidence, and fully impressed with the value of the end to be
accomplished, she insensibly veered to the same opinion. At least, the
scheme was worthy of a candid discussion before it was rejected.

Ormond was a stranger to her. His manners were repulsive and austere.
She was a mere girl. Her personal attachment to Helena was all that
she could plead in excuse for taking part in her concerns. The subject
was delicate. A blunt and irregular character like Ormond's, might
throw an air of ridicule over the scene. She shrunk from the encounter
of a boisterous and manlike spirit.

But were not these scruples effeminate and puerile? Had she studied so
long in the school of adversity, without conviction of the duty of a
virtuous independence? Was she not a rational being, fully imbued with
the justice of her cause? Was it not ignoble to refuse the province of
a vindicator of the injured, before any tribunal, however tremendous
or unjust? And who was Ormond, that his eye should inspire terror?

The father or brother of Helena might assume the office without
indecorum. Nay, a mother or sister might not be debarred from it. Why
then should she who was actuated by equal zeal, and was engaged, by
ties stronger than consanguinity, in the promotion of her friend's
happiness. It is true she did not view the subject in the light in
which it was commonly viewed by brothers and parents. It was not a
gust of rage that should transport her into his presence. She did not
go to awaken his slumbering conscience, and abash him in the pride of
guilty triumph, but to rectify deliberate errors and change his course
by the change of his principles. It was her business to point out to
him the road of duty and happiness, from which he had strayed with no
sinister intentions. This was to be done without raving and fury, but
with amicable soberness, and in the way of calm and rational
remonstrance. Yet there were scruples that would not be shut out, and
continually whispered her, What an office is this for a girl and a
stranger to assume?

In what manner should it be performed? Should an interview be sought,
and her ideas be explained without confusion or faultering, undismayed
by ludicrous airs or insolent frowns? But this was a point to be
examined. Was Ormond capable of such behaviour? If he were, it would
be useless to attempt the reformation of his errors. Such a man is
incurable and obdurate. Such a man is not to be sought as the husband
of Helena; but this surely is a different being.

The medium through which she had viewed his character was an ample
one, but might not be very accurate. The treatment which Helena had
received from him, exclusive of his fundamental error, betokened a
mind to which she did not disdain to be allied. In spite of his
defects she saw that their elements were more congenial, and the
points of contract, between this person and herself, more numerous,
than between her and Helena, whose voluptuous sweetness of temper and
mediocrity of understanding, excited in her bosom no genuine sympathy.

Every thing is progressive in the human mind. When there is leisure to
reflect, ideas will succeed each other in a long train, before the
ultimate point be gained. The attention must shift from one side to
the other of a given question many times before it settles. Constantia
did not form her resolutions in haste, but when once formed, they were
exempt from fluctuation. She reflected before she acted, and therefore
acted with consistency and vigour. She did not apprise her friend of
her intention. She was willing that she should benefit by her
interposition, before she knew it was employed.

She sent her Lucy with a note to Ormond's house. It was couched in
these terms:

"Constance Dudley requests an interview with Mr. Ormond. Her business
being of some moment, she wishes him to name an hour when most

An answer was immediately returned, that at three o'clock, in the
afternoon, he should be glad to see her.

This message produced no small surprise in Ormond. He had not
withdrawn his notice from Constance, and had marked, with curiosity
and approbation, the progress of the connexion between the two women.
The impressions which he had received from the report of Hellen, were
not dissimilar to those which Constance had imbibed, from the same
quarter, respecting himself; but he gathered from them no suspicion of
the purpose of a visit. He recollected his connection with Craig. This
lady had had an opportunity of knowing that some connection subsisted
between them. He concluded, that some information or enquiry
respecting Craig, might occasion this event. As it was, it gave him
considerable satisfaction. It would enable him more closely to examine
one, with respect to whom he entertained great curiosity.

Ormond's conjecture was partly right. Constantia did not forget her
having traced Craig to this habitation. She designed to profit by the
occasion, which this circumstance afforded her, of making some enquiry
respecting Craig, in order to introduce, by suitable degrees, a more
important subject.

The appointed hour having arrived, he received her in his drawing-
room. He knew what was due to his guest. He loved to mortify, by his
negligence, the pride of his equals and superiors, but a lower class
had nothing to fear from his insolence. Constantia took the seat that
was offered to her, without speaking. She had made suitable
preparations for this interview, and her composure was invincible. The
manners of her host were by no means calculated to disconcert her. His
air was conciliating and attentive.

She began with naming Craig, as one known to Ormond, and desired to be
informed of his place of abode. She was proceeding to apologize for
this request, by explaining in general terms, that her father's
infirmities prevented him from acting for himself, that Craig was his
debtor to a large amount, that he stood in need of all that justly
belonged to him, and was in pursuit of some means for tracing Craig to
his retreat. Ormond interrupted her, examining, at the same time, with
a vigilance, somewhat too unsparing, the effects which his words
should produce upon her.

You may spare yourself the trouble of explaining. I am acquainted with
the whole affair between Craig and your family. He has concealed from
me nothing. I know all that has passed between you.

In saying this, Ormond intended that his looks and emphasis should
convey his full meaning. In the style of her comments he saw none of
those corroborating symptoms that he expected.

Indeed! He has been very liberal of his confidence. Confession is a
token of penitence, but, alas! I fear he has deceived you. To be
sincere was doubtless his true interest, but he is too much in the
habit of judging superficially. If he has told you all, there is,
indeed, no need of explanation. This visit is, in that case,
sufficiently accounted for. Is it in your power, Sir, to inform us
whither he has gone?

For what end should I tell you? I promise you you will not follow him.
Take my word for it, he is totally unworthy of you. Let the past be no
precedent for the future. If you have not made that discovery
yourself, I have made it for you. I expect, at least, to be thanked
for my trouble.

This speech was unintelligible to Constance. Her looks betokened a
perplexity unmingled with fear or shame.

It is my way, continued he, to say what I think. I care little for
consequences. I have said that I know all. This will excuse me for
being perfectly explicit. That I am mistaken is very possible; but I
am inclined to place that matter beyond the reach of a doubt. Listen
to me, and confirm me in the opinion I have already formed of your
good sense, by viewing, in a just light, the unreservedness with which
you are treated. I have something to tell, which, if you are wise, you
will not be offended at my telling so roundly. On the contrary you
will thank me, and perceive that my conduct is a proof of my respect
for you. The person whom you met here is named Craig, but, as he tells
me, is not the man you look for. This man's brother, the partner of
your father, and, as he assured me, your own accepted and illicitly
gratified lover, is dead.

These words were uttered without any extenuating hesitation or
depression of tone. On the contrary, the most offensive terms were
drawn out in the most deliberate and emphatic manner. Constantia's
cheeks glowed and her eyes sparkled with indignation, but she forbore
to interrupt. The looks with which she listened to the remainder of
the speech, shewed that she fully comprehended the scene, and enabled
him to comprehend it. He proceeded.

This man is a brother of that. Their resemblance in figure occasioned
your mistake. Your father's debtor died, it seems, on his arrival at
Jamaica. There he met with this brother, and bequeathed to him his
property and papers. Some of these papers are in my possession. They
are letters from Constantia Dudley, and are parts of an intrigue
which, considering the character of the man, was not much to her
honor. Such was this man's narrative told to me some time bfore your
meeting with him at this house. I have a right to judge in this
affair, that is, I have a right to my opinion. If I mistake, and I
half suspect myself, you are able, perhaps, to rectify my error, and
in a case like this, doubtless you will not want the inclination.

Perhaps if the countenance of this man had not been characterized by
the keenest intelligence, and a sort of careless and overflowing good
will, this speech might have produced different effects. She was
prepared, though imperfectly, for entering into his character. He
waited for an answer, which she gave without emotion.

You are deceived. I am sorry for your own sake, that you are. He must
had some end in view, in imposing these falsehoods upon you, which,
perhaps, they have enabled him to accomplish. As to myself, this man
can do me no injury. I willingly make you my judge. The letters you
speak of will alone suffice to my vindication. They never were
received from me, and are forgeries. That man always persisted till he
made himself the dupe of his own artifices. That incident in his plot,
on the introduction of which he probably the most applauded himself,
will most powerfully operate to defeat it.

Those letters never were received from me, and are forgeries. His
skill in imitation extended no farther in the present case, than my
hand-writing. My modes of thinking and expression were beyond the
reach of his mimicry.

When she had finished, Ormond spent a moment in ruminating. I perceive
you are right, said he. I suppose he has purloined from me two hundred
guineas, which I entrusted to his fidelity. And yet I received a
letter:--but that may likewise be a forgery. By my soul, continued he,
in a tone that had more of satisfaction than disappointment in it,
this fellow was an adept at his trade. I do not repine. I have bought
the exhibition at a cheap rate. The pains that he took did not merit a
less recompense. I am glad that he was contented with so little. Had
he persisted he might have raised the price far above its value.
'Twill be lamentable if he receive more than he stipulated for; if, in
his last purchase, the gallows should be thrown into the bargain. May
he have the wisdom to see that an halter, though not included in his
terms, is only a new instance of his good fortune: But his cunning
will hardly carry him thus far. His stupidity will, no doubt, prefer a
lingering to a sudden exit.

But this man and his destiny are trifles. Let us leave them to
themselves. Your name is Constance. 'Twas given you I suppose that you
might be known by it. Pr'ythee, Constance, was this the only purpose
that brought you hither? If it were, it has received as ample a
discussion as it merits. You came for this end, but will remain, I
hope, for a better one. Having dismissed Craig and his plots, let us
now talk of each other.

I confess, said the lady, with an hesitation she could not subdue,
this was not my only purpose. One much more important has produced
this visit.

Indeed! pray let me know it. I am glad that so trivial an object as
Craig, did not occupy the first place in your thoughts. Proceed I
beseech you.

It is a subject on which I cannot enter without hesitation. An
hesitation unworthy of me.--

Stop, cried Ormond, rising and touching the bell, nothing like time to
make a conquest of embarrassment. We will defer this conference six
minutes, just while we eat our dinner.

At the same moment a servant entered, with two plates and the usual
apparatus for dinner. On seeing this she rose in some hurry, to
depart. I thought, Sir, you were disengaged. I will call at some other

He seized her hand, and held her from going, but with an air by no
means disrespectful. Nay, said he, what is it that seares you away?
Are you terrified at the mention of victuals? You must have fasted
long when it comes to that. I told you true. I am disengaged, but not
from the obligation of eating and drinking. No doubt you have dined.
No reason why I should go without my dinner. If you do not chuse to
partake with me, so much the better. Your temperance ought to dispense
with two meals in an hour. Be a looker-on, or, if that will not do,
retire into my library, where, in six minutes, I will be with you; and
lend you my aid in the arduous task of telling me what you came with
an intention of telling.

This singular address disconcerted and abashed her. She was contented
to follow the servant silently into an adjoining apartment. Here she
reflected with no small surprize on the behaviour of this man. Though
ruffled, she was not heartily displeased with it. She had scarcely
time to recollect herself, when he entered. He immediately seated her,
and himself opposite to her. He fixed his eyes without scruple on her
face. His gaze was steadfast, but not insolent or oppressive. He
surveyed her with the looks with which he would have eyed a charming
portrait. His attention was occupied with what he saw, as that of an
Artist is occupied when viewing a Madonna of Rafaello. At length he
broke silence.

At dinner I was busy in thinking what it was you had to disclose. I
will not fatigue you with my guesses. They would be impertinent, as
long as the truth is going to be disclosed--He paused, and then
continued: But I see you cannot dispense with my aid. Perhaps your
business relates to Hellen. She has done wrong, and you wish me to
rebuke the girl.

Constantia profited by this opening, and said, Yes, she has done
wrong. It is true, my business relates to her. I came hither as a
suppliant in her behalf. Will you not assist her in recovering the
path from which she has deviated? She left it from confiding more in
the judgment of her guide than her own. There is one method of
repairing the evil. It lies with you to repair that evil.

During this address, the gaiety of Ormond disappeared. He fixed his
eyes on Constance with new and even pathetic earnestness. I guessed as
much, said he. I have often been deceived in my judgment of
characters. Perhaps I do not comprehend your's: Yet it is not little
that I have heard respecting you. Something I have seen. I begin to
suspect a material error in my theory of human nature. Happy will it
be for Hellen if my suspicions be groundless.

You are Hellen's friend. Be mine also, and advise me. Shall I marry
this girl or not? You know on what terms we live. Are they suitable to
our respective characters? Shall I wed this girl, or shall things
remain as they are?

I have an irreconcilable aversion to a sad brow and a sick bed. Hellen
is grieved, because her neighbours sneer and point at her. So far she
is a fool, but that is a folly of which she never will be cured.
Marriage, it seems, will set all right. Answer me, Constance, shall I

There was something in the tone, but more in the tenor of this address
that startled her. There was nothing in this man but what came upon
her unaware. This sudden effusion of confidence, was particularly
unexpected and embarrassing. She scarcely knew whether to regard it as
serious or a jest. On observing her indisposed to speak, he continued:

Away with these impertinent circuities and scruples. I know your
meaning. Why should I pretend ignorance, and put you to the trouble of
explanation? You came hither with no other view than to exact this
question, and furnish an answer. Why should not we come at once to the
point? I have for some time been dubious on this head. There is
something wanting to determine the balance. If you have that
something, throw it into the proper scale.

You err if you think this manner of addressing you is wild or
improper. This girl is the subject of discourse. If she was not to be
so, why did you favor me with this visit? You have sought me, and
introduced yourself. I have, in like manner, overlooked ordinary
forms: A negligence that has been systematic with me; but, in the
present case, particularly justifiable by your example. Shame upon
you, presumptuous girl, to suppose yourself the only rational being
among mankind. And yet, ifyou thought so, why did you thus
unceremoniously intrude upon my retirements? This act is of a piece
with the rest. It shews you to be one whose existence I did not
believe possible.

Take care. You know not what you have done. You came hither as
Hellen's friend. Perhaps time may shew that in this visit, you have
performed the behest of her bitterest enemy. But that is out of
season. This girl is our mutual property. You are her friend; I am her
lover. Her happiness is precious in my eyes and in your's. To the rest
of mankind she is a noisome weed, that cannot be shunned too
cautiously, nor trampled on too much. If we forsake her, infamy that
is now kept at bay, will seize upon her, and while it mangles her
form, will tear from her her innocence. She has no arms with which to
contend against that foe. Marriage will place her at once in security.
Shall it be? You have an exact knowledge of her strength and her
weakness. Of me, you know little. Perhaps, before that question can be
satisfactorily answered, it is requisite to know the qualities of her
husband. Be my character henceforth the subject of your study. I will
furnish you with all the light in my power. Be not hasty in deciding,
but when your decision is formed, let me know it.--He waited for an
answer, which she, at length, summoned resolution enough to give.

You have come to the chief point which I had in view in making this
visit. To say truth, I came hither to remonstrate with you on
withholding that which Helena may justly claim from you. Her happiness
will be unquestionably restored, and increased by it. Your's will not
be impaired. Matrimony will not produce any essential change in your
situation. It will produce no greater or different intercouse than now
exists. Helena is on the brink of a gulf which I shudder to look upon.
I believe that you will not injure yourself by snatching her from it.
I am sure that you will confer an inexpressible benefit upon her. Let
me then persuade you to do her and yourself justice.

No persuasion, said Ormond, after recovering from a fit of
thoughtfulness, is needful for this end; I only want to be convinced.
You have decided, but I fear hastily. By what inscrutable influences
are our steps guided. Come, proceed in your exhortations. Argue with
the utmost clearness and cogency. Arm yourself with all the
irresistibles of eloquence. Yet you are building nothing. You are only
demolishing. Your argument is one thing. It's tendency is another; and
is the reverse of all you expect and desire. My assent will be refused
with an obstinacy proportioned to the force that you exert to obtain
it, and to the just application of that force.

I see, replied the lady, smiling and leaving her seat, you can talk in
riddles, as well as other people. This visit has been too long. I
shall, indeed, be sorry, if my interference, instead of serving my
friend, has injured her. I have acted an uncommon, and, as it may
seem, an ambiguous part. I shall be contented with construing my
motives in my own way. I wish you a good evening.

'Tis false, cried he, sternly, you do not wish it.

How? Exclaimed the astonished Constance.

I will put your sincerity to the test. Allow me to spend this evening
in your company: Then it will be well spent, and I shall believe your
wishes sincere: Else, continued he, changing his affected austerity
into a smile, Constance is a liar.

You are a singular man. I hardly know how to understand you.

Well. Words are made to carry meanings. You shall have them in
abundance. Your house is your citadel. I will not enter it without
leave. Permit me to visit you when I please. But that is too much. It
is more than I would allow you. When will you permit me to visit you?

I cannot answer when I do not understand. You cloathe your thoughts in
a garb so uncouth, that I know not in what light they are to be

Well, now, I thought you understood my language, and were an English-
woman, but I will use another. Shall I have the honor (bowing with a
courtly air of supplication) of occasionally paying my respects to you
at your own dwelling. It would be cruel to condemn those who have the
happiness of knowing Miss Dudley, to fashionable restraints. At what
hour will she be least incommoded by a visitant?

I am as little pleased with formalities, replied the lady, as you are.
My friends I cannot see too often. They need to consult merely their
own convenience. Those who are not my friends I cannot see too seldom.
You have only to establish your title to that name, and your welcome
at all times, is sure. Till then you must not look for it.


Here ended this conference. She had, by no means, suspected the manner
in which it would be conducted. All punctilios were trampled under
foot, by the impetuosity of Ormond. Things were, at once, and without
delay, placed upon a certain footing. The point, which ordinary
persons would have employed months in attaining, was reached in a
moment. While these incidents were fresh in her memory, they were
accompanied with a sort of trepidation, the offspring at once of
pleasure and surprise.

Ormond had not deceived her expectations, but hearsay and personal
examination, however uniform their testimony may be, produce a very
different impression. In her present reflections, Hellen and her lover
approached to the front of the stage, and were viewed with equal
perspicuity. One consequence of this was, that their characters were
more powerfully contrasted with with each other, and the eligibility
of marriage, appeared not quite so incontestible as before.

Was not equality implied in this compact? Marriage is an insrument of
pleasure or pain in proportion as this equality is more or less. What,
but the fascination of his senses is it, that ties Ormond to Hellen.
Is this a basis on which marriage may properly be built?

If things had not gone thus far, the impropriety of marriage could not
be doubted; but, at present, there is a choice of evils, and that may
now be desirable, which at a former period, and in different
circumstances, would have been clearly otherwise.

The evils of the present connection are known; those of marriage are
future and contingent; Hellen cannot be the object of a genuine and
lasting passion; another may; this is not merely possible; nothing is
more likely to happen: This event, therefore, ought to be included in
our calculation. There would be a material deficiency without it. What
was the amount of the misery that would, in this case, ensue.

Constantia was qualified, beyond most others, to form an adequate
conception of this misery. One of the ingredients in her character was
a mild and steadfast enthusiasm. Her sensibilities to social pleasure,
and her conceptions of the benefits to flow from the conformity and
concurrence of intentions and wishes, heightening and refining the
sensual passion, were exquisite.

There, indeed, were evils, the foresight of which tended to prevent
them, but was there wisdom in creating obstacles in the way of a
suitable alliance. Before we act, we must consider not only the misery
produced, but the happiness precluded by our measures.

In no case, perhaps, is the decision of an human being impartial, or
totally uninfluenced by sinister and selfilsh motives. If Constantia
surpassed others, it was not, because, her motives were pure, but,
because, they possessed more of purty than those of others. Sinister
considerations flow in upon us through imperceptible channels, and
modify our thoughts in numberless ways, without our being truly
conscious of their presence. Constance was young, and her heart was
open at a thousand pores, to the love of excellence. The image of
Ormond occupied the chief place in her fancy, and was endowed with
attractive and venerable qualities. A bias was hence created that
swayed her thoughts, though she knew not that they were swayed. To
this might justly be imputed, some part of that reluctance which she
now felt to give Ormond to Hellen. But this was not sufficient to turn
the scale. That which had previously mounted, was indeed heavier than
before, but this addition did not enable it to outweight its opposite.
Marriage was still the best upon the whole, but her heart was tortured
to think that, best as it was, it abounded with so many evils.

On the evening of the next day, Ormond entered with careless
abruptness, Constantia's sitting apartment. He was introduced to her
father. A general and unrestrained conversation immediately took
place. Ormond addressed Mr. Dudley with the familiarity of an old
acquaintance. In three minutes, all embarrassment was discarded. The
lady and her visitant were accurate observers of each other. In the
remarks of the latter, and his vein was an abundant one, there was a
freedom and originality altogether new to his hearers. In his easiest
and sprightliest sallies were tokens of a mind habituated to profound
and extensive views. His associations were formed on a comprehensive

He pretended to nothing, and studied the concealments of ambiguity
more in reality than in appearance. Constantia, however, discovered a
sufficient resemblance between their theories of virtue and duty. The
difference between them lay in the inferences arbitrarily deduced, and
in which two persons may vary without end, and yet never be repugnant.
Constantia delighted her companion by the facility with which she
entered into his meaning, the sagacity she displayed in drawing out
his hints, circumscribing his conjectures, and thwarting or qualifying
his maxims. The scene was generally replete with ardour and
contention, and yet the impression left on the mind of Ormond was full
of harmony. Her discourse tended to rouse him from his lethargy, to
furnish him with powerful excitements, and the time spent in her
company, seemed like a doubling of existence.

The comparison could not but suggest itself, between this scene and
that exhibited by Hellen. With the latter voluptuous blandishments,
musical prattle, and silent but expressive homage, composed a banquet
delicious for a while, but whose sweetness now began to pall upon his
taste. It supplied him with no new ideas, and hindered him, by the
lulling sensations it inspired, from profiting by his former
acquisitions. Helena was beautiful. Apply the scale, and not a member
was found inelegantly disposed, or negligently moulded. Not a curve
that was blemished by an angle or ruffled by asperities. The
irradiations of her eyes were able to dissolve the knottiest fibres,
and their azure was serene beyond any that nature had elsewhere
exhibited. Over the rest of her form the glistening and rosy hues were
diffused with prodigal luxuriance, and mingled in endless and wanton
variety. Yet this image had fewer attractions event to the senses than
that of Constance. So great is the difference between forms animated
by different degrees of intelligence.

The interviews of Ormond and Constance grew more frequent. The
progress which they made in the knowledge of each other was rapid. Two
positions, that were favorite ones with him, were quickly subverted.
He was suddently changed, from being one of the calumniators of the
female sex, to one of its warmest eulogists. This was a point on which
Constantia had ever been a vigorous disputant, but her arguments, in
their direct tendency, would never have made a convert of this man.
Their force, intrinsically considered, was nothing. He drew his
conclusions from incidental circumstances. Her reasonings might be
fallacious or valid, but they were so composed, arranged and
delivered, were drawn from such sources, and accompanied with such
illustrations, as plainly testified a manlike energy in the reasoner.
In this indirect and circuitous way, her point was unanswerably

Your reasoning is bad, he would say; Every one of your conclusions is
false. Not a single allegation but may be easily confuted, and yet I
allow that your position is uncontrovertibly proved by them. How
bewildered is that man who never thinks for himself! Who rejects a
principle merely because the arguments brought in support of it are
insufficient. I must not reject the truth, because another has
unjustifiably adopted it. I want to reach a certain hill-top. Another
has reached it before me, but the ladder he used is too weak to bear
me. What then? Am I to stay below on that account? No: I have only to
construct one suitable to the purpose, and of strength sufficient.

A second maxim had never been confuted till now. It inculcated the
insignificance and hollowness of love. No pleasure he thought was to
be despised for its own sake. Every thing was good in its place, but
amorous gratifications were to be degraded to the bottom of the
catalogue. The enjoyments of music and landscape, were of a much
higher order. Epicurism itself was entitled to more respect. Love, in
itself, was in his opinion, of little worth, and only of importance as
the source of the most terrible of intellectual maladies. Sexual
sensations associating themselves, in a certain way, with our ideas,
beget a disease, which has, indeed, found no place in the catalogue,
but is a case of more entire subversion and confusion of mind than any
other. The victim is callous to the sentiments of honor and shame,
insensible to the most palpable distinctions of right and wrong, a
systematic opponent of testimony, and obstinate perverter of truth.

Ormond was partly right. Madness like death can be averted by no
foresight or previous contrivance. This probably is one of its
characteristicks. He that witnesses its influence on another, with
most horror, and most fervently deprecates its revages, is not
therefore more safe. This circumstance was realized in the history of

This infatuation, if it may so be called, was gradual in its progress.
The sensations which Hellen was now able to excite, were of a new
kind. Her power was not merely weakened, but her endeavours
counteracted their own end. Her fondness was rejected with disdain, or
borne with reluctance. The lady was not slow in perceiving this
change. The stroke of death would have been more acceptable. His own
reflections were too tormenting, to make him willing to discuss them
in words. He was not aware of the effects produced by this change in
his demeanour, till informed of it by herself.

One evening he displayed symptoms of uncommon dissatisfaction. Her
tenderness was unable to dispel it. He complained of want of sleep.
This afforded an hint, which she drew forth into one of her enchanting
ditties. Habit had almost conferred upon her the power of spontaneous
poesy, and while she pressed his forehead to her bosom, she warbled
forth a strain airy and exuberant in numbers, tender and exstatic in
its imagery.

Sleep, extend thy downy pinion, Hasten from thy Cell with speed;
Spread around thy soft dominion; Much those brows thy balmy presence
need. Wave thy wand of slumberous power, Moistened in Lethean dews, To
charm the busy spirits of the hour, And brighten memory's malignant

Thy mantle, dark and starless, cast Over my selected youth; Bury, in
thy womb, the mournful past, And soften, with thy dreams, the
asperities of truth. The changeful hues of his impassioned sleep, My
office it shall be to watch the while; With thee, my love, when fancy
prompts, to weep, And when thou smile'st, to smile. But sleep! I
charge thee, visit not these eyes, Nor raise thy dark pavillion here,
Till morrow from the cave of ocean rise, And whisper tuneful joy in
nature's ear. But mutely let me lie, and sateless gaze At all the soul
that in his visage sits, While spirits of harmonious air,--

Here her voice sunk, and the line terminated in a sigh. Her museful
ardours were chilled by the looks of Ormond. Absorbed in his own
thoughts, he appeared scarcely to attend to this strain. His sternness
was proof against her accustomed fascinations. At length she
pathetically complained of his coldness, and insinuated her
suspicions, that his affection was transferred to another object. He
started from her embrace, and after two or three turns across the
room, he stood before her. His large eyes were steadfastly fixed upon
her face.

Aye, said he, thou hast guessed right. The love, poor as it was, that
I had for thee, is gone. Henceforth thou art desolate indeed. Would to
God thou wert wise. Thy woes are but beginning; I fear they will
terminate fatally; If so, the catastrophe cannot come too quickly.

I disdain to appeal to thy justice, Hellen, to remind thee of
conditions solemnly and explicitly assumed. Shall thy blood be upon
thy own head? No. I will bear it myself. Though the load would crush a
mountain, I will bear it.

I cannot help it; I make not myself; I am moulded by circumstances:
Whether I shall love thee or not, is no longer in my own choice.
Marriage is, indeed, still in my power. I may give thee my name, and
share with thee my fortune. Will these content thee? Thou canst not
partake of my love. Thous canst have no part in my tenderness. These
are reserved for another more worthy than thou.

But no. Thy state is, to the last degree, forlorn: Even marriage is
denied thee. Thou wast contented to take me without it; to dispense
with the name of wife, but the being who has displaced thy image in my
heart, is of a different class. She will be to me a wife, or nothing,
and I must be her husband, or perish.

Do not deceive thyself, Hellen. I know what it is in which thou hast
placed thy felicity. Life is worth retaining by thee, but on one
condition. I know the incurableness of thy infirmity; but be not
deceived. Thy happiness is ravished from thee. The condition on which
thou consentedst to live, is annulled. I love thee no longer.

No truth was ever more delicious; none was ever more detestable. I
fight against conviction, and I cling to it. That I love thee no
longer, is at once a subject of joy and of mourning. I struggle to
believe thee superior to this shock: That thou wilt be happy though
deserted by me. Whatever be thy destiny, my reason will not allow me
to be miserable on that account: Yet I would give the world; I would
forfeit every claim but that which I hope upon the heart of Constance,
to be sure that thy tranquillity will survive this stroke.

But let come what will, look no longer to me for offices of love.
Henceforth, all intercourse of tenderness ceases. Perhaps all personal
intercourse whatever. But though this good be refused, thou art sure
of independence. I will guard thy ease and thy honor with a father's
scrupulousness. Would to heaven a sister could be created by adoption.
I am willing, for thy sake, to be an imposter. I will own thee to the
world for my sister, and carry thee whither the cheat shall never be
detected. I would devote my whole life to prevarication and falsehood,
for thy sake, if that would suffice to make thee happy.

To this speech Helena had nothing to answer. Her sobs and tears
choaked all utterance. She hid her face with her handkerchief, and sat
powerless and overwhelmed with despair. Ormond traversed the room
uneasily. Sometimes moving to and fro with quick steps, sometimes
standing and eyeing her with looks of compassion. At length he spoke:

It is time to leave you. This is the first night that you will spend
in dreary solitude. I know it will be sleepless and full of agony; but
the sentence cannot be recalled. Henceforth regard me as a brother. I
will prove myself one. All other claims are swallowed up in a superior
affection.---In saying this, he left the house, and almost without
intending it, found himself in a few minutes at Mr. Dudley's door.


The politeness of Melbourne had somewhat abated Mr. Dudley's aversion
to society. He allowed himself sometimes to comply with urgent
invitations. On this evening he happened to be at the house of that
gentleman. Ormond entered, and found Constantia alone. An interview of
this kind was seldom enjoyed, though earnestly wished for by
Constantia, who was eager to renew the subject of her first
conversation with Ormond. I have already explained the situation of
her mind. All her wishes were concentred in the marriage of Helena.
The eligibility of this scheme, in every view which she took of it,
appeared in a stronger light. She was not aware that any new obstacle
had arisen. She was free from the consciousness of any secret bias.
Much less did her modesty suspect, that she herself would prove an
insuperable impediment to this plan.

There was more than usual solemnity in Ormond's demeanour. After he
was seated, he continued, contrary to his custom, to be silent. These
singularities were not unobserved by Constance. They did not, however,
divert her from her purpose.

I am glad to see you, said she. We so seldom enjoy the advantage of a
private interview. I have much to say to you. You authorize me to
deliberate on your actions, and, in some measure, to prescribe to you.
This is a province which I hope to discharge with integrity and
diligence. I am convinced that Hellen's happiness and your own, can be
secured in one way only. I will emulate your candour, and come at once
to the point. Why have you delayed so long the justice that is due to
this helpless and lovely girl? There are a thousand reasons why you
should think of no other alternative. You have been pleased to repose
some degree of confidence in my judgment. Hear my full and deliberate
opinion. Make Helena your wife. This is the unequivocal prescription
of your duty.

This address was heard by Ormond without surprise; but his countenance
betrayed the accuteness of his feelings. The bitterness that
overflowed his heart, was perceptible in his tone when he spoke.

Most egregiously are you deceived. Such is the line with which human
capacity presumes to fathom futurity. With all your discernment, you
do not see that marriage would effectually destroy me. You do not see
that, whether beneficial, or otherwise, in its effects, marriage is
impossible. You are merely prompting me to suicide; but how shall I
inflict the wound? Where is the weapon? See you not that I am
powerless? Leap, say you, into the flames. See you not that I am
fettered? Will a mountain move at your bidding, sooner than I in the
path, which you prescribe to me?

This speech was inexplicable. She pressed him to speak less
enigmatically. Had he formed his resolution? If so, arguments and
remonstrances were superfluous. Without noticing her interrogatories,
he continued:

I am too hasty in condemning you. You judge, not against, but without
knowledge. When sufficiently informed, your decision will be right:
Yet how can you be ignorant? Can you, for a moment, contemplate
yourself and me, and not perceive an insuperable bar to this union?

You place me, said Constantia, in a very disagreeable predicament. I
have not deserved this treatment from you. This is an unjustifiable
deviation from plain dealing. Of what impediment do you speak. I can
safely say that I know of none.

Well, resumed he, with augmented eagerness, I must supply you with
knowledge. I repeat, that I perfectly rely on the rectitude of your
judgment. Summon all your sagacity and disinterestedness, and chuse
for me. You know in what light Hellen has been viewed by me. I have
ceased to view her in this light. She has become an object of
indifference: Nay, I am not certain that I do not hate her. Not indeed
for her own sake, but because I love another. Shall I marry her whom I
hate, when there exists one whom I love with unconquerable ardour?

Constantia was thunderstruck with this intelligence. She looked at him
with some expression of doubt. How is this? said she: Why did you not
tell me this before?

When I last talked with you on this subject, I knew it not myself. It
has occurred since. I have seized the first occasion that has offered,
to inform you of it. Say now, since such is my condition, ought Hellen
to be my wife?

Constantia was silent. Her heart bled for what she foresaw, would be
the sufferings and forlorn destiny of Hellen. She had not courage to
enquire further into this new engagement.

I wait for your answer, Constance. Shall I defraud myself of all the
happiness which would accrue, from a match of inclination? Shall I put
fetters on my usefulness? This is the style in which you speak. Shall
I preclude all the good to others, that would flow from a suitable
alliance? Shall I abjure the woman I love, and marry her whom I hate?

Hatred, replied the lady, is an harsh word. Hellen has not deserved
that you should hate her. I own this is a perplexing circumstance. It
would be wrong to determine hastily. Suppose you give yourself to
Hellen, will more than yourself be injured by it? Who is this lady?
Will she be rendered unhappy by a determination in favor of another?
This is a point of the utmost importance.

At these words, Ormond forsook his seat, and advanced close up to
Constantia. You say true. This is a point of inexpressible importance.
It would be presumption in me to decide. That is the lady's own
province. And now, say truly, are you willing to accept Ormond with
all his faults. Who but yourself could be mistress of all the springs
of my soul? I know the sternness of your probity. This discovery will
only make you more strenuously the friend of Hellen. Yet why should
you not shun either extreme. Lay yourself out of view. And yet,
perhaps, the happiness of Constance, is not unconcerned in this
question. Is there no part of me in which you discover your own
likeness? Am I deceived, or is it an incontroulable destiny that
unites us?

This declaration was truly unexpected by Constance. She gathered from
it nothing but excitements of grief. After some pause, she said. This
appeal to me has made no change in my opinion. I still think that
justice requires you to become the husband of Hellen. As to me, do you
think my happiness rests upon so slight a foundation? I cannot love,
but when my understanding points out to me the propriety of love. Ever
since I have known you, I have looked upon you as rightfully belonging
to another. Love could not take place in my circumstances. Yet I will
not conceal from you my sentiments. I am not sure that in different
circumstances, I should not have loved. I am acquainted with your
worth. I do not look for a faultless man. I have met with none whose
blemishes were fewer.

It matters not, however, what I should have been. I cannot interfere,
in this case, with the claims of my friend. I have no passion to
struggle with. I hope, in every vicissitude, to enjoy your esteem, and
nothing more. There is but one way in which mine can be secured, and
that is by espousing this unhappy girl.

No, exclaimed Ormond. Require not impossibilities. Hellen can never be
any thing to me. I should, with unspeakably more willingness, assail
my own life.

What, said the lady, will Hellen think of this sudden and dreadful
change. I cannot bear to think upon the feelings that this information
will excite.

She knows it already. I have this moment left her. I explained to her,
in few words, my motives, and assured her of my unalterable
resolution. I have vowed never to see her more, but as a brother, and
this vow she has just heard.

Constantia could not suppress her astonishment and compassion at this
intelligence. No surely, you could not be so cruel! And this was done
with your usual abruptness, I suppose. Precipitate and implacable man!
Cannot you foresee the effects of this madness? You have planted a
dagger in her heart. You have disappointed me. I did not think you
could act so inhumanly.

Nay, beloved Constance, be not so liberal of your reproaches. Would
you have me deceive her? She must shortly have known it. Could the
truth be told too soon?

Much too soon, replied the lady, fervently. I have always condemned
the maxims by which you act. Your scheme is headlong and barbarous.
Could you not regard, with some little compassion, that love which
sacrificed for your unworthy sake, honest fame and the peace of
virtue? Is she not a poor outcast, goaded by compunction, and hooted
at by a malignant and misjudging world, and who was it that reduced
her to this deplorable condition? For whose sake, did she willingly
consent to brave evils, by which the stoutest heart is applled? Did
this argue no greatness of mind? Who ever surpassed her in fidelity
and tenderness? But thus has she been rewarded. I shudder to think
what may be the event. Her courage cannot possibly support her,
against treatment so harsh; so perversely and wantonly cruel. Heaven
grant, that you are not shortly made, bitterly to lament this

Ormond was penetrated with these reproaches. They persuaded him for a
moment that his deed was wrong; that he had not unfolded his
intentions to Helena, with a suitable degree of gentleness and
caution. Little more was said on this occasion. Constantia exhorted
him, in the most earnest and pathetic manner, to return and recant, or
extenuate his former declarations. He could not be brought to promise
compliance. When he parted from her, however, he was half resolved to
act as she advised. Solitary reflection made him change this
resolution, and he returned to his own house.

During the night, he did little else, than ruminate on the events of
the preceding evening. He entertained little doubt of his ultimate
success with Constance. She gratified him in nothing, but left him
every thing to hope. She had hitherto, it seems, regarded him with
indifference, but this had been sufficiently explained. That conduct
would be pursued, and that passion be entertained, which her judgment
should previously approve. What then was the obstacle? It originated
in the claims of Hellen, but what were these claims? It was fully
ascertained that he should never be united to this girl. If so, the
end contemplated by Constance, and for the sake of which only, his
application was rejected, could never be obtained. Unless her
rejection of him, could procure a husband for her friend, it would, on
her own principles, be improper and superfluous.

What was to be done with Hellen? It was a terrible alternative to
which he was reduced; to marry her or see her perish: But was this
alternative quite sure? Could not she, by time or by judicious
treatment, be reconciled to her lot? It was to be feared that he had
not made a suitable beginning; And yet, perhaps, it was most
expedient, that an hasty and abrupt sentence should be succeeded by
forbearance and lenity. He regretted his precipitation, and though
unused to the melting mood, tears were wrung from him, by the idea of
the misery which he had probably occasioned. He was determined to
repair his misconduct as speedily as possible, and to pay her a
conciliating visit the next morning.

He went early to her house. He was informed by the servant that her
mistress had not yet risen. Was it usual, he asked, for her to lie so
late? No, he was answered; She never knew it happen before, but she
supposed her mistress was not well. She was just going into her
chamber to see what was the matter.

Why, said Ormond, do you suppose that she is sick?

She was poorly last night. About nine o'clock she sent out for some
physic to make her sleep.

To make her sleep? exclaimed Ormond, in a faultering and affrighted

Yes, she said, she wanted it for that. So I went to the pothecary's.
When I come back, she was very poorly indeed. I asked her if I
mightn't set up with her. No she says: I do not want any body. You may
go to bed as soon as you please, and tell Fabian to do the same. I
shall not want you again.

What did you buy?

Some kind of water, laud'num I think they call it. She wrote it down
and I carried the paper to Mr. Eckhart's, and he gave it to me in a
bottle, and I gave it to my mistress.

'T is well: Retire: I will see how she is myself.

Ormond had conceived himself fortified against every disaster. He
looked for nothing but evil, and, therefore, in ordinary cases,
regarded its approach without fear or surprise. Now, however, he found
that his tremors would not be stilled. His perturbations increased,
with every step that brought him nearer to her chamber. He knocked,
but no answer was returned. He opened, advanced to the bed side, and
drew back the curtains. He shrunk from the spectacle that presented
itself--Was this the Hellen, that a few hours before, was blithsome
with health and radiant with beauty! Her visage was serene, but sunken
and pale. Death was in every line of it. To his tremulous and hurried
scrutiny every limb was rigid and cold.

The habits of Ormond tended to obscure the appearances, if not to
deaden the emotions of sorrow. He was so much accustomed to the
frustration of well intended efforts, and confided so much in his own
integrity, that he was not easily disconcerted. He had merely to
advert, on this occasion, to the tumultuous state of his feelings, in
order to banish their confusion and restore himself to calm. Well,
said he, as he dropped the curtain and turned towards another part of
the room, this, without doubt, is a rueful spectacle: Can it be
helped? Is there in man the power of recalling her? There is none such
in me.

She is gone: Well then, she is gone. If she were fool enough to die, I
am not fool enough to follow her. I am determined to live, and be
happy notwithstanding. Why not?

Yet, this is a piteous sight. What is impossible to undo, might be
easily prevented. A piteous spectacle! But what else, on an ampler
scale, is the universe? Nature is a theatre of suffering. What corner
is unvisited by calamity and pain? I have chosen, as became me. I
would rather precede thee to the grave, than live to be thy husband.

Thou hast done my work for me. Thou hast saved thyself and me from a
thousand evils. Thou has acted as seemed to thee best, and I am

Hast thou decided erroneously? They that know thee, need not marvel at
that. Endless have been the proofs of thy frailty. In favor of this
last act, something may be said: It is the last thou wilt ever commit.
Others only will experience its effects: Thou hast, at least, provided
for thy own safety.

But what is here? A letter for me? Had thy understanding been as
prompt as thy fingers, I could have borne with thee. I can casily
divine the contents of this epistle.

He opened it, and found the tenor to be as follows:

"You did not use, my dear friend, to part with me in this manner. You
never before treated me so roughly. I am sorry, indeed I am, that I
ever offended you. Could you suppose that I intended it? And if you
knew that I meant not offence, why did you take offence?"

"I am very unhappy, for I have lost you, my friend. You will never see
me more, you say. That is very hard. I have deserved it to be sure,
but I do not know how it has happened. No body more desired to please
than I have done. Morning, noon and night, it was my only study; but
you will love me no more; you will see me no more. Forgive me, my
friend, but I must say it is very hard."

"You said rightly; I do not wish to live without my friend. I have
spent my life happily, heretofore. 'Tis true, there have been
transient uneasinesses, but your love was a reward and a cure for
every thing. I desired nothing better in this world. Did you ever hear
me murmur? No: I was not so unjust. My lot was happy, infinitely
beyond my deserving. I merited not to be loved by you. O that I had
suitable words to express my gratitude, for your kindness! but this
last meeting--how different from that which went before? Yet even
then, there was something on your brow like discontent, which I could
not warble nor whisper away, as I used to do. But, sad as this was, it
was nothing like the last."

"Could Ormond be so stern and so terrible? You knew that I would die,
but you need not have talked as if I were in the way, and as if you
had rather I should die than live. But one thing I rejoice at: I am a
poor silly girl, but Constance is a noble and accomplished one. Most
joyfully do I resign you to her, my dear friend. You say you love her:
She need not be afraid of accepting you. There will be no danger of
your preferring another to her. It was very natural and very right for
you to prefer her to me. She and you will be happy in each other: It
is this that sweetens the cup I am going to drink. Never did I go to
sleep, with more good will, than I now go to death. Fare you well, my
dear friend."

This letter was calculated to make a deeper impression on Ormond, than
even the sight of Hellen's corpse. It was in vain, for some time, that
he endeavoured to reconcile himself to this event. It was seldom that
he was able to forget it. He was obliged to exert all his energies, to
enable him to support the remembrance. The task was, of course,
rendered easier by time.

It was immediately requisite to attend to the disposal of the corpse.
He felt himself unfit for this mournful office. He was willing to
relieve himself from it, by any expedient. Helena's next neighbour,
was an old lady, whose scruples made her shun all direct intercourse
with this unhappy girl; yet she had performed many acts of neighbourly
kindness. She readily obeyed the summons of Ormond, on this occasion,
to take charge of affairs, till another should assume it. Ormond
returned home, and sent the following note to Constance.

"You have predicted aright. Hellen is dead. In a mind like yours every
grief will be suspended, and every regard absorbed in the attention
due to the remains of this unfortunate girl. I cannot attend to them."

Constantia was extremely shocked by this intelligence, but she was not
unmindful of her duty. She prepared herself with mournful alacrity,
for the performance of it. Every thing that the occasion demanded, was
done with diligence and care. Till this was accomplished, Ormond could
not prevail upon himself to appear upon the stage. He was informed of
this by a note from Constance, who requested him to take possession of
the un occupied dwelling and its furniture.

Among the terms of his contract with Helena, Ormond had voluntarily
inserted the exclusive property of an house and its furniture in this
city, with funds adequate to her plentiful maintainance. These he had
purchased and transferred to her. To this he had afterwards added a
rural retreat, in the midst of spacious and well cultivated fields,
three miles from Perth-Amboy, and seated on the right bank of the
sound. It is proper to mention that this farm was formerly the
property of Mr. Dudley; had been fitted up by him, and used as his
summer abode during his prosperity. In the division of his property it
had fallen to one of his creditors, from whom it had been purchased by
Ormond. This circumstance, in conjunction with the love, which she
bore to Constance, had suggested to Hellen a scheme, which her want of
foresight would, in different circumstances, have occasioned her to
overlook. It was that of making her testament, by which she bequeathed
all that she possessed to her friend. This was not done without the
knowledge and cheerful concurrence of Ormond, who, together with
Melbourne and another respectable citizen, were named executors.
Melbourne and his friend were induced by their respect for Constantia,
to consent to this nomination.

This had taken place before Ormond and Constance had been introduced
to each other. After this event, Ormond had sometimes been employed in
contriving means for securing to his new friend and her father, a
subsistence, more certain than the will of Helena could afford. Her
death he considered as an event equally remote and undesirable. This
event, however unexpectedly, had now happened, and precluded the
necessity of further consideration on this head.

Constantia could not but accept this bequest. Had it been her wish to
decline, it was not in her power, but she justly regarded the leisure
and independence thus conferred upon her, as inestimable benefits. It
was a source of unbounded satisfaction on her father's account, who
was once more seated in the bosom of affluence. Perhaps in a rational
estimate, one of the most fortunate events that could have befallen
those persons, was that period of adversity through which they had
been doomed to pass. Most of the defects that adhered to the character
of Mr. Dudley, had, by this means, been exterminated. He was now cured
of those prejudices which his early prosperity had instilled, and
which had flowed from luxurious indulgences. He had learned to
estimate himself at his true value, and to sympathize with sufferings
which he himself had partaken.

It was easy to perceive in what light Constantia was regarded by her
father. He never reflected on his relation to her without rapture. Her
qualities were the objects of his adoration. He resigned himself with
pleasure to her guidance. The chain of subordination and duties was
reversed. By the asscendancy of her genius and wisdom, the province of
protection and the tribute of homage, had devolved upon her. This had
resulted from incessant experience of the wisdom of her measures, and
the spectacle of her fortitude and skill in every emergency.

It seemed as if but one evil adhered to the condition of this man. His
blindness was an impediment to knowledge and enjoyment, of which, the
utmost to be hoped was, that he should regard it without pungent
regret, and that he should sometimes forget it: That his mind should
occasionally stray into foreign paths, and lose itself in sprightly
conversations, or benign reveries. This evil, however, was, by no
means, remediless.

A surgeon of uncommon skill had lately arrived from Europe. He was one
of the numerous agents and dependants of Ormond, and had been engaged
to abdicate his native country for purposes widely remote from his
profession. The first use that was made of him, was to introduce him
to Mr. Dudley. The diseased organs were critically examined, and the
patient was, with considerable difficulty, prevailed upon to undergo
the necessary operation. His success corresponded with Constantia's
wishes, and her father was once more restored to the enioyment of

These were auspicious events--Constantia held herself amply repaid by
them, for all that she had suffered. These sufferings had indeed been
light, when compared with the effects usually experienced by others in
a similar condition. Her wisdom had extracted its sting from
adversity, and without allowing herself to feel much of the evils of
its reign, had employed it as an instrument by which the sum of her
present happiness was increased. Few suffered less, in the midst of
poverty, than she. No one ever extracted more felicity from the
prosperous reverse.


When time had somewhat mitigated the memory of the late disaster, the
intercourse between Ormond and Constance was renewed. The lady did not
overlook her obligations to her friend: It was to him that she was
indebted for her father's restoration to sight, and to whom both owed,
essentially, though indirectly, their present affluence. In her mind,
gratitude was no perverse or ignoble principle. She viewed this man as
the authour of extensive benefits, of which her situation enabled her
to judge with more accuracy than others. It created no bias on her
judgment, or, at least, none of which she was sensible. Her equity was
perfectly unfettered, and she decided in a way contrary to his
inclination, with as little scruple as if the benefits had been
received, not by herself, but by him. She, indeed, intended his
benefit, though she thwarted his inclinations.

She had few visitants beside himself. Their interviews were daily and
unformal. The fate of Hellen never produced any reproaches on her
part. She saw the uselessness of recrimination, not only because she
desired to produce emotions different from those which invective is
adapted to excite, but because it was more just to soothe than to
exasperate, the inquietudes which haunted him.

She now enjoyed leisure. She had always been solicitous for mental
improvement. Any means subservient to this end were valuable. The
conversation of Ormond was an inexhaustible fund. By the variety of
topics and the excitements to reflection it supplied, a more plenteous
influx of knowledge was produced, than could have flowed from any
other source. There was no end to the detailing of facts, and the
canvassing of theories.

I have already said, that Ormond was engaged in schemes of an arduous
and elevated nature. These were the topics of epistolary discussion
between him and a certain number of coadjutors, in different parts of
the world. In general discourse, it was proper to maintain a uniform
silence respecting these, not only because they involved principles
and views, remote from vulgar apprehension, but because their success,
in some measure, depended on their secrecy. He could not give a
stronger proof of his confidence in the sagacity and steadiness of
Constance than he now gave, by imparting to her his schemes, and
requesting her advice and assistance in the progress of them.

His disclosures, however, were imperfect. What knowledge was imparted,
instead of appeasing, only tended to inflame her curiosity. His
answers to her enquiries were prompt, and at first sight, sufficiently
explicit, but upon reconsideration, an obscurity seemed to gather
round them, to be dispelled by new interrogatories. These, in like
manner, effected a momentary purpose, but were sure speedily to lead
into new conjectures, and re-immerse her in doubts. The task was
always new, was always in the point of being finished, and always to
be re-commenced.

Ormond aspired to nothing more ardently than to hold the reins of
opinion. To exercise absolute power over the conduct of others, not by
constraining their limbs, or by exacting obedience to his authority,
but in a way of which his subjects should be scarcely conscious. He
desired that his guidance should controul their steps, but that his
agency, when most effectual, should be least suspected.

If he were solicitous to govern the thoughts of Constantia, or to
regulate her condition, the mode which he pursued had hitherto been
admirably conducive to that end. To have found her friendless and
indigent, accorded, with the most fortunate exactness, with his views.
That she should have descended to this depth, from a prosperous
height, and therefore be a stranger to the torpor which attends
hereditary poverty, and be qualified rightly to estimate, and use the
competence to which, by his means, she was now restored, was all that
his providence would have prescribed.

Her thoughts were equally obsequious to his direction. The novelty and
grandeur of his schemes could not fail to transport a mind, ardent and
capacious, as that of Constance. Here his fortune had been no less
propitious. He did not fail to discover, and was not slow to seize the
advantages flowing thence. By explaining his plans, opportunity was
furnished to lead and to confine her meditations to the desirable
tract. By adding fictitious embellishments, he adapted it with more
exactness to his purpose. By piece-meal and imperfect disclosures, her
curiosity was kept alive.

I have described Ormond as having contracted a passion for Constance.
This passion certainly existed in his heart, but it must not be
conceived to be immutable, or to operate independently of all those
impulses and habits which time had interwoven in his character. The
person and affections of this woman, were the objects sought by him,
and which it was the dearest purpose of his existence to gain. This
was his supreme good, though the motives to which it was indebted for
its pre-eminence in his imagination, were numerous and complex.

I have enumerated his opinions on the subject of wedlock. The question
will obviously occur, whether Constantia was sought by him, with
upright or flagitious views. His sentiments and resolutions, on this
head, had for a time fluctuated, but were now steadfast. Marriage was,
in his eyes, hateful and absurd as ever. Constance was to be obtained
by any means. If other terms were rejected, he was willing, for the
sake of this good, to accept her as a wife; but this was a choice to
be made, only when every expedient was exhausted, for reconciling her
to a compact of a different kind.

For this end, he prescribed to himself, a path suited to the character
of this lady. He made no secret of his sentiments and views. He avowed
his love and described, without scruple, the scope of his wishes. He
challenged her to confute his principles, and promised a candid
audience and profound consideration to her arguments. Her present
opinions he knew to be adverse to his own, but he hoped to change
them, by subtilty and perseverance. His further hopes and designs, he
concealed from her. She was unaware, that if he were unable to effect
a change in her creed, he was determined to adopt a system of
imposture. To assume the guise of a convert to her doctrines, and
appear as devout as herself in his notions of the sanctity of

Perhaps it was not difficult, to have foreseen the consequence of
these projects. Constantia's peril was imminent. This arose not only
from the talents and address of Ormond, but from the community of
sentiment, which already existed between them. She was unguarded in a
point, where, if not her whole, yet, doubtless, her principal security
and strongest bulwark would have existed. She was unacquainted with
religion. She was unhabituated to conform herself to any standard, but
that connected with the present life. Matrimonial, as well as every
other human duty, was disconnected in her mind, with any awful or
divine sanction. She formed her estimate of good and evil, on nothing
but terestrial and visible consequences.

This defect in her character, she owed to her father's system of
education. Mr. Dudley was an adherent to what he conceived to be true
religion. No man was more passionate in his culogy of his own form of
devotion and belief, or in his invectives against Atheistical dogmas;
but he reflected that religion assumed many forms, one only of which
is salutary or true, and that truth in this respect, is incompatible
with infantile and premature instruction.

To this subject, it was requisite to apply the force of a mature and
unfettered understanding. For this end he laboured to lead away the
juvenile reflections of Constantia, from religious topics, to detain
them in the paths of history and eloquence. To accustom her to the
accuracy of geometrical deduction, and to the view of those evils,
that have flowed in all ages, from mistaken piety.

In consequence of this scheme, her habits rather than her opinions,
were undevout. Religion was regarded by her, not with disbelief, but
with absolute indifference. Her good sense forbad her to decide before
enquiry, but her modes of study and reflection, were foreign to, and
unfitted her for this species of discussion. Her mind was seldom
called to meditate on this subject, and when it occurred, her
perceptions were vague and obscure. No objects, in the sphere which
she occupied, were calculated to suggest to her the importance of
investigation and certainty.

It becomes me to confess, however reluctantly, thus much concerning my
friend. However abundantly endowed in other respects, she was a
stranger to the felicity and excellence flowing from religion. In her
struggles with misfortune, she was supported and cheered by the sense
of no approbation, but her own. A defect of this nature, will perhaps
be regarded as of less moment, when her extreme youth is remembered.
All opinions in her mind were mutable, inasmuch as the progress of her
understanding was incessant.

If was otherwise with Ormond. His disbelief was at once unchangeable
and strenuous. The universe was to him, a series of events, connected
by an undesigning and inscrutable necessity, and an assemblage of
forms, to which no begining or end can be conceived. Instead of
transient views and vague ideas, his meditations, on religious points,
had been intense. Enthusiasm was added to disbelief, and he not only
dissented but abhorred.

He deemed it prudent, however, to disguise sentiments, which, if
unfolded in their full force, would wear to her the appearance of
insanity: But he saw and was eager to improve the advantage, which his
anti-nuptial creed derived from the unsettled state of her opinions.
He was not unaware, likewise, of the auspicious and indispensible co-
operation of love. If this advocate were wanting in her bosom, all his
efforts would be in vain. If this pleader were engaged in his behalf,
he entertained no doubts of his ultimate success. He conceived that
her present situation, all whose comforts were the fruits of his
beneficence, and which afforded her no other subject of contemplation
than himself, was as favorable as possible to the growth of this

Constance was acquainted with his wishes. She could not fail to see,
that she might spcedily be called upon to determine a momentous
question. Her own sensations and the character of Ormond, were,
therefore, scrutinized with suspicious attention. Marriage could be
justified in her eyes, only by community of affections and opinions.
She might love without the sanction of her judgment, but while
destitute of that sanction, she would never suffer it to sway her

Ormond was imperfectly known. What knowledge she had gained, flowed
chiefly from his own lips, and was therefore unattended with
certainty. What portion of deceit or disguise was mixed with his
conversation, could be known, only by witnessing his actions with her
own eyes, and comparing his testimony with that of others. He had
embraced a multitude of opinions, which appeared to her erroneous.
Till these were rectified, and their conclusions were made to
correspond, wedlock was improper. Some of these obscurities might be
dispelled, and some of these discords be resolved into harmony by
time. Meanwhile it was proper to guard the avenues to her heart, and
screen herself from self-delusion.

There was no motive to conceal her reflections, on this topic, from
her father. Mr. Dudley discovered, without her assistance, the views
of Ormond. His daughter's happiness was blended with his own. He
lived, but in the consciousness of her tranquility. Her image was
seldom absent from his eyes, and never from his thoughts. The emotions
which it excited, sprung but in part from the relationship of father.
It was gratitude and veneration, which she claimed from him, and which
filled him with rapture.

He ruminated deeply on the character of Ormond. The political and
anti-theological tenets of this man, were regarded, not merely with
disapprobation, but antipathy. He was not ungrateful for the benefits
which had been conferred upon him. Ormond's peculiarities of
sentiment, excited no impatience, as long as he was regarded merely as
a visitant. It was only as one claiming to posses his daughter, that
his presence excited in Mr. Dudley, trepidation and loathing.

Ormond was unacquainted with what was passing in the mind of Mr.
Dudley. The latter conceived his own benefactor and his daughter's
friend, to be entitled to the most scrupulous and affable urbanity.
His objections to a nearer alliance, were urged with frequent and
pathetic vehemence, only in his private interviews with Constance.
Ormond and he seldom met: Mr. Dudley, as soon as his sight was
perfectly retrieved, betook himself with eagerness to painting, an
amusement, which his late privations had only contributed to endear to

Things remained nearly on their present footing for some months. At
the end of this period, some engagement obliged Ormond to leave the
city. He promised to return with as much speed as circumstances would
admit. Meanwhile his letters supplied her with topics of reflection.
These were frequently received, and were models of that energy of
style, which results from simplicity of structure, from picturesque
epithets, and from the compression of much meaning into few words. His
arguments seldom imparted conviction, but delight never failed to flow
from their lucid order and cogent brevity. His narratives were
unequaled for rapidity and comprehensiveness. Every sentence was a
treasury to moralists and painters.


Domestic and studious occupations did not wholly engross the attention
of Constance. Social pleasures were precious to her heart, and she was
not backward to form fellowships and friendships, with those around
her. Hitherto she had met with no one, entitled to an uncommon portion
of regard, or worthy to supply the place of the friend of her infancy.
Her visits were rare, and as yet, chiefly confined to the family of
Mr. Melbourne. Here she was treated with flattering distinctions, and
enjoyed opportunities of extending as far as she pleased, her
connections with the gay and opulent. To this she felt herself by no
means inclined, and her life was still eminently distinguished by love
of privacy, and habits of seclusion.

One morning, feeling an indisposition to abstraction, she determined
to drop in, for an hour, on Mrs. Melbourne. Finding Mrs. Melbourne's
parlour unoccupied, she proceeded unceremoniously, to an apartment on
the second floor, where that lady was accustomed to sit. She entered,
but this room was likewise empty. Here she cast her eyes on a
collection of prints, copied from the Farnese collection, and employed
herself, for some minutes, in comparing the forms of Titiano and the

Suddenly, notes of peculiar sweetness, were wafted to her ear from
without. She listened with surprise, for the tones of her father's
lute were distinctly recognized. She hied to the window, which chanced
to look into a back court. The music was perceived to come from the
window of the next house. She recollected her interview with the
purchaser of her instrument, at the musical shop, and the powerful
impression which the stranger's countenance had made upon her.

The first use she had made of her recent change of fortune, was to
endeavour the recovery of this instrument. The musical dealer, when
reminded of the purchase, and interrogated as to the practicability of
regaining the lute, for which she was willing to give treble the
price, answered that he had no knowledge of the foreign lady, beyond
what was gained at the interview which took place in Constantia's
presence. Of her name, residence, and condition, he knew nothing, and
had endeavoured in vain to acquire knowledge.

Now this incident seemed to have furnished her with the information
she so earnestly sought. This performer was probably the stranger
herself. Her residence so near the Melbournes, and in an house which
was the property of the Magistrate, might be means of information as
to her condition, and perhaps of introduction to a personal

While engaged in these reflections, Mrs. Melbourne entered the
apartment. Constantia related this incident to her friend, and stated
the motives of her present curiosity. Her friend willingly imparted
what knowledge she possessed relative to this subject. This was the

This house had been hired, previously to the appearance of yellow
fever, by an English family, who left their native soil, with a view
to a permanent abode in the new world. They had scarcely taken
possession of the dwelling, when they were terrified by the progress
of the epidemic. They had fled from the danger, but this circumstance,
in addition to some others, induced them to change their scheme. An
evil so unwonted as pestilence, impressed them with a belief of
perpetual danger, as long as they remained on this side of the ocean.
They prepared for an immediate return to England.

For this end their house was relinquished, and their splendid
furniture destined to be sold by auction. Before this event could take
place, application was made to Mr. Melbourne, by a lady, whom his
wife's description, shewed to be the same with her of whom Constantia
was in search. She not only rented the house, but negociated by means
of her landlord, the purchase of the furniture.

Her servants were blacks, and all but one, who officiated as steward,
unacquainted with the English language. Some accident had proved her
name to be Beauvais. She had no visitants, very rarely walked abroad,
and then only in the evening with a female servant in attendance. Her
hours appeared to be divided between the lute and the pen. As to her
previous history or her present sources of subsistence, Mrs.
Melcombe's curiosity had not been idle, but no consistent information
was obtainable. Some incident had given birth to the conjecture, that
she was wife, or daughter, or sister of Beauvais, the partizan of
Brissot, whom the faction of Marat had lately consigned to the
scaffold, but this conjecture was unsupported by suitable evidence.

This tale by no means diminished Constantia's desire of personal
intercourse. She saw no means of effecting her purpose. Mrs. Melbourne
was unqualified to introduce her, having been discouraged in all the
advances she had made towards a more friendly intercourse. Constance
reflected, that her motives to seclusion, would probably induce this
lady to treat others as her friend had been treated.

It was possible, however, to gain access to her, if not as a friend,
yet as the original proprietor of the lute. She determined to employ
the agency of Roseveldt, the musical-shopman, for the purpose of re-
buying this instrument. To enforce her application, she commissioned
this person, whose obliging temper entitled him to confidence, to
state her inducements for originally offering it for sale, and her
motives for desiring the repossession on any terms which the lady
thought proper to dictate.

Roseveldt fixed an hour in which it was convenient for him to execute
her commission. This hour having passed, Constance, who was anxious
respecting his success, hastened to his house. Roseveldt delivered the
instrument, which the lady, having listened to his pleas and offers,
directed to be gratuitously restored to Constance. At first, she had
expressed her resolution to part with it on no account, and at no
price. Its music was her only recreation, and this instrument
surpassed any she had ever before seen, in the costliness and delicacy
of its workmanship. But Roseveldt's representations produced an
instant change of resolution, and she not only eagerly consented to
restore it, but refused to receive any thing in payment.

Constantia was deeply affected by this unexpected generosity. It was
not her custom to be outstripped in this carrier. She now condemned
herself for her eagerness to regain this instrument. During her
father's blindness, it was a powerful, because the only solace of his
melancholy. Now he had no longer the same anxieties to encounter, and
books and the pencil were means of gratification always at hand. The
lute, therefore, she imagined could be easily dispensed with by Mr.
Dndley, whereas its power of consoling might be as useful to the
unknown lady, as it had formerly been to her father. She readily
perceived in what manner it became her to act. Roseveldt was
commissioned to re-deliver the lute, and to intreat the lady's
acceptance of it. The tender was received without hesitation, and
Roseveldt dismissed without any enquiry relative to Constance.

These transactions were reflected on by Constance with considerable
earnestness. The conduct of the stranger, her affluent and lonely
state, her conjectural relationship to the actors in the great theatre
of Europe, were mingled together in the fancy of Constance, and
embellished with the conceptions of her beauty, derived from their
casual meeting at Roseveldt's. She forgot not their similitude in age
and sex, and delighted to prolong the dream of future confidence and
friendship to take place between them. Her heart sighed for a
companion fitted to partake in all her sympathies.

This strain, by being connected with the image of a being like
herself, who had grown up with her from childhood, who had been
entwined with her earliest affections, but from whom she had been
severed from the period at which her father's misfortunes commenced,
and of whose present condition she was wholly ignorant, was productive
of the deepest melancholy. It filled her with excruciating, and for a
time irremediable sadness. It formed a kind of paroxysm, which like
some febrile affections, approach and retire without warning, and
against the most vehement struggles.

In this mood, her fancy was thronged with recollections of scenes, in
which her friend had sustained a part. Their last interview was
commonly revived in her remembrance so forcibly, as almost to produce
a lunatic conception of its reality. A ditty which they sung together
on that occasion, flowed to her lips. It ever human tones were
qualified to convey the whole soul, they were those of Constance when
she sung;---The breeze awakes, the bark prepares, To waft me to a
distant shore: But far beyond this world of cares, We meet again to
part no more.

These fits, were accustomed to approach and to vanish by degrees. They
were transitory but not infrequent, and were pregnant with such
agonizing tenderness, such heart breaking sighs, and a flow of such
better yet delicious tears, that it were not easily decided whether
the pleasure or the pain surmounted. When symptoms of their coming
were felt, she hastened into solitude, that the progress of her
feelings might endure no restraint.

On the evening of the day, on which the lute had been sent to the
foreign lady, Coustantia was alone in her chamber, immersed in
desponding thoughts. From these she was recalled by Fabian, her black
servant, who announced a guest. She was loath to break off the thread
of her present meditations, and enquired with a tone of some
impatience, Who was the guest? The servant was unable to tell; It was
a young lady whom he had never before seen; She had opened for
herself, and entered the parlour without previous notice.

Constance paused at this relation. Her thoughts had recently been
fixed upon Sophia Westwyn. Since their parting four years before, she
had heard no tidings of this woman. Her fears imagined no more
probable cause of her friend's silence than her death. This, however,
was uncertain. The question now occurred, and brought with it,
sensations that left her no power to move; Was this the guest?

Her doubts were quickly dispelled, for the stranger, taking a light
from the table, and not brooking the servant's delays, followed Fabian
to the chamber of his mistress. She entered with careless freedom, and
presented, to the astonished eyes of Constantia, the figure she had
met at Roseveldt's, and the purchaser of her lute.

The stranger advanced towards her with quick steps, and mingling tones
of benignity and sprightliness, said:

I have come to perform a duty. I have received from you to-day a lute,
that I valued almost as my best friend. To find another in America,
would not, perhaps, be possible; but, certainly, none equally superb
and exquisite as this can be found. To shew how highly I esteem the
gift, I have come in person to thank you for it.--There she stopped.

Constance could not suddenly recover from the extreme surprize into
which the unexpectedness of this meeting, had thrown her. She could
scarcely sufficiently suppress this confusion, to enable her to reply
to these rapid effusions of her visitant, who resumed, with augmented

I came, as I said, to thank you, but, to say the truth, that was not
all. I came likewise to see you. Having done my errand, I suppose I
must go. I would fain stay longer and talk to you a littie: Will you
give me lieve?

Constance, scarcely retrieving her composure, stammered out a polite
assent. They seated themselves, and the visitant, pressing the hand
which she had taken, proceeded in a strain so smooth, so flowing,
sliding from grave to gay, blending vivacity with tenderness,
interpreting Constantia's silence with so keen sagacity, and
accounting for the singularities of her own deportment, in a way so
respectful to her companion, and so worthy of a steadfast and pure
mind in herself, that every embarrassment and scruple, were quickly
banished from their interview.

In an hour the guest took her lieve. No promise of repeating her
visit, and no request that Constantia would repay it, was made. Their
parting seemed to be the last; Whatever purpose having been
contemplated, appeared to be accomplished by this transient meeting.
It was of a nature deeply to interest the mind of Constance. This was
the lady who talked with Roseveldt, and bargained with Melbourne, and
they had been induced by appearances, to suppose her ignorant of any
language but French; but, her discourse, on the present occasion, was
in English, and was distinguished by unrivalled fluency. Her phrazes
and habits of pronouncing, were untinctured with any foreign mixture,
and bespoke the perfect knowledge of a native of America.

On the next evening, while Constantia was reviewing this transaction,
calling up and weighing the sentiments which the stranger had uttered,
and indulging some regret at the unlikelihood of their again meeting,
Martinette (for I will henceforth call her by her true name) entered
the apartment as abruptly as before. She accounted for the visit,
merely by the pleasure it afforded her, and proceeded in a strain even
more versatile and brilliant, than before. This interview ended like
the first, without any tokens, on the part of the guest, of resolution
or desire to renew it, but a third interview took place on the ensuing

Henceforth Martinette became a frequent but hasty visitant, and
Constantia became daily more enamoured of her new acquaintance. She
did not overlook peculiarities in the conversation and deportment of
this woman. These exhibited no tendencies to confidence, or traces of
sympathy. They merely denoted large experience, vigourous faculties
and masculine attainments. Herself was never introduced, except as an
observer, but her observations, on government and manners, were
profound and critical.

Her education seemed not widely different, from that which Constantia
had received. It was classical and mathematical, but to this was added
a knowledge of political and military transactions, in Europe, during
the present age, which implied the possession of better means of
information, than books. She depicted scenes and characters, with the
accuracy of one who had partaken and witnessed them herself.

Constantia's attention had been chiefly occupied by personal concerns.
Her youth had passed in contention with misfortune, or in the
quietudes of study. She could not be unapprized of contemporary
revolutions and wars, but her ideas respecting them were indefinite
and vague. Her views and her inferences on this head, were general and
speculative. Her acquaintance with history was exact and
circumstantial, in proportion as the retired back ward from her own
age. She knew more of the siege of Mutina than of that of Lisle; more
of the machinations of Cataline and the tumults of Clodius, than of
the prostration of the Bastile, and the proscriptions of Marat.

She listened, therefore, with unspeakable eagerness to this reciter,
who detailed to her, as the occasion suggested, the progress of action
and opinion, on the theatre of France and Poland. Conceived and
rehearsed as this was, with the energy and copiousness of one who
sustained a part in the scene, the mind of Constantia was always kept
at the pitch of curiosity and wonder.

But while this historian described the features, personal deportment,
and domestic character of Antonette, Mirabeau and Robespierre, an
impenetrable veil was drawn over her own condition. There was a warmth
and freedom in her details which bespoke her own co-agency in these
events, but was unattended by transports of indignation or sorrow, or
by pauses of abstraction, such as were likely to occur in one whose
hopes and fears had been intimately blended with public events.

Constance could not but derive humiliation from comparing her own
slender acquirements with those of her companion. She was sensible
that all the differences between them, arose from diversities of
situation. She was eager to discover in what particulars this
diversity consisted. She was for a time withheld by scruples, not
easily explained, from disclosing her wishes. An accident however
occurred, to remove these impediments.

One evening, this unceremonious visitant discovered Constance busily
surveying a chart of the Mediterranean Sea. This circumstance led the
discourse to the present state of Syria and Cyprus. Martinette was
copious in her details. Constance listened for a time, and when a
pause ensued, questioned her companion as to the means she possessed
of acquiring so much knowledge. This question was proposed with
diffidence, and prefaced by apologies.

Instead of being offended by your question, replied the guest, I only
wonder that it never before occurred to you. Travellers tell us much.
Volney and Mariti would have told you nearly all that I have told.
With these I have conversed personally, as well as read their books,
but my knowledge is, in truth, a species of patrimony. I inherit it.

Will you be good enough, said Constance, to explain yourself?

My mother was a Greek of Cyprus. My father was a Sclavonian of Ragusa,
and I was born in a garden at Aleppo.

That was a singular concurrence.

How singular? That a nautical vagrant like my father, should sometimes
anchor in the bay of Naples. That a Cyprian merchant should carry his
property and daughter beyond the reach of a Turkish Sangiack, and seek
an asylum so commodious as Napoli; That my father should have dealings
with this merchant, see, love, and marry his daughter, and afterwards
procure, from the French government, a consular commission to Aleppo;
that the union should, in due time, be productive of a son and
daughter, are events far from being singular. They happen daily.

And may I venture to ask if this be your history?

The history of my parents. I hope you do not consider the place of my
birth as the sole or the most important circumstance of my life.

Nothing would please me more than to be enabled to compare it with
other incidents. I am apt to think that your life is a tissue of
surprising events. That the daughter of a Ragusan and Greek, should
have seen and known so much; that she should talk English with equal
fluency and more correctness than a native; that I should now be
conversing with her in a corner so remote from Cyprus and Sicily, are
events more wonderful than any which I have known.

Wonderful! Pish! Thy ignorance, thy miscalculation of probabilities is
far more so. My father talked to me in Sclavonic: My mother and her
maids talked to me in Greek. My neighbours talked to me in a medley of
Arabic, Syriac and Turkish. My father's secretary was a scholar. He
was as well versed in Lysias and Xenophon, as any of their
contemporaries. He laboured for ten years to enable me to read a
language, essentially the same with that I used daily to my nurse and
mother. Is it wonderful then that I should be skilful in Sclavonic,
Greek, and the jargon of Aleppo? To have refrained from learning was
impossible. Suppose a girl, prompt, diligent, inquisitive, to spend
ten years of her life partly in Spain; partly in Tuscany; partly in
France, and partly in England. With her versatile curiosity and
flexible organs, would it be possible for her to remain ignorant of
each of these languages? Latin is the mother of them all, and presents
itself, of course, to her studious attention.

I cannot easily conceive motives which should lead you, before the age
of twenty, through so many scenes.

Can you not? You grew and flourished, like a frail Mimosa, in the spot
where destiny had planted you. Thank my stars, I am somewhat better
than a vegetable. Necessity, it is true, and not choice, set me in
motion, but I am not sorry for the consequences.

Is it too much, said Constance, with some hesitation, to request a
detail of your youthful adventures?

Too much to give, perhaps, at a short notice. To such as you, my tale
might abound with novelty, while to others, more acquainted with
vicissitudes, it would be tedious and flat. I must be gone in a few
minutes. For that and for better reasons, I must not be minute. A
summary, at present, will enable you to judge how far a more copious
narrative is suited to instruct or to please you.


My father, in proportion as he grew old and rich, became weary of
Aleppo. His natal soil, had it been the haunt of Calmucks or Bedwins,
his fancy would have transformed into Paradise. No wonder that the
equitable aristocracy, and the peaceful husbandmen of Ragusa, should
be endeared to his heart by comparison with Egyptian plagues and
Turkish tyranny. Besides, he lived for his children as well as
himself. Their education and future lot required him to seek a
permanent home.

He embarked with his wife and offspring, at Scanderoon. No immediate
conveyance to Ragusa offering, the appearance of the plague in Syria,
induced him to hasten his departure. He entered a French vessel for
Marseilles. After being three days at sea, one of the crew was seized
by the fatal disease, which had depopulated all the towns upon the
coast. The voyage was made with more than usual dispatch, but before
we reached our port, my mother and half the crew perished. My father
died in the Lazzaretto, more through grief than disease.

My brother and I were children and helpless. My father's fortune was
on board this vessel, and was left by his death to the mercy of the
captain. This man was honest, and consigned us and our property to the
merchant with whom he dealt. Happily for us, our protector was
childless and of scrupulous integrity. We henceforth became his
adopted children. My brother's education and my own, were conducted on
the justest principles.

At the end of four years, our protector found it expedient to make a
voyage to Cayenne. His brother was an extensive proprietor in that
colony, but his sudden death made way for the succession of our
friend. To establish his claims, his presence was necessary on the
spot. He was little qualified for arduous enterprizes, and his age
demanded repose, but his own acquisitions, having been small, and
being desirous of leaving us in possession of competence, he
cheerfully embarked.

Meanwhile, my brother was placed at a celebrated seminary in the Pais
de Vaud, and I was sent to a sister who resided at Verona. I was at
this time fourteen years old, one year younger than my brother, whom,
since that period, I have neither heard of nor seen.

I was now a woman, and qualified to judge and act for myself. The
character of my new friend was austere and devout, and there were so
many incongenial points between us, that but little tranquillity was
enjoyed under her controul. The priest who discharged the office of
her confessor, thought proper to entertain views with regard to me,
grossly inconsistent with the sanctity of his profession. He was a man
of profound dissimulation and masterly address. His efforts, however,
were repelled with disdain. My security against his attempts lay in
the uncouthness and deformity which nature had bestowed upon his
person and visage, rather than in the firmness of my own principles.

The courtship of Father Bartoli, the austerities of Madame Roselli,
the disgustful or insipid occupations to which I was condemned, made
me impatiently wish for a change, but my father, so I will call him,
had decreed that I should remain under his sister's guardianship till
his return from Guiana. When this would happen was uncertain. Events
unforeseen might protract it for years, but it could not arrive in
less than a twelvemonth.

I was incessantly preyed upon by discontent. My solitude was
loathsome. I panted after liberty and friendship, and the want of
these were not recompensed by luxury and quiet, and by the
instructions in useful science, which I received from Bartoli, who,
though detested as an hypocrite and lover, was venerable as a scholer:
He would fain have been an Abelard, but it was not his fate to meet
with an Heloise.

Two years passed away in this durance. My miseries were exquisite. I
am almost at a loss to account for the unhappiness of that time, for,
looking back upon it, I perceive that an equal period could not have
been spent with more benefit. For the sake of being near me, Bartoli
importunately offered his instructions. He had nothing to communicate
but metaphysics and geometry. These were little to my taste, but I
could not keep him at distance. I had no other alternative than to
endure him as a lover or a teacher. His passion for science was at
least equal to that which he entertained for me, and both these
passions combined to make him a sedulous instructor. He was a disciple
of the newest doctrines respecting matter and mind. He denied the
impenetrability of the first, and the immateriality of the second.
These he endeavoured to inculcate upon me, as well as to subvert my
religious tenets, because he delighted, like all men, in transfusing
his opinions, and because he regarded my piety as the only obstacle to
his designs. He succeeded in dissolving the spell of ignorance, but
not in producing that kind of acquiescence he wished. He had, in this
respect, to struggle not only with my principles, but my weaknesses.
He might have overcome every obstacle, but my abhorrence of deformity
and age. To cure me of this aversion, was beyond his power. My
servitude grew daily more painful. I grew tired of chasing a comet to
its aphelion, and of untying the knot of an infinite series. A change
in my condition became indispensable to my very existence. Langour and
sadness, and unwillingness to eat or to move, were at last my
perpetual attendants.

Madame Roselli was alarmed at my condition. The sources of my
inquietude were incomprehensible to her. The truth was, that I
scarcely understood them myself, and my endeavours to explain them to
my friend, merely instilled into her an opinion, that I was either
lunatic or deceitful. She complained and admonished, but my
disinclination to my usual employments would not be conquered, and my
health rapidly declined. A physician, who was called, confessed that
my case was beyond his power to understand, but recommended, as a sort
of desperate expedient, a change of scene. A succession and variety of
objects, might possibly contribute to my cure.

At this time there arrived at Verona, Lady D'Arcy, an English-woman of
fortune and rank, and a strenuous Catholic. Her husband had lately
died, and in order to divert her grief, as well as to gratify her
curiosity in viewing the great seat of her religion, she had come to
Italy. Intercourse took place between her and Madame Roselli. By this
means she gained a knowledge of my person and condition, and kindly
offered to take me under her protection. She meant to traverse every
part of Italy, and was willing that I should accompany her in all her

This offer was gratefully accepted, in spite of the artifices and
remonstrances of Bartoli. My companion speedily contracted for me the
affection of a mother. She was without kindred of her own religion,
having acquired her faith, not by inheritance, but conversion. She
desired to abjure her native country, and to bind herself by every
social tie, to a people who adhered to the same faith. Me, she
promised to adopt as her daughter, provided her first impressions in
my favor, were not belied by my future deportment.

My principles were opposite to her's, but habit, an aversion to
displease my friend, my passion for knowledge, which my new condition
enabled me to gratify, all combined to make me a deceiver, but my
imposture was merely of a negative kind; I deceived her rather by
forbearance to contradict, and by acting as she acted, than by open
assent and zealous concurrence. My new state was, on this account, not
devoid of inconvenience. The general deportment and sentiments of Lady
D'Arcy, testified a vigorous and pure mind. New avenues to knowledge,
by converse with mankind and with books, and by the survey of new
scenes, were open for my use. Gratitude and veneration attached me to
my friend, and made the task of pleasing her by a seeming conformity
of sentiments, less irksome.

During this interval, no tidings were received by his sister, at
Verona, respecting the fate of Sebastian Roselli. The supposition of
his death, was too plausible, not to be adopted. What influence this
disaster possessed over my brother's destiny, I know not. The
generosity of Lady D'Arcy, hindered me from experiencing any
disadvantage from this circumstance. Fortune seemed to have decreed,
that I should not be reduced to the condition of an orphan.

At an age and in a situation like mine, I could not remain long
unacquainted with love. My abode at Rome, introduced me to the
knowledge of a youth from England, who had every property which I
regarded as worthy of esteem. He was a kinsman of Lady D'Arcy, and as
such admitted at her house on the most familiar footing. His patrimony
was extremely slender, but was in his own possession. He had no
intention of increasing it by any professional pursuit, but was
contented with the frugal provision it afforded. He proposed no other
end of his existence, than the acquisition of virtue and knowledge.

The property of Lady D'Arcy was subject to her own disposal, but, on
the failure of a testament, this youth was, in legal succession, the
next heir. He was well acquainted with her temper and views, but in
the midst of urbanity and gentleness, studied none of those
concealments of opinion, which would have secured him her favor. That
he was not of her own faith, was an insuperable, but the only
obstacle, to the admission of his claims.

If conformity of age and opinions, and the mutual fascination of love,
be a suitable basis for marriage Wentworth and I were destined for
each other. Mutual disclosure added sanctity to our affection, but the
happiness of Lady D'Arcy, being made to depend upon the dissolution of
our compact, the heroism of Wentworth made him hasten to dissolve it.
As soon as she discovered our attachment, she displayed symptoms of
the deepest anguish. In addition to religious motives, her fondness
for me forbad her to exist but in my society, and in the belief of the
purity of my faith. The contention, on my part, was vehement, between
the regards due to her felicity and to my own. Had Wentworth left me
the power to decide, my decision would doubtless have evinced the
frailty of my fortitude, and the strength of my passion, but having
informed me fully of the reasons of his conduct, he precipitately
retired from Rome. He left me no means of tracing his footsteps and of
assailing his weakness, by expostulation and intreaty.

Lady D'Arcy was no less eager to abandon a spot, where her happiness
had been so iminently endangered. Our next residence was Palermo. I
will not dwell upon the sensations, produced by this disappointment,
in me. I review them with astonishment and self-compassion. If I
thought it possible for me to sink again into imbecility so
ignominious, I should be disposed to kill myself.

There was no end to vows of fondness and tokens of gratitude in Lady
D'Arcy. Her future life should be devoted to compensate me for this
sacrifice. Nothing could console her in that single state in which she
intended to live, but the consolations of my fellowship. Her conduct
coincided for some time with these professions, and my anguish was
allayed by the contemplation of the happiness conferred upon one whom
I revered.

My friend could not be charged with dissimulation and artifice. Her
character had been mistaken by herself as well as by me. Devout
affections seemed to have filled her heart, to the exclusion of any
object besides myself. She cherished with romantic tenderness, the
memory of her husband, and imagined that a single state was
indispensibly enjoined upon her, by religious duty. This persuasion,
however, was subverted by the arts of a Spanish Cavalier, young,
opulent, and romantic as herself in devotion. An event like this
might, indeed, have been easily predicted, by those who reflected that
the lady was still in the bloom of life, ardent in her temper and
bewitching in her manners.

The fondness she had lavished upon me, was now, in some degree,
transferred to a new object, but I still received the treatment due to
a beloved daughter. She was solicitous as ever to promote my
gratification, and a diminution of kindness would not have been
suspected, by those who had not witnessed the excesses of her former
passion. Her marriage with the Spaniard removed the obstacle to union
with Wentworth. This man, however, had set himself beyond the reach of
my enquiries. Had there been the shadow of a clue afforded me, I
should certainly have sought him to the ends of the world.

I continued to reside with my friend, and accompanied her and her
husband to Spain. Antonio de Leyva was a man of probity. His mind was
enlightened by knowledge and his actions dictated by humanity. Though
but little older than myself, and young enough to be the son of his
spouse, his deportment to me was a model of rectitude and delicacy. I
spent a year in Spain, partly in the mountains of Castile and partly
at Segovia. New manners and a new language occupied my attention for a
time, but these, losing their novelty, lost their power to please. I
betook myself to books, to beguile the tediousness and diversify the
tenor of my life.

This would not have long availed, but I was relieved from new
repinings, by the appointment of Antonio de Leyva to a diplomatic
office at Vienna. Thither we accordingly repaired. A coincidence of
circumstances had led me wide from the path of ambition and study,
usually allotted to my sex and age. From the computation of eclipses,
I now betook myself to the study of man. My proficiency, when I
allowed it to be seen, attracted great attention. Instead of adulation
and gallantry, I was engaged in watching the conduct of states, and
revolving the theories of politicians.

Superficial observers were either incredulous with regard to my
character, or connected a stupid wonder with their belief. My
attainments and habits, they did not see to be perfectly consonant
with the principles of human nature. They unavoidably flowed from the
illicit attachment of Bartoli, and the erring magnanimity of
Wentworth. Aversion to the priest was the grand ineiter of my former
studies; the love of Wentworth whom I hoped once more to meet, made me
labour to exclude the importunities of others, and to qualify myself
for securing his affections.

Since our parting in Italy, Wentworth had traversed Syria and Egypt,
and arrived some months after me at Vienna. He was on the point of
leaving the city, when accident informed me of his being there. An
interview was effected, and our former sentiments respecting each
other, having undergone no change, we were united. Madame de Leyva
reluctantly concurred with our wishes, and, at parting, forced upon me
a considerable sum of money.

Wentworth's was a character not frequently met with in the world. He
was a political enthusiast, who esteemed nothing more graceful or
glorious than to die for the liberties of mankind. He had traversed
Greece with an imagination full of the exploits of ancient times, and
derived from contemplating Thermopyloe and Marathon, an enthusiasm
that bordered upon phrenzy.

It was now the third year of the revolutionary war in America, and
previous to our meeting at Vienna, he had formed the resolution of
repairing thither, and tendering his service to the Congress as a
volunteer. Our marriage made no change in his plans. My soul was
engrossed by two passions, a wild spirit of adventure, and a boundless
devotion to him. I vowed to accompany him in every danger, to vie with
him in military ardour; to combat and to die by his side.

I delighted to assume the male dress, to acquire skill at the sword,
and dexterity in every boisterous exercise. The timidity that commonly
attends women, gradually vanished. I felt as if embued by a soul that
was a stranger to the sexual distinction. We embarked at Brest, in a
frigate destined for St. Domingo. A desperate conflict with an English
ship in the bay of Biscay, was my first introduction to a scene of
tumult and danger, of whose true nature I had formed no previous
conception. At first I was spiritless and full of dismay. Experience
however gradually reconciled me to the life that I had chosen.

A fortunate shot by dismasting the enemy, allowed us to prosecute our
voyage unmolested. At Cape Franois we found a ship which transported
us, after various perils, to Richmond in Virginia. I will not carry
you through the adventures of four years. You, sitting all your life
in peaceful corners, can scarcely imagine that variety of hardship and
turmoil, which attends the female who lives in a camp.

Few would sustain these hardships with better grace than I did. I
could seldom be prevailed on to remain at a distance and inactive,
when my husband was in battle, and more than once rescued him from
death by the seasonable destruetion of his adversary.

At the repulse of the Americans at German-Town, Wentworth was wounded
and taken prisoner. I attained permission to attend his sick bed and
supply that care, without which he would assuredly have died. Being
imperfectly recovered, he was sent to England, and subjected to a
rigorous imprisonment. Milder treatment might have permitted his
compleat restoration to health, but, as it was, he died.

His kindred were noble, and rich and powerful, but it was difficult to
make them acquainted with Wentworth's situation. Their assistance when
demanded was readily afforded, but it came too late to prevent his
death. Me they snatched from my voluntary prison, and employed every
friendly art to efface from my mind the images of recent calamity.

Wentworth's singularities of conduct and opinion, had estranged him at
an early age from his family. They felt little regret at his fate, but
every motive concurred to secure their affection and succour to me. My
character was known to many officers, returned from America, whose
report, joined with the influence of my conversation, rendered me an
object to be gazed at by thousands. Strange vicissitude! Now immersed
in the infection of a military hospital, the sport of a wayward
fortune, struggling with cold and hunger, with negligence and
contumely: A month after passing into scenes of gaiety and luxury,
exhibited at operas and masquerades, made the theme of enquiry and
encomium at every place of resort, and caressed by the most
illustrious among the votaries of science, and the advocates of the
American cause.

Here I again met Madame de Leyva. This woman was perpetually assuming
new forms. She was a sincere convert to the Catholic religion, but she
was open to every new impression. She was the dupe of every powerful
reasoner, and assumed with equal facility the most opposite shapes.
She had again reverted to the Protestant religion, and governed by an
headlong zeal in whatever cause she engaged, she had sacrificed her
husband and child to a new conviction.

The instrument of this change, was a man who passed, at that time, for
a Frenchman. He was young, accomplished and addressful, but was not
suspected of having been prompted by illicit views, or of having
seduced the lady from allegiance to her husband as well as to her God.
De Leyva, however, who was sincere in his religion as well as his
love, was hasty to avenge this injury, and in a contest with the
Frenchman, was killed. His wife adopted at once, her ancient religion
and country, and was once more an English-woman.

At our meeting, her affection for me seemed to be revived, and the
most passionate intreaties were used to detain me in England. My
previous arrangements would not suffer it. I foresaw restraints and
inconveniences from the violence and caprice of her passions, and
intended henceforth to keep my liberty inviolate by any species of
engagement, either of friendship or marriage. My habits were French,
and I proposed hence-forward to take up my abode at Paris. Since his
voyage to Guiana, I had heard no tidings of Sebastian Roselli. This
man's image was cherished with filial emotions, and I conceived that
the sight of him would amply reward a longer journey than from London
to Marseilles.

Beyond my hopes, I found him in his ancient abode. The voyage and a
residence of three years at Cayenne, had been beneficial to his
appearance and health. He greeted me with paternal tenderness, and
admitted me to a full participation of his fortune, which the sale of
his American property had greatly inhanced. He was a stranger to the
fate of my brother. On his return home, he had gone to Swisserland
with a view of ascertaining his destiny. The youth, a few months after
his arrival at Lausanne, had eloped with a companion, and had hitherto
eluded all Roselli's searches and enquiries. My father was easily
prevailed upon to transfer his residence from Provence to Paris.

Here Martinette paused, and marking the clock, It is time, resumed
she, to be gone. Are you not weary of my tale? On the day I entered
France, I entered the twenty-third year of my age, so that my promise
of detaililing my youthful adventures is fulfilled. I must away: Till
we meet again, farewell.


Such was the wild series of Martinette's adventures. Each incident
fastened on the memory of Constance, and gave birth to numberless
reflections. Her prospect of mankind seemed to be enlarged, on a
sudden, to double its ancient dimensions. Ormond's narratives had
carried her beyond the Missisippi, and into the deserts of Siberia. He
had recounted the perils of a Russian war, and painted the manners of
Mongals and Naudowessies. Her new friend had led her back to the
civilized world, and pourtrayed the other half of the species. Men, in
their two forms, of savage and refined, had been scrutinized by these
observers, and what was wanting in the delineations of the one, was
liberally supplied by the other.

Eleven years, in the life of Martinette, was unrelated. Her
conversation suggested the opition that this interval had been spent
in France. It was obvious to suppose, that a woman, thus fearless and
sagacious, had not been inactive at a period like the present, which
called forth talents and courage, without distinction of sex, and had
been particularly distinguished by female enterprize and heroism. Her
name easily led to the suspicion of concurrence with the subverters of
monarchy, and of participation in their fall. Her flight from the
merciless tribunals of the faction that now reigned, would explain
present appearances.

Martinette brought to their next interview, an air of uncommon
exultation. On this being remarked, she communicated the tidings of
the fall of the sanguinary tyranny of Robespierre. Her eyes sparkled,
and every feature was pregnant with delight, while she unfolded, with
her accustomed energy, the particulars of this tremendous revolution.
The blood, which it occasioned to flow, was mentioned without any
symptoms of disgust or horror.

Constance ventured to ask, if this incident was likely to influence
her own condition.

Yes. It will open the way for my return.

Then you think of returning to a scene of so much danger?

Danger, my girl? It is my element. I am an adorer of liberty, and
liberty without peril can never exist.

But so much blood shed, and injustice! Does not your heart shrink from
the view of a scene of massacre and tumult, such as Paris has lately
exhibited and will probably continue to exhibit?

Thou talkest, Constance, in a way scarcely worthy of thy good sense.
Have I not been three years in a camp? What are bleeding wounds and
mangled corpses, when accustomed to the daily sight of them for years?
Am I not a lover of liberty, and must I not exult in the fall of
tyrants, and regret only that my hand had no share in their

But a woman--how can the heart of women be inured to the shedding of

Have women, I beseech thee, no capacity to reason and infer? Are they
less open than men to the influence of habit? My hand never faultered
when liberty demanded the victim. If thou wert with me at Paris, I
could shew thee a fusil of two barrels, which is precious beyond any
other relique, merely because it enabled me to kill thirteen officers
at Jemappe. Two of these were emigrant nobles, whom I knew and loved
before the revolution, but the cause they had since espoused,
cancelled their claims to mercy.

What, said the startled Constance, have you fought in the ranks?

Certainly. Hundreds of my sex have done the same. Some were impelled
by the enthusiasm of love, and some by a mere passion for war; some by
the contagion of example; and some, with whom I myself must be ranked,
by a generous devotion to liberty. Brunswick and Saxe Coburg, had to
contend with whole regiments of women: Regiments they would have
formed, if they had been collected into separate bodies.

I will tell thee a secret. Thou wouldst never have seen Martinette de
Beauvais, if Brunswick had deferred one day longer, his orders for
retreating into Germany.

How so?

She would have died by her own hand.

What could lead to such an outrage?

The love of liberty.

I cannot comprehend how that love should prompt you to suicide.

I will tell thee. The plan was formed and could not miscarry. A woman
was to play the part of a banished Royalist, was to repair to the
Prussian camp, and to gain admission to the general. This would have
easily been granted to a female and an ex-noble. There she was to
assassinate the enemy of her country, and to attest her magnanimity by
slaughtering herself. I was weak enough to regret the ignominous
retreat of the Prussians, because it precluded the necessity of such a

This was related with accents and looks that sufficiently attested its
truth. Constantia shuddered and drew back, to contemplate more
deliberately the features of her guest. Hitherto she had read in them
nothing that bespoke the desperate courage of a martyr, and the deep
designing of an assassin. The image which her mind had reflected, from
the deportment of this woman, was changed. The likeness which she had
feigned to herself, was no longer seen. She felt that antipathy was
preparing to displace love. These sentiments, however, she concealed.
and suffered the conversation to proceed.

Their discourse now turned upon the exploits of several women, who
mingled in the tumults of the capital and and in the armies on the
frontiers. Instances were mentioned of ferocity in some, and
magnanimity in others, which almost surpassed belief. Constance
listened greedily, though not with approbation, and acquired, at every
sentence, new desire to be acquainted with the personal history of
Matinette. On mentioning this wish, her friend said, that she
endeavoured to amuse her exile, by composing her own memoirs, and
that, on her next visit, she would bring with her the volume, which
she would suffer Constance to read.

A separation of a week elapsed. She felt some impatience for the
renewal of their intercourse, and for the perusal of the volume that
had been mentioned. One evening Sarah Baxter, whom Constance had
placed in her own occasional service, entered the room with marks of
great joy and surprize, and informed her that she at length had
discovered Miss Monrose. From her abrupt and prolix account, it
appeared, that Sarah had overtaken Miss Monrose in the street, and
guided by her own curiosity, as well as by the wish to gratify her
mistress, she had followed the stranger. To her utter astonishment the
lady had paused at Mr. Dudley's door, with a seeming resolution to
enter it, but, presently, resumed her way. Instead of pursuing her
steps further, Sarah had stopped to communicate this intelligence to
Constance. Having delivered her news, she hastened away, but
returning, in a moment, with a countenance of new surprize, she
informed her mistress, that on leaving the house she had met Miss
Monrose at the door, on the point of entering. She added that the
stranger had enquired for Constance, and was now waiting below.

Constantia took no time to reflect upon an incident so unexpected and
so strange, but proceeded forthwith to the parlour. Martinette only
was there. It did not instantly occur to her that this lady and
Mademoiselle Monrose, might possibly be the same. The enquiries she
made speedily removed her doubts, and it now appeared that the woman,
about whose destiny she had formed so many conjectures, and fostered
so much anxiety, was no other than the daughter of Roselli.

Having readily answered her questions, Martinette enquired in her
turn, into the motives of her friend's curiosity. These were explained
by a succinct account of the transactions, to which the deceased
Baxter had been a witness. Constance concluded, with mentioning her
own reflections on the tale, and intimating her wish to be informed,
how Martinette had extricated herself from a situation so calamitous.

Is there any room for wonder on that head? replied the guest. It was
absurd to stay longer in the house. Having finished the interment of
Roselli (soldier-fashion) for he was the man who suffered his foolish
regrets to destroy him, I forsook the house. Roselli was by no means
poor, but he could not consent to live at ease, or to live at all,
while his country endured such horrible oppressions, and when so many
of his friends had perished. I complied with his humour, because it
could not be changed, and I revered him too much to desert him.

But whither, said Constance, could you seek shelter at a time like
that? The city was desolate, and a wandering female could scarcely be
received under any roof. All inhabited houses were closed at that
hour, and the fear of intection would have shut them against you, if
they had not been already so.

Hast thou forgotten that there were at that time, at least ten
thousand French in this city, fugitives from Marat and from St.
Domingo? That they lived in utter fearlessness of the reigning
disease: sung and loitered in the public walks, and prattled at their
doors, with all their customary unconcern? Supposest thou that there
were none among these, who would receive a country woman, even if her
name had not been Martinette de Beauvais? Thy fancy has depicted
strange things, but believe me, that, without a farthing and without a
name, I should not have incurred the slightest inconvenience. The
death of Roselli I foresaw, because it was gradual in its approach,
and was sought by him as a good. My grief, therefore, was exhausted
before it came, and I rejoiced at his death, because it was the close
of all his sorrows. The rueful pictures of my distress and weakness,
which were given by Baxter, existed only in his own fancy.

Martinette pleaded an engagement, and took her leave, professing to
have come merely to leave with her the promised manuscript. This
interview, though short, was productive of many reflections, on the
deceitfulness of appearances, and on the variety of maxims by which
the conduct of human beings is regulated. She was accustomed to impart
all her thoughts and relate every new incident to her father. With
this view she now hied to his apartment. This hour it was her custom,
when disengaged, always to spend with him.

She found Mr. Dudley busy in revolving a scheme, which various
circumstances had suggested and gradually conducted to maturity. No
period of his life had been equally delightful, with that portion of
his youth which he had spent in Italy. The climate, the language, the
manners of the people, and the sources of intellectual gratification,
in painting and music, were congenial to his taste. He had reluctantly
forsaken these enchanting seats, at the summons of his father, but, on
his return to his native country, had encountered nothing but ignominy
and pain. Poverty and blindness had beset his path, and it seemed as
if it were impossible to fly too far from the scene of his disasters.
His misfortunes could not be concealed from others, and every thing
around him seemed to renew the memory of all that he had suffered. All
the events of his youth served to entice him to Italy, while all the
incidents of his subsequent life, concurred to render disgutsful his
present abode.

His daughter's happiness was not to be forgotten. This he imagined
would be eminently promoted by the scheme. It would open to her new
avenues to knowledge. It would snatch her from the odious pursuit of
Ormond, and by a variety of objects and adventures, efface from her
mind any impression which his dangerous artifices might have made upon

This project was now communicated to Constantia. Every argument
adapted to influence her choice, was employed. He justly conceived
that the only obstacle to her adoption of it, related to Ormond. He
exspatiated on the dubious character of this man, the wildness of his
schemes, and the magnitude of his errors. What could be expected from
a man, half of whose life had been spent at the head of a band of
Cassacks, spreading devastation in the regions of the Danube, and
supporting by flagitius intrigues, the tyranny of Catharine, and the
other half in traversing inhospitable countries, and extinguishing
what remained of clemency and justice, by intercourse with savages?

It was admitted that his energies were great, but misdirected, and
that to restore them to the guidance of truth, was not in itself
impossible, but it was so with relation to any power that she
possessed. Conformity would flow from their marriage, but this
conformity was not to be expected from him. It was not his custom to
abjure any of his doctrines or recede from any of his claims. She knew
likewise the conditions of their union. She must go with him to some
corner of the world, where his boasted system was established. What
was the road to it, he had carefully concealed, but it was evident
that it lay beyond the precincts of civilized existence.

Whatever were her ultimate decision, it was at least proper to delay
it. Six years were yet wanting of that period, at which only she
formerly considered marriage as proper. To all the general motives for
deferring her choice, the conduct of Ormond superadded the weightiest.
Their correspondence might continue, but her residence in Europe and
converse with mankind, might enlighten her judgment and qualify her
for a more rational decision.

Constantia was not uninfluenced by these reasonings. Instead of
reluctantly admitting them, she somewhat wondered that they had not
been suggested by her own reflections. Her imagination anticipated her
entrance on that mighty scene with emotions little less than
rapturous. Her studies had conferred a thousand ideal charms on a
theatre, where Scipio and Csar had performed their parts. Her wishes
were no less importunate to gaze upon the Alps and Pyrenees, and to
vivify and chasten the images collected from books, by comparing them
with their real prototypes.

No social ties existed to hold her to America. Her only kinsman and
friend would be the companion of her journies. This project was
likewise recommended by advantages of which she only was qualified to
judge. Sophia Westwyn had embarked, four years previous to this date,
for England, in company with an English lady and her husband. The
arrangements that were made forbad either of the friends to hope for a
future meeting: Yet now, by virtue of this project, this meeting
seemed no longer to be hopeless.

This burst of new ideas and new hopes on the mind of Constance took
place in the course of a single hour. No change in her external
situation had been wrought, and yet her mind had undergone the most
signal revolution. The novelty as well as greatness of the prospect
kept her in a state of elevation and awe, more ravishing than any she
had ever experienced. Anticipations of intercourse with nature in her
most august forms, with men in diversified states of society, with the
posterity of Greeks and Romans, and with the actors that were now upon
the stage, and above all with the being whom absence and the want of
other attachments, had, in some sort, contributed to deify, made this
night pass away upon the wings of transport.

The hesitation which existed on parting with her father, speedily gave
place to an ardour impatient of the least delay. She saw no
impediments to the immediate commencement of the voyage. To delay it a
month or even a week, seemed to be unprofitable tardiness. In this
ferment of her thoughts, she was neither able nor willing to sleep. In
arranging the means of departure and anticipating the events that
would successively arise, there was abundant food for contemplation.

She marked the first dawnings of the day and rose. She felt reluctance
to break upon her father's morning slumbers, but considered that her
motives were extremely urgent, and that the pleasure afforded him by
her zealous approbation of his scheme, would amply compensate him for
this unseasonable intrusion on his rest. She hastened therefore to his
chamber. She entered with blithsome steps, and softly drew aside the


Unhappy Constance! At the moment when thy dearest hopes had budded
afresh, when the clouds of insecurity and disquiet had retired from
thy vision, wast thou assailed by the great subverter of human
schemes. Thou sawest nothing in futurity but an eternal variation and
succession of delights. Thou wast hastening to forget dangers and
sorrows which thou fondly imaginedst were never to return. This day
was to be the outset of a new career; existence was henceforth to be
embellished with enjoyments, hitherto scarcely within the reach of

Alas! Thy predictions of calamity seldom failed to be verified. Not so
thy prognostics of pleasure. These, though fortified by every
calculation of contingencies, were edifices grounded upon nothing. Thy
life was a struggle with malignant destiny; a contest for happiness in
which thou wast fated to be overcome.

She stooped to kiss the venerable cheek of her father, and, by
whispering, to break his slumber. Her eye was no sooner fixed upon his
countenance, than she started back and shrieked. She had no power to
forbear. Her outcries were piercing and vehement. They ceased only
with the cessation of breath. She sunk upon a chair in a state
partaking more of death than of life, mechanically prompted to give
vent to her agonies in shrieks, but incapable of uttering a sound.

The alarm called her servants to the spot. They beheld her dumb,
wildly gazing, and gesticulating in a way that indicated frenzy. She
made no resistence to their efforts, but permitted them to carry her
back to her own chamber. Sarah called upon her to speak and to explain
the cause of these appearances, but the shock which she had endured,
seemed to have irretrievably destroyed her powers of utterance.

The terrors of the affectionate Sarah were increased. She kneeled by
the bed-side of her mistress, and with streaming eyes, besought the
unhappy lady to compose herself. Perhaps the sight of weeping in
another possessed a sympathetic influence, or nature had made
provision for this salutary change: However that be, a torrent of
tears now came to her succour, and rescued her from a paroxysm of
insanity, which its longer continuance might have set beyond the reach
of cure.

Meanwnile, a glance at his master's countenance made Fabian fully
acquainted with the nature of the scene. The ghastly visage of Mr.
Dudley shewed that he was dead, and that he had died in some terrific
and mysterious manner. As soon as this faithful servant recovered from
surprize, the first expedient which his ingenuity suggested, was to
fly with tidings of this event to Mr. Melbourne. That gentleman
instantly obeyed the summons. With the power of weeping, Constantia
recovered the power of reflection. This, for a time, served her only
as a medium of anguish. Melbourne mingled his tears with hers, and
endeavoured, by suitable remonstrances, to revive her fortitude.

The filial passion is perhaps instinctive to man; but its energy is
modified by various circumstances. Every event in the life of
Constance contributed to heighten this passion beyond customary
bounds. In the habit of perpetual attendance on her father, of
deriving from him her knowledge, and sharing with him the hourly
fruits of observation and reflection, his existence seemed blended
with her own. There was no other whose concurrence and council she
could claim, with whom a domestic and uninterrupted alliance could be
maintained. The only bond of consanguinity was loosened, the only prop
of friendship was taken away.

Others, perhaps, would have observed, that her father's existence had
been merely a source of obstruction and perplexity; that she had
hitherto acted by her own wisdom, and would find, hereafter, less
difficulty in her choice of schemes, and fewer impediments to the
execution.--These reflections occurred not to her. This disaster had
increased, to an insupportable degree, the vacancy and dreariness of
her existence The face she was habituated to behold, had disappeared
forever; the voice, whose mild and affecting tones, had so long been
familiar to her ears, was hushed into eternal silence. The felicity to
which she clung was ravished away: Nothing remained to hinder her from
sinking into utter despair.

The first transports of grief having subsided, a source of consolation
seemed to be opened in the belief that her father had only changed one
form of being for another: That he still lived to be the guardian of
her peace and honor; to enter the recesses of her thought: To forewarn
her of evil and invite her to good. She grasped at these images with
eagerness, and fostered them as the only solaces of her calamity. They
were not adapted to inspire her with cheerfulness, but they sublimed
her sensations, and added an inexplicable fascination to sorrow.

It was unavoidable sometimes to reflect upon the nature of that death
which had occurred. Tokens were sufficiently apparent that outward
violence had been the cause. Who could be the performer of so black a
deed, by what motives he was guided were topics of fruitless
conjecture. She mused upon this subject, not from the thirst of
vengeance, but from a mournful curiosity. Had the perpetrator stood
before her, and challenged retribution, she would not have lifted a
finger to accuse or to punish. The evil already endured, left her no
power to concert and execute projects for extending that evil to
others. Her mind was unnerved, and recoiled with loathing from
considerations of abstract justice, or political utility, when they
prompted to the prosecution of the murderer.

Melbourne was actuated by different views, but, on this subject, he
was painfully bewildered. Mr. Dudley's deportment to his servants and
neighbours, was gentle and humane. He had no dealings with the
trafficking or labouring part of mankind. The fund which supplied his
cravings of necessity or habit, was his daughter's. His recreations
and employments were harmless and lonely. The evil purpose was limited
to his death, for his chamber was exactly in the same state in which
negligent security had left it. No midnight footstep or voice, no
unbarred door or lifted window afforded tokens of the presence, or
traces of the entrance or flight, of the assassin.

The meditations of Constantia, however, could not fail, in some of
their circuities, to encounter the image of Craig. His agency in the
impoverishment of her father, and in the scheme by which she had like
to have been loaded with the penalties of forgery, was of an
impervious and unprecedented kind. Motives were unveiled by time, in
some degree, accounting for his treacherous proceeding, but there was
room to suppose an inborn propensity to mischief. Was he not the
authour of this new evil? His motives and his means were equally
inscrutable, but their inscrutability might flow from her own defects
in discernment and knowledge, and time might supply her defects in
this as in former instances.

These images were casual. The causes of the evil were seldom
contemplated. Her mind was rarely at liberty to wander from reflection
on her irremidiable loss. Frequently, when confused by distressful
recollections, she would detect herself going to her father's chamber.
Often his well known accents would ring in her ears, and the momentary
impulse would be to answer his calls. Her reluctance to sit down to
her meals, without her usual companion, could scarcely be surmounted.

In this state of mind the image of the only friend who survived, or
whose destiny, at least, was doubtful, occurred to her. She sunk into
fits of deeper abstraction and dissolved away in tears of more
agonizing tenderness. A week after her father's interment, she shut
herself up in her chamber, to torment herself with fruitless
remembrances. The name of Sophia Westwyn was pronounced, and the ditty
that solemnized their parting was sung. Now, more than formerly, she
became sensible of the loss of that portrait, which had been deposited
in the hands of M`Crea, as a pledge. As soon as her change of fortune
had supplied her with the means of redeeming it, she hastened to
M`Crea for that end. To her unspeakable disappointment he was absent
from the city: He had taken a long journey, and the exact period of
his return could not be ascertained. His clerks refused to deliver the
picture, or even, by searching, to discover whether it was still in
their master's possession. This application had frequently and lately
been repeated, but without success; M`Crea had not yet returned and
his family were equally in the dark, as to the day on which his return
might be expected.

She determined on this occasion, to renew her visit. Her incessant
disappointments had almost extinguished hope, and she made enquiries
at his door, with a faultering accent and sinking heart. These
emotions were changed into surprize and delight, when answer was made
that he had just arrived. She was instantly conducted into his

The countenance of M`Crea easily denoted, that his visitant was by no
means acceptable. There was a mixture of embarrassment and sullenness
in his air, which was far from being diminished when the purpose of
this visit was explained. Constance reminded him of the offer and
acceptance of this pledge, and of the conditions with which the
transaction was accompanied.

He acknowledged, with some hesitation, that a promise had been given
to retain the pledge until it were in her power to redeem it, but the
long delay, the urgency of his own wants, and particularly the ill
treatment which he conceived himself to have suffered, in the
transaction respecting the forged note, had, in his own opinion,
absolved him from this promise. He had therefore sold the picture to a
goldsmith, for as much as the gold about it was worth.

This information produced, in the heart of Constantia, a contest
between indignation and sorrow, that, for a time, debarred her from
speech. She stifled the anger that was, at length, rising to her lips,
and calmly inquired to whom the picture had been sold.

M`Crea answered that for his part he had little dealings in gold and
silver, but every thing of that kind, which fell to his share, he
transacted with Mr. D---. This person was one of the most eminent of
his profession. His character and place of abode were universally
known. The only expedient that remained was to apply to him, and to
ascertain, forthwith, the destiny of the picture. It was too probable,
that when separated from its case, the portrait was thrown away or
destroyed, as a mere incumbrance, but the truth was too momentous to
be made the sport of mere probability. She left the house of M`Crea,
and hastened to that of the goldsmith.

The circumstance was easily recalled to his remembrance. It was true
that such a picture had been offered for sale, and that he had
purchased it. The workmanship was curious, and he felt unwilling to
destroy it. He therefore hung it up in his shop and indulged the hope
that a purchaser would, sometime, be attracted by the mere beauty of
the toy.

Constantia's hopes were revived by these tidings, and she earnestly
inquired if it were still in his possession.

No. A young gentleman had entered his shop some months before; the
picture had caught his fancy, and he had given a price which the
artist owned he should not have demanded, had he not been encouraged
by the eagerness which the gentleman betrayed to possess it.

Who was this gentleman? Had there been any previous acquaintance
between them? What was his name, his profession, and where was he to
be found?

Really, the goldsmith answered, he was ignorant respecting all those
particulars. Previously to this purchase, the gentleman had sometimes
visited his shop, but he did not recollect to have since seen him. He
was unacquainted with his name and his residence.

What appeared to be his motives for purchasing this picture?

The customer appeared highly pleased with it. Pleasure, rather than
surprize, seemed to be produced by the sight of it. If I were
permitted to judge, continued the artist, I should imagine that the
young man was acquainted with the original. To say the truth, I hinted
as much at the time, and I did not see that he discouraged the
supposition. Indeed, I cannot conceive how the picture could otherwise
have gained any value in his eyes.

This only heightened the eagerness of Constance to trace the footsteps
of the youth. It was obvious to suppose some communication or
connection between her friend and this purchaser. She repeated her
enquiries, and the goldsmith, after some consideration, said:---Why,
on second thoughts, I seem to have some notion of having seen'a figure
like that of my customer, go into a lodging house, in Front-Street,
some time before I met with him at my shop.

The situation of this house being satisfactorily described, and the
artist being able to afford her no further information, except as to
stature and guise, she took her leave. There were two motives
impelling her to prosecute her search after this person; the desire of
regaining this portrait and of procuring tidings of her friend.
Involved as she was in ignorance, it was impossible to conjecture, how
far this incident would be subservient to these inestimable purposes.
To procure an interview with this stranger, was the first measure
which prudence suggested.

She knew not his name or his person. He was once seen entering a
lodging house. Thither she must immediately repair, but how to
introduce herself, how to describe the person of whom she was in
search, she knew not. She was beset with embarrassments and
difficulties. While her attention was entangled by these, she
proceeded unconsciously on her way, and stopped not until she reached
the mansion that had been described. Here she paused to collect her

She found no relief in deliberation. Every moment added to her
perplexity and indecision. Irresistibly impelled by her wishes, she at
length, in a mood that partook of desperate, advanced to the door and
knocked. The summons was immediately obeyed by a woman of decent
appearance. A pause ensued, which Constantia at length terminated, by
a request to see the mistress of the house.

The lady courteously answered that she was the person, and immediately
ushered herrisitant into an apartment. Constance being scated, the
lady waited for the disclosure of her message. To prolong the silence
was only to multiply embarrassments. She reverted to the state of her
feelings, and saw that they flowed from inconsistency and folly. One
vigorous effort was sufficient to restore her to composure and self-

She began with apologizing for a visit, unpreceeded by an
introduction. The object of her enquiries was a person, with whom it
was of the utmost moment that she should procure a meeting, but whom,
by an unfortunate concurrence of circumstances, she was unable to
describe by the usual incidents of name and profession. Her knowledge
was confined to his external appearance, and to the probability of his
being an inmate of this house, at the begining of the year. She then
proceeded to describe his person and dress.

It is true, said the lady, such an one as you describe has boarded in
this house. His name was Martynne. I have good reason to remember him,
for he lived with me three months, and then left the country without
paying for his board.

He has gone then? said Constance, greatly discouraged by these

Yes: He was a man of specious manners and loud pretensions. He came
from England, bringing with him forged recommendatory letters, and
after passing from one end of the country to the other, contracting
debts which he never paid, and making bargains which he never
fulfilled, he suddenly disappeared. It is likely that he has returned
to Europe.

Had he no kindred, no friends, no companions?

He found none here. He made pretences to alliances in England, which
better information has, I believe, since shewn to be false.

This was the sum of the information procurable from this source.
Constance was unable to conceal her chagrin. These symptoms were
observed by the lady, whose curiosity was awakened in turn. Questions
were obliquely started, inviting Constance to a disclosure of her
thoughts. No advantage would arise from confidence, and the guest,
after a few minutes of abstraction and silence, rose to take her

During this conference, some one appeared to be negligently sporting
with the keys of an harpsichord, in the next apartment. The notes were
too irregular and faint to make a forcible impression on the ear. In
the present state of her mind, Constance was merely conscious of the
sound, in the intervals of conversation. Having arisen from her seat,
her anxiety to obtain some informtion that might lead to the point
she wished, made her again pause. She endeavoured to invent some new
interrogatory better suited to her purpose, than those which had,
already, been employed. A silence on both sides ensued.

During this interval, the unseen musician suddenly refrained from
rambling, and glided into notes of some refinement and complexity. The
cadence was aerial, but a thunderbolt, falling at her feet, would not
have communicated a more visible shock to the senses of Constance. A
glance that denoted a tumult of soul bordering on distraction, was now
fixed upon the door, that led into the room whence the harmony
proceeded. Instantly the cadence was revived, and some accompanying
voice, was heard to warble Ah! far beyond this world of woes, We meet
to part--to part no more.

Joy and grief in their sudden onset, and their violent extremes,
approach so nearly, in their influence on human beings, as scarce to
be distinguished. Constantia's frame was still enfeebled by her recent
distresses. The torrent of emotion was too abrupt and too vehement.
Her faculties were overwhelmed, and she sunk upon the floor motionless
and without sense, but not till she had faintly articulated:

My God! My God! This is a joy unmerited and too great.


I MUST be forgiven if I now introduce myself on the stage. Sophia
Westwyn is the friend of Constance, and the writer of this narrative.
So far as my fate was connected with that of my friend, if is worthy
to be known. That connection has constituted the joy and misery of my
existence, and has prompted me to undertake this task.

I assume no merit from the desire of knowledge, and superiority to
temptation. There is little of which I can boast, but that little I
derived, instrumentally, from Constance. Poor as my attainments are,
it is to her that I am indebted for them all. Life itself was the gift
of her father, but my virtue and felicity are her gifts. That I am
neither indigent nor profligate, flows from her bounty.

I am not unaware of the divine superintendence, of the claims upon my
gratitude and service, which pertain to my God. I know that all
physical and moral agents, are merely instrumental to the purpose that
he wills, but though the great author of being and felicity must not
be forgotten, it is neither possible nor just to overlook the claims
upon our love, with which our fellow-beings are invested.

The supreme love does not absorb, but chasten and enforce all
subordinate affections. In proportion to the rectitude of my
perceptions and the ardour of my piety, must I clearly discern and
fervently love, the excellence discovered in my fellow-beings, and
industriously bromote their improvement and felicity.

From my infancy to my seventeenth year, I lived in the house of Mr.
Dudley. On the day of my birth, I was deserted by my mother. Her
temper was more akin to that of tygress than woman: Yet that is
unjust, for beasts cherish their offspring. No natures but human, are
capable of that depravity, which makes insensible to the claims of
innocence and helplessness.

But let me not recall her to memory. Have I not enough of sorrow? Yet
to omit my causes of disquiet, the unprecedented forlornness of my
condition, and the persecutions of an unnatural parent, would be to
leave my character a problem, and the sources of my love of Miss
Dudley unexplored. Yet I must not dwell upon that complication of
iniquities, that savage ferocity and unextinguishable hatred of me,
which characterized my unhappy mother!

I was not safe under the protection of Mr. Dudley, nor happy in the
caresses of his daughter. My mother asserted the privilege of that
relation; she laboured for years to obtain the controul of my person
and actions; to snatch me from a peaceful and chaste assylum, and
detain me in her own house, where, indeed, I should not have been in
want of raiment and food, but where---

O my mother! Let me not dishonor thy name! Yet it is not in my power
to enhance thy infamy. Thy crimes, unequalled as they were, were,
perhaps, expiated by thy penitence. Thy offences are too well known,
but perhaps they who witnessed thy freaks of intoxication, thy
defiance of public shame, the enormity of thy pollutions, the
infatuation that made thee glory in the pursuit of a loathesome and
detestable trade, may be strangers to the remorse and the abstinence
which accompanied the close of thy ignominious life.

For ten years was my peace incessantly molested, by the menaces or
machinations of my mother. The longer she meditated my destruction,
the more tenacious of her purpose, and indefatigable in her efforts,
she became. That my mind was harrassed with perpetual alarms, was not
enough. The fame and tranquility of Mr. Dudley and his daughter, were
hourly assailed. My mother resigned herself to the impulses of
malignity and rage. Headlong passions and a vigorous, though perverted
understanding, were her's. Hence her stratagems to undermine the
reputation of my protector, and to bereave him of domestic comfort,
were subtle and profound. Had she not herself been careless of that
good, which she endeavoured to wrest from others, her artifices could
scarcely have been frustrated.

In proportion to the hazard which accrued to my protector and friend,
the more ardent their zeal in my defence, and their affection for my
person became. They watched over me with ineffable solicitude. At all
hours and in every occupation, I was the companion of Constance. All
my wants were supplied, in the same proportion as her's. The
tenderness of Mr. Dudley seemed equally divided between us. I partook
of his instructions, and the means of every intellectual and personal
gratification, were lavished upon me.

The speed of my mother's career in infamy, was at length slackened.
She left New-York, which had long been the theatre of her vices.
Actuated by a new caprice, she determined to travel through the
Southern States. Early indulgence was the cause of her ruin, but her
parents had given her the embellishments of a fashionable education.
She delighted to assume all parts, and personate the most opposite
characters. She now resolved to carry a new name and the mask of
virtue, into scenes hitherto unvisited.

She journeyed as far as Charleston. Here she met an inexperienced
youth, lately arrived from England, and in possession of an ample
fortune. Her speciousness and artifices seduced him into a precipitate
marriage. Her true character, however, could not be long concealed by
herself, and her vices had been too conspicuous, for her long to
escape recognition. Her husband was infatuated by her blandishments.
To abandon her, or to contemplate her depavity with unconcern, were
equally beyond his power. Romantic in his sentiments, his fortitude
was unequal to his disappointments, and he speedily sunk into the
grave. By a similar refinement in generosity, he bequeathed to her his

With this accession of wealth, she returned to her ancient abode. The
mask, lately worn, seemed preparing to be thrown aside, and her
profligate habits to be resumed with more eagerness than ever, but an
unexpected and total revolution was effected, by the exhortations of a
Methodist divine. Her heart seemed, on a sudden, to be remoulded, her
vices and the abettors of them were abjured, she shut out the
intrusions of society, and prepared to expiate, by the rigours of
abstinence and the bitterness of tears, the offences of her past life.

In this, as in her former career, she was unacquainted with restraint
and moderation. Her remorses gained strength, in proportion as she
cherished them. She brooded over the images of her guilt, till the
possibility of forgiveness and remission disappeared. Her treatment of
her daughter and her hasband constituted the chief source of her
torment. Her awakened conscience refused her a momentary respite from
its persecutions. Her thought became, by rapid degrees, tempestuous
and gloomy, and it was at length evident, that her condition was

In this state, she was to me an object, no longer of terror, but
compassion. She was surrounded by hirelings, devoid of personal
attachment, and anxious only to convert her misfortunes, to their own
advantage. This evil it was my duty to obviate. My presence for a
time, only enhanced the vehemence of her malady, but at length it was
only by my attendance and soothing, that she was diverted from the
fellest purposes. Shocking execrations and outrages, resolutions and
efforts to destroy herself and those around her, were sure to take
place in my absence. The moment I appeared before her, her fury
abated; her gesticulations were becalmed, and her voice exerted only
in incoherent and pathetic lamentations.

These scenes, though so different from those which I had formerly been
condemned to witness, were scarcely less excruciating. The friendship
of Constantia Dudley was my only consolation. She took up her abode
with me, and shared with me every disgustful and perilous office,
which my mother's insanity prescribed.

Of this consolation, however, it was my fate to be bereaved. My
mother's state was deplorable, and no remedy hitherto employed, was
efficacious. A voyage to England, was conceived likely to benefit, by
change of temperature and scenes, and by the opportunity it would
afford of trying the superior skill of English phyicians. This scheme,
after various struggles, on my part, was adopted. It was detestable to
my imagination, because it severed me from that friend, in whose
existence mine was involved, and without whose participation,
knowledge lost its attractions, and society became a torment.

The prescriptions of my duty could not be disguised or disobeyed, and
we parted. A mutual engagement was formed, to record every sentiment
and relate every event that happened, in the life of either, and no
opportunity of communicating information, was to be omitted. This
engagement was punctually performed on my part. I sought out every
method of conveyance to my friend, and took infinite pains to procure
tidings from her, but all were ineffectual.

My mother's malady declined, but was succeeded by a pulmonary disease,
which threatened her speedy destruction. By the restoration of her
understanding, the purpose of her voyage was obtained, and my
impatience to return, which the inexplicable and ominous silence of my
friend daily increased, prompted me to exert all my powers of
persuasion, to induce her to re-visit America.

My mother's frenzy was a salutary crisis in her moral history. She
looked back upon her past conduct with unspeakable loathing, but this
retrospect only invigorated her devotion and her virtue: but the
thought of returning to the scene of her unhappiness and infamy, could
not be endured. Besides, life in her eyes, possessed considerable
attractions, and her physicians flattered her with recovery from her
present disease, if she would change the atmosphere of England for
that of Languedoc and Naples.

I followed her with murmurs and reluctance. To desert her in her
present critical state would have been inhuman. My mother's aversions
and attachments, habits and views were dissonant with my own.
Conformity of sentiments and impressions of maternal tenderness, did
not exist to bind us to each other. My attendance was assiduous, but
it was the sense of duty that rendered my attendance a supportable

Her decay was eminently gradual. No time seemed to diminish her
appetite for novelty and change. During three years we traversed every
part of France, Switzerland and Italy. I could not but attend to
surrounding scenes, and mark the progress of the mighty revolution,
whose effects, like agitation in a fluid, gradually spread from Paris,
the centre, over the face of the neighbouring kingdoms; but there
passed not a day or an hour in which the image of Constance was not
recalled, in which the most pungent regrets were not felt at the
inexplicable silence which had been observed by her, and the most
vehement longings indulged to return to my native country. My
exertions to ascertain her condition by indirect means, by
interrogating natives of America, with whom I chanced to meet, were
unwearied, but, for a long period, ineffectual.

During this pilgrimage, Rome was thrice visited. My mother's
indisposition was hastening to a crisis, and she formed the resolution
of closing her life at the bottom of Vesuvius. We stopped, for the
sake of a few day's repose, at Rome. On the morning after our arrival,
I accompanied some friends to view the public edifices. Casting my
eyes over the vast and ruinous interior of the Coliseo, my attention
was fixed by the figure of a young man, whom, after a moment's pause,
I recollected to have seen in the streets of New-York. At a distance
from home, mere community of country is no inconsiderable bond of
affection. The social spirit prompts us to cling even to inanimate
objects, when they remind us of ancient fellowships and juvenile

A servant was dispatched to summon this stranger, who recognized a
country-woman with a pleasure equal to that which I had received. On
nearer view, this person, whose name was Courtland, did not belie my
favorable prepossessions. Our intercourse was soon established on a
footing of confidence and intimacy.

The destiny of Constance was always uppermost in my thoughts. This
person's acquaintance was originally sought, chiefly in the hope of
obtaining from him some information respecting my friend. On inquiry I
discovered that he had left his native city, seven months after me.
Having tasked his recollection and compared a number of facts, the
name of Dudley at length re-occurred to him. He had casually heard the
history of Craig's imposture and its consequences. These were now
related as ciscumstantially as a memory, occupied by subsequent
incidents, enabled him. The tale had been told to him, in a domestic
circle which he was accustomed to frequent, by the person who
purchased Mr. Dudley's lute, and restored it to its previous owner, on
the conditions formerly mentioned.

This tale filled me with anguish and doubt. My impatience to search
out this unfortunate girl, and share with her her sorrows or relieve
them, was anew excited by this mournful intelligence. That Constantia
Dudley was reduced to beggary, was too abhorrent to my feelings to
recieve credit, yet the sale of her father's property, comprising even
his furniture and cloathing, seemed to prove that she had fallen even
to this depth. This enabled me in some degree to account for her
silence. Her generous spirit would induce her to conceal misfortunes
from her friend, which no communication would alleviate. It was
possible that she had selected some new abode, and that in
consequence, the letters I had written, and which amounted to volumes,
had never reached her hands.

My mother's state would not suffer me to obey the impulse of my heart.
Her frame was verging towards dissolution. Courtland's engagements
allowed him to accompany us to Naples, and here the long series of my
mother's pilgrimages, closed in death. Her obsequies were no sooner
performed, than I determined to set out on my long projected voyage.
My mother's property, which, in consequence of her decease, devolved
upon me, was not inconsiderable. There is scarcely any good so dear,
to a rational being, as competence. I was not unacquainted with its
benefits, but this acquisition was valuable to me chiefly as it
enabled me to re-unite my fate to that of Constance.

Courtland was my countryman and friend. He was destitute of fortune,
and had been led to Europe partly by the spirit of adventure, and
partly on a mereabtile project. He had made sale of his property, on
advantageous terms, in the ports of France, and resolved to consume
the produce in examining this scene of heroic exploits and memorable
revolutions. His slender stock, though frugally and even
parsimoniously administered, was nearly exhausted, and at the time of
our meeting at Rome, he was making reluctant preparations to return.

Sufficient opportunity was afforded us, in an unrestrained and
domestic intercourse of three months, which succeeded our Roman
interview, to gain a knowledge of each other. There was that
conformity of tastes and views between us, which could scarcely fail,
at an age, and in a situation like ours, to give birth to tenderness.
My resolution to hasten to America, was peculiarly unwelcome to my
friend. He had offered to be my companion, but this offer, my regard
to his interest obliged me to decline; but I was willing to compensate
him for this denial, as well as to gratify my own heart, by an
immediate marriage.

So long a residence in England and Italy, had given birth to
friendships and connections of the dearest kind. I had no view but to
spend my life with Courtland, in the midst of my maternal kindred who
were English. A voyage to America, and re-union with Constance were
previously indispensable, but I hoped that my friend might be
prevailed upon, and that her disconnected situation would permit her,
to return with me to Europe. If this end could not be accomplished, it
was my inflexible purpose to live and to die with her. Suitably to
this arrangement, Courtland was to repair to London, and wait
patiently till I should be able to rejoin him there, or to summon him
to meet me in America.

A week after my mother's death, I became a wife, and embarked, the
next day, at Naples, in a Ragusan ship, destined for New-York. The
voyage was tempestuous and tedious. The vessel was necessitated to
make a short stay at Toulon. The state of that city, however, then in
possession of the English, and besieged by the revolutionary forces,
was adverse to commercial views. Happily, we resumed our voyage, on
the day previous to that on which the place was evacuated by the
British. Our seasonable departure rescued us from witnessing a scene
of horrors, of which the history of former wars, furnish us with few

A cold and boisterous navigation awaited us. My palpitations and
inquietudes augmented as we approached the American coast. I shall not
forget the sensations which I experienced on the sight of the Beacon
at Sandy-Hook. It was first seen at midnight, in a stormy and
beclouded atmosphere, emerging from the waves, whose fluctuation
allowed it, for some time, to be visible only by fits. This token of
approaching land, affected me as much as if I had reached the
threshhold of my friend's dwelling.

At length we entered the port, and I viewed, with high-raised, but
inexplicable feelings, objects with which I had been from infancy
familiar. The flag-staff erected on the battery, recalled to my
imagination the pleasures of the evening and morning walks, which I
had taken on that spot, with the lost Constantia. The dream was fondly
cherished, that the figure which I saw, loitering along the terrace,
was her's.

On disembarking, I gazed at every female passenger, in hope that it
was she whom I sought. An absence of three years, had obliterated from
my memory none of the images which attended me on my departure.


After a night of repose rather than of sleep, I began the search after
my friend. I went to the house which the Dudleys formerly inhabited,
and which had been the asylum of my infancy. It was now occupied by
strangers, by whom no account could be given of its former tenants. I
obtained directions to the owner of the house. He was equally unable
to satisfy my curiosity. The purchase had been made at a public sale,
and terms had been settled not with Dudley, but with the Sheriff.

It is needless to say, that the history of Craig's imposture and its
consequences, were confirmed by every one who resided at that period
in New-York. The Dudleys were well remembered, and their
disappearance, immediately after their fall, had been generally
noticed, but whither they had retired, was a problem which no one was
able to solve.

This evasion was strange. By what motives the Dudleys were induced to
change their ancient abode, could be vaguely guessed. My friend's
grandfather was a native of the West-Indies. Descendants of the same
stock still resided in Tobago. They might be affluent, and to them, it
was possible, that Mr. Dudley, in this change of fortune, had betaken
himself for relief. This was a mournful expedient, since it would
raise a barrier between my friend and myself scarcely to be

Constantia's mother was stolen by Mr. Dudley from a Convent at Amiens.
There were no affinities, therefore, to draw them to France. Her
grandmother was a native of Baltimore, of a family of some note, by
name Ridgeley. This family might still exist, and have either afforded
an asylum to the Dudleys, or, at least, be apprised of their destiny.
It was obvious to conclude that they no longer existed within the
precincts of New-York. A journey to Baltimore was the next expedient.

This journey was made in the depth of winter, and by the speediest
conveyance. I made no more than a day's sojourn in Philadelphia. The
epidemic by which that city had been lately ravaged, I had not heard
of till my arrival in America. Its devastations were then painted to
my fancy in the most formidable colours. A few months only had elapsed
since its extinction, and I expected to see numerous marks of misery
and dispopulation.

To my no small surprize, however, no vestiges of this calamity were to
be discerned. All houses were open, all streets thronged, and all
faces thoughtless or busy. The arts and the amusements of life seemed
as sedulously cultivated as ever. Little did I then think what had
been, and what, at that moment, was the condition of my friend. I
stopt for the sake of respite from fatigue, and did not, therefore,
pass much time in the streets. Perhaps, had I walked seasonably
abroad, we might have encountered each other, and thus have saved
ourselves from a thousand anxieties.

At Baltimore I made myself known, without the formality of
introduction, to the Ridgeleys. They acknowledged their relationship
to Mr. Dudley, but professed absolute ignorance of his fate. Indirect
intercourse only had been maintained, formerly, by Dudley with his
mother's kindred. They had heard of his misfortune, a twelvemonth
after it happened, but what measures had been subsequently pursued,
their kinsman had not thought proper to inform them.

The failure of this expedient almost bereft me of hope. Neither my own
imagination nor the Ridgeleys, could suggest any new mode by which my
purpose was likely to be accomplished. To leave America, without
obtaining the end of my visit, could not be thought of without agony,
and yet the continuance of my stay promised me no relief from my

On this theme, I ruminated without ceasing. I recalled every
conversation and incident of former times, and sought in them a clue,
by which my present conjectures might be guided. One night, immersed
alone in my chamber, my thoughts were thus employed. My train of
meditation was, on this occasion, new. From the review of particulars
from which no satisfaction had hitherto been gained, I passed to a
vague and comprehensive retrospect.

Mr. Dudley's early life, his profession of a painter, his zeal in this
pursuit, and his reluctance to quit it, were remembered. Would he not
revert to this profession, when other means of subsistence were gone.
It is true, similar obstacles with those which had formerly occasioned
his resort to a different path, existed at present, and no painter of
his name was to be found in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or New-York. But
would it not occur to him, that the patronage denied to his skill, by
the frugal and unpolished habits of his countrymen, might with more
probability of success, be sought from the opulence and luxury of
London? Nay, had he not once affirmed in my hearing, that if he ever
were reduced to poverty, this was the method he would pursue?

This conjecture was too bewitching to be easily dismissed. Every new
reflection augmented its force. I was suddenly raised by it from the
deepest melancholy to the region of lofty and gay hopes. Happiness, of
which I had began to imagine myself irretrievably bereft, seemed once
more to approach within my reach. Constance would not only be found,
but be met in the midst of those comforts which her father's skill
could not fail to procure, and on that very stage where I most desired
to encounter her. Mr. Dudley had many friends and associates of his
youth in London. Filial duty had repelled their importunities to fix
his abode in Europe, when summoned home by his father. On his father's
death these solicitations had been renewed, but were disregarded for
reasons, which he, afterwards, himself confessed, were fallacious.
That they would, a third time be preferred, and would regulate his
conduct, seemed to me incontestable.

I regarded with wonder and deep regret, the infatuation that had
hitherto excluded these images from my understanding and my memory.
How many dangers and toils had I endured since my embarkation at
Naples, to the present moment? How many lingering minutes had I told
since my first interview with Courtland? All were owing to my own
stupidity. Had my present thoughts been seasonably suggested, I might
long since have been restored to the embraces of my friend, without
the necessity of an hour's separation from my husband.

These were evils to be repaired as far as it was possible. Nothing now
remained but to precure a passage to Europe. For this end diligent
inquiries were immediately set in foot. A vessel was found, which, in
a few weeks, would set out upon the voyage. Having bespoken a
conveyance, it was incumbent on me to sustain with patience the
unwelcome delay.

Meanwhile, my mind, delivered from the dejection and perplexities that
lately haunted it, was capable of some attention to surrounding
objects. I marked the peculiarities of manners and language in my new
abode, and studied the effects which a political and religious system,
so opposite to that with which I had conversed, in Italy and
Switzerland, had produced. I found that the difference between Europe
and America, lay chiefly in this; that, in the former, all things
tended to extremes, whereas, in the latter, all things tended to the
same level. Genius and virtue, and happiness, on these shores, were
distinguished by a sort of mediocrity. Conditions were less unequal,
and men were strangers to the heights of enjoyment and the depths of
misery, to which the inhabitants of Europe are accustomed.

I received friendly notice and hospitable treatment from the
Ridgeleys. These people were mercantile and plodding in their habits.
I found in their social circle, little exercises for the sympathies of
my heart, and willingly accepted their aid to enlarge the sphere of my

About a week before my intended embarkation, and when suitable
preparation had been made for that event, a lady arrived in town, who
was cousin to my Constantia. She had frequently been mentioned in
favorable terms, in my hearing. She had passed her life, in a rural
abode with her father, who cultivated his own domain, lying forty
miles from Baltimore.

On an offer being made to introduce us to each other, I consented to
know one whose chief recommendation, in my eyes, consisted in her
affinity to Constance Dudley. I found an artless and attractive
female, unpolished and undepraved by much intercourse with mankind. At
first sight, I was powerfully struck by the resemblances of her
features to those of my friend, which sufficiently denoted their
connection with a common stock.

The first interview afforded mutual satisfaction. On our second
meeting, discourse insensibly led to the mention of Miss Dudley, and
of the design which had brought me to America. She was deeply affected
by the earnestness with which I expatiated on her cousin's merits, and
by the proofs which my conduct had given of unlimited attachment.

I dwelt immediately on the measures which I had hitherto ineffectually
pursued to trace her footsteps, and detailed the grounds of my present
belief, that we should meet in London. During this recital, my
companion sighed and wept. When I finished my tale, her tears, instead
of ceasing, flowed with new vehemence. This appearance excited some
surprize, and I ventured to ask the cause of her grief.

Alas! She replied, I am personally a stranger to my Cousin, but her
character has been amply displayed to me by one who knew her well. I
weep to think how much she has suffered. How much excellence we have

Nay, said I, all her sufferings will, I hope, be compensated, and I by
no means consider her as lost. If my search in London be unsuccessful,
then shall I indeed despair.

Despair then, already, said my sobbing companion, for your search will
be unsuccessful. How I feel for your disappointment! but it cannot be
known too soon. My Cousin is dead!

These tidings were communicated with tokens of sincerity and sorrow,
that left me no room to doubt that they were believed by the relater.
My own emotions were suspended till interrogations had obtained a
knowledge of her reasons for crediting this fatal event, and till she
had explained the time and manner of her death. A friend of Miss
Ridgeley's father had witnessed the devastations of the yellow fever
in Philadelphia. He was apprized of the relationship that subsisted
between his friend and the Dudleys. He gave a minute and
circumstantial account of the arts of Craig. He mentioned the removal
of my friends to Philadelphia, their obscure and indigent life, and
finally, their falling victims to the pestilence.

He related the means by which he became apprized of their fate, and
drew a picture of their death, surpassing all that imagination can
conceive of shocking and deplorable. The quarter where they lived was
nearly desolate. Their house was shut up, and, for a time, imagined to
to be uninhabited. Some suspicions being awakened, in those who
superintended the burial of the dead, the house was entered, and the
father and child discovored to be dead. The former was stretched upon
his wretched pallet, while the daughter was found on the floor of the
lower room, in a state that denoted the sufferance, not only of
disease, but of famine.

This tale was false. Subsequent discoveries proved this to be a
detestable artifice of Craig, who stimulated by incurable habits, had
invented these disasters, for the purpose of enhancing the opinion of
his humanity, and of furthering his views on the fortune and daughter
of Mr. Ridgeley.

Its falsehood, however, I had as yet no means of ascertaining. I
received it as true, and at once dismissed all my claims upon
futurity. All hopes of happiness, in this mutable and sublunary scene,
was fled. Notning remained, but to join my friend in a world, where
woes are at an end and virtue finds its recompence. Surely, said I,
there will sometime be a close to calamity and discord. To those whose
lives have been blameless, but harassed by inquietudes, to which not
their own, but the errors of others have given birth, a fortress will
hereafter be assigned, unassailable by change, impregnable to sorrow.

O! my ill-fated Constance! I will live to cherish thy remembrance, and
to emulate thy virtue. I will endure the privation of thy friendship
and the vicissitudes that shall befall me, and draw my consolation and
courage, from the foresight of no distant close to this terrestrial
scene, and of ultimate and everlasting union with thee.

This consideration, though it kept me from confusion and despair,
could not, but with the healing aid of time, render me tranquil or
strenuous. My strength was unequal to the struggle of my passions. The
ship in which I engaged to embark, could not wait for my restoration
to health, and I was left behind.

Mary Ridgeley was artless and affectionate. She saw that her society
was dearer to me than that of any other, and was therefore seldom
willing to leave my chamber. Her presence, less on her own account,
than by reason of her personal resemblance and her affinity by birth
to Constance, was a powerful solace.

I had nothing to detain me longer in America. I was anxious to change
my present lonely state, for the communion of those friends, in
England, and the performance of those duties, which were left to me. I
was informed that a British Packet, would shortly sail from New-York.
My frame was sunk into greater weakness, than I had felt at any former
period; and I conceived, that to return to New-York, by water, was
more commodious than to perform the journey by land.

This arrangement was likewise destined to be disappointed. One morning
I visited, according to my custom, Mary Ridgeley. I found her in a
temper somewhat inclined to gaiety. She rallied me, with great
archness, on the care with which I had concealed from her a tender
engagement, into which I had lately entered.

I supposed myself to comprehend her allusion, and, therefore, answered
that accident rather than design, had made me silent on the subject of
marriage. She had hitherto known me by no appellation, but Sophia
Courtland. I had thought it needless to inform her, that I was
indebted for my name to my husband, Courtland being his name.

All that, said my friend, I know already, and, So you sagely think
that my knowledge goes no farther than that? We are not bound to love
our husbands longer than their lives. There is no crime, I believe, in
preferring the living to the dead, and most heartily do I congratulate
you on your present choice.

What mean you? I confess your discourse surpasses my comprehension.

At that moment, the bell at the door, rung a loud peal. Miss Ridgeley
hastened down at this signal, saying, with much significance---

I am a poor hand at solving a riddle. Here comes one who, if I mistake
not, will find no difficulty in clearing up your doubts.

Presently, she came up, and said, with a smile of still greater
archness:--Here is a young gentleman, a friend of mine, to whom I must
have the pleasure of introducing you. He has come for the special
purpose of solving my riddle---I attended her to the parlour without

She presented me, with great formality, to a youth, whose appearance
did not greatly prepossess me in favor of his judgment. He approached
me with an air, supercilious and ceremonious, but the moment he caught
a glance at my face, he shrunk back, visibly confounded and
embarrassed. A pause ensued, in which Miss Ridgeley had opportunity to
detect the error into which she had been led, by the vanity of this
young man.

How now, Mr. Martynne, said my friend, in a tone of ridicule, is it
possible you do not know the lady who is the queen of your affections,
the tender and indulgent fair one, whose portrait you carry in your
bosom; and whose image you daily and nightly bedew with your tears and

Mr. Martynne's confusion instead of being subdued by his struggle,
only grew more conspicuous, and after a few incoherent speeches and
apologies, during which he carefully avoided encountering my eyes, he
hastily departed.

I applied to my friend, with great earnestness, for an explanation of
this scene. It seems that, in the course of conversation with him, on
the preceeding day, he had suffered a portrait which hung at his
breast, to catch Miss Ridgeley's eye. On her betraying a desire to
inspect it more nearly, he readily produced it. My image had been too
well copied by the artist, not to be instantly recognized.

She concealed her knowledge of the original, and by questions, well
adapted to the purpose, easily drew from him confessions that this was
the portrait of his mistress. He let fall sundry innuendoes and
surmizes, tending to impress her with a notion of the rank, fortune
and intellectual accomplishments of the nymph, and particularly of the
doating fondness and measureless confidence, with which she regarded

Her imperfect knowledge of my situation, left her in some doubt as to
the truth of these pretensions, and she was willing to ascertain the
truth, by bringing about an interview. To guard against evasions and
artifice in the lover, she carefully concealed from him her knowledge
of the original, and merely pretended that a friend of her's, was far
more beautiful than her whom this picture represented. She added, that
she expected a visit from her friend the next morning, and was
willing, by shewing her to Mr. Martynne, to convince him how much he
was mistaken, in supposing the perfections of his mistress unrivalled.


MARTYNNE, while he expressed his confidence, that the experiment would
only confirm his triumph, readily assented to the proposal, and the
interview above described, took place accordingly, the next morning.
Had he not been taken by surprize, it is likely the address of a man,
who possessed no contemptible powers, would have extricated him from
some of his embarrassment.

That my portrait should be in the possession of one, whom I had never
before seen, and whose character and manners entitled him to no
respect, was a source of some surprize. This mode of multiplying faces
is extremely prevalent in this age, and was eminently characteristic
of those with whom I had associated in different parts of Europe. The
nature of my thoughts had modified my features into an expression,
which my friends were pleased to consider as a model for those who
desired to personify the genius of suffering and resignation.

Hence among those whose religion permitted their devotion to a picture
of a female, the symbols of their chosen deity, were added to features
and shape that resembled mine. My own caprice, as well as that of
others, always dictated a symbolical, and in every new instance, a
different accompaniment of this kind. Hence was offered the means of
tracing the history of that picture which Martynne possessed.

It had been accurately examined by Miss Ridgeley, and her description
of the frame in which it was placed, instantly informed me that it was
the same which, at our parting, I left in the possession of Constance.
My friend and myself were desirous of employing the skill of a Saxon
painter, by name Eckstein. Each of us were drawn by him, she with the
cincture of Venus, and I with the crescent of Dian. This symbol was
still conspicuous on the brow of that image, which Miss Thornville had
examined, and served to indentify the original proprietor.

This circumstance tended to confirm my fears that Constance was dead,
since that she would part with this picture during her life, was not
to be believed. It was of little moment to discover how it came into
the hands of the present possessor. Those who carried her remains to
the grave, had probably torn it from her neck and afterwards disposed
of it for money.

By whatever means, honest or illicit, it had been acquired by
Martynne, it was proper that it should be restored to me. It was
valuable to me because, it had been the property of one whom I loved,
and it might prove highly injurious to my fame and my happiness, as
the tool of this man's vanity and the attester of his falsehood. I,
therefore, wrote him a letter, acquainting him with my reasons for
desiring the repossession of this picture, and offering a price for
it, at least double its value, as a mere article of traffic. Martynne
accepted the terms. He transmitted the picture, and with it a note,
apologizing for the artifice of which he had been guilty, and
mentioning, in order to justify his acceptance of the price which I
had offered, that he had lately purchased it for an equal sum of a
Goldsmith in Philadelphia.

This information suggested a new reflection. Constantia had engaged to
preserve, for the use of her friend, copious and accurate memorials of
her life. Copies of these were, on suitable occasions, to be
transmitted to me, during my residence abroad. These I had never
received, but it was highly probable that her punctuality, in the
performance of the first part of her engagement, had been equal to my

What, I asked, had become of these precious memorials? In the wreck of
her property were these irretrievably ingulfed? It was not probable
that they had been wantonly destroyed. They had fallen, perhaps, into
hands careless or unconscious of their value, or still lay, unknown
and neglected, at the bottom of some closet or chest. Their recovery
might be effected by vehement exertions, or by some miraculous
accident. Suitable enquiries, carried on among those who were active
in those scenes of calamity, might afford some clue by which the fate
of the Dudleys, and the disposition of their property, might come into
fuller light. These inquiries could be made only in Philadelphia, and
thither, for that purpose, I now resolved to repair. There was still
an interval of some weeks, before the departure of the packet in which
I proposed to embark.

Having returned to the capital, I devoted all my zeal to my darling
project. My efforts, however, were without success. Those who
administered charity and succour during that memorable season, and who
survived, could remove none of my doubts, nor answer any of my
inquiries. Innumerable tales, equally disastrous with those which Miss
Ridgeley had heard, were related; but, for a considerable period, none
of their circumstances were sufficiently accordant with the history of
the Dudleys.

It is worthy of remark, in how many ways, and by what complexity of
motives, human curiosity is awakened and knowledge obtained. By its
connection with my darling purpose, every event in the history of this
memorable pest, was earnestly sought and deeply pondered. The powerful
considerations which governed me, made me slight those punctilious
impediments, which, in other circumstances, would have debarred me
from intercourse with the immediate actors and observers. I found none
who were unwilling to expatiate on this topic, or to communicate the
knowledge they possessed. Their details were copious in particulars,
and vivid in minuteness. They exhibited the state of manners, the
diversified effects of evil or heroic passions, and the endless forms
which sickness and poverty assume in the obscure recesses of a
commercial and populous city.

Some of these details are too precious to be lost. It is above all
things necessary that we should be thoroughly acquainted with the
condition of our fellow-beings. Justice and compassion are the fruit
of knowledge. The misery that overspreads so large a part of mankind,
exists chiefly because those who are able to relieve it do not know
that it exists. Forcibly to paint the evil, seldom fails to excite the
virtue of the spectator, and seduce him into wishes, at least, if not
into exertions of beneficence.

The circumstances in which I was placed, were, perhaps, wholly
singular. Hence the knowledge I obtained, was more comprehensive and
authentic than was possessed by any one, even of the immediate actors
or sufferers. This knowledge will not be useless to myself or to the
world. The motives which dictated the present narrative, will hinder
me from relinquishing the pen, till my fund of observation and
experience be exhausted. Meanwhile, let me resume the thread of my

The period allowed me before my departure was nearly expired, and my
purpose seemed to be as far from its accomplishment as ever. One
evening I visited a lady, who was the widow of a physician, whose
disinterested exertions had cost him his life. She dwelt with pathetic
earnestness on the particulars of her own distress, and listened with
deep attention to the inquiries and doubts which I laid before her.

After a pause of consideration, she said, that an incident like that
related by me, she had previously heard from one of her friends, whose
name she mentioned. This person was one of those whose office
consisted in searching out the sufferers, and affording them unsought
and unsolicited relief. She was offering to introduce me to this
person, when he entered the apartment.

After the usual compliments, my friend led the conversation as I
wished. Between Mr. Thomson's tale and that related to Miss Ridgeley,
there was an obvious resemblance. The sufferers resided in an obscure
alley. They had shut themselves up from all intercourse with their
neighbours, and had died, neglected and unknown. Mr. Thomson was
vested with the superintendence of this district, and had passed the
house frequently without suspicion of its being tenanted.

He was at length informed by one of those who conducted an hearse,
that he had seen the window in the upper story of this house lifted,
and a female shew herself. It was night, and the hearse-man chanced to
be passing the door. He immediately supposed that the person stood in
need of his services, and stopped.

This procedure was comprehended by the person at the window, who,
leaning out, addressed him in a broken and feeble voice. She asked him
why he had not taken a different route, and upbraided him for
inhumanity in leading his noisy vehicle past her door. She wanted
repose, but the ceaseless rumbling of his wheels would not allow her
the sweet respite of a moment.

This invective was singular, and uttered in a voice which united the
utmost degree of earnestness, with a feebleness that rendered it
almost inarticulate. The man was at a loss for a suitable answer. His
pause only increased the impatience of the person at the window, who
called upon him, in a still more anxious tone, to proceed, and
intreated him to avoid this alley for the future.

He answered that he must come whenever the occasion called him. That
three persons now lay dead in this alley, and that he must be
expeditious in their removal, but that he would return as seldom and
make as little noise as possible.

He was interrupted by new exclamations and upbraidings. These
terminated in a burst of tears, and assertions, that God and man were
her enemies. That they were determined to destroy her, but she trusted
that the time would come when their own experience would avenge her
wrongs, and teach them some compassion for the misery of others.--
Saying this, she shut the window with violence, and retired from it
sobbing with a vehemence, that could be distinctly overheard by him in
the street.

He paused for some time, listening when this passion should cease. The
habitation was slight, and he imagined that he heard her traversing
the floor. While he staid, she continued to vent her anguish in
exclamations and sighs, and passionate weeping. It did not appear that
any other person was within.

Mr. Thomson being next day informed of these incidents, endeavoured to
enter the house, but his signals, though loud and frequently repeated,
being unnoticed, he was obliged to gain admission by violence. An old
man, and a female, lovely in the midst of emaciation and decay, were
discovered without signs of life. The death of the latter appeared to
have been very recent.

In examining the house, no traces of other inhabitants were to be
found. Nothing, serviceable as food, was discovered, but the remnants
of mouldy bread scattered on a table. No information could be gathered
from neighbours respecting the condition and name of these unfortunate
people. They had taken possession of this house, during the rage of
this malady, and refrained from all communication with their

There was too much resemblance between this and the story formerly
heard, not to produce the belief that they related to the same
persons. All that remained was to obtain directions to the proprietor
of this dwelling, and exact from him all that he knew respecting his

I found in him a man of worth and affability. He readily related, that
a man applied to him for the use of this house, and that the
application was received. At the beginning of the pestilence, a
numerous family inhabited this tenement, but had died in rapid
succession. This new applicant was the first to apprize him of this
circumstance, and appeared extremely anxious to enter on immediate

It was intimated to him that danger would arise from the pestilential
condition of the house. Unless cleansed and purified, disease would be
unavoidably contracted. The inconvenience and hazard, this applicant
was willing to encounter, and, at length, hinted that no alternative
was allowed him, by his present landlord, but to lie in the street or
to procure some other abode.

What was the external appearance of this person?

He was infirm, past the middle age, of melancholy aspect, and indigent
garb. A year had since elapsed, and more characteristic particulars
had not been remarked or were forgotten. The name had been mentioned,
but in the midst of more recent and momentous transactions, had
vanished from remembrance. Dudley, or Dolby, or Hadley, seemed to
approach more nearly than any other sounds.

Permission to inspect the house was readily granted. It had remained,
since that period, unoccupied. The furniture and goods were scanty and
wretched, and he did not care to endanger his safety, by meddling with
them. He believed that they had not been removed or touched.

I was insensible of any hazard which attended my visit, and, with the
guidance of a servant, who felt as little apprehension as myself,
hastened to the spot. I found nothing but tables and chairs. Cloathing
was no where to be seen. An earthen pot, without handle and broken,
stood upon the kitchen hearth. No other implement or vessel for the
preparation of food, appeared.

These forlorn appearances were accounted for by the servant, by
supposing the house to have been long since rifled of every thing
worth the trouble of removal, by the villains who occupied the
neighbouring houses; this alley, it seems, being noted for the
profligacy of its inhabitants.

When I reflected that a wretched hovel like this, had been, probably,
the last retreat of the Dudleys, when I painted their sufferings, of
which the numberless tales of distress, of which I had lately been an
auditor, enabled me to form an adequate conception, I felt as if to
lie down and expire on the very spot where Constance had fallen, was
the only sacrifice to friendship, which time had left to me.

From this house I wandered to the field, where the dead had been,
promiscuously and by hundreds, interred. I counted the long series of
graves, which were closely ranged, and, being recently levelled,
exhibited the appearance of an harrowed field. Methought I could have
given thousands, to know in what spot the body of my friend lay, that
I might moisten the sacred earth with my tears. Boards hastily nailed
together, formed the best receptacle, which the exigences of the time
could grant to the dead. Many corpses were thrown into a single
excavation, and all distinctions founded on merit and rank, were
obliterated. The father and child had been placed in the same cart,
and thrown into the same hole.

Despairing, by any longer stay in this city, to effect my purpose, and
the period of my embarkation being near, I prepared to resume my
journey. I should have set out the next day, but a family, with whom I
had made acquaintance, expecting to proceed to New-York within a week,
I consented to be their companion, and, for that end, to delay my

Meanwhile, I shut myself up in my apartment, and pursued avocations,
that were adapted to the melancholy tenor of my thoughts. The day,
preceding that appointed for my journey, arrived. It was necessary to
compleat my arrangements with the family, with whom I was to travel,
and to settle with the lady, whose apartments I occupied.

On how slender threads does our destiny hang! Had not a momentary
impulse tempted me to sing my favorite ditty to the harpsichord, to
beguile the short interval, during which my hostess was conversing
with her visitor in the next apartment, I should have speeded to New-
York, have embarked for Europe, and been eternally severed from my
friend, whom I believed to have died in phrenzy and beggary, but who
was alive and affluent, and who sought me with a diligence, scarcely
inferior to my own. We imagined ourselves severed from each other, by
death or by impassable seas, but, at the moment when our hopes had
sunk to the lowest ebb, a mysterious destiny conducted our footsteps
to the same spot.

I heard a murmuring exclamation; I heard my hostess call, in a voice
of terror, for help; I rushed into the room; I saw one stretched on
the floor, in the attitude of death; I sprung forward and fixed my
eyes upon her countenance; I clasped my hands and articulated--

She speedily recovered from her swoon. Her eyes opened, she moved, she
spoke: Still methought it was an illusion of the senses, that created
the phantom. I could not bear to withdraw my eyes from her
countenance. If they wandered for a moment, I fell into doubt and
perplexity, and again fixed them upon her, to assure myself of her

The succeeding three days, were spent in a state of dizziness and
intoxication. The ordinary functions of nature were disturbed. The
appetite for sleep and for food were confounded and lost, amidst the
impetuosities of a master-passion. To look and to talk to each other,
afforded enchanting occupation for every moment. I would not part from
her side, but eat and slept, walked and mused and read, with my arm
locked in her's, and with her breath fanning my cheek.

I have indeed much to learn. Sophia Courtland has never been wise. Her
affections disdain the cold dictates of discretion, and spurn at every
limit, that contending duties and mixed obligations prescribe.

And yet, O! precious inebriation of the heart! O! pre-eminent love!
What pleasure of reason or of sense, can stand in competition with
those, attendant upon thee?--Whether thou hiest to the fanes of a
benevolent deity, or layest all thy homage at the feet of one, who
most visibly resembles the perfections of our Maker, surely thy
sanction is divine; thy boon is happiness!--


The tumults of curiosity and pleasure did not speedily subside. The
story of each other's wanderings, was told with endless amplifieation
and minuteness. Henceforth, the stream of our existence was to mix; we
were to act and to think in common: Casual witnesses and written
testimony should become superfluous: Eyes and ears were to be
eternally employed upon the conduct of each other: Death, when it
should come, was not to be deplored, because it was an unavoidable and
brief privation to her that should survive. Being, under any
modification, is dear, but that state to which death is a passage, is
all-desirable to virtue and all-compensating to grief.

Meanwhile, precedent events were made the themes of endless
conversation. Every incident and passion, in the course of four years,
was revived and exhibited. The name of Ormond, was, of course,
frequently repeated by my friend: His features and deportment were
described: Her meditations and resolutions, with regard to him, fully
disclosed. My counsel was asked, in what manner it became her to act.

I could not but harbour aversion to a scheme, which should tend to
sever me from Constance, or to give me a competitor in her affections.
Besides this, the properties of Ormond were of too mysterious a
nature, to make him worthy of acceptance. Little more was known,
concerning him, than what he himself had disclosed to the Dudleys, but
this knowledge would suffice to invalidate his claims.

He had dwelt, in his conversations with Constantia, sparingly on his
own concerns. Yet he did not hide from her, that he had been left in
early youth, to his own guidance: That he had embraced, when almost a
child, the trade of arms: That he had found service and promotion in
the armies of Potemkin and Romanzow: That he had executed secret and
diplomatic functions, at Constantinople and Berlin: That, in the
latter city, he had met with schemers and reasoners, who aimed at the
new-modelling of the world, and the subversion of all that has
hitherto been conceived elementary and fundamental, in the
constitution of man and of government: that some of those reformers
had secretly united, to break down the military and monarchical fabric
of German policy: That others, more wisely, had devoted their secret
efforts, not to overturn, but to build: That, for this end, they
embraced an exploring and colonizing project: That he had allied
himself to these, and, for the promotion of their projects, had spent
six years of his life, in journeys by sea and land, in tracts
unfrequented, till then, by any European.

What were the moral or political maxims, which this adventurous and
visionary sect had adopted, and what was the seat of their newborn
empire, whether on the shore of an Austral continent, or in the heart
of desert America, he carefully concealed. These were exhibited or
hidden, or shifted, according to his purpose. Not to reveal too much,
and not to tire curiosity or over-task belief, was his daily labour.
He talked of alliance with the family whose name he bore, and who had
lost their honors and estates, by the Hanoverian succession to the
crown of England.

I had seen too much of innovation and imposture, in France and Italy,
not to regard a man like this, with aversion and fear. The mind of my
friend was wavering and unsuspicious. She had lived at a distance from
scenes, where principles are hourly put to the test of experiment;
where all extremes of fortitude and pusillanimity are accustomed to
meet; where recluse virtue and speculative heroism give place as if by
magie, to the last excesses of debauchery and wickedness; where
pillage and murder are engrafted, on systems of all-embracing and
self-oblivious benevolence; and the good of mankind is professed to be
pursued, with bonds of association and covenants of secrecy. Hence my
friend had decided without the sanction of experience, had allowed
herself to wander into untried paths, and had hearkened to positions,
pregnant with destruction and ignominy.

It was not difficult to exhibit, in their true light, the enormous
errors of this man, and the danger of prolonging their intercourse.
Her assent to accompany me to England, was readily obtained. Too much
dispatch could not be used, but the disposal of her property must
first take place. This was necessarily productive of some delay.

I had been made, contrary to inclination, expert in the management of
all affairs, relative to property. My mother's lunacy, subsequent
disease and death, had imposed upon me obligations and cares, little
suitable to my sex and age. They could not be eluded or transferred to
others, and, by degrees, experience enlarged my knowledge and
familiarized my tasks.

It was agreed that I should visit and inspect my friend's estate, in
Jersey, while she remained in her present abode, to put an end to the
views and expectations of Ormond, and to make preparation for her
voyage. We were reconciled to a temporary separation, by the necessity
that prescribed it.

During our residence together, the mind of Constance was kept in
perpetual ferment. The second day after my departure, the turbulence
of her feelings began to subside, and she found herself at leisure to
pursue those measures which her present situation prescribed.

The time prefixed by Ormond for the termination of his absence, had
nearly arrived. Her resolutions respecting this man, lately formed,
now occurred to her. Her heart drooped as she revolved the necessity
of disuniting their fates; but that this disunion was proper, could
not admit of doubt. How information of her present views might be most
satisfactorily imparted to him, was a question not instantly decided.
She reflected on the impetuosity of his character; and conceived that
her intentions might be most conveniently unfolded in a letter. This
letter she immediately sat down to write. Just then the door opened,
and Ormond entered the apartment.

She was somewhat, and for a moment, startled by this abrupt and
unlooked for entrance. Yet she greeted him with pleasure. Her greeting
was received with coldness. A second glance at his countenance
informed her that his mind was somewhat discomposed.

Folding his hands on his breast, he stalked to the window, and looked
up at the moon. Presently he withdrew his gaze from this object, and
fixed them upon Constance. He spoke, but his words were produced by a
kind of effort:

Fit emblem, he exclaimed, of human versatility! One impediment is
gone. I hoped it was the only one, but no: The removal of that merely
made room for another. Let this be removed. Well: Fate will interplace
a third. All our toils will thus be frustrated, and the ruin will
finally redound upon our heads.--There he stopped.

This strain could not be interpreted by Constance. She smiled, and
without noticing his incoherences, proceeded to inquire into his
adventures during their separation. He listened to her, but his eyes,
fixed upon her's, and his solemnity of aspect were immoveable. When
she paused, he seated himself close to her, and grasped her hand with
a vehemence that almost pained her, said:

Look at me; steadfastly. Can you read my thoughts? Can your
discernment reach the bounds of my knowledge and the bottom of my
purposes? Catch you not a view of the monsters that are starting into
birth here (and he put his left hand to his forehead.) But you cannot.
Should I paint them to you verbally, you would call me jester or
deceiver. What pity that you have not instruments for piercing into

I presume, said Constance, affecting cheerfulness which she did not
feel, such instruments would be useless to me. You never scruple to
say what you think. Your designs are no sooner conceived than they are
expressed. All you know, all you wish, and all you purpose, are known
to others as soon as to yourself. No scruples of decorum; no foresight
of consequences, are obstacles in your way.

True, replied he, all obstacles are trampled under foot, but one.

What is the insuperable one?

Incredulity in him that hears. I must not say what will not be
credited. I must not relate feats and avow sehemes, when my hearer
will say, Those feats were never performed: These schemes are not
your's. I care not if the truth of my tenets and the practicability of
my purposes, be denied. Still I will openly maintain them: But when my
assertions will, themselves, be disbelieved; when it is denied, that I
adopt the creed and project the plans, which I affirm to be adopted
and projected by me, it is needless to affirm.

Tomorrow, I mean to ascertain the height of the lunar mountains, by
travelling to the top of them. Then I will station myself in the tract
of the last comet, and wait till its circumvolution suffers me to leap
upon it; Then, by walking on its surface, I will ascertain whether it
be hot enough to burn my soles. Do you believe that this can be done?


Do you believe, in consequence of my assertion, that I design to do
this, and that, in my apprehension, it is easy to be done?

Not; Unless I previously believe you to be lunatic.

Then why should I assert my purposes? Why speak, when the hearer will
infer nothing from my speech, but that I am either lunatic or liar?

In that predicament, silence is best.

In that predicament, I now stand. I am not going to unfold myself.
Just now, I pitied thee for want of eyes: 'Twas a foolish compassion.
Thou art happy, because thou seest not an inch before thee or
behind.--Here he was for a moment buried in thought; then breaking
from his reverie, he said: So; your father is dead?

True, said Constance, endeavoaring to suppress her rising emotions, he
is no more. It is so recent an event, that I imagined you a stranger
to it.

False imagination! Thinkest thou, I would refrain from knowing what so
nearly concerns us both? Perhaps your opinion of my ignorance extends
beyond this: Perhaps, I know not your fruitless search for a picture:
Perhaps, I neither followed you, nor led you to a being called Sophia
Courtland. I was not present at the meeting. I am unapprized of the
effects of your romantic passion for each other. I did not witness the
rapturous effusions and inexorable counsels of the new comer. I know
not the contents of the letter which you are preparing to write.--

As he spoke this, the accents of Ormond gradually augmented in
vehemence. His countenance bespoke a deepening inquietude and growing
passion. He stopped at the mention of the letter, because his voice
was overpowered by emotion. This pause afforded room for the
astonishment of Constance. Her interviews and conversations with me,
took place at seasons of general repose, when all doors were fast and
avenues shut, in the midst of silence, and in the bosom of retirement.
The theme of our discourse was, commonly, too sacred for any ears but
our own: Disclosures were of too intimate and delicate a nature, for
any but a female audience: they were too injurious to the fame and
peace of Ormond, for him to be admitted to partake of them: Yet his
words implied a full acquaintance with recent events, and with
purposes and deliberations, shrowded, as we imagined, in impenetrable

As soon as Constantia recovered from the confusion of these thoughts,
she eagerly questioned him: What do you know? How do you know what has
happened, or what is intended?

Poor Constance! he exclaimed, in a tone bitter and sarcastic. How
hopeless is thy ignorance! To enlighten thee is past my power. What do
I know? Every thing. Not a tittle has escaped me. Thy letter is
superfluous: I know its contents before they are written. I was to be
told that a soldier and a traveller, a man who refused his faith to
dreams, and his homage to shadows, merited only scorn and
forgetfulness. That thy affections and person were due to another;
that intercourse between us was henceforth to cease; that preparation
was making for a voyage to Britain, and that Ormond was to walk to his
grave alone!

In spite of harsh tones and inflexible features, these words were
accompanied with somewhat that betrayed a mind full of discord and
agony. Constantia's astonishment was mingled with dejection. The
discovery of a passion, deeper and less curable than she suspected;
the perception of embarrassments and difficulties in the path which
she had chosen, that had not previously occurred to her, threw her
mind into anxious suspense.

The measures she had previously concerted, were still approved. To
part from Ormond was enjoined by every dictate of discretion and duty.
An explanation of her motives and views, could not take place more
seasonably than at present. Every consideration of justice to herself
and humanity to Ormond, made it desirable that this interview should
be the last. By inexplicable means, he had gained a knowledge of her
intentions. It was expedient, therefore, to state them with clearness
and force. In what words this was to be done, was the subject of
momentary deliberation.

Her thoughts were discerned, and her speech anticipated by her
companion.--Why droopest thou, and why thus silent, Constance? The
secret of thy fate will never be detected. Till thy destiny be
finished, it will not be the topic of a single fear. But not for
thyself, but me, art thou concerned. Thou dreadest, yet determinest to
confirm my predictions of thy voyage to Europe, and thy severance from

Dismiss thy inquietudes on that score. What misery thy scorn and thy
rejection are able to inflict, is inflicted already. Thy decision was
known to me as soon as it was formed. Thy motives were known. Not an
argument or plea of thy counsellor, not a syllable of her invective,
not a sound of her persuasive rhetorick escaped my hearing. I know thy
decree to be immutable. As my doubts, so my wishes have taken their
flight. Perhaps, in the depth of thy ignorance, it was supposed, that
I should struggle to reverse thy purpose, by menaces or supplications.
That I should boast of the cruelty with which I should avenge an
imaginary wrong upon myself. No. All is very well: Go. Not a whisper
of objection or reluctance, shalt thou hear from me.

If I could think, said Constantia, with tremulous hesitation, that you
part from me without anger; that you see the rectitude of my

Anger! Rectitude. I pr'ythee peace. I know thou art going. I know that
all objection to thy purpose would be vain. Thinkest thou that thy
stay, undictated by love, the mere fruit of compassion, would afford
me pleasure or crown my wishes? No. I am not so dastardly a wretch.
There was something in thy power to bestow, but thy will accords not
with thy power. I merit not the boon, and thou refusest it. I am

Here Ormond fixed more significant eyes upon her. Poor Constance! he
continued. Shall I warn thee of the danger that awaits thee? For what
end! To elude it, is impossible. It will come, and thou, perhaps, wilt
be unhappy. Foresight, that enables not to shun, only pre-creates the

Come, it will. Though future, it knows not the empire of contingency.
An inexorable and immutable decree enjoins it. Perhaps, it is thy
nature to meet with calmness what cannot be shunned. Perhaps, when it
is passed, thy reason will perceive its irrevocable nature, and
restore thee to peace. Such is the conduct of the wise, but such, I
fear, the education of Constantia Dudley, will debar her from

Faign would I regard it as the test of thy wisdom. I look upon thy
past life. All the forms of genuine adversity have beset thy youth.
Poverty, disease, servile labour, a criminal and hapless parent, have
been evils which thou hast not ungracefully sustained. An absent
friend and murdered father, were added to thy list of woes, and here
thy courage was deficient. Thy soul was proof against substantial
misery, but sunk into helpless cowardice, at the sight of phantoms.

One more disaster remains. To call it by its true name would be
useless or pernicious. Useless, because thou wouldst pronouce its
occurrence impossible: Pernicious, because, if its possibility were
granted, the omen would distract thee with fear. How shall I describe
it? Is it loss of fame? No. The deed will be unwitnessed by an human
creature. Thy reputation will be spotless, for nothing will be done by
thee, unsuitable to the tenor of thy past life. Calumny will not be
heard to whisper. All that know thee, will be lavish of their eulogies
as ever. Their eulogies will be as justly merited. Of this merit thou
wilt entertain as just and as adequate conceptions as now.

It is no repetition of the evils thou hast already endured: It is
neither drudgery nor sickness, nor privation of friends. Strange
perverseness of human reason! It is an evil: It will be thought upon
with agony: It will close up all the sources of pleasurable
recollection: It will exterminate hope: It will endear oblivion, and
push thee into an untimely grave. Yet to grasp it is impossible. The
moment we inspect it nearly, it vanishes. Thy claims to human
approbation and divine applause, will be undiminished and unaltered by
it. The testimony of approving conscience, will have lost none of its
explicitness and energy. Yet thou wilt feed upon sighs: Thy tears will
flow without remission: Thou wilt grow enamoured of death, and perhaps
wilt anticipate the stroke of disease.

Yet, perhaps, my prediction is groundless as my knowledge. Perhaps,
thy discernment will avail, to make thee wise and happy. Perhaps, thou
wilt perceive thy privilege of sympathetic and intellectual activity,
to be untouched. Heaven grant the non-fulfilment of my prophecy, thy
disenthrallment from error, and the perpetuation of thy happiness.

Saying this, Ormond withdrew. His words were always accompanied with
gestures and looks, and tones, that fastened the attention of the
hearer, but the terms of his present discourse, afforded,
independently of gesticulation and utterance, sufficient motives to
attention and remembrance. He was gone, but his image was contemplated
by Constance: His words still rung in her ears.

The letter she designed to compose, was rendered, by this interview,
unnecessary. Meanings, of which she and her friend alone were
conscious, were discovered by Ormond, through some other medium than
words: Yet that was impossible: A being, unendowed with preternatural
attributes, could gain the information which this man possessed, only
by the exertion of his senses.

All human precautions had been used, to baffle the attempts of any
secret witness. She recalled to mind, the circumstances, in which
conversations with her friend had taken place. All had been
retirement, secrecy and silence. The hours usually dedicated to sleep,
had been devoted to this better purpose. Much had been said, in a
voice, low and scarcely louder than a whisper. To have overheard it at
the distance of a few feet, was apparently impossible.

Their conversations had not been recorded by her. It could not be
believed, that this had been done by Sophia Courtland. Had Ormond and
her friend met, during the interval that had elapsed, between her
separation from the latter, and her meeting with the former? Human
events are conjoined by links, imperceptible to keenest eyes. Of
Ormond's means of information, she was wholly unapprized. Perhaps,
accident would, sometime, unfold them. One thing was incontestable.
That her schemes and her reasons for adopting them, were known to him.

What unforeseen effects had that knowledge produced! In what ambiguous
terms had he couched his prognostics, of some mighty evil that awaited
her! He had given a terrible, but contradictory description, of her
destiny. An event was to happen, akin to no calamity which she had
already endured, disconnected with all which the imagination of man is
accustomed to deprecate, capable of urging her to suicide, and yet of
a kind, which left it undecided, whether she would regard it with

What reliance should she place upon prophetic incoherencies, thus
wild? What precautions should she take, against a danger thus
inscrutable and imminent?


These incidents and reflections were speedily transmitted to me. I had
always believed the character and machinations of Ormond, to be worthy
of caution and fear. His means of information I did not pretend, and
thought it useless to investigate. We cannot hide our actions and
thoughts, from one of powerful sagacity, whom the detection
sufficiently interests, to make him use all the methods of detection
in his power. The study of concealment, is, in all cases, fruitless or
hurtful. All that duty enjoins, is to design and to execute nothing,
which may not be approved by a divine and omniscient observer. Human
scrutiny is neither to be solicited, nor shunned. Human approbation or
censure, can never be exempt from injustice, because our limited
perceptions debar us from a thorough knowledge of any actions and
motives but our own.

On reviewing what had passed, between Constantia and me, I recollected
nothing incompatible with purity and rectitude. That Ormond was
apprized of all that had passed, I by no means inferred from the
tenour of his conversation with Constantia, nor, if this had been
incontestably proved, should I have experienced any trepidation or
anxiety on that account.

His obscure and indirect menaces of evil, were of more importance. His
discourse on this topic, seemed susceptible only of two constructions.
Either he intended some fatal mischief, and was willing to torment her
by fears, while he concealed from her the nature of her danger, that
he might hinder her from guarding her safety, by suitable precautions;
or, being hopeless of rendering her propitious to his wishes, his
malice was satisfied with leaving her a legacy of apprehension and

Constantia's unacquaintance with the doctrines of that school, in
which Ormond was probably instructed, led her to regard the conduct of
this man, with more curiosity and wonder, than fear. She saw nothing
but a disposition to sport with her ignorance and bewilder her with

I do not believe myself destitute of courage. Rightly to estimate the
danger and encounter it with firmness, are worthy of a rational being;
but to place our security in thoughtlessness and blindness, is only
less ignoble than cowardice. I could not forget the proofs of
violence, which accompanied the death of Mr. Dudley. I could not
overlook, in the recent conversation with Constance, Ormond's allusion
to her murdered father. It was possible that the nature of this death,
had been accidentally imparted to him; but it was likewise possible,
that his was the knowledge of one who performed the act.

The enormity of this deed, appeared by no means incongruous with the
sentiments of Ormond. Human life is momentous or trivial in our eyes,
according to the course which our habits and opinions have taken.
Passion greedily accepts, and habit readily offers, the sacrifice of
another's life, and reason obeys the impulse of education and desire.

A youth of eighteen, a volunteer in a Russian army, encamped in
Bessarabia, made prey of a Tartar girl, found in the field of a recent
battle: Conducting her to his quarters, he met a friend, who, on some
pretence, claimed the victim: From angry words they betook themselves
to swords. A combat ensued, in which the first claimant ran his
antagonist through the body. He then bore his prize unmolested away,
and having exercised brutality of one kind, upon the helpless victim,
stabbed her to the heart, as an offering to the manes of Sarsefield,
the friend whom he had slain. Next morning, willing more signally to
expiate his guilt, he rushed alone upon a troop of Turkish foragers,
and brought away five heads, suspended, by their gory locks, to his
horse's mane. These he cast upon the grave of Sarsefield, and
conceived himself fully to have expiated yesterday's offence. In
reward for his prowess, the General gave him a commission in the
Cossack troops. This youth was Ormond; and such is a specimen of his
exploits, during a military career of eight years, in a warfare the
most savage and implacable, and, at the same time, the most iniquitous
and wanton which history records.

With passions and habits like these, the life of another was a
trifling sacrifice to vengeance or impatience. How Mr. Dudley had
excited the resentment of Ormond, by what means the assassin had
accomplished his intention, without awakening alarm or incurring
suspicion, it was not for me to discover. The inextricability of human
events, the imperviousness of cunning, and the obduracy of malice, I
had frequent occasions to remark.

I did not labour to vanquish the security of my friend. As to
precautions they were useless. There was no fortress, guarded by
barriers of stone and iron, and watched by centinels that never slept,
to which she might retire from his stratagems. If there were such a
retreat, it would scarcely avail her against a foe, circumspect and
subtle as Ormond.

I pondered on the condition of my friend. I reviewed the incidents of
her life. I compared her lot with that of others. I could not but
discover a sort of incurable malignity in her fate. I felt as if it
were denied to her to enjoy a long life or permanent tranquillity. I
asked myself, what she had done, entitling her to this incessant
persecution? Impatience and murmuring took place of sorrow and fear in
my heart. When I reflected, that all human agency was merely
subservient to a divine purpose, I fell into fits of accusation and

This injustice was transient, and soberer views convinced me that
every scheme, comprizing the whole, must be productive of partial and
temporary evil. The sufferings of Constance were limited to a moment;
they were the unavoidable appendages of terrestrial existence; they
formed the only avenue to wisdom, and the only claim to uninterrupted
fruition, and eternal repose in an after-scene.

The course of my reflections, and the issue to which they led, were
unforeseen by myself. Fondly as I doated upon this woman, methought I
could resign her to the grave without a murmur or a tear. While my
thoughts were calmed by resignation, and my fancy occupied with
nothing but the briefness of that space, and evanescence of that time
which severs the living from the dead, I contemplated, almost with
complacency, a violent or untimely close to her existence.

This loftiness of mind could not always be accomplished or constantly
maintained. One effect of my fears, was to hasten my departure to
Europe. There existed no impediment but the want of a suitable
conveyance. In the first packet that should leave America, it was
determined to secure a passage. Mr. Melbourne consented to take charge
of Constantia's property, and, after the sale of it, to transmit to
her the money that should thence arise.

Meanwhile, I was anxious that Constance should leave her present abode
and join me in New-York. She willingly adopted this arrangement, but
conceived it necessary to spend a few days at her house in Jersey. She
could reach the latter place without much deviation from the streight
road, and she was desirous of re-surveying a spot where many of her
infantile days had been spent.

This house and domain I have already mentioned to have once belonged
to Mr. Dudley. It was selected with the judgment and adorned with the
taste of a disciple of the schools of Florence and Vincenza. In his
view, cultivation was subservient to the picturesque, and a mansion
was erected, eminent for nothing but chastity of ornaments, and
simplicity of structure. The massive parts were of stone; the outer
surfaces were smooth, snow-white, and diversified by apertures and
cornices, in which a cement uncommonly tenacious was wrought into
proportions the most correct and forms the most graceful. The floors,
walls and cielings, consisted of a still more exquisitely tempered
substance, and were painted by Mr. Dudley's own hand. All appendages
of this building, as seats, tables and cabinets, were modelled by the
owner's particular direction, and in a manner scrupulously classical.

He had scarcely entered on the enjoyment of this splendid possession,
when it was ravished away. No privation was endured with more
impatience than this; but, happily, it was purchased by one who left
Mr. Dudley's arrangements unmolested, and who shortly after conveyed
it entire to Ormond. By him it was finally appropriated to the use of
Helena Cleves, and now, by a singular contexture of events, it had
reverted to those hands, in which the death of the original
proprietor, if no other change had been made in his condition, would
have left it. The farm still remained in the tenure of a German
emigrant, who held it partly on condition of preserving the garden and
mansion in safety and in perfect order.

This retreat was now re-visited by Constance, after an interval of
four years. Autumn had made some progress, but the aspect of nature
was, so to speak, more significant than at any other season. She was
agreeably accommodated under the tenant's roof, and found a nameless
pleasure in traversing spaces, in which every object prompted an
endless train of recollections.

Her sensations were not foreseen. They led to a state of mind,
inconsistent, in some degree, with the projects adopted in obedience
to the suggestions of her friend. Every thing in this scene had been
created and modelled by the genius of her father. It was a kind of
fane, sanctified by his imaginary presence.

To consign the fruits of his industry and invention to foreign and
unsparing hands, seemed a kind of sacrilege, for which she almost
feared that the dead would rise to upbraid her. Those images which
bind us to our natal soil, to the abode of our innocent and careless
youth, were recalled to her fancy by the scenes which she now beheld.
These were enforced by considerations of the dangers which attended
her voyage, from storms and from enemies, and from the tendency to
revolution and war, which seemed to actuate all the nations of Europe.
Her native country was by no means exempt from similar tendencies, but
these evils were less imminent, and its manners and government, in
their present modifications, were unspeakably more favorable to the
dignity and improvement of the human race, than those which prevailed
in any part of the ancient world.

My solicitations and my obligation to repair to England, overweighed
her objections, but her new reflections led her to form new
determinations with regard to this part of her property. She concluded
to retain possession, and hoped that some future event would allow her
to return to this favorite spot, without forfeiture of my society. An
abode of some years in Europe, would more eminently qualify her for
the enjoyment of retirement and safety in her native country. The time
that should elapse before her embarkation, she was desirous of passing
among the shades of this romantic retreat.

I was, by no means, rcconciled to this proceeding. I loved my friend
too well to endure any needless separation without repining. In
addition to this, the image of Ormond haunted my thoughts, and gave
birth to incessant but indefinable fears. I believed that her safety
would very little depend upon the nature of her abode, or the number
or watchfulness of her companions. My nearness to her person would
frustrate no stratagem, nor promote any other end than my own
entanglement in the same fold. Still, that I was not apprized, each
hour, of her condition, that her state was lonely and sequestered,
were sources of disquiet, the obvious remedy to which was her coming
to New-York. Preparations for departure were assigned to me, and these
required my continuance in the city.

Once a week, Laffert, her tenant, visited, for purposes of traffic,
the city. He was the medium of our correspondence. To him I entrusted
a letter, in which my dissatisfaction at her absence and the causes
which gave it birth, were freely confessed.

The confidence of safety seldom deserted my friend. Since her
mysterious conversation with Ormond, he had utterly vanished.
Previously to that interview, his visits or his letters were incessant
and punctual; but since, no token was given that he existed. Two
months had elapsed. He gave her no reason to expect a cessation of
intercourse. He had parted from her with his usual abruptness and
informality. She did not conceive it incumbent on her to search him
out, but she would not have been displeased with an opportunity to
discuss with him more fully the motives of her conduct. This
opportunity had been hitherto denied.

Her occupations, in her present retreat, were, for the most part
dictated by caprice or by chance. The mildness of Autumn permitted her
to ramble, during the day, from one rock and one grove to another.
There was a luxury in musing, and in the sensations which the scenery
and silence produced, which, in consequence of her long estrangement
from them, were accompanied with all the attractions of novelty, and
from which she not consent to withdraw.

In the evening, she usually retired to the mansion, and shut herself
up in that apartment, which, in the original structure of the house,
had been designed for study, and no part of whose furniture had been
removed or displaced. It was a kind of closet on the second floor,
illuminated by a spacious window, through which a landscape of
uncommon amplitude and beauty was presented to the view. Here the
pleasures of the day were revived, by recalling and enumerating them
in letters to her friend: She always quitted this recess with
reluctance, and, seldom, till the night was half-spent.

One evening she retired hither when the sun had just dipped beneath
the horizon. Her implements of writing were prepared, but before the
pen was assumed, her eyes rested for a moment on the variegated hues,
which were poured out upon the western sky, and upon the scene of
intermingled waters, copses and fields. The view comprized a part of
the road which led to this dwelling. It was partially and distantly
seen, and the passage of horses or men, was betokened chiefly by the
dust which was raised by their footsteps.

A token of this kind now caught her attention. It fixed her eye,
chiefly by the picturesque effect produced by interposing its
obscurity between her and the splendours which the sun had left.
Presently, she gained a faint view of a man and horse. This
circumstance laid no claim to attention, and she was withdrawing her
eye, when the traveller's stopping and dismounting at the gate, made
her renew her scrutiny. This was reinforced by something in the figure
and movements of the horseman, which reminded her of Ormond.

She started from her seat with some degree of palpitation. Whence this
arose, whether from fear or from joy, or from intermixed emotions, it
would not be easy to ascertain. Having entered the gate, the visitant,
remounting his horse, set the animal on full speed. Every moment
brought him nearer, and added to her first belief. He stopped not till
he reached the mansion. The person of Ormond was distinctly

An interview, at this dusky and lonely hour, in circumstances so
abrupt and unexpected, could not fail to surpize, and, in some degree,
to alarm. The substance of his last conversation was recalled. The
evils which were darkly and ambiguously predicted, thronged to her
memory. It seemed as if the present moment was to be, in some way,
decisive of her fate. This visit, she did not hesitate to suppose,
designed for her, but somewhat uncommonly momentous, must have
prompted him to take so long a journey.

The rooms on the lower floor were dark, the windows and doors being
fastened. She had entered the house by the principal door, and this
was the only one, at present, unlocked. The room in which she sat, was
over the hall, and the massive door beneath could not be opened,
without noisy signals. The question that occurred to her, by what
means Ormond would gain admittance to her presence, she supposed would
be instantly decided. She listened to hear his footsteps on the
pavement, or the creaking of hinges. The silence, however, continued
profound as before.

After a minute's pause, she approached the window more nearly, and
endeavoured to gain a view of the space before the house. She saw
nothing but the horse, whose bridle was thrown over his neck, and who
was left at liberty to pick up what scanty herbage the lawn afforded
to his hunger. The rider had disappeared.

It now occurred to her, that this visit had a purpose different from
that which she at first conjectured. It was easily conceived, that
Ormond was unacquainted with her residence at this spot. The knowledge
could only be imparted to him, by indirect or illicit means. That
these means had been employed by him, she was by no means authorized
to infer from the silence and distance he had lately maintained. But
if an interview with her, were not the purpose of his coming, how
should she interpret it?


While oocupied with these reflections, the light hastily disappeared,
and darkness, rendered, by a cloudy atmosphere, uncommonly intense,
succeeded. She had the means of lighting a lamp, that hung against the
wall, but had been too much immersed in thought, to notice the
deepening of the gloom. Recovering from her reverie, she looked around
her with some degree of trepidation, and prepared to strike a spark,
that would enable her to light her lamp.

She had hitherto indulged an habitual indifference to danger. Now the
presence of Ormond, the unknown purpose that led him hither, and the
defencelessness of her condition, inspired her with apprehensions, to
which she had hitherto been a stranger. She had been accustomed to
pass many nocturnal hours in this closet. Till now, nothing had
occurred, that made her enter it with circumspection, or continue in
it with reluctance.

Her sensations were no longer tranquil. Each minute that she spent in
this recess, appeared to multiply her hazards. To linger here,
appeared to her the height of culpable temerity. She hastily resolved
to return to the farmer's dwelling, and, on the morrow, to repair to
New-York. For this end, she was desirous to produce a light. The
materials were at hand.

She lifted her hand to strike the flint, when her ear caught a sound,
which betokened the opening of the door, that led into the next
apartment. Her motion was suspended, and she listened as well as a
throbbing heart would permit. That Ormond's was the hand that opened,
was the first suggestion of her fears. The motives of this
unseasonable entrance, could not be reconciled with her safety. He had
given no warning of his approach, and the door was opened with
tardiness and seeming caution.

Sounds continued, of which no distinct conception could be obtained,
or the cause that produced them assigned. The floors of every
apartment being composed, like the walls and ceiling, of cement,
footsteps were rendered almost undistinguishable. It was plain,
however, that some one approached her own door.

The panic and confusion that now invaded her, was owing to surprize,
and to the singularity of her situation. The mansion was desolate and
lonely. It was night. She was immersed in darkness. She had not the
means, and was unaccustomed to the office, of repelling personal
injuries. What injuries she had reason to dread, who was the agent,
and what were his motives, were subjects of vague and incoherent

Meanwhile, low and imperfect sounds, that had in them more of
inanimate than human, assailed her ear. Presently they ceased. An
inexplicable fear deterred her from calling. Light would have
exercised a friendly influence. This, it was in her power to produce,
but not without motion and noise, and these, by occasioning the
discovery of her being in the closet, might possibly enhance her

Conceptions like these, were unworthy of the mind of Constance. An
interval of silence succeeded, interrupted only by the whistling of
the blast without. It was sufficient for the restoration of her
courage. She blushed at the cowardice which had trembled at a sound.
She considered that Ormond might, indeed, be near, but that he was
probably unconscious of her situation. His coming was not with the
circumspection of an enemy. He might be acquainted with the place of
her retreat, and had come to obtain an interview, with no clandestine
or myterious purposes. The noises she had heard, had, doubtless,
proceeded from the next apartment, but might be produced by some
harmless or vagrant creature.

These considerations restored her tranquillity. They enabled her,
deliberately, to create a light, but they did not disuade her from
leaving the house. Omens of evil seemed to be connected with this
solitary and dark some abode: Besides, Ormond had unquestionably
entered upon this scene. It could not be doubted that she was the
object of his visit. The farm-house was a place of meeting, more
suitable and safe than any other. Thither, therefore, she determined
immediately to return.

The closet had but one door, and this led into the chamber where the
sounds had arisen. Through this chamber, therefore, she was obliged to
pass, in order to reach the stair-case, which terminated in the hall

Bearing the light in her left hand, she withdrew the bolt of the door,
and opened. In spite of courageous efforts, she opened with
unwillingness, and shuddered to throw a glance forward or advance a
step into the room. This was not needed, to reveal to her the cause of
her late disturbance. Her eye instantly lighted on the body of a man,
supine, motionless, stretched on the floor, close to the door through
which she was about to pass.

A spectacle like this, was qualified to startle her. She shrunk back
and fixed a more steadfast eye, upon the prostrate person. There was
no mark of blood or of wounds, but there was something in the
attitude, more significant of death than of sleep. His face rested on
the floor, and his ragged locks concealed what part of his visage was
not hidden by his posture. His garb was characterized by fashionable
elegance, but was polluted with dust.

The image that first occurred to her, was that of Ormond. This
instantly gave place to another, which was familiar to her
apprehension. It was at first too indistinctly seen to suggest a name.
She continued to gaze and to be lost in fearful astonishment. Was this
the person whose entrance had been overheard, and who had dragged
himself hither to die at her door? Yet, in that case, would not groans
and expiring efforts have testified his condition, and invoked her
succour? Was he not brought hither in the arms of his assassin? She
mused upon the possible motives that induced some one thus to act, and
upon the connection that might subsist, between her destiny and that
of the dead.

Her meditations, however fruitless, in other respects, could not fail
to shew her the propriety of hastening from this spot. To scrutinize
the form or face of the dead, was a task, to which her courage was
unequal. Suitably accompanied and guarded, she would not scruple to
return and ascertain, by the most sedulous examination, the causes of
this ominous event.

She stept over the breathless corpse, and hurried to the stair-case.
It became her to maintain the command of her muscles and joints, and
to proceed without faultering or hesitation. Scarcely had she reached
the entrance of the hall, when, casting anxious looks forward, she
beheld an human figure. No serutiny was requisite to inform her, that
this was Ormond.

She stopped. He approached her with looks and gestures, placid but
solemn. There was nothing in his countenance rugged or malignant. On
the contrary, there were tokens of compassion.

So, said he, I expected to meet you. A light, gleaming from the
window, marked you out. This, and Laffert's directions, have guided

What, said Constance, with discomposure in her accent, was your motive
for seeking me?

Have you forgotten, said Ormond, what past at our last interview? The
evil that I then predicted is at hand. Perhaps, you were incredulous:
You accounted me a madman or deciever: Now I am come to witness the
fulfilment of my words, and the completion of your destiny. To rescue
you, I have not come: That is not within the compass of human powers.

Poor Constantia! he continued, in tones that manifseted geuuine
sympathy, look upon thyself as lost. The toils that beset thee are
inextricable. Summon up thy patience to endure the evil. Now will the
last and heaviest trial betide thy fortitude. I could weep for thee,
if my manly nature would permit. This is the scene of thy calamity,
and this the hour.

These words were adapted to excite curiosity mingled with terror.
Ormond's deportment was of an unexampled tenor, as well as that evil
which he had so ambiguously predicted. He offered not protection from
danger, and yet gave no proof of being himself an agent or auxiliary.
After a minute's pause, Constantia recovering a firm tone, said:

Mr. Ormond! Your recent deportment but ill accords with your
professions of sincerity and plain dealing. What your purpose is, or
whether you have any purpose, I am at a loss to conjecture. Whether
you most deserve censure or ridicule, is a point which you afford me
not the means of deciding, and to which, unless on your own account, I
am indifferent. If you are willing to be more explicit, or if there be
any topic on which you wish further to converse, I will not refuse
your company to Laffert's dwelling. Longer to remain here, would be
indiscrete and absurd.

So saying, she motioned towards the door. Ormond was passive, and
seemed indisposed to prevent her departure, till she laid her hand
upon the lock. He then, without moving from his place, exclaimed:

Stay. Must this meeting, which fate ordains to be the last, be so
short? Must a time and place so suitable, for what remains to be said
and done, be neglected or misused? No. You charge me with duplicity,
and deem my conduct either ridiculous or criminal. I have stated my
reasons for concealment, but these have failed to convince you. Well.
Here is now an end to doubt. All ambiguities are preparing to vanish.

When Ormond began to speak, Constance paused to hearken to him. His
vehemence was not of that nature, which threatened to obstruct her
passage. It was by intreaty that he apparently endeavoured to detain
her steps, and not by violence. Hence arose her patience to listen. He

Constance! thy father is dead. Art thou not desirous of detecting the
authour of his fate? Will it afford thee no consolation to know that
the deed is punished? Wilt thou suffer me to drag the murderer to thy
feet? Thy justice will be gratified by this sacrifice. Somewhat will
be due to him who avenged thy wrong in the blood of the perpetrator?
What sayest thou? Grant me thy permission, and, in a moment, I will
drag him hither.

These words called up the image of the person, whose corpse she had
lately seen. It was readily conceived that to him Ormond alluded, but
this was the assassin of her father, and his crime had been detected
and punished by Ormond! These images had no other effect than to urge
her departure: She again applied her hand to the lock, and said:

This scene must not be prolonged. My father's death I desire not to
hear explained or to see revenged, but whatever information you are
willing or able to communicate, must be deferred.

Nay, interrupted Ormond, with augmented vehemence, art thou equally
devoid of curiosity and justice? Thinkest thou, that the enmity which
bereft thy father of life, will not seek thy own? There are evils
which I cannot prevent thee from enduring, but there are, likewise,
ills which my counsel will enable thee and thy friend to shun. Save me
from witnessing thy death. Thy father's destiny is sealed; all that
remained was to punish his assassin: But thou and thy Sophia still
live. Why should ye perish by a like stroke?

This intimation was sufficient to arrest the steps of Constance. She
withdrew her hand from the door, and fixed eyes of the deepest anxiety
on Ormond;--What mean you? How am I to understand--

Ah! said Ormond, I see thou wilt consent to stay. Thy detention shall
not be long. Remain where thou art during one moment; merely while I
drag hither thy enemy, and shew thee a visage which thou wilt not be
slow to recognize. Saying this, he hastily ascended the staircase, and
quickly passed beyond her sight.

Deportment thus mysterious, could not fail of bewildering her
thoughts. There was somewhat in the looks and accents of Ormond,
different from former appearances: tokens of an hidden purpose and a
smothered meaning, were perceptible: A mixture of the inoffensive and
the lawless which added to the loneliness and silence that encompassed
her, produced a faultering emotion. Her curiosity was overpowered by
her fear, and the resolution was suddenly conceived, of seizing this
opportunity to escape.

A third time she put her hand to the lock and attempted to open. The
effort was ineffectual. The door that was accustomed to obey the
gentlest touch, was now immoveable. She had lately unlocked and past
through it. Her eager inspection convinced her that the principal bolt
was still withdrawn, but a smaller one was now perceived, of whose
existence she had not been apprized, and over which her key had no

Now did she first harbour a fear that was intelligible in its
dictates. Now did she first perceive herself sinking in the toils of
some lurking enemy. Hope whispered that this foe was not Ormond. His
conduct had bespoken no willingness to put constraint upon her steps.
He talked not as if he were aware of this obstruction, and yet his
seeming acquiescence might have flowed from a knowledge that she had
no power to remove beyond his reach.

He warned her of danger to her life, of which he was her self-
appointed rescuer. His counsel was to arm her with sufficient caution;
the peril that awaited her was imminent; this was the time and place
of its occurrence, and here she was compelled to remain, till the
power that fastened, would condescend to loose the door. There were
other avenues to the hall. These were accustomed to be locked, but
Ormond had found access, and if all continued fast, it was
incontestable that he was the authour of this new impediment.

The other avenues were hastily examined. All were bolted and locked.
The first impulse led her to call for help from without, but the
mansion was distant from Laffert's habitation. This spot was wholly
unfrequented. No passenger was likely to be stationed where her call
could be heard. Besides, this forcible detention might operate for a
short time, and be attended with no mischievous consequences. Whatever
was to come, it was her duty to collect her courage and encounter it.

The steps of Ormond above now gave tokens of his approach. Vigilant
observance of this man was all that her situation permitted. A
vehement effort restored her to some degree of composure. Her stifled
palpitations allowed her steadfastly to notice him, as he now
descended the stair, bearing a lifeless body in his arms. There, said
he, as he cast it at her feet, Whose countenance is that? Who would
imagine that features like those, belonged to an assassin and

Closed eyelids and fallen muscles, could not hide from her lineaments
so often seen. She shrunk back and exclaimed--Thomas Craig!

A pause succeeded, in which she alternately gazed at the countenance
of this unfortunate wretch and at Ormond. At length, the latter

Well, my girl; hast thou examined him? Dost thou recognize a friend or
an enemy?

I know him well; but how came this? What purpose brought him hither?
Who was the authour of his fate?

Have I not already told thee that Ormond was his own avenger and
thine? To thee and to me he has been a robber. To him thy father is
indebted for the loss not only of property but life. Did crimes like
these merit a less punishment? And what recompense is due to him whose
vigilance pursucd him hither, and made him pay for his offences with
his blood? What benefit have I recieved at thy hand to authorize me,
for thy sake, to take away his life?

No benefit recieved from me, said Constance, would justify such an
act. I should have abhored myself for annexing to my benefits, so
bloody a condition. It calls for no gratitude or recompense. Its
suitable attendant is remorse. That he is a thief, I know but too
well: that my father died by his hands is incredible.--No motives or

Why so? interrupted Ormond. Does not sleep seal up the senses? Cannot
closets be unlocked at midnight? Cannot adjoining houses communicate
by doors? Cannot these doors be hidden from suspicion by a sheet of

These words were of startling and abundant import. They reminded her
of circumstances in her father's chamber, which sufficiently explained
the means by which his life was assailed. The closet, and its canvass-
covered wall; the adjoining house untenanted and shut up--but this
house, though unoccupied, belonged to Ormond! From the inferences
which flowed hence, her attention was withdrawn by her companion, who

Do these means imply the interposal of a miracle? His motives? What
scruples can be expected from a man innured, from infancy, to cunning
and pillage? Will he abstain from murder when urged by excruciating
poverty, by menaces of persecution: by terror of expiring on the

Tumultuous suspicions were now awakened in the mind of Constance. Her
faultering voice scarcely allowed her to ask: How know you that Craig
was thus guilty; that these were his incitements and means?--

Ormond's solemnity now gave place to a tone of sarcasm and looks of
exultation: Poor Constance! Thou art still pestered with incredulity
and doubts! My veracity is still in question! My knowledge, girl, is
infallible. That these were his means of access I cannot be ignorant,
for I pointed them out. He was urged by these motives, for they were
stated and enforced by me. His was the deed, for I stood beside him
when it was done.

These, indeed, were terms that stood in no need of further
explanation. The veil that shrouded this formidable being, was lifted
high enough to make him be regarded with inexplicable horror. What his
future acts should be, how his omens of ill were to be solved, were
still involved in uncertainty.

In the midst of the fears for her own safety, by which Constantia was
now assailed, the image of her father was revived; keen regret and
vehement upbraiding were conjured up:

Craig then was the instrument, and your's the instigation that
destroyed my father! In what had he offended you? What cause had he
given for resentment?

Cause! replied he, with impetuous accents, Resentment! None. My motive
was benevolent: My deed conferred a benefit. I gave him sight and took
away his life, from motives equally wise. Know you not that Ormond was
fool enough to set value on the affections of a woman? These were
sought with preposterous anxiety and endless labour. Among other
facilitators of his purpose, he summoned gratitude to his aid. To
snatch you from poverty, to restore his sight to your father, were
expected to operate as incentives to love.

But here I was the dupe of error. A thousand prejudices stood in my
way. These, provided our intercourse were not obstructed, I hoped to
subdue. The rage of innovation seized your father: this, blended with
a mortal antipathy to me, made him labour to seduce you from the bosom
of your peaceful country: to make you enter on a boisterous sea; to
visit lands where all is havock and hostility. To snatch you from the
influence of my arguments.

This new obstacle I was bound to remove. While revolving the means,
chance and his evil destiny threw Craig in my way. I soon convinced
him that his reputation and his life were in my hands. His retention
of these depended upon my will; on the performance of conditions which
I prescribed.

My happiness and your's, depended on your concurrence with my wishes.
Your father's life was an obstacle to your concurrence. For killing
him, therefore, I may claim your gratitude. His death was a due and
disinterested offering, at the altar of your felicity and mine.

My deed was not injurious to him. At his age, death, whose coming, at
some period, is inevitable, could not be distant. To make it
unforeseen and brief, and void of pain; to preclude the torments of a
lingering malady; a slow and visible descent to the grave; was the
dictates of beneficence. But of what value was a continuance of his
life? Either you would have gone with him to Europe, or have staid at
home with me. In the first case, his life would have been rapidly
consumed by perils and cares. In the second, separation from you, and
union with me, a being so detestable, would equally have poisoned his

Craig's cowardice and crimes, made him a pliant and commodious tool. I
pointed out the way. The unsuspected door, which led into the closet
of your father's chamber, was made by my direction, during the life of
Hellen. By this avenue I was wont to post myself, where all your
conversations could be overheard. By this avenue, an entrance and
retreat were afforded to the agent of my newest purpose.

Fool that I was! I solaced myself with the belief that all impediments
were now smoothed, when a new enemy appeared: My folly lasted as long
as my hope. I saw that to gain your affections, fortified by
antiquated scruples, and obsequious to the guidance of this new
monitor, was impossible. It is not my way to toil after that which is
beyond my reach. If the greater good be inaccessible, I learn to be
contented with the less.

I have served you with successless sedulity. I have set an engine in
act to obliterate an obstacle to your felicity, and lay your father at
rest. Under my guidance, this engine was productive only of good.
Governed by itself or by another, it will only work you harm. I have,
therefore, hastened to destroy it. Lo! it is now before you motionless
and impotent.

For this complexity of benefit I look for no reward. I am not tired of
well-doing. Having ceased to labour for an unattainable good, I have
come hither to possess myself of all that I now crave, and by the same
deed to afford you an illustrious opportunity to signalize your wisdom
and your fortitude.

During this speech, the mind of Constance became more deeply pervaded
with dread of some over-hanging but incomprehensible evil. The
strongest impulse was, to gain a safe asylum, at a distance from this
spot, and from the presence of this extraordinary being. This impulse
was followed by the recollection, that her liberty was taken away:
That egress from the hall was denied her, and that this restriction
might be part of some conspiracy of Ormond, against her life.

Security from danger like this, would be, in the first place, sought,
by one of Constantia's sex and opinions, in flight. This had been
rendered, by some fatal chance, or by the precautions of her foe,
impracticable. Stratagem or force was all that remained, to elude or
disarm her adversary. For the contrivance and exeention of frauds, all
the habits of her life and all the maxims of her education, had
conspired to unfit her. Her force of muscles would avail her nothing,
against the superior energy of Ormond.

She remembered that to inflict death, was no iniquitous exertson of
self-defence, and that the pen-knife which she held in her hand, was
capable of this service. She had used it to remove any lurking
obstruction in the wards of her key, supposing, for a time, this to be
the cause of her failing to withdraw the bolt of the door. This
resource, was, indeed, scarcely less disastrous and deplorable, than
any fate from which it could rescue her. Some uncertainty still
involved the intentions of Ormond. As soon as he paused, she spoke:

How am I to understand this prelude? Let me know the full extent of my
danger; why it is that I am hindered from leaving this house, and why
this interview was sought.

Ah! Constance! This, indeed, is merely prelude to a scene that is to
terminate my influence over thy fate. When this is past, I have sworn
to part with thee forever. Art thou still dubious of my purpose? Art
thou not a woman? And have I not intreated for thy love, and been

Canst thou imagine that I aim at thy life? My avowals of love were
sincere; my passion was vehement and undisguised. It gave dignity and
value to a gift in thy power, as a woman, to bestow. This has been
denied. That gift has lost none of its value in my eyes. What thou
refusedst to bestow, it is in my power to extort. I came for that end.
When this end is accomplished, I will restore thee to liberty.

These words were accompanied by looks, that rendered all explanation
of their meaning useless. The evil reserved for her, hitherto obscured
by half-disclosed and contradictory attributes, was now sufficiently
apparent. The truth in this respect unveiled itself with the rapidity
and brightness of an electrical flash.

She was silent. She cast her eyes at the windows and doors. Escape
through them was hopeless. She looked at those lineaments of Ormond
which evinced his disdain of supplication and inexorable passions. She
felt that intreaty and argument would be vain. That all appeals to his
compassion and benevolence would counteract her purpose, since, in the
unexampled conformation of this man's mind, these principles were made
subservient to his most flagitious designs. Considerations of justice
and pity were made, by a fatal perverseness of reasoning, champions
and bul warks of his most atrocious mistakes.

The last extremes of opposition, the most violent expedients for
defence, would be justified by being indispensable. To find safety for
her honor, even in the blood of an assailant, was the prescription of
duty. The equity of this species of defence, was not, in the present
confusion of her mind, a subject of momentary doubt.

To forewarn him of her desperate purpose, would be to furnish him with
means of counter-action. Her weapon would easily be wrested from her
feeble hand. Ineffectual opposition would only precipitate her evil
destiny. A rage, contented with nothing less than her life, might be
awakened in his bosom. But was not this to be desired? Death, untimely
and violent, was better than the loss of honor.

This thought led to a new series of reflections. She involuntarily
shrunk from the act of killing, but would her efforts to destroy her
adversary, be effectual? Would not his strength and dexterity, easily
repel or elude them? Her power, in this respect, was questionable, but
her power was undeniably sufficient to a different end. The
instrument, which could not rescue her from this injury, by the
destruction of another, might save her from it by her own destruction.

These thoughts rapidly occurred, but the resolution to which they led,
was scarcely formed, when Ormond advanced towards her. She recoiled a
few steps, and, shewing the knife which she held, said:

Ormond! Beware! Know that my unalterable resolution is, to die
uninjured. I have the means in my power. Stop where you are; one step
more, and I plunge this knife into my heart. I know that to contend
with your strength or your reason, would be vain. To turn this weapon
against you, I should not fear, if I were sure of success; but to that
I will not trust. To save a greater good by the sacrifice of life, is
in my power, and that sacrifice shall be made.

Poor Constance! replied Ormond, in a tone of contempt: So! thou
preferrest thy imaginary honor to life! To escape this injury without
a name or substance: Without connection with the past or future;
without contamination of thy purity or thraldom of thy will; thou wilt
kill thyself: Put an end to thy activity in virtue's cause: Rob thy
friend of her solace: The world of thy beneficence: Thyself of being
and pleasure?

I shall be grieved for the fatal issue of my experiment: I shall mourn
over thy martyrdom to the most opprobrious and contemptible of all
errors, but that thou shouldst undergo the trial is decreed. There is
still an interval of hope, that thy cowardice is counterfeited, or
that it will give place to wisdom and courage.

Whatever thou intendest, by way of prevention or cure, it behoves thee
to employ with steadfastness. Die with the guilt of suicide and the
brand of cowardice upon thy memory, or live with thy claims to
felicity and approbation undiminished. Chuse which thou wilt. Thy
decision is of moment to thyself, but of none to me. Living or dead,
the prize that I have in view shall be mine.--


It will be requisite to withdraw your attention from this scene for a
moment, and fix it on myself. My impatience of my friend's delay, for
some days preceding this disastrous interview, became continually more
painful. As the time of our departure approached, my dread of some
misfortune or impediment increased. Ormond's disappearance from the
scene, contributed but little to my consolation. To wrap his purposes
in mystery, to place himself at seeming distance, was the usual
artifice of such as he; was necessary to the maturing of his project,
and the hopeless entanglement of his victim. I saw no means of placing
the safety of my friend beyond his reach. Between different methods of
procedure, there was, however, room for choice. Her present abode was
more hazardous than abode in the city. To be alone, argued a state
more defenceless and perilous, than to be attended by me.

I wrote her an urgent admonition to return. My remonstrances were
couched in such terms, as, in my own opinion, laid her under the
necessity of immediate compliance. The letter was dispatched by the
usual messenger, and for some hours I solaced myself with the prospect
of a speedy meeting.

These thoughts gave place to doubt and apprehension. I began to
distrust the efficacy of my arguments, and to invent a thousand
reasons, inducing her, in defiance of my rhetorick, at least to
protract her absence. These reasons, I had not previously conceived,
and had not, therefore, attempted, in my letter, to invalidate their
force. This omission was possible to be supplied in a second epistle,
but, meanwhile, time would be lost, and my new arguments, might, like
the old, fail to convince her. At least, the tongue was a much more
versatile and powerful advocate than the pen, and by hastening to her
habitation, I might either compell her to return with me, or ward off
danger by my presence, or share it with her. I finally resolved to
join her, by the speediest conveyance.

This resolution was suggested, by the meditations of a sleepless
night. I rose with the dawn and sought out the means of transporting
myself, with most celerity, to the abode of my friend. A stage-boat,
accustomed, twice a day, to cross New-York bay to Staten-Island, was
prevailed upon, by liberal offers, to set out upon the voyage at the
dawn of day. The sky was gloomy, and the air boisterous and unsettled.
The wind, suddenly becoming tempestuous and adverse, rendered the
voyage at once tedious and full of peril. A voyage of nine miles was
not effected in less that eight hours, and without imminent and hair-
breadth danger of being drowned.

Fifteen miles of the jonrney remained to be performed by land. A
carriage, with the utmost difficulty, was procured, but lank horses
and a crazy vehicle were but little in unison with my impatience. We
reached not Amboy-ferry till some hours after nightfall. I was rowed
across the sound, and proceeded to accomplish the remainder of my
journey, about three miles, on foot.

I was actuated to this speed, by indefinite, but powerful motives. The
belief that my speedy arrival was essential to the rescue of my friend
from some inexpiable injury, haunted me with ceaseless importunity. On
no account would I have consented to postpone this precipitate
expedition till the morrow.

I, at length, arrived at Dudley's farm-house. The inhabitants were
struck with wonder at the sight of me. My cloathes were stained by the
water, by which every passenger was copiously sprinkled, during our
boisterous navigation, and soiled by dust: My frame was almost
overpowered by fatigue and abstinence.

To my anxious enqniries respecting my friend, they told me that her
evenings were usually spent at the mansion, where, it was probable,
she was now to be found. They were not apprized of any inconvenience
or danger, that betided her. It was her custom sometimes to prolong
her absence till midnight.

I could not applaud the discretion nor censure the temerity of this
proceeding. My mind was harrassed by unintelligible omens and self-
confuted fears. To obviate the danger and to banish my inquietudes,
was my first duty. For this end I hastened to the mansion. Having
passed the intervening hillocks and copses, I gained a view of the
front of the building. My heart suddenly sunk, on observing that no
apartment, not even that in which I knew it was her custom to sit at
these unseasonable hours, was illuminated. A gleam from the window of
the study, I should have regarded as an argument, at once, of her
presence and her safety.

I approached the house with misgiving and faultering steps. The gate
leading into a spacious court was open. A sound on one side attracted
my attention. In the present state of my thoughts, any near or
unexplained sound, sufficed to startle me. Looking towards the
quarter, whence my panic was excited, I espied, through the dusk, an
horse grazing, with his bridle thrown over his neck.

This appearance was a new source of perplexity and alarm. The
inference was unavoidable, that a visitant was here. Who that visitant
was, and how he was now employed, was a subject of eager but fruitless
curiosity. Within and around the mansion, all was buried in the
deepest repose. I now approached the principal door, and looking
through the key-hole, perceived a lamp, standing on the lowest step of
the stair-case. It shed a pale light over the lofty cieling and marble
balustrades. No face or movement of an human being was perceptible.

These tokens assured me that some one was within; they also accounted
for the non-appearance of light, at the window above. I withdrew my
eye from this avenue, and was preparing to knock loudly for admission,
when my attention was awakened by some one, who advanced to the door
from the inside, and seemed busily engaged in unlocking. I started
back and waited with impatience, till the door should open and the
person issue forth.

Presently I heard a voice within, exclaim, in accents of mingled
terror and grief--O what---what will become of me? Shall I never be
released from this detested prison?

The voice was that of Constance. It penetrated to my heart like an
ice-bolt. I once more darted a glance through the crevice. A figure,
with difficulty recognized to be that of my friend, now appeared in
sight. Her hands were clasped on her breast, her eyes wildly fixed
upon the cieling and streaming with tears, and her hair unbound and
falling confusedly over her bosom and neck.

My sensations scarcely permitted me to call---Constance! For Heaven's
sake what has happened to you? Open the door I beseech you.

What voice is that? Sophia Courtland! O my friend! I am imprisoned.
Some dmon has barred the door, beyond my power to unfasten. Ah! Why
comest thou so late? Thy succour would have somewhat profited, if
sooner given, but now, the lost Constantia--here her voice sunk into
convulsive sobs.--

In the midst of my own despair, on perceiving the fulfilment of my
apprehensions, and what I regarded as the fatal execution of some
project of Ormond, I was not insensible to the suggestions of
prudence. I intreated my friend to retain her courage, while I flew to
Laffert's, and returned with suitable assistance to burst open the

The people of the farm-house readily obeyed my summons. Accompanied by
three men of powerful sinews, sons and servants of the farmer, I
returned with the utmost expedition to the mansion. The lamp still
remained in its former place, but our loudest calls were unanswered.
The silence was uninterrupted and profound.

The door yielded to strenuous and repeated efforts, and I rushed into
the hall. The first object that met my sight, was my friend, stretched
upon the floor, pale and motionless, supine and with all the tokens of

From this object my attention was speedily attracted, by two figures,
breathless and supine, like that of Constance. One of them was Ormond.
A smile of disdain still sat upon his features. The wound, by which he
fell, was secret, and was scarcely betrayed by the effusion of a drop
of blood. The face of the third victim was familiar to my early days.
It was that of the imposter, whose artifice had torn from Mr. Dudley
his peace and fortune.

An explication of this scene was hopeless. By what disastrous and
inscrutable fate, a place like this became the scene of such
complicated havock, to whom Craig was indebted for his death, what
evil had been meditated or inflicted by Ormond, and by what means his
project had arrived at this bloody consummation, were topics of wild
and fearful conjecture.

But my friend--the first impulse of my fears was, to regard her as
dead. Hope and a closer observation, outrooted, or at least, suspended
this opinion. One of the men lifted her in his arms. No trace of blood
or mark of fatal violence was discoverable, and the effusion of cold
water restored her, though slowly, to life.

To withdraw her from this spectacle of death was my first care. She
suffered herself to be led to the farm-house. She was carried to her
chamber. For a time she appeared incapable of recollection. She
grasped my hand, as I sat by her bed-fide, but scarcely gave any other
tokens of life.

From this state of inactivity she gradually recovered. I was actuated
by a thousand forebodings, but refrained from molesting her by
interrogation or condolence. I watched by her side in silence, but was
eager to collect from her own lips, an account of this mysterious

At length she opened her eyes, and appeared to recollect her present
situation, and the events which led to it. I inquired into her
condition, and asked if there were any thing in my power to procure or
perform for her.

O! my friend! she answered, what have I done; what have I suffered
within the last dreadful hour? The remembrance, though insupportable,
will never leave me. You can do nothing for my relief. All I claim, is
your compassion and your sympathy.

I hope, said I, that nothing has happened to load you with guilt or
with shame.

Alas! I know not. My deed was scarcely the fruit of intention. It was
suggested by a momentary frenzy. I saw no other means of escaping from
vileness and pollution. I was menaced with an evil worse than death. I
forbore till my strength was almost subdued: The lapse of another
moment would have placed me beyond hope.

My stroke was desperate and at random. It answered my purpose too
well. He cast at me a look of terrible upbraiding, but spoke not. His
heart was pierced, and he sunk, as if struck by lightning, at my feet.
O much-erring and unhappy Ormond! That thou shouldst thus untimely
perish! That I should be thy executioner!

These words sufficiently explained the scene that I had witnessed. The
violence of Ormond had been repulsed by equal violence. His foul
attempts had been prevented by his death. Not to deplore the necessity
which had produced this act was impossible; but, since this necessity
existed, it was surely not a deed to be thought upon with lasting
horror, or to be allowed to generate remorse.

In consequence of this catastrophe, arduous duties had devolved upon
me. The people that surrounded me, were powerless with terror, Their
ignorance and cowardice left them at a loss how to act in this
emergency. They besought my direction, and willingly performed
whatever I thought proper to enjoin upon them.

No deliberation was necessary to acquaint me with my duty. Laffert was
dispatched to the nearest magistrate with a letter, in which his
immediate presence was intreated, and these transactions were briefly
explained. Early the next day the formalities of justice, in the
inspection of the bodies and the examination of witnesses, were
executed. It would be needless to dwell on the particulars of this
catastrophe. A sufficient explanation has been given of the causes
that led to it. They were such as exempted my friend from legal
animadversion. Her act was prompted by motives which every scheme of
jurisprudence known in the world not only exculpates but applauds. To
state these motives, before a tribunal hastily formed, and exercising
its functions on the spot, was a task not to be avoided, though
infinitely painful. Remonstrances, the most urgent and pathetic, could
scarcely conquer her reluctance.

This task, however, was easy, in comparison with that which remained.
To restore health and equanimity to my friend; to repel the erroneous
accusations of her conscience; to hinder her from musing, with eternal
anguish, upon this catastrophe; to lay the spirit of secret upbraiding
by which she was incessantly tormented; which bereft her of repose;
empoisoned all her enjoyments, and menaced, not only, the subversion
of her peace, but the speedy destruction of her life, became my next

My counsels and remonstrances were not wholly inefficacious. They
afforded me the prospect of her ultimate restoration to tranquillity.
Meanwhile, I called to my aid, the influence of time and of a change
of scene. I hastened to embark with her for Europe. Our voyage was
tempestuous and dangerous, but storms and perils at length gave way to
security and repose.

Before our voyage was commenced, I endeavoured to procure tidings of
the true condition and designs of Ormond. My information extended no
further, than that he had put his American property into the hands of
Mr. Melbourne, and was preparing to embark for France. Courtland, who
has since been at Paris, and who, while there, became confidentially
acquainted with Martinette de Beauvais, has communicated facts of an
unexpected nature.

At the period of Ormond's return to Philadelphia, at which his last
interview with Constance, in that city, took place, he visited
Martinette. He avowed himself to be her brother, and supported his
pretentions, by relating the incidents of his early life. A
separation, at the age of fifteen, and which had lasted for the same
number of years, may be supposed to have considerably changed the
countenance and figure she had formerly known. His relationship was
chiefly proved, by the enumeration of incidents, of which her brother
only could be apprized.

He possessed a minute acquaintance with her own adventures, but
concealed from her the means by which he had procured the knowledge.
He had rarely and imperfectly alluded to his own opinions and
projects, and had maintained an invariable silence, on the subject of
his connection with Constance and Hellen. Being informed of her
intention to return to France, he readily complied with her request to
accompany her in this voyage. His intentions in this respect, were
frustrated by the dreadful catastrophe that has been just related.
Respecting this event, Martinette had collected only vague and
perplexing information. Courtland, though able to remove her doubts,
thought proper to with-hold from her the knowledge he possessed.

Since her arrival in England, the life of my friend has experienced
little variation. Of her personal deportment and domestic habits, you
have been a witness. These, therefore, it would be needless for me to
exhibit. It is sufficient to have related events, which the recentness
of your intercourse with her hindered you from knowing, but by means
of some formal narrative like the present. She and her friend only
were able to impart to you the knowledge which you have so anxiously
sought. In consideration of your merits and of your attachment to my
friend, I have consented to devote my leisure to this task.

It is now finished, and, I have only to add my wishes, that the
perusal of this tale may afford you as much instruction, as the
contemplation of the sufferings and vicissitudes of Constantia Dudley
has afforded to me. Farewell.


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