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Title:  Quintus Servinton
        A Tale founded upon Incidents of Real Occurence
Author: Henry Savery
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0700971h.html
Language:  English
Date first posted: Aug 2007
Date most recently updated: Aug 2007

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Quintus Servinton

A Tale founded upon Incidents of Real Occurence

by

Henry Savery


First Published: 1830

Prepared from the print edition published by
The Jacaranda Press
Brisbane and Melbourne 1962


This edition

Dedicated to DR E. MORRIS MILLER with grateful acknowledgments


CONTENTS

Preface
Bibliography
Biographical Introduction


QUINTUS SERVINTON

VOLUME ONE

PREFACE
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER IX
CHAPTER X
CHAPTER XI
CHAPTER XII

VOLUME TWO

CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER IX
CHAPTER X

VOLUME THREE

CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER IX
CHAPTER X
CHAPTER XI
CHAPTER XII
CHAPTER XIII

CONCLUSION


Preface

The original edition of Quintus Servinton is extremely rare, only three copies being listed in Ferguson's Bibliography. These are held by Dr. W. Crowther, the Mitchell Library, and the Public Library of Tasmania. This reprint follows the text of the original in all its vagaries of style, spelling, and punctuation. The only modifications made are corrections of a few obvious misprints; ot, for instance, has been silently changed to to. Students and others interested in our literature now have ready access to the text of the first Australian novel as printed just over a hundred and thirty years ago.

Any student who works in the field of early Tasmanian printing, especially where Henry Savery is concerned, is essentially dependent on the pioneer work of Dr. E. Morris Miller. My own debt to him, as writer and man, is very considerable, and I most gratefully acknowledge it. This reprint is by his permission dedicated to him.

Other Tasmanians to whom my warm thanks are due are Dr. W. Crowther, Dr. C. Craig, Mr. E. R. Pretyman, and the officers of the State Library of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Archives—Messrs. B. W. Wray, P. Eldershaw, G. Stilwell, and Miss M. Milne.

The officers of the Mitchell Library have most willingly given that help to which students have been so long accustomed; the Trustees of the State Library of Victoria have granted permission to make use of four Savery letters in the Calder Papers; the National Library at Canberra has provided on inter-library loan its microfilms of early issues of The Times (London); the officers of the University of Queensland Library—and here I must especially thank Mr. Spencer Routh—have helped me in various ways with cheerful readiness.

Dr. Russel Ward of Armidale has generously drawn on his unrivalled stores to answer certain queries; Sir J. A. Ferguson graciously allowed me access to a rare edition of The Newgate Calendar in his possession; and I am grateful to Professor A. C. Cawley for a patient reading of the biographical introduction.

Overseas help has come from Mr. W. S. Haugh, City Librarian of Bristol, whose unworried competence and long patience have saved me weeks of work. To Mr. F. L. Hill of Paignton, Devon, a special debt is due for his kindness in providing a transcript of certain parts of Mary Wise Savery Hawkins's copy of the John Savery genealogical manuscript. The editors of the Western Morning News (Plymouth) and the Western Times and Gazette (Exeter) were kind enough to publish in their columns letters requesting information.

Both editor and publisher are grateful to the Mitchell Library for permission to use a microfilm of its copy for the preparation of this reprint.

I have, finally, to thank the Senate of the University of Queensland for granting me research funds for work on this project.

—C.H.


Bibliography

An early work on the colonial printers is James Bonwick: Early Struggles of the Australian Press (London, 1890). The standard work is E. Morris Miller: Pressmen and Governors (Sydney, 1952). With it should be mentioned Miller's pamphlet, which deals with both Savery and Mary Grimstone: Australia's First Two Novels (Hobart, 1958).

Other books of more general interest that deal incidentally with Savery are the Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science (Hobart, 1842); J. West: History of Tasmania (2v., Launceston, 1852); The Australian Encyclopedia (10v., Sydney, 1958); Charles Bateson: The Convict Ships (Glasgow, 1959).

The great authoritative bibliography is J. A. Ferguson: Bibliography of Australia (4v. to date, Sydney, 1941-55).

Contemporary sources are the English newspapers: The Times (London), the Bristol Gazette and Public Advertiser; and the Tasmanian newspapers and periodicals: the Hobart Town Gazette, the Colonial Times, the Tasmanian, the Hobart Town Courier, the Van Diemen's Land Almanack, the Colonist, the Tasmanian and Austral-Asiatic Review. Some correspondence concerning Savery is reprinted in the Historical Records of Australia (series iii, vols. v and vi).

The relevant historical documents of the period come from the normal sources: The Tasmanian Papers (and The Arthur Papers) held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney; Great Britain and Ireland (Home Office, Colonial Office, Navy); some Savery letters (Dr. C. Craig, Launceston; Dr. W. Crowther, Hobart; the Calder papers, State Library of Victoria). The State Library of Tasmania has a card index of the Savery references that are held in its Archives. Mr. F. L. Hill of Paignton. Devon, holds the John Savery manuscript transmitted to Mary Wise Savery Hawkins.


Biographical Introduction

In August 1934 there died in a mental hospital, at an advanced age, Mary Wise Savery Hawkins, penniless and without ascertainable relatives. She had spent, so it was reported, many years of her life and all her resources in trying to prove descent from Sir John Hawkins of Plymouth, the Elizabethan sea-dog.

Among her papers was a document, dated July 24th, 1809, by one John Savery, from whom Mary Hawkins was apparently descended. This manuscript, running to some 180 pages, is John Savery's history of his family from 1501 to 1809. Among the early pages occurs the following passage:

Stephen Savery, eldest Son, and Heir apparent, of the last named Christopher, in the year 1563, married Johanna de Servington; Daughter, and Coheiress of John de Servington, Esquire, of Tavistock, in the County of Devon.

The Family of Servington was of considerable Antiquity, and Consequence, for John de Servington's Ancestor, William de Servington, I find did Twice serve the Office of Sheriff for the County of Devon, in the time of Edward the third to wit in the year 1366 and 1367; being the 40th and 41st of his Reign.

He bore Arms—Erming—a Chevron Azure—charged with three Buck's Heads Cabossd Or—Crest Service Tree, growing out of a Tun. Note—These Arms have, ever since, been us'd with my Family Arms And also the Crest generally, See Antiquities of Exeter, by Isaac, Printed in 1724.

There was another Branch of the Family of De Servington or Servington, settled at Mageston, in the County of Dorset, and, by an Inquisition, taken the 14th of Henry the Eighth it was found that William Servington died seized of the Manor of Whatley, near Froom in the County of Somerset; which he held of the Abbot of Glastonbury and that Nicholas Servington was his Son; and then Nine years of Age.

In the South Aile in Whatley Church, on a rais'd Tomb; lies the Effigy of a Knight in Armour; Cross Legg'd, and Spurr'd—His Hands are in a suppliant posture; close to his Breast.—On the Arm is a Shield whereon is a Chevron, charged with three Bucks Heads caboss'd.—This Effigy was one of the Family of Servington.—I have been thus particular as my Family are descended from this Family; and have continued the Name as a Christian name prefixt to that of Savery; in every Generation to this time.

It is to this connection with the Servingtons that the title of this novel by Henry Savery is due—Quintus Servinton.

More important is the fact that John Savery gives the dates of birth of his numerous offspring, among them Henry Savery.

The date of his birth formerly accepted was 1794. The evidence for this was probably a Register of Burials conducted by the Wesleyan Church, Port Arthur, which has an entry (February 8, 1842) for Henry Savery: "aged 48 years." Different evidence appears in contemporary newspaper accounts of his trial (April 1825), which give thirty-three as his age at that time. This would make his year of birth 1792. His official description in the Tasmanian convict records also gives thirty-three. Such an official description derives from the English prison record, which normally preceded any prisoner transferred from prison to the hulks in the Thames, and which then accompanied him on the voyage out to Tasmania or New South Wales. By the 1820's this procedure, formerly theoretical but often not actual, had become the practice.

This means that in April 1825 Henry Savery was thirty-three years old. But the month remains significant; for if he was born in a later month then he would turn thirty-four in 1825, and this would indicate 1791 as his year of birth.

This is in fact the year given by John Savery in his list of children. Henry Savery is there stated to have been born August 4, 1791.

There remains, however, a point to be checked. Is this John Savery the father of Henry Savery the novelist, or of some other Henry? John Savery in his manuscript history states that he himself was the eldest son of John Savery and Sarah Prideaux, and was born April 21, 1747. Now it is well established that the father of Henry Savery the novelist was a noted Bristol banker of the firm of Savery, Towgood, Yerbury, and Towgood, Wine Street. Newspaper reports always call the father Mr. Savery, but do not give his Christian name. However, A History of Banking in Bristol by C. H. Cave gives this information:

John Savery, who remained in the Bank until business was given up in 1828, was a member of a very old Devonshire family. He was eldest son of John Savery, of Shilston House, near Modbury, Devon, by his wife Sarah, daughter of Walter Prideaux, of Dartmouth: was born in 1747...

This seems conclusive. The John Savery who wrote the history of his family was the Bristol banker, and his son was Henry, the future novelist. And Henry Savery was born August 4, 1791. His place of birth was Butcombe Court, Butcombe, Somerset.

Henry was the sixth son. But as the second son, Servington, died three days after birth, Henry probably considered himself the fifth. Hence the Quintus in Quintus Servinton.

Not much is known of Savery's life until after 1824. Though we now know when he was born and where he was born, we still do not know where he spent his childhood years. As for his schooldays, Morris Miller, using hints from Quintus Servinton, very plausibly conjectures that he was educated at Oswestry Grammar School, where he received a classical and commercial training that showed itself both for better and for worse in his life and his writings.

It is possible that his early manhood was spent in London and that there, probably in 1815, he married Eliza Elliott Oliver, whose father, William Elliott Oliver, was a business man of Blackfriars, London. In this year or a little later Savery and his wife moved to the West of England, where for some years they lived at Stapleton, a few miles from Bristol. Their son, Henry Oliver, was born on June 30, 1816.

Savery engaged in business in Bristol, but even here there is uncertainty in dates and occupations. His father, John Savery, as mentioned earlier, was a prominent member of a Bristol banking firm, which continued in operation until 1828. It seems reasonable to suppose that Henry was helped initially, and probably on later occasions, by his father.

Records from contemporary newspapers and Matthews' Bristol Directory of the period indicate that from 1817 Savery, in conjunction with a partner named Bigg, carried on the business of sugar-refining—or, as it was called then, sugar-baking. This shortly ran into trouble, and in 1819 Savery became bankrupt. The Times of London in its issue of September 1, 1819, reports under its heading, Bankruptcies:

H. Savery, Bristol, sugar refiner, Sept. 13, 14, Oct. 12, at the Commercial-rooms, Bristol: solicitor, Mr. Bigg, Southampton-buildings, Chancery-lane.

Whether this Bigg was Savery's partner is not known; but if, as seems certain, the word solicitor in The Times report has the old meaning of petitioner, then he probably was.

Oddly enough, this mishap does not seem to have curbed Savery's activities. Gallop, in his Chapters in the History of the Provincial Press, states that in August, 1819, Henry Savery assumed the editorship of the Bristol Observer and Gloucester, Monmouth, Somerset and Wiltshire Courier from John Sharp, who had printed it for unnamed proprietors from the first number, August 7, 1817, until his death on August 29, 1819. (The Bristol Mercury for December 13, 1824, states that Savery had some family connection with a proprietor of the Observer.) While holding office as publisher, Savery took over the business of a "West India and General Broker" and marine insurance agent vacated by a Mr. West in Corn Street. On September 9, 1819, an even more imposing sub-title was added to the paper, and it was renamed the Bristol Observer and Gloucester, Somerset, Wiltshire, Monmouth, Brecon and Glamorgan Courier. Savery's last issue was for February 13, 1822: a week later the name of Henry Laurinson appeared in the imprint.

After this excursion Savery returned to his former business as sugar-refiner in partnership with a Mr. Saward.

So far, then, Savery has engaged in a sugar business, which in about two years becomes bankrupt. He next turns to publishing and insurance, and abandons this business, by choice or constraint, two and a half years later. This argues some innate instability or a notable incompetence. The novel he was later to write suggests that he had grandiose ideas, and over-extended the capacity of each firm that was unlucky enough to have him as its guiding spirit.

Many men, one might imagine, would be extinguished emotionally and financially by such reverses. But Savery is immediately back in business as usual. Either he is abnormally resilient or else he receives help each time. The latter possibility is suggested by a remark in The Times of December 20, 1824, in its report of Savery's arrest, which occurred a week or so before that date:

Mr. Savery, the banker, had, unfortunately, on other occasions before this, experienced the painful feelings which arose from filial misconduct.

Savery's third venture was to prove no less unfortunate financially than his first two. In its effects on Savery personally it was to prove immeasurably more calamitous. Once again he proceeded to bite off more than he could chew. He extended operations and entered into engagements that the firm could not meet; but this time money from his father was not to save him.

It was near the end of 1824 that the unstable man was to commit the crowning folly of his life. The full details are complicated and confused. Apparently he had, without the knowledge of his partner, committed the firm beyond its resources. His vanity, we must suppose, would not allow him to confess this indebtedness, so that he had for about two years been negotiating bills with fictitious names and addresses. These were commonly known as "kites," and Savery was under the impression that they did not lay him open to the charge of forgery. The monies that he procured by such means amounted in the end to between £30,000 and £40,000, and the firm had assets covering about two-thirds of the sum. The charge, when it was finally laid, though very lengthy and elaborate in the legal fashion of the period, could be summed up in these terms: that he had feloniously and falsely made, forged, and counterfeited a certain note of hand, dated Birmingham, October 7, 1824, for the sum of £500, with intent to defraud George Smith and his co-partners, trading as John Freeman and Co., the Bristol Copper Company. His other creditors, or victims, refrained from preferring charges.

The discovery of his frauds was for him an unlucky accident. Savery, it is suggested, alarmed by the recent execution of the famous forger Henry Fauntleroy, had decided to decamp. He had already reached London when an irregularity in one of the fraudulent bills happened to be noted in Bristol. This caused his partner Saward to look into the affairs of the company, and to discover, for one thing, that a large stock of sugar invoiced to a creditor Protheroe had by some means been taken from the warehouse and sold to another merchant for a draft of £1500. This draft Savery had taken to London and exchanged for a credit on New York.

Saward set out forthwith in pursuit of his absconding partner. One rumour, true or not, is that (in the prim tones of The Times) Savery "had been accompanied from Bristol by a female of a certain description," had been followed by his wife to Portsmouth, had explained his situation to her, and urged her to return, exclaiming, "Go back, go back! Your route will be traced, and my ruin will be effected." The other account is that he wrote from London attributing his delay to illness. Whereupon his wife and her family left Bristol to attend him. He told them his position and they returned.

At all events Saward met Mrs. Savery at Bath, was told that Savery had already departed for America, but still hopefully continued the pursuit. In London he received information that led him to suspect Savery had not yet gone, but was a passenger on the Hudson, soon to sail from Cowes. The end of the chase was now in sight. Saward engaged a constable at Cowes, and they rowed out to the Hudson, now only thirty minutes from its hour of sailing. From its deck the fugitive, passing under the name of Serrington (so reported but possibly an error for Servington, the family related by marriage), watched their approach with trepidation. They boarded the vessel, and Savery threw himself into the sea. He was rescued, and in agony of mind dashed his head against the walls of the ship repeatedly. They restrained his violence and took him ashore to the Vine Inn. This occurred on December 9.

From then until his committal Savery was on the verge of insanity. Two peace-officers constantly attended him to prevent further acts of self-violence. He was taken back to Bristol by coach, at one time in the depths of despondency, at another singing light songs in an access of elation. They reached Bristol on December 15 and Savery was brought up before the Mayor and the Magistrates at the Guildhall. His incoherence was such that several postponements took place until he was at last, on December 23, committed for trial at the next Assizes.

The account of the trial that Savery gives in the first chapter of the third volume of the novel sticks pretty closely to the facts. He appeared before the Recorder, Lord Gifford, on April 2-4, 1825. When asked by the Clerk of the Arraigns how he pleaded to the charge, Savery replied, "Guilty," a plea that was apparently quite unexpected. The Recorder urged him to reconsider, but without effect. He even warned the prisoner that he should entertain no false hopes in giving such an answer. As if this were not sufficient, Savery was then taken from the courtroom for some minutes so that he might deliberate in quiet. On his return he appeared more collected than before and entered the same plea.

It seems evident that Gifford's warning not to hope that such a plea would gain mercy had passed Savery by. During the judge's comments on the evils of forgery Savery interjected to say that he was not aware that issuing fictitious signatures was subject to the same sentence as forgery. In fact, it seems certain that he had earlier been advised to plead guilty with the assurance that this would save his life. As it happened, it appeared likely to have the opposite effect: Gifford was simply obliged to pass the standard condemnation. He put on the black cap and uttered the customary phrases:

"...my painful duty to pronounce that you, Henry Savery, be taken from hence to the place from whence you came, and thence to the place of execution, and there to be hanged by the neck until you are dead."

Savery's self-possession, already shaken by the judge's remarks, now gave way, and in the words of a contemporary newspaper:

The prisoner, on hearing the latter words, seemed to lose all power of breathing, and dropped down his head.

The verdict took more than Savery by horrified surprise; and George Smith, one of the prosecutors, pressed forward through the crowd by the witness box and asked the judge for mercy—an unusual enough procedure for any prosecutor no matter how nominal. The judge, himself affected, leaned back but made no reply. Amid the dead silence of the crowded courtroom Savery was led away.

The day of execution was later appointed as Friday, April 22.

Matters, of course, did not rest there. Savery had powerful friends, and representations were speedily made to the Home Department. These alone might not have sufficed: personal influence could have been countered on the grounds that others better known than Savery had suffered death for the same offence. But the argument that Savery had been induced to plead guilty, with the certainty of imprisonment instead of a death sentence—this was the chief and, as it proved, the conclusive point in his favour. In a letter to Governor Arthur, over three years later, James Stephen, Counsel at the time to the Colonial Office, and later Under-Secretary for the Colonies, declared: "Mr. Peel, I apprehend, would certainly have left him to die, had it not been for the blunder of the magistrate before whom he was examined." But the days dragged on with no definite news, and Savery must have resigned himself to death despite the reassurances of friends. At last, however, on Thursday, April 21, less than twenty-four hours before the time appointed for the execution, two letters were received at Bristol, one from Peel, Secretary of State for the Home Department, the other from Hobhouse, Under-Secretary of State: the sentence of death was commuted to transportation for life. The Bristol sheriffs, Gardiner and Walker, immediately went to the prison and told Savery the welcome news.

They found him in bed; but, on hearing the grateful intelligence that his life had been spared, he immediately rose, kneeled down, and in fervent accents returned thanks to the Almighty for his deliverance.

Well he might. We are left with the feeling that he was very lucky. His was the one reprieve from execution of a batch of such offenders. His case was closely preceded by that of Henry Fauntleroy, the most notorious forger of his generation. A rake, a bon vivant, a cultivated and witty man with a wide circle of friends, Fauntleroy is thought to have forged notes to the tune of a quarter of a million pounds in his startling career. He was a partner in the banking house of Marsh, Stracey and Co., whose consequent failure had very widespread effects. After an elaborate trial Fauntleroy was executed at Newgate on November 30, 1824, at the age of forty, in the presence, according to reports, of 100,000 spectators.

So there was good precedent for Savery's suffering the same fate. And, as it happened, there were executions for forgery a few years later. In 1828, for instance, the Quaker Joseph Hunton was executed for forging two bills to a total of about £250. The last such execution took place on the last day of 1829—Thomas Maynard, hanged at Newgate. So there were executions before and after. And Savery had actually pleaded guilty.

He remained in prison for three months after his trial, and in the first week of July was transferred with nine or ten other convicts to the Justitia hulk at Woolwich. From the hulk he was embarked on the convict ship Medway, which left Woolwich on July 20 for Sheerness to take on the rest of her convict complement. There, three days later, John Dunmore Lang, the stormy petrel of Presbyterianism in Australia, came aboard. The remainder of the convicts were embarked before the end of the month; the Medway cast anchor about three weeks later; and at some time between August 22 and 25 Land's End sank from view. It was the last sight of England most of those on board were ever to have.

On this vessel of about 450 tons there were 172 male convicts. Its skipper was Borthwick Wight. Its Surgeon Superintendent was Gilbert King, who seven years afterwards was to write a testimonial to Savery's character, saying among other things that Savery had been under his superintendence during the voyage. Indeed, the prisoner seems to have been treated with some consideration during those sixteen weeks afloat. The Colonial Times, announcing the arrival of the Medway at Hobart, made special mention of Savery: "He was treated with the greatest kindness and attention during the voyage, having by order of Government separate accommodation."

Whether he made acquaintance with John Dunmore Lang is uncertain, but likely enough. During the voyage Lang wrote some of the poems that later appeared as Aurora Australis (1826), and in the preface he talks of one prisoner: "I had a conversation with an old German Jew, a prisoner. He was a man of very general information, having received a tolerable education in his youth. He was rather fastidious in the choice of his associates on board ship and had very few acquaintances among his fellow prisoners." There is no mention of Savery, but the two probably conversed. In Quintus Servinton (vol. iii, chapter 4) Savery writes of the "presbyterian divine of the Scotch kirk," who mildly reproached him for laughing at those who were seasick, and who afterwards talked with him repeatedly. This is undoubtedly Lang.

The Medway arrived at Hobart on December 9 or 10 or 11, 1825. Three convicts had died on the voyage. The 169 were landed on December 15, and 125 of them were immediately assigned as servants to settlers.

Among those kept in Government service was Savery. In spite of what the indulgence shown him on the Medway seemed to promise, on arrival he was treated like any other convict. Col. George Arthur, the Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania from 1824 to 1836, writing to Lord Bathurst on January 27, 1827, noted that...Savary (sic) was subjected to the degradation of being landed in the Prisoners' dress, and, in this disgraceful garb, with his head close shorn, he was conducted to the Common Jail Yard for inspection and assignment with the other miserable outcasts from Newgate, who arrived by the same vessel, a punishment of itself sufficient to fill a mind of ordinary sensibility with horror and remorse for his crimes, and which there was every appearance at the time to believe Savary felt most acutely.

Savery's concern thereafter was to rehabilitate himself—if we understand by the term not merely resuming respectability but in the process gaining some kudos, being recognized as a man of some consequence. This desire to cut a figure, indulged in to the point of recklessness and even illegality (though Savery almost certainly never looked at it like that), was the cause of his arrest, trial, and transportation. The same desire, indulged in more cautiously, was still to bring a great deal of trouble upon him until the last few years of his life, when caution succumbed to desperation and trouble became catastrophe.

He was put into the Colonial Secretary's office, and later into that of the Colonial Treasurer. Such a disposal of an adept man of affairs did not meet with the approval of those colonists who would willingly have paid Savery a handsome salary for his services. Nor did it have the approval of those who were hostile to Lieutenant-Governor Arthur and the authority he exercised. Savery was widely thought of as a tool of the governing group and was very shortly used as a stick with which to beat Arthur. Letters were written to England complaining of the employment of a convict in confidential affairs. The English authorities were forced to take notice.

In a letter of August 2, 1826, Bathurst asked Arthur to explain. Arthur replied effectively on January 27, 1827, pointing out that the complaints were misrepresentations of the position and were concocted by those who wanted Savery as an assigned servant. Savery was under another prisoner in the Colonial Secretary's office and received £18 per annum. Then upon this prisoner being removed Savery received £30 p.a. plus a ration of one pound of bread and one pound of meat. His hours were from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or later if press of work demanded). The use of educated convicts in clerical work, Arthur pointed out, dated from the very inception of the colony and was absolutely unavoidable, since the cost of free labour in such positions would be prohibitive. All that Arthur could do in response to Bathurst's order that Savery be dismissed was to reduce him to his former yearly salary of £18!

This was not the end of the matter. Goderich (August 3, 1827) demanded an explanation of the means whereby Savery, only a month after arriving in the Colony, had managed to procure a certificate of his ability to support his wife and family, which would if approved ensure that they were to be brought out to Tasmania at the public expense. If Savery received only £18 per annum, then some contradiction existed.

Again, how had it come about that Savery was conducting the Government Gazette (i.e. the Hobart Town Gazette)?

Arthur, replying to the second question, denied the charge flatly, and shrewdly commented:

It has been suggested to me, that, as it has been an anxious wish with "Savery" that his Wife and Child should follow him in his exile, and as her Friends have strongly objected to it from his condition, it has been his policy to put the best aspect on his affairs and situation, and therefore it is not improbable he may himself have sent Home a most exaggerated and unfaithful representation of the importance of his station in the Colony.

The question of the Certificate was not so easily disposed of. When Savery landed in the Colony, Captain John Montagu was the Colonial Secretary with H. J. Emmett as his Chief Clerk. Asked for an explanation, Emmett declared that Savery, shortly after his arrival, came one day from the Colonial Secretary's room and said that Montagu considered it proper for Savery to ask for his wife and child to come out. He was to tell Emmett to draw up the usual application. At Savery's request Emmett subjoined the Certificate. (Emmett knew Savery was skilled in accounts and could easily make money in his spare time; Rowland Walpole Lane, for instance, had just declared he would pay liberally for Savery's services.) But now, upon enquiry, Emmett found that Montagu recollected giving no such instruction to Savery. Emmett therefore concluded that it was an invention by Savery, "in part of a scheme to establish generally the idea of his being particularly favoured by the Government of this Colony, through which he might hope to receive a countenance from the Public, which in ordinary circumstances he could not expect."

John Montagu, rather more tolerant in his assessment, emphasized the disappointment and anxiety that Savery was labouring under. He summoned Savery and Emmett, and got from the former his recollection of what had happened. Savery replied that he had asked if his wife could come out to the Colony and if he could then be assigned to her. Montagu informed him that a convict had to be in the Colony a year and the wife had to be of exceptional character. This, said Savery, would present no difficulty: his wife had money and he would send for her immediately. Montagu had replied that it was the best step for Savery to take, and he should have his wife sent out in the usual way. Emmett should be so informed.

Montagu in this report to Arthur denied the last statement, indicating the means by which, if necessary, he could support his denial. On the other hand he felt that Savery was not guilty of any deliberate deception: plagued by feelings of inferiority and worry, he had simply misconstrued Montagu's advice (to send for his wife) into an instruction to tell Emmett to arrange things in the usual way.

Reading these reports, so many years later, one is inclined to wonder if Montagu were not unduly generous. Taking stock of Savery's actions before and after this event, a reader tends to accept Emmett's conclusion. Savery must have been an extremely plausible man. He must have been pleasant to meet, persuasive to listen to. But if a listener had any knowledge of Savery's undertakings and the results that so frequently ensued, then that listener might be wise if he accepted with caution any statements and proposals he heard.

Even undertakings where Savery was apparently above suspicion could be unfortunate. He helped Captain B. B. Thomas in his financial accounts concerned with the Van Diemen's Land Establishment. Dissatisfaction arose among the English directors, and both Thomas and Savery were under suspicion for a time until both were at last cleared of any charges of inefficiency or malpractice.

Even simple personal happenings had their repercussions. Arthur, for instance, became aware early in February, 1828, that Savery had not been working for the Colonial Auditor for several months. Why? Lakeland, Principal Superintendent of Convicts, replied that Savery had his hand bound up and could not perform his usual duties. The Assistant Colonial Surgeon reported that a piece of wood had fallen on Savery's finger. He should not use his hand for months or he might lose the finger. Whereupon (too opportunely?) one George Cartwright in a letter to Lakeland requested that Savery, since he could not write, might be allowed to help his free overseer to superintend some building work. Who, asked Arthur, was this free overseer of Cartwright's? John Oxley by name. A little more information, please. He was formerly a convict, but now had a conditional pardon. Had been transported for housebreaking. Character from gaol—"bad". Character from hulks—no record. How then had Oxley got a pardon?...And so on. It ostensibly concerns Savery very little, all this probing; but it all smacks of what happened so often. When almost any inquiry was made into almost any activity that Savery was engaged in, then explanations tended to be long, involved, and sometimes devious. One feels a sympathy, both illogical and yet very human, with Arthur when on several occasions he vents his doubts whether Savery will really reform.

However, except for official irritation and doubtful glances, Savery himself did not seem to suffer—until the event that his heart desired: the arrival of his wife.

Early in 1828 Mrs. Savery embarked on the Jessie Lawson, its skipper Captain Church. The season was stormy, and the ship was wrecked on the English coast near Plymouth or Falmouth. The passengers were saved. Even the cargo was salvaged and was disposed of, according to the Sydney Gazette of June 4, in Plymouth for the benefit of the underwriters.

For most women this might have been sufficient deterrent; but undaunted Mrs. Savery, after a few months with her parents, ventured again, this time on the Henry Wellesley. On board was Algernon Montagu, who was on his way to Tasmania to become Attorney General. To him, as a sort of guardian, her anxious parents and friends entrusted Mrs. Savery and her son Oliver. Whether the choice was a wise one is doubtful. Montagu seems to have been a headstrong and erratic man, with odd romantic notions. James Stephen, writing to Arthur from Downing Street on April 24, 1829, retails the impression that three or four meetings with Montagu produced on him.

He appeared to me a raw young man quite unaccustomed to business, and very likely to give himself up to various affectations of sentiment, romantic feeling, and literary taste. I say affectations, not because I have any right to distrust the genuineness of the tone in which he talked, but because there was in his manner something that looked artificial and made-up, and which conveyed the impression of borrowed manners...

For about eighteen weeks Montagu was to be Mrs. Savery's constant companion.

Whether any attachment sprang up on either side is not known, but it seems that some people in the Colony later looked askance on the relationship. Sarah Benson Walker (1812-1893), dictating her reminiscences in 1884, ambiguously said of Mrs. Savery:

She came out in the vessel with Judge Montagu who afterwards lived at Kangaroo Point. She lived at the Macquarie and Montagu lived there. There was a book written about the affair, called "Quintus Servinton."

What does seem most probable, however, is that a contrast was underlined for Mrs. Savery. She had been on shipboard for a number of months in the company of a young man of some attainments and of assured social position about to take up an elevated judicial post. When she arrived in Tasmania she was to find her husband still a convict, with not even a ticket of leave, and with a threat of imprisonment for debt hanging over his head. Her dissatisfaction and disappointment must have been extreme. And her reaction, one suspects, may have been resentment rather than pity—for she had been led to expect something quite different.

It seems beyond doubt that the accounts that Savery sent her of his position in the Colony and of his material conditions had been thoroughly misleading. This estimate is supported by a letter of August 1, 1829, from Arthur to Sir George Murray, in which, referring to Mrs. Savery, he writes:

This lady, it appears, is most respectably connected in England, and, allured by the gross misrepresentations of her Husband as to the comfort of his situation in this Colony, she, unfortunately, ventured to join him. Wounded by the shameful duplicity which had been practised upon her, some domestic misunderstanding took place immediately after her debarkation...

It is all of a piece. Acutely disappointed at his treatment, Savery took every opportunity of inflating his importance in the eyes of the colonists, whether bond or free. We may recall, for instance, in an earlier passage, Emmett's comments on Savery's motives and methods in getting his certificate a few weeks after he arrived in Tasmania.

The deception had results that were almost fatal. The Henry Wellesley reached Hobart on October 30 or 31, 1828. What quarrels or misunderstandings took place between Mrs. Savery and her husband can only be conjectured, but these must have been poignant. A week after her arrival, on the evening of Friday, November 7, Savery attempted suicide by cutting his throat. Luckily for him, help was at hand: Dr. William Crowther was summoned, and Savery's life was preserved.

His recovery was not the end of his troubles. The writ that was pending now seemed likely to involve his wife, who had brought out some property with her. She appealed to Algernon Montagu, who agreed to meet the demand provided that nothing was done that would prove distressing to Mrs. Savery. But the creditors nevertheless initiated action that threatened her possessions, and Henry Jennings requested Montagu to fulfil his verbal assurances. Montagu—quite reasonably, one feels—declared himself under the circumstances no longer bound by his former promise. The further development of this affair, which resolved itself into a series of bitter quarrels between Jennings and Montagu—intemperate letters, an abortive libel action, publication of correspondence in the newspapers, appeals to Arthur, and so forth—hardly concerns us. But the writ against Savery brought about his imprisonment on December 19.

Mrs. Savery was now in a sorry plight—her husband in prison for debt with no prospect of early release, herself dependent on monies from England (for Montagu, even if willing, could hardly provide for her financially)—and saw no solution in the Colony for her problems. She was advised to return to England. This she did. Some time between February 10 and 15, 1829, hardly more than three months after her arrival, she left with her son on the Sarah. Savery never saw her again. In September, 1832, a few months after he received his ticket of leave, he filled in an application at the Colonial Secretary's Office to have her brought out on a free passage. She did not respond.

Savery remained in prison until March, 1830, a period of fifteen months. He suffered no particular physical hardships during his imprisonment, but enforced leisure must have been irksome to a man so prone to activity of almost all kinds. He occupied the latter half of 1829, we may gratefully note, in writing; for it was in those six months that he produced his most engaging work, The Hermit of Van Diemen's Land. It consisted of a series of thirty sketches of Hobart life and characters, longer than Goldsmith's essays in The Citizen of the World, but with a general resemblance to them. They appeared in Andrew Bent's Colonial Times as by "Simon Stukeley." The names given to the characters depicted were of course fictitious, but a contemporary key has been preserved. An advertisement of January 8, 1830, in the Colonial Times announced the publication of these sketches in a volume, but a week later this was modified to say that publication was suspended until an impending libel suit based on the Hermit articles should be disposed of.

The suit was brought on May 10, 1830—Gamaliel Butler v. Andrew Bent. Butler was awarded £80 damages against the publisher. Savery's name was not mentioned in the case, for the authorship of the Hermit articles was a well-preserved secret. Indeed today, but for Henry Melville, the Hobart printer and publisher, we should not know that Savery wrote them. In the British Museum copy of The Hermit of Van Diemen's Land a sheet has been inserted on which Melville ascribes to Savery the authorship of the Hermit articles and also of Quintus Servinton. This notation by Melville, as reproduced below, is the only evidence that we possess that names Savery. But there is no reason to doubt Melville's ascription.

Henry Savery a merchant of Bristol was about the year 1825 transported for forgery and was a crown prisoner when in jail in 1829. In the same jail in Hobart Town was Thomas Wells incarcerated for common debt. Savery wrote all the Hermit and Wells copied for the printer. At that time if the authorities knew that a prisoner wrote for the press the punishment was transportation to the penal establishment of Macquarie Harbour. Hence arose the mystery about the authorship of the Hermit! I believe all the parties mentioned except myself are in spirit land. On obtaining his ticket of leave Savery became a great Agriculturalist and failed. He again committed forgery and was sent to the penal settlement of Port Arthur where he destroyed his life by cutting his own throat. He was the author of Quintus Servinton of which he is the hero. The undersigned printed the work and was at the time the editor, printer & proprietor of the Colonial Times newspaper. The writing page 141 is that of Andrew Bent from whom the undersigned bought the Colonial Times and printing establishment in 1829.

Henry Melville
Nov. 1869.

Early in 1830 Savery was released and was assigned to Major Macintosh in the New Norfolk district. An annotation by Arthur of March 16 runs:

If Savory (sic) be discharged from Jail, I wish Him to be assigned to Major Macintosh, with the positive condition that He is to reside at his Farm in the neighbourhood of N. Norfolk—is not to be allowed to Trade or be employed on his own account in any way.

The stipulation is ominous—an indication of Arthur's exasperation, which Savery, often unwittingly, had aroused, and also of his distrust.

It must have been in the later months of his imprisonment and during his retirement, as we may put it, with Macintosh that he wrote Quintus Servinton, of which this volume is a reprint. Advertisements appeared in January, 1831, in the Hobart Town Courier and in the Tasmanian to say that the novel was in the press and would shortly be published in three volumes octavo; and that as it was printed expressly for transmission to England, only a few copies would be reserved for sale in the Colony. The first of these papers reviewed it on March 19:

We have read the new novel, Quintus Servinton, and though it cannot certainly claim the first rank among the many eminent works of a similar kind of the present day, it is very far from being discreditable to us as a first production of the kind in these remote regions...The story is written in an easy and in some parts elegant and affecting style, and with those who know and can identify the hero, will be read with considerable interest...we must add our regret that the language in some parts is not only loosely expressed, but in a few, not even grammatical, a fault which however venial in the hasty productions of the newspaper press, admits of no excuse in a work of this kind...

This comment reads a little odd to us today: the prose of the novel is grammatical enough, but few would call it "easy" or "elegant."

In 1831 Savery, by his own account, did some writing for Henry Melville's Van Diemen's Land Almanack. What this was is uncertain, but he possibly contributed the historical section or, more probably, wrote or revised the gardening notes.

In January, 1832, he submitted a petition for some relaxation of severity, and this he accompanied with over seventy testimonials from all kinds of people. These comments fall into two groups—those that briefly and formally recommend Savery, and those of greater length that make mention of Savery's character and actions, and of the acquaintance of the writers with Savery's family in England. One from James Grant refers to Quintus Servinton:

I think I know more of his principles from his writings than any other source, and will here quote the observation I made audibly on closing the book after reading thro'—"If Mr. Savery wrote this Book he cannot be a bad man, and I think he had atoned for his offence against Public Justice."

The Colonial Secretary replied favourably on May 31, and on June 5, between six and seven years after his arrival in Tasmania, Savery received his ticket of leave.

A year later he was deprived of it in a manner that may seem to us rather arbitrary. James Gordon, a police magistrate in the Richmond area, was suspended for "non-payment of fees and fines...for applying the public money to his own use." Gordon apparently was engaged in the practice of lending money to his constables, receiving their salaries in return, and inducing them to buy food and clothing from him (or his agent). He protested against his suspension, received no redress, and published the correspondence in a pamphlet. This was reviewed in the Tasmanian of March 1, 1833, and certain comments were made on Gordon's motives and behaviour, among them this:

...although we are by no means inclined to accuse Mr. Gordon of any dishonesty in the business, his own letters convict him of a disreputable bias towards "filthy lucre."

At the time this review appeared, Henry Melville, the printer of the Tasmanian, was absent. Savery, who had for some time been his assistant, was looking after the paper. This gave Gordon his opportunity. Bitterly resentful of Arthur and the authorities, he decided to use against them Order no. 41 of July 9, 1828, which forbade any convict to write for the newspapers. The Order, once used by Arthur in his campaign against Andrew Bent, was now to be used against Arthur himself. Gellibrand, Gordon's lawyer, was instructed to bring out the fact that the authorities now winked at the breaking of this Order. Gordon laid a complaint against Savery, who was charged at the Police Office on May 30 that, being a convict holding a ticket of leave, he had inserted in the Tasmanian an article tending to traduce the character of Gordon—all being contrary to the Order mentioned. The three magistrates, M. Forster, Josiah Spode and James England, ordered Savery to be deprived of his ticket of leave for twelve months.

The whole affair was a tissue of cross-purposes and miscalculations. The unfortunate Savery had not written the review. It was the product of one Thomas Richards, who had come out, a free man, not very long before. Richards wrote to admit his authorship, and absolved Savery of blame. But Savery, as it happened, had not been penalized for editing a newspaper or for writing the review. Both Forster and Spode, in letters to Arthur, declared that Savery was punished not because he had violated Order no. 41 but because he had spoken disrespectfully of Gordon, a Legislative Councillor and the oldest magistrate in the Colony. The Executive Council, reporting on the affair about a week later, stressed that this had not come out at the trial, that Savery had known nothing of it, and therefore had no reason to offer evidence in rebuttal. Consequently he ought to have his ticket of leave restored. We know that it was restored, but it apparently took a little time.

The worst sufferer was Gordon himself. By carelessness (or in treachery by Gellibrand) there was left in the Police Office the brief that contained Gordon's instructions to his lawyer, Gellibrand. This made clear, in Forster's words, that Gordon had brought suit "in order to establish a false accusation made against the government of its sanctioning convicts having the control of the Newspaper press." The Executive Council condemned Gordon with some relish, and wrote to him saying that it had concluded he was no longer fit to be a member of the Legislative Council and a magistrate, and that all the documents in the case would be forwarded to the Secretary of State.

Aiming at Arthur, Gordon had temporarily crippled Savery and had severely wounded himself. There were no punches pulled in political squabbles in early Tasmania.

From this time until 1838, the year when the last phase of Savery's troubled career began, references and records are sporadic. It is interesting to note the considerable legal activity of which he had, directly or indirectly, already been the cause: his own trial, the Van Diemen's Land Establishment dispute, the Montagu and Jennings suits, the Butler v. Bent libel action, the Gordon v. Savery case. One might think that Savery would have had his fill of litigation. But in the next five years on occasion actions were not only brought against him but also initiated by him. All concerned money. William Lindsay, William Gibbins, and Maurice Smith were three of those with whom he had legal brushes.

All this time he continued his work in agriculture, and leased farms that he proceeded to develop. There survive, for instance, two letters in which he offers his advice to Arthur on the improvement of soil. Writing from The Lawn Farm (in the New Norfolk district) on November 24, 1834, he points out that Arthur's farm, directly opposite, is covered with water weeds. He suggests that his own methods, quite different from those normally employed, may serve. Arthur either wrote asking further advice or else granted him an interview, for in a second letter dated December 4, 1834, Savery says he has inspected Arthur's property and thinks the solution may be numerous deep drains dividing up the fields into small plots together with lime dressing on some fields. He concludes by insisting that his only motive for thus intruding upon Arthur's attention is his own interest in agriculture, a profession which he feels has been neglected.

Savery's final troubles began in 1838, when in February Thomas Young, attorney for Reuben Joseph, petitioned that Savery be declared insolvent. The proceedings, repeatedly postponed month after month, must have weighed on Savery's mind, and it seems likely that in these last years he took to drink. From a report of a meeting of creditors after his death, for instance, there emerges news of a debt to William Montgomerie, licensed victualler. Though this may have been incurred for other needs than liquor, it appears significant enough.

Despite all this, there were a few bright patches. In March of the same year he received his conditional pardon. His interest in agriculture, marked throughout his years in the Colony, had its last manifestations. In May he took over a farm at Hestercombe from one Dunn, under an agreement that Savery was to be, as it were, on probation for a year. If the improvements he contracted to make were satisfactory, then he would be granted a six-year lease at a rental of £160 per annum for the first three years and of £190 for the next three.

But any hopes he had of rehabilitating himself were delusive, for this very project, so it seems, was among the causes of his ultimate fall. He sank deeper and deeper into debt, signed bills with little hope of meeting them, renewed them, and paid them by bills drawn on others. As if this were not enough, minor worries tormented him. Early in 1839 he had some trouble over a pass he had given his assigned servant, granting him permission to leave the farm and stay away overnight. Perhaps because of this, added to doubts of his suitability, near the end of the same year the Board of Assignment refused him an assigned servant in spite of his plea that it was essential for him to have one.

The burden grew heavier. Savery apparently became neglectful even of correspondence. The Hobart Town Gazette, for instance, listed him as one of those for whom unclaimed letters were being held at the General Post Office for the quarters ending March and June of 1839. At last the wretched man cracked. In desperation, we must suppose, he resorted to the device that had been the original cause of his downfall—he signed fictitious bills.

Detection came near the end of 1840. The Hobart Town Courier for September 4 announced:

During the week, forged bills to a considerable extent have been detected. The offender is the well known Mr. Savery. Report states that he has fled via Launceston, and shipped himself for Adelaide.

But report erred. On Tuesday, September 29, he was arrested in Hobart Town, was examined at the Police Office two days later, and was remanded.

On October 29 he was brought up for trial before the same Algernon Montagu who had acted as the protector of Mrs. Savery on her voyage out to Tasmania. The witnesses were Richard Cooke and Josiah Austin, and there was a jury of seven. Savery pleaded not guilty to the charge of uttering a forged acceptance with intent to defraud Richard Cooke. The jury brought in the expected verdict of guilty, and Montagu addressed the prisoner in terms of severe condemnation: "I will not, however, so far stultify myself as to suppose ...reformation will be shown by you..." The sentence was: Transportation beyond the sea for life.

This generally meant, for Tasmanian offenders, imprisonment in the penitentiary at Port Arthur, the grim group of buildings on Tasman's Peninsula, controlled at that time by Captain Charles O'Hara Booth, an administrator capable, forceful, just, and inflexible. Thither Savery was transported.

Fifteen months later he was dead.

His death, unlike his birth, still presents a puzzle. The note by Henry Melville in the British Museum copy of The Hermit in Van Diemen's Land, reproduced in this volume, contains the laconic statement that Savery "was sent to the penal settlement of Port Arthur where he destroyed his life by cutting his own throat." This seems definite enough; and we should now certainly believe this account but for David Burn, the first Australian dramatist.

On January 6, 1842, Burn embarked at Hobart with a few others on the schooner Eliza for a tour of Port Arthur. On Sunday, January 9, he saw Savery. Here are the relevant parts of Burn's story:

From the cells we went to the hospital, where we had a signal opportunity of drawing a wholesome moral from the sad—the miserable consequences of crime. There, upon a stretcher, lay Henry Savary (sic), the once celebrated Bristol sugar-baker—a man upon whose birth Fortune smiled propitious, whose family and kindred moved in the very first circles, and who himself occupied no inconsiderable place in his fellow-citizens' esteem.

Burn goes on to give an outline sketch of Savery's trial and his life in Van Diemen's Land, where eventually he was...subjected to the ordeal of Port Arthur. There he experienced a shock of paralysis, and there ere long, in all human probability, the misguided man will terminate his wretched career.

It has been said by the slanderers of the Colony that vice makes converts. I would that my ancient antagonist, His Grace of Dublin, or even his ally of the Colonial Gazette, could have stood, as I did, by Savary's pallet—could have witnessed the scarce-healed wound of his attenuated throat—the lack-lustre glare of his hollow eye: I think even they would have felt inclined to doubt the syren's blandishments. Knowing, as I once did at Bristol, some of Savary's wealthy, dashing, gay associates, I could not contemplate the miserable felon before me without sentiments of the deepest compassion mingled with horror and awe. There he lay, a sad—a solemn warning.

All this occurred only a month before Savery's death on February 6, 1842. He was buried two days later by the Wesleyan minister at Port Arthur, the Rev. John Allen Manton, whose notebook has the entry:

Tuesday February 8th. Today I have committed to the grave the remains of Henry Savery, a son of one of the first bankers in Bristol, but his end was without honour.

There are a few questions one would like answered. Was Savery still suffering the "shock of paralysis" when Burn saw him, and if so, did he recover from it and cut his throat? It seems unlikely. Again, what does Burn mean by "the scarce-healed wound of his attenuated throat"? Does he mean "lately-healed" or "badly-healed"? If the first, then Savery must have attempted suicide at Port Arthur; if the second, then Burn probably refers to the scar left by the attempt in 1828.

There remains the assertion by Henry Melville that Savery died by cutting his throat. But it should be remembered that in 1869 Melville was writing twenty-seven years after Savery's death. On the other hand Melville was usually accurate. And Dr. Crowther of Hobart has pointed out to me that suicide attempts are often repetitive. Savery made two early attempts—by drowning, by cutting his throat. A third attempt was likely enough.

We are left then with three possibilities: that the "shock of paralysis" was the symptom of a "stroke" that caused his death; that after Burn's visit Savery did cut his throat; that he cut his throat before Burn's visit and that this and some other malady produced his paralysis and later his death. I incline to the first explanation, and think that a lapse of Melville's memory (he was sixty-nine when he wrote the note on Savery) transferred the suicide attempt of 1828 to the Port Arthur period. But this is speculation, and it seems unlikely that we shall ever know for certain.


The events of Savery's life and the autobiographical novel he has left us give some insight into the man. He was, so far as can be learned, not striking in appearance. All we gain from the prison record is that he was five feet eight inches in height, and that he had brown hair and hazel eyes. But he was not commonplace in temperament.

His fraud discovered by chance, his escape frustrated by half-an-hour, his condemnation caused by a misunderstanding, his life preserved within twenty-four hours of execution, his wife saved from shipwreck only to wreck his marriage, lawsuits brought against him because of accidents of time and place, mishaps in business, bad luck or bad management in farming, and finally debt and forgery and his last condemnation—it all presents a multicoloured picture. Henry Savery was, we may think, accident-prone.

On the other hand he was not a mere pawn without control over his movements. His own estimates of his character, found at various points in the novel, seem fairly penetrating and objective, and they differ in this respect from his accounts of the events that happened. In such recountals he tidies up the truth, he prunes a trifle, adds a little here and there, and the result is not quite the actuality itself. He presents himself as more innocent than he was. And yet his self-portrayal, when in the form of an estimate, is very near the truth. He was a man—and he recognizes this—who depended on façade. He had to be doing things, and he liked to be recognized as responsible for these. This brashness never left him. He was subdued by his experiences as a convict in Tasmania, but up to the last few years before his final arrest he still sought recognition: his letters to Arthur offering advice in farming appear to me indications of this unextinguished thirst.

He was, I think, often devious and secretive in his dealings—but hopeful of outcome and not unmindful of the claims of others. He was also, I suspect, prone to assertiveness if not arrogance, and when he had power he used it—but he always felt sure that his enemy had attacked first or at any rate deserved what he got. He had the family pride of birth and he was proud in himself. He always overbid his hand, a practice which in his earlier years was forgiven for a time until the impersonal forces of law weighed acts and not motives. But experience did not teach him. After a time he was deceiving himself more than others. Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, perhaps in exasperation at the trouble that Savery had unwittingly caused him, wrote to Goderich on December 27, 1827: "Savery is a Man of whose real reformation, notwithstanding the strong testimonials of his conduct from Home and in this Colony, I have but a very faint hope."

And yet he must have possessed considerable charm. He had, as David Burn put it, a circle of "dashing, gay associates" in Bristol; he could, it is reasonable to deduce from the evidence, persuade his father to forgive him a great deal; he was loved sincerely by his wife, who despite one shipwreck was willing to risk another and come out to Tasmania to join him; and he was able to extract glowing testimonials from friends and acquaintances even after conviction and further lawsuits. It is not too harsh to suggest that apart from successful ingenuity and a practised bravado he had many of the qualifications of the confidence-man.

The picture Savery gives in Quintus Servinton is then mostly true in analysis of what he was, less true in description and narration of what he did. There is not, we may be thankful, much tearful contrition or whining exculpation. It is a good human document.

As a work of literature, though it is not likely to occupy any high position, it has its claims on our attention. It is for instance the first Australian novel—the first story dealing in any measure with Australia written by an inhabitant. There are one or two earlier stories, for instance Alfred Dudley; or, the Australian Settlers (1830) by an unknown author in England, who claims to have drawn his information from "the kind communications of a gentleman who resided for some time in Australia," but these can hardly be called Australian novels. As for Mary Grimstone's Woman's Love, a romantic tale set in England, it was, as Morris Miller points out, mostly written in Hobart during her three years there (March 1826 to February 1829), was revised in England 1830-1, and published in 1832, a year after Savery's novel appeared. Quintus Servinton holds its position by setting, date of publication, and residence of the author.

It is also valuable and interesting for its picture of convict life as experienced by the educated convict, and here it affords a contrast and a complement to such a narrative as Ralph Rashleigh, in which James Tucker paints a sombre picture of the brutality that can crush the convict of humble birth and little education who is put to manual tasks.

And last, simply as a novel, it still has power to tell a story. It has its obvious defects: it is often long-winded, and its general comments on life in general can become tiresome; and its style is to our ears intolerably orotund. It is interesting to note that, though written about ninety years after Fielding's earliest novel, it is more formal in diction and seems today more old-fashioned. And yet, in spite of these handicaps, it can persuade a reader to turn the pages and want to know what is coming next. The pictures it gives of English provincial life and even the accounts of business dealings in England are—for some readers at any rate—fascinating in their details. The narrative power is characteristic of a great deal of our fiction of last century; many greater novels of this century seem not to have it in the same degree.


QUINTUS SERVINTON

VOLUME ONE


PREFACE

Let not the Readers of Quintus Servinton adopt an unfavorable impression towards it, because the author has thought fit to depart from a custom now-a-days in fashion, and to prefix to his publication a few introductory observations, calculated, he conceives, to act the Master of the Ceremonies, and to bring his pretensions before the world under more favourable auspices, than he might otherwise be justified in anticipating.

First, then, as to the tale itself. Although it appears under this shape,—or, as some may perhaps call it, novel,—it is no fiction, or the work of imagination, either in its characters or incidents. Not by this, however, is it pretended to be said that all the occurrences it details, happened precisely in their order of narration, nor that it is the mere recital of the events of a man's life—but it is a biography, true in its general features, and in its portraiture of individuals; and all the documents, letters and other papers contained in its pages are transcripts, or nearly so, of originals, copied from the manuscript, which came into the author's hands in the manner described in the introductory chapter.

Thus much for the subject of the Work. Now, for a few words of a more personal nature, as respects him by whom it is written. It was not wholly a desire of fame, nor the hope of profit, nor, he trusts, an over-weening vanity, that led the author to "o'erstep the modesty of nature," and venture to compose a book; but it was the idea that he might convey useful and instructive precepts under their most attractive guise—the force of example. Let him not be understood, however, as wishing to convey that he feels indifferent upon the point, either of honor or of a fair remuneration for his time; for, were he regardless of the first, he might be enticed into a careless laxity, quite irreconcilable with prudence on the part of one, who treads so dangerous and uncertain a path as that of Literature, when intended for the amusement of others; and so far as the second is concerned, there are few, similarly circumstanced to the Author—whose chief dependence is the allegiance due to his King and Country, who can afford to consider it altogether immaterial, whether they devote many long and wearisome hours to an employment, "free, gratis, and all for nothing," or, whether they reap some advantage from their labours. Perhaps, therefore, each of the inducements has had some weight in the production of Quintus Servinton. But, alas! so little do we know what is before us—so abortive are our plans oft rendered by the events of an hour, equally unexpected as beyond our controul, that when the manuscript of the following pages was nearly completed, and ready to be placed in the hands of the Printer, orders arrived for embarkation on a distant service. What course therefore remained open? Either to employ the many and tiresome hours of a passage from England to this distant Colony, in the completion of the work, and then to send the manuscript home for publication, subject to all the inconveniences that must have inevitably attended such a plan, and which are as well known to authors as the want of the last touch—the last finish, would be understood and lamented, by the professors of the various branches of the Arts and Sciences; or to defer till a return to Europe, the ushering into existence the fruit of his labours. Most unexpectedly, however, the termination of the voyage removed one very great difficulty; for, by the extraordinary progress that has been made, in adapting this little speck upon the Southern Ocean, to the wants and necessities of Englishmen, it was found easily practicable to print and publish an octavo work, in Van Diemen's Land.

It may be hoped that the mere circumstance alone, of Quintus Servinton's being the first publication of this nature, that has ever issued from a Colonial Press, may induce a favourable reception of the undertaking, both here and in England; particularly, when it is borne in mind, that this Press exists in one of the most recently formed of the English Colonies. The Author has not to learn that he requires some such extraneous help, towards supplying the numerous demands upon the patience of the reader which, he fears, will be found to pervade his pages; and when he adds, that the style of composition is entirely new to him, he is aware how much further occasion he has to solicit indulgence for his temerity in entering an arena, where a mighty genius has latterly presided, chasing from the very precincts, all, whose pretensions do not exceed mediocrity.

Still, is he not dismayed; because, strip him even of all other laurels, he defies the hand that may be lifted against the moral tendency of his tale; and he has not now to learn the great influence this ever has, in creating favor with the British Public. Had time and occasion served, perhaps he could have made the work more perfect in its form, its style, and language; yet, the correctness of its details could not have been improved. Such as it is, therefore, he entrusts it with some degree of confidence, to the countenance and support of the English Nation.

Van Diemen's Land, 1830


INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER

Books, my dear girl, when well design'd,
Are moral maps of human kind——
Where, stretched before judicious eyes,
The road to worth and wisdom lies.

BISHOP

Which of my readers chances to be acquainted with the beautiful scenery of the South of Devonshire? and which, being so acquainted, recollects where the Dart, gliding its limpid way between Dartmouth and Totness, waters a range of fertile meadows, interspersed every here and there by a thickly tufted knoll, from whose eminence the picturesque windings of the clear stream, seen at a short distance under its lofty cliffs, give to the prospect an appearance, more interesting and more romantic, than even a poet could describe? If there be any such, let his recollection be carried a little farther, and perhaps it may present to him a spot, nearly equidistant from the two towns, where, in the centre of a lawn, gently shelving towards the river, flanked on the rear by a luxuriantly wooded hill, on one side by a continuous tract of rich pastures, and on the other by a lane, conducting the traveller to the village of Appleford, stands a remarkably handsome cottage, immediately surrounded by a shrubbery, kept in the highest order, and communicating with the lane by a wicket, that opens upon a smooth, wide gravel road, leading to the front door, whence it again turns with a sweep, to the offices in the rear of the building.

The cottage itself is small, but singularly attractive in its appearance, from the tasty manner of laying out the grounds around it, evidently denoting that elegance and excellent management preside within its walls, under their fairest shape and form. Along its front is a veranda, clinging to whose pillars, the climatis and passion flower vie in their endeavours to add to the beauty of the place. Close to the house, are jessamines, honey-suckles, and China roses, in luxuriant profusion, almost concealing the stucco with which the walls are covered. On different parts of the grass plot in front, which has been brought by constant mowing and rolling, to be as smooth as velvet, are flower-beds, stored with all the choicest productions of the country; rose-bushes trained along the ground by layers, and at various distances, flowering and other shrubs, attaining great size and perfection, from the peculiarly mild and salubrious climate where they have been planted.

Towards this charming spot, accident led me one fine day at the latter end of last August, and introduced to my knowledge a variety of circumstances connected with its inhabitants, which struck me as being sufficiently extraordinary, to induce my becoming an author; although, so far as my readers are concerned, they doubtless might have been benefitted, had the chance that befel me, occurred to many, rather than myself.

Tempted by the extreme beauty of the scenery in this sequestered valley, I was rambling, attended only by a favourite spaniel, led on by that silent meditation ever sacred to the sylvan God, stopping every now and then, and endeavouring by my pencil, to sketch the alternate grand and lowly, but every where romantic landscape, when the short, quick bark of Dash, announced that he had started game; and I almost immediately saw him pursuing a hare through an adjoining corn-field, deaf to my calls, and regardless of my repeated summons to return. Unwilling to be deemed a trespasser by the neighbouring farmers, yet finding all endeavours to reclaim the truant ineffectual, I was making my way after him, full of bitterness and wrath, and had ascended one of the high banks, for which the hedges in that part of the country are remarkable, when, in jumping to the ground, upon the opposite side, my foot slipped, and I fell, unable to move, presently finding that I had disclocated my ancle.

Entirely a stranger, and in complete ignorance with regard to the proximity of any dwelling, my repeated cries for assistance were made rather in fear, than hope, and their echoes reverberating from the rocky cliffs of the river, fell on my ear, solemn and melancholy in the extreme. Hour after hour thus passed on, and notwithstanding I hallooed and bawled until perfectly hoarse, no friendly response relieved my anxiety—no passing traveller appeared to cheer and encourage me; and when at length, the golden tints of the sun, as it approached the western horizon, were reflected upon the foliage of the trees, at a short distance, changing their hue from time to time, according to its progressive descent, the splendid scene which at other times would be calculated to afford a delightful interest, now created in my breast, a chilling sickness, mingled with horror, and the most gloomy apprehensions, not only so far as personal sufferings were concerned, but as to my very existence.

While thus enduring the most agonising solicitude, a whistle, and immediately afterwards a voice, calling out, "Rose! Rose! here, here, come here, you little Snap!" rewarded my long and anxious listening; and raising myself, in the best manner I was able, and once more essaying to be heard, although I had nearly lost my voice by previous ineffectual exertions, I had the inexpressible delight of seeing a human being, within a couple of hundred yards of me, and presently afterwards, of observing that I was noticed.

Let those who have ever experienced an unlooked for deliverance in the hour of need, for no other can, enter into, and sympathise with my feelings, when, in the course of a minute or two, a handsome boy, apparently twelve or thirteen years of age, followed by his two dogs, made his appearance. His dress, and general appearance, marked him a Gentleman's son; and the survey I obtained of his features as he approached, gave me cause equally to admire their regularity, as their sweet expression. His eyes were dark and full, set off by thick auburn hair, and a bright, fair complexion. Across his shoulder was hung a fishing basket; in one hand he carried a rod and line, and in the other, a small bag. Never shall I forget his beautiful cast of countenance, during the few moments that he listened to my tale of misery; indeed, he would barely allow me to finish, ere he exlaimed with a tone and expression, all his own, "My Grandpapa and Grandmamma live just across these two fields, under the wood, and I'll run and tell them. My Grandmamma is so good and kind, I'm sure she'll take care of you;" then, without allowing me time to reply, away he bounded with the rapidity of a young deer.

I was scarcely able to compose my fluttered spirits under this happy change of prospects, when, still looking in the direction my youthful deliverer had taken, I saw him returning, holding the hand of a Gentleman, and closely followed by two men carrying a hand-barrow, on which were placed cushions. The Gentleman was of middle stature, and fair, with brown hair, a good deal mingled with gray; although time did not appear to have alone had a hand in this, as his age did not strike me as exceeding sixty; and his walk was firm and erect. In his general appearance and mode of salutation there was a certain concomitant of good birth, which is always easy and polite, and it was quite evident that he had seen much of the world—on his brow sat melancholy and care, softened by resignation—there was nothing stern about him; on the contrary, a mildness, a placidity distinguished his expression, but yet there was a something about the eye, betraying that his mind had been torn by early storms. I attempted to apologise, but he instantly stopped me. "I have known myself, Sir, what a friend is, in the hour of need, and God forbid I should ever withhold that, which I have freely received. Olivant, my dear boy," addressing the child, "run home and tell your Grandmamma we are coming, Sir," continued he, again addressing me, "the very best woman in the world, at least, I think her so, will do every thing your accident requires—allow me the honor of assisting you on the barrow. Thomas, carry the Gentleman as easily as you can, and let us make homewards."

Proceeding in this way, it was not long until we had accomplished my painful journey;—painful, I may indeed say, for notwithstanding every precaution, my agony was intense. At the door, we were met by a Lady, perhaps some years younger than the Gentleman, and one single look induced me to yield a willing assent to the commendation, I had heard bestowed on her. "Emily my dearest," said my friendly guide, "I have brought you a patient; this Gentleman has dislocated his ancle."

"We had better send instantly for Mr. Setwell," replied the Lady; "in the meantime, pray use the drawing-room."

It had been already strictly enjoined me, not to be ceremonious, nor to attempt to control whatever was proposed for my relief. I therefore gratefully, but tacitly yielded to the steps thus taken, and being carried into a nicely furnished room, was carefully laid upon the sofa. So soon as I was sufficiently at ease, to cast my eyes around me, I had abundant cause to acquiesce in the justice of the attributes ascribed, both by Grandfather and Grandson (for so my two deliverers appeared to be,) to the Lady of the house; every thing exhibiting marks of that refinement of ideas, peculiar to the female taste and character; and presently the entrance of the Lady herself, allowed me a farther opportunity of estimating her character. Surely, if woman's praises were ever justly due, they belong to this amiable, and excellent creature. In her youth she must have been eminently handsome; but what is that, compared with the heavenly expression of the mind, visibly pourtrayed by all the lines of her countenance? I could trace a strong resemblance between this Lady, and her beautiful Grandson; although it was also easy to discover the affinity of the Grandfather. It might be tedious and uninteresting, to detail all the occurrences of the fortnight I spent under the roof of this hospitable couple, ere my removal was permitted. In return for the card I early put into the hands of my friendly host, he simply gave me to understand, that his name was Quintus Servinton; that the Lady was his wife, and the youth, one of the children of an only son, who resided at a distance. The course of events, daily brought us better acquainted; and, if at first, I had reason to admire and esteem the Lady, I absolutely venerated her, before I took my leave; with respect too, to her husband, his fond devotion, and evident strong attachment both to her and his Grandson, who was really a charming, well-behaved child, added to many other little traits of character I observed, so counteracted an occasional tendency to pettishness, which would now and then peep through his calm melancholy, that I quite loved and respected him, and felt sincerely for his sorrows, without knowing their cause; in a word, I became attached to the whole of this interesting family. Our evenings were generally passed in a book or music room, fitted up in a manner, to bid defiance to ennui, in whatever shape it might make its advances. Here, we sometimes alternately read aloud some popular Author; at others, employed ourselves in more solitary avocations; relieving the hours, by entertaining and rational converse. The medical Gentleman who attended me, had now pronounced, that in a day or two, I might venture to move, and as we were all sitting together one evening, talking of the vicissitudes of life, Mr. Servinton said, "We none of us know what is before us, or what we can bear, until we are tried; you see before you, a man who has tasted of the cup of affliction, or I would rather call it chastening, to its very dregs, but God was kind to me through all, as he sent me an angel in a human form, to comfort, console, and advise me." Here he seemed overcome by a momentary intensity of feeling, and as he wiped away the starting tear, rose, kissed his wife, then his grandson, and continued.—"You must excuse me, Sir, but a man who has been married between thirty and forty years, may be allowed to praise his wife, even before strangers—but mine must be rewarded by Heaven, not by me, for I am incapable of rendering her, half her meed of justice. One false step, one dereliction from sound principle on my part, in early life, was the occasion of misery to both of us for years afterwards; but it enabled me, I trust, to know the value of two inestimable jewels, my wife, and my immortal soul. You may derive instruction, Sir, from being made acquainted with my story; it is capable of teaching you, and forcibly exemplifying a few important truths. The mirror of life, as held up to us, by the faults and follies of our neighbours, may always be looked into with advantage; from such as I can present may be learnt, the danger of self-sufficiency, or the over estimation of one's powers. That no other course than what is perfectly straight forward and honourable, free from all cutting and contrivance, can ever be trod with safety.—That the imprudence of exceeding such means as are well at command, in the businesses of life, is like building a house upon a rotten foundation, only to involve the individual himself and many innocent persons, in ruin by the fall. You may further draw two or three consolatory reflections from my history; one is, particularly, never to give way to despair, but, under the most trying circumstances, have trust in God. Another—"

"That there's a date set, to all sorrows——
Nothing is everlasting in this world."

"Before you leave us, I will lend you for perusal some notes I have taken from time to time, but we will not pursue the subject now, for I assure you it is sufficiently painful."

Both Mr. Servinton, and his wife, were well informed persons upon most subjects;—conversation seldom flagged, and I now endeavoured to change it; although, had it not been for the hint contained in his last few words, my curiosity was sufficiently excited, to make me wish to hear more. The next morning, he put into my hands, a packet, saying—"When you have read this, let me have it again." I instantly shut myself in my apartment, and commenced the perusal of a narrative, which did indeed, surprize, instruct, and interest me. When I returned it the following day, I besought permission to lay before the Public, the extraordinary detail I had read; but was met by a most decided negative.

I was too desirous, however, of gaining my point, to be easily repulsed; and the subsequent arguments I used, were more successful—ending at length, in my receiving an assent, which has brought me for the first time, upon the field of literature, as an Author. I am fully aware of my humble pretensions to this character, but hope I may at least be considered the means of communicating an instructive lesson—and will only add, that if others are half so much affected and interested by the perusal of my tale, as I was by my acquaintance with one of its most prominent characters, they will pardon all my defects of style, and heartily thank me, for bringing them acquainted with Quintus Servinton.

THE AUTHOR


CHAPTER I

"Give me your hand, and let me see
Your future fate, and Heaven's decree."

It was at the beginning of August, 1772, that a gentleman who was travelling on horseback, across the moors in the neighbourhood of the Tees, accompanied by a faithful and trusty servant, was met by a troop of gipsies, the foremost or leader of whom approached, with the view apparently of accosting him. He was tall and of very erect stature, as if, in early life, he had been a soldier, and though his ragged and tattered garments, now bespoke too plainly the ignominy of the calling he had adopted, there was a certain something in his manner, an air of superiority in his gait, which commanded respect, in spite of his habiliments, and denoted full plainly that he had seen better days.

The other members of the party, were a mixed assemblage of old and young men and women, with some half-naked children; and following at a little distance in the rear, was an apology for a cart drawn by a miserable horse, serving as a conveyance for most of the moveables of the itinerants. At first, Mr. Servinton, for so the gentleman was named, felt a momentary apprehension, that the property he had about him, might be endangered by such company—a feeling, not likely to be greatly relieved, by any dependence he might have upon his attendant Sam, he being one of those, who think discretion is the better part of valour; and that, "he who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day."

Any idea of danger, was however, but transient; for the countenance of the leader, and his mild and placid manner, were not reconcileable with the pursuits of persons, disposed to violence; and before the two parties absolutely met, all perturbation, even on Sam's part, was removed.

"It's a soft morning, Sir," said the leader, gently doffing a cap, made of the skin of some animal from which none of the fur had been taken.

"It is;" replied Mr. Servinton, "but pray, my good folks, which way are you travelling? for I'll tell you what, 'tis my duty as a Justice of the Peace, bids me keep the country clear of vagrants, and the appearance of your troop, seems to bespeak that I shall be obliged to use my interference, if you think of taking up your quarters in this neighbourhood."

"Save you, and bless your bonny face," replied one of the females of the party—"I'm sure, the heart that lies under it, cannot be a hard one—and we're only going to Carlisle, your Honor, and only meant to stay in yonder copse for a day or two, till we're a little rested;—an your Honor will be so kind as to shut your Honor's eyes till we are gone, I'll tell your Honor's fortune,—and if 'tis like your face, it must be a happy one."

Mr. Servinton was one of those good-natured, unaffected country Gentlemen, who are an honor to England. The eldest son of a long and respectable line of ancestry, well educated, accustomed from his infancy, to mix with persons of the highest rank in his County, possessing a handsome patrimony in some valuable estates, to which he had considerably added by purchase, he spent the greatest part of his time, in the bosom of his family, at a large, old-fashioned hall, near the village of Lartingham, devoting his chief attention to such pursuits as usually mark a country life, but relieving their monotony by indulging a taste for drawing, and an ardent attachment to classic literature—in both which he was a proficient. With him, the Commission of the Peace was not made the means of enhancing an imaginary importance among his neighbours, nor of oppressing the poor by a vexatious exercise of power; nor, in a word, of ever departing from the principle of tempering justice with mercy. It therefore was by no means difficult to persuade him, not to interrupt the proceedings of his new acquaintances, provided they conducted themselves peaceably and orderly; nor, as he was not altogether free from curiosity of disposition, was he inclined to lose the opportunity of learning what would be pretended to be uttered, as his future destiny. Accordingly, he briefly addressed the troop, in reply to the appeal that had been made him, observing that, as they had not been brought before him in his Magisterial capacity, he would not interfere with them, unless their own behaviour rendered it necessary; then turning to the female speaker, and throwing her a sixpence, he said, "Come my good woman; let's have a trial of your skill—let's know what's to be my fortune."

The woman, pleased that her request had been granted, and flattered by the easy familiar tone, by which she had been accosted;—a tone, always at the command of a true Gentleman, without its being allowed in reply, immediately stepped forward, and muttering certain unintelligible words, proceeded to investigate the lines on Mr. Servinton's palm. Her shrewd dark countenance underwent many changes, whilst she was making her observations. Sometimes a smile, as of apparent delight, played around her mouth, and caused her to exhibit a regular set of teeth, which, contrasted with the general contour of her face, gave the whole, rather an engaging appearance. At others, her melancholy, still cast of features, implied that all was not agreeable—and at one particular moment, a tear came into her piercing black eye, and filling it quite to overflowing, ran over upon her cheek, and was immediately succeeded by a smile; which presently again gave way to tears and sighs; the whole being closed by a laugh, as of pleasure, a clapping of hands, and an exclamation—"I see it all! I see it all!—he's happy at last!"

Mr. Servinton, although perfectly free from superstition, and possessing a strong, well-cultivated mind, could not witness the passing scene without interest. He desired the woman to explain what had so affected her; and in reply she addressed him as follows:——

"Sweets and sours——more sours than sweets——
A new-born Son your Honor greets;"——

and then, pausing a little, and assuming a most solemn tone, added, "Your children will be a score, less two. He who is now entering the world, will give you as much pleasure, and as much pain, as any of them—thrice will he be in danger of sudden or violent death—thrice will he undergo great reverses of fortune—his thrice tenth year will be the commencing scene of his disasters—when he reaches his fortieth, he will have passed through all dangers, and will attain a happy and peaceful old age; but warn him from his cradle of from thirty to forty."

The two parties now separated; Mr. Servinton to proceed to his own mansion, which was only a few miles distant, and where, he was now returning, after a months absence, in a neighbouring county, whither he had gone, according to his annual custom, for the purpose of looking after his estates, and meeting his tenants. Although an addition to his already large family, had been expected, he had not yet heard that the event had taken place; and scarcely allowing himself to think what weight to attach to the Gipsy's prophecy, opposed as it was to his conviction of the absurdity of such pretensions to a knowledge of the future, he could not so far divest himself of it, as to help mentally feeling that, whether or not, it should influence his mind, would in some measure depend upon the fulfilment or otherwise, of the first part of the prediction.

Thus ruminating, he travelled slowly along his way, scarcely noticing the endeavours made by his attendant every now and then, to introduce a word edgeways, until at length, Sam, rather elevating his voice, observed, "I'm thinking, Master, these Witches must be nation cunning, thus to tell folk's fortunes—I had my fortune told when I was a young man, and it has all come true."

"Has it?" replied Mr. Servinton, "Pray what might you have been told, Sam?"

"That I should never be married, Master, for one thing, and that I should live twenty years in one place for another. As to the first, I was then courting Margaret Bousfield, but I knew that if I married against the will of these Witches, and their like, we should have nothing but trouble, and so I broke off the match—and as for the other part, your Honor knows how true that has proved."

"You should not call such people Witches, Sam!" said his Master, "they are Gipsies, and their pretensions to divination, serve only to amuse the ignorant and vulgar. You did very wrong, to desert a poor girl, upon such insufficient grounds; there are few things more cruel or more wicked, than to obtain a woman's affections and then leave her. I had really thought better of you, than to have believed the stories I formerly heard, with regard to you and Margaret, and I am doubly sorry to find them confirmed by yourself, upon so improper a cause, as a Gipsy's fortune-telling." He then went on to explain to Sam, that Gipsies abound in all parts of Europe, particularly in Hungary, where they travel in large bands or hordes like Arabs, gaily dressed in red and green, and often well armed and mounted. They are every where averse to regular employment, preferring to lead a rambling, desultory life. In Prussia, they are sometime enrolled as soldiers, bon gré, mal gré; but even when disciplined to the use of arms, they never forget their early habits; nor do they omit seizing every opportunity of showing their dislike to the service. He was continuing in this manner, further illustrating his observations by some anecdotes, characteristic of the race, when he came within sight of Lartingham Hall, the smoke from whose chimnies, curling as it rose among the trees, was his first welcome home; nor can there ever be a welcome, that is more grateful to the eyes of the homeward bound traveller.

Lartingham Hall was a building rather commodious than handsome. It stood in the centre of a ring fence, inclosing one hundred and twenty acres, bounded on all sides by a narrow lane, whose hedges, formed of a great variety of flowering shrubs and trees, were now exhibiting their several beauties in many different hues and forms. The inclosure had formerly been a park, but was now divided into several large fields, those nearest the house being thickly planted with ornamental timber, in orchards and shrubberies; the house itself, standing in the midst of a smooth, highly cultivated lawn. At a short distance in the rear, were extensive and well-arranged kitchen-gardens, hot-houses, and pineries; and the offices, all which were extremely convenient, were so situated as scarcely to be perceptible from the parts of the house, usually inhabited by the family.

Mr. Servinton had been disposed to while away the ideas floating in his mind in consequence of the occurrence of the morning, and had therefore the more readily entered into conversation with his servant; but Sam was at all times a great favorite with his Master—he had lived with him previous to his marriage—was faithful, and warmly attached to the family; and, in virtue of these and other claims or qualifications, had become a sort of Major domo with the other servants; over whom, as well as the children, he often exercised an authority, equal at least, if not superior, to that assumed by his master.

Just as he had rode a few paces forwards, to open the great gate, leading through a stately avenue of ash-trees to the house, a groom was seen riding rapidly across the common they had lately passed, wearing Mr. Servinton's grey livery, and following a gentleman who was pressing his horse greatly beyond his ordinary speed. As they were proceeding at a much quicker rate than Mr. Servinton, they were soon sufficiently near to enable him to discover, that the gentleman was Mr. Bates, Mrs. Servinton's medical attendant upon occasions that added to her matronly honours; and the truth at once flashed across his mind, that in one part, at least, the Gipsy's prediction had been accomplished: and ere he reached the house he was overtaken by the Doctor, when he was informed, that about two hours previously, the servant had been sent to summon him, with orders to spare no haste.

At the hall door was the head nurse, who had the almost unlimited control of the numerous young progeny, waiting full of smiles and simpers, to announce that her dear Mistress had been complaining early in the forenoon; that although James had been immediately dispatched for Mr. Bates, a fine healthy boy had been born long before he could have reached his destination; and that both mother and son "were doing as well as could be expected."

So soon as his feelings, alike of agitation and agreeable surprise, were a little subsided, Mr. Servinton retired to his room, full of deep musings upon the singular occurrence that had preceded the birth of this, his fifth son. He was a most affectionate husband, and truly fond of his children; but a birth was so regularly an annual, that much of the charm of the infantine hours of offspring was deadened by its constant recurrence; and it was observed, by the acquaintances of the family, as a mark of character rather surprising in a man of his disposition, that his attachment to his children was comparatively little developed, until they advanced towards puberty, when he became the fondest of parents.

If the untoward events that happen to most of us, in our passage through life, be traced to their true and legitimate source, they will but too frequently, be found to owe their origin to certain defects of early education. We very commonly see parents almost totally indifferent as to what impressions their children receive; what associations they form; or what habits they acquire during their infancy, fondly thinking, that it is ample time as yet, to correct any evil propensity they may acquire; and full early, to practise any restraint upon the childs engaging follies. We thus observe parents, who in after life, cannot do enough for their children, negatively correct only, in their conduct towards them, so long as they continue in the nursery; forgetting Solomon's proverb respecting the training up of youth, and adopting the very course which their good sense and usually right notions, would have led them to reprobate in their neighbours. The sequel will demonstrate whether or not there is a possibility, that any part of these observations are borne out by the system of education, adopted in the family, to whose acquaintance the Reader is now introduced.

Shortly after Mr. Servinton had withdrawn to his own room, or library as it was commonly called, a tap at the door announced Mr. Bate, who had just left the lady of the house and her child, both "doing remarkably well." Mr. Servinton, in the course of conversation, narrated the events of the forenoon, and inquired the Doctor's opinion upon them. "'Pon my honour, and under correction, Sir," he replied, "I am inclined always to view such events as proceeding from nothing more nor less than an illusion of the brain, bespeaking great irritability of the system, and for which, no better treatment can be applied, than a plentiful application of the cat o'nine tails, after an immersion in a horse-pond. In other words, Sir, I think you would have consulted your dignity as a Magistrate, if you had committed the whole posse comitatus to the County Bridewell, instead of allowing them to talk to you,—but I speak under correction."

"That would have been rather severe to unoffending persons," replied Mr. Servinton, "but, however, we will not discuss the question at present. Perhaps on another occasion, I may adduce arguments, which may lead you to a different view of the question. I am now anxious to see my boy, whose destiny is foretold to be so chequered, and also his excellent Mother. I assure you I attach no importance to the affair, but I think 'twill be as well to make a memorandum of what has happened this morning, as it may serve for reflection hereafter."

"Unquestionably, Sir, and under correction," was proceeding Mr. Bate, when the door opened, and it was announced to Mr. Servinton, that his lady wished to see him.

As he mounted the wide handsome staircase, that led to the upper apartments, he was ruminating whether or not, he should acquaint his wife, with any part of what had occurred, and was approaching, as a matter of course, the door of the usual bed-chamber, when he was told by the servant in attendance, that her Mistress was occupying the chintz room, as she had been so suddenly taken ill, that her own, was not in readiness. He said nothing, but a different room having been used for this, his eleventh child, to that in which all the others had drawn their first breath, struck him for the moment, as rather fresh cause for wonder.

It has been already said that, he was naturally of a very affectionate disposition, and, if the interview with his wife, had not now taken place, under the interesting circumstances that attended it, the mere fact of a month's absence, would have rendered a first meeting, an event of considerable influence upon his feelings. Advancing to the bedside, and kindly saluting her, he said but little at the moment, so much was he overcome by conflicting emotions, but gently retaining her hand, his eloquent countenance plainly bespoke the ardour of his attachment. Mrs. Servinton, equally glad to see him, returned his caresses in the placid, quiet way by which she was distinguished, and then observed,—"I'm sure Mr. Servinton, mine is a dreadful life—no sooner one child can walk, than there's another in arms—I'm sure I hope none of my daughters will ever marry—they little know what they would have to go through.—We have another boy.—I really thought four were quite enough, and I don't know what we shall do with any more.—However, I have hired a good wet-nurse, and I hope the child will do well."

"I hope so, indeed, my dear Charlotte.—Mrs. Caudle told me it was a fine healthy boy, and you know, my love, we must take what Providence sends us, and be grateful.—I should like to see the child; can I do so?"

"Yes, certainly; I believe the infant is well enough—much like other children. I dare say, if he had been our first, I might have thought him a fine boy; but really, I'm now so used to them, that I see very little difference in their appearance.—They are all much alike, only some are more noisy than others—however, you can step into the dressing-room, and look at the little fellow;—and afterwards, I will see you again." Tenderly bidding her adieu for the present, he withdrew and repaired to the apartment where his newborn son had been placed; and whom he contemplated, if not with all the rapture that attends an only child, at least with strong parental feelings.

In the course of a few days, the accouchement chamber was sufficiently freed of its restraints to allow full and general conversation; and, upon one of these occasions, he introduced the story of his adventure with the Gipsies. "I am really surprised;" said Mrs. Servinton, who had patiently listened through the whole of it, and had gathered from her husband's tone and manner that it had made some impression upon his mind. "I am really surprised, Mr. Servinton, that you could attach the least importance to such nonsense. They must have thought you exceedingly weak, to dare take such a liberty with you—they are nothing but impostors—and I must say, their allusion to our large family, is the height of impertinence, and what I beg, may not be repeated—I have no desire to be made the laughing stock of my neighbours."

"I'll tell you what 'tis, Charlotte"—replied her husband, in a good humoured tone—"you make much too serious a matter of it, to talk thus—and as for being a laughing-stock, many married persons are very improperly ridiculed when they have no children, but I never knew this the case, where Heaven was bountiful in sending them; and all I can say is, I shall have no objection to see the prediction fulfilled in this respect, as correctly as it was, with regard to Quintus's birth."

"I'm sure I hope no such thing.—It is quite high time, that we should do something towards providing for those we already have, for our estate, although considerable, will not support half a dozen idle young men, and there is nothing like looking out early. If we are to have tutors and governesses to pay and maintain, you had need endeavour to take some steps towards improving our income; for otherwise, I fear the children will come badly off."

Mrs. Servinton was a well-educated, highly-connected Lady, who had brought her husband a good fortune, and who added to these claims for favor and attention, great skill in managing her house-hold, all parts of which, were ever in capital order. She was particularly careful to procure trusty servants, to whose charge the children were confided; and the least neglect in their personal economy, such as disregard of cleanliness, or putting on a tattered garment, was certain to attract her notice and excite her displeasure; but, if such points as these were well attended to, and no unusual noise or disturbance took place in the nursery, her interference or authority was seldom exercised, every thing being conducted with the regularity of clock-work. Great prudence was one of her distinguishing features; and, whether or not she attached more weight to the Gipsy's prophecy than she chose to acknowledge, or, whether she considered that, judging by the past, nothing was more probable, than that, so far as it regarded the eighteen children, it might be fulfilled, certain it is, her worldly wisdom induced her to press warmly upon her husband's consideration, the necessity of taking some steps, towards bettering their fortune.

After some further discussion, it was agreed, that Mr. Servinton should consult his professional friend, Mr. Briefless, who was a Lawyer, residing in a neighbouring town, and well acquainted with most people's business; and that, if any thing desirable offered, it should be acted upon. Letters were also written to some of Mrs. Servinton's relations, who, being eminent Merchants and Bankers in London, might be supposed to have opportunities of promoting the desired object.

Mr. Briefless was a Gentleman, who had been bred to the bar; but after being admitted had acquired so confirmed a habit of stuttering, or rather hesitation, when attempting to speak in Public, that after several ineffectual endeavours to overcome it, he was obliged to relinquish that branch of the profession, and eventually settled as a plain country Attorney. He was an upright, honorable man, but endowed with remarkable obstinacy; which, unfortunately for his family, was particularly shewn in the management of his own affairs. Between him and Mr. Servinton, a strict intimacy had long existed; and in relying in a great measure upon his counsel, in the weighty affairs that now occupied his attention, there was the double assurance of friendship, and a mature experience in business, that he might do so with safety. This important step being thus decided, the turn it gave to the domestic affairs of the family, soon assumed such a shape, as altogether to dismiss for a time, from the minds of most of its members, all recollection of so trifling an incident as the Gipsy's prophecy.

In consequence of the measures so taken, it was not long, until Mr. Briefless introduced to Mr. Servinton a Mr. Petrie, one of the firm of a long established Bank in the town of D——, who were desirous of strengthening their resources by an increase of capital and connexion; and with whom a negotiation was accordingly commenced.

It was not altogether without a struggle, that some of the dirty acres, which had for ages descended from father to son, were now proposed to be alienated from their possessor, with the view of raising the sum that was at length agreed upon, as Mr. Servinton's contribution to the funds of the house. Although nobility had never grafted any of its scions on his family tree, there was a degree of pride felt, upon turning over the legendary tales of the achievements of heroes, long since mingled with the dust,—notwithstanding they had not risen higher than to be the esquire to his more exalted companion in arms,—or in reading the tender love stories of some of the Ladies of other days, who had been raised to the rank of Dames, partly as a tribute to their charms, and partly to their respectable lineage. Certain events also, were instilled into the ears of the children by their ever zealous nursery attendants, almost so soon as they could understand any thing, tending to aggrandize in their infant minds the importance of their parents; such as that, a Richard de Servinton was one of three only, who were able to extract the sabre from the block of wood, into which, during the reign of King John, it had been struck by a renowned Baron de Courcy; another, the creating one of the ancestors of the family a Bannerett, for his gallant conduct at Cressy, in virtue of which honor, Mr. Servinton in his right of primogeniture, wore as a dexter supporter to his ancient Coat of Arms, a Man in Armour, which was always specially pointed out on the carriage-door by the old coachman to his young Masters; another, how, during the wars preceding the Commonwealth, a sturdy member of the name, had been one of twenty-four country Gentlemen who had signed a round-robin letter of remonstrance to King Charles the First, and afterwards, raised and maintained at his sole expense, in support of the Parliamentary forces, a well equipped troop of horse. When again, the children were shewn a number of old portraits, hanging around the grand entrance hall, the men dressed in armour, or in the costume of former days from the Norman Conquest downwards, and the women's faces almost lost in hoods, or in the tremendous display of ruffs, caps, and lace, peculiar to the age, their shapes being almost entirely concealed by immense hoops, the servants were sure to magnify the fame of these personages, by a hundred imaginary tales, confounding all they had ever heard upon such subjects, with the beings who were thus represented on canvas.

So averse indeed, was Mr. Servinton to lose the fee simple of property derived from this ancient heritage, that after much deliberation, he finally resolved to raise the money that was necessary by mortgage, rather than sale, and not even the strong recommendations he received from his wife's London relatives, who, with a true mercantile spirit, urged an absolute disposal, upon the ground that property was always better for changing hands, and that his had been long enough in one family, could induce him to depart from the plan he thus determined to adopt.

All preliminaries being at length adjusted, his name was added to the firm of Petrie & Co., taking precedence of the other partners—this having been considered a distinction, equally due to him on account of his property, as of his family connexions.

Shortly afterwards it was thought advisable that he should have a town establishment, and in this manner was the first step taken towards departing from the characteristics, that had for centuries marked the name of Servinton. Nor was it long ere it proceeded to others, tending in the end entirely to deprive it of what had so long constituted its pride and stability.

Meanwhile, the general routine of the family went on much as before, only that Mr. Servinton was absent from home more than formerly, in attendance upon his new occupations; for the idea of being what is called a sleeping partner, was deservedly reprobated by his friends; and although he had not been brought up to business, his education, his fine understanding, and general attainments, were justly considered sufficient qualifications towards enabling him to acquire a full knowledge of the principles and routine, necessary for conducting a country bank.


CHAPTER II

"Yea, this man's brow, like to a title leaf,
Foretels the nature of a tragic volume."

SHAKESPEARE

Notwithstanding that Mr. Servinton's name had many years stood in the Commission of the Peace, he seldom or never attended to Public business, greatly disliking every thing connected with pomp or parade; but it so happened that about a year and a half after the commencement of this narrative, he was at the county town, at the time the Sessions were held, when he one morning entered the Court, and took his seat upon the Bench, at the right of the Chairman.

Among the prisoners for trial, were a man and woman, charged with stealing poultry. The evidence for the prosecution, seemed clear and decisive; and the Chairman having addressed them, enquiring what they had to say in their defence, the man sullenly replied, "Nothing;" but the woman, raising her voice, exclaimed, "That bonny Gentleman on the your right, your Worship, kens that we are peaceable, honest folks, and will give us a character."

All eyes were immediately directed towards Mr. Servinton, who being so pointedly appealed to, looked at the prisoners with more attention than he had before paid them, and presently recognised the Gipsy acquaintance, who had told his fortune.

So sudden and unexpected an appeal, threw him for the moment, off his usual composure, and he scarcely knew what reply to make the Chairman, who, in the easy and familiar style, that one Gentleman uses in addressing another, had enquired if he knew any thing of these people? To recount what had really passed, might not be very agreeable, as it was calculated to excite merriment at his expense, in a Public Court; and to relate that he had given a troop of vagrants, permission to sojourn in his neighbourhood, might possibly subject him to an implied censure, which, as a Magistrate, he would rather have avoided. The Chairman, interpreting his hesitation of reply, unfavorably to the prisoners, asked the woman rather sharply, what she meant by singling out a Gentleman on the Bench, to speak to her character, who it was quite clear knew nothing about her?

"A'nt please your Honor's Worship," replied the woman, "the Gentleman kens me well enough—and he kens how true I told his Honor's fortune last year."

"Told the Gentleman's fortune!" said the Chairman, rather enjoying his brother Magistrate's increased confusion—"When and where, did you see this Gentleman? and what has it to do with the present case?"

"Last summer twelvemonth, your Honor's Worship, we met the Gentleman on Middleton moorside, and I told him his fortune for letting us stay a day or two in the woods near his Honor's house."

"And pray what fortune did you predict for the Gentleman? and how is it, that you could not at the same time foresee your own, and have kept out of this scrape? for I have heard nothing yet, which at all leads me to think you can escape punishment."

"His Honor kens well enough how true I told his fortune. Did I not say—"

"Sweets and sours—more sours than sweets—
A new-born Son, your Honor greets;"

"And has he not found it so? Has not what he has since done, brought more sours than sweets already; and will it not do so hereafter? Has not one more of the eighteen bairns already been born? and is not another expected? The Gentleman, your Honor, kens me well enough, and if he will but speak out, he will say, that I am a woman who speaks the truth, and that your Honor may believe me, when I tell your Honor's Worship, that we are innocent of what we are charged with."

So appealed to, Mr. Servinton briefly explained the incident that had befallen him, but unfortunately for the prisoners, could say nothing more in their favor, than that, he knew neither good nor harm of them—that as no charge had been made against them, he had not refused to comply with the dictates of humanity, and as both themselves and their horse, appeared in a very miserable condition, he had allowed them to stay a day or two in his neighbourhood. So far therefore as his testimony went, it had no influence upon the verdict of the Jury, which, being returned guilty, they were sentenced to three month's imprisonment; but, as regarded himself, the adventure served for years afterwards, as a standing joke with some of his friends, and upon each future addition to his family, "Success to the Gipsy's prophecy," was a kind of toast or watchword, as the best bin was resorted to, or the barrel of strong beer tapped, to drink health and increasing honors to the founders of the feast; and when, in process of time, the birth of the ninth daughter, completed the sybilick number of eighteen, Sam, who by that time had became grey in his Master's service, said, with a knowing expression, when descanting upon the subject to his fellow-servants, "I knew 'twould be so—I knew 'twould be so, and though Master was very angry about Margaret Bousfield, I'd as lief marry the devil, as marry her or any body else, after my fortune had been told as it was—I knew 'twould be so, and as for Master Quintus, whoever lives to see it, will see a good deal. Poor little Gentleman, he is the quietest and best of 'em all. He has none of the tricks of t'other young Masters, who are always in mischief, but all his delight is in reading, or in being with William the gardener. Ah! poor lad! he little thinks what he's born to; but long before his troubles begin, old Sam's will be ended—but he'll never want friends."

If the accidental meeting of the Gipsy at Durham, had not renewed in Mr. Servinton's mind, some of its original impressions, Quintus might have passed through the early stages of his life, and excepting when the subject was now and then introduced by such conversations as this between the servants, the prediction that had attended his birth, would have been altogether forgotten; the reminiscence so excited, was however, but transient, and although the affair was still occasionally mentioned, it merely served to create fun and laughter, entirely losing any tendency to reflection.

In the mean time, Quintus, after leaving his nurse's arms, went through the several gradations of childhood, much as usual in large families. His mother was one of those good Ladies, who, as before said, pay the most scrupulous attention to the conduct of their servants with respect to children; nor perhaps, could an objection be taken to her general system, unless it be that, it embraced a more rigid confinement to the precincts of the nursery, than by some, is thought advisable. Once only each day were they admitted to the parlour, which was always immediately that the cloth was removed after dinner, when the whole troop, nicely washed and combed, marched in full procession, forming steps similar to those of a staircase—the rear being invariably brought up by the head nurse, with the infant in arms, for the time-being.

With all the excellent qualities of head and heart possessed by his parents, there were many points connected with the management of their children, wherein they differed from certain maxims that have lately obtained, sanctioned by such authorities as Miss Edgeworth, Madame de Genlis, and others. Mrs. Servinton was a kind and attentive mother, and the children were much and deservedly attached to her. She took great pains to personally instruct them in all the rudiments of education, but followed one course rather too indiscriminately, and adopted the same system of discipline with one and all the little ones; not perhaps, paying quite sufficient regard to age, temper, and general disposition. As to Mr.

Servinton, he was beloved by his neighbours and tenants, esteemed by his friends, and regarded with much affection by all his relatives, but he did not understand how to treat children; a slight fault, would produce anger, which it would have been thought could not have had its seat in his breast—this often made the child look at him with fear and apprehension, and rather to rejoice at his absence, than presence; but these flashes were of short duration, and, as if he felt that he had sometimes spoken or acted too harshly, he not unfrequently let them be succeeded by extraordinary marks of kindness.

The infant mind, is however, too tender and susceptible, to understand, or to safely receive these sudden transitions. It may generally be moulded at will, by mild treatment, accompanied by temperate firmness; but the instances are very rare, where severity, softened of some of its painful effects by subsequent indulgence, does not produce many more bad, than good consequences.

As Quintus advanced towards his fourth or fifth year, he evinced considerable aptness at learning, and little books, containing tales and stories, were his chief delight. He was inclined at times to be rather petulant, but was nevertheless much liked by his elder sisters, on account of his general docility; and they accordingly took pains in giving him such instruction as was suitable to his age. His elder brothers were of a different disposition—quite as quick at learning, to say the least—but much more prone to mischief—ever ready at boyish roguishness—nothing pleasing them so much as to witness any ludicrous disaster, occasioned by their waggish tricks and contrivances. It sometimes happened, that when complaints of their misbehaviour reached their father, all the boys were included in the summary punishment awarded for the offence of one; and thus Quintus, more than once, came in for a dose of birch, rather in anticipation of what he might do wrong hereafter, than for any misdeed already committed.

As one consequence of such discipline, before he had attained his eight year, he had imbibed a fear and alarm at the presence of his father, that induced him to adopt a habit of concealment, which afterwards increased with his growth. Having been often punished undeservedly, he endeavoured to escape by cunningly invented stories, when it was really merited; but, as a proof that this was rather acquired, than natural, he would always readily acknowledge every thing to the sisters who possessed his love and confidence, and who by this means, were enabled to counteract much of its injurious effects.

At this period, the mode of education adopted for Mr. Servinton's sons, was by a private tutor, resident at the hall; but experience had not recommended its being continued, and it had been determined to substitute for it, public schools for the elder boys, and a good private seminary at the neighbouring town of D——, for Quintus; purposing, after a year or two, that he also should follow the example, set in the instance of his brothers.

The arrangements consequent upon this change, being perfected, Quintus was inducted as one of the Rev. Mr. Knowall's pupils, with very little regret on his part; as even at an early age, the restlessness of the human mind, is shewn in numberless instances; ever fancying, what is in anticipation, will be more agreeable than that, already possessed.

It had been settled that as Mr. Servinton's town residence was a short distance from the school, and was under the charge of an old and trusty house-keeper, Quintus should be what is called a day boarder; so as to be constantly under the eye of his father, or whoever else of the family happened from time to time, to be in town.

In this manner, he spent his two or three succeeding years, making very tolerable progress in his education, and growing in favouritism with his preceptors, who took considerable pains to improve the naturally good abilities he manifested. But this plan was objectionable in one respect, however good it might have appeared in others; for it drove a boy of tender age, to the alternative, either of spending a considerable portion of his time in absolute solitude, or of seeking such society as was inconsistent with his parents' station in life; and it would have been no wonder, if, in process of time, the evil had become apparent.

But it fortunately happened, that before any ill consequences were in this case matured, other circumstances arose, which affected Mr. Servinton's arrangements for his boys, and greatly removed the latent mischief attending the course hitherto pursued with respect to Quintus. His eldest brother had just attained his twentieth year; and, upon leaving College, it was Mr. Servinton's anxious desire to have him instructed in business, with the view of qualifying him to become a partner in the Bank. Two objects, upon each of which he had strongly set his heart, were connected with this plan—the one, to preserve to his family a preponderating influence in a concern which had, hitherto, fully answered all its original expectations; and the other, that he might himself devote less time to occupations he disliked, and return to those, rendered by long habit more congenial to his inclination. But Horace Servinton had imbibed different notions from his childhood. From the very moment he could run alone, he had been told, that all the family honors, whatever they might be, would centre in him. Some valuable heir-looms of ancient date were considered so much his own, that his other brothers scarcely dared look at them; and, when a mere child, he was taught to ride the little pony, which afterwards, reverted to the next in turn in exchange for a larger horse; he had ever been accustomed to play the young dragoon, and in his air and manner, to deport himself as if he had really been one of the cap-a-pee figures represented in the old family pictures. He had besides, formed acquaintances with some young men of high birth at College; and he cherished the hope of again meeting them in the pursuit of military glory, to which they had severally proposed to devote themselves; and as he was tall and well-proportioned, of handsome features, and agreeable manners, he was by no means inclined to relinquish all his expected importance and anticipated conquests as a dragoon officer, for a seat behind the desk of a country bank. He therefore, at once, firmly refused the proposed arrangement; reminded his father that, long before the bank was thought of, he had been promised a cornetcy in the Guards; and at last succeeded, although with great reluctance on the part of his parents, in obtaining a commission in the Queen's Dragoons, then quartered at a distant part of the kingdom. Mr. Servinton found his two next sons, equally averse to the course he had successively planned for them; and he saw clearly that it was necessary, if he hoped to be more fortunate with the younger branches, not to defer taking such measures, as might give their minds a bias, different to that which had influenced the elder ones.

Full of reflection arising from these repeated disappointments, he was one day sitting alone in his library, when his friend Mr. Briefless was announced; who, being in all cases, where his own affairs were not concerned, a shrewd, sensible man, could not have arrived at a more opportune moment.

"I'll tell you what 'tis Briefless," said Mr. Servinton, "these boys of mine, give me a great deal of trouble, and I don't know what to do with them."

"I can assure you, my dear friend I sincerely feel for your disappointments; but in trying to remedy the future, let us look a little at the past. Your sons have all been educated with too high notions—much too high—they have each thought themselves an only son of a rich Country Gentleman, instead of being one of nine Brothers; and there is besides, a counter-interest at work to oppose their adapting themselves to be men of business, even if they had more inclination than they evince to become such; and which must be met."

"How! what do you mean?—What counter-interest can interfere with the introduction of my Sons into the Bank?"

"Why, if they stick to business, there will be no room for others, whose chance is contingent only, and wholly depending upon the failure of your views. Cannot you now see the drift of many parts of Craft's conduct, which you must have observed? or at least, others have. How do you understand the sedulous attention he has invariably paid to your sons, but as an endeavour to enhance in their minds a self-importance they had adready amply exhibited? What so likely to lead them to view commercial pursuits as derogatory to their dignity, as an increase of this foolish pride? or what think you of the assistance he gave Horace's taste for extravagance and dissipation, by the loans he made, but as part of his plan to encourage him to the very course he has taken?"

"I cannot exactly see how Craft's interest can be promoted by encouraging the dislike my boys shew to business; he will still remain Cashier, as a matter of course—he is very clever in that way, and neither of my boys were intended to have interfered with him."

"As you do not seem to comprehend the affair, I will endeavour to explain my view of it:—If you do not succeed in establishing one of your sons in the Bank, you will, as a matter of course, have to seek for a managing partner to take the fag of the business, which, latterly—owing to one circumstance or another—has much more devolved upon you than was originally intended. If this be the result of things, who so likely to be selected as a man, a thorough adept at his business, and whose obliging manners have rendered him a general favourite among your connexion? but, if your sons were to turn out as you wish, what occasion would there be for Craft's admission as a partner?—on the other hand, is there not at once a bar to it?"

"I'll tell ye what 'tis—Craft is a great rascal, and I'll write him a letter of dismissal immediately."

"Softly, my good friend, softly—not quite so fast; I do not know that the worldly wisdom thus suspected of Craft—for mind you, it is no more than suspicion—deserves quite so severe an epithet as rascal; but if it be so, perhaps an easier method may be discovered of curing the evil than by depriving yourself of a valuable assistant; at all events, it's worth trying."

"You advise me well, Briefless, as I have ever found you; but what plan do you propose?"

"To yield to the storm you cannot control, and to endeavour to avoid encountering such in future. In other words, it is best to let Edward and William enter the navy as they wish; to admit Craft as a partner while you can easily do so upon advantageous terms, and before he fully knows his importance; and to turn over a new leaf with the younger boys, so as to break the neck of their family pride, by removing them to some school at a distance, and letting them spend their vacations there for a year or two, thus avoiding collision with those who do them no good."

The advice Mr. Briefless thus gave, was to a certain extent, forthwith acted upon. Nevertheless, Mr. Servinton did not at all like being forced into arrangements, differing so materially, from those he had long contemplated. With regard to Quintus, it was settled, that so soon as a good school at a distance of not less than a hundred miles, could be found, he should be removed thither, and meanwhile, be kept as closely to his studies as Mr. Knowall's arrangements permitted, during the ensuing vacation.

Shortly after these measures, two of Mr. Servinton's daughters were married, one to a country Gentleman, and the other, to an eminent Merchant residing at a distant outport.

Although the motive, which had formerly induced Mr. Servinton to enter upon business, had hitherto been fully attained, his income having been materially increased, he frequently had occasion to recollect the Gipsy's words, and indeed often found, that the sours too much preponderated. If his yearly means were more abundant, so was his expenditure increased nearly in proportion. A town house was not maintained excepting at a heavy charge, and an extended visiting acquaintance entailed many expenses, that had been previously unknown.

But an incident now arose, that proved indeed, a heavy blow upon the almost uninterrupted tranquillity, which had hitherto marked Mr. Servinton's path through life—compared with what he was now called upon to endure, all his previous little disappointments, were as atoms in the balance; he was now destined to be visited by the afflicting hand of Providence in earnest; and although his life was prolonged many years, it became, from this period, a series of troubles and vexations, under which, many minds would have sunk. With him however, they lost much of their severity, by the natural buoyancy or cheerfulness of his disposition, and by the spirit of resignation that displayed itself under all his disappointments; leading him, as well as his truly religious and excellent wife, to view them as dispensations of some wise and good, although inscrutable purpose, and ever to kiss the rod by which they were chastened, bowing submissively to the will of God.

Mr. Servinton had been quietly enjoying a few days retirement at Lathingham, and was rambling one morning accompanied by some of his children, in the grounds near the house, when he saw a horseman turn off from the road, and advance through the lane that led to the Hall. Both horse and rider bore evident marks of haste, and Mr. Servinton was revolving in his mind, who it could be, the appearence of the Gentleman not seeming altogether unknown to him, when in one moment, the turn of a corner enabled him to discern that it was his partner, Mr. Craft, and a certain indescribable misgiving entered his mind, that a something connected with the bank was not right; nor were his forebodings likely to be relieved by the expression of Craft's countenance, which displayed by the transient glance he obtained of it as he entered the shrubbery, anxiety and alarm, in their most fearful colours.

Mr. Craft lost little time, and showed little consideration, in opening his budget of intelligence, saying, almost before he was within a speaking distance, "I am the messenger of bad news, Sir."

"So I perceived, Craft," calmly replied the worthy Gentleman, "but whatever are your tidings, keep them, till we are together in the Library," at the same moment, gently leading the way to the side entrance to the house.

Mr. Servinton was one of those temperaments, that frequently take fire at mere trifles, but are perfectly calm and composed upon great occasions. Had either of the children or servants, committed some slight fault, he would probably have been much more excited, than by what had now happened; and although he was not by any means indifferent, as to the nature of the communication he was to receive, he had sufficient self-command to subdue his feelings, until there should be none to witness his sorrow, save only him by whom it was to be imparted.

Shutting the room door, so soon as Craft and he had entered, he said, "Well, tell me, what has happened?"

"This letter, Sir, which arrived by to day's London Post, will tell you every thing," handing him as he spoke, an open letter.

London, March 16, 1782.

GENTLEMEN,

Messrs. Discount and Co., the Bankers, finding themselves unable to meet their coming engagements, have adopted the determination of suspending payment until their afairs can be submitted to their Creditors, for which purpose, a Meeting will take place at my ofice, on the 23rd Instant, at which you are requested to attend.

I am,
Gentlemen,
your most obedient Servant,
GEORGE PLAINT.
Messrs. SERVINTON and Co.

"This is bad news," said Mr. Servinton, as he finished reading the letter, "but we must try to meet it—what is the amount we have in their hands?"

"Unfortunately, it is unusually large," replied his partner, astonished at his composure. "It is £48,764 17s. 8d., including their unpaid acceptances of our drafts, which we shall of course now have to provide for."

"Indeed, this is a fearful sum!—ah! my poor wife and children, what will become of you!—however, Craft, we must see what's to be done.—I tell ye what 'tis, as soon as you have had a little refreshment, and I've told Mrs. Servinton this dismal news, I'll go with you to town, for whatever is to happen, we shall do no good by staying here."

Accordingly, ringing the bell, he ordered the carriage to be made ready, and then proceeded to communicate the distressing intelligence to his wife.

There is a certain instinctive feeling, that ever possesses us, upon the eve of any event materially affecting our good or ill fortune. It shews itself in producing an uneasy restlessness—a heaviness which impedes our general operations—an indescribable something, known to most of us by our own sensations, at some particular moment of our lives, but which, he who perhaps has most felt, is least able to describe.

Such was Mrs. Servinton's case, when she heard that Mr. Craft had arrived, apparently in great haste, from D——; and when a message from her husband imparted his desire to see her, she felt certain, that something dreadful awaited her.

Assuming as much composure as she was able for the interview, she joined her husband, who said to her in the most affectionate manner, "Would to Heaven, my Charlotte, we had been contented with our moderate fortune, and had not embarked in business. Craft has brought sad news, as the London bankers have failed, and I fear we are ruined."

"It was done for the best," replied his wife, "and if the blessing of God has not attended the endeavour, we must not repine; and, perhaps, it may not turn out so badly as you apprehend; but, under all circumstances, we must remember, that we are not the controllers of our own destinies, and I can only say, I feel happy that the loss of fortune is the worst that has befallen us; all we have to do is, to live according to our means."

"Spoken like yourself, my Charlotte; I propose to go immediately to D——, and shall probably proceed without delay to London. I will acquaint you with every thing as it occurs.—Whatever we may hereafter do, any change at present would be premature; but something will certainly have to be thought of hereafter."

In this manner was intelligence of so important, so interesting a nature to a numerous young family, received by this excellent couple. They each viewed it as the work of an overruling Providence, and each seemed determined to support the other, under the trial they were called upon to endure.


CHAPTER III

"But do not so; I have five hundred Crowns,
The thrifty hire I saved under your father;
Take that.——Here is the gold,
All this I give you, let me be your servant."

AS YOU LIKE IT

Upon reaching D——, the first thing they learnt was, that the bank doors had been beset, since the usual hour of closing, by crowds of applicants, eager to exchange the promissory notes of the firm, for specie. This was not unexpected; and Mr. Craft had given directions, previous to his departure for Lartingham, that upon his return, an accurate statement of the paper in circulation should be prepared, in order that their future course might be the more easily determined. Mr. Briefless also, acting the part of a true friend, had been employing the same interval in waiting upon a few staunch friends of the house; and by their united efforts, a very considerable sum had been collected, ready to be advanced at a moment's notice to meet this sudden exigency; for Mr. Servinton was known to be a man of such nice honor, that no person believed for an instant, he would receive assistance unless he were confident he could do so with perfect safety to the party that offered it. Mr. Briefless was thus in waiting, anxious to bestow all the help in his power, either by advice, or by untying, at the mere word of his friend, several well filled bags of gold.

"Thank you—thank you, my dear Briefless," quickly ejaculated Mr. Servinton, "but I'll tell you what 'tis, until I see how we stand, I'll not make bad worse—nor will I put a load on another man's shoulders which I cannot bear myself."

"Here is the return of the notes in circulation, Sir," said the head Clerk, who now entered with a paper in his hand, "and here is the state of the house, with respect to funds in hand."

Casting a hasty glance over each, Mr. Servinton instantly ordered the doors to be thrown open, although long after the customary hours of business, and as the evening drew on, causing the Bank to be well lit, so as almost to give it the appearance of an illumination; he had a bushel measure filled with guineas placed on the counter, and holders of notes were instantly invited to exchange them. No sooner was the heap at all lessened, than it was quickly replenished by emptying fresh bags, and a conspicuous notice was fixed up, announcing that the doors would not be closed by day or night while any notes remained in circulation; but so soon as they were all withdrawn, they would be shut for a few days, in order to complete some other arrangements.

This decided line of conduct was attended by the happiest results. The news of the never failing bushel spread rapidly, and long ere night had exchanged its mantle for the glimmering twilight, scarcely a note was brought in. Nevertheless, the doors continued open—the bushel was kept filled—and in the course of the next forenoon, the state of affairs was so altered, that many of the very persons who, a few hours previously, had been most clamorous for specie, now were equally desirous of making a re-exchange; and within a few days the confidence of the public was entirely restored.

Meanwhile, Mr. Servinton had proceeded to London, to attend the meeting of Messrs. Discount's creditors, in pursuance of Mr. Plaint's summons. At that period, the idea of becoming a bankrupt was considered a thing so very shocking, that almost any alternative was resorted to in preference. Now-a-days, the case is different—the world is become more enlightened and charitable, and a misfortune of this nature, is rather estimated by the cause that has produced it, than by its immediate effect upon the altered circumstances of the sufferer. It has now long been admitted that, whenever a house of magnitude becomes involved in difficulties, there is no way of doing such ample justice to all parties, as by the operation of the Bankrupt Laws. If the character of the party can bear the scrutiny thus afforded, a suitable provision is made, equally for his protection and maintenance, as for his release from all embarrassments, and at the same time for the equitable distribution of his effects among his creditors; and the repeated instances that have been exemplified of the beneficial effects of the system, have greatly served to remove the dread with which it was formerly contemplated.

The partners of Messrs. Discount and Co., were all men of high connexions; and as Mr. Servinton, notwithstanding his own losses, felt a degree of sympathy for the fallen bankers, it was not difficult to persuade him to consent to an arrangement that was proposed by their friends, the object of which was to avoid a threatened docket. Happy would it afterwards have proved for himself and family, had he been less accommodating; for although, by the balance sheet exhibited at the meeting, no eventual deficiency appeared probable, the estate became so wasted and frittered, so many law and chancery suits were perpetually arising, and the parties so squabbled amongst themselves, that it was nearly twenty years before any dividend was made, and then only a very small one.

Upon Mr. Servinton's return to D——, his own affairs occupied his serious attention, and formed the subject of much deliberation between himself and friends. His resources, although much straitened, were still large; and as the yearly income derived from the bank had been considerable, it was ultimately resolved to add to its means, by increased strength of connexion, and that, as a simultaneous measure, various reductions should be made in his private establishment.

Lartingham Hall changed its owner, and the family removed into town; but some of the old hereditary estates were still preserved. The carriage and horses were sold, and the train of livery and other servants dismissed. When it came to the turn of some of the domestics who had long dwelt under his roof to be told the meditated changes, they entreated permission to remain, even without wages; and more especially the ancient and faithful Sam, could not believe it possible that he was to be in the list of those who were to be parted with. "Oh, my dear master," said the worthy old man, "I have lived with you since you were little bigger than Master Quintus here; I have known you and yours in better days; and God forbid I should leave you—no master," (at the same moment taking from his pocket a yellow canvas bag,) "what's here Sir, has been saved by my father and me, during the last sixty years; we have each had the best of masters; for your honored father Sir, was as good to mine as you have been to me. Please to take it Sir, and use it, but don't part with your old servant."

Sensibly affected by the old man's gratitude and attachment, it was with difficulty Mr. Servinton could reply to him; but, as mature deliberation had preceded the plan that had been determined to be pursued, there was no alternative; smoothing therefore, in the best manner he was able, his manner of declining what had been so kindly offered, he continued his proposed arrangements, and in a very short time every thing had quietly assumed a new form and order. But misfortunes, it is said, seldom come single, and so it now happened with this family; for scarcely had they begun to feel some little repose after their late troubles, than the death of one of the daughters, who had been married two years previously, followed the giving birth to a child, after a few hours of intense suffering. This new affliction was received with equal fortitude and resignation as before; it came unexpected, and was rendered the more poignant by the many estimable qualities that had adorned the deceased, which, joined to a fine form and handsome features, had attracted admirers at an early age, and had led to her marriage before she had reached her eighteenth year.

Happy is he who can view the troubles of life, as a means of preparation for a future and better state of existence. Let any one, no matter who, be apparently to the world, the wisest and best of his race, his own conscience will oft tell him, that he is but a weak and erring mortal. Sometimes, we see persons negatively good only, who, by their various qualifications were designed by Nature, to be active instruments of benefit to their fellow creatures;—these should recollect, that their ten talents were not given them to be buried, but, according to what they have received, so will they be called upon in the great day of account. When all other methods have sometimes failed to bring people to a sense of their true condition, troubles and afflictions have had the desired end, and have wrought a cure that appeared hopeless. Instead of murmuring or repining, it is therefore, only a part of our duty, to apply the touchstone of adversity to our bosoms, when overtaken by it; to weigh ourselves in the balance, which is ever held within us, by conscience; and to mark well; the faults that are thus brought home to us. The man, who is able to do this, may have reason to be thankful, that he has tasted of affliction. He cannot fail to be improved by it, however grievous it may have appeared at the moment; and he is certain, in the end, to reap his reward.

Mr. and Mrs. Servinton thus tried and proved themselves. They had each the sense to feel that, human means were insufficient towards enabling them to bear the calamities with which they were visited; and consequently, had recourse with fervour and devotion, to the only true source of comfort.

In a conversation they held, upon their plans for their younger children, it was wisely settled that they should be forthwith taught chiefly to depend upon their own exertions, for their progress through life. "We will give all of them the best education we are able," said Mr. Servinton, "and the boys must shift for themselves." "Yes," replied his wife, "but beyond every thing, they must be religiously brought up.—Let them be as well grounded in that way, as in Latin and Greek, and we shall have done our duty to them, and may safely leave them to their chance through life."

"Mr. Knowall gives me a very good account of Quintus" continued Mr. Servinton, "and says, he has more application than most of his scholars. I think he would take well to business, if we can keep him from being spoilt, like his elder brothers; and I have heard of a school at Rundleton in Shropshire, which I think, will just do for him. If we send him there, I should like him to remain without coming home, till he is of an age to go to some counting-house, and we will then try to find some friend in London, to whom he may be sent for instruction. Perhaps, if one of the boys would take to the desk, the others would follow; and if Quintus were to set a good example, Alfred might be brought into the bank."

"But why should the poor boy be so long separated from us? and why look for the future, to London, instead of having him near ourselves," said Mrs. Servinton?

"I am fully of Briefless's opinion upon this point," was the reply, "and I am satisfied that the generality of youth, are better, if removed from the constant eye and control of their parents, particularly if they be well disposed, than by always being near them. With regard to Quintus, he has hitherto been so good and orderly, that with the exception of his occasional want of openness, if he be well managed, I have no fear of him. I cannot throw from my mind, the occurrence and prediction which attended his birth. Unfornately, the woman's fortune-telling, has been hitherto, but too truly fulfilled; and if his life is to be chequered, as was foretold, let us, as his parents, at least do our share towards adapting him to pass through it, with advantage to himself."

Any allusion to the Gipsy story, was always disagreeable to Mrs. Servinton, who had never attached the least importance to it, and who generally contrived to dismiss it by a short, pithy mode of expression, peculiar to herself, which she sometimes adopted, when she wished to put an end to unwelcome subjects. Upon this occasion, she merely observed that, she must beg to defer the discussion, till some better arguments than a drunken Gipsy woman's authority could be adduced; but the tone in which these words were spoken, led her husband to walk out of the room with his hands behind him, lowering his lip, and contracting his usually pleasant features into a frown, as he muttered "I don't like such replies, that's what I don't like, Charlotte," retiring as was his custom, to his study, when any thing disagreeable occurred.

Although Mrs. Servinton did not adopt her husband's opinion, with respect to Quintus, as a consequence of certain of the arguments he had used, there were others that induced her to a conclusion, nearly similar to his own; but her feelings as a mother, were not easily reconciled to the idea of sending a son, twelve years old, to such a species of banishment, as was recommended. The school that had been proposed for him, was partly on a public, and partly a private principle. It had been originally founded upon certain bequests, giving particular advantages to particular classes of scholars; such as, the being boarded, clothed, and educated upon easy terms, and afterwards opening the door of admission to one or two scholarships at Oxford. But the greater portion by far, of the pupils, were upon the private establishment; which, in point of much of its internal economy, was of that peculiar nature, as to afford parents many conveniences with respect to their sons, not by any means common. Although the classics formed a material part of the course of tuition, they were not so exclusively attended to, as in many endowed schools; but on the contrary, what is generally understood by the term, "commercial education," formed part of the daily routine of exercises; added to which, a taste for rural occupations was encouraged, by allowing the boys, opportunities of practically acquiring knowledge of this description, during certain portions of time, when a relaxation from their lessons was permitted.

The master was a Clergyman of the Established Church, and resided at the rectory belonging to a small village, romantically situated on the banks of a stream, which joins the Severn a short distance from the commencement of that majestic importance, by which its farther progress is distinguished. One of the recommendations of this school, in the opinion of Mr. Servinton, was that, only one short vacation was allowed throughout the year; thus attaining a point, upon which he had been led to attach considerable importance, as materially tending to promote one object he had in view for his son. Quintus had already made some progress in the classics and in general knowledge;—was strong, healthy, and well qualified to make his way in a large school; not disposed to be quarrelsome, but ocasionally showing his peevishness for which there is no remedy, equal to a promiscuous intercourse with other boys, where it dare not be shown. As a general rule of education, nothing perhaps, is better adapted to the improvement of young minds, than a well managed extensive boarding-school. By keeping a boy at home or in immediate contact with his relations, he oft acquires a narrowness of disposition and a selfishness, which never afterwards leave him. He is apt to attach too much importance to himself; to assume airs and consequence, inconsistent with his years; and not unfrequently is involved in contentions with his parents, or brothers and sisters, upon trifles, which engender disrespect or quarrels if interfered with, but grow to evils of much greater magnitude, if suffered to pass unnoticed.—But, where the authority of a master is used as a check upon these youthful follies and petulancies, they yield to it, as a matter of course, without hesitation.—Where the boy mixes with one or two hundred school-fellows, some of whom are three or four years older than himself, some as much younger, but all daily shewing a great variety of tempers and dispositions, he enters upon the stage of life in miniature; and his little ebullitions of anger and ill-nature, are kept in proper awe, fearing what might ensue. If the boy be of good abilities, he will be stimulated to exertion by the desire of surpassing others. If he be slow at learning, and increased application be necessary in the performance of his task, still it must be got through, and more will be done towards tilling the unprofitable soil of his abilities, than it could be possible to accomplish, under a more private system of education. Unless for a delicate, sickly child, who might not have strength to indure the fatigue, and buffeting of a large, and particularly a public school, it unquestionably presents many advantages peculiar to itself.

Such were the views entertained by the Servintons, founded upon their experience, with regard to their eldest boys. Acting upon the influence of the motives, that have been already explained, Dr. Simpson was now written to, making many enquiries respecting his establishment, intending, should they prove satisfactory, to send Quintus thither without delay; and, although at first, Mrs. Servinton disliked exceedingly, the idea of his spending the vacations there, so as almost to wean him from home, in the end she acquiesced.

When the long fixed day of his departure for Rundleton really arrived, places for himself and his father were secured in the coach to Newark, whence they were to complete their journey by posting across the country to Oswestry; that being the nearest town to Rundleton. The charm of novelty, serving at first to maintain Quintus's spirits, and indeed, rather to elevate them more than usual, soon gave way to a feeling of sorrow, that he had left the many and kind relations, from whom he was now parted, and when, on the second day of their journey, (for travelling had not, at that time, reached its present perfection), they stopped for the night at Cheadle, Quintus could scarcely restrain his tears, at what appeared the solitary dreariness of his situation. Upon reaching Rundleton, which was accomplished about noon of the fourth day, the sight of the large, old white-washed school-house, standing upon rather elevated ground, surrounded by a clump of trees, apart from any other building, produced a feeling, which filled his breast, almost to bursting, and put it out of his power to reply to the many kind expressions of his father, who was encouraging him to maintain his fortitude, promising it should not be long before they again met. But, all he could say, failed to enable Quintus to recover his composure; and they thus journied until the chaise turned a sharp angle of the road, which brought them close to the village, when driving rapidly towards an old-fashioned house, standing within a small, neatly kept flower-garden, they presently stopped at the door, of what proved to be Rundleton parsonage.

An elderly, respectable looking man-servant immediately advanced from the house, and letting down the carriage steps, Mr. Servinton and his son were ushered into a handsomely furnished parlour, used only, to judge by its precise and neat appearance, upon very special occasions. Presently, the dread personage, who had flitted for some days so terribly in Quintus's imagination, made his appearance; and, young as the boy was, he regarded his new master with great attention. He was of gentlemanly exterior and manners, apparently five and forty, or fifty years of age. An accident that had befallen him in his childhood, had given him rather an awkward gait in walking, which, a few years previously, had been increased by a fall, that had occasioned a slight distortion of one shoulder, raising it somewhat higher than the other. Nature however, to atone for these misfortunes, had bestowed upon him, an excellent understanding, an amiable temper, and an engaging countenance. A single reciprocal glance, gave Quintus confidence, and when Dr. Simpson spoke, the mild, soft tones of his voice, completely removed every boyish apprehension.

"My name is Simpson, Sir," said the Doctor, bowing to his visitors as he spoke, "and I presume I have the honor of addressing Mr. Servinton." An assent having been implied, by the inclination of head made in return, Dr. Simpson advanced towards Quintus, and taking him kindly by the hand, added, "and this I presume, is to be my pupil. I am very glad to see so nice a young Gentleman."

After a few more expressions of civility, Mr. Servinton entered upon a general communication of his wishes, respecting the education of his son; and was much pleased to observe Dr. Simpson's readiness in comprehending his object and intentions. He then requested permission to see the school, and the accommodations for the boys; having had sufficient experience to know, that there is nothing like ocular demonstration upon such subjects, in order to obtain correct information, and that, he could thus alone acquire the means of satisfactorily replying to many questions, certain to be put to him upon his return to D——. He had been already much pleased with Dr. Simpson's frank, and open manner; and the readiness with which he now acceded to his desire, still further confirmed the favourable impression that had been made. Following him as he led through the various apartments of the school-house, he minutely inspected every part of the establishment, deriving great satisfaction from witnessing the clean and healthy state of all he saw. The usual number of scholars was two hundred, and every thing was upon a scale in proportion. All the economy of the household, was plain, but admirable;—all its parts were in order; and all denoted the careful eye of able superintendence. Independently of the head-master, there was an under-master, and six ushers, each of whom, had a class or form of thirty boys under his particular charge. The under master's form comprised twenty scholars, who had gone through all other gradations; the whole being under the constant examination of the Doctor, who made changes in the different forms, according to the progress of the pupils. Upon the arrival of a new scholar, it was usual to allow him a few days unrestrained liberty, so as to enable him to become reconciled to the change of scene, and the separation from his relations, ere he was harnessed to his studies; and in the interval thus permitted, Dr. Simpson was accustomed to gently lead him to develop what knowledge he had already acquired, with the view of deciding in what form or class he should be placed.

Every thing Mr. Servinton saw and learnt, tended to assure him that his son was likely to be in good hands, and that, his principal object in view with regard to his education, bade fair to be realized. He returned therefore to the rectory, extremely well satisfied with the result of his inspection, and after spending an agreeable evening with the family, took leave, when he retired for the night, and at day break next morning, bent his way homewards.


CHAPTER IV

"Ah! happy hills; ah! pleasing shades,
Ah! fields beloved in vain;
Where once my careless childhood strayed,
A stranger yet to pain."

ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE

It was on a Thursday, that Quintus upon rising in the morning, found himself for the first time in his life, separated from all the associations of his early years, and wholly under the control of strangers. According to the usual plan of the school, he was left to his own pursuits throughout the day, not being required to take part in any lessons, and following a natural bent of his mind, he rambled through the village, pursuing his way for some hours in the midst of the beautiful scenery by which it was on every side encompassed. Nature had, indeed, been singularly lavish in the bestowment of her romantic charms, upon the neighbourhood of Rundleton. It was situated four miles from Oswestry, upon the banks of the Vyrnew; the clear, purling waters of which, joined the Severn, not far from the village, having intersected in their course, a rich tract of thickly wooded country, densely inhabited by a wealthy yeomanry, whose several farms and houses, varying in size, from the well-tiled manse with its highly cultivated inclosures, to the neatly thatched cottage with its little garden, gave an enlivening appearance to the landscape, and assisted to carry the eyes of the traveller forwards, to the grand and towering Brythen mountains, which formed its extreme boundary. Here and there, was a better sort of dwelling, having for its occupants some retired family, who, attracted by an agreeable neighbourhood and its convenient distance from a good market town, had selected it for their residence. To a boy of Quintus's natural taste and disposition, nothing could be more congenial than this spot; for, from his earliest years, he had ever shewn a strong inclination for every thing connected with the country, and a quiet stroll through Lartingham woods, or the acquisition of knowledge from the labouring farmers or gardeners, upon the nature of their several employments, had always been his greatest pleasure, at the time that his brothers were playing at ball or marbles, or at spinning tops, or were engaged in other similar occupations.

Returning to the school after some time thus employed, part of which, had been devoted, as is no unusual custom with village strangers, in deciphering the almost obliterated epitaphs in the Churchyard, Dr. Simpson conducted his new pupil to his study, and led him into a conversation, calculated to elicit what progress had been made in his education. It was with pleasure he found that, in many essentials, he had been well grounded; and he derived additional satisfaction from the request made him, in the course of conversation, that he might be permitted to commence his studies the next morning, telling the Doctor that he already found loitering, a very slow death for time. In pursuance of this desire, which was quite novel under similar circumstances, Quintus had a place assigned in the third form, under the charge of a Mr. Mesnard, who presently entertained a strong feeling of good will towards him, and consequently took great pains to promote his improvement.

The recollection of home having lost much of its bitterness, mitigated as it had been from the first, by the kindness of his masters, Quintus applied himself to his studies, with diligence and attention; and in a very short time, it was manifest that a desire to emulate and surpass others was a ruling principle of his nature, and that it was leading him at a rapid rate, through the different steps or gradations of the school boy's course; but it was also remarked of him, that this spirit extended only, to objects or pursuits in which his taste or fancy were enlisted; for he regarded all others, with much indifference.

With a character of this sort, it behoves those who have the care of its education, to exercise sound judgment, in adapting it to such objects, as are fit to be regarded with emulation; otherwise, a feature of the mind, capable of becoming invaluable to its owner, may oft prove a means of urging him to destruction.

The three succeeding years thus glided on at Rundleton, advantageously to Quintus, so far as his education was concerned, and satisfactorily to Dr. Simpson, as regarded his general conduct. When he entered upon his sixteenth birth-day, he had reached nearly the top of the under master's form, and stood within three of a post of great honor and distinction, formed something upon the model of Eton, and, like that celebrated school, designated by the high sounding title of Captain. It was not at Rundleton merely honorary, but bestowed upon its fortunate holder many enviable pleasures and comforts, and towards it, Quintus had long cast a wistful eye. Among its privileges, were a release from the customary close application to learning, as it was rather sought to maintain by exercises, the information already acquired, than to add to it by new studies—an extension of the school boundaries, permitting unrestrained rambles over the neighbourhood;—a sanction to visit any respectable families who chose to notice the individual—a seat at the Doctor's table,—and a single bed in the under-master's room. But, its qualifications were rigid in the extreme, and its tenure, in the highest degree precarious—wholly depending upon unexceptionable behaviour; for, until the head master had ascertained that the candidate was nearly as far advanced in learning as his tutor, according to whatever had been his course of study, he was not eligible; nor was this alone sufficient; for if, during the preceding six months, his name had once appeared in the misdemeanour list, his proficiency at his books would not avail him. It was seldom that this enviable post was altogether vacant, although it was frequently changing hands, as a necessary consequence of a removal of some other sphere of life; but, generally speaking, no sooner had one vacated it, than there was another, ready and waiting to succeed to its honors. About the period that Quintus began to view this, his long sought object of ambition, as nearly within his reach, when there were only two boys between himself and the top of the under-master's form, and when he who was distinguished by the proud title of captain was in daily expectation of proceeding to one of the Universities, the unlooked for arrival of his parents, accompanied by his favourite sister, gave for the moment, a new turn to his ideas and feelings. The immediate purpose of this visit, independently of the desire to see Quintus, was to judge of his proficiencies and acquirements, with the view of deciding his future destination:—and, by not giving notice of their intention, they justly enough thought that they should see things in their true colors, and be thus enabled to arrive at a more correct judgment than could otherwise be formed. It was, therefore, with infinite satisfaction that Mr. Servinton, who had alighted from the carriage at the entrance to the village, and proceeded on foot to the rectory, found his son, in every respect, such as his fondest hopes could have pictured; and saw by his robust, clean, and healthy appearance, that the accounts he had, from time to time received from him, were fully borne out; confirming also the opinion he had himself formed, upon his former visit.

In the conversations that subsequently arose, his parents observed with much pleasure, that unlike his elder brothers, the bias of his mind was decidedly inclined to business; and they determined to encourage this, by every means in their power. The report he gave of the school; of Dr. Simpson as an individual, of his plans and regulations, and particularly of the system of emulation he adopted, crowned as it was by the captainship, the charms of which he painted in their most glowing colours, induced his parents to conceive an idea, which was afterwards matured and acted upon, under the impression that it would forward their future views for him.

In order to be under no restraint, the visitors declined from the first, a pressing invitation to take up their quarters at the rectory, preferring to stay at the village inn, where the utmost exertions of a civil landlord, aided by the notable management of his clever, industrious spouse, were cheerfully bestowed, towards endeavouring to make their humble roof agreeable to guests, so different from those whom they usually entertained. But, where cleanliness and obliging attention are met with in a country inn, delightfully situated in the midst of romantic scenery, rendered additionally agreeable by its being the finest season of the year, who, but the most fastidious, can fail to be pleased and gratified? Yet, although the few days of their stay at Rundleton were thus passed, the intercourse between the rectory and themselves, was frequent and regular. The Doctor himself, could never be otherwise than an agreeable companion, to sensible, well-informed persons, and soon became a favourite with the whole party. His wife, it must be admitted, was greatly his inferior in her intellectual powers, for in company, she was one of the negative sort, who, if they fail to enliven by their wit—cheer by their vivacity, or entertain by their sprightliness; on the other hand, give little cause of offence, seldom taking part in conversation, beyond the two comprehensive monosyllables, "Yes" or "No." But her forbearance in this respect, was amply atoned for, within her own household; as her husband and servants there discovered to their sorrow, that all the apparent milk and honey of her disposition, were capable of assuming very different forms; and yet so scrupulously correct was she, in certain of her observances, that she had been known to refuse allowing her husband to have his breakfast on a Sunday morning, when he might have happened to be a little later than usual, alleging as a ground for having ordered the table to be cleared, that she could not reconcile it to her conscience, to keep the servants from preparing for the morning service. Quintus had made his sister laugh at some of Xantippe anecdotes of Mrs. Simpson, but roguishly enough, said nothing about her to his parents, until after she had paid her first complimentary visit. He knew full well how she would behave, but upon this occasion, her more than usually quiet, demure manners, her downcast, mild expression of countenance, and her seeming placidity, were almost too much for his gravity; and as he and his sister regarded each other with significant glances, even her presence could scarcely keep him in check. After she had taken her leave, Mr. Servinton observed, "I'll tell you what 'tis, Charlotte, this Mrs. Simpson seems a nice sort of a body, that's what she is; but hardly lively enough."

"I do not know," was the reply—"I think her manners more affected than real; but, even if they are not so, I see nothing they have to recommend them, beyond what a well dressed doll might possess."

"Why, my dear," replied her husband, "we do not always expect to find ladies so talkative and agreeable, as some I know; or perhaps, as gentlemen are expected to be; and I'm sure, as the Doctor is so very pleasant, one in a family is enough."

"Perhaps others may not think so. I never yet heard, that because the husband happened to be sensible and agreeable, it is necessary that his wife be like an automaton."

"Every body is not like you, Charlotte, but there, 'tis no use talking—there's no saying a word—that's what there isn't;" but as there was no library to which he could retire, the frown that was gathering across his features, indicating what was going forward within his bosom, presently subsided, and the conversation dropped.

Shortly afterwards, when Quintus thought he might safely introduce an observation, he said to his mother, "If Papa could sometimes see Mrs. Simpson as I have, I don't think he'd like her much; for she's a terrible virago, when things are not as she likes, and sometimes she drives the poor Doctor out of the house, to avoid her tongue; and I'll lay any wager that when you dine with them to-morrow, something or other will occur to show it, for she is sure to break out." Mrs. Servinton never pursued beyond a certain point, conversations that were not quite pleasant; and therefore, made no reply, but, if the truth be told, was not probably displeased, to receive this testimony to her superior sagacity.

The next day, mighty preparations having been made at the rectory, to do honor to an invitation that had been given a few days previously, Mr. Servinton and his family went there to dinner. Every thing bore evident marks of the precise and formal character of the mistress of the house—all went off well for a time, and hilarity seemed the order of the day, although Mrs. Simpson herself, scarcely said a single word, after the first ceremonies of reception were over. But, alas! a sad reverse was in store. The dinner, which was excellent of its kind, had been served up, and nearly all the removes made, when a servant entered, and whispered something in her mistress's ear. What was the import of the communication, did not immediately become known; but Mrs. Simpson's perturbed features too well betrayed, that something untoward had occurred, and rising from table, and making a sort of running courtesy, as a tacit apology to her guests, muttering as she moved along the room, the words "abominable carelessness," she abruptly withdrew. The Doctor, comprehending by the turn of her countenance, that a storm was brewing, and wishing to prepare for it, gravely observed, "I am afraid all is not right in the castle. We are sadly plagued with servants," then, turning to the footman, and desiring him to keep the door shut, endeavoured to give the conversation a different turn. But neither this precaution, nor his utmost exertions, could prevent the tones of the lady's voice, being presently heard in high and indignant altercation, and sentence of death was distinctly pronounced against some unfortunate animal, "I'll have the wretch hanged directly," being repeatedly uttered in an elevated key. Dr. Simpson was the only one of the party, who had no difficulty in at once understanding the whole affair: he guessed, truly enough, that a spaniel of King Charles's breed, which had lately been given him by a friend whom he greatly esteemed, and for whose sake he highly valued the animal, had been committing some theft connected with the dinner; and was presently confirmed in this opinion, by the piteous howlings of the dog, as they reached the parlor, evidently the effects of severe corporal punishment. Dreading the manner in which the intelligence would break upon the ears of the company, and anticipating that it would be less becomingly than his own, he observed, "I apprehend that some accident has occurred, of a nature that is fortunately better timed at the end, than the beginning of a feast. Flora's tones seem to bespeak that some theft has been committed." At this moment the door flew open, and Mrs. Simpson rushed in, her face red with anger, and her eyes darting fire in exchange for the mild, quiet expression they had previously worn, and without bestowing one glance upon her company, she proceeded in a hurried manner to her vacant chair, instantly saying in a loud tone, "Dr. Simpson! I insist upon it, that you immediately give orders for Flora to be hanged. She has carried away one of the birds just as it was coming to table, and has ruined the dinner; do you hear, Dr. Simpson? I insist upon it, she shall be hanged directly! Dr. Simpson! do you hear me?"

She might well enquire whether or not she was heard, for the Doctor, perfectly thrown aback by what had occurred, and acquainted by dire experience, with the violence of his wife's rage when her will was opposed, as he knew must now be the case, was very desirous of avoiding a discussion before strangers, which would be certain to call in question her good breeding, to say the least; as he felt determined to protect his dumb favourite, whatever was the consequence. He therefore paused, scarcely knowing what reply to make, that would not have the effect of making matters worse; and hence arose her repeated exclamations. Aware, however, that he could not by silence, avoid the storm, and foreseeing that unless it were dispelled, his lady was not likely to be kept in awe by the presence, even of her company, he ventured to say, "I am sorry my dearest, for what has happened. I dare say our friends will excuse the disaster, and we had better let the subject drop till to-morrow."

"Don't talk to me of to-morrow, Doctor Simpson," quickly interrupted his spouse, greatly exasperated instead of cooled by her husband's endeavour to pacify her. "I insist upon your ordering Flora to be hanged immediately." The Doctor repeated his conciliating replies, but, far from having the effect he intended, he found they only increased the evil, and added to the already ample demands upon his forbearance. He therefore discontinued attempting to appease her, and redoubling his attentions to his guests, sought thus to atone for the interruption her misconduct had occasioned. Unfortunately, this still added fuel to the fire that was raging in her bosom—she nearly raved with anger, using most intemperate language, and repeatedly insisting upon the immediate death of the offending spaniel. Still, the Doctor continued to turn a deaf ear to her bursts of temper, until at length, losing all command of herself, she leant forward towards a dish, in which were some excellent college dumplings, and seizing one of them, insantly hurled it at her husband's head. It required all the good breeding of the visitors, to command their features, under the ludicrous appearance the Doctor now exhibited. Nevertheless, he bore it with the utmost composure, and excusing himself for a moment to his company, whilst he sought the use of a basin and towel, presently returned to his place at the table, and ordered the house-keeper and another female domestic to be sent for.

No sooner was this summons obeyed, than he said in that mild, yet decisive tone, never capable of being misunderstood, "Mrs. Bakewell, do you attend your mistress to her dressing-room, and either you or Martha, will remain with her. John! open the door for your mistress."

By a line of conduct only, such as this, could he subdue the dreadful paroxysms of temper, in which she sometimes indulged; but, so good and amiable was his disposition, that whenever he alone was the victim of her ebullitions, he usually retired till they were over, avoiding whatever could tend to aggravation. Circumstances, such as the present, now and then rendered it his imperative duty to exercise his sovereign rule; but, although when he did so, he was firm and decisive, he was never harsh nor unkind. After she had withdrawn, for, being well aware that resistance was useless, it was not attempted, a maiden sister of the Doctor's, who resided with them, did the honors of the table, and every thing resumed its former serenity.

When the ladies had retired and the gentlemen were engaged in a general conversation, Mr. Servinton took the opportunity of making some enquiries of Dr. Simpson, respecting the Captainship of the school; which drew from him in reply a full explanation, accompanied by many sensible remarks, derived from his long experience in the subject of education, and especially upon the great advantage he had found in exciting a spirit of emulation among his scholars; concluding by saying, "I think Quintus likes my plan very well; and that it precisely suits his disposition. We have now been nearly four years together; and I must say, that I look forward to the separation which cannot be very remote, with some regret."

"It is very gratifying to hear my boy so spoken of," replied Mr. Servinton, "and it is only doing him justice to say that, on his part, there seems a fully reciprocal feeling; so much so indeed, that we think of leaving him under your charge a few months after he shall have attained the object to which he tells me he now confidently aspires—but, if we do so, it will be under the idea of accomplishing a particular object we have in view for him, and which I will more fully explain some other time." Dr. Simpson was much gratified by the testimony of approval, so conveyed by a gentleman of Mr. Servinton's attainments—and after an hour or two, whiled away by entertaining and agreeable chat, the party separated, appearing to lose all recollection of the unfortunate occurrence at the dinner-table.

The disgraceful scene they had witnessed, became, however, a subject of conversation with the Servintons, after they retired to their humble dwelling; and in the course of it, Mrs. Servinton observed, "I am sorry and ashamed that Quintus and Marianne should have been present. It was a very bad example for them."

"Not at all my dear," replied her husband. "If Quintus should chance hereafter to marry such a termagant, he has had an admirable lesson how to manage her; and as for dear Marianne, there is no fear of her."

"If Marianne be wise, she will never marry," answered Mrs. Servinton, "it's nothing but a life of trouble."

"Marriage does not of itself, add to our troubles, my Charlotte," was his affectionate reply, "on the contrary, it often greatly lessens them.—How could I have borne all my afflictions, had you not supported and comforted me through them?"

"Most likely, many of them were the result of marriage," answered his wife, unwilling to yield one of her favourite doctrines, and yet, appreciating her husband's words, for she added, in an altered tone, "but a woman, once married, has duties to perform;—and certainly her highest duty, as well as her chief pleasure, ought to consist in contributing to the happiness of her husband."

The time had now arrived for their leaving Rundleton; and instead of returning home the direct road, they proposed to include the lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland in their route, and having upon the whole been well satisfied with every thing they had learnt and seen, connected with Quintus and his general progress, they were disposed to let him be of the party, and, after visiting Windermere, return to school; but the idea was abandoned upon a more mature consideration, fearing lest, the interruption it would cause to his studies, might impede his reaching the goal he appeared to be anxiously contemplating.

At the parting interview between Mr. Servinton and the Doctor, the former expressed the great pleasure he had derived, from all he had witnessed connected with his son, and then stated his intention of leaving him at school, a few months after he might have obtained his hoped for honors, explaining that it was not so much under the idea of prosecuting any particular course of study, as of maintaining what he had already acquired, and at the same time, of leading him as much as possible, to the pursuits of trade, by letting him be employed in his leisure hours, upon any business connected with the extensive establishment, under the Doctor's control; for, attached to the school, was a large farm for the purposes of supply, giving occasion to many dealings, between the neighbouring jobbers and farmers and the steward or bailiff, by the latter of whom also, the accounts of the school were kept, and who was always fully employed in one way or another, upon objects of this nature.

Quintus was extremely delighted with this arrangement, anticipating from the change, great and varied pleasure. Shortly afterwards the captain of the school was removed to Cambridge, creating a vacancy which, for an unusual circumstance, could not be immediately filled up; for, among all the boys, there was not one, who was able to undergo the strict examination, by which alone, the post of honor could be attained. Quintus had somewhat lost ground by the recent visit of his parents; and notwithstanding he was nearly qualified, still, there was a something deficient. There were two others of nearly his own age, who were now his formidable rivals, having made considerable strides whilst he had been latterly otherwise engaged, and so nearly indeed, had they reached in their march towards overtaking him, that it was almost difficult to know, in whose favour the scale of pretensions preponderated. The first of the ensuing month, was fixed for the important day when the grand trial was to take place, and each of the three, applied himself with diligence to his own improvement in those particulars, that had proved stumbling-blocks at a late examination. But Quintus, possessing equally good abilities with either of the others, was the superior of both, in two other essential points. The one was that, he always showed a preference to his studies over the boyish amusements of the school, which inclined him to devote his play hours to his books, whilst one of his rivals being a most expert cricket player, was engaged in daily matches at this noble game, entirely forgetful at the time, of every thing else; and the other, being naturally indolent, and disliking application that could in any manner be avoided, neglected to make the most of his talents. His other point of superiority, was sagacity, or cunning perhaps, which induced him to conceal his real mode of employing his leisure, and to extend his exercises to many branches of study, beyond that particular subject, which had previously occupied his attention, when, like his two companions, he had been plucked; and to qualify himself in them, in case the next examination should take such a turn, as might thus give him an advantage. The more to mask his real pursuit, he affected, upon talking of the subject, to treat it with indifference, and in school hours exhibited no particular industry; on the contrary, rather assumed dullness or stupidity, in saying his daily lessons, and was turned back more frequently than usual, when in reality he was thoroughly perfect, if he had chosen to have appeared so. Thus, at the time that the other candidates thought he was conning over his daily lesson, he was in fact, diligently occupied upon his main, and leading object; anxiously devoting all the energies of his mind, for the ordeal he was to go through. By these stolen marches in support of his natural, and acquired advantages, he so far surpassed his rivals, that when the dread day arrived—although they were both fully equal to him in some things, he so completely distanced them in others, that he was formally inducted captain of Rundleton school, with all possible pomp and ceremony.


CHAPTER V

"A schoolboy! you've heard my artless tale,
'Tis a true picture of my simple life."

KNOX

Perhaps, take it altogether, the day that saw Quintus in possession of this, the long sought object of his ambition, was one of the happiest of his life. He had now entered his seventeenth year—had nearly attained his full stature; was at the head of the school—a favourite with his masters, and beloved by his relations—towards whom in return, he entertained the most sincere affection. In person, he was fair, and tolerably proportioned; exhibiting on his countenance, the lively cheerfulness of youth and excellent health, rendered agreeable by its animated expression, than by any particular regularity of features.

One of the consequences of his new honors, was a permission to extend his rambles around the delightful country that formed the neighbourhood of Rundleton, and thus by degrees, he became acquainted with many of the inhabitants, who, knowing that he was a Gentleman's son, and aware of his recent success, paid him many little friendly attentions, and generally greeted him with a welcome, whenever they met. Another was that, in pursuance of his father's desire, he was a good deal placed under the charge of Mr. Thrifty, the steward, whom he accompanied to the different fairs and markets which he attended in the way of business, becoming in many other respects, a sort of assistant to him. From step to step, he thus acquired so tolerable a knowledge of the routine of one of these journies, that he was sometimes entrusted to undertake them alone; and altogether, he seemed to offer fair promise, of becoming a shrewd, active man of business.

But, if the increased liberty and indulgence, he was thus permitted, served in a measure to promote his father's favourite object for him, it produced other effects, not perhaps at first calculated upon, but, under all circumstances, by no means extraordinary. Among the neighbouring residents, between whom and Quintus, a familiarity now sprung up, was a small farmer of the name of Lademan, who was, to use a homely phrase, "pretty well to do in the world," and whose family consisted of his wife, two sons, and three daughters; all of whom were brought up to honest industry, and if the sons were perhaps the best ploughmen in the county, none could excel the mother or daughters, in all the mysteries of the farm-yard or dairy. They resided on a small estate of their own, about half a mile from the village, and rented a larger farm close adjoining. The extreme neatness of their cottage, and its little garden with its plashed hedges and fanciful flower beds, well stocked with roses, holly-hocks, pinks, and various other showy flowers, set off by the good order of every thing around, had often taken Quintus's attention, being precisely the sort of thing that had ever pleased his fancy; and now becoming as he had, a good deal his own master, farmer Lademan's pretty garden oft had him for a visitor. But, if his youth and inexperience led him to believe that it was the pleasure of admiring the beautiful flowers the garden contained, or, if at other times, the idea of witnessing Tom's adroitness with the scythe, or his brother's skill in handling the plough, served as the imaginary loadstone to his steps, a fairer flower by far than any in the garden, a more interesting piece of rurality than either of the young men's labour, existed in the person of the youngest daughter, Bridget, a girl of his own age, and who, although unconsciously to himself, had enslaved his young and ardent heart.

In very truth, Nature had bestowed upon her, an ample share of those charms, from the influence of which, even mature age and staid experience, are no protections; and it was no wonder therefore, that such a youth as Quintus, in the morning of his days, sanguine by nature, and elated by his recent advancement, should have yielded to their power, with all the fervour of a boy's love. She was of delicately fair complexion, shaded by long luxuriant tresses of light brown hair; her features were regularly formed, but rather pretty than handsome; her eyes, of a darkish blue, and very expressive; and the symmetry of her form and figure, just ripening into womanhood, was of the highest order.

Such was Bridget Lademan; and if, on her part, she had compelled Quintus to acknowledge the force of her attractions, drawing him, under some excuse or other, to be a daily visitor at her father's cottage, the many little attentions and marks of preference which, without any particular meaning, he invariably paid her, rendered his society a reciprocal pleasure.

Without understanding the real nature of their mutual feelings, an intercourse of this nature was continued for some time, Quintus never venturing any expressions beyond friendly intimacy, nor she, perhaps, better informed than himself, with what neither of them would have misunderstood, had their experience in life, been less limited. But her quick-sighted mother saw clearly how the land lay—she knew that it would be the extreme of folly to encourage the youthful attachment, that was evidently forming; she perceived that neither of the pair was at present acquainted with the state of their hearts; and her prudence whispered to her, "ne reveillez pas le chat qui dort." She determined therefore, to adopt some prompt and decisive measure, that should nip the flower in its bud, ere an explanation could take place; but so careful and circumspect was she, that even to her dear, good man, her discovery was not imparted, although doubtless, had it been so, he would, as in duty bound, have quietly and submissively yielded to her superior rule, and not have ventured to ask any questions.

Thus veiling her intended movements in secresy, one evening as all the family were assembled, the girls spinning or at their needle, and the young men enjoying their pipe and the brown jug of home brewed stingo, Dame Lademan asked her eldest son, whether Smiler could be spared the next day; adding, that she wanted to go and pay a visit to her sister, who lived five miles distant. She well knew what the answer would be, as none of the farm operations were ever undertaken without her control, or sanction. So soon therefore, as she had received the "Yees mother, for Dick and me's going a thrashing the woats," she turned to Bridget, and said—"Well Bridget, dear, you and I'll go and see sister Nanny; Smiler carries double, and I'll ride on the pillion, and so we shall not stop any work by taking one of your brothers."

The girl was taken by surprise, and coloured greatly, for she had heard her brother ask Quintus, to come and see the fun of opening the oat stack, as they were to have ferrets and terriers to hunt the rats they expected to find, and she felt a great reluctance to lose the pleasure she had anticipated. Presently, however, she replied, "Law! mother, take me! why not let Betsey go? she is older than me."

"I take you, Bridget, because your aunt particularly wants to see you, and it is your turn, as Betsey was there a little while ago. Come, go to bed girls now, and be ready to start, dear, by six in the morning."

This was the first time Bridget had ever felt the indescribable pain of separation from an object, to whom, although unconsciously, she was attached. She could not help wondering what made her so loth to undertake an excursion, which had hitherto always given her pleasure,—but, when amongst other ideas, the image of Quintus flitted before her, she might have been undeceived, had she been less the child of simplicity and innocence, than she really was. After a restless night, she awoke at daybreak, and Smiler, bearing the sidesaddle and pillion, being brought to the door, the mother and daughter took their departure, purporting, as they said, to return in the evening.

Nevertheless, nothing was farther from the good dame's intention, than either to visit aunt Nanny, or to let her daughter return, as the girl expected. They proceeded, it is true, to the aunt's residence, but Mrs. Lademan knew perfectly well, that none of the family would be at home—as she was sufficiently acquainted with their movements, not to be ignorant that they were all to be present at a wedding, on that morning, in quite another direction. When therefore they reached the house, and found this the case, Bridget inwardly rejoiced, pleasing herself with anticipating their return home by the time her brothers had told Quintus the stack would be opened. Under this idea, she was turning Smiler's head towards Rundleton as a matter of course, and was preparing to switch her right shoulder with all her might, as a stimulus to mend her usual steady-going pace, when her mother said, "Well, my dear, as we have come so far, it sha'nt be for nothing: we will go and see uncle Humphrey—come, my child, jog on a little, else we may be late."

A word from the good dame, was always sufficient, either with husband, sons or daughters. She governed absolutely, yet mildly; she never argued, but met any opposition to her will by silence; and, when she had heard all that could be alleged, forthwith proceeded to carry into effect, in her own way, whatever she though proper. It was a little stretch for Bridget, to have ventured the opinion and expressions that had escaped her, the preceding evening—but she knew better than to repeat the experiment, and assuming all her natural grace and cheerfulness, she presently, although most unwillingly, obeyed her mother's will.

Uncle Humphrey was one of farmer Lademan's brothers, and like him, a worthy, respectable yeoman. He resided upon an extensive farm, situate about five miles from their present spot; and it was nearly the same distance from Rundleton; the latter place forming the centre of a sort of circle, part of the circumference of which, comprehended the other two places; or rather perhaps, the three, formed a right angled triangle.

Although the good dame had wisely kept her own counsel, uncle Humphrey's wife, between whom and herself, there had always been a good understanding, had arranged with her the whole affair, on the last market day at Oswestry, including also, a plan of ulterior proceedings, if necessary. The two matrons thought, perhaps wisely enough, that Quintus, missing his fair favourite longer than he expected, might find his way to aunt Nanny's in quest of her, as he would be certain to learn from her brothers or sisters, that she had gone thither; and in chusing the day they had for her departure, it had been part of their scheme, that the clue to her real destination should be lost, by the absence of the family in consequence of the wedding; as they would thus be unable to answer any enquiries that might be made by him, with respect to where the treasure had been planted. So well indeed, was their secret kept, that until afterwards, when she imparted it, and its motive, to her husband, not a hint had been divulged; but farmer Lademan was scarcely so complaisant upon this occasion, as was usual with him, when he happened to differ in opinion with his wife; and he received a severe curtain lecture for venturing to remark with all a father's partiality, "you might as well have left them to themselves, for all I can see. Biddy is a good girl, and a pretty one; and fit for him, or any other squire's son in the kingdom, and I daresay he thinks her so."

Upon reaching uncle Humphrey's, a most hospitable reception awaited them, and the whole party seemed quite happy and delighted. Bridget ceased to think farther for the moment, of the oat stack and the associations connected with it, her mind adopting the idea that, perhaps Quintus might be in the four acre pasture the next morning at milking time, as sometimes was his custom, when he picked nosegays or gathered wild fruits, which he always offered to her, in preference to her sisters.

Here again, she was doomed to be disappointed. After some time had elapsed, and as the hour for departure seemed approaching, uncle Humphrey's wife earnestly pressed her visitors to stay with them a few days, promising if they would, that she would accompany them to Rundleton the next week, and return the visit. Dame Lademan and her sister in-law had previously settled all this—and consequently the latter was fully prepared to fall into the "mezzio terzo," or middle course, afterwards proposed, by which it was agreed that Bridget should remain with her aunt a few days, and that her mother should ride home alone.

"Law! mother, don't leave me here! there's not a soul to speak to, and I shall be moped to death," exclaimed the poor girl, paying little regard to her aunt's presence, or to the want of courtesy, the speech exhibited.

"There's no fear of that, child," replied the prudent mother. "You can help your aunt to do fifty things, and we can't refuse her kind invitation, particularly as it will be the means of her coming to us next week."

"But I have no clothes," answered Bridget, willing to make any excuse, that had the least chance of rendering nugatory her mother's intention—for she well knew that, unless some insurmountable obstacle could be suggested, opposition to a command once issued, was useless.

"Leave that to me, my dear, you shall have plenty of clothes," and then requesting that Smiler might be saddled, the mother added, in a tone not to be misunderstood, "I'll leave the pillion for your use next week."

Presently afterwards she took leave, charged by her daughter with numberless kind messages to her brothers and sisters; nor could she help saying, just at the last moment, "If Mr. Quintus asks where I am, please to tell him; but don't say I shall be home next week."

The subtilty of this speech, confirmed the good dame in the propriety of the step she had taken. She saw clearly, that her daughter expected Quintus would find his way to her present habitation; and she determined the more firmly, to counteract his youthful attachment, by every means in her power.

Nothing was again farther from the real intentions than what was expressed, with regard to the ensuing week, nor was there any thing meant to be more studiously concealed from Quintus, than where Bridget was staying. Nevertheless, the two matrons carried on the farce with great apparent sincerity, and after numerous "Good bye's, sister, we shall be with you next week—love to dear brother and all at home," and other usual adieus dame Lademan mounted old Smiler, and returned alone to Rundleton.

Meanwhile, Quintus attended at the hour that had been named for opening the stack, but discovered that a certain something was missing, to fill up the measure of enjoyment he had anticipated, and that the promised amusement passed off vapidly in the extreme. He did not like to ask where Bridget was, and yet he wondered why he did not see her. At length, one of her sisters said, "Why what's the matter with you, to day, Mr. Quintus? you can hardly say, 'Bo to a goose.' I shall make mother and Bridget laugh finely, when they come home, by and bye, by telling them how mopish you have been all day."

"Where are your mother and Bridget then?" replied Quintus.

"Gone to spend the day at Southwood, but they will be home in the evening."

Quintus now partly discovered what had made the forenoon appear so dull; and shortly afterwards, excusing himself that he had something particular to do, took up his hat, and bent his way to the rectory.

Early the next morning, he contrived to be in the four acre pasture at an early hour, but it was only to be disappointed, and to learn that the mother had returned alone, leaving her daughter to come home the following week. This intelligence was any thing but agreeable—he became fidgetty and restless—unable to account for his altered feelings, his former haunts and pursuits lost their relish; and in a fit, partly of peevish disappointment, and partly of assumed fortitude, he applied very closely to his studies; and having been always an admirer of Terence, commenced a translation of one of his comedies, in blank verse. But, in the midst of this new mode of passing his ample leisure, an incident arose, which brought him forward in a new character, and both Bridget Lademan and Terence, were for the moment, nearly forgotten. One of the scholars, whose friends resided at Liverpool, a youth of a wayward, idle disposition, and who had made very little progress in his learning, was discovered to be missing at one morning's muster roll; nor, could any other tidings of him be obtained, than that, he had last been seen in his place at bed time, the preceding evening. At the usual call of "All in," after breakfast, Richard Trotter was still "non est inventus," and Dr. Simpson sending for Quintus, desired him to proceed to Oswestry, accompanied by one of the servants, and to enquire if the absentee had been seen or heard of, in this direction, as it was conjectured, that he had ran away from school, and was most probably on the road to Liverpool. They accordingly set off on foot; but, if Dr. Simpson intended that their journey should terminate at Oswestry, as his words implied, Quintus, from the first, conceived a very different idea, and thought it would be an excellent opportunity of seeing two towns, of which he had heard so much, as Chester and Liverpool. He said nothing to the servant of his intention, meaning, if he were able, to make this, his interpretation of Dr. Simpson's orders, rather to appear to arise from circumstances, as they might occur, than as a previously fixed scheme, and upon reaching Oswestry, the information he obtained, seemed to favor his design, as he learnt that the runaway had been seen there shortly after day-break, and had proceeded onwards, with the Chester carrier.

"We must follow him directly," said Quintus, "and we shall be sure to overtake him before he reaches Chester."

"Follow him, master Quintus?" replied Ralph, "the Doctor only told us to go to Oswestry."

"That was to learn if we could obtain any tidings of him. If we had not heard of him, it might have been one thing, but as we know where he is, it is quite another."

"We have nought to travel with, that I knows of," replied the servant, "for I hav'nt no money, and you told me just now, as how you could not let me have a pint of beer."

"That's no matter at all," said Quintus, who, in point of fact, had only two or three shillings in his pocket, and which circumstance had led him to refuse the pint of beer, the man had requested, wisely thinking it would be more wanted, ere the day was over.

"Whatever you may do master Quintus, I won't walk fifty miles, with a hungry belly, and an empty pocket, and so, if you chuse to go you can; but I shall be homeward bound at once."

"Only think, Ralph, what harm it might do the Doctor at Liverpool, whence he has so many scholars, if Trotter should reach home and tell a parcel of lies. It may make him lose several of them."

"That's nought to me, Master Quintus.—If I can't get a pint of beer, and summat to eat, when I be a hungred, I'll be damned if I'll go another mile, that's flat."

Quintus by no means wanted Ralph to accompany him. He knew full well that, there would be no difficulty in overtaking the carrier, long before he could reach Liverpool; but this would not have suited his purpose, and he was rather desirous of getting rid of such a restraint, as the servant would have been upon his movements, not forgetting either, that with a slender purse, one mouth was easier to provide for than two. He therefore made little serious objection to the man's determination to return, and writing a few lines to the Doctor, to say that, having traced the runaway, and ascertained him to be a few miles ahead, he thought he might do so much mischief by his misrepresentations, that he was following him, and that he did not intend to return until he had overtaken him, he dismissed Ralph, and proceeded on his journey.

Pursuing his route, he started for Wrexham, with a heart as light as his pocket; and after four hours fast walking, the beautiful church-tower, for which that place is remarkable, met his eye, at a moment, when he was beginning to need some little rest. Upon entering the town, he stopped at the first public-house of tolerable appearance he approached, fearing, lest he might pounce too suddenly upon his object of pursuit, and meaning there to make such enquiries, as might regulate his farther progress. Calling for some bread and cheese, and a glass of ale, they were presently placed before him by a shrewd-looking, bustling landlady, of whom he enquired, how long it was since Dixon, the Liverpool carrier had passed, and whether he stopped in that town or not?

Answering his question by another, she said, "What has such like as you to do with the Liverpool carrier, I trow? I'll warrant you, you be some lad, leaving a good home to go to sea, but take my advice, and go back again."

"Indeed 'tis no such thing," replied Quintus, "but I want to overtake Dixon's cart, for something very particular; and you shall see I tell you true, for I will call here again as I come back."

"Ah! well, 'tis no affair of mine," said the good woman. "I pity your poor mother an it be as I suspect, and you'll rue the day you did'nt take my advice, and you'll think of me, and 'll say so too."

Quintus was a boy affectionately disposed towards his parents and the suspicion thus conveyed, gave him pain; he therefore repeated with increased earnestness, his assurance that she was mistaken, assuming a tone of voice and expression, that greatly removed her apprehensions, and concluded by saying, "but you have not yet told me about the carrier; 'pon my honor, you may believe me."

"Make your mind easy anent that," she replied, "for you winna overtake him, this side of Chester, jog forwards as fast as you will; and he will leave it again for Liverpool, early to-morrow morning. He puts up at Chester, at the Black Bull in Long Lane."

"I thank you, my good mother," said Quintus, "I must needs be off, if that is the case, for I shall not have too much time to reach Chester, before it is dark. The Black Bull in Long Lane, you say! Well, I shall remember it, and when I return this way, you shall see that I am as good as my word in what I have told you." He then defrayed the expense of his frugal meal, which reduced his funds however, to a less sum than two shillings, and bidding adieu to the friendly hostess, recommenced his journey although nothing was farther from his intention, than to go nearer the Black Bull, than he could avoid.

The sun had now considerably passed its meridian, and Quintus having thirteen miles of dusty road yet to travel, pushed forward with recruited vigour, desirous, if possible, of accomplishing the distance before night fall. He had long been so much accustomed to pedestrian exercise, that bodily fatigue and he were strangers. Naturally strong and healthy, and habitually cheerful, a journey of thirty-two miles on foot, although not commenced until after nine o'clock of a hot spring morning, was not to him so formidable an undertaking as might have been imagined; on the contrary, he continued his way lightly and with spirit, nor was it until the first shades of dusk were perceptible on the horizon, that a thought entered his mind as to how he should manage for his night's accommodation. He was not very particular, provided he could obtain a clean lodging, and it occurred to him just as the dark red walls of Chester Cathedral were discernible at the extremity of the straight flat line of road he was treading that, as economy in husbanding his slender store of wealth, was absolutely necessary, he would seek accommodation for the night at a small farm house he observed at a short distance, standing in the midst of some well cultivated fields to the left, being well acquainted from what he had observed at Rundleton, with the hospitable character of the English farmer; and reconciled to the idea of a bread and milk supper by the best of all sauces, equally as to the chance of a clean straw bed, by the best of all narcotics. Perhaps too, a certain recollection of distant scenes, had its share in the imaginary charms of a farm house lodging, and helped to overcome a natural diffidence that might have made him fear becoming an intruder; but against this, the low state of his finances acted as a counterpoise, and at length determined him.

But he was destined to spend his evening in a very different manner to what he had been thus planning; for, just as he approached a gate, leading by a bridle road to the neat whitewashed dwelling that had attracted his notice, and was meditating what should be his apology for the liberty he was about to take, he observed a horse coming along the road without a rider, but saddled and bridled, and bearing a pair of heavily laden saddle bags. The animal was advancing in a very leisure manner, stopping every now and then, looking around, and then again moving forwards; and Quintus's curiosity being excited by so unusual a circumstance, he abandoned for a moment the idea of the farm house, and standing in the middle of the road, quietly waited until by its nearer approach, he might be able to render such assistance as might be required. The horse showed no disposition to avoid him, but on the contrary, allowed itself to be easily caught, when he proceeded to return with it towards the spot, where the apparent accident had occurred. After thus walking about a mile, he saw a gentleman sitting on the bank by the road side, as if unable to move, and whom he had no difficulty in rightly conjecturing to be the object of his search.

"I believe Sir," he said, as he advanced leading the animal, "I have been fortunate enough to catch your horse for you."

"By my soul have you," the stranger replied, "and I am obliged to you, my young gentleman, the d——d beast made a start at a stage coach as I was riding carelessly along, and losing my seat, here I am with a broken leg I'm afraid, or something pretty nearly as bad, for I cannot put my foot to the ground."

"Can I help you to remount Sir?" said Quintus.

"Why, thank ye, I suppose 'twont do to stay here, I must try what I can do, but I am damnably hurt. Are you a stranger my lad to these parts? you seem to be tired, and are but a youngish traveller I'm thinking."

"I belong to Dr. Simpson's school at Rundleton, near Oswestry," replied Quintus, "and am going on business for him to Liverpool."

"And in what part of the country may your friends reside, my boy?"

"At D——, Sir, my father is Mr. Servinton, the banker there."

"I know the name well, and I know D—— too. One good turn deserves another, so come along with me, and let me be your caterer at Chester to night; it's only a slight return for the service you have rendered me."

"I am much obliged to you, Sir; I was going to ask you to recommend me to an inn, for I was never here before; but I hope I shall not be any inconvenience to you."

"No, no! my young friend, no fear of that; but a d——d inconvenient business I might have found it to have been here all night, if you had not happened to come by when you did.—Come, I'll rest upon your shoulder, if you please, and try to mount the infernal brute, for I take it there'll be no other way of getting to Chester; and then we'll be jogging, and you shall have a skin full of the best of every thing to night, and be tucked up by the prettiest chamber-maid in the whole palatinate."

This unlooked for change in Quintus's prospects, could not be otherwise than agreeable. He assisted the traveller to get upon the saddle, and walking by his side, soon reached the massive gates of the town, and they presently entered upon one of its long, rambling streets, not however without an apprehension on the part of Quintus, that the sign of the Black Bull in Long Lane, might impart information, he was by no means desirous of acquiring. He did not quite like the idea of receiving the proffered civility at the hands of a stranger; but on the other hand, he looked upon the favor he was about to receive, rather in the light of an acknowledgment of a service he had rendered, than as the boon it really was; and besides, the temptations held out to his acceptance, after so many miles as he had travelled, were too strong to be declined. He did not think proper, however, to give the traveller an insight, either into the nature of his errand, or the low state of his pocket, or, indeed, into any thing farther connected with himself, than he had already explained; thereby evincing a degree of caution or circumspection, which he failed afterwards to manifest upon several much more important occasions.

In little instances of this nature, Quintus early displayed a certain property of the mind, called by some, management; by others, with perhaps more propriety, cunning; and which, if nourished and fostered by success, oft lays the seeds of many injurious qualities, verifying the truth of Pope's lines:——

"If good we plant not, vice will fill the place,
And rankest weeds, the richest soil deface."

After proceeding together at a slow pace, through one or two streets, they stopped at the door of a large inn, and Quintus, looking up at the sign, felt greatly relieved at seeing a splendid representation of a Wheat Sheaf. No sooner had the traveller alighted, than he motioned Quintus to follow him, as, leaning upon the waiter he led the way, seemingly quite at home, along a narrow, dark passage, at the end of which, a door opened into a good sized room, half filled with people, some of whom were engaged in writing, some in reading newspapers, others lolling on the sofa, or in elbow chairs with their legs stretched out, completely at ease, and in one or two of the corners, were small tables, with bottles and glasses, affording opportunities for quiet and deep converse between persons, on subjects interesting only to all appearance, to themselves. Around the walls of the room, were hung on pegs, hats and great coats, and close to the wainstcoating, gig-boxes and cushions, portmanteaus, saddle-bags, &c. were huddled together in indiscriminate heaps.

The two strangers were greeted with a general exclamation, upon their entrance, "What! in the Devil's name, are you come back again, Selwell? Why, we thought you were at Wrexham long ago; and what young colt have you brought with you?" In reply, the gentleman whom Quintus had probably rescued from a night's lodging,

"The Heavens his curtains, and the earth his pillow,"

briefly explained the circumstances that had caused his return, and ended by introducing Quintus to the particular notice of the company. "The young gentleman must be both hungry and tired, walking so far," said an elderly traveller, who eyed him very attentively, and fancied he saw fatigue marked on his countenance; "I believe our greatest kindness to night, will be to order him a good supper, and then turn him over to cherry-cheeked Sally." "No bad move," said Mr. Selwell; and so indeed, thought Quintus himself; for, although the excitement of the present scene, had rallied his spirits, and for the moment, had counteracted his growing weariness, he found that he could scarcely shake off the inclination to sleep, that shortly suceeded his being seated in a hot, close room, and having fared but lightly throughout the day, the idea of a good supper was any thing but disagreeable. Whiling away an hour or two in this manner, he at length bade his new acquaintances good night, and was shortly wrapt in sweet forgetfulness.


CHAPTER VI

"A fellow in a market town
Most musical cried razors up and down."

PETER PINDAR

The next morning, Quintus's first thoughts and enquiries related to the time that Dixon's cart left Chester, and when it was likely to reach Liverpool; for he much wished to accept an offer that had been made him the preceding evening, to remain for the day at his present quarters, and to take a seat in a traveller's gig early the following morning to Liverpool; but aware how much more easily impressions are made than effaced, it was a material point with him to arrive at Mr. Trotter's, before the runaway; and he felt a difficulty in deciding his course, until these important particulars were ascertained. It was therefore with real satisfaction he learnt that Dixon had left Chester several hours—that the truant was with him, and, still farther, that the cart, being heavily laden, must make a considerable circuit to avoid the ferry; consequently the carrier would not complete his journey till the succeeding afternoon.

Pleased with the intelligence so obtained, he entered the room where he had spent the preceding evening, and where a substantial breakfast was now prepared for its inmates, whom, in the mean time, he had been told were a party of commercial travellers. One of them, a fat, merry looking man, full of glee and good-humour, joined the others, just as the meal was about half over, thowing the door open with a swing, and saying hastily, "Hell and the devil! where d'ye think I've been this morning? I called to leave a card at old Crabtree's, and just to say, I would see the old codger again, by-and-by, and d—n him, if he did not absolutely turn me out of his shop, telling me, that I and my principals might go to the devil for him, as he never allowed a bagman, curse his impudence, to cross his threshold on a market day."

"I could have told you as much," replied another of the fraternity. "I have been obliged to lose a whole day before now, in dancing attendance upon the old gentleman, for he is too large a dealer and too good a paymaster to be missed. I finished with him last night, as I knew how 'twould be with him this morning."

"By all the saints in the calendar," answered the first speaker, "I'll conquer him and make him give me an order at his busiest hour of the day, spite of his teeth and of his d——d nonsensical custom."

"You will!" replied the other; "no! not if you get the Mother of all saints and old Father Beelzebub in the bargain, to help you. I knew old Crabtree, before to-day."

"I never saw, nor heard of him, nor of his singularities, before this morning," said the fat, merry traveller, "but I'll lay you a rump and dozen for the company, that I'll make him give me an order for goods to the tune of fifty pounds, at the very throng and bustle of to day's market, and I'll make him remember me as long as he lives, into the bargain."

"Take it! take it!" was heard on all sides. "Plausible does not know Crabtree as we do, and he should pay for being made free of Chester, and for being taught to deal with the old fellow."

"Well, gentlemen, let the bet be regularly made; honour and fair play's the word, and I'm your man."

The wager was accordingly completed, the stakes deposited, and, as whoever won, there must needs be a loser who would have to pay the piper, honest Boniface received instructions to outshine himself, at three o'clock.

Quintus amazingly enjoyed this scene. He thought to himself, "if this man win, against such odds, it must be by energy and perseverance, or some other equally active quality, from either of which, I may derive a useful lesson."

After breakfast, Mr. Plausible, for so the traveller who had laid the wager was named, renewed his visit to Crabtree, and apologising for having troubled him in the morning, alleging, that he had not been aware of his wish never to be disturbed on market days, added, very pleasantly, "however, if I cannot sell to you to day, you may perhaps have a customer in me; I want a ring for my watch-chain, and there's one in your window, which I think will suit me. Allow me to look at it."

Crabtree was ever most obsequious and obliging to his customers, although so much the reverse to those who sought favours from him, and he instantly exhibited a tray whereon were several rings, saying "don't like to be disturbed when country folks are about, but call again to-morrow, and we'll see what we can do together."

Presently, Plausible made choice of two, one of which was of remarkable appearance, and which he pointed out to Crabtree, adding, "I shall buy this, in remembrance of the drilling you gave me this morning, and pray look at it, so as to know it again, if you see it."

"Ah! ah!" replied the shopkeeper, "nothing like teaching folks a bit,—sure to remember another time—but I see you are a merry chap and a'n't like some of 'em—I see we shall do well together, next time we meet."

After a few more mutual civilities, they bade each other good morning, and Plausible returned to the inn.

In some of the Northern counties, are what are called great markets, in distinction to the regular weekly market day, and at which large quantities of cattle and farm-produce are brought for sale, being a good deal of the nature of fairs, although not sanctioned by statute.

This happened to be one of that description, and as the day advanced, the throng of farmers with their wives and daughters, of bustling graziers and other dealers, became considerable; all flocking to Crabtree's, who, being a general shop keeper of long standing, and always well supplied with every article in common use, was much resorted to by all classes. He resided in rather a narrow street, and the entrance to his house, was by ascending four or five stone steps, at the top of which was a door way, just wide enough to allow people to pass and repass without jostling, but no more. At the very busiest hour of the forenoon, a poor, decrepit, old man, lame, and nearly, if not altogether blind, the very picture of misery, wretchedly attired, and wearing a large patch over his forehead, made his appearance in the street, led by a boy of about ten years old, and began scraping a cracked violin, accompanying his horrid noise by the still more discordant tones of his voice, as he sang some interminably long and dismal ballads. By and by he advanced towards Crabtree's shop, and standing immediately in front of it, entirely obstructed his customers, and gathered around him a crowd, which of itself, independently of the noise he made, proved an intolerable nuisance. Old Crabtree came to his door in a great rage, ordering him to go about his business; but the ballad-singer being afflicted by deafness as well as other infirmities, took no other notice of him than to hold out his hat, as if to receive a contribution. Crabtree, although acting under the influence of any other motive, than charity, threw him a few coppers saying, "there! there! go along about your business, that's a good man, step a little farther down the street;" but to his sorrow found that the Ballad-singer, appearing to misunderstand him, redoubled his exertions. The shopkeeper became dreadfully enraged, having paid the price of what he considered the fellow's withdrawing, and at length, wearied by his obstinacy, bade one of his shopmen go and bargain with him, even at the sacrifice of a crown, for betaking himself off. Still the endeavour was ineffectual; for the fiddler seemed to disregard all that was said to him, until all at once, looking wistfully at the messenger, and interpreting his words in his own way, although widely different from Crabtree's meaning—he coolly and deliberately gave his fiddle to the boy, and walked straight into the shop. Ere the by-standers could recover their surprise at so unlooked-for an occurrence, the ballad-singer advanced to the counter, and leaning forward, shewed Crabtree the ring he had sold Plausible that same morning, saying, "Hark ye, old Gentleman! don't you know me as well as this ring? Now I say, old Gentleman, give me an order for goods to the tune of Fifty Pounds, and my ballad-singing and fiddling shall be at an end in a minute. Otherwise, I give you my word, I'm only just beginning. A Fifty Pound order under your hand, will secure me a wager dinner of a rump and dozen, and I shall be d——d glad if you will make one of the company; but the order I must and will have, and the sooner you give it, the sooner you'll get rid of my company. Now that's what I call fair and above board, and I hope we understand each other."

Crabtree was a bit of a humourist, and as he had really purposed dealing with Plausible the next morning, entered into the joke better than might have been expected, and glad to purchase a riddance of the annoyance upon no worse terms, immediately complied by giving the desired order, bidding the traveller to call the next day for more particulars. The effect of this upon the other's infirmities was instantaneous, for he had no sooner received the trophy than he left the shop, walking briskly along, and made his way to the inn in triumph.

Quintus drew a moral from this adventure, as well as from those of the preceding day, which, in after-life, he had abundant opportunities of applying, viz., that there are no difficulties, however seemingly great, that are not to be conquered by perseverance.

He spent the principal part of the forenoon in rambling about the ancient city he was now in, regarding with particular attention its massive walls, which, heretofore used as a means of defence, are now only remarkable as a specimen of fortifications of this nature, and, as affording a promenade to the inhabitants, from which they can command extensive views of the surrounding country. As he contemplated this instance of our forefathers' mode of entrenching themselves against their enemies, he could not help associating in his mind what he had read in the classic authors with whom he was familiar upon such subjects; for boys of his age are ever, a little romantic, particularly when, as was now his case, they feel themselves rising into importance, on account of their acquirements. He also visited the cathedral and chapter-house, and was much pleased with the various beauties, and the light, elegant architecture of the latter, which he was told was superior to any thing of the kind in England.

Thus loitering away the hours, until the public clocks reminded him of the approaching wager dinner, he turned his steps towards the inn, and joined the large party who were already assembled at the table. The rude and boisterous mirth that attended the merry-making of the choice spirits, who seemed disposed to render ample justice to the occasion, was very little to Quintus's taste. Any thing like a public dinner, was new to him; and although, out of regard to his years, he was left perfectly at liberty as to the bottle, the loud horse-laugh that followed each song, the overwhelming chorus, and the rude jokes that freely circulated, as the evening advanced, gave him a disrelish to the scene, and induced him to make his escape from the room as early as possible. At day-break next morning, the veteran bacchanalian who had promised to be his charioteer, having shaken off all the effects of the over-night's festivity, had his gig at the door, and handing Quintus into its vacant corner, they were speedily on the road to Liverpool.

The drive was performed with all the steady regularity that marks the movements of an experienced roadster, and arriving at the ferry in good time, they crossed without difficulty, and entered the town about two in the afternoon. Here then, was Quintus in this large and populous place, having happily accomplished a fatiguing journey, and, thanks to the fortunate chances that had befallen him, still in possession of more than half the small pittance of which he was the owner when he left Rundleton. Taking leave of his guide as he alighted from the carriage, he gave a porter nearly his last remaining shilling, to shew him the way to Mr. Trotter's residence, of whom he knew nothing more, than that he was an Attorney. Upon reaching the house, he knocked at the door, which immediately flew open as of itself, when he heard a voice from a room in the passage cry out—"Come in"—a summons he forthwith obeyed, and in an instant found himself in an office, where seven or eight smartly dressed young men were sitting at desks, engaged in writing. Scarcely raising their eyes to see who had entered, so accustomed were they to visitors, one of them presently turned round, and casting towards him a kind of surveying glance, inquired in rather a supercilious manner, what he wanted. Quintus, although completely countryfied by his long residence in so secluded a spot as Rundleton, had that sort of ease about him which never wholly leaves good birth, and assuming an air rather of consequence, as if to check the speaker, replied, "I want to see Mr. Trotter." Immediately, a short, middle-aged Gentleman, who was standing near the fire-place, reading a newspaper, looked up and said, "With me, my young man? pray what may your business be?"

"I come from Dr. Simpson's, Sir," was the reply, "and I am charged with a private message to you, or Mrs. Trotter." He was then requested to walk into an inner room, where he fully explained the object of his mission, taking care to speak in the highest terms of Dr. Simpson, and of every thing connected with the school, and saying nothing to young Trotter's prejudice, beyond what he could avoid.

Mr. Trotter listened to him with attention, and then replied, "And pray my lad, who may it be, that the Doctor thus employs on his hue-and-cry errands? You do not seem to have understood your calling well, to have missed Richard on the road, as you are here before him; but I suppose we shall see him presently."

Quintus replied in a manner that quite satisfied Mr. Trotter, who made answer, "Do not mention your business to any other person at present, but oblige me by staying in this room. When Richard comes, we shall hear what he has to say for himself, and I will then bring you together. I am afraid he is a sad idle boy, but I hope nothing worse; but by-and-by we shall see. I once had the pleasure of meeting your father in London, upon some business connected with a bank that failed, and we will do our best to make you comfortable, whilst you remain with us. You must excuse me for the present, I will see you again presently." With these words, he left the room, and shortly afterwards, a man servant, wearing a plain undress livery, entered, bearing refreshments on a tray, and an hour or two slowly passed, without his hearing any thing farther from the family. At the end of this time however, the fugitive made his appearance, accompanied by the carrier, who was ready to bear testimony as he said, to the poor lad's grievances, doubtless under the expectation of a liberal reward for his care and trouble. Mr. Trotter received them in the hall, and desiring the carrier to call again, led the boy to his mother, who loaded him with caresses, making many anxious enquiries, and bewailing his ill-treatment.

In good truth, Richard played his part admirably, and had a lie ready for every occasion. He gave a wretched account of the school—told his parents that the boys were half starved—that there was a fever among them, of which two had died, and several were still dangerously ill—that no attention was paid to their education—altogether, drawing a most highly coloured and false picture of the establishment.

Mr. Trotter heard with patience all he had to say, nor did he betray any other feeling as his wife repeatedly exclaimed,—"Poor dear child!" "Dear me, how cruel!" "I'm so glad he's come away!" "Well, he shall never go there again!" "Only think how the darling must have suffered!"—and much more in a similar strain; but, when he conceived there was nothing more to be imparted, left the room, presently returning and introducing Quintus.

"Here is a young Gentleman of your acquaintance, Richard; please to repeat in his presence what you have just told your mother and me, respecting Rundleton."

Richard, perfectly abashed and confounded at this unexpected rencontre, could not say a single word, but began to cry and sob bitterly; when Mr. Trotter, turning to his wife, observed—"My dear, I am sorry to find that Richard, as well as being an idle boy, is a story-teller. What he has told us about Rundleton is untrue. I will explain more to you by and by; but in a day or two, when he and this young Gentleman—who is a Master Servinton—have sufficiently recovered their long journey, and Master Servinton has seen a little of Liverpool, I shall send him back under proper charge. In the mean time, his school-fellow is the son of a Gentleman whom I know; pray, therefore, do what you can to make his stay with us agreeable."

Mrs. Trotter was a mild, amiable, lady-like woman, whose husband's wishes were always her chief rule of action. She received the communication, so far as it regarded her son, with sorrow; but said nothing in reply likely to pursue the painful subject, rather turning her attention to Quintus, whom she welcomed with ease and good-nature. From her husband also, he received much and very kind notice. He devoted the chief part of the following day, to taking him to such public buildings as were worth seeing, and afterwards showed him over some of the large manufactories, which have so mainly contributed to the fame of this spirit-stirring town; pointed out its magnificent docks, explaining at the same time the facility they afford to trade, by the dispatch with which the largest vessels are thus loaded and unloaded; and in the evening accompanied him to the theatre. The wide, handsome streets they traversed, with their splendid shops, and extensive warehouses rising story upon story—the long train of carts and carriages, and the never-failing stream of foot-passengers he every where saw, were all in turn sources of wonderment, creating in his mind the highest interest. He remained one other day under this hospitable roof, when he returned to Rundleton, attended by a confidential domestic of Mr. Trotter's and the runaway, and bearing a letter to Dr. Simpson, speaking of him in the most favorable terms; but in allusion to Richard, begging that he might be kept under a strict course of discipline, and particularly, that his late conduct might not go unpunished. When they reached Wrexham, and while the carriage and horses were being changed, Quintus could not forbear making a call upon the landlady who had given him her kind cautions a few days previously. Entering her humble dwelling almost breathless with haste, he exclaimed, "Now, you will believe me another time, won't you? for you see here I am, and I have been all the way to Liverpool."

"The blessing of God be upon you, my lad, whoever you are, for coming to tell me so. I somehow or other did not think muckle harm of you."

Shortly explaining his errand, and how accomplished, and then bidding her a good-natured adieu, he resumed his journey, and which was completed just as the sun was making its last dip in the horizon, in all its varied splendour. When they passed the gate that opened from the road to farmer Lademan's, Quintus could not help casting an anxious look towards the cottage, and at its door, could just discern four females standing in a group, apparently in conversation. His heart leaped at the very idea of how much he should have to talk about, descriptive of all that he had seen and heard, in the course of his travels; and he felt disposed to chide the tardiness of the driver in having so prolonged their arrival at the village, as would now oblige him to defer his anticipated pleasure till the next morning, well knowing that he should have no opportunity of leaving the school earlier. Dr. Simpson received the party with much satisfaction, and bestowed upon Quintus many highly flattering expressions, in approbation of his zeal and diligence; listening also attentively to the account he gave of his adventures.

It was his first thought the following morning, to call at the Lademan's. "Why, goodness gracious! where have you been, Mister Quintus? the sight of you is good for sore eyes," said the eldest daughter, as he entered the cottage.

"I have been to Liverpool," he replied; "but where," looking around the room, as he spoke, "are your sisters?"

"Bridget is not come home from her aunt's," said the mother, "and she likes the place so much, that she has asked to stay another fortnight. Betsey is only in the dairy, and will be here in a minute; but law! how you look! why, this journey has strangely altered you."

"Has it?" replied Quintus, with an air of vacancy,—"I wonder what can make Bridget stay away so long."

"Pleasant company, I suppose," replied her mother. "Bridget likes pleasant company, like other young folks, at least so I'm told," giving at the same moment, a very expressive nod and wink, "but come now, Master Quintus, do tell us all about Liverpool."

"Wasn't Bridget here last night," replied he, not heeding the latter part of what had been said to him, "I certainly saw four of you, standing at the door, as we drove by in the chaise."

No: it was Jane Smith, who had been drinking tea here; Bridget is happer elsewhere, I assure you; but do let us know about your journey."

"I have nothing to tell," said Quintus, in a peevish tone, his quickness of temper being excited by his disappointment, "I have something else to do;" and with this, abruptly walked off, scarcely deigning to say, good morning, to either of the party.

The mother was the only one, who rejoiced to see this behaviour; she alone, truly guessed it's cause, and she pleased herself with thinking that, her plans had hitherto succeeded capitally; and that, if she could but keep the young people a little longer apart, her apprehension of danger, would be over. As for the rest of the family, Quintus had always been rather a favourite with them, particularly with the daughters; and, as none of them could comprehend what had produced his present ebullition, they were sorry he had left them in so uncourteous a manner.

The real truth, with regard to Bridget was that, from the very first moment of her visit at her aunt's, she had been anxiously contemplating the promised return to Rundleton; but her matronly guardian, although constantly talking of it in general terms, was still careful not to name any precise period; and thus, day after day succeeded each other, with nothing more than, "Well, dear! was there any thing ever so provoking—always something happening to prevent our going to Rundleton—but there—it shan't be longer than next week;" and the utmost she could draw from her aunt being, "We'll see about it, to-morrow." Thus, was the poor girl kept living upon hope deferred, till Quintus returned from his expedition; and the fame of his success, having reached dame Lademan's ears, she had sense enough to conceive that, something more than she had hitherto plotted, was yet necessary in order to keep the young people apart, should he once entertain the idea of seeking an interview with her daughter; as a lad of the character he had more than once exhibited, was not likely to be deterred from a favourite pursuit, by any seeming difficulties. She saw how readily he had swallowed her insinuations, respecting "pleasant company;" and so long as he might remain under the influence of the feeling that was evidently animating him at present, she had little fear of the result. The next step that occurred to her therefore, was to set similar leaven at work in her daughter's bosom, so as to create in each, a feeling of indifference towards the other; and with the view of perfecting her scheme, she resolved to take her good man with her to Overton, and talk to her daughter; for she was correctly informed of the girl's wish to return home, and was desirous of preventing it ere too late.

Arriving at uncle Humphrey's, she expressed great delight at seeing her daughter look "so well and happy;"—words, to which Bridget did not heartily assent, but, blushing perhaps at what was passing within her bosom, enquired for all her friends, and then ventured timidly to ask, "and how is master Quintus?"

"The young gentleman is well enough, I believe, but we don't see much of him, and we hear he spends his time with idle company, and has been running up and down all over the country; and we heard t'other day too, that he is after sweethearting a trumpery creature who's no better than she ought to be."

"I didn't think that of him," said the girl, looking at her own fine face and form, in an old-fashioned glass over the chimney-piece, as she spoke, "but I'm sure if that's his fancy, I wish him joy of it."

"Oh! I forgot, child," interrupted her mother, who perceived in a moment that the bait had taken, "he gave me a message for you."

"For me!" cried the half-delighted Bridget, her countenance instantly suffused by modest blushes, "What message did he send me, mother? pray tell me."

"Why, my child, he bade me tell you, to be sure to bring home a good husband with you; and that if you wasn't so far off, and if he had'nt lots of other things to do, he'd come and see you; but he can't spare time."

"The more like his impudence," said the offended fair one, "to send me his messages. Let him keep them for somebody else, and tell him so, from me—I neither want him nor his messages neither."

"Who are you talking about?" quietly, and with the utmost simplicity, interposed aunt Humphrey.

"A young gentleman at the Doctor's," was the mother's reply. "One master Quintus, as we calls him; he's a terrible idle lad I'm thinking, for he seems always playing truant, running about the country, or something or t'other; and then he's such a temper you can't think. I fancy he belongs to some great squire or another, and I suppose as how the Doctor finds his account in letting him do as he does, instead of minding his lessons."

"I'm sure mother, he's no such thing," cried Bridget, who had shown throughout her mother's speech, evident impatience, "and I'm sure you always used to praise him, and to say what a nice young gentleman he was, when he used to bring the newspapers and read them to you; and I mind how often too of a Sunday, when you asked him to read a sermon to you, you always said when he was gone, that he was a very sweet-tempered and obliging young gentleman: I'm sure you did, mother."

"Well, well, whatever he is," replied the dame, somewhat posed at being thus reminded of her former opinions, so different to what she had now uttered, "he's too fond I take it, of running after a parcel of trumpery girls to please me, and there's an end of it."

Dame Lademan had quick discernment, and presently saw that to attempt to depreciate Quintus, had an effect directly contrary to what she had intended. She saw, also that an allusion to his seeming indifference, and to his being under the influence of some other attractions, was her right chord; and, so well therefore, did she manage her part in the further conversation that ensued, that Bridget in the end, entreated to stay at her aunt's some little time longer, rather than return home. Well satisfied upon the whole, with the result of her ride, the careful matron now re-mounted old Smiler to proceed homewards, settling with, or rather for her husband, as they jogged along their way chatting upon the subject, that they had only to keep Bridget's real abode concealed a short time longer from Quintus, and to continue the present game of cross purposes, for all danger to be removed. But, what says a Spanish authority, well acquainted with the secret springs of human nature?

Ser la privacion
Causa de appetito,

which has been translated,

Still will confinement's rigid hand
Inflame the wish to stray.

And what right was there to expect that in this case, there would be a departure from an all-subduing principle of action? But the sequel will explain for itself.


CHAPTER VII

"Mother! with careful eye you strive
My freedom to restrain;
But know, unless I guard myself,
Your guard will be in vain."

SPANISH SONG

Quintus returned to the school in very little better humour than when he left the farmer's cottage; and for some days continued to evince his disappointment by an unusual share of ill-temper or peevishness, to those around him, extending it even sometimes to his superiors. His altered behaviour did not escape observation; and one morning as he was crossing the court yard, leading to the outer gate of the school boundaries, he picked up a billet, addressed to himself, and read as follows:

"Why art thou cast down? why in such a fidget?
Is it, that is flown, lovely, charming Bridget?
But pluck up thy heart, man; quick to Southwood trudge it,
Presto, hie! begone, and ease thee of thy budget."

The handwriting of this doggrel was unknown to him, and yet it did not appear disguised. Boyish love, however fervently it may burn, is naturally shy and timid, and Quintus's cheeks glowed with blushes at finding that other people had discovered that which, was scarcely known even to himself, and he proceeded towards the school in no very agreeable mood, forming each minute a hundred plans, and as quickly abandoning them, dissatisfied with each in turn. Whilst in this state of bustle or turmoil of the mind, all his thoughts, all his energies received a new impetus, from an occurence which bade fair, not only to deprive him of any farther opportunities of seeing Bridget, but what was of much more real importance, although he did not at the time think so, of what he had so laboured to attain, the honors and pleasure of the captainship.

The junior usher, a Mr. Baxter, had long rendered himself very obnoxious to many of the boys, not so much by any particular strictness with regard to their lessons, as by interfering with their little amusements, and by constantly making representations to Dr. Simpson, of "trifles light as air," which, when distorted and magnified, caused new restrictions to be enforced, and needless punishment to be oft inflicted.

Conduct such as this, had engendered a spirit of decided hostility towards him, and gave rise to a conspiracy, having for its object, a deep revenge. It had been chiefly matured during Quintus's trip to Liverpool, and so far perhaps, he was fortunate as he would have found it difficult to have steered clear of what was going forward, and at the same time, to reconcile a feeling of schoolboyish honor, with the dictates of his duty to Dr. Simpson. Happily therefore, he was saved the perplexing alternative, for he really knew little of the affair, until the explosion took place.

It was the custom, once or twice in each week, for all the scholars to take a walk through the neighbouring woods and fields, under charge of one or more of the ushers, and some of the biggest boys had provided themselves with cords, having settled that, the first time Mr. Baxter should act as sole custos, in one of these occasions, they would overpower him, and leave him tied to a tree. The anxiously looked for opportunity chanced to present itself, on the very day that Quintus picked up the note, and the plot having proved completely successful, the boys returned to the school, behaving as quietly and orderly, as if nothing had happened. But, however well the secret had hitherto been kept, the outrage they had committed, could not be expected long to remain concealed from the head master; and they all immediately felt his resentment, extending even to Quintus, who, although no direct party to the offence, was supposed to have known the existence of the plot and might therefore have interfered to prevent it. The consequence was, an open rebellion; and the boys, having once broken down the barriers of obedience, became mischievous and intractable in the highest degree; nor did there seem the least probability of a restoration to order, as they resolutely insisted upon the immediate dismissal of Mr. Baxter, as the only terms on which they would return to their lessons.

Had they taken a more moderate course, and have substantiated any fair grounds of complaint against their usher, no person would have been more ready than the Doctor to have listened to their tale, and to have redressed their grievances; but, he was a strenuous disciplinarian, and peremptorily insisted that, there should be an unconditional submission leaving him afterwards to adopt such a course, as he might think proper.

Quintus now found himself very delicately situated. The boys, many of whom were fifteen or sixteen, and some seventeen years old, called upon him to stand forward as their champion. The Doctor, still displeased with him upon the grounds already mentioned, said nothing, but was evidently watching his movements most narrowly; and it was clear also, that he depended in a measure upon his influence with the generality of the boys towards bringing about a resumption of his authority. An occasion was thus presented for exhibiting some of the governing principles of Quintus's mind, and he acquitted himself happily for all parties; but his success unfortunately tended to increase a certain portion of self-sufficiency, that had been latterly a good deal apparent as part of his character.

He knew how great an admirer the Doctor always was of any thing that marked originality of idea, as upon many occasions he had found this successful in obtaining a holiday, when a request made in the common way had failed. The present state of affairs suggested itself to him therefore, as the subject of an allegorical essay, which he composed in Latin, representing Jupiter to be sitting in Council, receiving the daily report from his various emissaries and messengers, of what was going forward upon the earth, one of whom enters, and describes the passing scene at Rundleton. The Doctor was pourtrayed with great force and effect, and in very flattering colours. He was supposed to be standing in a circle, at one extremity of which, were two hundred cheerful, happy looking boys, pulling him towards them, and opening upon a rich champaign, full of corn, oil, and honey.

Opposite them stood a single gaunt, miserable figure, bearing on his countenance spite, malice, and revenge, and using the words, "etiam si nolis," and who was dragging the Doctor by the tail of his coat, towards a precipice, at whose base lay ruin and destruction; and although the strength of the contending parties seemed so disproportioned, still the power of the single figure evidently preponderated. Jupiter having received this report, is made to exclaim—"Earum causarum quantum quoeque valeat videamus," and despatches Mercury to the earth, bidding him enquire into the merits of the case, and return instantly to his presence. Little time is lost in the execution of this order. Mercury quickly comprehends the whole affair, and so represents it, that a detachment is forthwith sent to the aid of the boys, when presently the gaunt figure is hurled down the precipice, towards which he had been drawing the Doctor, who is quickly surrounded by his pupils with evident marks of attachment, and is followed by them into the school-room, shouting, "All in, all in! the Doctor for ever!"

Quintus having completed this allegory, presented it with many dutiful apologies. Its force and meaning were obvious; and the illustration thus brought under the Doctor's view, of the inequality of the contest so far as it affected his own interests, carried to his mind instant conviction. He was pleased with the allusion to himself, nor did he lose sight of his vantage ground, in now conceding the boys' demands; a sufficient cause existing, as he chose to consider, in what he was pleased to call the merit of the essay. Order and peace were thus restored, and Quintus became reinstated in all his privileges, with redoubled honor.

His thoughts now reverted to the letter he had received, and once more he planned a walk to Southwood, but a second time reckoned without his host; for it so happened that just as he was preparing to proceed thither, he was summoned by Dr. Simpson to undertake an errand of some importance for him at Welshpool. Now, Welshpool lay in the very contrary direction to Southwood, where he vainly expected to have found Bridget, but uncle Humphrey's, where though little suspected by him, she was staying, happened to be in the immediate line, and within a hundred yards of the road; Overton being about half way between Welshpool and Rundleton. He felt much disappointed at this impediment to his plans, but knowing better than to evince it, prepared to start with the best grace he could assume, and having received his instructions, started on his journey. A little before he entered Overton, he saw in a field, a short distance from the road, a female figure, whose shape, height, and gait, struck him forcibly, as being the very image of Bridget. A more particular look satisfied him that it was no image, but the reality, and scrambling through the thick bushy hedge, that separated the field from the lane, he ran towards her with all the impetuous eagerness of youth, anxious to say to her, he knew not what, but so much overcome by surprise and other feelings, that, now the opportunity was presented to him, he could scarce give utterance to a single word. The girl's surprise was not less than his own, although, being ignorant of her mother's contrivances to keep them separate, and consequently not knowing that her place of abode had been concealed from him, she was too much piqued and out of temper at his supposed neglect, to notice him with much graciousness. So soon, however, as he had a little recovered himself, he said, "Oh! my dear Bridget, I'm so glad to see you."

"I'm sure Mr. Quintus, if you had wanted to see me, you would have been here before now—but you have no business to dear me, you should keep your dears for somebody else."

"For somebody else, Bridget! what do you mean? but I see how it is—you are thinking of somebody else, and I dare say are now waiting for this somebody else, if the truth is known, so I won't interrupt you, but will wish you good morning,"

"Somebody else is nothing to me, Mr. Quintus, and I don't want any more of your messages, and if you chuse to go, I'm sure I don't ask you to stay, so good bye, Mr. Quintus."

"What makes you so cross, Bridget?" still holding the hand that was not attempted to be withdrawn, "'tis not like you to be so sharp. Do you think if I had known where you were, I wouldn't have come to see you long ago; and I never sent you any message. Come now, my dear Bridget, look good natured, you know you are the prettiest girl I ever saw, and tell me why ar'nt you glad to see me?"

Her overcast features had been gradually assuming all their natural beauty and serenity as he was thus addressing her. He had called her his dear Bridget twice—he had told her she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen, and he still firmly held her hand, to none of which familiarities he had ever before advanced, and their effect was new and indescribable. Gently removing her hand, her modest face suffused by blushes, she said in reply to the speech, every word of which had given her such pleasure, "But you must first tell me, what you meant by somebody else."

Mutual explanations ensued, and the ice having been once broken, they soon discovered to each other, what their youth and inexperience alone had, so long concealed. An hour thus agreeably passed, was unable however, to make Quintus forget that it could ill be spared, from the time necessary for the completion of the errand with which he had been entrusted. The business he had in hand he knew was of importance, and he was naturally too punctual and regular in all his movements, to suffer any thing to interfere with engagements of this nature. Even Bridget's charms, powerful as they were, proved insufficient to make him neglect his duty, and he accordingly said to her, "But now, my pretty Bridget, I must bid you good bye, for I have to go to Welshpool, but as I know where you are, you shall see me again to-morrow."

"La! to Welshpool, Mr. Quintus! you won't think of going there today; won't to-morrow do?"

"No indeed, Bridget, I must go immediately. I ought to have been there before this time; and nothing must make me neglect Dr. Simpson's business."

Bridget was not very easily convinced that any such paramount necessity for his departure could exist; and the parting was made with mutual reluctance, Quintus having much difficulty in dissuading her from instantly returning to Rundleton.

At length however, having charged her upon no account to say that she had seen him, and faithfully promising to renew the interview as early as possible, he tore himself from her, and pursued his walk.

Agreeable as the delay had proved, since, not only had it been the means of obtaining a much desired interview, but had also opened to his knowledge one of the most delightful secrets that are unfolded to the human breast, he felt he had done wrong in even this partial neglect of Dr. Simpson's orders; and now endeavoured to atone by extra diligence, for the time he had lost. He arrived at Welshpool just early enough to attain the object he had in view, and returned without delay to Rundleton.

As he was repassing the village where Bridget was staying, it rather discomposed him to observe her, standing at her uncle's garden gate, evidently waiting to speak to him; for he had readily enough guessed the contrivances of the two matrons, and it was his desire to conceal from their knowledge, that their secret was discovered. He resolved therefore, not to stop, fearing lest he might be noticed, and their future meetings be thus prevented.

The girl, however, did not seem inclined to be so put off. Observing that he showed no disposition to recognise her, she advanced towards him and said, "Why what's the matter now? are you too proud to speak to a body?"

"No, no; you know better than that," he replied, "but go along pretty blue eyes; for if we are seen together, the old cats will be too much for us."

"Won't you come and see me to-morrow? why can't you stop for a minute?

"Yes, yes; I'll meet you to-morrow where we settled; but do not be a fool and stay here now; I wonder you haven't more sense." He would not allow time for a reply, but hastened onwards, leaving the girl to return to the house, cross and out of humour at this manner of treating her; contradicting in her case, the generally received opinion of the inferiority of the lords of the creation in affairs of the heart.

Upon retiring to his pillow, the events of the day reverted to his memory with all their force; but pleasant as might be the recollections of the past, or the anticipations for the future, his conscience told him, that he was forming a connexion which could only terminate in trouble, and was one which his parents could not approve. He endeavoured to combat the arguments thus presented to him, but in vain. Our inward monitor, until blunted by neglect, is both sharp and stirring; and after a severe conflict between it and his inclination, the former prevailed, and determined him that, coute qui coute, the acquaintance should proceed no farther.

Arising from his perturbed and restless slumbers, (the first he had ever experienced,) his firm resolve was to abstain from the promised meeting; but, alas! upon an after consideration, he settled that he would see her once, although only as he flattered himself, to have the opportunity of explaining the obstacles that existed in the way of their future correspondence. Vain and deceitful idea, like every other instance where people do wrong that right may come! Quintus was in this however, by no means a singular instance of the folly of ever allowing ourselves to be swayed by such specious excuses, as he now admitted into his bosom, when opposed to a line of conduct, which we are satisfied to be wrong; but he was yet young, and inexperienced, and was besides, already too much in the habit of being influenced by the fatal word, expediency.

His partner in this foolish affair, was scarcely more at ease upon the discovery of the state of her heart than himself; but upon very different grounds. She was mortified that he had not staid and chatted with her; on the contrary, his tone and manner were short and impatient; and she began to fancy that what her mother had said, was correct, and that, his long absence had rather proceeded from the causes she had assigned, than from his alleged ignorance of her residence. Upon the whole therefore, she was little satisfied with the result of their casual interview, and, although scarcely knowing why, was half displeased with him.

Such were their mutual feelings, when they met at the appointed hour; and so much was each under their influence, that a considerable embarras was evident in their manner, neither of them exceeding an awkward "how d'ye do this morning, Bridget?" or "good morning to you, mister Quintus." After some moments had thus passed in looking at one another, like two grown up children, Quintus rallied himself and said, in a half-smothered tone, "I wish you were not half so pretty, or that I was a farmer's son for your sake."

"La! why, Mr. Quintus, should you wish that? I'm sure, I wish I was a lady for your sake, and you were only a farmer's son; for I'm sure I shall never like any person but you."

He now attempted to play the philosopher, and to act upon the result of his previous self-arguments, but all he could say, was only met by sobs and tears, and he found to his cost, how idle it is to form resolutions when we want fortitude to carry them into effect. All his reasoning fell to the ground, before the beautiful countenance, and the simple, engaging talk of Bridget; and yielding to the influence of her charms, he promised, and sealed the promise by the first impression on her ruby lips, that he would meet her again the next day at an agreed spot, half way between the two villages.

An intercourse of this nature, so commenced, and regularly carried on, could not long escape the vigilance of aunt Humphrey; who failed not to notice that each forenoon, her niece made some excuse for absence, and did not return for an hour or two; and she lost no time in acquainting her sister-in-law with the state of affairs. On the other hand, busy gossip was already assuming certain liberties with Quintus, and had early anticipated some of the probable consequences of his interviews with Bridget. The reports so circulated, at length reached Dr. Simpson, who at first paid little attention to them; but having afterwards remarked that his pupil was invariably away from home one certain time, that he always went and returned in the same direction, and that, his manner had lately undergone a material change, the worthy Doctor thought it a part of his duty to institute an enquiry into the circumstances; and as he always preferred direct, to indirect modes of attaining an object, he determined to speak to Quintus himself upon the subject. When seated therefore one evening, in his easy chair in his study, enjoying himself as was his wont, with a pipe and a cup of strong tea, he sent for him, and mildly said, "Quintus! what leads you so frequently to travel towards Overton?" The youth colored, but made no reply, when the Doctor continued, "I am afraid young man, you are contracting an intimacy, you will hereafter repent; now, my young friend, let me ask you a few questions, and at the same time, offer you a little advice, upon a subject that has proved a sunken rock to the hopes of many a parent." The Doctor paused a little after this exordium, then motioned his pupil to take a chair, poured him out a cup of tea, and presently continued a train of catechising, by which he suceeded in extracting from him the real nature of his acquaintance with Bridget. He then went on to ask him, whether he thought his father would not be highly displeased at the connexion; pointed out in the most glowing colours the enormity of the offence of seducing female innocence; represented that, none but a selfish man, would, for the sake of a short temporary enjoyment, trifle with a woman's affections, when he knew there were impediments to their union; pursuing this style of conversation, in a tone the most soft and friendly, until he produced such an effect upon his youthful hearer, that unable to reply, he gave vent to his emotion by a flood of tears. The Doctor regarded Quintus with a degree of affection, if it may be so termed, that seldom falls to the lot of school boys to receive from their master; and viewed this display of feeling with much satisfaction, thinking it augured well of the impression he had made; but he had yet another point to carry, and was unwilling to lose the present opportunity. Taking him by the hand, he continued, "And now Quintus, I am going to try your fortitude; but remember, he who conquers himself, is ever the greatest conqueror. You must promise me upon your honor, that you will hold no farther intercourse or communication with Bridget Lademan, without my permission. If you think you cannot fulfil the promise, do not make it; because recollect, and keep well in view through life, that a promise is a sacred obligation; and that, he who disregards it, would disregard his oath; pause, therefore, ere you promise, but having promised I shall depend upon your entire good faith."

Quintus did indeed pause, and hesitate, but at length said, in a very subdued voice, "May I see her once more Sir, before I make the promise?"

"What good can that do my young friend?" replied the Doctor. "Are we not told, if an eye offend us, we are to pluck it out? And how shall you act your part in the christian warfare that is before you, if you retreat from the enemy at the very first skirmish? Show me any good that can arise from another interview, and I will not object to it; but unless you do, I certainly shall not give my consent."

"It is only to take leave of her," said Quintus, as well as he could give utterance to his words, "and to tell her why it is."

"And nothing father?" replied the Doctor, who fancied by his manner, there was a something yet behind.

He again hesitated and colored, but at length mumbled, "and to tell her I shall never love any body else, Sir."

"Parcel of stuff and nonsense!" exclaimed the Doctor, "boys' and girls' love is like the impression of a man's foot on the sand; clear and plainly discernible while it lasts, but easily effaced. Mind me, my boy; no attachment can ever be permanent, unless it be sanctioned by judgment and discretion. You will prove this at some future period of your life, and will think of me; but it is a truth that is confirmed by the experience of all ages. However, Quintus, I do not wish to wound you unnecessarily. It is as much due to the other party in this ridiculous affair as to yourself, that the true cause of the separation be properly explained. I will therefore ride to Overton myself to-morrow, and talk to the girl upon the subject. In the mean time, I would rather receive your voluntary assurance as your friend, than exercise my authority as your master; but I must put a stop to the acquaintance. Make, therefore, no more hesitation, but let me have your promise.

"You have it Sir," said Quintus, and immediately retiring to a recess formed by the window, was completely overcome by what he considered the sacrifice he had been called upon to make.

The Doctor kept his word, and had an interview with Bridget, but found more trouble in accomplishing his object, than he expected; but he possessed so much influence over his parishioners both old and young, by his happy mixture of religion with a friendly interest in all their affairs and innocent amusements, was so uniformly mild and amiable, and so much beloved, that at length he succeeded, although not so unconditionally as with Quintus; for Bridget insisted that the interdiction should not extend beyond a month, when she expressed her firm resolve to return to Rundleton; and although she did not venture to say so, she hoped much from Quintus's constancy.

Quintus strictly kept his engagement, and in the same manner as formerly, when labouring under similar disquietude applied himself with redoubled assiduity to his books. His promise prevented him from writing to his inamorata, but he pleased himself with considering, that he might write of her; and he accordingly invoked the muses on her behalf,

"Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eye-brow;"

but they were inexorable, and after much blotting, interlining, and altering, nothing could be produced, expressive of his feelings.

In this manner day and day glided on, and by degrees, he found that he had less and less time to think of the interdiction by which he was kept from the neighbourhood of Overton. Dr. Simpson had been well pleased to observe his conduct; for, although unknown to himself, he was closely observed, and any breach of good faith would have been immediately discovered. But the Doctor was aware what such young lovers were; he knew it was in vain to expect too much from them; and prudently resolving not to let them be exposed to temptation beyond their power to resist, he wrote to Mr. Servinton in flattering terms of his son, but intimating that he thought the sooner he was now fixed in whatever course of life was intended for him, the better it would be for his future prospects. To this letter, a reply was made, that in six weeks Quintus might be sent home; this period being named on account of a situation that would then be at Mr. Servinton's command, in a large mercantile house in London, and which presented advantages of no common nature, towards attaining the object he had in view for his son.

Dr. Simpson regretted this delay, as he feared the consequences of the girl's return to Rundleton, and really felt a friendly anxiety for both parties. He was unwilling to abridge Quintus's indulgences, or to show a mistrust of him; and he therefore endeavoured to contrive some plan, by which his several objects might be attained. The will, is oft the readiest way; and so, after a short deliberation he now proved; indeed, through life, our inclination is much more frequently the guide and rule of our actions, than we are sometimes willing to admit.


CHAPTER VIII

"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to Heaven."

SHAKSPEARE

Mrs. Simpson at this time, had been for some months in a very delicate state of health; and it was hoped that the residence of a few weeks among her relations in the beautiful vale of Llangollen, by affording change of air and scene, might be of service towards promoting her convalescence. Notwithstanding her peculiarities of temper, the Doctor was much attached to her, preferring to let his memory dwell upon what she had been, when they first became acquainted, and to regard her accordingly, rather than suffer his affections to be influenced by the tendency to the shrew, she had latterly evinced. She was some years his junior, and in early life, had been rather admired; nor was it, till she had put on the yoke of nominal submission, that any of her conduct could have induced the suspicion of her true character; since, to a form, attractive rather than otherwise, she had united, the appearance of an amiable, obliging temper, quiet manners, and a good understanding. But she interpreted wedlock very differently to father Paul, whom she used to say, knew nothing about it, as he was not a married man; and within a year or two of her change of condition, she permitted herself to be the slave of temper, making her own life miserable, and nearly destroying the peace of one, whom she had vowed to love and honor. Still, his fondness was nowise diminished, and he was ever anxious to take any steps likely to promote her happiness.

Two objects at heart, such as his wife's health, and a removal of his pupil from scenes of temptation, gave rise to the idea of sending them both, for a fortnight or three weeks to Llangollen; and no sooner was it determined upon, than all arrangements connected with it, were so far perfected, that the Doctor's favourite cropped mare was brought the next morning to the door, bearing the pillion, when Quintus had the honor of acting esquire to the lady, commencing the journey sufficiently early to enable it to be easily completed in the day, and yet allowing abundant opportunities of admiring the magnificent hill and dale scenery through which they had to travel.

The first few miles were accomplished slowly, and in silence; but as they were leisurely ascending a steep hill, from whose summit, a very beautiful prospect awaited them, commanding at its extremity part of the rich and fertile vale of Clwd, and bounded on the left by lofty mountains, Mrs.

Simpson broke it by saying, "I suppose master Servinton, we shall now soon lose you."

"I believe ma'am, in about two or three months."

"How old are you, Quintus?" was the next enquiry.

"Seventeen, last birth-day, ma'am."

Nothing more passed for some little time, when the lady resumed by saying, "How often have I wished I had such children, as you and your sister; your parents seem very fond of you."

"They have always been very kind to me, ma'am."

"And so they ought; how many brothers and sisters have you? I think you are one of a large family."

"At one time, ma'am, I had nine sisters and eight brothers, but four have died, and there are now but fourteen of us."

"Gracious Heavens?" exclaimed the lady, "what a happy woman your mother must be; but, how unequal are Heaven's gifts! I have no child —and there is your mother you say, with fourteen!"

Quintus knew not how to reply; nor was it immediately necessary, for she continued, after a moment's pause, "Do you remember, Quintus, the day that your father and mother dined with us, when an unpleasant occurrence took place?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"I have suffered severely for the infirmity of temper shown upon that as well as many other occasions, which I fear you have witnessed. You know I never interfere with any thing connected with the scholars, but you are about to begin life, and as you have been with us so long, I almost look upon you as a relation. I wish therefore, to give you some advice, founded upon my own experience. Are you attending to me?"

"Yes, ma'am," and in this reply, he spoke literally true, for his attention could scarcely have been more rivetted, had a mummy been addressing him. Mrs. Simpson then resumed; "It was my misfortune, to be a spoilt child, and to be left from my infancy, almost wholly to the care of servants; my temper was naturally quick and irritable, and I had only to show it, and to succeed in obtaining whatever I desired. This increased with my years, and a weed, that might once have been easily eradicated, became in time so deeply rooted, as to grow into a tree, and I fear has overshadowed better plants; for we all, have certain good qualities from nature, if we do not let them be obscured by our evil ones. Until I was married, I was never contradicted or opposed in my life. It was my wish to be a mother; when therefore I found this hope disappointed, and besides discovered that in numberless little daily occurrences, the first that had ever thwarted my will, was my husband, what perhaps was at first only pettishness, assumed a new form, and has produced effects, which you have seen to my disgrace and sorrow; and of which none afterwards can be more heartily ashamed than myself. You have seen the Doctor's manner on these occasions. He has never said an unkind word to me in his life; but that calm gravity he puts on, is infinitely more cutting, than if he exhibited equal ill temper with myself. That unfortunate day, when your family dined with us, has I hope and trust, wrought a cure; at least in part, for I do not think you have ever seen any thing of the same kind since."

Here she stopped for a moment, as if waiting a reply; and Quintus having presently answered in the negative, she continued. "The mortfication I felt, to think I had so exposed myself, led me to determine to conquer my infirmity. On that day, the apparently happy countenances of your family aggravated the keenness of my sorrow at being childless. I had scarcely recovered from the effects of some little untoward domestic occurrences of the forenoon; my mind was in an irritable state, and when this is the case, a mere spark will oft produce an explosion. The Doctor's contemptuous silence brought all to a climax; but perhaps any less flagrant occurrence would have been ineffectual, towards producing in my breast, a full conviction of my folly. Now, Quintus, I have had two objects in thus conversing with you. One is, that you may make my apologies to your mother for my behaviour, and which perhaps you can best do, by repeating as nearly as you can, what I have said. As a woman, she can enter into, and perhaps forgive a woman's feelings. The other, that you may derive a lesson from my example, and check ill-temper and every other improper feature of the mind, at its very threshold or entrance. I think I have now and then seen an inclination to pettishness in you. If this be not corrected while you are young, I fear you will find it difficult hereafter. However, I do not mean to preach to you, but, for my sake, as a friend who wishes you well, whenever you feel a disposition to indulge in peevishness, think of me and tremble."

Quintus listened with the utmost attention; and it is not saying too much, to add, that for years afterwards, what she had said made a deep impression upon his mind. He now felt differently towards Mrs. Simpson to what he had ever before done. Formerly, she had been an object with him, as with many others, of contempt and ridicule; now, he viewed her with pity, mingled with a certain degree of esteem. He remembered the Doctor's words about a self-conqueror; and, thought he, "I here see an endeavour towards its practical illustration."

While thus musing, and occasionally interchanging a few words upon general subjects, they approached the site of the celebrated aqueduct across the Dee, connecting the two sides of the vale of Llangollen, and following the road along the river, were not long until they entered the village. The beauties of this romantic spot are too well known to need description. They were different to any thing Quintus had ever witnessed; nor were any of their charms lost upon him. The house they were approaching, was a comfortable, middle-sized, well-furnished mansion, and lay a short distance from the town, or village, in the centre of a sort of amphitheatre, formed by gently sloping hills, rising on each side of an area of perhaps two furlongs in diameter, and mounting by progressive steps or elevations, until the summits of those most remote, were entirely obscured by the clouds. The space immediately around the house, was in the highest state of cultivation; and on its margin, exactly at the foot of the hills forming its sides, was a neat paling, with one or two wickets, serving as entrances to the woods with which the hills were studded, and which were interspersed in all directions with walks, and every here and there a rustic seat, clinging to which, were wild honeysuckles and other flowering shrubs, forming delightful retreats and never-ending rambles.

The travellers received a most hearty welcome; nor was it without infinite pleasure, that Quintus found upon entering the parlor, that he was likely to have some companions of nearly his own age in his meditated strolls around the neighbourhood, there being two young ladies and three youths, varying from twelve to twenty, seated around the tea-table, and who, with their parents, constituted the whole of the family.

Here, a fortnight glided away with unspeakable rapidity; and in the course of it, accompanied by one or other of the young people, he had scoured the whole of the country within twenty miles around. Among other places, Vale-crucis Abbey obtained his particular notice; connecting in his mind, as he endeavoured to make out the use or purpose of its ruined apartments, the many precepts he had received from Dr. Simpson, whereby too great an attachment to the pomps and vanities of this world, had been denounced as fleeting and uncertain, and therefore unworthy our regard. He had been brought up from infancy in a proper observance of religious duties; it had been one of the chief points whereon his mother had ever laid great stress; and at Dr. Simpson's, the utmost attention had been uniformly paid to the same subject. An abridgement of the Liturgy was read in the school-room, morning and evening; and the Sabbath was always especially honored, being strictly kept according to the custom of all good Christians, in the manner prescribed by divine command. With somewhat therefore of a feeling approaching awe or solemnity, did he contemplate the dilapidated walls of a place in which the Almighty had formerly been worshipped, with all the pomp and splendour of a superstitious age; but where perhaps, if the tales that are told of some of the good Father Abbots of olden time may be depended upon, much fasting, abstinence, and humiliation of the spirit had been preached, and still more feasting, intemperance, and enjoyment of sensual pleasures practised. Well, thought he, as he paced up and down these ruins, may it be said—"Sic transit gloria mundi."

The originally proposed period of their visit having now expired, the return to Rundleton was fixed for the succeeding Monday; but, an invitation to remain some time longer, was urged in so friendly a manner, that it was accepted, and ere its termination Quintus began to acknowledge a little of the truth he at first thought impossible, with respect to Dr. Simpson's doctrine as to boy's love; for Bridget was not so present to his mind as she had been, and he seemed to find in the eldest of the young ladies, with whom he had been associating, many charms that he had not at first discovered; and more than once it occurred to him, "though she may not be so pretty as Bridget, she is much more agreeable." But no time was allowed for this incipient feeling to make much progress; for his already sensitive heart could scarcely well understand its emotions, when Mrs. Simpson named the day of departure, and they took leave of their hospitable friends, certainly so far as he was concerned, with very considerable regret. The time fixed by his father for his leaving school had now arrived; and his kind and good friend Dr. Simpson, well pleased at the turn given to his thoughts by his recent excursion, was unwilling to run the chance of all his efforts proving nugatory, by his being again thrown in the way of temptation, and therefore determined that he should not stay at Rundleton longer than was required for his few trifling preparations. Accordingly he sent for him, soon after his arrival, and concluded a long harangue by bidding him get ready for proceeding to D—— early the next morning.

He did not receive this intelligence as many boys would, under similar circumstances. He was not by any means restlessly disposed, and could easily adapt himself to circumstances according as they arose. The kind treatment he had experienced, and the liberty he had enjoyed, had rendered the place and his associates so familiar to him, that he did not picture to himself much improvement, so far as agreeables were concerned, by changing the scene to the counting-house. The time spent at Liverpool had not given him half so much pleasure as one of the days occupied in rambling through the woods and mountain scenery at Llangollen; and London, with all its deserved fame, did not to his fancy appear so attractive, as might have been expected. After hearing all his master had to say, and receiving full instructions as to his journey, being told how much he was to give the guard or coachman at such and such a stage, and what to pay for every meal, he ventured to enquire, with some hesitation, "May I go and take leave of the Lademans, Sir?" The Doctor stared at him, and replied, "Leave-taking, Quintus, is at all times a very unnecessary infliction of pain upon both parties—it is perfectly useless, and, as upon general principles I disapprove of it, and never torture myself or others by its practice when it can be avoided, I cannot, with any consistency, depart from my general rule in your case. I think, however, as the family have been friendly to you, you may write a few lines of civility, either to the farmer or his wife, and I will take care they shall be delivered."

Quintus knew the Doctor too well, to attempt to argue. Retiring therefore, and making his preparatory arrangements, the extent of which however, was confined to distributing some trifling legacies among his schoolfellows, and writing to dame Lademan, nothing remained when bed-time arrived, but to receive the Doctor's parting benediction, and which, notwithstanding his disapproval of leave-taking, was most kindly bestowed. By five o'clock the following morning, a servant was in attendance to accompany him to Shrewsbury, where he commenced his journey; and at the end of three days and two nights, was once more quietly seated at his father's fire-side, having been absent from it, rather more than five years.

He had now attained his full stature, but having spent the last few years entirely in the country, with few opportunities of mingling with good society, had acquired a certain style of manners, which, although very passable at Rundleton, were scarcely suitable to his new sphere of life; nor were they much admired by his mother or sisters. In full council therefore it was determined that, the sooner he repaired to the great metropolis, the more likely it was that the rust would be removed; for, by introducing him among well-bred strangers, it was thought he would naturally notice, and imitate their habits, and deportment, and thus derive improvement, more readily than by home-drilling; for youth, is oft a wayward animal, and may be more easily led than driven.

Under this idea, no sooner had the tailor and other persons of equal importance, contributed their part towards giving him the first polish, than once more he bade adieu to home, and his place having been taken in one of the London coaches, he embarked upon the great and busy world, where new and anxious scenes awaited him, little anticipated either by himself or others.

His travelling companions consisted of a gentleman of about the middle age; an elderly female, belonging to the Society of Friends, with her daughter, a plain young woman of perhaps five and twenty, and a person, whose dress and general deportment, easily marked him as an experienced traveller. He was exceedingly talkative, and his accent betrayed, that his birth, parentage, and education, had been north of the Tweed. Addressing the gentleman, who chanced to sit opposite to him, he said.—"It's a vara raw avening, Sir."

"Yes," replied the other.

"Ye'll likely be a stranger to these parts," said the Scotsman.

"Yes," was again the reply.

"May be, like mysel, ye're for the greet city."

"Yes."

"Perhaps also like mysel, ye'll aleight at the Saracen's Head."

"No."

"Ye'll just excuse me, Sir, da yer friens live in London?"

"No."

"It sair grieves me to see a fallow traveller sae malancholy; perhaps, Sir, ye're out of spirits at leaving yer gude dame or childer."

"No."

"You'll pardon me, Sir, but perhaps ye ha na gotten a wife."

"Yes—no—Sir," with some sternness.

"I am vara sorry, Sir, for may be I have touched a sair place, yer sable garments say but too clearly that yer wife's na mair; weel! weel! Sir, God's will maun be dune, and maun be submitted to."

"No, Sir, no; I am neither a married man, nor a widower.—Now, Sir, I beg you will trouble me with no more questions."

The Scotsman was slightly abashed, and preserved for a short time, a moody silence; but, to remain long without talking was impossible. He presently attacked the young Quaker with many enquiries, to which her mother at length put a stop by saying, "I'll thank thee, friend, not to fash thyself about what doesn't concern thee. We neither seek to know any thing of thee nor thine, or to acquaint thee with what doesn't concern thee to know."

The inquisitive man had now no other object than Quintus to whom to direct his attention. He addressed him therefore much in the same style as the others. Communicativeness had always been a foible with our young traveller, and it was a point upon which he had received several hints from his preceptors; but they were now so far forgotten, or at least unheeded, that the Scotsman found little difficulty in extracting, not only who and what he was, whence he came, and whither going, but every thing else relating either to himself or his family, that he wished to learn.

When they alighted for refreshment, towards the close of the day, the Gentleman took Quintus aside, and said, "I see you are a very young traveller; now take a word of advice from an old one. I observed, with some regret, that this prating jackanapes has drawn from you information, which had perhaps, in his case, no other object than to gratify a most impertinent curiosity; but, in some instances, intelligence so acquired, might be followed by disagreeable consequences. Make it a rule through life, and particularly among strangers, to acquire as much knowledge as you are able, but to communicate no more than is necessary. Let audi, vide, tace, be your motto."

Quintus thanked him, and promised to attend to his advice, when he continued, "Now, I dare say, this inquisitive fellow comes much too far north to talk of his own affairs, with all his prying into other people's; but, by and by, we'll try him." In pursuance of this intention, soon after the party were again seated in the coach, the gentleman began a conversation, by saying to the Scotsman, "You were enquiring, Sir, if I am a stranger in these parts; I presume you are well acquainted with them."

"Pratty weel, Sir," was the reply, immediately adding, "de ye ken how far it now is to London?"

The gentleman answered, that he did not, giving Quintus at the same moment a significant glance; and continuing, "Are you travelling on business or pleasure, Sir, may I enquire?"

"My business and pleasure, Sir, always gang hand-in-hand thigether." "Do you reside in London, Sir?"

"My residence whailly depends upon whare my pleasure or business tak me, Sir."

"I presume, Sir, you are married?"

"Eh, Sir? and, forbye, you conceit right."

"Have you any family?"

"Hout tout, ma' frien', what forbye, I have na wife; how should I have the bairns?"

The gentleman's purpose having been sufficiently attained, the subject presently dropped, and little else deserving notice occurred, until the rattle of the wheels over the stones, the blowing of horns, the continual stoppages and interruptions, and the long ranges of buildings, announced their entrance into London; and they proceeded at a slow rate, until the carriage finally stopped at an inn in the centre of the city where a person was in waiting, to conduct our traveller to his new residence.


CHAPTER IX

"These are the ways to thrive,
And yet, the means not cursed."

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER

The person to whose care Quintus was now entrusted, for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of business, had an extensive manufactory in the eastern part of the City, but resided at Clapham, a village well known to be within a few miles of town. He had no partner—was between thirty and forty, and had acquired the reputation of being one of the very best of men of business upon Change. In manners, habits and education, he was a gentleman; and so highly was he esteemed as a merchant, that handsome premiums were frequently paid him by the friends of young men, for the benefit of placing them under so eminent a master. All the clerks thus belonging to his establishment, lodged and boarded in a house, immediately adjoining the manufactory, and were under the charge or control of an elderly person, who acted partly in the capacity of steward, and partly of guardian or monitor, thus preserving a check over the youthful spirits, by whom he was surrounded.

At this period, there were ten clerks senior to Quintus, who became of course the fag for the time being, and had to put up with many disagreeables in which others had preceded him, according to the common lot of all youngsters, who ever hope to become men of business. Nevertheless, he was not at first the more reconciled to them on this account, but the contrast between being the junior of a London counting-house, and the head of two hundred school boys at Rundleton, with all its accompanying delights, was too striking, not to create a considerable, and for some time, an unfavourable impression upon his mind. Being however, naturally quick at acquiring information, no sooner was he some little reconciled to the change, than his ruling spirit of emulation began to exercise its sway, and he studied the character of his master, so as to conform to it, as much as possible. He early saw that, regularity was every thing with him; and that promptness and dispatch, were equally indispensable, towards obtaining his good opinion; and he failed not to observe with some pleasure, among his brother clerks, more than one, who regarded their occupations in the light of tasks, and who consequently cared little as to their own improvement. Acting under the impulse of knowledge so acquired, he applied himself with diligence to whatever he was desired to perform, hoping first to equal, and afterwards excel, several who at present stood above him in point of rank. By dint of this systematic line of conduct, he attracted the particular notice of Mr. Thoroughgood, and it was not long, before an opportunity for his promotion was presented by the removal of one of the senior clerks, when he was raised over two or three others, and having thus mastered some of the drudgery, continued to creep on, until he acquired a perfect knowledge of every part of the business, and became eminently useful to his employer.

All this time, he had but few opportunities of improving his manners, by an intercourse with good society, as he went but little abroad, and those with whom he chiefly associated, although the sons of opulent tradesmen, not being of a class to adapt a young man to shine to advantage in a drawing-room. Accomplishments had formed but little of the routine at Rundleton; and when Quintus, at nearly eighteen years old, went to London, although he was tolerably read in the classics, was master of French, and well acquainted with several branches of English literature, still, he stood in need of many of the essentials of a gentleman's education.

Among his family connexions, resident in town, were some of high rank and influence; his mother being nearly related to the Earl of Montrevers, and between whom and his parents an intimacy had always been maintained. Independently too of this Nobleman, there were some, scarcely his inferiors, with whom his family either claimed affinity, or were upon most friendly terms; and a year or two previously, when there had been some discussion how to settle Quintus in life, a gentleman, who was then one of the Ministry of the day, had made an offer of his interest to procure him a situation in one of the public offices. In the number of his London relatives, also, was his mother's sister, a Mrs. Campbell, the relict of a first-rate merchant, who resided in an old fashioned part of the City, and who had promised Mrs. Servinton that she would pay such attentions to her nephew as were due to ties of so close a nature. But Quintus had conceived such an idea of his rusticity, that notwithstanding his aunt moved in a visiting circle well calculated to improve the breeding of a young person, and that she shewed every disposition to notice him with cordiality and kindness, it was only by degrees that his repugnance to be drawn forward could be overcome, or that he could conquer his dislike to encounter the jokes that he fancied would be made at his expense, as the country cousin of elegant young men and women; but as he grew older he grew wiser, and in time learnt, that a modest unobtrusive youth has never any thing to fear from good-natured people.

The two first years of his residence in town were now expired. By closely watching the style, deportment, and general behaviour of his cousins, and other young men of fashion, he had lost much of his country manners, and being endowed with natural cheerfulness and good humour, soon found little difficulty in making his way wherever he was invited; nor was he at all less at ease with himself with respect to his progress in business; for ere he had reached his twentieth year, he received daily proofs that he stood high in Mr. Thoroughgood's favor. For some months he had been treated by him, with unlimited confidence, and as he contemplated his majority, which was now not far distant, his ambition whispered to him, that more improbable events had often come to pass, than that, in the course of another year or two, his name might be added to Mr. Thoroughgood's; and he frequently amused himself with trying in what manner, most to his fancy, "Thoroughgood and Servinton" should be written; but so little do we know what a day, or even an hour brings forth, that at the very moment when he was thus building castles in the air, an incident was hovering over his destiny, of a nature quickly to dispel all his fairy dreams—to arouse all the energy of his character—and to leave him little time for thinking either of himself, or of his future prospects.

Mr. Thoroughgood was naturally of a delicate constitution, and his close application to business had so materially impaired his health, that latterly its effects had been very apparent, and a day or two's absence from town had been frequent. One dark wet evening, towards the end of November, just as Quintus had despatched all the post letters, and was preparing to accompany his cousins to a city ball, one of Mr. Thoroughgood's servants arrived in great haste from the country, with a note from his mistress, requesting Quintus's immediate attendance at Clapham, her husband having been seized by a sudden and alarming illness. The summons was promptly obeyed, and upon reaching the house, Mrs. Thoroughgood acquainted him, as composedly as her sorrow would allow her, that her excellent husband, Quintus's sincere and kind friend, had had two paralytic seizures, one of which had affected his right side, and the other appeared to have settled on the brain, producing a lamentable aberration of intellect—the one had followed the other in rapid succession.

Mrs. Thoroughgood was in every respect worthy of the good and virtuous man, whose affliction she now deplored. They had been many years married—had lived together in the most uninterrupted harmony—their happiness being strengthened by the birth of seven children, all of whom were living; and, as their future provision wholly depended upon the business, the immense ramifications of which, must inevitably suffer from their being no person, to whom its management could be confided, anxiety upon so material a point, could not be otherwise than a natural feeling, under her present trying circumstances; and it was this that had partly induced her to send for Quintus. Although so young, she knew that her husband placed the highest confidence, both in his integrity and ability. She was aware, that he was entrusted with all his secrets—that he had authority to sign bills and other documents in his name, whenever he was absent; and if perhaps, her fears might suggest some slight alarm, as to the rocks that she knew must lie in the way of so young a pilot, and from which, her husband's experience might have guarded him, she had no alternative but to trust to hope, and to that Providence, which is ever ready to protect its own.

When she had communicated her melancholy tidings, she added, "What can you do for us? for Heaven's sake, think of that dear, good man, who has done so much for you."

"I think of him ma'am, much more than I can express, but we must also think of yourself and the family; for I am afraid the business will suffer, do all I can; however, if you will allow me, I will go and consult your father to-night, and will do whatever he recommends."

In the hurry and alarm of the moment, this excellent woman had not thought of sending to any person excepting Quintus, and for medical advice. She was now in some measure relieved, by his idea of consulting her father, who, being a City banker, and a man of great experience, was well qualified to give advice. "You cannot do a better thing," she replied; "I wonder I did not think of it myself; but do go to him directly, and do not undertake any thing of difficulty without speaking to him. Tell him, will you, that I am not able to write, but I will send to him in the morning; and mind that you let me see you every evening. Possibly, that dear man may sufficiently recover in a day or two, to see you; therefore pray don't miss coming every evening."

Quintus assured her, that her wishes should be implicitly obeyed, and returned to town, full of reflection upon what had occurred.

He was indeed placed in no enviable situation for a young man, who, having as it were, never exceeded the limits of a fresh water lake in a small fishing boat, now found himself all at once in the open sea, in charge of a large vessel. Although he might know the particular use of every sail, or the purpose of every rope, the precise moment when such or such of the one was to be furled, or the other made fast, or how the rudder was to be directed, had hitherto wholly depended upon a man of great experience and judgment—upon one, who had acquired a high reputation for a happy mixture of prudence, with a strong spirit of enterprise.

The annual returns of Mr. Thoroughgood's establishment, were about three hundred thousand pounds, and at this moment, his coming engagements were little short of one hundred thousand. Quintus weighed with anxiety all the difficulties, which he knew awaited him, but was not appalled. On the contrary, his self-sufficiency, a feature of the mind that had certainly not been diminished by the events of the last two years, rather inclined him to feel elated, at the marks of confidence and approbation he had received, and to determine him, as he felt was in his power, to merit them by his conduct.

The news of Mr. Thoroughgood's illness, flew rapidly amongst his mercantile connexions, and some who had treated him with the most unbounded confidence in their dealings, now became alarmed, lest, should his affairs fall into the hands of executors, their convenience by delay, to say the least, might be affected.

Among other claimants, was the house of Rothero and Co., eminent West India merchants. In the course of their mutual transactions, although many months previously, a difference had arisen, connected with the sale of certain merchandise, which perhaps with some, might have ended in a law-suit; but in this case each knew the value of the other too well, to render such a course probable; and the sum in question, which scarcely exceeded fifty pounds, thus remained unsettled, Messrs. Rothero and Co., constantly including it in the accounts they rendered, and Mr. Thoroughgood as constantly refusing to acknowledge it. At present, independently of this nominal balance, Mr. Thoroughgood was indebted to them, in a sum of twelve hundred pounds and upwards, upon an open account, besides as many thousands, for which bills had been given; and looking at the magnitude of this sum, it is not surprising that Mr. Rothero should have been in the number of those, who felt anxious as to the state of his health. One of the first persons therefore, with whom Quintus had to enter upon his new duties, was a messenger from this gentleman, who called to enquire, to whom he was to apply for the balance then due?

"To me, Sir," Quintus replied with some importance. "I will call upon Mr. Rothero this morning." The clerk repeated his enquiry whether the money would be paid at that time; to which he was answered it would depend upon circumstances, and that Quintus would see Mr. Rothero himself, before he could determine. In the course of an hour or two, he made the promised call, and was immediately shown into a private room with every mark of respect and attention. His appearance was younger even, than his years warranted;—he was personally unknown to Mr. Rothero, and it was evident from that gentleman's manner, when he entered the room, that he had expected a very different visitor, to such as now stood before him. Quintus however, feeling his own consequence, was not easily abashed, and lost little time in making him acquainted with the nature of his errand, repeating more than once, with a very significant emphasis, that he was prepared to pay what was due by Mr. Thoroughgood.

Mr. Rothero, seemingly not a little pleased, now desired one of his clerks to let him know the balance of Mr. Thoroughgood's account, which was done on a neatly ruled sheet of paper, brought down as twelve hundred and eighty-eight pounds seventeen shillings and six-pence, and which Mr. Rothero pointed out to Quintus. Hitherto, he had confined himself to saying, that he had called to settle the account; he now drew a paper from his pocket, and very quietly observed, "It is not so much Sir, in our books, by fifty-two pounds four shillings and eight-pence."

"I am aware there is some difference," replied Mr. Rothero, "but Mr Thoroughgood knows we cannot allow it—and it has been agreed to stand over."

"He is now so ill," replied Quintus, "that any hopes of his recovery, are very slight. I can pay what is due to you, according to his books, but this difference must first be settled, otherwise the account will altogether remain open."

"How do you propose to pay it?" said Mr. Rothero.

"By drawing on the bankers," answered Quintus, "they have long had orders to honor my checks."

Mr. Rothero now began to weigh the chances, implied by these expressions. He was a prudent man, well knowing that "quicquicd possim malo auferre in praesentiá," and yet unwilling to concede, he endeavoured to meet half-way, by offering to divide the difference. But, in this he was unsuccessful, and at length yielded, receiving a check for the money, and giving Quintus a satisfactory acquittance.

"Great ends do sometimes flow from small beginnings," is said by an old writer, and so it proved in this instance, which otherwise perhaps, would not have found a place in this history; but the result of that morning's interview, was attended by results many years afterwards, little anticipated at the moment, either by Mr. Rothero or Quintus.

From this time till Mr. Thoroughgood's decease, a period of several months, Quintus was unremitting in attending to his several and important duties, and although it would be too much to say that, his youth and inexperience did not sometimes mislead him, he acquitted himself under all circumstances in such a manner, as to obtain the good opinion and confidence of all Mr. Thoroughgood's connexions; and no sooner was the concern closed, than proposals were made him by several tradesmen, that were in many respects, most flattering.

But it was the opinion of his relations, that he was yet too young to embark upon the wide and busy field of the world, without a farther knowledge of its shoals and quicksands, and it was therefore determined that he should seek other employment for a year or two, and meanwhile extend his store of general information. Hitherto, he had been literally and truly almost a slave to business, abstaining from all places of public amusement, and mixing only with a limited circle of private acquaintance. Once or twice it is true, he had figured away at a City Ball, and had visited each of the great Theatres, but beyond this slight acquaintance with the gaieties of the metropolis he absolutely knew nothing whatever of the beau monde. The leisure he now found at his disposal having however presented an opportunity of a different course, instead of avoiding, he sought every means of becoming known to persons of distinction, and thus commencing, it was not long until he had completely changed the scene, becoming a guest in Portman-square at Lord Montrevor's, and forming several desirable intimacies with other families. At first, he derived little pleasure from the new sphere thus opened to him; indeed, his first visit of ceremony was scarcely paid in Portman-square, ere he half determined to retire again among the set with whom he had usually mixed, and where he felt much more at home. He could not avoid observing a wide difference between courtly and city manners, which abashed him, from a consciousness of his own deficiencies; but again on the other hand, so many advantages were pointed out to him as following in the train of a high-bred acquaintance, that he was encouraged to persevere, and in the end to conquer his disinclination to cultivate that sort of society.

Among other very agreeable and estimable families for a young man of his age to visit, was that of an eminent Barrister residing in Harley-street, of the name of Chambers, and with whom he spent much of the idle time, that had succeeded his former bustle and activity. Although he had taken to business, perhaps better than his father's most sanguine hopes could have anticipated, he was unwilling to renew his connexion with trade, in any concern that could be considered short of the top of the tree, in point of respectability; and being thus fastidious, he was not immediately successful in hearing of employment that suited him. The family in Harley-street, consisted of a son of nearly his own age, and two daughters; one, a year or two older, and the other, as much younger than himself. They were well educated young women, brought up under the careful eye of a very superior mother, who watched over them with great solicitude, and led quite a domestic life, confining her round of visiting, to those only whom she esteemed. The two girls afforded one instance among many, that however attractive may be the power of beauty, plain features, when the index of an amiable heart, and a well cultivated mind, oftentimes make a greater impression, and create more admirers, than the most perfectly formed face, aided by all the adventitious circumstances of rank and fashion. Neither of them had the slightest pretensions to beauty, but they were unaffected, sensible, and accomplished. Imperceptibly, Quintus found their society to afford him a peculiar pleasure, unknown with other young ladies of his acquaintance, but he scarcely knew which of the two he preferred, although if any thing, he thought the eldest, the most lively and agreeable; nor was it, till some little time afterwards, that accident made him acquainted with the power of her influence, or told him the real nature of the charm that binds us to female society.

In the course of the few months thus spent, Quintus visited in turn, all places of public spectacle, and in one way or other saw a good deal of fashionable life. Although he had scarcely been able at the outset, to summon courage to leave his card at Lord Montrevor's, no sooner had he done so, than it was followed by an invitation, couched in the most friendly terms, to dine in Portman-square the next day, and although fully sensible that the visit would be made in fear and trembling, he determined to accept it. When he approached the house at the dinner hour, this sort of apprehension had by no means subsided. He did not know how he might be received. He might be treated with a studied formality, which would be sure to make him consider himself an intruder; or he might expose his slight acquaintance with the manners of high life, and thus draw upon himself the observation of a party, perhaps nearly, if not entirely composed of titled strangers. These alarms, thus having their seat in his bosom, made him almost wish he had still preserved his retirement; but then again he tried to still his uneasiness by the reflection, that the thorough good breeding he was certain to meet with, never allows a stranger to feel his inferiority; and again he considered that, although he had not crossed the threshold of Nobility, he had visited at the houses of distinguished senators, church-dignitaries, and members of the learned professions, where he had experienced little difficulty in conducting himself free from embarras, chiefly by the simple rule of following rather than leading. Thus arming himself, he advanced to the door, determined to act precisely as he would in any other society; and although it cannot be said, but that his nerves were still a little shaken, he applied his hand to the knocker with all due emphasis, and was presently introduced through a host of serving-men, with splendid liveries, to the presence of the Earl, who meeting him at the drawing-room door, shook him warmly by the hand, and led him to the Countess, by whom he was also greeted with great affability and kindness. The Earl was a fine, venerable looking personage, of between seventy and eighty, but exhibiting all the appearance of a much younger man. Besides the family, there were assembled several visitors; and if, previously to entering the house, Quintus had not been free from bashful apprehension, it was not a feeling likely to be diminished, when he discovered, as he presently did, that he was almost the only commoner in the room. But he was not permitted long to remain uneasy; for all the company took their tone from their noble host, who, as well as his lady, conversed with him in a pointed manner, and spoke of him to others, as the son of a near family connexion. His visit therefore, proved extremely agreeable: and when he rose to take leave, the few parting words of the Countess, effectually completed the removal of any uneasiness, that could by possibility still have lurked within him.

Offering him her hand at parting, she said, "Has our young Cousin been to the Opera lately?" and not allowing him time to reply continued, "We are going on Saturday to see the new ballet, which you know is everywhere talked of. If you will come and dine with us, you can take a place in our box. One may as well be out of the world you know, as unable to speak critically upon so important a subject as the Opera. Shall we expect you?" He was too much gratified as well as flattered by the invitation, to make its acceptance doubtful, and left the house in full admiration of the soft and polished manners, that he had altogether witnessed.

It was on the occasion of this second visit, that the nature of his sentiments towards Miss Chambers was disclosed to his knowledge, convincing him that, beauty is not an indispensable instrument, in the hands of the wayward God.

Lady Montrevors had led the way to her box, in one of the best situations of the house, and Quintus, who sat next her, was intently admiring the splendid scene around him, composed as it was, of much that was noble, dignified, and beautiful, and was again at times, listening with profound attention to the exquisite performance of one of Mozart's most celebrated overtures, when, looking towards one particular corner of the house, he recognised his Harley-street friends, and observed a gentleman, whom he had never before seen, engaged in earnest, and apparently most intimate conversation with the eldest daughter Amelia. Unlike her usual custom too, for she was so great an admirer of music, that more than once she had enjoined silence of Quintus, when, at the theatre or concerts, during some dull, ill-performed piece, he had endeavoured to lead her into a half-whisper conversation, she now seemed wholly wrapt up in what her companion was saying; replying to his animated expressions, rather by the eloquence of the eye than by speech, yet evidently deeply interested in the subject. In one moment, a novel sensation laid hold on Quintus, as though he had been pierced by an arrow. The delightful music, and excellent acting that a few minutes before, had so delighted him, sunk powerless under the withering influence of what he felt; and although the sight was painful, he found it impossible to remove his fixed and steady gaze from Amelia Chambers, even for a single moment. Fortunately, he contrived to escape the notice of any of his party, otherwise, had they observed him, his countenance sufficiently expressed his disquietude; but he was not a little glad when the fall of the curtain put an end to his misery, and left him at liberty to retire to his lodgings, there to brood over his discovery in solitude and silence.

When he afterwards came to reflect on the incident in those hours, which are often our best counsellors, the more he thought of it, the more was he unable to define why he should have been pained to witness attentions paid Amelia Chambers, rather than to any other person. He had never viewed her in any light, beyond that of being a sensible, agreeable acquaintance—he was not in a situation to think of her, or of any other young lady, in the way of marriage—he was dependant—doubly dependant—for he had little but his own exertions whereon to depend, and at present, he had no opportunity of applying even these; but, spite of all this, the plain fact could not be disguised, that he had been disturbed by the familiarity he had witnessed between Amelia and the stranger; and reluctant as young men are, to own themselves in love, he was at length compelled to admit to his inward monitor, that Amelia Chambers was any thing but indifferent to him.

Nevertheless, at this period of his life, prudence exercised a very considerable sway over his character; and the wise and good precepts that Dr. Simpson had given him upon somewhat a similar occasion, independently of what had been inculcated by Mr. Thoroughgood, as general rules of conduct, were in full force upon his memory, enabling him to weigh the folly under his present circumstances, of encouraging any attachment, no matter with whom.

Thus arguing with himself, he determined to think no more of the affair; although he still settled there could be no harm in making a call in Harley-street, so as to learn the particulars of who and what was this interesting stranger, and which he had no sooner fixed upon doing, than a certain something also prompted him, not to defer his visit later than the following morning.


CHAPTER X

"Parson, these things in thy possessing
Are better than the Bishop's blessing:
A wife that makes conserves; a steed
That carries double when there's need;
October store and best Virginia,
Tithe pig and mortuary Guinea."

POPE

No sooner had an hour arrived when he thought visitors would be admitted, than Quintus was at the door in Harley-street, not altogether in the most amiable mood in the world, but, if the truth be told, notwithstanding all his philosophising, and the ten times repeated-to-himself, "I am sure Amelia's so plain, I wonder I could look at her twice," he was the victim of pique and chagrin, more than he chose to acknowledge. Upon reaching the house the servant scarcely waited for the enquiry, "Is Mrs. Chambers at home?" but considering him from his intimacy with the family as a privileged guest, led the way to the drawing-room, where he found Amelia and her mother alone. He tried to accost them as usual, but was unable to get rid of a certain embarras, which neither of them could understand; and instead of entering upon general conversation, nothing but the weather, the carriages that were passing, and other topics equally trifling, were introduced; and these only in a dull, uninteresting manner.

At length addressing Amelia, he ventured to say, "You could not spare one look, perhaps not a thought upon an old acquaintance, last evening: I saw how agreeably you were engaged."

Amelia blushed, and looking at him with archness, replied, "What! were you at the Opera?"

"Yes; I dined in Portman-square, and lady Montrevors was so good as to offer me a place in their box."

"I did not see you—but you know I never aspire so high, as even to look at the great people."

"I fancy you were too agreeably occupied to look at any person, except your next neighbour; to say nothing particularly of the great people—I quite envied the gentleman, his happiness."

"That was extremely wrong of you," she replied, with a playful, good-humoured smile; "don't you know, that envy is severely denounced? I fear you have been to church this morning to very little purpose, if you talk of envy; but I am quite sure, Mr. Burton ought to be no object of envy to you or any body else."

"What! not to be so distinguished as he was last night, by Miss Chambers?"

"I see," she answered with more gravity—"that you have something to learn; and I hope you will rather like, than envy Mr. Burton, when you become acquainted with him;" then turning to her mother, she continued—"Mamma, Mr. Quintus Servinton is desirous of being introduced to Mr. Burton, and I am quite sure you will invite him to dine with us to day, as he will then have the opportunity;" then nodding to him most good-naturedly with, "Mind we shall expect you," she left the room.

Quintus was now alone with Mrs. Chambers, who pressed him to stay and dine, and then continued, "Mr. Burton is a very respectable young gentleman, and was at College with Richard.—He and Amelia have been long attached to each other; but neither of them having much fortune, and Mr. Burton's interest in the Church, and consequent hopes of preferment, having been but slender, we have not particularly encouraged the acquaintance, having preferred leaving it to be governed by circumstances as they might arise, and by the good sense of the young people. He has now unexpectedly come into a tolerable living, in the county where he has chiefly resided; and he arrived in town yesterday, upon business connected with his improved prospects. He will dine with us to-day, and you will then see him."

Notwithstanding all his self-reasoning, and fancied discretion, Quintus did not receive this intelligence, perfectly unmoved; but he endeavoured to console himself, that it had not more materially disturbed his peace, than was the case; being led on by this train of thinking, to a sort of pluming himself upon his discernment, in having been able to appreciate qualities of the mind, rather than of the person, which had been sufficient to attract the admiration of a man of acknowledged good sense. Nevertheless, he resolved that in future, he would keep a more vigilant watch upon his ever-sensitive heart, and not suffer it to be so often singed, as heretofore.

In the course of farther conversation he learnt, that Mr. Burton had been educated upon the foundation at the Charter-house, and from thence, had made his way to a fellowship at Oxford, wholly by the force of his merits. He was about thirty; of gentlemanly manners and appearance, and tolerably accomplished. Since his ordination, he had officiated as curate of Lestowe, an extensive Parish in Dorsetshire; but his annual income from that, and his fellowship together, had been little more than one hundred pounds. The living was worth about three hundred a year, and was in the gift of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. It had lately been possessed by a wealthy non-resident, who, previously to Mr. Burton's appointment to the curacy, had often suffered the inhabitants to be for some Sundays without a pastor, and in every other respect, had shown himself perfectly indifferent about them. It had so happened, that a short time before this, the bishop had been making a tour of his diocess, and upon visiting Lestowe, had entered into very minute enquiries; the result of which, disclosed the fact that the rector, the reverend Dr. Livewell, spent an otium cum dignitate, in a distant part of the county, never troubling himself in the least, upon the affairs of the church militant, but holding by the tenor of his example, that the frequenting of balls, races, and all the gaieties of fashionable life, the keeping up a sociable intercourse with titled rakes and debauchees, the maintaining a handsome stud and a splendid table, were among the highest and most important of his Christian duties. All the information so acquired, his lordship carefully noted, and he also made himself fully acquainted with the amiable character, and exemplary conduct of the curate. Upon finishing his visitation, he caused Dr. Livewell to be written to, requiring his attendance at Wells. The reverend gentleman, proud of his wealth and splendour, was punctual to the time named, and exhibited a grand display of horses, carriages, and servants. Scarcely had he made his obeisance to his superior, than his lordship addressed him, "I have lately returned from visiting my diocess, Dr. Livewell, and I wished to see you upon the subject of your vicarage at Lestowe, where, I am sorry to find, you have never resided; and you are aware I believe of the stress I lay upon this, and other points."

"I should be very sorry, if your lordship conceived that I come within your lordship's injunctions," replied Dr. Livewell, "but the fact is, my lord, the parsonage-house is so much too small for my establishment, that I could not possibly turn round in it."

"I congratulate you, Dr. Livewell," gravely replied the bishop, "upon your abundant share of the good things of this world; you would not otherwise complain of the inconvenient size of the parsonage. You will recollect Doctor, of those to whom much is given, much will be required.—Allow me therefore, to recommend you to ease yourself of some part of your burthens, and to place Lestowe at my disposal. I think I could find a person, for whom the house possesses ample accommodation, and who would do honor to my choice."

The reverend doctor was a man of the world, and a courtier. He knew full well, how ill he should come off, were he to enter the lists with a bishop, who was rigid both in his own conduct, and in that of his clergy; and therefore perfectly understood what was his only prudent course. The living was resigned, and immediately presented to Mr. Burton.—Hence, the agreeable change in his circumstances, and consequent visit to London.

Mr. Burton proved upon acquaintance, what Mrs. Chambers had represented him, a scholar and a gentleman; and the happy state of his affairs, affecting as it did another of the company, so tended to enliven and give a zest to conversation, that the evening was spent most pleasantly. In the course of other subjects that were mentioned, Mr. Burton happened to say, that he had made an engagement to stay a few days with some friends at Southampton on his return to Dorsetshire, if certain previous arrangements should permit a friend of his, to leave town; but added, that this was very uncertain.

"And pray, who may this friend be," enquired Amelia, "and upon what circumstances, does your engagement depend?"

"Why, the contingency is rather an interesting one to some parties," replied Mr. Burton, "for William Rothero, the nephew of the great West India merchant, and whom I knew at College, is engaged to be married to a young lady, whose friends live at Southampton; but when the happy day is to arrive, depends upon his uncle's being able to find a competent person to fill his place in the counting-house. My invitation is, to accompany him to Southampton, and to perform the ceremony; but, as the uncle is extremely particular, he has not yet found a person to suit him."

"Can you inform me, Sir," said Quintus, "what are the particular qualifications required?"

"I know very little of business," replied Mr. Burton, "but I have heard my friend say, that he answered all the foreign letters."

It immediately occurred to Quintus, that here was a situation in all respects adapted for him. It was as respectable as well could be—the parties were gentlemen—and the employment of a nature, for which he felt particularly qualified. He did not pursue the conversation however, but resolved to call upon Mr. Rothero the next morning, and learn farther particulars from himself.

It so happened that this gentleman was Lord Mayor of London that year; and when, in pursuance of his determination, Quintus called at his office in Broad-street and asked to see him, he was referred to the Mansion-house whither he forthwith proceeded. He found him in one of the private rooms adjoining the great hall, engaged on some official duties with one or two persons, and when Quintus was introduced, it is probable that he conceived his errand to be of a similar nature, for he did not seem to recognise him, but returning his bow quite as a stranger, motioned him to take a seat. This forgetfulness was by no means surprising, considering the manner in which the interval, since their last interview, had been passed by Quintus; as the society in which he had mixed, added to his general pursuits, had considerably improved his figure and appearance. When it came to his turn to be attended to, being by no means discomposed by this oblivion of the past, he addressed Mr. Rothero, by saying, "I had the honor to call upon you in Broad-street Sir, a few months ago, upon business for the late Mr. Thoroughgood, and having been informed yesterday by the reverend Mr. Burton, that you had a vacancy in your counting-house, I have taken the liberty of waiting upon you, to offer my services."

"I have a very great objection to gentlemen clerks," replied Mr. Rothero, "I have repeatedly tried them, and always found them good for nothing—they seldom attend to business, but when most wanted, give much trouble and disappointment; frequently acting more like masters than clerks."

"I hope, Sir," said Quintus, "that the mere circumstance of birth, will not be allowed to interfere with me, if there be no other objection. Mr. Thoroughgood's executors, will, I believe, do me the justice to say that, I never neglected any business that was entrusted to me."

"Are you not the person," enquired Mr. Rothero, "who settled that disputed balance with me for Mr. Thoroughgood?"

"Yes, Sir."

"I did not immediately recollect you, but I now remember how well you advocated his interests; and if we can agree as to salary, I feel disposed to depart in your instance, from my general rule;—what do you expect?"

"Remuneration, Sir, is much less my object, than respectable employment, and improvement; and if you please, I will leave that subject entirely to yourself." The negotiation was presently completed, when Quintus withdrew and hastened to call upon Mr. Burton, to acquaint him that, profiting by his information, he had formed an engagement, which would have the two-fold effect of accomplishing an object he had earnestly desired himself, and of enabling Mr. Burton's friend, to complete his arrangements for his matrimonial excursion.

It is thus, that we sometimes notice through life, how much one event depends upon another, apparently the most trifling; and how a road is oft opened to the attainment of our pursuits, through channels, seemingly altogether improbable.

Quintus was extremely glad to exchange his life of idleness, for the regular occupation of a West India house. He engaged lodgings in one of the streets in the neighbourhood of Brunswick square, and attended in Broad street, with the utmost punctuality and attention. Mr. Rothero's partner was a junior branch of the same family; and was an amiable, agreeable young man. He resided in the city, and was married to an accomplished lady, both of whom paid Quintus much and friendly attention; indeed in a short time, they became upon such mutually intimate terms that he was a constant guest at their table, and through them, was introduced to other members of the family, who all treated him in an equally flattering manner.

The nature of his avocations enabled him so well to combine business with pleasure, that a twelvemonth passed most agreeably in this manner, and in the course of it, he had been honored by invitations to the civic entertainments given by the senior partner and by other similar marks of approval. He was always at his post when required by the affairs of the house and thus gained the esteem and good opinion of both the partners; whilst at the same time, the respectability of his connexions, and his excellent private character, by removing a barrier that often exists between clerks and their principals, placed him on the footing of an intimate friend. At the end of the year, Mr. Rothero marked his farther sense of his services, by putting into his hands a sum, that greatly exceeded his anticipations, and which was the more valuable, on acount of the expressions by which it was accompanied. But now, new scenes awaited him. A vacancy had occurred in the representation of the City in Parliament; and Mr. Rothero, having been invited to become a candidate, and encouraged by many promises of support, allowed himself to be put in nomination, and a hotly contested election, was the consequence. This was an occasion, well adapted to display the eagerness of Quintus's disposition, and the activity of his mind, when called forth by an event, in which he felt interested. He had received so much kindness, and such marked attention, from the Rothero's, that he now entered most warmly into their cause; and became extremely useful, not only in the committee room, by the methodical exactness of his arrangements, but in various other ways equally serviceable.

The election, which ended after a severe contest in favor of Mr. Rothero, had the result of leading Quintus to be introduced to many high and distinguished characters. The exertions he had made, increased his intimacy with the family; and the new member especially, treated him with particular attention, welcoming him in the kindest manner to his residence in Russell-square, where he met some of the best society of the day.

As the business of a West India merchant greatly depends upon particular seasons, and as opportunity of leisure was now afforded, Quintus sought and obtained leave of absence, for the purpose of accepting an invitation that the Burtons had made him, shortly after Amelia's marriage, and which had taken place about a twelve-month previously. From the day of his first entering London, he had scarcely once exceeded in his travels, its immediate vicinity, and all his early pleasurable associations with a country life, returned in full force, the moment that he had received the wished-for permission. So anxious indeed was he not to lose time, that he did not even write to announce his coming, but packing up with as little delay as possible, was soon on the road to Dorsetshire, travelling by coach till he reached a village within a mile or two of Lestowe, from whence he proceeded on foot, with a small portmanteau swinging across his shoulder, pursuing his way across some fields to the parsonage, quite an unexpected visitor.

The afternoon sun of a hot spring day, as it shone with all its force, made him more than once repent his incumbrance; and he was walking as if every step were a furlong, when his approach having been noticed from the windows, he had the pleasure of being met half-way by his hospitable friends, who greeted him with a most hearty welcome. Leaving his baggage to the care of a servant, he accompanied his guides to their neat and pleasant dwelling, chatting by the way, as is the wont of friends of "lang syne," when meeting after a long separation, but previously to entering the house, Mrs. Burton said to him, "Take care of your heart, Quintus, if you have not left it behind you; for we have a young friend staying with us, to whom it will certainly be a prize, presuming you fall in love as easily as ever."

"I do not know that I am such a faller in love," he replied. "As for my heart, part of it you know has been at Lestowe, ever since the day Mr. Burton and you were so good as to invite me here; and I dare say I shall be able to take care of the other part."

"I hope so," said Mrs. Burton, "for both your sakes, for Fanny Villars is a sweet girl, but has no fortune, and you used to say, you have your's to work for; therefore let me entreat you to beware."

"He who is forewarned is twice armed," replied he, "never fear me."

Readily inclined as most young men of one and twenty are, to susceptibility, few could vie with Quintus in an inclination to pay homage to female charms, and indeed by some he was called an arrant flirt, as it was seldom he was entirely heart-whole. His expectation was now greatly raised in favor of a person, whose attractions were of that order to make it necessary thus to caution him, but he was kept in suspense for some time, as the young lady did not immediately make her appearance.

Perhaps, the partiality that sometimes leads persons to speak of their friends, in terms rather suited to their own ideas of them, than to their real pretensions, is one of the greatest acts of injustice, if not of unkindness, that can be shown them. It frequently ends in disappointment; and there are many, who possess accomplishments and attractions much beyond mediocrity, and which could not have failed to make a favorable impression upon strangers, had not their effect been half destroyed, by the improper exaltation of their admiring friends. The warning Quintus now received, (such as the contrariness of human nature,) had directly the opposite effect to what had been intended; and as he sat in the little book-room waiting the dinner hour, he kept his eye upon the door every time it was opened, half predisposed to surrender his heart at discretion upon the very first appearance of the lady, against the force of whose charms, he had been guarded. He pictured to himself something more graceful, more elegant, and more highly accomplished, than he had yet seen; and he almost regretted that his own appearance, just leaving a mail coach after eighteen hours travelling, was not such as, under other circumstances, he thought it might have been.

All his anticipations were however in due course relieved, and his apprehension upon the score of his own appearance, in the mean time dissipated; for, previously to the dinner-hour, an opportunity had been afforded him of making the most of such aid as West-end tradesmen know how to place at the command of a young man, who, without being a fop, was any thing but a sloven, and whose personal vanity, if vanity it was, chiefly consisted in extreme neatness and cleanliness.

When he re-entered the parlor, Miss Villars was already there; and the very first glance produced a feeling of disappointment. He had fancied her rather tall, and she happened to be under the average female stature; he did not admire a very fair complexion; her's was beautifully so, almost to transparency; dark eyes had always proved more powerful in their artillery upon his heart, than light or hazle; her's were of a blueish grey; and her figure was a little more of the ebonpoint, than was consistent with his ideas of elegance. Had not Mrs. Burton said one word about her, he probably would not have regarded her a second time with more than common attention; but so wayward are oftentimes young men, he had been determined beforehand to like her, if he had no other reason, than because he had been told to place a guard over his heart; and although, so far as person went, he could not help feeling disappointment, he presently was willing to believe that her mental endowments must be of a superior order, and these alone he considered, would be sufficient to warrant the homage he was inclined to pay. Acting upon this suggestion of the heart, he addressed his conversation to her, watching her replies with much earnestness. Her voice and manner of speaking, were exceedingly sweet and expressive; and he shortly discovered that she was mistress of music, drawing, and other accomplishments; although he rather extracted this knowledge by his tact in introducing the subject, than by an ostentatious display on her part. He was pleased therefore in reflecting, that a visit with which he had long associated many agreeable anticipations, bade fair to be even more pleasant than he had contemplated; and he exerted himself to his very utmost, to reciprocate the pleasure he was receiving.

As the party were sitting after the tray had been removed for the evening, and were enjoying in sociable chit-chat the last hour before bed-time—an hour, ever favourable under the circumstances of the present company, to the display of our best faculties in conversation, and oft among intimate friends, producing an unfolding of ideas, a freedom of expression, that cannot be attained at any other part of the day, Mrs. Burton said, "I am quite sorry Quintus, you did not let us know we were to have this pleasure, for it is only last week, that we settled to spend a short time near the sea side; and we proposed to have gone there next Monday. How are your plans? could you accompany us?"

"There is nothing I should like so much," he replied, "I have a month's holiday, and I hope you will believe me when I assure you, that it cannot be passed in any manner so agreeably, as under your direction."

"You were always an adept at fine speeches we know," replied Mrs. Burton, "but I will give you leave to make them to an old married woman like myself, provided you do not extend them without my permission; but you did not answer my question; for really, to tell you the truth, although we are very glad to see you, we wish you had previously written to us, as we have now made engagements which we are equally perplexed to keep, as to break."

"If Mr. Quintus Servinton," said Mr. Burton, "will allow me to advise him, he will accompany me to-morrow to Shaftesbury, where there will be a horse-fair, and will provide himself with a nag for his holiday, and will farther allow us to write to the friends with whom we shall be spending part of our time, to say that we shall bring an addition to our party; as we can assure him of a hearty welcome."

This proposal was in many respects, too agreeable to be declined; and with all the cheerfulness or elasticity of spirit, felt by a young man in the very morning of life, when surrounded by kind and attentive friends, he retired for the night, intending to muse upon the occurrences of the day. But dame Nature was not to be so defrauded—nor was his design of dwelling upon retrospective as well as prospective agreeables, sufficient to rob her of that rest, to which she felt entitled. Ere he had lived however, double his present age, frequent harrowing vexations of care and trouble, taught him in good earnest the value of that repose, he then sought to banish; but now, scarcely had he laid himself down, till he was in that state so finely described by Shakespeare, as

"Nature's soft nurse, death's counterfeit;"

and even his inclination to review in his mind, the pretensions claimed by her friend for Miss Villars, compared with those, she had struck him as really possessing, gave way to the power of the dull God, and he arose in the morning, feeling as if he had awoke to a new existence, and as if all the events of the last six and thirty hours, had been an illusion.

Although the parsonage was too small, to accommodate the over-grown estalishment of Mr. Burton's predecessor, it contained abundant room for the present incumbent; and the taste and good sense that had been exhibited by his amiable bride, in her style of fitting up and furnishing the apartments, and laying out the pretty flower-garden and shrubbery in which the house stood, was of a description to realize all the ideal conceptions of poets and others, when endeavouring to delineate a charming country residence.

Quintus thought that Miss Villars's morning dishabille, as she did the honors of the breakfast table, was more becoming than the dress she had worn the preceding evening; and he fancied that Mrs. Burton caught his eyes now and then more earnestly bent upon her countenance, than he had intended. Once or twice too, when his glances happened to be met by the young lady herself, he observed that they appeared to create a modest confusion, which bespoke that the fair object of his attraction, had been little used to the gaze of admirers. All this while, Mr. Burton was intent upon his cold pie and the other good things before him, rather than upon the countenances of his visitors, repeatedly hinting that they were full late—that there was nothing like laying a good foundation for a long ride, and that he feared all the best horses would be sold, before they reached the fair; adding, "it is Quarter Sessions too, and I want to see some of the Magistrates on very particular business." Breakfast being at length over, they took leave of the ladies, promising to return to a late dinner; and in the course of two hours, had completed their ride.

The business of most importance to Quintus, having been quickly disposed of quite to his satisfaction, by the purchase of a horse upon terms which, to a Londoner seemed "wondrous cheap," Mr. Burton proposed going to the Sessions-house, where the Magistrates were already assembled. A trial happened to be on as they entered the Court, of a man, charged with having assaulted and severely injured another. In compliment to Mr. Burton's profession, he and his companion were invited to take seats on the bench, at the end immediately adjoining the jury-box. The case seemed clearly proved, indeed the man made no defence, leaving himself entirely in the hands of the Magistrates; and the jury composed chiefly of yeomen or farmers, would it was expected, at once have agreed in a verdict of "Guilty." But, although they made no semblance of retiring, they appeared slow in arriving at a decision, standing together in a little knot or circle, discussing the merits of the case. Meanwhile, all other business being of course suspended, Quintus's attention was drawn to the jury-box, which was only separated from his seat by a low wooden partition.

"He's clean guilty, that's for sartain," said one of the jury-men.

"Aye, as sure as eggs is good with bacon," said another.

"It's a woundy sheame to lose such a man joost now," observed a third, "we's be sure to be drubbed by the Wiltshire men at thic match of single-stick, for there's never a one fit to stand up against Tim Stickwell, exceptin this Job Savage."

"Aye the more's the pity," remarked the foreman, "but what be we to do? for he's as guilty as thof he was hanged for it, and we can't make him no otherwise. I shall lose five pounds by the son of a gun next week, that's as sure as I be standing here."

"I ba'nt so zure of that," said a short, sturdy yeoman, who had apparently been listening with all his ears, to what had been passing; "zuppose we quit 'en! what then?"

"Aye, what then?" made the rounds from one to another, to which no other reply was made, than a chuckling sort of half-laugh and significant grin, which continued for a minute or two, when the foreman gravely turned round and said, "Not Guilty."

The Chairman immediately rose and observed, "I am afraid, gentlemen of the jury, you have not clearly understood the evidence—the assault was most distinctly proved, and is not even attempted to be denied, or justified. I wish you to reconsider your verdict, before it is recorded."

The foreman made a show of adopting his recommendation, but in the course of a minute or two, again said, "the gentlemen be all agreed Sir, Not Guilty."

"It is impossible that this verdict can be recorded," said the chairman, "in face of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, and not even contradicted or denied by the prisoner; pray gentleman, give the subject a little more attention."

It was useless however; they had agreed to "quit 'en," and accordingly he was acquitted, receiving a severe admonition from the chairman, instead of the punishment he had fully anticipated.

"We have to-day had a practical illustration, how possible it is to abuse our admirable system of trial by jury," said Mr. Burton as they left the Court. "It was well worth the struggles that were made to obtain it, and it is indeed, the palladium of an Englishman's life, as well as liberty; but we have now seen, that one of the very best institutions, which the wit of man ever did, or could devise, is liable to be disgraced, when placed in ignorant hands."

"Not only such institutions as spring from the wit of man," said Quintus, "but how much higher might this idea be carried—look at the abuses, that have crept from time to time, into the Christian religion, since it was first promulgated!"

"Yes," replied Mr. Burton, "its primitive beauty and simplicity have indeed, been cruelly dealt with, by human ingenuity and invention; but as Englishmen, we ought never to forget that, our religious liberty is as amply provided for, as are our civil rights; and notwithstanding it may be difficult to discern any thing of the original tree, in many of the plants or off-sets that have been taken from it, we still have the precise words that were originally spoken, for our guide and direction, so that he who runs may read; and it is not among the least enviable of our national distinctions or privileges, that the common and usually adopted translation of the Bible, is upon the whole, a faithful representation of the original text."

"It is always pleasant," said Quintus, "when we meet with liberality from one class of believers towards another; but it is far from common, and particularly I think, among expounders themselves."

"The very essence of Christianity," replied Mr. Burton, "is charity, or liberality as you may term it. I fully go along with Pope in his two celebrated lines:——

"For modes of faith, let senseless bigots fight,
He can't be wrong, whose life is in the right."

"And yet," answered Quintus, "nothing is more rare, than this same charity. I remember an anecdote of a scholar, who was examined, with the view of being ordained. The bishop said to him, "quid est spes?" The scholar answered "futura res." "Quid est fides," said the bishop. The scholar again replied, "quod non vides." "Quid est charitas?" next enquired the bishop. "In mundo raritas," was the scholar's last reply, and a very true one it was."

"Upon my word," said Mr. Burton, "I was not aware that the pleasure we had promised ourselves from your visit, was capable of the addition I have now discovered. You and I must renew these conversations in my sanctum sanctorum."

"Indeed," said Quintus, "I beg your pardon there, I do not purpose any thing of the sort—I have always been taught to avoid religion and politics, as being the least desirable of all subjects of conversation; but if it were not so, I assure you I have not so little taste, as to relinquish the charming society of your drawing-room, for musty dissertations in your library. It is one thing to have, and another to display, a tolerable knowledge upon certain subjects; and although perhaps, I may have to thank my preceptors for not being quite ignorant, either upon theology or the history of my country, I am not so foolish as to enter the lists with such a person as yourself. If you please, we will now change the subject, by allowing me to ask, what is the game of single-stick, that produced such an effect upon the jury-men this morning?"

Mr. Burton then explained, that it formed one of the chief rustic amusements with the peasantry of Somersetshire, the lower part of Dorsetshire and Wiltshire; that the skill of the players consisted in so warding off their adversaries' blows, as to protect the head—that it was played by two persons, who used straight sticks about two and a half feet long, wielding them something in the manner of the broad sword exercise; and that matches were annually made between the best players of the respective counties. Mr. Burton was a strenuous supporter of all games of this description, where dumb animals are not made the victims of savage sport. He considered wrestling, quoits, running matches, single-stick playing, cricket, throwing the bar, and similar amusements, as being quite in character with the natural habits of Englishmen, and serviceable, in their tendency to improve bodily strength and activity. His idea was that, the human mind, however it may be usually occupied, requires certain relaxation; that if it can find this, of an innocent nature, it will oftentimes prefer it to vice; but if it cannot, it will have recourse to whatever presents itself.—"It is upon this principle," said he, as they were continuing the conversation, during the road homewards, "that not only do I not discourage, but on the contrary, I practise music, dancing, cards, and attend places of public amusement. It is the abuse, not the use of such enjoyments of life, that constitutes sin. Cards are bad only, when they are used for gambling; music and dancing, when they draw us into improper company, or make us neglect our social duties. Believe me, there is much truth in Dr. Watt's beautiful expression:——

"Religion never was designed, to make our pleasures less."

"I really believe," replied Quintus, "judging by myself, that instruction so conveyed as I have to-day had the pleasure of receiving it, would do much more to promote its object, than when accompanied by the gloomy fanatacism of some persons. I am quite sure, that to do any good, the hearer must be interested."

"Yes, certainly," said Mr. Burton, "I fully agree with you; and it is on this account, that many of the light works of our national literature, are so valuable—they instruct and amuse at the same moment; they hold up the mirror of life, wherein if we chuse, we can see our own faults and imperfections, and they warn us by the fate of others, how to avoid shoals and quicksands in our own course. Where can we find human nature so admirably delineated, as by Shakespeare? or in what other writings, do we see the precepts that are laid down in the Bible, so beautifully illustrated as in the lives and actions of some of his characters?"

"What is your opinion of Hogarth's Works," enquired Quintus?

"I class them among the useful and entertaining modes of conveying instruction," Mr. Burton answered. "If a young man would maturely consider the rake's progress, or a young woman could be made to believe it possible, that in her own case, another of his sad stories could be realised, the terrible results pourtrayed by his pencil, would I think in both cases, go far to check in youth, improper tendencies and inclinations."

The ride to Lestowe was imperceptibly so shortened by this strain of rational converse, that it was accomplished sooner than Quintus had expected; and the exclamation, "Can it be possible that is your house?" pointing to a neat white cottage among the trees a little to the right, was answered by, "Not only possible, but it most certainly is so—time always passes quickly, when well employed; and there cannot be a greater object of pity, than the man who is ever crying out, that he does not know how to kill it. It is an enemy only to those, who are enemies to it, but it amply rewards all who regard it properly."

They now reached the gate leading through a cleanlily swept gravel walk to the house, and were received with all those smiles and graces peculiar to the female character, and never more beautifully displayed, than when welcoming from the heart, a husband's return to his fire-side.


CHAPTER XI

"'Tis not that rural sports alone invite,
But all the grateful country breathes delight."

GAY

The discourse after dinner, turned upon the occurrences of the forenoon; and Quintus expatiated with great earnestness upon the admirable properties of his new purchase, endeavouring to induce one of the ladies to be his companion in a ride he was planning for the next day; but in the midst of this sort of discussion, the arrival of a no less important personage than the village postman, with his wallet on his back, gave a new turn to the conversation. Among the letters that were presently laid upon the table, was one from a young clerical friend of Mr. Burton's, who had undertaken to do his parish duty, during his projected absence. Scarcely had the seal been broken, than Mr. Burton hastily glancing through it, observed, "I fear, Amelia, our Sidmouth plans will come to nothing. Neville's father is dead, and he will not be able to come here. I believe we must give up all thoughts of our jaunt, for I am sure I do not know whom to ask to take charge of the pulpit; and it will never do to leave it to chance."

"Why not try Mr. Clevely?" said his wife. "It will do him a great deal of good to keep his hand in. I daresay he won't refuse you; particularly as it is only for a parson's fortnight."

"I don't think it is of much use to try that quarter," replied Mr. Burton "but I think, dear, as you seem at home in suggesting good reasons why he ought to comply, we should do well to make you the ambassador, if you think it worth while to ask him."

"Who is the gentleman of whom you are speaking?" enquired Quintus, rather amused at the manner in which Mrs. Burton had referred to him. In reply, he was described as a clergyman, who resided at a noble mansion about three miles from Lestowe, enjoying a handsome income, derived from large estates, and a prebendal stall in Exeter Cathedral, having also the honor to be numbered in the list of His Majesty's Chaplains. Living in the very first style of rural splendour, he kept two packs of hounds, was a strict preserver of game, a first-rate shot, and seemed to think that in all things, he could not do better than adopt for his rule of life, the two first lines of a well-known epigram:——

"Live, while you live, the epicure will say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day."

In other respects, he was a hospitable friend and neighbour; unostentatious, kind, and charitable; rough sometimes in his manners, although when in the society of ladies, or of persons of rank, he knew well how to assume all the elegance of the man of the world, who had been well schooled in the best circles.

"I daresay," continued Mrs. Burton, "that he will do the service for you one Sunday at least, if not two; and if nothing else can be thought of, we must shorten our absence."

"It entirely depends upon the humour he is in," replied Mr. Burton. "If this happened to be the hunting season, and I were to fall in with him after a good run, or particularly after a good dinner, I should have little doubt of success; but this is a very unlucky time of the year. However, if nothing else arise from the visit, it will be a pleasant morning ride for our young friend, and the house and grounds are worth seeing, so that at all events, we will make the experiment."

It being so arranged, the conversation resumed its original subject, and Quintus endeavoured to entertain the ladies, by recounting the jury-box adventure. Afterwards, addressing his conversation more particularly to Mr. Burton, he said, "you were speaking of rustic games this morning, but did not mention golf, which I have often seen played in the north of England."

"It is not known in this part of the country, nor do I remember ever to have seen it," replied Mr. Burton;—"can you explain it?"

Quintus accordingly went on to describe, that it was a game played by two persons, in an enclosure about seventy feet long, by twenty broad. In this, close to the sides, is a walk partitioned off from the centre; and about nine feet from each end, a small pillar is erected, about three feet high. Two balls are used, stuffed, but rather hard; and each player is also furnished with a club or stick, one end of which is strengthened by brass or iron, and expands a little, in the shape of a racket bat. The players stand together, at one end of the enclosure. He who commences, drives his ball towards the pillar at the other extremity—the other afterwards doing the same. He of the two, whose ball has rolled nearest the pillar, has now the first blow. They then strike alternately, and the skill and object of the game, consist in making the ball strike one pillar, and then so rebound, that it shall strike the other. He who succeeds in this, scores one; and eleven is the game. He continued to explain, that he had been informed by a Scotch gentleman, that although golf as thus played, much resembled in some of its principles, the national game of that country so much talked of, it was dissimilar in some respects, but in what, he did not particularize.

"You appear altogether to have had an agreeable day," said Mrs. Burton, "and I think you will like your excursion to-morrow; but there are no young ladies at Beauford. Mr. Clevely has no family, and as you have been told, is rather an oddity—but you will find his wife, a very agreeable and accomplished lady."

"And what better," said Quintus, "can any person desire, than the society of agreeable and accomplished married ladies? I am sure, I ought to think myself particularly fortunate, if, instead of meeting with one only, by coming to Lestowe, I should be so happy as to form an acquaintance with a second."

"You will never leave off your fine speeches I see," said Mrs. Burton, "but mind, Fanny, if he begin them with you, you must not attend to him, for he is an arrant flirt, and I really believe, at one time would have made love to me, if I had given him half a chance."

Miss Villars blushed, her eyes meeting those of Quintus rivetted upon her as he replied, "I am no fine speech-maker, but it is sometimes difficult to withhold saying what one feels, and if what you say of me, as respects yourself, be true, I will appeal to Mr. Burton, whether it was not a proof of my correct judgment?"

"I certainly must support that view of the case," said Mr. Burton, "and in my turn may I think, congratulate myself upon my own judgment, when I find it so confirmed."

"Yes," replied Quintus, "and I may and sincerely do congratulate you both; not only on that point, but on the happy result to which it has led."

"There we go again," said Mrs. Burton. "Quintus Servinton still! but I shall hear to-morrow what you say of Mrs. Cleveley."

"As I always do," replied he, "when speaking of ladies; my words will express my thoughts, but if I can say no good of them, I am silent."

The next morning the two gentlemen rode to Beauford, agreeably to the decision of the family council, the preceding evening. The house was one of the large edifices of Queen Elizabeth's time, and shaped, like many others of that day, when in compliment to the virgin sovereign, the letter E. formed the model for the country seats of the nobility and gentry. It was of stone, but the heavy old fashioned windows of its first construction, had recently been exchanged for those of a more modern make, and the place had altogether undergone many repairs and embellishments. A number of enclosures, such as small yards and walled gardens had been pulled down, and several long straight alleys of yew and other trees, cut and trimmed in all sorts of fanciful shapes, that had formerly surrounded the mansion, had all likewise felt the destroying hand of the present owner, greatly to the improvement of the place, by opening the home view, and making the house an interesting object to the passing traveller.

The hall door was opened by a servant out of livery, bearing the air and dignity of a superior domestic, who ushered the strangers into a small handsomely furnished boudoir, or breakfast-room, where Mrs. Clevely was sitting alone, occupied with reading. She appeared about forty, and of a very pleasing exterior; and her style of receiving the visitors, at once confirmed the justice of Mrs. Burton's favorable opinion, and marked her as a lady, fit to preside over so noble a dwelling.

Whilst the party were in the midst of a sprightly conversation upon indifferent subjects, a noise in the hall and, "Zounds, I'll hang every mother's son of 'em," was almost the immediate precursor of the entrance of their reverend host. His appearance was in every respect the very opposite of his wife's. Her senior, by ten or fifteen years, he was of middle stature, low course features, and had a halt in his walk, partly from habit, and partly from accidental lameness. He wore a grey frock coat, a mixture waistcoat, light breeches and gaiters, covered with dirt and dust, and carried in one hand a long hunting-whip, bearing in the other the dead body of a black terrier. Seeing strangers, he started back for a moment, as if surprised, but immediately said, "Your servant, Mr. Burton, how d'ye do; very glad to see you—how's Mrs. Burton—your servant, sir," to Quintus. "You'll excuse me for a moment, gentlemen," and then addressing his wife, went on, "This d——d dog will never kill any more of your turkies, Sally—I caught him again this morning in the very act, and I first gave him a good wallopping, and then had him hanged."

"That was certainly cruel," said the lady. "There could be no occasion to torture the poor animal, and then to put it to death."

"Zounds and the devil," replied he, "Ar'nt you always complaining that you can't rear a young turkey for the dogs? I gave him a hearty wallopping for the offence he had just committed, and I had him hanged as a warning to the others; but you women are never satisfied."

Mrs. Clevely smiled, well knowing from her husband's humour, that he often said much more than he meant; and the subject being presently dropped, Mr. Clevely welcomed both his visitors by a hearty shake of the hand. Mr. Burton much feared that the adventure of the turkey-killing terrier would entirely ruin the success of his errand, and did not at present, dare to introduce the subject; rather hoping that it might be led to by something else, so as to enable him to feel his way. Knowing his neighbour's foible, he said to Quintus, "I must ask Mr. Clevely to show you his stud and kennel—they are perhaps, the best in the county."

"Middling, as to that," replied Mr. Clevely. "Are you fond of hunting?" addressing Quintus.

"I have latterly had very little opportunity of seeing any thing of the sort, Sir," he replied. "Formerly when I had a chance now and then, nothing gave me more pleasure, than to follow a pack of hounds; their tones when in full cry, are the most exhilerating thing in the world."

"Come along! come along!" said Mr. Clevely. "I am glad, Burton, you hav'nt brought me a crop-eared chap, of your own sort, who neither hunts, shoots, get drunk, nor any thing else like a man. Come along, Sir," to Quintus, "and I'll show you the prettiest bits of four-legged flesh, both dogs and horses, within fifty miles, gainsay it who can."

The visitors now followed their fox-hunting friend, to a large well-enclosed yard, a short distance in the rear of the house, on one side of which was a range of capital stables, sufficiently large to accommodate sixteen horses, but divided into several compartments, none containing more than three stalls, and many being single boxes. On the other side were four large divisions, for choice or particular horses; and the remainder was occupied by a dwelling-house, in which the head huntsman and grooms resided. In one corner was a capacious pond, constantly supplied by a running stream, and as constantly kept from overflowing by a drain or outlet, capable of being regulated at pleasure. From this yard, exactly opposite its entrance, a pair of high gates opened a communication to another enclosure, on one side of which, were also stables; on the other, coach-houses and harness-rooms. Passing from hence, they proceeded into an open grass court, well enclosed, where they saw a few dogs, straggling here and there, which they were told had been invalids, and were quartered in a large well-tiled building, in one corner, denominated the Invalid Hospital. The next division was a capacious yard, well watered by the same running stream, and containing the dwelling of the whipper-in and his assistants; and from this was a direct communication to the kennels. Every possible convenience for preparing victuals for the animals, equally as for preserving their health and cleanliness, had been attended to, in the construction of several capital buildings; and when the kennel-door was opened, and Quintus witnessed the beautiful condition of the dogs, and the extraordinary order and regularity of the establishment, he observed, "I never saw so uniform and so fine a pack of hounds in my life—they beat Lord Dartingham's hollow, and his are the crack of the North of England."

Mr. Clevely seemed pleased with the compliment thus paid his favourite hobby, and said to Mr. Burton, "I shall never make a man of you, Burton; but this young gentleman shows some promise. What will he say to my half-hundred beauties, if he thinks so well of these, from which they have been drafted? I'll show him something worth looking at. Here, this way, Sir," conducting Quintus to another part of the yard, and opening a door that communicated with an apartment, if possible, more cleanlily and better kept than the other, and where were fifty hounds, selected from the rest as being particularly well matched, and of rather a smaller sort, capable of being used either for fox-hunting or hares, which, in the open plains of that neighbourhood, are remarkably fleet and strong.

Quintus bestowed some merited encomiums upon every part of the establishment, and perhaps, as much by haphazard, as from a real knowledge of the subject, made one or two observations which stamped him in Mr. Clevely's opinion, as a young man, of whom something might be made. He much regretted, he said, that he could not let them see his hunters, as they were all turned out for the season, in a park of four or five hundred acres, adjoining the house; but he was unwilling not to make the attempt by leading them about it for two hours, notwithstanding that the animals would not suffer themselves to be approached within a quarter of a mile at least.

They now returned to the house, the chief part of the morning having passed without one opportunity having presented itself of accomplishing Mr. Burton's object; and he gave Quintus a significant glance, as much as to say, "What am I to do?" He was shortly indebted however to Mr. Clevely himself, for the wished for occasion, for almost immediately upon re-entering the parlour, he said, "Burton, you and your friend must stay and dine with us;—by Jove you shall."

"I would with the greatest pleasure," he replied, "but it is impossible to-day, for Mrs. Burton has a friend staying with her, and we are expected home. Indeed, to tell you the truth, my purpose in coming to see you, was rather upon the begging suit than any thing else."

"And how can you muster the face to talk of begging, my good friend, in the same breath that you refuse what I ask you. Zounds, I think some of you demure Parsons are the most impudent dogs alive, but however I'll cut it short by telling you before hand, I won't grant your begging suit, whatever it is."

"How can you say that, before you know what he asks, my dear Clevely?" said his wife. "Come, Mr. Burton, make your suit, and if it is any thing Clevely can do for you, we know him before to-day, and if Mrs. Burton is concerned in it, you may be sure of my interest."

Thus encouraged, he ventured to make known his request in as mild and suppliant a manner as possible. "Zounds and the devil, Sir," replied Mr. Clevely, "don't you know I'd as soon be hanged as preach? why should you ask such a thing? why pitch upon a man like me, when there are plenty others? I am astonished at you Burton, but as I said before, some of you crop-eared gentry have the devil's own assurance."

"Hush, my dear Clevely," said his lady, "remember who are present. Mr. Burton knows very well that you are always ready to oblige him, and I dare say if Mrs. Burton's engagements to-day, will not materially suffer by our sending a servant to Lestowe, to say that the gentlemen will stay and dine with us, you will do as he asks you. Can you venture so far Mr. Burton? What say you, Clevely."

"Why, that one good turn deserves another," replied her husband, "and if Burton agrees, so do I. This young gentleman seems a little bit after my own heart, and he and I must become better acquainted."

Mr. Burton was not sorry to have gained his point upon such easy terms. The hospitality of Beauford was proverbial, and he was pleased to find Quintus treated with so much attention, and to have introduced him where he appeared so welcome. Despatching a note therefore to his wife, he willingly gave his hand to his worthy, although eccentric host, as a token of acquiescence, and the gentlemen being presently left to themselves, Mr. Clevely proposed leading them to his library and billiard-room. They were both handsome apartments, well fitted up, the former amply stored with ancient and modern literature, maps, globes, and various instruments for the purposes of science; and the furniture of the latter being equally well adapted for its intention. Looking from one of the windows, that commanded a very charming home landscape, they noticed a group of poor women and children upon the lawn, some of whom appeared to be leaving the house, carrying bundles, others, pitchers or small baskets, and some were still approaching, empty-handed. Observing Quintus's attention drawn to the scene, Mr. Clevely said, "You see, my dame makes no strangers of you. This is one of her weekly days for distributing clothes and food to some indigent cottagers, who are of deserving character. I can assure you, I am happy in having so prudent, and so good an almoner."

Ere the cloth was removed from the dinner table, Mr. Clevely and Quintus became upon such good terms with each other, that nothing would do but he must promise to come and stay a few days at Beauford before he returned to London. Mr. Burton was no wine drinker, but not so Mr. Clevely, although he seldom exceeded a certain quantity; and as for Quintus, he had not mixed so much in society as had been his lot during the last year or two, without being pretty well able to adapt himself to his company. He was naturally any thing but intemperate, but nevertheless would rather upon an occasion, crack a bottle with a friend, than quarrel with him. Their reverend friend's good cheer therefore, circulated tolerably freely, and when Mr. Burton observed that the last remaining bottle was nearly empty, he requested leave to ring the bell, to order the horses.

"You may ring the bell Burton, and thank ye too," said Mr. Clevely, "but as for the orders, I will give them myself, if you please." When the butler entered, he said, "let these gentlemen's horses be brought to the door, in half an hour; and go and decant a bottle of number nine."

"No more wine, my dear friend, no more wine, let me entreat you," interrupted Mr. Burton, "we've had quite enough, Sir—quite enough, I assure you."

"Answer for yourself, Sir, if you please," said Mr. Clevely, "you don't know what you refuse, but no man ever did, or ever shall, underrate number nine; why, you blockhead, none but my most particular friends, or after a hard day's run, ever taste it; and 'tis only upon my young friend's account, in anticipation of some good sport next season, that you will be allowed to let it pass your lips. Zounds, man, 'twould almost make a fox-hunter of you."

When the servant returned with the decanter in his hand, and with all the air and importance due to the occasion, stood by the side of the table, waiting whilst one of the numerous livery servants in attendance, was clearing away the glasses, Mr. Clevely, was still continuing in this strain; but whatever expectations in favor of number nine, had been raised by all this preparation, fell short in Quintus's estimation, of its real merits, when it presently came to his turn to taste it, as he thought it perfectly delicious, both in flavour and quality, "there," said Mr. Clevely, as he held up his glass to the light, with all the look and manner of a connoisseur, passing it under his nostrils, and again looking at it, ere he suffered it to approach his lips. "There, Burton, you think you know better than me, do you, and refuse this wine? zounds man, 'twas bottled the year King George the Third came to the Throne, and if it hadn't been all soul and body, 'twould have been vinegar ere this. Come, we'll have a bumper to King George's health." Even Mr. Burton seemed to think it so excellent, as to be more honored by filling his glass than not, each time it came to his turn; and "number nine," proved so stirring up a stirrup-cup, that nothing would do, but the visitors must promise to come again and dine, the day after the morrow; "bring your good lady too, and all else in your house—that pretty piece of innocence is the very thing for my young friend here. Sly fellow you, Burton, eh! first get a pretty girl as wife's friend, and then a smart young man as your's— never mind—bring 'em both—bring 'em both—and zounds, I'll preach and pray for you too, for a month—or more, if you want me." Then shaking Quintus by the hand, "don't let these match-making friends of ours, draw you into a puppy-snatch—I must have you out with the hounds next season; and if you get over head and ears in love, you'll be good for nothing. Come on Saturday, and I'll find another bottle of number nine for you."

They now took leave, sufficiently excited by the success of their errand, and by their entertainment, to close the evening in a very lively, agreeable manner; Quintus however, rather transgressing his monitress's injunctions respecting Miss Villars, to entertain whom, he applied himself with much pointed attention, until they separated for the night.

When, at the breakfast table next morning, the events of the preceding day, and the engagement for the coming Saturday were talked of, and among other subjects, the dog adventure was described, and many comparisons drawn between the elegant manners of Mrs. Clevely and the coarseness of her husband, Mrs. Burton observed, "what a pity it is, that a man, endowed with such excellent qualities as our reverend neighbour, should allow them to be so obscured occasionally," presently adding, "it is the more extraordinary, because, whenever I have seen him, he has been so particularly gentlemanly and well-bred, that it almost requires a stretch of credulity, to suppose he can ever be otherwise."

"It is the force of habit," replied Mr. Burton, "and is become with him a second nature. I really believe many of his offensive exclamations, are uttered almost unconsciously; but when ladies are present, he acts under a certain self-command, which checks these ebullitions. Here again, habit exercises her sway, equally as in the other instance."

"If he respected his wife as he ought, and as she is well entitled to be, he would never say any thing in her presence, that is not fit for the ears of other ladies," said Mrs. Burton, "and he certainly appears to have forgotten himself a little, once or twice yesterday."

"You must not be too exact," replied her husband, "in advocating the rights and privileges of the married sisterhood. No lady has cause to complain, who upon the whole, is so well treated by her husband, as Mrs. Clevely. He knows her value, which is more than can be said of some benedicks, and when a man does this, matrimony is generally a happy state."

"That is, I suppose," said Quintus, "when the wives happen to be of the sort of my Dorsetshire friends. It is fortunate for Miss Villars and myself, that we are in so good a school—she, to profit by the example of two ladies, who each seem so well to have understood how to secure to themselves good husbands—and for my part, I ought to be thankful, that I am taught how to appreciate a good wife, if I should be so fortunate hereafter as to obtain one."

"It is not information that is likely to be of much service to me," observed Miss Villars, "but that does not make the sight of married happiness the less agreeable."

"I presume," said Quintus, "you imply by that, the opinion of yourself, which others cannot but entertain of you."

"And what may that be?" enquired Mr. Burton, half-laughing as he spoke.

"That nothing she can learn can improve her."

"I'll tell you what, Quintus," said Mrs. Burton, "I shall not allow you to escort Fanny to Beauford on horseback to-morrow, as we settled last night, but she shall take my place in the gig, and you may make your fine speeches to me, if you must be talking to somebody, but I shall really be very angry if you continue this nonsense."

"I think Mr. Burton will rather encourage me," replied he, "if it only be to produce so great a novelty, as to see you angry. Novelty, you know, is always charming, but it is really hard a man may not express his thoughts without being so scolded."

"Well," said Mr. Burton, "whatever to-morrow may be, Fanny is not to be disappointed of her ride this morning. You two may sit here sparring, if you like, but if Miss Villars will permit me to be her adviser, she will go and prepare for a trial of your unrivalled hack. It is now nearly ten, and we shall not have too much time for Lord Pembroke's and back, before dinner time."

This hint broke up the party, and shortly afterwards, Mr. Burton, Quintus, and Fanny were mounted for a day's excursion. They had a very agreeable ride, and returned much delighted and in excellent spirits. Quintus and Fanny both thought that Mrs. Burton was merely joking in the change she had intimated in the mode of proceeding the next day to Beauford, but the contrary proved the case, for when Fanny happened in the course of the evening to praise the newly-purchased horse, and to say, "I shall be so glad when to-morrow comes, to have another ride," her friend replied, "Oh, no, to-morrow will be my turn; you must not fancy I am going to let you two ride about the country together. No, no, I should indeed be a pretty chaperone to trust my charge with such an Esquire as Quintus. Burton will drive you in the gig, Fanny, and I'll try this famous horse."

Notwithstanding this new plan was professedly on Fanny's account, she was not so grateful as she ought to have been; but, when of two gentlemen, one was a lively young bachelor of nearly her own age, and the other a grave married man, it is not surprising that the former should be preferred as her companion; besides, it is not improbable, that upon herself, as well as Quintus, the constant schoolings of her careful duenna were producing an effect directly the reverse of what was intended; and, from a principle of perverseness, by no means unusual with young people, advice, that was deemed rather officious than otherwise, was leading them to seek each other's society, and to be mutually upon more free and easy terms, than might else have been the case. They were both early risers, and on the following morning, meeting in the shrubbery before breakfast, Quintus was dilating, in glowing terms, upon the pleasure they had derived from their yesterday's ride, upon the excellent paces of his purchase, and complimenting Fanny upon her horsemanship, going on to describe the beauties of the road to Beauford, and lamenting that he was not to have the pleasure of pointing them out to her, as he had hoped, when she replied, "Oh! do not talk of it—but I cannot think what has come to Mrs. Burton—however 'tis no use thinking about it."

"Are you fond of riding?" said Quintus.

"Am I not, do you suppose? Yes—and the most provoking thing is, it is so seldom I have an opportunity."

In truth until now, a ride on horseback was a pleasure neither of the ladies had been able to enjoy often, although a favorite amusement with both, as Mr. Burton kept only one horse, and the idea of the ride had constituted in Fanny's mind, the chief delight of the day. Quintus too, rather presuming upon some former conversations, was disposed to play the agreeable with less restraint than hitherto, and did not much relish the exchange that Mrs. Burton had intimated. But the Argus eyes of Mrs. Burton, having espied from her dressing-room window what was going forward, she hastened with double quick time to summon them to breakfast, and thus broke up the conversation.

Nothing having occurred to alter the previous arrangements, it was determined to go early, so as to allow time before dinner, for strolling through the beautiful grounds that surrounded Beauford; and accordingly a little before noon, Mr. Burton handed Fanny into the gig, or as it was then called whisky, leaving Quintus and Mrs. Burton to follow on horseback. Thirty years ago, the modern hours of dinner and other entertainments, were as little known or even contemplated, as the introduction of steam navigation, of gas, or any other of the wonderful improvements of the present day. Three, was considered a fashionable hour, among the higher families in the country; four, being something very extra, and only resorted to on most special occasions. The gentlemen in those days, oft sacrificed freely to the jolly god, frequently not leaving the dinner-table for the remainder of the evening; or sometimes, when they did even join the ladies in the drawing-room, they were in a state, that would have been more honoured by their absence than their presence. Upon this occasion, three had been named, with the view of enabling the party to return home, in a manner becoming a clergyman's family on a Saturday night. As Mrs. Burton and Quintus were slowly proceeding, beguiling the road by conversation, she observed, "Don't you think Fanny a very sweet girl? I'm sure you do indeed, before I ask you; and I can almost forgive your disobeying my injunctions—she is so very, very pretty."

"Miss Villars is certainly an agreeable young lady, but her's is not the style of beauty I admire; and if you will excuse my telling you so, I must beg to say, should your orders be disobeyed, it will entirely be your own doing."

"How can that be! did I not warn you from the first? and I'm sure I've said enough to Fanny."

"Yes, and it is these very warnings, that will create mischief, should any arise—particularly when backed as they are by your constant watchings and endeavours to keep us separate." Here he paused for a moment, and as she did not reply, presently continued,—"as you have mentioned the subject, you must allow me to claim your farther attention for a few minutes; for, with all your cleverness, I think I know more of love matters now than you do."

"That's very likely, for you have been a great flirt ever since I knew you;—but however, proceed, for I am all attention."

"Well then, if you had really designed that Miss Villars and myself, should have fallen in love with each other, you could not have adopted a more likely mode of accomplishing your object, than the very pains you have taken to prevent it—that is, presuming our affections were equally disengaged. Only consider—do not the cautions you have whispered into her ear respecting myself, imply that I have certain pretensions, although God knows what they can be; but whatever they are, you have prepared the way for their favorable reception, by your very pains to guard her heart against their influence. I know that so far as she is concerned, I was led by your account to be more in love, by half, before I was introduced to her, than I ever was in my life. Believe me, my dear madam, leave us to ourselves, and there will be no harm—continue your chaperone manoeuvres, and I will not answer for the consequences. You saw yesterday's result, at Mr. Osborne's, when you contrived so nicely to place me next Miss Stiff at dinner, thinking perhaps, I could be put off with such an antiquated piece of formality, instead of Miss Villars. But how long did it last? only till I could obtain a release, almost I admit at the expense of my manners, and I immediately plied Miss Villars with double attention, out of every spite to you. It is else a hundred to one if I had behaved at all particular to her. Now pray be ruled by me, and try another experiment. Leave the prudence I have been taught ever since I was a boy to be a counterpoise to Miss Villars's charms, and if your solicitude for her hereafter give you cause to apprehend that I need a repetition of your warnings, reserve them for my private ear, but do not suffer your anxiety to be manifested quite so publicly—do not you remember the words of the old song?—

"Love, if oppress 'd, will soon increase,
And strength superior gain,
'T were better far to be at peace,
And let it have its rein,"

"although once more, I really do assure you, I have seen many young ladies, whom I should much prefer to Miss Villars."

"That's your want of taste, if it be true," replied the lady, "she's perfectly beautiful."

"According to your taste you mean, but after all, beauty is only an assistant to, it is no essential part of, a female's attractions. But however that may be, allow me to entreat you, to let me have my way to day; but we must now drop the subject, for you see we have so chatted away our time, that yonder is Beauford, and our friends are coming to meet us."

"Well, I will try you for once," replied Mrs. Burton, "but I own I have no faith."

They were now at the lodge-gate, and quickened their pace, observing Mrs. Clevely and Fanny, attended by Mr. Burton, apparently waiting their arrival, a few hundred yards down the avenue, that formed the grand entrance through the park, to the house, and which branched off about half-way down, through the private grounds. Here a groom was in attendance to take their horses, and alighting at the little wicket that opened upon the shrubbery, they accompanied the party through the finely kept walks to the front door; where, leaving the ladies to themselves, Mr. Burton and Quintus went in quest of their reverend friend, who had been described to them as superintending the breaking in of some young horses, in another quarter of the park.


CHAPTER XII

"I have great comfort from this fellow—methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him—his complexion is perfectly gallows. Stand fast good fate to his hanging—make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage.—If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miserable."

TEMPEST

At this particular season, the country was wearing its garb of richest splendor. The oak and the ash had, it is true, scarcely put forth their full foliage, but to compensate for the want of the majestic appearance of the one, and the gracefulness of the other, the horse-chestnut was thickly studded with blossoms, the lofty sycamore, the beech, and other forest trees, were in all their vernal freshness, and the orchards were clothed in their most luxuriant bloom. Beauford Park was finely wooded, abounding with almost every sort of timber—through the centre of it, ran a small purling stream, affording amusement to the angler, and a plentiful supply of water for cattle; and, at a mile or two from the house, in a romantic, secluded spot, it fed a mill race that gave employment to an honest miller, to whom all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood resorted. A small bridge connected the two sides of the rivulet, and a little to the right after crossing it, was a thick plantation well fenced in by paling, in the centre of which, was an open area of about ten acres, where leaping bars were erected, rings formed for exercising young horses, and all other conveniences, adapted to every purpose connected with the training of animals. Thither Mr. Burton and Quintus were directed, as being likely to find Mr. Clevely occupied upon one regular part of his morning avocations, and thither they accordingly repaired.

No sooner had one or two of the dogs in his train, announced by giving tongue, the arrival of strangers, than the reverend gentleman advanced, and welcomed them in his usual hearty manner. "Eh! Burton, how's this? that you've found out my nursery? I don't think you've ever been here before, long as we've been neighbours.—Zounds, man, I see that bottle of number nine bids fair to work a miracle, and to make a sportsman of you."

"It certainly was very delicious, but my visit to your nursery, is more in compliment to my friend here, than as a proof of my being converted by number nine. We thought perhaps we might see some of your stud, if they are at drill to-day."

"So you shall man! come along!—and I'll show you such blood, bone, and muscle, as we oftener hear of, than see; but I say Burton, you ar'n't come alone, are you?"

"No; we left Mrs. Burton under charge of your good lady."

"And where's my pretty little doe? you surely havn't left her behind, have you?—for zounds, if you have, you shall go back for her."

"We shall be saved that trouble; for Miss Villars too, is at the house."

"Well, that's all as should be—now come—for we must not stay too long, as we expect a few more friends at dinner, and 'twont do to have one's ears pulled; eh! Burton?"

They had now joined the grooms and other attendants, who were exercising the horses, and the merits of each animal were scanned or criticised, as they severally passed under review.

"What a frightful creature that is," said Mr. Burton, pointing to a chestnut horse, with four white legs, rather a short neck, small eyes, and goose-pinned; "I wonder you keep such a brute—look what a picture that bay horse is—that's the only sort I would have, if I were you."

"So far as I am a judge," said Quintus, "the chestnut is worth a dozen of the bay; see what legs and shoulders, why he's all bone and muscle—look at his carcass, and see how well he's ribbed—close up to his loins."

Mr. Clevely listened, and smiled, but did not interfere, until both had expressed their opinions, when he exclaimed, "Zounds, and the devil Burton, who made you a judge of any thing on four legs, beyond the merits of a tithe-pig; now mind, I'll mount you both next season, upon the two horses you each admire, and I say my young friend, let the parson look out for squalls." No denial would be accepted, and accordingly an engagement was made, subject only to the intervention of unexpected contingencies, and after strolling some time longer around the park and gardens, they adjourned to the house, preparatory to their appearance in the drawing-room.

When Mr. Clevely entered, it dressed in a full suit of black, his hair nicely powdered, and exchanging his usual rough exterior, for the habiliments of a gentleman, Quintus at first scarcely recognised him. His bow was particularly graceful and easy, his manner of addressing his company marked by polite and courteous good breeding, and his conversation, sprightly and general. Besides the Lestowe party, there were six or eight visitors, of some distinction as country residents, and among them a Lord Nettleby, a young nobleman possessing a seat in the neighbourhood, and who, having just come of age, after a long minority chiefly spent at college or upon the continent, had now, for the first time in his life, visited Dorsetshire. Beyond his rank and title, his recommendations were slight, and his manners silly and coxcomical. Excepting at the Earl of Montrevor's, Quintus had never witnessed any thing in style and splendor, equal to the entertainment of this day. All the dishes and plates were of silver—the furniture of a magnificent dining-room in all respects corresponding with this exhibition of wealth and elegance.

When dinner was announced, Quintus thought of what he had said to Mrs. Burton during their ride, and checking his rising inclination to have offered his hand to Miss Villars, advanced towards another young lady, leaving Fanny to the care of Mr. Burton.

In the course of the afternoon, and when the gentlemen were by themselves, Lord Nettleby observed, assuming at the same moment a very affected air, and using a handsome gold tooth-pick, "Demned fine girl, that, a—a—Miss Villars—roses and lilies in sweet variety."

"Miss Villars, my lord," said Mr. Burton, very gravely, "is the particular friend of Mrs. Burton, and her face is the least part of her merits."

"Demned fine girl, notwithstanding," said his lordship, but not continuing the subject, he abruptly addressed Quintus, "may I have the honor of enquiring, sir, if I have not met you at Trinity?"

"No, my lord, I was never within twenty miles of either of the Universities in my life."

"Never at the University!" said his lordship, with a vacant stare, "demned unfortunate! Have you been much abroad."

"Not at all," said Quintus, in a short tone, rather annoyed at his lordship's mode of weighing his pretensions; but recollecting the advice he had received in the stage-coach, upon his first journey to London, determined to say no more than was necessary.

"You are singularly unfortunate sir," drawled out his lordship, "demned unlucky, 'pon my soul—neither at college nor on the continent—demned unlucky indeed!"

"I don't know much about that, my lord," observed Mr. Clevely; "neither going to college nor on the continent, will impart to some what has been denied by nature; nor will a mere school education prevent others from attaining, what many collegians vainly endeavour to acquire. My young friend is the son of one of the oldest families in the kingdom, and upon his own account is always a welcome guest, either at my house, or at my reverend brother's; and besides, my lord," altering his tone a little, as if he thought he had spoken somewhat harshly, "he has a very pretty knowledge of hounds and horses. Come, Mr. Quintus Servinton, I will do myself the honor of passing the bottle to you; and now, Burton, what think you of paying our respects to number nine?"

When his Lordship found that his affected superiority met this rebuff, he treated Quintus with a distant politeness, but no farther conversation occurred of a particular nature. Previously to making their congés for the evening, Mr. Burton and Quintus repeated their promise for the next hunting season, when their respective judgment in horses was to be decided,—a point in which Mr. Burton considered himself rather knowing;—and in addition to this engagement, Quintus required very little pressing to induce him to make another, to spend a few days at Beauford before he returned to London upon the present occasion.

On the ensuing Monday, the party left Lestowe for the sea-side; the ladies travelling in a chaise, and Mr. Burton and Quintus on horseback.

It was too early in the season to participate in any of the usual pleasures or gaieties of a watering place, the object of the visit being to pass some time near Mr. Burton's relations, who lived close to the beach, and to give Mrs. Burton the benefit of sea air, her health having latterly become interestingly delicate. Left to themselves, as Quintus and Miss Villars now were, for Mrs. Burton had adopted the suggestions made during the ride to Beauford, Quintus assumed towards Fanny a respectful and friendly, but still distant deportment, perhaps scarcely so agreeable to either party, as when, making the most of chance occasions, Mrs. Burton's watchfulness had been more particularly exercised. Thus a fortnight pleasantly elapsed, the mornings being spent in riding, walking, visiting, and other pursuits, such as are usual in the country, and the evenings, in books, music, or conversation, when a party was planned for a pic-nic water excursion to Budleigh Salterton, a village a few miles distant. Although nothing like such a preference as could for a moment lead Quintus to think seriously of Fanny, had ever crossed his mind, the intimate terms on which they stood with each other, living under the same roof, and being constant companions in long daily rambles, had so far caused him to regard her, as partly necessary to his happiness, that he was always more lively and animated when she was present than otherwise. She had been complaining of a slight cold and sore throat for the last day or two, and it was a matter of deliberation as the time for the pic-nic approached whether or not she might be well enough to make one of the party; but Quintus's mode of urging her to venture, when it was discussed for the last time, the evening before the long expected day, at last determined her rather to be governed by inclination than prudence, and to run all chances.

The morning was beautifully clear and serene, and every thing seemed to justify the anticipations of delight, visible on the countenances of the whole party. Two boats were drawn up close to the beach at an early hour, well equipped for the occasion; and in a third, was stowed the materiel for rural festivity, conveying also a few musicians and attendants. Joy and mirth reigned paramount, and the party reached their destination under the most happy auspices. After strolling about the romantic scenery of this charming and sequestered spot, some in groups of three or four, others in pairs, some walking, others sitting or lolling upon the grass, endeavouring to impart, and well disposed to receive pleasure, in whatever form it might be offered, a dance was proposed in a shady part of the woods, where there happened to be a smooth plat of most attractive appearance, and soon each beau was tripping the green-sward upon the light fantastic toe, with his chosen fair one.

Quintus selected for his partner a young lady, whose friends resided in the neighbourhood, chiefly in pursuance of the promise he had made Mrs. Burton, although he regarded Fanny throughout the day with rather more than usual interest, on account of her slight indisposition, and of the discussions it had occasioned. While the hours were thus gliding along, care of every sort being banished from each breast, the jocund scene was interrupted by the hoarse, rough voice of the coxswain, who approached the spot, hallooing "Avast, my masters!—here's a pretty bit of a squall a coming! heave to, all hands, or you'll not weather Sidmouth by this sun's light. What! ho! avast there!"

Some of the gentlemen instantly emerged from their shady retreat, and looked anxiously towards the firmament, seeking for signs of the prognosticated storm; but the sky was clear and bright, save here and there a long streaked cloud might be discernible, jagged and torn as it were, and moving with rapidity, in a contrary direction to the wind. Unwilling to relinquish their amusements, and seeing nothing, which in their way of thinking justified the warnings of the boatman, they treated them with indifference, and returned to the ladies, telling them it was all a hum, and that the fellows only wanted to earn their hire easily, and return to Sidmouth to spend it. But there were some of the party, who were more prudent; and among them Quintus; who, dreading what might be the consequences to Fanny, if overtaken by a thunder-storm in a small open boat, withdrew, after the other gentlemen had returned, in order to talk to the boatman, and judge for himself; and, as he and old Peter, as the man was generally called, were upon chit-chat terms of acquaintance, at the expense of an occasional shilling or two or a piece of tobacco, he had reason to think he would not deceive him.—He accosted him therefore, "Are you sure Peter, that we shall have a storm? or, if you really expect one, do you think it possible to reach Sidmouth, before it overtakes us?"

The man removed the quid from his mouth, with great seeming indifference, and replied: "Whew! as to being sure, master, a man's sure of nothing they say, but death; howsomever I ban't often at fault about the weather—and as for Sidmouth, I take it, we might perhaps have made it before the storm came on if they'd attended to my piping—but I don't expect it now."

"Would it be possible to obtain the use of a good boat cloak, for a lady? I will pay any thing in the world for it."

"That's the way the wind sets, is it, my master? I suppose that dainty bit of a young lady of your's that you're always walking with, is what you be thinking of. Well, I'll see, and rig her out so, she shall turn a pretty pelting—but I say master, put her under my charge, for I expect the whole kit of ye, will be frightened out of your senses, as well as drenched; and there's nothing like an old hand, at these jobs."

"Do you think there will be any danger? I hope if there should be, you will put us on shore."

"Avast there! I see you are a fresh water fish. A man can't always reach a port in a storm; but I'll do my best—but don't stay talking, for the longer you bide here, the worse mayhaps 'twill be."

Quintus hastily rejoined his companions, and addressing Fanny, said, "I shall never forgive myself, if your cold should be increased by this excursion; and I am really alarmed at what old Peter tells me: do let me entreat you to come with me instantly to the boat.—You cannot think how uneasy I am. Pray come at once," placing her arm under his, as he spoke, and leading her away.

"I cannot think of leaving the rest of the party," she replied, "and besides, why don't you persuade the others to come too, if you think there's danger?"

"What are the others to me? It is you only, I care about; let me but attend to you, and I shall be contented."

"I'm sure I ought to be, and I am obliged to you; but 'tis more than I can allow, that you should thus neglect your partner on my account. Oh! but here comes Mr. Burton, and let us talk to him."

"I perfectly comprehend you, Miss Villars, and will leave you for a minute or two to consult him, while I go and beat up for recruits, so as to fill one boat, as I suppose that is your pleasure, and the rest may then take their chance for me; but recollect, if you please, you are not to interfere with my arrangements for you, as I have provided a better escort than such a poor creature as myself would be." He uttered this in a manner, remarkably slow and impressive for him, his usual mode of speaking, being distinguished by a rapidity that sometimes made him difficult to be understood; and, as he took a momentary leave, the language or his eyes was still more expressive than his words.

Presently returning with a number of converts to his alarm, sufficient to fill one of the boats, he claimed the engagement of being Fanny's protector, and the whole party proceeded at a rapid rate, towards the beach.

"You cannot think how glad I am that you allowed me to persuade you to leave those obstinate fools," said Quintus;—"only look how black the sky is getting over yonder hill;—and do you not feel it oppressively sultry?"

"Yes, sultry enough, but you'll be liked to be cooled, before long," said Peter, as he handed Fanny along the plank, that led from the shore to the boat, "but I say master, is this here your young lady as I be to take care of? Here, step this way Miss, if you please. Don't be afeard, Miss, the gentleman knows I've got all ready for you. Lookee here, sir," directing at the same moment Quintus's attention to the preparations he had made, "and see what I have got—why twelve hours rain wouldn't make no impression whatsoever, when all the rigging was aboard."

Peter had indeed surpassed all expectation; not only had he borrowed of a fisherman's wife in the village, one of those light Irish cloaks formerly much in use, but, in readiness to go over this, was a rough shaggy dreadnought coat, with three or four huge capes, and as an envelope for the whole, a complete oil-skin casing or covering for the head and shoulders; so that, with the help of an umbrella, so long as it might be safe to hold one up, the wearer could scarcely be otherwise than dry, unless the rain fell in absolute torrents.

"How very kind of you," said Fanny, as she viewed these preparations, still blushing at the words that had fallen from the boatman, "but I cannot be so selfish as to appropriate all this to myself—pray do you take the coat."

"I use the coat! no, by no means, Miss Villars, I fear I may have been instrumental in your having incurred this risk of illness, and the least I can do is to guard you, as much as possible, from the threatened danger."

"Push off! push off! no more palaver," cried the boatman, "step forwards, sir, the boat wants trimming—step along, sir, leave your lady to me, I'll warrant no harm comes to her."

"You will not leave me, will you?" said Fanny, "pray don't leave me, I shall be frightened to death! Pray stay by me, Mr. Servinton."

"I would, if old Peter would let me, be assured," he replied, "but I have provided you with a much better safeguard in him than myself, and I dare not attempt to interfere with him;" then letting go the hand which had been fast grasped in his, he removed whither he was desired.

Old Peter sat next Fanny in the stern of the boat, managing the rudder with great dexterity, and a slight breeze springing up just as they started, the little bark moved rapidly along the yet smooth surface of the water, keeping as near the shore as possible, and hope began almost to contest the ascendancy with fear with many of the party, as they anxiously watched the clouds that now unequivocally portended the approaching war of elements; each minute estimating their progress by the old windmill, upon the high ground to the west of the town, near which a signal station has since been established. The boat was so well managed, that already three-fourths of the distance had been accomplished, and although the heavens were gradually wearing a more and more lowering aspect, scarcely any thing of the storm had yet been felt. But the veteran was not to be deceived by this delay. Taking out his tobacco-box, and preparing for use, a fresh bit of this poor man's comforter, he said to Fanny. "You had best prepare, as I do, Miss, for we shall have it in five minutes or less. Here, Miss, put your arm this here way into the sleeve—there, Miss, there! Lord love your sweet face. Now you may stand half an hour's rain, though cats and dogs should fall."

Fanny wished to offer one af the coats that Peter had provided for her, to another of the ladies, but the old man would not allow it. "He's the only one of the lot that had any thought of his sweetheart, and d—-n me, if they mayn't all be well soaked for Peter. If they'd come when I first piped out, we should've been home by now. No, no, Miss, the gentleman paid me for having an eye to you, and others may shift as they can."

Various emotions were centred in Fanny's breast, as she thus heard Peter talk of the arrangements Quintus had made for her; but she had little time to indulge in them, for presently a vivid flash of forked lightning, was followed by an instantaneous peal of thunder, so long, so loud, and so appalling, that the countenance even of Peter himself underwent a change. There was little or no wind, nor had rain yet fallen. "Dowse the sail ho! and do none of ye move for your lives," presently hallooed the old man; and notwithstanding that the former part of the command was promptly obeyed, another flash, if any thing more vivid, accompanied by a peal of thunder even more terrific than the first, followed each other rapidly, and were instantly succeeded by a sudden gust of wind, that brought the gunnel of the boat almost level with the water, and would certainly have overturned it had the sail remained up one moment longer.

"Save me! save me, Quintus!" cried Fanny, as she dropped lifeless into the bottom of the boat—other ladies fainting at the same moment, and the gentlemen themselves being scarcely less frightened, but none were permitted to move, or to render the least assistance to others, under the most positive warning by old Peter, that the inevitable consequence of altering the boat's trim, would be a watery grave to every person on board.

"Cannot you put us on shore," was heard from all sides; "one danger is surely better than two."

"If I can weather that point there, and you'll be quiet," replied Peter, looking at a promontory a quarter of a mile distant, "we may be safe enough, but not else; nor if ye can't keep still—but is there any of ye can pull an oar? as that, may be might help to save us."

"Oh! yes, I can, I can!" was heard from more than one, and "pull away, pull away," was hastily repeated, as the oars were actively handled and passed from one to another; but again the hoarse voice of the coxswain quickly towered over the rest, exclaiming, "Avast, avast there! avast heaving, my lads! one commodore's enough on board—wait till I give the word;" then proceeding to give such orders to his amateur crew, some of whom, Quintus among others were mere novices, that aiding their exertions by a very judicious use of the rudder, the desired haven was at length safely reached, and they were enabled to run the bark close in upon the sands.

Quintus springing on shore, lifted Fanny from the boat, and presently adopted such means as were at his command, towards restoring her to animation. The rain had for some time been falling in torrents, and notwithstanding the storm was now attended by less frightful accompaniments than when they were upon the water, there did not appear the least probability of its speedy termination; and no sooner did Fanny, upon partially recovering, see the miserable, dripping state of her companions, and learn that they had yet three miles to walk, than she again fainted, and it was a considerable time before she was able to move from the spot.

Quintus acquitted himself in so interesting and delicate a situation, with much gallantry, and at the same time, scrupulous propriety; behaving towards her with all the tenderness of a brother, yet bearing the respect of a stranger. "Why was I so foolish as to follow my own inclination this morning, rather than the judgment of my dear friends," she exclaimed, as she began to feel recovered, by the exercise of walking; "and I am quite ashamed to think how much trouble I have given you, Mr. Servinton."

"How differently you ladies interpret certain words, to what our feelings on some occasions would justify," replied Quintus. "Put aside all alarm or danger with respect to yourself, and the events of this day will ever be remembered by me with pleasure."

"Pleasure, do you say! I can scarcely bear to think of what I have gone through—how can you call it pleasure?"

"Why not? What greater pleasure can possibly befall me, than to be able to reflect that I have rendered Miss Villars some slight service to-day? Is not that alone, do you think, a source of pleasure."

"You know I have been repeatedly warned against your fine speeches," said Fanny, "and do not, I beseech you, lessen my sense of gratitude for your very considerate attentions, by language which you know it is not proper for me to hear, nor you to utter."

"I am sorry to say any thing disagreeable to Miss Villars, but I stand corrected, and will not again intrude my thoughts upon her, though you ladies have sometimes very little mercy in your injunctions." A pause ensued, neither party being able to maintain the conversation in a manner satisfactory to their feelings, till after walking perhaps half a mile in almost total silence, Fanny exclaimed in a tone of gladness, "Ah! I declare we are nearer home than I expected. That surely must be our dear little cottage among the trees," pointing as she spoke, to a house about a third of a mile distant, and which indeed, happily for her, proved to be what she might well have doubted at first, for the continued rain had given such a misty appearance to the scenery, and so dimmed the prospect every where around, that the face of nature seemed altogether changed. Before they quite reached the house, their silence was again broken by Fanny's saying very gravely, "I shall not soon forget what has happened to-day, but promise me that to-morrow we shall meet precisely as we did yesterday, otherwise, I stand pledged to repeat things to Mrs. Burton, which I trust will be unnecessary."

"Mrs. Burton is,"—began Quintus, but was immediately interrupted by Fanny, who understood by his countenance what he was going to say, and added "a very good, sensible woman—a second mother to me."

"Sister, I think, might do as well," said Quintus, "but granted. that she is both good and kind, and which I readily admit, how would she have liked to have been so schooled I wonder, when she and her dear good man, first knew one another? However, Miss Villars, as to the promise, let to-morrow take care of itself—I will not be troublesome to you any farther this evening, but let me never forget to record the 6th June, 1793, as a day of more pleasure than pain, notwithstanding the thunder storm and your scoldings."

"I do not scold—you should not say so—I only ask, and advise what I know is proper. But now, putting her finger to her lips, taissez vous."

As she spoke these last words, they entered the cottage, and the kind forethought of their amiable friends, having provided for their comfort, all that their dripping plight required, they speedily changed their dresses, and appeared in the parlour, as if nothing had happened. The fresh air, agreeable society, and other concurrent incidents, had produced so exhilerating an effect upon Quintus's spirits, that he was excessively animated and lively throughout the evening, and perhaps had seldom appeared to more advantage, in the eyes of either of the ladies. He was planning with Fanny, a walk for the next day, to see some beautiful flowers at a neighbouring cottager's, when a servant entered bringing him a letter, which he instantly saw was in the handwriting of the junior Mr. Rothero. It was to announce that intelligence had been received of the arrival of the West India fleet off Plymouth; and to desire him to return as early as he could to town. So soon as he had read it, he observed, "Good bye to any more holiday-keeping. I must start for London to-morrow morning at daybreak."

"Gracious! what's the matter?" was heard from more than one of the party, almost at the same instant.

"There is nothing the matter," he replied, "but the West India ships have arrived, and Mr. Rothero has written for me."

"One day, surely can make no difference," said Mrs. Burton; "you know we expect a few friends to-morrow evening, and we cannot possibly spare you till our little party is over. You know we depend upon you and Fanny for some duets."

"Do stay over to-morrow," added Fanny, "prior engagements, you know, should never be neglected."

"It is both kind, and unkind of you at the same moment, to tempt me," answered Quintus. "You know I hope, what I should like to do, but Mr. Rothero told me at first he had a great dislike to gentlemen clerks, and I have ever been determined, and still remain so, that I will make him alter his opinion. Do not press me, for go I must, but I hope it may be the means of my obtaining another holiday in the winter, so as to be able to accept the invitation you have given me, and also to visit Beauford, where I am promised a few days hunting."

"At all events, if you are determined to go, it shall not be till after breakfast," was the next expression of his friendly hostess.

"You must really let me be a little wayward, and manage the journey in my own manner, by starting at day-break, I shall be able to reach Lestowe, in time for the coach, after leaving my horse at Mr. Clevely's, as he told me he would give it a run. The difference of an hour or two may make the difference of a day, and this one day may raise or lower me in the estimation of Mr. Rothero. Pray say no more, but I must take leave of you all, to-night."

Mr. Burton joined on this side of the argument, observing he should not have expected to find in the two ladies, a personification of Moore's beautiful fable, where it is shown in what manner,

"Gay pleasure, frolic loving dame,
Leads forward, till resign 'd to fate,
She sinks o 'erwhelmed with all her freight,"

and strongly commending Quintus's determination to prefer business, whenever it was opposed to the syren.

As the hour of retiring for the night approached, a gloomy heaviness sat on the brow of three at least, of the "partie quarrée." Quintus thought of Dr. Simpson's ideas of leave-taking, and wished within himself, he could now be spared it. Fanny had been sufficiently pleased and flattered by his society, to feel sorrow at the approaching separation, and with the Burton's, he was an old favourite.

Mrs. Burton accompanied her adieus, by assuring him of the hearty welcome he would always receive at Lestowe, adding, "Upon the whole, I think you have behaved pretty well."

"Considering the temptation to which you have exposed me, you mean I presume," glancing at the same moment an expressive look towards Fanny, who received it with downcast blushes, increased perhaps by a recollection of the events of the day.

When the time came to receive her parting civilities, and he held her hand for the last time, she bade him farewell with expressions of friendship, equally devoid of affected prudery, as of unbecoming forwardness. Every thing connected with his departure being thus settled, and all the kind opposition that had been offered, being overruled, the party separated; but past, as well as anticipated events, for some hours banished sleep from the eye-lids of more than one of them, and when Quintus was awakened at day-break, as he had requested, he felt as if he had not been asleep for a single moment, and was half tempted to renounce his intention,—to accompany Fanny in the promised walk,—and to dance and sing duets with her, in the evening. A short reflection however, again decided him—and hastily preparing for the journey he mounted his horse, and long before his friends even thought of rising, had travelled sixteen of the fifty-one miles, that separated Lestowe from Sidmouth.


QUINTUS SERVINTON

VOLUME TWO


CHAPTER I

Tranio.—"I pray Sir, tell me—is it possible
That love should of a sudden take such hold?"

Lucentio.—"Oh! Tranio—till I found it to be true
I never thought it possible or likely."

TAMING OF THE SHREW

Pursuing his way at a steady pace, Quintus arrived at Bradford early in the afternoon, and explaining to the Clevelys, the circumstances that now called him to town, renewed his engagement of a visit to Dorsetshire, in the hunting-season, and then proceeded to Lestowe, in sufficient time to meet the coach at the village inn about six in the evening; when securing its vacant sixteenth inside place, he reached London about thirty hours afterwards. Scarcely allowing himself time for changing his travelling dress, so tenacious was he of his punctuality, he was at the counting-house rather before the usual hours of business, ready, as he told the managing partner, to receive whatever orders awaited him. Mr. F. Rothero seemed surprised, and observed, "You are much earlier than we expected you; when did you leave Devonshire?" and in reply to the answer he received, further said that he need not have so hurried, as the fleet had not yet passed the Downs—recommending him to retire for the day, and obtain some rest, adding, "It will be time enough for you to attend here, when either of our ships reach Gravesend." Quintus thanked him and withdrew; but the next morning failed not to resume his regular duties.

Among his family connexions in London, was a maternal uncle, Mr. Delvers, a Lombard-street banker, but who resided in Bedford-square. Quintus had not conceived much good will towards his aunt or cousins; the former, partaking rather more of the bas bleu than he thought agreeable; and the latter, being in his opinion, somewhat affected and overbearing. It was seldom therefore, that he visited them; but, upon his return from the country, he determined one evening, to call and take tea there. His reception was much as usual; a good deal of the fine lady shown off by his cousins, cold and formal, on the part of his aunt, but friendly and hospitable on that of his uncle. It was not long ere he discovered that, his entrance had interrupted, but not closed, a matrimonial discussion. "'Tis perfectly ridiculous Mr. Delvers, to think of calling upon them," presently observed his aunt; "here's a large family of our own, and I understand an equally numerous one of these Cliftons; and we shall next have nothing but love in a cottage."

"And a very good thing, too, my dear; I often think when I hear of it, I wish I had it; and others might take much of what I could give in return. I still say the Cliftons are very genteel, good sort of people, and as they are become our next door neighbours, we ought to call upon them."

"I am determined I will do no such thing, Mr. Delvers—Miss Clifton I am told, is a very pretty girl, but where's her fortune to come from I wonder? You know yourself, for you said so the other day, that their income is greatly reduced."

"Their misfortune, not their fault, my dear; and the more reason why we should be civil to them. Mr. Clifton is a strictly honourable man, is a gentleman, and a man of education. Mrs. Clifton is a sensible and accomplished lady; and, if riches be a test of worth, she had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds from her father. I decidedly wish you to call upon them."

"And I decidedly repeat that I will not; nor, with my consent, shall the young people become acquainted—it's perfectly absurd to throw them in one another's way, just to create a parcel of romantic attachments. Mind if you please, all of you," addressing the assembled group, "that I particularly beg you will avoid all acquaintance with the Cliftons, and, Mr. Delvers," giving her husband a very significant glance at the same moment, "I expect that you will not be trumping up a how dy'e do acquaintance with Mr. Clifton, for I am determined I'll not allow it."

The result of this discussion, at once implanted within Quintus, a species of perverseness, prompting him to conceive a strong inclination to judge for himself, as to the pretensions of these, his uncle's new neighbours. Even the unwilling testimony of his aunt, allowed them many estimable qualities, although in her worldly ideas, they lost much of their value, because the income of the party was less abundant than formerly; forgetting that, even the residence they had chosen, implied their means to be still far from inconsiderable. He resolved therefore, upon the spur of the moment, that he would endeavour to obtain an introduction to them, and ascertain how far the trumpet of fame had done justice to the sterling worth of the parents, to the beauty of the daughters, or to the many amiable qualities of their brother. Having adopted this intention, he afterwards kept his mind steadily directed towards its accomplishment; and laying himself out for probable opportunities, joined all parties to which he was invited in the neighbourhood of the square, always hoping to hear the name of Clifton, among the guests.

Notwithstanding that while he had been in daily, or indeed almost hourly intercourse with Fanny Villars, her charms or attractions had made that sort of impression which is natural upon a young and ardent heart, it had not been of the nature capable of undergoing Dr. Simpson's touchstone, as to attachments. Absence had already nearly healed the slight hurt he had received, and being now fully occupied with business, as the West India trade was in the height of its periodical bustle, he had scarcely time for many Devonshire recollections; or if any now and then did cross him, they were more associated with the idea of the agreeable nature of female society generally, than with any particular feeling towards Fanny. If any thing therefore, she had rather prepared his susceptible heart for some other lasting impression, than created one for herself, as even at the most familiar and unreserved moments of their acquaintance, there was always a certain something about her not quite to his taste, and which operated as a safeguard, against his being carried too far.

Such being the state of his heart, it chanced one morning, about six weeks after his return from Devonshire, that he made rather a late call upon a family of the name of Rivers, with whom he was acquainted, and who lived in the neighbourhood of St. James's Park. "You never could have called at a better time," said Mrs. Rivers, "you must stay and dine with us, and make one of a party to Vauxhall this evening; we sadly want a beau or two." He thanked her, but endeavoured to excuse himself upon the ground of a prior engagement; but in reality, from a distaste for such amusements.

"We'll not take no for an answer. In my younger days, gentlemen were too polite and well bred ever to have a will of their own, but now a-days you young men think of nothing but yourselves. We have several young ladies coming, and now you are here I shall certainly press you into their service."

"I assure you I require very little pressing, where young ladies are concerned; but if it were else in my power, you surely would not think of asking me to go to Vauxhall in this dress."

"Why not? young men should either be ornamental or useful; there's no occasion always to be both. You are never otherwise than well enough dressed to be useful, and this you must be to day; we'll give you an opportunity of being ornamental some other time. We shall be a large party—there are the Smiths, and the Lascelles, and the Coles, and the Cliftons, altogether with ourselves, we shall make eighteen—just three sixes, and there'll be a proper chaperone for each."

"Are those the Cliftons of Bedford-square?"

"Yes; the eldest son and Miss Clifton are coming; she is a particular friend of Harriet's. Do you know them?"

"No, I never saw any of the family; but they live next door to my uncle Delvers, and I heard them mentioned the other day."

"Well, you will see them by and by, if you will stay; they are two very interesting young people. Miss Clifton is much admired, and we like them exceedingly."

"Really your temptations are altogether so strong, that I believe I have nothing to do but let my other engagement take its chance, hang up my hat in your hall, and make myself as useful as I can; but 'tis scarcely fair to allow me to appear before young ladies such a figure."

"Oh! never mind that; I'll make whatever apology for you is necessary; but with how much better grace this would have come before I mentioned Miss Clifton's name?—presently I shall begin to suspect something."

"Upon my honor I have never once seen any of the family; they are entire strangers to me, and I am sorry you should think any inducement, beyond the mere pleasure of accepting your invitation, should have weight with me.

"Well, well, we won't quarrel about straws; I am contented so that I have gained my point, and you only have to recollect, that use, and not ornament, is to be your character in the dramatis personae of the day. Oh! I do so enjoy young men's vanity."

Quintus did not reply, fearing to exhibit too plainly the real motive of his tardy acquiescence to Mrs. Rivers's invitation; for he could with difficulty conceal the exhilerating effect upon his spirits, of the mere sound of the Cliftons' name. He now began to be tormented with apprehension, lest any unexpected event should arise to prevent the much desired introduction, at length apparently within his grasp; and when he joined the dinner-table, he thought the servants unusually slow in removing the dishes, and afterwards, the time unconscionably long before the gentlemen were summoned to the drawing-room, preparatory to setting out for the gardens.

What could be the talismanic influence so operating upon him, at the mere mention of a name, from the very moment it first reached his ears? He oft asked himself this question, but as often failed to obtain a satisfactory reply. He had not seen Miss Clifton, but yet felt drawn towards her, in an indescribable manner. Was it a spirit of opposition to an aunt whom he disliked? or was it a certain self-pride, in choosing to adopt a course forbidden to others, just to show his independence of opinion, and his impatience of control?—or was it a desire to evince a superiority over his cousins, who had been prohibited forming an acquaintance with a family, upon no sufficient grounds?—or, perhaps, did fate thus intimate her having provided him a guardian angel, to be his support and comforter through the ills foretold as likely to attend his future life? Be either of these as it may, when he entered the drawing-room, where the rest of the company were assembled, his eyes hastily ranged around the pretty faces of which the group was composed; and presently fixed on one, fairest and prettiest of them all.

"Sweetness, truth, and every grace
Which time and youth are wont to teach,
The eye might in a moment reach,
And read distinctly in her face."

This must be Miss Clifton whispered his heart, and he approached her, waiting to seize the first favourable opportunity of an introduction. She did not appear more than seventeen or eighteen; was of middle stature, rather an elegant and genteel, than a showy figure, her features regular and handsome, with dark eyes and beautiful brown hair, having a slight tinge of auburn. Close to her, stood a very gentlemanly young man, apparently her senior by a year or two; and the likeness between them made it immediately discernible that they were brother and sister. Quintus's eyes were rivetted upon this couple, whilst he stood congratulating himself upon the attainment so far of his wishes, nor was it long until Dame Fortune again stood his friend, and obtained him the anxiously sought introduction.

Mrs. Rivers was a dear lover of amusements in which young people were concerned, but rather precise in all matters of etiquette. She was now busily occupied in seeing that all was as it should be, and in the course of her movements round the room for this purpose, approached the spot where Quintus and the Cliftons were standing. "Emily, my love, do you know Mr. Quintus Servinton?" Quintus instantly half bowed, ready to seize the opportunity with eagerness, when Mrs. Rivers continued, "I thought you might perhaps have known one another; Mr. Quintus Servinton—Mr. William Clifton—Miss Clifton?" Nothing further was now necessary; he instantly addressed both brother and sister on general subjects, continuing with them until the party set off for the gardens, when offering his arm to Emily, he had the pleasure to find himself honored by being her escort, and which he resolved he would continue the whole evening.

Highly as he was elated at this unlooked for attainment of an object of fond desire, and still more at finding all his agreeable anticipations with respect to Miss Clifton even more than confirmed, he was not so little acquainted with the deportment likely to be agreeable to a young, well educated female, as to exceed marked and polite, but still formal attentions. If indeed, he had been otherwise disposed, he would have found little encouragement, as Emily, although so young, maintained that sort of demeanour, which allows a man the opportunity of being easy and agreeable, without permitting him the least freedom. As he drew her into conversation, all his first impressions became confirmed and strengthened, and long before the evening was half over, he felt that all his beau-ideal conceptions of the true nature of female charms were now realised, and centred in one being. Every thing too around him, served to heighten the delight with which his heart was full—the beautiful gardens, with their many and diversified attractions—the merry, smiling groups with which they were thronged—the total absence of all care or trouble from his breast—these, when added to the society of such a young woman as her whom he now attended, made the moments fly with wonderful rapidity, and the hour for returning home arrived, before he could scarcely persuade himself that the blissful interview was any thing like so near its termination. He now began to form plans and contrivances for maintaining an acquaintance so happily commenced; and he immediately saw that her brother must be his mark, for as young men can receive and pay mutual civilities which custom forbids others, he might thus hope to grow to terms of intimacy with the other members of the family. With this view, he endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the brother as well as sister, and soon managed to gather sufficient information, to be at no loss as to both time and place for meeting him in his daily occupations, which he found were those of student to an eminent barrister.

When he afterwards ruminated upon the events of the day—considered the state of his feelings upon the new acquaintance he had formed, and enquired of his heart why it was that he was still so desirous of cultivating it, the answer was, that here was a young lady more nearly approaching his ideal standard of perfection, than any he had yet seen; but he had the prudence not to forget that his own situation was still dependant—that his prospects were uncertain—and that it was necessary therefore, to be extremely cautious how he proceeded. "But," thought he, "should Emily Clifton prove hereafter what the first impression leads me to expect, she—and she only—must and ever will remain mistress of my affections."

Perhaps the ardent temperament that nature had bestowed upon Quintus, was in some respects advantageous to him. He had set his mind upon accomplished and elegant female society, as the highest bliss of life. Aware that to enjoy this with its true relish, he must himself be qualified in certain essentials, his own general improvement had been one of his prevailing rules of action; and knowing also, that upon himself—upon his unaided and individual exertions in business, more than upon any thing else—must depend the attainment of his fancied goal of happiness, he had always applied most assiduously to the duties of his employments, ever determined that in whatever line others had succeeded, he would not be discouraged from trying to excel them. When he first saw Emily Clifton, he had suffered sufficiently from his sensitiveness with other young ladies, to be able to look a little before he leaped; and, after again and again reflecting—although it must be admitted, in a most partial manner—upon her sweet smile, her handsome features, her correct deportment, elegant manners and evident attainments, he was still sufficiently master of himself to resolve, that the course equally due to her as proper for himself would be, to proceed slowly with,—or rather not to commence, a suit he would willingly have done at once, until circumstances were more favourable than at present to his worldly prospects.

Considering his youth and Emily's attractions, it is creditable to him that he had sufficient strength of mind to carry into execution this prudent resolve. He found little difficulty in so encouraging a growing friendship with William Clifton, as shortly to be introduced to his parents, and this step once gained, he became a guest at little occasional parties in Bedford Square, and otherwise established for himself sociable terms with all the family; but if he had imposed upon himself a no very easy task, in keeping his attentions to Emily from being too pointed, when he only knew her slightly, this self-restraint was much increased as his opportunities of estimating her good qualities, were thus more extended.

Mr. Delvers had only rendered justice to Mr. Clifton, in describing him as a gentleman of good education; but this, valuable as it is, was in the present instance enhanced by an amiableness of character, an affectionate regard for his family, a remarkable mildness of temper, and an uniform suavity of manners, which endeared him to all who knew him. Mrs. Clifton had been a celebrated beauty, and the co-heiress of a large fortune, and was still a remarkably fine woman. She was endowed with a most superior mind, possessed elegant manners, and was deservedly and generally beloved. Unaffected piety had enabled her to bear, almost without repining, the loss of a considerable part of her noble dowry; and the instruction of her children, not only in the embellishments of life, but in solid, useful acquirements, combined with the management of her household, so as to connect prudence with the command of every comfort, and many luxuries, were now her distinguishing characteristics. The remaining parts of this estimable family, besides the eldest son and Emily, were some daughters who bade fair to reward the care of their parents equally with their eldest sister, and a handsome, promising boy, then a mere child.

The thorough harmony that reigned throughout Mr. Clifton's dwelling, so far augmented the strength of Quintus's first feelings towards Emily, and he continually saw so many new traits of her amiable disposition, that he redoubled his exertions to make himself useful to Messrs. Rothero, hoping thus to attract notice, which might lead to some opening for bettering his fortune. He had continued from the first, to preserve his firm footing in their confidence and good opinion, as well as intimacy; and he had also maintained his ground with the several respectable families whom he visited; but go where he would, or see whom he would, Emily Clifton appeared in his estimation, superior to any other young lady.

Winter had now set in, and the time approached for his promised visit to Dorsetshire. Agreeable as were his present occupations, and pleasurable his constant engagements when the few hours daily devoted to business were over, still he had no desire to forfeit what he expected was in store for him at Beauford; and having obtained a fortnight's leave of absence, he prepared for his journey by writing to his friends accordingly. Loth to leave town without seeing Emily, he called in Bedford-square, and mentioned his intended absence. "How very unfortunate," said Mrs. Clifton, "we were just going to send you a card, which my sister Berkeley has enclosed under cover to William, inviting you to a dance at her house to-morrow week. Cannot you put off your Dorsetshire trip?" Here was a temptation for a young man, three parts, if not wholly in love; he had never had the happiness of being Emily's partner at a dance, perhaps of all occasions the most blissful to an incipient lover, and he was sadly perplexed what answer to give. A prior engagement of long standing, his letter to Mrs. Burton, and many arrangements for rural festivity, known to be depending upon his visit, were on the one hand, opposed on the other by the idea of meeting Emily, in the jocund hall of dance and song. No wonder that he looked confused and absent, deferring for a moment or two his reply; but at length he decided that, painful as the sacrifice would be, Emily must yield to Lestowe.

Perhaps it was the vanity, inherent in young men that whispered the idea to his mind, but he fancied, as he replied, "Strong as the temptation is, it is impossible to accept Mrs. Berkley's invitation," that Emily's face exhibited a transient expression, a little partaking of disappointment; but it scarcely lasted long enough to decipher it accurately, as it gave way to the smile that accompanied her observation, "I dare say if the truth be known, you have some powerful attractions in Dorsetshire."

"Quite the contrary, I assure you, Miss Clifton; my attraction would lead me to Mrs. Berkeley's, as I hope I might then have had the honor of dancing with you. The engagement in the country is of old standing, and is to visit some very kind friends; but all my hoped-for pleasures consist in the company of two clergymen and their wives, a good horse, plenty of wine, a pack of hounds, and a hearty welcome."

"And when do you go?"

"To-morrow morning."

"Well, we wish you a very pleasant excursion, but William will be quite sorry you cannot be persuaded to stay for aunt Berkley's dance."

"I hope your brother will believe me when I say, that were I at liberty to choose, I should greatly prefer being of your partner, but I have no alternative. When I return, I shall have the pleasure of calling, and I hope to be told, that you have had an agreeable evening." He shortly took leave, and the next morning by an early conveyance, started for Dorsetshire.

His reception from the Burtons was, as before, most friendly. In the course of his journey, his feelings towards Emily, occasioned him some little anxiety, as to how he should behave towards Miss Villars, should she be still at Lestowe. He could not but acknowledge, to himself, that his attentions to her at Sidmouth, had been somewhat pointed, although he meant nothing by them; but, to whatever familiarity he had been led, so long as he had no other preference, Emily was now sufficiently mistress of his heart, to render even the terms, on which he had stood with Miss Villars when he last saw her, painfully irksome. He hoped she might not be at Lestowe; as he would thus be saved a dilemma, as a remedy for which, he could not frame to himself any line of conduct, he could wholly approve; and when he entered the rectory, and traversed its small hall or vestibule, on his way to the parlour, he instinctively as it were, cast his eyes around, to see if the garden bonnet, or clogs, once interesting objects to him, were in their old places, as this might have helped to determine the anxious question. Happily, these dreaded indications of Fanny's residence there, were missing; and so far relieved, he approached the room with confidence, which was still farther strengthened when he entered, and found only Mr. and Mrs. Burton.

After a few usual salutations, Mrs. Burton said, "You do not enquire for Fanny. She has been spending a few days at Beauford, where great preparations are being made for a grand ball and supper, to which you are invited, as a matter of course."

"I have scarcely had time to let my enquiries comprehend all the subjects of interest to such old friends as yourselves," he replied, "but I hope all at Beauford are well, of course not forgetting Miss Villars."

"Dear me!" said Mrs. Burton, "Fanny ought to feel flattered by your manner of enquiry for her. What's the matter now? Why, I expected you would have been off before this time, upon the very mention of where she was to be found. Come now, confess, are you not in love with her?"

"Not the least in the world, I positively assure you."

"Can you look in my face, and say so seriously?"

"I know no reason why I should not, Miss Villars will never be regarded by me in any other light than as your friend, nor shall I behave towards her, contrary to your strict injunctions. You surely remember the many lectures you read me about her last summer, don't you?"

"Well, Quintus Servinton, you puzzle me a great deal. I cannot think how any young man can avoid losing his heart to Fanny; but I positively almost begin to believe you. Perhaps however, your heart is not at your own disposal."

"Yes it is, entirely so—though I should not place so much confidence in you as I ought, if I did not add, that if I were in a condition to choose a wife, I have seen a lady whom I should prefer to Miss Villars, ten times over."

"And what may be the name of this fair lady, who has had the good fortune to captivate Mr. Quintus Servinton?"

"Excuse me there, I am not captivated, I only speak of a lady, in comparison with Miss Villars; but I have never said a civil thing to her in my life, nor do I wish to be put upon the shelf, just on the eve of Mrs. Clevely's grand ball. Why, who knows? perhaps I may see some young lady there, before whose charms those of any other I have yet seen, may be thrown immensurably into the shade! and what chance, pray, should I have were I to own myself already a captive? No, no, you must excuse me there." But as he thus spoke the image of Emily stood in his mind's eye, as if to reproach him for the untruth he had uttered, and his thoughts reverted to London, dwelling, as they almost constantly did, upon her many and varied attractions. He was rather glad however he had said thus much to Mrs. Burton, rightly enough judging, that it would be repeated in her own way to Fanny, and that it would thus help to relieve him from some of his present embarrassment; but he fully determined that if his attentions at Sidmouth might have been capable of misinterpretation, it should not again be the case, but that they should be perfectly unequivocal, and bearing no other meaning, than mere common civility.

An opportunity for carrying into effect his proposed behaviour, was speedily presented, by the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Clevely, accompanied by Fanny, at the rectory to dinner. He appeared a most welcome addition to the whole party, being greeted with much characteristic kindness by the Reverend fox-hunter, and assured by his lady of the pleasure they had anticipated from his visit. To Fanny he held out his hand as usual, but his chilling manner of touching her two forefingers, as an accompaniment to a stiff, formal bow, the very opposite of his hearty shake by the hand and friendly address, in acknowledging Mrs. Clevely's warm reception, must have entirely confirmed Mrs. Burton in the truth of his assurance, that he did not so much admire her favourite, as she had probably all along really intended.

Presently Mr. Clevely said, "Well, Quintus, are your boots and spurs and leather breeches in order? White-Stockings is ready for you, and in fine condition. And I say Burton, how does your riding gear stand affected? The hounds will be at East Cliff tomorrow at ten, and both the horses shall meet you at cover; you must manage to get there as you can, for you know it will be out of the way to take in Lestowe."

"I had almost forgotten the engagement," Mr. Burton replied. "I presume I am to ride that beautiful bay."

"Yes, yes—and we shall see to-morrow which of you has most judgment. A bottle of number nine to finish the day with, eh, my boy?"

"A capital finish, too, Sir," replied Quintus, "particularly after the provoke of eight or ten hours riding."

"You will sleep at Beauford to-morrow," said Mrs. Clevely; "perhaps in the evening, if you are not too tired, we may trespass upon you for an hour or two, to instruct some of our young neighbours in the art of turning out their toes, keeping their knees straight, and holding up their heads in the newest fashion: many of them are sadly awkward, and, like volunteers preparing for a field-day, we have nightly rehearsals for their benefit, to enable them to pass muster on the twentieth."

"Zounds and the devil, Sally!" exclaimed her husband; "do you think I shall let him leave number nine for a parcel of awkward loons?—a fox-hunter turn dancing-master? No, no, we ar'nt come to that neither."

"I daresay I may be able to comply with Mrs. Clevely's request, as well as pay proper devoirs to number nine," said Quintus; "but I fear my pretensions in the ball room will stand me in very little stead, for I am a poor dancer, and it is only the pleasure of talking between whiles to some nice partner or other, or sometimes the impossibility of standing out, without a breach of good manners, that would ever make me exhibit."

"We shall not give you a great deal of trouble; it is chiefly information respecting new figures, that we may have occasion to request of you," gravely observed Miss Villars. "Perhaps you may assist us a little in that way."

"In that or any other within my means, with pleasure; and if Miss Villars will do me the honor to spare half an hour of her valuable time, either this evening or to-morrow morning before we ride to cover, I will endeavour to acquaint her with all that I know myself, although that all, is really very little; but I hope my reward may be, that I may claim her hand for the two first dances on the twentieth."

There was a measured formality, a stiffness in his manner, as he thus expressed himself, not apparently very agreeable to Fanny, who could not but observe its difference from former days, and it led her to assume, during the remainder of the evening, a degree of hauteur and reserve, very unlike the last time they had met at Sidmouth, but by no means unacceptable to Quintus, as it helped to put an end to a footing of intimacy, which, with his views and feeling towards Emily Clifton, was by no means what he liked or approved.

Early the next morning, Mr. Burton and Quintus rode a few miles to Eastcliffe, to join the hounds, their two hunters having been led thither, in waiting for them. When Quintus mounted White-Stockings, for so the chestnut was named, his sluggish style of moving, and total indifference when touched by the spur, gave his rider cause to mistrust his supposed knowledge in horse-flesh, although many of his points were such as he had always been led to estimate highly; whilst on the other hand, the light and airy paces of Mr. Burton's bay, who was caracoling and prancing like one of Astley's well-trained animals, appearing full of life and fire, scarcely permitted him to receive in good part his friend's jeers, when every now and then he cantered by him, exclaiming "Well done, White-Stockings, see how he drives all before him;" but no sooner did the first hound give tongue, no sooner did the huntsman's bugle sound the note of summons to the dogs to attend to their leader, or no sooner had the cry, "a fox! a fox!" reached his ear from some of the riders, than White-Stockings gave Quintus clearly to understand that his turn was now come; in one instant he pricked up his ears, formed a handsome crest, contracted himself upon his haunches, and half rearing, half plunging, as it were, with glee, expressed as plainly as though he spoke, "Take care of yourself—don't trouble to try to controul me, for I now mean to be master, and to be in at the brush; I will carry you safely, only leave me to myself." The short, sharp signal, that had been given by a hound of great experience and sagacity as he snuffed the dewy grass, then repeated, until quickly echoed and re-echoed in one deep melodious cry, in all its varied tones but still in perfect and complete harmony, now proclaimed to the joyous group, that Reynard was unearthed; and not permitting Quintus to choose his own place in the chace, White-Stockings very deliberately, and at his own pace, led the van, almost close upon the heels of the dogs, clearing several leaps with all the ease of a greyhound; and so soon as his rider had acquired confidence under this surprising change, and could feel somewhat more at ease, than at the first idea of being mounted on an ungovernable self-willed animal, he heartily enjoyed his day's amusement, and was eventually in at the death, with only the huntsman and one or two others.

Meanwhile, he had neither time nor inclination to look after Mr. Burton; but when the hunting was over, he found that, the beautiful bay had been blown, very early in the run; that he had been obliged to quit the field, and had reached home with the utmost difficulty. Quintus's triumph was not confined to this proof of his superior judgment over Mr. Burton, but he became so great a favourite with Mr. Clevely, that he would scarcely ever allow him to be absent from Beauford, during the fortnight he passed in Dorsetshire—spending all the forenoons in the sports of the field, and regularly discussing a bottle of number nine, as a finish to each day's entertainment. At length, the long-looked for, anxiously expected twentieth, arrived; and the next day he had fixed to return to London. He had devoted a part of several evenings in bestowing some little assistance towards the mighty preparations, in progress for the grand occasion, when one of the noblest mansions in the county was to be thrown open, in a style of splendour consistent with the great wealth of its owner; and he was in the large drawing-room, helping Miss Villars to place and decorate some of the ornaments for the evening, when she said to him, "Am I to understand, pray, that I have the honor of being engaged to you, for the two first dances?"

"I hope you have not withdrawn the promise you were so good as to make me. I have endeavoured to earn my reward, and I certainly fully depend upon it; but why should you ask me?"

"Why, to tell you the truth, you have almost made me think once or twice, that you would prefer being released from the engagement."

"What can make you think so, Miss Villars? I am not aware of having been so unfortunate as to offend you."

"Oh! no, you have not offended me. I rather feared I might unintentionally have given offence."

"Nothing in the world farther. You surely remember your own lessons, and how you used to scold me for involuntary transgressions; it would be a poor compliment to my charming schoolmistress, to entail upon her the necessity of repeating them, else, believe me, I am altogether the same as when I had first the pleasure of your acquaintance; but, here comes Mrs. Clevely to see what we are about." And greatly to his relief, was her arrival; for otherwise, the conversation might have become more interesting than he wished, but as his visit was to terminate so soon, he resolved, that his coldness of manners should no longer be displeasing to Fanny, nor to any of the young ladies who were to grace the ball-room; but that, he would play the agreeable without restraint.

Acting upon this, and perhaps too, his spirits being some little excited by the idea of so speedily again seeing Emily, he acquitted himself to the very utmost of his town-breeding; and whether in the dance, or at the supper-table, was one of the happiest and merriest of the blithesome throng. With Fanny, he was more free and unreserved than upon any other occasion of his visit—they opened the ball together, and he engaged her a second time for the set preceding the supper, so as chiefly to devote himself to her service. Just as all was over, and the guests were retiring to their rooms, more anxious to seek the repose and quiet, bed can alone afford, than, a few hours previously, many of them had even been to enter the ball-room, when, leaving their toilettes the gayest of the gay, they had fancied themselves armed at all points for conquest, Mrs. Burton said to Quintus—"Really you are intolerable, and puzzle me more than ever.—What is it that you positively mean with regard to Fanny?"

"To treat her, whilst here, as I hope ever to treat all, whom Mrs. Burton honors with her friendship;—to make my bow to her tomorrow;—and the next day to think of her and of all the other young ladies in the room, as if I had never seen them."

"I am only thankful, I had nothing to do with such an abominable flirt, but you'll be caught at last."

"And when I am, there will be no complaint made of my instability. It is really difficult to know what is precisely the correct course to please you ladies. If young men are but civil and attentive, they are set down to be in love—if they are not so, they are called useless, stupid sticks."

"It is idle to argue with you, for I see you will have your own way.—If you continue this flirtation any longer with Fanny, I shall begin to think you use her very ill."

"I should be really concerned, if such be your opinion; but at all events, to-morrow, I take my leave of the country, and it shall not be my fault, if I ever see Miss Villars again; for great as would be the sacrifice, I do not think I would again come into Dorsetshire, unless I knew she were not here." The conversation was now interrupted by other persons, and was not resumed.

On the following morning, he once more met the London coach at the village inn, and proceeding by it, arrived safely in town, without any particular occurrence having befallen him by the way.


CHAPTER II

"Why, man, she is mine own—
And I as rich in having such a jewel,
As twenty seas, if all their sand was pearl,
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold."

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

Shortly after Quintus's return to London, an overture was made him to join a person in establishing a manufactory, of the same nature as the late Mr. Thoroughgood's. It would be difficult to describe the state of his anxiety, pending the negotiations that ensued; connecting as he did, his chance of obtaining Emily, with the success or otherwise, of these plans; and no sooner were such preliminaries adjusted, as led to the probability that the new firm would commence, at the expiration of a few months, than he began to assume less restraint in his intercourse with the Cliftons, seeking every opportunity of ingratiating himself with one and all the family. William and he, had for some time been inseparables, during the leisure hours of each; and Quintus thus possessed many further opportunities of estimating the character of his sister, all tending to augment his admiration; but he had yet sufficient command of himself, not to depart from the line he had originally chalked out for his rule of conduct with regard to her, although perhaps, he was sometimes more particular in his attentions than he himself imagined. At length, all arrangements were so far perfected that, Quintus, at the age of twenty-two, found himself the partner of a man of experience in business, and of tolerable capital; and fortune, as if to play with him, soon poured into his lap, her choicest stores—a great and unexpected advance in the value of commercial property, having enriched him, by the sum of two thousand pounds, before the expiration of the first six months, after his change of circumstances.

It is not to be supposed, that during this period, Emily had not a full share of his thoughts, as well as of his personal devoirs. She was too unaffected and ingenuous, probably to have misunderstood the nature of his sentiments, although he had never explained himself by words—but the language of love can speak in a thousand ways, more grateful to the female bosom than mere expressions, and by this he had long plainly told her how much she was beloved. He now however, considered that many of the obstacles to his declaration that formerly existed, were removed, and that it was wrong, both towards herself and her friends, to suffer the nature of his sentiments longer to remain, even by possibility, open to doubt. Every time he met her, whether at a party or in her walks, or at home, she confirmed by her behaviour, the opinion that the interview at Mrs. Rivers's had originated. If asked to contribute to the amusement of others, by the exercise of a sweet melodious voice, which had been cultivated with great attention, and in the management of which she combined equal taste as science; or, if solicited to take part in any measure, no matter what, having for its object either the happiness or comfort of those around her, the readiness she at all times evinced to oblige, the graceful simplicity that ever distinguished all her movements, strengthened the attachment that had taken full hold of Quintus's heart, and determined him to seize the first opportunity of declaring his love, and of endeavouring to secure to himself a prize, he had been so long and so anxiously contemplating. Personal vanity was not one of his foibles, but it would have been a ridiculous blindness, if he had doubted his footing with her family; and he was willing to fancy, that his attentions did not displease herself. He therefore contemplated his proposed avowal with less fear than hope, and only awaited a favorable occasion. But for a while this was denied him by a variety of chance occurrences, serving, one after another, to produce disappointment in expected interviews; and accident at last favored him, when least anticipated.

He was one morning in the west end of the town, when meeting a lady of his acquaintance, she put into his hand a card, for a dance at a friend's house, a few evenings afterwards, adding, "I have some country relations in town, and if you will come and dine with us, we will go together. I cannot do less than provide my nieces with a beau, you know."

Quintus accepted both invitations, little thinking what was to arise from them. On the appointed day he engaged himself, as a matter of course, before entering the room to each of the young ladies, a couple of raw country girls, whose intercourse with the world had never extended beyond the threshold of the lawyer or apothecary of their native village, who blushed and looked silly whenever spoken to, and who thought prim formality, equally the essence of polite behaviour at the table or in the drawing-room, as the measuring each step, one by one, and the going through all the positions alternately, constituted the perfection of dancing. When he entered the room, with the eldest of these rustic belles hanging on his arm, and was leading her to a place in the set then standing up, trying to beguile by badinage the interval till the music gave the signal to begin, his eyes met those of Emily, fixed alternately on himself and on the pretty stranger;—for to this appellation, she was certainly entitled. Emily was in a distant part of the room, in conversation with a young officer; and Quintus fancied that she returned his salutation more coldly and stiffly than was her custom; and, when she presently gave her hand in the dance to her military companion, he thought that either she was not well, or that she had a more pensive cast on her beautiful countenance than usual. Meanwhile, as he watched the ease and elegance that marked her, whilst gliding with apparent negligence, yet light and airy, keeping the most exact time with the music, and contrasted her sylph-like form with the lumpish awkwardness of his own partner, who, like an automaton on wires, figured and footed as though practising before a dancing master, he and Emily met in changing sides, and although she still looked somewhat unlike herself, he thought that she half-smiled good naturedly, as he whispered, "I hope I shall be more fortunate presently," accompanying his words by a slight pressure of the hand, which he held for a moment, in poussetting.

When the first two dances were over, Quintus felt to his sorrow that he had yet half his task to perform, but willing to secure Emily's hand for the succeeding set, advanced towards her, for that purpose. In reply she said, "I do not think I shall dance any more this evening, but if I do, perhaps you may claim me by and by. Pray whom have you been dancing with? Are these some of your Dorsetshire friends?"

"No, they are Mrs. Smith's two nieces. She obtained me a card for this evening, and as they were staying with her, I had no alternative; but a dear purchase I am sure they would be for an evening's entertainment, if it had not led to the unexpected pleasure of seeing you. You must dance with me, out of pure compassion, if nothing else."

"I have already refused three or four partners, as I really am not inclined to dance much this evening, and I have half-promised Captain Somerset, that if I alter my mind, I am to dance another set with him."

"Only half-promised, you say! you surely can have no difficulty in letting the claims of an old friend, supersede a half-promise to a new one."

"Which old friend did not even think it worth while to let us know, that we were to have the pleasure of meeting him this evening."

"Because he did not know it himself. Nothing but chance, and my good fortune, let me call it, procured this happiness for me. Come, you must not say no to me, and as you are not inclined for much dancing, it will exactly suit, as I have something very particular I wish to tell you."

"What is it? tell me at once."

"No, no, two words to that;—promise that you will dance with me, and I will promise to tell you what I allude to."

"And not else?"

"No, not else, though I think you half know it already."

"Well, I will promise, but now you must be off, for the music is striking up.

"Many thanks—I shall now be able to take the remainder of my dose with composure: good bye for the present."

Quintus found the youngest of the two ladies, if any thing, more tiresome than the other; but the idea of Emily so occupied his thoughts, and he was so pleased with the nature of the reciprocal glances now passing between them, that he cared little for the present moment, and so soon as the dance was over, hastened to resume his place by Emily.

Just as he approached her, Captain Somerset was urging in the strongest terms, the half promise she had given him, and he heard her say, "I should be very happy to dance with you again, but I have an engagement of long standing, which I must keep, as the gentleman has claimed it."

"Whoever the fortunate person may be, I believe he must at least waive his pretensions in my favour, until the promise of the most charming young lady in the room is fulfilled. I believe that is strictly to the laws of Terpsichore."

"If I had really promised, it might be so, but I am sure you will acquit me of that. I said, I was not certain of being disengaged, and as I find I am not, you really must excuse me."

"Cruel as beautiful! what mortal can exist under such a doom as you have now inflicted? Allow me at all events to put in my claim for your hand after this imperative engagement is over."

"If I dance any more this evening, I shall be very happy; but I know that aunt Berkeley has ordered her carriage early."

"I must live in hopes, at all events."

By this time, Quintus had advanced close to Emily, and overheard the greatest part of the conversation. Captain Somerset had no sooner made his bow, than she observed, "What a tiresome man that is;—he will scarcely take no for an answer."

"I do not wonder at that, considering what he sought, and I think I must take a leaf out of his book."

"You need not do that, for you see I am ready to keep my engagement—I never saw Captain Somerset until this evening; he was introduced to me by aunt Berkeley, for I scarcely knew a person in the room."

"He seems half in love with you already—what must I be, who have known you so long? but his anxiety to improve his new acquaintance, is only a proof of his discernment."

"Mr. Quintus Servinton! will you lead your partner to her place?" from the mistress of the ceremonies, put an end for the moment to this sort of conversation, but Quintus was determined the evening should not pass, without making Emily unequivocally informed of the nature of his sentiments.

"I hope you will not dance any more this evening," he observed, as he was leading her towards a vacant seat after the dance was over.

"I do not think I shall; but although I have kept my promise, you have broken your's, for you have told me nothing."

"Oh! Miss Clifton, it is difficult to say what I wish. I have long been seeking an opportunity of having a little conversation with you, and now it is presented to me, I am absolutely more at a loss than ever," an interval succeeded these words during which, Quintus's confusion must have betrayed him, had he been ever so desirous of concealing the state of his heart. Emily blushed at receiving this sort of half declaration, but sought to turn the subject, by saying, "How very warm this room is! do let us go and see what my aunt is about—only look at your first partner, how very pretty she is."

"Not half so pretty, nor a hundredth part so agreeable as my present one; but do you really wish to go to your aunt?"

"I should like to go into the card room, as this heat is quite oppressive."

On the way between the two rooms, he in vain essayed to pour into her ear the entire nature of his sentiments—he could scarcely give utterance to a single word—Emily could not have misunderstood him, but was of too refined delicacy to lead him on by any encouragement; and after permitting herself to be detained quite as long as her sense of propriety allowed, was advancing towards the card room, when Quintus, willing to have another chance, pressed her hand, and said, "Miss Clifton! I am a sad fool—will you allow me to call upon you to-morrow morning at Mrs. Berkeley's, and escort you to Bedford-square?"

Emily replied she could make no engagement upon one part of this request, but that upon the other, he must take his chance of her aunt's morning arrangements, adding, "I will mention to her, that you intend to call."

He continued by her side during the short interval that took place, until Mrs. Berkeley's carriage was announced, when a close was put to their embarrassing tete à tete; but previously, although he did not seem to have half said his say, he contrived so to explain himself, and to urge his suit for the morrow, that he obtained a promise, consonant to his wishes, subject only to the approval of her aunt.

Mrs. Berkley was a younger sister of Mrs. Clifton, and had been married to a post captain in the navy, who had died some years ago, leaving her a widow, with three infant sons. She was of peculiarly elegant manners, and her associates were entirely with the higher circles; among whom she had lately taken every opportunity of introducing her charming and accomplished niece. In common with all the other members of the Clifton family, Quintus's attentions to Emily had not escaped her notice, nor was she so little an adept in deciphering the human mind, as not to perceive on this very evening, that something peculiarly interesting, had occurred to both. "I intend myself the pleasure of making a morning call to-morrow, in York-buildings, if I may hope to be admitted," said Quintus, as he advanced towards her, with Emily leaning on his arm. Probably Mrs. Berkeley thought that more had passed between them than was really the case, and that her sanction, as Emily's chaperone, was thus solicited. Extending her hand towards him, she replied in a very affable manner, "Always at home to Mr. Quintus Servinton; but Emily, my love, we must now wish him good night." As he attended them to their carriage, he took the opportunity of saying, in an under tone to Emily, "To-morrow, I trust, will seal my happiness. Farewell, till then."

Collecting his scattered forces of self-possession, the next day he was in York-buildings, as early as propriety allowed, and was greatly pleased to find Emily in her walking dress, ready to proceed homewards, and to receive Mrs. Berkeley's permission to be her attendant. The ice had been sufficiently broken the preceding evening, to make his unequivocal declaration of attachment, now a work of little difficulty; and he contrived so to linger out the time, by telling her how long and how fervently he had loved, and in extracting from her the sweet confession, that he had not altogether loved alone, that it was late ere they discovered their distance from Bedford-square, to be greater even than when they left Mrs. Berkeley's.

"Mamma will be quite uneasy, and will wonder what has become of me," at last said Emily. "Oh! pray let us make the best of our way home immediately."

"May I accompany you to the house, or would you prefer seeing Mrs. Clifton alone?—for my dearest Emily will of course make no secret of my happiness."

"No; I certainly would conceal nothing from my parents; and I have even now forgotten, that I have exceeded my duty perhaps, this morning, until I had received their sanction."

"You are not I hope, doubtful upon that subject. I confess I am not very apprehensive myself, but shall I see Mr. Clifton, or will you manage it in your own way with your mamma?"

"Let me speak to mamma, and I will tell her every thing."

"And how long then must I wait, before I have again the pleasure of seeing you?"

They had now entered the square, as she replied, "Do not come farther with me now; but perhaps you may hear from mamma in the evening." "And why not from yourself? do not let the cup of bliss be half filled." "Perhaps the news may not be agreeable, you know."

"Even in that case, if you write, its severity will be mitigated by having a something that came from you; but I cannot allow myself to fear."

"I do not fear much myself, to own the truth, and you shall have your way—I will send you a note, so soon as I have spoken to mamma."

With such adieus as lovers only know how to bestow and reciprocate, they now parted, and Emily proceeded to her father's, watched to the very last moment by Quintus, who then repaired to a neighbouring coffee-house, whither he had desired her to send the anxiously expected communication.

Let those who have undergone a similar state of pleasing anxiety, recall to their memories the nature of their sensations, in those moments of apprehension and suspense that sometimes precede, but always at some stage or other, attend attachments, founded upon esteem, and afterwards ripened into love, and where the object combines youth, beauty, a highly-cultivated mind, and an amiable temper, such as were found in Emily. They will then perhaps, be able to comprehend what was passing in Quintus's mind, as he kept his eye closely fixed upon the door, watching every person that entered, expecting each instant to see the promised messenger. At length, just as evening was beginning to close a winter's day, a servant, whom he instantly recognised as one of Mrs. Clifton's, passed the window where he was sitting, and turning into the door-way, put into his hand the anxiously looked-for announcement of his fate. The note was made up with much precision, and bore the superscription, "Mr. Quintus Servinton," in the remarkably pretty hand-writing, which was one of Emily's attainments; and upon opening it, were these few words.

DEAR SIR,

Mamma desires me to say, she will be happy to see you at tea this evening, Your's truly,

E. C.

He read it, and re-read it, short as it was, a hundred times;—turned it and twisted it over and over again, and not heeding the servant, who stood as if waiting for an answer, took up his hat, and rapidly making his way through the streets, was in a very few minutes at Mr. Clifton's door.

Upon entering the parlour, both Mr. and Mrs. Clifton rose, and shook him warmly by the hand—the most expressive way possible, of conveying their approbation of his suit, without increasing the confusion under which poor Emily, who was present, was evidently suffering.—Quintus was sufficiently happy, and sufficiently well-bred, not to be singular in his attentions, but played the agreeable to his very utmost with the other parts of the family, carrying on his communication with Emily, chiefly by means of love's great coadjutor, the tacit expression of the eye. After some time thus spent, Mrs. Clifton left the room, and presently he was invited to follow her into an adjoining apartment, where she was already in waiting. Holding in her hand a small bundle of letters, she addressed him nearly so soon as he entered, "I have sent for you, wishing to have a little private conversation, upon a subject which my daughter has mentioned to me. Emily's happiness is every thing to us, and both her father and myself have that reliance upon her good principles, that we leave her choice in life, entirely to herself. The dear girl has told me, that you have professed attachment to her; and that, she thinks she could be happy with you. Take her therefore, with the blessing of both her parents; and be kind to her, for she deserves it."

"She does indeed, deserve much more, than I fear will ever be in my power to bestow; I have loved her, from the first moment we became acquainted."

"As you have declared yourself her admirer, I may say, without perhaps, being too much charged with a mother's partiality, that it will be long before you will discover all her good qualities.—We daily see some new trait—but it was not to praise her, that I sought this interview—my object was of quite another sort. Young as Emily is, you are not the first admirer she has had—for it is only a short time since, that another offer was made her, and it is by her particular desire, that I now place these letters in your hands, that you may clearly understand the nature of all former correspondence between herself and any other gentleman."

This new instance of her feminine propriety, of her extreme delicacy towards the man, whom she had acknowledged to prefer to all others; this manner of removing from his mind, any future apprehension, that it was a divided heart only, she was bestowing, had their full influence in still further, if possible, increasing his attachment, but he declined reading any of the letters, telling Mrs. Clifton that it would be dangerous for him to entertain a more exalted opinion of Emily, than already possessed his mind; and, that he was sufficiently satisfied with the marks of preference he had received. Mrs. Clifton then saying, that she hoped he would consider himself a welcome guest at the house, whenever it was agreeable, and without waiting for an invitation, they both returned to the room where the rest of the family were assembled; and, almost before the evening had appeared to commence, the cries of the watchman warned him to take his leave.

At that period Quintus resided in an old fashioned house, adjoining the manufactory, in a remote part of the town; and his projected change of condition made it a matter of deliberation, whether or not he should continue there, or remove to some more eligible situation. He was constantly in Bedford-square, much as might be supposed of an attentive lover, who knew no happiness apart from his mistress; and in conversing one day upon their future plans and prospects, the goodness and prudence of her character were clearly illustrated.

"I can scarcely make up my mind to ask you to live in such an out of the way place as my present house, but still, for a year or two, upon many accounts it would be desirable."

"Do you think then, that my happiness will depend upon any particular residence? No, Quintus, let us begin, so that any alterations may be for the better; and believe me, all places will be alike to me, so that—"

"I fulfil my promises of love and regard to you, I suppose that hesitation means; but you are running me so heavily in debt, that I hope you will be a merciful creditor."

"I only mean to say, that when I agreed to unite my fate to your's, I did not place my ideas of happiness on a fine house, or on its being in a good situation, and that I beg this subject may give you no uneasiness."

Quintus daily found, as Mrs. Clifton had told him, he had yet much to learn of her daughter's excellence. The unreserve now existing between them, served to elicit many new properties of the mind, all tending to this point. He discovered that her agreeable person, her varied accomplishments, and her amiable temper, were heightened by a deep and influential sense of religion; and that, not what was expedient, but what was right, was her rule of conduct; and every hour of his life he had reason to congratulate himself, that he had so fixed his affections.

The few months thus spent with Emily, previously to their marriage, was a period of as unalloyed happiness, as any that attended his whole course of existence. In the very morning of his days, endowed with excellent health and spirits, loving and beloved in return, in a quarter where the knowledge of this alone, was sufficient to gain him many friends, having just reaped a handsome return from his business, living upon the best terms with his relations, esteemed by a large circle of friends, enjoying the regard of all Emily's family, and bearing a character, untarnished even by the breath of slander, what, it might be supposed, could be required to constitute perfect felicity? One thing, and one thing only, but it was the one thing needful, the absence of which had already sown seeds of a nature to grow up hereafter into a tree of sorrow, although its eventual fruits might be, as they really proved, peace and serenity. In all his present prosperity, he was apt rather to assume merit to himself, for the successful issue of difficulties, than to receive it with lowly gratitude to an all-wise Providence.

The consequence was, that he built his house upon the sand, choosing for its corner stones self-confidence, restless ambition, and wild speculation, rather than humility and a prudent ascent of the rugged path of worldly gains, and suffering all his advantages of birth, education, talents, and connexion to be lost, or at least much obscured by the ministers whom his heart employed in carrying his plans into execution. Sanguine in the extreme, whenever his mind was fixed upon a particular object, this trait of character had been but too much roused by recent events; and, while his time was entirely divided between Emily and his business, receiving from the one, a treatment altogether suited to their relative connexion, and every thing with respect to the other, proceeding most fortunately, no wonder if this failing was gaining an ascendancy, of which he was little aware.

Many circumstances rendered it Mrs. Clifton's wish, that her daughter's marriage should not take place for a few months. The summer was therefore passed in a sweet converse of souls, between the lovers, and in the course of it, scarcely an interesting ride or walk, within a few miles of town, remained unexplored. Emily was a capital horsewoman, although rather timid; but this gave Quintus the more opportunities of showing his delicate attentions; and many and many were their delightful tete à tetes so enjoyed. But love requires something more substantial than a long continued intercourse of this nature, agreeable as it might be to one party, to receive the daily homage of a heart entirely her own, and to the other to know that his vows were returned, in an equally ardent but more refined shape, by so pure a creature as Emily; and accordingly, towards the approach of autumn, he became anxious to have a day fixed, when his happiness might be completed, by calling her, unreservedly his own. In reply to his earnest entreaties upon this subject, she replied with a sweetness all her own, "My heart, Quintus, you know is your's, and it is all I had to give you.—My hand, you must receive from my parents; and when they think proper to bestow it, it shall accompany my heart." He therefore warmly preferred his suit to Mrs. Clifton, who started at first, all a mother's scruples, as to Emily's age—recommending them to wait a little, with much more of the same sort; but it was not likely she could make much way in opposing the arguments of a young man, like her intended son-in-law, who was seldom at a loss for words, when bent on carrying any particular object.

One subject however, created some discussion, and was not quite arranged, as he had wished. "Where do you propose to reside?" said Mrs.

Cilfton.

"At the manufactory, for a year or two—the house is roomy, although old-fashioned—and by and by we can move nearer you."

"Surely you would not think of taking Emily to such a place as that—it would be completely burying her alive—and it must be dreadfully unhealthy—it is much better to defer your marriage until you can live elsewhere."

"Emily is perfectly contented with the situation, and as for talking of waiting another year or two, I assure you that is altogether out of the question."

A long conversation ensued, but in the end Quintus gave up the point, and this settled, Mrs. Clifton named the seventeenth of the following month, October, as the day when he was to lead his fascinating and accomplished bride to the altar. When he acquainted her with the terms of the convention, as it might be termed, she replied, "Let me once more impress upon you, that it is yourself and not your house, I am going to marry, and do not take any step you cannot afford. I am sure mamma is herself too prudent, as well as kind, to require it."

Thus early did this excellent young woman evince the correct ideas and high principles by which she was governed, and which were subsequently matured into a line of conduct, capable perhaps of being equalled, but not to be surpassed.


CHAPTER III

"Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate—
All but the page prescribed, their present state."

POPE

The important day at length arrived, that was to crown Quintus's long anticipated happiness. An union such as his with Emily, founded originally upon mutual esteem, and matured by an acquaintance of between two and three years, required not any extraneous eclat to give it interest; and as it was Emily's particular desire to make no unnecessary exhibition of her happiness, it had been settled that the guests at the wedding should not extend beyond the relations of the family, and that immediately the ceremony was over, the new married couple were to leave town for a month, to be passed in the neighbourhood of the Isle of Wight. Emily looked perfectly beautiful, as she approached the altar, leaning on her father's arm, and supported by her bridesmaid and sisters, dressed in an elegant, yet simple style, equally emblematical of her purity and virgin innocence, as expressive of her chaste and correct notions, upon such subjects as outward show and ornament. Quintus was already at the church, in waiting to receive his lovely bride, who, in the presence of her friends and of her God, plighted to him a faith, which was ever afterwards, most scrupulously, most religiously maintained.

What can be a more touchingly interesting sight, than the ratification of the voluntary, the cheerfully pledged vows of love, made by a young and elegant female, with the sanction of all her kindred, to the man of her free, and unbiassed choice? Such was witnessed, when Emily Clifton gave her hand to Quintus Servinton—and returning the caress, with which, as they left the vestry, he still farther sealed the solemn vows that had been there enrolled, she expressively said, "Treat me always as your friend, as well as your wife, Quintus, for they cannot be separated, and we shall both be happy."

It happened singularly enough, that this day was in a measure symbolical of Quintus's life. The morning was clear and serene—as the sun advanced towards its meridian, clouds began to gather, and to obscure its brightness, continuing to lower and darken the horizon, until early in the afternoon, when they were followed by a succession of tempestuous storms, that again cleared up, as evening approached, when the moon arose in its fullness of beauty, the firmament displaying all the splendour of an autumnal night.

A month, a happy month, was spent by the youthful couple in the charming neighbourhood of Southampton—youthful, it may be said, Quintus having just entered his twenty-fourth, and Emily her nineteenth year, when they were married. At the end of this time, they returned to town, and occupied a temporary residence, that had been engaged for them by Mrs. Clifton, not far from Bedford-square. This was Quintus's first wrong step; as it led him into society, which it would have been more prudent to have deferred, for a year or two; and diverted both his, and Emily's mind, from many resolves and plans, they had previously formed. From a feeling of respect to himself, as well as the Cliftons, many calls were made upon his bride, so soon as it was known that she received company; and they were perfectly astonished at the daily appearance of their mantle-piece, covered as it was, with complimentary cards, that had been left in the course of the morning. Thus Quintus, proud of having Emily so noticed and admired, and having also, as well as herself, a taste for good society, almost imperceptibly fell into a round of visiting, which might, and would have been, perfectly proper and consistent with their rank in life, had their dependance been of a less precarious nature, than on a business proverbially fluctuating and uncertain; but, as affairs really stood, was at present highly imprudent. At times he had uneasy moments upon the subject, and it is certain that, Emily would at once have renounced all their parties, and have led a retired life, had she known that her husband was not perfectly satisfied that they were not acting improvidently; but he could never summon courage to breathe a hint to her of the sort—he did not yet know his wife—his sanguine disposition led him to reason that, while he kept his expenditure much within the last year's profits, he was all right—that the business appeared to be going on well—and, at all events, that it would be time enough to make any changes, when really necessary. Thus, glided onwards at a rapid rate, the first few months of their marriage; happier in themselves could they have known it, than with any of the large circle of acquaintance they had formed. Their's was indeed a state, as nearly approximating the full measure of human bliss, as the society of two persons, mutually loving and beloved in the tenderest manner, can possibly create; but alas! how little do we sometimes appreciate the real sources of true happiness.

Their ties of affection, were now farther strengthened by the probability of Emily's becoming a mother; and if, hitherto Quintus had avoided entering upon any discussions connected with his worldly affairs, unwilling to say or do any thing that might pain his wife, or cause her an uneasy moment, the same grounds now appeared to him more than ever forcible, why she should not be subjected to any change in their domestic plans, that might prove less agreeable than their present course. Yet, in the whole of this self-reasoning, he was most decidedly wrong; for he should have considered the prospect of a young family, as an additional cause for prudence; and he would have found Emily fully disposed to second him, without allowing herself to think for a single moment, what would be the effect, so far as she only, or her own gratifications, were concerned. Independently of this consideration, however, another arose within the first twelvemonth, that presented abundant field for the exercise of the prudent lessons he had been taught by Mr. Thoroughgood; and which, coinciding as they did with Emily's natural character, might easily have formed his guides of conduct, had not a silly pride stepped forward in aid of his sanguine temper, preventing him from following the dictates either of sound judgment, or of his conscience; under the vain idea too, that because he had hitherto been eminently successful, he was always to remain so.

The second, what should have been an operating cause with him to prudence, was an unexpected and unfortunate turn with regard to his business. The great advance which, twelve months previously, had enhanced the value of commercial property, had arisen from political events, the influence of which had for some time continued, enabling him to reap the advantages which he had at first gained; but within a few months of his marriage, similar causes produced, first a re-action, and afterwards a rapid depreciation in value. Quintus and his partner became aware, when too late, of the storm that had thus overtaken them. Others of the same trade, of more experience, had contrived to ease themselves of the burthen of heavy stocks, by courting these two young men, who, standing high in credit, were weak enough to suffer themselves to be persuaded to incumber themselves by purchases, disproportioned to their necessities. The consequence was, that day after day they saw their recently accumulated heap of gains, gradually diminished, although they were far removed from any thing like the probability of embarrassment. Neither of them had courage to seek to know the worst, and to institute such an investigation as would disclose their real state, foolishly preferring upon the arrival of their fixed period of annual adjustment, to defer it for another six months, under the sophistical plea that the foreign markets would then be settled, and that they should therefore be able to arrive at the truth, with the greater accuracy.

Shortly after this reverse, Emily gave birth to a son, after sufferings which for a time, threatened the loss both of mother and child. Quintus already found therefore that life is a chequered scene of joy and sorrow, of pain and pleasure. Rendered uneasy by the change in his affairs, he foolishly shunned one of the readiest modes of relieving his mind, by neglecting to make the best of all counsellors, (next to his God) privy to what disquieted him, reasoning that her own situation, was already cause of sufficient personal anxiety, and indulging visionary expectations that the settlement that had been postponed, and was now about to take place, would prove rather as he hoped, than as he feared.

But the anxious eyes of his excellent wife, had already discovered that a something preyed within him, although, being constitutionally cheerful and sanguine, none but a nice observer could have traced the lurking canker-worm, either by his countenance or manner, and she earnestly besought him to let her know the cause. "Nothing, but the usual anxieties of men of business, my dear Emily, and which I ought always to leave at the compting-house, but sometimes they will intrude upon me, even in your presence."

"Cannot I help you? You know that papa always used laughingly to call me his little man of business."

"No, I thank you. I know you are very clever, but I think ladies are as much out of their element in pounds, shillings, and pence, as their husbands are in ordering the dinner, or in seeing that the rooms are dusted. You must suffer me, my love, to manage the one, as uncontrolledly as the other is left in your hands."

"Well, Quintus, I will ask no more questions—only pray never treat me as a mere cipher—and as you say our domestic concerns are in my province, I shall never allow our expenditure to exceed what you tell me, can be well afforded."

When however, at the end of a few months the long dreaded day of reckoning came, it was with the utmost dismay he discovered that, not only were the former profits of two thousand pounds and upwards, absorbed by the depreciated value of their property, but that, all his expenditure both before, and subsequently to, his marriage, had been from his capital stock. It was on this occasion, that the difference of character, between himself and Emily, was plainly evinced. He did not seek to disguise from her, that the result of the balance sheet, was unfavourable; but he was unwilling to acknowledge the extent of the mischief. "I know my Emily is an excellent manager," said he, "and she will now have to try her hand at economy; for we must curtail our expenses for a time, as much as possible.—We have had a bad stock-taking."

"Why did you not tell me so before, and we might then have avoided many things, which are now too late? We had better at once remove to the manufactory."

"No, that will not do, at all; in the first place, it would be publishing to the world out losses, by which our credit might be injured;—and in the next, I think we have taken every thing at a very low rate, and that our next result, will put us all right again."

"And can you, my dear Quintus, reconcile it as being right, either to your friends, or to myself and our infant, to continue upon our present establishment, in anticipation only, of better times? each day perhaps, still more reducing our store.—Be persuaded by me;—and let us do what is right, and never fear the consequences." In this manner, did this estimable woman argue with her husband, combating what she already saw, were the chief faults of his character; and she so far prevailed that, although upon various considerations, her desire of going to live at the manufactory, was not carried into effect, a removal from their present handsome and expensive residence in Brunswick-square, was made to a smaller one, in a quiet, retired part of the north end of the town, all their other domestic arrangements, being reduced in proportion.

Pleased that she had so far succeeded, she exerted herself to make their new dwelling, agreeable to her husband, and to substitute the rational pleasures of their own hearth, for the fashionable society they had relinquished. She adapted herself to his tastes for music and literature, as means of beguiling away the long winter evenings—exchanging these in the summer, for such out-of-door employments, as were adapted to the season. Thus at times, whilst he was from home occupied with his business, she would be practising her sweet, melodious voice, so as to greet him upon his return, with some newly-acquired song; or at others, would devote the mornings to read some particular book which she had heard him admire, so as to qualify herself for conversing with him, upon its most interesting parts; then again, were he ever inclined for a walk, or when, now and then, he had a day's relaxation from the toil of business, the mere mention of his intention of going abroad, immediately drew from her, "Stay a minute, dear, just till I put on my shawl and bonnet, and I'll go with you," ever seeking to beguile their way, by a thousand endearing attentions. In all this solicitude towards promoting her husband's happiness, she failed not to exhibit a care and diligence in the management of her household, perfectly consistent with her other bright traits of character; for she displayed so true a knowledge in that species of acquirements, which many a modern fine lady would blush to own she possessed, that the comfort and neat elegance, apparent in every corner of their well-arranged little mansion, were almost proverbial.

In this manner, passed a year in peaceful serenity; when, upon the next periodical settlement of their affairs, Quintus not only found all his former losses repaired, but that a farther considerable sum still remained, for his share of the year's profits. This result had not been so much produced by any great fluctuations, as by a regular progressive accumulation of small profits, upon large returns; and Emily, to whom Quintus took care, in his usual sanguine manner, and in the most glowing colors, to point out this difference, and to draw from it the most flattering conclusions for the future, now so far acceded to his way of thinking, as to allow him to make one or two purchases for herself, which she had hitherto strenuously opposed; and to consent to leaving town for a short while, for one of the watering places. But her happiness seemed so entirely wrapped up in the society of her husband, that when she learnt his intention of going and returning occasionally, leaving her to the care of some friends, a desire to be near the sea, which had chiefly been excited by the state of her own health, and that of their son Olivant, who was now recovering from diseases, incidental to childhood, was so much diminished, that it was with difficulty she could be persuaded to adhere to it. In one of their conversations upon the subject, and when Quintus was congratulating her, upon their recovered circumstances, calling her, as he always did when in unusually good temper, his "little wife," she replied "And was not your little wife right? Now tell me truly; have not you been much more happy, since we have lived where we now are, than when we lived in Brunswick-square? Have you not a much greater satisfaction in thinking that, we have now, a little money to spend, than as before, in finding that it had all been spent before-hand? You know well Quintus, that no person enjoys what is called pleasure, more than I do, when my reason approves it; but when it does not, I am perfectly miserable."

From the hour of their marriage, the utmost harmony had invariably subsisted between themselves, and all the branches of her family. The difference of age between Quintus and William Clifton, was so trifling that, a similarity on many subjects, in tastes, habits, and inclinations, had drawn the two young men together, in the bond of true brotherly affection. William was now finishing his education for the law, in one of the most eminent houses of the metropolis.—What his sister was, in many respects as a female, he exhibited in its more manly form—uncompromising principle, entire devotion to his parents, and an amiable disposition. In some points, Quintus and he possessed kindred traits; but in more, they were dissimilar—nevertheless, they fell into mutual views and feelings so entirely, that the understanding between them, was of the best and most cordial nature. Emily's next younger sisters, had now grown into womanhood, and exhibited a frame of mind, so much resembling her own, that it was not possible for Quintus to feel towards them, otherwise than much and deservedly attached. In a word, the whole of the family, Quintus himself included, exhibited an instance of love and harmony, rarely met with, excepting in the pages of the novelist.

Among those, with whom, about this period, he contracted an intimacy, eventually operating injuriously, in strengthening the weaknesses or failings of his character, were two relations; the one by blood, and the other, marriage: the first being his cousin Frederick Campbell, and the latter, an uncle of Emily's, a widower, and a few years his senior. The former, was in many respects, a very estimable person; but unfortunately, certain of his foibles, too much corresponded with those of his cousin. He was a partner in an eminent mercantile house in the City, was thoroughly well-educated,—of an open, frank disposition and temper—enjoying a good fortune, and bearing the reputation of being clever, and active in business. In private life, he was a sensible, agreeable man of the world, ardently attached to literature, in some of the pursuits of which, he had acquired considerable fame—and added to these, he was generous, to a fault. But the opposite shades, that bore some affinity to those by which, his cousins good qualities were obscured, arose, from a sanguine way of thinking, and a somewhat exalted opinion of himself, and unfortunately for both, each cousin, in process of time had a material effect upon the destiny of the other. Kind, and ever ready to oblige his friends, Frederick had already been of essential service to Quintus, upon one or two important occasions; and as the intimacy between them increased, scarcely a thought, or secret of the heart, was withheld in their mutually confidential intercourse.

Emily's uncle was a character, of a very different description; and the chief claims possessed in the origin of the acquaintance, to Quintus's good fellowship, and subsequently, to his friendship, arose from the kindness and attention he had paid Emily from her infancy, and which were continued in an equally warm manner, after she had become both a wife and mother. But Quintus imbibed from him a laxity of notions upon some points, pregnant with no good; and the opportunities of intercourse with both these friends, being frequent during Emily's absence from home, by degrees his mind received a new bias from the tenor of conversations in which he was a party, not perhaps so much from themselves, as from those with whom, through their introductions, he associated. From Frederick Campbell however, the impressions he received, were of a much more mixed nature than from the other. His love of literature, had drawn into his circle, many distinguished individuals, celebrated for their attainments—his table was oft graced by some one or other of the best political writers, poets, or orators of the day; and partly perhaps, arising from a taste so excited, he proposed to his cousin, to jointly establish a periodical publication, and conduct it with spirit, in a new, and, as they hoped, popular form. The idea so conveyed was promptly acted upon; and the vanity of each soon became sufficiently gratified, by the success that attended them. Had the effect that was produced upon Quintus's character, by this new mode of employing his leisure hours, been confined to the improvement of mind it excited, the result would have been altogether satisfactory; but, although at first remotely only, it strengthened some of the defects of character, that were already manifest, and brought to light others, that had previously lain dormant.

The literary intercourse that was in this manner created between Quintus and several eminent persons, occasionally led to meetings, where "the feast of reason, and the flow of soul," received the zest of more worldly pleasures; and some of the doctrines now and then broached upon these occasions, rather tended to ridicule and lessen, than to increase, the notions of reciprocal matrimonial devotion, which Quintus had ever been taught to consider as inviolable, under any circumstances. Not that by this, is it meant to infer, that a general disregard of the marriage vow was sanctioned by such opinions as thus reached him; but, that attention to a wife's happiness, which rather bespeaks the lover, than the husband, was, by one and all too much treated with bantering levity. Quintus sometimes attempted to controvert such positions, but they too generally obtain to be easily refuted, and he imperceptibly found less difficulty in becoming their convert, than in remaining their opponent.

"Do not you know," said one of these friends one day, "that a distance of forty miles is an absolution from the Benedictine vow? and that a wife is then better pleased to feel assured that her husband is enjoying the pleasures of a gay and merry bachelor, than that he should be sitting 'like patience on a monument smiling at grief,' at his deary's absence."

"No indeed, I have never so considered it," said Quintus. "On the contrary, I think a husband has no right to expect that from his wife, which he withholds from her."

"Tut, tut, man! prithee rid thyself of such absurd notions. No woman likes to have her husband's coat, always pinned to her petticoat. Treat her well when you are at home, but don't fancy she always wants you there."

Quintus was not so much convinced by these arguments, as to be induced to fail in the slightest degree in the love and duty so deservedly Emily's due, but they certainly had so far infected his mind, as to encourage him to entertain the idea that his own pleasureable engagements need not always depend upon those of his wife; and she sometimes found, that instead of seeing him at dinner, a note was a substitute for his presence, announcing his having accepted the invitation of some bachelor friend. Happily he was never led to depart from strict habits of temperance; nor did he ever fail to return home at an early hour. Still, how difficult is it to allow an entrance into the heart of the least departure from thorough rectitude, and to say, hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther! Quintus found this, his own case—he did not for a moment cease to regard Emily, in all the bright colours that belonged to her character; but once having admitted the principle, that a husband and wife need not chiefly depend upon each other, for their happiness, he did not appreciate her society so highly, nor consider it as so exclusively constituting his felicity, as had hitherto been his wont, or as he again did, at a subsequent period of his life.

Thus another year slipt away, their lives being totally free from the little jars that sometimes attend the wedded state, Emily ever smiling, cheerful, and good humoured, and Quintus, thoroughly attached, but not perhaps devoting himself to her so much as formerly; rather, on the contrary, sitting more and more easy, under the neglect of those little but constant and pleasing attentions, in which he had once so much delighted.

It is a singular feature in the formation of some minds, that they can exhibit an almost total indifference, where important stakes, involving perhaps, their entire fortunes, are concerned, and yet, show the utmost care and anxiety about trifles. Quintus was one of this description. His sanguineness enabled him to speculate deeply in business, rendering a trade, proverbially fluctuating, still more hazardous, by his mode of conducting it; and yet he could never bring himself, when cards or other games of chance were introduced at parties, to risk a stake that could in any manner, exceed a few shillings. Gambling of every description he professed to abhor—forgetting how nearly allied to this vice, are improvident speculations in trade; but it was well perhaps, that he had not both to answer for; Emily knew therefore, she need be under no apprehension that he would become addicted, either to intemperance or gambling, as a consequence of the social pleasures in which he evidently liked to indulge. Nevertheless, how much better satisfied would she have been, had he not manifested in any manner, his conversion to the new light upon the relative connexion of husband and wife, that he thus displayed. She had daily instances that he was still fondly attached to her—but he made her too often feel, that there was a mixture of selfishness with his love, very unlike the two or three first years of their union,—and it grieved her to notice that, conduct in other married people, which he had once deservedly reprobated, was now treated by him in conversation, lightly, and still more to observe, that he could join in ridiculing that very same conjugal devotion, out of which, it was only recently that he had been himself bantered.

How much more easy is it to exclude vice from the heart, when it first hangs about the portals, than to banish it, after it has once effected a lodgement. Quintus had now admitted a highly dangerous principle, at which, only the other day as it were, he would have shuddered—but luckily for him, it had not yet obtained firm hold, and an incident now arose, trifling in itself, but important in its consequences, insomuch as it opened his eyes to the unkindness of his behaviour, and at once wrought a cure.

He was proceeding homewards one day, at his customary dinnerhour, when meeting a bachelor friend, he was so strongly pressed to dine with him, in order to form as he said, a cozy toe-to-toe party, with a couple of mutual intimate acquaintances, that Quintus promised to be there—but excused himself from accompanying him at the moment, saying, "I must run home first, but will be with you in good time." A short distance from his residence, he met Emily, looking, as she always did, good-humoured and pretty, but now, peculiarly so, as she said, with a sweetly expressive smile—"I was coming to look for you—for dinner is almost ready, and there is something you will like very much." Quintus had at times, a short, touchy way of answering people, particularly when the subject happened to be disagreeable to him; but it was very rarely indeed, that he exhibited any thing of it, in speaking to his wife; but now, he replied in a peevish tone, "Then you must keep it till another day; as I am not going to dine at home."

"Why did you not tell me so this morning? Mamma sent us a very nice neck of venison, a few days ago, and I have had it dressed today, wishing to give you an agreeable surprise; and she is come to dine with us."

Instead of receiving this little playful instance of her regard as he ought, he answered very shortly, "Then pray, let Mrs. Clifton have the pleasure of eating it—as you did not think it worth while to tell me of it before, you may now keep your agreeable surprise to yourselves. I dare say I shall have something as good, where I am going."

He had never before treated her either with such unkindness or rudeness. She gave him no answer, nor indeed could she, for her feelings had entirely overcome her power of speech. Upon entering the house, Quintus proceeded to his dressing-room, and, having changed his attire, was on his way again to the front door, when, meeting Emily on the staircase, he could see by her countenance that she had been weeping, but there was an endeavour of composed serenity in her expressive features, as she said,—"Don't leave me, Quintus, as if we were bad friends. Kiss me before you go, won't you?"—at the same moment affectionately bestowing the caress, which was returned by him, although less warmly than usual. "You haven't told me where you are going, but don't be late."

"I am going to dine at Mr. Walsh's—you know I am never late;" but instantly beginning to feel ashamed of this unmerited behaviour, he clasped her fondly and said—"Good bye for the present, Emily—I wish I was not going."

As he proceeded along the street, his conscience smote him severely for the manner he had treated this excellent creature, rendered more forcible and glaring, by its contrast with the sweetness of temper displayed by herself, and he felt so thoroughly ashamed, that he determined to make the amende honorable by returning to her immediately. Acting upon this impulse, he stepped into a shop, and writing a note of apology to his friend, caused it to be despatched, and ran back at full speed towards his house. Entering the parlour in a hurried manner, he was much hurt to see that Emily's seat was vacant, and hastily enquiring for her, was told that she was in her own room. In one instant he was by her side, praying forgiveness for having so pained her, and saying, "You have completely conquered me, my Emily. I find that you have indeed, the true art of managing your husband, but how can I requite your goodness?"

"By thinking as much of my society as you used to do, Quintus. I have often felt much more than I have chosen to acknowledge, but now I am quite happy."

From this time, he entirely abandoned all such engagements as had heretofore so imperceptibly drawn him aside, and devoted his time as formerly, to his own fireside. So true is it, that much more may generally be accomplished, towards reforming our little follies and vices by kindness and gentleness, than by severity. In this case, the natural good qualities of Quintus's disposition, when aroused into action by a sense of injustice to his wife, caused him instantly to see, and amend his fault; when, had she exhibited her own feelings by asperity of word, or manner, it is probable that, instead of remedying the evil, it would have increased. In temper, he was hasty, but not passionate; fond of having his own way, but easily led to adapt it to that of others, by dint of a little management. With some wives, who might have opposed him on every trifle, he would have been imperious, overbearing, and headstrong; his pettishness would have become decided ill-temper, and many other of his foibles would have grown into vices; but his marriage with Emily had been an union of hearts, built upon thorough esteem. Much as her personal attractions recommended her, they were little, when compared with the beauties of her mind. The few past years of their wedded lives, had rather increased than diminished the lustre of her charms, and had also most decidedly drawn out, as Mrs. Clifton had predicted, many estimable mental qualities. She was rich therefore, both in mind and body; and however agreeable the latter may be to the eye, how infinitely more valuable in every respect, is the former! The woman who is mistress of such a jewel is indeed rich. Neither time nor absence, nor any other circumstance can diminish its lustre, but on the contrary, it increases in worth as it grows older; and wherever, as was the case in this history, some of its brightness is capable of being imparted towards reforming, or correcting by its influence, the faults of a husband, although it may be a work of time, happy indeed is the owner. She may well feel, and say, "I have not lived for nothing."

Probably, notwithstanding what has been said in the preceding pages, the marriage of Quintus and Emily had hitherto been productive of quite as much happiness, and as little discord, as falls to the usual lot of mortals; but the merit in a great measure belonged to Emily, who invariably made the most of every thing, that could contribute to the one, and softened down whatever might create the other. In their worldly affairs, great fluctuations were ever arising, but so careful and prudent had been their style of living after their first mistake had been corrected, and to so good an account was a small expenditure turned, under Emily's capital management, that they possessed all the comforts, and many of the luxuries of life, yet still kept considerably within their means.

While things remained in this state, certain events were arising in the political world, which sanctioned the opinion among the most experienced commercial men of the day, that a material advance would shortly take place, in the value of all colonial property. Acting with more prudence than formerly, Quintus and his partner determined not to continue to make purchases, but to speculate upon their present stock, by effecting no more sales than could be well avoided. By this means their manufactory became unusually full, and the additional risk thus incurred, led them to add the sum of five thousand pounds, to the thirty thousand, already covered by insurance. This step taken, they contemplated the aspect of their fortunes with much satisfaction, pleasing themselves with considering how materially they were likely to be benefited by the anticipated rise. Indeed, not only between themselves, but among their respective friends, their flattering prospects formed a favourite topic, and so far as imagination went, they were already rich men.

One evening, as Quintus and Emily were returning from Bedford-square, the alarm of fire met their ears at a distance, and led Emily to cling still more closely to her husband's arm, with a sort of trepidation as she observed, "Pray Heaven the manufactory be not on fire. I wish you were any other trade, for what with apprehension of fire, and one thing or another, I am always anxious."

"I am not much afraid of it," replied Quintus, "the premises are carefully watched, and at all events, we are pretty well insured."

The subject was not continued, and arriving at home, and hearing no more of it, the occasion that had led to these few words, was almost forgotten. But this calm was of short duration. Emily had retired to her room, whither Quintus was preparing to follow, when a thundering knock at the street door, was accompanied by the cry of, "Fire! Fire! your premises are on fire, and are nearly burnt to the ground."

It was with difficulty he could so far quiet Emily's anxiety with regard to his personal safety, as to receive her sanction to his repairing to the scene of devastation, until he pointed out the absolute necessity for his being present, assuring her however, that he would not incur any risk, and that, if he found he could do no good, he would immediately return. The devouring element had gained so much ahead before it was discovered, and was so aided by the inflammable nature of the stock, that the utmost endeavours of a numerous body of firemen, assisted by the active exertions of friends and neighbours, failed to produce any material effect towards counteracting its ravages, and when Quintus reached the place, nothing but a pile of rubbish remained, of what, a few hours previously, had been a large and commodious range of buildings. Fortunately, all the books and papers were preserved, but little or none of the property; the full extent of the evil, was however at the moment, scarcely contemplated.

Notwithstanding Quintus's assurances, Emily remained in the utmost state of disquiet, until he returned. He had scarcely thought it possible, even if such an accident occurred, as he had now witnessed, that the destruction could be so complete as it had been, but the calculations he mentally formed, as he retraced his steps, could not even with his flattering mode of viewing things, enable him to arrive at any other conclusion, than that their imaginary great profits were vanished, to say the least. When he reached the house, Emily was yet up, waiting for intelligence, and was not a little delighted that it was brought her by himself. "Ah! my dearest Emily," he said to her, in reply to the fond endearments of her welcome, "I fear you must reserve your congratulations for some other occasion, for the loss is tremendous, much greater than I could have imagined."

"What care I for losses, so that my husband is preserved to me?—the same God, who gave us what we had, can give us more," was her reply, and she was shortly called upon to prove the sincerity of her reliance upon Providence; for, upon making up their accounts with the view of settling with the Insurance Companies, it was discovered that, even at a low estimate, the property was several thousand pounds uninsured; and that, after paying all the engagements of the firm, little or nothing would be left for Quintus or his partner, the original capital of each, being entirely sacrificed.—What rendered their misfortune the more disastrous was that, within a few weeks, the anticipated rise actually took place; and had not the accident occurred, the advantage to both partners, would have been considerable.


CHAPTER IV

"Felices ter et amplius
Quos irrupta tenet copula."

Great as was the disappointment thus created, to many pleasing hopes and expectations, the effect of their calamity soon lost much of its poignancy, both upon the mind of Quintus and Emily, although occasioned by very different causes. With regard to Quintus, it was some months ere the affairs of the late concern could be entirely closed, and in the meanwhile, the buoyancy of his natural spirits came in aid of his inclination to view every thing in its best light, and produced first, an almost oblivion of the past, and afterwards, hopes equally flattering as before, but perhaps a little retarded, for the future. He had acquired so high a reputation, as an intelligent, active man of business, had evinced so much tact and management upon several occasions of intricacy, and had so well applied many of the lessons he had received both from Mr. Thoroughgood and others, that he entertained little apprehension of long remaining unoccupied; and, until something better occurred, now diligently attended to literary pursuits, with the view of promoting the success of the publication, in which jointly with his cousin Campbell, he had an interest. Emily, on her part, had so firm and immutable a reliance upon an over-ruling Providence, that she would never allow herself to repine or despair, in consequence of their present untoward circumstances; but entirely devoting herself to her husband and child, endeavouring to add to their comforts and to promote their happiness, calmly awaited whatever might offer for bettering their fortunes.

While things were in this state, Quintus, who from childhood had always enjoyed most excellent health, complained one evening of a pain in the arm, but was so little regarded by those around him, that when, after an hour or two, he spoke of it as still continuing, grounding upon it an excuse for not joining in some amusements, that were going forward among some of the younger Cliftons, he was quite bantered and ridiculed, nor was it till early the following morning, that he was really believed to be indisposed. Then however, it was but too evident; and upon sending for medical advice, he was pronounced to have all the symptoms of a violent rheumatic fever, but which speedily changed, and assumed the still more alarming shape of inflammation of the brain.

Here then, was presented a new and unexpected opportunity, for the exercise of Emily's patience and resignation; and every other consideration at once gave way, to her affectionate tenderness for her afflicted husband. Night after night would she stay by his bed of sickness, suffering no other person than herself to render him the commonest services; her hand alone poured out all his medicines—administered to all his necessities—her anxious eye, was seldom removed from his countenance, watching to discover the least amendment, during the painful suspense of some days, that hopes and fears were holding an even balance in her breast; all this while, hiding an aching heart under the forced smile, with which she cheered the moments, when, partially recovering from delirium, he was able to recognise and to thank, his amiable nurse. Happily, her alarm for his safety, was not of long duration. His fine constitution never having been injured by intemperance or dissipation, in a comparatively short time, triumphed over the malady, and Emily had the unspeakable delight of being assured by the medical attendants, that her beloved husband was out of all danger. Yet, her affectionate assiduity did not diminish, although her anxiety thus became lessened; on the contrary, she chose to evince her gratitude to her God, by continuing the inseparable companion, when her duties as nurse, might otherwise have spared her presence in the invalid's chamber; confining herself to it so closely, that in the end, the solicitude that had been hitherto felt for her husband, was to a certain extent transferred to herself, as her own health was evidently suffering. No sooner therefore was Quintus able to leave the house, than he was recommended by his physician, to go into the country for a few months; under the idea that, change of air and scene, would entirely restore his own health, and, at the same time, be beneficial to Emily.

The Cliftons had some distant relations in the West of England, who had often pressed Emily, since her marriage, to pay them a visit; and it was now determined that proceeding by easy stages, they should make their way thither, being entirely governed by circumstances, as to their sojourn at the different places that would be included in their route. Accordingly they now left town, proceeding towards the South coast, and intending thence to pursue their way into Devonshire.

In the course of this excursion, they visited the remarkable ruins on Salisbury Plains, well known by the name of Stonehenge, and although Quintus was no antiquarian, he could not contemplate these striking curiosities, without astonishment. He had read the account given by Diodorus Siculus, of a round temple in Britain, dedicated to Apollo, and was not unacquainted with the arguments advanced, to prove that his description of it, tallied in many respects with Stone-henge. It appears by the hypothesis thus assumed, that originally the temple consisted of two circles and two ovals, although probably erected at different periods—that the first work consisted of the outward circle, with its imposts, and of the inner oval of large trilithons; and that the smaller circle and oval of inferior stones, were raised subsequently.

The result of a morning, employed in the research of this extraordinary spot, enabled him to commit to his commonplace book some memoranda, grounded upon the assumptions already explained. He ascertained that what is supposed to have been the outward circle, consisted of thirty stones—that its diameter was one hundred feet—the height of the stones rather more than thirteen—the breadth seven,—space between the stones five, slightly varying however—and that the impost was two feet eight inches deep. He farther made it appear, that the altar probably stood nearly in the centre of the circle, and was fifteen feet long—the height of the trilithons surrounding the altar, respectively, sixteen, seventeen, and twenty-one feet. On one of the stones were still remaining perfect tenons, formed in the shape of a cone, and on others mortices, apparently calculated to receive these tenons; but, these measurements and descriptions were founded upon the presumption, that the hypothesis of Diodorus Siculus was generally applicable to this spot. Quintus was not sufficiently versed in the subject, to be able to judge correctly of the justness of the first position; yet, as it seemed borne out by many concurrent circumstances, he willingly admitted it as reasonable, and applied the particulars thus collected, accordingly.

Prosecuting their journey quite at leisure, they remained a short time at the beautiful village of Stourton, since rendered of note, by being the residence of that celebrated patroniser of the arts, Sir Richard Hoare; and visiting, in the course of their stay there, all the noble seats in that neighbourhood; thus adding to the store of knowledge possessed by each, by attentively viewing the works of the accomplished masters in painting, sculpture, and architecture, that are connected with the names and collections of the Earl of Pembroke, the Marquis of Bath, Mr. Beckford, and Sir Richard Hoare.

In their way, they visited Quintus's old friends, the Clevelys and Burtons, to whom he had pride and pleasure in introducing Emily, now no longer the charming bride, but the more matured and interesting character, of the affectionate wife, and tender mother. She preserved so prudent a restraint over him in point of regimen, that not even Mr. Clevely's famous number nine, had power to lead him to disregard the strict injunction he had received, as to diet; although the temptation was supported by their host's strenuous recommendation, who repeatedly pronounced it to be a never failing panacea, good for every complaint excepting the gout; and even then, said the reverend gentleman, "a pint or so, is a great comfort." After spending a few days at each Lestowe and Beauford, they continued their excursion through Exeter southwards, dividing their time between the different watering places, and Emily's relations, by one and all of whom, they were received with great kindness.

Here, the pure and bracing air of the coast, aided by the absence of all care and anxiety, in a short time entirely completed his convalescence, and all remains of illness were removed from his countenance. He had been prohibited the use of any fermented liquors, until they should be again permitted by the Doctors, who feared that stimulants of any description, might affect the seat of his late illness; and, as he was ever a sociable, although temperate companion at a dinner table, and was now in the land of good cheer and hospitality, it was to Emily's vigilance, more than to his own self-command, that in proportion as the last remains of his complaint left him, he did not act as if absolved from a system, that ill agreed with the conviviality of his nature. But Emily was imperative, and had learnt her lesson so perfectly from the Physician, that all his arguments, and his saying, "Why, my dear Emily, I am as well as ever I was in my life," were met by, "And who do you think can half so much rejoice at that, as myself? but I mean to keep you so, and to return you to Dr. Summers's hands, all the better for being his proxy. You know his last words to me were, don't suffer your husband to taste wine or other strong liquor, till you see me again."

This sort of discussion had arisen one morning, as they were debating whether or not they would accept an invitation to dinner at a gentleman's house, always famous for the hospitality of its owner.—Quintus argued that the abstinence Dr. Summers had enjoined, could only have been meant to be practised, so long as he continued an invalid; and that now being perfectly restored, it would subject him to much difficulty, in framing excuses for not conforming to the custom of other gentlemen; so that, he would rather not go to the party, than join in upon such terms. Emily, on the other hand, contended that, having accepted other invitations, which, like this, had been given in compliment to their relations, it was wrong to suffer so slight a cause as he had named, to occasion their being guilty of a rudeness; adding, with one of her pleasant smiles, "I can say no more in support of Dr. Summers's orders. I think I know which you love best, your wife, or your bottle, but, by and by, I shall see; at all events, we ought to go to Mr. Carew's."

"Ah Emily," he replied, "you know how to gild your pills—you shall indeed see, my love, that nothing can come in competition with yourself." When they repaired to Mr. Carew's, they met a large party, many of whom were confirmed bon-vivans, who thought nothing of sacrificing to the jolly god, until they could neither see nor move. The master of the house, was a regular three bottle man, and was often carried from the dining parlour to his bed-room. His wife was a good, notable country lady—one, who had gone through the routine of a boarding school education—understood how to cram turkeys, feed pet lambs, and all the other mysteries of the farm yard—thought nothing of plucking chickens and pigeons, as pretty parlour occupations, and paid little regard to her husband's carousings, having been long inured to such, by the practice of her father and brothers. She was upon terms of intimacy with one of Emily's aunts, whence had arisen the present invitation. As the company assembled one after another in a small, old-fashioned, oak wainscoated room, the floor of which was like a mirror, and over whose chimney-piece was a variety of grotesque carved figures, and were lingering away in extreme dulness, the heavily passing moments until dinner should be announced, Quintus and Emily looked at one another expressively, whilst they contemplated the carbuncled nose of one gentleman, the squalid features of another, the purple complexion of a third, the whole party indeed, excepting Quintus and one other gentleman (a Barrister, and like him, a resident in London, but on a visit to some friends in that neighbourhood), bearing on their countenances all the marks of long accustomed intemperance. Being presently seated at table, Mr. Carew said, "Come gentlemen, let's have a whetter all round," at the same time filling a bumper, and passing the bottle to his next neighbour.

It happened almost immediately to come to Quintus's turn, who handed it on without filling, which Mr. Carew observing, said, "How, now, sir! no tricks with the bottle here—bumpers and umbrellas are the rule in Devonshire."

"And no man can regret more than I do, sir, that I cannot follow so good a rule," said Quintus, "but I am yet scarcely recovered from a severe illness, and am absolutely prohibited even a single glass of wine."

This however, would not have saved him in Mr. Carew's judgment, had it not been for petticoat interest; for seeing him hard pressed, Emily interceded with Mrs. Carew, and by the joint influence of the two, he obtained a reluctant permission, "To fill what you will, but drink what you fill;" a permission, Mr. Carew said, he had never before given to living mortal, "nor would I now," he added, "only else I should have such a clickmaclack by and by, that I should never hear the last of it."

Thus at ease, having conquered the difficulty he had apprehended, Quintus rigidly followed Dr. Summer's orders, and was sufficiently recompensed by the approving smile of Emily, whenever their eyes met; but the London barrister, Mr. Marchmont, had no such good luck. From inclination, as well as from the custom of the well-bred society in which he moved, he was cheerful, but strictly temperate; and, perhaps, no sight was more disagreeable to him, than that of a drunken man; but he had not the plea of previous illness, nor had he a wife present, to whom he might be indebted for support in so daring a measure, as an opposition to the custom of the county.

Mr. Carew was at all times absolute at his own table, enforcing the same obedience there, that he willingly yielded at that of his neighbours. Hence, after a while, it was with a mixture of anger and astonishment, that he received Mr. Marchmont's polite, but firm refusal, to take more wine than was agreeable. So long as he remained perfectly sober, it was not difficult for him to keep within the bounds of forced civility, although accompanied by occasional sneers; but, once the wine beginning to exclude the wit, all rules of good breeding were banished. Swearing a great oath, he insisted that Mr. Marchmont should fill his glass, equally with the others. "Hell and furies! do you mean to dictate to me, sir? me, in my own house, at my table, and in my own armchair! Sir, I insist upon it, that there shall be no more flinching—no more of your shy cocks for me—gentlemen, won't you support the chair?"

"Chair! chair! support the chair!" was the response, in full chorus, some even threatening to hold the refractory member, and drench him, if he did not forthwith surrender at discretion.

"When you are at Rome, you must act the Roman, sir," continued Mr. Carew, "and you may think yourself d——d well off, that we do not make you try back and pay old scores."

Unfortunately for the course Mr. Marchment would have liked to have taken, he was Mr. Carew's visitor, in capacity of guest to a neighbouring gentleman, with whom he was staying, and who had been requested to bring him. The first suggestion, therefore, that arose in his mind—that of withdrawing, and returning to his friend's house could not be accomplished; as the distance was considerable—the night extremely dark—and the road unknown. He was aware that at the dinner parties, in this hospitable part of the country, it was not unusual at times, for some of the guests to remain on the floor of the dining-room, until the following morning; he had even heard of one gentleman in the neighbourhood, who had fitted up a small room, with just accommodation sufficient for persons to lie down in, with their clothes on, and which he had called "The omnium gatherum," as, at whatever time he was himself carried to his bedroom, no longer able to speak, sip, or sit, it was usual for the servants to assist such of the visitors as were also unable to move without help, and to place them in a sort of pell-mell manner in this chamber, where they were left to sleep themselves sober. With such a knowledge of the direful effects of conforming to what was now required of him, no wonder that he persisted in maintaining his ground, so long as he could do so with a chance of success; for he truly enough anticipated what would be the consequence of once yielding; but he was at length so beset upon all sides, that farther opposition was beyond his power, and surrendering at discretion, he enlisted, an unwilling recruit of the jovial crew, and was speedily overtaken by the fate he had so much dreaded; in fact, it was comparatively a short time only, before he was utterly insensible.

When Quintus and Emily afterwards conversed upon the occurrences of the day, "Do not you thank me," she said, "for giving you the opportunity of showing me, that I am rather the object of your regard, than the bottle? If you had once begun, how would you have stopped, with such a person at the table as Mr. Carew? and only think what might have been the consequence, had you been in such a state as poor Mr. Marchmont!"

"It is very true, Emily; you are quite right; but I don't know how it is, you always manage to conquer me, when you choose."

"You know better than that. I only conquer as you say, when, at first looking at things rather as you wish, than as they are, I can afterwards manage to make you hear reason. I have heard mamma say, whoever does a thing they know to be wrong, under any pretence whatever, no matter what, will one day or another have cause to repent it; and I fully believe her. I am quite sure, had you taken a single glass of wine, under the pretence you gave in the morning, we should both have bitterly repented it; but do tell me what will become of Mr. Marchmont? I fear, from what you say, he must be very ill."

"He is suffering sadly from the effects of the wine, but he has something in his head, by way of retributive justice, as he calls it. I think him a sensible, pleasant man, and he and I became very good friends; he knows your brother too, by name, and speaks very highly of him. He whispered to me, that he'd make Mr. Carew pay for this indignity; and that as I was a witness of his disgrace, so should I also see his triumph, but I don't precisely know what he means."

The next morning, Mr. Marchmont, although still suffering from the effects of the preceding evening's intoxication, appeared to have lost all traces of displeasure towards his host, or any other of the party; and giving Mr. Carew a very pressing and hearty invitation to his house in London, whenever he might visit the metropolis, took leave and departed, in a courteous, friendly manner.

Shortly after this, Quintus received letters from London to say, that his assistance was required, in arranging the affairs of a large mercantile house, which had become embarrassed, and in whose estate, his late concern was interested. Returning therefore to town, quite restored to health, he devoted himself to this business with much industry and application; and considerably strengthened his already high repute, as a man of talent in commercial transactions. But employment of this nature, was temporary only, as well as unsatisfactory, upon other accounts; and his numerous friends were upon the anxious watch, for some occasion by which his acquirements, (all the possessions now left him,) could be turned to the advantage of his family. It was not long, before something of this sort occurred, although not through any channel that appeared to have presented the least probability of such a result—so often will it be found that, comparatively trifling causes, produce important effects.

In the number of the parties interested in the affairs of the house, which now occupied his attention, was a leading foreign merchant, who some little time previously, had received intelligence from one of the West India Islands, that rendered it necessary to dispatch a person thither, who should be armed with full powers to meet some very important exigencies—and, as the business was of the highest consequence, it was imperative that the individual selected, should be one, in whom the utmost confidence could be placed. Although Quintus had hitherto been unacquainted with this gentleman, the ability he had manifested in his recent employment, induced the merchant to conceive the idea of engaging him to undertake the embassy—and to induce him to do so, very advantageous terms were named: but it was not until some days, that he could sufficiently overcome his paramount objection to absenting himself from his wife and child, to be able to give the proposal, serious consideration. When however the large pecuniary compensation held out to him, and the value of a powerful connexion with its other accompaniments, had to a certain extent, conquered what at first appeared insuperable, he still found it beyond his power to breathe a hint of it to Emily, well knowing that the idea would be met by opposing arguments, under their most powerful form, the language of the heart, issuing from the lips of an affectionately devoted wife. In this painful dilemma, he consulted her relations, particularly her father and mother, and acting upon their advice, the negotiation was continued, Mrs. Clifton undertaking to reconcile her daughter to the measure, as she said, "by convincing her reason of its propriety."

But Mrs. Clifton found much more difficulty than she had apprehended.—Emily felt that, to have left for the last to be consulted, her who ought to have been the first, was not treating her intimate relationship as a wife, with all that was due to it. "Do I ever oppose my wishes or happiness where his are concerned?" she replied. "Does not Quintus yet know me? or does he fancy that he is not the fittest person to talk to me upon painful subjects, equally as upon agreeable ones? At all events, if he goes to the West Indies, I shall accompany him; upon that I am determined."

It was in vain for Mrs. Clifton to contend with her upon this point. It seemed so strange that a person, who had always manifested so much dread of the water, as to prefer making a considerable circuit, rather than cross a trifling ferry, should, all at once have acquired courage to talk of traversing unfathomable seas, it was not at first thought she could be in earnest; but she persevered in her intention, nor until it was clearly shown to her, that the occasion for the voyage was most probably only temporary—that it was likely her husband would return in a few months—and that her going with him, would retard in a measure the objects of his mission, that she could be persuaded to its relinquishment.

In a subsequent conversation with Quintus, she said, "I wish you would always treat me with candour, and let me know the worst of every thing. Let it be as bad as it will, I could always bear it better, by feeling that I was in your entire confidence, than when I afterwards hear things piece meal."

"I can have no object in concealing things from you Emily, beyond the wish of saving you unnecessary pain. It is bad enough sometimes, to endure what takes places in one's own person, without adding to one's distresses, by witnessing your's."

"According to my idea," replied Emily, "You have no business to have any distress, in which I do not participate. If you think you can deceive me, you are mistaken, and my pain is only doubled, instead of lessened, when I find you have kept me in the dark—but about these West Indies—if you will promise me, that should you find you are likely to be detained there, you will let me know the truth, so that I may go to you, I will say no more to oppose it; but I cannot help saying, I would rather have you at home in a mere cottage, than live in a palace with the large sum they are to give you, as the price of your absence."

Quintus promised he would do as she requested, and the negotiation being continued, every thing was arranged for his departure by an early ship. It was also settled that Emily and her child, should reside at her father's, during his absence, and that their own establishment should be disposed of; but, whilst these preparations were in progress, many and many were the instances by which it was clearly seen, that Emily was yielding a painful sacrifice to her sense of duty.

One day, about this time, as Quintus was returning from the city, he met Mr. Marchmont, who, shaking him warmly by the hand, said, "I was on my way to call upon you. That unmannerly cub, Carew, is in town, and is to dine with me on Wednesday. You remember your engagement, that you would witness my mode of teaching him good manners, and so I shall expect you. You will meet three or four friends, as I mean my triumph to be as complete, as he made my disgrace." Quintus promised to be present, wondering what would be his mode of proceeding, and failed not to keep the engagement.

Mr. Marchmont resided at chambers in the Temple, and when Quintus went thither on the day appointed, he found five gentlemen already assembled, all dressed in the fashion of the day, and evidently men of good breeding. Mr. Carew had also arrived, decked in the very extreme of finery. He wore a showy purple coloured coat, with large steel buttons, having in the left-hand button-hole the best bouquet that Covent-garden could furnish; his hair was highly powdered, great pains being discernible in the form of the side curl over the ears, and in the tie of the queue; his shirt and ruffles bore proof that Mrs. Carew was equally clever at the ironing-board, as in other domestic acquirements; the waistcoat was of scarlet, with a braiding of gold lace, very long in the waist, and with flaps to the pockets, just projecting over the waistband of beautifully cleaned leather breeches, which fitted as tight as wax, and fastened to which by a strap, with a splendid buckle, around the knee, were a pair of new jockey boots—altogether he resembled a magpie, among a group of birds of more sombre feather. Singling out Quintus, as an old acquaintance, he rose and came towards him, seizing hold of his hand with the power of a vice, as he said, "Glad to see ye, young gentleman, looking so well—quite recovered I hope—none of your water system to day, eh, Mr. Marchmont! Hope your wife's well—nice little body that, Mr. Marchmont—saved our young friend here, a good skinfull at Bibimus house—but no petticoat protection to day, eh sir?"

"No, no," said Mr. Marchmont, "he shall not be enrolled under any such banners. I think 'twill be only fair to place him under your special protection, so that he and I may be quits, as I mean you and myself to be, before we part."

"As to the matter of that, sir, if I have the honor to be your vice, as I presume you mean, I'll serve all round with a little Devonshire sauce, not forgetting a Benjamin's mess, for the sick man, that was."

"I shall be greatly obliged," replied Mr. Marchmont, "provided it be expressly understood, that my own authority be duly respected."

"What! respect the master of the house! to be sure—to be sure—if he were to order his company to drink sheer aqua vitae, it must be done." "Yes, sir," said another of the party, "or to eat a candlestick."

"Or," said another gentleman, "to drink a gallon of aqua pura."

"To be sure, sir—to be sure," replied Mr. Carew, "no picking nor choosing. I don't know that I ever tasted much of that aqua pura, but if it is a-kin to aqua vitae, it must be good. Lord, gentlemen! how you would have laughed, if you had seen our host here, when he was at Bibimus house, three or four months ago. Odzooks, why he made as many faces at a glass of wine, as an old maid would at being bussed—but 'twouldn't do—'twouldn't do—no flinching's the word at my table—the glasses are always either bumpers or umbrellas—and at last, we fairly shod him—clean sewed him up, as the saying is—and he was carried to bed, dead to all appearance, as a door-nail."

"In full gratitude for which instruction in a gentlemanly accomplishment," said Mr. Marchmont, "I have done myself the honor of inviting a few friends to day, that Mr. Carew may see, how we do these things in London."

Dinner being presently announced, the conversation dropped. Every thing likely to provoke a countryman's appetite, had been provided. Eight was the number at table, which was covered by succeeding courses of fish, venison, birds, and numberless little elegancies, considered by some, as marking a refined taste, equally as more important occasions—indeed, who need be ashamed of an amor ventris, after such grave authorities as Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Kichener, have recorded their opinions upon the subject?—to say nothing of the more modern essays that have been published, in the pleasing shape of some of the fashionable novels of the day, where the noble science of gastronomy, is treated in a manner, calculated to make numerous disciples.

Mr. Carew, accustomed to all the substantials of a farm-yard, rather than the luxuries provided by a London purveyor, not merely did justice to the excellent dishes now before him—but absolutely fed, as if laying in, at the least, a week's provender.

"I hope Mr. Carew, you have made a good dinner," said Mr. Marchmont as he had in vain endeavoured to persuade him to take a second helping of black cock.

"Never ate such a dinner in my life—gad-zooks, Sir; I'm almost ready to burst—I could not eat another morsel to save my life."

"That's rather unfortunate, for there's a dish coming, to which I shall have to beg your most particular attention;" and as Mr. Marchmont thus spoke, a servant entered, and placed before Mr. Carew, a silver cover, under which were at least two pounds of beef-steaks, dressed in the true epicurean style.

"Mr. Carew!" said Mr. Marchmont, "you will have the goodness to eat those beef-steaks, before you leave this table; but perhaps, as a preliminary, you will like a glass of aqua vitae."

"Eat these beef-steaks, do you say! why, Sir, I could as easily eat the dish itself—aqua vitae, if you like; but no more eating for me, to day—you have already crammed me, just like one of Mrs. Carew's turkeys."

"It is perfectly useless," replied Mr. Marchmont, "to quote your own words, to oppose the will of the master of the house. I have experienced the effects of his fiat, at your own table; and I will appeal as you did to the company, whether or not, I am to be supported."

"Chair! chair! support the chair!" was heard from all, with a hearty laugh, "Mr. Carew must eat the beef-steaks."

"Surely gentlemen, you must be joking—you cannot be in earnest; there never was such a thing heard of, as forcing nature in this way," said Mr. Carew, who scarcely knew how to understand the imperturbable gravity of Mr. Marchmont, compared with the deportment of the other visitors, who acting under no restraint, fully enjoyed Mr. Carew's evident confusion.

"I am so far from joking, Sir," answered Mr. Marchmont, "that I beg you plainly to understand, that I insist upon your eating the whole of what is before you. When you are at Rome, you must act the Roman, were your words to me at the time you insisted upon my so forcing nature, as you call it, as to have occasioned me a serious indisposition. Your Devonshire laws impose drinking, nolens volens—mine, exact eating; but you may drink as you like. You cannot suffer more than you made me put up with at your own table, and when you have paid the penalty of your hospitality, by partaking of mine, then, and not till then, shall we be quits, for the indignity I have received at your hands."

The Devonshire squire now found himself, to use his own words, "in a cleft stick;"—it was impossible to undergo his enjoined penance—his wish to retire from the table was refused—and he knew not what plan to devise, likely to appease the resentment that Mr. Marchmont gave him so clearly to understand, he harboured.—His own mistaken hospitality was now recoiling upon himself, with interest; nevertheless, he was a man of natural good sense and temper, and of kind feeling, when not obscured by the absurd customs, rendered by long usage so familiar, as to have almost become part of his nature.

The folly of his conduct being thus brought home to him, he adopted, after a while, the only proper course left open to him. In few, but feeling words, he expressed his regret for what had occurred in Devonshire—accounted for it by having, as he said, sucked in such a mode of treating his guests, with his mother's milk—requesting Mr. Marchmont's forgiveness of an unintentional offence—and finished, by saying, "I have been taught a lesson this day, I do not think I shall ever forget."

"No man can do more, Sir, than to acknowledge his fault," said Mr. Marchmont, "and I am quite satisfied," ordering the servant at the same moment, to remove the dish.

"Yes, sir, he can—he can amend it," replied Mr. Carew; "the first thing, as the parson says, is to convince, and then to correct. I am now convinced, and I hope to be corrected."

For the first time, perhaps, during many years, when either partaking of, or bestowing hospitality, Mr. Carew spent a sociable, rational evening; and, although each person was perfectly at liberty to do as he pleased, such was the conviviality that reigned, he found no difficulty in obtaining his own full quantum, and it is only doing him justice to add, that upon his return to Bibimus house, its former customs were wholly banished.

When Quintus related the circumstance to Emily, she observed, by way of moral, "There are many, who never think of others, until they sustain pain or inconvenience themselves."

"That is amongst us men, you mean," he replied, "for I really have often seen instances, where your sex have sought occasions for taking upon themselves inconveniences, in order to remove them from us."

"I do not know that—and yet, now you say so, I think, upon the whole, we know more selfish men than women."

"Much of that depends upon education and early habits; and sometimes, we men become spoiled by too much complacency on your parts. Thus by degrees, we assume as a right, what originally was only an instance of affectionate attention. But however, my dear Emily, while I have so sweet a monitress as yourself, I hope to have no occasion for such practical lessons as Mr. Carew experienced."

"I never advise you any thing that I do not think would promote your happiness; but unless you admit me more fully into your confidence, than you sometimes do, how can I act the monitress you say I am? I wish you could be persuaded to have no secrets; but always tell me every thing."

"I will in future, believe me."

"And rely upon it, my dear Quintus, your doing so, will promote your own happiness, equally as mine; and perhaps, occasionally, it may also contribute to our mutual prosperity."

But it is no easy matter to overcome habits of long standing; particularly when they spring from latent faults; thus, although for some while afterwards, he failed not to make Emily his privy counseller upon important occasions, he neglected by degrees, to refer to an oracle, that now and then offered a salutary restraint, to the sanguine and impetuous nature of some of his schemes; and, in process of time, this stumbling-block to their mutual happiness, still continuing to exist, produced events, which, perhaps, might otherwise have been averted.


CHAPTER V

"Great Heaven—how frail thy creature man is made,
How by himself, insensibly betray'd."

PRIOR

At this period, the terms of intimacy and friendship, that had long subsisted between Quintus and Frederick Campbell, were much strengthened by various circumstances; and although the latter agreed with most of his other relatives, in approving of the proposed voyage to the West Indies, it would have afforded him much greater pleasure, could any thing have been devised, whereby it might be prudently avoided.

But Frederick had been well schooled in the turns and vicissitudes of life, and it was ever one of his maxims, to do the best, according to circumstances, and leave the rest to Heaven. He therefore, did not seek to interfere with, or discourage his cousin's contemplated voyage, thinking it upon the whole, too advantageous in prospective to be relinquished, unless for something quite as good; but he was sedulous in searching for this something, feeling that, if fortunate enough to find it, he might then urge with propriety, the abandonment of the Trans-Atlantic mission. Frederick was a man of very extensive acquaintance—his circle comprehending the leading men of business of the City—the most celebrated Literati of the day—several who held high official situations—many distinguished members of the learned professions, and, being a keen sportsman, extending also into the country, among crack shots and fox-hunters. His cousin's advancement, and an endeavour to hear of something suitable to his attainments, was now the polar star of his intercourse with these different characters. With this view, he anxiously watched the turn of all conversations, hoping that something might arise, to promote his object; but it was some time, ere there appeared the least probability of success.—At length, a general election opened new scenes, and created new friends for both the cousins, and in the end, accomplished all that was desired.

Neither of them cared much about politics, although the general bias of their principles, so far as their writings shewed them, was decidedly in support of the "powers that be;" but they both inherited too much love of liberty to lend themselves to any of the clubs or juntas then in being, how nearly soever the opinions of such societies might have coincided with their own. Although the publication they had set on foot had its origin more in their own literary tastes, and as an amusement, than as a business occupation, the high fame it had acquired proved an inducement to continue it with spirit; the laborious or editorial part being conducted by a competent person, and the contributions of the two proprietors and their friends, being original articles only, on politics and literature. Of the two, Frederick was most decidedly the most powerful writer, but an incident now arose for the exercise of one or two of the principles of Quintus's mind and pen, and in the issue, gave a turn to the whole of his affairs.

The City had been long and ably represented by a Mr. Richard Heartwell Davison, who had uniformly supported the government of the day. In the course of the last Parliament, circumstances connected with some speculations in business had been attended by an unfortunate result, removing him from a state of great affluence to a comparatively humble fortune, but without affixing the slightest stain, either upon his honour or integrity. Yet this waywardness of the fickle goddess was considered by the leading members of a great political club which then existed, and mainly controlled the representation of the City, as a sufficient reason why they should withdraw their support from him, and transfer it to another. Thus, no sooner was the dissolution of Parliament made known, than, at a special meeting of the club, it was determined that Mr. Davison should be thanked for his past services, and quietly dismissed; and further, that a Mr. Dives—whose only pretensions were unbounded wealth, should be nominated as his successor.

It accordingly so chanced one afternoon, as Quintus was crossing one of the narrow streets in the neighbourhood of the Exchange, that he was accosted by a very active member of this junta, with, "Well, Sir, I can give you a little news; we have just had a meeting, and have determined that Mr. Dives is to represent the City, instead of Mr. Davison."

"What! has Mr. Davison retired from Parliament?" said Quintus.

"Oh, we know nothing about that," was the reply, "but what I now tell you is authentic, as I have just left the club; and be so good as to let your Editor properly announce it to-morrow."

Quintus bowed and took leave; but, instead of pursuing his previous way, repaired to the Printing-office, and penned the intelligence he had just received, in a form to meet the public eye, at their next morning's breakfast table. But, he was like the prophet Balaam, of old;—instead of advocating the choice thus made, he altogether reprehended it, holding up the character and conduct of the late Member, in such glowing colours, that the promulgation of the club's decree, carried with it the demolition of its power and influence, and a flame was thus kindled, and not quenched, until Mr. Davison became triumphantly reinstated in the post he had long and honorably filled.

Frederick Campbell, after the charge had been thus sounded by his cousin, brought up the artillery of his able pen, in aid of the cause; and in the course of the farther proceedings, arising from this election, formed intimacies with several individuals, between whom and himself, a slight acquaintance only had previously existed. In this number, was a gentleman of the name of Johnson, whose father had recently died, leaving him a good landed estate, but charged with the payment of fixed sums to the younger branches of the family; and, subsequently to his coming into possession of the property, the value of land having become greatly depreciated, he found that, after payment of the fixed legacies, his own share would be very inconsiderable, and he was therefore anxious to invest what remained in some trade, by which his income might be improved.

He was a man of good natural abilities, and excellent temper; but his education had not been sufficiently attended to, having commenced under the care of uninformed parents, been continued under an ignorant country school master, and having terminated in such rustic polishing as could be picked up in a village thirty miles from town, varying the scene between a few sporting gentry, his own corn-fields, the clergyman of the parish, a circulating library, and a few country belles, at the monthly winter assemblies. But Frederick's ear, ever upon the alert, heard enough, and his eye, ever vigilant, saw enough to lead him to think, that an opening was here presented, which, if judiciously followed up, might preclude the necessity of his cousin's leaving England. All the information he could acquire with respect to Mr. Johnson, induced the opinion that he was a person, between whom and Quintus a valuable connexion was capable of being formed. He possessed property, honor, integrity, and an amiable disposition—but knew nothing of business. Quintus was acknowledged to be quite at home in the management of an extensive concern, but had little property. It only therefore, remained to be seen, whether or not their mutual views could be so met, as to make them useful to each other.

In this state of things, the two cousins being together one morning, Frederick observed, "I don't more than half like this West India affair of your's, Quintus. If any thing, even of less apparent advantage offered, would you relinquish it?"

"In one minute would I. I would rather stay in England, upon a mere trifle, than leave the many kind friends I have at home; but only look at the alternative, even between this employment and doing nothing, as at present."

"I have considered all that, and should not have hinted at a change, unless I had seen a prospect that something might be accomplished. I am not at liberty to say much at present, only do not close your engagement for a few days, if you can manage to keep it open, and in the mean time, say nothing of what I have mentioned."

But Quintus was too ready to let Emily see that he had profited by her lessons respecting concealment, to suffer an occasion like the present to be withheld from her knowledge; it being not only agreeable to himself, but one which he knew would be equally so to her; and besides, his usual sanguine turn of mind would not allow him to contemplate a difficulty in the way of its entire accomplishment. He therefore did not strictly attend to his cousin's injunctions, but eagerly sought his wife, with the view of imparting, in its best colouring, what had been said to him.

"Which would my little wife like best—to have me stay at home with a couple of hundreds a year, or be at Jamaica with five times that sum?"

Emily knew her husband's countenance so well, that she saw something agreeable had occurred, the moment he entered the room—and immediately guessed by his words, part of his intended communication. "You know, as well as your little wife, which she would like best—but come now—tell me every thing at once—for I am sure, you have something better in view, than this vile Jamaica—I can always tell by the way you put your mouth, when you have good news—but mind, you tell me every thing."

He was quite as happy in relating, as she was in listening to, the substance of the conversation he had held with Frederick; and when he ended, she said, "I am sure I shall love Frederick Campbell, as long as I live; how very, very kind he has been."

"Yes, he is very kind; but we must not be too sure, you know—there's many a slip, 'twixt the cup and the lip, you sometimes say."

"Well! this from you, Quintus, is excellent; but I'll go, and see him myself, this very minute; and I know we shall be able to settle every thing."

"No, my Emily, you must not do that—it cannot possibly produce any good, nor, can it make him more inclined to serve us, than he is already; and besides, he might not be pleased; as, he particularly desired me to say nothing about it at present."

"He did not mean, you were not to tell me—but you know, you can never avoid communicating every thing you hear, and what he said, was in allusion to that habit; and against which, you have been often cautioned—however, I will stay till to-morrow, and then we will go together, and call upon him—but do not let the opportunity slip upon any account."

"Not unless the arrangement should be impracticable—but you would not have me give up a certainty, upon the first blush of an uncertainty, would you?"

"Why, to tell you the truth, my acquiescence in the West India scheme, is quite a forced one, and I am sure, we should be much happier, even upon a more humble scale of living, if you were to stay in England. You do not know, how many things I can do, towards making a small income go a great way; and I would infinitely prefer such a trial of my skill, than to be separated from you."

"Well! my dear Emily, I can only assure you, my reluctance to be parted from you, is quite equal to yours; and, if any prospect of advantage, although remote, be held out, by Frederick's plan, I will immediately relinquish the other engagement."

"You cannot think, Quintus, how truly happy you have made me. I was miserable, although I said little about it—but now, you have relieved me of a most distressing load."

When he next saw his cousin, he learnt that, Mr. Johnson gladly entered into the idea of forming a partnership, upon the basis of his finding capital and Quintus, knowledge of business; and several important preliminaries were forthwith discussed and settled. He next lost no time, in resigning the West India engagement, and once again, had a fair prospect of becoming, what in many respects he was well qualified for, a leading man of business. But, notwithstanding this apparently happy change, was hailed by his friends, as most auspicious; notwithstanding it converted the anxious brow of his Emily, into its usual seat of smiles and sweet contentment, perhaps nothing, more unfortunate for a man, many of whose incipient buds of character, decidedly needed repressing, rather than being brought into activity, could have happened. The course of this tale has already exhibited Quintus as a person, endowed with mixed qualities. His good ones, aided by excellent abilities, had procured him the love and esteem of his friends and relations—had enabled him, to acquire a thorough knowledge of business;—equally distinguished for strict integrity, as for tact, application, and industry. In matters of finance, he had evinced peculiar cleverness—both under his early friend and benefactor, Mr. Thoroughgood, and during the continuance of his late partnership. His social qualities and correct deportment, had, previously to his marriage, opened the door to him of many respectable families, and finally obtained for him a wife, in whom were centred—

The joys of Heaven, here on earth,

one who,

Should two gods play some heav'nly match,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And she be one,—there must be something else
Pawn'd with the other; for this poor rude world
Hath not her fellow."

He had, besides, other advantages. He had several active and zealous friends, who, either upon his own account or Emily's, were constantly seeking occasions to serve and oblige him. He was much beloved by his wife's relatives, who invariably treated him as one of themselves; and it had no inconsiderable share in strengthening him in the estimation of the world, that persons of so high a moral and religious character as the Cliftons, so well brought up, and such patterns in all the relations of life, had conceived of him the opinion, which their conduct manifested.

Emily's eldest brother was a very superior young man; that which, during his youth, had distinguished him from many of his associates, had ripened into a high principle of rectitude, never allowing him to look at any thing, but through the glass held up by virtue. Vice, however pleasantly attired, still appeared to him in its native deformity, and by constantly avoiding its wiles, he became worthy the parents to whom he owed his existence. Some of her sisters had grown up charming, agreeable young women, proving well informed sensible companions, and affectionate relatives; and to crown the measure of his domestic felicity, their only child Olivant, was a boy of great promise, inheriting his mother's temper and disposition, displaying superior talents, and enjoying firm, robust health. What then, it might be supposed, was required to constitute Quintus, the envy of the little orb, in which he moved? Unfortunately, nothing but the eradication of certain weeds, which at first mingling in his heart like tares among wheat, were being matured and ripened by circumstances, that had but too genial an influence on their growth, enabling them to reach a height, which eventually choked the better plants, and were not eradicated, nor was the soil of his mind restored to its proper state, until it had undergone a severe ploughing by the hand of affliction, and a long and painful fallow, by a separation from all that was dear to him.

Enough has been said to mark him as impatient of restraint or controul; and the success, that upon the whole, had attended him through life, had rather tended to increase, than diminish this failing, inducing in him a self-sufficiency, that sometimes manifested itself with petulance, if he were opposed in any of his projects.—He was extremely attached to his wife, always treating her with kindness and affection; and yet,

So it falls out,
That what we have, we prize not to the worth
While we enjoy it,"

So it was with him—he liked not the sway she had acquired over him, by her mildness, good sense, and amiable temper; and rather than be subjected to her prudent advice, in opposition at times to his own will, although her words were couched in the most honied form of language, practised too often with regard to her, a subtilty and concealment, which engendered many bad consequences. Had he been placed, where a wholesome restraint could have curbed the ambitious restlessness of his nature, so as to have checked the gigantic views that he constantly entertained, he had qualities both of the heart and head, capable of marking him as a valuable member of society—but, it was not to be—his destiny had been foretold, as a chequered one, and he was now approaching the eventful era, which had drawn from the Sybil, the words, Beware! Beware!

So soon as all necessary arrangements were completed between Quintus and his new partner, the Cliftons removed to a small village, in the neighbourhood of town, occupying a house sufficiently large to admit Quintus and Emily as inmates—a plan that had proved extremely agreeable to both parties, since it had been first adopted, under the expectation of the West India voyage. The spot they selected had much to recommend it in point of rural scenery. It was situate just on the skirts of a range of overhanging woods, which formed part of the domain of a high titled nobleman, whose park afforded an endless variety of agreeable walks and rides. On the other side of the house, ran a beautiful trout stream, which was approached through a well laid out garden and shrubbery, or as it was commonly called, "The Wilderness," on account of the rugged nature of some of the declivities with which it abounded, and which had given ample employment to the hand and taste of man, towards making them easily accessible by well turned angles, and other similar means of subduing the wildness of the spot. At a little distance to the left, and discernible only from the house through some openings of the trees, with which the meadows on the opposite side of the brook were studded, was a small waterfall, and close to it a neat cottage, attached to a mill, whose never ceasing clack could be heard sufficiently plain only, to give the place the additional interest, that ever belongs to active industry. In the contrary direction, the stream continued to make its way through several rich cow pastures, meandering in a thousand different shapes, until it was entirely lost to the eye between some lofty cliffs, that were clothed to the very summits with brushwood.

Here, for a time, Quintus and Emily enjoyed more real unalloyed happiness, than had ever before fallen to their wedded lot. He was delighted to find her taste and inclination, equally gratified by a country life, as his own. He was in town at his business very early each morning, always returning in the afternoon, and no greater treat could await him, than to see his wife clad either for a ramble through the woods, or for their pleasurable toil in the garden, or more frequently, ready to take a survey of the little farm-yard, attached to a few acres of ground belonging to their residence, which he took great delight in cultivating.

Quintus thought she never looked half so pretty or interesting, as when thus employed. She, on her part, observing her husband's fancy to consist in such pursuits, entered into them with an energy particularly agreeable to him, and he was surprised to see with what ease, the elegant, accomplished Emily Clifton that once was, sobered down into what she was laughingly called by her sisters, the "notable farmer's wife."

The village society comprehended several pleasant, respectable families. It is true, the late hours and splendid gaiety that mark the visiting circles of large towns, were not to be found there, but in their place, the quiet pool of quadrille, or rubber of shilling whist, or the merry smiling faces of a few young people, at a piano forte hop, enlivened by an occasional song or duett between the dances, and terminating by an adjournment to a well covered sideboard, where equal regard had been paid to substance, as elegence, were more than ample compensation for the absence of the nothingness, that is met with in fashionable routs.

There were two or three characters in the village, who sometimes afforded Quintus amusement, at their little sociable meetings. He had read and seen enough to be au fait at most subjects of conversation, and took equal pleasure in discussing grave theories with some of the elders, as in indulging in more lively strains, with those nearer his own age—was tolerably able to maintain, whichever side of the argument he chose to adopt, in politics, theology, or metaphysical disquisition—in a word, possessed a sufficient smattering of general knowledge, to enable him, when his humour so led, to play an agreeable part in company.

Dining one day with a retired sea Captain, who, in calm retirement, was enjoying the evening of a long life, whose morning had been passed with honor to himself, in the service of his country, the old gentleman afforded some entertainment, by his manner of lowering the vanity of a smart, dashing young man, who had lately left the University. This young gentleman was gifted with a remarkably fine, melodious voice, which had been cultivated with great care and diligence, deservedly obtaining for him, the reputation of being a first-rate amateur singer. But, lucklessly sometimes for his auditors, if once his notes were set a going, he knew not when to stop; nor would he take a moderate rebuff;—but anxiously seized any little break in the conversation, with, "You admired the last song I gave you—but there's another by the same composer, infinitely superior," and, allowing no time for reply, away he would at once flourish. This habit, had been noticed to his disadvantage, at one or two parties, where he had been present; and the old captain was determined, as he observed to one of his neighbours, "to give him a broadside, should make him dowse his colours."

With this intention, advantage was taken of the present opportunity. Some time after the ladies had withdrawn, and upon the mention of singing, the old gentleman beginning to be apprehensive, lest the due course of the bottle might be impeded, by a flight of crotchets and quavers, filled his glass, saying to his friend on his left, "Come, Sir, pass the bottle—I hope you think this wine doesn't need a shoeing horn—it's been all round the world.—I remember in my younger days, there was nothing like a flash song, or a good sentiment for filling the glasses; or as a shoeing horn, as we used to call it; but none of your do, ri, mi's, and your fa, la, la's for me.—Give me a plain John Bull song with a jolly chorus. Eh! gentlemen! what say you?"

"That sort of singing is I believe, nearly exploded from good society," said the fine singer. "It might have done very well once; but I apprehend is now chiefly confined to very different circles. Italian music is now generally preferred, I believe."

"Then give me the circles," replied the captain, "to which my sort of singing is confined.—Why, I think your Italian music at times, a perfect bore.—I remember when I was cruising in the Mediterranean, in the year 48, there was one of the mids of our ship, who was a first-rate songster.—By old Harry, how he could shake and flourish! The president of our mess, rather encouraged the chap, as it helped to stop the circulation of the bottle, which was just the thing he liked, and we, disliked. Well, we were determined we'd clip my songster's wings—and one day, just as he had finished the first verse of a song, and I knew, there were two more to come, I roared out, "a d——d fine song that, and very well sung; the conclusion is particularly fine," laying a strong emphasis on the word conclusion—this however, had no effect.—But we had the other two verses—although I repeated the same experiment, at the end of the next verse. I then tried him on another tack; "you sung that song, uncommonly well Mr. A—a—a—very well indeed—particularly well," said I, "but, did you not—did you not, hear it sung by Jones at Goodman's-fields theatre—your style is very much like his.—I mean Jones who is sometimes admitted upon the stage, to make one of a chorus. I think you must both have been taught in the same school—do you know Jones?" My gentleman snappishly answered, no!—upon which, I resumed, "perhaps you were taught by Angelino," who was at that time a celebrated singer. "No, Sir," still more snappishly than before, whereupon, I drew myself up in the most erect form possible, and said, very pointedly, "So, I thought." This dose, twice administered, cured our songster, and we were never troubled with him afterwards."

After the old gentleman had finished speaking, a short silence ensued, but conversation was presently resumed, and continued for some little time with spirit.—At length, one of the company requested the young songster to favor them by a display of his really musical talents. His good sense was not however, so obscured by his vanity, as to have prevented him from perfectly comprehending the old Captain's meaning, and he declined, observing with a constrained smile, in the words of Terence—

"Num tu ludis nunc me?"

"Well gentlemen," said the Captain, "if I have been unfortunately the means of depriving you of a song, I am at least bound to endeavour otherwise to entertain you. I'll try your skill in deciding the merit of a bonne bouche, in the liquor way, which I reserve for very choice occasions, and whoever can tell what it really is, shall be rewarded by as much of it, as he can stow away at a sitting; or come, I'll hold either of you a wager, that the best judge of wine now present, shall fail to decide, what it is I give you."

Presently, a servant introduced upon the table a bottle, the contents of which were somewhat paler than Madeira, and the flavour singularly rich and luscious.—One called it one thing—and another, another—all agreeing, that its excellence could not be surpassed; but one of the guests, who happened to be a wine merchant, would not allow its pretensions to superiority, to pass without contending for the palm, on behalf of some wine, that he said was in his own cellar, and the argument being once started, was rather supported by two or three others, who expressed a similar opinion in favour of some other wine, they had elsewhere tasted.

"Nothing like close quarters," said the Captain, "none of your long shots for me—a dinner for the company that the majority of any three persons you shall name, excepting those now here shall pronounce that I can tickle their palates in the liquor way, better than you can."—The bet was forthwith accepted—the time for its decision fixed, and the judges named—one of whom was to be a boy, ten years of age—another, a man of thirty, and the third, sixty. At the appointed day, the wager was unanimously decided in favour of the Captain, who thereupon acquainted the parties, that what he had given them, was neither more nor less than Devonshire cider, made from a superior sort of red streak pippin, adding, that several years ago, it had been sent to him as a present from a gentleman, who resided in that county, when he bottled it, pouring into each quart, about three parts of a wine glassful, of very fine cognac brandy.

There can be no doubt, judging by the result of this, as well as many other experiments, that, could prejudices be conquered, the real merits of some of the native productions of England, compared with foreign importations, would be highly prized; but, fortunately perhaps, for the reciprocity of nations, it has ever been so much the fashion to esteem articles less, according to their real pretensions, than to the adventitious circumstances that have attended their growth or manufacture, that many which are indigenous to England, have to seek other climes, in order that they may be duly appreciated.

It was by mingling with a small, but select society, formed of friends and neighbours, and by devoting much of his leisure to such rural pursuits, as were presented by the occupation of a good garden, and two or three small fields, that time now flew with rapid wings. His connexion with the press still continued, but it had latterly demanded more attention, than was compatible with his present occupations. Frederick Campbell too had experienced the same thing; and thus they each found, that it was impossible without doing an injustice to other, and more important pursuits, to continue to their literary productions, any of the life and spirit, by which they had been distinguished. They were originally undertaken, as is elsewhere said, chiefly as an amusement or recreation—and no sooner did they cease to preserve this character, and bid fair to prove encroachments upon ill-spared time, than they resolved to discontinue them. This determination was no sooner formed, than acted upon, by announcing to the public, in a manner equally expressive of the temper of both parties, as playful, in its style and language, that, having originally entered the field of literature, to please themselves, the same good reason led them now to retire from it;—that although they had received advantageous offers for their publication, the same motives that would prompt a kind master, to indulge with a brace of bullets, the favourite hunter, who had for several years carried him with pleasure, safety, and reputation, rather than devote him by sale, to the chance of starvation and drudgery, as a hackney coach horse, had determined them to vote it a glorious death, instead of risking for it, an inglorious existence. "Aut vita libera, aut mors gloriosa," was the family motto of one of the two; and, as they could no longer be sure that the free and independent line of conduct, by which their favourite had been characterised, would continue under a change of proprietors, they would not suffer the consideration of filthy lucre, to compete with its reputation, and therefore consigned it to the "tomb of the capulets."

There are few modes of accomplishing our pilgrimage upon earth, more conducive upon the whole, to real felicity—if we could only be brought properly to understand the term—than the path now trodden by Quintus and Emily. Let any one, who has received a tolerable education, compare the substantial bliss that attends a rural life, passed in the midst of kind relatives and sociable neighbours, with any of the light and trifling enjoyments of the world of fashion, and the round of gaiety to be found in cities, and he will at once admit the justness of this remark. In the summer, there was a never-ending source of pleasure, in observing the works of nature, and the constantly varying face of the landscape—in watching the progress of farm and garden operations—and in instructing by illustration, the opening mental powers of an amiable child. In the winter, exchanging these out-of-door pursuits, for reading, music, and other amusements, time glided onwards with them, in an equally rational manner, being ever inseparable companions, excepting only, during the hours set apart to business; and which always rendered the return home, the more agreeable. If Quintus came from town, fatigued and worn, with his morning's employments, what, so likely to cheer and recover him, as the attentive kindness of his Emily, while she sat, amusing him, by relating the occurrences of the forenoon? If he were disposed for a walk, where could he find any companion, so agreeable?—one so ready to take whatever direction seemed most pleasing to him, and to beguile the way, by innumerable displays of sweetness and good temper? If he had been exposed to inclement weather, he was certain to find every thing ready that his comfort or necessities required. In the preparation for his meals, his taste or appetite, was always consulted. If he returned in an ill humour, arising from the vexations of trade, one of her smiles was called forth to dispel the cloud which overcast his features. If he had been pleasingly excited, she would at once divine it by his countenance, and fully enter into, and reciprocate his happiness.

Thus was it with Quintus and Emily, during the chief part of their residence at the village of Mapleton; but such was the restlessness of his disposition, that these joys, pure and tranquil as they were, lost much of their zest, by their constant fruition; and he at times exhibited an inclination to fall into the same sort of society, that had formerly occasioned Emily, so much mortification and regret. Literary pursuits were no longer an excuse, by which, occasional absences from home, were sought to be palliated—but it is an old and true saying, "where there is a will, there is a way," and unhappily for Quintus, his inventive genius was never at a loss, to frame some cause why, it was not only expedient but highly necessary, that he should go here, or stay there, when, had the naked truth been developed, his own inclination was oft the ruling spring of action. Notwithstanding these shades, however, he continued to preserve a high reputation with the world, and to be much beloved by his relations. To servants and workmen he was always kind and generous—scarcely indeed enforcing sufficient obedience to ensure, at all times, full justice to the business in which he was engaged; but, on the other hand, he was hasty, and easily excited by trifling acts of inattention, or carelessness; pettish, yet seldom retaining anger beyond the moment; but upon the spur of the occasion, being sometimes not under that command of himself, which might have been expected, from his birth and education.

Such, in point of character, disposition, and circumstances was Quintus Servinton, as he attained his thirty-first year. The germ had been long laid—the plants were already up and in full growth—and the day not distant, when the harvest was to be ripe for the sickle.


CHAPTER VI

"Go forward, and be choked with thy ambition."

I HENRY VI

While Quintus's domestic affairs were in the happy state, described in the last chapter, his commercial occupations had been rendered, by a train of unforeseen circumstances, a sea of trouble and anxiety. Various unexpected exigencies arose, one after another, requiring great skill, prudence, and energy. The first and last of these were freely bestowed, but not so, the other.

When the arrangements between Mr. Johnson and himself were contemplated, it was understood and agreed between all parties, that the capital to be invested would be ample, for a business upon a small scale; and that, beginning in this manner, their operations should be extended, as their means increased. But, two sunken rocks lay in the way of the vessel thus launched, either of them sufficient to impede its successful voyage; but striking as it did upon both, one after the other, what but a wreck, could be expected? The one was that, Mr. Johnson had over-estimated his means, and had engaged to provide a sum which he never did, or could fulfil; and the other, that Quintus's mind was much too capacious, to allow him to proceed in the slow, but sure manner, that had been hoped and intended. Unfettered, unrestrained, enjoying a tribute, kindly paid to his abilities and knowledge of business, feeling his own importance enhanced, by the recent treaty with regard to the West Indies, and by the homage paid him in the commercial world, his self-sufficiency increased, fully in proportion to his improved circumstances—he forgot all his prudent resolves and lessons, and indulged ideas, little commensurate with his means. It was his ambition to vie with older and larger establishments, and to accomplish this, he brought into play, great industry, activity, and perseverance; but darkened by art and contrivances, in order to supply the important essentials, of which he stood in need. Yet so well did he act the difficult part he had thus chalked out for himself—so adroitly did he manage all the intricacies of the net he was weaving, that he created for his house the highest degree of credit, and ably maintained it, through many cases of extreme difficulty.

Although Mr. Johnson had not been brought up to trade, he endeavoured from the first, to acquire a knowledge of its mazes, by close and unremitting attention; and succeeded, as all men of good natural abilities might, when determined to apply themselves, to any given point. He was rather younger than Quintus, and of a quiet, amiable temper. Had he been better educated, or had he possessed a portion of that self-confidence, which his partner could have well spared, perhaps he might have assumed and exercised, more influence in controlling the partnership affairs, than he ever manifested a disposition to attempt. If, at times, he saw things he did not quite approve—if he thought Quintus indulged too much in speculative purchases, or adopted too readily, any new-fangled doctrines, connected with their manufactory, his own inexperience and modest pretensions, rather induced him to presume his partner to be right, and himself wrong, than to endeavour to bring about any alteration in his plans. He saw that with men of great repute as merchants, Quintus was highly esteemed, and that among them, Mr. Rothero, his ci devant master, and subsequently steady friend, placed the utmost confidence in him; and this naturally added to his own diffidence, in expressing opinions, which were contrary to those of his partner. Mr. Rothero's friendship to Quintus, was not confined to the placing him upon the most favoured terms between buyer and seller, in many large transactions, arising from their relative conditions of manufacturers and importers, but so spoke of him to others, to whom he was less known, as to enable him to command an almost unlimited credit. Had it not therefore been for the caprice of nature, that in endowing him with good qualities, they were destined by being carried too far, to produce their own bane, the support he thus received, was sufficient to have remedied the defects of means, arising from Mr. Johnson's disappointment, in respect to capital; for it was his industry, application, and energy, that at first procured him these supporters, but being pushed to an extreme, bordering upon rashness, they became imprudent—nay, almost culpable enterprise; and elicited properties of the mind, of a nature to create eventual troubles, both for himself and others.

The perplexities and vexations, arising from carrying on a trade upon a scale disproportionate to his resources, now oft made him moody and restless; and, upon his return home from the cares and fatigues of the morning, Emily could frequently discern by his countenance, how troubled and harassed was his mind. Upon such occasions, her affectionate tenderness would have led her to draw from him, the cause of his evident anxiety; but the rebuff she was certain to meet with, although not couched unkindly, by degrees conquered her disposition to pry into his secrets, and she found out an easier way of dispelling his gloom, by assuming a forced cheerfulness, and by engaging him in such pursuits, as she knew were always agreeable.

What made his present course the more to be regretted was, that whilst it was forming for him, both present and future sorrows, the results of his business were probably less favourable, than they would have been, under a less ambitious, or extensive system, than he had adopted. Still at this time, there was nothing to reproach him with, upon the ground of improvident expenditure in his household, as he never repeated the fault which on this head, he had once committed. Living as he now did in country, quiet retirement, a moderate income sufficed to maintain a respectable, or even handsome appearance; and in all other respects, Emily had long discontinued seeking to enquire into his circumstances, acting upon the plan to which he had brought her, of making the most of what he placed at her command, presuming it could be well afforded.

Meanwhile, he was imperceptibly accumulating, other and new sources of trouble, in some of the associates with whom he passed part of his leisure hours; in the number of whom were one or two, little calculated to improve his general habits; being on the contrary, rather of a nature, to act the Zephyr upon sleeping embers, and to fan a flame, that had hitherto been dormant. Emily knew not however, all the cares that awaited her, and was ever the happy, cheerful handmaid of virtue, with its constant attendants, peace and serenity; but a cause of other description, about this time arose, to disturb her tranquility, their only child Olivant, exhibiting certain symptoms, for which he was recommended long, and regular sea-bathing.

Not only the cause, but effect of such a measure, was distressing to her. A separation, perhaps of months, from her husband, which must be the unavoidable consequence of her leaving home, gave rise to many disquietudes; but the only two alternatives left her, either to entrust her boy to the care of strangers, or to neglect the strongly urged recommendation of the medical men who had been consulted, were each so painful, that she hesitated not long, what course to take, and preparations were made for a sojourn of perhaps some months, at one of the watering places.

No sooner was this determined upon, than the pleasant recollections connected with their former visit to the south of Devonshire, led her to prefer again proceeding thither, rather than to any other place; and although Quintus could ill spare the time from his usual occupations, he accompanied the party; meaning to return in a few days, and safely arriving at their destination, a short while was agreeably passed in country amusements, when—forgetting the cares and troubles of an anxious trade, his native cheerfulness and sociability, shone forth with all their lustre—Quintus in Devonshire, and Quintus in town, being altogether different characters.

Calling one morning upon his Bibimus House friend, Mr. Carew, he was greteed with a characteristic welcome, and presently addressed, "Gad-zooks, but that Mr. Marchmont was a comical dog—never so put to, in my life; but ods my bones and boddikins, the chap has pretty well cured me, of bumpers or umbrellas. You shall stay and dine with me to-day, and see I've not forgotten my jobation." Quintus was easily persuaded to accept the invitation, and shortly before the dinner-hour, the party was increased by the arrival of another chance guest, who often partook in this manner, of Mr. Carew's hospitality.

He was a retired sea-officer, and at present in charge of that part of the coast, to look after smugglers—the numerous bays and harbours thereabouts, affording many facilities for this unlawful, but seductive traffic. Mr. Carew invariably made a joke of such endeavours to protect the revenue, telling Mr. Searchclose that, so long as brandy was to be had, people would drink it—if it was good, so much the better—and that, so long as a few shillings per gallon could be saved, by purchasing of the smuggler, instead of the brandy merchant, a sort of compact would exist between the smugglers and the drinkers, which would bid defiance to all the efforts of the revenue officers.

A conversation of this sort was now maintained; Mr. Carew supporting his favourite doctrine, but which was opposed by the officer, who contended that, whilst he commanded the choice body of men he did, it was not possible for smuggling to be carried on with impunity; adding, "We have more wheels within wheels than you think for—we have spies in the enemy's camp, by whom whatever takes place, is made known to us."

"I don't care a fig, for your spies and your choice body of men—ods bobs man, you don't half know your trade.—Come now—honor among rogues they say.—Step with me to my cellar, and see its present state. I'll lay you a dozen of old port, that I'll make a plant there, before to-morrow's sun-rise, spite of all your spies and your choice men, and yourself in the bargain."

"Done," cried the other, "I'll hold you the dozen of wine, you do not."

"You must stay and see the fun," said Mr. Carew to Quintus. "We can give you a bed, and you shall help to dispose of the bet, tomorrow."

"Perhaps Mr. Searchclose may consider me an aider and abettor," replied Quintus, "or may call upon me in the King's name for assistance—I should make a pretty figure, to be taken up for smuggling."

"No, no, Sir!—no—we are upon honor, and if Mr. Carew win his bet, he shall enjoy his success without molestation—the disgrace will be mine; the reward, his."

Mr. Carew soon found that, by leaving his guests to the uncontrolled enjoyment of their bottle, it circulated more freely, perhaps, than would have been the case with the present company, under his ancient usage; and retiring from the table for a few minutes, when the afternoon was half over, Mr. Searchclose and Quintus were left to themselves.

"Our host must be mad," said the former, "to have wagered what he has.—I am always acquainted with every movement of the smugglers; and I know, that a boat ran in last night, with a quantity of spirits—but it is so closely watched that not one keg can be landed, without capture."

"I do not understand your operations," replied Quintus, "but I agree with Mr. Carew, in thinking you have formidable opponents, in the general taste that exists for the liquor, and in the charm attending the purchase of smuggled articles; however, we shall see by and by. But I really admire his boldness, in bearding you as it were, in the lion's den."

"Mr. Carew is a friendly, hospitable man, as ever existed—but no conjuror—and I understand, that formerly, no person could sit down at his table, without being deluged with wine; and that he was cured by a whimsical anecdote—something about beef-steaks, or a loaded pistol—that he preferred, as most men would, the first, and ate, until he was so ill as to endanger his life—after which, he was kicked out of doors."

Quintus smiled, as he heard the exaggerated report of a scene he had himself witnessed, and corrected his informant, by narrating the true version of the adventure. While thus conversing, their host re-entered, and joined with much glee in the laugh, that had been raised at his expense, during his short absence.

About eleven o'clock, the party being quietly engaged at a rubber, a distant noise was heard, as of persons shouting or hallooing. "Ah!" said Mr. Searchclose, "I suppose our boys are at work—hark! didn't I hear a gun?"

"Gad zooks, man, I am half inclined to think I shall lose my dozen of Port," replied Mr. Carew. "It sounds as if there was a bit of a brush going forward, but perhaps 'tis only a false alarm."

"No false alarm, Sir," answered the Revenue Officer, "when my boys once give tongue. I'll wait a minute or two before I join them as we may chance learn something. I always leave word where I am to be found."

Presently, a violent knocking at the door, was closely followed by the abrupt entrance of a man, who came to acquaint his superior, that the officers were engaged about a mile and a half from the house, in a hot skirmish with a large party of smugglers, who had been endeavouring to remove some contraband goods, under cover of the night. From the first moment of alarm, Mr. Searchclose had been evidently uneasy, appearing in momentary expectation of the intelligence, he had now received; and no sooner had he heard the tidings, than, with a significant smile of triumph, he arose, and bade the company good night in case he should not return, then quickly arming himself, hastened to the scene of action.

He was scarcely well out of hearing, ere Mr. Carew also withdrew; and in a short space, the sound of footsteps crossing the hall, as if the persons were heavily laden, was distinctly heard, followed by such expressions as "Take care! take care Jack—here! this way Tom!"—"mind you carry that case gently," all spoken in under tones.

In about half an hour, Mr. Carew rejoined Quintus and the ladies, whose curiosity was highly excited, with respect to the issue of the adventure; for it appeared to them beyond doubt that, the officer had been drawn away, by a ruse de guerre, and that, Mr. Carew had availed himself of his absence, to win the wager. He said nothing upon the subject however, but rather seemed to imply, by the expressions he used, some apprehension with regard to Mr. Searchclose, having, as he said, "been too deep for him;" remarking, although with a half-suppressed smile, "ods boddikins—he's as cunning as a fox—there's oftentimes, no being upsides with him;" but all the time, it was evident by the turn of his countenance, that he knew for once, the fox had been trapped.

After waiting nearly a couple of hours, and hearing nothing further of the smugglers, the party retired to rest, and very early next morning, Mr. Searchclose returned, fatigued, and covered with dust—reporting his having had a severe scuffle, which had ended in making an important capture—"Just in the nick of time too," he added, "for otherwise, I might have chanced to lose my bet; as I rather think some of the property, was designed for these quarters."

"And who, do you expect, is the winner?" enquired Mr. Carew;—"but we won't waste time in talking—here, come along with me." Thus saying, he led the way to the cellar, followed by Quintus; and it would have been a scene for Wilkie, to have drawn the different countenances of the party, as they entered, when, by the imperfect light of a small lamp, the large pile of packages that had been placed there, as if by magic, was discovered. On Mr. Carew's features, sat self-satisfaction, and that peculiar cast of expression which signifies, "I have been too knowing for the knowing ones;" Mr. Searchclose plainly manifested, by the bitten lip and fallen crest, that he was the prey of mortification and chagrin; Quintus, on his part, laughed heartily, enjoying the scene with the highest relish.

"I confess I have fairly lost," said Mr. Searchclose; "but pray help to reconcile me to it, by letting me know how it has been accomplished?"

"What! make you as wise as myself? No, no, my good friend, I know a trick worth two of that. Besides, you have spies in the enemy's camp, you know! a body of choice lads! and what do you want more? But I'll give you two words of advice—Beware counterfeits!"

Mr. Carew, when afterwards conversing with Quintus, let him into the secret, by explaining, that the boat referred to by the officer, as having been run in the preceding evening, was only a decoy duck, laden with kegs filled with water, and with other packages containing articles of no value,—that the whole manoeuvres of the evening had been planned, and had entirely succeeded,—that the man who called Searchclose, away was in league with the smugglers,—that intelligence of the boat's expected arrival, had been purposely imparted to the officers, through the spies to whom he alluded, who were always closely connected with the smugglers,—that it was well known all the attention of the officers, would be consequently directed towards this spot, during the next night, when a boat heavily freighted with valuable commodities, had put in, at another part of the coast,—and that, having landed the whole cargo, one portion was deposited in one house, another in another, and so on, his own share having been safely lodged, in the manner Quintus had been shewn. As for the encounter between the smugglers, and the officers, and which had enticed Mr. Searchclose from the house, it was all a settled or contrived thing, in order to withdraw attention from the real scene of operations. Upon Quintus's enquiry, how the goods could be so expeditiously removed, from the boats to the places of deposit, Mr. Carew informed him, that one and all the neighbourhood, rich and poor, gloried in outwitting the revenue officers; and that, so soon as all the arrangements for an expected cargo were completed, it was usual for a sort of freemasonry intelligence, to be signified to those, whose assistance would be required; who, accordingly attended on horseback at the fixed time and place, carrying high panniers, into which the articles were thrown, and promptly conveyed even out of the way of suspicion. "I have lived many years," he continued, "and have constantly noticed, that several things are merely sought after, because they have bilked the duties; and you may depend upon it, although perhaps, neither in your time nor mine, it will be found out, one day or other, that the only cure for smuggling is, to take away the temptation, by lowering the duties."

Returning to town, from the relaxation of a week thus passed in the country, business resumed its seat in Quintus's mind, and recruited as he was, in general health and spirits, the ardour of his nature again exercised its full sway. During his absence, Mr. Johnson had applied himself with diligence to the counting-house, and now felt competent to undertake certain of its routine, which would have had the effect of relieving Quintus, of some part of the multifarious duties, that constantly demanded his attention. He determined therefore, to make the proposal, and sought an early opportunity of doing so. Quintus very readily entered into the idea of Mr. Johnson's rendering himself more useful than hitherto, but instead of receiving the communication as was intended, suffered the capaciousness of his mind, to get the better of his judgment, and at once chalked out for his partner, a certain line, which would considerably add to their already too extensively planned operations; and which he recommended strongly, observing in an emphatic manner, "It is the very thing for you, and you will succeed capitally in it."

But this was not at all, what Mr. Johnson meant. His opinion, and it was a just one, was that, Quintus had already too much, both upon his hands and head. He willingly subscribed to the zeal and ability he daily manifested, but felt that, by dividing the labour, and relieving his partner of some part of his load, he should not only be well employing his own time, but would also promote their mutual benefit. Quintus, on the other hand, was in no disposition to relinquish any portion of his peculiar province, as manager—nor, to admit Mr. Johnson to the least interference with him. The gigantic nature of his schemes, was everlastingly showing itself, according to such facilities, as were placed, from time to time, at his command; and now that, Mr. Johnson had volunteered an active co-operation, he proposed to use it, not as he ought, towards improving what was already in hand, but immediately extended his views, urging upon his partner, an entirely new sphere of operations.

Mr. Johnson, for some time, maintained his position, and at length, yielded to Quintus's arguments, more in deference to his general talents, than upon conviction that his judgment in this instance, was correct. He thought, and wisely thought that, their affairs were at present upon too extended a system, and did not scruple to say so. Quintus met him by replying in a tone not to be misunderstood, "I grant we are rather sailing, according to the ballast we expected to have carried, than what we absolutely possess; but, who has the advantage of this? and who, the disadvantage? You know, you undertook to provide a certain sum—your not having done so, is all to your own benefit—the inconvenience is mine, and all I can tell you is that, as we have contrived to set the machine in motion, with a pair of horses, when we were to have had four, the only way is, to keep them in full gallop, so that, they may not feel their load. If you are prepared to pay up the remainder of your fixed capital, I will cheerfully agree to a change of system; but I can tell you one thing—we must go on at full swing, or stop, altogether."

"But, cannot I relieve you of some part of what you now do? Any thing you like, so as to enable you to devote more time, to other concerns."

"I am not aware that I want any assistance—I believe I attend to every thing, pretty closely—at least I try to do so, and when I find I have need of help, you may depend upon my saying so."

"You appear to misunderstand me, my dear Sir.—I did not mean to imply, you wanted my assistance—I offered it, for our mutual good—and I only repeat my willingness, to take the labouring oar, in any manner, you think I can be of most service."

"I perfectly understood you, and feel obliged by what you said—all I can again reply is that, I think you can materially serve us, by doing as I have before proposed, but so far as I am concerned, I fancy I can manage without any assistance."

It was not so much the matter, as the manner it was spoken, that, sometimes gave to Quintus's expressions, a force and meaning, which the words themselves, would otherwise have failed to convey. He had a peculiar way of lowering his brow, and dropping his under lip, speaking with his teeth nearly closed, and with a very rapid utterance, when discussing an unpleasant subject; and he had a short, disagreeable way of closing such conversations, implying that, he held the opinions of his adversary, more contemptuously than they really deserved. It was the pettishness of his childhood, matured by age, and cherished by an overweening self-importance. None but his wife, knew how to manage him on such occasions; for she had early discovered this foible, and at the same time, had seen that, like a transient cloud, in the month of April, which is only seen to be dispelled by the sun's rays, so, one good-humoured smile, could instantly remove the frown, and restore the motion of the lip, to its proper place. But others, were not always inclined to adopt this measure; nor indeed, was it known to them that, the "bark was waur than the bite;" and they therefore, sometimes fancied Quintus, a worse tempered man, than he really ought to have been considered. Between Mr. Johnson and himself, previously to this conversation, there had scarcely been a discussion on business, since their articles of partnership had been signed; but the former, now saw enough to discover that, in order to remain upon their hitherto good terms, Quintus, as managing partner, was not to be controlled; and thus pursuing the subject no farther, consented to the view he had taken, of the question that was between them.

Thus again, the waywardness of his fate, created a fresh stumbling block in his path, when, had he been endowed with becoming self-knowledge, and could have looked at things with the eye of prudence, a road might have been presented, whereby he could have disentangled himself from the perplexities of his course—and have unravelled the labyrinth he had been forming, with blind infatuation; but perhaps, it may be doubted, whether or not, a destiny does not hang over us, and attend our thoughts, words, and actions—else, how are we sometimes to reconcile, what we every day see in the world?—Our ills come not of themselves, although we too frequently seek them, and invite their presence, in the most urgent manner. When they befall us, they are generally accompanied by some circumstances, that tend to mitigate their severity; and we find, by constant experience that, misfortunes, at which the mind shuddered, when contemplated at a distance, are easily borne, when they actually overtake us. On the other hand, pleasures, whereon we have dwelt, in anticipation, with feelings bordering upon rapture, shrink into nothing and are tasteless, when actually in possession.

After Mr. Johnson had mastered the new province marked out for him by Quintus, and which was a work of comparatively little time, the energy and attention of both, in their several duties, gave fresh life and vigour, to their commercial undertaking. It is to be admitted on behalf of Quintus, that he was not altogether unwarranted in his notions of himself, judging by the success that had attended his skill and address, in many cases of difficulty; and had he only known when to cry out, "Enough," much impending misery might have been averted. But, the ways of Providence, are dark and inscrutable.—We may puzzle ourselves, in endeavouring to account for, why this thing is, or that, is not—all we can do, fails to solve the mystery, and the mind of man, tired and exhausted with conjectures, sinks at length, into an admission of the truly Christian principle, that,

"Whatever is, is right."

Had Quintus at this time, but understood the true value of circumstances, there were many, connected with his own situation, for which he ought to have been supremely grateful. Among them, his connexion with the Cliftons and more especially the plan that had been adopted, with respect to a residence at Mapleton, were abundant causes. Both Mr. and Mrs. Clifton, were rather practically religious, than theoretically so. Bred up, in the bosom of Mother Church, they continued through life, strict followers of its rights and ordinances, as well as of its precepts. Their zeal was not a fiery one, forbidding them to allow peace, righteousness, or salvation, to any, who did not think as themselves; neither did their belief comprehend such a laxity, as to permit them to apply to themselves the flattering unction, that, so long as they were professors, who regarded the outward and visible sings of Christianity, the state of the heart, was of little consequence. On the other hand, they did not consider religion to disallow the innocent enjoyments of life, but in a word, were what is perfectly understood by the term, liberal-minded Christians, thinking no ill, nor designing any. It was their daily custom, to hold a short devotional exercise, at which all the members of the family were assembled. Happily therefore, for Quintus, although it is to be lamented, that he was oft an unworthy labourer in the vineyard, the constant habit of hearing sound and wholesome truths, so confirmed that spirit of religion, which had been implanted with his earliest years, that it was never wholly effaced from his mind; and if, as was too frequently the case, he nevertheless transgressed in thought, word, and deed, he was never deaf to the twitchings of conscience. Emily's two sisters, next in age to herself, were patterns of filial and sisterly conduct. The eldest, had suffered from a lengthened indisposition, during which, she had acquired somewhat a serious turn of thought, although perfectly free from all obtrusive display. Between her and Quintus, the best understanding had always subsisted; and, as she was endowed with rather superior abilities, was fond of reading, and had a retentive memory, they sometimes indulged together in argumentative discussion, tending to call forth the knowledge and researches of each. In his readiness therefore occasionally, to consider what was agreeable, or what was expedient, as the rudder to guide his path, rather than what thorough rectitude would have pointed out, he could not at least excuse himself upon the ground, either of negligence on the part of his parents in his early education—of the want of having had good preceptors, between childhood, and his entrance upon life, nor at a later period, of having been drawn aside by those, with whom by marriage, he became connected; and although for a season, the good principles that had been so inculcated, and afterwards fostered and encouraged by circumstances, would have seemed now and then, to have lost their influence, could his heart have been looked into, in the manner he was capable of examining it himself, they needed only that he should eat the bread of affliction, and drink the waters of adversity, to resume the hold they once had on his mind. But our story must not be anticipated.

Not only Emily, but all her family, were equally adapted for the world, as for retirement. In the one, the ease and good breeding that ever marked their deportment, required them only to be known, to be liked and esteemed. Not confining the accomplishments of the female branches of her family, to light, superficial attainments, such as may be acquired at the hands of the dancing or music master, or the teacher of modern languages, it had also been Mrs. Clifton's aim, to have them taught all the attributes of a good housekeeper;—and whether at the needle, or in a practical knowledge, that might almost have rivalled the renowed Mrs. Glasse, they might challenge competition, with half the farmer's wives or daughters, of the neighbourhood. But in all such pursuits, and particularly in the arts and mysteries of their little farm yard, Emily was the most successful, being encouraged to them, by the evident taste her husband displayed, for whatever related to rural occupations. He accosted her one day, as he met her upon his return home, at the entrance to the village, whither she had come, anxious to impart some intelligence she thought would be pleasing, connected with their play-farming, and wearing a plain cottage bonnet, a small chamois leather tippet and coloured gown, all quite plain, "If I were to have your picture drawn, Emily, I should chuse you, as I now see you. You never looked half so pretty in your life, as in that dress."

Always pleased when her husband was so, she drew close to him, hung upon his arm, and smilingly replied, "'Tis more because you like to see me busy about our grand farm, than any thing else, that makes you admire me in this dress. But I can tell you one certain way, to make me always look as I do at present, if that will give you pleasure."

"And how is that, love?"

"Why, you yourself must always look, as you now do."

"I wish I could, but I have not you always at my elbow."

"And if you had, you would soon be tired of me. I have often told you, I could do much for you, if you would only let me."

"I am quite sure of that, but you know Emily, clever as I think you, I always say, wives have enough to do to attend to household affairs, and only do mischief, when they travel beyond them. I do not think we can do better, than continue in our present course. You shine, deservedly shine here, my sphere is in town."

"I know it is useless to argue with you, my dear Quintus, but a burnt child dreads the fire. I am sure you comprehend what I wish to say, but I will not pursue a conversation that may not be agreeable. Pray think of me when I am absent, as you do when I am with you."

Emily had returned from Devonshire, with her child completely restored, about a month previous to this conversation, and her present remarks had more particularly arisen, in consequence of some trifling circumstances, that had passed under her observation, inducing a suspicion, but too well grounded, that, neglecting to profit by the past, her husband was again treading the thorny and vexatious path, of imprudent speculations. She was herself so free from guile, her mind was naturally so pure and holy, and all her habits so entirely unexceptionable, that the idea that any circumstances, could ever render Quintus more than unfortunate, never for an instant occurred to her; but he had, at this moment, his reasons for acutely feeling the expressions she had used. Expediency had too often gained in him a proselyte, although it is but just to add, a dishonest thought had never entered his heart. Still, his conscience responded to Emily's words, in a manner that plainly told him, he had departed from his once high ground; and, could she have unfathomed what was passing in his breast, the pleasant, smiling features he had been admiring, would have assumed a different cast. Bitterly he lamented, that he had secrets he dared not reveal to her, as they would have opened to her knowledge, the forbidden ground he was treading; but all he could do was to resolve that, he would at once retire from it. Yet, alas! the many entanglements by which he was encircled, the certain consequence of the inordinate grandeur of his schemes, made this as difficult, as to proceed was fearful. Pity, that this feeling had not been allowed more weight, at an earlier period.


CHAPTER VII

"What, if it tempt you far beyond your strength,
Or lead you onwards in some horrid form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,
And draw you to destruction? Think of it."

HAMLET

Although the words so conveyed by Emily, created in Quintus's mind a temporary resolve, forthwith to reduce the disproportioned magnitude of his plans, well aware too, that the shifts and contrivances to which he daily resorted, were irreconcilable with his duty, he found to his sorrow, that to retire from his present station, was a work of no small difficulty—indeed, when too late, he discovered that only one of two alternatives remained at his command—either to continue his course, mending one gap by making another, or to stand still altogether. He now learnt to his dismay, that the thorny and dangerous steps he had been treading, opened only upon an impassable barrier on the one side, and a precipice on the other, along whose margin, just such a track was alone perceptible, as the experienced eye of the hunter can discover, when, in quest of chamois goats among the mountains, he is able to trace the footsteps of the animal from rock to rock, having every now and then, to leap across some small chasm, that would have interrupted his progress, had not his bold and daring mind, rose superior to all difficulties. At the bottom of this awful precipice lay a deep abyss, although concealed from immediate view, by the nature of the ground; and to encourage the hapless wanderer to venture upon a path, fraught with so many terrors, and from which there was no return, a few flowers and other attractions, greeted the sight upon his first approach, so as to excite hopes, and lead to the idea that, after a turning or two, which concealed the distant prospect, the worst would be over.

Just so, was it with Quintus, and ever will be with all those, who suffer themselves to be enticed upon the seductive course, that leads from thorough rectitude. Just so are the ways of vice, in whatever shape it attacks the heart; and by such flattering, such insidious steps, does it make its first lodgements in the human mind, leading it on by degrees, until offences both against God and man are committed, which would have been contemplated at first, if contemplated at all, with alarm and horror. But with Quintus, although imperceptibly drawn to the verge of this dangerous abyss, his good principles had hitherto withstood some of the effects, that too frequently attend such causes, as he had madly admitted for his rules of action; and notwithstanding many and many, were the struggles he had to encounter, his honor and integrity were yet untarnished. He followed but too many commercial men, in hoisting false lights, of a nature to give his house an apparent strength of materiel, which he knew it possessed not; but a pious fraud of this sort is so common, he never allowed himself to think he was acting improperly; and, while he could maintain his credit, and knew he was solvent, willingly admitted to his breast the flattering idea, that he need not be very particular, how his ends were accomplished.

Mr. Rothero, if any person, had a right to be fully in his confidence, not merely upon the score of long and intimate friendship, but, because from a kind feeling, he had voluntarily stepped forward as his patron, on two or three occasions of need, and had besides, oft rendered him pecuniary accommodation, and allowed him a lengthened term of credit, in the sale of merchandize. Independently of his extensive concerns as a West India merchant, he was a partner with several other gentlemen, in a wealthy mining establishment, who, having a greatly superfluous capital, sometimes allowed it to be employed by the managing partner, in negotiating running bills of exchange for houses, of respectablity.

Accident had introduced Quintus, to this gentleman's favoured list, and being backed by Mr. Rothero's recommendation, he soon held a pre-eminent rank in Mr. Trusty's estimation. He was a tradesman of the old school; who had risen by a long series of services as clerk, to become both a partner, and the resident manager; and thus enjoying the well-earned reward of his honest industry, nothing delighted him more, than to see young persons apply to business, with equal activity and zeal, as had marked his own career;—and, if they did happen to have a little more of the spice of enterprise, than, under the system of his own house, it had ever been in his power to exhibit, it is by no means certain, that such did not fully accord with his natural disposition, had it not been so restrained.

Quintus had the faculty of acquiring almost an intuitive knowledge, of the weak points of some persons' characters; and, if he had a particular object to carry, could adapt himself with acute sagacity, to humour their foibles. The plain brown suit, and bob wig of Mr. Trusty, and the formal stiffness of his deportment, did not escape him, as concealing much self-pride upon the point of life he had reached—a greater adherence to the outer mammon—and a rigid attention to mere trifles, neglecting often at the same moment, matters of more real importance. Thus he found little difficulty, by studying Mr. Trusty's character, so to ingratiate himself with him, as to draw forth such remarks as, "There goes something like a man of business—none of your slow-going chaps, who can't see things till they are pointed out to them—always stirring and bustling—none of your hemming and hawing about him—no splitting of straws—always to the point at once"—when he happened, which he occasionally did, to speak of him to others.

Gossip is ever too alive to catch one person's report of another, and forthwith to convey it to his ear, to suffer Quintus long to remain ignorant of these favourable sentiments. Mr. Trusty was too important to his finance operations, arising from his general command of money, to be held otherwise than in high consideration by him, and no sooner was he made acquainted with such expressions, than he exerted himself to improve the good opinion, so entertained of him. There was little difficulty in this, for Mr. Trusty was guileless as the dove, though not perhaps, wise as the serpent, and was not a little flattered and pleased, at the many nameless instances of attention, that were now bestowed on him. Little was it thought by either party, at the origin of their acquaintance, what would be the issue, in course of time.

The business of the house had been so pushed by the force of Quintus's character, added to the influence of several adventitious circumstances, none of which he ever suffered to escape him, that it extended to most parts of the kingdom.—In the list of their correspondents, were the names of some shop-keepers of long standing, at Bewdley, in Worcestershire, who, having formerly dealt largely with his early patron, Mr. Thoroughgood, had held a pre-eminent rank in his confidence and good opinion, since he had become a principal; and being punctual and regular in their remittances, had always been considered in the light of favoured customers.

It was therefore, with much surprise, that he one day, about this time, received a communication, by letter, importing that the party in question was insolvent, and requesting his attendance at a meeting of their creditors.

When he had finished reading it, he observed to one of his clerks, "This is of little consequence to us, as I rather think we are fully covered by their last remittance, and we are in time to stop their order. Run directly to the barge warehouse, and give the necessary directions—or stay, I'll go myself, and in the meantime, make out their account for me."—When he returned, the clerk gave him the particulars he had ordered, by which it appeared that there was a sum of between three and four hundred pounds, for which goods had been supplied, and that for the whole, or nearly so, they were in possession of running Bills of Exchange; and, as he had succeeded in stopping in transitu, a recent farther supply, he made himself quite easy, and did not even think it worth while to attend the meeting.

A few days afterwards, he was accosted in the street, by a brother manufacturer, "Sorry to see your names, as fellow sufferers with Kitely & Co. How was it, you did not attend the meeting of their creditors?"

"We are luckily, pretty well clear. I was fortunate enough to lay an embargo upon a parcel of goods, worth a hundred and seventy pounds, which had only left our premises a few days ago, and for everything else, within twenty or thirty pounds, we hold securities."

"Well, I am very glad to hear this, equally upon our own account, as yours, for you stand as their largest creditors.—I think it was £386 odd, besides a new invoice of £175. I know, altogether, you are in the list, for upwards of five hundred and seventy pounds."

"Oh! nonsense, it is, as I have told you—and, as we are such trifling creditors, I shall do whatever the others wish."

"Well, there is something very strange about it. Kitely did not attend himself, but was represented by a sharp, knowing sort of Lawyer, who came ready prepared with every thing cut and dried, and offered us a composition of eight shillings and sixpence in the pound. He stipulated, however, for a full and entire release, and there were two or three lines in his proposal, which struck me as so extraordinary, that I copied the words. They were, "and further, that this composition shall extend to all bills and other securities, bearing the endorsement of the said Kitely & Co., which, after the date of these presents, may become unpaid, or dishonoured, the same in this case, becoming the property of the individual, by whom, on behalf of Kitely & Co., the composition is offered." And what makes the thing more strange is, that, you are the second person I have seen, whose name is in the list, but who tells me, he is amply covered."

"What was done then at the meeting?"

"Nothing—it was adjourned for a week, to allow time for Kitely to attend, and explain certain things. Pray make a point of being there, for between ourselves, I much fear 'tis not all right."

"I certainly will, and in the interim will have a little talk with the lawyer who wrote to me, for I cannot understand how he makes us out creditors, for any thing like the sum you mention."

When Quintus came to reflect upon what had now been told him, his first suspicion was, that there was some collusion between Kitely and the parties upon the bills he held, the object of which might be to cause them to be, dishonoured, and that they were then to divide the spoil. He therefore extracted from his bill book, the particulars of each, with the view of making immediate enquiry, respectng all the names they bore. Prepared with this document, and with all other minutiae relative to Kitely's debt, he directed his steps towards the court, where the lawyer, a Mr. Glossover, resided. It was not without some difficulty, nor until after traversing several lanes and alleys, that he succeeded in finding Refuse Court, where he was told, a brass-plate announced that Peter Glossover, repaired broken fortunes, by settling and arranging bankrupts' and other insolvents' affairs, with honor, secresy, and zealous assiduity. Knocking at the door, it was opened by a dirty foot-boy, dressed in a greasy livery, covered with tawdry lace, and in answer to his enquiry if Mr. Glossover was at home, was answered by, "Yees, zur."

"Can I see him?"

"Please to give us yaour noame."

"Tell him a gentleman wants to see him about Mr. Kitely."

"Oh! Measter Quoitly—yees, walk thees way, zur," and following his Zummersetshire conductor, he was shewn up a narrow, steep flight of stairs, into a room where sat Mr. Peter Glossover, surrounded by books, papers, parchments, and all the other parapharnalia of an attorney's office.

Scarcely deigning to return Quintus's bow, the repairer of broken fortunes darted a look of anger towards his footboy, saying, "Did I not tell you, you young scoundrel, not to admit any person, as I was particularly engaged?" Then turning abruptly to Quintus, "I beg your pardon, sir, but this uncivilized bumpkin cub, is always making some infernal mistake or other. I am waiting, in momentary expectation, of seeing a gentleman by appointment, and I told this young clodhopper not to admit any other person—as business, you know, sir, is never well done, if subject to interruption."

"Thees be Measter Quoitly, zur!" said the footboy, who had patiently waited through his master's harangue, with a look of slyness in his face, as much as to say, "I shall have you presently."

"Mister Devil, sir, go about your business, you young rascal, you—and mind what I told you, if any other person calls—and don't come near me till I ring the bell."

"Yees, zur," replied the footboy, and scraping back one foot, at the same moment that he nodded his head, holding between his finger and thumb, the straight locks that were combed and patted down along his forehead, he shut the door, and Quintus and Glossover were left together.

During this short dialogue between the lawyer and his servant, Quintus had time to study the countenance and general appearance of the former; and at the same time, to draw certain conclusions, from the mistake that had evidently been made, by his having mentioned Mr. Kitely's name, when he first asked to see Mr. Glossover. He saw clearly that, there was something in the affair which would not bear the light; and he accordingly determined to use much caution and circumspection, in his manner of treating the occasion of his visit.

Indeed, it required very little penetration to discover that Mr. Glossover, was one of those disgraces to an honorable profession, through whose means, applying the law to its worst purposes, the swindler, the dishonest bankrupt, and fraudulent tradesman, is effectually enabled to commit every species of roguery. Having acquired a sufficient knowledge of the quirks and quibbles, that encompass our code of jurisprudence, rendering it possible to frustrate the best intentions, by every species of dishonorable delay and contrivance, he was able to acquaint such characters, how far they may safely go; had attained that sort of reputation among them, as to cause him to be constantly resorted to, when their affairs became desperate; and, was still further recommended from one, to another, by its being well understood that, only give him his price, he would stick at nothing. Having by such means amassed a handsome fortune, he had ever at instant command, all the dramatis personae, necessary to carry on every sort of slight-of-hand, trickery, or farce; nay, it had been whispered that, in the higher walks of crime, he was not deficient of means, whereby, in case of need, tragedy even, might be successfully acted.

His appearance, was of a piece with his calling. Below the middle height, his sharp, pointed features, well agreed with the sly and cunning expression of his small, piercing eyes, which, deep seated in the forehead, were capable, upon a contraction or knitting of the brow, of conveying a withering sort of feel, upon those, who encountered his gaze. His hair was thin and straggling in front, serving still more, to mark the cast of his features; his mouth, was more than ordinarily large, and its expression singular; and his chin was protruding, and unusually long. His dress, which was dirty, mean, and shabby, as was also, the furniture of the room, denoted, full clearly, that avarice and outward show contended in his breast, which, should predominate, and that upon the whole, the former held the sway.

"What can I have the honor of doing for you, Sir," said he to Quintus, so soon as the door had closed upon the servant.

"I have called, respecting Mr. Kitely's affairs," he replied, glad to find that, he was unknown to the lawyer. "Mr. Wilson requested me to wait upon you, to make a few enquiries, before the next meeting of creditors takes place."

Mr. Wilson was the gentleman, who had been Quintus's informant; and it occurred to him, as there appeared some mystery relating to his own debt, that he was more likely to reach the truth, by this indirect manner, than, if he immediately mentioned his name and errand.

"I beg your pardon, Sir; I thought your business might have been different, for I have so many clients hourly, I never know who is next in turn. Here is the list of debts exhibited at the meeting, and here are the assets. You see, Sir, there is £3,768 14s. 3 1/2d. in schedule A, which is a list of the debts, and only £961 1 1s. 33/4d. in schedule B, or the assets. Poor Kitely is a ruined man—but some of his friends are willing to help him a little, and have empowered me to make a most noble, liberal offer to his creditors. In the whole course of my extensive practice, I never met with an instance of such disinterested friendship, but the family being respectable, wish to hush up the affair as quietly as possible."

"I do not quite understand you, sir—what is it that is proposed?"

"Why, to pay eight shillings and sixpence in the pound, upon obtaining a full release, and a surrender to the family, of all the unpaid securities that may here-after be held, by the several parties in schedule A."

"What! do you mean that people are to give up securities, and take a composition of eight shillings and sixpence in the pound, in their place?"

"No, sir—no, sir. The case is, that Mr. Kitely has had a good deal to do with accommodation paper, or kites as they are sometimes called; and he has reason to know many of them will not be paid, as his affairs are come to a close. Now, what we propose is, that all such dishonored bills shall be given up by the parties, and that, they shall receive at once, eight and sixpence in the pound. It will be better for those who do so, than those who do not—as they may otherwise chance to get very little."

"Are there many bills of that description out?"

"About twelve hundred pounds. Messrs. Servinton and Johnson hold three hundred and fifty. Messrs. Todd and Co., two hundred, John Smith, one hundred and sixty, the Bankers about four hundred, altogether, (looking at the same moment on a paper.) twelve hundred and thirty pounds fifteen shillings."

"Well, Sir, this certainly is a very extraordinary communication. My name is Servinton; and it was in consequence of a conversation with Mr. Wilson this morning, wherein he told me that we stood in the list, as considerable creditors, that I have called upon you. I cannot say I am at all satisfied with your explanation, and I shall take other measures with Mr. Kitely, if this be the manner he has been robbing us."

As Quintus thus spoke, Mr. Glossover's mouth and features were drawn into a satirical smile, and he presently replied,

"Every gentleman is at liberty to do just what he thinks proper. As for Mr. Kitely, he is perfectly safe from you, or any other of his creditors—and my duty to him, as my client, will ensure his remaining so. I can only tell you, Sir, if you value your pocket, you will agree to the terms proposed—if you prefer revenge, take it as you can get it. I can tell you farther, that all the bills you hold, are not worth the paper on which they are written, excepting so far as Kitely's friends make them of value, by their offer through me. Some of the parties, I take it, you may find dead—others, more than doubtful—and others, you may perhaps have some difficulty in discovering." He then paused for a moment, looked knowing, and drawing his finger and thumb across his chin, added, with a significant motion of the eye, and a most provoking sneer, "You doubtless remember the adage, 'De non apparentibus, et non existentibus, eadem est ratio,' and from hints that have been dropped, I will not take upon myself to say, how far you may find it realised."

"How, Sir!" replied Quintus, "am I to understand, that we have first been robbed, and are now to be laughed at? I'll see what figure Mr. Kitely cuts before a magistrate, if this is to be the case."

"Come, Sir," said the lawyer, "look at the thing a little more coolly—as to taking Mr. Kitely before a magistrate, you must first act as you would towards a fish, that you would propose to dress for dinner—catch it ere you boil it; and even if you really knew where to find him, what other charge at present have you, than that he has been unfortunate? and this you know, Sir, forms no part of our criminal code, nor does it come under the cognizance of a magistrate."

"If what you have told me, respecting the bills in our hands be correct, I think we have charge enough; and, as to finding him, I have little fear of that, after what passed here this morning. If your servant had not mistaken me for Kitely, I take it I should not have had an interview, by which so much has been disclosed."

"I cannot but be flattered by any circumstance, that procures me the honor of a lengthened visit from you, Sir; but it is only candid to tell you, that if you wait here for a month, you will not see Mr. Kitely. I profess to assist persons whose affairs are deranged—and I do not so little understand my business, as to do things by halves. I certainly expect to see a person on Mr. Kitely's behalf, and hence arose my stupid urchin's mistake—but assuredly, he is too securely planted, to be come-at-able, by any person, till all his affairs are arranged. It is eight and sixpence in the pound, and an unconditional surrender of all future unpaid securities, or just what the creditors can get. I seldom tread a middle course, when I undertake things—and my clients have little cause to fear, I will not do my duty to them, after we once understand each other."

During this conversation, which, having thus terminated, Quintus withdrew, Mr. Glossover had assumed and maintained that easy, audacious manner, belonging to a man, who knows he holds another in his power—a supercilious smile, every now and then, played around his mouth, particularly when he saw he had produced an unpleasant effect upon his hearer—the whole style of his speaking and gestures, being of a nature, little calculated to reconcile his auditor, to the intelligence he imparted. While every thing was yet fresh in his memory, Quintus determined to call, and relate to Mr. Wilson what he had been told, meaning also, to seek his advice as to his future course. It cannot be said, his communication greatly surprised that gentleman, and after listening to it attentively, he recommended that, in the first place, enquiry should be set on foot, with respect to the parties said to be upon the different bills held by Quintus, and afterwards to be governed by circumstances—but what much astonished him afterwards was to find the affair talked of lightly, by some commercial men of eminence, to whom he mentioned it; as they only replied with a shrug of the shoulders—"such things are of every day's occurrence, and doubtless a large proportion of the paper, that passes through the hands of all houses of extensive country connexion, is of the same description."

"What! nothing but nonentities do you think?" said Quintus to one who had so expressed himself.

"Neither more nor less—the parties take care always to retire them when due, and thus preserve their credit. It is not improbable that the floating capital of this sort, throughout the kingdom, is some millions."

"Then what would you advise me to do with regard to Kitely, if we ascertain, as I suppose we shall, that the bills in our hands are only waste paper?"

"To make the best terms in your power, and lose as little as can be helped."

In the course of a few days, suspicions so excited, with regard to the names represented as drawers, acceptors, and endorsers of the bills in his possession, were confirmed by the result of his enquiries; and he thus ascertained, that a good deal was meant by Mr. Glossover, when he introduced the expression, "de non existentibus," &c.

Happy would it have been for Quintus, had the loss he thus sustained, been all he lost on the occasion; but a new light broke in upon him, whereby thought he, "I can assist our finance operations, in case of need." Moral offence, he considered, there could be none; knowing as he did, and could fully prove, that his firm was much more than solvent—besides considered he, "if our own credit be sufficient, as I daily feel it is, to make any purchases I choose, and which I can immediately re-sell, and thus raise money, the plan I now meditate will be equally effected upon our own credit—it is not necessary to make any false representations, in order to obtain credit, and I shall save a great risk of bad debts."

No person ever yet perhaps, committed a first offence, without some contention with that small, still voice, implanted within our breast, by a beneficent Providence, serving, like a light-house or beacon to mariners on a dangerous coast, to warn them of their danger, and to point out the track, which may be followed with safety. But, the broad and open road to hell, is paved, presenting a gentle declivity to those who tread it; studded with allurements in every shape, likely to attract and gratify the senses, and ever teeming with the sin, that most easily besetteth us. When once expediency, or any other, save the most perfectly straight-forward mode of argument, is permitted to overcome and drown this small, still voice, the fate of the individual, is most unhappy. If despised, and neglected, this inward counsellor seldom attempts to offer its advice, or obtrude its influence, until, by subsequent changes in our lives, frequently, after many long and wearisome hours, passed in the school of adversity, its power is resumed. In some cases perhaps, it is even reserved for a death-bed, to become the means of reconcilement to this slighted, and neglected friend; but there are few of us, who, unless removed by sudden casualty, do not at some period or other, suffer acutely, from the chastisements inflicted by an upbraiding conscience. Had Quintus been endowed with more patience under advice, or with less of some of those active qualities, which, good in themselves, degenerated into vices, by being carried to extremes, no occasion of resorting to any systems of crooked policy, fraught as they were, with so many perils, would probably have been presented to him. It was not without much internal conflict—much mental deliberation, that he finally determined to use the knowledge he had now acquired, as a corps de reserve upon any emergency; but he sought to compromise the affair with himself, by many of those specious arguments, ever arising in his prolific brain; and more particularly by the resolve that, the power thus held, should not be applied in any instance, to promote his own private advantage, apart from the interests of the house.

Indeed, the peace and tranquillity, that pervaded the family circle at Mapleton, and the excellent management of Mrs. Clifton and Emily, in their several ways, rendered any increase of his expenses, not only unnecessary, but upon every account, to be avoided—as nothing perhaps, could improve their domestic comforts—nothing was absent, that the most fastidious could desire, although nothing was less known than waste, or extravagance; and nothing, like discord or disagreement, was ever allowed a place within their dwelling.

It was in this manner, and under this false and delusive compact with himself, that Quintus now entered that period of his life, which had been foretold as eventful, previously to his birth. The occurrence had been so long, and so entirely forgotten, that it was even unknown to most of his family, that he had ever been so pointed at, by the finger of destiny; but, had it been otherwise, and had it ever been attempted to have used this, as an argument, in enforcing advice, "A wilful man maun have his way," says the old Scotch proverb, and judging by the most striking traits of his character, and especially, his contempt of whatever bordered upon superstition, it is more than probable, he would have treated the subject with derision, had it ever been so mentioned.

It was not without grief, that his father, who was still living in the enjoyment of health and strength, unusual at his advanced age, witnessed the dangerous course, to which his son's inordinate desire to emulate and surpass others, had drawn him. Quintus kept his secret so closely, and contrived always, to put so good a face upon his affairs, that his most intimate friends, had not the least idea of their real state. His father, in common with many others, deplored what they at times saw, little dreaming how much more cause there was for regret, could they have known what they afterwards discovered; but he had that peculiar mode of silencing the enquiries, which their solicitude on his behalf, would have dictated—was always prepared with so plausible an excuse for whatever occurred—and, where he thought advisable, so anticipated questions, by imparting in his own way, information which he thought likely to be sought, that he entirely succeeded in blinding people, and easily removed the anxieties, which his friends sometimes entertained; not however, be it understood that, after he had imbibed the perilous doctrine taught by Glossover and Kitely, he immediately rushed headlong upon the practice; for on the contrary, he regarded it, as he at first proposed, as a resource in cases of urgency; but the consciousness of holding so dangerous a power, by degrees wrought upon him to use less diligence than formerly, in maintaining in their full order, all the ramifications of his business, reposing too much reliance upon this new sheet-anchor, should he be overtaken by an unexpected storm.

When, at length, the barrier was determined to be passed, he was too good a tactician to purpose introducing any paper, of the sort described, among his regular connexions, conceiving private channels would be more secure, and would also more effectually attain his object; accordingly, his mind instantly reverted to Mr. Trusty; transgressors of all sorts, being naturally ever cautious cowards, until grown bold by success. In taking the resolution to add one more to the list of infatuated tradesmen, who, according to the authority of his informants, build their credit upon the shallow and deceitful quicksands of fictitious bills, his sense of right and wrong, told him the nature of the course he had adopted; but far removed indeed, were his ideas of the awful consequences, that followed in its train; and whatever quirks upon minor points arose in his mind, were promptly silenced by thinking, "We cannot possibly do any injury, because a solvent house is made liable by its endorsement." Thus concluding within himself, he pushed forward his commercial occupations with energy and perseverance, and it was not long, until an opportunity occurred of making his Coup d'Essai in the hazardous line he had been contemplating; and to accomplish it successfully, was but too easy, for a man of his address and ingenuity.

Meanwhile, the skilful management of Glossover on behalf of his client, carried him triumphantly through his difficulties, all the creditors thinking it preferable to receive what was offered, rather than to chance the loss of the whole of their debts, under the idea of punishing a rogue; and within three months of the first notice of his insolvency, Kitely was figuring with redoubled splendour, in a shop of great magnitude. When, after some little time, all his old affairs were arranged, and he had nothing to apprehend, either from the amor justitiae, or the resentment, of any of his former creditors, he had the audacity to boast that, during twenty years, his father and he, had successively dealt with Moonshine and Co., to the tune of ten thousand pounds annually; but finding the trade was becoming overdone by others, he had resolved to back out; and for this purpose, had consulted Glossover, under whose auspices, his affairs had been brought to their present happy conclusion. There can be no doubt that, up to the last, he was able to pay every thing; but, this roguish attorney, seeing the dangerous tenure of his client's life and liberty, contrived to ease him of a handsome portion of his creditors' property, as the price of his services.

The vortex into which Quintus was speedily brought, by the lessons he was thus taught, afford an appalling, a most terrible example to others, how they venture upon the same forbidden ground; but, let our story speak for itself.


CHAPTER VIII

"Fate calls aloud, and hastens me away;
A shameful death attends my longer stay,
And I this night must fly from thee and love,
Condemn'd in lonely woods a banish'd man to rove."

PRIOR'S HENRY AND EMMA

It was about a month after the fatal resolve had been so taken, that Quintus met his friend Mr. Trusty in the street, one morning, and was accosted by him, "I was on my road to call upon you. We hold an acceptance of yours, for a thousand pounds, in favor of Rothero &Co. due next Thursday, the twelfth, and if you wish it, running bills on discount, will suit us quite as well as cash."

No man could be more on the alert, than he ever was, to catch at any prop, or support to the credit of his house, and yet to make things wear the best possible face. He always bore in mind the adage, about being, and singing poor; and although, at this very moment, he had been somewhat uneasy, respecting the provision of this very thousand pounds, it was not his policy to admit to Mr. Trusty, the full extent of the accommodation offered him. He therefore felt relieved of an anxiety by the communication, but instead of saying so, replied, "I am obliged to you—I scarcely know how we shall stand for cash on the twelfth, but I'll see in a day or two, and let you know."

"It's quite immaterial to us how it is. If you pay us cash, we shall discount for some other house, and if we discount for you, others must go without; but I love to encourage young men like you, and so thought I, 'I'll just step and name it to him.'"

"Then I will say at once, if you please, we will take up the thousand pounds by running bills. It may save you farther trouble, and I am much obliged by your having thought of us."

When the twelfth arrived, he provided himself, among several small country bills of exchange of great respectability, with a fictitious note for five hundred pounds, the drawers and endorsers of which, were creatures of his own brain, having no real existence. Thus prepared, he proceeded to Mr. Trusty's counting-house, but was rather thrown aback by seeing the clerks only, one of whom told him that, Mr. Trusty had gone into the country for the day, and had left the thousand pounds bill with him for collection. Quintus enquired, if he had said any thing, respecting the mode in which it was to be paid, but received an answer in the negative; he then went away, promising to call again shortly. Knowing Mr. Rothero was a partner in the mining establishment, he went direct to that gentleman; and having explained his business, and repeated what had passed between Mr. Trusty and himself, a few days previously, requested his interference with the clerk, to empower him, to complete the arrangement. "Let me see what bills you have," said Mr. Rothero. Quintus took from his pocket several, including the one composed of imaginary names, and submitted the whole to his inspection; the total amount, exceeding the thousand pounds he had to pay. After looking them all over very carefully, Mr. Rothero fixed upon the five hundred, along with others, of smaller value, and accompanying Quintus to the counting-house, directed the clerk to calculate the discount, and give up the other bill. The money thus raised for the occasion, was entered by Quintus, in the books of the house, as a loan, but without specifying from whom; and although for a few days, he was in a state of constant fear and trembling, nervously excited almost at his own shadow, and full of apprehension every time he saw his office door opened, his alarm by degrees yielded to the satisfaction, if it can be so called, that he derived, from having successfully accomplished his dangerous purpose.

Meanwhile, it cannot be said that he had attained any other of the ends he had pictured to himself, connected with the power thus used, nor were his peace or tranquillity of mind, in any one way promoted. Even his fire-side, which had never yet wholly failed in its relish, now lost much of its wonted zest, and instead of calmly enjoying the social evenings he had usually passed, taking part either in conversation, music, cards, or reading, as each in turn was the order of the day, his mind was like "a troubled sea, tossed to and fro, seeking peace, but finding none." His only child Olivant, was become a boy, of whom parents might well be proud; but even his delightful prattle, and the unfolding of superior abilities, joined to an excellent temper, lost much of their charm, and the poor little fellow was not always greeted with the fatherly tenderness, he had heretofore experienced. Emily too, came in for her share of comparative neglect and coldness, each arising from the disposition to vent upon others, that dissatisfaction with one's self, which ever attends an uneasy conscience. Yet, by redoubling her exertions to please, she endeavoured to convert the occasional chill of his manners, into all their former most engaging habitude, never permitting him to have the least cause to doubt, her thorough devotion.

Considering, as she did, that it is the duty, of a wife to make home as agreeable as possible to her husband, she was ever planning some new expedient, to dissipate the gloom, that had now evident possession of his brow, and would constantly try to entice him into walks or rambles around the neighbourhood, rather than suffer him, as he would frequently fain have done, to shut himself up in his closet, and mope in solitude. In one of these strolls, accompanied by their boy, they were crossing part of the nobleman's domain that adjoined the village, when, at a short distance, they noticed a group of persons assembled, and apparently occupied upon something, that took all their attention.

Olivant, with a child's curiosity, had somewhat preceded them, and going up to the party, presently came running back, exclaiming, "Oh, papa! do come here—these men are finding water in such a droll manner you can't think. You never saw anything like it, 'tis so funny—do make haste, papa."

Approaching the spot, they found half a dozen or more neighbouring farmers, who were looking on with great earnestness, at a man, habited as a better sort of yeoman, who was busily trimming a hazel wand. So soon as they joined the group, the man touched his hat and said, "Your servant sir! and yours madam! What! be you come to help me to dewster, my young gentleman? Well, wait a minute or two, and I will shew you all about it."

"We really do not know what you mean," said Quintus; "what is it?"

"Why, the duke thinks of building somewhere hereabouts, sir, and I've undertook to find out the exact place, where water is to be found."

"And can you do that, by dewstering, as you call it," replied Quintus, "although I am quite ignorant of your process."

"Yes, Sir! this hazel rod will enable me to fix upon the exact spot, where either water or goods will be found."

"What do you mean by goods?"

"Lead ore, Sir, or calamy, as we call it in our part of the country."

"Well! seeing, will be believing—I cannot comprehend it," said Quintus, "or what it is, you are going to do."

The man, seemingly more intent upon the business in hand, than upon pursuing the conversation, merely replied, "You will see Sir, presently," and then turned from him, holding in both his hands the rod, gently bent in the form of a bow. After traversing a certain space, backwards and forwards for some minutes, still holding the rod, he all at once stopped, and exclaimed, "Here, Sir, is either water or goods."

Quintus begged him to explain, how he was enabled to speak with so much confidence, to which the man answered, "The rod never deceives one, Sir, when once you understand it. Whenever you are near a spring, or calamy, it will bend in one's hands, whether one will, or no.—Now Sir, just take hold of it, and try.—Not that way—here Sir,—like this;" putting it at the same moment, into Quintus's hands, who found to his great surprise, that it forcibly moved, whenever he approached one particular spot. The man continued to explain that, if a crown piece were put under any one of twenty covers, placed in a row, the rod, if held over each in turn, would produce a similar effect, when it came to the one, over the money; adding, that in the mining districts, the use of the rod is common; and that a steel rod, is perhaps better than the hazel one.

It was one of Emily's chief delights, to take every opportunity of conveying instruction to their child, and she particularly sought occasion for illustrating by example, the theories of whatever studies, formed part of his daily lessons. He had not yet been sent to school, but, under the judicious treatment adopted from his infancy, had made a tolerable progress in many rudiments of useful learning; and had besides, been brought up entirely free from the injurious consequences, that too often attend an only child. What was particularly pleasing with regard to him, was the desire to understand things thoroughly, which he always manifested; and the questions he now asked, respecting the relative causes and effects, of what he had just witnessed, almost made his father blush, to think he was unable to explain them as he wished. Formerly, upon an occasion like the present, Quintus would have been as anxious for the research, as ever could be, his enquiring child; but now, any thing demanding thought or reflection, was irksome; and to the repeated, "But papa, do tell me how the man knew about the water," he could only obtain for answer, "Didn't the man tell you himself? Ask him again, if you don't understand it."

"Yes, papa; but I want to know, why the rod moved in his hand, when it came near the spring."

"I wish you wouldn't plague me with your questions, Olivant—I tell you, I know nothing at all, about it."

"My dear Quintus," said Emily, "why do you speak so crossly, to the dear child? Whom should he enquire of but you? and you used to encourage him to ask you every thing."

"I don't care whom he asks, so that he does not bore me, with his questions, ten times over—I've told him fifty times already, I know nothing at all about it."

"What is it, makes you so cross lately? Perhaps you are scarcely aware of it, but your manners to all the family, are very much altered; and it makes me quite miserable, to see it. Do tell me, if any thing is the matter."

"No, there's nothing the matter, only I have so many things to think of, I am not always in a humour to answer questions."

"Well, but my dear Quintus, you might as well speak good humouredly, as in that short, touchy way. I am quite sure, there is no person who would wish to incommode you by questions, but you know how often I have besought you to tell me every thing that occurs, and it cannot be my fault, if I have not the power of rendering you assistance; pray therefore, do not speak to the dear boy, and to myself so unkindly—you cannot think how I feel it."

"God knows, my dearest Emily, I have not a feeling towards either of you, but of the warmest affection, and you must forgive me, if I sometimes speak harshly, for I assure you I do not mean it. Come Olivant, my dear boy, your mamma says, we must find out why the sticks moved in the Dempster's hand, so let us go home, and try what we can make of it, by referring to the Encyclopaedia, or some other books; for to tell the truth, I have very little attended to the laws or principles of gravitation, and am not sufficiently acquainted with the subject, to make you understand it without assistance."

"Thank you, papa. If you will only show me where to look for it, I will try by myself, so as not to ask you more questions than I can help."

"Never mind asking your papa, what you do not understand," said Emily. "Something vexed him just now, but he always likes to attend to you; is'nt it so, Quintus?"

"Yes, Emily, when I have you at my elbow, to school me so prettily. But do not be afraid Olivant; always come to me when you want information, and we will do the best we can together."

It was Emily's judicious management of her husband's temper, in such instances as this, that counteracted the tendency to increased peevishness and impatience, which the secrets he carried within his bosom, were well calculated to produce; for he was ill at ease with himself, and was therefore disposed to vent upon all around him, the spleen to which he was a victim. Little indeed does he who deals in crooked policy, know the burthen he has imposed upon himself; else, who, in their senses, would depart from virtue? The crisis that Quintus had been earnestly inviting, was now however, drawing nigh at hand.

One cold, bleak afternoon, towards the end of November, when the heart of the city was wrapt in one impenetrable fog, rendering day-light, little else than darkness visible, a particular errand detained him late, causing him to make a call at a distant quarter of the town. It being after his usual hour for returning to Mapleton, ere his business was completed, he afterwards repaired to an ordinary, where he dined, and where several gentlemen were already assembled at table.—Most of them were strangers to him, but with one or two he had a slight acquaintance, and among them with an Attorney, of the name of Gordon. The conversation was much as usual in mixed societies, where people are little known to each other, turning chiefly upon the public occurrences of the day—upon the relative merits of the different dishes at table—upon the quality of the wines, and upon the weather. Just at that time, the commercial world had been greatly convulsed by the recent detection of a forgery, of immense magnitude; the circumstances relating to which, formed every where the topic of discourse, and public opinion had been divided upon the question, whether or not there was any chance of the unhappy culprit's life being ultimately saved.—After dinner, one of the party taking up an evening newspaper, which the waiter had just laid upon the table, read aloud a paragraph, stating that the Recorder's report had that morning been submitted to the King in Council, and that ——, convicted at the last Old Bailey Sessions, of forgery, was ordered for execution on the following Tuesday. This led to a discussion, upon the question, how far the punishment of death, was proper for this particular crime; and in the course of it, Mr. Gordon observed, "Forgery is an offence, much more frequently committed, than most people are aware, but the punishment is the same in all cases. There is one branch, which I believe is daily practised with impunity, and almost without notice—I mean the circulation of fictitious bills, or using the names of persons having no existence; which is as much a forgery in the eye of the law, as the offence for which poor —— is doomed to suffer."

Quintus was thunderstruck at this doctrine, but managed to reply, "You surely do not mean, Sir, it can be a forgery, to issue paper bearing the names of persons who never existed."

"Most unquestionably it is," said Mr. Gordon. "The Legislature makes no distinction between real or imaginary names; the offence and the punishment are alike in both cases."

"If that be the case," answered Quintus, "many commercial men innocently issue forgeries every day of their lives," going on to explain the adventure of Kitely and Co., and stating the manner of Glossover's successful management in withdrawing the bills.

"I am not at all clear," answered Mr. Gordon, "that according as you have stated the transaction, something very much like compounding a felony, might not be made out against more than one party in it. I am quite clear upon the point, that the bills you held were forgeries, and that Kitely's life was at your mercy. I do not say however, I think you were wrong in not pushing the matter; for my opinion, and I believe the opinion of nine-tenths of those who ever think at all, is decidedly averse to the punishment of death, for forgery in any case; but particularly where the law is so stretched, as to constitute fictitious bills into forgeries. There are twenty other crimes, of much greater moral magnitude, which are punishable by penalties, comparatively little felt. If a man picks another's pocket of hundreds of thousands, he undergoes but a few years' transportation, and is again turned loose upon society. If he embezzles a million of money, or commits a breach of trust to any amount, his punishment is far short of death—but, if he puts into circulation a note or bill, for no more than five pounds, bearing the name of a person who never existed, except in the fancy of him who issued it, although unaccompanied by any false pretences or representations, and although he himself may be fully solvent, and have made himself liable by endorsement, under his true character and address, yet that man has committed a forgery, and is liable to suffer death."

Dreadful as was the intelligence thus brought home to Quintus, he had sufficient self-command to conceal his emotion, and so soon as a short pause in the conversation, gave him an opportunity of withdrawing, bade the company a good evening, and departed. But, had his own passing bell rung in his ear, his feelings could not have been more severely poignant, than now, in contemplating the horrid situation in which he stood, rendered as it was, but too glaring, by Mr. Gordon's exposition of the law. Again and again, did he curse his restless ambition, which had not only brought him to the brink of a dangerous precipice, but had already hurled him, as it were, half way down its bank, leaving him nothing but a slender twig or two, whereon he could lay hold, under the vain hope that it might yet break his fall, and save him from the gulf, that was fearfully yawning below, ready to receive him. Acutely did his conscience upbraid him that, it had been so again and again despised; and keen were his regrets that, the many warnings and solicitations of his Emily, had been so little regarded.

In this frame of mind, he bent his way homewards, rather indebted to the sagacity of his horse, for chusing the right turnings of the many streets he had to traverse, ere he was on the broad turnpike, leading to the village, than to his own care or attention—his thoughts being wandering or absent, and wholly abstracted by the nature of the intelligence he had received.

As he approached home, however, he felt the necessity of rallying himself, and when he entered the house had sufficiently done so, to enable the natural buoyancy of his disposition, partly to resume its sway; and hope whispered to him, that he might yet, by skilful and energetic measures, recover his lost position, and retrace his steps.

Upon how little, sometimes, in the shape of hope, will the mind of man cling, when brought either by accident or other causes, into desperate circumstances! Once admitting the idea, that he might free himself from the awful consequences he had been contemplating, during his ride from town, it was comparatively easy so to bury in oblivion, nearly the whole he had heard, that he joined the family party as usual, and exhibited nothing, either by his manner or countenance, that could have excited the least suspicion, even with the watchful Emily, that any thing particular had occurred.

But this unnatural repose was of short duration. Quintus, although a guilty man, both in the estimation of his country's laws, and in the judgment of that tribunal, which is placed within us by Providence, was not hardened; and the conflicts he had with himself, when in solitude, aided as they were by the self-restraint he necessarily adopted, in concealing his emotions, were almost past endurance.

For the first time in his life, his energy or inclination to exertion, forsook him—the storm he had conjured up, found him, now that he was overtaken by it, utterly passive and helpless—there was a vacuity about him, that rendered all his movements listless, and which did not long escape the observation of some, who were more immediately around him. More than once he endeavoured to rouse himself, and to use a common phrase, put his shoulder to the wheel; but, the prospect before him, was so black and appalling, that his mental courage, strong as it had ever been, sank beneath its contemplation, and all he could resolve upon was, that he would not add to its dismal colouring, by farther tempting his fate.

As one step towards doing that something which was indispensable, although what it was to be he could not determine, he took, as nearly as he was able, an accurate account of the state of his affairs, meaning to ground upon it, his course of farther proceedings; but, having no person in whom he dared confide—no counsellor to whom he had the resolution to open the hidden recesses of his heart—he was scarcely more resolved than before, what to do next; and day after day succeeded each other, rapidly hastening the maturity of the five hundred pounds bill in the hand of Mr. Trusty, and upon which, spell-bound as he seemed, he could not help feeling that his fate depended.

Thus surrounded on all sides by a labyrinth, whose intricate mazes scarce left him any choice of path, it being equally difficult to halt as to proceed, days and nights were passed in the most distressing perplexity that can be conceived; and at length—sick at heart and dispirited as he was, and resembling the benighted traveller who, being way-worn upon some dreary waste, and uncertain where to rest his head, is presently excited to fresh efforts by the glimmering and deceitful ignis fatuus seen at a distance, towards which he makes, only to be plunged into farther trouble—he conceived the idea of seeking relief by abandoning the vessel he was no longer able to navigate, and, by placing himself where he might be safe, adopt Kitely's plan, and make terms, that would shield him from ultimate danger.

This idea, once allowed influence in his bosom, was cherished more and more, as the only course now left him; although it was met, on the other hand, by many and powerful arguments, combating its adoption at every step. His wife and his boy did not, of these, present the least persuasive; for Quintus, with all his faults, was decidedly formed for domestic life—was ardently attached to Emily, fully alive to all her varied excellencies, and loved his child with all a father's tenderness, equally on his own account, as for the sake of her who bore him; and could not have contemplated without pain, even a temporary separation from them. What, then, must have been his feelings, when he reflected, as he constantly did, that the cause which was to produce this dreaded separation, was even more painful than the parting itself!—and that, if he persisted in his purpose, and when it would be no longer possible to conceal the facts from Emily, the shock of the intelligence would be inconceivably augmented, by the knowledge thus imparted to her, of the delinquencies of a beloved husband.

Then again at times, would his memory revert to what had escaped her, when the West India proposal was in agitation; which, accompanied as it had been by so many palliatives, she could scarcely be brought to listen to with patience, on account of the separation it would have caused; and he could not help drawing a melancholy contrast between the two occasions, and applying from it inferences, which distressed him beyond measure.

Still, what was he to do? for the only other alternative, that of staying and facing the storm, seemed to him still worse than flight. At times he felt disposed to unbosom himself unreservedly to Emily; but again his courage failed him, for he could not endure the thoughts of thus contemplating his own picture. So hidious is vice, when seen in its true colours—so frightful the spectre even to ourselves, that we are driven from one position to another, seeking to avoid it, although, after the first wrong step, only to increase its power. We forgot also, how grievously we afflict others, at the same moment that we are ruining ourselves, by enlisting in its service; for our experience of the world tells us, that there are many, who are much more keen and sensitive, respecting the faults of others, than of their own—many, who view the same transaction in different lights, according to its actor—who think that, a beautiful flower, when belonging to themselves, which is esteemed a frightful weed, if growing in their neighbour's garden—in a word, who measure their own and other peoples' corn by different bushels. Not so however, was it with Quintus, in respect to the relative connexion between himself, and the affectionate friends by whom he was surrounded. Could he have summoned resolution to have poured into Emily's ear, some of that contrition, by which his soul was distracted, and which, being suppressed, added twofold to his misery, he would have found in her, and in her relations, powerful and kind auxiliaries. Could he indeed, have brought himself to divest his mind of a portion of its care, by laying the burden upon one, who was most ready to share it with him, the subsequent excellence of her conduct gave full assurance, that he would have reposed his confidence, where it was well deserved; and both might have been spared years of sorrow.

While things were in this state, his friend Mr. Trusty, gave him abundant opportunities, had he been so inclined, of at least keeping the ball alive some time longer—an additional temptation being offered by the state of the commercial markets, which bade fair to realize the expectations he had some time ago formed, and which had led him again to maintain a stock in trade, disproportioned to his means; but the inducement was not strong enough to overcome his repugnance, to continue in his present dangerous course—he saw that, to obtain an entire release from its snares and entanglements, was beyond his power, even if he succeeded, as he easily might, in procuring present relief; and fraught with terror and alarm, as was his intended path, leading, as he was well aware, to unknown fields of misery and disquietude, yet he was at a loss to fix upon any other, that was upon the whole preferable. But, here again, another point suggested itself. Whither was he to go, or how was he to accomplish his purpose? The world was open to him, it is true; and his education and attainments were such, as relieved him from anxiety that, go where he would, he might be unable to support himself; but, mere maintenance was secondary, compared with what otherwise belonged to his condition; and the thoughts of leaving home, wife, child, and numerous kind friends, to become an outcast, a miserable wanderer, was almost too much for him—his spirit sank within him, and he was tempted to repine, that he had ever existed.

Time, however, pursues its way, little heeding, whether it carries on its wings, joy or sorrow, ease or disquietude, to the children of men; and it became necessary, not only that, something should be done, but that, this something, should be done quickly—otherwise, no opportunity would be afforded. Roused therefore, from the state bordering upon apathy, in which he had slightly reposed, he set about acquiring certain needful information, and having learnt that, a vessel was shortly to sail for the United States of America, his inventive genius readily adapted itself, when restored to its pristine tone and vigour, to making all requisite arrangements, with secresy and dispatch; and bending its whole force, to this one point, he contemplated the period fixed for his departure, as though it were to be the end of all his troubles. When the much dreaded, and yet hoped for day, was within one or two revolving suns, he learnt that the vessel was to touch at the Isle of Wight, and from thence, proceed on her voyage, after a very short stay; and he was recommended to join her there, rather than embark in London, as the means of avoiding an unpleasant passage through the Downs. This intelligence proved agreeable, insomuch, as it would be the means of holding a communication with Emily, ere he left England; purposing, as he did, to impart to her by letter, that which he much desired, but was still unable to do, personally; and he hoped it might be possible to hear again from her, in such a manner as might assist him in shaping his future course; nay, his sanguine disposition even led him to indulge the idea that, she might leave town and join him. He did not miscalculate his wife—the commencement of his troubles, was the commencement of a new, and exalted era in her life; raising her to as high a point perhaps, as human nature is capable of being carried; and leading her to display bright jewels of conjugal love and devoted constancy, that well deserved a very superior reward, to any this world has in its power to bestow.

The evening and night that preceded the finally arranged day of his departure, were passed in a state that beggars description; and, when he rose in the morning, the idea of parting from Emily, in so miserable a manner, nearly overpowered him, and betrayed his fatal secret—but he summoned resolution, sufficient to leave the house, nearly as upon ordinary occasions, though he could not so far check the impulse of nature, as to refrain from some little marks of tenderness, more than were usual, when only leaving her for a few hours. Even, after he had trod the threshold, which had so long been the abode of peace, love, and harmony, for perhaps the last time, he still lingered irresolute, ere he finally launched upon his perilous expedition, much in the manner that a youth, when first learning to swim, stands upon the margin of the water, intending each moment to jump in headlong, yet still drawing back with breathless fear, till at length, screwing up his courage to the necessary pitch, plunges forwards, and in one instant is completely immersed. So was it with Quintus—apprehension, alarm, and bewildered entanglement, urged him forwards; honor, domestic happiness, and reputation, whispered to him—"Stay where you are"—but what sort of a counsellor is a man's mind, when torn and distracted? "Our guilt makes cowards of us all," and in the present instance, upon the same principle, that strong excitements are sometimes had recourse to, under the delusive hope of drowning care, although only to impose an additional weight of suffering, when their transient effects have subsided—so did Quintus, shun the lesser evil clinging to the greater, and unable to draw back, proceeded into town, fully resolved to set his life and fortune upon the die, and abide the result.

His first measure afterwards was, to write a few lines to his wife, acquainting her of his being unexpectedly obliged to go into the country, promising she should hear from him so soon, as the journey was completed, and requesting her to send a few travelling necessaries. There was nothing extraordinary in this, as short absences from home were by no means uncommon, many of his Correspondents being in distant parts of the kingdom, and occasions sometimes arising, to render his personal interference necessary. At length, the hour for the departure of the coach, which was to remove him for ever from the scenes of his early manhood, had been warned by the City clocks—the hour-hand was close upon it, the other, advancing with rapid strides to the same point—the coachman was already on his box—the guard standing to assist the passengers to their places, when Quintus Servinton—more like a walking automaton than the active, energetic character he had ever displayed—mounted the carriage steps, and, occupying a vacant corner, the vehicle quickly conveyed him the first stage, of a long journey of trouble and affliction.

When too late, his memory retraced, with bitter acrimony, many events of the last few years of his life; but he had scarcely time to think; several important measures still demanded his attention, and in the wretched frame of mind which was now his constant companion, perhaps it was fortunate that his thoughts were not permitted, long to dwell upon any one subject.


CHAPTER IX

"Now the storm begins to low'r."

GRAY

Upon reaching that point of his sad journey, when he thought he might do so with safety, Quintus wrote to Emily, conveying the dreadful intelligence, which it was no longer possible to withhold from her. He told her the melancholy truth, that having only the alternative of flight and safety, or remaining in England with danger, he had arranged every thing for crossing the Atlantic, adding his earnest wish to see her and his boy, before he departed; which he said might be accomplished, if she set out immediately upon the receipt of his letter. He further hinted the idea of its being possible for her to accompany him; without however, urging it, as the many obstacles that stood in the way of such a measure, did not escape his consideration.

When the fatal tidings were put into her hands, she repined not, nor did she waste her time and energies in fruitless bewailings. Her mind at once assumed a new and exalted tone—"I must act, rather than think," exclaimed she, as her husband's scrawl was again and again perused, and making hasty preparations for the journey, a post chaise was ordered to the door, and in a comparatively short space, she had taken her departure, accompanied by her father, mother, and child, to once more see and bless, her faulty husband.

What must have been her feelings when, as if by a strange fatality, she found herself travelling by the very road, and to the very spot, where their honeymoon had been passed ten years previously? She was now going to bid, perhaps an eternal adieu to the man, who had then been her joyful companion, blithesome, gay, and happy—but now, alas! a banished alien. But Emily reposed not her troubles nor her confidence on human means of consolation. She had always sought a higher and a firmer solace; and that God, whom she had never deserted, did not desert her in this, her hour of affliction. He bestowed, in answer to her pious supplications, a strength proportionate to the load imposed on her; and arriving at her journey's end, she was enabled to go through the much dreaded interview, with a calmness and composure, that at one time, she had scarcely even dared to hope for.

"I will not reproach you, my dearest Quintus," said she "nor can I let you reproach yourself—for I dare say you did it all for the best; and it cannot now be mended. You know, I can never be happy without you, and although 'tis impossible for me to accompany you, I give you my word and honor, that I will follow you, as soon as you write, and tell me where you are—but are you sure—quite sure, you are safe?"

"Quite sure, my Emily.—The vessel is to sail immediately, the wind is fair, and 'tis not possible that my absence can be noticed, or the cause discovered, till to-day; and according to the plan I have taken, it will not be very easy to trace me."

"Oh! but perhaps, they will enquire about me; and will thus find out, which way you are gone—pray, don't stay any longer—but yet, perhaps, there's no danger for a little while. Do you think there is? If I could only persuade myself you were safe, I should be so happy—but do you really think you must go directly?"

Quintus was as loth as herself, to put an end to an interview, which he could not help feeling might probably be the last they might ever hold together, and was willingly inclined to believe, that it might be continued for some time, with perfect safety; and in the tender and interesting scene that ensued, the arrangements made for his flight, and his intended subsequent proceedings, were more discussed, than the unfortunate and more immediate cause of their distresses; and she derived a satisfaction, or a degree of happiness, from the assurances he gave her that he had nothing to fear, and to looking forward to their again meeting in the course of a few months, which she had not previously thought possible, under their present circumstances.

Thus is it, whenever great calamities overtake us, that we seek consolation from any little alleviating circumstances, by which they are accompanied. It is in this manner, that we are mercifully enabled to bear burthens, which might otherwise be too much for our strength. Emily's sorrow at the intelligence she had so lately received, her grief at the impending separation from a beloved husband, to say nothing of personal considerations, affecting as they must, both her own and her child's condition, all gave way and dwindled into nothing, when Quintus's danger presented itself to her imagination; and no sooner was her alarm upon this subject, in a measure relieved, than almost the whole occasion seemed for the moment lost sight of, until at length, continuing together as long as they thought they dared, she tore herself from him, with many oft repeated and fervent vows that, her fate should be joined to his, whatever it should prove, adopting the words of Ruth, "That his people should be her people—his God, her God, and that where he died, there would she also die, and be buried."

But that Providence, without whose permission we are told, not even a sparrow falleth to the ground, was watching over the passing scene, and was preparing means of overruling the plans, that had been formed, and so tenderly dilated upon. Quintus had scarcely left the house, that contained his wife and child—the tears which the former had plentifully shed in bestowing her last caress, were not yet dried upon his cheek—their boy who had been awoke from a sound sleep, to receive his father's farewell benediction, had scarcely relaped into his slumbers, half comprehending only, why he had been disturbed, when the wind, which, for some days had blown from a quarter, favourable for outward bound vessels, shewed symptoms of veering round, so as to prevent them from leaving the port.

"There's no chance I think, of sailing to day," said the captain, in reply to an anxious enquiry made of him by Quintus. "I shall try, after to-morrow morning's tide, but I think there's a cursed southwester setting in, and although the Swiftsure sails within three points of the wind, she won't run right in the teeth of it."

Quintus was afraid of exciting the master's suspicions, by letting him see too much of his real alarm, not but, had he been a man of observation, he might have guessed that, no common occasion could have caused him to be haunted as he was throughout the day, by his intended passenger, with constantly asking,—"Do you think the wind is at all more favourable, than it was an hour ago?" or questions much to this purport; but, as the afternoon advanced, the signs of a change of wind became still more decided, and ere night-fall, not a hope remained that, even the idea of trying to sail the next morning, could be carried into effect.

It was now, that the full measure of his woe appeared before Quintus; he retired to his solitary couch, but not to sleep, and when he arose from it, at the earliest peep of day, heart sick and feverish, it was with grief and horror, but not surprise, that he learnt it was impossible to sail; and in the bitterness of his soul, he resolved to run all hazards, and make a confidant of the master of the vessel, by telling him some part of his danger. Taking an early opportunity therefore of seeing him, he represented that his personal liberty was endangered by the ship's detention, alleging as a cause, a heavy debt for which he was likely to be pursued, and offering at the same moment, a considerable sum, as an inducement, to go to sea at once. The captain, who was of affable, or indeed courteous manners, and who, very possibly was by no means unused to such communications, from those who sometimes found a trip to America desirable, listened with polite attention to all Quintus had to say, and in the end replied that, let the wind blow which way it might, he would weigh anchor at next morning's tide; but that it would be impracticable earlier, as there would not be sufficient water, till the next flow, to cross a bar, close to which the vessel was now moored.

Meanwhile, Emily and her affectionate, but sorrowful companions, bent their way homewards, their heavy load of misery somewhat lightened, by the idea that Quintus was safe; for, not versed in the changes of the wind, changes, which oftentimes produce mighty consequences to the inhabitants of the earth, little apprehension was felt that, any such cause as had really occurred, might have arisen to prevent the intended voyage; although Emily, more than once could not help inwardly feeling an anxiety, to which she dared not give utterance, that the altered temperature of the weather, from a dry, nipping frost, to great mildness, might proceed from an unfavourable change of wind. Nevertheless, she said nothing, dreading to find her fears confirmed, and herself deprived of her present small grounds of comfort. The journey was therefore continued, almost in moody silence.

Nothing could exceed the astonishment that pervaded Quintus's immediate business connexion, when, upon the same day that Emily had taken leave of him to return to town, a whisper began to be circulated, that something was the matter with the house of Servinton and Johnson. One version of the story obtained one class of hearers—another found another—but all were foreign from the truth, as the fact which had caused his absence, had not transpired, beyond to a limited few. The fatal five hundred pounds bill, upon being presented for payment where it was addressed, was of course dishonoured; and, after having gone the ordinary notarial course, was returned to Mr. Trusty, simply bearing the words—"No effects." Little imagining what was the real cause of such an answer, Mr. Trusty despatched his son with the bill to Quintus's compting house, directing him to accompany the usual notice by an offer of accommodation, if wished for, in regard to its payment. It so happened, that Mr. Johnson received the messenger destined to communicate this unlooked-for news, and, not at first suspecting any thing to be wrong, merely replied, "Mr. Servinton will be home this evening, and will attend to it. The cash concerns are entirely in his hands. Here, Mr. Jones," addressing one of the Clerks, "take a copy of the bill, and put it on Mr. Servinton's desk, so that he may see it as soon as he returns." Whilst the clerk was so employed, his suspicions became excited by several circumstances connected with the bill, particularly that all the parties it represented, were unknown to him, even the last endorsers; and coupling this with Quintus's late abstraction and altered manner, he could not help whispering Mr. Johnson, that he feared there was a something which it would be difficult to explain. The particulars of the bill were however taken, and Mr. Trusty's son withdrew, under the promise that it should have immediate attention.

The painful doubts and apprehensions so excited in the mind of Mr. Johnson, were not suffered to be of long duration. It was impossible for any of Quintus's friends, to have more sincerely lamented his dereliction, than did the unhappy man himself. It was a determination to break through the trammels wherewith he was entangled, that had prompted his present dangerous course; and in proceeding, he felt desirous of repairing, so much as lay in his power, the mischief he had occasioned, by bestowing such information as might assist the house and its various creditors, in easily understanding many things, at present known only to himself. At the same time, therefore, that he had written to Emily, he had addressed a letter to his cousin Campbell, with whom he had long continued on terms of brotherly affection and intimacy, in which he fully avowed every thing; enclosing also, a small private pocket book, kept in characters instead of figures, the key to which he explained. A regard to his own safety, prompted his so contriving the delivery of this packet, that it was not to reach Frederick Campbell's hands, until Emily should have had a very considerable start; but it was not possible to withhold it, so as to be of the service he intended, longer than until about the same time, that Mr. Trusty would probably learn the fate of his bill. Very shortly therefore, after the messenger from the Mining Company had left the premises, Frederick entered, his expressive features too well proclaiming, that he was indeed the harbinger of bad tidings.

Few idle words were expended upon the melancholy occasion, by either of the two friends. Whatever had been the previous surmises of Mr. Johnson, arising from what the clerk had said, they were reduced to a certainty, by the avowal now candidly made, under Quintus's own hand writing; and the only question that remained for immediate consideration was, what should be done next? A suspension of payments was the first and most obvious measure; and the next, an immediate communication to Mr. Trusty.

Notwithstanding that every possible precaution was used in the manner of effecting the arrangements now originated, so as to avoid giving any unnecessary publicity to what had happened, rumour, with her hundred tongues, soon began to assume her usual province, magnifying the extent of the mischief to an enormous sum, ever seizing hold on private misery as a ball to be sported with by the public, giving it whatever direction seems most agreeable to him who last handled it, oftentimes too, without regard to the real circumstances of the case. Unfortunately therefore, in this instance, ere the gentlemen who formed the Mining Company could attend a meeting, which was early convened for the purpose of laying the true particulars before them, each had in some way or other, been unfavourably impressed; and more than one entered the room where they assembled for deliberation, with very different feelings to those expressed in the truly Christian lines,—

"Peccantem damnare cave, nam labimur omnes;
Aut sumus, aut fuimus, aut possumus esse, quod hic est."

Quintus had mentioned in his letter to his cousin, that he should have left England before it reached him; and as he appeared to have imparted all the information that could have been obtained from him, had he been present, the first idea in the minds of some who now met was, not to take any steps towards interfering with his flight; but among them were two or three elderly gentlemen, who, grown rich by trade, regarded all its bulwarks with veneration, and therefore started, and warmly supported the positions, that this was an instance, which demanded a severe example, as a warning to the many others who were purusing the same track—that the offence was greatly aggravated by the birth, education, and attainments of the party—that public justice required them to smother private feelings—and that steps should therefore be promptly instituted, with the view of the delinquent's being apprehended. When it was replied by Mr. Rothero, and others, that the confessions made through Frederick Campbell, should be held as some extenuation, and that there was little probability, according to the documents laid before them, of their sustaining any ultimate loss, one of the elders said,—"If we were merely a private partnership, the case would be very different; but we are a chartered company—a public body—and, as such, our duty is a strict one. I have always respected the young man, and grieve to think of his situation; but, were he my own son, my recommendation as to our measures, would be the same as as it now is. We have a duty to perform, and must think of nothing else."

"If he had unfortunately held so near a connexion to you, or to to either of us, as you have mentioned," said one of Quintus's advocates, "the individual so connected, would at least, have been spared the pain of sitting here in judgment, and your position therefore, although strongly expressive of your own feelings, is scarcely maintainable. Neither I, nor any other of the gentlemen who support my side of the question, wish to impede the course of justice; but before we take steps which may, perhaps, involve the question of a fellow-creature's life, it behoves us to be assured that the public has sustained a wrong. I have no objection to despatching messengers to the ports most likely for him to have fled to, provided they be not armed with any power beyond mere detention, in case he is met with; but I altogether protest at present, against any interference of the civil authorities."

"By what power, then, is he to be detained?"

"Let his partner Mr. Johnson, be entrusted with the mission, or any of his own immediate friends. If he be overtaken, and satisfactorily explain whatever is required of him, in addition to what he has already made known, his escape may still be easily managed; but, if not, he must abide the consequences."

After some further discussion, this mezzio terzo was agreed to, and, each person engaging to say nothing of what had transpired, or of what was intended, the meeting broke up, satisfactorily upon the whole in its result, to the well-wishers of Quintus. But, in the same manner that smoke finds its way through a closely covered kiln, and betrays to the traveller the nature of the volcano underneath, so was it impossible to conceal from an inquisitive public, the sad announcement that had been made. The affair, with many exaggerations, spread rapidly through the town; and when the merchants and traders met at the usual hour upon 'Change, nothing was talked of, but the "unparalleled forgery!"

"I hear the amount already discovered is forty thousand pounds," said one, with a look of greedy pleasure as he spoke. "Poor ——, who suffered lately, was nothing to this spark. I understand, he kept three expensive establishments, and lived separate from his wife, whom he treated cruelly. I am told he spent nearly ten thousand a year in gaming, women, and one thing or another. These are awful times, and require a deal of caution."

"Only forty thousand is it?" was the reply. "I had not heard the particulars, but a friend of mine told me, that his brother had it from a first cousin of Mr. Rothero, that that gentleman would lose near thirty thousand pounds for his share alone, and that the total forgeries were about two hundred thousand. He also said, that Mr. Servinton could so exactly imitate Mr. Rothero's writing, from having been a clerk in his house, that it is almost impossible to discover the difference between the two, and that the chief forgeries were in his name."

"Dear me!" said another, who helped to form a little group, that had by this time gathered around the two last speakers, "I did not understand this was the case—I heard it was for fictitious bills—I didn't know he had forged Mr. Rothero's name. Dear me! what a rogue he must be. Did you know him?"

"I knew him very well," replied a fourth, "and have done a deal of business with him, and a pleasanter, more off-hand man to deal with, I seldom met with. I'll never believe 'tis a hundredth part so bad as what they say. What could he have done with the money? for I live only a short distance from him in the country, and can answer for his being any thing but an extravagant man; and I say further, he is a man I am very slow to think ill of, and I expect 'twill all turn out better than people say."

"I do not know him, even by sight," answered the first speaker, "but, when you talk of any thing but extravagant, what do you call, three separate establishments, horses, carriages and gambling?—and how can you be slow to think ill of a man, who uses his wife in the way he treats his,—I know a person, who positively assured me this morning, that Mrs. Servinton has before now, been confined to her room three weeks at a time, owing to her husband's cruel usage—and that he has behaved to her shamefully, ever since they were married."

"And I positively say, it is an infamous falsehood," replied the other.—"I have seen them hundreds of times together—and take upon myself to assert, there is not a more happy or affectionate couple, breathing—Mrs. Servinton is a most excellent woman; and her husband knows it. 'Tis a pity people should repeat such infernal slander."

In this manner, was poor Quintus's reputation, fallen as it really was, coolly and deliberately still farther murdered; and the few who still inclined to regard him with forbearance, were completely borne down as it were, by the torrent of public opinion. But Mr. Rothero, having known him for many years, and watched him through many vicissitudes, had conceived a favourable impression of his general character and conduct, and was not to be changed in his sentiments, or in his desire to prevent extreme measures, even by the popular clamour, now excited. His goodness and forbearance were the more manifested in this, insomuch as he was nearly the largest creditor of the house; yet, he suffered not resentment to have a place in his breast, nor would he abandon the idea that, commiseration was as much due to the unhappy man, as blame. Entertaining these feelings, he had been painfully grieved at many things that had reached his ears, during his half hour spent on 'Change, and was returning westward from the City, when he met Mr. Johnson, equipped for his journey, and proceeding towards one of the coach-offices.

"Which road do you think of taking?" he enquired.

"I have ascertained," replied Mr. Johnson, "that there are two American vessels, on the point of sailing from Cowes, one from Plymouth, and some from Liverpool.—I am at a loss to decide, which place is the most probable—as I have not succeeded in obtaining the least trace of how he left London; though to own the truth, I half suspect 'tis because I have no great heart for my work, and my scent, therefore, is not the keenest in the world."

"Well," said Mr. Rothero, "entre nous if I did know, which was the most probable road, I should be as well pleased with your taking either of the others; and I apprehend your feeling is pretty much the same; for what with old Heartless's prejudices, and notions of public justice, and the hue-and-cry made in the City this afternoon, there will be something to do to save him, if he be overtaken."

"I fully agree with you; but you will recollect the discretion, they have placed in my hands."

"Perfectly—yet, I would much rather 'twere not called into action. There could not then, by any possible blame imputed to you.—All you can do I fear is, to make your unpleasant duty, as mild as possible."

"Which, I assure you is my desire; and it will not be my fault, if he does not find in me a friend, should we once more meet."

They then separated, Mr. Johnson being still undecided, as to what route to chuse, so as to lead to the probability of accomplishing his errand successfully, and yet anxious to preserve Quintus from harm; for although equally inclined with any of his warmest friends, to protect and serve him, the peculiarity of his own situation, determined him that, at all events the charge of misprision, should not be alleged against him with justice.

Thus almost undetermined, but inclining upon the whole, to make his way to Southampton, and thence, either to Cowes, or farther westward, according to the information he might obtain, he took his seat in one of the western coaches, just as a disagreeable December evening, was fast closing. Arriving at the first stage, he remained in the carriage while the horses were being changed, carelessly looking through the window at those who were passing to and fro in front of the inn, when his attention was suddenly taken by the rapid whirlings of a post-chaise, which drew up immediately in front of the coach; and in one minute, Mr. and Mrs. Clifton, leading Emily and her child, entered the door-way. Here then, a clue was presented which left him no alternative. He regretted the chance, for the sake of the fugitive; yet, what could he do, but follow the path thus so remarkably opened to him? He instantly alighted, having obtained from the driver of the chaise, all the information he wished, sought an interview with Mr. Clifton, chiefly to assure him that, although employed on a painful errand, he hoped all might yet be well. The moment Emily heard his voice, the cause of his presence was manifest to her; and, scarcely able to support herself under the distressing ideas connected with it, could only exclaim, "Thank God! he's safe—he's safe!" when she fell into her mother's arms, perfectly insensible.

Mr. Johnson was deeply affected, and, taking Mr. Clifton's hand, said, "Be assured, my dear sir, I shall use the information I have so wonderfully obtained, only as may be required by circumstances. I have no hostile mission or intentions; and, if Mr. Servinton acts as I hope and expect he will, he will find a friend in me from whom he has nothing to fear. It will wholly depend upon himself, although I must own, a situation of great delicacy that has been imposed on me, would be avoided to my infinite satisfaction, if I find upon arrival at Cowes that he has sailed. You must admit it to have been better for me to go upon this errand, than a stranger, and Mrs. Servinton may be assured, that I shall not make more haste than I can well avoid." The call of, "Coach is waiting, Sir," had more than once interrupted their short colloquy—and being now repeated with increased earnestness, he was compelled to leave the distressingly agitated party, and proceed on his journey.

At the time he left, Emily had not recovered from the swoon, into which she had fallen—nor until it was afterwards repeated to her, was she aware of the tenor of his communication. So soon however as she was able to continue the journey, they re-entered the carriage, and the two parties, whose meeting had occasioned such mutually varied emotions, were shortly again, far distant from each other. When her composure of mind was sufficiently resumed, to enable Emily to converse upon the extraordinary incident that had occurred, Quintus's danger, notwithstanding Mr. Johnson's assurances, appeared before her imagination, in its most terrible colours; and once this feeling occupying a place in her gentle bosom, it could not be stilled by any arguments that could be advanced. Her mother, with all a woman's warmth of heart, entered too, into her distressing anxieties; and ere they had well reached town, Mr. Clifton, aware how much it would relieve their fears, and with a promptitude, that ever marked his conduct, where a fellow creature's happiness was concerned, proposed immediately to return to Southampton, so as to endeavour to influence favourably, his son-in-law's destiny. Accordingly, scarcely had he conveyed his afflicted charge, to the peaceful serenity of their own dwelling, than he retraced his steps by the way he had just left, using every possible diligence in the prosecution of his journey. Upon arriving at Southampton, he found that Mr. Johnson had preceded him by a few hours, in his passage to the Island; and he lost no time therefore, in following him. As he stood on the deck of the little bark by which, her sails gracefully yielding to a favourable breeze, he was now rapidly gliding along the delightful banks of the Southampton river, he enquired of one of the boat-men, with anxiety he could ill disguise, whether the American vessel had yet sailed from Cowes.

"She's off by this time," the man replied, "she's been wind-bound since Monday, but was to go last night's tide, let it be as it would. I knew howsomever, she'd have to wait till this morning, as no pilot would undertake to work her through the Needles in the dark, and with a foul wind."

"How is the wind now?" Mr. Clifton enquired.

"A little better than 'twas;—a point or two to the northward since sun-rise. She might manage to beat out, standing well off at first on the larboard tack." He now ceased talking for a minute—then looking attentively at a distant object, exclaimed, "There she is—yonder Sir, her under fore-top-gallants and mainsail—there, Sir, you see she's filling for the larboard tack."

"Which! which!" eagerly enquired Mr. Clifton, there being several vessels in the offing under way.

"Her, Sir, with her head towards us,—see, she's got a long pennant flying at the main," replied the boatman. "Why, she's heaving to, if my eyes don't deceive me—yes—sure enough she's backed the fore-sail and taken in her gallants.—Some of the passengers I daresay playing the fool, and staying ashore—but captain Delaware isn't the man, 'll wait for the King, beyond his fixed time."

The vessel, to which Mr. Clifton's notice was thus drawn, appeared to be about half a dozen miles distant from the shore, and nearly the same from themselves. She had been making some beautiful evolutions by tacking, calculated to display the superiority of her seamanship and equipments, running at times, although apparently free, almost directly in the teeth of the wind. Her gaudy sides and flowing streamers, independently of her ensign and peculiar build, marked plainly enough, that she was not English, and Mr. Clifton, although deeply regretting that she had heaved to, and not daring as he well might, to account to himself for the cause, still felt some little relieved, by not seeing her at anchor; and in a state, hoping much, yet fearing more, in a short while finished his passage, and landed at the stairs, immediately in front of one of the inns, at West Cowes.

As he walked through the yard that communicated with the building, he observed that every thing bespoke unusual bustle and confusion; and the anxiety pourtrayed upon the countenances of the assembled group, while one or two were listening to a something that had occurred, smote his breast with a chilling dampness, the too certain presage of bad news.

"Poor fellow!" he presently heard one of the servants say, as he passed him, "He seemed melancholy enough, God knows, when he paid his bill this morning; but I little thought to see his corpse brought back in such a little time, and in such a manner. He's a gentleman, and a civil one, whoever he is."

"Has any thing happened here?" enquired Mr. Clifton, scarcely able to give utterance to his words. But ere time was allowed him to receive an answer, Mr. Johnson, who had observed him land from the boat, opened a door, and advanced directly towards him.

"I am afraid, my dear sir, that your unhappy son-in-law has removed from us our chance of saving him, and has indeed brought himself into trouble."

"Tell me the worst at once. I heard the servants talking of a corpse—is he dead?"

"No, he is not dead, but his preservation has been a miracle—he is alive, and every care is being taken of him; but he has acted most imprudently, and I fear will live to repent his precipitancy." He paused a little, and then continued:——

"Upon my arrival here, about three hours ago, I found, by his description and other positive information, that he was on board the American ship Swiftsure, then preparing to get under way; and although I scarcely expected to reach her, as she was lying a good way from shore, I engaged a boat, taking with me, by way of precaution, a peace-officer. As we made to the vessel, she still remained stationary, although her sails were loose, and I could distinctly see Mr. Servinton standing upon the quarter deck, looking towards us, where he remained without moving, until I was close along-side, and was in the act of mounting the ladder to ascend upon deck. He was watching us earnestly, but displayed no particular emotion, nor did he once change his posture, until, hastily looking round, and seeing me approach within a few yards of him, he made a sudden spring, and in one instant was overboard. Providentially, the pilot's boat was under her stern, with a boy in it, who exerted himself to save him, but nearly failed, owing, as they say, to the current; and it was not until he had sunk and again risen twice, that it could be said he was rescued from a watery grave. We brought him, more dead than alive, to this house, and immediately called in the best medical advice at hand, and I believe I can now say, his life is safe, although he is still insensible."

"And what do you propose to do, under such distressing circumstances?"

"I can do nothing but return to town, leaving him under safe charge. The master of the vessel came ashore with me, and, after waiting to see the issue of the catastrophe, had just departed when you arrived. I had much rather that Servinton had gone with him, than have remained in this state; but he has left me no alternative; and I much fear, even this act alone, by increasing the notoriety of the affair, will increase the difficulties under which his friends labour, successfully to combat those, who advocate severe measures."

Dreadful as was the intelligence thus communicated to Mr. Clifton, and difficult to be borne by a man so connected with the sufferer as he was, he supported himself under it, as well as he was able, and desired to be led to the apartment, where was laid the half-resuscitated, still almost lifeless body of one who, only an hour ago, had stood erect, in full health and vigour.

With every desire to give a favourable turn to the now too probable issue of affairs, he was reluctantly compelled to admit with Mr. Johnson, that no other steps were open to them, than those already in progress; and, after making all requisite arrangements for Quintus's due attendance, and for his comfort, under the melancholy circumstances in which he lay, and without imposing any unnecessary restraint upon his person, they both conceived their presence was more required in town than there, whither therefore, they lost no time in returning.

It was utterly impossible that the unpleasant duty which had thus devolved upon them, could have fallen into the hands of two persons, more disposed than themselves, to soothe and assist the unfortunate Quintus, in his present miserable condition. They had taken charge of his baggage, escritoir, and other personals, with the view of ascertaining whether he had any papers or documents, of importance to the errand, whereon Mr. Johnson had been despatched; and full of anxious discussion, how to give the best colour to what had taken place, and to prevent it from diminishing the merciful inclination, already felt by some of the parties concerned, they pursued their way to town, having as they fondly hoped, at length hit upon a course, by which the unfortunate occurrence they had witnessed, might yet be repaired. They soon found however, how vain and futile are many of our plans and schemes; oftentimes as they are rendered abortive by circumstances, equally beyond our controul as calculation.


CHAPTER X

"This is a gentle Provost—seldom when,
The steeled Gaoler is the friend of men."

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

When, after four and twenty hours had been passed by Quintus, in a state, bordering upon insensibility, he awoke to an imperfect knowledge of his present condition, the reflections that crowded upon his mind, were too much for its shattered and perturbed state; and he relapsed into a kind of half-consciousness, aware of what was going forward around him, but utterly unable to take part in any thing, requiring the least mental exertion.

After thus continuing a couple of days, a professional gentleman arrived to visit him, who had been deputed by his relatives to endeavour to effect measures, for yet facilitating his escape—in which, there would have been little difficulty, as he had been merely left under charge of the inn-keeper, without there being any legal power to detain him, as he had not in any manner, been brought under the notice of the civil authorities. But the high state of excitement to which his mind had been brought, first, by the circumstances that had led to his flight, and afterwards, when unable longer to bear its burthen, it fell for a moment from its high station, and left him deprived of reason, would not at present permit him to arouse from the moody indifference, into which he had fallen; and the gentleman had the melancholy task of returning to his friends, and telling them that, the unhappy man seemed resolved to brave the storm, and, setting his life upon a die, awaited whatever was intended to be done with him.

In the mean time, the daily increased notoriety of the affair, rendered the part of those, (and they were many), who wished to serve him, a work of fresh difficulty; and the frame of mind of Quintus himself, by rejecting the means of escape that had been offered him, assisting to add to these difficulties, the circumstances that had attended the bill, were made matter of charge against him, and a warrant was issued for his apprehension, under which, he was shortly removed from his present quarters, and brought back to the scene of his offence. In all the measures thus taken, he experienced a series of respectful and attentive treatment, rather suited to his former station in society, than to his present condition.

He was conveyed to town as privately, and under as many extenuations, as possible; but when, gazing wildly through the carriage windows, whilst it traversed streets he had so often passed through, the happiest of the happy, the full measure of his misery appeared before him in its true colours—a kind of delirium seized his brain—and when he was led into the justice-room, where several magistrates were already assembled, it was thought advisable to let farther proceedings be suspended for a few days, to allow his perturbation of mind to subside. He was accordingly taken to a house of temporary confinement, where he was treated with every soothing kindness, of which the place admitted.

It was now remarked of him, with very great surprise, that with all those who visited him, he not only made no enquiry respecting his wife and child, but even seemed carefully to avoid any subject likely to introduce their names; and once indeed, when it was intimated to him, that Emily was desirous of seeing him, not merely had he listened to it with evident impatience, but instead of making a direct reply, immediately sought to change the conversation.

And yet, how little was such conduct on his part, merited! and equally how little, did it speak his true sentiments! The fact with regard to Emily was, that no sooner was she made acquainted upon the return of Mr. Johnson and her father, with what had occurred, that it was with the utmost difficulty she could be prevented from instantly undertaking the journey to go and visit her husband; "He is my husband—my every thing—and can I stay here, knowing what you have just told me about him?" she exclaimed, when arguing with her parents upon the subject.

"Yes, Emily, he is all that, but we are trying to arrange that he may yet escape—and your going to him would entirely defeat it."

It was this consideration only, that had led her to yield to their wishes; and now that he was again near her, it was indeed with dismay and horror she was told, he did not wish to see her. But although without doubt, those who had so expressed themselves, had apparently good grounds for what they had said, judging by his silence and general manner when her name was mentioned, nothing whatever could have been more foreign to what was really passing within his bosom. He loved his Emily—ardently loved her—but conscience stricken, and bleeding at every pore as his heart now was, all his offences rose in their full hideousness before him, and among them, he could not help feeling how much he had failed towards his wife; carrying his bitter recollection to the many times he had despised and neglected her warnings, sometimes even barely listening to them with civility; and he felt too much ashamed, to see her. It was this, that gave rise to many painful emotions of remorse, when her name was mentioned; but it was a state of things not to last long, for the force of his strong affection for her conquered every other feeling, and he wrote her a few lines, expressive of his agonized contrition, and couched in his usual affectionate style of language.

What can be a better earnest to the repentant sinner of that pardon, which we are told we may hereafter expect, than the forgiveness we sometimes meet with, from our fellow creatures, for our transgressions towards them? If they, whose beneficence can at the best, be but of a mixed nature, much alloyed by inferior attributes, are able to extend the hand of remission to their erring neighbour, and from the heart to say, we forgive every thing, can it seem strange that a Being who is all beneficence, all mercy, without any alloy, should be able to pardon our offences? Happy is he who thus draws the veil of oblivion of sincere forgiveness, over the misdeeds of his faulty brother; since, he may reasonably ground upon his own conduct, hopes for himself at the great day of account, when he shall stand before the Judge of all the Earth; yet, beautiful as is this feature of the mind, it is probably reserved to the female character to exhibit it in its true—its really bright colours—and never was it more touchingly—more delightfully displayed—than in the case of Emily.

All her sorrows, all her anxieties, yielded as by talismanic touch, before the note thus received from Quintus. She seized hold on a pen, but she could not write. She essayed to speak, so as to send him a verbal message, but her tongue clave to the roof of her mouth, and denied utterance to a single word. Her bosom heaved, as if ready to burst—but her eye was not moistened, for all was dry and parched, until at length, nature, in pity to her sufferings, let loose her springs of comfort, and sending her a plentiful flood of tears, she reposed her head on her mother's shoulder, convulsively saying, "I am now happy, for I know that Quintus loves me as well as ever."—After she became somewhat composed, she addressed him the following letter:——

MY DEAREST HUSBAND,

Oh, my loved Quintus, no tongue can tell what I have suffered since we parted, and till this day that I received your letter, which is the only comfort I have had for some time, I have been the most miserable of women; but I now feel assured that my dearest love has not forgotten his poor wife. If it please God, as we hope to-morrow, I will never again leave you, but oh! how shall I exist till then! I have no sleep at nights, and my days are most wretched, and I am more dead than alive, but I will now exert myself for your sake, and I will see you, let happen what will. How do I wish I had never left you at Southampton—I am almost worn out by my misfortunes, but as you say, hope has wonderfully sustained me through God's grace thus far, and I trust that it will still continue to do so. Oh! how I have longed to be with you—no one knows—I am not able to write much, my hand shakes so, and I am so very poorly, I can scarcely do any thing; but the God who supports me, will I hope, yet give us many happy days together. I have never ceased to pray for my dearest, morning and night—I am not equal to writing more, my ever beloved husband; our dear boy does not know where you are, but he sees I am in trouble, and in his sweet little way does all he can to try to amuse his distressed mamma. In the morning between five and six, he makes me listen to stories he had read the day before, on purpose to amuse me—he has, dear little fellow, felt my distress, for I cannot conceal it. I know not how to leave of, but I must, my dear, dear, dearest Quintus.

Your wife's blessing and prayers attend you.

EMILY

P.S.—Do let me hear from you by the bearer.—We—you have many kind and good friends—do let me conjure you to do as they wish. Once more your Emily blesses you.

This pathetic letter at once roused him from the sullen aberration into which he had fallen, and determined him to listen attentively to the advice of the numerous and kind friends, who were exerting themselves on his behalf, and to whom he had hitherto turned almost a deaf, or at least an indifferent ear. Innumerable had been the obstacles or impediments to the accomplishment of their wishes, in hushing up this unfortunate affair, which had been experienced by those, who had been thus benevolently and actively exerting themselves; partly arising from the prejudices of some who were concerned, but still more from the flame that had been kindled in the public mind, by the newspapers of the day, which scrupled not, as too commonly occurs, to set in judgment upon the cases they relate, and to create opinions for their readers, without knowing the circumstances. In this instance, they drew a most unfair and cruel comparison between it, and another case of recent occurrence, that came within the same legal pale of crime, although widely different in every other respect, and in which, the unhappy culprit had suffered the extreme penalty of the law.

This, among other causes, had served to delay the dreaded examination from day to day, since his return to town, as even the most severe of his prosecutors, bore no personal ill-will towards him, and by no means wished to hurry measures forward, more than was necessary. The day following that, on which he received Emily's letter, had however been fixed for the momentous examination; and it was in allusion to this, and with a wife's inclination to cling to every hope, where the husband of her heart was concerned, that she had used the words that have been quoted, in reference to the morrow.

It had not been without very great disquietude, that Quintus for some days past, had contemplated the near approach of this fearful occasion; but the awful morning came at length in its common turn, reckless of how pregnant it was with the fate of him, as well of millions of others, and in its turn receded also, to make way for other days, still more awful than itself.—Quintus counted the minutes as they flew rapidly along, hastening the hour when he was to attend the Magistrates, and calling to his aid a strong exertion of the mind, supported himself with tolerable calmness and composure; but when at length, he heard the footsteps approaching of those, whom he knew were to accompany him to the hall of justice, and, casting a glance through the windows, saw the assembled crowd waiting with greedy eagerness, to glut their curiosity with the sight of this victim of ill-starred fortune, his assumed serenity was shaken to the very quick. But, it was now too late to draw back—his hand was on the plough, and it must go forward. He felt therefore, that all he had to do, was to buckle on the breastplate of fortitude, and endeavour to abide the result, as a man and as a Christian. Yet another trial of his strength of mind presently awaited him, upon which he had not calculated. Among the group through which he had to make his way, were some who had known him in the sunshine of his prosperity, and who now pressed close to him, whispering in his ear, "God bless you, keep up your spirits, for you have more friends than you expect." Others seized his hand warmly, saying nothing, but turning to avert from his notice, the starting tear; there being few, very few, with whom he was not in a greater or less degree, an object of sympathy.

Arriving at the Justice Room, he was introduced into a large chamber, reserved for special occasions, where, ranged around a long table, a dozen or fourteen gentlemen, composing the city magistracy, were sitting in full solemnity, the Lord Mayor of the day being at its head, and on one side, standing near the wall, was Mr. Trusty. Taking a hasty survey of his assemblage, which comprised several, with whom he had long been upon terms of friendly intimacy, and with all of whom, he had at least, a common passing acquaintance, he could not help feeling a momentary relief by observing, that neither Mr. Rothero nor the clerk, with whom the bill had been negotiated, was present; and besides, he was rather at a loss to conjecture, for what purpose Mr. Trusty could be required. A faint idea stole across his bosom, that it was possible, some loop-hole for his escape might thus be contrived; but, having been particularly enjoined, whatever he might hear or see, to say nothing—to listen attentively to all that passed, and, however he might feel able to contradict or refute what he heard urged against him, still to preserve an imperturbable silence—he resolved, that no word or action of his, should give utterance to what was now passing within him. Presently, he was briefly addressed by the chief magistrate, upon the grave nature of the crime with which he was charged, cautioning him however, not to commit himself by unnecessary replies, as every thing he now said was capable of being brought in evidence against him; and who then proceeded to order the clerk to read over the deposition, that had been sworn to, by Mr. Trusty.

With an emotion he could scarcely smother, he discovered that this gentleman had entirely misconceived all the circumstances that had attended the negotiation of the bill, and a new gleam of hope sprung up, as to the ultimate issue of his present serious situation. He noticed with surprise, that Mr. Trusty had distinctly sworn that he was the party who had received the bill from Quintus; the fact having been, as before stated, that he was absent from town on that day, and that Mr. Rothero and the clerk were the parties, who could alone substantiate the case. Nevertheless he strictly followed the injunctions he had received, and offering no objection to Mr. Trusty's statement, his committal was made out, and upon withdrawing with the attendants, he learnt his destination to be Newgate, there to await the issue of the trial, that was now inevitable.

The painful duty devolving upon those, with some of whom, as before said, he had formerly lived upon terms of friendship, continued to be performed with every possible degree of tenderness and attention; and the orders that accompanied him to the prison, were of a nature, calculated to mitigate the severity of his sufferings, and to afford him all the accommodation that the place would permit; particularly in waiving certain unpleasant forms and ceremonies, and in allowing him an unrestrained intercourse with his friends. But, in the humane and considerate keeper of this house of misery, and in his amiable spouse, he found a still more powerful guarantee for these indulgencies, little to bestow, but every thing to receive, than even in the friendly inclination that had prompted them; and Quintus soon discovered that, although in a prison, he had fallen among good Samaritans.

One of his most able as well as active, and zealous advisers, upon this mournful occasion, was his youngest brother, Charles; who had been bred to the law, and now practised in the City, with much honor and advantage, being a man both of talents and integrity. Charles was endowed with great coolness, sound judgment, and sober discretion. He felt as a brother, but advised as a counsellor. He had strongly impressed upon Quintus, the necessity of his preserving an entire silence when before the magistrates—of his treasuring in his memory, every word that passed—and of being as collected as possible—promising that he would see him, immediately after the meeting was over, in order to acquaint himself with all the particulars of what had taken place. It was a very short while therefore, after the prison gates were closed upon the unfortunate sufferer, ere he was with him, and the two brothers were presently engaged in deep and earnest conference.

Quintus had already prepared some notes, explanatory of the discrepance between the facts of the case, and Mr. Trusty's deposition—adding, in an elated, impassioned tone, "The original thousand pounds bill, is in my little black pocket-book, which I had in my pocket, when I saw Mr. Johnson from the vessel. It bears the clerk's receipt, and there's a memorandum figured upon it, about the discount—upon which a trifling balance was due to me for change. The fact will speak for itself."

"Yes," said Charles, "if we can substantiate a contradiction of Trusty's evidence, I think we have grounds for hope; but, if we only disprove his testimony by proving the case for him, you do not get rid of the charge, and things will be worse instead of better. We must go very warily to work, and you must at once see that every thing depends upon your keeping your own counsel—an unguarded expression, or a misplaced confidence, may ruin every thing—and remember, Quintus, it may be a question of life or death. Let me have your notes. I will consult a friend, and do every thing that is possible."

After he had withdrawn, the keeper of the prison came to him, and very kindly said, "Keep up a good heart, Sir. I've seen many a man come down the ladder with a smiling face, who had mounted it a few minutes before with a halter round his neck. My orders are, to provide you with private apartments, and proper attendance, and it shan't be my fault if you are not comfortable. We're just going to have a bit of dinner, and my dame bade me come, and persuade you to join us. Your rooms won't be ready till to-morrow, so you must put up in the meantime with the best she can offer." Gratefully accepting the profferred kindness, he followed the worthy man, and, after the late tossings and anxieties he had undergone, the manner in which the few next hours were passed, was a balm to his wounded mind, he little expected to have found within such walls, as now encompassed him. In the evening, his Emily, his incomparable Emily, was his visitor, accompanied by her father. The interview was short, out of regard for both, extending to little beyond sighs and tears on either side; but particularly on Emily's, who, in reply to the whisper, that he had intelligence which would console her, could only say with a convulsive grasp around his neck, "One happiness is enough for one day—to have seen you again, and to know that you love me as ever, is as much as I can bear now. I will come and spend the day with you to-morrow, and then tell me every thing."

True to her promise, the next morning she commenced a series of long, and regularly paid visits to her husband, in his wretched abode, no weather, through a protracted and severe winter, being permitted to interfere with this sad, but to her, pleasing duty.

Meanwhile, relying upon the variation between the facts of the case, and the representation made of them by Mr. Trusty before the Magistrates, Quintus felt less anxiety as to the final result, was less impressed with the horrors of his situation, than seemed natural to expect; and he looked forward to the day of trial, without any serious apprehension. His case had been submitted to the first counsel of the day, who expressed their opinion, that even admitting the disguised hand-writing to be sworn to as his, the indictment of forging must fail, on account of the venue; his residence having been in one county, and his place of business in another—and that the uttering part of the offence, by a skilful cross-examination, and the exhibition of the thousand pounds bill, bearing the clerk's receipt, with his figures relating to the discount, would most probably fail also, by extracting from Trusty an admission of his mistake.

But a cause, more intimately perhaps connected with one of the principles of our nature, than even with the hopes so existing, had a considerable effect in producing with Quintus, a composure and serenity, to which he had long been a stranger: and this was, the readiness wherewith man can always adapt himself to circumstances—the inclination, planted in him by nature, to seek consolation by comparison; and the relief he felt that, even at so dear a price, he had rid himself of a burthen, which had greatly exceeded his strength. The soothing attentions too, of his wife, who never breathed a syllable of reproach, but endeavoured to lessen his grief, by a cheerful countenance over an aching heart, and by true and fervid devotion, in which she sought to encourage him to join, tended mainly to the same end. To these may be super-added, his facility in employing a vacant hour, which never permitted him to find time, even in a prison, hang heavily; so that upon the whole, loss of liberty proved any thing but what his imagination had pictured to itself; and, strange to say, he was not only tranquil, but it might almost be said, contented.

While such was the state of affairs within the prison-house, his friends were far from being inactive without, and supporters started up, where they were little expected. Mr. Rothero had felt much, and acutely for him; and happening one morning to meet Mr. Clifton, accosted him somewhat abruptly—"Ah! Mr. Clifton! the very man I wanted to see. Do you think you could persuade Quintus Servinton to plead guilty? It will certainly save his life if you can."

"I really can say nothing upon so serious a subject," replied Mr. Clifton, "without knowing more particulars. I cannot speak of the grounds of his defence, but the responsibility of the course you have suggested, is, to say the least, so awful, that I own I shudder at its very idea."

"You will believe, I hope, that I am as anxious about him, as any of his relations can be. I assure you I do not speak out of book, in what I now say; and if you can persuade him to abandon whatever may be his defence, and to plead guilty—I have not a doubt that a commutation of sentence will be effected. It is placing me, as a prosecutor, although one by compulsion, in rather a delicate situation; but I have known him many years, and will therefore explain myself to you more fully. He will be tried, as you know, by the Recorder; and before the sentences are passed, the Aldermen and Lord Mayor of the day are always consulted, and the majority of their opinions is invariably attended to. I have been through it myself, in my own mayoralty and must know. Several cases have occurred, where such a course has been attended by the effects I state, and it has never once failed. Look at how many of the prosecutors are members of the corporation! they have no vindictive feeling against your son-in-law, but quite the contrary. They want a conviction for the sake of justice, but nothing farther; and let that object be attained, they wish to use their influence for his benefit. This can be done quietly, when it would be impossible otherwise. Believe me, I would not have gone thus far, but from my earnest wish to save him; and you may rely upon my having good grounds, for what I have said."

Mr. Clifton listened, as might be supposed, with the most painful attention; and promised that a communication upon the subject should instantly be made to Quintus, adding, "I cannot do more than that, as I dare not recommend, although I fully believe your sincerity, and appreciate your kind intentions."

"I have much more to say to you upon the subject," replied Mr. Rothero, "at some other time, and have no doubt I can remove your scruples, and for holding which, you certainly cannot be blamed. I must wish you good morning now, but will see you again shortly—pray let what I have said, be earnestly impressed upon Servinton."

No time was lost by Mr. Clifton in imparting to Charles, the particulars of the subject thus brought under consideration; and both agreed, that the course recommended was too terrible to be hastily adopted—that they should never forgive themselves if it ended unfortunately; and that, the utmost they could do, should be to relate the whole to Quintus, leaving him to decide as he might think best. As might be expected, the question so raised, excited in his mind great distress and perplexity—feelings that were rather subsequently increased than lessened, by what continued to reach him, from and through the same quarters, and which received a farther additional weight, from the answers he received, whenever he sought the advice or opinions of others—"We cannot advise—it is too serious a question—we can but tell you all that happens; and may an all-wise God direct you to the right judgment."

While his mind was harassed and torn by this fresh disquietude, he endeavoured to assist towards arriving at a just conclusion, by committing his thoughts or reflections to paper; and as he was thus employed one morning, in his little sitting-room, full of deep meditation upon some intelligence that had just been imparted, a knock at the door introduced one of the Aldermen of the City, whose visit was prompted by the most friendly motives.

He stayed some time, urging very forcibly, advice similar to that which had been over and over again given by Mr. Rothero; exemplifying his argument by reference to several cases, which had come within his knowledge, particularly one of much more serious import than the present, where it was clearly shewn that nothing but the plea of guilty, had saved the delinquent's life. Soon after this Gentleman, whose name was Stephens, had departed, Quintus received a letter from Mr. Clifton, with some further information bearing upon the same point; and, although he still cautiously abstained from any direct opinion, it was easy to discover, by the tone of his expressions, what was the bias of his wishes.

Quintus replied to his father-in-law as follows:——

Tuesday, 29th March.

My Dear Sir,——

"I am much obliged by your letter—and the enclosure which I now send for your perusal, is the result of my own deliberation, written this morning, will shew you that I view the thing pretty much as you do. Please to make what use of it you think proper, and give it to Emily to bring with her to-morrow. Mr. Alderman Stephens has been with me this morning—he was very, very kind—begged me earnestly to be governed implicitly, by what was communicated to me by Charles and yourself—and said, that if he were carried in arms to the Court, he would attend. He said many other things equally kind and friendly. For my own part, I should think it next to madness to run against a course, so clearly, so benevolently marked out for me." Ever your's,

Q. S.

The enclosure was as follows:——

"Under any circumstances, there is a considerable degree of peril in my present situation. The question is, in which course is the least?—On the one hand, my danger is—first, that the prosecutors may not be sincere in their assurances—secondly, that they may not possess suficient weight with the Court—and thirdly, that the Court may not have the presumed influence with the supreme Authorities.

"Let each be examined separately. The recommendation as to my plea, is the unsought, the voluntary conduct of the prosecutors. If they were not convinced within their own minds, that their influence with the bench is suficient, it is not natural to believe of any set of men, or even of any individual, that they or he, would advise a fellow-creature to place himself at the very lowest depth of human misery, unless to raise him again from it. They must know that, however confidently a conviction may be anticipated, there is no certainty in the law, and that a lucky chance may help me. It is not likely therefore, that they should have said any thing upon the subject of their wishes or intentions, as to degree of punishment, unless they had been thoroughly sincere. One's knowledge of human nature generally, when not aided by education, rank in life, or the benevolence of Christianity, forbids the entertainment of the idea for a single moment, that a person, circumstanced as I am, could be deliberately betrayed. Indeed, I could not have allowed my mind to reason upon the subject a second time, had I not already found, on more than one occasion, what certainly were just expectations, falsified by the event. The stake is however, now become too serious, to suppose that such could again be the case; and notwithstanding that, a certain degree of fear will, spite of myself, creep into my breast, I cannot bring myself to believe seriously, that I have any thing to apprehend from insincerity, either on the part of the whole body, or of any one member, of the Mining Company.

"The next consideration involves the question, upon the value or weight of their recommendation. From the peculiar station in life of many of the prosecutors, they must know, better than myself, the degree of importance attached to such recommendations in criminal cases. The same arguments which apply to the first proposition, have therefore, their full influence upon the second; and if, upon mature conviction, I am bound to have faith in their sincerity, I am equally bound to have faith in their power. They surely would not have named the thing at all, if it were only to be accompanied by hollow sounds of delusive good wishes. They would never have volunteered the least interference, but have permitted the afair to take its natural chance and course, had they been in the slightest degree doubtful, that their recommendation might by possibility, be any thing short of efective.

"Upon the third position, much already said, as to their consciousness of ability, fully applies; and it must be borne in mind, as standing upon record that, since the original constitution of the Court, the recommendation, such as is held out to me, has ever been esteemed sacred by the higher powers.

"What cause therefore, unless it be arising from fear, inseparably attached to one's self, have I to doubt that my case will be the first, wherein this course may be departed from? If, when the age was less civilized than it now is, the recommendation of the Court was so respected by its superiors, as has been represented to me, is there any thing to induce the belief that, in the present more enlightened state of society, less respect than formerly would be paid to it? Certainly not! and however mistrustful, spite of myself, I may sometimes be, I am compelled to acknowledge, upon mature consideration, that this feeling owes its source rather to fear than reason.

"There is this, to be added to the same view of the question. I have two powerful pleas to urge on my behalf, of both which, those are ignorant, who have already expressed their kind feeling and intention; and they are both too, capable of proof. The one is, my ignorance of the nature of the ofence I had committed, until the 24th of November; and to which, Mr. Gordon can bear testimony—the other, my strong grounds for expecting a legal acquittal. If therefore, this merciful feeling now exist, as I am convinced it does, is it not more than probable that, it will rather he increased than lessened, when my entire case is fully before the proper parties? Upon the whole then, can I, if I wished to be sceptical, find cause to be so? or, have I not rather, abundant reason to have implicit faith that, the arm which is extended towards me, is at once sincerely merciful and consciously powerful? My danger on the other hand, is certainly equal, to say the least; but, I think it greater.—I have to fear that, I may be found guilty; and, although upon this point, hope may predominate, fear has assuredly better foundation, than a suspicion either of insincerity or want of power, on the part of others.

"And after all, what is the very utmost I can hope for, under the very best of circumstances? An acquittal! A thing, of itself, perfectly useless to me—a thing, which would find me bereft of home, of character, of property, of almost every thing, desirable in life. I shall have every thing to seek, every thing to toil for—and where is the quarter, to which I have any right to look for assistance? Saying therefore that, the hopes and fears, the security and danger, were equal on both sides, my deliberate opinion is that, that course is the proper one, which gives least farther publicity to the afair—that, wherein I can afterwards best urge extenuating pleadings—that where, by letting others see I had something to bestow, I may hope to receive something in return—that, which will best denote contrition, not defiance—which bespeaks a penitent regret—not the being hardened—which, distinguishing between public justice, and private sympathy, conforms to the one, and appreciates the other—that, which is most likely to open for me a road, for again possessing a home, a character, and property—in a word, that by which I shall not have to appear with one foot in the grave, endeavouring to prevent the other from following it, by deliberate untruths, or by advancing arguments, founded only on sophistry; but, where on the contrary I may boldly advance truths, which, even if they serve no other purpose, will at least tend to rescue my memory, from disgrace and dishonor."

Such were this ill fated man's reflections within a few short days of that awful occasion, when he was to be summoned to the bar as a criminal, to answer for breach of his country's laws; and although he was again and again assured by his brother and other friends, that every thing was prepared for his defence—that first-rate counsel were retained, and that there was nothing to lessen his confident hopes of acquittal, should he resolve to take his trial, his determination to abandon the strong ground he knew he possessed, and to plead guilty, remained firm and unvaried; and under the full impression that his life, chiefly dear to him on account of his wife and child, was secure, he awaited the dreadful exhibition before a public tribunal, not merely with composure, but with a calm and dignified resignation. On the day but one before the trial, Charles and Mr. Clifton had an interview with Mr. Rothero, when the former signified his brother's final resolve, adding, "He has adopted your suggestions, entirely uninfluenced by his friends; and we think it due to him, that you should now fully perfect every arrangement, so that nothing may fail at the hour of need." In reply he said, "I am rejoiced at what you have told me; 'tis the only way to save his life. There will be a meeting of the company to day at two o'clock, when I will attend, and do every that is needful. You have relieved me from a most painful anxiety, and we will see one another to-morrow morning, when you shall know what has been done."

All this, was as usual, communicated to Quintus without delay, and tended, as might have been expected, to strengthen or confirm his determination; still further too, enabling him to contemplate with serenity, the awful hour that was now rapidly approaching.


QUINTUS SERVINTON

VOLUME THREE


CHAPTER I

"The charge is prepared—the Lawyers are met,
The Judges all ranged—a terrible show."

BEGGARS OPERA

The dread—the solemn day that was to decide Quintus's fate, was ushered in with all the noise and tumult, by which the morning that succeeds the calm quiet of a Sunday, is ever distinguished in crowded cities; but by Quintus, and many other hapless beings, who, like him, were to be arraigned as criminals, for the outraged laws of their country, the sounds were heeded not, their own breasts affording ample food for meditation. At length, one of the turnkeys, as good and feeling a creature as ever existed, came softly to his apartment, with the summons that all was ready for proceeding to the Court; offering him at the same moment his arm, towards supporting his tottering steps as he traversed the room, in making his way to the door which led to a long flight of stone steps, immediately communicating with the keeper's residence.

If it be assumed in general, that those who have the charge or controul of offenders, naturally become steeled against the sorrows of others, the sympathy extended towards Quintus, the respectful attentions he invariably received, from one and all the functionaries of his present abode, form an exception that well deserves to be recorded. The considerate kindness of the superior, or Governor as he was called, was caught as an example, and industriously followed by all his subordinates; and by none more so, than by the humane and honest James, who now attended him. Having presently terminated his sad duty, by conducting his charge to the parlour, where, already were assembled some of the parties, who, in various capacities, had to take part in the approaching drama, and where, what had to Quintus almost the appearance of the entertainment by which funerals are preceded, various refreshments were on the table, and were freely pressed upon the company, the poor fellow, who had evidently all this time been labouring to smother his emotion, seized Quintus's hand with the power of a vice, and retaining his iron grasp, said in a tone, nearly subdued by feeling, but yet the most compassionate possible, "God in heaven, bless and protect you." It had been with difficulty that the sufferer could master his own internal agony, wrought as it was to the highest pitch, and the expressions of condolence he now received from James and others, were cruel, in the midst of well-meant kindness. The keeper of the prison saw it, and felt for him; hastening therefore to change the scene, by a removal from such aggravated misery, he beckoned him to follow, as he led the way to the Court, where he was ushered into a private apartment, there to await the hour of trial.

Here he remained a prey to his own solitary reflections, more than two hours, combating with nature under her heavy load, by the use of stimulants, being determined to do his utmost, towards maintaining composure through the scenes that awaited him.

But the task so imposed upon himself, required the exercise of his utmost fortitude. He could not divest his mind of a certain alarm, although, on the other hand, his confidence in those who had urged him to plead guilty, was unabated; and when at length the door opened, and an officer of the Court entered, and intimated that his presence was now required, he was seized with a momentary faintness—his legs almost refused to support their burthen, and a sort of instinctive knowledge of what was in store for him, took hold of his spirit. He made an effort however, to rouse his latent energies, and leaning upon the attendant's arm, proceeded a few paces, when, looking up for an instant, he found himself in the awful presence of the Judge, arrayed in all his pomp and dignity. On each side sat a number of Aldermen, clad in their splendid robes of office—at the two extremities of the Bench, were the Sheriffs—the Clerk of the Arraigns was immediately in front of the criminal, with the momentous indictment lying before him—the Jury were already impannelled—a host of Lawyers and Barristers at the table—officers, constables, and other equally important personages, served to fill up the area near the bench, and every nook and corner of the hall was crowded almost to suffocation, by well dressed persons, among whom, particularly in the galleries, was a considerable number of ladies. What a sight for such a man, under such circumstances! He sustained his part however in this trying moment with wonderful firmness, notwithstanding that, upon a hasty glance he cast around him, he recognised many and many countenances he well knew, and observed that every eye was bent upon him. One look therefore sufficed, and he afterwards kept his face covered by a handkerchief, resting his head upon his elbow; nor, unless now and then, when it was rendered necessary for a moment, did he ever once change this position, throughout the whole of this dreadful crisis.

After the usual preliminaries had been gone through, and the Clerk had read the indictment against him, obscured as it was by various technicalities, so as to be almost unintelligible, and wearing nineteen forms of putting one solitary offence, he was called upon, in a loud voice, "How say you, Quintus Servinton, are you guilty or not guilty of the crime laid to your charge?" A breathless silence followed these solemn words—not a tongue spoke—not a foot moved; but, in less than a minute, the hapless being who had been so addressed, removed the handkerchief from his face, looked wildly yet deliberately around him, and in a firm, decided tone, pronounced the momentous word, "GUILTY!" A slow, convulsive sort of murmur instantly succeeded this direful acknowledgment, and extended to all corners of the hall. People could scarcely credit their ears—they looked aghast, each saying to his neighbour, "Did I hear him right? did he plead guilty? what can this mean?" The Recorder himself seemed horror stricken, or appalled—but presently addressing the victim of an outraged, but disgracefully sanguinary law, said "Prisoner at the Bar!" (what a sound!) "You have pleaded guilty to the indictment with which you have been charged, but your plea is not recorded.—Consider the awful situation in which you have placed yourself, and let me entreat you to withdraw you plea, and to take your trial. I trust no false expectations have induced your present course—I can assure you, that any hopes you may have founded thereon, will prove delusive."

Quintus gave no appearance of attending to these words, full of import as they were, until the Recorder had finished speaking; when, again uncovering his face for an instant, he said, with infinitely more composure than before, "Guilty, my Lord!" The Judge was now evidently distressed—the expression of his features bore a mixture of persuasiveness with half displeasure, as he replied, "Quintus Servinton, be advised by me, withdraw your plea, and take your trial—indulge no false hopes—your present course can do no good whatever—consider ere too late—for if your plea be once recorded, nothing can save your life—do not be in a hurry, but consider how you are circumstanced." Once again Quintus's countenance was exposed to the gaze of the numerous spectators, who were almost paralyzed by this unlooked for scene; and he repeated his plea, in a firm, deliberate manner, adding, as well as he could utter the words, "I cannot alter what I have said."

"Let him be removed from the bar for a while," said the Judge—"Why will he so sacrifice himself? Let him retire, and be brought up again, presently."

During the time that he was so withdrawn, one or two of his friends and legal advisers came to him, endeavouring to persuade him to act upon the Recorder's advice; for they entertained gloomy apprehensions from his tone and manner, and anticipated the worst, should the fatal word be recorded; but Quintus was not a man to be turned from a point, at which he had arrived, after so much painful deliberation, as he had exercised on this occasion. In this general character, he had little, or no obstinacy; but he was endowed with great strength of mind; and, when once conviction had been wrought upon it, he had enough firmness to go through any thing. It was therefore out of their power to alter his determination, and returning to the Court, and being once more appealed to in emphatic language by the Recorder, he again clearly, and resolutely repeated his former plea.

A great and sudden change, was at once discernible in the Recorder's manner. "Let the plea be recorded," he said—and, ere the clerk could have dipped his pen in the ink, which was to write the indelible word, the black cap, the never failing symbol of death, was placed on the Recorder's brow, and he instantly proceeded to pass that sentence, which was to cut short the thread of a fellow creature's existence, in the very morning, or prime of his days.

In the course of this affecting duty, he indulged in a very severe philippic against the self-denouncing criminal, urging his birth, education, and station in society, as great aggravations of his offence. Unable to endure this, Quintus interrupted him by saying, "My Lord, I did not know the nature of my offence. Had I chosen to repeat it, as I afterwards might, I should not now have been here."

"Silence! Quintus Servinton!" rejoined the Judge. "The Court cannot now be interrupted. You have brought disgrace upon yourself, and upon a respectable family, by your conduct.—You have outraged the laws of your country, and your assumed ignorance will not avail you—you are convicted upon your own confession, as you have declined relying upon the evidence you might have adduced, or upon the bias in cases of doubt, towards persons situated like yourself.—Your plea of guilty will not save you from the punishment, which the laws have awarded for your crime; nor can I attach the least importance to any thing you have said. The sentence of this Court is that, you be taken from hence, to the place from whence you came, and from thence, to the place of execution, where you are to be hung by the neck till you are dead; and, may the Lord have mercy on your soul."

Ere these solemn words were well uttered, a faint, hysterick shriek was heard from various parts of the Court, and two or three persons who were sitting at the table, appropriated to the Barristers, rose hastily, and attempted to address the Judge on behalf of the prisoner; but the look of stern displeasure with which they were regarded, silenced them until he had completed his duty. In the number of those who so wished to intercede, was Mr. Trusty, upon whose depositions, false in matter of fact, but true in substance, the unhappy criminal's life had been now adjudged forfeited, a cruel sacrifice to the commercial interests of his country. On his countenance were plainly expressed the most agonized feelings; and, in a perturbed, incoherent manner, he now loudly exclaimed, "My Lord! my Lord! spare him—spare him, we entreat you, my Lord. He has done us no injury—we have lost little or nothing by him—oh! my Lord, spare him." The Recorder scowled and looked angry, but before time was permitted for him to say any thing, the leading Counsel for the prosecution rose, and energetically, in the name of his clients, supported the recommendation; urging that, it was not a case requiring extreme severity, and that the protection of the monied interests, which alone was the cause of the prosecution, would be sufficiently attained by a less rigorous punishment than death.—The foreman of the Grand Jury too, a gentleman of leading rank and influence, put in a strong appeal to the same effect—but all was useless—not a muscle of the Judge's hard countenance relaxed; but turning to the officers of the Court, he said, "Let the prisoner be removed from the bar, and the other business of the Court proceeded with." The whole of the tragedy scarcely occupied one quarter of an hour—in as little time nearly, as the scene might have been shifted at a theatre, was Quintus Servinton thus brought forward, arraigned, passed through the form of trial, and doomed to an ignominious death.

The result was undoubtedly very different to what he had expected; but he still was unwilling to relinquish his faith, either in the sincerity or power of those, who had volunteered their interference.—He retired therefore to the place allotted him, with more tranquillity than could have been expected, or indeed than was evinced by some of those around him, who scrupled not to bewail in his hearing, the hard destiny that awaited him. Notwithstanding the dreadful shock he had received however, he continued to preserve a composure or serenity, that perfectly surprised those who witnessed it; such a smile even, as denotes inward peace, hovering around his lip, as if unwilling to depart for ever from a countenance, it had long illumined.

But his faith had yet to be more severely tried—his serenity yet more to be worked upon. The keeper of the prison, who ceased not in his sedulous kindness throughout any part of this eventful day, presently came to him, and said, "I shall want you in five minutes to return with me. Are you able to go without help?"

"Quite so, whenever you please. But tell me—I thought sentences were never passed until the end of the Session—why is my case different to all the others to-day, as well as to what was usual formerly?"

The gaoler seemed rather perplexed at this question, and averted his face to conceal his emotion; he then took Quintus by the hand, pressed it gently, and replied, "Do not be alarmed—I dare say it was well meant, so as to save your being brought forward a second time. Are you ready to go?"

Receiving an answer in the affirmative, they left the hall, and shortly entered the gaoler's private residence.

Tired and exhausted by what he had gone through, and anxious to retire to his apartment, there to pour out his troubled spirit, and thus to seek consolation, he was turning to proceed thither as usual, when his sympathizing conductor said, leading him at the same moment towards his parlour, "Step this way, and take a little refreshment first, for I am sure you must want something."

Although he had no heart for any thing of the sort, the wretched man offered no opposition; and, after listlessly partaking of what was placed before him, renewed his request to go to his room. In reply, the gaoler feelingly said, "My dear friend, you have had some severe afflictions, and I fear they are not yet over. Do not give way to despair, for all may yet be well;—but—you will not be the less fit to live by preparing to die. I have orders to change your apartment; but every thing that can be done for your comfort, will be thought of. I grieve to say thus much to you, but my duty requires it."

"Good God! have I been deceived?" exclaimed Quintus. "Have I indeed only exchanged my chance of acquittal, for hollow sounds of delusive good wishes?"

"I am unwilling to say as much as that," replied the gaoler. "We do not always understand how things of this sort are done, but it would be folly to disguise from you, that things have taken a very different turn to what I expected—and a preparation for the worst, will not make a happy change the less agreeable."

This was indeed a heavy blow, upon the already heavily afflicted sufferer; and when, following the benevolent turnkey who had attended him in the morning, he reached the chapel, and instead of proceeding to his usual chamber, saw him turn towards the cells, set apart for those condemned to die, the big drops of cold sweat stood on his forehead—his knees tottered, and he cried out, "James! James! I can go no farther."

"Would to God, I might take you any where else," said the feeling creature, "but alas, Sir! what can either of us do? Try to come on, Sir—you have acted like a man hitherto. Step on, Sir, and pray to God, for HE can help you, when I cannot."

Aroused by this appeal, he followed the turnkey a few steps farther, when, unlocking a door, bearing the ghastly words, "Condemned cell, No. 1," he was ushered into a small, arched room, where already was placed his bedding, upon a small iron bedstead. "Make my bed for me James, and let me retire there at once—that's my kind fellow. I am sorely troubled, but, as you tell me, I will trust in God."

"Do Sir—do—he will never desert you; you have trusted man too much already; but I can't think now after all, 'twill ever come to the worst."

"I will endeavour to prepare for whatever may happen, my good James—pray make my bed and leave me."

Left to himself, he soon sought the comfort of his pillow, and so worn out was he by bodily fatigue and mental suffering, that nature kindly sent him many hours of sound, uninterrupted sleep, awakening from which the following morning, the horrors of his situation, reduced as he was (to use his own words), to the very lowest depth of human misery, recurred with their full force to his agitated mind.

The kindness and affectionate attention of his relatives and friends, were now, if possible, redoubled. Poor Emily was early by his bedside, and never left it, unless upon unavoidable occasions, and then only, for short absences.

Notwithstanding all that had occurred, neither Quintus nor Emily, nor any of their immediate friends, who were privy to all the circumstances of the case, could altogether renounce their faith in the assurances they had received; and, as the Sessions were still sitting, they continued to hope that, for particular reasons, best known perhaps to the parties themselves, the course adopted had been intended as a means of giving more effect to the solemn warning, which they had been told was alone the object of the prosecution; and that, more favourable intelligence would therefore reach them, in the course of a day or two. Thus, half hoping, half fearing, three or four days passed over, in the very acme of disquietude; the distressed party not yet considering the time ripe, for taking any measures towards developing the extraordinary incidents, that had preceded the trial. In the midst of these anxieties, people pressed upon Quintus from all quarters with letters of condolence—religious tracts, and offers of visits—many of them from persons, with whom he had no acquainance, even by name; and in more instances than one, a zeal of this nature, was so obscured by ignorance of the party they were addressing, that it might have been imagined by the tone and expressions used, that the object of their solicitude was an unlettered malefactor of the worst sort, instead of a man who had little to complain of, in the way of general instruction; and besides, whose delinquencies were venial, if estimated by the injury they had caused, or by the test alone, of a breach of either of the divine commands—but the laws of his country had been broken; and by them, and not by a higher code, had he been tried and condemned.

Some of the letters he thus received however, were of a different nature, and operated as a balm upon his lacerated heart; and in this number may the following be considered, being from a gentleman of rank, fortune, and education, and of whose correspondence, any man might justly be proud:——

"B——Castle, 9th April, 1795. "MY DEAR SIR,

"The painful duty which recently devolved upon me, as foreman of the Grand Jury, led me to reflect upon your situation, with peculiar interest and sympathy—and these feelings suggested to me the idea, of requesting that you would allow me to ofer you the memoirs of Count Struensee, which, I trust, have ere this, been transmitted to you, as coming "from a friend." It will aford me the most sincere satisfaction, to bring before your view, one or two other books, could I be assured that, in so doing, I should not appear in your eyes, guilty of improper instrusion.

"I know that I am taking a great liberty, but feeling that I owe myself, every thing that I most value in life, to the great truths of the Bible, and believing that the door of mercy will never be closed to the sincere penitent, by an all merciful Saviour, I felt and still feel an anxious desire to be allowed to bring before your view one or two books, which appeared to me to develop in an able and consoling manner, this great and blessed truth."

"With my most sincere good wishes, and earnest prayers for your eternal happiness, believe me, dear Sir, very faithfully yours,

"J.S.H."

All this time too, he continued to be most kindly and charitably attended by one or two Clergymen, whom he had always esteemed for their unobtrusive piety and goodness, and who had the sense to adapt their conversation to their hearer, instead of, as is too often the case, implicitly following one beaten track, upon such occasions as the present. He had never risen from his pallet since the moment of his entering his present melancholy abode; all worldly concerns were withheld from him, his Emily and his religious employments, occupying the whole of his time.

Mr. Rothero had unfortunately left town the day preceding the trial, and although the failure of his repeated assurances had been instantly communicated to him, no reply had yet been received; nor indeed did there seem much, if any probability, that any thing he could now do, or say, would avert the impending doom over Quintus. Whatever hopes however might have been hitherto indulged—whatever trembling anxieties might have still held sway, over the minds of the wretched and constant inmates of his cell, were destined to be but of short duration; for, on the fifth morning after the trial, the Sheriffs visited him with much solemnity, and formally announced that his fate was irrevocably fixed, and that fourteen revolving suns, would terminate his earthly pilgrimage.


CHAPTER II

"Death is a fearful thing—
But shamed life a hateful."

SHAKSPEARE

Notwithstanding there had been no appearance of measures on the part of Quintus's friends, during the few days of distressing suspense immediately succeeding the trial, by which it would appear that they were seeking to avert the awful doom that hung over him, they were neither idle nor indifferent; and no sooner was it considered ripe for them to show themselves more active, than a kind of council was formed, consisting of his brother Charles, Mr. Clifton, a Gentleman of eminence in the law, and an intimate friend or two, who undertook to arrange, in a shape fit to be submitted to the fountain of mercy, the extraordinary incidents connected with this remarkable case.

The Home Minister of the day was a man of strict and rigorous adherence to the cruel law, under which Quintus had been sentenced. He was a good man, but too often inexorable to the plea of mercy. He was besides, always glad of a sacrifice to the penal statutes of his country, when taken from among classes who were dignified by birth or education, it being his opinion—how far well-founded it is not pretended to determine—that one example of this sort, was worth a hundred from an inferior station, towards deterring evildoers.

On this sad occasion, several of the higher branches of the unhappy culprit's family connexions, now made a considerable stir on his behalf, and at first thought to influence parliamentary and other interest; and so general was the feeling, that this was by no means a case for the extreme penalty of the law, that in the course of a few hours, a petition to the King, which was prepared by one or two persons wholly unconnected with him, and without the knowledge of his friends, and which they benevolently intended should come in aid of whatever might be the proceedings of his own family—received nearly two thousand respectable signatures.

In the number of those who stepped forward, seeking to arrest the arm of justice, ere the fatal blow should be uplifted, was the venerable and highly respected Earl of Montrevors, who called one morning at Whitehall, purposely to solicit of the Minister a commutation of punishment; but having to wait a short while, and the conversation with the Under Secretary happening to turn upon Quintus Servinton, and upon Lord Montrevors observing, "It is on his behalf that I want to intercede with Mr.——; there is a sort of connexion between his mother's family and my own"—"Faith, then, my lord," was the reply, "unless you want him hanged outright, say nothing about him. If Mr.——only surmises that there is a drop of good blood in his veins, nothing will save him. He has given orders that Mr. Davison, the City Member, who spoke to him on his behalf yesterday, is not to be again admitted upon the same business; but that every thing connected with it is to reach him in writing. I really think you will do more harm than good by seeing him. He seems to have imbibed his usual strong prejudices, against offenders who have moved in the poor fellow's late station in life; and nothing but a strong case of facts—not mere sympathy, nor even the strongest interest in the world—will prove effectual."

Lord Montrevors found, in the interview to which he was presently admitted, that the picture thus drawn of the Home Secretary was correct; and that neither Quintus nor his friends had any thing whereon to build hope or expectation, beyond the sheer, absolute merits of the case, whatever they might be.

With such a man to appeal to as the stepping-stone to the throne, it was well that there were facts, capable of being wrought into a shape which must, of themselves, when once made known, enforce attention; and it was to prepare these facts, and to collect the necessary corroborative proofs, that the Gentlemen who had undertaken their interesting task, now applied themselves with diligence.

It was their first business to embody in a petition to the King, in the most clear and succinct manner possible, the several circumstances that are already before the reader, and which was signed by the unfortunate man's nearest relations. But in order to give it more weight, it was accompanied by numerous affidavits, in support of the several facts it detailed, and among them were the following:——

"Lionel Clifton Garner, maketh oath and saith, that, on the 6th April instant, he applied to George Trusty, one of the prosecutors of Quintus Servinton, for an explanation as to the accuracy of the said George Trusty, in the information taken before the Magistrates, on the charge against the said Quintus Servinton, on which charge, he has since been convicted, on a plea of guilty—and, upon stating to the said George Trusty, the nature of the transaction as always explained by Quintus Servinton, such statement created in the mind of the said George Trusty, great doubts as to the accuracy of his deposition before the Magistrates, and also before the Grand Jury; and in the end, George Trusty admitted that he was not certain he had ever received the bill for five hundred pounds, whereon Quintus Servinton had been convicted, from the said Quintus Servinton—nor in fact, was he certain that, in any way, he had had any communication whatever with him upon its subject."

The next two were by Charles Servinton and Mr. Clifton, corroborating the different points stated in the petition, which had reference to Mr. Rothero, Mr. Stephens, and other essential parts of the narrative. Then came a second by Mr. Lionel Garner, who was a young gentleman of much promise, and nearly related to Emily, wherein he stated that, in a communication with Mr. Alderman Stephens, the day before the trial, when Quintus's letter to Mr. Clifton and its enclosure, in both which Mr. Stephens had been referred to had been shewn him, he had not contradicted any of the inferences Quintus had drawn. Another affidavit was by Mr. Gordon, the gentleman who had given Quintus the first intelligence as to the nature of the offence he had committed; and by which the fact of ignorance was placed beyond all doubt.

Besides these, were the following letters:——

SIR,

As Solicitors for the late prosecution against Quintus Servinton, for forgery, we beg to acquaint you, that our case was, that the names to the bill, on which the indictment was founded, were fictitious—and not the names of real persons.—We are, Sir, yours, &c.

—— and ——

To R. Davison, Esq., M.P.

But the next, was one of the most important documents, it being a letter from Mr. Rothero to the City Member, Mr. Davison, who had kindly undertaken the conduct of the affair, as the organ of communication with the Home Secretary; and who was unremitting in his endeavours to procure the anxiously sought-for mitigation. After giving sundry explanations, not necessary to be here repeated, he adds, "I am ready to verify, on oath, what I have herein stated—and you know me too well to suppose that any consideration would induce me to do so improperly. Having most unexpectedly found myself called upon, and in a situation, to invalidate the testimony which my partner gave before the Magistrates and Grand Jury, I am bound to say, that a more conscientious man does not exist; but he has been most certainly greatly mistaken in supposing and stating, that Mr. Servinton ever delivered the bill in question to him. It has occurred to me that I ought farther to add, that Mr. Quintus Servinton was a clerk in my house for some time—and I have been constantly since consulted by him, about his pecuniary and other affairs. Circumstances have arisen, which create no doubt in my mind, as to his ignorance of the nature of the crime he committed, and it is only due to him to bear my testimony to his general good conduct, since I have known him; which is now, nearly fourteen years."

The prosecutors still further supported the appeal to mercy, by a memorial, in which they state, among other things, "That your memorialists, having discharged a painful duty they owe to society, humbly, but earnestly implore a merciful consideration of the case, upon the ground that the firm of which Quintus Servinton was a partner, and which he made liable to us, by his endorsement, was solvent, at the time the bill was uttered, and he entertained a reasonable hope and intention of paying the same at maturity."

To sum up the whole, the following remarks, accompanied the foregoing, and many other documents;—

"The case which the relatives of Quintus Servinton humbly presume to lay before His Majesty, as a ground for mercy, consists of two parts—the one that he had a defence which would have secured his acquittal—that he knew it, and that he replied upon it; the other that he abandoned that defence, and admitted guilt, at the instance of one of the gentlemen by whom his case was represented to him, as in a measure to be decided, and of one of his prosecutors, conforming, in his own emphatic language—"to public justice, whilst he appreciated private sympathy." Let each be investigated. Upon the first point, no one who reads Mr. Rothero's letter, and Mr. Garner's affidavit as to what passed between himself and Mr. Trusty, can doubt that the latter must, upon cross-examination, have admitted the incorrectness of his memory; and the serious charge must therefore have failed. It follows, that the very indictment under which Quintus Servinton is convicted, is founded on untrue evidence. This proposition is undeniable. If it be said, that his intended punishment proceeds upon his own admission of guilt, then the second point should be well considered; viz., that he abandoned his known positive defence, and which, it is now admitted, would have been effectual to save him—not of his own free will, nor by any collusion on his part with his prosecutors—but at the unsought, voluntary instance of Mr. Alderman Stephens and Mr. Rothero. The proofs in support of this are abundant: indeed, if any were wanting to confirm it, look at what is said by Mr. Garner, with reference to his interview with Mr. Stephens, when the latter was shewn Quintus's letter to Mr. Clifton, enclosing his reflections. If the unhappy man had drawn an inference unwarranted by what had passed, would not Mr. Stephens have at once said, "Send or go to Servinton directly, and undeceive him; and let him distinctly understand that I have marked out no "course" for him"—that being the forcible expression Quintus uses? On the contrary, after keeping these documents a whole day, they were returned, without any objection being made to the inference he had drawn.

"There are still many auxiliary arguments which may be fairly urged in support of the preceding, should the peculiar circumstances they develop, remove, in ever so small a degree, the necessity of putting Quintus Servinton to death; and which widen, rather than contract, the reason for extending mercy to him. Take of these the following:——

"The nature of the forgery, and the solvency of the house. The former being merely fictitious names, could not, under any circumstances, injure any other party than those to whom it was uttered; and in this instance, even these could not be injured, as, at the same time that he gave them the bill, he also gave them an available remedy, by the real endorsement of a solvent firm. It was upon the credit of this, and this only,—not upon any pretended or implied responsibility of any other party,—that the prosecutors received the bill.—Secondly, his ignorance; which, however questionable at first sight, is confirmed by what Mr. Gordon has sworn to, and by Mr. Rothero's testimony.—A third cause is, that the same facility as before was still open to him, and was particularly presented by an offer made by the Mining Company, to discount any bills bearing his endorsement, a few days previously to his leaving town; but from which he abstained, knowing, as he then did,—but not before,—the enormity of the offence.

"It is upon the whole humbly submitted, that the question upon this peculiar case, viewed with that tendency to mercy which is ever the Royal prerogative, is—whether circumstances may not be found, which will relieve the constituted authorities from the necessity of enforcing the dread sentence of the law—whether or not it is a case imperatively calling for loss of life? Nothing suggested here or elsewhere, seeks to relieve him from punishment; but only that—having lost a substantial defence, by an unsolicited and powerful interference and influence, such as few could withstand—he may not now lose his life."

Notwithstanding the strength of this appeal, and the manner in which it was corroborated, Mr.——and the Recorder before whom he had been tried, adhered pertinaciously to the strict letter of the law, urging, he has acknowledged himself guilty of an offence, for which the laws of his country have awarded death, and it is upon this that we proceed. Nor was it until the then Lord Chief Justice of England had been consulted, and who, after acquainting himself with all the particulars of the case, had emphatically said, "You may certainly hang the man upon his own confession, but it will be a legal murder"—that the unfavourable bias of the others gave way, and a reprieve was ordered.

The boon of mercy which was so wrung from the Home Secretary, proved indeed, joyful intelligence to many; and the news of it flew, as it were upon the wings of the wind, to the house of misery, where the hapless sufferer was counting out the few remaining sands of his glass; for, some time ere it could have reached it by any common means, a sort of whisper ran through the place, that Mr. Charles Servinton had been seen entering a coach, after leaving the minister's office, and that his countenance bore a smile, which had long been a stranger to it—hence, justly enough, a favourable inference had been drawn.

The report so circulated, gained increased strength, each succeeding moment; for the sort of intelligence or knowledge, that had at first been acquired as if by intuition, being happily well-founded, messenger after messenger breathless with haste, pressed towards the prison gates, anxious to be the first herald of its confirmation.

In a very short while afterwards, the two Sheriffs were announced, bearing in their hand, the important document that was to relieve them of a duty, at the very contemplation of which they shuddered. Entering the cell where the wretched Quintus was lying on the little pallet, that he had never left since he had become an inmate of these vestibules of the destroyer, one of them approached him and said, "Our last interview with you, was one of the most painful moments of our lives—the present occasion is one of the happiest—your sentence has been commuted to transportation for life. We have given directions"—"Say no more! say no more!" quickly interrupted Quintus, springing from the bed as he spoke, "but leave me, I beseech you;" and then, not heeding their presence for the moment, he proceeded to pour out in devout thanksgiving to an Almighty Providence, the overflowing effusions of his grateful heart, for this signal deliverance.

Whilst thus employed, his Emily, bearing in her hand their child, entered the place, and was quickly followed by other of his anxious and affectionate relatives, all desirous of sharing in the joy of the moment; and presently a scene was witnessed, interesting in the highest degree. One by one, his kind visitors, who, through his late troubles and anxieties, had been so many ministering angels of pity, proceeded as they passed the door of the cell, to prostrate themselves before the throne of mercy, joining with fervent devotion, in the example that had been set by the now happy sufferer, and caught and acted upon by Emily; who, bidding her boy repeat the prayers he had been taught by her to offer up night and morning for his unfortunate father, although the little fellow could scarcely comprehend the passing scene, was presently addressed by him in a whisper, seeing her eyes suffused by tears, "Won't you ever leave off crying, mamma? Is my dear papa going to have any more trials?"

"No, my darling," said Emily, "we hope all his trials are over, and I now cry from joy—not as before from trouble."

"Will papa go home with us then to-day?" replied the child. "I am so glad all his trials are over; a'n't you mamma?"

"Yes, my love, I am indeed; but your papa, my dear Olivant, has many things to go through before he will be at home with us again," answered his mamma, scarcely yet able to speak for her tears, "but we have all much reason to be thankful. Come, my love, kiss your dear papa, and I will tell you more another time."

After the family group had spent some half hour or more, in their expressions of gratitude, and in mutual congratulations, the humane keeper of the prison entered, and invited Quintus to his parlour, until, as he said, his former apartments could be again prepared for him. Next came the good, honest turnkey James, willing to participate in an occasion so replete with joy; and who, presently calling to Quintus's recollection, the conversation he had held with him, when, a fortnight ago, he had nearly sunk under his strong emotions, again seized him warmly by the hand, and said, "I am so glad, Sir, but I always thought how 'twould be, when you put your trust in God. He can always change sorrow into gladness; and I am sure he's done so to-day, within these walls."

Every one indeed seemed rejoiced; for Quintus himself was a favourite with many—his situation and sufferings had been much commiserated, and his story, sad enough in itself, had received an additional interest from the very estimable character of his wife, whose virtue, and many other amiable qualities were well known, and materially helped to raise up for both, a very strong feeling of compassion. Happily however, for the present, many anxieties were now removed.

Although neither Quintus nor Emily, nor a few intimate friends, who were privy to the whole case, could ever bring themselves to abandon hope, their fears and painful apprehensions had been extreme. It must be admitted too, that these latter feelings were allowed sufficient scope; for one day only of the measured span of his existence remained, when the communication was placed in the Sheriff's hands, as a substitute for the fatal warrant.

Without some such intervention therefore, less than four and twenty hours would have numbered Quintus Servinton with the dead. He was to live however; and so prone are we to estimate our joys or sorrows, rather by comparison, than by their intrinsic deserts, that nearly as much delight was felt by his relatives at the boon thus bestowed, as if little else had been left them to desire—losing sight for the moment, that his future existence was to be one of misery, degradation, toil and trouble—that he was now become one of a herd of outcasts and felons—that he would have to endure the gaze of reproach—to brook contumely and oppression—was liable to be ordered to move or stand still, according to the pleasure of some domineering task-master—in a word, had exchanged a station of comparative rank, respectability, influence and comfort—for disgrace, dishonour, shame, and wretchedness. Nevertheless, at first, this consideration had small weight with either of the party—that his life had been miraculously saved was the impression—let us be thankful for it, and leave the rest to Providence.

Thus, within the short space of four months, had he been twice snatched from the jaws of death—twice, had the grave yawned to receive him—twice, was the victim in the power of the destroying angel—twice, did it seem that, no human means could have averted the arrow, when a Providence whom he had too much neglected and despised, towards whom, he had too much felt, "I am so strong I shall never be moved," stepped in with its interposing aim, and rescued him from destruction.

The congratulations he now received, were not confined to his relations, but many distinguished persons also, joined in expressing their satisfaction at the change in his circumstances. His friend Mr. Davison, wrote him the following letter:——

April 25, 1805.

DEAR SIR,

I heartily congratulate you, on the late merciful dispensation; and I pray God that it may tend to your temporal and eternal good. It is to God alone, on bended knees, to whom we must attribute this great and almost unlooked for deliverance.—The true reward which I shall receive will be, the witnessing throughout your future life, that integrity of conduct, which will make amends for this, your first ofence, and restore you to your own estimation, and to the confidence of your family and friends.

Your brother's exertions were truly fraternal and highly useful.—My good wishes will attend you at all times,

I am, dear Sir,
your faithful and obedient servant,
R. DAVISON.

The following also reached him, from the same gentleman, whose former letter is already before the reader.

DEAR SIR,

Be assured, I enter with cordial sympathy, into the afecting terms in which you allude to your recent deliverance,—and I am much gratified by your telling me, that the consolations which have attended you in the dark and trying hours, through which you have passed, have lost none of their interest, by this happy change in your circumstances.

The principles developed in the books you so much admire, are, I am deeply persuaded, our only safe-guard against the dangers of prosperity, as certainly as they form our surest and best consolation in the dark and dismal hour of afliction.

With my sincere wishes for your future happiness, believe me dear Sir, to be

Your faithful servant,

——.——.——

The next step to be gained, and to which, the energies of his friends were now directed, was to render the dreary prospect yet before him, as free from some of its attendant horrors, as possible; and for this purpose, interest was set in motion, with the view of obtaining such interference, as might accomplish their object. But the Home Secretary, robbed, as it may be almost said, of his victim, at the very foot of the altar, was not inclined to add to the boon so reluctantly bestowed, by any farther acts of grace,—and every application on Quintus's behalf, was either met by a stern negative, or by some such remark as, "He has had as much done for him, as falls to his share.—He must now take his chance, with others of the same class, and I desire not to hear his name mentioned again." His friends succeeded however, in obtaining an order for his leaving England, by the first conveyance for the settlement, then only recently formed in the Southern ocean; and where, they confidently expected that, the field which would be open for a man of his varied talents, possessing as he did also, a general good character, excellent health, and a robust, uninjured constitution, would enable him to recover his broken fortunes, so as yet to spend many happy days with his Emily. It was hoped that, the awful lesson he had been taught, the bitter pill he had been obliged to swallow, the providential deliverance he had experienced, and the state of subjection and thraldom, to which he was reduced, would eradicate every weed from his heart—restore his better propensities to their proper influence upon his conduct—check the ardent temperament of his nature—in a word, would replace him in the grade in moral society, that he held, when he first gained the affections of Emily Clifton. It was manifest to those immediately around him, that his solitude and imprisonment, had already done much, in the way of improving and correcting his wayward inclinations—and a tolerable earnest was thereby afforded, that the work of reformation, would still proceed. Emily, not only promised, but did so, with the full concurrence of her relations, that she would join him so soon as he should be able to receive her. Relieved from the heavy load, by which he had been so long oppressed, looking forward with the buoyancy of hope, to a reunion with his wife, and encouraged in pleasurable anticipations, by the accounts that reached him of the Colony whither he was destined, two or three months now passed with comparative ease and happiness; and at length, when he received an intimation that the vessel by which he was to leave England, would be ready to sail in a fortnight, so far was the information from creating sorrow, either to himself or his friends, that they wisely regarded the approaching separation, as the only means of even hoping for happier days; and when the morning for his departure arrived, and the prison gates were opened, for the purpose of removing him to the next stage in his career of punishment, he left the dismal building, his heart bearing full testimony that, it was a place, by no means irreconcilable with peace of mind, contentment, or intellectual, moral, and religious improvement. Indeed, it might be almost said of him—

"Melius est sic penituisse quam non errâsse."

CHAPTER III

"——You were us'd
To say, extremities were the triers of spirits;
That common chances, common men could bear;
That when the sea was calm, all boats alike
Show'd mastership in floating."

CORIOLANUS

A short while sufficed to bring Quintus to the termination of his journey, and to open to him new and unexpected scenes.

Like many others, he had read unmoved in the hour of his prosperity, the tales of suffering, endured by criminals at their various places of punishment; he had glanced slightly over occasional paragraphs in the newspapers, connected with those floating prisons, the hulks, but intelligence of this sort had passed him unheeded, and he had never thought of acquainting himself with any other than general information, respecting their internal management and condition. Little dreaming that it might ever fall to his own lot to acquire such knowledge by personal experience, he had merely felt, as is commonly the case, that bad as they might be, they were quite good enough for their inhabitants, and had troubled himself no farther about them. Hitherto he had endured few of the pangs of imprisonment beyond the loss of liberty. He had been allowed an unrestrained intercourse with his friends, had been kept separate and apart from other unfortunates, had been free from all distinguishing emblems of his condition, all which circumstances had greatly tended to mitigate the severity of his fate. But, as the carriage that was rapidly conveying him to Woolwich, approached the Arsenal, and he saw crowds of men in irons, all dressed alike, some dragging carts filled with rubbish, some up to their middle in water, labouring by the river side at excavations, some carrying timber or other burthens, others in saw-pits, or employed upon different sorts of artificers' work, but observed that every gang or set was closely attended by soldiers, with muskets and fixed bayonets, and that here and there a task-master was watching a party, apparently under his immediate charge, an apprehension crept over his mind, that all distinction between himself and others, was now at an end. He derived some little consolation however from reflecting, that a few days would accomplish his departure from England, and he willingly associated brighter prospects with a foreign land.

Leaving the Warren, and turning a sharp angle of the road, the stupendous, black, dismal looking hulk, which was to be his temporary abode, met his eye, as it floated on the still water, its towering sides rising an immense height, and its crowded decks presenting a mixture of busy activity with idle curiosity, many being the lookers on at the "swell," who was coming to add to the number of its inhabitants. No sooner had he ascended the wooden stairs, fixed to the side of the vessel, than he was conducted to the superintendent, or captain as he was usually styled, who scarcely however deigned to look at his new charge, but turning to a writing-desk and signing his name to a paper, laconically said to the person who accompanied Quintus, "Here, sir, take your receipt, and now we change situations as to this notable gentleman. I would rather have twenty of the common sort, than one of these swells, but they must all herd in the same mess at my shop." Quintus caught part of this uncourteous speech, and met the glance that was turned to survey him by a certain look, which induced the man to relax somewhat of his asperity. The fact was, this Captain had been elevated to his present rank, such as it was, as a reward for long and faithful services in subordinate situations, and he thought perhaps to strike awe upon the minds of strangers, by assuming a monstrous pomposity of deportment, calculated, as he conceived, to give a wonderful idea of his own importance. In this he sometimes failed, although at the same time, he was successful in concealing qualities, of which he might well have been proud; as under the assumed garb of official severity, he really possessed a good and feeling heart. His appearance was in keeping with his manners—smart, but vulgar in his dress—unpolished in his style of speaking, and evidently illiterate—prone to obsequiousness towards his superiors—fond of being flattered—haughty to his equals and inferiors, but kind at the bottom towards the wretches, over whom he held nearly uncontrolled sway. Quintus had mixed too much in good society, to be easily abashed by such a person as he now encountered, and assuming perhaps a rather more than usual elevation of mien upon the occasion, feeling too, his pride a little hurt by the levelling system now adopted, and for which he had been little prepared, soon saw the character of the man, and in a few minutes so contrived to impress his new master in his favor, that he received civility from him, to say the least, in the remainder of their interview, and the pains and penalties attached to his situation, were softened in point of rigour, compared with many of the others who were around him.

Yet, although mitigated, he thought them sufficiently severe; for no sooner had he withdrawn from the superior's presence, than a veteran, grow grey in the service, approached him and said, "Come along with me, my smart chum; we'll see how the grey uniform suits your complexion;" then leading the way, conducted him to a small apartment, filled with stores of all sorts, where, looking at a paper he held in his hand, he read aloud, "Let's see—five feet eight—fair complexion—brown hair—hazle eyes—ah! let's see, a suit No. 2 will do—No. 2 shoes too, I think. We'll make the best we can of him." Presently he handed him a bundle, in which were a grey cloth jacket, waistcoat and breeches; worsted stockings, and thick heavy shoes; two check shirts, and a broad brimmed, low crowned hat. "Here, my master," said he, "doff them there handsome traps, and put on these—we don't make fish of one, and flesh of another, here. Give all your gew-gaws, and what else is in your pockets to the clerk there in the office, who'll give you a receipt for them—we don't allow no money here, but 'twill all be returned safe to you when you goes away—I supposes we shan't have you no great while."

"I hope not," replied Quintus, in a good humoured tone, determined to conciliate those around him as much as lay in his power, well knowing that, bad as any thing is, it is capable of being made either worse or better by our manner of treating it. "I hope not, but so long as I remain here, I hope to meet with no worse friends than yourself, for I see you do not seek to add to my troubles more than can be helped, and I am obliged to you."

"Lord love your heart," said the man, "I always tells a real gentleman by the very cut of his jib, and I know how to behave to him. We be all born to trouble, rich and poor, as the saying is, and there's many a swell, I dare say, as ought to be here now worse than you, and yet holds up his head as high as the highest. I loves to take down the conceit of some of them there flash gentry as comes under my hands, cutting such capers as if King George was their uncle; but you won't find nobody behave bad to you here—any body can see you are of another kidney; but I say—I am afraid he'll have to clap the darbies on you."

"I trust not," said Quintus. "I'm sure he needn't be apprehensive of my trying to escape—that's the farthest thing in the world from my thoughts."

"'Tisn't for that," answered the man, "but you see as how there's near a thousand chaps here, and many of 'em are real hell-fire devils—thorough out and outers—and 'twont do to draw no distinctions like, with new chums—howsomever don't say nothing, whatever happens—there be more ways of killing dogs than hanging 'em, as the saying is, so cheer up my fine cock, and now, as you be ready, come along with me to the captain."

This dialogue had taken place during the time Quintus was changing his dress; and being now apparelled in his new livery, he ascended the steps of one of the gangways, and was again ushered upon the quarter deck, in the presence of the captain of the hulk.

Approaching him with a bow, the man of authority slightly returned it, calling aloud, "Let Quintus Servinton be placed in the second class, and have a single basil," waving with his hand at the same moment for him to withdraw. He immediately retired therefore, with his veteran friend, and underwent the ceremony of having a small iron ring, fixed by a rivet, upon his right ancle, and which completed the equipments for his new habitation.—Whilst this was going on, the old man said to him, with a look of satisfaction, "I told you to cheer up—see how much better you be off than the rest of 'em," directing Quintus's notice to the crowds of men heavily ironed, by whom he was surrounded—"and besides," added he, "he has given you the best berth in the place—and where you'll have the best company as is going—there's a soldier officer as was lagged three years back, and he's a proper cock-of-the-walk there—and a fine fellow he is too. Him and you will suit one another exactly—come along, and I'll take you to him."

Thus encouraged, he descended the steps leading to his quarters, with tolerable cheerfulness; and was speedily introduced to the unfortunate soldier officer—as he had been called, and who was now to be his companion. It was certainly a relief to him, to find upon entering the apartment, which was one of several, formed by divisions of the lower decks of an old seventy-four, that by the style of its principal inmates, manner and address, he was a gentleman; and Quintus, adapting himself to his circumstances with the best grace he could assume, they were soon engaged in general conversation, with as much life and energy, particularly on the part of the ci devant officer, as if they had known one another for years, and had now re-met in a state of mutual prosperity.

It may perhaps appear strange to those, who have never experienced a reverse of fortune—who have always basked in its sun-shine, free from the storms and troubles of adversity, that such a situation as two gentlemen now found themselves in, the one Quintus, as he has been described to the reader, and the other, the once gallant, gay, fashionable captain Spendall, formerly of His Majesty's —— regiment of infantry, they should have been able so to forget their calamities, so to lose sight of their falls, or so to unbend their oppressed minds, as to enter upon any light, or trifling subjects of conversation; but the fact is, that through all "the changes and chances of this mortal life", man is, more or less, the creature of circumstances; nor is it among the least of the merciful dispensations we receive at the hands of a Divine Providence, that the back is ever suited to the burthen, and that even the worst of our afflictions, are invariably attended by some extenuations. In the present instance Quintus, who, in his own language, had had but the other day as it may be called, one foot in the grave, was well inclined to receive gratefully, and to thoroughly appreciate, the kindness and attention he received, even though the best that could now be afforded him, fell immeasurably short of the least, to which he had been accustomed from childhood; and with regard to his companion, he had been long innured to his present habitation; his anguish, whatever it might have been at first, had yielded to the influence of time; and almost forgetting the days that were gone by, the novelty of having a well informed gentleman at his elbow, produced an exhileration of spirits with him, which imperceptibly drew on to a display of great powers of entertainment.

It was not long until Quintus discovered that, strict as were the rules and regulations of this den of misery, they were capable of being evaded; and that, notwithstanding the restraints that were imposed with the view of making it really a place of punishment, such of its experienced inmates as had the command of money, and who chose to pay the price at which connivance might be purchased, were enabled to introduce various luxuries, that were positively forbidden by the authorities. Mr. Spendall presently alluded to the subject, by feeling his companion's pulse, as to his inclination for a bottle of wine; to which Quintus replied, "I like it well enough, at proper times and seasons, but I don't at all mind going without it. I understand nothing of the sort is allowed here."

"Pooh! pooh! nonsense! do the rascals think a gentleman is to go without his wine, because he happens to be in quod?—no, no, a d——n to the whole set of them—they fancy we are to live on bourgu, black broth, psalm singing, and a bit of carrion now and then; but I haven't served three campaigns in North America for nothing—every dog has his price, and I'll soon shew you how I manage things."

With this he gave three raps upon the wooden partition, that divided the apartment where they were sitting, from the one adjoining, and in the course of a few minutes, one of the guards entered; a man, whose duty it was to search all persons at their ingress and egress, to and from the hulk, and generally to watch the prisoners. Shutting the door with caution, and looking around him, he made a sort of half bow, and said, "Well, my noble captain, what's your pleasure?"

"Why, you imp of the Devil you, don't you know we have a new chum, a gentleman, a man of birth and education, eh, you rascal! and can you ask what my pleasure is? Presto, hie, begone! and let's have something fit to put before a gentleman."

The guard looked significantly, and answered, "But I say captain, is he real thorough-bred? Does he know how to treat gentlemen, when they run risks for each other? Waur hawks among partridges! I know you, captain, but I don't know him."

"Get thee gone, thou prate-a-pace, and do as thou art bid. Have I lived so long, ate with gentlemen, drank with gentlemen, fought with gentlemen, cursed, swore, and gamed with gentlemen, and do I not know a gentleman by instinct? Begone, and take me for thy surety, that 'tis all as it should be."

The man retired, with a grin upon his countenance, and saying in an undertone, but which did not altogether escape Quintus, "Aye, and haven't you cheated gentlemen—and will you not pluck this pigeon too, if you are able?" And, in about a quarter of an hour returned, bearing a small basket, from which he took a cold fowl, bread, butter, various et ceteras, and two bottles of wine, for which he was paid by Mr. Spendall one guinea and a half.

"If you want a drop of something comfortable by and by, for a night cap," the fellow said, as he pocketed the money, "I can serve you—but I say, my new friend," addressing Quintus, "mum's the word, or else look out for squalls."

In the course of the evening, Quintus saw enough of his new acquaintance, to form for himself a line of conduct suited to the occasion, and which determined him, that if the ci devant captain intended to play at his expense, any of the sharper's tricks which he had been relating with a sort of pride, he should find himself mistaken in his man. Mankind is so prone to draw distinctions, that even persons who have outraged the laws of their country, do not lose sight of this principle of their nature; and although the offence for which Quintus was suffering punishment, had been adjudged to be deserving the most ignominious of all penalties, he felt that it had not so far compromised or degraded his bearing as a gentleman, as the low, petty larceny transaction, for which Mr. Spendall had been sentenced to seven years transportation; as it arose from having swindled tradesmen, by obtaining goods on hire, and then pawning them. And yet, circumstanced as he now was, his part was rather a difficult one. He resolved therefore, that obligation should be rather conferred than received by him—but even whilst he had been partaking of what was before him, neither his principles nor his prudence were quite at ease, at being a party to the clandestine breach of the regulations by which it was obtained, and he almost regretted, that an endeavour to diminish his misery, had been the means of introducing him to such a person, as he now had for his chief companion.

Such were his meditations as he lay in his hammock, a prey to sleeplessness and many bitter recollections, scarcely closing his eyes until just as the morn was breaking, when he was again aroused by the noisy summons of the different overseers, who were calling the inmates of the place, to their daily stated labour. When it came to his turn, to be marshalled upon deck, and to answer to his name "Here, sir," the captain cried out, "Let Quintus Servinton belong to Mr. Atkins's gang," and he was accordingly removed to a group standing at a little distance, at the head of which stood a short, fat, good humoured looking personage, whom he rightly enough judged to be Mr. Atkins.

"Keep near me," said the man, in an under tone. "I don't fancy all you can do will help King George much. Let's look at your hands, and I'll soon see what I must put you to." As he obeyed this mandate, Atkins continued, "Ah! fitter for a midwife, I think, than for me—why, twenty such, wouldn't earn salt for their porridge, at the best day's work they could do. Ah! I think I must appoint you my deputy to-day, and make you look one way while I look another, after these other rogues—well, there, go along. Walk up and down, when you go upon the Warren presently, and keep a sharp look out, but don't go out of sight."

In this manner passed the first day of Quintus's sojourn at the Woolwich hulks. It was quite evident to him that, without departing from the rules of the place, there was every inclination to soothe his troubles; and he considered that the best return he could make, was to hide his aching heart, under an assumed cheerfulness and serenity. He found that, with the exception of Mr. Spendall, and perhaps a dozen or two others, who filled situations on board which exempted them from labour, the whole of the prisoners passed and re-passed twice each day to the Warren, in large punts or barges, where they worked in different ways, according to their qualifications and strength. Wisely enough he congratulated himself, that it would not last long, and that the transport, which was expected in three or four days from Deptford, would close his present disagreeables—meanwhile, he could not help acknowledging to himself, that things were capable of being much worse than he had hitherto found them, and was disposed to be thankful for what he so enjoyed.

With these feelings, it was extremely agreeable to him to be told on the second morning, not to go on shore, but to wait for the doctor to see him. He had heard a very high character of this gentleman's humane and excellent disposition, and he readily adopted the idea that, some improvement in his own situation, would be the result of the interview. He found in him a middle aged man, of benign countenance, and very expressive features—one who had the faculty of drawing in a particular manner, the attention of persons with whom he conversed—rivetting their notice, by the searching look with which he regarded them. When Quintus presented himself before him, he took hold of his arm, as if to feel his pulse, and still retaining it in his hand, said "Your health is not very good, is it?"

"I have nothing to complain of on the score of bodily health, Sir," he replied.

The doctor gave his arm a gentle squeeze, as he let it go, and darting a very significant glance at him, exclaimed "Nothing to complain of, do you say? don't you feel very weak and languid—I can't be deceived by your pulse."

"Yes, Sir, I haven't nearly my usual strength."

"Ah, I knew that in a minute—I knew that—and here are orders for shipping you off, on a six months' voyage, in a few days; and how by the devil and his dam is it to be supposed you are to go?—we shall be more likely to have to ship you somewhere else upon six men's shoulders. Captain! this man is suffering under low debility, and must be immediately removed to the hospital ship—he requires great care and good nursing, and we must have this thing knocked off his ancle."

"Certainly, doctor, your word is my law, you know. Jinks, lower the wherry, and let Quintus Servinton go to the hospital ship immediately—but first, clear his ancle."

Thus, in less than five minutes, he unexpectedly bade adieu to all his recently formed acquaintances, Mr. Spendall among the rest, who told him he was a confounded fool to leave such good quarters, as he had been shewn he might command, merely to exchange them for a parcel of caudle and cat-lap; and advising him to tell the doctor he was very well, and did not require any nursing. But, if no other inducement for the removal had existed, a sufficient one in Quintus's estimation was to be found, in his desire to leave the very command of the good things, which weighed so differently with Mr. Spendall; as he had sense and experience enough of life, to have resolved from the first, to adopt for his principle the seeking to acquire favour with his superiors, whoever they might be, by a strict observance of all established rules.

In this new abode, free from all restraint or interference, perfectly the master of his own time, and receiving daily instances of considerate kindness and attention from the doctor, he spent nearly a fortnight, waiting the arrival of the ship, that was to convey him for ever from his native land. Emily much wished once more to see him before he left England, and wrote often to say so; but although comparatively comfortable, there were many things connected with his situation, which he knew would pain her to witness. Leavetaking was, besides, a species of self-torture, inflicting, in the words of his early friend, Dr. Simpson, great and unnecessary anguish—and he felt that it would be cruel to his wife, and harassing to himself, to have to go through a repetition of the trying scene, that had attended their recent parting. From the first mention by her of the subject therefore, he had discouraged the idea, telling her that, under their present cruel destiny, they must dwell in each others' minds only, and hope for happier days. She on her part, although unwillingly acceding to the propriety of her husband's view of the question, endeavoured to prevent her memory from dwelling too much upon the past, by seeking constant employment, and for which abundant occasion was presented, by the necessary preparation for the voyage. In this labour of love and duty, none could be more assidous than she now was; and it was the wish of all Quintus's friends, not only to furnish him with such an outfit as would secure for him many comforts to which he had always been accustomed, but might also assist towards pushing his way on the new stage, upon which he was now to be an actor.

As regularly as the day came was she his correspondent; but among the regulations in force at the place he now inhabited, was one, by which all letters both to and fro, were subjected to a surveillance, before they were permitted to reach their destination. This naturally threw a restraint upon Quintus's style and manner, which he could not explain to Emily as he wished, and who being therefore ignorant of the cause, could not help occasionally feeling a something, that a good deal bordered upon mortification or disappointment. One morning however, the worthy doctor brought him a letter, and breaking the seal in his presence, immediately handed it to him unopened, saying, "I am sure no treason can be concealed under such pretty hand-writing as this—when you write to the same party, give your letters into my hand."

"Thank you, Sir," he replied, "I have one ready written, if you will have the goodness to take charge of it."

"Certainly I will—but add two lines—I dare say you can find something to say that may prove agreeable, and then I'll seal it."

Quintus was not slow to understand the excellent man's meaning—and adding the few words, "Heaven be praised! I may now open my heart to you, without fearing an odious surveillance, which has hitherto existed and your letters to me will also be as private as they ought to be—more to-morrow," he laid the letter before the doctor, who immediately closed and sealed it, saying, "It is only in this way, that such characters as Mrs. Servinton is represented, ought to be treated, I'll take care your letter goes safely."

When the day for his embarkation arrived, he took leave of this kind and humane gentleman with feelings of sincere regret; but the doctor's benevolence did not end here, for he made a point of speaking of him in the most flattering terms possible, to the surgeon superintendent of the transport, warmly interceding for whatever indulgences, he had it in his power to bestow during the voyage.

Thus had he been hitherto peculiarly fortunate, in the persons under whose authority he had been immediately placed; nor, when he exchanged the hospital-ship for the finely equipped Tamar, bound for New South Wales, did this good fortune leave him, as he still fell among those who were sedulous in trying to heal his wounded spirit. In good truth, an universal sympathy was felt towards him, and which received additional strength with those about his person, by witnessing the fortitude and resignation that marked his conduct, in this, his hour of severe affliction.


CHAPTER IV

"My native land, good night."

LORD BYRON

Quintus was not long in discovering the good effects of the favourable manner, in which he had been spoken of by the humane gentleman, who had been latterly his immediate superior; for, scarcely was his name enrolled among the two hundred unfortunates, who, like himself, were destined to traverse the mighty ocean, separating the Mother Country from the then newly settled Colony, known at present by the term Australia, but at that period, more commonly as Botany Bay, than the surgeon superintendent of the vessel sent a messenger, desiring his attendance in his cabin. This gentleman, who was named Bruce, was of about the same age as Quintus; possessed very engaging manners and agreeable appearance—rather precise in his personal economy, and now wore the undress of a surgeon in the navy, in the cut and style of which, was an evident regard to the "exact thing." His accent bespoke his nativity to be the land of cakes, but not disagreeably so and altogether he looked the well-bred gentleman.

Upon entering the cabin, Quintus observed a trunk belonging to himself, placed on a chair, and was at once addressed by the surgeon, "You must find those clothes very disagreeable, Mr. Servinton. I have had one of your packages brought here at a venture, but if it should not contain what ye may require for a change, Waitwell shall fetch ye any other ye may name. After ye have dressed, I'll have the pleasure of holding a leetle conversation with you."

Quintus thanked him with real gratitude, and saying that he believed he should find every thing he required, the surgeon withdrew, treating him by his deportment, quite as one gentleman usually behaves to another. This was the first time lately that he had been addressed, other than as plain Quintus Servinton—the word "Mr." seemed strange to his ear, and raising upon the whole of Mr. Bruce's behaviour, various expectations with respect to the voyage, his spirits received a fillip, which made him for the moment forget all his cares and troubles.

In general matters, Quintus had never been a man who much valued outward show, or demonstrations of respect; but, he had knowledge enough of human nature to be aware that, the same principle of action, which could have suggested the delicate attentions he had just received, could only have sprung from a good and amiable heart;—and it was this, and not the silly vanity arising from hearing himself addressed as formerly, that created a glow of contentment or satisfaction upon his countenance, that was plainly discernible, when, presently having exchanged his garment of slavery for his usual attire, he ascended upon the quarter deck to pay his respects to his new master.

"Ah!" said Mr. Bruce, with a good-humoured smile, as he approached "now ye look mair like yerself; but I am sure I need na say to you, that so long as we are in port, the less ye may be seen by strangers, who'll perhaps come here, to stare at ye, the mair agreeable, and the better it may be—Pray use my cabin as much as ye like, and by and by, I'll see what I can further do to make you comfortable.—Do ye understand any thing of medicine?"

"I cannot say that I do, Sir—but I have no doubt I could render myself useful, after a little instruction."

"I believe as much, fra what I have heard of you. I mean to appoint you my assistant, during the voyage.—There will be some pen and ink work every day, and I daresay, ye will have vary leetle, if any difficulty upon other points. It will give you many trifling advantages, and help to fill up your time—two very good things, for a long voyage. When you're inclined for exercise, or fresh air, you'll use the quarter-deck; and the less ye mingle with the prisoners, the mair I'm sure, 'twill suit your inclination." The conversation was here interrupted by the approach of some persons, who applied to Mr. Bruce for orders; and Quintus wishing to avoid any thing like intrusion, retired.

The effects of this behaviour, did not end here; but were presently discernible, in the deportment of other persons on board—who, taking their cue from so high an authority as the surgeon, evinced in many ways, that his example was not lost upon them. Thus relieved from anxiety, as to how he should be personally treated—for Quintus was none of those who despised the comforts or conveniences of life—he had time and disposition to acquaint himself with the nature of the arrangements that were adopted for the transporting with security, and at the same time, with regard to health, so numerous a body of criminals, as were on board the Tamar.

He soon learnt that the surgeon-superintendent had the supreme command on board, exercising a sway or authority, nearly equal to that of a captain of a man-of-war; the duties of the master of the vessel, not extending beyond its navigation. The place where the prisoners were confined, was between decks; and was fitted up by the construction of upper and lower sleeping-berths, each capable of containing four persons. The forecastle was converted into a hospital, in case of sickness. In the midships, were accommodated the military guard and sailors; and the after part, was reserved for the surgeon, the master, and two or three individuals, who being in the public service, had a passage to the settlement, provided by Government. Each convict upon embarkation, had a bed, blanket, and pillow given him—each was also furnished with all necessary clothing; and Quintus saw, by looking over the inventory of stores that, great attention had been paid to laying in a supply of every thing likely to be required, in case of sickness, a protracted voyage, or other cause, that might affect the condition of the prisoners. With the exception of Quintus, and two or three others, who were distinguished by their previous good characters, all the convicts wore heavy irons, and were allowed to come upon deck at intervals only; but the cleanliness and wholesome state of the prison, for so the space inhabited by them was named, were not among the least remarkable or creditable parts, of the surgeon's management.

Several days were occupied in completing the necessary preparations for the voyage, during which, Emily continued a regular correspondent to her husband, receiving from him also letters, that were well calculated to relieve her anxiety as to one part at least, of his career of sorrow.

The same affectionate strain that had distinguished her throughout, still pervaded her every expression—the same reliance upon a Divine Providence, that had supported her in her unexampled distresses, still was her tower of strength and of confidence—the same resigned and holy spirit, that had whispered to her to regard every thing, not as proceeding from the hand of man, but of God, now supported her through a separation from him, who had subdued, and ever afterwards retained possessor of, her virgin heart; and hope, founded upon faith, bade her look forward, and see at the termination of the vale of tears, through which they were travelling, regions of peace and happiness.

She had an indescribably sweet way of conveying her language, either in speaking or writing. In the former, her musical voice, set off by the soft and feminine beauty of her countenance, now matured by time, and changed from the elegant sylph-like girl, to the handsome woman, gave her words a peculiar charm. Her figure was rather more settled and formed, than when Quintus first became acquainted with her; but the alteration was greatly in her favour: giving to the regular fall of the shoulders, the beautifully rounded arm, and taper waist, a grace and elasticity, that well corresponded with her mild and expressive eye, under its dark, fringed lashes, her small, well-formed mouth, her roman nose, and the general contour of her other features.—It was impossible to see her, without admiring—to know her, without loving—or to hear her speak, without having one's attention rivetted. One of her last letters to her dearly beloved husband, was as follows:——

When we are many, many thousand miles distant, my dearest Quintus, it may be a pleasure to you, to have something that I have worn.—I enclose a little sleeve which I wore when a baby.—Accidents may occur to prevent our ever seeing one another again—God grant it may not be so, but that we may sooner meet than we expect; I can be happy and contended with very little, so that you are with me.—This you know, and be assured, whenever you can let me know you are ready to receive me, I shall not be long in packing up.—Ever my dear Quintus, I am yours and only yours,

E. S.

Numerous as had been the instances of her regard and tenderness, her husband was sensibly affected by this new demand upon his feelings. He took the little token in his hands, kissed it again and again, wept over it, and said within himself, "How can I ever requite such a wife—neither time, absence nor any change of circumstances, shall ever banish her from my heart.—We must, we will, yet be happy together." And in good truth, through the remainder of his life, never did he forget the excellent creature, who had done and suffered so much for his sake.

A day or two now intervened only, when the bustle and confusion that were visible among the sailors, the boats that were leaving the ship, freighted with loving doxies, who had just taken a last farewell with many slobbering kisses, of their thoughtless lovers, "who find a wife in every port, in every port a home;" the orders that confined the prisoners below deck, and presently, the "Yo yeoe," heard in various notes, as an accompaniment to the turns of the windlass, whilst the anchor was slowly being raised from the mud, all these were evident indications, that the hour for departure had arrived—and that, a short while only would elapse, until the scene would be wholly changed.

Notwithstanding, that by Quintus this had been for some time anticipated, and that, now the moment had arrived, it bore with it many extenuating circumstances, which he scarcely had had reason to hope for, there are few, it is believed, who can turn their back upon their home and their country, even under the expectation of a speedy return to them, who do not feel the separation acutely; and when, as in this instance, the man who had been born and educated a gentleman—who had preserved through thirty years, an irreproachable character—a character beyond suspicion, until tarnished by the offence, that had hurled him in an instant from an enviable station, to the mingling his name with a common herd of felons—when such a man as this, was bidding a long—probably an eternal adieu, to the land of his fathers, it cannot be supposed that he was either unmoved or indifferent.—As the vessel was presently scudding through the Nore, with a light and favourable breeze, Quintus stood upon the quarter-deck, leaning over the gunwale, absorbed in deep musing, and scarcely regarding the objects on shore, that were now being left in rapid succession, when he was accosted by Mr. Bruce, "It is an interesting scene we have on the banks of this beautiful river—but the feeling one has upon leaving it, is vary different from what it is, upon returning to it after a long voyage."

"It must be indeed, Sir," replied Quintus, "but what must a man's feelings be, who is leaving it, as I am, without the most distant hope of ever returning to it?"

"Why should you say so," answered Mr. Bruce; "How know ye what good gifts may yet be in store for you? I myself once experienced a singular visitation, and what at the moment gave me great pain; but I have since lived long enough to learn, that the ways of Providence, although mysterious, are wise and good, and I've no doubt ye will find it so yerself."

"I trust so, Sir," replied Quintus. "My lot requires some such consolation to make it endurable. It is certainly consoling to believe that nothing befalls us by chance."

"Yes," said Mr. Bruce, "it is—and I'll give you an example of what happened to myself, and which since makes me receive with contentment, whatever happens. I had served many years assistant surgeon on board a frigate, and being at last promoted, I was particularly anxious to be again appointed to the same ship, as there was a vacancy in her at that moment, and I put every possible interest in motion to attain my object. But it was in vain—another surgeon was appointed, and I received orders to join another vessel. I was so mortified and disappointed at being prevented sailing with the brother officers, who were endeared to me by long acquaintance, that I had almost resolved to retire from the service, and it was only the earnest solicitation of a friend, which prevented me from at once tendering my resignation; but I soon had a lesson taught me, by which my pride was effectually humbled. I shortly afterwards saw in the newspapers of the day, that the frigate in which I had so long sailed, and which had just taken her departure for the West Indies, had been wrecked on the coast of Ireland, during a dark foggy night in the month of November, and that every person on board had perished. My own voyage, on the other hand, proved singularly happy and fortunate, and I drew a moral from the circumstance, which I have since often applied, and have always deduced the same result.—Ye may rely upon it, that twenty years hence, and may be much sooner, you will become a disciple to my doctrine, and will bless the hand, by which you have been chastened."

The vessel continued to make her way gallantly through the Downs, with a fine steady breeze from the north-east. Deal soon became lost to the sight, and Dover Castle, standing upon its commanding eminence, was gradually wearing a less and less appearance; the white cliffs near its base, were rapidly assuming a duskish grey, when the pilot, who still accompanied the vessel, looked anxiously from time to time at the current of the clouds, as they were forming and passing in the air, and presently gave orders to take in the studding and top-gallant sails, and directed the helmsman to keep the vessel well up to the wind. In reply to an observation made by the master, he said, "The orders for sailing were just twelve hours too long in reaching Sheerness. The wind is changing to the south-west, and if we don't well clear the land before it meets us, we may be wind-bound for I don't know how long. Luff! luff! keep her well filled—two hours more, and she'll have plenty of sea room, and then we can see what she's made of."

Meanwhile, order after order portended that the wind was becoming still more unfavourable; and the tumbling and tossing of the ship, crammed with human beings, begat a scene that may be conceived, better perhaps than described.

Things continued in this state during the night and the next forenoon. It was impossible to make way against the powerful element, that was now become directly opposed to their progress, and after numerous zig-zag tacks between the English and French coasts, for upwards of eight and forty hours, without making one league's progress in the voyage, the word of command for "about ship," was reluctantly given, and presently the vessel was quietly at anchor at Dungeness, where she remained wind-bound nearly a month.

The seasoning Quintus had thus obtained in the pleasures of the ocean, removed from his mind, some of the apprehensions that are inseparable from those, who for the first time tread the plank, that alone separates them from eternity. He had suffered no inconvenience from the turbulent motion of the vessel; on the contrary, the buoyancy of his spirits rose, as he watched the foaming billows following one another in rapid succession, and noticed how the ship, riding upon them like a water-fowl, sometimes mounted on high, apparently to touch the heavens, and at the next moment seemed upon the point, of being swallowed by the unfathomable deep. He paced up and down the quarter deck with the facility of an experienced seaman, and, elated with a prowess in which, after all, many an inferior animal was greatly his superior, joined at times in some of the jokes and jeers that were made by the sailors, at the expense of others, less fortunate than himself, who too plainly exhibited how little the sea agreed with them; assuming, as we frequently see through life, a certain degree of merit, for the possession of a mere fortuitious gift of nature.

Whilst so amusing himself one day, after the voyage had been resumed, a presbyterian divine of the Scotch kirk, who was a passenger on board the vessel, came up to him and said, "I should na have expected that the sufferings of a fellow creature, could have afforded ony pleasure to sic a young man as yersel. It is na in vara gude keeping, I'm thinking, with one who has sa mich to be thankfu' for upon his ain account."

"I feel the force of your reproof, sir; and am sorry you had occasion to offer it. It was the remarks of the sailors which made me laugh; not, I assure you, sir, any delight in witnessing a fellow creature's pain."

"I dinna doubt it, young man: I think na less of ye. I dare say you've been brought up vara deferently fra the maist part of the misguided puir creatures who are now aboard with us. You'll excuse the question, but has ony regard been paid by yer frien's, to yer religious instruction?"

Quintus was glad to find the conversation take this turn—as, thanks to his mother in his childhood, to his good preceptors in his youth, and subsequently, to his connexion by marriage, he was tolerably versed upon all points bearing upon different religious faiths—knew the distinctions between the doctrines of Calvin and Luther—between those of Socinus and Arius—was acquainted with the various texts, whereon each grounded his respective opinions —was well read in every thing relating to the reformation—to the difference between Presbyterianism and Episcopacy, and understood the tenets of the numerous sects of Dissenters. The Scotchman, on his part, was equally pleased to have touched a string, from which, to his ear, so musical a chord as Quintus's answer vibrated; and from that day, throughout the voyage, he generally spent part of each forenoon with the reverend gentleman, who soon took the utmost interest in every thing relating to him. Among the passengers also, were a military officer, with his wife and family, from whom Quintus received much kindness and attention; so that, in one way or other, what with his daily avocations in the service of Mr. Bruce—his chit chat with the passengers—his discussions with the Presbyterian—and his own taste for literary employments, the usual dull monotony of a long voyage, yielded to the charms of time well occupied, and such a thing as ennui was unknown to him.

One morning as he was sitting, engaged in writing, the cry of "Sail! ho, a sail on the larboard bow," threw the ship into a momentary disorder, and all hands were immediately in motion. The master and chief mate had their telescopes in their hands in an instant, endeavouring to ascertain what the stranger was like; and after a few doubts and conjectures, she was first clearly made out to be a ship—next it was discovered that she was of large tonnage, and lastly, was put down as a sloop of war or frigate. Every one was instantly hazarding conjectures as to her nation and quality. The idea of meeting an enemy was not the most agreeable thing imaginable, considering the nature of the cargo on board, and it was determined by the master, that as no good, but possibly some harm, might result from coming to close quarters, the safest way would be to keep as far distant as possible.

The Tamar was sufficiently well armed not to fear the attack of an inconsiderable enemy, but although herself a five hundred ton vessel, the stranger, notwithstanding she was still perhaps, twenty miles distant, appeared at least double that size.—Any opposition therefore, should she prove to belong to a hostile power, would have been an unnecessary sacrifice of human lives. As they were at present steering, the Tamar had decidedly the advantage of the wind, so that to make away from the other, seemed easily practicable. All sail therefore was crowded, and giving her the direction known by experience to be most favourable to her qualities of speed, away she scudded before the wind, as fast as canvas and judicious steering could force her.

But notwithstanding her utmost exertions—notwithstanding she was running upwards of twelve knots an hour, being one more than had ever before been got out of her, the increased, and increasing size of the stranger, who had also changed her course, and was in the direct track of the Tamar, told plainly enough that all her efforts would be useless; and that, long ere she could be enwrapped under the cloak of night, she must inevitably be overtaken by the pursuer. A sort of council between the master, the surgeon and the passengers was now held to decide whether it was better to continue the endeavour to avoid a meeting, or to make the best front in their power, and prepare for the event which seemed inevitable; and after some discussion, the latter was agreed upon, and was soon adopted.—Proceeding to take in some of the extra sail that had been used, thus slackening their progress, the stranger rapidly continued to gain ground, and shortly a column of smoke rising from the water, gave a momentary warning that a gun had been fired, which was at once understood as a signal to heave to; and in the course of a minute or two—another, and then another, repeated the summons. The fears and anxieties of some on board were now at their height; for they had not only to apprehend that the ship by which they were chased, might be an enemy, but they knew full well, that they carried within themselves, a still more dangerous enemy, in the restless spirit and turbulent disposition of the convicts; and which, would induce many of them to embrace with eagerness, any chance of avoiding the punishment due to their crimes, even at the alternative of placing themselves in the hands of a foe to their country.

Meanwhile, the stranger had approached near enough, under an immense height of canvas, to enable them to discover that she was not English man-of-war rigged, nor yet did she look like a foreigner; and the probability was suggested of her being an outward bound Indiaman. Scarcely had this idea been well circulated, than each minute, something or other arose, to give it additional strength; and it is impossible to describe the rapture that ran through the Tamar, when it was presently confirmed beyond doubt; and when, after a while, the Indiaman backed her yards, and dropped close alongside, the cheers with which the English flag was saluted—the interest with which the usual interrogatories were made, and replied to—and the glee that shone upon every countenance, well betokened how much more welcome was their companion, than at one time had been apprehended.

Those only who have been at sea, who have for days and weeks had but one view before them, and that view, but one wide expanse of waters, merely varied by occasional shoals of porpoises playing around the vessel, or by the timorous flying fish, seeking by a momentary exchange of element, to escape its ravenous enemy; or at other times, by the elegant little nautilus, challenging all-sufficient, conceited man to trim his sail, and to steer his bark more securely, more judiciously, if he can; or again, by the leaps of the beautiful dolphin, when quickly pursued by the all-devouring, terrific shark—or, to change the scene, who have been for hours lolling over the gunnel, observing with intenseness, the evolutions of the constant sailor's companion, commonly known by the name of Mother Carey's Chicken; or, as the Southern latitudes are reached, the various sorts of water-birds that are perpetually hovering around the vessel, varying in size and plumage, from the small Cape pigeon, to the powerful, majestic albatross—it is those only who have had such sights as these, for their daily solace, for weeks, or perhaps months, that are able to enter into, and to sympathize with, the feelings that seize hold on the human breast, when, meeting a friendly sail in the midst of the unfathomable deep, salutations and enquiries are exchanged, with an interest that greatly exceeds their real deserts. It is the hearing the same language spoken by some other voices, save those, to whom our ear by long custom has become indifferent—it is the novelty of the meeting, and again of the separation, with its reciprocal good wishes for a prosperous voyage, that attends these breaks upon the monotony of a life at sea, that strikes home to the mind, telling the individual, that although surrounded by mighty waters, he is not alone in the world—that although far, far away from his father-land, he is yet in the land of the living.

But there is one, and perhaps only one, still greater delight attending a voyage, and this is, its termination. Let those who have tried it declare, what was the state of their breasts, when, even according to their own imperfect reckoning, the sight of land was daily expected—let them recollect how unwillingly they quitted the deck, even for short intervals, fearing lest some other more fortunate person, might have had his sight blessed by the distant view of a cape or head-land, a minute or two earlier than themselves; and when at last, the man at the masthead, after a few perplexing doubts, whether some object he has been contemplating be land, or a dense cloud, removes all suspense by the short, emphatic, "Land ho! land on the starboard quarter!" can their memories present to them any one moment of their lives, that has afforded such pure, such entire, such unalloyed felicity? It was Quintus's fortune to participate in such sensations, four months after his departure from England; but had it not been, that he knew how much his re-union with his wife and child, must depend upon his future exertions, the manner his time had been occupied during the voyage, the kindness he had received from Mr. Bruce, the improvement in various sorts of knowledge he had derived from the Scotch Minister, and the delicate attention to his unfortunate state, that had been manifested by the other passengers, had so impressed him, that he almost felt sorry he was shortly to be parted from the many amiable characters, by whom he was surrounded.

In the mean time the vessel, after making land, steadily pursued her course—regardless whether she was the occasion of happiness or misery, freedom or slavery, to her numerous inmates; and gliding under easy sail, close alongside the magnificent rocks that rise in massy columns from the water's edge, flanking the entrance to the harbour, she dropped her anchor within a quarter of a mile of the shore, just as the last rays of the sun, were gilding the summits of some thickly wooded hills, on the western horizon.


CHAPTER V

"Eating the bitter bread of banishment."

RICHARD II

Five and twenty years ago, New South Wales was not, what it has since become, an important English Colony, but partook more of the nature of a mere penal settlement for the reception of offenders, transported from the Mother Country, and was under a form of Government, precisely in keeping with this character. Still, some of the properties belonging to it, and which have subsequently served to exalt it to its present station, were known and appreciated; and scarcely was the anchor cast, than Quintus availed himself of every opportunity that the intercourse with the shore permitted, towards acquainting himself with such particulars, as he fancied might help to give a direction to his future movements.

Relying upon his uniform, previous good character—upon his offence having been a solitary blot on his escutcheon—upon the means that were still at his command through friends—upon his experience both of men and manners—and upon his acquirements, which fitted him for many a varied sphere of action, he had all along indulged the notion that, banishment from the land of his fathers, would be nearly all he would have to endure, upon reaching his destination; and his fervid imagination easily enabled him to skip over some three or four years of his life, at the end of which, he fancied he already saw, more ease, happiness, and contentment, than had long fallen to his lot. In proportion therefore to these flattering dreams, were his chagrin and disappointment, when the true nature of the state to which he had fallen, became revealed to him, by the different persons with whom he now conversed. There had been a time, he found, when convicts, who possessed superior recommendations, in almost any way, had been treated with distinguished favour and attention; but this had gone by; and he learnt that his whole reliance, towards obtaining a different course of treatment to that which would attend those around him, was, superior excellence of future conduct.

But, although disappointed, he was not dismayed. Mr. Bruce, who had been sedulous, from the moment he first held communication with the local authorities, to procure for him every indulgence that was possible, said to him the day before the disembarkation of the prisoners was to take place, "I am sorry, that I have no very good news for you, as I find it is impossible to do so much for you, as I had hoped; I have just been with the Governor on your behalf, and I have told him that your whole behaviour has been most exemplary; but it is the future, not the past, I am sorry to find, that'll do ye any good.—However, you have one source of consolation, and it is a great one. The Governor is said to be a kind, good man, and as I've no fear of how you'll behave, I daresay you'll find things all work well in time. You must go ashore to-morrow along with all the others, and must wear the same sort of dress as they do; but I am sure your mind is above such a trifle as outward garments."

Quintus had been prepared for all this, by what had already reached him, and replying that, he trusted he should never give Mr. Bruce cause to regret his kind interference, retired, busy in preparing for the new scenes, in which he was to be an actor.

Early the following morning, taking his place in the common herd of which he was enrolled a member, he once more trod his mother earth, and being conveyed to a large building, was ushered into a yard, where, being marshalled in regular order, he awaited some hours, what was to be the next step in his career of degradation. At the end of that time, the unusual stir and bustle that were evident among the attendants, portended the approach of some great personage; and presently, the emphasis with which the yard door was thrown open, was the immediate forerunner of the entrance of the Governor of the Colony, in full regimentals, and attended by his whole suite.

He was in about the meridian of life—not tall nor short—nor displaying in his personal deportment, any consciousness of his exalted station. His features were distinguished by a mildness of expression, but were not particular for their regularity; as the eye of the observer was more attracted by the index of the mind they exhibited, thus losing sight of their mere natural formation. Sagacity was among the lines of his countenance, in a very marked degree; and there was a glow of benevolence in his style and manner, as he addressed the unhappy beings by whom he was surrounded, exhorting them to good and orderly behaviour, and holding out in forcible language, the many horrors that were certain to attend any other course. He enquired of the convicts how they had been treated during the voyage, and whether either of them had cause of complaint upon any subject; continuing to tell them, that he would always equally redress grievances, and generally protect them, as he would enforce their obedience. After thus speaking, he walked along the line, as it stood drawn up, until he came opposite Quintus, when Mr. Bruce stepping forward, and drawing his attention for a moment, said, "Please your Excellency, this is Quintus Servinton." The Governor upon this, stopped, bent the whole force of his searching eye upon the object he was contemplating, then paused for an instant, and said, in a clear impressive tone, "Quintus Servinton, attend to me! The Surgeon Superintendent of the vessel has spoken to me in your favor, and tells me that your conduct has been most exemplary. Persevere in this course, and your troubles will be comparatively light. I trust I need not point out to you, what would be the effect of the contrary behaviour. You will have opportunities of shewing your diligence, and I hope I may hear you as well spoken of as I have already." Quintus expressed his sense of what had been said to him by a low bow, and presently, when the business of the day was over, received orders to follow an attendant, by whom he was conveyed to his new destination.

Notwithstanding the sort of whirl in which his mind now was, he could not help being much struck, when, leaving the dismal yard in which he had passed through these preliminaries, and turning a sudden and sharp angle, he found himself in the centre of a large, well laid out town. He had scarcely thought such a thing possible, considering the few years that had intervened, since the ground he now paced, had been an almost impenetrable forest; but the hand of convict labour is most efficacious; and it may be questioned whether the United States could ever have attained its present rank in the scale of nations, had it not been for the fostering aid thus bestowed; for it is a lamentable truth, confirmed by the experience of many years, that a more than average share of talent is to be found in any given number of offenders against the laws of their country, compared to what is met with, in others. Some there are, to whom nature has been particularly bountiful in accomplishments, which lead to bad company, and thus beget vice. Some who, by possessing particular skill at a trade or business, can earn as much in one day, as others in two, and thus become idle—next dissolute, and lastly, vicious. Some, who find less difficulty in bringing into practice the inventions of the head, than in reducing the hands to labour; hence again, springs crime with its hydra-head; and lastly, we see as in this history, that there are others who, stepping beyond the bounds of sober discretion in the indulgence of parts of our nature, which are good, so long as well curbed, but are nearly allied to vice, when suffered to run riot, allow themselves to be drawn on step by step, until all at once they become swallowed up in the whirlpool, whence there is no retreat. Other causes for the same effect might easily be given, but whatever they may be, the fact is incontrovertible that, much human talent shines in soils, that are sadly overrun with weeds.

In the particular instance of the Colony, to which Quintus was now transported, both convict labour and talent had been so applied, and were now kept under such restrictions, that they were a valuable public property, and in this manner were advantageously used. Hence, large, handsome buildings met his eye at every step—gardens, with a rich profusion of beautiful flowers and shrubs, enlivened the face of the town, and the carts, horses, and foot passengers, every where around, presented a scene which he had little anticipated.

After proceeding through one of the principal streets, he was conducted to a low pile of buildings, standing a little off the road, where he was informed he was in future to attend daily, and devote his time wholly to the service of Government. After waiting in an ante-chamber some half hour or more, he was summoned into an apartment, where the gentleman was sitting, from whom he was now to receive his orders. He was quite young, wore the undress of an infantry officer, had a mild and pleasant set of features, very gentlemanly in his deportment, birth and breeding being equally mixed with the soldier, and spoke in a tone of condescending good nature, although still preserving both official and military dignity, in their full vigour. He acquainted Quintus that his daily attendance must be from ten till three—that at all other hours, he was at liberty to do what he pleased—that he would receive little or no remuneration for his labour—all that Government provided, being mere sustenance and lodging—and that he must not forget the state to which he was reduced, and expect attentions that it was impossible to pay—that he would find himself treated in a manner, at which he could take no exception, so long as he did not attempt to depart from the sphere in which he was now compelled to move; but that all the distinctions he might have once experienced in England, were at an end.

One year had just about ended, from the time that his hapless flight was undertaken, when he was once more thus enjoying comparative liberty, and had entered upon the new avocations that were now assigned him. His readiness in performing most things that were given him to do, although the employment was of a very inferior description, to what he would have chosen, had an option been allowed, soon attracted towards him some attention on the part of his superiors, and by degrees, what at first was considered by him, particularly irksome and disagreeable, made way for other duties, rather more fitted to his education and acquirements. He found little difficulty, in so managing his stated tasks, as never to be in arrear with them; and thus had quite as much time at command, as he knew what to do with. Society he could not keep, because to that alone, of which he had always been a member, he could no longer be admitted; and to no other, could he bring himself to belong. He acquired no tastes or habits by his separation from home, that ever led him to depart from the strictest propriety; but he possessed a mind naturally too active to rest satisfied with half a dozen hours of task work daily, leaving the remainder of his time to be filled up as he could; and the consequences soon began to shew themselves, in a manner, of which had he been aware, this and other properties would have been effectually curbed.

But Quintus Servinton was in some respects, still Quintus Servinton. Although lowered and humbled, one or two of the roots that had heretofore put forth noxious branches, still were green and flourishing in his heart, and the change of climate nourished and encouraged their second growth. He still clung to the gigantic nature of schemes, that had proved his destruction—still viewed things with that capacious eye, which makes a mountain appear a hillock, but often finds, that hillocks are mountains. His general knowledge of business had caused him to be repeatedly applied to upon occasions of intricacy, as well by private individuals, as by some who held official situations; and hence his means of indulging his spirit of enterprise, received a considerable accession; for he was one of those, who, if he rendered a service to another, thought himself fairly entitled to claim a service in return, and failed not to seek it, in such a manner as might best serve his ends. Besides, he felt at present, that few would shew him much favor or good will, unless they had some particular end in view; and instead of being flattered by occasional instances of civility, usually found they were the prelude only for some assistance that was required at his hands, and determined therefore, that the sun, if it shone at all, should shine on both sides of the hedge. By this line of policy, he gradually made for himself influential adherents, through whose means, before a twelve-month had expired, he found abundant opportunities of indulging that restless spirit, which had already proved his bane.

Always punctual to his prescribed duties, ever at his post, and easily accomplishing all that was required of him, the hours set apart from business, and which many, circumstanced like himself, devoted to idleness, he sedulously employed in objects, calculated as he hoped, to better his condition; but he did not sufficiently discriminate—he forgot the log that was attached to him, impeding his movements at every step; and that which, would have been proper, nay, praiseworthy, in a person not under the trammels of the law, became imprudence with him, and reached in its effect, both himself and others. Another stumbling block was also in his way, of which, having no conception, he could not guard against it, until too late. It was his misfortune to have arrived in the Colony, at a moment when party spirit ran high—when certain mal-contents were endeavouring to light the torch of discord, and to stimulate a feeling of dissatisfaction with all the measures of the local Government. This faction, for it could be called nothing else, was principally led by two or three persons, but more particularly by one, who, possessing talents of a superior order, and having been born and bred a gentleman, gave to the measures of his party a tone and energy, which they could not otherwise have possessed.

There is no reason to suppose that, in singling out Quintus as an object, through whom, on account of the comparative respectability of the employment that had been allotted him, in consequence of his pretensions, both as to character and attainments, he meant any personal ill-will towards an individual, who rather deserved commiseration than aught else, but the occasion seemed too good to be lost; and almost from the moment of his landing, every thing that occurred to him was carefully noted, and made the subject of most unjust, cruel, and malicious statements to the Home Government. The little indulgences he obtained as a reward of good conduct—the time he had at his disposal, resulting from a greater facility he possessed than some others, in accomplishing his stated labours, the indefatigable exertions he made during these hours, in pursuits which, had he been other than what he was, would have been most highly commended, the respect with which he was treated by all classes, and the degree of comfort to which he had thus raised himself, all these, were construed into instances of partiality and misrule, too flagrant to be passed over by those, whose minds were bent on mischief; and letter after letter reaching Downing-street, teeming with complaints of the manner in which Quintus Servinton was treated—magnifying the small dole of favour he really received, for the hard-earned reward of exemplary behaviour, into "unlimited confidence" "improper favouritism," and other distinctions, equally false as cruel.

The consequence, as might have been naturally expected, was that, orders came from home in rapid succession, all bearing upon poor Quintus. He was made the scape-goat of the designing men, who, through him, sought to annoy and bring into disrepute the Local Authorities, and unhappily, they but too well succeeded.

Mr. ——, from whom the commutation of punishment had been extracted, with as much difficulty as though it had been his heart's-blood, still continued in power. His spirit of consistency required a perseverance in his desire to wreak upon the sufferer's head, the full measure of the law's rigour; and he seized with avidity the representations made from the Colony, to ground upon them such instructions as, whether the reports were true or false, would render a continuance of any thing like indulgence, impossible.

Accordingly, after Quintus had advanced some months in the second year of his residence in the Colony, one morning upon entering the office as usual, he was told by the orderly in attendance that, one of the gentlemen in the Governor's household, required to see him in an adjoining apartment.

He had not waited many minutes when the gentleman approached and said, "Oh! Quintus Servinton! His Excellency has directed me to acquaint you that, there is no longer any occasion for your services in the office—there is no fault whatever on your part, that has produced this alteration; for on the contrary, there is every reason to be satisfied with your general conduct; but it is the wish of the English Government, that none but free persons should be employed, and you are therefore to be removed to another department, where your past assiduity and regular conduct, will be borne in mind to your advantage, as much as possible." Quintus was both grieved and surprised, at this communication—he felt it to be a sort of hurling him from the slight elevation he had attained, and that, he had now lost some of the vantage ground, he so dearly prized. Hitherto, his career of misery had been attended by many extenuations, which were little to bestow, but much to receive. Throughout the whole of it, he had found some who, viewing his case with sympathy, had endeavoured to serve and oblige him; and although the duties attached to his late employment, were not less burthensome than those connected with other public offices, a certain pride of birth, and the associations of his earlier years, reconciled him to the badge of slavery, more contentedly, when in the immediate train of the Governor of the Colony, than if attached to inferior departments. Besides, although he had not exchanged a single word with the Governor, since the day he first saw him, he had witnessed so many instances of his excellent qualities; of his humane and feeling disposition; of his strict and impartial justice; and had formed so high an opinion of his talents that, he had really become much attached to him—and held him in very great veneration. All these considerations, served to create in his mind, a strong reluctance to the change. He knew however, that, any display of this feeling, would be ineffectual, but, in the fulness of his heart, and ere he took leave of the office, he sat down, and wrote the following letter:——

Sir,

I beg leave very humbly thus to approach your Excellency, to ofer an expression of sincere and respectful gratitude, for the intimation with which I have been honored through Mr. ——, that my conduct, whilst acting as clerk in the ofice, has received your Excellency's approbation; and that, no cause of dissatisfaction, has occasioned my removal to other employment.

Feeling, as I have always done, and have endeavoured to manifest that, my duty requires the best exertion of whatever means may have been within my power, in the performance of such services as have devolved upon me, no higher nor more gratifying reward could have been bestowed, than to be permitted to know that my behaviour has been approved—and it will still be my earnest endeavour, whilst passing through the remainder of the ordeal, which is the necessary consequence of my unfortunate situation, so to continue that, nothing on my part, shall occasion the forfeiture of the point, I have been so fortunate as to attain.

I have the honor to be
Sir,
your Excellency's
most obedient humble Servant,
QUINTUS SER VINTON

To His Excellency the Governor

Excepting, so far as he considered that any change from his late employments must be for the worse, he had no cause to be dissatisfied with his new master, or with the nature of the services required of him. The latter continued to be somewhat of an order, that demanded the exercise of the head, rather than of the hand, and comprehending subjects for which, he was particularly well qualified; nor was it difficult for him to perceive that, representations had been made in his favour, calculated still to preserve to him a continuance of many things, he much valued.

It was about this time that his talents for business, brought him closely acquainted with a Mr. Crecy, a gentleman of birth, education, and high connexions, and who stood at the head of a large agricultural establishment, which had been entirely formed by the perseverance and energy of his own character. This gentleman, although the manager of one of the most extensive concerns the Colony possessed, had been little accustomed to the dry detail of office work, but rather shone in active, out-of-door occupations, in all which he was completely au-fait; perpetually conceiving grand and useful projects, the carrying into effect of which, he would willingly leave to others. Warm in his friendships and disposition, sanguine in his enterprises, a quick and ready observer of merit, and possessing a heart, full of sensibility and generous feelings, it mattered little to him, what were the adventitious circumstances that attached to an individual, so that he possessed qualities which entitled him to esteem. In Quintus he found much that rendered him both useful to, and respected by him; and who, having upon one particular occasion, acquitted himself in an affair rather of intricacy, entirely to his satisfaction, the acquaintance became strengthened, until by a concatenation of events, it assumed a height, that in the end materially affected the fortunes of both.

Mr. Crecy was liberal in the extreme, and often pressed upon Quintus a remuneration for the services he thus rendered; but the latter, acting upon the principle he had adopted throughout, preferred the other advantages that followed in the train of so powerful a connexion, and always declined; replying that, there were other ways, in which he could be much more effectually requited for any little assistance he had it in his power to render, than by a pecuniary recompense; hinting at the same time, the value of Mr. Crecy's countenance and support, in the pursuits in which he was engaged, and particularly the use an occasional loan would be to him, when, by the peculiarity of his circumstances, he was deprived of the means of accommodation, usual in the commercial world. Mr. Crecy instantly replied, "Any thing I can do for you, is quite at your service—I have a private income as you know, of five hundred a year, and so far as that goes, I will at any time lend you, whatever sum you may ask me for—more than that, I cannot do; as I can never interfere with, or touch, the partnership funds; but in any of your future plans you have a carte blanche to reckon upon me, for the loan of a year's income. I need not say that I have a very good opinion of you—I wish to shew it by my conduct." Quintus expressed his gratitude in a fervent manner, and continued to render Mr. Crecy constant and valuable assistance—becoming by degrees, completely his homme d'afaires. On the other hand, he received from that gentleman, open and general support; not merely confined to good words, but comprehending pecuniary loans to the extent he had named, and which mainly served to invigorate and strengthen, Quintus's various enterprises.

It was a part of the pains and penalties, attached to persons in his unfortunate situation, that although in matters of business they might be received, and treated with the respect due to former station and conduct, the intercourse between themselves and the free inhabitants, went, generally speaking, no farther. Any thing like familiarity, or approaching to sweet converse, was totally out of the question—to have invited such as man as Quintus to break bread, or drink wine, would have been thought little short of profanation, even by those who were ready enough to be benefitted upon easy terms, by his talents. In the hours therefore, not devoted to any of his multifarious employments, he was absolutely and literally, alone in the world. His habits and inclination alike led him to shun low, or inferior society—the threshold of any other, has been already said to have been shut against him—and it therefore well suited his state of mind, to have as little time as possible for contemplation. Some men similarly circumstanced to himself, readily formed fresh connexions, bestowing upon a new lover, or mistress, the affections due to the far distant wife. Others gave themselves up to intoxication, or some other vice calculated to kill time; but, with him it was different. He loved Emily for herself—he esteemed her, for her superior endowments—and he felt grateful to her beyond measure, for her uniform, her consistent and devoted attention. These feelings, had the two-fold effect of preserving him from all improper society, and of stimulating him to exertions, which by keeping his mind upon the full stretch, might prevent its reverting too much, to the happy home he had left.

But in this case unhappily, motives such as these, good and creditable as they might be in themselves, could not have found a worse breast, wherein to be implanted. They too much coincided with some of those principles of his nature, which had already been productive of the melancholy results, detailed in this history—and the readiness evinced by many, as well as Mr. Crecy, to take him by the hand in affairs of business, presented increased facilities, which it would have been far better for him, had they been withheld. The same wicked, malevolent spirit, that had originally led unfavourable representations with respect to him, to be made to the English Government, still continued to animate the leaders of the party, and perpetually occasioned statements to be made, bearing upon the treatment he received, and which required all the care and watchfulness possible on his part, so to meet and counteract, as to prevent his being sacrificed, a victim to such unworthy principles.

A second year had thus glided away, certainly flattering to him in many respects, although the horizon of his destiny was still clouded. Emily had done all that could be expected of so good a wife, under the circumstances that attended their painful separation. She was his correspondent by every opportunity that was presented, constantly repeating her readiness to join him, the moment he told her she might do so with propriety. Already therefore, had hope dispelled much of the recollection of the past, and in the flattering picture it drew for the future, little else than happiness appeared to await him. Notwithstanding the doom under which he had been banished from his native land, instances were of every day's occurrence to justify the expectation, that in a few years he might be in a situation to return to England, should it be his desire so to do; in the mean time, he was in one of the finest climates upon the surface of the globe—had conquered numerous difficulties by his energy and activity—had made many powerful friends—and been altogether void of offence, either in his compulsory duties, or in his private relations. Every letter to Emily was full of the many agreeable subjects, connected with this state of things—he described in glowing colours, the beautiful scenery that surrounded the residence he had provided for her—pourtrayed in fervid language, the individuals who had been most kind to him—descanted upon his pleasing prospects, so far as worldly concerns went—and re-echoed her own words, "But what is all this, whilst we are parted from each other?" Words she had lately used, when relating to her husband, in one of her letters, the endeavours made by her friends to dissipate, by every act of tenderness, the gloom and melancholy that were ever arising, from contemplating her state of half-widowhood. In good truth, she wanted nothing said to her as an inducement to undertake the long and fearful voyage, by which alone the anxious hopes of each could be attained; on the contrary, prudence rather needed some check upon her inclination, which would have almost prompted her departure, without waiting a summons from her husband; but, when not only his own communications, but the intelligence conveyed through other channels, all concurred in representing the respectable footing he had attained, and his favorable condition in general, every impediment vanished, and a letter from Mr. Clifton announced to Quintus, the agreeable intelligence that, Emily and his grandson were to embark in a vessel then about to sail for the Southern Hemisphere, and that he might thus hope in the course of a few weeks, once more to see the two beings, to whom, more than all others in the world, he was most dearly attached.

Emily was well aware, for she had been told so, not only by her husband but by others, that upon her arrival in the Colony, she would have to share the disgrace and obloquy, attached to his fallen fortunes. She was apprised that few houses would be open to her, for that, the line of demarcation, which the customs of society had established, would extend to her as Quintus's wife, excluding them both, as well as their child, from any interchange of civilities, common among well-bred persons. But she had been also told, that there were some that had minds superior to such prejudices; and in this number was one who, possessing as he afterwards did, a material influence on Quintus's chequered fate, deserves an introduction to the reader's acquaintance.

His name was Leicester, and he belonged to the class of free emigrants, among whom he was distinguished, less by his station in life or by his riches, than by the various and sterling excellencies of character, pourtrayed in all his actions. He was a man who respected good qualities, wherever he found them;—who delighted to cherish the latent seeds of a restoration to the paths of virtue, even though they were exhibited by a convict;—who took pride in extending the hand of protection and encouragement to his erring fellow creatures—who knew the depraved tendency of our nature, and fully participated in that beautiful expression which illustrates the joy felt on high, at a sinner's repentance—and who entertained and acted upon the conviction that, it was each man's duty to open as widely as possible the gate leading to so desirable an end as reformation.

Like some others, he had formed a favourable opinion of Quintus, but was not blind to his faults or failings; and among the latter, the active restlessness of his mind, the towering grandeur of his projects, and the extent of his operations, occasioned him sometimes regret, as well as disquietude. He often admired his adroitness in managing intricate cases—was frequently struck with his manner of accomplishing his designs, but was still more attracted towards him by the uniform correctness of his private life—by his strict morality—and by his evident entire devotion to his absent wife. His house was therefore always open to him—he was ever a welcome guest there, call when he would—far from considering himself disgraced by the acquaintance, he ever spoke and acted differently—and whenever the advice of a friendly counsellor was sought, it was bestowed with sound judgment, and thorough integrity. In this excellent man's wife, was found an able and cheerful coadjutor in her husband's line of conduct—she could not but admire the manner in which Quintus avoided the blandishments he was exposed to, knowing as she did, that he was shielded from all of them, by his attachment to Emily; and, although she was less acquainted with his other points of character, that alone, in such a breast as hers, where hymen's torch had long burnt with its brighest lustre, was fully sufficient to induce a strong sentiment of goodwill, and to lead to a ready acquiescence in the friendly attentions, which her husband took pleasure in bestowing.

There were several others, who perhaps felt towards Quintus, similarly to the Leicesters; but some were unwilling to brave the opinion of the world—others, were loth to be too prominent in departing from established usage, although civil and hospitable, if chance threw him in their way—so that, from one cause or other, so many things had operated in his favor, that when Mr. Clifton's letter arrived, bringing the joyful intelligence that Emily was on the point of embarkation, he had abundant reason for self gratulation upon the reception he thought he had provided her—he proudly looked around him, and fancied how comfortable she would find every thing—what kind friends would greet her—kind, although perhaps, not quite so elevated in circumstances, as some she would have left, but proved to be sincere, by that most trying of all tests, disinterestedness; for surely, a man so situated as Quintus, had good right to consider those disinterested, who, spurning all prejudice, and leaping over a line of demarcation, established by society, shewed him kindness and friendship, for himself alone. And such were the persons, last introduced to the reader's notice.


CHAPTER VI

MIRANDA.—Oh! I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer—a brave vessel
Who had no doubt some noble creatures in her,
Dash'd all to pieces.

PROSPERO.—Be collected.
No more amazement—tell your piteous heart,
There's no harm done.

TEMPEST

Enough has been already said of Emily's devotedness to her husband, to render it nowise difficult to be conceived that, when the time for her embarkation to join him was finally arranged, she scarcely thought of, or applied herself to, any other subject. She who, through many trying occasions, had so admirably acted as a wife, could not possibly be other than an affectionate sister, or a most dutiful daughter; and it was not without many a tear, and many a heartfelt pang, that a separation was now contemplated by the kind relatives, with whom she had continued to reside, after Quintus had left England.

But although she loved all these very dearly, she loved her husband still more so; and, although from her infancy, she had always felt an indescribable horror at the water, so much so indeed, that rather than cross an inconsiderable ferry in travelling, she had often made a circuit of twenty miles by land, all apprehensions vanished before the delight that took possession of her breast, when she pictured to herself the renewed society of him, to whom she had plighted her affianced troth.

The feelings of regret which were so natural to her friends, when the long, long voyage she meditated was considered, could not therefore be other than mingled with admiration at the firmness, wherewith she resolved to brave all its dangers and difficulties, and at the exemplary constancy that governed its end and object. It was accordingly the endeavour of one and all, that she should go in a way fitting to her deserts, and to the station in society she had ever maintained; and it became a principal part of their anxieties to select for her such a vessel, and under such a master, as were likely to ensure as comfortable a passage, and as free from the usual horrors of the sea, as possible.

The character of a Captain Anselm, who commanded the Dawson, then about to sail, was found upon enquiry to be a sufficient guarantee for the reasonable expectation that, Emily would have little to apprehend from any of the causes, which too often attend a voyage, rendering it, of the many miseries of human life, one of the principal; and it was settled for her to join the vessel at Plymouth on a given day, that had been at length fixed for her final departure.

It was the middle of winter, when, all preparations being thus completed, Emily and her boy took leave of the family circle in which they had dwelt, and commenced their journey to the distant outport, where the vessel was to touch. The painful word, "farewell," had passed like a solemn knell around the sorrowing group—each member, bathed in tears, had been anxious to obtain the last embrace—the "one kiss more, dearest Emily, do let me have one more, my darling Olivant" had severally been uttered by each, when the carriage drove to the door and Mr. Clifton reluctantly tearing his daughter and grandson from those, who were still clinging to them, although himself shewing little more composure than the others, led them towards it, and hastily handing them in, the door was closed, and the rapidly revolving wheels had soon far removed them from a spot, endeared by so many tender remembrances.

As they left the town, and their route opened upon the dreary and dismal prospect of a wide, open country, covered with snow, various recollections, connected with the last sad occasion, when, at about the same season of the year, Emily, her son, and her parents had travelled in a similar manner, to bid Quintus farewell, upon his projected departure for America, crept over the minds of the party, and produced a chill at the heart, that effectually destroyed conversation. Even Olivant, who was become a lively, sensible boy, exhibiting knowledge and acquirements beyond his years, and was often a most agreeable companion, partook of the general dulness, and seldom a word was spoken, calculated to dispel the starting tear, which stood in the corner of the eye, the certain index of strong internal emotion. After journeying two days, and part of a third, the distant glimpse of Mount Edgcumbe, with the peep now and then obtained of the mighty ocean, appearing more like the serene stillness of a lake, than displaying any part of its real character, intimated to the travellers that their journey was nearly ended; and the same sort of feeling that lays hold on us, when, towards the close of summer, we contemplate some of its departing beauties, and participate from the heart in the sentiments so sweetly expressed by minstrelsy, in the "Last Rose of Summer," imperceptibly stole across the mind of each, and intimated with sufficient clearness, that the approaching moments of final separation, would be abundantly distressing. As the carriage still advanced, and they caught a nearer view of the place, noticed the romantic situation of the Saltram Woods, now thickly studded with hoary icicles, in exchange for the many varied hue of the recent autumnal clothing, which had again succeeded by its golden tints, to summer verdure, saw at a distance several gigantic men-of-war, some riding quietly at anchor, others under easy sail as they were coming in for reequipment, whilst for a nearer object they had a sight of the ramparts of the citadel, well fortified against foreign aggressors, and Olivant was in vain racking his memory to recall sufficient of the particular appearance of the Dawson, to enable him to discover which was her, from among two or three hundred sail of merchantmen, Mr. Clifton took his daughter's hand, and said, "We shall soon be parted, my dearest Emily, but God cannot but approve your undertaking and will, I am sure, bless and protect you. I resign you to his care until you are again with your husband, and afterwards, I trust you will find Quintus an instrument, in God's hands, for your peace and protection, and that He will have you both, under his special guidance. It is a painful sacrifice we are making, my child, but our duty requires it, and we must not repine."

Emily's heart was too full to make a reply, but her eyes spoke for her most eloquently, and presently Olivant observed, "I am sure grandpapa, my mamma and I are very sorry to leave you, but only think of my poor dear papa, so far off, and all by himself. I am so glad I am going to see him; an't you mamma?"

Emily could only say with a half whisper, as she kissed her child, "Yes, indeed I am," and turning to her father, added, resting her head upon his bosom as she spoke, "But I wish I was not obliged to leave you Sir, yet Quintus is my husband, and I must go to him."

"Go to him, my child, go to him, and go with my blessing," he fervently replied. "I hope he will know your worth, and treat you as you deserve, but he will have a difficult task."

"Oh, no—he will not," said Emily, "I know him so well that I am not afraid of his behaviour to me—I am sure he is very sorry for all the pain he has ever occasioned us, and I do not fear its repetition."

"Nor do I, Emily," answered this worthy father of an excellent daughter, "I do not fear that he will ever be otherwise than kind to you—his unfortunate circumstances are all that I dread; but God is wise and good—we must trust in him, and hope that virtue, such as yours, will not go unrewarded—but here we are my love, at the inn door—once more, I say, may God bless you all."

Many hours had not elapsed after their alighting from the carriage, when it was announced by the waiter, that a gentleman wished to be admitted, and presently the master of the vessel was introduced. He was in the prime of life, civil, well-behaved, and tolerably courteous. He had not many of the vulgarities peculiar to the wagoners of the deep—on the other hand, he wanted that polish, alone to be obtained by mingling with well-bred society. There was a neatness in his dress and general appearance, that was rather pleasing; and upon the whole, the report that had reached Mr. Clifton in his favor, was fully confirmed by this interview, and any lurking anxieties he might have felt, as to the safety of the precious charge about to be entrusted to him, were fully allayed. Captain Anselm had called to acquaint them, that on the following morning, at day break, the vessel would weigh anchor, and recommend Emily to go on board that evening; but, desirous of remaining to the latest moment with her father, this was overruled, and it was settled that, so soon as the next dawn should break, a boat was to be in waiting to convey her to the ship, so that the travellers were left to themselves, for the remainder of the evening.

The next morning at an early hour, all was in motion connected with the approaching embarkation. Neither of them had slept well, their restless slumbers having been partly disturbed by the noise, incidental to an inn—partly by the state of their anxious thoughts, and partly, by the slow, solemn murmur of the deep, as it responded to the hollow rustling wind, through the old fashioned casements and chimnies of the house, creating a sort of sound that is sometimes fearfully awful, and not unusually a presage of bad weather. As the grey streaks of the morn were tardily chasing the gloom of night, the jagged and broken appearance of the clouds, when the sun feebly rose above the horizon, occasioned an instinctive apprehension of a coming storm, in the minds both of Mr. Clifton and Emily; but they said little, and being shortly summoned to the boat, as the vessel was already under weigh, Emily leant upon her father's arm, and with a trembling step, proceeded to the water's edge. A few minutes sufficed to place her upon the deck of the Dawson, when, taking the last farewell of her father, and once more receiving his benediction, the word of command was given, by which the previously flapping sails were quickly filled, and ere one half the inhabitants of the town had risen from their couches, Emily and her child were rapidly leaving their native land.

As the forenoon advanced, the fearful signs of the heavens became less equivocal—nevertheless, the wind continued fair, and although the pilot every now and then cast his eyes aloft, and ordered another, and then another reef to be taken up in the foresail, altogether clewed the mainsail, had taken in the studding sails, and all the top-gallants, running the vessel under no more canvas than was merely enough to carry her along, little else than a squall was anticipated, and as the ship was now steadily losing sight of the land, not a fear as to any thing serious, was entertained.

Still, the sea gulls and other birds continued by their piteous noises, to testify their knowledge of the approaching war of elements—still, they continued hurrying forwards towards the shore, flapping with widely extended wings against the vain efforts of rude Boreas, in arrest of their progress. Hour after hour was thus numbered, the aspect of the horizon becoming in each, more threatening than before—the sky rapidly assumed more and more overcast blackness—the wind rattled fearfully through the rigging— and the whole scene became one of awful grandeur, when a flash of lightning at a distance, followed by a slow, solemn, rumbling clap of thunder, gave the first sure token of what might be expected, and was almost instantaneously succeeded by a gust of wind from the south-west, so sudden, so unexpected, and so terrible, as nearly to baffle the helmsman's skill, and to throw the vessel on her beam ends. A terrific gale from an adverse quarter now seemed certain. The doubtful half light of a wintry evening, was soon lost under the mantle of a night, so dark, dreary, and appalling, as almost to shake the stoutest heart, and to create the most gloomy apprehensions. Meanwhile, the lightning was each instant more and more vivid, darting its rays along the heavens, in that long, narrow, forked shape, known by sad experience to be ever fraught with danger, and closely followed by thunder, that seemed to shake the earth to its very centre, and to make its inmost recesses speak. The sea ran mountains high, acted upon as it now was by a gale from the south west, that forced it upon the shore with tremendous violence, whence it instantly recoiled with a turmoil, more frightful than can be well conceived. The raging billows broke over the deck in rapid succession, carrying away every thing before them. Water casks, fowl coops, and all the other usual lumber, by which the decks of merchant vessels are crowded, broke from their lashings, and added to the universal scene of terror and confusion. It was indeed an awful night, well calculated to excite alarm. For two or three hours, it had been utterly impossible to keep the ship within many points of her course, nor was there any light or beacon, save that of the continued flashes of liquid flame, with which the heavens were teeming, whereby a correct judgment could be formed of their distance from the land. To add to the dismay of the navigators, a strong tide was now setting in towards shore, and which, coming in aid of the wind, presented the almost inevitable prospect of being driven upon some of the rocks, by which the entrance to Plymouth Harbour is flanked. Emily had retired to her cabin immediately upon going on board, and notwithstanding their alarming situation, her presence of mind never forsook her, but she awaited the issue of this dreadful scene, with calm resignation and fortitude. When nearly every hope had forsaken them, all endeavours to keep out at sea having been baffled, as the most skilful efforts of the sailors seemed ineffectual in counteracting the power of the wind, Captain Anselm knocked at her cabin door, and said, "I fear madam, we shall be unable to save the vessel—she is driving in upon the coast—but be ready at a moment's notice, for if any one person on board be saved, it shall be you. God, madam, may do something for us, but I fear we are beyond the help of man."

"He will save us! He will save us!" wildly exclaimed Emily; "but never mind me, Captain Anselm, take care of my darling boy, and if God pleases to take me, I shall then die contented."

"Be calm and tranquil, my dear madam, I beseech you," replied the master, "I will save you both, or perish in the attempt; but I must not stay talking—be both of you ready to come to me, the moment I call you."

So soon as the Captain had left her, she besought of that fountain of grace and mercy, which is ever open to us, to take compassion on their helpless condition, and to give her strength to walk through this valley of the shadow of death—nor were her prayers disregarded. The middle watch of the night was now past, and the admirable management and exertion of the pilot, and all others on board, had still protracted the momentarily dreaded crash, which would inevitably have sealed the fate of many who were now in the full strength and vigour of their days. "If we can but keep her off the rocks till day light," said an old sailor, "there's none of us 'll breakfast in Old Davie's locker, after all, I'm thinking;" and, as the crisis was still delayed, and the tempest, having spent much of its rage, was now gradually subsiding, a glimmering of hope was admitted by all into their bosoms, and the endeavours to keep from drifting inwards, were redoubled. At length after unparalleled efforts, the dawn was slightly visible, as it succeeded the shades of this miserable night; and still the ship floated—but presently, as the light somewhat increased, the pilot upon looking round, saw that their situation was yet alarmingly awful, as they were within a short distance of some tremendous breakers; and had not the storm just now abated, a few minutes would have opened a watery grave to every person on board. It was now also discovered, that the vessel would no longer answer the helm; and passing, almost by a miracle, within a few yards of this appalling spot, she gradually drifted towards shore, the wind yet blowing a hurricane, and, although every sail was furled, she continued to be thus propelled, until all at once, she came broadside foremost upon a rocky part of the beach, and in a few minutes had fallen over upon one side, a complete broken-backed wreck. Fortunately the communication with the land was easy, and every person was speedily disembarked with entire safety. Nearly the whole of the cargo was destroyed, but in the providential escape that had been experienced, the loss of property was a secondary consideration. All felt sufficiently thankful for the boon which had been vouchsafed; and more than one stirred not from the spot, until their effusions of gratitude had been poured forth to Him, at whose word alone, the foaming billows had been stilled, the boisterous winds hushed, and the darkness of the night removed, in time to continue in the land of the living, nearly a hundred beings, who seemed a few hours previously, devoted to destruction. The effects of this tremendous storm were not confined to the wreck of the Dawson, but were felt by many of the vessels in the harbour, several having parted from their anchors, and been driven on the rocks; and the large trunks of trees that lay on the ground, torn up by the roots, as though they had been mere shrubs—the unroofed cottages which were passed—and the shattered and distracted appearance of all around, denoted plainly enough, the extent of the devastation, committed by the late tumult of the Heavens.

Emily bore up with her usual strength of mind, under this inauspicious commencement of a voyage, upon which she had long placed her fondest hopes. We sometimes hear of a species of superstitious feeling, by which, when persons share in any general calamity, such as had now befallen her, they are apt to apply it as a sort of augury to themselves, forgetting how many others, might equally do the same, and that, it is impossible it can affect all, although perhaps, it may now and then chance to appear fitted to a particular case. Those who have a proper sense of the Supreme Being, well know it to be inconsistent, either with his goodness, or his relative connexion with the children of men, to involve many, in any measure of punishment, that may particularly bear as such, upon one or two. He has other means, more suited to each necessity.—He produces his own ends, in his own way—and, when he rides upon the tempest, and pillows upon the storm, when he makes the mountains speak, and the earth part asunder, let not the vain presumptuous man who is permitted to see the grandeur of the passing scene, entertain the idea, that so insignificant a worm as himself, has any influence upon the hand, by which it is guided. It may reach his heart, and bid him quake and tremble, how he offend such omnipotence, and this it should do; but, it would be the height of presumption, were he to fancy, as there are some wicked enough, and foolish enough to do, that himself, or his concerns are pointed at, by such displays of God's all-ruling power.—Emily was one of those who viewed this subject in its proper light. Some perhaps, would have been deterred, from farther thinking of an undertaking, upon which Heaven had appeared to frown—but with her, a very different conclusion was formed—for she felt she had been preserved by God's goodness alone,—she felt that, twice had her husband been saved from the jaws of death, and notwithstanding all the ills by which they were still beset, she farther felt that having been joined together in the sight of Heaven, the same Heaven that gave them to one another, had yet preserved them for each other.

Upon her return to the inn, which she had left under such different circumstances, four and twenty hours previously, she found her father anxiously awaiting the intelligence, that was now to be so interestingly communicated; for, as the sky had continued lowering and heavy throughout the preceding day—as, each time he had taken a survey of the dense body of clouds which had gathered, one after the other, each more black and portending than its fellow—or as, strolling upon the water's edge, even the bracing sea air was insufficient to counteract the effects upon the frame, of the general depression of the atmosphere—or again, as the wind whistled with sepulchral tones, through the lofty evergreens of Mount Edgecombe, he was unable to divest himself of alarm for the fate of his beloved daughter—he could not shake from his mind, the apprehension of an impending storm—and often and often did he wish, they had not embarked. He found it impossible therefore to leave the spot, until this dreadful crisis of anxiety was over; and, as every thing rather tended to increase, than diminish his solicitude, towards the close of the day, he determined to postpone his departure until the next morning, when, should no unfavourable tidings be received, he might hope that much of his disquietude might be removed.

The meeting of these near and dear relatives, was such as might have been expected, looking at the character of each. After some of the first gratulations had been exchanged, Mr. Clifton observed, "I fear my love, Heaven does not smile upon your work—all ideas of the voyage for the present must be over; and so soon as we see the extent of the mischief, with respect to the property you had on board, we will return to Mapleton.—It is indeed a sad termination of our journey.—This is the second time, my dear child, when an unpropitious issue has attended our expeditions connected with Quintus—I fear you must not think of another."

"Do not for a moment say a word of the sort, my dear father," Emily replied. "I never will believe that Heaven will refuse its sanction to my joining my husband; and, if I were wrecked ten times over, I would persevere as long as I had life, until I was again with him. What otherwise can I do, when I consider how he is circumstanced? No! my dear father—I must and will go to him—I must write to him directly, and tell him what has happened, and that he may still expect me. I am sure you will not urge me to the contrary, but will do as you have before done, and now help me to look out for some other ship."

"I certainly shall not oppose your desires, my dearest child," said Mr. Clifton—"but Quintus will be sadly in debt to you. We will stay here a day or two, and see what happens; perhaps Captain Anselm will proceed in some other vessel, and I should certainly like to have you under his charge."—He then paused for a moment and added, "It is grievous to be parted from such a daughter, but God forbid that I should ever seek to separate man and wife."

The tear glistened in Emily's eye, as her father thus spoke; but she endeavoured to rally her spirits, and replied with a smile, "If you think so highly of my society, Sir, what must my poor husband feel, without it! You know you have many daughters, but he has but one wife."

"And I only hope he will ever know the worth of that wife," answered her father. "If he do, much of the pain he has occasioned us, will be atoned—I cannot say Emily, that I fear him, yet man is little to be trusted, and it would almost break my heart, if I were hereafter to hear that, he treated you with neglect or unkindness."

"And it would quite break mine, Sir, but I have not the least fear. We have been long enough married to know one another pretty well by this time, and besides, haven't I often heard you say, that it greatly depends upon the wife, what the husband is like?—and when you have been complimented as a husband, haven't you replied, that the merit belonged to Mamma, and not to yourself, for that it was impossible to be otherwise than kind to her?"

"Ah! my child," he replied, "you are like your excellent mother.—When you are determined to carry a point, it is useless arguing with you—either by our weapons, or your own, you are sure to conquer us.—Whatever course you take, will, I am sure, receive my approbation, and I can only farther say, I am indeed proud I have such children, as your Mamma and I are blessed with."

Emily was somewhat apprehensive, until this interview with her father, that he might have endeavoured to discourage her from prosecuting the voyage, after its late unfortunate commencement. She was consequently greatly relieved by the general substance of his conversation; for, notwithstanding her own mind was decidedly made up, the principles of duty and affection to her parents, which she had imbibed from her earliest years, would have made her loth to act upon her own judgment or inclination, when not fully meeting their concurrence; on the other hand, her fixed and strong attachment to Quintus, exceeded even the dutiful regard she bore her parents.

So buoyant and elastic is the human mind that, thinking nothing of the occurrences of the last few hours, in consideration that the greater evil had been avoided, the little party soon resumed much of its natural cheerfulness, and when, towards the latter part of the day, Captain Anselm paid them a visit, an indifferent byestander might have imagined their conversation to have referred to the termination of some prosperous voyage, rather than the sad event that had befallen them.

Mr. Clifton and Emily derived great satisfaction from being told, by Captain Anselm, that he intended immediately to equip another vessel, and that it would be ready in a few weeks. He offered to send letters by a ship, then upon the point of sailing, which would give the first intimation to Quintus of the cause of the detention; and upon the whole, they had cause to hope, that the lapse of a few months, would eventually be the principal extent of their misfortune. They learnt from him that very little, if any, of the cargo would be saved; but as insurance had been effected on all that belonged to Emily, this again was comparatively of little importance—and having made an engagement to renew the voyage, when he might be ready to proceed, in the course of a few days they returned to Mapleton, where Emily quietly resumed her place under her parents' roof, instead of being as she had fully expected, upon the mighty ocean. So little do we know from one day to the other, what is before us.


CHAPTER VII

"And so no man that hath a name,
But falsehood and corruption doth it shame."

COMEDY OF ERRORS

From about the time that, according to Quintus's calculations with respect to the voyage, he thought he might fairly reckon upon its termination, he counted the hours, nay, almost the minutes, that were to bring him to the goal of his happiness. But day after day succeeded each other, yet still no Dawson. Constantly did he ascend a steep hill upon the coast, that commanded an extensive view over the surrounding ocean, and resting his telescope upon some stump or tree, so as to afford a steady sight, would he fix his eye attentively upon the mighty expanse before him, and carefully watch to discover the little speck upon the horizon which, first resembling a bird floating on the waters, gradually increases to the view, until by little and little, its real character becomes developed, the white sails affording decisive proof that it is a vessel. When this hoped-for result had, now and then, rewarded his anxiety, the next consideration would be, the bearings and size of the object; and more than one occasion having arisen, when the representations that had been made with respect to the Dawson, happened to correspond in many essentials, with what was thus presented to him, his hopes and expectations had risen for the moment to a height, only to increase the poignancy of the subsequent disappointment, in a ten-fold degree.

At length, after many weeks of this distressing suspense, a letter from Emily revealed to him the cause of the delay, but also telling him that it would be temporary only, as another vessel was nearly ready, by which she purposed renewing the voyage.

Although, after having as he had supposed, the cup of bliss, that he had been contemplating with the whole force of his mind, for the last three years, so near his lips, he could ill brook its being again dashed from them, even for a short while, there was so much cause of rejoicing in the consideration that Emily and his boy had escaped the perils of shipwreck, and were now probably a second time on their way to join him, that he was soon enabled to become reconciled to the event, and to learn from it how much, even in our greatest calamities, we have cause to be thankful, that they are visited upon us by a hand, that is guided by unerring goodness and mercy.

But at this time, his own affairs were prolific in their calls upon the energies of his mind, and demanded his utmost care and attention. Representation after representation had continued to be made in allusion to him, to the Home Government, and notwithstanding that nearly every thing so said, was utterly groundless, and that the whole offence either committed by, or through him, was that, a stirring spirit of industry in whatever he undertook, gave him leisure which was not enjoyed by others, and that he occupied this leisure in pursuits that set an example to certain free emigrants, which they could by no means brook at the hands of a convict, every opportunity was industriously laid hold on, to ground allegations against the indulgence it was said that he received; although it was well known even by the very parties themselves, who were most clamorous upon the subject, that he had never been exempted from the strictest course of official duties, that attached to persons in his unfortunate situation. By having long considered him in the light of a cause of offence of this nature, he became by degrees, perfectly obnoxious to some of the party; and coute qui coute, his destruction had long been resolved upon.

In one way or other therefore, the gathering storm had for some time been assuming a more and more threatening aspect; and at about the time when he had been first taught to expect Emily, his career of seeming prosperity was changed, and disaster after disaster followed quickly upon each other, each exceeding that before it, in severity. Nor was this all. The demands made upon his time and thoughts with regard to his own affairs, urgent as they were, were not suffered an undivided place in his breast; for Mr. Crecy, who had uniformly continued towards him a steady patronage, had now occasion for a very full portion of all the best and most useful faculties he possessed, arising from some very important circumstances, that bore immediately upon himself.

It was the misfortune of this gentleman to be connected in England with certain individuals who, though eminent for rank, station and wealth, were not by any means persons fitted to engage in an enterprise, such as that in which they were concerned. They had adopted a parcel of strange, visionary notions, with regard to the distant clime in which they had thought proper to obtain an interest, and almost associating the properties of Aladdin's wonderful lamp, with what they expected was to be the result of treading the earth there, had already pictured to themselves laps full of riches, as the immediate effect of the measures they had undertaken. Time soon undeceived them, and taught them that there was a great and expensive work to be performed, in laying the foundation, ere the superstructure could be raised, from which alone, their anticipated wealth was to flow. What followed? Mistaking causes and effects, smarting under the difference between paying and receiving, and willing to wreak upon another, the punishment due to their own folly, they conceived the notion that it was mismanagement abroad, to which their ill success was owing, and acting with a similar precipitancy to what had marked many of their other proceedings, dispatched an agent to the Colony, commissioned to supersede Mr. Crecy, and to dissolve the connexion.

Upon many accounts however, this was no very easy matter; for that gentleman being a partner, having originally been the chief cause of forming the establishment, and pursuing plans, which a thorough acquaintance with the nature of the place fully sanctioned, much negotiation was necessary, before this agent's powers were even recognized—and still more, before any steps could be taken, towards accomplishing the object he had in view. In all the discussions and deliberations that ensued, Quintus now had to take part; for having been long consulted by Mr. Crecy upon many points that had relieved him from a dry detail he disliked, and left him at more liberty to follow the bent of his mind in active operations, there were questions perpetually arising, which none could answer so well as himself. Hence, not a move was made without his knowledge, and Mr. Crecy's adversaries found themselves repeatedly foiled, in a manner they had little expected. It so chanced that the legal gentleman who was opposed to Mr. Crecy, was one, with whom Quintus had had many transactions; and latterly, a mutual dissatisfaction had occasioned their regarding each other, with no very friendly feelings. The differences between Mr. Crecy and the other party, not admitting of an amicable adjustment, now shortly partook of the characteristics of a personal quarrel; and as this became fomented by circumstances, it was not reasonable to expect that a man, situated as was Quintus, could hope to avoid the obloquy, attempted to be thrown upon his patron. The lawyer who was employed by the agent, thus took every opportunity to vilify and abuse him. Like a skilful commander who, having carefully inspected the enemy's line, directs his attack upon that point the least defensible, did he commence by levelling insinuations at Quintus, with reference to his share in Mr. Crecy's councils—first, in a sort of half-whisper, accompanied by a shrug of the shoulder, and afterwards less equivocally—uttering such expressions as, "It is a pity Mr. Crecy is in such hands—if he knew as much of him as I do, he'd kick him to the devil," with others of a similar tendency. In time, leaven of this nature became mixed with the general mass, imparting its properties to the whole—and by degrees, some of Mr. Crecy's friends, who had hitherto always admired Quintus's faithful regard to that gentleman's interests, were tainted by the injurious impression so created, in the end, adopting and acting upon the belief that, many of the occasions of dispute between that gentleman and his partners, had chiefly arisen from Quintus's mismanagement of business that had been entrusted to him. Time however, fully revealed how base and unworthy, how utterly groundless, was the calumny.

Notwithstanding the partial success that thus attended the lawyer's insinuations, since for the time, they certainly shook the confidence that had been reposed in Quintus, the vast service of the knowledge he possessed, upon every point connected with his patron's affairs, his readiness in answering every question that was put to him, and his occasional suggestions as the business proceeded, were too highly appreciated, to allow Mr. Crecy's advisers either to exclude him from their deliberations, or in any other manner to treat him with less apparent attention than formerly; but he was not so unskilled in human nature, as not quickly to discern that he was suspected, to say the least——and nothing but the sense of duty he owed Mr. Crecy, prevented him from exhibiting his mortification, by withdrawing with disgust. He saw and felt however, that he would yet be indispensable upon certain points of the utmost importance, and therefore resolved to brave all obloquy, and to trust to the event, for having justice done to his character. He had besides, another powerful motive for this course. One or two of Mr. Crecy's friends, continued his warm supporters and staunch advocates. One there was especially, whom upon every account he most highly esteemed and admired, and for whom, he would have delighted in any exertion, either of mind or body, that could have produced him the least benefit. A man of the world, a gentleman, in the full and true meaning of the term, humane, benevolent, and mild—in a word, the noblest work of God, a good man—holding a dignified situation, which he used more to promote the happiness of others, than his own aggrandizement, he had long had his eye upon Quintus, nor was his opinion of, or feelings towards him to be changed, by the evil repute of a designing party. He penetrated their motives, and treated their insinuations with the contempt they deserved; nor did he fail from time to time to put him upon his guard, and to assure him of his steady protection. He once addressed him in a note as follows:——

"It has been represented by Forceps and others, that you have ruined the concern, and their agent is extremely hostile to you. I have said, I am sure there is nothing which you cannot explain, but you must be prepared for the worst. Mr. Crecy will support you as far as possible, but as you have so many powerful and active enemies, who all contend that you are solely to blame, with respect to the present state of affairs, I fear it must be upon yourself and your own explanations, that you must rest your chief dependence for justice—you should claim not to be condemned unheard. While I stand, I will support you, for I believe you to be a faithful and honest, although a most unfortunate man."

When his state at this moment is fully considered, it must assuredly be admitted that these words were well applied, and that he was indeed a most unfortunate man. Alone, as it were, in a distant clime, without one to whom he was bound by the tie of kindred—without one by whom his hours of anxiety and misery could be soothed—degraded in rank and society—enrolled among burglars, highwaymen, and other criminals, in the one, sweeping, comprehensive term, CONVICT—he found that the very means he had carefully been using, during three years of toil and labour, under the vain hope of regaining some of his lost ground, had availed nothing, and that the fabric he had raised, mouldered and fell into dust, the very moment that it was most needed. That which would have gained him applause, had he been free, was converted into an offence by his bonds.—The very persons, whose duty it was to have rallied around him, and to have formed an invincible phalanx for his protection, too readily adopted an unfavourable bias, upon slight grounds;—and to complete his measure of misfortune, he had reason to believe that Mr. Crecy himself, lent his ear at times, to the reports now circulated to his prejudice, and like others, began to consider them as well founded. Of all those, who but a short time previously had ranked themselves his partizans, few remained thoroughly true to him; but in this number it must be owned were some, whose good opinion he had been taught by experience, most highly to value. Nevertheless, the constant and unwearying solicitude he was called upon to endure, was almost too much for him—his mind was ever in a ferment, incapable of performing all that was required of it—the difficulties of his own situation, arising from the bonds he wore, and forgetting which for a time, he had undertaken tasks, that none even, but very active and persevering free agents, could have hoped successfully to have performed—and latterly, the unfortunate state of affairs with respect to Mr. Crecy—all this together, so wore and harassed him, that instead of hoping for, he absolutely dreaded, the arrival of Emily, until some of the clouds that now encompassed him, might have been dispelled; but time waits for no man, nor does it otherwise study man's convenience; and it was now hastening with rapid wings, the full accomplishment of all that had been foretold when the Gipsy said, "Warn him from his cradle of from thirty to forty." But, let us not anticipate.

The Governor of the Colony at that day, was a man, in every respect well qualified for the high trust that was reposed in him. Combining an accurate knowledge of human nature, with great skill and tact in the difficult art of ruling, it was his delight to foster and cherish good behaviour, in all whom he governed, holding forth every possible encouragement towards reformation, but visiting with unrelenting severity, hardened offenders. Amiable in his private relations, he noticed with favour, a similar quality in others. His good will was always drawn towards those, who had strength of mind sufficient to withstand the temptations of bad company; and although, the parties themselves were frequently unaware of having attracted his notice, they were sure, in some way or other, to feel its beneficial effects. The husband that remained faithful to his absent wife—or the son that was dutiful to his far distant parents, never escaped his observation, let their state be ever so lowly. He was besides, an excellent judge of merit, seldom suffering his estimation of men or things, to be hoodwinked by interest or party spirit; and was endowed by that sort of firmness, which in the end, is ever sure to subdue factious opposition. In a word, he was an upright Governor, and a good man.

From the opportunities he had had, of forming an opinion of Quintus, he had been inclined to shew him any little indulgence that came within the established regulations, and, so long as he had reason to know that he was punctual and attentive to his duties, he regarded, certainly with no disfavour, the struggles he was making, towards recovering his station in society. He knew the strong motive that actuated him, and he respected and admired conjugal love and devotion, equally in a criminal, as in his highest officer of state. The irreproachable tenor of Quintus's moral life, was matter of notoriety, and had assisted more than once, in obtaining for him favours, which would otherwise have been withheld. Had it therefore only depended upon this excellent man, a calamity which was now suspended over him, as it were by a single thread, would probably have been averted; but the heads of distant settlements, although nearly absolute in many respects, are still, but instruments in the hands of the Home Government, and ever subject to their orders. Quintus's name had been so long, and so often dinned into the ears of the Secretary of State—he had been so pertinaciously adhered to, by the faction in the Colony, as an instrument for destruction, that the great people in England at length became wearied of his very mention.—It was not to be endured that, their valuable time should be perpetually occupied by so insignificant a person; and it consequently happened that at the crisis, when, in a state of anxiety about his own affairs, he was nearly overwhelmed by the load that had been farther placed on his shoulders, through and by Mr. Crecy, orders arrived from Downing-street, for his removal from head-quarters to the interior, where he was to be deprived of every mark of favour, and placed upon a severe system of convict discipline.

The Governor viewed this order with regret—Emily's arrival, was now a second time daily expected, and, as it had long been the custom, when married men were joined by their wives, that the latter, in capacity of free settlers, claimed their husbands to be assigned to them, thus virtually removing many of the pains of transportation, Quintus had always anticipated with confidence, that this would be his lot, the moment Emily put her foot on shore. Not only was he justified in so doing, by long and almost invariable usage, but, on two or three occasions, he had received intimations of a nature, as he considered, to place the thing beyond uncertainty. It was upon the faith of this, that he had entered upon many of his enterprising pursuits, with the spirit and vigour that had marked his course. Upon the faith of this, he had formed many heavy engagements—incurred many liabilities—chalked out, and was steadily persevering in, many plans. It was the hope of this, that had proved his sheet-anchor, through his many troubles and difficulties, cheering and supporting him on his way, and enabling him to bear all, with undaunted resolution. The active nature of his present employments for Mr. Crecy, and the necessity of his being immediately at hand, to render aid in forwarding the progress of an arbitration, which had been finally resolved upon, between that gentleman and his partners, served for a short time, to retard the carrying into effect, this new and severe order; and as Quintus was wholly ignorant of what was impending over him, he still fruitlessly but courageously struggled with his difficulties. But the hand of power, when once uplifted against an individual, is seldom averted, though sometimes delayed a little; and so it now proved, with this child of accumulated misfortune.


CHAPTER VIII

"Did I but purpose to embark with thee,
On the smooth surface of a summer sea;
And would forsake the skiff, and make the shore,
When the winds whistle, and the tempests roar?"

HENRY AND EMMA

While the state of affairs in the southern hemisphere, was of the nature described in the last chapter, Emily, little fancying how great a reverse had taken place in her husband's fortunes, was busy in her preparations for a second endeavour to join him—thinking the five months that had intervened since the last occasion, had been longer in passing, than any other similar period of her life. They came to an end however at last, and with them, every arrangement, upon which her re-embarkation was to depend.

Her eldest brother had for some years been a partner of one of the very first-rate solicitors of the day, and was upon a footing of intimacy with most of the leading members of the bar. It so chanced that one morning, shortly before Emily was to re-commence her voyage, he was engaged on professional business, with a Mr. Malvers, an eminent Chancery Barrister, and a pause in the conversation having arisen, the latter took advantage of it to say, "I must really run away from you to-day—the Secretary for the Colonies has just nominated my son Alverney, to a high law appointment in New South Wales, and I am to wait upon His Lordship at two, to which you see it just wants twenty minutes. I believe you know what sort of a person Alverney is. Every thing with him, must be done in a minute; and as he has learnt that there is a vessel called the Mornington to sail directly, nothing will do, but he must go by her. I am sure you will excuse me."

"Certainly," replied William Clifton; "I will call upon you again at any time you may name; but your mention of the Mornington must be my apology, if I endeavour to avail myself of it towards procuring your son's good offices, for two persons who are very dear to me, and who intend also proceeding by that vessel. My sister and her child are going to join the unfortunate Quintus Servinton, who is, as I believe you know, her husband—and I am very anxious that she should go as well protected as possible."

"Nothing will give either my son or myself more heartfelt pleasure," replied Mr. Malvers. "Alverney will be delighted to have so agreeable a charge.—Neither you nor I, Mr. Clifton, require to be told, that a virtuous, and well-educated woman, never needs any other protector than herself; but all that the nearest and dearest friend can do for another, Alverney will, I am sure, do upon my recommendation for your sister. Let me see you again to-morrow, and, in the mean time, I shall have told my son the pleasure that awaits him."

Emily was none of those affected characters, who fancy that because they have bestowed upon one happy man, their entire, their undivided heart, they must necessarily treat all the rest of mankind with chilling indifference. She knew, as well as any woman in the world, how to repress the slightest approach to improper freedom; or rather, the eye that could melt into a bewitching softness, when beaming on her husband or her child, could assume a forbidding aspect, should the general sweetness of her countenance have chanced to attract, what might be deemed a somewhat bold, or scrutinizing glance, from any other person. Upon this occasion, the mention of Mr. Alverney Malvers's name, as her probable companion for a long voyage, was received in the manner that might have been expected, considering through what channels, the introduction was to come.

"I am ever obliged to you, my dear William," she replied. "You are very kind; but do tell me, what sort of a man Mr. Alverney Malvers is. I know very well that people may become better acquainted in one day, on board ship, than in a month on shore; but some are little to be trusted, and it is as well to be put upon one's guard before hand."

"From all I have ever heard of him, he is a man to whom I can have no hesitation in implicitly confiding yourself and Olivant—I know his father intimately; but not much of himself; and Mr. Malvers is so very superior, and high-minded a person, evinces such nice honour, and such scrupulous correctness in all his actions, that we may safely be assured, he would not allow me to speak to you favourably of his son, if he were at all undeserving—but there is nothing like cautious prudence as you say, so I will make some enquiry of one or two, with whom I know he is acquainted."

"Oh! I know how to take pretty good care of myself, if need be," replied Emily; "pray therefore do not take any farther trouble, for we cannot do wrong to be wholly governed by what such a person as Mr. Malvers says—at all events, his son may be useful to Quintus, who will perhaps need him more than I may, and that will be something. Do you know how old he is?"

"Not more than four or five and twenty I think," said her brother. "I have heard say, that he is very religious; but I will make it my business to learn what he is like in all respects, and you shall know the result—you can then do as you chuse about being particularly introduced, and have only to express your wishes."

With a truly fraternal solicitude, William Clifton took every means in his power, of acquainting himself with the character of the youthful protector, to whom a beloved sister was thus to be confided—for he well knew, that notwithstanding Emily's principles were her effectual safeguard, the opportunities of becoming annoying and troublesome, would be neither few nor inconsiderable, should a person be so inclined, after having been requested by her friends, to assume some interest with respect to her; and he was therefore unwilling to place these opportunities in the power of any one, by whom there was the least probability of their being abused. But every enquiry produced only one general answer, and this, upon the whole, was favourable. All, who knew the young barrister, agreed in representing him as a man of high honor and integrity—amiable, well-informed, and of great strength of character. Some there were, who added, that he entertained certain romantic notions, and was a bit of an enthusiast, either for, or against any cause he adopted—and others, who knew him still more intimately, whilst they were anxious to do justice to his good qualities, admitted that, if a few charged him with an overweening self-sufficiency upon certain occasions, it was, in a degree, well founded. The result however, was considered to be decidedly of that nature, to justify the prosecution of William's idea with regard to his sister; and Emily, glad to think there would be some one on board, with whom she might associate with less reserve than is allowable, among the usual chance-medley of sea passengers—one, of whom she might seek help, in the event of difficulty or danger—one, whose society might be expected to cheer the long and dreary interval before her, ere her fancied happiness could be reached, hailed the decision with real pleasure, and before she had ever seen Mr. Alverney Malvers, was prepossessed in his favour.

Their first introduction to each other, was a day or two only before the vessel was to sail, and was attended by circumstances, which, as well as his appearance, were rather calculated to add to the favourable idea of his character, already entertained. Of the middle height, and rather slender, his features were well formed and regular; but it was the superior of his face that was chiefly calculated to attract notice; the shape of his forehead indicating thought and intelligence, and his eyes, which were large and dark, being peculiarly expressive. Around his mouth, a very agreeable smile often played, imparting to his whole countenance, the most benign and amiable cast. He wore his hair, very full and luxuriant—shading his features by locks possessing a natural curl, and bestowing a softness, well suited to the bland, mild tones of his voice, which was extremely flexible, and under most perfect command.

It has been already said that a more than usual share of the romantic tinged his composition; and there was something in Emily's story, well calculated to excite this feeling, in a remarkable degree. A young, elegant, and virtuous female, with her son, proceeding upon so long a voyage, and with such an object as hers in view, especially after a shipwreck that would have deterred many from a second attempt, was of itself, sufficient to ensure in the bosoms of most, a high and touching interest. It may be well supposed therefore, that such a man as Alverney Malvers should have readily accepted the trust offered him, and that, when Emily and he became acquainted, he should have felt inclined to serve and oblige her, less in deference to the manner of their introduction, than as a tribute to her own merits.

"I hope Madam," said he, "that you do not intend the distinction which has been conferred upon me, to be a mere idle compliment; but that it may be expressly understood before the voyage is commenced, whatever services may come within my power to render, are to be claimed by you, as a matter of right. I hope to become well acquainted too, with this young gentleman;" then approaching Olivant with great affability—"What say you, Master Servinton? will you enlist me, as well as your Mamma?"

"Olivant and I are both much obliged," replied Emily; "but I fear my brother will have imposed a very troublesome task upon you. Yon know I believe, that we have already had a tolerable breaking in, of what the sea is like, and we hope we shall not be such bad sailors, as if we were now to embark for the first time.—That was indeed, a dreadful day and night."

"It must have been awful in the extreme.—The courage you shew in again braving the elements, will, I have no doubt, be rewarded. I have heard much of your story, when I little expected I should ever have had the pleasure of your acquaintance, and I feel confident that God will bless you, and all belonging to you, for your sake. It is much more easy to admire, than to follow such an example as yours. You see I already speak to you like an old acquaintance, but I have heard so much of you from my friends, that I seem to have known you a long time.—I anticipate great pleasure too, from this young gentleman's society.—Has he been much at school?"

"He has never had any other than private tuition, and even this has not been so much as I could have wished," replied Emily. "His papa's unfortunate situation is greatly against him; but he is tolerably grounded in many essentials.—He is a very good and orderly boy, extremely fond of his books, and wants little beyond good teaching; I hope there is a school fit for him in the Colony."

"You must place him under my charge, during the voyage," said Mr.

Malvers. "It will beguile the time—help to brush up myself, and at least, will do him no harm. What do you say, Olivant, to three or four hours a day, devoted to, as in praesenti, and propria quae maribus?"

"I shall like it very much, Sir." Then pausing a little, Olivant continued, "Do you like fishing and shooting, Sir, for I am told we shall have lots of them during the voyage? Mamma has bought me two nice guns, and plenty of fishing tackle."

"They are all good in their turn, and I daresay we shall manage very well together. To-morrow, at day-break, I believe Mrs. Servinton, we are to embark. I will do myself the honor of calling upon you, so soon as I know all is ready, and now, is there any thing I can do for you, in the mean time?"

"Nothing, I thank you. All my luggage is on board, excepting three or four packages, for which the captain has promised to send this evening, and in the morning, I shall be ready whenever he lets me know."

In this manner, the interview ended, and in the subsequent progress of their acquaintance, the whole deportment of Mr. Alverney Malvers was all that finished breeding could suggest, or Emily's circumstances demand; it was the familiarity of a friend, mingled with the respect of a stranger. No wonder therefore, that she considered herself happy in such auspices for the dismal period that was before her. No wonder that when she mounted the deck for the second time, and once more heard the well remembered tones of the sailors, as accompaniments to the preliminaries for unmooring the vessel, that she should have drawn comparisons between the past and present occasion, decidedly favourable to the latter; nor that, when she presently retired to the cabin, which she did not again leave until that cauldron of the ocean, the Bay of Biscay, was nearly passed, she should have trusted her boy with confidence to the care of one, who had shown himself in many ways, sedulously attentive and considerate.

As the voyage proceeded, the conduct of Alverney Malvers, continued the same. He evidently felt himself privileged to act the part of a Santo Sebastiano, but he did it in a manner, at which the most fastidious could not take exception. He was affable, unreserved, and courteous, but firm, decisive, and uncompromising to others, whenever the little incidents of a voyage, required his interference. He found in Emily, a well-informed companion, with whom, occupations of the mind were quite familiar; and some of the most esteemed authors of the day, formed materials for passing agreeably and profitably, time which, to others, was long and tedious. To Olivant, he regularly devoted several hours, cultivating his naturally good abilities, with the care and fondness of an elder brother, and afterwards, joining in his boyish amusements, with the zest and vivacity of a school boy. The course of their voyage now brought them to the Island of St. Jago, where the vessel touched for refreshments; and Mr. Malvers having taken Olivant on shore, and both returning to the vessel much pleased with their excursion, Emily was persuaded to make one of the next day's party. At first she felt reluctant, fearing to trust herself in the little coracles, by which alone, the intercourse with the shore could be carried on. This hesitation, Mr. Malvers interpreted differently, and said, "Of course, I cannot know what sort of a person Mr. Servinton is, and perhaps you think he might not like my rendering you the little services, which are the only pleasure of the voyage. If so, pray tell me, and I will shape my conduct accordingly—perhaps, you would rather I did not go on shore with you to-morrow. You know you have only to express your wishes, and to have them attended to."

"I shall like very much for you to go with me. Mr. Servinton knows me so well, and I know him so well too, that you never need think of him. He is always obliged to any person, who is kind to me or his boy. I shall have much to tell him in your behalf, but every thing he will hear, either from myself or others, will, I am quite sure, give him pleasure."

"I am very glad to find that your husband so well estimates you. I endeavour to treat you as I should wish a wife or sister of mine to be treated, under similar circumstances. Some men have, as you cannot but know, peculiar notions with regard to their wives; and I consider it a proof of Mr. Servinton's good sense, that he is not one of that number."

"Papa thinks Mamma is so good," said Olivant, "that her way is always the best, and so does Grand-papa with Grand-mamma—I am sure my Papa won't be angry with any thing you do Mamma, and so, you'll go with us to-morrow, won't you?"

"Indeed, I believe Olivant, that your Papa is always likely to be pleased with any thing that can amuse either of us, let us be where we may, and therefore I'll be one of to-morrow's party; although, to tell the truth, those little boats almost frighten me to death—I think much more of them than of your Papa's displeasure, I assure you."

Mr. Malvers and Olivant both endeavoured to assure her of the perfect safety of the coracles, and at length partially succeeded, although the next day's trip was made in fear and trembling, which even the skill and facility in managing the little boat, that were remarkable, in a tall, brawny waterman, who appeared big enough, and strong enough to carry passengers, bark and all upon his shoulders in case of need, could not wholly dispel; and notwithstanding the ramble afforded some gratification, as serving to interrupt the tediousness of the sea, Emily, when again lodged upon the deck of the Mornington, felt a sort of conscious security, which it might scarcely be conceived so precarious a machine as a ship, could be capable of bestowing.

In all the little broils and differences that are almost certain to arise, where a large assemblage of opposite tempers and dispositions are cooped up within the limits of a quarter deck for many months, Mr. Malvers was always at hand, ready to support Emily or Olivant, whenever necessary. It was next to impossible that other than an unreserved intimacy, could spring from the very nature of the introduction, by which they had become known to each other; but it was an intimacy which she felt her husband would approve, as it was sanctified by her own pure and guileless bosom. At length, much in the manner that the patience of stage coach travellers is more tried by the last few miles, than by all the rest of the journey, every day seemed a week, as the voyage was judged nearly over, and expectancy was wrought to its highest pitch, all anxiously looking out for land; nor was it till the altered colour of the water, the new varieties of birds, and the floating masses of sea-weed, denoted beyond doubt, that the joyful event could not be very remote, that Emily comprehended the full extent of her long stifled emotions. In the course of a few hours after these signs had severally appeared and passed away in turn, a favourable breeze quickly wafted the Mornington towards the capacious harbour, to the possession of which, New South Wales is so much indebted for the prosperity she has since attained; and almost before Emily could subdue her high state of excitement at the idea of being so near her dearly beloved husband, the anchor was dropped, and in a few minutes she found herself once more reposing on his bosom.


CHAPTER IX

"Into this wicked world, next calumny was sent,
To be the plague and scourge of wretched men,
Whom with vile tongue and venemous intent,
It sore doth wound, and bite, and cruelly torment."

SPENSER

So soon as the first burst of joy, upon again meeting the husband of her heart, after a separation of nearly four years, had somewhat subsided in the breast of Emily, the settled mixture of care and melancholy that sat upon his brow, so different to what was natural to him, did not escape her affectionate observation. Her heart at once whispered to her, that their state of misery was not yet exhausted; for, she had so long and so attentively studied every turn and move of his features, she knew she could not be deceived. There was none of that light, elastic joy in his manner, which she had fondly pictured to herself, would attend her reception. He was kind, for he could not be otherwise, where she was concerned; but it was a chilling tenderness that struck to her very soul, and her imagination directly painted things in their worst colours. Quintus, on his part, aware of what was passing in her mind, endeavoured to divest himself of the load he had long carried, and, by rallying his spirits, to greet her endearing smiles with a corresponding return; but he found himself unequal to the task, and even her very presence served to increase his anxieties, by creating new occasions of sorrow in reflecting upon the troubles, in which she had come so many miles to participate.

But yet he was unwilling to abandon hope, or to believe for an instant, that there was any thing in his situation that need occasion serious disquietude. He was aware of the obloquy that had been excited against him, with reference to Mr. Crecy; but, as he felt that this was wholly undeserved, and that time, as it unfolded its secrets, was alone required to correct people's unjust notions, and to place his character in its true light, he determined, after some little self deliberation, to continue the struggle till the last moment, and not to impart a knowledge of his circumstances to Emily, unless he found it unavoidable.

Herein, however kind the motive, he committed a sad mistake, and prepared for himself the embryo of a calamity, in comparison with which, all his other sufferings had been nothing. His knowledge of her character should have warned him, how he trod on such dangerous—such forbidden ground, as to fancy he could have any cares or troubles, in which she did not claim to be admitted a full sharer. She saw he was unhappy—she every moment expected that he would unbosom himself to her—and when hour after hour passed on, and still he said nothing, mortified and hurt by his silence, the feeling crept into her bosom, that she was not yet treated with the unreserve and confidence she merited.

It was among her first communications to him, to describe the kindness and attention she and her boy had received from Mr. Malvers; and she did so with all the earnestness of gratitude, couched in a language, consistent with her pure and upright principles, and she finished by playfully saying, "Now I have told you all this, are you not longing to know what sort of a man has had charge of your little wife?—how old he is, and all about him?—not that I think you are jealous."

"I must distrust you, Emily, before I can be jealous, and I am sure I shall never do that. As for Mr. Malvers, I shall like to see him, if only to express my thanks for his kindness to you. I know very well that you can have no other feelings towards him or any one else, than such as I might entertain for any young lady, without disturbing your peace, and I have no right to, nor do I expect more."

"I was only joking, for I know very well that you would trust me any where, and so I told Mr. Malvers one day, when he thought you might not perhaps like the attention he paid me. You cannot think how very kind and considerate he was all through the voyage. He wishes to come and call upon me, but said he should wait my permission, after I had spoken to you—have you any objection?"

"No, my dear Emily, I can have no objection—but he knew little of the place, when he talked of coming under my roof. There is a gulf between him and a man in my situation, which nothing can pass—and he had better understand so at once."

"You do not know him, or you would not say so. He knows all about those distinctions, but they make no difference to him. May I write and tell him he may call? and then he can do as he pleases."

"Certainly, if you wish it—but pray so word your note that he may not fancy we want to lead him to pass the line of demarcation, which I have constantly told you existed. I assure you Emily, it will not do in this Colony."

"Perhaps not generally—however, in order that I may not go wrong, do you write what I must say, and I will copy it. I shall be very much disappointed, if, after you have seen him, you do not say that I am right."

Mr. Malvers soon replied to Emily's note, by being announced as a visitor; and his manner of meeting Quintus was courteous, to say the least; but it was more—it was of a nature to soothe and flatter a gentleman in misfortune, and to make him for the moment, forget his troubles. His conversation was light and cheerful, chiefly turning upon the incidents of the voyage, particularly all that related to his two fellow travellers. He afterwards spoke of the Colony, and Quintus took occasion to thank him for the honor he had conferred by calling, but to intimate, as delicately as he could, that he might be subjected to unpleasantness by so far departing from established usage, as to visit a man circumstanced like himself.

Mr. Malvers listened with great politeness, and replied, in his most engaging tone, "Do not be uneasy on my account. I serve a higher Governor than the Governor of a Colony, and what my conscience tells me is right, I ever do, fearlessly." Shortly before he closed his visit, he took Quintus aside, and said, "I have heard you have some very pressing difficulties, at this moment. Let me see you to-morrow morning, at nine, and bring with you, such particulars as may assist in endeavouring to make some arrangements—I will not detain you now, but be punctual at nine, as I shall keep myself disengaged for you."

It may naturally be supposed, that to find a person, exhibiting so friendly an interest in himself and family, as had been manifested by Mr. Malvers, was well calculated to remove from Quintus's mind, much of the load, by which it was oppressed. And, in truth, it was so removed—although he was still of opinion, that the position Mr. Malvers had taken, would be found untenable, and that his exalted notions could not be maintained, whatever might be his inclination. Indeed, upon after consideration, he was sorry to have seen him so adhere to it, when the subject had been introduced; for he had already sustained a loss of friendship, amongst certain of the higher classes, upon precisely similar grounds, and his experience of colonial men and manners, made him dread the consequences of Mr. Malver's avowed intention, of renewing his visits.

Could he however, have opened but one page of the book of fate, he would not have been rendered uneasy by any apprehensions connected with this subject. A few days sufficed to display Mr. Malvers in a very different character, exhibiting in him qualities, that had been concealed under better ones—or at least, were so much the extremes of what had hitherto tended to render him to be looked upon, as one of the most amiable of men, that with many, they would have been mistaken for any thing but what is praiseworthy.

Scarcely had he put his foot on shore, than his ear was poisoned by some of the machinations of the party who were bent upon destroying Quintus, and to which he listened with more readiness, than was consistent with that spirit which he had professed to entertain. It was enough with many, that Quintus was already marked out by the finger of misfortune—that he was a recorded criminal by the laws of his country, for him scarcely to be supposed the possessor of one good quality. Because this was his unhappy fate, it was thought fit to deny him even that privilege, which the greatest malefactor may claim, and to condemn him unheard. It now sufficed for Mr. Malvers, that there were not wanting persons who, so long as they saw themselves heeded, poured into his ear, every sort of calumny with regard to Quintus, representing him in a very different light to what he really deserved. Unfortunately too, certain passing events gave a colouring to their tales, and which might have deceived a man of even more experience than himself; and although the charge originally entrusted to him, was never intended to last longer, than until Emily was placed under the care of her natural guardian many adventitious circumstances appeared to warrant the part he still seemed inclined to take, of continuing to her, protection, in case of need. When he paid his first visit at Quintus's residence, he had already collected an abundant mass of the calumnious reports that had been set afloat, in furtherance of the designs of the jealous and envious persons who had resolved his destruction; and had not Mr. Malvers been a man of honor and integrity, subsequent events almost might have given cause to doubt, how far the friendly proffers that were then bestowed, were founded in thorough sincerity. Quintus, however implicitly believed them, and attended at the appointed hour, when he was received with a great shew of friendly interest. He submitted to view, in a concise form, precisely how he was circumstanced, both as the world was concerned, arising from the nature and extent of his pursuits, and as to his prospects and general circumstances. He explained the many forms in which he was being perpetually harassed, and more especially that, by the instigation of some who were most hostile to him, he was at this very moment threatened with arrest for a trifling sum, which he had not the means immediately of meeting, chiefly in consequence of his degraded situation, which shut the channels of pecuniary assistance to him, that were open to others. While so employed, Mr. Malvers listened with attention, his arms folded upon the table, and looking at him steadfastly; and when he had concluded, said, "Then do I understand you, that if this can be settled, you have nothing farther to apprehend at present?"

"Nothing," replied Quintus. "I have several friends, through whose assistance I shall be able shortly to put all my other affairs upon a safe and good footing. Mrs. Servinton's arrival will materially help me, as I have been promised to be assigned to her. This arrest has only been adopted as a measure of annoyance, just upon her arrival, and if it can be arranged, I have nothing more to apprehend."

"Well, whatever is done, should be done quickly. It will not do to let you go to gaol for such a small sum, and yet I really have not so much about me. Go to the attorney directly, and request him to call upon me, and I will see what can be done. Do not delay, for I shall stay at home till he calls, or till I see you again."

Quintus lost no time it may be well supposed, in this agreeable errand. All that Emily or his boy had said of Mr. Malvers, and all that he had witnessed himself, was of a nature to exalt him in his estimation, much above the common run of men. As he walked along the street, he could not help congratulating himself upon the powerful accession he had received, and a lightness or cheerfulness arose in his manner, to which he had long been a stranger. Some of Mr. Malvers's exalted notions of himself, and of his consequence, had not been lost upon him, but thought he, "Who is free from faults? and he must indeed be fastidious, who would suffer these small specks to dim the lustre of so bright a character."

Shortly after this interview, he was informed that the suit was arranged, and he returned home, relieved of a great and anxious weight of care. He now pleased himself that he had said nothing to his wife upon the subject of his troubles. He resumed his usual habits and style of conversation. He discussed with her his future plans—talked of Mr. Crecy, Mr. Leicester, and his other friends—loudly extolled Mr. Malvers as man of superior order—in a word, became quite happy and animated.

But the next morning brought with it new sorrows. Mr. Crecy, the preceding day, in conversation with Mr. Malvers, although certainly not designing any injury, had spoken of Quintus in a manner that the latter had construed unfavourably, and had referred to some of his pursuits, in a tone little calculated to create in the mind of a stranger, any other opinion of him, than as a wild enthusiast—so that, whatever prejudices had been previously excited, by what had otherwise reached him, were thus abundantly strengthened by a man, whom Quintus always considered, and represented to be his fast and firm friend. Nor did the mischief end here. The following morning, Mr. Crecy called upon Emily, and in the course of conversation, took occasion to do justice to Quintus's talents for business, but counteracted his commendations, by hinting that he was likely to be a considerable sufferer by having befriended him. Now, had he been understood either by one or the other, in the manner that his uniform behaviour to Quintus, showed that he must have intended, the impression upon the mind of each would have been, "I have greatly befriended Quintus Servinton, and he has greatly served me. At this very moment, he has completed a difficult and laborious task, which must prove invaluable to my cause, and much serves to compensate what I have done for him. None but himself could have performed it, as circumstances have stood, and I shall long feel obliged to him." But unfortunately, in the one case his expressions were addressed to a man, who was already infected with a prejudice against the object of his remarks, and in the other, to an ear, ever the most sensitive where her husband was concerned, and rendered fearfully vigilant by past events. Most assuredly, Mr. Crecy was far, very far, from wishing to increase the force of a stream, which he saw with regret was already too strong for one who was looked upon in a measure, as a protegé of his own; but a word sometimes inadvertently uttered, creates impressions, very different to the meaning of the speaker. So was it now. Nothing could have been more remote from his intention in what he said to Emily, than to disparage her husband; but she considered his words as bearing but one construction, and that construction, painful in the highest degree to a wife's feelings.

The part Mr. Malvers took was different, and seemed incapable of comprehension. He had undertaken, and well performed a particular charge—but, with the voyage, this charge had ended. He had excited in the mind of Emily, a sentiment of high esteem and gratitude, and this was immediately transplanted to her husband's bosom, where it was presently strengthened by the friendly treatment he himself had experienced. But, his readiness in imbibing unfavourable impressions, and the use he afterwards made of them, were so irreconcilable with his former conduct that the most charitable, perhaps the only, construction to be given was, that, possessing peculiar notions upon some of the principles of human nature, he fancied this a good opportunity of bringing them into action; forgetting perhaps what sacrifices might be necessary in order to attain his object. One of his ideas seemed to be that, Emily was much too good for the man she had married. It is certain he had as high an opinion of her excellent qualities, as any one person can entertain towards a fellow creature—he had witnessed enough of her character, of her firmness, her good sense, her amiable temper, her thorough devotedness to her husband and child, her unostentatious but sincere religion, to have ranked her as one of those few, but highly gifted individuals, who are sent upon earth in a beauteous form, probably to make us love virtue for virtue's sake, and to give us an idea of the happiness that is in store for us hereafter. What he thus thought of her had arisen from his own observation—his opinion of her husband was derived through poisoned channels—but, having once allowed it a place in his heart, he encouraged and fed it, although concealing it from the individual himself, instead of allowing him, as in common candor he should have done, an opportunity of explanation. With these different feelings towards the husband and wife, he paid a second visit, and it well suited his purpose, to find Emily alone.

"Well, Mrs. Servinton, how do you like the Colony? Are you not rather disappointed?"

"Every thing is so unlike England, that it does seem rather strange at first, but I dare say, it will soon be familiar."

"Every thing is indeed unlike England, and I am not at all decided as to staying here. The place and the people are to me intolerable, and I shall be very glad if you have not shortly reason to say the same. Has your husband explained his circumstances to you?"

"Not much—he has told me you rendered him a great service on Monday—and that he and a trustee of his are engaged in an unpleasant dispute;—but he says every thing will shortly be settled."

"He ought to have said more, and have concealed nothing from you. I should not acquit myself of the confidence placed in me by your relations, if I suffered any thing I can do for you to terminate with the voyage, fearing as I do, that my interference will be more than ever required, now that it is ended. I am very apprehensive that he has not dealt candidly by you—otherwise, I much suspect you would not now have been here."

"Do tell me at once if any thing is the matter—I can bear any thing better than suspense—that concealing his troubles from me, is the only point whereon Quintus and I ever disagreed, as it was not placing, I always felt it, proper confidence in me. I saw something was dreadfully the matter the first moment we met, but he has been quite different the last day or two, and I thought whatever had been the cause, it was now over. Do tell me whatever you know."

"I understand he is a good deal involved in engagements, but that I believe might be arranged—at least, so he says; but some of those whom he calls his particular friends, have intimated such things to his prejudice, as I fear will leave you but one course—and I am sorry to add, that from all I can gather, I fully believe what is so said of him."

"Oh! pray tell me more. What is it people say? How I am again distressed, when I looked for nothing but happiness! but I hope God will yet support me.—Oh! Mr. Malvers, for what am I reserved?"

"I cannot be very explicit with you at present, but will endeavour to learn more, and will call again to-morrow. You have heard your husband speak of one or two persons as his friends, I daresay—I can tell you, that if one-half they say of him be true, you are indeed much to be pitied—I hope it is not so—but I see Mr. Servinton coming across the field. Say nothing I entreat you, of what I have mentioned, as it may all turn out well; only I could not avoid saying what I have done. If you please, I will drink tea with you to-morrow evening, and meanwhile will obtain further information. Promise me you will say nothing until I see you again. Will you promise me?"

"I do not like doing that—concealment is the only difference Quintus and I ever have had; and how can I find fault with him, if I do the very same thing myself?"

"I hope you believe I can only have the good of both at heart, and pray let me have my way this time. It will be better for all, I assure you."

"I cannot say I am convinced Mr. Malvers, but yet I suppose you have a good reason for what you ask, and will do as you desire; but must say I hate concealment, and wish you had not——" Ere she could finish the sentence, her husband entered, and shortly afterwards, Mr. Malvers, who, in the few words that ensued, evinced his usual cordiality, made his bow and departed.

It was now Quintus's turn to mark the dejected and sorrowful demeanor of his wife—and all his endeavours to rally her, failed to dispel the gloom that encircled her countenance. Whatever line of conversation he originated she maintained with langour, her replies evidently shewing, that her mind was wandering from the subject. He tried to restore her ordinary placidity by endearment, but though her eye beamed on him as ever with love and affection, there was an inanimacy about it which he could not understand, and which greatly distressed him. Had he not thought so highly of her, as almost to approach adoration, an idea more horrible than can be conceived, might have crept into his bosom, and helped to solve the mystery—but, he would as soon have renounced his faith in a superintending Providence, or in his Redeemer, as in Emily; and if, for a half-moment, the idea that Mr. Malvers might be less indifferent to her than ought to be the case, stole across his mind, it was only to dismiss it with scorn, as unworthy a second consideration.

Meanwhile, her breast continued torn and distracted by the intelligence she had received—and she longed to repeat to her husband all she knew, and beg him to explain every thing to her—but a promise, ever in her view a sacred obligation, had been extorted;—its precise motive, it was true, she did not comprehend, but she regarded Mr. Malvers as endowed with such superior judgment upon all occasions, that she believed his object and intention to be good, and notwithstanding the pain it gave her, did not depart from the word she had reluctantly given.

Yet her female ingenuity, as the evening advanced, devised a method of, in part, satisfying her curiosity, by leading the conversation in such a manner, as to cause Quintus to enter into much and general information, upon several points, bearing upon the hints conveyed by Mr. Malvers; and his open, ingenuous manner, his fervid discourse, and his total unreserve, found such an indulgent judge in one, so much attached to him as Emily that, by degrees, the mist which the interview of the morning had produced, was dispelled, and ceasing to think any thing to his disadvantage, she shone with all her native cheerfulness.

During this time, Mr. Malvers collected fresh and still more distressing materials for his next visit; but it is probable, that the decided prejudice he had so readily adopted towards Quintus, would have failed of the object upon which he appeared bent, if his high situation, by bringing him in immediate communication with the Head of the Government, had not possessed him of the fact, that orders from England, directed towards him, had for some time been impending, and would forthwith be carried into effect. From almost the first day of his landing, disappointed with the appearance of things around him, and probably unprepared for the privations and hardships of an infant Colony, he purposed that his own stay should not be long. People ever like to have converts to their opinions, whatever may be their nature; and because he, a single man, without either tie or connexion, chose to enwrap himself in peculiar notions, and, in his intercourse with the world, already to show some little of the misanthrope, it required with him that Emily, in exchanging the substantial comforts of her father's roof, for her husband's fallen fortunes, should equally with himself be disgusted with all she saw, and however strange it may appear—be persuaded to abandon what she had so laboured to attain, and return to her friends in England. Yes, extraordinary as the idea may be considered, merely because Quintus happened to be encompassed by difficulties at the moment of her arrival—because he was in a degree, in the hands of the spoiler, although, stripping his condition of the extraneous trappings attached to it by the information he had acquired, respecting his intended removal by the government, there was nothing which a little perseverance and energy might not have surmounted, were those who had been joined together, heart and hand, at the footsteps of God's altar,—who had been separated under a cruel destiny for years, to be again sundered, almost the instant they had re-met—was a man who had indeed drank deeply of the cup of affliction, to be deprived of that smile, which he valued as the choicest of Heaven's gifts, and to be again left, alone and wretched. Such was the course Mr. Malvers now wished to pursue, although he full well knew, it would be no easy matter to bring Emily to entertain an idea, so repugnant to every principle of her nature. He had seen enough of her to have perceived that she was firm and decided; and that, love for her husband reigned uppermost in her heart; but he had entirely miscalculated her in supposing that the most splendid luxuries of England, could compete in her estimation with those superior delights, known only in wedded life, and even in that only, where bearing and forbearing are practised, as they had been with her. Mr. Malvers however had none of these feelings—he regarded her as an interesting female, too good, according to his conceptions, for the man to whom she was united, and infinitely too good for his circumstances; nor could this idea prompt him to suggest any other remedy for present troubles, than that, she should at once leave her husband, with all his sorrows at his back, and again place herself under her father's roof.

To accomplish this, he was aware that one course only could be pursued. He had gone as far as he thought he might venture, at their last interview. Since that time he had collected fresh materials towards the same object, and unhappily for this ill-starred couple, when he paid his next visit he opened a budget, for which poor Emily was indeed, thoroughly unprepared.


CHAPTER X

"To listen where her gentle voice,
Its welcome music shed,
And find within his lonely halls,
The silence of the dead,
To look unconsciously for her,
The chosen and the chief,
Of earthly joys, and look in vain,
This is a husband's grief."

REV. THOMAS DALE

The seventh morning had now dawned since the re-union of Quintus and Emily; and it may be gathered from what has been said, that with the exception only of a few short hours, the whole period had been one of care and trouble. Even the enjoyment they had in one another's society, was stripped of half its relish, by the evident appearance of anxiety which, first occupying a prominent place upon Quintus's countenance, had latterly in a measure taken its departure from it, only to be removed to that of Emily.

Upon this morning, Quintus said to his wife at an early hour, "It is too bad my Emily, to run away and leave you so soon, but I have to go a few miles on some business to day, and the earlier I start, the earlier you know I shall return.—I shall not delay a minute longer than is necessary, but, will it make any difference if you dine an hour later than usual?"

"No, certainly; but do not stay longer than you can help.—I scarcely know how it is, but I don't like you to be away from home, just at present—Mr. Malvers is coming here this evening—where are you going? Cannot I go with you? you know I am a very good walker."

"You may be quite sure I shall be with you again as early as possible, and that I should like nothing better than to have you with me; but I fear it will not do to day, for my errand is with farmer Sharpe, and is likely to take up a good deal of time.—We are going to value some property, about six miles off. Olivant can come if he likes, but I am sure it would not do for you.—Good bye, my Emily, and take care of yourself till I see you again.—Will you come with me, Olivant?"

"I don't think I can walk so far, papa—I soon get tired since I come from aboard ship—and mamma will be so dull by herself."

"Well, my boy, do just as you like. Come Emily, one more kiss, love, and God bless you till I see you again." Emily returned his affectionate salute, in her kindest, most ardent manner, and he took leave of both, promising to return by five, at latest.

It was quite early when he left home, and proceeded towards Farmer Sharpe's, ruminating as he walked along, upon the untowardness of many parts of his destiny, but cheering himself by thinking that, after all, God had so mingled good and evil in it, as to make the first decidedly preponderate, Emily alone, being a set-off against much more ill, than had even hitherto befallen him. But, notwithstanding all such reasoning, and notwithstanding his utmost endeavours to be cheerful, he could not shake off a certain presentiment of coming harm, nor divest himself of latent apprehension, although unable to direct it to any particular object.

Emily, on her part, had much the same sensations. Mr. Malvers's communication still rankled in her bosom—his allusion to others too well coincided with what had reached her through another channel—his dark and mysterious mode of expression—his seeming interest in their affairs—his apparent solicitude for her husband—all were revolved over and over again in her mind, and she dreaded, yet hoped for, the termination of the day, which was to bring with it a visit, upon which she felt that so much depended. Long before even the forenoon was passed however, the moment arrived that was to put an end to the suspense, with which she was so cruelly tortured.

Quintus had not been absent many hours, before Mr. Malvers called at his ho