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only just arrived with her from the country, and that they were
progress she made, during the following three years, in intelligence and goodness, and I may add, in surpassing loveliness, you will be disappointed. I had begun to feel all the pride of a father in her, when intelligence was sent me, that she had suddenly disappeared from the school; gone, no one knew whither. Except the clothes she wore, everything was left behind her; the books and the few trinkets I had given her, were all found in her room. I had no clue to this mystery for several days, until I received a visit from the boy-young man, I suppose I must now call him—that had sheltered her on London Bridge. He said, he had been visited by a woman calling herself the
grandmother of Jessy, who gave him such a detail of the time, and place, and manner of their separation, as satisfied bim that her story was true; and then he told her where the girl was, and by whm she had been placed there. The woman never came near me, and I have no doubt but that the girl was inveigled away. What surprises and hurts me most is, that Jessy herself should never have sought to give me any explanation, although I have certain proof, that she right have done so, as she has since been seen in London, and is most probably near me at this very moment, although I have never been able to obtain any clue to her retreat. Now, if you please, Mr. Burton, we shall be obliged by your continuing the thread of the story.”
Mr. Burton bowed, and gave a detailed account of his meeting with the girl in the Strand, as we have already recorded. He dwelt largely on her improved and almost unearthly beauty; the poverty her appearance denoted; ber evident distress of mind, and the shrinking delicacy of her manner, and went on thus :-“My friend Steele has never forgiven me for so losing sight of the girl, when, he says, I might so easily have traced her to her home. But by Jove he has never felt, as I did then, the power of beauty in distress; for I declare to you, with all my assurance, natural and acquired, I could no more have disobeyed the command she put upon me at the moment, than I could have carried the monument up Fish Street Hill. Five or six weeks after this meeting, I was called upon by a gentleman, describing himself as the reverend Reginald Herbert, curate, or something of that sort, at Saint Giles in the Fields. He brought with him my own card, the same that I had given to the girl. She had dropped it on the very day whilst in a fainting fit, and it was picked up by some one about her. Subsequently she was attacked by severe sickness, during which her life was in danger, and whilst yet in a state of extreme debility she suddenly and unaccountably disappeared from the protection of his uncle and aunt, who seem to have been very kind to her. As a last resource, they availed themselves of my address, found in the girl's possession, and Mr. Herbert sought me in the hope that I should be able to give him the intelligence he wished. I told him all I did know of the girl's story ; described the manner of our meeting in the Strand, and finally accompanied him here."
"On comparing notes with Mr. Herbert,” resumed Sir Richard, "we both came to the conclusion that the grandmother exercised some mysterious influence over the girl, which compelled obedience, even against her better judgment and inclination. I cannot here enter into details that almost transcend belief, but I
feel assured that, unless the girl is speedily rescued from the control she is under, her life, or reason, or both, will be sacri. ficed to one of the most diabolical conspiracies that man ever heard of.”
“A singular story," observed Bernard Lintot, “and if I had met with it in a book, I should have said it was all moonshine.”
Further remark was interrupted by the entrance of a footman, who, walking up to his master, spoke to him in a low tone, and placed before him a scrap of paper, on which something was written in pencil.
Says he must see me—won't go without? Ah! I comprehend ;-the very rascal I have been talking about, the same hosier's apprentice that sheltered the girl on London Bridge. He says he has some information to give me upon
very subject. Tell him to come in.”
A young man habited as a sailor, with an unembarassed but respectful manner, a frank, open look, clear blue eyes that always had the sunshine of good humour about them, and a fair, ruddy complexion that smacked little of salt water, entered the room, and walked to within a few paces of Sir Richard's chair.
“Well, my fine fellow," said the latter, “how comes it that you did not let me know the nature of the communication you wished to make, when I saw you the other day?”
“If you please to remember, Sir Richard,” said Laithwaye, "you gave me no opportunity; you were engaged with another person at the time, and in a hurry, and you told me I might see you at a certain hour in the evening, at the Turk's Head.” “ Then why didn't I see you at the Turk's head ?” Because
you did not come in the two hours during which I waited, and I was told that there was no chance of your coming at all that night.”
“Why didn't you come here at once?"
“ This is the fifth time of my coming here, and the first of finding you at home,” answered Laithwaye.
“ Ubon mine conscience, andt with your bermission, Sir Richardt,” said one in the company, “this is bretty much the same accound as was give me the oder day by Master Golley Cibbers, who said he had been here andt dere andt eberywhere but to the righdt blace to findt you."
“Sir Richard laughed heartily. “Mr. Handel is right,” he said, "and the rascal only speaks the truth. And now you
have found me, what is it you have to say ?” Laithwaye glanced round at the company.
“Oh, never mind : speak out; we shall have no chance of success if we continue keeping the matter to ourselves.”
Thus admonished, Laithwaye briefly narrated the manner of
his meeting the grandmother of Jessy, five months before, in the country, adding that very recently he had encountered her twice in the streets of London."
“When I trust you did not let her slip through your fingers without tracing out her hiding-place,” said Sir Richard.
“I cannot boast of any such success; I tried my best, but the woman completely bafiled me. If I was inclined to be superstitious, I should think there was something supernatural about her.”
“And you are sure that this is the same woman? I think it is about two years since you first saw her,-just before you thought proper to—”
“ To run away from my apprenticeship,” said Laithwaye, seeing that Sir Richard hesitated.
“Hem! exactly so. I see I need be under no difficulty on the score of your modesty. On that occasion you gave her the address which we suspect led her to Wanstead?”
Laithwaye replied in the affirmative.
“ Since then," continued Sir Richa:d, “I have obtained such information respecting her and the girl, as makes me most anxious to discover the retreat of both. I will make it worth
your while to help me in making this discovery, if you can manage so to occupy your spare time, which, I fancy, would serve for the purpose.”
“I will do my best, without fee or reward, Sir Richard, but at present I have little time to call my own,” said Laithwaye; “and, to tell the truth, I came here chiefly to speak to you on an. other subject, to beg a few minutes' conversation with you alone.” “What scrape have you got into now?"
None, upon my word, Sir Richard; I came here on behalf of others."
“You meet with strange confidences,” remarked a gentleman.
“So may any that are equally prodigal of time and money,” said a nervous-looking personage in a tie wig.
“ Mister Secretary Addison," said Laithwaye, turning sharply round to the last speaker," it is not recorded of the Prodigal in a certain book that he ever bestowed either for the benefit of others."
Mr. Secretary Addison only shuffled in his chair, and looked more nervous than before.
“Neither can it well be recorded of me, seeing that I have so little of one or the other to spare,” said Sir Richard, laughing. However, if you call in the morning, I'll waste a few minutes with you; and you must help me to unravel this mystery-I know none can do it better."
Laithwaye bowed his thanks for the promised interview, if
not for the compliment, and instantly quitted the apartment and the house. The
young man pursued his way thoughtfully, revolving in his mind the various projects for the benefit of others, by which his whole attention was absorbed, to the utter forgetfulness of every other matter whatever. Setting aside the strong attachments by which he was in part influenced, the excitement of some perilous adventure was so necessary to his self-approbation as well as comfort, that the sacrifices for which he occasionally gained credit were not near so great as they appeared to be. The present moment found him full of extraordinary plans, and therefore of contentment. Not a symptom of misgiving mingled with the daring thoughts and far-reaching spei ulations with which he was occupied; and if, in spite of all his confidence, he felt something of sadness weighing on his spirit, it was only because he had good reason to believe that, after doing his best, much would remain undone, for which even his fertile invention could suggest no remedy. And what he was about to do would certainly have been retarded by some compunctious drawbacks in any one less resolutely daring than he was; for whilst incapable of actual cruelty, and despising every thing mean or base, or what in his ideas was so,-and his natural goodness of heart would not allow him to be altogether wrong-Laithwaye could go to startling lengths with very great satisfaction to himself. As he passed along a dark thoroughfare on his way to Fleetstreet, he was suddenly stopped. “ Who's that ?” he asked, shaking off the hand that was placed on his shoulder.
"A friend or an enemy, whichever you choose to make of me.” “ You !” exclaimed Laithwaye, with a start
" If I had any belief in the existence of witches, I would help to get you burned this night.”
“You will do better by taking me into your counsels,” said the woman of whom he had so recently been speaking. “You have some reason to believe that I wish well to her in whose fortunes you also take an interest. By acting in concert we may effect more good than either could do singly. Do you agree to this?"
“Not on so short a notice," replied Laithwaye; “you seem to work in the dark, and I must have all fair and above board."
“Do you contemplate being all fair and above board with Mr. Gostick?"
"Why, in the name of all that's wonderful, what do you mean, woman ?"
Hush! men sometimes talk in their sleep. Listen to me: don't you know that the miserable garret in which you have
March, 1849.-VOL. LIV.--No. ccxv.