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bag and baggage." “Consider, my dear,” cried the husband, “ she is a gentlewoman, and deserves more respect.”
" As for the matter of that,” returned the hostess, “gentle or simple, out she shall pack with a sassarara. Gentry may be good things where they take; but for my part I never saw much good of them at the sign of the Harrow.” Thus saying, she ran up a narrow flight of stairs that went from the kitchen to a room overhead, and I soon perceived by the loudness of her voice, and the bitterness of her reproaches, that no money was to be had from her lodger. I could hear her remonstrances very distinctly. “ Out, I say, pack out this moment! tramp, thou infamous strumpet, or I'll give thee a mark thou won't be the better for these three months. What! you trumpery, to come and take up an honest house without cross or coin to bless yourself with ! come along, I say.” " Oh, dear madam,” cried the stranger, “pity me, pity a poor abandoned creature for one night, and death will soon do the rest.” I instantly knew the voice of my poor ruined child Olivia.
I flew to her rescue, while the woman was dragging her along by the hair, and I caught the dear forlorn wretch in my arms. “Welcome, any way, welcome, my dearest lost one, my treasure, to your poor old father's bosom. Though the vicious forsake thee, there is yet one in the world that will never forsake thee; though thou hadst ten thousand crimes to answer for, he will forgive them all.” “Oh, my own dear”—for minutes she could say no more—“my own dearest, good papa! Could angels be kinder? How do I deserve so much ? The villain, I hate him and myself, to be a reproach to so much goodness. You can't forgive me; I know you cannot.” Yes, my child, from my heart I do forgive thee : only repent, and we both shall yet be happy. We shall see many pleasant days yet, my Olivia.” “Ah! never, sir, never. The rest of my wretched life must be infamy abroad, and shame at home. But, alas! papa, you look much paler than you used to do. Could such a thing as I am give you so much uneasiness ? Surely you have too much wisdom to take the miseries of my guilt upon yourself!" “Our wisdom, young woman—" replied I.
“Ah! why so cold a name, papa ?” cried she. " This is the first time you ever called me by so cold a name.” " I ask pardon, my darling,” returned I; “but I was going to observe, that wisdom makes but a slow defence against trouble, though at last a sure one."
The landlady now returned to know if we did not choose a more genteel apartment; to which assenting, we were shown to a room
where we could converse more freely. After we had talked ourselves into some degree of tranquillity, I could not avoid desiring some account of the gradations that led to her present wretched situation. “ That villain, sir,” said she, "from the first day of our meeting, made me honourable, though private proposals.”
Villain, indeed,” cried I ; “and yet it in some measure surprises me, how a person of Mr. Burchell's good sense and seeming honour could be guilty of such deliberate baseness, and thus step into a family to undo it.”
My dear papa," returned my daughter, “you labour under a strange mistake. Mr. Burchell never attempted to deceive me. Instead of that, he took every opportunity of privately admonishing me against the artifices of Mr. Thornhill, who, I now find, was even worse than he represented him.” " Mr. Thornhill!" interrupted I ; “ can it be?” “Yes, sir," returned she; "it was Mr. Thornhill who seduced
who employed the two ladies, as he called them, but who, in fact, were abandoned women of the town, without breeding or pity, to decoy us up to London. Their artifices, you may remember, would have certainly succeeded, but for Mr. Burchell's letter, who directed those reproaches at them, which we all applied to ourselves. How he came to have so much influence as to defeat their intentions, still remains a secret to me; but I am convinced he was ever our warmest, sincerest friend."
“You amaze me, my dear,” cried I; “but now I find my first suspicions of Mr. Thornhill's baseness were too well grounded : but he can triumph in security; for he is rich, and we are poor. But tell me, my child ; surely it was no small temptation that could thus obliterate all the impressions of such an education, and so virtuous a disposition as thine ?"
“ Indeed, sir,” replied she, “ he owes all his triumph to the desire I had of making him, and not myself, happy. I knew that the ceremony of our marriage, which was privately performed by a Popish priest, was no way binding, and that I had nothing to trust to but his honour.” “What!” interrupted I, “and were you indeed married by a priest, and in orders ?” "Indeed, sir, we were,” replied she, “though we were both sworn to conceal his name.' "Why then, my child, come to my arms again ; and now you are a thousand times more welcome than before ; for you are his wife to all intents and purposes; nor can all the laws of man, though written upon tables of adamant, lessen the force of that sacred connection."
FATHER AND DAUGHTER.
“ Alas! papa,” replied she, “you are but little acquainted with his villanies; he has been married already, by the same priest, to six or eight wives more, whom, like me, he has deceived and abandoned.”
Has he so ?” cried I; "then we must hang the priest, and you shall inform against him to-morrow.” “But, sir," returned she, “will that be right, when I am sworn to secrecy?” “My dear,” I replied,
" “ " if you have made such a promise, I cannot, nor will I, tempt you to break it. Even though it may benefit the public, you must not inform against him.
In all human institutions a smaller evil is allowed, to procure a greater good : as, in politics, a province may be given away to secure a kingdom; in medicine, a limb may be lopped off to preserve the body. But in religion the law is written and inflexible, never to do evil. And this law, my child, is right; for otherwise, if we commit a smaller evil to procure a greater good, certain guilt would be thus incurred in expectation of contingent advantage. And though the advantage should certainly follow, yet the interval between commission and advantage, which is allowed to be guilty, may be that in which we are called away to answer for the things we have done,
and the volume of human actions is closed for ever.
But I interrupt you, my dear : go on.
“ The very next morning,” continued she, “I found what little expectations I was to have from his sincerity. That very morning he introduced me to two unhappy women more, whom, like me, he had deceived, but who lived in contented prostitution. I loved him too tenderly to bear such rivals in his affections, and strove to forget my infamy in a tumult of pleasures. With this view ! danced, dressed, and talked, but still was unhappy. The gentlemen who visited there told me every moment of the power of my charms, and this only contributed to increase my melancholy, as I had thrown all their power quite away: 'Thus each day I grew more pensive and he more insolent, till at last the monster had the assurance to offer me to a young baronet of his acquaintance. Need I describe, sir, how this ingratitude stung me?
My answer to this proposal was almost madness. I desired to part. As I was going, he offered me a purse; but I flung it at him with indignation, and burst from him in a rage that for awhile kept me insensible of the miseries of my situation. But I soon looked round me, and saw myself a vile, abject, guilty thing, without one friend in the world to apply to. Just in that interval a stage-ccach happening to pass by, I took a place, it being my only aim to be driven at a distance from a wretch I despised and detested. I was set down here; where, since my arrival, my own anxiety, and this woman's unkindness, have been my only companions. The hours of pleasure that I have passed with my mamma and sister now grow painful to me. Their sorrows are much; but mine are greater than theirs; for mine are mixed with guilt and infamy.”
“ Have patience, my child,” cried I, “and I hope things will yet be better. Take some repose to-night, and to-morrow I'll carry you home to your mother and the rest of the family, from whom you will receive a kind reception. Poor woman! this has gone to her heart; but she loves you still, Olivia, and will forget it.”
OFFENCES ARE EASILY PARDONED WHERE THERE IS LOVE AT BOTTOM
HE next morning I took my daughter behind me, and set out on my return home. As we travelled along, I strove by every persuasion to calm her sorrows and fears, and to arm her with resolution to bear the
pre. sence of her offended mother. I took every opportunity, from the prospect of a fine country through which we passed,
to observe how much kinder Heaven was to us than we to each other; and that the misfortunes of Nature's making were but very few. I assured her that she should never perceive any change in my affections, and that during my life, which yet might be long, she might depend upon a guardian and an instructor. I armed her against the censures of the world, showed her that books were sweet, unreproaching companions to the miserable, and that, if they could not bring us to enjoy life, they would at least teach us to endure it.
The hired horse that we rode was to be put up that night at an inn by the way, within about five miles from my house ; and as I was willing to prepare my family for my daughter's reception, I determined to leave her that night at the inn, and to return for her, accompanied by my daughter Sophia, early the next morning. It was night before we reached our appointed stage ; however, after seeing her provided with a decent apartment, and having ordered the hostess to prepare proper refreshments, I kissed her, and proceeded towards home. And now my heart caught new sensations of pleasure, the nearer I approached that peaceful mansion. As a bird that had been frightened from its nest, my affections outwent my haste, and hovered round my little fireside with all the rapture of expectation. I called
up fond things I had to say, and anticipated the welcome I was to receive. I already felt my wife's tender embrace, and smiled at the joy of my little ones. As I walked but slowly, the night waned apace; the labourers of the day were all retired to rest; the lights were out in every cottage; no sounds were heard but of the shrilling cock, and the deep-mouthed watch-dog, at hollow distance.
I approached my
little abode of pleasure, and, before I was within a furlong of the place, our honest mastiff came running to welcome me.
It was now near midnight that I came to knock at my door : all was