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like the unfortunate situation in which the Squire and his Lady were placed ; nay, even to talk of it is generally an obtrusion, and reckoned impertinent; family matters of that kind are generally, among people of sense and discretion, as it were forbidden conversation.-Granted. But what would be very indelicate and improper in common life, where none but the parties themselves and the blood very nearly connected with them are or can be concerned, isvery proper where a whole people are parties to the affair, and their fortunes and lives may be staked on the issue.
Of this opinion was the gentleman who recommended the enquiry, and if his advice was followed in part, why not in all ? He conceived that the enquiry would be proper (among other reasons which we have before given) for the good of posterity, and the satisfaction of the tenants in general; by which expressions he must have meant the posterity of the tenants, as well as those of the Lord. The accused or calumniated lady would naturally be benefited by such a disclosure, as she could only have received injury from the accusation or calum
ny. Where then was the delicacy in this mystery? As matters stood, the malignity of her enemies recoiled upon themselves, and her character shone the brighter for it. Every iota of what had been propagated to her disfavour, not only in the present instance, but on the occasion of the separation, was totally disbelieved. Her reputation was afterwards rendered as white as snow, but unhappily by another and most dreadful calamity.
Eagle Frederic had been tampered with by the insidious Bantam till he had wholly reduced the lord of the Gormands; and, having no longer any fear of his thwarting his ambitious views, he began to make the most insolent demands on Eagle Frederic. Finding that all his concessions and forbearance only served to increase the ambition, avarice, and encroach. ments of the Bantam, Eagle Frederic at length assumed the courage to resist them, and arm in his own defence; but the Bantam had cor. rupted several of the leaders of his warriors by means of bribes, and gave him a signal defeat, which at once deprived him of all his territories, and drove him to seek refuge under the wings
of the lord of the Bearskins. Among his incorruptible leaders was the brave Farmer Brownwig, the father of Mrs. George Gildrig, who was slain, gallantly endeavouring to prevent the disgrace of his lord.
This additional misfortune attached the generous Freelanders more firmly and openly to Mrs. George Gildrig, and the Lord and Lady, again received her at the mansion-house with every mark of sincere cordiality and esteem. As they were both persons of the most unblemished morals, and most rigid observers of decorum, such a reception at once announced the result of the enquiry, and must have for ever sealed the mouths of her enemies; but the Squire did not relent! Although his lady had stood the fiery ordeal without flinching, and dared her enemies to the proof
" Let envious jealousy, and canker'd spite
Although the commissioners of enquiry, on the most strict investigation, must have acquitted her of the least levity in her conduct, as was apparent from her renewing her visits to the mansion-house, where wantonness, if it be to be found at all, only skulks about at midnight, like caterwauling cats on the gutters of the housetop; yet that justice, which would have been most grateful to her amiable and (perhaps in spite of all her wrongs!) doating heart; that justice, for the want of which the esteem of all the rest of the world could not have made her amends; that heart, for the loss of which all the hearts in the universe could not have recome pensed her; that justice and that heart were still withheld from her!
But there is another and a better world for some folks whose reckonings are clear; and another and a worse world for other folks whose accounts will not bear them through!
We will accuse no one we will not judge the adulteresses, who have laboured openly and secretly to sow disunion and discord is a family, and to supplant a most amiable and affectionate wife in the love and esteem of her husband; that would be to arrogate to ourselves a privilege of the Supreme Being. But as the Scriptures enjoin us to render to Cæsar what is Cæsar's due; we may reasonably presume that the Almighty will take especial care that the Devil shall have his own!