페이지 이미지



At the very outset of this chapter of our manu. script, in which our author treats of a very delicate, a very mysterious, and a very dark affair, he premises that he

" would but shake him, Rouse him a little from this death of honour,

And shew hiin what he should be." He talks of the Squire, whence the reader may conclude that he lived at the period whilst the transactions which he relates took place, and would be careful to set down no more than was, at that time, established by fact, or stain ped

with the strongest marks of probability. He then proceeds as follows:

Where any part of a man's life is dark, or mysterious, we can only form a judgment of the case by resorting to his former conduct; and even this mode may be very deceptive, as a man may, in time, get better as well as worse ; but there are generally some symptoms of either amelioration or deterioration.

That part of the Squire's conduct, which we are next to consider, was enveloped in mystery *.

* A certain bookseller, or rather book-maker, who, though not a very plain speaking, is yet a very plain dealing man, as he borrows unmercifully from every original popular work, without producing any thing original in bis turn, to give the trade an opportunity of retaliating, has procured one of his bread and cheese writers to compose a pamphlet, pretending to exhibit the secret memoirs of 'Squire George and his Wife. With this catch-penny title printed on the cover of his book, he has vended a considerable number, although the inside consists merely of quotations from and puerile at. tempts at refutation of other works. In particular he has borrowed about ten pages literatìm et rerbatìm from the Rising Sun, out of which, by means of streamlets of print meändering through immense fields of margin, he has made

His wife's character was called into question in a most unwarrantable, and we will add, a most Wanton manner, since there was not the least shadow of a proof of the crime which was alleged against her. She was accused of infi. delity, but by whom, with whom, when or where, could never be brought forwards. Report said that the accusation was contained in a letter written by a certain gentleman and lady, who, however, publicly denied any knowledge of such an affair. Through whatever channel the accusation might have come, or whether there were any such or not, it was certain that such a

out thirty-five pages of his own book, which consists of only 172 in the whole; that is, he has filched more than onefifth of the whole. Such disgraceful practices are frequent with this eminent publisher (as he modestly styles himself) of

W e st, and we give him, for the present, only this gentle hint as a forerunner of a more severe reproof, if he do not keep his plagiarisms a little more within bounds. What! shall so liberal and respectable a body of men as that of the booksellers of the metropolis have occasion to exclaim, on account of one scabby sheep, in the words of Jack Falstaff:-“A plague o'th' world when there is not honour among thieves !" Ink blot out the thought !

scandalous rumour was buzzed about, and a very respectable character thought proper to advise for the good of posterity, and the satisfaction of the tenants in general, as well as out of justice to the character of Mrs. George Gildrig, that some enquiry should be instituted into the reports so injurious to her honour. The advice was, in part, pursued : commissioners were named by: the Lord to make the enquiry ; but the result of it was never suffered to transpire to the public. What could be concluded from this secrecy! Why, out of that charity which is inherent to every honest liberal mind, towards a person accused of a crime, particularly one of the fairest and weakest sex :-out of that amiable rule of law, which directs that where there is the least shadow of doubt, the accused person should be acquitted : we must say that the accusation, if any were made, or, if not, the rumour was false, scandalous, and malicious. If this be our rule of judgement in cases where an open and manly accusation is made, and perhaps, only fails of being substantiated through the want of some trifling, though necessary, legal proof: does it not apply more forcibly to a case, where the

accuser dare not shew his face, nor even avow his name, or the alleged crime is only founded upon the tongue of rumour, perhaps, envenomed by envy, jealousy, or revenge ? Certainly.

The circumstances which gave rise to this charge (as scandalous as it was without proof,) were the following: Mrs. George Gildrig's daughter had been taken from her at an early age, and placed under proper preceptors and preceptresses to cultivate her understanding, and improve her natural graces. The mother being thus destitute of the solace of husband, child and relatives, and possessed of a warm and benevolent heart, relieved a distressed family by ta.. king a boy under her protection. As a truly sensible heart cannot long remain devoid of some object of attachment, she was fond of her protegée, and it was well that her attach. ment was of so innocent a nature. Calumny was, as usual, on the alert, and it was presently whispered that the child was her own, and the most trifling marks of her condescension shewn to persons of the other sex, were attempted to be exaggerated into tokens of criminal gallantry. It was, moreover, asserted that she expended her

« 이전계속 »