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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesNight And Morning - Book 1 - Chapter 7
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Night And Morning - Book 1 - Chapter 7 Post by :pro-marketers Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1440

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Night And Morning - Book 1 - Chapter 7

BOOK I CHAPTER VII

"Constance. My life, my joy, my food, my all the world,
My widow-comfort."--King John.


Amidst the glare of lamps--the rattle of carriages--the lumbering of carts and waggons--the throng, the clamour, the reeking life and dissonant roar of London, Philip woke from his happy sleep. He woke uncertain and confused, and saw strange eyes bent on him kindly and watchfully.

"You have slept well, my lad!" said the passenger, in the deep ringing voice which made itself heard above all the noises around.

"And you have suffered me to incommode you thus!" said Philip, with more gratitude in his voice and look than, perhaps, he had shown to any one out of his own family since his birth.

"You have had but little kindness shown you, my poor boy, if you think so much of this."

"No--all people were very kind to me once. I did not value it then." Here the coach rolled heavily down the dark arch of the inn-yard.

"Take care of yourself, my boy! You look ill;" and in the dark the man slipped a sovereign into Philip's hand.

"I don't want money. Though I thank you heartily all the same; it would be a shame at my age to be a beggar. But can you think of an employment where I can make something?--what they offer me is so trifling. I have a mother and a brother--a mere child, sir--at home."

"Employment!" repeated the man; and as the coach now stopped at the tavern door, the light of the lamp fell full on his marked face. "Ay, I know of employment; but you should apply to some one else to obtain it for you! As for me, it is not likely that we shall meet again!"

"I am sorry for that!--What and who are you?" asked Philip, with a rude and blunt curiosity.

"Me!" returned the passenger, with his deep laugh. "Oh! I know some people who call me an honest fellow. Take the employment offered you, no matter how trifling the wages--keep out of harm's way. Good night to you!"

So saying, he quickly descended from the roof, and, as he was directing the coachman where to look for his carpetbag, Philip saw three or four well-dressed men make up to him, shake him heartily by the hand, and welcome him with great seeming cordiality.

Philip sighed. "He has friends," he muttered to himself; and, paying his fare, he turned from the bustling yard, and took his solitary way home.

A week after his visit to R----, Philip was settled on his probation at Mr. Plaskwith's, and Mrs. Morton's health was so decidedly worse, that she resolved to know her fate, and consult a physician. The oracle was at first ambiguous in its response. But when Mrs. Morton said firmly, "I have duties to perform; upon your candid answer rest my Plans with respect to my children--left, if I die suddenly, destitute in the world,"--the doctor looked hard in her face, saw its calm resolution, and replied frankly:

"Lose no time, then, in arranging your plans; life is uncertain with all--with you, especially; you may live some time yet, but your constitution is much shaken--I fear there is water on the chest. No, ma'am-no fee. I will see you again."

The physician turned to Sidney, who played with his watch-chain, and smiled up in his face.

"And that child, sir?" said the mother, wistfully, forgetting the dread fiat pronounced against herself,--"he is so delicate!"

"Not at all, ma'am,--a very fine little fellow;" and the doctor patted the boy's head, and abruptly vanished.

"Ah! mamma, I wish you would ride--I wish you would take the white pony!"

"Poor boy! poor boy!" muttered the mother; "I must not be selfish." She covered her face with her hands, and began to think!

Could she, thus doomed, resolve on declining her brother's offer? Did it not, at least, secure bread and shelter to her child? When she was dead, might not a tie, between the uncle and nephew, be snapped asunder? Would he be as kind to the boy as now when she could commend him with her own lips to his care--when she could place that precious charge into his hands? With these thoughts, she formed one of those resolutions which have all the strength of self-sacrificing love. She would put the boy from her, her last solace and comfort; she would die alone,--alone!

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BOOK I CHAPTER VIII"Constance. When I shall meet him in the court of heaven, I shall not know him."--King John.One evening, the shop closed and the business done, Mr. Roger Morton and his family sat in that snug and comfortable retreat which generally backs the warerooms of an English tradesman. Happy often, and indeed happy, is that little sanctuary, near to, and yet remote from, the toil and care of the busy mart from which its homely ease and peaceful security are drawn. Glance down those rows of silenced shops in a town at night, and picture the
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