Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesArthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 39
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 39 Post by :JayBeau Category :Long Stories Author :Charles Brockden Brown Date :May 2012 Read :3248

Click below to download : Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 39 (Format : PDF)

Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 39

VOLUME II CHAPTER XXXIX

I am glad, my friend, thy nimble pen has got so far upon its journey. What remains of my story may be despatched in a trice. I have just now some vacant hours, which might possibly be more usefully employed, but not in an easier manner or more pleasant. So, let me carry on thy thread.

First, let me mention the resolutions I had formed at the time I parted with my friend. I had several objects in view. One was a conference with Mrs. Wentworth; another was an interview with her whom I met with at Villars's. My heart melted when I thought upon the desolate condition of Clemenza, and determined me to direct my first efforts for her relief. For this end I was to visit the female who had given me a direction to her house. The name of this person is Achsa Fielding, and she lived, according to her own direction, at No. 40 Walnut Street.

I went thither without delay. She was not at home. Having gained information from the servant as to when she might be found, I proceeded to Mrs. Wentworth's. In going thither my mind was deeply occupied in meditation; and, with my usual carelessness of forms, I entered the house and made my way to the parlour, where an interview had formerly taken place between us.

Having arrived, I began, though somewhat unseasonably, to reflect upon the topics with which I should introduce my conversation, and particularly the manner in which I should introduce myself. I had opened doors without warning, and traversed passages without being noticed. This had arisen from my thoughtlessness. There was no one within hearing or sight. What was next to be done? Should I not return softly to the outer door, and summon the servant by knocking?

Preparing to do this, I heard a footstep in the entry which suspended my design. I stood in the middle of the floor, attentive to these movements, when presently the door opened, and there entered the apartment Mrs. Wentworth herself! She came, as it seemed, without expectation of finding any one there. When, therefore, the figure of a man caught her vagrant attention, she started and cast a hasty look towards me.

"Pray!" (in a peremptory tone,) "how came you here, sir? and what is your business?"

Neither arrogance, on the one hand, nor humility, upon the other, had any part in modelling my deportment. I came not to deprecate anger, or exult over distress. I answered, therefore, distinctly, firmly, and erectly,--

"I came to see you, madam, and converse with you; but, being busy with other thoughts, I forgot to knock at the door. No evil was intended by my negligence, though propriety has certainly not been observed. Will you pardon this intrusion, and condescend to grant me your attention?"

"To what? What have you to say to me? I know you only as the accomplice of a villain in an attempt to deceive me. There is nothing to justify your coming hither, and I desire you to leave the house with as little ceremony as you entered it."

My eyes were lowered at this rebuke, yet I did not obey the command. "Your treatment of me, madam, is such as I appear to you to deserve. Appearances are unfavourable to me, but those appearances are false. I have concurred in no plot against your reputation or your fortune. I have told you nothing but the truth. I came hither to promote no selfish or sinister purpose. I have no favour to entreat, and no petition to offer, but that you will suffer me to clear up those mistakes which you have harboured respecting me.

"I am poor. I am destitute of fame and of kindred. I have nothing to console me in obscurity and indigence, but the approbation of my own heart and the good opinion of those who know me as I am. The good may be led to despise and condemn me. Their aversion and scorn shall not make me unhappy; but it is my interest and my duty to rectify their error if I can. I regard your character with esteem. You have been mistaken in condemning me as a liar and impostor, and I came to remove this mistake. I came, if not to procure your esteem, at least to take away hatred and suspicion.

"But this is not all my purpose. You are in an error in relation not only to my character, but to the situation of your nephew Clavering. I formerly told you, that I saw him die; that I assisted at his burial: but my tale was incoherent and imperfect, and you have since received intelligence to which you think proper to trust, and which assures you that he is still living. All I now ask is your attention, while I relate the particulars of my knowledge.

"Proof of my veracity or innocence may be of no value in your eyes, but the fate of your nephew ought to be known to you. Certainty, on this head, may be of much importance to your happiness, and to the regulation of your future conduct. To hear me patiently can do you no injury, and may benefit you much. Will you permit me to go on?"

During this address, little abatement of resentment and scorn was visible in my companion.

"I will hear you," she replied. "Your invention may amuse if it does not edify. But, I pray you, let your story be short."

I was obliged to be content with this ungraceful concession, and proceeded to begin my narration. I described the situation of my father's dwelling. I mentioned the year, month, day, and hour of her nephew's appearance among us. I expatiated minutely on his form, features, dress, sound of his voice, and repeated his words. His favourite gestures and attitudes were faithfully described.

I had gone but a little way in my story, when the effects were visible in her demeanour which I expected from it. Her knowledge of the youth, and of the time and manner of his disappearance, made it impossible for me, with so minute a narrative, to impose upon her credulity. Every word, every incident related, attested my truth, by their agreement with what she herself previously knew.

Her suspicious and angry watchfulness was quickly exchanged for downcast looks, and stealing tears, and sighs difficultly repressed. Meanwhile, I did not pause, but described the treatment he received from my mother's tenderness, his occupations, the freaks of his insanity, and, finally, the circumstances of his death and funeral.

Thence I hastened to the circumstances which brought me to the city; which placed me in the service of Welbeck, and obliged me to perform so ambiguous a part in her presence. I left no difficulty to be solved, and no question unanticipated.

"I have now finished my story," I continued, "and accomplished my design in coming hither. Whether I have vindicated my integrity from your suspicions, I know not. I have done what in me lay to remove your error; and, in that, have done my duty. What more remains? Any inquiries you are pleased to make, I am ready to answer. If there be none to make, I will comply with your former commands, and leave the house with as little ceremony as I entered it."

"Your story," she replied, "has been unexpected. I believe it fully, and am sorry for the hard thoughts which past appearances have made me entertain concerning you."

Here she sunk into mournful silence. "The information," she at length resumed, "which I have received from another quarter respecting that unfortunate youth, astonishes and perplexes me. It is inconsistent with your story, but it must be founded on some mistake, which I am, at present, unable to unravel. Welbeck, whose connection has been so unfortunate to you----"

"Unfortunate! Dear madam! How unfortunate? It has done away a part of my ignorance of the world in which I live. It has led me to the situation in which I am now placed. It has introduced me to the knowledge of many good people. It has made me the witness and the subject of many acts of beneficence and generosity. My knowledge of Welbeck has been useful to me. It has enabled me to be useful to others. I look back upon that allotment of my destiny which first led me to his door, with gratitude and pleasure.

"Would to heaven," continued I, somewhat changing my tone, "intercourse with Welbeck had been as harmless to all others as it has been to me! that no injury to fortune and fame, and innocence and life, had been incurred by others greater than has fallen upon my head! There is one being, whose connection with him has not been utterly dissimilar in its origin and circumstances to mine, though the catastrophe has, indeed, been widely and mournfully different.

"And yet, within this moment, a thought has occurred from which I derive some consolation and some hope. You, dear madam, are rich. These spacious apartments, this plentiful accommodation, are yours. You have enough for your own gratification and convenience, and somewhat to spare. Will you take to your protecting arms, to your hospitable roof, an unhappy girl whom the arts of Welbeck have robbed of fortune, reputation, and honour, who is now languishing in poverty, weeping over the lifeless remains of her babe, surrounded by the agents of vice, and trembling on the verge of infamy?"

"What can this mean?" replied the lady. "Of whom do you speak?"

"You shall know her. You shall be apprized of her claims to your compassion. Her story, as far as is known to me, I will faithfully repeat to you. She is a stranger; an Italian; her name is Clemenza Lodi."

"Clemenza Lodi! Good heaven!" exclaimed Mrs. Wentworth; "why, surely--it cannot be. And yet--is it possible that you are that person?"

"I do not comprehend you, madam."

"A friend has related a transaction of a strange sort. It is scarcely an hour since she told it me. The name of Clemenza Lodi was mentioned in it, and a young man of most singular deportment was described. But tell me how you were engaged on Thursday morning."

"I was coming to this city from a distance. I stopped ten minutes at the house of----"

"Mrs. Villars?"

"The same. Perhaps you know her and her character. Perhaps you can confirm or rectify my present opinions concerning her. It is there that the unfortunate Clemenza abides. It is thence that I wish her to be speedily removed."

"I have heard of you; of your conduct upon that occasion."

"Of me?" answered I, eagerly. "Do you know that woman?" So saying, I produced the card which I had received from her, and on which her name was written.

"I know her well. She is my countrywoman and my friend."

"Your friend? Then she is good; she is innocent; she is generous. Will she be a sister, a protectress, to Clemenza? Will you exhort her to a deed of charity? Will you be, yourself, an example of beneficence? Direct me to Miss Fielding, I beseech you. I have called on her already, but in vain, and there is no time to be lost."

"Why are you so precipitate? What would you do?"

"Take her away from that house instantly--bring her hither--place her under your protection--give her Mrs. Wentworth for a counsellor--a friend--a mother. Shall I do this? Shall I hie thither to-day, this very hour--now? Give me your consent, and she shall be with you before noon."

"By no means," replied she, with earnestness. "You are too hasty. An affair of so much importance cannot be despatched in a moment. There are many difficulties and doubts to be first removed."

"Let them be reserved for the future. Withhold not your helping hand till the struggle has disappeared forever. Think on the gulf that is already gaping to swallow her. This is no time to hesitate and falter. I will tell you her story, but not now; we will postpone it till to-morrow, and first secure her from impending evils. She shall tell it you herself. In an hour I will bring her hither, and she herself shall recount to you her sorrows. Will you let me?"

"Your behaviour is extraordinary. I can scarcely tell whether this simplicity be real or affected. One would think that your common sense would show you the impropriety of your request. To admit under my roof a woman notoriously dishonoured, and from an infamous house----"

"My dearest madam! How can you reflect upon the situation without irresistible pity? I see that you are thoroughly aware of her past calamity and her present danger. Do not these urge you to make haste to her relief? Can any lot be more deplorable than hers? Can any state be more perilous? Poverty is not the only evil that oppresses or that threatens her. The scorn of the world, and her own compunction, the death of the fruit of her error and the witness of her shame, are not the worst. She is exposed to the temptations of the profligate; while she remains with Mrs. Villars, her infamy accumulates; her further debasement is facilitated; her return to reputation and to virtue is obstructed by new bars."

"How know I that her debasement is not already complete and irremediable? She is a mother, but not a wife. How came she thus? Is her being Welbeck's prostitute no proof of her guilt?"

"Alas! I know not. I believe her not very culpable; I know her to be unfortunate; to have been robbed and betrayed. You are a stranger to her history. I am myself imperfectly acquainted with it.

"But let me tell you the little that I know. Perhaps my narrative may cause you to think of her as I do."

She did not object to this proposal, and I immediately recounted all that I had gained from my own observations, or from Welbeck himself, respecting this forlorn girl. Having finished my narrative, I proceeded thus:--

"Can you hesitate to employ that power which was given you for good ends, to rescue this sufferer? Take her to your home; to your bosom; to your confidence. Keep aloof those temptations which beset her in her present situation. Restore her to that purity which her desolate condition, her ignorance, her misplaced gratitude and the artifices of a skilful dissembler, have destroyed, if it be destroyed; for how know we under what circumstances her ruin was accomplished? With what pretences, or appearances, or promises, she was won to compliance?"

"True. I confess my ignorance; but ought not that ignorance to be removed before she makes a part of my family?"

"Oh, no! It may be afterwards removed. It cannot be removed before. By bringing her hither you shield her, at least, from future and possible evils. Here you can watch her conduct and sift her sentiments conveniently and at leisure. Should she prove worthy of your charity, how justly may you congratulate yourself on your seasonable efforts in her cause! If she prove unworthy, you may then demean yourself according to her demerits."

"I must reflect upon it.--To-morrow----"

"Let me prevail on you to admit her at once, and without delay. This very moment may be the critical one. To-day we may exert ourselves with success, but to-morrow all our efforts may be fruitless. Why fluctuate, why linger, when so much good may be done, and no evil can possibly be incurred? It requires but a word from you; you need not move a finger. Your house is large. You have chambers vacant and convenient. Consent only that your door shall not be barred against her; that you will treat her with civility: to carry your kindness into effect; to persuade her to attend me hither and to place herself in your care, shall be my province."

These and many similar entreaties and reasonings were ineffectual. Her general disposition was kind, but she was unaccustomed to strenuous or sudden exertions. To admit the persuasions of such an advocate to so uncommon a scheme as that of sharing her house with a creature thus previously unknown to her, thus loaded with suspicion and with obloquy, was not possible.

I at last forbore importunity, and requested her to tell me when I might expect to meet with Mrs. Fielding at her lodgings. Inquiry was made to what end I sought an interview. I made no secret of my purpose.

"Are you mad, young man?" she exclaimed. "Mrs. Fielding has already been egregiously imprudent. On the faith of an ancient slight acquaintance with Mrs. Villars in Europe, she suffered herself to be decoyed into a visit. Instead of taking warning by numerous tokens of the real character of that woman, in her behaviour and in that of her visitants, she consented to remain there one night. The next morning took place that astonishing interview with you which she has since described to me. She is now warned against the like indiscretion. And, pray, what benevolent scheme would you propose to her?"

"Has she property? Is she rich?"

"She is. Unhappily, perhaps, for her, she is absolute mistress of her fortune, and has neither guardian nor parent to control her in the use of it."

"Has she virtue? Does she know the value of affluence and a fair fame? And will not she devote a few dollars to rescue a fellow-creature from indigence and infamy and vice? Surely she will. She will hazard nothing by the boon. I will be her almoner. I will provide the wretched stranger with food and raiment and dwelling; I will pay for all, if Mrs. Fielding, from her superfluity, will supply the means. Clemenza shall owe life and honour to your friend, till I am able to supply the needful sum from my own stock."

While thus speaking, my companion gazed at me with steadfastness:--"I know not what to make of you. Your language and ideas are those of a lunatic. Are you acquainted with Mrs. Fielding?"

"Yes. I have seen her two days ago, and she has invited me to see her again."

"And on the strength of this acquaintance you expect to be her almoner? To be the medium of her charity?"

"I desire to save her trouble; to make charity as light and easy as possible. 'Twill be better if she perform those offices herself. 'Twill redound more to the credit of her reason and her virtue. But I solicit her benignity only in the cause of Clemenza. For her only do I wish at present to call forth her generosity and pity."

"And do you imagine she will intrust her money to one of your age and sex, whom she knows so imperfectly, to administer to the wants of one whom she found in such a house as Mrs. Villars's? She never will. She mentioned her imprudent engagement to meet you, but she is now warned against the folly of such confidence.

"You have told me plausible stories of yourself and of this Clemenza. I cannot say that I disbelieve them, but I know the ways of the world too well to bestow implicit faith so easily. You are an extraordinary young man. You may possibly be honest. Such a one as you, with your education and address, may possibly have passed all your life in a hovel; but it is scarcely credible, let me tell you. I believe most of the facts respecting my nephew, because my knowledge of him before his flight would enable me to detect your falsehood; but there must be other proofs besides an innocent brow and a voluble tongue, to make me give full credit to your pretensions.

"I have no claim upon Welbeck which can embarrass you. On that score, you are free from any molestation from me or my friends. I have suspected you of being an accomplice in some vile plot, and am now inclined to acquit you; but that is all that you must expect from me, till your character be established by other means than your own assertions. I am engaged at present, and must therefore request you to put an end to your visit."

This strain was much unlike the strain which preceded it. I imagined, by the mildness of her tone and manners, that her unfavourable prepossessions were removed; but they seemed to have suddenly regained their pristine force. I was somewhat disconcerted by this unexpected change. I stood for a minute silent and irresolute.

Just then a knock was heard at the door, and presently entered that very female whom I had met with at Villars's. I caught her figure as I glanced through the window. Mrs. Wentworth darted at me many significant glances, which commanded me to withdraw; but, with this object in view, it was impossible.

As soon as she entered, her eyes were fixed upon me. Certain recollections naturally occurred at that moment, and made her cheeks glow. Some confusion reigned for a moment, but was quickly dissipated. She did not notice me, but exchanged salutations with her friend.

All this while I stood near the window, in a situation not a little painful. Certain tremors which I had not been accustomed to feel, and which seemed to possess a mystical relation to the visitant, disabled me at once from taking my leave, or from performing any useful purpose by staying. At length, struggling for composure, I approached her, and, showing her the card she had given me, said,--

"Agreeably to this direction, I called an hour ago, at your lodgings. I found you not. I hope you will permit me to call once more. When shall I expect to meet you at home?"

Her eyes were cast on the floor. A kind of indirect attention was fixed on Mrs. Wentworth, serving to intimidate and check her. At length she said, in an irresolute voice, "I shall be at home this evening."

"And this evening," replied I, "I will call to see you." So saying, I left the house.

This interval was tedious, but was to be endured with equanimity. I was impatient to be gone to Baltimore, and hoped to be able to set out by the dawn of next day. Meanwhile, I was necessarily to perform something with respect to Clemenza.

After dinner I accompanied Mrs. Stevens to visit Miss Carlton. I was eager to see a woman who could bear adversity in the manner which my friend had described.

She met us at the door of her apartment. Her seriousness was not abated by her smiles of affability and welcome. "My friend!" whispered I, "how truly lovely is this Miss Carlton! Are the heart and the intelligence within worthy of these features?"

"Yes, they are. The account of her employments, of her resignation to the ill fate of the brother whom she loves, proves that they are."

My eyes were riveted to her countenance and person. I felt uncontrollable eagerness to speak to her, and to gain her good opinion.

"You must know this young man, my dear Miss Carlton," said my friend, looking at me; "he is my husband's friend, and professes a great desire to be yours. You must not treat him as a mere stranger, for he knows your character and situation already, as well as that of your brother."

She looked at me with benignity:--"I accept his friendship willingly and gratefully, and shall endeavour to convince him that his good opinion is not misplaced."

There now ensued a conversation somewhat general, in which this young woman showed a mind vigorous from exercise and unembarrassed by care. She affected no concealment of her own condition, of her wants, or her comforts. She laid no stress upon misfortunes, but contrived to deduce some beneficial consequence to herself, and some motive for gratitude to Heaven, from every wayward incident that had befallen her.

This demeanour emboldened me, at length, to inquire into the cause of her brother's imprisonment, and the nature of his debt.

She answered frankly and without hesitation:--"It is a debt of his father's, for which he made himself responsible during his father's life. The act was generous but imprudent, as the event has shown; though, at the time, the unhappy effects could not be foreseen.

"My father," continued she, "was arrested by his creditor, at a time when the calmness and comforts of his own dwelling were necessary to his health. The creditor was obdurate, and would release him upon no condition but that of receiving a bond from my brother, by which he engaged to pay the debt at several successive times and in small portions. All these instalments were discharged with great difficulty indeed, but with sufficient punctuality, except the last, to which my brother's earnings were not adequate."

"How much is the debt?"

"Four hundred dollars."

"And is the state of the creditor such as to make the loss of four hundred dollars of more importance to him than the loss of liberty to your brother?"

She answered, smiling, "That is a very abstract view of things. On such a question you and I might, perhaps, easily decide in favour of my brother; but would there not be some danger of deciding partially? His conduct is a proof of his decision, and there is no power to change it."

"Will not argument change it? Methinks in so plain a case I should be able to convince him. You say he is rich and childless. His annual income is ten times more than this sum. Your brother cannot pay the debt while in prison; whereas, if at liberty, he might slowly and finally discharge it. If his humanity would not yield, his avarice might be brought to acquiesce."

"But there is another passion which you would find it somewhat harder to subdue, and that is his vengeance. He thinks himself wronged, and imprisons my brother, not to enforce payment, but to inflict misery. If you could persuade him that there is no hardship in imprisonment, you would speedily gain the victory; but that could not be attempted consistently with truth. In proportion to my brother's suffering is his gratification."

"You draw an odious and almost incredible portrait."

"And yet such a one would serve for the likeness of almost every second man we meet."

"And is such your opinion of mankind? Your experience must surely have been of a rueful tenor to justify such hard thoughts of the rest of your species."

"By no means. It has been what those whose situation disables them from looking further than the surface of things would regard as unfortunate; but, if my goods and evils were equitably balanced, the former would be the weightiest. I have found kindness and goodness in great numbers, but have likewise met prejudice and rancor in many. My opinion of Farquhar is not lightly taken up. I saw him yesterday, and the nature of his motives in the treatment of my brother was plain enough."

Here this topic was succeeded by others, and the conversation ceased not till the hour had arrived on which I had preconcerted to visit Mrs. Fielding. I left my two friends for this purpose.

I was admitted to Mrs. Fielding's presence without scruple or difficulty. There were two females in her company, and one of the other sex, well-dressed, elderly, and sedate persons. Their discourse turned upon political topics, with which, as you know, I have but slight acquaintance. They talked of fleets and armies, of Robespierre and Pitt, of whom I had only a newspaper-knowledge.

In a short time the women rose, and, huddling on their cloaks, disappeared, in company with the gentleman. Being thus left alone with Mrs. Fielding, some embarrassment was mutually betrayed. With much hesitation, which, however, gradually disappeared, my companion, at length, began the conversation:--

"You met me lately, in a situation, sir, on which I look back with trembling and shame, but not with any self-condemnation. I was led into it without any fault, unless a too hasty confidence may be styled a fault. I had known Mrs. Villars in England, where she lived with an untainted reputation, at least; and the sight of my countrywoman, in a foreign land, awakened emotions in the indulgence of which I did not imagine there was either any guilt or any danger. She invited me to see her at her house with so much urgency and warmth, and solicited me to take a place immediately in a chaise in which she had come to the city, that I too incautiously complied.

"You are a stranger to me, and I am unacquainted with your character. What little I have seen of your deportment, and what little I have lately heard concerning you from Mrs. Wentworth, do not produce unfavourable impressions; but the apology I have made was due to my own reputation, and should have been offered to you whatever your character had been." There she stopped.

"I came not hither," said I, "to receive an apology. Your demeanour, on our first interview, shielded you sufficiently from any suspicions or surmises that I could form. What you have now mentioned was likewise mentioned by your friend, and was fully believed upon her authority. My purpose, in coming, related not to you, but to another. I desired merely to interest your generosity and justice on behalf of one whose destitute and dangerous condition may lay claim to your compassion and your succour."

"I comprehend you," said she, with an air of some perplexity. "I know the claims of that person."

"And will you comply with them?"

"In what manner can I serve her?"

"By giving her the means of living."

"Does she not possess them already?"

"She is destitute. Her dependence was wholly placed upon one that is dead, by whom her person was dishonoured and her fortune embezzled."

"But she still lives. She is not turned into the street. She is not destitute of home."

"But what a home!"

"Such as she may choose to remain in."

"She cannot choose it. She must not choose it. She remains through ignorance, or through the incapacity of leaving it."

"But how shall she be persuaded to a change?"

"I will persuade her. I will fully explain her situation. I will supply her with a new home."

"You will persuade her to go with you, and to live at a home of your providing and on your bounty?"

"Certainly."

"Would that change be worthy of a cautious person? Would it benefit her reputation? Would it prove her love of independence?"

"My purposes are good. I know not why she should suspect them. But I am only anxious to be the instrument. Let her be indebted to one of her own sex, of unquestionable reputation. Admit her into this house. Invite her to your arms. Cherish and console her as your sister."

"Before I am convinced that she deserves it? And even then, what regard shall I, young, unmarried, independent, affluent, pay to my own reputation in harbouring a woman in these circumstances?"

"But you need not act yourself. Make me your agent and almoner. Only supply her with the means of subsistence through me."

"Would you have me act a clandestine part? Hold meetings with one of your sex, and give him money for a purpose which I must hide from the world? Is it worth while to be a dissembler and impostor? And will not such conduct incur more dangerous surmises and suspicions than would arise from acting openly and directly? You will forgive me for reminding you, likewise, that it is particularly incumbent upon those in my situation to be circumspect in their intercourse with men and with strangers. This is the second time that I have seen you. My knowledge of you is extremely dubious and imperfect, and such as would make the conduct you prescribe to me, in a high degree, rash and culpable. You must not, therefore, expect me to pursue it."

These words were delivered with an air of firmness and dignity. I was not insensible to the truth of her representations. "I confess," said I, "what you have said makes me doubt the propriety of my proposal; yet I would fain be of service to her. Cannot you point out some practicable method?"

She was silent and thoughtful, and seemed indisposed to answer my question.

"I had set my heart upon success in this negotiation," continued I, "and could not imagine any obstacle to its success; but I find my ignorance of the world's ways much greater than I had previously expected. You defraud yourself of all the happiness redounding from the act of making others happy. You sacrifice substance to show, and are more anxious to prevent unjust aspersions from lighting on yourself, than to rescue a fellow-creature from guilt and infamy.

"You are rich, and abound in all the conveniences and luxuries of life. A small portion of your superfluity would obviate the wants of a being not less worthy than yourself. It is not avarice or aversion to labour that makes you withhold your hand. It is dread of the sneers and surmises of malevolence and ignorance.

"I will not urge you further at present. Your determination to be wise should not be hasty. Think upon the subject calmly and sedately, and form your resolution in the course of three days. At the end of that period I will visit you again." So saying, and without waiting for comment or answer, I withdrew.

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 40 Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 40

Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 40
VOLUME II CHAPTER XLI mounted the stage-coach at daybreak the next day, in company with a sallow Frenchman from St. Domingo, his fiddle-case, an ape, and two female blacks. The Frenchman, after passing the suburbs, took out his violin and amused himself with humming to his own _tweedle-tweedle_. The monkey now and then munched an apple, which was given to him from a basket by the blacks, who gazed with stupid wonder, and an exclamatory _La! La! upon the passing scenery, or chattered to each other in a sort of open-mouthed, half-articulate, monotonous, singsong jargon. The man looked seldom either on
PREVIOUS BOOKS

Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 38 Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 38

Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs Of The Year 1793 - Volume 2 - Chapter 38
VOLUME II CHAPTER XXXVIIIWhat other inquiries were to be resolved by our young friend, we were now, at this late hour, obliged to postpone till the morrow. I shall pass over the reflections which a story like this would naturally suggest, and hasten to our next interview. After breakfast next morning, the subject of last night's conversation was renewed. I told him that something had occurred in his absence, in relation to Mrs. Wentworth and her nephew, that had perplexed us not a little. "My information is obtained," continued I, "from Wortley; and it is nothing less than that young Clavering,
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT