The Adventures of Hugh Trevor
Part 7 out of 12
_The pain of parting: The prospect before me: Poor men have their
affections and friendships_
During my recovery, I had conversed freely on my own affairs, with
Clarke and his wife. They gradually became acquainted with my whole
history; and discovered so much interest in the pictures I drew,
and entered so sympathetically and with such unaffected marks of
passion into all my feelings, that I found not only great ease but
considerable delight, in narrating my fears, hopes, and mishaps.
Clarke had a strong understanding; and was not entirely illiterate.
His wife was active, cleanly, and kind. Their children were managed
with great good sense: the three eldest were put out, two to service,
and the other an apprentice; and, large as their family was, they had,
by labour and economy, advanced a considerable step from the extreme
poverty to which such persons are too often subject.
When I went to take leave of them, I could perceive, not only that
they were both very much affected, but that Clarke had something
more on his imagination. He had a great respect for my gentility,
and learning; and was always afraid of being too familiar. At some
moments, he felt as it were the insolence of having fought with me:
at others a gleam of exultation broke forth, at his having had that
honour. He had several times expressed an earnest wish that he might
be so happy as to see me again; and, when I assured him that he should
hear from me, his feelings were partly doubt, and partly strong
Just as I was prepared to bid them farewell, he gave a deep sigh; and
said 'he thought he should soon come to London. He wished he knew
where I might be found, and, if he should leave the country, it would
be a great favour done him if he might but be allowed to come and ask
me how I did. If I would allow him that honour, it would make his
heart very light. He had been many years in his present employ; and
perhaps his master would be sorry, if he were to leave him; but he had
given him fair notice. At one time, he did not believe he ever should
have left him; but he thought now he should be much happier in
His tone was serious, there was a dejectedness in his manner, and
with it, as was evident, much smothered emotion in his heart. I was
affected; and taking his hand, earnestly assured him that, if ever
fortune should smile on me, I would not forget what had happened
at Bath. His parting reply was, 'God be with you, wherever you go!
Perhaps you may see me again sooner than you think for.'
This was the temper in which we took leave, previous to my sending the
maid with the ten-pound note: and, as I passed within sight of his
door, I felt the regret of quitting a human being whose attachment
to me was manifestly so strong and affectionate. But I had no
alternative; and I pursued my road.
Winter was advancing: the weather was rainy: the roads were heavy. The
cloudy sky sympathised with the gloom of the prospect before me. I
had wasted my patrimony, quarrelled with my protectors, renounced the
university, had no profession, no immediate resource, and had myself
and my mother to provide for: by what means I knew not.
The experience of Wilmot seemed to prove how precarious a subsistence
the labours of literature afford; and Wilmot was indisputably a man of
I had not quite concluded against the morality of the practice of
the law: but I remembered, in part, the objections of Turl; and they
were staggering. Had it been otherwise, where would have been the
advantage? I had entered of the Temple: but I had neither the means
of keeping my terms nor the patience to look forward, for precarious
wealth and fame, to so distant a period.
All this might have been endured: but Olivia?--Where was
she?--Perhaps, at that moment, the wife of Andrews!--Or if not, grant
she were never to be his, she never could be mine. Yet mine she must
be! Mine she should be! I would brave the despotism of her odious
enslavers! I would move heaven and earth! I would defy hell itself to
Such were the continual conflicts to which I was subject: and, while
the fogs of despondency rose thick and murky around me, with them
continually rose the _ignis fatuus_ of hope; dancing before my eyes,
and encouraging me step after step to follow on.
Considering how wild and extravagant the desires of youth are, it is
happy for them that they calculate so ill; and are so short-sighted.
Their despair would else be frequently fatal.
I did not forget, as a supposed immediate means of relief, that my
pamphlet against the Earl and the Bishop was printed; and I thought
the revenge more than justifiable: it was a necessary vindication of
my own honour and claims. I was indeed forty pounds in debt: twenty
to Belmont; and twenty more to I knew not whom: though I suspected,
and partly hoped partly feared, it was Olivia. I hoped it, because it
might be affection. I feared it, lest it should be nothing more than
pity; for one whom she had known in her childhood, but whom, now he
was a man, she might compassionate; but must contemn. To have been
obliged even to Olivia, on these terms, was worse than starving. Such
were my meditations through the day; which was a little advanced when
I left Bath.
I was eager to perform my journey, and had walked at a great rate. A
little before twilight, I heard a distant call, two or three times
repeated. At last, I turned round, saw a hat waving, and heard my own
I stopped; and the person approached. It was Clarke. I was surprised;
and enquired the reason of his following me. He was embarrassed; and
began with requesting I would go a little slower, for he had run and
walked till he was half tired, and he would tell me.
Clarke was an untaught orator. He had very strong feelings; and a
clear head; which are the two grand sources of eloquence. 'You know,'
said he, 'how much mischief I have done you; for it cannot be denied.
I struck you first, and knocked you down when you _was_ off your
guard. I set every body against you. I refused to shake hands with
you, over and over, when you had the goodness to offer to forgive me.
And, last of all, you may thank me for the fever; which brought you
to death's door. You forgave me this, as well as the rest. But that
was not all. That would not content you. Because I had been used ill,
without any malice of yours, nothing would satisfy you but to strip
yourself of the little _modicum_ that you had, and give it to me. So
that, I am sure, you have hardly a shilling to take you up to London.
And, when you are there, you are not so well off as I am: you have no
trade. I can turn my hand to twenty things: you have never been used
to hard work; and how you are to live God Almighty knows! For I am
sure I cannot find out; though I have been thinking of nothing else
for weeks and weeks past.'
'Why should you suppose I have no money?'
'Because I am sure of it. I asked and found out all that you had to
pay. The servants too told me how open-hearted you _was_; so that you
had given away all you had. Shame on 'em for taking it, say I! You are
not fit to live in this world! And then to send me ten pounds, who
have a house and home, and hands to work! But I'll be damned if I keep
'Nay but, indeed you must.'
'I will not! I will not! I would not forswear myself for all the money
in the world! And I have sworn it, again and again. So take it! Nay,
here, take it!--If you don't, I'll throw it down in the road; and let
the first that comes find it; for I'll not forswear myself. So pray
now, I beg, for God's sake, you will take it!'
I found it was in vain to contend with him: he was too determined, and
had taken this oath in the simplicity of his heart, that it might not
be possible for him to recede. I therefore accepted the money: but I
endeavoured, having received it to satisfy his oath, to persuade him
to take a part of it back again. My efforts were fruitless. 'He had
three half crowns,' he told me, 'in his pocket; which would serve his
turn, till he could get more: and he had left five guineas at home; so
that there was no fear his wife and children should want.'
Happy, enviable, state of independance! When a man and his wife and
family, possessed of five guineas, are so wealthy that they are in no
fear of want!
Having complied, because I found, though I could equal him in bodily
activity, I could not vanquish him in generosity, I requested him
to return to the place we just had passed through, and take up his
He replied, 'To be sure he was a little tired; for he had set out a
good hour after me, and I had come at a rare rate. Not but that he
could keep his ground, though I was so good a footman; but that it did
not become him to make himself my companion.'
'Companion!' said I. 'Why are not you going back to Bath?'
'No: I have taken my leave of it. I shall go and set up my rest in
London. I have not been sharking to my master. I thought of it some
time since, and gave him fair notice; and more than that, I got him
another man in my room; which is all he could demand: and I hope he
will serve him as honestly as I have done.'
'What, would you forsake your wife and children?'
'Forsake my wife and children!'
[There was a mixed emotion of indignant sorrow and surprize in his
'I did not think, Mr. Trevor, you could have believed me to be such a
'I do not believe it! I never could believe it! I spoke thoughtlessly.
I saw you were too happy together for that to be possible.'
'Forsake my dear Sally, and our Bill, and Bet, and ----? No! I'd
sooner take up my axe and chop off my hand! There is not another man
in England has such a wife! I have seen bad ones enough; and, for the
matter of that, bad husbands too. But that's nothing. If you will do
me the favour, I should take it kind of you to let me walk with you,
and keep you company, now night is coming on, to the next town; and
then you may take some rest, and wait for the stage in the morning.
I shall make my way; and find you out, I suppose, fast enough in
'Are you then determined to go to town?'
'Yes: it is all settled. I told Sally; and she did cry a little to be
sure: but she was soon satisfied. She knows me; and I never in my life
found her piggish. God be her holy keeper!'
'Why then, come along. We'll go together. If I ride, you shall ride:
if you walk, so will I.'
'Will you? God bless you! You know how to win a man's heart! There is
not so good or so brave a fellow, I mean gentleman, upon the face of
the earth, damn me if there is! I beg your pardon! Indeed I do! But
you force it out of one! One can't remember to keep one's distance,
with you. However, I will try to be more becoming.'
The manner of Clarke was more impressive than his words: though they,
generally speaking, were not unapt.
We pursued our way together, mutually gratified by what had passed.
Perhaps there is no sensation that so cheers, and sooths the soul, as
the knowledge that there are other human beings, whose happiness seems
knitted and bound up with our own; willing to share our fate, receive
our favours, and, whenever occasion offers, to return them ten fold!
And the pleasure is infinitely increased, when those who are ambitious
of being beloved by us seem to feel, and acknowledge, that we have
more amply the power of conferring than even of receiving happiness.
_A foolish guide, and a gloomy night: The fears and dangers of
darkness: Casual lights lead to error, and mishap_
While we had been discussing the above points, we had sat down; and
rose to pursue our journey, as soon as we had brought them to a
conclusion. We were on the borders of a forest. As we proceeded, we
came up with a countryman; who, enquiring where we were going, told us
that, by striking a little out of the road, we might save half a mile.
We had nine miles to travel, to the inn at which the stage coaches
stopped; and were very willing, Clarke especially, to shorten the
way. The countryman said he was going part of the road; and that the
remainder was so plain it could not be mistaken. Accordingly, we put
ourselves under his guidance.
The sun had been down, by this time, nearly an hour and a half. The
moon gave some light; but the wind was rising, she was continually
obscured by thick swift-flying clouds, and our conductor advised us to
push on, for it was likely to be a very bad night.
In less than a quarter of an hour his prophecy began to be fulfilled.
The rain fell, and at intervals the opposing clouds and currents of
air, aided by the impediments of hills and trees, gave us a full
variety of that whistling, roaring, and howling, which is heard in
The darkness thickened upon us, and I was about to request the
countryman to lead us to some village, or even barn, for shelter, when
he suddenly struck into another path; and, bidding us good night,
again told us 'we could not miss our road.' We could not see where he
was gone to; and, though we repeatedly called, we called in vain: he
was too anxious to get shelter himself to heed our anxiety, and was
soon out of hearing.
So long as we could discern, the path we were in appeared to be
tolerably beaten: but we now could no longer trace any path; for
it was too dark for the ground to have any distinct colour. We had
skirted the forest; and our only remaining guide was a hedge on our
In this hedge we placed our hopes. We followed its direction, I know
not how long, till it suddenly turned off, at an angle; and we found
ourselves, as far as we could conjecture, from the intervening lights
and the strenuous efforts we made to discover the objects around us,
on the edge of some wild place, probably a heath, with hills, and
consequently deep vallies, perhaps streams of water, and precipices.
We paused; we knelt down, examined with our eyes, and felt about with
our hands, to discover whether we yet were in a path; but could find
We continued our consultation, till we had begun to think it advisable
to return, once more guided by the hedge. Yet this was not only
very uncertain, but the idea of a retrograde motion was by no means
While we were in this irresolute dilemma, we thought we saw a light;
that glimmered for a moment, and as suddenly disappeared. We watched,
I know not how long, and again saw it twinkle, though, as we thought,
in something of a different direction. Clarke said it was a Will o'the
whisp. I replied, it might be one, but, as it seemed the only chance
we had, my advice was to continue our walk in that direction; in hopes
that, if it were a light proceeding from any house or village, it
would become more visible as we approached.
We walked on, I know not how far; and then paused; but discovered no
more of the light. We walked again; again stood still, and looked on
every side of us, either for the light or any other object; but we
could see nothing distinctly. The obscure forms around us had varied
their appearance; and whether they were hills, or clouds, or what
they were, we could not possibly discover: though the first we still
thought was the most probable.
By this time, we had no certain recollection of which way we had come;
or to what point we were directing our course. We were continually in
doubt: now pausing; now conjecturing; now proceeding.
We continued to wander, we knew not whither. Sometimes it appeared
we went up hill; and sometimes down. We had stepped very cautiously,
and therefore very slowly; had warned each other continually to be
careful; and had not dared to take twenty steps at a time, without
mutually enquiring to know if all were safe.
We continued, environed as it were by the objects that most powerfully
inspire fear; by the darkness of night, the tumult of the elements,
the utter ignorance of where we were or by what objects surrounded,
and the dejectedness which our situation inspired. Thieves and
assassins might be at our back, and we could not hear them: gulphs,
rocks, or rivers, in our front, or on either side, and we could
not see them. The next step might plunge us, headlong, we knew not
These fears were not all imaginary. Finding the ground very uneven on
a sudden, and stumbling dangerously myself, I stood still--I did not
hear my companion!--I called--I received no answer! I repeated, in a
louder tone, 'Clarke! Where are you?'--Still no answer!
I then shouted, with all the fear that I felt, and heard a faint
response, that seemed to be beneath me, and at a prodigious distance.
It terrified; yet it relieved. We had spoken not three minutes before.
I stood silent, in hopes he would speak again: but my fears were too
violent to remain so long. I once more called; and he replied, with
rather a louder voice which lessened the apparent distance, 'Take
care! You'll dash yourself to pieces!'
'Are you hurt?' said I.
'I hope not much,' returned he. 'For God's sake take care of
'Can you walk?'
'I shall be able presently, I believe.'
'How can I get to you?'
'I don't know.'
'Stay where you are, and I will try.'
'For God in heaven's sake don't! You'll certainly break your neck! I
suppose I am in a chalk pit, or at the bottom of a steep crag.'
'I will crawl to you on my hands and knees.'
'Good God! You will surely kill yourself!'
'Nothing can be more dangerous than to lie here on the wet ground. We
must only take care to keep within hearing of each other.'
While I spoke, I began to put my crawling expedient in practice; still
calling to Clarke, every half minute, and endeavouring to proceed in
the direction of his voice.
I found the rough impediments around me increase; till, presently, I
came to one that was ruder than the rest. I crawled upon it, sustained
by my knees and right hand, and stretching forward with my left. I
groped, but felt nothing. I cautiously laid my belly to the ground and
stretched out my other arm. Still it was vacancy. I stretched a little
more violently; feeling forward, and on each side; and I seemed to be
projected upon a point, my head and shoulders inclining over a dark
abyss, which the imagination left unfathomable.
I own I felt terror; and the sensation certainly was not lessened,
when, making an attempt to recover my position and go back, my support
began to give way. My effort to retreat was as violent as my terror:
but it was too late. The ground shook, loosened, and, with the
struggle I made carrying me with it, toppled headlong down. What the
height that I fell was I have no means of ascertaining; for the heath
on which we were wandering abounds with quarries, and precipices; but
either it was, in fact, or my fears made it prodigious.
Had this expedient been proposed under such circumstances, as the
only probable one of bringing me and Clarke together again, who would
not have shuddered at it? Yet, though it is true I received a violent
shock, I know of no injury that it did me. As soon as I recovered my
presence of mind, I replied to Clarke; whose questions were vehement;
he having heard me fall. After mutual enquiry, we found we were both
once more upon our legs, and had escaped broken bones. Though they had
been severely shaken: Clarke's much the most violently.
But where were we now? How should we discover? Perhaps in a stone
quarry; or lime pit. Perhaps at the edge of waters. It might be we had
fallen down only on the first bank, or ridge of a quarry; and had a
precipice ten fold more dreadful before us.
While we were conjecturing, the stroke of a large clock, brought
whizzing in the wind, struck full upon our ear. We listened, with the
most anxious ardour. The next stroke was very, very faint: a different
current had carried it a different way: and, with all our eager
attention, we could not be certain that we heard any more.
Yet, though we had lost much time and our progress had been
excessively tedious, it could not be two o'clock in the morning. It
might indeed very probably be twelve.
The first stroke of the clock made us conjecture it came from some
steeple, or hall tower, at no very great distance. The second carried
our imaginations we knew not whither. We had not yet recovered courage
enough to take more steps than were necessary to come to each other;
and, while we were considering, during an intermitting pause of the
roaring of the wind, we distinctly heard a cur yelp.
Encouraged by this, we immediately hallooed with all our might. The
wind again began to chafe, and swell, and seemed to mock at our
distress. Still we repeated our efforts, whenever the wind paused:
but, instead of voices intending to answer our calls, we heard shrill
whistlings; which certainly were produced by men.
Could it be by good men? By any but night marauders; intent on
mischief, but disturbed and alarmed? They were signals indubitably;
for we shouted again, they were again given, and were then repeated
from another quarter: at least, if they were not, they were
miraculously imitated, by the dying away of the wind.
In a little while, we again heard the cur yelp; and immediately
afterward a howling, which was so mingled with the blast, that we
could not tell whether it were the wind itself, the yelling of a dog,
or the agonizing cries of a human voice: but it was a dreadfully
dismal sound. We listened with perturbed and deep attention; and it
was several times repeated, with increasing uncertainty, confusion and
What was to be done? My patience was exhausted. Danger itself could no
longer detain me; and I told Clarke I was determined to make toward
the village, or whatever the place was, from whence, dangerous and
doubtful as they were, these various sounds proceeded.
Finding me resolute, he was very earnest to have led the way; and,
when I would not permit him, he grasped me by the hand, and told me
that, if there were pitfalls and gulphs, and if I did go down, unless
he should have strength enough to save me, we would go down together.
_Difficulties and dangers in succession: A place of horrors its
inmates: A dialogue worthy of the place_
As we were cautiously and slowly taking step by step, and, as new
conjectures crossed us, stopping to consider, we again saw a dancing
light; but more distinctly, though, as we imagined, not very near. We
repeated our calls; but, whether they were or were not heard, they
were not answered. We ventured, however, to quicken our pace; for we
continued, at intervals, to catch the light.
Presently, we saw the light no more; and a considerable time again
elapsed, which was spent in wandering as this or that supposition
directed us; till at last, suddenly and very unexpectedly, we
perceived lines and forms, that convinced us they appertained to
some house, or mansion; and, as it appeared to us, a large one. We
approached it, examined, shouted, and endeavoured to discover which
was the entrance. But all was still, all dark, all closed.
We continued our search on the outside; till, at length, we came to
a large gate that was open; which we entered, and proceeded to some
distance till we arrived at a door, that evidently belonged to an
out-house or detached building. It was shut; and, feeling about,
we found that the key was in the lock. We had little hesitation in
profiting by the accident. We had been shelterless too long, and the
circumstances pleaded too powerfully, for us to indulge any scruples;
and accordingly we entered.
We had no sooner put our heads within the door but we found ourselves
assaulted with a smell, or rather stench, so intolerable as almost
to drive us back: but the fury of the elements, and perhaps the less
delicate organs of Clarke, who seemed determined to profit by the
shelter we had obtained, induced us to brave an inconvenience which,
though excessively offensive at first, became less the longer we
Groping about, we discovered some barrels, and lumber; behind which
there was straw. Here we determined to lie down; and rest our bruised
and aching bones. Our cloaths had been drenched and dried more than
once, in the course of the night; and they were at present neither wet
We had scarcely nestled together in our straw, before we again heard
the yelping of the cur, and presently afterward the same dismal
howls repeated. To these, at no great distance, succeeded the shrill
whistling signals. Our imaginations had been so highly wrought up that
they were apt at horrible conjectures; and, for my part, my own was at
that moment very busily employed in conjuring them up.
In the very midst of this activity, we heard the voices of men,
walking round the building. They again whistled, with a piercing
shrillness; and, though we heard nothing distinctly, yet we caught
tones that were coarse, rude, and savage; and words, that denoted
anger and anxiety, for the perpetration of some dark purpose no doubt
corresponding to the fierce and threatening sounds we heard.
They approached. One of them had a lanthorn. He came up to the door;
and, finding it open, boisterously shut it; with a broad and bitter
curse against the carelessness of some man, whose name he pronounced,
for leaving it open; and eternally damning others, for being so long
in doing their business.
We were now locked in; and we soon heard no more of the voices.
In spite of all these alarms, the moment they ceased our condition,
comparing it with the tempest and difficulties without, seemed to be
much bettered; and we once more prepared ourselves for sleep, while
fear gave place to fatigue.
Our rest was of short duration. We began indeed to slumber; but I
was presently disturbed by Clarke, whom I found shaking in the most
violent agitation and horror that I ever witnessed in any human being.
I asked 'What is the matter?'
He replied with a groan!
I was awakened from wild slumbers of my own, and strongly partook of
his sensations; but endeavoured however to rouze him to speech, and
recollection. Again and again I asked 'What have you heard? What ails
It was long before he could utter an articulate sound. At last,
shaking more violently as he spoke, and with inexpressible horror in
his voice, he gasping said--'A dead hand!'--
'I felt it!--I had hold of it!--It is now at my neck.'
For a moment I paused: not daring to stretch out my arm, and examine.
I trembled in sympathy with him. At length I ventured.
Never shall I forget the sensation I experienced, when, to my full
conviction, I actually felt a cold, dead, hand, between my fingers!
I was suffocated with horror! I struggled to overcome it: again it
seized me; and I sunk half entranced!
At this very instant, the shrill sound of the whistle rung, piercing,
through the dismal place in which we were imprisoned. It was answered.
The same hoarse voices once more were heard: but in tones fifty fold
One terror combated the other, and we were recalled to some sense
of distinguishing and understanding. We lay silent, not daring to
breathe, when we heard the door unlock. Our feelings will not readily
be conceived, while the following dialogue passed. 'What a damned
while you have kept us waiting, such a night as this!'
'What ails the night? It is a special good night, for our trade.'
'What the devil have you been about?'
'About? Doing our business, to be sure: and doing it to some purpose,
I tell you. Is not the night as bad for us as for you? Who had the
best of it, do you think? What had you to do, but to keep on the
'How came you to leave the door open, and be d--mn'd to you?'
'Who left the door open, Jack Dingyface? We left the key in it,
indeed; for such lubbers as you to pass in and out: while we had all
the work to do, and all the danger to boot.'
'Who do you call lubber, Bull-calf? We have had as much to do as
yourselves. There has been an alarm given; for we have heard noises
and hallooing all night. For my part, I don't much like it. We shall
be smoked: nay it is my belief we are already; and I have a great mind
to decamp, and leave the country.'
'You are always in a panic. Who is to smoke us?'
'Well, mark my words, it will come upon us when we least think of it.'
'Think of ----! Hold up the lanthorn. Come, heave in the sack--We were
d--mn'd fools, for taking such a hen-hearted fellow among us. Lift
the sack an end. Why don't you lend a hand, and keep it steady, while
I untie it? Do you think a dead man can stand on his legs? D--mn my
body, the fool is afraid he should bite.'
'You are a hardened dog, Randal, bl--st me!'
'Come, tumble the body out. Lay hold! Here! Heave this way. So: that
will do. We may leave him. He will not run away. His journey is over.
He will travel no farther, to-night. He can't say however but we have
provided him with a lodging.'
'D--mn me, where do you expect to go to?'
'To bed. It's high time.'
'I never heard such a dare devil dog in all my life!'
'Don't let that trouble you; for you will never be like me.'
'What is that?'
'What is what?'
'I saw a head.'
'Behind the tub.'
'What then? Is there any wonder in seeing a head, or a body either, in
'Nay, but, a living head!'
'A living ass!'
'I am sure, I saw the eyes move.'
'Ah! white-livered lout! I wonder what the devil made such a quaking
pudding poltroon think of taking to our trade! Come: I am hungry: let
us go into the kitchen, and get some grub; and then to bed. Pimping
Simon, here, will see his grandmother's ghost, if we stay five minutes
_The scene continued; and our terrors increased: An interesting
dialogue, that unravels the mystery: The beginning of a new
Here to our infinite ease they quitted us, went through an inner door
that led to the house, locked it after them, and left us, not only
with the dead hand, not only with the dead body, but in the most
dismal human slaughterhouse that murder and horror ever constructed,
or ever conceived. Such were our impressions: and such, under the same
circumstances, they would have been, perhaps, of the bravest man, or
man-killer, that ever existed. Alexander and Cæsar themselves would
have shook, lying as we lay, hearing what we heard, and seeing what we
saw: for, by the light of the lanthorn, we beheld limbs, and bones,
and human skeletons, on every side of us. I repeat: horror had nothing
The dancing lights we had seen, the shrill signals and the dreadful
howls that we had heard, were now no longer thought mysterious. It
was no _ignis fatuus_; but the lanthorn of these assassins: no dog or
wolf, baying the moon; but the agonizing yells of murder!
The men were four in number. The idea of attacking them several times
suggested itself. Nor was it so much overpowered by the apprehension
of the arms with which I concluded such men must be provided, as that
my mind was rendered irresolute by the dreadful pictures, real and
imaginary, which had passed through my mind.
Clarke, brave as he was, had lost all his intrepidity in this
golgotha, this place of skulls; the very scent of which, knowing
whence it proceeded, was abhorrent.
No: it was not their arms, nor their numbers, but these fears that
induced me, when he that saw my eyes move was in danger of giving
the alarm, to close them; and, profiting by the fellow's sympathetic
terror, counterfeit the death by which I was environed.
Here then we were. And must we here remain? To sleep was impossible.
Must we rise and grapple with the dead; trample on their limbs, and
stumble over their unearthed bones, in endeavouring to get out?
Neither could we tell what new horrors were in store for us. Who
had not heard of trap doors, sliding wainscots, and other murderous
contrivances? And could they be now forgotten? Impossible. All the
phantoms memory could revive, or fancy could create, were realized and
Of the two, I certainly had more the use of my understanding than
Clarke; but I was so absorbed, in the terrors which assailed me,
on every side, that I was intent on them only; and forgot, while
the lanthorn glimmered its partial and dull rays, to consider the
geography of the place; or to plan the means of escape, till the
moment the men were departing; when I caught a glimpse of what I
imagined to be a window facing me.
As soon as our fears would permit us, we began, in low and cautious
whispers, to communicate our thoughts. Clarke was pertinaciously
averse to rise, and hurtle in the dark with the bones of the dead. By
the intervening medium of the straw, he had pushed away the terrific
hand; and was determined, he said, to lie still; till day-light should
return, and prevent him from treading, at random, on the horrible
objects around him; or stumbling over and being stretched upon a
I had as little inclination to come in contact with dead hands,
cadaverous bodies, and dissevered joints, as he could have; yet was
too violently tormented to remain quiet, and suffer myself to be
preyed on by my imagination. Had I resigned myself to it, without
endeavouring to relieve it by action, it would have driven me frantic.
I half rose, sat considering, ventured to feel round me and shrunk
back with inexpressible terror, from the first object that I touched.
Again I ruminated, again ventured to feel, and again and again
shivered with horrible apprehensions.
Use will reconcile us to all situations. Experience corrects fear,
emboldens ignorance, and renders desire adventurous. The builder will
walk without dread on the ridge of a house: while the timid spectator
standing below is obliged to turn his eyes away, or tumble headlong
down and be dashed to pieces in imagination. Repeated trials had a
similar effect on me: they rendered me more hardy; and I proceeded, as
nearly as I could guess, toward the window; touching, treading on, and
encountering, I knew not what; subject, every moment, to new starts of
terror; and my heart now sinking, now leaping, as the sudden freaks
and frights of fancy seized upon me.
After the departure of the desperadoes, we had heard various noises,
in the adjoining house; among others the occasional ringing of a
chamber bell. While I was thus endeavouring to explore my way,
arrested by terror at every step, as I have been describing, we again
heard sounds that approached more nearly; and presently the inner-door
once more opened, and a livery servant, bearing two lighted candles,
came in; followed by a man with an apron tied round him, having a kind
of bib up to his chin, and linen sleeves drawn over his coat.
The master, for so he evidently was, had a meagre, wan, countenance;
and a diminutive form. The servant had evidently some trepidation.
'Do not be afraid, Matthew,' said the master. 'You will soon be
accustomed to it; and you will then laugh at your present timidity.
Unless you conquer your fears, you will not be able to obey my
directions, in assisting me; and consequently will not be fit for your
place; and you know you cannot get such good wages in any other.'
'I will do my best, sir,' said the servant: 'but I can't say but, for
the first time, it is a little frightful.'
'Mere prejudice, Matthew. I am studying to gain knowledge, which will
be serviceable to mankind: and that you must perceive will be doing
'Reach me those instruments--Now, lift up the body; and turn the head
a little this way--Why do you tremble? Are you afraid of the dead?'
'Not much, sir.'
'Lift boldly, then.'
As the servant turned round, half stupefied with his fears, he beheld
me standing with my eyes fixed, watchful and listening with my whole
soul, for the interpretation of these enigmas. The man stared, gaped,
turned pale, and at last dropped down; overcome with his terrors.
The master was amazed; and, perceiving which way the servant's
attention had been directed, looked round. His eye caught mine. He
stood motionless. His pale face assumed a death-like hue; and, for a
few moments, he seemed to want the power of utterance.
Clarke had remained, astonished and confounded, a silent spectator
of the scene. But there was now light; and, though the objects of
horror were multiplied in reality, they were less numerous to the
imagination. Seeing the fear of the servant, observing his fall, and
remarking the gentle and feeble appearance of the master, armed though
he was with murderous instruments, Clarke was now rising; determined
to come to action. His proceeding disturbed our mutual amazement.
He was on his legs; and, as I perceived, advancing with hostile
The dialogue I had heard, and the objects which I had distinctly seen
and examined, had, by this time, unravelled the whole mystery. I
discovered that we were in the dissecting-room of an anatomist. Clarke
was clenching his fist and preparing to direct a blow at the operator;
and I had but just time to step forward, arrest his arm, and impede
its progress. 'Be quiet,' said I, 'Clarke; we have been mistaken.'
'For God's sake, who are you, gentlemen?' said the owner of the
mansion: recovered in part from his apprehensions, by my pacific
'We are benighted travellers, sir,' answered I; 'who got entrance into
this place by accident; and have ourselves been suffering under false,
but excessive, fear. Pray, sir, be under no alarm; for we are far from
intending you injury.'
He made no immediate reply, and I continued.
'Fear, I find, though she has indeed a most active fancy, has no
understanding: otherwise, among the innumerable conjectures with which
my brain has been busied within this hour, the truth would certainly
have suggested itself. But, instead of supposing I was transported to
the benignant regions of science, I thought myself certain of being in
the purlieus of the damned; in the very den of murder.'
My language, manner, and tone of voice, relieved him from all alarm;
and he said, with a smile, 'This is a very whimsical accident.'
'You would think so, indeed, sir,' replied I, 'if you knew but half
of the horrible images on which we have been dreaming. But it was
distress that drove us to take shelter here; and if there be any
village, or if not, even any barn, in which we could take a little
rest till daylight, we should be exceedingly obliged to you for that
kind assistance which, from your love of science, and from the remarks
I have heard you make to your servant, I am persuaded, you will be
very willing to afford.'
By this time, the servant was recovered from his fright; and on his
legs. 'Go, Matthew,' said the master, 'and call up one of the maids.'
And turning to me he added, 'Be kind enough to follow me, sir, with
your companion. I doubt if you could procure either lodging or
refreshment, within three miles of the place; and I shall therefore be
very happy in supplying you with both.'
We obeyed; I highly delighted with the benevolent and hospitable
manner of our host; and Clarke most glad to escape, from a scene which
no explanation had yet reconciled to his feelings, or notions of good
_A review of emotions and mistakes: Repose after fatigue: Singular
thoughts concerning property: Benevolence on a large scale. A proposal
accepted; which greatly alters the face of affairs: Sketches of war:
The hero: The raptures of a poet: Projects and opinions, relative to
law. Thoughts on the science of surgery_
In the relation of this adventure, I have given a picture, not of
things as they were afterward discovered to be, but, as they appeared
to us at the time; reflected through the medium of consternation and
terror. We had been powerfully prepared for these, by the previous
circumstances. Our imaginations had been strongly preyed upon by
our distress, by the accidents of falling, and by the mingled
noises we had heard: proceeding from the church-yard robbers, from
the village-dogs and curs disturbed by them and us, and from the
whistling, roaring, and howling which are so common to high gusts
of wind; and so almost distracting to a mind already in a state of
visionary deception and alarm. There was indeed enough to excite that
wild and uncontroulable dread, which rushed upon us every moment.
Mingled as they were with darkness, ignorance, and confusion, the
succeeding objects were actually horrible.
Thus the discourse and dialect, as well as the voices, of the men
employed to furnish dead bodies, were gross and rude; and the timidity
and prejudices of those, who probably were young in the employment,
contrasted with the jokes, vulgar sarcasms, and oaths, of the
boisterous and hardened adepts, though habitual to such people, gave
a colouring to the preceding circumstances, that so confirmed and
realized our fears as not to allow us the leisure to doubt. To repeat
such coarse colloquies and vulgar ribaldry is no pleasing task; except
as a history of the manners of such men, and of the emotions with
which on this occasion they were accompanied. These indeed made the
It is likewise true that, in their own opinion, these men were more or
less criminal: and guilt always assumes an audacity, and fierceness,
which it does not feel. They were not intentionally acting well:
but were doing that which they supposed to be a deed of desperate
wickedness, for selfish purposes. Had the consent of any one of them
when dying been asked, to have his body dug up and dissected, he would
have heard the proposal with detestation. Consequently, they deceived
us the more effectually: for they had the manners of that guilt which,
as far as intention was concerned, they actually possessed.
Add to this the spectacle of a dissecting-room; seen indistinctly by
the partial glimmerings of a lanthorn. Whoever has been in such a
place will recognise the picture. Here preparations of arms, pendent
in rows, with the vessels injected. There legs, feet, and other limbs.
In this place the intestines: in that membranes, cartilages, muscles,
with the bones and all their varieties of clothing, in every imaginary
mangled form. These things ought not to be terrible: but to persons of
little reflection, and not familiarized to them, they always are.
Escaped from this scene, restored as it were to human intercourse,
and encouraged by the kindness of our host, whose name was Evelyn,
our pulses began to grow temperate; and our imaginations to relax
and gravitate toward common sense. We took the refreshment that was
brought us, and conversed during the meal with Mr. Evelyn: partly on
the incidents of the night, and partly in answering a few questions;
which he put with a feeling that denoted a desire rather to afford us
aid than to gratify his own curiosity. After which, as we were weary
and he disposed to pursue his nocturnal researches, we immediately
retired to rest. Clarke was full to overflowing with cogitation:
but, for the present, it was too large, or rather too confused, for
utterance; and it soon overpowered and sunk him into sleep.
For my own part, my mind was too much alive to be immediately overcome
by fatigue. I lay revolving in thought the incidents of the night;
which led me into reveries on the singular character of Mr. Evelyn, on
my own forlorn state, on the bleak prospect before me, and on Olivia.
This last train of thinking was not easily dismissed. At length,
however, both mind and body were so overwearied that I fell into an
unusually profound sleep; from which I did not awake till Clarke, who
had risen two hours before, came between nine and ten o'clock and
rouzed me, to inform me that breakfast was waiting, and that our host
expected my company.
While I was dressing, he told me that Mr. Evelyn had been making
many enquiries concerning me; and apologized himself, with marks of
apprehension lest he should have done wrong, while he owned that he
had answered these interrogatories, by relating such particulars as he
We then went down; and, among other conversation at breakfast, Mr.
Evelyn remarked that he understood, from Clarke, we had no urgent
business which would make a day sooner or a day later of any material
consequence; and he therefore particularly requested we would delay
our departure till the next morning. The reason he gave was a kind
expression of interest, which what he had heard from my companion had
excited; and a desire, not of inquisitive prying but evidently of
benevolence, to be as fully informed of my history as I should think
proper to make him.
There was something soothing both in the request and in his manner,
which induced me to readily comply. Poor Clarke excepted, I seemed as
if no human being took any concern in my fate; and to discover that
there was yet a man who was capable of sympathizing with me was like
filling a painful vacancy of the heart, and afforded something of an
incoherent hope of relief.
Not that I was prepared to ask or even to accept favours. I had rather
entertained a kind of indignant sense of injury, against any one who
should presume to make me his debtor: or to suppose I was incapable
of not rather enduring all extremities than so to subject and
degrade myself as, in my own apprehension, I should do by any such
After breakfast, Mr. Evelyn desired me to walk with him; that we might
converse the more freely when alone. He then repeated what Clarke
had told him, gave a strong and affecting picture of the overflowing
kindness and compassion with which my companion had related all he
knew, and proceeded afterward to speak of himself in the following
'I am a man, Mr. Trevor, engaged in a trust which I find it very
difficult conscientiously to discharge. I have an estate of fifteen
hundred a year, and am a creature whose real wants, like those of
other human creatures, are few. I live here surrounded by some
hundreds of acres; stored with fruits, corn, and cattle; which the
laws and customs of nations call mine. But what is it that these laws
and customs mean? That I am to devour the whole produce of thus much
land? The thing is impossible!'
'Why impossible? You may convert a hundred head of oxen into a service
of gold plate. Liveries, laces, equipage, gilding, garnishing, and
ten thousand other modes or fashionable wants, which if not gratified
render those that have them miserable, would eat up all that ten
thousand acres, if you had them, could yield. Are you an Epicure? You
may so stew, distill, and titillate your palate with essences that a
hecatomb shall be swallowed at every meal. The means of devouring are
innumerable, and justified by general usage.'
'General usage may be an apology, but not a justification. Happiness
is the end of man: but it cannot be single. On the contrary, the more
beings are happy the greater is the individual happiness of each: for
each is a being of sympathies, and affections; which are increased by
being called into action. It is the miserable mechanism of society
which, by giving legal possession of what is called property to the
holders, puts it absolutely and unconditionally in their disposal.'
'Why the miserable mechanism? Are you a friend to the Agrarian
'By no means. I was incorrect: The mechanism is defective enough, but
I rather meant to have said the miserable moral system of society;
which allows every man to exercise his own caprice, and thinks him
guilty of no crime though he is in the daily habit of wasting that
which might render numbers happy, who are in absolute want.'
'This is an evil of which the world has for ages been complaining: but
for which I see no remedy.'
'You mean no remedy which laws or governments, by the inflicting of
pains and penalties, can afford: at which, to do them justice, they
have been much too often aiming; but have as continually failed.'
'And you imagine, sir, you are possessed of a more effectual
'I dare not prescribe: it would be an arrogant assumption of wisdom.
But I may advise a regimen which has numerous probabilities in its
favour. Yet what I must advise has been so many thousand times advised
before that it seems impertinence to repeat it; if not mockery. To
tell the rich that they seek enjoyment where it is not to be found,
that the parade by which they torment themselves to gain distinction
renders them supremely ridiculous, that their follies, while they are
oppressive and hateful to the poor, are the topics of contempt and
scandal even in their own circles, and that the repetition of them
inevitably proves that they bring weariness, disgust, ruin, pain, and
every human misery, is mere common-place declamation.
'But there is one truth of which they have not been sufficiently
reminded. They are not, as they have too long been taught to suppose
themselves, placed beyond the censure of the multitude. It is found
that the multitude can think, and have discovered that the use
the wealthy too often make of what they call their own is unjust,
tyrannical, and destructive.
'This memento will come to them with the greater force the oftener
they are made to recollect that the spirit of enquiry is abroad,
that their voluptuous waste is daily becoming more odious, and that
simplicity of manners, a benevolent economy, a vigorous munificence,
and a comprehensive philanthropy, can alone redeem them; and preserve
that social order which every lover of the human race delights to
contemplate, but of which they arrogate to themselves the merit of
being the sole advocates.
'It is the moral system of society that wants reform. This cannot be
suddenly produced, nor by the efforts of any individual: but it may
be progressive, and every individual may contribute: though some much
more powerfully than others. The rich, in proportion as they shall
understand this power and these duties, will become peculiarly
instrumental: for poverty, by being subjected to continual labour, is
necessarily ignorant; and it is well known how dangerous it is for
ignorance to turn reformer.
'Let the rich therefore awake: let them encourage each other to
quit their pernicious frivolities, and to enquire, without fear or
prejudice, how they may secure tranquillity and promote happiness;
and let them thus avert those miseries at which they so loudly and so
bitterly rail, but into which by their conduct a majority of them is
so ready to plunge.
'The intentions of those among them who think the most are excellent:
to assert the contrary is equally false and absurd. But, when they
expect to promote peace and order by irritating each other against
this or that class of men, however mistaken those men may be, and
by disseminating a mutual spirit of acrimony between themselves and
their opponents, they act like madmen; and, if they do not grow calm,
forgiving, and kind, the increasing fury of the mad many will overtake
'They are like the brethren of Dives. They pay but little regard to
Moses and the prophets.'
'Well, Mr. Trevor, you will own at least that, since I can talk
with all this seeming wisdom, a small share of the practice will be
becoming in me; and what you and all mankind would expect.'
'I may: but not all mankind. There are some who pretend to be so
learned, in what they call the depravity of human nature, that, after
having heard you speak thus admirably in favour of virtue, they would
think it more than an equal chance that you are one of the wickedest
'Oh, with respect to that, some of my very neighbours do not scruple
to affirm that I am so. But, I repeat, I have what I consider as a
large estate in trust; and it is a serious and a sacred duty imposed
upon me to seek how it may be best employed. I seldom am satisfied
with the means which offer themselves; and am therefore always in
quest of new.'
'I wonder at that, sir, with your system. Have you no poor in the
'O yes: enough to grieve any penetrable heart. But I know no task
more difficult than that of administering to their wants, without
encouraging their vices. Of these wants I consider instruction as the
greatest; and to that I pay the greatest attention. Food, cloathing,
and disease are imperious necessities; and to leave them unprovided
would be guilt incredible to speculation, did we not see it in hourly
practice. But the poor are so misled, by the opinions they are taught
to hold and the oppressions to which they are subject, that, by
relieving these most urgent wants we are in danger of teaching them
idleness, drunkenness, and servility. I do them the little good that
I can, most willingly: but I consider the diffusion of knowledge, by
which that which I call the moral system of mankind is to be improved,
as the most effectual means of conferring happiness. Are you of that
'I certainly am.'
'Then I cannot but think you intend to promote this beneficial plan.'
'I scarcely know my own intentions. They are unsettled, incoherent,
and the dreams of delirium; rather than the system of a sage, such as
you have imagined.'
'I wish we had been longer acquainted and were intimate enough to
induce you to relate your history, and confide your thoughts to me, as
to a friend; or, if you please, as to one who holds it a duty to offer
aid, whenever he imagines it will answer a good end.'
'To offer aid is kind: but there are very few cases in which he that
receives it is not mean and degraded. You however are actuated by
a generous spirit; and, as you are inclined to listen, I will very
willingly inform you of the chief incidents of a life that has already
been considerably checkered, and the future prospects of which are
After this preface, I began my narrative; and succinctly related the
principal of those events with which the reader already is acquainted.
Nor did the state of my feelings and the strong sense of injury which
was ever present to my imagination, when I came to recapitulate my
adventures since I first left college, suffer me to colour with a
negligent or a feeble hand.
Some of the incidents necessarily induced me to mention Olivia, and
betray my sentiments in part: which the questions of Mr. Evelyn, put
with kindness, delicacy, and interest that was evidently unaffected,
induced me at length wholly to reveal, with all the tenderness and the
vehemence of passion.
I was encouraged or rather impelled to this confidence by the emotions
which Mr. Evelyn betrayed, in his countenance, voice, and manner. His
hopes, his fears, and his affections, were so much in unison with my
own, his eye so often glistened and his cheek so frequently glowed,
that it was impossible for the heart not to open all its recesses, and
pour out not only its complaints but its very follies.
Of all the pleasures in which the soul of man most delights that of
sympathy is surely the chief. It can unite and mingle not only two
but ten millions of spirits as one. Could a world be spectators of
the sorrows of Lear, a world would with one consent participate in
them: so omnipotent is the power of sympathy. It is the consolation of
poverty, it is the cordial of friendship, it is the essence of love.
Pride and suspicion are its chief enemies; and they are the vices that
engender the most baneful of the miseries of man.
Mr. Evelyn remained, after I had ended, for some time in deep
meditation; now and then casting his eyes toward me and then taking
them away, as if fearful of offending my sensibility and again falling
into thought. At length, fixing them more firmly and with an open
benignity of countenance, he thus broke silence.
'I have been devising, my noble young friend, allow me to call you so,
by what means I should best make myself understood to you; and how
most effectually prevail on you to contribute to my happiness, and to
those great ends for which souls of ardour like yours are so highly
gifted. I have already sketched my principles, concerning the use
and abuse of property. One of those rare occasions on which it may
be excellently employed now presents itself. You are in pursuit of
science, by which a world is to be improved. To the best of my ability
I follow the same track: but I have the means, which you want. You
have too little: I have too much. It is my province, and, if you
consent, as I hope and trust you will, it will be my supreme pleasure
to supply the deficiency. I am acquainted with the delicacy of your
sentiments: but I am likewise acquainted with the expansion of your
heart, and with its power of rising superior to the false distinctions
which at present regulate society. I might assume the severe tone of
the moralist, and urge your compliance with my request as a duty: but
I would rather indulge what may perhaps be the foible of immature
virtue, and follow the affectionate impulse which binds me to you as
my friend and brother. Beside these are vibrations with which I am
persuaded your warm and kindred heart will more readily harmonize.
In youth, we willingly obey impetuous sensations: but reluctantly
listen to the slow and frigid deductions of reason, when they are
in contradiction to our habits and prejudices. I therefore repeat,
you are my friend and brother; and I conjure you, by those generous
and magnanimous feelings of which your whole life proves you are so
eminently susceptible, not to wound me by refusal. Do not consider me
as the acquaintance of a day; for, by hearing your history, I have
travelled with you through life, and seem as if I had been the inmate
of your bosom even from your years of infancy. No: far from being
strangers, we have been imbibing similar principles, similar views,
and similar affections. Our souls have communed for years, and rejoice
that the time at length is come in which that individual intercourse
for which they may most justly be said to have panted is opened. If
you object, if you hesitate, if you suspect me, you will annihilate
the purest sensations which these souls have mutually cherished: you
will wrong both yourself and me.'
There was an emanating fervor in the look, deportment, and the very
gestures, of Mr. Evelyn that was irresistible. It surpassed his
language. It led me out of myself. It hurried me beyond the narrow
limits of prejudices and prepossessions, and transported me wherever
it pleased. I was no longer in mortal society; surrounded by
selfishness, cunning, and cowardly suspicions. He had borne me on his
wings, and seated me among the Gods; whose ministers were wisdom and
beneficence. I burst into exclamation.
'I own it, you are my friend! you are my brother! I accept your
offers, I will receive your benefits, but I will retaliate.'
I paused. I felt the egotism of my own thoughts, but could not subdue
the torrent. I continued inwardly to vow, with the most vehement
asseverations, that I would repay every mark of kindness he should
bestow fifty fold. The heart of man will not rest satisfied with
inferiority, and has recourse to a thousand stratagems, a thousand
deceptions, to relieve itself of any such doubts; which it entertains
with impatience, and pain.
My own enthusiasm however was soon inclined to subside; and I became
ready to tax myself with that meanness and degradation which I had
felt, and expressed, at the beginning of the discussion. Of this
the quick penetration of Mr. Evelyn seemed to be aware; and he so
effectually counteracted these emotions that, at length, I abandoned
all thoughts of resistance; or of betraying those jealousies which
would now have appeared almost insulting, to a man who had displayed a
spirit so disinterested.
This subject being as it were dismissed, our conversation recurred to
my present affairs, and future prospects; and, while we discoursed on
these, that which might well at this period be called the malady of my
mind exhibited itself. Though I had as it were lost sight of Olivia,
though I knew not but she might at that time be a wife, and though,
whatever her condition might be, I had sufficient reason to fear that
if she thought of me it was with pain, not with love, still that she
must and should be mine was a kind of frantic conclusion with which
I always consoled myself. But for this purpose riches presented
themselves as of the first necessity; and riches themselves would be
useless, unless obtained with the rapidity rather of enchantment than
by the ordinary progress of human events.
I did not conceal this weakness from my friend, and ventured to
propose a plan on which I had previously been ruminating; though I
had foreseen no means of putting it in practice. Every man had heard
of the fortunes acquired in the east, and of the wealth which had been
poured from the lap of India. The army there was at all times open
to men like myself; youthful, healthy, and of education. 'Tis true I
had been of opinion that there were strong moral objections to this
profession: but these my more prevalent passions had lulled me into a
forgetfulness of, and I stated this as the most probable scheme for
the accomplishment of my dearest hopes.
Mr. Evelyn, anxious not to wound me where I was most vulnerable,
began by soothing my ruling passion; and then proceeded to detail the
physical chances of a ruined constitution, of death, and of failure;
and afterward to represent, with unassuming but with stedfast energy,
the moral turpitude first of subjecting myself to the physical evils
he had recited, and next of hiring myself to enmity against nations
I had never known, and of becoming the assassin of people whom I had
never seen, and who had not had any possible opportunity of doing me
an injury, or even of giving me an offence.
The objections I started, partly to defend the opinions I had begun
with, and partly because I felt myself loth to relinquish a plan by
which my imagination had been flattered, soon became very feeble: but
the interesting nature of the subject prolonged the discussion till it
was nearly dinner time.
In the course of this enquiry, Mr. Evelyn delineated the contemptible
yet ridiculous arts which are employed to entrap men into the military
service; pourtrayed the inevitable depravity of their morals, and gave
a history of the feelings worthy of fiends which are engendered, while
they are trained to fix their bayonets, load their pieces, level them,
discharge them at men they had never seen before, strike off the heads
of these strangers with furious dexterity, stab the ground in full
gallop on which they are supposed to have fallen and to lie helpless,
and commit habitual and innumerable murders in imagination, that they
may be hardened for actual slaughter.
He afterward gave an enlightened and animated sketch of the abject
condition of those who command these men, of the total resignation
which each makes of his understanding to that of the next in rank
above him, and of the arrogant, the ignorant, the turbulent, the
dangerous and the slavish spirit which this begets. He finished the
picture with a recapitulation of the innumerable and horrid miseries
which everlastingly mark the progress of war; which he painted with
such force and truth that I recoiled from the contemplation of it with
My feelings had been so agitated by this discourse that my imagination
was thoroughly rouzed. My former ideas, concerning the enormous vices
of war, had not only been revived but increased; and, though I began
with debating the question, I soon ceased to oppose: so that my
thoughts were rather busied in filling up the picture, and collecting
all its horrors, than in apologizing for or denying their existence.
This was the temper of mind in which Mr. Evelyn, attending to his
own concerns, left me for a short time; and my heart was so agonized
by the recollection that this was a system to which men were still
devoted, and of which they were still in the headlong and hot pursuit,
that I then immediately, and perhaps with less effort than I ever made
on a similar occasion, produced the following poem:
All hail to the hero whom victory leads,
Triumphant, from fields of renown!
From kingdoms left barren! from plains drench'd in blood!
And the sacking of many a fair town!
His gore-dripping sword shall hang high in the hall;
Revered for the havoc it spread!
For the deaths it has dealt! for the terrors it struck!
And the torrents of blood it has shed!
His banners in haughty procession shall ride,
On Jehovah's proud altars unfurl'd!
While anthems and priests waft to heaven his praise,
For the slaughter and wreck of a world!
Though widows and orphans together shall crowd,
To gaze as at heaven's dread rod,
And mutter their curses, and mingle their tears,
Invoking the vengeance of God:
Though, while bloated Revelry roars at his board,
Where surfeiting hecatombs fume,
Desolation and Famine shall howl, and old Earth
Her skeleton hordes shall intomb:
All ghastly and mangled, from fields where they fell,
With horrible groanings and cries,
What though, when he slumbers, the dead from their graves
In dread visitation shall rise:
Yet he among heroes exalted shall sit;
And slaves to his splendor shall bend;
And senates shall echo his virtues; and kings
Shall own him their saviour, and friend!
Then hail to the hero whom victory leads,
Triumphant, from fields of renown!
From kingdoms left barren! from plains drench'd in blood!
And the sacking of many a fair town!
I was too full of my subject, and poet like too much delighted with
the verses I had so suddenly produced, not to shew them immediately to
He seemed to do them even more than justice: he read them again
and again, and each time with a feeling now of compassion, now of
amazement, and now of horror, that shewed how strongly the picture had
seized upon his soul. The associations of misery which his imagination
added were so forcible that tears repeatedly rolled down his cheeks.
To this more soothing trains of thought succeeded. The pain of the
past and the present was alleviated by a prospect of futurity. Our
minds rose to a state of mutual rapture, excited by a foresight
that the time was at length come in which men were awakening to a
comprehensive view of their own mad and destructive systems; that
their vices began to be on the decline and no longer to be mistaken
for the most splendid virtues, as they had formerly been; and that
truth was breaking forth upon the world with most animating force and
There have been few moments of my life in which I have experienced
intellectual enjoyment with a pleasure so exquisite. Clarke himself,
unused as his thoughts had been to explore the future and wrest
happiness to themselves by anticipation, partook of our emotions; and
seemed in a state similar to those religious converts who imagine they
feel that a new light is broke in upon them. It was a happy afternoon!
It was a type of those which shall hereafter be the substitutes of
the wretched resources of drinking, obscene conversation, and games
of chance, to which men have had recourse that they might rouze their
minds: being rather willing to suffer the extremes of misery than that
dullness, and inanity, which they find still more insupportable.
This incident united me and Mr. Evelyn more intimately, and
powerfully, than all that had passed. The warmth with which he spoke,
of the benefits that society must receive from talents like mine,
dilated my heart. Every man is better acquainted with his own powers
and virtues than any other can possibly be; and, when they are
discovered, acknowledged, and applauded, instead of being denied or
overlooked as is more generally the case, the pleasure he receives is
as great as it is unusual.
Our conversation after dinner reverted to the plans I was to pursue.
The law necessarily came under consideration; and Mr. Evelyn, not
having considered the subject under the same points of view as Turl
had done, was strongly in favour of that profession. He foresaw in
me a future Judge, whose integrity should benefit and whose wisdom
should enlighten mankind. He conceived there could be no function more
honourable, more sacred, or more beneficial. An upright judge, with
his own passions and prejudices subdued, attentive to the principles
of justice by which alone the happiness of the world can be promoted,
and by the rectitude of his decisions affording precedent and example
to future generations, he considered as a character that must command
the reverence and love of the human race.
My imagination while he spoke was not idle. I helped to fill up the
picture. It placed me on the judgment seat. It gave me the penetration
of Solomon, the benevolence of Zaleucus, and the legislative soul of
Alfred. As usual, it overstepped the probable with wonderful ease and
celerity. Not only the objections of Turl disappeared, but the jargon
of the law, its voluminous lumber with which I had been disgusted
when reading the civilians at college, and all my other doubts and
Our inquiries accordingly ended with a determination that I should
continue my journey to town, should keep my terms at the Temple, and
should place myself, as is customary, under one of the most eminent
This necessarily brought me to consider the expence; and the moment
that subject recurred I felt all the pain which could not but assault
a mind like mine. I had nurtured, not only the haughtiness of
independance, but the supposition that, in my own extraordinary powers
and gifts, I possessed innumerable resources; and, at moments, had
encouraged those many extravagant flights with which the reader is
already well acquainted.
However, after all that had passed, and for the reasons that had been
sufficiently urged, I found it necessary to submit: though by the
concession my soul seemed to be subdued, and its faculties to be
shrunk and half withered. It was an oppressive sensation that could
not be shaken off, yet that must be endured. Such at least was my
In the course of the evening, Mr. Evelyn at my request stated his
reasons for pursuing his own course of studies; and instanced a
variety of facts which convinced me of the benefits to be derived
from the science of surgery, of the rash conclusions to which modern
theorists and enquirers have been led, and of the necessity there is
that some practitioner, equally well informed with themselves but
aware of the evil of false deductions, should demonstrate the mischief
of hasty assertion, and that things which are only conjectural ought
not to be given as indubitable.
Of this nature he considered their hypotheses relating to the
brain, the nervous system, the lymphatic fluid, and other subjects;
concerning which many curious but hitherto equivocal facts have been
the discovery of modern research.
Mr. Evelyn not only read all the best authors, but went to London,
every winter, and assiduously maintained an intercourse with the most
able men, attended their lectures, was present at their operations,
and fully informed himself of their differences both in opinion and
But his frame was delicate, a too long abode in London always
occasioned pulmonary symptoms, and experience taught him that his
native air was more healthful and animating than any other. The
difficulties attending his studies were greatly increased by his
residence in the country; but they were surmounted by his precaution,
and by the general favour which his benevolence secured to him among
the neighbouring people. Though there were not wanting some who
considered him as a very strange, if not a dangerous and a wicked,
It is curious yet an astonishing and an afflicting speculation that
men should be most prone to suspect, and hate, those who are most
unwearied in endeavouring to remove their evils. That a surgeon
must be acquainted with the direction, site, and properties, of the
muscles, arteries, ligaments, nerves, and other parts, before he
can cut the living body with the least possible injury, and that
this knowledge can only be acquired by experience, is a very plain
proposition. It is equally self-evident that a dead body is no longer
subject to pain; and that it certainly cannot be more disgraced by the
knife of a surgeon than by the gnawing of worms. When will men shake
off their infantine terrors, and their idiot-like prepossessions?
_The departure: Ejaculations: Present pleasures and future hopes: A
strange dialogue in the dark; and a generous and beautiful defender_
The pleasure I this day received in the company of Mr. Evelyn was
uncommon, the friendship with which he had inspired me was pure,
and the respect that my heart paid to his virtues was profound. But
eagerness of pursuit was my characteristic. My plan being formed,
every moment of delay would have been torment; and he, entering into
all my thoughts and sympathising with all my wishes, prompted me to
follow my bent. It was therefore agreed that I and my companion should
depart by one of the coaches which would pass an inn at some distance
in the morning. A messenger was accordingly dispatched to take places
in the first vacant coach, arrangements for money-matters were made
with every possible delicacy by my friend, the night passed away, day
returned, and we departed.
I will leave the reader to image to himself the crowding sensations
that pressed upon my heart on this occasion, the tumult of thought
which incidents so sudden and unexpected produced, and the feelings
which mutually passed between me and my noble benefactor. I shall
live, said I, to acknowledge this in my old age. I shall have a story
to tell, a man to describe, and a friend to revere, that will astonish
and render common hearers incredulous. But this was the language of my
heart: not of my tongue. That was dumb. A pressure of the hand, with
eyes averted, was all the utterance I had.
A child and its mother were the only passengers beside ourselves. The
coach, which was to be in London at ten that night, rolled along, they
were asleep, I was silent, and poor Clarke was full of ejaculation.
'If there be a good man on God's earth, that gentleman is one! He will
find his road to heaven safe enough! He will be among the sheep, and
sit on the right hand of God! I hope I shall be in his company! Though
that can't be. I am unworthy. I may think myself happy to sit far
enough lower down. Not that I can say; for I find the best people have
the least pride. Perhaps as it is in earth so it may be in heaven.
God send us all safe there together! For my part, I think that within
these few weeks I am a different kind of a creature. But what can a
poor carpenter do? He must not speak to gentlefolk, unless in the
way of his work: so he can have no sociability, but with his poor
neighbours. And though some of them to be sure be as good-meaning
people as any on earth, they are no better learned than himself: so
they can teach him nothing. But I have happened on good luck, so I
have no right to complain. And I am very sure, in my own mind, that
there is good luck in store for us all: for providence else would not
have brought us and guided us where it did, by such marvellous means;
so that, while we thought we were breaking our necks and falling into
the hands of murderers, and being frightened out of our senses by the
most shocking sights I must say that ever were seen, we were all the
while going straight on as fast as we could to good fortune! So that
it is true enough that man is blind, but that God can see.'
What pleasure does the mind of man take in solving all its
difficulties! How impatient is it that any thing should remain
unexplained; and how ready to elevate its own ignorance into mystery
To have remained longer silent, while the honest heart of my companion
was thus overflowing with kindness, would have been no proof of the
same excellent and winning quality in myself. I encouraged his hopes,
in which I was very ready to participate. My own pleasing dreams
revived in full force; and I presently ranged my cloud-constructed
castles, which I built, pulled down and rebuilt with admirable
facilty, and lorded it over my airy domains at will. 'Tis a folly to
rail at these domains: for there are no earthly abodes that are half
Nothing worth mentioning happened on the road till we came to the
last stage but one, where we changed horses; at which time it was
quite dark. Our female companion and her child had been set down at
Hungerford; and two new passengers, both ladies, as soon as the horses
were put to, were shewn to the carriage.
They had a footman, who mounted the box; and we soon learned from
their discourse that they had been waiting for the nephew of the elder
lady, who was to have taken them in his phæton, but that they had
been disappointed. They had been on a visit, and had been brought to
Salt-hill in a gentleman's carriage; which they had sent back. While
the coach had stopped, I had fallen into a doze; but awoke when
it began to move again, and when I heard the voices of females
The old lady spoke most, and complained of the rudeness of her nephew
in subjecting them to the inconvenience of a stage-coach, or of
waiting they knew not how long till post-horses should come in, which
as they were informed would be tired and unfit for more work: it
happening that there was a great run at that time on the Bath road.
The reader will presently understand that they were people of real
fashion; and the eldest lady spoke of persons and things which denoted
that high life was familiar to her. This gave Clarke a new opportunity
of wondering how he, a poor carpenter, came into such company: which
he directly expressed to me, with the simplicity and undisguise that
are common to such characters.
The old lady, who had before signified her chagrin at the expedient
to which her nephew had reduced her, did not find her pride soothed
when she learned that she was in company with carpenters: for it
soon appeared that she considered me and my companion as familiar
acquaintances of the same rank.
Her young friend was likewise led into this error; and, when the
former began to express her disgust too freely to accord with the
feelings of the latter, she interrupted her with saying '_Ayez la
bonté, madame, de parler François_? 'Be kind enough, madam, to speak
The old lady complied; and a conversation ensued which certainly will
neither surprise nor move the reader so much as it did me. Should
he ask how I, as a man of honor, could suffer them to remain in the
deception of imagining I did not understand them, let him wait till
he knows enough to surmise what the emotions were that were in a
moment kindled in my bosom. At first, indeed, they were but dark and
improbable conjectures: but, dark as they were, they shook my whole
The dialogue that ensued soon testified that the old lady was in no
very complacent temper of mind. Her beginning sentences expressed
dissatisfaction, were sarcastic, and evidently glanced at her young
companion, whose replies were mild and conciliating. But, not
satisfied with indirect reproach, her assailant, still speaking
French, continued her interrogatories to the following effect.
'And are you still determined, Miss, to persist in your obstinate
refusal of his lordship?'
'Let me intreat you, dear madam, not to enter on that subject again.'
'Oh, to be sure! You very kindly intreat me to torment myself as much
as I please, so that I do not trouble you!'
'How can you, madam, accuse me of such cruelty? Is it just? Am I
indeed of such a nature?'
'Yes, indeed are you, Miss: however you may flatter yourself. It is
nothing but perversity that can make you trifle with the honor and
happiness of your family--Now you are silent! Your fine spirit no
doubt disdains to reply!'
'What can I say?'
'Say that you are a headstrong girl; acknowledge your fault, and
consent to be the wife of a peer--Silent again!'
'I could wish, madam, not to make you more angry.'
'No, indeed; there is no occasion for that! You have been doing
nothing else for many weeks past. For my part, I cannot conceive what
your objection can be! Had that desperado been living, for whom since
his death you have acknowledged what you call your weak prepossession,
I should have known very well to what cause to attribute your
stubbornness: but, as it is, I cannot conceive either your motives or
your meaning. Nothing however is to be wondered at, in a young lady
of your character. No prudent person would have dared to indulge a
thought in favour of a mad adventurer, whose actions were as rash as
they were insolent, whose family was mean yet had dared to oppose
and even make ridiculous attempts to rival that from which you are
descended, and who yet was himself an outcast of that family.'
'It is cruel, madam, to disturb the ashes of the dead!'
This was the first word of retort that had escaped the chidden
sufferer; and this was uttered in a voice half suffocated with
'Cruel, indeed! Every thing is cruel that contradicts the wishes of
young ladies, whose melting tenderness is ruinous to themselves and to
every body that ought to be most dear to them.'
'You must pardon me, madam, for again and again repeating, in my own
defence, that there is no part of my conduct which can justify such an
'How, Miss! Is an avowed partiality for a fortune-hunter no proof? Is
it no stain on the character of a modern young lady? Is it no insult
to her family?'
'It was a partiality which had never been avowed, till death had put
an end to hope. It was produced and counteracted by very extraordinary
circumstances: but, however strong it might be at some moments, which
I acknowledge it was, for I disdain falsehood, it was not indulged. I
needed no monitor to shew me there were too many reasons why it ought
not to be.'
'I have not patience. A runagate! A vagabond! A gambler! A prize
fighter! One of the lowest and most contemptible of adventurers!
who had betrayed his patrons, who had flown in the face of his
benefactors, who was capable of every kind of malice and mischief, and
who had not a single virtue!'
'Madam, I cannot listen to such an assertion as that, however I may
offend you, without continually protesting it is unfounded; and that
you have been greatly misinformed. I scorn to apologise for his
mistakes: but I know that he had virtues which those who have given
you this character of him are never likely to possess. How he could be
guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused I cannot conceive.
Even when a boy, I have heard him express sentiments which I shall
never forget; and which have since been confirmed by his actions. You
were acquainted with none of them. You speak from report; and from
report which I am sure was false, and wicked. His heart I know to have
been compassionate, his principles such as no mean mind could have
conceived, and his courage blameably great; though it saved my life.
[Tears half choaked her utterance.] But for him I should have been
where he now is: a different train of events might have taken place,
and he perhaps might have been living. I owe him my life, and you must
forgive me if I cannot sit patiently and hear his memory traduced
without the least occasion: for, [Her sobbing could not be stifled.]
since he is dead, you can no longer think him dangerous.'
Gracious God! What were the throbs the thrillings, the love, the
indignation, the transports, of my soul! How did a few moments raise
and allay in me the whirlwind of the passions! How did my frame
tremble, and madden, and shiver, and burn! How were my lips at once
bursting with frenzy and locked in silence! It was my guardian angel
that protected me, that pleaded for me, that awed me to patience, and
that repaid by her seraphic praise the virtue she had inspired!
Oh, yes, it was Olivia! It was she herself that had the justice, the
fortitude, and the affection, to assert the dignity of truth, to
controvert an overbearing aunt whom she revered, for this aunt had her
virtues, and to speak in defiance of that hypocrisy which inculcates
the silence that intends to deceive, and which teaches females that
sincerity is an unpardonable vice.
_False conclusions rectified: A lover's reveries: The dangers of a
stage-coach, in a dark night and a fog: The discovery of more old
acquaintances, and the journey pursued_
It has been truly remarked that the most serious and even the most
dignified emotions are sometimes mingled with the most ludicrous. When
the divine Olivia had ended, there was a momentary pause; and Clarke,
meditating no doubt on the advantages of which he had been deprived,
and to the enjoyment of which every man feels he has a right,
directing his remark to me, suddenly exclaimed--'What would I give now
if I understood all that these ladies were saying as well as you do!'
'_Est-ce donc que Monsieur sçait parler François?_--What, sir! Can you
speak French?' said the aunt with a burst of surprise.
'Yes, madam,' answered I; in a low and tremulous voice.
'_Gesù Maria! Chi l'avrebbe pensato! Parliamo Italiano, Signora._ Good
God! who could have thought it! Let us speak Italian, Miss,' continued
she: but, suddenly recollecting herself, added--'Perhaps, sir, you
speak that language, too?'
A dead silence ensued; which was only once or twice interrupted by
an exclamation of discontent from the aunt. Each became busied with
their own thoughts: mine were distracted by doubts and apprehensions,
concerning the manner in which I ought to act. I could come to no
determination. To be seen by the aunt would not only have wounded her
pride, and if possible have rendered her more implacably my mortal
enemy than she had been, but it would have subjected Olivia, toward
whom my heart was bursting with affection, to a series of new assaults
and persecutions. Nay the sudden sight of me might overpower her, and
even have dangerous effects. Such at least were the whisperings either
of my tenderness or my vanity. And yet to miss this opportunity, to
acquaint her with none of those overwhelming sensations that were all
thankfulness, love, and adoration, and not so much as to inform her
that I was still living, still perhaps capable of all the good that
she had ever supposed of me, was in every view of it tormenting. How
had she struggled to conceal her emotions when she mentioned my death,
and that I had saved her life! Should I deserve this tenderness, if I
could leave her to grieve a moment longer? Such unkindness were not
only unworthy of me, but might be dangerous: it might even risk her
compliance to the proposed match.
And here a torrent of painful anxieties and surmises rushed upon me.
The hateful subject was brought fully to my recollection. Andrews was
no longer the rival I had to dread. A lord had entered the lists: a
peer of the realm had sued for Olivia. Who could he be? Was it likely
that she should long withstand the solicitations of her aunt, endure
her bitter upbraidings, and suffer the rude taunts of her brother,
while rank and splendor were courting her acceptance, while coronets
were crouching at her feet and supplicating her compassion? Which of
our ancient barons could he be? How should I learn? Was he young,
handsome, courteous, engaging? Had he the virtues and the high
qualities which imagination is so apt to attach to the word noble?
Another train of conjecture seized upon my thoughts. How did it happen
that they should believe me dead? Who were the authors of this false
report? It must surely be intentional deceit; perhaps of the aunt,
perhaps of Hector; invented to induce her to comply with their wishes,
and ally them to the peerage. I must not suffer it to continue. The
aunt appeared to believe it; and that Olivia had no doubt of it was
certain. My fears confirmed me in the suspicion that it was a family
I was at length awakened from these reveries by the aunt; who
expressed her surprise and impatience at the slow driving of the
coachman. It seems it had continued for some time, though not remarked
by me; and it was not long before the coach stopped, when I perceived
that we were in an uncommonly thick fog. Olivia was still silent, but
the aunt was alarmed by the voices of men; and, as the darkness and
mist prevented all danger of my being known, I opened the coach-door
and jumped out; and Clarke followed my example.
I found on enquiry we were passing Cranford-bridge at the beginning of
Hounslow-heath, that a broad-wheeled waggon had approached, and that
the coachman unable to distinguish the road had alighted to lead his
horses, lest we should be overturned. He had trusted the reins to the
footman who remained on the box.
By the caution of the coachman, the waggon was safely passed, and he
thought proper to mount his box again: but he durst not venture to
drive fast; and, as I was alarmed for the safety of Olivia, I and
Clarke continued beside the horses.
We had not gone fifty yards before we were again entangled with a
timber carriage; the driver of which, embarrassed by the fog, had
turned it across the road.
The waters, which lie in the hollows on the Hounslow-side of the
bridge, had been greatly increased by the late tempests, and heavy
rains. The coach horses began to snort with more vehemence; for they
had for some time been disturbed with fright; and one of them, running
against the projecting timber, plunged, and terrified the rest: so
that the two fore-horses, quitting the road, dashed into the water,
dragged the coach after them in despite of the driver, and the
near-wheels were hurried down the bank.
It fortunately happened that the declivity was not steep enough
immediately to overturn the coach; otherwise Olivia and her aunt would
probably have lost their lives.
Bewildered by the fog, neither I nor Clarke could act with that
promptitude which we desired. I however got to the horses' heads,
myself above the knees in water, and stopped them just in time. I
called to Clarke to come to me; and, as I knew him to be both strong
and determined, I committed the horses to him and ran to support the
carriage, lest it should overturn.
The coachman sensible of his danger, took care to alight on the
off-side. The footman did the same; and I, with an air of authority
which the circumstances inspired, ordered them to come to me and
support the coach. They obeyed. I hastened round to the other side,
opened the door, first took out the aunt, and then accomplished the
wish of my heart: I held the lovely Olivia once more in my arms, and
once more pressed her to my bosom, without the least alarm to her
For how many rapturous moments are lovers indebted to accident! Mine
indeed would have been a single bliss, and therefore unworthy the
name, had not the tenderness and the truth of Olivia so lately been
manifested. But this addition made the transport undescribable! To
be in my arms yet not to know me, but to suppose me dead, to feel
my embrace and to have no suspicion that it was the embrace of
love, to be once more safe and I myself once more her protector, oh
Imagination! Strong as thou art, thy power is insufficient for the
repetition of such a scene, for the complete revival of such ecstacy!
I was unwilling to part with my precious burthen, which I had no
longer any pretence to retain. 'Pray, sir, put me down,' said the
angel; with a sweet, a gentle, and a thankful voice. 'We are very safe
now: for which both I and my aunt are infinitely indebted to you.'
I could make no reply: but I pressed her hand with something of that
too ardent rashness of which the aunt had accused me.
The old lady too did not forget her acknowledgments. She had no doubt
now that I was a gentleman. My behaviour proved it. She should be very
proud to thank me, in a more proper place, for my civilities; and
would endeavour to repay the obligation if I would do her the favour
to call in Hertford-street.
Olivia was not one of those who think only of themselves. 'Having been
so good, sir,' said she, 'as to take us out of danger, perhaps you
could be serviceable to the poor coachman.'
'Let me first see you back to the inn, ladies.'
'Some accident may happen in the mean time. The horses are unruly. We
will stay here till all is safe.'
The advice was just, and it came from Olivia. I obeyed and hastened to
the coachman; who was busied in loosing the traces, and relieving the
horses from the carriage. This was presently done; and the coach was
left, till proper aid and more light could be obtained.
I then returned to Olivia; and, when the coachman came up, the aunt
enquired if their danger had been great?
'I don't know, madam, what you may call great,' answered he; 'but,
if that gentleman had not stopped the cattle, and if the near wheels
had gone one yard nay two feet farther I should have had an overturn;
and then how either you or I could have got out of that gravel pit
is more than I can tell. For my own part, I know, I thank him with
all my heart; and the other gentleman too: for it is not often that
your gentleman are so handy. Instead of helping, they generally want
somebody to help them. I hope they'll be civil enough to take a
glass with me. By G---- they shall go to the depth of my pocket, and
'If that be the case,' replied the aunt, 'we are all very much obliged
to them indeed! But I will take care never to travel in a fog again.'
Just as this was passing, we heard at a distance, and as if coming
from the inn, a shouting of 'Hollo! Hoix! Coachee! Coach! where are
'I declare,' said the aunt, 'that is my nephew's voice! This is very
lucky! He will now take us in his phæton.'
'Surely, madam,' exclaimed I, 'you would not trust yourself and this
young lady in a phæton such a night as this; when you see the most
experienced drivers are liable to such accidents?'
'If the lady does,' continued the coachman as he was going, 'why I
shall suppose she does not value a broken neck of a farthing.'
We then proceeded back to the inn, and were presently joined by
Hector; whom the aunt immediately began to rate.
While she was thus employed, I, endeavouring to disguise my voice, as
I had before done in the few sentences I had uttered, and addressing
myself to Olivia, said, 'I should be exceedingly concerned, madam,
if I thought you would suffer Mr. Mowbray to drive you home till day
light shall appear.'
'I certainly shall not, sir;' answered she. 'But do you know my
'You are acquainted with his name; and I don't recollect that it has
I hesitated, Hector turned upon us, we were approaching the light,
and, with a suddenness which fear and passion inspired, knowing that
Mowbray did not understand Italian, I said in an under voice--'_Il
Signer Hugo Trevor non é morto, bellissima Signora_; Mr. Trevor is not
dead, dearest lady'--At the same instant I snatched her hand, pressed
it, was about to raise it to my lips, but recollecting myself, turned
short round, and added, '_Addio!_'
Clarke was at my back; and I plucked him by the coat, and
whispered--'Come with me.'
But what of Olivia? Was she dead to feeling at this strange mysterious
moment? Did no rushing torrent of ideas suddenly overwhelm her? The
man whose loss she had lamented not in his grave; that man again her
saviour, her guardian genius in the dark hour of dread and danger;
acquainted in a way the most extraordinary with her thoughts, and
favourable wishes; or, as she was too severely inclined to term it,
her passion and its folly; a witness that she did not credit all
which malice could urge against him, nor listen in base silence when
her perhaps too partial heart pleaded in his behalf; nay more, that
man the protector of her aunt, by whom he had been so often and so
bitterly reviled; that man travelling in obscurity; in familiar
society with a carpenter, yet braving peril in her behalf, and
shunning the thanks which the uncommon services he had rendered might
boldly make him claim; avoiding them most certainly because of the
mean condition to which he was reduced; faithful in his affection; for
such his behaviour spoke him; but unfortunate, depressed, despised;
sinking under poverty; languishing away his youth; or crushed
by accumulating disasters!--Did no such fears, no such tender
recollections, assail her bosom?--I have described her ill indeed if
that could be supposed. I must pursue my narrative: for how can I
picture what most indubitably must have passed in her heart, since I
feel myself so very incapable of delineating my own!
This adventure did not entirely end here. I wished to have gone
forward on foot to Hounslow without delay: but Clarke interceded, for
a glass of brandy. He said the water had chilled him; and he was still
more importunate with me to take the same preventative. I had no fear
for myself; for I had no such feeling: but, as I did not think I had
any right to trifle with his health, I returned with him; taking the
precaution to go through the passage to the kitchen door.
Here, just as we came to the threshold, who should be coming in face
of us, carrying a pair of candles, but my quondam servant, Philip!
The instant he beheld me, he turned pale, trembled, set down the
lights, stood aghast for a moment, and then took to his heels.
Though not so terrified, I was almost as much surprised as he; and
suffered him to escape before I had the presence of mind to know how
to act. As however it was my plan to avoid being known myself for the
present, I thought proper to make no other enquiry than to ask whose
servant he was? and was answered that he came with the ladies, who had
just returned from the coach.
Various conjectures instantly crossed my imagination; all of which
were associated with the sudden flight from Bath, the robbery he had
committed, the seeming honesty and even affection of his character
previous to that event, his now being in the service of Olivia, for I
understood him to be her own valet, and the story of my death. But,
though my curiosity was greatly excited, the present was not the
time in which these mysteries could be unravelled. We therefore took
Clarke's prescription against cold; and, leaving Cranford bridge,
pursued our road to Hounslow: where we arrived about eleven o'clock,
and put up at an inferior inn lest any accident should bring us again
in company with the aunt and the nephew.
_Meditations on what had passed: The condolence of Clarke: Arrival at
London: The meeting of former friends: Law arrangements_
It may be well supposed that the incidents of this night were not
easily driven from my imagination. While we were walking, the care we
were obliged to take, and the gloom around us, prevented any thing
from escaping me sufficiently marked to attract the notice of my
companion. But, when we were seated in a room with lights, and my mind
was no longer diverted by other objects, the reveries into which I
fell, the interjections that broke from me, the hasty and interrupted
manner in which I ate and drank, the expressions of extreme joy which
altered my countenance at one moment, and the solemn seriousness which
it assumed the next, with my eyes fixed, while the tears rolled down
my cheeks, at last so agitated poor Clarke that he exclaimed--'For
God's sake, Mr. Trevor, what is the matter with you?'
My silence, for I was unable to speak, did but increase his
alarm--'Are you taken ill? What has befallen you? Won't you open your
mind to me? If I could do you any good, I hope you don't think I
should be backward? Are you unhappy?'
'I am very glad of that. But something uncommon I am sure has happened
to you: though it may not be fit perhaps that I should hear what. And
I don't want to be a busy body; though I must say I should be more at
ease, if I was quite sure that all was right. That's all. I have no
Back to Full Books