Page images

up, and whom should I perceive at some dis also a dozen of their best wine, and some cortance, but your old friend Mr Burchell, walk, dials for me; adding with a smile, that he would ing along with his usual swiftness, with the stretch a little for once; and, though in a prigreat stick for which we used so much to ridi- son, asserted he was never more disposed to cule him! As soon as we came within hearing, be merry: The waiter soon made his appearI called out to him by name, and entreated his ance, with preparations for dinner; a table was help. I repeated my exclamation several times, lent us by the jailer, who seemed remarkably asa upon which, with a very loud voice, he bid the siduous; the wine was disposed in order, and two postillion stop; but the boy took no notice, but very well-dressed dishes were brought in. drove on with still greater speed. I now thought My daughter had not yet heard of her poor he could never overtake us, when, in less than brother's melancholy situation, and we all seema minute, I saw Mr Burchell came running up ed unwilling to damp her cheerfulness by the by the side of the horses, and with one blow relation. But it was in vain that I attempted knocked the postillion to the ground. The horses, to appear cheerful ; the circumstances of my unwhen he was fallen, soon stopped of themselves, fortunate son broke through all efforts to dissemand the ruffian stepping out, with oaths and me- ble ; so that I was at last obliged to damp our naces, drew his sword, and ordered him at his mirth, by relating his misfortunes, and wishing peril to retire ; but Mr Burchell running up, he might be permitted to share with us in this shivered his sword to pieces, and then pursued little interval of satisfaction. After my guests hiin for near a quarter of a mile; but he made were recovered from the consternation my achis escape. I was at this time come out myself, count had produced, I requested also that Mr willing to assist my deliverer ; but he soon re- Jenkinson, a fellow-prisoner, might be admitted: turned to me in triumph. The postillion, who and the jailer granted my request with an air of was recovered, was going to make his escape too; unusual submission. The clanking of my son's but Mr Burchell ordered him at his peril tó irons was no sooner heard along the passage, mount again, and drive back to town. Find- than his sister ran impatiently to meet him ; ing it impossible to resist, he reluctantly com- while Mr Burchell, in the mean time, asked me plied, though the wound he had received seem- if my son's name was George ; to which replyed to me at least to be dangerous. He conti- ing in the affirmative, he still continued silent. nued to complain of the pain as we drove along, As soon as my boy entered the room, I could perso that he at last excited Mr Burchell's compas- ceive he regarded Mr Burchell with a look of sion ; who, at my request, exchanged him for astonishment and reverence.—"Come on, cried another at an inn where we called on our return.” I,"my son ; though we are fallen very low, yet

“ Welcome, then,” cried I, “ my child, and Providence has been pleased to grant us some thou, her gallant deliverer, a thousand welcomes! small relaxation from pain. Thy sister is reThough our cheer is but wretched, yet our hearts stored to us, and there is her deliverer ; to that are ready to receive you. And now, Mr Bur- brave man it is that I am indebted for yet hachell, as you have delivered my girl, if you ving a daughter ; give him, my boy, the hand think her a recompense she is yours ; if you can of friendship—he deserves our warmest gratistoop to an alliance with a family so poor as tude.” mine, take her; obtain her consent, as I know My son seemed all this while regardless of you have her heart, and you have mine. And what I said, and still continued fixed at a relet me tell you, sir, that I give you no small spectful distance. “My dear brother,” cried treasure ; she has been celebrated for beauty, it his sister, “why don't you thank my good deis true, but that is not my meaning-I give you liverer ? the brave should ever love each other.” up a treasure in her mind.”

He still continued his silence and astonish“ But I suppose, sir,” cried Mr Burchell, ment; till our guest at last perceived himself to “ that you are apprized of my circumstances, be known, and assuming all his native dignity, and of my incapacity to support her as she de- desired my son to come forward. Never before serves?"

had I seen any thing so truly majestic as the air If your present objection,” replied I, “ be he assumed upon this occasion. The greatest obmeant as an evasion of my offer, I desist; but I ject in the universe, says a certain philosopher, know no man so worthy to deserve her as you ; is a good man struggling with adversity: yet and if I could give her thousands, and thousands there is still a greater, which is the good man sought her from me, yet my honest brave Bur- that comes to relieve it. After he had regarded chell should be my dearest choice.”

my son for some time with a superior air, “I To all this, his silence alone seemed to give a again find,” said he, “ unthinking boy, that the mortifying refusal ; and without the least reply same crime" But here he was interrupted to my offer, be demanded if we could not be fur- by one of the jailer's servants, who came to innished with refreshments from the next inn : to form us that a person of distinction, who had which being answered in the affirmative, he or- driven into town with a chariot and several atdered them to send in the best dinner that could tendants, sent his respects to the gentleman that be provided upon such short notice. He bespoke was with us, and begged to know when he should VOL. Y,


[ocr errors]

think proper to be waited upon ? " Bid the fel- ly threw out-these, sir, I fear, can never be low wait,” cried our guest,“ till I shall have forgiven.” leisure to receive him;" and then turning to my My dear good lady,” returned he, with a son, “ I again find, sir,” proceeded he," that smile ; you

had your joke, I had my anyou are guilty of the same offence for which you swer. I'll leave it to all the company if mine once had my reproof, and for which the law is were not as good as yours. To say the truth, I now preparing its justest punishments. You know nobody whom I am disposed to be angry imagine, perhaps, that a contempt for your own with at present, but the fellow who so frightlife gives you a right to take that of another; ened my little girl here. I had not even time to but where, sir, is the difference between a duel- examine the rascal's person, so as to describe ist, who hazards a life of no value, and the mur. him in an advertisement.--Can you tell me, derer who acts with greater security? Is it any Sophia, my dear, whether you should know him diminution of the gamester’s fraud, when he again ?" alleges that he staked a counter ?”

“ Indeed, sir,” replied she, “I cannot be * Alas, sir !” cried I, “ whoever you are, pity positive; yet, now I 'recollect, he had a large the poor misguided creature ; for what he has mark over one of his eye-brows.”—“ I ask par. done was in obedience to a deluded mother, who, don, madam,” interrupted Jenkinson, who was in the bitterness of her resentment, required him, by, “ but be so good as to inform me if the fel. upon her blessing, to avenge her quarrel. Here, low wore his own red hair?”—" Yes, I think sir, is the letter, which will serve to convince you so," cried Sophia.—" And did your honour," of her imprudence, and diminish his guilt.” continued he, turning to Sir William, “observe

He took the letter, and hastily read it over.- the length of his legs ?"-" I can't be sure of “ This,” says he, “though not a perfect excuse, their length,” cried the Baronet, “ but I am is such a palliation of his fault as induces me to convinced of their swiftness ; for he out-ran me, forgive him. And now, sir," continued he, kind, which is what I thought few men in the kings ly taking my son by the hand," I see you are dom could have done.”—“Please your honour, surprised at finding me here; but I have often aied Jenkinson, “ I know the man ; it is cer. visited prisons upon occasions less interesting. tainly the same; the best runner in England I am now come to see justice done a worthy man, he has beaten Pinwire of Newcastle ; Timothy for whom I have the most sincere esteem. í Baxter is his name: I know him perfectly, and have long been a disguised spectator of thy fa- the very place of his retreat at this moment. If ther's benevolence. I have at his little dwelling your honour will bid Mr Jailer let two of his enjoyed respect, uncontaminated by flattery, and men go with me, I'll engage to produce him to have received that happiness that courts could you in an hour at farthest." Upon this the jailnot give, from the amusing simplicity round his er was called, who instantly appearing, Sir Wilfire-side. My nephew has been apprized of my liam demanded if he knew him? -"Yes, please intentions of coming here, and I find he is ar- your honour,” replied the jailer, “ I know Sir rived ; it would be wronging him and you, to William Thornhill well; and every body that condemn him, without examination ; if there be knows any thing of him, will desire to know injury, there shall be redress ; and this I may more of him.”_“ Well, then," said the Baronsay, without boasting, that none have ever taxed et, “my request is, that you will permit this the justice of Sir William Thornhill.”

man and two of your servants to go upon a mesWe now found that the personage whom we had sage, by my authority; and, as I am in the comso long entertained as a harmless, amusing com- mission of the peace, I undertake to secure you." panion, was no other than the celebrated Sir Wil- —“ Your promise is sufficient,” replied the liam Thornhill, to whose virtues and singulari- other: “ and you may, at a minute's warning, ties scarcely any were strangers. The poor Mr send them over England whenever your hoBurchell was in reality a man of large fortune nour thinks fit.” and great interest, to whom senates listened with In pursuance of the jailer's compliance, Jenapplause, and whom party heard with convic- kinson was dispatched in search of Timothy tion; who was the friend of his country, but Baxter, while we were amused with the assiloyal to his king. My poor wife, recollecting quity of our youngest boy, Bill, who had just her former familiarity, seemed to shrink with come in, and climbed up to Sir William's neck, apprehension ; but Sophia, who, a few moments in order to kiss him. His mother was iminebefore, thought him her own, now perceiving diately going to chastise his familiarity, but the the immense distance to which he was removed worthy man prevented her, and taking

the child, by fortune, was unable to conceal her tears. all ragged as he was, upon his knee, “ What,

“ Ah, sir!". cried my wife, with a piteous Bill, you chubby rogue !" cried he,“ do you reaspect,“ how is it possible that I can ever have member your old friend Burchell ? And Dick, your forgiveness ? the slights you received from too, my honest veteran, are you here? you shall me the last time I had the honour of seeing you find I have not forgot you.” So saying, he gave at our house, and the jokes which I audacious- cach a large piece of gingerbread, which the poor

fellows ate very heartily, as they had got that them. If he has contracted debts, and is unmorning but a very scanty breakfast.

willing, or even unable, to pay them, it is their We now sat down to dinner, which was al- business to proceed in this manner; and I see most cold: but, previously, my arm still con- no hardship or injustice in pursuing the most tinuing painful, Sir William wrote a prescription, legal means of redress.” for he had maile the study of physic his amuse- * If this,” cried Sir William, “ be as you ment, and was more than moderately skilled in have stated it, there is nothing unpardonable in the profession; this being sent to an apothecary, your offences ; and, though your conduct might who lived in the place, my arm was dressed, have been more generous, in not suffering this and I found almost instantaneous relief. We gentleman to be oppressed by subordinate tywere waited upon at dinner by the jailer him- ranny, yet it has been at least equitable." self, who was willing to do our guest all the “ He cannot contradict a single particular," honour in his power. But before we had well replied the Squire ; " I defy him to do so, and dined, another message was brought from his several of my servants are ready to attest what nephew, desiring permission to appear, in order I say. Thus, sir,” continued he, finding that to vindicate his innocence and honour; with I was silent, for in fact I could not contradict which request the Baronet complied, and desired him,-“ thus, sir, my own innocence is vindiMr Thornhill to be introduced.

cated: but, though at your entreaty I am ready to forgive this gentleman every other offence,

yet his attempts to lessen me in your esteem, CHAP. XXXI.

excite a resentment that I cannot govern ; and

this, too, at a time when his son was actually Former Benevolence now repaid with unexpected preparing to take away

my life ;-this, I say, was Interest.

such guilt, that I am determined to let the law

take its course. I have here the challenge that MR THORNHILL made his entrance with a was sent me, and two witnesses to prove it ; one smile, which he seldom wanted, and was going of my servants has been wounded dangerously; to embrace his uncle, which the other repulsed and even though my uncle himself should diswith an air of disdain. “ No fawning, sir, at suade me, which I know he will not, yet I will present,” cried the Baronet, with a look of seve- see public justice done, and he shall suffer for rity ; “ the only way to my heart is by the road it.” of honour ; but here I only see complicated in- “ Thou monster,” cried my wife, “hast thou stances of falsehood, cowardice, and oppression. not had vengeance enough already, but must How is it, sir, that this poor man, for whom I my poor boy feel thy cruelty ? I hope that good know you professed a friendship, is used thus Sir William will protect us, for my son is as hardly? His daughter vilely seduced as a re- innocent as a child ; I am sure he is, and never compence for his hospitality, and he himself did harm to man. thrown into prison, perhaps but for resenting Madam,” replied the good man, your the insult? His son, too, whom you feared to wishes for his safety are not greater than mine; face as a man

but I am sorry to find his guilt too plain ; and "Is it possible, sir,” interrupted his nephew, if my nephew persists_But the appearance “ that my uncle should object that as a crime, of Jenkinson and the jailer's two servants now which his repeated instructions alone have per- called off our attention, who entered hauling in suaded me to avoid ?"

a tall man, very genteelly dressed, and answerYour rebuke,” cried Sir William, " is just; ing the description already given of the ruffian you have acted in this instance prudentiy and who had carried off my daughter." Here,” well, though not quite as your father would cried Jenkinson, pulling him in,“ here we have have done : my brother, indeed, was the soul of him: and if ever there was a candidate for T'yhonour, but thou- -yes, you have acted in this burn this is one." instance perfectly right, and it has my warmest The moment Mr Thornhill perceived the priapprobation.”

soner, and Jenkinson who had him in custody, * And I hope,” said his nephew, “ that the he seemed to shrink backward with terror. His rest of my conduct will not be found to deserve face became pale with conscious guilt, and he censure. I appeared, sir, with this gentleman's would have withdrawn ; but Jenkinson, who daughter at some places of public amusement; perceived his design, stopped him. “ What, thus, what was levity, scandal called by a harshá squire !" cried he, a are you ashamed of your er name, and it was reported that I had de- two old acquaintances, Jenkinson and Baxter ? bauched her. I waited on her father in person, But this is the way that all great men forget willing to clear the thing to his satisfaction, and their friends, though I am resolved we will not he received me only with insult and abuse. As forget you.-Our prisoner, please your honour," for the rest, with regard to his being here, my continued he, turning to Sir William, “has alattorney and steward can best inform you, as I ready confessed all. This is the gentleman recommit the management of business entirely to ported to be dangerously wounded; he declare's liam ;

that it was Mr Thornhill who first put him up not deny it; that was the employment assignar on this affair ; that he gave him the clothes he to me; and I confess it to my confusion." now wears, to appear like a gentleman, and “ Good Heavens ! exclaimed the worthy Ba. furnished him with a post-chaise. The plan ronet,“ how every new discovery of his villany was laid between them, that he should carry off alarms me! All his guilt is now too plain, and the young lady to a place of safety, and that I find his present prosecution was dictated by tythere he should threaten and terrify her ; but ranny, cowardice, and revenge!-At my request, Mr Thornhill was to come in, in the mean Mr Jailer, set this young officer, now your pritime, as if by accident, to her rescue, and that soner, free, and trust to me for the consequenthey should fight awhile, and then he was to ces. I'll make it my business to set the affair in run off, by which Mr Thornhill would have the a proper light to my friend the magistrate, who better opportunity of gaining her affections hiin- has committed him. But where is the unfor. self, under the character of her defender." tunate young lady herself? let her appear to

Sir William remembered the coat to have been confront this wretch! I long to know by what frequently worn by his nephew, and all the arts he has seduced her. Entreat her to come in. rest the prisoner himself confirmed, by a more Where is she? circumstantial account, concluding, that Mr “Ah! sir,” said I, “ that question stings me Thornhill had often declared to him, that he to the heart ; I was once indeed happy in a was in love with both sisters at the same time. ghter, but her miseries,” Another inter

“Heavens!" cried Sir William, “what a viper ruption here prevented me ; for 'who should have I been fostering in my bosom! And so make her appearance but Miss Arabella Wilfond of public justice, too, as he seemed to be! mot, who was the next day to have been mar. But he shall have it-Secure him, Mr Jailer- ried to Mr Thornhill. Nothing could equal yet hold, I fear there is not legal evidence to de- her surprise at seeing Sir William and his tain him."

nephew bere before her; for her arrival was Upon this, Mr Thornhill, with the utmost quite accidental. It happened that she and the humility, entreated that two such abandoned old gentleman, her father, were passing through wretches might not be admitted as evidences the town, on their way to her aunt's, who had against him: but that his servants should be insisted that her nuptials with Mr Thornhill examined. “ Your servants !" replied Sir Wil- should be consummated at her house ; but,

wretch, call them yours no longer: stopping for refreshment, they put up at an inn but come, let us hear what those fellows have at the other end of the town. It was there, to say ; let his butler be called.”

from the window, that the young lady happenWhen the butler was introduced, he soon ed to observe one of my little boys playing in perceived by his former master's looks, that all the street, and instantly sending a footman to his power was now over. “ Tell me,” cried Sir bring the child to her, she learnt from him William, sternly, “ have you ever seen your some account of our misfortunes, but was still master, and that fellow dressed up in his clothes, kept ignorant of young Mr Thornhill's being in company together ?"-" Yes, please your the cause. Though her father made several rehonour," cried the butler, “ a thousand times; monstrances on the impropriety of her going to he was the man that always brought him his a prison, to visit us, yet they were ineffictual; ladies.”—“How!"interrupted young Mr Thorn- she desired the child to conduct her, which he hill ; “ this to my face?”—“ Yes," replied the did; and it was thus she surprised us at a juncbutler ; or to any man's face. To tell you a ture so unexpected. truth, Master Thornhill, I never either loved Nor can I go on, without a reflection on those you or liked you, and I don't care if I tell you accidental meetings, which, though they hapnow a piece of my mind."-"Now then,” cried pen every day, seldom 'excite our surprise but Jenkinson, " tell his honour whether you know upon some extraordinary occasion. To what a any thing of me.”—“ I can't say," replied the fortuitous concurrence do we not owe every butler, " that I know much good of you. The pleasure and convenience of our lives! How night that gentleman's daughter was deluded to many seeming accidents must unite before we our house, you was one of them."-"So then," can be clothed or fed! The peasant must be cried Sir William, “ I find you have brought a disposed to labour, the shower must fall, the very fine witness to prove your innocence ; thou wind fill the merchant's sail, or numbers must stain to humanity! to associate with such want the usual supply. wretches - But,” continuing his examination, We all continued silent for some moments,

tell me, Mr Butler, that this was the pers while my charming pupil, which was the name son who brought him this old gentleman's daugh- I generally gave this young lady, united in her ter.”—“No, please your honour,” replied the looks compassion and astonishment, which gave butler, “ he did not bring her, for the squire new finishing to her beauty. “ Indeed, my himself undertook that business : but he brought dear Mr Thornhill,” cried she, to the Squire, the priest that pretended to marry them.”- who she supposed was come here to succour, " It is but too true," cried Jenkinson, “I can. and not to oppress us, “ I take it a little un

[ocr errors]


kindly that you should come here without me, real sensations of her heart, for having forgotten or never inform me of the situation of a family so her former promise, and having suffered herself dear to us both; you know I should take as much to be deluded by an impostor. My son appearpleasure in contributing to the relief of my re- ed amazed at her condescension, and could scarcevered old master here, whom I shall ever esteem, ly believe it real." Sure, madam,” cried he, as you can. But I find that, like your uncle,

" this is but delusion! I can never have meyou take a pleasure in doing good in secret.” rited this! To be blessed thus is to be too hap

He find pleasure in doing good !” cried Sir py!"-"No, sir,” replied she, “ I have been William, interrupting her : " no, my dear, his deceived, basely deceived, else nothing could pleasures are as base as he is. You see in him, have ever made me unjust to my promise. You madam, as complete a villain as ever disgraced know my friendship, you have long known it; humanity. A wretch, who, after having de- but forget what I have done, and as you once luded this poor man's daughter, after plotting had my warmest vows of constancy, you shall against the innocence of her sister, has thrown now have them repeated ; and be assured, that the father into prison, and the eldest son into if your Arabella cannot be yours, she shall nefetters, because he had the courage to face his ver be another’s.”- . And no other's you shall betrayer! And give me leave, madam, now to be," cried Sir William, “ if I have any influcongratulate you upon an escape from the em- ence with your father.' braces of such a monster.”

This hint was sufficient for my son Moses, Ogoodness,” cried the lovely girl,"how have who immediately flew to the inn where the old I been deceived! Mr Thornhill informed me, gentleman was, to inform him of every circumfor certain, that this gentleman's eldest son, stance that had happened. But in the meanCaptain Primrose, was gone off to America with time the Squire, perceiving that he was on every his new-married lady.

side undone, now finding that no hopes were “My sweetest miss,” cried my wife," he has left from flattery or dissimulation, concluded told you nothing but falsehoods. Myson George that his wisest way would be to turn and face never left the kingdom, nor never was married. his pursuers. Thus, laying aside all shame, he Though you have forsaken him, he has always appeared the open and hardy villain. “I find loved you too well to think of any body else: then," cried be, " that I am to expect no jusand I have heard him say he would die a bache- tice here; but I am resolved it shall be done lor for your sake." She then proceeded to ex- me.—You shall know, sir,” turning to Sir Wilpatiate upon

the sincerity of her son's passion ; liam, “ I am no longer a poor dependant upon she set his duel with Mr Thornhill in a proper your favours. I scorn them. Nothing can keep light, from thence she made a rapid digression Miss Wilmot’s fortune from me, which, I thank to the Squire's debaucheries, his pretended mar. her father's assiduity, is pretty large. The arriages, and ended with a most insulting picture ticles, and a bond for her fortune, are signed, of his cowardice.

and safe in my possession. It was her fortune, “Good Heavens!” cried Miss Wilmot, “how not her person, that induced me to wish for this very near have I been to the brink of ruin ; but match ; and possessed of the one, let who will how great is my pleasure to have escaped it! take the other." Ten thousand falsehoods has this gentleman This was an alarming blow ; Sir William was told me. He had at last art enough to persuade sensible of the justness of his claims, for he had me that my promise to the only man I esteem- been instrumental in drawing up the marriageed, was no longer binding, since he had been articles himself. Miss Wilmot, therefore, perunfaithful. By his falsehoods I was taught to ceiving that her fortune was irretrievably lost, detest one equally brave and generous.” turning to my son, she asked if the loss of for

But by this time my son was freed from the tune could lessen her value to him? “ Though incumbrances of justice, as the person supposed fortune,” said she, " is out of my power, at least to be wounded was detected to be an impostor. I have my hand to give.”. Mr Jenkinson also, who had acted as his valet And that, madam," cried her real lover, de chambre, had dressed up his hair, and fur- was indeed all that you ever had to give ; at nished him with whatever was necessary to least, all that I ever thought worth the acceptmake a genteel appearance. He now, therefore, ance. And I now protest, my Arabella, by all entered, handsomely dressed in his regimentals, that's happy, your want of fortune this moment and without vanity (for I am above it) he ap- increases my pleasure, as it serves to convince peared as handsome à fellow as ever wore a mi, my sweet girl of my sincerity.” litary dress. As he entered, he made Miss Wil- Mr Wilmot now entering, he seemed not a mot a modest and distant bow, for he was not as little pleased at the danger his daughter, had yet acquainted with the change which the elo- just escaped, and readily consented to a dissoquence of his mother had wrought in his favour. lution of the match. But, finding that her forBut no decorums could restrain the impatience tune, which was secured to Mr Thornhill by of his blushing mistress to be forgiven. Her bond, would not be given up, nothing could extears, her looks, all contributed to discover the ceed his disappointment. He now saw that his

« PreviousContinue »