Page images

- Now,

And may

went into the chaise, and said, 0, what will my poor papa do when he knows I am undone!!! then,” cried I,“ my children, go and be miserable; for we shall never enjoy one hour more. Heaven's everlasting fury light upon him and his ! Thus to rob me of my child! And sure it will, for taking back my sweet innocent that I was leading up to Heaven. Such sincerity as my child was possessed of! But all our earthly happiness is now over! Go, my children, go and be miserable and infamous; for my heart is broken within me!”—“ Father,” cried my son,

“ is this your fortitude ?” “ Fortitude, child ! Yes, he shall see I have fortitude! Bring me my pisI'll pursue the traitor.

While he is on earth, I'll pursue him. Old as I am, he shall find I can sting him yet. The villain! the perfidious villain !” I had by this time reached down my pistols, when my poor wife, whose passions were not so strong as mine, caught me in her arms. “My dearest, dearest husband,” cried she, “ the Bible is the only weapon that is fit for your old hands now. Open that, my love, and read our anguish into patience, for she has vilely deceived us." _“ Indeed, Sir," resumed my son, after a pause, “ your rage is too violent and unbecoming. You should be my mother's comforter, and you increase her pain. It ill suited you and your reverend character, thus to curse your greatest enemy: you should not have cursed him, villain as he is.” —“I did not curse him, child, did I ?"-_“ Indeed, Sir, you did; you cursed him twice."_" Then may Heaven forgive me and him if I did. And now, my son, I see it was more than human benevolence that first taught us to bless our enemies. Blessed be His holy name for all the good He hath given, and for all that He hath taken away. But it is not, it is not a small distress that can wring tears from these old eyes, that have not wept for so many years. My child !—To undo my darling! May confusion seize Heaven forgive me, what am I about to say! You may remember, my love, how good she was, and how charming ; till this vile moment all her care was to make us happy. Had she but died ! But she is gone, the honour of our family contaminated, and I must look out for happiness in other worlds than here.


- But, my child, you saw them go off: perhaps he forced her away? If he forced her, she may yet be innocent.” -“ Ah no, Sir,” cried the child; "he only kissed her and called her his angel; and she wept very much, and leaned upon his arm, and they drove off very fast.”—“ She's an ungrateful creature,” cried my wife, who could scarcely speak for weeping, “ to use us thus : she never had the least constraint put upon her affections. The vile strumpet has basely deserted her parents without any provocation, thus to bring your grey hairs to the grave, and I must shortly follow.”

In this manner that night, the first of our real misfortunes, was spent in the bitterness of complaint, and ill-supported sallies of enthusiasm. I determined, however, to find out her betrayer, wherever he was, and reproach his baseness. The next morning we missed our wretched child at breakfast, where she used to give life and cheerfulness to us all. My wife, as before, attempted to ease her heart by reproaches. Never," cried she, “shall that vilest stain of our family again darken these harmless doors. I will never call her daughter more. No, let the strumpet live with her vile seducer: she may bring us to shame, but she shall never more deceive us."

“ Wife," said I, “ do not talk thus hardly: my detestation of her guilt is as great as yours; shall this house and this heart be open to a poor returning repentant sinner. The sooner she returns from her transgression, the more welcome shall she be to me. For the first time the very best may err; art may persuade, and novelty spread out its charm. The first fault is the child of simplicity ; but every other the offspring of guilt. Yes, the wretched creature shall be welcome to this heart and this house, though stained with ten thousand vices. I will again hearken to the music of her voice, again will I hang fondly on her bosom, if I find but repentance there. My son, bring hither my Bible and my staff; I will pursue her, wherever she is; and though I cannot save her from shame, I may prevent the continuance of iniquity.”

but ever


Here I found a number of poor creatures, all in circumstances like myself, expecting the arrival of Mr. Crispe, presenting a true epitome of English impatience —

Page 171



Though the child could not describe the gentleman's person who handed his sister into the post-chaise, yet my suspicions fell entirely upon our young landlord, whose character for such intrigues was but too well known. I therefore directed my steps towards Thornhill-castle, resolving to upbraid him, and, if possible,


« PreviousContinue »