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dence of the lower orders to an extraordinary extent, and victimised them proportionally.
Consistent was he to the last. On his way to the closing committee meeting, he encountered an old woman, Bessy Yarker, to whom he was always prodigal of his advice, and not particularly sparing of bis censure. Poor, impoverished creature, she had no savings to invest !
Bessy, your basket seems unusually laden; what may it contain ?" And the treasurer bade her stop while he examined it,“ Tea and sugar," exclaimed he: “ soap and rice ; candles and snuff ; currants and treacle,-Bessy-Bessy ! cried her monitor, with virtuous indignation—"you cannot have paid for all these dainties ?”
“Lord love ye! No, Mr. Pennethorne-nor for half of them: but folks know I'm honest, and they give me credit ; and so I creep along!"
"Bessy! Bessy !" reiterated her saintly censor, looking irrecoverably shocked—“ I once had a good opinion of you! once I thought you a Christian ! but that delusion is over. You're in debt, and hastening -I won't say where !"
“Dear, blessed Mr. Pennethorne, don't say so! It is but four shillings, wanting a penny farthing! I shall pay, sir, never fear me; I shall pay !"
"Bessy, it is debt: and you know the Apostolic precept, Owe no man anything.' That is My (!) course of conduct: follow il."
“I wish I could !" sighed Bessy; “but tea and sugar—" The treasurer interrupted her. “ The woman who runs in debt will eventually belong to I won't fill up the sentence.”
“ Don't, sir ; pray don't!" said his dismayed hearer ;—"but sure my cup of tea
“ It should choke you, as a Christian woman, if got on credit. * Owe no man anything!' I repeat-'owe no man anything.'” And with a solemn and reproachful gesture Peter strode away.
“ What a divine man!" sighed Bessy. “ Doesn't owe a farden in the world! And what advice! Wholesome and upright-to them as can take it. And all GRATIS !"
- What is age
But the holy place of life, chapel of ease
Six weeks after the exposé detailed in the preceding chapter, but long before the hubbub occasioned by Mr. Pennethorne's knavery had subsided, Ruth received an urgent summons to the private residence of the senior surgeon. A second, and a third succeeded, long before it was possible she could have obeyed the first ; and when, at length, heated and out of breath, she reached Mr. Bickersteth's dwelling, she found him impatiently pacing the hall, chiding her for delay, and protesting against her loitering gait and mincing steps:
“I have no time, Nurse, to waste on introductory remarks, and therefore state my object at once. I want your services for Mr. Calmady, a wealthy patient of mine in Great Ormond Street. His situation is precarious, but not hopeless. I wish to place by his bedside a nurse on whom I can fully depend. You are that person.”.
“ But," interrupted Ruth, " my duties at the hospital—"
“ Are waived for the present: the house committee sanction your temporary absence. They cannot well do otherwise. Mr. Calmady's benefactions to the infirmary have been ample during life; and his will— but this is beside the purpose. Time presses. You will undertake the office ?"
“For what period ?"
“ Uncertain ;-many days—perhaps weeks. And, mark me, he is to receive your undivided attention. He is never to be left. You are to suffer no one member of his family to approach him. Your hand, and no other, is to administer his medicine, and to present him with his food. Nor, should death apparently ensue, are you to relinquish your trust, or quit the room till you have my distinct permission so to do. Are you content ?”
“ The task will probably be irksome; but I ask its performance as a matter of personal favour.”
“ That decides me,” said his companion: “I will now return to the hospital, and make my preparations."
• No return thither,” observed Mr. Bickersteth with a smile, "at present. Send for what clothes you require in the evening; but, meanwhile, seat yourself in that carriage. My coachman has his orders. Further verbiage is superfluous-Farewell !"
Within twenty minutes, Ruth, to her infinite surprise, was domiciled at Mr. Calmady's.
The sufferer, for whom Mr. Bickersteth was so much interested, was an aged and opulent merchant, who afforded, in his own person, a lively instance of the impotence of wealth to ward off contumely and insult from its envied possessor.
Seventy-two years ago~Mr. Calmady was never happier than when telling the story-he had entered the port of B- in a state bordering upon destitution. Wearied and footsore, he crept the first evening he passed within her boundary into a forsaken coalshed; and at sunrise earned his morning's meal as a porter upon her crowded quays. He who was to be subsequently her chief magistrate, and to die the wealthiest of her citizens !
Resolved to rise above his fellows,-purposed, steadily purposed, to cease, and that speedily, to be “a hewer of wood and drawer of water,” he used as allies the most undeviating frugality and the most enduring perseverance, a temperance proof against temptation, a cheerfulness that never flagged, and a temper which no ill-usage could irritate. His struggle in rising from the very depths of poverty to the surface of society was protracted and desperate, but eventually triumphant.
In his speculations, in his marriage, in his mercantile connexions, in his political associates, he was singularly fortunate:-his curse lay in his family.
His eldest son was a sot ; his second a gambler; his third a passionate, half-witted imbecile; and his daughter — an only one - a foolish, trifling girl, whose whole soul was devoted to frippery and dress.
He had long banished them from his house. For their ceaseless quarrels and bitter jealousies--especially since their mother's death-had rendered them, as inmates, unendurable. Still, quarrel and contend as they would among themselves, on one point they cordially agreed that their father had lived too long; and that no sound would be more welcome to their ear than that of his passing-knell
. The old man felt this unnatural bias in his children keenly. It embittered his whole existence. Neither remonstrance nor indulgence-neither menace nor entreaty, moved them. They had come to this conclusion, one and all, that their father's,“ tenacity of existence” was “a posi. tive evil ;” and were not slow to avow it. For the first time, the successful and prosperous man was baffled. The wayward disposition of his children presented an obstacle which no exercise of wealth could remove.
To him who, through life, had been proverbially temperate, the thought was agony, that his accumulations should be squandered by Felix the sot; or be staked on the “hazard of the die” in some fashionable hells by Edwin the blackleg; or be frittered away in foreign millinery and costly trinkets by the flippant and foolish Martha. And yet some disposition of his property he must make. This became, hourly, a more urgent and painful subject for consideration. At length the ceaseless inquietude of the mind told upon the body; and Mr. Calmady fell seriously ill. His recovery was, by his family, deemed impossible. Fainting fits came on: each of which the dutiful Felix pronounced and hoped would be the last. But by none of those who surrounded his sick-bed was the old man's vigour of constitution duly appreciated. The prognostics of the most confident he falsified. His mental faculties returned to him ; and during a short interval of ease, he sent for his legal adviser, and executed, off-hand, a short but comprehensive will. In it he bequeathed some handsome legacies to various public charities ; made a provision for the poor, imbecile, son -Richard; and the remainder of his property he divided equally, share and share alike, among his three remaining children.
It seemed as if the execution of this document relieved him, tally as well as bodily; for he rallied, immediately after its completion, and eventually recovered:
He had been convalescent about a week, when the dutiful Felixvery considerably disguised-it was barely noon !-made his appearance in the old man's chamber ; and as connectedly as constant hiccup would allow him, bellowed forth :
“So! you've thought better of it! Eh? Going to take another spell! Bah! Not had enough of it yet? We thought we were about to have a riddance. But no!"
And the BRUTE-degraded and enslaved, say, does he deserve the name of man ?-cursed, loudly and repeatedly, his aged parent!
Mr. Calmady was, visibly, distressed. He wept in silence for some minutes. 'Rousing himself
, he at length ordered the intruder to be removed forcibly from his presence. Neither comment nor menace escaped him ; nor was he ever heard to allude, directly or indirectly, to that frightful interview. But he acted on it! That very night, before he retired to rest, he called for his will, and burnt it. The
following morning found him too feverish, wandering, and unsettled to execute another; and the recollection of his hasty act overnightthe dread that by it he might possibly die intestate, -and if so, that all his landed property would pass to his unnatural son—the drunkard -as his first-born, -heightened the agitation and disorder of his spirits. A relapse was the result. Fainting fits returned. He was conscious, only at rare and brief intervals, of what was passing around him. And in this state Ruth Dangerfield found him when she assumed the post of watcher beside his bed.
Wealth-thou universal idol! - thou hast thy thorns as well as Penury.
Heavily wore away the hours during the first night of Ruth's attendance on the aged merchant. The house—the room—the sick. man, all were strange. Moreover, a feeling of insecurity troubled her. She fancied herself subject to some secret éspionage. More than once during that heavy vigil did she hear a stealthy step approach the sufferer's chamber; pause at its threshold, as if for the purpose of observation; and then swiftly and warily glide away. Twice, too, she saw the door-handle turned gently round with the slightest possible noise. But the purpose, be it what it might, of the meditated intruder, was disappointed. A strong night-bolt secured Ruth against all stray visitors. Still the attempt perplexed and alarmed her.
Meanwhile, her charge slept soundly; and at intervals, let the truth be told-his attendant dozed in her easy-chair beside him. Towards morning he became restless; moaned heavily; and repeated again and again, with painful emphasis
“ I have much to leave ! Oh! I have much to leave! But how? But how?"
The exclamation, broken as it was, indicated full well the subject which harassed the sufferer's mind. Before nine Mr. Bickersteth paid his morning visit. He pronounced his patient worse ; but still considered the case to be by no means hopeless; ordered nutriment to be given in small quantities every three hours; urged on Ruth unrelaxed vigilance; and enjoined perfect stillness in the sick man's chamber. She then detailed to him the annoyances of the past night, and her inability to account for them.
“ I can, and easily,” was the reply. “ This chamber is watched intently. Some of the servants are, unquestionably, in the pay of the sons. Tidings from it are eagerly sought, and heavily acknowledged ; but let neither artifice nor entreaty, threat nor bribe, win for any one of the Calmady's permission to pass its threshold."
“ Depend on me,” was the brief answer.
The twilight of a foggy November day was rapidly deepening into darkness, when perfect consciousness returned suddenly to the sufferer; and, after gazing long and earnestly on Ruth, he observed, in a low, quiet, tone :
“I don't recollect you: what's your name?"
“ Then I trust you. My keys are under my pillow, and my pocketbook. Take them; and give them up to no living creature till-till -till-” His senses again failed him, and he relapsed into his former, mo.
notonous plaint _“I have much to leave -oh! I have much to leave.”
This restlessness lasted an hour, when he slept, and continued to do so till midnight. Then his breathing fell; became fainter and fainter, till respiration was no longer perceptible ; and Ruth, seized with alarm, rang her bell, and desired Mr. Bickersteth to be summoned. The messenger speedily returned with the disheartening intelligence that the doctor had been sent for into the country, and would not return till daybreak.
Scarcely had this message been delivered, when the door-bell rang violently. The summons was quickly answered. Two young men ran rapidly up the stairs, and having rapped loudly at the door of Mr. Calmady's room, demanded, in peremptory terms, instant admittance.
It was refused.
“Force the door!" cried a party on the outside, in a determined tone: “force the door, I say: I'll hold you
harmless.” Two heavy blows were given with right goodwill. A crash was leard. Another. The panels gave way; then the door-case; and two men—the elder evidently under the influence of strong excitement-stepped quickly into the apartment.
- This house is now mine!"-Felix the sot spoke~"Hurrah! no will!”
THE FORTUNES OF THE SCATTERGOOD FAMILY.
BY ALBERT SMITH.
The last appearance of Mr. Fogg.--The return home.
VINCENT slept but little that night, for his brain was in a perfect whirl. The bright sun darted through the windows before he closed his eyes ; and then his mind was equally confused. He slumbered but for an hour or two; and as soon as he heard footsteps in the chamber above, betokening that Mr. Fogg had got up, or, as he more gracefully said, had sprung from his couch, Vincent rose also, impatient to tell his good friend everything, and feeling assured that he would enter into his happiness.
And he was not deceived. The kindly dramatic author,—who had been at the circus last evening when Vincent quitted it in so strange a manner, and who had ever since been in great anxiety as to the cause and result of such a proceeding, until he bad determined to make it a situation at the end of the first act of the next droma he wrote, feeling assured it would excite the feelings of everybody—this good and simple soul was as overjoyed as Vincent himself. And when Vincent told him of all the things Člara had accomplished, he applauded with his hands as he would have done at a playhouse ; and inwardly congratulated