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to say; and yet, it would be scarcely possible, that so beautiful a young female as was Miss Granby, could have been beheld by him with entire indifference. Doubtful as this point is, in reference to himself, it is quite certain, that the gratitude which the lady very naturally felt towards her deliverer, had, during the short time that he remained, ripened into a more tender, and more absorbing passion; hence, when Overreach called on the following day, to make inquiries if any injury had been sustained, the colour of her face alternated from the palest blush of maiden modesty, to the deepest tinge that glows upon the hectic cheek, and that again as quickly fled, leaving a slight carnation glow, as if struggling for the supremacy above the prevailing hue of lily whiteness. All the strength and constancy of woman's love, took possession of her unsuspecting heart, and which, but for her father's activity and knowledge of the world, would have proved her ruin.
Overreach had contrived, in consequence of the favourable introduction which circumstances had given him, to the family of Miss Granby, to fasten himself upon their good graces, and which for awhile he maintained with as much tenacity as a Vampyre does his victim. He had taken care to impress them with an idea that his circumstances were affluent, and his station in life scarcely a step below nobility itself. The estate upon which his father had formerly resided, he pictured as his own; while betwixt the noble lord who was his
neighbour, and himself, a friendship of the most interesting character existed. Before matters assumed too serious a legal complexion, however, Mr. Granby felt it necessary to institute private and confidential inquiries concerning the statements to which he had listened:-the result was the complete detection of the impostor. Overreach had overshot his mark: he had attempted to prove too much, and so had proved-nothing. Still, with an impudence which but few would have possessed sufficient daring to have displayed, he attempted a defence; and while stammering out an explanation to the irritated West Indian planter, he received orders instantly to vacate his seat in the house, without an offer of the Chiltern hundreds, bearing with him his sentence, never again, at his peril, to re-enter it.
Fully aware, that having lost his credit in a family of so much respectability, his own popularity must suffer considerable deterioration at Liverpool, he listened to the friendly voice of prudence, and before report should convey a faithful dispatch of his conduct and failure to his friends or acquaintance, he made a hasty retreat from the place of his defeat, sighing as he did so, with the fallen Cardinal Wolsey,
Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness.
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And when he thinks, good, easy man, full surely
He now rejoined his brother in London, without indeed the wife, or fortune which he hoped to have borne with him, and there they carried on, what by many was supposed to be, a respectable business. It is certain, however, that in too many cases, in certain walks of life about town, there is more of the appearance of respectability than of its reality; and such, from ample evidence subsequently furnished, was the character of the concern in the present instance. A capital, worthy the name, had never been possessed by them: bills had been given, and now, claims from every quarter pressed upon them. To deliver themselves from their present dilemma, they were prepared to adopt any plan, or to submit to any course which might be presented.
Up to this period, the acquaintance of Mr. Harmer with either of the Overreaches, was but of the slight character already noticed; but now, Charles determined that, if possible, it should be of a more intimate, and, to himself at least, of a more beneficial order. He had noticed the intimation dropped by Mr. Harmer, while visiting him, that the sedentary habits to which his profession subjected him, were injurious to his health, and that a light and respectable business, where
more physical activity would be required, would not be objected to by him. It now occurred to him, that a fair opportunity presented itself, by which to perform the villain to the life, and to profitable purpose too. The brothers deliberated upon the most certain method to pursue; and having systematically laid their scheme of cowardly robbery, they moved to put it into operation.
Full of the object intended to be accomplished, Charles set off for the town in which Mr. Harmer resided, and in a short time found it convenient to obtain an accidental meeting. A ready excuse was furnished for his visit; and while expressing in florid terms, the high gratification he experienced, in meeting with one so highly esteemed, and to whose polite attention he had already been so much indebted, the unsuspecting victim of consummate depravity, invited him to his hospitable abode, which invitation, without much hesitation, was accepted. Had one redeeming spark of goodness yet possessed the deliberate rogue, it would, no doubt, have been brought into exercise here, and so have turned him from his purpose: but no !— pity and remorse, like honesty and principle, had departed from him. He looked round upon the abode of peace and happiness-which he purposed to destroy-upon an interesting young female, who was soon to be a mother, whose heart he might break, and upon a man, whose very look and action betokened sincerity and kindness; upon whose unsuspecting nature, he intended to practice
a system of fraud and robbery, which might crush him and his for ever! But alas! the "tender mercies of the wicked are cruel;" and those who have not yet fallen, might indeed well shudder, while they behold to what human nature can sink, and tremble for themselves. "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe," should ever be the rock of safety upon which we rest.
It did not require that much time should be consumed by such an adept as was Charles Overreach in the mysteries of trickery, in the preliminaries of his plot. With seeming kindness, he hinted his hopes that Mr. Harmer found his situation conducive to his health, and that his close application to scholastic exercises, was not injurious to him :-of this he had no need to be informed, his own observation assured him of the contrary. Mr. Harmer observed, as he had before done, that he conceived some more active calling would be more likely to be beneficial to his health, than his present sedentary one. As if the thought had just then shot athwart his mind, the artful Overreach observed,-"Why now I remember, you did intimate something that way, when last I had the pleasure of seeing you; and, if I mistake not, that some light and respectable line, would not be objected to by you.-Egad, but I feel happy I have chanced to meet with you on the present occasion; it may, perchance, be productive of something more than was imagined.—What say you now to my profession? It is, you know, light,