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“And yet it must be done. . Better to die, than to be suspected. You are not bound to live; but you are bound to live honestly.”
“And why not live honestly with Ella 2"
“Hear me, Doveton,” replied the man of sense; “it may be, that you will smile with contempt, when I talk about conventional distinctions, and say that it would little become you to marry this cottage girl. If I cause you pain, I am sincerely sorry for it; but, believe me, Gerard, that my opinion is the opinion of the whole world. You may despise that opinion, and think that you are superior to any such paltry considerations; but, perhaps, you will acknowledge with me, hat it would be both unwise and selfish to sacrifice your own happiness and that of your best beloved.”
“Doubtless; and that sacrifice would be made, if Ella and I were to be sundered.”
“Perhaps not; you think so at present; but when you have thought about it a little, you will find that it is not so impossible to reconcile yourself to this change. Time has a wonderful effect upon sorrow ; and it is astonishing with ... fortitude we bear, after a season, the evils which, at first sight, appear to be absolutely insupportable. You will soon forget Ella Moore. Have you got a pretty cousin, Doveton 2"
“The prettiest that ever was seen.”
“Smith, I entreat you not to talk in this heartless manner. I love the girl—I love Ella Moore ; and why should I not marry her ?”
“Oh marry her,” said Smith, “marry her by all means, and be discarded by your whole family. Marry her, and entail upon your wife the odium of all your relatives; exalt her to a station in society where her claims will be unacknowledged ; expose her to endless contumely, and a series of cruel mortifications; allow her the satisfaction of feeling that she has ruined her doating husband. Yes, Doveton, let her see that she has brought upon you the curses of your parents, and the scoffs of society; and then ask her if she he happy? Oh! my friend, man never did grosser injury to woman, than by raising her to a station in society, which she was never intended to fill.” –
“Smith, if you were once to see Ella, you would never talk to me again in this manner. I'll answer for it that you have formed in your mind a very incorrent notion of the girl. If you think that she is one of your thick-limbed country wenches, with coarse, rosy cheeks, and clumsy ankles, and red hands, and calf-like movements, and a harsh voice, and a corrupt dialect, you are grievously in error, I assure you. In the first place, she is exceedingly beautiful—”
“And she is full of grace ; every action, every motion of her limbs, whether she sits, or walks, or stands, is replete with the most exquisite grace. I tell you, Smith, that in any assemblage, among the gentlest, the most high-born ladies of the land, would Ella Moore be “the observed of all observers. With her slender, undulating figure, and her blue eyes, and her small features, and her tiny white hands, and her pretty little feet, she is as delicate and as aristocratic a maiden, as though she had been bred in a palace. And her mind, Smith—oh think not, I beseech you, that it is coarse, and ignorant, and indiscriminating ; for she is endowed with an exquisite sense of the beautiful and becomiug; thoughtful is she, much has she read, and when she speaks to you, you would think an angel were speaking, such melody is there in the tones of her voice.”
“One thing seems very clear, however,” said Smith, with a smile upon his face.
“Why, 'tis clear from your glowing description of the girl, that you are devotedly in love with her, Gerard. I would that it were otherwise, my friend ; for I do not think that much happiness is likely to accrue from your attachment. The girl may be all that you describe her; nay, I think that she is, Deveton; for you are not one to see perfections that do not actually exist. But, however beautiful and accomplished she may be in herself, you must feel that, in station, she is far beneath you; and I have already described some of the miseries that result from an ill-assorted match. Be not impelled by passion, but guided by reason. Oh my friend, if ever you have listened to my advice, give ear to it now, I beseech you. Consider well what you are about ; pause ere you have gone too far ; restrain the impetuosity of your nature ; and do not suffer the calm voice of reason to be overswayed by the hurricane of your passions.”
Smith spoke with an earnestness and a rapidity of utterance quite at variance with the even tenor of his common discourses. I had never seen him so much moved before; it was plain, that my interest was very dear to him, and that he regarded me with sincere affection. No ordinary
cause of inquietude could thus have ruffled the calmness of his nature. I looked into his face; and his massive features wore an expression of earnest sorrow. I was almost tempted to cry aloud,
“You have prevailed, Smith, you have prevailed.” But my great love for Ella Moore restrained
me. What was Smith to me in comparison with her ? What were all his homilies, and his eternal common sense, when weighed against one kind word, or one smile of affection from Ella 2 —“Smith,” said I,” you are my friend, I know it; I see that you are my sincere friend. But I cannot abandon the Moores; I cannot tear out the love of Ella from my heart, without bursting all its strings asunder ; as long as its pulse continue to beat, they must, they shall beat for her. Smith, you do not know what it is to love, or you would not talk in this strain to me, . I tell you, that for her sake I am ready to sacrifice every thing ; friends, parents, station, every blessing in the world, but her love. Station, indeed! what is station to me? will descend to her station; on me shall the tempest fall. What if I should give up everything, and live with Ella Moore in a cottage; there is nothing, of selfishness in that.”
“You talk like a puling, love-sick boy, as you are,” returned John Smith. “Now many have uttered before you just this same farrago of nonsense about cottages and broken hearts, and all the other pet symbols of the tender passion, yet how few have put their love and their philosophy to the proof, by giving up, for the sake of the beloved, one tittle of the common comforts of life. You think that you mean what you say, but you do not; no, no, Gerard, no cottages for you.
> * Love in a hut, with water and a crust, Is—Love, forgive us!—cinders, ashes, dust." Take my word for it that the writer of these lines is perfectly correct in his assertion. Love, in a hut Doveton ; nonsense! Hunger and cold, and nakedness, and squalling children, and tickets for soup from the Mendicity Society, and no end of distraining for rent.” “I did not think, Smith,” I replied, beginning to lose my temper, “that you were capable of talking such absurdity... I took you for a man of sense ; I find you a man of nonsense. Hunger and cold, what silly bug-bears just like the bogies, which the nursery-maid conjures up to frighten }. children. Hunger, indeed have I not a hand to execute, and a head to contrive have not faculties, mind, intellect 4–" “And nine hundred pages of manuscript in your carpet bag t”-cried John Smith. “This is too much ; it is, indeed,” I exclaimed. “Smith, you will drive me mad.” “Nay, Doveton, you are that already,” returned Smith, with the utmost calmness.
“Do you wish, Sir, to drive me from your house " and I started from my seat, as I spoke. “Do you wish, Sir, to, to, to— in short, do you wish to insult me?” w
“Why, as you put the question so frankly," replied Smith, "frankly shall you be answered, Doveton. "I do think that you are wasting my time by staying here. I do think that you had better be gone.”
“ohl certainly, certainly, Mr. Smith!" endeavouring to assume on air of levity, as I seized my hat and retired, “your most obedient; good morning, Sir " and I grasped the handle of the door, but my arm trembled so much with excitement, that it was some time before I could open it.
“Yet stay, Doveton; do not go yet," cried Smith; “I don't wish you to leave me in a passion.”
I did not answer, and Smith continued, “I acknowledge, Doveton, that I was wrong." Now, this was the first time that Smith had ever confessed himself wrong, in any of his transactions with me, for, indeed, it was the first time that he had been wrong. But the acknowledg:
ment had its due effect. I returned to my seat, and laid my hat upon the table, and said, “Well Smith, I forgive you.”
“And you really love this girl, with your whole soul ?” asked Smith.
“And she loves you with an equal measure of affection ?”
“I think so.”
“'Tis not enough to think.”
“Oh, Smith can you ask me such a question 3-Do you not remember the first conversation that ever passed between us two 1 Oh! ever since I began to think, has one strong and absorbing
desire possessed my whole soul; a desire, or rather, I should say, a burning thirst, to be loved. And can you ask me whether l know what love is, and what are its common manifestations. Me, who have watched for hours the changing aspect of a countenance, looking for an expression of hove; me, who, with the most subtle sense of hearing, have analysed every voice that has addressed' me, hoping to catch a tone of affection; me, who have watched, and prayed, and panted for love, as the hart pants for the water-brooks. Oh, Smith ! can you ask me, whether I know what are its signs "
The man of sense did not smile at my enthusiasm. His face has sad, and I thought that I perceived an unwonted glistening in his eyes. He shook me by the hand, and said very kindly, “Well. Doveton, I have nothing more to say... I was wrong, from the very first, to intrude my advice upon such delicate matters as these. What have l do with such things? What do I know about the inmost feelings of your heart? You must let those seelings decide for you. I, perhaps, least of all in the world, am competent to give advice upon love matters. Commune with your own heart, and I do not think that you will act impurely; though, perhaps, you will act unwisely. But as the old Roman said, and as I once quoted to you before, ‘Oh! how hard it is both to love and to be wise,' Doveton, I will say no more, to you. Love is the province of the heart, not of the head ; and, therefore, you must be guided by your own feelings, and not by me advice. This is unsaying all that I have said to you before; but I will stand the charge of inconsistency. Common sense and love, have nothing to do with one another.”
Here we perceive that judgment, or the reasoning faculty, is excited into the earnestness of deep feeling, by the passionate energy of imagination under the influence of love. To the language of this dialogue, we have no objection to offer; but we do most decidedly object to the false morality of conventionalism, which judgment is made to utter. What on earth had difference of station to do with this case ? What disgrace even in the eyes of the slaves of conventionalism could Gerard Doveton, the son of a bankrupt merchant, have incurred, by marrying a lovely girl of a most exalted mind, who had never been in any menial station, though educated in a cottage, by a mother who had evidently moved in a higher sphere of society John Smith does not pretend to question Gerard Doveton's glowing description of Ella; of her urity and elegance of mind. What then does he oppose to their union 7 he considerations of rational prudence 7 No; but of difference of station 1 and this in a country where it is not uncommon for peers to marry actresses! Had any great difference of station existed even, the argument employed by John Smith would still have been false in morals, though consistent with what is called common sense: meaning thereby worldly sense; but such difference in station did not exist, and yet Gerard Doveton did not deny its existence 1
In the course of a journey Gerard renders some service to a Mr. Anstruther, the personification of intellect combined with love; a man of cultivated mind and exquisite sensibility, sunk by a series of domestic afflictions into a hopeless state of dejection. His gratitude knows no bounds; until at length it merges into an affection quite parental in its strength. Gerard visits him and then this attachment grows up, and leads Mr. Anstruther to propose to make his young friend his heir. The exalted principle on which Gerard rejects the benefit, is developed in the following dialogue, and every reader will appreciate it, although few, we fear, could have acted up to it. We must premise that Anstruther has become so attached to Gerard, that the idea of the latter's leaving him, is distressing. Gerard is about to quit Mr. Anstruther for a month only, then to return and remain entirely with him. It is to this intention that Mr. Anstruther alludes in the first passage of our extract.
“Once, and only once, during the week, which preceded the day of my departure, did Anstruther allude to the dreaded event, and then it was in language expressive of the admiration, and the more than gratitude which my kindness had awakened in his bosom. “To give up,” said Anstru. ther, “so much for me—how kind, how generous, how god-like "
And the answer, which I returned, is explanatory of the guiding principle which actuated my behaviour towards my friend. “You are alone, and, therefore, will I cleave to you. Others love me, and others by me are beloved ; but they all have more than one pillar supporting the structure of their love. Upon me, alone, do you lean; you say that I am all-in-all to you, but to others I am but one of a number. Take away my support from them, and still they stand erect; from you, and you fall prostrate in the dust. "No, no—I will cling to you, and we will lean upon one another for ever!"
"My son, my adopted son "sobbed Anstruther as he laid his head upon my shoulder and wept.
And suddenly, as Anstruther uttered these words, a ray of light, which had never shone before entered the dark places of my brain. I started, as though I had been seared with a hot iron, and, disengaging myself from the embrace of my friend, I cried in harsh and hurried accents, “What was that you said, Mr. Anstruther ?”
“My son! my heir my adopted
“Thus ends, then, our covenant 1” said I, the energy of my manner giving place to a subdued expression of bitter disappointment. “It is over ; the spell is broken ; and we can no longer live together as friends.”
“What mean you ? Oh tell me, Gerard, the import of those strange words.”
“Listen," said I, in a calm, clear voice; “listen. I thought that I was honest : I thought that my love for you was pure gold, unmingled with the dross of selfishness ; I thought that I clung to you because you lacked support ; I thought that I dwelt with you because you were solitary. This faith can sustain me no longer. You speak of adoption, and call me your heir ; can I any longer confide in the purity of my motives I begin to mistrust myself already. You are rich, and I am a beggar ; you are childless, and I worm myself into your affections. "I am a legacy-hunter, a parasite, a rich man's minion.. I bitterly despise myself already. The very servants will sneer at me; the lowest groom in the stable will point at me. The pleasant veil of delusion has been torn from my eyes, and the pillar of my faith knocked from under me. I dreamed that I was honest ; and I awake from my dream, and find myself a pitiful scoundrel !”
“Gerard, Gerard you talk wildly. I do not comprehend what you mean.”
“Oh no ; unsay those words, I beseech you. I must not, I will not, be your heir. Love ne, but do not adopt me. Let me still be assured of my honesty ; let me still feel that my motives for loving, and for clinging to you, are pure. Answer me, then, one question,-Is it written ?”
“Oh! too hasty 1 I might have been a scoundrel, a designer; but it can be undone, and that at the moment. I will do it. Give me the papers, and then I will prove to you that I am honest.”
“Gerard, Gerard "" cried Anstruther ; “I never doubted it for a moment.”
“But perchance I may doubt myself; so give them to me; indeed, it will be kindest. I in sist—or, if you would rather, I will quit your house, never to return to it.”
There was an eartnestness and a decision in my voice, and in my manner, which fully assured Mr. Anstruther that I would execute all that I threatened. But still he hesitated; he rose from his seat, looked towards the door, then at me, and re-assumed his seat, in silence, as though he were in a painful state of incertitude: “ Bring them, bring them,” I repeated; then pointing towards the fire, I added, “See how brightly it burns.”
Every muscle of Anstruther's face worked convulsively, as he replied, in a scarcely audible tone, “Yes Gerard —I will—bring them.”
“He walked, with tottering steps, towards the door, left the room, and presently returned with a scroll of parchment in his hand. “There Gerard 1–the struggle is over, I do not love you the less.”
I did not look at the document, but threw it at once upon the blazing fire. The parchment cracked, and blistered, and split; but it was long ere the tough skin was reduced to the nothingness of ashes. “Burn! burn 1" said I.
“It will not be burnt,” returned Anstruther; “see how it clings to existence; and why destroy it ! What a silly piece of mummery ! Another slip of parchment, and another stroke of the pen; why, Gerard, it costs you more time and more trouble to annihilate this old document, than it would take me to draw up a new one.”
“Ha!—but it will surely perish soon; and you will not reproduce what I have destroyed.— Nay, nay, Edwin "coaxingly, I added ; “that would be hardly fair.”
Anstruther answered not, and I continued : “But you will promise 1 I'am sure that you will, because I ask you, dear Edwin.”
He looked at me, fondly, for a moment, and then saltered out, “I do promise.”
In the following brief passage a painful truth is very eloquently expressed
“Oh! indeed it wears the spirit to be neglected abroad, and to meet with no sympathy at home. Man needs support either on the one side or the other ; but if the world despise him, and his own particular circle make a mock of him, his must be a strong spirit indeed, if, in time, it is not utterly broken.
In the third volume, to which we are now referring, there are several very beautiful passages. The history of Anstruther is deeply affecting, and wrought up with great power. We can scarcely imagine any description of a perfect community of thought and feeling finer than that contained in the subjoined passage :
We spake to one another unreservedly. We revealed our inmost souls to one another. All our long pent-up feelings now gushed forth in a stream of words. Each was to each like the prophet's rod, which smote the rock and drew forth water. We could comprehend—fully comprehend the secretest workings of one another's souls. , Emotions, which we had long conceived to be unintelligible to any but ourselves, were now described by the one and immediately understood by the other. There was a bond of sympathy between us. We felt, as we conversed, that we needed nothing—not even our most morbid sensibilities. We feared not to behold, on the other's face, a smile of sarcasm, or a look of cold indifference. Heart communed with heart; and we mutually said, “I have never revealed myself to any as to you?” ;
“We had both suffered very much from the impersect sympathies of all around us. How delicious, therefore, was it to meet with a kindred spirit, before whom we could pour our souls freely when our beings overflowed with emotion. Now did we embody, in words, all our most delicate sensations—feelings which, we thought, would have been for ever unexpressed, now found their way into language. All our hopes, our fears, our desires, our joys, and our sorrows, were Ievealed to the other ; and what delight in the revealing !
“We were by nature similar. In Mary Penruddock I beheld a feminine incarnation of myself. Do not mistake me, Gerard; she was as far above me in the scale of morality, as the sun is above the moon, and yet elementally we were alike. The fruits were different, but the trees were the same. She had grown in a different soil; she had been nurtured by other hands; she had been watched more carefully, and tended more assiduously; she had not been exposed to the winds of circumstance and the blights of temptation as I had ; she was pure, and I was corrupt; she like a river at its course, unsullied and untainted, I, like the same river when it had passed through many cities and collected impurity from them all. •
In this same history of Anstruther there is a very powerful description of the evils resulting from that strange caprice and perversity of human nature which leads a parent to prefer one child to another. Anstruther is misled by this caprice into the ill-treatment of the being he had idolized, and actually imagines her nature to have become malevolent when it was really most affectionate. The passage describing his conduct, and its result, is one of exceeding power: it is perfectly heart-rending, but not, we feel persuaded, at all exaggerated or out of nature.
“In proportion as I doated upon my two younger children, did I loathe and abhor their elder brother. The one passion seemed to spring out of the other, and they kept pace in their subsequent development... But to her first-born did the mother still cling the more tenaciously, as I thought, for my hatred of him. . And then another unclean spirit began to tear my diseased soul. I thought that Mary loved the deformed child solely from a spirit of opposition; that she caressed him, and was kind to him to work my annoyance; that she derived a malicious pleasure from praising the amiable qualities of the boy in my presence, and always endeavoured to conciliate my affections in his behalf, at those very seasons when I was most exasperated against him. The effect of this monamania was, that in time I became a brute, and treated my poor wife — my saint-like Mary – with barbarity.
“But still would she appeal to me in behalf of my first-born. Fully confiding in the justice of her cause; no unkindness could shake her resolution. She was the unshrinking advocate of the persecuted, and the helpless. I might frown upon her, but she was not to be shaken; oh! thou plessed martyr in a righteous cause, 1 look upon my hands and they are incarnadined.
“One day—one dreadful day—now, at length, I have come to the crisis of my history, the merciless damon was at work in my bosom. I was in one of my most turbulent moods, when Mary entered my study with her favorite deformity—my study, where it had never been before — where I had peremtorily forbidden it to be brought. She came there, with a book in her hand, to shew me the marvellous progress that the child had made in his studies. She came to taunt me, as I thought, with the moral worth and the intellectual beauty of the little monster, and to upbraid me for setting up matter above mind, for thinking more of the shell than of the kernel. She did say 'something about this, but there was exceeding mildness in the words that she employed, and