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For the Weekly Magazine.

ARTHUR MERVYN;
or, memoirs of the year 1793.

[Continued from page 71.]

WELBECK did not return tho'
hour succeeded hour till the clock
struck ten. I inquired of the ser-
vants, who informed me that their
master was not accustomed to stay
out so late. I seated myself at a ta-
ble, in the parlour, on which there
stood a light, and listened for the
signal of his coming, either by the
found of steps on the pavement with-
out, or by a peal from the bell. The
silence was uninterrupted and pro-
found, and each minute added to my
sum of impatience and anxiety.

To relieve myself from the heat
of the weather, which was aggra-
vated by the condition of my thoughts,
as well as to beguile this tormenting
interval, it occured to me to betake
myself to the bath. I left the candle
where it stood, and imagined that
even in the bath, I should hear the
sound of the bell which would be rung
upon his arrival at the door.

No such signal occurred, and, af-
ter taking this refreshment, I prepar-
ed to return to my post. The par-
lour was still unoccupied, but this
was not all: The candle I had left
upon the table was gone. This was
an inexplicable circumstance. On my
promise to wait for their master, the
servants had retired to bed. No
signal of any one's entrance had been
given. The street door was locked
and the key hung at its customary
place, upon the wall. What was I
to think? It was obvious to suppose
that the candle had been removed by
a domestic; but their footsteps could
not be traced, and I was not suffici-
ently acquainted with the house to
find the way, especially immersed in
darkness, to their chamber. One
measure, however, it was evidently
proper to take, which was to supply
myself, anew, with a light. This
was instantly performed; but what
was next to be done?



I was weary of the perplexities in
which I was embroiled. I saw no
avenue to escape from them but that
which led me to the bosom of na-
ture and to my ancient occupations.
For a moment I was tempted to re-
sume my rustic garb, and, on that
very hour, to desert this habitation.
One thing only detained me; the de-
sire to apprize my patron of the
treachery of Thetford. For this end
I was anxious to obtain an interview;
but now I reflected that this infor-
mation, could, by other means be
imparted. Was it not sufficient to
write him briefly these particulars,
and leave him to profit by the know-
ledge? Thus, I might, likewise, ac-
quaint him with my motives for thus
abruptly and unseasonably deserting
his service.

To the execution of this scheme
pen and paper were necessary. The
business of writing was performed in
the chamber on the third story. I had
been hitherto denied access to this
room: In it was a show of papers
and books. Here it was that the
task, for which I had been retained,
was to be performed; but I was to
enter it and leave it only in company
with Welbeck. For what reasons,
I asked, was this procedure to be
adopted?

The influence of prohibitions and
an appearance of disguise in awaken-
ing curiosity, are well known. My
mind fastened upon the idea of this
room with an unusual degree of in-
tenseness. I had seen it but for a
moment. Many of Welbeck's hours
were spent in it. It was not to be
inferred that they were consumed in
idleness: What then was the nature
of his employment over which a veil
of such impenetrable secrecy was
cast?

Will you wonder that the design
of entering this recess was insensibly
formed? Possibly it was locked, but
its accessibleness was likewise possible.
I meant not the commission of any
crime. My principal purpose was to
procure the implements of writing,

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which were elsewhere not to be found.
I should neither unseal papers nor open
drawers. I would merely take a sur-
vey of the volumes and attend to the
objects that spontaneously presented
themselves to my view. In this there
surely was nothing criminal or blame-
worthy. Meanwhile I was not un-
mindful of the sudden disappearance
of the candle. This incident filled
my bosom with the inquietudes of
fear and the perturbations of wonder.

Once more I paused to catch any
sound that might arise from without.
All was still. I seized the candle and
prepared to mount the stairs. I had
not reached the first landing when I
called to mind my midnight meeting
with Welbeck at the door of his
daughter's chamber. The chamber
was now desolate: perhaps it was ac-
cessible: if so no injury was done by
entering it. My curiosity was strong,
but it pictured to itself no precise ob-
ject. Three steps would bear me to
the door. The trial, whether it was
fastened, might be made in a moment;
and I readily imagined that something
might be found within to reward the
trouble of examination. The door
yielded to my hand and I entered.

No remarkable object was disco-
verable. The apartment was supplied
with the usual furniture. I bent my
steps towards a table over which a
mirror was suspended. My glances
which roved with swiftness from one
object to another, shortly lighted on
a miniature portrait that hung near.
I scrutinized it with eagerness. It
was impossible to overlook its resem-
blance to my own visage. This was
so great that, for a moment, I ima-
gined myself to have been the origi-
nal from which it had been drawn.
This flattering conception yielded
place to a belief merely of similitude
between me and the genuine original.

The thoughts which this opinion
was fitted to produce were suspended
by a new object. A small volume,
that had, apparently, been much used,
lay upon the toilet. I opened it, and
found it to contain some of the Dra-

mas of Apostolo Zeno. I turned over
the leaves: a written paper saluted
my sight. A single glance informed
me that it was English. For the pre-
sent I was insensible to all motives
that would command me to forbear.
I seized the paper with an intention
to peruse it.

At that moment a stunning report
was heard. It was loud enough to
shake the walls of the apartment, and
abrupt enough to throw me into tre-
mours. I dropped the book and
yielded for a moment to confusion
and surprise. From what quarter it
came, I was unable accurately to de-
termine: but there could be no doubt,
from its loudness, that it was near,
and even in the house. It was no
less manifest that the sound arose
from the discharge of a pistol. Some
hand must have drawn the trigger. I
recollected the disappearance of the
candle from the room below. In-
stantly a supposition darted into my
mind which made my hair rise and
my teeth chatter.

“This,” I said, “is the deed of
Welbeck. He entered while I was
absent from the room; he hied to his
chamber; and, prompted by some
unknown instigation, has inflicted on
himself death!” This idea had a
tendency to palsy my limbs and my
thoughts. Some time past in pain-
ful and tumultuous fluctuation. My
aversion to this catastrophe, rather
than a belief of being, by that means,
able to prevent or repair the evil, in-
duced me to attempt to enter his
chamber. It was possible that my
conjectures were erroneous.

The door of his room was locked.
I knocked: I demanded entrance in
a low voice: I put my eye and my
ear to the key-hole and the crevices:
nothing could be heard or seen. It
was unavoidable to conclude that no
one was within; yet the effluvia of
gun-powder was perceptible.

Perhaps the room above had been
the scene of this catastrophe. I as-
cended the second flight of stairs. I
approached the door. No sound

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could be caught by my most vigilant
attention. I put out the light that I
carried, and was then able to perceive
that there was light within the room.
I scarcely knew how to act. For
some minutes I paused at the door. I
spoke, and requested permission to
enter. My words were succeeded by
a death-like stillness. At length I
ventured softly to withdraw the bolt;
to open, and to advance within the
room. Nothing could exceed the
horror of my expectation; yet I
was startled by the scene that I
beheld.

In a chair, whose back was placed
against the front wall, sat Welbeck.
My entrance alarmed him not, nor
roused him from the stupor into which
he was plunged. He rested his hands
upon his knees, and his eyes were
rivetted to something that lay, at the
distance of a few feet before him, on
the floor. A second glance was suffi-
cient to inform me of what nature
this object was. It was the body of
a man, bleeding, ghastly, and still ex-
hibiting the marks of convulsion and
agony!

I shall omit to describe the shock
which a spectacle like this communi-
cated to my unpractised senses. I
was nearly as panic-struck and power-
less as Welbeck himself. I gazed,
without power of speech, at one time,
at Welbeck: Then I fixed terri-
fied eyes on the distorted features of
the dead. At length, Welbeck, re-
covering from his reverie, looked up,
as if to see who it was that had en-
tered. No surprise, no alarm, was
betrayed by him on seeing me. He
manifested no desire or intention to
interrupt the fearful silence.

My thoughts wandered in confu-
sion and terror. The first impulse
was to fly from the scene; but I could
not be long insensible to the exigen-
cies of the moment. I saw that af-
fairs must not be suffered to remain
in their present situation. The in-
sensibility or despair of Welbeck
required consolation and succour.
How to communicate my thoughts,

or offer my assistance, I knew not.
What led to this murderous catastro-
phe; who it was whose breathless
corpse was before me; what concern
Welbeck had in producing his death;
were as yet unknown.

At length he rose from his seat,
and strode at first with faltering, and
then with more steadfast steps, across
the floor. This motion seemed to
put him in possession of himself. He
seemed now, for the first time, to re-
cognize my presence. He turned to
me and said, in a tone of severity:

“How now! What brings you
here?”

This rebuke was unexpected. I
stammered out in reply, that the re-
port of the pistol had alarmed me,
and that I came to discover the cause
of it.

He noticed not my answer, but re-
sumed his perturbed steps, and his
anxious, but abstracted looks. Sud-
denly he checked himself, and glanc-
ing a furious eye at the corse, he
muttered, “Yes, the die is cast. This
worthless and miserable scene shall
last no longer. I will at once get rid
of life and all its humiliations.”

Here succeeded a new pause. The
course of his thoughts seemed now to
become once more tranquil. Sadness,
rather than fury, overspread his
features; and his accent, when he
spoke to me, was not faltering, but
solemn.

“Mervyn,” said he, “you com-
prehend not this scene. Your youth
and inexperience make you a stranger
to a deceitful and flagitious world.
You know me not. It is time that
this ignorance should vanish. The
knowledge of me and of my actions
may be of use to you. It may teach
you to avoid the shoals on which my
virtue and my peace have been wreck-
ed; but to the rest of mankind it can
be of no use. The ruin of my a me
is, perhaps, irretrievable; but the
height of my iniquity need not be
known. I perceive in you a rectitude
and firmness worthy to be trusted;
promise me, therefore, that not a

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syllable of what I tell you shall ever
pass your lips.”

I had lately experienced the incon-
venience of a promise; but I was
now confused, embarrassed, ardently
inquisitive as to the nature of this
scene, and unapprised of the motives
that might afterwards occur, per-
suading or compelling me to disclo-
sure. The promise which he exacted
was given. He resumed:

“I have detained you in my ser-
vice, partly for your own benefit, but
chiefly for mine. I intended to in-
flict upon you injury, and to do you
good. Neither of these ends can I
now accomplish, unless the lessons
which my example may inculcate
shall inspire you with fortitude, and
arm you with caution.

“What it was that made me thus,
I know not. I am not destitute of
understanding. My thirst of know-
ledge, though irregular, is ardent. I
can talk and can feel as virtue and
justice prescribe; yet the tenor of
my actions has been uniform. One
tissue of iniquity and folly has been
my life; while my thoughts have
been familiar with enlightened and
disinterested principles. Scorn and
detestation I have heaped upon my-
self. Yesterday is remembered with
remorse. To-morrow is contemplated
with anguish and fear; yet every
day is productive of the same crimes
and of the same follies.

“I was left, by the insolvency of
my father (a trader of Liverpool),
without any means of support, but
such as labour should afford me.
Whatever could generate pride, and
the love of independence, was my
portion. Whatever can incite to
diligence was the growth of my con-
dition; yet my indolence was a cure-
less disease; and there were no arts
too sordid for me to practise.

“I was content to live on the
bounty of a kinsman. His family
was numerous, and his revenue small.
He forbore to upbraid me, or even to
insinuate the propriety of providing
for myself; but he empowered me to

pursue any liberal or mechanical pro-
fession which might suit my taste. I
was insensible to every generous mo-
tive. I laboured to forget my de-
pendent and disgraceful condition,
because the remembrance was a source
of anguish, without being able to
inspire me with a steady resolution to
change it.

“I contracted an acquaintance with
a woman who was unchaste, perverse,
and malignant. Me, however, she
found it no difficult task to deceive.
My uncle remonstrated against the
union. He took infinite pain to
unveil my error, and to convince me
that wedlock was improper for one
destitute, as I was, of the means of sup-
port, even if the object of my choice
were personally unexceptionable.

“His representations were listened
to with anger. That he thwarted
my will, in this respect, even by af-
fectionate expostulation, cancelled all
that debt of gratitude which I owed
to him. I rewarded him for all his
kindness by invective and disdain, and
hastened to complete my ill-omened
marriage. I had deceived the wo-
man's father by assertions of possess-
ing secret resources. To gratify my
passion I descended to dissimulation
and falsehood. He admitted me into
his family, as the husband of his
child; but the character of my wife
and the fallacy of my assertions were
quickly discovered. He denied me
accommodation under his roof, and
I was turned forth to the world to
endure the penalty of my rashness and
my indolence.

“Temptation would have moulded
me into any villainous shape. My
virtuous theories and comprehensive
erudition would not have saved me
from the basest of crimes. Luckily
for me, I was, for the present, ex-
empted from temptation. I had
formed an acquaintance with a young
American captain. On being par-
tially informed of my situation, he
invited me to embark with him for
his own country. My passage was
gratuitous. I arrived, in a short

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time, at Charleston, which was the
place of his abode.

“He introduced me to his family,
every member of which was, like
himself, embued with affection and
benevolence. I was treated like
their son and brother. I was hospi-
tably entertained until I should be
able to select some path of lucrative
industry. Such was my incurable
depravity, that I made no haste to
select my pursuit. An interval of
inoccupation succeeded, which I ap-
plied to the worst purposes.

“My friend had a sister, who was
married; but, during the absence of
her husband, resided with her family.
Hence originated our acquaintance.
The purest of human hearts and the
most vigorous understanding were hers.
She idolized her husband, who well
deserved to be the object of her ado-
ration. Her affection for him, and
her general principles, appeared to be
confirmed beyond the power to be
shaken. I sought her intercourse
without illicit views: I delighted in
the effusions of her candour and the
flashes of her intelligence: I con-
formed, by a kind of instinctive
hypocrisy, to her views: I spoke and
felt from the influence of immediate
and momentary conviction. She
imagined she had found in me a friend
worthy to partake in all her sympa-
thies, and forward all her wishes. We
were mutually deceived. She was
the victim of self-delusion; but I must
charge myself with practising deceit
both upon myself and her.

“I reflect with astonishment and
horror on the steps which led to her
degradation and to my calamity. In
the high career of passion all conse-
quences were overlooked. She was
the dupe of the most audacious so-
phistry and the grossest delusion. I
was the slave of sensual impulses and
voluntary blindness. The effect may
be easily conceived. Not till symp-
toms of pregnancy began to appear
were our eyes opened to the ruin
which impended over us.

“Then I began to revolve the
consequences, which the mist of passion

had hitherto concealed. I was tor-
mented by the pangs of remorse, and
pursued by the phantom of ingrati-
tude. To complete my despair, this
unfortunate lady was apprized of my
marriage with another woman; a
circumstance which I had anxiously
concealed from her. She fled from
her father's house at a time when her
husband and brother were hourly ex-
pected. What became of her I knew
not. She left behind her a letter to
her father, in which the melancholy
truth was told.

“Shame and remorse had no power
over my life. To elude the storm of
invective and upbraiding; to quiet
the uproar of my mind, I did not
betake myself to voluntary death.
My pusillanimity still clung to this
wretched existence. I abruptly re-
tired from the scene, and, repairing
to the port, embarked in the first
vessel which appeared. The ship
chanced to belong to Wilmington, in
Delaware, and here I sought out an
obscure and cheap abode.

“I possessed no means of subsistence.
I was unknown to my neighbours, and
desired to remain unknown. I was
unqualified for manual labour by all
the habits of my life; but there was
no choice between penury and dili-
gence—between honest labour and
criminal inactivity. I mused inces-
santly on the forlornness of my con-
dition. Hour after hour passed, and
the horrors of want began to encom-
pass me. I sought with eagerness
for an avenue by which I might escape
from it. The perverseness of my
nature led me on from one guilty
thought to another. I took refuge
in my customary sophistries, and re-
onciled myself at length to a scheme
of—forgery!”

[To be continued.]