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WIELAND;

or the

TRANSFORMATION.

an

AMERICAN TALE.

From Virtue's blissful paths away
The double-tongued are sure to stray;
Good is a forth-right journey still,
And mazy paths but lead to ill.

COPY-RIGHT SECURED.
NEW-YORK:
Printed by T. & J. Swords, for H. Caritat.
—1798.—




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ADVERTISEMENT.

THE following Work is delivered to the world as the first
of a series of performances, which the favorable reception of
this will induce the Writer to publish. His purpose is neither
selfish nor temporary, but aims at the illustration of some im-
portant branches of the moral constitution of man. Whether
this tale will be classed with the ordinary or frivolous sources
of amusement, or be ranked with the few productions whose
usefulness secures to them a lasting reputation, the reader must
be permitted to decide.

The incidents related are extraordinary and rare. Some of
them, perhaps, approach as nearly to the nature of miracles
as can be done by that which is not truly miraculous. It is
hoped that intelligent readers will not disapprove of the man-
ner in which appearances are solved, but that the solution will
be found to correspond with the known principles of human
nature. The power which the principal person is said to possess
can scarcely be denied to be real. It must be acknowledged
to be extremely rare; but no fact, equally uncommon, is sup-
ported by the same strength of historical evidence.

Some readers may think the conduct of the younger Wieland
impossible. In support of its possibility the Writer must
appeal to Physicians and to men conversant with the latent
springs and occasional perversions of the human mind. It will
not be objected that the instances of similar delusion are rare,
because it is the business of moral painters to exhibit their subject
in its most instructive and memorable forms. If history
furnishes one parallel fact, it is a sufficient vindication of the
Writer; but most readers will probably recollect an authentic
case, remarkably similar to that of Wieland.

It will be necessary to add, that this narrative is addressed,
in an epistolary form, by the Lady whose story it contains, to
a small number of friends, whose curiosity, with regard to it,
had been greatly awakened. It may likewise be mentioned,
that these events took place between the conclusion of the
French and the beginning of the revolutionary war. The
memoirs of Carwin, alluded to at the conclusion of the work,
will be published or suppressed according to the reception
which is given to the present attempt.

C. B. B.
September 3, 1798 .


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WIELAND;

or the

TRANSFORMATION.

CHAPTER I.

I Feel little reluctance in complying with your
request. You know not fully the cause of my
sorrows. You are a stranger to the depth of my
distresses. Hence your efforts at consolation must
necessarily fail. Yet the tale that I am going to tell
is not intended as a claim upon your sympathy. In
the midst of my despair, I do not disdain to con-
tribute what little I can to the benefit of mankind.
I acknowledge your right to be informed of the
events that have lately happened in my family.
Make what use of the tale you shall think proper.
If it be communicated to the world, it will incul-
cate the duty of avoiding deceit. It will exemplify
the force of early impressions, and show the im-
measurable evils that flow from an erroneous or
imperfect discipline.

My state is not destitute of tranquillity. The
sentiment that dictates my feelings is not hope.
Futurity has no power over my thoughts. To all
that is to come I am perfectly indifferent. With


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regard to myself, I have nothing more to fear. Fate
has done its worst. Henceforth, I am callous to
misfortune.

I address no supplication to the Deity. The
power that governs the course of human affairs has
chosen his path. The decree that ascertained the
condition of my life, admits of no recal. No doubt
it squares with the maxims of eternal equity. That
is neither to be questioned nor denied by me. It suf-
fices that the past is exempt from mutation. The
storm that tore up our happiness, and changed into
dreariness and desert the blooming scene of our ex-
istence, is lulled into grim repose; but not until
the victim was transfixed and mangled; till every
obstacle was dissipated by its rage; till every rem-
nant of good was wrested from our grasp and ex-
terminated.

How will your wonder, and that of your com-
panions, be excited by my story! Every sentiment
will yield to your amazement. If my testimony
were without corroborations, you would reject it
as incredible. The experience of no human being
can furnish a parallel: That I, beyond the rest of
mankind, should be reserved for a destiny without
alleviation, and without example! Listen to my
narrative, and then say what it is that has made me
deserve to be placed on this dreadful eminence, if,
indeed, every faculty be not suspended in wonder
that I am still alive, and am able to relate it.

My father's ancestry was noble on the paternal
side; but his mother was the daughter of a mer-
chant. My grand-father was a younger brother,
and a native of Saxony. He was placed, when he
had reached the suitable age, at a German college.
During the vacations, he employed himself in tra-
versing the neighbouring territory. On one occa-


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sion it was his fortune to visit Hamburg. He
formed an acquaintance with Leonard Weise, a
merchant of that city, and was a frequent guest at
his house. The merchant had an only daughter,
for whom his guest speedily contracted an affection;
and, in spite of parental menaces and prohibitions,
he, in due season, became her husband.

By this act he mortally offended his relations.
Thenceforward he was entirely disowned and re-
jected by them. They refused to contribute any
thing to his support. All intercourse ceased,
and he received from them merely that treatment to
which an absolute stranger, or detested enemy,
would be entitled.

He found an asylum in the house of his new fa-
ther, whose temper was kind, and whose pride
was flattered by this alliance. The nobility of his
birth was put in the balance against his poverty.
Weise conceived himself, on the whole, to have
acted with the highest discretion, in thus disposing
of his child. My grand-father found it incumbent
on him to search out some mode of independent
subsistence. His youth had been eagerly devoted
to literature and music. These had hitherto been
cultivated merely as sources of amusement. They
were now converted into the means of gain. At
this period there were few works of taste in the
Saxon dialect. My ancestor may be considered as
the founder of the German Theatre. The modern
poet of the same name is sprung from the same fa-
mily, and, perhaps, surpasses but little, in the fruit-
fulness of his invention, or the soundness of his
taste, the elder Wieland. His life was spent in the
composition of sonatas and dramatic pieces. They
were not unpopular, but merely afforded him a
scanty subsistence. He died in the bloom of his life,


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and was quickly followed to the grave by his wife.
Their only child was taken under the protection of
the merchant. At an early age he was apprenticed
to a London trader, and passed seven years of mer-
cantile servitude.

My father was not fortunate in the character of
him under whose care he was now placed. He was
treated with rigor, and full employment was pro-
vided for every hour of his time. His duties were
laborious and mechanical. He had been educated
with a view to this profession, and, therefore, was
not tormented with unsatisfied desires. He did not
hold his present occupations in abhorrence, because
they withheld him from paths more flowery and
more smooth, but he found in unintermitted labour,
and in the sternness of his master, sufficient occa-
sions for discontent. No opportunities of recrea-
tion were allowed him. He spent all his time pent
up in a gloomy apartment, or traversing narrow
and crowded streets. His food was coarse, and
his lodging humble.

His heart gradually contracted a habit of morose
and gloomy reflection. He could not accurately
define what was wanting to his happiness. He was
not tortured by comparisons drawn between his own
situation and that of others. His state was such as
suited his age and his views as to fortune. He did
not imagine himself treated with extraordinary or
unjustifiable rigor. In this respect he supposed the
condition of others, bound like himself to mercan-
tile service, to resemble his own; yet every en-
gagement was irksome, and every hour tedious in
its lapse.

In this state of mind he chanced to light upon a
book written by one of the teachers of the Albi-
genses, or French Protestants. He entertained no


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relish for books, and was wholly unconscious of
any power they possessed to delight or instruct.
This volume had lain for years in a corner of his
garret, half buried in dust and rubbish. He had
marked it as it lay; had thrown it, as his occasions
required, from one spot to another; but had felt no
inclination to examine its contents, or even to in-
quire what was the subject of which it treated.

One Sunday afternoon, being induced to retire
for a few minutes to his garret, his eye was attract-
ed by a page of this book, which, by some acci-
dent, had been opened and placed full in his view.
He was seated on the edge of his bed, and was em-
ployed in repairing a rent in some part of his clothes.
His eyes were not confined to his work, but occa-
sionally wandering, lighted at length upon the page.
The words "Seek and ye shall find," were those
that first offered themselves to his notice. His cu-
riosity was roused by these so far as to prompt him
to proceed. As soon as he finished his work, he
took up the book and turned to the first page. The
further he read, the more inducement he found to
continue, and he regretted the decline of the light
which obliged him for the present to close it.

The book contained an exposition of the doc-
trine of the sect of Camissards, and an historical
account of its origin. His mind was in a state pe-
culiarly fitted for the reception of devotional senti-
ments. The craving which had haunted him was
now supplied with an object. His mind was at no
loss for a theme of meditation. On days of busi-
ness, he rose at the dawn, and retired to his cham-
ber not till late at night. He now supplied himself
with candles, and employed his nocturnal and Sun-
day hours in studying this book. It, of course,
abounded with allusions to the Bible. All its con-


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clusions were deduced from the sacred text. This
was the fountain, beyond which it was unnecessary
to trace the stream of religious truth; but it was
his duty to trace it thus far.

A Bible was easily procured, and he ardently
entered on the study of it. His understanding had
received a particular direction. All his reveries
were fashioned in the same mould. His progress
towards the formation of his creed was rapid.
Every fact and sentiment in this book were viewed
through a medium which the writings of the Ca-
missard apostle had suggested. His constructions
of the text were hasty, and formed on a narrow
scale. Every thing was viewed in a disconnected
position. One action and one precept were not
employed to illustrate and restrict the meaning of
another. Hence arose a thousand scruples to which
he had hitherto been a stranger. He was alter-
nately agitated by fear and by ecstacy. He ima-
gined himself beset by the snares of a spiritual foe,
and that his security lay in ceaseless watchfulness
and prayer.

His morals, which had never been loose, were now
modelled by a stricter standard. The empire of
religious duty extended itself to his looks, gestures,
and phrases. All levities of speech, and negligences
of behaviour, were proscribed. His air was mourn-
ful and contemplative. He laboured to keep alive
a sentiment of fear, and a belief of the awe-creating
presence of the Deity. Ideas foreign to this were
sedulously excluded. To suffer their intrusion was
a crime against the Divine Majesty inexpiable but
by days and weeks of the keenest agonies.

No material variation had occurred in the lapse
of two years. Every day confirmed him in his
present modes of thinking and acting. It was to


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be expected that the tide of his emotions would
sometimes recede, that intervals of despondency and
doubt would occur; but these gradually were more
rare, and of shorter duration; and he, at last, ar-
rived at a state considerably uniform in this respect.

His apprenticeship was now almost expired. On
his arrival of age he became entitled, by the will
of my grand-father, to a small sum. This sum
would hardly suffice to set him afloat as a trader in
his present situation, and he had nothing to expect
from the generosity of his master. Residence in
England had, besides, become almost impossible,
on account of his religious tenets. In addition to
these motives for seeking a new habitation, there
was another of the most imperious and irresistable
necessity. He had imbibed an opinion that it was
his duty to disseminate the truths of the gospel among
the unbelieving nations. He was terrified at first
by the perils and hardships to which the life of a
missionary is exposed. This cowardice made him
diligent in the invention of objections and excuses;
but he found it impossible wholly to shake off the
belief that such was the injunction of his duty.
The belief, after every new conflict with his pas-
sions, acquired new strength; and, at length, he
formed a resolution of complying with what he
deemed the will of heaven.

The North-American Indians naturally presented
themselves as the first objects for this species of be-
nevolence. As soon as his servitude expired, he
converted his little fortune into money, and em-
barked for Philadelphia. Here his fears were re-
vived, and a nearer survey of savage manners once
more shook his resolution. For a while he relin-
quished his purpose, and purchasing a farm on
Schuylkill, within a few miles of the city, set him-


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self down to the cultivation of it. The cheapness
of land, and the service of African slaves, which
were then in general use, gave him who was poor
in Europe all the advantages of wealth. He passed
fourteen years in a thrifty and laborious manner.
In this time new objects, new employments, and
new associates appeared to have nearly obliterated
the devout impressions of his youth. He now be-
came acquainted with a woman of a meek and
quiet disposition, and of slender acquirements like
himself. He proffered his hand and was accepted.

His previous industry had now enabled him to
dispense with personal labour, and direct attention
to his own concerns. He enjoyed leisure, and was
visited afresh by devotional contemplation. The
reading of the scriptures, and other religious books,
became once more his favorite employment. His
ancient belief relative to the conversion of the sa-
vage tribes, was revived with uncommon energy.
To the former obstacles were now added the plead-
ings of parental and conjugal love. The struggle
was long and vehement; but his sense of duty would
not be stifled or enfeebled, and finally triumphed
over every impediment.

His efforts were attended with no permanent suc-
cess. His exhortations had sometimes a temporary
power, but more frequently were repelled with in-
sult and derision. In pursuit of this object he en-
countered the most imminent perils, and underwent
incredible fatigues, hunger, sickness, and solitude.
The licence of savage passion, and the artifices of
his depraved countrymen, all opposed themselves
to his progress. His courage did not forsake him
till there appeared no reasonable ground to hope
for success. He desisted not till his heart was re-
lieved from the supposed obligation to persevere.


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With his constitution somewhat decayed, he at length
returned to his family. An interval of tranquillity
succeeded. He was frugal, regular, and strict in
the performance of domestic duties. He allied him-
self with no sect, because he perfectly agreed with
none. Social worship is that by which they are
all distinguished; but this article found no place in
his creed. He rigidly interpreted that precept which
enjoins us, when we worship, to retire into soli-
tude, and shut out every species of society. Ac-
cording to him devotion was not only a silent office,
but must be performed alone. An hour at noon,
and an hour at midnight were thus appropriated.

At the distance of three hundred yards from his
house, on the top of a rock whose sides were steep,
rugged, and encumbered with dwarf cedars and
stony asperities, he built what to a common eye
would have seemed a summer-house. The eastern
verge of this precipice was sixty feet above the ri-
ver which flowed at its foot. The view before it
consisted of a transparent current, fluctuating and
rippling in a rocky channel, and bounded by a ris-
ing scene of cornfields and orchards. The edifice
was slight and airy. It was no more than a circu-
lar area, twelve feet in diameter, whose flooring
was the rock, cleared of moss and shrubs, and ex-
actly levelled, edged by twelve Tuscan columns,
and covered by an undulating dome. My father
furnished the dimensions and outlines, but allowed
the artist whom he employed to complete the struc-
ture on his own plan. It was without seat, table,
or ornament of any kind.

This was the temple of his Deity. Twice in
twenty-four hours he repaired hither, unaccompa-
nied by any human being. Nothing but physical
inability to move was allowed to obstruct or post-


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pone this visit. He did not exact from his family
compliance with his example. Few men, equally
sincere in their faith, were as sparing in their cen-
sures and restrictions, with respect to the conduct
of others, as my father. The character of my
mother was no less devout; but her education had
habituated her to a different mode of worship.
The loneliness of their dwelling prevented her from
joining any established congregation; but she was
punctual in the offices of prayer, and in the per-
formance of hymns to her Saviour, after the man-
ner of the disciples of Zinzendorf. My father re-
fused to interfere in her arrangements. His own
system was embraced not, accurately speaking, be-
cause it was the best, but because it had been ex-
pressly prescribed to him. Other modes, if prac-
tised by other persons, might be equally acceptable.

His deportment to others was full of charity and
mildness. A sadness perpetually overspread his fea-
tures, but was unmingled with sternness or discon-
tent. The tones of his voice, his gestures, his steps
were all in tranquil unison. His conduct was cha-
racterised by a certain forbearance and humility,
which secured the esteem of those to whom his te-
nets were most obnoxious. They might call him
a fanatic and a dreamer, but they could not deny
their veneration to his invincible candour and inva-
riable integrity. His own belief of rectitude was
the foundation of his happiness. This, however,
was destined to find an end.

Suddenly the sadness that constantly attended him
was deepened. Sighs, and even tears, sometimes
escaped him. To the expostulations of his wife
he seldom answered any thing. When he designed
to be communicative, he hinted that his peace of
mind was flown, in consequence of deviation from


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his duty. A command had been laid upon him,
which he had delayed to perform. He felt as if a
certain period of hesitation and reluctance had been
allowed him, but that this period was passed. He
was no longer permitted to obey. The duty as-
signed to him was transferred, in consequence of
his disobedience, to another, and all that remained
was to endure the penalty.

He did not describe this penalty. It appeared to
be nothing more for some time than a sense of
wrong. This was sufficiently acute, and was ag-
gravated by the belief that his offence was incapa-
ble of expiation. No one could contemplate the
agonies which he seemed to suffer without the deep-
est compassion. Time, instead of lightening the
burthen, appeared to add to it. At length he hinted
to his wife, that his end was near. His imagina-
tion did not prefigure the mode or the time of his
decease, but was fraught with an incurable per-
suasion that his death was at hand. He was like-
wise haunted by the belief that the kind of death
that awaited him was strange and terrible. His
anticipations were thus far vague and indefinite;
but they sufficed to poison every moment of his be-
ing, and devote him to ceaseless anguish.



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CHAPTER II.

EARLY in the morning of a sultry day in Au-
gust, he left Mettingen, to go to the city. He had
seldom passed a day from home since his return
from the shores of the Ohio. Some urgent en-
gagements at this time existed, which would not
admit of further delay. He returned in the even-
ing, but appeared to be greatly oppressed with fa-
tigue. His silence and dejection were likewise in
a more than ordinary degree conspicuous. My
mother's brother, whose profession was that of a
surgeon, chanced to spend this night at our house.
It was from him that I have frequently received an
exact account of the mournful catastrophe that
followed.

As the evening advanced, my father's inquietudes
increased. He sat with his family as usual, but
took no part in their conversation. He appeared
fully engrossed by his own reflections. Occasion-
ally his countenance exhibited tokens of alarm; he
gazed stedfastly and wildly at the ceiling; and the
exertions of his companions were scarcely suffici-
ent to interrupt his reverie. On recovering from
these fits, he expressed no surprize; but pressing his
hand to his head, complained, in a tremulous and
terrified tone, that his brain was scorched to cinders.
He would then betray marks of insupportable anx-
iety.

My uncle perceived, by his pulse, that he was in-
disposed, but in no alarming degree, and ascribed
appearances chiefly to the workings of his mind.
He exhorted him to recollection and composure, but


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in vain. At the hour of repose he readily retired
to his chamber. At the persuasion of my mother
he even undressed and went to bed. Nothing could
abate his restlessness. He checked her tender ex-
postulations with some sternness. "Be silent," said
he, "for that which I feel there is but one cure,
and that will shortly come. You can help me no-
thing. Look to your own condition, and pray to
God to strengthen you under the calamities that
await you." "What am I to fear?" she answer-
ed. "What terrible disaster is it that you think
of?" "Peace—as yet I know it not myself, but
come it will, and shortly." She repeated her in-
quiries and doubts; but he suddenly put an end to
the discourse, by a stern command to be silent.

She had never before known him in this mood.
Hitherto all was benign in his deportment. Her
heart was pierced with sorrow at the contemplation
of this change. She was utterly unable to account
for it, or to figure to herself the species of disaster
that was menaced.

Contrary to custom, the lamp, instead of being
placed on the hearth, was left upon the table. Over
it against the wall there hung a small clock, so con-
trived as to strike a very hard stroke at the end of
every sixth hour. That which was now approaching
was the signal for retiring to the fane at which he
addressed his devotions. Long habit had occasion-
ed him to be always awake at this hour, and the
toll was instantly obeyed.

Now frequent and anxious glances were cast at
the clock. Not a single movement of the index
appeared to escape his notice. As the hour verged
towards twelve his anxiety visibly augmented. The
trepidations of my mother kept pace with those of
her husband; but she was intimidated into silence.


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All that was left to her was to watch every change
of his features, and give vent to her sympathy in
tears.

At length the hour was spent, and the clock tol-
led. The sound appeared to communicate a shock
to every part of my father's frame. He rose im-
mediately, and threw over himself a loose gown.
Even this office was performed with difficulty, for
his joints trembled, and his teeth chattered with dis-
may. At this hour his duty called him to the rock,
and my mother naturally concluded that it was thi-
ther he intended to repair. Yet these incidents
were so uncommon, as to fill her with astonish-
ment and foreboding. She saw him leave the room,
and heard his steps as they hastily descended the
stairs. She half resolved to rise and pursue him,
but the wildness of the scheme quickly suggested
itself. He was going to a place whither no power
on earth could induce him to suffer an attendant.

The window of her chamber looked toward the
rock. The atmosphere was clear and calm, but
the edifice could not be discovered at that distance
through the dusk. My mother's anxiety would
not allow her to remain where she was. She rose,
and seated herself at the window. She strained her
sight to get a view of the dome, and of the path
that led to it. The first painted itself with sufficient
distinctness on her fancy, but was undistinguishable
by the eye from the rocky mass on which it was
erected. The second could be imperfectly seen;
but her husband had already passed, or had taken
a different direction.

What was it that she feared? Some disaster im-
pended over her husband or herself. He had pre-
dicted evils, but professed himself ignorant of what
nature they were. When were they to come?


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Was this night, or this hour to witness the accom-
plishment? She was tortured with impatience, and
uncertainty. All her fears were at present linked
to his person, and she gazed at the clock, with nearly
as much eagerness as my father had done, in ex-
pectation of the next hour.

An half hour passed away in this state of sus-
pence. Her eyes were fixed upon the rock; sud-
denly it was illuminated. A light proceeding from
the edifice, made every part of the scene visible. A
gleam diffused itself over the intermediate space,
and instantly a loud report, like the explosion of a
mine, followed. She uttered an involuntary shriek,
but the new sounds that greeted her ear, quickly
conquered her surprise. They were piercing
shrieks, and uttered without intermission. The
gleams which had diffused themselves far and wide
were in a moment withdrawn, but the interior of
the edifice was filled with rays.

The first suggestion was that a pistol was dis-
charged, and that the structure was on fire. She
did not allow herself time to meditate a second
thought, but rushed into the entry and knocked
loudly at the door of her brother's chamber. My
uncle had been previously roused by the noise, and
instantly flew to the window. He also imagined
what he saw to be fire. The loud and vehement
shrieks which succeeded the first explosion, seemed
to be an invocation of succour. The incident was
inexplicable; but he could not fail to perceive the
propriety of hastening to the spot. He was un-
bolting the door, when his sister's voice was heard
on the outside conjuring him to come forth.

He obeyed the summons with all the speed in his
power. He stopped not to question her, but hur-
ried down stairs and across the meadow which lay


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between the house and the rock. The shrieks
were no longer to be heard; but a blazing light was
clearly discernible between the columns of the
temple. Irregular steps, hewn in the stone, led him
to the summit. On three sides, this edifice touched
the very verge of the cliff. On the fourth side, which
might be regarded as the front, there was an area
of small extent, to which the rude staircase con-
ducted you. My uncle speedily gained this spot.
His strength was for a moment exhausted by his
haste. He paused to rest himself. Meanwhile he
bent the most vigilant attention towards the object
before him.

Within the columns he beheld what he could no
better describe, than by saying that it resembled a
cloud impregnated with light. It had the bright-
ness of flame, but was without its upward motion.
It did not occupy the whole area, and rose but a
few feet above the floor. No part of the building
was on fire. This appearance was astonishing.
He approached the temple. As he went forward
the light retired, and, when he put his feet within
the apartment, utterly vanished. The suddenness of
this transition increased the darkness that succeeded
in a tenfold degree. Fear and wonder rendered him
powerless. An occurrence like this, in a place
assigned to devotion, was adapted to intimidate the
stoutest heart.

His wandering thoughts were recalled by the
groans of one near him. His sight gradually re-
covered its power, and he was able to discern my
father stretched on the floor. At that moment, my
mother and servants arrived with a lanthorn, and
enabled my uncle to examine more closely this
scene. My father, when he left the house, besides
a loose upper vest and slippers, wore a shirt and


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drawers. Now he was naked, his skin throughout
the greater part of his body was scorched and
bruised. His right arm exhibited marks as of having
been struck by some heavy body. His clothes had
been removed, and it was not immediately perceived
that they were reduced to ashes. His slippers and
his hair were untouched.

He was removed to his chamber, and the requi-
site attention paid to his wounds, which gradually
became more painful. A mortification speedily
shewed itself in the arm, which had been most
hurt. Soon after, the other wounded parts exhi-
bited the like appearance.

Immediately subsequent to this disaster, my father
seemed nearly in a state of insensibility. He was
passive under every operation. He scarcely opened
his eyes, and was with difficulty prevailed upon to
answer the questions that were put to him. By
his imperfect account, it appeared, that while en-
gaged in silent orisons, with thoughts full of con-
fusion and anxiety, a faint gleam suddenly shot
athwart the apartment. His fancy immediately
pictured to itself, a person bearing a lamp. It
seemed to come from behind. He was in the act
of turning to examine the visitant, when his right
arm received a blow from a heavy club. At the
same instant, a very bright spark was seen to light
upon his clothes. In a moment, the whole was
reduced to ashes. This was the sum of the infor-
mation which he chose to give. There was some-
what in his manner that indicated an imperfect
tale. My uncle was inclined to believe that half
the truth had been suppressed.

Meanwhile, the disease thus wonderfully gene-
rated, betrayed more terrible symptoms. Fever and
delirium terminated in lethargic slumber, which,


 image pending 18

in the course of two hours, gave place to death.
Yet not till insupportable exhalations and crawling
putrefaction had driven from his chamber and the
house every one whom their duty did not detain.

Such was the end of my father. None surely
was ever more mysterious. When we recollect his
gloomy anticipations and unconquerable anxiety;
the security from human malice which his charac-
ter, the place, and the condition of the times, might
be supposed to confer; the purity and cloudless-
ness of the atmosphere, which rendered it impossible
that lightning was the cause; what are the conclu-
sions that we must form?

The prelusive gleam, the blow upon his arm,
the fatal spark, the explosion heard so far, the
fiery cloud that environed him, without detri-
ment to the structure, though composed of com-
bustible materials, the sudden vanishing of this
cloud at my uncle's approach—what is the in-
ference to be drawn from these facts? Their truth
cannot be doubted. My uncle's testimony is pe-
culiarly worthy of credit, because no man's temper
is more sceptical, and his belief is unalterably at-
tached to natural causes.

I was at this time a child of six years of age.
The impressions that were then made upon me,
can never be effaced. I was ill qualified to judge
respecting what was then passing; but as I advanced
in age, and became more fully acquainted with
these facts, they oftener became the subject of my
thoughts. Their resemblance to recent events re-
vived them with new force in my memory, and
made me more anxious to explain them. Was this
the penalty of disobedience? this the stroke of a
vindictive and invisible hand? Is it a fresh proof
that the Divine Ruler interferes in human affairs,


 image pending 19

meditates an end, selects, and commissions his
agents, and enforces, by unequivocal sanctions,
submission to his will? Or, was it merely the irre-
gular expansion of the fluid that imparts warmth
to our heart and our blood, caused by the fatigue
of the preceding day, or flowing, by established
laws, from the condition of his thoughts?*



* A case, in its symptoms exactly parallel to this, is pub-
lished in one of the Journals of Florence. See, likewise, similar
cases reported by Messrs. Merille and Muraire, in the "Jour-
nal de Medicine," for February and May, 1783. The re-
searches of Maffei and Fontana have thrown some light upon
this subject.



 image pending 20

CHAPTER III.

THE shock which this disastrous occurrence
occasioned to my mother, was the foundation of a
disease which carried her, in a few months, to the
grave. My brother and myself were children at
this time, and were now reduced to the condition
of orphans. The property which our parents left
was by no means inconsiderable. It was entrusted
to faithful hands, till we should arrive at a suitable
age. Meanwhile, our education was assigned to a
maiden aunt who resided in the city, and whose
tenderness made us in a short time cease to regret
that we had lost a mother.

The years that succeeded were tranquil and
happy. Our lives were molested by few of those
cares that are incident to childhood. By accident
more than design, the indulgence and yielding tem-
per of our aunt was mingled with resolution and
stedfastness. She seldom deviated into either ex-
treme of rigour or lenity. Our social pleasures
were subject to no unreasonable restraints. We
were instructed in most branches of useful know-
ledge, and were saved from the corruption and
tyranny of colleges and boarding-schools.

Our companions were chiefly selected from the
children of our neighbours. Between one of these
and my brother, there quickly grew the most affec-
tionate intimacy. Her name was Catharine Pleyel.
She was rich, beautiful, and contrived to blend the
most bewitching softness with the most exuberant
vivacity. The tie by which my brother and she
were united, seemed to add force to the love which


 image pending 21

I bore her, and which was amply returned. Be-
tween her and myself there was every circumstance
tending to produce and foster friendship. Our sex
and age were the same. We lived within sight of
each other's abode. Our tempers were remarkably
congenial, and the superintendants of our educa-
tion not only prescribed to us the same pursuits, but
allowed us to cultivate them together.

Every day added strength to the triple bonds
that united us. We gradually withdrew ourselves
from the society of others, and found every moment
irksome that was not devoted to each other. My
brother's advance in age made no change in our
situation. It was determined that his profession
should be agriculture. His fortune exempted him
from the necessity of personal labour. The task to
be performed by him was nothing more than super-
intendance. The skill that was demanded by this
was merely theoretical, and was furnished by casual
inspection, or by closet study. The attention that
was paid to this subject did not seclude him for
any long time from us, on whom time had no other
effect than to augment our impatience in the ab-
sence of each other and of him. Our tasks, our
walks, our music, were seldom performed but in
each other's company.

It was easy to see that Catharine and my brother
were born for each other. The passion which
they mutually entertained quickly broke those
bounds which extreme youth had set to it; confes-
sions were made or extorted, and their union was
postponed only till my brother had passed his mi-
nority. The previous lapse of two years was con-
stantly and usefully employed.

O my brother! But the task I have set myself
let me perform with steadiness. The felicity of


 image pending 22

that period was marred by no gloomy anticipa-
tions. The future, like the present, was serene.
Time was supposed to have only new delights in
store. I mean not to dwell on previous incidents
longer than is necessary to illustrate or explain the
great events that have since happened. The nup-
tial day at length arrived. My brother took pos-
session of the house in which he was born, and
here the long protracted marriage was solemnized.

My father's property was equally divided be-
tween us. A neat dwelling, situated on the bank
of the river, three quarters of a mile from my bro-
ther's, was now occupied by me. These domains
were called, from the name of the first possessor,
Mettingen. I can scarcely account for my re-
fusing to take up my abode with him, unless it were
from a disposition to be an economist of pleasure.
Self-denial, seasonably exercised, is one means of
enhancing our gratifications. I was, beside, de-
sirous of administering a fund, and regulating an
household, of my own. The short distance allowed
us to exchange visits as often as we pleased. The
walk from one mansion to the other was no unde-
lightful prelude to our interviews. I was some-
times their visitant, and they, as frequently, were
my guests.

Our education had been modelled by no reli-
gious standard. We were left to the guidance of
our own understanding, and the casual impressions
which society might make upon us. My friend's
temper, as well as my own, exempted us from
much anxiety on this account. It must not be
supposed that we were without religion, but with
us it was the product of lively feelings, excited by
reflection on our own happiness, and by the gran-
deur of external nature. We sought not a basis


 image pending 23

for our faith, in the weighing of proofs, and the
dissection of creeds. Our devotion was a mixed
and casual sentiment, seldom verbally expressed, or
solicitously sought, or carefully retained. In the
midst of present enjoyment, no thought was be-
stowed on the future. As a consolation in calamity
religion is dear. But calamity was yet at a dis-
tance, and its only tendency was to heighten
enjoyments which needed not this addition to
satisfy every craving.

My brother's situation was somewhat different.
His deportment was grave, considerate, and thought-
ful. I will not say whether he was indebted to
sublimer views for this disposition. Human life,
in his opinion, was made up of changeable elements,
and the principles of duty were not easily unfolded.
The future, either as anterior, or subsequent to
death, was a scene that required some preparation
and provision to be made for it. These positions
we could not deny, but what distinguished him
was a propensity to ruminate on these truths. The
images that visited us were blithsome and gay, but
those with which he was most familiar were of an
opposite hue. They did not generate affliction and
fear, but they diffused over his behaviour a certain
air of forethought and sobriety. The principal
effect of this temper was visible in his features and
tones. These, in general, bespoke a sort of thril-
ling melancholy. I scarcely ever knew him to
laugh. He never accompanied the lawless mirth
of his companions with more than a smile, but his
conduct was the same as ours.

He partook of our occupations and amusements
with a zeal not less than ours, but of a different
kind. The diversity in our temper was never the
parent of discord, and was scarcely a topic of re-


 image pending 24

gret. The scene was variegated, but not tarnished
or disordered by it. It hindered the element in
which we moved from stagnating. Some agitation
and concussion is requisite to the due exercise of
human understanding. In his studies, he pursued
an austerer and more arduous path. He was much
conversant with the history of religious opinions,
and took pains to ascertain their validity. He
deemed it indispensable to examine the ground of
his belief, to settle the relation between motives and
actions, the criterion of merit, and the kinds and
properties of evidence.

There was an obvious resemblance between him
and my father, in their conceptions of the import-
ance of certain topics, and in the light in which the
vicissitudes of human life were accustomed to be
viewed. Their characters were similar, but the
mind of the son was enriched by science, and em-
bellished with literature.

The temple was no longer assigned to its ancient
use. From an Italian adventurer, who errone-
ously imagined that he could find employment for
his skill, and sale for his sculptures in America,
my brother had purchased a bust of Cicero. He
professed to have copied this piece from an antique
dug up with his own hands in the environs of Mo-
dena. Of the truth of his assertions we were not
qualified to judge; but the marble was pure and
polished, and we were contented to admire the per-
formance, without waiting for the sanction of con-
noisseurs. We hired the same artist to hew a suitable
pedestal from a neighbouring quarry. This was
placed in the temple, and the bust rested upon it.
Opposite to this was a harpsichord, sheltered by a
temporary roof from the weather. This was the
place of resort in the evenings of summer. Here


 image pending 25

we sung, and talked, and read, and occasionally ban-
queted. Every joyous and tender scene most dear
to my memory, is connected with this edifice. Here
the performances of our musical and poetical ances-
tor were rehearsed. Here my brother's children re-
ceived the rudiments of their education; here a
thousand conversations, pregnant with delight and
improvement, took place; and here the social affec-
tions were accustomed to expand, and the tear
of delicious sympathy to be shed.

My brother was an indefatigable student. The
authors whom he read were numerous, but the
chief object of his veneration was Cicero. He
was never tired of conning and rehearsing his pro-
ductions. To understand them was not sufficient.
He was anxious to discover the gestures and ca-
dences with which they ought to be delivered. He
was very scrupulous in selecting a true scheme of
pronunciation for the Latin tongue, and in adapt-
ing it to the words of his darling writer. His
favorite occupation consisted in embellishing his
rhetoric with all the proprieties of gesticulation
and utterance.

Not contented with this, he was diligent in set-
tling and restoring the purity of the text. For this
end, he collected all the editions and commentaries
that could be procured, and employed months of
severe study in exploring and comparing them. He
never betrayed more satisfaction than when he
made a discovery of this kind.

It was not till the addition of Henry Pleyel, my
friend's only brother, to our society, that his passion
for Roman eloquence was countenanced and fos-
tered by a sympathy of tastes. This young man
had been some years in Europe. We had sepa-


 image pending 26

rated at a very early age, and he was now returned
to spend the remainder of his days among us.

Our circle was greatly enlivened by the accession
of a new member. His conversation abounded
with novelty. His gaiety was almost boisterous,
but was capable of yielding to a grave deportment
when the occasion required it. His discernment
was acute, but he was prone to view every object
merely as supplying materials for mirth. His con-
ceptions were ardent but ludicrous, and his me-
mory, aided, as he honestly acknowledged, by his
invention, was an inexhaustible fund of entertain-
ment.

His residence was at the same distance below the
city as ours was above, but there seldom passed a
day without our being favoured with a visit. My
brother and he were endowed with the same attach-
ment to the Latin writers; and Pleyel was not be-
hind his friend in his knowledge of the history and
metaphysics of religion. Their creeds, however,
were in many respects opposite. Where one dis-
covered only confirmations of his faith, the other
could find nothing but reasons for doubt. Moral
necessity, and calvinistic inspiration, were the props
on which my brother thought proper to repose.
Pleyel was the champion of intellectual liberty,
and rejected all guidance but that of his reason.
Their discussions were frequent, but, being ma-
naged with candour as well as with skill, they
were always listened to by us with avidity and be-
nefit.

Pleyel, like his new friends, was fond of music
and poetry. Henceforth our concerts consisted of
two violins, an harpsichord, and three voices.
We were frequently reminded how much hap-


 image pending 27

piness depends upon society. This new friend,
though, before his arrival, we were sensible of no
vacuity, could not now be spared. His departure
would occasion a void which nothing could fill,
and which would produce insupportable regret.
Even my brother, though his opinions were hourly
assailed, and even the divinity of Cicero contested,
was captivated with his friend, and laid aside
some part of his ancient gravity at Pleyel's ap-
proach.



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CHAPTER IV.

SIX years of uninterrupted happiness had rolled
away, since my brother's marriage. The sound
of war had been heard, but it was at such a dis-
tance as to enhance our enjoyment by affording
objects of comparison. The Indians were repuls-
ed on the one side, and Canada was conquered on
the other. Revolutions and battles, however ca-
lamitous to those who occupied the scene, contri-
buted in some sort to our happiness, by agitating
our minds with curiosity, and furnishing causes of
patriotic exultation. Four children, three of whom
were of an age to compensate, by their personal
and mental progress, the cares of which they had
been, at a more helpless age, the objects, exercised
my brother's tenderness. The fourth was a charm-
ing babe that promised to display the image of her
mother, and enjoyed perfect health. To these
were added a sweet girl fourteen years old, who
was loved by all of us, with an affection more
than parental.

Her mother's story was a mournful one. She
had come hither from England when this child
was an infant, alone, without friends, and without
money. She appeared to have embarked in a hasty
and clandestine manner. She passed three years of
solitude and anguish under my aunt's protection,
and died a martyr to woe; the source of which she
could, by no importunities, be prevailed upon to
unfold. Her education and manners bespoke her
to be of no mean birth. Her last moments were
rendered serene, by the assurances she received from


 image pending 29

my aunt, that her daughter should experience the
same protection that had been extended to herself.

On my brother's marriage, it was agreed that
she should make a part of his family. I cannot
do justice to the attractions of this girl. Perhaps
the tenderness she excited might partly originate
in her personal resemblance to her mother, whose
character and misfortunes were still fresh in our
remembrance. She was habitually pensive, and
this circumstance tended to remind the spectator of
her friendless condition; and yet that epithet was
surely misapplied in this case. This being was
cherished by those with whom she now resided, with
unspeakable fondness. Every exertion was made
to enlarge and improve her mind. Her safety was
the object of a solicitude that almost exceeded the
bounds of discretion. Our affection indeed could
scarcely transcend her merits. She never met my
eye, or occurred to my reflections, without ex-
citing a kind of enthusiasm. Her softness, her in-
telligence, her equanimity, never shall I see sur-
passed. I have often shed tears of pleasure at her
approach, and pressed her to my bosom in an agony
of fondness.

While every day was adding to the charms
of her person, and the stores of her mind, there occurred
an event which threatened to deprive us of her. An
officer of some rank, who had been disabled by a
wound at Quebec, had employed himself, since the
ratification of peace, in travelling through the colo-
nies. He remained a considerable period at Phila-
delphia, but was at last preparing for his departure.
No one had been more frequently honoured with his
visits than Mrs. Baynton, a worthy lady with whom
our family were intimate. He went to her house
with a view to perform a farewell visit, and was on


 image pending 30

the point of taking his leave, when I and my young
friend entered the apartment. It is impossible to
describe the emotions of the stranger, when he fixed
his eyes upon my companion. He was motion-
less with surprise. He was unable to conceal his
feelings, but sat silently gazing at the spectacle be-
fore him. At length he turned to Mrs. Baynton,
and more by his looks and gestures than by words,
besought her for an explanation of the scene. He
seized the hand of the girl, who, in her turn, was
surprised by his behaviour, and drawing her for-
ward, said in an eager and faultering tone, Who is
she? whence does she come? what is her name?

The answers that were given only increased
the confusion of his thoughts. He was successively
told, that she was the daughter of one whose name
was Louisa Conway, who arrived among us at
such a time, who sedulously concealed her parentage,
and the motives of her flight, whose incurable griefs
had finally destroyed her, and who had left this
child under the protection of her friends. Having
heard the tale, he melted into tears, eagerly clasped
the young lady in his arms, and called himself her
father. When the tumults excited in his breast by
this unlooked-for meeting were somewhat subsided,
he gratified our curiosity by relating the following
incidents.

"Miss Conway was the only daughter of a banker
in London, who discharged towards her every
duty of an affectionate father. He had chanced to
fall into her company, had been subdued by her
attractions, had tendered her his hand, and been
joyfully accepted both by parent and child. His
wife had given him every proof of the fondest at-
tachment. Her father, who possessed immense
wealth, treated him with distinguished respect, libe-


 image pending 31

rally supplied his wants, and had made one condi-
tion of his consent to their union, a resolution to
take up their abode with him.

"They had passed three years of conjugal felicity,
which had been augmented by the birth of this
child; when his professional duty called him into
Germany. It was not without an arduous struggle,
that she was persuaded to relinquish the design of
accompanying him through all the toils and perils
of war. No parting was ever more distressful.
They strove to alleviate, by frequent letters, the evils
of their lot. Those of his wife, breathed nothing
but anxiety for his safety, and impatience of his ab-
sence. At length, a new arrangement was made,
and he was obliged to repair from Westphalia to
Canada. One advantage attended this change. It
afforded him an opportunity of meeting his family.
His wife anticipated this interview, with no less
rapture than himself. He hurried to London, and
the moment he alighted from the stage-coach, ran
with all speed to Mr. Conway's house.

"It was an house of mourning. His father was
overwhelmed with grief, and incapable of answer-
ing his inquiries. The servants, sorrowful and
mute, were equally refractory. He explored the
house, and called on the names of his wife and
daughter, but his summons was fruitless. At length,
this new disaster was explained. Two days before
his arrival, his wife's chamber was found empty.
No search, however diligent and anxious, could
trace her steps. No cause could be assigned for
her disappearance. The mother and child had fled
away together.

"New exertions were made, her chamber and
cabinets were ransacked, but no vestige was found
serving to inform them as to the motives of her


 image pending 32

flight, whether it had been voluntary or otherwise,
and in what corner of the kingdom or of the world
she was concealed. Who shall describe the sorrow
and amazement of the husband? His restlessness, his
vicissitudes of hope and fear, and his ultimate despair?
His duty called him to America. He had been in
this city, and had frequently passed the door of the
house in which his wife, at that moment, resided.
Her father had not remitted his exertions to eluci-
date this painful mystery, but they had failed.
This disappointment hastened his death; in conse-
quence of which, Louisa's father became possessor
of his immense property."

This tale was a copious theme of speculation.
A thousand questions were started and discussed in
our domestic circle, respecting the motives that
influenced Mrs. Stuart to abandon her country.
It did not appear that her proceeding was involun-
tary. We recalled and reviewed every particular
that had fallen under our own observation. By
none of these were we furnished with a clue. Her
conduct, after the most rigorous scrutiny, still re-
mained an impenetrable secret. On a nearer view,
Major Stuart proved himself a man of most
amiable character. His attachment to Louisa ap-
peared hourly to increase. She was no stranger to
the sentiments suitable to her new character. She
could not but readily embrace the scheme which
was proposed to her, to return with her father to
England. This scheme his regard for her in-
duced him, however, to postpone. Some time was
necessary to prepare her for so great a change and
enable her to think without agony of her separa-
tion from us.

I was not without hopes of prevailing on her
father entirely to relinquish this unwelcome design.


 image pending 33

Meanwhile, he pursued his travels through the
southern colonies, and his daughter continued with
us. Louisa and my brother frequently received
letters from him, which indicated a mind of no
common order. They were filled with amusing
details, and profound reflections. While here, he
often partook of our evening conversations at the
temple; and since his departure, his correspond-
ence had frequently supplied us with topics of dis-
course.

One afternoon in May, the blandness of the air,
and brightness of the verdure, induced us to assem-
ble, earlier than usual, in the temple. We females
were busy at the needle, while my brother and
Pleyel were bandying quotations and syllogisms.
The point discussed was the merit of the oration
for Cluentius, as descriptive, first, of the genius of
the speaker; and, secondly, of the manners of the
times. Pleyel laboured to extenuate both these
species of merit, and tasked his ingenuity, to shew
that the orator had embraced a bad cause; or, at
least, a doubtful one. He urged, that to rely on
the exaggerations of an advocate, or to make the
picture of a single family a model from which to
sketch the condition of a nation, was absurd. The
controversy was suddenly diverted into a new chan-
nel, by a misquotation. Pleyel accused his com-
panion of saying "polliciatur" when he should
have said "polliceretur." Nothing would decide
the contest, but an appeal to the volume. My
brother was returning to the house for this purpose,
when a servant met him with a letter from Major
Stuart. He immediately returned to read it in our
company.

Besides affectionate compliments to us, and pa-
ternal benedictions on Louisa, his letter contained


 image pending 34

a description of a waterfall on the Monongahela.
A sudden gust of rain falling, we were compelled
to remove to the house. The storm passed away,
and a radiant moon-light succeeded. There was
no motion to resume our seats in the temple. We
therefore remained where we were, and engaged in
sprightly conversation. The letter lately received
naturally suggested the topic. A parallel was
drawn between the cataract there described, and
one which Pleyel had discovered among the Alps
of Glarus. In the state of the former, some par-
ticular was mentioned, the truth of which was
questionable. To settle the dispute which thence
arose, it was proposed to have recourse to
the letter. My brother searched for it in his
pocket. It was no where to be found. At length,
he remembered to have left it in the temple, and he
determined to go in search of it. His wife, Pleyel,
Louisa, and myself, remained where we were.

In a few minutes he returned. I was somewhat
interested in the dispute, and was therefore impa-
tient for his return; yet, as I heard him ascending
the stairs, I could not but remark, that he had exe-
cuted his intention with remarkable dispatch. My
eyes were fixed upon him on his entrance. Me-
thought he brought with him looks considerably
different from those with which he departed. Won-
der, and a slight portion of anxiety were mingled
in them. His eyes seemed to be in search of some
object. They passed quickly from one person to
another, till they rested on his wife. She was
seated in a careless attitude on the sofa, in the same
spot as before. She had the same muslin in her
hand, by which her attention was chiefly en-
grossed.

The moment he saw her, his perplexity visibly


 image pending 35

increased. He quietly seated himself, and fixing
his eyes on the floor, appeared to be absorbed in
meditation. These singularities suspended the in-
quiry which I was preparing to make respecting
the letter. In a short time, the company relin-
quished the subject which engaged them, and di-
rected their attention to Wieland. They thought
that he only waited for a pause in the discourse, to
produce the letter. The pause was uninterrupted
by him. At length Pleyel said, "Well, I suppose
you have found the letter."

"No," said he, without any abatement of his
gravity, and looking stedfastly at his wife, "I did
not mount the hill."—"Why not?"—"Catha-
rine, have you not moved from that spot since I
left the room?"—She was affected with the solem-
nity of his manner, and laying down her work, an-
swered in a tone of surprise, "No; Why do you ask
that question?"—His eyes were again fixed upon
the floor, and he did not immediately answer. At
length, he said, looking round upon us, "Is it true
that Catharine did not follow me to the hill? That
she did not just now enter the room?"—We assur-
ed him, with one voice, that she had not been absent
for a moment, and inquired into the motive of his
questions.

"Your assurances," said he, "are solemn and
unanimous; and yet I must deny credit to your
assertions, or disbelieve the testimony of my senses,
which informed me, when I was half way up the
hill, that Catharine was at the bottom."

We were confounded at this declaration. Pleyel
rallied him with great levity on his behaviour. He
listened to his friend with calmness, but without
any relaxation of features.

"One thing," said he with emphasis, "is true;


 image pending 36

either I heard my wife's voice at the bottom of the
hill, or I do not hear your voice at present."

"Truly," returned Pleyel, "it is a sad dilemma
to which you have reduced yourself. Certain it is,
if our eyes can give us certainty that your wife
has been sitting in that spot during every moment of
your absence. You have heard her voice, you say,
upon the hill. In general, her voice, like her tem-
per, is all softness. To be heard across the room,
she is obliged to exert herself. While you were
gone, if I mistake not, she did not utter a word.
Clara and I had all the talk to ourselves. Still
it may be that she held a whispering conference
with you on the hill; but tell us the particulars."

"The conference," said he, "was short; and far
from being carried on in a whisper. You know with
what intention I left the house. Half way to the
rock, the moon was for a moment hidden from
us by a cloud. I never knew the air to be more
bland and more calm. In this interval I glanced
at the temple, and thought I saw a glimmering be-
tween the columns. It was so faint, that it would
not perhaps have been visible, if the moon had not
been shrowded. I looked again, but saw nothing.
I never visit this building alone, or at night, without
being reminded of the fate of my father. There
was nothing wonderful in this appearance; yet it
suggested something more than mere solitude and
darkness in the same place would have done.

"I kept on my way. The images that haunted
me were solemn; and I entertained an imperfect
curiosity, but no fear, as to the nature of this ob-
ject. I had ascended the hill little more than half
way, when a voice called me from behind. The
accents were clear, distinct, powerful, and were
uttered, as I fully believed, by my wife. Her voice


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is not commonly so loud. She has seldom occasion
to exert it, but, nevertheless, I have sometimes heard
her call with force and eagerness. If my ear was
not deceived, it was her voice which I heard.

"Stop, go no further. There is danger in your
path." The suddenness and unexpectedness of this
warning, the tone of alarm with which it was
given, and, above all, the persuasion that it was my
wife who spoke, were enough to disconcert and
make me pause. I turned and listened to assure
myself that I was not mistaken. The deepest
silence succeeded. At length, I spoke in my turn.
Who calls? is it you, Catharine? I stopped and
presently received an answer. "Yes, it is I; go
not up; return instantly; you are wanted at the
house." Still the voice was Catharine's, and still
it proceeded from the foot of the stairs.

"What could I do? The warning was myste-
rious. To be uttered by Catharine at a place, and
on an occasion like these, enhanced the mystery.
I could do nothing but obey. Accordingly, I trod
back my steps, expecting that she waited for me at
the bottom of the hill. When I reached the bottom,
no one was visible. The moon-light was once
more universal and brilliant, and yet, as far as I
could see no human or moving figure was discern-
ible. If she had returned to the house, she must
have used wondrous expedition to have passed
already beyond the reach of my eye. I exerted my
voice, but in vain. To my repeated exclamations,
no answer was returned.

"Ruminating on these incidents, I returned hither.
There was no room to doubt that I had heard my
wife's voice; attending incidents were not easily ex-
plained; but you now assure me that nothing ex-


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traordinary has happened to urge my return, and
that my wife has not moved from her seat."

Such was my brother's narrative. It was heard
by us with different emotions. Pleyel did not scru-
ple to regard the whole as a deception of the senses.
Perhaps a voice had been heard; but Wieland's ima-
gination had misled him in supposing a resemblance
to that of his wife, and giving such a signification
to the sounds. According to his custom he spoke
what he thought. Sometimes, he made it the theme
of grave discussion, but more frequently treated it
with ridicule. He did not believe that sober reason-
ing would convince his friend, and gaiety, he
thought, was useful to take away the solemnities
which, in a mind like Wieland's, an accident of this
kind was calculated to produce.

Pleyel proposed to go in search of the letter. He
went and speedily returned, bearing it in his hand.
He had found it open on the pedestal; and neither
voice nor visage had risen to impede his design.

Catharine was endowed with an uncommon
portion of good sense; but her mind was accessible,
on this quarter, to wonder and panic. That
her voice should be thus inexplicably and unwar-
rantably assumed, was a source of no small disquie-
tude. She admitted the plausibility of the argu-
ments by which Pleyel endeavoured to prove, that
this was no more than an auricular deception; but
this conviction was sure to be shaken, when she
turned her eyes upon her husband, and perceived
that Pleyel's logic was far from having produced the
same effect upon him.

As to myself, my attention was engaged by
this occurrence. I could not fail to perceive a
shadowy resemblance between it and my father's


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death. On the latter event, I had frequently re-
flected; my reflections never conducted me to
certainty, but the doubts that existed were not
of a tormenting kind. I could not deny that
the event was miraculous, and yet I was invincibly
averse to that method of solution. My wonder
was excited by the inscrutableness of the cause, but
my wonder was unmixed with sorrow or fear. It
begat in me a thrilling, and not unpleasing solem-
nity. Similar to these were the sensations produced
by the recent adventure.

But its effect upon my brother's imagination was
of chief moment. All that was desirable was, that
it should be regarded by him with indifference.
The worst effect that could flow, was not indeed
very formidable. Yet I could not bear to think
that his senses should be the victims of such delu-
sion. It argued a diseased condition of his frame,
which might show itself hereafter in more danger-
ous symptoms. The will is the tool of the under-
standing, which must fashion its conclusions on
the notices of sense. If the senses be depraved, it is
impossible to calculate the evils that may flow from
the consequent deductions of the understanding.

I said, this man is of an ardent and melancholy
character. Those ideas which, in others, are casual
or obscure, which are entertained in moments of
abstraction and solitude, and easily escape when
the scene is changed, have obtained an immoveable
hold upon his mind. The conclusions which long
habit has rendered familiar, and, in some sort, pal-
pable to his intellect, are drawn from the deepest
sources. All his actions and practical sentiments
are linked with long and abstruse deductions from
the system of divine government and the laws of


 image pending 40

our intellectual constitution. He is, in some re-
spects, an enthusiast, but is fortified in his belief
by innumerable arguments and subtilties.

His father's death was always regarded by him
as flowing from a direct and supernatural decree.
It visited his meditations oftener than it did mine.
The traces which it left were more gloomy and
permanent. This new incident had a visible effect
in augmenting his gravity. He was less disposed
than formerly to converse and reading. When we
sifted his thoughts, they were generally found to
have a relation, more or less direct, with this incident.
It was difficult to ascertain the exact species of im-
pression which it made upon him. He never in-
troduced the subject into conversation, and listened
with a silent and half-serious smile to the satirical
effusions of Pleyel.

One evening we chanced to be alone together
in the temple. I seized that opportunity of inves-
tigating the state of his thoughts. After a pause,
which he seemed in no wise inclined to interrupt,
I spoke to him—"How almost palpable is this dark;
yet a ray from above would dispel it." "Ay,"
said Wieland, with fervor, "not only the physical,
but moral night would be dispelled." "But why,"
said I, "must the Divine Will address its precepts
to the eye?" He smiled significantly. "True,"
said he, "the understanding has other avenues."
"You have never," said I, approaching nearer to
the point—"you have never told me in what way
you considered the late extraordinary incident."
"There is no determinate way in which the sub-
ject can be viewed. Here is an effect, but the
cause is utterly inscrutable. To suppose a decep-
tion will not do. Such is possible, but there are


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twenty other suppositions more probable. They
must all be set aside before we reach that
point." "What are these twenty supposi-
tions?" "It is needless to mention them. They
are only less improbable than Pleyel's. Time may
convert one of them into certainty. Till then it is
useless to expatiate on them."



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CHAPTER V.

SOME time had elapsed when there happened
another occurrence, still more remarkable. Pleyel,
on his return from Europe, brought information of
considerable importance to my brother. My an-
cestors were noble Saxons, and possessed large do-
mains in Lusatia. The Prussian wars had destroyed
those persons whose right to these estates pre-
cluded my brother's. Pleyel had been exact in his
inquiries, and had discovered that, by the law
of male-primogeniture, my brother's claims were
superior to those of any other person now liv-
ing. Nothing was wanting but his presence in that
country, and a legal application to establish this
claim.

Pleyel strenuously recommended this measure.
The advantages he thought attending it were nu-
merous, and it would argue the utmost folly to
neglect them. Contrary to his expectation he
found my brother averse to the scheme. Slight ef-
forts, he, at first, thought would subdue his reluc-
tance; but he found this aversion by no means
slight. The interest that he took in the happiness
of his friend and his sister, and his own partiality
to the Saxon soil, from which he had likewise
sprung, and where he had spent several years of
his youth, made him redouble his exertions to win
Wieland's consent. For this end he employed every
argument that his invention could suggest. He paint-
ed, in attractive colours, the state of manners and
government in that country, the security of civil
rights, and the freedom of religious sentiments. He


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dwelt on the privileges of wealth and rank, and
drew from the servile condition of one class, an
argument in favor of his scheme, since the revenue
and power annexed to a German principality af-
ford so large a field for benevolence. The evil
flowing from this power, in malignant hands, was
proportioned to the good that would arise from the
virtuous use of it. Hence, Wieland, in forbearing
to claim his own, withheld all the positive felicity
that would accrue to his vassals from his success,
and hazarded all the misery that would redound
from a less enlightened proprietor.

It was easy for my brother to repel these argu-
ments, and to shew that no spot on the globe en-
joyed equal security and liberty to that which he
at present inhabited. That if the Saxons had no-
thing to fear from mis-government, the external
causes of havoc and alarm were numerous and
manifest. The recent devastations committed by
the Prussians furnished a specimen of these. The
horrors of war would always impend over them,
till Germany were seized and divided by Austrian
and Prussian tyrants; an event which he strongly
suspected was at no great distance. But setting
these considerations aside, was it laudable to grasp
at wealth and power even when they were within
our reach? Were not these the two great sources
of depravity? What security had he, that in this
change of place and condition, he should not de-
generate into a tyrant and voluptuary? Power
and riches were chiefly to be dreaded on account of
their tendency to deprave the possessor. He held
them in abhorrence, not only as instruments of
misery to others, but to him on whom they were
conferred. Besides, riches were comparative, and
was he not rich already? He lived at present in the


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bosom of security and luxury. All the instruments
of pleasure, on which his reason or imagination
set any value, were within his reach. But these
he must forego, for the sake of advantages which,
whatever were their value, were as yet uncertain.
In pursuit of an imaginary addition to his wealth,
he must reduce himself to poverty, he must exchange
present certainties for what was distant and con-
tingent; for who knows not that the law is a system
of expence, delay and uncertainty? If he should
embrace this scheme, it would lay him under the
necessity of making a voyage to Europe, and re-
maining for a certain period, separate from his
family. He must undergo the perils and discom-
forts of the ocean; he must divest himself of all
domestic pleasures; he must deprive his wife of her
companion, and his children of a father and instruct-
or, and all for what? For the ambiguous advanta-
ges which overgrown wealth and flagitious tyranny
have to bestow? For a precarious possession in a land
of turbulence and war? Advantages, which will
not certainly be gained, and of which the acquisi-
tion, if it were sure, is necessarily distant.

Pleyel was enamoured of his scheme on account
of its intrinsic benefits, but, likewise, for other rea-
sons. His abode at Leipsig made that country
appear to him like home. He was connected with
this place by many social ties. While there he had
not escaped the amorous contagion. But the lady,
though her heart was impressed in his favor, was
compelled to bestow her hand upon another. Death
had removed this impediment, and he was now in-
vited by the lady herself to return. This he was
of course determined to do, but was anxious to ob-
tain the company of Wieland; he could not bear
to think of an eternal separation from his present


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associates. Their interest, he thought, would be no
less promoted by the change than his own. Hence
he was importunate and indefatigable in his argu-
ments and solicitations.

He knew that he could not hope for mine or his
sister's ready concurrence in this scheme. Should
the subject be mentioned to us, we should league
our efforts against him, and strengthen that reluc-
tance in Wieland which already was sufficiently
difficult to conquer. He, therefore, anxiously con-
cealed from us his purpose. If Wieland were
previously enlisted in his cause, he would find it a
less difficult task to overcome our aversion. My
brother was silent on this subject, because he be-
lieved himself in no danger of changing his opinion,
and he was willing to save us from any uneasiness.
The mere mention of such a scheme, and the pos-
sibility of his embracing it, he knew, would consi-
derably impair our tranquillity.

One day, about three weeks subsequent to the
mysterious call, it was agreed that the family should
be my guests. Seldom had a day been passed by
us, of more serene enjoyment. Pleyel had promis-
ed us his company, but we did not see him till the
sun had nearly declined. He brought with him a
countenance that betokened disappointment and
vexation. He did not wait for our inquiries, but
immediately explained the cause. Two days be-
fore a packet had arrived from Hamburgh, by which
he had flattered himself with the expectation of
receiving letters, but no letters had arrived. I never
saw him so much subdued by an untoward event.
His thoughts were employed in accounting for the
silence of his friends. He was seized with the tor-
ments of jealousy, and suspected nothing less than
the infidelity of her to whom he had devoted his


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heart. The silence must have been concerted.
Her sickness, or absence, or death, would have in-
creased the certainty of some one's having written.
No supposition could be formed but that his mis-
tress had grown indifferent, or that she had trans-
ferred her affections to another. The miscarriage
of a letter was hardly within the reach of possibility.
From Leipsig to Hamburgh, and from Hamburgh
hither, the conveyance was exposed to no hazard.

He had been so long detained in America chiefly
in consequence of Wieland's aversion to the scheme
which he proposed. He now became more impa-
tient than ever to return to Europe. When he
reflected that, by his delays, he had probably for-
feited the affections of his mistress, his sensations
amounted to agony. It only remained, by his
speedy departure, to repair, if possible, or prevent
so intolerable an evil. Already he had half resolved
to embark in this very ship which, he was inform-
ed, would set out in a few weeks on her return.

Meanwhile he determined to make a new at-
tempt to shake the resolution of Wieland. The
evening was somewhat advanced when he invited
the latter to walk abroad with him. The invitation
was accepted, and they left Catharine, Louisa and
me, to amuse ourselves by the best means in our
power. During this walk, Pleyel renewed the
subject that was nearest his heart. He re-urged all
his former arguments, and placed them in more
forcible lights.

They promised to return shortly; but hour after
hour passed, and they made not their appearance.
Engaged in sprightly conversation, it was not till
the clock struck twelve that we were reminded of
the lapse of time. The absence of our friends ex-
cited some uneasy apprehensions. We were ex-


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pressing our fears, and comparing our conjectures
as to what might be the cause, when they entered
together. There were indications in their coun-
tenances that struck me mute. These were un-
noticed by Catharine, who was eager to express her
surprize and curiosity at the length of their
walk. As they listened to her, I remarked that
their surprize was not less than ours. They
gazed in silence on each other, and on her. I
watched their looks, but could not understand the
emotions that were written in them.

These appearances diverted Catharine's inquiries
into a new channel. What did they mean, she
asked, by their silence, and by their thus gazing
wildly at each other, and at her? Pleyel profited by
this hint, and assuming an air of indifference, framed
some trifling excuse, at the same time darting signi-
ficant glances at Wieland, as if to caution him
against disclosing the truth. My brother said no-
thing, but delivered himself up to meditation. I
likewise was silent, but burned with impatience to
fathom this mystery. Presently my brother and
his wife, and Louisa, returned home. Pleyel pro-
posed, of his own accord, to be my guest for the
night. This circumstance, in addition to those
which preceded, gave new edge to my wonder.

As soon as we were left alone, Pleyel's counte-
nance assumed an air of seriousness, and even con-
sternation, which I had never before beheld in him.
The steps with which he measured the floor betoken-
ed the trouble of his thoughts. My inquiries were
suspended by the hope that he would give me the
information that I wanted without the importunity
of questions. I waited some time, but the confu-
sion of his thoughts appeared in no degree to abate.
At length I mentioned the apprehensions which


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their unusual absence had occasioned, and which
were increased by their behaviour since their return,
and solicited an explanation. He stopped when I
began to speak, and looked stedfastly at me. When
I had done, he said, to me, in a tone which faulter-
ed through the vehemence of his emotions, "How
were you employed during our absence?" "In
turning over the Della Crusca dictionary, and talk-
ing on different subjects; but just before your en-
trance, we were tormenting ourselves with omens
and prognosticks relative to your absence." "Ca-
therine was with you the whole time?" "Yes."
"But are you sure?" "Most sure. She was not
absent a moment." He stood, for a time, as if to
assure himself of my sincerity. Then, clenching
his hands, and wildly lifting them above his head,
"Lo," cried he, "I have news to tell you. The
Baroness de Stolberg is dead?"

This was her whom he loved. I was not sur-
prised at the agitations which he betrayed. "But
how was the information procured? How was
the truth of this news connected with the circum-
stance of Catharine's remaining in our company?"
He was for some time inattentive to my questions.
When he spoke, it seemed merely a continuation of
the reverie into which he had been plunged.

"And yet it might be a mere deception. But
could both of us in that case have been deceived?
A rare and prodigious coincidence! Barely not
impossible. And yet, if the accent be oracular—
Theresa is dead. No, no," continued he, co-
vering his face with his hands, and in a tone half
broken into sobs, "I cannot believe it. She has
not written, but if she were dead, the faithful Ber-
trand would have given me the earliest information.
And yet if he knew his master, he must have easily


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guessed at the effect of such tidings. In pity to me
he was silent."

"Clara, forgive me; to you, this behaviour is
mysterious. I will explain as well as I am able.
But say not a word to Catharine. Her strength of
mind is inferior to your's. She will, besides, have
more reason to be startled. She is Wieland's an-
gel."

Pleyel proceeded to inform me, for the first time,
of the scheme which he had pressed, with so much
earnestness, on my brother. He enumerated the
objections which had been made, and the industry
with which he had endeavoured to confute them.
He mentioned the effect upon his resolutions pro-
duced by the failure of a letter. "During our late
walk," continued he, "I introduced the subject
that was nearest my heart. I re-urged all my former
arguments, and placed them in more forcible lights.
Wieland was still refractory. He expatiated on
the perils of wealth and power, on the sacredness
of conjugal and parental duties, and the happiness
of mediocrity.

"No wonder that the time passed, unperceived,
away. Our whole souls were engaged in this
cause. Several times we came to the foot of the
rock; as soon as we perceived it, we changed
our course, but never failed to terminate our
circuitous and devious ramble at this spot. At
length your brother observed, 'We seem to be
led hither by a kind of fatality. Since we are so
near, let us ascend and rest ourselves a while. If
you are not weary of this argument we will resume
it there.'

"I tacitly consented. We mounted the stairs,
and drawing the sofa in front of the river, we
seated ourselves upon it. I took up the thread of


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our discourse where we had dropped it. I ridiculed
his dread of the sea, and his attachment to home.
I kept on in this strain, so congenial with my dispo-
sition, for some time, uninterrupted by him. At
length, he said to me, "Suppose now that I, whom
argument has not convinced, should yield to ridi-
cule, and should agree that your scheme is eligible;
what will you have gained? Nothing. You
have other enemies beside myself to encounter.
When you have vanquished me, your toil has
scarcely begun. There are my sister and wife,
with whom it will remain for you to maintain the
contest. And trust me, they are adversaries whom
all your force and stratagem will never subdue."
I insinuated that they would model themselves by
his will: that Catharine would think obedience
her duty. He answered, with some quickness,
"You mistake. Their concurrence is indispen-
sable. It is not my custom to exact sacrifices of
this kind. I live to be their protector and friend,
and not their tyrant and foe. If my wife shall
deem her happiness, and that of her children, most
consulted by remaining where she is, here she shall
remain." "But," said I, "when she knows your
pleasure, will she not conform to it?" Before
my friend had time to answer this question, a ne-
gative was clearly and distinctly uttered from ano-
ther quarter. It did not come from one side or the
other, from before us or behind. Whence then
did it come? By whose organs was it fashioned?

"If any uncertainty had existed with regard to
these particulars, it would have been removed by a
deliberate and equally distinct repetition of the same
monosyllable, "No." The voice was my sister's.
It appeared to come from the roof. I started from
my seat. Catharine, exclaimed I, where are you?


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No answer was returned. I searched the room,
and the area before it, but in vain. Your bro-
ther was motionless in his seat. I returned to him,
and placed myself again by his side. My astonish-
ment was not less than his."

"Well," said he, at length, "What think you
of this? This is the self-same voice which I for-
merly heard; you are now convinced that my ears
were well informed."

"Yes," said I, "this, it is plain, is no fiction
of the fancy." We again sunk into mutual and
thoughtful silence. A recollection of the hour,
and of the length of our absence, made me at last
propose to return. We rose up for this purpose.
In doing this, my mind reverted to the contempla-
tion of my own condition. "Yes," said I aloud,
but without particularly addressing myself to Wie-
land, "my resolution is taken. I cannot hope to
prevail with my friends to accompany me. They
may doze away their days on the banks of Schuyl-
kill, but as to me, I go in the next vessel; I will
fly to her presence, and demand the reason of this
extraordinary silence."

"I had scarcely finished the sentence, when the
same mysterious voice exclaimed, "You shall not
go. The seal of death is on her lips. Her silence
is the silence of the tomb." Think of the effects
which accents like these must have had upon me.
I shuddered as I listened. As soon as I recovered
from my first amazement, "Who is it that speaks?"
said I, "whence did you procure these dismal tid-
ings?" I did not wait long for an answer. "From
a source that cannot fail. Be satisfied. She is dead."
You may justly be surprised, that, in the circum-
stances in which I heard the tidings, and notwith-
standing the mystery which environed him by


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whom they were imparted, I could give an undi-
vided attention to the facts, which were the subject
of our dialogue. I eagerly inquired, when and
where did she die? What was the cause of her
death? Was her death absolutely certain? An
answer was returned only to the last of these ques-
tions. "Yes," was pronounced by the same voice;
but it now sounded from a greater distance, and
the deepest silence was all the return made to my
subsequent interrogatories.

"It was my sister's voice; but it could not be
uttered by her; and yet, if not by her, by whom
was it uttered? When we returned hither, and
discovered you together, the doubt that had previ-
ously existed was removed. It was manifest that
the intimation came not from her. Yet if not
from her, from whom could it come? Are the
circumstances attending the imparting of this news
proof that the tidings are true? God forbid that
they should be true."

Here Pleyel sunk into anxious silence, and gave
me leisure to ruminate on this inexplicable event.
I am at a loss to describe the sensations that affected
me. I am not fearful of shadows. The tales of
apparitions and enchantments did not possess that
power over my belief which could even render
them interesting. I saw nothing in them but igno-
rance and folly, and was a stranger even to that
terror which is pleasing. But this incident was
different from any that I had ever before known.
Here were proofs of a sensible and intelligent
existence, which could not be denied. Here was
information obtained and imparted by means un-
questionably super-human.

That there are conscious beings, beside ourselves,
in existence, whose modes of activity and infor-


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mation surpass our own, can scarcely be denied.
Is there a glimpse afforded us into a world of these
superior beings? My heart was scarcely large
enough to give admittance to so swelling a thought.
An awe, the sweetest and most solemn that imagi-
nation can conceive, pervaded my whole frame.
It forsook me not when I parted from Pleyel and
retired to my chamber. An impulse was given to
my spirits utterly incompatible with sleep. I passed
the night wakeful and full of meditation. I was
impressed with the belief of mysterious, but not of
malignant agency. Hitherto nothing had occurred
to persuade me that this airy minister was busy to
evil rather than to good purposes. On the con-
trary, the idea of superior virtue had always been
associated in my mind with that of superior power.
The warnings that had thus been heard appeared
to have been prompted by beneficent intentions.
My brother had been hindered by this voice from
ascending the hill. He was told that danger lurked
in his path, and his obedience to the intimation had
perhaps saved him from a destiny similar to that
of my father.

Pleyel had been rescued from tormenting uncer-
tainty, and from the hazards and fatigues of a
fruitless voyage, by the same interposition. It had
assured him of the death of his Theresa.

This woman was then dead. A confirmation
of the tidings, if true, would speedily arrive. Was
this confirmation to be deprecated or desired? By
her death, the tie that attached him to Europe, was
taken away. Henceforward every motive would
combine to retain him in his native country, and
we were rescued from the deep regrets that would
accompany his hopeless absence from us. Propi-
tious was the spirit that imparted these tidings.


 image pending 54

Propitious he would perhaps have been, if he had
been instrumental in producing, as well as in com-
municating the tidings of her death. Propitious to
us, the friends of Pleyel, to whom has thereby been
secured the enjoyment of his society; and not unpro-
pitious to himself; for though this object of his love
be snatched away, is there not another who is able
and willing to console him for her loss?

Twenty days after this, another vessel arrived
from the same port. In this interval, Pleyel, for
the most part, estranged himself from his old com-
panions. He was become the prey of a gloomy
and unsociable grief. His walks were limited to
the bank of the Delaware. This bank is an
artificial one. Reeds and the river are on one side,
and a watery marsh on the other, in that part
which bounded his lands, and which extended from
the mouth of Hollander's creek to that of Schuyl-
kill. No scene can be imagined less enticing to a
lover of the picturesque than this. The shore is
deformed with mud, and incumbered with a forest
of reeds. The fields, in most seasons, are mire;
but when they afford a firm footing, the ditches
by which they are bounded and intersected, are
mantled with stagnating green, and emit the most
noxious exhalations. Health is no less a stranger
to those seats than pleasure. Spring and autumn
are sure to be accompanied with agues and bilious
remittents.

The scenes which environed our dwellings at
Mettingen constituted the reverse of this. Schuyl-
kill was here a pure and translucid current, broken
into wild and ceaseless music by rocky points, mur-
muring on a sandy margin, and reflecting on its
surface, banks of all varieties of height and degrees
of declivity. These banks were chequered by


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patches of dark verdure and shapeless masses of
white marble, and crowned by copses of cedar,
or by the regular magnificence of orchards, which,
at this season, were in blossom, and were prodigal
of odours. The ground which receded from the
river was scooped into valleys and dales. Its beau-
ties were enhanced by the horticultural skill of my
brother, who bedecked this exquisite assemblage of
slopes and risings with every species of vegetable
ornament, from the giant arms of the oak to the
clustering tendrils of the honey-suckle.

To screen him from the unwholesome airs of
his own residence, it had been proposed to Pleyel
to spend the months of spring with us. He had
apparently acquiesced in this proposal; but the late
event induced him to change his purpose. He was
only to be seen by visiting him in his retirements.
His gaiety had flown, and every passion was absorb-
ed in eagerness to procure tidings from Saxony. I
have mentioned the arrival of another vessel from
the Elbe. He descried her early one morning as
he was passing along the skirt of the river. She
was easily recognized, being the ship in which he
had performed his first voyage to Germany. He
immediately went on board, but found no letters
directed to him. This omission was, in some de-
gree, compensated by meeting with an old acquaint-
ance among the passengers, who had till lately been
a resident in Leipsig. This person put an end to
all suspense respecting the fate of Theresa, by re-
lating the particulars of her death and funeral.

Thus was the truth of the former intimation
attested. No longer devoured by suspense, the
grief of Pleyel was not long in yielding to the in-
fluence of society. He gave himself up once more
to our company. His vivacity had indeed been


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damped; but even in this respect he was a more
acceptable companion than formerly, since his seri-
ousness was neither incommunicative nor sullen.

These incidents, for a time, occupied all our
thoughts. In me they produced a sentiment not
unallied to pleasure, and more speedily than in the
case of my friends were intermixed with other to-
pics. My brother was particularly affected by them.
It was easy to perceive that most of his meditations
were tinctured from this source. To this was to
be ascribed a design in which his pen was, at this
period, engaged, of collecting and investigating the
facts which relate to that mysterious personage,
the Dæmon of Socrates.

My brother's skill in Greek and Roman learn-
ing was exceeded by that of few, and no doubt the
world would have accepted a treatise upon this
subject from his hand with avidity; but alas! this
and every other scheme of felicity and honor,
were doomed to sudden blast and hopeless extermi-
nation.



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CHAPTER VI.

I NOW come to the mention of a person with
whose name the most turbulent sensations are con-
nected. It is with a shuddering reluctance that I
enter on the province of describing him. Now it
is that I begin to perceive the difficulty of the task
which I have undertaken; but it would be weakness
to shrink from it. My blood is congealed: and
my fingers are palsied when I call up his image.
Shame upon my cowardly and infirm heart! Hi-
therto I have proceeded with some degree of com-
posure, but now I must pause. I mean not that
dire remembrance shall subdue my courage or baffle
my design, but this weakness cannot be immedi-
ately conquered. I must desist for a little while.

I have taken a few turns in my chamber, and
have gathered strength enough to proceed. Yet
have I not projected a task beyond my power to
execute? If thus, on the very threshold of the
scene, my knees faulter and I sink, how shall I sup-
port myself, when I rush into the midst of horrors
such as no heart has hitherto conceived, nor tongue
related? I sicken and recoil at the prospect, and yet
my irresolution is momentary. I have not formed
this design upon slight grounds, and though I may at
times pause and hesitate, I will not be finally
diverted from it.

And thou, O most fatal and potent of mankind,
in what terms shall I describe thee? What words
are adequate to the just delineation of thy charac-
ter? How shall I detail the means which rendered


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the secrecy of thy purposes unfathomable? But
I will not anticipate. Let me recover if possible,
a sober strain. Let me keep down the flood of
passion that would render me precipitate or power-
less. Let me stifle the agonies that are awakened
by thy name. Let me, for a time, regard thee as a
being of no terrible attributes. Let me tear myself
from contemplation of the evils of which it is but
too certain that thou wast the author, and limit my
view to those harmless appearances which attended
thy entrance on the stage.

One sunny afternoon, I was standing in the door
of my house, when I marked a person passing close
to the edge of the bank that was in front. His
pace was a careless and lingering one, and had
none of that gracefulness and ease which distin-
guish a person with certain advantages of edu-
cation from a clown. His gait was rustic and
aukward. His form was ungainly and dispropor-
tioned. Shoulders broad and square, breast sunken,
his head drooping, his body of uniform breadth,
supported by long and lank legs, were the ingre-
dients of his frame. His garb was not ill adapted
to such a figure. A slouched hat, tarnished by the
weather, a coat of thick grey cloth, cut and
wrought, as it seemed, by a country tailor, blue
worsted stockings, and shoes fastened by thongs,
and deeply discoloured by dust, which brush had
never disturbed, constituted his dress.

There was nothing remarkable in these appear-
ances; they were frequently to be met with on the
road, and in the harvest field. I cannot tell why
I gazed upon them, on this occasion, with more
than ordinary attention, unless it were that such
figures were seldom seen by me, except on the road
or field. This lawn was only traversed by men


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whose views were directed to the pleasures of the
walk, or the grandeur of the scenery.

He passed slowly along, frequently pausing, as
if to examine the prospect more deliberately, but
never turning his eye towards the house, so as to
allow me a view of his countenance. Presently,
he entered a copse at a small distance, and disap-
peared. My eye followed him while he remained
in sight. If his image remained for any duration
in my fancy after his departure, it was because no
other object occurred sufficient to expel it.

I continued in the same spot for half an hour,
vaguely, and by fits, contemplating the image of this
wanderer, and drawing, from outward appearances,
those inferences with respect to the intellectual
history of this person, which experience affords us.
I reflected on the alliance which commonly subsists
between ignorance and the practice of agriculture,
and indulged myself in airy speculations as to the
influence of progressive knowledge in dissolving
this alliance, and embodying the dreams of the
poets. I asked why the plough and the hoe might
not become the trade of every human being, and
how this trade might be made conducive to, or, at
least, consistent with the acquisition of wisdom
and eloquence.

Weary with these reflections, I returned to the
kitchen to perform some household office. I had
usually but one servant, and she was a girl about
my own age. I was busy near the chimney, and
she was employed near the door of the apartment,
when some one knocked. The door was opened
by her, and she was immediately addressed with
"Pry'thee, good girl, canst thou supply a thirsty
man with a glass of buttermilk?" She answered
that there was none in the house. "Aye, but


 image pending 60

there is some in the dairy yonder. Thou knowest
as well as I, though Hermes never taught thee, that
though every dairy be an house, every house is not
a dairy." To this speech, though she understood
only a part of it, she replied by repeating her assur-
ances, that she had none to give. "Well then,"
rejoined the stranger, "for charity's sweet sake, hand
me forth a cup of cold water." The girl said she
would go to the spring and fetch it. "Nay, give
me the cup, and suffer me to help myself. Neither
manacled nor lame, I should merit burial in the
maw of carrion crows, if I laid this task upon
thee." She gave him the cup, and he turned to
go to the spring.

I listened to this dialogue in silence. The words
uttered by the person without, affected me as some-
what singular, but what chiefly rendered them re-
markable, was the tone that accompanied them. It
was wholly new. My brother's voice and Pleyel's
were musical and energetic. I had fondly ima-
gined, that, in this respect, they were surpassed by
none. Now my mistake was detected. I cannot
pretend to communicate the impression that was
made upon me by these accents, or to depict the
degree in which force and sweetness were blended
in them. They were articulated with a distinct-
ness that was unexampled in my experience. But
this was not all. The voice was not only melli-
fluent and clear, but the emphasis was so just, and
the modulation so impassioned, that it seemed as if
an heart of stone could not fail of being moved by
it. It imparted to me an emotion altogether in-
voluntary and incontroulable. When he uttered
the words "for charity's sweet sake," I dropped the
cloth that I held in my hand, my heart overflowed
with sympathy, and my eyes with unbidden tears.



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This description will appear to you trifling or
incredible. The importance of these circumstances
will be manifested in the sequel. The manner in
which I was affected on this occasion, was, to
my own apprehension, a subject of astonishment.
The tones were indeed such as I never heard be-
fore; but that they should, in an instant, as it
were, dissolve me in tears, will not easily be be-
lieved by others, and can scarcely be comprehend-
ed by myself.

It will be readily supposed that I was somewhat
inquisitive as to the person and demeanour of our
visitant. After a moment's pause, I stepped to the
door and looked after him. Judge my surprize,
when I beheld the self-same figure that had appeared
an half hour before upon the bank. My fancy
had conjured up a very different image. A form,
and attitude, and garb, were instantly created wor-
thy to accompany such elocution; but this person
was, in all visible respects, the reverse of this phan-
tom. Strange as it may seem, I could not speedily
reconcile myself to this disappointment. Instead
of returning to my employment, I threw myself in
a chair that was placed opposite the door, and sunk
into a fit of musing.

My attention was, in a few minutes, recalled
by the stranger, who returned with the empty cup
in his hand. I had not thought of the circum-
stance, or should certainly have chosen a different
seat. He no sooner shewed himself, than a con-
fused sense of impropriety, added to the suddenness
of the interview, for which, not having foreseen it,
I had made no preparation, threw me into a state
of the most painful embarrassment. He brought
with him a placid brow; but no sooner had he cast
his eyes upon me, than his face was as glowingly


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suffused as my own. He placed the cup upon the
bench, stammered out thanks, and retired.

It was some time before I could recover my wonted
composure. I had snatched a view of the stranger's
countenance. The impression that it made was
vivid and indelible. His cheeks were pallid and
lank, his eyes sunken, his forehead overshadowed
by coarse straggling hairs, his teeth large and irre-
gular, though sound and brilliantly white, and his
chin discoloured by a tetter. His skin was of
coarse grain, and sallow hue. Every feature was
wide of beauty, and the outline of his face re-
minded you of an inverted cone.

And yet his forehead, so far as shaggy locks
would allow it to be seen, his eyes lustrously black,
and possessing, in the midst of haggardness, a radi-
ance inexpressibly serene and potent, and something
in the rest of his features, which it would be in
vain to describe, but which served to betoken a
mind of the highest order, were essential ingredients
in the portrait. This, in the effects which imme-
diately flowed from it, I count among the most ex-
traordinary incidents of my life. This face, seen
for a moment, continued for hours to occupy my
fancy, to the exclusion of almost every other image.
I had purposed to spend the evening with my bro-
ther, but I could not resist the inclination of forming
a sketch upon paper of this memorable visage.
Whether my hand was aided by any peculiar in-
spiration, or I was deceived by my own fond con-
ceptions, this portrait, though hastily executed, ap-
peared unexceptionable to my own taste.

I placed it at all distances, and in all lights; my
eyes were rivetted upon it. Half the night passed
away in wakefulness and in contemplation of this
picture. So flexible, and yet so stubborn, is the


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human mind. So obedient to impulses the most
transient and brief, and yet so unalterably observant
of the direction which is given to it! How little did
I then foresee the termination of that chain, of which
this may be regarded as the first link?

Next day arose in darkness and storm. Tor-
rents of rain fell during the whole day, attended
with incessant thunder, which reverberated in stun-
ning echoes from the opposite declivity. The in-
clemency of the air would not allow me to walk
out. I had, indeed, no inclination to leave my
apartment. I betook myself to the contempla-
tion of this portrait, whose attractions time had
rather enhanced than diminished. I laid aside my
usual occupations, and seating myself at a window,
consumed the day in alternately looking out upon
the storm, and gazing at the picture which lay
upon a table before me. You will, perhaps, deem
this conduct somewhat singular, and ascribe it to
certain peculiarities of temper. I am not aware
of any such peculiarities. I can account for my
devotion to this image no otherwise, than by sup-
posing that its properties were rare and prodigious.
Perhaps you will suspect that such were the first in-
roads of a passion incident to every female heart,
and which frequently gains a footing by means even
more slight, and more improbable than these. I
shall not controvert the reasonableness of the sus-
picion, but leave you at liberty to draw, from my
narrative, what conclusions you please.

Night at length returned, and the storm ceased.
The air was once more clear and calm, and bore
an affecting contrast to that uproar of the elements
by which it had been preceded. I spent the dark-
some hours, as I spent the day, contemplative and
seated at the window. Why was my mind ab-


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sorbed in thoughts ominous and dreary? Why did
my bosom heave with sighs, and my eyes overflow
with tears? Was the tempest that had just past
a signal of the ruin which impended over me?
My soul fondly dwelt upon the images of my
brother and his children, yet they only increased
the mournfulness of my contemplations. The
smiles of the charming babes were as bland as
formerly. The same dignity sat on the brow of
their father, and yet I thought of them with an-
guish. Something whispered that the happiness
we at present enjoyed was set on mutable founda-
tions. Death must happen to all. Whether our
felicity was to be subverted by it to-morrow, or
whether it was ordained that we should lay down
our heads full of years and of honor, was a question
that no human being could solve. At other times,
these ideas seldom intruded. I either forbore to re-
flect upon the destiny that is reserved for all men,
or the reflection was mixed up with images that
disrobed it of terror; but now the uncertainty of life
occurred to me without any of its usual and alle-
viating accompaniments. I said to myself, we must
die. Sooner or later, we must disappear for ever
from the face of the earth. Whatever be the links
that hold us to life, they must be broken. This
scene of existence is, in all its parts, calamitous. The
greater number is oppressed with immediate evils,
and those, the tide of whose fortunes is full, how
small is their portion of enjoyment, since they know
that it will terminate.

For some time I indulged myself, without re-
luctance, in these gloomy thoughts; but at length,
the dejection which they produced became insup-
portably painful. I endeavoured to dissipate it with
music. I had all my grand-father's melody as well


 image pending 65

as poetry by rote. I now lighted by chance on a
ballad, which commemorated the fate of a German
Cavalier, who fell at the siege of Nice under God-
frey of Bouillon. My choice was unfortunate, for
the scenes of violence and carnage which were here
wildly but forcibly pourtrayed, only suggested to
my thoughts a new topic in the horrors of war.

I sought refuge, but ineffectually, in sleep. My
mind was thronged by vivid, but confused images,
and no effort that I made was sufficient to drive
them away. In this situation I heard the clock,
which hung in the room, give the signal for twelve.
It was the same instrument which formerly hung
in my father's chamber, and which, on account of
its being his workmanship, was regarded, by every
one of our family, with veneration. It had fallen
to me, in the division of his property, and was
placed in this asylum. The sound awakened a
series of reflections, respecting his death. I was
not allowed to pursue them; for scarcely had the
vibrations ceased, when my attention was attracted
by a whisper, which, at first, appeared to proceed
from lips that were laid close to my ear.

No wonder that a circumstance like this startled
me. In the first impulse of my terror, I uttered a
slight scream, and shrunk to the opposite side of the
bed. In a moment, however, I recovered from my
trepidation. I was habitually indifferent to all the
causes of fear, by which the majority are afflicted.
I entertained no apprehension of either ghosts or
robbers. Our security had never been molested by
either, and I made use of no means to prevent or
counterwork their machinations. My tranquillity,
on this occasion, was quickly retrieved. The
whisper evidently proceeded from one who was
posted at my bed-side. The first idea that suggested


 image pending 66

itself was, that it was uttered by the girl who lived
with me as a servant. Perhaps, somewhat had
alarmed her, or she was sick, and had come to re-
quest my assistance. By whispering in my ear, she
intended to rouse without alarming me.

Full of this persuasion, I called; "Judith," said
I, "is it you? What do you want? Is there
any thing the matter with you?" No answer was
returned. I repeated my inquiry, but equally in
vain. Cloudy as was the atmosphere, and cur-
tained as my bed was, nothing was visible. I
withdrew the curtain, and leaning my head on my
elbow, I listened with the deepest attention to catch
some new sound. Meanwhile, I ran over in my
thoughts, every circumstance that could assist my
conjectures.

My habitation was a wooden edifice, consisting
of two stories. In each story were two rooms,
separated by an entry, or middle passage, with
which they communicated by opposite doors. The
passage, on the lower story, had doors at the two
ends, and a stair-case. Windows answered to the
doors on the upper story. Annexed to this, on the
eastern side, were wings, divided, in like manner,
into an upper and lower room; one of them com-
prized a kitchen, and chamber above it for the ser-
vant, and communicated, on both stories, with the
parlour adjoining it below, and the chamber ad-
joining it above. The opposite wing is of smaller
dimensions, the rooms not being above eight feet
square. The lower of these was used as a depo-
sitory of household implements, the upper was a
closet in which I deposited my books and papers.
They had but one inlet, which was from the room
adjoining. There was no window in the lower
one, and in the upper, a small aperture which com-


 image pending 67

municated light and air, but would scarcely admit
the body. The door which led into this, was
close to my bed-head, and was always locked, but
when I myself was within. The avenues below
were accustomed to be closed and bolted at nights.

The maid was my only companion, and she
could not reach my chamber without previously
passing through the opposite chamber, and the mid-
dle passage, of which, however, the doors were
usually unfastened. If she had occasioned this
noise, she would have answered my repeated calls.
No other conclusion, therefore, was left me, but
that I had mistaken the sounds, and that my ima-
gination had transformed some casual noise into the
voice of a human creature. Satisfied with this
solution, I was preparing to relinquish my listening
attitude, when my ear was again saluted with a
new and yet louder whispering. It appeared, as be-
fore, to issue from lips that touched my pillow. A
second effort of attention, however, clearly shewed
me, that the sounds issued from within the closet,
the door of which was not more than eight inches
from my pillow.

This second interruption occasioned a shock less
vehement than the former. I started, but gave no
audible token of alarm. I was so much mistress
of my feelings, as to continue listening to what
should be said. The whisper was distinct, hoarse,
and uttered so as to shew that the speaker was de-
sirous of being heard by some one near, but, at
the same time, studious to avoid being overheard
by any other.

"Stop, stop, I say; madman as you are! there
are better means than that. Curse upon your
rashness! There is no need to shoot."

Such were the words uttered in a tone of eager-


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ness and anger, within so small a distance of
my pillow. What construction could I put upon
them? My heart began to palpitate with dread of
some unknown danger. Presently, another voice,
but equally near me, was heard whispering in an-
swer. "Why not? I will draw a trigger in this
business, but perdition be my lot if I do more."
To this, the first voice returned, in a tone which
rage had heightened in a small degree above a
whisper, "Coward! stand aside, and see me do
it. I will grasp her throat; I will do her business
in an instant; she shall not have time so much
as to groan." What wonder that I was petrified
by sounds so dreadful! Murderers lurked in my
closet. They were planning the means of my de-
struction. One resolved to shoot, and the other
menaced suffocation. Their means being chosen,
they would forthwith break the door. Flight in-
stantly suggested itself as most eligible in circum-
stances so perilous. I deliberated not a moment;
but, fear adding wings to my speed, I leaped out
of bed, and scantily robed as I was, rushed out of
the chamber, down stairs, and into the open air.
I can hardly recollect the process of turning keys,
and withdrawing bolts. My terrors urged me
forward with almost a mechanical impulse. I
stopped not till I reached my brother's door. I
had not gained the threshold, when, exhausted by
the violence of my emotions, and by my speed, I
sunk down in a fit.

How long I remained in this situation I know
not. When I recovered, I found myself stretched
on a bed, surrounded by my sister and her female
servants. I was astonished at the scene before me,
but gradually recovered the recollection of what
had happened. I answered their importunate in-


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quiries as well as I was able. My brother and
Pleyel, whom the storm of the preceding day
chanced to detain here, informing themselves of
every particular, proceeded with lights and weapons
to my deserted habitation. They entered my cham-
ber and my closet, and found every thing in its pro-
per place and customary order. The door of the
closet was locked, and appeared not to have been
opened in my absence. They went to Judith's
apartment. They found her asleep and in safety.
Pleyel's caution induced him to forbear alarming
the girl; and finding her wholly ignorant of what
had passed, they directed her to return to her cham-
ber. They then fastened the doors, and returned.

My friends were disposed to regard this transac-
tion as a dream. That persons should be actually
immured in this closet, to which, in the circum-
stances of the time, access from without or within
was apparently impossible, they could not seriously
believe. That any human beings had intended
murder, unless it were to cover a scheme of pillage,
was incredible; but that no such design had been
formed, was evident from the security in which the
furniture of the house and the closet remained.

I revolved every incident and expression that had
occurred. My senses assured me of the truth of
them, and yet their abruptness and improbability
made me, in my turn, somewhat incredulous. The
adventure had made a deep impression on my fancy,
and it was not till after a week's abode at my bro-
ther's, that I resolved to resume the possession of
my own dwelling.

There was another circumstance that enhanced
the mysteriousness of this event. After my recovery
it was obvious to inquire by what means the atten-
tion of the family had been drawn to my situation.


 image pending 70

I had fallen before I had reached the threshold, or
was able to give any signal. My brother related,
that while this was transacting in my chamber, he
himself was awake, in consequence of some slight
indisposition, and lay, according to his custom,
musing on some favorite topic. Suddenly the
silence, which was remarkably profound, was bro-
ken by a voice of most piercing shrillness, that
seemed to be uttered by one in the hall below his
chamber. "Awake! arise!" it exclaimed: "has-
ten to succour one that is dying at your door."

This summons was effectual. There was no
one in the house who was not roused by it. Pleyel
was the first to obey, and my brother overtook him
before he reached the hall. What was the general
astonishment when your friend was discovered
stretched upon the grass before the door, pale,
ghastly, and with every mark of death!

This was the third instance of a voice, exerted
for the benefit of this little community. The agent
was no less inscrutable in this, than in the former
case. When I ruminated upon these events, my
soul was suspended in wonder and awe. Was I
really deceived in imagining that I heard the closet
conversation? I was no longer at liberty to ques-
tion the reality of those accents which had formerly
recalled my brother from the hill; which had im-
parted tidings of the death of the German lady to
Pleyel; and which had lately summoned them to
my assistance.

But how was I to regard this midnight conversa-
tion? Hoarse and manlike voices conferring on
the means of death, so near my bed, and at such
an hour! How had my ancient security vanished!
That dwelling, which had hitherto been an invio-
late asylum, was now beset with danger to my life.


 image pending 71

That solitude, formerly so dear to me, could no
longer be endured. Pleyel, who had consented to
reside with us during the months of spring, lodged
in the vacant chamber, in order to quiet my alarms.
He treated my fears with ridicule, and in a short
time very slight traces of them remained: but as it
was wholly indifferent to him whether his nights
were passed at my house or at my brother's, this
arrangement gave general satisfaction.



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CHAPTER VII.

I WILL not enumerate the various inquiries and
conjectures which these incidents occasioned. After
all our efforts, we came no nearer to dispelling the
mist in which they were involved; and time, instead
of facilitating a solution, only accumulated our
doubts.

In the midst of thoughts excited by these events,
I was not unmindful of my interview with the
stranger. I related the particulars, and shewed the
portrait to my friends. Pleyel recollected to have
met with a figure resembling my description in the
city; but neither his face or garb made the same im-
pression upon him that it made upon me. It was a
hint to rally me upon my prepossessions, and to
amuse us with a thousand ludicrous anecdotes which
he had collected in his travels. He made no scruple
to charge me with being in love; and threatened to
inform the swain, when he met him, of his good
fortune.

Pleyel's temper made him susceptible of no dur-
able impressions. His conversation was occasion-
ally visited by gleams of his ancient vivacity; but,
though his impetuosity was sometimes inconvenient,
there was nothing to dread from his malice. I had
no fear that my character or dignity would suffer
in his hands, and was not heartily displeased when
he declared his intention of profiting by his first
meeting with the stranger to introduce him to our
acquaintance.

Some weeks after this I had spent a toilsome day,
and, as the sun declined, found myself disposed to


 image pending 73

seek relief in a walk. The river bank is, at this
part of it, and for some considerable space upward,
so rugged and steep as not to be easily descended.
In a recess of this declivity, near the southern verge
of my little demesne, was placed a slight building,
with seats and lattices. From a crevice of the
rock, to which this edifice was attached, there burst
forth a stream of the purest water, which, leaping
from ledge to ledge, for the space of sixty feet,
produced a freshness in the air, and a murmur, the
most delicious and soothing imaginable. These,
added to the odours of the cedars which embowered
it, and of the honey-suckle which clustered among the
lattices, rendered this my favorite retreat in summer.

On this occasion I repaired hither. My spirits
drooped through the fatigue of long attention, and
I threw myself upon a bench, in a state, both
mentally and personally, of the utmost supineness.
The lulling sounds of the waterfall, the fragrance
and the dusk combined to becalm my spirits, and,
in a short time, to sink me into sleep. Either the
uneasiness of my posture, or some slight indispo-
sition molested my repose with dreams of no cheer-
ful hue. After various incoherences had taken
their turn to occupy my fancy, I at length ima-
gined myself walking, in the evening twilight, to
my brother's habitation. A pit, methought, had
been dug in the path I had taken, of which I was
not aware. As I carelessly pursued my walk, I
thought I saw my brother, standing at some dis-
tance before me, beckoning and calling me to make
haste. He stood on the opposite edge of the gulph.
I mended my pace, and one step more would have
plunged me into this abyss, had not some one from
behind caught suddenly my arm, and exclaimed, in
a voice of eagerness and terror, "Hold! hold!"



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The sound broke my sleep, and I found myself,
at the next moment, standing on my feet, and sur-
rounded by the deepest darkness. Images so terrific
and forcible disabled me, for a time, from distin-
guishing between sleep and wakefulness, and with-
held from me the knowledge of my actual condi-
tion. My first panics were succeeded by the per-
turbations of surprize, to find myself alone in the
open air, and immersed in so deep a gloom. I
slowly recollected the incidents of the afternoon,
and how I came hither. I could not estimate the
time, but saw the propriety of returning with speed
to the house. My faculties were still too confused,
and the darkness too intense, to allow me imme-
diately to find my way up the steep. I sat down,
therefore, to recover myself, and to reflect upon
my situation.

This was no sooner done, than a low voice was
heard from behind the lattice, on the side where I
sat. Between the rock and the lattice was a chasm
not wide enough to admit a human body; yet, in
this chasm he that spoke appeared to be stationed.
"Attend! attend! but be not terrified."

I started and exclaimed, "Good heavens! what
is that? Who are you?"

"A friend; one come, not to injure, but to save
you; fear nothing."

This voice was immediately recognized to be the
same with one of those which I had heard in the
closet; it was the voice of him who had proposed
to shoot, rather than to strangle, his victim. My
terror made me, at once, mute and motionless. He
continued, "I leagued to murder you. I repent.
Mark my bidding, and be safe. Avoid this spot.
The snares of death encompass it. Elsewhere
danger will be distant; but this spot, shun it as you


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value your life. Mark me further; profit by this
warning, but divulge it not. If a syllable of what
has passed escape you, your doom is sealed. Re-
member your father, and be faithful."

Here the accents ceased, and left me overwhelmed
with dismay. I was fraught with the persuasion,
that during every moment I remained here, my
life was endangered; but I could not take a step
without hazard of falling to the bottom of the pre-
cipice. The path, leading to the summit, was
short, but rugged and intricate. Even star-light
was excluded by the umbrage, and not the faintest
gleam was afforded to guide my steps. What
should I do? To depart or remain was equally
and eminently perilous.

In this state of uncertainty, I perceived a ray flit
across the gloom and disappear. Another succeed-
ed, which was stronger, and remained for a passing
moment. It glittered on the shrubs that were scat-
tered at the entrance, and gleam continued to suc-
ceed gleam for a few seconds, till they, finally,
gave place to unintermitted darkness.

The first visitings of this light called up a train
of horrors in my mind; destruction impended over
this spot; the voice which I had lately heard had
warned me to retire, and had menaced me with the
fate of my father if I refused. I was desirous, but
unable, to obey; these gleams were such as pre-
luded the stroke by which he fell; the hour, per-
haps, was the same—I shuddered as if I had be-
held, suspended over me, the exterminating sword.

Presently a new and stronger illumination burst
through the lattice on the right hand, and a voice,
from the edge of the precipice above, called out my
name. It was Pleyel. Joyfully did I recognize
his accents; but such was the tumult of my thoughts


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that I had not power to answer him till he had fre-
quently repeated his summons. I hurried, at length,
from the fatal spot, and, directed by the lanthorn
which he bore, ascended the hill.

Pale and breathless, it was with difficulty I could
support myself. He anxiously inquired into the
cause of my affright, and the motive of my unu-
sual absence. He had returned from my brother's
at a late hour, and was informed by Judith, that I
had walked out before sun-set, and had not yet re-
turned. This intelligence was somewhat alarming.
He waited some time; but, my absence continuing,
he had set out in search of me. He had explored
the neighbourhood with the utmost care, but, re-
ceiving no tidings of me, he was preparing to ac-
quaint my brother with this circumstance, when he
recollected the summer-house on the bank, and con-
ceived it possible that some accident had detained
me there. He again inquired into the cause of this
detention, and of that confusion and dismay which
my looks testified.

I told him that I had strolled hither in the after-
noon, that sleep had overtaken me as I sat, and that
I had awakened a few minutes before his arrival.
I could tell him no more. In the present impe-
tuosity of my thoughts, I was almost dubious, whe-
ther the pit, into which my brother had endeavoured
to entice me, and the voice that talked through the
lattice, were not parts of the same dream. I re-
membered, likewise, the charge of secrecy, and the
penalty denounced, if I should rashly divulge what
I had heard. For these reasons, I was silent on
that subject, and shutting myself in my chamber,
delivered myself up to contemplation.

What I have related will, no doubt, appear to
you a fable. You will believe that calamity has


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subverted my reason, and that I am amusing you
with the chimeras of my brain, instead of facts that
have really happened. I shall not be surprized or
offended, if these be your suspicions. I know not,
indeed, how you can deny them admission. For,
if to me, the immediate witness, they were fertile of
perplexity and doubt, how must they affect another
to whom they are recommended only by my testi-
mony? It was only by subsequent events, that I
was fully and incontestibly assured of the veracity
of my senses.

Meanwhile what was I to think? I had been
assured that a design had been formed against my
life. The ruffians had leagued to murder me.
Whom had I offended? Who was there with
whom I had ever maintained intercourse, who was
capable of harbouring such atrocious purposes?

My temper was the reverse of cruel and impe-
rious. My heart was touched with sympathy for
the children of misfortune. But this sympathy was
not a barren sentiment. My purse, scanty as it
was, was ever open, and my hands ever active, to
relieve distress. Many were the wretches whom
my personal exertions had extricated from want and
disease, and who rewarded me with their gratitude.
There was no face which lowered at my approach,
and no lips which uttered imprecations in my hear-
ing. On the contrary, there was none, over whose
fate I had exerted any influence, or to whom I
was known by reputation, who did not greet me
with smiles, and dismiss me with proofs of venera-
tion; yet did not my senses assure me that a plot
was laid against my life?

I am not destitute of courage. I have shewn
myself deliberative and calm in the midst of peril.
I have hazarded my own life, for the preservation


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of another, but now was I confused and panic
struck. I have not lived so as to fear death, yet
to perish by an unseen and secret stroke, to be
mangled by the knife of an assassin was a thought
at which I shuddered; what had I done to deserve
to be made the victim of malignant passions?

But soft! was I not assured, that my life was
safe in all places but one? And why was the trea-
son limited to take effect in this spot? I was every
where equally defenceless. My house and cham-
ber were, at all times, accessible. Danger still im-
pended over me; the bloody purpose was still en-
tertained, but the hand that was to execute it, was
powerless in all places but one!

Here I had remained for the last four or five
hours, without the means of resistance or defence,
yet I had not been attacked. A human being was
at hand, who was conscious of my presence, and
warned me hereafter to avoid this retreat. His
voice was not absolutely new, but had I never
heard it but once before? But why did he pro-
hibit me from relating this incident to others, and
what species of death will be awarded if I disobey?

He talked of my father. He intimated, that dis-
closure would pull upon my head, the same de-
struction. Was then the death of my father, por-
tentous and inexplicable as it was, the consequence
of human machinations? It should seem, that this
being is apprised of the true nature of this event,
and is conscious of the means that led to it. Whe-
ther it shall likewise fall upon me, depends upon
the observance of silence. Was it the infraction
of a similar command, that brought so horrible a
penalty upon my father?

Such were the reflections that haunted me dur-
ing the night, and which effectually deprived me of


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sleep. Next morning, at breakfast, Pleyel related
an event which my disappearance had hindered him
from mentioning the night before. Early the pre-
ceding morning, his occasions called him to the
city; he had stepped into a coffee-house to while
away an hour; here he had met a person whose
appearance instantly bespoke him to be the same
whose hasty visit I have mentioned, and whose
extraordinary visage and tones had so powerfully
affected me. On an attentive survey, however,
he proved, likewise, to be one with whom my
friend had had some intercourse in Europe. This
authorised the liberty of accosting him, and after
some conversation, mindful, as Pleyel said, of the
footing which this stranger had gained in my heart,
he had ventured to invite him to Mettingen. The
invitation had been cheerfully accepted, and a visit
promised on the afternoon of the next day.

This information excited no sober emotions in
my breast. I was, of course, eager to be informed
as to the circumstances of their ancient intercourse.
When, and where had they met? What knew
he of the life and character of this man?

In answer to my inquiries, he informed me that,
three years before, he was a traveller in Spain. He
had made an excursion from Valencia to Murvie-
dro, with a view to inspect the remains of Roman
magnificence, scattered in the environs of that town.
While traversing the scite of the theatre of old
Saguntum, he lighted upon this man, seated on a
stone, and deeply engaged in perusing the work of
the deacon Marti. A short conversation ensued,
which proved the stranger to be English. They
returned to Valencia together.

His garb, aspect, and deportment, were wholly
Spanish. A residence of three years in the coun-


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try, indefatigable attention to the language, and a
studious conformity with the customs of the people,
had made him indistinguishable from a native, when
he chose to assume that character. Pleyel found
him to be connected, on the footing of friendship and
respect, with many eminent merchants in that city.
He had embraced the catholic religion, and adopted
a Spanish name instead of his own, which was
Carwin, and devoted himself to the literature and
religion of his new country. He pursued no pro-
fession, but subsisted on remittances from England.

While Pleyel remained in Valencia, Carwin be-
trayed no aversion to intercourse, and the former
found no small attractions in the society of this new
acquaintance. On general topics he was highly
intelligent and communicative. He had visited every
corner of Spain, and could furnish the most accu-
rate details respecting its ancient and present state.
On topics of religion and of his own history, pre-
vious to his transformation into a Spaniard, he
was invariably silent. You could merely gather
from his discourse that he was English, and that he
was well acquainted with the neighbouring coun-
tries.

His character excited considerable curiosity in
this observer. It was not easy to reconcile his con-
version to the Romish faith, with those proofs of
knowledge and capacity that were exhibited by him
on different occasions. A suspicion was, sometimes,
admitted, that his belief was counterfeited for some
political purpose. The most careful observation,
however, produced no discovery. His manners
were, at all times, harmless and inartificial, and his
habits those of a lover of contemplation and seclu-
sion. He appeared to have contracted an affection
for Pleyel, who was not slow to return it.



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My friend, after a month's residence in this city,
returned into France, and, since that period, had
heard nothing concerning Carwin till his appear-
ance at Mettingen.

On this occasion Carwin had received Pleyel's
greeting with a certain distance and solemnity to
which the latter had not been accustomed. He had
waved noticing the inquiries of Pleyel respecting
his desertion of Spain, in which he had formerly de-
clared that it was his purpose to spend his life. He
had assiduously diverted the attention of the latter
to indifferent topics, but was still, on every theme,
as eloquent and judicious as formerly. Why he
had assumed the garb of a rustic, Pleyel was una-
ble to conjecture. Perhaps it might be poverty,
perhaps he was swayed by motives which it was
his interest to conceal, but which were connected
with consequences of the utmost moment.

Such was the sum of my friend's information.
I was not sorry to be left alone during the greater
part of this day. Every employment was irksome
which did not leave me at liberty to meditate. I
had now a new subject on which to exercise my
thoughts. Before evening I should be ushered into
his presence, and listen to those tones whose magi-
cal and thrilling power I had already experienced.
But with what new images would he then be ac-
companied?

Carwin was an adherent to the Romish faith,
yet was an Englishman by birth, and, perhaps, a
protestant by education. He had adopted Spain
for his country, and had intimated a design to spend
his days there, yet now was an inhabitant of this
district, and disguised by the habiliments of a
clown! What could have obliterated the impres-
sions of his youth, and made him abjure his religion


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and his country? What subsequent events had in-
troduced so total a change in his plans? In with-
drawing from Spain, had he reverted to the religion
of his ancestors; or was it true, that his former
conversion was deceitful, and that his conduct had
been swayed by motives which it was prudent to
conceal?

Hours were consumed in revolving these ideas.
My meditations were intense; and, when the series
was broken, I began to reflect with astonishment on
my situation. From the death of my parents, till
the commencement of this year, my life had been
serene and blissful, beyond the ordinary portion of
humanity; but, now, my bosom was corroded by
anxiety. I was visited by dread of unknown dan-
gers, and the future was a scene over which clouds
rolled, and thunders muttered. I compared the
cause with the effect, and they seemed dispropor-
tioned to each other. All unaware, and in a
manner which I had no power to explain, I was
pushed from my immoveable and lofty station, and
cast upon a sea of troubles.

I determined to be my brother's visitant on this
evening, yet my resolves were not unattended with
wavering and reluctance. Pleyel's insinuations that
I was in love, affected, in no degree, my belief, yet
the consciousness that this was the opinion of one
who would, probably, be present at our intro-
duction to each other, would excite all that con-
fusion which the passion itself is apt to produce.
This would confirm him in his error, and call forth
new railleries. His mirth, when exerted upon this
topic, was the source of the bitterest vexation.
Had he been aware of its influence upon my hap-
piness, his temper would not have allowed him to
persist; but this influence, it was my chief endea-


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vour to conceal. That the belief of my having
bestowed my heart upon another, produced in my
friend none but ludicrous sensations, was the true
cause of my distress; but if this had been disco-
vered by him, my distress would have been un-
speakably aggravated.



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CHAPTER VIII.

AS soon as evening arrived, I performed my vi-
sit. Carwin made one of the company, into which
I was ushered. Appearances were the same as
when I before beheld him. His garb was equally
negligent and rustic. I gazed upon his counte-
nance with new curiosity. My situation was such
as to enable me to bestow upon it a deliberate ex-
amination. Viewed at more leisure, it lost none
of its wonderful properties. I could not deny my
homage to the intelligence expressed in it, but was
wholly uncertain, whether he were an object to be
dreaded or adored, and whether his powers had
been exerted to evil or to good.

He was sparing in discourse; but whatever he
said was pregnant with meaning, and uttered with
rectitude of articulation, and force of emphasis, of
which I had entertained no conception previously
to my knowledge of him. Notwithstanding the
uncouthness of his garb, his manners were not un-
polished. All topics were handled by him with
skill, and without pedantry or affectation. He
uttered no sentiment calculated to produce a disad-
vantageous impression: on the contrary, his obser-
vations denoted a mind alive to every generous and
heroic feeling. They were introduced without pa-
rade, and accompanied with that degree of earnest-
ness which indicates sincerity.

He parted from us not till late, refusing an invi-
tation to spend the night here, but readily consented
to repeat his visit. His visits were frequently re-
peated. Each day introduced us to a more intimate


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acquaintance with his sentiments, but left us wholly
in the dark, concerning that about which we were
most inquisitive. He studiously avoided all mention
of his past or present situation. Even the place
of his abode in the city he concealed from us.

Our sphere, in this respect, being somewhat
limited, and the intellectual endowments of this man
being indisputably great, his deportment was more
diligently marked, and copiously commented on by
us, than you, perhaps, will think the circumstances
warranted. Not a gesture, or glance, or accent,
that was not, in our private assemblies, discussed,
and inferences deduced from it. It may well be
thought that he modelled his behaviour by an un-
common standard, when, with all our opportuni-
ties and accuracy of observation, we were able,
for a long time, to gather no satisfactory informa-
tion. He afforded us no ground on which to
build even a plausible conjecture.

There is a degree of familiarity which takes
place between constant associates, that justifies the
negligence of many rules of which, in an earlier
period of their intercourse, politeness requires the
exact observance. Inquiries into our condition are
allowable when they are prompted by a disinterested
concern for our welfare; and this solicitude is not
only pardonable, but may justly be demanded from
those who chuse us for their companions. This
state of things was more slow to arrive on this oc-
casion than on most others, on account of the gra-
vity and loftiness of this man's behaviour.

Pleyel, however, began, at length, to employ re-
gular means for this end. He occasionally alluded
to the circumstances in which they had formerly
met, and remarked the incongruousness between the
religion and habits of a Spaniard, with those of a


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native of Britain. He expressed his astonishment
at meeting our guest in this corner of the globe,
especially as, when they parted in Spain, he was
taught to believe that Carwin should never leave
that country. He insinuated, that a change so
great must have been prompted by motives of a
singular and momentous kind.

No answer, or an answer wide of the purpose,
was generally made to these insinuations. Britons
and Spaniards, he said, are votaries of the same
Deity, and square their faith by the same precepts;
their ideas are drawn from the same fountains of
literature, and they speak dialects of the same
tongue; their government and laws have more re-
semblances than differences; they were formerly
provinces of the same civil, and till lately, of the
same religious, Empire.

As to the motives which induce men to change
the place of their abode, these must unavoidably
be fleeting and mutable. If not bound to one spot
by conjugal or parental ties, or by the nature of
that employment to which we are indebted for
subsistence, the inducements to change are far
more numerous and powerful, than opposite in-
ducements.

He spoke as if desirous of shewing that he was
not aware of the tendency of Pleyel's remarks;
yet, certain tokens were apparent, that proved him
by no means wanting in penetration. These tokens
were to be read in his countenance, and not in his
words. When any thing was said, indicating cu-
riosity in us, the gloom of his countenance was
deepened, his eyes sunk to the ground, and his
wonted air was not resumed without visible strug-
gle. Hence, it was obvious to infer, that some in-
cidents of his life were reflected on by him with


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regret; and that, since these incidents were carefully
concealed, and even that regret which flowed from
them laboriously stifled, they had not been merely
disastrous. The secrecy that was observed ap-
peared not designed to provoke or baffle the inqui-
sitive, but was prompted by the shame, or by the
prudence of guilt.

These ideas, which were adopted by Pleyel and
my brother, as well as myself, hindered us from
employing more direct means for accomplishing
our wishes. Questions might have been put in
such terms, that no room should be left for the pre-
tence of misapprehension, and if modesty merely
had been the obstacle, such questions would not
have been wanting; but we considered, that, if the
disclosure were productive of pain or disgrace, it
was inhuman to extort it.

Amidst the various topics that were discussed in
his presence, allusions were, of course, made to the
inexplicable events that had lately happened. At
those times, the words and looks of this man were
objects of my particular attention. The subject
was extraordinary; and any one whose experience
or reflections could throw any light upon it, was
entitled to my gratitude. As this man was en-
lightened by reading and travel, I listened with
eagerness to the remarks which he should make.

At first, I entertained a kind of apprehension,
that the tale would be heard by him with incre-
dulity and secret ridicule. I had formerly heard
stories that resembled this in some of their myste-
rious circumstances, but they were, commonly,
heard by me with contempt. I was doubtful, whe-
ther the same impression would not now be made
on the mind of our guest; but I was mistaken in
my fears.



 image pending 88

He heard them with seriousness, and without any
marks either of surprize or incredulity. He pursued,
with visible pleasure, that kind of disquisition which
was naturally suggested by them. His fancy was
eminently vigorous and prolific, and if he did not
persuade us, that human beings are, sometimes, ad-
mitted to a sensible intercourse with the author of
nature, he, at least, won over our inclination to the
cause. He merely deduced, from his own reason-
ings, that such intercourse was probable; but con-
fessed that, though he was acquainted with many
instances somewhat similar to those which had been
related by us, none of them were perfectly exempt-
ed from the suspicion of human agency.

On being requested to relate these instances, he
amused us with many curious details. His narra-
tives were constructed with so much skill, and re-
hearsed with so much energy, that all the effects
of a dramatic exhibition were frequently produced
by them. Those that were most coherent and most
minute, and, of consequence, least entitled to credit,
were yet rendered probable by the exquisite art of
this rhetorician. For every difficulty that was
suggested, a ready and plausible solution was fur-
nished. Mysterious voices had always a share in
producing the catastrophe, but they were always
to be explained on some known principles, either
as reflected into a focus, or communicated through
a tube. I could not but remark that his narratives,
however complex or marvellous, contained no in-
stance sufficiently parallel to those that had befallen
ourselves, and in which the solution was applicable
to our own case.

My brother was a much more sanguine reasoner
than our guest. Even in some of the facts which
were related by Carwin, he maintained the proba-


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bility of celestial interference, when the latter was
disposed to deny it, and had found, as he imagined,
footsteps of an human agent. Pleyel was by no
means equally credulous. He scrupled not to deny
faith to any testimony but that of his senses, and
allowed the facts which had lately been supported by
this testimony, not to mould his belief, but merely
to give birth to doubts.

It was soon observed that Carwin adopted, in
some degree, a similar distinction. A tale of this
kind, related by others, he would believe, provided
it was explicable upon known principles; but that
such notices were actually communicated by beings
of an higher order, he would believe only when his
own ears were assailed in a manner which could not
be otherwise accounted for. Civility forbad him
to contradict my brother or myself, but his under-
standing refused to acquiesce in our testimony. Be-
sides, he was disposed to question whether the voices
heard in the temple, at the foot of the hill, and in
my closet, were not really uttered by human or-
gans. On this supposition he was desired to ex-
plain how the effect was produced.

He answered, that the power of mimickry was
very common. Catharine's voice might easily be
imitated by one at the foot of the hill, who would
find no difficulty in eluding, by flight, the search
of Wieland. The tidings of the death of the Saxon
lady were uttered by one near at hand, who over-
heard the conversation, who conjectured her death,
and whose conjecture happened to accord with the
truth. That the voice appeared to come from the
cieling was to be considered as an illusion of the
fancy. The cry for help, heard in the hall on the
night of my adventure, was to be ascribed to an
human creature, who actually stood in the hall


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when he uttered it. It was of no moment, he said,
that we could not explain by what motives he that
made the signal was led hither. How imperfectly
acquainted were we with the condition and designs
of the beings that surrounded us? The city was
near at hand, and thousands might there exist
whose powers and purposes might easily explain
whatever was mysterious in this transaction. As
to the closet dialogue, he was obliged to adopt one
of two suppositions, and affirm either that it was
fashioned in my own fancy, or that it actually took
place between two persons in the closet.

Such was Carwin's mode of explaining these
appearances. It is such, perhaps, as would com-
mend itself as most plausible to the most sagacious
minds, but it was insufficient to impart conviction
to us. As to the treason that was meditated against
me, it was doubtless just to conclude that it was
either real or imaginary; but that it was real
was attested by the mysterious warning in the summer-
house, the secret of which I had hitherto locked up
in my own breast.

A month passed away in this kind of intercourse.
As to Carwin, our ignorance was in no degree
enlightened respecting his genuine character and
views. Appearances were uniform. No man
possessed a larger store of knowledge, or a greater
degree of skill in the communication of it to others;
Hence he was regarded as an inestimable addition
to our society. Considering the distance of my
brother's house from the city, he was frequently
prevailed upon to pass the night where he spent the
evening. Two days seldom elapsed without a visit
from him; hence he was regarded as a kind of in-
mate of the house. He entered and departed with-
out ceremony. When he arrived he received an


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unaffected welcome, and when he chose to retire,
no importunities were used to induce him to re-
main.

The temple was the principal scene of our social
enjoyments; yet the felicity that we tasted when as-
sembled in this asylum, was but the gleam of a
former sun-shine. Carwin never parted with his
gravity. The inscrutableness of his character, and
the uncertainty whether his fellowship tended to
good or to evil, were seldom absent from our
minds. This circumstance powerfully contributed
to sadden us.

My heart was the seat of growing disquietudes.
This change in one who had formerly been charac-
terized by all the exuberances of soul, could not
fail to be remarked by my friends. My brother was
always a pattern of solemnity. My sister was clay,
moulded by the circumstances in which she hap-
pened to be placed. There was but one whose de-
portment remains to be described as being of im-
portance to our happiness. Had Pleyel likewise
dismissed his vivacity?

He was as whimsical and jestful as ever, but he
was not happy. The truth, in this respect, was
of too much importance to me not to make me a
vigilant observer. His mirth was easily perceived
to be the fruit of exertion. When his thoughts
wandered from the company, an air of dissatisfac-
tion and impatience stole across his features. Even
the punctuality and frequency of his visits were
somewhat lessened. It may be supposed that my
own uneasiness was heightened by these tokens;
but, strange as it may seem, I found, in the present
state of my mind, no relief but in the persuasion
that Pleyel was unhappy.



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That unhappiness, indeed, depended, for its value
in my eyes, on the cause that produced it. It did
not arise from the death of the Saxon lady: it was
not a contagious emanation from the countenances
of Wieland or Carwin. There was but one other
source whence it could flow. A nameless ecstacy
thrilled through my frame when any new proof
occurred that the ambiguousness of my behaviour
was the cause.



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CHAPTER IX.

MY brother had received a new book from Ger-
many. It was a tragedy, and the first attempt of a
Saxon poet, of whom my brother had been taught
to entertain the highest expectations. The ex-
ploits of Zisca, the Bohemian hero, were woven
into a dramatic series and connection. According
to German custom, it was minute and diffuse, and
dictated by an adventurous and lawless fancy. It
was a chain of audacious acts, and unheard-of dis-
asters. The moated fortress, and the thicket; the
ambush and the battle; and the conflict of headlong
passions, were pourtrayed in wild numbers, and
with terrific energy. An afternoon was set apart
to rehearse this performance. The language was
familiar to all of us but Carwin, whose company,
therefore, was tacitly dispensed with.

The morning previous to this intended rehearsal,
I spent at home. My mind was occupied with re-
flections relative to my own situation. The sen-
timent which lived with chief energy in my heart,
was connected with the image of Pleyel. In the
midst of my anguish, I had not been destitute of
consolation. His late deportment had given spring
to my hopes. Was not the hour at hand, which
should render me the happiest of human crea-
tures? He suspected that I looked with favorable
eyes upon Carwin. Hence arose disquietudes,
which he struggled in vain to conceal. He loved
me, but was hopeless that his love would be com-
pensated. Is it not time, said I, to rectify this
error? But by what means is this to be effected?


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It can only be done by a change of deportment
in me; but how must I demean myself for this pur-
pose?

I must not speak. Neither eyes, nor lips, must
impart the information. He must not be assured
that my heart is his, previous to the tender of his
own; but he must be convinced that it has not
been given to another; he must be supplied with
space whereon to build a doubt as to the true state
of my affections; he must be prompted to avow
himself. The line of delicate propriety; how hard
it is, not to fall short, and not to overleap it!

This afternoon we shall meet at the temple. We
shall not separate till late. It will be his province
to accompany me home. The airy expanse is
without a speck. This breeze is usually stedfast,
and its promise of a bland and cloudless evening,
may be trusted. The moon will rise at eleven,
and at that hour, we shall wind along this bank.
Possibly that hour may decide my fate. If suitable
encouragement be given, Pleyel will reveal his soul
to me; and I, ere I reach this threshold, will be
made the happiest of beings. And is this good to
be mine? Add wings to thy speed, sweet evening;
and thou, moon, I charge thee, shroud thy beams
at the moment when my Pleyel whispers love. I
would not for the world, that the burning blushes,
and the mounting raptures of that moment, should
be visible.

But what encouragement is wanting? I must
be regardful of insurmountable limits. Yet when
minds are imbued with a genuine sympathy, are
not words and looks superfluous? Are not motion
and touch sufficient to impart feelings such as mine?
Has he not eyed me at moments, when the pressure
of his hand has thrown me into tumults, and was


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it possible that he mistook the impetuosities of love,
for the eloquence of indignation?

But the hastening evening will decide. Would
it were come! And yet I shudder at its near ap-
proach. An interview that must thus terminate,
is surely to be wished for by me; and yet it is not
without its terrors. Would to heaven it were come
and gone!

I feel no reluctance, my friends to be thus ex-
plicit. Time was, when these emotions would be
hidden with immeasurable solicitude, from every
human eye. Alas! these airy and fleeting im-
pulses of shame are gone. My scruples were
preposterous and criminal. They are bred in all
hearts, by a perverse and vicious education, and
they would still have maintained their place in my
heart, had not my portion been set in misery. My
errors have taught me thus much wisdom; that
those sentiments which we ought not to disclose, it
is criminal to harbour.

It was proposed to begin the rehearsal at four
o'clock; I counted the minutes as they passed;
their flight was at once too rapid and too slow;
my sensations were of an excruciating kind; I could
taste no food, nor apply to any task, nor enjoy a
moment's repose: when the hour arrived, I has-
tened to my brother's.

Pleyel was not there. He had not yet come.
On ordinary occasions, he was eminent for punc-
tuality. He had testified great eagerness to share
in the pleasures of this rehearsal. He was to divide
the task with my brother, and, in tasks like these,
he always engaged with peculiar zeal. His elo-
cution was less sweet than sonorous; and, there-
fore, better adapted than the mellifluences of his
friend, to the outrageous vehemence of this drama.



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What could detain him? Perhaps he lingered
through forgetfulness. Yet this was incredible.
Never had his memory been known to fail upon
even more trivial occasions. Not less impossible
was it, that the scheme had lost its attractions, and
that he staid, because his coming would afford him
no gratification. But why should we expect him
to adhere to the minute?

An half hour elapsed, but Pleyel was still at a
distance. Perhaps he had misunderstood the hour
which had been proposed. Perhaps he had con-
ceived that to-morrow, and not to-day, had been
selected for this purpose: but no. A review of pre-
ceding circumstances demonstrated that such mis-
apprehension was impossible; for he had himself
proposed this day, and this hour. This day, his
attention would not otherwise be occupied; but to-
morrow, an indispensible engagement was foreseen,
by which all his time would be engrossed: his de-
tention, therefore, must be owing to some unfore-
seen and extraordinary event. Our conjectures
were vague, tumultuous, and sometimes fearful.
His sickness and his death might possibly have de-
tained him.

Tortured with suspense, we sat gazing at each
other, and at the path which led from the road.
Every horseman that passed was, for a moment,
imagined to be him. Hour succeeded hour, and
the sun, gradually declining, at length, disappeared.
Every signal of his coming proved fallacious, and
our hopes were at length dismissed. His absence
affected my friends in no insupportable degree.
They should be obliged, they said, to defer this un-
dertaking till the morrow; and, perhaps, their im-
patient curiosity would compel them to dispense en-
tirely with his presence. No doubt, some harmless


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occurrence had diverted him from his purpose;
and they trusted that they should receive a satis-
factory account of him in the morning.

It may be supposed that this disappointment affect-
ed me in a very different manner. I turned aside
my head to conceal my tears. I fled into solitude,
to give vent to my reproaches, without interruption
or restraint. My heart was ready to burst with
indignation and grief. Pleyel was not the only ob-
ject of my keen but unjust upbraiding. Deeply did
I execrate my own folly. Thus fallen into ruins
was the gay fabric which I had reared! Thus had
my golden vision melted into air!

How fondly did I dream that Pleyel was a lover!
If he were, would he have suffered any obstacle to
hinder his coming? Blind and infatuated man! I
exclaimed. Thou sportest with happiness. The
good that is offered thee, thou hast the insolence and
folly to refuse. Well, I will henceforth intrust
my felicity to no one's keeping but my own.

The first agonies of this disappointment would
not allow me to be reasonable or just. Every
ground on which I had built the persuasion that
Pleyel was not unimpressed in my favor, appeared
to vanish. It seemed as if I had been misled into
this opinion, by the most palpable illusions.

I made some trifling excuse, and returned, much
earlier than I expected, to my own house. I re-
tired early to my chamber, without designing to
sleep. I placed myself at a window, and gave the
reins to reflection.

The hateful and degrading impulses which had
lately controuled me were, in some degree, re-
moved. New dejection succeeded, but was now
produced by contemplating my late behaviour.
Surely that passion is worthy to be abhorred which


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obscures our understanding, and urges us to the
commission of injustice. What right had I to ex-
pect his attendance? Had I not demeaned myself
like one indifferent to his happiness, and as having
bestowed my regards upon another? His absence
might be prompted by the love which I considered
his absence as a proof that he wanted. He came
not because the sight of me, the spectacle of my
coldness or aversion, contributed to his despair.
Why should I prolong, by hypocrisy or silence,
his misery as well as my own? Why not deal
with him explicitly, and assure him of the truth?

You will hardly believe that, in obedience to
this suggestion, I rose for the purpose of ordering
a light, that I might instantly make this confession
in a letter. A second thought shewed me the rash-
ness of this scheme, and I wondered by what in-
firmity of mind I could be betrayed into a mo-
mentary approbation of it. I saw with the utmost
clearness that a confession like that would be the
most remediless and unpardonable outrage upon the
dignity of my sex, and utterly unworthy of that
passion which controuled me.

I resumed my seat and my musing. To account
for the absence of Pleyel became once more the
scope of my conjectures. How many incidents
might occur to raise an insuperable impediment in
his way? When I was a child, a scheme of plea-
sure, in which he and his sister were parties, had
been, in like manner, frustrated by his absence; but
his absence, in that instance, had been occasioned
by his falling from a boat into the river, in conse-
quence of which he had run the most imminent
hazard of being drowned. Here was a second dis-
appointment endured by the same persons, and pro-
duced by his failure. Might it not originate in the


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same cause? Had he not designed to cross the river
that morning to make some necessary purchases in
Jersey? He had preconcerted to return to his own
house to dinner; but, perhaps, some disaster had
befallen him. Experience had taught me the inse-
curity of a canoe, and that was the only kind of
boat which Pleyel used: I was, likewise, actuated
by an hereditary dread of water. These circum-
stances combined to bestow considerable plausibility
on this conjecture; but the consternation with
which I began to be seized was allayed by reflect-
ing, that if this disaster had happened my brother
would have received the speediest information of it.
The consolation which this idea imparted was ra-
vished from me by a new thought. This disaster
might have happened, and his family not be appriz-
ed of it. The first intelligence of his fate may be
communicated by the livid corpse which the tide
may cast, many days hence, upon the shore.

Thus was I distressed by opposite conjectures:
thus was I tormented by phantoms of my own cre-
ation. It was not always thus. I can ascertain
the date when my mind became the victim of this
imbecility; perhaps it was coeval with the inroad
of a fatal passion; a passion that will never rank
me in the number of its eulogists; it was alone
sufficient to the extermination of my peace: it was
itself a plenteous source of calamity, and needed
not the concurrence of other evils to take away the
attractions of existence, and dig for me an untime-
ly grave.

The state of my mind naturally introduced a
train of reflections upon the dangers and cares
which inevitably beset an human being. By no
violent transition was I led to ponder on the tur-
bulent life and mysterious end of my father. I


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cherished, with the utmost veneration, the memory
of this man, and every relique connected with his
fate was preserved with the most scrupulous care.
Among these was to be numbered a manuscript,
containing memoirs of his own life. The narrative
was by no means recommended by its eloquence;
but neither did all its value flow from my relation-
ship to the author. Its stile had an unaffected and
picturesque simplicity. The great variety and cir-
cumstantial display of the incidents, together with
their intrinsic importance, as descriptive of human
manners and passions, made it the most useful book
in my collection. It was late; but being sensible
of no inclination to sleep, I resolved to betake my-
self to the perusal of it.

To do this it was requisite to procure a light.
The girl had long since retired to her chamber: it
was therefore proper to wait upon myself. A lamp,
and the means of lighting it, were only to be found
in the kitchen. Thither I resolved forthwith to
repair; but the light was of use merely to enable
me to read the book. I knew the shelf and the
spot where it stood. Whether I took down the
book, or prepared the lamp in the first place, ap-
peared to be a matter of no moment. The latter
was preferred, and, leaving my seat, I approached
the closet in which, as I mentioned formerly, my
books and papers were deposited.

Suddenly the remembrance of what had lately
passed in this closet occurred. Whether midnight
was approaching, or had passed, I knew not. I
was, as then, alone, and defenceless. The wind was
in that direction in which, aided by the deathlike
repose of nature, it brought to me the murmur of
the water-fall. This was mingled with that solemn
and enchanting sound, which a breeze produces


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among the leaves of pines. The words of that
mysterious dialogue, their fearful import, and the
wild excess to which I was transported by my ter-
rors, filled my imagination anew. My steps faul-
tered, and I stood a moment to recover myself.

I prevailed on myself at length to move towards
the closet. I touched the lock, but my fingers were
powerless; I was visited afresh by unconquerable
apprehensions. A sort of belief darted into my
mind, that some being was concealed within, whose
purposes were evil. I began to contend with those
fears, when it occurred to me that I might, without
impropriety, go for a lamp previously to opening
the closet. I receded a few steps; but before I
reached my chamber door my thoughts took a new
direction. Motion seemed to produce a mechanical
influence upon me. I was ashamed of my weak-
ness. Besides, what aid could be afforded me by a
lamp?

My fears had pictured to themselves no precise
object. It would be difficult to depict, in words,
the ingredients and hues of that phantom which
haunted me. An hand invisible and of preterna-
tural strength, lifted by human passions, and select-
ing my life for its aim, were parts of this terrific
image. All places were alike accessible to this foe,
or if his empire were restricted by local bounds,
those bounds were utterly inscrutable by me. But
had I not been told by some one in league with this
enemy, that every place but the recess in the bank
was exempt from danger?

I returned to the closet, and once more put my
hand upon the lock. O! may my ears lose their
sensibility, ere they be again assailed by a shriek so
terrible! Not merely my understanding was sub-
dued by the sound: it acted on my nerves like an


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edge of steel. It appeared to cut asunder the fibres
of my brain, and rack every joint with agony.

The cry, loud and piercing as it was, was never-
theless human. No articulation was ever more
distinct. The breath which accompanied it did
not fan my hair, yet did every circumstance com-
bine to persuade me that the lips which uttered it
touched my very shoulder.

"Hold! Hold!" were the words of this tremen-
dous prohibition, in whose tone the whole soul
seemed to be wrapped up, and every energy converted
into eagerness and terror.

Shuddering, I dashed myself against the wall, and
by the same involuntary impulse, turned my face
backward to examine the mysterious monitor. The
moon-light streamed into each window, and every
corner of the room was conspicuous, and yet I
beheld nothing!

The interval was too brief to be artificially mea-
sured, between the utterance of these words, and
my scrutiny directed to the quarter whence they
came. Yet if a human being had been there, could
he fail to have been visible? Which of my senses
was the prey of a fatal illusion? The shock which
the sound produced was still felt in every part of
my frame. The sound, therefore, could not but
be a genuine commotion. But that I had heard it,
was not more true than that the being who uttered
it was stationed at my right ear; yet my attendant
was invisible.

I cannot describe the state of my thoughts at that
moment. Surprize had mastered my faculties. My
frame shook, and the vital current was congealed.
I was conscious only to the vehemence of my sen-
sations. This condition could not be lasting. Like
a tide, which suddenly mounts to an overwhelming


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height, and then gradually subsides, my confusion
slowly gave place to order, and my tumults to a
calm. I was able to deliberate and move. I re-
sumed my feet, and advanced into the midst of the
room. Upward, and behind, and on each side,
I threw penetrating glances. I was not satisfied
with one examination. He that hitherto refused
to be seen, might change his purpose, and on the
next survey be clearly distinguishable.

Solitude imposes least restraint upon the fancy.
Dark is less fertile of images than the feeble lustre
of the moon. I was alone, and the walls were
chequered by shadowy forms. As the moon passed
behind a cloud and emerged, these shadows seemed
to be endowed with life, and to move. The apart-
ment was open to the breeze, and the curtain was
occasionally blown from its ordinary position.
This motion was not unaccompanied with sound.
I failed not to snatch a look, and to listen when this
motion and this sound occurred. My belief that
my monitor was posted near, was strong, and in-
stantly converted these appearances to tokens of his
presence, and yet I could discern nothing.

When my thoughts were at length permitted to
revert to the past, the first idea that occurred was
the resemblance between the words of the voice
which I had just heard, and those which had termi-
nated my dream in the summer-house. There are
means by which we are able to distinguish a sub-
stance from a shadow, a reality from the phantom
of a dream. The pit, my brother beckoning me
forward, the seizure of my arm, and the voice be-
hind, were surely imaginary. That these incidents
were fashioned in my sleep, is supported by the
same indubitable evidence that compels me to be-
lieve myself awake at present; yet the words and

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the voice were the same. Then, by some inexpli-
cable contrivance, I was aware of the danger, while
my actions and sensations were those of one wholly
unacquainted with it. Now, was it not equally
true that my actions and persuasions were at war?
Had not the belief, that evil lurked in the closet,
gained admittance, and had not my actions beto-
kened an unwarrantable security? To obviate the
effects of my infatuation, the same means had been
used.

In my dream, he that tempted me to my destruc-
tion, was my brother. Death was ambushed in my
path. From what evil was I now rescued? What
minister or implement of ill was shut up in this
recess? Who was it whose suffocating grasp I
was to feel, should I dare to enter it? What mon-
strous conception is this? my brother!

No; protection, and not injury is his province.
Strange and terrible chimera! Yet it would not be
suddenly dismissed. It was surely no vulgar agency
that gave this form to my fears. He to whom all
parts of time are equally present, whom no con-
tingency approaches, was the author of that spell
which now seized upon me. Life was dear to me.
No consideration was present that enjoined me to
relinquish it. Sacred duty combined with every
spontaneous sentiment to endear to me my being.
Should I not shudder when my being was endan-
gered? But what emotion should possess me when
the arm lifted aginst me was Wieland's?

Ideas exist in our minds that can be accounted
for by no established laws. Why did I dream that
my brother was my foe? Why but because an
omen of my fate was ordained to be communi-
cated? Yet what salutary end did it serve? Did
it arm me with caution to elude, or fortitude to


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bear the evils to which I was reserved? My pre-
sent thoughts were, no doubt, indebted for their hue
to the similitude existing between these incidents
and those of my dream. Surely it was phrenzy
that dictated my deed. That a ruffian was hidden
in the closet, was an idea, the genuine tendency of
which was to urge me to flight. Such had been
the effect formerly produced. Had my mind been
simply occupied with this thought at present, no
doubt, the same impulse would have been expe-
rienced; but now it was my brother whom I was
irresistably persuaded to regard as the contriver of
that ill of which I had been forewarned. This
persuasion did not extenuate my fears or my dan-
ger. Why then did I again approach the closet and
withdraw the bolt? My resolution was instantly
conceived, and executed without faultering.

The door was formed of light materials. The
lock, of simple structure, easily forewent its hold.
It opened into the room, and commonly moved
upon its hinges, after being unfastened, without any
effort of mine. This effort, however, was be-
stowed upon the present occasion. It was my
purpose to open it with quickness, but the exer-
tion which I made was ineffectual. It refused to
open.

At another time, this circumstance would not
have looked with a face of mystery. I should
have supposed some casual obstruction, and repeat-
ed my efforts to surmount it. But now my mind
was accessible to no conjecture but one. The
door was hindered from opening by human force.
Surely, here was new cause for affright. This was
confirmation proper to decide my conduct. Now
was all ground of hesitation taken away. What
could be supposed but that I deserted the chamber


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and the house? that I at least endeavoured no
longer to withdraw the door?

Have I not said that my actions were dictated by
phrenzy? My reason had forborne, for a time, to
suggest or to sway my resolves. I reiterated my
endeavours. I exerted all my force to overcome
the obstacle, but in vain. The strength that was
exerted to keep it shut, was superior to mine.

A casual observer might, perhaps, applaud the
audaciousness of this conduct. Whence, but from
an habitual defiance of danger, could my perseve-
rance arise? I have already assigned, as distinctly
as I am able, the cause of it. The frantic concep-
tion that my brother was within, that the resist-
ance made to my design was exerted by him, had
rooted itself in my mind. You will comprehend
the height of this infatuation, when I tell you, that,
finding all my exertions vain, I betook myself to
exclamations. Surely I was utterly bereft of un-
derstanding.

Now had I arrived at the crisis of my fate. "O!
hinder not the door to open," I exclaimed, in a tone
that had less of fear than of grief in it. "I know
you well. Come forth, but harm me not. I be-
seech you come forth."

I had taken my hand from the lock, and removed
to a small distance from the door. I had scarcely
uttered these words, when the door swung upon its
hinges, and displayed to my view the interior of
the closet. Whoever was within, was shrouded
in darkness. A few seconds passed without inter-
ruption of the silence. I knew not what to expect
or to fear. My eyes would not stray from the
recess. Presently, a deep sigh was heard. The
quarter from which it came heightened the eager-
ness of my gaze. Some one approached from the


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farther end. I quickly perceived the outlines of a
human figure. Its steps were irresolute and slow.
I recoiled as it advanced.

By coming at length within the verge of the
room, his form was clearly distinguishable. I had
prefigured to myself a very different personage.
The face that presented itself was the last that I
should desire to meet at an hour, and in a place like
this. My wonder was stifled by my fears. Assas-
sins had lurked in this recess. Some divine voice
warned me of danger, that at this moment awaited
me. I had spurned the intimation, and challenged
my adversary.

I recalled the mysterious countenance and du-
bious character of Carwin. What motive but
atrocious ones could guide his steps hither? I was
alone. My habit suited the hour, and the place,
and the warmth of the season. All succour was
remote. He had placed himself between me and
the door. My frame shook with the vehemence
of my apprehensions.

Yet I was not wholly lost to myself: I vigilantly
marked his demeanour. His looks were grave, but
not without perturbation. What species of in-
quietude it betrayed, the light was not strong enough
to enable me to discover. He stood still; but his
eyes wandered from one object to another. When
these powerful organs were fixed upon me, I
shrunk into myself. At length, he broke silence.
Earnestness, and not embarrassment, was in his
tone. He advanced close to me while he spoke.

"What voice was that which lately addressed
you?"

He paused for an answer; but observing my tre-
pidation, he resumed, with undiminished solemnity:
"Be not terrified. Whoever he was, he hast done


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you an important service. I need not ask you if it
were the voice of a companion. That sound was
beyond the compass of human organs. The know-
ledge that enabled him to tell you who was in the
closet, was obtained by incomprehensible means.

"You knew that Carwin was there. Were you
not apprized of his intents? The same power could
impart the one as well as the other. Yet, know-
ing these, you persisted. Audacious girl! but, per-
haps, you confided in his guardianship. Your con-
fidence was just. With succour like this at hand
you may safely defy me.

"He is my eternal foe; the baffler of my best
concerted schemes. Twice have you been saved
by his accursed interposition. But for him I should
long ere now have borne away the spoils of your
honor."

He looked at me with greater stedfastness than
before. I became every moment more anxious for
my safety. It was with difficulty I stammered out
an entreaty that he would instantly depart, or suffer
me to do so. He paid no regard to my request,
but proceeded in a more impassioned manner.

"What is it you fear? Have I not told you, you
are safe? Has not one in whom you more rea-
sonably place trust assured you of it? Even if I
execute my purpose, what injury is done? Your
prejudices will call it by that name, but it merits
it not.

"I was impelled by a sentiment that does you
honor; a sentiment, that would sanctify my deed;
but, whatever it be, you are safe. Be this chimera
still worshipped; I will do nothing to pollute it."
There he stopped.

The accents and gestures of this man left me
drained of all courage. Surely, on no other occa-


 image pending 109

sion should I have been thus pusillanimous. My
state I regarded as a hopeless one. I was wholly
at the mercy of this being. Whichever way I
turned my eyes, I saw no avenue by which I might
escape. The resources of my personal strength,
my ingenuity, and my eloquence, I estimated at
nothing. The dignity of virtue, and the force of
truth, I had been accustomed to celebrate; and
had frequently vaunted of the conquests which I
should make with their assistance.

I used to suppose that certain evils could never
vbefall a being in possession of a sound mind; that
true virtue supplies us with energy which vice can
never resist; that it was always in our power to
obstruct, by his own death, the designs of an enemy
who aimed at less than our life. How was it that
a sentiment like despair had now invaded me, and
that I trusted to the protection of chance, or to the
pity of my persecutor?

His words imparted some notion of the injury
which he had meditated. He talked of obstacles
that had risen in his way. He had relinquished his
design. These sources supplied me with slender
consolation. There was no security but in his ab-
sence. When I looked at myself, when I reflected
on the hour and the place, I was overpowered by
horror and dejection.

He was silent, museful, and inattentive to my
situation, yet made no motion to depart. I was
silent in my turn. What could I say? I was con-
fident that reason in this contest would be impo-
tent. I must owe my safety to his own suggestions.
Whatever purpose brought him hither, he had
changed it. Why then did he remain? His reso-
lutions might fluctuate, and the pause of a few mi-
nutes restore to him his first resolutions.



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Yet was not this the man whom we had treated
with unwearied kindness? Whose society was en-
deared to us by his intellectual elevation and ac-
complishments? Who had a thousand times expa-
tiated on the usefulness and beauty of virtue? Why
should such a one be dreaded? If I could have
forgotten the circumstances in which our interview
had taken place, I might have treated his words as
jests. Presently, he resumed:

"Fear me not: the space that severs us is small,
and all visible succour is distant. You believe your-
self completely in my power; that you stand upon
the brink of ruin. Such are your groundless fears.
I cannot lift a finger to hurt you. Easier it would
be to stop the moon in her course than to injure
you. The power that protects you would crum-
ble my sinews, and reduce me to a heap of ashes
in a moment, if I were to harbour a thought hos-
tile to your safety.

"Thus are appearances at length solved. Little
did I expect that they originated hence. What a
portion is assigned to you? Scanned by the eyes
of this intelligence, your path will be without pits
to swallow, or snares to entangle you. Environed
by the arms of this protection, all artifices will be
frustrated, and all malice repelled."

Here succeeded a new pause. I was still obser-
vant of every gesture and look. The tranquil so-
lemnity that had lately possessed his countenance
gave way to a new expression. All now was tre-
pidation and anxiety.

"I must be gone," said he in a faltering accent.
"Why do I linger here? I will not ask your for-
giveness. I see that your terrors are invincible.
Your pardon will be extorted by fear, and not dic-
tated by compassion. I must fly from you forever.


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He that could plot against your honor, must expect
from you and your friends persecution and death.
I must doom myself to endless exile."

Saying this, he hastily left the room. I listened
while he descended the stairs, and, unbolting the
outer door, went forth. I did not follow him with
my eyes, as the moon-light would have enabled me
to do. Relieved by his absence, and exhausted by
the conflict of my fears, I threw myself on a chair,
and resigned myself to those bewildering ideas which
incidents like these could not fail to produce.



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CHAPTER X.

ORDER could not readily be introduced into my
thoughts. The voice still rung in my ears. Every
accent that was uttered by Carwin was fresh in my
remembrance. His unwelcome approach, the re-
cognition of his person, his hasty departure, pro-
duced a complex impression on my mind which no
words can delineate. I strove to give a slower mo-
tion to my thoughts, and to regulate a confusion
which became painful; but my efforts were nuga-
tory. I covered my eyes with my hand, and sat,
I know not how long, without power to arrange or
utter my conceptions.

I had remained for hours, as I believed, in ab-
solute solitude. No thought of personal danger
had molested my tranquillity. I had made no pre-
paration for defence. What was it that suggested
the design of perusing my father's manuscript? If,
instead of this, I had retired to bed, and to sleep,
to what fate might I not have been reserved? The
ruffian, who must almost have suppressed his breath-
ing to screen himself from discovery, would have
noticed this signal, and I should have awakened
only to perish with affright, and to abhor myself.
Could I have remained unconscious of my danger?
Could I have tranquilly slept in the midst of so
deadly a snare?

And who was he that threatened to destroy me?
By what means could he hide himself in this closet?
Surely he is gifted with supernatural power. Such
is the enemy of whose attempts I was forewarned.
Daily I had seen him and conversed with him. No-


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thing could be discerned through the impenetrable
veil of his duplicity. When busied in conjectures,
as to the author of the evil that was threatened, my
mind did not light, for a moment, upon his image.
Yet has he not avowed himself my enemy? Why
should he be here if he had not meditated evil?

He confesses that this has been his second at-
tempt. What was the scene of his former conspi-
racy? Was it not he whose whispers betrayed
him? Am I deceived; or was there not a faint re-
semblance between the voice of this man and that
which talked of grasping my throat, and extinguish-
ing my life in a moment? Then he had a colleague
in his crime; now he is alone. Then death was
the scope of his thoughts; now an injury unspeak-
ably more dreadful. How thankful should I be to
the power that has interposed to save me!

That power is invisible. It is subject to the cog-
nizance of one of my senses. What are the means
that will inform me of what nature it is? He has
set himself to counterwork the machinations of this
man, who had menaced destruction to all that is
dear to me, and whose cunning had surmounted
every human impediment. There was none to
rescue me from his grasp. My rashness even has-
tened the completion of his scheme, and precluded
him from the benefits of deliberation. I had robbed
him of the power to repent and forbear. Had I
been apprized of the danger, I should have regarded
my conduct as the means of rendering my escape
from it impossible. Such, likewise, seem to have
been the fears of my invisible protector. Else why
that startling intreaty to refrain from opening the
closet? By what inexplicable infatuation was I
compelled to proceed?



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Yet my conduct was wise. Carwin, unable to
comprehend my folly, ascribed my behaviour to my
knowledge. He conceived himself previously de-
tected, and such detection being possible to flow
only from my heavenly friend, and his enemy, his
fears acquired additional strength.

He is apprized of the nature and intentions of this
being. Perhaps he is a human agent. Yet, on
that supposition his atchievements are incredible.
Why should I be selected as the object of his care;
or, if a mere mortal, should I not recognize some one,
whom, benefits imparted and received had prompted
to love me? What were the limits and duration
of his guardianship? Was the genius of my birth
entrusted by divine benignity with this province?
Are human faculties adequate to receive stronger
proofs of the existence of unfettered and beneficent
intelligences than I have received?

But who was this man's coadjutor? The voice
that acknowledged an alliance in treachery with
Carwin warned me to avoid the summer-house.
He assured me that there only my safety was endan-
gered. His assurance, as it now appears, was fal-
lacious. Was there not deceit in his admonition?
Was his compact really annulled? Some purpose
was, perhaps, to be accomplished by preventing my
future visits to that spot. Why was I enjoined
silence to others, on the subject of this admonition,
unless it were for some unauthorized and guilty
purpose?

No one but myself was accustomed to visit it.
Backward, it was hidden from distant view by the
rock, and in front, it was screened from all examina-
tion, by creeping plants, and the branches of cedars.
What recess could be more propitious to secrecy?


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The spirit which haunted it formerly was pure and
rapturous. It was a fane sacred to the memory of
infantile days, and to blissful imaginations of the
future! What a gloomy reverse had succeeded
since the ominous arrival of this stranger! Now,
perhaps, it is the scene of his meditations. Pur-
poses fraught with horror, that shun the light, and
contemplate the pollution of innocence, are here
engendered, and fostered, and reared to maturity.

Such were the ideas that, during the night, were
tumultuously revolved by me. I reviewed every
conversation in which Carwin had borne a part.
I studied to discover the true inferences deducible
from his deportment and words with regard to his
former adventures and actual views. I pondered
on the comments which he made on the relation
which I had given of the closet dialogue. No new
ideas suggested themselves in the course of this re-
view. My expectation had, from the first, been
disappointed on the small degree of surprize which
this narrative excited in him. He never explicitly
declared his opinion as to the nature of those voices,
or decided whether they were real or visionary.
He recommended no measures of caution or pre-
vention.

But what measures were now to be taken? Was
the danger which threatened me at an end? Had
I nothing more to fear? I was lonely, and with-
out means of defence. I could not calculate the mo-
tives and regulate the footsteps of this person. What
certainty was there, that he would not re-assume
his purposes, and swiftly return to the execution of
them?

This idea covered me once more with dismay.
How deeply did I regret the solitude in which I was
placed, and how ardently did I desire the return of


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day! But neither of these inconveniencies were
susceptible of remedy. At first, it occurred to me
to summon my servant, and make her spend the
night in my chamber; but the inefficacy of this ex-
pedient to enhance my safety was easily seen. Once
I resolved to leave the house, and retire to my bro-
ther's, but was deterred by reflecting on the un-
seasonableness of the hour, on the alarm which my
arrival, and the account which I should be obliged
to give, might occasion, and on the danger to which
I might expose myself in the way thither. I began,
likewise, to consider Carwin's return to molest me
as exceedingly improbable. He had relinquished,
of his own accord, his design, and departed without
compulsion.

"Surely," said I, "there is omnipotence in the
cause that changed the views of a man like Carwin.
The divinity that shielded me from his attempts will
take suitable care of my future safety. Thus to yield
to my fears is to deserve that they should be real."

Scarcely had I uttered these words, when my
attention was startled by the sound of footsteps.
They denoted some one stepping into the piazza in
front of my house. My new-born confidence was
extinguished in a moment. Carwin, I thought,
had repented his departure, and was hastily return-
ing. The possibility that his return was prompted
by intentions consistent with my safety, found no
place in my mind. Images of violation and mur-
der assailed me anew, and the terrors which suc-
ceeded almost incapacitated me from taking any
measures for my defence. It was an impulse of
which I was scarcely conscious, that made me fasten
the lock and draw the bolts of my chamber door.
Having done this, I threw myself on a seat; for I
trembled to a degree which disabled me from stand-


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ing, and my soul was so perfectly absorbed in the
act of listening, that almost the vital motions were
stopped.

The door below creaked on its hinges. It was
not again thrust to, but appeared to remain open.
Footsteps entered, traversed the entry, and began
to mount the stairs. How I detested the folly of
not pursuing the man when he withdrew, and bolt-
ing after him the outer door! Might he not con-
ceive this omission to be a proof that my angel had
deserted me, and be thereby fortified in guilt?

Every step on the stairs, which brought him
nearer to my chamber, added vigor to my despera-
tion. The evil with which I was menaced was to
be at any rate eluded. How little did I preconceive
the conduct which, in an exigence like this, I
should be prone to adopt. You will suppose that
deliberation and despair would have suggested the
same course of action, and that I should have, un-
hesitatingly, resorted to the best means of personal
defence within my power. A penknife lay open
upon my table. I remembered that it was there,
and seized it. For what purpose you will scarcely
inquire. It will be immediately supposed that I
meant it for my last refuge, and that if all other
means should fail, I should plunge it into the heart
of my ravisher.

I have lost all faith in the stedfastness of human
resolves. It was thus that in periods of calm I had
determined to act. No cowardice had been held by
me in greater abhorrence than that which prompt-
ed an injured female to destroy, not her injurer ere
the injury was perpetrated, but herself when it was
without remedy. Yet now this penknife appeared
to me of no other use than to baffle my assailant,
and prevent the crime by destroying myself. To


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deliberate at such a time was impossible; but among
the tumultuous suggestions of the moment, I do
not recollect that it once occurred to me to use it
as an instrument of direct defence.

The steps had now reached the second floor.
Every footfall accelerated the completion, without
augmenting, the certainty of evil. The conscious-
ness that the door was fast, now that nothing but
that was interposed between me and danger, was a
source of some consolation. I cast my eye towards
the window. This, likewise, was a new sugges-
tion. If the door should give way, it was my
sudden resolution to throw myself from the win-
dow. Its height from the ground, which was co-
vered beneath by a brick pavement, would insure
my destruction; but I thought not of that.

When opposite to my door the footsteps ceased.
Was he listening whether my fears were allayed,
and my caution were asleep? Did he hope to take
me by surprize? Yet, if so, why did he allow so
many noisy signals to betray his approach? Pre-
sently the steps were again heard to approach the
door. An hand was laid upon the lock, and the
latch pulled back. Did he imagine it possible that
I should fail to secure the door? A slight effort
was made to push it open, as if all bolts being with-
drawn, a slight effort only was required.

I no sooner perceived this, than I moved swiftly
towards the window. Carwin's frame might be
said to be all muscle. His strength and activity
had appeared, in various instances, to be prodigious.
A slight exertion of his force would demolish the
door. Would not that exertion be made? Too
surely it would; but, at the same moment that this
obstacle should yield, and he should enter the apart-
ment, my determination was formed to leap from


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the window. My senses were still bound to this
object. I gazed at the door in momentary expecta-
tion that the assault would be made. The pause
continued. The person without was irresolute and
motionless.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that Carwin might
conceive me to have fled. That I had not betaken
myself to flight was, indeed, the least probable of all
conclusions. In this persuasion he must have been
confirmed on finding the lower door unfastened,
and the chamber door locked. Was it not wise
to foster this persuasion? Should I maintain deep
silence, this, in addition to other circumstances,
might encourage the belief, and he would once
more depart. Every new reflection added plau-
sibility to this reasoning. It was presently more
strongly enforced, when I noticed footsteps with-
drawing from the door. The blood once more
flowed back to my heart, and a dawn of exultation
began to rise: but my joy was short lived. In-
stead of descending the stairs, he passed to the door
of the opposite chamber, opened it, and having en-
tered, shut it after him with a violence that shook
the house.

How was I to interpret this circumstance? For
what end could he have entered this chamber? Did
the violence with which he closed the door testify
the depth of his vexation? This room was usually
occupied by Pleyel. Was Carwin aware of his
absence on this night? Could he be suspected of
a design so sordid as pillage? If this were his view
there were no means in my power to frustrate it. It
behoved me to seize the first opportunity to escape;
but if my escape were supposed by my enemy to
have been already effected, no asylum was more
secure than the present. How could my passage


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from the house be accomplished without noises that
might incite him to pursue me?

Utterly at a loss to account for his going into
Pleyel's chamber, I waited in instant expectation
of hearing him come forth. All, however, was pro-
foundly still. I listened in vain for a considerable
period, to catch the sound of the door when it
should again be opened. There was no other
avenue by which he could escape, but a door which
led into the girl's chamber. Would any evil from
this quarter befall the girl?

Hence arose a new train of apprehensions. They
merely added to the turbulence and agony of
my reflections. Whatever evil impended over her,
I had no power to avert it. Seclusion and silence
were the only means of saving myself from the
perils of this fatal night. What solemn vows did
I put up, that if I should once more behold the
light of day, I would never trust myself again
within the threshold of this dwelling!

Minute lingered after minute, but no token was
given that Carwin had returned to the passage.
What, I again asked, could detain him in this
room? Was it possible that he had returned, and
glided, unperceived, away? I was speedily aware
of the difficulty that attended an enterprize like
this; and yet, as if by that means I were capable
of gaining any information on that head, I cast
anxious looks from the window.

The object that first attracted my attention was
an human figure standing on the edge of the bank.
Perhaps my penetration was assisted by my hopes.
Be that as it will, the figure of Carwin was clearly
distinguishable. From the obscurity of my station,
it was impossible that I should be discerned by him,
and yet he scarcely suffered me to catch a glimpse


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of him. He turned and went down the steep,
which, in this part, was not difficult to be scaled.

My conjecture then had been right. Carwin
has softly opened the door, descended the stairs, and
issued forth. That I should not have overheard
his steps, was only less incredible than that my eyes
had deceived me. But what was now to be done?
The house was at length delivered from this detested
inmate. By one avenue might he again re-enter.
Was it not wise to bar the lower door? Perhaps
he had gone out by the kitchen door. For this
end, he must have passed through Judith's cham-
ber. These entrances being closed and bolted, as
great security was gained as was compatible with my
lonely condition.

The propriety of these measures was too mani-
fest not to make me struggle successfully with my
fears. Yet I opened my own door with the utmost
caution, and descended as if I were afraid that
Carwin had been still immured in Pleyel's cham-
ber. The outer door was a-jar. I shut, with
trembling eagerness, and drew every bolt that ap-
pended to it. I then passed with light and less cau-
tious steps through the parlour, but was surprized
to discover that the kitchen door was secure. I
was compelled to acquiesce in the first conjecture
that Carwin had escaped through the entry.

My heart was now somewhat eased of the load
of apprehension. I returned once more to my
chamber, the door of which I was careful to lock.
It was no time to think of repose. The moon-
light began already to fade before the light of the
day. The approach of morning was betokened
by the usual signals. I mused upon the events of
this night, and determined to take up my abode
henceforth at my brother's. Whether I should in-


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form him of what had happened was a question
which seemed to demand some consideration. My
safety unquestionably required that I should aban-
don my present habitation.

As my thoughts began to flow with fewer im-
pediments, the image of Pleyel, and the dubious-
ness of his condition, again recurred to me. I
again ran over the possible causes of his absence
on the preceding day. My mind was attuned to
melancholy. I dwelt, with an obstinacy for which
I could not account, on the idea of his death. I
painted to myself his struggles with the billows,
and his last appearance. I imagined myself a mid-
night wanderer on the shore, and to have stumbled
on his corpse, which the tide had cast up. These
dreary images affected me even to tears. I endea-
voured not to restrain them. They imparted a re-
lief which I had not anticipated. The more co-
piously they flowed, the more did my general sen-
sations appear to subside into calm, and a certain
restlessness give way to repose.

Perhaps, relieved by this effusion, the slumber
so much wanted might have stolen on my senses,
had there been no new cause of alarm.



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CHAPTER XI.

I WAS aroused from this stupor by sounds that
evidently arose in the next chamber. Was it pos-
sible that I had been mistaken in the figure which
I had seen on the bank? or had Carwin, by some
inscrutable means, penetrated once more into this
chamber? The opposite door opened; footsteps
came forth, and the person, advancing to mine,
knocked.

So unexpected an incident robbed me of all pre-
sence of mind, and, starting up, I involuntarily ex-
claimed, "Who is there?" An answer was im-
mediately given. The voice, to my inexpressible
astonishment, was Pleyel's.

"It is I. Have you risen? If you have not,
make haste; I want three minutes conversation with
you in the parlour—I will wait for you there."
Saying this he retired from the door.

Should I confide in the testimony of my ears?
If that were true, it was Pleyel that had been hi-
therto immured in the opposite chamber: he whom
my rueful fancy had depicted in so many ruinous
and ghastly shapes: he whose footsteps had been
listened to with such inquietude! What is man,
that knowledge is so sparingly conferred upon him!
that his heart should be wrung with distress, and
his frame be exanimated with fear, though his safety
be encompassed with impregnable walls! What
are the bounds of human imbecility! He that
warned me of the presence of my foe refused the
intimation by which so many racking fears would
have been precluded.



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Yet who would have imagined the arrival of
Pleyel at such an hour? His tone was desponding
and anxious. Why this unseasonable summons?
and why this hasty departure? Some tidings he,
perhaps, bears of mysterious and unwelcome im-
port.

My impatience would not allow me to consume
much time in deliberation: I hastened down. Pleyel
I found standing at a window, with eyes cast down
as in meditation, and arms folded on his breast.
Every line in his countenance was pregnant with
sorrow. To this was added a certain wanness and
air of fatigue. The last time I had seen him ap-
pearances had been the reverse of these. I was
startled at the change. The first impulse was to
question him as to the cause. This impulse was sup-
planted by some degree of confusion, flowing from
a consciousness that love had too large, and, as it
might prove, a perceptible share in creating this im-
pulse. I was silent.

Presently he raised his eyes and fixed them upon
me. I read in them an anguish altogether ineffa-
ble. Never had I witnessed a like demeanour in
Pleyel. Never, indeed, had I observed an human
countenance in which grief was more legibly in-
scribed. He seemed struggling for utterance; but
his struggles being fruitless, he shook his head and
turned away from me.

My impatience would not allow me to be longer
silent: "What," said I, "for heaven's sake, my
friend, what is the matter?"

He started at the sound of my voice. His looks,
for a moment, became convulsed with an emotion
very different from grief. His accents were broken
with rage.

"The matter—O wretch!—thus exquisitely


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fashioned—on whom nature seemed to have ex-
hausted all her graces; with charms so awful and so
pure! how art thou fallen! From what height
fallen! A ruin so complete—so unheard of!"

His words were again choaked by emotion.
Grief and pity were again mingled in his features.
He resumed, in a tone half suffocated by sobs:

"But why should I upbraid thee? Could I re-
store to thee what thou hast lost; efface this
cursed stain; snatch thee from the jaws of this fiend;
I would do it. Yet what will avail my efforts?
I have not arms with which to contend with so con-
summate, so frightful a depravity.

"Evidence less than this would only have excited
resentment and scorn. The wretch who should
have breathed a suspicion injurious to thy honor,
would have been regarded without anger; not
hatred or envy could have prompted him; it would
merely be an argument of madness. That my eyes,
that my ears, should bear witness to thy fall! By
no other way could detestible conviction be im-
parted.

"Why do I summon thee to this conference?
Why expose myself to thy derision? Here admo-
nition and entreaty are vain. Thou knowest him
already, for a murderer and thief. I had thought
to have been the first to disclose to thee his infamy;
to have warned thee of the pit to which thou art
hastening; but thy eyes are open in vain. O foul
and insupportable disgrace!

"There is but one path. I know you will dis-
appear together. In thy ruin, how will the felicity
and honor of multitudes be involved! But it must
come. This scene shall not be blotted by his pre-
sence. No doubt thou wilt shortly see thy detested
paramour. This scene will be again polluted by


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a midnight assignation. Inform him of his danger;
tell him that his crimes are known; let him fly
far and instantly from this spot, if he desires to
avoid the fate which menaced him in Ireland.

"And wilt thou not stay behind?—But shame
upon my weakness. I know not what I would
say.—I have done what I purposed. To stay
longer, to expostulate, to beseech, to enumerate
the consequences of thy act—what end can it
serve but to blazon thy infamy and embitter our
woes? And yet, O think, think ere it be too late,
on the distresses which thy flight will entail upon
us; on the base, grovelling, and atrocious cha-
racter of the wretch to whom thou hast sold thy
honor. But what is this? Is not thy effrontery
impenetrable, and thy heart thoroughly cankered?
O most specious, and most profligate of women!"

Saying this, he rushed out of the house. I saw
him in a few moments hurrying along the path
which led to my brother's. I had no power to
prevent his going, or to recall, or to follow him.
The accents I had heard were calculated to
confound and bewilder. I looked around me to
assure myself that the scene was real. I moved
that I might banish the doubt that I was awake.
Such enormous imputations from the mouth of
Pleyel! To be stigmatized with the names of
wanton and profligate! To be charged with the
sacrifice of honor! with midnight meetings with a
wretch known to be a murderer and thief! with an
intention to fly in his company!

What I had heard was surely the dictate of
phrenzy, or it was built upon some fatal, some in-
comprehensible mistake. After the horrors of the
night; after undergoing perils so imminent from
this man, to be summoned to an interview like this;


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to find Pleyel fraught with a belief that, instead
of having chosen death as a refuge from the vio-
lence of this man, I had hugged his baseness to my
heart, had sacrificed for him my purity, my spotless
name, my friendships, and my fortune! that even
madness could engender accusations like these was
not to be believed.

What evidence could possibly suggest concep-
tions so wild? After the unlooked-for interview
with Carwin in my chamber, he retired. Could
Pleyel have observed his exit? It was not long
after that Pleyel himself entered. Did he build on
this incident, his odious conclusions? Could the
long series of my actions and sentiments grant me
no exemption from suspicions so foul? Was it
not more rational to infer that Carwin's designs
had been illicit; that my life had been endangered
by the fury of one whom, by some means, he had
discovered to be an assassin and robber; that
my honor had been assailed, not by blandishments,
but by violence?

He has judged me without hearing. He has
drawn from dubious appearances, conclusions the
most improbable and unjust. He has loaded me
with all outrageous epithets. He has ranked me
with prostitutes and thieves. I cannot pardon thee,
Pleyel, for this injustice. Thy understanding must
be hurt. If it be not, if thy conduct was sober
and deliberate, I can never forgive an outrage so
unmanly, and so gross.

These thoughts gradually gave place to others.
Pleyel was possessed by some momentary phrenzy:
appearances had led him into palpable errors.
Whence could his sagacity have contracted this
blindness? Was it not love? Previously assured of
my affection for Carwin, distracted with grief and


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jealousy, and impelled hither at that late hour by
some unknown instigation, his imagination trans-
formed shadows into monsters, and plunged him
into these deplorable errors.

This idea was not unattended with consolation.
My soul was divided between indignation at his in-
justice, and delight on account of the source from
which I conceived it to spring. For a long time
they would allow admission to no other thoughts.
Surprize is an emotion that enfeebles, not invigo-
rates. All my meditations were accompanied with
wonder. I rambled with vagueness, or clung to
one image with an obstinacy which sufficiently tes-
tified the maddening influence of late transactions.

Gradually I proceeded to reflect upon the con-
sequences of Pleyel's mistake, and on the measures
I should take to guard myself against future injury
from Carwin. Should I suffer this mistake to be
detected by time? When his passion should sub-
side, would he not perceive the flagrancy of his in-
justice, and hasten to atone for it? Did it not be-
come my character to testify resentment for lan-
guage and treatment so opprobrious? Wrapt up in
the consciousness of innocence, and confiding in
the influence of time and reflection to confute so
groundless a charge, it was my province to be pas-
sive and silent.

As to the violences meditated by Carwin, and
the means of eluding them, the path to be taken by
me was obvious. I resolved to tell the tale to my
brother, and regulate myself by his advice. For
this end, when the morning was somewhat advanc-
ed, I took the way to his house. My sister was
engaged in her customary occupations. As soon
as I appeared, she remarked a change in my looks.
I was not willing to alarm her by the information


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which I had to communicate. Her health was in
that condition which rendered a disastrous tale par-
ticularly unsuitable. I forbore a direct answer to
her inquiries, and inquired, in my turn, for Wie-
land.

"Why," said she, "I suspect something mys-
terious and unpleasant has happened this morning.
Scarcely had we risen when Pleyel dropped among
us. What could have prompted him to make us
so early and so unseasonable a visit I cannot tell.
To judge from the disorder of his dress, and his
countenance, something of an extraordinary nature
has occurred. He permitted me merely to know
that he had slept none, nor even undressed, during
the past night. He took your brother to walk with
him. Some topic must have deeply engaged them,
for Wieland did not return till the breakfast hour
was passed, and returned alone. His disturbance
was excessive; but he would not listen to my im-
portunities, or tell me what had happened. I ga-
thered from hints which he let fall, that your situ-
ation was, in some way, the cause: yet he assured
me that you were at your own house, alive, in good
health, and in perfect safety. He scarcely ate a
morsel, and immediately after breakfast went out
again. He would not inform me whither he was
going, but mentioned that he probably might not
return before night."

I was equally astonished and alarmed by this in-
formation. Pleyel had told his tale to my brother,
and had, by a plausible and exaggerated picture,
instilled into him unfavorable thoughts of me. Yet
would not the more correct judgment of Wieland
perceive and expose the fallacy of his conclusions?
Perhaps his uneasiness might arise from some in-
sight into the character of Carwin, and from ap-


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prehensions for my safety. The appearances by
which Pleyel had been misled, might induce him
likewise to believe that I entertained an indiscreet,
though not dishonorable affection for Carwin.
Such were the conjectures rapidly formed. I was
inexpressibly anxious to change them into certain-
ty. For this end an interview with my brother was
desirable. He was gone, no one knew whither,
and was not expected speedily to return. I had no
clue by which to trace his footsteps.

My anxieties could not be concealed from my
sister. They heightened her solicitude to be ac-
quainted with the cause. There were many rea-
sons persuading me to silence: at least, till I had
seen my brother, it would be an act of inexcusable
temerity to unfold what had lately passed. No
other expedient for eluding her importunities oc-
curred to me, but that of returning to my own
house. I recollected my determination to become
a tenant of this roof. I mentioned it to her. She
joyfully acceded to this proposal, and suffered me,
with less reluctance, to depart, when I told her that
it was with a view to collect and send to my new
dwelling what articles would be immediately useful
to me.

Once more I returned to the house which had
been the scene of so much turbulence and danger.
I was at no great distance from it when I observed
my brother coming out. On seeing me he stopped,
and after ascertaining, as it seemed, which way I
was going, he returned into the house before me.
I sincerely rejoiced at this event, and I hastened to
set things, if possible, on their right footing.

His brow was by no means expressive of those
vehement emotions with which Pleyel had been
agitated. I drew a favorable omen from this cir-


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cumstance. Without delay I began the conversa-
tion.

"I have been to look for you," said I, "but
was told by Catharine that Pleyel had engaged you
on some important and disagreeable affair. Before
his interview with you he spent a few minutes with
me. These minutes he employed in upbraiding me
for crimes and intentions with which I am by no
means chargeable. I believe him to have taken up
his opinions on very insufficient grounds. His be-
haviour was in the highest degree precipitate and
unjust, and, until I receive some atonement, I shall
treat him, in my turn, with that contempt which
he justly merits: meanwhile I am fearful that he
has prejudiced my brother against me. That is an
evil which I most anxiously deprecate, and which I
shall indeed exert myself to remove. Has he made
me the subject of this morning's conversation?"

My brother's countenance testified no surprize
at my address. The benignity of his looks were
no wise diminished.

"It is true," said he, "your conduct was the
subject of our discourse. I am your friend, as well
as your brother. There is no human being whom
I love with more tenderness, and whose welfare is
nearer my heart. Judge then with what emotions
I listened to Pleyel's story. I expect and desire
you to vindicate yourself from aspersions so foul,
if vindication be possible."

The tone with which he uttered the last words
affected me deeply. "If vindication be possible!"
repeated I. "From what you know, do you deem
a formal vindication necessary? Can you harbour
for a moment the belief of my guilt?"

He shook his head with an air of acute anguish.
"I have struggled," said he, "to dismiss that be-


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lief. You speak before a judge who will profit by
any pretence to acquit you: who is ready to ques-
tion his own senses when they plead against you."

These words incited a new set of thoughts in my
mind. I began to suspect that Pleyel had built his
accusations on some foundation unknown to me.
"I may be a stranger to the grounds of your belief.
Pleyel loaded me with indecent and virulent in-
vectives, but he withheld from me the facts that
generated his suspicions. Events took place last
night of which some of the circumstances were of
an ambiguous nature. I conceived that these might
possibly have fallen under his cognizance, and that,
viewed through the mists of prejudice and passion,
they supplied a pretence for his conduct, but be-
lieved that your more unbiassed judgment would
estimate them at their just value. Perhaps his tale
has been different from what I suspect it to be.
Listen then to my narrative. If there be any thing
in his story inconsistent with mine, his story is
false."

I then proceeded to a circumstantial relation of
the incidents of the last night. Wieland listened
with deep attention. Having finished, "This,"
continued I, "is the truth; you see in what cir-
cumstances an interview took place between Car-
win and me. He remained for hours in my closet,
and for some minutes in my chamber. He de-
parted without haste or interruption. If Pleyel
marked him as he left the house, and it is not im-
possible that he did, inferences injurious to my
character might suggest themselves to him. In ad-
mitting them, he gave proofs of less discernment and
less candor than I once ascribed to him."

"His proofs," said Wieland, after a consider-
able pause, "are different. That he should be


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deceived, is not possible. That he himself is not
the deceiver, could not be believed, if his testimony
were not inconsistent with yours; but the doubts
which I entertained are now removed. Your tale,
some parts of it, is marvellous; the voice which
exclaimed against your rashness in approaching the
closet, your persisting notwithstanding that prohi-
bition, your belief that I was the ruffian, and your
subsequent conduct, are believed by me, because I
have known you from childhood, because a thou-
sand instances have attested your veracity, and be-
cause nothing less than my own hearing and vision
would convince me, in opposition to her own asser-
tions, that my sister had fallen into wickedness like
this."

I threw my arms around him, and bathed his
cheek with my tears. "That," said I, "is spoken
like my brother. But what are the proofs?"

He replied—"Pleyel informed me that, in going
to your house, his attention was attracted by two
voices. The persons speaking sat beneath the
bank out of sight. These persons, judging by their
voices, were Carwin and you. I will not repeat
the dialogue. If my sister was the female, Pleyel
was justified in concluding you to be, indeed, one
of the most profligate of women. Hence, his accu-
sations of you, and his efforts to obtain my con-
currence to a plan by which an eternal separation
should be brought about between my sister and this
man."

I made Wieland repeat this recital. Here, in-
deed, was a tale to fill me with terrible foreboding.
I had vainly thought that my safety could be suffi-
ciently secured by doors and bars, but this is a foe
from whose grasp no power of divinity can save
me! His artifices will ever lay my fame and hap-


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piness at his mercy. How shall I counterwork
his plots, or detect his coadjutor? He has taught
some vile and abandoned female to mimic my
voice. Pleyel's ears were the witnesses of my dis-
honor. This is the midnight assignation to which
he alluded. Thus is the silence he maintained when
attempting to open the door of my chamber, ac-
counted for. He supposed me absent, and meant,
perhaps, had my apartment been accessible, to leave
in it some accusing memorial.

Pleyel was no longer equally culpable. The
sincerity of his anguish, the depth of his despair, I
remembered with some tendencies to gratitude. Yet
was he not precipitate? Was the conjecture that
my part was played by some mimic so utterly un-
tenable? Instances of this faculty are common.
The wickedness of Carwin must, in his opinion,
have been adequate to such contrivances, and yet
the supposition of my guilt was adopted in prefer-
ence to that.

But how was this error to be unveiled? What but
my own assertion had I to throw in the balance
against it? Would this be permitted to out-
weigh the testimony of his senses? I had no wit-
nesses to prove my existence in another place.
The real events of that night are marvellous. Few,
to whom they should be related, would scruple to
discredit them. Pleyel is sceptical in a transcend-
ant degree. I cannot summon Carwin to my bar,
and make him the attestor of my innocence, and
the accuser of himself.

My brother saw and comprehended my distress.
He was unacquainted, however, with the full ex-
tent of it. He knew not by how many motives I
was incited to retrieve the good opinion of Pleyel.
He endeavored to console me. Some new event,


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he said, would occur to disentangle the maze. He
did not question the influence of my eloquence, if I
thought proper to exert it. Why not seek an in-
terview with Pleyel, and exact from him a minute
relation, in which something may be met with serv-
ing to destroy the probability of the whole?

I caught, with eagerness, at this hope; but my
alacrity was damped by new reflections. Should
I, perfect in this respect, and unblemished as I was,
thrust myself, uncalled, into his presence, and make
my felicity depend upon his arbitrary verdict?

"If you chuse to seek an interview," continued
Wieland, "you must make haste, for Pleyel in-
formed me of his intention to set out this evening
or to-morrow on a long journey."

No intelligence was less expected or less wel-
come than this. I had thrown myself in a window
seat; but now, starting on my feet, I exclaimed,
"Good heavens! what is it you say? a journey?
whither? when?"

"I cannot say whither. It is a sudden resolution
I believe. I did not hear of it till this morning. He
promises to write to me as soon as he is settled."

I needed no further information as to the cause
and issue of this journey. The scheme of happi-
ness to which he had devoted his thoughts was
blasted by the discovery of last night. My prefer-
ence of another, and my unworthiness to be any
longer the object of his adoration, were evinced
by the same act and in the same moment. The
thought of utter desertion, a desertion originating
in such a cause, was the prelude to distraction.
That Pleyel should abandon me forever, because
I was blind to his excellence, because I coveted
pollution, and wedded infamy, when, on the con-
trary, my heart was the shrine of all purity, and


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beat only for his sake, was a destiny which, as long
as my life was in my own hands, I would by no
means consent to endure.

I remembered that this evil was still preventable;
that this fatal journey it was still in my power to
procrastinate, or, perhaps, to occasion it to be laid
aside. There were no impediments to a visit: I
only dreaded lest the interview should be too long
delayed. My brother befriended my impatience,
and readily consented to furnish me with a chaise
and servant to attend me. My purpose was to go
immediately to Pleyel's farm, where his engage-
ments usually detained him during the day.



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CHAPTER XII.

MY way lay through the city. I had scarcely
entered it when I was seized with a general sensa-
tion of sickness. Every object grew dim and swam
before my sight. It was with difficulty I prevented
myself from sinking to the bottom of the carriage.
I ordered myself to be carried to Mrs. Baynton's,
in hope that an interval of repose would invigo-
rate and refresh me. My distracted thoughts would
allow me but little rest. Growing somewhat bet-
ter in the afternoon, I resumed my journey.

My contemplations were limited to a few objects.
I regarded my success, in the purpose which I had
in view, as considerably doubtful. I depended, in
some degree, on the suggestions of the moment,
and on the materials which Pleyel himself should
furnish me. When I reflected on the nature of
the accusation, I burned with disdain. Would not
truth, and the consciousness of innocence, render
me triumphant? Should I not cast from me, with
irresistible force, such atrocious imputations?

What an entire and mournful change has been
effected in a few hours! The gulf that separates
man from insects is not wider than that which se-
vers the polluted from the chaste among women.
Yesterday and to-day I am the same. There is a
degree of depravity to which it is impossible for me
to sink; yet, in the apprehension of another, my
ancient and intimate associate, the perpetual wit-
ness of my actions, and partaker of my thoughts,


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I had ceased to be the same. My integrity was tar-
nished and withered in his eyes. I was the col-
league of a murderer, and the paramour of a thief!

His opinion was not destitute of evidence: yet
what proofs could reasonably avail to establish an
opinion like this? If the sentiments corresponded
not with the voice that was heard, the evidence
was deficient; but this want of correspondence
would have been supposed by me if I had been
the auditor and Pleyel the criminal. But mimicry
might still more plausibly have been employed to
explain the scene. Alas! it is the fate of Clara
Wieland to fall into the hands of a precipitate and
inexorable judge.

But what, O man of mischief! is the tendency
of thy thoughts? Frustrated in thy first design,
thou wilt not forego the immolation of thy victim.
To exterminate my reputation was all that remain-
ed to thee, and this my guardian has permitted.
To dispossess Pleyel of this prejudice may be im-
possible; but if that be effected, it cannot be sup-
posed that thy wiles are exhausted; thy cunning
will discover innumerable avenues to the accom-
plishment of thy malignant purpose.

Why should I enter the lists against thee? Would
to heaven I could disarm thy vengeance by my de-
precations! When I think of all the resources
with which nature and education have supplied
thee; that thy form is a combination of steely fibres
and organs of exquisite ductility and boundless com-
pass, actuated by an intelligence gifted with infinite
endowments, and comprehending all knowledge,
I perceive that my doom is fixed. What obstacle
will be able to divert thy zeal or repel thy efforts?
That being who has hitherto protected me has
borne testimony to the formidableness of thy at-


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tempts, since nothing less than supernatural inter-
ference could check thy career.

Musing on these thoughts, I arrived, towards the
close of the day, at Pleyel's house. A month be-
fore, I had traversed the same path; but how dif-
ferent were my sensations! Now I was seeking
the presence of one who regarded me as the most
degenerate of human kind. I was to plead the
cause of my innocence, against witnesses the most
explicit and unerring, of those which support the
fabric of human knowledge. The nearer I ap-
proached the crisis, the more did my confidence de-
cay. When the chaise stopped at the door, my
strength refused to support me, and I threw myself
into the arms of an ancient female domestic. I
had not courage to inquire whether her master was
at home. I was tormented with fears that the pro-
jected journey was already undertaken. These
fears were removed, by her asking me whether she
should call her young master, who had just gone
into his own room. I was somewhat revived by
this intelligence, and resolved immediately to seek
him there.

In my confusion of mind, I neglected to knock
at the door, but entered his apartment without
previous notice. This abruptness was altogether
involuntary. Absorbed in reflections of such un-
speakable moment, I had no leisure to heed the
niceties of punctilio. I discovered him standing
with his back towards the entrance. A small trunk,
with its lid raised, was before him in which it
seemed as if he had been busy in packing his clothes.
The moment of my entrance, he was employed in
gazing at something which he held in his hand.

I imagined that I fully comprehended this scene.
The image which he held before him, and by which


 image pending 140

his attention was so deeply engaged, I doubted not
to be my own. These preparations for his jour-
ney, the cause to which it was to be imputed, the
hopelessness of success in the undertaking on which
I had entered, rushed at once upon my feelings, and
dissolved me into a flood of tears.

Startled by this sound, he dropped the lid of the
trunk and turned. The solemn sadness that pre-
viously overspread his countenance, gave sudden
way to an attitude and look of the most vehement
astonishment. Perceiving me unable to uphold my-
self, he stepped towards me without speaking, and
supported me by his arm. The kindness of this
action called forth a new effusion from my eyes.
Weeping was a solace to which, at that time, I had
not grown familiar, and which, therefore, was pe-
culiarly delicious. Indignation was no longer to
be read in the features of my friend. They were
pregnant with a mixture of wonder and pity.
Their expression was easily interpreted. This visit,
and these tears, were tokens of my penitence. The
wretch whom he had stigmatized as incurably and
obdurately wicked, now shewed herself susceptible
of remorse, and had come to confess her guilt.

This persuasion had no tendency to comfort
me. It only shewed me, with new evidence, the
difficulty of the task which I had assigned myself.
We were mutually silent. I had less power and
less inclination than ever to speak. I extricated
myself from his hold, and threw myself on a sofa.
He placed himself by my side, and appeared to wait
with impatience and anxiety for some beginning of
the conversation. What could I say? If my mind
had suggested any thing suitable to the occasion, my
utterance was suffocated by tears.

Frequently he attempted to speak, but seemed de-


 image pending 141

terred by some degree of uncertainty as to the true
nature of the scene. At length, in faltering ac-
cents he spoke:

"My friend! would to heaven I were still per-
mitted to call you by that name. The image that
I once adored existed only in my fancy; but though
I cannot hope to see it realized, you may not be
totally insensible to the horrors of that gulf into
which you are about to plunge. What heart is
forever exempt from the goadings of compunction
and the influx of laudable propensities?

"I thought you accomplished and wise beyond
the rest of women. Not a sentiment you uttered,
not a look you assumed, that were not, in my ap-
prehension, fraught with the sublimities of recti-
tude and the illuminations of genius. Deceit has
some bounds. Your education could not be without
influence. A vigorous understanding cannot be ut-
terly devoid of virtue; but you could not counter-
feit the powers of invention and reasoning. I was
rash in my invectives. I will not, but with life,
relinquish all hopes of you. I will shut out every
proof that would tell me that your heart is incura-
bly diseased.

"You come to restore me once more to happi-
ness; to convince me that you have torn her mask
from vice, and feel nothing but abhorrence for the
part you have hitherto acted."

At these words my equanimity forsook me. For
a moment I forgot the evidence from which Pleyel's
opinions were derived, the benevolence of his re-
monstrances, and the grief which his accents be-
spoke; I was filled with indignation and horror at
charges so black; I shrunk back and darted at him
a look of disdain and anger. My passion supplied
me with words.



 image pending 142

"What detestable infatuation was it that led me
hither! Why do I patiently endure these horrible
insults! My offences exist only in your own dis-
tempered imagination: you are leagued with the
traitor who assailed my life: you have vowed the
destruction of my peace and honor. I deserve in-
famy for listening to calumnies so base!"

These words were heard by Pleyel without visi-
ble resentment. His countenance relapsed into its
former gloom; but he did not even look at me.
The ideas which had given place to my angry
emotions returned, and once more melted me into
tears. "O!" I exclaimed, in a voice broken by
sobs, "what a task is mine! Compelled to hear-
ken to charges which I feel to be false, but which
I know to be believed by him that utters them;
believed too not without evidence, which, though
fallacious, is not unplausible.

"I came hither not to confess, but to vindicate.
I know the source of your opinions. Wieland has
informed me on what your suspicions are built.
These suspicions are fostered by you as certainties;
the tenor of my life, of all my conversations and
letters, affords me no security; every sentiment that
my tongue and my pen have uttered, bear testimony
to the rectitude of my mind; but this testimony is
rejected. I am condemned as brutally profligate: I
am classed with the stupidly and sordidly wicked.

"And where are the proofs that must justify so
foul and so improbable an accusation? You have
overheard a midnight conference. Voices have sa-
luted your ear, in which you imagine yourself to
have recognized mine, and that of a detected vil-
lain. The sentiments expressed were not allowed
to outweigh the casual or concerted resemblance of
voice. Sentiments the reverse of all those whose


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influence my former life had attested, denoting a
mind polluted by grovelling vices, and entering into
compact with that of a thief and a murderer. The
nature of these sentiments did not enable you to
detect the cheat, did not suggest to you the possibi-
lity that my voice had been counterfeited by ano-
ther.

"You were precipitate and prone to condemn.
Instead of rushing on the impostors, and comparing
the evidence of sight with that of hearing, you
stood aloof, or you fled. My innocence would
not now have stood in need of vindication, if this
conduct had been pursued. That you did not pur-
sue it, your present thoughts incontestibly prove.
Yet this conduct might surely have been expected
from Pleyel. That he would not hastily impute
the blackest of crimes, that he would not couple
my name with infamy, and cover me with ruin for
inadequate or slight reasons, might reasonably have
been expected." The sobs which convulsed my
bosom would not suffer me to proceed.

Pleyel was for a moment affected. He looked at
me with some expression of doubt; but this quickly
gave place to a mournful solemnity. He fixed his
eyes on the floor as in reverie, and spoke:

"Two hours hence I am gone. Shall I carry
away with me the sorrow that is now my guest?
or shall that sorrow be accumulated tenfold? What
is she that is now before me? Shall every hour
supply me with new proofs of a wickedness beyond
example? Already I deem her the most abandoned
and detestable of human creatures. Her coming
and her tears imparted a gleam of hope, but that
gleam has vanished."

He now fixed his eyes upon me, and every
muscle in his face trembled. His tone was hollow


 image pending 144

and terrible—"Thou knowest that I was a witness
of your interview, yet thou comest hither to up-
braid me for injustice! Thou canst look me in
the face and say that I am deceived!—An inscruta-
ble providence has fashioned thee for some end.
Thou wilt live, no doubt, to fulfil the purposes
of thy maker, if he repent not of his workman-
ship, and send not his vengeance to exterminate
thee, ere the measure of thy days be full. Surely
nothing in the shape of man can vie with thee!

"But I thought I had stifled this fury. I am
not constituted thy judge. My office is to pity and
amend, and not to punish and revile. I deemed my-
self exempt from all tempestuous passions. I had
almost persuaded myself to weep over thy fall; but
I am frail as dust, and mutable as water; I am
calm, I am compassionate only in thy absence.—
Make this house, this room, thy abode as long as
thou wilt, but forgive me if I prefer solitude for the
short time during which I shall stay." Saying this,
he motioned as if to leave the apartment.

The stormy passions of this man affected me by
sympathy. I ceased to weep. I was motionless
and speechless with agony. I sat with my hands
clasped, mutely gazing after him as he withdrew.
I desired to detain him, but was unable to make
any effort for that purpose, till he had passed out
of the room. I then uttered an involuntary and
piercing cry—"Pleyel! Art thou gone? Gone
forever?"

At this summons he hastily returned. He beheld
me wild, pale, gasping for breath, and my head al-
ready sinking on my bosom. A painful dizziness
seized me, and I fainted away.

When I recovered, I found myself stretched on
a bed in the outer apartment, and Pleyel, with two


 image pending 145

female servants standing beside it. All the fury and
scorn which the countenance of the former lately
expressed, had now disappeared, and was succeeded
by the most tender anxiety. As soon as he per-
ceived that my senses were returned to me, he clasped
his hands, and exclaimed, "God be thanked! you
are once more alive. I had almost despaired of
your recovery. I fear I have been precipitate and
unjust. My senses must have been the victims of
some inexplicable and momentary phrenzy. For-
give me, I beseech you, forgive my reproaches. I
would purchase conviction of your purity, at the
price of my existence here and hereafter."

He once more, in a tone of the most fervent
tenderness, besought me to be composed, and then
left me to the care of the women.



 image pending 146

CHAPTER XIII.

HERE was wrought a surprizing change in my
friend. What was it that had shaken conviction
so firm? Had any thing occurred during my fit,
adequate to produce so total an alteration? My
attendants informed me that he had not left my
apartment; that the unusual duration of my fit, and
the failure, for a time, of all the means used for my
recovery, had filled him with grief and dismay. Did
he regard the effect which his reproaches had pro-
duced as a proof of my sincerity?

In this state of mind, I little regarded my languors
of body. I rose and requested an interview with
him before my departure, on which I was resolved,
notwithstanding his earnest solicitation to spend the
night at his house. He complied with my request.
The tenderness which he had lately betrayed, had
now disappeared, and he once more relapsed into a
chilling solemnity.

I told him that I was preparing to return to my
brother's; that I had come hither to vindicate my
innocence from the foul aspersions which he had
cast upon it. My pride had not taken refuge in
silence or distance. I had not relied upon time, or
the suggestion of his cooler thoughts, to confute his
charges. Conscious as I was that I was perfectly
guiltless, and entertaining some value for his good
opinion, I could not prevail upon myself to be-
lieve that my efforts to make my innocence mani-
fest, would be fruitless. Adverse appearances might


 image pending 147

be numerous and specious, but they were unques-
tionably false. I was willing to believe him sin-
cere, that he made no charges which he himself
did not believe; but these charges were destitute of
truth. The grounds of his opinion were fallacious;
and I desired an opportunity of detecting their fal-
lacy. I entreated him to be explicit, and to give
me a detail of what he had heard, and what he had
seen.

At these words, my companion's countenance
grew darker. He appeared to be struggling with
his rage. He opened his lips to speak, but his ac-
cents died away ere they were formed. This con-
flict lasted for some minutes, but his fortitude was
finally successful. He spoke as follows:

"I would fain put an end to this hateful scene:
what I shall say, will be breath idly and unpro-
fitably consumed. The clearest narrative will add
nothing to your present knowledge. You are ac-
quainted with the grounds of my opinion, and yet
you avow yourself innocent: Why then should I
rehearse these grounds? You are apprized of the
character of Carwin: Why then should I enume-
rate the discoveries which I have made respecting
him? Yet, since it is your request; since, consider-
ing the limitedness of human faculties, some error
may possibly lurk in those appearances which I
have witnessed, I will briefly relate what I know.

"Need I dwell upon the impressions which your
conversation and deportment originally made upon
me? We parted in childhood; but our intercourse,
by letter, was copious and uninterrupted. How
fondly did I anticipate a meeting with one whom
her letters had previously taught me to consider as
the first of women, and how fully realized were
the expectations that I had formed!



 image pending 148

"Here, said I, is a being, after whom sages
may model their transcendent intelligence, and
painters, their ideal beauty. Here is exemplified,
that union between intellect and form, which has
hitherto existed only in the conceptions of the poet.
I have watched your eyes; my attention has hung
upon your lips. I have questioned whether the
enchantments of your voice were more conspicuous
in the intricacies of melody, or the emphasis of
rhetoric. I have marked the transitions of your
discourse, the felicities of your expression, your
refined argumentation, and glowing imagery; and
been forced to acknowledge, that all delights were
meagre and contemptible, compared with those con-
nected with the audience and sight of you. I have
contemplated your principles, and been astonished at
the solidity of their foundation, and the perfection
of their structure. I have traced you to your home.
I have viewed you in relation to your servants, to
your family, to your neighbours, and to the world.
I have seen by what skilful arrangements you facili-
tate the performance of the most arduous and com-
plicated duties; what daily accessions of strength
your judicious discipline bestowed upon your me-
mory; what correctness and abundance of know-
ledge was daily experienced by your unwearied ap-
plication to books, and to writing. If she that
possesses so much in the bloom of youth, will go
on accumulating her stores, what, said I, is the
picture she will display at a mature age?

"You know not the accuracy of my observation.
I was desirous that others should profit by an ex-
ample so rare. I therefore noted down, in writing,
every particular of your conduct. I was anxious
to benefit by an opportunity so seldom afforded us.
I laboured not to omit the slightest shade, or the


 image pending 149

most petty line in your portrait. Here there was
no other task incumbent on me but to copy; there
was no need to exaggerate or overlook, in order
to produce a more unexceptionable pattern. Here
was a combination of harmonies and graces, inca-
pable of diminution or accession without injury to
its completeness.

"I found no end and no bounds to my task. No
display of a scene like this could be chargeable with
redundancy or superfluity. Even the colour of a
shoe, the knot of a ribband, or your attitude in
plucking a rose, were of moment to be recorded.
Even the arrangements of your breakfast-table and
your toilet have been amply displayed.

"I know that mankind are more easily enticed to
virtue by example than by precept. I know that
the absoluteness of a model, when supplied by in-
vention, diminishes its salutary influence, since it is
useless, we think, to strive after that which we know
to be beyond our reach. But the picture which I
drew was not a phantom; as a model, it was de-
void of imperfection; and to aspire to that height
which had been really attained, was by no means
unreasonable. I had another and more interesting
object in view. One existed who claimed all my
tenderness. Here, in all its parts, was a model
worthy of assiduous study, and indefatigable imita-
tion. I called upon her, as she wished to secure and
enhance my esteem, to mould her thoughts, her
words, her countenance, her actions, by this pattern.

"The task was exuberant of pleasure, and I
was deeply engaged in it, when an imp of mischief
was let loose in the form of Carwin. I admired his
powers and accomplishments. I did not wonder
that they were admired by you. On the rectitude
of your judgement, however, I relied to keep this


 image pending 150

admiration within discreet and scrupulous bounds.
I assured myself, that the strangeness of his deport-
ment, and the obscurity of his life, would teach you
caution. Of all errors, my knowledge of your
character informed me that this was least likely to
befall you.

"You were powerfully affected by his first ap-
pearance; you were bewitched by his countenance
and his tones; your description was ardent and pa-
thetic: I listened to you with some emotions of sur-
prize. The portrait you drew in his absence, and
the intensity with which you mused upon it, were
new and unexpected incidents. They bespoke a
sensibility somewhat too vivid; but from which,
while subjected to the guidance of an understand-
ing like yours, there was nothing to dread.

"A more direct intercourse took place between
you. I need not apologize for the solicitude which
I entertained for your safety. He that gifted me
with perception of excellence, compelled me to love
it. In the midst of danger and pain, my contem-
plations have ever been cheered by your image.
Every object in competition with you, was worth-
less and trivial. No price was too great by which
your safety could be purchased. For that end, the
sacrifice of ease, of health, and even of life, would
cheerfully have been made by me. What wonder
then, that I scrutinized the sentiments and deport-
ment of this man with ceaseless vigilance; that I
watched your words and your looks when he was
present; and that I extracted cause for the deepest
inquietudes, from every token which you gave of
having put your happiness into this man's keeping?

"I was cautious in deciding. I recalled the va-
rious conversations in which the topics of love and
marriage had been discussed. As a woman, young,


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beautiful, and independent, it behoved you to have
fortified your mind with just principles on this sub-
ject. Your principles were eminently just. Had
not their rectitude and their firmness been attested
by your treatment of that specious seducer Dash-
wood? These principles, I was prone to believe,
exempted you from danger in this new state of
things. I was not the last to pay my homage to the
unrivalled capacity, insinuation, and eloquence of
this man. I have disguised, but could never stifle
the conviction, that his eyes and voice had a witch-
craft in them, which rendered him truly formidable:
but I reflected on the ambiguous expression of his
countenance—an ambiguity which you were the
first to remark; on the cloud which obscured his
character; and on the suspicious nature of that con-
cealment which he studied; and concluded you to
be safe. I denied the obvious construction to ap-
pearances. I referred your conduct to some prin-
ciple which had not been hitherto disclosed, but
which was reconcileable with those already known.

"I was not suffered to remain long in this sus-
pence. One evening, you may recollect, I came
to your house, where it was my purpose, as usual,
to lodge, somewhat earlier than ordinary. I spied
a light in your chamber as I approached from the
outside, and on inquiring of Judith, was informed
that you were writing. As your kinsman and
friend, and fellow-lodger, I thought I had a right to
be familiar. You were in your chamber, but your
employment and the time were such as to make it
no infraction of decorum to follow you thither.
The spirit of mischievous gaiety possessed me. I
proceeded on tiptoe. You did not perceive my en-
trance; and I advanced softly till I was able to
overlook your shoulder.



 image pending 152

"I had gone thus far in error, and had no power
to recede. How cautiously should we guard against
the first inroads of temptation! I knew that to pry
into your papers was criminal; but I reflected that
no sentiment of yours was of a nature which made
it your interest to conceal it. You wrote much
more than you permitted your friends to peruse.
My curiosity was strong, and I had only to throw
a glance upon the paper, to secure its gratification.
I should never have deliberately committed an act
like this. The slightest obstacle would have re-
pelled me; but my eye glanced almost spontane-
ously upon the paper. I caught only parts of sen-
tences; but my eyes comprehended more at a glance,
because the characters were short-hand. I lighted
on the words summer-house, midnight, and made
out a passage which spoke of the propriety and of
the effects to be expected from another interview.
All this passed in less than a moment. I then
checked myself, and made myself known to you,
by a tap upon your shoulder.

"I could pardon and account for some trifling
alarm; but your trepidation and blushes were ex-
cessive. You hurried the paper out of sight, and
seemed too anxious to discover whether I knew the
contents to allow yourself to make any inquiries. I
wondered at these appearances of consternation, but
did not reason on them until I had retired. When
alone, these incidents suggested themselves to my
reflections anew.

"To what scene, or what interview, I asked,
did you allude? Your disappearance on a former
evening, my tracing you to the recess in the bank,
your silence on my first and second call, your vague
answers and invincible embarrassment, when you,
at length, ascended the hill, I recollected with new


 image pending 153

surprize. Could this be the summer-house alluded
to? A certain timidity and consciousness had gene-
rally attended you, when this incident and this re-
cess had been the subjects of conversation. Nay,
I imagined that the last time that adventure was
mentioned, which happened in the presence of Car-
win, the countenance of the latter betrayed some
emotion. Could the interview have been with
him?

"This was an idea calculated to rouse every
faculty to contemplation. An interview at that
hour, in this darksome retreat, with a man of this
mysterious but formidable character; a clandestine
interview, and one which you afterwards endea-
voured with so much solicitude to conceal! It was
a fearful and portentous occurrence. I could not
measure his power, or fathom his designs. Had he
rifled from you the secret of your love, and recon-
ciled you to concealment and noctural meetings?
I scarcely ever spent a night of more inquietude.

"I knew not how to act. The ascertainment
of this man's character and views seemed to be,
in the first place, necessary. Had he openly pre-
ferred his suit to you, we should have been impow-
ered to make direct inquiries; but since he had
chosen this obscure path, it seemed reasonable to
infer that his character was exceptionable. It, at
least, subjected us to the necessity of resorting to
other means of information. Yet the improbabi-
lity that you should commit a deed of such rash-
ness, made me reflect anew upon the insufficiency
of those grounds on which my suspicions had been
built, and almost to condemn myself for harbour-
ing them.

"Though it was mere conjecture that the in-
terview spoken of had taken place with Carwin,


 image pending 154

yet two ideas occurred to involve me in the most
painful doubts. This man's reasonings might be so
specious, and his artifices so profound, that, aided
by the passion which you had conceived for him, he
had finally succeeded; or his situation might be such
as to justify the secrecy which you maintained. In
neither case did my wildest reveries suggest to me,
that your honor had been forfeited.

"I could not talk with you on this subject. If
the imputation was false, its atrociousness would
have justly drawn upon me your resentment, and I
must have explained by what facts it had been sug-
gested. If it were true, no benefit would follow
from the mention of it. You had chosen to con-
ceal it for some reasons, and whether these reasons
were true or false, it was proper to discover and
remove them in the first place. Finally, I acqui-
esced in the least painful supposition, trammelled as
it was with perplexities, that Carwin was upright,
and that, if the reasons of your silence were known,
they would be found to be just.



 image pending 155

CHAPTER XIV.

"THREE days have elapsed since this occur-
rence. I have been haunted by perpetual inquie-
tude. To bring myself to regard Carwin without
terror, and to acquiesce in the belief of your safety,
was impossible. Yet to put an end to my doubts,
seemed to be impracticable. If some light could
be reflected on the actual situation of this man, a
direct path would present itself. If he were, con-
trary to the tenor of his conversation, cunning and
malignant, to apprize you of this, would be to
place you in security. If he were merely unfor-
tunate and innocent, most readily would I espouse
his cause; and if his intentions were upright with
regard to you, most eagerly would I sanctify your
choice by my approbation.

"It would be vain to call upon Carwin for an
avowal of his deeds. It was better to know no-
thing, than to be deceived by an artful tale. What
he was unwilling to communicate, and this unwil-
lingness had been repeatedly manifested, could never
be extorted from him. Importunity might be ap-
peased, or imposture effected by fallacious repre-
sentations. To the rest of the world he was un-
known. I had often made him the subject of dis-
course; but a glimpse of his figure in the street was
the sum of their knowledge who knew most. None
had ever seen him before, and received as new, the
information which my intercourse with him in
Valencia, and my present intercourse, enabled me
to give.



 image pending 156

"Wieland was your brother. If he had really
made you the object of his courtship, was not a
brother authorized to interfere and demand from
him the confession of his views? Yet what were
the grounds on which I had reared this supposition?
Would they justify a measure like this? Surely
not.

"In the course of my restless meditations, it
occurred to me, at length, that my duty required
me to speak to you, to confess the indecorum of
which I had been guilty, and to state the reflections
to which it had led me. I was prompted by no
mean or selfish views. The heart within my breast
was not more precious than your safety: most
cheerfully would I have interposed my life between
you and danger. Would you cherish resentment
at my conduct? When acquainted with the mo-
tive which produced it, it would not only exempt
me from censure, but entitle me to gratitude.

"Yesterday had been selected for the rehearsal
of the newly-imported tragedy. I promised to be
present. The state of my thoughts but little qua-
lified me for a performer or auditor in such a scene;
but I reflected that, after it was finished, I should
return home with you, and should then enjoy an
opportunity of discoursing with you fully on this
topic. My resolution was not formed without a
remnant of doubt, as to its propriety. When I left
this house to perform the visit I had promised, my
mind was full of apprehension and despondency.
The dubiousness of the event of our conversation,
fear that my interference was too late to secure your
peace, and the uncertainty to which hope gave birth,
whether I had not erred in believing you devoted
to this man, or, at least, in imagining that he had
obtained your consent to midnight conferences, dis-


 image pending 157

tracted me with contradictory opinions, and repug-
nant emotions.

"I can assign no reason for calling at Mrs.
Baynton's. I had seen her in the morning, and
knew her to be well. The concerted hour had
nearly arrived, and yet I turned up the street which
leads to her house, and dismounted at her door. I
entered the parlour and threw myself in a chair. I
saw and inquired for no one. My whole frame
was overpowered by dreary and comfortless sensa-
tions. One idea possessed me wholly; the inex-
pressible importance of unveiling the designs
and character of Carwin, and the utter improba-
bility that this ever would be effected. Some in-
stinct induced me to lay my hand upon a news-
paper. I had perused all the general intelligence it
contained in the morning, and at the same spot.
The act was rather mechanical than voluntary.

"I threw a languid glance at the first column
that presented itself. The first words which I read,
began with the offer of a reward of three hundred
guineas for the apprehension of a convict under
sentence of death, who had escaped from Newgate
prison in Dublin. Good heaven! how every fibre
of my frame tingled when I proceeded to read that
the name of the criminal was Francis Carwin!

"The descriptions of his person and address
were minute. His stature, hair, complexion, the
extraordinary position and arrangement of his fea-
tures, his aukward and disproportionate form, his
gesture and gait, corresponded perfectly with those
of our mysterious visitant. He had been found guil-
ty in two indictments. One for the murder of the
Lady Jane Conway, and the other for a robbery com-
mitted on the person of the honorable Mr. Ludloe.

"I repeatedly perused this passage. The ideas


 image pending 158

which flowed in upon my mind, affected me like
an instant transition from death to life. The pur-
pose dearest to my heart was thus effected, at a time
and by means the least of all others within the
scope of my foresight. But what purpose? Car-
win was detected. Acts of the blackest and most
sordid guilt had been committed by him. Here was
evidence which imparted to my understanding the
most luminous certainty. The name, visage, and
deportment, were the same. Between the time of
his escape, and his appearance among us, there
was a sufficient agreement. Such was the man
with whom I suspected you to maintain a clandes-
tine correspondence. Should I not haste to snatch
you from the talons of this vulture? Should I see
you rushing to the verge of a dizzy precipice, and
not stretch forth a hand to pull you back? I had
no need to deliberate. I thrust the paper in my
pocket, and resolved to obtain an immediate con-
ference with you. For a time, no other image
made its way to my understanding. At length, it
occurred to me, that though the information I pos-
sessed was, in one sense, sufficient, yet if more
could be obtained, more was desirable. This pas-
sage was copied from a British paper; part of it
only, perhaps, was transcribed. The printer was
in possession of the original.

"Towards his house I immediately turned my
horse's head. He produced the paper, but I found
nothing more than had already been seen. While
busy in perusing it, the printer stood by my side.
He noticed the object of which I was in search.
"Aye," said he, "that is a strange affair. I should
never have met with it, had not Mr. Hallet sent
to me the paper, with a particular request to re-
publish that advertisement."



 image pending 159

"Mr. Hallet! What reasons could he have for
making this request? Had the paper sent to him
been accompanied by any information respecting
the convict? Had he personal or extraordinary
reasons for desiring its republication? This was
to be known only in one way. I speeded to his
house. In answer to my interrogations, he told
me that Ludloe had formerly been in America, and
that during his residence in this city, considerable
intercourse had taken place between them. Hence
a confidence arose, which has since been kept alive
by occasional letters. He had lately received a
letter from him, enclosing the newspaper from
which this extract had been made. He put it into
my hands, and pointed out the passages which re-
lated to Carwin.

"Ludloe confirms the facts of his conviction
and escape; and adds, that he had reason to believe
him to have embarked for America. He describes
him in general terms, as the most incomprehen-
sible and formidable among men; as engaged in
schemes, reasonably suspected to be, in the highest
degree, criminal, but such as no human intelligence
is able to unravel: that his ends are pursued by
means which leave it in doubt whether he be not in
league with some infernal spirit: that his crimes
have hitherto been perpetrated with the aid of some
unknown but desperate accomplices: that he wages
a perpetual war against the happiness of mankind,
and sets his engines of destruction at work against
every object that presents itself.

"This is the substance of the letter. Hallet
expressed some surprize at the curiosity which was
manifested by me on this occasion. I was too much
absorbed by the ideas suggested by this letter, to pay
attention to his remarks. I shuddered with the


 image pending 160

apprehension of the evil to which our indiscreet
familiarity with this man had probably exposed us.
I burnt with impatience to see you, and to do what
in me lay to avert the calamity which threatened
us. It was already five o'clock. Night was has-
tening, and there was no time to be lost. On
leaving Mr. Hallet's house, who should meet me in
the street, but Bertrand, the servant whom I left in
Germany. His appearance and accoutrements be-
spoke him to have just alighted from a toilsome and
long journey. I was not wholly without expecta-
tion of seeing him about this time, but no one was
then more distant from my thoughts. You know
what reasons I have for anxiety respecting scenes
with which this man was conversant. Carwin was
for a moment forgotten. In answer to my vehement
inquiries, Bertrand produced a copious packet. I
shall not at present mention its contents, nor the
measures which they obliged me to adopt. I be-
stowed a brief perusal on these papers, and having
given some directions to Bertrand, resumed my pur-
pose with regard to you. My horse I was obliged
to resign to my servant, he being charged with a
commission that required speed. The clock had
struck ten, and Mettingen was five miles distant.
I was to Journey thither on foot. These circum-
stances only added to my expedition.

"As I passed swiftly along, I reviewed all the
incidents accompanying the appearance and deport-
ment of that man among us. Late events have
been inexplicable and mysterious beyond any of
which I have either read or heard. These events
were coeval with Carwin's introduction. I am
unable to explain their origin and mutual depend-
ance; but I do not, on that account, believe them
to have a supernatural origin. Is not this man


 image pending 161

the agent? Some of them seem to be propitious;
but what should I think of those threats of assassina-
tion with which you were lately alarmed? Blood-
shed is the trade, and horror is the element of this
man. The process by which the sympathies of
nature are extinguished in our hearts, by which
evil is made our good, and by which we are made
susceptible of no activity but in the infliction, and
no joy but in the spectacle of woes, is an obvious
process. As to an alliance with evil geniuses, the
power and the malice of dæmons have been a thou-
sand times exemplified in human beings. There are
no devils but those which are begotten upon selfish-
ness, and reared by cunning.

"Now, indeed, the scene was changed. It was
not his secret poniard that I dreaded. It was only
the success of his efforts to make you a confederate
in your own destruction, to make your will the
instrument by which he might bereave you of
liberty and honor.

"I took, as usual, the path through your bro-
ther's ground. I ranged with celerity and silence
along the bank. I approached the fence, which
divides Wieland's estate from yours. The recess
in the bank being near this line, it being necessary
for me to pass near it, my mind being tainted with
inveterate suspicions concerning you; suspicions
which were indebted for their strength to incidents
connected with this spot; what wonder that it seized
upon my thoughts!

"I leaped on the fence; but before I descended
on the opposite side, I paused to survey the scene.
Leaves dropping with dew, and glistening in the
moon's rays, with no moving object to molest the
deep repose, filled me with security and hope. I
left the station at length, and tended forward. You


 image pending 162

were probably at rest. How should I communi-
cate without alarming you, the intelligence of my
arrival? An immediate interview was to be pro-
cured. I could not bear to think that a minute
should be lost by remissness or hesitation. Should
I knock at the door? or should I stand under your
chamber windows, which I perceived to be open,
and awaken you by my calls?

"These reflections employed me, as I passed
opposite to the summer-house. I had scarcely gone
by, when my ear caught a sound unusual at this
time and place. It was almost too faint and too
transient to allow me a distinct perception of it. I
stopped to listen; presently it was heard again, and
now it was somewhat in a louder key. It was
laughter; and unquestionably produced by a female
voice. That voice was familiar to my senses. It
was yours.

"Whence it came, I was at first at a loss to
conjecture; but this uncertainty vanished when it
was heard the third time. I threw back my eyes
towards the recess. Every other organ and limb
was useless to me. I did not reason on the subject.
I did not, in a direct manner, draw my conclusions
from the hour, the place, the hilarity which this
sound betokened, and the circumstance of having a
companion, which it no less incontestably proved.
In an instant, as it were, my heart was invaded
with cold, and the pulses of life at a stand.

"Why should I go further? Why should I
return? Should I not hurry to a distance from a
sound, which, though formerly so sweet and delect-
able, was now more hideous than the shrieks of
owls?

"I had no time to yield to this impulse. The
thought of approaching and listening occurred to


 image pending 163

me. I had no doubt of which I was conscious.
Yet my certainty was capable of increase. I was
likewise stimulated by a sentiment that partook of
rage. I was governed by an half-formed and tem-
pestuous resolution to break in upon your inter-
view, and strike you dead with my upbraiding.

"I approached with the utmost caution. When
I reached the edge of the bank immediately above
the summer-house, I thought I heard voices from
below, as busy in conversation. The steps in the
rock are clear of bushy impediments. They al-
lowed me to descend into a cavity beside the build-
ing without being detected. Thus to lie in wait
could only be justified by the momentousness of the
occasion."

Here Pleyel paused in his narrative, and fixed
his eyes upon me. Situated as I was, my horror
and astonishment at this tale gave way to compas-
sion for the anguish which the countenance of my
friend betrayed. I reflected on his force of under-
standing. I reflected on the powers of my enemy.
I could easily divine the substance of the conversa-
tion that was overheard. Carwin had constructed
his plot in a manner suited to the characters of those
whom he had selected for his victims. I saw that
the convictions of Pleyel were immutable. I for-
bore to struggle against the storm, because I saw
that all struggles would be fruitless. I was calm;
but my calmness was the torpor of despair, and not
the tranquillity of fortitude. It was calmness in-
vincible by any thing that his grief and his fury
could suggest to Pleyel. He resumed—

"Woman! wilt thou hear me further? Shall I
go on to repeat the conversation? Is it shame that
makes thee tongue-tied? Shall I go on? or art
thou satisfied with what has been already said?"



 image pending 164

I bowed my head. "Go on," said I. "I make
not this request in the hope of undeceiving you. I
shall no longer contend with my own weakness.
The storm is let loose, and I shall peaceably submit
to be driven by its fury. But go on. This con-
ference will end only with affording me a clearer
foresight of my destiny; but that will be some sa-
tisfaction, and I will not part without it."

Why, on hearing these words, did Pleyel hesi-
tate? Did some unlooked-for doubt insinuate itself
into his mind? Was his belief suddenly shaken by
my looks, or my words, or by some newly recol-
lected circumstance? Whencesoever it arose, it
could not endure the test of deliberation. In a few
minutes the flame of resentment was again lighted
up in his bosom. He proceeded with his accus-
tomed vehemence—

"I hate myself for this folly. I can find no
apology for this tale. Yet I am irresistibly im-
pelled to relate it. She that hears me is apprized
of every particular. I have only to repeat to her
her own words. She will listen with a tranquil
air, and the spectacle of her obduracy will drive
me to some desperate act. Why then should I
persist! yet persist I must."

Again he paused. "No," said he, "it is im-
possible to repeat your avowals of love, your ap-
peals to former confessions of your tenderness, to
former deeds of dishonor, to the circumstances
of the first interview that took place between you.
It was on that night when I traced you to this re-
cess. Thither had he enticed you, and there had
you ratified an unhallowed compact by admitting
him—

"Great God! Thou witnessedst the agonies
that tore my bosom at that moment! Thou wit-


 image pending 165

nessedst my efforts to repel the testimony of my
ears! It was in vain that you dwelt upon the con-
fusion which my unlooked-for summons excited in
you; the tardiness with which a suitable excuse
occurred to you; your resentment that my imper-
tinent intrusion had put an end to that charming
interview: A disappointment for which you endea-
voured to compensate yourself, by the frequency
and duration of subsequent meetings.

"In vain you dwelt upon incidents of which
you only could be conscious; incidents that oc-
curred on occasions on which none beside your
own family were witnesses. In vain was your
discourse characterized by peculiarities inimitable
of sentiment and language. My conviction was
effected only by an accumulation of the same to-
kens. I yielded not but to evidence which took
away the power to withhold my faith.

"My sight was of no use to me. Beneath so
thick an umbrage, the darkness was intense. Hear-
ing was the only avenue to information, which the
circumstances allowed to be open. I was couched
within three feet of you. Why should I approach
nearer? I could not contend with your betrayer.
What could be the purpose of a contest? You
stood in no need of a protector. What could I
do, but retire from the spot overwhelmed with con-
fusion and dismay? I sought my chamber, and en-
deavoured to regain my composure. The door of
the house, which I found open, your subsequent
entrance, closing, and fastening it, and going into
your chamber, which had been thus long deserted,
were only confirmations of the truth.

"Why should I paint the tempestuous fluctua-
tion of my thoughts between grief and revenge, be-
tween rage and despair? Why should I repeat my


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vows of eternal implacability and persecution, and
the speedy recantation of these vows?

"I have said enough. You have dismissed me
from a place in your esteem. What I think, and
what I feel, is of no importance in your eyes.
May the duty which I owe myself enable me
to forget your existence. In a few minutes I go
hence. Be the maker of your fortune, and may
adversity instruct you in that wisdom, which edu-
cation was unable to impart to you."

Those were the last words which Pleyel uttered.
He left the room, and my new emotions enabled
me to witness his departure without any apparent
loss of composure. As I sat alone, I ruminated
on these incidents. Nothing was more evident
than that I had taken an eternal leave of happiness.
Life was a worthless thing, separate from that good
which had now been wrested from me; yet the sen-
timent that now possessed me had no tendency to
palsy my exertions, and overbear my strength. I
noticed that the light was declining, and perceived
the propriety of leaving this house. I placed my-
self again in the chaise, and returned slowly towards
the city.



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CHAPTER XV.

BEFORE I reached the city it was dusk. It was
my purpose to spend the night at Mettingen. I
was not solicitous, as long as I was attended by a
faithful servant, to be there at an early hour. My
exhausted strength required me to take some refresh-
ment. With this view, and in order to pay respect
to one whose affection for me was truly maternal,
I stopped at Mrs. Baynton's. She was absent from
home; but I had scarcely entered the house when
one of her domestics presented me a letter. I open-
ed and read as follows:

"To Clara Wieland,

"What shall I say to extenuate the misconduct
of last night? It is my duty to repair it to the
utmost of my power, but the only way in which
it can be repaired, you will not, I fear, be prevailed
on to adopt. It is by granting me an interview, at
your own house, at eleven o'clock this night. I
have no means of removing any fears that you may
entertain of my designs, but my simple and solemn
declarations. These, after what has passed between
us, you may deem unworthy of confidence. I
cannot help it. My folly and rashness has left me
no other resource. I will be at your door by that
hour. If you chuse to admit me to a conference,
provided that conference has no witnesses, I will dis-
close to you particulars, the knowledge of which
is of the utmost importance to your happiness.
Farewell.

CARWIN."



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What a letter was this! A man known to be
an assassin and robber; one capable of plotting
against my life and my fame; detected lurking in my
chamber, and avowing designs the most flagitious
and dreadful, now solicits me to grant him a mid-
night interview! To admit him alone into my pre-
sence! Could he make this request with the ex-
pectation of my compliance? What had he seen
in me, that could justify him in admitting so wild a
belief? Yet this request is preferred with the utmost
gravity. It is not accompanied by an appearance
of uncommon earnestness. Had the misconduct
to which he alludes been a slight incivility, and
the interview requested to take place in the midst
of my friends, there would have been no extrava-
gance in the tenor of this letter; but, as it was, the
writer had surely been bereft of his reason.

I perused this epistle frequently. The request it
contained might be called audacious or stupid, if it
had been made by a different person; but from
Carwin, who could not be unaware of the effect
which it must naturally produce, and of the manner
in which it would unavoidably be treated, it was
perfectly inexplicable. He must have counted on
the success of some plot, in order to extort my
assent. None of those motives by which I am
usually governed would ever have persuaded me
to meet any one of his sex, at the time and place
which he had prescribed. Much less would I con-
sent to a meeting with a man, tainted with the most
detestable crimes, and by whose arts my own safety
had been so imminently endangered, and my hap-
piness irretrievably destroyed. I shuddered at the
idea that such a meeting was possible. I felt some
reluctance to approach a spot which he still visited
and haunted.



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Such were the ideas which first suggested them-
selves on the perusal of the letter. Meanwhile, I
resumed my journey. My thoughts still dwelt upon
the same topic. Gradually from ruminating on
this epistle, I reverted to my interview with Pleyel.
I recalled the particulars of the dialogue to which
he had been an auditor. My heart sunk anew on
viewing the inextricable complexity of this decep-
tion, and the inauspicious concurrence of events,
which tended to confirm him in his error. When
he approached my chamber door, my terror kept
me mute. He put his ear, perhaps, to the crevice,
but it caught the sound of nothing human. Had I
called, or made any token that denoted some one to
be within, words would have ensued; and as omni-
presence was impossible, this discovery, and the art-
less narrative of what had just passed, would have
saved me from his murderous invectives. He went
into his chamber, and after some interval, I stole
across the entry and down the stairs, with inaudible
steps. Having secured the outer doors, I returned
with less circumspection. He heard me not when I
descended; but my returning steps were easily distin-
guished. Now he thought was the guilty inter-
view at an end. In what other way was it possible
for him to construe these signals?

How fallacious and precipitate was my decision!
Carwin's plot owed its success to a coincidence of
events scarcely credible. The balance was swayed
from its equipoise by a hair. Had I even begun
the conversation with an account of what befel me
in my chamber, my previous interview with Wie-
land would have taught him to suspect me of im-
posture; yet, if I were discoursing with this ruffian,
when Pleyel touched the lock of my chamber door,
and when he shut his own door with so much vio-


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lence, how, he might ask, should I be able to relate
these incidents? Perhaps he had withheld the
knowledge of these circumstances from my brother,
from whom, therefore, I could not obtain it, so that
my innocence would have thus been irresistibly de-
monstrated.

The first impulse which flowed from these ideas
was to return upon my steps, and demand once
more an interview; but he was gone: his parting
declarations were remembered.

Pleyel, I exclaimed, thou art gone for ever! Are
thy mistakes beyond the reach of detection? Am
I helpless in the midst of this snare? The plotter
is at hand. He even speaks in the style of peni-
tence. He solicits an interview which he promises
shall end in the disclosure of something momentous
to my happiness. What can he say which will
avail to turn aside this evil? But why should his
remorse be feigned? I have done him no injury.
His wickedness is fertile only of despair; and the
billows of remorse will some time overbear him.
Why may not this event have already taken place?
Why should I refuse to see him?

This idea was present, as it were, for a moment.
I suddenly recoiled from it, confounded at that
frenzy which could give even momentary harbour
to such a scheme; yet presently it returned. A
length I even conceived it to deserve deliberation.
I questioned whether it was not proper to admit, at
a lonely spot, in a sacred hour, this man of tremen-
dous and inscrutable attributes, this performer of
horrid deeds, and whose presence was predicted to
call down unheard-of and unutterable horrors.

What was it that swayed me? I felt myself di-
vested of the power to will contrary to the motives
that determined me to seek his presence. My mind


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seemed to be split into separate parts, and these parts
to have entered into furious and implacable con-
tention. These tumults gradually subsided. The
reasons why I should confide in that interposi-
tion which had hitherto defended me; in those
tokens of compunction which this letter contained;
in the efficacy of this interview to restore its spot-
lessness to my character, and banish all illusions
from the mind of my friend, continually acquired
new evidence and new strength.

What should I fear in his presence? This was
unlike an artifice intended to betray me into his
hands. If it were an artifice, what purpose would
it serve? The freedom of my mind was untouch-
ed, and that freedom would defy the assaults of
blandishments or magic. Force was I not able
to repel. On the former occasion my courage,
it is true, had failed at the imminent approach of
danger; but then I had not enjoyed opportunities of
deliberation; I had foreseen nothing; I was sunk
into imbecility by my previous thoughts; I had
been the victim of recent disappointments and an-
ticipated ills: Witness my infatuation in opening
the closet in opposition to divine injunctions.

Now, perhaps, my courage was the offspring
of a no less erring principle. Pleyel was for ever
lost to me. I strove in vain to assume his person,
and suppress my resentment; I strove in vain to be-
lieve in the assuaging influence of time, to look
forward to the birth-day of new hopes, and the re-
exaltation of that luminary, of whose effulgencies
I had so long and so liberally partaken.

What had I to suffer worse than was already
inflicted?

Was not Carwin my foe? I owed my untimely
fate to his treason. Instead of flying from his pre-


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sence, ought I not to devote all my faculties to the
gaining of an interview, and compel him to repair
the ills of which he has been the author? Why
should I suppose him impregnable to argument?
Have I not reason on my side, and the power of
imparting conviction? Cannot he be made to see
the justice of unravelling the maze in which Pleyel
is bewildered?

He may, at least, be accessible to fear. Has he
nothing to fear from the rage of an injured woman?
But suppose him inaccessible to such inducements;
suppose him to persist in all his flagitious pur-
poses; are not the means of defence and resistance
in my power?

In the progress of such thoughts, was the resolu-
tion at last formed. I hoped that the interview was
sought by him for a laudable end; but, be that as
it would, I trusted that, by energy of reasoning or
of action, I should render it auspicious, or, at least,
harmless.

Such a determination must unavoidably fluctuate.
The poet's chaos was no unapt emblem of the state
of my mind. A torment was awakened in my
bosom, which I foresaw would end only when this
interview was past, and its consequences fully ex-
perienced. Hence my impatience for the arrival
of the hour which had been prescribed by Carwin.

Meanwhile, my meditations were tumultuously
active. New impediments to the execution of the
scheme were speedily suggested. I had apprized
Catharine of my intention to spend this and many
future nights with her. Her husband was informed
of this arrangement, and had zealously approved
it. Eleven o'clock exceeded their hour of retiring.
What excuse should I form for changing my plan?
Should I shew this letter to Wieland, and submit


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myself to his direction? But I knew in what way
he would decide. He would fervently dissuade me
from going. Nay, would he not do more? He
was apprized of the offences of Carwin, and of
the reward offered for his apprehension. Would
he not seize this opportunity of executing justice
on a criminal?

This idea was new. I was plunged once more
into doubt. Did not equity enjoin me thus to fa-
cilitate his arrest? No. I disdained the office of
betrayer. Carwin was unapprized of his danger,
and his intentions were possibly beneficent. Should
I station guards about the house, and make an act,
intended perhaps for my benefit, instrumental to
his own destruction? Wieland might be justified
in thus employing the knowledge which I should
impart, but I, by imparting it, should pollute myself
with more hateful crimes than those undeservedly
imputed to me. This scheme, therefore, I unhe-
sitatingly rejected. The views with which I should
return to my own house, it would therefore be ne-
cessary to conceal. Yet some pretext must be in-
vented. I had never been initiated into the trade
of lying. Yet what but falshood was a deliberate
suppression of the truth? To deceive by silence or
by words is the same.

Yet what would a lie avail me? What pretext
would justify this change in my plan? Would it
not tend to confirm the imputations of Pleyel?
That I should voluntarily return to an house in
which honor and life had so lately been endanger-
ed, could be explained in no way favorable to my
integrity.

These reflections, if they did not change, at least
suspended my decision. In this state of uncertainty
I alighted at the hut. We gave this name to the


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house tenanted by the farmer and his servants, and
which was situated on the verge of my brother's
ground, and at a considerable distance from the man-
sion. The path to the mansion was planted by a
double row of walnuts. Along this path I pro-
ceeded alone. I entered the parlour, in which was
a light just expiring in the socket. There was no
one in the room. I perceived by the clock that
stood against the wall, that it was near eleven. The
lateness of the hour startled me. What had be-
come of the family? They were usually retired
an hour before this; but the unextinguished taper,
and the unbarred door were indications that they
had not retired. I again returned to the hall, and
passed from one room to another, but still encoun-
tered not a human being.

I imagined that, perhaps, the lapse of a few mi-
nutes would explain these appearances. Mean-
while I reflected that the preconcerted hour had
arrived. Carwin was perhaps waiting my approach.
Should I immediately retire to my own house, no
one would be apprized of my proceeding. Nay,
the interview might pass, and I be enabled to return
in half an hour. Hence no necessity would arise
for dissimulation.

I was so far influenced by these views that I rose
to execute this design; but again the unusual con-
dition of the house occurred to me, and some vague
solicitude as to the condition of the family. I was
nearly certain that my brother had not retired; but
by what motives he could be induced to desert his
house thus unseasonably, I could by no means
divine. Louisa Conway, at least, was at home, and
had, probably, retired to her chamber; perhaps she
was able to impart the information I wanted.

I went to her chamber, and found her asleep.


 image pending 175

She was delighted and surprized at my arrival, and
told me with how much impatience and anxiety
my brother and his wife had waited my coming.
They were fearful that some mishap had befallen
me, and had remained up longer than the usual
period. Notwithstanding the lateness of the hour,
Catharine would not resign the hope of seeing me.
Louisa said she had left them both in the parlour,
and she knew of no cause for their absence.

As yet I was not without solicitude on account
of their personal safety. I was far from being per-
fectly at ease on that head, but entertained no dis-
tinct conception of the danger that impended over
them. Perhaps to beguile the moments of my long
protracted stay, they had gone to walk upon the
bank. The atmosphere, though illuminated only
by the star-light, was remarkably serene. Mean-
while the desirableness of an interview with Car-
win again returned, and I finally resolved to seek
it.

I passed with doubting and hasty steps along the
path. My dwelling, seen at a distance, was gloomy
and desolate. It had no inhabitant, for my servant,
in consequence of my new arrangement, had gone
to Mettingen. The temerity of this attempt began
to shew itself in more vivid colours to my under-
standing. Whoever has pointed steel is not with-
out arms; yet what must have been the state of my
mind when I could meditate, without shuddering,
on the use of a murderous weapon, and believe my-
self secure merely because I was capable of being
made so by the death of another? Yet this was
not my state. I felt as if I was rushing into deadly
toils, without the power of pausing or receding.



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CHAPTER XVI.

AS soon as I arrived in sight of the front of the
house, my attention was excited by a light from the
window of my own chamber. No appearance
could be less explicable. A meeting was expected
with Carwin, but that he pre-occupied my cham-
ber, and had supplied himself with light, was not to
be believed. What motive could influence him to
adopt this conduct? Could I proceed until this
was explained? Perhaps, if I should proceed to a
distance in front, some one would be visible. A
sidelong but feeble beam from the window, fell
upon the piny copse which skirted the bank. As I
eyed it, it suddenly became mutable, and after flitting
to and fro, for a short time, it vanished. I turned
my eye again toward the window, and perceived
that the light was still there; but the change which
I had noticed was occasioned by a change in the
position of the lamp or candle within. Hence,
that some person was there was an unavoidable
inference.

I paused to deliberate on the propriety of ad-
vancing. Might I not advance cautiously, and,
therefore, without danger? Might I not knock at
the door, or call, and be apprized of the nature of
my visitant before I entered? I approached and
listened at the door, but could hear nothing. I
knocked at first timidly, but afterwards with loud-
ness. My signals were unnoticed. I stepped back
and looked, but the light was no longer discernible.


 image pending 177

Was it suddenly extinguished by a human agent?
What purpose but concealment was intended?
Why was the illumination produced, to be thus
suddenly brought to an end? And why, since some
one was there, had silence been observed?

These were questions, the solution of which may
be readily supposed to be entangled with danger.
Would not this danger, when measured by a wo-
man's fears, expand into gigantic dimensions?
Menaces of death; the stunning exertions of a
warning voice; the known and unknown attributes
of Carwin; our recent interview in this chamber;
the pre-appointment of a meeting at this place and
hour, all thronged into my memory. What was
to be done?

Courage is no definite or stedfast principle. Let
that man who shall purpose to assign motives to the
actions of another, blush at his folly and forbear.
Not more presumptuous would it be to attempt the
classification of all nature, and the scanning of su-
preme intelligence. I gazed for a minute at the
window, and fixed my eyes, for a second minute, on
the ground. I drew forth from my pocket, and
opened, a penknife. This, said I, be my safe-guard
and avenger. The assailant shall perish, or myself
shall fall.

I had locked up the house in the morning, but had
the key of the kitchen door in my pocket. I, there-
fore, determined to gain access behind. Thither I
hastened, unlocked and entered. All was lonely,
darksome, and waste. Familiar as I was with every
part of my dwelling, I easily found my way to a
closet, drew forth a taper, a flint, tinder, and steel,
and, in a moment as it were, gave myself the gui-
dance and protection of light.

What purpose did I meditate? Should I explore


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my way to my chamber, and confront the being
who had dared to intrude into this recess, and had
laboured for concealment? By putting out the light
did he seek to hide himself, or mean only to cir-
cumvent my incautious steps? Yet was it not more
probable that he desired my absence by thus encou-
raging the supposition that the house was unoccu-
pied? I would see this man in spite of all impedi-
ments; ere I died, I would see his face, and summon
him to penitence and retribution; no matter at what
cost an interview was purchased. Reputation and
life might be wrested from me by another, but my
rectitude and honor were in my own keeping, and
were safe.

I proceeded to the foot of the stairs. At such a
crisis my thoughts may be supposed at no liberty
to range; yet vague images rushed into my mind,
of the mysterious interposition which had been ex-
perienced on the last night. My case, at present,
was not dissimilar; and, if my angel were not
weary of fruitless exertions to save, might not a
new warning be expected? Who could say whe-
ther his silence were ascribable to the absence of
danger, or to his own absence?

In this state of mind, no wonder that a shivering
cold crept through my veins; that my pause was
prolonged; and, that a fearful glance was thrown
backward.

Alas! my heart droops, and my fingers are ener-
vated; my ideas are vivid, but my language is faint;
now know I what it is to entertain incommunica-
ble sentiments. The chain of subsequent incidents
is drawn through my mind, and being linked with
those which forewent, by turns rouse up agonies
and sink me into hopelessness.

Yet I will persist to the end. My narrative may


 image pending 179

be invaded by inaccuracy and confusion; but if I
live no longer, I will, at least, live to complete it.
What but ambiguities, abruptnesses, and dark tran-
sitions, can be expected from the historian who is,
at the same time, the sufferer of these disasters?

I have said that I cast a look behind. Some ob-
ject was expected to be seen, or why should I have
gazed in that direction? Two senses were at once
assailed. The same piercing exclamation of hold!
hold! was uttered within the same distance of my
ear. This it was that I heard. The airy undu-
lation, and the shock given to my nerves, were real.
Whether the spectacle which I beheld existed in
my fancy or without, might be doubted.

I had not closed the door of the apartment I had
just left. The stair-case, at the foot of which I
stood, was eight or ten feet from the door, and at-
tached to the wall through which the door led.
My view, therefore, was sidelong, and took in no
part of the room.

Through this aperture was an head thrust and
drawn back with so much swiftness, that the imme-
diate conviction was, that thus much of a form,
ordinarily invisible, had been unshrowded. The
face was turned towards me. Every muscle was
tense; the forehead and brows were drawn into
vehement expression; the lips were stretched as in
the act of shrieking, and the eyes emitted sparks,
which, no doubt, if I had been unattended by a
light, would have illuminated like the coruscations
of a meteor. The sound and the vision were pre-
sent, and departed together at the same instant; but
the cry was blown into my ear, while the face was
many paces distant.

This face was well suited to a being whose per-
formances exceeded the standard of humanity, and


 image pending 180

yet its features were akin to those I had before seen.
The image of Carwin was blended in a thousand
ways with the stream of my thoughts. This visage
was, perhaps, pourtrayed by my fancy. If so, it
will excite no surprize that some of his lineaments
were now discovered. Yet affinities were few and
unconspicuous, and were lost amidst the blaze of
opposite qualities.

What conclusion could I form? Be the face
human or not, the intimation was imparted from
above. Experience had evinced the benignity of
that being who gave it. Once he had interposed
to shield me from harm, and subsequent events de-
monstrated the usefulness of that interposition.
Now was I again warned to forbear. I was hurry-
ing to the verge of the same gulf, and the same
power was exerted to recall my steps. Was it pos-
sible for me not to obey? Was I capable of hold-
ing on in the same perilous career? Yes. Even
of this I was capable!

The intimation was imperfect: it gave no form
to my danger, and prescribed no limits to my cau-
tion. I had formerly neglected it, and yet escaped.
Might I not trust to the same issue? This idea
might possess, though imperceptibly, some influence.
I persisted; but it was not merely on this account.
I cannot delineate the motives that led me on. I
now speak as if no remnant of doubt existed in my
mind as to the supernal origin of these sounds; but
this is owing to the imperfection of my language,
for I only mean that the belief was more perma-
nent, and visited more frequently my sober medita-
tions than its opposite. The immediate effects
served only to undermine the foundations of my
judgment and precipitate my resolutions.

I must either advance or return. I chose the


 image pending 181

former, and began to ascend the stairs. The silence
underwent no second interruption. My chamber
door was closed, but unlocked, and, aided by ve-
hement efforts of my courage, I opened and look-
ed in.

No hideous or uncommon object was discernible.
The danger, indeed, might easily have lurked out
of sight, have sprung upon me as I entered, and
have rent me with his iron talons; but I was blind
to this fate, and advanced, though cautiously, into
the room.

Still every thing wore its accustomed aspect.
Neither lamp nor candle was to be found. Now,
for the first time, suspicions were suggested as to
the nature of the light which I had seen. Was it
possible to have been the companion of that super-
natural visage; a meteorous refulgence producible
at the will of him to whom that visage belonged,
and partaking of the nature of that which accom-
panied my father's death?

The closet was near, and I remembered the com-
plicated horrors of which it had been productive.
Here, perhaps, was inclosed the source of my peril,
and the gratification of my curiosity. Should I
adventure once more to explore its recesses? This
was a resolution not easily formed. I was sus-
pended in thought: when glancing my eye on a
table, I perceived a written paper. Carwin's hand
was instantly recognized, and snatching up the pa-
per, I read as follows:—

"There was folly in expecting your compliance
with my invitation. Judge how I was disappoint-
ed in finding another in your place. I have wait-
ed, but to wait any longer would be perilous. I
shall still seek an interview, but it must be at a dif-
ferent time and place: meanwhile, I will write this


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—How will you bear—How inexplicable will be
this transaction!—An event so unexpected—a sight
so horrible!"

Such was this abrupt and unsatisfactory script.
The ink was yet moist, the hand was that of Car-
win. Hence it was to be inferred that he had this
moment left the apartment, or was still in it. I
looked back, on the sudden expectation of seeing
him behind me.

What other did he mean? What transaction
had taken place adverse to my expectations?
What sight was about to be exhibited? I looked
around me once more, but saw nothing which indi-
cated strangeness. Again I remembered the closet,
and was resolved to seek in that the solution of
these mysteries. Here, perhaps, was inclosed the
scene destined to awaken my horrors and baffle my
foresight.

I have already said, that the entrance into this
closet was beside my bed, which, on two sides,
was closely shrowded by curtains. On that side
nearest the closet, the curtain was raised. As I
passed along I cast my eye thither. I started, and
looked again. I bore a light in my hand, and
brought it nearer my eyes, in order to dispel any
illusive mists that might have hovered before them.
Once more I fixed my eyes upon the bed, in hope
that this more stedfast scrutiny would annihilate the
object which before seemed to be there.

This then was the sight which Carwin had pre-
dicted! This was the event which my understand-
ing was to find inexplicable! This was the fate
which had been reserved for me, but which, by
some untoward chance, had befallen on another!

I had not been terrified by empty menaces. Vio-
lation and death awaited my entrance into this


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chamber. Some inscrutable chance had led her
hither before me, and the merciless fangs of which
I was designed to be the prey, had mistaken their
victim, and had fixed themselves in her heart. But
where was my safety? Was the mischief exhausted
or flown? The steps of the assassin had just been
here; they could not be far off; in a moment he
would rush into my presence, and I should perish
under the same polluting and suffocating grasp!

My frame shook, and my knees were unable to
support me. I gazed alternately at the closet door
and at the door of my room. At one of these
avenues would enter the exterminator of my honor
and my life. I was prepared for defence; but now
that danger was imminent, my means of defence,
and my power to use them were gone. I was not
qualified, by education and experience, to encoun-
ter perils like these: or, perhaps, I was powerless
because I was again assaulted by surprize, and had
not fortified my mind by foresight and previous re-
flection against a scene like this.

Fears for my own safety again yielded place to
reflections on the scene before me. I fixed my eyes
upon her countenance. My sister's well-known
and beloved features could not be concealed by
convulsion or lividness. What direful illusion led
thee hither? Bereft of thee, what hold on happi-
ness remains to thy offspring and thy spouse? To
lose thee by a common fate would have been suffi-
ciently hard; but thus suddenly to perish—to be-
come the prey of this ghastly death! How will a
spectacle like this be endured by Wieland? To
die beneath his grasp would not satisfy thy enemy.
This was mercy to the evils which he previously
made thee suffer! After these evils death was a
boon which thou besoughtest him to grant. He


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entertained no enmity against thee: I was the ob-
ject of his treason; but by some tremendous mis-
take his fury was misplaced. But how comest thou
hither? and where was Wieland in thy hour of
distress?

I approached the corpse: I lifted the still flexible
hand, and kissed the lips which were breathless.
Her flowing drapery was discomposed. I restored
it to order, and seating myself on the bed, again
fixed stedfast eyes upon her countenance. I can-
not distinctly recollect the ruminations of that mo-
ment. I saw confusedly, but forcibly, that every
hope was extinguished with the life of Catharine.
All happiness and dignity must henceforth be ba-
nished from the house and name of Wieland: all
that remained was to linger out in agonies a short
existence; and leave to the world a monument of
blasted hopes and changeable fortune. Pleyel was
already lost to me; yet, while Catharine lived life
was not a detestable possession: but now, severed
from the companion of my infancy, the partaker
of all my thoughts, my cares, and my wishes, I
was like one set afloat upon a stormy sea, and
hanging his safety upon a plank; night was clos-
ing upon him, and an unexpected surge had torn
him from his hold and overwhelmed him forever.



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CHAPTER XVII.

I HAD no inclination nor power to move from
this spot. For more than an hour, my faculties
and limbs seemed to be deprived of all activity.
The door below creaked on its hinges, and steps
ascended the stairs. My wandering and confused
thoughts were instantly recalled by these sounds,
and dropping the curtain of the bed, I moved to a
part of the room where any one who entered
should be visible; such are the vibrations of sen-
timent, that notwithstanding the seeming fulfil-
ment of my fears, and increase of my danger, I
was conscious, on this occasion, to no turbulence
but that of curiosity.

At length he entered the apartment, and I re-
cognized my brother. It was the same Wieland
whom I had ever seen. Yet his features were
pervaded by a new expression. I supposed him
unacquainted with the fate of his wife, and his ap-
pearance confirmed this persuasion. A brow ex-
panding into exultation I had hitherto never seen
in him, yet such a brow did he now wear. Not
only was he unapprized of the disaster that had hap-
pened, but some joyous occurrence had betided.
What a reverse was preparing to annihilate his tran-
sitory bliss! No husband ever doated more fondly,
for no wife ever claimed so boundless a devotion. I
was not uncertain as to the effects to flow from the
discovery of her fate. I confided not at all in the
efforts of his reason or his piety. There were few


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evils which his modes of thinking would not disarm
of their sting; but here, all opiates to grief, and all
compellers of patience were vain. This spectacle
would be unavoidably followed by the outrages of
desperation, and a rushing to death.

For the present, I neglected to ask myself what
motive brought him hither. I was only fearful of
the effects to flow from the sight of the dead. Yet
could it be long concealed from him? Some time
and speedily he would obtain this knowledge. No
stratagems could considerably or usefully prolong
his ignorance. All that could be sought was to
take away the abruptness of the change, and shut
out the confusion of despair, and the inroads of
madness: but I knew my brother, and knew that
all exertions to console him would be fruitless.

What could I say? I was mute, and poured
forth those tears on his account, which my own
unhappiness had been unable to extort. In the
midst of my tears, I was not unobservant of his
motions. These were of a nature to rouse some
other sentiment than grief or, at least, to mix with
it a portion of astonishment.

His countenance suddenly became troubled. His
hands were clasped with a force that left the print
of his nails in his flesh. His eyes were fixed on
my feet. His brain seemed to swell beyond its con-
tinent. He did not cease to breathe, but his breath
was stifled into groans. I had never witnessed the
hurricane of human passions. My element had,
till lately, been all sunshine and calm. I was un-
conversant with the altitudes and energies of senti-
ment, and was transfixed with inexplicable horror
by the symptoms which I now beheld.

After a silence and a conflict which I could not
interpret, he lifted his eyes to heaven, and in broken


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accents exclaimed, "This is too much! Any vic-
tim but this, and thy will be done. Have I not suf-
ficiently attested my faith and my obedience? She
that is gone, they that have perished, were linked
with my soul by ties which only thy command
would have broken; but here is sanctity and ex-
cellence surpassing human. This workmanship
is thine, and it cannot be thy will to heap it into
ruins."

Here suddenly unclasping his hands, he struck
one of them against his forehead, and continued—
"Wretch! who made thee quicksighted in the
councils of thy Maker? Deliverance from mortal
fetters is awarded to this being, and thou art the
minister of this decree."

So saying, Wieland advanced towards me. His
words and his motions were without meaning, ex-
cept on one supposition. The death of Catharine
was already known to him, and that knowledge, as
might have been suspected, had destroyed his reason.
I had feared nothing less; but now that I beheld
the extinction of a mind the most luminous and
penetrating that ever dignified the human form, my
sensations were fraught with new and insupportable
anguish.

I had not time to reflect in what way my own
safety would be effected by this revolution, or what
I had to dread from the wild conceptions of a mad-
man. He advanced towards me. Some hollow
noises were wafted by the breeze. Confused cla-
mours were succeeded by many feet traversing the
grass, and then crowding into the piazza.

These sounds suspended my brother's purpose,
and he stood to listen. The signals multiplied and
grew louder; perceiving this, he turned from me,
and hurried out of my sight. All about me was


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pregnant with motives to astonishment. My sis-
ter's corpse, Wieland's frantic demeanour, and, at
length, this crowd of visitants so little accorded with
my foresight, that my mental progress was stopped.
The impulse had ceased which was accustomed to
give motion and order to my thoughts.

Footsteps thronged upon the stairs, and presently
many faces shewed themselves within the door of
my apartment. These looks were full of alarm
and watchfulness. They pryed into corners as if
in search of some fugitive; next their gaze was
fixed upon me, and betokened all the vehemence of
terror and pity. For a time I questioned whether
these were not shapes and faces like that which I
had seen at the bottom of the stairs, creatures of my
fancy or airy existences.

My eye wandered from one to another, till at
length it fell on a countenance which I well knew.
It was that of Mr. Hallet. This man was a dis-
tant kinsman of my mother, venerable for his age,
his uprightness, and sagacity. He had long dis-
charged the functions of a magistrate and good citi-
zen. If any terrors remained, his presence was
sufficient to dispel them.

He approached, took my hand with a compassion-
ate air, and said in a low voice, "Where, my dear
Clara, are your brother and sister?" I made no
answer, but pointed to the bed. His attendants drew
aside the curtain, and while their eyes glared with
horror at the spectacle which they beheld, those of
Mr. Hallet overflowed with tears.

After considerable pause, he once more turned
to me. "My dear girl, this sight is not for you.
Can you confide in my care, and that of Mrs.
Baynton's? We will see performed all that cir-
cumstances require."



 image pending 189

I made strenuous opposition to this request. I
insisted on remaining near her till she were interred.
His remonstrances, however, and my own feelings,
shewed me the propriety of a temporary dereliction.
Louisa stood in need of a comforter, and my bro-
ther's children of a nurse. My unhappy brother
was himself an object of solicitude and care. At
length, I consented to relinquish the corpse, and go
to my brother's, whose house, I said, would need
mistress, and his children a parent.

During this discourse, my venerable friend strug-
gled with his tears, but my last intimation called
them forth with fresh violence. Meanwhile, his
attendants stood round in mournful silence, gaz-
ing on me and at each other. I repeated my reso-
lution, and rose to execute it; but he took my hand
to detain me. His countenance betrayed irresolu-
tion and reluctance. I requested him to state the
reason of his opposition to this measure. I entreat-
ed him to be explicit. I told him that my brother
had just been there, and that I knew his condition.
This misfortune had driven him to madness, and
his offspring must not want a protector. If he
chose, I would resign Wieland to his care; but his
innocent and helpless babes stood in instant need of
nurse and mother, and these offices I would by no
means allow another to perform while I had life.

Every word that I uttered seemed to augment his
perplexity and distress. At last he said, "I think,
Clara, I have entitled myself to some regard from
you. You have professed your willingness to ob-
lige me. Now I call upon you to confer upon me
the highest obligation in your power. Permit Mrs.
Baynton to have the management of your brother's
house for two or three days; then it shall be yours
to act in it as you please. No matter what are my


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motives in making this request: perhaps I think
your age, your sex, or the distress which this dis-
aster must occasion, incapacitates you for the office.
Surely you have no doubt of Mrs. Baynton's ten-
derness or discretion."

New ideas now rushed into my mind. I fixed
my eyes stedfastly on Mr. Hallet. "Are they
well?" said I. "Is Louisa well? Are Benjamin,
and William, and Constantine, and Little Clara,
are they safe? Tell me truly, I beseech you!"

"They are well," he replied; "they are per-
fectly safe."

"Fear no effeminate weakness in me: I can bear
to hear the truth. Tell me truly, are they well?"

He again assured me that they were well.

"What then," resumed I, "do you fear? Is
it possible for any calamity to disqualify me for per-
forming my duty to these helpless innocents? I am
willing to divide the care of them with Mrs. Bayn-
ton; I shall be grateful for her sympathy and aid;
but what should I be to desert them at an hour like
this!"

I will cut short this distressful dialogue. I still
persisted in my purpose, and he still persisted in his
opposition. This excited my suspicions anew; but
these were removed by solemn declarations of their
safety. I could not explain this conduct in my
friend; but at length consented to go to the city,
provided I should see them for a few minutes at
present, and should return on the morrow.

Even this arrangement was objected to. At
length he told me they were removed to the city.
Why were they removed, I asked, and whither?
My importunities would not now be eluded. My
suspicions were roused, and no evasion or artifice
was sufficient to allay them. Many of the audi-


 image pending 191

ence began to give vent to their emotions in tears.
Mr. Hallet himself seemed as if the conflict were
too hard to be longer sustained. Something whis-
pered to my heart that havoc had been wider than
I now witnessed. I suspected this concealment to
arise from apprehensions of the effects which a
knowledge of the truth would produce in me. I
once more entreated him to inform me truly of
their state. To enforce my entreaties, I put on an
air of insensibility. "I can guess," said I, "what
has happened—They are indeed beyond the reach
of injury, for they are dead! Is it not so?" My
voice faltered in spite of my courageous efforts.

"Yes," said he, "they are dead! Dead by the
same fate, and by the same hand, with their mo-
ther!"

"Dead!" replied I; "what, all?"

"All!" replied he: "he spared not one!"

Allow me, my friends, to close my eyes upon
the after-scene. Why should I protract a tale which
I already begin to feel is too long? Over this scene
at least let me pass lightly. Here, indeed, my nar-
rative would be imperfect. All was tempestuous
commotion in my heart and in my brain. I have
no memory for ought but unconscious transitions
and rueful sights. I was ingenious and indefatiga-
ble in the invention of torments. I would not dis-
pense with any spectacle adapted to exasperate my
grief. Each pale and mangled form I crushed to
my bosom. Louisa, whom I loved with so ineffable
a passion, was denied to me at first, but my obsti-
nacy conquered their reluctance.

They led the way into a darkened hall. A lamp
pendant from the ceiling was uncovered, and they
pointed to a table. The assassin had defrauded me
of my last and miserable consolation. I sought not


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not in her visage, for the tinge of the morning, and
the lustre of heaven. These had vanished with
life; but I hoped for liberty to print a last kiss upon
her lips. This was denied me; for such had been
the merciless blow that destroyed her, that not a
lineament remained!

I was carried hence to the city. Mrs. Hallet was
my companion and my nurse. Why should I dwell
upon the rage of fever, and the effusions of deli-
rium? Carwin was the phantom that pursued my
dreams, the giant oppressor under whose arm I was
for ever on the point of being crushed. Strenuous
muscles were required to hinder my flight, and
hearts of steel to withstand the eloquence of my
fears. In vain I called upon them to look upward,
to mark his sparkling rage and scowling contempt.
All I sought was to fly from the stroke that was lift-
ed. Then I heaped upon my guards the most vehe-
ment reproaches, or betook myself to wailings on
the haplessness of my condition.

This malady, at length, declined, and my weep-
ing friends began to look for my restoration. Slow-
ly, and with intermitted beams, memory revisited
me. The scenes that I had witnessed were revived,
became the theme of deliberation and deduction,
and called forth the effusions of more rational sor-
row.



 image pending 193

CHAPTER XVIII.

I HAD imperfectly recovered my strength, when
I was informed of the arrival of my mother's bro-
ther, Thomas Cambridge. Ten years since, he
went to Europe, and was a surgeon in the British
forces in Germany, during the whole of the late
war. After its conclusion, some connection that
he had formed with an Irish officer, made him re-
tire into Ireland. Intercourse had been punctually
maintained by letters with his sister's children, and
hopes were given that he would shortly return to
his native country, and pass his old age in our so-
ciety. He was now in an evil hour arrived.

I desired an interview with him for numerous
and urgent reasons. With the first returns of my
understanding I had anxiously sought information
of the fate of my brother. During the course of
my disease I had never seen him; and vague and
unsatisfactory answers were returned to all my in-
quires. I had vehemently interrogated Mrs. Hallet
and her husband, and solicited an interview with
this unfortunate man; but they mysteriously in-
sinuated that his reason was still unsettled, and that
his circumstances rendered an interview impossible.
Their reserve on the particulars of this destruction,
and the author of it, was equally invincible.

For some time, finding all my efforts fruitless, I
had desisted from direct inquiries and solicitations,
determined, as soon as my strength was sufficiently
renewed, to pursue other means of dispelling my un-


 image pending 194

certainty. In this state of things my uncle's arri-
val and intention to visit me were announced. I
almost shuddered to behold the face of this man.
When I reflected on the disasters that had befallen
us, I was half unwilling to witness that dejection
and grief which would be disclosed in his counte-
nance. But I believed that all transactions had
been thoroughly disclosed to him, and confided in
my importunity to extort from him the knowledge
that I sought.

I had no doubt as to the person of our enemy;
but the motives that urged him to perpetrate these
horrors, the means that he used, and his present
condition, were totally unknown. It was reason-
able to expect some information on this head, from
my uncle. I therefore waited his coming with
impatience. At length, in the dusk of the even-
ing, and in my solitary chamber, this meeting took
place.

This man was our nearest relation, and had ever
treated us with the affection of a parent. Our
meeting, therefore, could not be without overflow-
ing tenderness and gloomy joy. He rather en-
couraged than restrained the tears that I poured out
in his arms, and took upon himself the task of
comforter. Allusions to recent disasters could not
be long omitted. One topic facilitated the admis-
sion of another. At length, I mentioned and de-
plored the ignorance in which I had been kept re-
specting my brother's destiny, and the circum-
stances of our misfortunes. I entreated him to tell
me what was Wieland's condition, and what pro-
gress had been made in detecting or punishing the
author of this unheard-of devastation.

"The author!" said he; "Do you know the
author?"



 image pending 195

"Alas!" I answered, "I am too well acquainted
with him. The story of the grounds of my sus-
picions would be painful and too long. I am not
apprized of the extent of your present knowledge.
There are none but Wieland, Pleyel, and myself,
who are able to relate certain facts."

"Spare yourself the pain," said he. "All that
Wieland and Pleyel can communicate, I know
already. If any thing of moment has fallen within
your own exclusive knowledge, and the relation be
not too arduous for your present strength, I confess I
am desirous of hearing it. Perhaps you allude to
one by the name of Carwin. I will anticipate your
curiosity by saying, that since these disasters, no
one has seen or heard of him. His agency is,
therefore, a mystery still unsolved."

I readily complied with his request, and related
as distinctly as I could, though in general terms,
the events transacted in the summer-house and my
chamber. He listened without apparent surprize
to the tale of Pleyel's errors and suspicions, and with
augmented seriousness, to my narrative of the warn-
ings and inexplicable vision, and the letter found
upon the table. I waited for his comments.

"You gather from this," said he, "that Car-
win is the author of all this misery."

"Is it not," answered I, "an unavoidable in-
ference? But what know you respecting it? Was
it possible to execute this mischief without witness
or coadjutor? I beseech you to relate to me,
when and why Mr. Hallet was summoned to the
scene, and by whom this disaster was first suspected
or discovered. Surely, suspicion must have fallen
upon some one, and pursuit was made."

My uncle rose from his seat, and traversed the
floor with hasty steps. His eyes were fixed upon


 image pending 196

the ground, and he seemed buried in perplexity.
At length he paused, and said with an emphatic
tone, "It is true; the instrument is known. Car-
win may have plotted, but the execution was ano-
ther's. That other is found, and his deed is ascer-
tained."

"Good heaven!" I exclaimed, "what say you?
Was not Carwin the assassin? Could any hand but
his have carried into act this dreadful purpose?"

"Have I not said," returned he, "that the per-
formance was another's? Carwin, perhaps, or
heaven, or insanity, prompted the murderer; but
Carwin is unknown. The actual performer has,
long since, been called to judgment and convicted,
and is, at this moment, at the bottom of a dungeon
loaded with chains."

I lifted my hands and eyes. "Who then is
this assassin? By what means, and whither was
he traced? What is the testimony of his guilt?"

"His own, corroborated with that of a servant-
maid who spied the murder of the children from a
closet where she was concealed. The magistrate re-
turned from your dwelling to your brother's. He
was employed in hearing and recording the testi-
mony of the only witness, when the criminal him-
self, unexpected, unsolicited, unsought, entered the
hall, acknowledged his guilt, and rendered himself
up to justice.

"He has since been summoned to the bar. The
audience was composed of thousands whom ru-
mours of this wonderful event had attracted from
the greatest distance. A long and impartial ex-
amination was made, and the prisoner was called
upon for his defence. In compliance with this
call he delivered an ample relation of his motives
and actions." There he stopped.



 image pending 197

I besought him to say who this criminal was, and
what the instigations that compelled him. My
uncle was silent. I urged this inquiry with new
force. I reverted to my own knowledge, and
sought in this some basis to conjecture. I ran over
the scanty catalogue of the men whom I knew; I
lighted on no one who was qualified for minister-
ing to malice like this. Again I resorted to im-
portunity. Had I ever seen the criminal? Was
it sheer cruelty, or diabolical revenge that produced
this overthrow?

He surveyed me, for a considerable time, and
listened to my interrogations in silence. At length
he spoke: "Clara, I have known thee by report,
and in some degree by observation. Thou art a
being of no vulgar sort. Thy friends have hitherto
treated thee as a child. They meant well, but,
perhaps, they were unacquainted with thy strength.
I assure myself that nothing will surpass thy forti-
tude.

"Thou art anxious to know the destroyer of
thy family, his actions, and his motives. Shall I
call him to thy presence, and permit him to confess
before thee? Shall I make him the narrator of his
own tale?"

I started on my feet, and looked round me with
fearful glances, as if the murderer was close at
hand. "What do you mean?" said I; "put an
end, I beseech you, to this suspence."

"Be not alarmed; you will never more behold
the face of this criminal, unless he be gifted with
supernatural strength, and sever like threads the
constraint of links and bolts. I have said that the
assassin was arraigned at the bar, and that the trial
ended with a summons from the judge to confess or
to vindicate his actions. A reply was immediately


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made with significance of gesture, and a tranquil
majesty, which denoted less of humanity than god-
head. Judges, advocates and auditors were panic-
struck and breathless with attention. One of the
hearers faithfully recorded the speech. There it
is," continued he, putting a roll of papers in my
hand, "you may read it at your leisure."

With these words my uncle left me alone. My
curiosity refused me a moment's delay. I opened
the papers, and read as follows.



 image pending 199

CHAPTER XIX.

"THEODORE WIELAND, the prisoner at
the bar, was now called upon for his defence. He
looked around him for some time in silence, and
with a mild countenance. At length he spoke:

"It is strange; I am known to my judges and
my auditors. Who is there present a stranger to
the character of Wieland? who knows him not as
an husband—as a father—as a friend? yet here am
I arraigned as criminal. I am charged with dia-
bolical malice; I am accused of the murder of my
wife and my children!

"It is true, they were slain by me; they all pe-
rished by my hand. The task of vindication is ig-
noble. What is it that I am called to vindicate?
and before whom?

"You know that they are dead, and that they
were killed by me. What more would you have?
Would you extort from me a statement of my mo-
tives? Have you failed to discover them already?
You charge me with malice; but your eyes are not
shut; your reason is still vigorous; your memory
has not forsaken you. You know whom it is that
you thus charge. The habits of his life are known
to you; his treatment of his wife and his offspring
is known to you; the soundness of his integrity,
and the unchangeableness of his principles, are fa-
miliar to your apprehension; yet you persist in this
charge! You lead me hither manacled as a fe-
lon; you deem me worthy of a vile and tormenting
death!



 image pending 200

"Who are they whom I have devoted to death?
My wife—the little ones, that drew their being
from me—that creature who, as she surpassed them
in excellence, claimed a larger affection than those
whom natural affinities bound to my heart. Think
ye that malice could have urged me to this deed?
Hide your audacious fronts from the scrutiny of
heaven. Take refuge in some cavern unvisited by
human eyes. Ye may deplore your wickedness
or folly, but ye cannot expiate it.

"Think not that I speak for your sakes. Hug
to your hearts this detestable infatuation. Deem
me still a murderer, and drag me to untimely death.
I make not an effort to dispel your illusion: I utter
not a word to cure you of your sanguinary folly:
but there are probably some in this assembly who
have come from far: for their sakes, whose distance
has disabled them from knowing me, I will tell
what I have done, and why.

"It is needless to say that God is the object of
my supreme passion. I have cherished, in his pre-
sence, a single and upright heart. I have thirsted
for the knowledge of his will. I have burnt with
ardour to approve my faith and my obedience.

"My days have been spent in searching for the
revelation of that will; but my days have been
mournful, because my search failed. I solicited
direction: I turned on every side where glimmer-
ings of light could be discovered. I have not been
wholly uninformed; but my knowledge has always
stopped short of certainty. Dissatisfaction has in-
sinuated itself into all my thoughts. My purposes
have been pure; my wishes indefatigable; but not
till lately were these purposes thoroughly accom-
plished, and these wishes fully gratified.

"I thank thee, my father, for thy bounty; that


 image pending 201

thou didst not ask a less sacrifice than this; that
thou placedst me in a condition to testify my sub-
mission to thy will! What have I withheld which
it was thy pleasure to exact? Now may I, wit
h dauntless and erect eye, claim my reward, since I
have given thee the treasure of my soul.

"I was at my own house: it was late in the
evening: my sister had gone to the city, but pro-
posed to return. It was in expectation of her re-
turn that my wife and I delayed going to bed be-
yond the usual hour; the rest of the family, how-
ever, were retired.

"My mind was contemplative and calm; not
wholly devoid of apprehension on account of my
sister's safety. Recent events, not easily explained,
had suggested the existence of some danger; but
this danger was without a distinct form in our im-
agination, and scarcely ruffled our tranquillity.

"Time passed, and my sister did not arrive; her
house is at some distance from mine, and though
her arrangements had been made with a view to
residing with us, it was possible that, through for-
getfulness, or the occurrence of unforeseen emer-
gencies, she had returned to her own dwelling.

"Hence it was conceived proper that I should
ascertain the truth by going thither. I went. On
my way my mind was full of these ideas which re-
lated to my intellectual condition. In the torrent
of fervid conceptions, I lost sight of my purpose.
Some times I stood still; some times I wandered
from my path, and experienced some difficulty, on
recovering from my fit of musing, to regain it.

"The series of my thoughts is easily traced. At
first every vein beat with raptures known only to
the man whose parental and conjugal love is with-


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out limits, and the cup of whose desires, immense
as it is, overflows with gratification. I know not
why emotions that were perpetual visitants should
now have recurred with unusual energy. The
transition was not new from sensations of joy to a
consciousness of gratitude. The author of my be-
ing was likewise the dispenser of every gift with
which that being was embellished. The service to
which a benefactor like this was entitled, could not
be circumscribed. My social sentiments were in-
debted to their alliance with devotion for all their
value. All passions are base, all joys feeble, all
energies malignant, which are not drawn from this
source.

"For a time, my contemplations soared above
earth and its inhabitants. I stretched forth my
hands; I lifted my eyes, and exclaimed, O! that I
might be admitted to thy presence; that mine were
the supreme delight of knowing thy will, and of
performing it! The blissful privilege of direct
communication with thee, and of listening to the
audible enunciation of thy pleasure!

"What task would I not undertake, what pri-
vation would I not cheerfully endure, to testify my
love of thee? Alas! thou hidest thyself from my
view: glimpses only of thy excellence and beauty
are afforded me. Would that a momentary ema-
nation from thy glory would visit me! that some
unambiguous token of thy presence would salute
my senses!

"In this mood, I entered the house of my sister.
It was vacant. Scarcely had I regained recollection
of the purpose that brought me hither. Thoughts
of a different tendency had such absolute possession
of my mind, that the relations of time and space


 image pending 203

were almost obliterated from my understanding.
These wanderings, however, were restrained, and
I ascended to her chamber.

"I had no light, and might have known by ex-
ternal observation, that the house was without any
inhabitant. With this, however, I was not satisfied.
I entered the room, and the object of my search not
appearing, I prepared to return.

"The darkness required some caution in de-
scending the stair. I stretched my hand to seize the
balustrade by which I might regulate my steps.
How shall I describe the lustre, which, at that mo-
ment, burst upon my vision!

"I was dazzled. My organs were bereaved of
their activity. My eye-lids were half-closed, and
my hands withdrawn from the balustrade. A name-
less fear chilled my veins, and I stood motionless.
This irradiation did not retire or lessen. It seemed
as if some powerful effulgence covered me like a
mantle.

"I opened my eyes and found all about me lu-
minous and glowing. It was the element of heaven
that flowed around. Nothing but a fiery stream
was at first visible; but, anon, a shrill voice from
behind called upon me to attend.

"I turned: It is forbidden to describe what I
saw: Words, indeed, would be wanting to the
task. The lineaments of that being, whose veil was
now lifted, and whose visage beamed upon my
sight, no hues of pencil or of language can pour-
tray.

"As it spoke, the accents thrilled to my heart.
"Thy prayers are heard. In proof of thy faith,
render me thy wife. This is the victim I chuse.
Call her hither, and here let her fall."—The sound,
and visage, and light vanished at once.



 image pending 204

"What demand was this? The blood of Ca-
tharine was to be shed! My wife was to perish by
my hand! I sought opportunity to attest my virtue.
Little did I expect that a proof like this would have
been demanded.

"My wife! I exclaimed: O God! substitute
some other victim. Make me not the butcher of
my wife. My own blood is cheap. This will I
pour out before thee with a willing heart; but
spare, I beseech thee, this precious life, or commis-
sion some other than her husband to perform the
bloody deed.

"In vain. The conditions were prescribed; the
decree had gone forth, and nothing remained but to
execute it. I rushed out of the house and across
the intermediate fields, and stopped not till I entered
my own parlour.

"My wife had remained here during my ab-
sence, in anxious expectation of my return with
some tidings of her sister. I had none to commu-
nicate. For a time, I was breathless with my speed:
This, and the tremors that shook my frame, and
the wildness of my looks, alarmed her. She im-
mediately suspected some disaster to have happened
to her friend, and her own speech was as much
overpowered by emotion as mine.

"She was silent, but her looks manifested her
impatience to hear what I had to communicate. I
spoke, but with so much precipitation as scarcely to
be understood; catching her, at the same time, by
the arm, and forcibly pulling her from her seat.

"Come along with me: fly: waste not a mo-
ment: time will be lost, and the deed will be omit-
ted. Tarry not; question not; but fly with me!

"This deportment added afresh to her alarms.
Her eyes pursued mine, and she said, "What is the


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matter? For God's sake what is the matter? Where
would you have me go?"

"My eyes were fixed upon her countenance
while she spoke. I thought upon her virtues; I
viewed her as the mother of my babes: as my wife:
I recalled the purpose for which I thus urged her
attendance. My heart faltered, and I saw that I
must rouse to this work all my faculties. The
danger of the least delay was imminent.

"I looked away from her, and again exerting
my force, drew her towards the door—'You must
go with me—indeed you must.'

"In her fright she half-resisted my efforts, and
again exclaimed, 'Good heaven! what is it you
mean? Where go? What has happened? Have
you found Clara?"

"Follow me, and you will see," I answered, still
urging her reluctant steps forward.

"What phrenzy has seized you? Something
must needs have happened. Is she sick? Have you
foundh er?"

"Come and see. Follow me, and know for
yourself."

"Still she expostulated and besought me to ex-
plain this mysterious behaviour. I could not trust
myself to answer her; to look at her; but grasping
her arm, I drew her after me. She hesitated, rather
through confusion of mind than from unwilling-
ness to accompany me. This confusion gradually
abated, and she moved forward, but with irresolute
footsteps, and continual exclamations of wonder
and terror. Her interrogations of "what was the
matter?" and "whither was I going?" were cease-
less and vehement.

"It was the scope of my efforts not to think;
to keep up a conflict and uproar in my mind in


 image pending 206

which all order and distinctness should be lost; to
escape from the sensations produced by her voice.
I was, therefore, silent. I strove to abridge this
interval by my haste, and to waste all my attention
in furious gesticulations.

"In this state of mind we reached my sister's
door. She looked at the windows and saw that all
was desolate—"Why come we here? There is
no body here. I will not go in."

"Still I was dumb; but opening the door, I drew
her into the entry. This was the allotted scene:
here she was to fall. I let go her hand, and pressing
my palms against my forehead, made one mighty
effort to work up my soul to the deed.

"In vain; it would not be; my courage was
appalled; my arms nerveless: I muttered prayers
that my strength might be aided from above. They
availed nothing.

"Horror diffused itself over me. This con-
viction of my cowardice, my rebellion, fastened
upon me, and I stood rigid and cold as marble.
From this state I was somewhat relieved by my
wife's voice, who renewed her supplications to be
told why we came hither, and what was the fate of
my sister.

"What could I answer? My words were bro-
ken and inarticulate. Her fears naturally acquired
force from the observation of these symptoms; but
these fears were misplaced. The only inference
she deduced from my conduct was, that some ter-
rible mishap had befallen Clara.

"She wrung her hands, and exclaimed in an
agony, "O tell me, where is she? What has be-
come of her? Is she sick? Dead? Is she in her
chamber? O let me go thither and know the
worst!"



 image pending 207

"This proposal set my thoughts once more in
motion. Perhaps what my rebellious heart refused
to perform here, I might obtain strength enough to
execute elsewhere.

"Come then," said I, "let us go."

"I will, but not in the dark. We must first
procure a light."

"Fly then and procure it; but I charge you, lin-
ger not. I will await for your return.

"While she was gone, I strode along the entry.
The fellness of a gloomy hurricane but faintly re-
sembled the discord that reigned in my mind. To
omit this sacrifice must not be; yet my sinews had
refused to perform it. No alternative was offered.
To rebel against the mandate was impossible; but
obedience would render me the executioner of my
wife. My will was strong, but my limbs refused
their office.

"She returned with a light; I led the way to
the chamber; she looked round her; she lifted the
curtain of the bed; she saw nothing.

"At length, she fixed inquiring eyes upon me.
The light now enabled her to discover in my visage
what darkness had hitherto concealed. Her cares
were now transferred from my sister to myself, and
she said in a tremulous voice, "Wieland! you are
not well: What ails you? Can I do nothing for
you?"

"That accents and looks so winning should
disarm me of my resolution, was to be expected.
My thoughts were thrown anew into anarchy. I
spread my hand before my eyes that I might not
see her, and answered only by groans. She took
my other hand between her's, and pressing it to her
heart, spoke with that voice which had ever swayed
my will, and wafted away sorrow.



 image pending 208

"My friend! my soul's friend! tell me thy
cause of grief. Do I not merit to partake with
thee in thy cares? Am I not thy wife?"

"This was too much. I broke from her em-
brace, and retired to a corner of the room. In this
pause, courage was once more infused into me. I
resolved to execute my duty. She followed me,
and renewed her passionate entreaties to know the
cause of my distress.

"I raised my head and regarded her with stedfast
looks. I muttered something about death, and the
injunctions of my duty. At these words she shrunk
back, and looked at me with a new expression of
anguish. After a pause, she clasped her hands, and
exclaimed—

"O Wieland! Wieland! God grant that I am
mistaken; but surely something is wrong. I see it:
it is too plain: thou art undone—lost to me and to
thyself." At the same time she gazed on my fea-
tures with intensest anxiety, in hope that different
symptoms would take place. I replied to her with
vehemence—

"Undone! No; my duty is known, and I thank
my God that my cowardice is now vanquished, and
I have power to fulfil it. Catharine! I pity the
weakness of thy nature: I pity thee, but must not
spare. Thy life is claimed from my hands: thou
must die!"

"Fear was now added to her grief. 'What
mean you? Why talk you of death? Bethink
yourself, Wieland: bethink yourself, and this fit
will pass. O why came I hither! Why did you
drag me hither?'

"I brought thee hither to fulfil a divine com-
mand. I am appointed thy destroyer, and destroy
thee I must." Saying this I seized her wrists. She


 image pending 209

shrieked aloud, and endeavoured to free herself
from my grasp; but her efforts were vain.

"Surely, surely Wieland, thou dost not mean
it. Am I not thy wife? and wouldst thou kill me?
Thou wilt not; and yet—I see—thou art Wieland
no longer! A fury resistless and horrible possesses
thee—Spare me—spare—help—help—"

"Till her breath was stopped she shrieked for
help—for mercy. When she could speak no longer,
her gestures, her looks appealed to my compassion.
My accursed hand was irresolute and tremulous. I
meant thy death to be sudden, thy struggles to be
brief. Alas! my heart was infirm; my resolves
mutable. Thrice I slackened my grasp, and life
kept its hold, though in the midst of pangs. Her
eye-balls started from their sockets. Grimness and
distortion took place of all that used to bewitch me
into transport, and subdue me into reverence.

"I was commissioned to kill thee, but not to
torment thee with the foresight of thy death; not
to multiply thy fears, and prolong thy agonies.
Haggard, and pale, and lifeless, at length thou
ceasedst to contend with thy destiny.

"This was a moment of triumph. Thus had
I successfully subdued the stubbornness of human
passions: the victim which had been demanded was
given: the deed was done past recal.

"I lifted the corpse in my arms and laid it on
the bed. I gazed upon it with delight. Such was
the elation of my thoughts, that I even broke into
laughter. I clapped my hands and exclaimed, 'It
is done! My sacred duty is fulfilled! To that I
have sacrificed, O my God! thy last and best gift,
my wife!'

"For a while I thus soared above frailty. I im-
agined I had set myself forever beyond the reach of


 image pending 210

selfishness; but my imaginations were false. This
rapture quickly subsided. I looked again at my
wife. My joyous ebullitions vanished, and I ask-
ed myself who it was whom I saw? Methought
it could not be Catharine. It could not be the wo-
man who had lodged for years in my heart; who
had slept, nightly, in my bosom; who had borne
in her womb, who had fostered at her breast, the
beings who called me father; whom I had watched
with delight, and cherished with a fondness ever new
and perpetually growing: it could not be the same.

"Where was her bloom! These deadly and
blood-suffused orbs but ill resemble the azure and
exstatic tenderness of her eyes. The lucid stream
that meandered over that bosom, the glow of love
that was wont to sit upon that cheek, are much un-
like these livid stains and this hideous deformity.
Alas! these were the traces of agony; the gripe of
the assassin had been here!

"I will not dwell upon my lapse into desperate
and outrageous sorrow. The breath of heaven that
sustained me was withdrawn and I sunk into mere
man. I leaped from the floor: I dashed my head
against the wall: I uttered screams of horror: I
panted after torment and pain. Eternal fire, and
the bickerings of hell, compared with what I felt,
were music and a bed of roses.

"I thank my God that this degeneracy was tran-
sient, that he deigned once more to raise me aloft.
I thought upon what I had done as a sacrifice to
duty, and was calm. My wife was dead; but I
reflected, that though this source of human conso-
lation was closed, yet others were still open. If
the transports of an husband were no more, the
feelings of a father had still scope for exercise.
When remembrance of their mother should excite


 image pending 211

too keen a pang, I would look upon them, and
be comforted.

"While I revolved these ideas, new warmth
flowed in upon my heart—I was wrong. These
feelings were the growth of selfishness. Of this I
was not aware, and to dispel the mist that obscured
my perceptions, a new effulgence and a new man-
date were necessary.

"From these thoughts I was recalled by a ray
that was shot into the room. A voice spake like
that which I had before heard—'Thou hast done
well; but all is not done—the sacrifice is incom-
plete—thy children must be offered—they must pe-
rish with their mother!——'



 image pending 212

CHAPTER XX.

WILL you wonder that I read no farther?
Will you not rather be astonished that I read thus
far? What power supported me through such a
task I know not. Perhaps the doubt from which
I could not disengage my mind, that the scene here
depicted was a dream, contributed to my persever-
ance. In vain the solemn introduction of my un-
cle, his appeals to my fortitude, and allusions to
something monstrous in the events he was about to
disclose; in vain the distressful perplexity, the mys-
terious silence and ambiguous answers of my atten-
dants, especially when the condition of my brother
was the theme of my inquiries, were remembered.
I recalled the interview with Wieland in my cham-
ber, his preternatural tranquillity succeeded by bursts
of passion and menacing actions. All these coin-
cided with the tenor of this paper.

Catharine and her children, and Louisa were
dead. The act that destroyed them was, in the
highest degree, inhuman. It was worthy of sava-
ges trained to murder, and exulting in agonies.

Who was the performer of the deed? Wieland!
My brother! The husband and the father! That
man of gentle virtues and invincible benignity!
placable and mild—an idolator of peace! Surely,
said I, it is a dream. For many days have I been
vexed with frenzy. Its dominion is still felt; but
new forms are called up to diversify and augment
my torments.



 image pending 213

The paper dropped from my hand, and my eyes
followed it. I shrunk back, as if to avoid some
petrifying influence that approached me. My
tongue was mute; all the functions of nature were
at a stand, and I sunk upon the floor lifeless.

The noise of my fall, as I afterwards heard,
alarmed my uncle, who was in a lower apartment,
and whose apprehensions had detained him. He
hastened to my chamber, and administered the as-
sistance which my condition required. When I
opened my eyes I beheld him before me. His skill
as a reasoner as well as a physician, was exerted
to obviate the injurious effects of this disclosure;
but he had wrongly estimated the strength of my
body or of my mind. This new shock brought me
once more to the brink of the grave, and my ma-
lady was much more difficult to subdue than at
first.

I will not dwell upon the long train of dreary
sensations, and the hideous confusion of my under-
standing. Time slowly restored its customary firm-
ness to my frame, and order to my thoughts. The
images impressed upon my mind by this fatal paper
were somewhat effaced by my malady. They were
obscure and disjointed like the parts of a dream. I
was desirous of freeing my imagination from this
chaos. For this end I questioned my uncle, who
was my constant companion. He was intimidated
by the issue of his first experiment, and took pains
to elude or discourage my inquiry. My impetuo-
sity some times compelled him to have resort to
misrepresentations and untruths.

Time effected that end, perhaps, in a more be-
neficial manner. In the course of my meditations
the recollections of the past gradually became more
distinct. I revolved them, however, in silence,


 image pending 214

and being no longer accompanied with surprize,
they did not exercise a death-dealing power. I had
discontinued the perusal of the paper in the midst
of the narrative; but what I read, combined with
information elsewhere obtained, threw, perhaps, a
sufficient light upon these detestable transactions;
yet my curiosity was not inactive. I desired to
peruse the remainder.

My eagerness to know the particulars of this
tale was mingled and abated by my antipathy to the
scene which would be disclosed. Hence I employ-
ed no means to effect my purpose. I desired know-
ledge, and, at the same time, shrunk back from
receiving the boon.

One morning, being left alone, I rose from my
bed, and went to a drawer where my finer cloth-
ing used to be kept. I opened it, and this fatal pa-
per saluted my sight. I snatched it involuntarily,
and withdrew to a chair. I debated, for a few mi-
nutes, whether I should open and read. Now that
my fortitude was put to trial, it failed. I felt my-
self incapable of deliberately surveying a scene of
so much horror. I was prompted to return it to
its place, but this resolution gave way, and I deter-
mined to peruse some part of it. I turned over the
leaves till I came near the conclusion. The nar-
rative of the criminal was finished. The verdict
of guilty reluctantly pronounced by the jury, and
the accused interrogated why sentence of death
should not pass. The answer was brief, solemn,
and emphatical.

"No. I have nothing to say. My tale has been
told. My motives have been truly stated. If my
judges are unable to discern the purity of my inten-
tions, or to credit the statement of them, which I
have just made; if they see not that my deed was


 image pending 215

enjoined by heaven; that obedience was the test of
perfect virtue, and the extinction of selfishness and
error, they must pronounce me a murderer.

"They refuse to credit my tale; they impute
my acts to the influence of dæmons; they account
me an example of the highest wickedness of which
human nature is capable; they doom me to death
and infamy. Have I power to escape this evil?
If I have, be sure I will exert it. I will not accept
evil at their hand, when I am entitled to good; I
will suffer only when I cannot elude suffering.

"You say that I am guilty. Impious and rash!
thus to usurp the prerogatives of your Maker!
to set up your bounded views and halting reason,
as the measure of truth!

"Thou, Omnipotent and Holy! Thou knowest
that my actions were conformable to thy will. I
know not what is crime; what actions are evil
in their ultimate and comprehensive tendency or
what are good. Thy knowledge, as thy power,
is unlimited. I have taken thee for my guide, and
cannot err. To the arms of thy protection, I en-
trust my safety. In the awards of thy justice, I
confide for my recompense.

"Come death when it will, I am safe. Let
calumny and abhorrence pursue me among men; I
shall not be defrauded of my dues. The peace of
virtue, and the glory of obedience, will be my por-
tion hereafter."

Here ended the speaker. I withdrew my eyes
from the page; but before I had time to reflect on
what I had read, Mr. Cambridge entered the room.
He quickly perceived how I had been employed,
and betrayed some solicitude respecting the condi-
tion of my mind.

His fears, however, were superfluous. What I


 image pending 216

had read, threw me into a state not easily described.
Anguish and fury, however, had no part in it. My
faculties were chained up in wonder and awe. Just
then, I was unable to speak. I looked at my friend
with an air of inquisitiveness, and pointed at the
roll. He comprehended my inquiry, and answered
me with looks of gloomy acquiescence. After some
time, my thoughts found their way to my lips.

Such then were the acts of my brother. Such
were his words. For this he was condemned to
die: To die upon the gallows! A fate, cruel and
unmerited! And is it so? continued I, struggling
for utterance, which this new idea made difficult;
is he—dead!

"No. He is alive. There could be no doubt
as to the cause of these excesses. They originated
in sudden madness; but that madness continues, and
he is condemned to perpetual imprisonment."

"Madness, say you? Are you sure? Were
not these sights, and these sounds, really seen and
heard?"

My uncle was surprized at my question. He
looked at me with apparent inquietude. "Can
you doubt," said he, "that these were illusions?
Does heaven, think you, interfere for such ends?"

"O no; I think it not. Heaven cannot stimu-
late to such unheard-of outrage. The agent was
not good, but evil."

"Nay, my dear girl," said my friend, "lay
aside these fancies. Neither angel nor devil had
any part in this affair."

"You misunderstand me," I answered; "I be-
lieve the agency to be external and real, but not
supernatural."

"Indeed!" said he, in an accent of surprize.
"Whom do you then suppose to be the agent?"



 image pending 217

"I know not. All is wildering conjecture. I
cannot forget Carwin. I cannot banish the suspi-
cion that he was the setter of these snares. But how
can we suppose it to be madness? Did insanity
ever before assume this form?"

"Frequently. The illusion, in this case, was
more dreadful in its consequences, than any that
has come to my knowledge; but, I repeat that
similar illusions are not rare. Did you never hear
of an instance which occurred in your mother's
family?"

"No. I beseech you relate it. My grandfa-
ther's death I have understood to have been extra-
ordinary, but I know not in what respect. A bro-
ther, to whom he was much attached, died in his
youth, and this, as I have heard, influenced, in some
remarkable way, the fate of my grandfather; but I
am unacquainted with particulars."

"On the death of that brother," resumed my
friend, "my father was seized with dejection,
which was found to flow from two sources. He
not only grieved for the loss of a friend, but enter-
tained the belief that his own death would be ine-
vitably consequent on that of his brother. He
waited from day to day in expectation of the stroke
which he predicted was speedily to fall upon him.
Gradually, however, he recovered his cheerfulness
and confidence. He married, and performed his
part in the world with spirit and activity. At the
end of twenty-one years it happened that he spent
the summer with his family at an house which he
possessed on the sea coast in Cornwall. It was at
no great distance from a cliff which overhung
the ocean, and rose into the air to a great height.
The summit was level and secure, and easily as-
cended on the land side. The company frequently


 image pending 218

repaired hither in clear weather, invited by its pure
airs and extensive prospects. One evening in June
my father, with his wife and some friends, chanc-
ed to be on this spot. Every one was happy, and
my father's imagination seemed particularly alive
to the grandeur of the scenery.

"Suddenly, however, his limbs trembled and his
features betrayed alarm. He threw himself into
the attitude of one listening. He gazed earnestly
in a direction in which nothing was visible to his
friends. This lasted for a minute; then turning
to his companions, he told them that his brother
had just delivered to him a summons, which must
be instantly obeyed. He then took an hasty and
solemn leave of each person, and, before their sur-
prize would allow them to understand the scene,
he rushed to the edge of the cliff, threw himself
headlong, and was seen no more.

"In the course of my practice in the German
army, many cases, equally remarkable, have oc-
curred. Unquestionably the illusions were mania-
cal, though the vulgar thought otherwise. They
are all reducible to one class,* and are not more dif-
ficult of explication and cure than most affections
of our frame."

This opinion my uncle endeavoured, by various
means, to impress upon me. I listened to his reason-
ings and illustrations with silent respect. My asto-
nishment was great on finding proofs of an influ-
ence of which I had supposed there were no exam-
ples; but I was far from accounting for appearances
in my uncle's manner. Ideas thronged into my
mind which I was unable to disjoin or to regulate.


* Mania Mutabilis. See Darwin's Zoonomia, vol. ii. Class
III. 1.2. where similar cases are stated.



 image pending 219

I reflected that this madness, if madness it were,
had affected Pleyel and myself as well as Wieland.
Pleyel had heard a mysterious voice. I had seen
and heard. A form had showed itself to me as
well as to Wieland. The disclosure had been made
in the same spot. The appearance was equally
complete and equally prodigious in both instances.
Whatever supposition I should adopt, had I not
equal reason to tremble? What was my security
against influences equally terrific and equally irre-
sistable?

It would be vain to attempt to describe the state
of mind which this idea produced. I wondered at
the change which a moment had affected in my bro-
ther's condition. Now was I stupified with ten-
fold wonder in contemplating myself. Was I not
likewise transformed from rational and human into
a creature of nameless and fearful attributes? Was
I not transported to the brink of the same abyss?
Ere a new day should come, my hands might be
embrued in blood, and my remaining life be con-
signed to a dungeon and chains.

With moral sensibility like mine, no wonder that
this new dread was more insupportable than the
anguish I had lately endured. Grief carries its own
antidote along with it. When thought becomes
merely a vehicle of pain, its progress must be stop-
ped. Death is a cure which nature or ourselves
must administer: To this cure I now looked for-
ward with gloomy satisfaction.

My silence could not conceal from my uncle the
state of my thoughts. He made unwearied efforts
to divert my attention from views so pregnant with
danger. His efforts, aided by time, were in some
measure successful. Confidence in the strength of
my resolution, and in the healthful state of my fa-


 image pending 220

culties, was once more revived. I was able to de-
vote my thoughts to my brother's state, and the
causes of this disasterous proceeding.

My opinions were the sport of eternal change.
Some times I conceived the apparition to be more
than human. I had no grounds on which to build
a disbelief. I could not deny faith to the evidence
of my religion; the testimony of men was loud and
unanimous: both these concurred to persuade me
that evil spirits existed, and that their energy was
frequently exerted in the system of the world.

These ideas connected themselves with the image
of Carwin. Where is the proof, said I, that
dæmons may not be subjected to the controul of
men? This truth may be distorted and debased in
the minds of the ignorant. The dogmas of the
vulgar, with regard to this subject, are glaringly
absurd; but though these may justly be neglected
by the wise, we are scarcely justified in totally re-
jecting the possibility that men may obtain super-
natural aid.

The dreams of superstition are worthy of con-
tempt. Witchcraft, its instruments and miracles,
the compact ratified by a bloody signature, the ap-
paratus of sulpherous smells and thundering ex-
plosions, are monstrous and chimerical. These
have no part in the scene over which the genius of
Carwin presides. That conscious beings, dissimilar
from human, but moral and voluntary agents as we
are, some where exist, can scarcely be denied. That
their aid may be employed to benign or malignant
purposes, cannot be disproved.

Darkness rests upon the designs of this man.
The extent of his power is unknown; but is there
not evidence that it has been now exerted?

I recurred to my own experience. Here Car-


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win had actually appeared upon the stage; but this
was in a human character. A voice and a form
were discovered; but one was apparently exerted,
and the other disclosed, not to befriend, but to coun-
teract Carwin's designs. There were tokens of
hostility, and not of alliance, between them. Car-
win was the miscreant whose projects were resisted
by a minister of heaven. How can this be re-
conciled to the stratagem which ruined my brother?
There the agency was at once preternatural and
malignant.

The recollection of this fact led my thoughts into
a new channel. The malignity of that influence
which governed my brother had hitherto been no
subject of doubt. His wife and children were de-
stroyed; they had expired in agony and fear; yet
was it indisputably certain that their murderer was
criminal? He was acquitted at the tribunal of his
own conscience; his behaviour at his trial and since,
was faithfully reported to me; appearances were
uniform; not for a moment did he lay aside the
majesty of virtue; he repelled all invectives by ap-
pealing to the deity, and to the tenor of his past life;
surely there was truth in this appeal: none but a
command from heaven could have swayed his will;
and nothing but unerring proof of divine approba-
tion could sustain his mind in its present elevation.



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CHAPTER XXI.

SUCH, for some time, was the course of my me-
ditations. My weakness, and my aversion to be
pointed at as an object of surprize or compassion,
prevented me from going into public. I studiously
avoided the visits of those who came to express their
sympathy, or gratify their curiosity. My uncle was
my principal companion. Nothing more power-
fully tended to console me than his conversation.

With regard to Pleyel, my feelings seemed to
have undergone a total revolution. It often hap-
pens that one passion supplants another. Late dis-
asters had rent my heart, and now that the wound
was in some degree closed, the love which I had
cherished for this man seemed likewise to have va-
nished.

Hitherto, indeed, I had had no cause for despair.
I was innocent of that offence which had estranged
him from my presence. I might reasonably expect
that my innocence would at some time be irresistably
demonstrated, and his affection for me be revived
with his esteem. Now my aversion to be thought
culpable by him continued, but was unattended
with the same impatience. I desired the removal of
his suspicions, not for the sake of regaining his
love, but because I delighted in the veneration of
so excellent a man, and because he himself would
derive pleasure from conviction of my integrity.

My uncle had early informed me that Pleyel and
he had seen each other, since the return of the latter


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from Europe. Amidst the topics of their conver-
sation, I discovered that Pleyel had carefully omitted
the mention of those events which had drawn upon
me so much abhorrence. I could not account for
his silence on this subject. Perhaps time or some
new discovery had altered or shaken his opinion.
Perhaps he was unwilling, though I were guilty, to
injure me in the opinion of my venerable kinsman.
I understood that he had frequently visited me dur-
ing my disease, had watched many successive nights
by my bedside, and manifested the utmost anxiety
on my account.

The journey which he was preparing to take, at
the termination of our last interview, the catastrophe
of the ensuing night induced him to delay. The
motives of this journey I had, till now, totally mis-
taken. They were explained to me by my uncle,
whose tale excited my astonishment without awa-
kening my regret. In a different state of mind, it
would have added unspeakably to my distress, but
now it was more a source of pleasure than pain.
This, perhaps, is not the least extraordinary of the
facts contained in this narrative. It will excite less
wonder when I add, that my indifference was tem-
porary, and that the lapse of a few days shewed me
that my feelings were deadened for a time, rather
than finally extinguished.

Theresa de Stolberg was alive. She had con-
ceived the resolution of seeking her lover in Ame-
rica. To conceal her flight, she had caused the
report of her death to be propagated. She put her-
self under the conduct of Bertrand, the faithful ser-
vant of Pleyel. The pacquet which the latter re-
ceived from the hands of his servant, contained the
tidings of her safe arrival at Boston, and to meet
her there was the purpose of his journey.



 image pending 224

This discovery had set this man's character in a
new light. I had mistaken the heroism of friend-
ship for the phrenzy of love. He who had gained
my affections, may be supposed to have previously
entitled himself to my reverence; but the levity which
had formerly characterized the behaviour of this man,
tended to obscure the greatness of his sentiments. I
did not fail to remark, that since this lady was still
alive, the voice in the temple which asserted her
death, must either have been intended to deceive, or
have been itself deceived. The latter supposition
was inconsistent with the notion of a spiritual, and
the former with that of a benevolent being.

When my disease abated, Pleyel had forborne
his visits, and had lately set out upon this journey.
This amounted to a proof that my guilt was still
believed by him. I was grieved for his errors, but
trusted that my vindication would, sooner or later,
be made.

Meanwhile, tumultuous thoughts were again set
afloat by a proposal made to me by my uncle. He
imagined that new airs would restore my languish-
ing constitution, and a varied succession of objects
tend to repair the shock which my mind had re-
ceived. For this end, he proposed to me to take up
my abode with him in France or Italy.

At a more prosperous period, this scheme would
have pleased for its own sake. Now my heart
sickened at the prospect of nature. The world of
man was shrowded in misery and blood, and con-
stituted a loathsome spectacle. I willingly closed
my eyes in sleep, and regretted that the respite it
afforded me was so short. I marked with satis-
faction the progress of decay in my frame, and con-
sented to live, merely in the hope that the course
of nature would speedily relieve me from the bur-


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then. Nevertheless, as he persisted in his scheme,
I concurred in it merely because he was entitled to
my gratitude, and because my refusal gave him
pain.

No sooner was he informed of my consent, than
he told me I must make immediate preparation to
embark, as the ship in which he had engaged a
passage would be ready to depart in three days.
This expedition was unexpected. There was an
impatience in his manner when he urged the ne-
cessity of dispatch that excited my surprize. When
I questioned him as to the cause of this haste, he
generally stated reasons which, at that time, I could
not deny to be plausible; but which, on the review,
appeared insufficient. I suspected that the true mo-
tives were concealed, and believed that these motives
had some connection with my brother's destiny.

I now recollected that the information respecting
Wieland which had, from time to time, been im-
parted to me, was always accompanied with airs
of reserve and mysteriousness. What had appeared
sufficiently explicit at the time it was uttered, I now
remembered to have been faltering and ambiguous.
I was resolved to remove my doubts, by visiting the
unfortunate man in his dungeon.

Heretofore the idea of this visit had occurred to
me; but the horrors of his dwelling-place, his wild
yet placid physiognomy, his neglected locks, the
fetters which constrained his limbs, terrible as they
were in description, how could I endure to behold!

Now, however, that I was preparing to take an
everlasting farewell of my country, now that an
ocean was henceforth to separate me from him,
how could I part without an interview? I would
examine his situation with my own eyes. I would
know whether the representations which had


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been made to me were true. Perhaps the sight of
the sister whom he was wont to love with a passion
more than fraternal, might have an auspicious in-
fluence on his malady.

Having formed this resolution, I waited to com-
municate it to Mr. Cambridge. I was aware that,
without his concurrence, I could not hope to carry
it into execution, and could discover no objection
to which it was liable. If I had not been deceived
as to his condition, no inconvenience could arise
from this proceeding. His consent, therefore, would
be the test of his sincerity.

I seized this opportunity to state my wishes on
this head. My suspicions were confirmed by the
manner in which my request affected him. After
some pause, in which his countenance betrayed
every mark of perplexity, he said to me, "Why
would you pay this visit? What useful purpose
can it serve?"

"We are preparing," said I, "to leave the
country forever: What kind of being should I be
to leave behind me a brother in calamity without
even a parting interview? Indulge me for three
minutes in the sight of him. My heart will be
much easier after I have looked at him, and shed
a few tears in his presence."

"I believe otherwise. The sight of him would
only augment your distress, without contributing,
in any degree, to his benefit."

"I know not that," returned I. "Surely the
sympathy of his sister, proofs that her tenderness is
as lively as ever, must be a source of satisfaction
to him. At present he must regard all mankind as
his enemies and calumniators. His sister he, pro-
bably, conceives to partake in the general infatua-
tion, and to join in the cry of abhorrence that is


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raised against him. To be undeceived in this re-
spect, to be assured that, however I may impute
his conduct to delusion, I still retain all my former
affection for his person, and veneration for the pu-
rity of his motives, cannot but afford him pleasure.
When he hears that I have left the country, with-
out even the ceremonious attention of a visit, what
will he think of me? His magnanimity may hin-
der him from repining, but he will surely consider
my behaviour as savage and unfeeling. Indeed,
dear Sir, I must pay this visit. To embark with
you without paying it, will be impossible. It may
be of no service to him, but will enable me to acquit
myself of what I cannot but esteem a duty. Be-
sides," continued I, "if it be a mere fit of insanity
that has seized him, may not my presence chance to
have a salutary influence? The mere sight of me,
it is not impossible, may rectify his perceptions."

"Ay," said my uncle, with some eagerness; "it
is by no means impossible that your interview may
have that effect; and for that reason, beyond all
others, would I dissuade you from it."

I expressed my surprize at this declaration. "Is
it not to be desired that an error so fatal as this
should be rectified?"

"I wonder at your question. Reflect on the
consequences of this error. Has he not destroyed
the wife whom he loved, the children whom he
idolized? What is it that enables him to bear the
remembrance, but the belief that he acted as his
duty enjoined? Would you rashly bereave him of
this belief? Would you restore him to himself, and
convince him that he was instigated to this dreadful
outrage by a perversion of his organs, or a delusion
from hell?

"Now his visions are joyous and elate. He con-


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ceives himself to have reached a loftier degree of
virtue, than any other human being. The merit
of his sacrifice is only enhanced in the eyes of supe-
rior beings, by the detestation that pursues him here,
and the sufferings to which he is condemned. The
belief that even his sister has deserted him, and gone
over to his enemies, adds to his sublimity of feel-
ings, and his confidence in divine approbation and
future recompense.

"Let him be undeceived in this respect, and what
floods of despair and of horror will overwhelm him!
Instead of glowing approbation and serene hope,
will he not hate and torture himself? Self-violence,
or a phrenzy far more savage and destructive than
this, may be expected to succeed. I beseech you,
therefore, to relinquish this scheme. If you calmly
reflect upon it, you will discover that your duty lies
in carefully shunning him."

Mr. Cambridge's reasonings suggested views to
my understanding, that had not hitherto occurred.
I could not but admit their validity, but they shew-
ed, in a new light, the depth of that misfortune in
which my brother was plunged. I was silent and
irresolute.

Presently, I considered, that whether Wieland
was a maniac, a faithful servant of his God, the
victim of hellish illusions, or the dupe of human
imposture, was by no means certain. In this state
of my mind it became me to be silent during the
visit that I projected. This visit should be brief:
I should be satisfied merely to snatch a look at him.
Admitting that a change in his opinions were not
to be desired, there was no danger from the con-
duct which I should pursue, that this change should
be wrought.

But I could not conquer my uncle's aversion to


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this scheme. Yet I persisted, and he found that to
make me voluntarily relinquish it, it was necessary
to be more explicit than he had hitherto been. He
took both my hands, and anxiously examining my
countenance as he spoke, "Clara," said he, "this
visit must not be paid. We must hasten with the
utmost expedition from this shore. It is folly to
conceal the truth from you, and, since it is only
by disclosing the truth that you can be prevailed
upon to lay aside this project, the truth shall be
told.

"O my dear girl!" continued he with increasing
energy in his accent, "your brother's phrenzy is,
indeed, stupendous and frightful. The soul that
formerly actuated his frame has disappeared. The
same form remains; but the wise and benevolent
Wieland is no more. A fury that is rapacious of
blood, that lifts his strength almost above that of
mortals, that bends all his energies to the destruc-
tion of whatever was once dear to him, possesses
him wholly.

"You must not enter his dungeon; his eyes
will no sooner be fixed upon you, than an exertion
of his force will be made. He will shake off his
fetters in a moment, and rush upon you. No
interposition will then be strong or quick enough
to save you.

"The phantom that has urged him to the mur-
der of Catharine and her children is not yet ap-
peased. Your life, and that of Pleyel, are exacted
from him by this imaginary being. He is eager to
comply with this demand. Twice he has escaped
from his prison. The first time, he no sooner found
himself at liberty, than he hasted to Pleyel's house.
It being midnight, the latter was in bed. Wieland
penetrated unobserved to his chamber, and opened


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his curtain. Happily, Pleyel awoke at the critical
moment, and escaped the fury of his kinsman, by
leaping from his chamber-window into the court.
Happily, he reached the ground without injury.
Alarms were given, and after diligent search, your
brother was found in a chamber of your house,
whither, no doubt, he had sought you.

"His chains, and the watchfulness of his guards,
were redoubled; but again, by some miracle, he re-
stored himself to liberty. He was now incautiously
apprized of the place of your abode: and had not
information of his escape been instantly given, your
death would have been added to the number of his
atrocious acts.

"You now see the danger of your project. You
must not only forbear to visit him, but if you would
save him from the crime of embruing his hands in
your blood, you must leave the country. There is
no hope that his malady will end but with his life,
and no precaution will ensure your safety, but that
of placing the ocean between you.

"I confess I came over with an intention to re-
side among you, but these disasters have changed
my views. Your own safety and my happiness
require that you should accompany me in my re-
turn, and I entreat you to give your cheerful con-
currence to this measure."

After these representations from my uncle, it was
impossible to retain my purpose. I readily consented
to seclude myself from Wieland's presence. I like-
wise acquiesced in the proposal to go to Europe;
not that I ever expected to arrive there, but be-
cause, since my principles forbad me to assail my
own life, change had some tendency to make sup-
portable the few days which disease should spare to
me.



 image pending 231

What a tale had thus been unfolded! I was
hunted to death, not by one whom my misconduct
had exasperated, who was conscious of illicit mo-
tives, and who sought his end by circumvention and
surprize; but by one who deemed himself commis-
sioned for this act by heaven; who regarded this ca-
reer of horror as the last refinement of virtue; whose
implacability was proportioned to the reverence and
love which he felt for me, and who was inaccessible
to the fear of punishment and ignominy!

In vain should I endeavour to stay his hand by
urging the claims of a sister or friend: these were
his only reasons for pursuing my destruction. Had
I been a stranger to his blood; had I been the most
worthless of human kind; my safety had not been
endangered.

Surely, said I, my fate is without example. The
phrenzy which is charged upon my brother, must
belong to myself. My foe is manacled and guarded;
but I derive no security from these restraints. I live
not in a community of savages; yet, whether I sit
or walk, go into crouds, or hide myself in solitude,
my life is marked for a prey to inhuman violence;
I am in perpetual danger of perishing; of perishing
under the grasp of a brother!

I recollected the omens of this destiny; I remem-
bered the gulf to which my brother's invitation had
conducted me; I remembered that, when on the
brink of danger, the author of my peril was de-
picted by my fears in his form: Thus realized,
were the creatures of prophetic sleep, and of wake-
ful terror!

These images were unavoidably connected with
that of Carwin. In this paroxysm of distress, my
attention fastened on him as the grand deceiver; the


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author of this black conspiracy; the intelligence
that governed in this storm.

Some relief is afforded in the midst of suffering,
when its author is discovered or imagined; and an
object found on which we may pour out our indig-
nation and our vengeance. I ran over the events that
had taken place since the origin of our intercourse
with him, and reflected on the tenor of that descrip-
tion which was received from Ludloe. Mixed up
with notions of supernatural agency, were the vehe-
ment suspicions which I entertained, that Carwin was
the enemy whose machinations had destroyed us.

I thirsted for knowledge and for vengeance. I
regarded my hasty departure with reluctance, since
it would remove me from the means by which this
knowledge might be obtained, and this vengeance
gratified. This departure was to take place in two
days. At the end of two days I was to bid an
eternal adieu to my native country. Should I not
pay a parting visit to the scene of these disasters?
Should I not bedew with my tears the graves of my
sister and her children? Should I not explore their
desolate habitation, and gather from the sight of its
walls and furniture food for my eternal melan-
choly?

This suggestion was succeeded by a secret shud-
dering. Some disastrous influence appeared to
overhang the scene. How many memorials should
I meet with serving to recall the images of those I
had lost!

I was tempted to relinquish my design, when it
occurred to me that I had left among my papers a
journal of transactions in shorthand. I was em-
ployed in this manuscript on that night when Pleyel's
incautious curiosity tempted him to look over my


 image pending 233

shoulder. I was then recording my adventure in
the recess, an imperfect sight of which led him into
such fatal errors.

I had regulated the disposition of all my proper-
ty. This manuscript, however, which contained
the most secret transactions of my life, I was desi-
rous of destroying. For this end I must return to
my house, and this I immediately determined to
do.

I was not willing to expose myself to opposition
from my friends, by mentioning my design; I there-
fore bespoke the use of Mr. Hallet's chaise, under
pretence of enjoying an airing, as the day was re-
markably bright.

This request was gladly complied with, and I
directed the servant to conduct me to Mettingen.
I dismissed him at the gate, intending to use, in re-
turning, a carriage belonging to my brother.



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CHAPTER XXII.

THE inhabitants of the hut received me with
a mixture of joy and surprize. Their homely wel-
come, and their artless sympathy, were grateful to
my feelings. In the midst of their inquiries, as to
my health, they avoided all allusions to the source
of my malady. They were honest creatures, and
I loved them well. I participated in the tears which
they shed when I mentioned to them my speedy de-
parture for Europe, and promised to acquaint them
with my welfare during my long absence.

They expressed great surprize when I informed
them of my intention to visit my cottage. Alarm
and foreboding overspread their features, and they
attempted to dissuade me from visiting an house
which they firmly believed to be haunted by a thou-
sand ghastly apparitions.

These apprehensions, however, had no power
over my conduct. I took an irregular path which
led me to my own house. All was vacant and for-
lorn. A small enclosure, near which the path led,
was the burying-ground belonging to the family.
This I was obliged to pass. Once I had intended
to enter it, and ponder on the emblems and inscrip-
tions which my uncle had caused to be made on
the tombs of Catharine and her children; but now
my heart faltered as I approached, and I hastened
forward, that distance might conceal it from my
view.

When I approached the recess, my heart again
sunk. I averted my eyes, and left it behind me as


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quickly as possible. Silence reigned through my
habitation, and a darkness which closed doors and
shutters produced. Every object was connected
with mine or my brother's history. I passed the
entry, mounted the stair, and unlocked the door of
my chamber. It was with difficulty that I curbed
my fancy and smothered my fears. Slight movements
and casual sounds were transformed into beckoning
shadows and calling shapes.

I proceeded to the closet. I opened and looked
round it with fearfulness. All things were in their
accustomed order. I sought and found the manu-
script where I was used to deposit it. This being
secured, there was nothing to detain me; yet I stood
and contemplated awhile the furniture and walls of
my chamber. I remembered how long this apart-
ment had been a sweet and tranquil asylum; I com-
pared its former state with its present dreariness,
and reflected that I now beheld it for the last time.

Here it was that the incomprehensible behaviour
of Carwin was witnessed: this the stage on which
that enemy of man shewed himself for a moment
unmasked. Here the menaces of murder were
wafted to my ear; and here these menaces were
executed.

These thoughts had a tendency to take from me
my self-command. My feeble limbs refused to sup-
port me, and I sunk upon a chair. Incoherent and
half-articulate exclamations escaped my lips. The
name of Carwin was uttered, and eternal woes,
woes like that which his malice had entailed upon
us, were heaped upon him. I invoked all-seeing
heaven to drag to light and to punish this betrayer,
and accused its providence for having thus long
delayed the retribution that was due to so enormous
a guilt.



 image pending 236

I have said that the window shutters were closed.
A feeble light, however, found entrance through the
crevices. A small window illuminated the closet,
and the door being closed, a dim ray streamed
through the key-hole. A kind of twilight was thus
created, sufficient for the purposes of vision; but,
at the same time, involving all minuter objects in
obscurity.

This darkness suited the colour of my thoughts.
I sickened at the remembrance of the past. The
prospect of the future excited my loathing. I mut-
tered in a low voice, Why should I live longer?
Why should I drag a miserable being? All, for
whom I ought to live, have perished. Am I not
myself hunted to death?

At that moment, my despair suddenly became
vigorous. My nerves were no longer unstrung.
My powers, that had long been deadened, were re-
vived. My bosom swelled with a sudden energy,
and the conviction darted through my mind, that
to end my torments was, at once, practicable and
wise.

I knew how to find way to the recesses of life.
I could use a lancet with some skill, and could dis-
tinguish between vein and artery. By piercing deep
into the latter, I should shun the evils which the
future had in store for me, and take refuge from my
woes in quiet death.

I started on my feet, for my feebleness was gone,
and hasted to the closet. A lancet and other small
instruments were preserved in a case which I had
deposited here. Inattentive as I was to foreign con-
siderations, my ears were still open to any sound of
mysterious import that should occur. I thought I
heard a step in the entry. My purpose was sus-
pended, and I cast an eager glance at my chamber


 image pending 237

door, which was open. No one appeared, unless
the shadow which I discerned upon the floor, was
the outline of a man. If it were, I was authorized
to suspect that some one was posted close to the en-
trance, who possibly had overheard my exclama-
tions.

My teeth chattered, and a wild confusion took
place of my momentary calm. Thus it was when
a terrific visage had disclosed itself on a former night.
Thus it was when the evil destiny of Wieland as-
sumed the lineaments of something human. What
horrid apparition was preparing to blast my sight?

Still I listened and gazed. Not long, for the
shadow moved; a foot, unshapely and huge, was
thrust forward; a form advanced from its conceal-
ment, and stalked into the room. It was Carwin!

While I had breath I shrieked. While I had
power over my muscles, I motioned with my hand
that he should vanish. My exertions could not last
long; I sunk into a fit.

O that this grateful oblivion had lasted for ever!
Too quickly I recovered my senses. The power
of distinct vision was no sooner restored to me, than
this hateful form again presented itself, and I once
more relapsed.

A second time, untoward nature recalled me from
the sleep of death. I found myself stretched upon
the bed. When I had power to look up, I re-
membered only that I had cause to fear. My dis-
tempered fancy fashioned to itself no distinguishable
image. I threw a languid glance round me; once
more my eyes lighted upon Carwin.

He was seated on the floor, his back rested against
the wall, his knees were drawn up, and his face was
buried in his hands. That his station was at some
distance, that his attitude was not menacing, that


 image pending 238

his ominous visage was concealed, may account for
my now escaping a shock, violent as those which
were past. I withdrew my eyes, but was not again
deserted by my senses.

On perceiving that I had recovered my sensibility,
he lifted his head. This motion attracted my
attention. His countenance was mild, but sorrow
and astonishment sat upon his features. I averted
my eyes and feebly exclaimed—"O! fly—fly far
and for ever!—I cannot behold you and live!"

He did not rise upon his feet, but clasped his
hands, and said in a tone of deprecation—"I will
fly. I am become a fiend, the sight of whom de-
stroys. Yet tell me my offence! You have linked
curses with my name; you ascribe to me a malice
monstrous and infernal. I look around; all is
loneliness and desert! This house and your bro-
ther's are solitary and dismantled! You die away
at the sight of me! My fear whispers that some
deed of horror has been perpetrated; that I am the
undesigning cause."

What language was this? Had he not avowed
himself a ravisher? Had not this chamber witnessed
his atrocious purposes? I besought him with new
vehemence to go.

He lifted his eyes—"Great heaven! what have
I done? I think I know the extent of my offences.
I have acted, but my actions have possibly effect-
ed more than I designed. This fear has brought
me back from my retreat. I come to repair the
evil of which my rashness was the cause, and to
prevent more evil. I come to confess my errors."

"Wretch!" I cried when my suffocating emo-
tions would permit me to speak, "the ghosts of my
sister and her children, do they not rise to accuse
thee? Who was it that blasted the intellects of


 image pending 239

Wieland? Who was it that urged him to fury,
and guided him to murder? Who, but thou and
the devil, with whom thou art confederated?"

At these words a new spirit pervaded his coun-
tenance. His eyes once more appealed to heaven.
"If I have memory, if I have being, I am inno-
cent. I intended no ill; but my folly, indirectly
and remotely, may have caused it; but what words
are these! Your brother lunatic! His children
dead!"

What should I infer from this deportment? Was
the ignorance which these words implied real or
pretended?—Yet how could I imagine a mere hu-
man agency in these events? But if the influence
was preternatural or maniacal in my brother's case,
they must be equally so in my own. Then I re-
membered that the voice exerted, was to save me
from Carwin's attempts. These ideas tended to
abate my abhorrence of this man, and to detect the
absurdity of my accusations.

"Alas!" said I, "I have no one to accuse.
Leave me to my fate. Fly from a scene stained
with cruelty; devoted to despair."

Carwin stood for a time musing and mournful.
At length he said, "What has happened? I came
to expiate my crimes: let me know them in their
full extent. I have horrible forebodings! What
has happened?"

I was silent; but recollecting the intimation gi-
ven by this man when he was detected in my clo-
set, which implied some knowledge of that power
which interfered in my favor, I eagerly inquired,
"What was that voice which called upon me to
hold when I attempted to open the closet? What
face was that which I saw at the bottom of the
stairs? Answer me truly."



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"I came to confess the truth. Your allusions
are horrible and strange. Perhaps I have but faint
conceptions of the evils which my infatuation has
produced; but what remains I will perform. It was
my voice that you heard! It was my face that
you saw!"

For a moment I doubted whether my remem-
brance of events were not confused. How could
he be at once stationed at my shoulder and shut up
in my closet? How could he stand near me and
yet be invisible? But if Carwin's were the thril-
ling voice and the fiery visage which I had heard
and seen, then was he the prompter of my brother,
and the author of these dismal outrages.

Once more I averted my eyes and struggled for
speech. "Begone! thou man of mischief! Re-
morseless and implacable miscreant! begone!"

"I will obey," said he in a disconsolate voice;
"yet, wretch as I am, am I unworthy to repair
the evils that I have committed? I came as a re-
pentant criminal. It is you whom I have injured,
and at your bar am I willing to appear, and confess
and expiate my crimes. I have deceived you: I
have sported with your terrors: I have plotted to
destroy your reputation. I come now to remove
your errors; to set you beyond the reach of similar
fears; to rebuild your fame as far as I am able.

"This is the amount of my guilt, and this the
fruit of my remorse. Will you not hear me? Lis-
ten to my confession, and then denounce punish-
ment. All I ask is a patient audience."

"What!" I replied, "was not thine the voice
that commanded my brother to imbrue his hands in
the blood of his children—to strangle that angel of
sweetness his wife? Has he not vowed my death,
and the death of Pleyel, at thy bidding? Hast thou


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not made him the butcher of his family; changed
him who was the glory of his species into worse
than brute; robbed him of reason, and consigned
the rest of his days to fetters and stripes?"

Carwin's eyes glared, and his limbs were petri-
fied at this intelligence. No words were requisite
to prove him guiltless of these enormities: at the
time, however, I was nearly insensible to these ex-
culpatory tokens. He walked to the farther end
of the room, and having recovered some degree of
composure, he spoke—

"I am not this villain; I have slain no one; I
have prompted none to slay; I have handled a tool
of wonderful efficacy without malignant intentions,
but without caution; ample will be the punishment
of my temerity, if my conduct has contributed to
this evil." He paused.—

I likewise was silent. I struggled to command
myself so far as to listen to the tale which he should
tell. Observing this, he continued—

"You are not apprized of the existence of a
power which I possess. I know not by what name
to call it.* It enables me to mimic exactly the


* Biloquium, or ventrilocution. Sound is varied according
to the variations of direction and distance. The art of the
ventriloquist consists in modifying his voice according to all
these variations, without changing his place. See the work of
the Abbe de la Chappelle, in which are accurately recorded
the performances of one of these artists, and some ingenious,
though unsatisfactory speculations are given on the means by
which the effects are produced. This power is, perhaps, given
by nature, but is doubtless improvable, if not acquirable, by
art. It may, possibly, consist in an unusual flexibility or ex-
ertion of the bottom of the tongue and the uvula. That speech
is producible by these alone must be granted, since anatomists
mention two instances of persons speaking without a tongue.
In one case, the organ was originally wanting, but its place
was supplied by a small tubercle, and the uvula was perfect.



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voice of another, and to modify the sound so that
it shall appear to come from what quarter, and be
uttered at what distance I please.

"I know not that every one possesses this power.
Perhaps, though a casual position of my organs in
my youth shewed me that I possessed it, it is an art
which may be taught to all. Would to God I had
died unknowing of the secret! It has produced no-
thing but degradation and calamity.

"For a time the possession of so potent and stu-
pendous an endowment elated me with pride. Un-
fortified by principle, subjected to poverty, stimu-
lated by headlong passions, I made this powerful
engine subservient to the supply of my wants, and
the gratification of my vanity. I shall not mention
how diligently I cultivated this gift, which seemed
capable of unlimited improvement; nor detail the
various occasions on which it was successfully ex-
erted to lead superstition, conquer avarice, or excite
awe.

"I left America, which is my native soil, in my
youth. I have been engaged in various scenes of
life, in which my peculiar talent has been exercis-
ed with more or less success. I was finally betray-
ed by one who called himself my friend, into acts
which cannot be justified, though they are suscep-
tible of apology.



In the other, the tongue was destroyed by disease, but proba-
bly a small part of it remained.

This power is difficult to explain, but the fact is undeniable.
Experience shews that the human voice can imitate the voice
of all men and of all inferior animals. The sound of musical
instruments, and even noises from the contact of inanimate
substances, have been accurately imitated. The mimicry of
animals is notorious; and Dr. Burney (Musical Travels) men-
tions one who imitated a flute and violin, so as to deceive even
his ears.



 image pending 243

"The perfidy of this man compelled me to with-
draw from Europe. I returned to my native coun-
try, uncertain whether silence and obscurity would
save me from his malice. I resided in the purlieus
of the city. I put on the garb and assumed the
manners of a clown.

"My chief recreation was walking. My prin-
cipal haunts were the lawns and gardens of Met-
tingen. In this delightful region the luxuriances
of nature had been chastened by judicious art, and
each successive contemplation unfolded new en-
chantments.

"I was studious of seclusion: I was satiated
with the intercourse of mankind, and discretion re-
quired me to shun their intercourse. For these rea-
sons I long avoided the observation of your family,
and chiefly visited these precincts at night.

"I was never weary of admiring the position
and ornaments of the temple. Many a night have
I passed under its roof, revolving no pleasing me-
ditations. When, in my frequent rambles, I per-
ceived this apartment was occupied, I gave a dif-
ferent direction to my steps. One evening, when
a shower had just passed, judging by the silence that
no one was within, I ascended to this building.
Glancing carelessly round, I perceived an open let-
ter on the pedestal. To read it was doubtless an
offence against politeness. Of this offence, how-
ever, I was guilty.

"Scarcely had I gone half through when I was
alarmed by the approach of your brother. To
scramble down the cliff on the opposite side was
impracticable. I was unprepared to meet a stran-
ger. Besides the aukwardness attending such an
interview in these circumstances, concealment was
necessary to my safety. A thousand times had I


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vowed never again to employ the dangerous talent
which I possessed; but such was the force of habit
and the influence of present convenience, that I
used this method of arresting his progress and lead-
ing him back to the house, with his errand, what-
ever it was, unperformed. I had often caught parts,
from my station below, of your conversation in
this place, and was well acquainted with the voice
of your sister.

"Some weeks after this I was again quietly seat-
ed in this recess. The lateness of the hour secured
me, as I thought, from all interruption. In this,
however, I was mistaken, for Wieland and Pleyel,
as I judged by their voices, earnest in dispute, as-
cended the hill.

"I was not sensible that any inconvenience could
possibly have flowed from my former exertion; yet
it was followed with compunction, because it was
a deviation from a path which I had assigned to
myself. Now my aversion to this means of escape
was enforced by an unauthorized curiosity, and by
the knowledge of a bushy hollow on the edge of
the hill, where I should be safe from discovery.
Into this hollow I thrust myself.

"The propriety of removal to Europe was the
question eagerly discussed. Pleyel intimated that
his anxiety to go was augmented by the silence of
Theresa de Stolberg. The temptation to interfere
in this dispute was irresistible. In vain I contended
with inveterate habits. I disguised to myself the
impropriety of my conduct, by recollecting the
benefits which it might produce. Pleyel's proposal
was unwise, yet it was enforced with plausible ar-
guments and indefatigable zeal. Your brother
might be puzzled and wearied, but could not be con-
vinced. I conceived that to terminate the contro-


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versy in favor of the latter was conferring a benefit
on all parties. For this end I profited by an open-
ing in the conversation, and assured them of Ca-
tharine's irreconcilable aversion to the scheme, and
of the death of the Saxon baroness. The latter
event was merely a conjecture, but rendered ex-
tremely probable by Pleyel's representations. My
purpose, you need not be told, was effected.

"My passion for mystery, and a species of im-
posture, which I deemed harmless, was thus awak-
ened afresh. This second lapse into error made
my recovery more difficult. I cannot convey to
you an adequate idea of the kind of gratification
which I derived from these exploits; yet I meditat-
ed nothing. My views were bounded to the passing
moment, and commonly suggested by the momen-
tary exigence.

"I must not conceal any thing. Your princi-
ples teach you to abhor a voluptuous temper; but,
with whatever reluctance, I acknowledge this tem-
per to be mine. You imagine your servant Judith
to be innocent as well as beautiful; but you took
her from a family where hypocrisy, as well as licen-
tiousness, was wrought into a system. My atten-
tion was captivated by her charms, and her princi-
ples were easily seen to be flexible.

"Deem me not capable of the iniquity of seduc-
tion. Your servant is not destitute of feminine and
virtuous qualities; but she was taught that the best
use of her charms consists in the sale of them. My
nocturnal visits to Mettingen were now prompted
by a double view, and my correspondence with
your servant gave me, at all times, access to your
house.

"The second night after our interview, so brief
and so little foreseen by either of us, some dæmon


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of mischief seized me. According to my compa-
nion's report, your perfections were little less than
divine. Her uncouth but copious narratives con-
verted you into an object of worship. She chiefly
dwelt upon your courage, because she herself was
deficient in that quality. You held apparitions and
goblins in contempt. You took no precautions
against robbers. You were just as tranquil and
secure in this lonely dwelling, as if you were in the
midst of a crowd.

"Hence a vague project occurred to me, to put
this courage to the test. A woman capable of
recollection in danger, of warding off groundless
panics, of discerning the true mode of proceeding,
and profiting by her best resources, is a prodigy.
I was desirous of ascertaining whether you were
such an one.

"My expedient was obvious and simple: I was
to counterfeit a murderous dialogue; but this was
to be so conducted that another, and not yourself,
should appear to be the object. I was not aware
of the possibility that you should appropriate these
menaces to yourself. Had you been still and lis-
tened, you would have heard the struggles and
prayers of the victim, who would likewise have
appeared to be shut up in the closet, and whose
voice would have been Judith's. This scene would
have been an appeal to your compassion; and the
proof of cowardice or courage which I expected
from you, would have been your remaining inac-
tive in your bed, or your entering the closet with
a view to assist the sufferer. Some instances which
Judith related of your fearlessness and promptitude
made me adopt the latter supposition with some de-
gree of confidence.

"By the girl's direction I found a ladder, and


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mounted to your closet window. This is scarcely
large enough to admit the head, but it answered
my purpose too well.

"I cannot express my confusion and surprize at
your abrupt and precipitate flight. I hastily re-
moved the ladder; and, after some pause, curiosity
and doubts of your safety induced me to follow you.
I found you stretched on the turf before your bro-
ther's door, without sense or motion. I felt the
deepest regret at this unlooked-for consequence of
my scheme. I knew not what to do to procure
you relief. The idea of awakening the family na-
turally presented itself. This emergency was cri-
tical, and there was no time to deliberate. It was
a sudden thought that occurred. I put my lips to
the key-hole, and sounded an alarm which effec-
tually roused the sleepers. My organs were natu-
rally forcible, and had been improved by long and
assiduous exercise.

"Long and bitterly did I repent of my scheme.
I was somewhat consoled by reflecting that my pur-
pose had not been evil, and renewed my fruitless
vows never to attempt such dangerous experiments.
For some time I adhered, with laudable forbear-
ance, to this resolution.

"My life has been a life of hardship and expo-
sure. In the summer I prefer to make my bed of
the smooth turf, or, at most, the shelter of a sum-
mer-house suffices. In all my rambles I never
found a spot in which so many picturesque beauties
and rural delights were assembled as at Mettingen.
No corner of your little domain unites fragrance
and secrecy in so perfect a degree as the recess in
the bank. The odour of its leaves, the coolness
of its shade, and the music of its water-fall, had
early attracted my attention. Here my sadness was


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converted into peaceful melancholy—here my
slumbers were sound, and my pleasures enhanced.

"As most free from interruption, I chose this as
the scene of my midnight interviews with Judith.
One evening, as the sun declined, I was seated
here, when I was alarmed by your approach. It
was with difficulty that I effected my escape unno-
ticed by you.

"At the customary hour, I returned to your
habitation, and was made acquainted by Judith,
with your unusual absence. I half suspected the
true cause, and felt uneasiness at the danger there
was that I should be deprived of my retreat; or, at
least, interrupted in the possession of it. The girl,
likewise, informed me, that among your other sin-
gularities, it was not uncommon for you to leave
your bed, and walk forth for the sake of night-airs
and starlight contemplations.

"I desired to prevent this inconvenience. I found
you easily swayed by fear. I was influenced, in
my choice of means, by the facility and certainty
of that to which I had been accustomed. All that
I forsaw was, that, in future, this spot would be
cautiously shunned by you.

"I entered the recess with the utmost caution,
and discovered, by your breathings, in what con-
dition you were. The unexpected interpretation
which you placed upon my former proceeding, sug-
gested my conduct on the present occasion. The
mode in which heaven is said by the poet, to inter-
fere for the prevention of crimes,* was somewhat
analogous to my province, and never failed to occur
to me at seasons like this. It was requisite to break


* ——Peeps through the blanket of the dark, and cries
Hold! Hold!——

Shakespeare.



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your slumbers, and for this end I uttered the power-
ful monosyllable, "hold! hold!" My purpose was
not prescribed by duty, yet surely it was far from
being atrocious and inexpiable. To effect it, I
uttered what was false, but it was well suited to my
purpose. Nothing less was intended than to injure
you. Nay, the evil resulting from my former act,
was partly removed by assuring you that in all
places but this you were safe.



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CHAPTER XXIII.

"MY morals will appear to you far from rigid,
yet my conduct will fall short of your suspicions.
I am now to confess actions less excusable, and yet
surely they will not entitle me to the name of a
desperate or sordid criminal.

"Your house was rendered, by your frequent
and long absences, easily accessible to my curiosity.
My meeting with Pleyel was the prelude to direct
intercourse with you. I had seen much of the
world, but your character exhibited a specimen of
human powers that was wholly new to me. My
intercourse with your servant furnished me with
curious details of your domestic management. I
was of a different sex: I was not your husband; I
was not even your friend; yet my knowledge of
you was of that kind, which conjugal intimacies
can give, and, in some respects, more accurate.
The observation of your domestic was guided by
me.

"You will not be surprized that I should some-
times profit by your absence, and adventure to exa-
mine with my own eyes, the interior of your cham-
ber. Upright and sincere, you used no watchfulness,
and practised no precautions. I scrutinized every
thing, and pried every where. Your closet was
usually locked, but it was once my fortune to find
the key on a bureau. I opened and found new scope
for my curiosity in your books. One of these was
manuscript, and written in characters which essen-


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tially agreed with a short-hand system which I had
learned from a Jesuit missionary.

"I cannot justify my conduct, yet my only
crime was curiosity. I perused this volume with
eagerness. The intellect which it unveiled, was
brighter than my limited and feeble organs could
bear. I was naturally inquisitive as to your ideas
respecting my deportment, and the mysteries that
had lately occurred.

"You know what you have written. You
know that in this volume the key to your inmost
soul was contained. If I had been a profound and
malignant impostor, what plenteous materials were
thus furnished me of stratagems and plots!

"The coincidence of your dream in the sum-
mer-house with my exclamation, was truly won-
derful. The voice which warned you to forbear
was, doubtless, mine; but mixed by a common
process of the fancy, with the train of visionary
incidents.

"I saw in a stronger light than ever, the dan-
gerousness of that instrument which I employed,
and renewed my resolutions to abstain from the use
of it in future; but I was destined perpetually to
violate my resolutions. By some perverse fate, I
was led into circumstances in which the exertion
of my powers was the sole or the best means of
escape.

"On that memorable night on which our last
interview took place, I came as usual to Mettin-
gen. I was apprized of your engagement at your
brother's, from which you did not expect to return
till late. Some incident suggested the design of visit-
ing your chamber. Among your books which I
had not examined, might be something tending to
illustrate your character, or the history of your fa-


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mily. Some intimation had been dropped by you in
discourse, respecting a performance of your father,
in which some important transaction in his life was
recorded.

"I was desirous of seeing this book; and such
was my habitual attachment to mystery, that I pre-
ferred the clandestine perusal of it. Such were the
motives that induced me to make this attempt. Ju-
dith had disappeared, and finding the house unoc-
cupied, I supplied myself with a light, and proceeded
to your chamber.

"I found it easy, on experiment, to lock and
unlock your closet door without the aid of a key.
I shut myself in this recess, and was busily ex-
ploring your shelves, when I heard some one enter
the room below. I was at a loss who it could
be, whether you or your servant. Doubtful, how-
ever, as I was, I conceived it prudent to extinguish
the light. Scarcely was this done, when some one
entered the chamber. The footsteps were easily
distinguished to be yours.

"My situation was now full of danger and per-
plexity. For some time, I cherished the hope that
you would leave the room so long as to afford me
an opportunity of escaping. As the hours passed,
this hope gradually deserted me. It was plain that
you had retired for the night.

"I knew not how soon you might find occasion
to enter the closet. I was alive to all the horrors
of detection, and ruminated without ceasing, on
the behaviour which it would be proper, in case of
detection, to adopt. I was unable to discover any
consistent method of accounting for my being thus
immured.

"It occurred to me that I might withdraw you
from your chamber for a few minutes, by counter-


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feiting a voice from without. Some message from
your brother might be delivered, requiring your pre-
sence at his house. I was deterred from this scheme
by reflecting on the resolution I had formed, and on
the possible evils that might result from it. Besides,
it was not improbable that you would speedily retire
to bed, and then, by the exercise of sufficient cau-
tion, I might hope to escape unobserved.

"Meanwhile I listened with the deepest anxiety
to every motion from without. I discovered no-
thing which betokened preparation for sleep. In-
stead of this I heard deep-drawn sighs, and occasion-
ally an half-expressed and mournful ejaculation.
Hence I inferred that you were unhappy. The true
state of your mind with regard to Pleyel your own
pen had disclosed; but I supposed you to be framed
of such materials, that, though a momentary sadness
might affect you, you were impregnable to any per-
manent and heartfelt grief. Inquietude for my own
safety was, for a moment, suspended by sympathy
with your distress.

"To the former consideration I was quickly
recalled by a motion of yours which indicated I
knew not what. I fostered the persuasion that you
would now retire to bed; but presently you ap-
proached the closet, and detection seemed to be in-
evitable. You put your hand upon the lock. I
had formed no plan to extricate myself from the
dilemma in which the opening of the door would
involve me. I felt an irreconcilable aversion to de-
tection. Thus situated, I involuntarily seized the
door with a resolution to resist your efforts to open
it.

"Suddenly you receded from the door. This de-
portment was inexplicable, but the relief it afforded
me was quickly gone. You returned, and I once


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more was thrown into perplexity. The expedient
that suggested itself was precipitate and inartificial.
I exerted my organs and called upon you to hold.

"That you should persist in spite of this admo-
nition, was a subject of astonishment. I again re-
sisted your efforts; for the first expedient having
failed, I knew not what other to resort to. In this
state, how was my astonishment increased when I
heard your exclamations!

"It was now plain that you knew me to be
within. Further resistance was unavailing and use-
less. The door opened, and I shrunk backward.
Seldom have I felt deeper mortification, and more
painful perplexity. I did not consider that the truth
would be less injurious than any lie which I could
hastily frame. Conscious as I was of a certain de-
gree of guilt, I conceived that you would form the
most odious suspicions. The truth would be im-
perfect, unless I were likewise to explain the mys-
terious admonition which had been given; but that
explanation was of too great moment, and involved
too extensive consequences to make me suddenly
resolve to give it.

"I was aware that this discovery would associate
itself in your mind, with the dialogue formerly heard
in this closet. Thence would your suspicions be
aggravated, and to escape from these suspicions
would be impossible. But the mere truth would be
sufficiently opprobrious, and deprive me for ever of
your good opinion.

"Thus was I rendered desperate, and my mind
rapidly passed to the contemplation of the use that
might be made of previous events. Some good
genius would appear to you to have interposed to
save you from injury intended by me. Why, I said,
since I must sink in her opinion, should I not cherish


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this belief? Why not personate an enemy, and
pretend that celestial interference has frustrated my
schemes? I must fly, but let me leave wonder and
fear behind me. Elucidation of the mystery will
always be practicable. I shall do no injury, but
merely talk of evil that was designed, but is now
past.

"Thus I extenuated my conduct to myself, but
I scarcely expect that this will be to you a sufficient
explication of the scene that followed. Those habits
which I have imbibed, the rooted passion which
possesses me for scattering around me amazement
and fear, you enjoy no opportunities of knowing.
That a man should wantonly impute to himself the
most flagitious designs, will hardly be credited, even
though you reflect that my reputation was already,
by my own folly, irretrievably ruined; and that it
was always in my power to communicate the truth,
and rectify the mistake.

"I left you to ponder on this scene. My mind
was full of rapid and incongruous ideas. Com-
punction, self-upbraiding, hopelesness, satisfaction
at the view of those effects likely to flow from my
new scheme, misgivings as to the beneficial result of
this scheme took possession of my mind, and seemed
to struggle for the mastery.

"I had gone too far to recede. I had painted
myself to you as an assassin and ravisher, withheld
from guilt only by a voice from heaven. I had
thus reverted into the path of error, and now, hav-
ing gone thus far, my progress seemed to be irre-
vocable. I said to myself, I must leave these pre-
cincts for ever. My acts have blasted my fame in
the eyes of the Wielands. For the sake of creating
a mysterious dread, I have made myself a villain.
I may complete this mysterious plan by some new


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imposture, but I cannot aggravate my supposed
guilt.

"My resolution was formed, and I was swiftly
ruminating on the means for executing it, when
Pleyel appeared in sight. This incident decided my
conduct. It was plain that Pleyel was a devoted
lover, but he was, at the same time, a man of cold
resolves and exquisite sagacity. To deceive him
would be the sweetest triumph I had ever enjoyed.
The deception would be momentary, but it would
likewise be complete. That his delusion would so
soon be rectified, was a recommendation to my
scheme, for I esteemed him too much to desire to
entail upon him lasting agonies.

"I had no time to reflect further, for he pro-
ceeded, with a quick step, towards the house. I
was hurried onward involuntarily and by a mecha-
nical impulse. I followed him as he passed the re-
cess in the bank, and shrowding myself in that
spot, I counterfeited sounds which I knew would
arrest his steps.

"He stopped, turned, listened, approached, and
overheard a dialogue whose purpose was to van-
quish his belief in a point where his belief was most
difficult to vanquish. I exerted all my powers to
imitate your voice, your general sentiments, and
your language. Being master, by means of your
journal, of your personal history and most secret
thoughts, my efforts were the more successful.
When I reviewed the tenor of this dialogue, I can-
not believe but that Pleyel was deluded. When I
think of your character, and of the inferences
which this dialogue was intended to suggest, it
seems incredible that this delusion should be pro-
duced.

"I spared not myself. I called myself murderer,


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thief, guilty of innumerable perjuries and misdeeds:
that you had debased yourself to the level of such
an one, no evidence, methought, would suffice to
convince him who knew you so thoroughly as
Pleyel; and yet the imposture amounted to proof
which the most jealous scrutiny would find to be
unexceptionable.

"He left his station precipitately and resumed
his way to the house. I saw that the detection of
his error would be instantaneous, since, not having
gone to bed, an immediate interview would take
place between you. At first this circumstance was
considered with regret; but as time opened my eyes
to the possible consequences of this scene, I regard-
ed it with pleasure.

"In a short time the infatuation which had led
me thus far began to subside. The remembrance
of former reasonings and transactions was renewed.
How often I had repented this kind of exertion;
how many evils were produced by it which I had
not foreseen; what occasions for the bitterest re-
morse it had administered, now passed through my
mind. The black catalogue of stratagems was now
increased. I had inspired you with the most vehe-
ment terrors: I had filled your mind with faith in
shadows and confidence in dreams: I had depraved
the imagination of Pleyel: I had exhibited you to
his understanding as devoted to brutal gratifications
and consummate in hypocrisy. The evidence which
accompanied this delusion would be irresistible to
one whose passion had perverted his judgment,
whose jealousy with regard to me had already been
excited, and who, therefore, would not fail to
overrate the force of this evidence. What fatal
act of despair or of vengeance might not this error
produce?



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"With regard to myself, I had acted with a
phrenzy that surpassed belief. I had warred against
my peace and my fame: I had banished myself from
the fellowship of vigorous and pure minds: I was
self-expelled from a scene which the munificence
of nature had adorned with unrivalled beauties, and
from haunts in which all the muses and humanities
had taken refuge.

"I was thus torn by conflicting fears and tu-
multuous regrets. The night passed away in this
state of confusion; and next morning in the gazette
left at my obscure lodging, I read a description and
an offer of reward for the apprehension of my per-
son. I was said to have escaped from an Irish pri-
son, in which I was confined as an offender con-
victed of enormous and complicated crimes.

"This was the work of an enemy, who, by
falsehood and stratagem, had procured my condem-
nation. I was, indeed, a prisoner, but escaped, by
the exertion of my powers, the fate to which I was
doomed, but which I did not deserve. I had hoped
that the malice of my foe was exhausted; but I
now perceived that my precautions had been wise,
for that the intervention of an ocean was insuffici-
ent for my security.

"Let me not dwell on the sensations which this
discovery produced. I need not tell by what steps
I was induced to seek an interview with you, for
the purpose of disclosing the truth, and repairing,
as far as possible, the effects of my misconduct. It
was unavoidable that this gazette would fall into
your hands, and that it would tend to confirm every
erroneous impression.

"Having gained this interview, I purposed to
seek some retreat in the wilderness, inaccessible to
your inquiry and to the malice of my foe, where


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I might henceforth employ myself in composing a
faithful narrative of my actions. I designed it as
my vindication from the aspersions that had rested
on my character, and as a lesson to mankind on
the evils of credulity on the one hand, and of im-
posture on the other.

"I wrote you a billet, which was left at the
house of your friend, and which I knew would, by
some means, speedily come to your hands. I en-
tertained a faint hope that my invitation would be
complied with. I knew not what use you would
make of the opportunity which this proposal afford-
ed you of procuring the seizure of my person; but
this fate I was determined to avoid, and I had no
doubt but due circumspection, and the exercise of
the faculty which I possessed, would enable me to
avoid it.

"I lurked, through the day, in the neighbour-
hood of Mettingen: I approached your habitation
at the appointed hour: I entered it in silence, by a
trap-door which led into the cellar. This had for-
merly been bolted on the inside, but Judith had, at
an early period in our intercourse, removed this
impediment. I ascended to the first floor, but met
with no one, nor any thing that indicated the pre-
sence of an human being.

"I crept softly up stairs, and at length perceived
your chamber door to be opened, and a light to be
within. It was of moment to discover by whom
this light was accompanied. I was sensible of the
inconveniencies to which my being discovered at
your chamber door by any one within would sub-
ject me; I therefore called out in my own voice,
but so modified that it should appear to ascend from
the court below, 'Who is in the chamber? Is it
Miss Wieland?'



 image pending 260

"No answer was returned to this summons. I
listened, but no motion could be heard. After a
pause I repeated my call, but no less ineffectually.

"I now approached nearer the door, and adven-
tured to look in. A light stood on the table, but
nothing human was discernible. I entered cauti-
ously, but all was solitude and stillness.

"I knew not what to conclude. If the house
were inhabited, my call would have been noticed;
yet some suspicion insinuated itself that silence was
studiously kept by persons who intended to surprize
me. My approach had been wary, and the silence
that ensued my call had likewise preceded it; a cir-
cumstance that tended to dissipate my fears.

"At length it occurred to me that Judith might
possibly be in her own room. I turned my steps
thither; but she was not to be found. I passed into
other rooms, and was soon convinced that the house
was totally deserted. I returned to your chamber,
agitated by vain surmises and opposite conjectures.
The appointed hour had passed, and I dismissed the
hope of an interview.

"In this state of things I determined to leave a
few lines on your toilet, and prosecute my journey
to the mountains. Scarcely had I taken the pen
when I laid it aside, uncertain in what manner to
address you. I rose from the table and walked across
the floor. A glance thrown upon the bed acquaint-
ed me with a spectacle to which my conceptions of
horror had not yet reached.

"In the midst of shuddering and trepidation, the
signal of your presence in the court below recalled
me to myself. The deed was newly done: I only
was in the house: what had lately happened justi-
fied any suspicions, however enormous. It was
plain that this catastrophe was unknown to you: I


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thought upon the wild commotion which the disco-
very would awaken in your breast: I found the
confusion of my own thoughts unconquerable, and
perceived that the end for which I sought an inter-
view was not now to be accomplished.

"In this state of things it was likewise expedient
to conceal my being within. I put out the light
and hurried down stairs. To my unspeakable sur-
prize, notwithstanding every motive to fear, you
lighted a candle and proceeded to your chamber.

"I retired to that room below from which a door
leads into the cellar. This door concealed me from
your view as you passed. I thought upon the spec-
tacle which was about to present itself. In an ex-
igence so abrupt and so little foreseen, I was again
subjected to the empire of mechanical and habitual
impulses. I dreaded the effects which this shock-
ing exhibition, bursting on your unprepared senses,
might produce.

"Thus actuated, I stept swiftly to the door, and
thrusting my head forward, once more pronounced
the mysterious interdiction. At that moment, by
some untoward fate, your eyes were cast back, and
you saw me in the very act of utterance. I fled
through the darksome avenue at which I entered,
covered with the shame of this detection.

"With diligence, stimulated by a thousand in-
effable emotions, I pursued my intended journey.
I have a brother whose farm is situated in the bo-
som of a fertile desert, near the sources of the Le-
heigh, and thither I now repaired."



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CHAPTER XXIV.

"DEEPLY did I ruminate on the occurrences
that had just passed. Nothing excited my wonder
so much as the means by which you discovered my
being in the closet. This discovery appeared to be
made at the moment when you attempted to open
it. How could you have otherwise remained so
long in the chamber apparently fearless and tran-
quil? And yet, having made this discovery, how
could you persist in dragging me forth: persist in
defiance of an interdiction so emphatical and so-
lemn?

"But your sister's death was an event detestable
and ominous. She had been the victim of the most
dreadful species of assassination. How, in a state
like yours, the murderous intention could be gene-
rated, was wholly inconceivable.

"I did not relinquish my design of confessing to
you the part which I had sustained in your family,
but I was willing to defer it till the task which I
had set myself was finished. That being done, I
resumed the resolution. The motives to incite me
to this continually acquired force. The more I re-
volved the events happening at Mettingen, the more
insupportable and ominous my terrors became. My
waking hours and my sleep were vexed by dismal
presages and frightful intimations.

"Catharine was dead by violence. Surely my
malignant stars had not made me the cause of her
death; yet had I not rashly set in motion a machine,


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over whose progress I had no controul, and which
experience had shewn me was infinite in power?
Every day might add to the catalogue of horrors of
which this was the source, and a seasonable disclo-
sure of the truth might prevent numberless ills.

"Fraught with this conception, I have turned
my steps hither. I find your brother's house deso-
late: the furniture removed, and the walls stained
with damps. Your own is in the same situation.
Your chamber is dismantled and dark, and you
exhibit an image of incurable grief, and of rapid
decay.

"I have uttered the truth. This is the extent
of my offences. You tell me an horrid tale of
Wieland being led to the destruction of his wife and
children, by some mysterious agent. You charge
me with the guilt of this agency; but I repeat that
the amount of my guilt has been truly stated. The
perpetrator of Catharine's death was unknown to
me till now; nay, it is still unknown to me."

At that moment, the closing of a door in the
kitchen was distinctly heard by us. Carwin started
and paused. "There is some one coming. I must
not be found here by my enemies, and need not,
since my purpose is answered."

I had drunk in, with the most vehement attention,
every word that he had uttered. I had no breath
to interrupt his tale by interrogations or comments.
The power that he spoke of was hitherto unknown
to me: its existence was incredible; it was suscep-
tible of no direct proof.

He owns that his were the voice and face which
I heard and saw. He attempts to give an human
explanation of these phantasms; but it is enough
that he owns himself to be the agent; his tale is
a lie, and his nature devilish. As he deceived me,


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he likewise deceived my brother, and now do I be-
hold the author of all our calamities!

Such were my thoughts when his pause allowed
me to think. I should have bad him begone if the
silence had not been interrupted; but now I feared
no more for myself; and the milkiness of my nature
was curdled into hatred and rancour. Some one
was near, and this enemy of God and man might
possibly be brought to justice. I reflected not that
the preternatural power which he had hitherto ex-
erted, would avail to rescue him from any toils in
which his feet might be entangled. Meanwhile,
looks, and not words of menace and abhorrence,
were all that I could bestow.

He did not depart. He seemed dubious, whether,
by passing out of the house, or by remaining some-
what longer where he was, he should most endan-
ger his safety. His confusion increased when steps
of one barefoot were heard upon the stairs. He
threw anxious glances sometimes at the closet, some-
times at the window, and sometimes at the chamber
door, yet he was detained by some inexplicable fas-
cination. He stood as if rooted to the spot.

As to me, my soul was bursting with detestation
and revenge. I had no room for surmises and fears
respecting him that approached. It was doubtless
a human being, and would befriend me so far as to
aid me in arresting this offender.

The stranger quickly entered the room. My
eyes and the eyes of Carwin were, at the same mo-
ment, darted upon him. A second glance was not
needed to inform us who he was. His locks were
tangled, and fell confusedly over his forehead
and ears. His shirt was of coarse stuff, and open
at the neck and breast. His coat was once of
bright and fine texture, but now torn and tarnished


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with dust. His feet, his legs, and his arms were
bare. His features were the seat of a wild and
tranquil solemnity, but his eyes bespoke inquietude
and curiosity.

He advanced with firm step, and looking as in
search of some one. He saw me and stopped. He
bent his sight on the floor, and clenching his hands,
appeared suddenly absorbed in meditation. Such
were the figure and deportment of Wieland! Such,
in his fallen state, were the aspect and guise of my
brother!

Carwin did not fail to recognize the visitant.
Care for his own safety was apparently swallowed
up in the amazement which this spectacle produc-
ed. His station was conspicuous, and he could
not have escaped the roving glances of Wieland;
yet the latter seemed totally unconscious of his pre-
sence.

Grief at this scene of ruin and blast was at first
the only sentiment of which I was conscious. A
fearful stillness ensued. At length Wieland, lifting
his hands, which were locked in each other, to his
breast, exclaimed, "Father! I thank thee. This
is thy guidance. Hither thou hast led me, that I
might perform thy will: yet let me not err: let me
hear again thy messenger!"

He stood for a minute as if listening; but reco-
vering from his attitude, he continued—"It is not
needed. Dastardly wretch! thus eternally ques-
tioning the behests of thy Maker! weak in resolu-
tion! wayward in faith!"

He advanced to me, and, after another pause, re-
sumed: "Poor girl! a dismal fate has set its mark
upon thee. Thy life is demanded as a sacrifice.
Prepare thee to die. Make not my office difficult
by fruitless opposition. Thy prayers might subdue


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stones; but none but he who enjoined my purpose
can shake it."

These words were a sufficient explication of the
scene. The nature of his phrenzy, as described by
my uncle, was remembered. I who had sought
death, was now thrilled with horror because it was
near. Death in this form, death from the hand of
a brother, was thought upon with undescribable
repugnance.

In a state thus verging upon madness, my eye
glanced upon Carwin. His astonishment appeared
to have struck him motionless and dumb. My life
was in danger, and my brother's hand was about
to be embrued in my blood. I firmly believed that
Carwin's was the instigation. I could rescue me
from this abhorred fate; I could dissipate this tre-
mendous illusion; I could save my brother from the
perpetration of new horrors, by pointing out the
devil who seduced him; to hesitate a moment was
to perish. These thoughts gave strength to my limbs,
and energy to my accents: I started on my feet.

"O brother! spare me, spare thyself: There
is thy betrayer. He counterfeited the voice and
face of an angel, for the purpose of destroying thee
and me. He has this moment confessed it. He is
able to speak where he is not. He is leagued with
hell, but will not avow it; yet he confesses that the
agency was his."

My brother turned slowly his eyes, and fixed
them upon Carwin. Every joint in the frame of
the latter trembled. His complexion was paler than
a ghost's. His eye dared not meet that of Wieland,
but wandered with an air of distraction from one
space to another.

"Man," said my brother, in a voice totally un-
like that which he had used to me, "what art


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thou? The charge has been made. Answer it.
The visage—the voice—at the bottom of these
stairs—at the hour of eleven—To whom did they
belong? To thee?"

Twice did Carwin attempt to speak, but his
words died away upon his lips. My brother re-
sumed in a tone of greater vehemence—

"Thou falterest; faltering is ominous; say yes
or no: one word will suffice; but beware of false-
hood. Was it a stratagem of hell to overthrow
my family? Wast thou the agent?"

I now saw that the wrath which had been pre-
pared for me was to be heaped upon another. The
tale that I heard from him, and his present trepida-
tions, were abundant testimonies of his guilt. But
what if Wieland should be undeceived! What if
he shall find his acts to have proceeded not from an
heavenly prompter, but from human treachery!
Will not his rage mount into whirlwind? Will not
he tare limb from limb this devoted wretch?

Instinctively I recoiled from this image, but it
gave place to another. Carwin may be innocent,
but the impetuosity of his judge may misconstrue
his answers into a confession of guilt. Wieland
knows not that mysterious voices and appearances
were likewise witnessed by me. Carwin may be
ignorant of those which misled my brother. Thus
may his answers unwarily betray himself to ruin.

Such might be the consequences of my frantic
precipitation, and these, it was necessary, if possible,
to prevent. I attempted to speak, but Wieland,
turning suddenly upon me, commanded silence, in
a tone furious and terrible. My lips closed, and
my tongue refused its office.

"What art thou?" he resumed, addressing
himself to Carwin. "Answer me; whose form—


 image pending 268

whose voice—was it thy contrivance? Answer
me."

The answer was now given, but confusedly and
scarcely articulated. "I meant nothing—I intended
no ill—if I understand—if I do not mistake you—it
is too true—I did appear—in the entry—did speak.
The contrivance was mine, but—"

These words were no sooner uttered, than my
brother ceased to wear the same aspect. His eyes
were downcast: he was motionless: his respiration
became hoarse, like that of a man in the agonies of
death. Carwin seemed unable to say more. He
might have easily escaped, but the thought which
occupied him related to what was horrid and unin-
telligible in this scene, and not to his own danger.

Presently the faculties of Wieland, which, for a
time, were chained up, were seized with restlessness
and trembling. He broke silence. The stoutest
heart would have been appalled by the tone in
which he spoke. He addressed himself to Carwin.

"Why art thou here? Who detains thee? Go
and learn better. I will meet thee, but it must be
at the bar of thy Maker. There shall I bear wit-
ness against thee."

Perceiving that Carwin did not obey, he con-
tinued; "Dost thou wish me to complete the cata-
logue by thy death? Thy life is a worthless thing.
Tempt me no more. I am but a man, and thy
presence may awaken a fury which may spurn my
controul. Begone!"

Carwin, irresolute, striving in vain for utterance,
his complexion pallid as death, his knees beating
one against another, slowly obeyed the mandate and
withdrew.



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CHAPTER XXV.

A Few words more and I lay aside the pen for
ever. Yet why should I not relinquish it now?
All that I have said is preparatory to this scene, and
my fingers, tremulous and cold as my heart, refuse
any further exertion. This must not be. Let my
last energies support me in the finishing of this
task. Then will I lay down my head in the lap of
death. Hushed will be all my murmurs in the sleep
of the grave.

Every sentiment has perished in my bosom.
Even friendship is extinct. Your love for me has
prompted me to this task; but I would not have
complied if it had not been a luxury thus to feast
upon my woes. I have justly calculated upon my
remnant of strength. When I lay down the pen
the taper of life will expire: my existence will ter-
minate with my tale.

Now that I was left alone with Wieland, the
perils of my situation presented themselves to my
mind. That this paroxysm should terminate in
havock and rage it was reasonable to predict. The
first suggestion of my fears had been disproved by
my experience. Carwin had acknowledged his of-
fences, and yet had escaped. The vengeance which
I had harboured had not been admitted by Wieland,
and yet the evils which I had endured, compared
with those inflicted on my brother, were as nothing.
I thirsted for his blood, and was tormented with an
insatiable appetite for his destruction; yet my bro-


 image pending 270

ther was unmoved, and had dismissed him in safety.
Surely thou wast more than man, while I am sunk
below the beasts.

Did I place a right construction on the conduct
of Wieland? Was the error that misled him so
easily rectified? Were views so vivid and faith so
strenuous thus liable to fading and to change? Was
there not reason to doubt the accuracy of my per-
ceptions? With images like these was my mind
thronged, till the deportment of my brother called
away my attention.

I saw his lips move and his eyes cast up to hea-
ven. Then would he listen and look back, as if in
expectation of some one's appearance. Thrice
he repeated these gesticulations and this inaudible
prayer. Each time the mist of confusion and doubt
seemed to grow darker and to settle on his under-
standing. I guessed at the meaning of these tokens.
The words of Carwin had shaken his belief, and
he was employed in summoning the messenger who
had formerly communed with him, to attest the
value of those new doubts. In vain the summons
was repeated, for his eye met nothing but vacancy,
and not a sound saluted his ear.

He walked to the bed, gazed with eagerness at
the pillow which had sustained the head of the
breathless Catharine, and then returned to the place
where I sat. I had no power to lift my eyes to his
face: I was dubious of his purpose: this purpose
might aim at my life.

Alas! nothing but subjection to danger, and ex-
posure to temptation, can show us what we are.
By this test was I now tried, and found to be cow-
ardly and rash. Men can deliberately untie the
thread of life, and of this I had deemed myself ca-
pable; yet now that I stood upon the brink of fate,


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that the knife of the sacrificer was aimed at my
heart, I shuddered and betook myself to any means
of escape, however monstrous.

Can I bear to think—can I endure to relate the
outrage which my heart meditated? Where were
my means of safety? Resistance was vain. Not
even the energy of despair could set me on a level
with that strength which his terrific prompter had
bestowed upon Wieland. Terror enables us to
perform incredible feats; but terror was not then
the state of my mind: where then were my hopes
of rescue?

Methinks it is too much. I stand aside, as it
were, from myself; I estimate my own deservings;
a hatred, immortal and inexorable, is my due. I
listen to my own pleas, and find them empty and
false: yes, I acknowledge that my guilt surpasses
that of all mankind: I confess that the curses of a
world, and the frowns of a deity, are inadequate
to my demerits. Is there a thing in the world wor-
thy of infinite abhorrence? It is I.

What shall I say! I was menaced, as I thought,
with death, and, to elude this evil, my hand was
ready to inflict death upon the menacer. In visit-
ing my house, I had made provision against the
machinations of Carwin. In a fold of my dress an
open penknife was concealed. This I now seized
and drew forth. It lurked out of view: but I now
see that my state of mind would have rendered the
deed inevitable if my brother had lifted his hand.
This instrument of my preservation would have
been plunged into his heart.

O, insupportable remembrance! hide thee from
my view for a time; hide it from me that my heart
was black enough to meditate the stabbing of a


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brother! a brother thus supreme in misery; thus
towering in virtue!

He was probably unconscious of my design, but
presently drew back. This interval was sufficient
to restore me to myself. The madness, the iniquity
of that act which I had purposed rushed upon my
apprehension. For a moment I was breathless with
agony. At the next moment I recovered my
strength, and threw the knife with violence on the
floor.

The sound awoke my brother from his reverie.
He gazed alternately at me and at the weapon.
With a movement equally solemn he stooped and
took it up. He placed the blade in different posi-
tions, scrutinizing it accurately, and maintaining,
at the same time, a profound silence.

Again he looked at me, but all that vehemence
and loftiness of spirit which had so lately charac-
terized his features, were flown. Fallen muscles,
a forehead contracted into folds, eyes dim with un-
bidden drops, and a ruefulness of aspect which no
words can describe, were now visible.

His looks touched into energy the same sympa-
thies in me, and I poured forth a flood of tears.
This passion was quickly checked by fear, which
had now, no longer, my own, but his safety for
their object. I watched his deportment in silence.
At length he spoke:

"Sister," said he, in an accent mournful and
mild, "I have acted poorly my part in this world.
What thinkest thou? Shall I not do better in the
next?"

I could make no answer. The mildness of his
tone astonished and encouraged me. I continued
to regard him with wistful and anxious looks.



 image pending 273

"I think," resumed he, "I will try. My wife
and my babes have gone before. Happy wretches!
I have sent you to repose, and ought not to linger
behind."

These words had a meaning sufficiently intelli-
gible. I looked at the open knife in his hand and
shuddered, but knew not how to prevent the deed
which I dreaded. He quickly noticed my fears,
and comprehended them. Stretching towards me his
hand, with an air of increasing mildness: "Take
it," said he: "Fear not for thy own sake, nor
for mine. The cup is gone by, and its transient
inebriation is succeeded by the soberness of truth.

"Thou angel whom I was wont to worship!
fearest thou, my sister, for thy life? Once it was
the scope of my labours to destroy thee, but I was
prompted to the deed by heaven; such, at least, was
my belief. Thinkest thou that thy death was sought
to gratify malevolence? No. I am pure from all
stain. I believed that my God was my mover!

"Neither thee nor myself have I cause to injure.
I have done my duty, and surely there is merit in
having sacrificed to that, all that is dear to the heart
of man. If a devil has deceived me, he came in
the habit of an angel. If I erred, it was not my
judgment that deceived me, but my senses. In thy
sight, being of beings! I am still pure. Still will
I look for my reward in thy justice!"

Did my ears truly report these sounds? If I did
not err, my brother was restored to just perceptions.
He knew himself to have been betrayed to the mur-
der of his wife and children, to have been the victim
of infernal artifice; yet he found consolation in the
rectitude of his motives. He was not devoid of
sorrow, for this was written on his countenance;
but his soul was tranquil and sublime.



 image pending 274

Perhaps this was merely a transition of his former
madness into a new shape. Perhaps he had not
yet awakened to the memory of the horrors which
he had perpetrated. Infatuated wretch that I was!
To set myself up as a model by which to judge of
my heroic brother! My reason taught me that his
conclusions were right; but conscious of the impo-
tence of reason over my own conduct; conscious of
my cowardly rashness and my criminal despair, I
doubted whether any one could be stedfast and wise.

Such was my weakness, that even in the midst
of these thoughts, my mind glided into abhorrence
of Carwin, and I uttered in a low voice, O! Car-
win! Carwin! What hast thou to answer for?

My brother immediately noticed the involuntary
exclamation: "Clara!" said he, "be thyself.
Equity used to be a theme for thy eloquence. Re-
duce its lessons to practice, and be just to that un-
fortunate man. The instrument has done its work,
and I am satisfied.

"I thank thee, my God, for this last illumina-
tion! My enemy is thine also. I deemed him to
be man, the man with whom I have often com-
muned; but now thy goodness has unveiled to me
his true nature. As the performer of thy behests,
he is my friend."

My heart began now to misgive me. His mourn-
ful aspect had gradually yielded place to a serene
brow. A new soul appeared to actuate his frame,
and his eyes to beam with preternatural lustre.
These symptoms did not abate, and he continued:

"Clara! I must not leave thee in doubt. I know
not what brought about thy interview with the
being whom thou callest Carwin. For a time, I
was guilty of thy error, and deduced from his in-
coherent confessions that I had been made the victim


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of human malice. He left us at my bidding, and I
put up a prayer that my doubts should be removed.
Thy eyes were shut, and thy ears sealed to the
vision that answered my prayer.

"I was indeed deceived. The form thou hast
seen was the incarnation of a dæmon. The visage
and voice which urged me to the sacrifice of my
family, were his. Now he personates a human
form: then he was invironed with the lustre of
heaven.—

"Clara," he continued, advancing closer to me,
"thy death must come. This minister is evil, but
he from whom his commission was received is God.
Submit then with all thy wonted resignation to a
decree that cannot be reversed or resisted. Mark
the clock. Three minutes are allowed to thee, in
which to call up thy fortitude, and prepare thee for
thy doom." There he stopped.

Even now, when this scene exists only in me-
mory, when life and all its functions have sunk into
torpor, my pulse throbs, and my hairs uprise: my
brows are knit, as then; and I gaze around me in
distraction. I was unconquerably averse to death;
but death, imminent and full of agony as that which
was threatened, was nothing. This was not the
only or chief inspirer of my fears.

For him, not for myself, was my soul tormented.
I might die, and no crime, surpassing the reach of
mercy, would pursue me to the presence of my
Judge; but my assassin would survive to contem-
plate his deed, and that assassin was Wieland!

Wings to bear me beyond his reach I had not.
I could not vanish with a thought. The door was
open, but my murderer was interposed between that
and me. Of self-defence I was incapable. The


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phrenzy that lately prompted me to blood was gone;
my state was desperate; my rescue was impossible.

The weight of these accumulated thoughts could
not be borne. My sight became confused; my
limbs were seized with convulsion; I spoke, but my
words were half-formed:—

"Spare me, my brother! Look down, righte-
ous Judge! snatch me from this fate! take away
this fury from him, or turn it elsewhere!"

Such was the agony of my thoughts, that I no-
ticed not steps entering my apartment. Supplicating
eyes were cast upward, but when my prayer was
breathed, I once more wildly gazed at the door. A
form met my sight: I shuddered as if the God whom
I invoked were present. It was Carwin that again
intruded, and who stood before me, erect in atti-
tude, and stedfast in look!

The sight of him awakened new and rapid
thoughts. His recent tale was remembered: his
magical transitions and mysterious energy of voice:
Whether he were infernal or miraculous, or hu-
man, there was no power and no need to decide.
Whether the contriver or not of this spell, he was
able to unbind it, and to check the fury of my bro-
ther. He had ascribed to himself intentions not ma-
lignant. Here now was afforded a test of his truth.
Let him interpose, as from above; revoke the savage
decree which the madness of Wieland has assigned
to heaven, and extinguish for ever this passion for
blood!

My mind detected at a glance this avenue to
safety. The recommendations it possessed throng-
ed as it were together, and made but one impres-
sion on my intellect. Remoter effects and colla-
teral dangers I saw not. Perhaps the pause of an


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instant had sufficed to call them up. The impro-
bability that the influence which governed Wieland
was external or human; the tendency of this stra-
tagem to sanction so fatal an error, or substitute
a more destructive rage in place of this; the suf-
ficiency of Carwin's mere muscular forces to coun-
teract the efforts, and restrain the fury of Wieland,
might, at a second glance, have been discovered;
but no second glance was allowed. My first thought
hurried me to action, and, fixing my eyes upon Car-
win I exclaimed—

"O wretch! once more hast thou come? Let
it be to abjure thy malice; to counterwork this
hellish stratagem; to turn from me and from my
brother, this desolating rage!

"Testify thy innocence or thy remorse: exert
the powers which pertain to thee, whatever they
be, to turn aside this ruin. Thou art the author
of these horrors! What have I done to deserve thus
to die? How have I merited this unrelenting per-
secution? I adjure thee, by that God whose voice
thou hast dared to counterfeit, to save my life!

"Wilt thou then go? leave me! Succourless!"

Carwin listened to my intreaties unmoved, and
turned from me. He seemed to hesitate a moment:
then glided through the door. Rage and despair
stifled my utterance. The interval of respite was
passed; the pangs reserved for me by Wieland,
were not to be endured; my thoughts rushed again
into anarchy. Having received the knife from his
hand, I held it loosely and without regard; but now
it seized again my attention, and I grasped it with
force.

He seemed to notice not the entrance or exit of
Carwin. My gesture and the murderous weapon
appeared to have escaped his notice. His silence


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was unbroken; his eye, fixed upon the clock for
a time, was now withdrawn; fury kindled in every
feature; all that was human in his face gave way
to an expression supernatural and tremendous. I
felt my left arm within his grasp.—

Even now I hesitated to strike. I shrunk from
his assault, but in vain.—

Here let me desist. Why should I rescue this
event from oblivion? Why should I paint this de-
testable conflict? Why not terminate at once this
series of horrors?—Hurry to the verge of the pre-
cipice, and cast myself for ever beyond remem-
brance and beyond hope?

Still I live: with this load upon my breast; with
this phantom to pursue my steps; with adders
lodged in my bosom, and stinging me to madness:
still I consent to live!

Yes, I will rise above the sphere of mortal pas-
sions: I will spurn at the cowardly remorse that
bids me seek impunity in silence, or comfort in for-
getfulness. My nerves shall be new strung to the
task. Have I not resolved? I will die. The
gulph before me is inevitable and near. I will die,
but then only when my tale is at an end.



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CHAPTER XXVI.

MY right hand, grasping the unseen knife, was
still disengaged. It was lifted to strike. All my
strength was exhausted, but what was sufficient to
the performance of this deed. Already was the
energy awakened, and the impulse given, that
should bear the fatal steel to his heart, when——
Wieland shrunk back: his hand was withdrawn.
Breathless with affright and desperation, I stood,
freed from his grasp; unassailed; untouched.

Thus long had the power which controuled the
scene forborne to interfere; but now his might was
irresistible, and Wieland in a moment was disarm-
ed of all his purposes. A voice, louder than hu-
man organs could produce, shriller than language
can depict, burst from the ceiling, and commanded
him—to hold!

Trouble and dismay succeeded to the stedfastness
that had lately been displayed in the looks of Wie-
land. His eyes roved from one quarter to another,
with an expression of doubt. He seemed to wait
for a further intimation.

Carwin's agency was here easily recognized. I
had besought him to interpose in my defence. He
had flown. I had imagined him deaf to my prayer,
and resolute to see me perish: yet he disappeared
merely to devise and execute the means of my re-
lief.

Why did he not forbear when this end was ac-
complished? Why did his misjudging zeal and ac-


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cursed precipitation overpass that limit? Or meant
he thus to crown the scene, and conduct his inscru-
table plots to this consummation?

Such ideas were the fruit of subsequent contem-
plation. This moment was pregnant with fate. I
had no power to reason. In the career of my tem-
pestuous thoughts, rent into pieces, as my mind
was, by accumulating horrors, Carwin was unseen
and unsuspected. I partook of Wieland's creduli-
ty, shook with his amazement, and panted with
his awe.

Silence took place for a moment; so much as
allowed the attention to recover its post. Then
new sounds were uttered from above.

"Man of errors! cease to cherish thy delusion:
not heaven or hell, but thy senses have misled thee
to commit these acts. Shake off thy phrenzy, and
ascend into rational and human. Be lunatic no
longer."

My brother opened his lips to speak. His tone
was terrific and faint. He muttered an appeal to
heaven. It was difficult to comprehend the theme
of his inquiries. They implied doubt as to the na-
ture of the impulse that hitherto had guided him,
and questioned whether he had acted in consequence
of insane perceptions.

To these interrogatories the voice, which now
seemed to hover at his shoulder, loudly answered in
the affirmative. Then uninterrupted silence en-
sued.

Fallen from his lofty and heroic station; now
finally restored to the perception of truth; weighed
to earth by the recollection of his own deeds; con-
soled no longer by a consciousness of rectitude, for
the loss of offspring and wife—a loss for which he
was indebted to his own misguided hand; Wie


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land was transformed at once into the man of sor-
rows!

He reflected not that credit should be as reason-
ably denied to the last, as to any former intimation;
that one might as justly be ascribed to erring or
diseased senses as the other. He saw not that this
discovery in no degree affected the integrity of his
conduct; that his motives had lost none of their
claims to the homage of mankind; that the prefe-
rence of supreme good, and the boundless energy
of duty, were undiminished in his bosom.

It is not for me to pursue him through the
ghastly changes of his countenance. Words he
had none. Now he sat upon the floor, motionless
in all his limbs, with his eyes glazed and fixed; a
monument of woe.

Anon a spirit of tempestuous but undesigning
activity seized him. He rose from his place and
strode across the floor, tottering and at random.
His eyes were without moisture, and gleamed with
the fire that consumed his vitals. The muscles of
his face were agitated by convulsion. His lips
moved, but no sound escaped him.

That nature should long sustain this conflict was
not to be believed. My state was little different
from that of my brother. I entered, as it were,
into his thought. My heart was visited and rent
by his pangs—Oh that thy phrenzy had never been
cured! that thy madness, with its blissful visions,
would return! or, if that must not be, that thy
scene would hasten to a close! that death would
cover thee with his oblivion!

What can I wish for thee? Thou who hast
vied with the great preacher of thy faith in sanctity
of motives, and in elevation above sensual and self-
ish! Thou whom thy fate has changed into pari-


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cide and savage! Can I wish for the continuance
of thy being? No.

For a time his movements seemed destitute of
purpose. If he walked; if he turned; if his fingers
were entwined with each other; if his hands were
pressed against opposite sides of his head with a
force sufficient to crush it into pieces; it was to
tear his mind from self-contemplation; to waste his
thoughts on external objects.

Speedily this train was broken. A beam ap-
peared to be darted into his mind, which gave a
purpose to his efforts. An avenue to escape pre-
sented itself; and now he eagerly gazed about him:
when my thoughts became engaged by his demea-
nour, my fingers were stretched as by a mechani-
cal force, and the knife, no longer heeded or of use,
escaped from my grasp, and fell unperceived on the
floor. His eye now lighted upon it; he seized it
with the quickness of thought.

I shrieked aloud, but it was too late. He plunged
it to the hilt in his neck; and his life instantly
escaped with the stream that gushed from the
wound. He was stretched at my feet; and my
hands were sprinkled with his blood as he fell.

Such was thy last deed, my brother! For a spec-
tacle like this was it my fate to be reserved! Thy
eyes were closed—thy face ghastly with death—
thy arms, and the spot where thou liedest, floated
in thy life's blood! These images have not, for a
moment, forsaken me. Till I am breathless and
cold, they must continue to hover in my sight.

Carwin, as I said, had left the room, but he still
lingered in the house. My voice summoned him
to my aid; but I scarcely noticed his re-entrance,
and now faintly recollect his terrified looks, his
broken exclamations, his vehement avowals of in-


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nocence, the effusions of his pity for me, and his
offers of assistance.

I did not listen—I answered him not—I ceased
to upbraid or accuse. His guilt was a point to
which I was indifferent. Ruffian or devil, black
as hell or bright as angels, thenceforth he was no-
thing to me. I was incapable of sparing a look or
a thought from the ruin that was spread at my feet.

When he left me, I was scarcely conscious of
any variation in the scene. He informed the inha-
bitants of the hut of what had passed, and they
flew to the spot. Careless of his own safety, he
hasted to the city to inform my friends of my con-
dition.

My uncle speedily arrived at the house. The
body of Wieland was removed from my presence,
and they supposed that I would follow it; but no,
my home is ascertained; here I have taken up my
rest, and never will I go hence, till, like Wieland,
I am borne to my grave.

Importunity was tried in vain: they threatened
to remove me by violence—nay, violence was used;
but my soul prizes too dearly this little roof to en-
dure to be bereaved of it. Force should not pre-
vail when the hoary locks and supplicating tears of
my uncle were ineffectual. My repugnance to
move gave birth to ferociousness and phrenzy when
force was employed, and they were obliged to con-
sent to my return.

They besought me—they remonstrated—they
appealed to every duty that connected me with him
that made me, and with my fellow-men—in vain.
While I live I will not go hence. Have I not ful-
filled my destiny?

Why will ye torment me with your reasonings
and reproofs? Can ye restore to me the hope of


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my better days? Can ye give me back Catharine
and her babes? Can ye recall to life him who died
at my feet?

I will eat—I will drink—I will lie down and rise
up at your bidding—all I ask is the choice of my
abode. What is there unreasonable in this de-
mand? Shortly will I be at peace. This is the
spot which I have chosen in which to breathe my
last sigh. Deny me not, I beseech you, so slight
a boon.

Talk not to me, O my revered friend! of Car-
win. He has told thee his tale, and thou excul-
patest him from all direct concern in the fate of
Wieland. This scene of havock was produced by
an illusion of the senses. Be it so: I care not from
what source these disasters have flowed; it suffices
that they have swallowed up our hopes and our
existence.

What his agency began, his agency conducted
to a close. He intended, by the final effort of his
power, to rescue me and to banish his illusions from
my brother. Such is his tale, concerning the truth
of which I care not. Henceforth I foster but one
wish—I ask only quick deliverance from life and
all the ills that attend it.—

Go wretch! torment me not with thy presence
and thy prayers.—Forgive thee? Will that avail
thee when thy fateful hour shall arrive? Be thou
acquitted at thy own tribunal, and thou needest not
fear the verdict of others. If thy guilt be capable
of blacker hues, if hitherto thy conscience be with-
out stain, thy crime will be made more flagrant by
thus violating my retreat. Take thyself away from
my sight if thou wouldest not behold my death!

Thou are gone! murmuring and reluctant! And
now my repose is coming—my work is done!



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CHAPTER XXVII.

[Written three years after the foregoing, and dated at Montpellier.]

I Imagined that I had forever laid aside the pen;
and that I should take up my abode in this part of
the world, was of all events the least probable.
My destiny I believed to be accomplished, and I
looked forward to a speedy termination of my life
with the fullest confidence.

Surely I had reason to be weary of existence, to
be impatient of every tie which held me from the
grave. I experienced this impatience in its fullest
extent. I was not only enamoured of death, but
conceived, from the condition of my frame, that
to shun it was impossible, even though I had ar-
dently desired it; yet here am I, a thousand leagues
from my native soil, in full possession of life and
of health, and not destitute of happiness.

Such is man. Time will obliterate the deepest
impressions. Grief the most vehement and hope-
less, will gradually decay and wear itself out. Ar-
guments may be employed in vain: every moral
prescription may be ineffectually tried: remon-
strances, however cogent or pathetic, shall have no
power over the attention, or shall be repelled with
disdain; yet, as day follows day, the turbulence of
our emotions shall subside, and our fluctuations be
finally succeeded by a calm.

Perhaps, however, the conquest of despair was
chiefly owing to an accident which rendered my


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continuance in my own house impossible. At the
conclusion of my long, and, as I then supposed,
my last letter to you, I mentioned my resolution
to wait for death in the very spot which had been
the principal scene of my misfortunes. From this
resolution my friends exerted themselves with the
utmost zeal and perseverance to make me depart.
They justly imagined that to be thus surrounded by
memorials of the fate of my family, would tend to
foster my disease. A swift succession of new ob-
jects, and the exclusion of every thing calculated
to remind me of my loss, was the only method of
cure.

I refused to listen to their exhortations. Great as
my calamity was, to be torn from this asylum was
regarded by me as an aggravation of it. By a per-
verse constitution of mind, he was considered as my
greatest enemy who sought to withdraw me from a
scene which supplied eternal food to my melancho-
ly, and kept my despair from languishing.

In relating the history of these disasters I derived
a similar species of gratification. My uncle ear-
nestly dissuaded me from this task; but his remon-
strances were as fruitless on this head as they had
been on others. They would have withheld from
me the implements of writing; but they quickly
perceived that to withstand would be more injurious
than to comply with my wishes. Having finished
my tale, it seemed as if the scene were closing. A
fever lurked in my veins, and my strength was
gone. Any exertion, however slight, was attended
with difficulty, and, at length, I refused to rise from
my bed.

I now see the infatuation and injustice of my
conduct in its true colours. I reflect upon the
sensations and reasonings of that period with won-


 image pending 287

der and humiliation. That I should be insensible
to the claims and tears of my friends; that I should
overlook the suggestions of duty, and fly from that
post in which only I could be instrumental to the
benefit of others; that the exercise of the social
and beneficent affections, the contemplation of na-
ture and the acquisition of wisdom should not be
seen to be means of happiness still within my reach,
is, at this time, scarcely credible.

It is true that I am now changed; but I have
not the consolation to reflect that my change was
owing to my fortitude or to my capacity for in-
struction. Better thoughts grew up in my mind
imperceptibly. I cannot but congratulate myself
on the change, though, perhaps, it merely argues
a fickleness of temper, and a defect of sensibility.

After my narrative was ended I betook myself to
my bed, in the full belief that my career in this world
was on the point of finishing. My uncle took up
his abode with me, and performed for me every
office of nurse, physician and friend. One night,
after some hours of restlessness and pain, I sunk
into deep sleep. Its tranquillity, however, was of
no long duration. My fancy became suddenly dis-
tempered, and my brain was turned into a theatre
of uproar and confusion. It would not be easy to
describe the wild and phantastical incongruities that
pestered me. My uncle, Wieland, Pleyel and
Carwin were successively and momently discerned
amidst the storm. Sometimes I was swallowed up
by whirlpools, or caught up in the air by half-seen
and gigantic forms, and thrown upon pointed rocks,
or cast among the billows. Sometimes gleams of
light were shot into a dark abyss, on the verge of
which I was standing, and enabled me to discover,
for a moment, its enormous depth and hideous pre-


 image pending 288

cipices. Anon, I was transported to some ridge
of Ætna, and made a terrified spectator of its fiery
torrents and its pillars of smoke.

However strange it may seem, I was conscious,
even during my dream, of my real situation. I
knew myself to be asleep, and struggled to break
the spell, by muscular exertions. These did not
avail, and I continued to suffer these abortive cre-
ations till a loud voice, at my bed side, and some
one shaking me with violence, put an end to my
reverie. My eyes were unsealed, and I started from
my pillow.

My chamber was filled with smoke, which,
though in some degree luminous, would permit me
to see nothing, and by which I was nearly suffocat-
ed. The crackling of flames, and the deafening
clamour of voices without, burst upon my ears.
Stunned as I was by this hubbub, scorched with
heat, and nearly choaked by the accumulating va-
pours, I was unable to think or act for my own
preservation; I was incapable, indeed, of compre-
hending my danger.

I was caught up, in an instant, by a pair of
sinewy arms, borne to the window, and carried
down a ladder which had been placed there. My
uncle stood at the bottom and received me. I was
not fully aware of my situation till I found myself
sheltered in the Hut, and surrounded by its inha-
bitants.

By neglect of the servant, some unextinguished
embers had been placed in a barrel in the cellar of
the building. The barrel had caught fire; this was
communicated to the beams of the lower floor, and
thence to the upper part of the structure. It was
first discovered by some persons at a distance, who
hastened to the spot and alarmed my uncle and the


 image pending 289

servants. The flames had already made consider-
able progress, and my condition was overlooked
till my escape was rendered nearly impossible.

My danger being known, and a ladder quickly
procured, one of the spectators ascended to my
chamber, and effected my deliverance in the man-
ner before related.

This incident, disastrous as it may at first seem,
had, in reality, a beneficial effect upon my feel-
ings. I was, in some degree, roused from the stupor
which had seized my faculties. The monotonous
and gloomy series of my thoughts was broken.
My habitation was levelled with the ground, and I
was obliged to seek a new one. A new train of
images, disconnected with the fate of my family,
forced itself on my attention, and a belief insensi-
bly sprung up, that tranquillity, if not happiness, was
still within my reach. Notwithstanding the shocks
which my frame had endured, the anguish of my
thoughts no sooner abated than I recovered my
health.

I now willingly listened to my uncle's solicita-
tions to be the companion of his voyage. Prepa-
rations were easily made, and after a tedious pas-
sage, we set our feet on the shore of the ancient
world. The memory of the past did not forsake
me; but the melancholy which it generated, and
the tears with which it filled my eyes, were not un-
profitable. My curiosity was revived, and I con-
templated, with ardour, the spectacle of living
manners and the monuments of past ages.

In proportion as my heart was reinstated in the
possession of its ancient tranquillity, the sentiment
which I had cherished with regard to Pleyel re-
turned. In a short time he was united to the Saxon
woman, and made his residence in the neighbour-


 image pending 290

hood of Boston. I was glad that circumstances
would not permit an interview to take place be-
tween us. I could not desire their misery; but I
reaped no pleasure from reflecting on their happi-
ness. Time, and the exertions of my fortitude,
cured me, in some degree, of this folly. I conti-
nued to love him, but my passion was disguised to
myself; I considered it merely as a more tender
species of friendship, and cherished it without com-
punction.

Through my uncle's exertions a meeting was
brought about between Carwin and Pleyel, and
explanations took place which restored me at once
to the good opinion of the latter. Though separated
so widely our correspondence was punctual and fre-
quent, and paved the way for that union which can
only end with the death of one of us.

In my letters to him I made no secret of my for-
mer sentiments. This was a theme on which I
could talk without painful, though not without de-
licate emotions. That knowledge which I should
never have imparted to a lover, I felt little scruple
to communicate to a friend.

A year and an half elapsed when Theresa was
snatched from him by death, in the hour in which
she gave him the first pledge of their mutual affec-
tion. This event was borne by him with his cus-
tomary fortitude. It induced him, however, to
make a change in his plans. He disposed of his
property in America, and joined my uncle and me,
who had terminated the wanderings of two years
at Montpellier, which will henceforth, I believe,
be our permanent abode.

If you reflect upon that entire confidence which
had subsisted from our infancy between Pleyel and
myself; on the passion that I had contracted, and


 image pending 291

which was merely smothered for a time; and on
the esteem which was mutual, you will not, per-
haps, be surprized that the renovation of our in-
tercourse should give birth to that union which at
present subsists. When the period had elapsed ne-
cessary to weaken the remembrance of Theresa,
to whom he had been bound by ties more of honor
than of love, he tendered his affections to me. I
need not add that the tender was eagerly accepted.

Perhaps you are somewhat interested in the fate
of Carwin. He saw, when too late, the danger
of imposture. So much affected was he by the
catastrophe to which he was a witness, that he laid
aside all regard to his own safety. He sought my
uncle, and confided to him the tale which he had
just related to me. He found a more impartial
and indulgent auditor in Mr. Cambridge, who im-
puted to maniacal illusion the conduct of Wieland,
though he conceived the previous and unseen agency
of Carwin, to have indirectly but powerfully pre-
disposed to this deplorable perversion of mind.

It was easy for Carwin to elude the persecutions
of Ludloe. It was merely requisite to hide him-
self in a remote district of Pennsylvania. This,
when he parted from us, he determined to do. He
is now probably engaged in the harmless pursuits of
agriculture, and may come to think, without in-
supportable remorse, on the evils to which his fatal
talents have given birth. The innocence and use-
fulness of his future life may, in some degree, atone
for the miseries so rashly or so thoughtlessly in-
flicted.

More urgent considerations hindered me from
mentioning, in the course of my former mournful
recital, any particulars respecting the unfortunate
father of Louisa Conway. That man surely was


 image pending 292

reserved to be a monument of capricious fortune.
His southern journies being finished, he returned
to Philadelphia. Before he reached the city he left
the highway, and alighted at my brother's door.
Contrary to his expectation, no one came forth to
welcome him, or hail his approach. He attempted
to enter the house, but bolted doors, barred win-
dows, and a silence broken only by unanswered
calls, shewed him that the mansion was deserted.

He proceeded thence to my habitation, which he
found, in like manner, gloomy and tenantless. His
surprize may be easily conceived. The rustics who
occupied the hut told him an imperfect and incre-
dible tale. He hasted to the city, and extorted
from Mrs. Baynton a full disclosure of late dis-
asters.

He was inured to adversity, and recovered, after
no long time, from the shocks produced by this
disappointment of his darling scheme. Our inter-
course did not terminate with his departure from
America. We have since met with him in France,
and light has at length been thrown upon the mo-
tives which occasioned the disappearance of his wife,
in the manner which I formerly related to you.

I have dwelt upon the ardour of their conjugal
attachment, and mentioned that no suspicion had
ever glanced upon her purity. This, though the
belief was long cherished, recent discoveries have
shewn to be questionable. No doubt her integrity
would have survived to the present moment, if an
extraordinary fate had not befallen her.

Major Stuart had been engaged, while in Ger-
many, in a contest of honor with an Aid de Camp
of the Marquis of Granby. His adversary had
propagated a rumour injurious to his character. A
challenge was sent; a meeting ensued; and Stuart


 image pending 293

wounded and disarmed the calumniator. The of-
fence was atoned for, and his life secured by suit-
able concessions.

Maxwell, that was his name, shortly after, in
consequence of succeeding to a rich inheritance,
sold his commission and returned to London. His
fortune was speedily augmented by an opulent mar-
riage. Interest was his sole inducement to this
marriage, though the lady had been swayed by a
credulous affection. The true state of his heart
was quickly discovered, and a separation, by mu-
tual consent, took place. The lady withdrew to
an estate in a distant county, and Maxwell con-
tinued to consume his time and fortune in the dis-
sipation of the capital.

Maxwell, though deceitful and sensual, possessed
great force of mind and specious accomplishments.
He contrived to mislead the generous mind of Stu-
art, and to regain the esteem which his misconduct,
for a time, had forfeited. He was recommended
by her husband to the confidence of Mrs. Stuart.
Maxwell was stimulated by revenge, and by a law-
less passion, to convert this confidence into a source
of guilt.

The education and capacity of this woman, the
worth of her husband, the pledge of their alliance
which time had produced, her maturity in age and
knowledge of the world—all combined to render
this attempt hopeless. Maxwell, however, was not
easily discouraged. The most perfect being, he
believed, must owe his exemption from vice to the
absence of temptation. The impulses of love are
so subtile, and the influence of false reasoning, when
enforced by eloquence and passion, so unbounded,
that no human virtue is secure from degeneracy.


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All arts being tried, every temptation being sum-
moned to his aid, dissimulation being carried to its
utmost bound, Maxwell, at length, nearly accom-
plished his purpose. The lady's affections were
withdrawn from her husband and transferred to him.
She could not, as yet, be reconciled to dishonor.
All efforts to induce her to elope with him were in-
effectual. She permitted herself to love, and to
avow her love; but at this limit she stopped, and
was immoveable.

Hence this revolution in her sentiments was pro-
ductive only of despair. Her rectitude of principle
preserved her from actual guilt, but could not re-
store to her her ancient affection, or save her from
being the prey of remorseful and impracticable
wishes. Her husband's absence produced a state
of suspense. This, however, approached to a pe-
riod, and she received tidings of his intended return.
Maxwell, being likewise apprized of this event, and
having made a last and unsuccessful effort to con-
quer her reluctance to accompany him in a journey
to Italy, whither he pretended an invincible necessity
of going, left her to pursue the measures which
despair might suggest. At the same time she re-
ceived a letter from the wife of Maxwell, unveiling
the true character of this man, and revealing facts
which the artifices of her seducer had hitherto con-
cealed from her. Mrs. Maxwell had been prompted
to this disclosure by a knowledge of her husband's
practices, with which his own impetuosity had made
her acquainted.

This discovery, joined to the delicacy of her scru-
ples and the anguish of remorse, induced her to
abscond. This scheme was adopted in haste, but
effected with consummate prudence. She fled, on


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the eve of her husband's arrival, in the disguise of a
boy, and embarked at Falmouth in a packet bound
for America.

The history of her disastrous intercourse with
Maxwell, the motives inducing her to forsake her
country, and the measures she had taken to effect
her design, were related to Mrs. Maxwell, in reply
to her communication. Between these women an
ancient intimacy and considerable similitude of cha-
racter subsisted. This disclosure was accompanied
with solemn injunctions of secrecy, and these in-
junctions were, for a long time, faithfully observed.

Mrs. Maxwell's abode was situated on the banks
of the Wey. Stuart was her kinsman; their youth
had been spent together; and Maxwell was in
some degree indebted to the man whom he be-
trayed, for his alliance with this unfortunate lady.
Her esteem for the character of Stuart had never
been diminished. A meeting between them was
occasioned by a tour which the latter had underta-
ken, in the year after his return from America, to
Wales and the western counties. This interview
produced pleasure and regret in each. Their own
transactions naturally became the topics of their
conversation; and the untimely fate of his wife and
daughter were related by the guest.

Mrs. Maxwell's regard for her friend, as well as
for the safety of her husband, persuaded her to con-
cealment; but the former being dead, and the latter
being out of the kingdom, she ventured to produce
Mrs. Stuart's letter, and to communicate her own
knowledge of the treachery of Maxwell. She had
previously extorted from her guest a promise not to
pursue any scheme of vengeance; but this promise
was made while ignorant of the full extent of Max-


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well's depravity, and his passion refused to adhere
to it.

At this time my uncle and I resided at Avignon.
Among the English resident there, and with whom
we maintained a social intercourse, was Maxwell.
This man's talents and address rendered him a fa-
vorite both with my uncle and myself. He had
even tendered me his hand in marriage; but this
being refused, he had sought and obtained permission
to continue with us the intercourse of friendship.
Since a legal marriage was impossible, no doubt,
his views were flagitious. Whether he had relin-
quished these views I was unable to judge.

He was one in a large circle at a villa in the en-
virons, to which I had likewise been invited, when
Stuart abruptly entered the apartment. He was
recognized with genuine satisfaction by me, and
with seeming pleasure by Maxwell. In a short
time, some affair of moment being pleaded, which
required an immediate and exclusive interview,
Maxwell and he withdrew together. Stuart and
my uncle had been known to each other in the
German army; and the purpose contemplated by
the former in this long and hasty journey, was con-
fided to his old friend.

A defiance was given and received, and the banks
of a rivulet, about a league from the city, was se-
lected as the scene of this contest. My uncle, hav-
ing exerted himself in vain to prevent an hostile
meeting, consented to attend them as a surgeon.—
Next morning, at sun-rise, was the time chosen.

I returned early in the evening to my lodgings.
Preliminaries being settled between the combatants,
Stuart had consented to spend the evening with us,
and did not retire till late. On the way to his hotel


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he was exposed to no molestation, but just as he
stepped within the portico, a swarthy and malignant
figure started from behind a column. and plunged a
stiletto into his body.

The author of this treason could not certainly be
discovered; but the details communicated by Stuart,
respecting the history of Maxwell, naturally pointed
him out as an object of suspicion. No one expres-
sed more concern, on account of this disaster, than
he; and he pretended an ardent zeal to vindicate
his character from the aspersions that were cast
upon it. Thenceforth, however, I denied myself
to his visits; and shortly after he disappeared from
this scene.

Few possessed more estimable qualities, and a
better title to happiness and the tranquil honors of
long life, than the mother and father of Louisa
Conway: yet they were cut off in the bloom of
their days; and their destiny was thus accomplished
by the same hand. Maxwell was the instrument
of their destruction, though the instrument was ap-
plied to this end in so different a manner.

I leave you to moralize on this tale. That vir-
tue should become the victim of treachery is, no
doubt, a mournful consideration; but it will not
escape your notice, that the evils of which Car-
win and Maxwell were the authors, owed their
existence to the errors of the sufferers. All ef-
forts would have been ineffectual to subvert the
happiness or shorten the existence of the Stuarts, if
their own frailty had not seconded these efforts. If
the lady had crushed her disastrous passion in the
bud, and driven the seducer from her presence, when
the tendency of his artifices was seen; if Stuart
had not admitted the spirit of absurd revenge, we


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should not have had to deplore this catastrophe. If
Wieland had framed juster notions of moral duty,
and of the divine attributes; or if I had been gifted
with ordinary equanimity or foresight, the double-
tongued deceiver would have been baffled and re-
pelled.


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