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To Henry Kirvan.

YOU will return, Harry, to an
house of sorrow. Your pre-
sence will contribute to make my
solitude less painful. I would, there-
fore, intreat you to come back im-
mediately: but there is something to
be first settled before I can meet you
with satisfaction, or even before I
can permit you to return to me. I
have had something on my mind
to disclose, which I have brooded
over occasionally ever since we
parted, but which it is now abso-
lutely necessary to mention.

You could not but be aware of
the effect which some mysterious
appearances in your behaviour, for
a few days before you left us, were
adapted to produce in me. I saw
trouble in your countenance; your
eyes betrayed some little reluctance
to meet mine. This alone was not
much. It sometimes made me
thoughtful, and to harbour a kind
of possibility that all was not right;
but my uneasiness would have been
transient, if the effect had not been
aided by the deportment of my

Harry! my Mary is dead—but
you know it already—I must not
forget my duty—I must remember
what becomes a man.

You remember, on a Thursday
evening, when I returned from the
country, and, entering the room ab-
ruptly, found you in company with
my wife. My entrance, it was
plain, was unexpected to you both.
It created—What shall I say?

My wife was disconcerted. She
had been weeping. I never saw be-
fore traces of such deep sorrow.
Never did she meet me before with
marks of confusion or terror. I
was thunder-struck. I was over-
powered with dejection. I suspect-
ed nothing inconsistent with her in-
tegrity; but my entrance had alarm-
ed her. From me there was some-
thing which she laboured to conceal.
With me she strove to keep dry eyes,
and to seem happy; but with you
she thought herself at liberty to

I could not be deaf to that secret
voice which said—This terror, this
concealment, this duplicity, is not
due to an husband such as I have
been. I upbraided her not. I could
derive no comfort from upbraiding.
I could not discuss the subject with
her. This evidence of her want of
confidence in my discernment, af-
fection or integrity, could not be
made stronger—could not be les-
sened by any words. She saw my
distress, and her own was increased

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by perceiving it. The weight that
hung upon her heart was too great
to be borne. On the next day, and
after a night of wakeful anguish,
of which I was a silent observer,
began that fever which burried her
to the grave.

For a time I indulged no fore-
bodings of her fate. I deemed it a
casual indisposition, which time and
the usual remedies would conquer.
I was quickly undeceived. Ap-
pearances grew hourly more dread-
ful, and the approach of death be-
came too visible.

It was then that the spell of si-
lence was broken, that I opened my
eyes as if I had awakened in the
grave. My fears for her life swal-
lowed up every other fear, and I
sought, with a vehemence that bor-
dered upon frenzy, to extort from
her the secret of her woe.

Serenity, however, resumed its
place in her heart, in proportion
as she felt the certainty of death.
My claims, and the claims of her
infant, lost all their force in her
eyes. She left us without pity or
regret. She refused to confide in
me the cause of her anguish; while
she did not conceal from me that
my devotion or my happiness was
not enough to make existence de-
sirable. She has gone, and left me
the bitterest portion of the wretch-
ed. The loss of her is not all that
I have to deplore. She has left me
the torments of doubt: terrors which
assume no fixed shape: misgivings
that haunt my repose, and embit-
ter every cup that I taste.

Part of this misery I believe it to
be in your power to remove. You
held secret conferences with her. I
now remember them; though, at
the time, void as I was of suspicion,
they escaped my notice. You shared
with her her tears. It was only after
your admission to the house, that
smothered grief, mournful thought-
fulness, were ever visible in her
demeanour. There is something,

something behind this veil. Henry!
my brother! what did she conceal
from me?

Fear not to tell me the truth. It
cannot be worse than my present
doubts. These doubts I must not
name, I must not harbour—yet I
cannot dismiss them.

Tell me, Henry, for you know;
tell me, I beseech thee, what is it
that has killed my wife.


HOW hard is the task which you
have assigned to me! In such im-
mature, such green youth as mine,
it is impossible not to err, except
by forbearance. I have not the
wisdom requisite to make me act
safely—and yet that, perhaps, was
my fatal error. In believing pas-
siveness and concealment most suit-
able to my inexperienced years, I
have possibly cut short the days of
your Mary. A single word, a
remote hint, might have set your
mind upon discovery. The mo-
ment that rent the veil might have
re-established her felicity and your

It is now too late. She is snatch-
ed away from us forever. The dis-
closure may now come: but whe-
ther it will enhance your misery or
lessen it, I know not. Too surely
it will not recall her from the grave.
You shall know as much as is
known to myself. You have doubts,
you say; doubts indefinable and
fearful. Alas! the image of your
fear is unreal.

I need not dwell upon my own
misfortunes, previous to my arri-
val on these shores. You are al-
ready sufficiently acquainted with
them; and, besides, they are not
necessary to the end for which I
now take up the pen: but, in order
to effect this purpose, I must carry
you back to the period of my arri-
val from France. Some events, pre-
vious to my entering your house, it-

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is necessary to relate; but my re-
lation shall be brief.

When I first came on shore at
New-York, I had not a farthing in
my pocket. Even my clothes were
worn out, and my shoes would
hardly stick to my feet. I knew
nobody, even by name, except the
captain who brought me over. He
was a generous spirit; and, suspect-
ing my destitute condition, had in-
vited me to his house. I was
obliged to accept his kindness,
though sorely unwilling to receive
obligations of this kind, and which
I was wholly unable to repay.

He had promised to speak for me
to some merchant or trader of his
acquaintance, who might want the
services of such a lad as I. He
knew one who had been in Europe,
by name Haywood; a man of wealth
and of liberal temper, to whom he
had confidential letters. On deli-
vering these, he would seize the
opportunity of stating my wants
and my merits.

The captain was not unmindful
of his promise; and, next day,
brought from Haywood an invita-
tion to his house. I went thither,
and was introduced to a man, about
thirty years of age, of a very noble
aspect, and captivating manners.
He received me with great kind-
ness; and, mentioning the captain's
representations in my behalf, desir-
ed to know in what way he could
be serviceable to me. He gave a
patient ear to my story, which I re-
lated with all the sensibility which
such recent and horrible disasters
could not but produce. I describ-
ed the condition of my parents
while in England—the motives that
induced them to migrate to Ameri-
ca—the capture of the vessel by a
French frigate—our long and ri-
gorous imprisonment at Brest, and
its mournful consequences.

My father's melancholy, on the
plunder of all his little property—
ll that the malice of fortune had

left him, after the toils and cares of
thirty years—all that could save him
from nakedness and hunger in a fo-
reign land—joined to the untimely
death of his darling Jane, whom
scanty and unwholesome food had
contributed to destroy—and to that
pestilential atmosphere which, dur-
ing seven months, he was compel-
led to breathe—put a miserable end
to his life.

My father's corpse was treated
by our inhuman keepers, as my sis-
ter's had been a little while before.
It was dragged, naked, from the
blanket where it lay, and thrown
into a hole, dug in the court-yard
for the reception of those who
should die in the prison.

This spectacle was too much for
my mother to behold without loss
of reason. With these eyes I be-
held my mother frantic and des-
perate. I saw her tear her clothes,
and her ravings still sound in my
ears. With these eyes I beheld her
lie down upon that hard and tatter-
ed bed whence my father had lately
been dragged: I saw her lie down
and expire!

Good heaven!—But I meant not
to repeat this tale to you. Forgive
me; you have sorrow enough of
your own, and I benefit not myself
by reviving these images.

This artless tale had a powerful
effect upon Haywood. It made
his eyes overflow with compassion,
and awakened a lively interest in
my welfare. He offered me ac-
commodation in his house, and a
pecuniary recompence for my as-
sistance in keeping and arranging
his accounts; and his offer was
eagerly and gratefully accepted.

I lived with him four months.
During this period I was a near
spectator of his manners and habits.
So far as I could judge, they were
free from reproach, and full of dig-
nity. Me he treated with famili-
arity, and almost with tenderness;
and I, in my turn, was not deficient

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in fidelity and gratitude. My situ-
ation made me somewhat acquaint-
ed with the state of his affairs, and
afforded scope for that observation
which my youth and my intellec-
tual activity naturally prompted me
to make; and yet my knowledge
was vague and incomplete; con-
sisting merely of conjecture and in-
ference, and not the fruit of direct
communication from him.

I found, or at least conjectured,
that he was a native of Pennsyl-
vania; that he had married at an
early age; that he had gone, shortly
after marriage, to Europe; that his
wife, during his absence, had died;
and this connection, in some way
inauspicious, being thus dissolved,
he returned to New-York, where
he had not long resided when we
first met.

I also discovered that he was
making court to a woman of that
city, young, beautiful, and possessed
of many intellectual accomplish-
ments, though without fortune. As
the bearer of a note from him, I had
once an opportunity of seeing this
lady. Her deportment and mein
fully justified the prepossessions I
had formed respecting her, and I
had good grounds for believing that
marriage was at no great distance.
At length I collected, by accident,
that the bridal day was fixed.

The deportment of my friend
announced his approaching felicity.
Yet his joy was sedate, and occa-
sionally mingled and chastised by
some untoward, but undiscovered
care. A cloud would sometimes
gather on his brow at moments of
loneliness, or when my occupation,
though in the same apartment, left
him, in some sense, alone. The
cloud was transient, and I saw
nothing in his destiny but serenity
and brightness. Alas! the prospect
was quickly obscured.

One evening, about a week prior
to his nuptial day, some out-of-door
engagement had occasioned me to

spend much of the day abroad. I
returned home late in the evening;
I inquired for Mr. Haywood, but
was told that he was absent. His
evenings being usually devoted to
his mistress, his absence created no
surprise. The servant added, that
a gentleman had been waiting in the
drawing-room, during more than
an hour, for his master's return.

Imagining that, possibly, I might
answer this visitor's purposes as
well as Haywood, I went into the
room. There were two lights on
the mantle-tree, and the stranger
was walking to and fro, with an
air of much impatience and anxiety.
He looked up eagerly at my en-
trance; but seeing who it was, with-
drew his eyes in seeming disap-
pointment, and resumed his pace.

These appearances, so wholly
unlike what I had been accustomed
to observe in those whose visits to
my patron were prompted by mere
business, that I was abashed, and
was discouraged from addressing
him. I quietly seated myself at a
writing-desk, and began, according
to my custom, to enter, in a little
volume that I bore about me, the
transactions of the day. While
thus employed, I found time to steal
glances at the visitant, and accurate-
ly to note his features and gestures.
They were of a kind to raise all my
curiosity, and fasten all my atten-
tion. They denoted habitual pas-
sions, lofty but vehement, and
thoughts, at this time, full of pertur-
bation and impatience. Seen in a
strong light, and impassioned as it
then was, his countenance sunk
deep into my fancy, and never shall
I cease to view it with as much
distinctness and vividness as when
it was before me.

My fingers trembled, the pen lost
its regularity, and I merely scrib-
bled at random, as affording oppor-
tunity of viewing this scene wit-
hout being noticed by him. A thou-
sand vague terrors and surmises

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crept into my heart, when I consi-
dered these impetuous but stifled
feelings, as preludes to an interview
with Haywood.

My mind quickly found other
occupation. A step was heard in
the entry, and a voice inquiring of
the servant for me. The stranger
checked his pace: he stood upon
the hearth: he trembled, and, co-
vering his eyes with his hands, mut-
tered, scarcely articulately, “My
God! assist me to keep down—”

Haywood entered the room, and
his visitor turned quickly and ap-
proached him. My pen dropped,
and I started up, involuntarily, to
behold this scene. No sooner had
Haywood cast his eyes upon the
stranger, than they sunk to the floor.
A blush of surprise, indignation,
and horror, spread itself over his
face. Both, for some moments,
were silent; the pause seemed to
rise, on the stranger's part, from the
overflow of boiling passions, which
choaked his utterance. At length
he spoke, falteringly:

“Haywood! I have found you
at last. After the pursuit of years,
you are met, and I am satisfied.
Walk out with me: this is no place:
the means are already provided: all
we want is solitude and uninter-

“What would you have?” said
the other, hesitatingly.

“What? Can you ask? Villain,
seducer, and assassin! Can you
ask what? Vengeance for my sis-
ter's honour, for the blood of my
friend, I demand and will have.
Walk with me—all will be dis-
patched in twenty minutes.”

“You have been to—Miss Ad-
dington,” said the other.

“Ah hah!” replied the stranger,
while his eyes sparkled with tri-
umph, “I see you have already, in
part, reaped the fruits of your
crime. You have been with that
devoted lady, whom, I thank God,
I have come time enough to save

from the fangs of a tyger. I have
disclosed to her your past deeds,
and painted your genuine character
in colours which you will never

Haywood's eyes flashed indigna-
tion. “I see you can be unjust in
your turn. I have injured you,
but did not merit this act of ven-
geance. Go before—you may lead
me where you please.”

Without more words, or deign-
ing in the least to notice me, they
left the room and the house toge-

You will imagine with what tre-
pidation and wonder I was inspired
by a scene like this. It was unex-
pected and terrible. They had
gone for a purpose easily divined.
The interview brought about by
such inveterate animosity, would
not end but with the death of one
of them. It was not in my power
to avert the evil.

The guilt of seduction and blood
rested on the head of Haywood.
He had confessed the truth of the
accusation, and had gone forth,
perhaps, to perpetrate, or be the
subject of an act which the world
will excuse, though, in the eye of
unprejudiced observers, nefarious
and detestable.

Was it possible that such an one
as Haywood had so long appeared,
had been the destroyer of virgin
innocence? Could he thus repel
vengeance with vengeance, and not
hasten, by contrition or reparation,
to compensate for past misdeeds?

I was unable to go to bed. I
waited in the parlour in the im-
perfect hope of Haywood's return.
I had no curiosity which Haywood
would condescend to satisfy. I had
been a neglected and unthought-of
witness of an interview big with
tremendous consequences; but my
presence would be remembered,
and my agency be, in some way,
necessary. I could not sleep till
the event were known.

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Occupied with these turbulent
thoughts, two hours elapsed. At the
end of this period, Haywood en-
tered the house, and came directly
to the room where I was. I darted
inquisitive glances at his coun-
tenance. I saw there nothing but
tokens of confusion and dismay.
He appeared to be harrassed with
fatigue. His cheeks were pale, his
eyes haggard, and two hours had
wrought a change in his appearance
similar to the effect produced by a
long sickness.

He was totally absorbed in reve-
rie, and seating himself near the fire,
appeared unconscious of my exist-
ence or that of the surrounding
objects. I was powerfully tempted
to break the silence; but what could
I say? A stripling like me, raw
and unexperienced, was but ill
adapted to be the monitor or coun-
sellor on occasions like these. Be-
sides, my advice was not required;
my consolation was despised; my
very existence was forgotten.

After a time he rose, and with-
out speaking, withdrew to his
chamber. After extinguishing the
fires, and drawing the bolts, I fol-
lowed his example. I went to my
chamber, but not to sleep. My
province was to ruminate on this
mysterious incident, the features
and deportment of the stranger, and
the fearful but unknown conse-
quences of this meeting. Miss Ad-
dington was the lady to whom Hay-
wood was contracted. The stranger,
apprised of his connection, had
visited her, and wrought a breach
between the lovers which no time
would probably repair. Haywood
doated on this lovely woman, and
his love was amply returned. One
disastrous event had been sufficient
to turn that love into hatred and
resentment, and, perhaps, to sever
them forever.

These thoughts effectually ex-
cluded sleep, and I rose earlier than
usual in the morning. I went into

the room appropriated for writing,
and my eyes instantly lighted on a
pacquet, directed to me, in Mr.
Haywood's hand writing, and lying
on the desk. I opened it with a
misgiving heart, and read these

“I wish you to deliver the in-
closed papers to my friend Mr. H.
and Miss Addington, according to
their direction. They will au-
thorize him to take possession of the
property contained in my house.
This arrangement is necessary, as I
shall leave this city instantly, and
quit America as soon as possible—
never to return.

“You witnessed a strange scene
last night, and have, no doubt, sa-
gacity enough to perceive whither
it tended. The consequences of
that scene you will speedily know.
Your candour will induce you to
put the best construction on my
conduct, and your gratitude and
good sense will shew you the duty
of concealing from the rest of man-
kind, both your own conjectures
and the grounds on which they are

“I am in no mood to make this
letter a confession; but, though the
slave of the present impulse; though
fickle, inconstant, and cowardly, I
am not so wicked as one unac-
quainted with my motives might

“The unfortunate man whom
you saw last night, once gloried in
a lovely sister, the wife of his friend.
Me he likewise called his friend,
and, as such, presented me to her.
I was an inmate of the same house.
Her husband was gone upon a dis-
tant voyage. Our intercourse was
frequent, familiar, and confidential.
Such were the preludes to her dis-
honour, her infamy, and, perhaps,
her death.

“Her husband's return was short-
ly expected; but she waited it not.
A living proof of her crime was
preparing to testify against her; and

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her father, who lived under the same
roof, had begun to suspect. She fled
from the house, and, as I have this
night heard, perished in obscurity
and indigence.

“The husband doated on his wife,
and the detection of her guilt was
the signal of his destruction. He
put an end to his own life. Of this
dishonour, and this death, you
know too much for me to desire to
conceal the truth from you—I was
the accursed cause.

“Such were the effects of one
moment of infatuation! I had al-
most hushed my conscience and my
fears to repose, in the belief that
these effects were exhausted; but no!
this night of horrors has added to
the list.

“Heaven is my witness that I
deeply deplored the injuries which,
not my malice, not my selfishness,
but the intoxications of a momen-
tary passion had done him. I have
endeavoured to compensate those
wrongs by the subsequent integrity
of my conduct, and looked forward
to the union of happiness with duty,
in the love of Miss Addington. I
concealed from her my past offences,
while the disclosure might have
won her pity or forgiveness, but I
feared to set my felicity to hazard,
and postponed the confession till it
was too late.

“The rage of Selwyn was not to
be appeased. He turned the heart
of Henrietta against me by out-
rageous accusations. He filled, with
abhorrence and loathing, her in
whose bosom I had entrusted my
peace. Not content with this, he
thirsted for my blood. No plea,
no apology, no submission could
avail, even to defer the strife of
death for a single day. I did no
more than comply with his bidding,
and expose to the same chance, the
safety of both.

“Farewell, good youth! I thank
you for your faithful services. In
reward for these services, and in
token of my friendship, accept the
inclosed bills. They will serve you
till you find some profitable station.

E. Haywood.”

These consequences were, in-
deed, speedily unfolded by time.
Not a day had elapsed before ru-
mour was busy in telling of a fatal
rencounter that took place in an
unfrequented spot on the shore of
the Hudson. It was late at night.
The moonlight was remarkably
brilliant, and the eye could see far
and wide. Some persons walking
in the road were alarmed by the
report of two pistols fired nearly at
the same instant. They hastened
to the spot whence the sound pro-
ceeded, and found a man stretched
upon the earth, in the agonies of
death. He was insensible, and died
before he could be removed to a
hovel to which, as the nearest shel-
ter, they had carried him.

Proper inquiries and examina-
tions being made, it was found that
the person killed was named Selwyn;
that he was a native of Portsmouth,
New-Hamsphire; that he had come,
a week before, from Boston; and
was well known, in a small circle,
as a man of probity and amiable
manners. Appearances sufficiently
bespoke the nature of the contest
to which he owed his death; but
none thought proper to communi-
cate to the world, if any knew, the
circumstances leading to this con-
test, and the person of the adversary.
It remained a topic of conjecture
and speculation, which, as usual,
was fed for a time by plansible fic-
tions, and led to many feasible,
though fallacious conclusions.

Meanwhile I hastened to perform
the commissions with which I had
been charged. I gained access to
Mr. H. He was an elderly and
grave person, who received the
papers with the air of one who
knew their contents, and dismissed
me without interrogation or com-

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I found Miss Addington alone,
and seated in a melancholy posture,
with a guitar in her hand. On
noticing the superscription of the
letter which I offered her, her eyes
were filled with tears, and I marked
an internal effort to regain her com-
posure. She appeared to hesitate
a moment whether to accept or re-
fuse it; but, at length, received
and put it in her bosom.

I lingered a few moments in hope
of some occasion or excuse for pro-
longing my visit; but, though she
regarded me with looks of curiosity,
she betrayed no desire to converse;
and, having fulfilled my charge, I
was obliged silently to retire.

I was once more let loose on the
world. Haywood's generosity had
enabled me to be idle, for a time,
without beggary. I need not re-
count again my adventures previ-
ous to my arrival in your city,
the events which led to my ac-
quaintance with you, and the de-
sign of becoming the pupil of your
art. I was not startled by the ap-
proach of the late terrible pesti-
lence, and cheerfully engaged to
assist you in your benevolent endea-
vours to disarm this pest of some
of its horrors. In resolving to be-
come a physician, I had formed a
sort of tacit contract to stand forth
the adversary of disease, in all its forms.

When I took up my abode with
you, your wife was absent. I knew
her only by the picture which you
had drawn, and by that evidence of
her sagacity which your excellences
afforded. She returned not till my
own sickness began. She immedi-
ately assumed the office of my
nurse. For some time I perceived
merely that a good genius hovered
over me in the form of a woman,
but her figure was not examined.
I heard her voice, and understood
her requests and injunctions; but
whether her accents were sweet or
harsh, I was too much engrossed

by my own sensations to deter-

The violence of my disease gra-
dually abated, and I was able to
observe what was passing. As often
as I cast my eye upon the face of
my nurse, somewhat appeared there
that caused me to look again. Some
intimation arose in my mind that
these features had not now been
seen for the first time. I reviewed
the past incidents of my life. I
called to memory the female faces
I had met with in my own country
and in this. I compared them with
those of my nurse, but was able to
detect no resemblance. I began, at
length, to imagine that, perhaps, it
had been my lot to meet with her
somewhere in the city. Perhaps I
had lighted on her in my rambles
through the streets of this town, or
had met her in some church into
which I had entered. Yet that
could not be. A face like that
would not have flitted in my sight
like any vulgar physiognomy; been
glanced at, for a moment, and
thought of no more.

It must not be imagined that this
inquiry occupied much of my at-
tention. It yielded place to those
topics which my recent experience
suggested. It occurred less fre-
quently in her absence than her pre-
sence, and was thought upon with
more or less intenseness according
to the previous state of my mind.
My musings upon every theme
were, indeed, obscure and fluctu-
ating, on account of my disease. I
suppose I should sooner have light-
ed on the truth if my mind had
possessed its customary energy.

One night, after the crisis of my
malady had passed, I lay awake,
and pursuing my thoughts with
more accuracy of recollection, and
more coherence than I had known
since my indisposition. My eye
was fixed upon a lamp on the table,
whose oil was nearly exhausted, and
that burnt feebly. The solemnity

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and silence of the hour, the solitude
around me, and especially the
gleams darted from the ill supplied
flame of my lamp, reminded me of
what had passed in Haywood's
house on the interview with Selwyn.
I called up all the images which
composed that scene, and traced
once more the lineaments of Selwyn
as they then appeared, pregnant
with violent but mixed emotions;
the acuteness of grief, the bitterness
of hatred, and the vehemence of

No object, perhaps, ever existed
so vividly in the imagination of
man, as this spectacle existed, at that
moment, in mine. Not a hue or a
lineament was wanting in the por-
trait. All before me was colour
and form. I thought myself re-
stored to that apartment, and was
wholly occupied in gazing on the
scene. My attention was so much
absorbed, that I did not notice the
entrance of your wife, who softly
opened the door and approached
the lamp with a flask of oil in her
hand. This she poured into the
vessel, and the dying flame instant-
ly revived. This sudden illumina-
tion recalled me from my dream,
and I turned my eyes towards the
light to discover the cause. My
nurse's face was bent over it, her
hands being still engaged in pouring
out the liquid.

Engrossed as I was by the image
of Selwyn, and scarcely conscious
of the transition I had made from
the ideal to the genuine object, this
face being, like that, illuminated
by the same reddish and dazzling
beam, I was affected as if Selwyn's
apparition was before me. The
same cast of features was so strongly
visible in both, that I doubted whe-
ther the figure tending the lamp,
was not that of the dead in some
new guise. I had not time to take
a second view; for, her office being
finished, she glided as softly and

swiftly out of the room as she had
entered it.

This incident arrested all my
thoughts. At first, this resem-
blance was regarded as no more
than a friek of fancy, but gradually
it began to wear a more plausible
appearance. I remembered the re-
flections that the countenance of
this lady had so frequently excited,
the vague but obstinate suggestion
that I had somewhere met with it
before, and the unsuccessful result
of my inquiries. No woman that
I ever met with, and whose image
I was able to recal, possessed any
remarkable resemblance to her.

Now, however, a similar visage
was discovered; but what should I
infer from this discovery? Surely
it was merely casual. Human
faces may exhibit resemblances,
without affording any ground for
concluding that any relationship
exists between them. And yet,
was not that conclusion hastily
formed? What hindered but that
some relationship subsisted between
this woman and Selwyn?

This was a thought pregnant with
affecting consequences. My mind
incessantly brooded over it, multi-
plied and weighed conjectures as to
the nature of this kindred, and the
effects which Selwyn's disappear-
ance had produced, and the conduct
which it became me to pursue.
Hitherto my lips had been sealed
on the subject of these disastrous
occurrences. No exigence had
happened since my parting with
Haywood, to extort from me dis-
closures of the truth; but it seemed
as if my new condition might create
new claims upon my caution, and
new trials of my fortitude, and that
it became me to demean myself
with vigilance and circumspection.

Selwyn had been mentioned as
having had parents and a sister.
Nothing had been said precluding
the conjecture that he might have

 image pending 183

more sisters than one. She that
had fallen a sacrifice to the arts of
the seducer, might have left one
sister, at least, to mourn over her
fall—and this might be she. I was
the depository of a secret momen-
tous to her happiness. That secret
now became burthensome. It was
scarcely ever absent from my
thoughts. My perturbations were
excessive. Whenever she was pre-
sent, I gazed, with unconquerable
solicitude, upon her countenance.
Metnought I could have given half
my existence to ascertain the truth,
but shuddered at the foresight of the
consequences which a remote hint,
or vague allusion, might produce.
If suspicions were awakened that
her brother's destiny was known to
me, I should be, probably, assailed
by importunities from which I
could not hope to escape.

She frequently noticed the intent-
ness of my looks. At first they
were regarded by her as tokens of
dejection or pain; but this infer-
ence being earnestly denied, she
betook herself to other guesses. At
length she perceived that my eye
followed her movements involun-
tarily, and that some confusion was
manifested by me, when she inquir-
ed what it was that attracted my
attention. I carefully evaded her
questions; but, in so doing, only
furnished new fuel to her curiosity.

I wanted to ascertain the truth.
I was conscious that the resem-
blance I perceived might be merely
casualy; but this was outweighed by
an opposite opinion: still a large
portion of uncertainty always re-
mained. Circuitous methods of
arriving at the sentiments of others
were new to me. I was not qua-
lified, by habit, to employ them
with skill. They involved some
degree of falsehood, and from this
I shrunk with strong repugnance.
I felt as if my features would betray
my secret intentions in spite of my
will; and that to maintain a firm

voice and sedate manner in conver-
sation, which should lead to the de-
sirable point, was impossible.

She spent many hours in my
chamber, occupied with her needle
or her infant, or a book which she
read aloud for my amusement. No
wonder that my soul melted within
me, when looking at or listening to
her. The conditions on which I
remained in this house, the cheerful
efforts that were made for my ser-
vice, the unaffected benevolence of
which I had been the object, made
my heart glow. Added to this were
the features of my nurse, her musi-
cal tones, the justness of her elocu-
tion, and her manners, expressive
of boundless affection for her hus-
band and child. When I, likewise,
reflected on her similitude with Sel-
wyn, and the calamities she had
probably experienced, I was una-
ble to restrain my tears.

Though I dared not make direct
or indirect inquiries, I noticed and
compared appearances. I soon ob-
served that the equanimity of Mrs.
Molesworth was not invariable.
When seated near the fire in an
evening, her husband being absent,
her child asleep, and no light but a
glimmering from coals on the hearth,
and forgetful that there was any to
observe her, I sometimes perceived
her features assume an expression
of the deepest sorrow, and the tears
secretly fall. If you chanced to en-
ter during this reverie, she would
start, dress her countenance in
smiles, and seem to cast behind her
every mournful recollection.

When reading a book, she would
stop at certain incidents or reflec-
tions, muse pensively, or sigh, and
then, by a kind of effort, regain
her composure, and resume her task.
These reflections and incidents had
always some connection with the
hardships to which the loss of repu-
tation and honour subject her sex,
and therefore tended to strengthen
the conjecture, that the comparison

 image pending 184

was secretly made between her own
experience and the reasonings or re-
lations of the book.

I had never force of mind enough
to lead the conversation towards the
same point. Even when accident
suggested topics which possessed
some affinity to those images which
crowded my brain, I endeavoured
to change the theme. To this I
was not influenced merely by re-
membrance of Selwyn and his sis-
ter. I could never, on these occa-
sions, forget that I also had a near
relation, whose fate was not unlike
that of the being whom Haywood
had destroyed, and her image I was
only happy in forgetting.

This perplexity, however, was
destined to give place to a greater.
One evening, when my sensations
were more languid and dreary than
usual, and my reflections were full
of anxiety and hopelessness, she of-
fered to beguile the hour with a
book. The proposal was grate-
fully accepted. I did not expect to
derive pleasure from attention to
the volume; but the attitude which
she assumed when reading, and the
occupation which her eyes found in
the page, allowed me to gaze upon
her features, and indulge the reve-
ries of my fancy, without exciting
observation. The book was a tis-
sue of diffuse, irregular and super-
ficial remarks upon solitude,* in
which an anecdote occasionally ap-
peared of much more value than
the crude or injudicious reflections
that preceded or followed it. One
of these being connected with the
author's character, and shewing the
influence of parental folly in thwart-
ing the affections of a child, was
read with more pathos, and I listen-
ed to it with more attention than
the rest.

A daughter fixed her choice on a
youth who wanted no merit but
that of being opulent and high-

born. The father, whose hopes
looked forward to the ennobling of
his blood by his daughter's mar-
riage, exacted from her the sacri-
fice of her choice. The sacrifice
was made, and was followed by the
death of the lover, by his own hand,
and of the daughter, by a slow dis-
ease. This story, added to the fea-
tures of the reader, which betrayed
the deepest sympathy, operated on
my fancy, distempered by sickness,
and overfraught with images per-
taining to Haywood, in a manner
that I never before experienced. I
uttered an exclamation of horror.
My companion, dropping the book,
and turning to me, anxiously in-
quired into the cause of my alarm.
I had not time to retrieve my pre-
sence of mind, and answered, “No-
thing. I thought it real; but my
vision was confused. It could not

“Could not be!” she replied:
“What? what is it you speak of?”

“Be not alarmed,” said I, endea-
vouring, in vain, to conceal my
perturbations; “I mistook a spectre
for a man. I thought—I thought
it looked over your shoulder—at
the book.”

“Good God! a man? Where?
What? Who is he?”

“It was shadowy, imperfect: I
cannot tell what; but methought—
methought it was—your brother!”

This word was no sooner uttered
than she shrieked; and, clasping
her hands, repeated, “My brother!
Heaven save me from ever seeing
him more! He was here! He was
close at my shoulder, but is gone.
O! whither, whither? I heard him
not. I heard not his curses!”—
While thus speaking, she looked on
all sides with an air of the deepest
affright. She seemed in expecta-
tion of beholding him once more.

At this moment the bell was
rung. She noticed it, and perceiv-

  * Zimmerman on Solitude.

 image pending 185

ed that the signal was yours. In-
stantly her terrors and tumults were
controuled; yet the efforts that
brought back the appearance of se-
dateness were vehement. The mo-
tive that could conquer this dismay
must, indeed, have been powerful.
Terrified and confounded at what
I had done and witnessed; I rose
before your entrance, and retired
to my chamber.

No wonder that this new disco-
very astonished me: that I experi-
enced a sort of relapse of my dis-
ease, and passed a feverish night.
In the morning my heat and rest-
lessness somewhat subsided, and I
was able to review the incidents of
the last evening without disorder.

Here was darkness that I could
not penetrate. The name of Sel-
wyn had not been mentioned; but
a brother existed, or was imagined
to exist, whose presence inspired
terror, and this terror there was
reason to conceal from you. No
words can describe the tumult of
my thoughts and resolutions. I
was perplexed in a maze, from
which I longed, with unspeakable
ardour, for deliverance; but from
which the hope of extrication was
denied to me. I had rashly plung-
ed into the stream too far to reco-
ver my footing, or to withstand
the torrent that would bear me
away. I had shewn that I posses-
sed knowledge which would not
fail to be extorted from me; and
the effects of my disclosure it was
not possible to estimate.

I looked, each moment, for the
entrance of your wife, but she ap-
peared not. At length you came
to my chamber; and, among other
questions, I ventured to inquire
into her health. She was not well,
you said. She had passed a sleep-
less night. Something, you knew
not what, had greatly disquieted
her; but you hoped that to-morrow
would give her back her usual

Surely, thought I, her inquie-
tudes have arisen from the dia-
logue of last evening. Her hus-
band is a stanger to the cause. It
is possible that my construction of
appearances is just; but I am far
more likely to err. She will ima-
gine me, however, acquainted with
the truth. The consciousness of
this; the danger that her secret will
escape from me, and reach those
ears from which she has spent her
life in endeavouring to conceal it,
will subvert her peace, or tempt
her to despair, or lead her to an in-
terview with me that will put my
fortitude to too hard a test.

But what is my ground for these
surmises? Surely no supposition
is more wild, than that this is the un-
done and degraded woman whom
Haywood dishonoured, and her bro-
ther reported to be dead! If she
were, who can believe that the
truth is unknown to her husband?
that any veil has been thick enough
to hide these dreadful portions of
her history from him? It is utterly

I drew temporary comfort from
this reasoning; yet I looked for-
ward, with shuddering, to the mo-
ment of our next meeting. I ima-
gined to myself all that she would
feel; and, fearless of any injury or
accusation limited to myself, was
plunged into the most exquisite suf-
fering. I did not yet reason on the
subject: I did not weigh the rea-
sonableness of her griet or her ter-
ror: I did not inquire whether past
events ought to exercise an evil in-
fluence on her present thoughts:
whether former errors were not
compensated by present rectitude.
Much less did I speculate upon the
means of repairing the ills which
my rash or misjudging zeal might
occasion. I thought only on the
pangs which the detection of for-
mer offences, by the world or by
her husband, would produce.

What pity, I exclaimed, that I

 image pending 186

had not died before I entered this
house! That the benevolent exer-
tions of this woman have rescued
from the grave one to whom she
will owe the death of her hopes!
But the evil has not yet come. Let
me shun another interview by fly-
ing from this roof. Let me hide my-
self forever from their inquiry, in the
remoteness of the desert, and let
my fatal knowledge be buried with

This design was conceived in a
moment of imbecility. I gradually
retrieved my fortitude. Why,
said I, should I thus cherish a cow-
ardly distrust of my own steadfast-
ness? I shall shortly know the
truth. This woman will seek an
explanation. If she be deterred by
delusive apprehensions, or spurious
shame, it is my duty to unfold my
thoughts, and to quiet her fears that
her happiness will ever be subvert-
ed by me. Does she trust the per-
manence of her peace, her hus-
band's happiness and his love, to his
ignorance of her former condition?
Does she tremble lest my fatal inter-
ference may remove that igno-
rance? Her terrors are groundless.
I will never be such an enemy. I
will sew up my lips, I will cut out
my tongue, rather than betray the
secret. I will impart my resolu-
tion to her. I will know the truth
this moment.

What an idiot have I thus long
been! 'Tis well that I have to
plead the languors of sickness in
extenuation of my folly. I would
otherwise tear out this infirm heart.
I would hang up this frame, the
dwelling of a soul so contemptible,
to be parched by the northern
blasts—to be pecked at by vultures
and crows. I hear her. It is her
step. She is coming.

I was not deceived. She enter-
ed my chamber with faltering steps.
A deep melancholy was visible.
She did not look up, but placed
herself on a seat near me. She

came with a view to conversation;
but her feet would more readily
obey the impulse of her will than
her tongue. She was silent; and
would probably have been unable
to introduce the subject which oc-
cupied her mind, had we continued
together till the present hour. I
plucked up my courage, and ad-
dressed her thus:

“My friend, since last night my
hours have been full of disquiet. I
have been wavering between dif-
ferent schemes, and driven to and
fro by adverse resolutions. I de-
sired to promote your happiness,
but knew not by what means. The
contest is now at an end. I see
clearly the path which it is my duty
to take, and shall tread in it with

“I am acquainted with a man by
name Selwyn. Some years ago he
brought with him a stranger, whom
he introduced to his father and his
sister as his friend. This friend re
ided in the family; and, finally,
repaid the benefits which he receiv-
ed by the dishonour of that sister.
Shall I go on to act and to speak
as if that sister, whom her friends
imagined to have perished in indi-
gence and misery, is alive, and is
now before me?”

She struggled to speak, but her
words could not find utterance.
Her breast throbbed, and she look-
ed about her with wildness. At
length, a burst of tears came to her
relief, and she articulated with dif-
ficulty, “Go on: say all that you
have to say, that I may know the
utmost cruelty of my fate.”

“I have said all. You have only
to point out the path which your
dignity and happiness require me
to pursue, and I pledge my exist-
ence for the observance of it. I
know you to be virtuous, compas-
sionate, and good. Do I not hold
my life by your bounty, and shall
not that life be readily forfeited in
your cause? Impose upon me any

 image pending 187

task; you cannot impose upon me
any inconsistent with virtue, and
the task shall be performed.”

Her tears flowed with new vehe-
mence, but she spoke not. I con-

“Perhaps your calamity is not
known to the man who possesses
your hand and your heart. Perhaps
his ignorance, in this respect, is
deemed by you essential to your
happiness. Shall that ignorance be
prolonged? Is it in my power to
prolong it? If it be, the sentence
of eternal silence is passed, and
shall be observed.”

“Alas! your silence will avail
but little. What is known to you,
will be known, by similar means,
to others. It is vain to hope for
oblivion but in the grave. While
the author and witness of my shame
exist, the danger is perpetual and
imminent. I have lived long
enough a slave to foreboding and
terror. To pass another series of
two years, pursued by remorse and
alarm, is more than my nature will

“Henceforth your fears may be
dismissed, for the author is far away,
and the witness is—no more.”

“What!” she cried, “is my
brother—?” She was unable
to complete the sentence. I repeat-
ed, “Your brother is dead.”

She covered her face with her
hands, and gave vent to a burst of
grief, the most profound and im-
petuous, that I ever witnessed. At
length she was able to inquire when
and where his death took place.

“Selwyn died in New-York.
Three months has since scarcely

She looked at me with earnest-
ness: “You are sporting with my
grief. It is impossible.”

“I shall not labour to convince
you of my truth. If his eternal
silence will contribute to the safety
of your good name, and of your
conjugal happiness, it is thus far

safe. He will never more upbraid
you, or propagate the tale of your
dishonour. Haywood is the prey
of remorse. Your spectre pursues
him, and dashes with bitterness
every cup that he drinks; but he
prizes the esteem of mankind too
much to make himself the historian
of his own crimes.”

“How then came you to know

“The concurrence of events
rendered the confession of his mis-
deeds to me unavoidable. Accident
had put so much in my possession,
that he thought it needless to with-
hold the rest.”

“And thus,” she exclaimed,
“has it been with others. Thus
will it continue to be since he is
not dead; and what remains for me?
Where shall I find refuge? Who
will give comfort and counsel to
one thus forlorn?”

I thought it expedient to allow
free scope to her sorrow, and wait-
ed, in silence, till nature should be
exhausted, and the accents of com-
fort could be heard. After some
time, she said:

“How came it thus? None,
since the fatal hour when peace
and innocence fled from my bosom,
have partaken of my grief. I have
shunned the scrutiny of others. I
have treasured up my woes and
feasted on them alone. I have not
been supreme in misery as long as
disgrace and reproach have been
kept at a distance; and I imagined
that for a human creature to pene-
trate my sentiments, was to forfeit
that slender good that remained to

“Yet, this limit is past; and the
prop on which I leaned is gone!”

“The prop on which you leaned
was feeble, liable to be broken by
every blast, and unworthy of your
confidence; but it is not yet broken.
There is one, only, in the world
to whom your secret is known, and
why should you be terrified at his

 image pending 188

knowledge? It is not the sympa-
thy and reverence of mankind that
you hate, but their scorn and their
obloquy. You dread the disclosure
of the truth, because it will be fol-
lowed by contempt, not because it
will awaken a more ardent appro-
bation of your virtue, and a stronger
zeal for your welfare. The mis-
judging world, whose errors flow
from their ignorance, might deny
you its esteem; but I that know
you as you are, that know by what
illusions you were betrayed, that
know the extent of that expiation
which has been made, am bound
to you by stronger ties, am more
devoted to the cause of your happi-
ness than ever.”

“Ah! the reproaches of mankind
affect me not but as their truth is
acknowledged by my conscience.
My heart is my accuser, and tells
me that there is no punishment too
great for my transgression. I have
an husband whose peace depends
upon his ignorance of my guilt.
That ignorance has subsisted at the
mercy of a thousand chances. That
it has been prolonged till now, is
only a subject of wonder; but the
hour that reveals it to him, will be
the last of his joys—perhaps the
last of his life.” Here she again
relapsed into sorrow, too violent to
permit her either to speak or to

At first, my despondency was
scarcely less than her own, but at
length I began to question the cer-
tainty of that consequence which
she dreade. The first burst of this
knowledge on your mind, might be
expected to overwhelm all courage,
and prostrate all hope, but surely
this was a calamity not beyond the
reach of a cure. He that could
upbraid and detest this woman,
must be void of humanity. Most
of all must her husband have ab-
jured his understanding. He who
so thoroughly knew the excellence
of her heart, the purity of her pre-

sent deportment, the untaintedness
of her fidelity to him, the depth
and variety of that anguish which
her errors had produced, and which
made her ten-fold more exempt
from the possibility of falling from
her duty, than if she had never
fallen: what sentiments but pity,
forgiveness, and augmented tender-
ness, could find their way to his

When her grief could find words,
she dwelt upon the loss of your es-
teem as the fate that awaited her.
The censures of the world were
terrible. The miseries which she
had entailed upon her father and
brother, were ever fresh in her re-
membrance; but these were not
the last of evils. The bitterest of
all calamities was yet to come. Her
husband's happiness and life were
to be reserved for the last victims.
Till these were offered, she was not
an outcast of hope; forlorn and ir-
retrievably wretched; but too sure-
ly these would be offered.

I endeavoured to combat these
fears. I dwelt upon the equanimity
of your character. I dwelt upon
her claims to your compassion and
love; claims that the scorn of man-
kind, the loss of parents, and bro-
ther, and friends, could only tend
to enhance. That you should be
blind to her excellence, insensible
to the influence of compunction
and amendment to atone for past
errors; that these errors would be
otherwise regarded than as the illu-
sions of a powerful, but misguided
understanding; of a heart betrayed
by the mask of virtue, and by
stratagems which owed their success
to the confidence which is bred in
us by ignorance of mankind, and
freedom from suspicion, was im-

“Ah! my friend, you are de-
ceived. I know him better than
any other knows him. Think not
that slight obstacles would have
protracted my concealment till now.

 image pending 189

Think you that I have not weighed
well the motives of my conduct,
and that the miserable alternative
of secrecy was adopted upon insuf-
ficient grounds? No. I was not so
insensible of the hazards that beset
me. I was not so blind to the du-
ties of my condition.”

I still, however, insisted upon
the rectitude of a frank deportment;
on the pacability of your nature;
on the hazard that eternally hung
over you of hearing the truth, but
mangled by rumour, or distorted
by malice; on the wisdom of per-
forming a deed which could not be
prevented, though it might be de-
layed, and of exhausting its effects
as speedily as possible.

“I comprehend your distress,”
continued I; “you dread that the
tale you shall tell will be incoherent
and imperfect, even from your
lips. Your emotions will confuse
your thoughts, and embarrass your
utterance. This ought not to be,
but it cannot be cured by convic-
tion, and you therefore are unqua-
lified to be an advocate in such a
cause. Such are not my disqualifi-
cations. I am not born to shrink
from any province, to falter and
recoil from any task which justice
and necessity prescribe. Assign to
me the duty of contending with the
grief and despair of your husband.
Let me be the wall between his
wrath and your offences. I will
convey the horrid truth to his ears;
I will urge your claims to the con-
tinuance of his love and his esteem,
in terms which he cannot resist; I
will cling to his knees; I will wrest
from him the weapon which he
aims at his own life, or at yours;
I will root out his sorrow, and
bring him to your feet, to pour out
his forgiveness and renew his vows
of eternal affection.”

At these words she started on
her feet. “Good Heaven! whither
would you carry me? To ruin? I
charge you, by all the kindness I

have shewn to you, to hold your
peace: promise me eternal silence
upon this head, or I die at your
feet; I rid myself, by my own
hand, of life and all the evils which
it has entailed upon my head. I
know the guilt of self murder: I
know what I shall leave behind to
my unhappy child, and what I
shall meet in the state into which I
shall pass; but no matter, plight to
me your faith that you will not
disclose my shame to any human
being, or this night shall be the
last of my life.”

I was terrified by the distrac-
tion of her looks and manner, and
gave the promise she demanded.
Without your consent,” said I, “I
will impart nothing.” She comp-
elled me to repeat these words,
and even to swear that my silence
should never be broken.

Her tumults being somewhat
hushed by this assurance, she re-
lapsed into complaint of the cruelty
of her fate. I listened to those
effusions of her sorrow, because I
hoped that the very act of pouring
her distress into the ears of a friend,
would gradually alleviate it. This
was a privilege which hitherto she
had never known. Communica-
tion and sympathy are, perhaps, the
only sources of relief to a mind
sorely charged. Grief owes its
sting to the conviction of our own
guilt, and the notion that the world
is not only unanimous, but just, in
its condemnation. The removal
of this error is the revival of hope;
but as long as our woes are not par-
taken, and our self-accusations not
confuted by another, the error is
inveterate and fatal.

I could not fail to express my
wonder at her present situation. I
mentioned my belief of her death,
of the same belief adopted by her
family and Haywood, and asked
why she consented to marriage on
conditions so precarious as those of
the obscurity of her past life. How

 image pending 190

could her husband's curiosity have
been eluded or defeated as to her
true condition?

“I will hide from you nothing;
my story will enable you to esti-
mate the degree of my guilt, and
my penitence. It will make easy
your adherence to the oath that you
have taken, by shewing you the
necessity of conealment.

“I know not how far your
knowledge of my early life extends.
You talk to me of my father and
my brother; you know that I have
been betrayed. O! how little is
known to you! If you knew all,
you would not weep with me; you
would not talk to me in soothing
accents; you would view me with
abhorrence; you would deny my
claim to be treated as an human
being. No, I have undertaken an
impossible thing; I cannot, I must
not tell all.

“Perhaps.” said I emphatically,
“you underrate my knowledge.”

She looked at me wistfully, and
with a countenance of terror. “O!
no; what I did is known to no
human being but myself. Your
eye would scoul at me instead of
pitying; you would rush from a
house polluted by the residence of

“Pity for a wretch like me,
would argue the capacity of perpe-
trating equal horrors. It would
make you as detestable as I am in
my own eyes. Cannot you think?
Paint to yourself—a wife and a

Here her utterance was suffocated
by sobs. At length, recovering
from her anguish, she resumed:

“The days of my childhood were
screne. I knew no vicissitude but
from pleasure to pleasure. A
sportive prattler they called me, who
was never at peace. O that some
mortal disease had snatched me
from life at that happy age! That
such as I then seemed, was reserved
for the miseries that have since been

my lot! Till my mother's death,
when I was ten years old, I was
unacquainted with sorrow; but even
then, the traces of my tears quick-
ly vanished, and the tide of joyous
sensations re-visited my heart.

“I loved my brother—it is im-
possible to say how much. He
was older than I, my preceptor and
friend. He accompanied me in all
my walks—he read, he talked to
me. His purpose was to fit me for
performing a useful part in the
world, to inspire me with liberal
curiosity, to make me rational be-
yond the common reach of my sex.

“He doated on his sister: he
took no pride in any thing more
than in the proofs of my advance-
ment. I have seen his eyes glisten
on hearing my eulogy pronounced
by those whose suffrage was of
value. 'Why, yes,' he would say,
when listening to my praise, and
with a smile of ineffable compla-
cency, 'Mary, I must own, is a
good girl.'

O my brother! thou art dead,
and, no doubt, I am in some mys-
terious way, the author of thy fate.
Such has been the fruit of thy in-

“Time moved on smoothly till
I was eighteen years of age. Every
day added to my stores of know-
ledge, and to my brother's affec-
tion. My social sympathies were
active. I had numerous friends of
my own sex. I was the idol of my
father as well as of my brother.
He was a good old man, guileless
as infancy, prone to confidence and
love, and wrapping his existence
in the welfare of his children!

“At that age, a cousin of my
father's, a youth for whom he had
performed the duties of a guardian,
who had been some years in Europe
in pursuit of medical knowledge,
returned to Portsmouth. My father's
house was his home. He had been
brought up with me and my brother,
and our affection for him was equal

 image pending 191

in degree and in kind. I knew
him only as a brother, and treated
him as such.

“Alas! would to heaven I had
been to him no other than the ob-
ject of fraternal regards. He loved
me, but was unable to awaken, in
my bosom, the same sentiment.
He tendered his love; and God is
my witness with what heart-felt
grief I heard his confessions. My
feelings were incompatable with
his. There was no doubt as to their
nature or duration. That they
would not change, that I could
never be his wife without a for-
feiture of happiness, was my entire
and immoveable conviction.

“He entertained a different
opinion. He confided in the influ-
ence of time and assiduties to win
my heart. Knowing me to be un-
prepossessed, he trusted to that his
ultimate success. It was in vain
to assure him of my own belief;
to assert the privilege of knowing
myself better than another could
know me; and to supplicate his
forbearance. Love, he said, was
the growth of esteem and gratitude.
It was akin to pity; and these sen-
timents, he knew, existed in my
heart; and would, finally, give
place to love. Not contented with
his own efforts, he called to his aid
those of my brother.

“I was accustomed to make my
brother's judgment the criterion of
my actions. I modelled myself by
no consideration but that of securing
his esteem. I hoped that he would
see the reasonableness of my con-
duct, and assist me in contending
with the headlong passions of my
lover; but I was deceived. For the
first time my conduct excited his
regret, and he censured me for
folly and caprice.

“No words can describe my
mortification and dismay. I was
heart-broken by his reproaches, and
prone to doubt of the clearest evi-
dence when in opposition to his

verdict. That I ought to love him
whom my brother deemed worthy
of my love, had been fostered as
the most incontestible of truths.
In my juvenile reveries, I had fre-
quently looked forward to wedlock,
but it recurred to my thoughts
merely as enabling me to reduce
my brother's precepts to practice,
and affording the opportunity of
proving my docility and gratitude.
I could not deny the intellectual
and moral excellence of Colmer:
that love should have no other basis
than esteem, was the sum of my
creed as well as of his; but such
was the perverseness of my heart,
the depravity of my imagination,
that while the claims of Colmer
were seen to be just, my aversion
to admit them was invincible.

“I was the prey of the most
acute anguish. I felt that to be re-
jected and despised by my brother,
was an evil not to be endured; I
felt that I deserved his contempt;
but still my indifference would not
forsake me; and, what was worse,
the conviction would not be sus-
pended or outrooted that this indif-
ference would continue for ever.

“Finding me refractory in this
respect, my brother urged me to
accept his friend, notwithstanding
my indifference. He pleaded the
merits of that friend, the fervour of
his passion, the benefits to mankind
and his family flowing from Col-
mer's talents, provided they were
not blasted in the bud. At present,
his activity was at an end, his life
itself was endangered by his disap-
pointment. A wasting disease had
already begun its progress in his
frame. His mother and his sisters
beheld this progress, which was to
bereave them of protection and sub-
sistence; they knew to whom it
was ascribable. His mother was a
second parent to me, his sisters
were my friends. Their tears, their
silence, their frantic apprehensions
upbraided my cruelty. Still, such

 image pending 192

was my deep aversion to marriage
void of love, that I hesitated; I wept,
indeed; the pleasures of existence
became tasteless and wearisome; I
desired to die, but my intractable
soul refused to make the sacrifice
that was demanded, till Colmer
was reduced to a sick bed; till my
brother vowed eternal resentment
on my incompliance: with tears,
with forebodings, with heartburst-
ing sighs, I decked myself in bri-
dal ornaments, and purchased the
peace of others at the price of my

“I found some consolation in wit-
nessing the joy which my acquies-
cence diffused. I studied to con-
form my wishes to necessity, and,
if happiness were beyond my reach,
at least to secure content. My
husband's health made it useful to
make a voyage to sea, and try the
influences of a tropical winter. My
brother, shortly after my nuptials,
embarked for Europe. He return-
ed in company with one, who took
up his abode in my father's house.

“The stranger was made an ob-
ject of kindness and attention. To
this, not only his general merits
seemed to entitle him, but a pen-
sive reserve, a musefulness, that
studied to screen itself from obser-
vation, and bespoke some latent
sorrow, enhanced his title to com-
passion and respect. I delighted in
making others happy. My sym-
pathy was particularly active for
this man. I noted him in all his
wandering; thought and spoke of
him when absent, and pondered on
the best means of diverting his dejec-
tion I tried to engage him in dis-
course. I proposed employments
and excursions whose tendency was
to amuse. When he smiled, when
his zeal engaged him in earnest
talk, when he manifested satisfac-
tion at the prospect of a visit, or
declared himself pleased after an
excursion, I congratulated myself
on the success of my efforts, and

acquired resolution to persist in

“My anxiety on his account,
was at length observed by him. It
seemed to produce gratitude; and
his respect for me, his deference
for my capacity, his attachment
to my company became more visi-
ble. He dwelt in the same house,
and my brother was set out on a
new voyage. Hence his attendance
on me, in my walks and visits, was
more frequent, as well as our un-
witnessed interviews at home.

“Much of his time was spent in
reading. His books were generally
such as suited my taste. They
abounded with instruction, from
which I continually acquired new
light, and our mutual circumstan-
ces allowed him to rehearse them to
me. His utterance was in the
highest degree proper and empha-
tic, and conferred new energies
and graces on all that he read. I
listened and found no satiety. I re-
gretted when the book was finished,
and intreated him to begin again. If
the sentiments and language were
sufficiently imprinted on my me-
mory, his tones and looks, while
thus employed, afforded a new and
exquisite gratification. His absence
left me in languor and impatience:
the topics of our conversation were
renewed. I mused on all that he
had said or done during our latest
interview, and alleviated the an-
guish of reflecting that they were
past, by looking forward to the
meeting of to-morrow.

“In this state of things it was
impossible that proofs of confidence
should not be mutually exchanged.
I dwelt upon all the incidents of my
life with candour and minuteness.
I explained the state of my feelings
with regard to my brother and my
husband. I avowed my approba-
tion of what I had done. I had
chosen, among many evils, the least;
and my choice had given me, not
indeed felicity, but content.

 image pending 193

“He praised the rectitude of my
conduct, dwelt upon the value of
sacrifices made to duty, upon the
selfishness and infatuation of what is
called love, upon the sufficiency of
mere intellectual intercourse to im-
part all the benefit and pleasure
which a rational being can know.

“There were many points on
which I had meditated with some
care, and on which I had formed
opinions for myself. I was highly
pleased to discover a conformity in
these respects between my friend
and me. With the rest of the world
I disagreed, and this disagreement
precluded an entire union of affec-
tions between me and any of my
ancient friends. While pondering
upon these topics, I acquired the
utmost fervour of conviction, and
I glowed with the love of that ex-
cellence which my reason investi-
gated and acknowledged; but when
I looked upon mankind, I saw none
who reasoned and decided like my-
self. Hence dissatisfaction crept
into my heart. A sort of uneasiness
arose, coupled with doubt of the
truth of opinions, which so many
whose impartiality and penetration,
in general, were great, had reject-
ed. I felt as if nothing was want-
ing to certainty but the concurrence
of one whose judgment I respect-
ed. The approbation of the whole
world, or of a great number, I
could dispense with, provided th
sympathy and co-decision of one
were granted me.

“I had inferred, from my uni-
form experience, that it was vain
to search for an human being whose
taste and opinions were like mine,
but now this similitude was found
in as absolute a degree as I was able
to conceive. I cannot describe my
emotions upon this discovery. For
the first time in my life I tasted
happiness. My being seemed to
be newly fashioned, my soul to
imbibe a double portion of intelli-
gence. Instead of barren content

I found myself reserved for rapture.
The friend who had hitherto exist-
ed a creature of my reveries and
wishes, was embodied, brought to
me by some auspicious fate, from
a distance, and placed within the
sphere of mutual knowledge and

“There was nothing in my situ-
ation to damp my enjoyments. I
was conscious of no criminal or
wayward thought. My heart was
satisfied because it was full. My
actual engagements were recalled to
memory with the same emotions as
formerly; or, rather, I had reason
to regard them with more compla-
cency. The void in my bosom I
had formerly imagined could only
be filled by love, but now was my
mistake rectified. To think of our
guest as the lover or husband of
another, gave me no anxiety. To
think that a bar existed by which a
closer union between us was ren-
dered impossible, excited no re-
gret. The existence of a passion,
purified from the impulses of sense,
I conceived to be now verified by
my own experience.

“The apprehensions of different
sentiments in my friend were re-
moved. He loved, but the object
of his passion was dead. This love
continued, and would never sub-
side, would never give place to a
new devotion, would never ab-
solve him from a vow of eternal ce-
libacy. He was contented with
the enjoyments of friendship. In
me he discovered properties more
similar to his own than in any be-
ing but her whom death had se-
vered from him. He rejoiced that
my hand was possessed by another,
because this circumstance preclud-
ed all misconstructions: it added
still more strength to the motives
which forbade him to regard me in
any light but that of a rational
being, whose feelings of attach-
ment or aversion were uninfluenced
by sex.

 image pending 194

“My husband's character was
distinguished by probity and know-
ledge. Conscious of my purity,
recollecting the conditions of our
union, and determined to make
him the witness and arbiter of all
my sentiments and actions, I dread-
ed not any evil to him, or any im-
pediment to my intercourse with
Haywood from his notions of de-
corum or right.

“Thus did the hours pass. Hay-
wood's gloom vanished, or it re-
visited him only in moments of so-
litude. He became sprightly in
demeanour, and fluent in discourse.
All the powers of his mind seem-
ed to expand as under a more ge-
nial temperature. He did not
scruple to ascribe this propitious
change to my influence, and hence
I derived new topics of congratula-

“This serenity lasted not long.
Gradually, my friend contracted
an air of pensiveness and discon-
tent, but he was as much devoted to
my company as ever. He was no
less unreserved in his communica-
tions. He was equally attentive to
the injunctions of decorum. In
moments of the most unbounded
confidence and sacred seclusion, he
never treated me but with personal
respect, and invariable sedateness
of manners. Indeed, I will con-
fess, that, in this respect, he was
more austere than my reason or my
inclination required. I asked no
more reserve from him than was
practised by my brother, or my
female friends, and I saw no reason
why I should be satisfied with less.
If our emotions with regard to
each other were precisely the same,
why should particular restraints be

Hence, indeed, arose the first
interruption to my quiet. Com-
paring his deportment with that
which my own heart prompted,
and of those whose sex or affinity
took away all doubt as to the nature

of their love, I perceived an un-
acceptable difference. I imputed
this difference to coldness. This
imputation he repelled by new ar-
dour of professions, by appealing
to the hours which he spent in my
society, and to the proofs of confi-
dence which his behaviour conti-
nually afforded. Methought the in-
ference was irresistable, and yet,
while my understanding was con-
vinced, my heart doubted.

“Infatuated girl! How lightly
didst thou tread upon the brink of
perdition! How ingenious wast thou
in entangling thyself and thy friend
in inextricable ruin! I looked into
my own heart, but saw nothing to
condemn. Not a spot adhered to
my integrity. I was conscious of
no evil. I was trained in no school
of duplicity and stratagem. The
consciousness of rectitude I thought
would bear me up against the cen-
sures of the world, but sentiments
so blameless as mine would forever
shield me from that censure.

“I am almost ashamed to con-
fess the urgency with which I sought
those tokens of tenderness which
were adapted to precipitate his ruin.
In my guileless apprehension, they
could not be bestowed too liberally.
To withhold them was a proof of the
want of affection, or argued an
affection that was not legitimate;
that annexed more importance to
this privilege than it merited, and
that was conscious of improper
tendencies. I could not acquiesce
in any other conclusion.

“Instead, however, of comply-
ing with my wishes, in this respect,
he became more pensive and muse-
ful. He talked less during our in-
terviews; these interviews were
shorter and less frequent. His bloom
and his health rapidly decayed. He
immured himself for days in his
chamber, and admitted my visits
not without objections and reluc-
tance. I urged him to explain the
cause of this change. For a time,

 image pending 195

he obstinately denied the reality of
any change in his health, and as-
cribed the revolution in his manners
to caprice, to chance, to some
cause beyond his power and incli-
nation to explain.

“When his indisposition had
made such progress as to make it no
longer questionable, he denied ad-
mittance to a physician. He was
sensible of no pain. His joints
were feeble, and his frame emaci-
ated, but all his functions were re-
gular. He ate sparingly, and slept
as usual. His thoughts were mourn-
ful and dejected; but he could not
explain the cause that made his
thoughts run in one channel more
than another.

“His generous artifice was, for a
time, successful; but in the agony
of my fears, on his account—in my
incessant meditations on the cause
of this evil, I could not fail of
lighting, at length, upon the true
conjecture. It was too dreadful
not to make me eager to banish sus-
pense, and ascertain the truth. I
besought an interview, and explain-
ed to him my fears. He strove in
vain to hide his secret from my
scrutiny, to elude my interrogations,
or repulse my entreaties. He was
the prey of an hopeless passion, of
which my malignant destiny had
made me the object.

“This detection opened my eyes
to the horrors that environed me.
I beheld a youth of unrivalled ex-
cellence, tarnished, and withered,
and hurried to the grave, by a malady
to which my temerity and infatua-
tion had given birth, but to which
I was utterly disabled from ad-
ministering a cure. I was bound
to another by inviolable obligations.
The place which nature and reason
had intended for Haywood was
pre-occupied by another. He was
sinking before my eyes, but the
hand that might have snatched him
from the billows was constrained

by bonds which no human force
could break.

“It was never to be shut from my
mind, that my fatal enchantments
had seduced him into this snare. I
had designed no evil, was wholly
unaware of any hurtful tendency in
the conduct which I had pursued;
but this persuasion availed nothing
to rescue me from terror, or blunt
my remorse. Now that the effect
was produced, I regarded, with pro-
found astonishment, the blindness
that had so long been inattentive to
its approach. The tokens of the
truth were now remembered or
imagined to have been incessant and
palpable. My own efforts were
now seen to have had no tendency
but to infuse this venom. I had
sported in the flowery path, though
every step was beset with adders;
and my senses were recalled from
their trance, not till my progress
was irrevocable, and to turn back
was no longer in my power.

“I accused myself to Haywood.
I poured forth floods of tears, and
vowed not to survive him. To
this self-upbraiding and despair, he
always roused himself to the most
tender and pathetic opposition. He
absolved me from all censure, and
imputed his calamity to his own
perverse fate—to his incaution and
folly. It was his province to have
supplied the want of foresight in
me; to have fled from the danger
when its first approaches were des-
cried: whereas, he had lingered till
flight was impossible or useless.

“He was the most guilty and un-
fortunate of human beings. He had
lived in defiance and contempt of
his duty; had trampled on the claims
of gratitude and service, which
his friends, his country, and man-
kind had urged upon him. Indo-
lence had eaten away the root of eve-
ry virtue, subjected him to poverty
and ignominy in his native country,
and had accompanied him to his new

 image pending 196

abode. In vain had he struggled
to shake off its chains: for every
struggle, by being unsuccessful, had
only added to their number and

“It was time to die. Longer life
would only multiply his crimes, and
aggravate his infamy. Life was, in-
deed, only to be purchased by con-
ditions which would make the bur-
then of existence intolerable; which
would heap calamity on all those
whom he had most reason to love,
and chiefly on me, whom he deemed
the purest and most excellent of
human creatures, and for the sake
of whose peace he would cheerful-
ly die a thousand deaths.

“It was vain for me to importune
or mourn. No efforts of mine
would postpone the inevitable hour:
and, instead of desiring its post-
ponement, I ought to exult in its
swift approach. My peace and ho-
nour were in hazard: his death
alone would purchase their safety;
and, to purchase it, he hastened to
death with more alacrity than bride-
groom ever hastened to the arms of
his bride.

“Such was the usual strain of
his discourse, to which I listened
with heart-breaking anguish. I be-
lieved that I knew this man. I
knew him to be inslaved by a thou-
sand errors; but these errors were
the growth of an unhappy educa-
tion: they were productive of in-
cessant compunction: there was a
species of discipline efficacious to
his cure; and I had fondly hoped,
that heaven had appointed me the
minister of this cure. I knew his
virtues as well as his faults, and
perceived them to transcend, by far,
the elevation of any of those whom
I had previously known—to be
such as fitted him for the instructor
and delighter of mankind. Should
such an one perish, in the bloom of
his age, and I remain, to whom
alone his disastrous and premature
fate was to be imputed?

“My heart was rent; my tears
flowed without remission; solitude
and darkness, my chamber and the
night were witnesses of my agony;
the conflict of arguments, and fears,
and hopes; the eternal warfare of
those principles which forbad me,
on the one hand, to destroy Hay-
wood and myself;—for our fates
were not to be dissevered; the same
hour should witness both our deaths,
and the same grave open to receive
us:—or, on the other, to blast the
felicity of Colmer; to overwhelm
my father and brother with horror
and grief; to bring upon myself
eternal obloquy, the loss of reputa-
tion, the tears of my friends, and the
scoffs of the world. Such was the
terrible, yet unavoidable alterna-
tive. Such was the fruit of my
brother's well-meant cruelty—of
the obstinate devotion of my hus-
band—of the incurable infatuation
of Haywood—of the irrevocable
decree which made me the wife,
which consecrated my person and
affection to one to whom I was in-

“That was my first crime. To
have yielded my hand, contrary to
all the dictates of my heart; to vow
eternal affection where none was
felt; to devote my thoughts and
services to one for whom I felt no
sympathy; who claimed, indeed,
my reverence for the probity of his
intentions, and the depth of his ca-
pacity, and the amplitude of his
knowledge; but whose heart an-
swered not to the pulsations of this
heart, whose conceptions of the
beautiful and the just were invinci-
bly repugnant, whose employments
and amusements were void of all
resemblance to mine. That was
my offence, from which every sub-
sequent calamity has flown; which
has cut me off from all activity and
usefulness; which has made me the
assassin of Haywood, and my own
murderer. O, my brother! to thee
am I indebted for that guilt. Into

 image pending 197

whatever gulph of death, or infamy,
or poverty, my desperate footsteps
may bear me, at thy door shall I
lay the charge of being my de-
stroyer; on thy conscience will the
guilt of my blood rest.

“O! how blest are they whose
conduct is exempt from parental or
fraternal dominion; who are suf-
fered to consult the dictates of their
reason, and are not driven, by im-
perious duties, to the sacrifice of in-
dependence, the abjuration of liber-
ty, and the death of honour!

“But to look back, to deplore
the irremediable past, will avail me
nothing. The toils are closed upon
me: my dungeon is completed, and
escape is only possible by two a-
venues; both lead into the midst of
horrors and perils; either is abun-
dant in evil, and I am terrified to
madness by the consequences that
will follow each; but the choice
must be made. The ruin of my fa-
ther's peace, of my brother's hopes,
of my husband's happiness; the loss
of fame and of friendship; exile
from my father's house, are the
evils which my spirit must endure,
if the life of Haywood deserves to
be saved; and these evils I will
courageously encounter, and cheer-
fully sustain, for his sake.

“Such was the dreadful result of
many days and nights of medita-
tion. My resolution being form-
ed, I hastened to impart it to my
friend. He listened with a faint
smile. 'Heroic woman,' said he,
'how thou over-ratest the deserv-
ings of the wretch before thee! Thou
wouldst fly with him from this
scene! Thou wouldst loose thy
hold on all that is dear to the heart
of woman for his sake! Thou
wouldst entrust thy happiness to
his spontaneous fidelity! Thou
wouldst share with him his naked-
ness, his famine, his obscurity!
Alas! inconstant, cowardly, and
feeble as I am, there are limits
which I cannot overstep. No, re-

main in the bosom of thy father,
thy brother, and thy husband. Che-
rish thy untainted honour, and thy
devoted friends. To accept thy of-
fer is no matter of desire; to refuse
it is no cause of hesitation. I have
gathered up all my wishes and
views, and concentered them in a
speedy and quiet death.'

“I urged my proposal anew. I
combated his scruples with en-
treaties and arguments; but all were
ineffectual. His a version to a scheme
by which I should produce such
extensive mischiefs to those whom
my duty taught me to love, and
mischiefs to myself which no inci-
dental good could out-balance, was
not to be subdued.

“One alternative remained. My
continuance in my present condi-
tion, my father's approbation, my
brother's love, my husband's re-
verence, my own good name, were
not already forfeited. I was adored
by Haywood: I loved the proofs
of his affection and his confidence,
which he delighted to bestow. To
watch his features, to be greeted by
his smiles, to study the improve-
ment of his understanding and his
fortune, was all that my heart, form-
ed for sympathy and tenderness, re-
quired. Of these I was not asham-
ed. They were incompatible with
no conjugal duty. I avowed and
exulted in my wishes, and none
surely would calumniate or censure
them. If they did, calumny and
censure, by being unmerited, af-
fected me not.

“But this, alas! was not suffi-
cient. My friend languished, and
perished. He was consumed by
unsatisfied desires. Not contented
with the homage of my understand-
ing and my heart, he sought for that,
the gift of which, if known, would
blot my name, awaken enmity in
all that loved me, and bring down
inexpiable vengeance on the head
of my seducer.

Let me not repeat the sophistries

 image pending 198

—exhibit again the illusions which
bewildered me—which did not be-
get opinion, or terminate in belief;
which did not successfully contend
with all the impressions of my edu-
cation; which did not hinder me
from shuddering at the name of
adultress; which did not blind me
to the hazards and consequences of
detection; make me callous to the
stings of self-reproofs; hide from
me the deformities and hatefulness
of falsehood;—prolific of terror, in-
volving in its train a thousand stra-
tagems, humiliations and iniquities,
and sure, at last, to be unmasked;
counteracted; baffled; punished.

“No! while I tumultuously re-
flected on the wrongs that I had
suffered from my brother's cruelty
and my husband's pertinaciousness;
while I sought to load them with
the guilt of every deviation from
rectitude to which their fatal ob-
stinacy had given birth; while I la-
boured to extenuate the crime, and
exaggerate the ease of concealment;
to reduce to nothing the moral ten-
dencies, and intrinsical importance,
of the gift that was exacted from
me; and assiduously to meditate the
benefits resulting from dishonour,
I came no nearer to decision. My
irresolution forsook me not. The
reluctances that barred up my pas-
sage afforded not a momentary to-
ken of yielding.

“No reasonings and no fears
could annihilate the woman in my
breast; out-root from my constitu-
tion the materials of duty, the laws
of my sex, the instinct of decorum,
the powers and habits which recoil-
ed, with mechanical necessity, from
the part of solicitress, to any but
mental intercourse. Yet such was
the part which my fate had assign-
ed me. Haywood was only to be
won to existence and happiness by
supplication from me!

“I had brought myself to offer
him my company in flight and exile,
but this had been rejected. I could

endure every consequence of separa-
tion from my family, but not the
making the inmate of their bosom
and partaker of their confidence, a
liar and dissembler; the eternal wea-
ver of frauds; dressing her coun-
tenance in deceitful smiles; lavish-
ing caresses on the man she betray-
ed; and practising tricks and sub-
terfuges to gain, or prolong, or con-
ceal her interviews with another.
To this, no impulse of passion, no
cogency of eloquence, could gain
my assent.

“Alas! my fate was determined
not in the moment of exertion, but
of slumber. My reason, weary of
its fruitless efforts and contests, had
yielded place to an interval of pre-
cious and rare repose. The apart-
ment was darkened by curtains,
that the heat, as well as light, might
be excluded. I had parted with my
friend in expectation of taking a
short journey; but my time of set-
ting out being by some accident
postponed, I withdrew to my cham-
ber, and threw myself upon a sofa
to indulge my wonted reveries. In
this situation sleep stole upon my

“Meanwhile, Haywood, seizing
the opportunity of my absence, re-
solved to end my conflicts and his
own, by withdrawing from the
house and the country. He wrote
a letter containing the reasons of his
conduct and his last adieus. This
he designed to leave upon my toilet;
and, for that end, came softly to
my chamber, which he reasonably
imagined to be vacant.

“That was the crisis of my fate.
I must not dwell upon the tumults
of surprise in my own heart; the
tremours that, in spite of virtue,
disabled me from flying or resisting;
that lulled my reason, and that of
my betrayer, into an oblivion long
enough to put our mutual destruc-
tion beyond the reach of prevention
or recal. I must not dwell upon
the remorses and humiliations that

 image pending 199

ensued. To what end would they

“I am not anxious to extenuate
my guilt or aggravate my calamity,
by recalling the detestable series of
sensations that followed. That
event, on which I did not reflect
till the reflection was too late to
save me, came at length to open
my eyes. Add to this, intelligence
that Haywood was already married,
and had a wife alive, and preparing
to come to New-Hampshire and
claim her privileges. My brother
and my husband were likewise ex-
pected to return.

“To dwell upon my flight from
my father's house, the agony at-
tending the untimely birth of my
offspring, the indigence and dangers
I encountered in my banishment
from home, and my intercourse with
strangers, my obscure abode in
Ridgefield, a remote village in Con-
necticut, where I owed my subsist-
ence to my labour, my reputation
to my change of name and the ig-
norance of my neighbours respect-
ing my true condition; to recount
the watchful nights devoted to re-
membrance of my infantile and
youthful days, the images of my as-
sociates and friends, of my brother,
my venerable parent, and my un-
fortunate husband; to terrible con-
jectures as to the consequences of
my disappearance, and keen regrets
for the fate that prolonged my life
only to accumulate my despair: to
detain you by so long and so
mournful a narration, would be

“That grief is of no enormous
kind which permits the sufferer to
live, which does not prompt him
to seek the quiet which the grave
will bestow. This refuge, the af-
fection of my neighbours denied
me. After some time, by means
needless to be mentioned now, I
gained a knowledge of the effect
which the detection of my guilt and
my flight produced on my family.

I will not paint the scene. Your
hairs would uprise, and my heart
would bleed to death in attempting
the recital. The news dissipated,
in a moment, that torpor into which
months of repose and security, of
ignorance and solitude, had plunged
me. I rushed to the river's brink,
and endeavoured to extinguish my
woes with my being.

“My purpose was suspected,
my track was pursued, my breath-
less corpse was dragged from the
river time enough to be restored to
life. The disappointment of my
purpose made me moody and sullen.
They guarded me, in the belief that
I was a lunatic; and a second at-
tempt to perish, by strangling my-
self with a cord, was, in like man-
ner, frustrated by those whose un-
bought benevolence made them
watchful of my conduct.

“Two years passed away in a
gloomy reverie. Joy was flown
from my heart, smiles from my
lips. I lost the desire of society;
the power of speech was grown dif-
ficult by disuse. While I lived, I
procured subsistence by my needle;
but this was my whole employment.
When the edge of bitter remem-
brance was somewhat blunted, I
admitted, sparingly, the consolations
of society and books. The dejec-
tion and dreariness of my thoughts
were insensibly alleviated, and ex-
istence ceased to be a burthen, of
which I was impatient.

“In this state of things he who
is now my husband came to the vil-
lage as a visitant. He sought my
obscure dwelling, introduced him-
self to my acquaintance, offered me
his books, solicited permission to
attend me in my walks, to sit with
me while busy with my needle, to
amuse my toil by rehearsing the
poets and historians with whom he
was familiar.

“I was become habituated to so-
litude and musing, and underwent
a sort of violence in yielding to his

 image pending 200

wishes. My acquiescence was dif-
ficult, ungracious and slow. I im-
mured myself in my chamber, and
refused to be seen when he called at
my lodgings; I walked out at dif-
ferent hours from those to which I
had been used, and deviated from
my customary tracks, in order to
avoid meeting with him.

“He was not disheartened by
my coldness and reserve; and, at
length, I began to rebuke myself for
ingratitude and incivility, and no
longer raised impediments to our
intercourse. Shortly I began to de-
rive pleasure from his visits. When
they were intermitted, I felt some
degree of dejection and impatience;
and his discourse awakened a cheer-
fulness to which I had, during se-
veral years, been a stranger. While
rehearsing the strains of the drama-
tist and poet, the memory of simi-
lar scenes, in which Haywood had
been an actor, was revived, and
called forth tears not unpleasurable.

“This man was, indeed, widely
different, in character and person,
from Haywood. I need not men-
tion to you, who know him, his
noble and expressive features, his
eye beaming with benevolence and
vivacity, his refinement of taste and
variety of knowledge. His deport-
ment was tender and pathetic, but
was untinctured by that impatience
and moroseness which flow from
compunctious recollections and un-
satisfied wishes. He pursued no
sinister ends, treasured up no illicit
wishes, and contemplated no con-
sequence but the cheering of my
hours, and the promotion of my

“He was a native of Ridgefield.
His parents and sisters resided there.
I knew them well, and had been
the object of their sympathy and
kindness. His youthful deport-
ment, his education, and his cha-
racter, had often been the subjects
of their talk, and of that of others,
with whom I conversed. There

was nothing but gracefulness and
beauty in their portraits, nor were
the expectations which they had
taught me to form at all disappoint-
ed or confuted by my own observa-

“It was impossible to withhold
complacency and gratitude from this
man. That I should be the object
of his disinterested kindness was
a motive for self-approbation. I
sometimes reflected on the happi-
ness that might have been obtained
by me, if such an one as this had
been allotted to me instead of Col-
mer or Haywood. This reflection
drew deep sighs from my heart; and
that which, at first, had imparted
pleasure, now augmented the sense
of my forlornness.

“Conjugal sympathies and du-
ties—the union of hearts, and opi-
nions, and efforts—the smile of off-
spring—the gratulation of friends—
the esteem of the world—were
goods of which I was irretrievably
bereft; but, till I knew Moles-
worth, was less acutely sensible of
their value, and deplored, with less
violence of passion, their loss.

“His visit lasted some months.
He then returned to this city, where
he proposed to settle as a physician.
He solicited my correspondence,
which I had no reason to decline.
Our intercourse, in this way, was
frequent, and unfolded new excel-
lencies in my friend. He confided
to me his schemes of benevolence
and fortune without reserve, and
addressed himself to me as to one
whose intergrity was worthy of im-
plicit reliance, and whose council
might enable him to shun the pits
and quicksands to which his safety
was exposed in the midst of a luxu-
rious city.

“On my own adventures I ob-
served a profound and timorous si-
lence. Though conscious how lit-
tle my genuine character deserved
his respect, yet I valued it too
much to forego it by a voluntary

 image pending 201

act. I was ingenious in inventing
apologies for my concealment; but
they, doubtless, originated in my
owardice. I was loath to relin-
quish my present abode, which ha-
bit had endeared to me, in which
the means of subsistence had now
become regular and permanent, and
where I was, at least, exempt from
the mortifications of neglect and
contumely. To disclose the truth
to Molesworth would, I imagined,
instantly convert his esteem into
abhorrence and contempt: he would
hasten to unfold my infancy to his
sisters and friends. I should be cast
from their exasperated bosoms—
driven from my sweet asylum—and
compelled, once more, to encounter
the vicissitudes and dangers attend-
ant on the search of a new abode.
These were evils, at the thought of
which I shuddered, and to which
my fortitude was wholly unequal.

“After a year's absence, Moles-
worth returned. Weary of the tur-
bulence and vices of the city, and
disappointed in the hopes which
he had formed of professional em-
ployment, he resolved to take up
his abode in his native town. Our
ancient intercourse was renewed
with more complacency and fre-
quency than ever. At length he
proposed himself to me as a lover.

“This proposal produced the
most violent and ambiguous emo-
tions. My penetration had slept
till the moment of disclosure, when
I opened my eyes as from a trance,
and was overpowered with asto-
nishment. That the mournfulness
and seclusion of my manners, the
obscurity which hung over my early
life, and the dubiousness that must
thence have been reflected on my
real character, did not preclude
such views, in a mind so cautious
and enlightened, was scarcely cre-
dible. But whatever were his modes
of judging, and whatever apologies
for former errors he discovered in
the blameless and diligent tenour

of my life, during my abode at
Ridgefield, I could not hesitate in
what manner to decide. To take
advantage of his ignorance, his
compassion, or his candour; to
give to his arms a being polluted
with the foulest stains that can ad-
here to humanity, would be an
outrage upon duty not less heinous
than those which I had formerly
committed. The embarrassment
accruing from the situation in which
I was placed—the necessity of hid-
ing the true motives of my dissent
—the danger of incurring the im-
putation of caprice, folly and in-
gratitude, of insensibility or disdain,
was ended by his impetuosity. My
decision being precipitately sought,
and my pleas for deliberation and
delay impetuously repulsed, I was
obliged to declare my resolution,
without assigning my motives.

“His affliction was proportioned
to his disappointment. For a time
he acquiesced in my resolves, but
remitted none of his benevolent at-
tentions and services. At length,
however, he renewed the subject,
and besought me to explain the
reasons of my procedure. He laid
open all his own heart—he traced
the origin of our acquaintance, and
the progress of his passion—he
shewed the reasons on which it was
built, the steps by which it attained
to maturity, the immutable founda-
tion of his esteem, the long, and
intimate, and steadfast observation
which he had exercised upon my
conduct, and the hopes of future
happiness which he had thence de-
rived from union with me—hopes
which he had cherished too long,
which he had reared on too rational
a basis, to abandon but with his

“I viewed this man with emo-
tions widely different from those
with which I had been used to re-
gard Colmer. That sympathy of
views, that conformity of opinions
and habits, which was wanting to

 image pending 202

the latter, were fully possessed by
my new friend. I perceived that
he was entitled to my whole heart,
and that the sole obstacle to our al-
liance consisted in my worthless-
ness. Judge, then, with what an-
guish I must have reflected on this
obstacle, which ages of remorse
would not obliterate, which no time
would lessen or remove, and which
cut me off from such varied and
abundant felicity; which not only
placed happiness beyond my reach,
but made me instrumental in the
misery of one whose excellences
were so transcendent and rare.

“It was impossible, in the full
career of my feelings, to hide from
him the state of my affections. This
discovery gave new ardour to his
hopes, new edge to his curiosity,
new vigour to his perseverance. I
confessed that I was bound by no
matrimonial obligations to another;
that no duty required me to seek
the approbation to my choice of
kindred or friends; that I was not
influenced by the false refinements
of pride, generated by reflection on
the poverty of my condition and
obscurity of my birth; that wedlock
was a state to which I looked as the
fountain of every joy, and the thea-
tre of every virtue; that his charac-
ter, his person, his family, his resi-
dence, his profession and fortune,
were all such as my reason and my
heart fondly and ardently approved.
Still, however, there existed an im-
pediment which no time would re-
move, and which was created by
the incidents of my life, previous to
my abode in this town.

“He enumerated all possible
causes that could produce this ef-
fect; and, at length, extorted from
me the confession, that the sense of
faultiness formerly contracted—the
persuasion that my mind was dis-
qualified, by imbecility and vice,
to associate with his, was the true
cause of my reluctance. This in-
timation affected, in no degree, his

wishes. He applauded the delicacy
of my scruples—inferred, from their
duration and strength, the untaint-
edness of my heart. I might, per-
haps, have been drawn aside, by
momentary impulse or passion,
from the path of virtue; but my
remorse, and the blamelessness of
my deportment, during the years
that he had witnessed it, evinced the
undepraved rectitude of my princi-
ples, and constituted a sufficient ex-
piation for any guilt which an hu-
man being could contract. He did
not seek my confidence farther than
it had already been bestowed. I
was at liberty to hide from him my
juvenile adventures. He was not
anxious for my vindication from
any charge which the malice or
misapprehension of the world might
bring against me. He had no sur-
mises to remove, or suspicions to
confute. He was satisfied with the
knowledge which his own senses
had collected, and looked no fur-
ther for evidence of my integrity,
and sureties for the happiness of
union with me.

“On this topic my friend's elo-
quence was earnest and pathetic.
While listening to his arguments, I
gathered conviction. While his ac-
cents rung in my ears, I cherished
the fond belief, that the years which
I had passed in deploring, had aton-
ed for, my misconduct; that to re-
view the past with everlasting re-
pinings and regrets was folly and
guilt; that to allow former misdeeds,
whose consequences were, perhaps,
exhausted, to occupy our present
thoughts, to the exclusion of bene-
ficent designs, and the obstruction
of wholesome activity, was to per-
petuate and multiply the crime; that
to regard our past misconduct with
abhorrence was an argument of pre-
sent virtue; but to suffer this ab-
horrence to incorporate itself with
all our sentiments, to corrode our
peace, to undermine our health or
our life, and sink us into dreariness

 image pending 203

and torpor, was contemptible and
wicked. I thought myself less hope-
lessly unworthy; and, while I pon-
dered on the offices of tenderness,
the assiduities of gratitude, the ir-
reproachable fidelity which mar-
riage with Molesworth would allow
me to perform and exhibit, I felt
hope revive in my heart, and was
willing to concur with his propo-

“These serene intervals, however,
were transient as a shadow. The
absence of my friend failed not to
restore the dominion of habit, awa-
ken anew my remorse, and make
that obstacle, which, for a time, had
disappeared, rise again more me-
nacing than ever. I judged of his
sensations by my own. At present
he was wildering himself in specu-
lation. The magnanimity of for-
giveness—the sufficiency of peni-
tence to expiate offences, and re-
store purity, were shadows which
his understanding found it easy to
subdue, as long as their existence
was imaginary, and had no relation
to himself. He sported with con-
jectures as to the crimes which it
was possible for me to have com-
mitted; but none of his conjectures
had hitherto reached the atrocious-
ness of the truth—none were be-
lieved, by him, to possess any de-
gree of probability: but as soon as
the frightful truth should be disco-
vered, the current of dispassionate
reasoning would be changed—his
gaudy theories, his artificial calm
would vanish—dejection and ab-
horrence would succeed, and he
would spurn me from him as the
bane of his existence.

“These thoughts renewed my
wavering or suspended determina-
tion. Molesworth, when he ima-
gined my reluctance at an end,
found that a few hours absence had
given it more force than ever, and
once more engaged in the task of
contending with my scruples. My
soul was torn by incessant struggles.

There was no need to deliberate on
the propriety of an immediate con-
fession of my guilt. The confes-
sion, whether just or not, whether
necessary or superfluous, was utter-
ly impossible. My lips refused to
open, my tongue was tied, when
my unfaithfulness to Colmer, and
its dreadful effects upon him, upon
my father and my brother, were to
be the theme of my discourse.

“I believed that this disclosure
would terminate our controversy;
but it would drive from my pre-
sence him whom my fluttering heart
acknowledged for its sole possessor,
whose company composed my chief
delight: it would ravish from him
all the hopes which he had built
upon conviction of my merits; it
would make me an outcast from
my present home, and doom me
to poverty, reproach and neglect.
What wonder that I recoiled from
these consequences?

“In the midst of these distrac-
tions and misgivings, it occurred to
me, at length, that my fame was
built upon a mere deception. The
goods which I at present enjoyed,
were held by no tenure but that of
the ignorance of those by whom
they were bestowed. I had been
anxious not to hide, but only not
to publish my shame. My conduct
had been open to the scrutiny of
all; but my lips had been perpetu-
ally closed upon the subject of my
past offences. I had dealt in no
impostures and inventions. I had
not, in a single instance, abjured
my veracity, and misled my neigh-
bours by deceitful representations
of my life and character. In this
manner I had acted towards Moles-
worth. I had not laboured to cor-
rect, neither had I taken pains to
perpetuate his errors. In acting
thus I did not conceive myself cul-
pable: but if his affection and es-
teem for me, as a wife, were to be
retained on the same conditions as
those on which I had preserved his

 image pending 204

friendship, might they not, with
equal blamenessness, be adopted?

“He knew my self-accusations.
He knew that I regarded my faults
as inexpiable, and as such as un-
fitted me for the provinces of wife
and mother; but he, nevertheless,
placed his happiness in my accept-
ance. He exacted from me no con-
fession. He was willing to take me
as I was, with all my real, and im-
aginary and imputed imperfections.
My guilt might, by some fatal ac-
cident, be whispered in his ear, and
his love and my felicity be ended at
once; but this was contingent, and
might never happen, or happen re-
motely, when the long experience
of my worth, the cement of off-
spring, and the progress of his rea-
son, might hinder it from produc-
ing fatal effects. This discovery
might, indeed, be anticipated by
myself. I might gradually acquire
confidence in his fortitude, in the
agreement between his theoretical
and practical deductions; I might
seize some propitious moment, and
reveal to him my story, and my
peace and his affection may survive
the shock.

“He proposes to spend his life
here, where I have remained thus
long, untraced and unsuspected.
Every day adds to my security, by
lessening the number of witnesses,
and weakening the memory, of my
dishonour, and fortifying the in-
credulity of my husband and my
friends, by supplying them with
new proofs of my constancy and

“Such were the reasonings that
at length induced me to compliance.
I was married, and conferred that
happiness on Molesworth which I
shall never know. The colour of
my thoughts was by no means uni-
form. My misgivings, as to the
events of futurity, my doubts as to
the rectitude of what I had done,
bred, in my secret thoughts, a me-
lancholy which the caresses of my

husband and my friends dispelled
for a time, though sure to revisit me
in solitude. I found new difficul-
ties in disclosure, new humiliations
in concealment, and new terrors in
contemplating the texture of hu-
man events, by which the truth is
finally drawn forth from all the ob-
scurities and folds in which human
ingenuity might wrap it. I shud-
dered to think on how slender a
thread my felicity depended, and
have suffered all the torments of
foreboding, on a short journey or
unexpected absence of my husband.
I have waited his return with trem-
bling, and watched, with unspeak-
able anxiety, his looks as soon as he
appeared. I have been prone to
misconstrue appearances, to im-
pute inquietude or indisposition to
some untoward occurrence, or ma-
lignant intimation of my guilt.

“All these causes of alarm were
aggravated by our removal to this
city, to which Molesworth was in-
duced by considerations, to which
it was impossible for me either to
admit with cheerfulness, or strenu-
ously to object. I have seldom
walked out but from necessity. I
have been studious to evade the
scrutiny of passengers. In so large
a concourse from all parts of the
United States, it is scarcely possible
not to meet with some who knew
me during my residence at Ports-

“I have, unfortunately, encoun-
tered some of these. I have even
attracted observation, and been over-
powered with terror at tokens which
were once given of an intention to
accost me by one who knew me
well in my father's house. My sus-
picions have been ceaseless, my sub-
terfuges to escape abhorred detec-
tion without number; but still I
have seemed to be for ever tottering
on the verge of destruction.—It was
not long before a new event occur-
red to give a new form to my fears.

“You will judge of my confu-

 image pending 205

sion when I descried, from my
chamber, on about three months
ago, passing the street, Haywood
himself. My confusion at this in-
cident threw me into a fever, from
which I recovered not without dif-
ficulty, and contrary to all my

“Haywood was never hated or
upbraided by me, on account of
any guilt that I imputed to him.
He was, indeed, the author of all
my distresses, and as such the sound
of his name, and the recurrence of
his image, produced loathing and
abhorrence. To mistake another
for him was impossible. I was, by
turns, fondling my babe, and look-
ing out upon the passengers, when
he abruptly appeared in sight.

“My husband, happily for me,
was not present. Had he been at
my side, I should have been un-
done. My emotions not even his
presence would have enabled me to
subdue. As it was, his unsuspect-
ing tenderness, his sympathy for my
pain, stung me to the soul. Such
is my unhappy lot, that every proof
of tenderness from him whom I
fondly love, only wrings my heart
with new anguish, with anguish
hich nothing but proofs of his
hatred would increase.

“Haywood I beheld for a mo-
ment only. How long he had been
in this city, how often he had pas-
sed this door, how often he had pas-
sed me in the street, and by what
mere accident he had been hitherto
prevented from seeing and accost-
ing me, I had no means of know-
ing. Whether he continued in this
city, and whether I was still reserv-
ed for a meeting with him, were
equally uncertain. I could not
make inquiries. I could not suffer
his name to pass my lips; but his
image was ever in my thoughts. In
passing the street, I dreaded to look
up, for fear his eyes should suddenly
meet mine. On entering the house
of another, my secret terrors whis-

pered that Haywood might be there.
At every return of my husband to
his home, I shuddered, lest some
dire occurrence had revealed to him
my shame.

“Shortly after I went into the
country; but the change afforded
me but slender relief. I was no
longer in danger of meeting with
Haywood, but my safety was still
exposed to hourly hazard; my blood
was chilled at the sight of every let-
ter which came from Molesworth.
Tremblingly I opened it, as if the
painting of my nightly dream was
to be realized, and I was to be
overwhelmed with his curses and

“Little did I think, in the midst
of all my fears, that danger of de-
tection was increased by the rash-
ness or folly of Haywood himself.
Little did I think that he had con-
fided the secret of my shame to
another; that the strange youth
whom we had received into our
very bosom, was apprized of my
guilt; and this has set, in its true
light, the hollowness of my hopes;
has shewn me how baseless is the
confidence which I reposed in the
ignorance of mankind respecting

“Thousands may possess your
knowledge. Those who daily con-
verse with me, my husband's kin-
dred and friends, may know my
true character. They hate or des-
pise me in their heart, and pity
Molesworth's delusion, while they
greet me with welcomes and smiles.
A thousand times may the breath
of Slander have blighted my name,
and my crimes have been the sub-
ject of malignant whispers in the
very circles which I frequent.

“Here then are my hopes of
conjugal peace and unsullied re-
putation at an end. I have lived,
in spite of conviction, that I me-
rited abhorrence and infamy; but I
have lived, because my life, and the
belief of my purity, contributed to

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the happiness of the best of men.
What shall become of me when that
belief is subverted—when he shall
cast me from him as baneful and
poisonous? That moment cannot
long be deferred, and when it
comes ——!”

Such were the terms of this af-
fecting narrative. Having finished
it, some engagement called her
away, and she left me to muse upon
it. It was a subject from which I
could not withdraw my attention.
My mind was continually busy in
ruminating on this mournful tale.

“What various misery,” said I,
“has flowed from a single lapse!
How ceaselessly watchful should
we be against the first step that de-
viates from rectitude! A moment
of forgetfulness of duty has been
thus fertile of calamity; has laid so
wide a scene of ruin!

“Where will it end? Can no
penitence expiate this guilt, and no
wisdom prevent future evils? Is it
not enough that the husband and
the brother have perished? That
all the happiness which the conti-
nuance of life to Colmer and Sel-
wyn might have produced, was ex-
tinguished in their blood? Has hea
en provided no resource against de-
spair? no antidote to future errors?

“To save a life endangered by
the folly and guilt of Haywood,
this unfortunate woman broke her
conjugal faith, contracted through
pity to Colmer, whose infatuation
was no less culpable. Her crime
was followed by the despair of her
husband, and the vengeance of her
brother. These passions were the
growth of errors no less deplorable,
and have led to effects equally dis-
astrous. But the mournful series
is not at an end. The tranquillity
of Molesworth is the child of igno-
rance and stratagem. At the mo-
ment of discovered truth, the phan-
tom will vanish. What a series of
errors generating errors, and dis-
asters flowing from disasters!

“But is it certain that to know
the truth will subvert his happi-
ness? His wife has a right to plead
her tenderness and fidelity to him,
in excuse for past faults. Surely,
in dispassionate eyes, her claim to
pardon and to continuance of affec-
tion, cannot be disputed. Would
it not be wise, at least, to make trial
of his equity and fortitude?

“She will never be persuaded
to confession. Another must per-
form that task; but there is no sub-
stitute but myself, and as to me,
would it not be madness and out-
rage to undertake a province like
that? Have I not sworn to conceal
her shame; and what, if, in the hope
of effecting much good, I should
violate my promise; what if Moles-
worth should prove to possess all
the passions of an husband and a
lover; if the happiness hitherto en-
joyed should melt away from his
grasp, like the phantom of sleep;
and anger and hatred should suc-
ceed to pity and love; how shall I
indure to behold the effects of my
fatal interposition?”

No wonder that while such
were my reveries, you should per-
ceive embarrassment and thought-
fulness in my deportment. How
little, when your eyes were com-
passionately fixed upon me,
and they seemed to say—“Harry! what
is the matter with you?” how little
did you suspect what was passing
within! And what answer, had I
spoken the truth, should I have
given to your question?

For some time after this inter-
view, no opportunity occurred of
renewing conversation on this to-
pic. I saw a secret wish to this end
on your wife's looks, which seemed
to fluctuate between curiosity and
terror. It was only when your
uncle's sickness called you from
town, that we could hope for un-
interrupted conversation. You left
us at noon, and intended, or expect-
ed not to return till next morning.

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The day was past in separate oc-
cupations, or in the presence of
visitants or servants. In the even-
ing, we seated ourselves alone, and
your wife took up some needle-
work. She did not, as usual, ask
me to read to her. She sometimes
sighed, and the handkerchief was
often raised to wipe away the mist
that suffused her sight. At length,
after a prelude of mournful silence,
she stopt the needle, and said, in a
tremulous voice:—

“We are now alone, Henry,
and I may say to you something
that—you will not wonder that I
am desirous of knowing more of—
Selwyn—my brother. You told
me he had died, lately, in New-York
—you know the circumstances.”

I understood her wishes, but
was thrown into extreme embar-
rassment, by this disclosure of
them. How could the truth of
Selwyn's destiny be disclosed to the
sister? I was silent. She looked at
me, and saw the marks of my in-
quietude. She was affected in her
turn, and sunk into thoughtfulness.

Recovering from this reverie,
she again spoke—“Tell me, where;
how did he die?”

I was unable to answer. I could
not deceive or prevaricate, and the
truth could not be told.

“Why are you silent? Tell me,
Henry, how did he die? He was
not in poverty I hope. How long
had he lived in New-York? Was
he not in good repute? It is long
since I saw that sweet face.”

“He was not poor. He was in
good repute. All that knew him,
esteemed his probity and manners.
He had arrived but a few days be-

“Some sudden sickness, per-
haps. How was it? Tell me!”

I was silent.

“Do you know the cause of his

“I know it.”

“Then tell it me. Why should
you conceal it? Knowing, as I do,
that he is dead, surely I can bear
to hear the manner of his death.”

I shook my head—“I am not
sure of that.”

Her anxiety increased. “Was
there any thing extraordinary in
his death? Perhaps it was a sudden

“It was.”

“Alas! But he was among his
friends, I hope. He did not suffer
through negligence or inattention.”

“He did not.”

“Why then do you look so sad-
ly? Why hesitate to tell me the
particulars? A lingering death is
not better than a sudden one. In
whose house did he breathe his last?
At what hour? By what disease?”

“Under no roof. It was at mid-
night. By no disease.”

At these words, her heart throb-
bed with new violence, and her
faltering increased—“Surely—he
owed not his death—he owed his

“To Haywood! whom your
brother had pursued for years to
avenge your shame in his blood.
They met; the defiance was re-
ceived, and your brother fell.”

Let me not attempt to paint
the effect of these tidings. An hour
after, when the tears whose as-
suaging influence had been, for a
long time, withheld, began to flow,
and to impart some relief, you
entered—unexpected and unwish-
ed by either, you entered the apart-

Here I must stop. I have com-
plied with your request. I have
told you all that I know. I parted
from you, in no fear for the life of
my benefactress and friend, but—
he is dead!——

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