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studied the newspapers in hope of meet- Was I to struggle on thus to the last, ing something adapted to my capacity ; and sink under the pressure, was now but though in appearance no lack of the question that kept perpetually risthese, I invariably found some fatal ing to my mind. My poverty had now obstacle intervened to prevent my suc- descended to actual misery; my clothes cess. At one place, the requirements were ragged; my shoes scarcely held were beyond my means; at another, together; more than once an entire the salary was insufficient for bare sup- day would pass without my breaking port; and at one I remember my functions of teacher were to be united with I lost all zest for life, and wandered menial offices against which my pride about in lonely and unfrequented revolted. I resolved to adventure at places, in a half.dreamy state, too last, and opened a little school - an vague to be called melancholy. My evening school for those whose occu- mind, at this time, vacillated between pations made the day too valuable to a childish timidity and a species of aldevote any part of it to education. most savage ferocity. At some mo
At the end of some five weeks, I had ments tears would steal along my three pupils; hard-working and hard cheeks, and my heart vibrated to the worked men they were, who, steadily very finest emotions; at others, I was bent upon advancement in life, now possessed with an almost demoniac entered upon a career of labour far fierceness, that seemed only in search greater than all they had ever encoun- of some object to wreak its vengeance tered.
upon. A strange impression, however, Two were about to emigrate, and haunted me tbrough both these opposite their studies were geography, with states, and this was, that my life was some natural history, and whatever I menaced by some one or other, and could acquire for them of informa- that I went in hourly peril of assassination about the resources of a certain tion. This sense of danger impressed portion of Upper Canada. The third me with either a miserable timidity, was a weaver, and desired to learn or a reckless, even an insolent intreFrench, in order to read the works of pidity. French mathematicians, at that time By degrees, all other thoughts were sparingly translated into English. He merged in this one, and every inci. was a man of superior intellect, and dent, no matter how trifling, served capable of a high cultivation, but poor to strengthen and confirm it. Forto the very last degree. The thirst tunately for my reader I have no for knowledge had possessed him exactly patience to trace out the fancies by as the passion for gambling lays hold of which I was haunted. I imagined some other men. He lived for nothing that kings and emperors were in the else. The defeats and difficulties he en- conspiracy against me, and that cacountered but served to brace him to binets only plotted how to entrap me. further efforts, and he seemed to forget I sold the last remnant of my wardrobe, all his privations and his poverty, in and my few remaining books, and the aim of his glorious pursuit.
quitted my dwelling, to forsake it again To keep in advance of him, in his for another, after a few days. Grim knowledge, I found impossible. All want was, at length, before me, and I that I could do was to aid him in ac- found myself one morning - it was a quiring French, which, strange to say, cold one of December—with only a few presented great difficulties to him. He, pence remaining. It chanced to be however, made me a partaker of his one of my days of calmer temperament; own enthusiasm, and I worked hard for some previous ones I had been in a and long at pursuits for which my habits state bordering on frenzy; and now of mind and thought little adapted me. the reaction had left me weak and deI need scarcely say, that all this time pressed, but reasonable. my worldly wealth made no progress. I went over, to myself, as well as I My scholars were very poor them. was able, all my previous life; I tried selves, and the pittance I earned from to recall the names of the few with them I had oftentimes to refuse accept whom my fate seemed to connect me, ing. Each day showed my little re- and of whose whereabouts I knew nosources growing smaller, and my hopes thing; I canvassed in my own mind held out no better prospect for the how much might be true of these stories future.
which I used to hear of my birth and VOL. XLII.-NO, CCLII.
parentage, and whether the whole seemed possible. I felt as though I had might not possibly have been invented done all that should invoke it. * Want to conceal some darker history. Such -sickness — suffering – despair_are doubts had possibly not assailed me in these not enough,” I asked myselfother times; but now, with broken “must guilt and self-murder be added hopes and shattered strength, they took to the terrible list?” And it was, I rea bold possession of me. I actually member, with a kind of triumphant possessed nothing which might serve to pride, I deter:nined against this. “ If confirm my pretension to station. Do. mankind reject me,” said IỚ“if they cuments or papers I had none; nor make of me an outcast and a victim, was there, so far as I knew, a living on them shall lie all the shame and all witness to bear testimony to my narra- the sin. Enough for me the misery-I tive. In pondering thus I suddenly will not have the infamy of my death!" remembered that, in the letter which I I have said I wrote a third letter; once had addressed to Mr. Pitt, were and to make sure of its coming to enclosed some few memoranda in cor- hand, I walked with it to Hounslow. roboration of my story. What they The journey occupied me more than were exactly, and to what extent they half the night, for it was day when I went, I could not recall to memory; arrived. I delivered it into the hands but it was enough that they were, in of a servant, and saying that I should some shape, evidences of that which wait for the answer, I sat down upon already, to my own mind, was assum- a stone bench beside the door. Overing the character of a delusion.
come with fatigue, and utterly ex. To this faint chance I now attached hausted, I fell off asleep-a sound and, myself with a last effort of desperation. strange to say, delicious sleep, with Some clue might possibly be found in calm and pleasant dreams. From this these papers to guide my search, and I was aroused by a somewhat rude my whole thoughts were now bent upon shake, and on looking up saw that a obtaining them. With this object I considerable number of persons were sat down and wrote a few most respect
around me. ful lines to the minister, stating the na- “ Stand up, my good fellow,” cried ture of my request, and humbly excus. a man who, though in plain clothes ing myself for the intrusion on his and unarmed, proclaimed by his man. attention. A week passed over - a ner of command that he was in authoweek of almost starvation-and yet no rity; “ stand up, if you please." reply reached me. I now wrote again I made an effort to obey, but sank more pressingly than before, adding down again upon the bench, faint and that my circumstances did not admit exhausted. of delay; and that if, by any mis- “ He wants a drink of water,” cried chance, the papers had been lost or
one. mislaid, I still would entreat his ex- “ He wants summut to eat - that's cellency's kindness to_I believe I said what he wants," said a labouring man recall what he could remember of in front of me. these documents, and thus supply the “ We'll take him where he'll be void left by their loss. This lettershared properly looked after,” said the first the same fate as my former one. I speaker. “ Just stand back, good wrote a third time, I knew not in what people, and leave me to deal with him." terms, for I wrote late at night, after a The crowd retired as he spoke, while, day of mad and fevered impatience. coming nearer, he bent down towards I had fasted for nigh two entire days. me and said — “Is your name Paul An intense thirst never ceased to torture Gervois ?" me; and as I wandered wildly here and “ I have gone by that name,” I rethere, my state alternated between fits of plied. cold shuddering, and a heat that seemed " And is this in your handwriting? to be burning my very vitals. The de- -mind, you needn't say so if you don't lusions of that terrible interval were, like; I only ask the question out of doubtless, the precursors of actual mad- curiosity." ness. I bethought me of every torture “Yes," said I, eagerly; "what does I had ever heard of - of all the suffer. Mr. Pitt say? — what reply does he ings martyrdom had ever borne, but make me?" to which death came at last as the “Oh, you'll hear all that time comforter; but to me no such release enough. Just try now if you conldn't come along with me as far as the road; was less the words than the directed I've a carriage there a-waiting." looks of the vast assembly, as they all
I did my best to rise, but weakness turned towards me, showed that I was again overcame me, and I could only the representative of that designation. stammer out a few faint words of ex- My sense of shame at this moment cuse.
prevented my observing accurately “ Don't you see that the man is dy- what went forward; but I soon rallied, ing?" said some one, half indignantly; and perceived that my case was then but the constable—for such he was- before the court, and my accuser it was made some rough answer, and then who then addressed the bench. stooping down he passed his arm round The effort to follow the speaker, to me, and lifted me to my feet at once. keep up with the narrative that fell As he half carried, half pushed me from bis lips, was indescribably painful along, I tried to obtain some answer to me. I can compare my struggle to to my former question, “ What reply nothing save the endeavour of one with had the minister made me?".
a shattered limb to keep pace with the “You'll know all that time enough, step of his unwounded coinrades. The my good friend,” was all the answer I very murmurs of indignation that at could obtain, as, assisting me into the times stirred the auditory, increased carriage, he took his place at my side, this feeling to a kind of agony. I knew and gave the word to proceed " to that it was all-important I should hear Town.”
and clearly understand what was said, Not a word passed between us as and yet my faculties were unequal to we went along; for my part, I was too the effort. indifferent to life itself to care whither The constable who arrested me came he was conducting me, or with what forward next, and spoke as to the few object. As well as utter listlessness words which passed between us, affirmwould permit me to think, I surmised ing how I had confessed to a certain that I had been arrested. Is it not a letter as being written by myself, and strange confession, that I felt a sense that I alone was to be held responsible of pleasure in the thought that I had
for its contents. When he left the not been utterly forgotten by the table, the judge called on me for my world, and that my existence was re- defence. I stared vaguely from side cognised, even at the cost of an accu- to side, and asked to what charge? sation. I conclude that to understand “ You have been present, prisoner, this feeling on my part, one must have during the whole of this examination, been as forlorn and desolate as I was. and have distinctly heard the allega. I experienced neither fear nor curiosity tion against you,” replied he. “The as to what might be the charge against charge is for having written a threatme; nor was my indifference that of ening letter to one of his Majesty's conscious innocence it was pure care- ministers of state; a letter which in lessness !
itself constitutes a grave offence, but I slept that night in a prison, and is seriously aggravated, as being part ate of prison fare - ravenously and of a long-pursued system of intimidaeagerly too; so much so, that the turn- tion, and enforced by menaces of the key, compassionating me, fetched me most extreme violence." some of his own supper to satisfy my I was now suddenly recalled to a cravings. I awoke the next day with clearness of comprehension, and able a gnawing sense of hunger, intensely to follow him, as he detailed how a cerpainful, far more so than my former tain Mr. Conway—the private secresuffering from want. That day, and I tary of the minister — proved the rebelieve the two following ones, I spent ceipt of the letter in question, as well in durance, and at last was conveyed as two others in the same hand. The in the prison.cart to the office of a last of these -- which constituted the magistrate.
chief allegation against me - was then The court was densely crowded, but read aloud ; and anything more abothe cases called seemed commonplace minable and detestable it would be and uninteresting-at least so they ap- hard to conceive. After recapitulatpeared to me, as I tried in vain to ing a demand for certain documentsfollow them. At length the crier called so vaguely worded as to seem a mere out the name of Paul Gervois, and it invented and trumped-up request-it went to speak of great services unre- He uttered some commonplaceswarded, and honourable zeal not only at least so they sounded to me about neglected but persecuted. From this there being no necessary connexion be-which so far possessed a certain de- tween want and crime, but I stopped gree of coherency and reason-it sud- hiin short, sayingdenly broke off into the wildest and “ Then you have never fasted, sirmost savage menaces. It spoke of never known what it was to struggle one, who held life so cheaply, that he against the terrible temptations that felt no sacrifice in offering it up for the arise in a famished heart; to sink gratification of his vengeance.
down upon a bed of straw, and think of “ Houseless, friendless, and stary. the thousands at that moment in afflu. ing; without food, without a name- ence, and think of them with hate! for you have robbed me of even that- No link between want and crime ! I have crawled to your door to avenge None, for they are one. Want is envy myself and die !"
-want is malice. Its evil counsellors Such were the last words of this
are everywhere – in the plash of the epistle; and they ring in my ears even wave at midnight-in the rustle of the yet, with shame and horror.
leaves in a dark wood in the chamber “I never uttered such sentiments as of the sick man; wherever guilt can these words like those never escaped come, a whispering voice will say, “be me!" cried I, in an agony of indigna- there!'" tion.
Some friendly by-stander here coun“ There is the letter," said the ma- selled me to calm myself, and not ag. gistrate; “ do you deny having writ- gravate my position by words of angry ten it?"
impatience. The air of sympathy “It is mine-it is in my own hand,” touched me, and I said no more. muttered I, in a voice scarcely audi. I was committed to prison-remand. ble; and I had to cling to the dock to ed, I believe they said to be called save myself from falling.
up at some future day, when further Of what followed I know nothing- inquiries had been made into my mode absolutely nothing. There seemed to of life and habits. The sentence-50 be a short debate and discussion of well as I could understand it-was not some kind ; and I could catch, here
a severe one - imprisonment, without and there, some chance phrase or word labour or any other penalty. I was that sounded compassionately towards told that I had reason to be grateful ; me. At last I heard the magistrate but gratitude was then at a low ebb say
within me ; for whatever moralists may “ If you tell me, Mr. Conway, that say, it is an emotion that never thrives Mr. Pitt does not wish to press the on misery. As I was led away, I overcharge, nor do more than protect him- heard some comments that were passed self from future molestation, I am wil. upon me. One called memad, and pitied ling to admit the prisoner to bail- me; another said I was a practised good and sufficient bail for bis conduct impostor, far too leniently dealt with; hereafter. In default of this, however, a third classed me with the vile herd of I shall feel bound to commit him.” those who live by secret crimes, and
Again some discussion ensued, ter- hoped for some stringent act against minated by some one asking me if I such criminals. could produce the required securities. There was not one to ask, Why has
By this time a slight reaction to my he done this thing, and how shall state of debility had set in – that fe. others be saved from his example ? vered condition in which passion as- They who followed me with looks of sumed the ascendant; and I answered, contempt and aversion never guessed baughtily
that the prison was to me a grateful « Bail for whom? Is it for him to home ; that if the strong door shutwhom they refused bread that they will out liberty, it excluded starvation too, go surety ? Look at these rags, sir- and that if I could not stray at will see these wasted arms_hear this voice, through the green lawns, yet my foothoarse as it is with hunger-and ask steps never bore me to the darksome yourself who could pledge himself for pond, where the black depth whispered such misery?"
I was liberated from prison at the end stir and excitement. Men were at of eight days. I begged hard to be work in front of all the houses, on ladallowed to remain there, but was ders and scaffoldings ; huge framenot permitted. This interval, short works, with gaudy paintings, were as it was, had done much to recruit being hoisted from the roofs, and signs my strength and rally my faculties ; it of wonderful preparation of one kind served besides to instil into me a calm or other were everywhere visible. I and patient resolve to depend solely on stopped to inquire the meaning, and myself; and, effacing, so far as I might, was told, not without a stare of surall hopes of tracing out my family, í prise, that London was about to illudetermined now to deem no labour too minate in joyful commemoration of the humble by which I might earn a live- treaty of peace just signed with France. lihood.
I thanked my informant, and moved on. I am now speaking of fifty years ago, Assuredly there were few in either and the world has made rapid strides country who had less reason to be in. since that. The growing necessities of terested in such tidings than anyself. our great population, and the wide I possessed nothing, not even a nafield for enterprise offered by our tionality that I could safely lay claim. colonies, have combined to produce a to. In the hope of approaching prossocial revolution few could have pre- perity to-morrow, so forcibly expressed dicted once. The well-born and the in many an inscription – in all those tenderly-nurtured have now gone forth devices of enthusiastic patriotism, I in thousands to try their fortunes in far had no share. In fact, I was like one away lands, to brave hardships and en- of another nation, suddenly dropped counter toil that the hard sons of labour in the midst of a busy population, themselves are fain to shrink from ; whose feelings, hopes, and aspirations but at the time I speak of this bold were all new and strange to me. spirit had not burst into life the As I came up to Charing-cross a world was insolent in its prosperity, dense crowd stopped the way, gazing and never dreamed of a reverse. with wondering eyes at a great tri
By transcribing letters and papers umphal arch, which spanned the thofor one of the officials, while in jail, I roughfare, and whose frail timbers had earned four shillings, and with gave but a sorry intimation of the this sum, my all in the world, I now splendour it should exhibit after nightfound myself following the flood-tide fall. Immense draperies floated from of that host which moves daily along this crazy framework, and vast transthe Strand in London. I had break. parencies displayed in tasteless allegory sasted heartily before I left the prison, the blessings of a peace. The enthuand, resolving to hoard up my little siasm of admiration was high among treasure, determined to eat nothing the spectators ; doubtless, the happy more on that day. As I walked along occasion itself suggested a cordiality of I felt that the air, sharp and frosty as approval that the preparations them. it was, excited and invigorated me. selves did not warrant; for at every The bright blue sky overhead, the step in the construction, a hearty cheer clear outline of every object, the brisk would burst forth from the crowd in stir and movement of the population, recognition of the success of the work. all helped to cheer my spirits, and I My attention, undisturbed by such experienced a sense of freedom, as emotions, was fixed upon one of the that of one who, having thrown off a poles of the scaffolding, which, thrown long carried burden, is at last free to considerably out of its perpendicular, walk unencumbered. A few hours swayed and bent at every step that before I fancied I could have been approached it, and threatened,' if not well satisfied to wear out life within speedily looked to, to occasion some the walls of my prison, but now I felt disaster.
I pointed this out to one that liberty compensated for any hard- beside me, who as quickly communiship. The town on that morning pre- cated it to another, and in less than a sented an aspect of more than ordinary minute after, a panic cry was raised