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gaming, and my days yawned away in unauswered-she was, however, well. the fearful stupefaction that followed I thought that the manner of her the more fearful excitement of the family towards Edmund was changed. night ?"
Mrs. Jephson seemed upon one oceaSome peculiar ill-fortune appeared sion anxious to put off his inquiries to have attended him in connection about Letitia ; I determined to watch with that examination. I have already closely for the cause ; I soon gathered mentioned that the examiners were not from hints let fall incautiously in mg in general too severe in their exactions presence, that a very rich baronet in upon the knowledge of fellow-com- the neighbourhood of Cork had been moners ; and perhaps dependence upon paying Letitia remarkable attention, this encouraged Edmund in the abso- and I could perceive that her mother lute idleness which he practised ; but, was dazzled by the prospects of a brilindeed, at the moment his infatuation liant alliance, and would not have been was such that he plainly made no sorry to have a pretext to break off calculation at all. However, he went her engagement with Edmund. My in depending on his general knowledge heart trembled for Edmund's happiand his velvet gown to pass, when, to his I saw that all depended upon consternation, he found that one of his Letitia's constancy, but I thought she examiners was Dr. Dyke ; just one of loved Edmund well enough to resist, those obstinate men who were so unrea- for his sake, the solicitations of her sonable as to expect fellow-commoners friends. I certainly thought her not to know something of their business ; writing strange, but this I attributed and the consequence was, that Edmund to the influence, perhaps the surveilwas cautioned.
lance, of her aunt. With some hesitation he confessed It was about ten days after Nolan to me that he had demeaned himself, had left Edmund's rooms, that I was for so he now termed it, to employ surprised at receiving a visit from him, personal solicitations with Dr. Dyke; Nolan had all that easy assurance of he represented to him that his attaining manner that passes generally for gentihis property was contingent on his de- lity; and, though I did not shew much gree ; but it was all in vain ; Dr. signs of being glad to see him, he Dyke simply told him that this was an made himself perfectly at home. It additional reason for cautioning him was a keen frosty day, and he drew his he said that “no one so ignorant of chair in close to the fire. I could not astronomy was fit to manage his own help remarking both the shabbiness of property; and besides, it would in his dress, and the delicacy of his apfact be cheating the charity to which pearance ; bad indications of the state his money was going, to let him pass.” both of his pocket and health. Nolan
The loss of the examination was was generally very fastidious in his now irretrievable, and the consequent personal appearance he was still neat, postponement of his union with Letitia but his clothes were threadbare ; the was equally beyond the power of alte- worn cuffs of his old black coat formed ration. I advised him to tell her can a strange contrast with a large and didly everything concerning the matter sparkling brilliant upon bis finger-his that the woman to whom he was to cheeks were sallow, a large red patchhe united for life was entitled to his I can describe the appearance no other confidence. He did not, however, way-appeared as if it was a dash of seem to assent to my reasoning, and I paint upon each, and a hollow cough left him still undecided bow he should seemed to come from the very depths act.
of his lungs. That night Nolan and he quarrelled, “ Mr. O'Brien," said he, I am I could not ascertain from what cause, going to take a liberty with you that but I was glad of it; Nolan left his perhaps our intimacy does not warrant; rooms in a passion, and did not return. but it is one you must excuse; my con.
Edmund was now comparatively duct is dictated only by a sense of happy and contented. The period of what is due to a respectable family. I Letitia's return was coming near; there believe you are related to the seemed nothing to fret him except that Jephsons." his three last letters to her had been I bowed assent.
" I ought first perhaps to premise cent girl to share it, and share it sbe that what I now say is confidential." will if she marries a gambler."
* Pardon me, Mr. Nolan," I inter He bid me politely good morning, rupted; " I make no pledge I will and I could not help standing for a keep no secrets that honor will not moment at the window, to watch him permit--I do not seek any communi- as he went across the courts. He was cation from you ; if you volunteer one, very much emaciated ; I could hear it must be left to my own feeling the deep hollow cough that sounded as whether it is to be confidential.” if from the tomb, and seemed aggra
He seemed a little thrown off his vated by the keen blast of the cutting centre. “I am content to leave it to breeze from which he had not even a your own feeling. I am sure I am great coat to shelter him ; I could not safe in doing so. And believe me, Mr. help feeling that this was the sign of O'Brien, that although some people his poverty, and my heart bled for him may speak ill of me, if you knew me as be stopped to cough, and literally you would feel convinced I could have shivered in the sharp frosty wind. no secret that is not honourable to I could not understand the intercommunicate to you."
view I had with him; I knew not He uttered these last words with the whether to attribute it to some cunning, tone of one who felt that he had been or to the feelings which he had assigninjured by the opinion of the world. ed. I determined, for the present, not I pitied him— I almost felt disposed to to mention it to Edmund, but to watch trust him.
the progress of circumstances. " I believe," said he, “ young Connor All went on quietly, and it was is to be married to one of the within two days of Letitia's return, Jephsons."
Edmund's impatience was almost I said nothing ; he took my silence hourly increasing ; he could think of for assent and proceeded—“ I do not nothing, he could talk of nothing, but know whether the family are aware the delight of meeting her, and once that he is a confirmed gambler." more, in the assurance of her love, for
I hardly knew what to say. “ He is, getting all that he had suffered, and in fact, a ruined man ; his whole for- laughing at all that he had feared. He tune is gone ; I am sorry to say I had spent a week in constructing a know this from having been too often work-box for her, with his own hands, his companion at the gambling table ; and he had it just completed. One but, as I have the deepest respect for morning he had just finished the your character, although you have carving of her Christian name—he left a often seemed to shun me as if I was blank for the other, and said, laughingly, infectious—I do not know how you he would leave that for herself to fill up; may take my interference—but I he had also got a pair of white rabbits, thought it right that you should know which she had long expressed a wish the real state of Connor's affairs--you to possess, and he had spent much of may, of course, act upon my informa- his time, along the shore beyond Kiltion as you think fit.”
liney, gathering sea-shells, of which she I thanked him!!-God forgive my had always been fond. hypocrisy-I thanked him !! - I told It was, as I said, within two days of him I already knew of. Edmund's the time of Letitia's return ; the gambling, but added that I trusted he Jephsons had some time returned to was now reclaimed.
town ; I got in the morning a note * Reclaimed !" he repeated with bit- from my aunt, it was put into my hand teress ; " ah, Mr. O'Brien, you have just as I was looking at Edmund's arnever been a gambler, or you would rangement of all his little presents for not speak of any one being reclaimed; Letitia ; it requested of me to see her there is a curse about any one that has immediately, and to come alone, the ever thrown the dice at a gambling word alone was dashed. I made table, that cannot be shaken off. Mr. what haste I could; I found my aunt O'Brien," he added, passionately, “ I looking pale and agitated, Mr. Jephson know too well the bitterness of that was walking up and down the room, curse, ever to wish a young and inno- apparently in a passion, and Caroline
was sitting in a window, evidently in discontinue his visits at the house ; as
a last resource I entreated that this I was ushered in to meet this family determination might be postponed party. “ So, here, sir,” exclaimed Mr. until the arrival of Letitia ; that the Jephson, violently, “ here is a pretty person most interested might have a piece of business, my daughter nearly voice in the council. This proposal destroyed; just about to be married to was, however, indignantly rejected by a beggar and a gambler.”
the whole party My aunt endeavoured to moderate “ Stevenson," said my aunt, “ I behis rage, but, like all weak men, he lieve you have lost your senses ; why was violent. “ D-n the rascal !” he should the poor girl be fretted about repeated two or three times, vehe- such things ? it is much better she mently, and when he had apparently should find it all settled when she appeased himself, by thus charitably comes ; there is no use in annoying consigning poor Edmund to the evil her abont it.” one, he looked out of one of the win * No, no,” cried my uncle, passiondows, and remained silent.
ately ; " he shall never cross my door “ Stevenson, my dear," said my aunt, again-d-n the rascal!" and having it was one of her foibles to call me by got upon this chime he repeated it my second name, which she fancied two or three times, this furming, indeed, a genteel one ; “ Stevenson, my the regular termination of all his bursts dear! now that your uncle will let me of virtuous indignation, speak, we have been all terribly an " Indeed, then," said Caroline, " if noyed this morning ; your uncle has Letitia was here I suspect she would been told by an old friend, that Mr. have no great objection to be off. I Connor spends all his time in gambling, think Sir Harry Disney has made some and we have sent for you to know impression upon her—a title and four about it ; but indeed our information is thousand a-year is not to be slighted." too certain to be doubted, and you “ Stop your nonsense, girl," cried know, my dear,” she added, " it would my uncle, “ I'll settle the matter;" and be a sad thing if poor Letitia was mar- he violently rung the bell, bis usual ried to a gambler."
finale of curses succeeding. · I could not deny part of the infor John," he cried to the servant, mation-I explained the real state of who made his appearance, “ do you Edmund's affairs, and I pleaded his hear ? if Mr. Connor calls here, tell cause as well as I could. I told of his him--tell him--tell him to be d—0," oath-I told the exact amount of his he added, as if he was at a loss for embarrassments—but all would not do. words. Mr. Jephson grew more and more Very well, sir,” said John, maniviolent" No daughter of mine shall festing not the slightest astonishment ever marry a gambler.
No! no !- at such a strange message. d-n the rascal,” he began again ; • Stop, John,” cried my aunt authoindeed this imprecation seemed bis ritatively; "never mind your master. -safety-valve. Mrs. Jephson was less If Mr. Connor calls here—now mind violent, but equally determined, she what I say to you—tell him that none said she expected I would myself have of the family are at home ; you will told them what I knew. Indeed not forget, John, that none of the Stevenson," said she, “your uncle and family are at home.” I have been disappointed in your con • Yes, ma’am,” said John, with just duct."
as much indifference as he had before I felt the color rush to my cheeks at received the more extraordinary comthis reproach, which was apparently mands of his master. too well merited. Mr. Jephson said I saw that I could do nothing. I nothing, but contented himself with his almost rushed from the house ; I still usual imprecation. I almost thought had hopes that when Letitia would he meant in his heart to apply it to me. come, and when the first burst of pas
The end was, that I was commissioned sion was over, all might be arranged. to communicate to poor Edmund the I knew that Mr. Jephson, although a wishes of the family, that he should weak, was a good-hearted man; !
knew that he would not sacrifice his winds and waves may take me to damdaughter's happiness ; I felt that if nation.” Letitia was constant, and, notwith I told him that he need not despair. standing Caroline's hint, I could " If,” said I, “ Letitia is constant, all scarcely doubt this, all would be right. will be well." I thought it possible my aunt might “ If_” he cried, “I will stake my have some mercenary views, and I life-ten thousand lives upon her condreaded her influence over her hus- stancy; and yet—will she believe that band; but still I trusted that all would I loved her? will she believe that if I be well. But how was I to tell Edmund loved her, I would thus madly fling -how was I to blight the hopes of away her happiness ? Oh! can she bethat fond and confiding heart-hopes lieve it? I did not—God knows I did that I had only that morning seen so not-think that I was trifling with her affectionately expressed in all the little happiness. A man may stake his own, attentions that he had been so indus- but how - how could I stake her's ?" triously preparing. I shrank from the At last I succeeded in pacifying task ; I bardly knew wbat I was him ; and he began to think of the doing ; I walked away in a different means by which he might remedy the direction; I got upon the banks of the evil ; he sat down and he wrote a long canal,and I almost mechanically followed letter to Mr. Jephson, which he imits course. I cursed in my heart the mediately sent by his servant ; he then selfishness of the world ; I traced back began to write one to Letitia, which I all the misery that seemed thus to was to convey ; but he Aung half a have blackened the bright hopes of dozen commencements in the fire, and a young and happy couple, like the was not able to please himself. thunder-storm that bursts upon the noon Next morning brought him”a parcel of a cloudless morning, to the avarice from the Jephsons, the direction was that prompted Letitia's visit to Cork. in my aunt's hand ; it was his own Bitterly did I inveigh against wealth- letter opened, but marked on the outagainst legacy-hunting, and often did side “unread ;" the word was also in I repeut, for the first time, with a full my aunt's handwriting. perception of their meaning, the truly Letitia came, and the next morning inspired words of the apostle--" The I paid a visit at the Jephsons. Letitia love of money is the root of all seemed pale ; I knew not whether to evil."
attribute it to the fatigue of her jourAt last I thought that while I was ney, or to agitation. I sat some time ; thus giving way to vain and useless my aunt appeared to watch me with a thoughts, Ēdmund might be exposed very jealous eye, and seemed to keep to the humiliation of being denied the strictest “ surveillance" over all admittance to the house where he had my actions. Not a word was spoken long been received as an inmate of the by any one, on the subject that filled family. I hurried back ; I found him all our minds, and, after having sat out in his rooms, and his wild and agitated a long visit, which evidently was as demeanour told me that I was too late. irksome to my relatives as to myself, I He had called at the house, and from took my leave. John he had heard that he had orders That evening Edmund completed to deny the family to him ; John told his letter to Letitia ; he entrusted it to him confidentially that his master was my care, and next day I called again. in a great passion, and that I had been I did not, however, see Letitia ; I there
, but beyond that he knew could not draw a word from either nothing
Caroline or my aunt, on the subject of ; I endeavoured to calm his mind; I which my heart was full ; they told me told him all I knew ; but when he Letitia was not well after travelling, found that they knew of his gambling, and was confined to her room. he burst into passionate exclamations That evening I was sitting with with a frenzy that startled me.
Edmund, we both augured well from “Yes, I guessed as much-I now Letitia's confinement to her room. Am ruined my soul is ruined—I húng “ My poor angel,” said he ; " they all my hopes on her, and I am now are, perhaps, trying to force her to adrift-my anchor is gone, and the forget me-perhaps they have misse
presented me to her. Oh," he ex. indeed, I did not wish to be found an claimed, bitterly, " what misery have I accessory to the bribing of my aunt's caused. I told you," he resumed, “ I servants, and as I was not sure but he told you she would be true to me. might be detected, and I could possibly Oh, there was nothing but truth, and give him no assistance, I thought it love, and purity in her. Oh, Edward, more prudent to stay quietly at home. I am not worthy
He soon returned to me. He had His rhapsody was disturbed by a had an interview with Letitia's maid, knock at the door. A messenger whom he had bribed to carry the letter brought a parcel : it was directed in to her mistress. The maid bad told Letitia's hand. Edmund's heart beat him that one night, when Letitia was violently ; he turned deadly pale. He going to bed, she had burst out into tore open the paper : it contained all crying; but that every other night she his own little presents, which he had seemed just as usual; but Mrs. Jepbsou given her at different times—all re- had mostly come into her room. turned, and by herself.
To his mind the fact of her crying He seemed stupified. He said no one night was sufficient evidence of thing for some minutes. He tore the her constancy. He was in high spirits. paper that contained the parcel into What were the contents of his letter pieces : he flung the fragments vio- he would not tell me. Next day, lently on the floor, and stamped, and however, cast him down again. As gnashed his teeth. "Oh, then, she, soon as it was dark he went to receive too, has forsaken me: she is false the answer from the maid : it was bis is it not false as hell ?-ay, that is the own letter returned. Miss Letitia had word-false as AELL."
read it over; she began to cry, and He stopped. He ran and ga- scolded her maid for bringing her such thered up the fragments of the paper a letter: she was at first going to tell his violence had torn : he put them her mother, but as this would have together, and gazed upon the writing, cost the girl her place, she gave her as if to be sure that it was · hers: back the letter, having first sealed it he kissed the words over and over, again, and told her to give it back and then placed the torn pieces care- where she got it. fully in his desk.
“And did she ask nothing more about He stopped a moment. He asked it ?" said Edmund, eagerly. me for the letter which I had. I gave “ No!” replied Barbara ; " but after it to him. He snatched up his hat, she went to bed, she sobbed and cried, and hurried from the room.
and in the morning her pillow was I followed him. I knew not to what all marked with her tears." his passion might lead him. He had, " I hear some talk," added Barbara, however, rushed far across the courts. “about her going to be married to 8 It was a blustery, rainy night. I met great gentleman from Cork: he came him quickly returning.' I stopped him, to the house today.” and said, “ Edmund, think of what you This was enough for Edmund: he are about: do nothing foolish.” few back to me in a state bordering “ No," said he, calmly, “I will upon distraction.
Next day he in not; but I was forgetting the messen treated of me to go to the house and ger that will take this letter to Letitia's find all out. I complied with his rer hands."
quest, and, with a beating beart! I did not know what he meant. I knocked next morning at the Jephsons
' could hardly keep up with his quick hall-door. step as he rushed back to his rooms. I found my aunt sitting alone. He took up his purse, which he had “Well, Stevenson, my dear," she said
, left lying on the table, and, shaking it, after some commonplace conversation, he said, with a bitter smile, " This will "you may wish me joy." fiud its way where friendship could “ Of what, ma'am p I asked. not. Letitia's maid will be a better “ Both the girls, my dear, are to be messenger than you."
married on one day." He rushed out again; and, now that “ Married !” I cried, in a voice of I perceived that his plans were ra- astonishment that I could not represe. tional, I did not care to follow him; “ Yes,” she answered.
" I suppose