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three, was absent. Although the circumstance occasioned surprise, Rachael's testimony in some measure quieted any apprehensions for her safety, as Kent was expected to be her safeguard in returning.
The ladies took supper and retired. Spiffard did neither. To wait the return of Emma, or, if necessary, go in search of her, was the ostensible reason. He had another.
The great exertion of body and mind necessary to the due performance of a long and arduous character, a labour frequently continued for many successive hours, and that, after the usual business of the day, and the toil of preparation, is the excuse given for what is called taking refreshment during the time of performance, and supper, with its concomitants, after. Both the one and the other too frequently lead to undue excitement; and, by degrees, aided by those tempters to wrong) our vitiated appetites, to destruction. Spiffard's exertion in his profession, where singing and acting were united, never induced him to swerve from his habit; and the tumbler of water during labour, and sleep after it, were the only refreshments he required.
He had found that the habits of his wife, fostered by her mother, had long been different; but he had hoped that, by degrees, when convinced that no necessity for stimulants existed, and that they were pernicious, she would accommodate herself to his views and wishes. But it was in vain that he had demonstrated the utility of his practice. When disappointed, he had remonstrated-in vain. He found that attempts at deception were made, to blind him-promises, made with apparent (and at times perhaps real) good faith, were broken. He saw no hope of relief but by abandoning the life of an actor.
He was unhappy. He loved the great tragic actress and his love had been founded on admiration of her talents in the profession. Until he saw her, Spiffard had despised the shafts of the “weak wanton cupid,” or if he had felt them, he had roused his strength and made the boy
“Unloose his am'rous fold," " And like a dew drop from a lion's mane, Shook” him “to air;'
but the malicious urchiņ had his revenge. The attributes of this towering beauty, so distinctive from his own form and character, seemed the more in that respect to have fascinated him. Her skill and powers in an art he loved:her bold demeanor which
appeared like frankness, and often was so; her prompt and pointed speech ; her attentions to him in preference to others more favoured in external beauty and lofty stature : all, all, tended to drive the nail which Hymen clinched. He had been subdued without struggle, and had yielded without capitulation or caution.
To ruminate on the past and the present; to form schemes for the future ; employed his thoughts as he sat by the fire until a very late hour. A sudden gust of wind howling at the windows and down the chimney, brought to his mind the absence of Emma, for whom he felt a brother's love ; and he started from his reverie.
Mrs. Spiffard on awaking from her first sleep, was alarmed, for her husband's absence betokened that of Emma. She opened her chamber door and called to him. He was preparing himself to sally forth ; and begging his wife not to be alarmed, he, well prepared to meet the inclemency of the night, proceeded towards the humble abode of the property-man.
His route was the same which led to the pitiable spectacle of the man, admired by thousands, prostrate, “ like a dead dog despised,” and thrown, as if unworthy burial, to the streets. Fortunately Spiffard took the same side of the pavement which Emma had trodden, otherwise he might have passed, unnoticed, an object that was whitened by the falling snow, and which appeared in the obscurity of the storm more like a mass of accumulated filth and ice than a man. On recognising in this forIorn outcast the person in whom he took so deep an interest, his astonishment was only equalled by his fears for his life.
• This! this is one fruit of intemperance !” darted through his mind, accompanied by a thousand images flashing with the rapidity of lightning, all connected with the brutalizing vice whick could alone bring a man in the height of popularity, flushed with success and possessing all that wealth or admirers could bestow, to this pitiable perishing condition-a houseless wretch thrust to the winter's blast, to die abandoned by humanity. Thought and action were coexistent. The shock experienced and the train of ideas excited by this humiliating spectacle, did not render Spiffard less prompt in his endeavours to ascertain the extent of the evil, and to apply all possible remedy. His friend was alive, but helpless as a corpse. Spiffard, though active and strong, could not lift him, or he would have borne him to the fire he had just left. He next thought of alarming the neighbours and gaining a shelter for the almost inanimate body. He had strength enough to place the unhappy man, leaning and in a sitting position, against the lamp-post, with his face turned from the cutting wind and driving snow. His head sunk upon his chest, in deathlike sleep.
As he prepared to execute his purpose of knocking at a neighbouring door and calling for assistance, he perceived that an effort was making by the old man to speak, and with great difficulty the paralyzed organs indistinctly uttered, “let me alonelet me sleep-don't-don't.”
At the same moment he saw some persons approaching from Broadway with a light; and to his astonishment he soon perceived that one of them was a female. The image of Emma had been driven from his mind by the surprise of finding Cooke in such a place at such a time and in such a condition. His surprise was as great when he saw the lovely girl advancing in a direction opposite to that in which he would have sought her, and accompanied by two watchmen. It is unnecessary to say that Henry Johnson was one of them.
The explanations that took place were made briefly and rapidly. Henry determined to convey the helpless man to the house of his mother for present shelter. The three men raised him-he protesting against being disturbed. They bore him towards Mrs. Johnson's : Emma leading the way and carrying the light.
Here were three votaries of temperance, saving from death and conducting to the house of the sick and poor, the wealthy and admired victim of a vice they abhorred.
On, Emma Portland made her way, against wind and snow; a guide to the encumbered and labouring group. She might be likened to the bright particular star," the mariner's safety in trouble.
Spiffard's ever active mind, notwithstanding his bodily exertions, was comparing the light and fragile figure braving the blast and the snow-wreath to save a fellow-creature, with those whose charity is bounded by the gift of alms. The charity of action, was like an angel moving before him. When they arrived at Mrs. Johnson's dwelling, Emma had already knocked and was waiting for admission.
In the meantime her followers had many surmises and some words. We will not endeavour to penetrate the thoughts of Henry Johnson during this laborious walk: it is not too much to suppose that admiration of the conducting messenger had an ample share in them. But his brother watchman—the altogether
watchman, who was not of that feeble or lame decrepid family which dramatists and novelists have delighted to describe, but a sturdy American mechanic, who added
the wages of the night to those of the day to procure present comfort, and future increase of it, for a wife and children, and whose strength was adequate to his share of the inert burthen he helped to bearwhat were his thoughts as he laboured with his companions to support the heavy frame of the half dead tragedian? “Poor wretch!” said Henry " but we shall soon get a comfortable place for his shelter. My mother's doors will not be closed against the sufferer.”
“ The devil's doors,” said the watchman, " would open to receive a fellow creature in such a night as this. The young lady said he was a gentleman. The devil's a gentleman too, they say. She called him Cooke. The cook has made a pretty kettle of fish of it to-night. Johnson, do you know who he is? She called him the great something—by George Washington! he would soon have made something less than nothing it that pretty little girl hadn't brought some of us little folks to help his greatness.”
The motion had so far roused Cooke that the word George caught his attention and he muttered heavily, “George--George Frederick_let me alone, you black—I'll never go to his house again—a blow !-George Fred-a blow_" and he sunk again into lethargic slumber.
- What is he?" asked the watchiman.
Player ? at what?"
“O, he makes believe great and good on the stage, and plays the devil every where else—and see what it comes to."
“ He is not always wise,” said Spiffard. “Who is ?"
“ That's true,” said the watchman. “I have heard of lawyer's breaking the law, and preachers forgetting the gospel, but some how or another I am apt to put great and good together, like Franklin or Washington: but it's hard to couple great with such a thing as this.”
Each step the bearers took, their burthen became heavier. They were silent for want of breath, for every foot was encumbered with snow, and the furious blasts resisted their efforts to proceed. The watchman shifted his part of the burthen from one hand to the other. Spiffard stumbled, and to save himself relinquished his grasp. Henry saw that Emma had reached the door, and stood knocking without admittance.
“Stop!” said the watchman, " let us try"
“Let go !” said Henry-With the strength of athletic youth he snatched the old man from his companions, and treading in Emma's steps he reached his mother's door, where the almost exhausted girl was striving to make herself heard.
Again the watchman and Spiffard assisted the youth to support the ponderous load, while all impatiently awaited the moment that should give them shelter, but none so intensely felt the delay as he who saw the guiding minister of mercy before him, shivering, almost sinking—and saw in her a creature he loved more than life.
“Don't alarm your mother, they hear me, let me go in first."
The sick woman did not sleep; but the little black Hannah was so thickly encompassed by the blankets of forgetfulness that although in the same room with her mistress, it was with difficulty she was awakened, and even then, could not comprehend for some time the direction to “ see who knocked at the door.” Emma, to prepare Mrs. Johnson, whose voice she heard through the thin tenement, said, “ open the door! it is me, Han
And with an exclamation of " 0, it's Miss Emmy!” the girl did not wait for further orders, but unlocked and opened. Mrs. Johnson's alarm was for her young friend, whose voice at such a season, and heard amid the howlings of a storm, filled her with bewildering apprehensions.
The street-door of the uncomfortable dwelling-place opened upon the only apartment below, which was the bed-chamber of Mrs. Johnson and Hannah, as well as the receptacle of kitchen utensils, and all the furniture poverty had left to the poor. The garret-room served her son as a resting-place.
Emma, entered and begging Mrs. Johnson not to be alarmed, took her hand and said in a low tone, “ It is Henry, humanely assisting a man in distress," and then returned to the door (which the bearers of Cooke had left open) and closed it.
A lamp on the hearth threw a faint light over the chamber. The lanthorn which Emma had borne was deposited on a table near the door immediately on her entering. The sick woman had started up in bed and thrown aside the curtain between'her and the door on the first alarm; she gazed wildly on the three figures as they came in supporting their senseless burthen.
The bearers of Cooke entered the room in such wise as to present his feet to the hearth, from whence the strongest light in the place proceeded. Henry Johnson, (who supported the head and upper portion of the old man's person), at this mo