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light which now streamed in through the ill-closed shutters, and silence again reassumed her reign, only interrupted by the noises of the busy street, the cries of those who administer to the comforts of others, and the tinkling of sleigh-bells, from the hackman's, the cartman's, or the milkman's, sleds.
Henry walked the floor, or occasionally approached the bed of his mother. He suppressed his groans. He knew that the day had commenced on which his landlord had threatened to distrain for rent. He knew that he could only offer a small portion saved from the wages of night watches. He knew that his all, and the savings of his mother's industry, had been exhausted by the expenses attendant on a sick bed. And now he knew that his father, rolling in riches, and wallowing in destructive excess, was before him.—The thought occurred, 66 shall he be the means of our deliverance-has his vices driven him unknowingly to save the being who suffers for his sins ?" But he spurned it from him. “ Rather let her go to the poor-house--she is entitled to that shelter-rather let us perish-perish!-am I not young and strong ?-Is there not a God above us.?--but my mother!—she shall to the hospital, rather than receive aid from
These thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the streetdoor, and Henry went out of the room.
Cooke was now thoroughly awake, although still under the influence of the poison which was destroying soul and body. Thought had been aroused, and retrospection tormented him. He then recurred to the present situation, and felt a wish to repay
the poor people who had succoured him. His attention was called to the voices of the supposed watchman, and some other person at the door. He heard sentences which, as his senses became more acute, he put together, and formed the conclusion that a bailiff was demanding rent, and threatening a sale of furniture. He looked around and saw tokens of poverty, and some remains of a better state, and proofs of taste above the state of the habitually poor. He listened to the words of those without. Speak lower-she is
ill.” “ He says I must sell to-day.” “ I will write to him again. I can pay--' He says
it will not do." “ She is very low-kill her" “ Hospital" 66 She cannot be moved.” “ Gracious heaven!” thought Cooke, “ are they going to turn
poor sick creature out into the storm, from which she has sheltered me;" and he strove to rise from his seat, but his abused and stiffened limbs failed, and he sunk down again-he heard the voices louder. “ I must obey my orders.”
" I will resist.' She shall not be removed! I have another proposition"
"I can't be going backward and forward day after day." " Who's there ?" shouted Cooke. 6 Come in!”
“I will write to him-I will compensate you. A day's delay"
• Who's there? I say?"
Henry hearing Cooke's voice, and fearing that his mother would be more disturbed by that than even by the presence the constable, came into the room with him.
“ Henry, come hither, my son.” The young man obeyed, and the officer walked to the fire and placed himself between it and the squalid figure in the chair, of which he took no notice, until he was addressed with the imperative, “ Fellow, take off your hat !”
- For what?" " Don't you know me, fellow? I am George Frederick Cooke."
Poh! poh! hold your tongue.” “ Stand from before me!" "Well
, well; I wont keep the fire from you, poor devil!" * Poor devil !-Yes, yes; I am, I am!" " Well, Mr. Johnson, if you have any thing to offer, do it
I will go to the landlord once more, for I do not want to inconvenience the old woman; but, right's right, and the rent must be paid, and I must be paid."
“Sit down, if you please, I will write once more to Mr. Jones.” And Henry took from a hanging shelf (on which were a few books) some paper and an ink-stand, and sat down to make his proposal to his landlord, with little hope but of a short respite, and time to think and to remove his father from the scene of his mother's suffering.
In the mean time Cooke put a bank note into the constable's hand, unperceived by Henry, and gained information immediately, from the astonished officer, of the sum for which the landlord's warrant was issued.
Henry having written a short note carried it to his mother. It being now broad-day, she read it without opening the curtains.
“ This will not do, my son. Why not apply to your emVOL. II.
ployer. He has promised that after next May you shall have a salary in his counting-house, and he would, if he knew our situation, advance enough to relieve us."
“ Mother, I cannot. He reproached me lately, on finding me asleep at my desk, and accused me of dissipation ; supposing my sluggish senses were overpowered in consequence of night-watchings of a very different complexion from the reality. I cannot apply to him. This application to Mr. Jones will gain us time."
“ Young man !Come here !” said Cooke in a tone of command.
Henry obeyed; unconscious of the mixed motives which guided his steps.
“ I am George Frederick Cooke!” Henry was about to retire again with an air and feeling of disgust. I will be heard, sirr," continued the excited tragedian. “ I have a right to be heard and to be obeyed.” Henry shuddered. Cooke continued. “ You have saved my life, sirr, and your mother has sheltered me in this house, from which your landlord threatens to eject her, and to snatch the bed from under her on which she is, perhaps, languishing in her last sickness, and for the paltry sum of fifty dollars for two quarters rent. I wil pay the rent. Give me the pen and ink, and I will write an order for the money." « No."
Why not, sirr ?" “ My mother cannot, shall not, receive aid from-fromyou."
“ From me, sirr ? George Frederick Cooke! Constable, give me the table, and
and ink, and paper.” “ No. I say no.
Never !" “ Henry!"
“ Mother!" and he again shrouded himself within the curtains of his agitated, almost exhausted mother.
The constable, at the request of Cooke, placed the table and writing materials before him; he attempted to write an order on the treasurer of the theatre for fifty dollars; his hand would not obey his will; he gave an unintelligible scrawl to the of ficer.
What this? This won't do." It was handed back and torne. Cooke then thought of Spiffard, and in a scrawl, scarcely legible, he wrote a few words to him, desiring him to come to him quickly.
The little black girl had by this time ended her second
peaceful slumber, and had come forth from her dormitory and taken her place by the fire.
Cooke having finished his scrawl, now first saw the child's black face, and eyes wide open and fixed on him.
66 Come hither, blackey, can you take this to Mr. Spiffard ??!
* If misses pleases."
Henry again came forward, and in a collected manner addressed his father. “Mr. Spiffard was assisting in bringing you hither, sir, and has promised to be here again this morning. He will remove you from hence.”
“ He will bring the money, and discharge this debt and this constable.” “ No. That he shall not. All we ask of you is your
absence, and that you will forget that you were ever sheltered by this roof.”
As Henry Johnson now stood proudly rejecting the assistance offered by the man who had wronged his mother, his tall and athletic person drawn up to its utmost height, gave additional dignity to a face which would not be selected by the sculptor or the painter as a model of beauty, but rather for one of power; a model for a leader in the field, or in the council. The reader may observe, in Sully's, portrait of Cooke, that breadth between the eyes, at the junction of the nose with the forehead, which has been supposed to characterize strength of intellect. It may be seen likewise in the portrait of Washington, by Stuart, and in Ciracchi's bust of the hero.
This same feature marked the face of Henry Johnson, combined with a fine
open broad forehead, large hazle eyes, and mouth of uncommon beauty, in all which he resembled his mother.
The extraordinary situation in which Cooke found himself placed, (extraordinary even for him, and as he understood it, but beyond measure more so in reality), consciousness of the present, and indistinct recollections of the past night, seemed to recall his mental faculties to their healthful operation, and he spoke with the tone of restored reason.
Young man! what do you mean? Do you think I am a beast, devoid of reason or gratitude ? Do you think I can ever forget the obligation I am under to you and your“ mother? Am I not under the greatest possible obligation to her?"
" You are-
-you are !"
“ I owe my life to you and to her. And do you deny me the privilege of doing my duty towards her ?"
“ You cannot.”
“ Rich! rich! Money! riches and money! Thus, in your world, everything is swallowed up in the thought of money. Money covers all-sanctions all. Can restore to that dying woman the years of peace and health which a ruffian's baseness has robbed her of? Can your fifty dollars pay her for country-friends-peace of mind health ?"
“Henry! Henry !!!
6 I have done. Forgive me, mother! Keep your riches, sir. We will do as we have done, without your-without them! You will be removed to your home, and then we shall be restored to that quiet which is necessary to the sick-perhaps the dying."
“ But you want a friend
“ Friend? We shall find a friend. We have a friend who has never deserted us, and never will desert us, as long as we confide in him, and do our duty towards his creatures."
The energy of the young man-the discrepancy between his rough watchman's dress, and his comparatively polished language—the mystery which, to Cooke's apprehension, appeared to surround him and his mother-combining with the agitation and confusion existing in the old man's mind, now overwhelmed him. He sunk back again in the sick lady's chair, and covered his face with his hands.
“ But this won't do for me, Mr. Johnson," said the constable. “I must do my duty. Why not take this old man's offer, and let me go.”
“ Never, sir! never ! If Mr. Jones will not consent to the proposition in my note, you must do your duty. My mother can die in the hospital.”
NOTE.-Two facts are used by the author which are recorded iu the memoirs of Cooke. He was found in the street covered with snow at midnight, and conveyed by watchmen to a poor woman's house; and he not only offered but actually paid a quarter's rent, and prevented the sale of the poor widow's furniture.