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"Look how we can, or sad, or merrily,
Interpretation will misquote our looks."
"I am strong and lusty :
" 'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
SPIFFARD's first thoughts on awaking, were occupied by the events of the past night, and the recollection of the situation in which he left Mr. Cooke. The storm was over. Clear, bright and cold was the morning. He was soon equipped for a walk through the untrodden snow, and proceeded without delay to Mrs. Johnson's. Before he entered that lady's door, he very unexpectedly encountered a friend, with whom he had had no communication for some weeks.
Mr. Littlejohn's attention had been occupied, as a merchant, by the difficulties of " the times,” and, as a father, by the joyful recovery of his son and his re-establishment under his roof. Restored to perfect health, he now resided at home, and occupied himself in those studies which belonged to his clerical profession, and accorded with his serious character. For the present he withheld himself from the duties of public instruction, as he knew that the nature of his late malady might, in the public mind, injure or weaken the effect of his exertions, until time should cast his veil over the past. The presence
of the son in bodily and mental health was (more than his mercantile prosperity), a subject of congratulation to the father.
Among the eccentricities of the elder Littlejohn was a habit of early rising and strenuous pedestrian exercises before breakfast, at all seasons of the year and in all weathers. In summer he enjoyed the hour before the sun had overpowered the freshness of the morning air, but with his rays had called forth the notes of a thousand birds in the shades of Greenwich, and gilded the broad expanse of waters where the two rivers meet in our beautiful bay. In winter, he did not wait for the lazy luminary, but as soon as his approach afforded sufficient light, the old man, already long prepared, issued to the cold and nipping air, and by a rapid walk prepared himself for an early American breakfast of coffee and buckwheat-cakes.
On this clear and cold morning, Mr. Littlejohn was as usual out for a walk of three or four miles, and making the first tracks in the snow that had fallen during the night. Not far from the door of Mrs. Johnson's humble dwelling, he was surprised to see his young friend Spiffard approaching Broadway ; surprised, because he knew that players are obliged to sit up late, especially those of the sock, and after returning late from the theatre, being fatigued and exhausted, usually take late suppers; and he knew, that although a water-drinker would not be so likely to over-eat or over-sleep himself as a wine-bibber, yet “late to bed makes late to rise.” He turned to meet him.
“How's this, my young friend? I never greeted you in my morning rambles before. Have you become an early riser ?"
“ Not usually so early as to-day, sir."
" I must reproach you for neglecting me. It is long since you called
upon me. My son is now at home with me." 6. And well, sir?"
Perfectly restored. Come and see him. He will be pleased, now, to be acquainted with you. .
Your professions are supposed not to assimilate, but I think your minds would."
Society has raised a bar between the preacher and the player; perhaps it would have been better had it never existed; but as it is, I would not advise your son or any other
clergyman to step over it. When players, by their conduct, remove the bar, then let the intercourse commence."
“ That, you have done ; therefore be it as you say. Come, shall we take our walk together ?"
“I am on an errand of business, sir; and business in which I think
you will be interested and become a partner.”
Indeed! I should not have thought that a young actor and an old merchant would have entered into a business partnership upon so short an acquaintance.”
“ I know, sir, that there is one feeling that is common to us
-a feeling that young and old ought equally to partake of the feeling of love to our neighbour, which generates pity for his weakness, and the desire to strengthen and relieve him. It is a business of this nature to which I invite your partnership.”
“I believe we understand each other pretty well, young man; but, before I agree to open a partnership account with you, I must know something more particular than the mere nature of the speculation. Communicate.”
6 I will, sir. If you will turn about with me, I will show you the contrast of sickness by surfeit, and sickness from want." The merchant took Spiffard's arm, who retraced his steps, (for he had advanced towards Broadway to meet the old gentleman), and they proceeded to the place where he had left Cooke.
“ Here, sir, we shall find the unfortunate man who attracted your attention by his excesses at Cato's, and by his urbanity at Doctor Cadwallader's."
66 Here !"
Brought here by his benevolent wish to relieve it ?" “ Brought here by others while in a state of insensibility ; & wretched outcast, perishing on the pavement in the storm of last night.
This place, the residence of a poor woman, sick, and, I fear, dying, was the nearest place found open to receive him."
" But how-why-"
" You shall learn the whole. Let us enter the house. He was saved by what is called accident; or the idol of the public would have been found frozen to death in the streets of NewYork, surrounded by the well-warmed mansions of his idolaters."
This meeting of the young actor and the old merchant happened, by what we call chance, at the moment that Henry Johnson was persuading the constable to carry a note to the
landlord, requesting a suspension of the law's dread mandate, and the creditor's unchristian cruelty.
" She shall not die in a hospital !" cried Cooke, throwing off a handkerchief with which he had covered his face, and glaring at the young man like a tiger. “ I will pay every debt she owes. The shelter of her house has
lifenot that it is worth much! No matter! I owe my life to her and to you. I'll pay my debt by paying her debts! And, by God! she shall not die in a hospital !"
“ I neither drink nor swear, sir. The being on whose will my mother relies, may relieve her present distress. From you she shall receive neither favour nor relief !”.
“ Do you know who I am, sir ?" 66 Too well !"
" Who shall prevent my paying her landlord, and saving her from the distress he threatens ? Who ?"
Her son! Her son will not suffer her to be What the excited youth might have said was lost. A second and louder knocking at the door, (the first was unheard, except by the little black girl, owing to the high-raised voices of the father and son; the louder knocking) cut short the angry dialogue ; and the girl opened the door, and Mr. Littlejohn, followed by Spiffard, entered the apartment.
It may be supposed that Henry Johnson had not had either opportunity or inclination, during the rapid succession of events 80 distressing to him and his mother, to change his watchman's dress for that suited to the counting-house; and he now stood in the presence of, and fronting, Mr. Littlejohn, in the rough costume of a guardian of the night, except that the leathern helmet had been removed. Their eyes met, and both started.
“What is the meaning of this, sir ļ” said the merchant. Henry was silent.
* This watchman came hither with Mr. Cooke,” said Spiffard.
• Watchman, indeed! Both, I suppose, from the same scene of masquerading riot.”
“ He is the watchman that
" So, Mr. Johnson, my unwelcome suspicions are confirmed. You have been masquerading with this man of noted intemperance. Your unseemly situation in the counting-house is fully explained. My good opinion of you has been on the wane for some time, and this discovery seems likely to prove a death
blow to your character : the blow that must sever us; and that, too, when your period of probation is nearly past; when, in a very short time, you would have been entitled to claim a salary."
The undenied assertion, that the pretended watchman was a clerk to the merchant, kept Spiffard silent. Cooke paid no attention to what was passing.
Although Henry Johnson had been long known to Emma Portland, he was not known to Spiffard, who, it will be recollected, had been but a short time an inmate of the family of Mrs. Epsom ; and during that time occupied by perturbed thoughts, and associating with men unknown to Henry John
In the character of a watchman, for such he had acted, as well as appeared, during the events of the night, (and even now,) he did not recognise a youth who had only been seen and not noticed. He stood a perplexed and silent beholder of a scene, to him as extraordinary as those he had witnessed relative to Cooke. That he was one of the watchmen who had assisted in bringing the tragedian to this house, he knew-and nothing more.
Henry stood with his eyes fixed on Littlejohn, but unabashed. His colour changed frequently, coming and going with the changing emotions which seemed almost to suffocate him. Mr. Littlejohn continued :
“Twice-nay, thrice, have I found you asleep over your desk. You gave me no excuse--no explanation; I now see that there was none to give. I laboured to find excuses for you. Your confusion, and the appearance
your gested a thought that I dismissed, but now see might have been entertained ; for the night reveller will seek support from that which has disqualified him for the labours of the day."
"Sir!" the youth exclaimed, indignantly, but checked himself, and again became silent. His face was flushed—its muscles quivered, but his eye quailed not. It was fixed on that of bis accuser. The merchant proceeded :
* Yes, sir! What other inference could I draw from your appearance and conduct? What else could I think? Either that you was under the influence of stupisying poison, or that you had been watching the preceding night; passing the hours of natural rest without necessary sleep."
“ It is true, sir. You had surmised the truth. I had been watching. I had been sleepless."
“ Is this a garb for a clerk in the counting-house of Littlejohn and Company ?" The merchant paused. For a moment, Henry made no reply; then calmly said: “It is true, sir, that you have surmised the cause of my sleeping at my desk ;