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“ You will not leave me you will como_" She paused. He gently pulled the door towards him, as he said solemnly, never.' They were separated for ever.
She did not attempt to open the door. It was not fastened. The key was in the lock, and inside. She looked at the door as if she still saw him. She heard him slowly descend the stairs in the dark. She heard him enter the room they had left, and heard him shut the door after him. The lamp fell from her hand as she threw herself on the bed, where sleep was never more 'o visit her. She could not weep. She heard her husband's heavy steps as he walked the floor beneath by the light of the fire. The word " never,” rang as a knell incessantly in ber ears!
The plot unveiled almost.
* Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'erreaching."
"If I be serv'd such another trick, I'll have my brains taken out and buttered, and give them to a dog for a new year's gift." “ 'Tis a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds."
“He is a good fellow after all, and injures no one but himself.” Such is the bald disjointed chat,” that thoughtless, mischievous, vice-encouraging, talk, which we frequently hear even from those who ought to know better. No one can injure himself without injuring others. Very frequently, (perhaps always) the pain is felt more by others than by the victim of intemperance.
It is the very nature of a good deed to reward the doer; while it not only adds to the happiness of those who receive the immediate benefit, but it adds to their disposition to do good to others. It makes the recipient better, and promotes his future, with his present happiness. It is like the poet's mercy,
"twice blest. It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.” The light flowing from a good example has no limit. " So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
Its influence is through all time to eternity.
On the other hand, every evil thought, if not rejected instantly with horror, contaminates the thinker; and probably leads to the act which was thought of. The desire to do evil has already corrupted the heart. The indulgence of a criminal wish, gives it strength; and the disposition to good is proportionably weakened. Criminal indulgence spreads its baneful influence like a pestilence. Who shall calculate the misery inflicted by one bad example, or set bounds to its influence ?
It had been the lot of Spiffard to see one vice in all its native deformity; and to contemplate, for years, the misery inflicted by the weakness of one individual, on all connected with her. Here example did not produce imitation, because the evil effects were seen and understood as soon as the cause. The scenes presented to him in his father's family, when a child, though not then understood and appreciated, unfolded themselves in their deformity, as his mind expanded.“ And is my father's fate to be mine?" he asked himself. “No, no! Though a fascination, beyond my comprehension, has drawn me thus far within the net, I can and will burst it! I have been rashprecipitate—have deceived myself; but I will not be the father of children whose mother is, no mother; who are born to disease ; and whose only refuge is death."
Such were his thoughts as he walked the floor, or occasionally threw his exhausted limbs on an uncashioned sofa, for change, not rest.
As soon as it was light, he sought the open air. It was cold, but he felt it not. He walked the pavement, trying to devise some means of extricating himself without injury to his unhappy wife. He had yet determined on no mode of procedure, when his watch gave him notice that the time he had appointed with Allen was close at hand. This appeared to him, now, a secondary business; but it must be attended to; and accordingly, he met his false friend at the time appointed, as guided by the time-indicator, purposely set wrong on the preceding evening, by the plotters against his rest. The town-clock, he perceived, did not agree with his watch; but then Allen and Beaglehole had set their watches together, and their time was to regulate the affair, and not town-clocks, or even suns.
The principal and his friend were on the ground at ten minutes before the time, but no opponents appeared. Spiffard was not only disappointed but chagrined, that there was no Captain Smith to be found. He wanted this affair off his hands; he had something of more importance on his heart. After waiting the time deemed necessary by the code of honour, as Allen chose to read it, they departed.
Spiffard had been silent, serious, firm. Allen gave him great credit for courage : of course he knew nothing of the cause which produced so great an alteration in his deportment. The unhappy young man was no longer anxious and restless ; but calm, solemn, deliberate. The quizzers had expected a report from the pretended second, that would convulse them with laughter at the anticipated trepidation of their victim.
Allen denounced Captain John Smith as a poltroon, and asserted his intention to call upon the second, Mr. Beaglehole, for explanation and satisfaction. He went so far as to advise Spiffard to post the captain. This would have been a capital joke. To expose his friend to redicule for posting a nonentity, -an imaginary antagonistmas a coward. Spiffard only answered by,
“No more of it.” The friends separated. The second to recount to the combined hoaxers the result of the appointment between his principal, and the shadowy Captain Smith ; in which they were disappointed; not that no meeting took place, but that their butt had behaved in such a manner as to give no cause for merrimentat his expense.
Spiffard was undecided what course to pursue in his unhappy situation. Should he consult with Mr. Littlejohn? Should he make known his misfortune and perplexity to Miss Atherton ?. Objections started up in his wavering mind to both ; and before he had determined on any mode of procedure, he found himself in Wall-street, and on his way to Cooke's lodgings.
It may be fairly inferred from the incidents I have detailed, that if the water-drinker had only associated with water-drinkers—if he had not, by his choice of a profession, been thrown into the intimate society of men whose habits were at variance with his own, he would not have been involved in the perplexities, uneasiness, pain—not to say misery-arising from a supposed quarrel with a supposed personage; which, although in fact, unreal, was real to him, and productive of real torture. It is further probable that if he had not been made unhappy in his mind by the mischievous sport of these young men, that he would not have been peevish and irritable at home; that he would not have had a secret which he thought necessary to hide from his wife; that instead of making her unhappy by his apparent distrust, he might have gained her confidence by confidence and kindness; and thus, as well as by the force of reason, have reconciled her to herself, and weaned her from a habit which could not but destroy their domestic tranquillity.
Still, let it be constantly kept in mind, that the young gentlemen who had been led, step by step, to contrive and continue this practical joke, which inflicted most acute pain, most real and substantial misery, on a companion, did not intend his suffering, and had no knowledge or thought of its extent. They found Spiffard so unexpectedly credulous and confiding, that to their imaginations, he appeared almost as a creature of another species-one made for their amusement. Every successful
experiment led to another and another. Sometimes they feared that by dropping the plot too suddenly, their victim would discover the trick that had been played him, and they were conscious that they were obnoxious to his serious displeasure. Again, when over the festive board, which, in those days, was the daily-board, they, in mere gaiety, contrived further modes of continuing the existence of Captain Smith ; who, as a creature of their own, was a favourite. Of the domestic woe experienced by Spiffard, they had no knowledge. They could have no conception of the addition their mirth made to his pain, The man who was the leader in the plot, would have risked fortune or life to serve the person he tormented. Allen was a wellmeaning young man, overflowing with wealth, health, and animal spirits. Cooper was a man who had proved, again and again, that he would share his fortune, however hardly earned, with those who wanted a friendly and open hand to assist them; and confront any danger in defence of a worthy or oppressed object.
Cooke was still in bed. His fatal symptoms daily increased; and it was only by means of stimulants that he could feel any enjoyment in life, or fulfil any of its duties. His physicians knew his case to be desperate, and only watched over him to prolong existence, and make it as comfortable as disease and decay would permit.
Before Spiffard entered the old tragedian's bed-chamber, he encountered the faithful Trustworthy Davenport, in an outer apartment, and after receiving answers to his inquiries respecting Mr. Cooke, he was puzzled by his brother Yankee's requesting permission to ask him a question. This appeared very unnecessary, as it was Trusty's constant practice to ask as many as he pleased.
“ It's none of my business, Mr. Spiffard, to be sure, but it seems to me that you have been troubled of late : and though it's none of my business, yet I think it is every man's business to be concerned for any body he thinks well of."
“ But what's your question, Trusty ?”
“Why I've no right to ask —but isn't Mr. Allen a good deal of what may be called a quizzer?"
“ After your country fashion, Davenport, I will answer your question by asking one. Has Mr.' Allen been quizzing
“ No, no! He knows I've seen salt water without shore, as well as himself; and for that matter, so have you, sir. But I'm not the game for such sportsmen.”