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That makes you so thin." * I am well, and strong. I doubt not, landlord, that I could carry you up the hill to the capitol much easier than you could
“ That would be a funny sight sure enough. John finds it hard work to carry himself.” said Mrs. Thompson.
“ Well, sir, that may be, but I shouldn't be more surprised to find myself riding up the hill on your shoulders, than I am to find a hactor refusing good liquor. Why I've ad ladies in my ouse who would toss off a pint of brown-stout after hacting, or a glass of brandy and water before going to the theatre, and another before going to bed—haye, by George! and sometimes two or three of them. There was Mrs. Hepsom and er daughter-fine women, both-I ear she as changed er name lately—I mean the daughter-as to the mother
“With your leave, Mr. Thompson, I will take this candle and retire."
“ The servant has been late in lighting your fire and has not come down yet. Take a little summut, sir."
The landlady went up stairs shouting for the servant to come down.
Thompson finished his tankard of ale and proceeded to finish his beer-imbued speech—"A fine looking stately dame that Mrs. Trowbridge—or Miss Hepsom--for I don't believe-yet if that Trowbridge adn't broke his neck hout of the gig-"
“ Room's ready now, sir," said the puffing dame, “but do take a little summut
“Good night, Mr. Thompson!” said Spiffard, with any thing but a comfortable addition of ideas for chamber companions, hurried up stairs.
“Good night, Muster Spiffard, and good rest to your honour!'* said the burly landlady.
" Spiffard ! Spiffard !" echoed Boniface, with mouth and eyes wide stretched; looking like one who tried to think but was unused to the occupation. “Spiffard ! Odsbodikins, dame Thompson, by George, 1 do believe that's the name of that hactor that married-hand it never struck me before. I am a little frightful that I might a said a summut that ee would'nt hover-like to ear. Fore George I'm glad I didn't tell im what I might avem
--what did I say? Do you remember? The thought never struck me till you called is name.”
“ Thoughts don't often strike you John. If you'd drink less and think more, the ouse might do better.”
“ Don't talk to me woman ! but I didn't tell him of that
· Hush, John! Walls ave hears. Least said is soonest mended. That was a terrible night—it's well it's only known to ourselves."
“ When I mentioned er name ee was off like a stage coach.”
Every hint, that had, since Spiffard's marriage, reached his ears and caused him pain in respect to his wife's former historyevery suspicion that had been forced upon his unsuspecting nature—now was recalled to mind. Every light word, spoken by his light companions, was, against his will, remembered. He could not sleep during a long winter's night. The mind must be sorely distressed when youth, health and temperance, cannot find rest after fatigue of body.
He could almost envy the snoring of his beer-bloated landlord, whose sonorous breathings were plainly heard through two partitions, “making night hideous."
0, why did I marry so hastily ?” His short engagement finished, Spiffard took the stage for New-York, the winter had set in hard-not harder than the winter of his discontent.” He returned richer in purse-poorer in spirit. He was almost as miserable as a good man could be made—yet more suffering awaited hiin--and more cause to cry, “0, why did I marry so hastily?"!
He had reason to lament that he had married a woman born and educated in another land, without knowing her domestic habits or her previous story. Our hero was the most honest, the most frank, most trusting, most credulous of any creature that had ever been thrown among civilized men, yet he was an actor by profession.
Spiffard felt that he had been deceived; and knew that he had deceived himself. He felt that the dearest ties of life were not for him. He still admiied the talents of his wife, and would willingly' have loved her: but love cannot exist where confidence is wanting. It is the seal to the bond of matrimony: the bond is worse than worthless without it.
Mrs. Spiffard, on her husband's return from Albany, perceived a change in his looks and behaviour. She soon understood from him that he had boarded at Thompson's." The thief does fear each bush an officer." She thought of an avowal. She had been misled by her own passions and the arts of a scoundrel. The tale is too common to be told. This might be forgiven by one who looked for forgiveness. But the habit induced by previous misery, (with encouragement from a weak parent and temptation from professional fatigue,) could not be tolerated. Notwithstanding remonstrances, entreaties and arguments, on one side, and tears and repentance and promises on the other, he saw that which he most abhorred, most dreaded. He felt that he was miserable in the time present, and anticipated greater misery in the future.
The situation of Mrs. Williams was a sufficient excuse for Eliza Atherton's not associating with Mrs. Spiffard; but the unhappy husband saw the difference in his aunt's behaviour when she conversed with his wife, and when she opened her heart to Emma Portland. Sometimes he thought of pouring out his griefs and asking Miss Atherton's counsel. But the subject was too sacred, and his delicacy too great. The attention of that lady to her suffering sister made their meetings unfrequent.
He was the favourite comedian of the public. Even Twaits and Hilson were forgotten when Spiffard appeared. He was received with plaudits, for which the sound of his voice before he entered was the signal. Merriment was induced by the sight of his face, and laughter burst forth in anticipation. His musical talents always produced admiration and delight: but he knew not pleasure nor peace. Applause had staled on
He only laughed as a duty. He was merry by sad necessity.
Happily for man, he cannot uniformly be miserable. Nature has her moments when sorrow is forgotten. One continued torturing train of ideas can only be known in madness. It is madness. But Spiffard became irritable. His health and elastic strength declined. He refused the invitations of men to whom his talents recommended and would have endeared him. Even Mr. Littlejohn was neglected. He continued his attachment to the erring George Frederick Cooke; and still sought the company of the gay young men who associated with the favourites of the theatre, and enjoyed the hospitality of the manager, whose flood of prosperity flowed full and strong, and whose liberality let it pass as freely. Sometimes Spiffard was urged into this joyous circle by his wishes to save Cooke: sometimes merely to avoid his own domestic hearth. That which alone can make the fireside blessed, was not there.
Mystery in New York, and another hero.
“Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.”
That make her good ?"
His body for a girl who loves him not.
Dass er nicht mag eine Seele lieben.- Goethe.
So long attended thee."- Shakspeare.
The reader already knows, that although Zebediah Spiffard is the hero of this story, the heroine of it, Emma Portland, is not destined to be his bride; and that there is another hero in reserve who has superior claims. It is time that he came a little more forward on our stage ; but first we must follow the steps of Emma through some scenes which tend to bring on the denouement of the drama, and bring together persons heretofore estranged from, or unknown to, each other.
It was during Spiffard's short sojourn at Albany that Emma was subject to a more severe trial, by the arts and perseverance of the unknown, and hitherto unseen persecutor, who had twice before insulted her while in the quiet path of her duty. The last attack made by this mysterious personage, who conducted his approach muffied in cloaks and shrouded in darkness, had made her resolve not to expose herself unacompanied, in the evening, to the possibility of insult in the once safe and peaceful streets of New-York. She had related to Henry Johnson all the circumstances attending upon the former attempts, and had expressed the certainty she felt, that the person, though unseen, was, in both instances, the same; and not one connected with the theatre. It was in vain to conjecture who the wretch was ; but Henry asked, and obtained the promise, that her walks of charity should not be walks of darkness.
She mentioned to him likewise the friendly behaviour of the watchman, and the confidence it had inspired. But he observed, that it might so happen that none of the watch would be near at the moment she most required assistance; and explained the nature of their duty, by a detail which, to one of her sex, was new.
But the enemy was on the alert; and one morning, when
, My late husband, after being sick ever since last August, during which time I had to support him and my poor little ones, was taken from me by death, leaving me without any fuel for this cold winter weather, and my clothes sold and pawned to give him necessaries and bury him. I and my poor children are in a state of starvation. I can't work, for the rheumatism has taken away the use of my limbs : and for the same reason I can't go to the Alderman for help. I send this by a neighbour's child, humbly begging your advice and assistance, as I know, from an acquaintance of an acquaintance of poor sick Mrs. Kent, that you are always ready to help the unfortunate. I hope to see you, dear Miss, as soon as possible, at No. 356 Mott-street. Your most obedient servant,
It was not an extraordinary circumstance for Emma to receive such applications: yet the events made her cautious. It had no date-but it was written by a woinan. The first impulse was to question the person who brought it—but he was gone.
Should she go? Formerly she had never asked herself the question when called upon by misery. She had gone in search of the children of the poor for the Sunday-schools, sometimes in company, but if a companion did not offer, she