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self. She is horror-stricken; and, stripping off executioner is about to bind his prisoner, Jaffier the glamour with which Pierre's declamations plunges his dagger into his friend's breast, then about liberty and revenge have invested the stabs himself, and with a fierce curse upon the meditated crime, shows it to him in all its naked whole race of senators and a blessing upon Belhideousness. Jaffier's purpose is shaken, and videra, falls dead. The death of Belvidera, ravwhen in the next scene Renault bids the con- ing mad, is the finish of this terribly sublime spirators to shed blood enough, to spare neither tragedy. sex nor age, name nor condition-such words, It is a pity that so noble a work should be coming from the mouth of the man who has at- blotted by the comic scenes between Antonio tempted his wife's honor, fill him with disgust and Aquilina. The lecherous, silly, conceited and horror; and he hastily quits the assembly. old senator, it is said, was introduced by com
From that moment we can perceive that all mand of King Charles as a portrait of Shaftesare doomed. Urged by his wife's entreaties, that bury. Although not without humor, its grossvery night he, after first stipulating for the par- ness can not fail to shock the modern reader. don of his friends, betrays the whole design to These scenes are omitted in all acting editions the Council of Ten. But the faithless senators, of the play. Written at the time of the supposed once possessed of the secret, in defiance of their Popish plot, “Venice Preserved ” is full of allupledges condemn all to death. And from this sions to that craze, and read with this key many point until the end of the tragedy the scenes are of the speeches have a double significance. in tragic power equal to anything, except the The last of Otway's works was another greatest of Shakespeare's plays, that English comedy, entitled “The Atheist; or, the Second dramatic literature can boast. Pierre overwhelms Part of the Soldier's Fortune,” in which most of the unfortunate Jaffier, who grovels before him the characters of the first part are continued. in all the anguish of shame and grief, with scorn The faults that disfigure his other comedies are and contempt; then the desperate man turns here equally apparent; it contains but one charupon her who has urged him to treachery, and acter, old Beaugard, which has any claim to oriin his madness raises his dagger against her ginality, and revolting as it is there is considerable breast. “Kill me!” she cries, leaping upon his humor in the conception of this horrible old man, neck
who is a very highly seasoned prototype of poor
Charles Mathews's “ Awful Dad.” “ While thus I cling about thy cruel neck,
And now to return once more to the poet's Kiss thy revengeful lips, and die in joys
private life. The works which were destined to Greater than I can guess hereafter."
be a delight to posterity and to help make the He throws away the weapon and clasps her in fortunes of generations of actors and actresses his arms, exclaiming:
yet unborn, brought but little to their creator;
for “The Orphan ” and “Venice Preserved” he “I can not longer bear a thought to harm thee." received but one hundred pounds each, and for
the copyright of the latter Jacob Tonson gave Belvidera goes to her father and pleads to him fifteen pounds. His best friend, the Earl of him for mercy for the doomed men, and her tears Plymouth, died in 1680, in his twenty-second and eloquent appeals at last melt his heart. But year; he was the only one of his aristocratic when she returns to her husband he is again acquaintances from whom he seems to have deraging and desperate. Pierre has sent for him rived much benefit. As Johnson points out, the to come to the scaffold, to receive his forgive- courtiers of that time desired only to drink and ness. In a scene of heart-rending pathos he bids laugh; their fondness was without benevolence, Belvidera farewell for ever, and as the passing and their familiarity without friendship. “Men bell, that tells him the last hour has come, sounds of wit,” says one of Otway's biographers, “rein his ears he tears himself from her clinging ceived at that time no favor from the great but arms, then pauses for one last look and to speak to share their riots; from which they were disof their child. Once more he takes her to his missed again to their own narrow circumstances.” heart, crying
And no monarch was ever more neglectful of
genius than Charles II. Otway's life at this “Oh that my arms were riveted
Thus round thee ever! But my friends, my oath. period must have been a terrible one. Still unThis and no more."
der the spell of the siren who had bewitched
him, and who at Rochester's death had passed As Pierre mounts the scaffold Jaffier rushes to the arms of Sir George Etherege, his course on and again implores his forgiveness. He will became more and more reckless, and his days grant it on one condition—he whispers in his were passed between rioting and fasting, ranting ear. “I'll do it," is the reply. And just as the jollity and abject penitence, carousing one week
with a lord, and then hiding from his creditors done their work, and he fell dead, choked by the and starving a month with low company in an first mouthful.* ale-house on Tower Hill. We can clearly pic- It has been the fashion with writers to point ture what he became beneath the influence of to Otway's terrible fate as a national disgrace; this soul-destroying life; one by one his friends but with all my admiration for his genius, I can fell from him—if the term friend could be ap- not concur in making society responsible for the plied to such associates as he had chosen; the catastrophe. To hear men angrily denouncing money gained by his pen was perhaps squandered some vague and indefinite body of people for alin one night of gambling and wild debauchery; lowing a hopeless spendthrift like Goldsmith, who the days of rioting became fewer, of fasting more would have spent thousands as rapidly as he did frequent; carousing with a lord became a rarity, hundreds, to live in poverty, or for suffering a starving with the ruffians of Tower Hill an every- half-mad debauchee like Otway to die of starvaday occurrence; debts continued to accumulate, tion, is illogical. Otway might have lived in and as his means grew more desperate and his comfort upon the proceeds of his pen had he noble patrons fell from him one by one, creditors been an ordinarily careful man. It was the curse grew more clamorous and merciless, until, no of his destiny to be thrown in youth among men longer able to venture into the haunts of civilized of superior birth and dissolute habits, to live unlife, he was hemmed in in some vile den, faced der a society that, while it had no real respect for by two alternatives—either to give himself up to genius, pretended to be its patron; but above all an imprisonment which he knew would be per- it was his curse to be infatuated with a cruel, petual, or starve. For a time he chose the latter, mercenary, soul-enthralling Delilah. Under these until one day, goaded by famine, naked and wolf- combined influences the moral nature of the man like, he crept out of his hole and begged alms. was wholly wrecked and shattered, and no efforts With the money thus obtained he rushed into a of humanity, of patronage, or of generous apprebaker's shop, and clutching at a loaf crammed it ciation could have saved him from ultimate deinto his mouth with wild-beast-like ravenous- struction. ness; but want, disease, and debauchery had
“ Thank you, Gilbert,” she said, when he had CHAPTER XIX.
delivered himself of his message and his proph
ecy of encouragement " thank you, Gilbert. HOW ALISON TOOK IT.
You are all very kind about me. A year to wait,
you say? Then I shall be of age, and I shall gain time is generally the next best thing want no more guardians. Then I shall go to
to gaining the victory. Alison had gained my uncle—no, I will write to him, because I can time. Gilbert threw himself into a hansom, and never see him again—and say, 'If it is only the carried the good news faster than any that was money you want, take it, and leave my father's ever brought into Ghent, to the house on Clap- memory in peace. I suppose he will do that ; ham Common.
anything is better than this dragging of his dear “So far," he said, “ we have been successful. name before the courts.” Unless anything new turns up, letters of adminis- "The application will be reported in the patration will not be granted for a year at least. pers," said Gilbert. "A few people who know During that time we shall have made out our the name will read it: your own cousins will own case. Courage, Alison !”
read it, no one else." This was one of Alison's bad days. She had Gilbert reckoned without the special London lost the old confident bearing, the insolence correspondent who got hold of the story and rewhich sits so well on happy youth ; she was de- tailed it, with additions of his own, for the benejected; the ready smile was gone; her lips were fit of the country papers. In fact, all England set and her eyes were hard. She was of those who have a quarrel with Fate. It is not unusual ;
* There is another story told in Spence's “ Anecdotes" sooner or later we all mistrust the unaccountable suit of a man who had killed one of his friends, and that
to the effect that he was seized with fever while in purrulings of destiny, but it is sad when the quarrel his death was caused by drinking water too copiously. begins so early in life.
Let us hope that this is the true one.
was interested in the destination of this vast for- wrong, I was born twenty years ago, on the 5th tune. Who would not be interested in the dis- day of June. There are two facts for you. Can posal of more than a quarter of a million of you make anything out of them?" money ? The mere mention of such a sum “ By themselves, very little. But I have stimulates the imagination. What years of care- thought how to use them. With the aid of the ful thought—what generations of success—what registers I can make everything out of them. abilities—what prudence—what swiftness of vis- Listen, Alison : we shall put our advertisements ion, clearness of brain, sacrifice of present plea- in the papers; we invite everybody-clergymen, sure, are represented by so gigantic a pile! The and parish clerks, and country doctors—to look vastness of the sum bewilders the poor wretch for a certain register of birth on such a day. whose only hope is to be a little“ before" the When I have got that register, it will be time to world, so that should that calamity, known as consider what next. Perhaps your father married "anything,” happen, his widow and the children under an assumed name. We may, by the help may be hedged round by the resource of a few of the register, get hold of that name. It will hundreds. So that the writers of the “ London lead us to further discoveries. Why, those two Letter,” most of whom belong to the order of facts, the year and the day, may prove invaluable. those who save little and spend little when they I think we may safely assume that the marriage would gladly save much and spend more, seized took place in the south of England, probably in upon the story and dressed it up. Happy Ste- the neighborhood of London, because the diaries phen! Unhappy Alison ! Those who had rich show clearly—and Mr. Augustus Hamblin disrelatives reflected with sorrow that there could tinctly recollects—that in the year of your birth, never be any doubt about their marriage ; those and the two years before that, your father was who had none built castles in the air, and specu- never far away from London. Thus, in the sumlated on the chance of unexpected legacies. Of mer of your birth he went to Bournemouth by all dreams which flesh is heir to, that of unex- himself, and remained there three weeks-very pected fortune is, I believe, the commonest. It likely on business connected with yourself. The is so much more pleasant to dream than to work; year before that, he took a holiday early in the it is so much more delightful to look forward to summer with his brother Stephen, and went fishan old age of comfort and ease than to one of ing. For some weeks he wrote from Newbury. hard work and collar to the end! I once knew The year before that, he spent the whole suman old gentleman, industrious, religious, moral mer with his mother, who was ill at the time, at to the highest point, an excellent father, a model Brighton. So you see, as Stephen Hamblin very husband, whose whole life proclaimed to the clearly saw, there is no room in the page, so to world his acquiescence with the Church cate- speak, for him to have been married anywhere chism, and the state of life to which he was far away from London." born. After his death it was discovered that for Alison sighed. thirty years he had annually purchased a ticket “You come to me, Gilbert, and you raise in the Austrian lottery. He had no rich rela- hopes in my mind which make me for the motions; he could not expect an accession of for- ment happy. Oh, if I could but clear my father's tune from any source whatever, yet he dreamed name! It is so dreadful to think that all the of wealth and bought his ticket every year. world is jeering and making merry over the ac
“You will not be allowed to throw away your cusation brought by his own brother—my dear fortune, Alison," Gilbert went on. “You owe it father, so good, so kind, so noble! Why, I to yourself, to your father, to fight the battle out. should have thought there was not a single creaBut courage! Long before a year we shall have ture of all who knew him in all the world, too managed to get at the truth. Why, do you think low and degraded to acknowledge his goodness. that marriages are not registered, and that regis- It made other people good, while he lived, only ters are not kept? If Stephen Hamblin has any to be with him and near him. It made me good, reason to wish that the truth should not be dis- then." covered, I have every reason to make me work "You are always good, Alison." at its recovery. My dear"—he took her unre- She shook her head sadly. sisting hand—“every hope of my life is bound “I am always full of regrets, of wicked up with it. It shall be found out. Consider, thoughts, Gilbert. I used to be good, when you Alison, you must have had a mother somewhere. fell in love with me. That was the reason, I You must have been born somewhere, registered suppose.” somewhere, christened somewhere. We know She would have no recognition of an engagethe date of your birth-that is something." ment, and yet she spoke to her lover frankly.
“Yes,” said Alison, trying to respond to her There was no doubt, at all events, in her own lover's eagerness, “unless Mrs. Duncombe was mind. Gilbert loved her. If she could, she
would marry him. She trusted and she dis- along, that everybody is saying, “There goes trusted with the same entire abandonment. To Miss Hamblin, as she calls herself, though she trust in full, to doubt and distrust in full, came has no real right to bear the name.' Or else I from her Spanish blood. She was like the hear them whisper as I pass—this jealousy of Señora, her grandmother, in mind as well as in mine makes me hear the lowest whisper—' That face.
is Miss Hamblin, who was once so proud, and “Do you mean that I fell in love with you thought herself so rich, and held up her head so because you were good ?" asked Gilbert, laugh- high above all the rest of us. Now she has been ing. “No, it was not that. I do not think found out, and she is going to be turned into the that a man asks himself, when he falls in love, street, without a penny to call her own, and not whether the girl is very good; she seems good even a name to her back. What a come-down!' to her lover; he believes in her goodness; if he Even in church I am not free, but I think I feel did not, he would persuade himself that he could the people's eyes on me when they ought to be make her good. I suppose that after marriage on their books or on the clergyman in the pulpit. husbands like their wives to be good-tempered, They are saying: 'That is Miss Hamblin. She at least. Before, it does not matter so much." was proud enough a year ago; she is humbled
“ It is wonderful,” said Alison, “how men now, poor girl! She has no longer got anything ever fall in love with girls at all.”
to be proud of.' So, everywhere and all day "Do not disparage your sex,” said Gilbert. long, I am watched, and mocked, and scorned.”
“Oh! we are weak. We can do nothing by Gilbert caught her hand, and kissed the unourselves; we take our ideas from men; we resisting fingers a hundred times. look to men for our religion, our manners, our “No, child, no! There is no scorning of thoughts. And yet men fall down at a woman's you. The world is better hearted than you feet and worship her. As for me, there has been think. There can be nothing but pity and renothing good in me all since the day when my spect for you.” uncle told me—what he was pleased to call the "I know, I know," she replied, with tears truth. I think there will never any more be any, in her eyes. “But, if the evil thoughts are in thing good in me at all. I am devoured by evil your own mind, you think they are in other peopassions, and hatreds, and wicked thoughts. I ple's, and my mind is full of möckery and scorn. find it difficult, sometimes, to believe in my Everything mocks at me: this garden, the very father. Yet, if I can not believe in him, there flowers, the house, even the furniture. They all is nothing. And I think of my uncle with a have faces, and they all laugh and flout at me loathing which makes me sick."
because I pretended to be the heiress, who am “Faith, Alison! Have faith."
nothing at all but a nameless girl. They know "Ah! Gilbert, so long as you are here I find me for an impostor.” it easy to have faith. I feel strong and hopeful What could Gilbert say in comfort ? He then. Your brave words encourage me. When muttered some commonplace. You might as you are gone I begin to doubt again, and if you well try to persuade a man with a gaping swordare long away I begin to despair."
wound that he is not hurt. The girl wandered “Poor child! I must come oftener to see restlessly to and fro upon the lawn. It was with you.”
her as she told her lover. She was haunted day “I do not know whether it is worse to be in and night by two ghosts, who never left her. the house or to be out of it. At home my aunt One of them was the Shade of her former hapsits and watches me all day long, asking every piness, the other was the Shade of her present half-hour if I feel better; and it seems as if I low estate. One was the ghost of a maiden, were having an operation performed, and they proud, defiant, self-reliant, looking out upon the were watching curiously to see how I was bear- future with the confidence of one for whom Foring it. To be sure, the suspense is worse than tune has nothing in store but her choicest gifts. any operation. Even the boy troubles me with She was dressed in silks and satins, this young his sympathy, his eagerness to do everything he princess; she rode a stately horse ; at her feet can think of for me—he who was formerly so the young men fell down, with adoring eyes, and careless and selfish—and his delight in assuring knelt; as she passed, flowers grew up beside the me, whenever he can find an opportunity, of his way; only to look at her, she felt as she gazed protection. You see, the very things one used upon this ghost, warmed the heart; the children to laugh at and enjoy are become fresh causes ran after her, and shouted and laughed; the of trouble to me. Poor Nicolas! He means so poor came out of their cottages and blessed her. well, too. But that shows how wrong-headed She was like a benevolent fairy, who is not an these things have made me. If I go out, per- old woman at all, but young and beautiful as the haps it is worse, because then I think, as I go day, and not capricious or uncertain, but always
faithful, loyal, and true. And she was full of the of an hour later she returned, the fit of passion most tender and precious Christian thoughts, this over, calm and cold. shadow. It seemed as if the things against which “ Forgive me," she said, holding out her she prayed, just because it was her duty as a hand, “I do not often give way. Today the Christian, and enjoined by the Church—the evils of thought of my case being pleaded in open court, hatred, wrath, malice, and so forth-had no more my name being bandied about among all those to do with her than the gross impossibilities of people, maddened me. I will try to bear it. drunkenness and the like. The contemplation But, Gilbert, be wise; do not waste your preof so much religion, pure and undefiled, in this cious time upon me. I am content to let all go, perfection of a ghost filled Alison's heart with so that there be no further questioning." bitterness.
That is not the faith we want to see in As for the other Shade, it presented a sad you," said Gilbert. “Why, that would be treachcontrast. For this ghost was that of a mere ery to the very name you want to see unsullied. beggar-girl. She went barefoot, and was clothed Have confidence, dear Alison; we will carry the in nothing but old rags and duds, and odds and matter through, and we shall not fail to see the ends. She shook her head, and cried, with name of Anthony Hamblin pass through the orshame and rage, at her own misery. She moaned, deal triumphantly. Only have faith.” and wept, and lamented, because she had no- “I wish I could,” she murmured. thing at all of her own. The poorest gypsy-girl Here they were joined by Alderney Codd. had something, but she had nothing. The piti- He had come down by the humbler conveyance less, unsympathizing children hooted at her as she —the omnibus. His thin face was wreathed went; the poor people came out of their cottages with smiles. and jeered her, because she was so very poor “You have heard the news, Alison?” he beand ragged; the wayfarers fouted her, because gan. “Of course you have-Gilbert has told she was so very lonely and miserable. Every you. Well, so far, we have every reason to mocking gibe was like a knife that went straight be satisfied. Time-time : that is what we to her heart. And that was not the worst of it want." --for this wretched, ragged girl, who was so “You see, Alison," said Gilbert, “we are all poor in worldly goods, was stripped of all reli- agreed. With a little time we shall, we must gion as well. She was full of hatred and wrath ; succeed.” she thought well of none; she suspected all ; “ Time to prove things,” Alderney added, she was bitter and envious. In her heart there " that is all; to prove things which we know alwere none of the sweet blossoms of faith, hope, ready. We know them, I say, all but the names. and charity, which flourish so well in the con- God bless my soul ! it is matter of faith." genial soil of the heart of a happy English girl. " Thank you, Cousin Alderney,” said Alison ; Alison looked on this shadow with shuddering “I am rich in friends, if in nothing else.” and loathing, as she looked on the other with "Why," said Alderney, planting himself firmenvy and jealousy.
ly, “whenever I put on that coat which your Such as they were, they remained by her side, poor father lent me, and which I have retained and never left her.
out of respect to his memory, I feel a glow of “Courage, Alison !” said Gilbert. He had gratitude more warming than a pint of port. Of spoken to her half a dozen times, but she re
course, I am ready to work for you. Outside turned no answer, being occupied with these the court”-he laughed at the recollection—“I phantoms—"courage, Alison! Think of bright- met Stephen himself, looking his very blackest. er things."
It went to my heart to treat him so—my cousin “There are no brighter things,” she cried and my oldest friend. But I thought of Anthony, bitterly. There is nothing but misery and and I cut him_dead. Jack Baker was with him. shame. Oh, Gilbert!” breaking into a passionate Ah! they've got my prospectus of the Great gesture, “why trouble any more about me? Let Glass Spoon Company. After thirty years' friendme go away and be forgotten. Let them do ship, after so many good times as we have had what they like with the money; if you search together, it seemed hard; and to lose the Great any further, you may find out some secret more Glass Spoon Company as well. But gratitude, shameful than any that has been suspected—if Alison, gratitude stood between us.
Gratitude that is possible; you may find out why my father said, “You can not know any longer the man hid away, and would tell to no one the story of who is trying to rob your benefactor's orphan.””
“But,” said Alison, “can you not even know She broke from him and ran, hiding her face my Uncle Stephen? must you break altogether with a gesture of shame, into the house. with him?"
Gilbert remained in the garden. A quarter “I must,” said Alderney gloomily. “I can