He began: "It has been the principle of my life, never to inflict a wilfu_njury upon any thing that lives; I need not express my regret, when I fin_yself obliged to be the promulgator of a criminal charge. How gladly would _ass unnoticed the evil I have sustained; but I owe it to society to detect a_ffender, and prevent other men from being imposed upon, as I have been, by a_ppearance of integrity."
"It would be better," interrupted Mr. Forester "to speak directly to th_oint. We ought not, though unwarily, by apologising for ourselves, to creat_t such a time a prejudice against an individual, against whom a crimina_ccusation will always be prejudice enough."
"I strongly suspect," continued Mr. Falkland, "this young man, who has bee_eculiarly the object of my kindness, of having robbed me to a considerabl_mount."
"What," replied Mr. Forester, "are the grounds of your suspicion?"
"The first of them is the actual loss I have sustained, in notes, jewels, an_late. I have missed bank-notes to the amount of nine hundred pounds, thre_old repeaters of considerable value, a complete set of diamonds, the propert_f my late mother, and several other articles."
"And why," continued my arbitrator, astonishment grief, and a desire to retai_is self-possession, strong contending in his countenance and voice, "do yo_ix on this young man as the instrument of the depredation?"
"I found him, on my coming home, upon the day when every thing was in disorde_rom the alarm of fire, in the very act of quitting the private apartmen_here these articles were deposited. He was confounded at seeing me, an_astened to withdraw as soon as he possibly could."
"Did you say nothing to him—take no notice of the confusion your sudde_ppearance produced?"
"I asked what was his errand in that place. He was at first so terrified an_vercome, that he could not answer me. Afterwards, with a good deal o_altering, he said that, when all the servants were engaged in endeavouring t_ave the most valuable part of my property, he had come hither with the sam_iew; but that he had as yet removed nothing."
"Did you immediately examine to see that every thing was safe?"
"No. I was accustomed to Confide in his honesty, and I was suddenly calle_way, in the present instance, to attend to the increasing progress of th_lames. I therefore only took out the key from the door of the apartment, having first locked it, and, putting it in my pocket, hastened to go where m_resence seemed indispensably necessary."
"How long was it before you missed your property?"
"The same evening. The hurry of the scene had driven the circumstance entirel_ut of my mind, till, going by accident near the apartment, the whole affair, together with the singular and equivocal behaviour of Williams, rushed at onc_pon my recollection. I immediately entered, examined the trunk in which thes_hings were contained, and, to my astonishment, found the locks broken, an_he property gone."
"What steps did you take upon this discovery?"
"I sent for Williams, and talked to him very seriously upon the subject. Bu_e had now perfectly recovered his self-command, and calmly and stoutly denie_ll knowledge of the matter. I urged him with the enormousness of the offence, but I made no impression. He did not discover either the surprise an_ndignation one would have expected from a person entirely innocent, or th_neasiness that generally attends upon guilt. He was rather silent an_eserved. I then informed him, that I should proceed in a manner differen_rom what he might perhaps expect. I would not, as is too frequent in suc_ases, make a general search; for I had rather lose my property for eve_ithout redress, than expose a multitude of innocent persons to anxiety an_njustice. My suspicion, for the present, unavoidably fixed upon him. But, i_ matter of so great consequence, I was determined not to act upon suspicion.
I would neither incur the possibility of ruining him, being innocent, nor b_he instrument of exposing others to his depredations, if guilty. I shoul_herefore merely insist upon his continuing in my service. He might depen_pon it he should be well watched, and I trusted the whole truth woul_ventually appear. Since he avoided confession now, I advised him to conside_ow far it was likely he would come off with impunity at last. This _etermined on, that the moment he attempted an escape, I would consider tha_s an indication of guilt, and proceed accordingly."
"What circumstances have occurred from that time to the present?"
"None upon which I can infer a certainty of guilt; several that agree t_avour a suspicion. From that time Williams was perpetually uneasy in hi_ituation, always desirous, as it now appears, to escape, but afraid to adop_uch a measure without certain precautions. It was not long after, that you, Mr. Forester, became my visitor. I observed, with dissatisfaction, the growin_ntercourse between you, reflecting on the equivocalness of his character, an_he attempt he would probably make to render you the dupe of his hypocrisy. _ccordingly threatened him severely; and I believe you observed the chang_hat presently after occurred in his behaviour with relation to you."
"I did, and it appeared at that time mysterious and extraordinary."
"Some time after, as you well know, a rencounter took place between you, whether accidental or intentional on his part I am not able to say, when h_onfessed to you the uneasiness of his mind, without discovering the cause, and openly proposed to you to assist him in his flight, and stand, in case o_ecessity, between him and my resentment. You offered, it seems, to take hi_nto your service; but nothing, as he acknowledged, would answer his purpose, that did not place his retreat wholly out of my power to discover."
"Did it not appear extraordinary to you, that he should hope for any effectua_rotection from me, while it remained perpetually in your power to satisfy m_f his unworthiness?"
"Perhaps he had hopes that I should not proceed to that step, at least so lon_s the place of his retreat should be unknown to me, and of consequence th_vent of my proceeding dubious. Perhaps he confided in his own powers, whic_re far from contemptible, to construct a plausible tale, especially as he ha_aken care to have the first impression in his favour. After all, thi_rotection, on your part, was merely reserved in case all other expedient_ailed. He does not appear to have had any other sentiment upon the subject, than that, if he were defeated in his projects for placing himself beyond th_each of justice, it was better to have bespoken a place in your patronag_han to be destitute of every resource."
Mr. Falkland having thus finished his evidence, called upon Robert, the valet, to confirm the part of it which related to the day of the fire.
Robert stated, that he happened to be coming through the library that day, _ew minutes after Mr. Falkland's being brought home by the sight of the fire; that he had found me standing there with every mark of perturbation an_right; that he could not help stopping to notice it; that he had spoken to m_wo or three times before he could obtain an answer; and that all he could ge_rom me at last was, that I was the most miserable creature alive.
He further said, that in the evening of the same day Mr. Falkland called hi_nto the private apartment adjoining to the library, and bid him bring _ammer and some nails. He then showed him a trunk standing in the apartmen_ith its locks and fastening broken, and ordered him to observe and remembe_hat he saw, but not to mention it to any one. Robert did not at that tim_now what Mr. Falkland intended by these directions, which were given in _anner uncommonly solemn and significant; but he entertained no doubt, tha_he fastenings were broken and wrenched by the application of a chisel o_uch-like instrument, with the intention of forcibly opening the trunk.
Mr. Forester observed upon this evidence, that as much of it as related to th_ay of the fire seemed indeed to afford powerful reasons for suspicion; an_hat the circumstances that had occurred since strangely concurred to fortif_hat suspicion. Meantime, that nothing proper to be done might be omitted, h_sked whether in my flight I had removed my boxes, to see whether by tha_eans any trace could be discovered to confirm the imputation. Mr. Falklan_reated this suggestion slightly, saying, that if I were the thief, I had n_oubt taken the precaution to obviate so palpable a means of detection. T_his Mr. Forester only replied, that conjecture, however skilfully formed, wa_ot always realised in the actions and behaviour of mankind; and ordered tha_y boxes and trunks, if found, should be brought into the library. I listene_o this suggestion with pleasure; and, uneasy and confounded as I was at th_ppearances combined against me, I trusted in this appeal to give a new fac_o my cause. I was eager to declare the place where my property was deposited; and the servants, guided by my direction, presently produced what was enquire_or.
The two boxes that were first opened, contained nothing to confirm th_ccusation against me; in the third were found a watch and several jewels, that were immediately known to be the property of Mr. Falkland. The productio_f this seemingly decisive evidence excited emotions of astonishment an_oncern; but no person's astonishment appeared to be greater than that of Mr.
Falkland. That I should have left the stolen goods behind me, would of itsel_ave appeared incredible; but when it was considered what a secure place o_oncealment I had found for them, the wonder diminished; and Mr. Foreste_bserved, that it was by no means impossible I might conceive it easier t_btain possession of them afterwards, than to remove them at the period of m_recipitate flight.
Here however I thought it necessary to interfere. I fervently urged my righ_o a fair and impartial construction. I asked Mr. Forester, whether it wer_robable, if I had stolen these things, that I should not have contrived, a_east to remove them along with me? And again, whether, if I had bee_onscious they would he found among my property, I should myself hav_ndicated the place where I had concealed it?
The insinuation I conveyed against Mr. Forester's impartiality overspread hi_hole countenance, for an instant, with the flush of anger.
"Impartiality, young man! Yes, be sure, from me you shall experience a_mpartial treatment! God send that may answer your purpose! Presently yo_hall be heard at full in your own defence.
"You expect us to believe you innocent, because you did not remove thes_hings along with you. The money is removed. Where, sir, is that? We canno_nswer for the inconsistences and oversights of any human mind, and, least o_ll, if that mind should appear to be disturbed with the consciousness o_uilt.
"You observe that it was by your own direction these boxes and trunks hav_een found: that is indeed extraordinary. It appears little less tha_nfatuation. But to what purpose appeal to probabilities and conjecture, i_he face of incontestable facts? There, sir, are the boxes: you alone kne_here they were to be found; you alone had the keys: tell us then how thi_atch and these jewels came to be contained in them?"
I was silent.
To the rest of the persons present I seemed to be merely the subject o_etection; but in reality I was, of all the spectators, that individual wh_as most at a loss to conceive, through every stage of the scene, what, woul_ome next, and who listened to every word that was uttered with the mos_ncontrollable amazement. Amazement however alternately yielded to indignatio_nd horror. At first I could not refrain from repeatedly attempting t_nterrupt; but I was checked in these attempts by Mr. Forester; and _resently felt how necessary it was to my future peace, that I should collec_he whole energy of my mind to repel the charge, and assert my innocence.
Every thing being now produced that could be produced against me, Mr. Foreste_urned to me with a look of concern and pity, and told me that now was th_ime, if I chose to allege any thing in my defence. In reply to thi_nvitation, I spoke nearly as follows:—
"I am innocent. It is in vain that circumstances are accumulated against me; there is not a person upon earth less capable than I of the things of which _m accused. I appeal to my heart—I appeal to my looks—I appeal to ever_entiment my tongue ever uttered."
I could perceive that the fervour with which I spoke made some impression upo_very one that heard me. But in a moment their eyes were turned upon th_roperty that lay before them, and their countenances changed. I proceeded:—
"One thing more I must aver;—Mr. Falkland is not deceived; he perfectly know_hat I am innocent."
I had no sooner uttered these words, than an involuntary cry of indignatio_urst from every person in the room. Mr. Forester turned to me with a look o_xtreme severity, and said—
"Young man, consider well what you are doing! It is the privilege of the part_ccused to say whatever he thinks proper; and I will take care that you shal_njoy that privilege in its utmost extent. But do you think it will conduce i_ny respect to your benefit, to throw out such insolent and intolerabl_nsinuations?"
"I thank you most sincerely," replied I, "for your caution; but I well kno_hat it is I am doing. I make this declaration, not merely because it i_olemnly true, but because it is inseparably connected with my vindication. _m the party accused, and I shall be told that I am not to be believed in m_wn defence. I can produce no other witnesses of my innocence; I therefor_all upon Mr. Falkland to be my evidence. I ask him—
"Did you never boast to me in private of your power to ruin me? Did you neve_ay that, if once I brought on myself the weight of your displeasure, my fal_hould be irreparable? Did you not tell me that, though I should prepare i_hat case a tale however plausible or however true, you would take care tha_he whole world should execrate me as an impostor? Were not those your ver_ords? Did you not add, that my innocence should be of no service to me, an_hat you laughed at so feeble a defence? I ask you further,—Did you no_eceive a letter from me the morning of the day on which I departed, requesting your consent to my departure? Should I have done that if my fligh_ad been that of a thief? I challenge any man to reconcile the expressions o_hat letter with this accusation. Should I have begun with stating that I ha_onceived a desire to quit your service, if my desire and the reasons for it, had been of the nature that is now alleged? Should I have dared to ask fo_hat reason I was thus subjected to an eternal penance?"
Saying this, I took out a copy of my letter, and laid it open upon the table.
Mr. Falkland returned no immediate answer to my interrogations. Mr. Foreste_urned to him, and said.
"Well, sir, what is your reply to this challenge of your servant?"
Mr. Falkland answered, "Such a mode of defence scarcely calls for a reply. Bu_ answer, I held no such conversation; I never used such words; I received n_uch letter. Surely it is no sufficient refutation of a criminal charge, tha_he criminal repels what is alleged against him with volubility of speech, an_ntrepidity of manner."
Mr. Forester then turned to me: "If," said he, "you trust your vindication t_he plausibility of your tale, you must take care to render it consistent an_omplete. You have not told us what was the cause of the confusion and anxiet_n which Robert professes to have found you, why you were so impatient to qui_he service of Mr. Falkland, or how you account for certain articles of hi_roperty being found in your possession."
"All that, sir," answered I, "is true. There are certain parts of my stor_hat I have not told. If they were told, they would not conduce to m_isadvantage, and they would make the present accusation appear still mor_stonishing. But I cannot, as yet at least, prevail upon myself to tell them.
Is it necessary to give any particular and precise reasons why I should wis_o change the place of my residence? You all of you know the unfortunate stat_f Mr. Falkland's mind. You know the sternness, reservedness, and distance o_is manners. If I had no other reasons, surely it would afford smal_resumption of criminality that I should wish to change his service fo_nother.
"The question of how these articles of Mr. Falkland's property came to b_ound in my possession, is more material. It is a question I am wholly unabl_o answer. Their being found there, was at least as unexpected to me as to an_ne of the persons now present. I only know that, as I have the most perfec_ssurance of Mr. Falkland's being conscious of my innocence—for, observe! I d_ot shrink from that assertion; I reiterate it with new confidence—I therefor_irmly and from my soul believe, that their being there is of Mr. Falkland'_ontrivance."
I no sooner said this, than I was again interrupted by an involuntar_xclamation from every one present. They looked at me with furious glances, a_f they could have torn me to pieces. I proceeded:—
"I have now answered every thing that is alleged against me.
"Mr. Forester, you are a lover of justice; I conjure you not to violate it i_y person. You are a man of penetration; look at me! do you see any of th_arks of guilt? Recollect all that has ever passed under your observation; i_t compatible with a mind capable of what is now alleged against me? Could _eal criminal have shown himself so unabashed, composed, and firm as I hav_ow done?
"Fellow-servants! Mr. Falkland is a man of rank and fortune; he is you_aster. I am a poor country lad, without a friend in the world. That is _round of real difference to a certain extent; but it is not a sufficien_round for the subversion of justice. Remember, that I am in a situation tha_s not to be trifled with; that a decision given against me now, in a case i_hich I solemnly assure you I am innocent, will for ever deprive me o_eputation and peace of mind, combine the whole world in a league against me, and determine perhaps upon my liberty and my life. If you believe—if yo_ee—if you know, that I am innocent, speak for me. Do not suffer _usillanimous timidity to prevent you from saving a fellow-creature fro_estruction, who does not deserve to have a human being for his enemy. Wh_ave we the power of speech, but to communicate our thoughts? I will neve_elieve that a man, conscious of innocence, cannot make other men perceiv_hat he has that thought. Do not you feel that my whole heart tells me. I a_ot guilty of what is imputed to me?
"To you, Mr. Falkland, I have nothing to say: I know you, and know that yo_re impenetrable. At the very moment that you are urging such odious charge_gainst me, you admire my resolution and forbearance. But I have nothing t_ope from you. You can look upon my ruin without pity or remorse. I am mos_nfortunate indeed in having to do with such an adversary. You oblige me t_ay ill things of you; but I appeal to your own heart, whether my language i_hat of exaggeration or revenge."
Every thing that could be alleged on either side being now concluded, Mr.
Forester undertook to make some remarks upon the whole.
"Williams," said he, "the charge against you is heavy; the direct evidenc_trong; the corroborating circumstances numerous and striking. I grant tha_ou have shown considerable dexterity in your answers; but you will learn, young man, to your cost, that dexterity, however powerful it may be in certai_ases, will avail little against the stubbornness of truth. It is fortunat_or mankind that the empire of talents has its limitations, and that it is no_n the power of ingenuity to subvert the distinctions of right and wrong. Tak_y word for it, that the true merits of the case against you will be to_trong for sophistry to overturn; that justice will prevail, and impoten_alice be defeated.
"To you, Mr. Falkland, society is obliged for having placed this black affai_n its true light. Do not suffer the malignant aspersions of the criminal t_ive you uneasiness. Depend upon it that they will be found of no weight _ave no doubt that your character, in the judgment of every person that ha_eard them, stands higher than ever. We feel for your misfortune, in bein_bliged to hear such calumnies from a person who has injured you so grossly.
But you must be considered in that respect as a martyr in the public cause.
The purity of your motives and dispositions is beyond the reach of malice; an_ruth and equity will not fail to award, to your calumniator infamy, and t_ou the love and approbation of mankind.
"I have now told you, Williams, what I think of your case. But I have no righ_o assume to be your ultimate judge. Desperate as it appears to me, I wil_ive you one piece of advice, as if I were retained as a counsel to assis_ou. Leave out of it whatever tends to the disadvantage of Mr. Falkland.
Defend yourself as well as you can, but do not attack your master. It is you_usiness to create in those who hear you a prepossession in your favour. Bu_he recrimination you have been now practising, will always creat_ndignation. Dishonesty will admit of some palliation. The deliberate malic_ou have now been showing is a thousand times more atrocious. It proves you t_ave the mind of a demon, rather than of a felon. Wherever you shall repea_t, those who hear you will pronounce you guilty upon that, even if the prope_vidence against you were glaringly defective. If therefore you would consul_our interest, which seems to be your only consideration, it is incumbent upo_ou by all means immediately to retract that. If you desire to be believe_onest, you must in the first place show that you have a due sense of merit i_thers. You cannot better serve your cause than by begging pardon of you_aster, and doing homage to rectitude and worth, even when they are employe_n vengeance against you."
It is easy to conceive that my mind sustained an extreme shock from th_ecision of Mr. Forester; but his call upon me to retract and humble mysel_efore my accuser penetrated my whole soul with indignation. I answered:—
"I have already told you I am innocent. I believe that I could not endure th_ffort of inventing a plausible defence, if it were otherwise. You have jus_ffirmed that it is not in the power of ingenuity to subvert the distinction_f right and wrong, and in that very instant I find them subverted. This i_ndeed to me a very awful moment. New to the world, I know nothing of it_ffairs but what has reached me by rumour, or is recorded in books. I hav_ome into it with all the ardour and confidence inseparable from my years. I_very fellow-being I expected to find a friend. I am unpractised in its wiles, and have even no acquaintance with its injustice. I have done nothing t_eserve the animosity of mankind; but, if I may judge from the present scene, I am henceforth to be deprived of the benefits of integrity and honour. I a_o forfeit the friendship of every one I have hitherto known, and to b_recluded from the power of acquiring that of others. I must therefore b_educed to derive my satisfaction from myself. Depend upon it, I will no_egin that career by dishonourable concessions. If I am to despair of th_ood-will of other men, I will at least maintain the independence of my ow_ind. Mr. Falkland is my implacable enemy. Whatever may be his merits in othe_espects, he is acting towards me without humanity, without remorse, an_ithout principle. Do you think I will ever make submissions to a man by who_ am thus treated, that I will fall down at the feet of one who is to me _evil, or kiss the hand that is red with my blood?"
"In that respect," answered Mr. Forester, "do as you shall think proper. _ust confess that your firmness and consistency astonish me. They ad_omething to what I had conceived of human powers. Perhaps you have chosen th_art which, all things considered, may serve your purpose best; though I thin_ore moderation would be more conciliating. The exterior of innocence will, _rant, stagger the persons who may have the direction of your fate, but i_ill never be able to prevail against plain and incontrovertible facts. But _ave done with you. I see in you a new instance of that abuse which is s_enerally made of talents, the admiration of an undiscerning public. I regar_ou with horror. All that remains is, that I should discharge my duty, i_onsigning you, as a monster of depravity, to the justice of your country."
"No," rejoined Mr. Falkland, "to that I can never consent. I have put _estraint upon myself thus far, because it was right that evidence and enquir_hould take their course. I have suppressed all my habits and sentiments, because it seemed due to the public that hypocrisy should be unmasked. But _an suffer this violence no longer. I have through my whole life interfered t_rotect, not overbear, the sufferer; and I must do so now. I feel not th_mallest resentment of his impotent attacks upon my character; I smile a_heir malice; and they make no diminution in my benevolence to their author.
Let him say what he pleases; he cannot hurt me. It was proper that he shoul_e brought to public shame, that other people might not be deceived by him a_e have been. But there is no necessity for proceeding further; and I mus_nsist upon it that he be permitted to depart wherever he pleases. I am sorr_hat public interest affords so gloomy a prospect for his future happiness."
"Mr. Falkland," answered Mr. Forester, "these sentiments do honour to you_umanity; but I must not give way to them. They only serve to set in _tronger light the venom of this serpent, this monster of ingratitude, wh_irst robs his benefactor, and then reviles him. Wretch that you are, wil_othing move you? Are you inaccessible to remorse? Are you not struck to th_eart with the unmerited goodness of your master? Vile calumniator! you ar_he abhorrence of nature, the opprobrium of the human species, and the eart_an only be freed from an insupportable burthen by your being exterminated!
Recollect, sir, that this monster, at the very moment that you are exercisin_uch unexampled forbearance in his behalf, has the presumption to charge yo_ith prosecuting a crime of which you know him to be innocent, nay, wit_aving conveyed the pretended stolen goods among his property, for the expres_urpose of ruining him. By this unexampled villainy, he makes it your duty t_ree the world from such a pest, and your interest to admit no relaxing i_our pursuit of him, lest the world should be persuaded by your clemency t_redit his vile insinuations."
"I care not for the consequences," replied Mr. Falkland; "I will obey th_ictates of my own mind. I will never lend my assistance to the reformin_ankind by axes and gibbets. I am sure things will never be as they ought, till honour, and not law, be the dictator of mankind, till vice be taught t_hrink before the resistless might of inborn dignity, and not before the col_ormality of statutes. If my calumniator were worthy of my resentment, I woul_hastise him with my own sword, and not that of the magistrate; but in th_resent case I smile at his malice, and resolve to spare him, as the generou_ord of the forest spares the insect that would disturb his repose."
"The language you now hold," said Mr. Forester, "is that of romance, and no_f reason. Yet I cannot but be struck with the contrast exhibited before me, of the magnanimity of virtue, and the obstinate impenetrable injustice o_uilt. While your mind overflows with goodness, nothing can touch the heart o_his thrice-refined villain. I shall never forgive myself for having once bee_ntrapped by his detestable arts. This is no time for us to settle th_uestion between chivalry and law. I shall therefore simply insist as _agistrate, having taken the evidence in this felony, upon my right and dut_f following the course of justice, and committing the accused to the count_ail."
After some further contest Mr. Falkland, finding Mr. Forester obstinate an_mpracticable, withdrew his opposition. Accordingly a proper officer wa_ummoned from the neighbouring village, a mittimus made out, and one of Mr.
Falkland's carriages prepared to conduct me to the place of custody. It wil_asily be imagined that this sudden reverse was very painfully felt by me. _ooked round on the servants who had been the spectators of my examination, but not one of them, either by word or gesture, expressed compassion for m_alamity. The robbery of which I was accused appeared to them atrocious fro_ts magnitude; and whatever sparks of compassion might otherwise have sprun_p in their ingenuous and undisciplined minds, were totally obliterated b_ndignation at my supposed profligacy in recriminating upon their worthy an_xcellent master. My fate being already determined, and one of the servant_espatched for the officer, Mr. Forester and Mr. Falkland withdrew, and lef_e in the custody of two others.
One of these was the son of a farmer at no great distance, who had been i_abits of long-established intimacy with my late father. I was willin_ccurately to discover the state of mind of those who had been witnesses o_his scene, and who had had some previous opportunity of observing m_haracter and manners. I, therefore, endeavoured to open a conversation wit_im. "Well, my good Thomas," said I, in a querulous tone, and with _esitating manner, "am I not a most miserable creature?"
"Do not speak to me, Master Williams! You have given me a shock that I shal_ot get the better of for one while. You were hatched by a hen, as the sayin_s, but you came of the spawn of a cockatrice. I am glad to my heart tha_onest farmer Williams is dead; your villainy would else have made him curs_he day that ever he was born."
"Thomas, I am innocent' I swear by the great God that shall judge me anothe_ay, I am innocent!"
"Pray, do not swear! for goodness' sake, do not swear! your poor soul i_amned enough without that. For your sake, lad, I will never take any body'_ord, nor trust to appearances, tho' it should be an angel. Lord bless us! ho_moothly you palavered it over, for all the world, as if you had been as fai_s a new-born babe! But it will not do; you will never be able to persuad_eople that black is white. For my own part, I have done with you. I loved yo_esterday, all one as if you had been my own brother. To-day I love you s_ell, that I would go ten miles with all the pleasure in life to see yo_anged."
"Good God, Thomas! have you the heart? What a change! I call God to witness, _ave done nothing to deserve it! What a world do we live in!"
"Hold your tongue, boy! It makes my very heart sick to hear you! I would no_ie a night under the same roof with you for all the world! I should expec_he house to fall and crush such wickedness! I admire that the earth does no_pen and swallow you alive! It is poison so much as to look at you! If you g_n at this hardened rate, I believe from my soul that the people you talk t_ill tear you to pieces, and you will never live to come to the gallows. Oh, yes, you do well to pity yourself; poor tender thing! that spit venom al_ound you like a toad, and leave the very ground upon which you crawl infecte_ith your slime."
Finding the person with whom I talked thus impenetrable to all I could say, and considering that the advantage to be gained was small, even if I coul_vercome his prepossession, I took his advice, and was silent. It was not muc_onger before every thing was prepared for my departure, and I was conducte_o the same prison which had so lately enclosed the wretched and innocen_awkinses. They too had been the victims of Mr. Falkland. He exhibited, upon _ontracted scale indeed, but in which the truth of delineation was faithfull_ustained, a copy of what monarchs are, who reckon among the instruments o_heir power prisons of state.