It is as I foreboded. The presage with which I was visited was prophetic. I a_ow to record a new and terrible revolution of my fortune and my mind.
Having made experiment of various situations with one uniform result, I a_ength determined to remove myself, if possible, from the reach of m_ersecutor, by going into voluntary banishment from my native soil. This wa_y last resource for tranquillity, for honest fame, for those privileges t_hich human life is indebted for the whole of its value. "In some distan_limate," said I, "surely I may find that security which is necessary t_ersevering pursuit; surely I may lift my head erect, associate with men upo_he footing of a man, acquire connections, and preserve them!" It i_nconceivable with what ardent Teachings of the soul I aspired to thi_ermination.
This last consolation was denied me by the inexorable Falkland.
At the time the project was formed I was at no great distance from the eas_oast of the island, and I resolved to take ship at Harwich, and pas_mmediately into Holland. I accordingly repaired to that place, and went,
almost as soon as I arrived, to the port. But there was no vessel perfectl_eady to sail. I left the port, and withdrew to an inn, where, after som_ime, I retired to a chamber. I was scarcely there before the door of the roo_as opened, and the man whose countenance was the most hateful to my eyes,
Gines, entered the apartment. He shut the door as soon as he entered.
"Youngster," said he, "I have a little private intelligence to communicate t_ou. I come as a friend, and that I may save you a labour-in-vain trouble. I_ou consider what I have to say in that light, it will be the better for you.
It is my business now, do you see, for want of a better, to see that you d_ot break out of bounds. Not that I much matter having one man for m_mployer, or dancing attendance after another's heels; but I have specia_indness for you, for some good turns that you wot of, and therefore I do no_tand upon ceremonies! You have led me a very pretty round already; and, ou_f the love I bear you, you shall lead me as much further, if you will. Bu_eware the salt seas! They are out of my orders. You are a prisoner a_resent, and I believe all your life will remain so. Thanks to the milk-and-
water softness of your former master! If I had the ordering of these things,
it should go with you in another fashion. As long as you think proper, you ar_ prisoner within the rules; and the rules with which the soft-hearted squir_ndulges you, are all England, Scotland, and Wales. But you are not to go ou_f these climates. The squire is determined you shall never pass the reach o_is disposal. He has therefore given orders that, whenever you attempt so t_o, you shall be converted from a prisoner at large to a prisoner in goo_arnest. A friend of mine followed you just now to the harbour; I was withi_all; and, if there had been any appearance of your setting your foot fro_and, we should have been with you in a trice, and laid you fast by the heels.
I would advise you, for the future, to keep at a proper distance from the sea,
for fear of the worst. You see I tell you all this for your good. For my part,
I should be better satisfied if you were in limbo, with a rope about you_eck, and a comfortable bird's eye prospect to the gallows: but I do as I a_irected; and so good night to you!"
The intelligence thus conveyed to me occasioned an instantaneous revolution i_oth my intellectual and animal system. I disdained to answer, or take th_mallest notice of the fiend by whom it was delivered. It is now three day_ince I received it, and from that moment to the present my blood has been i_ perpetual ferment. My thoughts wander from one idea of horror to another,
with incredible rapidity. I have had no sleep. I have scarcely remained in on_osture for a minute together. It has been with the utmost difficulty that _ave been able to command myself far enough to add a few pages to my story.
But, uncertain as I am of the events of each succeeding hour, I determined t_orce myself to the performance of this task. All is not right within me. Ho_t will terminate, God knows. I sometimes fear that I shall be wholly deserte_f my reason.
What—dark, mysterious, unfeeling, unrelenting tyrant!—is it come to this? Whe_ero and Caligula swayed the Roman sceptre, it was a fearful thing to offen_hese bloody rulers. The empire had already spread itself from climate t_limate, and from sea to sea. If their unhappy victim fled to the rising o_he sun, where the luminary of day seems to us first to ascend from the wave_f the ocean, the power of the tyrant was still behind him. If he withdrew t_he west, to Hesperian darkness, and the shores of barbarian Thule, still h_as not safe from his gore-drenched foe.—Falkland! art thou the offspring, i_hom the lineaments of these tyrants are faithfully preserved? Was the world,
with all its climates, made in vain for thy helpless unoffending victim?
Tyrants have trembled, surrounded with whole armies of their Janissaries! Wha_hould make thee inaccessible to my fury? No, I will use no daggers! I wil_nfold a tale!—I will show thee to the world for what thou art; and all th_en that live, shall confess my truth!—Didst thou imagine that I wa_ltogether passive, a mere worm, organised to feel sensations of pain, but n_motion of resentment? Didst thou imagine that there was no danger i_nflicting on me pains however great, miseries however dreadful? Didst tho_elieve me impotent, imbecile, and idiot-like, with no understanding t_ontrive thy ruin, and no energy to perpetrate it?
I will tell a tale—! The justice of the country shall hear me! The elements o_ature in universal uproar shall not interrupt me! I will speak with a voic_ore fearful than thunder!—Why should I be supposed to speak from an_ishonourable motive? I am under no prosecution now! I shall not now appear t_e endeavouring to remove a criminal indictment from myself, by throwing i_ack on its author!—Shall I regret the ruin that will overwhelm thee? Too lon_ave I been tender-hearted and forbearing! What benefit has ever resulted fro_y mistaken clemency? There is no evil thou hast scrupled to accumulate upo_e! Neither will I be more scrupulous! Thou hast shown no mercy; and tho_halt receive none!—I must be calm! bold as a lion, yet collected!
This is a moment pregnant with fate. I know—I think I know—that I will b_riumphant, and crush my seemingly omnipotent foe. But, should it b_therwise, at least he shall not be every way successful. His fame shall no_e immortal as he thinks. These papers shall preserve the truth; they shal_ne day be published, and then the world shall do justice on us both.
Recollecting that, I shall not die wholly without consolation. It is not to b_ndured that falsehood and tyranny should reign for ever.
How impotent are the precautions of man against the eternally existing laws o_he intellectual world! This Falkland has invented against me every species o_oul accusation. He has hunted me from city to city. He has drawn his lines o_ircumvallation round me that I may not escape. He has kept his scenters o_uman prey for ever at my heels. He may hunt me out of the world.—In vain!
With this engine, this little pen, I defeat all his machinations; I stab hi_n the very point he was most solicitous to defend!
Collins! I now address myself to you. I have consented that you should yiel_e no assistance in my present terrible situation. I am content to die rathe_han do any thing injurious to your tranquillity. But remember, you are m_ather still! I conjure you, by all the love you ever bore me, by the benefit_ou have conferred on me, by the forbearance and kindness towards you that no_enetrates my soul, by my innocence—for, if these be the last words I shal_ver write, I die protesting my innocence!—by all these, or whatever tie mor_acred has influence on your soul, I conjure you, listen to my last request!
Preserve these papers from destruction, and preserve them from Falkland! It i_ll I ask! I have taken care to provide a safe mode of conveying them int_our possession: and I have a firm confidence, which I will not suffer t_epart from me, that they will one day find their way to the public!
The pen lingers in my trembling fingers! Is there any thing I have lef_nsaid?—The contents of the fatal trunk, from which all my misfortune_riginated, I have never been able to ascertain. I once thought it containe_ome murderous instrument or relic connected with the fate of the unhapp_yrrel. I am now persuaded that the secret it encloses, is a faithfu_arrative of that and its concomitant transactions, written by Mr. Falkland,
and reserved in case of the worst, that, if by any unforeseen event his guil_hould come to be fully disclosed, it might contribute to redeem the wreck o_is reputation. But the truth or the falsehood of this conjecture is of littl_oment. If Falkland shall never be detected to the satisfaction of the world,
such a narrative will probably never see the light. In that case this story o_ine may amply, severely perhaps, supply its place.
I know not what it is that renders me thus solemn. I have a secret foreboding,
as if I should never again be master of myself. If I succeed in what I no_editate respecting Falkland, my precaution in the disposal of these paper_ill have been unnecessary; I shall no longer be reduced to artifice an_vasion. If I fail, the precaution will appear to have been wisely chosen.