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Chapter 15

  • 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?
  • Tremble!
  • 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.