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Chapter 8

  • Nothing could be further from Mr. Tyrrel's intention than to suffer hi_roject to be thus terminated. No sooner was he freed from the fear of hi_ousekeeper's interference, than he changed the whole system of his conduct.
  • He ordered Miss Melville to be closely confined to her apartment, and deprive_f all means of communicating her situation to any one out of his own house.
  • He placed over her a female servant, in whose discretion he could confide, an_ho, having formerly been honoured with the amorous notices of the squire, considered the distinctions that were paid to Emily at Tyrrel Place as a_surpation upon her more reasonable claims. The squire himself did every thin_n his power to blast the young lady's reputation, and represented to hi_ttendants these precautions as necessary, to prevent her from eloping to hi_eighbour, and plunging herself in total ruin.
  • As soon as Miss Melville had been twenty-four hours in durance, and there wa_ome reason to suppose that her spirit might be subdued to the emergency o_er situation, Mr. Tyrrel thought proper to go to her, to explain the ground_f her present treatment, and acquaint her with the only means by which sh_ould hope for a change. Emily no sooner saw him, than she turned towards hi_ith an air of greater firmness than perhaps she had ever assumed in her life, and accosted him thus:—
  • "Well, sir, is it you? I wanted to see you. It seems I am shut up here by you_rders. What does this mean? What right have you to make a prisoner of me?
  • What do I owe you? Your mother left me a hundred pounds: have you ever offere_o make any addition to my fortune? But, if you had, I do not want it. I d_ot pretend to be better than the children of other poor parents; I ca_aintain myself as they do. I prefer liberty to wealth. I see you ar_urprised at the resolution I exert. But ought I not to turn again, when I a_rampled upon? I should have left you before now, if Mrs. Jakeman had no_ver-persuaded me, and if I had not thought better of you than by your presen_ehaviour I find you deserve. But now, sir, I intend to leave your house thi_oment, and insist upon it, that you do not endeavour to prevent me."
  • Thus saying, she rose, and went towards the door, while Mr. Tyrrel stoo_hunderstruck at her magnanimity. Seeing, however, that she was upon the poin_f being out of the reach of his power, he recovered himself and pulled he_ack.
  • "What is in the wind now? Do you think, strumpet; that you shall get th_etter of me by sheer impudence? Sit down! rest you satisfied!—So you want t_now by what right you are here, do you? By the right of possession. Thi_ouse is mine, and you are in my power. There is no Mrs. Jakeman now to spiri_ou away; no, nor no Falkland to bully for you. I have countermined you, dam_e! and blown up your schemes. Do you think I will be contradicted and oppose_or nothing? When did you ever know any body resist my will without being mad_o repent? And shall I now be browbeaten by a chitty-faced girl?—I have no_iven you a fortune! Damn you! who brought you up? I will make you a bill fo_lothing and lodging. Do not you know that every creditor has a right to sto_is runaway debtor. You may think as you please; but here you are till yo_arry Grimes. Heaven and earth shall not prevent but I will get the better o_our obstinacy!"
  • "Ungenerous, unmerciful man! and so it is enough for you that I have nobody t_efend me! But I am not so helpless as you may imagine. You may imprison m_ody, but you cannot conquer my mind. Marry Mr. Grimes! And is this the way t_ring me to your purpose? Every hardship I suffer puts still further distan_he end for which I am thus unjustly treated. You are not used to have you_ill contradicted! When did I ever contradict it? And, in a concern that is s_ompletely my own, shall my will go for nothing? Would you lay down this rul_or yourself, and suffer no other creature to take the benefit of it? I wan_othing of you: how dare you refuse me the privilege of a reasonable being, t_ive unmolested in poverty and innocence? What sort of a man do you sho_ourself, you that lay claim to the respect and applause of every one tha_nows you?"
  • The spirited reproaches of Emily had at first the effect to fill Mr. Tyrre_ith astonishment, and make him feel abashed and overawed in the presence o_his unprotected innocent. But his confusion was the result of surprise. Whe_he first emotion wore off, he cursed himself for being moved by he_xpostulations; and was ten times more exasperated against her, for daring t_efy his resentment at a time when she had every thing to fear. His despoti_nd unforgiving propensities stimulated him to a degree little short o_adness. At the same time his habits, which were pensive and gloomy, led hi_o meditate a variety of schemes to punish her obstinacy. He began to suspec_hat there was little hope of succeeding by open force, and therefor_etermined to have recourse to treachery.
  • He found in Grimes an instrument sufficiently adapted to his purpose. Thi_ellow, without an atom of intentional malice, was fitted, by the mer_oarseness of his perceptions, for the perpetration of the greatest injuries.
  • He regarded both injury and advantage merely as they related to th_ratifications of appetite; and considered it an essential in true wisdom, t_reat with insult the effeminacy of those who suffer themselves to b_ormented with ideal misfortunes. He believed that no happier destiny coul_efal a young woman than to be his wife; and he conceived that tha_ermination would amply compensate for any calamities she might suppos_erself to undergo in the interval. He was therefore easily prevailed upon, b_ertain temptations which Mr. Tyrrel knew how to employ, to take part in th_lot into which Miss Melville was meant to be betrayed.
  • Matters being thus prepared, Mr. Tyrrel proceeded, through the means of th_aoler (for the experience he already had of personal discussion did no_ncline him to repeat his visits), to play upon the fears of his prisoner.
  • This woman, sometimes under the pretence of friendship, and sometimes wit_pen malice, informed Emily, from time to time, of the preparations that wer_aking for her marriage. One day, "the squire had rode over to look at a nea_ittle farm which was destined for the habitation of the new-married couple;"
  • and at another, "a quantity of live stock and household furniture wa_rocured, that every thing might be ready for their reception." She then tol_er "of a licence that was bought, a parson in readiness, and a day fixed fo_he nuptials." When Emily endeavoured, though with increased misgivings, t_idicule these proceedings as absolutely nugatory without her consent, he_rtful gouvernante related several stories of forced marriages, and assure_er that neither protestations, nor silence, nor fainting, would be of an_vail, either to suspend the ceremony, or to set it aside when performed.
  • The situation of Miss Melville was in an eminent degree pitiable. She had n_ntercourse but with her persecutors. She had not a human being with whom t_onsult, who might afford her the smallest degree of consolation an_ncouragement. She had fortitude; but it was neither confirmed nor directed b_he dictates of experience. It could not therefore be expected to be s_nflexible, as with better information it would, no doubt, have been found.
  • She had a clear and noble spirit; but she had some of her sex's errors. He_ind sunk under the uniform terrors with which she was assailed, and he_ealth became visibly impaired.
  • Her firmness being thus far undermined, Grimes, in pursuance of hi_nstructions, took care, in his next interview, to throw out an insinuatio_hat, for his own part, he had never cared for the match, and since she was s_verse to it, would be better pleased that it should never take place. Betwee_ne and the other however, he was got into a scrape, and now he supposed h_ust marry, will he, nill he. The two squires would infallibly ruin him upo_he least appearance of backwardness on his part, as they were accustomed t_o every inferior that resisted their will. Emily was rejoiced to find he_dmirer in so favourable a disposition; and earnestly pressed him to giv_ffect to this humane declaration. Her representations were full of eloquenc_nd energy. Grimes appeared to be moved at the fervency of her manner; bu_bjected the resentment of Mr. Tyrrel and his landlord. At length, however, h_uggested a project, in consequence of which he might assist her in he_scape, without its ever coming to their knowledge, as, indeed, there was n_ikelihood that their suspicions would fix upon him. "To be sure," said he,
  • "you have refused me in a disdainful sort of a way, as a man may say. Mayha_ou thought I was no better 'an a brute: but I bear you no malice, and I wil_how you that I am more kind-hearted 'an you have been willing to think. It i_ strange sort of a vagary you have taken, to stand in your own light, an_isoblige all your friends. But if you are resolute, do you see? I scorn to b_he husband of a lass that is not every bit as willing as I; and so I wil_ven help to put you in a condition to follow your own inclinations."
  • Emily listened to these suggestions at first with eagerness and approbation.
  • But her fervency somewhat abated, when they came to discuss the minute part_f the undertaking. It was necessary, as Grimes informed her, that her escap_hould be effected in the dead of the night. He would conceal himself for tha_urpose in the garden, and be provided with false keys, by which to delive_er from her prison. These circumstances were by no means adapted to calm he_erturbed imagination. To throw herself into the arms of the man whos_ntercourse she was employing every method to avoid, and whom, under the ide_f a partner for life, she could least of all men endure, was, no doubt, a_xtraordinary proceeding. The attendant circumstances of darkness and solitud_ggravated the picture. The situation of Tyrrel Place was uncommonly lonely; it was three miles from the nearest village, and not less than seven from tha_n which Mrs. Jakeman's sister resided, under whose protection Miss Melvill_as desirous of placing herself. The ingenuous character of Emily did no_llow her once to suspect Grimes of intending to make an ungenerous and bruta_dvantage of these circumstances; but her mind involuntarily revolted agains_he idea of committing herself, alone, to the disposal of a man, whom she ha_ately been accustomed to consider as the instrument of her treacherou_elation.
  • After having for some time revolved these considerations, she thought of th_xpedient of desiring Grimes to engage Mrs. Jakeman's sister to wait for he_t the outside of the garden. But this Grimes peremptorily refused. He eve_lew into a passion at the proposal. It showed very little gratitude, t_esire him to disclose to other people his concern in this dangerous affair.
  • For his part, he was determined, in consideration of his own safety, never t_ppear in it to any living soul. If Miss did not believe him, when he mad_his proposal out of pure good-nature, and would not trust him a single inch, she might even see to the consequences herself. He was resolved to condescen_o further to the whims of a person who, in her treatment of him, had show_erself as proud as Lucifer himself.
  • Emily exerted herself to appease his resentment; but all the eloquence of he_ew confederate could not prevail upon her instantly to give up her objection.
  • She desired till the next day to consider of it. The day after was fixed b_r. Tyrrel for the marriage ceremony. In the mean time she was pestered wit_ntimations, in a thousand forms, of the fate that so nearly awaited her. Th_reparations were so continued, methodical, and regular, as to produce in he_he most painful and aching anxiety. If her heart attained a moment'_ntermission upon the subject, her female attendant was sure, by some sly hin_r sarcastical remark, to put a speedy termination to her tranquillity. Sh_elt herself, as she afterwards remarked, alone, uninstructed, just broke_oose, as it were, from the trammels of infancy, without one single creatur_o concern himself in her fate. She, who till then never knew an enemy, ha_ow, for three weeks, not seen the glimpse of a human countenance, that sh_ad not good reason to consider as wholly estranged to her at least, if no_nrelentingly bent on her destruction. She now, for the first time, experienced the anguish of never having known her parents, and being cast upo_he charity of people with whom she had too little equality, to hope t_eceive from them the offices of friendship.
  • The succeeding night was filled with the most anxious thoughts. When _omentary oblivion stole upon her senses, her distempered imagination conjure_p a thousand images of violence and falsehood; she saw herself in the hand_f her determined enemies, who did not hesitate by the most daring treacher_o complete her ruin. Her waking thoughts were not more consoling. Th_truggle was too great for her constitution. As morning approached, sh_esolved, at all hazards, to put herself into the hands of Grimes. Thi_etermination was no sooner made, than she felt her heart sensibly lightened.
  • She could not conceive any evil which could result from this proceeding, tha_eserved to be put in the balance against those which, under the roof of he_insman, appeared unavoidable.
  • When she communicated her determination to Grimes, it was not possible to sa_hether he received pleasure or pain from the intimation. He smiled indeed; but his smile was accompanied by a certain abrupt ruggedness of countenance, so that it might equally well be the smile of sarcasm or of congratulation.
  • He, however, renewed his assurances of fidelity to his engagements an_unctuality of execution. Meanwhile the day was interspersed with nuptia_resents and preparations, all indicating the firmness as well as security o_he directors of the scene. Emily had hoped that, as the crisis approached, they might have remitted something of their usual diligence. She was resolved, in that case, if a fair opportunity had offered, to give the slip both to he_ailors, and to her new and reluctantly chosen confederate. But, thoug_xtremely vigilant for that purpose, she found the execution of the ide_mpracticable.
  • At length the night, so critical to her happiness, approached. The mind o_mily could not fail, on this occasion, to be extremely agitated. She ha_irst exerted all her perspicacity to elude the vigilance of her attendant.
  • This insolent and unfeeling tyrant, instead of any relentings, had only sough_o make sport of her anxiety. Accordingly, in one instance she hid herself, and, suffering Emily to suppose that the coast was clear, met her at the en_f the gallery, near the top of the staircase. "How do you do, my dear?" sai_he, with an insulting tone. "And so the little dear thought itself cunnin_nough to outwit me, did it? Oh, it was a sly little gipsy! Go, go back, love; troop!" Emily felt deeply the trick that was played upon her. She sighed, bu_isdained to return any answer to this low vulgarity. Being once more in he_hamber, she sat down in a chair, and remained buried in reverie for more tha_wo hours. After this she went to her drawers, and turned over, in a hurryin_onfused way, her linen and clothes, having in her mind the provision it woul_e necessary to make for her elopement. Her jailor officiously followed he_rom place to place, and observed what she did for the present in silence. I_as now the hour of rest. "Good night, child," said this saucy girl, in th_ct of retiring. "It is time to lock up. For the few next hours, the time i_our own. Make the best use of it! Do'ee think ee can creep out at the key- hole, lovey? At eight o'clock you see me again. And then, and then," adde_he, clapping her hands, "it is all over. The sun is not surer to rise, tha_ou and your honest man to be made one."
  • There was something in the tone with which this slut uttered her farewell, that suggested the question to Emily, "What does she mean? Is it possible tha_he should know what has been planned for the few next hours?"—This was th_irst moment that suspicion had offered itself, and its continuance was short.
  • With an aching heart she folded up the few necessaries she intended to tak_ith her. She instinctively listened, with an anxiety that would almost hav_nabled her to hear the stirring of a leaf. From time to time she thought he_ar was struck with the sound of feet; but the treading, if treading it were, was so soft, that she could never ascertain whether it were a real sound, o_he mere creature of the fancy. Then all was still, as if the universal motio_ad been at rest. By and by she conceived she overheard a noise as of buzzin_nd low-muttered speech. Her heart palpitated; for a second time she began t_oubt the honesty of Grimes. The suggestion was now more anxious than before; but it was too late. Presently she heard the sound of a key in her chamber- door, and the rustic made his appearance. She started, and cried, "Are w_iscovered? did not I hear you speak?" Grimes advanced on tiptoe with hi_inger to his lip. "No, no," replied he, "all is safe!" He took her by th_and, led her in silence out of the house, and then across the garden. Emil_xamined with her eye the doors and passages as they proceeded, and looked o_ll sides with fearful suspicion; but every thing was as vacant and still a_he herself could have wished. Grimes opened a back-door of the garden alread_nlocked, that led into an unfrequented lane. There stood two horses read_quipped for the journey, and fastened by their bridles to a post not si_ards distant from the garden. Grimes pushed the door after them.
  • "By Gemini," said he, "my heart was in my mouth. As I comed along to you, _aw Mun, coachey, pop along from the back-door to the stables. He was within _op, step, and jump of me. But he had a lanthorn in his hand, and he did no_ee me, being as I was darkling." Saying this, he assisted Miss Melville t_ount. He troubled her little during the route; on the contrary, he wa_emarkably silent and contemplative, a circumstance by no means disagreeabl_o Emily, to whom his conversation had never been acceptable.
  • After having proceeded about two miles, they turned into a wood, through whic_he road led to the place of their destination. The night was extremely dark, at the same time that the air was soft and mild, it being now the middle o_ummer. Under pretence of exploring the way, Grimes contrived, when they ha_lready penetrated into the midst of this gloomy solitude, to get his hors_breast with that of Miss Melville, and then, suddenly reaching out his hand, seized hold of her bridle. "I think we may as well stop here a bit," said he.
  • "Stop!" exclaimed Emily with surprise; "why should we stop? Mr. Grimes, wha_o you mean?"
  • "Come, come," said he, "never trouble yourself to wonder. Did you think I wer_uch a goose, to take all this trouble merely to gratify your whim? I' faith, nobody shall find me a pack-horse, to go of other folks' errands, withou_nowing a reason why. I cannot say that I much minded to have you at first; but your ways are enough to stir the blood of my grand-dad. Far-fetched an_ear-bought is always relishing. Your consent was so hard to gain, that squir_hought it was surest asking in the dark. A' said however, a' would have n_uch doings in his house, and so, do ye see, we are comed here."
  • "For God's sake, Mr. Grimes, think what you are about! You cannot be bas_nough to ruin a poor creature who has put herself under your protection!
  • "Ruin! No, no, I will make an honest woman of you, when all is done. Nay, non_f your airs; no tricks upon travellers! I have you here as safe AS a horse i_ pound; there is not a house nor a shed within a mile of us; and, if I mis_he opportunity, call me spade. Faith, you are a delicate morsel, and there i_o time to be lost!"
  • Miss Melville had but an instant in which to collect her thoughts. She fel_hat there was little hope of softening the obstinate and insensible brute i_hose power she was placed. But the presence of mind and intrepidity annexe_o her character did not now desert her. Grimes had scarcely finished hi_arangue, when, with a strong and unexpected jerk, she disengaged the bridl_rom his grasp, and at the same time put her horse upon full speed. She ha_carcely advanced twice the length of her horse, when Grimes recovered fro_is surprise, and pursued her, inexpressibly mortified at being so easil_verreached. The sound of his horse behind served but to rouse more completel_he mettle of that of Emily; whether by accident or sagacity, the anima_ursued without a fault the narrow and winding way; and the chase continue_he whole length of the wood.
  • At the extremity of this wood there was a gate. The recollection of thi_oftened a little the cutting disappointment of Grimes, as he thought himsel_ecure of putting an end, by its assistance, to the career of Emily; nor wa_t very probable that any body would appear to interrupt his designs, in suc_ place, and in the dead and silence of the night. By the most extraordinar_ccident, however, they found a man on horseback in wait at this gate. "Help, help!" exclaimed the affrighted Emily; "thieves! murder! help!" The man wa_r. Falkland. Grimes knew his voice; and therefore, though he attempted a sor_f sullen resistance, it was feebly made. Two other men, whom, by reason o_he darkness, he had not at first seen, and who were Mr. Falkland's servants, hearing the bustle of the rencounter, and alarmed for the safety of thei_aster, rode up; and then Grimes, disappointed at the loss of hi_ratification, and admonished by conscious guilt, shrunk from farther parley, and rode off in silence.
  • It may seem strange that Mr. Falkland should thus a second time have been th_aviour of Miss Melville, and that under circumstances the most unexpected an_ingular. But in this instance it is easily to be accounted for. He had hear_f a man who lurked about this wood for robbery or some other bad design, an_hat it was conjectured this man was Hawkins, another of the victims of Mr.
  • Tyrrel's rural tyranny, whom I shall immediately have occasion to introduce.
  • Mr. Falkland's compassion had already been strongly excited in favour o_awkins; he had in vain endeavoured to find him, and do him good; and h_asily conceived that, if the conjecture which had been made in this instanc_roved true, he might have it in his power not only to do what he had alway_ntended, but further, to save from a perilous offence against the laws an_ociety a man who appeared to have strongly imbibed the principles of justic_nd virtue. He took with him two servants, because, going with the expres_esign of encountering robbers, if robbers should be found, he believed h_hould be inexcusable if he did not go provided against possible accidents.
  • But he had directed them, at the same time that they kept within call, to b_ut of the reach of being seen; and it was only the eagerness of their zea_hat had brought them up thus early in the present encounter.
  • This new adventure promised something extraordinary. Mr. Falkland did no_mmediately recognise Miss Melville; and the person of Grimes was that of _otal stranger, whom he did not recollect to have ever seen. But it was eas_o understand the merits of the case, and the propriety of interfering. Th_esolute manner of Mr. Falkland, conjoined with the dread which Grimes, oppressed with a sense of wrong, entertained of the opposition of so elevate_ personage, speedily put the ravisher to flight. Emily was left alone wit_er deliverer. He found her much more collected and calm, than coul_easonably have been expected from a person who had been, a moment before, i_he most alarming situation. She told him of the place to which she desired t_e conveyed, and he immediately undertook to escort her. As they went along, she recovered that state of mind which inclined her to make a person to who_he had such repeated obligations, and who was so eminently the object of he_dmiration, acquainted with the events that had recently befallen her. Mr.
  • Falkland listened with eagerness and surprise. Though he had already know_arious instances of Mr. Tyrrel's mean jealousy and unfeeling tyranny, thi_urpassed them all; and he could scarcely credit his ears while he heard th_ale. His brutal neighbour seemed to realise all that has been told of th_assions of fiends. Miss Melville was obliged to repeat, in the course of he_ale, her kinsman's rude accusation against her, of entertaining a passion fo_r. Falkland; and this she did with the most bewitching simplicity an_harming confusion. Though this part of the tale was a source of real pain t_er deliverer, yet it is not to be supposed but that the flattering partialit_f this unhappy girl increased the interest he felt in her welfare, and th_ndignation he conceived against her infernal kinsman.
  • They arrived without accident at the house of the good lady under whos_rotection Emily desired to place herself. Here Mr. Falkland willingly lef_er as in a place of security. Such conspiracies as that of which she wa_ntended to have been the victim, depend for their success upon the perso_gainst whom they are formed being out of the reach of help; and the momen_hey are detected, they are annihilated. Such reasoning will, no doubt, b_enerally found sufficiently solid; and it appeared to Mr. Falkland perfectl_pplicable to the present case. But he was mistaken.