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the novel confession


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Title:Confession
Author:W.GilmoreSimms
ReleaseDate:July,2004[EBook#6059][Yes,wearemorethanoneyearahead
ofschedule][ThisfilewasfirstpostedonOctober30,2002]
Edition:10

Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ISOLatin-1
STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOK,CONFESSION***
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[Illustration:Confession]
Confession;
or,
TheBlindHeart.
ADomesticStory.
ByW.GilmoreSimms,
Wagner.Butoftheworld-theheart,themindofman,Howhappycouldwe
know!Faust.Whatcanweknow?Whodaresbestowtheinfanthistruename?
Thefewwhofeltandknew,butblindlygaveTheirknowledgetothemultitude
—theyfell!Incapabletokeeptheirfullheartsin,They,fromthefirstof
immemorialtime,Werecrucifiedorburnt.Goethe’sFaust,MS.Version.
CHAPTERI.
Confession,orTheBlindHeart.
“Whodaresbestowtheinfanthistruename?Thefewwhofeltandknew,but
blindlygaveTheirknowledgetothemultitude—theyfellIncapabletokeeptheir
fullheartsin,They,fromthefirstofimmemorialtime,Werecrucifiedor
burnt.”—Goethe’s“Faust.”
Thepainsandpenaltiesoffollyarenotnecessarilydeath.Theywereinold
times,perhaps,accordingtothetext,andhewhokeptnottohimselfthesecrets
ofhissillyheartwassurelycrucifiedorburnt.Thoughlackinginpenalties
extremelikethese,thepresentisnotwithoutitsown.Alltimes,indeed,have
theirpenaltiesforfolly,muchmorecertainlythanforcrime;andthisfact
furnishesoneofthemosthumanargumentsinfavorofthedoctrineofrewards
andpunishmentsinthefuturestate.Butthesepenaltiesarenotalways
mortificationsandtrialsoftheflesh.Therearepunishmentsofthesoul;the
spirit;thesensibilities;theintellect—whicharemostusuallytheconsequences
ofone’sownfolly.Thereisaperversityofmoodwhichistheworstofallsuch
penalties.Therearetortureswhichthefoolishheartequallyinflictsandendures.
Thepassionsriotontheirownnature;and,feedingastheydouponthatbosom
fromwhichtheyspring,andinwhichtheyflourish,may,notinaptly,belikened


tothatunnaturalbroodwhichgnawsintotheheartofthemother-bird,and


sustainsitsexistenceattheexpenseofhers.Meetlygovernedfromthe
beginning,theyaredutifulagentsthatblessthemselvesintheirownobedience;
but,pamperedtoexcess,theyaretyrantsthatneverdojustice,untilatlast,when
theyfitlyconcludetheworkofdestructionbytheirown.
Thenarrativewhichfollowsisintendedtoillustratetheseopinions.Itisthestory
ofablindheart—nay,ofblindhearts—blindthroughtheirownperversity—
blindtotheirowninterests—theirownjoys,hopes,andpropersourcesof
delight.Innarratingmyownfortunes,Idepicttheirs;andtheoldleavenof
wilfulness,whichbelongstoournature,has,ingreaterorlessdegree,aplacein
everyhumanbosom.
Iwastheonlyonesurvivingofseveralsons.MyparentsdiedwhileIwasyetan
infant.Ineverknewthem.Iwaslefttothedoubtfulchargeofrelatives,who
mightaswellhavebeenstrangers;and,fromtheirtreatment,Ilearnedtodoubt
andtodistrustamongthefirstfatallessonsofmyyouth.Ifeltmyselfunloved—
nay,asIfancied,dislikedanddespised.Iwasnotmerelyanorphan.Iwaspoor,
andwasfeltasburdensomebythoseconnectionswhomadreadofpublic
opinion,ratherthanasenseofdutyandaffection,persuadedtotakemetotheir
homes.Here,then,whenlittlemorethanthreeyearsold,Ifoundmyself—a
lonelybrat,whomservantsmightfloutatpleasure,andwhomsuperiorsonly
regardedwithafrown.IwasjustoldenoughtorememberthatIhadonce
experiencedverydifferenttreatment.Ihadfeltthecaressesofafondmother—I
hadheardthecheeringaccentsofagenerousandagentlefather.Theonehad
soothedmygriefsandencouragedmyhopes—theotherhadstimulatedmy
energiesandpromptedmydesires.Letnoonefancythat,becauseIwasachild,
theselessonswerepremature.Alleducation,tobevaluable,mustbeginwiththe
child’sfirsteffortsatdiscrimination.Suddenly,bothofthesefondparents
disappeared,andIwasjustyoungenoughtowonderwhy.
Thechangeinmyfortunesfirsttouchedmysensibilities,whichitfinallyexcited
untiltheybecamediseased.Neglectedifnotscorned,Ihabituallylookedto
encounternothingbutneglectorscorn.Thesureresultofthisconditionofmind
wasalookandfeeling,onmypart,ofhabitualdefiance.Igrewupwiththe
moodofonewhogoesforthwithamoralcertaintythathemustmeetand
provideagainstanenemy.ButIamnowpremature.
TheuncleandauntwithwhomIfoundshelterwerewhatiscalledinordinary


parlance,verygoodpeople.Theyattendedthemostpopularchurchwithmost
popularpunctuality.Theyprayedwithunction—subscribedtoallthecharities
whichhadpublicityandafashionablelisttorecommendthem—helpedtosend
missionariestoCalcutta,Bombay,Owyhee,andotheroutlandishregions—paid
theirdebtswhentheybecameduewithcommendablereadiness—andwere,in
allout-of-doorrespects,theverysortofpeoplewhomightcongratulate
themselves,andthankGodthattheywereveryfarsuperiortotheirneighbors.
Myunclehadmorningprayersathome,andmyauntthumbedHannahMorein
theevening;thoughitmustbeadmittedthattheformercouldnotalwaysforbear,
comingfromchurchonthesabbath,toinquireintothelastnewsofthe
Liverpoolcottonmarket,andmyauntneverfailed,whentheyreachedhome,on
thesameblessedday,tomakethehouseringwithanothersortofeloquencethan
thattowhichshehadlistenedwithsuchsanctimoniousdevotionfromthelipsof
thepreacher.Thereweresomeotherlittleoffsetsagainsttheperfectly
evangelicalcharacteroftheirreligion.Oneofthese—thefirstthatattractedmy
infantconsideration—wasnaturallyonewhichmoredirectlyconcernedmyself.I
soondiscoveredthat,whileIwassenttoanordinarycharityschoolofthe
country,inthreadbarebreeches,madeofthemeanestmaterial—theirownson—
agentleandgood,butpunyboy,whomtheirindulgenceinjured,and,perhaps,
finallydestroyed—wasdespatchedtoafashionableinstitutionwhichtaughtall
sortsofologies—dressedinsuchchoicebroadclothandcostlyhabiliments,asto
makehimanobjectofenvyandevenodiumamongallhislessfortunateschoolfellows.
PoorlittleEdgar!Hisowngoodheartandcorrectnaturalunderstandingshowed
himtheequalfollyofthattreatmenttowhichhewassubjected,andtheinjustice
andunkindnesswhichdistinguishedmine.Hestrovetomakeamends,sofarasI
wasconcerned,fortheerrorofhisparents.Hewasmyplaymatewheneverhe
waspermitted,buteventhispermissionwasqualifiedbysomeremark,some
directionorcounsel,fromoneorotherofhisparents,whichwasintendedtolet
himknow,andmakemefeel,thattherewasamonstrousdifferencebetweenus.
Theservantsdiscoveredthisdifferenceasquicklyasdidtheobjectsofit;and
thoughwewerepreciselyofoneage,andIwasratherthelargestofthetwo,yet,
inaddressingus,theypaidhimthedeferencewhichshouldonlybeshownto
superiorage,andtreatedmewiththecontumelyonlyduetoinferiormerit.It
was“MasterEdgar,”whenhewasspokento—and“you,”whenIwastheobject
ofattention.


Idonotspeakofthesethingsasofsubstantialevilsaffectingmycondition.
Perhaps,inoneormorerespects,theywerebenefits.Theytaughtmehumilityin
thefirstplace,andmadethathumilityindependence,byshowingmethatthe
lessonwasbestowedinwantonness,andnotwiththepurposeofimprovement.
And,inproportionasmyphysicalnaturesufferedtheirneglect,itacquired
strengthbytheveryrougheningtowhichthatneglectexposedit.InthisI
possessedavastadvantageovermylittlecompanion.Hisframe,naturally
feeble,sunkundertheoppressivetendernesstowhichtheconstantcareofavain
father,adotingmother,andsycophanticfriendsandservants,subjectedit.The
attritionofboywithboy,inthehalf-manlysportsofschoolboylife—itsvery
strifesandscuffles—wouldhavebroughthisbloodintoadequatecirculation,and
hardenedhisbones,andgivenelasticitytohissinews.Butfromallthese
influences,hewascarefullypreservedandprotected.Hewasnotallowedtorun,
forfearofbeingtoomuchheated.Hecouldnotjump,lesthemightbreaka
blood-vessel.Intheballplayhemightgetaneyeknockedout;andeventops
andmarbleswereforbidden,lestheshouldsoilhishandsandwearouttheknees
ofhisgreenbreeches.Ifheindulgedinthesesportsitwasonlybystealth,andat
thefearfulcostofafalsehoodoneverysuchoccasion.Whenwillparentslearn
thatentirelytocrushandkeepdownthepropernatureoftheyoung,isto
produceinevitableperversity,andstimulatetheboyishingenuitytocrime?
Withmethecasewasverydifferent.Ifcuffingandkickingcouldhavekilled,I
shouldhavediedmanysuddenandseveredeathsintheroughschooltowhichI
wassent.Ifeyeswerelikelytobelostinthecampus,cordedballsofIndiarubber,orstillharderonesofwood,impelledbyshinny(goff)sticks,wouldhave
obliteratedallofminethoughtheyhadbeennumerousasthoseofArgus.My
limbsandeyesescapedallinjury;myframegrewtallandvigorousin
consequenceofneglect,evenastheforest-tree,lefttotheconflictofallthe
windsofheaven;whilemypoorlittlefriend,Edgar,grewdailymoreandmore
diminutive,justassomeplant,whichnursingandtendancewithindoorsdeprive
ofthewholesomesunshineandgenerousbreezesofthesky.Thepalenessofhis
cheekincreased,thelanguorofhisframe,themeagernessofhisform,the
inabilityofhisnature!Hewaspiningrapidlyaway,inspiteofthatexcessive
care,which,perhaps,hadbeeninthefirstinstance,theunhappysourceofallhis
feebleness.
Hedied—andIbecameanobjectofgreaterdislikethanevertohisparents.They
couldnotbutcontrastmystrength,withhisfeebleness—myimprovementwith
hisdecline—andwhentheyrememberedhowlittlehadbeentheirregardforme


andhowmuchforhim—withoutascribingthedifferenceofresulttothetrue
cause—theyrepinedatthewaysofProvidence,andthrewuponmethereproach
ofit.Theygavemelessheedandfewersmilesthanever.IfIimprovedat
school,itwaswell,perhaps;buttheyneverinquired,andIcouldnothelp
fancyingthatitwaswithapositiveexpressionofvexation,thatmyauntheard,
ononeoccasion,frommyteacher,inthepresenceofsomeguests,thatIwas
likelytobeanhonortothefamily.
“Anhonortothefamily,indeed!”ThiswastheclearexpressioninthatChristian
lady’seyes,asIsawthemsinkimmediatelyafterinascornfulexaminationof
myruggedframeandcoarsegarments.
Thefamilyhaditsownsourcesofhonor,wasthecalmopinionofbothmy
patrons,astheyturnedtheireyesupontheironlyremainingchild—alittlegirl
aboutfiveyearsold,whowasplayingaroundthemonthecarpet.Thisopinion
wasalsomine,eventhen:andmyeyesfollowedtheirsinthesamedirection.
JuliaCliffordwasoneofthesweetestlittlefairiesintheworld.Tender-hearted,
andjust,andgenerous,likethedearlittlebrother,whomshehadonlyknownto
lose,shewasyetasplayfulasakitten.Iwastwiceherage—justten—atthis
period;andasortofinstinctledmetoadoptthelittlecreature,inplaceofpoor
Edgar,inthefriendshipofmyboyishheart.Idrewherinherlittlewagon—
carriedheroverthebrooklet—constructedhertinyplaythings—andin
considerationofmyusefulness,inmostgenerallykeepingherinthebestof
humors,hermotherwasnotunwillingthatIshouldbeherfrequentplaymate.
Nay,atsuchtimesshecouldspareagentlewordeventome,asonethrowsa
bonetothedog,whohasjumpedapole,orplungedintothewater,orworried
someotherdog,forhisamusement.Atnootherperioddidmyworthyaunt
vouchsafemesuchunlooked-forconsideration.
ButJuliaCliffordwasnotmyonlyfriend.Ihadmadeanothershortlybeforethe
deathofEdgar;though,passinglyitmaybesaid,friendship-makingwasnoeasy
businesswithanaturesuchasminehadnowbecome.Theinevitableresultof
suchtreatmentasthattowhichmyearlyyearshadbeensubjected,wasfully
realized.Iwassuspicioustothelastdegreeofallnewfaces—jealousofthe
regardsoftheold;devotingmyselfwheremyaffectionsweresetandrequiring
devotion—rigid,exclusivedevotion—fromtheirobjectinreturn.Therewasa
terribleearnestnessinallmymoodswhichmademyveryloveathingtobe
feared.Iwasnotrifler—Icouldnotsuffertobetrifledwith—andtheordinary
friendshipsofmanorboycannotlongenduretheexactionsofsucha


disposition.Thepenaltiesareusuallythoughttobe—andare—infinitelybeyond
therewardsandbenefits.
MyintimacieswithWilliamEdgertonwerefirstformedundercircumstances
which,ofallothers,aremostlikelytoestablishthemonafirmbasisinourdays
ofboyhood.Hecametomyrescueoneevening,when,returningfromschool,I
wasbesetbythreeotherboys,whohadresolvedondrubbingme.Myhaughty
deportmenthadvexedtheirself-esteem,and,asthesamecausehadleftmewith
fewsympathies,itwastakenforgrantedthattheunfairnessoftheirassault
wouldprovokenocensure.Theyweremistaken.Inthemomentofmygreatest
difficulty,WilliamEdgertondashedinamongthem.Myexigencyrenderedhis
assistanceaverysingularbenefit.Mynosewasalreadybroken—oneofmyeyes
sealedupforaweek’sholyday;andIwassufferingfromsmallannoyances,of
hip,heart,leg,andthigh,occasionedbytherepeatedcuffs,andthereckless
kicks,whichIwasmomentlyreceivingfromthreepointsofthecompass.Itis
truethatmyenemieshadtheirhurtstocomplainofalso;buttheoddsweretoo
greatlyagainstmeforanyconductorstrengthofminetoneutralizeor
overcome;anditwasonlybyEdgerton’sinterpositionthatIwassavedfrom
utterdefeatandmuchworseusage.ThebeatingIhadalreadysuffered.Iwas
sorefromheadtofootforaweekafter;andmyonlyconsolationwasthatmy
enemiesleftthegroundinacondition,ifanything,somethingworsethanmy
own.
ButIhadgainedafriend,andthatwasasweetrecompense,sweetertome,by
far,thanitisfoundorfeltbyschoolboysusually.Nonecouldknowor
comprehendtheforceofmyattachment—mydependenceupontheattachment
ofwhichIfeltassured!—nonebutthosewho,withanearnest,impetuousnature
likemyown—doomedtodenialfromthefirst,andtreatedwithinjusticeand
unkindness—hasfeltthepangofaworseprivationfromthebeginning;—the
privationofthatsustenance,whichisthe“verybeallandendall”ofitsdesire
anditslife—andthedenialofwhichchillsandrepelsitsfervor—throwsitback
indespondencyuponitself—fillsitwithsuspicion,andracksitwithaneverceasingconflictbetweenitsapprehensionanditshopes.
Edgertonsuppliedavacuumwhichmybosomhadlongfelt.Hewas,however,
veryunlike,inmostrespects,tomyself.Hewasratherphlegmaticthanardent—
slowinhisfancies,andshyinhisassociationsfromveryfastidiousness.Hewas
toomuchgovernedbynicetastes,tobeanactiveorperformingyouth;andtoo
muchrestrainedbythemalso,tobeapopularone.This,perhaps,wasthesecret


influencewhichbroughtustogether.Amutualsenseofisolation—nomatter
fromwhatcause—awakenedthesympathiesbetweenus.Ourtieswereformed,
onmypart,simplybecauseIwasassuredthatIshouldhavenorival;andonhis,
possibly,becauseheperceivedinmyhaughtyreserveofcharacter,asufficient
securitythathisfastidioussensibilitieswouldnotbelikelytosufferoutrageat
myhands.Ineveryotherrespectourmoodsandtemperswereutterlyunlike.I
thoughthimdull,veryfrequently,whenhewasonlybalancingbetweenjealous
andsensitivetastes;—andignorantoftheactual,when,infact,hisignorance
simplyarosefromthedecidedpreferencewhichhegavetotheforeignand
abstract.Hewascontemplative—anidealist;Iwasimpetuousanddevotedtothe
realandlivingworldaroundme,inwhichIwasdisposedtominglewithan
eagernesswhichmighthavebeenfatal;butforthatrestrainttowhichmyown
distrustofallthingsandpersonshabituallysubjectedme.
CHAPTERII.
BOYPASSIONS—APROFESSIONCHOSEN.
BetweenWilliamEdgertonandJuliaCliffordmyyounglifeandbestaffections
weredivided,entirely,ifnotequally.Ilivedfornoother—Icaredtoseek,to
know,noother—andyetIoftenshrunkfromboth.Evenatthatboyishperiod,
whiletheheaviercaresandthemorepainfulvexationsoflifewerewantingto
ourannoyance,Ihadthoseofthatgnawingnaturewhichseemedtobebornof
thetreewhoseevilgrowth“broughtdeathintotheworldandallourwo.”The
pangofanamelessjealousy—asleeplessdistrust—roseunbiddentomyheartat
seasons,when,intruth,therewasnoobviouscause.WhenJuliawasmostgentle
—whenWilliamwasmostgenerous—eventhen,Ihadlearnedtorepulsethem
withanindifferencewhichIdidnotfeel—arudenesswhichbroughttomyheart
apainevengreaterthanthatwhichmywantonnessinflictedupontheirs.Iknew,
eventhen,thatIwasperverse,unjust;andthattherewasalittlenessinthe
vexatiousmoodinwhichIindulged,thatwasunjusttomyownfeelings,and
unbecominginamanlynature.ButeventhoughIfeltallthis,asthoroughlyasI
couldeverfeelitunderanysituation,Istillcouldnotsucceedinovercomingtha’
insanewillwhichdrovemetoitsindulgence.
VainlyhaveIstriventoaccountfortheblindnessofheart—forsuchitis,inall
suchcases—whichpossessedme.Wasthereanythinginmysecretnature,born
atmybirthandgrowingwithmygrowth—whichimpelledmetothis
willfulness.Icanscarcelybelieveso;but,afterseriousreflection,amcompelled


tothinkthatitwasthestrictresultofmoodsgrowingoutoftheparticular
treatmenttowhichIhadbeensubjected.Itdoesnotseemunnaturalthatan
ardenttemperofmind,willingtoconfide,lookingtoloveandaffectionforthe
onlyalimentwhichitmostandchieflydesires,andrepelledinthissearch,
frownedonbyitssuperiorsasifitweresomethingbase,will,intime,growtobe
habituallywilful,evenasthetreatmentwhichhasschooledit.HadIbeen
governedandguidedbyjustice,IamsurethatIshouldneverhavebeenunjust.
Mywaywardnessinchildhooddidnotoftenamounttorudeness,andnever,I
maysafelysay,whereJuliawasconcerned.Inhercase,itwassimplythe
exerciseofasullennessthatrepelledherapproaches,evenasitsownapproaches
hadbeenrepelledbyothers.AtsuchperiodsIwentapart,communing,sternly
withmyself,refusingthesympathythatImostyearnedafter,andresolvingnot
tobecomforted.Letmedothedearchildthejusticetosaythattheonlyeffect
whichthisconducthaduponher,wastoincreaseheranxietiestosoothethe
repulsivespiritwhichshouldhaveoffendedher.Perhaps,toprovokethisanxiety
inoneitloves,isthechiefdesireofsuchaspirit.Itlovestobeholdthe
perseveringdevotion,whichityetperverselytoilstodiscourage.Itsmiles
within,withabittertriumph,asitcontemplatesitsownpower,toimpartthe
samesorrowwhichasimilarperversityhasalreadymadeitfeel.
But,withoutseekingfurthertoanalyzeandaccountforsuchaspirit,itisquite
sufficientifIhavedescribedit.Perhaps,thereareotherheartsequallyfroward
andwaywardwithmyown.Iknownotifmystorywillamend—perhapsitmay
noteveninstructorinformthem—Ifeelthatnostory,howevertruthful,could
havedisarmedthehumorofthatparticularmoodofmindwhichshowsitselfin
theblindnessoftheheartunderwhichitwasmylottolabor.Ididnotwant
knowledgeofmyownperversity.Iknew—Ifeltit—asclearlyasifIhadseenit
writtenincharactersoflight,onthewallsofmychamber.But,untilithad
exhausteditselfandpassedawaybyitsownprocesses,noeffortofminecould
haveovercomeorbanishedit.Istalkedapart,underitsinfluence,agloomy
savage—scornfulandsad—stern,yetsuffering—denyingmyselfequally,inthe
perverseandwantondenialtowhichIcondemnedallothers.
Perhapssomethingofthistemperisderivedfromtheyearningsofthemental
nature.Itmaybelongsomewhattothenaturaldirectionofamindhavinga
decidedtendencytoimaginativepursuits.Thereisadim,vague,indefinite
struggle,forevergoingoninthenatureofsuchaperson,afteranexistenceand
relationsveryforeigntotheworldinwhichitlives;andequallyfarfrom,and


hostiletothatconditioninwhichitthrives.Thevaguediscontentofsuchamind
isoneofthecausesofitsactivity;andhowfaritmaybestimulatedintodiseased
intensitybyinjudicioustreatment,isaquestionoflargeimportanceforthe
considerationofphilosophers.Theimaginativenatureisonesingularlysensitive
initsconditions;quick,jealous,watchful,earnest,stirring,andperpetually
breakingdowntheordinarybarriersoftheactual,initsstrugglestoascertainthe
extentofthepossible.Thetyrannywhichdrivesitfromtheordinaryresources
andenjoymentsoftheyoung,bythrowingitmorecompletelyonitsown,impels
intodesperateactivitythatdaringoftheimaginativemood,which,atnotime,is
wantingincourageandaudacity.Mymindwasonesingularlyimaginativeinits
structure;andmyardenttemperamentcontributedlargelytoitsactivity.
Solitude,intowhichIwasforcedbytherepulsiveandunkindtreatmentofmy
relatives,wasalsofavorabletotheexerciseofthisinfluence;andmyheartmay
besaidtohavetaken,inturn,everycolorandaspectwhichinformedmyeyes.It
wasablindheartforthisveryreason,inrespecttoallthosethingsforwhichit
shouldhavehadacolorofitsown.Booksandthewoods—thevoiceofwaters
andofsong—thedimmysteriesofpoetry,andthewhispersoflonelyforestwalks,whichbeguiledmeintomyself,andmoreremotelyfrommyfellows,
wereall,sofarasmysocialrelationswereconcerned,evilinfluences!Influences
whichwereonlyinpartovercomebythecommunionofsuchgentlebeingsas
WilliamEdgertonandJuliaClifford.
Withthesefriends,andtheseonly,Igrewup.Asmyyearsadvanced,my
intimacywiththeformerincreased,andwiththelatterdiminished.Butthis
diminutionofintimacydidnotlessenthekindnessofherfeelings,orthe
ordinarydevotednessofmine.Shewasstill—whentheperversityofheartmade
menotblind—thesweetcreaturetowhomthetaskofministeringwasapleasure
infinitelybeyondanyotherwhichIknew.But,asshegrewuptogirlhood,other
prospectsopeneduponhereyes,andotherpurposesuponthoseofherparents.
Attwelveshewascarriedbymaternalvanityintocompany—senttothedancing
school—providedwithteachersinmusicandpainting,andmadetounderstand
—sofarastheactions,looks,andwordsofallaroundcouldteach—thatshewas
thecynosureofalleyes,towhomthewholeworldwasboundindeference.
Fortunately,inthecaseofJulia,theusualeffectsofmaternalfollyand
indiscretiondidnotensue.Natureinterposedtoprotecther,andsavedherin
spiteofthemall.Shewasstillthemeek,modestchild,solicitousofthe
happinessofallaroundher—unobtrusive,unassuming—kindtoherinferiors,
respectfultosuperiors,andcourteousto,andconsiderateofallotherpersons.


Heradvancingyears,whichrenderedthesenewacquisitionsand
accomplishmentsdesirable,ifnotnecessary,atthesametimepromptedher
foolishmothertoanotherstepwhichbetrayedthehumiliatingregardwhichshe
entertainedforme.WhenIwasseventeen,Juliawastwelve,andwhenneither
shenormyselfhadasolitarythoughtoflove,theoverconsideratemotherbegan
tothink,onthissubject,forusboth.Theresultofhercogitationsdeterminedher
thatitwasnolongerfittingthatJuliashouldbemycompanion.Ourramblesin
thewoodstogetherwereforbidden;andJuliawasgravelyinformedthatIwasa
pooryouth,thoughhercousin—anorphanwhomherfather’scharitysupported,
andwhomthepubliccharityschooled.Thepoorchildartlesslytoldmeallthis,
inavainefforttoprocurefrommeanexplanationofthemystery(whichher
motherhadeitherfailedorneglectedtoexplain)bywhichsuchcircumstances
weremadetoaccountforthenewcommandswhichhadbeengivenher.Well
mightshe,inhersimplicityofheart,wonderwhyitwas,thatbecauseIwaspoor,
sheshouldbefamiliarwithmenolonger.
ThecircumstanceopenedmyeyestothefactthatJuliawasatallgirl,growing
fast,alreadyinherteens,andlikely,undertherapidly-maturinginfluenceofour
summersun,tobesoonawoman.Butjustthen—justwhenshefirsttaskedme
tosolvethemysteryofhermother’sstrangerequisitions,Ididnotthinkofthis.I
wastoomuchfilledwithindignation—themortifiedself-esteemwastooactively
workinginmybosomtosuffermetothinkofanythingbuttheindignitywith
whichIwastreated.Abriefportionofthedialoguebetweenthechildandmy
self,willgivesomeglimpsesoftheblindheartbywhichIwasafflicted.
“Oh,youdonotunderstandit,Julia.Youdonotknow,then,thatyouarethe
daughterofarichmerchant—theonlydaughter—thatyouhaveservantstowait
onyou,andacarriageatcommand—thatyoucanwearfinesilks,andhaveall
thingsthatmoneycanbuy,andarichman’sdaughterdesire.Youdon’tknow
thesethings,Julia,eh?”
“Yes,Edward,Ihearyousaysonow,andIhearmammaoftensaythesame
things;butstillIdon’tsee—”
“Youdon’tseewhythatshouldmakeadifferencebetweenyourselfandyour
poorcousin,eh?Well,butitdoes;andthoughyoudon’tseeitnow,yetitwill
notbeverylongbeforeyouwillsee,andunderstandit,andactuponit,too,as
promptlyasthewisestamongthem.Don’tyouknowthatIamtheobjectofyour
father’scharity—thathisbountyfeedsme—andthatitwouldnotbeseemlythat


theworldshouldbeholdmeonafamiliarfootingofequalityorintimacywith
thedaughterofmybenefactor—mypatron—withoutwhomIshouldprobably
starve,orbeacommonbeggaruponthehighway?”
“Butfatherwouldnotsufferthat,Edward.”
“Oh,no!no!—hewouldnotsufferit,Julia,simplybecausehisownprideand
namewouldfeeltheshameanddisgraceofsuchathing.Butthoughhewould
keepmefrombeggaryandthehighway,Julia,neitherhenoryourmotherwould
spendasixpenceormakeanefforttosavemyfeelingsfrompainandmisery.
Theyprotectmefromthescornofothers,buttheyusemefortheirown.”
Thegirlhungherheadinsilence.
“Andyou,too,”Iadded—“thetimewillcomewhenyou.too,Julia,willshrink
aspromptlyasthemselvesfrombeingseenwithyourpoorrelation.You—”
“No!no!Edward—howcanyouthinkofsuchathing?”sherepliedwithgirlish
chiding.
“Thinkit!—Iknowit!Thetimewillsoonbehere.But—obeyyourmother,Julia.
Go!leavemenow.Begin,oncethelessonwhich,beforemanydays,youwill
finditveryeasytolearn.”
Thiswasallverymanly,soIfanciedatthetime;andthenblindwiththe
perverseheartwhichboiledwithinme,Ifeltnotthewantonnessofmymood,
andheedednotthebitterpainwhichIoccasionedtohergentlebosom.Herlittle
handgraspedmine,herwarmtearsfelluponit;butIflungawayfromhergrasp,
andlefthertothosechildishmeditationswhichIhadmadesufficiently
mournful.
Subsequentreflection,whileitshowedmethebrutalityofmyconducttoJulia,
openedmyeyestothetruemeaningofhermother’sinterdiction;andincreased
thepangofthosebitterfeelings,whichmyconsciousdependencehadawakened
inmybreast,itwasnecessarythatthisdependenceshouldbelessened;that,asI
wasnowapproachingmanhood,Ishouldcastaboutforthefuture,andadopt
wiselyandatoncethemeansofmysupporthereafter.ItwasnecessarythatI
shouldbeginthebusinessoflife.OnthisheadIhadalreadyreflectedsomewhat,
andmythoughtshadtakentheirdirectionfrommorethanoneconferencewhich
IhadhadwithWilliamEdgerton.Hisfatherwasaneminentlawyer,andthelaw


hadbeenadoptedforhisprofessionalso.Ideterminedtomakeitmine;andto
speakonthissubjecttomyuncle.ThisIdid.Ichoseanafternoon,theveryweek
inwhichmyconversationhadtakenplacewithJulia,and,whilethedinner
thingswereundergoingremoval,withsomeformalityrequestedaprivate
interviewwithhim.Helookedroundatmewitharaisedbrowofinquiry—
noddedhishead—andshortlyafterrosefromthetable.Myauntstaredwithan
airofsuperciliouswonder;whilepoorJulia,timidandtrembling,barely
venturedtogivemeasinglelook,whichsaid—andthatwasenoughforme—“I
wishIdaredsaymore.”
Myconferencewithmyunclewasnotoflongduration.Itoldhimitwasmy
purpose—mydesire—tobeginassoonaspossibletodosomethingformyself.
Hisanswersignifiedthatsuchwashisopinionalso.Sofarwewereagreed;but
whenItoldhimthatitwasmywishtostudythelaw,heansweredwith
sufficient,andasIthought,scornfulabruptness:—
“Thelaw,indeed!Whatputsthelawintoyourhead?Whatpreparationshave
youmadetostudythelaw?Youknownothingoflanguageswhicheverylawyer
shouldknow—Latin—”
IinterruptedhimtosaythatIhadsomeslightknowledgeofLatin—sufficient,I
fancied,foralllegalpurposes.
“Ah!indeed!wheredidyougetit?”
“Afriendlentmeagrammaranddictionary,andIstudiedmyself.”
“Oh,youareambitious;butyoudeceiveyourself.Youwerenevermadefora
lawyer.Besides,howareyoutolivewhileprosecutingyourstudies?No,no!I
havebeenthinkingofsomethingforyou,Edward—and,justnow,ithappens
fortunatelythatoldSquireFarmer,thebricklayer,wantssomeapprentices—”
Icouldscarcelylistenthusfar.
“Ithankyou,sir,butIhavenodispositiontobeabricklayer.”
“Youmustdosomethingforyourself.Youcannotexpecttoeatthebreadof
idleness.Ihavedone,andwilldoforyouwhatIcan—whateverisnecessary;—
butIhavemyownfamilytoprovidefor.Icannotrobmyownchild---”


“NordoIexpectit,Mr.Clifford,”Irepliedhastily,andwithsomeindignation.
“Itismywish,sir,todrawaslittleaspossiblefromyourincomeandresources.I
wouldnotrobJuliaCliffordofasingledollar.Nay,sir,Itrustbeforemanyyears
tobeabletorefundyoueverycopperwhichhasbeenspentuponmefromthe
momentIenteredyourhousehold.”
Hesaidhastily:—
“Iwishnothingofthat,Edward;—butthelawisastudyofyears,andis
expensiveandunpromisingineveryrespect.Yourclothesalreadycallfora
considerablesum,andsuchaprofessionrequires,morethanalmostanyother,
thatastudentshouldbewelldressed.”
“Ipromiseyou,sir,thatmydressshallbesuchasshallnottrespassuponyour
income.Ishallbegovernedbyasmucheconomy—”
Heinterruptedmetosay,that
“Hisdutyrequiredthathisbrother’ssonshouldbedressedaswellashis
associates.”
Ireplied,withtolerablecomposure:—
“Idonotthink,sir,thatbricklayingwilladmitofverygenteelclothing,nordoI
thinkthatthevocationwillsuitme.Ihaveflatteredmyself,sir,thatmytalents
—”
“Oh,youhavetalents,then,haveyou?Well,itisfortunatethatthediscoveryhas
beenmadeinseason.”
Iborewiththis,thoughmycheekwasburning,andsaid—withaneffortto
preservemyvoiceandtemper,inwhich,thoughthedifficultywasgreat,Iwas
tolerablysuccessful—
“Youhavemisunderstoodmeinsomethings,Mr.Clifford;andIwilltrynowto
explainmyselfclearlyinothers.Havingresolved,sir,thatthelawshallbemy
profession---”
“Ha!resolved,sayyou?”


“Yes,sir.”
“Well,goon—goon!”
“Havingresolvedtopursuethestudyoflaw,andseeingthatIamburdensome
andexpensivetoyou—believing,too,thatIcanrelieveyouoftheburden—I
havesimplyrequestedpermissionofyoutomaketheattempt.”
“Why,howdoyouproposetodoso?—howcanyousupportyourself—thatis
relievemeoftheburdenofyourexpenses—andstudythelawatthesametime?”
“Suchthingshavebeendone,sir;andcanbedoneagain.IflattermyselfIcando
it.Industrywillenablemetodoso.Iproposetoapplyforaclerkshipina
mercantileestablishmentwhichIknowstandsinneedofassistance,andwhile
therewillpursuemystudiesinsuchintervalsofleisureasthebusinesswill
affordme.”
“Youseemtohavethematterreadycutanddry.Whydoyoucometome,then?
Remember,Icanmakenoadvances.”
“Ineednone,sir.Mysimpleobjectwithyou,sir,wastodeclaremyintention,
andtorequestthatImaybepermittedtorefertoyouthemerchantstowhomI
meantoapply,foraknowledgeofmycharacterandattainments.”
“Oh,certainly,youmay—forthecharacter;—butastotheattainments”—witha
sneeringsmile—“ofthemIcansaynothing,and,perhaps,thelesssaidthe
better.I’venodoubtyou’lldowellenoughwiththemerchants.Itdoesnotneed
muchgeniusorattainmentforsuchsituations.But,ifyou’lltakemycounsel,
you’llgotothebricklayer.Wewantbricklayerssadly.Tobeatolerablelawyer,
partsarenecessary;andGodknowsthecountryisover-stockedwithhostsof
lawyersalready,whoseonlypartslieintheirimpudence.Betterthinkalittle
whilelonger.SpeaktooldFarmeryourself.”
Ismiledbitterly—thankedhimforhiscounsel,whichwasonlyastudiedformof
insult,andturnedawayfromhimwithoutfurtherspeech,andwithaproud
swellingofindignationatmyheart.Thusourconferenceended.Aweekafter,I
wasensconcedbehindthecounterofawholesaledealer,andmyhandsatnight
werealreadybusyinturningovertheheavyfoliosofChittyandBlackstone.
CHAPTERIII.


ADMITTEDAMONGTHELAWYERS
Beholdme,then,merchandisingbyday,andconningbynighttheintricate
mysteriesoflaw.Booksforthelatterpurposewerefurnishedbymyoldfriend,
WilliamEdgerton,fromhisfather’slibrary.Hehimselfwasastudent,beginning
aboutthesametimewithmyself;thoughwiththesuperiorprivilegeofdevoting
himselfexclusivelytothisstudy.Butifhehadmoretime,Iwasmore
indefatigable.Mypridewasroused,andemulationsoonenabledmetosupply
thewantofleisure.Mynightsweresurrendered,almostwholly,tomynew
pursuit.Itoiledwithalltheearnestnesswhichdistinguishedmytemperament,
stimulatedtoayethigherdegreebythosefeelingsofprideandpique,which
wereresolvedtoconvincemyskepticalunclethatIwasnotentirelywithout
thosetalents,theassertionofwhichhadsopromptlyprovokedhissneer.
Besides,Ihadalreadylearnedthatnosuchschemeasminecouldbesuccessfully
prosecuted,unlessbyasternresolution;andthisimpliedtheconstantpresence
ofaclose,undeviatingmethodinmystudies.Itaskedmyselfaccordinglytoread
—understandingly,ifpossible—somanypageseverynight,makingmynotes,
queries,doubts,&c.,ENPASSANT.Inordertodothis,Iprescribedtomyselfa
rule,topassdirectlyfromthetoilsofthedayandthestoretomychamber,
sufferingnostoppagebytheway,andstudiouslydenyingmyselfthedangerous
fascinationsofthatsocietywhichwaseverywhereatcommand,inthepersonsof
youngmenaboutmyownageandcondition.Theintensityofmycharacter,and
thesuspiciousnesswhichitinduced,helpedmeinthisdetermination.Perhaps,
thereisnogreaterdangertoayoungman’shabitsofstudyandbusiness,thana
chatatthestreetcorner,withamerryandthoughtlessgroup.Asinglehalfhour
consumedinthismanner,isalmostalwaysfataltotheremaininghoursofthe
day.Itbreaksintothecircle,andimpairsthemethodwithoutwhichthepassage
ofthesunbecomesaverywearyandalwaysanunprofitableprogress.Ifyou
wouldbeastudentoranything,youmustplungeheadlongintoitatthe
beginning—buryyourselfinyourbusiness,andworkyourwayoutofyourtoils,
bysheer,doggedindustry.
MylaborsweresofarsuccessfulthatIcouldprosecutemystudieswith
independence.IhadleftthedwellingofmyunclethemomentItook
employmentinthemercantilehouse.Mysalary,thoughsmall,wasample;with
myhabits,itwasparticularlyso.Ihadfewofthosevicesinwhichyoungmen
areapttoindulge,andwhich,whentheybecomehabits,ceaseunhappilytobe
regardedasvices.Iusedtobaccoinnoshape,andnoardentspirits.Ineededno
stimulants,and,bytheway,trueindustryneverdoes.Itisonlyindolencethat


needsdrink;andindolencedoesneedit;andthesoonerdrunkennesskills
indolencebytheuseofdrink,thebetterforsociety.Theonlyobjectiontoliquors
asanagentforriddingthecommunityofanuisance,is,thatitisrathertooslow,
andtoooffensiveinitsdetailedoperations;arsenicwouldbefarlessoffensive,
moresummary,andisfarmorecertain.Youwouldseekvainlytocure
drunkenness,unlessyoufirstcuretheidlenesswhichisitsrootandstrength,
and,whiletheylast,itspermanentsupport.Butmyobjectisnothomily.
IfIwasfreefromvicessuchasthese,however,Ihadvicesofmyown,which
wereonlylessodiousastheywerelessobvious.Thatvexing,self-tormenting
spiritofwhichIhavespokenastheevilgeniusthatdoggedmyfootsteps—that
moralperversenesswhichIhavedescribedasthe“blindheart”—stillafflicted
me,thoughinafarlessdegreenowthanwhenIwastheinmateofmyuncle’s
dwelling,andexposedtoallthecapricesofhimself,hiswifeandservants.Ikept
ongoodtermswithmyemployers,fortheverynaturalreasonthattheysawme
attendtomybusinessandtheirs,withaheartycheerfulnessthatwenttowork
promptlyinwhateverwastobedone,andexecuteditstaskswithsteady
fortitude,neatness,andrapidity.But,evenwiththem,Ihadmysulks—my
humors—mystubbornfitsofsullenness,thatseemedanxioustoprovoke
opposition,andawakenwrath.These,however,theyconsideratelyforgavein
considerationofmyrealusefulness:andastheyperceivedthatwhatevermight
havebeentheunpleasantnessoccasionedbythesespecimensofspleen,they
wereneversufferedtointerferewithorretardtheoperationsofbusiness.“It’san
uglywayhe’sgot,”was,probably,theutmostextentofwhateitherofthe
partnerssaid,andofwhatiscommonlysaidonsuchoccasionsbymostpersons,
whodonotcaretotroublethemselveswithatoocloseinquiry.
Well,attwenty-one,WilliamEdgertonandmyselfwereadmittedtothepractice
ofthelaw,andthattoowithconsiderablecredittoourselves.Ihadlongsince
beencarriedbymyfriendintohisfamilycircle;andMr.Edgerton,hisfather,
hadbeenpleasedtodistinguishmewithsundryattentions,whichwereonly
gratefultomeinconsequenceoftheunusualdeferencewithwhichhismanner
evincedhisregard.Hisgentleinquiriesandpersuasivesuggestionsbeguiledme
intomorefreedomofspeechthanIhadeverbeforebeenaccustomedto;andhis
judiciousmanagementofmytroubledspirit,foratime,stifleditscontradictions,
andsuppresseditshabitualtendencies.Butitwaswithsomejealousy,andan
erectnessofmannerwhichwassurelyungracious,though,perhaps,not
offensive,thatIenduredandrepliedtohisinquiriesintomypersonalcondition,
myresources,andthenatureofthatdependencewhichIboretothefamilyof


myuncle.Whenhelearned—whichhedidnotfromme—inwhatmannerIhad
pursuedmystudies—afterwhattoilsoftheday,andatwhatlatehoursofthe
night—whenhefoundfromacloseprivateexamination,whichhehadgivenme,
beforemyadmission,thatmyknowledgeofthelawwasquiteasgoodasthe
greaternumberofthosewhoapplyforadmission—hewaspleasedtoexpresshis
astonishmentatmyperseverance,anddelightatmysuccess.When,too,in
additiontothis,hediscovered,uponaminuteinquiryfrommyemployersand
others,thatIwasabstemious,andindulgedinnoexcessesofanykind,his
interestinmeincreased,asIthought,whohadbeenaccustomedtonothingof
thesort,beyondallreasonablemeasure-andIsoonhadoccasiontoperceivethat
itwasnoidlecuriositythatpromptedhisconsiderationandinquiry.
Withoutmyknowledge,hepaidavisittomyuncle.Thisgentleman,Imaybe
permittedheretosay,hadbeenquiteasmuchsurprisedasanybodyelse,atmy
determinedprosecutionofmystudiesinspiteofthedifficultiesbywhichIwas
surrounded.ThatIwaspursuingthem,whileinthemercantileestablishmentto
whichIhadgone,hedidnotbelieve;andveryfrequentlywhenIwasathis
house—forIvisitedthefamily,andsometimes,thoughunfrequently,dinedwith
themonasabbath—hejeeredmeonmyprogress—the“wonderfulprogress,”as
hewaspleasedtotermit—whichhefeltsureIwasmakingwithmyCokeand
Blackstone,whilebalingblankets,orbundlingupplainsandkerseys.ThisIbore
patiently,sustainedasIwasbytheproud,indomitablespiritwithinme,which
assuredmeoftheultimatetriumphwhichIfeltpositivewouldensue.Ienjoyed
hissurprise—asurprisethatlookedsomethinglikeconsternation—whenthe
verydayofmyadmissiontothebar,andafterthatevent,Iencounteredhimin
thestreet,andinanswertohisusualsarcasticinquiry:—
“Well,Edward,howdoesthelawcomeon?HowisSirWilliamBlackstone,Sir
EdwardCoke,andtherestofthewhiteheads?”
Isimplyputtheparchmentintohishandswhichdeclaredmyformalintroduction
tothosevenerablegentry.
“Why,youdon’tmean?Isitpossible?Soyoureallyareadmitted—alawyer,
eh?”
“Yousee,sir—andthat,too,withoutanyGreek.”
“Well,andwhatgoodisittodoyou?Tohaveaprofession,Edward,isonething;


togetbusiness,another!”
“Yes,sir—butItakeit,theprofessionmustbehadfirst.Onestepisgained.That
muchissure.Theother,Itrust,willfollowindueseason.”
“True,butIstillthinkthatthebricklayerwouldmakethemoremoney.”
“Weremoney-making,sir,theonlyobjectoflife,perhaps,then,thatwouldbe
themostdesirablebusiness;but—”
“Oh,Iforgot—thetalents,thetalentsaretobeconsidered.”
Andaftertheutteranceofthissneer,ourdialogueasmaybesupposed,didnot
muchlongercontinue.
IdidnotknowofthecontemplatedvisitofMr.Edgertontomyworthyuncle,
norofitspurpose,orIshould,mostassuredly,haveputmyvetouponthe
measurewithallthetenacityofaresentfulspirit;butthisgentleman,whowasa
manofnicesensibilityaswellasstronggoodsense,readilycomprehendeda
portionofmysecrethistoryfromwhatwasknowntohim.Heeasilyconceived
thatmyunclewassomewhatofaniggardfromthemannerinwhichIhad
employedmyselfduringmypreparationforthebar.Hethought,however,that
myuncle,thoughunwillingtoexpendmoneyintheprosecutionofascheme
whichhedidnotapprove—nowthattheschemewassofarsuccessfulasto
affordeverypromiseofareasonableharvest,couldnotdolessthancome
forwardtotheassistanceofonewhohadshownsuchadetermineddispositionto
assisthimself.
Hewasmistaken.Helittleknewtheman.Hisinterviewwithmyunclewasa
shortone.Thepartieswerealreadyacquainted,thoughnotintimately.They
kneweachotheraspersonsofstandinginthesamecommunity,andthismade
theopeningofMr.Edgerton’sbusinesseasy.Istatethetenoroftheinterviewas
itcametomyknowledgeafterward.
“Mr.Clifford,”hesaid,“youhaveanephew—ayounggentleman,whohasbeen
recentlyadmittedtothebar—Mr.EdwardClifford.”
Thereply,withalookofwonderwasnecessarilyaffirmative.
“Ihavehadmuchpleasure,”continuedtheother,“inknowinghimforsome


time.Heisanintimateofmyeldestson,andfromwhathasmetmyeyes,sir,I
shouldsay,youarefortunateinhavinganephewofsomuchpromise.”
“Why,yes,sir,Ibelieveheisacleveryouthenough,”wasthecostiveanswer.
“Heismorethanthat,sir.Iregardhim,indeed,asamostastonishingyoung
man.Theverymannerinwhichhehaspursuedhisstudieswhileengagedinthe
harassinglaborsofalargewholesalebusinesshouseofthiscity—alone
establishesthisfact.”
Thecheeksofmyunclereddened.ThelastsentenceofMr.Edgertonwas
unfortunateforhisobject.Itconveyedatacitreproof,whichtheniggardly
conscienceofMr.Cliffordreadilyappropriatedand,perhaps,anticipated.He
dreadedlestMr.Edgertonknewall.
“Youareprobablyaware,Mr.Edgcrton,”herepliedwithequalhesitancyand
haste—“youhaveheardthatEdwardCliffordisanorphan—thathehasnothing,
anditwasthereforenecessarythatheshouldlearntoemployhimself;thoughit
wasagainstmywish,sir,thathewentintoamercantilehouse.”
Therewassomethingsuppressedinthis—ameanevasion—forhecouldnot
easilyhavetoldMr.Edgcrton,withoutablush,that,insteadofthemercantile
establishment,hewouldhavemademeabricklayer’shodman.Butthis,it
seems,Edgertonhadfoundoutforhimself.Hisreply,however,wascalculatedto
soothethejealousapprehensionsofMr.Clifford.Hehadanobjectinview,
whichhethoughttooimportanttoriskforthesmallpleasureofapassing
sarcasm.
“Perhaps,ithashappenedforthebest,Mr.Clifford.Youwererightinrequiring
theyoungmantodoforhimself.WereIworthmillions,sir,Ishouldstillprefer
thatmysonshouldlearnthatlesson—thatheshouldworkouthisown
deliverancewiththesweatofhisownbrow.”
“Iagreewithyou,sir,perfectly,”repliedtheother,withincreasedcomplacency.
“Aboylearnstovaluehismoneyasheshould,onlywhenhehasearneditfor
himself.”
“Ah!itisnotforthisobjectsimply,”repliedMr.Edgerton,“thatIwouldhave
himacquirehabitsofindustry;itisforthemoralresultswhichsuchhabits
produce—thefirmness,character,consistency—thestrengthandindependence


—temperance,justice—allofwhicharise,andalmostonly,fromobedienceto
thislaw.Butitisclearthatonecannotdoeverythingbyhimself,andthisyoung
man,thoughhehasgoneoninamannerthatmightshamethebestofus,isstill
notsothoroughlyindependentashefancieshimself.Itwillbesometimebefore
hewillbeabletorealizeanythingfromhisprofession,andhewillneedsome
smallassistanceinthemeantime.”
“Icannothelphim,”exclaimedMr.Clifford,abruptly—“Ihavenotthemeansto
spare.MyownfamilyneedeverythingthatIcangive.Hehashimselfonlyto
blame.Hechosehisprofessionforhimself.Iwarnedhimagainstit.Heneedn’t
sendtome.”
“Donotmistakeme,Mr.Clifford,”saidMr.Edgerton,calmly.“Yournephew
knowsnothingofmypresentvisit.Iwouldbeloaththatheshouldknow.Itwas
thesingularindependenceofhismindthatledmetotheconviction,thathe
wouldsoonerdiethanaskassistancefromanybody,thatpersuadedmeto
suggesttoyouinwhatmanneryoumightaffordhimanalmostnecessaryhelp,
withoutoffendinghissensibility.”
“Humph!”exclaimedtheother,whileasneermantleduponhislips.“Youare
veryconsiderate,Mr.Edgerton;butthesamesensibilitiesmightprompthimto
rejecttheassistancewhentendered.”
“No,sir,”repliedEdgerton,mildly—“IthinkIcouldmanagethat.”
“Iamsorry,sir,thatIcannotsecondyourwishesinanymaterialrespect,”was
theanswerofmyuncle;—“butIwillseeEdward,andlethimknowthatmy
houseisopentohimasitwasfrom,thetimehewasfouryearsold;andheshall
haveaseatatmytableuntilhecanestablishhimselfmoretohissatisfaction;but
money,sir,intruth,Ihavenotacenttospare.Myownnecessities—”
“Enough,sir,”saidMr.Edgerton,mildly;“Itakeitforgranted,Mr.Clifford,that
ifyoucouldcontributetothesuccessofyourbrother’sson,youcertainlywould
neitherrefusenorrefraintodoso.”
“Oh,surely—certainlynot,”repliedtheother,hastily.“AnythingthatIcoulddo
—anythinginreason,sir,Ishouldbeveryhappytodo,but—”
Andthenfollowedtheusualrigmaroleabout“hisownfamily,”and“hard
times,”and“diminishedresources,”andallthosestereotypecommonplaces


whichareforeveronthelipsofstereotypeinsincerepeople.Mr.Clifforddidnot
perceivethedryandsomewhatscornfulinuendo,whichlayatthebottomofMr.
Edgerton’sseeminglyinnocentassumption;andthelattertookhisleave,vexed
withhimselfathavingmadetheunsuccessfulapplication—butstillmoreangry
withthemeannessofcharacterwhichhehadencounteredinmyuncle.
CHAPTERIV.
“ShestillsoothedThemockofothers.”
Itisnotimprobablethat,afterafewhoursgiventocalmreflection,myuncle
perceivedhowobnoxioushemightbemadetopubliccensureforhisnarrow
treatmentofmyclaims;andthenextdayhesentformeinordertotendermethe
freedomofhishouse—atenderwhichhehadmadethedaybeforetoMr.
Edgertoninmybehalf.Buthisofferhadbeenalreadyanticipatedbythat
excellentfriendthatveryday.Comingwarmandfreshfromhisinterviewwith
myuncle,hecalleduponme,andinaveryplain,direct,business-like,butyet
kindandconsideratemanner,informedmethathestoodverymuchinneedofan
assistantwhowouldpreparehispapers—didmethehonortosaythathefancied
Iwouldsuithimbetterthananybodyelseheknew,andofferedmesixhundred
dollarsformylaborsinthatcapacityforthefirstyearofmyservice.My
engagementtohim,hesaidatthesametime,didnotimplysuchentire
employmentaswouldincapacitatemefortheexecutionofanybusinesswhich
mightbeintrustedtomyhandsindividually.Iwaspermittedtheuseofadeskin
hisoffice,andwasalsopermittedtohangoutmyownbannerfromhiswindowI
readilypersuadedmyselfthatIcouldbeofservicetoMr.Edgerton—such
serviceaswould,perhaps,leavemyobligationalightone—andpromptly
accededtohisoffer.Hehadscarcelydepartedwhenaservantbroughtanote
fromMr.Clifford.Evenwhilemeditatingwhathefanciedwasafavor,hecould
notforbeartheusualsneer.Thefollowingwashiscommunication:
“DEAREDWARD:Ifyoucanspareamomentfromyournumerousclients,and
arenotinagreathurrytomakeyourdeposites,youwillsuffermetoseeyouat
theofficebeforetwoo’clock.Yoursaffectionately,J.B.CLIFFORD.”
“Veryaffectionately
“No!no!”Imutteredtomyself,asthedoubtsuggesteditselftomymind;“no!
no!itistheoldinsolence—theinsolenceofpride,ofconsciouswealth—of


power,ashethinks,tocrush!Butheismistaken.Heshallfinddefiance.Lethim
butrepeatthosesarcasmsandthatsneerwhicharebuttoofrequentonhislips
whenhespeakstome,andIwillanswerhim,forthefirsttime,byanarration
whichshallstinghimtotheverysoul,ifhehasone!”
ThisresolutionwasscarcelymadewhentheimageofJuliaClifford—thesweet
child—achildnownolonger-thesweetwoman—interposed,andmytemperwas
subduedofitsresolve,thoughitsbitternessremainedunqualified.
AndwhatofJuliaClifford?Ihavesaidbutlittleofherforsometimepast,but
shehasnotbeenforgotten.Farfromit.Shewasstillsufficientlytheattraction
thatdrewmetothedwellingofmyselfishuncle.InthethreeyearsthatIhad
beenatthemercantileestablishment,herprogress,inmindandperson,hadbeen
equallyravishingandrapid.Shewasnomorethechild,butthebloominggirl—
thedelicateblossomswellingtothebud—thebudburstingintotheflower—but
thebloom,andthebeauty,andtheinnocence—therichtenderness,andthedewy
sweet,stillremainedthesamethroughallthestagesofherprogressfromthe
infanttothewoman.Wealth,andthearrogantexampleofthoseabouther,had
failedtochangethenaturallytrueandpuresimplicityofhercharacter.Shewas
nottobebeguiledbytheone,normisguidedbytheother,fromtheexquisite
heartwhichwasstillworthyofEden.WhenIwasadmittedtothebarattwentyone,shewassixteen—theageinoursoutherncountrywhenamaidenlooksher
loveliest.ButIhadscarcelyfeltthechangesinthelastthreeyearswhichhad
beengoingoninher.Ibeheldbeautiesaddedtobeauties,charmstocharms;and
sheseemedeverydaytobethepossessoroffreshgracesnewlydroppedfrom
heaven;buttherewasnochange.Increasedperfectiondoesnotimplychange,
nordoesitsufferit.
Itwasmycustom,asthecondescendingwishofmyuncleexpressed,thatI
shouldtakemySundaydinnerwithhisfamily.Icompliedwiththisrequest,and
itwasnohardmattertodoso.Butitwasasenseofdelight,notofduty,that
mademecomply;and,butforJulia,IfeelcertainthatIshouldneverhave
darkenedthedoors,whichopenedtoadmitmeonlythroughasenseofduty.But
theattraction—scarcelyknowntomyself—drewmewithsingularpunctuality;
andIassociatedtheprivilegewhichhadbeenaccordedmewithanother.I
escortedtheladiestochurch;sometimes,too,whenthebusinessofmy
employerspermitted,Ispentaneveningduringtheweekwiththefamily;and
beholdingJuliaIwasnotover-anxioustoperceivetheindifferencewithwhichI
wastreatedbyallothers.


Butletmeretracemysteps.Isubduedmycholersofarastogo,withatolerable
appearanceofcalmnessifnothumility,totheinterviewwhichmyunclehad
beenpleasedtosolicit.Ineednotrepeatindetailwhatpassedbetweenus.It
amountedsimplytoasuperciliousoffer,onhispart,oflodgingandboard,untilI
shouldbesufficientlyindependenttoopentheoysterformyself.Ithankedhim
withrespectandcivility,but,tohissurprise,declinedtoaccepthisoffer.
“Why,whatdoyouproposetodo?”hedemanded.
“DowhatIhavebeendoingforthethreepastyears;workformyself,andpay
myboardfromtheproceedsofmyownlabor.”
“What,yougobacktothemerchants,doyou?YouarewiserthanIthought.The
lawwouldnotgiveyouyourbreadherefortwentyyearsinthiscity.”
“Youaremistaken,uncle,”Isaid,goodhumoredly—“itisfromthelawthatI
proposetogetmybread.”
“Indeed!—YouareevenmoresanguinethanIthoughtyou.But,pray,uponwhat
doyoubaseyourexpectations?—thetalents,Isuppose.”
Ifelttheranklingofthiswell-knownandoffensivesneer,butrepliedsimplyto
thepoint:—
“No,sir,uponassuranceswhichyouwillprobablythinkfarmoreworthyof
respect.IhavealreadybeenemployedbyMr.Edgertonasanattorney,atasalary
ofsixhundreddollars.”
“Ah,indeed!Well,youareafortunatefellow,Imustsay,togetsuchahelping
handattheoutset.Butyoumaywantsomesmallamounttobeginwith—you
cannotdrawuponMr.Edgertonbeforeservicesarerendered,andiffiftyora
hundreddollars,Edward—”
“Ithankyou,sir;—sofarfromwantingmoney,Ishouldbealmostabletolend
some.Ihavesavedsometwohundredfrommymercantilesalary”
Ienjoyedtheghastlygrinwhichrosetohisfeatures.Itwasevidentthathewas
notpleasedthatIshouldbeindependent.Hehadsetoutwiththeconviction,
whenmyfatherdied,thatmysupportandeducationwoulddevolveuponhim,
andthoughtheydidnot,yetitwasplainenoughtomethathewasnotunwilling


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