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evening; he thrust it loosely into his fob, and sallied forth to the usual place of rendezvous. He remained till a very late hour, and returned home in a state of extreme intoxication.
The forenoon was far advanced the following day when he came down to breakfast. His affectionate wife, who had been patiently expecting him, rose upon his entrance to meet him, holding up to him the lips from which had never fallen one angry, or reproachful, or even deprecating word. He drew back from her, scarcely gently repelling her, and desiring her to resume her seat, placed himself in a chair directly opposite to her. Apologies had long been over with him, but on such occasions he had never before greeted her without a smile and a kiss. His countenance now was sullen, and searching was the glance which he cast upon her-but he maintained a dogged, portentous silence.
"What is the matter, Richard?" artlessly inquired the forbearing wife.
"Charlotte!" said Richard, earnestly, "I know my infirmity! My difficulties are to blame! I have not behaved towards you as I ought-but it ill becomes a wife to take advantage of her husband's weakness."
"When did I ever take advantage of your weakness, Richard? What do you mean? What am I to infer from words-the first unkind ones that you have ever addressed to me?"
"Charlotte!" resumed Richard, "I can forgive any thing but disingenuousness-evasion-I might say, deceit ! I came home last nightas I confess I have lately too often done-not quite myself-unable to take care of myself. You have taken advantage of the state in which you saw me! Confess it, and it is forgiven-forgotten!"
'Forgiven !-Forgotten !-What? In the name of mercy tell me what? From the hour of our marriage until this, I have never done that, Richard, which required to be forgiven or forgotten."
"You did, last night, when I came home almost insensible, or in the morning while I was asleep."
“ What did I ?"
"You abstracted money from my pocket, or from some place where, in my confusion, I laid it."
Every drop of blood seemed in a moment to rush into Charlotte's face. She started to her feet, and bent her eyes wildly upon him. He steadfastly, though not without an effort, returned her gaze. She stood, thus, fixed as a statue for some moments, then, suddenly bursting into tears, sank back into her chair, simply exclaiming, "Richard!"
"Make breakfast," said Richard.
She did so, and pouring out a dish of tea, handed it to him. He stirred it, sipped half the cup, set it down, and folding his arms, leaned back, dropping his head upon his breast. Charlotte dried her tears, shook back her rich tresses, rose, and after standing a moment or two, as if in suspense, darted round to Richard, and throwing herself on her knees beside him, flung her arms about his neck.
"You are not in earnest!" she cried; "you cannot be in earnest!" And bursting into tears, afresh, lay sobbing upon his shoulder.
"Charlotte," rejoined Richard, coldly, "unconscious as I might
have been as to other matters, I am positive that I brought home with me last night, a bank-note of the amount of a hundred pounds. I know I had it about me in our room. I have searched every where for it since I got up, and it is not to be found. No one except ourselves has been in that room since I last entered it. The money is not in my possession-it must be in yours."
As he spoke she gradually raised her head from his shoulder, and turning her face to him, fixed her full, clear, hazel eyes firmly upon his. Her tears gradually ceased flowing; and when he had concluded, slowly disengaging her arms from his neck, she rose with a sigh, and after gazing upon him mournfully some two or three moments, she turned, and silently left the room.
"She will fetch it!" said Richard to himself, with a smile, and procceded with his breakfast.
Charlotte had indeed gone with the intention of searching for the note. Her search was vain. In about a quarter of an hour she returned. Her cloak was on, and her bonnet was in her hand.
Well, Charlotte," said Richard, without looking at her, "is it found ?"
"No, Richard, it is not found," replied Charlotte, calmly. "I have been searching for it, but without effect."
"Searching for it!" echoed Richard, with a smile approaching to a
"Richard!" resumed Charlotte, calmly, but solemnly, "have you spoken from your heart in all that you have just been saying to me?"
"From my heart and soul !" returned he.
you believe that I took the note ?"
"And that I have been saying what I know to be untrue, in denying that I have taken it?"
"You believe both these things of me?"
"Firmly!-but sit down, you have not touched drop or morsel
"I shall eat or drink no more under this roof, Richard, till from your heart and soul you shall disavow what you have now avowed! The happiness which I confided to you, I have uncomplainingly allowed you to trifle with. The trust was my own spontaneous act, and I felt it my duty to abide by the consequences! But though I could exist without receiving consideration—some would say gratitude-from you; the loss of your respect is insupportable! The wife that is not respected, has no business beneath her husband's roof! What has she to expect there? The repetition of what I have experienced from Richard, for the first time-insult! Within the have accused me deliberately and repeatedly of
you this forenoon, last half-hour you
Her lips quivered and her accents faltered as she pronounced the word. She paused as if unable to proceed.
"I have accused you," interposed Richard, "of taking my money when I was in a state of intoxication."
"It is the same thing," resumed Charlotte, "and you persevere in believing that I am guilty of such an action?"
"I do!—I cannot dissemble!-I must speak the truth!”
"I honour your respect for veracity, sir," said Charlotte, "how much soever I may be a sufferer by it. But the home that witnesses the degradation of a wife, must be hers no more-at least when she has a father's roof to fly to. Richard, I am going to my father's." She put on her bonnet.
"What! Do you abandon me?" exclaimed Richard in amazement, now looking up for the first time.
"No, Richard! You drive me from you! If I am what you say, I have forfeited your protection-if I am not, you have withdrawn it; I can count upon it no longer, and must seek for shelter where I may receive it without the risk of reflections."
"Of course you will account to your father for this step," said Richard, sarcastically.
"No, Richard, I have never yet complained of you, not even to yourself! I shall not begin now. You may account to my father if you please. I never shall !"
"Then I shall," said Richard. me?"
"Are you determined to leave
"Do you, Richard, do you adhere to all you have said?" "To every word!"
"Then I go to my father's," said Charlotte, tying her bonnetstrings.
"And I accompany you," said Richard, snatching up his hat.
They left the house arm in arm.
It would be tedious to follow, step by step, the progress of this strange and almost incredible quarrel. Suffice it to say that at last a separation was determined upon, and a day appointed for carrying the measure into execution.
My grandfather was, to all intents and purposes, a good man. In the first place he was a religious man; in the next, he was a charitable man-I don't mean to say that he gave alms-though he did so I use the term in the pure expansive Christian signification. There was nothing of the bile of the self-sufficient overbearing bigot about him-of the man who makes his own interpretation of scripture the condition of salvation, consigning to eternal punishment those who claim the right of exercising their own judgment, as he does, and differ from him in their reading of the Word. I never saw so handsome an old man! His face is before me now, and it is upwards of fifty years since I saw it, a week or two before his death. I was between seven and eight years old at that time. His good heart was painted in it. It was sweet with tenderness, and commanding with intellectuality. It was a very, very young face, and my grandfather was nearly seventy, if not past it. It is a pleasure to me, now, to recollect that he was fond of me; and I was attached to him, too, with a fondness beyond my years. One of the sweetest recollections of my life is the look that my mother cast upon me once, when, reminded by my father of the rank of certain relatives of his, I told him--not irreverently-that I was prouder of my good grandfather than I was of all the rest. My mother was his only daughter, by his first marriage Jan.-VOL. LXVII. NO. CCLXV.
-he had been married twice. And can I refrain here from speaking of that dear mother?-that woman of fine and noble sentiment, and warm unsophisticated heart, and sterling genius! I must, for it would be impertinent. What is she to those who knew her not? I appreciate her worth, now-I knew not the thousandth part of it when she was with us! I could not then understand her fireside goodness and display of talent. She was taken from us while I was yet a boy. Children can never make enough of their parents!
But my grandfather;-my grandfather, at seventy, with the face of youthhood! It was so bland! I have heard it said of him, and not by a few, nor those of our own connexions, that if ever there was an angel upon earth, he was one. He was a surgeon and apothecary. A blessing seemed to rest upon every thing he put his hand to. Many were the instances, in which cases that had been given up by other practitioners, as hopeless, were brought to a fortunate issue by his persevering and less costly care. The chief reward of the medical man is, after all, the relief which he affords; and it was especially so with my grandfather. At a period of life when, without blame, he might have confined himself to particular practice, he was the unwearying visitant of the poor man's bedside; and his purse it was believed, and not without reason, was on these occasions more frequently opened to give than to receive. Extraordinary interpositions of Providence, as they were regarded, had occurred, in his instance, during the latter period of his life. I am going to relate one.
Richard's father had been dead several years. My grandfather and he had been particularly dear friends. Richard was a boy when the decease of his father took place, immediately after which occurrence he was sent to a public school. Upon leaving school for the purpose of entering the world, Richard never once called upon his father's old friend-who, however, on one occasion, paid him an admonitory visit, which he received but little encouragement to repeat. Not without concern, though, did my grandfather learn that a separation between Richard and his amiable wife was in progress. The grounds were explained to him; he weighed them well, together with the possibility of removing them; but reflecting upon Richard's pertinacity in adhering to the charge, and setting, in opposition to that charge, the proofs which Charlotte had given him of a heart all-absorbed by affection for her husband, my grandfather came to the conclusion that the interference of any third party would be utterly ineffectual.
"No!" said my grandfather to a friend with whom he was conversing one morning on the subject, "No, it would be useless to interfere. Were Richard and I upon terms, I should be hopeless of effecting any thing, where the assertions of that exemplary woman, backed by the evidence of her whole deportment towards him, have failed; and, unwelcome to him, as I am sure my visit would be, to make the attempt would be worse than childish. The remedy is not, I am persuaded, within the reach of man—the interference of Heaven alone can compass it."
The deed of separation was to be executed the day following this. On the morning of that day my grandfather came down stairs unusually thoughtful. He generally wore a dressing-gown, but now he
was fully attired, as if he was upon the point of going out. Except the customary salutations, he did not speak a single word during breakfast, of which he partook almost mechanically, apparently absorbed in revolving something of momentous interest. The friend with whom he had been conversing the day before was announced. My grandfather
rose abruptly and went out to him.
said his friend, addressing my grandfather by his surname, "I cannot rest about this matter. They are all assembled the parties and their lawyers-and in half an hour the deed will be executed, and the mischief then irremediable. For the sake of your old friend's son, go and obtain five minutes conversation with him."
"I am going," said my grandfather.
"Good Heavens! This appears providential."
"What appears providential?"
"That of yourself you should have determined upon that which I have come in order to persuade you to do; and, I confess, after what you said yesterday, with very faint hopes of success."
"My friend," said my grandfather, in a tone of very deep impressiveness, as if he was going to make some important communication. He proceeded no further however. "We shall see," he resumed! "the Almighty is all-merciful, and inscrutable are his ways. We shall see !"
They proceeded to Richard's house.
"He was most particularly engaged-could not possibly be seen." "But he must be seen, howsoever he may be engaged," said my grandfather, authoritatively. "Tell him so, or I shall walk in and announce myself. You know who I am. Tell your master that I must and will see him—see him, sir, upon a matter of life or death!”
The tone in which my grandfather spoke was so determined, that even his friend stared at him. The servant at once submissively disappeared.
"I must be alone with him," said my grandfather. "Let me see you again about an hour hence. I shall tell you then how it has happened that I have changed my resolution, and acquaint you at the same time with the result. See him, rely upon it, I will. I seldom take a matter up in earnest but, with God's help, I go through with it.” "An hour hence?" said his friend.
"Yes," said my grandfather.
His friend departed.
At this moment the servant returned, and requested my grandfather to step up to the drawing-room, where, he said, his master would join him without delay. In about a minute he followed, and they were alone.
"I would avoid, sir," began my grandfather, "any thing which might have even the appearance of protracting an interview which I know to be, on your part, unwished for and untimely," and at the same time he gently removed from him a chair which Richard, almost impatiently, though not disrespectfully, had placed for him. "I am aware of the business which demands your attendance down stairs. My apology for interrupting that business is this-my visit is not irrelevant to it. Your father, sir, and I were old and dear friends-" "Your pardon, sir," interposed Richard, "the matter you are, I