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he lived in a small house at Islington, where he had several houses, and had mortgages on as many more. It was situated in one of the back streets, and had a small garden in front and another in the rear. He kept but one servant—an old woman who had lived with his last wife, and now attended to the domestic work, as servant of all-work, as cook, housemaid, and laundress. She was now grown feeble, and the miser would have long since parted with her, but that she ate little, and had not asked for her wages for the last five years——the whole of it was in his hands and he was getting interest for it, he thought, toc, that she could not live much longer, although scarcely as old as himself, and that when she died he would have her wages to himself. The old woman mended his clothes too, and so saved him his tailor's bill—she had turned his old brown coat twice, and new lined the sleeves four times, and although it was not as well done as a tailor would do it, still it suited him very well, “nobody knew him in town, so that it was little matter there," and "everybody knew him at Islington, so that it was of no consequence there."
Marianne Quelch adopted many contrivances to provide for the old man's comforts without calling on his resources : amongst other expedients, she kept a number of fowls. From these she procured a fresh egg every morning for her father's breakfast, and a young chicken occasionally for his dinner; the old man was delighted with these delicacies, when he could enjoy them, but he never asked his daughter how or where she procured them. The miser's daughter was so occupied by her exertions to provide for her father, that she had little time and less inclination to seek society from home, although her acquaintance was anxiously sought by most families in the neighbourhood, and especially by such as contained a young gentleman amongst their number, who would look forward to the possession of the usurer's daughter and his wealth. She therefore associated but little with her neighbours. Numerous inducements were held out to her—invitations to balls, presents, &c., but Marianne Quelch was not attracted by them from attending to her father; her morning was occupied in preparing and making breakfast for him, her day was spent in attending to her fowls and the domestic work, and her evenings in amusing the old man, and beguiling him of his cares about his
money, his losses, and his gains. She could both play and sing, and in the winter evenings would play the old man's favourite airs until he retired to bed or fell asleep in his armchair; in summer she would join him in a walk towards the country, and listen to the merry song of the birds, the lowing of the cattle in the fields, and the murmuring of the running streams. The old man seemed happy ; a smile played upon his lips, and he looked gay and cheerful; but the morn would come, and with it the thoughts of his gold and the funds, and he was happy no longer.
The young men of Islington were equally desirous of attracting Marianne's attention, but were equally unsuccessful ; all their devices were useless ; it was in vain that they dressed in their sunday clothes, and walked frequently past her door, or wrote long letters descriptive of their love ; Marianne heeded them not. One young man, who had been a bank clerk, but discharged for irregular attendance, made some desperate efforts , to obtain her notice, but he could not succeed; as a last resource he disguised himself as an Italian organ-player, and used to play daily before the door. His success at first—for Marianne gave him an occasional halfpenny--encouraged his hopes ; but at length she discontinued her attentions, and loft him to play without noticing him. He still persevered, however, until the old servant drove him away by offering him, under a sudden impulse of charity, some broken food on a plate.
The old miser, after leaving his daughter, wended his way to his office near Lincoln's Inn Fields. He used occasionally to ride in the omnibus, but the late fall in the funds deterred him from doing so at present; he pursued his way on foot, and arrived at his office a little later than usual, and somewhat fatigued with his exertions. As he sat down at his desk he rubbed his hands and congratulated himself on having saved a sixpence, and took up his pen to calculate what that would be at the end of fifty years, at compound interest; but calculated not what he should be at the end of that time, or where he should be, or where he would be, and all his calculations.
But his joy was of short duration ; he took up his daily exchange list, and, to his dismay, found another fall in the funds of one per cent. The old man gnashed his teeth in despair, and striking his forehead with his clenched fist, exclaimed
“I shall be a beggar! Another fall; they will never stop! I shall die in the workhouse, and no one will pity me!”
He was at this moment the owner of upwards of one million of property !
THE HOUR OF TRIAL.
The mom was come and Lord Wiltram rose early from his bed, with throbbing heart and aching head ; he had slept but little during the night as his mind dwelt almost irresistibly on his difficulties and his losses; the more he thought of his condition the worse it appeared to him ; his estates would be sold to pay the demands upon it and the law expenses, and he would be turned adrift 66
his own resources." What could he do? how earn his daily bread ? how maintain his position in society? He might perhaps obtain a situation under the government, an appointment in some foreign court as ambassador or secretary ; he had friends in office and he would apply to them, but the thought was painful to him;how derided he should be ;-he, the great upholder of modern philosophy, and modern political economy, which teaches that the all should be thrown on their own resources, he, seeking a shelter from the storm of adversity in some sinecure place, and forming one of the greedy expectants of place that beset the public offices.
Where were now the resources of which he boasted so much? Would not his education avail him something, and his talents, and his rank? His advantages were great, and yet, he saw nothing before him but ruin if left to himself.
He would endeavour to divert his mind from this dismal prospect, and to occupy his thoughts with other objects ; but his success was but momentary, his thoughts flew back to his position, and every thing connected therewith ; he pictured to himself the sheriff's officers taking possession of his estates, and the auctioneer selling his goods, and his cattle, and his house and furniture, and all that he had. Again, he would think of the miser, Quelch, and almost regret that he had not accepted his offer ;-and now Lady Madeline Millars would rise up before him, and the last ball at Almack’s when she appeared so beautiful and exchanged vows of love aud fidelity with him.-Should he lose all, all, -and be left without that which he so prized,—her whom he so loved ?
Enchanted at length by his thoughts, he fell asleep as the day began to dawn, and again the same objects appeared to him in his dreams; all blended together in inextricable con
fusion; the ball at Almack's appeared before him, but, strange to say, the miser, Quelch, was there, and recognised him, and spoke to him of his proposed loan ; he was about to reply, when the scene changed, and he thought he saw the Lady Madeline Millars dancing with another, and she looked as beautiful as when he saw her last, and she smiled
her partner, and appeared to have forgotten him, and her vows of fidelity.
After a few hours' disturbed sleep he awoke, and prepared for the day's toil ; he had made up his mind the night before to give up all, but with the daylight new hopes sprung up, and he thought that some little might be saved ;-he would
go to the miser and accept his offer ;-—this would at least gain time, and Fortane might enable him to clear off his demand in the course of a few years. He knew not how this was to be accomplished, but Hope had banished Despair, and a little ray of light appeared to illuminate the darkness which had previously occupied his mind; he grasped at the straw upon the surface of the water, he would lean over on the broken reed ;-better that than nothing, -any thing better than utter despair.
It was scarcely nine o'clock, and he had already breakfasted. The miser would not be in his office before ten; he should wait an hour ; the time appeared long, but passed away at length. He left his chambers in the Albany as the clock struck ten, and once more directed his steps to Lincoln's Inn Fields. Although he had so recently visited the miser's oflice it was with some difficulty that he made his way through the intricate passages which led to the houso. He at length found it, but the door was closed; he knocked again and again, but no answer was returned ; no one lived in the house but an old woman who occupied the attics, and whom Quelch had permitted to live there free, for the consideration of her taking care of the house, but she was not required to answer the door for him, and all persons looking for her gave only a single knock. Lord Wiltram continued to knock for nearly quarter of an hour, but no one came, the miser had not yet arrived. It was the morning described in the preceding chapter, and the old man was later than usual. His lordship reflected for a moment, and determined to call again in the course of an hour. He turned away from the door, and bent his steps he knew not whither; chance led him southward's toward the Strand, through passages occupied by some of the
most depraved of London's population, where dens of sin and infamy even at that hour spread their tools for the ensnaring of one sex and the pollution of the other. He had almost fancied that it was the same through which he had driven on the morning of his negotiation with his banker ; but no, the streets were different, the houses of another stamp, and the neighbourhood much less populated; it was only another of those vast pestilential dens which are allowed to exist in the midst of our population where the young man may learn as he goes to his trade, and the young female as she bends her way to her daily occupation or even to church, where vice most abounds, and where she shall be received with open arms so long as youth remains and beauty lasts and disease spares her from its loathsome touch. He entered suddenly on the Strand, and stood before one of the numerous churches which raise their heads in that busy thoroughfare, the shadow of whose spires often rest on the abode of the profligate and the housebreaker.
Lord Wiltram's mind had become more sensitive of late. There was a time when such scenes would have passed unnoticed, or would have excited only a passing remark, such as “these are the natural course of events," " such things must be." But now he was altered; suffering, mental though it had been, had refined his feelings: it was not of sufficient duration to blunt them and render them callous—no; that is only effected by years—and he reflected that such things should not be there; they might be elsewhere; but they should not be in the midst of our youth, breathing their pestilence around.
He had scarcely left the door, when the miser Quelch arrived, and taking out his latch-key, opened it without knocking, and entered his place of business for the day. He left the outer door open, and then proceeded to unlock the door of his office; this accomplished he next opened the shutters, and then examined his letter-box, which was attached to the inner side of his office door. Here the miser found more than his usual number of letters and other papers ; these he took to his table, and then sat down to examine their contents. They were chiefly on money matters; some being applications for loans, others communications regarding former advances, and containing remittances as interest; the first of these he tore up and threw into his waste-paper basket, the others he studied more carefully. He had just completed their examination,