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an attitude of penitence we are by no means certain they feel. Considering them likewise in the light of Authors, there is yet a becoming position as a great critic bespeaks for them-Mr Bayes-who gave it as his opinion, that if thunder and light ning could not frighten an audience into complaisance, the sight of an Author with a rope about his neck might work them into pity.
On the whole, we congratulate the country on the Bristol Riots. They have given a foretaste of de
mocracy,-they have opened the eyes of multitudes of the deluded, they have caused the law to be ably expounded, that it cannot be again misunderstood. They have shewn specimens of the arrogance and the poltroonery of Political Unions-they have pointed out to the soldier his particular duty, and have proved that, unless checked by superior command, he will do it; that when the word is given, he will repress the Mob, and not submit to it as his Sovereign.
[Concluded.] CHAPTER II.
Many, many months have elapsed since the day on which the frightful event I have just recorded occurred; but the vision to my senses remains as perfect as if the scene was still enacting; and instead of there being for me a morrow, and a morrow, and a morrow, it seems as though my whole life was a mere repetition of one day's existence. I am built round, and confined to one abode of sensations, as Rome's offending Vestals were encased for their unchasteness in the bondage of entombing bricks; and whatever outward events of variance occur, my heart is for ever reminding me that I am the executioner of Edward Foster. His care-worn dejected countenance flits for ever before my eyes: I meet him amid the desolateness of the far-extending moor; he walks by my side through the streets of the crowded city; and when I sleep he stalks be fore my fancy, dismal and enshrouded, the hero of my dreams.
But in the earlier days that followed that which ever haunts me, it was not my heart alone that reminded me of the hateful deed. I was the observed of all observers:-the rabble tracked my every footstep, and hooted me like some reptile, disgusting-not dangerous, back to my solitary den. I was the marked of men :-they almost disavowed my affinity to the species; and as I list ened to their groans of execration, I began to feel as if that affinity was
fast melting into air, and leaving me, in sooth, some monstrous thing that nature had created only to shew how beyond herself she had power to act,
My father very soon quitted me."We must part for a while," said he to me on the second morning after that which had witnessed the close of Foster's life-" We must part for a while; for I have to provide the means of subsistence for us bothand perchance even a still further revenge. Here is such money as I can spare for the present; and this day six months we will meet again on this spot, that I may make farther provision for you.”
I was not sorry thus to part with him; for though he still retained his power over my mind, it was so united with fear and dread, that I rather looked upon him as a master than a friend, and felt that obedience to his will was something beyond choice or resistance. Besides, his presence was too intimately connected with the memory of my deed of death, to offer me any chance, while he remained, of being able to reject the painful burden from my mind; and I hoped that his absence would allow me to bury the hangman-image of my brain in the depths of forgetfulness.
But, as I have already said, the hope was vain. Though the author of the scene had departed, the scene itself was ever present; and after finding that I could not get rid either
of my own reflections, or the insulting notice of the mob, I determined to quit Okeham, and not to return till my appointment with Lockwood demanded my reappearance there. Once again, therefore, I became a wandering outcast, with none either to cherish or to pity me. Nay, I was in worse condition than when I first ventured to present myself to the mercy of the world on quitting the cottage in the fens. Then, though rejected by man, I had something within to support and assist in bearing me harmless against the attacks of misfortune. But now that single consolation had disappeared. I myself had struck down honesty in my heart, and had set up wickedness in its place. The death of Foster alone did not stand recorded there. The hatred of the multitude, expressed in no equivocal phrase whenever I appeared in the streets of Okeham, had driven me to the jail for refuge, where I learned to assort myself with those who set decency at defiance, and scouted morality as an intrusion upon their pleasures. I gazed upon these associates, and perceived that drink and debauchery were their prime pursuits; and when I remembered how brandy had help ed me, on the night before the execution, to forget nature, and give strength to passion, I too resolved to pursue the gross luxuries taught by their brute-philosophy;-and the deeper I drank, the more firmly did I implant in my own system the wickedness of those, who, not being better, were worse than myself.
These were the changes, then, that had taken place within me since I first wandered from the cottage in the fens; and though I had not, as then, to beg for a miserable pittance, they were sufficient to make me feel that I was dragging on a useless existence with no object in view-with no remedy in prospect. I was like one of those unfortunates, who, in the olden time, had the choice given them to drown by water, or to burn at the stake; for I had but the alternative either to let the recollections of what had been wring my very heart, or to drown them in deep intoxicating draughts, from which, each time that I awoke from them, I was more and more hateful to myself.
The one small consolation that my
departure from Okeham was intended to afford, was that of avoiding the sight of those who knew the guilty work in which these hands had been engaged, and who, in the exuberance of their feeling, hesitated not to let me know that they knew it. But this consolation was not of long continuance. After strolling for some days wherever chance directed, I reached the city of Peterborough, wet, tired, and in deep despondency at the forlorn abandonment which seemed to mark my destiny. It was in this state of feeling that I found myself at the door of a mean public-house, and the sight of it reminded me that there was still the pernicious refuge of brandy at my command. I entered, and called for liquor-drank, and called again. The fatigue that I had undergone gave additional strength to the potations in which I had indulged; and intoxication followed. What occurred during the stronger influence of the liquor I know notbut on my first beginning to regain possession of my senses, it seemed as if I had been wakened into consciousness by a severe blow on my forehead; but I had no time to ask myself any questions, for I found that I was surrounded by a mob of the lowest rabble,-pushed from side to side, with a blow from one and a kick from another-while universal execrations rang around. Oh, how well did I know those sounds!-and as they reached my ear I strained my heavy eyes to see whether some strange and unaccountable event had reconveyed me into the streets of Okeham. But no!-The houses and the streets were utterly unknown to me -it was the mob and their outcries alone that came familiar to my senses, and that reminded me of the foregone scene of my insults. It was long before I could escape their fangs, and when at last, through the humane exertions of a few, I succeeded in effecting a retreat, I still heard, as I crossed fields and sought infrequent places, the words, "wretch,' 66 villain," " "hangman," echoing in my ears. Hangman !Aye, that was the word so uproariously dwelt upon.-Hangman!Then I was discovered-traced!Even in Peterborough-miles from the scene of my fatal revenge, the
mob, as it were by instinct, had translated my character, and had joined their brethren of Okeham in expressing their abhorrence of it.
These thoughts urged me on with fearful speed; and after creeping, noiseless and stealthily, for another three or four days, by any path that seemed most desolate, I arrived at Bedford. As I beheld the tall spires of the town in the distance, I shuddered, and twice turned to avoid the place. But I was half dead with exhaustion; night was at hand; and with a kind of desperate resolution I slunk into the town, and dived into the first obscure street that presented itself. Each person that I met, I turned away my head, slouched my hat, and endeavoured to avoid his gaze. But no one seemed to notice me, and gradually I became more assured. My sinking strength warned me that I needed sustenance; and again, for the first time since my flight from Peterborough, I ventured into a public-house. Tempting brandy was at hand; I snuffed its seductive flavour as soon as I entered the place, and the recollection of its exciting, drowning, oblivious influence, infused itself withirresistible power over my spirit. Brandy was had. Glorious, destructive drink! I quaffed it, and it seemed to resuscitate me, heart and head. It was to me like the helm, and the buckler, and the coat of mail to the knight of crusade,—it armed me cap-à-pie, and I staggered beneath the power of my panoply. Fresh draughts produced fresh intoxication, and again I was lost to all recollection of what was occurring. But-horror! horror!-again I was awakened from what I deemed my bliss by a repetition of the same scene that I had undergone at Peterborough -the same insults, the same buffeting, the same execration, awakened me from my drunkenness, and forced me to fly for my life.
What could it mean? Was I pursued through all my winding paths and labyrinth of ways by some treacherous spy, that only tracked me to betray, and hold me up to the detestation of mankind? I was bewildered by the confusion of ideas that my still half-intoxicated brain presented in solution of the riddle, when a few words that dropped from one of my groaning pursuers told me all. Ha
ving launched after me a deep and ferocious shout, he exclaimed," Beast, be wise at least in future! If you must drink, do it where there are none to hear you blab your hangman secrets."
Powers of hell, this, then, was the answer to the enigma that maddened me! I myself was the stupid spy that had discovered all, and roused the wrath of thousands against my guilty confessions. I was he that proclaimed to the world," Ambrose is an executioner!" And what urged me to such insane disclosure? Aye, aye-brandy,brandy! The only power to which I could fly to steep me in forgetfulness of myself, played the traitor game with me of bidding flow those words that betrayed me to the rest of the world.
Farewell, then, to all refuge against myself, and my own thoughts! Farewell to all oblivion of the thing that haunted me like a demon-spectre, each day presenting itself in more frightful guise than on the last! Farewell! farewell!-the deep potations for which my aching senses yearned must be forsworn; and for the sake of hiding my sin from the gaze of men, I must be content to expose it for ever and for ever to the galling of my own conscience, and the harrowing of my own recollections.
From the day of my exposure at Bedford, I looked upon myself as one for ever doomed to live apart, not only from the intercourse of men, but even from the very sight of them; and as I wandered through the country I was ready to fly, like a frighted deer, on the first glimpse of a human figure in the distance; till the allsubduing pangs of hunger forced me to encounter man, and even then I would purchase enough to last me for days, that I might not too soon again have to face my enemy.
Thus with various wanderings over the face of England I suffered the time to elapse till the day of my appointment with my father was drawing near. I had seen it gradually approaching, as the condemned prisoner counts the gliding hours that are slipping away between him and his fate; and it was with sensations of inexpressible disgust, that I contemplated the necessity of my once again appearing in Okeham, where my face and my crime were so well
known. Compulsion, however, ruled my actions with a strong arm. My money was nearly exhausted; and my heart sickened at the thought of continuing to wander in dread and misery through the byways of the world. I resolved, therefore, to meet Lockwood as he had directed; I de termined to detail to him all the hor rors of thought and deed that I had undergone; and to implore him, by his paternal love for me, to make some arrangement by which I might be removed to another country, where all knowledge of me would be extinct.
These thoughts somewhat lighten ed my heart, as I turned my steps towards Okeham; and in obedience to its suggestions, I tried to persuade myself that there was only one more painful struggle to be undergone, and that after that there might be something if not pleasurable-at least neutral and free from torture, about to fall to my lot. The same hope made me regard, with a more kindly aspect, the prospect of my reunion with my father. It was he, indeed, that had given action to my hatred for man, by moulding it into revenge towards one individual of the species; and it was through that revenge that the last six months of misery had been inflicted. But revenge was at an end-Foster was in his grave Ellen's manes were appeased-and I clung with inexpress ible satisfaction to the hope that my father, when he should hear the details of my sufferings, would move heaven and earth to convey me from a land that seemed to have nothing but wretchedness to bestow on the most unfortunate of her children.
It was well for me that some such sensations as these stole upon mé as I approached Okeham, or never should I have been able to have gathered sufficient courage within myself to enter that hated town. As it was, I lingered in the neighbourhood till the clouds of night collect ed thick and gloomy around, and even then did not venture amid the scenes that were too painfully inscribed on my memory ever to be forgotten, without affecting a change in my gait, and such alterations in my general appearance as seemed best calculated to spare me from re cognition. At length, I arrived at
the obscure lodging that had been appointed by my father for our rendezvous. I was there to the very day, almost to the very hour of the reckoning; and on finding that I had arrived at the goal of my expectation without discovery, or its accom panying shout of execration, such as had farewelled me from the place, I felt as if a huge load of bitterness had been subtracted from my bosom, and whispered to myself to welcome it as the forerunner of still better tidings.
On enquiring for my father, however, I found that he was not there; but in his stead was presented to me a letter which had arrived that morning. I opened it; and these were its contents:
"Do you remember, Ambrose, the sentiment with which we parted six months ago ?- Perchance even a still further revenge is in preparation for us!' It is that chance that I have been watching. It has arrived—but I dare not quit my victim. Come to me instantly, dear Ambrose. Come with gladness at your heart, and brightness in your eyes; for our mutual cup of vengeance will speedily be filled to the overflowing.'
The letter then went on to direct me to meet him at — But no, no! I have already specified too many localities to trace my wretched progress; and I will not give utterance to that which will betray my present abode, and bring the callous and the curious to my receptacle for the purpose of comparing me with my distressful story, and so feeding their depraved and unfeeling appe
The few lines that Lockwood had thus penned, were read by me again and again, but it was vainly that I endeavoured to interpret their meaning. What further revenge my father had in store was a mystery beyond my solution, and seemed to belong to some portion of his story with which I was unacquainted. I only knew that the very mention of vengeance struck upon my heart with with a pestilential sickness, such as can only be felt when the mind itself is in a state of utter loathing. That I still hated mankind, my bosom too keenly felt to admit of any question; but the sufferings that I had under
gone, in answer to my claim for revenge, had been too acute and penetrating not to excite the deepest anguish when a second scene of the same order as the first was offered to my gaze.
Yet obey his letter I must!-Wellnigh penniless-entirely friendless, -it was to him alone that I had to look!
I set out, therefore, immediately upon the journey which he had prescribed; but it was with a fearful heaviness of spirit that I prosecuted my weary way thither. The gleam of happiness that had broken in upon me for a moment, was like the fitful bursting of the sun through a deep November gloom, coming but to disappear again, and to make the tra veller still more conscious of the cheerless prospect that surrounded him.
After the lapse of some days, I reached the town to which my father had summoned me; and with no little difficulty discovered the lodging to which he had directed my steps.
He received me with almost a shout of delight; and as I gazed upon his countenance, all the past events that Okeham had witnessed crowded to my imagination with a frightful verity of portraiture.
"Ambrose, Ambrose,” he exclaim ed, "all is now complete. The death of Foster six months since was but a stepping-stone to this-the most glorious consummation of the most glorious passion that ever filled the heart of man. But you smile not, my son! I see not that glow of fervour that was wont to cross your brow when I whispered 'revenge' in your ear, and pointed the certain road to its accomplishment."
"I cannot smile," returned I, with an inward groan, "nay, I almost feel as if to expect it of me was an insult, I am not the same Ambrose that you knew six months ago."
"Pshaw! you are a cup too low. Let us discuss a bottle of brandy, and I warrant there will be smiles enough dancing in your eyes."
"No, no, no," cried I with terror; "No brandy! I have forsworn the treacherous liquor that seduces only to betray."
Why, that is well too," replied my father; "I scorn to do that for brandy, which I dare not do without
it. Besides, we have that within which soars high above the power of any mortal draught-We have revenge!"
"We have revenge!" I echoed, and the echo was in earnest, for the mention of brandy had reminded me of Peterborough and Bedford, and my disgraces there united with my disgraces at Okeham to make callous and inhuman my heart.
My father looked at me as I repeated the word 'revenge,' as if he would search to my very soul for the key in which I had uttered it; and then, grasping my hand, he whispered, as if it was something too precious to be exposed to common parlance," It is ours! it is ours!"
I returned his pressure in token that the force of his words was acknowledged. But though my grasp was firm, my heart palpitated with uncertainty. I was all in all the creature of impulse, and was waiting for its full tide to direct me. At Okeham, at Peterborough, and at Bedford, I seemed ready to burst with hatred for the whole species; and felt as if no revenge could be sufficiently extensive to fill the measure of my rage. But since my exposure at the latter place, I had wandered about, solitary and unknown, now and then encountering an individual, but oftener creeping along in a country to me as blank as the South Sea Island to the shipwrecked Crusoe. During this time my sensations had undergone a change. The vehe mence of my wrath had been checked for want of fuel, and the innate propensity of my bosom to love my fellow man had been struggling in spite of myself through the gloom of my more irritated feelings. But the hot fit was now again fast gaining on me, and I perceived that a second time I was about, through the intensity of my own sensations and the kindling of my father, to be plunged into the resistless flood of hot-blooded vengeance. As the suspicion of this reached my mind, my heart beat doubtfully, as if beseeching me to avoid that which in the end would again torture it so bitterly; but against the silent feebly-persuasive beating of that heart there was a fearful array urging me onwards-my father's looks and words-my now bad passions and man-hating recollections, were all united, strong,