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Townley began to wish that young Malony, now a lieutenant, would obtain leave of absence, and return. Emma began to feel a strong desire to see what alteration a hot climate had made in her lover's appearance; and old Mr. Malony kissed Emma's forehead, and hoped that he should live to see her his daughter-in-law; so that all things were tending in absence towards a consummation.
Meanwhile, Jack's regiment had been ordered from Bombay into the Deckan, where several active campaigns tied him fast to his duty; and, being blessed with excellent health, he could not quit his post, nor apply for leave of absence without disgrace. At length peace was proclaimed, and a furlough having been obtained, Jack returned home on the wings of love and hope. The remainder of his story I give in his own words.
All nature seemed gay before my pleased eye, when the white sail expanded that was to waft me to the haven of my hopes. O, how I blamed the breeze when it did not blow; and chided the currents when they did not contribute to our progressive motion! At last, we neared the white cliff's of England; and, as fast as horses could gallop, I posted to my destination. Judge of the disappointment I had to endure! A few days before my arrival the Fermoy Bank had closed, and involved not only my father, but Emma's mother in its ruin. It avails not to describe how we looked, or what we said. Misfortunes may sink us; but, if we boldly bear up against them, like many a storm-beaten ship, we scarcely seem to feel their fury, and in a little time appear as gay and adventurous as though their
rage had never put our fortitude to trial. My father was so deeply concerned in the affairs of the bank, that he had accepted bills on account of the firm to a vast amount.
His whole property, therefore, became liable, and in one day he lost not only the considerable sums he had in the funds of Fermoy, but his estate. In short, when his affairs were disentangled, he found that he had only a cottage, a few acres of land, and industry for his support. Mrs. Townley had lost all her ready money in the crash. She had hardly left remaining the means of support for herself and daughter, Emma and I, therefore, though we loved each other most passionately, were so well advised, and indeed experienced in adversity and disappointment, that we did not presume, by our own selfish gratification, or the precipitate accomplishment of our ardentiy cherished hopes, to embitter the cup which our unfortunate parents were drinking to its dregs. Emma proved to me what an excellent wife she would make, by the performance of her duty as a good daughter. Yet I must own, with shame and sorrow, that although in my heart I praised her conduct, in the tumult of my blasted expectations I eagerly urged her to a private marriage. This wish she reasoned me out of: as often as her beauty forced me to return to the subject, her ready tear cooled my impatience; and her firm reliance on the wisdom of Providence to effect for us what would constitute our real happiness, kept the embers of hope alive in my breast.
Anxious not to return to India, I made reiterated applications to the Horse Guards for employment at home in any form; but it was in vain. I was politely answered, but my hopes were set completely at rest. My feelings were now as complicated and as miserable as you can well conceive. It required something more than all the philosophy of chess to enable me to play my game so as to checkmate Fortune. At one time I had some intention of resigning the service; but what folly that would have been, after seven years' exposure of my life both to climate and the enemy. It is true I was treated with much attention by the benevolent Commanderin-Chief of the Army, his Royal Highness the Duke of York; my leave of absence was twice prolonged ; but at length the time approached when I must again bid adieu to love and all the associations dear to my heart ; for Emma's mother, above all things, opposed the idea of her daughter's going to the East, although I assured the old lady that she would be there carried on men's shoulders in a fine palankeen, gazed upon as an angel of light, and followed by a whole regiment of dragoons in hope of touching but the tip of her little finger. Mamma evidently wished that she were young enough herself to realize this picture; but all my eloquence could not persuade her to part with my Emma.
Well, under these circumstances, judge of my joy when I received the news that our corps had been ordered home to be disbanded! I had given up all hope of effecting an exchange into a corps at home, which was impracticable without money ; I was merely desirous of preserving my half pay, and the very contingency I aimed at occurred. Such was my ecstasy that I really snatched a kiss ; though Emma, my modest rogue, with her blushes like scarlet, kept me at a most respectful distance.
Thus I was sent to the right about, with four shillings a day to secure happiness, or rather to prevent starvation. What I could spare from keeping up the appearance of a gentleman was handed to my mother, who managed with a little to appear respectable; and thus time rolled on for a considerable period. Having my hours at my own disposal, with not a single chess-player in our neighbourhood, to occupy my moments, I conceived the idea of turning the observations I had made in India to advantage. My industry is great. I soon produced a large quantity of manuscript, and offered to publish it by subscription. That, however, is one of the worst plans an author can adopt, unless he have friends, warm, active, and influential; or unless there be somewhat in his history to sti