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and human skill indefatigable! And this to be the fruition !-this the concluding scene!-this the grateful repayal of love too deep for tears! The blow, my dear Mrs. Rustler, has deprived me of words—but let me narrate to you the astounding series as the minu test particulars occurred !
Called down, I was, methought, to Lady Highborough-twining unconsciously between my careless fingers some floral trifle, to give at once a tone of ease and simplicity to an interview I felt must be humiliatingly delicate ; when, on entering the drawingroom, I perceived no courtly guest, but one of the rougher sex, bidden, I was told, on some judicial errand. Legal individuals, I have often had occasion to remark, are notorious for abrupt unobservancy ; nor was the visitant exceptional. Fancy my surprise at the transpiration of the fact, that our swarthy intruder was in quest of one guilty of important abstractions from Lord Highborough’s plate-chest, who was known to have had harbourage in the house of Mr. Pecker's party. You guess not yet ? Remember you not the person of singularly audacious demeanour and unattractive appearance, whose forwardness on the evening of our ill-starred arrival so amazed us, and whose subsequent familiarities on the occasion of our visit to Lady Highborough (P-having since confided to me the whispered proposition of a salute) elicited the most piquant aversion ?-His crowning transactions bore out the above. Acquainted by the fatally-facile Bridget with her deposits in the Savings Bank, and working upon that feminine weakness, which, since the days of our Proto-Mother, renders rosy cheeks unable to resist serpentine tongues, or refuse participation in ingratitude to benefactresses,—this treacherous domestic had stimulated Mrs. Pecker's maid to emulate his base example. Her jewel-cases rifled—her purse discharged of its contents--Bridget's chamber empty (her trunks having been nocturnally transported thence!) -you may judge of our relative's discomfiture ! said dear Mr. Pecker, who never loses an opportunity of unfailingly asserting his principles, “ of the attempt to cancel capital punishments ! It has been since ascertained that the unworthy mis-, creants—whether bound in wedlock’s bonds to facilitate crime, we know not,—have taken flight for the Belgian Continent. Our landlady affects a significance which is almost intolerable on the occasion. By, our desire, indeed, that Lady Highborough’s butler was admitted ! Lax woman! The moralism of Tinglebury
r. This comes,
not that of Belgravia! Twice, I admit as—you will recollect * I mentioned to you, we passed the youth on the staircase ; as also, that P detained him for a few unimportant inquisitions with regard to the families in the vicinity. But if, by this, collusion establishes itself, adieu freedom of intercourse! Britons will then, indeed, have degenerated into automati, subject to a manufacturing despotism, the counsellor of which is Babylon, concerning whom it is written
I dally. During all these agitating disclosures, the absence of P -usually how centrical in any disturbance or emergency !-excited no surprise. Some one at length inquired, “Where is P-?' No response ; and Mr. Pecker hastening to her chamber to demand the reason (his partner's shaken nerves taking the form of distressing wailings, which required the support of every one--and my own giving way in sympathy)—found it void. Nor was mistake allowed to be possible. I shall never forget his countenance as he re-appeared among us! Priam's at the discovered evasion of the Golden Fleece, when Ariadne fled with her perjured boy-wore no sublimer aspect! For Wrath, my dear, when unaccompanied by Sin (Proverbs * * * * *) is sublime ; and a strong man, struggling with the gods, is a sight for the unfortunate. How much sweeter the Christian than the Pagan Version ! Presenting a book to our gaze—“ Jane Pecker,” said he slowly, in his deep tones,—“this Theory of Dev-elope-ment ! Whose is it?” A billet traced by P-- was in his hand : another, more lengthily expressed by the Destroyer accompanying it....! The bewildered Mrs. Pecker faintly repeating her husband's solemn adjuration-of which the syllables "elopement were alone obvious to the ear-fell back on the sofa in convulsive wretchedness. You will yet be incredulous. Learn the whole. P-- has left us ; the partner of her flight, Mr. Niblett! Dealt ever Rome a darker blow against the **** ? Thus to turn the romanticity of a guileless spirit to evil courses ! - thus to monopolise the promptings of impulse !--to plant the
* Here, again (and he hopes, for the last time) the Editor of this correspondence is obliged to interpose in behalf of liis own correctness. The letters are printed as received, without omissions or transpositions ; and, though the elastic nature of Miss Rill's memory will excite a smile, and possibly wonder, in those who have not studied the remembrances of controversial ladies, his own veracity remains unimpeached.
Upas of Japan where the spotless rose of Sharon should alone have waved its petals to the breeze . .. .! May I refrain.
Every particular elicited combines to deepen the shock, and to exasperate tacit wonder. We have reason to believe that the unworthy scheme had been nurtured in the mind of the culprits for many weeks preparatory to the metropolitan journey. My simplicity, dear friend, long tried and well known, was put in motion to suggest the plan. It is galling to learn one's self a puppet in the hands of the Ungodly. But woe to those who jerk the string ! When I recollect the vigilant assiduity with which Mr. Pecker has watched over the accumulation of the fortune of which Pheretrix ; when I recollect the heavenly patience with which that suffering angel, his wife, encountered the caprices of one of the most vague and violent natures which ever disturbed the feminine frame ; when I count up my own chastenings thrown away, my own counsels in semblance pursued, in reality listened to with heartless indifference or Jesuitical mockery,—do you think I am unable to foresee issues in the shadowy womb of Time, or to turn a deaf ear to the bolts of Retribution ? No, dear friend, in such junctures as ours, compliance is culpable, and meekness but a disgusting latitudinarianism ! Remember the pious women of old. What Judith underwent * * * *
On the turpitude of P-_'s leave-taking billet (registered against her, where **** *) I will not write. Here is a copy of Mr. Niblett's laid before you in all its literality-a suppressive discretion exercised with regard to the more vituperative portions of which your peculiar friend is the victim.
“Both my beloved Penelope and myself were too well aware of the persevering nature of your attempts to seclude herself and her fortune to have any alternative, save in a temperate reserve and a
The expedients by which misunderstandings had been encouraged between us, coëval with the perpetual announcement to the world of an engagement as yet undeveloped, made us both aware, that no unconstrained intercourse could take place so long as she remained your inmate and the object of your
schemes. This much in explanation of the self-denial we have felt ourselves called upon to practise, and to account for our employing my admirable friend, Mrs. Drangton, as a vehicle of communication. The height of living up to the semblance of so unnatural a line of
conduct, while purpose works its IIeavenward way secretly, is what few are privileged to realise so successfully and humbly as
“Yours, &c., &c., &c.
" AMBROSIUS NIBLETT."
Poscriptically subjoined to this revolting document, is a formal request to Mr. Pecker, to demand the immediate transmigration of P-—'s fortune, hitherto so wisely administrated by him. A portion of it--we apprehend for the express purposes of insult—is wanted immediately :-—to be applied to the consummation of the Popish structure erecting on Grace Marie IIill.—It is the intention of the unworthy pair to winter in Rome !—But they may meet, in their guilty security, writings on the wall they little expect !! The abstraction of so large a sum of ready money as Mrs. Niblett's fortune—will not be accompanied by a chasm in the well-regulated affairs of our brother-in-law—so that we engage you to contradict every credence to that effect, which may be diffused at Wailford. Well, are we aware of the insuppressive activity of Mr. Niblett's machinations. But Tinglebury is become painful to us ; and wider spheres of activity are developing their vistas before our ken, among the benighted populations of France, Germany, and Italy, than the daily routine of a small and unintellectual country village can satisfy. Our souls expanded by Belgravia, provincial life becomes henceforth distasteful to us ! We shall travel,- and it may be, shall meet with the fugitives in a strait place, where no tergiversation will suffice to screen them from the awful sentences of Mr. Pecker's eloquence.—I do not promise journalismbut you may hear from us on our progress. Secresy involving the dates and the place of our departure, may I beg your heartfelt participation till permission to divulge is accorded to you.
Thus they went up into a ship. . All is haste, here; confusion and incertitude. You will hardly receive this, indeed,—until our England joined to democratic idols, and handed over to the governance of Papistical domination, no longer numbers among its denizens,—Your discouraged, but indignantly resigned Sister and friend in
His own burden Mr. Pecker could bear, he says,--devotedly, but that his country should be lost owing to the intrigues of an
artful woman, is indeed, of galling bitterness ; though nothing is new under the sun ; and I recal the precedent of Cleopatra in allayance of his self-reproach. IIe cannot forget that it was at Mrs. Niblett's instance he quitted Tinglebury. Had he remained there firm to his post as head of the Anti-Free-Intercourse Association, (which you may remember, was always my anxious counsel and sincere aspiration)—the hideous torrent which has overwhelmed Britain, might, he has reason to think, have been stayed :—and the Anti-Corn Laws not have passed into the legislature of the Empire !
The Feudal System-Pride and Shame
Subdued fierce minds to milder thought