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conduct to you, but for his lawless and wicked life; but he feels his treatment of you to be worse than all his other crimes ; and he has sent me to beg that you will forgive him before he dies. Answer me, mother.”
“Jack," said Nanny, removing the apron from her face, " I feel as if it was I who ought to ask his pardon, and not he who should ask mine. Who made him bad? — his foolish mother. Who made him unable to control his passions ?— his foolish mother. Who was the cause of his plunging into vice - of his intemperance, of his gaming, of his wild and desperate career -- which might have ended, as I supposed it had done, on the gallows — but a foolish, weak, selfish mother, who did not do her duty to him in his childhood. It is I who was his great enemy I who assisted the devil to lead him to destruction - I who, had he been hanged, had been, and have felt for years, that I was his executioner. Can I forgive him! Can he forgive me?"
• Mother, his time is short — I will come to you again, and tell you much more. But if
knew how earnest he is to have your forgiveness before he dies, you would at once send me away to him."
“ Then go, my child go, and may you often be sent on such kind missions ! Go, and tell my poor James that his mother forgives him — begs to be forgiven — still dotes upon him - and God knows with how much pleasure would die for him! Go quick, child — the sands of the glass run fast - quick, child — the dying cannot wait – quick — quick !”
Nanny had risen from her stool and taken me by the arm : when we were clear of the threshold she loosed me, and sunk down to the earth, whether overcome by her feelings, or in a state of insensibility, I did not wait to ascertain -- I fled to execute my mission before it was too late.
In a few minutes I was at the Hospital — breathless, it was true. I went in, and found Spicer still alive, for his eyes turned to me. I went up to him; the nurse, who was standing by him, told me he was speechless, and would soon be gone. I told her I would remain with him, and she went to the other patients. I gave him
his mother's message, and he was satisfied: he squeezed my hand, and a smile, which appeared to illumine, like a rainbow, his usual dark and moody countenance, intimated hope and joy; in a few seconds he was no more, but the smile continued on his features after death.
I then returned to Old Nanny, who, I found, had been put into bed by some neighbours, and at her bedside was Mrs. St. Felix, who had been passing by, and had observed her situation. She was now recovered, and quiet. As soon as they had left her, I entered into a more full detail of how I became acquainted with the circumstances which led to the discovery. I did not conceal from her that it was her own son who had attempted the robbery; and I wound up, by stating that he had died, I really believed, not only penitent, but happy from having received her forgiveness.
“ Jack — Jack — you have been as good as an angel to me, indeed you have. It was you, also, who prevented my poor James from killing his mother-it is you that have been the means of his making his peace with Heaven. Bless you, Jack; bless you."
IN WHICH MRS. ST. FELIX REFUSES A SPLENDID OFFER, WHICH I AM
DULY EMPOWERED TO MAKE TO HER.
I left Old Nanny as soon as she was more composed, for I was so anxious to have some conversation with Old Anderson. I did not call on my father, as it was not a case on which he was likely to offer any opinion, and I thought it better that the secret which I possessed should be known but to one other person. I refer to the knowledge which I had obtained relative to the husband of Mrs. St. Felix, who, it appeared, was not hanged, as supposed by her. The information received from Spicer accounted for Mrs. St. Felix's conduct when any reference was made to her husband; and I was now aware how much pain she must have suffered when his name was mentioned. I found Anderson alone in his office, and I immediately made him acquainted with what I had learnt, and asked him his opinion as to the propriety of communicating it to Mrs. St. Felix. Anderson rested his head upon his hand for some time in silence: at last he looked up at me. “Why, Tom, that she suffers much from the supposed ignominious fate of her husband is certain, but it is only occasionally; her spirits are good, and she is cheerful, except when reminded of it by any casual observation. That it would prove a great consolation to her to know that her husband did not forfeit his life on the scaffold, is true; but what then- he is said to have entered the king's service under another name, and, of course, there is every probability of his being alive and well at this moment. Now she is comparatively tranquil and composed, but consider what anxiety, what suspense, what doubts, must ever fill her mind, must oppress her waking hours, must haunt her in her dreams, after she is made acquainted with his possible existence. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick ; and her existence would be one of continued tumult, of constant anticipation, and I may say of misery.-- He may be dead, and then will her new-born hopes be crushed when she has ascertained the fact; he may never appear again, and she may linger out a life of continual fretting. I think, Tom, that were she my daughter, and I in possession of similar facts, I would not tell her—at least, not at present. We may be able to make inquiries without her knowledge. We know his name: an advertisement might come to his eyes or ears; and, moreover, you have the telescope, which may be of use if it is constantly seen in your hands. Let us at present do all we can without her knowledge, and leave the result in the hands of Providence, who, if it thinks fit, will work by its own means. Are
my opinion, Tom ?" “ When I came to ask your advice, Anderson, it was with the intention of being guided by it, even if it had not coincided with my own opinion, which, now that I have heard your reasons, it certainly does. By the bye, I have not yet called upon Mrs. St. Felix, and I will go now.
You will see Old Nanny again?"
“I will, my boy, this evening. Good-bye! I'm very busy now, for the officers will inspect to-morrow morning."
I quitted the Hospital, and had arrived in Church Street, when, passing the doctor's house on my way to Mrs. St. Felix, Mr. Thomas Cobb, who had become a great dandy, and, in his own opinion at least, a great doctor, called to me : “ Saunders, my dear fellow, just come in- I wish to speak with you particularly.” I complied with his wishes. Mr. Cobb was remarkable in his dress. Having sprung up to the height of at least six feet in his stockings, he had become remarkably thin and spare; and the first idea that struck you when you saw him was, that he was all pantaloons— for he wore blue cotton net tight pantaloons; and his Hessian boots were so low, and his waistcoat so short, that there was at least four feet, out of the sum total of six, composed of blue cotton net, which fitted very close to a very spare figure. He wore no cravat, but a turn-down collar with a black ribbon; his hair very long, with a very puny pair of mustachios on his upper lip, and something like a tuft on his chin. Altogether, he was a strange-looking being, especially when he had substituted for his long coat a short nankeen jacket, which was the case at the time I am speaking of.
“Well, Mr. Cobb, what may be your pleasure with me? You must not detain me long, as I was about to call on Mrs. St. Felix."
“So I presumed, my dear Sir," replied he, “and for that very reason I requested you to walk in. Take a chair. Friendship, Tom, is a great blessing-it is one of the charms of life. We have known each other long, - and it is to tax your friendship that I have requested you to come in."
“Well, be as quick as you can — that's all,” replied I.
“ Festina lente, as Dr. Tadpole often says, adding that it is Latin for hat and boots. I am surprised at his ignorance of the classics; any school-boy ought to know that caput is the Latin for hat, and Bootes for boots. But lately I have abandoned the classics, and have given up my soul to poetry.”
“ Yes,-Friendship and Love' is my toast, whenever I am called upon at the club. What does Campbell say ?”.
“ I'm sure I don't know." “I'll tell you, Tom.”
Without the smile from heav'nly beauty won,
“Well, I dare say it's all true," replied I;" for if a woman does not smile upon a man, he's not very likely to marry her, and therefore has no chance of having a son.”
“Tom, you have no soul of poetry.”
“Well, I thought it was the time to work : moreover, I don't understand how youth can be age. But, pray tell me, what is it you want of me, for I want to see Mrs. St. Felix before dinnertime.”
“Well then, Tom, I am in love — deeply, desperately, irrevocably, and everlastingly in love."
“I wish you well out of it,” replied I with some bitterness. “And pray with whom may you be so dreadfully in love — Anny Whistle?”
“ Anny Whistle ! — to the winds have I whistled her long ago. No, that was a juvenile fancy.
- I am in love with the charming widow."
“ What, Mrs. St. Felix ? “ Yes.
Felix means happy in Latin and my happiness de. pends upon her. I must either succeed, or — Tom, do you see that bottle?”
“But, Tom, you forget; you certainly would not supplant your patron, your
the doctor?” “Why not? he has tried, and failed. He has been trying to make an impression upon her these ten years, but it's no go. Ain't I a doctor, as good as he - ay, better, — for I'm a young doctor, and he is an old one! All the ladies are for me now. I'm a very rising young man.”