Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

“No, no, mother, that I will not;-try to go to sleep."

Hardly had Nanny laid her head down again, when it came across my mind like a flash of lightning that it must have been Spicer who had attempted the deed; and my reason for so thinking was, that the blow I had received on the mouth was not like that from the hand of a man, but from the wooden socket fixed to the stump of his right arm. The more I reflected upon it, the more I was convinced. He was a clever armourer, and had picked the lock; and I now recalled to mind what had never struck me before, that he had often asked me questions about Old Nanny, and whether I thought the report that she had money was correct.

It was daylight before Old Nanny woke up, and then she appeared to be quite recovered. I told her my suspicions, and my intentions to ascertain the truth of them as far as I possibly could.

· Well, and what then?" said Old Nanny.

“Why, then, if we bring it home to him, he will be hanged, as he deserves.” “Now, Jack, hear me,

” said Old Nauny; "you won't do anything I don't wish, I'm sure; and now I'll tell you,—that I never would give evidence against him or any other man to have him hanged. So, if you find out that it is him, do not say a word about it. Promise me, Jack.”

“Why, mother, I can't exactly say that I will; but I will talk to Peter Anderson about it."

“It's no use talking to him ; and, if you do, it must be under promise of secrecy, or I will not consent to it. Jack, Jack, recollect that my poor boy was hanged from my fault. Do you think I will hang another ? Oh, no. Perhaps this very man had a foolish, wicked mother, like me, and has, like my boy, been led into guilt. Jack, you must do as I wish-you shall, Jack.”

“Well, mother, I have no animosity against the man himself: and, if you forgive him, I do not sce why I should do anything."

"I don't forgive him, Jack; but I think of my own poor boy."

Well, mother, since you wish it, it shall be so; and if I do prove that the man I suspect is the party, I will say nothing, and make Anderson promise the same, as I think he will. But how is it that people come to rob a poor woman like you

? How is it, mother, that there is a report going about that you have money?"

" Is there such a report, Jack ?"

“Yes, mother, every one says so; why, I do not know; and as long as it is supposed, you will always be subject to attacks like this; unless, indeed, if you have money, you were to put it away safely, and let everybody know that you have done so.

Tell me truly, mother, have you any money ?”

“ Jack, what a boy you are to ask questions. Well, perhaps I have a little,-a very little ; but no one will ever find out where I have hidden it."

“ But they will try, mother, as this man has dono; and you will always be in peril of your life. Why not place it into the hands of some safe person ?”

"Safe person! Who's safe now-a-days ?" “Why, for instance, there's Mr. Wilson.”

“ Wilson! what do you know about him, Jack, except that he has a smooth face and a bald head ?

66

[ocr errors]

You're young, Jack, and don't know the world. The money's safe where it is, and no one will ever find it."

“ If so, who is to find it after" I stopped, for I did not like to say, after she was dead.

“I know what you would have said, Jack; who's to find it after my death? That's very true. I never thought of that, and I must will it away. I never thought of that, Jack; it's very true; and I'm glad that you have mentioned it. But who dare I tell? who can I trust ?-Can I trust you, Jack?-can I?ought; for it's all for you, Jack, when I die.”

• Mother, whoever it may be for, you may, I hope, trust me."

Well, I think I can. I'll tell you where it is, Jack, and that will prove that it is for you, for nobody else will know where to find it. But, Jack, dear, dear Jack, don't you rob me, as my son did ; don't rob me, and leave me pennyless, as he did; promise me."

“I never will, mother; you need not be afraid."

Yes; so you say, and so he said ;--he swore and he cried too, Jack,—and then he took it all, and left his mother without a farthing.”

“Well, mother, then don't tell me; I'd rather not know; you will only be uncomfortable, and so let tho money go."

“No, Jack, that won't do either; I will tell you, for I can trust you. But first, Jack, go out and look behind the house, that there is no one listening at the window; for if any one should hear-go, look round carefully, and then come back.”

I did as she wished, and then Nanny bid me hold my head closer to her, while she whispered, “ You

must take the back out of the fireplace, and then pull out three bricks, and then put your band into the hole, and you will find a small box; and there you will find a little money,--a very little, Jack, hardly worth having; but still it may be of some use; and it's all yours when I die, Jack; I give it to you.”

“Mother, I'm thankful for your kindness; but I cannot touch it, if you do die, without you leave it to me by your will."

“Ah! that's true, Jack. Well, tell Anderson to come here, and I'll tell him I'll leave the money to you ; but I won't tell him where it is; I'll only say that I leave you everything I have. They'll supposo that it's the shop and all the pretty things.” Here sho chuckled for some time.

It was now broad daylight, and Nanny told me that she would like to get up, and see about a padlock being put to her door before night; so I wished her good-bye, and left her.

CHAPTER XL.

SHOWING THE GREAT ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM

PATRONAGE.

I LEFT Old Nanny, and arrived at my mother's house in time for breakfast. I did not, however, find her in a very good humour; something had evidently ruffled her. Virginia, also, who welcomed me most cordially, was taciturn and grave. My mother made but ono observation during our repast.

“Well, Tom,” said she, “you've found out what it is to wish to marry for love; I only wish it may be 3 lesson to others.”

To this evident attack upon Virginia, at the espense of my feelings, I made no reply; and soon afterwards my mother went to superintend her establishment, leaving me and my sister alone.

“ Tom," said she, “I hope by this time. you are no longer suffering from your late cruel disappointment. I have felt for

you,

I
assure you,
and assuring you

of that, will not again revert to the subject. Let her be blotted from your memory as soon as possible.”

“ Be it so, my dear Virginia; but you are grave, and my mother is evidently out of humour. You must explain this.”

"That is easily done; I have made a sad mistake. I was so much annoyed at my mother's system towards me that I ventured, without her knowledge, to write to Lady Hercules, requesting her protection and influence to procure me some situation as a companion to a lady, amanuensis, or reader. It appears that her ladyship was not very sincere in her professions when we had an interview with her; at all events, her reply was anything but satisfactory, and unfortunately it was addressed to my mother, and not to me. You can have no idea of my mother's indignation upon the receipt of it; and she has not been sparing in her reproaches to me for having written without her knowledge, and having, by so doing, subjected her to such a mortification. I certainly am sorry to have done so As for her ladyship’s answer, it would have been to me more a subject of mirth than any other feeling. It

« AnteriorContinuar »