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On a cold harsh evening in the who was in many respects a striking month of January, some years ago, contrast to the person I have just I went to the chambers of my friend described. He was remarkably handM. in Lincoln's Inn, to meet a party some, yet the expression of his counof wine-drinkers. M. had been called tenance was far from pleasant-there to the Bar the same day, and we was an air, half of suspicion, half of met to drink success to him, and scorn, which, to me, marred the effect wish him a Chancellor's wig and the of his faultless features; and from Woolsack, as the reward of his pro- the first time I looked at him, I felt fessional labours. There were some that I did not like him. He was ten or a dozen of us sat down to dressed with particular care and eletable, and most of the company, gance, and the ease of his manner seemed, by their jovial manner, well shewed him well accustomed to sodisposed to make a joyous night of ciety, but shewed still more that he it; but among the drinkers, I ob- was on excellent terms with himself. served one who took my attention My first impressions to his prejudice above the rest, not indeed for his were soon heightened by the matter joyousness, but the contrary. He of his conversation-he talked with had one of those countenances that an airy volubility of his intrigues fixes an interest-one cannot well and his conquests; but this was not tell how. He was neither ugly nor the worst-he treated libertinism as bandsome, but his face was striking- though it were a science, and disly indicative of vivid thought-while cussed the various devices of sensual a certain air of neglect in his gene- depravity with as much cool preciral appearance-an occasionally ab- sion, as readiness. Wbat he said stracted look, and a clouded brow, was evidently not the momentary conveyed the impression that some impulse of vain and thoughtless seninward trouble preyed upon him, sualism-he had manifestly delibeand prevented him from sharing in rated upon the revolting arts, in the the general convivial tone of the recollection of which he revelled company. I observed, however, that he was, if what he said of himself he did not stint his glass when the was to be believed, both skilfully bottles came round, but gulped down and systematically vicious. Yet his wine like water, nor did he seem, withal it could not but be confessed except from a deep flush now and that he talked well, and, Belial-like, then upon his brow, to be more af- “he pleased the ear," while he disfected by it, than if the pure element gusted the moral sense. bad been his drink. M. sometimes I had met very few men of this addressed him cordially, but, as it description before, and have not seemed, rather less familiarly than met many since, though I have been the rest of us, and was answered told by those who go into society with a
correct courtesy in well. more than I do, that in these “march chosen words, but few. When our of intellect” times, they are much host's health was drank, as a new increased. I can well believe it, yet member of the Bar, the congratula- both for the sake of such unhappy tions of our more serious companion individuals and of society, I cannot rivetted the attention of the whole but lament it, since I know no sort company: He spoke with peculiar of character more utterly hateful. force and fervour, and justness of If Providence has been pleased to expression-his mind shone out, and make a man a fool, or if unruly pasthe cloud that had overcast his coun- sion, getting the better of reason, tenance passed away; but the light hurries its victim into error, our was brief, and seriousness, amount- pity is excited as much as our ining almost to gloom, sunk upon him dignation, and we feel desirous to as before.
reclaim as much as to punish; but There sat beside our host a man, when cool craft and sensual depra. vity go together, we can look upon serious companion, to observe how them with nothing short of unmixed he had taken this lively sally, I was detestation. But to return.
diverted from my purpose, and my As the wine continued to go round, attention became entirely fixed upon the voluble roué at the head of the him. The blood rushed to his före. table became more particular in the head, his eyes flashed, and, with a gross details of his real or fancied voice indicating hardly suppressed triumphs over simplicity and inno- passion, he burst forth, trust, cence, and boasted of an affair just sir, I may be permitted to remark, concluded, which had taken him se- that your gay rhetoric has taken a veral months of perseverance to ac- turn that, in common justice to your. complish. “But how is it, H., that self,—at least I hope so,-it ought you can find time for all this ?” said not to have taken. Yet it is too much some one near him—" one would to suppose that you meant merely as think you were an idler about town, a joke, what you have just now been like some of the Saint James's Street saying. I have strong feelings upon fellows, who do nothing but pursue the subject, and I must confess that, such adventures from year's end to so far from there being, in my opiyear's end, but we all know that you nion, any just comparison between read.”
the libertine pursuits, which men “ Time!” replied the gay gentle. have sometimes the misfortune to man;" all find time for some recrea- fall into, and the other amusements tion to which they particularly attach which you have so unaccountably themselves. I know one man that, classed with them-I should say, supat no matter what inconvenience, posing both to be systematically purwill leave town for a fortnight or sued, that there was just as much three weeks every season to hunt difference between them as there is foxes in Leicestershire, and he works between healthful exercise, or harmlike a slave for it, for six months less idleness, and deliberate scounafterwards. Another spends all Sep- drelism.” tember and half of October in shoot- There was something in the eming, though he can so ill spare the phatic manner with which this was time, that, until summer comes again, said, that produced a silent attention he gets but five hours' rest out of the from every one in the room. Every four-and-twenty; and a third, not word, although uttered, as I have only expends a week every now and said, in a suppressed tone, as if the then, that he can but badly afford speaker had been struggling against from his scientific pursuits, but courts a greater explosion of wrath, was catarrh, if not cholera, wading up to heard by all as distinctly as it was his middle in the running brooks, possible for articulate sounds to fall and seeking to rob the waters of their upon the ear. The perfect silence trout and jack. Now, I neither hunt, which followed, although but monor shoot, nor fish, except now and mentary, was very embarrassing. The then, by accident; but I pursue a gentleman who had undergone the game to me more exciting, and pro- reproof arose, his handsome features ductive of more vivid pleasure, with assuming an aspect perfectly satanic less fatigue; which latter I know not wrath was burning on his brow, how any man of sense and calcula- and fury and revenge glared from his tion can love for itself:-so I make eyes. Our host laid his hand upon time, as others do, for other amuse- his guest's arm as he arose, as if dements--chacun à son gout—they have precating any expression of violence. theirs, and I have mine."
This appeared to make him hesitate I felt disgusted and offended at for a moment; the flush of anger this speech, in which levity, inso- gave place to a cloudy paleness, over lence, and immorality were so un- which he forced the appearance of a blushingly displayed, and I was smile, and saying merely to my comthinking how I might best put in panion, who had addressed him,some observation that would at least * We shall talk of all this, sir, at anrelieve me from the painful sensa
other opportunity,”—he resumed his tion which this exhibition of unre- seat, and M. immediately essayed to proved licentiousness produced with give a new turn to the conversation. in me; but looking at my silent and In this he succeeded better than might have been expected; and, and put a short question to him, though there was not the same free- which he quickly answered, by saydom of conversation during the rest ing he would be found in the Gray's of the night that there had been be- Inn Coffee House at ten o'clock in fore, the society was, to my thinking, the morning. I understood this to none the less agreeable, and we did have reference to the words which not break up until the small hours of had passed between them at table, the morning.
and felt not a little uneasy at the The severe rebuke administered to thought of the serious consequences the gay gentleman by my serious which might result from this slight companion led me to address him. I ebullition of warm feeling, but upon assured him that I sympathized fully the instant I could see no way of inwith all he had said, and that he had terfering with propriety. I resolved, anticipated that which I wished to however, to call upon M. in the have said myself, if I could have hit morning, and endeavour to enlist upon a method of doing so without his good offices in the task of preappearing to make a personal charge. venting any serious rencontre be
" Then you think me wrong, doubt- tween his friends. less,” said he ; "for have not I made We had now got down stairs into something like a personal charge?” the wide square of Lincoln's Inn ;-it
"Something very like it," I replied; was a dreadful night-the rain and " and yet I do not think that those sleet pelted in our faces as we left the who are critically skilled in the nice door, and the wind howled horribly distinctions between personal and through the passages. My serious general observations would so con- companion, who seemed to be hardly strue it.”
fit to encounter such a night, even “I am not sorry,” he rejoined, “to with the best appliances of coat and have said what I felt to be true in umbrella, had neither. As I was such a cause; but I already feel that better furnished, and a hackneyI ought to have better considered coach was out of the question, I ofseveral collateral matters, before I fered him my escort if he was going took upon myself to speak as I did towards the Temple. He took my in this place. I may have given pain arm with thanks, and we pushed on and uneasiness to my friend, who together, getting miserably drenched very pressingly invited me here to- and chilled, for there was no resistnight. I had no right to do that.” ing such weather. It was pitch-dark
“ Nay,” I said, “he is too just and the moon and stars were obscured well-principled himself, not to feel by dense and driving clouds of sleet that the fault was not with you, but most of the lamps were blown in the occasion given. But you do out by the sudden gusts of wind, not seem well,” I added, seeing my and every living thing, save ourcompanion put his hand to his throb- selves, seemed frightened out of the bing temples, as if in pain.
streets. Even the hackney-coaches "No,” he replied, "not quite well. seemed to have deserted the town But it signifies little-I ought to have no sound of wheels was heard, nor remained at home to-night, as I have of any thing except the harshly-roarfor a long time, and I ought not to ing wind, and the dismal echoes of have drunk wine ; but it is too late our footsteps as they went plash, to decide upon these things now." plash, over the pavement. I felt
After an interval of silence, the that my companion shook violently, conversation was commenced anew “You are quite unable to encounin a more cheerful tone, upon gene- ter such a night as this,” said I; " I ral subjects; and the more I heard of am afraid you are very unwell, and my new friend's remarks, the better chilled to death with this bitter reason I had to admire the virtuous- storm." ness of his sentiments, and the vigour “No, no,” he replied; “I am really and grace with which he expressed ashamed of this weakness; it is merethem.
ly a nervous infirmity, the conseWe rose to go away, and in the quence of excitement, and will soon lobby I observed Mr H., who had so ostentatiously professed his liberti- I could feel him clenching his teeth nism, call my new acquaintance aside, and grasping my arm in his effort to
repress the shivering; but it was in there were means of striking a light, vain-he grew much worse. We of which I availed myself; and a were now close to the Temple, and chimney taper soon threw its feeble he wished to bid me good-night, and rays around the gloomy and scantily proceed alone; but I felt plainly that furnished room. Little used as I he could not stand, much less walk was to any want of comfort, there alone through such a storm.
was to me something very miserable must not be,” I said, “ how far have in the situation in which I found you to go ?”
myself. I was frightened for the “ To Surrey Street, only—a thou. young man, who had sunk down sand thanks for your assistance so upon a trunk in a corner of the far,—but you must not come out of room : there he lay with the most your way-I shall endeavour to get ghastly expression. He was drenched on myself—it is not far.”
to the skin, and continued to shiver “No, indeed -I shall see you home so violently as to shake the whole -I should never forgive myself if I did not; you must take good care of “ What is to be done?" I said; yourself--you are ill-very ill.” would
wish me to call up any “ I fear I am-I was very foolish to venture out to-night, but I had No, no, thank you; I shall be persuaded myself I was stronger better in a few moments—I shall both in mind and body. I accept then get off my clothes and go to your kindness, for which I am most bed.” grateful.”
“ Nay, that must be done at My companion would now have once; I will assist you. Come, let me fallen, had I not supported him. take off this dripping coat—80-now Short as the distance was to Surrey the trowsers-there-here is a towel Street, we reached it with difficulty. to rub you dry-and there I see are He stopped at a door near the river your night things. Now, let me help -he had the key in his pocket-it you to your bedside ;-there now, was a lodging-house; and to avoid I continued, as I settled the pillow, keeping the servant up, he had un- “ you see what a nurse I am-you dertaken to let himself in. The pas- must endeavour to get warm, now." sage was perfectly dark; he again He put out his hand—“God bless wished to bid me good-night, but you,” he said ; " I may perhaps die though I was'myself reluctant to pro- very soon, but while I live I shall ceed, I knew that he could not get not forget this." up stairs without assistance, and that “ But I am not going to leave it would beafalse delicacy to refrain, you yet," I replied; “I must see under such circumstances, from in- how you come on-I want to see truding on his apartinent. I there. this shivering cease.” fore hesitated only for a moment, and I saw some wood lying inside the then telling him that he must allow fender; and there were some unme to undertake the part of an in- burned coals in the grate. I have timate friend, and resign himself never made a fire, thought I, but it entirely to my management for the is now time to try. I had often present, I walked in with him. My watched the process, and now imicompanion replied only by an ear- tated what I had seen, happily with nest grasp of the hand.
good success. I raked out the coals, I groped my way up, supporting piled the bits of wood in cross layers, him as well as I could. “ This is a
put on the coals again, and applied sorry place you have come to,” he my light. The fire was a good one said, " but the weakness of the body in ten minutes, but still I could hear breaks down pride; I only feel how my friend shivering in bed. There very much I am indebted to you for was a kettle in the room, which I all this trouble.”
furnished with water from the ewer, “Say nothing about it-this is the and put it on the fire. When it was room door, I think?"
hot, I poured it in the basin, and “Yes,” he replied, faintly," it is held the feet of the poor shiverer in reached, thank God, at last.
it for some minutes. Then putting We entered—there was neither him into bed again, I warmed an old fire nor candle burning. Fortunately dressing-gown of flannel, which I found on a chair, and wrapped it hot into this position when trying to round his legs and feet. I had the stand upon the floor. He started satisfaction to find that the shivering when he saw me, and for a moment abated, and soon nearly ceased al- secmed scarcely to be able to recoltogether. " See what a physician I lect me. I went towards him am,” said I—" and yet I never at- “ How is this?" said I; “I must tempted any thing of the kind before. cbide you. How could you think of Now, if you promise to lie very trying to get up ?” quiet, I will bid you good-by for a “Ah, my preserver," he said few hours-I shall see you again by again, in that frightful hoarse hollow nine o'clock."
tone, " this is indeed very kind“ God bless you again and again,” more than I could have hoped for he said; “ I think you have saved even from you. I know I ought not me from miserably dying to-night, to get up; but I must-I am unforfarewell for the present.'
tunately circumstanced-an appointI came away. The night, or morning ment must be kept this morning.' rather, as it advanced, had become “ Good God !” said I, feeling his worse and worse. Fiercely in my dry fiery hot hand, and observing the teeth blew the bitter wind, and the burning fever of his brow, " this is dashing sleet pierced to the skin; but madness; it is impossible you can I hardly felt either. My heart was stir." light and warm with the sense of “I know it will be very difficult,” having been actively engaged in do- he replied, " for even now I could ing good. I have often walked home not stand; nevertheless I must go, less comfortably in a fine night. or be branded as a coward. Were
I slept soundly for a few hours, it not better to die in the attempt,” and awoke just in time to dress and he continued with more energy, keep my appointment with my new “ than that this should befall me? I friend, and patient-for so I was am a soldier's son.” obliged to consider him. I had “ And your father ?” knocked at the hall door before I “ Was killed in battle. I am his recollected that I did not know the eldest son." name of the person I sought; for Here something like a groan burst though I had heard it in the course from his labouring breast. of the evening before, when we were “ Come, come,” I said, “I know at table, I had not observed it; and how this is your remark last night afterwards it had not occurred to me to Mr H.; he spoke to you as you to ask him. A slipshod girl, with came away?” her hair all in papers, dangling over a dirty greasy face, opened the door. Well, but that affair cannot be “ Is Mr-the gentleman, I mean,
If there is no friend who lodges on the second floor-I that you wish sent for, I will myself want to see him.”
give a sufficient explanation to Mr "I don't think he's up, sir.” H. for the present; but now let me “Oh, I know that; but I am come assist you into bed again.
Do, for to see him in bed. He is not well, I our friendship's sake," I added, and fear.”
took hold of his hand. “ I believe not, sir; I will go and “ Do you advise me to this ?” tell him.”
“ Yes, most decidedly.” But I did not wait for her an- “ Then be it so, for you are indeed nouncement; and telling her I knew a friend; and I have no other now the room, passed on before her. 1 in London with whom I can advise. knocked at the door, and was an- I can hardly speak; but while I can, swered in a hoarse hollow voice, hear what I have to say. I came to quite unlike that I had heard the London full of romantic feeling, night before; yet, when I opened the from a home where all was virtue, door, I found it was the voice of the honour, and simplicity. I was sucsame man. He was partly dressed, cessful in my pursuits, and in other and sitting on the side of the bed, respects happy-most happy; it is his head towards the pillow, with part of my misery now to think how his hands clasped upon his forehead. happy I was. From the day I saw Mr It appeared as if he had suņk down H., who came to live in the house