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In this manner he followed unperceived in the old man's wake, but did not venture to accost him until, after a considerable walk, he pulled up at a small deserted-looking public-house at the rear of Islington, which appeared to offer the privacy requisite for their second meeting
As Jerry had no particular desire, under present circumstances, to mingle with all such chance customers as might come in, he avoided the common drinking-room, and walked into a parlour, the air of which smelled like that of a well some time since fumigated with tobacco smoke. The table was dull, as though accustomed to be cleaned with a dishcloth; the floor spread with coarse sand; while the window looked out upon a back-yard nearly as large as an ordinary closet.
As Jerry seemed inclined to stop a while, a fat unwashed girl, with her hair half out of her cap, and her countenance curiously smeared with ashes and black-lead, came in to light a fire already “built” in the grate, and composed of the worn-out fibres of a superannuated besom.
“Glass of ale? ” demanded the girl, as she blew out her candle, and nipped the snuff with her fingers.
Jerry fixed his eyes upon her with a degree of sternness amounting almost to ferocity.
“What master taught you, young woman,” said he, “to ask a gentleman coming into your house to take ale, before it is ascertained that he drinks malt-liquor ? Learn your business better, miss, and
go and bring me some hot water, and half a quartern of rum in it."
Scarcely had the girl departed ere Colin entered the room. Jerry looked at him during a space of some moments, and then turned to the fire-place, without uttering a word.
“ It is more than might have been expected," observed Colin, taking a chair, and speaking in an assumed tone of careless surprise, “that I should have the good fortune to meet with you so early again this morning. But I am thankful indeed to find you alive and unharmed, after expecting nothing less than that
you must have met your death in a dozen different dangers.”
“ You thankful!” exclaimed Jerry. “Nay, nay, now ! - What ! hypocritical, like all the rest of the world? You care nothing for me, so don't pretend it,—no, nor for your mother either. Though a poor old man, sir, I am proud to be honest; and from this day forwards shall disown you. You are too great a coward, sir.”
“To be induced to lift my hand against the life of a man who has befriended me, and is my own father, too, most certainly I am,” replied Colin.
“What-bribery !”exclaimed Jerry ; “purchased with fine clothes, I see! I say, you are too much of the worm.”
“ To injure my father, I am.”
" I hope not,” replied Colin. “An injury may be great; but there is such a thing as restitution. Mr. Lupton is kind to me.”
“ To you? But what is that to your mother, or to me, her
father? Ay, ay, I see, young man, it is all self, self! Mr. Lupton is very kind to me-true-to me, and that is enough.”
No, it is not enough,” answered our hero. “A great deal more must be done, and may be done, if, to begin with, I can but make you and Mr. Lupton friends."
“Friends!” exclaimed Jerry “ FRIENDS! Utter that word again, sir"
“I do; I repeat it,” he continued ; “and I am not such a coward as to fear that you will attempt to harm me, because I say
that, both for my mother's sake and your own, for Mr. Lupton's and mine, you must be friends. Remember, if you have something to forgive him, he has a great deal to forgive you also.”
“He something to forgive me! What is it? I suppose for having spared him so long. But if I spare him much longer, may I never be forgiven where I shall better want it !”
" It is but this hour or two ago," Colin replied, " that I prevailed on him not to raise the hue and cry after you until things could be explained, although you have twice attempted his life.”
“Is that it? Is that his forgiveness? Then I hurl it back in his face, and in yours, and tell him I want none of it! If he wants to take me, let him, and I will sit here till he comes. Fetch him, and let him try; and then, if the third time does not do for all, I shall well deserve a gallows for being such a bungler at my business."
“ He has no desire to injure you at all,” said Colin.
“How kind of him !" retorted Jerry, “ seeing how good he has been to my daughter, and how badly I have rewarded him for it!”
“ But you must know how much the law puts in his power.”
“I care neither for the law nor his power. My law is my own, and that I shall abide by.”
Not to prolong this dialogue, I shall merely observe, that Jerry Clink concluded it by emphatically declaring, that never to the end of his life should he give up this the great object for which he lived, and this asseveration he ratified by all such infernal powers as could conveniently be summed up into one long oath-like sentence.
Finding all his efforts to mollify the determination of a bloody vengeance, which Jerry still so violently entertained, altogether vain, Colin could not at the moment form any other conclusion than that which pointed out the propriety of securing Jerry, in order to insure Mr. Lupton's safety. This, however, from the consequences which must follow, was a step from which he turned with horror. Was there no way by which to avoid the dreadful necessity of involving his own mother's parent in the pains of a fearful criminal law? How devoutly did he wish that he could be a reconciler of those whose own evils had brought them into this depth of trouble! Then, indeed, all might be at least so far well, as any ending may be which comes of so sad a beginning; for he felt that, after the disclosures which had that morning been made, the brightest light of his future life was dimmed.
Still he clung to the hope that the old man's violence might be mitigated, as he became more familiar with the thoughts of atonement being made to his daughter, and as the kindness of Mr. Lupton to himself should be rendered more evident.
The agitation consequent on these reflections, caused him almost to forget the object he had in view with respect to Woodruff.
Before, however, their interview terminated, Colin again alluded to the subject, and requested at least to be informed by what chance it could have happened that the gentleman alluded to could have been confided to the keeping of Jerry Clink.
Why, as to that,” replied Jerry, "I've no particular objection to tell
you ; but mind, I shall go no farther. Don't inquire whether he is likely to be dead or alive next week, where he is,—or anything else about him. You remember that night I jumped out o'the window at Kiddal Hall, when, but for your meddling, I should have brought down my game without twice loading. Well, I got into the woods safe enough ; but, knowing the place would be too hot to hold me for a while, I went off into a different part of the country. I changed my dress and name, and at last pitched my tent in a solitary part of Sherwood Forest, where I never saw man, and no man saw me, for weeks together. However, as I gathered ling for making besoms, and carried them about the country, I got to be known; and, amongst the rest, I fell in with a Mr. Rowel, who lived on the edge of the waste, and who behaved very well to me. Well, one day he came down to my rock-hole, and told me as how he wanted me to take a madman under my keeping, who had been brought to his house by his brother, and whom they wanted, for particular reasons, to get out of the way. Well, well,' said I to him, 'bring him down : I care for neither a madman nor the devil.' They accordingly brought him, tied hand and foot, and blindfolded, pitched him into my place, and there I have had him ever since, and been well paid for my trouble, or else I should not have been here. However, when the man himself told me his story, I found he was not more mad than them that sent him ; and so, as your mother had told me all about your part of the affair besides, - for she knew where I was gone to,—I thought it a fair chance for making you do as a son ought, when, perhaps, it did not lie so conveniently in my power. But I am deceived in you; and sooner than I 'll ask anybody else again to do my business, may I be sunk to the lowest pit of perdition!”
“ Say no more,” observed Colin, interrupting him,“ but just answer me this"
“ Mind," said Jerry, “I clapped an injunction on you."
But he reflected that Jerry's abode would now be no difficult thing to discover, and that, with management, it might readily be surprised, and Woodruff's liberation effected.
One thing more only did he now wish to be made acquainted with, for on that depended the course he should adopt with respect to Jerry himself. He wished to ascertain whether it was the old man's intention to remain, seeking opportunities for gratifying his revenge,
, or to return at once to the country.
“I shall not stay here," replied Jerry, "for I can trust none of you ; but when least expected, Mr. Lupton will find me by his side.”
Trusting to put Mr. Lupton on his guard, and hoping to avert danger altogether, without appeal to legal protection, Colin concluded not to molest the old man.
Thus, then, he parted with Jerry, forming, as he returned townwards, a very ingenious scheme for countermining the plans of which Rowel and his brother had made Jerry Clink the instrument.
In which Mr. Lupton explains to Colin the story of himself and his lady. When next Colin met the Squire, it was under the influence of such feelings as scarcely left him at liberty to speak; while Mr. Lupton, on his part, received him with that quiet melancholy, though unembarrassed air, which marked emphatically a man upon whom the force of circumstances has produced a lasting sense of dejection
“For some time past,” said he, taking Colin's hand, — "for some time past, my boy, I have felt that it must come to this. Ever since the time when Providence so singularly threw it in your power to save me from a violent end, - and from such a hand too ! — I have been as a changed man. By that event Heaven seemed to lay, as it were, a palpable finger upon my soul, the dint of which is everlasting. That I should have been so saved appears to me a lesson, in which Providence intended at once to admonish me of my cri. minality, and to remind me of its mercy."
Mr. Lupton covered his eyes with his hand. In a few minutes he continued,
“ From that moment I foresaw that, sooner or later, you must know all. Now you do know all; and that in such a shape, as to render any farther allusion to it needless. The subject is at best a painful one. I now acknowledge you as my son; and I confess that a proud, though painful, time it is. Save in yours and my own, the blood of an ancient and honourable family runs in no human veins. You are grown to manhood, and the circumstances which Providence has brought about enable me to address you thus without impropriety. But you must be told, my boy, that I was the very last of my race. My father knew it; he lamented over it; but he cherished and guarded me because of it. I knew it too. With our ideas of descent, it is the bitterest thought in a man's breast to think that here the stream must stop. Anxiety for my life helped to bring my father to the grave earlier than nature would have called him;—he died while yet I was young. But before he died he bound me, to marry one of the members of an opulent family. I did so, and the lady he had selected became my wife. There were circumstances between Mrs. Lupton and myself which, while they made her deem herself most unhappy in her fate, left me no less so in opinion of mine. Years passed on, and I was still the LAST. Beyond this I need not go. Only this I will say, that, under circumstances which the world may deem criminal, there may be hidden feelings, and springs of action, which no heart knows but his that contains them, and which, through the force of perhaps erroneous notions, have become equally strong with right principles, and may therefore be received in palliation.”
“With regard to Mrs. Lupton," continued the Squire, " as I intend shortly to introduce you to her, it may be as well to inform you that the satisfaction your presence in my house will give must not be judged from her reception of you. What it may be I cannot fore
But it is needful you should be introduced to her as the heir of Kiddal, before she dies. Had she acceded to my ago, — had we, as I desired, been divorced before you were born,
this present trouble would never have come upon us; but that proceeding she wholly resisted. And though there are circumstances, which might place the power of adopting such an alternative in my own hands; yet, rather than so deeply wound the feelings of a woman who loved me, and whom I had loved, I have rather chosen to pass years of unavailing regret, and come to this at last. I have neglected her, it is true, partly in hopes of inducing her to give way, and partly because I had no heart to be a hypocrite. But her fault was in loving me, when she should have forgotten me. She was my wife, and such she determined to live and die.”
Mr. Lupton subsequently informed Colin, that although the lady had, during some years past, lived apart from him, yet that recently she had expressed her intention to return to the old hall, and to pass the following winter there. On that occasion it was purposed that Colin should meet her.
I should be doing injustice to my hero were I to disguise the satisfaction which he could not fail to feel from the prospects that Mr. Lupton opened before him. To think that, from a poor farmer's boy, he should thus suddenly have risen to the rank of a squire's son, with the certainty of a great fortune, and such a fine old house as Kiddal Hall. What a triumph did it not give him over all the paltry and tyrannical souls who had made his life miserable.
These matters disposed of, Colin seized his opportunity to re-introduce the question regarding old Jerry Clink.
“With respect to him,” replied Mr. Lupton, “I am too sensible of his feelings, and the cause of them, to entertain against him any ideas of retaliation. My own security I must provide for ; and, so long as that can be insured, I shall take no farthe notice of the past. We had better on both sides avoid wronging each other any farther."
Colin expressed his hopes that everything might yet be accommodated in a manner which would leave all parties the happier for their forgiveness, and the wiser from the troubles they had undergone.
“ It is hopeless," answered Mr. Lupton. “The man whose determination to have revenge, can so vividly outlive the wear of so many years, is not, I am afraid, of a sufficiently ductile metal to be ever formed into a kinder shape. Unless some unforeseen circumstance should come between to reverse the present tendency of events, it is to me an evident truth, that either that old man or I will eventually prove the death of the other.”
This opinion he uttered in such a prophetical tone, as left upon the mind of his hearer an impression which all his own hopes to the contrary were insufficient to eradicate.
Wherein Peter Veriquear makes love to Miss Sowersoft, and becomes involved in
trouble.--Mr. Palethorpe's reconciliation with his mistress. In pursuance of a design which our hero had secretly formed, involving a journey to Sherwood Forest, and the carrying off of James Woodruff, he one afternoon might have been seen wending his way towards his old quarters in Bethnal Green. The co-operation of some one, a stranger to Jerry, and in whom entire confidence could