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“And he is taking a driving trip on my break, is he?” said Ted demurely, and not appearing exactly to fancy the idea.
“And the Conference is to be held?”
In the second week of November, 1803, a play called “A Bold Stroke for a Wife” was running at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Miss Mellor was playing Anne; Bannister, Highwell; Atkin was Simon Pure; and Grimaldi, Aminadab. One night the prompter, otherwise the assistant stage manager, had put his head in at the green-room door and had summoned Mr. Grimaldi, and as the actor was going on the stage a messenger told him that two gentlemen were waiting to see him at the stage door. The stage must never wait, so Grimaldi sent a message to the gentlemen, to the effect that he would come down to them as soon as the business of the scene was over. Accordingly, he went to the stage door and found there two gentlemanly young men.
His first impulse was to throw the letter into the fire, unread. There could be little doubt, after the time that had passed, of the information that it would contain. Could he endure to be told of the marriage of Iris, by the man who was her husband? Never! There was something humiliating in the very idea of it. He arrived at that conclusion — and what did he do in spite of it? He read the letter.
"I am not sure that you are acting wisely. I doubt if you can make expenses. What are you to be paid?"
10 In Werdet’s account this journey is placed between September and November; but the Letters to the Stranger prove that the date he gives is incorrect.
He waited until Jordan had complied. "The tank must be placed in the ship," he added.
2.“What the hell do you know about it?” said Farrington fiercely, turning on the man. “What do you put in your gab for?”>
Never had his intellect functioned with a more satisfactory, a more beautiful, precision. The argument was perfect; there was, in fact, only one mistake about it, and that was that it had ever been made. A simpleton might have done better, for a simpleton might have perceived instinctively the essentials of the situation. It was an occasion for the broad grasp of common humanity, not for the razor-blade of a subtle intelligence. Bacon could not see this; he could not see that the long friendship, the incessant kindness, the high generosity, and the touching admiration of the Earl had made a participation in his ruin a deplorable and disgraceful thing. Sir Charles Davers was not a clever man; but his absolute devotion to his benefactor still smells sweet amid the withered corruptions of history. In Bacon’s case such reckless heroism was not demanded; mere abstention would have been enough. If, braving the Queen’s displeasure, he had withdrawn to Cambridge, cut down his extravagances, dismissed Jones, and devoted himself to those sciences which he so truly loved . . . but it was an impossibility. It was not in his nature or his destiny. The woolsack awaited him. Inspired with the ingenious grandeur of the serpent, he must deploy to the full the long luxury of his coils. One watches, fascinated, the glittering allurement; one desires in vain to turn away one’s face.
No one pretends to deny that there are in the South, some cruel, irreligious—inhuman—slave-holders—and who will have the hardihood to deny that there are also in the North, thousands of cruel, irreligious and inhuman, masters, husbands, and fathers! Would the latter fact be a justifiable reason for branding all the masters, husbands, and fathers, in the North, as a set of cruel, irreligious, inhuman monsters? Ah, but says the Abolitionist, they do not use the lash in the North.—Don't they? If not, it is only because many prefer the cudgel, which they use liberally on the head, back, and limbs of their unfortunate white slaves! How many think you (in this religious city of Philadelphia) white masters, and white husbands, and white fathers, are annually bound over or punished for cruelty to their white apprentices—white wives—and white children? And how many more are they, whose barbarity never comes to light, or whose wealth shelters them? Methinks the effects of the cruelty of a husband or of a father, would be just as sore on the back or head of a wife, or of a child, as if they were the effects of the cruelty of a slave-holder: a rose smells as sweet by any other name! You reply they cannot sell them here; I answer, it would be far to the advantage of many if they could.
“From this room I go to my death-bed. The last words I speak in this world shall be to my husband, and shall change his heart towards you. I have been weak of purpose,” (as she said this, a strange sweetness and mournfulness began to steal over her tones,) “miserably, guiltily weak, all my life. Much sorrow and pain and heavy disappointment, when I was young, did some great harm to me which I have never recovered since. I have lived always in fear of others, and doubt of myself; and this has made me guilty of a great sin towards you. Forgive me before I die! I suspected the guilt that was preparing — I foreboded the shame that was to come — they hid it from others’ eyes; but, from the first, they could not hide it from mine — and yet I never warned you as I ought! That man had the power of Satan over me! I always shuddered before him, as I used to shudder at the darkness when I was a little child! My life has been all fear — fear of him; fear of my husband, and even of my daughter; fear, worse still, of my own thoughts, and of what I had discovered that should be told to you. When I tried to speak, you were too generous to understand me — I was afraid to think my suspicions were right, long after they should have been suspicions no longer. It was misery!— oh, what misery from then till now!”