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things as they are




Things As They Are 

by 




Peter Ramo


A Nu Prose Arrangement based on the novel “Caleb Williams or Things As They Are” by William Godwin 






Introduction 

It cost him some days of deep anxiety. He had determined on the main purpose of his story. He struck out on a path of his own, where the beam of the eye of Omniscience perpetually pursued the guilty. He persisted in his attempts to discover the forbidden secret. He endeavored not to inflict a set of crude and incoherent dreams on his readers. He plainly reels to and from like a drunken man. Now sinking in despair, now roused and sustained in unusual energy, he slept and was refreshed. 



*



Part One 


Chapter One 

He was marked by the vigilance of tyranny. In the summer of the year, he visited his estate in the country. One day I went to a closet, or small apartment. A narrow gallery was lighted by a small window. The whole fortune of my life was linked to his. My name and my existence were irretrievably blasted. 

I was interested in tales where corporeal ingenuity and strength were the means resorted to. He appeared willing that the weight of his misfortune fall wholly on himself. 

My reception was as gracious and encouraging as I could have imagined. His avocations obliged him to be much abroad. I concluded that he was at times disordered in his intellect. 

Before this time, my life had been a theater of calamity. It gave me my mechanical turn. I acquainted myself with the solutions that had been invented for the phenomena of the universe. My mode of life was reclusive and solitary. His voice thrilled my very vitals. His mind was fraught with rhapsodies of a visionary hour, which strongly inflamed my curiosity. 

There are other circumstances deserving to be mentioned. I was taught no rudiments of science but I had an inquisitive mind. I panted for the unraveling of an adventure. There was a grave and sad solemnity in his air. I formed golden visions of the station I was about to occupy. He was a stranger to everything usually called pleasure. He was guided by principles of inflexible integrity. 

As I opened the door, I heard a deep groan of anguish. He advanced toward me. I vanished in a moment. I concluded with a solemn declaration. He was courted by sages, and adored by the fair. My heart bleeds at the memory of his misfortunes. He was incapable of surviving the wound his pride had sustained. 



Chapter Two 

He was perpetually alive to sentiments of birth and honor. He fell into the company of several young noblemen, by whom he was assiduously courted. He was too ardent a lover to preserve his affable temper. He was conscious that the qualifications of his rival were superior to his. 

She was happy that he had at last disclosed his true character. He completed the conquest of her resentment. He was entangled before he was aware. They learned to avoid haste and indiscretion. He considered that in reality the original blame was his own. His patience was already exhausted. 

The Count had only one daughter, the heiress of his immense fortune. Her admirers were a source of uneasiness to him. She was accustomed to receive universal adoration. He was scarcely able to believe his senses. His attempts to check the impetuosity of his thoughts were ineffectual. 

The subject of his suspicion was beyond the reach of doubt. He trembled for the progress each party might have made. She had been amused before with his conversation. He assiduously conformed to the model of heroism that his fancy suggested. Meanwhile certain incidents delayed their intended nuptials. 



Chapter Three 

Waters of bitterness extended beyond him, overwhelmed with an anguish he couldn’t bear. He resented the rebellion against his authority. They had hitherto submitted from fear, not from love. Every moment he was in danger of being crushed by the fangs of his associate. He discarded precaution. His motive was impatience, his thoughts were gloomy. He had always regarded him with aversion and loathing. But he soon broke loose from these trammels. He discovered sagacity and quick-wittedness in the science of horseflesh. 

A wayward fit seized him. He reduced his adversaries with a high hand. He and his competitor were like two stars fated never to appear together. Monkeys were as good as these, he thought. He was perpetually anxious to prove his superiority. It was painfully felt and belonged to an obvious feature of the human mind. He writhed with agony. His face was distorted and inspired terror under the torment of demons. 

He slid in a graceful and unaffected manner into a conversation already begun. He would suffer no man to intrude on his claims. Her affections were not the subject of the present question. He tried to adjust it so that the ferociousness of his antagonist subsided into impotence. It was evident that he was accumulating materials for a bitter accounting. 

He entered upon the execution of his purpose. His mother was a woman of narrow capacity. She thought there was nothing in the world so precious as her most servile and obedient son. His prowess could fell an ox with his fist, then devour it at a meal. He showed himself in the rude tricks of an overgrown lubber. He described an animal that was beneath contempt. He wanted to set up a new standard of human nature adapted to his miserable condition. He knew very well how it was: It was a miserable piece of mummery. It was in vain that he tried to restrain his rugged character. He intended in a few minutes to lead her to the field. There was a fascination to his manner. He brooded over it in the recesses of his deluded mind. 



Chapter Four 

He was destined to endure innumerable instances of petty mortification. He regarded him with added dislike. But the world is all alike. He shuddered to think of the consequences. They were pregnant with death. He wished to withdraw himself but some unseen power retained him in his place. He pointed out their mistakes with frankness. What distinguished him was his perpetual manners and grace. If the world was governed by words, he’d be in the right box. He smarted under a succession of unforeseen events. There was a loftiness in his manner that was calculated to irritate. 

“No man must think the world was made for him,” he said. He fell back into his habitual character. They presented a comedy for the amusement of their acquaintances. His coming was a pledge of how deeply he was impressed. He thought this was the fittest time to come to an understanding. He had reason to hug himself for the experiment. He was too indolent to contend with. He seemed to have some notion of things as they are. His vehemence was withdrawn. 

The sensations were of a sort they weren’t accustomed to. He carried it home to the heart. He accidentally sat at the extremity of the circle. The pictures conjured up by the fancy of the poet were placed in full view, overwhelming the soul with superstitious awe and luxuriant beauty. The instrument that was employed to connect their irregularities never mangled what it healed. 

He had not the slightest pretensions. A thousand times he cursed his stars. His writings remain as a kind of specimen of what the human mind is capable of. Tranquil and mild enthusiasm, richness of conception, an amazing variety of ideas flowed with ease off his tongue. The curiosity of the company was immediately excited, and a lady added, “Being provided, thus produced would not be disagreeable.” 

Accordingly it was exhibited to every attention. Nevertheless, he wanted to know what a shipload of such stuff is good for? What a pitiful scoundrel to make all this bustle about, he thought. Why shouldn’t they be enemies? He was ready again to take fire at this new slight. He accommodated himself to unavoidable circumstances. He returned to his text. “As we brew, we bake.” He coolly reflected on what had passed. He had it all hollow. He would be glad to grind his heartstrings with his teeth. He seemed to lie in wait for his victim, and to collect himself for a mortal assault. 



Chapter Five 

He was the idol of all that knew him. If he could sleep, it would be the same as recovering. He exacted a promise although he had a painful presentiment in his heart. Acutely sensible of injury, he quietly withdrew the curtain and looked at the dying man. The struggle was over. He had done his part. He fondly hovered over his bed. 

This took away the great operative check upon his excesses. The gloom he inspired overflowed upon all his connections. He was destined to have the worse in that battle. He put him on guard against a mischief he saw imminent. At length he couldn’t deceive himself any longer. His uncultivated brutality mixed with certain rude notions of religion. His soul had a great deal to answer for. 

Not long after, a malignant temper broke out in the neighborhood. They mourned the danger that threatened him. A sanguine observer predicted he would be able to keep death at bay. But it was not to be. He persisted with obstinacy. Tomorrow he was to be an insensible corpse. He was visited with a sudden pang, but seemed to rise above it. He was capable of changing his whole history of misery and guilt. He spoke in short sentences and with visible effort. He left some legacies. He thought of a better purpose. The sense of his situation shamed him. New examples of his sullenness reflected back on the accumulated feud. 



Chapter Six 

She had married imprudently – or rather, unfortunately. The mischief advanced with an accelerated motion. She talked from the pure gaiety of a youthful heart. There was very little change in her situation. She was frequently able to soothe the perturbations of his gloomy nature, to which he was eminently a slave. She spoke to him without fear. He found himself solitary and forlorn. 

A state of mind in both parties had fatal effects. In consequence of a precipitous step, she would sometimes venture upon a good-humored expostulation. He was accustomed to the uncontrolled indulgence of his propensities. His image excited no reveries in her mind when his looks were directed at her. Restoring the fan she had dropped, fraught with prepossessions, disembarrassing her of an empty tea cup, she probably cherished a confused feeling that was yet in the womb of fate. 

At length she wholly conquered her heedless inattention. But it was too late. All his kindness rapidly evaporated. His objections grew more palpable and uniform. It was therefore not difficult to restrain her. She entered into a confederacy that disturbed his judgment. All was a fairyland and enchantment. Her emotions were indescribable. Her tongue incessantly described her danger and prayed for deliverance, instantaneously converted into a joyous certainty that howled from her lips. This combined with her other emotions to render the whole intoxicating. He chose unpremeditated emotions which are common to the human race. He was tortured by the innocent elegies she pronounced. She filled the air with heartrending shrieks. 

He entered by a window in the roof. She cast an anxious and piercing look among the surrounding crowd. The task was too dangerous to be undertaken. Utmost consternation was painted in her looks. They seemed threatened with immediate destruction. 

All that remained was rapid and tremendous. She was admitted into a sort of equivocal situation. Most of all she imbibed a cheerful and artless temper. Her appearance was not beautiful, but it did not fail to be engaging. He turned upon her with an impatient sternness. A hollow wind seemed to rise at a distance. A sudden angle in the road placed the phenomenon directly before them. 

He figured himself about to be deserted by every creature in human form. She wondered how he could be so ill-natured. Her artless love became more fervent. They thought they saw a beneficent genius controlling the whole. She stood wringing her hands in an agony of despair. 



Chapter Seven 

He sympathized with the brutality and insolence of his friend. She was grieved at the absence of her protector and counselor. Their mutual felicitations did not last long. He was not fit for her. The tempest of his thoughts no longer permitted the mastery of himself. He found the means to spread the pestilence in his family. They were both forced to do what they were not inclined to. 

She had no romantic notions in her head. At length he threw himself into a chair. He dared not look poverty in the face. She did not know what was passing in the breast of the tyrant. She thought of flying from a house which had become her dungeon. Her character was unspoiled by false wants. By this time she had mustered up her spirits. “Come, come, never be cast down. Put a good face on it,” he said. 

He wanted to thrust her from his doors. He was in all respects the diametrical reverse of her. The proceeding involved him in considerable difficulty. She could not bear the uneasy state of suspense which the conversation left in her mind. She had unaccountable notions in her head. She was confounded by the novelty of the situation. She recollected the cause she was going to plead. He was a little dismayed at the spirit she displayed on the occasion. The two friends drew a melancholy conclusion from this separation. She was taught by the uncertainty of events to want to prolong a situation which had its pleasure. 

She would not be driven away any way he liked. He delighted in a sort of manual of sarcasm. She had the wildness of the bird that warbles unmolested in its native groves. He had an incapacity to conceive the finer feelings. He bade her make a silk cushion to lie in his dressing room. She dared to look down upon her equals. She needed to be taught the difference between high-flown notions and reality. 

He knew she had a right to have a will of her own. The shortest way was best, and best to keep things short. The furrows of his countenance gradually relaxed. His angry expostulations suggested new ideas to her tender mind. She recoiled, without knowing why. He was studious in the sequence. She was wholly unable to determine what construction to put upon it. 



Chapter Eight 

She turned towards him with an air of greater firmness. He did everything in his power to blast her reputation. The moment they were detected, they were eliminated. She did it with complete simplicity and charming confusion. She heard the sound of a key in her chamber door. After this she went to her drawers, and turned over her linen and clothes. The attendant circumstances of darkness and solitude aggravated the picture. By some sly or sarcastic remark, he produced in her the most painful and aching anxiety. 

He played upon the fears of his prisoner. There was no likelihood that their suspicions would fall on him. He had countermined her. She dared to defy his resentment at a time when she had everything to fear. A license was bought, a parson in readiness, and a day was fixed for the nuptials. She did not believe that he had made the proposal out of pure good nature. She felt just broken loose, as it were, from the trammels of infancy. The struggle was too great for her constitution. She deeply felt the trick that was played on her. He advanced on tiptoe with a finger to his lips. “I think we may as well stop here a bit,” he said. With a strong and unexpected jerk, she disengaged the bridle from his grasp. By an extraordinary accident they found a man on horseback in wait at the gate. 

The unhappiness of this unfortunate girl increased his interest. She was obliged to repeat her kinsman’s rude accusations against her. He wanted not only to do what he intended, but also save from a perilous offense a man who seemed to have wrongly imbibed justice and virtue. She had been, the moment before, in the most alarming situation. He listened with eagerness and surprise. 

His resistance was sullenly made. He was inexpressibly mortified in being so overreached. He was disappointed at the loss of his gratification. She felt there was no hope of softening the obstinate brute in whose power she was placed. Farfetched and dear-bought were always relishing. She was a delicate morsel, and there was no time to be lost, he thought. She examined with her eye the doors and passages as they proceeded, and looked on all sides. Everything was vacant and still as she herself. 

From time to time her ear was struck with the sound of treading feet. She conceived she heard a noise of buzzing and low-muttered speech. Her heart palpitated. 

He sought to make sport of her anxiety, for now it was the hour of rest. The slut uttered her farewell. She sat down in a chair and remained buried in reverie for more than two hours. At last the night, so critical to her happiness, approached. She had never before experienced the anguish of never having known her parents. 

He did not hesitate by the most daring treachery to complete her ruin. Her waking thoughts were not more consoling. Meanwhile the day was interspersed with preparations and punctuality of execution. She was pestered with intimations of the fate that clearly awaited her. He was resolved to condescend no further to her whims. He appeared to be moved by the fervency of her manner. In a concern that was completely her own, should her will go for nothing? Every hardship she suffered put still further distant the end which was his purpose. 

She preferred liberty to wealth. She was acquainted with the only means that could make a change. Then he changed the whole system of his conduct, plunging her into total ruin. 

He was an instrument exactly suited to his purpose. Neither protestation, nor silence, nor fainting was of any avail. Her ingenuous character did not allow her to suspect him. She left her heart sensibly lightened. He was remarkably silent and contemplative, a circumstance agreeable to her. Two horses ready equipped for a journey, fastened by their bridles to posts, stood within a hop, step and jump of them. It was not very probable that anyone would appear to interrupt his designs. Two other men heard the bustle of the encounter. His compassion had long been excited in her favor. It was the eagerness of his zeal that had brought him up that early. 

He did not stay to parlay, but rode off in silence. This new adventure promised something extraordinary. It would be inexcusable if he didn’t provide against possible accidents. Such an elevated personage speedily had put the ravisher to flight. He was a total stranger, someone he did not recollect to having ever seemed.



Chapter Nine 

He had experienced the nullity of all expostulation. He had the view of protecting him from arbitrary proceedings, and all the painful tragedies annexed to them. That was the end to all regulation. It became every day more difficult to keep them under subordination. There was no foreseeing where it would end. He could not bear to think he was unthankful. But the treatment was too much for his patience. 

He was a fawn contending with a lion. These operations did not proceed unobserved. He was wounded in the point that was nearest his heart. He no long had any spirit to exert effort. He was upon the point of perishing from his malice. The extremity grew more urgent. He was sorry for a piece of news he had just heard. He believed that distinction was a good thing. He unfeelingly gave another turn to the machine that would crush them into atoms. He asked him to have some reason in his resentment. He had the wit to tell a plausible tale. His face reddened with indignation. At this moment his heart died within him. 

Another affair brought these mortal enemies into a state of contest. He didn’t think it proper to encourage rebellion. He had certain accomplishments which qualified him to be his favorite. He could not bear to tell him a lie. “Not so fast, your honor,” he answered. He was a plain, honest working man. He wouldn’t suffer such a villain on his land. He employed a whole series of subterfuges. He was insolently attacked in law by the scum of the earth. This was the finishing stroke to his miseries. The field in question was a warren in which hares were regularly fed. 

He avoided communicating or bewailing his hard hap. He wanted no monitor, and wouldn’t have one. He remained for the moment motionless and petrified. He lifted the curtain, and brought forth the last act of the tragedy. Such a hatred never existed in a human bosom. He knew very well that tyranny is a bad thing. He removed all the obstructions that had been placed in his path. A sudden mortality took place among his livestock. He was guilty of a double imprudence. Nothing could have been easier to predict. Had he been nursing a viper in his bosom? He was too astonished to open his mouth. He was installed out of hand in the catalog of his tenants. His fondness made him do a foolish thing. 

Flaming indignation annihilated his sense of honor. He had been temporarily confounded. Vengeance was his nightly dream. The inquiries he set afoot proved fruitless. It described what he chiefly feared. The ungrateful rascal only insulted him for his pains. “I will tread you into paste!” he threatened. 



Chapter Ten 

It may easily be supposed that he became frantic with vexation. She drew her breath with difficulty. They had particular directions against that. They were not at liberty to lose a minute. Danger and injustice assailed her with their menaces. He took pride in publishing his dishonor. He was shocked at the execrations which overwhelmed him. Her soul sickened at the recollection. He never questioned his order in his life. She advanced to the door of the backroom. In this strange and unexpected connection, the language employed was mysterious to her. The incredible and painful reality dissipated the illusions of frenzy. 

He was her first and only love, and he should be her husband. No one made the smallest exertion for his rescue. He tore himself away from the painful scene. Her eyes a thousand times turned upon his countenance without daring to breathe a question. In the meantime, she listened with the deepest attention to everything. 

She thanked him for the trouble he had taken. She burst into tears of transport. She loved her like a mother. The scene was exquisitely agonizing to a man of acute sensibility. It was not in his power to break her heart, distracted by fancy, deformed by wounds. He was impenetrable to all she could urge. He was not home when the messenger arrived. She yielded with sweet resignation to an incredible evil. “Do not harass yourself with useless efforts,” she said. “My misfortune is inevitable.” 

She was exhausted by the wild and distracting images that haunted her fancy. Now she sank into a refreshing slumber. They had provoked him beyond bearing. He revolved in the gloomy recesses of his mind how he might shake off the disappointment that had wrought his thoughts to a degree of insanity. His mind was hardened by use. He transferred the anguish that preyed upon his mind to another. He was mocked with the shadow of power. He could scarcely find a flaw in the process. He thought she would be obliged by decorum to draw a veil over the compulsion she had suffered. His heart trembled with an unconquerable inferiority. 

She was safe against the reach of misfortune. It made him careless and desperate in his conduct. He would not hear of an instant’s delay. She was full of compassion for the lovely sufferer. She explained to her what was enigmatical in the conversation. She exhorted him to mix humanity and moderation in the discharge of his duties. He began to have some apprehensions. The orders he had received were peremptory. She was a volunteer to a scene little adapted to their accommodation. He had been too much under the dominion of an uncontrollable fury. She reproached them with the sordidness of their conduct. 

She had been kept for several days in a perpetual hurry of spirits. Every sound made her tremble. The sight of him revived in her mind an imperfect recollection of her wanderings. He joined in the request to keep her quiet and avoid occasions of exertion. He added that he could answer for nothing. The calm of the morning proved to be a false dawn before death. Her eyes became fixed. Few persons had a sincerer relish of the pleasures of life. She sincerely forgave his barbarity. She tried to communicate without words. 



Chapter Eleven 

He was the most diabolical wretch that had ever dishonored the human form. He was unable to continue in one posture, and to remain in one place. He once more quitted the apartment. They reddened at the sight of each other. They could have concentrated their indignant feelings, but they wanted a leader. At length he decided to collect his strength for a decisive effort. He would not take any unnecessary risk in his chance for future ease and importance. The neighborhood was growing too hot for him to endure. Now he looked around. Some muttered curses. They leveled all distinctions – like death! They laughed at his bare chest. She shook her head in grief and indignation. Nobody could say that he was to blame! It was no matter for jesting. She promised to comport herself with moderation and civility. 

The doctor was a man of cool and methodical habits. He was reluctant to expose himself to the resentment of a person. He no sooner mentioned these ideas, than they seemed to make a sudden impression on her. “Come with me and convince your eyes. It will be a feast to such a heart as yours!” Saying this, she held out her hand, as if to take him to the spot. 

He stood confounded at what he had done. Did he think he could do and undo, change things this way and that, as he pleased? He had found a ghost that exterminated his peace upon the slightest provocation with an impetuous tide, which swept away mounds of subordination and fear. A remorse flooded him that stung his conscience. 

He resolved to repair to his rural assembly, trusting he could effect his re-establishment and preserve the ground he gained. Some endeavored to hustle him. He considered himself as playing a desperate stake. He then broke silence. At this moment his foe walked into the room. He would not hear the universal indignation of mankind. What a pitiful figure he made at that moment. He could no longer endure the sufferings they inflicted. 

No precaution had been taken, for nothing was more unexpected. The general voice was eager to abash him. With one blow of his muscular arm he leveled him to earth. Every passion of his life was calculated to make him feel it acutely. His mind was full of uproar like the war of contending elements. It caused him first to hesitate, then be silent. Public sentiment had long been gathering strength unperceived. “Tell me that you have only been deceiving me,” he said. He burst away from the spot with vehemence. A fearful catalog rose up in judgment against him. He was disengaged from the insects that at first pestered him. He had nothing personally to complain of. In the fierceness of his wrath no one was able to reply. His infamous conduct had forfeited his rights. 

In the interval he intoxicated himself with large draughts of brandy. He was once again brought down to earth. He stooped apparently with the intention of dragging him along the floor. He had repeatedly exerted energy and prudence to prevent the misunderstanding from proceeding to extremities. He wished for annihilation, to drown in eternal oblivion, for an insensibility. A persuasion that effort was powerless filled his soul to bursting. 




Chapter Twelve

His reflections on the subject were uncommonly judicious. He was pervaded too deeply by the romances of chivalry to ever forget the situation. He was fallen under the most exquisite calamities and the imputation of foul crimes. He hoped their investigation would be at least rendered as solemnly as possible. No particular facts could be stated to balance these. He was prompted to make an apology for what he was doing. No one entertained the shadow of a doubt upon the subject. His life was a worthless thing. His death served to consummate the ruin of the man he hated. Now he made himself a rigid recluse. 

It was emotion disinterested and divine. He was dragged along in triumph. He was the fool of honor and fame. But nothing could reach his heart. The melancholy that had taken hold of his mind was invincible. A mere concurrence of circumstances made it necessary. Reputation had been the idol, the jewel of his life. They afforded him most honorable testimony. “Look around you. l ask anyone present, enquire of your heart!” he said. “Are you ready?’ He took refuge from that night in a voluntary death. He was deserving of approbation, not censure. He had already mounted his horse and ridden home. He took an object from a private drawer. 

The rumor unchecked seemed daily to increase. It was a dreadful addition to the load of intellectual anguish that had already befallen him. He looked down with indifference upon an open wound. He seemed now to have no visions but of anguish and despair. No more self-complacency, no more rapture, no more grand and animating reveries of the imagination! 

Humiliating or desirable according to our ideas, a mysterious sort of divinity attached to a true knight, a wound pierced to his vitals, a man of delicate make and petty stature, the malice of an adversary, exposing a person to injury, an unintelligible chimera, dishonored by perpetuating an unjust action, beyond the reach of mankind. 



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Part Two 


Chapter One 

Was this the fruit of conscious guilt or the disgust of a man of honor? I wondered. Didn’t I think this great hero was a sort of madman? He profoundly reserved for himself nothing but hope. Sometimes he conquered himself with painful effort, other times he burst into a paroxysm of insanity. I found a strange sort of pleasure in it. There was a connection and progress in their narrative. I felt there was no longer any possibility of doubting. There was still an apparent want of design in the manner, and in the study of inferences to which they led. The effects of old habits were made visible. His situation was like a fish that plays with the bait that entraps it. 

The secret wound of his mind was more present to his recollection than to mine. Are a hundred thousand men more than a hundred thousand sheep? Curiosity is a restless propensity. His real merits were little comprehended. He felt the full force of that appeal. In the paroxysm of his headlong rage he spared neither friend nor foe. 

He reddened at these citations. He formed a sublime image of excellence, and his ambition was to realize it in his own story. He was in a certain degree encouraged to lay aside his usual reserve. But the novelty by degrees wore off. As I brooded over it, it gradually became mysterious. This proved of little service to me. He looked at me with wistful earnestness. The simple vivacity of my manner secured his tranquility. I placed things afresh in their former position. It was a fine thing to sit and compose his panegyric. In the midst of his career, one easily perceived the effects of his project in nations which were sunk to the condition of brutes. 

I could not blame him for it. Error has a fascinating power, like the eyes of a rattlesnake, to draw us to it. “You must learn more clemency,” he said. Our confusion was mutual. Murder and massacre seemed a left hand way of producing civilization. He gave away everything when he set out upon his expedition. Yet what was the meaning of all his agonies and terrors? The further I advanced, the more the sensation was irresistible. These reflections led to a new state of mind. Once things were brought to the test, no one could be seriously angry with me. 

We were in the neighborhood where I lived. I was satisfied considering every incident in its obvious sense. This was the center around which I revolved. I was conscious of meaning no ill. He could not find it in his heart to treat with severity my innocent effusions. The perturbation of my mind stood in want of relief. The disturbance was almost daily endured by a mind tremblingly alive as his. 

A brief observation or interrogatory stung him into recollection. He questioned the degree of my information and how it was obtained. The story I heard restored me to activity. My remarks were perpetually unexpected. It served to give an alluring pungency to the choice. My feelings were interested in the persons they brought upon the scene. It was a passing thought, in the last resort, of everything dear to me. 



Chapter Two 

I had a confused apprehension of what I was doing. It was a melancholy consideration, but such is man! “Who gave you the right to be my confident?” he asked. The true state of things had come to light. He sought virtue as a substance, but found it just a name. He did not expect to go though the world on velvet. I found a paper that by some curious accident had slipped behind a drawer. 

He was overwhelmed with a sense of unmerited dishonor. (God grinds us to desperation and confounds our boasted principles.) He wasn’t a cabbage, that if you pull it from the ground it must die! The next morning I saw him. “Things are not so bad as you imagine,” I said. “The future, the future is always our own.” I was afraid to say all that I thought. 

I was fond of looking on the other side of the picture. He seemed determined to force me into a confession of my thoughts. I touched a spring that wakened madness in his mind. The multitude looked on. If it were in his power, he would crush the whole system into nothing. “The most promising appearances may end in foul disgrace,” he said. He was a little disturbed. I continued: “I believe you would have done everything you did differently if things had chanced to be different.” He was obliged to hide himself like a housebreaker or highwayman. He did not fancy the looks of any of them. He lay his head on his pillow under his own little roof. 

At first he used him kindly enough. A too tender and ambiguous sensibility restrained him from many actions. He bore no malice. His heart was at peace with all mankind. I saw where it all ends. There was an energy and determination in the gestures disputed. I was inclined to be of his opinion. He took fortune’s buffets and rewards with an incorruptible mind. A principle governed me too with absolute dominion. The couple who were left to take care of the house told him they couldn’t say when he would return to those parts. 




Chapter Three 

His countenance was habitually animated and expressive beyond any other man I had ever seen. His composure did not stem from internal ease. I was suddenly become some one important to him. He was not disposed to put up with the caprices of a man so unjust. He chose honor and the esteem of mankind as a good above all others. 

“It went to my heart to read it,” I told him. I was hurried along. He appeared to know something more than I was aware of. He prepared himself for an interesting scene. He improved his power of tormenting. He felt himself inclined to sport with my distress. I swore a thousand times, as I meditated on my situation, that I would never prove unworthy of his protection. 

The miserable and the ruined was a proper subject upon which to exercise my ingenuity, I thought. He was at the mercy of every creature, however little. There was something frightful in his face. (We would talk about that bye and bye, I hoped.) As he said the day before that day, “What is it you know? What is it you want?” He had always tried to stop the demon that possessed him. I was ashamed to have been the one who gave him trouble and displeasure. He hoped I would prove to be more angel than man. His wounds would not bear perpetual tampering. It was part of the misery of his situation. 




Chapter Four 

The restlessness of my contemplations would not depart from me. I arrived at the knowledge that it really existed. He was incapable of controlling his own words and actions. I sought him among the rocks and precipices – pale, emaciated, solitary and haggard. I place unreserved confidence in his integrity and virtue. But to him there was no consolation. 

The fluctuating state of my mind usurped dominion over my conduct. There worked a very rapid change in my character. My unfledged mind received ideas that gave scope to all that imagination can picture of the terrible or sublime. His distinction did not last. He was inattentive to the consideration of either place or time. There was something inconceivable, savagely terrible in his anger. He seemed delighted with that roar of the elements that took his attention off his discord and dejection. The man must possess an uncommon hardness of heart, who could envy him even slight relief. 

I became a competent adept in the different ways the mind displays its secret workings. But I did not dare to think without considerable pain arising from the mysteriousness of the circumstances, almost for a moment perfectly and unalterably satisfied, of that side of the alternative, without my ungovernable suspicion arising. He saw these variations and betrayed his consciousness of them. It seemed his mind was continually approaching the end of its race without compensating any injuries that may have been suffered in its career. 

It became a kind of fatal impulse. I entertained thoughts derogatory to his honor. In spite of persuasion, and in spite of evidence, his melancholy did not diminish under the lenient hand of time. The situation was distressing. I often wondered that his forbearance was not exhausted. I implicitly surrendered my understanding but not without considerable pain. What he endured seemed to be gratuitous evil. I imperceptibly paved the way to my ruin. 

He lulled into a kind of nameless lethargy, reclining motionless for hours under the naked cope of heaven. I went to persuade him to return. After a few experiments, we found it advisable to desist. He had withdrawn himself. Then he suddenly yielded to his humble, venerable friend. The variety of conjectures into which I was led promised an unknown gratification. It was impossible to determine whether it was a just or unjust, a candid or calumniatory tale. An exquisite refinement of his ruling passion made a favorable judgment indispensible to his peace. 




Chapter Five 

He knew how to command and make himself respected. They were loud and earnest in their praises. Tears unbidden trickled down his manly cheeks. At one time he changed his posture. He dared not trust his eyes to glance where I stood. I was solemn. Not one of them saw it in the light that I did. 

My state of mental elevation continued for several hours. When I thought myself most alone, a shadow of a man avoiding me passed transiently. Later, he suddenly rose, and with marks of horror and despair rushed from the room. His conscience reproached him as long as he lived. He newly strung his nerves to stubborn patience. 

The accused demonstrated every token of poignant sensibility. I was in one moment engrossed by curiosity. He was by no means reckoned a madman by the generality. I was rooted to the spot. I had no power to change my position. She interested herself in the fate of her lover. He employed every effort to overcome his animosity. These points persistently smote his heart. He was like a man no longer able to endure the sensations that pressed upon him. 

I proceeded hastily along the secret paths of the garden. He had loved the poor maiden with all his heart. He looked the statue of despair. He had tried in various ways to harass and vex them. He started at the unfavorable turn given to the narrative. His complexion turned from red to pale, and from pale to red. A sudden thought struck me which drank up all the currents of my soul. They seemed to take little notice of his favorable appearance. 

“A woman should find someone to protect her,” he said. He was suddenly and terribly cut off in mid-career. From that time he could never support the sight of her. He spoke of his feelings. “Am I sure it’s that I ought to admit?” he asked. Did it sufficiently account for infirmity and misfortune? Was nobody but I discerning enough to see? This time I could not get it out of my mind for a moment. He was gone on one of his melancholy rambles. I felt it was possible to love a murderer. He described to the depth his compunction for an involuntary fault which would perpetually haunt him. 

In his recollection he suggested a sufficient resemblance. He betrayed a sort of revulsion of sentiment, which instead of being permanent was in some way perpetually changing. She was extremely agreeable in her person. I watched him without remission, and traced the mazes of his thought. We exchanged a silent look, which told volumes. He was called upon to act in the present occasion. He became exasperated. He could endure it no longer. Unfortunately, the first blow he struck proved fatal. 

I was full of rapid emotion. My thoughts forced their way spontaneously to my tongue. He assumed a look of determined constancy. There was no possibility of retreating. Almost a whole world was at stake! One unlucky minute had poisoned all his hopes. Another shifted his posture. The next, he lifted a helpless corpse from the ground. He endured trivial insults with an even temper. The accidental spectators were divided between indignation and compassion. He scarcely saw anybody. His secret anguish betrayed itself. Murder was the master key that wrought distemper in his mind. 




Chapter Six 

Incident followed upon incident, in a kind of breathless succession. It was not enough for me to stand by and superintend. The voice of necessity commanded me: “Sleep no more.” A thousand circumstances reminded me of my true situation. My mind had brooded on the subject for months. “This confidence,” he said, “is dangerous to you.” One short minute affected a reverse in my situation. I was overcome by the horror of detection. Gradually I recovered the power of arranging my ideas and directing my steps. I was as much a fool of fame as ever. 

Every syllable came to my ear with a perfect sense of novelty. It made my very blood run cold. But though the terrors which impressed me were alleviated, against such persecution I had no refuge. It was a miserable prospect that he held up to me. He had been reserved for a different destiny. Fortune favored him beyond his desire. I had no power to offer a word or remark. Death-dealing despair was the only idea of which I was sensible. The insatiable vengeance of a man whose hands were red with blood compelled me to sit in speechless expectation of sickening and loathsome impressions. I had overlooked all consequences. It now appeared to me like a dream. His eyes emitted sparks of rage. Some of the domestics were moving valuable furniture to the lawn. All was confusion around me, and all changed into a hurricane within. I had now everything to fear. The reprisals I suffered have been long, and can only terminate with my death. The resources of his life were confederated for my destruction! 

I forgot the business for which I originally came. He knew the price – he would make purchase. No spark of malignity harbored in my soul. He ordered me to bolt the door. He seemed to collect himself for an effort on another order of magnitude. He had feelings – but he couldn’t describe them. His tongue for the first time in several years spoke the language of his heart. Although surrounded by horrors, he preserved his fortitude to the last. My soul yearned for his welfare. I was astonished at his forbearance. His lightest caprice might decide everything that was dearest to me. I was trampling on the borderline of obligation. I had made myself a prisoner – perhaps for the rest of my life. 

For a short time I imagined I was emancipated from the mischiefs which appalled me. I despised myself but things were too far gone to recall. It was too late to look back. He regarded things at a distance with aversion. The recollection of what he had done flowed back into his mind. His tone had more in it of sorrow than resentment. He was a man who had endured a return from the sleep of death. There he stopped. 

One sentiment flows, by necessity of nature, into another. There was something to unexplained and involuntary sympathy. I felt an urgency of general danger. The energy of uncontrollable passion was added to my bodily strength. My act was in some sort an act of insanity. So will a flight of the mind appear dangerous. But it was over now. I had nothing rigorous to apprehend. My prudence and discretion were invariable. He clung to his last breath. 



Chapter Seven 

One would have thought he never moved from his fireside. Not daring to assign the true reason made him cautious. In this situation, he cast his eyes upon me. He was destined to be forever unhappy. Was this the life I entered with such sanguine expectation? I totally abjured the offensive. He observed a strange distance in my behavior. It was not possible for a bystander to penetrate the reason. 

These menaces were not without their effect. The turbulence of curiosity had now subsided. The set of opinions he had formed amused and interested me. My mind had been relaxed into temporary dejection. I was glad to escape from the uneasiness of my reflections. He began to feel himself painfully out of his element. He carefully abstained from harshness. A dryness of characteristic humor demonstrated the force of his understanding. He had formed a system of thinking to suit the current of his feelings. He held that kindness should be veiled and concealed. 

At first sight all men were deterred by his manner. He was neither interrupted nor contradicted. Could he voluntarily subject himself to eternal penance? Could I discourage a frankness in consonance with my wishes? My soul revolted against the treatment I endured. I knew his ability. I felt his ascendancy. The rest of my life seemed devoted to slavish subjection. I was enclosed in snares of vengeance unseen to me. I was strongly susceptible of impressions, which displayed themselves in my countenance. 

They consented that each should follow his own inclination. They had scarcely one point of contact in their characters. His peculiarities of character were not undisplayed but found no sympathetic chord in their minds. He had an understanding so well fortified with error that only after a thousand kindnesses did he draw off his forces. He regarded remonstrance as the offspring of cowardice, which was to be extirpated. His customary behavior was exceedingly rugged. He leveled himself with the mass of his species. His manner of telling a story or explaining his thoughts was forcible, perspicuous, and original. His style hid an uncommon zest. 

He entertained an invincible disgust for all that was new. His irregular, variable character produced a mysterious apprehension in my mind of excited uneasiness. His vigilance was a sickness to my heart. I flattered myself that I was beyond his reach. He was not talking at random. Every atom of my frame seemed to have several existences. Indignation succeeded to emotions of terror. He sought me for an explanation, but I only answered with a mournful silence. 




Chapter Eight 

I was sent upon some business about fifty miles away. I surveyed the horizon around me. I could scarcely believe my good fortune. This was not a moment to resist. I was now as tough as an elephant. It was my rule to act as I felt. 

He interrupted me smiling and said I magnified obstacles. But I was as much at a loss as ever respecting the road I should pursue. To him, the meeting must seem not accidental. Without the smallest notice, as if he had dropped in from the clouds, he burst into the room. In the midst of these terrible imaginations, one idea alleviated my feelings. “You’ll never cease to rue you folly,” he said. But I was under the guidance of a director more energetic than he. My state of mind impelled me to advance with desperate resolution. This was a measure we both desired. 

He sat for some time silent. I placed my hope in his rectitude. There was always something at bottom that will not bear telling. This suggestion produced in me a serious alarm. I was overcome with hunger and fatigue when I discovered a little road which was at no great distance. I was only betraying my imbecility. I dared scarcely to breath. He had not been unwilling to encourage prejudices. I was a victim at the shrine of conscious guilt. I was the subject of a useless severity. I could not prevail upon him to withhold unpleasing emotions. 

I laid the letter I had written upon the table at which he usually sat. He suddenly altered his tone and stamped the ground with fury. I stole quietly from my chamber with a lamp in my hand. 

I felt as if I were entering a dungeon. Speaking in a sort of deliberate but smothered voice, I overheard him repeat my name. My innocence was of no service to me. Overcome by his imperious carriage, I was unable to say a word. I went along a passage that led to a small door opening into the garden. It was in vain that my reason warned me. It was impossible for me to have a tranquil moment. 

An opportunity had been thrown in my way. The sun was hidden by a grey and cloudy atmosphere. Before me, no single track could be found to mark the windings of the enclosure. He would never be brought to consent to my giving way to it. He was detained at the inn where we had an accidental encounter. It was perilous because it was clandestine. 

For a moment he was dumb. His eyes glared with astonishment. I was forever cut off from pursuits of ineffable delight. I knew the calm was temporary, and would be succeeded by tumult and whirlwind. No matter which way I moved, a pit was ready to swallow me. He believed I had played all my tricks. I heard his voice calling me. It produced a sensation of inexplicable horror and anxious uncertainty. 

He gave me positive assurances of the protection of his security. The conduct of the same man in different circumstances is various and difficult to account for. It is difficult to counteract habits when rooted in a character. I should have instantly entered into an explanation of how I came there. My appearance was calculated to inspire agony. A man under the power of terrors catches at every reed. After a short time I heard his step in the passage. He made me expect impediment and detection at every step. No man on earth heard my cries. 

He expressed a desire to learn why I thought myself unhappy. I gave him imperfect satisfaction on these points. I finally convinced myself I owed it to myself to withdraw. He gazed upon me with curiosity and surprise. It must have appeared to be a palpable lie. But in this instance it was infinitely worse. 



Chapter Nine 

He entered at one door, almost as soon as I entered at the other. This was no time for meditation. In a moment of acrimony he used harsh epithets. He was in the devil of a hurry to guess my intention. I pitied the hard destiny to which he’d been condemned. I forgot the anguish which had lately been my guest. I replied in an impetuous and peremptory tone. We proceeded on our journey in silence. He seemed extremely disturbed at this information. That was the last act of friendship I ever received from him. 

My mind seemed to undergo an entire revolution. I did not come weary and exhausted to the business of the following day. Self-defense is required of every man for every man is always on trial. He was no sooner come, than he found the whole house in confusion. The world bestows and retracts with little thought. My mind glowed with the love of virtue. He suffered himself to be made the tool of a designing knave. 

It was impossible to remain in the village where now I was. I reclined upon a bank immersed in contemplation, followed by a spirit-stirring, beautiful day. What power can cause a man to die when his soul says live? He risked furnishing a clue to what I most of all dreaded. 

My observation was attracted by a man who passed me on horseback going in the opposite direction. “Let us contend in the face of day,” I said, throwing back on my adversary the confusion he threw on me. He had always considered me with an eye of suspicion and been aware of my “depravity.” I was astonished at the superhuman power he seemed to possess. I had nothing to hope from their indulgence. I shuddered at the possibility of detection. I was not free to go wherever I pleased. I believed that man-to-man I would get the better of him. Frugality was an object not unworthy of my attention. I exerted myself to analyze the prospects which followed each other. Every man is fated to be a tyrant or a slave. I traced with a cheerful heart the unfrequented path it was necessary to pursue. The dreadful certainty of what I feared instantly entered my mind with the deepest alarm. 

I rushed upon irretrievable ruin. Would he dare to bring forward a subject closely connected to his internal agony? He came to speak, not to hear. As it happened, I had the whole world against me. I was hurried along with an irresistible force. The inscrutableness of the mystery did not overwhelm my courage. I repassed in my thoughts every memorable incident that had happened to me. I looked back without remorse or self-condemnation. I proceeded to the inn and made the necessary inquiries. I was the sole judge and master of my actions. I eagerly yielded myself up to the different amusements that arose at the impulse of the moment, so characteristic of the youthful mind. The night was gloomy, and it drizzled rain, but all was sunshine and joy within me. 




Chapter Ten 

I found him impenetrable to all I said. I took his advice and was silent. It was a question I was wholly unable to answer. I appealed to my heart. I appealed to my looks. I appealed to every word my tongue ever uttered. But I owed it to society to detect an offender. 

He calmly and stoutly denied all knowledge of the matter. He confessed the uneasiness of his mind without discovering the cause. Seemingly decisive evidence excited emotions of astonishment and concern. They all knew the unfortunate state of his mind. He placed the black affair in its true light. He would never kiss a hand that was red with blood. 

I smiled at his malice. He would obey the dictates of his mind. The language he held was of romance not reason. This sudden reverse was very painful to me. Was I not a most miserable creature? How sweetly they palavered it over! I could never be able to persuade people that black is white, though I should be an angel. 

Not one of them expressed compassion for my calamity. It was so much poison just to look at me. He acted towards me without humanity, without principle, without remorse. But there was no necessity in proceeding farther, should the hypocrisy be unmasked. Let him say what he pleased; he couldn’t hurt me. I was new to the world and knew nothing of its affairs. I was unpracticed in wiles. I was reduced to derive my satisfaction from myself. It was to me an awful moment. 

“I admire your resolution and forbearance,” he said. “But that is not sufficient ground for the subversion of justice.” (It is fortunate for mankind that the empire of “talents” has its limitations.) A pusillanimous timidity prevented him from saving a fellow creature. I believed they were there at his contrivance. There were certain parts of my story that I hadn’t told. We have the power of speech, but not to communicate our thoughts. It is not within the power of ingenuity to subvert right and wrong. “The case against him is too strong for his sophistry to overturn,” they said. He was considered a martyr in the public cause. He had the mind of a demon, not a felon. He had suppressed all his habits and sentiments. I regarded him with horror. 

He found me standing there with every mark of perturbation and fright. He had taken care to have the first impression in his favor. I listened to the suggestion with pleasure. I trusted this appeal would give a new face to my cause. I was at a loss to conceive through every stage of the scene, what would come next. I alternately yielded to indignation and horror. His honor, in their judgment, stood higher than ever. “Dishonesty will admit of some palliation if the evidence is shown to be defective,” he said. 

At least I maintained the independence of my own mind. Was it necessary to give particulars and precise reasons? They looked at me with furious glances as if they would have torn me to pieces. He recollected all that had ever passed under his observation. I was in a situation that was not to be trifled with. Obstinate and impracticable, he withdrew his opposition. All that remained was that he discharge his duty “to free the world from such a pest.” It made his heart sick to see me. He expected the house to fall and crush my wickedness. He didn’t want to expose innocent persons to anxiety. I trusted the whole truth would eventually appear. He rendered them the dupes of his hypocrisy. 




Chapter Eleven 

All was a sightless blank. I clung with desperate fondness to the shadow of existence, its mysterious attractions, its hopeless prospects. I tasked my memory, and counted the doors, the locks, the bolts, the chains. He was stalking up and down the room with a forced bravery. It is impossible to describe the squalidness and filth, already in a state of putrefaction. He had been ardent in the pursuit of intellectual cultivation. His habits of thinking were strictly his own. 

They felt no man’s sorrows. It was now the approach of winter. I looked round upon my walls. In the bitterness of my heart I exclaimed, “Of what value is fair fame? It is a bauble men form to be amused.” I saw the sinews of innocence crumble into dust. I spent my time in solitary and cheerless darkness. I anticipated my condemnation. These ideas excited an indignant and soul-sickening loathing. I felt the iron of slavery grating on my soul. 

We were not allowed to light candles. They had a sullen pleasure in issuing their detested mandates. Whatever they directed, it was in vain to expostulate. What happened after that, it was not my business to see. He spoke carelessness and levity. He was no longer able to endure his own internal anguish. It was his business to see to, not mine. 

I underwent a rigorous search. It was their custom to constitute a sort of mock tribunal of their own body. I drew away with unconquerable loathing. He was plain and unaffected. He assumed nothing. He traced the furrows of anxious care convulsing their features into an expression of keenest agony. It was a bitter aggravation of fate. It is from the fullness of a bursting heart that reproach flows to my pen. Without the smallest foundation, I was loaded with iniquity. I saw reflected from every countenance agonies only inferior to my own. These were the engines tyranny sits down in meditation to invent. 

Can you purchase the tedious dear-bought remedy of the law? For this reason sages have toiled, and midnight oil has been wasted. I consulted my heart, which whispered only innocence. I execrated my puerile eagerness. This was the consolation which malignity or folly loaded with calumny. Thus I was cut off from all that existence had to bestow. Not for an hour could I withdraw myself from this complexity or horrors of inexplicable tyranny under which I had fallen to spend in solitary and cheerless darkness my ordeal of innocence. I had seen enough to regard the world with detestation. I could have dashed my brains against the walls a thousand times, but what had I to do with life? 

To me everything was new. They steeled their hearts against pity. I witnessed the unwholesomeness, the filth, the misery where men were confined to detested abodes, reduced to the last despair. My resentment extended to the whole machine of society, brute force, impenetrable obstinacy and unfeeling insolence, triumphant and enthroned, a wide scene of hangmen and torturers, ready to lend their force to make my ruin secure. 



Chapter Twelve 

I suffered my mind to be invaded by unavailing regrets. I soon brought to perfection the art of withdrawing my thoughts. I easily found expedients such as the mind seems to require with a burning zeal, and revived a series of facts and incidents. I was independent of the smiles and frowns of fortune. By degrees I called to mind a number of minute circumstances. My chief object was to ignore the disorder around me. I saw and heard people as seldom as I pleased. My fortitude revived. My mind whispered to me that I was better than my persecutors. The sunshine of my integrity pierced the barriers of my cell and spoke joy to my heart. The burden of thought, incessantly varying, introduced a series of reflections. I patiently collected my mind for some fearful encounter. I partook with burning zeal in the passions of men. I was beyond reach. I could fall no lower. In reality I wanted for nothing. I felt no inconvenience. 




Chapter Thirteen 

Another thought which had not struck me occurred to my mind. I had now no remedy. They regarded me with loathing and abhorrence. At no time in the course of my adventures was I exposed to a shock so severe. I was influenced by these sentiments in my reply. I was eager to examine his tools, their powers and their uses. Adamant and steel have a ductility like water to a mind sufficiently contemplative. I was never intended by nature to be the slave of force. 

My mind was set in action. I knew him to be a man austere and inexorable. In every view I felt my heart ulcerated. I had been the prey of a plausible knavery. Happiness was reserved for posterity. He saw through the veil of calumny which surrounded me. He was glad I was come off my high-horse. 

My plan was now digested. I stepped along in the most careful manner. The night was too dark for him to distinguish objects. I got to the top of the wall. I beheld his catastrophe with envy. Henceforth I would be contented with tranquil obscurity. 

I felt compelled to relieve my sufferings. My soul spurned pitiful indulgences, a barren wish which had iniquitously tarnished at the time that he was grinding me into dust with his inexorable vengeance. I turned to myself. I undertook to ingratiate myself with my keeper. It is easy to trace the vice and duplicity that grows out of injustice. 

She seemed to have some partiality for my person. Her countenance was gracefully relaxing. He betrayed certain tokens in impatience. His liberty, his reputation restored, he was set on not dying on a dunghill. During that time my mind was undecided. I sometimes even improved upon the hints he furnished. I took it for granted that I must passively submit to the pleasure of my persecutors. Why is the undertaking so arduous that some are unable to accomplish it? Didn’t they have numerous methods to animate and adorn existence? 

There is nothing more interesting to a juvenile mind, no power he so eagerly covets, as of astonishing spectators by miraculous exertions. Such are the imperfect effects of the boasted laws of our country! Two more were cast for transportation. It was too late for me to reap the benefit of it. Fate presented itself to my mind in its full complication of iniquity. He did not venture to dispute the work I had undertaken. Close on the other side of the door, there was a kennel with a mastiff dog. He immediately set up a shout. I was endeavoring to clear myself. On the other side was a populous street. His faculties were clearly confined to the range of his profession. I added to the abstract possession of power, the skill of applying it. Justice is too solemn and dignified to accommodate itself to an insignificant individual. He appeared to be acting a part, unnatural, that sat with awkwardness upon him. I was struck by the unexpectedness of the question. I witnessed a mutation of the inhabitants. This was his prediction, while in good health. He examined it with sincere impartiality. The same motive, whatever it was a little before, influenced the present occasion. 

The garden I had never entered, which was the usual entrance from the street. No sentiments of humanity could divert the bent of his mind. I was by no mean eager to leave the world in silence. He formed a barren wish towards those he deemed vicious. I was glad to find him sufficiently humane. He might be said to have died of a broken heart. Differences in guilt or innocence were affairs beneath his attention. 




Chapter Fourteen

They were extremely sulky to me. A prospect of alleviation opened up. It would be ridiculous to complain. Though I exerted the utmost diligence, yet he became convinced of the folly of showing kindness. He was considerably struck by me. The floridness of my complexion was gone. 

I waited from this time until I had the benefit of bright moonlight. The lane tenanted a lower order of people. I was destitute of every resource. I left the door a little open for the sake of light. I returned to the attack with new vigor. I received the implements with great joy. These things were done under their very noses. He found it all a flam. I was better provided against surprises than I had been. Artifice and fair speaking were at an end. His eyes sparkled with fury. 

Though I put an end to the violence of my speech, he seemed to forget for a moment that I was not at-large. I expostulated with warmth upon his treatment but then resolved to bear it with patience. I was silly enough to be irritated by his impertinence and vulgarity. “Have a care you do not burst!” he said as he shut the door. 

The condition in which I was placed was different from what had come before. His courage was gone, his garb was squalid, and the comeliness of his countenance was obliterated. In the meantime, I ruminated upon his overtures. The case was somewhat different. The room was spacious and dreary. He expressed much dissatisfaction at the mandate, but there was no alternative. He could not get the thought of me out of his mind. 

I filed through my fetters. The pile of bricks I left was a molehill compared with the ruins I was forced to excavate, to what precise extent I was unable to ascertain. There seemed invincible difficulty before me. One’s heart melts and pity comes over one when once we take time to cool. “Must people in prison be bound and shackled?” he asked. 

Solitude was not without its advantages. I had for some time learned not to judge by appearances. The walls were hung with damps and mildew. The passage was narrow, the opposite gate at not too great a distance. He had been turned loose to wander a desolate and perturbed specter through the world. That rejoinder brought me to myself. His face relaxed into a smile of contempt. My heart leapt at this pitiful consolation. I was now able to range in the miserable coop in which I was buried. Yet security breeds negligence. The long connection of our families rushed upon his memory. He had something on his mind that he couldn’t discharge. A parcel of fellows with grave faces swore at him. 

“They do worse than hang a man – and all of it beforehand.” He thought it would do him good to see him hanged. He couldn’t help it. They assigned no ground to their suspicion. It was very fortunate for my plan. Several of their windows commanded the area. The first stone was loosened from the edifice. I depended on the open county for protection. But my difficulties seemed to have only begun. I perceived the devastation I left. A particular exception had been made for me because of my mechanical ingenuity. 

He looked alternately at my face, my hands, and my feet, and fetched a sigh. His commiseration was sufficiently perceptible. A bit of bread, moldy and black, and some dirty and stinking water was my first provision. I was aroused from my sleep by the noise he made. I learned to distinguish the minutest object. I seized upon this new treasure and fashioned it to my purpose. I obtained from the coolness of my investigation a superior advantage. He was not deficient in excellent qualities. I was sure he did not want me to perish. “It is one thing that you are, and another that you’re not,” I said. The whole mass of blood was already fevered. They told me to keep such fudge for people who didn’t know better. 

I found the undertaking infinitely more difficult than I had imagined. What bound together the building was petrified, solid rock, adamant. The enemy was close at my heels. I detested the source from which I conceived them to flow. An incident occurred which ended his kindness. He dared as well eat his fingers as use such language! In the eye of the law I was innocent! 




***




Part Three 



Chapter One 

All was still as night. I made an effort to speak; my voice left me. I was destined to suffer an early death at the hands of others. I dared not advance my body an inch. I therefore came down again into the valley, which was interspersed with cavities. I climbed a small eminence and perceived a few cottages thinly scattered. I leaned against the side of the hill. The line I pursued was of irregular surface. Strange, that men from age to age withhold the breath of others merely to act the tyrant. Such is the cold-blooded prudence of monopolists and kings! 

When I uttered this apostrophe, the unpremeditated eloquence of sentiment, the day had not begun to dawn. I listened to nothing but the dictates of passion. I considered the circumstance rather favorable. Lately I had held my life in jeopardy and carefully avoided the habitations that lay in my way. My mind suddenly became glowing, animated and cheerful. I allowed myself to sink to the bottom of a cavern. I hovered with little variation about a single spot. I was alarmed at the diligence of my enemy. 

As I proceeded, I increased my pace. I recollected the confinement I had undergone. I relaxed part of my precaution. I was thrust backward and forward and turned around and pushed by main force two or three times. A plentiful effusion of blood streamed from my wound. I could only move in a circle a few feet in circumference. Once I leapt like a young roe upon the mountains! None of them had penetration enough to distinguish the truth from falsehood. All my motions had been echoed by the clanking of chains. It required resolution to encounter and prosecute, with weak and tottering steps impelling in different directions the muscles and extremities. The stars shone. I steered as far as possible from the hateful scene where I had been confined. 

The period of darkness was less than three hours. What I uttered was the conviction of a full-fraught heart. At this time I perceived several persons come out of a thicket. I had been all night upon the open heath. They wavered at first in their animosity. He repeated his brutality. “He will pine here in the forest and die by inches,” he declared. The side of forbearance prevailed. 

I opened myself a passage overgrown with brushwood and furze. I kept myself from the view of any human being. I went down into a dark impenetrable dell. The full moon shone in full brightness. I fell into an unrefeshing doze. The operation was attended by an incredible aching pain. I thought it right to have recourse of the moment as the best that emergency could provide. The shade rendered me almost totally invisible. Never did a man feel more vividly the sweet fruits of liberty. At length I recovered in some degree my sense of feeling. God condescended to record the lonely beatings of my anxious heart. 

I would never again be the victim of man, dressed in the gore-dipped robes of authority. They wanted to strip me naked in the midst of a depopulated forest. I was immediately assailed with sticks and bludgeons. Hatred of oppression armed them against the insolence of wealth. They were urged either by animal sympathy or the spirit of imitation. Excited by brutality of temper or love of command, he hastened to anticipate defeat. He seized the arm of the man who was going to strike me. “Why should we be murderers?” he said. I feared it might furnish a clue to my pursuers. I stood up and shook myself. The gloomy state of the air and my own want of food caused me many disagreeable sensations. The shadows they cast were black and impenetrable. Life seemed ever more dear to my affections. 




Chapter Two 

In this woeful position, I was not deprived of sense. Nothing could be more clear than their readiness to sacrifice the human species at large. They expatiated freely wherever they thought proper. The opinion of the rest coincided with their leader. Some had the air of mere rustics, others of tarnished gentry. I possessed a mine of inexhaustible fortitude. I broke my fall by stretching out my sound arm. 

Now they adopted a different conduct. They were habituated to consider stabbings and bludgeons the mode of surmounting every difficulty. She eyed me with a furious canine hunger. The place was particularly desolate and forlorn. The simplicity of my manner carried conviction to his mind. They had no more hope of golden, animated dreams. They were at open war with another set of men. It was not a proper occasion for a joke. My astonishment was still increased when I perceived something in the general air of some of them. The feverous blood of savage ferocity seemed to flow from her heart. I thought myself conducted by an angel, not a man. Their turbulence was tempered by deference. Stories were brought forth of his cruelty and brutality. They consulted their inclination. He did not deduce an unfavorable conclusion. He had been stimulated by cogent and irresistible reasons. 

Who saw the situation in its true light? He hoped to mislead him by a fictitious statement. My recovery advanced in a favorable manner. Uninvolved in the debilitating routine of human affairs, I was not compelled to remain with them. There was no suffering that I could not persuade myself to consider trivial. They were shut up like wild beasts in a cage, palsied with indolence. They had cast off all control from established principal; their trade was terror. These two scenes were parts of one whole. 

The influence of their circumstances was visible in their character. They appeared to hold no commerce with reflection or reason. I was perpetually reminding him of his own offence. They seemed to tacitly approve what they suffered most. A thief is a man who lives among his equals. He looked at the speaker with a fixed and penetrating glance. He was irritated by the resistance on his part. Suddenly a trampling of feet was heard, succeeded by a knock on the door. 

The say dead men walk, and there is some truth to it. I imagined that they entered with a hostile attention. The blood of savage ferocity seemed to flow from her heart. The apartment opened, and we entered. Her whole figure suggested unmitigable energy, gorged in malevolence. She wondered what folks such as they had to do with charity. 

My resolution gave way, and I felt ready to faint. The upper part of a pile of ruins seemed to overhang their foundation. My body was naked to my middle, variegated with streams of blood. I reeled and fell almost full length on the ground. 

He acted like a chemist, choosing the finest ore. The residence I have been describing may have appeared accompanied with intolerable inconveniences. Yet displeasing companions, incommodious apartments, filthiness and rot lost their ability to disgust me. It was sufficiently debased to fit it for the vilest uses. They frequently exhibited an energy which would extort veneration from an impartial observer. Nothing was more mortifying for her than the procrastination of her malice. What I saw of her spleen did not disturb my tranquility. Her fierceness showed itself as the pigmy spite of a chambermaid. 

The obscurity that flowed from my reserve afforded little room to my secret. Powerful members of the community exercised tyranny over those less privileged than themselves. Experience forcibly brought the conviction to my mind. 

They pursued a route nearly opposite to their true haunts. They were regarded with horror as supernatural, a carnival of devils. Nothing could be more clear. They were directed only to the most narrow and contemptible purposes. Her habits inclined her to moroseness. She was unable to exist without an object on which to pour her gall. Her person accorded with the rural ideas of a witch. 



Chapter Three 

One day a circumstance occurred which attracted my attention. The idea had always been present to me and instigated my exertions. The nature of his motives was collected from ignorant witnesses. The suspicion that was secretly keeping every engine in play filled me with horror and struck a chill through my frame. Who would set himself up as a mark for musketeers to shoot at? They had long ago shaken these arguments from themselves as so many prejudices. Their mind was smothered, so to speak, and laboriously forgotten as a ridiculous missionary quixotism. But this sentiment of ease and satisfaction did not last long. They left no room for amendment. He was forced to go on in folly, having once begun. 

He still thirsted for my blood. He had been trusted with some important secrets. The law, he thought, is not the proper instrument for correcting mankind. He crushed the paper in his hand. I was sitting in an easy chair by the fire, in a weak and languid state. They had the courage to set limits to the wheel of tyranny, and earn their livelihood by generous daring. 

Saying this, he took me by the hand. It left a very serious impression on my mind. I was persuaded it would not be forever. My eyes were perfectly open to their mistakes, thrown away on purposes at war with human society. This was an infallible antidote to their poison. Reproof was forever dinned into their ears without finding a responding chord in their hearts. Some of them grew peevish and impatient with my remarks. They believed they had examined all sides. They seemed to take a brutal delight in confounding the merits of their victims. 



Chapter Four 

She flew to the door and, holding it in her hand, said, “I will be the death of you yet!” My thoughts wandered in breathless horror and confusion. She had collected all the bitterness of her spirit against me. There was one circumstance that was particularly pressing. The blow aimed at my skull sunk impotent on the bed. Her body heaved with uncontrollable insanity. This was a thought not to be endured. 

An action so unexpected startled me. I endeavored to break the door, but in vain. I threw off my shirt and tied a handkerchief about my head. Robbery was a fundamental creed of this hoary veteran. I smiled at the impotence of her malice. I passed some hours that night ruminating on my situation. The season was considerably advanced. She continued to express the tumult of her thoughts, the spectacle of which was frightful. 

I had already made many sacrifices, and was deeply penetrated with abhorrence. The difference of a little sooner or a little later was not very material. I was determined to neglect no imaginable precaution. I was resisting for my life. I was aware of her design, but had no thought of evading it. 

The sun rose from behind the eastern hills, as a confused reverie invaded my faculties. I sighed for solitude and obscurity, to retreat from the vexations of the world and the voice of common fame. Their brutal ignorance, unsubdued by philosophy, their coarse behavior and habitual depravity, disgusting to one who had no congeniality with their habits, made me feel exquisitely out of place, adding force to my aversion, a fertile source of uneasiness and disquiet. They intended in a few days to move to a haunt in a distant county. There was something in this scene that moved the heart to composure. It commenced with brilliant beauty, which poets of nature have been delighted to find indescribable. I meditated on entering the world again. I shifted my position with speed that seemed too swift for volition. Death brought upon us by surprise is inexpressibly terrible. Had she set out on her expedition by herself, I wondered. 



Chapter Five 

I rested and refreshed myself. My soul seemed to expand, I felt pride in my self-possession. I was too much occupied with my feelings. My ease was not singular in that respect. I took a path towards the point they suggested. I found an appearance of complexity, which my mind could not explain. I had anticipated their diligence. 

The whole world was in arms to exterminate me. She interested herself in my behalf. I drew closer to the corner. He never thought money would do him any good. Ideas of inequality of rank pervade every order of society. That thought however was a transient one. I could discover no sufficient ground on which to build a judgment. The sudden encounter struck me with terror. I saw a couple of peasants passing. 

He saw he knew nothing of the matter. The dispute was long and obstinately pursued. He had outwitted all the keepers they set over him. This sensation sweetened the fatigues of the day. I endeavored to arrange and methodize my ideas. He asked whether they had gained any intelligence. I examined over again the means I had effected to change my purpose and bend my course, which had been present for some time to my imagination. 

There was peril in the short interval that elapsed. I went instantly on board. His story was circumstantially told. I stole a sidelong glance from one quarter to another. I did not venture inwardly to exult but began to be amused at the absurdity of their tales. He made his way through stone walls as if they were cobwebs. The country was thoroughly alarmed. My best resource in this crisis was composure. He added to the information which they had already hinted. I adopted a peculiar slouching and clownish gait. I would not voluntarily yield my neck to the cord of the executioner. 

I was removed one step further from danger. I withdrew from the road and skulked behind a hedge. The most trivial circumstance may embitter the cup of the man of adversity. I had learned this lesson from my sufferings. I had made talk for the whole country. They said I was so hardened as to break into the house of my master. Each man maintained the justness of his statement. 

At length the tide of ideas turned. This was a refuge events made necessary. An idea tingled through my frame. By walking the streets of the town, I exposed myself to an untoward accident. I began to enquire if the phenomenon I had seen had any relation to me. 



Chapter Six 

It was a sort of compromise between their pride and their avarice. It was as clear as the sun that I was no better then I should be. By an unaccountable accident, had they got an intimation of my disguise? It was my business to gain information. I thought this was the time to push the matter a little further. It was impossible to devise a greater injury to inflict on me. I was taken up upon suspicion of being another. It was not a subject of reasoning or faith. 

My recollection did not forsake me. To everything I submitted without murmuring. It was not this gentleman’s habit to squabble about trifles. They began to tremble for the reward they thought as good as in their pocket. I spoke with an earnestness he couldn’t contend with. He chose the milder side of the alternative. 

Every man is influenced to same degree by the love of power! A beggar, you know, is always at home. He was somewhat at a loss how to proceed. I persisted in the silence I had meditated. 

The impression was at first exceedingly strong. Did his power reach through all space and his ego penetrate every concealment? I afterwards found the whole thing was a mistake. Thwarted in my design, it was a trifling inconvenience compared with what I feared. “If a man is too short, there is no remedy like a little stretching,” he jested. Significant winks and gestures brought them over to his way of thinking. They felt little apprehension of a suit for false imprisonment. 

He had a notion he had seen my face before, and did not doubt I was an old offender. But it was his temper to soften the letter of the law. He was a man of principle; he loved to do things above board. They were desirous, for some reason or other, to drop me as soon as convenient. 

I was tinctured with principles of moral discrimination. His words were strikingly applicable to my situation. Their reward was completely out of the question in the present business. My business called me another way. He scorned to cross any man in his concerns. It was not an unsubstantial honor and barren power that formed the object of their pursuit. They did not choose to encounter disgrace, if justice were done. The first sentiment excited in my mind impelled me to give utterance to a feeling of indignation. What would happen he would not pretend to say. 

He was less unwilling to relax in this incidental circumstance, so fully impressed with my utter insignificance that he had stretched a point in complying with my demand and enlarged upon his clemency in this proceeding out of the spontaneous goodness of his disposition. There was one circumstance of all others incapable of being counterfeit. 

When they stripped me naked, my skin had the sleekness of a gentleman’s. There were a number of suspicious circumstances surrounding me. For some years he’d had the honor of representing his majesty’s person. It might come to the same thing at last. My main object was to get out of the clutches of these respectable persons. 

It was an affair of sense. Some men avow to their own minds. I felt the fangs of the tiger striking deep into my heart. It was insupportably mortifying and oppressive to my imagination. Turning to me, he enquired my name. It appeared to them to tally to the minutest tittle. We were detained for some time in a sort of anteroom. I was betrayed already. Although apprehended, my apprehension might be on some slight score. They started at my metamorphosis. So much money in my possession could not honestly be come by. He was susceptible to a sense of honor, not exceeding the spirit of his commission. Their views were deeper than that. He was apt upon occasion to be run away with by his feeling. They mentioned below-stairs the station in which they had left me. I postponed for the moment the consideration of the future. What was the intention of their maneuver I was unable to say. 



Chapter Seven 

By degrees I discarded every part of my former dress. I muttered imprecations and murmurings as I passed along. The behavior of the amiable old man cut me to the heart. The question came upon me unprepared. I was a solitary being, cut off from sympathy. 

In his eyes there was a remarkable vivacity. Another subject called imperiously upon my attention. I wrapped myself in inconsolable misery. I was little disposed to unnecessary circumambulation. By the time I perceived I was wholly out of my road, I discovered neither man nor beast. Here I forgot by degrees the anguish that had racked me. My heart burned with universal fury. I was a man in critical and peculiar circumstances. 

There was no strict connection between these casual inconveniences and the whole system of human existence, but my distempered thoughts confounded them together. This may seem a petty disappointment, yet it was borne by me with much impatience. The clouds burst down in sheets of rain, and hail stones cut me in a thousand directions. 

It was dangerous to trifle any more upon the brink of fate. I persisted with sadness. I therefore returned to the suggestion of hiding myself among the great crowds of the metropolis. As it was, I had no leisure to chew the cud upon misfortunes as they befell me. I steeled my heart against that species of inertness. At last he calmed himself to say that upon no consideration should his ears suffer such contamination. His determination was unalterable. 

The practice of perpetual falsehood is too painful a task. I saw his complexion alter at the repetition of that word. When they lost sight of their prey, they felt covered in confusion. He had always felt abhorrence to the sort of people he could not refuse some little disagreeable offices. It was thus I wallowed in the wantonness of refinement, even in the midst of destruction, which excited their cupidity to indulge in a luxury which my destiny had denied. I could not offer any offence to a person who strongly engaged my esteem from the spontaneous kindness of his excellent mind. The old man was in a perfect agony of the recollection which was irreconcilably repugnant to his feeling. He would not be assisting and abetting me, for all the world. 

This and the other case had come to the knowledge of who I was only by my own confession. The next moment seemed ready to crush me. It was time that indulgence should be brought to a period. (It may be remarked by the way, that they outwitted themselves at their own trade.) I lost my way so completely that I was unable that night to reach the ferry. I was overtaken by the night. The scene was nearly pathless, and it was vain to go further. There was not a particle of my covering which was not wet. I stumbled and fell over some unseen obstacle. I was a drag on existence. 

I had almost fallen infallibly into the hands of infernal blood-hunters. There was no sufficient reason to reject one or prefer another. Our contest lasted for some time. I was hurried from one anxiety to another too rapidly for them to sink in deeply. 

My thoughts were turned into a different channel. He felt more than half inclined to act as I desired. The old man rose from his seat. I told him whatever be the meaning of his question, I would answer him truly. They had been led to believe I was the individual who had been in their custody. I was in the midst of a heath without anything to shelter me. It was a dreadful prognostic of my future life. I would have been content to have been shut up in some impenetrable solitude, wrapped in inconsolable misery. I buried myself amidst friendly warmth and forgot by degrees the anguish that racked me. 



Chapter Eight 

Here now was the termination of a series of labors. Her heart was too noble to have its effusions checked by base considerations. My life was all a lie. Tears of anguish rushed from my eyes. I felt an ever-growing repugnance to injustice. 

The periods I allowed for exercise and air were few. I was not born to the possession of hereditary wealth. One circumstance was sufficient to blast my firm heart. I fiercely defied all the rigors of my fate. Like a frightened bird, my restless soul beat in vain against my cage. All I asked was a subsistence. My propensities always led me in this direction. I chose her as the possible instrument for disposing of my productions. She was an age to preclude scandal. Never did she omit a service to a human being. 

Some days I was sunk into a sort of partial stupor. I quietly took the pieces and laid them on my table. Her countenance, having bestowed upon them a superficial glance, rendered explanation unnecessary. My memory was retentive. Meanwhile, youth and honor enabled me to get the better of my dejection. I was occupied in painful meditations. 


Chapter Nine 

A new source of danger opened upon me. He was extremely dissatisfied with his brother. He spared neither pains nor time in the gratification of his passion. They were reluctant to fix an unnecessary stain on the ermine of their profession. I foolishly thought that my calamity would admit no aggravation. He went from inn to inn but could get no information. The curiosity of the landlady was excited in turn. I traversed half a dozen streets. Such was the misery of my situation. 

Habit had written the characters of malignant cunning and dauntless effrontery in every line of his face. I had by no means ascertained the greatness of the peril. She had a peculiar way of going home by narrow lanes and alleys, with intricate insertions and sudden turnings. She had left the circle somewhat abruptly. Here was abundant matter for speculations and suspicions. 

His performance did not keep pace with his promise. Such was the history of this man antecedently. He was received with congratulation as a lost sheep. She saw a woman who had fallen down in a fainting fit. She had no doubt I had reasons for what I did. I sought once again in some forlorn retreat new projects. He had collected sufficient hints, asking as if casually with vast pleasure, of unhoped for information. At length he overcame the obstacle from that quarter. He consecrated every faculty of his mind to unkennel me from my hiding place. The offered reward was the complete indemnification of his labor, whetted and stimulated by a mind that knew no restraint from conscience. He was called by an insatiable and restless appetite for revenge. 

The information afforded seemed exceedingly material. He was amused with the blunt sagacity of remark and novelty of incident of his conversation. His first emotion was wonder, the second envy and aversion. He was in a fluctuating state of mind. He was a noxious insect that perpetually menaced me with the poison of his sting. He walked the streets and examined with curious and inquisitive eye every passerby. It was a profession he adopted not from choice but necessity. She called at a friend’s house and sent me word of what had occurred. He thought it prudent to decamp. He was often obliged to double his steps. He felt an ambition to entertain his brother. The singularity of his appearance awakened her conjectures. She saw me from her window by the light of a large lamp which hunger over the inn door. 

He did everything by proxy and made a secret of all his motions. He was secretly pleased, in spite of his sober and church-going prejudices. As soon as it was dark I went out to purchase materials for a new disguise. His achievements were in danger of becoming public. (Previously he had shaken off the dregs of unlicensed depredation.) The subject of their intelligence repeatedly furnished matter for discourse. She was moved by the compassion that was alive in her. Lest he should lose her in the confusion, he was at that moment standing exactly opposite her. By accident she once again caught a glance at her pursuer. By this prudence she completely extricated me from the danger. Fear solely proceeded from her over-caution and kindness upon a visit to a person in the opposite direction. 

Their dispositions and habits of life were completely dissimilar. His motives were strong enough to excite him to perseverance. Nothing could have happened more critical to my future peace. He was exercising his art in a very prosperous manner. He took his stand in the street early, and waited several hours. She put her hands to her sides and looked around the populace. It was not here that he could calculate finding me. 



Chapter Ten 

I had joint considerations pressing upon me. The anxieties of my mind preyed upon my health. I was not long held in perplexity. In the midst of the horrors, this idea gave me pleasure. From the first moment he saw me, he conceived an affection for me. My understanding began to return. In the midst of my own suffering, my sympathies flowed uninterrupted. The old man dropped some tears at my distress. He was an old man just dropping into the grave. Who might shelter me from the gaze of curiosity? Worn out with fatigue, I sunk into a chair. My sympathy was however at this moment a transient one. Every soul in the house was in bed. He had betrayed me into the remorseless fangs of the law. 

I passed from street to street. I sat gasping, anxious, full of the blackest forebodings. I was no longer able to endure the tumult of my impatience. I had not a friend in the whole world. The lapse of time, which cures all things, made my case more desperate. 

A gleam, a sickly gleam, of the social spirit came over my heart. He was driven by a sort of implicit impulse. This motive was an incitement too powerful for him to resist. 

It was the greatest benefit he could confer on me. He would rather see his flesh torn piecemeal from his bones. Now they adopted, with success, a different conduct. They suffered themselves to be overborne by the insolence of their antagonist. They were shut up like wild beasts in a cage. Yet he frequently shed tears over me. 

I would never merit the reproaches cast on me. I was not surprised to find him at it again. I had prepared myself for the unavoidable necessity. I was equaled to the most accomplished swindler in plausibility, duplicity and disguise. I knew that I was asking him an extraordinary kindness. I appeared twisted and deformed. I contrived to make out the chief part by the help of a lamp at the upper end of a narrow passage. His eyes seemed ready to devour everything that passed. 

They said I had as many faces as days in the year. Tired of this mummery, I was disgusted without measure with his hypocritical and base behavior. My ears were struck with two or three casual sounds. A portion of time had passed since my first desperate purpose. The tone in which I spoke electrified him. His mouth and eyes forever ran with crocodile affection. 



Chapter Eleven 

I had racked my invention for expedients of evasion and concealment. It struck upon my sense. I was such an ass to suppose the story I told could be of service to me. My feeling rose to something like abhorrence. With a bursting heart I entered those walls. I felt, as it were, satisfied with the naked effort. I had passed so many anxious days and specter-haunted nights! 

What advantage, what pleasurable sentiment could arise from a tame surrender? The state of my mind was changed to a desperate firmness. Hope died away in the bottom of my heart. How closely the snares of despotism beset me! I rent the universal silence with the roaring of unsupportable despair. It was a voluntary sacrifice, and was cheerfully made. I was determined to publish those astonishing secrets. Considerations like these trampled the recollection of former esteem under my feet. I felt myself disposed to contend to the last. 

Man is blind to the future, unsuspecting of what is to occur in the next moment of his existence. To humble yourself at the feet of the law is a bootless task. I drew back the veil of my heart. I gave success or miscarriage to the winds. This idea secretly consoled me under all my calamities. It was time the real criminal should be the sufferer. It was an expedient that was impossible to fail. The result of it all was to be brought back to the point where I began. 

There would be a speedy end to order and good government if fellows of this sort trampled upon ranks and distinctions, he thought. He believed he could force attention from the most indifferent hearer. With respect to all that was solid, what chance could I find in new exertions? Not even animosity and subornation could utterly destroy a character so inhumanly sanguinary. I considered it their business to take this declaration that would alter the case. I had the power by an unrelenting display of my resources to put an end to my sufferings. I had learned by bitter experience that the law turns into marble the hearts of those nursed in its principles. 

My heart bled at every pore. My existence had been enthralled to an ever-living torment. I would never be deserted by this spirit. I was seized at intervals with temporary frenzy. The guilt belonged entirely to my accuser. I lost all regard for intellectual greatness. He appeared to me to be the most impudent rascal I ever saw. My herculean labors served for my torture. I saw my species as ready to be made instruments of a tyrant. There was no room for amendment and restoration in his most hardened bosom. I saw myself allied with an army of martyrs and confessors. 



Chapter Twelve 

The most severe and painful part of my history was past. He had rendered me an outcast on earth. Should I kiss the hands that were imbrued in my blood? He had a desire to be acquainted with the entire state of my mind. He had attempted to blast my reputation. He suggested the idea of a skeleton more than a person actually alive. It was a forlorn and desperate solitude. Yet his animosity appeared tempered with humanity. 

What hindered me from taking what I really did want? There were causes and reasons. He wished from the bottom of his soul never to set eyes on me again. What was the nature of his power which seemed to leave me at perfect liberty? For a considerable time he chose to expose himself to misfortune. What kind of equality was that? He scrupled out of a regard for truth. He had his eye upon me during all my wanderings. 

I overheard company in a room at no great distance. He was not yet cured of his sanguinary folly. I would not be driven to act repugnant to reason. He had a power that could grind me to atoms. His blood rose at the very sight of me. Behind that smiling face lay robbery, lying, and everything that is ungrateful. 

I proceeded along the streets with caution. It was not clear to me that it was not all owing to him. This discovery carried no consolation to my mind. He boasted of the imaginary obligation he conferred on me. Such were the particulars of that memorable scene. What he proposed he expected me to answer. He had contrived no man’s fate. Speaking thus, a sudden distemper came over his face. The preservation of his life was the uniform object of his exertions. Should I sign away my reputation for better maintaining his, I wondered? He was wearing out the springs of terror. I had lived in the midst of eternal alarm and watchfulness. “I know what I am, and what I can be,” I told him. “I know what you are, and the fate reserved for you,” he responded. 

I sat still for some time, ruminating on these thoughts. He was at length deprived of reason, which had served him as a medium of torment. He advanced towards me with an air direct and blunt. He circumscribed it with a line wide enough to embrace his views. I was open to a new scene of life, to remove to some distant spot. He took all my maliciousness as mild and innocent as a lamb. He hastened from me with the swiftness of an arrow. 

I rambled at a slow and thoughtful pace. It was perfectly dark. He was totally unlike the man he had once been. He seemed a woe-begone and ghostly-figure. He lived the guardian of his reputation. He showed the impotent malignity of his heart. I had sought to disclose the eternal and select secret of his soul. He endured a misery such as man has never endured. He would pull down a mountain on my head! He communicated volumes of experience in a short time. I had suffered exquisitely on his account. He taught me a lesson of insurmountable fortitude. 

What was it that cast me at such an immense distance below him? He was educated in the prejudice of birth. He taught me to hear him with a desperate firmness. I had not time to cool or deliberate. The idea of his misery thrilled through my frame. It was all mysterious and ill defined. I was at length delivered from the dreadful danger which had haunted me for months. 

He did not know what to make of himself in this affair. He was as innocent as the child unborn. He thought worse of me than ever. He gave the finishing lift to the misfortune that was destroying him. It was a sight one would not see again, go all the world over. “Think of your poor soul,” he said. What light did it throw on the intentions of my inexorable pursuer? He had vowed against me enmity and misery without end. 



Chapter Thirteen 

I retained what had been put into my hands. The place recommended itself to my observation. She read, she observed, she reflected. I stood in reality on the brink of a precipice. 

I soon felt the desire of some additional and vigorous pursuit. I endeavored to awaken from my dream. I recollectd the ingenuousness of her nature. It drove me more impetuously to seek the cure of my griefs. Promises lead to happiness, I reflected. I will be clear, collected, and simple in narrative. 

I preferred taking her unprepared. She admired my abilties without tolerating my character. She saw her children returning from the fields, and coming our way. 

I was thunderstruck. I was rooted to the spot. I bribed my imagination. All evils seemed trivial to me. I had found in her the essential qualities we require in a friend. 

The hardships through which I passed gave mildness to my character. Accomplishments greater than these have never seen human form. It seemed to shoot forth its roots in every direction. I was sore with persecution and bleeding at every vein. He was backward to enter into conversation with me. I could with difficulty think anything impossible to him. I strictly examined the question on all sides. 

It was not my business to be seen by them. Virtue distains to appear abashed and confounded. “The name has been a denomination as far back as memory can reach,” she said. My giddiness of mind soon subsided. I was pursued like a wild beast, till I could no long avoid turning on my hunters. The hoarse roarings of the beginning tempest lost their power. What an enviable resting place for me! 

That which excites wonder we are scarcely competent to analyse. True virtue shines by its own light. As I looked around my eyes glanced on a paper lying in one corner. One idea instantly obtruded itself. I found myself restored to the immunities of a human being. The face of nature seemed agreeably diversified. I was seized with an aversion to disguise. I withdrew to some distant, rural scene where I might be hidden from the world. But this was a defect that she was slow to discover. 

A mutual attachment gradually arose. There were a thousand little evanescent touches in its development. This subtracted something from the independence of his judgment. The scene was perhaps more grateful to me than to most other persons. I easily perceived that this pursuit had one advantage. A change introduced itself into my situation. No incident could be more trivial than this. The deadly calm that invaded my faculties was no more. A stiff master-gale gained the ascendancy. I did not wish to have my understanding perverted. I had left her to be informed by sheer accident. I felt attached to her for the present. They were indebted to solitude for additional relish. He had at length received the blow of fate. The possibility was left out of the equation in my youthful mind. Meanwhile I found myself no more exposed to molestation. I was still awake to a sense of danger, annihilating my peace. The consequence of his instruction and manners no time could efface. Every day augmented my hope. I soothed my mind with fond imaginations. 

So grateful to my feelings, week after week glided away. I never communicated the particulars of my story. I lived as it were alone in a corner of the universe. 

The charm of human life derives from novelty. So I was careful not to incur the hazards of darkness and solitude. I was exposed to danger. They endeavored to shun me. 

She thanked God who had enabled her to preserve the innocence of her heart. I had not patience to enter into further remonstrance. The venom was scattered about me in detail and through its minuter particles. I was blasted and branded in the face of the whole world. I could not banish from my mind a dreadful idea. The gradual and uninterrupted progress of this contagious disease left me to perish. 

The conduct of our fellow men, for which we are unable to assign a plausible reason, gives a shock to the mind. It was of great importance to my concerns. She was always presented to my observation under a maternal character. I professed to communicate the sublime heights of science. I was most palpably within the sphere of the enemy. 

Something in his countenance, led by motives of pure humanity, in his forlorn situation without a friend, was vague and indistinct in her mind. She had no idea of honor or superiority to be derived from acquisitions. I hastened to her garden and concealed myself in an arbor. The meeting gave her pain, but inspired no fear. She supposed that virtue could never be the equivocal thing I wanted her to believe. I was vain to hope to recover the favorable prepossession I had lately enjoyed. 

Invisible personages are supposed from time to time to interfere in human affairs, ride in the whirlwind, and scatter destruction. An interval like this is an age to a person in a calamitous situation. I roused myself in a partial degree. I would not volunteer anything that related to my former transactions. What I felt most was the unmoved coldness of her vulgar and unworthy conception. It was her care to avoid deceptive influences. I supposed it was all a delusion of their imagination that stood indispensably in need of suspension. 

I had to deal with a great variety of dispositions. I was left without a clue to the most important question. Characters were distinguished from each other by imperceptible shades. Unacquainted with the sources of evil, entirely arbitrary, observing its perpetual increase, I was unable to discern its limits. She had by some unaccountable accident become acquainted with his fatal and tremendous name. I reeled out of the room. She humanely suppressed her curiosity. 

I found a kind of disgust for the metropolis where I had spent so many hours of artifice, sadness, and terror. This was however a temporary feeling. The incident gave direction to my thought. I could not banish from my mind the dreadful idea. All my declamation was in vain. I could not think of protracting her pain. Abhorred and intolerable certainty succeeded to doubt. I was bereaved of all consistent thinking. I had seen too much of the reign of triumphant falsehood. Every day augmented my hope that the past would never return. I set up my own opinions of material causes and the powers of the human mind. Odious and atrocious falsehoods had been invented against me, and wrested from me the bread which life sustains. 



Chapter Fourteen 

My mind was ever eager in inventing means to escape from my misery. It is always discouraging to begin over again a laborious task. He was deeply affected by the ingenuousness of my feeling. There was yet another idea in my mind relative to this subject. I had occasion to perceive this detested adversary in my rear. I was happy enough to attain a shadowy gratification. It was this circumstance that gorged my heart with abhorrence. I could never wrap myself in the shroud of oblivion. Sleep fled from my eyes. 

My patience was attended with no salutary fruits. He had thought anxiously of me during the whole period of my absence. Unhappily, all extraordinary men are not good men. He was disappointed with me, but uttered no reproaches. My mind dwelt with undescribable longings. 

He knew him to be prejudiced. I was unable to restrain the vehemence of my emotions. In each successive instance I was made acquainted with my fate. I conceived that my story if faithfully digested would carry the impression of truth. Everywhere his industry was unwearied to create new distress. He regarded me as the adversary of his fame. By means of his character he saved me the greater part of my misfortunes. I suffered him to pass me. His integrity was browbeaten and defeated, as mine was. To me the whole world was as cold as a torpedo. 

I called with an impetuous voice. I had but an imperfect and mutilated story to tell. I was pursued by a darting ray that awakened me to a new sensibility. I spent some years in this dreadful vicissitude of pain. Could I convert this dreadful series into sport? Neither he nor I foresaw the dreadful catastrophe that was closely impending. I voluntarily consented to encounter all the evils in store for me. I felt persuaded that there were worse sufferings awaiting me. 

I parted with the last expiring hope of my mind. At his age he was not fit for the storm. The essence of my life was extinct. Was this difference the creature of my imagination, I wondered? I was willing to accommodate myself to circumstances. I was contented. What expedient was I to employ? A sudden reverse of fortune pursued me with unrelenting eagerness. Dependence and uncertainty gave new sharpness and poignancy to my distress. Fool that I was, to imagine there was any room for me in the abode of tranquility! 

Reasoning from his principles, he was only employing a necessary precaution. They proceeded by arming a whole vicinity at once. I was not of a temper to elude and disarm calamity. I sustained the repeated annihilation of my peace. Human society imposed fetters on my exertions. I walked on, measuring every turn of the path I was to pursue. A calm and benevolent philosophy formed one of his conspicuous habits. There was no criterion to prevent vice from being mistaken as virtue. To purchase certainty, he would have to sacrifice all the comforts of his life. 

I knew his habits of thinking. He considered me as a machine which circumstances had compelled to dissolve in a consummation of agony. 



Chapter Fifteen 

It was foreboded. I was no longer reduced to artifice and evasion. This last consolation was denied me. He was inexorable. I was organized to feel sensations of pain and emotions of resentment. I would never again be the master of myself. My pen lingered in my trembling fingers. Why did they suppose I spoke from a dishonorable motive? 

I retired to my chamber. This was my last resource of tranquility. My thoughts wandered from one idea of horror to another with incredible rapidity. It was a fearful thing to offend these bloody rulers. They kept their scenters of human prey forever at my heels. But I would be triumphant, and crush my omnipotent foe! They imagined there was no danger in inflicting on me pains however great. I distained to take the smallest notice of the fiend. I was a prisoner within these rules. 

He came as a friend, to save me a labor-in-vain of trouble. He was determined to never let me pass the reach of his disposal. What ardent teachings of the soul aspired to this termination! From that moment to the present my blood has been in a perpetual ferment. I feared I would be wholly deserted of my reason. Their empire spread itself from climate to climate. He would have been better satisfied if I were in limbo. I was not safe from my gore-drenched foe. I regretted the ruin that overwhelmed me. The moment was pregnant with fate. I would not be scrupulous. I would not die without consolation. 

Forbearance and kindness now penetrated my soul. I had never ascertained the contents of the fatal trunk from which my misfortunes originated. I determined to force myself to the performance of the task, and keep at a proper distance from the sea, where the luminary of the day first ascends from the waves of Hesperian darkness. I was converted from a prisoner at large to a prisoner in good earnest. He did not stand on ceremonies. Persevering in pursuit, I lifted my head erect, acquired connections, and preserved them. 

His countenance was the most hateful to my eyes. I endeavored to remove a criminal indictment from myself by throwing it back on its author. I was inaccessible to his fury. The elements of nature in a universal uproar could not interrupt me. The precautions of man are impotent against the eternally existing laws of the material world. He drew his lines of circumscription around me. 

I added a few pages to my story. I made experiment of various situations with one uniform result. The presage was prophetic. I considered what he had to say in that light. This occasioned an instantaneous revolution in both my intellectual and animal system. I scarcely remained in one posture for a minute together. All was not right within me. Dark, mysterious, unfeeling, the world with all its climates was made in vain. I was altogether passive, a mere worm, who yet spoke with a voice more fearful than thunder! I was calm; bold as a lion, yet collected! I stabbed him with my little pen in the very point he most desired to defend. 





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Postscript 

Terrible are the events which have intervened. The errors of my life I so ardently concealed, now repeat a half-told and tangled tale. All these persecutions were repeatedly alarming. Manacled like a felon, I entered this retreat in poverty and distress, compelled to use arts and subterfuges, in my flight through the country, as should not have been entailed on the worst villain. When to put an end to my silence? They were miscreants who were nourished on human blood. 

Is it better to accuse or to die? They manifested their sympathy with the tokens of my penitence. He seemed at first startled and alarmed. I was compelled to give vent to my anguish. His figure was ever in my imagination. It was now only that I was truly miserable. “Reputation was the blood that warmed my heart,” he said. He could not resist my reasonable demand. I traveled over the whole kingdom. I was silent, armed with patience, uncertain. I confessed every sentiment of my heart. I solemnly conjured him to recollect himself. I had submitted myself to waste the best years of my life in a wretched situation, in this business superior to personal considerations, incapacitated from acting my part, one person miserable in preference to two, with a total neglect of self-regard, such as an impartial spectator would desire. 

I have finished the catalog of expedients that were at my disposition. He was at this time confined with an alarming illness. I applied to him in the regular exercise of his function. I was in my perfect senses. My design was secret, carefully locked up in my breast. Soon, by this fatal coincidence – the blooming hope of my youth blasted, my closing hopes disappointed, my death to be accompanied by disgrace – he saw too late the greatness and elevation of my mind. 

I could not inflict on him more than he deserved. Such were the accents dictated by remorse. It was an extremist folly that was a painful burden to me. My whole frame shook. How was it possible for him to be so eager, so obstinate in a purpose so diabolical? I laid the emotions of my soul naked before my hearers. 

Upon reading the paper he was seized by a dangerous fit. He opened his eyes with a languid glance, after which he sank back into his former insensibility. He thought it proper to lower his tone. I warned him to consider well what he was doing. I was of age to understand the nature of an oath. I was an object of universal execration. He was determined on no account to be the victim of my depravity. I stood acquitted at the bar of my conscience. I added to the weight of his misfortunes, but the situation forbade me to submit to the well-meant despotism of his authority. I at length effected my purpose. Did this show me to be a man unworthy to be trusted? I did not make one attempt to retort. It was impossible that he could have resisted a frank and fervent expostulation, in which the whole soul is poured out. 

My despair was criminal. I now saw my mistake in all its enormity. He brought me back with stratagem and violence. At another time I was haunted with doubts. I saw an increase in the calamities I had to endure, for the benevolence of nature had turned to gall. I believed it was in my power, with all practicable expedition, however fatigued and almost destroyed by the journey. 

Passion always appears to be coolness in one it domineers. Now or never was the time for me to redeem my future life. There must have been a better, more magnanimous remedy. I trampled upon a man who was dreadfully reduced. All these reasonings vanished – the thought that worked his soul to madness, to throw my wretchedness before me, a reputation forever inviolate, the author of a hateful scene, whom nature had brought down to the grave under which I groaned… 

It was too late; it was now gone passed all recall. This was my situation, and thus situated, I was called to act. I attached myself to him with the fullness of my affection. He at length confided in me the full fatal tale. I soon repented of my rashness. I hid my weary head in some obscure and tranquil retreat. No emergency could convert me to an assailant. Which mode ought he have sought for safety – conciliation or cruelty? I came to curse, but remained to bless. The memory will always haunt me and embitter my existence. “I am myself the basest and most odious of mankind,” I declared. 

Everyone was petrified by astonishment. Everyone melted into tears. He seemed sunk and debilitated. He discovered me using a pretence to give new edge to my hostility. Excess of jealousy was ever burning in his bosom. All his prospects were concluded. He dragged on a miserable existence in insupportable pain. He blessed the hand that wounded him. His life continued just long enough to witness its final overthrow. It served to aggravate the baseness of my cruelty. I had planted a dagger, and he thanked me for the kindness. 

I thought I should return again to all that makes life worth living. But these events are accomplished, which have been the source of my errors. What use are talent and sentiments in the corrupt wilderness of human society? Year after year he spent in the project of the phantom of departed honor, this miserable project of imposture. My thoughts were solemn and filled with foreboding.


End



-- July 31- September 26, 2010
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