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the man had proved å lesson to him. He saw himself reflected, true, in coarser colouring, but still himself—the same abandonment of the life to pleasure the same indifference to others--the same love of all that was earthly and sensual. Herriott, for the first time, saw the utter selfishness of that species of Epicurism which greedily snatches at even the shadow of personal enjoyment, which lives only for to-day and défies to-morrow, and, struck as he was with the coarse nature of his prototype, felt that he had incurred his own contempt.
There is not a more uncomfortable sensation in the world than our own contempt. The scorn of our friends is actual honour and felicity in the comparison.
Day after day came Joanna to that prison, and day after day did Herriott feel more fully that her presence rendered it a palace.
There are eras in life when the character receives a new bent- the mind a new impulse—the heart new affections,—when we start as if from a sleep, and feel a mighty renovation. This wakening of the faculties, this stirring of emotions, is, must be, strong for good or for evil. We cannot sink again into the same position. The exciting moment must be for better or for worse.
To Herriott this time had arrived: he woke from the dream of selfish pleasure in which he had been lulled, and woke to see and to know himself. We will not say that a generous nature cannot sink into this thraldom; but there is this difference between the man who is enslaved, and the man to whom it is nature: the one can shake off his fetters, the other can never be made to desire freedom.
Another nobly redeeming point stood prominent in Herriott's favour : he had not arrived at that melancholy hour of life when our pleasures forsake us, and not we our pleasures. The world was still beautiful in his eyes-satiety had not come-dissipation had not palled—beauty had not faded—joy had not lost its brightness, nor expectation its freshness, nor hope its anticipations. In short, his own heart was still full of unexhausted riches.
And here was the proof that he was indeed born of a higher nature than the dissipated slaves of pleasure with whom he had banded himself: it consisted in this—that he could love a virtue so elevated in its character, as almost to seem severe.
Joanna's soul could not be crushed down even by the degradation of a prison. She had none of that little shame which belongs to little minds. How true to itself is that heart which beats as equably in a prison as in a palace, and such a heart was Joanna's.
But to Herriott a prison was shame. As he had sown, so must he reap: he had sown dissipation, he must reap disgrace.
And under this disgrace he was presented to Joanna. O, there is no ignominy so poignant as that of knowing that we have disgraced ourselves in the eyes of the objects of our heart's love !
This shame filled Herriott's mind continually, and it humbled him too much to allow him to do himself the justice of remembering that it was before the mirror of his mind had received her image that it had reflected more ignoble things.
Everything that delicacy and respect could suggest to relieve the situation of his new friends had Herriott done. Joanna never knew the extent of Herriott's watchful care-never knew that it was to him she owed the luxury of a chamber exempt from coarse intrusion.
That chamber !--0, its walls might have echoed many heavy sighs, and seen many tears, and witnessed much anguish ;—that chamber! O, it was surrounded by all that was painful, and its associations were all that was bitter ; but from that hour it has been and shall be sacred, for it was the birthplace of a new affection—of a new happiness of an affection that shall survive time-of a happiness that shall not be lost even in eternity.
“ Alone, Miss Huntingdon?" said Herriott.
“ Yes, alone,” replied Joanna. “ I have persuaded my father to breathe a little of the scanty air allowed between these narrow walls, but he would not permit my company."
“ May I enter,” said Herriott, or must I needs retire ?"
“ It would be rather straining my prerogative,” replied Joanna, " to exclude the master of the tenement.”
“ The presence of the queen makes the palace. Where you dwell you reign.”
" Then pray enter,” replied Joanna, with a faint smile, “since you will be a courtier, whether or not I am a queen.
how idle here to attempt to keep up the punctilios of society !"
“ A proof," replied Herriott, “ of the ascendency of your mind. Here, where all other distinctions are lost in a whirlpool of disgrace and wretchedness, you are able, by the mere force of native dignity, to preserve yourself as uncontaminated and distinct as though you moved in a society to which you might prescribe laws.”
“ I will not allow,” Joanna answered, “ that the whirlpool of which you speak can involve all indiscriminately. There are some, few it may be, who inhabit here, that misfortune and not fault has brought within these walls.”
“ Miss Huntingdon, I would not have you think too well of one of whom you cannot think too ill. I am not of that number."
“ You are jealous,” said Joanna, “to disclaim my good opinion."
“ It is a hard necessity,” Herriott exclaimed, 6 to disclaim that which we prize above all other things." “ I would willingly,” said Joanna, " class
my father, make you my two exceptions, and be proud that you could both dwell in a prison, conferring honour rather than incurring shame."
may be so with him.” “ It is so with him,” replied Joanna, with dignity.
Herriott hastily left her presence. He could not bear the calm quiet of her eye, or rather he could no longer endure the goadings of his own reproachful feelings. He walked hastily into the open air. The heated atmosphere came over him loaded with the hot breathings of the profligate and unhappy beings who shared his prison. He looked around : a stamp of degradation was over all—on himself not least. I will no longer play the puritan! Herriott internally exclaimed. Unmerited esteem is the bitterest condemnation. The purity of her
own heart forbids her seeing the worthlessnessthe worldliness of mine. I can no longer bear the trustfulness of her own high integrity, which invests even me with a value that makes me feel the veriest hypocrite until I utterly disclaim it. I will return and tell her to despise me, for I despise myself. “I am
“ I am come to you,” he said, as he hastily re-entered her presence, “ I am come to relinquish all your good opinion—to tell you to despise me—to tell you why you ought to despise me.”
Joanna's startled look for a moment rested on him. “ Leave it un said.”
6 No!" he said. “ Hear the utter selfishness of all my past life. Until the moment that I saw you, I had no other object on earth or in heaven than the pleasure of my own degraded self; the enjoyment of the hour, whether it consisted in the pampering of the body, or the ministering unto the mind, was all for which I lived, or hoped, or cared. On this I have lavished every moment of that time of which only the dying know the full value; every exertion of those talents which were given to fit us not for time, but for eternity; and every fraction of that wealth which was designed to bless my fellow-beings as well as myself!-Now see me—see me, degraded and in a prison, and despise me."
“ I cannot,” said Joanna.
Herriott's curiosity-we wrong the feeling in calling it by such a name—his interest was strongly excited to learn the causes which had led the father of Joanna to such a dwelling. Delicacy precluded even an allusion on his part ; delicacy forbade communication on theirs ; but he soon learnt all, more than all he wished to know, from another
Mr. Huntingdon was a man of ancient family, and of small but honourable independence. He had received an unsullied name from his father; he had transmitted an unsullied name to his son. If the elder Huntingdon had a household god-if he had made himself an idol-it was respectability.
But as all idols shall be ground to powder, even the very virtues which we set up, so was also this. Young Huntingdon left college, highly educated, for pleasure, and was speedily swallowed up in a whirlpool of extravagance that soon issued in ruin : there was the wreck of that unblemished credit on which his family had for tions loved to vaunt. It is the fault of noble minds to deify their own virtues : this household god of the Huntingdons was now humbled to the dust. The very credit of the family assisted in its ruin. Who doubted its stability ? None who knew even its name ; and thus the son found it wonderfully easy to overturn its credit by directing against it its own strength. And what remained to redeem its honour ? To disclaim the responsibility of his son's debts ? No. The venerable old man chose rather a prison than such shame.
One tender feeling made the balance waver for a moment: it was for his daughter; but her voice decided the passing fluctuation. prison then, my father, be it, rather than dishonour!”
It would require a casuist,—no, a Christian--to determine whether
Joanna or her father were justified in thus sacrificing each other. If they were wrong, their sins were those of lofty minds, and we are concerned in showing that those minds are as liable to errors as meaner natures, and that though those errors are of a different birth and nature, yet they need as much the chastening rod. Had Joanna lived in bygone days, and had her home been in the imperial city, she would have been among the loftiest of Roman matrons.
This history of the Huntingdons was full of bitter reproach to Herriott's mind, and had a far deeper sting than our readers may surmise. The younger Huntingdon had been his gay convivial companion. He remembered, 0 how bitterly! how often a jest from his own lips had given the preponderance to evil over good in his mindhow often a smile, a sneer, a sarcasm, had goaded him into a wilder speed on his mad career.
From this hour Herriott's mind was roused into activity. Till now the charm of Joanna's presence had spread a pleasing apathy over his soul. Her refinement, her purity, her elevation, even her severity of character, were all to him as beautiful as they were new. He had always been a favourite with the sex, but it was in the dance, the
song, the mirthful hour, amidst the coquetries of pleasure. It was now that Joanna's nobler soul acted like a powerful stimulant upon temperament, waking within him the higher elements of his nature, and assimilating with its more vivid energies.
The dream of his inert happiness was over. He became agonised under the shame of his enforced detention--a detention which, until now he was content, nay almost happy under, since it had bound him within the sphere of Joanna's presence. To prepare for her reception in the morning-to be waiting near that ponderous gate to attend her to their chamber—to hover round her through the day-to share with her the offices of affection to her parent, and in her absence to discharge them for her sake—to gather up her words, her sentiments, as a treasure for thought and memory—0, notwithstanding every other circumstance of trouble or of trial, these things had made him so sweetly, so calmly, so purely happy, that Herriott could not even wish for change.
But from that hour Joanna's voice was a reproach. He could not look upon her, however, growing pale and sickly within the shadow of those prison-walls, without the most poignant remorse.
The light could not fall on the gray hairs of her father without telling him that he had helped to blanch them : the fading cheek of the one, the wrinkled brow of the other, were alike grief and anguish to his soul.
With a flushed brow and a hasty step Herriott abruptly entered that prison-chamber.
“ You have been long,” said Joanna. Herriott did not answer.
Joanna lifted up her eyes to his face. There was a strange, a flushed, an agitated expression over it which instantly startled her. She laid her hand upon his arm, and, with her large swimming eyes fixed intently on his countenance, asked, “ Tell me what new misfortune has befallen us?”
" It has befallen me,” Herriott replied; “ it is, that I must leave “ It has befallen me,” said Joanna, faintly. Joanna’s face had become perfectly colourless-ashy. She was silent; but presently, with that strong mastery of mind over feeling which sorrow hail so often made it necessary to exert, she said, “ I am thankful : you, at least, will be delivered from this wretched place.”
“ It has not been wretched to me; has it, dear Joanna, been so to
“ It will be," was all Joanna's answer.
He had gone. Sad indeed was that desolate chamber.
We miss the companions of our pleasures, but O how much more the companions of our sorrows! The pleasures may pass away with those who shared them; but the sorrows remain_and unshared.
“ I will go with you to the gate, to-night,” said the father. “ I leave you alone,” said the daughter. And the thoughts of both were with him who had gone. “ Joanna wrapped herself in her veil. She started at the contact of
A faint thought-almost a hope was within her that Herriott would be near.
She reached her solitary dwelling without beholding him. Joanna did not accuse him of neglect-she acknowledged his delicacy. That night, in defiance of all her fortitude, Joanna wept bitter, bitter tears upon her pillow.
Herriott had inherited a small fortune from his aunt. She had been deeply incensed against him, and had made daily vows to disinherit him. Her intention had never failed, she had only delayed its execution; and not having calculated with precision the exact time of her own death, had at last died, leaving the intended will unmade.
This property was sufficient to discharge all Herriott's own debts, and to leave a surplus. Our reader may guess how that surplus was applied, when we tell him that after an interval of two days, which to Joanna and her father were as years, they received a communication from the professional gentleman in whose hands their affairs rested, telling them that he had been able to effect an accommodation, which gave immediate liberty to his client; and which allowed him a small income from his own property, while it left the bulk for the liquidation of those debts for which he had made himself responsible.
Herriott was the first to congratulate them. He attended them to their new home. It was humble, but it was home, and they were happy. Ay, happy as they must be who hope, for hope is, to a certain degree, happiness--happy up to that degree, we say, because, to hope is to confess that our happiness is not yet perfect.
Herriott returned no more to the haunts of dissipation. He entered at once on those severer paths which lead to wealth, to eminence, to honour. He felt that his discipline had not been the effect of accident, but of a design which worketh all things together for good—the raising and the purifying of his own character, and making him capa