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ain't quite nat'ral; but I say 'tis 80; and from that hour, whatever Will Fern does, or lets alone-all one-it goes against him.
* Alderman Cute stuck his thumbs in his waistcoat-pockets, and leaning back in his chair, and smiling, winked at a neighbouring chandelier, as much as to say, 'Of course! I told you so. The common cry! Lord bless you, we are up to all this sort of thing—myself and human nature.'
"Now, gentlemen,' said Will Fern, holding out his hands, and flushing for an instant in his haggard face, 'See how your laws are made to trap and hunt us when we're brought to this. I tries to live elsewhere : and I'm a vagabond. To jail with him! I comes back here. I goes a nutting in your woods, and breaks-who don't-a limber branch or two. To jail with him! One of your keepers sees me in the broad day, near my own patch of garden, with a gun. To jail with him! I has a nat'ral angry word with that man when I'm free again. To jail with him! I cuts a stick. To jail with him! I eats a rotten apple or a turnip. To jail with him! It's twenty mile away; and coming back, I begs a trifle on the road. To jail with him! At last, the constable, the keeper-anybody-finds me any where, a doing anything. To jail with him, for he's a vagrant, and a jail-bird known; and jail's the only home he's got.'
The Alderman nodded sagaciously, as who should say, 'A very good home too!'
• • Do I say this to serve my cause !' cried Fern. Who can give me back my liberty? who can give me back my good name? who can give me back my innocent niece ? Not all the Lords and Ladies in wide England. But gentlemen, gentlemen, dealing with other men like me, begin at the right end. Give us, in mercy, better homes when we're a lying in our cradles; give us better food when we're a working for our lives; give us kinder laws to bring us back when we're a going wrong; and don't set jail, jail, jail, afore us, everywhere we turn. There an't a condescension you can show the labourer then, that he won't take, as ready and as grateful as a man can be ; for he has a patient, peaceful, willing heart. But you must put his rightful spirit in him first; for whether he's a wreck and ruin such as me, or is like one of them that stand here now, his spirit is divided from you at this time. Bring it back, gentlefolks, bring it back! Bring it back, afore the day comes when even his Bible changes in his altered mind, and the words seem to him to read, as they have sometimes read in my own eyes--in jail : Whither thou goest, I can Not go; where thou lodgest, I do Not lodge; thy people are Not my people; Nor thy God my God!” '-pp. 117–124.
What a picture is here unfolded! and who shall say in how many cases the process described is perpetually going on! A vicious system has corrupted public feeling, and rendered us insensible to that which is passing before our eyes. But so it is; and even novelists can detect and expose the wrong done by our social system, whilst moral and religious men are insensible of the enormity, or heedless of its mischievous results.
We must indulge in one more extract. The father looks again upon his child, but, alas, how changed! The buoyancy of her spirit is gone; her bright eye is shaded, she is poor, half famished, and alone. Lilian has left her, and Richard, —but Mr. Dickens shall describe both.
• The frame at which she had worked was put away upon a shelf, and covered up. The chair in which she had sat was turned against the wall. A history was written in these little things, and in Meg's griefworn face. Oh! who could fail to read it ?
Meg strained her eyes upon her work until it was too dark to see the threads ; and when the night closed in, she lighted her feeble candle and worked on. Still her old father was invisible about her ; looking down upon her; loving her : how dearly loving her ! and talking to her in a tender voice about the old times, and the Bells. Though he knew, poor Trotty, though he knew she could not hear him.
' A great part of the evening had worn away when a knock came at her door. She opened it. A man was on the threshold. A slouching, moody, drunken, sloven : wasted by intemperance and vice : and with his matted hair and unshorn beard in wild disorder : but with some traces on him, too, of having been a man of good proportion and good features in his youth.
'He stopped until he had her leave to enter ; and she, retiring a pace or two from the open door, silently and sorrowfully looked upon him. Trotty had his wish: he saw Richard.
"May I come in, Margaret ?'
It was well that Trotty knew him before he spoke ; for with any doubt remaining on his mind, the harsh discordant voice would have persuaded him that it was not Richard, but some other man.
There were but two chairs in the room. She gave him hers, and stood at some short distance from him, waiting to hear what he had to say.
'He sat. however, staring vacantly at the floor ; with a lustreless and stupid smile. A spectacle of such deep degradation, of such abject hopelessness, of such a miserable downfall, that she put her hands before her face and turned away, lest he should see how much it moved her,
'Roused by the rustling of her dress, or some such trifling sound, he lifted his head, and began to speak as if there had been no pause since he entered.
“Still at work, Margaret? You work late.'
"So she said. She said you never tired; or never owned that you tired. Not all the time you lived together. Not even when you fainted, between work and fasting. But I told you that, the last time I came.'
"You did,' she answered. “And I implored you to tell me nothing
more; and you made me a solemn promise, Richard, that you never would.'
"A solemn promise,' he repeated, with a drivelling laugh and vacant stare. A solemn promise. To be sure. A solemn promise!' Awakening, as it were, after a time; in the same manner as before; he said, with sudden animation,
"How can I help it, Margaret? What am I to do? She has been to me again !
“Again !'cried Meg, clasping her hands. “Oh, does she think of me so often! Has she been again!'
"Twenty times again,' said Richard. Margaret, she haunts me. She comes behind me in the street, and thrusts it in my hand. I hear her foot upon the ashes when I'm at my work (ha, ha! that an't often), and before I can turn my head, her voice is in my ear, saying, Richard, don't look round. For heaven's love, give her this !' She brings it where I live; she sends it in letters; she taps at the window and lays it on the sill. What can I do? Look at it!
• He held out in his hand a little purse, and chinked the money it enclosed.
“Hide it,' said Meg. ·Hide it! When she comes again, tell her, Richard, that I love her in my soul. That I never lie down to sleep, but I bless her, and pray for her. That in my solitary work, I never cease to have her in my thoughts. That she is with me, night and day. That if I died to-morrow, I would remember her with my last breath. But that I cannot look upon it!'
• He slowly recalled his hand, and crushing the purse together, said with a kind of drowsy thoughtfulness
"I told her so. I told her so, as plain as words could speak. I've taken this gift back and left it at her door, a dozen times since then. But when she came at last, and stood before me, face to face, what could I do?!!
“You saw her!' exclaimed Meg. “You saw her! Oh, Lilian, my sweet girl ! Oh, Lilian, Lilian !'
"I saw her,' he went on to say, not answering, but engaged in the same slow pursuit of his own thoughts. There she stood : trembling!
How does she look, Richard ? Does she ever speak of me? Is she thinner? My old place at the table : what's in my old place ? And the frame she taught me our old work on-has she burnt it, Richard !' There she was. I heard her say it."
* Meg checked her sobs, and, with the tears streaming frem her eyes, bent over him to listen. Not to lose a breath.
• With his arms resting on his knees, and stooping forward in his chair, as if what he said were written on the ground in some half legible character, which it was his occupation to decipher and connect; he went on,
"Richard, I have fallen very low; and you may guess how much I have suffered in having this sent back, when I can bear to bring it in my hand to you. But you loved her once, even in my memory, dearly. Others stepped in between you ; fears, and jealousies, and doubts, and vanities, estranged you from her ; but you did love her, even in my
memory! I suppose I did,' he said, interrupting himself for a moment. 'I did! That's neither here nor there. 'Oh Richard, if you ever did; if you have any memory for what is gone and lost, take it to her once more. Once more! Tell her how I begged and prayed. Tell her how I laid my head upon your shoulder, where her own head might have lain, and was so humble to you, Richard. Tell her that you looked into my face, and saw the beauty which she used to praise, all gone : all gone : and in its place, a poor, wan, hollow cheek, that she would weep to see. Tell her everything, and take it back, and she will not refuse again. She will not have the heart !!!
So he sat musing, and repeating the last words, until he woke again, and rose. “You won't take it, Margaret ?' She shook her head, and motioned an entreaty to him to leave her. "Good night, Margaret.' "Good night! "He turned to look upon her ; struck by her sorrow, and perhaps by the pity for himself which trembled in her voice. It was a quick and rapid action; and for the moment some flash of his old bearing kindled in his form. In the next he went as he had come. Nor did this glimmer of a quenched fire seem to light him to a quicker sense of his debasement.
'In any mood, in any grief, in any torture of the mind or body, Meg's work must be done. She sat down to her task, and plied it. Night, midnight. Still she worked.
She had a meagre fire, the night being very cold; and rose at intervals to mend it. The Chimes rang half-past twelve while she was thus engaged; and when they ceased she heard a gentle knocking at the door. Before she could so much as wonder who was there, at that unusual hour, it opened.
Oh Youth and Beauty, happy as ye should be, look at this ! Oh Youth and Beauty, blest and blessing all within your reach, and working out the ends of your Beneficent Creator, look at this !
"She saw the entering figure ; screamed its name; cried · Lilian !'
'It was swift, and fell upon its knees before her : clinging to her dress. "Up, dear! Up! Lilian! My own dearest!'
"Never more, Meg; never more! Here! Here! Close to you, holding to you, feeling your dear breath upon my face !!!
"Sweet Lilian ! Darling Lilian! Child of my heart-no mother's love can be more tender-lay your head upon my breast !
"Never more, Meg. Never more! When I first looked into your face, you knelt before me. On my knees before you, let me die. Let it be here!
"You have come back. My Treasure! We will live together, work together, hope together, die together!'
“Ah! Kiss my lips, Meg; fold your arms about me; press me to your bosom; look kindly on me ; but don't raise me. Let it be here, Let me see the last of your dear face upon my knees !
'Oh Youth and Beauty, happy as ye should be look at this ! Oh
met prebe mere
Youth and Beauty, working out the ends of your Beneficent Creator, look at this!
• Forgive me, Meg! So dear, so dear! Forgive me! I know you do, I see you do, but say so, Meg!
She said so, with her lips on Lilian's cheek. And with her arms twined round-she knew it now-a broken heart.
". His blessing on you, dearest love. Kiss me once more! He suffered her to sit beside his feet, and dry them with her hair. Oh Meg, what Mercy and Compassion! - 'As she died, the Spirit of the child returning, innocent and radiant, touched the old man with its hand, and beckoned him away.'-pp. 124
Our young readers must not imagine that the tale ends thus wretchedly. Toby suddenly awakes to the happiness and festivity of a new-year's wedding-day, and all the dramatis personæ are disposed of just as a kind heart would have them be.
We need not recommend the volume, as Mr. Dickens's name will have sent it to the extremities of the kingdom before our pages are read. The illustrations are exceedingly appropriate, and are skilfully executed; and the 'getting up of the volume is tasteful and elegant.
Art. VII. 1. Denkschrift der homiletischen und Katechetischen Seminarium
der Universität zu Jena vom Jahre 1824. Unter Auktorität der theologischen Facultät herausgegeben. Von Dr. H. A. Schott, Prof. der Theologie, Director des homilet. Seminariums und des Academ. Gotsdienstes. Jena, 1824. [Memoir of the Homiletical and Catechetical Seminary of the University of Jena, for the year 1824. Edited, under the authority of the Theological faculty, by Dr. H. A. Schott, Professor of Theology, and Director of the Homiletical Seminary and of the Academical Divine Services. Jena, 1824.]
Die Bedeutsamkeit des evangelisch-theologischen Seminares in Wir. temberg, und die Frage über das Rathsame seiner Aufheburg oder Schmälerung, beleuchtet, von Dr. J. C. F. Steudel. Tübingen, 1827. [The Importance of the Wirtemburg Seminary for Evangelical Theology, and the question of the advisableness of suppressing or reducing it, ilļustrated by Dr. J. C. F. Steudel. Tübingen,
1827.] 3. Ueber Predigerseminarien. Mit Berücksichtigung der zu Herborn,
Loccum und Wittenberg vorhandenen, und in Bezug auf die Errichtung