Imatges de pÓgina

beyond that which attended his exertions. The homely aphorism of Old Richard appeared to possess a practical influence over the spirit and conduct of Claremont

• He that by the plough will thrive,

Himself must either hold or drive ;' for although he had two apprentices, and as many assistants, still he continued to act the man as well as play the master. " He that wishes his work done,' says an old proverb, must desire his servant to do it ; but he who wishes it well done, must see him do it.' He attended to the maxim, and found his account in so doing in the increase of his funds.

“Prudence is an estate to those who exercise it well. So thought Mr. Claremont, and, therefore, he had determined not to change his condition in life, until he possessed sufficient means to make the woman happy to whom he had plighted his troth. The period had now arrived when it was considered by himself and friends that it would materially increase both his comfort and advantage to take unto himself a wife! He had for a considerable time bowed at the shrine of worth and beauty, in the daughter of an aged gentleman in the neighbourhood, whose property, although not exceedingly large, placed him in easy circumstances, and would empower him to present his only child, on her nuptial day, a sum little short of two thousand pounds.

" Juliana-so she was named- kwas a lovely girl. She possessed all that seemed necessary to make the man happy who might be privileged to call her his own. A genteel figure, winning address, and captivating countenance, were only the negatives of her excellence and recommendation. Something more substantial than either, or the whole of these, was enjoyed by her. Her disposition was of that rare character which the warm imagination of the poet would have pictured when describing female worth ; added to which, her mind was well furnished with useful and solid knowledge. The mere embellishments and light adornings of female character, which, like the gaudy trappings of the stage heroine, only sparkle in the glare of midnight lamps, constituted not her education ; these, indeed, she did possess, and these, accompanied as they were by other and more enduring attainments, appeared yet more lovely; she gave to them a grace and lustre, rather than received from them adornment. Adolphus Claremont led his blushing bride from the altar, amidst the blessings of many, and seemed to commence anew the race of life, with, if possible, increasing prospects of success and happiness.

“Riches and prosperity, rapidly acquired, are sometimes a snare, and lead to fatal consequences, both to fortune and felicity; not, indeed, as a necessary result, but because of their abuse on the part of those who possess them. So they terminated in the experience of Adolphus Claremont. But I will not,” continued my informant as he checked himself, anticipate the sequel of my tale, but proceed in unbroken order to its close.

“ The first year of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Claremont, so far as outward observation went, was evidently one of perfect happiness.

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Already one child, a sweet girl, blessed their union; and still business prospered. All seemed fair, for no cloud of sorrow had as yet darkened the beautiful brightness of their life's sky. They were, by many, an envied pair.

“ About this time, the spirit of speculation, like a blighting mildew, spread itself through the length of our country, and reached even our retired neighbourhood. The game of venture ran high, and poor Claremont, instead of attending, as before, closely to business, seeking, as he previously had done with so much success, to rise progressively and safely to wealth and influence, imbibed the fatal mania—anxious, it would seem, to reach at once the summit of his wishes by what may be called a species of gaming. The incipient desire was cherished, and led him imperceptibly into company-once a week—only once! Oh! that to him was a fatal once. He allowed himself to spend the evening from his family and from his home. His first speculation was an unsuccessful one, and by that single venture, he lost nearly as large a sum as he had received for his wife's dowry. The spirit of gaming is an insidious and destructive one; and once imbibed, in whatever form, generally accomplishes the ruin of his vassals ; either making them bankrupts, or villains, or both!

" It was soon seen that Mr. Claremont's attendance in his shop, and attention to his business, was neither so early or regular as in past times. He indulged himself now, when he should have been at his post of duty, and left to the care of others that which demanded his personal superintendence. Punctuality in his transactions fell off, and as a reasonable consequence, some of his most valuable and influential customers fell off too.

He rapidly became possessed of, and constantly displayed, the spirit of a man of fortune, and in the same proportion, lost the habits and address of a man of business, bartering the most valuable for the most worthless, and sacrificing substantial good for empty show.

-Time passed as time ever will, whatever be the conduct of mortals, and Claremont's family increased. Five lovely children now claimed his regard, and looked up to him for counsel and support. But his ear had long since been closed to the voice of nature. His absence from home one evening in the week had progressed, and now every evening and night were consumed in the same way. He had entered upon the slippery declining plane of the mere pleasure-taker and gambler, and felt how difficult, after a few steps so taken, it was to turn back and retrace his path.

“ Affairs at home, and in the mart, must suffer, when recreations are preferred to steady business. Here a sad illustration was furnished of the correctness of the statement advanced. Day was frequently added to night in the round of Claremont's pleasures; and the care of his establishment was made to devolve upon servants and apprentices. What less than a total wreck of property could from such a course be reasonably expected? With all the rhetoric of woman's love, his slighted, affectionate wife—his once dear Juliana--entreated him, for

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the dear children's sake, to break from the company he had formed, and again apply himself to business. But, alas ! he had thrown the reins of his reason upon the neck of his wild passion, and with a fearful impetuosity was borne forwards, he knew not, and appeared neither to think or care, whither.

“ It is said, that drunkenness is an egg from which all evils may be hatched. In Claremont's case it appeared so; for, as he thought-and at some brief periods it became his curse to think- -on what he once had been and what he now was, the reflection seemed to goad him to madness, and he drank to drown the thoughts which he could not otherwise put away: and then, to stifle, if possible, all remaining compunction, drank deeper and yet deeper still, and having so done, mingled unhesitatingly with company, such as in former days he would have blushed even to have been named with. He staked high, and lost largely Gamesters and race-horses never last long ;-Claremont's ruin was certainly speedy. Unknown to his wife, he had already mortgaged his house for a large sum, and the proceeds had been paid away as a debt of honour! while the just claims of honest tradesmen and lawful creditors were unattended to, and treated with the indifference which the gamester’s mind supposed they deserved. Oh, tempora ! Oh, mores !

6 At length the heart-sickening, horrifying truth, broke upon the deceived and still-confiding Mrs. Claremont. Her husband's credit had entirely failed, demands were made which he was unable to meet, and a writ was issued against him.

“The wretched condition into which his own conduct had brought himself and family appeared for a brief space to restore him to reason. He acknowledged, with apparent sorrow and regret, the folly of his past conduct to the woman he had so deeply injured, who, although so injured, still loved him with the deep undying affection with which woman only can love. She had never once upbraided him, or addressed him in rude or harsh terms, and now, even as distress and ruin were entering their abode, she strove to soothe his mind and cheer his spirit. His promises of future rectitude were profuse, and no doubt can be entertained of his sincerity at the time he uttered them ; but he was yet a stranger to himself, and so became security for a being who would, as soon as temptation offered—betray !

By the kind assistance of Mrs. Claremont's friends, to whom in her extremity she applied, the creditors were met, the necessary arrangements were made, and once more Adolphus Claremont was seen, as in former days, active in his concerns, and attentive to his business ;-again his home looked cheerful, his children smiled around him, and his fond wife was happy.

“So matters continued for nearly twelve months, when, alas! too much evidence was given, that

• Vows in passion made, are seldom kept.' Secretly, Mr. Claremont had indulged in drink; the habit he had ac

quired possessed a controlling influence over him of the most despotic character. From small quantities he proceeded to larger, and from private libations, swallowed the ruinous draughts more publicly. Step by step, he proceeded as before ; neither love, duty, character, or happiness, had power sufficient to restrain him; he appeared either incapable, or indisposed, to consider the inevitable consequences of the course he pursued.

“ Smitten in the very core of her being by the baseness of him she ardently loved, his poor neglected wife sank gradually towards the tomb. So callous had he now become, so brutalised in his feelings, that he could gaze upon the pale and emaciated features of the once lovely Juliana, unmoved.

" At length the parting scene came. He was hastily summoned from a convivial party, to attend the death-bed, and receive the last wishes and advice, of his scarcely less than murdered wife! He came; but when he arrived, the patient sufferer had almost reached the goal. Life flickered in the socket, and the slightest gust appeared sufficient to extinguish it for ever! She was lying insensible. He leaned over, and for a moment gazed attentively upon her faded form, and seemed to feel. Presently she revived, and fixing her dying eyes upon him, seized his hand with strong feeling, and faintly exclaimed

“O my dear, my own dear Adolphus, I am about to leave you! Be kind to our dear children ;-turn to Him from whom you have departed—and-prepare to meet me in a holier happier land.' Her hand unclasped its hold, and fell by her side ; her eyes closed silently, with a soft smile upon him she was leaving; and

• One gentle sigh alone

Escaped her peaceful breast,
And then, without a moan,

She rose to peace and rest.' “A wild and agonising grief seized upon the wretched Claremont, as that soft, but to him accusing smile, relaxed in the rigour of death. He wept like a child, and called in fearful ravings upon his lost, his injured Juliana. So he continued, until nature was exhausted, and half unconscious of surrounding objects, he was borne by some attendants from the chamber of death.

Scarcely had the earth closed upon the mortal remains of Mrs. Claremont, before several insulted and irritated creditors seized upon all the infatuated man possessed, and left him once more an unpitied beggar. To

escape the hand of justice, and to leave a place he could no longer live in with peace or quiet, he fled to London, and there, amidst the noise and bustle, the glare and parade of that over-crowded city, strove to forget the world and himself. For a while he supported a wretched existence upon a small sum which he had preserved from the wreck of his affairs; but that supply was soon exhausted, and then utter destitution stared him in the face.

“Meanwhile his children were kindly provided for by a sister-in-law of

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their deceased mother, who loved the helpless and innocent sufferers for their mother's sake. She was a lady of property, and on her own responsibility engaged the premises in which their father had made and squandered away a fortune, which she again caused to be opened for their benefit, under the superintendence of an experienced and trusty servant. The sympathy of the public was excited towards the children of a woman who had been so highly esteemed, and they testified their respect to her memory by lending their support to her offspring. The trade which before had been transacted at the house,—but which Claremont's conduct had destroyed, -revived, and a competency was obtained for their respectable maintenance and education, as well as to enable them to enter upon eligible callings in after-life.

Once again Claremont returned to take, as it appeared, a last farewell of his children and the scene of his dishonour : like a midnight assassin he entered the town, where in former days his name had been respected by all classes. He accomplished his object; the heartbreaking adieu was sounded, the last squeeze of their tiny hands was taken, and then rushing in frenzy to a thicket a few hundred yards distant from this place, he terminated his career of folly by ending his life with a pistol. His body was interred in the churchyard of the town in which he had lived, but his spirit seems still to haunt this spot, the dismal moanings of which are often distinctly heard during the raging of the storms with which the Moor is visited.”

The narrator closed his tale, for which I thanked him, and then retired to rest, wondering at the credulity and superstition of the Moormen, and sighing over the folly of the life, and the untimely death, of Adolphus Claremont.


It is a truth none will venture to deny, that man can never know what happiness is while sojourning on earth. Contentment is the lot of none; I never met with a being perfectly satisfied : had he been, felicity surely would have been his; we might indeed have stated that such a one was the only really happy. To suit ourselves calmly to resign ourselves to prevailing circumstances—is an effort our natures can seldom achieve: from it many advantages result; and to those few who, as far as they can, do act thus, the faint gleams of happiness are visible. The heart is so easily affected and acted on by surrounding objects and attractions, that the experience to guide its yearnings and regulate its movements is of an importance seldom valued as it should be. Its chief prompting is to create a notion of dissatisfaction. How evident is this to the philosopher—to him who deeply studies man! He finds the soldier pining to be once more a rustic, pleased with his native village, his cottage, and the

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