Algernon spoke with indignant heat and rapidity—a calculated heat, a purposed rapidity meant to have a confusing effect on the preacher, and which had that effect; but which also excited a sympathetic indignation in many of the auditors. Powell looked wildly around him, and clasped his hands above his head.
“You must put one question at a time, Mr. Errington,” said Dr. Evans.
“Then I put this question: David Powell, do you, or do you not, see visions and faces and figures that 佛山夜生活美女qq the rest of the world is as unconscious of as of the voices that called you out on to Whit Meadow that morning that my poor wife was drowned?”
Powell, with his eyes still fixed on the same point that he had been gazing on so long, suddenly cried out with a loud voice, “As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment, and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul, my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit! God forbid that I should justify you! Till I die I will not remove my integrity from me. It is there—there behind his shoulder. It has been holding me with the power of its eyes. Oh, how dreadful are those eyes, and that ashen-grey face! Look, behold! the Lord has brought a witness from the grave to testify to the truth. See, behold! Can you not see her? Look where she stands in her cold wet garments, with the 南海佛山桑拿体验 water dripping from her hair! She points at him—oh God most terrible!—the drowned woman points her cold finger at her murderer!” He stretched out his arms towards Algernon, and then with one bound leaped shrieking into the midst of the crowd.
A dozen hands were put forth to hold him. He struggled with the tremendous strength of insanity; but was at length forcibly carried out of the room a raving maniac.
After that there were not many words of an official nature spoken in the room. The inquest was adjourned to the following day, and the assembly dispersed to carry the account of the strange scene that had happened all over Whitford and its neighbourhood.
The next day medical evidence was forthcoming as to the insanity of David Powell, who had been removed to the County Asylum. Testimony was, moreover, given by 佛山桑拿蒲友网 many persons showing that the preacher’s mind had long been disordered. Even the widow Thimbleby’s evidence, given with many tears, went to prove that. But she tried with all her might to bear witness to his goodness, and clung loyally to her loving admiration for his character. “He may not be quite in his right senses for matters of this world,” sobbed the poor woman, “and he has been sorely tormented by taking up with these doctrines of election. But if ever there was an angel sent down to suffer on this earth, and help the sorrowful, and call sinners to repentance, Mr. Powell is that angel. I know what he is. And I have had other lodgers—good, kind gentlemen, too; I don’t say to the contrary. But overboil their eggs in the morning, or leave a lump in their feather-bed, and you’d soon get a glimpse of the old Adam. Now with 佛山桑拿哪里有 Mr. Powell, nothing put him out except sin; and even that did but make him the more eager to save your soul.”
Several witnesses who had testified on the previous day were re-examined. And some new ones were found who swore to having met Mr. Errington going along the road from his own house towards Whitford in great agitation, and asking everyone he met if they had seen his wife. The hour was such that to the best of their belief it was impossible he should have had such an interview as Powell described, with the deceased, between the time at which the cook swore he left his own house and their meeting him in the road. On this point, however, the evidence was somewhat conflicting. But the Whitford clocks were well known to be conflicting also; St. Mary’s being always foremost with its jangling bell, the Town Hall clock coming 佛山夜生活美女qq next—except occasionally, when it hastened to be first with apparently quite capricious zeal—and the mellow chimes of St. Chad’s, that were heard far over town and meadow, closing the chorus with their sweet cadence.
There certainly appeared to be no cause, no conceivable motive for Algernon Errington to have committed the crime. Many witnesses combined to show with what sweetness and good-humour he bore his wife’s jealous tempers. And, besides, it was notorious that he had hoped through her influence to obtain assistance and promotion from her uncle, Lord Seely. Whereas, on the other hand, there did seem to be several motives at work to induce the unfortunate lady to put an end to her own existence. There could be little doubt that she had committed the post-office robberies, and the fear of detection had weighed on her mind. 佛山桑拿女电话qq Moreover, that she had for some time past been made unhappy by jealousy and discontent, and had contemplated making away with herself, was proved by several scraps of writing besides that which her husband had found and produced at the inquest the first day. In brief, no one was surprised when the foreman of the coroner’s jury delivered a verdict to the effect that the deceased lady had committed suicide while under the influence of temporary insanity; and added a few words stating the opinion of the jury that Mr. Algernon Errington’s character was quite unstained by the accusation of a maniac, who had been proved to have been subject to insane delusions for some time past. It was just the sort of verdict that every one had expected, and the general sympathy with Algernon still ran high.
As for him, he got away from the 佛山桑拿交流区 “Blue Bell” as quickly as possible after the inquest was over, slipping away by a back door where a closed fly was waiting for him. When he reached his home he locked himself into the dining-room, and sat down on the sofa with closed eyes and his body leaning listlessly against the cushions, as if all vital force were gone from him. The prevailing—and, for a time, the only sensation he felt was one of utter weariness. He was so completely exhausted that the restful attitude, the silence, and the solitude seemed positive luxuries. He was scarcely conscious of his escape. He felt merely that the strain was over, and that voice, face, and limbs might sink back from the terrible tension he had held them in to a natural lassitude.
But by-and-by he began to realise the danger he had passed, and to exult in his new sense of freedom. Castalia being removed, it seemed as if all troubles must be removed with her!
The funeral of Mrs. Algernon Errington was to take place on the following day, and it was known that Lord Seely would be present at it if it were possible for him to make the journey from London. It was said that he had been very ill, but was now better, and would use his utmost endeavours to pay that mark of respect to his niece’s memory. Mrs. Errington, indeed, talked of my lord’s coming as a proof of his sympathy with her boy. But the world knew better than that. It knew, by some mysterious means, that Lord Seely had quarrelled with Algernon. And when his lordship did appear in Whitford, and took up his quarters at the “Blue Bell,” rumours went about to the effect that he had refused to see young Errington, and had remained shut up in his own room, attended by his physician. This, however, was not true. Lord Seely had seen Algernon and spoken with him. But he had not touched his proffered hand; he had said no word to him of sympathy; he had barely looked at him. The poor old man was overpowered by grief for Castalia, and it was in vain for Algernon to put on a show of grief. About a matter of fact Lord Seely would even now have found it difficult to think that Algernon was telling him a point-blank lie; but on a matter of feeling it was different. Algernon’s words and voice rang false and hollow, and the old man shrank from him.
Lord Seely had come down to Whitford on getting the news of Castalia’s terrible death, without knowing any particulars about it. Those were not the days when the telegraph brought a budget of intelligence from the most distant parts of the earth every morning. A few hurried and confused lines were all that Lord Seely had received, but they were sufficient to make him insist on performing the journey to Whitford at once. Lady Seely had tried to impress on him the necessity of shaking off young Errington now that Castalia was gone. “Wash your hands of him, Valentine,” my lady had said. “If poor Cassy has done this desperate deed, it’s he that drove her to it—smooth-faced young villain!” To all this Lord Seely had made no reply. But in his own mind he had almost resolved to help Algernon to a place abroad. It was what his poor niece would have desired.
But, then, after his arrival in Whitford all the painful details of the coroner’s inquest were made known to him. He made inquiries in all directions, and learned a great deal about his niece’s life in the little town. The prominent feelings in his mind were pity and remorse. Pity for Castalia’s unhappy fate, and acute remorse for having been so weak as to let her marriage take place without any attempt to interfere, despite his own secret conviction that it was an ill-assorted and ill-omened one. “You couldn’t have helped it, my lord,” said the friendly physician, to whom he poured out some of the feelings that oppressed his heart. “Perhaps not; perhaps not. But I ought to have tried. My poor, dear, unhappy girl!”
On the day of the funeral Lord Seely stood side by side with Algernon at Castalia’s grave, in Duckwell churchyard. But, when it was over, they parted, and drove back to Whitford in separate carriages. Lord Seely was to return to London early the next morning, but before he went away he determined to pay a visit to the county lunatic asylum and see David Powell.
On the day of the funeral Algernon had spoken a few words to Lord Seely about his wish to get away from the painful associations which must henceforward haunt him in Whitford; and had reminded his lordship of the promise made in London. But Lord Seely had made no definite answer, and, moreover, he had said that, by his doctor’s advice, he must decline a visit which Algernon offered to make him that evening. Was the “pompous little ass” going to throw him over after all?
In the course of that afternoon he heard that old Maxfield intended to come down on him pitilessly for the full amount of the bills he held. A reaction had set in in public sentiment. Tradesmen, who could not get paid, and whose hopes of eventual payment were greatly damped by the coolness of Lord Seely’s behaviour to his nephew-in-law, began to feel their indignation once more override their compassion. The two servants at Ivy Lodge asked for their wages, and declared that they did not wish to remain there another week. Algernon’s position at the post-office was forfeited. He knew that he could not keep it even if he would.
It began to appear that the removal of Castalia had not, after all, removed all troubles from her husband’s path!
But the heaviest blow of all was to come.
Lord Seely left Whitford without seeing him again, and sent back unopened a note, which Algernon had written, begging for an interview, with these words written outside the cover in a trembling hand: “Dare not to write to me or importune me more.”
Algernon received this late at night; and before noon the next day the fact was known all over Whitford. People began to say that Lord Seely had obtained access to David Powell, had spoken with him, and had gone away convinced of the substantial truth of his testimony; that his lordship had left orders that Powell should lack no comfort or attention which his unhappy state permitted of his enjoying; and that he had strongly expressed his grateful sense of the poor preacher’s efforts to save his niece.
From London Lord Seely—who had heard that Miss Bodkin had visited Duckwell Farm while his niece lay dead there, and had placed flowers on her unconscious breast—sent a mourning-ring and a letter, the contents of which Minnie communicated to no one but her parents. Nevertheless, its contents were discussed pretty widely, and were said to be of a nature very damnatory to Algernon Errington’s character. However, the painful things that were said in Whitford could not hurt him, for he had gone—disappeared in the night like a thief, as his creditors said—and no one could say whither.
CHAPTER XXV. CONCLUSION.
Our tale is almost told. The last words that need saying can be briefly said. When some weeks had passed away, Mrs. Errington received a letter from her son demanding a remittance to be sent forthwith Poste Restante to a little seaport town on the Italian Riviera. He had not during the interval left his mother in absolute ignorance as to what had become of him, but had sent her a few brief lines from London, saying that he had been obliged to leave Whitford in order to escape being put in prison for debt; that his present intention was to go abroad; and that she should hear again from him before long.
Algernon had been so quick in his movements that he managed to be in town before the story of Lord Seely’s having cast him off had had time to be circulated amongst his acquaintance there. And he was enabled, as the result of his activity, to obtain from Mrs. Machyn-Stubbs and others several letters of introduction calculated to be of use to him abroad. He was described by Mrs. Machyn-Stubbs as a nephew of Lord Seely and her intimate friend, who was travelling on the Continent to recruit his health after the shock of his wife’s sudden death.
He had brought away from Whitford such few jewels belonging to his dead wife as were of any value, and he sold them in London. He furnished himself handsomely with such articles as were desirable for a gentleman of fortune travelling for his pleasure; and allowed the West-end tradesmen, to whom the Honourable John Patrick Price had recommended him during his brilliant London season, to write down against him in their books some very extortionate charges for the same. His outfit being accomplished in this inexpensive manner, he was enabled to travel with as much comfort as was compatible in those days with a journey from London to Calais, and he stepped on to the French shore with a considerable sum of money in his pocket.
For a long time the tidings of him that reached Whitford were uncertain and conflicting; then they began to arrive at even wider and wider intervals; and, finally, after Mrs. Errington left the town, they ceased altogether to reach the general world of Whitfordians. The real history of the circumstances which induced Mrs. Errington to leave the home of so many years was known to very few persons. It was this:
About a twelvemonth after Algernon’s departure Mrs. Errington made a sudden journey to London; and, on her return, she confided to her old friend, Dr. Bodkin, that she had sold out of the funds nearly the whole sum from which her little income was derived and transmitted it to Algy, who had an absolute need for the money, which she considered paramount. “But, my dear soul, you have ruined yourself!” cried the doctor aghast. “Algernon will repay me, sir,” replied the poor old woman, drawing herself up with the ghost of her old Ancram grandeur. The upshot was that Dr. Bodkin, in concert with one or two other old friends of her late husband, made some representations on her behalf to Mr. Filthorpe, the wealthy Bristol merchant, who was, as the reader may remember, a cousin of Dr. Errington; and that Mr. Filthorpe benevolently allowed his cousin’s widow a small annuity, which, together with the few pounds that still remained to her of her own, enabled her to live in decent comfort. But she professed herself unable to remain in Whitford, and removed to a cottage in Dorrington, where she had a kind friend in the wife of the head-master of the proprietary school, whom we first presented to the reader as “little Rhoda Maxfield.”
Mrs. Diamond (as she was now) lived in a very handsome house, and wore very elegant dresses, and was looked upon as a personage of some importance in Dorrington and its vicinity. Her husband had decidedly opposed a proposition she made to him to receive Mrs. Errington as an inmate of his home. But he put no further constraint on Rhoda’s affectionate solicitude about her old friend.
And the two women drove together, and sewed together, and talked together; and their talk was chiefly about that exiled victim of unmerited misfortune, Algernon Errington. Rhoda preserved her faith in the Ancram glories. And although she acknowledged to herself that Algernon had treated her badly, he was invested in her mind with some mysterious immunity from the obligations that bind ordinary mortals.
A visitor, who was often cordially welcomed at Dorrington by Matthew Diamond, was Miss Chubb. And the kind-hearted little spinster endured a vast amount of snubbing and patronage from her old enemy on the battle-ground of polite society—Mrs. Errington—with much charitable sweetness.
Old Max lived to see his daughter’s first-born child; but he was unable to move from his bed for many months before his death. Perhaps it was the period of quiet reflection thus obtained, when the things of this world were melting away from his grasp, which occasioned the addition of a codicil to the old man’s will, that surprised most of his acquaintance. He had settled the bulk of his property on his daughter at her marriage, and, in his original testament, had bequeathed the whole of the residue to her also. But the codicil set forth that his only and beloved daughter being amply provided for, and his son James inheriting the stock, fixtures, and good-will of his flourishing business, together with the house and furniture, Jonathan Maxfield felt that he was doing injustice to no one by bequeathing the sum of three thousand pounds to Miss Minnie Bodkin as a mark of respect and admiration. And he, moreover, left one hundred pounds, free of duty, to “that God-fearing member of the Wesleyan Society, Richard Gibbs, now living as groom in the service of Orlando Pawkins, Esquire, of Pudcombe Hall;” a bequest which sensibly embittered the flavour of the sermon preached by the un-legacied Brother Jackson on the next Sunday after old Max’s funeral.
Dr. Bodkin still lives and rules in Whitford Grammar School. His wife’s life is brightened by the sight of her Minnie’s increased health and strength. But she has never quite forgiven Matthew Diamond, and has been heard to say that young Mrs. Diamond’s children are the most singularly uninteresting she ever saw!
Of Minnie herself, the chronicle hitherto records a life of useful benevolence, undisfigured by ascetic affectation, or the assumption of any pious livery whatever. She keeps her old delight in all the beautiful things of art and nature, and old Max’s legacy has enabled her to enjoy some foreign travel. She is still in the first prime of womanhood, and more beautiful than ever. But, at the latest accounts, poor Mr. Warlock has not been tortured by the spectacle of any successful rival. For his part, he goes on worshipping Miss Bodkin with hopeless fidelity.
For a long time Minnie continued to visit David Powell in the lunatic asylum at stated periods. He generally recognised her, and the sight of her seemed to soothe and comfort him. After a while he was pronounced cured, and left the asylum; but his madness returned on him at intervals, and he would voluntarily go and place himself under restraint when he felt the black fit coming. He did not live very long, being assailed by a mortal consumption. But as his body wasted, his mind grew clearer, stronger, and more serene; and before his death Minnie had the satisfaction to hear him profess a humble faith in the Divine Goodness, and a fearless confidence in the mysterious hand that was leading him even as a little child into the shadowy land. There was as large a concourse of people at his burial as had ever thronged to hear his fiery preaching on Whit Meadow. His memory became surrounded by a saintly radiance in the imaginations of the poor. Stories of his goodness and his afflictions, and the final ray of peace which God sent to cheer his last moments, were long retailed amongst the Whitford Methodists. And his grave is still bright with carefully-tended flowers.
Of Algernon Errington the strangest rumours were circulated for a time. Some said he had become croupier at a foreign gambling-table; others declared he had married a West Indian heiress with a million of money, and was living in Florence in unheard-of luxury. Others, again, affirmed that they had the best authority for believing that he had gone to the United States, and had appeared on the stage there with immense success. However, the remembrance of him passed away from men’s minds in Whitford within a few years; in London within a few months. But it was a long time before Jack Price left off recounting his final interview with Errington. “That young Ancram, you know. Captivating way of his own. What? On my honour, the rascal borrowed ten pounds of me. Ready money, sir, down on the nail! Bedad, it was a tour de force, for I never have a shilling in my pocket for my own use. But Ancram would coax the little birds off the bushes, as they say in my part of the world. Principle? Oh, devil a rag of principle in his whole composition. What? I wonder what the deuce has become of him! I give ye my word and honour he was really—really now—a Charming Fellow.”
The Author of this book, though a quadroon, is pleased to announce himself the “Colored man around the world.” Not because he may look at a colored man’s position as an honorable one at this age of the world, he is too smart for that, but because he has the satisfaction of looking with his own eyes and reason at the ruins of the ancestors of which he is the posterity. If the ruins of the Author’s ancestors were not a living language of their scientific majesty, this book could receive no such appellation with pride. Luxor, Carnack, the Memnonian and the Pyramids make us exclaim, “What monuments of pride can surpass these? what genius must have reflected on their foundations! what an ambition these people must have given to the rest of the world when found the glory of the world in their hieroglyphic stronghold of learning,” whose stronghold, to-day, is not to be battered down, because we cannot reach their hidden alphabet. Who is as one, we might suppose, “learned in all the learning of the Egyptians.” Have we as learned a man as Moses, and if yes, who can prove it? How did he come to do what no man can do now? You answer, God aided him; that is not the question! No, all you know about it is he was “learned in all the learning of the Egyptians,” that is the answer; and thereby knew how to facilitate a glorious cause at heart, because had he been less learned, who could conceive how he could have proved to us
to be a man full of successful logic. Well, who were the Egyptians? Ask Homer if their lips were not thick, their hair curly, their feet flat and their skin black.
But the Author of this book, though a colored man, hopes to die believing that this federated government is destined to be the noblest fabric ever germinated in the brain of men or the tides of Time. Though a colored man, he believes that he has the right to say that, in his opinion, the American people are to be the Medes and Persians of the 19th century. He believes, from what he has seen in the four quarters of the globe, that the federal tribunal of this mighty people and territory, are to weigh other nations’ portion of power by its own scale, and equipoise them on its own pivot, “the will of the whole people,” the federal people. And as he believes that the rights of ignorant people, whether white or black, ought to be respected by those who have seen more, he offers this book of travels to that class who craves to know what those know who have respect for them. In offering this book to the public, I will say, by the way, I wrote it under the disadvantage of having access to no library save Walker’s school dictionary. In traveling through Europe, Asia and Africa, I am indebted to Mr. Cornelius Fellowes, of the highly respectable firm of Messrs. Fellowes & Co., 149 Common St., New Orleans, La. This gentleman treated me as his own son, and could look on me as as free a man as walks the earth. But if local law has power over man, instead of man’s effects, I was legally a slave, and would be to-day, like my mother, were I on Louisiana’s soil instead of Ohio’s.
When we returned to America, after a three years’ tour, I called on this original man to consummate a two-fold promise he made me, in different parts of the world, because I wanted to make a connection, that I considered myself more than equaled in dignity and means, but as he refused me on old bachelor principles, I fled from him and his princely promises, westward, where the “star of empire takes its way,” reflecting on the moral liberties of the legal freedom of England, France and our New England States, with the determination to write this book of “overlooked things” in the four quarters of the globe, seen by “a colored man round the world.”
DEBUT IN A FOREIGN LAND.