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   Chapter 22 REVELATIONS.

The Twins By Martin Farquhar Tupper Characters: 5944

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

General Tracy gave a long-drawn sigh: and tears-tears of true affection-stood in those most fish-like eyes, as he mournfully said, "Bless him, bless dear Charles, almost as much as you, my own sweet Emmy. Heaven send it be true-for Heaven can work miracles. But without a miracle, Emily, in sober sadness I declare it, you must forget-your brother Charles, my daughter!"

Emily fell flat upon her face, so cold, so white, that he believed her dead.

Oh! that he had never-never said that word: or better still, poor father, that you had never kept the dreadful secret from them. The adultery, indeed, was sin; but years of ill-concealings have multiplied its punishment. Wretched father-wretched children! that must bear an erring father's curse.

Oh! that Jeanie Mackie may have reasons, proofs; and be not an impostor after all, dressing up a tale that over-sanguine Charles may bring her back again to Scotland. Well-well! I am full of sadness and perplexities: but we shall hear it out anon. Heaven help them!

Emily was taken very ill, and had a long fit of sickness. Day and night-night and day, did her poor wasting anxious father watch by her bed-side, gentle as the gentlest nurse-tender as the tenderest of mothers. And, indeed, the Lord of Life and Wisdom was gracious to them both; raising up the poor weak child again; and teaching that old man, through this daughter of his shame and sin in youth, that religion is a cure for all things. Ay, "the blessed angel of a bad man's life," indeed-indeed was she; and he humbly knelt, as little children kneel, that hard and dried old man; and his eyes caught the ray of Heaven's mercy, looking up in joy to read forgiveness; and his heart was bathed in penitence-the rock flowed out amain; and his mind was quickened into faith-he lived, he breathed "a new-born babe," that poor and bad old man, given to the prayers of his own daughter!

All this while, Mrs. Tracy, thrown upon her own resources, has been continually tasting dear Julian's store, and finding out excuses for his trivial peccadilloes. And when, from the recesses of his desk, she had routed out (in company with sundry more, rather contrasting with a mother's pure advice) a few of her own letters, which had not yet been destroyed, she would doat by the hour on these proofs of his affection. And then, her spirits were so low; and his choice smuggled Hollands so requisite to screw them up to par again; and no sooner had they rallied, than they would once more begin to droop; so she cried a good deal, and kept her bed; and very often did not remember exactly, whether she was lying down there, or figuring on the Esplanade with Julian, and-all that sort of thing: accordingly, it is not to be wondered at if, in Aunt Green's double-house, the general and Emily saw very little of her, and during all this illness, had almost forgotten her existence. Nevertheless, she was alive still, and as vast as ever-though a course of strong wa

ters had shattered her nerves considerably; even more so, than her real mother's grief at Julian's protracted absence.

Never had he been heard of since he left, hard heart; though he might have guessed a mother's sorrow, and was not far away, and often lingered near the house in strange disguises. It would have been easy for him, in some clever way or other, latch-key and all, to have gained access to her, and comforted her, and given her some real proof, that all the love she had shed on him had not been utterly thrown away; but he didn't-he didn't; and I know not of a darker trait in Julian's whole career; he was insensible to love-a mother's love.

For love is the weapon which Omnipotence reserved to conquer rebel man; when all the rest had failed. Reason he parries; Fear he answers blow to blow; future interest he meets with present pleasure; but Love, that sun against whose melting beams the Winter cannot stand, that soft-subduing slumber which wrestles down the giant, there is not one human creature in a million-not a thousand men in all earth's huge quintillion, whose clay-heart is hardened against love.

Yet was Julian one of those select ones; an awful instance of that possible, that actual, though happily that scarcest of all characters, a man,

"Black, with no virtue, and a thousand crimes."

The amiable villain-one whose generosity redeems his guilt, whose kindliness outweighs his folly, or whose beauty charms the eye to overlook his baseness-this too common hero is an object, an example fraught with perilous interest. Charles Duval, the polite; Paul Clifford, the handsome; Richard Turpin, brave and true; Jack Sheppard, no ignoble mind and loving still his mother; these, and such as these, with Schiller's 'Robbers' and the like, are dangerous to gaze on, as Germany, if not England too, remembers well. But, not more true to life, though far less common to be met with, is Julian's incorrigible mind: one, in whose life are no white days; one, on whose heart are no bright spots; when Heaven's pity spoke to him, he ridiculed; as, when His threatenings thundered, he defied. Of this world only, and tending to a worse appetite was all he lived for: and the core of appetite is iron selfishness.

The filched cash-box proved to be too well-filled for him to trouble himself with thinking of his mother yet awhile: and his smuggling acquaintances, a rough-featured, blasphemous crew, set him as their chief, so long as he swore loudest, drank deepest, and had money at command. He hid the money, that they should not secretly steal from him that to which he owed his bad supremacy; and his double-barrels, shotted to the muzzle, were far too formidable for any hope of getting at it by open brute force. Nevertheless, they were "fine high-spirited" fellows those, bold, dark men, of Julian's own kidney; who toasted in their cups each other's crimes, and the ghost or two that ought to have been haunting them.

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