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may require the most delicate treatment to prevent its taking a dangerous turn.
In this respect, and in this only, I must put a restraint upon your wishes, and make you my prisoner until
you can be removed with safety. Were you to venture forth in your present precarious plight, your life would in all probability pay the forfeit of your rashness."
“ My life!" exclaimed the stranger, speaking with an energy and enthusiasm that gave no intimation of his reduced state, -“ If that only were at stake, I should feel none of this anxiety and fiery impatience. My life! I have perilled it a thousand times over; it is in imminent jeopardy at this very moment; for months past I have never laid down my head at night without an expectation that ere the morrow dawned I might be a prisoner or a corpse, and yet I would run this frightful gauntlet for years to come, ay, had I ten thousand lives I would surrender them all, if thus I could assure the triumph of the glorious cause in which I am embarked. Oh, what am I? Oh, what would it import that
the pulsation of this individual heart should be stopped before its time, if so the hearts of mil. lions might throb in the joy of recovered civil and religious freedom ? Away with sickness! this is no moment to be ill. Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none on't !' Hark! it is the voice of England calling upon me to be her champion in the coming struggle. I am well. I am recovered at the sound, I am as strong as
Be pleased to lend me your hand, Sir, that I may rise from the couch — I must quit your house instantly."
“My good friend, I entreat you to be composed ; this excited state of feeling will have a most injurious effect upon your health ; and how can you suppose I would suffer you to quit my house when you are unable to rise from
your couch ?
" It is for your sake, more than for my own, that I am thus anxious to be gone; I have spoken openly, unguardedly, on purpose that you might feel alarm and eject me, and yet you will not take the hint; yet you suffer your
benevolence to prevail over prudence, I might almost say, over self-preservation. So much courage, so much generosity, so much humanity towards a stranger, I did not expect to encounter from any, least of all from one of your persuasion ; and in proportion as your noble nature prompts you to incur all risks in protecting me, do I feel impelled to withdraw, in order that I may not implicate you and your family. I have so long confronted danger, that I have learned to spurn, to laugh at it; but, gracious Heavens! if you or yours — if the preservers of my life were to become compromised Mr. Shelton, I solemnly warn you, that you are incurring an awful responsibility by harbouring me, and I conjure you, by all that you love and hold dear, to suffer me to depart - to send me away instantly."
“ I hold nothing so dear, nothing so sacred as the duties of humanity, and these will not allow me to comply with your request. It were little less than murder to turn you out, nor do I see what law, human or divine, I can
violate by succouring a helpless stranger. If to do this be an offence, it is at least an involuntary one; to thrust you forth, at the risk of your life, would in my eyes be a conscious crime. I prefer the former course, and upon me and mine be the peril of its adoption."
“ Generous, noble-hearted man ! these, too, were the exalted sentiments of your reverend kinsman. How have I been mistaken ! how have I been blinded by my prejudices! I am overcome by your magnanimity, yet it is my helplessness rather than my will that makes me consent to remain for a few days longer beneath your hospitable roof. Othat the hour were come when I could release you from the fearful hazards of my presence !"
“ Be nameless, and we are innocent; be composed, and you will soon recover; your stay cannot be long, and we will do our best to beguile the time. Shall I show you our latest news-letter from London ?"
“ My mind is upon tenter-hooks till I can see one! Why, why am I crippled by this
accursed accident, at a moment when the fate of a whole nation where is my pocket-book ? these letters, these all-important letters ! 0 that I had but delivered them before this cruel mischance! Let me see the news, I beseech you : you know not what I have at heart, nor what mighty interests are committed to my charge.”
When the paper was brought to him, he ran over it eagerly, returning it, after perusal, with the observation, that it did not contain much intelligence of moment, nor any thing of a very pleasant nature.
“ We will endeavour to beguile your hours of confinement with something more agreeable,” said Mr. Shelton — " you seem well enough this morning to be amused with conversation, and if you will promise me not to talk too much, and to check as far as possible your impetuous feelings, you shall receive a visit from my daughter and her friend, Edith Colyton, your fair preservers, as you call them.” The stranger willingly gave the pledge re