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point of sagacity, pourtrayed on his countenance. Perceiving that I made no reply, he said, “You do well to be silent, neighbour Whiffle, for these are things which you know nothing about, and I do; but I will give you the account in Jack's own words, as he related it to me the day of his adventure: remember, Will Whiffle, that Jack speaks now for himself.
Having introduced myself, not without difficulty, into a spacious mansion, and, after passing through a splendid suite of rooms, being presented to the master of the house, conceive my sensaa tions, when I beheld a man, about fifty-five, upwards of six feet high, stout, broad-shouldered, with an olive complexion, his horizontal and compressed brows projecting considerably over the deep recesses, from which a pair of black, keen, terrific eyes cast a scowl, replete with duplicity and cruelty, that at once told the beholder a tale of horror, ere his tongue could hasten, by the words of blandishment, to lull the unsuspecting hearer into fatal security and confidence. His nose—but I will not detain you with remarks on his countenance, suffice it to say,
that, all together, he brought forcibly to my recollection the monk Schedoni, in the Italian of Anne Radcliffe. I addressed him slowly, distinctly, and steadily, with, 'Sir, I have taken the liberty to wait on you about an affair of some importance, and of no less delicacy. Respecting yourself ?' cried Mask; ' If you will allow me to proceed,' said I, in a more lofty and elevated tone,
you will very soon know whom it respects.' I continued to speak, but very slowly, that I might give his heart time to beat, and conscience, if he had any, to be roused. • Pray, sir, were you at Madrid some twenty years ago ?' Scarcely had the last syllable escaped my lips, when his whole countenance was suffused with such a ghastly hue, as struck a damp into my soul, and made my blood stagnate in its channel ; such a look of horror, of dismay, of anger, of indignation, of ferocity, of anxiety, of suspense, of terror, and of despair, blended together, I never till then had seen, nor till then would have conceived the human features were able to assume. At length, after a dreary pause, he faltered out; “ At Madrid, sir?” “Yes,' * Why, sir? why?' • Do you remember a Mr. - being with you?" "No,' answered he calmly, and resuming his wonted composure of countenance. • Pray, sir, then, did Mr. - dream that you wrought on him, by the persuasive eloquence of your lips, to perjure himself in the sight of God and man; to betray the interests of his country; to disobey her commands ; to trample on her laws; to exchange the open and unsuspecting carriage and demeanour of ingenuous youth for the wily circumspection and the deep malignity of a traitor? Did he dream, that he deserted his country, and accompanied you to Madrid; that there the terrors of the Holy Inquisition were called in to aid you in overcoming the remaining scruples of a heart not yet callous, of a conscience not yet seared; that the interests of his country were sacrificed to your ambition, and that the honour of his soul was completely tarnished in the centre of the Escurial? Did he dream, that at Valladolid the agents of military despotism were had recourse to; that, by the influence of terror, they might repress the sobs of an agonizing
bosom, and annihilate the efforts towards virtue, in a mind not yet inured to guilt, not yet familiar, not yet satisfied with the enormity of vice, not yet enamoured of profligacy? Did he dream, that at Bilboa an ancient and honourable Castilian met his death by your dagger, because he could not stoop to be a partaker of your iniquity? Did he dream, that at Paris'-—' Stop, sir! stop, sir !' cried Mask, endeavouring to smooth down into a smile his countenance, which, for I never took my eye from off his face a single moment while I was speaking, had undergone a marvellous variety of changes during my discourse; 'Stop, sir, if you please! here is some little mistake ; I know nothing, nor ever heard of Mr. but I should be glad to see you at tea this afternoon, sir.' 'I will do myself the honour of waiting on you,' replied I, ceremoniously, The afternoon came; I was ushered into the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Mask, who, as well as her husband, being a doughty advocate for blood, and a long pedigree, questioned me not a little about the antiquity of my family, concerning which having satis
fied her, the question agitated in the morning was renewed. Pray, my good sir,' quoth Mask, distorting his features into what he wished to resemble a smile, while madam was playing off all the artillery of attentive civility, seeming respect, and a countenance decked in all the varnish of courtesy ; 'Pray, my good sir, who is this Mr. ? would wish to hear a little of his story, which certainly hath somewhat the air of an adventure.' 'Mr. —'s story,' said I, fixing my eye steadily, not to say sternly, upon Mask, at the same time entirely disregarding all the puny and infantine efforts of the pretty Mrs. Mask to draw off my attention from the main object, ‘is shortly this, as I heard it related. He was born and bred a gentleman, at an early age was placed in a very responsible civil situation, from which a Mr. Mask, yourself, as I: was led to imagine, 'till it was contradicted by you'-Here Mask and his wife both began to make divers and vehement asseverations, he with loud oaths, and she with many a ‘God bless me,' that they never had heard of, seen, or known Mr. --These especial assertions