like increasing their father's regard. Cantwell, by. way of strengthening his influence, now begged leave to quit the family ;-as he was too much pampered, too much indulged, and lived so at his ease, that he should attach a blameable iniportance to this world, and become forgetful of his great duties. Old Lady Lambert, shedding tears, implored him to remain ; and, as a proof of charity and forbearance, he condescended to continue, and partake still farther of the good things of this perishable life. Their conversation was interruptedaby the entrance of the Doctor's agent, the redoubtable Mr. Mawworm, whom Lady Lambert received very cordially, believing it one of the indisputable passports to heaven, to confer with the ignorant and huinble, without reference to her own rank and station. Mr. Mawworm was high in her esteem, not only because he was a faithful follower of the pious Doctor, and the agent of many of his charities, but also because be was inspired with zeal, and likely to become “a labourer in the vineyard.” The fellow looked very gloomy: and Lady Lambert kindly inquired after his health.

"Thank your Ladyship’s axing,” he replied, “I'm but deadly poorish; the world and I can't agree. I don't know what's the matter with me I'm a breaking my heart ma'am. I thinks it a sin to keep a shop. We decis in grocery, tea, small-beer, charcoal, butter, brickdust, and the like; but I'm sure I've had a call,—an I wants to go a preaching, I have made many sermonts already. I does them extrumpery ; because as how I can't write,; and now the devils in our alley says my head's turned. lextort theni to better behavor-but they does'nt mind me, no, not of a brass fardin. Indeed they voldom comes anigh me now—we've lost all our custont. They calls me a Melhodite. Oh! ma'am, hey are carnal sinners !"

"Did you ever preach in public ?” inquired Lady Lambert.

Yes, ma'am, once. The last review day, I got upon Kennington-common; but the boys throwed brickbats, and pinned crackers to my tail; and I whisked about, to and fro, like an eel in a frying pan.

I talked to them, says I-I doesn't do nothing clandecently. I stands here contagious to his majesty's guards; and I charge you upon your apparels not to mislist me. But lord love'e ma'am, I might as well have spoke to so many postesses. But if so be as how the Doctor advises me, I shall give up my shop, and go a preaching. I'll make an excrescence in the country. Though I am but a sheep, my bleatings shall be heard afar off; and that sheep shall become a shepherd, if it be only as it were a shepherd's dog, to bark the stray lambs into the fold."

Ridiculous and ignorant as this man's conversation and manners were, Lady Lambert endured him, took him with her to chapel in her carriage, and almost put the poor creature out of his wits with the idea of his own importance.

Doctor Cantwell having been prevailed upon by the old lady to remain, Sir John was made again happy; and the Doctor's power now became greater than ever.

Charlotte was impatient to know the lover her father was disposed to give her : she did not doubt but it was some creature of the Doctor's ; but her astonishment was indeed great, when she found it was no less a personage than the Doctor himself!! Taken by surprise, she burst out into a fit of laughe ter, which highly offended her father; and it was with difficulty he could, through the influence of his young wife, be prevailed upon to forgive her unseemly levity. He assured her, that to no other man would he give his consent. “Then, Sir (re.

[ocr errors]

plied Charlotte, with a gravity of displeasure which somewhat startled him), you will compel me to marry without your consent ; as I neither will accept the hypocritical villain you propose to me, nor give up the man whose addresses were first encouraged by yourself, and who has not by any act or word doserved to forfeit your esteem, or my

affection." Sir John was highly incensed at his daughter's rejection of this favoured man, and at her threatened disobedience ; and his son had unfortunately exas- į perated him still further by a personal act of violence towards his favourite. The Colonel, provoked by some insolence, had seized the sanctified hypocrite by the collar, and given him a violent shaking ;-an offence of such preposterous magnitude, that old Lady Lambert rushed out of the house, like one struck with insanity, declaring that the roof would either tumble in and crush them, or some heavy and signal judgment fall upon the family, as a punishmnent for impiety.

Sir John's resentment was less violent ; but more serious and dangerous in its effects. It confirmed him in a determination to disinherit his son, and settle the entire of his property upon Cantwell!! This cruel intention was discovered to Charlotte by Charles Seyward, a young man who lived with the Doctor as a sort of secretary, and who passed for his nephew. This youth was an orphan, whose infatuated mother had given up the entire management of her son, and bequeathed the whole of her property without restriction, to the artful villain, whom she had been accustomed to consider as her spiritual guide and director. The poor deluded woman, on her death bed, gave her infant

son, then only eight years of age, to his care, and died in peace, from the firm conviction, that she had se cured for her child a kind friend, who would take charge not only of his temporal, but his eternal wel

hre The Doctor took account of his education, which he purchased, at as reasonable a rate as possible, by sending him to a seminary in France, from whence Seyward had, about three years previous to this period, been recalled to reside with the Doctor, who chose to represent himself as an uncle. The you.h, artless and unsuspicious, easily became a dupe to the artifices of his pretended relative ; and before he was aware of the danger to his principles, found himself an agent in many of his deep-laid schemes of villany. When the operations of reasop awakened his mind to reflection, the depravity of Cantwell's character inspired him with horror : his first impulse was to fly from his protection ; but alas ! whither could he fly? Destitute of the means of existence, without friends, or fortune! wholly dependent upon his tyrannical guardian, not only for support, but even for reputation-Should he leave him, who would believe his simple narrative of the crimes and enormities of this seeming saint ?Would he not be blackened with ingratitude-branded with shame, and what, or who, could or would shield him against the specious calumnies, the pious lamentations, of this artful hypocrite ?

Poor Seyward's situation was most painful ; and to add to his sorrow, the loveliness and vivacity of the animated Charlotte Lambert fascinated his senses : for though he loved without hope, he could not cease to love. He had long witnessed, with re. gret, the dangerous influence which Doctor Cantwell possessed in Sir John's family, and in secret kept a strict watch upon his actions-resolving that, should any opportunity occur, he would endeavour to remove the film which was cast over the eyes of Sir John and his mother. When the writings were drawr. up, by which Colonel Lambert was disinherited, and the whole of Sir John's property, even to the very house he now resided in, was invested in the power of Doctor Cantwell, Seyward determined to thwart his diabolical plans if possible. But parchments were now prepared ; and had been examined by Cantwell's solicitor : the seal and signature of Sir John were all this fatal instrument required to render it destructive !

Terrified for the result of delay, he solicited an interview with Charlotte, and disclosed to her the dangerons situation in which the whole family were placed, showing her the fatal parchment. Their


measures were prompt'; for there was little time for deliberation. Charlotte went immediately to the chambers of a friend in the Temple, where she was soon followed by Seyward. The deed was there carefully copied, only inserting the name of Lambert for that of Cantwell ; both parchments were then placed in the care of Seyward, between whom and Charlotte the secret remained inviolate, lest the impetuosity of Colonel Lambert's temper should lead him to some dangerous act of indignation, which might ruin their hopes by putting Cantwell on his guard.

Charlotte, however volatile in her usual conduct, was too anxious for the fate of her family, to be

« 前へ次へ »