with faded silk furniture, which had been taken from under a respectable old invalid widow, who had become security for a prodigal son: the room was hung round with an antique tapestry (representing Rebecca at the Well, Bathsheba Bathing, Judith and Holofernes, and other subjects from Holy Writ), which had been many score times sold for fifty pounds, and bought back by Mr. Hayes for two, in those accommodating bargains which he made with young gentlemen, who received fifty pounds of money and fifty of tapestry, in consideration of their hundred-pound bills. Against this tapestry, and just cutting off Holofernes's head, stood an enormous ominous black clock, the spoil of some other usurious transaction. Some chairs, and a dismal old black cabinet, completed the furniture of this apartment: it wanted but a ghost to render its gloom complete.

Mrs. Hayes sat up in the bed sternly regarding her husband. There is, to be sure, a strong magnetic influence in wakeful eyes so examining a sleeping person (do not you, as a boy, remember waking of bright summer mornings and finding your mother looking over you? had not the gaze of her tender eyes stolen into your senses long before you woke, and cast over your slumbering spirit a sweet spell of peace, and love, and fresh-springing joy ?) Some such influence had Catherine's looks upon her husband : for, as he slept under them, the man began to writhe about uneasily, and to burrow his head in the pillow, and to utter quick, strange moans and cries, such as have often jarred one's ear while watching at the bed of the feverish sleeper. It was just upon six, and presently the clock began to utter those dismal grinding sounds, which issue from clocks at such periods, and which sound like the death-rattle of the departing hour. Then the bell struck the knell of it; and with this Mr. Hayes awoke, and looked up, and saw Catherine gazing at him.

Their eyes met for an instant, and Catherine turned away, burning red, and looked as if she had been caught in the commission of a crime.

A kind of blank terror seized upon old Hayes's soul : a horrible icy fear, and presentiment of coming evil; and yet the woman had but looked at him. He thought rapidly over the occurrences of the last night, the quarrel, and the end of it. He had often struck her before when angry, and heaped all kinds of bitter words upon her; but, in the morning, she bore no malice, and the previous quarrel was forgotten, or, at least, passed over.' Why should the last night's dispute not have the same end ? Hayes calculated all this, and tried to smile.

“I hope we're friends, Cat?” said he. “You know I was in liquor last night, and sadly put out by the loss of that fifty pound. They'll ruin me, dear-I know they will.”

Mrs. Hayes did not answer.

“I should like to see the country again, dear,” said he, in his most wheedling way. " I've a mind, do you know, to call in all our money? It's you who've made every farthing of it, that's sure; and it's a matter of two thousand pound by this time. Suppose we go into Warwickshire, Cat, and buy a farm, and live genteel. Shouldn't you like to live a lady in your own county again? How they'd stare at Birmingham !

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And with this Mr. Hayes made a motion, as if he would seize his wife's hand, but she flung his back again.'

* Coward !” said she, “ you want liquor to give you courage, and then you've only heart enough to strike women.”

“It was only in self-defence, my dear," said Hayes, whose courage was all gone. “You tried, you know, to-to

To stab you; and I wish I had !” said Mrs. Hayes, setting her teeth, and glaring at him like a demon ; and so saying she sprung out of bed. There was a great stain of blood on her pillow. "Look at it,” said she." "That blood's of your shedding !" and at this Hayes fairly began to weep, so utterly downcast and frightened was the miserable' man. The wretch's tears only inspired his wife with rage and 'loathing; she cared not so much for the blow, but she hated the man : the man to whom she was tied for ever --for ever! The bar between her and wealth, happiness, love, rank perhaps. "If I were free," thought Mrs. Hayes (the thought had been sitting at her pillow all night, and whispering ceaselessly into her ear)—“If I were free, Max would marry me: I know he would-he said so yesterday !”

As if by a kind of intuition, old Wood seemed to read all

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this woman's thoughts ; for he said that day with a sneer that he would wager she was thinking how much better it would be to be a Count's lady than a poor miser's wife. :-“ And faith,” said he, “a Count and a chariot-and-six is better than an old skinflint with a cudgel.” And then he asked her if her head was better, and supposed that she was used to beating, and cut sundry other jokes, whieh made the poor wretch's wounds of mind and body feel a thousand times sorer.

Tom, too, was made acquainted with the dispute, and swore his accustomed vengeance against his stepfather. Such feelings, Wood, with a dexterous malice, would never let rest; it was his joy, at first quite a disinterested. one, to goad Catherine and to frighten Hayes : though, in truth, that unfortunate creature had no occasion for incitements from without to keep up the dreadful state of terror and depression into which he had fallen.

For, from the morning after the quarrel, the horrible words and looks of Catherine never left Hayes's memory; but a cold fear followed him a dreadful prescience. He strove to overcome this fate as a coward would+to kneel to it for compassion--to coax and wheedle it into forgiveness. He was slavishly gentle to Catherine, and bore her fierce taunts with mean resignation. He trembled before young Billings, who was now established in the house. (his mother said, to protect her against the violence of her husband), and suffered his brutal language and conduct without venturing to resist.

The young man and his mother lorded over the house : Hayes hardly dared to speak in their presence; seldom sat with the family except at' meals; but slipped away: to his chamber (he slept apart now from his wife) or passed the evening at the public-house, where he was constrained to drink-to spend some of his beloved sixpences for drink !

And, of course, the neighbours began to say, "John Hayes neglects his wife." "He tyrannizes over her, and beats her.” “Always at the public-house, leaving an honest woman alone at home!”

The unfortunate wretch did not hate his wife. He was used to her--fond of her as much as he could be fond sighed to be friends with her again-repeatedly would creep, whimpering,' to Wood's room, when the tter was alone, and beg him to bring about a reconciliation. They were reconciled, as much as ever they could be. The woman looked at him, thought what she might be but for him, and scorned and loathed him with a feeling that almost amounted to insanity. What nights she lay awake, weeping and cursing herself and him! His humility and beseeching looks only made him more despicable and hateful to her.

If Hayes did not hate the mother, however, he hated the boyhated and feared 'him dreadfully. He would have poisoned him if he had had the courage ; but he dared not : he dared not even look at him as he sat there, the master of the house, in insolent triumph. O God ! how the lad's brutal laughter rung in Hayes's ears; and how the stare of his fierce, bold black eyes pursued him! Of a truth, if Mr. Wood loved mischief, as he did, honestly and purely for mischief's sake, he had enough here. There was mean malice, and fierce scorn, and black revenge, and sinful desire, boiling up in the hearts of these wretched people, enough to content Mr. Wood's great master himself.

Hayes's business," as 'we have said, was nominally that of a carpenter ; but since, for the last few years, he had added to it that of a lender of money, the carpenter's trade had been neglected altogether for one so much more profitable. Mrs. Hayes had exerted herself, with much benefit to her husband, in his usurious business. She was a resolute, clear-sighted, keen woman, that did not love money, but loved to be rich and push her way in the world. She would have nothing to do with the trade now, however, and told her husband to manage it himself. She felt that she was separated from him for ever, and could no more be brought to consider her interests as connected with his own.

The man was well fitted for the creeping and niggling of his dastardly trade; and gathered his moneys, and busied himself with his lawyer, and acted as his own book-keeper and clerk, not without satisfaction. His wife's speculations, when they worked in concert, used often to frighten him. He never sent out his capital without a pang, and only because he dared not question her superior judgment and will. He began now to lend no more: he could not let the money out of his sight. His sole pleasure was to creep up

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into his room, and count and recount it. When Billings came into the house, Hayes had taken a room next to that of Wood. It was a protection to him; for Wood would often rebuke the lad for using 'Hayes ill: and both Catherine and Tom treated the old man with deference.

At last-it was after he had collected a good deal of his money-Hayes began to reason with himself

, “Why should I stay ?---stay to be insulted iby that boy, or murdered by him? He is ready for any crime.” He determined to fiy. He would send Catherine money every year.

No-she had the furniture; let her let lodgings--that would support her. He would go, and live away, abroad in some cheap place away from that boy and his horrible threats. The idea of freedom was agreeable to the poor wretch; and he began to wind up his affairs as quickly as he could.

Hayes would now allow no one to make his bed or enter his room ; and Wood could hear him through the panels fidgeting perpetually to and fro, opening and shutting of chests, and clinking of coin. At the least sound he would start up, and would go to Billings's door and listen. Wood used to hear him creeping through the passages, and returning stealthily to his own chamber..

One day the woman and her son had been angrily taunting him in the presence of a neighbour. The neighbour retired soon; and Hayes, who had gone with him to the door, heard, on returning, the voice of Wood in the parlour. The old man laughed in his usual saturnine way, and said, “ Have a care, Mrs. Cat; for rif Hayes were to die suddenly, by the laws, the neighbours would accuse thee of his death."

Hayes started as if he had been shot. “He too is in the plot,” thought he. “They are all leagued against me: they will kill me: they are only biding their time.” Fear seized him, and he thought of flying that instant and leaving all; and he stole into his ' room and gathered his money together. But only a half of it was, there: in a few weeks all would have come in. He had not the heart to go. But that might Wood heard Hayes pause at his door, before he went to listen at Mrs. Catherine's. “What is the man thinking of?” said Wood. “He is gathering his money together. Has he a hoard yonder unknown to us all?”

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