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Heavens! will you believe me?-against a person named Walter Campbell. The concluding sentence ran thus :'He has a very gentlemanly and prepossessing address, is generally dressed in a blue coat, dark trousers, and light waistcoat, and is sometimes attended by a man servant, no doubt a partner in his villanies, and has hitherto given the name of Walter Campbell.' The perusal of this paragraph rather cooled me, since I was conscious that, save the again fatal similarity of names, and some particulars of dress, it was not applicable to me. I willingly acceded to Mr T.'s request to search the house; and, this done, proceeded with him to the police-office. On entering the justice-room I was surprised to see William and my quondam footman; when the whole truth flashed vividly on my mind. He was the informerhe had taken advantage of the similarity of names to gratify his malice by the infliction of this disgrace on me. The triumph was greater than even he had anticipated. He might have intended to make the fact of my apprehension a ground for insisting on a separation between me and his family; but he did not expect that I should have been pointed out as having been at that office several years before, in the name of Jones, on an accusation of forgery. What end the man was to have served, is a secret; for, before he could be called on, I was discharged in consequence of the respective tradesmen who had been sent for, unanimously deponing that I was not the individual who had defrauded them. I hastened from the office to Mrs V. The instant Louisa saw me she rushed to my embrace, passionately declaring that she could not and did not give any credit to the assertion that I was guilty of any thing wrong, my appearance at large assuring her that I had been wrongfully accused. She had been informed of what had taken place by one of my servants. This was the acmé of love. She believed me not merely innocent of the present charge, but incapable of any dereliction from honour and honesty. I was uttering my protestations to the same effect, and was about to commence a further explanation, when William entered. He, having doubtless lingered behind to obtain some particulars concerning the check affair, now in a loud voice com
manded me to leave the room. I demurred. Too cowardly himself to attempt to part us, he called assistance, and I was ejected by force. In an ecstasy of anguish I ran home-wrote to Louisa that I relied on her affection that she would not desert me; but had scarcely dispatched my letter, before one was delivered from her. There it is, read it yourself-I cannot trust myself with it." Saying this, he pulled some papers from his pocket, handed the one in question to me, and then relapsed into a silent fit of melancholy. The letter was couched in these terms:
The inferences which I drew from this epistle I will presently mention. They were somewhat different from those of the unfortunate object of it. When he perceived that I had read the letter, he resumed.
"Scarcely knowing how I acted, I returned to their lodgings-they were denied to me. I determined to watch the house. I did so till evening, when the patrol compelled me to leave the spot. I passed the night in a keen fever of agitation; and the next morning I again called at the house, but was informed that they had gone away without leaving a direction as to their future abode. I was distracted, and remained at home some hours, completely stupified at this violent breaking up of my hopes; and perhaps had not recovered from my temporary lunacy when I hurried to the bank, converted all my stock into cash, and, leaving my house and its contents to their fate, ascended the first stage-coach which crossed my
path, with the full determination, in the language of Iago,
To have no name, since names give such offence.'
"The coach stopped about thirty miles from this place, to which I pursued my way on foot, regardless of whither my random steps conducted me, till sheer fatigue compelled me to desist. I am not arrived here eighteen hours before the want of a name involves me again in trouble. My indifference made me act as I did; but you know the rest."
Here he concluded his narrative. I could not but admire the singularities of his adventures, though easily perceiving, as I doubt not my readers have perceived, that his own sensitiveness had a considerable share in his afflictions. I hinted to him my opinion that Louisa's letter did not contain a real portraiture of her feelings, and, moreover, that it was a forced one. My reason for this supposition was founded on the curious style in which it was indited; for I considered it impossible that any woman, possessed of those burning sentiments of love which she entertained, should write freely without betraying some lingerings of affection. countenance brightened for a moment at the idea. He then shook his head mournfully, and remarked, "However that may be, she is now beyond my reach. Her heart will be broken, and I care not to survive. I will write to Edmund, and implore his calm consideration. I will meet him if I can; and then-if the worst befalls-the universe may collapse and crush me without extracting a groan.' His mind was wrought up, even in its appearance of quiet, to a pitch of almost ungovernable excitement. I proffered my services to him. He replied, "When I came here, it was with the intention of holding myself at variance with all-to doubt every one and trust none, so that what share of tranquillity time might bestow might be entirely at my own command-to have associated only as it were at a distance; but your generosity has defeated the execution of this design, and obliges me to believe that you are sincere in your offers of personal exertions in elucidating the matter; and, though dubious of your success,
I am equally grateful to you. Pardon me for saying that I have no anxiety on the subject. The keenest agony that fate can inflict I have suffered; and, as it has deadened me to all sense of pleasure, so it has prepared me against any farther pain, by making me insensible to either." He then added that he should go abroad again; but promised, at my earnest desire, to inform me of his movements.
A day or two subsequently, Mr Campbell, if so I may call him, took advantage of a Dutch lugger, which had been driven into the bay, and nearly stranded by stress of weather, to engage a passage with the captain to Rotterdam. We applied to arrange with Mr W., the magistrate, who had written to the London officers as he had threatened, and received for answer that the description corresponded to that of a person who had been in their hands, but that they had no further business with him. deposit was forthwith reconsigned to me, the justice congratulating himself upon his discernment; and having seen this high-minded but singularly unfortunate individual depart, I prepared for my own return, with the full determination to use the most strenuous exertions to clear up, and if possible dispel, the mystery which hung over him.
The very next morning, as I was sitting in Mr B.'s parlour, duly accoutred for the journey, and awaiting only the conveyance that was to take me part of the distance, a post-chaise drove rapidly to the door, and two ladies descended from it, both young and handsome, but an ashy paleness overspread the beautiful features of one of them, which denoted very considerable mental exhaustion. She was conducted by her companion and Mrs B. into the parlour, in an almost insensible condition-I, of course, not being slack in any assistance I could afford. When she was restored a little, the two ladies communed awhile between themselves, and then the other, addressing the landlord, asked if a stranger named Campbell had been at his inn. Mr B. made the only reply that he could make, that a person who refused to give his name, and was angry at being urged on the point, had certainly been there; but he dared say that gentleman (meaning
me) could tell them something. On being thus directly alluded to, I beg ged to know if I had the honour of speaking to Miss Louisa V., apologizing for my rudeness on account of the urgency of the occasion. They were startled at the question, and Miss V., for her it certainly was, being too much agitated to reply, her friend, cold ly overcoming her own timidity, answered in the affirmative. In truth, they were now alarmed at the step they had taken. Having requested the favour of their company to a private room, and waiving every idea of departing for the present, I entered into such particulars as I considered necessary, my fair auditors listening with tearful attention; but when I mentioned that Mr Campbell had set off for Rotterdam, Louisa, suddenly starting up, energetically exclaimed, "Then we must go to Rotterdam directly, love." With considerable difficulty I gently calmed her, but principally by pledging myself that the first letter which I received, pursuant to his promise, should be put into her own hands, and that I would take care to forward any communication she might wish to send him. This relieved her in some degree from the weight of anxiety and uncertainty under which she had laboured, and she consented to leave the affair to me, with the most enchanting expressions of gratitude.
We remained that night at the inn, greatly to the satisfaction of Mr B., who charitably pleaded" that the young ladies would be much the better for it"-and himself. The ensuing morning we commenced our journey homewards, both my charm ing and unexpected companions committing themselves to my charge. During our progress, and in the course of conversation, which, as might be supposed, was almost confined to the subject of Mr C., they favoured me with a detail of the means by which they had obtained a clue to the place of his retreat. For several days after the abrupt dismissal of her betrothed, Louisa V. had been rigidly secluded by her brother William, by whose barbarous threats she had been compelled to write the letter inserted above, and by whose orders the hasty removal had been effected. All the liberty allowed her was to apprize
Edmund of the occurrence. She contrived, however, to evade his vigilance, and her first impulse was to run to Mr C.'s house, where the domestics were still remaining; but from them she ascertained no more than that Mr C. had not been there, to their great wonder, for some days past. Her next step was to the police-office, where she fortunately met Mr T., who politely informed her that he was ignorant of Mr C.'s present residence; but that a letter had been sent from a magistrate at —, giving an account of a stranger, whom he had thought proper to detain till he heard from him, (Mr T.,) the description very closely applying to Mr C. Her determination was at once fixed. Fearful of detention if she went home, she proceeded to her cousin and intimate friend Miss M., her present companion, to seek her assistance. the devotion of sincere friendship, Miss M. instantly assented, and a note having been posted to Mrs V., with the least possible delay these two amiable ones set out on their love expedition.
We pursued our way without any remarkable accident, except when about halfway observing a post-chaise dashing by us at full speed, towards the quarter we were leaving. reaching London I escorted Miss V. to her home, in which, however, were neither her mother nor William. Edmund had joined them from Paris, and all three, as the servants told us, had hurried after her to --, William heaping the bitterest imprecations upon her for the trouble she was giving him. It was arranged, in consequence, that I should not communicate with her directly, but only through the medium of Miss M., as in all probability she would be again doomed to strict seclusion when in the power of her brother, which happened in a very few hours after.
In the mean time I devoted myself to my promised efforts. My first object was to find the clerk who cashed the check, and in this I had little difficulty, as also in inducing him to ac-. company me in looking after the ticket-porter above mentioned. While thus engaged, a desponding letter arrived from Mr C. at Rotterdam, stating that he had written to Edmund;
but the latter's silence convincing him that he was deserted by them all, he urged me to cease to trouble myself about a person who had no longer any thing to gain from the world's opinion. He of course was not aware of Edmund's absence. This letter I forwarded to Louisa by Miss M., who was still allowed intercourse with her. Through the same channel I obtained one from her, which I enclosed in my own reply, in which I entreated him to sustain himself a short time longer; and I have no doubt Louisa's letter encouraged him to do
My search after the ticket-porter being at length successful, by promises of reward for the benefit of his testimony, I procured a description of the individual who sent him with the draft-a description as unlike that of my unfortunate client as is the similarity of a greasy Hottentot to a Chinese. He said the gentleman in question had given him, besides money, employment in Wales, where he had remained three or four months, so that the man was effectually precluded from knowing what had transpired in London. To make "assurance doubly sure," I next tried to find out Jones, but here I failed; he no longer had a seat in the House, and had fled from the country to avoid arrest. Satisfied, notwithstanding, that I could now prove Mr C.'s innocence, I called on Mrs V., and before the redoubtable William and Edmund, whom I now saw for the first time, Louisa and Miss M., I related my discoveries.
I need not dilate upon the gratification felt by all but William, who began to make some savage remarks, interspersed with threats; but having been used to bullies professionally, I soon quieted him by counter-threats. Mr C. having obeyed my summons to London, the magistrates kindly permitted another examination, at which the ticket-porter unequivocally declared that he was not the person who had employed him, and gave other evidence, which caused the magistrates themselves to congratulate Mr C., and to express their regret that Jones was out of their jurisdiction. His intercourse with Louisa was of course resumed, I undertaking to hold William in check. She had demonstrated that her love had never abated, and
his, though it had been damped by imagined disappointment, returned with renewed ardour. The adventures of his life were repeated, so that any chance of further misunderstanding might be removed; and I shortly had the pleasure of acting, by particular desire, as father to the excellent Louisa at the performance of their nuptials. I then, as Mr C.'s attorney, filed a bill in Chancery against William, and, as I expected, discovered that he had been making rather free with the money under his management. The solicitations of his family, however, prevented an extensive exposure of his conduct to his sister and Mr C.
My satisfaction at this fortunate issue of my endeavours, however, was not thus to be completed. Iwas destined to be the gratified agent of another interesting discovery. Some weeks after the marriage, whilst in my office, one of the clerks ushered into my room an elderly gentleman of foreign appearance. Save his countenance, on which the lines of grief and care were strongly drawn, he bore no signs of advanced age, the freedom of his movements being apparently unimpeded by corporeal debility. After an apologizing preface, he desired to see the gentleman who had exerted himself so much in the Jones and check transaction. My acknowledgment that I was the party, brought forth an entreaty that I would immediately lead him to that Mr C., as he had every reason to believe he was his own son. It was so. It was the father of my friend with whom I was now conversing. He was a native of France, in which country he had made a small fortune as a merchant, with which he escaped to England during the convulsions which broke out there, prompted to this course by the same terrors which led so many of his countrymen to become emigrants. In this country he married an orphan against the consent of her relations, whose sanction to the match was refused, not on the score of property, for she had none, but because their John Bull pride resented the connexion with a Frenchman. He lived in Hertfordshire, in the utmost enjoyment that love and domestic comfort could af ford, till left a sorrowful widower by the death of his wife, a few months
after the birth of a boy, when the unrelenting hostility of his wife's relations seemed to increase. Before twelve months had elapsed, they procured, under the arbitrary and indiscriminate system pursued by Government at that period towards aliens, a peremptory official order to him to leave the kingdom within an assigned time. Reluctant to expose his child to the hardships of a voyage, and trusting to be enabled to return soon, he determined on consigning him to the care of two of his wife's friends, who alone had remained attached to her, with further directions as to Mr E., in whose integrity he had every confidence, as the reader is already aware, in case any thing serious should happen to himself. His desire for the concealment of the father's name arose from a fear lest his foreign extraction should operate against the child while under the protection of strangers. Having provided the requisite funds for these purposes, he departed with a heavy heart for America, taking with him a portion of his property. On the passage, the vessel was captured by a French privateer, in which he was carried to Guadaloupe, where he was robbed of his money, and compelled, under a threat of instant death, for being found on board an enemy's ship, to enter the army. For years he endured innumerable privations in the progress of the war, till at length he effected his passage to America. Reduced to poverty, his only consolation was that he had provided for his son, on whose account he repeatedly wrote to London, but without gaining any intelli
gence; his letters probably never arrived. His active mind, however, found means of subsistence, and he at last again accumulated a moderate independency, and, on the final declaration of peace in 1815, Le L. directed his whole attention to the recovery of his son, and this search had engaged him in various parts for the last several years. While at Paris, sick at heart, and despairing of ever beholding his child, he overheard some Englishmen in a coffeehouse discoursing about the affair of the check. Of them he immediately made enquiries, the result of which was his visit to me.
The reader will believe me that my joy was not inferior to that of the father or son at the interview which immediately followed the father's visit to me. All, (except William, who was unregrettedly absent,) including Miss M., were deeply affected at this consummation of their happiness; while my feelings were such that I internally hoped for such another opportunity of rescuing worth from unmerited opprobrium.
Mr C. obtained the proper legal permission to assume his father's name, Le L. And now my tale is ended, unless some of my very inquisitive readers may wish to know what became of Miss M. I will gratify their curiosity at the risk of the charge of egotism. Her merits and affection displayed on behalf of her friend were not lost on me. I solicited her hand. She is my wife; and I for one can solemnly aver, that I have no cause to regret my encounter with the NAmeLESS MAN.