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the storm ceased and the moon rose. It had been ceased, and the moon was shining. I saw her go arranged that I should remain till the picture was down the walk straight to the outer gate. She opened finished, and a painting-room was assigned me accord- it too, and I followed her; but long before I could ingly, situated in a sort of wing which Mr Jackson's reach the gate, it was locked behind her, and the girl predecessor had built for a ball-room; but the Jack- was out of sight. I returned to my writing-table, sons being quiet people, who gave no balls, had divided certain that she would come back for the half-rupee; it into three, by partitions of Indian matting. The and in less than half an hour, back Zelle came by the central division was my painting-room, rather better very way she went, and calmly closed the window, lighted than any artist would desire by two windows saying: looking into the garden; to the right was my bedroom, * Now, Saib, the cobra 's at home with his friends, and on the left a spare apartment, considered the and has promised never to come near your bed again.' coolest in the house, and, therefore, intended for the *Very well, Zelle,' said I, getting between her and much-regarded twins. Partitions of Indian matting, the door, “I have promised you a half-rupee, and I though cheap and movable, have two great faults will give it to you, but I saw you put that cobra in the namely, that they allow sounds to pass readily, and are bed this evening. If you tell me why you did so, I apt to shew minute crevices when they get dry. I was will not mention it to any of the family till you are standing close by the one which divided mine from the two days safe out of the house; and if you do not, children's room, putting my colour-box in order by the I will rouse them all, and tell them this instant.' last light of day, and the Indian night gives short Zelle looked to see whether there was any way of warning, when, through the heavy rain, which was escape, but I had my eye on the window; then her coming down in water-spouts, there came a sort of face took the fixed, stony look of the Eastern, who half hiss, half whisper, the queerest sound that ever knows his destiny is not propitious. struck my ear. I was born in France; and there was Saib,' said she, 'I put it there to kill the judge's a crevice within reach of my eye. What need of children. My mother sent it to me, to be revenged on further apology? There was Zelle, alone, and all wet, this family for all the evil they have done to ours. as if she had just crept in through the window, which Listen, and I will tell you the truth, for you do not stood open, taking out of her little grass-basket some- come from England. My father was a Brahmin and a thing like a large green ball, which she carefully tucked Zemindar; he inherited his land by adoption into the in under the bolster of the bed. Which of her duties family of our ancient neighbour Guzroo, and the Saib the trusted maid had come to perform so stealthily, Lester, who then gave law in Agra, took it from him, I could not guess; but she stepped out of the window, saying he had no right, and it belonged to the Comand closed it behind her so swiftly and silently, that pany. It had always been the custom to rear but one I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw her glide daughter in our house, and in due time that daughter away into the verandah.
was wedded, with a marriage-feast becoming a family of The rain continued, and the travellers did not high caste; but the Saib Jackson found out this custom,
Mrs Jackson hoped they had stopped for that and so frightened our people with his law that all the day with some of the many friends they had on the girls grew up. When my father's soul departed, my road, and the family retired to rest at the usual hour. mother determined to become a suttee, according to the But the dry season makes crevices in roofs as well as custom of her ancestors, that the family might have in partitions: the rain had found one just above my honour in this world and in paradise; but the preaching bed, and poured in such a torrent, that before it was Saib, who is also one of the Jacksons, talked so much, discovered, the chamber was perfectly uninhabitable. that fear came upon her when the pile was ready, and My good hostess, however, requested that I would she could not perform the ceremony. Now, see what occupy the children's room for the night, and I had the doings of these hogs, who eat everything, have installed myself there with candle and writing-case, brought upon my people. By the loss of his land, my in order to write letters which were justly due to father could not make the accustomed offerings; he sundry correspondents, for I was not inclined to sleep. therefore lost his standing in the temples and in the
The whole house was silent. It was near midnight; favour of the gods. By the loss of their inheritance, and I was half-way in a letter to Armandine-we my brothers were brought down to trades beneath were friends then-when a slight rustle made me look their castes. There was no means to make marriageup, and there stood Zelle as erect and composed as if feasts for five daughters; all my sisters are therefore she had come for one of the oft-mentioned tracts. married to low-caste men, and I am a Pariah, drinking
Saib,' said she, there's, a cobra in your bed : I out of common vessels, and going abroad with an smelled it as I passed your door, for my family were unveiled face. My mother was so despised by her serpent-charmers. What will you give me if I take neighbours and at the holy places, that she would not it away?'
live, but threw herself into the Jumna, an offering to • How did it come there ?' said I, pretending to write the goddess Durgá, who will not refuse even the on, though my pen was making cobras on the paper, polluted. By her favour, she has reached the transfor the green ball I had seen taken out of the basket migration of the serpent, and sent the cobra to me that recurred to my memory, and I knew the said serpent we might be avenged on this family, who worship to be one of the most deadly of its kind. The Portu- nothing but rupees, and think to buy heaven and earth guese settlers call it the capella or hooded-snake, with them. Now, Saib, give me my wages, for I have by which name it is known in Europe; but it had taken away the cobra and told you the truth.' obviously not been placed under the bolster for me; I did not venture to reason with the maid of and as Zelle replied quite innocently
whom the missionaries had hopes. She took her half*I don't know, saib;' my resolution was taken, rupee, and glided away to her own room. My own though it certainly was not the best policy.
sleep was not sound that night, and in the morning "I'll give you half a rupee,' said I; and with a quiet Zelle was nowhere to be found. Neither mistress nor gesture of assent to the bargain, Zelle approached the servants could give any account of her, but that she bed, turned up the bolster, and, without haste or fear, had performed her accustomed duties, and retired to lifted out the deadly thing, coiled up exactly as she rest as usual; that her room was all in order, and her had laid it in; and, may I be forgiven, but I half trinkets and best clothes gone with her. I resolved wished it might bite her. Nothing of the kind to keep my promise, and let the two days elapse; but happened to Mrs Jackson's maid: she laid the cobra in the interim, I could not resist telling the story to carefully into her muslin apron, opened the window, a countryman and confidential friend of mine, who and stepped out into the garden. The rain had had been for fifteen years a silk-merchant in Agra.
"Take my advice,' said he, and say nothing about upon womanhood, as great a bane to all true modesty, it. I know something of the English; they'll wonder as the most unchaste Messalina who ever disgraced why you did not immediately tell her master her sex. -what business you had to look through chinks I beg to warn these foul grubbers in the dark places -in short, they won't believe you; and if the girl's of the earth-not for purposes of cleansing, but merely disappearance produces no worse effect on your repu- because it amuses them-that they will not find anytation, you will be set down as a Jesuit in disguise; thing entertaining in this article. They will only and I understand the Jacksons are stiff Protestants; find one woman's indignant protest against a tone of yet it might be as well to warn the family by an thought and conversation which, as their consciences anonymous letter.'
will tell them, many other women think it no shame I took his advice, and the letter was sent; but to pursue when among their own sex; and which, did not being in their confidence, the Jacksons never the other sex know it, would injure as much as any mentioned it to me.
open vice, by making men disbelieve in virtue-disThe lady deeply regretted the absence of her handy believe in us. As to its vileness in the sight of Heaven maid. Mř Jackson made diligent inquiries after her, -truly many a well-reputed British matron may be but all to no purpose; but some time after, the part of considered as much a 'lost' woman as any poor, her doings which most puzzled me was cleared up. seduced creature whose child is born in a workhouse, Why, do you think, did she come to remove the cobra ? or strangled at a ditch-side. Not for the half-rupee alone; but her brother, the It is to this class, who have fallen out of the merchant at Agra, happened to be the very man from ranks of honest women, without sinking to a lower whom I was in the habit of purchasing trifles for depth still, that I chiefly refer: because with them, myself and presents for my friends at home, and the those for whom those papers are meant_namely, the bill I owed him just then saved my life.
ordinary middle ranks of unmarried females—are more The children arrived a week after, and I painted likely to have to do. That other class—awful in its the family group. I saw Zelle dancing as a nautch-extent and universality-of women who make a trade girl at one of the festivals at Delhi. I heard in the of sin, whom philanthropists and political economists following summer that the twins had died from the are for ever discussing, and can come to no conclusion bite of a serpent received in the garden of their father's about—this I leave to the wise and generous of both country-house near Calcutta ; and since then I never sexes who devote their lives to the subject; to the went to bed in India without looking narrowly under examination and amelioration of a fact so terrible the bolster.
that, were it not a fact, one would hardly be justified in alluding to it here. Wretched ones! whom even
to think of turns any woman's heart cold, with shame A WOMAN'S THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN. for her own sex, and horror at the other : outcasts
to whom happiness and love are things unknown;
God and heaven mere words to swear with; and to I ENTER on this subject with a hesitation strong whom this earth must be a daily hell: enough to have prevented my entering on it at all, did I not believe that to write for or concerning
Non ragionam di lor, ma guarda, e passa. women, and avoid entirely that deplorable phase of But the others cross our path continually. No one womanhood which, in country cottages as in city can have taken any interest in the working-classes streets, in books, newspapers, and daily talk, meets without being aware how frightfully common among us so continually that no young girl can long be them is what they term 'à misfortune'-how few kept ignorant of it, would be to give a one-sided young women come to the marriage-altar at all, or and garbled view of life, which, however pretty and come there just a week or two before maternity; or pleasant, would be false, and being false, useless. We having already had several children, often only half have not to construct human nature afresh, but to brothers and sisters, whom no ceremony has ever take it as we find it, and make the best of it: we legalised. Whatever be the causes of this—and I merely have no right, not even the most sensitive of us skim over the surface of a state of things which Times women, mercifully constituted with less temptation and sanitary commissioners have plumbed to sickento evil than men, to treat as impure what God has ing depths—it undoubtedly exists; and no single not made impure, or to shrink with sanctimonious woman who takes any thought of what is going on ultra-delicacy from the barest mention of things which, around her, no mistress or mother who requires conthough happy circumstances of temperament or edu- stantly servants for her house, and nursemaids for her cation have shielded us from ever being touched or children, can or dare blind herself to the fact. It is harmed thereby, we must know to exist. If we do easy for tenderly reared young ladies, who study human not know it, our ignorance-quite a different thing passions through Miss Austen or Miss Edgeworth, or from innocence-is at once both helpless and danger- the Loves of the Angels, to say: 'How shocking! Oh, ous: narrows our judgment, exposes us to a thousand it can't be true. But it is true; and they will not painful mistakes, and greatly limits our power of live many more years without finding it to be true. usefulness in the world.
Better face truth at once, in all its bareness, than be On the other hand, a woman who is for ever paddling swaddled up for ever in the folds of a silken falsehood. needlessly in the filthy puddles of human nature, just Another fact, stranger still to account for, is that as a child delights in walking up a dirty gutter when the women who thus fall are by no means the worst there is a clean pavement beside it, deserves, like the of their class. I have heard it affirmed by more than child, whatever mud she gets. And there is even a one lady—by one in particular, whose experience is worse kind of woman still, only too common among as large as her benevolence—that many of them are respectable matrons, talkative old maids, and even of the very best-refined, intelligent, truthful, and worldly fascinating young ones, who is ready to rake up affectionate. every scandalous tale, and titter over every vile double 'I don't know how it is,' she would say, whether entendre, who degrades the most solemn mysteries of their very superiority makes them dissatisfied with holy Nature into vehicles for disgraceful jokes, whose their own rank—such brutes or clowns as labouring mind, instead of being a decent dwelling-house, is a men often are!-so that they fall easier victims to the perfect Augean stable of uncleanness. Such a one rank above them ; or whether, though this theory cannot be too fiercely reprobated, too utterly despised. will shock many people, other virtues can exist and However intact her reputation, she is as great a slur flourish, entirely distinct from, and after the loss of,
that which we are accustomed to believe the indis- action and a fearlessness of consequences which are pensable prime virtue of our sex-chastity. I cannot to her a greater safeguard than any external decorum. explain it; I can only say that it is so: that some To be, and not to seem, is the amulet of her innocence. of my most promising village-girls have been the first Young women, who look forward to marriage and to come to harm; and some of the best and most motherhood, in all its peace and dignity, as your faithful servants I ever had, have been girls who have natural lot, have you ever thought for a moment what fallen into shame, and who, had I not gone to the it must be to feel that you have lost innocence, that rescue, and put them on the way to do well, would no power on earth can ever make you innocent any infallibly have become " lost” women.'
more, or give you back that jewel of glory and There, perhaps, is one clue caught. Had she not strength, having which, as the old superstition come to the rescue.' Rescue, then, is possible; and believed, they were capable of being rescued.
Even the lion will turn and flee I read lately an essay, and from a pure and good
From a maid in the pride of her purity ? woman's pen too, arguing, what licentious materialists are now-a-days unblushingly asserting, that chastity That, whether the world knows it or not, you know is not indispensable in our sex; that the old chivalrous yourself to be—not this. The free, happy ignorance of boast of families—all their men were brave, and all maidenhood is gone for ever; the sacred dignity and their women virtuous'-was, to say the least, a mis- honour of matronhood is not, and never can be attained. take, which led people into worse ills than it remedied, Surely this consciousness alone must be the most by causing an extravagant terror at the loss of these awful punishment to any woman; and from it no kindgood qualities, and a corresponding indifference to ness, no sympathy, no concealment of shame, or even evil ones much more important.
restoration to good repute, can entirely free her. She While widely differing from this writer-for God must bear her burden, lighter or heavier as it may forbid that our English women should ever come to be at different times, and she must bear it to the day regard with less horror than now the loss of personal of her death. I think this fact alone is enough to chastity—I think it cannot be doubted that even this make a chaste woman's first feeling towards an loss does not indicate total corruption or entail per- unchaste that of unqualified, unmitigated pity. manent degradation; that after it, and in spite of it, This, not in the form of exaggerated sentimentalism, many estimable and womanly qualities may be found with which it has of late been the fashion to treat existing, not only in our picturesque Nell Gwynnes such subjects, laying all the blame upon the seducer, and Peg Woffingtons, but our poor everyday sinners: and exalting the seduced into a paragon of injured the servant obliged to be dismissed without a character simplicity, whom society ought to pet, and soothe, and and with a baby; the sempstress quitting starvation treat with far more interest and consideration than for elegant infamy; the illiterate village lass, who those who have never erred. Never, as it seems to thinks it so grand to be made a lady of so much me, was there a greater mistake than that into which better to be a rich man's mistress than a working- some writers have fallen, in fact and fiction, but man's ill-used wife, or rather slave.
especially in fiction, through their generous overTill we allow that no one sin, not even this sin, eagerness to redeem the lost. These are painted-one necessarily corrupts the entire character, we shall heroine I call to mind now-as such patterns of excel. scarcely be able to judge it with that fairness which lence, that we wonder, first, how they ever could have gives hope of our remedying it, or trying to lessen in been led astray; and secondly, whether this exceeding ever so minute degree, by our individual dealing with helplessness and simplicity of theirs did not make the any individual case that comes in our way, the enorm- sin so venial, that it seems as wrong to blame them for ous aggregate of misery that it entails. This it it as to scold a child for tumbling into an open well. behoves us to do, even on selfish grounds, for it consequently, their penitence becomes unnecessary touches us closer than many of us are aware-ay, and unnatural; their suffering, disproportionably in our hearths and homes--in the sons and brothers unjust. You close the book inclined to arraign society, that we have to send out to struggle in a world of morality, and, what is worse, Providence; for all which we at the fireside know absolutely nothing; if else, feeling that the question is left much as you we marry, in the fathers we give to our innocent found it; that angelic sinners such as these, if they children, the servants we trust their infancy to, and exist at all, are such exceptions to the generality the influences to which we are obliged to expose them of their class, that their example is of very little daily and hourly, unless we were to bring them up practical service. in a sort of domestic Happy Valley, which their first To refine away error till it is hardly error at all ; effort would be to get out of as fast as ever they to place vice under such extenuating circumstances could. And supposing we are saved from all this ; that we cannot condemn it for sheer pity, is a fault that our position is one peculiarly exempt from evil; so dangerous that charity herself ought to steel her that if pollution in any form comes nigh us, we just heart against it. Far better and safer to call crime sweep it hastily and noiselessly away from our doors, by its right name, and paint it in its true coloursand think we are all right and safe. Alas! we forget treating it even as the Ragged Schools did the young that a refuse-heap outside her gate may breed a plague vagabonds of our streets-not by persuading them and even in a queen's palace.
society that they were clean, respectable, ill-used, and One word, before continuing this subject. Many maligned individuals ; or by waiting for them to grow of us will not investigate it because they are afraid : decent before they dealt with them at all, but by afraid, not so much of being, as of being thought to simply saying: 'Come, just as you are--ragged, and be, especially by the other sex, incorrect, indelicate, dirty, and dishonest. Only come, and we will do our unfeminine ; of being supposed to know more than best to make you what you ought to be.' they ought to know, or than the present refinement of Allowing the pity, which, as I said, ought to be societya good and beautiful thing when real-woman's primary sentiment towards her lost sisterconcludes that they do know.
hood, what is the next thing to be done? Surely there O women, women, why have you not more faith in must be some light beyond that of mere compassion yourselves—in that strong inner purity which alone to guide her in her after-conduct towards them. can make a woman brave! which, if she knows herself Where shall we find this light? In the world and to be clean in heart and desire, in body and soul, its ordinary code of social morality, suited to social loving cleanness for its own sake, and not for the convenience? I fear not. The general opinion, even credit that it brings her, gives her a freedom of among good men, seems to be that this great question
is a very sad thing, but a sort of unconquerable what resistance of weakness and endurance of bodily necessity; there is no use in talking about it, and pain, which, in another cause, would be called heroic indeed the less it is talked of the better. Good women-blunting every natural instinct, and goading them are much of the same mind. The laxer-principled of on the last refuge of mortal fear-infanticide! both sexes treat the matter with philosophical indiffer- Surely even by this means, many a woman might be ence, or with the kind of laugh that makes the blood saved, if there were any one to save her; any one to say boil in any truly virtuous heart.
plainly: 'What are you afraid of-God or man-your Then, where are we to look ?
sin or its results ?' Alas, it will be found almost 'I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repent- and consequently of the means of livelihood. Respect
invariably the latter: loss of position, of character,
ability shuts the door upon her; mothers will not let •Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.' *Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; because she tresses will not take her as a servant. Nor can one
their young folks come into contact with her; misloved much.'
wonder at this, even while believing that in many These words, thus quoted here, may raise a sneer cases the fear is much more selfish than virtuous, and on the lips some, and shock others who are continued long after its cause is entirely obviated. It accustomed to put on religion with their Sunday is one of the very few cases in which-at least at first clothes, and take it off on Monday, as quite too fine, -the sufferers cannot help themselves; they must maybe too useless for everyday wear. But I must suffer: they must bear patiently for a season the write them, because I believe them. I believe there is effects of the immutable law which makes sin, sooner no other light on this difficult question than that or later, its own Nemesis. given by the New Testament. There, clear and plain, But not for ever--and it is worth while, pausing and everywhere repeated, shines the doctrine, of over this insane terror of worldly opinion, to ask: which until then there was no trace either in external Which half of the world are you afraid of, the good or revealed religion, that for every crime, being or the bad ?' For it may often be noticed, the less repented of and forsaken, there is forgiveness with virtuous people are, the more they shrink away from Heaven; and if with Heaven, there ought to be with the slightest whiff of this odour of un-sanctity. The men. This, without entering at all into the doctrinal good are ever the most charitable, the pure are the question of atonement; but simply taking the basis most brave. I believe there are hundreds and thouof Christian morality, as contrasted with the natural sands of English women who would willingly throw the morality of the savage, or even of the ancient Jew, shelter of their stainloss repute around any poor which without retribution presupposes no such thing creature who came to them and said honestly: 1 as pardon.
have sinned-help me that I may sin no more. But All who have had any experience among criminals- the unfortunates will not believe this. They are from the poor little black sheep' of the family, who is like the poor Indians who think it necessary to pacify always getting into trouble, and is told continually by the evil principle by a greater worship than that they everybody that strive as he will, he never can be a offer to the Good Spirit; because, they say, he is good boy, like brother Tommy, down to the lowest, the stronger. Have we not, even in this Britain, far most reprobate convict, who is shipped off to Norfolk too many such tacit devil-worshippers ? Island, because the mother-country cannot exactly hang Given a chance, the smallest chance, and a woman's him, and does not know what else to do with him- redemption lies in her own hands. She cannot be too unite in stating that, when you shut the door of strongly impressed with this fact, or too soon. No hope on any human soul, you may at once give up human power could have degraded her against her will: all chance of its reformation. As well bid a man eat no human power can keep her in degradation unless by without food, see without light, or breathe without her will. Granted the sin, howsoever incurred, willair, as bid bim amend his ways, while, at the same fully or blindly, or under circumstances of desperate time, you tell him that however he amends, he will temptation; capable of some palliations, or with no be in just the same position—the same hopelessly palliation at all-take it just as it stands in its whole degraded, unpardoned, miserable sinner.
enormity, and—there leave it. Set it aside, at once and Yet this is practically the language used to fallen altogether, and begin anew. Better beg, or hunger, or women, and chiefly by their own sex: “God may die in a ditch-except that the people who die in forgive you, but we never can!'-a declaration which, ditches are not usually the best of even this world's however common, in spirit if not in substance, is, children-than live a day in voluntary dishonour. when one comes to analyse it, unparalleled in its This may sound fine and romantic—far too romantic, arrogance of blasphemy.
forsooth, to be applied to any of the cases that we That for a single offence, however grave, a whole are likely to meet with. And yet it is the plain life should be blasted, is a doctrine repugnant even to truth: as true of a king's mistress as of a ruined nature's own dealings in the visible world. There, servant-maid. No help from without can rescue | her voice clearly says-Let all these wonderful powers either, unless she wishes to save herself. of vital renewal have free play: let the foul flesh She has more power to do this than at first appears; slough itself away; lop off the gangrened limb; enter but it must be by the prime agent, truth. into life maimed if it must be: but never, till the last After the first false step, the principal cause of moment of total dissolution, does she say: "Thou shalt women's further downfall is their being afraid of truth not enter into life at all.'
1-truth, which must of necessity be the beginning and Therefore, once let a woman feel that, in moral as in end of all attempts at restoration to honour. For the physical disease, while there is life there is hope'- wretched girl, who, in terror of losing a place, or of dependent on the one only condition, that she shall being turned from an angry father's door, fabricates sin no more, and what a future you open for her! tale after tale, denies and denies till she can deny no what a weight you lift off from her poor miserable longer, till all ends in a jail and a charge of childspirit, which might otherwise be crushed down to the murder ; for the fashionable lady whose life is a long lowest deep, to that which is far worse than any bodily deceit, exposed to constant fear lest a breath should pollution, ineradicable corruption of soul.
tear her flimsy reputation to rags; and for all the The next thing to be set before her is courage. innumerable cases between these two poles of society, That intolerable dread of shame, which is the last there is but one warning-No virtue ever was founded token of departing modesty, to what will it not drive on a lie. some women! To what self-control and ingenuity, The truth, then, at all risks and costs-the truth
from the beginning. Make a clean breast to whom- see women falling, fallen, and we cannot help them; soever you need to make it, and then-face the world. we cannot make them feel the hideousness of sin, the
This must be terrible enough-no denying that; peace and strength of that cleanness of soul which is but it must be done: there is no help for it. Perhaps, not afraid of anything in earth or heaven ; we cannot in many a case, if it were done at once, it would save force upon their minds the possibility of return, after much after-misery, especially the perpetual dread and ever so long wanderings, to those pleasant paths out of danger of exposure which makes the sin itself quite a which there is no peace and no strength for either man secondary consideration compared with the fear of its or woman; and in order to this return is needed-for discovery. This once over, with all its paralysing both alike-not so much outside help, as inward effects, the worst has come to the worst, and there is repentance. a chance of hope.
All I can do-all, I fear, that any one can do by Begin again. Put the whole past life aside as if it mere speech—is to impress upon every woman, and had never been, and try what you can do with the chiefly on those who, reared innocently in safe liomes, future. This, I think, should be the counsel given to view the wicked world without like gazers at a show all erring women not irretrievably 'lost.'
or spectators at a battle-shocked, wondering, perhaps It would be a blessed thing if our honourable pitying a little, but not understanding at all that this women, mothers and matrons, would consider a little repentance is possible also; that once having returned more what could be done with such persons: any to a chaste life, a woman's former life should never openings for useful employment; any positions suffi- once be 'cast up' against her; that she should be ciently guarded to be safe, and yet free enough to allowed to resume, if not hier pristine position, at least afford trial, without drawing too harshly the line - one that is full of usefulness, pleasantness, and respect always harsh enough-between these and those who are - a respect the amount of which must be determined of unblemished reputation. Reformatories, Magdalen by her own daily conduct. She should be judged—as institutions, and the like, are admirable in their way; indeed human wisdom alone has a right to judge, in but there are always a host of cases in which indivi: all cases—solely by what she is now, and not by what dual judgment, or help, is the only thing possible. It she has been. That judgment may be, ought to be, is this-these thoughts which shall lead to acts, that I stern and fixed as justice itself with regard to her desire to suggest to individual minds, in the hope of present, and even her past, so far as concerns the arousing that imperceptible small influence of the crime committed ; but it ought never to take the law many, which forms the strongest lever of a community. into its own hands towards the criminal, who, for all it
I said, in a former paper, that the only way to make knows, may have long since become less a criminal than people good, is to make them happy. Strange that a sufferer. Virtue degrades herself, and loses every this fact should apply to circumstances like these vestige of her power, when her dealings with vice sink now written of; and yet it does; and it would be into a mere matter of individual opinion, personal vain to set it aside. Bid a woman lift up her head dislike, or selfish fear of harm. For all offences, and live; tell her that she can and ought to live; and punishment retributive and inevitable, must come; you must give her something to live for. You must but punislıment is one thing, revenge is another. One put into her poor sore heart, if you can, a little more only, who is Omniscient as well as Omnipotent, can than peace-comfort. And where is she to find it? declare, Vengeance is Mine.'
It may appear a strange doctrine to some, but it seems to me that Heaven always leaves its sign of hope and redemption on any woman when she is left
KIRKE WEBBE, with a child. Some taste of the ineffable joy, the
THE PRIVATEER CAPTAIX. solemn consecration of maternity, must come even to the most wretched and guilty, on feeling the double life
CHAPTER XX.-CONCLUSION. she bears, or the helpless life to which she has given The suddenness of Webbe's appearance, and the boldbirth--that life for which she is as responsible to God, ness of a self-announcement which was nothing less to itself, and to the world, as any married mother of than sentence of immediate death passed upon himthem all.
self, literally lifted the members of the court-martial And the sense of responsibility alone conveys a to their feet, and a bush of astonishment, I might certain amount of comfort and hope. One can imagine almost say of fear, inspired by a greatness of daring, many a sinful mother, who, for the very child's sake, in presence of which every man there felt himself would learn to hate the sin, and to make to the poor morally dwarsed, pervaded the crowded hall. Cerinnocent the only atonement possible, by giving it tainly the calmest, least excited person there was the what is better even than stainless birth- & virtuous privateer captain himself: true, his face was paler than bringing-up. On can conceive such a woman taking usual; but he was perfectly self-possessed, and the her baby in her arms, and starting afresh to face the gleaming smile which played about his cold, stern world---made bold by a love that has no taint in it, eyes, and slightly curled lips, seemed the expression and cheered by the knowledge that no human being of a sovereign disdain, untinged by a shade of percan take from her either this love, or its duties, or its sonal fear, of the men into whose vindictive hands he rewards.
had surrendered himself. I say, 'seemed' to be that For it rests with herself alone the comfort she may expression, for could I have looked beneath the imderive from, and the honour in which she may be held penetrable iron mask acquired by many years' exposure by her child. A mother's subsequent conduct and to the hardening atmosphere of an ever-present mortal character might give a son as much pride in her, peril, I might possibly have seen a human heart, and in the nameless parentage which he owes her, as wildly palpitating before the immediate presence of in any long lawful line
the dread Shadow feared of all men, with whatever Whose ignoble blood
boldness faith, duty, pride, may enable them to con
front it. Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood.
Still, not a momentary sign or hint of weakness Even a daughter might live to say: "Mother, do not could be discerned by the eager, vengeful eyes which grieve; I had rather have had you, just as you are, searched Captain Kirke Webbe's aspect and bearing; than any mother I know. It has been better, for and it occurred to me for the hundredth time that, me at least, than if you had married my father.' but for that unfortunate game at leap-frog upon the
I have written thus much, and yet, after all, it seems quarter-deck of the Gladiator, and his consequent disbut words, words, words. Everywhere around us wel missal from the British naval service, on the eve of a