the novel Confession

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofConfession,byW GilmoreSimms Copyrightlawsarechangingallovertheworld Besuretocheckthecopyright lawsforyourcountrybeforedownloadingorredistributingthisoranyother ProjectGutenbergeBook ThisheadershouldbethefirstthingseenwhenviewingthisProjectGutenberg file Pleasedonotremoveit Donotchangeoredittheheaderwithoutwritten permission Pleasereadthe“legalsmallprint,”andotherinformationabouttheeBookand ProjectGutenbergatthebottomofthisfile Includedisimportantinformation aboutyourspecificrightsandrestrictionsinhowthefilemaybeused Youcan alsofindoutabouthowtomakeadonationtoProjectGutenberg,andhowtoget involved WelcomeToTheWorldofFreePlainVanillaElectronicTexts eBooksReadableByBothHumansandByComputers,Since1971 *****TheseeBooksWerePreparedByThousandsofVolunteers!***** Title:Confession Author:W GilmoreSimms ReleaseDate:July,2004[EBook#6059][Yes,wearemorethanoneyearahead ofschedule][ThisfilewasfirstpostedonOctober30,2002] Edition:10 Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISOLatin-1 STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOK,CONFESSION*** CharlesAldarondo,CharlesFranksandtheOnlineDistributedProofreading Team [Illustration:Confession] Confession; or, TheBlindHeart ADomesticStory ByW GilmoreSimms, Wagner Butoftheworld-theheart,themindofman,Howhappycouldwe know!Faust Whatcanweknow?Whodaresbestowtheinfanthistruename? Thefewwhofeltandknew,butblindlygaveTheirknowledgetothemultitude —theyfell!Incapabletokeeptheirfullheartsin,They,fromthefirstof immemorialtime,Werecrucifiedorburnt Goethe’sFaust,MS Version CHAPTERI Confession,orTheBlindHeart “Whodaresbestowtheinfanthistruename?Thefewwhofeltandknew,but blindlygaveTheirknowledgetothemultitude—theyfellIncapabletokeeptheir fullheartsin,They,fromthefirstofimmemorialtime,Werecrucifiedor burnt.”—Goethe’s“Faust.” Thepainsandpenaltiesoffollyarenotnecessarilydeath Theywereinold times,perhaps,accordingtothetext,andhewhokeptnottohimselfthesecrets ofhissillyheartwassurelycrucifiedorburnt Thoughlackinginpenalties extremelikethese,thepresentisnotwithoutitsown Alltimes,indeed,have theirpenaltiesforfolly,muchmorecertainlythanforcrime;andthisfact furnishesoneofthemosthumanargumentsinfavorofthedoctrineofrewards andpunishmentsinthefuturestate Butthesepenaltiesarenotalways mortificationsandtrialsoftheflesh Therearepunishmentsofthesoul;the spirit;thesensibilities;theintellect—whicharemostusuallytheconsequences ofone’sownfolly Thereisaperversityofmoodwhichistheworstofallsuch penalties Therearetortureswhichthefoolishheartequallyinflictsandendures Thepassionsriotontheirownnature;and,feedingastheydouponthatbosom fromwhichtheyspring,andinwhichtheyflourish,may,notinaptly,belikened tothatunnaturalbroodwhichgnawsintotheheartofthemother-bird,and sustainsitsexistenceattheexpenseofhers Meetlygovernedfromthe beginning,theyaredutifulagentsthatblessthemselvesintheirownobedience; but,pamperedtoexcess,theyaretyrantsthatneverdojustice,untilatlast,when theyfitlyconcludetheworkofdestructionbytheirown Thenarrativewhichfollowsisintendedtoillustratetheseopinions Itisthestory ofablindheart—nay,ofblindhearts—blindthroughtheirownperversity— blindtotheirowninterests—theirownjoys,hopes,andpropersourcesof delight Innarratingmyownfortunes,Idepicttheirs;andtheoldleavenof wilfulness,whichbelongstoournature,has,ingreaterorlessdegree,aplacein everyhumanbosom Iwastheonlyonesurvivingofseveralsons MyparentsdiedwhileIwasyetan infant Ineverknewthem Iwaslefttothedoubtfulchargeofrelatives,who mightaswellhavebeenstrangers;and,fromtheirtreatment,Ilearnedtodoubt andtodistrustamongthefirstfatallessonsofmyyouth Ifeltmyselfunloved— nay,asIfancied,dislikedanddespised Iwasnotmerelyanorphan Iwaspoor, andwasfeltasburdensomebythoseconnectionswhomadreadofpublic opinion,ratherthanasenseofdutyandaffection,persuadedtotakemetotheir homes Here,then,whenlittlemorethanthreeyearsold,Ifoundmyself—a lonelybrat,whomservantsmightfloutatpleasure,andwhomsuperiorsonly regardedwithafrown IwasjustoldenoughtorememberthatIhadonce experiencedverydifferenttreatment Ihadfeltthecaressesofafondmother—I hadheardthecheeringaccentsofagenerousandagentlefather Theonehad soothedmygriefsandencouragedmyhopes—theotherhadstimulatedmy energiesandpromptedmydesires Letnoonefancythat,becauseIwasachild, theselessonswerepremature Alleducation,tobevaluable,mustbeginwiththe child’sfirsteffortsatdiscrimination Suddenly,bothofthesefondparents disappeared,andIwasjustyoungenoughtowonderwhy Thechangeinmyfortunesfirsttouchedmysensibilities,whichitfinallyexcited untiltheybecamediseased Neglectedifnotscorned,Ihabituallylookedto encounternothingbutneglectorscorn Thesureresultofthisconditionofmind wasalookandfeeling,onmypart,ofhabitualdefiance Igrewupwiththe moodofonewhogoesforthwithamoralcertaintythathemustmeetand provideagainstanenemy ButIamnowpremature TheuncleandauntwithwhomIfoundshelterwerewhatiscalledinordinary parlance,verygoodpeople Theyattendedthemostpopularchurchwithmost popularpunctuality Theyprayedwithunction—subscribedtoallthecharities whichhadpublicityandafashionablelisttorecommendthem—helpedtosend missionariestoCalcutta,Bombay,Owyhee,andotheroutlandishregions—paid theirdebtswhentheybecameduewithcommendablereadiness—andwere,in allout-of-doorrespects,theverysortofpeoplewhomightcongratulate themselves,andthankGodthattheywereveryfarsuperiortotheirneighbors Myunclehadmorningprayersathome,andmyauntthumbedHannahMorein theevening;thoughitmustbeadmittedthattheformercouldnotalwaysforbear, comingfromchurchonthesabbath,toinquireintothelastnewsofthe Liverpoolcottonmarket,andmyauntneverfailed,whentheyreachedhome,on thesameblessedday,tomakethehouseringwithanothersortofeloquencethan thattowhichshehadlistenedwithsuchsanctimoniousdevotionfromthelipsof thepreacher Thereweresomeotherlittleoffsetsagainsttheperfectly evangelicalcharacteroftheirreligion Oneofthese—thefirstthatattractedmy infantconsideration—wasnaturallyonewhichmoredirectlyconcernedmyself I soondiscoveredthat,whileIwassenttoanordinarycharityschoolofthe country,inthreadbarebreeches,madeofthemeanestmaterial—theirownson— agentleandgood,butpunyboy,whomtheirindulgenceinjured,and,perhaps, finallydestroyed—wasdespatchedtoafashionableinstitutionwhichtaughtall sortsofologies—dressedinsuchchoicebroadclothandcostlyhabiliments,asto makehimanobjectofenvyandevenodiumamongallhislessfortunateschoolfellows PoorlittleEdgar!Hisowngoodheartandcorrectnaturalunderstandingshowed himtheequalfollyofthattreatmenttowhichhewassubjected,andtheinjustice andunkindnesswhichdistinguishedmine Hestrovetomakeamends,sofarasI wasconcerned,fortheerrorofhisparents Hewasmyplaymatewheneverhe waspermitted,buteventhispermissionwasqualifiedbysomeremark,some directionorcounsel,fromoneorotherofhisparents,whichwasintendedtolet himknow,andmakemefeel,thattherewasamonstrousdifferencebetweenus Theservantsdiscoveredthisdifferenceasquicklyasdidtheobjectsofit;and thoughwewerepreciselyofoneage,andIwasratherthelargestofthetwo,yet, inaddressingus,theypaidhimthedeferencewhichshouldonlybeshownto superiorage,andtreatedmewiththecontumelyonlyduetoinferiormerit It was“MasterEdgar,”whenhewasspokento—and“you,”whenIwastheobject ofattention Idonotspeakofthesethingsasofsubstantialevilsaffectingmycondition Perhaps,inoneormorerespects,theywerebenefits Theytaughtmehumilityin thefirstplace,andmadethathumilityindependence,byshowingmethatthe lessonwasbestowedinwantonness,andnotwiththepurposeofimprovement And,inproportionasmyphysicalnaturesufferedtheirneglect,itacquired strengthbytheveryrougheningtowhichthatneglectexposedit InthisI possessedavastadvantageovermylittlecompanion Hisframe,naturally feeble,sunkundertheoppressivetendernesstowhichtheconstantcareofavain father,adotingmother,andsycophanticfriendsandservants,subjectedit The attritionofboywithboy,inthehalf-manlysportsofschoolboylife—itsvery strifesandscuffles—wouldhavebroughthisbloodintoadequatecirculation,and hardenedhisbones,andgivenelasticitytohissinews Butfromallthese influences,hewascarefullypreservedandprotected Hewasnotallowedtorun, forfearofbeingtoomuchheated Hecouldnotjump,lesthemightbreaka blood-vessel Intheballplayhemightgetaneyeknockedout;andeventops andmarbleswereforbidden,lestheshouldsoilhishandsandwearouttheknees ofhisgreenbreeches Ifheindulgedinthesesportsitwasonlybystealth,andat thefearfulcostofafalsehoodoneverysuchoccasion Whenwillparentslearn thatentirelytocrushandkeepdownthepropernatureoftheyoung,isto produceinevitableperversity,andstimulatetheboyishingenuitytocrime? Withmethecasewasverydifferent Ifcuffingandkickingcouldhavekilled,I shouldhavediedmanysuddenandseveredeathsintheroughschooltowhichI wassent Ifeyeswerelikelytobelostinthecampus,cordedballsofIndiarubber,orstillharderonesofwood,impelledbyshinny(goff)sticks,wouldhave obliteratedallofminethoughtheyhadbeennumerousasthoseofArgus My limbsandeyesescapedallinjury;myframegrewtallandvigorousin consequenceofneglect,evenastheforest-tree,lefttotheconflictofallthe windsofheaven;whilemypoorlittlefriend,Edgar,grewdailymoreandmore diminutive,justassomeplant,whichnursingandtendancewithindoorsdeprive ofthewholesomesunshineandgenerousbreezesofthesky Thepalenessofhis cheekincreased,thelanguorofhisframe,themeagernessofhisform,the inabilityofhisnature!Hewaspiningrapidlyaway,inspiteofthatexcessive care,which,perhaps,hadbeeninthefirstinstance,theunhappysourceofallhis feebleness Hedied—andIbecameanobjectofgreaterdislikethanevertohisparents They couldnotbutcontrastmystrength,withhisfeebleness—myimprovementwith hisdecline—andwhentheyrememberedhowlittlehadbeentheirregardforme andhowmuchforhim—withoutascribingthedifferenceofresulttothetrue cause—theyrepinedatthewaysofProvidence,andthrewuponmethereproach ofit Theygavemelessheedandfewersmilesthanever IfIimprovedat school,itwaswell,perhaps;buttheyneverinquired,andIcouldnothelp fancyingthatitwaswithapositiveexpressionofvexation,thatmyauntheard, ononeoccasion,frommyteacher,inthepresenceofsomeguests,thatIwas likelytobeanhonortothefamily “Anhonortothefamily,indeed!”ThiswastheclearexpressioninthatChristian lady’seyes,asIsawthemsinkimmediatelyafterinascornfulexaminationof myruggedframeandcoarsegarments Thefamilyhaditsownsourcesofhonor,wasthecalmopinionofbothmy patrons,astheyturnedtheireyesupontheironlyremainingchild—alittlegirl aboutfiveyearsold,whowasplayingaroundthemonthecarpet Thisopinion wasalsomine,eventhen:andmyeyesfollowedtheirsinthesamedirection JuliaCliffordwasoneofthesweetestlittlefairiesintheworld Tender-hearted, andjust,andgenerous,likethedearlittlebrother,whomshehadonlyknownto lose,shewasyetasplayfulasakitten Iwastwiceherage—justten—atthis period;andasortofinstinctledmetoadoptthelittlecreature,inplaceofpoor Edgar,inthefriendshipofmyboyishheart Idrewherinherlittlewagon— carriedheroverthebrooklet—constructedhertinyplaythings—andin considerationofmyusefulness,inmostgenerallykeepingherinthebestof humors,hermotherwasnotunwillingthatIshouldbeherfrequentplaymate Nay,atsuchtimesshecouldspareagentlewordeventome,asonethrowsa bonetothedog,whohasjumpedapole,orplungedintothewater,orworried someotherdog,forhisamusement Atnootherperioddidmyworthyaunt vouchsafemesuchunlooked-forconsideration ButJuliaCliffordwasnotmyonlyfriend Ihadmadeanothershortlybeforethe deathofEdgar;though,passinglyitmaybesaid,friendship-makingwasnoeasy businesswithanaturesuchasminehadnowbecome Theinevitableresultof suchtreatmentasthattowhichmyearlyyearshadbeensubjected,wasfully realized Iwassuspicioustothelastdegreeofallnewfaces—jealousofthe regardsoftheold;devotingmyselfwheremyaffectionsweresetandrequiring devotion—rigid,exclusivedevotion—fromtheirobjectinreturn Therewasa terribleearnestnessinallmymoodswhichmademyveryloveathingtobe feared Iwasnotrifler—Icouldnotsuffertobetrifledwith—andtheordinary friendshipsofmanorboycannotlongenduretheexactionsofsucha disposition Thepenaltiesareusuallythoughttobe—andare—infinitelybeyond therewardsandbenefits MyintimacieswithWilliamEdgertonwerefirstformedundercircumstances which,ofallothers,aremostlikelytoestablishthemonafirmbasisinourdays ofboyhood Hecametomyrescueoneevening,when,returningfromschool,I wasbesetbythreeotherboys,whohadresolvedondrubbingme Myhaughty deportmenthadvexedtheirself-esteem,and,asthesamecausehadleftmewith fewsympathies,itwastakenforgrantedthattheunfairnessoftheirassault wouldprovokenocensure Theyweremistaken Inthemomentofmygreatest difficulty,WilliamEdgertondashedinamongthem Myexigencyrenderedhis assistanceaverysingularbenefit Mynosewasalreadybroken—oneofmyeyes sealedupforaweek’sholyday;andIwassufferingfromsmallannoyances,of hip,heart,leg,andthigh,occasionedbytherepeatedcuffs,andthereckless kicks,whichIwasmomentlyreceivingfromthreepointsofthecompass Itis truethatmyenemieshadtheirhurtstocomplainofalso;buttheoddsweretoo greatlyagainstmeforanyconductorstrengthofminetoneutralizeor overcome;anditwasonlybyEdgerton’sinterpositionthatIwassavedfrom utterdefeatandmuchworseusage ThebeatingIhadalreadysuffered Iwas sorefromheadtofootforaweekafter;andmyonlyconsolationwasthatmy enemiesleftthegroundinacondition,ifanything,somethingworsethanmy own ButIhadgainedafriend,andthatwasasweetrecompense,sweetertome,by far,thanitisfoundorfeltbyschoolboysusually Nonecouldknowor comprehendtheforceofmyattachment—mydependenceupontheattachment ofwhichIfeltassured!—nonebutthosewho,withanearnest,impetuousnature likemyown—doomedtodenialfromthefirst,andtreatedwithinjusticeand unkindness—hasfeltthepangofaworseprivationfromthebeginning;—the privationofthatsustenance,whichisthe“verybeallandendall”ofitsdesire anditslife—andthedenialofwhichchillsandrepelsitsfervor—throwsitback indespondencyuponitself—fillsitwithsuspicion,andracksitwithaneverceasingconflictbetweenitsapprehensionanditshopes Edgertonsuppliedavacuumwhichmybosomhadlongfelt Hewas,however, veryunlike,inmostrespects,tomyself Hewasratherphlegmaticthanardent— slowinhisfancies,andshyinhisassociationsfromveryfastidiousness Hewas toomuchgovernedbynicetastes,tobeanactiveorperformingyouth;andtoo muchrestrainedbythemalso,tobeapopularone This,perhaps,wasthesecret influencewhichbroughtustogether Amutualsenseofisolation—nomatter fromwhatcause—awakenedthesympathiesbetweenus Ourtieswereformed, onmypart,simplybecauseIwasassuredthatIshouldhavenorival;andonhis, possibly,becauseheperceivedinmyhaughtyreserveofcharacter,asufficient securitythathisfastidioussensibilitieswouldnotbelikelytosufferoutrageat myhands Ineveryotherrespectourmoodsandtemperswereutterlyunlike I thoughthimdull,veryfrequently,whenhewasonlybalancingbetweenjealous andsensitivetastes;—andignorantoftheactual,when,infact,hisignorance simplyarosefromthedecidedpreferencewhichhegavetotheforeignand abstract Hewascontemplative—anidealist;Iwasimpetuousanddevotedtothe realandlivingworldaroundme,inwhichIwasdisposedtominglewithan eagernesswhichmighthavebeenfatal;butforthatrestrainttowhichmyown distrustofallthingsandpersonshabituallysubjectedme CHAPTERII BOYPASSIONS—APROFESSIONCHOSEN BetweenWilliamEdgertonandJuliaCliffordmyyounglifeandbestaffections weredivided,entirely,ifnotequally Ilivedfornoother—Icaredtoseek,to know,noother—andyetIoftenshrunkfromboth Evenatthatboyishperiod, whiletheheaviercaresandthemorepainfulvexationsoflifewerewantingto ourannoyance,Ihadthoseofthatgnawingnaturewhichseemedtobebornof thetreewhoseevilgrowth“broughtdeathintotheworldandallourwo.”The pangofanamelessjealousy—asleeplessdistrust—roseunbiddentomyheartat seasons,when,intruth,therewasnoobviouscause WhenJuliawasmostgentle —whenWilliamwasmostgenerous—eventhen,Ihadlearnedtorepulsethem withanindifferencewhichIdidnotfeel—arudenesswhichbroughttomyheart apainevengreaterthanthatwhichmywantonnessinflictedupontheirs Iknew, eventhen,thatIwasperverse,unjust;andthattherewasalittlenessinthe vexatiousmoodinwhichIindulged,thatwasunjusttomyownfeelings,and unbecominginamanlynature ButeventhoughIfeltallthis,asthoroughlyasI couldeverfeelitunderanysituation,Istillcouldnotsucceedinovercomingtha’ insanewillwhichdrovemetoitsindulgence VainlyhaveIstriventoaccountfortheblindnessofheart—forsuchitis,inall suchcases—whichpossessedme Wasthereanythinginmysecretnature,born atmybirthandgrowingwithmygrowth—whichimpelledmetothis willfulness Icanscarcelybelieveso;but,afterseriousreflection,amcompelled tothinkthatitwasthestrictresultofmoodsgrowingoutoftheparticular treatmenttowhichIhadbeensubjected Itdoesnotseemunnaturalthatan ardenttemperofmind,willingtoconfide,lookingtoloveandaffectionforthe onlyalimentwhichitmostandchieflydesires,andrepelledinthissearch, frownedonbyitssuperiorsasifitweresomethingbase,will,intime,growtobe habituallywilful,evenasthetreatmentwhichhasschooledit HadIbeen governedandguidedbyjustice,IamsurethatIshouldneverhavebeenunjust Mywaywardnessinchildhooddidnotoftenamounttorudeness,andnever,I maysafelysay,whereJuliawasconcerned Inhercase,itwassimplythe exerciseofasullennessthatrepelledherapproaches,evenasitsownapproaches hadbeenrepelledbyothers AtsuchperiodsIwentapart,communing,sternly withmyself,refusingthesympathythatImostyearnedafter,andresolvingnot tobecomforted Letmedothedearchildthejusticetosaythattheonlyeffect whichthisconducthaduponher,wastoincreaseheranxietiestosoothethe repulsivespiritwhichshouldhaveoffendedher Perhaps,toprovokethisanxiety inoneitloves,isthechiefdesireofsuchaspirit Itlovestobeholdthe perseveringdevotion,whichityetperverselytoilstodiscourage Itsmiles within,withabittertriumph,asitcontemplatesitsownpower,toimpartthe samesorrowwhichasimilarperversityhasalreadymadeitfeel But,withoutseekingfurthertoanalyzeandaccountforsuchaspirit,itisquite sufficientifIhavedescribedit Perhaps,thereareotherheartsequallyfroward andwaywardwithmyown Iknownotifmystorywillamend—perhapsitmay noteveninstructorinformthem—Ifeelthatnostory,howevertruthful,could havedisarmedthehumorofthatparticularmoodofmindwhichshowsitselfin theblindnessoftheheartunderwhichitwasmylottolabor Ididnotwant knowledgeofmyownperversity Iknew—Ifeltit—asclearlyasifIhadseenit writtenincharactersoflight,onthewallsofmychamber But,untilithad exhausteditselfandpassedawaybyitsownprocesses,noeffortofminecould haveovercomeorbanishedit Istalkedapart,underitsinfluence,agloomy savage—scornfulandsad—stern,yetsuffering—denyingmyselfequally,inthe perverseandwantondenialtowhichIcondemnedallothers Perhapssomethingofthistemperisderivedfromtheyearningsofthemental nature Itmaybelongsomewhattothenaturaldirectionofamindhavinga decidedtendencytoimaginativepursuits Thereisadim,vague,indefinite struggle,forevergoingoninthenatureofsuchaperson,afteranexistenceand relationsveryforeigntotheworldinwhichitlives;andequallyfarfrom,and thantheformofherhusband Meninbusiness,Iknow,haveathousandtroubles outofdoors,whichageneroussensibilitymakesthemstudiousnevertobring homewiththem;and,knowingthis,Ideterminedtothinklovinglyofyou always—tobelieveanythingratherthanthatyouwouldwillinglyneglectme;— and,bythecarefulexerciseofmythoughtsandaffections,astheyshould properlybeexercised,sotoprotectmyowndignityandyourhonor,astospare youanytroubleorriskinassertingthem,and,atthesametime,tosaveboth fromreproach “But,thoughIthinkImaintainedthemostrigidreserve,aswelloflooksasof language,thisunhappyyoungmancontinuedhispersecutions Inordertoavoid him,Iabandonedmyusuallaborsinthestudio FromthemomentwhenIsaw thathewasdisposedtoabusetheprivilegesoffriendship,Iyieldedthat apartmententirelytohim,andinvariablydeclinedseeinghimwhenhevisited thehouseinthemornings ButIcouldnotdothisatevening;andthisbecame finallyamostseveretrial,foritsohappened,thatyounowadoptedahabit whichlefthimentirelyunrestrained,unlessinthemannerofhisreceptionby myself Younowseldomremainedathomeofanevening,andthusdeprivedme ofthatnaturalprotectorwhosepresencewouldhavesparedmemuchpainwith whichIwillnotdistressyou Ah!dearesthusband,whydidyouleavemeon suchoccasions?Whydidyouabandonmetothetwo-foldafflictionof combatingtheapproachesofimpertinence,attheverymomentwhenIwas sufferingfromthedreadfulapprehensionthatInolongerpossessedthosecharms whichhadwonmetheaffectionsofahusband Forgiveme!Mypurposeisnot toreproach,buttoentreatyou “Ineednotpassoverthelongperiodthroughwhichthispersecutioncontinued Yourindifferenceseemedtometogivestimulustotheperseveranceofthis youngman Numberlesslittlecircumstancescombinedtomakemethinkthat, fromthiscause,indeed,hedrewsomethinglikeencouragementforhis audacioushopes Thestrengthofyourfriendshipforhimblindedyouto attentionswhich,itseemedtome,everyeyemusthaveseenbutyours Igrew moreandmorealarmed;andasecondtimeconsultedwithmymother Her writtenansweryouwillfind,markedNo 1,withtherestoftheenclosuresinthis envelope Shelaughedatmyapprehensions,insistedthatMr Edgertonhadnot transcendedthecustomaryprivileges,andintimated,veryplainlyasyouwill see,thatawifecansuffernothingfromtheadmirationofaperson,nother husband,howeverundisguisedthisadmirationmaybe—providedsheherself showsnoneinreturn;—anopinionwithwhichIcouldnotconcur,forthe conclusivereasonthat,whatevertheworldmaythinkonsuchasubject,the objectofadmiration,ifshehasanytruesensibilities,mustherself suffer annoyance,asIdid,fromthespecialdesignationwhichattendssuchpeculiar andmarkedattentionasthattowhichIwassubjected Mymothertookmuch pains,verballyandinwriting,asthewithinletterswillshowyou,torelieveme fromthefeelingofdisquietunderwhichIsuffered,butwithouteffect;andIwas furtherpainfullyafflictedbytheimpressionwhichhergeneraltoneofthought forceduponme,thathersenseofproprietywassolooseanduncertainthatI couldplacenofuturerelianceuponhercouncilsinrelationtothisoranyother kindredsubject Ah,Edward!littlecanyouguesshowlonelyanddesolateIfelt, when,unableanylongertorefertoher,Istilldidnotdaretolooktoyou “Oneopinionofhers,however,hadverymuchalarmedme Youwillfindit expressedinthelettermarkedNo 8,inthiscollection WhenIcomplainedto heroftheapproachesofMr Edgerton,anddeclaredmypurposeofappealingto youiftheywerecontinued,sheearnestlyandexpresslyexhortedmeagainstany suchproceeding Sheassuredmethatsuchastepwouldonlylendtoviolence andbloodshed—remindedmeofyoursuddenanger—yourpreviousduel—and insistedthatnothingmorewasnecessarytochecktheimpertinencethanmyown firmnessanddignity Perhapsthiswouldhavebeenenough,wereitalways practicabletomaintainthereserveandcoldnesswhichwaspropertoeffectthis object,and,indeed,Icouldnotbutperceivethattheeffectwasproducedin considerabledegreebythiscourse Mr Edgertonvisitedthehouseless frequently;grewlessimpressiveinhismanner,andmuchmorehumble,until thatpainfulandhumiliatingnightofmymother’smarriage Thatnightheasked metodancewithhim Ideclined;butafterwardhecametomeaccompaniedby mymother ShewhisperedinmyearsthatIwasharshinmyrefusal,andcalled myattentiontohiswretchedappearance HadIreflecteduponitthen,asIdid afterward,thisveryallusionwouldhavebeensufficienttohavedeterminedme nottoconsent;—butIwasledawaybyhersuggestionsofpity,andstoodup withhimforacotillion Butthemusicchanged,thesetwasaltered,andthe Spanishdancewassubstitutedinitsplace Inthecourseofthisdance,Icould notdeceivemyselfastothedegreeofpresumptionwhichmypartnerdisplayed; and,butfortheappearanceofthething,andbecauseIdidnotwishtothrowthe roomintodisorder,Iwouldhavestoppedandtakenmyseatlongbeforeitwas over WhenIdidtakemyseat,Ifoundmyselfstillattendedbyhim,anditwas withdifficultythatIsucceededfinallyindefeatinghisperseverance,by throwingmyselfintothemidstofasetofelderlyladies,wherehecouldno longerdistinguishmewithhisattentions Inthemeantimeyouhadlefttheroom Youhaddesertedme Ah!Clifford,towhatannoyancedidyourabsenceexpose methatnight!Tothatabsence,doweowethatIlosttheonlydearpledgeoflove thatGodhadevervouchsafedus—andyouknowhowgreatlymyownlifewas perilled Thinknot,dearest,thatIspeakthistoreproachyou;andyet—could youhaveremained!—couldyouhaveloved,andlongedtobeandremainwith me,asmostsurelydidIlongforyourpresenceonlyandalways—ah!howmuch sweeterhadbeenourjoys—howmorepureourhappiness—ourfaith—withnow —perhaps,evennow—thedearangelwhomwethenlost,livingandsmiling beneathoureyes,andlinkingourmutualheartsmoreandmorefirmlytogether thanbefore! “Thatnight,whenitbecameimpossibletoremainlongerwithouttrespassing— whenalltheotherguestshadgone—IconsentedtobetakenhomeinMr Edgerton’scarriage HadIdreamedthatMr Edgertonwastohavebeenmy companion,IshouldhaveremainedallnightbeforeIwouldhavegonewithhim, knowingwhatIknew,andfeelingthemortificationwhichIfelt Butmymother assuredmethatIwastohavethecarriagetomyself—itwasshewhohad procuredit;—anditwasnotuntilIwasseated,andbeheldhimenter,thatIhad theleastapprehensionofsuchanintrusion Edward!itiswithafeelingalmost amountingtohorror,thatIamconstrainedtothinkthatmymothernotonly knewofhisintentiontoaccompanyme,butthatsheherselfsuggestedit This,I saytoYOU!YouwillfindthereasonsformysuspicionsintheletterswhichI enclose Itisadreadfulsuspicion—attheexpenseofone’sownmother!Idare notbelieveinthedarkmalicewhichitimplies.—Istrivetothinkthatshemeant andfanciedonlysomepleasantmischief “Ishuddertodeclaretherest!Thisman,yourfriend—hewhomyoushelteredin yourbosom,andtrustedbeyondallothers—whomyouhavenowtakenintoyour housewithablindnessthatlooksmorelikeadelusionofwitchcraftthanof friendship—thisimpiousman,Isay,daredtowrapmeinhisembrace—daredto presshislipsuponmine! “MycheekevennowburnsasIwrite,andImustlaydownthepenbecauseof mytrembling Istruggledfromhisgrasp—Ibrokethewindowbymyside,and criedforhelpfromthewayfarers Icriedforyou!But,youdidnotanswer!Oh, husband!wherewereyou?Why,whydidyouexposemetosuchindignities? “Hewasalarmed Hepromisedmeforbearance;and,convulsedwithfrightand fear,Ifoundmyselfwithinourenclosure,Iknewnothow;butbeforeIreached thecottageIbecameinsensible,andknewnothingmoreuntilthepangsoflabor subduedthemorelastingpainsofthoughtandrecollection “Youresolvedtoleaveourhome—togoabroadamongstrangers,andOh!howI rejoicedatyourresolution Itseemedtopromisemehappiness;atleastit promisedmerescueandrelief Ishouldatalleventsbefreefromthepersecution ofthisman Idreadedtheconsequences,eithertoyouortohim-self,ofthe exposureofhisinsolence Ihadresolvedonmakingit;andonlyhesitated,day byday,asmymotherdweltuponthedangerswhichwouldfollow Andwhen youdeterminedonremoval,itseemedtomethemostfortunateprovidence,it promisedtosparemethenecessityofmakingthispainfulrevelationatall Surely,Ithought,andmymothersaid,asthiswillputaneffectualstoptohis presumption,therewillbenoneedtonarratewhatisalreadypast Theonly motiveintellingitatallwouldbetoprevent,nottopunish:ifthepreviousoneis effectedbyothermeans,itischarityonlytoforbeartherelationofmatterswhich wouldbreedhatred,andprobablyprovokestrife Thismademesilent;and,full ofnewhope—thehopethathavingdiscardedallyouroldassociatesand removedfromallyouroldhaunts,youwouldbecomemineentirely—Ifelta newstrengthinmyframe,anewlifeinmybreast,andaglowuponmycheeks aswithinmysoul,whichseemedaguarantyforalongandhappytermofthat lovewhichhadbeguninmybosomwiththefirstmomentsofitschildish consciousnessandconfidence “ButonepainfulsceneandhourIwasyetcompelledtoendurethenightbefore ourdeparture Mr Edgertoncametoplayhisfluteunderourwindow IsayMr Edgerton,butitwasonlybyasortofinstinctthatIfixeduponhimasthe musician PerhapsitwasbecauseIknewnotwhatotherpersontosuspect Frequently,beforethisnight,hadIheardthismusic;butonthisoccasionhe seemedtohaveapproachedmorenearlytothedwelling;and,indeed,Ifinally discoveredthathewasactuallybeneaththeChina-treethatstoodonthesouth frontofthecottage Iwasasleepwhenthemusicbegan Hemusthavebeen playingforsometimebeforeIawakened HowIwasawakenedIknownot;but somethingdisturbedme,andIthensawyouabouttoleavetheroomstealthily I heardyourfeetuponthestairs,andinthenextmomentIdiscoveredoneofyour pistolslyinguponthewindow-sill,justbeneathmyeyes Thisalarmedme;a thousandapprehensionsrushedintomybrain;allthesuggestionsofstrifeand bloodshedwhichmymotherhadevertoldme,filledmymind;andwithout knowingexactlywhatIdidorsaid,Icalledouttothemusiciantoflywithall possiblespeed Hedidso;andafteradelaywhichwastomeoneofthemost cruelapprehension,youreturnedinsafety Whetheryoususpected,andwhat,I couldnotconjecture;butifyouhadanysuspicionsofme,yondidnotseemto entertainanyofhim,foryouspokeofhimafterwardwiththesamewarmtoneof friendshipasbefore “Thatsomethinginmyconducthadnotpleasedyou,Icouldseefromyour deportmentaswetravelledthenextmorning Youweresad,andverysilentand abstracted Thisdisappeared,however,and,daybyday,myhappiness,myhope, myconfidenceinyou,inmyself,inallthings,increased—andIfeltassuredof realizingthatperfectideaoffelicitywhichIproposedtomyselffromthe momentwhenyoudeclaredyourpurposetoemigrate Werewenothappy, husband—sohappyatM ,forweeks,formonths—always,morning,noon, andnight—untilthereappearanceofthisfalsefriendofyours?Then,itseemed tomeasifeverythingchanged Then,thatotherfriendofyours—who,though henevertreatedmewithaughtbutrespect,Iyetcancallnofriendofmine—Mr Kingsley,drewyouawayagainfromyourhome—carriedyouwithhimtohis haunts—detainedyoulateandlong,bynightandday—andIwasleftoncemore exposedtothefreeandfrequentfamiliarityofMr Edgerton Herenewedhis formerhabits;hislooksweremorepresuming,andhisattentionsmoredirectand loathsomethanever MorethanonceIstrovetospeakwithyouonthishateful subject;butitwassoshocking,andyouweresofondofhim,andIstillhadmy fears!Atlength,movedbycompassion,youbroughthimtoourhouse Blindand devotedtohim—withablindnessanddevotionbeyondthatwhichthenoblest friendshipwoulddeserve,butwhichrenderstenfoldmorehatefulthedishonest andtreacherouspersonuponwhomitisthrownaway—youcommandmeto meethimwithkindness—totendhisbedofsickness—tosoothehismomentsof sadnessanddespondency—toexposemyselftohisinsolence! “Husband,mysoulrevoltsatthischarge!Ihavedisobeyeditandyou;andI mustjustifymyselfinthismydisobedience Imustatlengthdeclarethetruth I havestriventodosointheprecedingnarrative ThisnarrativeIbeganwhenyou broughtthisfalsefriendintoourdwelling Hemustleaveit Youmustcommand hisdeparture Donotthinkmemovedbyanyunhappyorunbecomingprejudices againsthim Myantipathieshavearisensolelyfromhispresumptionand misconduct Iesteemedhim—nay,Ievenlikedhim—before Ilikedhistastefor thearts,hisamiablemanners,hisloveofmusicandpoetry,andallthosegraces ofthesuperiormindandeducation,whichdignifyhumanity,andindicateits probabledestinies Butwhenheshowedmehowfalsehewastoafriendshipso freeandconfidingaswasyours—whenheabusedmyeyesandearswith expressionsunbecominginhim,andinsultingandungeneroustome—Iloathed andspurnedhim WhileheisinyourhouseIwillstriveandtreathimcivilly,but donottaxmefurther ForyoursakeIhavebornemuch;forthesakeofpeace, andtoavoidstrifeandcrime,Ihavebeensilent—perhapstoolong Thestrange, improperlettersofmymother,whichIenclose,almostmakemetrembletothink thatIhavepaidbuttoomuchdefferencetoheropinion But,intheexpulsionof thismiserablemanfromyourdwelling,thereneedsnoviolence,thereneedsno crime!Awordwilloverwhelmhimwithshame Remember,dearhusband,that heisfeebleandsick;itisprobablehehasnotlongtolive Performyourpainful dutyprivily,andwithalltheforbearancewhichisconsistentwithaproper firmness Intruth,hehasdoneusnorealharm LetusrememberTHAT!If anything,hehasonlymademeloveyouthemore,byshowingsostronglyhow generousisthenaturewhichhehassoinfamouslyabused Oncemore,dear husband,donoviolence Letnotourfuturedaysbeembitteredbyany recollectionsofthepresent Command,compelhisdeparture,andcomehometo me,andkeepwithmealways “Yourowntruewife, “JuliaClifford.” “Postscript.—Ihadclosedthisletteryesterday,thinkingtosendittoyouroffice intheafternoon Ihadhopedthattherewouldbenothingmore;—butlastnight, thismadman—forsuchImustbelievehimtobe—committedanotheroutrage uponmyperson!Hehasasecondtimeseizedmeinhisarmsandendeavoredto graspmeinhisembrace Ohusband!—why,whydoyouthusexposeme?Do youindeedloveme?Isometimestremblewithafearlestyoudonot ButIdare notthinkso Yet,ifyoudo,whyamIthusexposed—thusdeserted—thusleftto acompanionshipwhichisequallyloathsometomeanddishonoringtoyou?I imploreyoutoopenyoureyes—tobelieveme,anddiscardthisfalsefriendfrom yourdwellingandyourconfidence But,oh,bemerciful,dearhusband!Strike nosuddenblow!Sendhimforthwithscornbutrememberhisfeebleness,his family,andsparehislife IsendthisbyEmma Letnooneseethelettersofmy motherbutburntheminstantly “YourownJulia.” Andthiswasthewritingwhichhademployedhertimefordaysbeforethesad catastrophe!Anditwasforthisreasonthatsheasked,withsomuchearnestness, ifIhadbeentomyofficeonthedaywhenIdroveEdgertonoutintothewoods fortheadjustmentofourissue?Nowonderthatshewasanxiousatthatmoment Howmuchdependeduponthatsimpleandordinaryproceeding HadIbutgone thatdaytomyofficeasusual! Therewerenolongerdoubts Therecouldbenone Therewasnownomystery Itwasallclear Themostambiguousportionsofherconducthadbeenaseasily andsimplyexplainedastherest Butitavailednothing!Theblowhadfallen I wasanaccursedman—trulyaccursed,andmiserablydesolate Istillsat,stolid,seemingly,astheinsensiblechairwhichsustainedme,when Kingsleycamein Hetookthepapersfrommyunresistinghands Hereadthem insilence Iheardbutonesentencefromhislips,anditcamefromthem unconsciously:— “Poor,poorgirl!” Ilookedroundandstartedtomyfeet Thetearswereononmanlychecks I hatchednone Myeyesweredry!Thefountainsoftearsseemedshutup,aridand dusty “Imustmakeatonement!”Iexclaimed “Imustdelivermyselfuptojustice!” “Thisismadness,”saidhe,seizingmyarmasIwasabouttoleavetheroom “No:retributiononly!Ihavedestroyedher Imustmaketheonlyatonement whichisinmypower Imustdie!” “Whatyoudesignisnone,”hesaidsolemnly “Yourdeathwillatonenothing It isbylivingonlythatyoucanatone!” “How?” “Byrepentance!Thisisthegrand—theonlysovereignatonementwhichthe spiritofmancanevermake Thereisnoothermodeprovidedinnature The laws,whichwouldtakeyourlife,woulddepriveyouofthemeansofatonement ThisisduetoGod;itcanbeperformedonlybylivingandsuffering Lifeisa dutybecauseitisanordeal Youmustpreservelife,asasacredtrust,forthis reason Evenifyouwereafelon—onewilfullyresolvingandcoldlyexecuting crime—youwereyetboundtopreservelife!Throwitaway,andthoughyou complywiththedemandofsociallaws,youforfeittheonlychanceofmaking atonementtothosewhicharefarsuperior Ratherpraythatlifemaybespared you ItwaswiththismercifulpurposethatGodnotonlypermittedCaintolive, butcommandedthatnoneshouldslayhim Youmustliveforthis!” “YetIslewHER!” Hedidwithmeashepleased Threedaysafterbeheldusonourwaytotherich empireofTexas—itsplains,richbutbarren—unstocked,wild-runningtowaste withitstangledweeds—needing,imploringthevigoroushandofcultivation Evensuch,atthatmoment,wasmyheart!Richinfertileaffections,yetgoneto waste;waiting,craving,prayingforthehandofthecultivator!—Yetwhonow wasthatcultivator? TothisquestionthewordsofKingsley,whichwerethoseoftruthandwisdom, wereasufficientanswer;andevermoreanechoaroseasfromthebottomofmy soul;andmylipsrepeatedittomyownearsonly;andbutonewordwasspoken; andthatwordwas—“ATONEMENT!” THEEND ENDOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOK,CONFESSION*** Thisfileshouldbenamed8cnfs10.txtor8cnfs10.zipCorrectedEDITIONSof oureBooksgetanewNUMBER,8cnfs11.txtVERSIONSbasedonseparate sourcesgetnewLETTER,8cnfs10a.txt ProjectGutenbergeBooksareoftencreatedfromseveralprintededitions,allof whichareconfirmedasPublicDomainintheUSunlessacopyrightnoticeis included Thus,weusuallydonotkeepeBooksincompliancewithany particularpaperedition WearenowtryingtoreleasealloureBooksoneyearinadvanceoftheofficial releasedates,leavingtimeforbetterediting Pleasebeencouragedtotellus aboutanyerrororcorrections,evenyearsaftertheofficialpublicationdate Pleasenoteneitherthislistingnoritscontentsarefinaltilmidnightofthelast dayofthemonthofanysuchannouncement Theofficialreleasedateofall ProjectGutenbergeBooksisatMidnight,CentralTime,ofthelastdayofthe statedmonth Apreliminaryversionmayoftenbepostedforsuggestion, commentandeditingbythosewhowishtodoso MostpeoplestartatourWebsitesat:http://gutenberg.netorhttp://promo.net/pg TheseWebsitesincludeaward-winninginformationaboutProjectGutenberg, includinghowtodonate,howtohelpproduceourneweBooks,andhowto subscribetoouremailnewsletter(free!) 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STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOK, CONFESSION *** CharlesAldarondo,CharlesFranksandtheOnlineDistributedProofreading Team [Illustration: Confession] Confession; or, TheBlindHeart ADomesticStory... eBooksReadableByBothHumansandByComputers,Since1971 *****TheseeBooksWerePreparedByThousandsofVolunteers!***** Title: Confession Author:W GilmoreSimms ReleaseDate:July,2004[EBook#6059][Yes,wearemorethanoneyearahead...TheProjectGutenbergEBookof Confession, byW GilmoreSimms Copyrightlawsarechangingallovertheworld Besuretocheckthecopyright
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