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'He knows the alternative,' said Mr. Browlow. 'If he hesitates
or moves a finger but as you bid him, drag him into the street,
call for the aid of the police, and impeach him as a felon in my
'How dare you say this of me?' asked Monks.
'How dare you urge me to it, young man?' replied Mr. Brownlow,
confronting him with a steady look. 'Are you mad enough to leave
this house? Unhand him. There, sir. You are free to go, and we
to follow. But I warn you, by all I hold most solemn and most
sacred, that instant will have you apprehended on a charge of
fraud and robbery. I am resolute and immoveable. If you are
determined to be the same, your blood be upon your own head!'
'By what authority am I kidnapped in the street, and brought here
by these dogs?' asked Monks, looking from one to the other of the
men who stood beside him.
'By mine,' replied Mr. Brownlow. 'Those persons are indemnified
by me. If you complain of being deprived of your liberty--you
had power and opportunity to retrieve it as you came along, but
you deemed it advisable to remain quiet--I say again, throw
yourself for protection on the law. I will appeal to the law
too; but when you have gone too far to recede, do not sue to me
for leniency, when the power will have passed into other hands;
and do not say I plunged you down the gulf into which you rushed,
Monks was plainly disconcerted, and alarmed besides. He
'You will decide quickly,' said Mr. Brownlow, with perfect
firmness and composure. 'If you wish me to prefer my charges
publicly, and consign you to a punishment the extent of which,
although I can, with a shudder, foresee, I cannot control, once
more, I say, for you know the way. If not, and you appeal to my
forbearance, and the mercy of those you have deeply injured, seat
yourself, without a word, in that chair. It has waited for you
two whole days.'
Monks muttered some unintelligible words, but wavered still.
'You will be prompt,' said Mr. Brownlow. 'A word from me, and
the alternative has gone for ever.'
Still the man hesitated.
'I have not the inclination to parley,' said Mr. Brownlow, 'and,
as I advocate the dearest interests of others, I have not the
'Is there--' demanded Monks with a faltering tongue,--'is
there--no middle course?'
Monks looked at the old gentleman, with an anxious eye; but,
reading in his countenance nothing but severity and
determination, walked into the room, and, shrugging his
shoulders, sat down.
'Lock the door on the outside,' said Mr. Brownlow to the
attendants, 'and come when I ring.'
The men obeyed, and the two were left alone together.
'This is pretty treatment, sir,' said Monks, throwing down his
hat and cloak, 'from my father's oldest friend.'
'It is because I was your father's oldest friend, young man,'
returned Mr. Brownlow; 'it is because the hopes and wishes of
young and happy years were bound up with him, and that fair
creature of his blood and kindred who rejoined her God in youth,
and left me here a solitary, lonely man: it is because he knelt
with me beside his only sisters' death-bed when he was yet a boy,
on the morning that would--but Heaven willed otherwise--have made
her my young wife; it is because my seared heart clung to him,
from that time forth, through all his trials and errors, till he
died; it is because old recollections and associations filled my
heart, and even the sight of you brings with it old thoughts of
him; it is because of all these things that I am moved to treat
you gently now--yes, Edward Leeford, even now--and blush for your
unworthiness who bear the name.'
'What has the name to do with it?' asked the other, after
contemplating, half in silence, and half in dogged wonder, the
agitation of his companion. 'What is the name to me?'
'Nothing,' replied Mr. Brownlow, 'nothing to you. But it was
HERS, and even at this distance of time brings back to me, an old
man, the glow and thrill which I once felt, only to hear it
repeated by a stranger. I am very glad you have changed
'This is all mighty fine,' said Monks (to retain his assumed
designation) after a long silence, during which he had jerked
himself in sullen defiance to and fro, and Mr. Brownlow had sat,
shading his face with his hand. 'But what do you want with me?'
'You have a brother,' said Mr. Brownlow, rousing himself: 'a
brother, the whisper of whose name in your ear when I came behind
you in the street, was, in itself, almost enough to make you
accompany me hither, in wonder and alarm.'
'I have no brother,' replied Monks. 'You know I was an only
child. Why do you talk to me of brothers? You know that, as
well as I.'
'Attend to what I do know, and you may not,' said Mr. Brownlow.
'I shall interest you by and by. I know that of the wretched
marriage, into which family pride, and the most sordid and
narrowest of all ambition, forced your unhappy father when a mere
boy, you were the sole and most unnatural issue.'
'I don't care for hard names,' interrupted Monks with a jeering
laugh. 'You know the fact, and that's enough for me.'
'But I also know,' pursued the old gentleman, 'the misery, the
slow torture, the protracted anguish of that ill-assorted union.
I know how listlessly and wearily each of that wretched pair
dragged on their heavy chain through a world that was poisoned to
them both. I know how cold formalities were succeeded by open
taunts; how indifference gave place to dislike, dislike to hate,
and hate to loathing, until at last they wrenched the clanking
bond asunder, and retiring a wide space apart, carried each a
galling fragment, of which nothing but death could break the
rivets, to hide it in new society beneath the gayest looks they
could assume. Your mother succeeded; she forgot it soon. But it
rusted and cankered at your father's heart for years.'
'Well, they were separated,' said Monks, 'and what of that?'
'When they had been separated for some time,' returned Mr.
Brownlow, 'and your mother, wholly given up to continental
frivolities, had utterly forgotten the young husband ten good
years her junior, who, with prospects blighted, lingered on at
home, he fell among new friends. This circumstance, at least,
you know already.'
'Not I,' said Monks, turning away his eyes and beating his foot
upon the ground, as a man who is determined to deny everything.
'Your manner, no less than your actions, assures me that you have
never forgotten it, or ceased to think of it with bitterness,'
returned Mr. Brownlow. 'I speak of fifteen years ago, when you
were not more than eleven years old, and your father but
one-and-thirty--for he was, I repeat, a boy, when HIS father
ordered him to marry. Must I go back to events which cast a shade
upon the memory of your parent, or will you spare it, and
disclose to me the truth?'
'I have nothing to disclose,' rejoined Monks. 'You must talk on
if you will.'
'These new friends, then,' said Mr. Brownlow, 'were a naval
officer retired from active service, whose wife had died some
half-a-year before, and left him with two children--there had
been more, but, of all their family, happily but two survived.
They were both daughters; one a beautiful creature of nineteen,
and the other a mere child of two or three years old.'
'What's this to me?' asked Monks.
'They resided,' said Mr. Brownlow, without seeming to hear the
interruption, 'in a part of the country to which your father in
his wandering had repaired, and where he had taken up his abode.
Acquaintance, intimacy, friendship, fast followed on each other.
Your father was gifted as few men are. He had his sister's soul
and person. As the old officer knew him more and more, he grew
to love him. I would that it had ended there. His daughter did
The old gentleman paused; Monks was biting his lips, with his
eyes fixed upon the floor; seeing this, he immediately resumed:
'The end of a year found him contracted, solemnly contracted, to
that daughter; the object of the first, true, ardent, only
passion of a guileless girl.'
'Your tale is of the longest,' observed Monks, moving restlessly
in his chair.
'It is a true tale of grief and trial, and sorrow, young man,'
returned Mr. Brownlow, 'and such tales usually are; if it were
one of unmixed joy and happiness, it would be very brief. At
length one of those rich relations to strengthen whose interest
and importance your father had been sacrificed, as others are
often--it is no uncommon case--died, and to repair the misery he
had been instrumental in occasioning, left him his panacea for
all griefs--Money. It was necessary that he should immediately
repair to Rome, whither this man had sped for health, and where
he had died, leaving his affairs in great confusion. He went;
was seized with mortal illness there; was followed, the moment
the intelligence reached Paris, by your mother who carried you
with her; he died the day after her arrival, leaving no will--NO
WILL--so that the whole property fell to her and you.'