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Madame Montford returns, unsuccessful, to her parlor. It is conscience that unlocks the guilty heart, that forces mortals to seek relief where there is no chance of finding it. It was this irresistible emotion that found her counseling Tom Swiggs, making of him a confidant in her search for the woman she felt could remove the doubt, in respect to Anna's identity, that hung so painfully in her mind. And yet, such was her position, hesitating as it were between her ambition to move in fashionable society, and her anxiety to atone for a past error, that she dare not disclose the secret of all her troubles even to him. She sought him, not that he could soften her anxiety, but that being an humble person, she could pursue her object through him, unobserved to society—in a word, that he would be a protection against the apprehensions of scandal-mongers. Such are the shifts to which the ambitious guilty have recourse. What she has beheld in the poor-house, too, only serves to quicken her thoughts of the misery she may have inflicted upon others, and to stimulate her resolution to persevere in her search for the woman. Conscious that wealth and luxury does not always bring happiness, and that without a spotless character, woman is but a feeble creature in this world, she would now sacrifice everything else for that one ennobling charm.

It may be proper here to add, that although Tom Swiggs could not enter into the repentant woman's designs, having arranged with his employer to sail for London in a few days, she learned of him something that reflected a little more light in her path. And that was, that the woman Anna Bonard, repined of her act in leaving George Mullholland, to whom she was anxious to return—that she was now held against her will; that she detested Judge Sleepyhorn, although he had provided lavishly for her comfort. Anna knew George loved her, and that love, even to an abandoned woman (if she could know it sincere), was dearer to her than all else. She learned, too, that high up on Anna's right arm, there was imprinted in blue and red ink, two hearts and a broken anchor. And this tended further to increase her anxiety. And while evolving all these things in her mind, and contemplating the next best course to pursue, her parlor is invaded by Mr. Snivel. He is no longer Mr. Soloman, nor Mr. Snivel. He is the Hon. Mr. Snivel. It is curious to contemplate the character of the men to whose name we attach this mark of distinction. "I know you will pardon my seeming neglect, Madame," he says, grasping her hand warmly, as a smile of exultation lights up his countenance. "The fact is, we public men are so absorbed in the affairs of the nation, that we have scarce a thought to give to affairs of a private nature. We have elected our ticket. I was determined it should be so, if Jericho fell. And, more than all, I am made an honorable, by the popular sentiment of the people—"

"To be popular with the people, is truly an honor," interrupts the lady, facetiously.

"Thank you—O, thank you, for the compliment," pursues our hero. "Now, as to this unfortunate person you seek, knowing it was of little use to search for her in our institutions of charity—one never can find out anything about the wretches who get into them—I put the matter into the hands of one of our day-police—a plaguey sharp fellow—and he set about scenting her out. I gave him a large sum, and promised him more if successful. Here, then, after a long and tedious search—I have no doubt the fellow earned his money—is what he got from New York, this morning." The Hon. Mr. Snivel, fixing his eye steadily upon her, hands her a letter which reads thus:

"{{smallcaps|New York}}, Dec. 14th, 18—.

"Last night, while making search after a habitant of the Points, a odd old chip what has wandered about here for some years, some think he has bin a better sort of man once, I struck across the woman you want. She is somewhere tucked away in a Cow Bay garret, and is awful crazy; I'll keep me eye out till somethin' further. If her friends wants to give her a lift out of this place, they'd better come and see me at once.

"Yours, as ever,

"{{smallcaps|M—— Fitzgerald}}."

Mr. Snivel ogles Madame Montford over the page of a book he affects to read. "Guilt! deep and strong," he says within himself, as Madame, with flushed countenance and trembling hand, ponders and ponders over the paper. Then her emotions quicken, her eyes exchange glances with Mr. Snivel, and she whispers, with a sigh, "found—at last! And yet how foolish of me to give way to my feelings? The affair, at best, is none of mine." Mr. Snivel bows, and curls his Saxon mustache. "To do good for others is the natural quality of a generous nature."

Madame, somewhat relieved by this condescension of the Hon. gentleman, says, in reply, "I am curious at solving family affairs."

"And I!" says our hero, with refreshing coolness—"always ready to do a bit of a good turn."

Madame pauses, as if in doubt whether to proceed or qualify what she has already said. "A relative, whose happiness I make my own," she resumes, and again pauses, while the words tremble upon her lips. She hears the words knelling in her ears: "A guilty conscience needs no betrayer."

"You have," pursues our hero, "a certain clue; and of that I may congratulate you."

Madame says she will prepare at once to return to her home in New York, and—and here again the words hang upon her lips. She was going to say, her future proceedings would be governed by the paper she holds so nervously in her finger.

Snivel here receives a nostrum from the lady's purse. "Truly!—Madame," he says, in taking leave of her, "the St. Cecilia will regret you—we shall all regret you; you honored and graced our assemblies so. Our first families will part with you reluctantly. It may, however, be some satisfaction to know how many kind things will be said of you in your absence." Mr. Snivel makes his last bow, a sarcastic smile playing over his face, and pauses into the street.

On the following day she encloses a present of fifty dollars to Tom Swiggs, enjoins the necessity of his keeping her visit to the poor-house a secret, and takes leave of Charleston.

And here our scene changes, and we must transport the reader to New York. It is the day following the night Mr. Detective Fitzgerald discovered what remained of poor Toddleworth, in the garret of the House of the Nine Nations. The City Hall clock strikes twelve. The goodly are gathered into the House of the Foreign Missions, in which peace and respectability would seem to preside. The good-natured fat man is in his seat, pondering over letters lately received from the "dark regions" of Arabia; the somewhat lean, but very respectable-looking Secretary, is got nicely into his spectacles, and sits pondering over lusty folios of reports from Hindostan, and various other fields of missionary labor, all setting forth the various large amounts of money expended, how much more could be expended, and what a blessing it is to be enabled to announce the fact that there is now a hope of something being done. The same anxious-faced bevy of females we described in a previous chapter, are here, seated at a table, deeply interested in certain periodicals and papers; while here and there about the room, are several contemplative gentlemen in black. Brother Spyke, having deeply interested Brothers Phills and Prim with an account of his visit to the Bottomless Pit, paces up and down the room, thinking of Antioch, and the evangelization of the heathen world. "Truly, brother," speaks the good-natured fat man, "his coming seemeth long." "Eleven was the hour; but why he tarryeth I know not," returns Brother Spyke, with calm demeanor. "There is something more alarming in Sister Slocum's absence," interposes one of the ladies. The house seems in a waiting mood, when suddenly Mr. Detective Fitzgerald enters, and changes it to one of anxiety. Several voices inquire if he was successful. He shakes his head, and having recounted his adventures, the discovery of where the money went to, and the utter hopelessness of an effort to recover it; "as for the man, Toddleworth," he says, methodically, "he was found with a broken skull. The Coroner has had an inquest over him; but murders are so common. The verdict was, that he died of a broken skull, by the hands of some one to the jury unknown. Suspicions were strong against one Tom Downey, who is very like a heathen, and is mistrusted of several murders. The affair disturbed the neighborhood a little, and the Coroner tried to get something out concerning the man's history; but it all went to the wind, for the people were all so ignorant. They all knew everything about him, which turned out to be just nothing, which they were ready to swear to. One believed Father Flaherty made the Bible, another believed the Devil still chained in Columbia College—a third believed the stars were lanterns to guide priests—the only angels they know—on their way to heaven."

"Truly!" exclaims the man of the spectacles, in a moment of abstraction.

Brother Spyke says: "the Lord be merciful."

"On the body of the poor man we found this document. It was rolled carefully up in a rag, and is supposed to throw some light on his history." Mr. Fitzgerald draws leisurely from his pocket a distained and much-crumpled paper, written over in a bold, business-like hand, and passes it to the man in the spectacle, as a dozen or more anxious faces gather round, eager to explore the contents.

"He went out of the Points as mysteriously as he came in. We buried him a bit ago, and have got Downey in the Tombs: he'll be hanged, no doubt," concludes the detective, laying aside his cap, and setting himself, uninvited, into a chair. The man in the spectacles commences reading the paper, which runs as follows:

"I have been to you an unknown, and had died such an unknown, but that my conscience tells me I have a duty to perform. I have wronged no one, owe no one a penny, harbor no malice against any one; I am a victim of a broken heart, and my own melancholy. Many years ago I pursued an honorable business in this city, and was respected and esteemed. Many knew me, and fortune seemed to shed upon me her smiles. I married a lady of wealth and affluence, one I loved and doted on. Our affections seemed formed for our bond; we lived for one another; our happiness seemed complete. But alas! an evil hour came. Ambitious of admiration, she gradually became a slave to fashionable society, and then gave herself up to those flatterers who hang about it, and whose chief occupation it is to make weak-minded women vain of their own charms. Coldness, and indifference to home, soon followed. My house was invaded, my home—that home I regarded so sacredly—became the resort of men in whose society I found no pleasure, with whom I had no feeling in common. I could not remonstrate, for that would have betrayed in me a want of confidence in the fidelity of one I loved too blindly. I was not one of those who make life miserable in seeing a little and suspecting much. No! I forgave many things that wounded my feelings; and my love for her would not permit a thought to invade the sanctity of her fidelity. Business called me into a foreign country, where I remained several months, then returned—not, alas! to a home made happy by the purity of one I esteemed an angel;—not to the arms of a pure, fond wife, but to find my confidence betrayed, my home invaded—she, in whom I had treasured up my love, polluted; and slander, like a desert wind, pouring its desolating breath into my very heart. In my blindness I would have forgiven her, taken her back to my distracted bosom, and fled with her to some distant land, there still to have lived and loved her. But she sought rather to conceal her guilt than ask forgiveness. My reason fled me, my passion rose above my judgment, I sank under the burden of my sorrow, attempted to put an end to her life, and to my own misery. Failing in this, for my hand was stayed by a voice I heard calling to me, I fled the country and sought relief for my feelings in the wilds of Chili. I left nearly all to my wife, took but little with me, for my object was to bury myself from the world that had known me, and respected me. Destitution followed me; whither I went there seemed no rest, no peace of mind for me. The past floated uppermost in my mind. I was ever recurring to home, to those with whom I had associated, to an hundred things that had endeared me to my own country. Years passed—years of suffering and sorrow, and I found myself a lone wanderer, without friend or money. During this time it was reported at home, as well as chronicled in the newspapers, that I was dead. The inventor of this report had ends, I will not name them here, to serve. I was indeed dead to all who had known me happy in this world. Disguised, a mere shadow of what I was once, I wandered back to New York, heart-sick and discouraged, and buried myself among those whose destitution, worse, perhaps, than my own, afforded me a means of consolation. My life has long been a burden to me; I have many times prayed God, in his mercy, to take me away, to close the account of my misery. Do you ask my name? Ah! that is what pains me most. To live unknown, a wretched outcast, in a city where I once enjoyed a name that was respected, is what has haunted my thoughts, and tortured my feelings. But I cannot withhold it, even though it has gone down, tainted and dishonored. It is Henry Montford. And with this short record I close my history, leaving the rest for those to search out who find this paper, at my death, which cannot be long hence.

{{small-caps|Henry Montford.}}

"New York, Nov. —, 184-."

A few sighs follow the reading of the paper, but no very deep interest, no very tender emotion, is awakened in the hearts of the goodly. Nevertheless, it throws a flood of light upon the morals of a class of society vulgarly termed fashionable. The meek females hold their tears and shake their heads. Brother Spyke elongates his lean figure, draws near, and says the whole thing is very unsatisfactory. Not one word is let drop about the lost money.

Brother Phills will say this—that the romance is very cleverly got up, as the theatre people say.

The good-natured fat man, breathing somewhat freer, says: "Truly! these people have a pleasant way of passing out of the world. They die of their artful practices—seeking to devour the good and the generous."

"There's more suffers than imposes—an' there's more than's written meant in that same bit of paper. Toddleworth was as inoffensive a creature as you'd meet in a day. May God forgive him all his faults;" interposes Mr. Detective Fitzgerald, gathering up his cap and passing slowly out of the room.

And this colloquy is put an end to by the sudden appearance of Sister Slocum. A rustling silk dress, of quiet color, and set off with three modest flounces; an India shawl, loosely thrown over her shoulders; a dainty little collar, of honiton, drawn neatly about her neck, and a bonnet of buff-colored silk, tastefully set off with tart-pie work without, and lined with virtuous white satin within, so saucily poised on her head, suggests the idea that she has an eye to fashion as well as the heathen world. Her face, too, always so broad, bright, and benevolent in its changes—is chastely framed in a crape border, so nicely crimped, so nicely tucked under her benevolent chin at one end, and so nicely pinned under the virtuous white lining at the other. Goodness itself radiates from those large; earnest blue eyes, those soft, white cheeks, that large forehead, with those dashes of silvery hair crossing it so smoothly and so exactly—that well-developed, but rather broad nose, and that mouth so expressive of gentleness.

Sister Slocum, it requires no very acute observer to discover, has got something more than the heathen world at heart, for all those soft, congenial features are shadowed with sadness. Silently she takes her seat, sits abstracted for a few minutes—the house is thrown into a wondering mood—then looks wisely through her spectacles, and having folded her hands with an air of great resignation, shakes, and shakes, and shakes her head. Her eyes suddenly fill with tears, her thoughts wander, or seem to wander, she attempts to speak, her voice chokes, and the words hang upon her lips. All is consternation and excitement. Anxious faces gather round, and whispering voices inquire the cause. The lean man in the spectacles having applied his hartshorn bottle, Sister Slocum, to the great joy of all present, is so far restored as to be able to announce the singular, but no less melancholy fact, that our dear guest, Sister Swiggs, has passed from this world to a better. She retired full of sorrow, but came not in the morning. And this so troubled Sister Scudder that there was no peace until she entered her room. But she found the angel had been there before her, smoothed the pillow of the stranger, and left her to sleep in death. On earth her work was well done, and in the arms of the angel, her pure spirit now beareth witness in heaven. Sister Slocum's emotions forbid her saying more. She concludes, and buries her face in her cambric. Then an outpouring of consoling words follow. "He cometh like a thief in the night: His works are full of mystery; truly, He chasteneth; He giveth and taketh away." Such are a few of the sentiments lisped, regrettingly, for the departed.

How vain are the hopes with which we build castles in the air; how strange the motives that impel us to ill-advised acts. We leave untouched the things that call loudest for our energies, and treasure up our little that we may serve that which least concerns us. In this instance it is seen how that which came of evil went in evil; how disappointment stepped in and blew the castle down at a breath.

There could not be a doubt that the disease of which Sister Smiggs died, and which it is feared the State to which she belongs will one day die, was little dignity. Leaving her then in the arms of the House of the Foreign Mission, and her burial to the Secretary of the very excellent "Tract Society" she struggled so faithfully to serve, we close this chapter of events, the reader having, no doubt, discovered the husband of Madame Montford in the wretched man, Mr. Toddleworth.