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used to say he always aimed at the worst first, because he was once so thoughtless himself: I think I shall be able to bear the story, and I beg it may not be shortened on my account.
Lodeg. Why Madam, there was a deal of mercy intermixed with judgment: I hope the hearing of it may not be too much for you, though altogether, it has been almost too much for me.
Wor. How long was it, after you set out, before you reached Mr. Lovely? Loveg. Not till near two o'clock.
Those cross roads you know, run bad, and it is too far for one stage, so that we were obliged to bait, or the poor horses would have suffered exceedingly.
Wor. And how did you find the dear creatures ?
Laveg. Oh Sir! we were almost as much overcome with joy when there, as we were afterwards with grief and suspense. Dear Mrs. Lovely was brought to bed of a fine boy the very day before we went. It seems this event took place rather sooner than was expected, though the mother and the child, are both in a fair way to do well.
The dear young man was so overcome by this mercy, that he could do nothing but weep for joy.
Mrs. Wor. Why I told her when she was in the family way, that I had no doubt but she would do well, as her mind was so much more at rest sinco their marriage.
Hen. But oh the joy of the neighbourhood on this event! It is amazing how much they are both beloved.
Wor. And not without cause. His very natural disposition, prompts him to every thing that is kind; and since he has been blessed with the grace of God, and has been possessed of his old uncle's property, he has both the will and the power, to do almost all the good his heart could wish.-In this instance it has been thoroughly verified, that “the wealth of the sinner, has been laid up for the just.”
Loves. But this joyful event in Mr. Lovely's fa: mily, had nearly been attended with very fatal consequences to the unhappy youths; for Mr. Lovely, supposed at first, that we were only come on a congratulatory visit, on the birth of his son ; though he was surprised how we could have heard of the news so soon; and it was sometime before we could interrupt him with our message, he was so overcome with joy.
Mrs. Wor. Certainly it was a hard request, to ask the dear young man, at such an early stage of his wife's delivery, to leave her so soon.
Looeg. Oh Sir, his attachment to his dear wife and child, is beyond description, as you may naturally suppose from bis most amiable disposition. And after we had told him our errand, and shewed him the petition to the judge, you may easily guess what a struggle his mind was in. Every quarter of an hoar he was enquiring after, or repeating his visits to his dearest Ann, and the little one ; and to think of such a sudden and hasty separation, though but for a day or two, pørplexed him exceedingly.
Wor. You really had a difficulty to surmount, how did you accomplish it?
Loveg. Yes Sir; and besides this, he had another difficulty before him. An express was sent him but the day before, informing him of the dangerous illness of his rich uncle, and was in hourly expectation to hear of his death ; but potwithstanding all, he immediately expressed his willingness to be
the intercessor for these poor creatures, and however painful, even an hour's absence from Mrs. Lovely might now be, yet as she appeared so well, and as life or death depended on the journey, he was determined to undertake it: the only remaining difficulty was, how to open matters to her, so as to create the least possible pain, or anxiety on her mind.
Wor. And how did you contrive it?
Loveg. Why about half an hour after we had been in the house, after some conversation on these difficulties, he determined that I should be introduced
into Mrs. Lovely's chamber, and in the most gentle manner, open the business to her ; making it my request, together with Mr. Henry Littleworth's, that he might be spared but for two or three days at furthest, to petition for the lives of these poor creatures.
Mrs. Mer. I hope the story was not too much for her.
Loveg. She was almost as much affected at my unexpected visit, as she was at hearing my story; but directly as she heard it, she was as desirous as could be, that Mr. Lovely should immediately undertake the journey, and addressed him in such language, as was very affecting and kind.
Mrs. Wor. I suppose she would. Both their minds are admirably calculated for each other.
Loveg. When Mr. Lovely expressed his sorrow at the thoughts of leaving her, even for so short a time, and how grieved he should be, if any thing should happen during his short absence : her language was, “O no, my dear George, you and I have given our. selves up a thousand times into the hands of our most merciful God. I have a number of good friends around me; I shall want for nothing while you are absent. I know it would almost break your heart, were any thing to keep you back from saving the lives of these poor creatures : I know your disposition so well, that it would be the cruellest thing to prevent you. Oh no, no! go my dear George, go directly, go if it were only for the sake of good old farmer Littleworth ; such a trial is enough to break his very heart: you and I know what it was once to be under very sharp trials ourselves; and we make ourselves happy, only as we make others happy in return."
Wor. What a kind amiable creature she is !
Mrs. Wor. It must have been very affecting, to see with what meekness she submitted to the call, while she was lying on her bed with her babe by her side, and her affectionate husband ready to weep,even under this temporary separation, while still so anxious to VOL. III.
perform this act of mercy towards these condemned criminals.
Mrs. Mer. Ab me !I had such a husband once [She weeps, and retires out of the room.]
Loveg. (To Mrs. Worthy.] Oh Madam, I am sorry I touched upon that subject.
Mrs. Wor. Ah Sir, it cannot be helped.---Mr: Merryman is scarce ever out of my daughter's mind; and though we all loved him so much, yet we scarce ever mention his name, as at all times it so exceedingly revives her grief, she cannot bear to hear any body speak of him but herself.
Wor. But how did you next proceed ? Loveg. Why Sir, after a short prayer, Mr. Lovely immediately prepared for the journey, while it was determined that he should set off early on the next morning to overtake the judge, before he left the circuit, and present him with the petition; and that Mr. Henry Littleworth, the unhappy Mrs. Sparkish, and myself, should go and visit the condemned prisoners in the county gaol; but then we all agreed, that it would be highly improper to give them the most distant hint that application was making by Mr. Lovely to save thier lives, as it might buoy them
with false hopes, had he failed in his attempt.
Wor. Certainly that was the most prudent.This must have been a very affecting interview.
Loveg. A very affecting one indeed. After we had refreshed ourselves at the inn, we immediately repaired to the prison, but found we were too late to gain admittance till the next morning.--Poor Mrs. Sparkish was exceedingly affected at this refusal, who had frequently mentioned, during the journey, what her mind had felt from the example she had set before her son.
Wor. Ah! that is the case with many, who never repent of an evil, till they see its bad consequences and effects.
Loveg. And no doubt, but it was, on this account, that the first interview which took place the next morning,
was so very affecting. There was nothing but sobbing and weeping between them for a considerable time: at length she cried, “Oh my child, what would I give if I could but save your life! Oh that I had set you a better example; I fear my behaviour has been the cause of your ruin He then cried out, “ Oh mother, we must forgive each other, as I am now so soon to die !” Then he looked at me and cried, “ Oh Mr. Lovegood! had I minded what you have preached, I never had worn these irons, or have been condemned to such a disgraceful end.
Wor. How such miserable sinners are led to reproach themselves, after they have accomplished their own ruin, by their extravagance and folly, and profane neglect of God.
Loveg. And such indeed, were the feelings of the unhappy youth; for first he began telling me such an history of his life, as was quite shocking till I was obliged to beg of him to desist, by advising him rather to confess the sins of his abominably profligate life before God, rather than before man. It seems that his connexion with common prostitutes, was the cause of his ruin, and that rendered his conscience the very sink of sin, and a very hell of guilt. He then pointed to Mr. Henry, who was retired to the further part of the room, with his Brother-in-law, William Frolic, crying, “Oh what fools! what devils Frolic and I have been, not to follow the example of Henry Littleworth! we have ruined ourselves, both soul and body, while he has nothing before him, though once so wild, and now so changed, but a prosperous and a happy life.”
Wor. Such sort of expressions sound like genuine repentance.
Loveg. Oh Sir! there is no knowing under such circumstances.-There was one speech of his, which made me fear that all his repentance was more the effects of terror than of grace: he said that if Mr. Worthy or Lord Rakish, for that he had the honour to know his lordsbip, could but get him a pardon, hc