Chapter 30

Happier prospects begin to appear. Let us be inflexible, and fortune will at last change in our favour

WHEN I had thus finished, and my audience was retired, the gaoler, who was one of the most humane of his profession, hoped I would not be displeased as what he did was but his duty, observing that he must be obliged to remove my son into a stronger cell, but that he should be permitted to revisit me every morning. I thanked him for his clemency, and grasping my boy’s hand bade him farewell, and be mindful of the great duty that was before him.

I again therefore laid me down, and one of my little ones sat by my bed-side reading, when Mr. Jenkinson entering, informed me that there was news of my daughter; for that she was seen by a person about two hours before in a strange gentleman’s company, and that they had stopt at a neighbouring village for refreshment, and seemed as if returning to town. He had scarcely delivered this news, when the gaoler came with looks of haste and pleasure to inform me that my daughter was found. Moses came running in a moment after, crying out that his sister Sophy was below, and coming up with our old friend Mr. Burchell.

Just as he delivered this news my dearest girl entered, and with looks almost wild with pleasure, ran to kiss me in a transport of affection. Her mother’s tears and silence also showed her pleasure.—“Here, papa,” cried the charming girl, “here is the brave man to whom I owe my delivery; to this gentleman’s intrepidity I am indebted for my happiness and safety—” A kiss from Mr. Burchell, whose pleasure seemed even greater than hers, interrupted what she was going to add.

“Ah, Mr. Burchell,” cried I, “this is but a wretched habitation you now find us in; and we are now very different from what you last saw us. You were ever our friend: we have long discovered our errors with regard to you, and repented of our ingratitude. After the vile usage you then received at my hands, I am almost ashamed to behold your face; yet I hope you’ll forgive me, as I was deceived by a base ungenerous wretch, who under the mask of friendship has undone me.”

“It is impossible,” cried Mr. Burchell, “that I should forgive you, as you never deserved my resentment. I partly saw your delusion then, and as it was out of my power to restrain, I could only pity it!”

“It was ever my conjecture,” cried I, “that your mind was noble; but now I find it so. But tell me, my dear child, how hast thou been relieved, or who the ruffians were who carried thee away.”

“Indeed, sir,” replied she, “as to the villain who carried me off I am yet ignorant. For as my mamma and I were walking out, he came behind us, and almost before I could call for help, forced me into the postchaise, and in an instant the horses drove away. I met several on the road, to whom I cried out for assistance, but they disregarded my intreaties. In the meantime the ruffian himself used every art to hinder me from crying out: he flattered and threatened by turns, and swore that if I continued but silent he intended no harm. In the meantime I had broken the canvas that he had drawn up, and whom should I perceive at some distance but your old friend Mr. Burchell, walking along with his usual swiftness, with the great stick for which we used so much to ridicule him. As soon as we came within hearing, I called out to him by name, and entreated his help. I repeated my exclamation several times, upon which, with a very loud voice, he bid the postilion stop; but the boy took no notice, but drove on with still greater speed. I now thought he could never overtake us, when in less than a minute I saw Mr. Burchell come running up by the side of the horses, and with one blow knocked the postilion to the ground. The horses when he was fallen soon stopped of themselves, and the ruffian stepping out with oaths and menaces drew his sword and ordered him at his peril to retire; but Mr. Burchell running up shivered his sword to pieces, and then pursued him for near a quarter of a mile; but he made his escape. I was at this time come out myself, willing to assist my deliverer; but he soon returned to me in triumph. The postilion, who was recovered, was going to make his escape too; but Mr. Burchell ordered him at his peril to mount again and drive back to town. Finding it impossible to resist, he reluctantly complied, though the wound he had received seemed to me at least to be dangerous. He continued to complain of the pain as we

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