of the present troubles of this country; I did the same in London. Unknown, I could go where I pleased, mix with whom I would. I went where there was want of food, of fuel, of clothing; where there was no occupation and no hope. I saw some, with naturally elevated tendencies and good feelings, kept down amongst sordid privations and harassing griefs. I saw many, originally low, and to whom lack of education left scarcely anything but animal wants, disappointed in those wants, ahungered, athirst, and desperate as famished animals; I saw what taught my brain a new lesson, and filled my breast with fresh feelings. I have no intention to profess more softness or sentiment than I have hitherto professed; mutiny and ambition I regard as I have always regarded them. I should resist a riotous mob just as heretofore; I should open on the scent of a runaway ringleader as eagerly as ever, and run him down as relentlessly, and follow him up to condign punishment as rigorously; but I should do it now chiefly for the sake and the security of those he misled. Something there is to look to, Yorke, beyond a man’s personal interest, beyond the advancement of well-laid schemes, beyond even the discharge of dishonouring debts. To respect himself, a man must believe he renders justice to his fellow-men. Unless I am more considerate to ignorance, more forbearing to suffering, than I have hitherto been, I shall scorn myself as grossly unjust. What now?’ he said, addressing his horse, which, hearing the ripple of water, and feeling thirsty, turned to a wayside trough, where the moonbeam was playing in a crystal eddy. ‘Yorke,’ pursued Moore, ‘ride on. I must let him drink.’

Yorke accordingly rode slowly forwards, occupying himself as he advanced in discriminating, amongst the many lights now spangling the distance, those of Briarmains. Stilbro’ Moor was left behind; plantations rose dusk on either hand; they were descending the hill; below them lay the valley with its populous parish; they felt already at home.

Surrounded no longer by heath, it was not startling to Mr. Yorke to see a hat rise and to hear a voice speak behind the wall. The words, however, were peculiar:

‘When the wicked perisheth there is shouting,’ it said; and added, ‘As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more’ (with a deeper growl); ‘terrors take hold of him as waters; hell is naked before him. He shall die without knowledge.’

A fierce flash and sharp crack violated the calm of night. Yorke, ere he turned, knew the four convicts of Birmingham were avenged.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.