+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

that which was given us at the post-office.
She is a very old woman, rather blind,
rather deaf, and very stupid. I don't think
she can either read or write. Most of this
information I obtained from the nigger gal
who does all the work of the house. She
eventually promised to have the locks
opened in our presence to-morrow; and I
have settled that, if agreeable to you, we
will drive over there after breakfast." Thus
Cartwright to Tom Ackland.

Poor Tom Ackland was profoundly
affected by this fresh evidence of zeal and
sympathy on the part of Mr. Cartwright.
But Cartwright himself made light of his
own efforts. "Pooh, pooh, my dear sir!"
he said, in reply to Tom's repeated
expressions of gratitude; "if he was your
cousin, was he not also my friend?"

When Tom Ackland entered the first
room, from which the lock was removed,
in the house to which Cartwright
conducted him on the following day, one
glance round it told him all, and, with a
low moan of pain, he fell upon the bed
and sobbed. There, on that bed, was the
dressing-gown which poor John Ackland
had worn the last evening on which
he and Tom had sat together discussing
John's plans for the future. There, in the
wardrobe, were John Ackland's clothes;
there, on the shelf, were John Ackland's
books; there, on the table, were John
Ackland's papers. And among those papers
Tom afterwards found an unfinished letter
addressed to himself. It was written
in those sprawling shaky characters which
Tom had lately been learning, sadly,
to decipher, and which were so all
unlike the once firm and well-formed
handwriting of his cousin. "God bless
you, dear Tom!" (the letter said). "My
last thought is of you. I have borne it
long. I cannot bear it longer. Nobody
will miss me but you. And you, if you
could see me as I am now, if you could
know all that I have been suffering, even
you, would surely wish for me that relief
from misery which only death can give.
They are after me day and night, Tom.
They have left me no peace. Mary Mordent
is at the bottom of it all. She hides
herself. But I know it. I have no heart
to post this letter, Tom. I have no strength
to finish it. Good-bye, Tom. Don't fret.
Dear, dear Tom, good-bye."

Tom Ackland returned to Boston with
two convictions. One, that his unfortunate
cousin had perished by suicide on the night
of the 16th of October; the other, that
Philip Cartwright was a most unselfish,
warm-hearted fellow. The whole story of
John Ackland's mysterious disappearance
and lamentable death had excited too much
curiosity, and been too hotly discussed, both
at Richmond and Boston, to be soon
forgotten in either of those localities. Serious
quarrels had arisen (in Richmond at least),
and old acquaintances had become estranged
in consequence of the vehemence with
which diverse theories were maintained by
their respective partisans on the subject of
John Ackland's fate. But time went on, and,
as time went on, the story became an old story
which no one cared to refer to, for fear of
being voted a bore. There were not wanting
at Richmond, however, some few persons
by whose suspicious fancies Philip
Cartwright, against all evidence to the
contrary, remained uncharitably connected
with the mysterious disappearance and
subsequent suicide of the Boston
merchant, in a manner much less flattering
to that gentleman's character than Mr.
Tom Ackland's grateful recollection of his
friendly exertions at Charleston.

Now Ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in green cloth,
To be had of all Booksellers.

MESSRS. CHAPPELL AND CO. have great pleasure
in announcing that MR. CHARLES DICKENS will resume
and conclude his interrupted series of FAREWELL
READINGS at St. James's Hall, London, early in
the New Year.
The Readings will be TWELVE in NUMBER, and none
will take place out of London.
All communications to be addressed to Messrs.
CHAPPELL and Co., 50, New Bond-street, W.