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Mar. [Aside.] Was not that his step ?*
Lang. And to think, too, you 're married, when it seems hut last week that I heard your little feet go pattering about the floor, or saw you sitting at your sampler. That sampler we've kept, Margaret, and look at it often, and — but, my girl, you don't ask after your( mother!
Mar. She — she's well?
Lang. Well and happy; and sends you her blessing.
Mar. [Aside.] He cannot remain much longer!
Lang. Here ! why, of course he will.
Mar. [Aside.] 0, if he would but leave me! leave me till 1 have confessed.
Lang. Here's something wrong. Does he stand on ceremony?
Mar. O, no, no, father ! — pity me! help me!
Lang. Help you, love !— why, how?
Mar. You must leave me. Leave me, I implore you!
Lang. [Pausing.] Say that again, Margaret!
Mar. Your presence here may ruin me; I '11 send for you another day, — to-morrow.
Lang. When your husband's absent, is that it ? — No; stop a bit. He loves you, I suppose?
Mar. Loves me ! — how unutterably!
Lang. And you him?
Mar. With my whole being.
Lang. You don't fear him, then? So —what's the cause? I see, I see. O, Lizzy, my wife, did I leave your side for this?
Lang. Silence! dare you utter the name and be ashamed of the man? You 're afraid he should find me here, — come now, the truth!
* She refers here to her husband, whom she expects back every moment, and fears that he will discover her father.
Mar. I — I confess it!
Lang. O, you do; well, I asked you for the truth.
Lang. Crush you, madam — crush you! Is it for a numble man like me to injure a fine lady, with her grand mansion and her proud friends? But I beg pardon; it's very rude of me to stay after my dismissal; I will obey your orders; I will leave you, madam. — I— [Turning to go, she approaches him.] Ah! touch me not. Don't you tremble?'
Trev. What's this violence? Margaret, who is this? Lang. A poor ship's carpenter, sir, and that lady's father! Trev. I trust, sir, if your only object here is a jest, you '11 quit the room.
Lang. A jest! oh, yes, no doubt, a jest; see how the lady enjoys it!
Trev. Margaret, why do you stand thus rooted ? — do not trifle with me. — Who are you, sir?
Lang. A presumptuous fellow, sir, who thought he had a claim upon his own flesh and blood, — who ventured into the presence of the child that he had dandled on his knee, — a mistaken fool, that's all. [Going out.
Trev. Stay, sir, one moment. A letter was sent to you to acquaint you with^ur marriage ; why was it not answered?
Lang. It was answered.
Mar. [After an effort.] It was!
Trev. And you withheld it!—all breaks upon me now.
Trev. [After a pause.] I feel for you, sir, believe me; • but you see your misery's shared, — may I beg of you to leave us?
[Shaking Langford's hand, the latter casts a look on his daughter, and totters out.]
Mar. [After a pause.] Will he never speak? I cannot bear this silence.
Trev. No, no! this is a delusion. I will not believe it!
Mar. Sir! No word, — no look? Speak, speak to me, in mercy! [She falls on her knees beside him, clasping her hands.]
Mar. The sin was mine; do not despise my lamer: Trev. Despise him! — that bowed man, wno tottered childless from the room, — do you think I couid despise nim? Mar. Trevanion, hate me not!
Trev. Madam, the heart that overflows with wretchedness has no room for hatred.
Mar. Ah ! if you knew how I was tempted to this guilt, — how love struggled with conscience, — how often 1 resolved to tell you all, — my humble birth, — my —
Mar. Pity yourself!
Trev. That self was blent with yours!
Mar. 0, not perished —► drooped, —
Trev. Again? No, Margaret.
Mar. This is more
Trev. O, Margaret!
Mar. Speak on:
Trev. Read it in my agony! — Are we not severed?
Mar. Severed! Parted?
Mar. Ay, that but —
Trev. What can restore thyself?
Wheel back the fleeted days, those days when bliss Poured through the soul, which, speechless in its praise, Paid its great debt in tears ? — when, though the earth Had yawned, and reeled the roof of Heaven, my trust Had pointed to thy truth and cried, — That stands!
Mar. Alas! alas!
Trev. O, ere this bitter hour, My soul had challenged fate to rend thee thence. I lived for thee — lived in thee; thou wert life! Seas might have swept between us; hadst thou died, My faith had sent a thrill to pierce the stars, And reached thee there! The dead are not the lost, They live in love!
Mar. But they—
Trev. They who have sought In answering eyes the heart, and seen its mask; Throbbed to a heart that did not throb with truth; Endowed one shrine with the drained wealth of life,— Hope, feeling, thought, — then seen their idol prone, — These, though they own one name, one home, one fate, Are severed still! Between their parted souls There yawns a gulf that breaks upon despair!
Trev. 0, Margaret! I can bear no more. [He goes off.
Mar. [After a pause.] Despair! That word knells in my brain. What am I? — An ingrate, who has stained his honored name, Betrayed his joy, and forfeited the right To share his anguish; though I would have shed Drops from my heart, ere drawn them from his eyes! An outcast from his love, yet at his side, — Fixed ever like the murderer of his peace, My foot upon its grave! No, no! not that — Why should my presence curse him? What's the name Of wife? a sound — of home? There is no home With treachery at the hearth! I go, Trevanion: Thou shalt not see me more: I go — and whither? What matters whither, since I go from thee! I have survived my life. My future void, — My past remorse, whose lightnings blind my hope; And, in my famished heart, a cry for love, — The love I poisoned, and may taste no more! Such is my doom ! 1 earned — I feel my doom!
[She sinks into a chair. LESSON CLXIII.
Extract from a Speech in the United States Senate. — Daniel Webster.
1. A Few words, Mr. President, on this constitutional argument, which the honorable gentleman has labored to reconstruct. His argument consists of two propositions, and an inference. His propositions are — 1. That the constitution is a compact between the states. 2. That a compact between two, with authority reserved to one to interpret its terms, would be a surrender to that one of all power whatever. 3. Therefore (such is his inference) the general government does not possess the authority to construe its own powers.
2. Now, sir, who does not see, without the aid of exposition or detection, the utter confusion of ideas involved in this so elaborate and systematic argument. The constitution, it is said, is a compact between states; the states, then, and the states only, are parties to the compact. How comes the general government itself a party? Upon the honorable gentleman's hypothesis, the general government is the result of the compact, the creature of the compact,—not one of the parties to it.
3. Yet the argument as the gentleman has now stated it, makes the government itself one of its own creators. It makes it a party to that compact to which it owes its own existence. For the purpose of erecting the constitution on the basis of a compact, the gentleman considers the states as parties to that compact; but as soon as his compact is made, then he chooses to consider the general government, which is the, offspring of that compact, not its offspring, but one of its parties; and so, being a party, has not the power of judging on the terms of the compact. Pray, sir, in what school is such reasoning as this taught?
4. If the whole of the gentleman's main proposition were conceded to him,— that is to say, if I admit, for the sake of argument, that the constitution is a compact between states, — the inferences which he draws from that proposition are warranted by no just reason. Because, if the constitution be a compact between states, still, that constitution, or that compact, has established a government with certain powers; and whether it be one of those powers, that it shall construe and interpret for itself the terms of the compact, in doubtful cases,