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A Committee-Man Of ‘The Terror’
by [?]

‘”I am here ill,” it said, “and, as you know, alone. There are one or two little things I want done, in case my death should occur,–and I should prefer not to ask the people here, if it could be avoided. Have you enough of the gift of charity to come and carry out my wishes before it is too late?”

‘Now so it was that, since seeing him possess himself of the broken cake, she had insensibly begun to feel something that was more than curiosity, though perhaps less than anxiety, about this fellow-countryman of hers; and it was not in her nervous and sensitive heart to resist his appeal. She found his lodging (to which he had removed from the Old Rooms inn for economy) to be a room over a shop, half-way up the steep and narrow street of the old town, to which the fashionable visitors seldom penetrated. With some misgiving she entered the house, and was admitted to the chamber where he lay.

‘”You are too good, too good,” he murmured. And presently, “You need not shut the door. You will feel safer, and they will not understand what we say.”

‘”Are you in want, Monsieur? Can I give you–“

‘”No, no. I merely want you to do a trifling thing or two that I have not strength enough to do myself. Nobody in the town but you knows who I really am–unless you have told?”

‘”I have not told . . . I thought you might have acted from principle in those sad days, even–“

‘”You are kind to concede that much. However, to the present. I was able to destroy my few papers before I became so weak . . . But in the drawer there you will find some pieces of linen clothing–only two or three–marked with initials that may be recognized. Will you rip them out with a penknife?”

‘She searched as bidden, found the garments, cut out the stitches of the lettering, and replaced the linen as before. A promise to post, in the event of his death, a letter he put in her hand, completed all that he required of her.

‘He thanked her. “I think you seem sorry for me,” he murmured. “And I am surprised. You are sorry?”

‘She evaded the question. “Do you repent and believe?” she asked.


‘Contrary to her expectations and his own he recovered, though very slowly; and her manner grew more distant thenceforward, though his influence upon her was deeper than she knew. Weeks passed away, and the month of May arrived. One day at this time she met him walking slowly along the beach to the northward.

‘”You know the news?” he said.

‘”You mean of the rupture between France and England again?”

‘”Yes; and the feeling of antagonism is stronger than it was in the last war, owing to Bonaparte’s high-handed arrest of the innocent English who were travelling in our country for pleasure. I feel that the war will be long and bitter; and that my wish to live unknown in England will be frustrated. See here.”

‘He took from his pocket a piece of the single newspaper which circulated in the county in those days, and she read–

“The magistrates acting under the Alien Act have been requested to direct a very scrutinizing eye to the Academies in our towns and other places, in which French tutors are employed, and to all of that nationality who profess to be teachers in this country. Many of them are known to be inveterate Enemies and Traitors to the nation among whose people they have found a livelihood and a home.”

‘He continued: “I have observed since the declaration of war a marked difference in the conduct of the rougher class of people here towards me. If a great battle were to occur–as it soon will, no doubt–feeling would grow to a pitch that would make it impossible for me, a disguised man of no known occupation, to stay here. With you, whose duties and antecedents are known, it may be less difficult, but still unpleasant. Now I propose this. You have probably seen how my deep sympathy with you has quickened to a warm feeling; and what I say is, will you agree to give me a title to protect you by honouring me with your hand? I am older than you, it is true, but as husband and wife we can leave England together, and make the whole world our country. Though I would propose Quebec, in Canada, as the place which offers the best promise of a home.”