form ? Has it made me less virtuous, less sightly, less

intellectual ? Has it made me deformed in person or

deficient of a sense ; and shall man affix a stigma where

heaven has set no mark ? Is not my flesh as healthy, my

blood as pure, my body as perfect in all its functions ay

as that of Ringwood himself? But no, no, no, this flattering

unction will not do. . Walter Tyrrel, you are a degraded

being, and it avails you nothing that there are thousands

under the same ban with yourself. Justice may award the

shame to the parent, but the prejudice of man entails it on

the child. The attainder of the father debases the blood

of the son, true it is, indeed, that not one atom or glo-

bule of the tide of life can be wrought upon by a breath,

but the voice of the world says it does, of the world in

which I am to live. Grant that the honour or dishonour

exists only in imagination ; but are there not imaginary

sorrows, and pains, and terrors, producing real agonies ?

What signifies that I am as perfect in limbs, as fully endowed

with faculties, as Ringwood, in the eye of nature,

when the world will not acknowledge the equality ? Am

not I stamped with a brand, an everlasting brand, never

to be effaced by time, never to be removed by honourable

achievement, the more hopeless because impalpable and invisible

an airy nothing, indeed, but to which man has

given a local habitation and a name ! Besides,

does the

default not carry with it real penalties ? will land descend

to me, and from me to mine, from generation to generation,

as if by divine right, to the end of time ?


No, no, a bastard I am, and must remain .; and worst

that was the word ! There

of all a brown bastard aye,

is a stain on my face as well as on my birth, a tinge

derived from the blood of negroes, black heathens, and


the word chokes me slaves !

During the utterance of the foregoing soliloquy he had,

through excitement, gradually exalted his voice ; and, as

soon as he had pronounced the last word, he heard it

repeated in a lower tone. Supposing it to have proceeded

merely from an echo, he never turned his head j but, in a

few moments, he distinctly heard the same voice calling

on " Walter Tyrrel/' Considerably startled he looked

L 2

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines