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LONDON [Vol. II]
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half-past four o'clock on the following afternoon, Ellen Monroe was in the
immediate vicinity of the Bank of England.
She had been to receive a small sum of money which an
old debtor of her father's, residing in Birchin Lane, had written to state that
he was in a condition to pay; and she was now on her return to Markham Place.
The evenings of January are obscure, if not quite dark,
at that hour; and the lamps were lighted.
As she was proceeding along Lothbury, Greenwood suddenly
passed her. He was walking rapidly, in a preoccupied manner, and did not
But she beheld him; and she turned to speak to
him; for in spite of all the injuries which her parent, her benefactor Richard,
and herself had sustained at his hands, he was still the father of her child!
Scarcely had she thus turned, when he drew his
handkerchief from his pocket-still hurrying on towards Tokenhouse Yard.
Ellen quickened her pace; but in a few moments her foot
encountered an object on the pavement.
She stooped, and picked it up.
It was a pocket-book.
Conceiving that Greenwood might have dropped it, as she
had found it on the very spot where she had seen him take his handkerchief from
his pocket, she ran in the direction which she supposed him to have pursued; but
as, in the mean time, he had turned into the narrow alley called Tokenhouse
Yard, and as she continued her way along Lothbury towards Throgmorton Street,
she did not of course overtake him.
Finding that her search after him was unavailing, she
determined to examine the contents of the pocket-book, and ascertain if it
really did belong to him; in which case, she resolved to proceed straight to
Spring Gardens; and restore it to him.
Retracing her steps along Lothbury, she entered Cateaton
Street; and turning into the Old Jewry, which was almost deserted, she stopped
beneath the light of a lamp to open the pocket-book.
It contained several letters, addressed to "G. M.
GREENWOOD, ESQ., M.P;" and thus her doubts were cleared up at once. But as
she was thus investigating the interior of the pocket-book, her eye fell upon a
number of bills of exchange, all drawn and endorsed by Mr. Greenwood, and
accepted for large sums by noblemen, well-known landowners, and eminent
merchants. A rapid glance over these documents convinced Ellen that the
aggregate amount which they represented could not fall far short of twenty-five
thousand pounds; for, in addition to the fictitious bills obtained from
Pennywhiffe, Greenwood had placed in his pocket-book several genuine ones which
he legitimately possessed.
Miss Monroe's scrutiny did not altogether occupy a
minute; and, carefully securing the pocket-book about her person, she hurried
towards Cheapside, where she entered a cab, directing the driver to take her to
She did not forget Greenwood's former conduct in having
her carried away to his house in the country, but she did not apprehend any
ill-usage at his hands in a part of London where succour would be so readily
obtained as in Spring Gardens. It was therefore without hesitation that she
resolved to proceed direct to his own dwelling in that quarter.
In due time the vehicle stopped at Greenwood's house in
With a beating heart Ellen knocked at the door, which
was almost immediately opened by Filippo.
"Ah! Miss Monroe!" he exclaimed, as the light
of the hall-lamp fell upon her beautiful countenance.
"Yes — it is I at Mr. Greenwood's
house," she answered, with a smile: "is he at home?"
"No, Miss — he has gone into the City;
but he will he back at six o'clock at the latest."
[-163-] "Then I will wait for him," said
Filippo conducted her up stairs.
In the window of the staircase still stood the beautiful
model of the Diana, holding a lamp in its hand, — that model which
was the image of her own faultless form.
On the landing-place, communicating with the
drawing-room, was also the marble statue, the bust of which was sculptured in
precise imitation of her own.
And, when she entered the drawing-room, the first object
which met her eyes was the picture of Venus rising from the ocean, surrounded by
nereids and nymphs, — that Venus which was a faithful likeness of
Oh! how many phases of her existence did these permanent
representations of her matchless beauty bring back to her memory!
When Filippo left her, and she found herself alone, she
fell upon a sofa, and gave way to a violent flood of tears.
Then she felt relieved; and she began to ask herself
wherefore she had come thither? Was it because she was glad to have found an
excuse for calling upon him who was the father of her child? was it because she
was anxious to receive his thanks — from his own lips — for
restoring to him his pocket-book? She scarcely knew.
Half an hour passed in reflections of this nature — reflections
which branched off in so many different ways, and converged to no satisfactory
point — when a cab suddenly drove up to the house.
In another minute hasty steps ascended the stairs — they
approached the drawing-room — and Greenwood rushed in, banging the
door furiously behind him.
"My God! what have I done?" he exclaimed,
frantically — for he did not immediately perceive Ellen, whom a
screen concealed from his view. "The pocket-book is lost — gone!
I am ruined — should those forged bills — "
He said no more, but threw himself upon a chair, and
buried his face in his hands.
Ellen instantly comprehended it all: — the
bills which she had seen in the pocket-book were forgeries!
Rapid as lightning a train of new reflections passed
through her brain: — a project suggested itself; — she
hesitated for a moment — but only for a moment — she
thought of her child — and she was resolved.
Assuming all her calmness, and calculating in an instant
all the chances of her scheme, she rose from the sofa, and slowly approached the
chair on which Greenwood was seated.
He heard a step in the room, and raised his eyes.
"Ellen!" he exclaimed, starting back in surprise.
She murmured a Christian name — but
it was not George.
"Call me not that, Ellen!" cried Greenwood,
fiercely "the time is not come! But tell me," he added, speaking
thickly, and at the same instant casting upon her a glance which seemed to
pierce her inmost soul, — " tell me — were you
here — in this room — when I came in?"
"I was," answered Ellen, gazing, in her turn,
fixedly upon him.
"And you heard — "
"I heard every word you uttered,' continued Miss
Monroe, keeping her eyes still bent upon him.
"And then you know — "
"That you have committed forgery,"
added Ellen, in an emphatic tone; "and that you are ruined!"
"Damnation!', ejaculated Greenwood. "What did
you come for? why are you here! To gloat over my falling fortunes — to
make yourself merry at my ruin — to taunt me with the past - to
laugh at me in my adversity — to — "
"Then it is true," thought Ellen,
within herself these bills are forgeries — and he is in my
power. — No," she exclaimed aloud; " such was not my
"Then, go — leave me — depart!"
cried Greenwood, frantically. "I am in no humour to listen to you now! But,
Ellen," he added, suddenly becoming cool — desperately
cool: — "tell me — speak — you will not
"No - that is, on one condition," answered
"One condition!" repeated Greenwood:
"That you make me your wife," was the steady
"My wife!" exclaimed Greenwood, laughing
hysterically. "Do you know whose wife you would become — the
wife of a forger! Have you not learnt that dread secret! But, perhaps, it is to
mock me that you offer to become my wife! Oh! I understand you full well, Ellen!
When I was rich and beyond the reach of the law, I would not marry you; — and
now you mean me to comprehend that since I am ruined, and every moment in danger
of being dragged to a station-house, you would scorn the alliance! The
jest is good: — no — the revenge is just! But it is not
the less bitter to me, Ellen!"
"By heavens, you wrong me!" cried Ellen.
"Listen with calmness — with composure - if you can!"
"I cannot, Ellen — I cannot! I am mad!
A few months - nay, even a few weeks ago, I was happy — wealthy — prosperous: — now
I am ruined — miserable — lost! Oh! the grand prospects
that were so lately open before me!"
"Again I say, listen. All is not so bad as you
imagine," said the young lady, in a hasty tone.
"What do you mean, Ellen! what can you mean!"
he exclaimed, bewildered. "Do you not understand the nature of a
forgery — the consequences which it entails? True — I
did not perpetrate the forgery with my own hands; — but the bills
are all drawn — all endorsed by me! Oh! It is dreadful — it
"I will not keep you any longer in suspense,"
said Ellen. "Your pocket-book is found!"
"Found!" repeated Greenwood, electrified by
that word, and not knowing whether it imported good or evil to him: "found!
Did you say — "
"Yes — found," answered Miss
Monroe; — "and by me!"
"By you, Ellen?" cried Greenwood,
"No — it is impossible!"
"How, then, should I know that you had lost a
pocket-book?" asked the young lady.
"True! And you have found it? Oh! then I am
saved — I am saved! Give it to me, Ellen — give it to
And he advanced towards her, with outstretched hands.
"No — not yet," exclaimed the
young lady, in a firm tone. "In this room — yes, in this very
room — I went down upon my knees, and implored you to [-164-]
save me from disgrace - to give a father's name to the child who was then as yet
unborn. And you refused my supplication — you turned a deaf ear to
my agonising entreaties. Oh! I remember that scene but too well. You would not
do me justice — and I told you that you might live to repent your
cruelty towards me!"
"What! you will now avenge your alleged
wrongs!" cried Greenwood, his countenance becoming livid with mingled fear
and rage: "you will deliver me up to justice? No - I will tear the pocket.
book from you — I will destroy the proofs of my folly — my
crime; and then — but why should I waste time in idle words like
these; I must act! Give me the book!"
And he rushed towards her, as a tiger springs upon its
But Ellen, light as the fawn, glided away from him, and
took such a position that a table was between them, and a bell-pull within her
"Dare to attempt violence towards me," she
exclaimed, "and I summon your servants. Then — in their
presence — I will proclaim their master a forger! Provoke me
not — my spirit is roused — and your fate hangs upon a
Greenwood, grinding his teeth with rage. "Can nothing move you,
"Yea — the one condition that I
ere now named," she answered, drawing herself up to her full height, and
assuming all the influence of her really queenly beauty.
"Agreed!" ejaculated Greenwood. "Give me
the pocket-book — I take God to witness that I will make you my wife
within a week from this day."
"You regard an oath no more than a mere
promise," replied Ellen, calmly, and with a slightly satirical curl of the
"I will give you the promise in writing,
Ellen," persisted Greenwood, urged to desperation.
"Neither will that satisfy me," said
the young lady. "When our hands are joined at the altar, I will restore you
the proofs of your crime; and God grant," she added solemnly, "that
this peril which you have incurred may serve as a warning for you against future
risks of the same fearful kind."
"You have no faith in my word — you
have no confidence in my written promise, Ellen," cried Greenwood:
"how, then, can you be anxious to have me as a husband?"
"That my child may not grow up with the stain of
illegitimacy upon him — that he may not learn to despise his
mother," answered Ellen, emphatically; "for he need never know
the precise date of our union.
"But you know, Ellen," again remonstrated
Greenwood, "that there are circumstances which act as an insuperable
barrier to this marriage. Could you tell your father that you have espoused the
man who ruined him — ruined Richard, — and also admit,
at the same time, that this man was the father of your child! Consider,
Ellen — reflect — "
"There is no need of consideration — no
need of reflection," interrupted Miss Monroe. "I care not about
revealing the fact of my marriage for the present. In a few years — when
our child can comprehend his true position, — then it would
be necessary to declare myself a wife."
"But there is another difficulty, Ellen,"
persisted Greenwood: "my name — ."
"Let us be wedded privately — in some
suburban church, where you stand no chance of being recognised as George
Montague Greenwood, and where your right name may be fearlessly inscribed
upon the register."
"A woman who is determined to gain her point,
annihilates all difficulties," muttered Greenwood to himself.
"How do you decide?" asked Ellen.
"Remember that I am firm. I have these alternatives before me — either
to obtain a father's name for my child, or to avenge the wrongs of my own parent
and myself. Consent to make me your wife, and the proofs of your crime shall be
returned to you at the altar: refuse, and to-morrow morning I will prepare the
way for vengeance."
"Ellen, I consent to your proposal," said
Greenwood, in a tone of deep humiliation; "but upon condition that our
marriage shall never be proclaimed until that day, when - "
"I understand you; and I cheerfully agree to the
proposal," interrupted Miss Monroe. "You can believe my
word: — besides, you must know that I also should have
reasons to conceal our union, until you chose to declare your real name."
"Then be it as you propose, Ellen. To-morrow
morning, early, I will procure a special license, and we will be united at
Hackney. You can meet me at the church precisely at ten o'clock in the morning:
I will have every thing in readiness. But whom will you ask to accompany
"Marian — the faithful servant who has
been so devoted to my interests," answered Miss Monroe.
"I think that I should prefer the wife of that
surgeon — Mrs. Wentworth, I mean — as the witness to our
union," said Greenwood. "I dislike the idea of domestics being
entrusted with important secrets. Besides, Mrs. Wentworth has never seen me -
knows not that I am passing by the name of Greenwood — and, in a
word, is a lady."
"Be it as you will in this instance,"
returned. Ellen. "Mrs. Wentworth shall accompany me — I can
rely upon her."
She then rang the bell.
"What do you require, Ellen?" asked Greenwood,
alarmed by this movement on her part.
"Merely to ensure the presence of one of your
servants, as I pass from this spot to the door of the room," replied Ellen.
"You can give him some order to avert suspicion."
Filippo made his appearance; and Ellen then took leave
of Mr. Greenwood, as if nothing peculiar had occurred between them.
Oh! with what joy — with what fervid,
intoxicating joy — did she return to Markham Place! She had subdued him
whose cold, calculating, selfish heart was hitherto unacquainted with honourable
concessions; — she had conquered him — reduced him to
submit to her terms — imposed her own conditions!
Never — never before had she embraced her
child with such pride - such undiluted happiness as on that evening. And never
had she herself appeared more beautiful — more enchantingly lovely!
Her lips were wreathed in smiles — her eyes beamed with the
transports of hope, triumph, and maternal affection — a glow of
ineffable bliss animated her countenance — her swelling bosom
heaved with rapture.
"You are very late, my dear child," said Mr.
Monroe, when she took her seat at the tea-table: "I began to grow
[-165-] "I was
detained a long time at the office of your debtor," answered Ellen.
"Tomorrow morning I intend to pay a visit to Mrs. Wentworth, and shall
invite myself to breakfast with her. So you need not be surprised, dear
father," she added, with a sweet smile, "if I do not make my
appearance at your table."
"You please me in pleasing yourself, dear Ellen.
Moreover, I am delighted that you should cultivate Mrs. Wentworth's
acquaintance. Most sincerely do I hope," continued Mr. Monroe, "that
we shall have letters from Richard to-morrow. The communications which we have
already received are not satisfactory to my mind. God grant that he may be by
this time safe in Naples — if not on his way to England."
"Alas! the enterprise has been a most unfortunate
one for him!" returned Ellen, a cloud passing over her countenance. "I
understand his noble disposition so well, that I am convinced he deeply feels
the defeat of Ossore."
We must observe that the news of our hero's success at
Estella had not yet reached England.
"It will be a happy day for us all," said Mr.
Monroe, after a pause, "when Richard once more sets foot in his own home -
for I love him as if he were my son."
"And I as if he were my brother," added Ellen;
yes — my brother," she repeated, with strange emphasis
upon these words.
* * * * *
On the following morning, a few minutes before ten
o'clock a post-chaise stopped at the gate of the parish church of Hackney; and
Mr. Greenwood alighted.
He was pale; and the quivering of his lip denoted the
agitation of his mind.
The clock was striking ten, when a hackney-coach reached
the same point.
Greenwood hastened to the door, and assisted Mrs.
Wentworth and Ellen Monroe to descend the steps.
As he handed out the latter, he said, in a hurried
whisper, "You have the pocketbook with you?"
"I have," answered Ellen.
The party then proceeded to the church, the drivers of
the vehicles being directed to await their return at a little distance, so as
not to attract the notice of the inhabitants.
The clergyman and the clerk awaited the arrival of the
The ceremony commenced — proceeded — and
Ellen was now a wife!
Her husband imprinted a kiss upon her pale fore-head;
and at the same moment she handed him *** the pocket-book.
In a few minutes the marriage-certificate was in her
Drawing her husband aside, she said, "Let me now
implore you — for your own sake — for the sake of your
child — if not for mine — to abstain from those
courses — "
"Ellen," interrupted Greenwood, "do not
alarm yourself on that head. My friend the Marquis of Holmesford lent me ten
thousand pounds last evening; and with that sum I will retrieve my falling
fortunes. Yes — you shall yet bear a great name. Ellen." he
added, his countenance lighting up with *** animation; "a name that shall
go down to Posterity. But, tell me - has your father received any tidings from
"None since those of which I wrote to you. We are
not yet aware whether he be in safety, or not."
"You will write to me the moment you receive any
"Rest assured that I shall not forget that
"And now, Ellen, we must pass the day together. We
will spend our honeymoon of twenty-four hours at Richmond. Mrs. Wentworth can
return home, and send word to your father that she means to keep you with her
until to-morrow morning,"
"If you command me, it is my duty to obey,"
"I do - I do," answered Greenwood, earnestly.
"You are now mine - the circumstances which led to our union shall be
forgotten — and I shall think of you only as my beautiful
"Oh! if this be really true!" murmured Ellen,
pressing his hand fervently, and regarding him with affection — for
he was the father of her child!
"It is true," answered Greenwood; — but
his bride perceived not how much of sensual passion prompted him on the present
occasion. "I know that you have been faithful to me - that the hope of one
day becoming my wife has swayed your conduct. Of that I have had
"Proofs! " repeated Ellen, with mingled
surprise and joy.
"Yes — proofs. Do you not remember the
Greek Brigand at the masquerade, where you met and so justly upbraided that
canting hypocrite, Reginald Tracy?"
"I do. But that Greek Brigand — "
"Was myself! " replied Greenwood.
"You!" exclaimed Ellen, with a smile of
"Yes: and I overheard every sentence you uttered.
But we may not tarry here longer: speak to Mrs. Wentworth, that she send a
proper excuse to your father; and let us depart."
Ellen hastened to the vestry where the surgeon's wife
was seated near a cheerful fire; and the arrangement desired by Greenwood was
The party then proceeded to the vehicles.
Mrs. Wentworth bade the newly-married couple adieu,
having faithfully promised to retain their secret inviolate; and Greenwood
handed her into the hackney-coach.
He and Ellen entered the post-chaise; and while the
surgeon's wife retraced her way to her own abode, the bride and bridegroom
hastened to Richmond.
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
LONDON [Vol. II]
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