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ELLEN retired to her private dressing-room, and hastily threw aside her
She assumed her usual attire, and then stole away from the
establishment, without waiting to say farewell either to the manager or any of
her acquaintances belonging to the company.
[-278-] As she left the private
door of the theatre, she saw several persons loitering about - probably in hopes
of catching a glimpse of the author who had been so signally disgraced that
evening, and whose previous departure from the house was unperceived.
She drew her veil closely over her countenance; but not
before one fellow, more impudent than the rest, and whose cadaverous
countenance, shaggy eve-brows, and sinister expression, struck a momentary
terror into her soul, had peered beneath her bonnet.
Fortunately, as Ellen considered it, a cab was close by; and
the driver was standing on the pavement with his hand grasping the door-latch,
as if he were expecting some one.
"Cab, ma'am?" said he, as Ellen approached.
Ellen answered in the affirmative, mentioned her address, and
stepped into the vehicle.
The driver banged the door, and mounted his box.
The man with the cadaverous countenance watched Ellen into
the vehicle, and exchanged a sign of intelligence with the driver.
The cab then drove rapidly away.
Another cab was standing at a little distance; and into this
the man with the cadaverous countenance stepped. There was already an individual
in it, who, when the former opened the door, said, "All right?"
"All right," was the reply.
This second cab, containing these two individuals, then
followed rapidly in the traces of the first.
Meantime Ellen had thrown herself back in the vehicle, and
had given way to her reflections.
The events of that memorable evening occupied her attention.
A coincidence, of a nature fitted only for the pages of a romance, had revealed
to Markham and herself the history of each others pursuits. While she had been
following the occupation of a figurante, he was devoting his time to dramatic
composition. He had retained his employment a secret: she had dissembled hers..
He had accidentally applied for the patronage of the same manager who had taken
her by the hand. He had assumed a false name: so had she. Chance led her to take
a part in his drama ;- her talent had materially contributed to its success. A
triumph was achieved by each ;- and then came the overwhelming, crushing
denunciation which turned his joy to mourning - his honour to disgrace - his
glory to shame. She felt as if she were identified with his fate in this one
respect :- he was her benefactor; she esteemed him: and she seemed to partake in
his most painful emotions as she pondered upon the incidents of that evening.
And then she retrospected over the recent events which had
chequered her own life. The cast of her countenance embellished statues ;- her
likeness lent its attraction to pictures ;- her bust was preserved in marble ;-
her entire form feasted the eyes of many a libertine in the private room of the
photographic department of a gallery of science ;- her virtue had become the
prey of one who gave her a few pieces of paltry gold in exchange for the
inestimable jewel of her purity ;- her dreams had been sold to a mesmerist ;-
her dancing had captivated thousands;- her tragic talent had crowned the success
of a drama. What remained for her now to sell? what talent did she possess which
could now be turned to advantage? Alas! she knew not!
Her meditations were painful; and some time elapsed ere she
awoke from her reverie.
At length she glanced towards the window : the night was
beautifully clear, though piercing cold - for it was now the month of December;
and the year 1839 was drawing to a close.
The vehicle was proceeding along a road skirted only by a few
leafless trees, and wearing an aspect strange and new to her.
The country beyond, on either side, seemed to present to her
view different outlines from those which frequent passage along the road leading
to Markham Place had rendered familiar to her eyes. Again she gazed wistfully
forth :- she lowered the window, and surveyed the adjacent scenery with
And now she felt really alarmed; for she was convinced that
the driver had mistaken the road.
She called to him, and expressed her fears.
"No - no, ma'am," he exclaimed, without relaxing
the speed at which the vehicle was proceeding; "there's more ways than one
of reaching the place where you live. Don't be afraid, ma'am - it's all
Ellen's fears were hushed for a short time; but as she leant
partially out of the window to survey the country through which she was passing,
the sounds of another vehicle behind her own fell upon her ears.
At any other time this circumstance would not have produced a
second thought; but on this occasion Ellen felt a presentiment of evil. Whether
the mournful catastrophe of the evening, or her recent sad reflections, - or
both united, had produced this morbid feeling, we cannot say. Sufficient is it
for us to know that such was the state of her mind; and then she remembered the
warning contained in the letter so mysteriously sent to her a short time
previously at the theatre.
Again she addressed the cabman but this time he made no
answer ; and in a few minutes he drove up to the door of a small house which
stood alone by the side of that dreary road.
Scarcely had he alighted from his box, when the second cab
came up and stopped also.
"Where am I?" demanded Ellen, now seriously
An individual, who had alighted from the second cab, hastened
to open the door of the first, and assist Ellen to alight.
"You must get down here, Miss," he said, in a
dialect and tone which denoted him to be a foreigner.
Ellen saw at a glance that he was a tall elderly man, with a
dark olive complexion, piercing black eyes, but by no means an unpleasant
expression of countenance. He was dressed in black, and wore a large cloak
hanging loosely over his shoulders.
"Get down here!" repeated Ellen. "And why?
where am I ? who are you? Speak."
"No harm will happen to you, Miss," replied the
tall stranger. "A gentleman is waiting in this house to see you."
"A gentleman!" cried Ellen. " Ah! can it be
"It is, Miss: you need fear nothing."
Ellen was naturally of a courageous disposition; and the
circumstances of her life had tended to strengthen her mind. It instantly
struck her that site was in the power of her persecutor's myrmidons, and that
resistance against them was calculated to produce effects much less beneficial
for her than those which remonstrance and firmness might lead to with their
She accordingly accompanied the tall stranger into the house.
But what was the astonishment of the poor creature when she
encountered in the hail the very old hag whom she had known in the court in
Golden-[-279-]lane, and who had originally
introduced her to the embraces of Mr. Greenwood!
The horrible wrinkled wretch grinned significantly, as she
conducted Ellen into a parlour very neatly furnished, and where a cheerful fire
was burning in the grate.
Meantime the tall stranger issued forth again, and ordered
the driver of the cab in which Ellen had arrived to await further instructions.
He then accosted the cadaverous looking man who had accompanied him in the
second cab, and who was now loitering about in front of the house.
"Tidkins," said he, "we do not require your
services any further. The young lady made no resistance, and consequently there
has been no need for the exercise of your strong arm. Here is your reward. You
can return to London in the same cab that brought you hither."
"Thank you, my friend," exclaimed the Resurrection
Man. " Your master knows my address, the next time he requires my services.
"Good night," said the tall man and when he had
seen the second cab depart, he re-entered the house.
In the hall he met Mr. Greenwood.
"Well, Filippo - all right, eh?" said this
gentleman, in a whisper.
"All right, sir. We managed it without violence; and the
lady is in your power."
"Ah! I thought you would do the business genteelly for
me. Lafleur is a faithful fellow, and would do any thing to serve me; but he is
clumsy and awkward in an intrigue of this kind. No one can manage these little
matters so well as a foreigner. A Frenchman is clever - but an Italian
"Thank you, sir, for the compliment," said Filippo,
with a low bow.
"Oh! it is no compliment," returned Greenwood.
" Three or four little things that I have entrusted to you since you have
been in my service, were all admirably managed so far as you were concerned; and
though they every one failed afterwards, yet it was no fault of yours. I am well
aware of that."
The Italian bowed.
"And now I must present myself to this haughty
beauty," said Greenwood.
"Am I to dismiss the vehicle which brought her hither,
sir?" demanded Filippo.
"Yes: you will stay here to-night."
The Italian valet bowed once more, and returned to the driver
of the vehicle that brought Ellen thither.
"My good fellow," said Filippo, in a hurried tone,
"here is your money for the service rendered up to this moment. Are you now
disposed to earn five guineas in addition?"
"Certainly, sir," replied the man.
"Then drive to the bend in the road yonder,"
continued Filrppo. "There you will find a large barn, belonging to my
master's property here. You can house your horse and cab comfortably there. But
do not unharness the animal. There is a pond close by; and you will find a
bucket in the barn. There is also hay for your horse. Wait there patiently till
I come to you."
The cabman signified acquiescence; and Filippo returned to
Meantime the old hag, as before stated, had conducted Ellen
to a parlour, where the young lady threw herself upon a sofa, her mind and body
being alike fatigued with the events and anxieties of the evening.
"We meet again, Miss," said the old woman,
lingering near the table, on which refreshments of several luxurious kinds were
placed. "You came no more to visit me in the court; and yet I watched from
a distance the brilliancy of your career. Ah! what fine things - what fine
things I have introduced you to, since first I knew you."
" If you wish to serve me," said Ellen, " help
me away from this place, and I will recompense you largely."
"For every guinea that you would give me to let you go,
I shall receive two for keeping you in safe custody," returned the hag.
"Name the price that you are to have from your
employer," cried Ellen ; "and I will double it."
"That you cannot do, Miss. Besides, have I not your
interests to consider? Do I not know what is good for you? I tell you that you
may become a great lady - ride in a magnificent carriage - have fine clothes and
sparkling jewels - and never know again what toil is. I should not be so
squeamish if I were you."
"Silence, wretch!" cried Ellen, exasperated more at
the cool language of calculation in which the old woman spoke, than with the
prospects she held out and the arguments she used.
"Ah ! Miss," resumed the hag. nothing discomfited,
"I am not annoyed with you, for the harsh way in which you speak to me. I
have seen too much of your stubborn beauties in my life to be abashed with a
word. Lack-a-day! they all yield in time - they all yield in time!"
And the old hag shook her head seriously, as if she had
arrived at some great moral conclusion.
Ellen paid no attention to her.
"Ah! Miss," continued the hag, "I was once
young like you - and as beautiful too, wrinkled and tanned as I now appear. But
I was not such a fool to my own interests as you. I lived luxuriously for many,
many years - God knows how many - I can't count them now - I don't like to think
of those happy times. I ought to have saved money - much money; but I frittered
it all away as quick as I got it. Now, do you take my advice: accept Mr.
Greenwood's offers ;- he is a handsome man, and pays like a prince."
The argument of the old hag was cut short by the entrance of
the individual of whom she was just speaking.
She left the room; and Ellen was now alone with Greenwood.
"Sir, are you the author of this cowardly outrage which
has been perpetrated upon me?" demanded Ellen, rising from the sofa, and
speaking in a firm but cold tone.
"Call it not an outrage, dearest Ellen "
nothing else, sir; and if you have one spark of honour left - one feeling of respect for the
mother of your child,"
added Miss Monroe, sinking her voice, "you will allow me to depart without
delay. Or, that condition I will forget all that has transpired this evening.''
"My dear. girl, you cannot think that I have taken all this trouble to be
thwarted by a trifling obstacle at the end, or that I have merely had you
brought hither to have the pleasure of letting you depart again after one
minute's conversation. No, Ellen : listen to me! I have conceived a deep -
profound - a fervent affection for you
"Cease this libertine's jargon, Mr. Greenwood," interrupted Ellen.
"You must know that your [-280-] sophistry cannot deceive me as it
has done so many - many
"Then in plain terms, Ellen, you shall be mine - wholly and solely
mine - and I will remain faithful to you
"I will become your wife, for the sake of my child: on
no other terms will I consort with you. As surely as you attempt to force me
to compliance with your will, so certainly will I unmask you sooner or later. I
will expose you - I will tell the world who you are - I will proclaim how you
obtained your fortune by the plunder of your own
"Silence, Ellen!" thundered Greenwood, his face becoming
purple with indignation. "Remember that the least word calculated to betray
my secret, would lead to a revelation of yours; and the result would be the
execrations of your father showered down upon your devoted head."
"I care not for that catastrophe - I care not for mine
own past dishonour - I care not for the existence of that child of whom you are the father," exclaimed Ellen in
a rapid and impassioned tone. " I will not be immolated to your desires - I
will not succumb to your wishes, without revenge! Oh! full well do I comprehend
you - full well do I know how you calculated
when you resolved to perpetrate this outrage. You thought that I must
suffer every thing at your hands, and not dare proclaim my wrongs :-
you fancied that my lips are sealed against all and every
thing connected with you! Mark me, you have reckoned erroneously upon the
extent of my dread of my father and my benefactor! There is one thing that will
make me fall at their feet and reveal - all and that is the consummation on your part of this vile
outrage upon me!"
"Be it so, Ellen," said Greenwood. " I am as determined as
you. I will use no force against you; but I will keep you a prisoner here; and
believe me - for I know the world well - your stern resolves will soon melt in the
presence of solitude and monotony. You will then solicit me to come to you - if
it be only to bear you company! Escape is impossible - my spies are around the
house. Day and night will you be watched as if you were a criminal. And when you consent to become mine, in all save the vain
ties which priestcraft has invented, and the shackles of which shall never curb
my proud spirit, - then will I surround you with every luxury, gratify your
slightest wishes, study your pleasures unceasingly, and do all to make you
cling to me more fervently than if I were your husband according to monkish
ceremony. This is my resolve. In the mean time, if you choose to console your
father for your absence, write a note telling him that you are happy, but that
circumstances at present compel you to withhold from him the place of your
that letter shall be delivered to-morrow morning at Markham Place. I now leave you. This is your
sitting-room ; your sleeping apartment is above. The servant - the old woman
whom you know so well," added Greenwood, in a tone slightly ironical, " will
attend upon you. The house contains every luxury that may gratify the appetite;
all your wishes shall be complied with. But, again I say, think not of escape;
that is impossible. And if you feel inclined to write the note of which I have
spoken, do so, and give it to your attendant. It is now late - the
clock has struck one: I leave you to yourself."
Ellen made no reply; and Greenwood left the room.
moment she was alone, Ellen rose and hastened to the window. She drew aside the
curtain, and was somewhat surprised to perceive that the casements
were not barred; for she had expected to find every precaution against escape
adopted after the confident manner in which Greenwood had spoken upon that head.
But her heart sank within her; for she remembered his assurance that the house
was surrounded by spies. She therefore made up her mind, after some reflection,
to remain quiet until the next day, and then regulate her endeavours to escape
by the aspect of the house and its locality when seen by day-light.
She felt exhausted and wearied, and partook of a slight
refreshment. She then took a candle from the table, and proceeded upstairs to
the bed-room prepared for her. Having carefully bolted the door, she sate dawn
to reflect upon the propriety of writing to her father the note suggested by
Greenwood. She felt most acutely on the old man's account; and she knew that she
would not be permitted to communicate with him in terms more explicit than those
mentioned by her persecutor. Such terms were too vague and equivocal to be
satisfactory ;- and she concluded in her own mind that silence was the better
alternative of the two.
Having once more satisfied herself that the room was safe
against all chances of intrusion, she thought of retiring to rest. She laid
aside her bonnet and shawl, which she had hitherto kept on, and then took off
her gown. She approached a long Psyche, or full-length mirror, that stood near
the dressing- table (for the room was elegantly furnished), and for a moment
contemplated herself with feelings of pride and pleasure - in spite of the
vexatious position in which she found herself. But vanity was now an essential
ingredient of her character. it had been engendered, nurtured, and matured by
the mode of life she had been compelled to adopt.
And, assuredly, hers were charms of which she had full right
to be proud. The mirror reflected to her eyes a countenance that had been deemed
worthy to embellish a Venus on the canvass of a great painter. In that same
faithful glass was also seen a form the beautiful undulations and rich contour
of which were perfectly symmetrical, and yet voluptuously matured. The
delicate white corset yielded with docile elasticity to the shape which no
invention of art could improve. The form reduced that corset to suit its own
proportions; and in no way did the corset shape the form. Those swelling globes
of snow, each adorned as with a delicate rose-bud, needed no support to maintain
them in their full and natural rotundity ;- the curvatures which formed the
waist, were not drawn nearer to each other by the compression of the stay ;- the
graceful swell of the hips required no art to improve or augment its
copiousness. Ellen smiled - in spite of herself, - smiled complacently - smiled almost
proudly, as she surveyed her perfect form in that mirror.
But, hark! what sound is that which suddenly falls upon her
She starts - looks round - and listens.
Again! - that sound is repeated.
This time she comprehends its source: some one is tapping
gently at the side window of the room.
Ellen hastily put on her gown once more, and advanced to the
She raised the blind, and beheld the dark form of a man
mounted upon a ladder, at the window. A second glance convinced her that he was
the tall Italian whom she had before seen.
She approached as closely as possible, and said, in a low
tone, "What do you require? what means this strange proceeding?"
"I am come to save you," answered
Filippo, in a voice so low,
that his words were scarcely intelligible. "Do not be afraid - I am he who
wrote the warning letter, which
Without a moment's farther hesitation, Ellen gently raised
"I am he who wrote the warning letter which you received
at the theatre," repeated Filippo. "Although ostensibly compelled to serve
my master, yet privately I counteract all his vile schemes to the utmost of my
"I believe you - I trust you," said Ellen, overjoyed at
the arrival of this unlooked-for succour. "What would you have me do?"
"Tie the sheets of the bed together - fasten one end to the
bed-post, and throw the other outside," returned Filippo, speaking in a rapid
In less than a minute this was done; and Ellen once more
assumed her bonnet and shawl.
By the directions of Filippo she then stepped upon the
window-sill: he received her in his arms, and bore her in safety to the ground.
Then, taking the ladder on his shoulders, he desired her to
follow him without speaking a word.
They passed behind the house, and stopped for a moment at a stable where
Filippo deposited the ladder. He
then led the way across a field adjoining the garden that belonged to the
"Lady," said the Italian, when they were at some distance
from the dwelling, "if you consider that you owe me any gratitude for the
service I am now rendering you, all the recompense I require is strict silence
on your part with respect to the real mode of your escape."
"Rest well assured that I shall never betray you,"
answered Ellen. "But how is it that so bad a man as your master can
possess so honest and generous a follower as you?"
"That, lady, is a mystery which it is by no means
difficult to explain," replied Filippo. "Chosen by a noble-hearted lady, who
by this time doubtless enjoys a sovereign rank in another clime, to counteract
the villanies of Greenwood, I came to England; and fortunately I learnt that
he required a foreign valet. I applied for the situation and obtained it. He
believes me faithful, because I appear to enter heart and soul into all his
schemes; but I generally succeed eventually in defeating or mitigating their
evil effects upon others. This is the simple truth, lady; and you must consider
my confidence in [-282-] you as implicitly sacred. Any
revelation - the slightest
hint, on your part, would frustrate the generous purposes of my mistress. And
think not, lady, that I am merely acting the part of a base spy : - I mean Mr.
Greenwood no harm - I shall do him none: all I aim at is the prevention of harm
springing from his machinations in regard to others. But we are now at the spot
where a vehicle waits to convey you back to London."
Filippo opened the door of a barn, which they had just
reached; and the cabman responded to his summons.
In a few minutes the vehicle was ready to depart. Ellen
offered the Italian a recompense for his goodness towards her; but he drew
himself up haughtily, and said, "Keep your gold, lady I require no other reward
than silence on your part."
He then handed Miss Monroe into the vehicle; and ordered the
driver to conduct the lady whithersoever she commanded him.
Ellen desired to be taken home to Markham Place; the Italian
raised his hat respectfully; and the cab drove rapidly away towards London.
Miss Monroe now began to reflect profoundly upon the nature
of the excuse which she should offer to her father and Richard Markham, to
account for her prolonged absence. We have before said that she had ceased to
shrink from a falsehood; and she had certain cogent reasons for never
associating her own name with that of Greenwood ; - much less would she acquaint
her father or Richard with an outrage which would only induce them to adopt
means to punish its perpetrator, and thus bring them in collision with him.
At length she resolved upon stating that she had been taken
ill at a concert where she had been engaged for the evening: this course would
be comprehended by Markham, who would only have to substitute the word "theatre" for "concert" in his own imagination; and it would also satisfy her
We need merely add to this episode in our eventful history
that Ellen reached home safely at four o'clock in the morning, and that the excuse
was satisfactory to both Markham and her father, who were anxiously awaiting her
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