"You're a letter-writer, Mr. What-d'ye-call-'em."
I bowed assent.
"As the grave, madam."
This sufficed; the lady took a pinch of snuff--told me that she had been
recommended to employ me by Mr. Quireandquill; and I prepared for action.
She had a daughter young, beautiful, and innocent--but gay,
affectionate, and thoughtless; she had given her heart in keeping to one
who, though rich in love, lacked all other possessions; and, finally,
she had bestowed her hand where affection prompted. But the chilled
heart feels not like that which is warm with youth--its pulses beat not
to the same measure--its impulses impel not to the same arts; the mother
felt as a guardian and a parent--the daughter as a woman and a fond one;
the one had been imprudent--the other was inexorable; my first task was
to be the unwrenching of the holy bonds which united a child and her
parent,--the announcement of an abandonment utter and irrevocable; I
wrote the letter, and if I softened down a few harsh expressions, and
omitted some sentences of heart-breaking severity, surely it was no
breach of faith, or if, indeed, it were, it was one for which, even at
this time, I do not blush.
The old lady saw her letter sealed and addressed, and departed; and I
hastily partook of a scanty breakfast, the produce of my first