A Perilous Secret eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about A Perilous Secret.
been left to herself.  Poverty had pinched Jonathan Braham by this time; and as he saw by the tone of her letter she did not care one straw whether he accepted the situation or not, he accepted it eagerly, and had to court her as a stranger, and to marry her, and wear the crown matrimonial; for Middleton drew the settlements, and neither Braham nor his creditors could touch a half-penny.  And then came out the better part of this indifferent woman.  Braham had been a good friend to her in time of need, and she was a good and faithful friend to him now.  She was generally admired and respected; kind to the poor; bountiful, but not lavish; an excellent manager, but not stingy.

In vain shall we endeavor, with our small insight into the bosoms of men and women, to divide them into the good and the bad.  There are mediocre intellects; there are mediocre morals.  This woman was always more inclined to good than evil, yet at times temptation conquered.  She was virtuous till she succumbed to a seducer whom she loved.  Under his control she deceived Walter Clifford, and attempted an act of downright villainy; that control removed, she returned to virtuous and industrious habits.  After many years, solitude, weariness, and a gloomy future unhinged her conscience again:  comfort and affection offered themselves, and she committed bigamy.  Deserted by Braham, and once more fascinated by the only man she had ever greatly loved, she joined him in an abominable fraud, broke down in the middle of it by a sudden impulse of conscience, and soon after settled down into a faithful nurse.  She is now a faithful wife, a tender mother, a kind mistress, and nearly everything that is good in a medium way; and so, in all human probability, will pass the remainder of her days, which, as she is healthy, and sober in eating and drinking, will perhaps be the longer period of her little life.

Well may we all pray against great temptations; only choice spirits resist them, except when they are great temptations to somebody else, and somehow not to the person tempted.

It has lately been objected to the writers of fiction—­especially to those few who are dramatists as well as novelists—­that they neglect what Shakespeare calls “the middle of humanity,” and deal in eccentric characters above or below the people one really meets.  Let those who are serious in this objection enjoy moral mediocrity in the person of Lucy Monckton.

For our part we will never place Fiction, which was the parent of History, below its child.  Our hearts are with those superior men and women who, whether in History or Fiction, make life beautiful, and raise the standard of Humanity.  Such characters exist even in this plain tale, and it is these alone, and our kindly readers, we take leave of with regret.


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A Perilous Secret from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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