“I do feel that it is not; but, Isabel, I was this morning of some trifling service to the colonel, and may have some little weight with him. Will you allow me to return to him, and try what I can do? It will not be dark for these two hours, and I will soon be back.”
Isabel assented. Newton hastened to the colonel, who had already been much surprised when he had been informed by his domestics (for he had not seen them) that only two ladies had arrived. The old gentleman was now cool. The explanation and strong persuasions of Newton, coupled with the spirited behaviour of Isabel, whose determination was made known to him, and which was so different from the general estimate he had formed of the sex, at last prevailed. The colonel ordered his carriage, and, in company with Newton, drove to the hotel, made a sort of apology—a wonderful effort on his part, and requested his grand-niece to accept of his hospitality. In a few minutes Isabel and the colonel were out of sight, and Newton was left to his own reflections.
A few days afterwards Newton accepted the colonel’s invitation to dine, when he found that affairs were going on better than he expected. The old gentleman had been severely quizzed by those who were intimate with him, at the addition to his establishment, and had winced not a little under the lash; but, on the whole, he appeared more reconciled than would have been expected. Newton, however, observed that, when speaking of the three sisters, he invariably designated them as “my grand-niece, and the two other young women.”
“Rich in the gems of India’s
And plunder piled from kingdoms not their own,
Degenerate trade! thy minions could despise
Thy heart-born anguish of a thousand cries:
Could lock, with impious hands, their teeming store,
While famish’d nations died along the shore;
Could mock the groans of fellow-men, and bear
The curse of kingdoms, peopled with despair;
Could stamp disgrace on man’s polluted name,
And barter with their gold eternal shame.”
Gold!—gold! for thee, what will man not attempt?—for thee, to what degradation will he not submit?—for thee, what will he not risk in this world, or prospectively in the next? Industry is rewarded by thee; enterprise is supported by thee; crime is cherished, and heaven itself is bartered for thee, thou powerful auxiliary of the devil! One tempter was sufficient for the fall of man; but thou wert added, that he ne’er might rise again.
Survey the empire of India; calculate the millions of acres, the billions with which it is peopled, and then pause while you ask yourself the question—How is it that a company of merchants claim it as their own? By what means did it come into their possession?
Honestly, they will reply. Honestly! you went there as suppliants; you were received with kindness and hospitality, and your request was granted, by which you obtained a footing on the soil. Now you are lords of countless acres, masters of millions, who live or perish as you will; receivers of enormous tribute. Why, how is this?