Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science.

A lady of this city, the granddaughter of our first republican governor, told me that two of Arnold’s grandsons came to America some years ago, and to their great surprise found themselves unable to make any figure in Philadelphia society, where they were quietly but persistently ignored, so strong was the public prejudice against their name.

Arnold died in London in the winter of 1801.  We shrink away almost appalled from the awful picture of that death-bed—­the neglected, despised old man, with the gloom closing in about him and left to face it almost alone.  The great people to whom he had sold his honor had long ago paid him his price, and, washing their hands of him, had passed over to the other side of the way with averted faces; the stout old king who had protected him from insult as long as he could was already in the clutch of the fatal malady which was soon to consign his intellect to eternal night; and it is said that but one creature stood beside the dying traitor in that supreme hour—­the fond woman who had so lightened the burden of shame he had borne for twenty long years of splendor and misery, and whose own deliverance was so nigh at hand.

A singular story is told of Arnold’s last moments, which if true (and pray God it may be!) should be linked with the memory of his crime for ever.  It is said that he ordered to be brought from the garret of his house the old Continental uniform and sword he had worn for the last time on the memorable day of his escape from West Point.  With trembling hands he unfolded the coat, and, drawing it painfully over his shoulders, sat lost in long and deep reflection:  then, rousing himself with a sigh, he drew the sword from its scabbard, and clenching one hand upon the rich hilt, passed the other absently along the blade; then with a wild look of regret in his fast-glazing eyes he let the weapon drop from his grasp, his head sank upon his breast and he remained motionless until he died, drawing each breath longer and longer until all were spent.  I love to think that he died with the Continental coat upon his shoulders, nor was it again dishonored by the contact:  it even seems to have lent a ray of its own untarnished lustre to brighten the last dark, remorseful hours of a ruined life.





I will tell you my story about the watch.  A singular story!  The whole thing at the very beginning of the century, in the year 1801.  I was just sixteen.  I lived at Riasan with my father, aunt and cousin, in a little wooden house not far from the banks of the Oka.  I don’t remember my mother:  she died when she had been only three years married, and my father had no child but me.  My father’s name was Porphyr Petrovitch:  he was a quiet man with feeble health, who occupied himself with managing law-business, and—­in

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Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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