“After some time she discovered my wife was dead, and, for some time, she thought me so, too. However, she was convinced to the contrary, and then began to call for assistance. This awoke the child, which was nearly famished. The landlady, to become useful, and to awaken me from my lethargy, placed the child in my hands, telling me I was the best person now to take care of it.
“And so I was; there was no doubt of the truth of that, and I was compelled to acknowledge it. I felt much pride and pleasure in my daughter, and determined she should, if I starved, have the benefit of all I could do for her in the way of care, &c.”
* * * * *
“The funeral over, I took my child and carried it to a school, where I left her, and paid in advance, promising to do so as often as the quarter came round. My wife I had seen buried by the hands of man, and I swore I would do the best for my child, and to keep this oath was a work of pleasure.
“I determined also I would never more enter a gaming-house, be the extremity what it might; I would suffer even death before I would permit myself to enter the house in which it took place.
“‘I will,’ I thought, ’obtain some employment of some kind or other. I could surely obtain that. I have only to ask and I have it, surely—something, however menial, that would keep me and my child. Yes, yes—she ought, she must have her charges paid at once.”
“The effect of my wife’s death was a very great shock to me, and such a one I could not forget—one I shall ever remember, and one that at least made a lasting impression upon me.”
* * * * *
“Strange, but true, I never entered a gambling-house; it was my horror and my aversion. And yet I could obtain no employment. I took my daughter and placed her at a boarding-school, and tried hard to obtain bread by labour; but, do what would, none could be had; if my soul depended upon it, I could find none. I cared not what it was—anything that was honest.
“I was reduced low—very low; gaunt starvation showed itself in my cheeks; but I wandered about to find employment; none could be found, and the world seemed to have conspired together to throw me back to the gaming-table.
“But this I would not. At last employment was offered; but what was it? The situation of common hangman was offered me. The employment was disgusting and horrible; but, at the same time, it was all I could get, and that was a sufficient inducement for me to accept of it. I was, therefore, the common executioner; and in that employment for some time earned a living. It was terrible; but necessity compelled me to accept the only thing I could obtain. You now know the reason why I became what I have told you.”
THE VISIT OF THE VAMPIRE.—THE GENERAL MEETING.