THE VILLAIN AND HIS VICTIMS.
In the year 1785, as, also, prior and subsequent to that time, there was a hotel situated in one of the less frequented streets of Pittsburg, then the largest town west of the mountains, and kept by one Fleming, whence it derived the name of “Fleming’s Hotel.” This house, a small one, and indifferently furnished, was a favorite resort of the Indians who visited the town on trading expeditions. Fleming had two daughters, who possessed considerable personal attractions, and that pride of a vain woman—beauty. History does not, to the best of our knowledge, give us the first names of the two girls; and we will distinguish them as Eliza and Sarah. Unfortunately for these young females, they had ever been surrounded by unfavorable circumstances, and exposed to the vices of bad associations; and that nice discrimination between propriety and politeness, which is a natural characteristic of the modest woman, had become somewhat obliterated, and the hold which virtue ever has by nature in the heart of the gentler sex, had been somewhat loosened. In short, the young Misses Fleming failed at all times to observe that degree of propriety which should ever characterize the pure in heart, and were, by many, accused of immorality. How far this accusation was true, we shall not attempt to say, but, doubtless, there were not wanting many tongues to spread slanderous reports.
In early years of womanhood, Eliza had given her affections to one who sought her love under the guise of a “gentleman of fortune.” He proved to be what such characters usually are—a libertine, whose only motive in seeking to win her confidence and young affections was to gratify his hellish passions in the ruin of virtue and a good name. Under the most solemn assurances of deep, abiding, unalterable love for her, and the most solemn promises of marriage at an early day, which if he failed to perform, the direst maledictions of heaven, and the most awful curses, were called down upon his own head, even to the eternal consuming of his soul in the flames of perdition, he succeeded in his design. Virtue was overcome, and the jewel of purity departed from the heart of another of earth’s daughters. Vain were the tears of the repentant girl to induce a performance of the promises so solemnly made; false had been and still were the vows of the profligate; but he continued to make them all the more profusely; and hope, at first unwavering, then fainter and fainter, filled the heart of his victim. Once conquered, and the victory was ever after comparatively easy; and having taken something of a fancy to this lady, he was for a long time attached to her, and, in his way, remained faithful.
Such were the mutual relations sustained by these two toward each other, when, one day, the betrayer entered the presence of the betrayed, and, in some agitation, said: