Some months had elapsed since Sally’s first interview with young Arthur Grafton, (for such his name proved to be,) and during that time matters had assumed a very different character. One or two meetings seemingly accidental, led to an intimacy growing between them, which was not easily to be mistaken.
Arthur was a young man possessing great advantages, not only in personal attractions, but as the possessor of an ample fortune. His father had been dead many years and his mother resided in the neighbourhood of London. No sooner, however, did Arthur attain his majority, and find himself in such a favoured position, than he gave way to those excesses which are generally somewhat lightly styled, youthful indiscretions. His mother had done all that lay in her to prevail upon him to alter his course of conduct, but he being headstrong, yet affectionate, and not wishing to cause her pain, at the same time being disinclined to follow her advice, left home in order to be free from all restraint. Thus it happened that he was spending a porportion of his time in Y------. Sally’s parents were not blind to the state of their daughter’s feelings towards Arthur, but they were full of fear. Once or twice he had called at the cottage, and they had marked the unnatural sparkle of his eye, that told of a too great indulgence in drink. On one or two occasions he had openly scoffed at religion, and treated as jests, things they held to be most sacred. They often spoke to Sally and warned her, but her usual reply was a light laugh, or an assurance that she knew what she was doing.
Little by little she ceased to think there was anything very wrong in a young man becoming intoxicated, if he only did it occasionally. Her attendance at church was not so regular, and in a short time it ceased altogether, and she looked forward to the sabbath only as a day of recreation, and one on which she could spend more time with him who was day by day leading her farther from the path of duty.
Many a friend warned her of her danger, but her whole soul had become so wrapped up in him, that his very vices appeared as virtues, in her eyes. Sally had not forgotten her early teachings, and many a night when all was hushed, the still small voice of conscience whispered, ’Beware, —Beware,’ But she would not listen to it, she had set her heart upon him, and although she could not but admit he had many faults, yet she strove to believe that she had the power to wean him from his evil ways.
One night the old couple and their daughter were sat by their cheerful fire. Tip, as was his wont, smoking his pipe,—the old woman bending over the oft consulted bible, and Sally with her elbow resting upon the table and her head leaned upon her hand, gazing at the kitten sleeping on the hearth, although she saw it note Arthur had failed to keep his appointment and she was sad in consequence. A loud knock at the door disturbed them,—Sally hastened to open it, and Arthur in a state of wild intoxication rushed in. Even Sally shuddered and shrank from his attempted caresses. Her mother shook her head, and looking upward seemed to implore help from Him of whose death she had just been reading:—whilst old Tip rose to his feet, took the pipe from his mouth, and angrily pointed towards the door.