“I begged him not to bring himself to poverty for my sake, who should probably have no need of it long, but he insisted on my accepting it. He embraced me. ‘You are an Englishman,’ said he, ’but the Great Spirit has given you an Indian heart, may He bear up the weight of your old age, and blunt the arrow that brings it rest!’
“We parted, and not long after I made shift to get my passage to England. ’Tis but about a week since I landed, and I am going to end my days in the arms of my son. This sum may be of use to him and his children, ’tis all the value I put upon it. I thank Heaven I never was covetous of wealth; I never had much, but was always so happy as to be content with my little.”
When Edwards had ended his relation, Harley stood a while looking at him in silence; at last he pressed him in his arms, and when he had given vent to the fulness of his heart by a shower of tears, “Edwards,” said he, “let me hold thee to my bosom, let me imprint the virtue of thy sufferings on my soul. Come, my honoured veteran let me endeavour to soften the last days of a life, worn out in the service of humanity; call me also thy son, and let me cherish thee as a father."’
Edwards, from whom the recollection of his own suffering had scarced forced a tear, now blubbered like a boy; he could not speak his gratitude, but by some short exclamations of blessings upon Harley.
When they had arrived within a little way of the village they journeyed to, Harley stopped short, and looked steadfastly on the mouldering walls of a ruined house that stood on the road side. “Oh, heavens!” he cried, “what do I see: silent, unroofed, and desolate! Are all thy gay tenants gone? do I hear their hum no more Edwards, look there, look there? the scene of my infant joys, my earliest friendships, laid waste and ruinous! That was the very school where I was boarded when you were at South-hill; ’tis but a twelve-month since I saw it standing, and its benches filled with cherubs: that opposite side of the road was the green on which they sported; see it now ploughed up! I would have given fifty times its value to have saved it from the sacrilege of that plough.”
“Dear sir,” replied Edwards, “perhaps they have left it from choice, and may have got another spot as good.”