Ruling A Wife by T. S. Arthur
An Extract From
Married Life, Its Shadows and Sunshine
AS a lover, Henry Lane was the kindest, most devoted,
self-sacrificing person imaginable. He appeared really to have no
will of his own, so entire was his deference to his beautiful Amanda;
yet, for all this, he had no very high opinion of her as an
intelligent being. She was lovely, she was gentle, she was good; and
these qualities, combined with personal grace and beauty, drew him in
admiration to her side, and filled him with the desire to possess her
as his own.
As a husband, Henry Lane was a different being. His relation had
changed, and his exterior changed correspondingly. Amanda was his
wife; and as such she must be, in a certain sense, under him. It was
his judgment that must govern in all matters; for her judgment, in
the affairs of life, was held in light estimation. Moreover, as a
man, it was his province to control and direct and her duty to look
to him for guidance.
Yet, for all this, if the truth must be told, the conclusions of
Amanda's mind were, in ordinary affairs, even more correct than her
husband's judgment; for he was governed a great deal by impulses and
first impressions, instead of by the reason of which he was so proud,
while she came naturally into the woman's quick perceptions of right
and propriety. This being the case, it may readily be seen that there
was a broad ground-work for unhappiness in the married state. Amanda
could not sink into a mere cipher; she could not give up her will
entirely to the guidance of another, and cease to act from her own
It took only a few months to make the young wife feel that her
position was to be one of great trial. She was of a mild and gentle
character, more inclined to suffer than resist; but her judgment was
clear, and she saw the right or wrong of any act almost
instinctively. Love did not make her blind to every thing in her
husband. He had faults and unpleasant peculiarities, and she saw them
plainly, and often desired to correct them. But one trial of this kind
sufficed to keep her silent. He was offended, and showed his state of
mind so plainly, that she resolved never to stand in that relation to
As time progressed, the passiveness of Amanda encouraged in Lane
his natural love of ruling. His household was his kingdom, and there
his will must be the law. In his mind arose the conceit that, in every
thing, his judgment was superior to that of his wife: even in the
smaller matters of household economy, he let this be seen. His taste,
too, was more correct, and applied itself to guiding and directing her
into a proper state of dressing. He decided about the harmony of
colours and the choice of patterns. She could not buy even a ribbon
without there being some fault found with it, as not possessing the
elements of beauty in just arrangements. In company, you would often
hear him say—"Oh, my wife has no taste. She would dress like a fright
if I did not watch her all the time."
Though outwardly passive or concurrent when such things were said,
Amanda felt them as unjust, and they wounded her more or less
severely, according to the character of the company in which she
happened at the time to be; but her self-satisfied husband saw
nothing of this. And not even when some one, more plainly spoken than
others, would reply to such a remark—"She did not dress like a fright
before you were married," did he perceive his presumption and his
But passiveness under such a relation does not always permanently
remain; it was accompanied from the first by a sense of oppression
and injustice, though love kept the feeling subdued. The desire for
ruling in any position gains strength by activity. The more the young
wife yielded, the more did the husband assume, until at length Amanda
felt that she had no will of her own, so to speak. The con- viction of
this, when it formed itself in her mind, half involuntarily brought
with it an instinctive feeling of resistance. Here was the forming
point of antagonism—the beginning of the state of unhappiness
foreshadowed from the first. Had Amanda asserted her right to think
and act for herself in the early days of her married life, the jar of
discord would have been light. It now promised to be most afflicting
in its character.
The first activity of Amanda's newly forming state showed itself in
the doing of certain things to which she was inclined,
notwithstanding the expression of her husband's disapproval.
Accustomed to the most perfect compliance, Mr. Lane was disturbed by
"Oh, dear! what a horrid looking thing!" said he one day, as he
discovered a new dress pattern which his wife had just purchased
lying on a chair. "Where in the world did that come from?"
"I bought it this morning," replied Amanda.
"Take it back, or throw it into the fire," was the husband's rude
"I think it neat," said Amanda, smiling.
"Neat? It's awful! But you've no taste. I wish you'd let me buy
The wife made no answer to this. Lane said a good deal more about
it, to all of which Amanda opposed but little. However, her mind was
made up to one thing, and that was to take it to the mantuamaker's.
The next Lane saw of the dress was on his wife.
"Oh, mercy!" he exclaimed, holding up his hand, "I thought you had
burnt it. Why did you have it made up?"
"I like it," quietly answered Mrs. Lane.
"You like any thing."
"I haven't much taste, I know," said Amanda, "but such as it is, it
is pleasant to gratify it sometimes."
Something in the way this remark was made it disturbed the
self-satisfaction which was a leading feature in Mr. Lane's state of
mind; he, however, answered—"I wish you would be governed by me in
matters of this kind; you know my taste is superior to yours. Do take
off that dress, and throw it in the fire."
Amanda did not reply to this, for it excited feelings and produced
thoughts that she had no wish to manifest. But she did not comply
with her husband's wishes. She liked the dress and meant to wear it,
and she did wear it, notwithstanding her husband's repeated
condemnation of her taste.
At this time they had one child—a babe less than a year old. From
the first, Lane had encroached upon the mother's province. This had
been felt more sensibly than any thing else by his wife, for it
disturbed the harmonious activity of the natural law which gives to a
mother the perception of what is best for her infant. Still, she had
been so in the habit of yielding to the force of his will, that she
gave way to his interference here in numberless instances, though she
as often felt that he was wrong as right. Conceit of his own
intelligence blinded him to the intelligence of others. Of this Amanda
became more and more satisfied every day. At first, she had passively
admitted that he knew best; but her own common sense and clear
perceptions soon repudiated this idea. While his love of predominance
affected only herself, she could bear it with great patience; but when
it was exercised, day after day, and week after week, in matters
pertaining to her babe, she grew restless under the oppression.
After the decided, position taken in regard to her dress, Amanda's
mind acquired strength in a new direction. A single gratification of
her own will, attained in opposition to the will of her husband,
stirred a latent desire for repeated gratifications; and it was not
long before Lane discovered this fact, and wondered at the change
which had taken place in his wife's temper. She no longer acquiesced
in every suggestion, nor yielded when he opposed argument to an
assumed position. The pleasure of thinking and acting for herself had
been restored, and the delight appertaining to its indulgence was no
more to be suppressed. Her husband's reaction on this state put her in
greater freedom; for it made more distinctly manifest the quality of
his ruling affection, and awoke in her mind a more determined spirit
Up to this time, even in the most trifling matters of domestic and
social life, Lane's will had been the law. This was to be so no
longer. A new will had come into activity; and that will a woman's
will. Passive it had been for a long time under a pressure that
partial love and a yielding temper permitted to remain; but its
inward life was unimpaired; and when its motions became earnest, it
was strong and enduring. The effort made by Lane to subdue these
motions the moment he perceived them, only gave them a stronger
impulse. The hand laid upon her heart to quiet its pulsations only
made it beat with a quicker effort, while it communicated its
disturbance to his own.
The causes leading to the result we are to describe have been fully
enough set forth; they steadily progressed until the husband and wife
were in positions of direct antagonism. Lane could not give up his
love of controlling every thing around him, and his wife, fairly
roused to opposition, followed the promptings of her own will, in
matters where right was clearly on her side, with a quiet
perseverance that always succeeded. Of course, they were often made
unhappy; yet enough forbearance existed on both sides to prevent an
open rupture—at least, for a time. That, however, came at last, and
was the more violent from the long accumulation of reactive forces.
The particulars of this rupture we need not give; it arose in a
dispute about the child when she was two years old. As usual, Lane
had attempted to set aside the judgment of his wife in something
pertaining to the child, as inferior to his own, and she had not
submitted. Warm words ensued, in which he said a good deal about a
wife's knowing her place and keeping it.
"I am not your slave!" said Amanda, indignantly; the cutting words
of her husband throwing her off her guard.
"You are my wife," he calmly and half contemptuously replied; "and,
as such, are bound to submit yourself to your husband."
"To my husband's intelligence, not to his mere will," answered
Amanda, less warmly, but more resolutely than at first.
"Yes, to his will!" said Lane, growing blind from anger.
"That I have done long enough," returned the wife. "But the time is
past now. By your intelligence, when I see in it superior light to
what exists in my own, I will be guided, but, by your will—never!"
The onward moving current of years, which, for some time, had been
chafing amid obstructions, now met a sudden barrier, and flowed over
in a raging torrent. A sharp retort met this firm declaration of
Amanda, stinging her into anger, and producing a state of
recrimination. While in this state, she spoke plainly of his
assumption of authority over her from the first,—of her passiveness
for a time,—of being finally aroused to opposition.
"And now," she added, in conclusion, "I am content to be your wife
and equal, but will be no longer your passive and obedient slave."
"Your duty is to obey. You can occupy no other position as my
wife," returned the blind and excited husband.
"Then we must part."
"Be it so." And as he said this, Lane turned hurriedly away and
left the house.
Fixed as a statue, for a long time, sat the stunned and wretched
wife. As the current of thoughts again flowed on, and the words of
her husband presented themselves in even a more offensive light than
when they were first uttered, indignant pride took the uppermost
place in her mind.
"He will not treat me as a wife and equal," she said, "and I will
no longer be his slave."
In anger Lane turned from his wife; and for hours after parting
with her this anger burned with an all-consuming flame. For him to
yield was out of the question. His manly pride would never consent to
this. She must fall back into her true position. He did not return
home, as usual, at dinner-time; but absented himself, in order to
give her time for reflection, as well as to awaken her fears lest he
would abandon her altogether. Towards night, imagining his wife in a
state of penitence and distressing anxiety, and feeling some
commiseration for her on that account, Mr. Lane went back to his
dwelling. As he stepped within the door, a feeling of desertion and
loneliness came over him; and unusual silence seemed to pervade the
house. He sat down in the parlour for some minutes; but hearing no
movement in the chamber above, nor catching even a murmur of his
child's voice, a sound for which his ears were longing, he ascended
the stairs, but found no one there. As he turned to go down again he
met a servant.
"Where is Mrs. Lane?" he asked.
"I don't know," was answered. "She went out this morning, and has
"Where is Mary?"
"She took Mary with her."
"Didn't she say where she was going?"
Mr. Lane asked no more questions, but went back into the room from
which he had just emerged, and, sitting down, covered his face with
his hands, and endeavoured to collect his thoughts.
"Has she deserted me?" he asked of himself in an audible husky
His heart grew faint in the pause that followed. As the idea of
desertion became more and more distinct, Mr. Lane commenced searching
about in order to see whether his wife had not left some communication
for him, in which her purpose was declared. But he found none. She had
departed without leaving a sign. The night that followed was a
sleepless one to Lane. His mind was agitated by many conflicting
emotions. For hours, on the next day, he remained at home, in the
expectation of seeing or hearing from Amanda. But no word came. Where
had she gone? That was the next question. If he must go in search of
hers in what direction should he turn his steps? She had no relations
in the city, and with those who resided at a distance she had
cultivated no intimacy.
The whole day was passed in a state of irresolution. To make the
fact known was to expose a family difficulty that concerned only
himself and wife; and give room for idle gossip and gross detraction.
Bad as the case was, the public would make it appear a great deal
worse than the reality. In the hope of avoiding this, he concealed the
sad affair for the entire day, looking, in each recurring hour, for
the return of his repentant wife. But he looked in vain. Night came
gloomily down, and she was still absent.
He was sitting, about eight o'clock in the evening, undetermined
yet what to do, when a gentleman with whom he was but slightly
acquainted named Edmondson, called at the door and asked to see him.
On being shown in, the latter, with some embarrassment in his
"I have called to inform you, that Mrs. Lane has been at my house
"At your house!"
"Yes. She came there yesterday morning; and, since that time, my
wife has been doing her best to induce her to return home. But, so
far, she has not been able to make the smallest impression. Not
wishing to become a party to the matter, I have called to see you on
the subject. I regret, exceedingly, that any misunderstanding has
occurred, and do not intend that either myself or family shall take
sides in so painful an affair. All that I can do, however, to heal
the difficulty, shall be done cheerfully."
"What does she say?" asked Lane, when he had composed himself.
"She makes no specific complaint."
"What does she propose doing?"
"She avows her intention of living separate from you, and
supporting herself and child by her own efforts."
This declaration aroused a feeling of indignant pride in the
husband's mind. "It is my child as well as hers," said he. "She may
desert me, if she will; but she cannot expect me to give up my child.
To that I will never submit."
"My dear sir," said Mr. Edmondson, "do not permit your mind to
chafe, angrily, over this unhappy matter. That will widen not heal,
the breach. In affairs of this kind, pardon me for the remark, there
are always faults on both sides; and the duty of each is to put away
his or her own state of anger and antagonism and seek to reconcile
the other, rather than to compel submission. As a man, you have the
advantage of a stronger and clearer judgment,—exercise it as a man.
Feeling and impulse often rule in a woman's mind, from the very
nature of her mental conformation; and we should remember this when
we pass judgment on her actions. There is often more honour in
yielding a point than in contending for it to the end, in the face of
threatened disaster. Let me then urge you to seek a reconciliation,
while there is yet opportunity, and permit the veil of oblivion to
fall, while it may, over this painful event. As yet, the fact has not
passed from the knowledge of myself and wife. Heal the breach, and the
secret remains where it is."
"If she will return, I will receive her, and forgive and forget
all. Will you say this to her from me?"
"Why not go to her at once? See her face to face. This is the best
and surest way."
"No," said Lane, coldly. "She has left me of her own choice; and,
now, she must return. I gave her no cause for the rash act. Enough
for me that I am willing to forgive and forget all this. But I am not
the man to humble myself at the feet of a capricious woman. It is not
"Mr. Lane, you are wrong!" said the visitor, in a decided tone.
"All wrong. Do you believe that your wife would have fled from you
without a real or imagined cause?"
"No. But the cause is only in her imagination."
"Then see her and convince her of this. It is the same to her, at
present, whether the cause be real or imaginary. She believes it
real, and feels all its effects as real. Show her that it is
imaginary, and all is healed."
Lane shook his head.
"I have never humbled myself before a man, much less a woman," said
This remark exhibited to Mr. Edmondson the whole ground-work of the
difficulty. Lane regarded a woman as inferior to a man, and had for
her, in consequence, a latent feeling of contempt. He could
understand, now, why his wife had left him; for he saw, clearly,
that, with such an estimation of woman, he would attempt to degrade
her from her true position; and, if she possessed an independent
spirit, render her life wellnigh insupportable. Earnestly did he seek
to convince Lane of his error; but to no good effect. As soon as all
doubt was removed from the mind of the latter in regard to where his
wife had gone, and touching the spirit which governed her in her
separation from him, his natural pride and self-esteem—self-respect,
he called it—came back into full activity. No, he would never humble
himself to a woman! That was the unalterable state of his mind. If
Amanda would return, and assume her old place and her old relation, he
would forget and forgive all. This far he would go, and no farther.
She had left of her own free will, and that must bring her back.
"You can say all this to her in any way you please; but I will not
seek her and enter into an humble supplication for her return. I have
too much self-respect—and am too much of a man—for that. If she
finds the struggle to do so hard and humiliating, she will be the more
careful how she places herself again in such a position. The lesson
will last her a life-time."
"You are wrong; depend upon it, you are wrong!" urged Mr.
Edmondson. "There must be yielding and conciliation on both sides."
"I can do no more than I have said. Passive I have been from the
first, and passive I will remain. As for our child, I wish you to say
to her, that I shall not consent to a separation. It is my child as
much as hers; moreover, as father, my responsibility is greatest, and
I am not the man to delegate my duties to another. Possession of the
child, if driven to that extremity, I will obtain through aid of the
law. This I desire that she shall distinctly understand. I make no
threat. I do not wish her to view the declaration in that light. I
affirm only the truth, that she may clearly understand all the
consequences likely to flow from her ill-advised step."
The more Mr. Edmondson sought to convince Mr. Lane of his error,
the more determinedly did he cling to it; and he retired at last,
under the sad conviction that the unhappy couple had seen but the
beginning of troubles.
Alone with his own thoughts, an hour had not elapsed before Mr.
Lane half repented of his conduct in taking so unyielding a position.
A conviction forced itself upon his mind that he had gone too far and
was asking too much; and he wished that he had not been quite so
exacting in his declarations to Mr. Edmondson. But, having made them,
his false pride of consistency prompted him to adhere to what he had
The night passed in broken and troubled sleep; and morning found
him supremely wretched. Yet resentment still formed a part of Mr.
Lane's feelings. He was angry with his wife, whom he had driven from
his side, and was in no mood to bend in order to effect a
reconciliation. At mid-day he returned from his business, hoping to
find her at home. But his house was still desolate. With the evening
he confidently expected her, but she was not there. Anxiously he sat,
hour after hour, looking for another visit from Mr. Edmondson, but he
came not again.
In leaving her husband's house, Mrs. Lane had gone, as has been
seen, to the house of a friend. Mrs. Edmondson was an old school
companion, between whom and herself had continued to exist, as they
grew up, the tenderest relations. When she turned from her husband,
she fled, with an instinct of affection and sympathy, to this friend,
and poured her tears in a gild agony of affliction upon her bosom. In
leaving her husband, she was not governed by a sudden caprice; nor was
the act intended to humble him to her feet. Nothing of this was in her
mind. He had trenched upon her province as a wife and mother;
interfered with her freedom as an individual; and, at last, boldly
assumed the right to command and control her as an inferior. The
native independence of her character, which had long fretted under
this rule of subordination, now openly rebelled, and, panting for
freedom, she had sprung from her fetters with few thoughts as to
The first day of absence was a day of weeping. Mrs. Edmondson could
not and did not approve of what had been done.
"I am afraid, Amanda, that you have only made matters worse," said
she, as soon as she could venture to suggest any thing at all upon
the subject. "It is always easier to prevent than to heal a breach.
The day has not yet closed. There is time to go back. Your husband
need never know what has been in your mind. This hasty act may be
entirely concealed from him."
But the long suffering wife had been roused to opposition. A new
current of feeling was sweeping across and controlling her mind. She
was, therefore, deaf to the voice of reason. Still her friend, as in
duty bound, urged her to think more calmly on the subject, and to
retrace the steps she had taken. But all was in vain. This being so,
her husband, as has been seen, called upon Mr. Lane, and informed him
that his wife was at his house. From this interview Mr. Edmondson
returned disheartened, and reported all that had been said on both
sides to his wife.
"My husband saw Mr. Lane last evening," said Mrs. Edmondson to
Amanda on the next day.
"He did!" Amanda looked eagerly into the face of her friend, while
she became much agitated.
"Yes. He called to let him know that you were here."
"What did he say?"
"He wishes you to return. All will be forgotten and forgiven."
"He said that?"
"I have done nothing for which I desire forgiveness," said Amanda,
coldly, and with the air of one who is hurt by the words of another.
"If he will not have me return as his wife and equal, I can never go
"For the sake of your child, Amanda, you should be willing to bear
"My child shall not grow, up and see her mother degraded."
"She is his child as well as yours. Do not forget that," said Mrs.
Edmondson. "And it is by no means certain that he will permit you to
retain the possession of an object so dear to him."
The face of Mrs. Lane instantly flushed at this, a suggestion which
had not before been presented to her mind.
"Did he refer to this subject in conversing with your husband?"
inquired Amanda, with forced calmness.
"What did he say?"
"That, in any event, he could not and would not be separated from
his child. And you know, Amanda, that the law will give to him its
"The law!" There was a huskiness in Mrs. Lane's voice.
"Yes, Amanda, the law. It is well for you to view this matter in
all its relations. The law regards the father as the true guardian of
the child. If, therefore, you separate yourself from your husband,
you must expect to bear a separation from your child; for that will
be most likely to follow."
"Did he speak of the law?" asked Mrs. Lane, in a still calmer
voice, and with a steady eye.
"It would not be right to conceal from you this fact, Amanda. He
did do so. And can you wholly blame him? It is his child as well as
yours. He loves it, as you well know; and, as its father, he is
responsible for it to society and to Heaven. This separation is your
act. You may deprive him of your own society; but, have you a right,
at the same time, to rob him of his child? I speak plainly; I would
not be your friend did I not do so. Try, for a little while, to look
away from yourself, and think of your husband; and especially of the
consequences likely to arise to your child from your present act. It
will not be a mere separation with passive endurance of pain on
either side. There will come the prolonged effort of the father to
recover his child, and the anguish and fear of the mother, as she
lives in the constant dread of having it snatched from her hands. And
that must come, inevitably, the final separation. You will have to
part from your child, Amanda, if not in the beginning, yet finally.
You know your husband to be of a resolute temper Do not give him a
chance to press you to extremity. If he should come to the
determination to recover his child from your hands, he will not stop
short of any means to accomplish his purpose."
Mrs. Lane made no reply to this; nor did she answer to any further
remark, appeal, or suggestion of her friend, who soon ceased to speak
on the subject and left her to her own reflections, hoping that they
might lead her to some better purpose than had yet influenced her in
the unhappy business. On the day after, Mr. Edmondson met Lane in the
"I was about calling to see you," said the latter, "on the subject
of this unhappy difficulty, to which, so reluctantly to yourself, you
have become a party. It may be that I am something to blame. Perhaps I
have been too exacting—too jealous of my prerogative as a husband. At
any rate, I am willing to admit that such has been the case; and
willing to yield something to the morbid feelings of my wife. What is
her present state of mind?"
Mr. Edmondson looked surprised.
Remarking this, Lane said quickly, "Is she not at your house?"
"No," replied Mr. Edmondson, "she left us yesterday. We believed
that she had gone home. My wife had a long conversation with her, in
which she urged her, by every consideration, to return; and we had
reason to think, when she left our house, that she went back to you."
"Such is not the case," said Mr. Lane, with disappointment, and
something of sadness in his tone. "I have not seen her since the
morning of our unhappy difference. Where can she have gone?"
Mr. Edmondson was silent.
"Did she say that she was going to return home?" asked Mr. Lane.
"No. But we had reason to think that such was her intention. Have
you heard nothing from her?"
"Not a word."
"It is strange!"
Mr. Lane heaved a deep sigh. A few more brief questions and answers
passed, and then the two men separated. The forsaken husband went
home with a sadder heart than he had yet known. The absence of his
wife and child for several days—both objects of real affection—and
absent under such peculiar and trying circumstances, had subdued, to
a great extent, his angry feelings. He was prepared to yield much. He
would even have gone to his wife, and acknowledged that he was partly
in error, in order to have brought about a reconciliation. Something
that she had said during their last, exciting interview, which he had
rejected as untrue, or not causes of complaint, had represented
themselves to his mind; and in the sober reflecting states that were
predominant, he saw that he had not in all things treated her as an
equal, nor regarded her at all times as possessing a rational freedom
as independent as his own. Though he did not excuse her conduct, he
yet thought of it less angrily than at first, and was willing to yield
something in order to restore the old relations.
Anxiety and alarm now took possession of his mind. The distance
between them had become wider, and the prospect of a reconciliation
more remote. Amanda had gone, he could not tell whither. She had
neither money nor friends; he knew not into what danger she might
fall, nor what suffering she might encounter. It was plain from the
manner of her leaving the house of Mr. Edmondson, that her resolution
to remain away from him was fixed. He must, therefore, seek her out,
and invite her to return. He must yield if he would reconcile this sad
difficulty. And he was now willing to do so. But, where was she?
Whither should he go in search of the wanderer?
The very means which her friend had taken to induce Mrs. Lane to
return to her husband, had driven her farther away. The hint touching
her husband's legal rights in the child, and his resolution to assert
them, filled her with the deepest alarm, and determined her to put it
beyond his power, if possible, to deprive her of the only thing in
life to which her heart could now cling. Toward her husband, her
feelings were those of an oppressed one for an oppressor. From the
beginning, he had almost suffocated her own life by his pressure upon
her freedom of will. She remembered, with, tears, his tenderness and
his love; but soon would come the recollection of his constant
interference in matters peculiarly her own; his evident contempt for
her intellect; and his final efforts to subdue her rising
independence, and make her little less than a domestic slave—and the
fountain of her tears would become dry. Added to all this, was the
fact of his resolution to recover his child by law. This crushed out
all hope from her heart. He had no affection left for her. His love
had changed to hate. He had assumed toward her the attitude of a
persecutor. Nothing was now left for her but self-protection.
In leaving the home of her husband, Mrs. Lane had exercised no
forethought. She made no estimate of consequences, and provided for
no future contingencies. She was blind in her faint-heartedness, that
was little less than despair. Any thing was better than to remain in a
state of submission, that had become, she felt, intolerable. Leaving
thus, Mrs. Lane had taken with her nothing beyond a few dollars in her
purse, and it was only an accident that her purse was in her pocket.
All her own clothes and those of her child, except what they had on,
were left behind.
Alarmed at the threat of her husband, Mrs. Lane, a few hours after
the conversation with Mrs. Edmondson, in which his views were made
known to her, took her child and went away. In parting with her
friend, she left upon her mind the impression that she was going
home. This was very far from her intention. Her purpose was to leave
New York, the city of her residence, as quickly as possible, and flee
to some obscure village, where she would remain hidden from her
husband. She had resided, some years before, for a short time in
Philadelphia; and thither she resolved to go, and from thence reach
some point in the country. On leaving the house of her friend, Mrs.
Lane hurried to the river and took passage in the afternoon line for
As the cars began their swift movement from Jersey City, a feeling
of inexpressible sadness came over her, and she began to realize more
distinctly than she had yet done, her desolate, destitute, and
helpless condition. After paying her passage, she had only two
dollars left in her purse; and, without money, how was she to gain
friends and shelter in a strange city? To add to her unhappy
feelings, her child commenced asking for her father.
"Where is papa?" she would repeat every few minutes. "I want to go
to my papa."
This was continued until it ended in fretfulness and complaints at
the separation it was enduring. Tears and sobs followed; and,
finally, the child wept herself to sleep.
A new train of feelings was awakened by this incident. In leaving
her husband, Mrs. Lane had thought only of herself. She had not once
considered the effect of a separation from its father upon her child.
Little Mary's heart was full of affection for the two beings whom
nature prompted her to love. Her father's return from business had
always been to her the happiest event of the day; and, when she sprang
into his arms, her whole being would thrill with delight. Days had
passed since she had seen her father, and she was pining to meet him
again to lay her head upon his bosom—to feel his arms clasped tightly
All this was realized by the mother, as the child lay sleeping on
her arm, while the swift rolling cars bore them farther and farther
away from the home she was leaving. Is it just to the child?
Distinctly did this thought present itself in her mind. For a long
time she mused over it, her feelings all the while growing more and
more tender, until something like repentance for the step she had
taken found its way into her mind—not for what she was herself
suffering, but for the sake of her child. She had not thought of the
effect upon little Mary, until the pain of absence showed itself in
This idea arose clearly before her—she could not push it aside;
and, the more she pondered it, the more troubled did she become, from
a new source. Would not the separation so deeply afflict the child as
to rob her of all happiness?
While these thoughts had full possession of the mother's mind, Mary
slept on and dreamed of her father, as was evident from the fact
that, more than once, she murmured his name.
When night came down, its effect upon Mrs. Lane was more sadly
depressing, for it brought her into a clearer realization of her
unhappy condition. Where was she going? What was the uncertain future
to bring forth? All was as dark as the night that had closed around
At length the cars reached Bristol, and it became necessary to
leave them, and pass into the boat. In lifting Mary in her arms, to
bear her from the cars, the child again murmured the name of her
father, which so affected Mrs. Lane, that her tears gushed forth in
spite of her efforts to restrain them. Letting her veil fall over her
face to conceal this evidence of affliction from her
fellow-passengers, she proceeded with the rest; and, in a little
while, was gliding swiftly down the river. It was ten o'clock when
they arrived in Philadelphia. For an hour previous to this time, the
mind of the fugitive had been busy in the effort to determine what
course she should take on gaining the end of her journey. But the
nearer she came to its termination, the more confused did she become,
and the less clearly did she see the way before her. Where should she
go on reaching the city? There as no one to receive her; no one to
whom she could go and claim protection, or even shelter.
This state of irresolution continued until the boat touched the
wharf, and the passengers were leaving. Mary was awake again, and
kept asking, every few moments, to go home.
"Yes, dear, we will go home," the mother would reply, in a tone of
encouragement, while her own mind was in the greatest uncertainty and
"Why don't papa come?" asked the child, as one after another moved
away, and they were left standing almost alone. At this moment, an
Irishman, with a whip in his hand, came up, and said—
"Want a carriage, ma'am?"
Mrs. Lane hesitated a moment or two, while she thought hurriedly,
and then replied—
"Very well, ma'am; I'll attend to you. Where is your baggage?"
"I have only this basket with me."
"Ah! well; come along." And Mrs. Lane followed the man from the
"Where shall I drive you?" he asked, after she had entered the
There was a pause, with apparent irresolution.
"I am a stranger here," said Mrs. Lane innocently. "I want to
obtain pleasant accommodations for a day or two. Can you take me to a
"Faith, and I can—as good as the city will afford. Do you wish one
of the tip-top places, where they charge a little fortune a week; or
a good comfortable home at a reasonable price?"
"I want a comfortable, retired place, where the charges are not
"Exactly; I understand."
And the driver closed the door, and, mounting his box, drove off.
At the end of ten minutes the carriage stopped, the steps were let
down, and Mrs. Lane, after descending, was shown into a small
parlour, with dingy furniture. A broad, red-faced Irish woman soon
appeared, at the summons of the driver.
"I've brought you a lady customer, Mrs. McGinnis, d'ye see? And
you're just the one to make her at home and comfortable. She's a
stranger, and wants a quiet place for a day or two."
"And, in troth, she'll find it here, as ye well say, John Murphy.
Will the lady put off her bonnet? We'll have her room ready in a
jiffy! Much obleeged to yees, John Murphy, for remembering us. What a
darlint of a child; bless its little heart!"
"What must I pay you?" asked Mrs. Lane, hoarsely, turning to the
"One dollar, ma'am," was replied.
Mrs. Lane drew forth her purse, towards which the Irishwoman
glanced eagerly, and took therefrom the sum charged, and paid the man,
who immediately retired. The landlady followed him out, and stood
conversing with him at the door for several minutes. When she
returned, she was less forward in her attentions to her guest, and
somewhat inquisitive as to who she was, where she had come from, and
whither she was going. All these Mrs. Lane evaded, and asked to have
her room prepared as quickly as possible, as she did not feel very
well, and wished to retire. The room was at length ready, and she
went up with little Mary, who had again fallen to sleep. It was
small, meagerly furnished, and offensive from want of cleanliness. In
turning down the bed clothes, she found the sheets soiled and rumpled,
showing that the linen had not been changed since being used by
previous lodgers. The first thing that Mrs. Lane did, after laying her
sleeping child upon the bed, was to sit down and weep bitterly. The
difficulties about to invest her, as they drew nearer and nearer,
became more and more apparent; and her heart sank and trembled as she
looked at the unexpected forms they were assuming. But a single dollar
remained in her purse; and she had an instinctive conviction that
trouble with the landlady on account of money was before her. Had she
been provided with the means of independence, she would have instantly
called a servant, and demanded a better room, and fresh linen for her
bed; but, under the circumstances, she dared not do this. She had a
conviction that the Irishwoman was already aware of her poverty, and
that any call for better accommodations would be met by insult. It was
too late to seek for other lodgings, even if she knew where to go, and
were not burdened with a sleeping child.
Unhappy fugitive! How new and unexpected were the difficulties that
already surrounded her! How dark was the future! dark as that old
Egyptian darkness that could be felt. As she sat and wept, the folly
of which she was guilty in the step she had taken presented itself
distinctly before her mind, and she wondered at her own blindness and
want of forethought. Already, in her very first step, she had got her
feet tangled. How she was to extricate them she could not see.
Wearied at last with grief and fear, her mind became exhausted with
its own activity. Throwing herself upon the bed beside her child,
without removing her clothes, she was soon lost in sleep. Daylight
was stealing in, when the voice of little Mary awakened her.
"Where's papa?" asked the child, and she looked with such a sad
earnestness into her mother's face, that the latter felt rebuked, and
turned her eyes away from those of her child. "Want to go home,"
lisped the unhappy babe—"see papa."
"Yes, dear," soothingly answered the mother.
Little Mary turned her eyes to the door with an expectant look, as
if she believed her father, whom she loved, was about to enter, and
listened for some moments.
"Papa! papa!" she called in anxious tones, and listened again; but
there was no response. Her little lip began to quiver, then it curled
grievingly; and, falling over, she hid her face against her mother and
Tenderly did the mother take her weeping child to her bosom, and
hold it there in a long embrace. After it had grown calm she arose,
and adjusting her rumpled garments, and those of Mary, sat down by
the windows to await the events that were to follow. In about half an
hour a bell was rung in the passage below, and soon after a girl came
to her room to say that breakfast was ready.
"I wish my breakfast brought to me here," said Mrs. Lane.
The girl stared a moment and then retired. Soon after, the Irish
landlady made her appearance.
"What is it ye wants, mum?" said that personage, drawing herself up
and assuming an air of vulgar dignity and importance.
"Nothing," replied Mrs. Lane, "except a little bread and milk for
"Isn't yees coming down to breakfast?"
Mrs. Lane shook her head.
"Ye'd better. It's all ready."
"I don't wish any thing. But if you'll send me up something for my
child, I will be obliged to you."
The landlady stood for some moments, as if undecided what she
should do, and then retired. About half an hour afterwards, a dirty
looking Irish girl appeared with a waiter, on which were the articles
for which she had asked.
"Don't ye want any thing for yerself, mum?" asked the girl, with
some kindness in her voice.
"No, I thank you," was replied.
"You'd better eat a little."
"I've no appetite," said Mrs. Lane, turning her face away to
conceal the emotion that was rising to the surface.
The girl retired, and the food brought for the child was placed
before her; but she felt as little inclined to eat as her mother, and
could not be induced to take a mouthful. Turning from the offered
food, she raised her tearful eyes to her mother's face, and in a
choking voice said—"Go home, mamma—see papa."
The words smote, like heavy strokes, upon the mother's heart. How
great a wrong had she done her child! But could she retrace her steps
now? Could she go back and humble herself under the imperious will of
her husband? Her heart shrunk from the thought. Any thing but that! it
would crush the life out of her. An hour she sat, with these and
kindred thoughts passing through her mind, when the girl who had
brought up Mary's breakfast came in and said—"Won't yees walk down
into the parlour, mum, while I clean up your room?"
"Is any one down there?" asked Mrs. Lane.
"No, mum," was answered by the girl.
With some reluctance Mrs. Lane descended to the small, dingy
parlour, which she found adjoining a bar-room, whence there came the
loud voices of men. From a window she looked forth upon the street,
which was narrow, and crowded with carts, drays, and other vehicles.
Opposite were old houses, in which business of various kinds was
carried on. One was occupied by a cooper; another used as a
storehouse for fish; another for a grog-shop. Every thing was dirty
and crowded, and all appeared bustle and confusion. It was plain to
her that she had fallen in an evil place, and that her first business
must be escape. As she sat meditating upon the next step, there came
suddenly, from the bar-room, the sound of angry voices, mingled with
fierce threats and shocking blasphemy. Springing to her feet in
terror, Mrs. Lane caught up her child, and was about starting from the
door without any covering upon her head, when the landlady intercepted
"What's the matter with yees? Where are ye going?"
With quivering lips, and face white with alarm, Mrs. Lane
replied—"Oh, ma'am! get me my things and let me go."
"Ye can go when ye pays yer bill, in welcome," replied the woman.
"How much is it?"
"It's a dollar and a half."
The Irishwoman looked steadily at Mrs. Lane, and saw, by the change
in her countenance, what she had expected, that she had not as much
money in her possession.
"Won't a dollar pay you?" asked Mrs. Lane, after standing with her
eyes upon the floor for some moments. "I've had nothing but my
night's lodging and surely a dollar will pay for that."
"Indade and it won't, then! Sure, and yer breakfast was got. If ye
didn't ate it, I'm not to fault.
"Here is a dollar," said Mrs. Lane, taking out her purse. "I'm sure
it's full pay for all I've received."
"And d'ye mane to call me an ould chate, ye spalpeen, ye!"
indignantly replied the landlady, her face growing red with anger,
while she raised her huge fist and shook it at her terrified guest,
who retreated back into the parlour, and sank, trembling, into a
"As if I wasn't an honest woman," continued the virago, following
Mrs. Lane. "As if I'd extort on a lone woman! Give me patience! When
ye pays the dollar and a half, ye can go; but not a foot shall ye
take from my door until then."
A scuffle took place in the bar-room at that moment, attended by a
new eruption of oaths and imprecations.
Quickly sprinting from her chair, Mrs. Lane, with Mary in her arms,
glided from the room, and ran panting up-stairs to her chamber, the
door of which she locked behind her on entering.
Half an hour of as calm reflection as it was possible for Mrs. Lane
to make brought her to the resolution to leave the house at all
hazards. Where she was to go, was to be an afterthought. The greatest
evil was to remain; after escaping that, she would consider the means
of avoiding what followed. Putting on her bonnet and shawl, and taking
her basket, she went down-stairs with her child, determined, if
possible, to get away unobserved, and after doing so, to send back, by
any means that offered, the only dollar she possessed in the world to
the landlady. No one met her on the stairs, and she passed the
parlour-door unobserved. But, alas! the street-door was found locked
and the key withdrawn. After a few ineffectual attempts to open it,
Mrs. Lane went into the parlour, and, standing there, debated for some
moments whether she should leave the house by passing through the
bar-room, or wait for another opportunity to get away by the private
en-trance. While still bewildered and undetermined the landlady came
in from the bar-room.
The moment she saw her guest, she comprehended the purpose in her
"Where are ye going?" said she in a quick sharp voice, the blood
rising to her coarse sensual face.
"I am going to leave your house," replied Mrs. Lane, in as firm a
voice as she could command. As she spoke she drew forth her purse,
and taking out the solitary dollar it contained,
added—"Unfortunately, this is all the money I have with me, but I
will send you the other half-dollar."
But the landlady refused to take the proffered money, and replied,
"A purty how d'you do, indeed, to come into a genteel body's house,
and then expect to get off without paying your bill. But ye don't
know Biddy McGinnis—ye don't! If yees wants to go paceable, pay the
dollar and a half. But until this is done, ye shall not cross my
"I can't stay here! What good will it do?" said Mrs. Lane, wringing
her hand. "It's all the money I've got; and remaining won't increase
the sum, while it adds to the debt. Better let me go now."
"Indade, and ye'll not go, thin, my lady! I'll tache yees to come
into a respectable body's house without as much money in yer pocket
as 'll pay for the night's lodging. I wonder who ye are, any how! No
better than ye should be, I'll warrint!"
While speaking, the Irishwoman had drawn nearer and nearer, and now
stood with her face only a few inches from that of her distressed
guest, who, bursting into tears, clasped her hands together, and
"Let me go! let me go! If you have the heart of a woman, let me
"Heart of a woman, indade!" returned Mrs. McGinnis, indignantly.
"Yer a purty one to talk to me about the heart of a woman. Stalein
into a body's house at twelve o'clock at night, and thin tryin' to go
off without paying for the lodgings and breakfast. Purty doings!"
"What's the matter here?" said a well dressed man, stepping in from
the bar-room and closing the door behind him. "What do you mean by
talking to the lady in this way, Mrs. McGinnis? I've been listening
There was an instant change in the Irishwoman. Her countenance
fell, and she retreated a few steps from the object of her
"What's all this about? I should like to know," added the man in a
decided way. "Will you explain, madam?" addressing Mrs. Lane, in a
kind voice. "But you are agitated. Sit down and compose yourself."
"Let her pay me my money, that's all I want," muttered the
In a moment the man's purse was drawn from his pocket. "What does
she owe you?"
"A dollar and a half, bad luck till her!"
"There's your money, you old termagant!" And the man handed her the
amount. "And now, as you are paid, and have nothing more to say to
this lady, please to retire and let her be freed from your presence."
"Yees needint call me ill names, Misther Bond," said the woman, in
a subdued voice, as she retired. "It doesn't become a jentilman like
you. I didn't mane any harm. I only wanted my own, and sure I've a
right to that."
"Well, you've got your own, though not in a way that does either
you or your house much credit," returned the man. "The next time you
are so fortunate as to get a lady in your hotel, I hope you'll know
better how to treat her."
Mrs. McGinnis retired without further remark, and the man turned to
Mrs. Lane, and said, in a kind, respectful manner,
"I am sorry to find you so unhappily situated, and will do any
thing in my power to relieve you from your present embarrassment. Your
landlady here is a perfect virago. How did you happen to fall into
Encouraged by the kindness of the man's address, as well as from
the fact that he had rescued her from a violent woman, Mrs. Lane,
after composing herself, said—
"I came in from New York last night, and, being a stranger, asked
the cabman to take me to a good hotel. He brought me here. I happened
to have but two dollars in my purse, he charged one for carriage
"Finding into what a wretched place he had brought me, I wished to
leave this morning, but have been prevented because I could not pay a
dollar and a half when I had only a dollar. I told her to let me go,
and I would send her the balance claimed; but she only met the
proposition by insult."
"The wretch!" exclaimed the man, indignantly. "I happened to be
passing, and, hearing her loud voice, glanced in at the window. In an
instant I comprehended, to some extent, the difficulty; and, knowing
her of old, came in to see if something were not wrong. She is a bad
woman, and her house is a snare for the innocent. It is fortunate for
you that I came at the right moment!"
Mrs. Lane shuddered.
"And now, madam," said the man, "what can I do for you? Have you
friends in the city?"
"I am an entire stranger here," replied Mrs. Lane.
"Were you going farther?
"Yes," was answered after some hesitation.
"Where do your friends reside?"
"In New York."
"This is your child?" was said, after a pause.
There was something in the man's manner, and in the way he looked
at her, that now made Mrs. Lane shrink from, as instinctively as she
had at first leaned towards him. Beneath his steady eye her own
drooped and rested for some moments on the floor.
"Is your husband in New York?" pursued the man.
This question caused the heart of Mrs. Lane to bound with a sudden
throb. Her husband! She had deserted him, her natural and lawful
protector, and already she was encompassed with difficulties and
surrounded by dangers. What would she not at that moment have given
to be safely back in the home she had left? To the last question she
gave a simple affirmative.
"Where do you wish to go when you leave here?" inquired the man,
who had perceived a change in her and understood its nature.
"I wish to be taken to a good hotel, where I can remain a day or
two, until I have time to communicate with my friends. My being out
of money is owing to an inadvertence. I will receive a supply
immediately on writing home."
The man drew his purse from his pocket, and, presenting it, said—
"This is at your service. Take whatever you need."
Mrs. Lane thanked him, but drew back.
"Only get me into some safe place, until I can write to my
friends," said she, "and you would lay both them and me under the
The man arose at this, and stepping into the bar room, desired the
bar-keeper to send for a carriage. From a stand near by one was
called. When it came to the door, he informed Mrs. Lane of the fact,
and asked if she were ready to go.
"Where will you take me?" she asked.
"To the United States Hotel," replied the man. "You could not be in
a safer or better place."
On hearing this, Mrs. Lane arose without hesitation, and, going
from the house, entered the carriage with the man, and was driven
away. Drawing her veil over her face, she shrank into a corner of the
vehicle, and remained in sad communion with her own thoughts for many
minutes. From this state of abstraction, the stopping of the carriage
aroused her. The driver left his seat and opened the door, when her
companion stepped forth, saying as he did so—
"This is the place," and offering at the same time his hand.
As Mrs. Lane descended to the street, she glanced with a look of
anxious inquiry around her. Already a suspicion that all might not be
right was disturbing her mind. Two years before she had been in
Philadelphia, and had stayed several days at the United States Hotel.
She remembered the appearance of the building and the street, but now
she did not recognise a single object. All was strange.
"Is this the United States Hotel?" she asked eagerly.
"Oh, yes, ma'am," was the smiling reply. "We are at the private
Her bewildered mind was momentarily deceived by this answer, and
she permitted herself to be led into a house, which she soon
discovered not to be an hotel. The most dreadful suspicions instantly
seized her. So soon as she was shown into. a parlour, the man retired.
A woman came in shortly afterwards, who, from her appearance, seemed
to be the mistress of the house. She spoke kindly to Mrs. Lane, and
asked if she would walk up into her room.
"There has been some mistake," said the poor wanderer, her lips
quivering in spite of her efforts to assume a firm exterior.
"Oh, no, none at all," quickly replied the woman, smiling.
"Yes, yes there is. I am not in the hotel where I wished to go. Why
have I been brought here? Where is the man with whom I came?"
"He has gone away; but will return again. In the mean time do not
causelessly distress yourself. You are safe from all harm."
"But I am not where I wished to go," replied Mrs. Lane. "Will you
be kind enough to give me the direction of the United States Hotel,
and I will walk there with my child."
The woman shook her head.
"I could not permit you to go until Mr. Bond returned," said she.
"He brought you here, and will expect to find you when he comes
"I will not remain." And as she said this in a firm voice, Mrs.
Lane arose, and, taking her little girl in her arms, made an attempt
to move through the door into the passage. But the woman stepped
before her quickly, and in a mild, yet decided way, told her that she
could not leave the house.
"Why not?" asked the trembling creature.
"Mr. Bond has placed you in my care, and will expect to find you on
his return," answered the woman.
"Who is Mr. Bond? What right has he to control my movements?"
"Did you not place yourself in his care?" inquired the woman. "I
understood him to say that such was the case."
"He offered to protect me from wrong and insult."
"And, having undertaken to do so, he feels himself responsible to
your friends for your safe return to their hands. I am responsible to
"Deceived! deceived! deceived!" murmured Mrs. Lane, bursting into
tears and sinking into a chair, while she hugged her child tightly in
her arms, and laid its face against her own.
The woman seemed slightly moved at this exhibition of distress, and
stood looking at the quivering frame of the unhappy fugitive, with a
slight expression of regret on her face. After Mrs. Lane had grown
calm, the woman said to her:
"Is your husband living?"
"He is," was answered, in a steady voice.
"Where does he reside?" continued the woman.
"In New York," replied Mrs. Lane.
"What is his name?"
Mrs. Lane reflected, hurriedly, for some moments, and then gave a
correct answer, adding, at the same time, that for any attempted
wrong, there would come a speedy and severe retribution. The next
inquiry of the woman was as to her husband's occupation, which was
also answered correctly.
"And now," added Mrs. Lane, with assumed firmness, "you had better
let me retire from this place immediately, and thus avoid trouble,
which, otherwise, you would be certain to have. My husband is a
merchant of influence, and a man who will not stop at half measures
in seeking to redress a wrong. This man, whoever he may be, who has
so basely deceived me, will find, ere long, that he has done an act
which will hot go unpunished, and that severely. As for yourself, be
warned in time, and let me go from this place."
Again Mrs. Lane sought to pass from the room, but was prevented.
The woman was neither harsh, rude, nor insulting in her manner, but
firmly refused to let her leave the house, saying—"I am responsible
for your safe keeping, and cannot, therefore, let you go."
She then urged her to go up-stairs and lay off her things, but Mrs.
Lane refused, in the most positive manner, to leave the parlour.
"You will be more comfortable in the chamber we have prepared for
you," said the woman, coldly; "but you must do as you like. If you
want any thing, you can ring for it."
And saying this, she turned from the room, and locked the door
through which she retired. The instant she was gone, Mrs. Lane sprang
towards one of the front windows, threw it up and attempted to draw
the bolt which fastened the shutter; but her effort was not
successful: the bolt remained immovable. On a closer inspection, she
found that it was locked. The back window was open, but a glance into
the yard satisfied her that it would be useless to attempt escape in
that way. Hopeless in mind and paralyzed in body, she again sank down
Little Mary, who had been left standing on the floor during this
effort to escape, now came up to where she had thrown herself upon a
sofa, and, laying her little face upon her breast, looked tearfully
at her, and said, in a low, sorrowful voice—"Won't papa come? I want
my papa—my dear papa."
Not a word could the mother reply to her unhappy child, who, in her
folly, she had so wronged. Oh, what would she not have given at that
moment to see the face of her husband!
Five or six hours had passed. In a small sitting room, near the
parlour in which Mrs. Lane was still a prisoner, stood the man named
Bond, and the woman who had received her.
"Mrs. Lane did you say she called herself?" said the man, with a
sudden change of manner—"and from New York?"
"Did you inquire her husband's business?"
"She said he was a merchant of standing, and threatened both you
and me with the severest consequences, if she were not instantly
"Can it be possible!" remarked the man, and he stood in a musing
attitude for some time. "I'm a little afraid this affair is not going
to turn out quite so pleasantly as I at first supposed. I think I know
"Yes. We have had several business transactions together, if he is
the individual I suppose him to be."
"Then you had better get her off of your hands as quickly as
possible; and this will be no hard matter. Only open the cage-door,
and the bird will fly."
"Confound that Irish huzzy! She and her John Murphy have scared up
a nice bit of adventure for me."
"Both you and they ought to have known better than to expect any
thing but trouble from a woman with a baby. As it is, the best thing
for you is to get her off of your hands forthwith."
"I don't like to give up after progressing so far. It isn't my
"A wise man foresees evil, and gets out of its way."
"True; and my better course is to step aside, I suppose. But what
shall we do with her?"
"Open the cage-door, as I said, and let her escape."
"Where will she go?"
"Have you any concern on that head?"
"Some. Moreover, I don't just comprehend the meaning of her visit
here alone at night, and without money. I wonder if, after all, there
isn't a lover in the case, who has failed to meet her."
"Most likely," returned the woman.
"In that event, why may not I take his place?"
"It will require her consent. Better have nothing more to do with
her, and thus keep out of the way of trouble.
"Her husband, if she be the wife of the man I think she is," said
Bond, "will hardly stop at half-way measures in an affair like this."
"So much the more reason for keeping out of his way."
"Perhaps so; and yet I like adventure, especially when spiced with
a little danger. Upon second thought, I'll let her remain here until
"Just as you like. But I've been unable to get her up-stairs; and
she can't stay in the parlour all night."
"No. She must go to the chamber you have prepared for her."
"How will we get her there?"
"Use every effort you can to induce her to comply with our wishes
in this respect. I will come in after nightfall, and, if you have not
been successful, will remove her by force."
With this understanding, the partners in evil separated.
Soon after parting with Mr. Edmondson, who had informed Mr. Lane
that his wife was no longer at his house, and when the latter had
begun to feel exceedingly anxious, he met a gentleman who said to
him, "When do you expect Mrs. Lane back?"
It was with difficulty that the deserted husband could refrain from
the exhibition of undue surprise at such an unexpected question.
"I was over the river yesterday afternoon with a friend who was on
his way to Philadelphia," added the man, "and saw your lady in the
"Good morning," said Mr. Lane, as he looked at his watch, and then
turned away with a hurried manner.
It was half-past eleven o'clock. At twelve a line started for the
South. Lane was on board the steamboat when it left the dock. Six
hours and a half of most intense anxiety were passed ere the unhappy
man reached Philadelphia. On arriving, he took a carriage and visited
all the principal hotels, but not a word could he hear of his wife. He
then bethought him to make some inquiries of the hackman whom he had
"Were you at the wharf last night when the New York line came in?"
he asked, as he stood with his hand on the carriage-door, after
leaving one of the hotels, again disappointed in his search.
"I was," replied the hackman.
"Did you get any passengers?"
"Did you see any thing of a lady with a child?"
The hackman thought for a little while, and then replied—
"Yes, I did. There was a lady and a child, nearly the last on the
boat. John Murphy drove them away."
"Where can I find John Murphy?" eagerly enquired Mr. Lane.
"He's probably on the stand."
"Drive me there if you please." And he sprang into the carriage.
In a few minutes they were at a carriage stand; and Mr. Lane heard
the driver call out, as he reined up his horses—"Hallo! there, John
Murphy! here's a gentleman who wants to see you."
The person addressed came up as Mr. Lane descended from the
"I understand," said Lane, "that you received a lady and child in
your carriage, last night, from the New York line. Where did you take
"Who said that I did?" boldly inquired the man addressed.
"I said so!" as firmly replied the driver who had given the
information to Mr. Lane. "What interest have you in denying it?"
Murphy evinced some surprise at this, and looked a little dashed,
but repeated his denial.
A new fear instantly seized Mr. Lane. His wife might have been
entrapped into some den of infamy, through means of the driver she
had employed to convey her to an hotel. The thought affected him like
an electric shock.
"You are certain of what you say?" asked Mr. Lane, turning to the
hackman he had employed.
"Certain," was answered positively.
"Is there a police officer near at hand?" was the next inquiry.
This was intended as no threat; and Murphy understood its meaning.
The eyes of Mr. Lane were fixed on his face, and he saw in it a
guilty change. No reply being made to the question about a police
officer, Mr. Lane said, addressing the accused hackman—
"If you wish to escape trouble, take me instantly to the house
where I can find the lady you took from the boat last night. She is my
wife, and I will go through fire and water to find her; and let him
who stands in my way take the consequences."
Murphy now drew Mr. Lane aside, and said a few words to him
"Can I depend upon what you say?" eagerly asked the latter.
"Yes, upon honour!" replied the hackman.
"You must go with me," said Lane.
"I cannot leave the stand."
"I will call a policeman and compel you to go with me, if you don't
accompany me peaceably. As I live, I will not part from you until I
find her! Take your choice—go quietly, or under compulsion."
There was a fierce energy in the excited man that completely
subdued the Irish hackman, who, after a further, though feeble
remonstrance, got into the carriage with Mr. Lane, and was driven off.
The course taken was out—street. Some distance beyond Washington
Square, the carriage stopped before a house, in which Mr. Lane was
informed that he would find the woman whom Murphy had taken from the
boat the night before. He stepped out quickly, and, as he sprang
across the pavement, Murphy, who was out of the carriage almost as
soon as he was, glided around the corner of a street, and was beyond
recall. A quick jerk of the bell was answered by a female servant, who
held the door only partly open, while Lane addressed her.
"Wasn't there a woman and child brought here last night?" said he,
in an agitated manner.
"No, sir," replied the girl; and, as she spoke, she made an attempt
to close the door, seeing which, Mr. Lane thrust a part of his body
in and prevented the movement.
"Are you certain?" he asked.
"I am," was positively answered, while the girl strove to shut the
door by forcing it against Mr. Lane. At this moment something like a
smothered cry from within reached his ears, when, throwing open the
door with a sudden application of strength that prostrated the girl,
he stepped over her body and entered the vestibule. Just then there
arose a wild cry for help! He knew the voice; it came from one of the
parlours, into which he rushed. There he saw his wife struggling in
the arms of a woman and a man, while his frightened child stood near,
white and speechless with terror. As he entered, Amanda saw him.
"Oh, my husband!" she exclaimed. In a moment she was released, and
the man and woman fled from the room, but not before the face of the
former was fully recognised by Mr. Lane.
Little Mary had already sprung to her father, and was quivering and
panting on his breast.
"Oh! take me away quickly—quickly!" cried Mrs. Lane, staggering
towards her husband and falling into his arms.
Without waiting for explanations, Mr. Lane went from the house with
his wife and child, and, placing them in the carriage at the door,
was driven to an hotel.
The reader doubtless understands the scene we have just described.
The man named Bond was in the act of carrying out his threat to
remove Mrs. Lane to a chamber by force when her husband appeared.
Of all that passed between the severely-tried husband and wife
after their meeting, it behooves us not to write. The circumstances we
have detailed were exceedingly painful to the parties most
interested; but their effect, like the surgeon's knife, was salutary.
Mr. Lane afterwards regarded his wife from an entirely different point
of view, and found her a very different woman from what he had at
first believed her to be. He saw in her a strength of character and a
clearness of intellect for which he had never given her credit; and,
from looking down upon her as a child or an inferior, came to feel
towards her as an equal.
His indignation at the treatment she had received in Philadelphia
was extreme. The man named Bond he knew very well, and he at first
determined to call him to account personally; but as this would lead
to a mortifying notoriety and exposure of the whole affair, he was
reluctantly induced to keep silence. Bond has never crossed his way
since: it might not be well for him to do so.
Some years have passed. No one who meets Mr. and Mrs. Lane, at home
or abroad, would dream that, at one time, they were driven asunder by
a strong repulsion. Few are more deeply attached, or happier in their
domestic relations; but neither trespasses on the other's rights, nor
interferes with the other's prerogative. Mutual deference, confidence,
respect, and love, unite them with a bond that cannot again be broken.