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what alacrity, with what delight should I have owned the call. But, perhaps, it may not now be too late," - his countenance assuming a more animated expression,
you may yet live to bless your children. Your injury is surely not serious. Heaven will not deprive me of a parent at the moment I am made aware I
possess the blessing."
· My dear Conrad !” returned his father, “if you knew my mental sufferings for years, you would not desire my life. Remorse has corroded my peace; the only alleviation to it has been my accidental introduction to you. I soon discovered our relationship, and with pride I owned it to myself. I have watched your virtue and growing reputation with a father's interest, under the disguise of friendship; and I only lament my error in not declaring myself before.”
“Alas ! my dearest sir ! my kind friend !” —
“Stay, Conrad,” said the Colonel, -laying his hand on the arm of the young officer,
do not know me; I have never been Nay, do not start! Did I not see death, even now, glaring upon me, I might not have been thus far just towards you. The approach of that dread enemy has opened my eyes to the wickedness of my meditated crime; and, though late, I will endeavour to repair it. May the recital of the incidents connected with my life teach you to restrain your passions. And you also, Bonner, take warning from my example.”
your true friend.
“ Are you equal, dear sir,” interposed Conrad, “ to the task you would impose upon yourself at the present moment; recollect your wounded
“ The conviction of my approaching fate, Conrad, induces me to hasten, rather than retard, what I wish to say; therefore let me proceed, while I have yet time.” Conrad placed himself in an attitude of attention, and his father immediately commenced as follows:
“My father was for many years in the employment of government, in the fulfilment of which duties he amassed a large fortune. So fully had his early years been occupied, that he had attained the meridian of life before he thought of matrimony, but, as his wealth accumulated, his desire for an heir increased; he married, and I was ushered into the world about twelve months after. Four other children were the fruit of this union, of whom two alone besides myself lived to grow up.
We were equally idolised by our parents, but my disposition would not bear the indulgence to which we were subjected, so well as those of my brother and sister. I learned to respect no will but my own; and by the time I reached the age of fifteen, was the tyrant of the whole house. My father intended to bring me up to the bar, but that profession was my abhorrence; no efforts on the parts of my parents or tutors could prevail on me to study, and, therefore, it was not likely I should succeed in that learned profession; indeed, from an early age, I declared nothing should induce me to follow it. In vain my father reasoned and entreatedpointed out the advantages of the law, and his wishes for my advancement.
advancement. I was not to be persuaded. Nothing but a commission in the army would satisfy my wayward mind; although I knew it was in direct opposition to my father's wishes, who, regarding me as the inheritor of the principal part of his property, desired to retain me with him as much as possible. I stood firm, however, and finally, by dint of the power I possessed over him, engaged him to yield; and, at sixteen, I became a dashing dragoon. Though I thus obtained my object, I soon found I had relinquished a considerable
portion of my father's interest - that the sway I had so long maintained was gone for ever. The fact was, he had contemplated my adding lustre to the already well-known and respectable cognomen of Blessington, by following his steps, but finding so great a disappointment, he turned to my brother for the fulfilment of his hopes. This circumstance, however, gave me but little annoyance; I was young and thoughtless, a favourite in my regiment, well supplied with cash at all times, and possessed of every wish and incitement to enjoy my numerous advantages; I drank deep of the cup of pleasure during the next few years, running deeper and deeper into every excess. My father removed my pecuniary difficulties more than once, admonishing me each time to be more prudent. Vain remonstrance ! I had not made a promise of amendment many weeks, no, nor days, when I saw, and in seeing, loved your hapless mother. My regiment was stationed in the immediate neighbourhood of her father's house, and I soon contrived to procure an introduction to the family, in which was centred the being I adored. A reciprocity of feeling was soon obvious, and for a short time we enjoyed the most delightful intercourse. Mr. Ward, however, saw and disapproved our growing attachment, though we were quite unconscious of his doing so; he learnt my character was not such as he could approve, and he discouraged my visits; still I persevered, until, alarmed for his child's happiness, he forbid me the house. It was then I became aware how deeply I was wounded by the shafts of the boy god. Unaccustomed from infancy to control my passions, I loved with a blind fury, which was augmented by the obstacles offered to arrest its course. Opposition rendered me more determined to gain my object; private meetings were the consequence, which terminated in my persuading the young and lovely Mary to follow the fortunes of one who swore eternal fidelity. At that time she was not quite eighteen, while I had not attained my twentyfirst
year; some excuse may therefore be offered in extenuation of our imprudence. Our plan succeeded to the utmost of our wishes: my regiment was removed to a distant part of the country, and we took advantage of that moment to effect our purpose. We were united by the military chaplain, and I procured lodgings in the town for your mother. For a few short months, I believe,