The Cruel Father

Preface: The Cruel Father

The Cruel Father first appeared as a serialized long story in the New-York Weekly Museum. It ran in four weekly installments between November 2, 1805 and November 23, 1805. No author was ascribed to the story, a common occurrence during this period when stories were often culled from other newspapers, periodicals, and literary sources. The anonymous author may also be due to the story enacting a common stereotype and trope which cuts across cultures and traditions—that of the cruel and tyrannical father. Many other serialized stories appear during the early American era named The Cruel Father which contain the same general motif, but are comprised of different characters and different plotlines. The cruel father also appears as a stock character in numerous other tales and stories of the same time period. While the serialized form appeared in numerous variations in other periodicals, it was also pirated by Russell Ladd in 1812 and printed in Philadelphia in novel form as a prefix to another pirated serialized story, Albert and Eliza. This novelized format from 1812 is the version most readers are familiar with (although the story remains for the most part, unknown), and is nearly identical in characters and plotlines to the edition which appeared first in the New-York Weekly Museum.

The New-York Weekly Museum was a popular newspaper in New York City. The newspaper began May 17, 1788 as the Impartial Gazeteer by John Harrison and Stephen Purdy, booksellers in the city. In their introductory edition, the booksellers announced the availability of a number of widely popular children’s books for sale at their bookstore. The publishers assured readers in this first edition that their aim was to “promote the amusement of its readers” and avoid content that would “offend the modest or disturb the feelings of the Virtuous.” The following September in 1789, printers convinced Harrison and Purdy that the content of the weekly periodical failed to match the title of the newspaper. The Impartial Gazeteer became the New-York Weekly Museum.

After changing its title to more accurately reflect content, the newspaper catered to a female audience. The New-York Weekly Museum proved to be popular and profitable, as well as enduring in a time when newspapers, magazines, and periodicals speedily came and went. The newspaper’s reputation among women grew due to the “true” and “moral” sentimental stories it published. At the end of each year, the most popular of the serialized stories were gathered into bound and printed volumes, advertised, and sold in Harrison and Purdy’s bookstore. Additionally, the newspaper contained prose, poetry, moral lessons, advice, and advertising all aimed at the polite and refined female society of New York City. Although the newspaper was chiefly a literary magazine, it also contained paragraphs of news, theatrical announcements, and advice for women in the form of verse. It was during this period of the newspaper’s existence that The Cruel Father appeared in its pages.

Advertisements aimed at attracting attention of the intended audience were also included alongside literary content. These included notices about runaway slaves, gossip columns, and death and marriage notices. The death notices generally announced deaths of a particularly gruesome, mysterious, or lurid sort. Murdered children, suicides, unfaithful spouses, seduced young girls, and deaths of foreigners generally rounded out such announcements.

The paper operated under the direction of Harrison and Purdy until 1791, at which time Purdy withdrew his financial interests and control. In 1804, Harrison died, leaving the newspaper in the control of his widow and eldest son. In 1814, the paper was taken over by James Oram, who took exception to the name. He experimented by adding a subtitle, essentially changing the name to New-York Weekly Museum, or, Polite Repository for Amusement and Instruction, Being an Assemblage of whatever can tend to interest the Mind or exalt the character of the American Fair.” In 1817, he shortened the title to the simple, but direct, Ladies’ Weekly Museum. Shortly thereafter, Oram announced that rivaling newspaper editor, Alexander Ming bought the publication and merged it with his own newspaper, the Weekly Visitor. The New-York Weekly Museum, an independent newspaper for twenty-nine years, was subsumed by Ming and became a part of the new newspaper, Weekly Visitor and Ladies’ Museum.

That The Cruel Father would appear in the New-York Weekly is somewhat surprising. The tale is a moral tale, but one aimed at husbands and fathers instead of women. It relates the story of a young woman who marries a greedy man named Malvolio, whose only love in life is money. His avarice and violent nature cause a series of calamitous events for those closest to him.

In serial form, this story served to entertain readers. Readers of either gender would enjoy the familiarity of the common morality tale—warning of greed, avarice, cruelty. The installments ended in the midst of moments of suspense, urging readers to buy the next installment in order to find out what happened next. The common elements and themes in the story made it a good choice for serializing, as the plotlines were recognized and familiar, helping readers easily conjecture what was coming next. The sentimentality of the story, the romance and doomed love affair would also appeal to the female readership the New-York Weekly aimed to serve.

Works Consulted

Stearns, Bertha Monica. “Early New York Magazine For LadiesNew York History, 14.1 (1933): 32-41.


[1. 2 November 1805]

The Cruel Father

THE love of money is a passion which not on-
ly degrades our nature, and renders it insensible
to those ties which unite the human race, but
has the power of contracting all the softer affect-
tions, and of converting the heart of its posses-
sor into an impenetrable mass. Such a heart
was placed in the bosom of Malvolio; the plea-
dings of humanity never drew a tear from his
eyes; every feeling seemed bound up in an ad-
amantine girdle, which the hand of Plutus alone
had the power to unbrace.

Malvolio had been educated under the care
of an uncle, who, by a train of petty meannesses,
had acquired a large portion of wealth; and the
artificial character of Biggs, or the real one of
Elwes, could not have devised the means of sa-
ving sixpence upon a more despicable plan.–
Taught from his infancy the intrinsic value of a
farthing, and instructed in the art of conver-
ting pence into pounds, money, in fact, became
his idol; and to obtain it, he frequently over-
stepped honesty’s bounds. The uncle of Mal-
volio was one of those deceptious characters who
pass for men of rectitude in the opinion of the
world; he talked loudly of the increasing depra-
vity of human nature, subscribed to public char-
ities, and went regularly to church. Under
this appearance of virtue and sanctity, a fraudu-
lent and selfish disposition was concealed; and
a merchant, with whom he lived in the habits
of the greatest intimacy, committed into his care
the person and fortune of a beloved child.
This sacred deposit was no sooner placed in his
protection, than he determined she should be-
come his nephew’s wife, and Malvolio, delight-
ed at the idea of becoming master of a large for-
tune, was highly gratified at his relation’s choice.
The inclinations of the young lady were1 not e-
ven consulted; and though her heart was pre-
engaged, her disposition was not formed to re-
bel; and though the gentle Isabella ventured to
remonstrate against her destiny, she found it of
no avail, and at length was forced to submit.
Never were dispositions more completely op-
posite than that of Malvolio and this amiable
girl: she was all sweetness, softness, and liber-
ality; whilst his every emotion was absorbed in
the desire of accumulating wealth. In addition
to this, he was a domestic tyrant; his passions
were violent, and he was the victim of caprice:
at one moment he would caress her with a fond-
ness absolutely fulsome, and at the next he
would almost annihilate her with rage. About
two years after her marriage, Isabella became a
mother. A variety of pleasing emotions crow-
ded upon her mind; but the child at once pro-
ved a source of comfort and uneasiness; for Mal-
volio insisted upon superintending the care of it
himself. If she ordered the servant to walk out
with it, that was improper; if it was retained
in the nursery, she was ruining its health; and,
under the pretence of fondness for the infant,
its unfortunate mother had not a moment’s2 peace.
The little Adolphus, however, grew in spite
of the inconsistencies of the capricious author of
his birth, and displayed, even in childhood, a
variety of instances of a good understanding,
and a susceptible heart. To strengthen those
amiable propensities, which he had derived
from nature, afforded Isabella, the highest de-
light; and, in the absence of his father, all her
attention was devoted to the controlling3 his pas-
sions, and the cultivation of his mind. In the
twelfth year of his age, Adolphus had the mis-
fortune to lose a mother, whom he at once loved
and revered: but though death had deprived
him of her maternal tenderness, her precepts
had made a strong impression upon his heart.
Though Isabella appeared to have no influ-
ence upon Malvolio’s conduct, yet, by her sooth-
ing softness, his passions were frequent-
ly allayed; and when deprived of her, he gave
them an unbounded dominion over him, to the
terror of those who were under his power. A-
dolphus not only inherited the amiable dispos-
tion of his mother, but possessed all that yield-
ing softness for which she was admired, and ne-
ver presumed to oppose the commands of Malvo-
lio, though they were frequently repugnant to
every feeling of his heart.

The time, however, at length arrived, when
duty and affection were at warfare; for Malvo-
lio thought himself entitled to provide a
wife for his son; and as fortune had been his only
consideration, he expected Adolphus to adopt
the same plan. The disposition of this young
man was formed for domestic happiness, and he
had beheld and object with whom he thought it
was to be found; she was the daughter of an
officer, who had no fortune but his commission,
who lived within a short distance of his father’s
house. The mind of Eliza Desborough had
been highly cultivated; her form was the most
perfect that can possibly be conceived; her
countenance was at once an index to her feel-
ings, and expressed her sensations without the
language of speech. Such was the amiable girl
who had made an impression upon the heart of
Adolphus, which it was beyond the power of
parental authority to efface; and the wife which
his father had selected, was in every respect op-
posite to her; for she was destitute of every per-
sonal and every mental grace.

“Adolphus,” said his father to him one mor-
ning at breakfast, “I intend introducing you
this evening to the rich heiress, Miss Green.
She has twenty thousand pounds independent
of her father, who I know has above double that
sum snug in the stocks; and if you do but play
your cards with caution, the prize will be yours,
I’d bet a thousand pounds!” Adolphus was so
petrified with this piece of intelligence, that he
was absolutely unable to make any reply: when
his father exclaimed, in a voice of authority,
“Pray, Sir, have you lost the use of your
tongue?” “No, Sir,” replied Adolphus; ‘‘but
I have never thought of marriage. And–I–I
–I cannot say I am much struck with the per-
son of Miss Green.’’ “Struck,’’ said Malvolio,
in a tone of violence: “But, Sir, have you ne-
ver heard of a father striking a son out of his
will? Yet4 I tell you once for all, boy, I am deter-
mined you shall marry her; for I shall not be
such a fool as to let you choose for yourself.”
“Sir,” rejoined Adolphus, inspired by the
recollection of Eliza Desborough’s attractions,
“I have in all things paid an implicit obedience
to your wishes; but you cannot desire me to
sacrifice the happiness of my life; and I must
candidly declare that I have a repugnance to
the idea of even thinking of Miss Green in the
character of a wife.”

“And have you any repugnance to her for-
tune, Sir?” thundered out Malvolio scarcely a-
ble to articulate from the violence of his rage.
You numbskull5! you blockhead! How6 dare you
dispute my orders! Why, I tell you, the girl
will have sixty thousand pounds; and I tell you,
moreover, that I will make a beggar of you, un-
less you marry the person of whom I make

It was in vain for Adolphus to attempt dispu-
ting with his father in this violent perturbation
of fury and rage; he therefore endeavoured to
allay the paroxysm of his passion, by declaring
himself ready to accompany him to Miss Green’s.
Conformable as he had hitherto been to the
wishes of his father, in this instance he resolute-
ly determined not to yield; and though he a-
greed to pay the intended visit, the image of E-
liza reigned triumphant in his heart. If the
person of Miss Green had excited disgustful e-
motions, how much were they increased by the
vulgar coarseness of her remarks! He was con-
vinced that their marriage had been a precon-
certed measure by their parents; for the mo-
ment tea was ended they were left by them-
selves. Instead of the young lady displaying
any embarrassment at this circumstance, she had
the indelicacy to turn it into jest; enquired
whether it was the first time he had ever been
left tète a téte with a female; and asked if the
novelty of the circumstance excited any new
sensation in his breast.

It was with the utmost difficulty that Adol-
phus could so far conquer his feelings, as to par-
ry off her questions, as if she had merely been
in jest, but never did he think the hours pas-
sed so tediously as until Mr. Green, and his fa-
ther returned. The smirking countenance of
the lady delighted Malvolio, who flattered him-
self that his son had been intimidated by his
threats, and had thought sixty thousand pounds
an ample compensation for every bodily and
mental defect. Full of this idea, he took leave
of the father and daughter, having some mercantile
affairs to transact with a gentleman in his own
line; and Adolphus pleading a violent head-
ache, Malvolio did not persuade him to stay.
Released from that restriction he had been
compelled to put upon his feelings, the footsteps
of Adolphus involuntarily led towards Captain
Desborough’s house, when the sight of the muf-
fled knocker gave a horror to his feelings, and
for a few moments suspended the pulsation of
his heart. He rang softly at the bell, yet dread-
ed to see the door opened, lest he should hear
some fatal intelligence respecting the object so
dear to his heart; and when the servant appear-
ed, he could scarcely enquire, whether it was
Captain or Miss Desborough who was ill.

“Oh! ‘tis my poor master, Sir,” replied the
woman, taking up the corner of her apron to
wipe away the tears which her news had exci-
ted; “but, my dear young lady, I assure you,
is in a dreadful condition; for the doctor has
just told her the capt. cannot live!” “Not live!”
exclaimed Adolphus, turning pale at the infor-
mation–“Oh, God! What7 a stroke for my poor
Eliza to endure!” Not sensible of what he said,
he then asked the servant if she thought her mast-
er could be seen.

Though Adolphus from a child had visited at
Captain Desborough’s, and was treated by him
with the same familiar affection as if he had been
his son, he had never even ventured to mention
his passion to him, though in a thousand differ-
ent instances he had displayed the feelings of
his heart. Shocked, as he was, at the idea of
his friend’s situation, he was still more so at
the prospect of Eliza’s unprotected state; and
he was anxious to obtain the sanction of Captain
Desborough, to shield her from the dangers to
which youth and beauty is exposed.

The servant, who knew the intimate footing
which Adolphus was received in the family, in-
stantly conducted him into her master’s room;
and though the exhausted invalid had appeared
to be dying, he instantly rose from his pillow,
exclaimed, “Oh, my son!” Adolphus seized
the hand which had been extended towards him,
and involuntarily dropped upon his knees.


[2. 9 November 1805]


“Commit Eliza to my care,” said he: “I
will be her protector. But let me not deceive
you in a moment like this! My8 father, dearest
sir, will never consent to our union. In the
wish of promoting my interest, he would sacri-
fice my peace; and he has positively declared,
that he will make me a beggar, unless I consent
to marry Miss Green. My heart, long attach-
ed to your amiable Eliza, asserts the privilege of
making its choice; industry and exertion will
render me independent; and to-morow mor-
ning, with your permission, I will make her my
wife. The affection which I have long felt to-
wards her, has been of so refined a nature, that
I dreaded asking your consent, from the fear of
being refused; and not anything9 would have
induced me to make this declaration, but the a-
larming state to which I see you reduced!

If there is any other being to whose protection
you can intrust her, whose fortunes appear more
brilliant than my own—-“No, No,” exclaim-
med the dying man interrupting him, “She
would prefer poverty with you, I am persuaded,
my son.”

During this conversation, the agitated Eliza
sat in a state of stupefied10 sorrow on the other
side of the bed, until roused by Adolphus enqui-
ring, in a faltering accent, whether she would
consent to bless him with her hand, “In a mo-
ment like this,” said the weeping object of his
affection, “how can I indulge one thought a-
bout myself?” It is only in such a moment,
my beloved Eliza,” replied Adolphus, “that I
could have ventured to ask you to bless me with
your consent. If Heaven should deprive you
of the protection of your father, it is only under
the title of your husband, that I can prove my-
self your friend!”

“Give him your hand, my Eliza,” said the
exhausted Captain Desborough, “for I have
long known that he has had the possession of
your heart. And may the blessing of a dying
man shield you from misfortunes! and oh, Adol-
phus! Be11 tender, be affectionate to my child!”
The entrance of the apothecary with a large
blister, which he was going to apply to his pa-
tient’s head, put an end to a conversation, which
was becoming too interesting for the enfeebled
frame of Captain Desborough to sustain.

The variety of emotions which agitated Adol-
phus, it would be difficult for the power of lan-
guage to describe. He knew he was going to
forfeit all claims upon his father, by making the
amiable Eliza his wife. Whether to inform
him of his intention, or whether to marry with-
out endeavouring to soften his rage, was a cir-
cumstance which required mature reflection;
yet no time could possibly be allowed for delay.
A relation of his mother’s was the only person
to whom he could apply for council and advice;
he accordingly took leave of the object of his
tenderness for the purpose of consulting this
friend. The illness of Captain Desborough had
been so extremely sudden, that though this gen-
tleman was intimately acquainted with him, he
was a stranger to the event; and when he re-
flected upon the irreconcileable temper of Mal-
volio, he was at a loss to know how to advise his
agitated son. The mutual attachment between
Eliza and Adolphus, Mr. Middleton had for a
length of time observed; and had cautioned
him against going so frequently to Captain Des-
borough’s knowing that his father would never
consent to the match; but when he heard that
Adolphus had made an absolute declaration of
his passion, and that a dying parent had com-
mitted a darling child to his care, he thought a
private marriage would be the most adviseable
measure, and undertook the kind office of mak-
ing Malvolio acquainted with the event. He
accordingly accompanied Adolphus to the house
of a neighbouring clergyman; the license was
procured, and the next morning he attended
him to church, where the ceremony was per-
formed without any witnesses, except Mr. Middle-
ton and the clerk.

It was with the utmost difficulty that Eliza
could be persuaded to leave her father, who see-
med to revive at the thought of leaving her un-
der Adolphus’s care; and whose spirit waited
to take its flight to the mansions of eternity un-
til the arrival of Mr. Middleton, who had wit-
nessed the event. The variety of conflicting e-
motions which had torn the breast of Eliza, pro-
duced an alarming effect upon her delicate
frame; and the moment she entered the house
of her father, she dropped apparently lifeless in-
to her husband’s arms. By the help of volatiles,
she was restored to recollection; but as it was
necessary to conceal the circumstance from the
dying man, Mr. Middleton hastened to the a-
partment, to inform him that he had seen the
ceremony performed. Scarcely had this intel-
ligence been imparted, when clasping his hands
with fervor and delight he exclaimed, ‘’ I thank
thee, oh my God, for lengthening my existence
until this gratifying intelligence had afforded
comfort to my mind! Bless them, oh thou mer-
ciful Protector of the friendless. Oh, bless, de-
fend, and sustain my child!” Here his lips
quivered, his voice faltered, and raising his eyes
to Heaven, he instantly expired.

The scene which followed, language can
scarcely depicture, for at that instant Eliza o-
pened the door, when the lifeless form of her fa-
ther presented itself to her; and before Mr. Middle-
ton could prevent the effort, she had encircled it
in her arms! Horror for some moments check-
ed the power of utterance; the assuaging balm
of tears was denied, and grasping the body
with a force that refused yielding to exertion,
she seemed determined not to move from its
side! The groans of Adolphus, who thought
her intellects were effected, at length seemed to
restore recollection to her mind; and stretching
out one hand towards him, she uttered a shrill,
piercing scream! This effort of nature fortu-
nately relieved her; and she soon afterwards
burst into a violent flood of grief, consented to
be removed from the object of her affection, and,
though overwhelmed with affliction, was per-
fectly resigned.

Adolphus was under the cruel necessity of tear-
ing himself from his beloved Eliza, and of atten-
ding as usual to mercantile affairs: but to the
bosom of a female friend their secret was intrus-
ted, who, upon the death of Captain Desborough
remained at the house. Malvolio was too much
occupied in the concerns of business, to pay a-
ny attention to the dejection so visible in his
son; but when dinner was over, he again ex-
plained the advantages which would result from
his forming a union with Miss Green. Fortu-
nately for Adolphus, Mr. Middleton at that mo-
ment entered. “I am glad to see you,” exclai-
med Malvolio with a smile. “I have a scheme
in agitation, which does not seem quite to accord
with the wishes of that blockhead: in short I
am going to provide him with a wife.”

“I should suppose he would prefer providing
himself with a commodity of that nature,” said
Mr. Middleton; “however he may wish to
consult you in any affair of trade.” What
the devil do you mean?” exclaimed Malvolio:
“would you teach disobedience to that head-
strong boy?” “Far from it,” replied the mild
Mr. Middleton; “but I think there is no possi-
bility of directing the wayward feelings of the
heart.” “That is very true,” said the hitherto
silent Adolphus:–“And in every thing but
marriage, I am ready to obey my father’s com-

“You shall obey them in that too, Sir, or
from this moment I renounce you for ever,”
said Malvolio, in a voice suffocated with rage.
“But get out of my sight, and never let me be-
hold you, unless you feel ready to let my or-
ders be obeyed!” Adolphus instantly rose
from the table, and flew to the object who occu-
pied his every thought, but carefully concealed
the preceeding conversation, fearful of adding to
the sorrow which already preyed upon her

As soon as he had quitted the room, Malvolio
informed Mr. Middleton that a marriage be-
tween the young people had been proposed by
Mr. Green; “and because the girl is not hand-
some,” said he, “would you believe it possible,
that her fortune possesses no charms in his eyes!
She has twenty thousand pounds independant of
her father; and Green has upwards of forty now
in the stocks; yet this rebel of mine would re-
ject such an aliance, when the girl has a right
to look up to a lord!”

“Perhaps his affections are engaged,” replied
Mr. Middleton; and in that case it would be
villainous to offer himself for her husband.”
“Zounds, sir!” exclaimed he, “do you think
he dare do such a thing? What! Dispose12 of his
affections without my consent!” “Come, come
my good friend, moderate your resentment;
and converse upon this subject like a rational
man. You have lived long enough in the world
to know that young people, in an affair like
that of marriage, will choose13 for themselves.”–
“Will they?” vociferated the still more violent
Malvolio; “then I tell you that my son shall
not, by G–: and unless he chooses14 to marry
the girl I select for him, the devil of one penny
shall he ever have from me.”

“But suppose it is out of his power to obey
you: suppose for one moment he is already a
married man.” “Then” exclaimed he, stri-
king the table with the utmost violence, “May
the curses of a father fall upon his head! –
may distress pursue–may poverty overtake him–
may his children become beggars–may his wife
perish in the streets–may sorrow and repent-
ance prey upon his vitals, until they destroy the
thread of his miserable life!”

“Oh shame to humanity, disgrace to the name
of father!” said the petrified Mr. Middleton, rising
from his seat; “fall upon the knees, implore
the pardon of that Being who in one instant can
put a period to your life! Have you not from
childhood been the favorite of heaven? Have
you not been blest in a wife, and happy in a
son? Has not fortune smiled upon all your un-
dertakings, yet you impiously offend Him from
whom these blessing are derived? Are you so
dead to feeling, so lost to the voice of nature, as
to call down curses upon the head of your child?
A child too, who excepting this one instance,
has made your wishes the absolute rule of his life.”


[3. 16 November 1805]


“Is he married?” enquired the pale and
trembling Malvolio. “What will you say, if I
tell you that he is?” “Say!” exclaimed he,
scarcely able to articulate the sentence, “That
I hope every curse will be multiplied upon his
head! And as to you, base and insidious vil-
lain, who have instilled principle of disobedi-
ence into the breast of my son, may you live to
feel disappointment like that which at present
overwhelms me; and may accumulated misfor-
tunes overcloud your days!” So saying, he
quitted the apartment, and gave orders that
his son should be denied admission into the

Adolphus, who was ignorant of what had
passed between Mr. Middleton and his father,
returned to his paternal dwelling at the accus-
tomed hour, for the purpose of placing the keys
of the compting house in Malvolio’s room, which
was his usual practice. Upon rapping at the
door, it was opened by a servant, who had liv-
ed in the family of his mother, from the time
of her being a child, and whom she had enga-
ged in the capacity of a footman when she was
so unfortunate as to become a wife. Adolphus
was in the act of entering, when Stephen placed
himself before him with extended arms. “My
dear young master, (said he, in faultering ac-
cents) for God’s sake take the council of an old
man. Your father is enraged against you–
therefore do not attempt seeing him until his an-
ger subsides. Give me the keys of the compt-
ing house, and tell me where I can call upon
you to-morrow morning.” The poor fellow ut-
tered this speech with so much agitation, that
Adolphus was aware some terrible fracas had
occurred; and taking the keys out of his pock-
et, he was preparing to leave his father’s man-
sion, when Stephen thrust a purse into his
hand, and burst into a flood of tears. “I dare
not offend you, sir, (said he) by begging your
acceptance of that trifle; but for God’s sake,
keep it only for me just a little time. I do not
know in whose hands to place it; and mayhap,
trifle as it is, it may be of some use to you. Oh,
my poor dear, dear mistress! What15 a blessing it
is that she is not alive!”

“Excellent fellow! (exclaimed Adolphus–
catching the infection that streamed from his
aged eyes,) I value this proof of your friendship
and attachment more than it is in the power of
language to describe; but I am not distressed
for a few guineas; if I was, most gratefully
would I accept this boon.” As Adolphus had
promised to return again to Eliza, he determin-
ed not to acquaint her with what he had heard:
but the next morning he received a visit from
Mr. Middleton, who thought it necessary to ac-
quaint him with all that had passed. Poverty
he could have borne; distress he could individ-
ually have encountered; but when he reflected
on the distress which the object of his tender-
ness must sustain, fortitude yielded to the pow-
er of affection, and the feelings of the man were
converted into those of the child. Roused into
energy by the arguments of Mr. Middleton, he
determined to write a conciliatory epistle to the
author of his birth; and if this did not succeed,
to endeavour to obtain employment in some of the
families with whom his father did business, as a
clerk. The letter, which was couched in terms
to have softened an heart of adamant, was read
without receiving any reply; and the inhuman
Malvolio circulated amongst his acquaintance,
the most cruel and unjust aspersions against his
son; and actually declared that he had embez-
zled the property which had been committed to
his trust.

The consequence of these reports was what
Malvolio expected; for no one would afford the
object of his resentment employ. His society
was shunned, and he was regarded as a monster
who deserved to be driven from the haunts of
mankind. In vain did the worthy Mr. Middle-
ton endeavor to vindicate his character; no one
believed it possible for a parent unjustly to con-
demn his child; and those fathers who were
anxious to impress the practice of filial obedi-
ence, forbid their children from associating
with such a pupil of vice. Those manners
which had been admired for gentleness and
flexibility, were now said to have been the result
of policy and deceit; and his very virtues were
converted into vices:–so strong is the effect
which prejudice produces in the mind.
After having unsuccessfully endeavored to
obtain employment in England, from the desire
of not being separated from the wife he adored.
Adolphus at length obtained one in the West
Indies, through the interest of that friend who
was well acquainted with his worth. With a
heart torn by a variety of afflicting emotions, he
took leave of Eliza and her lovely little boy,
promising to send for them as soon as he was es-
tablished, if the situation proved equal to what
he had a right to expect. The anxieties he had
encountered and the distress he had been invol-
ved in not only depressed his spirits but debi-
litated his frame; and scarcely had he taken
possession of his new employment, when he was
attacked by the fever incident to that clime.–
The art of medicine was in vain exerted to save
him; his constitution was too much weakened
to struggle against the disease; and the physi-
cians informed him that the only chance he had
of recovery, was to return immediately to his
native clime.

The unjust stigma which had been cast upon
the character of Adolphus, seemed to extend e-
ven to his amiable wife; and amongst the num-
ber of her father’s friends, only one seemed sen
sible of her merits, or paid the least attention
either to her or her child. The sale of her fa-
ther’s furniture had procured her a little ready
money, but the greater part of this had been
expended in procuring the necessary articles
for her husband’s new employ; and Eliza had
no means of supporting her existence, but by
procuring work form the shops. The greater
part of the day was spent in nursing of her
helpless infant; therefore evening was the only
time she was able to work; and seldom did this
amiable and industrious young woman retire to
her bed before two o’clock. The anxieties of
her mind, and the fatigues she encountered,
soon produced a visible effect upon her health,
and she was no longer able to make those exer-
tions which, were absolutely necessary for her
support. The only friend who sympathized in
her misfortunes, was from the confinement of
her own income, unable to render her essential
relief; and her situation must have been deplo-
rable, but for the worthy Mr. Middleton, who,
out of a little more than a hundred a year, al-
lowed her half a guinea a week. The anxiety
she felt as receiving no letters from Adolphus,
may be imagined, but cannot easily be describe-
ed; and her foreboding fears, too readily sug-
gested, that he had fallen a victim to the unheal-
thiness of the clime. Brooding one evening o-
ver these melancholy reflections, and weeping
over the babe whom she wished had never been
born, she was roused from the train of misera-
ble ideas by a violent knocking at the door.—-
Her name was loudly vociferated by the person
of whom she hired the apartment. Eliza’s agi-
tation was so violent, that she could not rise from
her seat and the sound of several footsteps on
the stairs increased her emotion, and a univer-
sal tremor overspread her frame. The door was
opened, and Adolphus entered, pale, trembling,
and supported between two men. “Merciful
God! (she exclaimed) do I behold my husband?
Oh, my Adolphus, I could have borne any thing
but this!”

“My Eliza! (said he, extending his arms to-
wards her,) my loved, my adored, my unfortu-
nate wife! Oh, how you are changed? I want-
ed not this affliction to complete the miseries
and distresses of my life!” The humane com-
panions of the wretched Adolphus mixed their
tears with those of the ill-fated pair; and, after
assisting the debilitated Eliza to undress her ap-
parently dying husband kindly went to Mr.
Middleton to inform him he was arrived. On
the wings of friendship, that worthy man flew to
the house of sorrow; but what an effecting scene
presented itself to his eyes! The expiring A-
dolphus was supported by pillows, and by
the side of him knelt his disconsolate wife “My
friend my only friend! (said he, in scarcely ar-
ticulate accents,) the Almighty in mercy has
granted my prayer. I wished but to breathe
out my soul in the arms of my Eliza; and to re-
commend her, and my boy to your care!”–
“Talk not of dying my dear honest fellow, (re-
plied the agitated Middleton;) I hope you will
live many, many years. You are fatigued with
your journey. I will run for a doctor;” and at
that moment he was hastening out of the room.
Stop! Stop! I conjure you, (exclaimed the
unfortunate sufferer, in a more renovated tone
of voice;) all assistance is vain. I feel myself
going to that bourne from whence no traveller
returns! My father! My16 inexorable father!
will, perhaps, pardon my transgression, when
he knows I can no longer offend. Will you, my
friend, undertake to solicit his protection for my
Eliza, and her unfortunate child?”

“I will undertake every thing, (rejoined the
still more agitated Middleton,) if you will but
suffer me instantly to procure you advice. You
have youth on your side; much may be done
for you.” “Oh, fly, Mr. Middleton!” ex-
claimed the hitherto silent wife. The worthy
man did not require the request to be repeated,
and returned with a physician in less than a
quarter of an hour, who, the moment he felt the
pulse of his patient, knew he had only a short
time to live. The agonized Eliza watched his
countenance with an anxiety which it would be
difficult to describe, and too soon discovered the
hopeless state of her husband, in the melancho-
ly turn of his features, and the sympathizing
tenderness of his eyes.

“We shall soon meet again, my Adolphus,
(said she, tenderly embracing him,) where pa-
rental authority cannot extend! I feel, my be-
loved, that our separation will be transient; yet
that unfortunate infant still endears me to life!”

(To be continued in our next.)

[4. 23 November 1805]


“Try to live for his sake, I implore you, my
Eliza,” exclaimed the affectionate Adolphus, re-
turning her embrace. Here his voice faltered17
his breath became shorter, and, uttering
a penetrating groan, he expired! “Has he left
me? (exclaimed the frantic Eliza, grasping the
lifeless body in her arms) Oh, Adolphus! my
beloved; death shall not part us! No, never;–
never shall you leave me again!” The physi-
cian endeavored to disengage her arms from the
body; but she grasped it with a still firmer hold;
and uttering a violent scream, fell into convul-
sions, when with the utmost exertion of strength
she was removed. One fit rapidly succeeded
another, until at length nature seemed exhaust-
ed by fatigue, and the humane physician did
not leave her until she had fallen into a quiet

The humane Mr. Middleton’s heart had ne-
ver encountered such a trial. He had always lo-
ved Adolphus, with as much affection as if he
had been his child. He had likewise known
Eliza from a state of infancy, and was well ac-
quainted with the exquisite sensibility of her
mind. Though the person with whom she
lodged was a very good kind of a woman, yet she
was a stranger to that soothing tenderness which
gratifies the heart; he determined, therefore,
to send the only person who had consoled E-
liza in affliction, and who seemed to be truly
sensible of her worth. Mrs. Herbert, which
was this lady’s name, instantly obeyed the sum-
mons; but what an effecting scene presented it-
self to her sight! In one room, she beheld the
dead body of Adolphus; and in another, his
apparently expiring wife; Eliza, it is true, was
sleeping; yet she breathed with the utmost
difficulty, and every feature in her beautiful
countenance had undergone a change: entirely
round, her mouth was disfigured with a black
circle, and frequent groans testified the uneasy
state of her mind. The little infant began to
be uneasy for that sustenance which it would
have been dangerous for him to have drawn:
but the mistress of the house, at the same peri-
od, fortunately happened to be a nurse. Eliza
continued in these uneasy slumbers for the space
of seven hours, when springing upright in her
bed, she terrified her attendants, by exclaim-
ing, “Oh, my Adolphus, I come–I come!”–
Again the fits returned upon her, and with far
greater violence than before, until nature was
exhausted by the violence of exertion–and the
hapless Eliza expired. Every effort that human
skill could suggest was made use of; but the
spotless spirit had taken its flight; the lifeless
body of Eliza was laid by that of her husband;
and kneeling by the side of them, Middleton
sacredly promised to become a father to their

From the day of Adolphus’ marriage, Mr.
Middleton had never seen Malvolio; though he
had written several letters expressing the hor-
ror he felt at his unjust aspersions on the charac-
ter of his child: and he now meditated a revenge
which he thought must punish his depravity,
and penetrate into the deep recesses of his mind.
Scarcely had the idea entered his imagination,
when he directed his footsteps towards Malvo-
lio’s house, and rapping at the door, made no
inquiries, but walked unceremoniously into the

“Is it you, Mr. Middleton? (exclaimed Mal-
volio) this is a pleasure which I did not expect
to receive, I am heartily glad to see you, how-
ever: but you will think it a great proof of my
want of sense, when I tell you I have been
dreadfully disturbed with dreams. In short, I
cannot help thinking it a vision; but I wish to
know whether you have lately heard any news
of my son?” “Your son arrived last night in
England, (replied Middleton, indignantly.)–
The climate, unfortunately, has proved destruct-
tive to his health; your cruelty had preyed too
deeply upon his constitution, and rendered him
unable to cope with disease.” “God forbid!–
(exclaimed the at length repented Malvolio.)
Then I fear that my dream will to soon be made
out. I will go and see him this instant, if you
will introduce me; but I have not the courage
to go alone.” “I am ready, (rejoined Middle-
ton,) for it is the very thing I came for; but you
must expect to see him considerably changed;
and his poor wife is equally altered, and both at
this moment are confined to their bed.” Mal-
volio sighed, but made no reply to this intelli-
gence; and a total silence ensued until they ar-
rived at the house; when, opening the door of
the apartment where the lifeless bodies lay ex-
tended, he exclaimed, “Behold the victims of
your cruelty, and tremble at the sight! Monster
of iniquity! (continued he, exalting his accents,)
disgrace to the very name you bear! What fa-
ther but yourself, would not have been proud
of studying the happiness of such an amiable,
such a deserving son? You have not only been
the destroyer of his existence, but you have
been the murderer of his fame: yet, if Provi-
dence grants me life, I will vindicate his mem-
ory, and disperse that vile odium you cast upon his

“Oh,God! Thy18 judgments are fallen heavy
upon me! (said the petrified Malvolio, clinging
for support to the bed.) And is he really dead?
Call me not murderer! Oh! This19 is a blow which
human nature cannot bear! Oh, Adolphus! In-
jured Adolphus! How20 shall I expiate the enor-
mity of my crime?” “Thus, (said the worthy
Middleton, taking the infant from the cradle,)
become a parent to this unprotected child. Not
that I will ever resign him to your protection;
no–his happiness shall be the first object of my
life. I have sworn to protect him over the bo-
dies of his parents, and most religiously will I
fulfil my vow. Make him your heir; that is
all I require from you; it is the only compensa-
tion you can make him for the loss of your son.”
“Alas! Exclaimed21 Malvolio, my happiness
is fled forever, and I no longer wish for the con-
tinuance of life: yet surely I am not the wretch
that you describe me! Surely I have not been
the murderer of my child! Oh, Middleton! Why22
did you not let me see him before those lips were
finally closed? Perhaps he would have told me
he pardoned my cruelty; and, from possessing
his forgiveness, I might have died in peace!–
(Then throwing himself upon the bed by the
side of the lifeless body of Adolphus, he burst
into a violent agony of tears.) Am I not pun-
ished? (exclaimed he starting up with a phren-
zied countenance,) I suffer at this moment
the torments of the damned! His wife,
too, dead! Who was her slaughterer? You do
not dare to say that deed was performed by my
hand! Poor luckless girl! Yet she seems to
smile upon me. Ah, they told me she had a
kind and gentle heart: yet, wretch that I was,
to suffer her to pine in obscurity, when I was
absolutely wallowing in wealth! But the day
of retribution has already overtaken me. Oh,
Middleton, I have my punishment even in this
life! However, do not teach that boy to curse
me: and, in pity to my present sufferings, do
not expose my crimes!”

The humane Mr. Middleton had already re-
pented of the part in the dreadful drama which
he had performed, and felt the most alarming
apprehensions, lest the senses of the repentant
Malvolio were turned. He therefore gave him
a positive promise, not to expose his cruel con-
duct, or to endeavor to prejudice the mind of
the child: but the world too late became sensi-
ble that the injury he had done to Adolphus, and
his inhuman father was universally despised.–
The horrors of a reproaching conscience contin-
ually pursued him: in his dreams he perpetual-
ly thought he beheld the spirit of his son, accu-
sing him with being the destroyer of his happi-
ness, and the murderer of his beloved wife.–
For three years he lived a life of misery; the
only happiness he enjoyed was in the presence
of the child, whom he left the whole of his
fortune, except an annuity to the worthy Mr. Mid-
dleton of three hundred a year.

  1. In original, was is used instead of were 

  2. In original, word fails to show possessive 

  3. In original, spelling rendered as controuling 

  4. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  5. In original, word is rendered numbscull 

  6. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  7. In original, word appear without capitalization 

  8. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  9. In original, word appears as two separate words 

  10. In original, word is rendered as stupified 

  11. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  12. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  13. In original, word is rendered chuse 

  14. In original, word is rendered chuses 

  15. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  16. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  17. In original, word is rendered faultered 

  18. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  19. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  20. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  21. In original, word appears without capitalization 

  22. In original, word appears without capitalization