Confessions of an English Opium-Eater HTML version

knowledge of London suggested and the limited extent of my power made
possible. The street where she had lodged I knew, but not the house; and I
remembered at last some account which she had given me of ill-treatment from
her landlord, which made it probable that she had quitted those lodgings before
we parted. She had few acquaintances; most people, besides, thought that the
earnestness of my inquiries arose from motives which moved their laughter or
their slight regard; and others, thinking I was in chase of a girl who had robbed
me of some trifles, were naturally and excusably indisposed to give me any clue
to her, if indeed they had any to give. Finally as my despairing resource, on the
day I left London I put into the hands of the only person who (I was sure) must
know Ann by sight, from having been in company with us once or twice, an
address to -, in -shire, at that time the residence of my family. But to this hour I
have never heard a syllable about her. This, amongst such troubles as most men
meet with in this life, has been my heaviest affliction. If she lived, doubtless we
must have been some time in search of each other, at the very same moment,
through the mighty labyrinths of London; perhaps even within a few feet of each
other-- a barrier no wider than a London street often amounting in the end to a
separation for eternity! During some years I hoped that she DID live; and I
suppose that, in the literal and unrhetorical use of the word MYRIAD, I may say
that on my different visits to London I have looked into many, many myriads of
female faces, in the hope of meeting her. I should know her again amongst a
thousand, if I saw her for a moment; for though not handsome, she had a sweet
expression of countenance and a peculiar and graceful carriage of the head. I
sought her, I have said, in hope. So it was for years; but now I should fear to see
her; and her cough, which grieved me when I parted with her, is now my
consolation. I now wish to see her no longer; but think of her, more gladly, as one
long since laid in the grave--in the grave, I would hope, of a Magdalen; taken
away, before injuries and cruelty had blotted out and transfigured her ingenuous
nature, or the brutalities of ruffians had completed the ruin they had begun.
[The remainder of this very interesting article will be given in the next number.--