Chapter XXVIII.
 

Josephs has dropped out of our story. Mr. Hawes has got himself kicked out of our story. The other prisoners, of whom casual mention has been made, were never in our story, any more than the boy Xury in "Robinson Crusoe." There remains to us in the prison Mr. Eden and Robinson, a saint and a thief.

My readers have seen how the saint has saved the thief's life. They shall guess awhile how on earth Susan Merton can be affected by that circumstance. They have seen a set of bipeds acting on the notion that all prisoners are incurable: they have seen a thief, thus despaired of, driven toward despair, and almost made incurable through being thought so. Then they have seen this supposed incurable fall into the hands of a Christian that held "it is never too late to mend;" and generally I think that, feebly as my pen has drawn so great a character, they can calculate, by what Mr. Eden has already done, what he will do while I am with Susan and George; what love, what eloquence, what ingenuity he will move to save this wandering sheep, to turn this thief honest and teach him how to be honest yet not starve.

I will ask my reader to bear in mind, that the good and wise priest has no longer his hands tied by a jailer in the interest of the foul fiend. But then, against all this, is to be set the slippery heart of a thief, a thief almost from his cradle. Here are great antagonist forces and they will be in daily almost hourly collision for months to come. In life nothing stands still; all this will work goodward or badward. I must leave it to work.