a1r

Romance Readers
and
Romance Writers.

a1v a2r

Romance Readers
and
Romance Writers:

A Satirical Novel.

In Three Volumes.

By the author of
A private History of the Court of England, &c.

“Gnatho. Quid agitur? Parmeno. Statur. Gnatho. Video. Numquidnam hic, quod notis, vides? Parmeno. Te. Gnatho. Credo.” Terence.

M. G. Lewis, Rosa Matilda, Horsley
Curties
, &c., parlent.

“Hélas, mon Dieu, craignez tout d’un auteur en courroux, Qui peut――”
Boileau.

Vol. I.

London:
Printed for T. Hookham, Junior, and E.T. Hookham,
15, Old Bond Street.
18101810.

a2v

Brettell & Co. Printers, Marshall
Street, Golden-Square, London
.

a3r

Literary Retrospection.

Rudis Indigestaque.

Romance proved favourable to the cause
of gallantry and heroism during the dark
ages, but we, thank heaven! live in more
enlightened days: a lover would find occasion
to repent of making such rash oaths as
the inamoratos of Italy, of Spain, and of
Portugal, formerly swore to maintain:
we are too independent to permit the possibility
of it; nor do we so frequently take
the law into our own hands.

Besides, how striking is the contrast
between the good old romances of our
ancestors, and those of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries! how wide the difference
between Amadis of Gaul and
The Libertine, between Palmerin a3v vi
of England
and The Sable Mask!
or between the metrical romances of those
days and of our own, between Merlin
and The Minstrels of Acre, between
The Romaunt of the Rose and
Thalaba the Destroyer.

I purpose, like King Richard, who in sleep
beheld the visions of those whom he had
slain, to take a retrospective view of those
“tales of centuries ago” (though written
by our contemporaries), which once existed;
but alas! I cannot boast with Richard,
that I terminated their existence, nor can I
persuade myself that my occupation is
“but a dream.”

The public, in general, knows but little
of the ingenuity of booksellers, and the
accommodating disposition of authors, to
cater for them: however, those who run
may read a notable instance of this in the
preface to The Monk of Udolpho,
written by Horsley Curties. This romance
owes its birth to a most whimsical circumstance
—but let the author tell his own story.

a4r vii “The publisher The notorious J.F. Hughes, who formerly
resided in Wigmore-Street. This man was beaten
very soundly in his own castle by Butler Dan---s,
for libelling Lady Lanesborough. Many people have
doubted which party found revenge the sweetest――
the man aggrieved obtained satisfaction, and the
aggrieved bookseller two hundred pounds!
of these pages had
long advertised a romance under the appellation
of The Monk Udolpho, I beg pardon, gentle Horsley; I am under the
disagreeable necessity of contradicting――the romance
advertised was to have been called The Bloody
Monk Udolpho.

nor had its present founder the most
distant idea that the fabric was to be
of his rearing, till applied to, in consequence
of the death of the intended composer,
to retrieve him with the public,
whom he must otherwise disappoint;
and, not without the strongest reluctance
did I (he) assent to undertake
a task so arduous, and perhaps injurious a4v viii
to the little fame “Little fame”――how modest, and yet how true! I (he) may have
acquired by former lucubrations.
It was my (his) earnest wish that the
publisher should procure me (him) a
sight of the few sheets, or more properly
the outline of the story, intended to elucidate
the title-page; but I (he) was
answered, that the manuscript had been
lost, Does not the reader consider The Monk
Udolpho
a taking title? and does not he think it
very possible that “the publisher” had christened
that which was yet in the womb of time?
and that my (his) own resources
were equal to the difficulty, &c.”

Thus we find that the author has inverted
the order of things; he has given a tale to
a title, and not a title to a story; he has
given “to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.”
Oh! wonderful power of invention!—This
reminds me of the bouts rimés of the French a5r ix
—with this exception, that it is infinitely
more remarkable, singular, and extravagant:
a man of tolerable ingenuity might
give verses to rhymes, but the genius of a
Curties alone could have compassed this
unheard-of project!

The romances of this gentleman are intolerably
dull and tiresome, for he takes
more words to tell a story than the most
loquacious and circumstantial of talkative
old women: he is as finical and particular
in narration, as an old bachelor is in his
habits and caprices: he is like a puppy
that traverses twice as much ground as circumstances
require—or perhaps he rather
resembles a traveller, who, losing his way,
takes a circuitous course of three miles,
instead of a direct road of one only.

But let me bid a hasty adieu to this
narrator of Ancient Records— The title of one of Mr. Curties’s romances. this
conteur à titres (as I would to an acquaintance
whose company and conversationa5 a5v x
were irksome and offensive to me), and
hail the next “genius of romance.”

Would that, like the monster Briareus,
I could strike a hundred blows in the same
instant, and that all the vampers of romance,
who merit annihilation, were in my presence!
—they are the vermin of literature—
their spawn creep to our fire-sides, and
cover our tables, our chairs, our sofas and
our mantle-pieces; we find them in the
bed-chambers of our daughters; nay, not
unfrequently are they placed beneath their
pillows, to occupy their minds at day-break,
or to beguile a sleepless night.

But I have to entreat the reader’s pardon
for this burst of indignation: I hope, however,
that it will not be deemed an unimportant
episode.

Joshua Pickersgill, junior, esq. hath
written a romance, entitled The
Three Brothers.
I beg leave to quote
the author’s opinion of his own work,
which appears in the title-page of his
romance; it was intended, I imagine, for a6r xi
poetry, but has no legal claim whatever
to such distinction, excepting indeed the
terminating jingle of the couplets (which,
by the way, are not unfrequently discordant).
I am half inclined to think that
the reader’s opinion may not, perhaps, be so
conscientious and liberal as my own, in even
supposing it intended for poetry. Alluding
to his romance, he says it is “A tale of horror! which, but to hear it told, Shall freeze the youngest blood to aged cold; Appal the soul, like to the author’s, when He paus’d, and fear’d the daring of his pen.”

Now whether thou art a “gentle reader”
or not, I am firmly persuaded thou dost
already fear “the daring of his pen.” The
gentleman presumes to think these lines
poetry, for he thrusts them into the titlepage
of his book as though they were particularly
beautiful and aptly illustrative!—
they have neither qualities simple nor compound
for poetry; they are neither melodious
individually, nor harmonious collectively: a6v xii
Joshua is certainly one of those
unhappy wights described by our immortal
dramatic poet, who says that “――he who hath not music in his soul, Is born for treasons, stratagems and spoils.”

Oh Joshua! Joshua! what hast thou
brought upon thyself! and we are now to
think the worst of thee.—He who feels desirous
of reading The Three Brothers,
will find how entirely the author’s mind has
been busied with “treasons, stratagems
and spoils.”

But to speak somewhat seriously. As a
romance, this work possesses some interest.
Mr. Pickersgill scorns to imitate: he is
not one of the “servum pecus,” but soars
above the many vampers of terrific story:
he is a planet, and his contemporaries resemble
revolving satellites—like the planets,
he is known to every star-gazer—romance
reader—but his satellites to a very few. M.
G. Lewis
is the moon that rules the present
night of romance reading: but as the moon
and planets are eclipsed by the blaze of a7r xiii
day, so are the works of these nocturnals
unnoticed by enlightened readers.

Were it not for Mr. Pickersgill’s affectation,
innovation, and unpardonable intrusion
of deformed couplets, I should now
take my congé of him; but these transgressions
are too glaring and palpable, and
and merit exposure—censure they need not
—their exposure is the severest censure
that I can pass on them. “From a thing called Love’s Empire. Vide The Three Brothers, vol. 3, page 59. ‘Ha! now I ken his hitherward wing, Scent shedding, music murmuring, Love’s emperor whom time doth flee, Chief lord thro’ air, on earth, in sea, O’er dyes and shapes of human face, And species of bestial race! Charms so various to inform A mind sublim’d ’bove shrewish storm; Generous wit, self-fueled fire, That distant glads, but scorches nigher. a7v xiv From this they see his caprice change, Thro’ labyrinthian dance they range, With godly swim or fairy pace Maintain the errant note in chace, ’Till, that outsped, the sprightly feet Sport i’th’ air, and kissing meet.
Perhaps kicking meet would make the
above one ray less obscure. When heroes brave their horned foe, To the fierce circus what frequence go, To tourneys of chivalric war, To carnival and regatta!!’”
But perhaps the reader thinks I am hoaxing
him with these extracts, and that they
are not the produce of our very enlightened
century: now, as I am a plain matter-offact
mortal, and as I can prove what I assert
by demonstration, I shall consider myself
much indebted to him if he will turn to
pages 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63 of the beforementioned
romance
, where he may, if he
pleases,
peruse that which nearly resembles
the state of English poetry in its infancy
with this exception, that I think our verse a8r xv
was never so dreadfully afflicted with the
rickets, The rickets――“The rickets is a distemper in children,
from an unequal distribution of nourishment, whereby
the joints grow knotty, and the limbs uneven.”
―― Quincy.
as this inimitable poem.

But, to make the reader acquainted with
this gentleman’s affectation, let me submit
the following quotations:

“I arose from the bank superior to the
tyranny of nature, and engaging her arm
within mine,
returned to the cottage.”

The expression “truth to say” frequently
occurs.—“A few steps promoted us through
the vestibule.”
“Yet so strong was my
animosity against the ungrateful fair,
that I trembled to behold them, and
conceited the holy ground to be profaned
by their presence.”

“‘From that morning,’ said the Italian,
his sobs quarreling with his words, ‘from
that fatal morning unlighted sorrow hath
oppressed me.’”

“The huge misshapen fragments that a8v xvi
choked this entrance, were slippery with
moss, and splintered so pointedly by the
forcible manner in which they had been
broke from the mother-stone, that a fall”

(alluding to the perilous situation of one
Claudio) “might have occasioned an imperfect
empalement.”
—Oh horrible! ’Tis
said that the sublime sometimes borders on
the ludicrous—This terrific situation was
unquestionably intended to convey a sublime
picture to the mind, but how powerful must
the ludicrous be, when we feel inclined to
laugh at a man in so perilous a state!

One more quotation, gentle, patient, indulgent
reader, and I will introduce you
to Joshua’s “innovations.”

“For the Conte was standing with one
hand pressed against his forehead with a
savage force, which betrayed his secret
wish to benumb the ability of his
brain
.”

But I have discovered another illustration
of the ludicrous sublime, and cannot
for the soul of me keep it to myself.

a9r xvii

“The night, which hung heavily upon
the face of nature, shuffled with tardiness
and pain
over the head of Claudio.” I presume, from the meaning which the above
sentence appears to convey (if it has any meaning
at all), that Mr. Pickersgill purposed the personification
of “night,” “tardiness,” and “pain,” which
are here represented shuffling together over the head
of Claudio!

’Tis said that no idea should be committed
to paper which the pencil cannot
picture—I defy even Fuseli the extravaganza
to canvass this very original
thought!

I will now notice a few of the numerous
“innovations” of Mr. Pickersgill, jun.

“I yet was unable to subsist her.”

“Claudio retrograded a few paces.”

“Thus mistaking the fervid seat of his
heart, he was rushed forward, riotous
in hope, &c.”

“Nor until their vocabulary of maledictions
was nearly run through, did
they quit the cavalier, whom they left a9v xviii
environed with massy bars, infrangible
to the desperate utmost of human
force.”

“Terror was the system of Julian, and
so fully was the Marquis possessed by
it, that he offered to him an adoration
such as the Indians intend when they
knee the devil.”

I have only to lay before the reader a
note, which will be found at page 177, vol.
2, of this original romance
; the allusion
of the former part of it is no way material;
it is to the concluding sentence only
that I would direct the reader’s attention.

“The audacious attempt of John
Lewis Fiesco
to destroy the Dorias and
subvert the Genoese Republic, happened
in the year 14471447, nearly three years
after the famous battle of Corisoles; a
few months after which this romance is
supposed to begin. As this alliance of
two events, actually so distant, can only
be detected by one somewhat of a chronologist,
I perhaps should do better not a10r xix
to mention it: but, in case one so qualified
should peruse this work, I feel it
satisfactory to prevent his depreciating
me as less knowing than I am. Indeed,
I wish it were the only wilful fault in
these volumes
.”

Thus we may fairly presume that the
romantic Joshua has been indulging his
itch for irregular verse, his “affection,”
and his “innovation,” knowing them to
be what they are!

Those who read many romances are, I
imagine, insensible to the inconsistencies
which I am always unfortunate enough to
detect, even in works written by men of
talents and genius; and thus I am deprived
of that interest in the perusal of them,
which others enjoy in an intense degree.
Sometimes I notice incongruities that the
most accomodating and indulgent critic
would be at a loss to reconcile: sometimes
I read a picturesque description that turns
nature into a second state of chaos; and
sometimes I meet with an author who does a10v xx
all he can to make the human shape more
than divine.
Thus is the spell dissolved,
nor can it be wondered at if I throw the
book from me in disgust.

A romance, entitled Fatal Revenge,
or the Family of Montorio, The author of this work is, I understand, a
clergyman, whose age, at the time it was written,
did not exceed three-and-twenty.
has
excited very general interest; the narrative
is indeed of the most extravagant and romantic
kind; it is told in bold and animated
language: the author’s mind in
every part of this “tale of terror” appears
to have been wound up to a state of ardor
and enthusiasm that I have rarely met with.
Yet even in this work, which is evidently
written by a man of education and very
superior abilities, I detected frequent inconsistencies,
one of which I will explain.

The mind of Annibal di Montorio, a
weak and superstitious young nobleman, is
represented to be in that state of fearful a11r xxi
anxiety, which Collins has pictured in so
masterly a manner in his personification of
fear, who is said to start
“Even at the sound himself had made.”
This youth is alone, and at midnight in a
turret of Montorio-castle, agitated with
superstitious terrors: every thing is represented
to be so still and silent, that he
fears to hear even his own respiration;
yet, immediately afterwards, he opens the
casement to listen to the tempest raging
without!

Francis Lathom has favoured the world
with alternately a novel and a romance
for, I believe, the last twenty years; and,
from the surprising rapidity with which
these fictions have been wrought up, I
conceive that this slave to literature lives
only upon the produce of his brain. These
productions tell sad tales of this gentleman’s
abilities: they nourish and support
him, no doubt, but they are sickly and a11v xxii
wearisome to other people. Yet I must
remember that this genius writes for his
bread, and that the number of his loaves
are multiplied by the number of volumes
that he manufactures. Then let me intreat
you, gentle, benevolent, and christian reader,
to peruse in pity the romances of
Francis Lathom, for he no doubt “prays,”
and I will bear witness that he “works”
manfully for “his daily bread.”

If six months pass without my seeing in
the daily papers a new work advertised,
from the pen of Francis Lathom, author
of The Mystery, Astonishment! Men
and Manners,
&c. &c. &c. I shall verily
conclude that he has not consumed with
prudence, and in a direct and unvarying
proportion, the produce of his latest production;
and that his appetite, like that
of most dullards, has been infinitely more
keen than his wit.

The style of very few modern romances
suggests a favourable opinion of the writer’s
genius: almost every auteur romanesque a12r xxiii
makes use of the same ingredients
in the composition of his work: “Crimine
ab uno disce omnes.”
Some of these legends
are compounded of violent and irritable
drugs, which occasion transports of an
alarming nature; and I know a youth who
was affected to that violent degree, by perusing
one of them, that he threw the offensive
volume into the fire, and his pocket had
in consequence to atone for the irritable
state of his nerves. But by far the greater
part of these “tales of times past,” are
known to partake most potently of a soporific
ingredient called sentimental passion:
this I aver I have frequently found irresistible:
an author who has no very tender
regard for his reputation, may with safety
make use of this drug, for it disarms
criticism by wrapping the passive and unconscious
mind in the elysium of a sound
nap.

The author of The Monk has declined
in the public estimation, everyever since
the publication of that which gave him a12v xxiv
celebrity: a new work from the pen of
Mr. Lewis invariably excites a powerful
interest in the mind of every one: we remember
the sensations with which we perused
this very interesting romance, and
fondly hope to partake a second time of
those terrific ingredients which chilled us
with their magic influence. But alas!
this never more will happen. Mr. Lewis
wrote this celebrated tale at an age, when
the mind is most susceptible of romantic
impressions:—he was then a minor, and on
his travels through scenes the most wild,
picturesque, and terrific. The bent of his
genius had been, no doubt, considerably indulged,
by pursuing the tales of chivalry,
of superstition, and of faëry of our own
country; but I do not imagine that he had
at this time particularly attached himself
to the study of German literature. This
was the rock on which he split; for almost
every subsequent work has been taken,
either directly or indirectly, from the German.
How chilled by the dull task of b1r xxv
translation has that genius become, which
once gave birth to the finest pictures of
romance!

But, in my admiration of this gentleman’s
real genius, I had nearly omitted to
notice the animadversions of the author
of The Pursuits of Literature on
The Monk.

This gentleman censures Mr. Lewis’s
Romance with the utmost severity: he
says, that the author has “thrust upon the
nation the most open, and unqualified
blasphemy, against the very code and
volume of our religion.”
This is very strong
language, nor do I think the author is
justified in using it.

Because Mr. Lewis has dared to publish
an opinion, which, I am persuaded, thousands
of christians have entertained before
him, he has experienced this writer’s most
virulent censure; who, not content with
the most “unqualified” severity in his own
person, wishes that the law should deal with
him as harshly and illiberally as himself.

Vol. I. b b1v xxvi

But let us quote the very passage which
has given this man the greatest offence.

“That prudent mother (Elvira), while
she admired the beauties of the sacred
writings
, was convinced, that, unrestricted,
no reading more improper could be
permitted a young woman
. Many of the
narratives can only tend to excite ideas the
worst calculated for a female breast
;
every thing is called roundly and plainly by
its own name, and the annals of a brothel
would scarcely furnish a greater choice
of indecent expressions
. Yet this is the
book, which young women are recommended
to study, which is put into the hands of
children, able to comprehend little more
than those passages of which they had
better remain ignorant, and which but too
frequently inculcate the first rudiments
of vice, and give the first alarm to the
still sleeping passions.
Of this, Elvira
was so fully convinced, that she would
have preferred putting into her daughter’s
hands Amadis of Gaul, or the valiant b2r xxvii
champion Tirante the White; and would
sooner have authorised her studying the
lewd exploits And with reason――since fictitious indelicacy is
not likely to make so lasting an impression as that
which is authentic, especially in the Sacred Volume
of our religion.
of Don Galaor, or the
lascivious jokes
of the Damzel Plazer de
mi vida.”
—I have marked certain passages
in italics, as the author of The Pursuits
of Literature
has done so, and in
order that the reader may make himself
thoroughly acquainted with the real meaning
of them—at all events, that meaning
which the author considers most censurable.

What I have already asserted, that there
are many of a similar opinion with Mr.
Lewis
, concerning certain narratives and
passages in the Sacred Writings, I have only
to prove, by mentioning some of those selected
works, introductory to the Scriptures,
written purposely for young people, many
of which have been selected by women of
exemplary character, and of acknowledged b2v xxviii
abilities, among whom Mrs. Trimmer shines
conspicuous. I can also mention several
men, who appear to have considered works
of this kind of the first importance;—Dr.
Hunter
, the compiler of Sacred Biography;
the Reverend Mark Anthony Meilan,
author of Holy Writ familiarized to
juvenile conceptions;
and Burder, who
edited The History of the Bible.

I cordially unite with the author of
The Pursuits in one respect—the obscenity
of The Monk cannot be censured
with too much severity; and I wish
that the “Attorney-General would set forth
the several obscene passages, and conclude
that they are an offence against the King’s
peace.” Vide Pursuits of Literature, Notes to Part 4.

Of Rosa Matilda I have but few words
to say. How the absurd trash of this fair
“libertine” has obtained so much notice,
I cannot divine. How absurd, how ludicrous,
how contemptible are sentiments of
morality and religion from the pen of such b3r xxix
a weak enthusiast!—But I have not patience
to remain a minute longer in her company,
and I am sure the reader will gladly
bid adieu to this “chartered libertine.” Is it not amazing that the most licentious writers
of romance are two women?―― Ida of Athens
has raised a blush on the cheek of many. The effects
of indelicacy are more dangerous than those of romance;
and we may therefore call Sydney Owenson
and Rosa Matilda the Scylla and Charybdis of
Romance
.

A celebrated French Historical-Romance
Writer of our own day is very anxious, on
all occasions, that the reader should not
do what she herself has done, that is, confound
historical
with fictitious incidents.
To effect this, she particularises that which
she takes from authentic sources, thus—
“Historique.” Does she imagine for one
moment, that, after closing the book, the
reader can separate those incidents that are
historical, from those which are invented?
—then why trouble herself to point out
what is historical and what fictitious?—
but is it not rather probable that the reader b3 b3v xxx
will retain a recollection of that, which is
the most interesting and romantic (and it
usually happens that such incidents are of
imagination), and, connecting such events
with historical characters, imagine that to
be historical which is invented, and forget
entirely that which is true?

I was not, therefore, surprised at the
exclamation of a French critic, who, on
taking up one of Madame Genlis’s latest
historical Romances, said—“Encore un
Roman Historique!”

I imagine that, presuming upon a name
(and Madame Genlis’s name is a passport
through the hands of many), she has committed
herself to selection rather than invention.
Apropos――This reminds me of the metrical
romance writer, Walter Scott, who has recently
taken upon himself the dull, but rapid means of
adding to the weight of his purse,――that of Editorship.
To be an Editor, a man must possess judgment
and patience. If he has genius, he becomes, in
my opinion, superior to the dull business of comparing
and arranging; and indeed I do not think a man
of genius can fetter his mind to it. It is for this
reason alone I suspect that the good Walter has employed
agents Robert Southey, in his Specimens of the later English
Poets,
has proved himself a literary mechanic.
in the execution of The Works of
Dryden, complete,
edited by Walter Scott;

and I really look upon him as a literary tyrant, who
employs unworthy agents in the execution of his
ambitious and interested designs. The good Walter’s
reputation was at “blood heat,” previous to the
publication of this work; but it fell, and rapidly too,
to “temperate,” shortly after its appearance. It is
indeed but a very mediocre performance.
The conduct of this literati reminds me of the
arts which Sertorius made use of to gull the Barbarians.
It may be remembered with how small a force
he resisted, and sometimes repulsed, the legions of
Rome: but, however fortunate, and however great,
however devoted the Barbarians might be to him,
he found it necessary to avail himself of their ignorance
and superstition, in the prosecution of his
designs. His agent, for this purpose, was a beautiful
white hind, which he informed them was sent by the
Gods. The delight I have felt on reading The
Lay of the Last Minstrel,
and Marmion, has
made me fully sensible of the transcendant powers
of Scott’s genius: why has he made use of the magic
of a name, but to delude us? Does he imagine that
his name alone can attach importance to a book,
and, like the touch of Midas, that it can make every
thing gold to which it is attached? Some people
may be blinded by their prejudices in his favour,
but he will do well to remember that we are not all,
like the devotees to Sertorius’s hind, ignorant
Barbarians
.
An historical subject is always b4r xxxi
within her reach, nor has she occasion
“to fancy contrast, and combine” characters, b4v xxxi
for they also are ready and fit for
use: she has only to foist in a few incidents
(the less probable the better), put
sentiments and words into the hearts and
mouths of people who never felt or uttered
them, and then she has conjured up (not
with the wand of a genius, but with the
tool of a literary mechanic) an historical
romance!

The modern system of book-making
ought to be put down; it mars genius
that is tempted to engage in it, disgusts
men of taste, and puts bread into the b5r xxxiii
mouths of those who have no brains. Historical
romances are manufactured weekly
French novels Vide Dangers through Life, published
by Mrs. Plunkett, as original. This novel is a translation
of Les Malheurs LeDe l’Inconstance.
and tales of romance
translated and published as originals—
and old novels republished, On reading Part the Second of The Morlands,
I was inexpressibly surprised to discover
that the respectable Mr. Dallas had been guilty of
a most violent act of plagiarism, in actually republishing,
sometimes verbatim, an old novel, entitled
He would be a Peer.
without being
acknowledged as such.

Heaven knows! we have more authors
now than ever: if a father writes, the son
is straightway attacked with the cacoethes
scribendi
, and thinks to become—a greater
man than his father!—As for the female
part of the community, I verily believe that
every third woman in these happy united
kingdoms, considers herself a genius—
nay, I have heard, and readily believe it, b5v xxxiv
that there are many thick-headed female
dames of fortune who sacrifice hundreds
to establish—the reign of dullness and of
folly!

The title-page of this work informs the
public that they are to expect a Satirical
Novel! And, in spite of the London
satirists’ invectives, in spite of the fanatic
vilifyings of the soi-disant (ephemeral)
satirist of Bristol, the following volumes
are avowed to be written by the author
of
The Private History of the Court
of England!

Various conjectures having arisen as to
the writer of that work, the Author, who
has reasons for yet concealing her name,
will affix the real initials of that name to
this advertisement.

Her merits, as a writer, are but small;
the mercy, the forbearance of a british
public
, ample; to such she looks up for b6r xxxv
support and protection: and she thanks
the Satirist, who, while he pointed out her
errors with severity, yet declared that the
person who penned one certain chapter in
the Private History of the Court of
England
, “had talents for writing a
work that might defy criticism!”

In one part of this novel, which is now
offered to the world, to shew the effects of
romance-reading
on the weak and ductile
mind of youth, the Author has, while endeavouring
to keep morality strictly in
view, interspersed the pages with a few
authentic allusions. Our modern writers of
romance blend history and fiction: in
that, she has shewn herself an imitator; and,
particularly in her notes, she has copied
from that renowned French authoress and
times-serving lady, the female reformist
of the education of Princes, the advocate
of French liberty, and now the flexible
attendant on the despotic Court of Napoleon!
Like that celebrated lady, all authentic b6v xxxvi
facts she has marked in the margin,
“Historique.”

It is an adventurous task to oppose
satire to satire: before true criticism,
tempered with that politeness and gentleness
due to her sex, the Author humbly
bends; the pseudo critics she defies and
laughs at.

While she utterly detests all prudish
hypocrisy
and grimace, she truly venerates
virtue and morality; and trusts her writings
will ever be found replete with such
precepts, as youth may peruse without
danger, and such diversity of ideas as may
amuse the leisure-hours of the experienced.

S. G* * * *,
the author.

B1r

The Effects
of
Romance Reading.

Chap. I.

Three Brothers.

Ralph.

“The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find), Is not to act or think beyond mankind; No pow’rs of body or of soul to share, But what his nature and his state can bear.” Pope.

Charles,.

“Sincere, plain-hearted, hospitable, kind; Yet like the must’ring thunder when provok’d.” Thomson.

Edward.

“Slave to no sect, he takes no private road, But looks through nature, up to nature’s God.” Pope.

“It is very strange,” said uncle Ralph,
with evident impatience and vexation, as
he threw down on the table with great Vol. I. B B1v 2
force a romance of the last century, “that
a writer must use so many words, only to
tell us, that a woman got up and sat down
again!
No, they must inform us in highflown,
poetical language, that she rose from
her mossy couch, and then thoughtfully
reseated herself, and resumed her pensive
posture! and then, if the wind happened
to blow her thin clothes about, and made
her ribbons flutter and fly, we must be
entertained through half a page with her
silken scarf floating in the wind and the
rude zephyr discomposing her light and
nymph-like attire!”

Uncle Charles, who had been studying
the last orders of General Wolfe, and who
had just brushed away a tear from off his
veteran cheek, which the last exhortation
of that renowned hero to his soldiers had
drawn from his eye, shut the orderly-book,
and smiled, ’midst his tears, at the ideas of
his brother Ralph; while Edward, busy
in reading a newspaper, laid it down and
assented to Ralph’s opinion by a half-stifled B2r 3
smile, and the word—“humph!” uttered so
inwardly, that it sounded not much unlike
the grunting of a pig!

But, in order to preserve some method,
it is necessary to introduce this trio to our
readers, and describe the sort of character
which each of them (all originals in their
kind) was possessed of.

The eldest brother, Mr. Ralph Marsham,
was left in possession of a small
paternal estate, comfortable, because clear
and unincumbered; but income-tax, property-tax,
and land-tax, had rendered him
less rich than in the days of his youth:
and a most valuable farm being attached
to his estate, he resolved to superintend it
himself, and indeed to work on it with the
same indefatigable toil which his labourers
bestowed upon it, in order to ensure to
themselves the excellent and plentiful cheer,
together with the ample wages which Mr.
Marsham
allowed them.

Gentlemen-farmers are but sorry tillers B2 B2v 4
of land; and the master’s watchful eyes,
and even his assistance united, will not
avail much, if he is not a thorough judge
of that profession which is universally allowed
to be the most happy and independent
of any in the world.

But Ralph derived one advantage by
his perseverance; he made labour easy and
habitual to him, by boldly inuring himself
to it; and continual and heavy losses,
blights in his corn, diseases in his cattle,
and the frauds of his serving-men, soon
reduced him to that state which rendered
exertion on his own part, and unwearied
employment about his farm, an indispensible
obligation.

He was endowed with a solidity of understanding,
good, honest principles, but
was rather a kind of every-day character;
and was chiefly guided both in the pursuits
of his studies, and all his most important
actions, by mere matter of fact.

Charles, the second brother, had been B3r5
bred to the profession of arms, and was, at
the commencement of this history, a lieutenant
on half-pay.

An early introduction into the world’s
grand theatre had given, to a prepossessing
person, an ease of manners, and a certain
address, which marked the gentleman in
every movement, and which the society of
the army alone is capable of imparting to
the well-born officer: the heart of Charles
was warm, and might with truth be said,
to be seated in its right place—but his head
approached to that temperature which is
generally known by the appellation of hot;
which heat often led him astray: his temper
and his expressions were both hasty,
and in the latter he thought no epithet too
energetic to evince his indignation against
the person who had offended him: but the
principles of revenge and resentment only
played upon his lip, they never entered his
generous and excellent heart!

Like his brother Ralph, he affected to B3v 6
despise all romantic enthusiasm: but this
in Charles was affectation only; a tale of
woe, either real or fictitious, always surcharged
his heart, and caused the tender
overflow to glisten in his eye.

Edward, the youngest, had just attained
his forty-second year; he was bred to
the church, and enjoyed a curacy of fifty
pounds per annum!
He had been for
some years a widower, and was the father
of two daughters, the surviving children
of five, by an unportioned, amiable, and
by him, ever-lamented wife.

As he had a right honourable young
rector, who hated the church most cordially,
except by those emoluments it
brought him, through a considerable living;
and who rapaciously seized on every
perquisite that his poor curate in the country
might have enjoyed, under one more
kind and beneficent; Edward, except for
the bounty of honest Ralph, would have
found great difficulty in bringing up and B4r 7
educating his two daughters on so scanty
a pittance as he received for his labours
in the ecclesiastical vineyard.

To those who were not acquainted with
Edward’s real character, there appeared a
moroseness about him, which was repellant
in the extreme: his manners were cynical,
and his sentences in general short and
severe: having in his infancy received a
most severe castigation, through the perfidy
and duplicity of a schoolfellow, whom
the generosity of his heart forbade him to
betray, he had taken such an abhorrence
to the vice of lying, that he thought no
punishment too severe for the offence; and
no outward terms that language can bestow,
strong enough to express his indignation
at so despicable a vice. “I can
arm myself,”
he would say, “against a
murderer, I can bar my doors against a
robber; but can I guard against the wretch
who wounds me in secret with his tongue,
or steals from me my friends, by attacking
my reputation?”

B4v 8

How much is a man of this candid principle
to be pitied, and what dreadful mortifications
attend the votary of truth, who
is a most profound politician! Such was
Edward Marsham, who was seldom seen
without a newspaper in his hand; and oh!
what an inundation of falshoods has a
newsmonger daily to encounter!

The elder Mr. Marsham had always remained
a bachelor, and had now given up
all prospects of matrimony. One reason,
he urged, was, that having always been
bred a gentleman, he could not think of
taking as a partner for life an uneducated
woman, who could be nothing but the
plain country housewife; who, after the
occupations of the day were over, could
entertain him with nothing but the settings
of his geese, how many eggs had been put
under the black hen, when the brindled
cow would calve; or that next week would
be the great wash, and then he must not
invite the friends he had promised himself;
“While she sits,” added he, “burning off B5r 9
the end of her cotton, before it goes through
her needle, by one solitary candle, to save
expence, while she is darning her own or
her children’s stockings!—else I must be
tied for life to one of these modern ladies
with a finished education; and how finished?
by the figurante, the drill-serjeant,
and the black cymbal-player! The education of a fashionable female is by no means
complete, unless finished by the above trio. An Italian
figurante
is hired at an immense price, to teach those
dances adapted only to the Opera, and which no gentlewoman
can ever exhibit in public. The drill-serjeant teaches
them to walk well—and this is not the worst part of female
education, for dancing-masters always walk ill.
But the natural graces of an elegant young female, we
think, render unnecessary the voluptuous attitudes taught
by the swarthy sons of Asia, in the performance on the
tambourine and cymbals.
It is true,
my gay wife might perform well on the
harp and tambourine; but then, either
as the Grecian or the Egyptian habit
might prevail, I should see her, in common
with every one else, half naked, or
laced up in a pair of long stays, the completeB5 B5v 10
figure of an Egyptian mummy: she
could never find her keys or her purse, because
she wears no pockets; and as she
was shopping perhaps some whole morning
without purchasing any thing, her
ridicule has been left on some counter or
other, but where she knows not, containing,
may be, twenty or thirty pounds’ worth
of cash: then if I should be blessed with
children, she has them christened by names I
can scarce pronounce; and puts a bar to
all comfort of her society and conversation,
by continually poring over a set of idle
novels and romances: While the woman of
real sense and amiability, possessed of
sweetness and cheerfulness of manners,
united to a well-cultivated mind, I am sure
will never wed a man like me; and thus,
as I have lived, I will die a bachelor.”

Such was the reasoning and determination
of Ralph, on his state of celibacy;
and on the death of his sister-in-law, he
resolved on making his nieces Margaret and
Mary his heirs; his property, when divided B6r 11
between them, would not be great, and
he bestowed on them a plain and useful
education.

When Edward and Charles became widowers,
they united their small property
to that of their brother Ralph; and they,
with the two nieces of Mr. Marsham, composed
the family at the spacious farmhouse.

“I am not fond of fictitous histories
of any kind,”
said Ralph, continuing his
observations on romances, as he leaned his
elbow on the dirty, much-used, marblepapered
cover of the volume he had just
thrown down, and which his niece Margaret
had been attentively perusing with very
different emotions to those of her uncle.
“These works deal so much in the marvellous;
in events utterly impossible ever
to have taken place.”
“I recollect once,”
said Charles, “being confined one day at
an inn, when I was travelling, by an heavy
fall of snow, and expecting, when I asked
for a book, I should have that collection B6v 12
given me which is reckoned amongst
The Miseries of Human Life, my landlady
brought me up a modern romance;
and there I read of a young lady who had
been some years confined in a dungeon,
without light, and great part of the time
without food! yet when she came out, her
delicate form and astonishing beauty captivated
all who beheld her, and in particular
one of her deliverers, who afterwards
married her.”
“And yet, I am sure,”
said Ralph, “she must, from famine and
confinement, have grown as ugly and as
sallow as a witch; and from the damps
and chills of her dungeon, as they express
themselves, her pretty limbs must have
been either useless, or grown confounded
clumsy, from being swelled with the rheumatism!”

“Ay! ay!” said Charles, “I am sure
her person must have received considerable
damage, for I well remember that my
friend Colonel George Aylesbury, before
he was confined for debt in the apartments B7r 13
of the King’s Bench, was as goodlooking
a soldier as ever I saw in my life;
and now he appears older, by ten years,
than he really is, and looks more like a
‘black-diamond’ merchant than an officer.” Historique.

“I wish, brother Charles,” said Edward,
“you would not make use of so
much slang in your conversation, but call
things by their right names: pray, is not
the word ‘coals’ as easy to pronounce as
‘black diamonds?’”

“Certainly,” said Charles, “but you
interrupted my remarks on the effect of
confinement on the person: you are fond,
my reverend brother, of theatrical amusements;
well! was not the once beautiful
Mrs. W. quite spoiled from every appearance
of elegance? could she ever again reassume
on the stage the masculine habit,
in which she once looked so well? Her
face, it is true, was so lovely, that it required
the rudest hand of adversity to disfigure B7v 14
it; but her fine form (though she
was always inclined to the embonpoint) was
totally destroyed; and, had it not been for
the ‘generous Turk’ who extricated her, the
confined walls of the King’s Bench would
have in time given to her such a rotundity,
that she could never have appeared
on the theatre again.” Historique.

“Ah! now you have ascended from the
‘slang’ to the novel style,”
said Edward,
“with ‘your rude hand of adversity;’ but
I maintain, that the greatest part of novels
ought to be burned by the common hangman;
though there are, no doubt, some of
those works of fiction, which are both
moral and entertaining.”

“What,” cried the two elder brothers,
at the same time, “do you, Edward, defend
any thing fictitious?”
“Assuredly,”
replied Edward, “otherwise, I must condemn
the excellent fables of Æsop, Les
milles et une nuits
, and many of the works B8r 15
of the ancients: but here,”
continued he,
while he clenched his teeth and crumpled
up the newspaper in his hand, “here is
the vehicle of the most daring and most
abominable lies that ever human art and
malice can invent.”

“Reflect, Edward,” said Charles, “that
the editors of these papers pledge themselves
to fill this paper daily, for the
amusement, as well as the information of
their subscribers. A man sees, each day,
before him this sheet, which he knows must
be filled; and if there is a dearth of home
news, and foreign mails are late in their
arrival, he must either conjecture or invent,
to please the public.”

“No,” said Edward, “let him leave
the places blank; let the paper appear pure
as it is, till stained by man; nor sully his
columns by falsehoods, which only serve
to encourage the growth of rebellion, or
delude the stanch loyalist into a belief of
victories obtained, which the same paper
will next day contradict; and thus the B8v 16
stings of disappointed hope inflict a double
pang to the mind, that had before exulted
in the success of his country’s arms, or
those of her allies.”

The fascination of habit is not easily
done away; and the arrival of the postboy,
with letters and the important newspaper,
gave a truce to all other thoughts
and conversation, than what the private
correspondence of friendship, the bulletins
of Buonaparte, the conjectures of home
quidnuncs, together with all the various
subterfuges of the press, gave rise to.

When Ralph and Charles had perused
their letters, and Edward his few lines from
the right honorable and reverend rector,
the two former amused themselves in
watching the versatile turns of the politician’s
anxious countenance.

It exhibited various emotions, but very
few of the pleasureable kind: at length,
he laid down the paper; and smoothing
the journal of the former day, which, in a
rage, he had before crumpled up, “Now,” B9r 17
said he, “I am resolved to keep all these
contradictory sheets of heterogeneous matter;
which one day tell me that the
French have beaten the Austrians, and the
day following, that the Austrians have
beaten the French; that Sir Arthur Wellesley
is surrounded; or that the whole
army of Soultz is taken: one day the Spaniards
have taken Corunna; the next they
are defeated; the next speaks ill of the
Junta: again they are all we can wish, the
Spaniards beat the French, drive them out
of their country, and carry all before them.
And now for home news: some little time
ago I read that the Lady Harriet Egmont,
after going off with a married man, the
father of eight children, and living with
him in open adultery, was restored to her
home, and her too indulgent and much
injured husband: whereas, to my certain
knowledge, she remained a short time at
an isolated mansion belonging to her
brother, and then actually went off with
her infatuated lover to an island which has B9v 18
the peculiar privilege of harbouring crim.
con. associates, insolvent debtors, and all
the other et-ceteras, intitled—indiscretions!”
Historique.

“My heart bleeds,” said Charles, “at
the domestic misfortunes of the good old
Earl, Lord Gresham’s father! one of his
sons so lately in the same awkward predicament,
and his gallant son, Montague, deprived,
by the chance of war, of a limb:
and then, Lord Gresham was a character
once so highly admired, that it is a thousand
pities he should tarnish all his noble
qualities by the fascinations of such a woman!
who, I am told, has neither manners
nor person to recommend her.” Historique.

“And yet, I doubt not,” said Ralph,
“but that this affair will furnish a foundation
for the story of some ‘free’-minded
novel-writer, or, as the new school calls it,
‘liberal’-minded! and we shall have it some
day brought forward, so clouded with romantic B10r 19
incidents, that no one will guess
who it means; and have for its title, perhaps,
The Fatal Attachment, or
Love triumphant over Duty!
wherein
we shall find Lady Harriet’s face, and even
her form, extolled to the skies; or perhaps
some bookseller’s voluptuous hireling will
be daring enough, for a few guineas, to
write a pamphlet in defence of the conduct
of Lady Harriet Egmont!”

“No one can defend their conduct in
the smallest degree,”
said Edward; “the
generous conduct of Lord Gresham, in refusing
to fight the brother, shews, however,
that virtue is not totally extinct in
his once truly noble nature; for, I believe,
no one ever doubted his courage!” Historique.

“You are a man of peace, brother,”
said Charles, “your profession enjoins you
to teach what your great master, when
he came into the world, proclaimed to all
mankind; but I know, if a man had challenged B10v 20
me, I should have acted very differently.”

After again taking up the newspaper,
and laying it down again, “Now, here,”
said Edward, “is another lying business!
two days ago there was a current report,
that the republican reformist, the old crony
and defender of Colonel Despard, had been
killed in a duel! and here, this day, I find
it asserted to have been a mere fabrication.”

“Come, come,” said Ralph, “a truce
to novels, newspapers, and fables of every
kind: here,”
continued he, “I will set
an example;”
and at the same time he threw
the volume, whose enthusiastic expressions
had so much displeased him, into the fire.

This caused an hearty laugh from
Charles, and the risible muscles of the
cynical Edward relaxed a little on the occasion.

Ralph did not appear a merry man, but
there was a certain humour in his actions,
and sometimes in his expressions, which B11r 21
diverted only, when performed or spoken
by himself; it was requisite to know the
man personally, to be at all moved by them;
in another they would have been flat, nor
could the record of them afford amusement.

Charles, like the famous Will Honeycomb,
“laughed easily,” and had much
shrewdness and quickness about him: Edward
smiled seldom, but was possessed of
solid sense, untainted religion, virtue, and
honesty: and though Ralph was the blunt
farmer, Charles tutored but little, except
in the field of valour, and Edward often
apparently the snarling philosopher, yet
they all inherited those unshaken principles
of the mind and heart, on which sure basis
is built the character of the true gentleman.

B11v 22

Chap. II.

The Nieces.


Mary.

“Her form was fresher than the morning rose, When the dew wets its leaves; unstain’d, and pure As is the lily or the mountain snow.” Thomson.


Margaret.

“Each nerve was fever’d, and convuls’d her brow; Her unsettled eye Wander’d high, then low, Alternately, As if the pow’r of thought had fled.” Love and Madness.

While the three brothers were viewing
the blazing novel, Margaret, the youngest
Miss Marsham, entered the parlour, and
looking first at the table where she had left
her book, and next at the grate, from
whence a part of the boarded cover had B12r 23
just fallen, she uttered the exclamation of
“O heavens! what sacrilegious hand has
destroyed the recreative amusement of my
leisure-hours, and impeded my itineration
through the delightful labyrinths of imagination?”
Verbatim expression of a romantic girl, the daughter
of a dignified clergyman.
“Don’t be such a confounded
fool, Peggy,”
said her uncle Ralph, “I
am ashamed to hear you talk such nonsense.”
“What then,” said she, “to add
to my earthly miseries, am I to be called
Peggy? My name, sir, is Margaritta;
and to no other name will I, hereafter, give
an answer.”

The Reverend Mr. Marsham looked at
his daughter with serious concern, and
shook his head: “But what,” continued
Margaret, “my ever revered, though too
rigid parent, am I to do? there are seven
volumes of that delightful work; and the
set is spoiled by the fatal destruction of
one; the whole seven must be paid for.”

B12v 24

“Ah!” said Edward, looking at his
brother, “you should not have been so
rash, Ralph; I have no money to throw
in the fire.”

“Make yourself easy brother,” said
Ralph, “I have no money neither that I
would wish to throw in the fire; but paying
the expence of those books cannot
ruin me, and therefore, as the fault is,
so let the expence be mine.”

“But can you, sir,” said Margaret,
“can you restore to me those extatic moments
of fond delusion, which that book
imparted to my pensive mind? Alas! can
you――”
and with the sentence unfinished,
she threw herself back on her
chair, and cast up her eyes with that
would-be-languid expression which portended
a fainting fit; and which she would
have undoubtedly performed for the amusement
of the spectators, had not the glow
which she experienced on her cheek, from
anger, and the heat from her late vociferation, C1r 25
made her conscious that such an exhibition
would then have been impracticable.

“What is the matter with my sister?”
said the sweet voice of a fresh-looking
country girl, who now entered the room,
and whose arch eye, glancing towards the
fire, soon beheld the cause of Margaret’s
violent agitation.

“What I hope, my good girl,” said
her uncle Charles, rising up and giving her
his chair, at the same time drawing one by
her for himself, “what I hope will never
be the matter with you: I mean a madness
after romances, books which I think your
good sense will not suffer you to peruse.”

“Oh yes, I read them sometimes,” replied
the lively Mary, “but then I do not make
myself like my sister, a slave to them; and
since our kind uncle Ralph indulged us
with subscribing to the library, I very
seldom get a novel I like; for Margaret
sends for such incredible, such marvellous
kind of works that I shut the books with disgust,Vol. I. C C1v 26
and seldom have patience to read them
through: but, indeed my dear girl,”
added
she, affectionately kissing the cheek of
her sister, “your health would be better
if you did not sit so closely over your favorite
studies, which disturb your dreams,
and make you unable some nights to close
your eyes: would you, like me, enjoy the
fresh morning air, which you lose in broken
slumbers, after your restless nights, you
would soon have done with such idle
fancies, which you describe by the title
of nervous affections and hypochondriac
malady!”

Edward, whose heart towards his children
was often at war with his tongue,
said, “Come, come, not quite so much
talk: what you say is very just, but you
know your sister’s health is naturally delicate.”
“And what is it that renders it
so,”
said Ralph, “but the very cause my
niece Mary has alleged? I’ll tell you
what, Peggy, go up stairs, and see if none
of your father’s shirts want a wristband or C C2r 27
a button; though I believe Mary takes
good care of all our linen; but never mind,
if you do not find any thing there to do, I
have three old pair of worsted stockings,
which I wear under my gaiters when I ride
over my grounds on a wet morning, darn
them for me, if you please, for I know
there are two or three great holes in each
pair. Do you hear me, Peggy?”
“I am
sure,”
said she, bursting into tears, “if I
am called ‘Peggy’ again I shall go into a
fit!”

The Reverend Mr. Marsham took down
his hat from the peg on which it hung,
drew the arm of his daughter Margaret
through his own, and said, “Come, child,
we will take a walk, the air perhaps will
revive your spirits.”

She appeared desirous to draw away her
hand from her father’s, shuddered as he
placed it under his arm, and casting up
her eyes toward heaven, exclaimed, “Poor
persecuted dove that I am!”

As they walked onwards towards the C2 C2v 28
meadows, she perceived a coarse ragged
shirt hanging on a hedge; she advanced
towards it, looked at it, and gave a deep
sigh. “Ay, my child,” said her father,
“many are the forlorn children of poverty!
how few are blessed with a relative like
ours! what would have become of you, my
poor girls, without your excellent uncle?”

“Oh! that barbarous inhuman man!”
said she. “Margaret,” said her father,
“you make me seriously angry: what, because
he threw your ridiculous book into
the fire, you can be capable of bestowing
on your benefactor such an epithet!”
“O
no, sir, his whole conduct excruciates all
the tender sentiments of the soul; he is so
utterly devoid of heroism, refinement, and
all the softer sensations of the mind.”

“Stuff—nonsense,” said her father, “quit
this ridiculous language, this affectation
of hard words, this pedantic jargon, so
disgusting in the general conversation of a
young female: but we must return homewards,
it begins to rain; come, run on before, C3r 29
make use of the agility that youth
has given you, and get home as fast as you
can.”

Margaret ran, it is true, but not in
obedience to the commands of her father;
for, almost flying to the ragged shirt, she
thus addressed it: “Oh! garment of my
beloved; garment that envelopes and embraces
the polished and beautiful skin of
the fairest of the sons of men: behold! the
heavens themselves dissolve in tears at thy
unmerited indigence! Oh! when will the
much-wished-for day arrive, that thy noble
parents will claim thee as their own, and
acknowledge thee in the face of an admiring
world? when shall thy Margaritta
be hailed as thy happy bride, and addressed
by the title of her grace, as she shares with
thee the ducal coronet? Alas! the clouds
of fate intervene, and at present obscure
our future destiny; one brutal uncle, a
rigid father, and a rustic sister, all combine
to persecute the wretched Margaritta!”

Edward, who had only walked a good C3v 30
pace, now reached his daughter, and thinking
that she prest the discoloured linen to
her eyes only to dry the effusions of a benevolent
and too sensible heart, gave her a
tender paternal pressure to his bosom, and
put half-a-crown into her hand for the purchase
of a new ribbon to her bonnet, to
replace that which the rain had much injured.

Mary, the eldest of the Reverend Mr.
Marsham
’s daughters, was called by every
one round about and in the village a very
pretty girl; yet, take every feature separately,
and they would not be called beautiful:
the glow of health and sprightly innocence,
in a female of nineteen, seldom
fails to attract; but Mary had to boast of
more; a sweetness, mingled with a playful
archness, embellished her countenance, and
while they rendered its charms indescribable,
made them also irresistible: her eyes, in
regard to colour, had no claim to beauty,
for they were only a dark grey; but they
were lively and sparkling, and received additional C4r 31
attraction from a long, dark eyelash:
her nose was neither “Roman” nor
“Grecian”; but it was well formed, and no
other would have suited her other features
so well, perhaps it might be “Egyptian”, as
that is the present fashion of the day;
though we have not yet heard of any
standard for that prominent part of the
face, over which the snaky ornament of
Isis, after having twisted its folds amongst
the lovely tresses of Britannia’s fair, sits
formidably nodding and darting its forked
tongue, to the dismay of those who would
dare approach the medusan ornament.

The mouth of Mary vied in colour with
the ripe cherry, and her teeth might come
in competition with ivory: her form was
not “sylph-like”, but it was tall, upright,
and of a plumpness approaching to embonpoint:
her voice was so melodious,
and her ear so perfectly correct, that her
uncle Ralph often wished to yield to the
temptation of having her taught to perform
(not on the harp) but on the piano-forte; C4v 32
but as all the brothers judged that it
would be only an ornamental part of education,
which she would in her present and
future sphere of life never have occasion
to display, they contented themselves with
the delightful warblings of her wild notes,
with which she often charmed their hours
of rural leisure.

Margaret, or as we shall sometimes have
occasion to call her, Margaritta, was one
year younger than her sister; her stature
might rather be called short than tall, and
not very well proportioned; for her shoulders
were exceeding broad, which defect
she always dignified by saying she had
the true “cleopatra back:” her countenance
had some meaning, and would not have
been disagreeable, though far from pretty,
had she not distorted and twisted every
feature, in order to give to it that expression
which she judged was irresistible:
her large dark eyes would have been called
good, had she not been continually casting
them upwards, in a solemn, rolling kind C5r 33
of appeal to heaven: her forehead was
much seamed by the small-pox; the rest
of her face had pretty well escaped that
rueful malady; and her small rosy mouth
resembled that of her sister, only with this
difference; Mary looked best when she
spoke or smiled, Margaret looked best
with her mouth close shut; for having one
evening, in a romantic reverie, mistaken
the hard claw of a fine rock lobster for the
fish itself, in her attempts to masticate it
she unfortunately broke two of her front
teeth, which gave her rather an unpleasant
appearance whenever she attempted to
“sweetly smile.”

These defects in her person, her health
being not very good, and her nerves weak,
and as her mother had, in giving her life,
lost her own, made the excellent Edward
peculiarly careful of shewing that partiality
which he certainly could not avoid
feeling for her elder sister.

He had indulged Margaret, on account
of a long confinement from illness, with C5v 34
the perusal of those novels a neighbouring
circulating library afforded; a subscription
to which was afterwards continued by
good-natured Ralph for his two nieces’
amusement.

The effects of this reading, on a mind
easily softened and naturally weak, is already
perceptible to the reader in the
character of Margaret. Mary read only
to amuse an hour, and never suffered it to
interfere with her more useful occupations;
yet she was fond of literature; and her
uncle Charles, with whom she was a decided
favourite, had presented her with a
small and elegant library, from the best
approved writers for female improvement.

Margaret, in spite of all her father’s indulgent
kindness, imagined herself as one
languishing under a severe parent’s cruel
rigidity; while her benefactor, her kind
uncle Ralph, she looked upon as little
better than a mere brute; toward her uncle
Charles
she wavered in her affections, and
this wavering was, in some degree, mutual: C6r 35
in those intervals, which, it must be said,
happened but seldom, when Margaret, by
an imaginary new conquest, quitted her
reading for the ornamenting of her person,
and tried to make herself pleasant and
agreeable, uncle Charles began to admire
his niece Margaret, and really loved her
for her truly compassionate nature; has
been in those moments drawn in to talk sentiment
with her, accompany her in her
walks to some of the neighbouring cottages,
(for Margaret knew all the heroines
of romance did the same); and there Charles
would drop a tear, with the ready shilling
to the wants of indigence: then her uncle
Charles
was the only soul in the family
congenial to her own, then he was extolled
to the skies: the next day has thrown all
this romantic edifice to the ground; for
this beloved uncle is made the confident of
some ridiculous love-affair, or is condemned
to hear her read through two or
three pages of absurdity and inconsistency;
he then becomes too much disgusted to C6v 36
contain his irritable temper, and he makes
use of the same language to his delicate
and persecuted niece (according to her account)
as he would to a private soldier:
Oh! she detests the very sight of uncle
Charles
, a man of blood, fit only to wade
through fields of slaughter, or reside in a
camp; while duty, inflexible duty obliges
her to love her father, on whose grave
countenance she seldom beholds a smile;
oh! what would she not give could she
but see a smile on that countenance beaming
upon her! but alas! a parent’s wrath
hangs over her head, she says, and she is
the most miserable of created beings.

The heroine of a romance, she knows,
was never happy, therefore she will yet
look forward with hope to the winding up
of her adventures, after she has experienced
several additional and aggravated sorrows;
till she has explored dark unfathomable
caverns and dungeons, or has been confined
in some high and moss-grown tower,
through whose subterraneous passages her C7r 37
lover will enter, wind up the ruined staircase
which leads to her horrible prison,
from whence he will deliver her, and boldly
present her to his stern and noble father,
who will melt with love and paternal
tenderness on the discovery of her heroic
and intrinsic virtue.

The heart of the lively Mary, though
susceptible, was yet her own; she superintended
with alacrity and good humour
the household affairs of her uncle; nor was
she deficient in spinning, of any of those
housewifely employments which would render
her an useful farmer’s wife; but she
could unite gentility and industry, good
sense and trifling, so happily, that all who
saw, admired her, and all who knew her
loved and esteemed her.

Margaret was very often in love; though
at present there was one who was peculiarly
the object of her notice: this was
a young man who had come the preceding
summer to make hay for her uncle, with
some other itinerant labourers from Ireland: C7v 38
the lad had neither father nor mother;
was as honest and industrious as he
was poor, and gave fair promise of being
an excellent under-servant; he could neither
write nor read: but Ralph, who cared
very little about the erudition of a servant,
and indeed would often express his disapprobation
of Sunday Schools, which
only served, he used to say, to spoil those
whose lot must be only to labour, and that
we had much better servants before they
were established; we believe he rather
therefore preferred the ignorance of Phelim
O’Gurphy
, the abovementioned lad; and
wanting a servant to go on errands, and
occasionally work on the farm, took the
Hibernian, to his great joy, to live with him
in that capacity: but as Phelim cast his
eyes toward the young ladies who were
seated in the parlour, when he was called
in to receive the welcome intelligence,
Margaret immediately discovered homage,
love, and reverence, in the eyes of the
enamoured youth! Severely did she take C8r 39
herself to task for not instantly acquainting
her father and uncles with his temerity in
daring to aspire to her beauty; and she resolved
to watch every opportunity of exercising
her vengeance on the unfortunate
and truly unconscious Phelim, till one day
an incident occurred which convinced her
that he could be no other than a nobleman
in disguise!

His complexion, like that of many of
his countrymen, was extremely fair, and
though his face was burnt by the sun, his
arms and bosom were white as those of the
fairest female; otherwise his personal attractions
were by no means conspicuous;
for his figure was short and clumsy, his
face broad and vacant, and his hair of a
fiery red; which furnished Margaret with
the idea of “Hyperion’s curls,” and ringlets
of gold!

One sultry day, as she strolled in search
of adventures over her uncle’s meadows,
she discovered, reposing at his full length, C8v 40
Phelim O’Gurphy; though it could not
literally be called repose, as he appeared
to be much agitated by some terrific dream;
and as Irishmen, either waking or sleeping,
are very apt to utter all their thoughts,
the following words escaped him, in the
true brogue, and all the native energy of
his country: “Oh! help, holy mother of
St. Patrick! Arrah! now, where is the
good Duke of Tyrconnel?”

Margaret, who was utterly ignorant of
the Irish peerage; and what titles were
or were not extinct, as she gazed on the
snowy whiteness of his wrist and throat,
was now fully convinced that he was certainly
the Duke of Tyrconnel in disguise!
and that the “holy mother of St. Patrick”
meant no other than the noble dame to
whom he (no doubt a Knight of St. Patrick)
owed his splendid birth; this noble mother
was instantly created, from his calling her
holy, by the prolific brain of Margaret,
into the abbess of a nunnery; and it was C9r 41
most probable she reasoned with herself
that she had been canonized by the Pope
for a saint!

From that moment her whole thoughts
became fixed on the high conquest she was
convinced she had achieved over the heart
of this noble and most accomplished youth.

C9v 42

Chap. III.

Fashionable Originals.

O fashion! now a goddess, now a friend,

At whose levee, pride, folly, vice attend;

Thy vot’ries are of ev’ry rank and age;

All play the part of fool on fashion’s stage.

The Author.

The letter which the Reverend Mr.
Marsham
had received, contained a few
lines informing him the Right Honourable
incumbent was coming to pass six weeks
at his living; and as his retinue, composing
his family and tonish friends, were weary of
the watering-place they had just been
honouring with their company, were to come
with him, he had favored his curate with
the commission of ordering the housekeeper
at the spacious parsonage-house to C10r 43
have the beds well aired, and every thing
in order to receive her master, his lady,
and her sister; with three gentlemen of
rank and fortune, together with an humble
female friend.

The first of these gentlemen, Sir Charles
Sefton
, a wealthy baronet, was the avowed
suitor of Lady Isabella Emerson, sister to
Lady Caroline Leslie, the Rector’s lady:
the second was a young gentleman lately
come to a very large estate, a Mr. Harrington,
whom Lady Caroline, devoted to play,
was endeavouring to pidgeon, till she
plucked him bare, and he might then give
place to some other who should be more
full in feather. At present, the money of
Mr. Harrington, always readily lent, was
very useful to the Honorable and Reverend
Mr. Leslie
, whose paternal inheritance, and
the annual income of two very rich benefices,
had been much exhausted to supply
the unbounded extravagance of himself
and his lady.

The third gentleman was Sir Edward C10v 44
Harrington
, who had come down into the
country, not from his love for the society
of those he had accompanied, but merely
to watch over and guard the oft-times
thoughtless conduct of a nephew whom he
loved as his own child.

The humble friend was a Mrs. Kennedy,
the widow of an Irish fortune-hunter, who,
after having spent an ample fortune which
the lady had generously given him the sole
disposal of when she gave him her hand,
as she was verging towards the decline of
life, left her with only her talents to support
her, in that precarious, little-to-be-
envied occupation of an authoress! Historique.

By adulatory dedications to the great,
her own respectable family, rare abilities,
and quickness in composing her little
works
, she had ensured their patronage,
and often made one in their country excursions:
she was particularly welcome to
the Lady Isabella, whose dearest delight C11r 45
consisted in quizzing, and who, in Mrs.
Kennedy
, found a continual butt.

Though Mrs. Kennedy was possessed of
unusual talents, yet there was an obscurity
in the expression of her thoughts which
often puzzled the reader, and made him
wonder where he was: to indulge a pretty
and flowery expression, she would sacrifice
all sense, and substitute for it inexplicable
absurdity: to pourtray the “wings of
pity,”
or the humid drop of compassion,
she has, in the confined metre of poetry,
rendered her meaning wholly unintelligible.

Her general conduct was rather of the
artful kind; and she knew well how to
preserve her rich and titled friends; and
thus never wanted an elegant home or
costly presents.

The Right Honorable Rector’s character
will be easily discovered by his conversation
and conduct; he was far from
being a credit to his sacred profession; and
often did he execrate the hour which made C11v 46
him wear the cloth: the conduct of his
wife, or the example she set, were totally
indifferent to him; though he was too
polite ever to treat her ill, or deny her one
of the many and exorbitant claims she laid
on his purse, while there remained in it
any thing to give her. Historique.

Lady Caroline Leslie was the very life of
fashion, and gave in to every species of
tonish dissipation; but gambling was her
prevailing fault: she would have been
handsome, had not the continual vigils of
deep play rendered her complexion too sallow,
and her eyes too hollow for any art to
restore to their native hue and lustre: she
was not averse to gallantry, and so ready
to assist it in another, that she has even
facilitated the elopement of a sister from
her husband, that she might fly to the
arms of another married lover! Historique.

But the devotion of Lady Caroline to the C12r 47
gaming-table had hitherto prevented her
from taking any part herself in the annals
of indiscretion, vulgarly called crim. con.

Lady Isabella Emerson was like her
sister, a great votary of fashion, but detested
play, except that kind of play which
a love of satire afforded her; and which the
modern quiz and daily hoax were calculated
to give to her mischievous abilities.

Like Margaritta, she was very fond of
modern publications, but her studies were
of a different kind, and all consisted of
false systems: the deluding sophistry of
some free-thinking German authors, with
whose language she was well acquainted,
and whose dangerous and delusive principles
she imbibed; from whose fascinating
descriptions she found vice stripped of its
hideous appearance, and wearing an angel’s
form; while for her lighter reading she
perused the loose sentiments contained in
the French novels of Fablaus; Le Fils
naturel,
and all the dangerous works of
Diderot, and other revolutionary writers. C12v 48
The effects of such studies on a mind like
that of Lady Isabella’s may well be conceived;
marriage she held in utter contempt,
openly expatiated on the folly of all the
outward ceremonies of religion, and was a
very pretty female atheist. To our modern female reformist, Mary Woolstoncroft,
and her husband, she was indebted for these latter
sentiments, so uncongenial with our national prejudices,
as she chose to call them.

These principles her reverend brother-inlaw
never took any pains to correct, alleging,
that perhaps she was right, as far as
any thing he knew to the contrary!

Sir Charles Sefton, her admirer, who was
turned of forty, and owned to three and
thirty
, took all possible pains to conceal
his real age from the quick eyes of his
shrewd and penetrating mistress: he had
been so much the martyr to the various
vices of fashion, that he looked more than
fifty-five; but his family and connexions
were all noble, himself immensely rich, D1r 49
and he was therefore looked upon by the
friends of Lady Isabella as a most desirable
match; and her youth, beauty, and
vivacity, made this whimsical beau imagine
himself to be deeply in love: he really
idolized her for her love of ridicule, so
prevalent in his own nature; and pictured
to himself the happy hours they should
pass together, in mutually laughing at the
whole circle of their friends and acquaintance;
while his consummate vanity would
not suffer him to see, that he chiefly was
the decided mark at which Lady Isabella
pointed the most envenomed arrows of her
sarcastic wit.

Sir Edward Harrington was a worthy
baronet, who had been some years a
widower, was at present childless, but had
adopted his nephew, Mr. Harrington, as
his heir, provided the tenor of his conduct
was such as this excellent uncle could approve;
otherwise, well and dearly though
he loved him, as he knew he was already
rich enough, without his assistance, he Vol. I. D D1v 50
should leave his own large fortune to better
hands.

Sir Edward’s character was of a peculiar
kind, in this our day: he was the
friend of every worthy man! to such, however
ungifted by birth, honours or riches,
in the midst of the most splendid company,
were the thoughts of his heart laid open,
and his conversation alone directed: it was
a painful sacrifice indeed, to a noble nature
like his, to accompany the thoughtless
and unprincipled set of beings he now was
found amongst; but his too accommodating
nephew had intangled himself with
them; and as he had so united his fate to
that of young Harrington, Sir Edward resolved
to watch over, and prevent, if possible,
the fatal contagion of example over
too easy a nature.

Mr. Harrington, in person was manly
and elegant, his manners polite and sweetly
fascinating, his heart benevolent, and his
well cultivated understanding naturally
excellent; but his principles were wavering D2r51
and inconstant: he loved and courted
fashion in every form; but the nightly
admonitions and reflections of his pillow
often severely reprehended the conduct of
the day. Devoted to the sex, he thought
no sacrifice too great for the indulgence of
all their little foibles or inclinations, however
glaring or capricious. Though he
was by no means fond of play, yet he was
ensnared by the fine person and polite
manners of Lady Caroline, to lose to her
immense sums, and sit for whole nights
as if nailed to her card-table; captivated
by the enchanting witcheries of Lady Isabella’s
wit and playful manner, he had addressed
her in a strain of ardour in which
his heart had no share.

Early instructed in the purest principles
of virtue and religion, he once paid unaffected
homage to those sacred names;
now he allowed himself to tread in the
mazes of scepticism, when he beheld one
of Devotion’s ministers scoff at her precepts,
while he revelled in luxury, and enjoyed,D2 D2v 52
or seemed to enjoy, every species of
worldly prosperity; when his pious and
virtuous curate, with his narrow pittance,
struggled through life with difficulty, and
the hand of anxious care had stepped
hastily before old age to implant the
wrinkles on his forehead.

The fair and captivating atheist would
often, with a smile and a look that would
have added grace to an Hebe, tell him,
and seem to speak certain conviction to his
mind, that we certainly know what this
life is;—but, from the other, “——No traveller returnsTo tell us what it is!”

Though it was not in the power of Sir
Charles Sefton
to warm the heart of Lady
Isabella
, yet she felt the full power of the
hood-winked deity, in the fine person and
elegant acquirements of the seductive Harrington:
how often did she dwell on the
fond idea of the rapture it would afford
her, to live with him “the life of honour!” D3r 53
how often has she turned in disgust from
her declared admirer, and mentally exclaimed
with Eloisa, “Not Cæsar’s Empress would I deign to prove:Oh! make me mistress to the man I love!”

With much anxiety did the penetrating
Sir Edward discover the failings of his
nephew; which, though they took their
rise from a mind too easily warped by
fashion, had yet attained no fixed seat in
the heart, notwithstanding he dreaded and
trembled for their consequences; he saw,
with extreme pain, the partiality of Lady
Isabella
towards him, and how warmly,
not to say at times how licentiously it
had been returned by Frederic Harrington!

Sir Edward was often fearful that Lady
Isabella
had made a real and permanent impression
on his darling Frederic, and he
would have shuddered at the bare idea of
seeing such a woman the wife of his beloved
protegé, whose gallantry, sometimes on
the other hand, towards Lady Caroline D3v 54
Leslie
, had made him tremble; he knew
the total want of principle in that lady;
and besides, Sir Edward was old-fashioned
enough to think, that though all virtuous,
and even affectionate friendship between
the sexes is allowable, yet, that very pointed
gallantry in a young man towards a young
married woman is as reprehensible as it is
imprudent, and sets a dangerous example
to the ignorant and untaught.

He had therefore often felt much alarm,
and had been ready to break through that
taciturnity he had determined to preserve,
when he had beheld his nephew, as he has
won from Lady Caroline a considerable
sum, fall at her feet, kiss her hand with
rapture, and solemnly declare that permission
amply repaid him for all she had
lost: and once Sir Edward was really
tempted to take him by the arm, and lead
him out of the room, when after being a
most successful winner, and my lady not
being able immediately to pay her losings,
he cancelled the debt on her lips.

D4r 55

To see Frederic Harrington, was sufficient
to admire him, and to be often in his
company, was to love and esteem him:
Lady Caroline grew, by degrees, less fond
of play; though it still remained her darling
sin: Sir Edward trembled for his
nephew amidst this dissipated circle, shuddered
at the thought of his sullying the
columns of a newspaper by a detail of his
trial at Westminster-Hall: and Leslie
versus Harrington
, darted in terrific
vision on his mind’s eye, every time he took
up the Morning Post, Herald, or other
vehicles of fashionable intelligence.

At other times he would blame himself
for his anxiety; and think, as he was growing
old, and uninitiated in the tenets of
the new school, perhaps he might be getting
surly and cynical, or had entirely forgotten
the bright sunshine of his youth.
“No, no,” he would often say to himself,
“Frederic can never be so preposterous as
to be in love with both the sisters at once!
but what may not the advances of two fine D4v 56
unprincipled young women be able to
effect on a sanguine disposition? God defend
him from seducing the wife of his
friend, however pretended that friend may
be; and oh! may I never see him the husband
of that mischievous little infidel,
Lady Isabella.”

The house of Mr. Marsham had a view
of the gate which opened into the front
garden of the parsonage; and at the upper
windows of the farm-house, Mary and
Margaret had stationed themselves to behold
the great folks on their arrival.

First, rattled on in high style, the Rector’s
barouche and four, driven by the
Honourable and Reverend Theodore Leslie,
habited in a coachman’s coat, with three
enormous capes; and, as he was an highly
approved member of the whip-club, he
drove in such an admirable style, that, had
not the good lady his mother been a truly
chaste and virtuous character, people might
have thought he owed his birth to a Gregsonian
indiscretion.

D5r 57

In the barouche were seated Lady Caroline,
Frederic Harrington, and his uncle: and rapidly
darting after, with all the velocity of a
charioteer, figured away Sir Charles Sefton,
in his lofty phæton, accompanied by Lady
Isabella Emerson
, arrayed in equestrian
costume: a small green cap added to all
that knowing archness of her countenance
which was its peculiar character; while
an habit of the same colour, laced with
narrow gold binding, as was her cap, and
a pair of green satin half-boots, completed
the fair-one’s livery.

Sir Charles, adopting with true knighterrantry
his lady’s colours, was dressed in
a jacket of the same summer hue; and his
white hat, lined only with green, gave a
relief to the verdant appearance of the
dashing pair: but surely, the noble baronet
had not studied Ovid, who advises those
only who are possessed of the roseate complexion
of youth, to wear this symbol of
perpetual spring; for the yellow countenanceD5 D5v 58
of Sir Charles, in spite of all the cosmetics
he made use of, recieved an additional
hue, of the cadaverous kind, from
the grass-tinged lining of his superfine
beaver.

Wrapped closely in a fine India shawl,
which being drawn so tight round her fine
form, that it appeared her only covering,
skipped out of her carriage, with all the
grace and agility of a wood-nymph, Lady
Caroline Leslie
, disclaiming all assistance
from her two attending beaux, who mutually
offered their aid; but she was soon
persuaded to take the arm of the elegant
Frederic, and the trees of the avenue which
led to the house quickly obscured them
from the eyes of the gazing sisters.—
“That,” said Mary, “is the finest gentleman
I ever saw! the youngest, I mean, of
the two who accompany Lady Caroline.”

“Oh!” said the emphatic Margaret, “I
can look at no one but that knight in
green
, who I am certain, from his complexion, D6r 59
is some foreign prince: they remind
me, dear Mary, of the green nightknight
and his lady: happy, happy fair-one, who
is seated beside him in his car of triumph!”

The laughter which Mary was unable to
suppress, highly offended her sister, who
regarded her with looks of contemptuous
pity. “I declare,” said Mary, “I think
the gentleman must be the happiest of the
two, for she is really a very pretty lady;
and I am sure no one need envy her being
seated by the side of such a yellow, unhealthy
looking being as the one you have
been pleased to dub a prince: what a fortunate
event, my dear girl, it would have
been for many a needy adventurer, had you
been an absolute monarch! How many
princes and nobles would have owed their
origin to the prepossession you might have
received in their favour, from their personal
appearance only!”

Margaret made no answer, but gazed
after the figure of Sir Charles as long as D6v 60
she could perceive the least vestige of it
gliding through the trees; then shutting
the window, and heaving a deep-drawn
sigh, she accompanied her sister down
stairs.

D7r 61

Chap. IV.

A Morning Visit, and an Invitation.

“Blest with each gift of nature and of art, And wanting nothing but an honest heart, Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt, And most contemptible, to shun contempt; A constant bounty, which no friend has made, An Angel tongue, which no man can persuade; A fool, with more of wit than half mankind, Too rash for thought, for action too refin’d.” Pope.

Mr. Marsham was truly respected by
all the country, as an opulent and worthy
gentleman-farmer, and his genteel birth
and respectable connexions made all the
higher classes of people desirous of cultivating
his acquaintance. Ralph, however,
disclaimed all general visitors; and, as independent
in his manners as in his fortune,
he took the freedom of choosing his associates,
and the society which composed
them he determined should be as small as
it was select.

D7v 62

To his brother’s Right Honourable Rector,
his doors, of course, were thrown open;
and Ralph relaxed a little from his usual
bluntness, to the great man, out of pure
friendship for his brothers.

No being was more beloved than Edward,
by all the parishioners; no one more
disliked and dreaded than the Honourable
and Reverend Mr. Leslie
; but the countryfolks
had wit enough to keep their thoughts
of him and his family to themselves.—
Charles Marsham, who, though no longer
very young, was yet in possession of youth
enough, and health and strength sufficient
to embark again in his favourite profession;
and the constant and flattering promises of
the Reverend Mr. Leslie, to procure him,
through his interest and influence, rapid
promotion, induced the kind-hearted Ralph
to be more obliging in his outward manners,
than really accorded with his sincerity,
to the man he inwardly despised: not so
Charles; for him it was an utter impossibility
to cringe, in the smallest degree, D8r 63
even to that man from whose favour he
hoped to gain an ascendancy in his military
career; no, he would contradict the powerful
Rector, where he thought him wrong,
with all the free impetuosity with which he
would rebuke his own brothers or nieces.

The Rector, soon after his arrival,
hastened to pay his respects at the farmhouse,
assuring the honest trio that he had
really languished to shake hands with three
of the best fellows in the universe; and
that he now purposely called to request
their company to dinner on the following
Thursday: the day being Saturday on
which he chose to honour them by a call,
he thus continued, addressing Edward in
particular: “Upon my soul, my dear fellow,
I am sadly unhinged by a succession
of late hours, and have such a confounded
head-ach continually upon me, that I must
request you will do duty for me to-morrow.”
“With much pleasure, sir,” replied
Edward, “but I fear your parishioners will
be much disappointed, and particularly D8v 64
Lady Wringham, who has delayed the
christening of her infant till it was almost
seven months old, in order that it might
be baptised by your hands.”
“What,”
says the reverend Rector, “has that old
cat
brought forth another child? Well,
she gives devilish good douceurs, and I
know she is so particular, that she will
have the dear cubs made literally members
of the church, by having them brought
there, like an honest old laundress as she
was, Historique. so I’ll e’en try to get through a sermon,
because if I give out that I am indisposed,
I cannot with any face sprinkle
the monkey-forehead of Lady Wringham’s
brat; no, no,—hang it, if one has no
conscience, one must pretend to a little.”

The virtuous Edward could scarce suppress
his indignation, but he was poor and
dependent, his Rector rich and noble! he
therefore bridled his thoughts, though
with very apparent difficulty, especially D9r 65
from the reply of Mr. Leslie to the following
request:

“Sir,” said Edward, “the poor woman’s
child, at the second cottage on the right
of your park, is so extremely ill, that she
would esteem herself under a lasting obligation
to you, if you would be so kind to
baptize it at home, as the apothecary tells
her, the poor infant’s life, by great care,
may be preserved; but if taken out in the
air, at present, it will inevitably cause its
death.”
“Never, never,” hastily replied
Mr. Leslie, “will I christen any of the
poor at their own dwellings: I insist upon
it, that she brings the unhappy little
wretch to church; and suppose it should
die from cold, so much the better for the
parents; she has more mouths now in her
dirty hovel than she is able to feed! Historique. But
oh! hang the shop, my dear fellow, do
not let us, as Lenitive says in the Prize,
be ‘nailed to the counter like a bad D9v 66
shilling!’
I came to ask you to dine with
me on Thursday; I mean to give my parishioners
a hop in the evening, illuminate
the park, and let off a few crackers, in
honour of the Austrians having beat the
French; but you, my good friends, and the
divine girls, your nieces, must positively
come to dinner.”

“We are highly sensible of the honour
you do us, sir,”
said Ralph: “on such
an occasion, we cannot refuse your polite
invitation, and will certainly honour ourselves
by waiting on you.”
“Yes, sir,”
said Edward, “and now that I hear from
you, that the glorious news is really authentic,
myself and family will also accept
the invitation to a ball with sincere pleasure.”
“So then,” said the Rector, as he
saw the young ladies enter the room, and
giving a very particular glance at Mary,
“I am obliged only to Archduke Charles
for the company of you and these divine
creatures!”
“Pardon me, sir,” replied
Edward, “I too well know the distance between D10r 67
me, your humble curate, and that
of your noble family; my daughters are
destined to move only in the sphere of
humble mediocrity; your family glitters in
the court of a monarch, the brilliancy of
which is only eclipsed by the lustre of his
virtues; but, on such an occasion as the
present, the grateful incence of humility
finds equal acceptance with the triumphs
of the high and mighty, at the crush of
usurpation and the victory of a virtuous
warrior.”

“Pardon me, sir,” said the right honourable
Rector, as he gazed on the blushing
face of Mary, pressed her hand with
ardour, and turned his back upon her
sister, “pardon me, my good sir, these
lovely creatures would add glory to a
crown!—do not, pray, my good fellow, do
not so depreciate their value.”

Mary turned from his bold and ardent
gaze, then withdrawing her hand with some
dignity, she said, “Oh sir! do not think
our minds are so untutored or so weak as D10v 68
to be pleased with flattery so very pointed
and gross.”

Mary then seated herself at the other end
of the room, and her father, who felt for
her, said, “My girls, sir, are unused to
the society of those who move in a sphere
like that to which you are ever accustomed;
and therefore I have never sought to introduce
them, as guests, into that polished
order of beings with whom I know it will
never be their lot, in future, to associate.”

“And why not? my good sir,” said the
Rector with quickness; “the acquisition
of such young ladies as the Misses Marsham
must confer honour on society, instead
of deriving it.”

Margaret was not deaf on this occasion,
and neither was she blind; she could see
too plainly that the pointed looks of the
Rector towards her sister meant that she
alone was considered in this hyperbolical
eulogium.

Unmindful of his sacred profession, or
his marriage vows, the Reverend Mr. D11r 69
Leslie
certainly beheld, with many a degree
of painful comparison, in unison with a
softer sentiment, the innocent, blooming,
and lovely Mary, and contrasted her with
the gay, unfeeling and unprincipled wife of
his bosom; and if the conquest over her
mind and person was not attended with too
much difficulty, it was his settled determination
to establish her in elegant lodgings,
endow her with a comfortable settlement,
and leave her—when he was weary of her!
For the other girl, he used to tell his family
he thought her confounded ugly, and a romantic
fool; but to be too particular in
his attentions to one sister, while he totally
neglected the other, would be to shew himself
even a greater fool than her he despised.

“Well,” continued he, resuming his
friendly chit-chat, “you promise me, all
of you, to come; I hope we shall be very
gay, and I will do all in my power to render
the day and evening agreeable to these
lovely creatures”
(taking a hand of each, D11v 70
but looking at Mary with much softness
and meaning in his eyes): “good morning
to you all;”
and as he leaped, with wonderful
agility, the paling in front of the house,
they all remarked at once, “Who would
think that was a clergyman?”

And who would indeed think it was one
of that serious profession, arrayed in nankin
jacket and trowsers, a green beaver
hat, and a Belcher handkerchief tied round
his throat; but soon a dashing pair of females
presented themselves, and turned
back with him to the farm-house.

“We were in sight of your house, Mr.
Marsham
,”
said Lady Caroline, throwing
herself into an easy chair, and extending
her pretty foot and ancle, while she
discovered a pair of fringed pantaloons,
covered only with a thin muslin petticoat,
and an open leno pelisse, “we were coming
after this stray sheep of mine, and have
made him turn back again.”

“If my brother turns back”, said the
lively Lady Isabella, “I fear he will have D12r 71
a dreadful path to retread; do you not
think so, sir?”
added she, laying her hand
familiarly on the shoulder of the Reverend
Mr. Marsham; “my sister talks of stray
sheep; now thank my stars, I am not one,
for I never belonged to your pious fold,
and, ‘Pleas’d to the last, I’ll crop the flow’ry food.’”

“And is it not a pity,” replied Edward,
bowing with unaffected gravity, “that so
lovely a lamb should, unconsciously, be
marked out for sacrifice?”
“What do
you mean?”
said she, somewhat abashed.
“Sacrificed,” replied Edward, “on the
altar of fashion and dissipation.”
“Oh!
no,”
answered she with some haughtiness,
“I am not sacrificed, because I offer myself
willingly; and am ever determined, in
spite of parents, husband, or clergy, to
act in every thing as I please.”

Charles looked at her, in spite of her
beauty, with disgust; and from that time
conceived a dislike against her; for though D12v 72
he hated a cold and tame character, yet he
had an utter aversion to what is generally
styled a woman of spirit.

But Charles had been himself a handsome
fellow, and was so sensitive to the
power of beauty in the softer sex, that this
sensibility was rather his weak side: Lady
Isabella
, with great sweetness, advanced
towards him, and took his un-reluctant
hand; “Come now,” said she, “why do
you give me that look, just like some
American savage!”

Margaret was captivated immediately;
the sweet eyes of Lady Isabella, the association
of ideas, that the term “American
savage”
brought to her mind, was wonderful
in its operation, and she looked on
Lady Isabella as little less than a divinity:
the sly lady also viewed the pensive Margaritta;
and not only looked upon her as
fair game for her satiric talents, but her
ladyship’s penchant for the elegant Harrington
encreasing daily, she had imbibed
some soft romantic sentiments with the E1r 73
passion of love, which made her find a
confidante an absolute requisite.

She twisted the drapery of her long
shawl around her with peculiar elegance,
and swam across the room to that space
occupied by the nieces. “My sweet interesting
girl!”
said she, pressing the hand
of Margaret, and with a soft sigh, fixing
her eyes on her countenance, “how happy
am I to see you! and what pleasure do I
enjoy, in prospect, at the pleasing intelligence
of your accepting our invitation for
Thursday—oh! my love,”
added she, lowering
her voice, “I have much to impart to
a congenial soul like yours!”
At the same
time her ladyship looked on the lovely
Mary with not only an haughty sang froid,
but even with a degree of spite; and composed
of those expressive characteristics,
Lady Isabella’s countenance was the direct
index of her mind; for so much did she
know of that grand theatre, the world; so
often did she make one in the high and Vol. I. E E1v 74
splendid circles of festivity, that she easily
saw, since her last visit to Eglantine farm,
how much the form and face of the then
promising Mary was improved, and that
she was in full possession of that fascination,
that unobtruding, though playful
expression, which would decidedly give her
a preference with all the males wherever
she appeared.

Lady Isabella was sure to be admired;
but she had often, not only competitors,
but superiors in personal attractions to contend
with; this made her carefully improve
her talent for wit, in order to render herself
irresistible: yet Lady Isabella, by wearing
this dangerous weapon, defeated her purpose;
she was sometimes so cuttingly severe,
that with all the smiling witchery of her
countenance, she had been thought ill-natured,
and consequently shunned; at other
times she has felt herself low-spirited, and
her efforts at saying smart things (in which
she was sure to fail, for all wit should be E2r 75
spontaneous) has caused her to be classed
only amongst the would-be-witty triflers of
quality.

Margaret, at the flattering address of
her ladyship, let fall her eyelids, and
timidly lifted them again; and while she
endeavoured to express, by her eyes, every
thing that was sweet and lovely, she gave
them a turn very much like that defect
which we call squinting; and smiling, as
she was forming a speech to express her
gratitude for the honour done her, she
shewed the ruins of her mouth, and Lady
Isabella
with great difficulty suppressed
her laughter.

Lady Caroline looked at her diminutive
gold watch, and found it was getting late;
she had laid an enormous bet upon what
time the morning sun would be off the last
window of the dining-parlour, and she
must absolutely be present at the decision:
she therefore instantly rose, and took her
leave of the good family with a condescending
and protecting air. Lady IsabellaE2 E2v 76
again whispered Margaret, and told
her how much she longed for Thursday!
gave Charles a familiar nod; a knowing
quizzical curtsey to Ralph; and with a bow
full of grace and sweetness, pressed her
hand to her heart, and regarded Edward,
as he opened the parlour-door for the polite
visitants.

The Reverend Mr. Leslie seemed to take
leave of no one but Mary, gave her a very
particular look, and sighed audibly.

And now the maître d’hôtel of Lady
Caroline
, the house-keeper, and all the upper
servants were busied in displaying their
taste, and making a most ample use of the
purse and credit of their master, in each of
which they were lavish to a degree of prodigality;
while the subaltern servants were
busied in every laborious preparation for
the grand gala of the approaching Thursday.

Nor were the girls at the farm-house less
occupied in arranging their dresses for the
occasion; and though Margaret was most E3r 77
wakeful for the important cause, yet we
will not say that Mary had so little of the
female in her, as not to lay awake some
quarter of an hour or more each night, in
reckoning upon that elegant pleasure in
perspective which she so seldom enjoyed, and
which delightful vision would, no doubt,
be realised amongst such a splendid circle.
Oh youth! delightful season of pleasure,
enhanced by expectation! why are thy
hours so fleeting? Why, in the stages of
maturity, and even in high meridian, does
the sparkling cup, so lately sweetened with
felicity, present a draft so insipid? and
why stands age so ready and unsolicited to
throw in her bitter and unpalatable ingredients?
Rash mortal, cease to murmur—
wise and beneficent, O Providence, are all
thy decrees! the ardour and error of youth
is chastened by the still and tranquil pleasures
of mature experience and in age the
recollection of good deeds performed in the
earlier stages of life will turn the noxious
draught to sweetness and composure.

E3v 78

Chap. V.

The Dinner and Ball.

“Up springs the dance along the lighted dome, Mix’d, and evolv’d, a thousand sprightly ways.” Thomson. “――On her rankled soul The gaming fury falls; and in one gulph Of total ruin, honour, virtue, peace, Friends, families, and fortune, headlong sink.” Ibid.

On the long expected Thursday, rather
too soon, with shame we confess it, at the
hour of five, a full hour or more before
dinner, arrived at the parsonage Mr. Marsham
and his suite, consisting of his
brothers and nieces: the footman gazed
at them with wonder as he ushered them E4r 79
into the spacious drawing-room, and said,
he would inform his lady of their arrival,
but she had just then retired to dress after
her morning’s game at piquet with Mr.
Harrington
; and his master had not yet returned
from his accustomed walk: Mrs.
Kennedy
was not even at leisure to receive
them, as she was finishing the last stanza
of a sonnet to Cupid, before she could
possibly attend to the frivolous duties of
the toilette. However, after the Marsham
family
had been seated about half an hour,
down came Lady Isabella, in a loose, wrapping,
muslin pelisse; her hair, on one side,
in beautiful ringlets, en papillotes on the
other. “This is the abode of liberty,”
said she gaily, “and I am come en vrai
deshabille
to welcome you all: but, permit
me, while I put the finishing hand to
my toilette, to take my sweet girl with me.”

But as her ladyship turned to make Charles
Marsham
some answer to an handsome
compliment which he paid her, she took
the hand of Mary, instead of Margaret, E4v 80
and running with her up the wide staircase,
said to her, “My dearest creature,
how I have longed for to-day!”
when turning
to embrace her, she discovered her
mistake, and felt almost ready to push poor
Mary down the stairs; however, she put
a good face upon the matter, and said,
with all the good humour she could assume,
“but pray, child, where is your
sister? Why did not she follow us? It
must be more pleasant for you both to stay
with me in my apartment till I am dressed,
than be with your father and uncles; you
have enough of them every day!”

“Your ladyship does us honour,” said
Mary, “and with your permission, I will
desire my sister to come up stairs.”
“Do,
my dear,”
said her ladyship, “but do not
let me confine you, do not come up again
unless you like it.”

Mary had sense enough to see that Lady
Isabella
did not wish for her company;
and also that, from what motive she
knew not, she gave a decided preference to E5r 81
her sister; but at this the good-natured
girl rather rejoiced than repined.

She not only loved to see her sister
noticed, but she also found Lady Isabella
by no means of a character to excite either
her respect or regard; she tripped down
stairs again, but not having minded, in her
ascent, which way she had turned, she took
a contrary direction when she descended,
and instead of finding herself in the drawing
room, she discovered that she had entered
a long apartment, decorated with coloured
lamps and various devices, in which an
elegant cold supper was laid out on the
several tables.

She quitted it immediately, without staying
to admire its tasteful abundance, and
opened the third door from this spacious
apartment: a young gentleman, half dressed,
and reading a pamphlet, met her eye; he
regarded her with peculiar interest, and
advanced forward with a polite freedom,
mingled with respect and trepidation (for E5 E5v 82
Mary had imparted to Frederic Harrington
“A new pulse, unfelt before);”
“Permit me, madam,” said he, in a
tremulous accent, as he observed the deep
confusion of Mary, to which he was fearful
of adding, “permit me to conduct
you to the drawing-room. If you will
pardon,”
added he, “the grotesque appearance
of such an half-dressed escort, I
will do myself the honour of leading you
to your friends; for I am much deceived,”

continued he, as they walked onwards, “if
it is not Miss Marsham whom I now have
the honour of addressing!”

The charming and polite ease of Harrington
now entirely relieved Mary from her
embarrassment, and she chatted with all
the unrestrained and charming naïveté,
which was her peculiar characteristic.

With all the vivacity and heedlessness of
youth, she had not observed that she had E6r 83
turned down another staircase than that
on which she had ascended to the apartment
of Lady Isabella, and was soon made
sensible of her mistake, as she took her
way with Frederic to that leading to the
drawing-room; on which flight of stairs,
having descended a few steps, Lady Isabella
now accosted her, in a voice almost
unintelligible from rage and jealousy—
“Is your sister, Miss Marsham, coming
up, or no?”

“I have not yet seen her, my lady,”
said Mary, with the most tranquil innocence.
“Where then, in the name of
heaven, have you been?”
said her ladyship;
and without waiting for an answer
she banged the door of her apartment with
violence, and threw herself on an ottomane
in all the agony of jealousy.

Several minutes had elapsed, each of
which had seemed an age to the wretched
Isabella, since Mary left her—she had descended
two or three stairs to see if Margaret
was coming; the first objects that E6v 84
met her eye, were Harrington and Mary!
Harrington in his dressing-gown, the powder
only half wiped from his face, his feet
in slippers, his animated and expressive
eyes fixed on the countenance of Mary, who
regarded him with more than common complacency.
“Shall such a little rustic wretch
as that,”
thought she, “dare to enter the lists
with me, and contend for the heart of the
charming Frederic? Never—no, never,
without feeling the weight of my severest
vengeance.”

During these reflections of the lady,
Harrington had nearly reached the drawing-room
door, towards which he waved
his disengaged hand, and bowing elegantly
over the soft one which he held in his, took
his leave; while Mary, giving a gentle
sigh, secretly thought he had left her too
soon.

Lady Isabella, her cheeks glowing with
agitation, and her heart palpitating with
various emotions, reclined on her ottomane,
awaiting the arrival of Margaret; what E7r85
to make of the scene she had witnessed she
knew not: Mary had not reached the drawing-room
since she left her; she had seen her
in the company of Frederic, and looking
more charmingly attractive than she had
thought her capable of: but the deshabille
of Harrington was a mystery she could not
account for; he who was so careful in general
of his exterior appearance; she had
beheld his half-powdered face rivetted as
close as decorum would permit to that of
the visibly gratified Mary. “Oh!” thought
she, “these country girls are so full of intrigue,
with all their pretended innocence,
that no doubt this seemingly accidental
meeting was planned, and Frederic and
that little puss have long been acquainted
—and shall Isabella Emerson stand forth
as a rival competitor with that obscure
little creature? No, never! From this
moment I cast the mean-spirited Harrington
from my heart, and I should not care
if I was to marry Sir Charles Sefton tomorrow!”
—Presently, at the glad summons E7v 86
she had received from her ladyship, entered
Margaret in tears, which she had
silently shed, as she affected to look out of
a window ever since, what she thought,
the caprice of quality had deprived her
of the fair Isabella’s affections, and had
given her sister the preference.

The negligent posture of the afflicted
lady, the Turkish lit de repos on which
she had thrown her lovely form, made the
fertile brain of Margaret fancy herself in
a Turkish harem; and falling on her knees,
she was about to prostrate her face to the
ground, when Lady Isabella, raising her
up, said, “My sweet, dear girl, what is
the matter? Why these tears? Are you,
like me, a fellow-sufferer? and does thy
gentle and susceptible heart feel the pangs
of unrequited love?”

Margaret now recollected where she was,
and said, “Is it possible, that the beautiful
Lady Isabella can sigh for any one in
vain? Such, my dear lady, I trust is not
my lot: but I wept, because you honoured E8r 87
me with your friendship and promised confidence:
alas! I dreaded lest my sister had
stepped in to rival me in the place I hold
in your affections.”
“Never, my dear
girl,”
replied Lady Isabella, with violence
and energy; “Oh! sit down, and I will
tell you all.”
—But the first dinner-bell
ringing, delayed the important confidence
for the present; and Lady Isabella flying to
her toilette, found, from the glow on her
cheeks, that she must rub off all her rouge,
if she did not wish to appear as vulgarly
red as a country milk-maid. This did not
well accord with the romantic ideas of
Margaret; all the heroines she had ever
read of, were indebted to nature alone for
their miraculous beauty; however, she
knew but little of fashionable life, and
thought every thing that was practised by
her quality friend must be right.

When the two ladies entered the drawing-room
together, they found it filled by
the sociable and friendly party which were
selected, sans ceremonie, to partake of the E8v 88
Rector’s sumptuous dinner; amongst whom
were the rich Sir John Wringham and his
lady: but Lady Isabella cast round her
anxious eyes, and found one of the dinnerparty
was yet wanting; this was the culprit
Harrington: and she now, with all the
negligence of unfeeling fashion left her
new friend to shift for herself; and amidst
the “how d’ye’s,” and “what a warm day
this is, &c. &c.”
as she imparted that important
intelligence
to each one separately,
she appeared not even to know that her beloved
confidante was in the room: at length
she threw herself into a kind of recess,
where a tête-à-tête conversation-chair
offered a vacant place: Sir Charles Sefton
half rose to occupy it, but she almost
killed him by a frown, and sent her enquiring
eye towards the door, where yet
stood the timid Margaret; but the poor
girl was totally unnoticed by her, for her
eye sought Harrington only, and Margaret
durst not take courage to cross the apartment,
in order to take the vacant seat by E9r 89
her ladyship. Lady Isabella, however,
soon gave a knowing look to Sir Charles,
and spelt with her fingers, on the trimming
of her sleeve, the word “quiz!”

Sir Charles rose immediately: “Lovely
creature,”
half-whispered he to Margaret,
“permit me to hand you to a seat;” and
placing himself behind her chair, he poured
forth such a volley of hyperbolical, ridiculous
compliments, that had not the mind
of Margaritta been weak in the extreme,
she must have been convinced that the
noble Baronet was only diverting himself
at her expence: in the mean time all the
gaity of Lady Isabella seemed to return at
the mischievous sport; but whenever she
cast her eyes on Mary, and beheld how
captivating she looked, anger and envy
clouded her features; and it was severally
remarked, either inwardly, or by the
different duos round the room, to each
other, how very ill Lady Isabella Emerson
looked!

Presently the door opened, and Harrington, E9v 90
the elegant Harrington, his person
adorned with all the auxiliaries of tasteful
and gentleman-like dress, entered the room!
every eye was turned towards him; but
Mary cast hers down, blushed and trembled,
yet she knew not why.

With a grace and ease peculiar to himself,
he addressed them all, and was strongly
tempted to take the vacant seat by the side
of Mary, who was placed by Lady Wringham
on a sofa pour trois; but, “Still the world prevail’d, and its dread laugh,Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,”
prevailed, for Frederic had the world’s pride
amongst his several foibles; he thought it
would degrade him conspicuously to notice
the protegée niece of a farmer, the
daughter only of a country curate!

He therefore, with little deliberation,
took his corner in the recess, by the gratified
Lady Isabella, and never turned his
head once towards Mary, while her eyes
often unconsciously wandered towards the E10r 91
seat he filled. Margaret was in high
spirits at her imaginary conquest, and all
seemed pleased but Mary, who was doomed
to endure the conversation and ignorant remarks
of Lady Wringham, who declared
to the Reverend Mr. Marsham, “If she had
no little ones, how happy she should be in
having sitch a companion always to live
with her as Miss!”

It now wanted a quarter of an hour to
six; “The hour,” said Lady Caroline,
“we generally dine at in the country;
though I declare I have no appetite till
eight, my usual hour in town.”

“Well!” said Lady Wringham, “for
my part, I always dines at three; and I
thinks that a wery good hour! but every
one to their liking; ar’nt I right, Mr.
Leslie
?”

“I am so partial to your ladyship,”
said the Reverend Theodore Leslie, “that
I think all you do must be right; and
henceforth I should like to dine at three
myself, that I might think that you and I E10v 92
were, at least in one action, employed
alike.”

“La! well, I declare you are sitch a
funny man, Mr. Leslie: well, I declare,
my love,”
continued she, addressing Sir
John
, “if our parson is not absolutely
making love to me.”

“Mr. Leslie, lovey, does you and me
much honour, I am sure,”
said the little
man of four-feet-eight, rising and bowing
profoundly.

“Well, but do you know,” said his
talkative rib, “if I ha’n’t been talking
politics here with our curate and the
captain his brother!”

“Yes,” said Charles, “this good lady
has been rejoicing with us, that the little
usurper is at last likely to meet his deserts.”

“Oh! I don’t know,” said the Honourable
and Reverend Theodore Leslie
,
who was always fond of argument and contradiction,
“I yet think,—mind—I by no
means desire it,—au contraire, I assure you, E11r 93
but I do really think that Boney will beat
them all at last. My dear fellow, he
has such armies, it is utterly impossible to
conquer him.”
“Upon my soul, sir,” said
Charles, with some warmth, “I am very
sorry to hear an Englishman say so; particularly
any one who ranks high in life:
in the first place, it looks as if they wished
the villain to prosper, for, as the old song
says, ‘What we wish to be true, we are apt to believe;’
and in the next instance, a noble and
wealthy man must be extremely weak to
wish it, as the success of Buonaparte must,
in the end, prove the destruction of all the
rich and titled men in Europe.”

The fashionable Mr. Leslie turned on his
heel, and only laughed at the energy of the
honest Lieutenant, who turning to Lady
Wringham
, near to whom he was seated
in a chair by her sofa, said, “By heavens,
I should like to see that Buonaparte tortured E11v 94
for a twelvemonth!”
“And sarve
him right,”
replied his fair companion.

“Pray,” squeaked Mrs. Kennedy across
the room, addressing the Reverend Edward
Marsham
, “have you read Cœlebs
in search of a Wife?”

“Yes, madam,” replied the curate.

“And what is your opinion of it?”
said the authoress.

“I revere the fair author,” said Edward,
“and all her moral and excellent works;
but I must say, for a work of fiction, I
think it too religious.”

All the company turned their attention
from their own frivolous and general conversation,
to look at Edward Marsham.—
“Well,” said Lady Wringham, “and
that remark from a clergyman! who’d
have thought it?”

“Yes, madam,” said Edward, “I repeat
it, if I find a moral and religious work,
I ought certainly, according to my profession,
to prefer the perusal of it to a modern E12r 95
novel—but a religious book is one
thing—a modern novel is another!”

“Well, la! who doesn’t know that?”
said Lady Wringham, winking on the
company, and laughing aloud; but finding
her wit unnoticed, and Lady Isabella
(whose depth of understanding and erudition
approached to abstruseness), listening
to the curate with profound attention, she
suffered him to continue.

“Let the writers of the modern novels,”
said he, “like the excellent Richardson,
Fielding, and Smollett, hold up a faithful
picture of the times they live in; lash vice,
in whatever shape it may appear, and applaud
virtue in every-one, while they make
their heroes not demi-gods, but mere erring
men; and let them, like those incomparable
authors, intersperse their works with only
those few religious sentiments, which may
serve to shew the orthodoxy of their own
principles, and prove to their readers, that
there is no trust to be placed on mere
moral rectitude and philosophy, without E12v 96
the aid of Omnipotence: these serious interspersions,
if I may be allowed the term,
are quite sufficient for a work which is only
meant to unbend and recreate the mind;
and make those read who are not fond, naturally,
of study; and who, if they find
these works too serious, will close the
book, not read at all, or else fly to the
dangerous rubbish of licentious publications.
In devotion’s closet let me read the
immortal works of a Tillotson, a Sherlock,
and a Young; but let not such divine
breathings as theirs find their way
into a tale composed from fancy, or the
fertility of imagination.”

“And so then,” said Mrs. Kennedy,
“you really do not like Cœlebs.”“Pardon
me,”
said Edward, “I cannot but like
it; but I speak only of the proper discrimination
which an author ought to make in those
kind of works; in regard to the theological
part of Cœlebs, few females are so instructed
as to be capable of defining religion so abstrusely
as the fair author has done.”
F1r 97
“Oh!” interrupted the Rector, “I dare
say she was helped by her good friend, the
Right Reverend the Bish—”
“Hush! my
good fellow, now do,”
said Sir Charles Sefton,
familiarly laying his hand on Mr. Leslie’s
mouth, “no scandal, you know I abominate
it.”
“O dear, yes,” said Lady Isabella,
“besides, what my brother alludes
to,”
continued she, with a drawling voice,
and arch look, “was so purely platonic!”
Historique.

“Well, it is wonderful,” said Mrs.
Kennedy
, “how these pretty female authors
do get on: now, pray tell me, what
is there in Mrs. Fielding’s works, the new
authoress, who is succeeding so rapidly?
She has scarce any education, and has nothing
but a fine person, a kind of eloquence
and a dashing appearance to recommend
her.”
Historique.

“Where does the divine creature live?”
said Sir Charles, “cannot you introduce me Vol. I. F F1v 98
to her?”
“Not I, indeed,” said the mortified
and much-nettled Mrs. Kennedy, who
had formerly received from the quizzing
Sir Charles a copious dose of flattery, but
having thrown out hints to Margaret that
he suspected her of witchcraft, he found
he must flatter no one but that credulous
girl for the remainder of the day, who
trembled every time Mrs. Kennedy approached
her, for fear she should cast some
spell around her.

“When you speak of the influence of
the person,”
said the mischievous Lady
Isabella
, “I am sure no one is more
obliged to nature than my dear little friend
Kennedy, who has that irresistible je ne
sais quoi
in her toute ensemble, that she
captivates as much by her person as by the
superior brilliancy of her talents.”

“I am not very competent to give my
judgement on books,”
said Charles Marsham,
“but I must say, that I think Mrs.
Fielding
’s works, like herself, are charming;
and there is many a learned fool who F2r 99
pens his dry and obscure lines, which no
one has patience to read through; while the
merit of an author, in my opinion, must be
in knowing how to make use of those divine
gifts of natural judgment and fine
ideas of the soul, which all the logic and
learning of the schools can never bestow;
but if a woman unites to these great unacquired
talents, a fine person, then she is
always envied by her own sex, especially
by the deformed and ugly.”
And at the
same time he fixed his darting and angry
eyes on Mrs. Kennedy.

Charles had one defect in his demeanour,
which was, that when provoked, he was
apt to be personal: the conversation was
getting rather acrid, but was sweetened by
the ringing of the last dinner-bell; and
each gentleman taking a lady by the hand
to conduct her to the dining-parlour, the
Rector seized that of Mary, drew her
back, that they might be the last of the
party, and pressed the hand he held, unseen,
with ardour to his lips, before he quitted it, F2 F2v 100
then seated her beside himself at the table:
Lady Wringham was disappointed, tossed
her head, and audibly uttered a “well, indeed!
—for my part——.”
However, the
excellent cheer with which the table abounded,
soon restored the lady’s good
humour, and by the ample credit she did
to it, she proved her appetite to be as complaisant
at six o’clock as at three. Little
Sir John put on his spectacles, and never
took his eyes off his plate till he had dispatched
all he was helped to.

Edward, doomed to the side of Mrs.
Kennedy
, supported with her, during the
intervals of eating, a pedantic conversation:
the lady’s discourse consisted of quotations
from Johnson and other learned authors;
she enlarged also, in turn, on the rapacity
of booksellers, the justness of the Critical
Reviewers, and the Esopian title of author,
seemed literally tacked to her back.

Sir Charles Sefton, seated opposite to
Lady Isabella, contemplated her beauty
with infinite satisfaction, while he poured F3r101
the soft nonsense into the listening ear of
Margaret, which he wished to address to
her ladyship. Harrington looked all that
could express admiration and the soft sentiments
of a rising passion, whenever he
glanced towards Mary; but the deceived
Isabella triumphed over her, and thought
that by his unremitting attentions and fine
speeches to herself, that she was the sole
mistress of his affections.

The Rector took but little public notice
of Mary, but now and then stole an amorous
whisper, while he gently pressed his
knee against her’s: her bashful embarrassment
heightened her attractions; and Harrington
made a sad digression from the
rules of attentive politeness, by not hearing
the dashing Lady Caroline challenge him
to take a glass of Madeira with her; for,
totally deaf to her ladyship, he bent forward
and requested Miss Marsham to honour
him by taking one with him.

Seated on each side of Lady Caroline were
Sir Edward Harrington and honest Ralph, F3v 102
while Charles was again in the comfortless
situation of being placed by the illiterate
Lady Wringham: however, his fair partner
on the other side of him, Lady Isabella,
made him some amends by her polite attentions,
her sprightly jeu d’esprits, and
all the fascination of highly-polished manners;
nor could Charles resist the temptation
of her arch wit, but joined with her
in silently quizzing the ci-devant laundress.

The ladies retired soon after dinner to
receive the numerous guests who had come
from the village of Eglantine and its various
environs, for about the compass of ten
miles, and bade fair to make up a tolerable
set for dancing: the gentlemen in the dining-parlour,
though not all dancers, promised
very shortly to join the female party
at their coffee.

Sir Edward Harrington drew his seat
near the worthy Curate, and placing Ralph
on the other side of him, he cordially took
an hand of each, while he filled his own
glass and those of the three brothers, to the F4r 103
health of the Misses Marsham; Frederic,
who thought of no other Miss Marsham
than Mary, devoutly kissed the glass as he
raised it to his lip. “I’ll be shot,” says
the Rector, who was now well flushed
with wine, “if I do not fill an additional
bumper to the health of the eldest Miss
Marsham
in particular;”
and rising, he
cried aloud,—“To Mary! huzza!—to
Mary! with three cheers!”
“Pardon
me, sir,”
said Frederic Harrington, gravely,
“the name of Miss Marsham, though it
may excite homage, yet should never be
toasted with such bacchanalian applause.”

Mr. Leslie, who had that morning borrowed
a good round sum of the good-natured
Frederic, sat down again, saying,
“Well, do as you please; but, by heaven,
Marsham, if I was single, your daughter
Mary should be your Rector’s wife tomorrow.”

Edward forced a smile, and bowing,
said, “You do me too much honour, sir;”
and then turning towards Sir Edward Harrington, F4v 104
gave a turn to a conversation
which was becoming painful to him, by
introducing his favourite subject of politics.

In Sir Edward he found the stanch patriot,
blended with the ardent and zealous
servant of the throne; keenly alive both to
the interests of his country and his sovereign;
the strenuous supporter of darling
liberty, Britain’s peculiar privilege, but
one of faction’s bitterest and most implacable
foes: the tear of philanthropy glistened
in the worthy Baronet’s eye, as he
proposed for a toast—that virtuous senator
who had so nobly stepped forward in parliament
for the relief of insolvent debtors;
had unbarred, through his generous exertions,
the doors of their prisons, and restored
the long confined husband to the
arms of an affectionate wife, and many a
father to his afflicted children!

Charles was engaged with the Rector in
listening to the most flattering promises of
military promotion; the disposition of F5r 105
Charles was sanguine, and he believed all
his noble patron uttered. Sir Charles Sefton
and Ralph were two to one against Sir
John Wringham
, in favour of the former
being a man of more consequence, and a
more useful member of society than the
lawyer; whilst the little man contended,
that without the protection of the law the
farms would soon be destroyed, however
wealthy, and the rich property seized on
by whoever should choose to lay hands on
them, and that, without law, might would
be sure to overcome right.

Sir Edward Harrington paid no attention
to their arguments, but frequently
eyed the Honourable and Reverend Theodore
Leslie
with contempt, and listened to
what he was convinced were the most egregious
falsehoods; for the situations which
he promised to ensure to Charles, Sir Edward
knew had been long given away, and
that this the Rector knew also as well as
himself. On the proposed toast, however,
being repeated, Mr. Leslie said, “Oh! F5 F5v 106
aye, I was so engaged with my worthy veteran
here, that I did not attend to you, Sir
Edward
; here’s to your old quiz of a virtuous
Baronet; and come, now for my
toast,—Colonel Wardle!”
A general silence
prevailed, and an unanimous resolution
seemed to be formed not to do honour
to the toast, which was first boldly declared
by Sir Edward Harrington; Sir
Charles Sefton
, however, and little Sir
John Wringham
, drank it; the latter,
like a cunning lawyer, saying, that whatever
dislike any person might have against
another, he ought never to object to such
toasts as the master of the house pleased to
give. “So, sir,” said Sir Edward, “then
if it is the master’s pleasure, I am to drink,
perhaps, success to Napoleon Buonaparte,
and also to the public defender of a woman
of a certain description, which defenders
are vulgarly called bullies: no, gentlemen,
I never will toast the man I despise; the
leader of any thing bordering on faction, I
shall ever hold in the most abject contempt: F6r 107”
and seeing his nephew raise his
glass to his lips, he added, “If Frederic
drinks that toast, I cast him off for ever!”

“Pardon me, sir,” said Frederic, “not
even you should make me retract a sentiment
which my inward conscience approves
and assures me is right; and I solemnly
declare, that not even you should compel
me to drink it; and I pressed the sparkling
wine to my lip in veneration of your last
sentiment.”

“I was in Ireland,” said Sir Edward,
“a short time ago, and it was proposed at
a little town a short distance from Dublin,
to vote an address of thanks to Colonel
Wardle
; an honest clergyman, however,
an intelligent, loyal, and well-informed
man, was against it; but most votes carried
the day, and his arguments were overruled.
Well, then,”
said he, with all
that quickness of ready wit which characterises
the Irish nation, “I vote that a
piece of the finest and whitest Irish linen
be sent also as a present to Colonel Wardle, F6v 108
with this pious wish, that ‘He may never
sully it in the lap of infamy!’”
Historique.

“Aye, you’re all a set of fine fellows,”
said the Rector, “and so, come, a truce
to this nonsense, curse Wardle, hang me
if I care one pin for him.”

Sir Edward seeing the reverend pillar of
the church not very steady, proposed that
they should all repair to the drawing-room
and join the ladies; but in this he was absolutely
over-ruled by the Rector, who insisted
on their taking one more bottle, and
then they would all adjourn together.

There have been instances of a man
drinking himself sober; and one of the
kind appeared now exemplified in Mr.
Leslie
, who after finishing the best part of
the insisted bottle, followed the gentlemen
up stairs, and partook of the coffee handed
round to the ladies with all the elegant
ease of a man of fashion; and though his
cheek glowed with the fever of a bacchanalian,
yet his manners in presence of the F7r 109
ladies, though very gay, were by no means
indecorous, or wearing the stamp of inebriety.

A turn in the gardens was carelessly proposed
by Lady Caroline Leslie, before the
dancing began; and the agreeable surprise
of a Vauxhall in miniature met the astonished
eyes of the guests: coloured lamps,
in appropriate devices, were entwined round
the ancient oaks, and that defence of Britain,
at the entrance of the park, was
guarded by three of the Rector’s servants,
arrayed in the dress of the ancient Druids!
Mary was enchanted with a scene so novel
and tasteful, and Margaret now saw realized
before her eyes all that she had
hitherto been taught to regard as fiction
only: “Oh!” said she, as she hung on
the arm of the quizzing Sir Charles Sefton,
“how often has my rustic uncle and rigid
father declared, that such brilliant sights
as these existed only in the poet’s imagination,
or in the fanciful brain of the writer
of a fairy-tale! Surely, those three venerable F7v 110
beings are the genii who preside over
this delightful region! and I tread only
now on enchanted ground!”

“Your uncle, my intelligent angel,”
said Sir Charles, “your uncle Ralph is a
mere rustic indeed; your uncle Charles is
very well; your father I must revere, because
it is supposed that he gave being to
so divine a creature as yourself: I say, so
it is generally supposed; but oh! incomparable
Margaritta, I could say, what indeed
I dare scarcely utter to delicacy like
thine! but—surely,—surely,—my seraph,
those sublime rays of genius which you
possess could never have entered the mind
of the daughter of a country curate! impossible,
impossible; I own, pardon my
temerity, I own I cannot help thinking
that the child of some noble or royal dame
has been exchanged by some vile nurse
for that of the curate, and that Margaritta
is that high-born fair-one!”

The company were now strolling about
in pairs; and but little attention was paid F8r 111
to our two country girls, except by Margaret’s
unremitting shadow, Sir Charles
Sefton
, who had received his instructions
from the fair quality idol to whom he was
devoted.

Soft music was heard at a distance: Mary,
no critical amateur, but an untaught enthusiast,
was all ear; lost in the sweet
reverie which the melodious strains inspired,
she suffered herself to be taken by the hand
and led towards the place whence the
sounds proceeded; she soon became sensible
of her situation, and dreaded to turn
her head, convinced in her own mind she
should behold the libertine Rector, when
a voice addressed her, full of magic sweetness,
saying, “Again am I made happy,
by guiding Miss Marsham in her wanderings.”

“Indeed, sir,” replied Mary, “my
‘wanderings’, as you justly call them, have
the appearance of wilful and thoughtless
errors: suffer me now, sir, to return to
the company, I can easily retrace my way F8v 112
without a guide;”
and withdrawing her
hand, she turned from him with a grave
curtsey; when Frederic, hastily, though
respectfully, taking hold of her robe, said,
“Oh! Miss Marsham, leave me not thus;
I sought you out to explain a conduct to
you, which I am obliged this night to preserve,
and which gives real anguish to my
feelings: I am forbidden to—to pay any
attention to you—and requested not to
dance with you—by—”
“And what, sir,”
interrupted the half-offended Mary, “could
make you imagine that such conduct would
be of any consequence to me? The little
instruction I have had in dancing, will
make me rather desirous of declining it
among so polished and scientific a circle;
and whoever, sir, chooses to restrict you,
has, no doubt, justifiable motives; nor can
your neglect of me require any apology, as
it is a matter of indifference to me.”
At
this last sentence, uttered with an aching
heart, she hastily quitted him, and turned
down a shadowy walk, which was only F9r 113
partially lighted, to hide her vexation. “It
is,”
thought she, “the proud Sir Edward,
his uncle, who has put these restrictions upon
him; yet how deceitful are appearances!
with how much benevolence, with how
much paternal kindness did he look upon
me! His smiles bespoke approbation,
gentleness, and every thing that was beneficent
and amiable, each time he chanced to
meet my eyes: oh! world of fashion and
deceit, how much I have seen of you, in
only the space of a few hours!”

She now heard a mingled tumult of
voices, and beheld through the trees the
well-dressed crowd moving in various
directions; the rockets and fiery serpents
whizzed in the air; and as she stopped to
gaze at the breaking splendour of the former,
she felt herself suddenly clasped round
the waist, and embraced with energy and
rudeness, by the Honourable and Reverend
Theodore Leslie
!

With a strength almost supernatural,
she pushed him from her, and having disengaged F9v 114
herself from his hold, ran like a
frightened fawn along the walk, till she
reached a roomy alcove at the farthest end;
unknowing where she went, she was hastily
about to enter it, when the soft sighs of a
female met her ear, mingled with the following
words: “Oh! Harrington, you
are too dangerous; oh! let us leave this
alluring spot; come with me, I intreat you,
this instant, to see the fire-works; what
will be thought of our absence?”
“Cruel
Isabella,”
returned the inconsiderate Harrington,
“think, oh! think only of that
ardent fire which consumes your Frederic!
think of the flame those bewitching eyes
have kindled! The mind of my Isabel,
rising superior to public opinion, disclaims
the world and all its rigid forms.”

Shocked, abashed at what she heard,
poor Mary knew not how to act; but the
pursuing footsteps of the Rector made her
resolve to enter the harbour; and oh!
thought she, perhaps I shall save the indiscreet
Lady Isabella from ruin!

F10r 115

Mary was not one of the fainting kind,
but her severe agitation, the conviction of
Harrington’s being a libertine, the person
who laid her arbitrary restraints upon him,
now before her, caused an ashy paleness to
overspread her countenance: shocked at
her death-like appearance, Harrington, in
spite of Lady Isabella, flew to her aid;
at the same time franticly exclaiming, “For
God’s sake, Lady Isabella, if you have
your vinaigrette in your pocket, give it
me to relieve this charming girl; do you
see the situation she is in? The explosion
of the fire-works, no doubt, has terrified
her.”

“Do you think, sir,” said Lady Isabella,
“that I wear pockets? I leave
you, Miss Marsham, in very good hands,”

added she, rising, “and will send one of
the servants with a glass of water to you,
which I dare say will be of more service to
a country girl than aromatic vinegar!”

Frederic pressed the trembling Mary to
his heart; but she, shuddering at his touch, F10v 116
insisted on his leaving her immediately, as
she felt quite recovered: he fell on his
knees before her, pressed her hand to his
lips, and exclaimed, “Oh! how can I
ever regain the good opinion of Miss Marsham?”
“My opinion, sir,” said Mary,
with dignity, “is of very little consequence
to any one; and as to your regaining
mine, I surely, sir, have not known
you long enough to form any of you; but
if you would wish me to think you obliging,
I desire you will quit me instantly, or
suffer me to depart: the termination of this
walk, I see, leads to another which is
crowded with company, and them I shall
join, as I see my father and uncles are
among them.”

The confused Harrington, not a little
mortified, suffered her to depart, and mentally
cursed his stars, that had suffered
his licentiousness to reach the ear of purity,
and had implanted, perhaps, aversion in
the breast of that woman (who though
only the daughter of a poor country curate) F11r 117
he was most ambitious should think of him
favourably.

It has been before remarked, that the
bewitching Lady Isabella had made a
temporary kind of conquest over the senses,
and had shaken the principles of Frederic
Harrington
; over his heart and mind she
had no claim. Elevated with champaign,
and tied for the whole day and evening at
her side, her animation, her beauty, and
the opportunities she carelessly and almost
purposely gave him, caused the scene
which the pure and spotless Mary had,
undesignedly witnessed. The free-thinking
Isabella, however, by no means felt obliged
at thus being rescued from the destruction
of one mad moment; yet though her principles
were dissolute, she had refinement in
her love, and must possess the heart as
well as the person of her lover: her good
sense soon shewed her, as conviction flashed
on her mind, that the inclination of Harrington
towards her, was little more than
sensual; the haste in which he quitted her F11v 118
to succour Mary—the scene in the morning
—his frequent and animated looks during
dinner-time towards Miss Marsham, made
her now, as she revolved each circumstance
over in her mind, lay plans for a
scheme she was determined to put in practice.

The fireworks over, the party were summoned
to the ball-room by Lady Caroline:
habited as Terpsichore, she tripped with
grace and gaiety before her admiring
guests, and they entered a spacious saloon,
illuminated with wax-lights to a degree of
dazzling splendour.

Lady Isabella, entirely mistress of herself,
aided as much as possible the reconciliation
of Harrington and Mary; but
Mary was, at times, either pensive or distraite;
and not all the soft and delicate
attentions of Frederic could reinstate him
in her favour: the more he endeavoured to
regain it, the more specious and dangerous
he appeared to her, and caused her to be
the more circumspect. Alas! she little F12r 119
knew the great world, and how often at
war with the heart and conscience, is the
free indulgence of the senses, from the
fatal misfortune of being introduced to
that world of dissipation too early: she
knew not, that in spite of promiscuous
attachments, how deep were the impressions
made by virtue and goodness, though
often only at a first interview; she knew
not how, actuating on the baser principles
and weakness of human nature, refined
sophistry and artful fascinations too often
succeeded in their aim, without entirely
extinguishing the pure flame of moral rectitude.

“I was engaged to dance with you,
Frederic,”
said Lady Isabella, with the
most seducing freedom, and apparent good
humour, “but I am a capricious creature;
I treat you as one of our family; not for
the world would I treat you with rudeness,
but I have found an old acquaintance here,
whom I promised to dance with at the first
ball we should chance to meet at;”
at the F12v 120
same moment she gave her hand to a young
Major, who was quartered in the village:
This young man, of a noble family, but small
fortune, had been a great favourite with
Lady Isabella, before she saw the all-subduing
Harrington; and, till she consented
to repair the shattered fortune of her family,
by a marriage with Sir Charles
Sefton
, had been much shunned by all
the Leslies; but now he again became
a welcome guest at their crowded parties;
en famille, he was never invited, for fear
of Lady Isabella’s former penchant returning
in the tranquil and interesting conversations
of parties quarrées, &c. &c.

She formed the ill-natured resolution
now, of aiding Harrington’s affections
with Mary, raising his expectations to the
height of happiness, and then destroying
them for ever!

Bewitched by her syren arts, Harrington
could not forbear repining at her caprice;
and much nettled, said, “I once
thought Lady Isabella as polite as she is G1r 121
lovely! but even to her fancies, she shall
ever find me her willing slave,”
and bowing
obsequiously, he solicited Mary to
accept him for a partner.

Mary had ever been fond of dancing, her
father and uncles came up to her, enquired
the cause of her refusing the honour Mr.
Harrington
did her? “No,” said Sir
Edward
, “let me plead for my nephew,
for the honour will be his.”
Over-ruled,
and not being artful enough to affect indisposition,
she suffered herself to be led
amongst the gay throng who were just,
after having danced “the self,” commencing
a second dance. Mary figured
not away, with every different pas à
l’Ecossois
, neither did she twist her body
about, with all the studied graces of an
Italian figurante; but the elasticity of her
charming form, her own natural elegance,
her animation and true ear to every note,
gave a kind of skill to her movements,
which astonished the scientific dancers, who Vol. I. G G1v 122
composed the modern part of the gay
assembly.

Margaret did not like dancing, and
danced, whenever she attempted it, vilely;
but wrought upon by the persuasions of Sir
Charles Sefton
, to the surprise and vexation
of her sister, father and uncles, she stood
up; she swam about the room with her
head languishing on one side, and put every
one out in the figure; for amongst all
Margaret’s defects, she had that of never
knowing one tune from another; quick or
slow, it was all the same to her: yet Sir
Charles
, like the fox in the fable, would,
had he thought proper, have induced the
silly girl, like the vain crow—to sing!

Towards the hour of two, they all adjourned
to an elegant supper; and yet Harrington
could not (with all his admiration
of Mary, and though Lady Isabella
gave him every encouragement to notice
her,) conquer the pride of birth, and the
opinion of the world, sufficiently, to G2r 123
seat himself beside her; notwithstanding,
he thought her superior to every female
there. His eyes and his willing feet followed
Lady Isabella; and his uncle gave
him a rebuke, by taking the hand of the
lovely girl his nephew had just quitted,
saying aloud, “Will Miss Marsham allow
me the honour of waiting on her at supper?”

Lady Isabella accepted all the pointed
attentions of Major Raymond, and did not
so much as once turn her eyes towards the
mortified Frederic: but Lady Caroline said
to him, “Harrington, sit by me; here, I
will make room for you; I shall not allow
you to dance any more, for I just want one
to complete my set at vingt-un; and must
positively lay my commands on you.”

“The commands of your ladyship are to
me laws, which I am happy to obey,”

said Harrington, with forced politeness;
and attending her after the supper was
over, to the card-table, left the remainder G2 G2v 124
of the company to re-commence their
dancing.

Mary danced no more, but was gratified
by the pleasing attention of Sir Edward
Harrington
, with whom she supported a
sensible and interesting conversation; and
the Baronet felt for Mary all the tender
warmth of paternal friendship.

Just after the clock had struck four, a
violent bustle was heard in the card-room:
Lady Caroline was in violent hysterics;
Harrington, pale, and in evident distress of
mind, supported her in his arms: some of
the party appeared to sneer, and one lady
seemed, in a determined manner, to insist on
payment.

With this lady, a female gambler of
quality, who had come down to her
country seat, a few miles off, and had this
evening accepted the invitation of the Leslies,
Harrington had imprudently entered
into a gallant kind of partnership at the
vingt-un table, and Lady Caroline, in the G3r 125
true spirit of play, had delighted in laying
enormous bets of beating two against one:
at length she had gambled away infinitely
more than she was able to pay; Harrington
would willingly have excused her
all, but the partnership he had entered
into, besides the little money he had left,
from the preposterous loan he had made
in the morning, rendered it impracticable.

The Reverend Mr. Leslie, however,
with the aid of the indignant Sir Edward
Harrington
, restored a momentary comfort
to the mind of her ladyship; but the look
Sir Edward gave his nephew, seemed to
pierce him to the heart, while that of
Mr. Leslie, to his wife, was no less replete
with wrath; but for that she cared
but little.

The festivity of the scene being now
much clouded, and the morning sun having
shot its bright rays on both natural
and artificial beauty, Lady Caroline retired, G3v 126
and each party seemed desirous of
departing.

Harrington was missing at the same time
as her ladyship; and Mary, who was
doomed to be a spectator of all that could
agonize her feelings, beheld, as she passed
through a suite of rooms to fetch her
shawl from the apartment in which she
had left it, from a door which stood
half open, Harrington on his knees before
Lady Caroline Leslie!

He was pressing her extended hand to
his bosom, and these words distinctly met
her ear, as Lady Caroline bent towards
him, “Oh! too persuasive Harrington,
you have conquered!”

Mary had heard enough, not only to
be convinced of the licentiousness, but
the baseness of Frederic’s principles; she
saw but too plain, that he was now ungenerous
enough to take advantage of the
pecuniary distresses of the wife and the
friend who were hospitably entertaining G4r 127
him under their roof: she hastened from
a scene so painful, and joining her father
and his brothers, took the arm of her uncle
Charles, while the transported and exulting
Margaret was accompanied home by
Sir Charles Sefton.

G4v 128

Chap. VI.

The Flying Tea-Kettle, and Other
Miraculous Incidents.

“――In airy vision rapt, She stray’d, regardless whither.” Thomson.

The ardent sun of a bright summer’s
morning had arisen with more than common
warmth, and the over-joyed birds
were loudly tuning their morning carols,
when a rude and violent tumult completely
drowned not only their melodious notes,
but also the soft and amorous whisperings
of Sir Charles Sefton.

Presently whirled aloft over their heads,
a large black tea-kettle; and Sir Charles,
though almost ready to expire with his G5r 129
suppressed inclination to laugh, uttered, as
he clasped the terrified Margaret to his
breast, “Heaven defend us from the incantations
of that witch!”

“Good God, sir,” replied Margaret,
“has Mrs. Kennedy then followed us? I
left her at the bottom of the stairs which
led to her chamber, and she wished me a
good-night, as she told me a violent headach
had obliged her to take ‘French leave,’
I think she called it, ‘of the company.’”

“Art, art, my dear girl,” said Sir
Charles
, “be assured, from me, who will
never deceive you, she is no better than a
witch; and I will one day convince you
of it. What could cause an inanimate
tea-kettle to fly about in the air like a bird,
except witchcraft and art magic?”

They now walked on a brisk pace before
the rest of the party; and Mr. Marsham
stayed behind, to enquire at the cottage, on
the other side of the lane they had just
passed through, and from whence the
wrangling noise had proceeded, the cause G5 G5v 130
of this early disturbance! He there found
a stout peasant in a violent rage with his
wife, for not only drinking her confounded
outlandish slop herself, but also
making her children as fond of it as she
was: and that his eldest lads, who were
old enough to be fellow-labourers with
himself, he could never get out to work
of a morning, till forsooth, they had gotten
their tea! He had sworn the night before,
and religiously had he kept his word, that
if ever he found the great tea-kettle on in
the morning, except, mayhap on a Sunday,
he would throw it headlong to the d—l;
and when he came from the field, at halfpast
six o’clock, where he had been
anxiously waiting the arrival of his boys,
he found his wife in the act of putting it
on the fire, and his eldest son with the
bellows in his hand preparing to make it
boil.

He snatched it off with a torrent of
abuse, unmindful of his wife’s and children’s
intreaties, and threw it with such G6r 131
violence, that it seemingly took a flight in
the air for some distance, before it gravitated
to the earth. Fortunately the water
was cold, otherwise our party from the
ball might have been much endangered by
the scalding shower.

Sir Charles refused to enter Eglantine
farm-house
, but gave a deep sigh when
he parted from Margaret; while the first
object she encountered was Phelim O’Gurphy,
who came by order of the servantmaid,
to ask them if they would not be
after taking
a dish of coffee? “Or, mayhap,”
said he, in a half whisper to the
young ladies, “you would both like better
a raking pot of tea?” Those who have visited the several parts of Ireland
where all old customs are preserved, will know the meaning
of Phelim, by a “raking pot of tea!” otherwise we refer
our readers for an explanation, to Miss Edgeworth’s excellent
novel of Castle Rack-rent.

Margaret not attending to his words,
only hung down her head, and endeavoured G6v 132
to blush at the consciousness of her
infidelity towards this young nobleman;
for Sir Charles, really noble, as far as
birth and title made him so, had supplanted
this ideal son of greatness in the
place he had heretofore held in her heart.

Mary thought Phelim meant by “raking”
tea, only what was uncommonly strong;
and taking Margaret by the arm, thanked
him, as she refused it, and accompanied
her sister to their chamber.

And now it was Mary’s turn to be most
wakeful; in vain she darkened the room,
in vain she drew the curtains as close as
possible; in spite of all her self-reproaches,
or all the remonstrances of prudence, the
figure of Frederic Harrington swam before
her fancy, occupied all her thoughts, and
the certain conviction of being so deceived
in the opinion she had first formed of him,
brought the vainly represt tear to her
waking eyes.

Margaret, elated and happy, certain in
her own mind that she was now becoming G7r133
a heroine of high renown, that not only
Phelim O’Gurphy, but also a valiant
knight wore her chains, that all Romance
was real, and that great adventures awaited
her, soon sunk into a profound repose,
from which she did not awake till two in
the afternoon.

Mary had long left her pillow, and
opening the curtain just as Margaret
awoke, she said, “Indeed, my dear girl,
I believe you were born for the scenes of
high life; never did I see you in such spirits
as you were in yesterday; and never did I
know you sleep so sound.”

Margaret caught her hand, and looked
earnestly in her face. “Good heavens,”
thought she to herself, “conviction has
flashed on the mind of my sister! But I
will be silent at present, Sir Charles requested
me to be so, and says he has his
reasons. What is the hour, Mary?”

said she;—“Past two, my love,” said her
amiable sister, “and I have a nice breakfast
prepared for you, which I would not G7v 134
touch till you rose, and which only we
shall take together, for my father and
uncles have had theirs; they are now gone
out to take a walk to refresh themselves,
and have kindly ordered the servants not to
have our dinner ready till five, as uncle
Ralph says, for this late scene of pleasure
we must lose two days. My dear father
said, ‘Ah! my child, how many days are
lost by the great and affluent, in the pursuit
of what they falsely call pleasure!’”

Margaret hastily dressed herself, and as
they took their breakfast, said, “We
have an holiday to-day, and I shall devote
it——”
“To reading, I know,” interrupted
her sister. “Now you happen,
Mary, to be mistaken; but I shall not tell
any one how I mean to pass this day.”
For
Margaret had become very circumspect
and reserved in all her words and actions,
having so often exposed herself to the ridicule
of the servants, the reproofs of her father,
and the laughter of her uncles and
sister for her absurdities.

G8r 135

“As you please,” said Mary, “I shall
sit up stairs and finish the little cap, which
I call my holiday work, for poor Betty
Harwood
’s seventh child, with which she
is now pregnant.”
“Very well,” sayssaid
Margaret, “then, my dear Mary, we shall
not disturb each other; first I shall go to
the little cottages on the right, and then,
full of conscious rectitude, I shall devote
the rest of the day to that purpose for
which I have long wished.”

“Will you pardon me, my love, if I
say one thing to you,”
said Mary, “on
the subject of your visits to the cottages?”

Margaret, who was all good-humour, replied,
“Any thing you please, my dear
Mary, for I am sure you do not mean to
offend.”

“Well then, I must say, my dear, that
though all benevolence is amiable, and
that it is better to relieve twenty we may
think imposters, than accidentally pass
over one found among them who may be G8v 136
really a worthy object, yet I think you are
too indiscriminate in your charities: the
woman, to whom you are so lavish of what
little money you are allowed, who lives in
the cottage with the broken window, we
know is both idle and given to drinking;
and her window still remains broken,
though my uncle Ralph and Charles have,
each of them, given her money more than
once to have it mended: then how many
gowns I have given her, both of my own
and some that were my mother’s! she only
sells them to buy liquor, and is always the
same dirty ragged figure; therefore, I now
never give her any thing, for kindness to
such an individual is only thrown away.
But you still continue her patroness, and
she flatters you by saying, that you are the
only worthy member of the family; and
do you see, with all that is given to her,
though she has only herself to provide for,
that she is a bit cleaner or better looking;
while poor Betty Harwood, with her six G9r 137
children, is, as well as them, always cheerful,
always clean and industrious: to do
any thing for her, is a real charity.”

“Aye, very well,” said Margaret, “I
do not like Betty Harwood, she often presumes
to give me advice, and tells me to
rise early of a morning, and not read so
much; oh! she has such a common mind,
I cannot endure her: while my poor woman
has had a very tolerable education, and she
can talk upon some novels she has read,
with as much judgement (I could almost
say) as myself!”

After this self-applauding sally, Margaret
rose, and repaired to the cottages,
where she gossipped with the slatternly object
of her beneficence till it was near the
hour of five; and hearing, on her return
home, that her father and uncles were going
the next day to dine with a party of
gentlemen and farmers, she delayed the important
business she had in contemplation
till the morrow, when she should be free
from interruption.

G9v 138

Situated at about forty miles distance
from London, in the country of Essex, stood
Eglantine farm-house, the property of Mr.
Ralph Marsham
: the mansion was a very
ancient edifice, was lofty, spacious, and
consisted of a great variety of apartments;
some of the large ones on the upper story
had been chiefly appropriated to storerooms
for oats, straw, and the winter fruits
of walnuts, apples, pears, &c. &c.

In the summer, when the stores were exhausted,
the keys were generally left in the
doors of these rooms till they were again
replenished.

What the farm-house had been formerly,
was a matter of doubt; some thought it
had been one of the palaces belonging to
one or other of those kings who reigned
after the conquest; while others, with
more probability, believed it to have been,
for many generations, a large inn: it came
into the family of the Marshams by being
purchased by the grandfather of the present
three brothers.

G10r 139

In several rooms there were, however,
strong marks of antiquity; and in many
places it was proved; in spite of the
strength of the building, by their frequent
want of repairs. In two or three of the
apartments, were rudely-carved and clumsy
figures of shields, in a kind of basso-relievo
on the painted wainscoat; and over several
of the chimney-pieces were arched niches,
in which were crosses, old Romish bishops
with their crosiers;—friars, some headless,
some armless, with mutilated rosaries.

Margaret was sure her uncle’s dwelling
had been a formidable castle, and that it
was also haunted; for, one night, some
friends having arrived from London, she
was obliged to give up the chamber in
which her sister and herself reposed, and
sleep in one directly under one of the storerooms;
from whence she heard noises resembling
the galloping of horses without
shoes, accompanied with dreadful moanings;
which proceeded from no other cause
than what is very common in such old G10v 140
houses, which was an army of rats, who
had encamped there, and were scampering
over her head, and essaying to escape from
a terrier which Mr. Marsham kept for the
sole purpose of destroying such hostile
enemies to his grain and fruit: while the
moans she heard were from a cat, who having
found her way thither, was swearing at
the terrier, to prevent his approaching her.

But Margaret was fully convinced that
the noises she heard proceeded from the
perturbed spirit of some one on whom some
fatal deed had been perpetrated; perhaps
the spirit of some of her noble and warlike
ancestors stalked about to “render night
hideous:”
and as she always read of her
favourite heroines despising fear, and investigating
minutely all that bore the appearance
of mystery, she resolved, some
day, when her father and uncles would not
be likely to interrupt her, she would begin
her search, and address the immaterial and
awful being.

Perhaps, too, even if the spirit should G11r 141
not reveal itself to her, she yet might be
able to find, in some hitherto concealed recess,
the papers which contained the elucidation
of her birth, when the confessions
of her guilty nurse, and all the direful
scene of her iniquity would be proclaimed
to the astonished inhabitants of the farmhouse.

As the brothers had some miles to go,
they departed early; and Mary and Margaret
had the whole day before them: they
had not sat long together before they received
an invitation from a kind neighbour,
to pass the day with them, as Messrs. Marshams
had called, and said they were
alone. This invitation Margaret positively
refused to accept; but at the same time,
strenuously urged her sister to go. Mary,
who knew that Margaret’s chief delight
was to sit alone for hours, poring over a
romance, feared this was now the cause of
her refusing to accompany her; she entreated
her to go with her, with all the
persuasion she was mistress of, adding, that G11v 142
she could not possibly think of going without
her.

Margaret, however, told her, if possible,
she would follow time enough for dinner;
but desired her sister to tell their friends
not to wait a moment, for she would be
sure to be there very early in the afternoon;
and Mary finding all she could say useless
to her obstinate sister, hastened to the
dwelling of her friend, Miss Ringwood.

Lucy Ringwood and Mary Marsham
might justly be styled congenial souls: in
person, Lucy was more pleasing than pretty,
yet there was something about her so irresistible,
that she was perpetually making
conquests; though, with all her mind’s
perfections, there was such an etourderie
about her, that she never long retained the
hearts of her numerous captives.

She had been left an orphan early, and
was now the darling protegée of a rich
maiden aunt, her mother’s only sister; who,
though a spinster of sixty, was free from
every caprice and narrowness of idea so G12r 143
often, not to say, sometimes unjustly, imputed
to that proscribed class of ladies.

Mrs. Susanna Bradbury laughed with all
the hearty glee of seventeen, and enjoyed a
free jest, and a neat pointed philippic,
against prudery, with a pleased vivacity,
devoid of all envy, and replete with admiration
of the witty person’s talents who
might have composed it. Her conversation
was free and unrestrained, full of
good sense and cheerfulness, and she loved
and admired the young and handsome.
Yet in her figure, the quizzing buck has
set her down, the moment he beheld her, as
a fair object for sport; but Mrs. Susan has
soon made him repent the onset, by the
keenness and brilliancy of her repartees,
which, though free from all illnatured
severity, have been so full of point, that
he has wished he had let her alone.

Her company and conversation were ever
considered a treat by the young, the lively,
and sensible: she had a fine and retentive
memory, a well cultivated understanding, G12v 144
a fund of anecdote and ready wit, and with
those select friends, where she knew she
was safe, she shewed herself a most excellent
mimic.

Her form was tall and spare; her face
had been very pretty, and still bore the
visible remains of its powers of pleasing;
her grey locks, which she took no pains to
conceal or disguise, peeped from beneath
her fine black laced hood; her long taper
waist, pointed before with a diamond stayhook,
her stiff rich silk gown and quilted
satin petticoat, under a clear-starched
apron, and her paste shoe-buckles, in her
satin shoes, truly characterised an old maid
in the very beginning of the last century.

She loved Mary with the same affection
she did her Lucy, and a more happy or
more merry trio never sat down to dinner,
than they, on this eventful day.

Yes, the day was eventful to the heroine,
Margaret: in order that nothing should
hinder her in the execution of the important
task she had set herself, she dressed H1r 145
herself in readiness to go out in the evening,
before she began her investigations.

She knew Mrs. Susanna Bradbury loved
neatness; she therefore arrayed herself in
clean and fine white muslin: she had very
indifferent hair, of a dull and dirtyish light
brown colour. Having been too sleepy to
curl it the night before, it hung about in
a stringy kind of disorder over her face,
and she injudiciously put over it, in that
state, a wreath of white roses. Thus
equipped, with a deep sigh, she began to
ascend the old worm-eaten staircase, which
led to the upper store-rooms. Whoever
has seen the stairs at the Castle Inn, at
Kingston, may form an idea of the numerous,
short-ascending and broken steps
which Margaret now went up; and large
balls of wood, similar to what we see at
the above-mentioned inn, were likewise
placed as ornaments on the balustrades of
Mr. Marsham’s staircase; these she regarded
a few moments, convinced they
must have been the helmets worn by some Vol. I. H H1v 146
of her warlike ancestors; and she then,
with a reflection on the years and ages that
had passed since those brave heroes had
mingled with their native-dust, proceeded
onwards.

She entered the apple-chamber, where a
few half-rotten solitary apples were yet lying
on the straw. “Such,” said she aloud,
“such are the uses now, oh! palace of
my ancestors, to which thy lofty apartments
are assigned!”
“Anan!” said a
voice which seemed to come from beneath;
Margaret started:—“Oh!” cried she,
“as my beloved Shakespear says, ‘Oh! speak, perturbed spirit!’”
“Anan!” again returned the voice: “Ah!
say, speak,”
said the agitated Margaret,
“was then the name, revered dame, which
you bore while on earth, Anannia?”

“Why, what is’t thee be doing there?”
said the rude voice of one of the labourers,
as he ascended a few steps of a staircase
which led to the back-kitchen; “why, as H2r 147
true as I’m a living soul, if here be’n’t
our Miss Peggy, as clean as a broide, up
i’th’ apple-loft! Why laws, miss, there
ben’t one there as is fit for a christian to
eat.”

Margaret retreated—“Oh! one of these
vile plebeians belonging to my uncle,”

thought she, “has prevented me from learning
the hard and perhaps horrible fate of
the beauteous Lady Anannia! but I must
use stratagem to develope the mysteries
which surround me.”

“Thomas,” said she, in a soft voice,
“I do not want any apples, I am only
come here to kill a little time!”
“Why,
miss,”
replied Thomas, “if you wants, as
how, to be culling thyme, there be none
up there, but there be a power of it in the
garden, tho’f to be sure, ’tis now in flower;
so if you will be pleased to come down
here a few steps, I’ll shew you the room
where un puts the dried yerbes.”

Though Margaret saw how much he
had misinterpreted her words, yet she H2 H2v 148
thought, as the apple-chamber was so full
of adventure, that the herb-closet might
have also its share of the marvellous, and
she followed the man with trembling feet
and a pallid cheek.

“Laws! miss, why you be’n’t frightened,
be you?”
said he, looking at her. “Oh!
no,”
said she, squatting down on a bundle
of dried sage, “but I wish to be left alone:
go.”
“Oh! yes, miss, I must go, for
I’se got a main deal to do; but mind me,
miss, when you’s done, you’d better go
back the way you com’d: you’d better not
attempt to set foot on that there little bit
of a staircase; for d’ye see, its so mortal
auld, that a body might break un’s neck
if un were to attempt to go down it.”
Margaret
waved her hand, impatient for his
departure, being fully resolved, after such
a prohibition, at all events to descend the
ruined flight of stairs.

She stepped down several without danger,
for her frame and footsteps were light,
but to the left she beheld a broken door, H3r 149
with a rusty iron bolt, half dropping from
the staple: breathless with the ideas of adventure
and romantic peril, heated with
the phantoms of her imagination, she
sprang forward and tore her hand with the
shattered remains of the bolt.

The door, which hung but by one hinge,
she could only open by so small a degree,
that she found she could not obtain an entrance;
but a cursory peep at the green
damp of the walls, made her resolve, even
if it should be with the hazard of her life,
to gain admittance: in her efforts to squeeze
herself through, she rent her new and best
plain muslin gown from the top to the
bottom, and dreadfully scratched her arms
and face against the broken and rusty iron
work of the decayed door: but having, at
length, accomplished her purpose, she
found herself in a small dark-looking room,
which could not, from its appearance, have
been inhabited or made use of for a considerable
length of time: every rotten board
shook under her feet, and imparted the fearful H3v 150
idea, that it would soon precipitate her
into some hideous cavern: she heard the
most piercing shrieks, and sometimes a
sound of mingled voices; presently the
shrieks were hushed, and she was certain
that she distinguished the voice of her
Phelim.

“Alas! alas,” thought she, “dear and constant
youth, I am unworthy of thy affections;
but oh! what can have brought
thee to this remote spot but the intuitive
power of almighty love? Oh! if thou
art in danger from the spells of magic, or
the influence of evil spirits, thy Margaritta
will, by one great and heroic effort of sublime
virtue, cast her present noble lover
from her too susceptible heart, and fly to
succour thee, or share all thy perils, as I
am assured thou wouldst mine. But where
can I fly?”
thought she, as she again
essayed to open the door somewhat wider,
in order to effect her exit from this ruinous
apartment.

She now exerted the utmost powers of H4r 151
her strength, and by one great effort, the
other broken and rust-worn hinge came off
the door, and down fell its remains on the
poor terrified Margaret, whose weight,
with that of the door together, was too
much for the fragile boards, and the heroine
of romance was precipitated into a
noisome and offensive dungeon. A squeaking
noise assailed her ears, and she felt
herself seized by the remnants of her gown
by some terrific kind of being, who appeared,
to her bewildered senses, to utter
something like a stifled groan: in her endeavours
to disengage herself, she trod on
something soft, and apparently alive, when
a feeble shriek met her ear, and a violent
hubbub of shrieking and groaning, or
rather squeaking and grunting; for Margaret
had fallen into a dark stye, where
lay a sow and her litter of pigs: but that
she did not yet discover, and dreading to
remain an instant where she was, her fears
made her desperate, and perceiving a ray H4v 152
of light from a chink in the boards, which
surrounded the enraged grunter’s dwelling,
she forcibly applied her hand to it; when
Phelim, in a neighbouring barn, hearing
the knocking, undid the wooden fastening
on the outside, and discovered his young
mistress in a condition which rendered her
hardly cognisable.

“Oh! my brave, my generous deliverer!”
said she, as she sprang towards
him.—“Why how in the name of St. Patrick,
came you here, miss?”
said he,
“and och, as sure as I’m my own mother’s
son, if you have not killed the titman peg!
poor little bit of a beast, how it lies there,
with not a bit of breath in its body!”

“Oh! God forbid!” cried Margaret,
who did not want tenderness or good-nature,
“I hope not; do, Phelim, try to recover
it.”
“Och come, the little beast is
not quite cold; I’ll put it to its own mother
—make yourself aisy, miss, these things
cannot be helped.”

H5r 153

“Oh! Phelim,” said Margaret, “what
have I not gone through this afternoon!”

“By J――s, miss, I think you came
through
the old loft overhead; and how
the d―― did you find your way there?”

“By descending the mysterious and
prohibited staircase,”
replied Margaret.

“Oh! by my soul, and I don’t know
where that is; it has a rum kind of name,
however!”

“I will tell you all another time,” said
Margaret: “but how can I ever reward
you for your bravery in unbarring the
door of my dungeon!”

“As for that, miss, I see no great
bravery in opening the door of a pig-stye;
I thought the sow had been in her tantrums,
and I looked to see what was the matter.”

“Your delicacy, generous youth,” said
she, “makes light of this matter: oh!
that I had but some valuable ring or scarf
to bestow!”

Phelim, who now found her, as she often
was to his limited capacity, wholly unintelligible,H5 H5v 154
said to her, “But sure, miss,
you’re in a broth of a pickle, and if you’d
take my advice, you’ll just step into the
barn, and be after wiping off the mud with
a clean wisp of straw.”

Margaret took the advice of O’Gurphy,
but turning to go into the barn, she perceived,
at a little distance, a pool of a very
sanguinary appearance, she started and
screamed aloud, “Ah! I knew foul murder
had been committed!”

“Why yes, miss,” said Phelim, grinning,
“they have indeed been committing
what you call ‘murder!’”

“And you laugh, Phelim, and speak
of it as if it was no crime to perpetrate so
dreadful an act!”

“Holy St. Patrick! why you don’t
think such kind of murder can be any sin,
do you?”

“What,” said Margaret, “did they
kill the holy St. Patrick?”

“Och! and I would be glad to know
the Irish boys that would have dared to H6r 155
have done that! but, miss, it was as fine
a young peg as ever sucked, that was kilt
a little while ago; and the master means
to have it roasted on Sunday: it squeaked
like any young devil, but I dispatched it
as soon as I could, for I hate to see the
poor little lumps of animals tortured.”

Margaret now finding herself in her
uncle’s barn-yard, and somewhat ashamed
of her misconceptions, entered the barn, and
said to Phelim, “Now, while I wipe off
some of this mud, do go and see if the
poor little pig I hurt, is alive! If it is, I
shall go to rest happy.”

“Och! and I believe it’s as dead as
Julus Cæsar, or Judas Caret,”
said the
Hibernian; “but I’ll go and see, to plase
you, miss.”

“Oh!” thought she, when she was alone,
“how, in spite of his ignoble disguise, does
his learning and native dignity discover
itself! In common discourse he gives as
a comparison the great Julius Cæsar, even
when speaking of the death of a little pig; H6v 156
and I wonder who he meant by Judas
Caret
? no doubt one of his own high and
noble ancestors!”

To the great joy, however, of Margaret,
Phelim returned with the glad tidings that
the poor little crater was likely to live;
and she now hastened to her chamber, to
see if she could arrange her figure in any
kind of way, time enough to keep her promised
engagement at Mrs. Susanna Bradbury’s
cottage.

How shocked was the poor girl when
she contemplated her figure in the glass!
The bruises under her eyes portended a
rueful blackness, her wreath of roses were
full of cobwebs, her gown torn to tatters,
and covered with the dirt of the pig-stye;
her arms, neck, and hands, made hideous
by innumerable scratches, while the pains
in her bruised limbs made her feel, that
instead of going out she must absolutely
go to bed.

Thus ended this day’s adventures of Margaret;
pleasing to her, in vision; cruelly H7r 157
mortifying in reality: she dispatched a
message to Mrs. Susan, that not being
very well, she hoped that lady would excuse
her for breaking her promise. They
all thought her indisposition was only one
of her nervous head-achs, from intense application
to her favourite studies; and while
they spoke of the ill-effects of such constant
reading, on the mind and health of a
young creature, and thinking it was no
other cause which kept her away, Mary
continued to enjoy, with these, her true
friends, the cheerful and unrestrained hours
till ten o’clock, when Mrs. Susan’s servant
saw her safe home.

Mrs. Susanna Bradbury loved both the
sisters; she loved them for the sake of
their worthy father and uncles, and she
often conversed with Edward on the romantic
propensity of his youngest daughter;
but perfectly agreed with that sensible man,
that, to entirely prohibit those kind of
books (the morals of which, however
absurd their incidents and events, were unexceptionable) H7v 158
would be only to teach the
gaining them by stealth; and then, works
of a more dangerous tendency might corrupt
the heart and undermine the principles
of his girl: while the works she now
perused, only ensnared the imagination for
a time; and as her years increased, he
hoped she would be able to see the folly of
giving credit to them, and only draw from
them those sentiments and feelings which
they were intended by their authors to inspire;
—an admiration of their ingenuity,
and the grandeur and sublimity of their
language; with an abhorrence of vice, and
a sincere love and veneration for virtue.

H8r 159

Chap. VII.

Food For Scandal.

“Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow,
Thou wilt not escape calumny.”
Shakespeare.
“――Shall one doubtful act Arraign a life of innocence unblam’d?” Dodsley’s Cleone.

It may be a matter of surprise, that a
lady of respectable connexions and good
fortune, as was Mrs. Susanna Bradbury,
was not invited with her niece to the ball
given by the Leslies; especially as there
was formerly a friendship of the visiting
kind
between them; and the noble Rector
had also once highly admired Miss Lucy H8v 160
Ringwood
: the independent Mrs. Susanna
was herself the only cause of this neglect.

An elegant little villa had been purchased
by a gentleman, a foreigner from
Switzerland: himself, an English lady,
whom he introduced as his adopted daughter,
and three servants, composed his
family, besides the lady’s pet birds, dog
and cats. The gentleman was between
seventy and eighty years of age; his snowy
locks waved over his fine high forehead,
and candour and benevolence were seated
on his brow: the lady, who took the charge
of his household affairs, was past the bloom
of life, but yet many, very many years
younger than himself.

Purity, virtue, and philanthropy, form
the basis of the Swiss character; and if
ever one country can lay a peculiar claim
to those noble principles,—it is Switzerland!
Her sons, all mind, and not the
slaves of sense, can enjoy the chaste platonic
intercourse with a different sex, H9r 161
which the voluptuous Englishman sneers
at, and knows not how to estimate.

The respectable Mr. Rouveau was eminent
for possessing the virtues we have
cited; how oft has he denied himself the
luxuries of life, to impart its comforts to
others! How conscious in the rectitude of
his own heart and mind, has he gloried in
seeing the friend he protected, excite admiration
by the superiority of her talents
and the charms of her person: nor had he
an idea that one impure thought could
enter any bosom on his and her account:
he knew too well how to render his age
respectable; neither did he care for a world
narrow in its ideas, however enlightened,
and of which he was totally independent:
the poor, the indigent, never assailed his
hospitable gate in vain, nor left it unrelieved.

Such were the uses this excellent man
made of his large fortune: he owed no man
any thing; while many owed to him all the
comforts of life they enjoyed, and which, H9v 162
before they knew him, seemed fled from
them for ever! The titled, the rich, were
seldom invited to partake of his plentiful
dinners; no, his parlour-table was continually
open to the worthy gentleman of
small fortune, the widow with a very
limited jointure, the industrious genteelbred
wife, whose husband, perhaps, languished
in a prison for debt; while his
kitchen was filled every Sunday by large
families of fatherless children and their
widowed mothers, whom he knew were real
objects of charity. But the noble and
warm heart of this beneficent man, had
keenly felt the arrows of ingratitude; yet
they could never pierce deep enough to
stop the continual flow of his benevolence:
Oh! active christianity, it is thou, and
thou alone that can hope for the favour of
approving heaven!

Mrs. Edmonds, the female friend of this
worthy man, grateful, contented, and happy,
was proud of the friendship and favour
of a mind like his, and which friendship H10r 163
had increased in numberless acts of kindness,
during a period of three and twenty
years, since the commencement of which
term she had been the widow of an officer,
and was left with only her pension for her
support.

Mr. Rouveau had long known her
family; had known her from the earliest
period of infancy; and his doors and heart
were open to receive the distressed and
pretty young widow: the idea never entered
his pure mind, that there could be any
thing amiss in granting an honourable and
safe asylum to the daughter of an old
friend, because she happened to be a female;
and because she was in the flower of
youth, and her countenance lively and
charming, he did not see why that should
be a reason that she was to be debarred
the fatherly care and protection which he
could afford her!

She had always revered his character,
and almost loved him as a parent; and in H10v 164
the heyday of youth and giddy innocence,
she exultingly told her friends how happily
situated she was going to be! The young
fellows laughed, and said, “Aye, aye,
let alone these old gentlemen; they are
connoisseurs in the sex.”
While her female
acquaintance screwed up their mouths,
and looked meaningly on each other: next
time she called on them they were not at
home; and, for a few years she had not
many visitors, except of the opposite sex:
the correctness, however, of her conduct,
her talents, her skill in music, her fine
voice, and a more powerful motive still,
Mr. Rouveau’s fine fortune, gained them
many and highly respectable friends of
both sexes. Mrs. Edmonds had only been
comparatively happy before,—she was now
completely so; for her heart was formed
for friendship, and she loved society, because
she found she always pleased in it:
the more her newly acquired friends conversed
with her, the more they saw in her H11r 165
to admire, and checked themselves for
ever associating the idea of mistress with
that of Mr. Rouveau’s adopted daughter.

Change of air being requisite to preserve “The green old age unconscious of decays,”

of Mr. Rouveau, and the lease of his house
in town being expired, he purchased a villa
at Eglantine, intending to make a long
summer there, and devote only two or three
of the winter months to London, in ready-
furnished lodgings.

Mrs. Susanna Bradbury, who had in
her early years been acquainted with the
mother of Mrs. Edmonds, immediately
paid her respects to her after her appearance
at church: these two liberal-minded
women were charmed with each other: Mrs.
Susan
, who could listen for hours to vocal
music, and weep at those fine airs, which
the sweet voice of Mrs. Edmonds knew
how to sing to the heart, was most happy
in those delighted hours she could pass
with so captivating a companion, who, H11v 166
instead of setting an improper example,
was the gentle and prudent monitor, to correct
and kindly admonish the giddiness of
her Lucy’s youth.

The Rector, from his pulpit, admired
the fine black eyes of Mrs. Edmonds, who
looked at him from attentive devotion only:
but it was impossible, he said, for his
family to visit her! Lady Caroline, who
but a few weeks before had aided her
sister in an elopement, declared, if ever
she happened to fall into company with
her, she should certainly quit it instantly!
and fearful such an event might take place,
she must beg Mr. Leslie entirely to give
up the acquaintance of the Bradburies;
which imparted not the least pain to the
mind of Mrs. Susan; who never went to
church (so much did she abhor to see a
man’s example eternally at war with his
precepts) except when the worthy Edward
Marsham
performed the religious duty:
for though she had formerly been of the
Rector’s parties, she detested the free principles H12r 167
of his family; and lamented, that with
such fine sense, such a lovely person and enlarged
ideas, Lady Isabella should glory in
infidelity, and be the victim to her false
and dangerous opinions. While she knew,
also, that Lady Caroline, with all her pretended
correctness, clasped to her bosom
the divorced wife, and the well-known
adulteress, if they chanced to be gifted with
title and fortune.

Lady Isabella, who sat the world at defiance,
when she has been riding or walking
with all her sister’s high and fashionable
party, has stopped at the window, as she
passed by the villa, to chat with Mrs. Edmonds,
or stop her horse, and condescendingly
talk to her over the garden-wall; but this
she did, not from any admiration or certainty
of the lady’s virtue, on the contrary,
she told every one, she really believed
her to be the mistress of Mr. Rouveau;
but what of that? if she chose to notice
her, she would: every one had a right to
do as they pleased; for her part, she found H12v 168
her an agreeable, sensible woman: she certainly,
as her brother did not approve of it,
would not bring her to his house; consequently
she could not call herself at the
villa; but as far as private notice went,
she would not, like Caroline, turn up her
nose, and toss away her head, whenever she
met her by chance.

A suspicion shot across the mind of Sir
Edward Harrington
, that she really was
the daughter of Mr. Rouveau, and he fancied
he could discover a likeness between
them.

Where not even the severest censor could
find any thing bordering on incorrectness,
he thought it a cruel deprivation to society,
that it should be debarred from those
whose talents and merits give to it its brightest
ornaments: and while he was charmed
with the conversation of this polished and
virtuous pair, he longed to introduce Mrs.
Edmonds
among the circle of his friends;
not that he could call the Leslies by that
sacred name; but he knew the influence I1r 169
they held in the country; and that, where
they declared off, few other families of
wealth and respectability would choose
publicly to visit.

Willingly would these courtly friends
have delighted in the opulent Mr. Rouveau’s
company; but he never associated
with those who excluded his protegée.

Sir Edward hinted one evening, to the
Honourable and Reverend Theodore Leslie,
his suspicions of a very near relationship
between Mr. Rouveau and Mrs. Edmonds.
“My good fellow,” said the Rector, “why
then does he not come forward, and own
it? Then we would visit her directly!
but, upon my soul, it is impossible that I
can introduce to Lady Caroline any woman
of equivocal character!”
Yes,—such is
the common-place jargon of impure nobility!
—All correct attention to etiquette
is right—but when it sits on the lip of the
libertine; when the immodest and licentious
dame of quality pretends to shrink Vol. I. I I1v 170
with horror, from a female who perhaps
never knew but one virtuous and constant
attachment, decorum laughs, and virtue
scoffs at the prudish grimace. It is only
the few among the rich and noble, that
should dare to be thus precisely correct,
who are themselves patterns of purity;
but amongst those we find such an outrageous
show of virtue least displayed.

A smile of indignation overspread the
countenance of Sir Edward, as he looked
on Lady Caroline, who had just folded up
two letters which she had been writing;
one to her worthless sister, who had absconded
from her husband, and the other
to a near relation she had in parliament,
to know if he could not make a proposal,
the next sessions, for a tax to be laid on
the men who carried milk about, in the
different parishes, and have it made an
emolument to the different livings in town,
being made payable to the clergyman of
each respective rectory: this tax, if it could I2r 171
be levied, Mr. Leslie had promised to allow
her, to fill her card-purse. Historique.

These two virtuous letters she had read
aloud, pro bono publico. However, Sir
Edward
resumed his subject.

“There may be family reasons,” said
he, “why Mr. Rouveau may not choose to
own his relationship to Mrs. Edmonds; I
understand he has children by his late
wife, whose jealousy might be excited by
such a disclosure: at present, they all love
and respect her.”

“Only a proof,” said Lady Isabella,
who just laid down her netting, “of their
liberality of sentiment: why, surely, if my
father chose to keep a mistress, do you
think I would not countenance her? Aye,
and I could love her too, if she was
worthy.”

“Or if my husband,” said Lady Caroline,
“had twenty illegitimate children, by
as many different women, do you think he
would not own them, sooner than they I2 I2v 172
should be excluded from every high and
respesctable circle, which they would be
entitled to shine amongst, as his acknowledged
offspring? But of course, if we
countenance the children, we cannot the
mothers. Let Mr. Rouveau marry this
accomplished creature, and then we can
all visit her, after she has been properly
brought out!”

Sir Edward bowed and was silent, yet
could not help secretly remarking, how
very liberal each of the ladies had shewn
themselves, except—where true liberality
was required!

But the real truth was, that Mr. Rouveau,
our amiable Swiss, had been very
unhappy in an early marriage, and had
solemnly vowed when he was again at
liberty, never to enter the state again: and,
even had he been so inclined, he had too
much real wisdom and prudence than to
unite himself to a woman whom he regarded
only as a child, when compared to
himself.

I3r 173

Mr. Rouveau and Mrs. Edmonds spoke,
en passant, to the Marshams; they had not
yet visited; for Ralph, like Mr. Rouveau,
was never forward in forming new acquaintance.
Charles, a single unincumbered
man, and passionately fond of vocal
music, passed many of his leisure hours at
the hospitable villa; for it was a general
and received opinion among all who heard
her, that no singer, either public or private,
ever could boast of a voice of so much
sweetness and pathos, with so much compass,
attended with so little exertion, as that
of Mrs. Edmonds.

Here, with all the ardent enthusiasm of a
true soldier’s feelings, would Charles sit,
while she sang to him the sweet and plaintive
air of Rosline Castle: the expression
she threw into her song, made the tear flow
down his cheek, to the memory of those
many fellow-veterans who had perished,
either quietly in garrison, or in the more
active field of honour: “Their bodies lie buried in peace!”

I3v 174

The sweet requiem of Rosline Castle followed
them to their final abode, and their
faithful soldiers, the followers of their fortunes,
have fired the last volley over their
grave! All the powers of Charles Marsham’s
mind seemed to take their visionary
flight to the tomb of the warrior. The
melody of Mrs. Edmonds’s voice carried
him there; its melody brought him back
to reason.

I4r 175

Chap. VIII.

An Apology and a Dinner, en Famille.

“――To dazzle let the vain design; To raise the thought, and touch the heart, be thine.” Pope.

Mary, on her return home from Mrs.
Susanna Bradbury
’s, crept softly to her
chamber, and found her sister in a profound
sleep: her back being turned towards
her, she did not discover the rueful
appearance of her wounded face till the
morning; when she saw her eyes swelled
and black, and her cheeks bearing several
scratches; while she complained that her
limbs ached to that degree, she could not
stir from her bed.

I4v 176

Margaret confessed what had happened
to her, yet she was ashamed to divulge,
even to her sister, the primary cause of her
disaster: but Mary had penetration enough
to know that some flight of imagination
had carried her sister to that shattered part
of the house in search of adventures.

Margaret was prevented going to church
by the woeful appearance of her figure,
and her sister stayed at home with her, to
nurse and amuse her: however, she felt herself
able to rise some time before dinner,
and when she saw the roast-pig put on the
table, she could not forbear blushing, especially
as she saw a broad grin on the face
of Phelim, as he glanced towards it when
he was helping the servant (who generally
attended at table) to carry in the rest of
the dinner articles.

Scarcely had they sat down at the hour
of three, when the Rector and Sir Charles
made their appearance to pay a morning
visit; both expressing much concern to
hear the cause of the young ladies being I5r 177
absent from church, which they had learnt
from the Reverend Mr. Marsham. Sir
Charles
, with great difficulty, kept his
countenance, but was the most voluble of
the two, while the Rector in evident confusion
cast down his eyes, particularly
when they met those of Mary, who blushed
at the recollection of his improper behaviour
to her the evening she last saw him.

“I am ashamed,” said Mr. Leslie, “to
call at this unseasonable hour; but I came
to request your company next Wednesday
to dine only with ourselves, en famille,
quite in the rough; all of you must come
positively.”

“I am afraid,” said Mr. Edward Marsham,
“that it will not be in the power
of my girls to accept the honour of your
invitation; for you see the condition of
Margaret, from a bad fall she had yesterday,
and I am sure her sister will not
leave her.”
“And I am sure she shall not
leave her!”
quickly replied the Rector,
“because my house is such a short distance,I5 I5v 178
that, she will be well enough to go
there; and what signifies her appearance?
Not a soul will see her but ourselves.”

“Besides,” said Sir Charles, looking passionately
on Margaret, “nothing can
diminish the loveliness of Miss Margaritta’s
countenance, nor divest it of its
charms, and――.”

“Sir,” said Edward gravely, “my
daughters have neither of them any pretensions
to beauty, and whoever extols that
of this poor girl,”
added he, as he leant
over Margaret’s chair, “is only, by such
pointed ridicule, affronting her understanding,
and rendering himself despicable!”

Sir Charles bit his lips, and felt too
much mortified to dare look up to Margaret;
who was casting up her eyes, and
giving him every meaning glance which
might serve to express the hard rigidity of
her father: while the Rector sighed, and
still hung down his head. Sir Charles endeavoured
to stammer out something of I6r 179
peculiar fascinations, and that beauty was
all in idea, that which pleased one taste,
might not another, with all the et-ceteras
of common-place stuff adopted on similar
occasions.

The Rector relieved him, by saying, as
he addressed himself particularly to Ralph,
“Come, I assure you, my good sir, it is
rather an interested motive, which makes
me request the favour of your company:
I have a pond, well stocked with carp and
tench, but I think it wants dragging, will
you lend me two of your men on Wednesday,
and let them come early; we’ll have
a carp feast, and be as snug and merry as
possible.”
He then with all the ease of a
man who knows how to be at home every
where, walked to the sideboard and helped
himself to a glass of ale.

It gave our farm-house inhabitants,
together with the worthy Curate, much
consequence in the country, to be so particularly
noticed by the Rector and his noble
family; and they all consented to go, if I6v 180
Margaret was well enough. The Rector,
who was the last to quit the parlour, purposely
dropped his glove: matter of fact
Ralph, who thought it not possible for a
clergyman, a man married too, and to a
fine young woman, to make love to his
niece, said, “Mary, my dear, give Mr.
Leslie
his glove.”
Mary picked it up, and
said, “Sir, you have dropped your glove.”
He affected not to hear, and Mary had to
follow him into the hall; where he said,
as he took the glove from her, “Oh!
Miss Marsham, forgive my rudeness last
Thursday night! Forgive the effects of
inebriety, and honour me by only reading
that paper,”
and hastily putting a small
note into her hand, he darted out of the
house.

Mary may be accused of imprudence,
because she before kept to herself the Rector’s
libertine behaviour, and also that she
instantly consigned to her pocket the aforesaid
note, and sat down again to table,
though not without confusion, yet with all I7r 181
the composure she could assume. But
Mary by such conduct shewed exemplary
prudence: she knew the Rector had it in
his power, should her father offend him,
not only to deprive him of his countenance,
but of his present situation as curate of
Eglantine; and she knew her parent would
not tamely see his daughter insulted, without
offending the insultor; and also, that
her uncle Charles, warm in his temper to
a degree of rashness, would annihilate the
being who should dare to take an improper
liberty with either of his nieces, particularly
with his favourite Mary. She
knew also that every virtuous woman has
an impenetrable shield, in the correctness
of her own conduct, and without the parade
of outrageous chastity, Mary was
purity and prudence personified.

After dinner she retired to her chamber,
and fastening the door, perused the following
lines with great satisfaction, ignorant
of, and inexperienced in the arts of libertines.

I7v 182 “ Madam, With the deepest sense of my impropriety
of behaviour, suffer me to intreat,
and obtain from your clemency, forgiveness
for the rude manner in which I treated
you at the time you was attending to the
fire-works last Thursday. What must you
think of a man, under the most sacred
character, a man wedded to the woman
whom alone he loves! bound by the laws
of hospitality, at his own house and table
to afford comfort to all, nor pain the mind
or feelings of one individual. Oh! Miss
Marsham
, my guests were numerous; wine,
that fatal enemy to prudence and virtue,
flowed in abundance; and it is the master’s
task not only to promote, but to do honour
to every bumper: the pernicious juice of
the grape made me mad! but returning
reason brought to my conscious remembrance,
my shameful behaviour to you.
Assure me, when next we meet, by that
sweet freedom, by that enchanting cheerfulness
you observe with those you esteem, I8r 183
that you sincerely and readily pardon him,
who will ever be, with the most profound
respect,

Madam,
your most obedient,
humble servant,
Theodore Leslie.”

Mary felt happy and gratified; for she
had dreaded a second visit to the rectory.
“Mr. Leslie,” said she to herself, “sees
much of the great world; fashion warps his
manners, and often spoils his conversation,
but I believe his heart is good: I entirely
forgive him, and it behoves me to treat
with cheerful respect a person so much
above us, and who may be a friend to my
father and my uncle Charles.”

We will pass over the days till the arrival
of Wednesday: the scratches of Margaret’s
face, being only on the surface, were healed;
but under her eyes, the convalescent bruises
were turned green; however, her father I8v 184
and uncles, knowing, in her best looks, she
never could charm by her beauty, persuaded
her to go in a bonnet, or put a green shade
over her eyes; but that she positively refused
to do.

Mary, with great taste, pinned a veil on
her sister’s head, which partially hid her
eyes, gave a softness to her features, and
Margaret never looked so well in her life:
but no, she persisted in the resolution
she had formed in the morning, which was
to go habited as Prior’s “nut-brown maid;”
therefore, a blue bandeau of ribbon was the
only covering she would put on her head,
which she brought down a little over the
worst-looking eye.

Mary, in spite of a kind of lowness of
spirits, which she endeavoured to persuade
herself proceeded only from the indifference
she felt about going to this chit-chat dinner,
yet never was longer in dressing, nor
ever took more pains with her person; she
drew the little straggling ringlet over the I9r 185
temple, displayed the well-turned arm
through a sleeve of cobweb thinness, and “All was art, that look’d like accident.”

Alas! the sisters found, on their arrival
at the parsonage, that they had essayed to
charm in vain; for, to the disappointment
of Mary, Lady Isabella and Frederic Harrington
had gone out together, and were
not expected home till the evening—this
disappointment too, we must confess, was
embittered by a tincture of jealousy.

Sir Charles Sefton was gone on a fishing
party, and it was quite uncertain whether
he would return home that night: the
dinner party, therefore, consisted only of
Lady Caroline Leslie, who had the vapours,
and was consequently very indifferent company;
as all the entertainment she afforded
was in gaping, and then most politely apologizing
for her rudeness: Mrs. Kennedy
was cross and disappointed, from her bookseller
having beat down her lately-disposed-
of work to a few guineas, for which she I9v 186
had promised herself an hundred pounds;
Sir Edward Harrington, always amiable,
always steadily cheerful, as usual; the
Rector, softly insinuating to Mary, and
kindly civil to all his guests; Ralph, plain
and honest, with now and then a dry joke
escaping him; Edward, serious and taciturne;
Charles, gay and happy; and poor
Mary, desirous of shewing forgiveness
with a sweet smile, timidly extended her
hand to the seemingly contrite Theodore
as she first entered, which he gratefully took,
without, however, daring to give it the
smallest pressure.

After partaking of a dinner which was
given at rather an early hour for such
polite people as the Leslies, a walk was
proposed by the Rector to the fish-pond at
the bottom of his garden, and which was
not to be dragged till the evening; and
Mr. Leslie, drawing his lady’s arm through
his, said, “Come, Caroline, you do not
seem well to-day, the air will do you
good.”
Charles mechanically took the I10r 187
hand of his favourite niece, who was rejoiced
to see so unusual a sight as the
Rector and his wife walking together! Sir
Edward
, who never liked to see any one an
object of neglect, took hold of Margaret
to escort her, and kindly chatted with her
on various subjects: he found she did not
want sense, though in his life he had never
met so romantic a character; he warned
her, with the gentleness of a parent, to be
careful of giving way to it: and, though
neither his fine manly person, nor his ideas
were at all to her taste, yet she plumed herself
on a new conquest, and dreaded the persecutions
of this tyrannical old lover.

Phelim O’Gurphy chanced to be one of
Mr. Marsham’s men, who was employed
as an assistant to drag the fish-ponds—
arrayed in a dirty striped waistcoat, sans
chemise
, but not a sans-culotte, he displayed,
by a chasm between his waistcoat and
the waistband of his lower garments, the
natural and almost snowy whiteness of his I10v 188
skin; Margaret loosed her arm from that
of the Baronet, and “Sigh’d and look’d,Sigh’d and lookd,And sigh’d again.”
Sir Edward walked round to the other side
of the pond, with the rest of the gentlemen,
to look at the full net which the men had
brought to land; and while Lady Caroline
condescended to ask Mary a few trifling
questions, the most of which she answered
herself, Margaret, lost in rhapsodical musings,
at length uttered in soliloquy, “How oft had Henry chang’d his sly disguise,”
when a voice from behind sighed out the
following answer— “Unmark’d by all but beauteous Emma’s eyes!”
She turned their bruise-encompassed orbs,
and beheld Sir Charles Sefton, standing
close behind her, arrayed in a fustain jacket; I11r 189
a pair of brown leather gaiters; not very
clean; a leathern cap on his head, and a
yellow silk handkerchief, spotted with
black, round his neck; nor was he, thus “unadorned,
adorned the most,”
for he really
looked hideous: yet Margaret directly discovered
in the disguise, and especially
from the words he addressed to her, something
strangely mysterious, some great adventure
in agitation.

While she stood buried in profound
thought, he said, “Will my charming
Margaritta excuse me, while I go and arrange
my appearance a little? I hastened
from the party I was engaged with, in
order that I might enjoy the company of
the most bewitching among her sex.”
He
then, bowing, hastened to his toilette.

The truth was, that, fatigued with the
angling sport, where he had not experienced
the good luck of even one nibble, he had
returned to the parsonage, vexed and disappointed;
but seeing poor Margaret making
that rueful appearance, and apparently I11v 190
in one of her enthusiastic musings,
his mischievous humour returned, and he
found himself standing by her at the very
moment when she uttered aloud her quotation
from Prior.

Sir Charles was apt, and had a good
memory; his own deshabille, his determination
to make a sport of Margaret in
every way he could think of, caused him
to answer her in that way, which proved
most delightful to her gratified vanity, and
she turned from Phelim in disgust; who,
notwithstanding his ugliness, and even under
his present habiliments, was the bestlooking
of her two imaginary rivals.

She now joined the rest of the female
party; and the ladies walked towards an
arbour, where, as the evening was uncommonly
warm, sat Mrs. Kennedy enjoying
the shade, and pensively leaning her cheek
on her hand: at her entrance into this
arbour, the cheek of Mary glowed, and her
bosom heaved with various emotions: here
she had witnessed the protestations of love I12r 191
from Frederic Harrington to Lady Isabella
Emerson
; and here too, she recollected,
with not an unpleasurable sensation, how
ardent he had been to be reinstated in her
own favour, and how anxious at the distress
he saw her in!

Lady Caroline kept musing on pic repic
and capot, the four honours, the grand
decided cassino, at one deal! the subtle
and quickly-gained reservé, and all the
delightful visions of a run of luck at the
gaming-table!

Margaret’s anxious eyes were frequently
turned towards the entrance: every minute
appeared to her an age, that kept Sir
Charles
at his toilette; and many and careful
were the minutes which he dedicated
to his mirror! At length she heard footsteps,
which she felt assured were those of
a man; but they appeared too heavy for
those of her devoted Knight, and she feared
they proceeded from some one of more corpulency;
however, she consoled herself
with thinking that perhaps some other I12v 192
sly disguise might be the cause, and
she ventured to peep out at the flowery
arch which opened into this fragrant
abode.

Thence she beheld, breathing hard and
fanning herself with her pocket-handkerchief,
the delectable Lady Wringham;
who, entering the arbour, exclaimed, “Dear
me, how hot it is!”
The ladies rose, and
Lady Caroline gave her a distant curtesy.
“Well! my lady,” said lady Wringham,
“what does your ladyship think? Mr.
Leslie
came, you know, on Monday, to ax
us to dinner:”
“Did he?” said Lady
Caroline
. “Why yes, to be sure, my lady,
did not your ladyship know that?”
“No,”
said Lady Caroline, with the utmost sang
froid
, as she sat picking a rose to pieces:
“Well, howsoever,” continues Lady Wringham,
“we could not come, ’cause we expected
a gentleman from London; but
Mr. Leslie would not let me rest, and
there he comes just now, this a’ternoon,
and absolutely dragged me away, as a body K1r 193
may say, from my company; he said I
must come and sup with you, and he would
hardly let me stay to make my ’pologies.”

The polite Lady Caroline forced herself
to say, “We are very glad of your company,
Lady Wringham, and we hope Sir
John
will bring his friend with him.”

“La! I don’t know,” said Lady Wringham,
“Mr. Leslie said, as how, if he
had but me, he did not care;”
and she
gave a girlish giggle.

Lady Caroline looked at Mrs. Kennedy,
and gave a shrug and a sneer, not unseen
by Lady Wringham, who giving Mary a
jog with her elbow, said in a whisper,
“I’ll be hang’d if she isn’t jealous!”
The sentence did not quite escape Lady
Caroline
; poor Mary was embarrassed at
perceiving it; while the high dame of
quality regarded them both with scorn.
Lady Wringham, was, however, in high
spirits, and nothing seemed to embarass her.

“Do you know, my lady,” said she,
“just as your ladyship’s husband came
in, I was in the midst of a grand argumentVol. I. K K1v 194
with our London friend about titles,
and I cannot make it out, my lady, why
your ladyship is a lady, and your husband
is not a lord!”

“Because,” replied Lady Caroline,
“my husband’s near relation, the Marquis,
is yet living; besides, if he was not,
Mr. Leslie is not the first to inherit the
title: now, for instance, if Sir John Wringham
had brothers or nephews, would not
your eldest son be Sir John, after his
father’s death, before them?”

“Yes, yes, my lady, I know all that;
but then, as you are called my lady, why
is not he called my lord?”
“Because,”
replied Lady Caroline, “I am a lady in
my own right; my father was an earl; I
therefore still retain my maiden title of
Lady Caroline, though I have altered my
surname to Leslie.”
“Well then, I say,”
answered the ignorant Lady Wringham,
“that I think he ought to be called Lord
Caroline!”

None of the ladies could forbear a smile;
but Lady Caroline was so vexed to find K2r 195
the explanation she had given her so little
comprehended, that she said with some
degree of sarcastic spite, “Why, Lady
Wringham
, a woman never can exalt a
man to her dignity, but I am sure you very
well know that a man of title and fortune
can raise a woman to the rank of lady,
though she might be in a very low situation
indeed, before he rendered both himself
and her ridiculous by such disproportioned
marriage.”
The Baronet’s lady
had understanding enough, however, perfectly
to take in the full sense of her ladyship’s
pointed speech; and a silence commenced,
which threatened to continue long
and obstinate, when, as the dusky shades
of night appeared fast approaching, entered
Lady Isabella, gay as Euphrosyne, and
looking all that was lovely and fascinating:
close, like her shadow, followed Frederic
Harrington
. And now various sentiments
shot like lightning across the breasts of the
inmates of the bower. A deep blush mutually
dyed the cheeks of Frederic and Mary, K2 K2v 196
though glad to see her ladyship, Margaret
was disappointed that her valiant and
constant Knight was so long in arranging
his dress, and did not yet make his appearance.
A gleam of comfort entered the
bosom of Lady Caroline, when she reflected
that she should be able, with the assistance
of her obliging Harrington, to make an
excellent whist party. Lady Isabella had
hoped that some of the fine things that
Frederic had said to her, as he drove her
home in his uncle’s curricle, had their
origin in truth; she was, therefore, in too
good a humour, to be given much that
evening to her natural propensity of quizzing;
and, passing Margaret with a slight
“how d’ye,” and a still slighter one to
Mary, she sat herself down by her Kennedy,
as she called her, and restored, by her
charming conversation and condescending
familiarity, some degree of alacrity to that
lady’s depressed spirits.

On the joyful news that Lady Isabella
was returned, Sir Charles Sefton, though K3r 197
he took more pains with his person, dispatched
the arrangement of his figure as
quick as possible; and highly perfumed
with esprit de rose, dressed most becomingly,
and animated with the unexpected
joy of finding her he idolized returned
so soon, his glass reflected to his imagination,
what indeed he did almost look,—a
little bit, a very, very little bit of—an
Adonis!

Margaret’s heart fluttered as he entered
the arbour, but, alas! advancing to Lady
Isabella
, he seemed not even to see “the
most bewitching among her sex!”
but
intreated in a loud, though tender whisper,
that her ladyship would not risk a health
so precious to him, by remaining any longer
in the night air.

All the gentlemen were now seen approaching,
and they enforced the same
request to every lady. The exterior of Sir
Charles Sefton
, with all its dissipation-
acquired
defects, evinced the man of
fashion; Lady Isabella had never seen him K3v 198
look so well as on that evening, and she
thought, if he always looked so, she should
be, by no means, ashamed of being the
rich and dashing wife of such a man:
but she had also another more powerful
motive for holding out to him every hope,
at the present hour,—she thought herself
sure of Frederic Harrington’s heart, and
she was determined to prove it, by exciting
his jealousy: she therefore engrossed Sir
Charles
entirely to herself, and took no
notice whatever of either the friend she
had before hailed by the appellation of
“sweet interesting girl,” and whom she
promised to make the depository of her
most secret thoughts, nor yet of the man
whom she really loved, and who, a few
hours before, had well nigh drawn from
her the confession of her regard for him.

Lady Caroline approved of the proposal
of instantly quitting the gardens, and,
unasked, took the arm of Frederic. Sir
Edward Harrington
still walked with Edward
Marsham
, the former shewing him K4r 199
some pointed epigrams, which he had received
from a correspondent, composed
upon Mr. W. and Mrs. C.; and he rejoiced
with the good Curate, to see faction
and enmity to royalty defeating themselves:
while Charles, deeply interested in all that
could give comfort to the parental bosom
of his sovereign, and in each thing that
tended to clear the fame of every branch
of his illustrious family, looked the happiest
of the happy; particularly as news
of a private nature had also arrived from
this correspondent of the worthy Sir Edward,
which materially concerned the
brave lieutenant; and Charles, on moving
from the arbour, took an hand of each of
his nieces, telling them with a smile beaming
satisfaction, that he had fine news to
tell them when he got home: he then
quitted them, wondering at what it could
be, to join his brother Ralph.

Margaret sent round “her inquiring eye,”
but saw Sir Charles looking on Lady Isabella
with so much passionate adoration, K4v 200
and so assiduously attentive to wrap her
shawl about her fine form, while his adored
Margaritta was suffered, neglected and
unobserved, to pull her very small cambric
pocket-handkerchief over her bosom, and
which did not half cover it, and content
herself with the arm of her sister, without
any complaisant beau so much as seeming
to know they were in the company.

The officious Rector escorted Lady
Wringham
, who bore upon his arm with
a weight he seemed ready to sink under;
and in this state they entered the house.

It had not yet struck ten, and it was impossible
to think of going to supper!
Lady Caroline, Frederic Harrington, Sir
Charles Sefton
, and Lady Isabella (who
hated whist, but yet would play to oblige
him), made up a whist party; but as it was
impossible to secure the attention of the
volatile lady to so serious a game, they
changed it to a cassino: she lost there
immensely, threw up her cards, and challenged
Edward Marsham, who had just K5r 201
finished a game at piquet with Mrs. Kennedy,
to a game at chess, which he gladly
accepted; while Mrs. Kennedy took the
seat of Lady Isabella, and the cassino was
again changed to whist. Sir Edward Harrington
and Ralph occupied a back-gammon
table; while the Rector, Lady Wringham,
Charles, and his two nieces, made a
party at loo.

Lady Caroline, who never knew when to
rise from the card-table, continued at it
till near one o’clock, when, after the Rector
frequently reminding her, she discovered
it was time to go to supper! and they descended
to the dining-parlour to partake
of an elegant cold collation.

Mrs. Kennedy had been a winner; Lady
Caroline, as usual, a considerable loser;
she was therefore scarcely civil to Mrs.
Kennedy
, who was in high spirits, resolving,
if her ladyship’s ill humour continued, or
indeed if she saw any prospect of her borrowing
the sum of her, which she had K5v 202
just lost, she would set off for London directly,
or pay some other convenient visit.

Mrs. Kennedy had a talent of telling
fortunes, by a pack of cards, and that in
a very diverting way, entirely
out of the common track; and, like the
jumble of accidental predictions in an
almanack, some things she foretold, had
really come to pass. Our farm-house party
were moving to withdraw, just before the
hour sounded three; but the Rector positively
swore they should not stir yet, and
said, “Come, Kennedy, give us a shuffle,
you understand me!”

Mrs. Kennedy desired a servant to bring
her down one of the packs of cards from
the drawing-room: “Now,” said she,
“you must not one of you move, till I
have told all your fortunes: I cast a spell
around you,”
continued she, and rising
with the most playful and good-humoured
badinage, she waved her little circular fan
round the head of each, and reseated
herself.

K6r 203

Margaret trembled, but instantly sent
a look across the table to Sir Charles
Sefton
, but had the mortification of finding
it not returned. Lady Caroline, who
seemed to revive at only the sight of
her favourite book, smiled and said,
“What a droll creature, Kennedy, you
are!”
and now, with much ingenuity and
archness, did Mrs. Kennedy tell that kind
of fortune, which she thought would give
her rich and noble listeners most pleasure.
Lady Isabella was less pleased with what
she told her, than Sir Charles; yet, to
carry on the farce of the evening against
Frederic, who was seated on the other side
of her, directly opposite to Mary, she
smiled on Sir Charles with much seeming
satisfaction, while, to the great astonishment
of Margaret, he blessed Mrs. Kennedy
as a dear witty little angel!

The fortuneteller told Lady Wringham,
that though she was married, there was a
black man who sighed for her; and loved
her dearly.—The noble and reverend Theodore K6v 204
hereupon gave a soft sigh, and Lady
Wringham
simpered, and said, “La! Mrs.
Thingummy
, how could you find that out?
Well, I declare I never had any faith in
omiums before, but I do really believe as
how you’re a witch!”
Margaret again
looked across the table; Sir Charles never
heeded her.

When Mrs. Kennedy came to tell the
future fate of the two girls, she had no
interest in flattering them, and she was
guided only by the different appearances
of clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades, as
they chanced to follow each other, or be
mingled together; and she told their fortunes,
as she had been taught to prognosticate,
from the different succession of the
cards alone, without deviation from those
hieroglyphics.

She told the astonished, convinced,
though trembling and horror-struck Margaret,
that she loved a very fair man,
short of stature; but that she was deceived
in him, for if she believed him to be a gentleman, K7r 205
she would find herself very much
mistaken, for he was the very lowest of
the low-born: that a very rich and great
with the most playful and good-humoured
man, much older than herself, would fall
in love with her; but she must take care
of him, for he had evil designs aginst her.
Margaret eagerly asked, if she had yet
seen him? Mrs. Kennedy said, her cards
did not tell; but if she had, he was not
yet in love with her.

To Mary, she told, that she was a little
given to jealousy, but that she had no
cause, for a young gentleman loved her
beyond all the girls he had ever seen; and
that at last they would certainly be united;
but they would meet with a great many
troubles and obstacles at first: that she
would find, or had already found this gentleman
rather too free in his moral principles;
but that he was only led astray by
fashion, and rather an extravagant turn of
mind; he would soon love her, and her
good conduct and prudence would restore
him to himself, and entirely eradicate all K7v 206
his former errors. As Mary accidentally
raised her eyes, she beheld those of Frederic
Harrington
tenderly fixed upon her:
it was a moment of electrical bliss, that
then darted across her bosom! all that
could be expressed from every pure and
affectionate sentiment of the soul, beamed
upon her blushing countenance from the
fine, intelligent eyes of the handsome Frederic!
love approaching to adoration,
respect, admiration, and softness lighted
up his visage, and in that one glance, and
the accompanying and visible emotion of
Mary, their hearts were irrevocably pledged
to each other!

The repeated attentions of Frederic afterwards
to Lady Isabella savoured more
of respect and homage to her beauty alone,
than any thing approximate to a softer passion:
when trouble was foretold to Mary,
though only in childish play, with a pack
of cards, Frederic looked anxiously towards
her. In vain the Reverend and
Honourable Theodore Leslie
essayed to K8r 207
“look unutterable things;” in vain he
contrived to address her, by name, that she
might look towards him, when this, her
real lover was foretold, by the eloquent
Mrs. Kennedy; Mary saw not, nor thought
of any one but Frederic Harrington.

How oft had Margaret, during the unfolding
of her strange and complicated
fortune, turned her supplicating eyes towards
Sir Charles Sefton! he had no looks
but for Lady Isabella: and when Margaret’s
imaginary lovers were mentioned
amongst the kings and knaves by Mrs.
Kennedy
, the poor romantic girl remarked
nothing but laughter and whisperings between
the noble lovers; but not one look
could she gain, not one of her own meaning
ones could she get returned, by either
her quality friend, or her once fascinated
adorer!

Trifling as was this last amusement,
Mrs. Kennedy knew how to render it extremely
entertaining by her witty talents,
and her versatility of expression—Edward K8v 208
Marsham
, though not particularly pleased
with so many falsehoods, yet wondered at
her uncommon abilities, which could
stamp such an agreeable interest on “trifles
light as air.”

Sir Edward Harrington and Charles
Marsham
regarded the younger part of the
merry auditors with pleased benevolence:
and there were indeed scarcely any of the
party that could be called really old:
while Ralph, all matter of fact, looked
excessively serious; and thought within
himself, that if she told true, she must
absolutely deal in the black art, and if
not, she must be naturally very much addicted
to lying, to sit and invent so many
off hand.

At length the clock chimed a quarter
to four: Lady Wringham’s servants were
called, and she declared she had never
passed so niest an evening in all her life;
and that Mrs. Kennedy was the funniest
and the most cleverest woman she ever
knew. 209 K9r

The farm-house family then took their
leave; the back of Sir Charles was towards
his Margaritta, but he never turned
when she went away, nor offered now to
accompany her home—sad reverse since the
ball night! Mary, elated, yet she hardly
knew why, (for the scene between Harrington
and Lady Caroline, as she again passed
through the little anti-chamber, darted its
momentary agony across her memory,)
took the arm of her uncle Charles with
a smile, and endeavoured to drive it from
intruding on her mind.

Margaret, sadly disappointed and depressed,
took hold of his other arm, and,
with Ralph and Edward in their same
serious and unaltered state of mind, walked
home, by the light of the moon, contending
with the beams of the morning.

End of Vol I.

Bretell & Co. Printers,
Marshall-Street, Golden-Square, London.

a1r

Romance Readers
and
Romance Writers.

a1v 2A1r

Romance Readers
and
Romance Writers:

A Satirical Novel.


In Three Volumes.

By the Author of
A Private History of the Court of England, &c.

“Gnatho. Quid agitur? Parmeno. Statur. Gnatho. Video. Numquidnam hic, quod notis, vides? Parmeno. Te. Gnatho. Credo.” Terence.

M. G. Lewis, Rosa Matilda, Horsley
Curties
, &c. parlent.

“Hélas, mon Dieu, craignez tout d’un auteur en courroux, Qui peut――”
Boileau.

Vol. II.

London:
Printed For T. Hookham, Junior, and E.T. Hookham,
15, Old Bond Street
18101810.

2A1v

Brettell and Co. Printers,
Marshall-Street, Golden-Square, London.

2B1r

The Effects
of
Romance Reading.

Chap. IX.

Sir John and Lady Wringham.

“No huswife led a better life; She to false steps was e’en hard-hearted, * * * * * * * * * * * And thought the nation ne’er could thrive, Till all frail girls were burnt alive!” Prior.

Lady Wringham has been introduced to
the reader, as a ci-devant laundress; and
such was really her origin, though she was
so very much noticed by the rector and his
family. Her Ladyship’s origin— Historique.

Sir John Wringham, the diminutive husband
of this lady, was a wealthy baronet, Vol. II. B 2B1v 2
and the last of his noble house: he was
sent to study the law at the Temple, and
which dry business seemed to accord very
well with abilities in which were united
much shrewdness with intense plodding.
He wished for an heir, to inherit his title
and dignity, but he had an almost unconquerable
preference to the life of a bachelor;
and he continued to study away at his
chambers in the Temple, until he had actually
attained his forty-fifth year.

However, Sir John was rich and great,
as far as related to his purse and the ancestry
of his family; though mean in aspect
and low in stature: twice, without much
exertion on his part, was he, in succeeding
elections, chosen member for the county of
——, and sparing of his breath in St.
Stephen
’s chapel
, except in giving his aye,
when he plainly saw most votes would carry
the day; and as sparing of his good dinners
and of unlocking his coffers; his respiration
never suffered from overexertion. And while
a steak and a pint of wine contented him at 2B2r 3
the Temple Coffee-house, the strong box,
being unincumbered with any other visitors
than this sparing baronet, it was so well
filled, that Sir John scarcely knew, himself,
the extent of his riches.

One laundress had washed for him and
cleaned his chambers for ten years; she
was pretty, but rather masculine, and turned
of thirty: for three whole years, had Sir
John
been assailing her chastity in vain!
“By gosh, she knew how to manage such
a little whiffling being as he!”
and having
that kind of violent virtue, which scratches
and fights to defend itself, many a time has
she laid the amorous knight sprawling on
the floor, from a well aimed blow, and
confined him to his chambers, under pretence
of a cold, from the black eyes inflicted
by her Amazonian fist.

Once in a quarter, Sir John Wringham
used to meet a party of brother students at
a club, held at the house of an inn-keeper,
who had assisted Sir John in gaining his
elections: there, as the bottle passed brisklyB2 2B2v 4
about, was it much lamented that the
baronetage of Wringham should be in
danger of extinction from the want of
heirs male. This repeated remark dwelt
on the mind of the knight; and he wished
to bequeath his honours to posterity: he
loved Sukey Wiggins, his laundress; he
felt he could not be happy without her,
and he had many striking proofs of her
virtue; which finding impossible to conquer,
he actually made his honourable proposals,
in due form: and the astonished
and delighted Sukey, biting her little finger
till it bled, to see if she was actually
awake; sending for the apothecary, to know
if she was in her right senses; and going
to a famous fortune-teller, who, after she
had thrown out, herself, every possible
hint, told her she would certainly be very
soon married to a very rich man, and be a
lady,――she soon knew that Sir John Wringham
had really, in right arnest, made honourable
love to her.

She did not want for an abundant share 2B3r 5
of low cunning; and she played the tyrant
over her infatuated lover, as well as any
high bred lady of birth and fashion could
possibly have done; and seeing herself sure
of her man, she did not let him rest, till
she had obtained from him a written promise
to let her have the entire disposal of
much more than the half of his immense
fortune.

And now behold her, Lady Wringham!
proud, haughty, insolent, and overbearing
――her ignorance, which was unnoticed in
her humble state, now rendered glaring
and conspicuous; pluming herself on her
virtue, and more for her imaginary beauty
and perfections.

If a poor, young, inexperienced girl, had
the misfortune, through the perfidy of a
treacherous lover, “Before a wife, to be a nurse,”
Oh! what virulent abuse was heaped upon
the nasty creature, by Lady Wringham!
Hanging, she declared, was too good for
her! such bold, infamous hussies ought to 2B3v 6
be flayed alive! At the same time, she detested
the wife who had not the happiness
of being a mother: she, herself, thank
God, was the joyful mother of eight: but
really, indeed, she must say, she did not
expect to have little ones so fast! but it
was God’s Almighty pleasure! Then if ever
any lady shewed any kind of fondness for a
faithful dog, a bird, or a kitten, or indeed
expressed only common compassion
for them; if this lady chanced, at the same
time, to be childless, Lady Wringham
would be sure to say, “Aye, aye, if you
had any little ones, you’d never think about
them there brutes.”

Such is always the common-place jargon
proceeding from a narrow and contracted
heart! children, the dearest tie under heaven,
creatures, when not even bound to
us, by nature’s strongest bands, the most
helpless, the most interesting objects of
creation! But cold must be the heart that,
though it gives to you its tenderest affections,
and feelings of a widely differing nature, 2B4r 7
can yet unnoticed, and too often
spurned, see the fawnings of the fond spaniel;
and the faithful guardian of our person
and property is the dog of every description.
Oft-times, by such pretended
fond parents, is the imprisoned bird pining
for want of food; and, unrewarded, the halffamished
cat for her useful abilities, nor
given a share of that food which her vigilance,
in keeping the house clear from
vermin, has deserved. The principles of
honour should make us kind to the brute
creation; we are their lords; he who destroys
his fellow creature “Shall surely
die:”
the lives of animals are ours; they
are given into our hands, and it behoves
us to treat them, by no means with ridiculous
fondness, but with kindness and humanity;
while we reflect, “That he who doth the ravens feed,As providently caters for the sparrows.”

The three first children with whom Lady
Wringham
presented her husband, were,
much to his disappointment, all girls: at 2B4v 8
length, a puisne boy made his appearance.
The country air being recommended for the
future baronet, a magnificent house and
grounds were purchased at Eglantine, and
my Lady affected to be quite enamoured
of the rual scenes about this charming
village.

Here the young gentleman grew strong
and hearty: the prolific lady added four
more children, two boys and two girls to
the family; and with those that were old
enough, she strutted to church, like an old
fat hen, with her chickens trotting after
her.

The eighth child, Mr. Leslie had the
honour of christening, when first this amiable
lady was introduced to the reader;
and four times had he the more agreeable
honour of touching twenty bright guineas,
which the lady picked out for him, each
time she had a child made a christian; for
she liked to “do things like themselves!”

She spared no expence in the articles of
dress; nor in any kind of ostentatious vanity; 2B5r 9
but never gave away a sixpence to
relieve a distressed and worthy object――
“there was the parish,” she would say, “for
those poor wretches! and God knows, Sir
John
paid enough to the poor’s rates”
――and
as for common beggars, “they were such a
set of wagabones, that they ought to be
whipped at the cart’s tail.”

When first she married, she had a little
diffidence of herself, and held her tongue;
but her equipage, her husband’s rank and
wealth, procured her numerous acquaintance;
she met with many ignorant people
among her betters; they said all that came
uppermost: she was therefore resolved in
her turn to dash forward, and be as easy
and as unreserved as the best of them! and
if any chose to laugh at her, she would
think within herself, “let those laugh as
wins
, I can buy them all.”

Her profusion, which was mistaken for
carelessness about money, and knowing she
had the entire management of Sir John’s
heavy purse, induced the rector, who was B5 2B5v 10
getting rather out at elbows, to pay implicit
court to her ladyship; as he hoped,
some day, to be able to coax her out of a
good round sum of money, to be paid in
any way that was most agreeable to her, or
which would be much better, as most convenient
to himself.

Lady Wringham at this time was grown
very fat, old looking and coarse; and
never would be any thing else, than very
vulgar; yet, the fashionable Mr. Leslie,
to carry his point, did not scruple to flirt
with her in that kind of way, as made her
fancy he had a tender inclination for her
person; which made her really not wonder
at her elevation to dignity; but she began
to think even that she might have done better
for herself, with the irresistible charms
she was mistress of.

She was uncommonly proud and arrogant
to all her country neighbours, except those
she dignified by the appellation of quite
your tip-top quality folks: she would
sometimes honour Mrs. Susanna Bradbury 2B6r 11
by a call; and two or three times in the
winter, invite her and her niece to a family
dinner! but begged, above all things, Mrs.
Susan
would never think of introducing her
to her friend Mrs. Edmonds, as it might
very much injure her virtue and repitation:
Mrs. Susan took no notice of her silly remarks;
she reflected from whence they
came, and that it was literally casting
“pearl before swine,” to attempt, by dint
of reasoning, to convince obstinate and ignorant
self-approbation.

Lady Wringham honoured the family at
the farm house for some time, only by a
swaggering curtesy, an high elevation and
violent toss of the head; but since the last
visit of the rector to his living, when he
brought down his family, and she saw them
all take so much notice of the young ladies,
she was much more familiar; but she never
visited them before, except one or twice
in a year: she said, she believed they were
quite commonish kind of people, for she
had never heard of one title among them. 2B6v 12

Sir John was something of an original
character, before his marriage; he was now
a mere non-entity, particularly in the presence
of his dear Sukey; who governed
with absolute sway――when he did even dare
to reflect, he wondered at himself that she
could ever charm him so much, to give
up the reins to her management as he had
done—but then, how many dear children
she had brought! doubly dear, for they
were very expensive, and Sir John was getting
fast onwards to that period of life,
which, when the affections attaching themselves
beyond judicious boundaries, is very
aptly called dotage. In these spoilt children
“of his age,” did Sir John centre
all his delight; he was continually seen
dandling the smaller ones on his knee;
playing with them at see-saw, and singing
to them all the babies’ songs, and reciting
the old nurse’s tales, which he had
heard himself, in his days of infancy; then
he would sometimes lead the others about
the grounds and the environs of the village; 2B7r 13
while perfect strangers to him or his
title, who might chance to visit that part
of the country, and the unruly children
have escaped him, and been, perhaps, in
the apparent danger of being run over by
a horse or a carriage, have much mortified
him, by saying, “Do, my pretty dear,
go back to grandpapa, when he calls you.”

Now, though there was not such a violent
disparity of age between Lady Wringham
and her husband, yet, she has given a
foolish titter on such occasions, and would
frequently talk to her confidential friends
of her youth having been sackerficed;
and tell the false-tongued rector and the
quizzing Sir Charles Sefton, who would
often flatter her for her youth and the
charms of her person, “Ah! dear me;
what sinifies title or riches? to be sure,
Sir John is a very good husband, and a loving
father to the little ones, but I have a
sad prospect before me of being nothing
more nor a nurse to him, in the very prime
of my life!”

2B7v 14

Chap. X.

New Propensities.

“Fancy, whose delusions vain Sport themselves with human brain; Rival thou of Nature’s power, Cans’t, from thy exhaustless store, Bid a tide of sorrow flow, And whelm the soul in deepest woe; Or, in the twinkling of an eye, Raise it to mirth and jollity!” Cooper’s Poetical Blossoms.

Margaret, now, in some degree, convinced
of the caprice of quality, moped
away her hours at home, during a long
rainy week: all her bright visions of conquest
seemed fled, while the prophecies of
Mrs. Kennedy occupied all her thoughts.

Confident in her own mind, that all she
had foretold her would be verified, she detested
the very sight of poor Phelim O’Gurphy, 2B8r 15
and was sure that he must be “the
lowest of the low-born.”

She flew to her old resource of incredible
romance; and read till she almost made herself
sick and blind. Mary felt the power of
love; and she was sure also that her love was
hopeless; could she ever raise her thoughts
to the nephew of Sir Edward Harrington?
doomed by birth, wealth, and fashion, to
figure only in the great world! Impossible.
The rose fled from her cheek, and though
her duty made her cheerfully and implicitly
follow all her former occupations, yet her
spirits sunk, and her father and uncle saw,
with much anxiety, this, the loveliest blossom
which adorned the house and garden
of Eglantine Farm, drooping and fading
daily before their eyes: Mary, whose cheerful
vivacity, whose continual gaiety inspired
them all with gladness, now smiled
but faintly, and that smile was evidently
forced.

Edward, the most affectionate of fathers,
trembled for both his girls; he fancied 2B8v16
that their mother had been consumptive,
and that they both inherited it; for though
Mary looked not so fresh as formerly, yet,
in the presence of Margaret, who was now
as pale as a ghost, she looked better.

In the mean time the girls were both indulged
in every thing they could wish for;
compelled only to drink asses’ milk; to take
every thing good and strengthening, in order
to repel the silent, slow, but sure and
death-dealing malady. Their malady was
seated only in the heart and the imagination;
it was the heart of Mary that was
assailed; and though the flight of the arrow
was quick and sudden, it was buried
deep! while the frenzied imagination of
Margaret, fed to satiety, and destroying itself
by “the food it fed on,” was the only
cause of her heavy eye and chalky-coloured
cheek.

Towards the latter end of the following
week, a beautiful summer’s day seemed to
exhilirate every inhabitant of the farmhouse;
a brightness shone in the heretofore 2B9r 17
languid eyes of Mary, and she sang, as
usual, while she worked; and though her
songs were of the plaintive kind, yet her
listening father and uncles, who were busy
arranging papers in an adjoining room,
were delighted to hear that she did sing;
but Margaret still neglected herself, and
sat in a corner reading, with her fingers
stuck in her uncurled and uncombed hair,
her knees and chin together; while a romance
of the fourteenth century laid on her
lap: from which she lifted her head every
now and then, to say, “La! I wish my
sister would not make such a noise!”

The third time she made this remark,
Mary gave a sigh, and thought, within
herself, ah! why should I sing? She then
applied herself to her needle, and was
silent.

Just as the clock struck two, who should
enter the apartment, but Frederic Harrington
and Lady Isabella Emerson! the glowing
rose again quickly bloomed on Mary’s
cheek: Harrington had never visited the 2B9v 18
farm before! an equal emotion kindled in
his bosom; and Mary could not be blind
to his accompanying blush and love-fraught
eye.

Margaret too was highly gratified, for
Lady Isabella almost flew to her, and embracing
her, said, “My lovely friend, I
am sure you are not well.”
“Oh! yes,
now I am,”
said Margaret, speaking from
the native impulse of her heart, “I was
really ill, but the presence and condescencion
of your ladyship has quite cured me.”

“Sweet girl!” replied Lady Isabella, and
taking up the book, she added, “Come
with me into the garden; it is so delightful
after the rain; and I want to have a
little talk with you.”
She then, with a
charming familiarity, took up the book,
and drawing Margaret’s arm through her
own, walked with her into the garden:
while Mary moved, to acquaint her father
and uncles of the presence of these noble
visitors.

Frederic, however, prevented her; “Oh! 2B10r 19
stay, Miss Marsham,”
said he, as he respectfully,
and tremblingly took her hand,
“the servant is gone to Mr. Marsham;
but they are now very busy in arranging
some paper, which they cannot leave; and
which it will not be five minutes before
they have done with; we wish not to be
treated here as strangers, but as familiar
friends; and, oh! suffer me, dear Miss
Marsham
, to enjoy those short moments,
winged, indeed, too swiftly with bliss, in
your charming company.”
“Oh! sir,”
said Mary, “why address me in this highflown
strain of flattery? Have you then, so
very poor an opinion of my understanding, as
to imagine I can be pleased with it?”
“It
is concurring, and in some degree, afflicting
circumstances, which alone render me eager
to seize the present fleeting minutes; suffer
me then to make use of this blessed opportunity,
the last perhaps, I shall find of unburthening
my thoughts to the too amiable
Miss Marsham.”
“The last!” involuntarily
and emphatically uttered Mary, 2B10v 20
“Oh! I hope not.” The manner of her
uttering this simple expression, and the
deep blush that suffused her cheek, imparted
hope, in her brightest array, to the
breast of Frederic. “The sweet illusion,”
said he, “of thinking that Miss Marsham
regrets my absence, will soothe the pangs
of separation, and act as a tutelary divinity,
to steel my breast with courage and
my arms with success, in the day of battle.”

“Battle!” repeated Mary, while the hue
of the lily succeeded to the rose on her
cheek, and a drop, like the dew of the
morning, stood trembling on her long eyelash.

“O God!” said the empassioned Frederic,
“time presses; I go, perhaps never
to return; never to see you any more! Pardon,
I beseech you, pardon my temerity;”
and
he clasped the timid, though then unresisting
Mary to his bosom, while he kissed off
the liquid assurance of more than common
concern for his safety.

She would fain have chid her lover, but 2B11r 21
she found it impossible; and there was a
respect attending the action, which would
have rendered resistance on her part (all
circumstances considered) both prudish
and fastidious. The servant entered, saying,
“My master, sir, is quite distressed
that my interruption just now, obliged him
to go over a great part of the paper he was
engaged with, again: and the Captain
being obliged to depart next week, they are
settling some family affairs of importance;
but the gentleman will really have done in
less than ten minutes.”

Frederic intreated him to desire his
master to take his time, as Lady Isabella
and himself had no particular engagement
to call them home; and he inwardly
blessed the delay, and prayed that Lady
Isabella
, towards whom he now felt perfectly
indifferent, would remain some time
longer with her friend: and he might make
himself easy in that respect, for they had
strayed to the meadows, conversing on many
interesting matters. 2B11v 22

Harrington now made the best of his
time, and endowed as he was with every insinuating
art of persuasion, he was not long
ere he wrought on the mind of the young
and innocent Mary, so far, as to draw from
her a faint and timid promise, of giving
him that hope of her affections, which
would enable him to support the pain of
absence.

Frederic Harrington had formerly been
an officer in the Guards; but not well
pleased with a service, active only in deeds
of continued dissipation, he had quitted it,
at the request of his uncle, coinciding also
with his own wishes after the death of his
mother.

He became acquainted with the honourable
and reverend Theodore Leslie at the
University of Oxford, when that gentleman
had gone there to keep a long term, previous
to being made Master of Arts.
Frederic was fascinated with the easy and
fashionable manners of the young divine,
and entered into a firm friendship with him; 2B12r 23
but his frequent loans to this reverend gentleman
had so impoverished him, together
with much money purposely and gallantly
lost to Lady Caroline Leslie, that his uncle,
entirely to wean him from so destructive
and dangerous a society, though he severely
felt the separation, yet judged it better that
he should again enter the army, and accompany
the grand expedition to the Scheldt,
when he might also be of service to his
country, and distinguish himself by his personal
courage and merit.

Sir Edward Harrington likewise regretted
that so many fine young men, who might
be usefully and bravely employed, and
become an honour to Great Britain and
themselves, should be lounging away their
hours on the pavements of Bond-street
and Pall-mall. Severe might be the
lot, deep the sorrow of their surviving
relatives, should they perish; but they
would have this consolation, that the youthful
heroes died on the bed of honour, and
did their part in ensuring the safety of their 2B12v 24
island from the grasp of the usurper: and
such as these enable the honest artificer, the
industrious farmer, and the useful citizen
to carry on their employments in peace
and security, and spread the table of
the wealthy tradesman with “luxury and
ease.”

It was but in brief, that Frederic acquainted
his Mary with one cause of his
departure; which was the impoverished
state of his finances: his persuasions to
Lady Caroline Leslie had conquered her;
for he had prevailed upon her to take back
the sum she had lost to him, on the evening
of that day he first beheld the charming
Mary: this, in as delicate a manner as
possible, towards her ladyship, did he explain
to Mary, on the accusation he received
from her, of his being a general
lover. He owned that he had never seen any
woman so beautiful and fascinating, in person,
as Lady Isabella Emerson; but it was
person alone; and its “skin-deep” and
fugitive impressions had departed for ever! 2C1r 25

The irradiating mind of Mary, while it
embellished her countenance, made the
charms of that countenance, though quick
in their effects, increasing and durable in
their impression.

Mary was easily disposed to believe all
that her Harrington told her――perhaps the
reader may think too easily: but Mary was
very young, Frederic irresistibly insinuating
and handsome, and they were also on the
point of separating, perhaps never to meet
again: she had found the object of her
choice virtuous and innocent, when compared
to what she had once thought him; and
when she reflected on the distance between
them, when she knew how many high-born
and wealthy ladies to whom he had a right
to aspire, she felt that conscious and gratified
pride which cannot but glory in
being the preferred choice of such a man.

Mary was not a model of perfection;
far from it; she was a mere human being,
subject to error: she had no vice, she
shuddered at the thought of committing a Vol. II. C 2C1v 26
crime! she was prudent as any girl of
eighteen, but was not without the natural
weaknesses of frail mortality.

Too soon, much too soon for Frederic
Harrington
, and why should we endeavour
to conceal it from our readers, for their
own hearts will tell them, if we did not,
that too soon also for Mary did the three
brothers enter the parlour, and put a stop
to the most interesting conversation which
she had ever held with any one.

In the mean time Lady Isabella and Margaret
were not idle. “My dearest girl,”
said the lady, as she turned over the leaves
of the volume which Margaret had been
perusing, “What stuff are you reading
here? Why you might as well read Mother
Bunch
’s Fairy Tales, or a Defence of
Witchcraft
.”
“La! my lady,” said Margaret,
“I really presumed to think that
you and I were something alike in our
ideas; and that your ladyship was as romantic
almost as myself.”
“I, my
dear?”
exclaimed her ladyship; “yes, I 2C2r 27
am the most romantic creature living; but
quite in a different way; I never go beyond
probability; and the romances I peruse,
shew me, if not the exact picture of human
life, at least what it ought to be: I’ll
send you some of my books; they will not
stuff your brain with ideas of ghosts, magic
and witchcraft; but will ennoble your
ideas, enlarge your understanding, and
teach you how to charm, and not so like
one of the antiquated sybils you are so
fond of reading about.”

Lady Isabella had the art of giving a
charm to all she uttered: Margaret was
convinced that all she said must be right;
and she regarded her ladyship with the
fondest admiration; while she felt deeply
confused at her own slatternly figure, as she
looked on the style and tasteful elegance of
Lady Isabella’s dress: she adjusted her
tucker, smoothed her dishevelled hair, as
well as she could, with her fingers! but casting
her eyes downwards, she saw two defects
in her light pink striped gown, which C2 2C2v 28
she could not then possibly repair; one
was a greasy spot, in circumference of
about an half-crown piece; the other a
large hole, much the same size, which she
had burnt as she stood over the kitchen
fire reading, after having given some orders
to the cook-maid, and which had been
caused by the red-hot poker; while just
before, she had unconsciously dipped the
other end in the dripping-pan, being herself
wholly absorbed in the study of her favourite
romance.

However, in spite of her grotesque figure,
Lady Isabella continued to caress her, as
she wanted to make both a tool and a fool
of her. She took care to tell the silly and
credulous girl, in the course of their conversation,
that Sir Charles Sefton was desperately
in love with her.

“Indeed, my lady,” said Margaret, “I
cannot think it; though to be sure, I must
tell you, that the evening of Mr. Leslie’s
ball, I really did think something; but,
dear me, he never took the least notice 2C3r 29
of me in the world the other night, but
ever turned his back upon me!”

“I can tell you, my love, the reason of
all that,”
said the crafty Isabella; “you
must know, my wise brother-in-law, Mr.
Leslie
, is desirous that I should marry the
charming Sir Charles Sefton, whose heart
is so devoted to you; but we neither of us
like one another: well! my brother had
taken upon himself the delightful task of
watching us both that night; and therefore,
Sir Charles, at my intreaties, never
once looked towards you.”
“Well, I
don’t know how it is; but I must say, I
did rather like him,”
said the imprudent
Margaret, who knew not the artifice of
her ladyship; “but I thought he was
afraid of Mrs. Kennedy; he told me once
she was a——.”
“She is,” interrupted
Lady Isabella, “the dearest creature in the
world!”
For Lady Isabella knew not
that Sir Charles had carried his quizzing
powers so far, as to persuade Margaret
into a belief of Mrs. Kennedy being skilled 2C3v 30
in the black art—and Lady Isabella often
found her that safe confidential friend
who, while she patiently endured all
her sarcasms, would also, while she concealed
the many improper secrets Lady Isabella
confided to her, be not only silent,
but as far as lay in her power, assisting
likewise: thus, though Lady Isabella inwardly
despised the pliability of her principles,
ridiculed her person, and some of
her flights of imagination in her writings,
yet she ever pretended for her the most
kind and disinterested friendship.

“Pray, my lady,” said the pondering
Margaret, “who did she mean by the
rich gentleman, older than myself, who
would have evil designs upon me?”
“Not
Sir Charles, you may be certain,”
replied
Lady Isabella; “he loves you too well to injure
you in the smallest degree: no, he, I am
sure, will study nothing but your happiness:
though I do not implicitly believe all that
Mrs. Kennedy may tell with the cards, yet
sometimes, I assure you, she does hit right, 2C4r 31
but then, I believe, that is all by mere
chance! and what, indeed, is it but
chance that governs our destiny?”

Lady Isabella now perceiving that she
had impressed Margaret with every idea she
could wish respecting Sir Charles, proposed
returning to the house, promising to
send her the books as soon as she arrived
at the parsonage.

It may be easily seen, that from taking
an improper bent, the refined understanding
of Lady Isabella was perverted to the
worst of purposes, and the pernicious works
she perused, the ill example of her nearest
relatives, and a naturally mischievous disposition,
all combined to corrupt her heart,
and render her careless of future consequences,
so as she could but achieve her
desired pursuit. That heart had a degree
of warmth which made love requisite to
the happiness of her existence; she had loved
Major Raymond, but she never had regarded
any man with that degree of partiality
which she felt for Frederic Harrington. 2C4v 32
Her penetration was most quick and acute;
she saw, after the last visit of the farmhouse
family to the parsonage, that the
heart of Frederic was lost to her for ever;
she had suspected it, at the preceding visit,
but she hoped, if it had only strayed from
her, she should yet be able to recover it:
now, her wounded pride made her fixed
in the resolution to spurn him from her,
even if she saw him sighing at her feet in
despair.

She was resolved in private to give Raymond
every hope; while in public she must
affect to receive the address of Sir Charles
Sefton
with pleasure and satisfaction;
though she inwardly detested him, and put
every art in practice to rid herself of a
lover so very uncongenial to her taste.

She determined, if possible, to drive him
into some kind of intrigue, which might
take up his time and attention; and it will
be thought strange that she should pitch
upon Margaret for this manœuvre: but she
saw that the girl, if she took proper care 2C5r 33
of her person, was by no means disagreeable:
she knew also that Sir Charles Sefton
was a professed admirer of all the sex,
and doted on variety, in whatever female
form it appeared, that was not downright
ugly and deformed; Margaret Marsham,
four years younger than Lady Isabella, was
just his favourite age, and a coral lip quite
seduced him; such had Margaret.

The perfidious lady designed first to delude
her mind with those seductive novels,
whose chief subject is love, and that was
generally produced by beauty; and these
novels did not always make marriage the
finale of the piece, but rather taught the
young mind to lean to love unrestrained
and unlimited“Love, free as air.”——

Lady Isabella, to aid her own plot, and
gratify her revenge on the lovely Mary, for
robbing her of the heart of Frederic, cared
not one straw whether or no she was the
ruin of a poor innocent credulous girl, or C52C5v34
for any afflictions she might heap on her
family: such, such alas! are the fatal
principles which sway the mind of that being
who gives herself up to the free indulgence
of her inclinations; who makes
use of a brilliant understanding, by daring
to doubt an hereafter, flies in the face of
her God, while she spurns decorum and
every moral tie and obligation: pride, vanity,
and revenge, throw in their baneful
ingredients, and render a compound of all
that is base and dishonourable.

Into these digressive reflections we are,
perhaps, too often led, in the depicting characters,
some of which, we are sorry to
write it, are actually in existence—we acknowledge
that we ought to leave it to
the minds of our readers to make what
comments they please, and which will present
themselves differently to differing dispositions.

Lady Isabella, after some general and
polite conversation with the worthy family
of Eglantine Farm, walked home, accompanied 2C6r 35
by Frederic Harrington; he proved
but a very stupid companion for her, and
in vain he endeavoured to say something
civil; she saw through it all, and regarded
him only with contempt, though with such
well-assumed indifference, that a less honest
heart than Harrington’s might have been
deceived.

In about half an hour after her arrival at
home, came a packet of novels to the farmhouse,
which, though of modern date, were
not of that modern kind to lash at vice
and strip it of its beauteous mask; no, they
consisted of such as would delude the weak
and unwary mind to dislike the formal ties
of marriage; and, if so tied, to meditate
adultery; to break through the prudent
bands of parental restraint, and give up all
to love, which so far from being branded
by these seductive writers with the title of
illicit, was styled virtuous; though scoffing
at the idea of nuptial chains, and confiding
only in the honour of the betrayer. 2C6v 36

Amongst these works was Madame de
Staël
’s dangerous novel of Delphine; and
also that no less dangerous work (unless
when perused by a young female of uncommon
purity and strength of mind),
Rousseau’s Heloise. Nor can we quite
agree with that great man, when he says,
“the heart of a female, who should be
corrupted by that work, was corrupt before.”

The expression is far too strong: youth
is not the season for firmness; extreme prudence
in the morning of life, is a virtue as
unnatural as it is rare: the weak mind of an
inexperienced country girl may be softened
and easily warped, which never was wicked,
or in any degree corrupt.

Margaret read these works with avidity;
she laughed at, she ridiculed herself, and her
former taste! but she languished for a congenial
soul of the opposite sex, with whom
she could experience the extatic raptures
proceeding from the unrestrained and delightful 2C7r 37
union of hearts, where no vulgar
“human tie” should render common their
moments of superlative bliss!

Among other books, Lady Isabella lent
her victim a few translations from the
French, wherein she found the heroine generally
a married woman; this served to
strengthen her in the opinion of the invalidity
and futility of the marriage-ceremony.
She found every coquettish art was put in
practice by these Gallic nymphs, to ensnare
the hearts of men: Margaret, therefore,
became more careful of her outward appearance;
studied long before her glass
each look that might be most becoming:
she was cautious of opening her mouth, but
smiled prettily, with her lips closed; her
eyes were no longer rolled towards heaven,
but taught to speak the languor of earthly
love, or sometimes to leer with meaning
and vivacity: it has before been observed,
they were naturally good.

Her animation and the improvement of
her personal appearance astonished her 2C7v 38
friends, for she was cunning enough to
conceal, and study in private, the sources
of her present transformation: as the morals
of her once cherished romances were
irreproachable and strict in the extreme,
so her father never had forbidden their perusal;
but she well knew how much her present
readings condemned the pure principles
he preached from the pulpit, and
which actuated his private life.

Mary, though her colour faded, appeared
yet more sweetly interesting than
ever: Margaret’s studies, wholly confined
to the books she had borrowed from Lady
Isabella
, left the choice which the circulating
library afforded entirely to Mary;
who sent always for those novels whose
subject was the softer passion; but then
it was always virtuous love and its reward
which they described. Poems, also, she
read, whose delightful pensiveness suited
the present turn of her mind; and it was
the song of love alone which now breathed
its notes from her harmonious voice.

2C8r 39

Chap. XI.

A Separation and a Grand Plot.

“I forbid my tears: but yet It is our trick; Nature her custom holds, Let shame say what it will.” Shakspeare.
“――These reside In courts, and do their works with bows and smiles; That little engin’ry, more mischievous Than fleets and armies.” Young.

The worthy Sir Edward Harrington
had, from his first meeting with Charles
Marsham
, determined to exert all his influence
and interest with the great, to procure
for this excellent officer a lucrative and respectable
situation.

An appointment of great trust and importance
was, at length, at the baronet’s 2C8v 40
intercession, bestowed upon him, and in
which post he was to accompany the grand
expedition. The news arrived to Charles
as sudden and unexpected as it was gratifying
and pleasing, and he hastened to join
the fleet, which was daily expected to sail,
and fill a situation for which he was, from
both abilities and experience, so amply qualified.

The brothers at the farm-house had all
of them a property, formerly belonging to
a deceased sister, equally divided between
them, in an annual income: this deed of
gift was necessary to be perused and copied
before their separation; a power of attorney
was also to be made out, and which
Ralph, though the eldest, with a kind of
presentiment on his spirits, insisted on being
given to his brother Edward.

These papers were the cause which occasioned
their delay, in waiting on the noble
guests who did them the honour of a
morning visit previous to the week fixed
for the departure of Charles. The sorrows 2C9r 41
of the hitherto cheerful Mary
seemed now begun; she was the favourite
of her uncle Charles, and, next to her father,
she loved him.

He pressed her, at parting, to his heart;
and gave her, with parental fondness, his
blessing and advice, which sufficiently
proved he had penetrated into the causes
of the present change in her person and
manners, while the last sentence he flatteringly
pronounced, was, “Oh! my beloved
Mary, guard your heart!”

More than thrice did the secret mount to
her lips, but female bashfulness as often
prevented its escaping them; she longed
to confide her thoughts to her dear uncle,
yet she suffered him to quit her, with the
corroding secret of her heart yet unrevealed.

She looked anxiously at her window as
he turned the corner of the lane which led
into the London road, and saw the last flutter
of his white handkerchief, as, with an
half-averted head, he waved the signal towards 2C9v 42
her; and while she could distinguish
the clattering sound made by the hoofs of
his favourite mare, he did not yet appear
as quite departed. The dead silence that
ensued made her tears stream afresh, and
though still blessed with a kind uncle and
a worthy and affectionate parent, she felt
at that moment as if left alone in the world
without a single friend.

She leaned her aching head against the
little book-case which contained the instructive
library her generous uncle had
given her; kissed the lettered backs of
some of the volumes, and gave herself up
to all the indulgence of sorrow; for she
well knew that each of the inhabitants of
the farm, wholly occupied with their own
regret and anxiety, could afford her but
little comfort.

No one in Mr. Marsham’s mansion could
be more generally missed, nor could the absence
of any one be more regretted, than
that of Charles; his constant cheerfulness,
his benevolent and truly humane heart, his 2C10r 43
easy address and fund of military anecdote,
made his society always desirable, and the
deprivation of it severely felt by his family.
The servants had a pleasure in preventing
his wishes; and his nieces were both emulous
of performing for him every little office
of kindness in their power: the shirts that
were made for uncle Charles were worked
at with more diligence and pleasure than
for any one else; and they each would
contend whose turn it was to twitch out
the hair to mark “C.M.” on his cambric
pocket-handkerchiefs or cravats.

A summons to tea took Mary from her
library into the common parlour: her father
and uncle remarked her red and swoln
eyes, but they remarked only in silence;
while uncle Ralph drew the tea-table with
equal taciturnity towards her.

Margaret’s grief was more violent, but
Margaret was not now under the influence
of an artificial character; she was herself,
she was a Marsham; and her bosom was
only warmed and animated by natural affections; 2C10v 44
her arms were crossed on a table,
and she sobbed bitterly as she rested her
face upon them.

Edward, after refusing the bread and
butter which was handed to him, broke
silence by saying, “I shall eagerly look
at the ship-news in every newspaper that
arrives.”
“And will you believe,” said
Ralph, drily, “any thing that those vehicles
of falsehood
may utter? especially when
you must recollect how often they deceived
us in the late Corunna business!”

“The nautical intelligence, as it comes
from Lloyd’s,”
said Edward, “is the only
part which may be almost implicitly relied
upon.”

Ralph sipped his tea, and nodded, for
he could not articulate an assent: the
weight of his heart sunk like lead in his
bosom; yet, unlike that ponderous metal, it
rose to his throat, and seemed to choak the
passage of utterance: his matter-of-fact
character would not suffer him to let it be
perceived that an heavy presage appeared 2C11r 45
to speak to his convicted mind, that he never
should behold his much loved brother again.

They all retired early to rest; and for a
few days, their several most favourite occupations
lost their charms; but Charles
wrote to one or other of them by every
post, and the described happiness of his
much ameliorated situation, the flow of
high spirits which ran through his letters,
made them participate in his felicity!
though it cost them the sacrifice of his
society.

In the mean time, the plotting Lady Isabella
was not idle; Sir Charles, through
her artful persuasions and pretended love
of quizzing, had had two or three stolen
interviews with Margaret: the false character
of a girl from the country had
often been imposed upon him in town,
in his purchased amours; here he found
it in its true, its native simplicity and
credulity: Margaret’s youth and virgin
innocence were sufficient to please the
taste of the moment in this depraved 2C11v 46
libertine; he harboured against the unsuspecting
girl the basest designs; and while
he laid his iniquitous plans to effect her
ruin, he meant his short-lived attachment
to her to be as transitory and fleeting as the
passion with which she had inspired him;
their sudden separation as momentary as
the first impulse which urged him to attempt
her seduction! and as totally oblivious,
on his part, as it might be agonising
on hers.

Raymond, young, thoughtless, and insinuating,
was now again reinstated in the
heart of Lady Isabella: Sir Charles was
engaged with his new intrigue as deeply
as her ladyship could wish; so that he had
neither time nor inclination to watch her
movements.

Every plan was laid by Lady Isabella
and her lover for a trip to Gretna Green,
where the enamoured Raymond was to receive
her vows for life, under the sanction
of the hymeneal Vulcan of that celebrated
place for stolen weddings: but how to 2C12r 47
compass this northern tour was the most
difficult! for Lady Isabella had not been
so circumspect, but that her brother and
sister began strongly to suspect that her
tenderness for Major Raymond was again
revived: the Major’s visits, also, became
so frequent, as to draw on him cool and
averted looks, peevish contradictions, and
distant and unrepeated invitations to stay
dinner or supper, when he might chance
to call near the hours of either.

The Rector and his lady always slept in
separate apartments; Lady Caroline had
experienced of late very sleepless nights,
could not rest alone, she must have her
dear Isabel with her; so that Isabella began
to fear it would be impossible to effect
her escape from the country; and she knew
it would be impracticable for the Major to
obtain leave of absence for such a length of
time, which might enable him, on their
removal from Eglantine, to watch the different
occasions which might offer, of 2C12v 48
carrying off his divinity without molestation.

In the perplexity of her mind, one morning,
as Lady Isabella lay ruminating on
her pillow, a golden thought on a sudden
struck her;—she rose, and repairing
to the study, she sent for Sir Charles Sefton’s
servant, to request from her his master
to rise, and take a walk with her on the
lawn, as the morning was uncommonly
beautiful.

Sir Charles, ever joyful to obey the
wishes of the object of his adoration, rose
immediately; but was surprised to see a
thick and cloudy atmosphere, and a morning
very far from a pleasant one; however,
if his beloved chose to call winter summer,
or to call a thick fog beautifully clear, it
was his duty to acquiesce.

“My dear Charles,” said she, extending
her delicate hand as he entered, while the
sentence thrilled to his soul; “I hope I have
not interrupted any pleasant visions; but I 2D1r 49
want to have a little conversation with you;
and I am about to require your assistance
in a matter which, I assure you, interests
my wishes so much, that I have been unable
to sleep the whole night.”

“Believe me,” said the enamoured Baronet,
while he endeavoured to look all
that was tender and captivating, “that I
feel blessed beyond conception, that it is in
my power to afford any assistance to the
wishes of Lady Isabella Emerson; and believe
me, most adorable of women, that
not only my person and fortune, but my life
is at her disposal.”
“Oh! it is not a boon
so precious as your existence which I have
to beg,”
said the bewitching Isabella,
with the smile of an Hebé, “no; but you
know my brother-in-law consents to every
thing which you propose; and I wish you
to exert your influence with him, to let us,
before we quit this place, have a masquerade
on the lawn!”

“Indeed, Lady Isabella,” said Sir Vol. II. D 2D1v 50
Charles, in a tone of tender reproach,
“Mr. Harrington was the person to have
influence over Mr. Leslie; mine, I must
say, in this family, appears to be lost!”

“Well! but you know,” said she,
affecting not to understand him, “he is not
here, or I certainly would have applied to
him rather than to you.”
“Would you?”
replied the Baronet, with a desponding look.
“Assuredly,” said she, “from the very
unaccountable influence, my dearest fellow,
which he had over my brother and sister.”

Lady Isabella’s art, in this morning’s adventure,
shone conspicuous: she had appointed
the study as the place of assignation with
Sir Charles; she knew her brother’s hour of
rising, and she knew also, that now that
hour was just on the point of striking;
and he generally repaired to his library and
studied half an hour, or more, before
breakfast. Her deshabille was negligently
elegant; a stray ringlet or two were suffered
to sport from beneath the pale blue 2D2r 51
Turkish turban, which confined her luxuriance
of hair: she threw herself in a careless
attitude, half lying, half sitting, on a
purple satin library-sofa; and while she
raised her delicate fingers to play sportingly
on the candelabra which stood beside
it, the snowy whiteness of her hand
appeared dazzling: an ancle of the finest
symmetry, and well-formed little foot, derived
new beauty from the soft kid morning
boot which embraced it.

Sir Charles longed for the period when
he could shew off such a goddess of beauty
and fashion, as his own, and when he
could read in every morning print the notoriety
of the dashing and lovely Lady Isabella
Sefton
!

Enraptured at the thought, and seeing
an object before him that would have imparted
extasy to the most cynical and apathetic,
he fell on his knees, seized the
hand which hung by her side, and pressed
it with ardour to his lips and heart; entreatingD2 2D2v 52
her to name the happy day, when
he might call her his.

The softness of her consenting looks,
accompanied with a gentle sigh, made Sir
Charles
easily conceive that he might himself
name the day, without any opposition
on the part of her ladyship: “Whatever
day you please,”
said she, hiding her
face, “in the fortnight after our departure
from this place.”
“Cruel Isabella,” said
he, “why so long delay my happiness?”
“Oh! now,” said she, with the most
childish and affected modesty, “you take
advantage of my partiality for you: we
will say, in a week then after we leave
Eglantine.

The Baronet then insisted she should
seal this promise with her lovely lips; and
at that moment, to the great satisfaction
of her plotting ladyship, at that tender interval,
her reverend brother-in-law entered
his study!

With well-acted confusion, rose from 2D3r 53
the sofa and stood before him, the apparently
trembling Isabella. Sir Charles
smiled, and said, “Oh! sir, your divine
sister has at length consented to name the
period when she will bless me with her
hand!”

“These raptures, sir,” said the Rector,
endeavouring to look grave, while satisfaction
beamed from his eyes, “are very
unbecoming in people of rank and fashion:
Lady Isabella Emerson is intitled to
more respect; she is not yet, Sir Charles,
your wife; and the situation I found my
sister in on the sofa, is very improper indeed
for a woman of her quality. I am
happy, certainly, that she is sensible of
the worth of a husband, such as you will
make her; but I must, in my house, beg
more decorum of manners, while she is yet
in her single state.”

Lady Isabella retired in well-feigned
confusion, inwardly rejoicing that her
plan had succeeded so far; and more disgusted
with, and hating Sir Charles Sefton 2D3v 54
worse than ever; who now, sure of her ladyship,
plotted the carrying on his subaltern
armour, as he styled it to his confidential
servant, with the little ugly grisette,
Marsham!

When he had sufficiently wrought on
the pliability of this credulous girl’s mind,
it was his intention to carry her off, and
pretend to the Leslies some urgent business
in London: the masquerade, however,
if he could but get that to bear,
would render such a step unnecessary, for
the disguises and opportunities of this species
of entertainment would easily effect
an elopement; and the same important business
was in agitation, and intended to be
effected by Major Raymond and Lady Isabella;
for she felt certain that Mr. Leslie,
secure in her attachment to Sir Charles
Sefton
, would invite the Major; if not,
he could come disguised: he would not
be distinguished in the throng, and she
should neither be watched, nor in any degree
suspected. 2D4r 55

They assembled at a late hour to breakfast.
Lady Isabella, generally all life and
chat, took her chocolate in silence; the
Rector was all good-humour, and wished
to encourage the modesty of his lovely
sister-in-law to look up and smile; Sir
Charles
was rapture too visible to be sincerely
heartfelt; Mrs. Kennedy kept feeding
the pug-dog.

Lady Caroline, with the Morning Post
in her hand, looked off from the perusal
of fashionable intelligence, to ask what
was the matter with them all! Her Theodore
described and explained the study
scene, and again looked grave. “And
what of that?”
said Lady Caroline, with
all the unblushing effrontery of fashion;
“Why, my dear Isabella, you blush, and
look as ridiculously bashful about it, as
an awkward country girl! It gives me,
however, really, sincere pleasure to hear
that you have at last consented to name
the time, when you will make this worthy
gentleman happy;”
and giving a meaning 2D4v 56
look to her husband, as she concluded her
speech, and which he appeared perfectly
well to understand, the breakfast was dispatched
in haste, and taking her sister by
the arm, they left the Baronet and the reverend
gentleman together.

“It looks d--lish odd, I must say, my
dear fellow,”
began Mr. Leslie; “but I
had, this morning, a bill come in for
above two hundred pounds, and till my
next rents come due, it will be very inconvenient
for me to pay it: I would willingly
have given my bond for the payment
of it, at that time, but the fellow insists
on having his money immediately. If you
could oblige me with the loan of three
hundred pounds
, I should esteem it a singular
favour? and I will give you a power to
receive that sum when my next rents become
due.”
—The Baronet was silent!

The Reverend Theodore Leslie had never
before asked to borrow any sum of Sir
Charles Sefton
: reflection, with the rapidity
of lightning, darted through his 2D5r 57
mind. “How,” thought he, “did Sir Charles
continue always so wealthy, giving, as he
did, in to every species of fashionable expence
and amusement, unless he was very
close indeed in many other respects? But
yet he had never seemed to care much about
money; and though Lady Isabella had a
fortune, he appeared very willing to take
her without any!”

The Baronet’s busy mind also underwent
a quick succession of ideas; he did not
like to lend money, neither to give it away,
unless to put in practice some very favourite
pursuit: but, to please his future lady,
to obtain the masquerade he had promised
her, if possible, and the power this loan
might give him over the Leslies, to do as
he pleased; to make their house his home,
and invite thereto whoever he might think
proper: all these circumstances made him
feign a generosity he by no means felt.

“Well, my dear friend,” said he, after
a long, and to Mr. Leslie, a puzzling and
painful pause,—“and is this really all the D5 2D5v 58
mighty favour you have to ask of me?
Be assured, double that sum is yours, at
pleasure.”

He then hastened to his writing-desk,
and gave a bill on his banker, to be paid at
sight; but he did not double the sum, nor
did he forget to take the proffered bond.

However, with all his shallow principles,
he knew it would be the height of indelicacy,
at that moment, to ask a favour
in return; and reserved the masquerade
scheme till after dinner, when the cloth
and servants should be withdrawn.

In answer to his then strenuously urged
request, the Reverend Theodore Leslie
said, “My dear Sir Charles, I have but
one objection, that is the prejudice of the
country people: you well know, I am
sure, and will acknowledge, that I have
no aversion to any one fashionable amusement
in the world, au contraire, and many
is the masquerade in town that I have accompanied
you to: but to have such a
divertisement at the parsonage, I fear will 2D6r 59
be inadmissible; nor can we accomplish it,
I am sure, without giving offence to these
votaries of the old school; and it will cast
a stigma on my professional character that
I know not how I should wipe off. Now
there is Edward Marsham, for instance,
my curate; why, I suppose nothing on
earth would make him bring his family to
such an entertainment! and I declare the
good folks at the farm-house are the
most decent people in this place: I do not
like to have a party without them; and
that girl, Mary Marsham, is an ornament
to any circle, and indeed the other improves
very much of late.”

Lady Caroline turned up her lip with a
contemptuous sneer. “Oh!” said Lady
Isabella
, “as to my little sensible Margaret,
I quite love her!”
“And so do I,
most passionately,”
said the Baronet, half
quizzing, half serious, as he watched the
looks of his Isabella, who, though inwardly
pleased, pouted and affected to be
jealous. 2D6v 60

Lady Caroline, who had seen much of
his pointed attentions lately to Margaret,
eyed him with an archness which rather
disconcerted him; but the badinante gaiety
of her tone relieved him, as she said,-
“Now are you not a very pretty fellow,
and likely to make a most fashionable husband,
since the time you only expect to obtain
the title, you talk of loving another
passionately! Oh! I glory in such a
charming disciple of the New School.”

Lady Caroline’s spirits were uncommonly
buoyant since the morning loan; she had
also won a considerable bet on the exact
colour of a horse, with a young fox-hunter
who had called just before dinner; she
caused general mirth by some of her
sprightly sallies, given with all the originality
and dash of the haut ton.

The indefatigable Sir Charles again reverted
to the subject of the masquerade.
“I have hit upon an expedient,” said
Mrs. Kennedy; “when I was in Ireland,
we often used to have fancy-balls: suppose 2D7r 61
Lady Caroline proposes to give such an entertainment!
and every one invited to it
be requested to appear in character;
you will thus avoid the stupid throng of
dominos; and instead of dancing on the
lawn, let them dance in the ball-room,
where, when they are all assembled and
ready to begin dancing, let Lady Caroline
or Lady Isabella propose some little change
of disguises and present the company with
masks.”
“You are a dear creature, Kennedy,”
said Lady Isabella; “and therefore,
dear brother,”
continued she, turning
her persuasive and bewitching countenance
full upon him, “let us finish with
this unique affair, as, by the week after, we
shall most probably have quitted this
place; and, as this is but Tuesday, if we
have it the latter end of next week, we
shall have time to collect a tolerable set,
and to send to London for masks and many
other charming and requisite et-ceteras;
which we must all be secret about, for I 2D7v 62
would not be without the Marshams’ family
for the universe.”

“I am sorry the Lieutenant is gone,”
said Mr. Leslie; “there was a great deal
of originality and spirit about that fellow;
I liked him much: but Sir Charles and
Lady Isabella were very glad he was gone:
Lady Isabella, though she liked him, feared
him more; and Sir Charles knew he could
better impose on the unsuspecting virtue of
Edward, and the simplicity of honest
Ralph, than on the mind of a man who
had mixed so much in the world as Charles
Marsham
; whose high sense of honour
would not tamely suffer any insult offered
to his family, nor endure the wrongs of a
seduced niece with patience or impunity.”

The plan adopted by Mrs. Kennedy was
highly relished by the whole society: the
Rector gave his now unreluctant consent;
and Mrs. Kennedy’s tasteful talents were
immediately put in requisition: the decorations
and the whole style of the entertainment 2D8r 63
were to be under her direction;
and she was engaged every evening and
morning in penning sonnets and hand-bills
to accord with each different character,
and which shewed how prolific were her
ideas and how versatile her talents.

2D8v 64

Chap. XII.

A Masquerade, a Disappointment, and
a Surprise.

“A combination and a form indeed! Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world assurance of a man.” Shakespeare.
“She thrice essay’d to speak; her accents hung, And, fault’ring, dy’d unfinish’d on her tongue, Or vanish’d into sighs.” Dryden.

On the day appointed in the following
week, Mary Marsham, in the habit of a
flower-girl, and Margaret as an Arcadian
shepherdess, attended by their father and
uncle, repaired to the parsonage, in order
to be present at the fancy-ball given as a
farewell fête to all his genteel parishioners 2D9r 65
by the Honourable and Reverend Theodore
Leslie
. Mr. Rouvean and Mrs. Edmonds,
on this occasion, received cards of invitation;
but being gone to London on business,
it was unknown whether that was
really the cause of their absence, or whether,
not having been invited to any of the
Rector’s private parties, or their own dwelling
never having been honoured by a visit
from Lady Caroline, they scorned to accept
this public desire of filling up and adding
variety to the motley group.

Mrs. Susanna Bradbury, however, to
please her dear niece, Lady Ringwood, resumed
all the graceful ease, good-nature,
and politeness she had hitherto shewn in
the Rector’s elegant parties, and with a
cordiality and pleasantry, as if she had
never been neglected, made her appearance
again at the parsonage.

Sir Edward Harrington, not to appear
fastidious, or too immediately to give up
his connexion with this family after the
departure of his nephew, accepted the invitation, 2D9v 66
and with that usual affability
which made him a welcome guest whereever
he appeared, arrived at the rectory the
preceding evening, after dispatching a letter
to his dear nephew, who was detained
at Ramsgate with his regiment, waiting,
not only for a fair wind, but for a fresh
embarkation of troops before they sailed.

The Rector and his Curate departed not
from their professional character, but attended
merely as lookers-on at this elegant
and unique species of entertainment. Lady
Caroline Leslie
appeared as the Goddess of
Chance, with a dice-box in one hand,
which she shook, as a challenge to all
those who chose to inlist under her standard;
while she waved a flag gracefully with the
other hand towards a door, which opened
into a card-room brilliantly lighted up and
filled with tables for cards and other games
of hazard. The flag her ladyship held,
which was painted on India silk by the ingenious
Mrs. Kennedy, displayed, on a
rose-coloured ground, a scattered pack of 2D10r 67
cards, and at each corner bags overflowing
with guineas, with this motto:—“He who
fears to venture, must never hope to
gain.”
Her ladyship, however, gained but
few volunteers.

Lady Isabella appeared in the dress of a
pilgrim; Sir Charles Sefton as a Turk, in
a very splendid habit, and looked uncommonly
well; Major Raymond a friar.

Sir Edward Harrington, who was in the
masquerade secret, being no dancer, declined
appearing in any fancy dress till after
the dancing began: Mrs. Kennedy
looked characteristic as a Norwood gipsey;
and Lady Wringham, as the renowned Queen
of Egypt, made a very comely and very
richly dressed Cleopatra, but she moved
alone, and told the Rector she thought he
might as well dress himself and appear as
her “Tantony”.

Mrs. Susanna Bradbury looked and
performed the character of the Virgin-
Queen Elizabeth
, to admiration; the only 2D10v 68
fault that was found with her appearance
was, that she looked much too handsome
for this female glory of Great Britain.
Lucy Ringwood, as a novice of St. Dominick,
looked most bewitching and lovely:
she took up the Rector’s sole attention till
the arrival of a minstrel in the evening,
who never quitted her till the hour of supper,
when he refused to unmask, and left
the brilliant party wondering who he was.

The guests who were expected from London,
and my lady’s quality friends in the
country, in the environs of Eglantine, were
all previously told to come disguised and
in masks. With well-feigned astonishment,
Lady Isabella beheld the servants bringing
in a large deal packing-case, addressed
“to the Right Honourable Lady Caroline
Leslie
, to be opened in the presence of herself
and party assembled for the fancy-ball.”

The servants were then ordered to open it,
and on the top lay the following note,
which Lady Caroline read aloud.

2D11r 69 “‘My dear Caroline, As you did me the favour of inviting
me to your fancy-ball, know, by these
presents
, that I will most certainly accept
the invitation, and I shall bring with me a
party of friends at eleven o’clock, so completely
disguised, that it will puzzle all
your wise heads put together, to find us
out; I must therefore beg your party to
wear what I have sent; for I see no wit or
spirit in a fancy-ball, unless the face is
covered. Love to Isabel and your reverend
husband.

Your’s, affectionately,
Sophia Leslie.’”

“From the Marchioness, I declare,”
said Lady Caroline, while Lady Isabella
and the party thronging round her, were
examining the masks. “What must we
do?”
added Lady Caroline, turning to her
husband. “Do,” repeated he, “why, of
course, the dancers must wear them: not
that I much approve of it; but now there 2D11v 70
is no alternative: it is too late to answer
her ladyship’s letter; besides, if we did not
act as she requests, it might cause offence,
which we must be very careful of giving
there; and it would look also just as if we
did not wish her or her party to come,
which would infallibly ruin us with the
Marquis, for he does so doat on his
wife.”

Now it was well known to most of the
company, and to the world in general, that
though the Marquis did so doat on his
wife
, Historique. that he kept a mistress, in great
splendour, and who absolutely governed
his lordship with the most arbitrary and
despotic sway; and that, to give five hundred
guineas
for a pair of bracelets to encircle
the wrists of this Sultana, was
thought by him a mere trifle.

“I could wish, sir,” said Edward Marsham,
“if you will pardon me, that my
girls should—”
“My dear fellow,” said 2D12r 71
Mr. Leslie, quickly interrupting him, “do
not be uneasy, it is a mere frolic of the
Marchioness of Leslie: it is only for an
hour or two, every one will unmask at
supper, and then we shall all laugh at
each other; neither you nor I, my dear
friend, will cover our faces at all: it is
only the dancers and the young folks;
come, come; mirth and good humour are
the order of the evening.”

No one, after this, could be fastidious
enough to make an objection to what appeared
so reasonable: Lady Wringham alone,
who had been highly complimented by the
Rector, was long obstinate; and, pouting,
she declared it was quite scandalous to
hide people’s beauty under such nasty, ugly,
painted things! “My dear madam,” said
Lady Isabella, “it will only heighten yours;
and when you unmask at supper, you will
astonish every one with the wonderful comparison!”
“Comparisments, my dear lady,”
she replied, “are odorous; and I am sure
I ar’nt a bit like that red-brown broad 2D12v 72
face which Lady Caroline has picked out
for me.”

“Excuse me, Lady Wringham,” said
Lady Caroline, “now you surely must
recollect that you are personating an Egyptian
Queen! and do you think she was
as fair as our unripened beauties of the
North?”

“Besides,” said Sir Charles Sefton, “I
think a beautiful woman should always
wear an ugly mask; it gains her so many
admirers the moment she unmasks, that the
effect is rendered irresistible in the bosoms
of all those who regard her.”
“Well, well,
give us hold of the mask,”
said the polite
lady, “I’ll e’en put it on.” And immediately
Lady Isabella, with playful freedom,
said, “Now, I must insist on all you
men-creatures quitting the room; for as
this is so hung round with pier-glasses, it
will be a better place for us to put on our
masks, than to be running up stairs to our
different dressing-rooms.”
“Well, I do
declare, you are so funny, Lady Isabella,”
2E1r 73
said Lady Wringham; but never mind, I
has got on mine.”

“Well, then,” said Lady Caroline, after
receiving a look from her sister, “Come
up stairs with me; and let us leave the
girls to do as they please.”
Lady Caroline
little thought of the regret she was
preparing for herself and her noble and
reverend partner, by thus attending to
those expressive looks of her sister, which
she always so well understood.

Lady Isabella now having got rid of all
whom she feared, and making the doors
secure, prepared for a change of disguise
with Margaret. “I wish you were a little
taller,”
said she, “but the dress I am in
has been made so wide and full, that it will
fit you, and the little difference of our
height will not be perceived in the breadth
of our figures: imitate my manner, my
sweet girl, as much as possible, as I
will yours, and it will cause fine diversion.”

Margaret was very willing to come into this Vol. II. E 2E1v 74
scheme, which promised so much amusement;
and retiring into a recess, they
quickly changed habits, unperceived by
the rest of the female party, who were all
occupied in choosing their masks.

In the mean time, Lady Isabella had
caused the friar, Major Raymond, to
change dresses with the Turk, Sir Charles
Sefton
; who, not having the smallest suspicion
of what was going forward, or, indeed,
that she now loved any one upon
earth but his own dear self, readily came
into the plot, as it would facilitate his
elopement with Margaret; whom, as her
ladyship in the pilgrim’s disguise, he could
very well pay unremitted attention to; and
as a few days was all he wished for to carry
on his iniquitous commerce with the unhappy
victim of his libertinism, he rejoiced
in the scheme of Lady Isabella, who laughed
inwardly at the success of her plans.

Proud of her confidence, he retired with
Major Raymond to a summer-house at the
bottom of the garden, where they mutually 2E2r 75
exchanged their disguises, after the
Major had made some strong objections, as
had been before preconcerted between him
and her ladyship.

And now all the wit and small-talk of a
masquerade enlivened the present gay assembly,
which soon became crowded with
masks in various characters: the transformed
Raymond, from a friar to a Turk,
took particular notice of the pretty shepherdess;
while the Friar Sefton was very
busy in extorting confession from the female
pilgrim, to whom, when he declared
he knew her, notwithstanding her disguise,
he imparted in private the metamorphosis
he had undergone. Lady Isabella confided
also to her brother and sister the change
she had made with Margaret; but took
special care not to mention that which she
had effected between her lovers; and thus
they exulted in the unremitting attention
paid to her by the well-made Sultan of the
East.

Just before supper, entered two new E2 2E2v 76
characters in masks, whom none of the
party were able to recognize, either by
voice, figure, or manners: he, who seemed
the youngest, was possessed of a fine and
elegant form, which appeared to every advantage
in the dress of a German hussar;
the other was in that of a Highland chief,
with a pair of boots of a very foreign make,
with enormous long gold spurs: he strutted
about in these boots, and afforded much
diversion; Historique. boasting that they were the
boots and spurs of General Le Febvre,
taken prisoner by the English in the last
winter’s Spanish campaign. The Hussar,
with a badinage which was pointedly half
serious, expressed with all the native high
sense of pride peculiar to his country, his
indignation at the idea of wearing Historique. another
man’s boots! The Chieftain, however,
whether to render the action absurd,
or actually making a boast of these leathern
achievements, vauntingly told all the 2E3r 77
company that they were really and bona
fide
General Le Febvre’s boots which
then covered his legs. At length a warm
dispute took place at the side-board, between
the Highland Chief and the German
Officer, over two or three tumblers of
champaign, about which regiment it was
that took the French general prisoner!
The Highlander positively declared he was
taken by the Prince’s regiment, while the
Hussar contended, and indeed with unquestionable
veracity, by all those who
saw the action, that it was a Historique. private hussar
belonging to the King’s German Legion,
who first took him, and turned him
over to the care of another soldier belonging
to a different regiment, while he continued
his services in the field of combat.

The contest grew so warm, that the
Chief challenged the Hussar immediately
to retire and settle it in that way conformable
to the laws of honour. In vain the 2E3v 78
party interposed; the indignant officers
haughtily bade good-night to the gay assembly,
who, with all the indifference of
fashion, continued their amusement; except
that part of the company whose feelings
and principles were not extinguished
by the fatal contagion of the goddess Dissipation,
who builds her temple close by
that of Vice.

A faint sickness, which she could not
account for, came over the feeling and
compassionate Mary; in vain she endeavoured
to persuade herself that it was only
common humanity for a fellow-creature;
why then did she not feel equally as keenly
awake to the safety of the Highland Chief?
No, a nearer and more lively interest seemed
kindling in her bosom towards his companion:
she shuddered at, and severely
condemned the inconstancy of her nature,
which made her, in the intoxicating pleasures
of that evening, forget that such a
being as Frederic Harrington existed; and
now, when she did think of him, it was 2E4r 79
only to draw a comparison to his disadvantage,
with the accomplished stranger.

The Hussar Officer had attended to no
female but her during the whole time he
remained there; and those attentions were
pointed and unremitting: the polished elegance
of his manners, his fine martial form,
his interesting foreign accent, which rather
embellished the graces of his speech than
destroyed them, made an impression on
Mary, which, whatever soft sentiment she
might have before felt for Harrington,
seemed new to her bosom and more delightful.

Lady Caroline observing, as she seated
herself in a retired seat, the evident perturbation
she was in, kindly led her from the
company, and gave her some refreshment
in a small anti-room, which appeared to
revive her. Mrs. Kennedy joined them:
“You have too much sensibility, my dear
girl,”
said that lady, as she presented her
her vinaigrette to Mary; “the gentlemen
are only both flushed with champaign, 2E4v 80
they are convinced of it themselves, and
have only retired from the company, which
they knew they were unfit for: to-morrow,
be assured, they will be more cool, and
think nothing of it. Pray, do you know
them, that you are so alarmed?”
“Oh!
no, madam, I assure you,”
said Mary,
with that uncommon energy which made
the penetrating Mrs. Kennedy rather suspect
that she did: but she added, “Come,
come, we are all so happy; do not spoil
the mirth and good order of the evening
by such uncommon agitation about strangers;
your father is not present, and your
uncle is anxious about you: rally, and
recover spirits.”

“Good heavens!” said Lady Caroline,
“why surely, child, the sparring of two
men half intoxicated cannot have affected
you in this manner: you say you know nothing
of them, no more do I; and if they
choose to take a pop at each other, what is
that to you or me?”

Mary felt shocked at the unfeeling manner 2E5r 81
in which this lady of high fashion expressed
herself; and she felt a renewed detestation
of the manners of the age, which
had so depraved a mind, in which she had
just before seen, in the kind behaviour
shewn to herself, an instance of the most
tender attention and kindness. She re-entered
the ball-room; but its wild and exuberant
gaiety now seemed only to give
her disgust; she could not again join in its
festivities, but went and seated herself by
her uncle. “Where is my father?”
said she to him. “Gone,” said Ralph,
with a degree of blunt ill-humour, which
shewed he was far from finding himself at
home in this chequered midnight scene,
“gone, if possible, to prevent murder!”

“Merciful heaven! my dear uncle,”
said the terrified girl, “explain yourself.”

“Why, gone to prevent, if he can find
them,”
replied Ralph, “those two gingerbread
dressed, belaced figures, who represented
officers, from destroying one another,
if he can.”
E5 2E5v 82

A ray of comfort now darted across the
breast of Mary: she found from farther
enquiry, that her father had followed them
out; and she knew not the headstrong obstinacy
of impetuous young men of fashion,
but judged only from her own feelings, that
her father, in the mild and sweet accents of
true religious language, would be able to
speak persuasion and conviction to their
minds, how heinous is the sin of committing
deliberate murder, because enduring contradiction,
or for differing in opinion.

Mary joined no more in the festive
amusement of the night: Margaret, under
the persuasive influence of her friar, was
so well converted by him, as to consent
to elope with him that very evening: the
Turk and his shepherdess had long been
missing, but with that no one troubled
themselves; though Ralph had wondered
for some time what could have become of
his niece Margaret, whom he brought in
his own hand to the parsonage, habited as
a shepherdess: but Margaret was continually 2E6r 83
hopping about the room, in her pilgrim’s
disguise, and imitating Lady Isabella
as well as she could, and which passed
off very well with the unsuspecting multitude,
who thought only that Lady Isabella
was endeavouring to disguise herself.

Now tables, covered with every home and
exotic rarity, and that in the most costly
profusion, were elegantly laid out in different
rooms; and various parties retired to
supper at various times: Sir Charles Sefton
and Lady Isabella Emerson were supposed
to be in one of them: Ralph asked
for his other niece, as he led Mary towards
a supper-room; but he was commanded
silence by the friar, who told him, he entirely
destroyed the effect of the entertainment;
for no one was to take cognizance
of another as an acquaintance, till the
whole company unmasked. Ralph, however,
saw that the Rector had deceived
him and his brother; for many took no
supper, and refused to unmask at all;
amongst whom was the pretended Lady Isabella, 2E6v 84
who walked with the friar round
the tables, watching the opportunity of
escaping, but who stayed enjoying the idea
of how well she deceived her rustic uncle
and the rest of the company; her vanity not
a little flattered, that she should be taken
for the elegantly formed Isabella.

Ralph seated himself beside his now
unmasked and lovely flower-girl: the attending
beaux thronged behind the chair
of the blushing Mary, all emulous of administering
to her wants at this hour of
refreshment.

A necromancer, however, who had in
the course of the evening told every one
wonders, and the most wonderful intelligence
for a fine lady to hear her faults,
drove away the flutterers with his magic
wand, and insisted solely on attending upon
the charming Miss Marsham.

During supper, though Mary could not
feel void of anxiety, nor though her spirits
were not in any degree elevated, yet
she experienced a kind of calm tranquillity, 2E7r 85
and a gentle and quiet languor succeeded
to the agitation she had lately experienced.

Suddenly a note was brought, addressed
to Sir Edward Harrington; but Sir Edward
Harrington
could not be found: another
came to her uncle Ralph, and she
read, as he held it to her, the following
heart-rending words: “‘A fatal accident
has happened, which renders it improper
for my family to remain any longer at this
unfortunate masked-ball: bring home my
girls immediately: find out, if you can,
Sir Edward Harrington, and bring him
also with you.
Edward Marsham.’”

The necromancer was at the side-board
when the note arrived: as he returned to
the table with a glass of lemonade for
Mary, he heard the emphatic enquiry of
Ralph—for God’s sake, to tell him, any one
that could, which was Sir Edward Harrington;
which intreaty was answered by
little else than peals of laughter at his 2E7v 86
energetic manner. “I am he,” said the
necromancer, throwing off his mask, and
discovering his benign and handsome
countenance. “God of heaven!” exclaimed
he, on perusing his own billet,
while the pallid hue which overspread his
visage alarmed even the gayest of the fashionable
throng. “Haste,” added he,
“dear Mr. Marsham, let us haste to the
farm.”
But when Ralph turned to lead
away Mary, she had fallen, unperceived,
in the confusion this last scene gave rise to,
from her seat to the floor, apparently lifeless.

Margaret, whose natural affections had
not yet deserted her, whose deluded,
though still innocent mind was not yet become
that receptacle of depravity which
Sir Charles Sefton and the intriguing Lady
Isabella
wished it should be, flew to her
breathless sister, pressed her to her warm
bosom, and to the general surprise, she
sobbing exclaimed, “Oh! my sister, my 2E8r 87
sister, my beloved Mary, never, never
can I leave you; look up, dear girl.”

“Your sister!” said Ralph, as he administered
some volatiles to Mary, and
which caused her to open her eyes, “your
sister! Do I not see Lady Isabella before
me? and yet it is like the voice of Peggy.”

“No, no, dear uncle,” said she, though
much vexed at the detestable name he
always called her by, “Lady Isabella and
I changed dresses;”
and snatching off her
mask, and throwing it from her with a
degree of shame and vexation, she added,
“as soon as my sister is able to move, let
me accompany you home.”

Sir Charles bit his lips with rage, cursed
the sex in his heart, tore off his mask, and
tossed down a copious bumper of burgundy.

And now amazement was painted on the
countenances of the Rector and his lady:
they had laughed at the surprise the discovery
of Margaret’s changed disguise had
excited, and with which change they were 2E8v 88
acquainted before; but now the fatal presentiment
of what had really happened,
flashed conviction on their minds, that
Lady Isabella had eloped with Major Raymond!
for it was very long since any one
had seen the shepherdess and the Turk,
and they were no where to be found.

Lady Isabella’s woman was ordered in,
that she might be interrogated; but she was
missing also: the lady’s valuable jewels
were likewise gone.

Sir Charles was in a state of disappointed
vanity, bordering on distraction; which
the Rector and his lady imagined proceeded
from violent affection, and hoped it would
be followed by a resolution to pursue the
fugitives: but Sir Charles was resolved on
no such thing; and the next morning, he
very politely took his leave of the parsonage,
nor troubled himself any more about
Margaret, as she was an object he thought
by no means worthy for him to attempt
scaling her windows for, or to take the
trouble of pursuing in various disguises; 2E9r 89
neither was this swain of St. James’s-street
at all inclined to those romantic adventures.

Mary, with her uncle, her sister, and Sir
Edward Harrington
, who preserved a solemn
silence, only broken by agonised
sighs, were conveyed home in the Rector’s
barouche: the afflicting and strange events
of the evening, to which was added a considerable
loss at the gaming-table, to Lady
Caroline
, entirely destroyed the gaiety of
the scene, and the disappointed parties soon
returned to their different homes.

Sir Edward and Ralph, on their arrival
at the farm-house, immediately followed a
servant up stairs. Mary, led by her sister,
went, without scarce knowing where her
feet carried her, to the common parlour;
where the first object that presented itself
to her sight, was the Hussar Officer’s
jacket streaming with blood! Sickening at
the sight, she sank, weeping, on her sister’s
bosom, who, equally affected at the sanguinary 2E9v 90
habit, was unable to afford her any
consolation.

The poor girls sat in that pitiable situation
for a few moments, when they were
joined by their father: taking an hand of
each, he said, in a voice almost unintelligible
from sorrow, “Who was so unguarded,
my dear ones, as to suffer you to
enter this apartment? Retire to your chamber;
these hours of dissipation require repose:
and, oh! may this be the last time
that my family are seen partakers of such
midnight festivals! and which has proved
so fatal to one of fashion’s splendid votaries.”

“Oh! tell us, my dear father,” said
Mary, “tell us what has happened? something
dreadful, I am sure, to him who wore
that habit,”
added she, pointing to the
late glittering ornaments of the jacket, and
which were now obscured by the crimson
drops of life.

“Prepare your mind, my good girl,”2E10r91
said he, “to meet every affliction sent by
the Almighty, with fortitude and firmness!
I am not ignorant of the partiality mutually
felt by the nephew of Sir Edward Harrington
and you for each other: he informed
me of it before his departure; it was too
quick and premature on your part, and
impetuous and ill-judged on his: you are
destined to move in an humble sphere;
and now, heaven has doomed you to
think no more of him as an inhabitant
of this world: oh! my daughter, he
who appeared in that dress, was Mr.
Harrington
!”

“How was that possible, sir?” said
Mary; and now she felt that she loved
no one but Frederic, whatever transitory
predilection had shot across her heart:
she felt shocked at the state of the Hussar,
but she felt convinced in her own mind
that her father was mistaken, as she heard
that the expedition was to sail that morning;
and she was sure it would be impossible 2E10v 92
for him to obtain leave to quit his
regiment.

“Go,” said Edward, “quietly to rest,
and to-morrow I will inform you of all: I
hasten to my dying charge! Sir Edward
and I will sit up with him the remainder of
the night, and wait the arrival of a surgeon
of the first eminence from London,
though I am sure he can do no more for
him, since our friend, Mr. Alberry, assures
me it is impossible for him to recover.”

“Oh! then he yet lives,” said Margaret,
“and there may be hope.”

“He lives,” said Edward, “but it is
scarcely probable he will live out to-morrow;
the wound, dangerous in itself, is
rendered yet more so from the apparent
impossibility of extracting the ball. We
talk too long; I again repeat my commands,
that you both retire to rest. Tomorrow
I shall need your assistance, if the
amiable young man should be alive; for I 2E11r 93
know, my girls, you are both excellent
nurses. Go then, and reflect how much
it behoves us to recruit our own strength,
that we may exert it in the service of our
fellow-creatures, who require our assistance:
offer up the prayers of innocence,
that our friend may bear his anguish patiently,
and implore consolation for his afflicted
relatives, and those to whom he
was dear, who may survive him.”
Margaret
hung down her head, and trembled
at what she thought the penetrating look
of her father, when she felt how artfully
she had been acting, and how little she
deserved the appellation of innocent: while
Mary, with an heavy heart, but yet hoping
it could not be her Frederic, only a
relation of the Harringtons’, who was
reckoned extremely like him in person,
retired to her chamber, but was very far
from finding there repose; while a conflict
of contending thoughts and sentiments,
consisting partly of remorse, partly 2E11v 94
of disappointment, and once a little portion
of thankfulness that she had been so
disappointed, kept Margaret from closing
her eyes, as her aching head sought rest
on her pillow.

2E12r 95

Chap. XIII.

An Explanation.

“Oh! that men should put an enemy in their mouths,
to steal away their brains!”
Shakspeare. “A wise physician, skill’d our wounds to heal, Is more than armies to the public weal.” Pope’s Homer.

It was, indeed, but too true, that it
was Frederic Harrington who now lay, to
all appearance, in the agonies of death, at
Mr. Marsham’s farm-house. The desire
of again seeing his beloved Mary once more
before he sailed, the letter from his uncle,
concerning the fatal masquerade, made him
resolve to gratify, if possible. 2E12v 96

To approach her in disguise, to assure
himself of her constancy and affection towards
him, urged this impetuous young
man, whose passions and predilections
were all hasty, and in the extreme, to make
this rash attempt; and in order to effect
his purpose, he requested to pass the day
and sleep on shore.

The wind was unfavourable, and appeared
likely to continue so; and as the
commander in chief of the expedition was
not expected to arrive till the third day
after, his too indulgent commanding officer
granted him the favour he requested.

Frederic Harrington had formerly contracted
a friendship with a German officer
of rank, and who happened to be quartered
near the place of embarkation; and to
avoid all the delays of procuring a habit,
Harrington borrowed a complete equipment
from him, which he knew would sufficiently
disguise and ensure him from all suspicion;
and taking post-horses, he stopped
not till he arrived at an inn, a few miles 2F1r 97
distant from Eglantine; where he halted
to equip and refresh himself.

As he was passing to the chamber to
which he meant to change his dress, he
saw the servant of a general officer with
whom he was well acquainted, passing
with some hurry to another apartment,
while the well-known voice of the General
struck his ear as he said, “Well, bring
my things, that I may dress immediately;
for if the only pair of horses, as they tell
you, are engaged, by heaven, I must walk
to the masquerade; for go I will.”

Frederic was fearful of being known,
yet he wished to oblige a friend; and therefore
sent a billet to this effect:

“A gentleman who is going to Lady
Caroline Leslie
’s masked-ball, has engaged
the only horses left: very urgent reasons
render him desirous of being concealed! If
General Rainham will pardon the writer of
this note waiting on him in a mask, he
will feel himself happy to accommodate
General R. with a seat in his chaise.”
Vol. II. F 2F1v 98

The General, who had also his private
reasons for wishing to be concealed, who
went only from curiosity, and to say he had
been at a masquerade given by an ecclesiastic,
a very rare divertissement at the
houses of our clergy, since the days of the
famous Cardinal Wolsey, gladly accepted
the offer, and returned for answer, “that
he hoped to be favoured with the same indulgence
of being equally an incognito
from the shield of a mask to his polite
escort.”

The winning Harrington soon made his
haughty companion desirous of continuing
the fellowship through the evening, and
they seldom quitted each other, except in
those moments when Frederic offered his
homage to the idol of his fond regards;
and it was not long before he found out
the unobtruding Mary, amongst a crowd
of fashionable insensibles and awkward
imitators amongst the girls of fortune in
the country.

In time, the perverse Frederic, well 2F2r 99
skilled in the knowledge of the female
world, perceived the interest he had excited;
and that interest he discovered was
not felt for Frederic Harrington, but for
one apparently a stranger and a foreigner!
and Frederic began to be jealous of himself!
For though he proved his own irresistibility,
yet as Mary had no idea that it
was really him, he fancied he plainly saw
an inconstancy in her nature, which though
he felt himself more in love with her than
ever, made him shudder; for he had resolved,
nor did he yet feel inclined to
change his resolution, to make Mary his
own, by the indissoluble ties of marriage.

The champaign at the side-board was
exquisite; the General and he did ample
credit to it: the heat of the room made
them insensible of the quantity their thirst
caused them to quaff; and the fatigue
of Harrington’s journey, with the little
sustenance he had taken, made the wine
operate in that degree, which though not F2 2F2v 100
amounting to intoxication, yet shewed its
heating effects in captious irascibility.

Not choosing to mix more than he could
avoid with the company, the General was
the person on whom he vented his ill-humour,
and the altercation before-mentioned
took place, and which had been often previously
debated by these two very contending
parties in the St. James’s coffee-house,
and in which Harrington knew he Historique. was correct
in his information. General Rainham,
however, equally convinced in his own
mind, that he was right, and being equally
flushed with wine, went out immediately
with Frederic; and their travelling pistols
being loaded, they retired to a meadow,
belonging to Mr. Marsham, just as the “Grey dawn began to dapple the east.”
Edward followed as quick as possible,
but he was too late to prevent the fatal
rencontre, and arrived only in time to see 2F3r 101
the Hussar fall, bleeding, with an heavy
groan.

The combatants had not yet unmasked.
The General took off his, and said, as his
reason returned with the horrid effects of
the dispute, “O God! who is it that I
have killed?”

Edward uncovered the face of Frederic,
but not yet, from the partial light of the
opening morning, being able to distinguish
his features, said, “Alas! sir, I know
not; but whoever you are, fly, while flight
is in your power; preserve your own life:
and may length of years be given you for
deep repentance, that you have shortened
those of another!”

General Rainham, however, in all the
uncurbed agony of grief, refused to abscond,
until he had first brough a surgeon
to this unhappy victim of fashionable
punctilio.

Mr. Alberry, a man of humanity and
whose secrecy might be relied on, was the
chief, and almost the only practitioner in 2F3v 102
the village: he instantly obeyed the summons,
and pronounced the wound to be
fatal, and the utter impossibility of the
patient surviving it many hours; and again
exhorting, and then not in vain, the General
to ensure his safety by flight.

Mr. Alberry, with the assistance of Edward
Marsham
, bore the unfortunate Frederic
Harrington
to the farm-house, where
soon the agonized sight of Edward was
convinced he saw in the wounded young
man, the nephew of his brother Charles’s
best benefactor; and indeed the senses of
Frederic not being yet fled, soon made him
inform, in broken sentences, the anxious
Curate who he was, and who, notwithstanding
the bodily anguish he endured,
yet ardently enquired which way was the
wind? and bitterly sighed, at the idea of
not being able to join his regiment.

The famous village surgeon and apothecary,
Mr. Alberry, was a man of a warm
and benevolent heart; and had his medical
skill been proportionate to the excellent 2F4r 103
qualities of that seat of feeling, he would
have been the first in his profession.

By practising in the Marshams’ family
from their infancy, he was a competent
judge of their constitutions; he therefore
never mistook complaints, which were in
general very slight, and the volume of
Buchan which lay in his parlour-window,
always furnished him with proper remedies
for the young people. Historique. Two chirurgical
operations, which he had performed, served
to establish his fame, beyond a possibility
of doubt, in the village; one was the amputation
of a leg, the first he had performed,
without the assistance of, or consultation
with another surgeon: and though
his lopping off that useful member happened
to be premature, yet, as no one
knew any thing about that, and the patient
being a fine young man of three-andtwenty,
possessed of an Herculean strength
of constitution, the wonderful operation 2F4v 104
was spoken of with great admiration of the
doctor’s talents, all through the village and
its environs. The next was on his own infant
son, who had the misfortune to be
born with a hare-lip: parental anxiety called
forth all his energies, all his watchfulness:
after he had closed it and fastened down the
sides with the finest needles, he sat whole
nights waking, with the child on his knees,
to lull it to sleep, and prevent its cries from
breaking the fragile and delicate closure;
convinced that the care, patience, and
anxiety of a parent alone, could keep the
eyes from being closed in sleep for many
succeeding nights.

The boy, cured of this defect, grew
uncommonly handsome; and the fame of
Mr. Alberry spread far and wide: what
served to establish it more firmly with the
Marshams, was his certain prognostics of
Mrs. Edward Marsham’s early death and
consumptive habits, long before her friends
had imagined her health to be in any way
declining: not that the lady was at all 2F5r 105
consumptive, though naturally delicate;
and a severe labour with her youngest
daughter had been the sole cause of her
demise in the bloom of her life.

This, however, made him a croaking
doctor; and if he had not all the skill,
he had a great deal of the art of his profession:
he always appeared to apprehend
his patients to be in imminent danger; and
of which he found the good effects: if the
sick person died, his judgment was undoubted;
if he recovered, the greater were
his medical powers.

A ball he had never extracted in his life,
and he was afraid now to venture: at any
rate, he really felt assured in his own mind
that the present patient must die from the
effects of his wound alone, and therefore
he would not attempt the extraction, but
declared it was impossible that it could be
extracted.

Sir Edward Harrington, however, instantly
dispatched with all speed a message
to one of the most eminent surgeons F5 2F5v 106
in London, and who had always attended
his family, to hasten to Eglantine immediately.

After the above account of Mr. Alberry,
the reader will, no doubt, entertain some
hopes of Frederic Harrington’s recovery;
the wound in his shoulder was certainly a
very bad one, but he was not mortally
wounded, though the violent agitation of
his mind, and the fatigue he had undergone,
combined to bring on a fever, which
would inevitably prove dangerous, without
the strictest care and attention.

The agonies of Sir Edward’s mind may
be felt, but can neither be described, nor
even conceived, except by those who might
chance to be placed in a similar situation:
the wind had changed, the commandant
had joined, and the expedition had sailed!
The accident which had happened to his
nephew, prevented him, not only from distinguishing
himself in the field of honour,
but it would fix a stain on his military character,
which, if he recovered, could never 2F6r 107
be thoroughly obliterated, from his
being absent at such a momentous crisis,
merely to enjoy the pleasures of a private
masquerade; for he had yet to learn the
state of his nephew’s heart with regard to
Mary; and even had he then known it, the
impetuosity of impulsive feeling, and the
want of government in the passions of his
nephew, would have caused this truly parental
uncle to be only the more offended
at his conduct: but added to this, his
wounded honour, was the bitterly afflicting
idea of the danger of that life, in which
his own might be said to be bound up. He
was too ready, from his own anxious fears,
to believe the ill report made by Mr. Alberry,
and the dreadful idea that his Frederic
would be snatched from him for ever,
excluded all inclination for food or rest,
till the arrival of the skilful and worthy
Dr. Ch-dl-r from London.

This dispenser of the healing art, possesses,
with the most unrivalled medical and
chirurgical abilities, the most feeling and 2F6v 108
gentle heart: his manners are a sweet compound
of mildness and tenderness, and his
soothings and kindness equally restore the
diseased to health, with his excellent prescriptions:
he always urges, and alas!
how few, like him, make it a matter of
real importance—how requisite it is, that
the mind should be at ease, to keep the
body in continued sanity. His polite and
gentle manners ameliorate the situation of
the sick person at each of his visits. Accept,
worthiest of thy profession, accept
the humble and grateful tribute of praise
offered to thee, by the author of this essay,
who, for sixteen years since the time she
first and last sought thy healing aid for a
slow and undermining fever, has enjoyed
an almost uninterrupted series of pure and
regular health, that first of all earthly
blessings. Unswayed by sordid interest,
and only alive to the welfare of his fellowcreatures,
this excellent man often refuses
the golden fee, and visits only as the generous
friend! His fortune is large, and he 2F7r 109
employs it in doing good: what pity that
such a man should be childless!

All the present inmates of the farm-house
rejoiced at his arrival; for he soon imparted
hope, in regard to the wound, and
extracted the ball without difficulty; but
still expressed anxiety about the fever of
the patient, which he could tell, by many
incoherent sentences that Frederic uttered
during his deliriums, had been chiefly
heightened by mental agitation: Mr. C—
therefore, told all who attended him, that
to make his mind easy and tranquil, must
be their most important care; and that
they must grant him every indulgence his
feelings might require: and observing,
after a few visits, the smiling satisfaction
of his patient, at the approach of Mary,
and how readily and gratefully he took
all that her hand administered, he requested
that she might be his chief attendant.

If Frederic had never loved before, the
tenderness of his Mary’s attentions to him, 2F7v 110
the pallid hue of her anxious and interesting
countenance, would have fixed him
her captive. Sir Edward, yet unsuspicious
of their mutual attachment, blessed
her, as a ministering and health-dispensing
angel: nor was the compassionate Margaret,
in these kind instances, much less an
object of his admiration.

The delicate-minded Dr. Ch-dl-r, often
affected to consult with the country
apothecary, about the state of the wounded
Frederic, that his feelings might not be
hurt, and gave him in private, in the
sweetest and gentlest manner, many friendly
hints of advice, which the good heart of
Alberry felt peculiarly grateful for. Dr.
C――
let him have also all the merit
he could, in the increasing amendment
of the patient: thus, though Alberry acknowledged
every where, that none but a
surgeon of the most consummate skill and
courage would have dared to have been so
desperate as to have extracted the ball,
which was one of those remedies he was not 2F8r 111
fond of, namely, kill or cure; and indeed,
his medicines (for Dr. C―― ordered
them all from his shop) had done
wonders, in saving a man who stood on
the very threshold of the grave!—thus the
medical fame of Mr. Alberry was established
at Eglantine on surer grounds than
ever.

2F8v 112

Chap. XIV.

Weddings.

“These violent delights have violent ends, And in their triumph die; the sweetest honey Is loathsome, in its own deliciousness, and In the taste, confounds the appetite: therefore Love moderately; long love doth so; Too swift arrives as tardy, as too slow.” Shakspeare.

While these events were passing at Eglantine,
Lady Isabella Emerson and Major
Raymond
were so far advanced on their
northern journey, that it was easily conceived
all attempts to pursue them would
be vain; and it was equally vain to urge,
in the most strenuous manner, Sir Charles
Sefton
, whose large fortune could support 2F9r 113
the expence of extraordinary speed in the
pursuit, to follow and prevent this illplaced
marriage; in vain they told him
that it was only the rash haste of their sister’s
temper, in some jealous pique, and
that they were sure she loved no one but
their dear Sir Charles Sefton: no, Sir
Charles
assured them, with much sangfroid,
that since Lady Isabella had evinced
her affection for another, and had made
use of himself only as a tool to accomplish
her purpose, no power on earth should
compel him to wed such a woman, and he
was resolved to think no more of her. He
then hastened to quit the acquaintance of
the Leslies as fast as possible, though if
he ever after met them in parties of fashion,
he has always affected to be very glad
to see them, and deplore the misfortune
of not meeting them oftener; and
even Lady Isabella he could have seen
with all the nonchalance of a man of
the world, as if she never had been in 2F9v 114
idea the mistress of his once most ardent
affections.

Mr. Leslie made a violent bustle, and a
show of pursuit; but which ended in a
quick return, and a declaration that they
had taken a different route, and that now
it was impossible to trace them.

The village had ample food for conversation,
at all the tea and whist parties in
the vicinity: Lady Wringham, her husband,
and those she could trust, said she
always thought Lady Isabella a proud,
forward puss; though in some companies
she would, like Mrs. Candour, draw up
her head, and “say nothing.” But at
every party was canvassed over Lady
Isabella Emerson
’s elopement, and Mr.
Harrington
’s duel, with they wondered
who! Various were their conjectures of the
unknown person, who had taken himself off,
no one could tell whither: no doubt but the
Curate knew who he was that wounded Mr.
Harrington
; only he was always so cautious 2F10r 115
of mentioning names: but the Curate
did not know; and the truly honourable
Frederic Harrington would tell no one;
no, not even his uncle.

The scandal also of having a masquerade
at a clergyman’s, was inveighed
against; and that most by those who had
most enjoyed the entertainment. Lady
Caroline
, having no one now to pidgeon,
passed her hours of discontented leisure in
acrimonious speeches and remarks to Mrs.
Kennedy
; which though that lady found
convenient to bear with for a time, so that
she might be able to take a journey in the
barouche in style, and free of expence, yet
she resolved, when they removed from Eglantine,
to remove herself to where she
might be treated with a little more politeness.
The Rector again talked nonsense
to Lucy Ringwood, for Mary Marsham
was inaccessible. Fashionable cards of enquiry
and condolence arrived every day
from the parsonage to Sir Edward Harrington;
and in a few days, the Honourable 2F10v 116
and Reverend Theodore Leslie left the
care of the living to his worthy Curate:
before those few days were expired, Major
Raymond
received the hand of his beautiful
and dashing Isabella.

They hastened back as fast as post-horses
could carry them, to Mr. Leslie’s rectory
near London, to throw themselves on the
mercy of Lady Isabella’s relations: she was
received with forgiveness, and some portion
of kindness: but the Rector and his
lady peremptorily refused to see Major Raymond.
“Pay me, then, the residue of
my fortune, sir,”
said the spirited lady,
“which I suffered, when I became of age,
to lie in your hands; the Major and myself
were both of age when we married,
and you cannot withhold it from me: nothing
but the tedious delays of the commons
in granting licences, and my being
so persecuted with that odious lover of
your choosing, the detestable, or as he
thinks himself delectable, Sir Charles Sefton,
forced me away; otherwise I need not 2F11r 117
have taken a fatiguing and expensive journey,
but have been married at home; but
I liked the frolic of it, and was made a
wife also by the church of England as I
returned from Scotland, the honest clerk
giving me away, and his daughter making
her mark, poor girl, as a witness, because
she could not write her name. So now,
my good brother and sister, you have the
whole history of Isabella Emerson’s marriage,
now Lady Isabella Raymond. All I
have now to add, is, that I expect prompt
payment of the remainder of my fortune;
it will support me for a little while, as the
most dashing officer’s wife in Raymond’s
regiment: after that, let come what will;
a short life and a merry one, is my maxim;
and when life is no longer a scene of pleasure,
but, on the contrary, replete only
with trouble and pecuniary difficulties, it
is easily laid down.”
She then, with much
haughty indignation, wished them a good
morning, telling the Rector to leave the
money for her with her banker; for in 2F11v 118
whatever house her Raymond was not allowed
to accompany her, never would she
enter again.

More thunderstruck at her hasty demand,
than at that independent manner,
to which they had been long accustomed,
the Reverend Theodore Leslie
and his lady regarded each other: the fortune,
they knew, must be paid, and they
had taken the fraternal freedom of borrowing,
without asking the possessor, two or
three thousand pounds
! What must they
do? They agreed, after some little consultation,
to see Raymond; put a good face
on the matter; ascribe their anger to the
haste only of the moment; give them a
couple of thousands for the present, and
tell them the remainder should be forthcoming
in a very short time.

But Lady Isabella, once offended, did
not so easily forgive; and, with a degree
of mortifying condescension to her sister and
brother-in-law, informed them, by letter,
she could wait a few months for the remainder, 2F12r 119
if they would order her three
thousand pounds
immediately, and without
again seeing them, or even mentioning
husband to them, she accompanied him to
join his regiment, still quartered within a
few miles of Eglantine.

Major Raymond, as has been said before,
was young, handsome, and, pour le
moment
, could be very insinuating; but his
mind was weak, vain, and wavering; with
an understanding too shallow to continue
long the man, according to Lady Isabella’s
taste, who, in a husband, certainly
looked for a being superior to herself; and
no one, but such a being, could make her
endure a state she had always from her
heart despised, that of a wife.—A rash
moment of pique against Frederic Harrington,
the wish to be rid entirely of the persecutions
of her friends, in regard to Sir
Charles Sefton
, who became every day
more and more odious to her, particularly
since his attachment to Margaret, urged
her to fly to marriage with a man whose 2F12v 120
person she liked, and whom she admired
for the present, for those mental qualities
she thought him possessed of, but which
consisted only in sentimental imitations
learnt by rote, and all the acquired accomplishments
of Raymond were the mere
flash of the moment, and soon worn
out. Though, to answer her own purpose,
Lady Isabella had encouraged Sir Charles
in his designs against Margaret, yet it so
shewed to her the depravity of his heart,
to pursue such an intrigue, while he was
on the point, as he thought, of leading
herself to the altar, and argued such a want
of feeling and principle, that though her
own mind was far from correct, yet it
was too great to ally itself to such a compound
of fashionable licentiousness.

Major Raymond belonged to a regiment
in which there were but very few married
men; and the officers’ wives were women
of remarkably correct and exemplary manners,
not very young, and by no means
handsome. Major Raymond waited with 2G1r 121
ardour and impatience, when he could
shew off his dashing and beautiful wife;
and with a very small fortune, very little
more than his military pay, and his wife’s
three thousand pounds that he had just received
from Mr. Leslie’s banker, he commenced
living at the rate of five thousand
a year.

He obtained on credit a most elegant
barouche, and with his captivating partner,
joined the regiment in high style, took
a magnificent house and gardens, and furnished
his side-board with massy plate, on
the same precarious certainty of paying for
it when he could.

Nothing could exceed the splendour of
his establishment, nor the expensive and
fashionable parure of her Ladyship: nothing
was spoken of but the prodigious
fortune of Lady Isabella Raymond, her
beauty and her elegance; but she soon perceived
that her Raymond was not the man
formed by love and nature to make her
happy; she hated the state she had embraced;Vol. II. G 2G1v 122
and in a few weeks, Major Raymond
perceived, notwithstanding the playful
variety of her attractions, that her
beauty was become familiar to him, and no
longer new; he shuddered at the prospect
of her expence, and perceived already he
had contracted enormous debts through
her means, which he should never be able
to pay.

In the mean time, she fled to a series of
dissipation of the most extravagant kind,
to banish every species of thought, if possible,
from her mind, and which dissipation
was so incorrect, that it bordered on
licentiousness; yet such was the fascination
of her manners, and such her splendour
and expence, that she met with many
who imitated her, more who censured
her, and not one who could applaud a
conduct which appeared to set all decorum,
all morality and religion at defiance:
for Lady Isabella, as a wife, was infinitely
more conspicuous, and apparently
indecorous, than in her single state. 2G2r 123

Leaving Major Raymond to the felicity
of his wedded situation, it is time to revert
to the wounded Frederic: hourly did he
amend and promise again to bless the fond
hopes of those by whom he was beloved,
with his speedy recovery: but as his health
increased, so the ever uncurbed affections
of Frederic increased towards Mary, and
the unchecked ardour of his desire to be
indissolubly united to such sweetness and
amiability.

He dreaded, however, to make known
the state of his heart to his uncle: for he
knew, that though Sir Edward despised all
haughtiness and improper pride, yet that
he was very averse to unsuitable marriages;
and also, that he was, like Cœlebs, though
not for himself, but for this his dear nephew,
in continual “search of a wife,”
who should add birth and fortune to accomplishments
and virtue.

The agitation of Frederic’s mind, with
the secret buried in his bosom, of his love
to Mary, and eager to disclose itself, G2 2G2v 124
brought on a fresh attack of his fever;
and, on the calling in again of Dr C――,
his anxious relative and friends found his
life despaired of by that skilful physician.

Frederic intreated, with a firmness which
surprised his uncle, (for though he never
doubted his courage, yet he well knew,
that firmness was not the leading virtue in
the mind of his nephew,) that the Doctor
would not conceal from him, if he thought
there were the least symptoms of danger in
his case. Edward Marsham, with christian
preparation only in view, seconded the
patient’s request.

“Yes, worthiest of men,” said Frederic,
feebly grasping his hand, “I wish
to die in the sacred communion of the
church; but I have also other motives
which impel me to be thus earnest with
this excellent physician.”

Dr. Ch-dl-r, in terms the most tender
and delicate, though contrary to his
always received opinion, of kindly keeping 2G3r 125
up the spirits of his patients to the last, by
a flattery the most laudable on the part
of a physician, told him there certainly
was apparent danger.

Frederic, then turning to his uncle,
said, “I have, dear sir, an independent
fortune, and I wish to make my will.”

His uncle acquiesced in the mournful,
though proper proposal; but scarcely had
he dispatched his orders for the village attorney
to attend, when Frederic said,
“Now, sir, I will not die with a secret in
my bosom, which has been some time concealed
there from you, which now greatly
oppresses and agitates my mind; and ere I
quit this life, I entreat that Mary Marsham
may survive me only as my widow, (until
she shall please to bestow her hand elsewhere);
and that I may call her mine, by
marriage, before I die.”

Amazement sat on the countenance of
Sir Edward, for he well knew that his nephew
had always an abundant share of
pride; and besides, he had felt almost certain 2G3v 126
that he was deeply enamoured of Lady Isabella
Emerson
, and that the report of her
marriage with Major Raymond, which
had then reached Eglantine, had increased
his fever: for the immediate and present
news of the success of our expedition
against Flushing had been kept from him,
lest the anguish of disappointment and
regret at being absent on the glorious occasion,
might have endangered and retarded
his convalescence. The tremor, however,
of Mary, her blushes, and the perfect state
in which were the senses of his nephew,
spite of the ardency of his fever, and the severity
of his indisposition, convinced Sir
Edward
that this predilection had taken
place for some time, though totally unsuspected
by him.

The request of a dying man was sacred;
instant consent was given; and leading the
weeping Mary to the bed-side, Sir Edward
joined their hands, and said, “Be blest,
my children! and oh! may he, to whom
all things are possible, restore you, my beloved 2G4r 127
Frederic, to life, that ye may long be
happily united by the sweet bonds of mutual
affection!”
He then acted the part
of a father to Mary, and requested the
worthy curate, Edward Marsham, to bind
them in that state, which nought but death
can separate; and the ring which had
united him to the mother of Mary, was
was now put on the finger of her daughter,
who had the sad prospect before her, of
being a widow on the day she was made a
bride!

After the arrival of the lawyer, Frederic
bequeathed all his remaining fortune to his
lovely wife, except a few trifling legacies
to her family and his uncle: and much exhausted
with the conflicting scenes of the
day, sank back on his pillow, and giving
a deep sigh, faintly exclaimed, “I shall
now die most happy!”

Mary gave a shriek, and fainted in the
arms of Sir Edward, who, from his own
grief and agitation, was scarcely able to
afford her his support. “Be not thus 2G4v 128
alarmed,”
said the worthy doctor, “he is
not yet gone; it is, perhaps, a crisis in his
disorder, which, instead of hastening his
demise, may, with care and the most delicate
caution, restore him to life: leave him
alone with me, and suffer not to experience
the least agitation of the mind and
spirits; if you remain here, that agitation
will be so violent, that I cannot answer for
his life another hour.”

Another indescribable terror had seized the
mind of Mary during the performance of
the solemn ceremony; nor did it entirely
proceed from the mournful idea of her
being only wedded to the man she loved,
as he lay at the point of death; no, a fatal
presage seemed to speak conviction to her
sinking heart, that should it please the Almighty
to work almost a miracle in her
favour, by restoring him to life, she should
never know happiness in an union with
Frederic Harrington. Benevolent and
good as was his uncle, Sir Edward, she yet
could see a reluctant pride seated on his 2G5r 129
brow as he gave her away; and though,
with its awe-inspiring circumstances, the
event particularly required seriousness, yet
the gravity of her father’s countenance was
not only tinctured with the grief he must
naturally feel at such a moment, but it was
replete with a high degree of vexation and
inquietude. Such was the marriage of the
interesting Mary, and, too fatally for her
future peace, was verified by her present
predictions.

To the great joy of Sir Edward, the disorder
of his nephew, after an alarming
crisis, took a favourable turn: youth, a
naturally excellent constitution, and having
the first and ardent wish of his heart fully
satisfied, his recovery was as rapid as it was
astonishing.

His youthful bride blamed her fears,
imputed them only to nerves, perhaps debilitated
by anxious watchings, and now
began to think, in spite of a coolness and
gravity on the part of Sir Edward, which
sometimes a little disconcerted her, that no G5 2G5v 130
happiness on earth was equal to hers, in
thus being so soon, and so unexpectedly
united to the object of her first and only
love. Frederic, for the present, felt rapture
unfeigned; riches, titles, honours, all
were despised, all seemed poor when he
pressed his Mary to his bosom; and in
those fond moments, he had no other wish
than to dwell with her for ever, amongst
the rural scenes of pastoral life; and he
then felt, that he could, without a sigh, resign
all the gay scenes of fashion and elegance,
to which he was once so devoted,
and in which he had generally taken not
only a shining, but a conspicuous part.

His uncle purchased, and presented it to
Mrs. Harrington, an elegant cottage near
her uncle’s farm, till the health of Frederic
should be perfectly re-established: but she
could not forbear remarking, in spite of all
her happiness, that Sir Edward never expressed
a wish, when her husband’s recovery
should be complete, to see her in London
the ensuing winter; and that when he 2G6r 131
took his leave, his parting with her uncle
and father was cold and distant; while he
formally took her hand, and just raised it
to his lips; an action which appeared to
her feeling mind to have more in it of
politeness than cordiality.

Her heart was full; the tears mounted
to her eyes, but they were soon succeeded
by smiles, and utterly chased away by the
tender embrace of her Frederic, as he
fondly wiped them off. Alas! the short
hours of bliss are fleeting as the celerity of
an arrow, while the chalice of sorrow,
which we are often compelled to empty to
the very dregs, is deep as its draught is
bitter! and oh! how frequently is it replenished!

When Sir Edward Harrington thought
his nephew was lost to him for ever, how
anxious was his every wish, not only to
meet, but to prevent those of his beloved
Frederic!

When that much loved nephew was out
of danger, he thought only of his wounded 2G6v 132
honour; his having been superseded in his
regiment, for absence without leave; having
no share in the glorious achievements of his
countrymen;—and all for the sake of a little
country-girl, whose want of fortune and
lack of high connexions, made her by no
means a fit wife for the future Sir Frederic
Harrington
, whose title was as ancient as
the order of nobility to which he belonged,
and whose alliances were of the first in the
kingdom. Mr. Harrington, who had
been “The very glass of fashion, the observ’dOf all observers;”
who had shone in the drawing-room, and
glittered in all the splendid scenes of the
great and gay; and who held a distinguished
rank in the world, by his birth,
fortune, and expectations, must there introduce
an obscure country wife, who, it was
true, in the village where she was born,
brought up, and resided, was the paragon
of all whom she might come in competition
with; and who, in the friendly parties 2G7r 133
of the Leslies, where he had seen her, and
where his nephew unfortunately had been
first charmed with her, and whence all restraint
was banished, had known how
to conduct herself with that unobtruding
ease which rendered her there an interesting
and a charming guest: but then
she only excited admiration as a very
superior kind of girl, for one entirely
brought up in the country! But what accomplishments
could she boast to entitle
her to be the wife of his Frederic? Sir
Edward
had never heard her sing; he
knew not that she was possessed of a seraphic
voice; but he was sure she did not
know one note of music, she knew not even
how to beat, with graceful attitudes, the
tambourine; she could not draw a common
landscape, much less designs for Egyptian
mausoleums, or Grecian statues; neither
could she speak French, Italian, nor one
word of German: in short, she did not possess
one of those parts of education so requisite
for the wife of a man of high fashion, to 2G7v 134
have at least a smattering of: for it was
not needful for the wife of Frederic Harrington
to know how to make his shirts;
and he had not a doubt but that she would
be rustic enough to let out the secret, that
she knew how to spin!—shocking!—

Such were the reflections of Sir Edward
Harrington
on the marriage of his nephew;
and such are the prejudices of high birth,
even in the best of minds. The great and
high-born are like a distinct class of beings
from their inferiors; may they ever continue
so; for we know it is impossible that
all men can be born equal; but let them
not spurn at an union with exemplary merit,
especially where there can be no degradation
in the alliance, nor prefer the frivolous
and empty accomplishments of changeful
fashion, to the more solid endowments of
the mind.

Nothing, we believe, is more hard to eradicate
than family pride: the excellent, the
worthy Sir Edward Harrington, was not
without an abundant share; and moving 2G8r 135
only among those of his own sphere, he was
weak enough to think those accomplishments
essential in the education of a lady,
which are merely ornamental.

He knew not half the natural abilities,
or indeed the acquirements of his lovely
niece; nor reflected how young and ductile
she was, and how easily she might be taught
some of those futile accomplishments on
which fashion sets so high a value. At
the parsonage, where she knew the welltaught
and naturally intelligent Lady Isabella
Emerson
made all the attainments of
education seem poor, when displayed by
another in her presence; Mary then,
with her own natural humility, concealed
the few which she possessed.

She could not play, it is true, either on
the harp, piano-forte, or tambourine; but
she drew with taste, and from nature: her
father had made her an excellent French
scholar, though she knew not Italian or
German; and with her uncle Charles and
her sister, when at home, she frequently 2G8v 136
conversed in French, that they might by
practice improve each other; but as she
was a proficient in the language, more
gramatically by books than she shone in
it by fluency of speech, this acquirement
was also unknown to strangers.

Sir Edward Harrington had seen her
at her own dwelling, in a sphere the most
humble and domestic; tending the couch
of his sick nephew, with all the indefatigable
care and tenderness of a nurse: he
would joyfully have given three thousand
pounds
with Mary, to have made some
worthy Essex farmer happy in such a
wife; but he felt very far from satisfied
in seeing her become his own niece!

An unjust and illiberal idea shot across
his mind and added to his prejudice:
he revolved over many circumstances, all
perverted to his falsely-conceived opinion;
and he suffered himself to imbibe the
thought, that the father and uncles of this
artless girl had laid plans to effect an
union between her and his nephew. Oh! 2G9r 137
cruel suspicion, how often thou shewest
thy meanness, by not suffering the tongue
to utter what thy pernicious poison implanteth
within the breast; how deep are
the injuries that are inflicted by thee on
the innocent! for, oft-times, by the silence
thou imposest, thou takest only firmer root
in the mind; and the suspected never find
an opportunity of pleading their defence.

2G9v 138

Chap. XV.

A Fatal Accident and an Unexpected
Event.

“Say, what can ease thy present grief, Can former joys afford relief? Those former joys, remember’d still, The more augment the recent ill: What woes from mortal ills accrue! And what from natural ensue! Disease and casualty attend Our footsteps, to the journey’s end.” Cooper’s Poetical Blossoms.

Mr. Harrington was, within a few
weeks after the departure of his uncle, established
in all honey-moon happiness, at
his wife’s cottage ornée. Margaret, with no
one adventure, or prospect of any thing of
the kind, (for she had given up the expectation
of Sir Charles coming about the
farm in various disguises, and had strictly
examined the features of every masculinelooking 2G10r 139
female gleaner in vain,) now
passed the unchequered routine of her
dreary hours in tears, spleen, and ill-humour,
and was but a poor substitute for
her sister in the management of household
affairs.

The reign of romantic solitude was past,
and she had no more delicious romances
from Lady Isabella, to cast their sweet illusive
principles over her gloomy hours. She
again had recourse to the library, but her
taste had become too vitiated to find entertainment
in the domestic novels of a
Richardson, or a Miss Burney: the new
publications, teeming with scandalous anecdotes
of new characters, Particularly the libellous trash of Eth-g-on, the
author of A Winter in Dublin, &c.
under fictitious
names, were, as yet, unexplored by her;
and if they had been, could not be either
entertaining or interesting, as the parties
were unkown to her; neither had they
found their way to the receptacle of novels, 2G10v 140
from whence she drew the chief sources of
her leisure amusements.

Again she essayed the charms of old romance
and legendary tales: very, very
eventful had been the scenes she had witnessed
within the last two months of her
life; but yet they had nothing in them
which could remind her of towers, the dungeons
of ancient castles, or hitherto-undiscovered
parchments found amongst mouldering
ruins; and she read over a few
pages of these once-dearly-cherished works,
and turned from them in disgust; while she
deemed herself too good an historian to reperuse
historic romances, which, though
doubtful facts were enveloped in thick
clouds of fiction, she fancied were all literally
true. This may with propriety be termed “Historique”, since
every one must acknowledge that it is true.

But, one evening, the poor, despised,
and almost forgotten Phelim O’Gurphy
awakened her late sleeping lethargies to
the marvellous and romantic. He was sitting 2G11r 141
on a bench, under a window at which
she sat reclining in pensive mood; when
the voice, and in particular, the words of
Phelim, addressed to his fellow-servant,
arrested all her attention: “Botheration;
cannot you be after understanding me?
why your head is as thick as mush! I tell
you over and over again, for the first
time, as I did before, that every mother’s
son in Ireland, that has his name beginning
win an ‘O’ or a ‘Mac’, are all come from the
kings of Ireland!”

Margaret now began to think that she
had not been wrong in the first ideas she
had formed of the nobility of Phelim, especially
when she heard his indignation
at the rude laugh he had extorted by this
assertion from the English clown, and who
said to the Hibernian, “Soa, you would
fain make un believe, that you bees the son
of a king! by goles, and you’d make a
rum sort of a prince!”

“Arrah! and why not?” said Phelim,
in great wrath; “I’d have you to know,
that I was born to as good a property as 2G11v 142
any lad in Ireland; but he who owned it,
would never let my poor mother have so
much as a potatoe belonging to it; and,
to be sure, my mother, was not she an
O’Hagglety, and my own father an
O’Gurphy? and every body in Tipperary
knows the O’Haggleties is a good
a family as ever tasted potatoes and
buttermilk: but now I will be after telling
you all about it: my uncle O’Hagglety,
my mother’s own brother, he married
a woman of the name of Mac-Alister;
and och, to be sure, was not she a pretty
nut to crack under the devil’s tooth?”

“I do’ant know,” says the clown, “any
thing about she.”
“Aye, by my soul, but
I do,”
continued O’Gurphy. “Well,
my dear honey, what does she do, but
claim a relationship! saying, she was the
fifth cousin to our seventh cousin, who enjoyed
the property The lower classes of Irish are all uncommonly fond of
claiming relationship, and talking of their “property”,
houghthough often only in the clouds.
till it should come to
our turn to have it: he was a Mac-Alister; 2G12r 143
but I believe her name, if she had spake
truth, had no Mac to it, but it was Mulcalister;
she, och, the devil burn her,
has got the best part of the property now,
because of her name, and being the fifth
instead of the seventh cousin: so poor Phelim
is obliged to work for his living. Arrah,
and what should I have done, if I had
not found such a good master? Here’s
God bless him, and long life to him! By
the holy St. Patrick, and you’ve emptied
the mug while I have been talking to
you!”

Margaret had heard enough; she rose
and walked from the window; while her
reflections crowded one after the other in
quick succession: “Ah!” thought she, “I
knew I could not be mistaken in my ideas
of his former grandeur; he is higher even
than I thought: I imagined him only to
have been a nobleman, but I find him in
reality a prince! descended from the most
ancient kings of Ireland! Oh! false Sir
Charles
, perhaps I shall one day triumph 2G12v 144
over you, when the wicked usurper, Lady
Mulcalister
will be obliged to deliver up
the immense riches and extensive domains,
which she now withholds from this lovely
youth, their rightful lord!”

After that moment, which had convinced
her of Phelim’s dignity, she never requested
him to perform any menial office;
though, from the time she had imagined
him, according to Mrs. Kennedy’s predictions,
a very low fellow, she had not only
behaved to him with haughtiness and contempt,
but had always called upon him to
do every species of drudgery about the
house, and the good-nature and diligence
with which he had obeyed her commands
she now construed into proofs of his extreme
love towards her.

She actually shed tears at her former cruelty,
and would willingly have waited on
him herself, if shame had not deterred her:
his assiduity, however, when he has seen her
perhaps at the pump, filling a pitcher of water
for herself, and which has made him run 2H1r 145
eagerly to fill it for her, she was sure proceeded
from the patient ardour of his affections,
and she regarded Phelim O’Gurphy
with more admiration than ever.

Happy in the ideal possession of the
heart of this hero in disguise, she again
applied her solitary hours to reading, but
the ghosts, the witches, the spacious corridors,
mouldering castles and dungeons,
since the pig-stye adventure, had lost their
delusive charms.

In her father’s library was the excellent
novel of Gil Blas; she there found the affecting
history of a young cavalier, difdisguised
as a gardener, on the estate of him
who was married to his wife, while he, the
former husband, had been reported to have
been slain in battle. The interesting romance
of Zaïde also, and some other
Turkish tales, shewed her how frequent
were such transformations; her romantic
mind told her how probable were such adventures,
and Phelim, therefore, was again Vol. II. H 2H1v 146
re-instated in her heart’s opinion, on firmer
grounds than ever.

Mr. Marsham had gone that day, when
she had heard Phelim relate the grandeur
of his descent, to dine with some members
of a fox-chase society, and this annual
dinner generally kept him to a late hour.
Margaret and her father had dined tête-àtête,
and in the evening walked over to the
cottage, to see the new-married couple.
Frederic Harrington left his home, only to
take a few very quiet morning airings at a
gentle pace, in his post-chaise, on account
of his yet unhealed wound; and he still
continued in a delicate state of health,
though gaining strength every day.

He was, as yet, delighted with his
charming Mary; but as his health amended,
he began to feel a sameness in his way
of life, which convinced him he could
never endure such a monotony, however
agreeable, to continue always: and though
with eagerness he had once expressed his 2H2r 147
wishes that his Mary should have a musicmaster,
and other masters to teach her a
few polite accomplishments, that he might
shew her off the ensuing winter in town to
advantage; yet, a faint emotion of surprise,
and almost self-reproof, sometimes,
though not often, arose in his mind, to
think that he should have been so very infatuated,
as to make a girl his wife, who
could not play with spirit at every genteel
game at cards; could not, he was sure,
delight in the charming midnight squeeze
of a crowded London rout, nor be quite
at home in the gay and splendid scenes of
continual and confirmed dissipation.

These symptoms of regret were very
faint indeed; and, as has been remarked
before, very seldom arose in his breast;
but that they did arise, is certain: and
when Mary, at such moments, delighted
at the thoughts of learning music, has
exprest that delight, and asked, when she
was to begin? he has said, “Well, stay
till we get to London; though I do H2 2H2v 148
really think you are too old to learn now.”

Then his sudden return of fondness, as
he regarded the varying attractions of
her animated and intelligent countenance,
the sweetness of her bewitching smile, and
reflected on the excellency of her heart
and disposition, he has quickly thought
within himself, “Oh! such an angelic being
must confer honour on any situation”
; and
then impulsively catching her to his bosom,
he has said, “Your sweet voice, my
charming girl, depend upon it, shall be
quickly cultivated, that you may know
how to sing to music, when any one may
accompany you, and with proper expression.”

Edward Marsham, as yet, perceived no
change in the mutual happiness of the
young people: it was indeed too early a
day for him to imbibe such an idea, and
Mary had really suffered no diminution of
her felicity; for at present her Frederic
was all tenderness, politeness, and attention.
2H3r 149

Margaret longed for such a state of
bliss as she saw her sister enjoy; and yet
Margaret, with all her folly, could not
associate Phelim O’Gurphy in those ideas.

She had passed, as well as her father, a
delightful evening, and Edward went
home completely happy in the felicity of
his children. Frederic revered and loved
his father-in-law, and the pleasure his society
ever afforded to this in many other
respects wavering young man, always rendered
him doubly kind to his dear Mary:
and the worthy Curate, joyful in the conjugal
bliss of his dearest daughter, walked
home in fervent gratitude to heaven, his
heart overflowing with satisfaction, and his
eye glistening with the tear of thankfulness
to the Supreme Dispenser of good.

Edward and his daughter had not long
been at home, when, as they were expressing
their surprise at the lateness of the hour,
and that Ralph had not yet returned, both
saying almost at the same time, “I knew
he would not be early, but I never knew 2H3v 150
him so late before;”
a loud ringing at the
front gate rather alarmed them, for it was
always the custom of Ralph to take his
horse round to the stable-yard, and come
in himself at the door which led to the
back part of the house: Phelim, however,
who had sat up for him, went quickly to
the gate, and as quickly returned, with a
countenance as pale as death, and scarcely
able to articulate, “Oh! sir, for the
love of J――s, come! oh! my poor
master!”

Margaret, not knowing what she did,
and now feeling, for the first time, that
she really loved her rustic uncle, rushed
with her father to the front garden; there
a most piteous sight presented itself to
their horror-struck eyes, two men were
bearing in their arms the almost lifeless
and bleeding remains of Mr. Ralph Marsham!
for his collar-bone was broken in
two places, his arm also broken, and his
body almost dashed to pieces.

The strides of death were too rapid and 2H4r 151
hasty for any medical art to arrest; speech
returned no more, though sense did not
seem utterly fled, for he essayed to lift his
unbroken arm, and his finger appeared to
point, and his eye to glance towards an
old escritoire, which stood in his bedroom,
and in a few minutes after he was
laid on his bed, he resigned his spirit into
the hands of his Creator.

Had the action of pointing to an old
worm-eaten escritoire been performed at
any other moment, what food for adventure
would it not have been to Margaret!
But wholly absorbed in the agonising scene
before them, she sank, bitterly weeping,
on her poor uncle’s shattered body, and
soon, in a fainting fit, was carried senseless
out of the chamber.

The two men who had borne in his body
were next attended to; one appeared the
perfect gentleman, though dressed in the
equalising costume of a modern protector
of the noble art of pugilism; and he explained 2H4v 152
to the Reverend Mr. Marsham
the dreadful catastrophe. In going down
an hill, the horse of Mr. Ralph Marsham
had started at a cow which was grazing in
a neighbouring meadow: the hill being
very steep, and Mr. Marsham knowing
that the horse had always been accustomed
to start at black cattle, made him turn the
creature round; in turning, he went too
close to the side of the declivity, and fell
from a perpendicular height of several
feet, with the whole weight of the horse
falling upon him.

The gentleman who had been supping
at an house in the vicinity, was walking
home, accompanied by his servant, and
they witnessed all the horror of the fatal
accident, without having it in their power
to prevent it: the horse had fled, and they
bore the miserably lacerated man home
between them. From a direction they
found on a letter in his pocket, and which
they had made out by the light of the 2H5r 153
moon, they discovered the dwelling of the
unhappy man, and conveyed him to his
sorrowing survivors.

Edward intreated to know to whom he
was obliged for this mournful, yet friendly
office; and found the gentleman was a
man of immense fortune who resided chiefly
in London, a Mr. Davenport.

He was then on a visit with his lady, in
the country; and this Mrs. Davenport
was formerly a Miss Maddison, who,
though some years younger than the late
Mrs. Edward Marsham, had been her
most particular friend. Mr. Davenport
promised to call on Edward before he
quitted the country, which he expected
would be very soon, and wishing him a
good-night, Edward repaired to the chamber
of his departed brother, to weep over
his shattered remains.

In the morning, he recollected the escritoire,
and taking the keys of the deceased,
he there found his will; but what particularly
excited his astonishment, and addedH5 2H5v 154
to his affliction, on account of poor
Margaret, to whom he now found he had
nothing to bequeathe, was the following
clause in Ralph’s last will and testament:

“And, whereas, in my days of early
youth and indiscretion, I particularly attached
myself to a young woman of the
name of Jane Matthews, of the parish of
St. John’s
, in the village of Frelingham,
in the county of Suffolk, and by whom I
had a son; I therefore give and bequeath
to this my natural child, Matthew Marsham,
excepting one hundred pounds sterling
to each of my nieces, all my personal
property and furniture, together with the
farm, and farm-land of Eglantine; which
said farm was left to me by my late father
Joseph Marsham, to be entirely at my
future disposal, as his will shall certify.
Jane Matthews has now been dead some
years; my son Matthew Marsham was
brought up to the chirurgical profession,
and was appointed surgeon to one of his 2H6r 155
Majesty’s West-India corps; and has been
returned about two years to England: his
agents, Messrs. ―― and ――,
will certify whether he is living, and where
he may be found.”

Poor Edward was left now with his sixty
pounds
per annum, which he received for
his cure, and a share of a small life-annuity,
with his brothers, made his annual
income little more than eighty pounds: he
lifted his eyes to heaven, in humble submission
to the decrees of Providence, while
they streamed with the mingled tears of regret,
at the loss of his worthy brother, and
at the idea of his daughter’s indigence.

He immediately dispatched a letter to
the rightful heir; and a visit of condolence
from Mr. and Mrs. Davenport, put a
period, for the present, to his mournful
reflections.

2H6v 156

Chap. XVI.

A New Character.

“Why do we pluck all the flowers in Spring? Winter
is niggardly with flowers, and the few that do spring up,
smell but faintly. Therefore these few should be planted
early, and raised with care.”
Kotzebue.

Mrs. Davenport advanced with much
polite sweetness to meet the embrace of
her worthy clerical friend; and hearing
from him, during the course of her visit,
of the state in which Mr. Marsham had
left his affairs, she requested to have the
happiness of taking Miss Marsham to town
with her the ensuing week; offered her
her protection, and promised, in every respect, 2H7r 157
to consider her, and treat her, as her
own child.

Mrs. Davenport had no children; the
offer was too advantageous for the Curate
to refuse, and he joyfully acquiesced in the
warmly-expressed wishes of such disinterested
benevolence: he had known Emily
Maddison
a most charming and unassuming
girl; generosity of disposition amounted
almost, in her, to a fault; but it was
an amiable one, and Edward now rejoiced
that she had married a man, whose immense
fortune, and their having been married
eleven years without any prospect of
a family, rendered that profuse liberality
no longer a fault, but rather a virtue.

Edward Marsham had yet to learn, that
Emily Maddison, and the dashing Mrs.
Davenport
, were two very distinct characters;
she had married a man of immense
riches, and a very slave to fashion. The
gay scenes of London, to which he hastily
introduced his beautiful bride in the
winter he had wedded her, took a speedy 2H7v 158
and rooted effect, in a mind naturally
weak; her unassuming character easily
degenerated into a total want of proper
self-opinion; and she was hurried onwards,
only as the stream of fashionable customs
and manners might carry her. The few
virtues of her mind were quickly swallowed
up in the vortex of dissipation; and
thought at first she loved her husband,
who was certainly very handsome, and two
years younger than herself, yet, in less than
one twelvemonth, she cared so little about
him, that he became perfectly indifferent
to her: while the flutterers of the day
breathed soft nonsense and new compliments
in her ear, her husband’s ardour
cooled towards her, and the fops of fashion
were preferred for their continued assiduity.
Mr. Davenport soon began to feel
that the highest satisfaction he derived
from his married state, was the repeated
remarks of his wife being the handsomest
and best-dressed woman in the whole circle
of fashion. 2H8r 159

Mrs. Davenport was once, not only
beautiful, she was also in an high degree
fascinating: yet the various scenes of dissipation
in which she was engaged, with
the lateness of the hours she kept, soon destroyed
her charms, and in eight years she
scarce shewed the reliques of what she had
been; every inventive art was essayed towards
the restoration of a beauty once
solely indebted to nature, and with some
success on a face yet lovely, and more
hurt by the vigils of fashion than by years.

It is true she might have been the very
young
mother of Margaret, but she looked
as young as she did; and observing no
prospect of rivalship in such a girl, her
natural good-nature, which seldom or
ever deserted her, suggested the kind idea
of taking her home, as a cherished protegée:
the word daughter, for a girl of
seventeen, though only by adoption, would
have terrified her from performing the
beneficent action. 2H8v 160

It was now some years since her husband
and she had made the accomodating
agreement between themselves, to let each
other act, in every respect, as should best
please them individually: they were both
lively and good-humoured, they were both
gentlefolks, and there was no acrimony or
vulgar quarrels between them. Mr. Davenport
had his chère amie in private
lodgings, without any concealment from
his wife, or experiencing the smallest degree
of disagreeable jealousy or uncomfortable
expostulation on her part: while
Mrs. Davenport, who was naturally much
more the dupe of her vanity than of a
roving disposition, was as eager to make
conquests, and afford hope to the unprincipled
train of libertines who followed
her, as any single coquette, whose chief
delight may be in the number of her admirers.
2H9r 161 Historique.

But Mrs. Davenport, though her heart
was warm by its natural generosity, had
much more of the English frigidity than
the Italian amoroso in her composition.

At the latter end of the ensuing week,
after Mrs. Davenport had paid her visit to
the farm-house, Margaret was conveyed
by her and her husband, in an elegant
carriage and four, to their magnificent
house in Grosvenor-square: she had seen,
it is true, an high degree of taste and
splendour at the parsonage, but here, all
that the most refined luxury could invent,
or opulence bestow, presented itself to
charm her eyes and delude her warm imagination.

She was immediately put in possession of
a beautifully decorated dressing-room and
bed-chamber, which, with all her native
sweetness and polish of manners, Mrs.
Davenport
desired her, while she gave her
at the same time a kind embrace, to consider
her own.

Margaret had been put into very handsome 2H9v 162
mourning for her uncle, at Mrs. Davenport’s
expence: she was now in a fine
black cloth riding-habit, and being in
sables, her dress she knew would be soon
adjusted for their seven o’clock dinner, and
throwing off her hat, she sat down on a
superb sofa-bed, to admire all around her
and feast her eyes with the beauty of that
apartment, which she had been told to
consider as her own.

The beautifully devised little fire-screens,
the emigrant bellows, and the portable
book-cases, all shewed the opulence of
their possessors, and the elaborate skill of
the artist; they were not only tasteful
trifles, they were costly; of the most expensive
materials, and of the choicest and
most difficult to be obtained foreign wood
that could be purchased.

It was autumn, the weather was warm,
and the half-open windows wafted with
every breath of air the ravishing fragrance
of the exotic plants, which were
placed on small stands on each side a long 2H10r 163
pier-glass, in which Margaret did not fail
to take a frequent survey of her form and
dress from head to foot. All the distilled
perfumes of English flowers, with that of
the Eastern rose, she found in beautiful
little bottles, in the recesses of her handsome
and modern constructed dressing-
table.

She took down a book or two, in order
to see of what her little library consisted.
The trifling productions of the day formed
the chief part; among which, she found
some works of Mrs. Kennedy’s, and having
often perused them before, she took down
various others, to see if she could find any
similar to those works formerly lent her by
Lady Isabella Raymond; but this library
consisted of a good deal of trials for modern
indiscretions, and some loose novels in the
French language, such as Le Sofa, Les
Avantures d’un jeun Turc
, and a few more
by the unrestrained writers which have
flourished since the revolution: there were
also a few English poems, where morality 2H10v 164
was quite unheeded, their subjects addressed
only to the senses, while their language
breathed a mixture of tenderness, delicacy,
and sentiment, all calculated to warm the
imagination, and turn the principles of
virtue from their pure and genuine source.
Some of these beautiful hanging shelves
teemed with scandalous publications, not
very new; such as the Rising Sun, The
Noble Cornutos
, The Piccadilly Ambulator,
and The Epics of the Ton.

The clock striking six, made her start
up and think of beginning her toilette for
dinner, especially, too, as Mademoiselle
Minette
, the French attendant of Mrs.
Davenport
, came to request her to accept
her assistance.

Margaret rose and curtsied to one whom
she really thought was a modern fine lady,
and evidently much her superior in outward
appearance, address and undress—for her
shoulders and bosom were literally bare, as
were her arms, from the wrist to a small
strap, called a sleeve, and all the other 2H11r 165
covering of her arms were a very handsome
pair of bracelets: her dark hair was elegantly
dressed, and fastened up with a gilt
coronet comb; what little there was of her
gown, was of a fine pink muslin; her cheeks
were highly rouged, while her whole air
had all that effrontery of a woman of high
fashion, who sets the opinion of others at
an independent defiance.

She advanced, however, with that mingled
ease and politeness of manner which
French women alone possess, to offer her
assistance: Margaret, with much naïveté,
said, “Oh! madam, I cannot think of
troubling you, and besides, I am generally
accustomed entirely to dress myself.”

“But, ma chère demoiselle, c’est mon
occupation
,”
said the lively Minette, “I
am but the soubrette of Madame Davenport,
and I should have done me the honour
of waiting on you sooner, but that
madame could not be pleased with the way
I had arranged her hair; and she has had
it altered five time; and, à la fin, I have 2H11v 166
had to comb it all out, and put on a chevelure!”
“What is that?” said Margaret,
who, though ashamed of her former mistake,
in conceiving the chambermaid to be
a lady of fashion, yet her curiosity could
not rest till she knew what Mrs. Davenport
had put on her head; and not being
very conversant in modern French, she had
not heard the term.

“Ah! mon Dieu!” replied Mademoiselle,
“you know not—I believe, indeed,
you call it vig, but madame would faint
at the word.”
Margaret now thought she
saw that the sly Minette appeared to
laugh at her rustic ignorance; and she resolved
in future to observe in silence, and
be less inquisitive; she therefore coolly
said, “I shall not want any assistance from
you to-day, so leave me; for perhaps Mrs. Davenport may want you.”
“Eh! non,
je vous assure
,”
said Minette, “mais attendez!
Madame expect to-night one
gentleman she love ver much, so she tell
me to bring number of apologies to you, 2H12r 167
because she wish me to make her very
much amiable; and she say, to-morrow,
if she has time, she will see for one fille to
wait exprés upon you.”

Margaret’s yet uncontaminated heart,
could not help overflowing at the repeated
instances of Mrs. Davenport’s kindness;
but Minette appeared astonished at this
English refinement of sensibility, and said,
“Eh! mon Dieu, vous pleurez, donc?
tenez—
—I have some rouge in my bosom,
la voilà! put it on your cheeks, you are
so pale.”
“No, I am very well,” said
Margaret, “therefore, leave me now; I
had rather be alone.”
“Mais donc, mademoiselle,
mettez en,”
said the soubrette:
“Non, non,” said Margaret, “Je vous
dis.”
“Eh! donc, mettez un petit peu
de ça,”
said the perservering Minette.
“No, I tell you,” said Margaret, half
angry, “I desire you will go, I want no
assistance, and you only hinder me from
dressing.”
Minette shrugged her shoulders
and retired. 2H12v 168

Margaret had now heard there was to
be company in the evening, and she felt
much surprised that there should be any
gentleman that Mrs. Davenport, a married
woman
, “loved very much;” but, she
thought, of course, it must be some near
relation, some cousin, it might be; or
perhaps, as she had been so particular
about her dress, some odd kind of uncle,
whom she was desirous of pleasing: but
then again, she recollected that many of
the French novels she had perused did not
exclude lovers because a woman was married;
quite the contrary; but then, O
dear, Mrs. Davenport was so different, she
was too good, she was sure; and Mr. Davenport
was too handsome for his wife to
love any other man.

However, there was to be company, and
gentlemen were expected; and Margaret
was not yet judicious enough to know how
to dress herself; and the elegant crape
frock, trimmed with bugles, which Mrs.
Davenport
had purchased for her to appear 2I1r 169
in at the Argyle Rooms or the Pantheon,
she took out to wear on this evening;
after having adorned her hair, which
never curled well, and which was now
rather deranged by her journey, with a jet
diadem.

She had never, since her days of infancy,
worn a frock; and now she found all her
efforts in vain, to dress herself without assistance;
particularly from the breadth of
her back, and a want of pliancy in her arms,
which made her unable to button it. The
clock struck seven, it chimed a quarter
after, but she was yet no forwarder; and
applying herself to the bell, she rang with
all her might, but no one answered; again,
and again she rang, after waiting several
minutes between each pull which she gave
the bell-rope.

It was half-past seven, and dinner had
not yet been announced: five gentlemen
and two ladies had arrived to a friendly
dinner; and, in the many pretty things
these gentlemen were uttering to her, Mrs. Vol. II. I 2I1v 170
Davenport
forgot that such a person as
her dear protegée was in the house; while
she was not handsome enough for Mr.
Davenport
to think at all about her; who,
never much at his ease in the company of
modest women, drawled out a few civil
speeches to the lady and her daughter, who
composed the female part of his guests.
At length a servant came to say the dinner
was served up; and an eager contention
took place for the hand of the brilliant
hostess, in which, however, the nearest to
her succeeded in obtaining; and they all
descended to the dining-parlour, without
once giving a thought to poor Margaret,
who, in her first effort to ring the bell,
had broken the cordon, and therefore not
one servant had heard it ring. At length
one of the footmen in waiting, said, in a
low voice, to his mistress, “I fancy,
madam, no one has informed Miss Marsham
that the dinner is ready.”
Mrs.
Davenport
now seemed ready to expire with
laughter, and turning to the gentleman 2I2r 171
who was seated next to her, she said,
“Well, was there ever such a creature as
I am? Do you know, I brought a little
girl out of the country with me for a companion,
yesterday, and we arrived only here
this morning, from Ingatestone, at which
place we slept last night, and I do assure
you I had quite forgot she was in the
house! Mr. Davenport, why did not you
think of Miss Marsham? Order,”
continued
she, turning to the footman, “Mademoiselle
Minette
to go up to her immediately;
and if she is already engaged
with her, send up one of the maids to Miss
Marsham
’s dressing-room, and beg her to
come down,—tell her we have half dined.”

Mr. Davenport replied, turning his
looks chiefly towards the company,—
“Why, really, Emily, had you brought
home a young lady of seventeen, any thing
tolerable in her person, I perhaps might
have thought about her; but I assure you,
my dear friends, she has picked out such
an ugly little devil, that strangers might I2 2I2v 172
imagine my wife was vulgar enough to be
jealous of me.”

Mademoiselle Minette, however, hastily
buttoned Margaret’s frock, and down
she went: but though Margaret looked
far from well, and though mourning was
by no means becoming to one, whose naturally
good skin had been discoloured into
duskiness by the small-pox, yet the flurry
she had experienced, had imparted a very
pretty glow to her cheeks; and the depreciation
of her person by Mr. Davenport
was infinitely to her advantage, for the
company was prepared to see a fright.

She was not, however, embarassed by the
bold looks of a set of fashionable men; for
they regarded her with a cold indifference,
and their eyes instantly reverted to the good
things which were set before them.

This was a friendly party: Mrs. Davenport
was dressed more in a style of voluptuous
coquetry, than in any degree of
splendour; but Margaret, whose sight
was rather short, thought some other lady 2I3r 173
had taken the head of the table, and she
looked for her benefactress in vain; for
Mrs. Davenport had tucked up her beautiful
light-brown hair under a wig almost
black; till presently, her well-known voice
made Margaret turn towards her, and she
easily discovered her, by her peculiar and
bewitching smile. “Mercy on me, child,”
exclaimed she, “how you are drawn out.
O dear, you must not dress so, when we
have only a family dinner at home.”

The servants soon began to discover that
Miss MashamMarsham could be nothing more than
an humble friend; they therefore forgot
to change her plate: she had to call several
times for a glass of water or porter;
and not one gentleman had yet asked her
to take a glass of wine, till Mrs. Davenport
said to her husband, “Henry, I hope
you take care of Miss Marsham!”
He then
coldly asked her, if she chose to take any
wine? but calling on another lady to join
them, he forgot to fill poor Margaret’s
glass from the decanter which stood next 2I3v 174
him, and the cloth was removed before
she had half finished her dinner, and she
had the prospect before her of starving in
the midst of plenty.

After dinner, Mrs. Davenport said, “Do,
my dear child, help me to one of those
apricots which stand near you: what’s
your name? Margaret, I think, is not it?
It is very ugly.”
“My name, ma’am,”
replied Margaret, “is Margaritta.”
“Well, that is something rather more
tolerable.”

A new jargon of fashionable slang then
took place, quite inexplicable to the silent
Margaret, with a confused kind of dissertation
on various public places, which she
had never been at in her life; and various
parties were proposed to the company, but
she was not included in the invitation.
Mrs. Benworth and her daughter sat opposite
to Margaret, and frequently spoke
together in a low voice, as they looked towards
her, which added to the unpleasantness
of her situation. 2I4r 175

Mrs. Benworth had been a very fine woman,
was a widow, and dearly loved the
attentions, and highly estimated the adulation
of the opposite sex, though not quite
in so innocent a way as Mrs. Davenport;
for the mind and ideas of Mrs. Benworth
were coarse: though she was always accustomed
by birth and fortune, to move
in the first circles, and her education having
been excellent, her gross defects were
only perceptible to those who had known
her long.

Miss Benworth was a sly-looking, silent
girl, and observed a most mortifying sang
froid
and distance towards those who
sought her notice, especially if she thought
them any way her inferiors. Margaret
perceiving her a young person, much about
the same age with herself, and dressed neat
and plain, and the materials of her dress
far from costly, thought her some unassuming
girl, humble, perhaps, as herself
in life; and she smiled at her when
she saw her look towards her: but the 2I4v 176
young lady immediately took off her eyes,
without any change in her saturnine countenance,
and either applied herself to her
dinner or whispered her mother.

When the ladies, about nine o’clock,
withdrew to the drawing-room, Mrs. Davenport
was deeply engaged, apart, with
Mrs. Benworth and her daughter. Margaret
was entirely deserted, and left to her
own reflections; which so reverted back
to her farm at Eglantine, to her father, to
her happy, happy sister, and poor Phelim
O’Gurphy
, that with much difficulty she
repressed the tears from starting to her
eyes.

Miss Benworth at length rose, and
went up to her; asked her if she could
play or sing? and gave an audible “Oh!
heavens!”
when she answered in the negative.

Miss Benworth then addressed Mrs.
Davenport
, with, “You know, I consider
myself at home here, and therefore I will
go and shut myself up alone in your music-room, 2I5r 177
and practise the air of Just
like Love!”
“Do, my darling!” replied
Mrs. Davenport.

Now, though the flinty-looking coldhearted
Miss Benworth would have caused
the little genial deity to have fled away in
disgust, yet she affected to be in raptures
at this charming air, which she contrived
to sing scientifically; but that is not the
kind of singing which can touch the heart;
O divine Camoens! could thy love-fraught
spirit descend to earth, and hear thy
breathings of nature and pure passion thus
profaned; how wouldst thou despise the
wretched beings, who never knew in any
degree the flame that animated thy bosom,
and which, felt by thee in all its ardency,
at length consumed thee, and snapt the fine
chord asunder which bound thy soaring
spirit to mortality!

Miss Benworth played well; but she
sang the pathetic air of Here’s a health I5 2I5v 178
to those far away!
without one single
emotion (though she had a brother who
expired in the field of honour), and with as
much ease and indifference as she would
have performed a Scotch reel or an Irish
jig. Historique.

After the departure of this unfeeling
amateur, Mrs. Davenport threw herself on
the sofa, by Mrs. Benworth, and began a
confidential conversation, in a very low
voice; but of which Margaret could make
out the following sentences:

Mrs. Benworth. Dialogue verbatim.

Well, now, really,
my dear Davenport, I cannot think what
you see in him to be so infatuated: as for
me, when Mr. Benworth was living, (God
rest his soul,) if I did cast my eyes of liking
on another, I always took care he should
be a fine handsome fellow.

Mrs. Davenport.

Oh! Benworth, you
naughty creature! I declare you’re too 2I6r 179
bad! La! my dear, I only like him as a
dangler.

Mrs. Benworth.

Aye, you’re a little
fool, and ―― and ―― as for
him ―― he ―― [Here the
ladies whispered.

Mrs. Davenport.

Well, well, no more
of that—my dear creature, he is so fashionable,
so exquisite in his taste, and says
such sweet things ―― to be sure, I
grant he’s not young ――

Mrs. Benworth.

A shrivelled, yellow,
poor-looking creature, when I saw him
last, not worth any woman giving a thought
about.

Mrs. Davenport.

Oh! but, my love,
you have not seen him since he came from
the country: he is grown fat, and he has
now got quite a nice colour—Well, well
—say no more; we cannot account for
these things, but I really quite love him.

Mrs. Benworth.

Much good may he
do you! But I say, give me something
more of a man!

2I6v 180

Mrs. Davenport.

For instance, the gigantic
German, Captain ——, [Here
Margaret could not distinguish the name,]

or the Prince’s highlander! ――
――

And now, soon Mrs. Davenport, in all
the seeming flutter of sixteen, exclaimed,
“Here he comes! Oh! ‘His very foot has music in’t,As he comes up the stair.’”

A servant then opening the door, announced,
to the great astonishment of
Margaret, “Sir Charles Sefton!”

2I7r 181

Chap. XVII.

Changes At Eglantine.

“Man is but man, inconstant still and various; There’s no to-morrow in him like to-day: Perhaps, the atoms floating in his brain Make him think honestly the present hour; The next, a crowd of base inglorious thoughts May mount aloft.” Dryden.

Almost immediately after the summons
he had received, repaired to the farmhouse
the son and heir of the late Mr.
Marsham
. Though his person was somewhat
below the middle stature, yet it was
graceful and well-proportioned; and if
ever a countenance was capable of inspiring
interest, by its intelligence and its sweet 2I7v 182
glow of benevolence, such did Matthew
Marsham
possess, in a degree the most
conspicuous. The mingled emotions of
sensibility and gratitude now moistened
his eyes with a tear; which he quickly
wiped away, fearful of observation, and the
being accused of hypocrisy, in expressing
his regret to the memory of a father whom
he had never seen since his days of infancy.

“I fear, sir,” said he, addressing the
Reverend Edward Marsham, “that I
shall make but a very bad farmer; however,
my generous father’s bequest will
render me independent of my present profession,
which I embraced more from necessity
than choice.”

“But in which it is evident,” said Edward,
“you had great skill, for it is very
seldom so young a man should be entrusted
with the charge of a regiment, which,
I am informed, you obtained Historique. some years
ago.”

“Yes, sir,” said Matthew, “I had 2I8r 183
the honour to gain both the applause and
friendship of the medical board; but my
health was so impaired by the destructive
climate I found myself obliged to quit,
that I found it absolutely requisite to its
preservation, to give up my surgeoncy in
the regiment, and repair to England: with
what little money I have saved, I hoped,
by practising my profession in my native
country, to have obtained in a few years
a comfortable independency.”

Some other desultory conversation then
took place, and Edward was delighted
with the good sense and acquired literature
of his nephew; who, after a pause, with a
sweet air of humility, advanced towards
him, and respectfully took his hand.—
“May I presume, sir,” said he, “on this
the commencement of our acquaintance, to
request a favour of you, which, though to
me it is of magnitude, can by you be easily
performed: it is, that you would never
quit me; but hold the same place in this
habitation, as you did with my generous 2I8v 184
father. Oh! sir, suffer me not to find
that I enter here as the illegitimate destroyer
of your rights, usurping, in a manner,
the dwelling of your ancestors; as
one who chases you from your long-accustomed
home, to seek another! Consider,
I intreat of you, oh! yet consider all my
servants as your own: and do not make
me miserable, by refusing this humble request.”

“Be assured,” replied Edward, “I
feel all the value of your generous proposal;
but I estimate more the intrinsic
value of possessing and taking to my heart
a relation like yourself: my eldest daughter
is married to a man of rank and fortune;
who, on the opening of my late brother’s
will, insisted that I should hereafter make
his house my home; my promise is therefore
given, and I hope,”
added he, with
a smile, “that you will people these
numerous apartments better than your
father did, and that it will be no longer
‘Bachelor’s Hall’.”
2I9r 185

Though the countenance of the interesting
Matthew had become rather pallid
from his long sojournment in the unhealthy
climate of St. Lucia, yet now a deep crimson
mantled over it, and the ill-represt
sigh which heaved his bosom, discovered
the secret to Edward, that love had already
planted his arrows in the heart of his
nephew.

After this unlooked-for relative had been
announced in the will of her uncle, and
whom, when he presented himself, no one
could help loving, Mary had felt herself
happy that it was in her power to afford
her revered and much-loved parent a comfortable
asylum: the instant offer of her
Frederic to that effect had delighted her
beyond measure, and she even promised
herself that yet better days awaited all
her family than any they had heretofore
experienced: she knew how dearly her
father loved her; she knew how happy he
would be when always in her society; and
the ease and elegance in which she lived in 2I9v 186
her rural residence would ensure him
many comforts which he had never known
at the farm. Her sister was amply provided
for: she was the protegée of a woman,
not only possessed of an immense fortune,
but of a sweet temper and an excellent
heart—she would never, endowed with
these two last valuable gifts, forsake her;
of that, this affectionate sister felt assured.
It was true, she herself had experienced
some change in the temper and manners of
Mr. Harrington, but that she might naturally
expect; she was not to imagine an
husband would be always a lover!

Thus argued the inexperienced Mary,
who, though she endeavoured to be cheerful
and contented, could not make the
last reflection without a tear: she tried to
persuade herself that it was only the
effect of her low spirits on the recent death
of her uncle Ralph; oh! no,—they had
been just highly elated by news from her
favourite and happy uncle Charles; who
had described in glowing colours the success 2I10r 187
of the British arms at Flushing: and
she had rejoiced at, and blessed a protecting
Providence, that this her dear uncle
was safe and unhurt, beloved and favoured
by all his superior officers. Poor Mary!
she banished the thought from her mind,
that her Frederic was not the same as formerly,
yet it would intrude, and it would
bring the little crystal trembler to her eye.

She endeavoured to drive it away with
the thoughts of her sister’s promised happiness;
but her sister was neither happy
nor safe under Mrs. Davenport’s protection;
who, though she took her as her own, did
not mean to leave her a shilling! such an
idea had never entered her head.

Mrs. Davenport had often that muchabused
epithet bestowed upon her, of possessing
an excellent heart; but it was in
her neither the seat of feeling or affection,
and her mind, if mind she had any, was
swayed only by the dictates of fashion, or
the customs and opinions of those higher
in rank than herself. 2I10v 188

But this Mary knew not, and in the
contemplation of her sister’s good fortune,
her thoughts again reverted to her father,
and she cheerfully tripped up stairs to the
apartments allotted to him; and her filial
affection, aided by her natural taste, embellished
his dressing-room with various
articles and devices of modern elegance.

Frederic Harrington began, already, to
pant for change; the fatal accident that
had happened, the close mourning of his
wife, and her near affinity to the deceased,
would render it quite contrary to the rules
of established etiquette, for her to make
her public appearance for two or three
months at least: what a delightful opportunity
for him to take an unrestrained swing
of fashionable pleasure! It is true he was
in deep mourning also, but the late Mr.
Marsham
was only allied to him by marriage:
he could very well urge that
change of air and scene was absolutely
requisite to the recovery of his health: he
meant therefore to be very attentive and 2I11r 189
polite to the present owner of Eglantine
farm
; whose medical skill was much
thought of, and to whom Frederic meant
to impart the idea of how very much he
felt the want of a more salubrious air.

The morning of that day, in which Mr.
Marsham
meant to take up his abode at
Mr. Harrington’s cottage ornée, he walked
out with his nephew, to whom he began
to feel himself very much attached, to pay
a few morning visits: Edward, to return
those of kind condolence he had received
from his neighbours, and a few others of
ceremony, to introduce Mr. Matthew Marsham
to their notice.

Lady Wringham had sent a verbal message,
by her servant, on the news of Mr.
Ralph Marsham
’s sudden death, with her
offers of sarvice to the family.

Mr. Marsham therefore called at Sir
John
’s, but heard the voice of her ladyship
at the top of the stairs, saying, “Not at
home, I told you, blockhead!
(addressing
the servant, who had previously told the 2I11v 190
Curate his lady was at home); and as she
retreated to her dressing-room, they plainly
heard her utter something about, “Such
a clargyman indeed! encouraging his
brother’s bastards!”

They then hastened to the cottage of
that charming old lady, Mrs. Susanna
Bradbury
, and were by her and her lovely
niece greeted with unfeigned politeness
and cordiality; but it needed but a very
small portion of penetration to discover
that it was not the first interview between
Matthew Marsham and Lucy Ringwood.

Elated and happy, Matthew accompanied
his uncle home; but as they walked
along, seldom answered him to the purpose,
except it was to acquiesce in Mrs.
Susan Bradbury
’s being the most delightful
old woman ever seen; though it was
plain enough to perceive, that not the old
woman, but the young one was the object
of Matthew’s attention; for towards Mrs.
Susan
he had scarcely ever looked during
the whole of their visit, and no one ever 2I12r 191
found themselves able to make a short one
to Mrs. Susanna.

The poor faithful Irish servant, Phelim
O’Gurphy
, could not endure the sight of
this misbegotten intruder, as he called him,
at the farm; and took care always to be
out of the way, if Mr. Matthew Marsham
wanted his services. Edward was surprised
on this day of his intended departure for
his daughter’s cottage, to see the poor
fellow enter his chamber, crying and sobbing,
as if his heart would break; “Och!”
said he, “and is poor Phelim come to see
this day? When the brother of my late
dear master, and the same mother’s son
with himself, should go out of his own
lawful dwelling, to make room for an unlawful
child! and perhaps his mother
might be no better than old Peg Plunkett
of Dublin.”

“If you wish to preserve my favour and
friendship,”
said Edward, gravely, “I
insist upon it, that I never hear you utter
a word of disrespect against the mother of 2I12v 192
that excellent young man, who I am sure will
make one of the kindest of masters to you
all, while you behave well.”
“Och! but
I am sure,”
said Phelim, “and he’ll
never be my master.”
“Know when you
are well off,”
said Edward, “and do not,
be a ridiculous folly, and misplaced zeal
towards me, throw yourself out of a situation,
in which I am certain you will be
truly comfortable.”
“No, no, sir, there
is no comfort left for poor Phelim, unless
you consent to keep him for your own
servant.”

“That is impossible, my good lad, I
never, since have I been in my brother’s
house, kept a servant of my own; and I
am sure I shall not now.”
“Och! sir,”
urged the yet weeping O’Gurphy, “I want
no wages, I have saved a little bit of money
since I lived with your own dear
brother,—I want nothing of you, but for
the love of J—s, sir, pray let me go
with you. I cannot, I cannot stay about
the farm when you have left it.”
2K1r 193

“But, my good fellow,” said Edward,
much affected, “I cannot take you to Mr.
Harrington
’s, their house is full of servants;
and what would my son and daughter
think, if I, who will want, in their
establishment, for no attention, of any kind
whatever, should be so whimsical as to
incumber them with my own servant?”

“Sir,” said the perservering Phelim,
“will your honour give me leave to spake
one word to Mr. Harrington alone, by
mine own self?”
“By no means, you
will for ever offend me, if you do; make
yourself easy and contented: your present
master will soon render you so, if it is not
your own fault.”
“The devil set fire to
me, if ever he shall be a master of mine!”

“Fie on you, Phelim,” said Edward,
scarce able to keep his countenance, “let me
hear no swearing, of any kind;”
but finding
his son-in-law was below, he hastened
down stairs. Phelim followed, and almost
began the renowned howl of his country,
crying out, “Och, and can you be after Vol. II. K 2K1v 194
leaving me, now?”
“What is the matter,
my dear sir,”
said Harrington, “are you
inflicting corporeal as well as spiritual
chastisement on your servant?”
“No,
neither,”
said Edward, “but I cannot
get rid of him; I believe he will throw
me down stairs:”
for Phelim had fastened
himself to the skirts of Mr. Marsham’s
coat; who was at length compelled to
explain this ludicrous scene to Mr. Harrington,
whose heart, naturally good,
ever alive to, and actuated by goodnature,
and ever ready to appreciate the
genuine feelings of honesty and attachment,
insisted that the faithful Hibernian
should be retained at the cottage as the
Reverend Mr. Marsham’s servant.

The affliction of Phelim was now succeeded
by joy as tumultuous as it was
unfeigned: and so often did he quaff the
nectarous fluid of strong, home-brewed
ale, to the health of his master, and the
long-life and happiness of the noble Mr.
Harrington
and his beautiful lady, that 2K2r 195
Phelim, when he accompanied the Reverend
Edward Marsham
to the cottage, was
completely intoxicated.

As he followed his master along a very
wide path-way, which, however, was not
sufficiently wide, for the space he took,
by his frequent reeling from one side to
the other, they met, as they walked in this
guise, Sir John and Lady Wringham taking
an evening walk. “I declare,” said
she, as loud as she could, “if there isn’t
some
parsons who desarves to have their
gowns stripped over their ears; first they
encourages filthy bastardy, and next
drunkenness: do but look at that nasty,
Irish fellow, as drunk as a sow; and I
dare say the master is not much better.”

Edward heard her, in all the silence of
contempt; for he was happy to find that
his attendant, brimful of joy, as well as of
liquor, was too absorbed in the reveries,
which the delightful accomplishment of
his wishes had suffered to float in his muddled
brain; else, no doubt, but the “sprig 2K2v 196
of shilleghlah,”
which he grasped, would,
in his present maddened state of mind,
had he heard her ladyship, been applied
to the little support, on which she leaned
her weighty arm; in spite of his baronetage,
or all the boasted wealth and honours
of the past, present, and future race
of the Wringhams.

Edward knew that all lectureship, in the
present state of his servant, would be not
only useless, but misunderstood; he therefore
requested his son-in-law to order his
servant to put him to bed, and reserved
his own wise and mild exhortations till
the morrow.

In a few days, Mr. Harrington became
extremely intimate with the late Mr. Marsham’s
acknowledged son: his views, it is
true, at first, were somewhat selfish, as
he wished to render Matthew his vehicle,
to obtain an emancipation, for a short period,
from the fetters of matrimonial
sameness!

But never did Frederic feel more gratification, 2K3r 197
than in his acquaintance with
this amiable young man: how unlike the
tumultuous and momentary friendship he
had formed with the Leslies? and yet
Harrington, though a virtuous esteem
seemed taking firm root in his bosom for
one possessed of sense, manly refinement,
with excellence of heart and understanding;
and though the wavering Frederic
was in full and undisputed possession of
all the warm and uncontaminated affection
of a virtuous mind, enshrined in a form
the most captivating and lovely; yet, ah!
that form, which he pressed to his bosom,
the virtues, the attractions he daily and
hourly witnessed, were, alas! only those
of a wife!

His newly-acquired and much-esteemed
friend was a country neighbour, who resided
very near to him, and whom he
could see at all times; so he could the wife
of his fondest choice, and the reverend parent
whom he loved and honoured: the
sigh of discontent then often escaped him, K3 2K3v 198
and wafted with it, his wishes for the
pleasures of the gay world; and he languished
to take his accustomed round in
the scenes of fashionable dissipation. Oh!
how little prized are pure and tranquil
pleasures, by the high-born and thoughtless
votaries of wealth and splendour! Oh!
wayward man, how eager art thou to rush
on to thine own ruin, and to implant in
thy breast the bitter, lasting, but unavailing
thorns of remorse!

Frederic Harrington took care not to
say the true cause of his wishing for a
change of scene; but told Mr. Matthew
Marsham
that he had been always so accustomed
to autumnal sea-bathings, at the
different watering-places, that he really
felt this custom had become an absolute
requisite towards the preservation of his
health. Matthew could urge nothing
against what appeared so reasonable, and
what he had always found, in the course
of his profession, extremely sanative: he
therefore readily acquiesced. 2K4r 199

Mary expected that her Frederic would
have been solicitous of her accompanying
him; but she soon found her mistake, by
his telling her he should be only absent
for a very short period; and that he was
happy to leave her father with her, to alleviate
and shorten her hours of solitude;
that, by the time he returned, she would
have enlivened the deep gloom of her sables,
and they would then make their appearance
in London. Mary heard in
silence, and but ill-represt her tears; her
bosom heaved with the agitation of stifled
sorrow, and her cheek turned pale: for
as Mr. Harrington had fixed on Cromer,
in Norfolk, for his bathing-place, she
thought, although it had become, in some
degree, a fashionable resort, yet it might
be made, to those who wished it to be so,
a very retired residence; and her sables
had only furnished an excuse for her husband
to depart without her.

When Charles Marsham quitted the
farm-house, Mary had experienced a cruel 2K4v 200
agony of heart, and she then thought
that such an extent of affliction she
could never feel again: but how much
more keen did she feel this separation!
when she wept, for she could not help
weeping on the bosom of a beloved husband,
and saw him depart from her, not
only with dry eyes, but with a visible
emotion of pleasure, which he knew not
how to conceal; for Frederic Harrington,
with all his faults, had no dissimulation
about him.

Those who have heard the dead sound
of an hearse, as it carried from the door
the last remains of a friend, dearly and
tenderly beloved, can only form to themselves
what were the feelings of this affectionate
wife, as she heard the wheels
of her Frederic’s post-chaise drive from
the cottage-gate; for not an hearse, departing
in all its still-pomp of sable woe,
could more sink the heart with the leaden
weight of grief, than the swift and rattling
sound of Harrington’s travelling carriage 2K5r 201
did that of his Mary, at the moment of
his departure.

Ashamed that her father should witness
her tears, she hastened to her chamber;
and locking herself in, gave way to the
indulgence of a sorrow she at length
blamed herself for, and could not help
almost thinking ridiculous: she dressed
herself, and assumed what cheerfulness she
could at dinner, till her father drank the
health of Mr. Harrington, as they were
taking their dessert. He gently chid her
for being so childish, as not being able to
bear her husband out of her sight, whose
intended stay was but for a very short
period, and who had promised to write to
her by every post.

“We are capricious beings, my love,”
added Edward, “too apt to undervalue
the blessing, which is always in our undisputed
possession. Let Mr. Harrington
always find you a kind, obliging and grateful
wife; welcome him, ever, with cheerfulness: 2K5v 202
but if you shew yourself too fond
of him, depend upon it, such is the ingratitude
of our sex, that his love for you will
decrease in proportion as he observes the
increase of that excessive fondness in you;
for, by a visible anxiety to keep him always
in your sight, you will make him
only particularly desirous of being out of
it, and shewing himself oft in company,
where he would rather, perhaps, you did
not make a part.”

Mary, though she could not restrain
her tears, and which this last sentence of
her father had caused to stream afresh, yet
promised, and secretly resolved to keep
the promise, of adopting that line of conduct,
which he had marked out for her.
The next day her heart was comforted by
a most kind and affectionate letter from
her Frederic; the succeeding ones made
her equally happy; she perceived no diminution
of his tenderness, and, wrapped
up in fancied security of his unaltered 2K6r 203
love, she grew gay and cheerful, and
passed her easy hours in the society of
the friends she valued and esteemed.

Lucy Ringwood, the companion of her
earliest years, was dear to her, as a sister;
but she could not accept Mary’s invitation
of remaining with her during the
absence of Mr. Harrington, as she could
not leave her beloved aunt alone; but a
day seldom past, in which these three
friends did not mutually visit each other:
on those occasions, when Mrs. Susanna
Bradbury
was of the party, Lucy generally
stole from them for about an hour
or more, which filled the minds of the
two ladies with various surmises; though
neither spake their thoughts to the other.

Edward, more and more delighted with
his nephew, often left the female trio to
converse, not always on the requisite arrangement
of dress and fashion, but often
on those slight, mental accomplishments,
which are peculiarly adapted to their sex,
and in which the masculine understanding, 2K6v 204
however great its superiority, sometimes
finds itself, in brilliancy and quickness
of idea, outdone.

On those occasions, Edward repaired
to the farm; and one day he found his,
generally, sprightly nephew in a serious,
and indeed a melting mood; for his humid
eyes rested on a packet of papers
which lay before him: these, he said,
he had been just developing the contents
of, and presenting the packet to the Curate,
he desired him to take it home with
him, and peruse it at his leisure.


End of Vol. II.

Brettell & Co. Printers, Marshall-Street,
Golden-Square, London
.

a1r

Romance Readers
and
Romance Writers.

a1v 3A1r

Romance Readers
and
Romance Writers:

A Satirical Novel.


In Three Volumes.


By the author of
A Private History of the Court of England, &c.

“Gnatho. Quid agitur? Parmeno. Statur. Gnatho. Video. Numquidnam hic, quod nolis, vides? Parmeno. Te. Gnatho. Credo.” Terence.

M. G. Lewis, Rosa Matilda, Horsley
Curties
, &c. parlent.

“Hélas, mon Dieu, craignez tout d’un auteur en courroux, Qui peut――”
Boileau.

Vol. III.

London :
Printed For T. Hookham, Junior, and E.T. Hookham,
15, Old Bond Street
18101810.

3A1v

Brettel & Co. Printers, Marshall
Street, Golden-Square, London
.

3B1r

The Effects
of
Romance Reading.

Chap. XVIII.

A Journey and an Unexpected
Meeting.

“I saw her breast with every passion heave— I left her; . . . . . . . . . . . . Oh! my hard bosom that could bear to leave!” Shenstone.
“The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, Safest and seemliest by her husband stays; Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.” Milton.

Frederic Harrington had not yet ceased
to love his Mary with ardour, when he
threw himself into the post-chaise, which Vol. III. B 3B1v 2
bore him from his cottage; he at first felt
all the delight of emancipation, but he had
not proceeded many miles before he found
a void in his breast, and Mary presented
herself to his fancy in all the sweet attractive
influence of her lovely form.

Every pleasant scene recalled her to his
imagination, and on every one of nature’s
lovely views which he beheld as he passed
through the country, he wanted his beloved
and constant companion to partake
of his pleasure; and as there was a great
similarity in their tastes for rural landscapes,
he wished her present, that they
might mutually make their remarks to
each other.

Just before he arrived at the inn, where
he meant to stop for dinner, so sincerely
did he regret the loss of his Mary’s society,
that he was almost determined to
take post-horses back, and request her to
accompany him on his little excursion: but
how ridiculous and how capricious he would
look! and still worse, what a petticoatgoverned 3B2r 3
husband! for Mary might mention
among their acquaintance her agreeable
surprise at his coming back for her:
it would never do!—no, he would write
for her—that would be as bad: his letter
would always tell against him; it would
give her and her family unbounded sway
over him.

Harrington was a man of the world;
he was, indeed, in some respects the world’s
slave—and Mary was doomed to stay where
she was.

He ate for his dinner a morsel of fish,
and the roast fowl went away untouched:
he tossed off three or four glasses of port,
and his thoughts about Mary seemed drowned
in the last: he, therefore, leaped into
the chaise, with a jocund air, and promised
to make himself amends at supper.

He nodded in the chaise; and a dream
brought his beloved Mary again by his
side: he cursed his stars when he awoke,
that she was not really there; and as the
setting sun shot its departing rays over the B2 3B2v 4
heath, he dropped a few tears at the idea
of his Mary—left alone! He recalled her
tender farewell—he execrated his own
folly! while fashion, and fashion’s pleasures
appeared poor indeed, when put in
competition with her.

But, as he stopped to supper, the remembrance
of his wife, his blissful cottage,
his happy wedded state, vanished at
one instant, and swift as the lightning’s
flash. Some of his former dashing companions
were at the inn; renowned members
of the whip-club, who had just been
taking their dinner there; and were all
getting completely forward in the service
of the god of wine.

They all hailed him by the title of
“Benedick, the married man!” but
hoped he had not become a sober-sides;
they applauded him for his courage, in so
soon breaking his fetters, though composed
only of the roses and myrtle of love;
and added, that however charming was the
pretty little grisette he had married, yet 3B3r 5
he did right to let her know in time how
he meant to act.

Mr. Harrington, however, did not look
well pleased, to hear his wife denominated
a grisette! and he repeated the term in
that way which shewed he was offended.
“Nay, d—n it!” said Lord Armitage,
“it was only what we heard: come, come,
you shall not be sparring with us—we’ll
have no more duels; Mrs. Harrington
must ever challenge our sincere respect, as
your wife; and forgive, I beseech you,
us set of choice spirits, if we chanced to
make use of an improper term: why, my
buck, you and I have been old fellow
school-mates! a fig for all women, be they
wives, maids, or widows! Come, we
must initiate you in the rules of our club!
our favourites Historique. are of the four-legged
breed; we toast none of your capricious
females, either of town or country—but
pass about the bottle to Frolicksome Fan, 3B3v 6
Betty Slim-legs, Jack the Crop, and
Jemmy Twitcher; all quadruped favourites
of the whipping sport—four-in-hand,
my fine fellow, four-in-hand! that’s the
present order of the day. I made a figure
of eight Historique. this morning five times going;
won two hundred pounds of Ned Needham;
look, how glum he sits there at
the corner of the table!”

Harrington could not forbear laughing
at the rattling peer; and taking his seat
amongst them, he took a couple of glasses
of champaign with them, and then bespoke
an expensive supper for them all.
The orgies of Bacchus continued till the
dawn of the next morning, and they all
reeled off to their several chambers, declaring
Harrington the finest fellow in the
world; and that, if they were sure matrimony
would spoil them, no more than it
did him, they would all set off on the
morrow, in search of some rich dowager, 3B4r 7
to help to support the expences of the
whip!

Before Frederic rose to breakfast his
boisterous companions had departed; and
a violent head-ach prevented him from finishing
his journey that day: he could not
help contrasting the scene he had just witnessed,
and in which he had borne a part,
with the tranquil and self-approving pleasures
of his dear cottage; and he penned
that first tender letter to Mary, which she
received with so much delight.

He arrived early the next morning at his
place of destination: the beautiful and
picturesque situation of Cromer again
made him wish for Mary, to participate in
the sublime kind of pleasure which it imparted
to his mind. He did not bathe that
day, but returned to his inn; and in the
evening dressed himself, and took a walk,
at the going out of the tide, to observe
with an awe-felt curiosity, if he could perceive
any vestiges of a part of the old town
and church that were overwhelmed by an 3B4v 8
influx of the sea a considerable number
of years since. Historique.

As he walked onwards, a very elegant
female passed him, leaning on the arm of
an officer; the gentleman appeared a veteran,
had been handsome, and bore about
him that evident look of gallantry which
shewed he had been un homme aux bonnes
fortunes
in his day.

There was a dignity in his appearance
which bespoke him of rank in his profession,
and a kind of air which thoroughly
marked the man of high birth. The form
of the lady was not only elegant, but was
exquisitely fine: what little Frederic could
see of her face, which was much hid by a
lace veil, appeared young and very beautiful;
Frederic fancied he had seen one like
it, though he had now so very partial a
view of that which was almost hid, as the
lady passed him: however, the old town,
the church, all was forgot, in this more 3B5r 9
lovely and modern piece of divine workmanship.

Frederic retired to his lodgings; and a
sentiment beyond curiosity actuated the
whole of his thoughts and ideas. The
evening was sultry, he threw up the sash,
and seated himself to enjoy a moonlight
scene of uncommon beauty, and which,
in another frame of mind, would have recalled
all his forsaken pleasures of rural
life; but now, not one inmate of his cottage
shot their calm remembrance across
his agitated heart.

Several carriages passed by in hurried
succession: he called up his landlady, and
asked her what it meant? “They are
going to the assembly, sir,”
said she;
“there is a grand ball and supper given
there to-night by the great general, Lord
Fenwater
, to the officers of a regiment,
who arrived here last week: I forget the
name of the regiment, for we have such a
power of soldiers now coming, one after
the other, all round the coast, that I am B5 3B5v 10
sure it so bewilders my poor brains that I do
not know the one from the other! Ah, Lord
help us! sir, the General is old enough, I
believe, to be your grandfather: but I am
sure he is turned fool; saving your presence,
sir, for speaking so of any gentleman;
and is fallen in love with a beautiful young
creature in the regiment; and it’s all along
with she, that he gives this fine ball and
supper: for I heard say as how he should
say once, that he hated that there regiment,
and called them all a set of scamps! I
think was his word; and he said the officers’
wives were all no better than a fusty
set of old maids.”

“Lord Fenwater!” exclaimed Frederic,
who, though he was weary of the good
dame’s prolixity, yet wanted to hear more,
as he was now convinced that this was the
nobleman he had seen in the morning with
this lovely unknown. “Sit down, my
good madam,”
continued Frederic, “and
do tell me about this inconsiderate old peer,
of whom I know very little, only that he 3B6r 11
is a friend of my uncle’s, with whom I
once saw him.”

“Why, sir, I must say, I does not
know much good of him; for this lady is
another man’s wife, and she is married to a
very handsome young man; and I am told, it
was quite a love-match on both sides: now,
sir, as I said before, though she is as beautiful
a creature as ever I clapped my eyes
upon, yet I say, ‘handsome is, that handsome
does;’
and she does not do very handsomely,
to give the General every encouragement;
she does not care one fig for her
husband; nay, she left him one day on a
sick bed, to drive out with the General
in his phaeton.”

“What is the lady’s name?” said Frederic,
with an ill-assumed indifference. “I
declare I almost forget,”
replied the landlady,
“but I think it is Lady Arabella
Hammond
, or somewhat very much like
it.”
—A loud knocking at the door put a
period to this dialogue, and a kind of consequential
voice demanded if Mr. Harrington 3B6v 12
did not lodge there? and, in the
space of a moment, jumpt up-stairs, at
three steps, the Honourable Mr. Lawson,
an old fellow-collegian, and intimate friend
of the gay Frederic.

“Why, what in the d—l’s name,
Fred.”
said Lawson, “is it I have heard?
I am told you are married! and yet not
wedded to the dear dashing female who
so much captivated you, and whom every
one declared was expressly made for you;
that resplendent beauty, the Isabella Emerson!
Come, where’s the bewitching creature
that has transplanted her? and whom
you have honoured by dubbing Mrs. Harrington!
cannot one have a peep at her?
or do you keep her locked up in a glass
case, for fear any one should touch her?”

“Mrs. Harrington is not with me,” replied
Frederic, half abashed; inwardly
vexed at his hasty marriage, yet rejoiced
to see his friend; and almost wishing that
he had married a female of Lady Isabella’s
shining and fashionable exterior. “Bravo! 3B7r 13
Bravissimo!”
said Lawson; “well, now
this is something like a modern husband;
broke your fetters already! hang me, if
I do not believe you have united yourself
to some rich dowager of quality, who has
with you made the delightful, mutual compact,
of letting each act as shall best please
the other.”
“No such thing,” said Frederic;
“let us, for a moment, dear friend,
be serious; I have married a young girl,
whose lovely person is far inferior to all
her other attractions! her face and form,
all charming as they are, sink into nothing,
when compared with the virtues of her
pure and spotless mind! and—”
“Whew!”
interrupted Lawson, “how long will this
fit be upon you? Do you not recollect,
my dear fellow, that I always compared
your mind to a rainbow? a charming diversity
of sentiment coloured it, but yet
only tinged it, like that beautiful arch; for
it could boast equal instability: its firmness
was as easily dissolved by the tears of
impulsive mistaken sensibility, as its brighter 3B7v 14
hues were, at other times, obscured by a
shower of intemperance, or by an accidental
dark cloud of gravity, which might
throw a shadow over it: while the bright
sun of pleasure has triumphed in its splendour;
and the sentimental tints of Frederic
Harrington
’s rainbow were all lost!”

“Have you done?” said Harrington,
smiling; “or is this a part of some old
theme that was given you when at Oxford?
Come, a truce to metaphor;—pray
why are you thus accoutered? upon my
honour, vous êtes bravement equipé!”

“Yes, yes,” said Lawson; “a truce,
my dear fellow, to every thing but present
pleasure: I have a ticket from the amourous
old General, Lord Fenwater, to a
ball he gives this evening: with this ticket
I received a very polite note, earnestly
requesting me to attend, and to bring with
me any friend I thought proper: hasten
then to thy toilette, thou Adonis, formed
to please the fair; forget thou art married,
and equip thyself to accompany me.”
3B8r 15

Harrington was soon persuaded; away
they drove to the assembly-room: Frederic
Harrington
more elegant, infinitely more
pleasing and interesting than when in full
health, derived new attractive powers from
his suit of mourning; and in this guise he
entered the ball-room.

Thus interesting, thus attractive, the
first object which met his eyes, increased in
loveliness with every auxiliary of the most
tasteful and superb attire, was Lady Isabella
Raymond
!

She was seated on a sofa at the upper
end of the room, behind which gracefully
leaned the fine martial figure of the General,
who was dealing out to her all the
pretty compliments of gallantry which he
had practised for thirty years amongst
twice that number of different females.
Lawson advanced towards him with all
the familiarity of an old acquaintance, and
waving his hand towards Frederic, he said,
“Permit me, my lord, to introduce my
friend, Mr. Harrington, to your notice.”
3B8v 16
“I have had the honour of seeing Mr.
Harrington
before, with his worthy uncle,
Sir Edward,”
said the General, with visible
coldness; his penetrating eye having observed
the changes and emotion of Lady
Isabella
’s and Harrington’s countenances.
Frederic, however, on the invitation of her
ladyship, which was given with all the
nonchalance she could assume, threw himself
gracefully on the vacant seat beside
her. “Ah! ah!” said Lawson, “Lady
Isabella
, do you know my quondam friend
with his pale visage, and garb of woe?”

“Oh!” replied she, “he is not under so
dark a cloud but that I can discover
him.”
This she uttered with a vain attempt
to be sprightly; and the vanity of Harrington
was gratified at perceiving the
evident tremor of her heart, as her eyes met
his: a rapidity of ideas thronged in quick
succession upon her mind, and made her
answers to every question that was put to
her, vague, and from the purpose.

Hilarity, content, self-approbation, which 3B9r 17
were the inmates of many a bosom, and
had sat smiling on the outward countenance,
had all fled at the appearance of the
intruder, Harrington: the men all envied
him, and wished him any where but there;
for every lady was exclaiming, in one general
buz of whispers, “What a handsome
man!”

The general had been content to the utmost
with the good humour of his goddess,
Historique. whose superb set of brilliants, and
whose guinea-and-a-half bouquet of choice
exotics, had been presented to her by him
in the morning, and for which she had
amply repaid him by her bewitching
smiles in the evening; she had also declared
she would not dance that night, because
his lordship no longer skipped in the
train of Terpsichore: no, she preferred regaling
herself with that mental feast,
the charms of his conversation!

Now he saw her not only delighted with 3B9v 18
the handsome intrusive guest, but he heard
her say that she would certainly go down
a dance or two with him in the course of
the evening: but Lady Isabella’s mind
was in a state of cruel agitation; she
feared, she hoped, and lamented: she knew
that Frederic Harrington had married
Mary Marsham; but on her removal from
the quarters she had first occupied with
her husband, she knew not of Mr. Ralph
Marsham
’s fatal accident: the mourning
of Harrington was deep; he might, perhaps,
be a widower! she had heard Mrs.
Harrington
was thought to be consumptive.
“Oh! if he was a widower, then
was she a wretch indeed; she was married
to a man she began to detest:”
then again
she thought that Harrington would not
dance if he was so recent a widower. She
therefore felt all her hatred return towards
Mary, and feared her superior attractions;
but yet she hoped, fondly hoped, he still
loved herself: and Frederic Harrington
was sure, at that moment, he loved her 3B10r 19
ladyship more than any woman he had ever
yet seen; he felt all that ardour of fond
desire return in her presence, which is so
often dignified by, and mistaken for the
pure passion of love; and when she ventured
to ask him after the health of Mrs.
Harrington
, he stammered out that she
was well, blushed and hung down his head,
while he inwardly cursed his precipitate marriage;
“This woman,” thought he, “this
resplendent beauty, who does honour to a
court by her appearance, might have been
mine!”
and rashly and guiltily did he mentally
vow that she should be his; for he
fancied it impossible to endure life without
the possession of her charming person.

About twelve o’clock Major Raymond
made his appearance; he was much altered
in person for the worse, and wore the evident
marks on his countenance of severe embarrassment;
his mien was altogether dejected,
and his spirits forced; he advanced towards
the proud Frederic with a freedom 3B10v 20
which that gentleman by no means approved,
who never much liked Major Raymond,
and who now felt for him every
symptom of hatred, particularly for his
being the legal possessor of the fair enchantress
who sat beside him.

Lady Isabella Raymond, from her pecuniary
embarrassments, had been tempted
to listen to the gallant compliments, and
receive the pointed attentions of Lord Fenwater;
Historique. whose proverbial munificence was
such, to the fair ones he admired, that she
flattered herself it would soon disperse the
numerous swarm of creditors who continually
assailed her husband’s quarters: but
Lady Isabella knew not a fourth part of the
extent and enormity of their claims.

Dislike to her, as well as indifference,
had taken place in the Major’s bosom of all
that violent and ardent affection he had
once felt for her; and he winked at the
too palpable attachment of the General; 3B11r 21
partook, with a blind connivance, of all the
festivities given in honour of his wife; encouraged
her in accepting the wealthy
lover’s presents; drank copiously of the rare
foreign wines with which the General supplied
his cellar; while a speedy Historique. promotion
to a lieutenant-colonelcy, through his
lordship’s interest, danced, in gay vision,
before his eyes. But now the torch of love
was kindled again, with added fire, in the
breast of her ladyship, by the fine person of
Frederic Harrington; the electric spark of
which beamed from her eyes, and inspired
Frederic with mutual passion.

Love gave softness and additional animation
to one of the most beautiful countenances
in the world; fashion, and native original
wit, now emulous only to please, and
wholly free from satire and ill-nature, rendered
her conversation irresistible; profound
sense and acquired accomplishments united 3B11v 22
their seductive force, and Harrington was
more firmly her captive than ever.

The General now saw, and left the field
to the more fortunate and irresistible conqueror.
A single state, abundant wealth,
a person yet handsome, and a title, he knew
would ever give him the power of purchasing
beauty in all her most brilliant attractions.

Frederic Harrington knew not yet the
pecuniary embarrassments of the Raymonds;
and thus, though “feasts and
tournaments”
might be given, to please
the beauteous dame, yet valuable presents
flowed not in so amply as when the more
aged lover was the experienced and devoted
slave, who, much to the surprise of the
Major, had quitted Cromer in a kind of
haughty despair; he soon, however, in the
unguarded conduct of his Isabella and the
imprudent Harrington, saw the cause, and
was vile enough to resolve to profit by it.

Sorry we are to record, that, though 3B12r 23
Frederic Harrington had been married
scarce three little months, the fascination
of the syren he unhappily fell in with so
wrought on his wavering disposition, that
he became a criminal husband, and Lady
Isabella
a guilty wife!

In a moment of tender confidence, she revealed
to him the burthened state of their
pecuniary affairs: the mind of the mistaken
Frederic was horror-struck, and he resolved
to mortgage every acre of his estate sooner
than see the woman he loved, almost to
idolatry, in distress: but Major Raymond,
knowing the ample fortune of Frederic,
gave every opportunity to the criminal
lovers, and meditated more public means of
retrieving his shattered circumstances, and
meant to spare the thoughtless Harrington
the trouble of so incumbering his estate.

3B12v 24

Chap. XIX.

Fashionable Intrigue, and a Virtuous
Wife’s Resource.

O ye woods! spread your branches apace, To your deepest recesses I fly; I would hide with the beasts of the chace, I would vanish from every eye. ―― ―― ―― ―― ―― ―― Yet my reed shall resound through the grove, With the same sad complaint it begun: How he smil’d, and she could not but love, Was faithless, and she is undone.” Shenstone.

Leaving the faithless Harrington to his
guilty, and as he fondly imagined, secure
pursuit of lawless pleasure, we must revert
to the virtuous inhabitants of his forsaken
home, and trace back our history to that
period which told near a fortnight after
his departure. 3C1r 25

Mary, till her Frederic ceased to write
to her often, and till a forced kind of tenderness,
and cold expressions in his letters,
made her wretched, had been reconciled in
some degree to her state of separation from
him she held most dear, and she passed her
hours in cheerful content; while her father’s
chief occupation was studying politics,
and groaning over the newspapers at
the ill success of our continental expeditions.

Lord Fenwater, on his departure from
Cromer, visited town for a few days;
where, to his surprise, he met Sir Edward
Harrington
; but he imparted more astonishment
to the mind of Sir Edward, when
he informed him that his nephew, from
whom he had not heard for some time, was
at Cromer! And when Sir Edward, not
without a faint blush, asked Lord Fenwater,
if he, who was such an admirer of
female beauty, had seen his pretty niece?
and was told Mr. Harrington was there
without her, a degree of indignation accompaniedVol. III. C 3C1v 26
his wonder, which was by no
means lessened by the sly innuendos of the
disappointed peer, who enjoyed the mischief
he discovered he had made with a
splenetic malevolence.

The heart of Sir Edward Harrington,
however education and high birth might
have fed a natural pride of family, was
yet goodness itself; and he now felt keenly
for the blooming young creature, whose
amiability had often charmed him, and
whose virtue he revered: he wrote to his
thoughtless nephew to quit the society of a
woman whom he had ever deemed most
unprincipled and dangerous, and an adept
in every seductive artifice; alleging, that
he flattered himself his presence would be
some inducement for his quick return, as
he meant to finish the summer at his cottage;
whither he was going to repair immediately.

The admonitory letter was at first scoffingly
thrown on one side; he had not then
possessed the person of his bewitching Isabella; 3C2r 27
he was on the bright eve of expectation,
and should he quit such a prize, in
view, for the insipid caresses of a virtuous
wife?

Such were the impulsive thoughts of the
deluded Frederic; but on cooler reflection
he wrote a flattering answer to his uncle,
saying, he should instantly repair home as
soon as ever the physician who attended
him would give him leave to quit the sea;
then he would, on the wings of love, fly to
his much-loved home, and dearly-revered
uncle.

Sir Edward, at first, was the dupe of
these hyperbolical expressions, but his silence
afterwards, with his constrained letters
to his charming wife, made the worthy
baronet dread the worst.

How delighted were the good Curate and
his daughter at beholding this excellent
man! who advanced, with a sweet cordiality,
to embrace his niece, and whom he
now regarded with the fondest paternal interest.
He was resolved to make her ample C2 3C2v 28
amends for any coldness he might hitherto
have shewn her; and that she should solely
occupy that place in his affections so long
held by his worthless nephew.

One fine autumnal morning, as he was
walking in the romantic and extensive
garden which belonged to the cottage,
he listened with enthusiastic pleasure to
the most exquisite voice which had ever
met his ear: the air it sung was plaintive,
the peculiar harmony of it was wafted with
the morning breeze to the place where he
had seated himself; and Sir Edward, who
was passionately fond of music, listened
with that mute attention which dreaded to
give way, even to his own respiration, lest
it should destroy one melodious note of a
songstress whose warbling seemed almost
celestial.

The voice seemed to proceed from a little
Chinese pavilion near the end of the
garden; Sir Edward rose in order to direct
his steps thither; but a servant coming to
inform him that breakfast was ready, prevented 3C3r 29
him: the servant then turned down
another allée; the voice soon ceased, and
Sir Edward walked slowly to the house;
where he found seated to receive him, at
their morning repast, Mr. Marsham and
his daughter.

“Some spirit of the air surely haunts
your gardens,”
said the baronet, “what
vocal genii preside over the place? the
voice of a seraph seemed to regale my ears
this morning, and appeared to proceed
from the Chinese pavilion.”
Edward smiled,
while Mary blushed deeply; but recovering
herself, she said, “Oh! Sir Edward,
you have lived, I see, too long in a
court; flattery in that hemisphere is natural
to you all, for even Sir Edward Harrington
makes use of the destructive ingredient?”
“How flattery?” replied Sir
Edward
; “what, by saying I thought
your cottage-garden attended by genii?”

“No, no, Sir Edward,” said Mr. Marsham,
“it was my daughter you heard,
she was singing a favourite air which Mr. 3C3v 30
Harrington
taught her; indeed, I believe
the words are his own, though set to an
old tune.”
“Your daughter! why I
found her at the tea-table when I entered.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Marsham, “she came
in, sir, by a nearer way than you did.”

“Dear sir,” said the embarrassed Mary,
“why say any more about it? Sir Edward,
I am sure, must have seen me, and
is now only quizzing me.”
“Pardon me,
my love,”
said Sir Edward, “you know
there is nothing I so much despise as that
fashionable propensity: but, pray tell me,
has your charming voice, with so just an
ear as I find you possess, never had any cultivation?”
“No, sir,” replied Mary,
“my father and uncles little thought I
should ever fill the elevated situation I now
hold, as the wife of Mr. Harrington, and
the acknowledged niece of Sir Edward:
and my husband says I am now too old to
learn.”

A faint blush of indignation tinged the 3C4r 31
cheek of Sir Edward, and he finished his
breakfast in silence.

This displeasure against his once darling
Frederic was by no means lessened at receiving
a letter from a sincere friend, a
gentleman who was then at Cromer, and
between whom and Sir Edward there had
been a friendship existing from their days
of infancy: this friend charged him, if
possible, to withdraw his nephew immediately
from a scene of iniquity and destruction;
he informed the baronet, that he saw
through all the despicable and unmanly artifice
of Major Raymond, with the fascinations
and dangerous principles of Lady
Isabella
; and that the morals and fortune
of Mr. Harrington would be inevitably
ruined by her baneful allurements.

Sir Edward, on the receipt of this afflicting
intelligence, wrote to his nephew
the most kindly expostulating letter, wherein
he made use of every tender and affectionate
persuasion to induce his return to
a wife, who not only loved him with virtuous 3C4v 32
constancy, but who did honour to
his choice: he urged the obligatory necessity
of his breaking those ignominious fetters
by which he was now so completely
and infamously bound; expatiated on the
dreadful crime of indulging the illicit passion
with which he was inspired; but
firmly promised, ere he concluded his letter,
that not one reproachful sentence from
him should reach his ear, if he would instantly
return.

This letter afforded only laughter to him
and the gay partner in his guilt; and, by
her advice, he wrote an answer, saying,
That he was of age to act, in every respect,
as he pleased; that he was quite weary of
the shackles and restraints which an uncle,
who could have no right to act with any
authority, had so long laid upon him;
that he was determined henceforth to act
and think for himself: he had done every
thing in his power to render his wife and
her father independent and happy; and he
was sure the present society of his uncle 3C5r 33
had much added to their felicity, and must
make his own presence more easily dispensed
with: that uncle he should certainly welcome
with the most sincere pleasure; and
for that purpose he should come home as
soon as it was conducive to his health, or
any other reasons which might keep him
where he was; but, that he never would
be restricted; and he must beg to be considered
as totally independent in future,
and at liberty, in every respect, to act as he
pleased.—By the same post, Mary received
a cold and distant letter from her once kind
and tender Frederic. Sir Edward watched
the various emotions of her interesting
countenance as she read it; and “Oh!”
thought he, “thou shalt yet triumph!”

Once he had an idea of taking the worthy
Curate and his daughter, and setting off to
Cromer; “But alas!” thought he, “then
perhaps, this new-made wife, almost yet a
bride, may witness the distracting truth of
her husband’s infidelity! now, in her retirement,
we may succeed in keeping it from C5 3C5v 34
her: I will therefore occupy her thoughts,
and prepare her for that splendid station I
yet hope to see her fill—the happy and
honoured wife of Frederic Harrington.”

Without loss of time, and at that highly
purchased and profuse expence which his
large fortune enabled him to bestow on
her, he sent to London for the most eminent
masters to attend upon Mary; he was resolved,
that on her introduction into the
great city next winter, she should outshine
her criminal rival in the elegance of her
carriage and manners, and also in those
accomplishments to which he knew her divine
voice and wonderfully quick capacity
would impart a brilliancy.

He told not his niece the extent of her
misfortune, but gently hinted to her that
Frederic was a gay young man, too apt to
be swayed by the contagion of modern
manners: “Exert yourself, then, my sweet
niece,”
he would say; “study indefatigably
the shining accomplishments I wish you to
possess: as you are superior in every virtue 3C6r 35
of the mind, so rise, even by trivial accomplishments,
above the vain coquettes and
gaudy flutterers of the present hour; the
heart of your husband may stray, and be
tempted to wander amongst them; but
you will, you shall regain it!”

Mary started. “Fear nothing, my
Mary,”
continued he; “I only tell you,
the world you have just entered is beset
with danger and temptation of every kind,
particularly for our sex; the labyrinths of
fashion are unknown to you; I fear not
that you will lose yourself in them, but I
am not without some portion of anxiety on
my nephew’s account: born and educated
amongst fashion’s votaries, he is become
one of them, and loves the fickle goddess
too well: to you, the wife of his bosom,
the object of his fondest choice, belongs
the glorious task of his reformation. You
must perceive, my dear girl,”
added the
worthy man, while a tear started to his benevolent
eyes, “that the reign of romantic
ardour, short as it has been, is at an end. 3C6v 36
When your husband returns, receive him
with smiling tranquillity; beware equally
of rapture as of reproaches; be yourself; be
mistress of your feelings; shew that cheerful
spirit which is worthy your virtue; a
glorious conquest will be yours! shame,
repentance, and true and lasting reformation
his: and yet, suffer not, my sweet
Mary, while you endeavour to deck your
face with smiles, the worm of anguish to
prey upon your susceptible heart; for I
will venture to answer for Frederic, if you
pursue the line of conduct I have chalked
out for you; shew yourself generous and
forbearing; and if vice and fashion do not
quite corrupt his heart, you will be happier
with him than if he had never erred;
he will never again leave you, nor forsake
you.”

While this excellent man made use of
this honest artifice to encourage the hopes
and elevate the spirits of his niece, it was
he who felt the “worm of anguish!”
Pale, distressed, his fine form wasted to a 3C7r 37
shadowy appearance, the inward state of
his mind can be better fancied than pourtrayed:
he hoped much from Mary, but
he dreaded the wavering principles of his
nephew, to whom he now fancied his former
partiality had been so great as to make
him blind to his imperfections, which he,
with all the self-tormenting pangs of anxiety,
now magnified into a vicious disposition:
but Frederic Harrington was not naturally
wicked; he had excellent principles
and a feeling heart, but he had been
spoilt by the incense of flattery, and the too
evident admiration of the softer sex; while
the gay principles of the present fashionable
world were such, as, while they pleased
his senses, ensnared his heart, by fatally
deluding his sanguine imagination and too
easy temper.

Week after week flitted away, but no
kind husband arrived to the expectant
Mary, who attended to her fashionable accomplishments
with diligent perseverance:
the hope that Sir Edward held out to her 3C7v 38
she easily received; her disposition had
ever been such as to look always on the
fairest side of life’s deluding prospects; and
her unwearied occupations in the day, with
her music, dancing, and singing masters,
studying Italian with Sir Edward, who was
a proficient in the language, and learning
of him, in the evening, every fashionable
game at cards, so employed her, that when
she pressed her pillow an hour before midnight,
her sleep was sweet, sound, and unbroken,
and she awoke, each morning,
more blooming, more lovely in person than
ever.

In the mean time, her sister Margaret
would have been completely weary of the
splendid kind of vassalage in which she
lived with Mrs. Davenport, were it not
that visions of unalterable love occupied
all her thoughts from the deceitful protestations
dealt out to her by the libertine, Sir
Charles Sefton
: he had but lately become
acquainted with the Davenports, and highly
admired the bewitching Mrs. Davenport; 3C8r 39
but the greatest cause of his admiration of
her, was, that she then chanced to be the
fashion, and a most delightful notoriety
was attached to him who could be happy
enough to be her most favourite cicisbeo.

Margaret Marsham, on his entering the
drawing-room, the first evening after she
became an inmate of Mr. Davenport’s
house, trembled and changed countenance,
and was in a state of cruel anxiety, to think
that he was the man whom Mrs. Davenport
had professed to love very much, both
to her waiting-maid and her confidential
friend; for in Mrs. Davenport, Margaret
imagined she had a most formidable rival
to contend with, whose charms, though
very bewitching, were yet much heightened
in the eyes of Margaret by the warm principles
of gratitude which glowed in her
bosom.

Sir Charles fixed his eyes on the poor
little Eglantine grisette; but he again took
them off without addressing her; though 3C8v 40
he resolved from that moment to complete
the ruin of her youthful innocence; for
lovely as was Mrs. Davenport, he had
never felt for her one spark of desire.

He was, indeed, as Mrs. Davenport had
told her friend, grown much handsomer;
and though he was fast approaching to
that state which in so dissipated a being is
generally hastened, and is far beyond
middle age, yet there was a certain air,
which so marked the gentleman, in spite of
his defects, and so pleasing and insinuating
a smile embellished his countenance, when
he wished to appear amiable, that, together
with his fine speeches and pretended
regard, he had really made a conquest
over the silly Margaret, whose desire to
have a lover proceeded more from a vain
and deluded imagination than from natural
constitution.

Her former predilection for Sir Charles
she now found return, with renewed ardour,
on thus unexpectedly meeting him: 3C9r 41
the poisonous effects of romance-reading
had not yet, notwithstanding the variety of
life’s usual scenes she had lately witnessed,
been eradicated from her mind: and she
now, without reflecting how much the
members of the fashionable world unite,
and are found together, thought it a most
wonderful event that the first day of her
arrival in London she should thus, so unlooked
for, behold the object of her regard;
and she felt certain that it was a
sure presage of their being united: but, alas!
he seemed to have forgotten her; and was
the chosen favourite of a lady whom he
appeared to regard with uncommon interest,
and to attend her with the most
pointed gallantry.

She caught a glance at herself in a long
pier-glass; her thick figure appeared slimmer
in mourning, her face was flushed
from agitation, her bugles glittered from
the reflection of numerous wax-lights, and
she fondly imagined, that perhaps she 3C9v 42
was so much altered for the better, that
Sir Charles did not immediately recognise
her, and she was determined, if an opportunity
offered, to address him first.

It had not yet occurred to her, that
perhaps the violent anger of disappointed
love, at her refusing to elope with him
from the masquerade, was the cause of his
pretending not to recollect her.

“Well, I am a careless creature!” said
Mrs. Davenport, with a childish lisp and
giggle; “I forgot, Sir Charles, to introduce
my companion to you: Sir Charles
Sefton
, Miss Marsham, sister to Mrs.
Harrington
.”
Sir Charles Sefton coldly
bowed; while Margaret, with true naïveté,
said, “Oh! ma’am, I have seen Sir Charles
Sefton
very often before.”
“Where?
child,”
said Mrs. Davenport, with quickness,
not unobservant of a deep sigh and
a kind of reproachful love-glance which
the baronet pointed directly to Margaret
as she concluded her artless sentence; who 3C10r 43
immediately explained, saying she had
seen him at the Leslies’, when that family
were at Eglantine.

Love, particularly that illicit affection
which goes by that name, is generally attended
by a damsel in yellow attire, yclept
Jealousy: Mrs. Davenport observed some
stolen glances between the baronet and
Margaret; she appeared, however, not to
notice them, and turning to Sir Charles,
said, “I have invited Mr. Leslie and
Lady Caroline to a rout next week; you
have no objection to meet your old acquaintance,
I suppose: I have never heard
you even mention them; but I intended to
have sent you a card to-morrow.”

“None, in life,” said Sir Charles, colouring;
“I do not visit there now, but
we frequently meet.”

There was a constraint about Sir Charles,
and a kind of mystery this evening, which
did not well please Mrs. Davenport; and
she was out of humour with him, with
herself, and every one else. Sir Charles, 3C10v 44
with a desponding look, after numerous
efforts to restore the lady to her usual
sprightliness, uttered a pointed philippic
against the cruel caprices of the fair; and
darted a most reproachful look at Margaret,
which she well understood, and was
now convinced she had found out the
cause of his former coldness towards her.

The arrival of some gay young men to
supper, who were favourites of Mrs. Davenport,
for that gross incense of flattery
which they continually offered at the shrine
of her beauty, gave Sir Charles an opportunity
of speaking to Margaret apart. She
was so desirous of being re-instated in his
good opinion, and receive again from him
looks of tenderness instead of anger, that
she said to him, “La! Sir Charles, I see
you are angry; but I am sure, when my
sister was taken so ill, I could not act
otherwise than I did on the night of Mr.
Leslie
’s masquerade, though I had consented
to a clandestine marriage with you.”

“Marriage!” repeated the baronet; “marriage! 3C11r 45
my adorable girl? I thought you
had more liberality of sentiment than to
think of that certain destroyer of true and
lasting love: look now at the amiable Mrs.
Davenport
, who married for love; is she
happy? look at Lady Isabella Raymond,
who now detests her husband, and he her.”

“Lady Isabella!” said Margaret; “ah!
where is that dear friend of my heart?
that congenial soul with my own!”
“I
do not know,”
said the baronet; “we have
never met since her marriage; I am told
she is very unhappy; and point me out, if
you can, one married pair that is otherwise.”

“Yes, sir, my sister.”“Is she?” continued
Sir Charles with a sneer; “I much
doubt it: Mr. Harrington is not the man
to make one woman happy long; he was
always a professed libertine, and had he
really loved your sister, he would never
have married her.”
“Dear sir,” said
Margaret, “what but love could make
him marry my sister? she had no fortune,
no accomplishments to entitle her to such 3C11v 46
a match.”
“Nonsense! child,” said Sir
Charles
, “why the man was under the
dominion of a raging fever, quite delirious,
I understand.”
“No, indeed, sir,”
said Margaret, “not when he was married.”
“Married!” echoed Sir Charles,
“how I do hate that odious word! Oh!
my beloved, my angelic Margaret, I love
you with that refined ardour that assures
me I shall love you for ever! and I
could not bear the idea of being obliged
to love you because a priest muttered over
a few vows, which vows are poor indeed, to
those my heart would make to the charms
of your mind and person!”

“How can I write to you, my dear girl?
we are now observed.”
He then turned to
the company, but soon found a second opportunity,
amidst the buz of fashion, to
address the credulous girl, under pretence
of enquiring after some friends in the
country.

“Beware,” said he to her, “of Mrs.
Davenport
; she is of a very suspicious 3C12r 47
disposition; therefore, forgive me, if I am
sometimes obliged apparently to take no
notice of you; be assured, at those very
moments of seeming neglect, my heart
holds sweet communion with yours: tell me
how I can write to you?”

“I fear that will be impossible,” said
Margaret; for she had no friend, or confidante
to whom she could repose so important
a trust; and the licentious baronet
and the romantic girl concluded therefore
only to watch every opportunity which
chance might offer of plighting to each other
their mutual protestations of unalterable
and unrestrained affection.

3C12v 48

Chap. XX.

News From Eglantine.

“The Great O’s and Macs!” Irish Ballad.
“――The sons of pleasure flow Down the loose stream of false, enchanting joy, To swift destruction.――” Thompson.

Mrs. Davenport, now tortured by all
the pangs of jealousy, treated poor Margaret
not only with neglect, but ill-nature:
the unfortunate victim of Sir Charles Sefton’s
arts bore it with Job-like patience,
reflecting on the lot of all the beauteous
and amiable heroines of romance, who
were born to encounter difficulties, be the
sport of fortune, and afflicted sufferers, from 3D1r 49
the caprice of tyrants and jealous friends
converted into foes!

As she sat in her dressing-room one
morning, contemplating on the happiness
of being the ever-cherished and lasting
favourite of the fashionable sultan who admired
her, Mademoiselle Minette (for
Margaret had no peculiar maid to wait on
her, as was at first promised) came to her,
and said, “that one very odd-looking, petite
boule
of a man wanted to speak with
her; and ah! mon dieu,”
continued the
soubrette, “qu’il est roux!” So saying,
she very politely spit on the carpet, and
shrugged her shoulders: “Mais, tenez,
mademoiselle
, de porter has shew him
into de littell anti-room next to de salle à
manger
; dare you vill find him.”

Mademoiselle then, who was completely
equipped in a most elegant and voluptuous
morning costume, hastily descended;
and Margaret, with a fluttering
heart, trembling lest Sir Charles had been
imprudent enough to have hazarded the Vol. III. D 3D1v 50
sending her a letter by some precarious
hand, was some moments in that agitation,
which prevented her from immediately
descending; but summoning all her
resolution, she judged how very imprudent
it was in her to delay, and how much it
behoved her to hasten and snatch from the
herald of her admirer the love-breathing
epistle before any questions might be
asked, or perhaps the amourous effusions
of her devoted knight be perused by
another.

As she passed the door of Mrs. Davenport’s
dressing-room, which stood open,
she beheld, to her amazement, Mademoiselle
Minette
on the staircase, clasped in
the arms of Mr. Davenport, who was
giving her several fervent kisses, while she
impudently threw her arms round his neck,
saying, “Dare, monsieur, dat is de last,
madame is vaiting for me.”

Shocked at what she had seen and
heard, Margaret yet trembled for the repose
of her benefactress, and gently approached 3D2r 51
her door in order to close it, and
while in the good-natured act, Mrs. Davenport
screamed out, “Merciful heaven!
who is shutting my room-door? I am almost
dying with the unusual heat of the
weather!”
then advancing forward, she
added, with the most quiet sang-froid,
Historique. “Come, Davenport, when you can spare
Minette, do send her to me; I am going to
Ackermann’s this morning to choose some
dressing-boxes and a few ornaments, and I
want her attendance.”

“Upon my word, Emily,” replied he,
“I never saw Minette look so pretty in my
life.”
He then laughed, gave her another
kiss; and the astonished Margaret could
not avoid feeling disgust at this licentious
accommodation of modern manners, which
was carried to that unfeeling excess by
Mr. and Mrs. Davenport, as had not only
been unwitnessed by herself, but by every D2 3D2v 52
one else; and was unparalleled in all the
annals of fashion.

A greater surprise, however, succeeded,
and of a very different kind, when she beheld
in the porter’s anti-room, wiping his
face from profuse perspiration, Phelim
O’Gurphy
!

To see at this moment the son of one of
the kings of Ireland filled her bosom with
self-reproach and violent agitations; she
felt that it was now utterly impossible for
her ever again to have the least regard for him,
for all her fondest affections centered in Sir
Charles Sefton
: no, Phelim could no longer
make any impression on her heart, even if
he had then laid a crown and sceptre at her
feet. She fervently wished for his immediate
departure, and broke silence by
speedily asking after the health of her
father and sister.

“Och, and they are all well,” said
Phelim, “and there’s my young mistress
Harrington, to be sure, and hasn’t she
deal of business now? She has masters out 3D3r 53
of number—just as many as three of them,
for music, singing, and dancing: and then
there’s Sir Edward Harrington teaching
her to spake a new kind of language.”

“What, is it German?” said Margaret;
“Och! miss, mayhap it may be, I don’t
know; only I am sure it is not Irish, for
och gramachree, it is not half so sweet by
a third part.”

“But have you no letters for me?”
asked Margaret. “Och! and by the
powers but I have, miss: be so good as
to read that direction, miss, whether that
letter is for you or the lady of the house?”

Margaret was astonished that this scion
of royalty knew not how to read; but imagining
it was only pretension, from fear of
a discovery, and that he was over-acting
his part, she said, “Oh! Phelim, why
this disguise? it is all in vain—”

“Och! by the holy St. Patrick, miss,
and there is no disguise at all, at all: why,
I saw my master direct the letter himself,
with his own hand and pen.”
3D3v 54

One of the letters was directed to Mrs.
Davenport
; and Margaret immediately
hastened with it, upstairs, to that lady’s
dressing-room, and then retired to peruse
her own.

She found therein, that in about a fortnight
her father purposed visiting town,
with letters of recommendation from Sir
Edward Harrington
to the Chancellor, requesting
his favour and patronage to a
most worthy divine, and that he would
bestow on him one of those valuable livings
which were in his immediate gift.
She perceived a kind of depression of
spirits ran through every line of this letter,
and that he appeared by no means elevated
with the fair prospects which awaited him.
He wrote her word also that her uncle
Charles
had been amongst the sick at
Flushing, but was speedily recovering, and
expected shortly to arrive in England.
She shed a few bitter tears; she dreaded
the arrival of this uncle; she had acted
that culpable part which she knew, if discovered, 3D4r 55
he would never forgive; for oh!
the silly and romantic Margaret Marsham
had suffered herself to be dishonoured by a
treacherous and abandoned libertine!

Though her betrayer had triumphed
over her innocence and credulity, yet she
was not an adept in art; vice was a stranger
to her, and she was never likely, with all
her failings, to become depraved: though
her eyes were not yet open to the absurdity
of the opinions she had imbibed from
her dangerous readings, yet, after this, her
fatal error, her sentiments became more refined,
her way of thinking more just, and
even her heart might be said to be better.
Sir Charles had triumphed over all her
scruples, had taught her to consider her
connection with him as virtuous: as yet
she had perceived no change in his affections;
and Sir Charles had really wondered
at himself that she pleased him so long:
but there was a novelty in the amour;
their interviews were short and stolen, and
a kind of mystery attached to the intrigue 3D4v 56
which rendered it out of the common way,
and gave a zest and a variety to his amorous
pursuits.

He told her how requisite it was, at present,
from the eyes of a prying world
(which he rejoiced to find was daily getting
more liberal and enlightened), to conceal
their present state of happiness, and confine
it to their own bosoms: the consciousness
of her deceitful conduct, an innate sense of
the principles of female honour, which she
knew she had violated, now made her heart
sink with shame, and the big tear of unavailing
repentance and regret dropped from
her eye.

Mrs. Davenport’s bell rang, and roused
her to rally and recover her spirits; Margaret
was summoned into her presence. “I
have here a letter from your father, Margaritta,”
said she; “in a fortnight I expect
he will be in town.”
“So he writes
me word, madam,”
said Margaret. “Well,
my dear,”
said Mrs. Davenport, with her
accustomed good-nature, “will you have 3D5r 57
the goodness to answer this letter for me;
make every apology on my part, but tell
him I am obliged to go out, or I would
certainly have done myself the honour of
answering it myself; but be sure you tell
him that I entreat, as does Mr. Davenport
also, that he will make our house his home
during his stay in town: and while you
write your letter, pray see that the young
man who brought these has whatever refreshment
he may wish, and that the larder
and cellar can afford: I love your father,
Margaritta, and oh! how dearly, in my
girlish days, did I love your dear mother!”

Here a sigh of regret stole also from the
bosom of Mrs. Davenport at the recollection
of her days of innocence, for which
fashion, that approximate goddess of vice,
had made her so little amends by the
change; but hurrying reflection from her
mind, as a painful intruder, she dashed off,
in all the morning elegance of modern
taste, in her new carriage to the Repository
of Arts and Fashion
. D5 3D5v 58

A momentary gleam of comfort, when she
saw her depart with smiles beaming upon
her, quieted the mind and conscience of
Margaret, and she hastened to write her
letter to her father; but as she again
descended to desire Phelim to avail himself
of Mrs. Davenport’s kind hospitality, she
beheld the royal Phelim and a stout Hibernian,
who was one of the supporters of
Mrs. Davenport’s sedan, in a firm embrace;
both crying, or almost howling, and speaking
together in a language she could not
understand; but she was sure it was neither
Italian nor German, though no doubt much
sweeter to the ears of the present speakers,
being the ancient language of dear little
Ireland!

This brawny son of Erin, whom Phelim
now embraced, was coarseness and vulgarity
personified; and the very sight of him had
often disgusted the romantic fair-one, who
now looked with wonder on the scene before
her.

But now she was soon convinced of all 3D6r 59
the native low breeding of Phelim, and
that he was no royal or noble lover in disguise;
for turning to her, he exclaimed,
while a broad grin embellished the countenance
of his companion, as he wiped away
the tears with his sleeve, “Och! Miss
Margaret
, and I am sure now, you are so
kind-hearted, that you will be glad to hear
that, who should this be but my own
cousin, who I thought had been drowned
in the Dublin packet, as he came over to
hay-making, when he arrived here about
two summers ago: och! and you did not
do well not to let me know whether you
was dead or alive! Well, what a blessed
day is this! for just stop a little, now,
miss, and be after listening to me a bit: a
young girl named Jenny O’Dunnahough,
sells milk here to my lady’s house, and do
you know that she promised to marry me
when I first saw her at the time I went with
my poor mother to Dublin: och! what a
little bit of a thing was Jenny then! I think
I see her padding barefoot after her mother, 3D6v 60
along Fish-amble-street; och! Paddy
Gallacher
, did not her mother sell the best
Dublin bays A name given by the common people in Ireland to
the herrings caught in Dublin-bay.
in the whole city?”
“By
J---s and she did,”
replied the chairman;
“but make yourself aisy, honey,
and I’ll warrant you Jenny will be glad
enough to keep her word; she did not
come here with the soldiers for nothing;
one of the guards got her to milk the cows
in the park; and now she makes a pretty
penny, let me tell you, by selling milk
about, and puts as much water in it as any
girl in London.”

Phelim did not much like the remembrance
of Jenny O’Dunnahough having
followed the soldiers from Dublin, and was
glad to wave the subject, by accepting the
repeated offer of Margaret to refresh himself;
and repairing to Mr. Davenport’s
plentiful kitchen, made himself ample
amends for the fatigues of his journey. 3D7r 61

Poor Margaret found great relief in the
task Mrs. Davenport had set her, of
answering her father’s letter which he had
addressed to that lady; she would otherwise
have been much at a loss for expressions
to lengthen her own. The sun of innocence
had set never to rise again; and
her now overstrained terms of filial affection,
though regarded by her parent as proceeding
from that romantic enthusiasm
she had ever evinced, were yet very different
from those which formerly filled her letters:
for heaven, when it formed the hearts
of the Marshams, filled them with the
fondest natural affections for the ties of
blood and kindred, which nothing could
eradicate, nor indeed obscure.

But Margaret knew, in spite of all Sir
Charles Sefton
’s sophistry, that she had
acted wrong; she rejoiced when she saw
Phelim, half intoxicated, depart with the
letters; and hastening to her dressing-
room, she indulged her sorrow and inward
anguish in a copious flood of tears. Sir 3D7v 62
Charles Sefton
, however, soon restored
comfort to her mind, who finding out by
his spies that Mr. and Mrs. Davenport
were from home, was ushered, for a golden
bribe, by the convenient Minette into
the apartment of Miss Marsham.

Sir Charles certainly felt some degree of
tenderness for one who, though nature had
been led astray by the delusions of imagination,
was yet a child of nature; artifice and
deceit were by no means the native inhabitants
of her breast, they were as foreign
to her heart as it was repellant to them.

He did not now perceive her red and
swoln eyes without an emotion of pity and
concern; and from his kind soothings and
ardent protestations of unchanging affection,
he soon restored her to that state of
happiness which she thought it impossible
ever again to feel, after the mental anguish
she had experienced in the morning. “Oh!”
thought she, “he often told me, and he
told me true, that his love for me would
increase each day by possession: I am the 3D8r 63
happiest of my sex! and, ah! how delightful
is a connexion like ours, how superior
to the cold restraints of formal marriage!”

Sir Charles had stayed with Margaret
till he heard the clock strike five; he was
yet in his morning dress; and the hair of
Margaret was still en papillotes. The
Leslies were expected in the evening, and
the family were to dine at half past five;
Margaret had not seen them at Mrs. Davenport’s
rout, being confined to her room
by a cold, and she reckoned much on seeing
Lady Caroline that evening, when she
hoped to hear something of Lady Isabella,
her sister, whom she had ever loved, and
to whose principles she had too fondly listened
and adhered;—yet though it took
her more than half an hour always to
adorn herself, for it was now but very seldom
that she could get any one to assist her,
yet she could not forbear intreating the
baronet to stay a little longer: but soon
the thundering peal at the knocker of Mrs.
Davenport
’s door convinced the lovers it 3D8v 64
was time to separate; and put Sir Charles
at his wit’s end to frame an excuse for being
caught there in his morning dishabille
at so late an hour: he, however, endeavoured
to dart to the drawing-room, but
not time enough to prevent his meeting Mrs.
Davenport
, as he descended the last stair
which led from Miss Marsham’s apartment.

“Pray, Sir Charles,” said Mrs. Davenport,
while her face flushed with passion,
“what am I to understand by this? Have
you an intrigue with my chambermaid, or
any one else, upstairs? for as to Miss Marsham,
you have often told me she was too
ugly for any man to think about her, so I
suppose it is not that lady you have just
been visiting.”

Sir Charles stood before the lady, whom
he had often declared the sole divinity to
whom he paid adoration, in deep confusion:
the edge of his beaver was applied to his
lips, and helped to shade a part of his face,
the natural yellow tinge of which was suffused 3D9r 65
by a kind of orange-coloured red,
which imparted that shame to the speaking
eyes he possessed from nature, that Mrs.
Davenport
was now convinced, as she, with
the quickness of thought and recollection,
revolved over with rapidity several concurring
circumstances, which served to
prove to her that Sir Charles had a nymph
in her house which was much dearer to
him than herself, whom he had frequently
styled his matchless Calypso. She, therefore,
rang the bell with violence, and ordered
a servant to let Miss Marsham be informed
that she wanted her instantly in the
drawing-room, and that she must descend,
dressed or undressed.

“I must beg then to take my leave,”
said the wily baronet, “as the lady may
perchance be the latter; oh! thou medicean
goddess, if it was thee in such a guise, I
would stay with all the temerity love inspires,
though all the artillery of earth
and heaven were pointed against me.”

Hold! hold! Sir Charles, said Mrs. 3D9v 66
Davenport
, with a scornful sneer, “explain
this morning visit to my satisfaction,
and then—”
“Why,” interrupted Sir
Charles
, “I called to ask Davenport how
he did; the girl was in the parlour, and
—”
“What girl?” said Mrs. Davenport.
“Why—why, Miss Marsham,”
stammered out the baronet; “and she
teazed me to go and look at her tasteful
dressing-room, as I had once promised her:
it was late, to be sure, when I came—but I
do not think I have spoken five words to
her; I was reading the Morning Post almost
all the time. What do you think of
the brutes Historique. at Covent-Garden Theatre
opposing Jack Kemble and the divine
Catalani?”

“That is nothing to the purpose, Sir
Charles
,”
said Mrs. Davenport; and immediately
poor Margaret entered, with her
hair just combed out, and a dressing-
jacket on: she would fain have retreated at 3D10r 67
sight of Sir Charles, but Mrs. Davenport
immediately stopped her, and said, “Why
you were not in the parlour, I think, when
Sir Charles came, were you?”
“No,
madam.”
“Very well,” said Mrs. Davenport,
darting an angry look at Sir
Charles
, between whom and Margaret she
had so placed herself as to prevent any
intelligent looks. “Go, Margaritta, and
fetch me the Morning Post out of your
room.”
“Madam, if you recollect, you
took it out with you on account of an advertisement
about some laces that were to
be sold.”
“Oh! yes, here it is,” said
Mrs. Davenport, taking it from her “ridicule;”
“and now, sir, you may read about
the brutes at Covent-Garden, while I and
this young lady go to dress ourselves, as
we dine to-day before six: Margaritta,
take care of this gentleman, he has more
art than you, my poor girl.”

Mrs. Davenport had no idea that the baronet
and Margaret were carrying on their
intrigue under her roof, or that she had 3D10v 68
been so long the object of his intended seduction;
but yet she saw she had every
reason, with all her superior beauty and
peculiar loveliness, to be jealous of a girl
whose person would never have been noticed
in her presence, unless to make comparisons
very much to the disadvantage of
Margaret: yet Mrs. Davenport had penetration
enough to see, and knowledge of
the fashionable world enough to know that
variety, in almost any form, is pleasing to
the depraved libertine; and that the uncontaminated
youth of Margaret, and the
simplicity of her character might render
her a formidable rival: she would not,
however, even to her highly-favoured Minette,
impart her ideas that such an object
as Miss Marsham could inspire her with
jealousy; but she was resolved to watch all
her movements herself, and put some scheme
in execution to get rid of such an inmate,
whom she now heartily repented having
taken under her protection.

About ten the Leslies arrived: Mr. Leslie 3D11r 69
thought Margaret much improved in
her person, and expatiated upon the change
in many fashionable compliments. Mr. Davenport
just looked off his cards with that
kind of expression in his countenance which
seemed to say, “Good Heavens! what must she
have been then?”
while Lady Caroline, when
at supper, happening to sit near her, and
having been uncommonly in luck at the
card-table, was in high good humour, and
addressed her with, “Why, Miss Marsham,
you really look divinely! I am sure, Theodore,”
added she, turning towards her
husband, “Miss Marsham’s late lover,
Sir Charles Sefton, must now be completely
captivated: I never saw such an alteration
in my life for the better in any young
person.”

The agitation of Mrs. Davenport, at
discovering that Sir Charles had so long
been an admirer of Margaret’s, almost
caused that lady an hysteric fit, had she
not flattered herself that she perceived in
her Ladyship’s manner a great deal of the
fashionable hoax. 3D11v 70

“Pray, my Lady,” said Margaret, smiling
(for she did not now dread to smile
when she spoke, having had her broken
teeth replaced by a skilful dentist, at the
earnest entreaties of Sir Charles), “permit
me to ask you if you have heard lately
from your charming sister, Lady Isabella
Raymond
?”
“Oh! we very seldom hear
from her,”
replied her ladyship, “but
we often hear of her: Isabel had always
an independent spirit; and wherever she
goes, and whatever she does, she will always
be a pattern of fashionable notoriety:
your brother-in-law, Harrington, is now
her favoured swain.”
“Indeed!” said
Margaret. “Aye,” said the rector, “Isabel
must take care of herself; for if she
is guilty of any indiscretion, all the world
will be acquainted with it, from her known
celebrity.”
“I dare answer for my sister,”
said Lady Caroline, “for I am sure she
would never live with loss of reputation.”

“Why, no,” said Mr. Leslie, “she
holds it as a constant maxim, that our life
is always at our own disposal; and Isabella 3D12r 71
does not damp the joy of the present hour by
any idle notions concerning futurity; which,
by the bye, we none of us know any thing
about. Come, Davenport, pledge me in
a bumper of Madeira, to the delights of
our present existence.”
“Encore! Bravo!”
said Davenport, tossing off two
bumpers, one after the other. Lady Caroline
laughed, and joined in the gay unthinking
toast, saying, “Come, ladies,
follow my example.”
Mrs. Davenport
forced a smile; for even Mrs. Davenport,
with all her fashionable folly, with all the
coldness of her moral character, knew how
dearly to estimate the principles of the
pious curate, Marsham, before those of his
dissipated rector.

“I know,” said Lady Caroline, with
an arch look, “Miss Marsham will not
drink this toast, for she looks forward to
the happy future moments, not of heavenly
bliss, but the earthly joy of being Lady
Sefton
!”
“Oh! no, indeed,” said Margaret,
again smiling; for though she 3D12v 72
would have liked the title, Sir Charles had
succeeded in making her dislike the married
state; and reflecting on her brotherin-law
being now the declared admirer of
another lady than his wife, and contrasting
with such a wedded state her own present
happiness, she cheerfully joined in the
toast.

“Well, I never did see any one so wonderfully
improved,”
said Lady Caroline,
looking quizzically at Margaret’s mouth;
but Mrs. Davenport, who had also many
of her toilette-mysteries, which she wished
to conceal, said, “Dear Lady Caroline, I
see nothing extraordinary, that so very
young a girl as Miss Marsham should improve
in her outward appearance; think of
the advantages she derives from seeing nothing
but fashionable life; and the care
that is taken of her person, which is never
thought of in the country.”

Lady Caroline, who owed very little of
her beauty to the auxiliaries of art, replied,
as she glanced her meaning eyes at the fine 3E1r 73
red and white of Mrs. Davenport’s complexion;
“Undoubtedly you are in the
right; numerous are the aids in London
to set off the person; which, though they
may have found their way into the country
amongst a few who are past the bloom of
life, are scarcely ever practised there by
young ladies, till the town air, and continual
dissipation
, render it indispensable!”

The wit of the ladies began now to border
on satiric invective: the gentlemen had
taken wine sufficient to be captious, but
not enough to be pleased with any thing
and every thing. Lady Caroline’s servants,
and those of other gay visitants, were called;
—amongst this partie en famille, were
Mrs. Benworth and her daughter; the
latter, who had not spoken three words the
whole evening, made herself amends for
her silence as she went home, expatiating
on the false teeth of Miss Marsham, and
how easily they might be known from those
that were natural. The varnished face of
Mrs. Davenport, and her pencilled eyebrows;Vol. III. E 3E1v 74
with the pains she took to shew
her real fine teeth, and the dimple in her
cheek, which Mrs. Davenport was continually
flattered about, and which she herself
thought so bewitching, but which
she, Miss Benworth, looked upon as a
vile defect: Lady Caroline Leslie was certainly
pretty, if she was not so pale; she
wondered she did not use a little rouge, as
it would certainly set off her eyes, which,
though fine, looked rather languid and
hollow. These and other similar remarks
amused the mother and daughter in their
short ride to Berkeley Square, from the
morning hour of three (the time they left
Mrs. Davenport’s house), till a few minutes
after, when they arrived at their own mansion.

3E2r 75

Chap. XXI.

A Manuscript.

“――—Ye fair, Be wisely cautious of your sliding hearts; Dare not th’ infectious sigh, the silent look, Down-cast and low, in meek submission dress’d, But full of guile: let not the fervent tongue, Prompt to deceive, with adulation smooth, Gain on your purpos’d will: nor in the bow’r, Where woodbines flaunt and roses spread a couch, When evening draws her crimson’d curtains round, Trust your soft minutes with betraying man.” Thomson.

The study of politics affording so little
comfort to the mind of Mr. Marsham; and
being no ways interested in the opposition
of the public against the raised prices at
the new theatre of Covent-Garden, with E2 3E2v 76
which accounts the papers were filled, although
he certainly rejoiced at the systematic
loyalty of the populace, as much as
he detested the factious mob which succeeded
after the sitting of the committee:
he left his daughter one morning wholly
occupied with her worthy uncle, who was
attending to the progress of her improvements,
and repaired to the library: he there,
turning over some of the books, without
settling to the study of any one in particular,
found a collection of valuable notes in manuscript,
by the late Miss Seward, which
Mr. Harrington had purchased at a great
price at the sale of that celebrated lady’s
effects after her decease: the hand-writing
was somewhat similar, and brought to his
recollection that of the packet his nephew
had given him the last time he called at
the farm; for Mr. Matthew Marsham had
taken a journey into Suffolk soon after, and
had not yet returned.

Edward had laid the paper in his bureau,
and had forgotten it till the present 3E3r 77
moment; he therefore closed the volume in
his hand, and retiring to his chamber, he
opened the packet and read as follows: “‘To my beloved child Matthew Marsham,
to be perused by him when he
shall have attained his four-and-twentieth
year.
As the hand of sickness is now extended
over my shattered frame, and unavailing
and bitter regret for past errors
lacerates my bleeding heart, and threatens
my prime of life, with rapid and premature
decay, I look forward in imagination
to those years which you, an healthy promising
child, will doubtless, with the
blessing and protection of the Almighty,
attain unto. When you open this paper, my
beloved son, you will have attained your
twenty-fourth year; and when you arrive at
that period, your unfortunate mother will
have long descended to the narrow house
appointed to us all. But that period was
to me the happiest I knew, since the fault 3E3v 78
that plunged me into sorrow, my family
into disgrace, yet made me the happy mother
of a child, who, though so very young
in years, seems rich in sense and every moral
virtue.
At this æra of my life, after seven
years unremitting and implacable anger
from my sole surviving parent—a father!
I received, with a summons to my longforbidden
home, his last blessing and forgiveness:
till then, after my fatal crime,
committed at the inexperienced and thoughtless
age of seventeen, his doors had been
shut against me, and all the ardent pleadings
of a tried and valued friend were in
vain. Oh! my son, had it not been for
that friend, thy mother would have never
lived to have brought thee forth! Sacred,
pure, and heaven-descended affection, female
friendship! why art thou so seldom
found? Yet this celestial plant, though
scarce, always, when of genuine growth,
flourishes fairest amidst the chilling storms
of adversity; then bright it blooms, and 3E4r 79
twines its finest tendrils with healing succour
around the suffering and bursting
heart!
Such to me, when expelled a parent’s
roof, and compelled to buffet against all
the horrors of indigence (for I had solemnly
vowed never to behold your father more),
was Ellen Bradbury. How often has her fine
form knelt before my unrelenting father,
how often has she clung to him, kissed his
feet and bedewed them with her tears; and
been as often spurned from him! Oh!
my son, the retrospect of these sorrowful
moments, when the generous Ellen would
share with me her last guinea, are too
painful to my recollection—I am becoming
incoherent—I must endeavour to preserve
some method in this, the last epistle I shall
most probably write to you; which will
inform you of some events you are yet ignorant
of; and which, as a fond mother’s
bequest and dying intreaty, will be of infinite
importance to you.
When I was about the age of seventeen, 3E4v 80
I was complimented, in the village
where I resided, for possessing much beauty;
and my father being a wealthy farmer,
and I his only child, it was rumoured that
my fortune would be large: this latter
consideration, more than the former, gained
me many suitors in a county remarkable for
its expence, and where fortune is always
sought for, as an appendage to personal
qualifications, however bountiful they
may have been bestowed on the owner. At
this time, a gentleman arrived from London,
who had recently lost his father; and
a valuable farm being attached to his patrimony,
he came down to my father, through
the recommendation of a friend, to receive
from him some instructions in the farming
business, of which he was totally ignorant.
There was nothing ever so repugnant
to my frank disposition as any kind of artifice;
and there was a blunt honesty about
this young man, united with the character
of the true gentleman, which highly pleased 3E5r 81
me: never did I behold so much candour
in a human countenance before; and
indeed his whole person might then be said
to be very handsome.
The man of education, the innate
well-born gentleman, as much surpasses
the rich country farmer which we farmers’
daughters are in the habit of seeing, as a
finished courtier about St. James’s does
an inhabitant of Smithfield or Whitechapel:
I, who had received a boarding-school
education in Queen-Square, and passed the
vacations with a rich relation in London,
could but too easily, with many a degree
of comparison, see the difference between
Mr. Marsham, my father’s pupil, and the
young men who in general visited at our
house. “Our souls soon looked out” from
“their windows, the eyes,” and greeted
each other:—alas! too soon, for my peace
of mind, they found they were congenial.
Oh! let me not dwell on these scenes, which,
though then delightful to my thoughtless
mind, now fill my bosom with shame and E5 3E5v 82
remorse! Suffice it to say, one fatal evening,
lost in the enthusiasm of love, your
mother, with her honour, forfeited for ever
all her self-esteem.
Marsham had the highest ideas of female
delicacy and chastity; I too plainly
saw, that though he had not ceased to love
me, with ardent fondness, yet he no longer
respected me—how should he? I despised
myself.
He prepared to depart; and I really
think he could not support the idea of calling
that woman his wife, who had not
possessed sufficient command over herself
to repel his persuasions: he appeared to labour
to express himself; a weight seemed
pressing on his heart, from which I, with
a bosom torn by anguish, relieved him:
“We have given way, Marsham,” said I
to him, “to the indulgence of our mutual
passion, and I well know that I am
despicable in your eyes; so hateful am I in
my own, that I should now blush to hail
you by the title of husband—we part, never 3E6r 83
to meet again!”
“No, no, my beloved
girl!”
said he, tenderly embracing
me; “I know it is true that your father
has higher views for you, for he has made
me his confident; but I am willing instantly
to carry you off and marry you privately,
if you will risk the possibility of his forgiveness
when the deed is done.”
There
was a coldness in this constrained offer I
could not bear, and I said, “No, Mr.
Marsham
, as I never will carry deceit to
the arms of any other man, so my true affection
for you shall never give indiscretion
and female instability to yours—we
part—for ever!—I am fixed—”
“Oh!
as to that,”
said your father, and as I then
fancied, with a kind of contempt, “what
has passed between us, my dear Jane, need
never be known; and the gentleman your
father has chosen for you is very wealthy,
young, and by no means disagreeable; I
think the best you can do is to comply
with his wishes, and let us endeavour to forget
each other.”
—Oh! man! man!—Ah! 3E6v 84
my son, retrieve the honour of thy sex! be
not like thy father in that one instance; and
while thou art cautious of betraying, never
desert the innocence that may chance
to trust in thee!
What became of your father at that
moment I knew not, I saw no more of
him; the severe agonies of my mind caused
me a fainting fit; and on my recovery, I
found myself lying on my bed, and the village
apothecary, the very sight of whom I
detested, standing by me: this man was a
vulgar, gossiping being, who went tattling
from house to house, and made himself
welcome at many, by retailing all the
scandal he could pick up.
It seems I had fainted in the parlour,
and that Mr. Marsham had ran out,
alarmed, to call assistance; I was laid on
my bed, restored by volatiles, and, as I kept
my room the next day, I saw your father no
more, who departed in the evening. In a
few weeks I became extremely ill, and
though I knew but too well the nature of 3E7r 85
my complaint, and made myself appear as
well as I could, yet my father would insist
upon sending for this hateful apothecary;
poor Ellen, whom on the discovery of my
pregnancy I had made my confidante, was
then in the room alone with me. “Ha!
ha! Miss Mathews,”
said he, with a malicious
grin, as he felt my pulse, “why
Miss—merciful heaven! why you are
with—”
“Oh! sir,” said the almost
fainting Ellen, interrupting him before he
had finished his sentence, “indeed, sir,
you are wrong.”
“Wrong, in what?
Miss Bradbury,”
said he, “why you
would not let me finish what I had to declare;
but in plain terms, we will leave
out the with, your friend, Miss Mathews,
is about four months advanced in a state of
pregnancy! she best knows by whom.”

“And here,” said I, franticly, as I fell on
my knees, I solemnly vow, in the face of
heaven, no one but the father shall ever
know by whom.”
I then whispered Ellen
to take the same rash oath; then, with 3E7v 86
equal agitation, I turned to the doctor, saying,
“Oh! sir, spare my reputation; save,
oh! save me from the wrath of a parent;”

and taking my purse, containing ten guineas
and some loose silver, I put it into his
ready-opening hand, and said, “Oh! dear
sir, accept this trifle from a grateful heart,
and I will do much more for you, you
shall not find me ungrateful.”
“Oh!
no,”
said Ellen, “spare but my friend, be
secret, and here, dear doctor.”
She then
gave him her little stock, consisting of
about three guineas; and as he took the
money, he said, “Do you think I would
not perform a good-natured action without
fee or reward? however, I will accept
these proofs of your generosity, and be only
your banker; you may want this, if your
father is unrelenting.”
Surely, thought I, I have been mistaken
in this man; he promises to be my
friend, should my transgression reach the
ears of my parent. I kissed his hands, I
blessed the wretch who was meditating my 3E8r 87
instant ruin; for the first thing he did,
after he had quitted me, was to hasten to
my father and inform him of the situation
I was in; who no sooner heard it, than,
without mercy, without listening for one
instant to my cries and intreaties, turned
me immediately out of doors, without
money, or any other clothes than those I at
that wretched minute wore.
The Misses Bradbury were without
father or mother; but Ellen was under the
charge of a sister near eighteen years older
than herself: she was still a very beautiful
woman, and possessed much liberality of
mind and sentiment; but, to guard her
pretty young sister, she affected more rigidity
of manners than were natural to her
real disposition, which I have been since
told was always uncommonly gay and
lively; but she was, at that time, yet of an
age not to escape censure, with her very
fine person, had she not been uncommonly
prudent and rather reserved.
Ellen was afraid to say much to her on 3E8v 88
my account, as she happened then not to be
greatly in her sister’s good graces, having
formed an attachment which Miss Bradbury
thought very imprudent in a girl
who had very little fortune of her own.
This predilection of Ellen’s was very
strong towards a young clergyman of the
name of Ringwood; who had nothing but
a small curacy for his support: the ardent
love however that he felt for the lovely
Ellen, obscured his reason; and, without
reflecting on the indigence to which he
might reduce the object of his affections,
he was continually urging her to a private
marriage: to this Ellen would by no
means consent, fearful of giving offence to
her amiable sister, whom she tenderly
loved.
This sweet pattern of friendship, my
dear Ellen, whose small fortune was in the
hands of her sister till she should come of
age (and Miss Bradbury had been left a
very handsome independency by her godmother),
affected to stand in want of some 3E9r 89
trifles for the approaching winter, and borrowed
five guineas of her guardian sister;
these she presented me; and I took an humble
lodging, anxiously awaiting the time of
my delivery, while she continually essayed,
but all in vain, to melt the obdurate heart of
my father in my favour. My generous friend
suffered me not to want the common necessaries
of life; but this was all she could
do for me; alas! I had been used to its
luxuries.
In the mean time I found it impossible
to subsist, and pay my rent with the little
succour my poor friend could afford me;
and my inhuman landlady, observing the
state of my finances, told me her character
was dear to her, and she could have no
young lady’s bastards brought forth, indeed,
in her house! while various conjectures
sprang up in the village about the
father of my child, whom I was resolved to
conceal, and that from the tenderest concern
for his safety: not that my father was
a violent man, or one likely to resort to 3E9v 90
sword or pistol, as means of vengeance:
he was also very infirm; but he might
have recourse to law: he might even
compel my seducer, as he would call him,
to marry me: horrid thought! that Marsham,
whose love of me and my refined way
of thinking, wishing to be only free and
spontaneous, and that his mind and heart
should be mine, and mine alone, should be
compelled to do me justice, by marrying
me! I should have been even sorry that my
forlorn and abandoned state had caused
him, from kind compassion, to have become
my husband; for, “Could it bring me peace, or heal my shame, That pity gave, what love refus’d to share?”
However, this vow of Ellen’s and
mine caused Miss Bradbury to set her face
against me; for it was confidently reported
that the father of my child was
one of the lowest labourers about my father’s
farm; he was uncommonly handsome
for such a sort of man, but he was vulgarity
itself: I had often remarked to several 3E10r 91
people how handsome he was, and particularly
to Miss Bradbury: and one night,
as we were unseen spectators of an harvest
supper amongst the labourers, this unfortunate
man was called upon to drink the
health of the prettiest girl in the village
that he knew: he immediately swore a
great oath, that there was not such a pretty
girl in the whole world as his young mistress,
and added, with all the coarseness
natural to such a being, “Ecod! I know
she’s as dainty a lass as ever a man would
wish to kiss.”
The apothecary and his
wife, with Miss Bradbury, stood next me,
where we were peeping at the jovial crew.
“There’s a conquest, Miss Matthews,”
said they; and I, like a silly girl, blushed
and motioned immediately to withdraw;
but it was more from the enraptured and
love-darting eyes of your father, who stood
on the other side of me, than from the admiration
of the clown.
The apothecary, however, during my
pregnancy, threw out his inuendos that 3E10v 92
there was little doubt about the father; especially,
by my determining to conceal
him. “No doubt,” Miss Bradbury said,
“but I was ashamed of such a vulgar
amour; she did not think my taste could
have been so grovelling; and though she
was very willing to grant every indulgence
and forgiveness to those who went astray,
yet she could not endure a woman, who
had shewn herself so sensual, and made the
first advances; which must have been the
case indeed in the present instance.”
My
father soon took care to get the poor fellow
pressed and sent to sea; without daring to
risk the knowledge of so fatal a truth, by
asking the unhappy wretch any questions.
How much ought my sex to take
warning from an error like mine! they may
assure themselves that the calumny which
attacks an imprudent female increases her
fault to tenfold its imagined enormity, by
the malevolence of that sting which her
own guilty conduct has provoked and
barbed against her. 3E11r 93
Poor Ellen, as a last resource, flew to
the apothecary. “You said,” urged she,
sobbing, “you said you would only consider
yourself as our banker, or rather, as
the banker of Miss Matthews;—the ten
guineas
, or half of them, will now be of infinite
service to her,—she perishes!—her
time draws nigh, and what will become of
her? I have had so much money of my
sister lately, that she reproves me for my
extravagance, and I dare not ask her for
more.”
“Me her banker?” said the cruel wretch,
“to such a shameless, abandoned, young
woman, who has seduced a poor ignorant
fellow, and has now been the cause of banishing
him from his country.”
“Oh!
indeed,”
said my faithful Ellen, “he is
not the father of that child which my
dearest friend expects every day to usher
into this world of sorrow and misery. Do
not deny her a part of what she so generously
gave you.”
“I’ll tell you what,
Miss Ellen,”
said he, “if you are sure that 3E11v 94
Tom Smith is not the father of that child,
you surely know who is; and as perhaps
the discovery might do something in reconciling
her father to her, tell me who it is,
or go out of my house this instant.”

“Sir,” said she, “I will obey you, and
leave you to the bitter reproaches of your
own sordid mind: I do not know who is
the father; but I know my friend so well,
that I am convinced she never would submit
to the embraces of a low, untaught and
vulgar man, one from the very dregs of society.”
He gave an impudent laugh in
her face, and made use of terms that would
only sully my pen to transcribe. She returned
to me, with a countenance on which
sat despair, without the smallest illumination
of hope. “My dear Jane,” said she, “suffer
me to tell your father this dreadful
secret.”
“Oh! never,” replied I, “both
my vow and yours are registered in heaven:
never, never must we break it. No, Marsham,
no; thou hast abandoned me to
want, shame, and infamy: of all this thou 3E12r 95
art ignorant; and never will I endanger
thee, or impair thy moderate fortune.”

“Suffer me,” said the charming girl,
“to write to him, and inform him of your
situation.”
I told her, that if she attempted
such a thing, she must forfeit my
friendship and esteem for ever: at the
same time, I assured her, that when the
time arrived that I could with certainty
inform him he was the father of a living
child, I would write to him myself and let
him know the event.
What now shocked me most of all
was, that the character of my Ellen began
to suffer, from her known and constant attachment
to my worthless self: even her
Ringwood began to treat her with some
degree of coldness, and requested her one
day to break off her connection with me;
she answered him to the following purpose.
“My dear Ringwood, you have frequently
asked me to wed you privately; I
have as often protested against it; you have 3E12v 96
told me that you had friends in the commons,
willing and able to grant you a special
licence whenever you applied: should
I take this rash step, my amiable sister,
much more frank-hearted and good-humoured
than she outwardly appears, would
forgive me, notwithstanding the invalidity
of our marriage, from my being not
quite of age. Now, Ringwood, I have
often refused to grant you your strenuously
urged request; I now, perhaps undergoing
the mortification of being refused,
offer myself to you.”
The enraptured lover knew not how
to express his grateful thanks and acquiescence:
“But hold,” said Ellen, “it is
on one condition alone I am yours. My
unfortunate friend, Miss Matthews, must
become a part of our family; she must
share, equally with us, our scanty fortunes,
and find an asylum under the roof of our
humble cottage, for herself and her babe.”

Ringwood appeared embarrassed: “You
hesitate,”
added she; “if you refuse, I 3F1r 97
never will be yours.”
“Retract that
heart-rending sentence, my adored Ellen,”

said he, “I will ever be the friend of your
friend; and under our roof she shall find
protection, and every comfort in my power
to bestow.”
This generous scheme, however,
I never would consent to, as it might
perhaps injure the young man in his ecclesiastical
promotion; but I acted a deceptive
part, and affected to accede to his liberal
offers. During the delays always attendant
on these stolen weddings, you, my
beloved son, made your appearance, in a
wretched hovel, where a woman who had
formerly worked on our farm, permitted
me to lye in: it was there, my child, you
first drew your vital existence.
Had you been of my own sex, it is
most probable I should never have given
your father any intimation of your birth;
but I wished my son to be educated as a
gentleman, and to feel the protection of a
father. I informed him therefore, that
though I wished to have no farther claim Vol. III. F 3F1v 98
upon him myself, yet now a dearer claim
called upon him and his parental feelings.
I forbore to say any thing of my indigent
state; only told him, as my father would
never see the child or me, whom he could
not forgive, I requested him as a father,
and as a man, to attend to his education,
and let his boy be placed in some situation
which might not be a discredit either to
his parents or himself. He sent me a handsome
remittance; requesting, as I was so
young a mother, you might be put out to
nurse: I complied with his request, and
repaired to my dear friend, Mrs. Ringwood,
who, with her worthy husband, often accompanied
me in my frequent visits to
you.
At the age of five years old your father
placed you at a boarding-school, not
many miles from where I resided; whither
he frequently went down to see you, and
as I was informed, absolutely doted on
you. I was cautious of meeting with this
destroyer of my peace, and frequently intreated 3F2r 99
of my beloved Mrs. Ringwood to
feign that I was actually dead: she always
replied, “Wait till your son may be sent
farther from you; for I have been informed
that Mr. Marsham, when he is arrived at
a proper age, means to send him to a public
school, or place him as an apprentice to an
eminent surgeon, a genteel profession,
and for which he himself had been destined
by his late father.”
Ah! my son, when you had entered
your eighth year, your father sent you to a
respectable academy near London, and for
some years I saw you no more! Eventful
epocha of my life! your grandfather then
lay on the bed of death; he sent for me,
embraced me, and gave me entire forgiveness.
On opening his will, I found myself
the sole heiress to his immense wealth,
with a fortune in the hands of an eminent
banker amounting to twenty thousand
pounds
; but thus restricted, that by no
means should I leave you one shilling of it, F2 3F2v 100
until you attained your twenty-fourth year:
that day, that I obtained my parents’ forgiveness,
was my birth-day: I just became
that age; the lawyer sat by his bedside,
penning the will; and he said to me, in a
low voice, “Miss Matthews, it is well
known, that illegitimate children have no
right to any name but that of their mother:
your father is not well pleased, that though
you have had the modesty not to call your
son by your own name, yet that you should
think of giving him one of a long-valued
friend: cannot you change it, and adopt
some other?”
My heart rose to my lips, I
was about to break my vow, and tell them
of your father; but then, joy at the assurance
that my parent had no suspicion of
my Marsham; terror, lest violent anger
on the discovery might not only injure
him on his bed of death, but also him I
could never cease to love, and his still more
dearly beloved offspring, made me check
myself; and as your father had desired you
might bear his name, I said, “Sir, the 3F3r 101
name pleased me: old Mr. Marsham was
my godfather; I esteem the character of
his family though unknown to me, and I do
them no injury by adopting a name which
is common in England; nor can I think of
changing it, as my son has been known by
it for seven years.”
He said no more, but
continued his writing.
In this will, I found I was strictly forbade
to marry your father, whoever he
might be: this filled my eyes with tears of
anguish and indignation, because it convinced
me that my father had died in full
belief that you was the child of Thomas
Smith
. Beware, my son, oh! beware of
making rash vows; they argue a temerity
in us wretched children of the dust, which
mars the plan of our creation; poor, helpless,
dependent beings in that great scale;
unable of ourselves, to say what shall be
the event of the next moment.
Without hesitation, I gave the house,
the farm, and all its lands, to my dear
respected friends, the Ringwoods; with 3F3v 102
liberty, at their deaths, to bequeathe them
to whomsoever they might please to make
their heirs. I only requested in return,
that Ellen would write to your father, that
I was no more; and you was told the same,
until I should be able to entrust you with
the secret.
The health of my dear Mrs. Ringwood
had been sadly declining since the
birth of her little girl: she is four years
younger than yourself; from an infant,
she promised to be a pattern of female loveliness,
and was the perfect resemblance of
her angelic mother.
I was informed your father bore the
news of my death not without being tenderly
affected for me, but with that resignation
and philosophy which shewed his
love towards me had never equalled mine
for him: no, it was rather the fugitive
impression made on a man possessing all
the ardour of youth, by a young creature in
her first bloom, and whose person had the
universal reputation of being beautiful. 3F4r 103
But how delightfully was I compensated,
in hearing the deep affliction which
my supposed death gave to your yet infantine
mind!
At the time you was about nine years
old, I lost my inestimable Ellen; and her
husband, whose love for her increased, as
each day passed over their heads, expired
in less than a twelvemonth after, leaving
their only daughter solely dependent on
Miss Bradbury, to whom they bequeathed
all that I had given them. Miss Bradbury
adopted the Mrs. to her maiden name,
and with her niece removed into Essex.
I had at this time retired into Devonshire,
where I passed, under a feigned name, for a
widow; and no one but my banker, in
whose hands I placed my fortune, knew
that Jane Matthews was yet living: you
recollect this worthy man accompanying
me, when with sweet filial fondness you
witnessed, with overflowing joy, my resuscitation;
you was then an apprentice, at
the age of fourteen. 3F4v 104
Finding my health gradually decaying,
and the approach of death sensibly
near, I made my will; I learned, with
much satisfaction, your father’s intention
of providing for you by a genteel profession,
knowing well that I could leave you
independent of it.
As you will, no doubt, receive also
some other advantages from a father, who
evinces much affection for you, I have bequeathed,
in my will, ten thousand pounds
of the twenty yet in my banker’s hands, to
Lucy Ringwood, the daughter of the first
among female friends, and a worthy divine,
Ellen and Percival Ringwood; all this
you will find explained and enlarged upon
in my last will and testament, now in the
hands of Mr. Molesworth, attorney at
law, residing in the village of Freelingham,
where you was born, in the parish of
St. John’s
, county of Suffolk. I am told
that Lucy Ringwood promises to possess
all that fascination so pleasing to your sex
in ours, and which peculiarized her 3F5r 105
lovely mother. Let me warn you, my beloved
Matthew, against the easy lapse of
the heart, in the season of youth: reflect,
that you can never espouse Lucy Ringwood,
after my bequest to her, without an
appearance of that sordid interest which
would desire to obtain the whole of your
mother’s property: I look upon you both
as my children; love her like a kind brother
no more. I have equally divided
my fortune between ye; but it must be seperately,
or it is no longer gratitude on
my part towards her valued mother, who
succoured me when I had not a shilling.
Oh! no, if Lucy Ringwood and you were
united in marriage, it would be only a desire
for it to descend to my children’s
children. Beware! ah! beware of her attractions;
shew yourself uninterested, in
every respect, when you present her, from
me, with an independent fortune.
An humble green turf will cover the
remains of your mother, on the left hand,
and close to the stately monument she F5 3F5v 106
erected over your grandfather: kneeling on
that rustic grave, there breathe a promise
(and your mother’s spirit will rest in peace,)
and no admiration of Lucy Ringwood’s
person may tempt you to express a wish,
that she should bestow herself (for with
herself her fortune must be bestowed) on
you. Yet, ah! take warning by your unhappy
mother, and make no solemn vow!
promise only to obey her to the utmost of
your power: all vows are rash; for when
made, they must be strictly kept; for oh!
what sin can exceed that of perjury. “We
know not what to-morrow may bring
forth;”
nor what is hidden in the secret
abysses of time: from my religious observance
of a solemn vow, I have suffered ignominy,
shame and reproach! Blessed be
the Almighty for the paternal instinct he
implants in our bosoms; and that your
father, in spite of all the calumny that assailed
me, knew it was his own child which
he clasped to his fond heart! The sweetest
satisfaction I ever knew, since my days of 3F6r 107
sorrow, was in once hearing that your father
declared, that “in many instances, he
never knew a mind so great as mine; that
I might once err; but that my soul was too
naturally virtuous, ever to repeat my error.”
I hope he was not deceived in me;
but oh! when he thought me thus excellent,
why not joyfully pass his life in honourable
marriage with such a woman?
Yet this, his last expression concerning
me which ever reached my ears, gives
comfort to the last hours of my life, and I
die most happy! Visit then the grave of
your mother, and think of her last request!
She releases you from the promise, but
think, oh think! of her dying wishes; oh!
my son, they centre all in thy happiness and
honour. May thy fair tree of manhood be
rich in those fruits of integrity, humanity
and goodness, for which the blossoms of
thy youth bid so fair! Beware of deception,
beware the influence of the passions:
marry the object of your fond 3F6v 108
choice, and lead a life of respected honour;
but be ever cautious of carrying misery and
regret into a family, by the indulgence of
inclination, or the too easy yieldings of female
youth and inexperience: be assured,
in the circles of life in which I have moved,
and in those which you will most probably
fill, man is the first aggressor, and on that
superior sex much depends the morality of
every class of life.
The hand that writes this will have
perished in the silent grave long before
you attain the period of discretion, marked
out by my father, to put you in possession
of your inheritance: lay the last
words of your earthly parent to your heart,
and be assured that by practising virtue,
and doing to every one as you would wish
them to act towards you, you will ensure
the favour of your Heavenly Father.
Farewell, Jane Matthews.’”

3F7r 109

(At the bottom was recently written, in
Matthew Marsham’s own hand-writing;
“My dear Mother departed this life,
--03-23March 23d, in the third year of my apprenticeship.)”

3F7v 110

Chap. XXII.

Prior Attachment.

“Eh! le vœu le plus libre et le plus volontaire, Devant Dieu qui prevoit tout, peut sembler témeraire.” La Harpe.
“――Hence venal love! Love, that is slave to gold, is such a monster, So senseless quite, and so abominable, As the earth breeds not, nor the ocean holds In his dark caverns.――” Aminta of Tasso.

Scarcely had Edward finished perusing
the affecting tale of sorrow which had
been penned during a last, lingering illness,
by the once beautiful Miss Matthews, when
a note was brought him from his nephew,
informing him he was just arrived from 3F8r 111
Suffolk, and requesting to see him at the
farm.

He had again resumed his deep mourning
habit, which before had become more
slight, since the months that had elapsed
after his father’s decease; and on his face
sat a settled grief, which did not agree with
that of the possessor of a handsome independent
fortune: but how little happiness
that capricious goddess can bestow, even
when she pours her wealth in abundance
into the lap of mortals, the lacerated mind
and anguished heart, sighing under the
garb of gorgeous pomp, can too well
evince.

Edward was grieved to see this change
in so young a man; and in one whose hilarity
and correctly tempered, equal cheerfulness,
and flow of spirits, added to all
that amiability he, in every degree, so
eminently possessed.

Unable to restrain the big tear from starting
into his manly eyes, he grasped the
hand of Mr. Marsham, and giving him a 3F8v 112
sealed parchment, he said, “This I found
sealed, and inclosed in my mother’s will,
addressed to Mrs. Susanna Bradbury; be
pleased yourself to deliver it into her hands,
and also this letter to Miss Ringwood,
whom I am resolved, let the sacrifice cost
me whatever it may, never to behold
again.”

Edward, revolving over many circumstances
in his mind, and seeing in an instant
that, by some means hitherto unknown,
an attachment between these young
people had existed prior to the mandate
of the dying Miss Matthews; with a pallid
countenance and a tremulous voice, he
said, “My dear Matthew, I hope you
have bound yourself by no rash vow as
you knelt on the grave of your mother?”

“No,” replied he, “that was one of her
last requests; but ought not the other wish
of such a mother to be as sacredly fulfilled
as if I had taken the most solemn and
binding oath? to me, her wish is as obligatory.”
3F9r 113

He then without farther comment informed
his Uncle of his attachment to Miss Ringwood,
and which we, for brevity’s sake,
will give the reader in simple narration.

When Matthew Marsham returned from
the West Indies, he became a temporary
resident in London; and at the house of a
gentleman and lady, with whom he had
been very intimate, before he visited the
Occidental Islands, he met with Lucy
Ringwood
, who was there on a visit for
several weeks. He was desired to consider
this house as his home during his stay in
the metropolis; and thus two amiable
young people became inmates under the
same roof.

That wonder of literature, which Litchfield
had the honour of producing, has
asserted, and with much truth, that it is
next to an impossibility for two people of a
different sex, particularly if in the season of
youth, to reside for any time together without
experiencing for each other a tender
sentiment. Can it then be wondered at, 3F9v 114
if two young people, so eminently gifted
with the fascinating powers of pleasing as
were Matthew Marsham and Lucy Ringwood,
should form that fond attachment
which was to mark the colour of their future
lives? This, in many a solitary moment,
in many a pleasurable excursion,
became known to each other: mutual faith
was plighted!—from Lucy, totally dependent
on a rich aunt, to marry no one else
than Matthew Marsham, or for ever wear
the willow;—from him, a solemn promise
and fixed resolution to ask her in marriage
of that aunt, whenever a comfortable and
easy independence should put it in his
power to offer her, with his hand and heart,
a fortune in some degree worthy of her.
A private correspondence was agreed upon,
and the virtuous and honourable principles
of Matthew Marsham elevated him each
hour in the esteem of his admired fair-one.
Lucy, the very counterpart of her amiable
mother, had a soul superior even to her
personal attractions, which were captivating 3F10r 115
in the extreme; each day brought increased
affection for her to the breast of
Matthew, who loved with all that tender
and unbounded, though refined, ardour
natural to such a mind as his.

By her appointment he attended as a
minstrel at Mr. Leslie’s masquerade, and
there it may well be imagined the variety
of emotions he underwent; he beheld before
him his father, and all his paternal
kindred, who knew not at that time they
had such a relative as himself in existence;
he longed to throw himself at his father’s
feet, and receive his paternal blessings and
embrace—and various feelings so agitated
his heart, that, though fondly returned
love was the most predominant, yet he was
obliged to hasten sooner than he desired
from the festive scene.

Lucy Ringwood, at this time, was assailed
by an host of suitors; of some her
aunt approved, who much wished to see
her well and respectably married, before
she herself was gathered to her ancestors: 3F10v 116
Matthew Marsham, among the rest, might
not, perhaps, have applied in vain, had he
been wealthier, and not dependent on his
profession for support; for Mrs. Susan had
been fully convinced by her late sister,
though yet ignorant whose child he was,
that he was not the son of the man who
was generally suspected; for Ellen had
at length, told her that she knew, but was
under a solemn oath not to divulge it; at
the same time, she could take another equally
solemn, that he was not the son of Thomas
Smith
: as to the name of Marsham,
that had never struck Mrs. Susan, as the
only time she ever saw Ralph was at the
harvest-supper, and the Miss Bradburys
shortly after took a journey to London,
where they stayed till after Mr. Marsham
had quitted the house of Mr. Matthews;
and in fact, if she had heard his name, she
had entirely forgotten it.

Lucy, the cherished, and almost spoiled
child of her kind aunt, affected now an
etourderie and caprice, by no means natural 3F11r 117
to her excellent character; which made
her lovers fall off, one after the other, to
the astonishment of every one, and to the
branding of her own conduct, as giddy,
trifling, and inconsistent.

When Matthew came to take possession
of his inheritance, how surprised was his
Lucy, and how overjoyed to find that he
stood in something of a relationship to the
dearest friend of her heart, Mrs. Harrington.

Mrs. Susanna Bradbury, when Edward,
who had no secrets from her, imparted to
her the clause in his late brother’s will,
took no notice of having known him before.
Ellen had rather offended the jealousy
of sisterly affection, in hazarding her
resentment, and giving up every thing to
the enthusiastic dictates of the female friendship
of early youth: she, therefore, always
desirous of feeling that gay and cheerful
disposition so natural to her, and which
she could now evince without censure, sedulously
drove from her remembrance 3F11v 118
every thing likely to give her pain; and
never suffered her tongue to utter the sorrows
of days gone by, nor her mind to
dwell on the retrospect of aught that had
given a cloud to the natural bright cheerfulness
of her benevolent mind: and as
she was much altered in person, and had
not seen Matthew since he was quite a
child, they met as perfect strangers to each
other.

Edward Marsham acquitted himself
now of the unpleasant office his nephew
had assigned him: he found Mrs. Susanna
and her lovely niece seated at work, in their
little summer parlour: the first words
from Mrs. Susan, after the usual salutations
were over, were, “Pray, is Mr.
Matthew Marsham
yet returned?”
while a
deep blush crimsoned the cheeks of Lucy,
and the sparkle of love added new lustre to
her intelligent eye; when the Curate replied
in the affirmative.

But how soon is the cup of bliss dashed 3F12r 119
from the lip of mortality, as it hastens to
sip its palatable ingredients! Edward said,
“My visit to you, ladies, this morning, is
on his account.”
And unable, from his own
emotions to say more, with an air of solemnity,
delivered the letter to Lucy, and the
parchment to her aunt.

Mrs. Susan put on her spectacles and
prepared to break the seals; she thought
nothing particular—the Curate was not a
man of many words; but a smile generally
lighted up his countenance when he was
addressing the young and innocent, and the
agitation which the freezing gravity of his
present demeanour imparted to the mind
of Lucy, made her move to withdraw.
“Read it here, my good girl,” said Edward,
in a tender and compassionate accent,
which made Lucy tremble as she
broke the sombre seal; it represented
Cupid weeping over two hearts, divided by
a bar, and encircled by a motto—“Divided
by duty.”
But when her eye
glanced over the few lines wherein her 3F12v 120
Matthew took a last, though a tender and
affectionate farewell, it was too much for
her nature to support; she gave a faint
shriek, and fell senseless on the floor.

Mrs. Susan, all terror and dismay, summoned
the servants, and with the assistance
of volatiles, they soon brought the
unhappy girl to an awakened sense of her
wretched situation. Mrs. Susan, to rally
her spirits, affected a gaiety she then by
no means felt: “Here’s a pretty business
indeed,”
said she; “why you do not know
the good fortune I have got here for you
in this little bit of parchment: many a
poor girl would almost lose her senses with
joy; but I hope you will recover your
spirits, when I tell you that you are here
bequeathed an independent fortune of ten
thousand pounds
!”
“Oh! rather,” replied
Lucy, not knowing what she said,
“rather give me poverty with him, the most
generous of men: he finds me rich, and
he thinks himself unworthy of me!”

“What does all this mean?” said Mrs. 3G1r 121
Susan
, taking up the letter which her
niece had dropped; and as she read it, a
little displeasure appeared seated on her
placid brow; not that she disapproved the
worthy object on whom her beloved Lucy
had placed her affections; but the term,
“our long attachment,” in the letter,
proved that a clandestine correspondence
had been carried on, by a niece who was
indulged in all her wishes, always encouraged
to place unlimited confidence in her
kind aunt, and whom that aunt had imagined
artlessness itself.

Taking off her spectacles, she said, with
much gravity, “However, Miss Ringwood,
a clause in this codicil will shew
you that an union with Mr. Matthew
Marsham
is forbidden you; and, of course,
whatever affliction it may give you, will be
impracticable.”
She then read as follows,
after resuming her optical glasses.

“I wrote my restricting and ardent
wishes to my son, Matthew Marsham, that
honour and generosity might never make Vol. III. G 3G1v 122
him aspire to an union with Lucy Ringwood:
as we cannot foresee future events,
I think it best thus to prevent a marriage
which I wish, on account of the above-mentioned
noble principles, never to take place.
To prevent, therefore, the whole of the sum
of twenty thousand pounds sterling ever
coming again into the hands of my son, the
said Matthew Marsham, this bequest of
ten thousand pounds, being the half of all
the fortune I leave in ready money, devolves
only to Lucy Ringwood on condition
that she never marries the said Matthew
Marsham
, my son. If such an unlooked-for
union ever should take place,
the ten thousand pounds devolves to her
aunt, Susanna Bradbury, and at her death to
go to John Besborough, banker, in ――”

The tears of Lucy Ringwood now
streamed afresh: Mr. Marsham had yet
the packet of papers in his pocket, which
he had forgotten to deliver to his nephew;
but now, hastily acceding to the painful
impulse of his feelings, he presented it to 3G2r 123
Mrs. Susan, and said, “Dear madam,
read over, as soon as you are at leisure,
these papers; you will there see the generous
and delicate reason of this restriction:
I am happy to find it thus expressed in the
parchment; Matthew is rich enough, and
two amiable young people may yet be
happy, without the addition of ten thousand
pounds
. Farewell, comfort the poor
little drooping blossom!”
and with parental
affection he kissed her cheek as he
took his leave; and as he bade her aunt
good morning, the good lady’s aspect became
more serene, and holding the papers
in one hand, as she cordially and gracefully
gave the other to Edward, she said, “My
much respected and excellent friend, Lucy
well knows that I can never long be displeased
with her; and if she relates, with
that sweet candour so natural to her, and
without any prevarication, the commencement
and continuance of her first acquaintance
with Mr. Matthew Marsham, whom I
already feel myself disposed to be partial to, G2 3G2v 124
and the whole tenor of these young people’s
conduct gives me as much satisfaction
as I am almost sure the perusal of
these papers will, as recommended by you.
I shall readily pardon what I am sorry to
say has at present a great appearance of
duplicity on her part.”

Edward had imparted that morning, to
one part of the family, the pleasing tidings
of augmented wealth; he now felt the flattering
hope that he might also impart happiness
and the bright bliss of successful love
to the other: alas! for himself, there threatened
a fatal cloud to obscure his peace,
and now ready to burst over his head as
sudden as it was unexpected.

3G3r 125

Chap. XXIII.

The Result of Intrigue.

“———————He left the nymph, To think on what was past, and sigh alone.” Rowe.
“――By thee The nobleness of love has been dishonour’d, And her delicious sweetness, all by thee, Is turn’d to bitterness.――” Aminta of Tasso.

On the return of the Reverend Mr.
Marsham
to his daughter’s cottage, he
observed a kind of dismay seated on the
countenances of the servants: on enquiry,
he found Sir Edward Harrington had ordered
his horses, and departed for London 3G3v 126
with all possible speed; promising, however,
to return as soon as possible.

“Had he received any special letter?”
asked Mr. Marsham, for the post had arrived
long before he went out outout. “No,”
they replied, “he had been engaged with
Mrs. Harrington all the morning, as she
practised an Italian air on the Spanish
guitar;”
and Mrs. Harrington’s footman
said, “he had heard Sir Edward remark
to his mistress, that he was so sure there
was not any news in the papers, he had not
read them since their arrival: when he
came into the room to see to the fire, Mrs.
Harrington
was performing her lesson for
the third time; and he heard her say, as
she looked at her watch, that it was getting
so late, she should not have time to dress
herself by dinner: after she left the parlour,
he saw Sir Edward take up the newspapers,
and almost immediately after ordered
his horses and departed.”
In a few
minutes after, his servant rode back,
requesting the footman of Mrs. Harrington 3G4r 127
to give him all the newspapers;
but he could not find them; and he afterwards
found they were taken out of the library,
and laid on the breakfast-table,
with the directions put on them again, as
Mr. Marsham saw them.—“Where is
your mistress?”
said Edward.—“In her
dressing-room, sir,”
replied the servant,
“where she has locked herself in, and desired
that no one may interrupt her.”

Edward in vain endeavoured to persuade
himself that perhaps she had finished
her toilette, and might be in earnest application
over some of the many accomplishments
she had to attend to; but then he
felt assured, from the sudden departure of
his noble guest, after his perusal of the
news, that something fatal had befallen the
Harrington family.

He took up the Morning Post, he hastily
skimmed it over, and reverted to his
favourite political register, the Times;
and after he had scanned over the dearth of
home news and foreign politics contained 3G4v 128
at that time, even in this paper, and read
the probable changes in the cabinet, in
which perhaps he began to imagine Sir
Edward Harrington
might be personally
interested, and have had some reason, on
that score, for his sudden departure; when
his eye glanced on a paragraph, which he
read with real anguish of mind, and which
ran nearly in the following words:

“The conduct of Lady I——
R——d
has, at length, so increased
in notoriety, that after furnishing conversation
for every inhabitant of Cromer, in
Norfolk, she has actually eloped with the
dashing and elegant Mr. H——n,
the nephew of the rich, the excellent, and
illustrious Sir E—— H——. The
injured husband, Major R——d, a
most deserving officer, had pursued the
fugitives; and, with anguish unspeakable,
received ocular proofs of his wife’s infidelity.
What particularly aggravates the
fault of Mr. H———n, is, that he
has been only a few months married to a 3G5r 129
beautiful and amiable young lady in Essex.
This notorious faux-pas in the fashionable
world, it is thought, will furnish ample
matter for the gentlemen of the long robe,
in the display of their oratorical talents;
and no doubt enormous damages will be
obtained by Major R——d, an accomplished
and handsome young man, the avowed
object of her ladyship’s virgin choice, and
a most affectionate and tender husband.”

The Times, when attacking characters
in high life, has often had the reputation,
we will not say whether deservedly or not,
of being rather libellous; but though all
the late conduct of Frederic Harrington
seemed but too well to tally with this fatal
news, yet, as the drowning man will catch
at a straw, so poor Edward felt a faint,
alas! a very faint glimmering of hope
that this might be an exaggerated account.
He recollected that the Morning Post was
the first of all papers for fashionable intelligence;
and article he scarcely ever attended G5 3G5v 130
to, unless it was to deplore the expence of
luxury, “——straining her low thought,To form unreal wants――”
while worthy poverty industriously laboured,
and with difficulty could earn one daily
meal.

He now took up this vehicle of intelligence,
and eagerly glanced his anxious eye
over the miscellaneous paragraphs: he there
read all, and more than the other paper
had reported; even the names were not all
initialized, but boldly informed the public
that Major Raymond intended to apply
immediately for a divorce, and had engaged
the famous Serjeant B. to plead his
cause in Westminster Hall; while Mr. H.
had retained for his counsel the learned
and eloquent Mr. G——. The reader
was likewise informed, through this
polite channel of fashionable news, that
Major Raymond, in company with a brother-officer, 3G6r 131
after tracing the fugitives to
an inn on the London road, was an eyewitness
of his own disgrace: however, this
paper did not speak quite so much in favour
of the Major; it appeared rather to hint a
connivance on the part of the husband,
with a view to obtain enormous damages;
which connivance, if proved, would infallibly
end in his deserved disappointment,
and draw on him the contempt he so amply
merited. But all this did not heal the
wound inflicted by this poisoned arrow
on the hearts of the worthy curate and his
daughter; neither did it extenuate Harrington’s
guilt.

The Herald and the Courier gave the
paragraph in much the same words as the
Times; but the latter made some excellent
and moral reflexions on the enormity of
that crime, which is become so prevalent
in this country; and particularly dwelt on
the aggravation of Mr. Harrington’s fault,
as being so lately married to a young lady, 3G6v 132
who had been his fondest choice, and who,
though not yet known in the great world,
was allowed to do honour to his taste, and
was a pattern of amiableness, virtue, and
loveliness.

The heart of Edward was now in such
extreme anguish, that the full tide of sorrow
which overwhelmed it burst from his
eyes, and leaning his face on his hands
over the fatal newspapers, he gave way to
the womanish relief of tears, unheeding of
the servant, who had told him twice that
dinner was waiting, and at length gently
touched his elbow to repeat the information:
he requested a glass of water to compose
his agitated spirits, and then with all
the tranquillity he could assume, repaired
to the dining-parlour.

He there found his daughter, the image
of silent woe: ever mistress of herself,
Mary had been always accustomed to conceal
any agitation of mind from her servants;
but though they would never hear 3G7r 133
their master’s fault from her lips, yet she
well knew concealment would be in vain
in this instance.

She had seated herself, with a pallid
countenance, and the roseate hue, which
always embellished her cheek and lip, now
only encircled her eyes; in vain she endeavoured
to eat, and appear tranquil; in
vain she pressed her father to eat likewise;
his appetite, like hers, was fled, and the
dinner went away almost untouched.

When the servants were withdrawn, the
bursting sorrow again found its way from
the sweet eyes of Mary: her father drew
his chair towards her, and as she leaned
forward to return his embrace, the consolation
of having such a worthy parent, the
dread of adding to his grief on her account,
made her endeavour to dry her tears,
and essay to impart that comfort of which
she herself stood most in need.

“Be still yourself, my angel daughter,”
said he, as he pressed her to his fond bosom;
“perhaps your virtues, your sweetness, 3G7v 134
mingled with dignity, and void of
all clamorous reproaches, may reclaim the
wanderer, and you may in the end be happy.”
“Never!” replied Mary, with a
solemn kind of assurance that she never
could be so again: “the sweet delusion
is fled for ever, which taught me to think
that my Frederic was mine, and mine alone!
If so soon he shews the fickleness and inconstancy
of his nature, what have I not
to expect as years roll on, and the probable
loss of some of these poor attractions I
possess are fled! Cheerfulness, the bright
prospect of that happiness which I constantly
looked forward to in my union with
Harrington, will no longer animate my
countenance, or impart lustre to my now
continually weeping eyes: to cheerful vivacity,
will succeed lowering care; mistrust
and jealous fears will, with my disappointed
views, cloud all my features,
and render sallow that cheek which my
deceiver has often kissed as he likened it
to the fresh-blown rose. I too well know 3G8r 135
the powerful and seductive charms of my
rival: supreme in beauty, as in wit and
accomplishments, she possesses also that
fascination which will for ever supplant
me, and stamp her image indelible on the
heart of Frederic.”

“Pardon me, my beloved,” said Edward,
“you have been, hitherto, accustomed,
with your happy disposition, to behold
life in its fairest perspective; but the
little worldly knowledge you boast, has
caused you, when a real misfortune assails
you, to fear the worst. I am much deceived
in Mr. Harrington, if he is not
now, by the influence of modern manners,
acting under a false character: for there
always seemed in him, under the painted
mask of fashionable dissipation, an inward
love for virtue, and oft-times a severe
reprehension of his own thoughtless
conduct. Believe me, my dear one, that
a man can never long admire a woman devoid
of principle, and who sets virtue at
defiance as prudish grimace.”
3G8v 136

“But such a woman, surely, is not
Lady Isabella Raymond,”
said Mary;
“whom my unhappy husband has seduced
from the path of honour!”
“He seduce
her
?”
said Edward, with contempt; “no,
no, Mary, it is she who is the seducer:
and though I greatly blame, and even detest
the conduct of Mr. Harrington towards
you, yet I still look forward with hope,
that a great and entire reformation will be
worked in his conduct, even by this atrocious
error, and that you and your virtues
will become dearer to him than ever. A
woman who breaks through all the sacred
ties of conjugal duty, who to a life
of honour, decency, and decorum, prefers
that of guilt, giving way to the indulgence
of passion, is never esteemed by a man
after the enthusiasm of desire is grown languid
by possession; and without esteem,
love is but of short duration. It is this
known truth in the married state, which
renders it so essential for a man to choose
his partner rather for virtue and mental 3G9r 137
qualifications than beauty; the one he
gets accustomed to—each day it fades before
his eyes; while the others increase in
attraction: he esteems more and more what
is so valuable, and loves what he esteems.”

“But think, my dear sir,” said Mary,
“of the wonderful abilities and accomplishments
of Lady Isabella!”

“Acquirements only, my dear,” said
Edward, “they are not the virtues of the
heart and mind; for six or seven shillings,”

added he, smiling, “Mr. Harrington may
go to the theatre, and behold and hear all
the fascinating accomplishments of his
once adored Isabella represented on the
stage, for I dare say she is no longer adored!
but rather becoming a very troublesome
appendage to him.”
“But, as a
man of honour,”
said Mary, “he must
not quit her; she can never again return
to her husband’s home; her friends will
not look upon her: Frederic, for whom
she has sacrificed so much, must not leave
her destitute: I really think, sooner than 3G9v 138
the unhappy woman should be driven to
distress, I could grant her an asylum, and
be tempted almost to act like Lady Gresham,
Historique. in the affair of her husband and
Lady Harriet Egmont.”

“Such conduct, I think,” said her father,
gravely, “is a misplaced generosity,
which borders upon want of feeling, and
shews rather too much tameness in a wife.
I, certainly, as well as yourself, would not
wish Mr. Harrington to leave a woman in
distress, as he has been the primary cause
of her being for ever banished her husband’s
roof, and despised in the eyes of the world:
but she must not become an inmate in the
same house with a virtuous wife; for, in
order to be truly reconciled to that injured
wife, he must never behold the partner in
his crime again.”

It may be easily imagined that, though
the excellent father often tried to converse
with his daughter on general matters, yet 3G10r 139
their discourse continually reverted to the
subject that was nearest their hearts. In
the evening numerous country visitors called;
but Mrs. Harrington was not at home
to any one; too well she knew the secret
motive of such visits, and found her cottage
would be no place for her to remain
in for the present: in which opinion she
was further strengthened the next morning
by receiving the following letter from Sir
Edward Harrington
to her father. “Dear and respected friend; When I so suddenly left the hospitable
home of my dear niece yesterday,
I intended shortly to have returned to it:
mature reflection, however, tells me it is
better she should quit it for a time; exposed
alike to a painful retrospect of past felicity,
and the visits of impertinent curiosity,
concealed under the mask of condolence,
I think it best that you repair with
the dear sufferer immediately to the vicinity
of London, where she will be less known, 3G10v 140
and less liable to interruption: at the same
time, actually in the metropolis, my niece
cannot reside as Mrs. Harrington, without
subjecting herself to be the public
talk. I have, therefore, hired a pleasant,
furnished little villa, on the banks of the
Thames, at Twickenham, where she may
be as retired as she pleases, and see only
those few friends she wishes: yourself, I
particularly desire to remain in town for a
day or two, when I will introduce you personally
to the Chancellor; as I trust his
Lordship will, in a few days, put you in
possession of an excellent benefice, now
vacant, and in his gift. As soon as you
can possibly make your arrangements for
the journey, leave the housekeeper and
gardener to take charge of the cottage, and
come immediately to my house in St. James’s
Square
, where you will be cordially and
affectionately welcomed by

Your ever true friend, Edward Harrington.”

3G11r 141

The Reverend Mr. Marsham and his
daughter lost no time in hastening their
departure from Eglantine; a clergyman, a
few miles off, consenting to perform the
parochial duty for the good curate during
his absence. The bustle, the change
of scene, by employing the natural energy
of Mary’s mind for a few days, made her,
in some degree, forget the deep anguish
which had lately assailed her; but sleepless
nights, as she sought repose on her pillow,
told her that her grief only slumbered, but
still existed: a sound and heavy sleep towards
morning, or flattering dreams of
Frederic’s constancy and fond affection,
has caused her to wake, to the sad reverse
of wretchedness and tears: she has then
quickly risen, again to employ herself, and
try, if possible, to fly from thought and
from herself.

While an affectionate father mourned
over the sorrows of a virtuous child, his
griefs were, in part, but begun; his youngest
daughter had become the prey of a 3G11v 142
villain’s systematic arts, whose fugitive
inclination for her person was now succeeded
by disgust, and she already experienced from
him the most contemptuous neglect. Poor
Margaret, whose personal attractions scarcely
approached to mediocrity, without one
elegant accomplishment to compensate for
the deficiency of them; a slattern in her
dress, with all the affectation of a female
pedant; was not likely long to retain the
attention of a libertine admirer: she had
good-nature, sincerity, and an heart too
tender
; but these are poor qualifications,
when there is nothing else to be thrown into
the scale to make it preponderate. The corroding
sorrow of her heart, the tears she
shed in secret, by no means contributed to
heighten the very few agrémens of person
she possessed from nature; and the wretched
girl was in that state
“Which women wish to be who love their lords,”
but which Margaret was much afflicted
at discovering; for when she imparted the 3G12r 143
unwelcome news to Sir Charles, he said it
was “devilish unlucky,” he was “confoundedly
sorry to hear it,”
but “what
would she have him do?”
She saw him
afterwards but very seldom, and then he
scarcely took any notice of her.

Mrs. Davenport, inspired by rage and
jealousy, accused her of her criminal intrigue
with Sir Charles Sefton; the tears
and blushes of the unhappy Margaret too
plainly told the truth of what her tongue
denied: and when she found the unkindness
of Mrs. Davenport increase towards
her, when she hourly endured, and trembled
at the threats of that lady, to acquaint
her father with her faulty conduct, she
resolved on visiting Sir Charles at his
house, and endeavouring by tears and all
the persuasion she was mistress off, to intreat
him to take her under his protection.
Repeatedly did she make her morning visits,
while the surly porter as oft uncivilly
told her his master was not at home; and
when she once urged that she saw him at 3G12v 144
the window, “Aye, child,” said the porter,
“but he does not choose to be at home to
you; and this is no time; his ladies always
come of an evening: not that I think,”

added he, looking in her face and insolently
laughing, “that he will see you!
however, if you have a mind to come tomorrow
night, I believe he will be at
home.”

Somewhat comforted to hear that there
was a prospect of her seeing him on the
morrow, she went home; she knew Mrs.
Davenport
was going to the theatre in the
evening of the morrow, and that she should
be left alone; for she now never went with
her in public. The poor girl’s spirits were
this day better, being rather elevated by
hope; but the behaviour of Mr. and Mrs.
Davenport
to her was not only rude and
uncivil, but cutting in the extreme: the
trio dined together, and as they were taking
their wine after, Mr. Davenport made
many animadversions on the depravity of
taste; for Mr. Davenport detested a woman, 3H1r 145
if she was not very pretty: “Oh!
by heaven,”
said he, “any ugly devil
now may get a lover; we shall have a
d----d pretty breed, I expect, in the next
generation: well, thank God, I don’t suppose
I shall live to see the baboons, for I’m
going, as fast as I can, to the d---l; so,
Emily, you’ll be a handsome dashing widow,
with a good jointure, my girl—”
“Which
I’ll keep to myself,”
said the gay lady,
“whenever you kick, Davenport, depend
upon it; love who I please; but marry no
more; and the age is not so nice, but many
a dear soul, free as myself, will caress and
visit me.”
“No, no,” replied her husband,
“you are right, Emily, the age is
not nice, upon my soul! why I was told
the other day,”
and he glanced his eyes
full upon Margaret, “that a poor yellow
looking devil of a baronet, the exact complexion
of a china orange, with jaws like a
frog, has an affair with a little ugly, broken-toothed
toad, newly come from the
country;—and there’s the devil to pay; Vol. III. H 3H1v 146
Miss is going to present him with a young
cub, which, I dare say, will be the exact
likeness of an ourang-outang.”
Mrs. Davenport
forced a smile; she did not much
like her once favoured swain to be so handled
by the satiric genius of Mr. Davenport:
but venting her mortification upon
Margaret, she said, “Pray, child, is
your sister like you, at all, in person? I
never saw her since she was a little child;
and I then thought she promised to be
pretty.”
“She is reckoned so, generally,
madam,”
said Margaret.—“Oh! well
then,”
said Mrs. Davenport, “without
any offence to Miss Marsham, it is impossible
there can be any likeness.”
“No,
sir,”
said Margaret, “we do not resemble
each other at all, except that our mouths
are alike.”
“Why, what the d----!”
said Mr. Davenport, “has she lost her
front teeth too?”
“Oh! no,” said the
good-natured Margaret, who could not
help smiling at the laugh this caused Mrs.
Davenport
; “our teeth are not alike, 3H2r 147
only—”
“Well, well,” said Mrs. Davenport,
“I must say, Margaritta, that
your mouth is pretty enough.”
Mr. Davenport
took his eyes off his dessert-plate,
and was condescending enough to acknowledge
the truth of the remark by an assenting
nod with his head. “Well,” said
Mrs. Davenport, “go where I will, I hear
nothing but the present scandal of the day;
Harrington’s amour with Lady Isabella Raymond
—and, indeed, I do think any man
is excusable in going astray with such a
woman.”
“She would be an absolute
divinity,”
said Davenport, “if she was
not so cursed satirical; but it was not at all
likely that such a fine dashing fellow as
Harrington would tie himself to a country
girl; besides, he always, I am told,
loved Lady Isabella; and no doubt she is
far superior to Mrs. Harrington, though
they say she is a nice little creature:—by
heaven, I think I’ll go down and see the
pining bride, and advise her to the retort
courteous! Come, Margaritta, tell us,”
H2 3H2v 148
continued he, as he helped her to a glass
of port, “now, without any partiality,
suppose Mrs. Harrington was not your
sister,—which is the handsomest, your sister
or the divine Isabella?”
Margaret,
who always thought, that in her life she
had never seen so resplendent a beauty as
Lady Isabella, said, without hesitation,
“Oh! sir, Lady Isabella, certainly.”
But the heart of Margaret was full; it
rose to her throat, and almost choked her
utterance: she reflected on her sister’s misfortune,
and how cruelly the infidelity of
Harrington must have operated on a mind
like hers; and, bringing her thoughts home
to her own sorrows, the perfidy of man,
the unfeeling behaviour of those she thought
once her best benefactors, caused her, in spite
of all her efforts to restrain her feelings, to
burst into an agony of tears.

“Why, what is the matter with the
girl?”
said Mrs. Davenport“Indeed,
ma’am,”
replied Margaret, “I cannot
think of my dear sister’s misfortunes, without 3H3r 149
being much affected; it is a painful
subject to me, and if you and Mr. Davenport
wish to converse any more upon it,
will you permit me to withdraw: I dearly
love my sister, I always did, indeed I do still;
I wish I did not affectionately love Lady
Isabella
.”

“Lord bless me, child!” said Mrs.
Davenport
, “these things are nothing in
fashionable life; and pray, why should
you wish you did not love Lady Isabella?
—pray, what violent harm has she done?
For, as to Harrington’s fortune, that she
will not much injure, as it is a notorious
fact, and will come all out on the trial,
that Major Raymond has been aiding and
assisting in this little faux-pas of his wife.
But, mark me, Margaritta, when I say Historique.
these things are nothing in fashionable life;
and where a woman is married, and consequently
privileged to commit many freedoms
which are quite unbecoming in a
girl, yet a young woman, who has not a
shilling, must be very careful to preserve 3H3v 150
her modesty and good name, for it is all
she has to depend upon;—you understand
me, Margaritta, I am sure: I wish I
could say, that I hope things are not so
bad as they have been represented to me;
but I am sorry to say, I have seen too
much myself:—go, and arrange your hair,
and put on a little of my rouge—you look
like a witch: I have a few friends coming
to-night.”

Margaret trembled, lest her father
might chance to be one of them, and hastily
withdrew to perform the orders of Mrs.
Davenport
; whom she left laughing heartily
at some new sallies of her husband’s
wit upon Mrs. Harrington, the deserted
bride, whom he swore he would go and
comfort, promising himself certain success:
but sitting about a quarter of an hour
longer with his wife, to whom he was uncommonly
polite and attentive, he repaired
to pass the evening with his favourite Sultana,
while his lady entertained at home
a party of dashing beaux, and a bevy of
gay females; amongst whom Margaret remained 3H4r 151
like a cypher, unnoticed, except
by the whisper of Mrs. Davenport to one
or two of her particular friends, and the
shrugs and sneers of the gentlemen.

At length the eventful evening arrived,
and Margaret, after Mrs. Davenport had
driven to the theatre, stole softly down
stairs, and with a beating heart and trembling
feet, escaped into the street.

It was dark; she was young and well
dressed; her bonnet and pelisse made in
the highest style of fashion: she had never
been in the street alone, before, in the
evening; she was accosted by many smartlooking
young men; she thought that surely
she had captivated them by her appearance,
and she hoped the most delightful success,
from the self-conviction of her personal
charms, which must have been so striking
on that evening, when, in walking from
Grosvenor Square to St. James’s Street, she
had been called “pretty girl,” “sweet little
dear,”
and earnestly requested by several
dashing looking men, as she thought them,
the permission of escorting her home: 3H4v 152
these dashers were, however, chiefly menmilliners,
tavern-waiters, servants out of
livery, and markers at the gambling-tables,
and who were either going to their several
avocations, or taking a lounge after their
dinners, and affecting the fine gentlemen.

She arrived at Sir Charles Sefton’s door,
and knocked at it with all the buoyant
spirit she just then felt. “Ah! what, is
it you, my dear?”
said the porter. “Pray,
who are you speaking to?”
said she, offended
at his familiarity. “I’ll be d----d
if I know,”
said he, holding the door half
open; “but Sir Charles is not at home.”
“You told me he would be,” said Margaret.
“So I believe he will,” said the
porter, stretching himself, and yawning,
“when the play is over; he has ordered
supper at home.”
“Then cannot I sit
down in one of the apartments, and await
his return? Sir Charles knows me very
well, and I am sure he will be glad to see
me.”
“Oh! like enough,” said the
porter, “my master knows a great many
young ladies; but as you are quite un- 3H5r 153
known to me, having never been admitted
here, I can’t let you in.”
So saying, he
slammed the door in her face. Poor Margaret
burst into tears; but resolving to see
Sir Charles that night, even if she should
never again be admitted within Mrs. Davenport’s
doors, she determined on staying
till the performance at the theatre was
ended.

As an Eastern writer has justly observed,
“Who is it that regardeth sorrow in the
public streets? who is there but turneth
away the face and fleeth from her?”
The
weeping Margaret, now no more accosted
in the language of promiscuous admiration,
was jostled about from one side to
the other; the rude porter with his load,
almost knocked her down; the whistling
’prentice drove her nearly into the kennel;
the newsman blew his horn in her ear;
while the chairmen drove her almost before
them with their poles, and then, laughing,
cried out, “By your leave!” The fear
that accompanies the pedestrians in London,H5 3H5v 154
who are unused to ramble in the dark,
generally, by betraying itself, subjects
them to every insult and danger; and there
is no other way to escape nocturnal buffetings
and terrors inflicted by the canaille,
than by walking with the appearance of undaunted
resolution, or with the affected
bustle of urgent business.

The moon now began to rise in full splendour,
and, added to the lamps and the
bright passages of the gaming and coffeehouses,
imparted a brilliant illumination
to the street. An hackney-coach stopped
at a shop opposite to where Margaret was
standing; she crossed over, though from
what motive she knew not, except to give
some kind of variation to her nightly walk.
A gentleman got out, and handed out a
lady, who was closely wrapped in a dark
coloured shawl, and who wore a large bonnet
which entirely concealed her face.
The gentleman attempted to follow her
into the house, but she said, “No, no—
we never meet again, except on one condition. 3H6r 155”
He bowed with solemnity, and
reascended the carriage. The lady entered
the house, after waving her hand to the
servant to take away the light, and the
door suddenly closed with a kind of caution.
The gentleman was wrapped in a
curricle-coat, the cape buttoned over his
cheeks, while a slouch hat hid the upper
part of his face. Of the gentleman or lady
Margaret had not the slightest recollection;
but the lady seemed to interest her, and she
was almost certain she had heard her voice
before; she felt herself unable to move
from the door after it was shut; she watched
its re-opening, she looked up at the
windows, but all were close shut; and a
still silence seemed to prevail about the
house.

The rattle of carriages from various directions
now announced the close of the
theatrical entertainment; and seeing Sir
Charles Sefton
’s chariot draw up to his
door, she almost hazarded her life, by
nimbly crossing, amidst throngs of carriages, 3H6v 156
and arrived time enough to see him
hand out a lady richly dressed, while another
carriage stopped, from which descended
two more ladies and two gentlemen, all
apparently of the first fashion. She waited
the departure of the carriages, and then
again presented herself before the Cerberus
of the hall.

“Why it is impossible you can see Sir
Charles
now,”
said the porter, “he has
brought home company to supper.”
“Oh!
tell him,”
said Margaret, “that a lady
wishes only to speak one word with him.”

“Oh! that is not my office,” replied he;
but the solitary dollar in Margaret’s ridicule,
transferred from thence into his hand,
made him relent, though he shrugged
his shoulders at the smallness of the bribe;
however, calling a footman who just then
crossed the hall, he told Margaret she had
better go to the fire and warm herself till
he had brought down an answer.

The footman soon came down, saying,
that he was sure he could not say when he 3H7r 157
should be able to speak to his master, he
was so engaged; but she had better walk
into that room, shewing her a little dark
side-parlour, in which was no fire, and
where he left her with one solitary bit of
candle, which soon began to glimmer in
the socket; and the wretched girl sat shivering
with cold, and without even the
comfort of light: she heard the watchman
cry the hour of half-past one, and a starlight
morning. To return to Mr. Davenport’s
she now found would be impracticable,
and she trembled at the result. Presently
she heard the door softly open.

Not being able to distinguish objects
from the shutters being closed, the fond
idea rushed upon her mind that it was her
dear Sir Charles; but she was soon undeceived
by the footman saying, “What,
are you in the dark, miss? I have at
last, with much difficulty, spoken to Sir
Charles
; he says it is totally impossible for
him to see you now, but, if you like, you
may call at half-past eleven in the morning. 3H7v 158
Here, David,”
added he, addressing the
porter, “Shew a light to this young lady,
and open the door for her.”

Margaret still leant on the hope of seeing
her perfidious lover in the morning,
and strolled to the Park, determined there
to pass the night: the sentries hailed her,
as she crossed the stable-yard, with “Who
comes there?”
She knew not how to reply,
and they suffered her to pass on in silence,
as they deemed it might not be impossible
but that she had an appointment with the
sergeant of the guard, or, perhaps, a higher
military hero in rank, to pass the night
with him, sub rosa.

She crossed the Park, and the moon retiring,
while night was “at odds with
morning,”
she repaired to a solitary bench
in the most refined part of this scenic promenade,
and wrapping her pelisse around
her, huddled herself up in one corner,
awaiting the rising of the sun.

As in the case of Sterne’s Le Fevre, it
“rose bright on almost every eye” in that 3H8r 159
vicinity, except on that of the afflicted
Margaret: exhausted from fatigue, want
of rest, and faint for want of food, she
continued to wile away the tedious hours,
in walking and re-seating herself, till the
clock struck eleven. The grand, or the
jocund strain of martial music, as the
guards attended morning parade, only
served, instead of raising her spirits, to
sink them to a state of melancholy depression:
the insolent remarks, the puppy exclamation
of d――d ugly! continually
assaulted her ears. At length, the Horse-
Guards
chimed a quarter past eleven: she
rose with aching limbs, and retraced her
steps to St. James’s street. The porter did
not open the door, but an elderly female,
who, when requested by Margaret to inform
Sir Charles Sefton that she wished to speak
to him, frowned suspiciously upon her,
and said, “Why, Sir Charles left town
this morning at half-past eight o’clock.”

“Impossible!” said Margaret, “he desired
me to be here at half-past eleven.”
3H8v 160
“Why, you may as well tell me, young
woman,”
said the housekeeper, “that I
lie! I tell you, I and the porter are the
only persons left here to take charge of
the house; my master is going to-night, or
to-morrow, to sail for the Madeiras, for
the recovery of his health before he marries.”
“Marries!” echoed Margaret.
“Why, yes,” said the housekeeper; “is
that any thing wonderful? he is to be married,
when he returns, to his cousin, Lady
Louisa Walton
: she took her leave of him
with his two aunts, last night: why, la,
if you know any thing of Sir Charles, you
must know that it has been a fixed thing
for some weeks; Lady Louisa has a most
immense fortune.”
Margaret, scarcely able
to conceal her emotions, or articulate a
sentence, said, “Will you, ma’am, have
the kindness to give me a glass of water?”

The woman, seeing her ready to faint,
did not then, as she was just going to do,
shut the door in her face; but her hard
features relaxing into a little expression, 3H9r 161
something like compassion, she told her,
as she opened the half-closed entrance a
little wider, to follow her down into her
own room; where she gave her a bit of
toast that was left frying on a plate before
the fire, and a cup of half-cold tea, which
she stirred for her, and then put the silver
tea-spoon out of her reach: this temporary
refreshment somewhat revived poor Margaret;
but her head ached violently, and
she took her leave of the unfeeling housekeeper,
unknowing where to bend her
course.

As she came nearly opposite to the shop
where she had seen, the night before, the
lady and gentleman alight from an hackney-coach,
she stopped a little while and
looked up at the windows: they were close
shut; but in the second story she saw the
shade of a female figure, as if peeping
though a chamber-blind of gause-like
texture: she stood for some moments, pondering
where she should go to escape observation,
or the probable search of the
Davenport’s after her; when a young girl 3H9v 162
put a sealed note in her hand, and begged she
would be pleased to read it: it was written
in a hand evidently disguised, and contained
the following words:

“If, as I am almost assured, you are
Miss Margaret Marsham, accompany the
bearer, and enquire at the house she will
bring you to, for Mrs. Frederic. I see
you are unhappy: alas! I have suffered,
and feel for every sufferer. From me you
will receive all the comfort a wretched being
like myself can be capable of bestowing.
But this I have yet to give you—
the most cordial and sisterly affection.
Whatever makes you thus a wanderer,
fear not to confide to her, who loves you
with more sincerity and tenderness than ever.”

Oh! thought Margaret, as she pressed
the letter to her lips and heart, it is from
my generous Mary! she has, to avoid being
known, adopted the christian name of
her faithless husband.—She then instantly
followed the bearer, and almost flew to
receive the embrace of a sister!

3H10r 163

Chap. XXIV.

A Mistake.

“――Action treads the path In which opinion says he follows good, Or flies from evil; and opinion gives Report of good or evil, as the scene Was drawn by fancy, lovely or deform’d: Thus her report can never there be true Where fancy cheats the intellectual eye With glaring colours and distorted lines.” Akenside.

Mrs. Davenport had not been long departed
for the theatre, when Edward Marsham
called on her;—after passing the day
with his worthy friend, Sir Edward Harrington,
he thought he must in gratitude,
take the earliest opportunity of visiting the
kind benefactress of his daughter. 3H10v 164

He therefore presented himself at the
superb mansion of Mr. Davenport; and
as the magnificent well-lighted hall and
spacious staircases gleamed on his sight,
evincing opulence and grandeur, he rejoiced
in seeing the lovely friend of his
late wife so splendidly established in life;
yet a sigh escaped his bosom, when, in the
elegant and often envied situation to which
his Mary had been raised, she had experienced
but little comfort in such glittering
donations, which taste and affluence
have in their power to bestow: Davenport
might be, he reflected, another Harrington,
and his wife might look back with
unavailing regret to the rural scenes of
Emily Maddison’s more tranquil hours.
Yes, Davenport had all Harrington’s failings,
but they had in Mr. Davenport degenerated
into depravity; he had none of
Mr. Harrington’s good qualities: and
Emily Davenport, only existing in the
scenes of fashionable folly, and fluttering
in a round of continual dissipation, would 3H11r 165
have died at the idea of again experiencing
that state of quiet and genteel mediocrity
enjoyed by Emily Maddison.

Edward was not sorry to hear that his
daughter was at home alone; for, with a
father’s tender affection, he loved his poor
Margaret with all her foibles; and he
hoped her residence in town had taken off,
in some degree, the romantic enthusiasm
of her ideas: and, as he had frequently
been told that her person and manners
were much improved, he flattered himself
he should really find her more reasonable,
and that he should have the satisfaction
of enjoying with her an hour or two
of social and rational conversation.

After waiting a considerable time in the
drawing-room, he was at length informed
that Miss Marsham could no where be
found; and that Mademoiselle Minette was
out, who could give the most positive assurance
whether or no Miss Marsham had
accompanied Mrs. Davenport to the theatre,
as the above-mentioned French lady presided 3H11v 166
over their toilettes: the other servants
said they were almost sure she did
not go with their mistress; while the porter
in the hall said, no person was with her
except Miss Benworth and two gentlemen,
which four persons just filled the coach.
Edward, however, concluding she had
gone with Mrs. Davenport, felt no anxiety,
and leaving his card, saying he would call
the next morning, went to his temporary
habitation at the good Baronet’s, in St.
James Place
.

These fashionable servants, who had always
looked upon Margaret as a dependent
on their master and mistress, never heeded
whether or no she had descended from the
carriage at the return of the partie quarrée;
and Margaret was never thought of
till the hour of one, when, after partaking
of a few sandwiches and other slight refreshments,
the company departed. “Well,
I always forget that girl,”
said Mrs. Davenport:
“do, Robert, order some one
to go to Miss Marsham’s apartment, and tell 3H12r 167
her to come and take a sandwich and a glass
of wine-and-water before she goes to bed.”

Robert then mentioned his not being
able to find her when her father called.
“It is singular,” said Mrs. Davenport,
addressing her husband in French; “but
I dare say she stole out to take leave of her
lover; and is now retired to her chamber,
to weep over his departure.”
“What do
you mean?”
said Mr. Davenport. “Oh!”
said she, continuing the subject in her own
native language at the departure of Robert;
“will you believe that Sir Charles
Sefton
took leave of me to-night, as
he quitted my private box, for he is
going to Madeira to-morrow.”
“The
d---l he is?”
said Davenport. “Yes,
and he had that she-monkey of a woman
with him, in his box, Lady Louisa Walton,
his rich cousin.”
“What a precious ugly
pair they will make!”
said Mr. Davenport.
“Well,” replied his lady, endeavouring
to smile, but looking very spiteful, “I
fairly sent him out of my box with confusion; 3H12v 168
I asked him what his beautiful favourite,
Miss Marsham, would do without
him? He stammered, hesitated, and
with the most awkward air in the world,
wished me and my party a good night. I
shall be glad when he is gone,”
continued
she, her eyes giving the lie to her tongue;
“and I’m heartily glad too,” added she,
with much more sincerity, “that Margaritta’s
father’s come, and that I can wash
my hands of her.”

Mr. Davenport said, “I’m cursed sorry
this affair has happened in my house; I
shall be sorry to pain the good man.”
“Oh!
that I think we need not,”
said Mrs. Davenport;
“let us only get Mr. Marsham
to take her away again, we will make her a
handsome present; and after he gets her
home, let him find it out himself: we need
not be supposed to know any thing about
it.”
“That’s a devilish good thought,
Emily,”
said Mr. Davenport: he pondered,
however, some time, as if in deep reflection.
“Let Minette,” said he, after 3I1r 169
he had been silent a few minutes, “see if
the girl is in bed; we have sent for her
to supper, but you see she is not to be
found again.”
Miss Marsham was not,
however, in her bed, nor in any part of the
house.

“By heaven,” said Mr. Davenport,
“I’m afraid, Emily, that Sir Charles is
fool enough to think of taking the girl off
with him to Madeira; there is no doubt
but that the consequence of her indiscretion
is likely very soon to appear: the fellow
does not seem possessed of much feeling;
yet, perhaps the idea of being a
father, may make him take some care of
the mother, till such time as the dear
creature
presents him with his ape-like
countenance; then he may make her a
trifling settlement, sufficient to maintain
her there, and I really think it is the best
thing he can do.—Well, sure such a
pair was never seen!”

“I declare, Davenport,” said his Lady,
“you are quite spiteful about Sir Charles, Vol. III. I 3I1v 170
I think his appearance by no means deserving
ridicule; I am sure he is quite the
gentleman and man of fashion.”
“Quite
so, my dear, but, by the bye, confounded
ugly. Don’t be uneasy, Emily, if I tell
you something that I saw to-night. As I
was coming out of Boodle’s rather earlier
than I usually do, for I could find by the
carriages the play was but just over, I
could neither find my rascals nor the chariot;
I suppose they had gone to take a
peep at the riot that was expected to take
place at the theatre: I walked on, however,
as you know I am not devoted to
gaming, and finding myself in the losing
vein, I had no inclination to return; so
telling the porter at the door to inform my
servants when they came, that I had walked
home, the night being uncommonly fine,
I made a stroll of it. As I passed opposite
to Sir Charles Sefton’s house, I am almost
sure I plainly perceived your Margaritta
go into it: I knew her by the grey bonnet
and pelisse you gave her last week:—because 3I2r 171
my Cora once saw her walking in it with
you, in Kensington Gardens, the little
tasty hussy would never let me rest till I
purchased one resembling it for her. The
moon shone full upon the lady at Sefton’s
door, and at first I took it to be Cora herself;
but looking circumspectly, I soon
saw the difference in Meg’s high shoulders
and broad back, to those of Historique. my divinity;
so I dare say the happy lovers will be off
to-morrow morning; and d—n it, let
them alone, I think it very fortunate for
us—our house will not be disgraced, nor
your care and prudence the least called in
question.”
Mrs. Davenport burst into
tears.

Now we cannot pretend to take upon
ourselves to say what was the actual cause
of those tears, but we are very much inclined
to believe, that, really liking Sir
Charles Sefton
, she could not support the I2 3I2v 172
idea of Margaret accompanying him across
the seas, and receiving from him daily
proofs of his regard and attentions: the
bare thought, no doubt, stung her mind
with all the bitter vexation of jealousy. It
could not be for the fate of the poor girl,
whom she cared but little about; it could
not be jealousy of a little actress who had
once performed the part of Cora, in Pizarro,
and with whom her husband was so enraptured,
that he took her from the stage,
and she performed in public no more; in
private she acted the part of a most extravagant
and expensive mistress: but Mrs.
Davenport
knew all this before, and had
never evinced any displeasure: so we really
believe the primary cause was jealousy of
Sir Charles and Margaret.

“My dear Emily,” said Mr. Davenport,
“you know I cannot bear to see you
in tears; what can I do for you?”

“Go instantly,” she replied, “to Sir
Charles Sefton
; we have taken the girl
under our protection, we must see that 3I3r 173
nothing happens to her: she shall not go
with him! Fly! lose not a moment, they
may set off to-night!”

“I think it cursed ridiculous, my dear
Mrs. Davenport, and you would do much
better to let them alone.”

“If you do not go, by all that’s dear
to me, I’ll go myself,”
said the still weeping
lady.

“Oh! my dear, that would be ten times
more ridiculous; I’ll go:—but do you
think Sir Charles will not deny her being
in his house, if he wishes her to go with
him?”

“Oh! he cannot wish it,” said she; “it
is only her, a forward creature! Put him
upon his honour, he will not surely forfeit
that!”

“No, no, as a gentleman, I think he
will not,”
said Mr. Davenport, and set
off, against his better judgment, to Sir
Charles Sefton
’s.

That gentleman’s party had just quitted
him, and he instantly left his chamber, to 3I3v 174
which he had retired for the remainder of
the night, to wait on Mr. Davenport in
the drawing-room. Mr. Davenport entreated
him to answer him as the man of
honour and the gentleman, whether he
knew any thing of Miss Marsham?

His ignorance, Sir Charles could safely
plead; for it was near two hours since she
had quitted his house! and laying Historique. his
extended hand on his bosom, as the seat of
unblemished honour, and casting up his
eyes, he called heaven, with the most
solemn asseverations, to witness that he
had not seen her, neither was she in his
house. “Search, my dear friend,” added
he, “let not a single closet be unexplored.
Why, what the deuce, my good fellow,
fond as I am of variety, do you think I am
going to carry into a foreign climate a
woman who would discredit the angels of
our own?”
“No, no, hardly,” said 3I4r 175
Mr. Davenport, “only the situation she is
in, you know, often softens the heart,
and-”
“Bagatelle! my dear Davenport,”
interrupted the Baronet, with that
chilling kind of expression which shewed
that circumstance had not in the least
softened his heart.

“Why,” resumed Davenport, “as to
your little caprice, en passant, with the
poor little unlucky devil, that is a mere
bagatelle; I’m only d----d sorry it happened
while she was under our charge;
but that is not to the present purpose. We
know, in many instances, my dear Sir
Charles
, you have proved your high sense
of honour in several rencontres; and in
the honour of a man of your rank and
fashion, implicit trust may be placed! I
wish you a good-night and a pleasant
voyage, which I hope may fulfill all your
wishes and those of your friends, for the
benefit of your health.”
Then with a few
polite congées, these votaries of modern
honour took leave of each other. 3I4v 176

Sir Charles, on looking at his watch,
found, instead of night, it was fast approaching
the hour of four in the morning;
he therefore called to him his favourite
servant, the depository of all his secrets,
and told him, that though he had not
meant to quit London till after nine o’clock,
he would now go at eight, and therefore
should not go to bed at all. Not that he
feared the calling of Margaret before the
time he had treacherously allotted her; for
not thinking she would be desperate enough
to stay out all night, he rather thought she
would never find it practicable to get out
from Mr. Davenport’s at so early an hour;
and though Mr. Davenport had told him
she could no where be found, he had little
doubt but she would yet be there before
his return to Grosvenor-square; but yet
supposing she had not gone home, he
should be many miles on his journey before
she would venture to call.

Mrs. Davenport, not quite so well satisfied
as her husband, of the honourable 3I5r 177
principles of Sir Charles Sefton, anxiously
awaited the morning visit of the Reverend
Edward Marsham
.

Edward wished to pay his respects that
morning to his Right Honourable and
Reverend Rector; but, to present himself
there for a morning visit before two
o’clock in the afternoon, would never do:
an earlier hour must not be thought of
either, for Mrs. Davenport’s levee; and
he knew his Margaret was so pliable, that
she no doubt implicitly followed the steps
of her patroness.

Mrs. Davenport, however, rose that
morning from her restless pillow earlier
than usual, so anxious was she for this
visit to be over, in which she must inform
a father of the wanderings of his child;
and ignorant where she had betaken herself,
the dreadful idea rushed on the mind of
Mrs. Davenport, that perhaps she had, in
terror at the arrival of her father, taken
her final leave of the world, and entered
another uncalled and unprepared. This I53I5v178
idea was strengthened by the return of Robert,
her footman, whom she had sent to
various parts of the town, to discover, if
possible, any tidings of her: he had heard,
that a young lady, exactly answering the
description of Miss Marsham, in an elegantly
made, grey, corded sarsnet pelisse,
and bonnet of the same, with black tassels,
had been seen wandering in the park at
day-break, seemingly in great distress of
mind. Mrs. Davenport’s good-natured
disposition now made her detest the cruelty
of Sir Charles Sefton, whom, she made no
doubt, had driven the unhappy girl from
his presence, when Mr. Davenport saw her
at his door; and that she had in despair
drowned herself in the canal. She knew
not how to act, she was half tempted to
order her carriage and drive out, to avoid
the sight of her long-known and respected
friend, and spare him the pangs which she
must give to his parental feelings: but then
he had left word the evening before, that
he would call again, and Mrs. Davenport 3I6r 179
knew and practised the etiquette of politeness
too correctly to be out that morning.

It was now past one, and at that hour
Margaret was safely housed, and closely
concealed at the mysterious lodgings in St.
James’s-street
; but how was she surprised,
when she found, as she looked up, that instead
of being enfolded in the arms of her
sister (for she had rushed to her embrace
without regarding the object), she perceived
she was clasped to the bosom of Lady Isabella
Raymond
! “Oh! Lady Isabella!”
said the unhappy girl, “cruel disappointment!”
and from bodily weakness and
various contending emotions, she fainted
away.

When she revived, she found herself
seated on a sofa by the bewitching Isabella,
who was administering restoratives
to her with the tenderest concern, and
weeping over her.

“Will you refuse,” said she to her,
“to the friend who loves you, your affection
and confidence?”
3I6v 180

“Oh! Lady Isabella,” replied Margaret,
“do I not see in you, disposed
though I am, and ever was, to love you,
yet do I not behold the destroyer of my
sister’s peace and happiness?”
“Are you
then still possessed of the same narrow
prejudices as when I first knew you? and
which I once endeavoured, and hoped I
had succeeded in the attempt to eradicate
from a soaring mind like yours? Tell me,
pray, what are kindred ties to those the
affections of the soul approve? Are we
under any obligation to those who usher us
into a world which the cruelty of man renders
a scene of tears and anguish! And
what claim have those on our affections,
which they present to us under the titles of
brothers and sisters? and these, however
undeserving, they would compel us to love,
because they are their children. How
often have I told you, and you once paid
deference to my understanding, that all
love should be free, nor bound and
manacled by human ties: the same of 3I7r 181
course holds good in friendship, which is
but love refined, and exalted to that purity
which owns no sexual attachment.
Man talks of love: alas! few men know
what it is. Man has forsaken me! Yes,
the once idolized Isabella is forsaken by all
she most loves. Oh! Do not, Margaritta,
add to the number, do not thou forsake
me.”

Margaret sank, weeping, on the bosom
of this female sophist: by degrees her
repugnance wore off at the idea of uniting
her fate to that of the woman who had
seduced the husband of her sister, and ere
two hours had past, she felt for her the
warmest affection and admiration.

She consented to share with her, her
home and fortune; and as concealment on
each side was absolutely requisite, they
were discoverable to no one, from the recluse
manner in which they lived, each
lady taking the name of her perfidious
lover—Mrs. Frederic, and Mrs. Charles; 3I7v 182