Dedicated (by permission)
to his royal highness
The Duke of York.
Printed by J. Carey, 83 N. Second Street.
Permit me to ſhelter under the ſanction of your name, a work I am fully ſenſible is poſſeſſed of no merit, and can never claim notice, but from the advantage of being honoured by the patronage of your Royal Highneſs.A2 Two A2v iv
Two years have elapſed ſince Sir Charles Aſgill ſolicited and obtained for me the pleaſing gratification of dedicating it to you.— Unavoidable occurrences have prevented its publication till the preſent period; but my having been thus diſtinguiſhed, I flatter myſelf, cannot have eſcaped your recollection; yet, though your Royal Highneſs may not forget many of the benevolent acts of condeſcenſion which you perform, they muſt ever remain indelible on the hearts of thoſe on whom they are conferred.
I will not attempt any defence of this little volume, too trifling to deſerve an apology, and too humble to excite cenſure. Whatever may be its fate, I ſhall ſubmit withoutout A3r v out one murmur. It has already procured me the ineſtimable advantage of thus publickly avowing the profound gratitude and reſpect with which I have the honour to be,
Your Royal Highness’s Most obliged, And devoted servant,
To Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny, at St. Omer’s.St. James’s Square.
Why did I ſuffer myſelf to be hurried from Boulogne? If I muſt be a dependant upon humanity for ſubſiſtence, why not have availed myſelf of your generous offer, and ſought it at St. Omer’s? In your ſympathiſing boſom I had found a receptacle for all my ſorrows; and under Marianne’s protection I had been ſecured from every danger. But now the proſpect is dreadful,ful, A4v 8 ful, and a retroſpect ſtill worſe. You are the only friend in whom I dare confide, and to eaſe the fulneſs of a woe-fraught heart, I muſt inform you, that Stamford has proved a villain. You are thunderſtruck! While I fancy myſelf as juſt awakened from a dream of horror.
You knew not that my parents were people of large fortune. In ſhort it was a ſecret which I arrived not at myſelf till after you had left our convent. But it is now abſolutely neceſſesary you ſhould be acquainted with circumſtances which contributed to render me totally neglected by and unknown to my neareſt relatives.—
My mother being of a gay diſpoſition could not be perſuaded that happineſs was moſtly found in domeſtic life: but from adhering too ſtrictly to an ill formed judgment, plunged into a vortex of pleaſure and loſt ſight of it for ever. My father, young and fond of public amuſements himſelf, gratified her every A5r 9 every wiſh, till he ſuſpected ſhe had formed an attachment of the tendereſt nature for an officer in the navy. He ſpoke very harſhly to her on the ſubject; but being innocent of the crime alluded to, my mother thought herſelf ill treated. Conſequently diſregarded his reproaches, ſet his threats at defiance; and merely for the ſake of bravado kept up her acquaintance with the captain. A conduct ſo derogatory from prudence furniſhed converſation for the town. My father ſoon quitted England; his eſtates were mortgaged; and my mother left with child of me, and totally deſtitute. Her relations had imbibed a ſtrong notion of her guilt, and poſitively refuſed ſeeing her. Her ſuppoſed diſhonor had not gone farther than appearance. They had treated her with indignity, and her ſpirit was too high to permit a vindication of her conduct to thoſe who were ſo eaſily prejudiced againſt her; and though reduced to the A5v 10 the utmoſt diſtreſs, would not ſtoop to ſolicit aſſiſtance from any of them. Fortunately a friend in the country, who had heard of her ſituation, died; and from motives of compaſſion left her ſixty pounds a year. With this poor pittance ſhe retired to Boulogne, and a ſhort time after was delivered of me.
I need not animadvert on the time you and I paſſed at the convent: but date the riſe of miſfortune from the time my mother met Mr. Stamford.
He had been acquainted with my father; and when ſhe was ſeized with that dreadful diſeaſe which terminated life, ſhe claimed his protection for her orphan child (who was the only daughter of his friend) and conjured him to do the utmoſt in his power in ſtriving to find whether my father was yet alive; and if he were to convey me to him even if in the Eaſt Indies, having been informed he went there on leaving England. He A6r 11 He ſolemnly promiſed to comply with her every requeſt. And as villanouſly determined to break through all bounds that led to my ruin.
At preſent I cannot add more, my eyes are dimmed with tears; and what I have already written ſeems to dance before them: however I will not conclude till I have ſubſcribed myſelf,
My dear Marianne’s affectionate
P. S. Direct for me, Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault, at Sir John Oſborn’s, St. James’s Square.
To Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny, at St. Omer’s.
You are impatient to know why my name is changed, and ſtill more the particulars of Stamford’s perfidy.A month A6v 12
A month had ſcarce elapſed after my mother’s funeral, when I expreſſed my wiſh of going to St. Omer’s. Mr. Stamford objected to it; ſaid I was ſcarce fifteen and being a handſome girl, deſtitute of fortune, and apparently of friends, would be ſubjected to a number of inſulting offers from men of rank, merely from the want of a protector.
Convinced of his having my intereſt at heart, I felt ſatisfied with the refuſal, though mortified in the idea of not ſeeing my dear Marianne ſo ſoon as I had hoped for. However it was neceſſary that my imagination ſhould be kept on the wing of expectation; conſequently a fortnight after he informed me that a letter from England had given him intelligence of my father’s return from the Indies; and in a jocular tone, aſked if I ſhould not be afraid of croſſing the ocean? Can you put the queſtion to me, my dear ſir? I replied with quickneſs,neſs, B1r 13 neſs, Shall I not go to claim the bleſſingbleſſing of an only parent, and vindicate the conduct of an injured mother? Tears burſt from my eyes, which the hypocrite wiped away, while he bid me prepare for our voyage on the following morning.
We embarked on board the packet, and at ſix o’clock the ſame evening landed at Dover.
The ſenfations I experienced from imagining myſelf flawed-reproduction1 word the ſame nation with my father, are indeſcribable; and I had actually conned over every expreſſion of tenderneſs which I meant to make uſe of, to ſoften the ſeverity of his anger towards the memory of my poor departed mother; but the pleaſing illuſion vaniſhed on Mr. Stamford’s propoſing our ſtaying that night at the inn. Unaccuſtomed to follow the dictates of my own reaſon, when opposed by that of another, I acquieſced in his deſire, and retired early to reſt.B About B1v 14
About one o’clock, I was awakened by ſome one opening the door of my chamber, and inſtantly demanded who was there? No anſwer was returned.
I liſtened, but every thing was perfectly quiet. Recollecting that Mr. Stamford ſlept in the adjoining apartment, and concluding no one would dare offer to moleſt me while under his protection (having before our landing taken the precaution to deſire I would call him father till my own was found), I quieted my fears, and was going to ſleep once more; on a ſudden, the bed curtains were drawn aſide, though it was ſoftly as poſſible. Gracious God, exclaimed I, what can be the meaning of this? Where is Mr. Stamford? continued I, ſtarting up at the ſame time. Be not alarmed, my dear D’Arcy, (ſaid a voice which I knew to be his) I mean not to hurt you. However I found he was upon the point of getting into bed. Oh! Marianne, I ſhudder B2r 15 ſhudder even now, though ſecured from the danger. I jumped out on the other ſide, ſcreaming moſt violently; he caught my hand and begged I would be pacified; but it was too late, my cries had awakened the people who ſlept in the inn, and they had aſſembled at the door and were demanding admittance. Fear gave me ſtrength, I diſengaged myſelf from his hold and ran to open the door. The firſt perſon who preſented himſelf to my view was Mr. Oſborn. Regardleſs of every thing, but my eſcape from Stamford, I threw my arms around him and implored protection for the ſake of heaven, but fainted the moment that the ſentence had eſcaped my lips. Stamford took this opportunity of ſaying I was his wife, but had eloped and gone with a vagrant fellow to France, whither he had followed and was bringing me back; but that determined not to ſtay with him, I had behaved in that manner, B2 in B2v 16 in hopes ſome one else would favour my eſcape a ſecond time. Every perſon pitied the unfortunate huſband, while I got abuſed as an infamous creature, till the chamber-maid (an innocent girl, who had only been there a few days) ſaid Laws, ſir, I thought as how the lady called you father laſt night? Staggered by the dread of being diſcovered, he hesitated and was beginning a plauſible ſtory about my deſiring he would ſuffer it. But Mr. Oſborn’s humanity was not to be trifled with, he inſiſted that every ſyllable the other advanced was falſe, and declared he would not relinquiſh my cauſe, nor quit the room till I returned to aſſure him of the truth (for they had taken me into another apartment on my fainting).
Stamford putting on a ſtern air, aſked If he meant to doubt his word? Said that room was his, and no one ſhould ſtay in it longer than he choſe. This behaviour gave every B3r 17 every one preſent a ſuſpicion, from what the girl had ſaid, that I was ill-treated; and after my recovery, the landlady having aſſiſted me in putting my clothes on, they all entered the apartment, eager to hear in what manner I could juſtify myſelf.
You know my mother took infinite pains, in ſtriving to perfect me in the English tongue, conſequently I found no difficulty in making them underſtand me. I related that part of my ſtory, which concerned Stamford, in an artleſs ſtrain, while he with dreadful imprecations, contradicted all I had advanced. Provoked to the laſt degree, I told him, that let what I had ſaid be true or falſe, I was determined not to continue any longer under his protection. Stop, madam, ſaid the wretch, you are my ward at leaſt, and whoever dares to protect you, ſhall find the laws of this country will afford me ample revenge. You need not be informed,B3 ‘ed,’ B3v 18 ed, returned Mr. Oſborn, that the laws of this country will not permit an unprotected female to be injured by the brutal machinations of a villanous guardian; and to convince you I am as well quainted with the laws of England as yourſelf, if the lady will truſt to my honour, in commiting herſelf to my care till we arrive in town, I will place her under the immediate protection of my mother and ſiſter, and bid defiance to all your efforts in an attempt to regain her. My name is Oſborn, you are at liberty to uſe your pleaſure in regard to law. Favour me with your hand, madam, turning to me, and allow me to lead you out of this room; my carriage will not be long getting ready, and the moment it is we will ſet out. So ſaying he led me out of the room in triumph.
Stamford raved, and would certainly have ſtruck Mr. Oſborn, had not B4r 19 not a gentleman who was going to France the next morning prevented the blow; in ſhort, he was obliged to make a priſoner of him till we had left the houſe.
I did not at the time, conſider the impropriety of conſenting to accompany an elegant young man, alone in a poſt chaiſe; reflecting not a moment that the judgment of the world is decided by appearances, gladly accepted the offer almoſt before it was made. I muſt reſign the pen this moment, hearing Miſs Oſborn’s foot on the ſtairs, conſequently cannot conclude this till to morrow.
Once more I am ſeated at my writing-desk, to ſatisfy my Marianne’s apprehenſions for my ſafety. In the courſe of our journey my deliverer ſaid, He ſhould not have been at Dover, but in the expectation of meeting the Chevalier Chattelherhault and his ſiſter, the packet was arrived in which they were to have came, conſequently he concludedcluded B4v 20 cluded himſelf at liberty to return to town.
In a very delicate manner, he hinted, that my ſituation was both aukward and diſtreſſing, and really wiſhed I could be prevailed on to aſſume the name of Chattelherhault, till my father could be applied to. I objected to it, by ſaying, his friends muſt certainly arrive at a knowledge of the impoſition, and for ever after I ſhould be regarded by them in a degrading light. Mr. Oſborn begged my pardon for having propoſed what was diſagreeable to me, but ſaid, he only wiſhed me to aſſume that name on my introduction to them, till he found an oportunity of making them acquainted with my ſtory, as his father, though a good hearted man, had his peculiarities; however, as I was apparently averſe to the propoſal, he would relinquiſh the thought.
A thouſand painful ideas ruſhed on my mind at the moment he was ſpeaking; Sir John Oſborn might command B5r 21 command me to leave his houſe that inſtant; I was a friendleſs, an unprotected ſtranger in the nation. Could I but gain an aſylum for a week, my father might be found; I ſhould be acknowledged as his daughter, and the fraud paſſed on Sir John’s family would be looked over, when they underſtood I was ſole heireſs to a man of large fortune.
This thought determined me. I told him he was at liberty to act as he thought proper. Now imagine me in the character of a French lady of faſhion, arrived in England, to be introduced at the British court. Oh! Marianne, this attempt at vivacity, however it might appear like myſelf when at Boulogne, but ill ſuits me at preſent.
You, no doubt, think me highly blameable, and conclude I cannot eſcape detection; but to ſatisfy your doubts I muſt inform you, Mr. Osborn has written to the Chevalier, who promiſes to remain in France, B5v 22 France, and keep his ſiſter ſtill at their chateau, till he hears further from him.
I muſt not omit telling you, when we arrived in St. James’s Square, Mr. Osborn told Sir John, that the Chevalier arrived with me in the packet, but an affair of honour demanding his return to France, he had entruſted me to his care.
It is near three weeks ſince I have been here, but the anxiety I ſuffered at Dover has confined me to my room ever ſince; I even dread the idea of finding myſelf in a good ſtate of health, merely from the fear of being detected. However let fate do with me as it will,
I muſt ever remain, My dear Marianne’s affectionate,
To Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny.St. James’s Square
What can be the reaſon for my not having heard from you? Surely my Marianne can never mean to deſert me becauſe I am in diſtreſs! I will not entertain an opinion ſo much to her prejudice; but conclude that her letters have by ſome miſtake been kept back. Or is it poſſible mine have not yet reached her; yet in the hope that you may have received them before this arrives, I ſhall give you a further proof of Stamford’s perfidy.
Mr. Oſborn promiſed to make enquiry after my father, and if he was in England find him. To my extreme mortification he has learned, that no ſuch perſon has ever been heard of. And I am now convinced the wretch’s deſire of bringing me among ſtrangers, was only to gain his ends in a more effectualfectual B6v 24 fectual manner than he could poſſibly have done at Boulogne.—Heaven be praiſed his ſcheme has been fruſtrated—yet here I am in a ſtrange country, dreading every moment the ſhame of being detected as an impoſtor, which muſt inevitably happen if this family perſiſt in introducing me to their acquaintance. I have repeatedly told Mr. Osborn I will return to France, and fear not the want of an aſylum while it is in your power to afford me one. He never ſuffers me to conclude a propoſition of this kind; for throwing himſelf on his knees before me, a kind of anxiety takes poſſeſſion of his looks. He ſpeaks not, ’tis true—but ſo eloquent does that poſition plead for him, that I cannot proceed with what was in my thoughts to have ſaid. What can be the meaning of it? I never felt ſuch a ſtrange palpitation at my heart when in company with any other man. Yeſterday, for the firſt time, we had a converſation on the ſubject; C1r 25 ſubject; he ſaid ſomething muſt be contrived to make us both happy. —What had his happineſs to do with mine? I wiſhed to put that queſtion to him, but had not courage.—When I am alone I determine to come to you at all events; but while Mr. Osborn was reaſoning with me, I wondered how I could once ſuffer a thought of leaving him to enter my head; eſpecially ſince he urges the neceſſity for my remaining in England.
Do adviſe me what to do; by that I will implicitly abide, even though it ſhould prove to quit Mr. Osborn, his amiable mother and ſprightly ſiſter, for ever.—I muſt now bid my Marianne adieu, by ſubſcribing myſelf,
Her truly affectionate,
To the Honourable Miſs Townſhend.St. James’s Square.
Positively, Sophia, this is the laſt ſummons I will ſend for your return to town. I have got the moſt charming little French girl that imagination can suggest, for a companion; and if you make not an end of your viſit ſhortly, I muſt abſolutely elect her my favourite and chief confidant in your ſtead
Seriouſly though, the Chevalier Chattelherhault’s ſiſter is with us. She is ſcarce fifteen, my brother ſays; but it is aſtonishing to hear how ſenſibly ſhe converſes, and yet in ſuch an artleſs ſtrain that it is impoſſible to refrain from loving her: in ſhort, to tell you a ſecret, I believe poor Henry has loſt his heart without intending it. Though I’ll anſwer for neither father or mother making any objection to his C2r 27 his marrying the amiable little creature.—She has been very ill ever ſince ſhe came to England, and the good folks here conclude it is occaſioned by the fatigue of her journey; but you know I am a cloſe obſerver of human nature, and will be hanged if love does not prey more upon her mind than fatigue has been able to do on her body.— Being of a lively diſpoſition (moſt French people are, you know) ſhe ſometimes ſtrives to exert her ſpirits, and then is really captivating; but they ſoon flag. She ſighs, wipes her eyes, and turns her head aſide, to prevent her emotion becoming viſible. Do not theſe ſymptoms favour ſtongly of a hopeleſs paſſion? Ay, ay, this is ever the caſe with you people of ſentiment; ſee a man you approve, and ſouſe, you’re over head and ears in love; when, nothing will ſatisfy you till you are happy in your choice.
Obſerve the contraſt between a C2 ſen- C2v 28 ſentimental body and that of a girl of ſpirit like myſelf. Place me in company with the man I love; but let a few more dear charming creatures, whom I care not a ruſh for, be of the party, I ogle one, flirt with another, and make downright love to a third. Though by the bye he muſt be a conceited fool, that I have the moſt ſovereign contempt for, and if it happens to be overheard by the man I really love, Oh! the exquiſite pleaſure it affords! Now attribute this to want of ſenſibility if you dare.
To make an honeſt confeſſion to you, Sophia, my behaviour does not proceed from a total want of ſenſibility; for believe me I have experienced many and many a ſevere pang, while I have affected a gaity which my heart diſclaimed. You will ſay a perſon of my volatile diſpoſition cannot be ſo far caught, and that my affections may be diſentangled with as much eaſe as I flutter C3r 29 flutter with every fop.—You are deceived: I flirt with every man whom chance throws in my way, ’tis true; yet that more than one has ever found a way to my heart, I diſown. However this is a digreſſion from the deſcription of my little French friend.
Yeſterday we prevailed on her to appear in the drawing room, and I then diſcovered that ſhe poſſeſſes a certain timidity which few women of her nation are troubled with. I attribute it to her not having been accuſtomed to the company of a variety of ſtrangers before. She curtſied aukwardly, bluſhed when ſpoken to, and was evidently too much embarraſſed to give a proper anſwer to the moſt ſimple queſtion that was put to her. In ſhort, Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault never appeared to ſuch a diſadvantage in my eye, as when ſhe ought to have even looked to the greateſt advantage. You know Cheſterfield C3 ſays, C3v 30 ſays, a perſon’s behaviour at firſt ſight, will prejudice others either in their favour or againſt them for life.
I cannot account for her ſtupidity any other way than by the obſervation above, as ſhe ſeemed one of the moſt accompliſhed girls I had ever ſeen. She dances admirably. We once prevailed on her to walk a minuet with Henry, while I played on the piano forte; ſhe ſings divinely, and plays to a miracle. Indeed I had ſeveral times ſaid that —the graces danced round her to join in her train. Trebeck was of the party.—I had totally forgotten you were unacquainted with that original, and being in a humour to delineate, will give you a ſhort account of his general character.
In the firſt place, he affects to patroniſe our moſt celebrated performers of the drama, for no other motive than becauſe it is faſhionable. Then he invites every author, if it is only C4r 31 only a noveliſt, to intruſt their writings to his care, and promiſes to diſpoſe of them at a high price; though, if the truth was known, the inſignificant varlet has not intereſt enough with any bookſeller in town to get rid of his own, were he poſſeſſed of wit to write. Did his boaſting ſtop here it might paſs unnoticed; but would make you believe, if poſſible, that the three royal brothers were hand and glove with him; and that the dukes of P― and B―, and half a hundred other noblemen, were his moſt intimate acquaintances. At other times, he is promiſing places to a ſcore of people, when it is known by every perſon to whom he is acquainted, that he has been ſoliciting one for himſelf theſe ſix years paſt, and has not been able to obtain it yet. When an election is coming on, he is in the zenith of his glory, and talks as pompouſly in company of himſelf and Mr. ― having been up late with their voters the pre C4v 32 cedingpreceding evening, as if he were himſelf a member, rather than a tool for members. However, the truth is, a certain man of faſhion, well known in the great world, countenances him very much, becauſe he ſtrives to render himſelf conſequenttial by going a voter hunting, and appearing every day while the poll laſts upon the huſtings. Merely from this mode of proceeding, he has gained admittance into the houſes of a few faſhionable people, and was introduced at ours by Sir George Loveall. So much for his character. Take his perſon and face, aſſiſted by a little rouge, when dreſſed for the drawing-room, and he is pleaſing, though not irreſiſtible; with an infinite loquacity, and you have the man at once. You have likewiſe nearly read all you are likely to receive from me this poſt at leaſt, as my hand is perfectly cramped from holding the pen; as witneſs,
To Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault.St. Omer’s.
Well might you fear, my dear D’Arcy, I meant to deſert you, after having written two letters but received no anſwer: I can juſtify myſelf, by telling you, I have been at Paris, and only returned this morning. Your three letters were given me with others, which I have not yet opened, ſo impatient am I to aſſure you of what I feel for the ſufferings you have endured.— Would to heaven you were with me at this moment. The hypocriſy of that villain prevented you being here, and will, I very much fear, contribute towards your paſsing many an unhappy hour after your leaving England; which, but for him, you never could have known; I mean not from his attempt upon you, becauſe you were reſcued from C5v 34 from the danger, and will be more effectually ſo when ſettled with me. You will ſcarce credit an aſſertion of your being in love with Mr. Oſborn; believe me, Beaufoy, it is literally true, and your danger is infinitely greater at preſent, than it was at the time he reſcued you out of the clutches of that old ſavage, Stamford. To prove the reality of what I have advanced, I appeal to your letter, wherein you ſay, while Mr. Oſborn was reaſoning with me, I wondered how I could once ſuffer a thought of leaving him to enter my head, eſpecially ſince he urges the neceſſity of my remaining in England. I hope, on the peruſal, it will ſtrike you as forcibly as it does me. You were highly blamable, in ſhort, unjuſtifiable, in ſuffering an impoſition ſo very groſs to be put upon the family of Sir John Oſborn.—You think me too ſevere upon you while you are in diſtreſs; I cannot help it, though every C6r 35 every ſentence which hurts your feelings, wounds my own beyond expreſſion.—My friendſhip could not be real, did I not point out your faults and endeavour to correct them.—Aſk yourſelf, what could be Mr. Oſborn’s motive for bringing me into his father’s houſe under a fictitious name? The anſwer occurs, to gain your affections by a ſeeming diſintereſted behaviour; then to ſuffer his family to arrive at a knowledge of the fraud, you are thrown under his protection, and your ruin is ſealed.
Indeed D’Arcy, I ſhall be wretched till I have you with me.—Gratitude has awakened itſelf into love in your breaſt; and while you remain in England I dread the conſequences which are likely to enſue. —Mr. Oſborn ſays ſomething muſt be contrived to make you both happy. Will he marry you? Or could you poſſibly conceive yourſelf his lawful wife, by ſigning your name at the altar Chattelherhaulthault, C6v 36 hault, ſuppoſing it is by the conſent of Sir John? The idea of becoming a miſtreſs is ſo repugnant to your nature, that I am convinced the bare thought will make you tremble as you read. I wiſh not to ſhock you with chimerical, and horrid phantoms, but to place every circumſtance ſtrongly in the view you ought to ſee it. You left France in the firm hope of finding an only parent.—Return to it in the ſtrong aſſurance of meeting an affectionate friend. Only conſider what contempt and reproaches you are doomed to ſuffer, if you remain with the family till the ſecret is known. —Think what miſery you will eſcape by reſolutely following the dictates of reaſon, and quitting the man, who, it is certain, aims at your eternal ruin.—You entreat my advice, and give a promiſe, implicitly to abide by it,—have I not ſaid as much as ought to determine you againſt whatever he may urge D1r 37 urge to the contrary?—My heart feels that your’s will ſuffer, on being obliged to give up the object of it’s tendereſt wiſhes. Though you will hereafter own, that it is eaſier to endure the heart ache for a few weeks, or even months, than experience the ſeverity of cruel reflection whole years.—I will not add more on the ſubject, my D’Arcy poſſeſſes an uncommon ſhare of ſenſe, which, if attended to, will carry her ſafe through every difficulty; and I doubt not, be the means of her being with me this day three weeks.—In that hope I conclude myſelf,
Your ſincerely affectionate
To the Chevalier Chattelherhault.
I told you in my laſt, Which does not appear. Chattelherhault, what a divine creature I had reſcued from infamy.
It certainly was wrong to introduce her at my father’s houſe as your ſiſter. I ſee the impropriety now, though it did not ſtrike me at the time—yet there appeared a ſomething ſo indelicate in offering to place her in lodgings, after having promiſed her a ſecure retreat under the protection of my mother and ſiſter, that I could not have been capable of it for the world, though by not doing it I have rendered both her and myſelf perfectly wretched —Miſtake not my meaning, I could not be wretched were it not that Miſs Beaufoy has totally become a prey to her fears—ſhe ſays ſhe is terrified D2r 39 terrified beyond expreſſion at the ſound of every ſtrange voice, leſt it ſhould prove a perſon who can diſcover the impoſtor in her looks. Charming, innocent, engaging girl, my affection for her is ſo ſtrongly rivetted, that I cannot ſuffer her to depart, though I know it is madneſs to detain her—You will reaſonably aſk, What I intend doing with her, and whether my enthuſiaſm extends far enough to marry her? I frankly own it does. Were I poſſeſſed of an independent fortune ſhe is the only woman who ſhould ſhare it with me; but ſituated as I am, it cannot be.—Of a noble family himſelf, my father thinks it a duty incumbent on his ſon, to ſupport it’s dignity by marriage.— Should I marry Miſs Beaufoy, my mother’s future days will be embittered by cruel reflections from him for her fooliſh indulgence of me when a boy; and though I never ſhould value his reſentment towards D2 myſelf D2v 40 myſelf on the occaſion, I could not endure the mortifying thought, of cauſing uneaſineſs for her tender nature to combat with. You are a man of gallantry, and will wonder at my having even one difficulty to encounter: nay will tell me the girl is in my power and I ought to make a good uſe of my time; it is true ſhe is in my power—but honour forbids me to trample on the laws of humanity, or the rights of hoſpitality—In fact I love her, and that love will not permit me to offer an indignity to her—She is extremely eager to return to France— I think ſhe has left a lover behind, and that is her motive for hurrying from me. I have been prudent enough to conceal from Miſs Beaufoy the paſſion I entertain for her, which, hopeleſs as it is, ſhe never ſhall be acquainted with. I am convinced ſhe entertains not a ſuſpicion of my being in love with her, but rather attributes my tenderder D3r 41 der ſolicitude to the effects of compaſſion.—Would my ſtars had aſſigned it really was ſo—No man is more ſuſceptible to the charms of beauty than myſelf, and I could pledge my life on the truth, that it never coſt a human being more pain, to keep themſelves, what the world terms honeſt than I have ſuffered―By heavens I cannot behold this charming girl with the eye of a ſeducer, and muſt make no other determination but that of bidding her adieu. The thought drives me deſperate. I can only add,
To Miſs Oſborn.Hertfordſhire.
Your ſummons, and even threats, are likely to avail you nothing.—My dear Mrs. Raymond has been ill, and ſtill continues languid; ſhe entreats I will remain with her, and I cannot refuſe: indeed the tie of friendſhip will not ſuffer me to leave her till her health is re-eſtabliſhed—I am happy in your having obtained ſo valuable inan acquiſition as your acquaintance with Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault —I think I need hardly repeat here, that whatever affords you pleaſure gives me infinite ſatisfaction, though the idea of your having diſpoſed of that heart, which you have ever boaſted was invulnerable, is really a ſubject for mirth to me—Pray who is this ſelf ſame ſomebody, on whom your mad cap ladyſhip has thought D4r 43 thought proper to beſtow the little flutterer? He muſt be a man of ſenſe, or he had not attracted your notice; his manners muſt be pleaſing, or you never had regarded him with an eye of affection.—His birth muſt be noble, elſe had you not ſuffered the paſſion to take poſſeſſion of your breaſt, and I am ſure, his fortune muſt be ample, or your father will never conſent to your having him. But why in the name of fate do you perſiſt in teaſing the poor man? Beware, Matilda, of going too far. There’s no great art requiſite in the making of a conqueſt, the difficulty lays in ſecuring the affections; but if you give a man cauſe to ſuppoſe your own are eſtranged from him, is he to be blamed for withdrawing his? A heart once loſt to a woman in ſuch a way is never to be regained. And why? the lover thinks himſelf neglected, pays attention to other women, while the real object of his choice D4v 44 choice remains totally unnoticed. She feels herſelf piqued and treats him with diſdain. An altercation enſues, the gentleman is of opinion, ſome trifling acknowledgment is due from the lady for her firſt error, while too proud to ſtoop, preſuming on her charms, ſhe bids him be gone and never ſee her more; he takes her at her word, and ſome other poſſibly leſs fair, but more kind female, compenſates him for the loſs of the firſt. You dare me to accuſe you of inſenſibility: how can I, while your charity towards diſtreſſed families, and attention to ſick friends, aſſure me you inherit it not in any degree. But why ſuffer a playful heart to trifle with the happineſs of him on whom your own depends, by ſtriving to convince, that ſenſibility is a virtue you have not yet attained? You are allowed to be handſome: have gained a number of lovers; and, as you have diſcovered the ſecret, I am no longerer D5r 45 er ſurpriſed at Grenville’s advantageous offer being rejected; for well I know, you never could conſent to become a wife to that man who was not ſole maſter of your heart. But ſuffer me to entreat, if he in queſtion is worthy of it, that you forbear to wound his feelings. You know the force of my attachment towards you, and cannot be diſpleaſed at the liberty I have aſſumed. Adieu. Reflect on what is obſerved above by,
To Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny.St. James’s Square.
Thanks to you, my Marianne, for your tender concern, and even for your ſeverity; it has convinced me of my error, and I am no longer inſenſible to my danger. Yet I muſt do Mr. Oſborn the juſtice to aver, that he has never once profeſſed a regard for me further than compaſſion extends. Surely ſuch behaviour has not the meaning of a ſeducer in it, though men are deſigning, and can put on the maſk of friendſhip, while they have an unwary object’s ruin in view; but he ſhall find D’Arcy Beaufoy’s virtue cannot be conquered. My mother diſcovered a propenſity in my juvenile mind towards levity; ſhe fell an innocent victim to it herſelf and determined to cruſh the dawning of it in her child. Death ſuffered her not to D6r 47 to compleat the victory; but Stamford accompliſhed what ſhe wiſhed to ſee performed. I mean not to inſinuate that I am become a prude, merely to deceive the penetrating eye of friendſhip. No, it is a meanness I ſhould deſpiſe in another early, and muſt deteſt in myſelf; but to aſſure you that you have not ſo much to dread from my ſuſceptibility (which I confeſs is great), as your apprehenſions for my ſafety ſuggeſts. Since I received your letter I told Miſs Oſborn that I was alarmed at my brother’s remaining ſo much longer at home than he intended; and if he arrived not in England next week I ſhould poſitively return to France the enſuing one. She looked aſtoniſhed, and inſiſted on my renouncing every idea of the kind. I was determined; ſhe reſolute; and each in her humour retired to dreſs; but I give you my honour you ſhall ſee me at the appointed time. While I remain D6v 48 remain here I am forced againſt inclination to appear every day in company, and dreading a diſcovery I cannot diveſt myſelf of fear, which is certainly miſtaken for ſtupidity. What a different appearance does my behaviour wear here, and at Boulogne; there I was known as Mademoiſelle Beaufoy, celebrated for the elegancy of her manners; here cannot be otherwiſe diſtinguiſed than by the name of Chattelherhault, an aukward French girl. I ſhall very ſoon bid adieu to this amiable family forever. Surely gratitude cannot be accounted a crime, if it were, I am guilty indeed. Mr. Oſborn’s noble generoſity has demanded that tribute of me, and I have given with it a heart, undivided by love for any of his ſex. To my Marianne I may acknowledge this truth; but it never ſhall eſcape me to another ſoul. You will conſole me for the loſs, till it is perfectly regained. Much happierpier E1r 49 pier ſhould I have found myſelf, had I never known the void; yet why ſhould I ſay that? The pleaſing ſenſations a perſon experiences, when contemplating the object of their tendereſt wiſhes, though but in idea, compenſate for all their pain. Oh Marianne, too fatally I feel the imbecility of the above aſſertion. I love—and without hope. Thoſe who find the pleaſure more than tranſient, muſt be allowed a reciprocal return. I will not awaken your anxiety, by ſuffering murmurs to eſcape me, for that which I ought to conceal, even from myſelf; but ſolicit your acceptance of the tendereſt wiſhes of,
To Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny.St. James’s Square.
Whither can I immure myſelf to eſcape the purſuit of the vile undoer? Oh, Marianne, Stamford will certainly diſcover my retreat, and then I am loſt indeed! How could I ſuffer Mr. Oſborn to prevail on me to come here? Why not return immediately to France, rather than haſten to a place where no relatives lived to protect me? A blind fate ſeems to purſue me, and I now look forward to approaching ſhame, as an occurrence which muſt inevitably beſal me. The protection of Sir John Oſborn’s family, which ſhould be my ſecurity, will help to involve me in ſtill greater difficulties, it will make my ſtory become public, and render my diſgrace conſpicuous. Say, will you receive the criminal, after having been E2r 51 been detected in the guilt of an impoſition? Yes, I know you will; and my heart feels already elated, by giving way to the pleaſing idea. You are impatient to be informed of particulars, while I am ſuffering my fears to hurry me beyond the bounds of reaſon. Laſt night Miſs Oſborn would take no denial—but I muſt accompany herſelf and mother, with Lady S― to ſee a new comedy. Fortunately her brother was engaged, before the party was made, or he would have been our eſcort. We were in the ſtage box. At the concluſion of the laſt act, Stamford appeared in the oppoſite one; a dreadful ſickneſs ſeized me, and I could only articulate, I am very ill. Lady Oſborn allow me to leave the theatre. Terrified at the alteration in my looks, neither her ladyſhip or daughter would ſuffer me to go alone, but quitted the houſe inſtantly with me; and ’twas with the utmoſt difficulty I was E2 kept E2v 52 kept from fainting in the carriage: the dread of his following, and claiming me when it ſtopt, operated ſo forcibly on my mind. Mr. Oſborn is now convinced of the impropriety of my remaining any longer with his family, and has at length promiſed, that the Chevalier ſhall write an excuſe for being obliged to defer his viſit, and likewiſe deſiring my return immediately. Though he ſtill inſiſts, that I have nothing to fear from Stamford, becauſe when he finds I am countenanced by people of rank, he will drop all hopes of regaining me. But I know his diſpoſition too well, to imbibe a notion of the kind; and ſhall be perfectly miſerable, till ſafe in the protection of my deareſt D’Aubigny.—Should Stamford diſcover with whom I am, how, or in what manner ſhall I be extricated? Enraged at the impoſition—will not Sir John deliver me into the vile man’s hands, the moment I am demanded?manded? E3r 53 manded? And then Mr. Oſborn, what a contemptible light he will appear in, for having introduced ſo wretched an outcaſt to his mother and ſiſter as I am―I can only be commanded to leave the houſe; he, as a ſon of it, will be ſpoken of with ſcorn by every branch of his family —cruel reflection, that for the ſake of reſcuing an injured orphan from infamy, he must bear the ſtigma of ill treating relations who doat on him. Is it not D’Arcy Beaufoy who is likely to draw on him every reproach he can receive? I cannot endure the mortifying thought; ſtubborn heart why will you not break, and looſe the bonds which confine my ſoul to earth? Avaunt, raſh murmurs, you ſhall not be permitted to eſcape me. Indeed Marianne I have been very ill, and the pain I ſtill feel renders me ſomewhat peeviſh, ſo you muſt not be angry at the impatience I have expreſſed above—Mr. Oſborn ſays I muſt remainE3 main E3v 54 main here till the Chevalier writes, though if Stamford diſcovers my retreat, you will very ſoon ſee the degraded orphan in
To the Honourable Miſs Townſhend.St. James’s Square.
You tell me your friend is ill, that the tie of friendſhip will not ſuffer you to leave her. Charming emanation, how I admire it, and charge the child to remain with her till her health is re-eſtabliſhed; in the mean time I will do my utmoſt to divert you both—Satire is my vein you know, if you approve it, it is well; if not, I believe you will find my thoughtleſs brain is very barren E4r 55 barren of invention: that it is fertile at embelliſhments, I think I have already convinced you; and as a proof that I can delineate truly when w1 letterflawed-reproductionll is at home, I will even give you the ſketch of a character, which I am ſure you will know again, ſhould chance ever bring you into company with the original. You are to know, I called on Mrs. Criſp the other morning, and found a Mrs and Miſs Rawlins with her. Picture to yourſelf an old ſoul near ſeventy years of age, whoſe hair had once been dark, but from the ravages of Time, turned three parts white. Imagine this hoary hair, frizzed, not to ſay dreſt, into no form whatever, ſome long, dangling from what ſhe terms the toupee, while the reſt ſo ſhort, appears enviouſly peeping from under a very ſmall faſhionable white bonnet, which, to make the owner look more like an old ewe dreſt lamb- faſhion, muſt be ſtuck on one ſide, with E4v 56 with her veil pinned up, do diſcover a broad red face, ornamented with what I ſuppoſe ſhe calls dimples; but what even I cannot find a ſimile for. Her twinkling grey orbs look aſkaunce on a bottle noſe, and her mouth, when laughing, might eaſily be miſtaken for a gaſh from ear to ear; but what deity muſt I invoke to aſſiſt me in deſcribing her nonpareils of teeth? which are decayed nearly to the gums, and what few ſtumps remain in ſight are quite ſufficient to turn the ſtrongeſt ſtomach. Her perſon, fat and unweildy, is decked out in a blue ſatin gown, ornamented with cocq le coc riband, and a petticoat of the ſame ſtaring colour, with a pink cloak, trimmed with black lace. I will give you a ſlight ſketch of her converſation preſently. It ſeems ſhe has ſeveral children: but a ſon whom ſhe calls Jacky is her favourite, becauſe he happens to be one of the moſt egregious fops living; the daughter who E5r 57 who accompanied her, is her averſion. The poor thing has the miſfortune to be amiable. I muſt bring you acquainted with her by the name of Nan, which her mamma in thick liſp calls her in every company. In her uſual ſtile, Mrs. Criſp was rallying me on Grenvill’s account, and Mrs. Rawlins, to ſhew her wit, began with a loud laugh: and I dare ſay matrimony would agree with you. I ſay, why do you not try it?—Language like this was new to me, and ſtaring at her with aſtoniſhment, I turned my enquiring eyes towards my friend, whoſe anſwering look bid me expect amuſement. The ſequel will ſhew I wanted not ſcope for ridicule. I had not returned an anſwer, but her daughter had caſt a correcting glance, which produced an interrogation of Lord, Nan, whats it ſignify ar ent not we all women alike? I ſay Miſs Oſborn, Nan is ſetting her eyes at me, because I axed E5v 58 axed you a ſimple question, now what harm was there in that? Willing to humour the joke, I replied, Oh none, madam, and I aſſure you I have no objection to the marriage ſtate; the difficulty lies in getting the other ſex in the mind. Ah, I know you girls, all loves to get the men in your ſuit; but its us widows they make up to for wives: but come now I will tell you where to go to know who is to be your huſband. I ſay, Nan, where is that what’s his name moved to? Without waiting that I might be informed, ſhe went on. Well, I likes a bit of fortune vaſtly. Do you know I went to him to ax him about Jacky? and he ſays he is to be married to a Lady of vaſt great fortune. How long did he ſay it is to be before Miſs Rawlins is married, interrupted Mrs. Criſp looking ſignificantly at me. Oh, he ſays Nan is to die a maid, and I am to be married before the year’s out; is not that droll now? E6r 59 now? He ſays Jacky will be very extravagant; and ſo I have left him plenty of money, for I does love Jacky’s little finger better an all the bodies of others; is not that odd now? I ſay I will tell you ſomething vaſtly drole; he ſaid, ſays he, if you go and walk as far as Greenwich park; but you muſt walk all the way, ſays he, becauſe I do not know whether he may not be on the road, the twenty firſt of next month between the hours of twelve and two, you’ll ſee a good luſty looking gentleman, and he will accoſt you, ſays he: and that man, ſays he, is to be your huſband; was not that drole now? Hey— aſtoniſhing! ſaid I, putting on one of my looks of ſurpriſe, which you know I can make uſe of at pleaſure, I hope you went ma’am Oh yes, and what was vaſtly particular, I had but juſt got in at the gate, when he comes up to me. Was not that odd now? and ſo after we began talking, E6v 60 talking, he ’tempted to chuck me under the chin; and ſo ſays he, you are a pretty girl, and ſays he if you have a mind to live with me, I will allow you a guinea a week. But I told him, I was not the perſon he took me for; and I was a Lady of vaſt great fortune Here I could not have refrained from laughing, had I not perceived that Miſs Rawlins was very much hurt at her mother’s making ſuch a fool of herſelf; however ſhe went on. He begged my pardon and was vaſtly ſorry, and hoped I was not offended, and ſo I told him, no; and then he axed me for my card, and I gave it him, and ſo he has viſited me ever ſince. Was not that odd now? Oh ſurpriſing to a degree! but how in the name of fate, did you contrive to walk to Greenwich? ſaid I. Why I walks about a great deal always, but I was ſo tired, tho’ I took a coach home, that I did not know what to do; was not I, Nan? Then there F1r 61 there is no doubt, ma’am (ſaid Mrs. Criſp,) of the match being concluded I ſuppoſe. Why I does not know that there is, for Mr. Sampſon is ſo vaſtly good natured, and he’s ſo much in love with me, that I don’t ſee how I can ſtand out, and what’s vaſtly particular, he’s a man without a fault. Is not that odd now, hey? Odd indeed returned I, for I never yet heard of ſuch a one, and only wiſh, your’s may prove to be without a fault, after having got poſſeſſion of your fortune. Oh, he does not want me for my money, he ſays, for if I had not a farding he’d have me, for he’s got a vaſt deal of his own; and he ſays as how, if I wont have him, that he wont have any body elſe; is not that odd now? Then the old figure ran on in ſuch extravagant praiſes of her man, that I was quite wearied before ſhe got up, and gave me what I ſuppoſe ſhe thought a polite invitation. Well, I ſay, F Miſs F1v 62 Miſs Oſborn, I ſhall be vaſtly glad to ſee you; I lives in Grovenor Square; Mrs. Criſp will ſhew you the houſe; and I ſhall take it vaſtly ill if you dont come; then making a bob curtſey, half ſide ways, ſhe waddled out of the room. In the name of every thing that is rational, exclaimed I, where or in what company could you poſſibly have ſingled out that fulſome old ſoul? Mrs. Criſp ſaid ſhe was the widow of a rich citizen, who having made himſelf by his aſſiduity to buſineſs, it might eaſily be ſeen from the illiterate behaviour of his rib, had been accuſtomed to aſſociate with the loweſt claſs of people. It ſeems ſhe met with her at the houſe of a relation, through whoſe means the old fool has gained a few genteel acquaintances; but as they only invite her for the ſake of diverſion, ſo they ſoon weary of ditto repeated, and drop the acquaintance as ſoon as they can. For her part Mrs. Criſp F2r 63 Criſp ſays, ſhe ſhall be happy in finding her houſe rid of ſuch a troubleſome viſitant, and, to effect it, will plead an engagement whenever ſhe ſends. You will certainly conclude I have been exaggerating, and ſay ſuch a character cannot exiſt, but in my flighty imagination. Poſitively, it is the woman, as truly as truth can draw. I have not added a ſingle ornament to either dreſs or perſon, nor even a ſyllable more to the converſation, as thoſe who have ſeen her can teſtify―ſo much for that, now to affairs of greater conſequence. The happineſs you expreſs in my having little Chattelherhault with me, is likely to be done away very ſoon, the poor thing affects to be brother ſick, though I am out in my judgment if it favours not more of love; and declares as the Chevalier is not come ſhe will return to the continent. I remonſtrate, but all to no purpoſe, the urchin has abſolutely F2 fretted F2v 64 ſretted herſelf ill, and was obliged to leave the theatre laſt night; ſo I expect if this brother does not diſappoint her by ſhewing himſelf in England, that young ſly-boots will find an excuſe for ſtealing a march upon us next week, and leave poor Henry to ſigh in ſolitude, and mourn his hapleſs fate: for if maſter Cupid has not been playing him a ſlippery trick by catching him faſt in his trammels, ſay I have no diſcernment. The man has the aſſurance to deny it, but his heart muſt have been adamant, could he have reſiſted the bright fire of her eyes, which for all the demure looks ſhe ſtrives to put on, tells me ſhe is not the inanimate ſoul ſhe would fain be thought; there is a ſpirit in the very glance of them, which ſays, I was born to triumph: then ſhe is ſuch an amiable diſpoſition that in ſhort I ſhall feel almoſt as much hurt on her departure as her ſentimental lover. There’s F3r 65 There’s another rub in the way to plague me; here have I ſet my heart on making a conqueſt of the Chevalier, and in the midſt of the pleaſing ſenſations I was indulging of love, hearts, darts, and a thouſand other pretty little things, when Madam, whips into a poſt-chaiſe, drives away for the continent, and at once puts a ſtop to all my ideal dreams of delight. Deuce take me if I am not even with her before the year’s out, and for the preſent will conſole myſelf by ſpitting my ſpite, by teizing you. And ſo you really expect I ſhould divulge the only ſecret I ever kept from you, after the pretty ſermon you were kind enough to ſend? No, no, child, that will never do. What have I been racking my brains for years paſt to conceal the weakneſs of my heart from the world, and ſhall I now diſcover it to you? Affairs muſt take a very different turn from what they are in at preſent, before I F3 reveal F3v 66 reveal myſelf to any one be aſſured —though not withſtanding yourſaucy lecture I ſtill ſign myſelf,
To Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault.St. Omer’s.
In a ſtrange country; you are diſtreſſed in mind, and likely to be ill. Wait not for the Chevalier’s letter; your laſt has made me wretched. Tell Sir John’s family you have a friend dying: tell them any thing that will favour your eſcape from the nation, before a diſcovery can enſue; for well I know that your tender nature cannot combat with the ſhock F4r 67 ſhock it will receive. The ſhame can never reach you here; and if you are afflicted with ſickneſs, friendſhip ſhall watch over it till health is reſtored. Never can I forget when the putrid fever ſeized me in our convent; the companions of my juvenile years in terror deſerted me, being fearful of the contagion; you alone remained to comfort and attend me, nor would ſuffer yourſelf to be forced away though it was by the command of the abbeſs. It was not for friendſhip’s ſake you did it, as I then ſixteen, though you who was ſcarce ten, too much of a child to beſtow my friendſhip on. No, it was innate goodneſs prompted the generous action. You ſtopt not here; in compleating a cure: change of air was neceſſary. I had no parents alive, and thoſe who were intruſted with the care of me, were at too great a diſtance to be applied to in time. You prevailed on your mother to ſuffer F4v 68 ſuffer me to be with her. My health was eſtabliſhed, and my affection for you rooted. Madam Beaufoy was a ſecond parent to me, ought I then to forget that her child is unhappy? No, my dear D’Arcy, while reſpiration is allowed me, you ſhall never want a friend. My fortune is ample; come and ſhare it with me. It is Marianne invites. It is the voice of friendſhip ſpeaks. Suffer not Mr. Oſborn’s flattering eloquence to prevail; trifle not another moment with your future peace, but haſten to her who will be the guardian of your honour, the comforter of your mind. You know my nature is not a ſevere one, I can allow for your gratitude, and partake of the ſenſations it occaſions. I will ſooth the agitations of your heart, till love is glided into eſteem. I do nothing but reflect on myſelf for not fetching you to St. Omer’s the moment I knew of your loſs, then had the ſevere trials you have borne been F5r 69 been prevented, and your heart ſtill have remained a ſtranger to love. I like not Miſs Oſborn; you only ſpeak of her in one letter as ſprightly. I fear ſhe is more than ſprightly, ſhe appears to me volatile, and unthinking, and by no means a fit companion for my gentle Beaufoy, or why did ſhe force you to accompany her to the theatre, when I am ſure you pleaded illneſs or ſome other excuſe which would have ſatisfied her, had ſhe been ſerious enough to attend to the dictates of good breeding. However, that you may not be obliged to her brother, in pecuniary affairs, I have encloſed a thirty pound note, with the aſſurance that I am and ever will remain,
Your affectionate friend,
To Miſs Oſborn.Hertfordſhire.
Your laſt afforded us an infinite deal of mirth, though Mrs. Raymond is of opinion with me that you have made the colouring to your finiſhing ſtrokes too high for the original to be known by the portrait. What an eccentric ſoul art thou; were I not convinced of the innate goodneſs of your heart, I ſhould certainly think you one of the moſt malicious creatures living. You are poſſeſſed of a lively imagination, and want not the power of making your friends laugh at pleaſure; if you wanted leſs inclination, to ſhew your wit at the expence of your good nature, I am ſure thoſe who are now afraid of your very glance, would love you ſincerely. In anſwer to this I know you will ſay that if the ninnies are conſcious of having F6r 71 having merited the laſh of ſatire, you are not fond of diſappointing them; however, not being willing to argue the point with you, as I may ſtand a chance of being reproached for a ſaucy lecturer a ſecond time, I will drop the ſubject, and as you have given me the character of a ridiculous old woman, in return, I will ſtrive to exhibit a ſcene of woe to you. It ſeems it is the cuſtom here for woman to attend gentlemen’s gardens as well as the men. Mrs. Raymond employs a poor induſtrious creature who has a worthleſs huſband, and half a dozen children to maintain, in aſſiſting her gardener; the poor ſoul was very big with child, and ſhe had given her ſome old clothes to make baby linen, and deſired ſhe would let her know when ſhe was down laying: the unfortunate woman ſent a week ago, but though the remiſſneſs of the ſervants Mrs. Raymond knew not of it till yeſterday, when I ac- F6v 72 I accompanied her to a houſe where this poor wretch lodged. On going up ſtairs we found all the children, ſome crying for bread and butter, while others, making light of even hunger itſelf, were contentedly playing on the floor; the eldeſt a girl of fourteen, was ſitting with her arms folded in a dejected attitude, on the ſide of a truckle bed, which, except an old deal table, was all the furniture in the room; the diſtreſſed mother and her infant child were laying on a mattreſs, with nothing more than a rug for their covering. On our entrance, a little boy, about five years of age, ran to a girl much leſs than himſelf, and ſnatching up her pin cloth, cried, while wiping her eyes, Huſh, Sally, don’t ye cry no more, here’s ladies come to give ye ſome bread and butter, and bring poor mame and the baby ſomething to eat. Will flawed-reproduction1 letterm give you ſome to Charly? ſaid the little creature, blowinging G1r 73 ing her noſe, to ſpeak the plainer, while her mother made an attempt to ſit up in the bed, but was ſo weak, from not having taken any kind of ſuſtenance for two days paſt, that ſhe could not. The dear little ſoul which was laying by her, had caught a cold in it’s eyes, owing to a part of the caſement being broken away, and the want of a door to the room, as well as a fire in it, for there was no ſtove, and only a few faggots to be ſet alight on the hearth, to warm ſome bread and water when the little ſufferer cried for food, as it’s mother had ſcarce any milk in her breaſt to afford it. A ſcene The writer was witneſs to a ſcene ſimilar to the above not three years ago. to equal this I had never ſo much as heard of before, conſequently the ſight, which it is impoſſible to deſcribe in the view it then appeared, ſhocked me to ſuch a degree, that had I not been relieved G by G1v 74 by tears I ſhould certanly have fallen into hyſterics. It excited every tender feeling ſo much for the poor in my breaſt, that if I had been poſſeſſed of the power, I wanted not for inclination at the moment, to have raiſed every beggar in the nation to an affluent fortune; we ſtayed but a ſhort time, after giving them what ſilver we had in our pockets, as Mrs. Raymond wiſhed to haſten home and have ſomething comfortable made and ſent to the poor woman, which ſhe has done every day ſince, with broken victuals for the children. She intends taking the eldeſt girl into the houſe, and have her taught plain work, that ſhe may be uſeful to her family; and that the laſt child which is a boy, to ſtand godmother to, and put him to ſchool when big enough, and afterwards bind him apprentice to ſome trade; would every woman whoſe fortune was ſufficient to allow it, follow her example, what ſcenes of G2r 75 of diſtreſs and wretchedneſs might they prevent; but a love of gaming is become ſo prevalent in the breaſts of our females that they care not what meanneſſes they are guilty of, if it will enable them to ſport a larger quantity of money at the card table; and poſſibly one lady loſes in four hours, more than would render half a dozen families comfortable their whole lives. Now would ſome of theſe faſhionable women, whoſe conduct I have been making ſo free with, ſay, that I am running on in the ſtrain of a moraliſt, without the aid of years or even ſenſe to ſupport the character, therefore to oblige them, I will lay aſide the ſubject to tell you how pleaſed I am, at your being diſappointed in your views on the Chevalier; how you can trifle with your own feelings, I cannot reconcile with my ideas of knowing pleaſure in that ſtate; for were I in love as you ſay you are, I could not afford one ſmile to any G2 other G2v 76 other of the ſex, while the object of it was in company; and if he chanced to pay more attention to another, while I happened to be by, I really believe that my fooliſh heart would diſcover it’s weakneſs, by forcing an inundation from my eyes. You laugh at my frank confeſſion, and to put a ſtop to your ridicule I end my epiſtle, by aſſuring you that I ſtill remain,
To Sir John Oſborn, Bart.BaronetNew Bond-Street.
By what authority you attempt to harbour Mademoiſelle Beaufoy I know G3r 77 I know not; but as her guardian muſt inform you, that I have a right to claim her, wherever found. I have not a doubt, that ſome atrocious falſehood has been advanced to excite your humanity, and extort your protection of her. However, that you may no longer be duped by an artful tale, I muſt tell you ſhe eloped on our landing at Dover, from France, with a young fellow whom no one knows any thing of. I had not been able to diſcover her abode till this morning. I ſaw her in a carriage which bears your arms; now an affair of this kind being made public, I ſhould apprehend, would by no means be agreeable to you, therefore if the lady is immediately reſtored I ſhall ſuffer the ſtory to ſink into oblivion. If ſhe is not, be aſſured I will enforce the ſeverity of the lay in ſuch a caſe to it’s upmoſt extent.
Your anſwer, Sir, will determine,
To W. Stamford, Eſq.St. James’ Square.
A Letter I have juſt received, informs me you have been left guardian to an indiſcreet young woman, who has eloped from you, for which I am ſorry, though I have not the honour of an acquaintance with you; but I aſſure you, upon my honour, I do not know any thing of the perſon you mention; the lady you have ſeen in my carriage is Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault, ſiſter to a Frenchman of diſtinction, with whom my ſon is very intimate. In the wiſh that you may ſoon recover your ward, I have the honour to be, Sir,
To the Honourable Miſs Townſend.St. James’s Square.
Thanks to my father’s flawed-reproduction2-3 letters dence, or the town might have flawed-reproduction2-3 letters obliged with a paragraph in flawed-reproductionapproximately 2 words the news papers, that an extraordinary circumſtance had happened in a certain nobleman’s family; a young, and beautiful French woman of diſtinction was on a viſit to them, and having been ſeen by ſome elderly madman who claimed her as his ward, Sir ―’s credulity made him believe it was no phantom of the brain, and therefore had given her up to the claimant; then would have been added at the end, by the way of aſtoniſhment, O tempora, O mores! Your curioſity is more awakened by the above from me, than the public’s would have been from reading it in the Oracle, Herald, or Woodfall’s Diary, ſo now G4v 80 now muſt I begin to elucidate. You are to underſtand, Henry was ſummoned to attend poor Montagu, whoſe life was deſpaired of in Somerſetſhireas ſoon as we had ſeen flawed-reproductionapproximately 4 letterset off, Mademoiſelle Chatelherhault, accompanied by lady flawed-reproductionapproximately 4 letters, and myſelf, went to take the air in Hyde Park. An elderly man on horſe-back rode up to the carriage, and ſtaring very hard in, appeared as if on the point of forcing his head through the glaſs. Oh mon Dieu, exclaimed the timorous girl, changing colour. Don’t alarm yourſelf, my dear, ſaid my mother, it is cuſtomary in England for gentlemen to behave in ſuch a manner, though it certainly favours of ill manners. Pardon me my dear lady, returned ſhe recovering herſelf, I was terribly afraid he would have broke the carriage window. This paſſed off, and we thought no more of it; in the evening a letter was brought in to Sir John, with word G5r 81 word that the ſervant waited for an anſwer. He withdrew to the library, and Chattelherhault having been unwell the whole day, took the opportunity of retiring to her room; on my father’s return he ſhewed us a letter, which muſt certainly have been written by the man who had behaved ſo rudely in the morning claiming our young viſitant by the name of Beaufoy, and his ward. My mother aſked what anſwer he had returned; he ſaid an aſſurance that he knew not any ſuch perſon. I ſaid I would run up ſtairs and tell my little French girl what an hair breadth eſcape ſhe had had; but my mother ever careful of preventing uneaſineſs for her friends, was afraid of her being alarmed, and entreated I would not inform her of it till ſome time had elapſed; ſo thus reſts this important affair, though if my will had been complied with, I believe for the joke’s ſake, inſtead of G5v 82 of an anſwer I ſhould certainly have ſent ſome of Monro’s people to take charge of him; poſitively the man muſt be mad as a March hare, flawed-reproductionapproximately 3 letterse never could have miſtaken flawed-reproductionapproximately 3 letters timid little Chattelherhault, for his forward minx Beaufoy.
Your deſcription of the unfortunate gardening woman ſhocked me to a degree, and I ſhall beg to be your debtor, till we meet, for a couple of guineas, which I deſire you will give her in my name. So you really thought I ſhould laugh at your frank confeſſion; no, no, I will carry it a little farther, by ſuppoſing if you could not force a deluge of tears that you would apply a handkerchief to your eyes, and ſham, rather than not appear hurt at the wretch’s neglect of you. Shame on the ſex: well may the men be vain of themſelves, while there are ſuch a number of ſoft, ſighing, what ſhall I call them, fooliſh damſels as you in the world, that G6r 83 that take pains to convince them of the power they have over them. Silly girls. Why I tell you it is the only way to effect the loſs of your man; a love of roving is inherent in the nature of the ſex, and they are as fond of gaining conqueſts, as e’er a woman of us all. Make it no longer a doubt to any one of them that your affections are fixed on him, oh then he is your very humble ſervant, and preſers his devoirs to ſome other fair. Thus they reward ye. Follow my precepts and obſerve the difference in the behaviour of the lords of the creation towards you. Support your dignity, and ſuffer not the man who has gained your heart to make ſure of it, ſuppoſing he really loves you, is there any harm in keeping him in ſuſpence, till he dares to inſiſt on your naming the time which will make you his. Your wiſe-acre ladyſhip putting on a demure look, will aſk, Whether it is G6v 84 is cuſtomary for a man to go ſo great a length, before he is convinced of a woman’s affections being all his own? Simpletonian! Do you imagine that I now for inſtance, would ſuffer any man to dangle after me as a lover whom I deſpiſed; and are there not ways and means to let the one whom at ſight of your heart beats a ſtrange palpitation, know you have a regard for him, without making it appear that you are deſperately in love? a few encouraging ſmiles will inliven his humour a whole evening; he dreams all night of your beſtowing more favours on him than any other, ariſes in the morning, fully perſuaded that you love him, haſtens to attend you, pleaſed in the idea of having as many kind glances beſtowed on him as on the preceding evening. How grievouſly is he baulked; you look cool upon him; he goes home, curſes his ſtars, calls you inhuman, and vows never to ſubmit H1r 85 ſubmit to your tyranny more; but ere two days have rolled their circuit o’er his head, he cathces himſelf, ha, ha, ha, in the act of worſhipping at your ſhrine; and what has effected this change, but his dread of loſing you? Whereas if you had convinced him of his being ſole maſter of your heart, he would have ſhewn his reſentment, by keeping his diſtance a whole fortnight; well, after a time trifled away in doubts, anxiety, and fears, he determines not to be kept any longer in ſuſpence, but puts the queſtion that he may know his doom; and after the marriage-day is fixed, I have no objection to your ſhewing as much love as you think proper; and that woman muſt be deſtitute of every generous principle, who will not ſtrive after having taken a man for better for worſe, to render home more comfortable to him than any other place can be: though I am ſorry that ſome wives, whoſe H conduct H1v 86 conduct I have obſerved, oblige me to ſay, they have forgotten their duty, with the vow they once made at the altar. Bleſs us what faux pas have I catched myſelf in, the deuce take writing. Moralizing! as I hope to live! Well, well, truth will out one time or other, ſo I will even copy my neighbours by making a frank confeſſion, hey, Sophia, that if ever I marry, which the Lord in his infinite mercy ſend I may, I do really and ſincerely believe, (the declaration muſt be ſolemn you know, by the way of adding weight to what I advance) if my huſband proves a reaſonable man, that I may in proceſs of time be brought to dwindle as a wife, into what I never will be while a maiden, an amiable piece of ſtill life. Betray me not to the crops of our acquaintance, Oh ye daughter of I know not who, or my triumph will be ended, and my deſign totally ſpoiled before it can be executed; for H2r 87 for you are to underſtand, child, I don’t mean to make any fooliſh proteſtations of what my intentions are in regard to hereafter, but put the good man to a trial of his confidence in my generoſity, my honour, and all other et ceteras which appear ſo becoming in a woman; and if I find he is willing to give me my way in trifles, poſſibly I may fall into his humour where things of greater moment are concerned. However for this time I have ſaid enough, and think you will not be ſorry at having finiſhed reading the ſcrawl of,
To Sir John Oſborn, Bart.BaronetNew Bond Street.
The aſſurance you have given me on your honour, that you know not ſuch a perſon as Mademoiſelle Beaufoy, convinces me you have been moſt groſſly abuſed, in her being introduced at your houſe under a fictitious name; to prove which I will wait on you this evening, bringing people with me who can ſwear to the identity of her perſon; or reſting the deciſion on the lady’s emotion at ſight of me. Will attend you alone. Your acquieſcence will oblige,
To W. Stamford, Eſq.St. James’s Square.
You ſtill perſiſt in your ward’s being protected by me, and I can only ſay at preſent, that a reſemblance between two faces is ſometimes ſtriking, and ſimilitude which Mademoiſelle Beaufoy’s features bear to Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault’s muſt have deceived you. My ſon, Sir, is a man of hounour, and would ſcorn to practice an impoſition on his family; he has been ſent for by a ſick friend into Somerſetſhire; at his return I ſhall be happy to receive you, as I would not chooſe to ſuffer our fair viſitor, who enjoys an ill ſtate of health, to be ſeen by any one in an affair of this kind, without his approbation.
I remain, Sir, your’s, &c.
To the Chevalier Chattelherhault.St. James’s Square.
If ever you wiſhed to do me a kindneſs, Chattelherhault, it muſt be proved now; that libidinous old dog, Mademoiſelle Beaufoy’s guardian, has taken the opportunity while I was out of town, attending Jack Montague who has had a violent fit of illneſs, of writing to Sir John, and claiming her as his ward, who had eloped from him at Dover; my father declined receiving his viſit till my return, and I have inſiſted on her not being made acquainted with it, conſequently his not being permitted to ſee her, till your arrival in England. The dear girl has ſome time paſt been impatient to return to the continent. She has a friend at St. Omer’s, ſhe ſays, who is able, from her alliance with people of conſequence, to H4r 91 to protect her againſt all Stamford’s ſtratagems; her name is D’Aubigny, poſſibly you have ſome knowledge of her. I have detained the ſuffering charmer here thus long, in the hope that circumſtances might turn out favourably and Mademoiſelle Beaufoy have become my wife; the dear illuſive hope muſt now be baniſhed, and whatever it coſts me, ſhe ſhall return virtuous to her friend, and may make ſome other man more happy than I can ever be after it. Do you not know ſome one in whom you dare confide the ſecret? If ſo, bring them with you, to atteſt ſhe is your ſiſter. In an injured orphan’s cauſe, let us leave no one thing unaccompliſhed to defend it. Let your haſte to England be the proof of your friendſhip to,
To Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny.St. James’s Square.
Now, and not till now, has the meaſure of my woes been compleated. Oſborn has just left my room; from him I learn, that inſtead of haſtening to my deareſt Marianne I muſt remain a priſoner in this nation: deteſtable place. how I hate it: have I not cauſe, on reflecting that the ſource of all my wretchedneſs originated in it? Stamford, too, has diſcovered me, and I have been demanded of Sir John.—Mr. Oſborn has written to the Chevalier to haſten here, and own me for his ſiſter: if he refuſes, never more may you expect to ſee me; ſhame will put an end to that life which misfortune has rendered tireſome. Surely my fate is hard, born in ſorrow as I may ſay, foſtered in affliction, is it not enough that my riper years are corroded by anguiſh, but H5r 93 but I muſt fall a prey to the ſevereſt trial, that art, villany, and malice, can inflict. The nobly generous Oſborn does every thing in his power to afford me conſolation, he ſays the Chevalier has it not in his nature to refuſe any requeſt which he makes, but is not the one he has now made what he cannot in honour comply with? too certainly it is; he bids me aſſume a placid countenance on Stamford’s appearance, and all will end well. Does he think that one raſh ſtep has rendered me callous to ſhame? God forbid it ſhould, rather let me ſink into miſery, like one who is conſcious of her guilt, than juſtify incur an accuſation which I cannot think of without horror. Would that you were by to ſupport my cauſe, I could then throw myſelf at Lady Oſborn’s feet, and confeſs my error and plead for forgiveneſs; but now friendleſs and unprotected, my thoughts wander to recollect ſome perſon to whom I may apply; but chilled H5v 94 chilled in the knowledge that there is not one, they return, and ſink into a ſtate of torpidity to which madneſs is ſurely preferable. Oh, my mother! why was I permitted to remain on earth, if only to be afflicted worſe than you were? I ſcarcely know what I have written, Marianne, but I am intent on complaining to you, who are at too great a diſtance to afford conſolation, and uttering an apoſtrophe to my dear mother’s ſhade, which I ſeem to ſee hovering over and lamenting the fate of her unfortunate child. Well, but I have been very ill, and may not the knowledge of what I am doom’d to ſuffer conduce to the termination of my exiſtence, and that will prevent my ſhame; if it ſhould, Marianne, you muſt not grieve for my loſs, but comfort yourſelf in the hope that I am happy. Do you think my death would becauſebe cauſe for concern to Mr. Oſborn? I do not wiſh him to be very much afflicted H6r 95 afflicted, but methinks if he would ſhed a tear o’er my grave, as a remembrancer that he had once known me I could more readily ſubmit to death now, than live half a century longer the happieſt of human ſouls, if I thought he would forget, and not lament me then. Miſs Oſborn too, I flatter myſelf, my memory will not be hateful to her. Indeed you muſt not think hardly of that young lady; ſhe is the counterpart of her dear brother; accuſtomed from her infancy, I am ſure, to be beloved, ſhe is at peace with herſelf, and in good humour with the world; ſhe is young, has never been known to misfortune, and wants not for vivacity. I was once lively, but wretchedneſs became my inmate and has taken entire poſſeſſion of my breaſt I have given up even the hope of meeting with my father, while life remains I muſt be dependent on you; ſhould the Almighty power ſnatch that protectiontection H6v 96 tection from me Stamford will renew his perſecution. I cannot proceed, horror has chilled my every nerve; but while reſpiration is allowed me, I muſt ever remain your affectionate, though wretched,
To Henry Oſborn, Eſq.
What a devil of a rout you ſerious fellows make about virtuous woman, as you call a girl who is unwilling to run into your arms before you have begun the attack; ply the ſex cloſely, there is not one of them from the arranteſt coquette in nature, to the demureſt prude among them, but will ſurrender at diſcretion; and where a man does not accompliſh his deſigns, it is more owing to his want of patience, than I1r 97 than any rare prudence on the woman’s part. I am deep read in all their tricks and ſubterfuges, and from perſevering in purſuit of the game, have never yet been obliged to give out, till it was run down; why you might eaſily have prevented the preſent row, by taking the girl flawed-reproduction1 word a bagnio; ſhe, as a ſtranger, could not have known the difference between that and your father’s houſe; the family might have been out of town, not expecting your return ſo ſoon, and the critical moment been ſeized on, ſhe would gladly have acceded to terms; you have hired private lodgings for her, and the whole progreſs of the amour had ended by this time. Seriouſly though, for I know you will curſe my inhumanity on reading the above, you are the only man living for whom I would riſque my honour by lying through thick and thin to a whole nation, as it is moſt likely I ſhall I have I1v 98 have to do on this occaiſion; yet what I ſhall find much more difficult, will be ſilencing my ſiſter’s complaints of being confined ſo much longer at our chateau than ſhe expected; but as her appearance in England would play the devil, by marring our plot, I intend to quit France without her knowledge. You ſay Mademoiſelle Beaufoy is known to Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny. I am acquainted with a relation of that lady’s, and would not heſitate in ſtriving to ſerve any friend of her’s; ſo the firſt fair wind wafts me to Albion’s white cliffs. As national politeſſe will not be requiſite in my recontre with the old raſcal, I am practiſing a few Iriſh airs, ſuch as looking big, cocking my hat fiercely, ſtrutting boldly, putting myſelf in a menacing poſture to demand ſatisfaction. Don’t you think, Oſborn, that this en cavalier behaviour will be quite comme il faut? I am now going to tell a devil I2r 99 a devil of a lie to my ſiſter, and take the route to Calais:
Adieu, au revoir.
To Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault.St. Ome’rsOmer’s
Your laſt has almoſt broken my heart. I can ſcarce ſee the letters I write for the tears which force their way in ſpite of all my endeavours to repreſs them. What have you not ſuffered in that vile England? but what agitation, what diſtreſs infinitely more, will you have to combat with, as the time approaches for your facing the worſt of villains; your emotion muſt betray you to Sir John’s family, and I2 the I2v 100 the wretch will triumph in your downfal: no friends in the nation to whom you can flee for protection. What muſt become of you? I tremble at conſequences which are likely to enſue; and am determined to loſe not a moment in haſtening to your relief. Your wiſh that I were by to ſupport your cauſe, ſhall not prove unpropitious. Yes, I will obey the call of anguiſh, and ſnatch you from deſpair. You ſhall yet enjoy happineſs without alloy, and claim the reward due to injured virtue. Don’t give way to dejection, nor ſuffer deſpondency to gain an aſcendant over your mind. Believe me, when the trying moment arrives, you will find yourſelf equal to the conteſt. That Superior Powwer, which is appointed to guard, is more watchful of our welfare at the moment Hope is forſaking us, and brings to our reſcue, heart-felt joy from the quarter in which we look only for deſpair. Imagination has I3r 101 has portrayed to your mind’s view a ſcene truly terrific, to avoid which you are welcoming death; and cruelly charge me not to grieve for your loſs, while you are wiſhing Mr. Oſborn to be ſuſceptible of that ſympathy which you intreat I will diveſt myself of. Were it not for the known certainty of your being too wretched at the time you were writing to attend to circumſtances, I ſhould be half inclined to be angry with you; however, I conjure you, as you value my future quiet, to ſupport your ſpirits. I ſhall be in England poſſibly as ſoon as this reaches you; after that I will bid defiance to every attempt on your honour. The poſt is going out, and I cannot add more than that you know my rank has rendered me intimate with ſome of the firſt Engliſh families. I ſhall avail myſelf of ſuch a fortunate circumſtance, and you may depend on ſeeing me before your interview with I3 Stamford I3v 102 Stamford takes place. I remain your ſincere and unalterable friend,
To the Honourable Miſs Townſend.St. James’s Square.
Pray, child, are you fond of being preſent at a grand quarrel between the French and Engliſh, where the latter ſtand a chance of being well drubbed? if you are, Hey for London town. Poſitively, though, the man whoſe claim I treated in ſo ludicrous a manner in my laſt, has renewed it, and actually inſiſted flawed-reproduction1 word my father’s reſigning the charge of Chattelherhaut up to him, or proving that her name was not Beaufoy and his ward I4r 103 ward. To do this effectually the Chevalier’s preſence was neceſſary, and Henry diſpatched an expreſs for him. So out of evil ſpringeth good. The dear charming man arrived this evening, my heart leaped when the poſt-chaiſe ſtopt at the door; but when he entered the room, oh what joy ſeized it, in the hope of his becoming the moſt abject of my ſlaves;—me-thought his ſentimental ſiſter hardly received him with a ſiſterly affection. Moſt likely her langour proceeded from the illneſs ſhe has had; but I am ſure, was I dying, the ſight of ſuch an affectionate brother as he appears would infuſe freſh vigour throughout my frame, and recal my ſoul to earth, if winging it’s flight towards the ethereal regions. Abſolutely a body would ſuppoſe he had thrown aſide the brother, for the more tender character of a lover; if the Chevalier can behave ſo politely attentive as a brother, what would I4v 104 would you not give, Sophia, to have him for an admirer? In ſhort, my breast has taken the alarm, and cautions it’s colleague the heart, to beat to arms, to be enabled to ſtand the attack of an invaſion; for where a ſhot cannot prevail, The French have a knack of levying a whole volley; don’t miſtake by imagining courage is meant inſtead of ſighs, and think it will be prudent to place the centinel apprehenſion as guard, becauſe there is a ſtrong probability of ſuch a man’s being engaged. Thus ſpeaks reaſon; but a faithful heart replies, that life is nothing without love, and it would not be exempt from the paſſion to obtain a univerſe, where it was not to gain admiſſion, at the ſame time reminds it’s adviſer, that love in the image of one clothed in friendſhip’s ſacred garb, had crept through an avenue to it’s utmoſt receſs, unreſiſted by her at the moment he had raiſed his throne on the firmeſt baſis—Eſteem—before even her I5r 105 her penetration could diſcover it, he reigned triumphant, and now would not give up his claim on the whole, though the endeavour of all her allies united were to ſtrive to hurl him from it. I have written myſelf into that ſoftened kind of diſpoſition in which I cannot proceed with my uſual vivacity, and muſt reſign the pen till morning.
here I am, returned with a freſh ſupply of animation at command; but as I am to proceed methodically it ſhall lay dormant, while I tell you this all captivating hero informed his ſiſter that expecting to find letters at the poſt-houſe, on his landing at Dover, he had ſent his ſervant to enquire if there were any directed to him, and was agreeably ſurpriſed on receiving one from Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny. Sacre Dieu! (exclaimed ſhe claſping her hands as if in the agony of deſpair,) ſurely Marianne will not, ſhe cannot determine to give up my cauſe, I5v 106 cauſe, when it ſtands moſt in need of her aſſiſtance. Henry looked, I thought, confuſed, while the Chevalier, making a motion of putting his hand on her mouth cried, Huſh, am I not your brother, and able to protect you? O, no, no, (ſaid ſhe, burſting into tears,) Marianne alone can protect, ſupport and ſave me; if ſhe has deſerted me, and the whole world cannot afford conſolation. Permit me to aſſure you, interrupted he, that Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny is now in England. I waited on her in my way hither, and ſhe comiſſioned me to preſent this letter. Which he gave her with the moſt gallant air imaginable. She ſnatched it eagerly, kiſſed it fervently, and held it to her breaſt the ſpace of five minutes, while her expreſſive eyes were turned towards heaven in the attitude of thankſgiving; on a ſudden they rolled, her looks were wild, ſhe kiſſed the letter once more, and ſunk into I6r 107 into an alarming ſtupor. Terrified at the change, I rung the bell for aſſiſtance, while my mother applied a ſmelling bottle to her noſe, which was not potent enough to prevent violent hyſterics—Horror was ſtrongly imprinted on the countenance of the Chevalier; but Henry raved, he acknowledged his love for her, and vowed to take ample revenge on the villain who had occaſioned her pain. Murder will out, you find, one time or other; till then he had the confidence to deny the power the deity had gained over him. However the dear girl was recovered and put to bed, and this morning is charmingly. It ſeems this Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny is a friend with whom ſhe was educated at a convent and ſo firm is their affection towards each other, that it is generally ſuppoſed if any misfortune happened to one it would be an infallible means of breaking the heart of her friend, and in her letter I6v 108 letter to her brother ſhe entreated he would bring her over with him, and then ſhe was certain of being ſecured from the vile Engliſhman; for Marianne would rather die than ſuffer him to have her. Poor thing, her terror would not give her leave to reflect that if her brother thought proper to give her up, not all Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny’s endeavours could prevent the Engliſhman’s having her. However her friend paid her a viſit this morning, ſhe received her alone in her dreſſing room, and ſoon after my mother and ſelf were admitted, and introduced to her, the Chevalier and Henry joined us, and the converſation ſoon became lively and entertaining; for Chattelherhault having her ſiſter excellence preſent, ſtrove to emulate, and quite outdid herſelf; never, after having ſeen theſe two women together, dare I venture to think ſo highly of myſelf, as vanity taught me I might; would you believe, K1r 109 believe, that inſtead of exciting the attention of half the company by my prattle, as I am accuſtomed to do, I was frequently dumb, in the conſciouſneſs of my own inability to ſupport any ſhare in a converſation which was entered upon by theſe amiable friends.
Well, well, I have determined to bid adieu to trifling, and purſue the footſteps of ſense, till I have gained the track beyond their knowledge. The arduous taſk being compleated, I’ll ſit myſelf down contented in the pleaſure of having quite outrun them; there is an improveable diſpoſition for you: abſolutely I have deſcribed the ſpirit of emulation as well in the few preceding lines as if I had taken the trouble of writing a diſſertation on the ſubject. Lord, if theſe muſty moral writers would but follow my example, inſtead of whole volumes, which they publiſh to teach mankind what all the race knew before was proper, they K would K1v 110 would pen a few of their reflections on one ſheet of paper; and if the world was determined to be enlightened, it would pay more attention to that ſingle ſheet, that it does at preſent to thouſands of them which are printed daily for it’s improvement. Now were any of thoſe grave gentry to read what I have written, they would knit their brows, by the way of expreſſing diſapprobation of the theme, and throwing it aſide, with a ſupercilious ſmile, would exclaim, in a tone of contempt, Ah that is an opinion entertained by a fooliſh woman (Now raising their voices,) How dare a creature, whoſe whole ſex have been denied the gift of ſoul, attempt to decide judgment on our proceedings? Fair, and ſoftly, thou boiſterous lords of the creation; admit, as you ſay, women have not a ſoul, yet you cannot deny that they are endued with the ſenſe of ſeeing, of hearing, and talking,ing, K2r 111 ing, conſequently they ſee the world does not grow a whit the better; they frequently hear the moſt ſolid of your arguments turned into ridicule by your own ſex; and from being indulged with a tongue, have the liberty of proclaiming their own thoughts on the ſubject. But if venting their malignity on your works was half the miſchief created by your ſtriving to inculcate the idea in their mind that none of them are in poſſeſſion of a ſoul, it would by trifling indeed, for as they need not dread the ſame puniſhment that is ſuppoſed to be inflicted on yours in the world which is yet unknown, they naturally imagine the greateſt ſin may be committed without the pain of reflecting, that it muſt be atoned for at the expiration of exiſtence. Half- witted mortals, what an error your infinitude of wiſdom would lead you into! A word to thoſe huſbands who wiſh to prevent the K2 ſprouting K2v 112 ſprouting of horns from their foreheads, and I have done with the ſubject. If you votaries of Hymen were to take as much pains to convince your wives of their being endowed with half a dozen ſouls, which would be tortured beyond deſcription if they commit a fault, as you take to aſſure them of being perfectly ſoulleſs, a number of divorces might be prevented, and families enjoy tranquility, which at preſent know only wretchedneſs. You will not thank me for thid digreſſion, Sophia; you wiſh to be informed of the Chevalier, and I am leading as wide off the track as if it had never been in my view; but I am moſt intolerably indifferent about the man. And why? becauſe he is not comeatable. So, as a friend, I adviſe you to ſecure your traitorous heart from receiving any indelible impreſſions. Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny has completed a conqueſt, and you’ll be loſt in any attempt to rival her. K3r 113 her. I am now in haſte, but will renew the ſubject, with an account of the conteſt. Adieu.
To Madame Paſſerat.Harley-Street.
As your illneſs prevented your accompanying me to England, I am ſure you are impatient to learn in what manner our amiable little Beaufoy was extricated from the melevolencemalevolence of her guardian. With my leave, ſhe ſays, ſhe will herſelf inform you of every particular, and I think you will not be concerned at my reſigning the pen to one who will certainly deſcribe the ſenſations that ſhe experienced at the time K3 more K3v 114 more fully than I can poſſibly do. She is this moment at my elbow, ready to ſnatch it from me, and I cannot refuſe her the pleaſure ſhe has enjoyed by anticipation theſe two days paſt, that of giving her friend’s aunt a faithful detail of the whole affair.
My dear Mademoiſelle D’Aubigmy has permitted me the honour of writing you an account, Madam, of the rencontre with the cruel man who deſigned my ruin. The day arrived that he expected would conſign the trembling victim to his treacherous charge once more. To prevent it, your affectionate Marianne was in St. James’s Square by nine in the morning, as well as to prepare me for the much dreaded ſcene, which was to enſue at twelve. We were to be aſſembled in the drawing room at eleven, and you may eaſily conceive I was more dead than alive, led into it. Five minutes had ſcarcely eſapedeſcaped when a Sir K4r 115 a Sir Thomas Stuart Morell was announced. Involuntarily, I had caſt my eyes on Mr. Oſborn; he was looking at the Chevalier; aſtoniſhment and diſtreſs were ſtrongly marked in every lineament of his face. That generous friend ſtrove to correct the look by an encouraging inclination of his head; ariſing at the ſame moment, he went up to Sir Thomas, who not expecting, was ſurprized at meeting with him. Sir John immediately ſaid, You have not only the pleaſure of ſeeing the Chevalier; but may have the happineſs of converſing with his amiable ſiſter, who has honoured us by her viſit likewiſe. I had put on a bonnet with a veil, that whatever change my looks aſſumed might not be ſo readily noticed. Sir Thomas, with a familiar ſmile, began congratulating himſelf on the unexpected felicity of ſeeing me in England; as he approached the ſmile vaniſhed, and a look of ſurprize K4v 116 ſurprize was conſtituted in it’s ſtead, as Miſs Oſborn, giving me a pat on the ſhoulder, in her lively manner, aſked, whether I had forgot my old friend, Sir Thomas? The Chevalier gave not any of us time to reply, for catching him by the arm haſtily, ſaid, You may take another opportunity of paying your reſpects to my ſiſter, Sir Thomas, ſhe knows I have a meſſage of the utmoſt conſequence to you from Monsieur Houliers, and can readily paſs it over. Will you excuſe me, ladies? Sir John, I have your pardon, come along Sir Thomas, and pulling him out of the room, exclaimed, This national ſpirit of liberty has deranged his affairs moſt damnably. I do not repeat this from my own knowledge of it’s having been ſaid, Madam, but from what your dear neice has ſince told me, for ſeated between her and Miſs Oſborn, it was with the utmoſt difficulty I could ſupport myſelf K5r 117 myſelf from fainting, while ſhe in Spaniſh, which none of the family, Mr. Oſborn excepted, underſtood, told me I need not fear a diſcovery, unleſs I ſuffered my own emotion to betray me. The Chevalier, and Sir Thomas had been abſent ten minutes, when the parlour bell was rung, and a ſervant ſent to ſay the favour of my company was deſired by the gentleman. I aroſe, and but for Mr. Oſborn, who immediately offered his hand to lead me down ſtairs, I muſt have fallen; my legs trembled, and I tottered; ſtrength had nearly forſaken me; he ſaw Sir John’s eyes were on me, and ſaid, I wiſh this ſaid madman had given us his viſit, if he intends it; you know your brother’s preſence can ſecure you againſt whatever he may urge, and yet I ſee fear reigns predominant in your mind till the expected interview is over. Lady Oſborn is one of the moſt affectionately tender womenmen K5v 118 men in nature; ſhe ſaid every thing which ſhe thought would quiet my apprehenſions, while her charming daughter expreſſed her ſurprize at my timidity, and her ſon conducted me to the parlour. Sir Thomas bowed on my entrance. I burſt into tears, he came towards me, and taking one hand while Mr. Oſborn held the other, ſaid, Will you excuſe me, Madam? Pardonnez moi, Monſieur, interrupted the ſprightly Frenchman, ſnatching it from him: no, curſe me if ſhe ſhall. Do you know, my lovely ſiſter, he refuſes to acknowledge you as ſuch? and pleads his long friendſhip with Sir John, as a ſufficient excuſe for diſobliging the moſt charming woman in the world, and I have ſent for you to try, what your own eloquence can do, as mine does not ſeem to prevail. Never in my life was I aſſiſted with ſo much fortitude as at that moment; the big tears, that were chaſingſing K6r 119 ſing each other down my cheeks, forcing a channel throug the eyes, forbore to flow, my countenance aſſumed ſerenity, my voice became clear, my tone unbroken by ſorrow, and I replied with energy, I thank you, Sir, for the kindneſs of your intentions towards me, my preſent concern is, that it never will be in my power to repay the moſt trivial part of the obligations you have conferred—You, Sir, (ſaid I, turning to the baronet and curtſying) will oblige flawed-reproduction1 word to revere you, though a refuſal of the Chevalier’s requeſt may claſh with my preſent intereſt. Yet your noble attachment to Sir John Oſborn, and ſtrict adherence to truth, actuates at this moment, and ever will, to demand that tribute of me; continue to cheriſh the ſentiments you have imbibed, and no circumſtance can tend to make your future days unhappy. Would to heaven I had been as much averſe to committing an error,‘ror, K6v 120 ror, as you are tenacious of being led into one, I had not felt at this moment the keen ſeverity of being completely wretched. Indiſcretion has in ſome degree added to it, though I have yet the ſecret ſatisfaction of knowing myſelf innocent of any capital crime. I mean not by what I have advanced to excite your compaſſion, or create emotion for the finer feelings to operate on, by giving a detail of the ill uſage I have ſuſtained from the man on 1 wordflawed-reproduction the care of me devolved on the demiſe of a tender parent. It will be ſufficient if my entreaties are ſuffered to prevail, that you will not ſtrive to render Mr. Oſborn’s conduct criminal in the eyes of his family; the motive for introducing me to it as Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault, was of the moſt delicate nature; could I be allowed time to acquaint you with it now, I am fully perſuaded from a certain ‘rectitude L1r 121 rectitude that appears to guide your every thought, you would admire with infinitely more enthuſiaſm, than you at preſent condemn him. I ſhall be content to endure the ſtigma ſo long as the odium can be kept from him: It is I alone am blamable, and no other ought to ſuffer for my folly. Stop, Madam, (interrupted he) the woman that ſo generouſly ſtrives to draw cenſure on herſelf, by retorting the ball from him who alone has erred, has made for herſelf a more than ſtrenuous friend in my boſom than I find myſelf inclinable to acknowledge; but I muſt do myſelf and you the juſtice to ſay, that ſhe who entertains ſuch exalted ſentiments cannot be deſtitute of principle; and, if I might truly aſſure myſelf that your virtue was unſullied, there is not that trial in the world, I would not chearfully eſſay to preſerve it ſo. Moſt generous of men, exclaimed L I, burſting L1v 122 I, burſting into tears, (unexpected kindneſs diſarmed that fortitude which apparent ſeverity had given ſtrength to) my virtue has ever been invulnerable, elſe I had not had occaſion to appear to you at preſent as a ſuſpicious character.— My converſation muſt appear enigmatical to you likewiſe; to ſolve it in ſome degree, know, it is for the preſervation of my honour I am indebted to this beſt of men; the one who is expected to claim would baſely have deprived me of it, had not he ſtept forth the champion of injured innocence— Enough, Madam, (ſaid he) I find you have been left to the care of a villain; ſuch a circumſtance too frequently proves the fatal bane of numbers. Mr. Oſborn has acted from motives of humanity. I will aſſiſt him in ſupporting your cauſe with my utmoſt intereſt. But why not have entruſted the ſecret to Lady Oſborn? Or, if you ‘had L2r 123 had not courage to acquaint her with it, Miſs Oſborn I am ſure would not have abuſed your confidence. She is a charming girl; her vivacity is tinctured with exquiſite ſenſibility, and ſhe would have done the utmoſt in her power to ſerve you. Never yet was ſhe known to turn a deaf ear to the tale of ſorrow, or diſregard the tears of a daughter of affliction; however, talking of what might have been effected is loſing time; we muſt now turn our thoughts on what is likely to prove moſt advantageous. He ſtopt, expecting an anſwer. Mr. Oſborn and the Chevalier were denied by ſurprize the power of articulation, while I ſobb’d aloud in giving my gratitude vent. Come, ſaid he, breaking ſilence, I find you are not prepared with an expedient, and it is now too late to make many propoſitions. I can only ſay, if the wretch ſhould bring preſumptiveL2 ‘tive L2v 124 tive proofs of your being his ward, which is to be apprehended, and Sir John abandons you to his care, my doors ſhall be open to afford you an aſylum. Interrupting him, Mr. Oſborn haſtily ſaid, I thank you, Sir, in my own, and the Lady’s name, for your proffered kindneſs, but ſhe has a friend above who will hardly allow her to accept it. Has her friend honour with the intereſt to ſupport her cauſe, young man, againſt the attack of a lawleſs ruffian? aſked the Baronet, looking ſternly at him. She has, Sir Thomas; it is a female. I am ſatisfied then. But ſhould her power be inſufficient, Madam, (turning to me,) mine may be commanded to add force to it. Oh, Sir Thomas, your goodneſs has made bankrupt my gratitude; words are too poor to expreſs my ſenſe of ſuch exceſs of friendſhip, and I muſt be ſilent in the conſciouſneſs of an inability to ‘ſpeak L3r 125 ſpeak To effect the ſilence which will ſend us up to the ladies, ſaid the Chevalier with an air of gaiety, ſuppoſe I ſtop the mouth of my more than lovely ſiſter, (at the ſame time making an attempt, which Mr. Oſborn prevented, to ſalute me.) It is a liberty, Frank, ſaid he, I have never preſumed to take with Miſs Beaufoy, neither will I permit you to make ſuch an advantage. I underſtand the force of his intention perfectly, cried Sir Thomas, and I don’t think it a bad one, if we reflect, it’s moſt likely the family will wonder at our long abſence: allow me, Madam (offering his hand) to lead you up ſtairs. We had hardly got into the drawingroom before a loud rap at the door warned us of our viſitant’s approach; my newly acquired friend led me to a ſeat next Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny, and took himſelf the vacant one on the other ſide of me. The L3 ſound L3v 126 ſound of footſteps aſſured me that another moment would preſent my greateſt enemy to view, and totally unconſcious of either words or actions. I exclaimed, Oh ſhield me, heaven, and caught faſt hold of the Baronet’s arm; the Chevalier immediately came acroſs the room. Let me conjure you, (ſaid he in a half whiſper) to recollect I am ſuppoſed to be your brother; your behaviour will not only betray yourſelf and me, but ſubject Oſborn to the reproaches of his family. The door opened, unheeding what he had juſt ſaid, I gave an involuntary ſcream; but it proved to be one of the ſervants, ſent by Stamford to ſay he begged to ſpeak with Sir John in private: the Chevalier objected to his going down to him, ſaid himſelf alone was empowered to ſet matters right, and with leave of the company he ſhould take the liberty of deſiring Mr. Stamford to walk up ſtairs. But my dear Chevalier,‘valier L4r 127 valier, conſider, the ſight of him will occaſion your ſiſter ſo much terror, That door, Sir John, belongs to a convenient cloſet. I ſhall beg the favour of Sir Thomas to ſtep in with her, till I require him to bring her forward. Happy, you may be aſſured, Madam, I was, at any reprieve, though of the ſhorteſt duration. We juſt entered the cloſet as Stamford did the room; and I felt as if I could ſhrink into nothing at the very ſound of his voice. He accoſted Sir John, I am ſorry, Sir, to have occaſioned either yourſelf or your family any concern on the buſineſs which I am now come: that (continued he, looking around the room, and fixing his eyes on Mr. Oſborn) is the man with whom my ward eloped, and I demand her at his hands. Mr. Oſborn reddened, it ſeems, and told him that if he dared to inſiſt on having a Lady with whom he had no right, he would lead L4v 128 lead him out of the houſe by the noſe; and not ſuffering it to reſt there, would make a point of poſting him in every coffee-houſe about town. It is a matter of indifference to me, Sir, with whom your ward eloped, ſaid the Chevalier, but I muſt deſire you will be more careful in future of pointing out any relation of mine as a fit object for giving unneceſſary uneaſineſs to, or you will find I am not of ſuch a placid nature, as tamely to put up with an inſult offered to any part of my family, eſpecially where a ſiſter’s ſafety is endangered, my own honour is more nearly concerned to protect it. Pardon me, Sir, (replied Stamford) for contradicting the aſſertion of making a claim on your ſiſter. I have an undoubted right over the lady whom I ſaw in Sir John’s carriage, and will maintain that right, in ſpite of your’s or that gentleman’s threats, (extending his hand towardswards L5r 129 wards Mr. Oſborn) to oblige me to relinquiſh it. By G― (ſaid young Oſborn paſſionately) you muſt take my life before ſuch right is acknowledged, or your claim ſuffered to hold good. And I will defend her cauſe with the laſt drop of my heart’s blood, ere ſhe is delivered to any old ſcoundrel in the world, rejoined the Chevalier. Don’t imagine, (ſaid Stamford) looking contemptuouſly, I am not to be bullied out of my right in Miſs Beaufoy. You are deceived, Sir John, in the ſuppoſition of Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault’s being in your houſe; the perſon who is here, your ſon has ſtolen from me. You certainly are deceiving yourſelf (returned Sir John) the ſtory does not appear probable to me, not will it I fancy gain credit in any court of equity; therefore you muſt excuſe me, if I ſay your plot ſhould have been deeper laid to enſure ſucceſs. ‘Sdeath L5v 130 Sdeath, Sir, I ſcorn your mean inſinuation of my laying a plot; however I came not here to contend, concluding from your rank that your behaviour would be conſiſtent with that of a gentleman’s. I have waited on you, that you may take your choice of reſigning the lady quietly, or ſuffering a higher power to wreſt her from you. I have no right over her, ſhe has a brother, and I am apt to believe if your eloquence was as fluent as Cicero’s, it would hardly prevail on him to reſign her. But that brother, as you pleaſe to call him, ſhall be compelled to reſign her very ſhortly. What method will you adopt to oblige him? aſked the Chevalier tauntingly. Apply to the Chancellor, replied he, and you will find yourſelf obliged to accede to my claim. On the Chancellor’s deciſion the cauſe ſhall reſt, ſaid Mr. Oſborn: his known integrity ‘will L6r 131 will guide him to pronounce judgment againſt a raſcal, though he were to gain the firſt intereſt in the world to back him in an infamous proſecution. Take that epithet to yourſelf, ſaid Stamford it does not belong to me. I have never committed an action that merits it, (returned Oſborn,) but you wanted not inclination to be guilty of that which diſgraces the man. An altercation in the hearing of ladies is pitiful, (interrupted the Chevalier) we muſt take another opportunity of meeting to ſettle the affair. It may be concluded immediately, by Sir John’s giving Miſs Beaufoy into my care, replied Stamford: If I harboured Miſs Beaufoy, (ſaid Sir John, angrily,) I could not be ſurprized at your conduct; but ſince I have repeatedly aſſured you, that I have never to my knowledge ſeen her, I think your uncommon behaviour requires an explanation; and ‘I muſt, L6v 132 I muſt, and do, inſiſt on your giving me one before you leave this houſe. Why not ſuffer the perſon whom you call Chattelherhault to face me, and what you now call uncommon behaviour, will appear extraordinary no longer. There is not any neceſſity for your ſeeing her now, ſaid Oſborn,) neither ſhall you be allowed that ſatisfaction, till ſupported by good authority for demanding it. Then I will take care to expoſe your villany as it deſerves. Don’t be ſo haſty, Henry (interrupted his father,) I ſee no impropriety in the gentleman’s being permitted to ſee Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault; and think the Chevalier cannot have any objection, as it will end the conteſt, by convincing him of his error. If you think, Sir John, it will convince Mr. Stamford of his error, my permiſſion is granted; but he has imbibed his idea ſo ſtrongly ‘of M1r 133 of my ſiſter’s being his ward, that I very much queſtion if he does not ſwear more poſitively after ſeeing her to what he has had the effrontery to affirm already. Impoſſible, replied Sir John, Beſides, Morell’s aſſertion muſt have weight, his word has never yet been doubted; nor can it, I truſt, be diſputed now. We have another witneſs that certainly will gain credit; ſo ſaying he came towards the cloſet. Oh Sir, I exclaimed, as the door was about opening, I may now conclude myſelf a loſt creature, indeed. Have courage, Madam, replied Sir Thomas, this buſineſs will terminate much better than I expected. Will you be kind enough to bring Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault, forward, Sir, and let this unpleaſant affair be put an end to at once, ſaid Sir John, as pulling the door open. In a moment I found myſelf in the ſame room with M Stam- M1v 134 Stamford. Horror thrilled though every vein: inſtead of coming towards me, as I expected, he looked aghaſt, for, having ariſen and advanced to meet us, at ſight of Sir Thomas he retreated a few paces and ſtood in the attitude of ſurprize. Stuart! cried he, recovering himſelf, How came you here? Opreſſed innocence demanded my attendance. Mr. Stamford, painful remembrance tells me you were the companion of my youth; this is the firſt time of our meeting, ſince I embarked years back for India. I did not then expect the next time of ſeeing you to be obliged to renounce the friendſhip you ſo ſtrongly proffered me. Whatever has been inſinuated to injure me in youyour good opinion is falſe as hell. It is a vile ſtory trumpt up to gloſs over their own conduct, that will not bear a ſcrutiny. However, arguing longer is needleſs. Had you ſent me word ‘your M2r 135 your daughter had found a protector in—My daughter! echoed Sir Thomas, interrupting him. Now, Sir, ſaid Oſborn to his father, you find every ſyllable this fellow has advanced is falſe; and I hope you will not prevent my turning him out of doors. Hold, ſaid Sir Thomas, he ſays ſhe is my child, Great God! is there truth in the aſſertion? Not a word, ſaid the Chevalier, (exultingly rubbing his hands for joy,) now we may ſing Old Roſe and burn the Bellows, as I’ve heard you Engliſh ſay. Oh le diable, (exclaimed he altering his tone) Oſborn get help. (For I had fainted in his arms) Too ſurely there is, ſaid Sir Thomas, (unheeding my inſenſibility)—ſay, quickly ſpeak. Where is her mother? is ſhe ſtill my wife, or has ſhe forgot ſhe had a huſband? Fool; madman that I was, continued he, ſtamping his feet, ſhe was innocent of my accuſation, and I have M2 ‘been M2v 136 been the murderer of an honeſt man. Where is ſhe? But why wiſh to add to the miſery I endure, from a knowledge of her abode? Her name is changed, no longer Stuart, but Beaufoy. No wonder my enquiries proved abortive. Tell me, yet I dread to hear, is this my own child, or was her mother married again before ſhe was born? Her name is Beaufoy, (replied Stamford) remember your’s is Stuart. Oh Chriſt! (exclaimed he ſtriking his hand on his forehead) tell me no more; ſhe is inconſtant and I renounce her. Yet let me know all, proofs will aſſiſt me in tearing her once-loved image from my fond mind. Vainly I flattered myſelf, when cheriſhing the thought my fortune would atone for the ill uſage ſhe had ſuſtained. During the whole of this unconnected addreſs to Stamford, lady and Miſs Oſborn were ſtriving to recover me, while M3r 137 while Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny, eager to learn my doom, could attend to no one but the afflicted baronet. The firſt ſentence I heard pronounced, after gaining my recollection, was by her. Suffer me to entreat, Sir, (ſaid ſhe) you will not pay attention to what that vile man ſays. The mother of this young lady never had more than one huſband. He went abroad, and ſhe quitted England, to reſide in France. You have infuſed freſh life, thoughout my ſhattered frame, madam, (replied he). But why (ſpeaking with avidity) commit the care of her child to him? There was no other on the ſpot whoſe care ſhe thought ſhe could entruſt her with ſo much ſafety. Why place her under any other protection than her own? Oh, Sir Thomas, (replied Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny) looking mournfully at him—What (cried he haſtily) Is ſhe dead? M3 ‘Oh M3v 138 Oh God, (finding ſhe forbore to anſwer) my cruelty has too ſurely put an end to her wretched exiſtence. When you are in a diſpoſition to be further informed, if you take the trouble of calling on me, (ſaid Stamford) I ſhall be happy to receive you, Sir; at preſent I have buſineſs of the utmoſt conſequence, and muſt bid you good morning. Oſborn would have ſtopt him, but was prevented by his father, while the Baronet in an agony of grief, flung himſelf into a chair, vowing never to know comfort more. My dear Chattelherhault, (ſaid Miſs Oſborn) ſo I muſt ſtill call you, what myſtery is this? Do for heaven’s ſake, if the taſk will not be too painful, explain it. Will you believe any thing I ſhall hereafter advance, Miſs Oſborn, returned I, ſtriving to conceal my half averted face with a handkerchief, after diſcovery of my being an impoſtor? ‘You M4r 139 You have gained ſo much on my eſteem, that I could not ſuſpect your veracity, though conviction ſtared me in the face, and be aſſured, whatever is in my power ſhall not be omitted, in ſtriving to make you happy. Sir Thomas, ſtarting from his ſeat, came with haſty ſtrides towards me. Why if you really are my daughter, did you ſubmit to exchange the antient name of Stuart, for that of Beaufoy? That queſtion, Sir, reminds me I muſt not be too ſanguine: Dare I flatter myſelf in the illuſive hope of your being my father, when your’s is called Morell? It is not Morell, neither had I ſuffered that name ſhould take place of mine, but for an eſtate, which I fondly intended to make your mother’s life eaſy with. Imagine not, that I have totally renounced it. No, the name of Stuart I pride myſelf more in than the empty title, annexed ‘to M4v 140 to Thomas Morell. My mother was a Douglaſs, and I cannot forget my origin on either ſide, aroſe from kings. The Douglaſſes and Stuarts are renowned the world all over, for their honour, and anceſtry. The families are of the firſt in Scotland. Your mother deſcended from the Murrys and Campbells, was related to me before our marriage; yet after it, relinquiſhed the tie of conſanguinity, even in the names, with her family, and degraded both herſelf and me by changing that of Stuart for Beaufoy. I am obliged to reſign my pen at preſent, Madam, but will take the firſt opportunity of reſuming it. I have the honour of ſubſcribing myſelf your obliged, no longer Beaufoy, but
To Madam PaſſeratHarley-Street.
Before I conclude my narrative, Madam, I cannot refrain from telling you, that however ridiculous Sir Thomas’s pride of family may appear to thoſe who have not to boaſt of their alliance with one, I muſt own, I have my life through inherited, in ſome degrees, this diſpoſition. I have felt it eminently when a child, if chaſtiſed by thoſe I conceived my inferiors, though hardly knowing what the pride of family-anceſtry meant, and my ſtation in life degraded at the ſame time. As I increaſed in years, my mind became more enlightened. I conſidered every perſon endued with merit my more than equal; but if treated with impunity, by thoſe who were my ſuperiors in point of fortune alone, my ſpirit could M5v 142 could not brook it, neither could I forbear reflecting at the moment, that the great grandfathers of thoſe very people were moſt likely begging their bread, while mine were moving in all the ſplendour of affluence. The painful idea has wounded my feelings to an exceſs—when a ray of conſolation darting on my mind has diſpelled the gloom and raiſed my ſoul ſuperior to low malice. I have triumphed in an inward ſelf-aſſurance, that ime would raiſe me infinitely above their level; the time is now arrived. The claims of ſociety demand my civility towards thoſe people; but friendſhip’s ſacred tie diſowns them all. You will readily excuſe the hauteur that appears to guide the preceding lines, they are written feelingly; I have been repeatedly ill treated, by the very people who proteſt moſt friendſhip for me; yet if I know my own heart, it will never permit actuation (if I may be allowed M6r 143 allowed the word) of ingratitude towards any that have done me an act of kindeſs, though only oſtentatiouſly meant to evince it was in their power to confer, rather than prompted by innate goodneſs of heart, to be capable of doing a generous action. I have ſurely ſaid enough, Madam, to tire you with obſervation; now proceed to dialogue. In anſwer to Sir Thomas’s reflection on my mother for changing her name, I told him that deſerted by her friends, ſhe had only a trifling pittance to ſupport herſelf, and conſidered a very ſhort time might render her a mother, former rank could not be ſupported; ſhe therefore determined that the family of Stuart ſhould not be wittingly inſulted by an unfeeling world in her; and renounced the name. Beaufoy, ſhe ſaid, was anſwerable to the ſtate of her own mind, for well ſhe knew, Sir, continued I, death ‘would M6v 144 would not be permitted to cloſe your eyes before you were thoroughly convinced of her innocence. She was purity itſelf, cried he, and I a villain. I bartered my former peace of mind for rage and infamy. Do not ſay ſo, Sir, interrupted I, my mother ever took the blame on herſelf; her own conduct ſhe ſaid, had been the occaſion of all her miſery, and ſhe muſt endure the misfortune without a murmur. If you wiſh I ſhould preſerve my reaſon, tell me not of her ſuperior excellence, the knowledge of her patient ſufferance will drive me deſperate. Oh heavenly God! what cruelty is there in human nature that I have not been capable of! Ruined the fare fame of a virtuous wife in the world’s eye, and pierced my ſword through the heart of a man I ſuppoſed her paramour. Oh Jeſus! the laſt words he pronounced as falling, ſtill vibrate in my ‘ears N1r 145 ears, Stuart, your wife is wronged, ſhe is virtuous. He would have ſaid more, but death ſealed his lips. Reaſon forſook my breaſt a whole twelve-months; at length returned; yes, cruelly returned, with double force, to awaken me to an exquiſite ſenſe of complicated miſery. So ſhe is really dead? Beſt of women, ejaculated he, your life I rendered wretched; to your memory I will be juſt. Such meek forbearance to vindicate your conduct demands the tribute. It is the only one I now can pay. Your fidelity ſhall no longer be ſuſpected, nor your child remain an alien to our family. He caught me in his arms; I wept, indeed there was not a dry eye in the room, except his own. Why do you weep, ſaid he?’,’ looking wildly at me. Is it becauſe you are conſigned to the care of him who treated your mother with inhumanity? Put confidence in my honour, and for N ‘the N1v 146 the ſake of that ſuffering innocent I will treat you gently. His laſt ſpeech, delivered mournfully, affected me, if poſſible, more than the former ones. I could make no reply: taking my ſilence for a mark of diſguſt, he cried, puſhing me from him. Go, I find you hate me, you may from former behaviour have ſufficient cauſe for it, but will not tamely ſubmit to receiving contempt from you; though concious of having merited it. Oh, Sir, I exclaimed in agony of mind, you know me not, my heart has received no impreſſion, excluſive of duty and affection; thoſe I feel are too ſtrongly engraven even to be eraſed by leſs tender paſſions. I hardly know what this myſtery implies, (ſaid Sir John) or how it will prove on inveſtigation; but think, if left alone a few minutes, your thoughts will be more collected and yourſelf better able to make, or anſwer ‘any N2r 147 any enquiry. Leave me, quickly replied my father, the ſight of my remorſe for offences paſt muſt be diſtreſſing to you all; beſides I feel I am unfit for any company but that of my wretched ſelf. I will ſtrive to calm my mind and join you preſently. Oſborn and the Chevalier ſupported me down ſtairs, where I acquainted the family with the occaſion of my mother’s unfortunate loſs of happineſs. Luckily I am poſſeſt of a letter which my father ſent her the day of taking his departure: happening to be looking over a ſmall caſket of her’s the preceding evening, that I had not till then opened, I found it tied with a piece of black ſilk twiſt, to which was ſuſpended a ſmall parcel; on opening it, I found a pair of diamond ear-rings. On the paper was written: Theſe were the laſt ornaments Mr. Stuart purchaſed for me; all my other appendages to dreſs I have long ſince diſpoſed of; but dermined N2 ‘to N2v 148 to preſerve theſe, (unleſs my child was deſtitute of the neceſſaries of life) as reliques of his affection for an ungrateful woman. I gave Lady Oſborn the letter to peruſe, and through it have confirmed myſelf the daughter of Sir Thomas. Miſs Oſborn was in raptures with her brother, for aſſuming ſo proper a ſpirit at Dover. Sir John ſaid, As it had turned out, there was no harm done; but he hoped Henry would be more careful in future I might have borne the moſt infamous character for any thing he knew to the contrary; he had only my own word for what I had advanced; and it was two to one, if every ſyllable had not proved falſe. Well, well, ſaid Miſs Oſborn, in a lively tone, you find it has not proved falſe, my dear Sir, I think inſtead of rebuking Henry for what is paſt, you ought to thank your ſtars on your knees, night and morning, for beſtowing ‘ſuch N3r 149 ſuch a kind hearted fellow of a ſon on you; for my own part, I ſhall certainly think the better of him all my life to come. Honeſtly ſpeaking, Sir John, continued ſhe drily. Do you really think you deſerve him? Immediately altering her tone to a fearful one, I muſt be careful in putting too many home queſtions; that ſerious air bodes me no good. Come Sir, (obſerving him ſmile) look cheerily, caſt aſide the dumps while you remain with us at leaſt. Are you not a very ſaucy daughter, Matty? (aſked Sir John) However I have ſpoilt you myſelf by too much encouragement, and cannot blame any other perſon for it. Ah, Sir (in a tone of raillery) too late you find the fatal effects of not checking young ſaucebox in her infancy. But what do you ſay now, to beſtowing me on ſome honeſt John Trot kind of man, who will give me all my own way, N3 ‘and N3v 150 and taking in return this little demure looking damſel, for a wife to thy ſon Henry? Do you think now an alteration in the family of this kind would be taken amiſs by either one of us? My dear Miſs Oſborn, ſaid I, in a faultering tone and bluſhing) what do you mean? How can you talk ſo? You do not conſider whom you are talking before. I do not believe you pay a thought to a ſingle ſyllable you are uttering replied ſhe ſmiling at my ſtupid confuſion). Do let me alone, I never invade your province, neither ſhall you mine. Very well, ſaid I, bluſhing ſtill more) have it all your own way. Hark ye my dear, (inclining her head towards mine, and ſpreading a fan before our faces) truſt to the honour of Matilda Oſborn, it cannot betray a confidence placed in it; but if once ſhe finds you mean to deceive her, ſhe gives no quarter. All thoſe ‘pretty N4r 151 pretty bluſhes ſpeak for themſelves. They ſay Henry has conquered one heart, and I will be hanged if Miſs Stuart has not been guilty of the same pretty theft with another. Nay, no declaration, (I was going to ſpeak) unleſs you are going to fonfeſs; if you will do that I promiſe to fight your cauſe ever after. My father coming in, put an end to the converſation and relieved my embarraſſment: ſoon after the family agreed they would not be interrupted by viſitants, and gave orders to be denied to whoever called on them that day. The next we were all to ſpend at Sir Thomas’s, where I was to remain, my dear Marianne having promiſed to give me her company ſome months.
Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny writes.
Nay, it does not ſignify, contention will avail you nothing: this letter N4v 152 letter I certainly muſt finiſh by the way of informing my aunt of what you would bluſh to put pen to paper about. Miſs Oſborn’s hint has been improved, my dear Madam, and your young correſpondent will retain her new name but a very ſhort time. To ſpare her confuſion, I took on myſelf the taſk of informing Sir Thomas, that Mr. Oſborn was the only man his daughter could ever entertain a regard for. He generouſly aſſured me, he thought the only who ſo nobly reſcued her from infamy, the only perſon worthy to poſſeſs her; and the gentlemen of the long robe are as buſy in preparing the marriage ſettlements as the expectation of good fees can make them. I have given a promiſe to remain in England till the ſpring, then my ſuite will be honoured on returning to the continent, by Sir Thomas Stuart Morell, his happy daughter and her huſband, Sir John, Lady, and Miſs Oſborn N5r 153 Oſborn, with the Chevalier; more properly, according to the national aſſembly’s diſpoſition of rank, Monſieur Chattelherhault. I am to be obliged in their company till the dulleſt ſeaſon of the year is rapidly approaching to aſſiſt me in regretting the loſs of ſuch amiable friends. But they tell me I muſt not anticipate evils, while at a diſtance, ſo to avoid that, and prepare to attend a rehearſal, at the opera houſe, I ſubſcribe myſelf, dear Madam,
Your truly affectionate niece,
P.S. Stamford removed from his lodgings in Bond-ſtreet the ſame night that the happy diſcovery was made; and though the ſtricteſt enquiries have been made after him; neither Mr. Oſborn nor Sir Thomas have been able to gain the ſlighteſt intelligence as yet.
To the Honourable Miſs Townſend.St. James’s Square.
After all this ado, would you believe, Mademoiſelle Chattelherhault has proved the daughter and heireſs of Sir Thomas Stuart Morell, inſtead of ſiſter to the Chevalier; the man might well be ſo polite to the little urchin if he had never ſeen her before. I thought he overacted the part of brother, and now the wonderment is out. That ſly creature, Henry, too; well, I am not deceived in regard to his head. I ever ſuſpected that to be a plotting one: but his late conduct has convinced us all he inherits a noble heart. The deuce take this girl, I know you’ll ſay, ſhe begins where every one beſides herſelf would leave off. It is a happy knack I have acquired, and you muſt content yourſelf with the ſtyle, or forſwear reading any more N6r 155 more of my penmanſhip: to vex you ſtill more by the way of haſtening your return to town, I have determined to keep you in ſuſpence for particulars, till you think proper in perſon to aſk them; though, to ſtretch your curioſity, which I know has been long ſince awakened, I’ll tell you; Henry and ſhe are to be married. Mademoiſelle D’Aubigny and myſelf, are choſen bride-maids; and if Miſs Townſend arrives in time, I promiſe you ſhe ſhall be invited to the wedding. What is to be done now? A meſſage from Sir John; I muſt attend him immediately. Appleton tells me, a ſmart young gentleman has been cloſeted with him this half hour: my heart flutters. Do not you think it muſt be ſomething very extraordinary to occaſion a palpitation there: I attend the ſummons; you ſhall know the event the moment the interview is over.
Surprize and ecſtacy united, have nearly deprived me of the little reaſon I poſſeſſed. Congratulate me, Sophia, I am now at liberty to diſcloſe the ſecret of my heart, and invite you to partake of the happineſs it occaſions. You muſt be expeditious to a degree in haſtening here, or poſitively I muſt look out for another bride-maid in your ſtead. Well; but the ſecret, lord I had almoſt forgotten that, though my heart, my head, my thoughts, all, all, are full of the ſubject. You certainly recollect young Hamilton, with whom Henry was at Oxford; two vacations he ſpent with us in Hampſhire and three in town. Now comes the confeſſion; ſhall I call him the wretch? Oh, yes, the pleaſing wretch (a very pretty epithet for a favoured lover) made captive, the wandering heart of Matilda Oſborn, in the moſt aſſuming, nay, inſolent O1r 157 inſolent manner you ever heard of. You will ſcarcely credit, that ſo flightly a toad as Sir John frequently calls me, could ever be won by the man who took pains to convince her he was not blind to her faults. Ah, you may ſtare! It is abſolutely true. I have been flattered by one, treated with ſubmiſſive reſpect by another, while a third more impetuous than either of the others, has dared to be jealous of the very people I deſpiſed; but not one, except Hamilton, preſumed to ſay that I inherited the foibles of the whole of my ſex. He profeſſed himſelf my friend; ſtrove to correct the errors of my judgment, while he made a point of ridiculing my levities with good humour, till the criticiſm engaged my moſt ſerious attention, and the author of it became dearer to my heart than a mind at uniſon with itſelf could admit of. Love, he had never ſo much as ſpoken of to me; yet the attention he paid me, O was O1v 158 was remarked by all my acquaintance. At this period his uncle died, and he became the Marquis of D―; his viſits from being frequent, were withdrawn on a ſudden; if by chance we met, a coolneſs that pierced my ſoul was ſubſtituted for the warmth of friendſhip I had been accuſtomed to experience. Hurt—beyond deſcription hurt, at a change of conduct I had not wittingly given any occaſion for, I determined his image ſhould be eraſed from my mind though it coſt me my life accompliſhing. In this ſtate of mind I continued when Grenvill’s firſt viſit was permitted; he was ſubmiſſive to a degree. I ſtrove to regard him in the light of one who was deſtined for my huſband. It availed me little, and him ſtill leſs: my heart would not ſuffer the leſſon of affection to take root in my mind, for a character ſo oppoſite to that it had ackowledged for it’s lord, and when he preſſed O2r 169 preſſed for a deciſive anſwer, I was obliged myſelf to aſſure him, I never could eſteem him otherwiſe than a friend. He expoſtulated; but my heart was now too firmly attached to it’s firſt choice to ſuffer whatever he could urge to prevail. His diſmiſſion was the conſequence; ſince that, how often has my pride been piqued and love wounded, by the Marquis’s treatment of me at the houſes of different friends where we have met. I have witneſſed his polite attention to every other female in company, while I alone was neglacted; or received the diſtant civility due to an utter ſtranger. Inſtead of ſuffering a depreſſion of ſpirits to become viſible at thoſe times, as a ſerious ſoul like yourſelf would have done, I have conquered my feelings in ſome degree, and to ſupport a ſhew of equal indifference have coquetted with every other man in company; but this gaiete was forced, and generally forſook O2v 160 forſook me the inſtant I had quitted the houſe which contained the Marquis; then I have given a looſe to my ſorrows; and the inſtant I gained home retired to my apartment to indulge the horrors of deſpair. How the deuce I have been able to plod on in the plaintive ſtrain of a hopeleſs ſoul I cannot imagine, after the object of my every wiſh has not only made a tendre of his title; but what is ſtill dearer his heart. The reaſon he gives for the affected indifference I pen with pleaſure, becauſe it is an aſſurance that his heart was incapable of change, as my own was of being alienated. His mother wiſhed him to marry lady Sarah Gibbons; to oblige her, he owns he did his utmoſt in ſtriving to eſtrange his affections. It is well for me though the trial failed of effect; and the behaviour I lamented in ſecret was merely an effort to comply with her wiſh. Hang lady Sarah, I was going to ſay, ſhe has occaſioned O3r 161 occaſioned me the heart ake more than once; however I have no great occaſion at preſent to repine, the cauſe is removed, and I made happy in the effect; ſo Mr. Care, my troubles having ceaſed, you may trudge, and I ſincerely conjure you not to think of becoming a companion of mine a ſecond time. Afer all, Sophia, I believe this ſaid courtſhip would have proved but a ſtupid piece of buſineſs, had not the old gentleman enveloped the proſpect of happineſs a ſhort time. Mercy on us, here am I, deliberately writing a long letter to you, while hurry ſcurry, and confuſion, demand my attendance in a thouſand different places. I have a headpiece, and ſo has a gooſe. I had forgot the poor man has been waiting this half hour below, in eager expectation of my approach. Nor ſhould I have recollected it now, had not the impatient wretch lent up a meſſage to haſten me O3 down. O3v 162 down. Adieu; fail not in performing the promiſe you have frequently made to,
To the Honourable Miſs Townſend.St. James’s Square.
You have aſſured me I may depend on your being in town before Saturday, yet a love of ſcribbling is ſo inherent in my nature, that I could rather forſwear eating, when hungry, than writing, when tempted by the circulation of news. That old figure, Mrs. Rawlins, has married the man ſhe exultingly declared was without a fault. He proving a fortune hunter has ſhrewdly marched off with the whole of her O4r 163 her fortune, and left his ſturdy widow to bemoan her hapleſs fate, and ponder over the dreadful certainty of poſſeſſion being nine points of the law. Her darling Jacky abuſes her for not knowing when ſhe was well off, and ſwears ſhe ſhall never get a farthing from him. As ſhe has made her bed ſo let her lie on it, by the way of giving eaſe to her old bones, ſaid he, when Mrs. Criſp was ſtriving one day to prevail on him to allow her a trifle. Fortunately a man whoſe circumſtances are eaſy fell in love with and married Nan, as the vulgar ſoul uſed to call her daughter, and the generous ſpirited woman has prevailed on him to maintain her mother, that ſhe may be kept from ſtarving. To uſe Derby’s term, Maſter Jacky is nearly done over, from a ſmack at high life, as he politely calls it: the inhuman brute loſt thirty thouſand pounds laſt week, and twenty this; moſt likely the next O4v 164 next enſures him a compleat beggar; thus ends the oſtentatious grandeur of low life refined. Henry has written the memoirs of his charming little Stuart, for your peruſal; on looking it over, I ſee he has forgot to mention where Sir Thomas met with the ſuppoſed ſeducer of his wife’s honour. He had been ſettled in the Eaſt twelve years, when a gentleman who had profeſſed a friendſhip for him, from the firſt of his arrival there, died, leaving his eſtate and title to Mr. Stuart, with the proviſo that the name of Morell ſhould take place of his own: a very ſhort time after, hearing that the captain was in India, he ſent a challenge, the fatal conſequence Henry’s minutes inform you of; therefore I need not dwell on the diſtreſſing ſubject. What tireſome creatures are the men after you have once given them cauſe to ſuppoſe they have the leaſt right over you. The Marquis has ſent O5r 165 ſent up his compliments; hopes I am not indiſpoſed; is rather fearful, as I have been ſo long alone. I wonder if the man means this as a hint to remind me I am likely to find a ruler in my lord; however next Thurſday will witneſs two marriages; little Stuart would not ſuffer me to be her bridemaid when my own wedding was in agitation ſhe ſaid; ſo a couſin of hers is ſubſtituted in my ſtead. I have not time to add more, therefore for the laſt time I ſign myſelf,
To Madame Paſſerat.Reading.
Yesterday conſigned the amiable D’Arcy to the future protection of her dear Oſborn. His ſiſter, who next to our deſerving friend prejudices every one in her favour, gave her hand at the ſame time to the Marquis of D―; he will make an addition to the party you may expect to ſee on my return. I retain in memory the promiſe I have ſo frequently made of not marrying any perſon till you had ſeen and approved my choice, otherwiſe I believe the two brides would have prevailed on me to liſten to Chattelherhault’s ſolicitations of adding to the group of married folks; however, they have obliged me to promiſe I will comply with his O6r 167 his wiſh, if you make no objection; ſo the days of my celibacy are entirely ſubmitted to your determination. I cannot lengthen this letter, having promiſed Sir Thomas, and the Chevalier, to take the air with them this morning; and I ſee the groom in the court-yard with the horſes.
I remain, dear Madam, Your truly affectionate,