i A2r

Desmond.

A
Novel,
in Two Volumes.

By
Charlotte Smith.

Volume I.

Dublin:
Printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Moore, W.
McKenzie
, H. Colbert, A. Grueber, B. Dornin,
J. Jones, J. Rice, W. Jones, J. Mehain,
G. Draper, R. McAllister
G. Folingsby
. 1792M.DCC.XCII.

ii A2v iii A3r

Preface.

In ſending into the world a work ſo unlike thoſe of my former writings, which have been honored by its approbation, I feel ſome degree of that apprehenſion which an Author is ſenſible of on a firſt publication.

This ariſes partly from my doubts of ſucceeding ſo well in letters as in narrative; and partly from a ſuppoſition, that there are Readers, to whom the fictitious occurrences, and others to whom the political remarks in theſe volumes may be diſpleaſing.

a3 To iv A3v ii

To the firſt I beg leave to ſuggeſt, that in repreſenting a young man, nouriſhing an ardent but concealed paſſion for a married woman; I certainly do not mean to encourage or juſtify ſuch attachments; but no delineation of character appears to me more intereſting, than that of a man capable of ſuch a paſſion, ſo generous and diſintereſted as to ſeek only the good of its object; nor any ſtory more moral, than one that repreſents the exiſtence of an affection ſo regulated.

As to the political paſſages diſperſed through the work, they are for the moſt part, drawn from converſations to which I have been a witneſs, in England and France, during the laſt twelve months. In carrying on my ſtory in thoſe countries, and at a period when their political ſituation (but particularly that of the latter) is the general topic of diſcourſe in both; I have given to my imaginary characters the arguments I have heard on both ſides; and if thoſe in favor of one party have evidently the advantage, it is not owing to my partial repreſentation, but to the predominant power of truth and v A4r iii and reaſon, which neither can be altered nor concealed.

But women it is ſaid have no buſineſs with politics—Why not?—Have they no intereſt in the ſcenes that are acting around them, in which they have fathers, brothers, huſbands, ſons, or friends engaged?—Even in the commoneſt courſe of female education, they are expected to acquire ſome knowledge of hiſtory; and yet, if they are to have no opinion of what is paſſing, it avails little that they ſhould be informed of what has paſſed, in a world where they are ſubject to ſuch mental degradation; where they are cenſured as affecting maſculine knowledge if they happen to have any underſtanding; or deſpiſed as inſignificant triflers if they have none.

Knowledge, which qualifies women to ſpeak or to write on any other than the moſt common and trivial ſubjects, is ſuppoſed to be of ſo difficult attainment, that it cannot be acquired but by the ſacrifice of domeſtic virtues, or the neglect of domeſtic duties.—I however may ſafely ſay, that it was in the obſervance, not in the breach of duty, I became an Author; vi A4v iv Author; and it has happened, that the circumſtances which have compelled me to write, have introduced me to thoſe ſcenes of life, and thoſe varieties of character which I ſhould otherwiſe never have ſeen: Tho’ alas! it is from thence, that I am too well enabled to deſcribe from immediate obſervation,

The proud man’s contumely, th’ oppreſſors wrong; The laws delay, the inſolence of office.

But, while in conſequence of the affairs of my family, being moſt unhappily in the power of men who ſeem to exerciſe all theſe with impunity, I am become an Author by profeſſion, and feel every year more acutely that hope delayed maketh the heart ſick. I am ſenſible alſo (to uſe another quotation) that

―Adverſity— Tho’ like a toad ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in its head.

For it is to my involuntary appearance in that character, that I am indebted, for all that makes my continuance in the world vii A5r v world deſirable; all that ſoftens the rigor of my deſtiny and enables me to ſuſtain it; I mean friends among thoſe, who, while their talents are the boaſt of their country, are yet more reſpectable for the goodneſs and integrity of their hearts.

Among theſe I include a female friend, to whom I owe the beautiful little Ode in the laſt volume; who having written it for this work, allows me thus publicly to boaſt of a friendſhip, which is the pride and pleaſure of my life.

If I may be indulged a moment longer in my egotiſm, it ſhall be only while I apologize for the typographical errors of the work, which may have been in ſome meaſure occaſioned by the detached and hurried way, in which the ſheets were ſometimes ſent to the preſs when I was at a diſtance from it; and when my attention was diſtracted by the troubles, which it ſeems to be the peculiar delight of the perſons who are concerned in the management of my children’s affairs, to inflict upon me. With all this the Public have nothing to do: but were it proper viii A5v vi proper to relate all the diſadvantages from anxiety of mind and local circumſtances, under which theſe volumes have been compoſed, ſuch a detail might be admitted as an excuſe for more material errors.

For that aſperity of remark, which will ariſe on the part of thoſe whoſe political tenets I may offend, I am prepared; thoſe who object to the matter, will probably arraign the manner, and exclaim againſt the impropriety of making a book of entertainment the vehicle of political diſcuſſion. I am however conſcious that in making theſe ſlight ſketches, of manners and opinions, as they fluctuated around me; I have not ſacrificed truth to any party—Nothing appears to me more reſpectable than national pride; nothing ſo abſurd as national prejudice—And in the faithful repreſentation of the manners of other countries, ſurely Engliſhmen may find abundant reaſon to indulge the one, while they conquer the other. To thoſe however who ſtill cheriſh the idea of our having a natural enemy in the French nation, and that they are ſtill more naturally our foes, becauſe they have dared to ix A6r vii to be freemen, I can only ſay, that againſt the phalanx of prejudice kept in conſtant pay, and under ſtrict diſcipline by intereſt, the ſlight ſkirmiſhing of a novel writer can have no effect: we ſee it remains hitherto unbroken againſt the powerful efforts of learning and genius—though united in that cauſe which muſt finally triumph—the cauſe of truth, reaſon, and humanity.

Charlotte Smith.

London
x A6v 1001 B1r

Desmond.

Letter I.

To Mr. Bethel.

Your arguments, my friend, were deciſive; and ſince I am now on my way—I hardly know whither, you will be convinced that I attended to them; and have determined to relinquiſh the dangerous indulgence, of contemplating the perfections of an object, that can never be mine. Yes!—I have torn myſelf from her; and, without betraying any part of the anguiſh and regret I felt, I calmly took my leave!—It was five days ago, the morning after ſhe had undergone the fatiguing ceremony of appearing, for the firſt time ſince her marriage, at court on the birthnight.—

I had heard how univerſally ſhe had been admired, but ſhe ſeemed to have received no pleaſure from that admiration—and I felt involuntarily pleaſed that ſhe had not.—Her huſband— I hate the name—Verney; had already eſcaped from the confinement, which this ceremony of their appearances had for a day or two impoſed upon him; and was gone to I know not what races; ſhe named the place faintly and reluctantly when I aſked after him; and I did not repeat the queſtion: there was however another queſtion which I could not help aſking myſelf; Vol. I. B does 1002 B1v 2 does this man deſerve the lovely Geraldine?— Alas!—I know he does not; cannot: the ſport of every wild propenſity or rather of every prevailing faſhion, (for it is to that he ſacrifices rather than to his own inclinations) I have too much reaſon to believe he will diſſipate his fortune, and render his wife miſerable.—But is it poſſible ſhe can love him?—Oh, no!—it is ſurely not poſſible—when through the mild grace and ſometimes tenderneſs of her manner, I remark the ſtrength and clearneſs of her underſtanding; when I obſerve, how immediately ſhe ſees the ridiculous, and how quickly her ingenuous and liberal mind ſhrinks from vice and folly—I believe it impoſſible that the hour can be far diſtant, if indeed it is not already arrived; when the flowers, with which the mercenary hands of her family, dreſſed the chains they impoſed upon her, will be totally faded; and when, whatever affection ſhe now feels for him, if any does exiſt, will be deſtroyed by the conviction of Verney’s unworthineſs—Ah! where will then an heart, like hers, find refuge againſt the horrors of ſuch a deſtiny—would to heaven I had become acquainted with her before that deſtiny was irrevocable—or that I had never known her at all.

When I was admitted to her dreſſing-room the laſt time I ſaw her—ſhe was reading; and laid down her book on my entrance—I was ill, or had appeared ſo to her; when I had ſeen her a few days before—ſhe ſeemed now to recollect it with tender intereſt—and when, in anſwering her enquiries, I told her I intended going abroad for ſome months; I ſhould have thought—had I dared to indulge the flattery of fancy—that ſhe heard it with concern, we ſhall not then ſee you 1003 B2r 3 you this year in Kent, ſaid ſhe, I am very ſorry for it,—ſhe pauſed a moment, and added, with one of thoſe ſmiles which give ſuch peculiar charms to her countenance, but I hope you will regain your health and ſpirits—and I think we ſhall certainly have you among us again in the ſhooting ſeaſon.—I know not what was the matter with me, but I could not anſwer her; and the converſation for ſome moments dropped.

She reſumed it after another ſhort ſilence, and aſked me when I had ſeen her brother?—He talks, ſaid ſhe, of going to the Continent alſo this ſummer, and I wiſh you may meet him there—your acquaintance could not fail of being advantageous in any country, but particularly a foreign country, to a young man ſo new to the world as he is; and one, ſo unſettled in all his plans, from temper and habit, that I am ever in pain leſt he ſhould fall into thoſe errors, which I every day ſee ſo fatal to thoſe who enter into the world unexperienced like him—without a guide.—Should you happen to meet with him abroad, I am ſure you have friendſhip enough for us all, to direct him.

I ſeized with avidity an opportunity of being ſerviceable to any one who belongs to her—I had not ſeen Waverly for ſome time, and imagined he was gone back to Oxford; but I aſſured her, that if Mr. Waverly could make it convenient to go when I did to Paris, I ſhould be extremely glad to be uſeful to him, and happy in his company.

Pleaſed with the earneſt manner in which I ſpoke, ſhe became more un-reſerved on this ſubject. You know a little of my brother, ſaid ſhe, but it is impoſſible, on ſo ſlight an acquaintance, to be aware of the peculiarities of his B2 temper 1004 B2v 4 temper—peculiarities that give me ſo many fears on his account. It is not his youth, or the expenſive ſtyle in which he ſets out, that diſquiet me ſo much as that uncommon indeciſion of mind, which never allows him to know what he will do a moment before he acts; and ſome how or other he always continues, after long debates and repeated changes, to adopt the very worſt ſcheme of thoſe he has examined. I may ſay to you that this defect originated in the extreme indulgence of his parents—a very conſiderable part of my father’s eſtate would have gone into another branch of the family, had he not had a ſon—and it happened his ſix eldeſt children were daughters, ſo that when this long-wiſhedfor and only ſon was born, he became of more conſequence to my father and mother than the reſt of their family: and we, his three ſiſters, who ſurvived, have through our lives hitherto uniformly ſeen our intereſt yield to his.—But, believe me, we ſhould have never murmured, (at leaſt I can anſwer for myſelf)—at whatever ſacrifices have been made, had they contributed to render him really and permanently happier, but the continual enquiries that were made of what he would do, and what he would like, while nothing was ever offered to him but variety of gratification, have, I think, coincided with his natural temper to produce that continual inability, to purſue any ſtudy or even any pleaſure ſteadily.—My father’s death, and his being of age, have rendered him maſter of himſelf and his fortune; but he cannot reſolve what to do with either of them, and my apprehenſions are, that he will fall into the hands of thoſe who will determine for him, and diſpoſe of both, rather for their own advantage than for his. I have thereforefore 1005 B3r 5 fore encouraged, as much as poſſible, his halfformed inclination to go abroad—but he talks ſo vaguely about it, and varies ſo much in his projects, that I doubt whether he will ever execute any of them.—If you really would allow him to accompany you—yet I know not how to aſk it, your ſociety would perhaps determine him to the journey, and prevent his meeting any of thoſe inconveniencies to which young travellers are expoſed.

I believe my lovely friend miſtook the expreſſion which my eager acquieſcence threw into my countenance, for what might be produced by the embarraſſment, of wiſhing to eſcape with civility from an unwelcome propoſal—for ſhe heſitated—yet, without giving me time to reply, ſaid, but perhaps I am taking a very improperr liberty with you—I ought to have recollected, that in this expedition you probably have a party, to which any addition may be unwelcome; and that you have ſo ſlight an acquaintance with my brother

I interrupted her.—It is enough for me, that he is your brother—that alone would make me wiſh to render him every ſervice in my power —even if I had never ſeen him.—I had ſaid more than I ought; more than I intended to ſay. —I felt inſtantly conſcious of it, and I now confuſedly hurried into profeſſions of perſonal regard for Waverly, far enough from being ſincere; and aſſurances, that, as I went for change of air and ſcene, which my health and ſpirits required, I ſhould make no party, unleſs it was with one friend, to whom my ſociety might be uſeful— and when that friend, added I, is your brother.—I was relapſing faſt into the folly, of which, but a moment before, I repented.—I ſaw her 1006 B3v 6 her change colour, and for the firſt time ſince the riſe of this attachment—which will end only with my life—I had ſaid, what to a vain woman might have betrayed it.

Geraldine ſeemed now ſolicitous to change the converſation, but this I would not do, till I had made her promiſe to write to her brother, as ſoon as ſhe could learn where he was; and mention to him my intended journey, and my readineſs to begin it with him immediately.

I aſſured her, that if I met Waverly before I left London, I would endeavour to fix his departure with me, and giving her my addreſs, that he might write to me at Margate, reluctantly, and with pangs, ſuch as are felt only when ſoul and body part—I bade her adieu!

She looked concerned, and gave me her lovely hand, which I dared not preſs to my lips—but, as trembling, I held it in mine, ſhe wiſhed me health and happineſs, a pleaſant journey, and a proſperous return, in that ſoul-ſoothing voice which I always hear with undeſcribable emotions.—More tremulouſly ſweet than uſual, it ſtill vibrates in my ears, and I ſtill repeat to myſelf her laſt words—Farewell, Mr. Deſmond, may all felicity attend you.

Now, you will call this wrong, ridiculous, and romantic.—But ſpare your remonſtrances, dear Bethel, ſince I obey you in eſſentials, and am going from England, rather becauſe you deſire it, than becauſe I am convinced that ſuch an an affection as I feel ought to be eradicated.—Do you know againſt how many vices, and how many follies, a paſſion, ſo pure and ardent as mine, fortifies the heart?—Are you ſure that the evils you repreſent as attending it, are not purely imaginary, while the good is real?—I expect, 1007 B4r 7 expect, however, a heavy lecture for all this, and it were better not to add another word on the ſubject.

Your’s ever, with true regard,

Lionel Desmond.

I forgot to add, that though my journey is certainly decided upon, becauſe I hope to find, in the preſent political tumult in France, what may intereſt and divert my attention; yet, I will not fail to deliver to your relations the letter you encloſed in your laſt—and to avail myſelf of it as an introduction to Mrs. Fairfax, and her family, as ſoon as I arrive at Margate. —You imagine, that the charms of one or other of your fair couſins will have power enough to drive, from my heart, an inclination which you ſo entirely diſapprove—though I am too well convinced of the inefficacy of the recipe, I try it you ſee—in deference to your opinion—juſt as a patient, who knows his diſeaſe to be incurable, ſubmits to the preſcription of a phyſician he eſteems.—As ſoon as I have delivered my credentials you ſhall hear from me again.

Let- 1008 B4v 8

Letter II.

To Mr. Desmond.

Yes!—you have really given an inſtance of extreme prudence—and, in conſequence of it, you will, I think, have occaſion to exert another virtue, which is by no means the moſt eminent among thoſe you poſſeſs; the virtue of patience. —So!—you have really undertaken the delightful office of bear-leader—becauſe the brother of your Geraldine cannot take care of himſelf— and this you call ſetting about your cure, while you continue to diſpute, whether it be wiſe to be cured or no—and, while you argue that a paſſion for another man’s wife may ſave you from abundance of vice and folly, you ſtrengthen your argument to be ſure wonderfully, by committing one of the greateſt acts of folly in your power.—And as to vice, I hold it, my good friend, to be a great advance towards it, when you betray ſymptoms (which no woman can fail to underſtand) of this wild and romantic paſſion of yours, or, as you ſentimentally term it, this ardent and pure attachment— an attachment and an arrangement I think are the terms now in uſe, I beg pardon if I do not always put them in the right place.

But ſeriouſly—do you know what you have undertaken in thus engaging yourſelf with Waverly?—and can you bear to be made uneaſy by the caprices of a man who is of twenty minds in a moment, without ever being in his right mind.—Your only chance of eſcaping, as you have 1009 B5r 9 have now managed the matter is, that he will never determine whether he ſhall go with you or no.—Some ſcampering party will be propoſed to a cricket match in Hampſhire, or a race in Yorkſhire; one friend will invite him to a ball in the Weſt of England, and another to ſee a boxing match in the neighbourhood of London: and while he is debating whether he ſhall make any of theſe engagements, or which, or go to France with you, you will have a very fair opportunity of leaving him—unleſs (which from the ſtyle of your laſt letter I do not expect) you ſhould yourſelf change your reſolution on the beſt grounds; and find your romantic and your patriotic motive for a journey to France, conquered at once by the more powerful enchantments of one of my fair couſins.

While, from your fortune being entruſted to my management by your grandfather till you were five-and-twenty, I conſidered myſelf as your guardian, I forbore to recommend to either of theſe young women, becauſe they were my relations—But now as you are maſter alike of yourſelf and of your eſtate, yet are ſtill willing to attend (at leaſt you ſay you are) to the opinion of a friend who has lived fourteen years longer in the world than you have. I am deſirous that you ſhould become acquainted with them, and that you ſhould judge fairly, ſince that muſt be to judge favourably, of women who are ſo univerſally and juſtly admired; who certainly are moſt highly accompliſhed: and have fortunes to aſſiſt whoever they marry, in ſupporting them in that rank of life to which they will do ſo much honour—this you call an extraordinary ſtyle of advice, from a man who, in the noon of life, has renounced that world, whoſe attractions he B5 recom- 1010 B5v 10 recommends to you; but that, at hardly nineand-thirty, I have no longer any reliſh for it, ariſes, not from general miſanthropy, but from particular misfortune, and againſt thoſe calamities of domeſtic life that have embittered my days, I wiſh to guard yours—by giving you ſome of my dearly-bought experience.

You have talents, youth, health, perſon and fortune—a good heart and an ardent imagination —theſe, my dear Deſmond, are advantages very rarely united, and when they do meet, all the firſt are too often loſt by the fatal and irregular indulgence of the laſt. This is what I fear for you—but my lecture muſt terminate with my paper—my good wiſhes ever follow you; let me hear from you ſoon—and believe me ever

Yours,

E. Bethel

Let 1011 B6r 11

Letter III.

To Mr. Bethel.

My viſit to your friends is paid, and I met ſuch a reception as I might expect from your recommendation—would I could tell you, that it has anſwered all the friendly expectations, or rather hopes, you formed of it: but you expect an ingenuous account of my ſentiments in regard to theſe ladies; and you ſhall have them.

Mrs. Fairfax has been certainly a very fine woman, and even now has perſonal advantages enough to authoriſe her retaining thoſe pretenſions, which it is eaſy to ſee ſhe would, with extreme reluctance, entirely reſign.—It is however but juſtice to add, that her unwillingneſs to fade, does not influence her to keep back the period when it is fit her daughters ſhould bloom —ſhe rather runs into the contrary extreme; and with ſolicitude, which her maternal affection renders rather an amiable weakneſs, ſhe is always buſtling about, to ſhew them to the beſt advantage; and, as ſhe is perfectly convinced that they are the moſt accompliſhed young women of the age, ſo ſhe is very deſirous of impreſſing that conviction on all her acquaintance —for the reſt I believe ſhe may be a very good woman; and I have only to object to a little too much parade about it; and that ſhe talks rather too loud—and rather too long.

My firſt introduction to her was not at her own houſe, for entering one of the libraries about two o’clock on Thurſday noon, I obſerved,B6 ſerved, 1012 B6v 12 ſerved, that the attention of the few people who ſo early in the ſeaſon aſſembled there, was engroſſed by a lady who was relating a very long ſtory about herſelf, in a tone of voice, againſt which, whatever had been the ſubject, no degree of attention to any other could have been a defence. I was compelled therefore, inſtead of reading the paper where I was anxious to ſee French news, to join the audience who were hearing—how her leaſe was out, of an houſe ſhe had in Harley-ſtreet, and all the converſation held between herſelf, her landlord, and her attorney about its renewal. But how at laſt they could not agree; and ſo ſhe had taken another in Mancheſter Square, which ſhe deſcribed at full length—The Ducheſs, continued ſhe, and lady Lindores, and lady Sarah, were all ſo delighted when they found I had determined upon it—and lady Suſan aſſured me it would delay at leaſt her winter’s journey to BathOh! my dear Mrs. Fairfax, ſaid lady Suſan, you have no notion now, how exceſſively happy we ſhall all be, to have you ſo near us—and your ſweet girls!—their ſociety is a delightful acquiſition—— Miſs Fairfax’s ſinging is charming, and I ſo doat upon Anaſtatia’s manner of reading poetry, that I hope we ſhall ſee a great deal of both of them.

Though I at once knew that this was the lady to whom I was fortunate enough to have a letter of recommendation in my pocket, it was not eaſy with all that mauvais honte with which you ſo frequently accuſe me, to find a favourable moment to make my bow and my ſpeech, between the end of one narrative and the beginning of another, with ſuch amazing rapidity did they follow each other: and I ſhould have retiredtired 1013 B7r 13 tired without having been able to ſeize any ſuch lucky interval, if this inexhauſtible ſtream of eloquence had not been interrupted by the ſudden entrance of a young man who ſeemed to be one of Mrs. Fairfax’s intimate acquaintance, and who ſaid he came to tell her, that a raffle, in which ſhe was engaged at another ſhop, was full, and that her daughters had ſent him to deſire ſhe would come. There is nobody now, madam, to throw, ſaid this gentleman, but you and I; and Miſs Anaſtatia being the higheſt number, thinks ſhe ſhall win the jars—but as for me, I cannot go back this morning, for I am engaged to rideOh, but I deſire you will, replied Mrs. Fairfax, it wont take you up a minute, and I will have it decided— for I hate ſuſpence.Yes madam, ſaid another gentleman who had been among the liſteners, you may hate it—but there is nothing that Waverly loves ſo much, if one may judge by the difficulty he always makes about deciding upon every thing—and if the determination of the raffle depends upon him, you will hardly know who the jars are to belong to this ſeaſon.I proteſt, Jack Lewis, cried Waverly, whom I now immediately knew, though his cropped hair and other ſingularities of dreſs had at firſt prevented my recollecting him—I proteſt you do me injuſtice—I am the ſteadieſt creature in life—and I would go now willingly—but upon my ſoul I’m paſt my appointment.

And what ſignifies your appointment? replied the other.—What ſignifies whether you keep it or no?Why, that’s true, anſwered my future fellow-traveller, to be ſure it is of no great conſequence, neither—ſo if you deſire 1014 B7v 14 deſire it, I’ll go with you, Ma’am, though really I hardly know.—He was beginning to heſitate again, but Mrs. Fairfax took him at his word, and they went out together; however, before they had reached the place where the poſſeſſion of the China jars was to be decided, I ſaw Waverly leave the lady, and go I ſuppoſe to keep the engagement, which he allowed a moment before was of no conſequence. As for myſelf, as ſoon as I recovered from the effects of the firſt impreſſion made by Mrs. Fairfax’s oratory, which perhaps the weakneſs or irritability of my nerves rendered more forcible that it ought to be, I collected courage enough to follow her; and in a momentary pauſe that ſucceeded her loſing her raffle, which would now have been finally ſettled ſhe ſaid, had Waverly been preſent, I advanced and delivered your letter.

She received it moſt graciouſly; and even retired from the groups ſhe was engaged in, to read it. I took that opportunity of addreſſing myſelf to Miſs Fairfax, who is certainly a very pretty woman; ſhe ſeemed however cold and reſerved; and, I thought, put on that ſort of air which ſays—I don’t know, Sir, whether you are in ſtyle of life to claim my notice.— Theſe little doubts, however, which I readily forgave, were immediately diſſipated, when her mother appeared with your letter in her hand— and ſaid, Margarette, my dear, this is Mr. Deſmond—the friend and ward of Mr. Bethel, I am ſure you will be as rejoiced as I am in this opportunity of being honoured with his acquaintance.—I ſaw inſtantly, that the young lady recollected, in the friend and ward of Mr. Bethel, a man of large, independent fortune.—The moſt amiable expreſſion of complacency was immediately 3 1015 B8r 15 immediately conveyed into her countenance; and, as I attended her and her mother home, I perceived that two or three gentlemen, who came with her alſo, and towards whom ſhe had before been laviſh of her ſmiles, were now almoſt neglected, while ſhe was ſo good as to attend only to me.—At the door of their lodgings I took my leave of them, after receiving the very obliging invitation to dine with them the next day. Anaſtatia was not with them. Miſs Fairfax told me, that, as ſoon as ſhe had thrown for the jars, ſhe went home, for Anaſtatia, ſaid ſhe, is exceſſively fond of reading and reciting—and, her reading maſter, a celebrated actor at one of the theatres, happening to be here by accident, ſhe would not loſe the opportunity of receiving a leſſon. She does excel, aſſuredly, ſaid the elder lady, in thoſe accompliſhments, as Mr. Deſmond, I think will ſay, when he hears her.—I expreſſed my ſatisfaction at the proſpect of being ſo gratified, and then took my leave.

Yeſterday morning I ſaw Waverly, who ſeemed to embrace, with avidity, the project of going with me to Paris—I repreſented to him the neceſſity of his knowing, preciſely, his own mind, as I cannot remain here more than four or five days.—He aſſures me, that nothing can prevent his going, and that he will inſtantly ſet about making preparations.—Indeed, my good friend, you were too ſevere upon him.—He is young, and quite without experience, but he ſeems to have a good diſpoſition, and an underſtanding capable of improvement.—There is too, a family reſemblance to his ſiſter, which, though ſlight, and rather a flying than a fixed likeneſs, intereſts me for him; and in ſhort, I am more deſirous of curing than reckoning his faults.

He 1016 B8v 16

He dined with Mrs. Fairfax yeſterday, where I was alſo invited, and where a party of nine or ten were aſſembled. The captivating ſiſters diſplayed all their talents, and I own they excel in almoſt every accompliſhment.—I have ſeldom ſeen a finer figure taken altogether, than the younger ſiſter, and indeed, your deſcription of the perſonal beauty of both, was not exaggeration.—To their acquirements, I have already done juſtice: yet, I am convinced, that, with all theſe advantages, my heart, were it totally free from every other impreſſion, would never become devoted to either.

It would be nonſenſe to pretend to give reaſons for this.—With theſe caprices of the imagination, and of the heart, you have allowed that Reaſon has very little to do.

One objection however, to my pretending to either of theſe ladies, would be, that every degree of excellence on which you ſeem to dwell. —Always ſurrounded by admiring multitudes; or, practiſing thoſe accompliſhments by which that admiration is acquired, they ſeem to be in danger of forgetting they have hearts—appearing to feel no preference for any perſon, but thoſe who have the ſanction of faſhion, or the recommendation of great property; and, affluent as they are themſelves, to conſider only among the men that ſurround them, who are the likelieſt to raiſe them to higher affluence or ſuperior rank.

Of this I had a ſpecimen yeſterday—Waverly ſeems to have an inclination for Miſs Fairfax, and as he and I were the two young men in the party of yeſterday, who ſeemed the moſt worthy the notice of the two young ladies, I was ſo fortunate as to be allowed to entertain Miſs Anaſtatia, while Waverly was engaged in earneſtneſt 1017 B9r 17 neſt diſcourſe by Miſs Fairfax, who put on all thoſe faſcinating airs which ſhe ſo well knows how to aſſume.—I ſaw that poor Waverly was conſidering whether he ſhould not be violently in love with her, or adhere to the more humble beauty, for whom he had been relating his penchant to me a few hours before, when the door ſuddenly opened, and a tall young fellow, very dirty, and apparently very drunk, was ſhewn into the room.—The looks of all the ladies teſtified their ſatisfaction: and they all eagerly exclaimed, Oh! my lord, when did you arrive, who expected you?—how did you come? —Without, however, attending immediately to theſe queſtions, he ſhook the two young ladies’ hands, called them familiaryfamiliarly by their Chriſtian names: and then throwing himſelf at his length on a ſopha, he thus anſwered—Came!—why, curſe me if I hardly know how I came here— for I have not been in bed theſe three nights— Why, I came with Davers, and Lenham, and a parcel of us.—We were going to ſettle a wager at Tom Felton’s—But, rat me, if I know why the plague we came through this damned place, twenty miles at leaſt out of our way.—How in the devil’s name do ye contrive to live here, why, here is not a ſoul to be ſeen? —Then, without waiting for an anſwer to this elegant exordium, he ſuddenly ſnatched the hand of the eldeſt Miſs Fairfax, who ſat near him, and cried, But, by the Lord, my ſweet Peggy, you look confoundedly handſome—curſe me if you don’t.—By Jove, I believe I ſhall be in love with you myſelf.—What!—ſo you have got out of your megrims and ſickneſs, eh!— and are quite well, you dear little toad you, eh?—The ſoft and ſmiling anſwer which the lady 1018 B9v 18 lady gave to an addreſs ſo impertinently familiar, convinced me ſhe was not diſpleaſed with it: the mother ſeemed equally ſatisfied; and I ſaw, that even the ſentimental Anaſtatia forgot the critique on the laſt faſhionable novel, with which ſhe had a moment before been obliging me; and caſt a look of ſolicitude towards that part of the room, where this newly-arrived viſitor, whom they called Lord Newminſter, was talking to her ſiſter in the ſtyle of which I have given you an example—while poor Waverly, who had at once loſt all his conſequence, ſat ſilent and mortified, or if he diffidently attempted to join in the converſation, obtained no notice from the lady, and only a ſtare of contemptuous enquiry from the lord.—As, not withſtanding the favor I had found a few hours before, I now ſeemed to be ſinking faſt into the ſame inſignificance, I thought it better to avoid a continuance of ſuch mortification, by taking my leave; Waverly, as he accompanied me home, could hardly conceal his vexation—yet was unwilling to ſhew it; while I doubt not but Mrs. Fairfax and the young ladies wewere happily entertained the reſt of the evening by the delectable converſation of Lord Newminſter.

I ſhall probably write once more from hence.

Your’s, ever and truly,

L.D.

Let- 1019 B10r 19

Letter IV.

To Mr. Desmond.

I am ſorry my preſcription is not likely to ſucceed; I had perſuaded myſelf that the youngeſt of my fair couſins was the likelieſt of any woman of my acquaintance, to become the object of a reaſonable attachment.—Surely Deſmond you are faſtidious—you expect what you will never find, the cultivated mind and poliſhed manners of refined ſociety, with the ſimplicity and unpretending modeſty of retired life—they are incompatible—they cannot be united; and this model of perfection, which you have imagined and can never obtain, will be a ſource of unhappineſs to you through life.

I told you in a former letter, that I would endeavour to give you a little of my dearlybought experience.―You know that I have been unhappy; but you are probably quite unacquainted with the ſources from whence that unhappineſs originates—in relating them to you I may perhaps convince you, that ignorance and ſimplicity are no ſecurities againſt the evils which you ſeem to apprehend in domeſtic life; and that the woman, who is ſuddenly raiſed from humble mediocrity to the gay ſcenes of faſhionable ſplendor, is much more likely to be giddily intoxicated than one who has from her infancy been accuſtomed to them.

At one and twenty, and at the cloſe of a long minority, which had been paſſed under the care of very excellent guardians, I became maſter of a very 1020 B10v 20 a very large ſum of ready money, and an eſtate the largeſt and beſt conditioned that any gentleman poſſeſſed in the country where it lay.—I was at that time very unlike the ſober fellow I now appear—and the moment I was free from the reſtraint of thoſe friends, to whoſe guardianſhip my father had left me, I ruſhed into all the diſſipation that was going forward, and became one of the gayeſt men at that time about town.

With ſuch a fortune it was not difficult to be introduced into the very firſt world.— The illuſtrious adventurers and titled gamblers, of whom that world is compoſed, found me an admirable ſubject for them; while the women, who were then either the moſt celebrated ornaments of the circle where I moved, or were endeavouring to become ſo, were equally ſolicitous to obtain my notice—and the unmarried part of them ſeemed generouſly willing to forget my want of title in favour of my twelve or thirteen thouſand a year.—I had, however, at a very early period of my career, conceived an affection, or according to your phraſe, an ardent attachment to a married woman of high rank—but I had at the ſame time ſeen enough of them all, to determine never to marry any of them myſelf.

Two years experience confirmed me in this reſolution, but by the end of that time I was relieved from the embarraſſments of a large property.—In the courſe of the firſt, the turf and the hazard table had diſburthened me of all my ready money; and, at the concluſion of the ſecond, my eſtate was reduced to ſomething leſs than one half.—I then found that I was not, by above one half, ſo great an object to my kind friends as I had been—and, when ſoon afterwards I was compelled to pay five thouſand pounds 1021 B11r 21 pounds for my ſentimental attachment—when the obliging world repreſented my affairs infinitely worſe than they were, and I became afraid of looking into them myſelf, I found the period rapidly approaching when to this circle I ſhould become no object at all.

My pride now effected that, which common ſenſe had attempted in vain; and I determined to quit a ſociety into which I ſhould never have entered.―I went down to my houſe in the county where almoſt all my eſtate lay; ſent for the attorney who had the care of my property, and with a ſort of deſperate reſolution reſolved to know the worſt.

This lawyer, whoſe father had been ſteward to mine, and to whom at his death the ſtewardſhip had been given by my guardians, was a clear headed, active and intelligent man: and when he ſaw himſelf entruſted with fuller powers to act in my buſineſs than he had till then poſſeſſed, he ſet about it ſo earneſtly and aſſiduouſly, that he very ſoon got ſucceſsfully through two law ſuits of great importance: raiſed my rents without oppreſſing my tenants—diſpoſed of ſuch timber as could be ſold without prejudice to the principal eſtate—ſold off part of what was mortgaged to redeem and clear the reſt; and ſo regulated my affairs, that in a few months, from the time of his entirely undertaking them, I found myſelf relieved from every embarraſſment, and ſtill poſſeſſed of an eſtate of more than five thouſand pounds a year. The ſeven that I had thrown away gave me however ſome of the ſevere pangs that are inflicted by mortified pride.—Nabobs and rich citizens became the oſtentatious poſſeſſors of manors and royalties in the ſame county, which were once 1022 B11v 22 once mine; and ſome of my eſtates—eſtates that had been in my family ſince the conqueſt, now lent their names to barons by recent purchaſe, and dignified muſhroom nobility.

I fled therefore from public meetings, where I only found objects of ſelf-roproachſelf-reproach, and made acquaintance with another ſet of people, among whom I was ſtill conſidered as a man of great fortune; and where I found more attention, and, as I believed, more friendſhip than I had ever experienced in ſuperior ſocieties.

More general information and more underſtanding I certainly found; and none of my new friends poſſeſſed a greater ſhare of both than my ſolicitor, Mr. Stamford—he had deſervedly obtained my confidence, and I was now often at his houſe, when his family ſeemed to vie in trying, to render agreeable to me.

His wife was pleaſing and good humoured, and he had ſeveral ſiſters, ſome married, and two ſingle, who occaſionally viſited at his houſe; and it was not difficult to ſee, that in the eyes of the latter, Mr. Bethel, with his reduced fortune, was a man of greater conſequence than he had ever appeared to the high born damſels among whom he had lived in the meridian of his proſperity.

I was not however flattered by their attention or attracted by their coquetry—they were pretty enough, and not without ſenſe, but they had both been very much in London; and I thought too deeply initiated, if not into the very faſhionable ſocieties, yet into the ſtyle of thoſe which catch, with imitative emulation, the manners and ideas thoſe ſocieties give.—Mr. Stamford ſeemed deſirous of giving both theſe ladies a chance of ſucceſs with me, for they were alternately brought 1023 B12r 23 brought forward for about twelve months— at the end of which time they were both perhaps convinced that they had neither of them any great proſpect of it, for then the family of a widow ſiſter was invited, none of whom I had ever ſeen, or hardly heard mentioned before.

The father of this family, a lieutenant in the army, had married the eldeſt of Stamford’s ſiſters, when he was recruiting in the town where ſhe then lived—by which he ſo greatly diſobliged the friends on whom he depended, that though he had a very large family, they never afforded him afterwards the leaſt aſſiſtance; and about two years before the period I now ſpeak of, he had died at Jamaica, leaving his widow and ſeven children, with very little more than the penſion allowed by Government to ſubſiſt upon.—Of theſe children the two eldeſt were daughters; who, from the obſcure village their mother was compelled to inhabit in Wales, were now come to paſs the winter at the houſe of their uncle in a large provincial town.—On entering one morning Stamford’s parlour, in my uſual familiar way, I was ſtruck with the ſight of two very young women who were at work there; the elder of whom was, I thought, the moſt perfect beauty I had ever ſeen.—When I met Stamford, I expreſſed my admiration of the young perſon I had juſt parted from, and enquired who ſhe was—he told me ſhe was his niece, and briefly related the hiſtory of his ſiſter’s family.

At dinner, as Stamford invited me to ſtay, I could not keep my eyes from the contemplation of Louiſa’s beauty, which the longer I beheld it, became more and more faſcinating; the unaffectedaffected 1024 B12v 24 affected innocence and timidity of her manners, rendered her yet more intereſting—ſhe knew merely how to read and write: and had, till now, never been out of the village, whither her mother had retired when ſhe was only ſix or ſeven years old—and her total unconſciouſneſs of the beauty ſhe ſo eminently poſſeſſed, rivetted the fetters which that beauty, even at the firſt interview, impoſed.

Her uncle was not, however, ſo blind to the impreſſion I had received; yet he managed ſo well, that, without any appearance of artifice on his part, I was every day at the houſe; and, in a week, I was gone an whole age in love. I ſoon made propoſals, which were accepted with tranſport. I married the beautiful Louiſa—and was for ſome time happy.

Mr. Stamford had immediately the whole management of my fortune, in the improvement of which, he had now ſo much intereſt; and in his hands it recovered itſelf ſo faſt, that, tho’ I made a very good figure in the country, I did not expend more than half my income.—The money thus ſaved, Stamford put out to the beſt advantage—and I ſaw myſelf likely to regain the loſt conſequence I ſo much regretted: a fooliſh vanity, to which I ſacrificed my real felicity.

Stamford, who had all the latent ambition that attends conſcious abilities, as a man of buſineſs, had, till now, felt that ambition repreſſed by the little probability there was of his ever reaching a more elevated ſituation.—But he ſaw and irritated the mortified pride which I very ill concealed—and, by degrees, he communicated to me, and taught me to adopt thoſe projects, by which he told me I ſhould not only be relieved 1025 C1r 25 relieved from this uneaſy ſenſation, but riſe to greater conſequence than I had ever poſſeſſed.—

You have talents, ſaid he, and ought to exert them.—In theſe times, any thing may be done by a man of abilities, who has a ſeat in Parliament. Take a ſeat in the Houſe of Commons, and a ſeſſion or two will open to you proſpects greater than thoſe you ſacrificed in the early part of your life.—I took his advice, and the following year, inſtead of ſelling, at a general election, the two ſeats for a borough which belonged to me, I filled one myſelf, and gave the other to Stamford, who, conſcious as he was of poſſeſſing thoſe powers, which, in a corrupt government, are always eagerly bought, had long been ſolicitous to quit the narrow walk of a country attorney, and mount a ſtage where thoſe abilities would have ſcope.

In conſequence of this arrangement, I took a large houſe in town; where Stamford and his family had apartments for the firſt four or five months.—At the end of that time, he had managed ſo well, that he hired one for himſelf.— Artful, active, and indefatigable, with a tongue very plauſible, and a conſcience very pliant, he ſoon became a very uſeful man to the party who had purchaſed him. Preferments and fortune crowded rapidly upon him, and Stamford, the country attorney, was ſoon forgotten, in Stamford the confident of miniſters, and the companion of peers.

I was not, however, entirely without acquiring ſome of the advantages he had taught me to expect.—I obtained, by what I now bluſh to think of, (giving my voice in direct oppoſition to my opinion and my principles,) a place of Vol. I. C ſix 1026 C1v 26 ſix hundred pounds a year: which, though it did little more than pay the rent of my houſe in town, was, as Mr. Stamford aſſured me, the foretaſte of ſuperior advantages.—But, long before the cloſe of this ſeſſion of Parliament, I diſcovered, that far from being likely to recover the fortune I had diſſipated, I was, in fact, a conſiderable loſer in pecuniary matters.—Alas! I was yet endeavouring to ſhut my eyes againſt the ſad conviction, that I had ſuſtained, a yet heavier and more irreparable loſs; domeſtic happineſs, and the affection of my wife.

Dazzled and intoxicated by ſcenes of which ſhe had till then had no idea, Louiſa, on our firſt coming to town entered, with extreme avidity into the diſſipation of London—and I indulged her in it, from the ſilly pride of ſhewing to the women among whom I had formerly lived, beauty which eclipſed them all.—They affected to diſdain the little ruſtic, whom they maliciouſly repreſented as being taken from among the loweſt of the people.—The admiration however with which ſhe was univerſally received by the men, amply revenged their malignity, but, while it mortified them, it ruined me.

Louiſa lived now in a conſtant ſucceſſion of flattery, by which perhaps a ſtronger mind might have become giddy.—She had princes at her toilet and noblemen at her feet every day, and from them ſhe ſoon learned to imagine, that had ſhe been ſeen before ſhe threw herſelf away on me, there was no rank of life, however exalted, to which ſuch charms might not have given her pretenſions.—That love, which till this fatal period ſhe ſeemed to have for me—that gratitude of which her heart had appeared ſo full (for I had provided for all her family) even her affection for 1027 C2r 27 for her children, was drowned in the intoxicating draughts of flattery, which were every day adminiſtered to her—and when the time came for our returning into the country, ſhe returned indeed with me, but I carried back not the ingenuous, unaffected, Louiſa; whoſe ſimplicity, rather than her beauty had won my heart.― Ah! no!—I ſaw only a fine lady eager for admiration; willing to purchaſe it on any terms, and ſullen and diſcontented when ſhe had not thoſe about her from whom ſhe had been ſo accuſtomed to receive it.—That happineſs was loſt to me for ever. I had long been conſcious, but I ſtill hoped to preſerve my honor—and that I might detach my wife from thoſe whoſe aſſiduity it ſeemed to be the moſt endangered, I determined to make a journey into Italy.—She neither promoted or objected to the ſcheme, but a few days before that, which I had fixed on to begin our journey, ſhe left the houſe, and put herſelf under the protection of a man who diſgraces the name he bears.

I purſued the uſual courſe in theſe caſes; I challenged and fought with him—I was ſlightly, and he was dangerouſly wounded; and by way of further ſatisfaction I heard, that my wife attended him in his illneſs, and as ſoon as he was able to travel, accompanied him to the South of France.

I then thought of purſuing that method of vengeance, which had ſome years before been ſucceſsfully employed againſt myſelf, and had begun the preliminary ſteps towards it, when Stamford, the now proſperous uncle of my wife, undertook to diſſuade me—he repreſented to me that any money I could obtain, would only be conſidered as the price of my diſhonour—and C2 that 1028 C2v 28 that ſuch a publication of miſconduct in the mother of my children would be very injurious to them, particularly to my little girl―that therefore it would, upon every account, be better to ſuffer him to negociate an accommodation with—I ſtopped him ſhort, without hearing to its cloſe, this infamous and inſulting propoſal— and deſired him to leave my houſe; no longer doubting, from comparing this with other inſtances that now occurred to me, that he had ſold the perſon of his niece to her ſeducer, with as much ſang froid as he had before ſold his own conſcience to the miniſter.

Impreſſed by this opinion, and being too well convinced of the futility of thoſe chimerical plans with which he had lured me from independence and felicity, I determined never more to hold converſe with him: and to diveſt myſelf, as ſoon and as completely as poſſible of all regret, for a worthleſs and ungrateful woman.—I therefore took all my affairs into my own hands, accepted the chiltern hundreds, and ſelling my ſeat for the remainder of the ſeven years, I reſigned at once my place at court, and my place in parliament; for by the latter I now felt, that I had unworthily obtained the former.—Then, letting the family houſe where I had reſided in the neighbourhood of Stamford, I ſettled myſelf at this ſmaller place; the only property I poſſeſs at a diſtance from my native county.

Here I have now lived nearly eight years, and between the education of my children, and the amuſement afforded me by my farm, I hope I ſhall end thoſe years at leaſt not ſo unhappily as they began.—Of the woman once ſo beloved, I can now think with ſorrow and pity rather than reſentment, for ſhe is dead—and I wiſh her errors 1029 C3r 29 errors to be forgotten and forgiven by the world, as I have forgiven, though I cannot forget them. —Though releaſed by her death from any matrimonial engagement, I have no intention again to hazard my happineſs, but apply all my time in improving the remains of my eſtate for my ſon; to render him worthy to enjoy it—and to educate my daughter in ſuch a manner, that although ſhe promiſes to poſſeſs her mother’s beauty, ſhe may not be its victim.—For this purpoſe it will ſoon be neceſſary for me to quit occaſionally the ſolitude where I have regained my peace, and return to thoſe ſcenes among which I loſt it; for I am determined my little Louiſa ſhall ſee the world before ſhe is ſettled in it; that ſhe may learn to enjoy it with moderation, or reſign it with dignity.

In looking forward, my dear friend, to this period, now not very remote, I have thought that a wife of yours would be the perſon to whom I ſhould beſt like to entruſt ſo precious a charge as my charming girl on her firſt entrance into life.—Thus you ſee that I had, in recommending a wife to you, no very juſt claim to the diſintereſtedneſs of which I have ſometimes boaſted—but ſo goes the world. I have tired myſelf, and exhauſted my ſpirits, by this detail of what I always avoid recalling, when it can ſerve no purpoſe but to renew fruitleſs regret— May, however, the narrative which has coſt me ſome pain, ſerve to convince you, that ſuch woman as the two Fairfaxes, are much leſs likely to ſacrifice their honour on the altar of vanity, than the rural damſel from the Welch mountains or northern fells. I hope to hear from you, as you promiſe, once more before you depart——It is impoſſible to help again C3 offering 1030 C3v 30 offering my congratulation on your fortunate choice of Waverly for a travelling companion —nor can I avoid admiring the effect of family likeneſs

Adieu! your’s ever,

E. Bethel.

Let- 1031 C4r 31

Letter V.

To Mr. Bethel.

You are very good to have taken ſo much trouble, and to have entered on a detail ſo painful to yourſelf for my advantage—be aſſured, my good friend, I feel all my obligations to you on this, and on innumerable occaſions; and that I ſhould pay to your opinion the utmoſt deference were not my marrying now, perhaps my ever marrying at all, quite out of the queſtion —for I believe I ſhall never have an heart to beſtow, and without it I can never ſolicit that love, which, ſo circumſtanced, I can neither deſerve nor repay.

You tell me, Bethel, that I vainly expect to meet the cultivated mind and poliſhed manners of refined ſociety, united with the ſimple and unpretending modeſty of retired life, while the idea I have thus dreſſed up as a model of perfection, will embitter all my days—It will indeed! —but it is not the ſearch that will occupy, or the idea that will perſecute me—it is the reality, the living original of this fair idea, which I have found—and found in poſſeſſion of another —yes my friend—Geraldine unites theſe perfections—and adds to them ſo many others, both of heart and underſtanding, that were her perſon only an ordinary one, I could not have known without adoring her. I will not, however, dwell upon this topic—for it is one on which you do not hear me with pleaſure, and it is C4 not 1032 C4v 32 not fit that I indulge myſelf in what I feel while I write about her—though I can only do ſo while I write to you, for no other perſon on earth ſuſpects this attachment, nor do I ever breathe her name to any ear but yours.

I force myſelf from this ſubject then; though there is not in the world another that really fixes my attention an inſtant; not one that has any momentary attraction, unleſs it be the tranſactions in France.—I am waiting here for Waverly, who is gone to Bath, to take leave of his mother: a meaſure which, on her writing to him to deſire it, he adopted with only two debates—whether he ſhould go round by London, to bid adieu to his dear Nancy, a nymph who lives at his expence; or proceed directly to Bath.—As I foreſaw that his dear Nancy might chuſe to viſit the Continent too; or might apprehend his eſcape from her chains, and therefore prevent his going himſelf, I moſt ſtrongly enforced the neceſſity of his obeying his mother’s ſummons in the quickeſt way poſſible; declaring to him, that, if he detained me above a week, I muſt abſolutely go without him.— This, as he is now very eager for the journey, and ſpeaks no French, ſo that he would be ſubject to many difficulties in travelling alone, at length determined him to go ſtraight to Bath and return immediately; on which conditions I agreed to wait a week where I am, though, ſince I muſt go, I am extremely impatient to be at Paris—and would have made this ſacrifice of time to nothing but the ſervice of Geraldine in ſerving her brother.

Since I wrote to you laſt, I have paſſed part of ſeveral days with Mr. Fairfax’s family, without ſeeing any cauſe to change my opinion of any part 1033 C5r 33 part of it.—But all my obſervations tend rather to confirm that which I formed on my firſt introduction.—The fooliſh vanity, whence originates ſo many ſtratagems to heighten their conſequence, that affectation which carries them into the ſuperior ranks of life, to applaud and flatter there, that they may acquire, in their turn, greater ſuperiority over that claſs where fortune has placed them, and be looked up to as the ſtandards of elegance and faſhion, becauſe they lifelive ſo much with the nobility, and the ſacrifices they are ever ready to make of their own dignity, in order to obtain this: ſuch conduct, I ſay, has ſomething in it ſo weak and ſo mean, that no accompliſhments, beauty or fortune could tempt me to connect myſelf with a woman who had been educated in ſuch a courſe of unworthy prejudice.—Surely, my friend, if you have ever remarked this mal de famille, you, who have not much reaſon to venerate the influence of ariſtocracy in ſociety, would not have ſuppoſed that either of theſe ladies, even if they would deign to accept my fortune in apology for my being only Mr. Deſmond, (with hardly a remote alliance to nobility) could have given me in marriage that felicity, which I am ſure you wiſh I may find.―You have probably, therefore, ſuffered this trait of character, though it ſtrongly pervades the whole family to eſcape you.

Yeſterday morning Miſs Fairfax was ſo obliging as to invite me to be of a party ſhe had made to ride out: or rather allowed me to attend her, together with Waverly and another gentleman, who neither of them came—I however waited on her by her own appointment at the hour of breakfaſt, and found her ſitting at C5 the 1034 C5v 34 the tea-table with her mother, her ſiſter, and the Lord Newminſter; who, notwithſtanding his complaints of the dulneſs of the place, had returned hither after having ſettled his wager.— He was ſtretched upon a ſopha—with boots on —a terrier lay on one ſide of him, and he occaſionally embraced a large hound, which licked his face and hands, while he thus addreſſed it. —Oh! thou dear bitchy—thou beautiful bitchy—damme, if I don’t love thee better than my mother or my ſiſters.—Then, by a happy tranſition, addreſſing himſelf to the youngeſt Miſs Fairfax, he added, Statia, my dear, tell me if this is not a divinity of a dog—do you know that I would not part with her for a thouſand guineas. Here Tom, ſpeaking to the ſervant who waited, give me that chocolate and that bread and butter—the man obeyed, and the noble gentleman poured the chocolate over the plate, and gave it altogether to the divinity of a dog—was it hungry? cried he—was it hungry, a lovely dear?—I would rather all the old women in the country ſhould faſt for a month, than thou ſhouldeſt not have thy belly full.—The ladies, far from appearing to think this ſpeech unfeeling or ridiculous, were laviſh in their praiſes of the animal; and Miſs Fairfax, who ſeems more deſirous than her ſiſter to attract the attention of its worthy owner, ſaid, my Lord, do you think ſhe has had enough?—ſhall I give her ſome more chocolate?——or ſend for a plate of cold meat? She then careſſed the favourite, and fed it from her fair hands; while I, who had been a ſilent and unnoticed ſpectator ſince my firſt entrance, contemplated with more pity than wonder, this ſapient member of our legiſlature: who having, at 1035 C6r 35 at length, ſatisfied the importunity of one of the objects of his ſolitude, turned to the other, and hugging it with more affection than he would probably have ſhewed to the heir of his titles, he cried, my poor dear Venom when will you pup?—Peggy!—will you have one of her puppies?—they are the very beſt breed in England. —Damme now, do you know, my curſed fellow of a groom loſt me the brother to this here bitch a week or two ago—and be curſed to his ſtupid ſoul—and now I have got none but Venom left of that there breed. At this period his lamentation was ſuddenly ſuſpended by the doors being opened; and the entrance of a figure who gave me the idea of a garden roller ſet on its end, and ſupported by two legs: I found it, however, on a ſecond view, a perſon I had often ſeen; and immediately recognized to be General Wallingford; who, as ſoon as he could recover his breath, which ſeemed to have been loſt for a moment by exertion and agitation, thus began:

So Madam!—ſo!—this is aſtoniſhing— this laſt news from France.—This decree fills up the meaſure of that madneſs and folly which has always marked the conduct of that beggarly ſet who call themſevesthemſelves the National Aſſembly! —The evil is however now ſo great, that it muſt, it muſt abſolutely cure itſelf; this decree is deciſive—they have cruſhed themſelves.Mrs. Fairfax now enquired what it was? Why—I have letters, Madam, replied the General, from my friend Langdale, who was paſſing through Paris on his way to Italy, (for as to making any ſtay there now, it is impoſſible for a man of faſhion ſo far to commit himſelf as to ſtay in ſuch a ſcene of vulgar triumph and popular 1036 C5v 36 popular anarchy) Langdale, ſaw too much of it in three days; and his laſt letter ſtates, that by a decree paſſed the nineteenth of June, theſe low wretches, this collection of dirty fellows, have aboliſhed all titles, and aboliſhed the very name of nobility.The devil they have? cried Lord Newminſter, raiſing himſelf upon his elbow, and interrupting a tune he had been humming, a mezza voce; the devil they have? —then I wiſh the King and the Lords may ſmaſh them all—and be curſed to them—I wiſh they may all be ſent to hell—now damme—do you know if I was King of France for three days, I would drive them all to the devil in a jiffy.

The more ſagacious General caſt a rueful look at the wiſe and gallant projector of an impoſſible exploit: and then, without attempting to demonſtrate its impracticability, he began very gravely to deſcant on the ſhocking conſequences of this decree. Sentiments in which Mrs. Fairfax very heartily joined.—It will be impoſſible, I fear, ſaid the General, at leaſt, for ſome time, for any man of faſhion to reſide pleaſantly at Paris, which I am extremely ſorry for, for it is a place I always uſed to love very much; and I had great inclination to paſs the autumn there.—For my part, I’ve never obſerved, but that the people had liberty enough— Quite as much, I am convinced, as thoſe wrongheaded, ignorant wretches, that form the canaille ought to have, in any country; ’tis a very terrible thing when that corrupt maſs gets the upper hand, in any country; but, in the preſent inſtance, the miſery is, that certain perſons among even les gens comme il faut, ſhould be abſurd and ſenſeleſs enough to encourage the brutes, 1037 C7r 37 brutes, by affecting a ridiculous patriotiſm, and calling themſelves the friends of the people.

Rot the people,—cried the noble Peer: I wiſh they were all hanged out of the way, both in France and here too.—What buſineſs have a ſet of blackguards to have an opinion about liberty, and be curſed to them? Now General I’ll tell you what, if I was a French nobleman now, and had to do with them, damme if I did not ſhew the impudent raſcals the difference.—By Jove, Sir, I’d ſet fire to their aſſembly, and mind no more ſhooting them all, than if they were ſo many mad dogs.

Though it was uſed on behalf of his own ſyſtem of politics, the extreme ignorance and abſurdity which this language betrayed, made the General decline anſwering or approving it; but he was infinitely attentive to the more pathetic lamentations of Mrs. Fairfax, which were thus expreſſed.—Well! I really think, my dear General, that in my whole life, I never was ſo ſhocked at any thing, as at what you tell me: Heavens! how my ſympathiſing heart bleeds, when I reflect on the numbers of amiable people of rank, compelled thus to the cruel neceſſity of reſigning thoſe ancient and honorable names which diſtinguiſhed them from the vulgar herd! and who are no longer marked by their titles from that canaille with which it is ſo odious to be levelled.—ThyThey might, in my mind, as well have robbed them of their property, and have turned them out to periſh in the ſtreets, if indeed that is not done already.

No; replied the General that has not happened yet, but doubtleſs it will, and, indeed, they might as well have done it at once, for they have made Paris ſo inſupportable to people 1038 C7v 38 people of faſhion, that it muſt, of courſe, become a mere deſert.—Nobody of any elegance of manners can exiſt, where tradeſmen, attornies, and mechanics have the pas.—The ſplendour of that beautiful capital is gone: the glory of the nobleſſe is vaniſhed forever.

Come, come, my dear General, anſwered the lady, let us hope not; a counter-revolution may ſet all to rights again, and we may live to ſee theſe vulgar people puniſhed for their ridiculous ambition, as they deſerve. My heart, however bleeds to a degree for the nobleſſe, particularly for two moſt intimate friends of mine, women of the higheſt rank, who are, without doubt, included in this univerſal bouleverſement. —It was only this laſt winter, when one of them, la Ducheſſe de Miremont, who was then in England, ſaid to me—Ah! ma très chere & très aimable madame Fairfax, je vous en reponds que

The Lady, had in an inſtant, forgotten the calamities of her foreign friends in her eagerneſs to diſplay her own conſequence; but I found it impoſſible to attend, with patience, to the reſt of the dialogue between her and the General, and was meditating how, with the leaſt appearance of rudeneſs, I could make my eſcape, when Miſs Fairfax’s horſes were brought to the door, and my ſervant immediately afterwards arrived with mine.—She roſe to go; and turning towards Lord Newminſter ſaid, with extreme ſoftneſs—Does not your Lordſhip ride this morning? No, my dear Pegg, anſwered he, yawning in her face as he ſpoke; I cannot undertake the fatigue, for I was up at eight o’clock to ſee a ſet too between the Ruffian and Big Ben, who are to fight next week 1039 C8r 39 week for a thouſand.—I ſparred a little myſelf, and now I’m damned tired, and fit for nothing but a lounge; perhaps I may meet you in my phaeton an hour hence or ſo, that’s juſt as the whim takes me.—The Lady then, in the ſame gentle tone cried—Oh creature! equally idle and ferocious!—while he folded his arms, and re-ſettling himſelf, with his two dogs upon the ſopha, declared, that he felt himſelf diſposed to take a nap.

The old General, more gallant and more active, notwithſtanding his gout and his ſize, now led Miſs Fairfax to her horſe; and, as he aſſiſted her to mount it, he ſeemed to whiſper ſome very tender ſentence in her ear; if I could gueſs by the peculiar expreſſion of his features, while I had nothing to do but wait while all this paſſed, and when the ceremony was finiſhed, to ride ſilently away by her ſide.—We had hardly, however, quitted the town, when the young Lady thus began:—This is really very frightful news, Mr. Deſmond, that General Wallingford has brought us to-day.—Do you not think it extremely ſhocking? No, Madam, not at all; I own myſelf by no means maſter of the ſubject, but from all I do know, I feel myſelf much more diſpoſed to rejoice at, than to lament it.

Impoſſible, Mr. Deſmond!—Surely I miſunderſtand you!—What! are you diſpoſed to rejoice that nobility and faſhion are quite deſtroyed?

I am glad that oppreſſion is deſtroyed; that the power of injuring the many is taken from the few.—Dear Madam, are you aware of the evils which, in conſequence of the feudal ſyſtem, exiſted in France? A ſyſtem formed in the 1040 C8v 40 the blindeſt periods of ignorance and prejudice; which gave to the nobleſſe, not only an exemption from thoſe taxes which cruſhed the people by their weight, but gave to the poſſeſſors of les terres titrés,every power to impoveriſh and depreſs the peaſant and the farmer; on whom, after all, the proſperity of a nation depends.— That theſe powers are annihilated, no generous mind can ſurely lament.

I hope, replied Miſs Fairfax, with more aſperity than I thought my humility deſerved— I hope, Sir, I am not ungenerous, nor quite ignorant, neither, of the hiſtory of France— But I really muſt own, that I cannot ſee the matter in the light you do.—Indeed, I can ſee nothing but the moſt horrid cruelty and injuſtice.

In calling a man by one name, rather than by another!—My dear Miſs Fairfax, the cruelty and injuſtice muſt ſurely be imaginary.Not at all, in my opinion, Sir, retorted my fair antagoniſt.—A title is as much a perſon’s property as his eſtate; and, in my mind, one might as well be taken away as another—And to loſe one’s very birth-right, by a mob too, of vulgar creatures.—Good Heaven! I declare the very idea is exceſſively terrific; only ſuppoſe the Engliſh mob were to get ſuch a notion, and in ſome odious riot, begin the ſame ſort of thing here!

Perhaps, replied I (ſtill, I aſſure you, ſpeaking with the utmoſt humility) perhaps there never may exiſt here the ſame cauſe; and, therefore, the effect will not follow.—Our nobility are leſs numerous; and, till within a few years, that titles have became ſo very common, they were all of that deſcription which could be ranked only with the haut nobleſſe of France; they 1041 C9r 41 they are armed with no powers to oppreſs, individually, the inferior order of men; they have no vaſſals but thoſe whoſe ſervice is voluntary; and, upon the whole, are ſo different a body of men from that which was once the nobility of France, as to admit no very juſt compariſon, and no great probability of the ſame ſteps ever being taken, to annihilate their titles; though they poſſeſs, in their right of hereditary legiſlation, a ſtrong, and to many, an obnoxious feature which the higher ranks in France never poſſeſſed.—However, we will, if you pleaſe, and merely for the ſake of converſation, ſuppoſe that the people, or, if you pleaſe, the vulgar, took it into their heads to level all thoſe diſtinctions that depend upon names—I own I ſee nothing in it ſo very dreadful, it might be endured.

Yes, by ſavages and brutes, perhaps, replied the Lady, with anger flaſhing from her eyes, and lending new eloquence to her tongue, but I muſt ſay, that I never expected to hear from a man of faſhion, a defence of an act ſo ſhamefully tyrannous and unjuſt, exerciſed over their betters by the ſcum of the people; an act that muſt deſtroy all the elegance of manners, all the high poliſh that uſed to render people, in a certain ſtyle, ſo delightful in France. By degrees, I ſuppoſe, thoſe who can endure to ſtay in a country under ſuch a deteſtable ſort of government, will become as rude and diſguſting as our common country ’Squires.

I ſaw by the look with which this ſpeech was delivered, that I was decidedly a common country ’Squire.—Unhappily, replied I, my dear Miſs Fairfax, the race of men whom you call common country ’Squires, are almoſt, if not entirely annihilated in England; though no 3 decree 1042 C9v 42 decree has paſſed againſt them—A total change of manners has effected this. I was going on, but with great vivacity ſhe interrupted me.—

So much the better, Sir, they will never be regretted.

Perhaps not, Madam, and as we are merely arguing for the ſake of converſation, let me juſt ſuppoſe that the ſame thing might happen, if all thoſe who are now raiſed above us by their names, were to have no other diſtinction than their merits.—Let me aſk you, would the really great, the truly noble among them (and that there are many ſuch nobody is more ready to allow) be leſs beloved and revered if they were known only by their family names? On the other hand, would the celebrity of the men of ton be much reduced? For example, the nobleman I had the honour of meeting at your houſe to-day.—He is now, I think, called Lord Newminſter. Would he be leſs agreeable in his manners, leſs refined in his converſation, leſs learned, leſs worthy, leſs reſpectable, were he unhappilly compelled to be called, as his father was before he bought his title, Mr. Grantham?

I know not whether it was the matter or the manner that offended my beautiful ariſtocrate, but ſhe took this ſpeech moſt cruelly amiſs, and moſt inhumanely determining to avenge herſelf upon me; ſhe replied with ſymptoms of great indignation in her countenance, That ſhe was truly ſorry to ſee the race of mere country ’Squires did ſtill exiſt, and that, among thoſe where, from fortune and pretenſions, ſhe ſhould leaſt have imagined they would be found.— (This was me.) That as to Lord Newminſter, by whatever name he might at any time be called, ſhe ſhould, for her part, always ſay and think, 1043 C10r 43 think, that there were few who ſo completely filled the part of a man of real faſhion among the nobility; and not one, in any rank of life, who, in her mind, poſſeſſed a twentieth part of his good qualities.

The manner in which this was uttered, was undoubtedly meant to cruſh at once, and for ever, all the aſpiring thoughts, that I, preſuming on the ſtrength of my fortune, might peradventure have dared to entertain.—Overwhelmed by the pretty indignation, as much as by the unanſwerable arguments of my angry goddeſs, I began to conſider how I might turn or drop diſcourſe where I was ſo likely to ſuffer for my temerity, when I was relieved by the appearance of a carriage, at a diſtance, which, ſhe ſaid, ſhe knew to be Lord Newminſter’s phaeton; and, without any further ceremony than ſlightly wiſhing me good-morrow, ſhe cantered away to meet it—leaving me, as ſlowly I trotted another way, to congratulate my country on the pure notions of patriotic virtue with which even its women are impreſſed; and, on ſuch able ſupporters of its freedom, as Lord Newminſter in the upper, and General Wallingford in the lower Houſe.—Alas! my oppoſite principles, however modeſtly and diffidently urged, have loſt me, as I have ſince found, for ever, that favour, which without being a man of faſhion, I was once ſo happy as to enjoy from your fair relations: for whenever, in the courſe of the next two or three days, I happened to meet them, I was ſlightly noticed, that I apprehend our acquaintance will end here.—Condole with me, dear Bethel; and, to make ſome amends, let me ſoon hear from you.

I have 1044 C10v 44

I have had, very unexpectedly, a letter from Mr. DangbyDanby, my mother’s ſole ſurviving brother; who, abſorbed in his own ſingular notions and amuſements, has hardly ſeemed to recollect me for many years.—He has heard, I know not how (for I have long had no other communication with him, than writing him an annual letter, with an annual preſent of game and veniſon ſince I became of age) that I am going to France; and he ſtrongly remonſtrates upon the danger I ſhall incur if I do, both to my perſon and my principles.—He entreats me not to try ſuch a hazardous journey; and hints, that his fortune is too large to be deſpiſed.—I don’t know what this ſudden fit of ſolicitude means, for though I am the only relation he has, I never had any reaſon to think I ſhould benefit by his fortune; and your care, my dear Bethel, has precluded the neceſſity of my deſiring it. I ſhall anſwer him with great civility, however, but certainly make no alteration in my plan.

Adieu! my friend—fail not to write if you hear any thing of the family of Verney.

Your’s ever,

Lionel Desmond

Let- 1045 C11r 45

Letter VI.

To Mr. Bethel.

I had waited for Waverly the week I had promiſed to wait—the laſt day of that week was come: and I was going to enquire for a paſſage to Calais or Dunkirk, when I met Anthony, his ſervant, in the ſtreet. The poor fellow was covered with duſt, and ſeemed half dead with fatigue; Well Anthony where is your maſter? Oh! lord ſir, anſwered he, my maſter has changed his mind about going to France, and ſent me poſt from Stamford in Lincolnſhire, Sir, where he is gone with ſome other gentlemen, to an houſe, one Sir James Deybourne has juſt by there;—Sir, I have hardly been off the ſaddle for above ſix-and-thirty hours; and we had no ſooner got down there, than maſter ſent me off poſt to your honor; to let you know, Sir, that he could not, no how in the world, go to Paris with you at this time.

But did he not write; why, no Sir, he was going to write I believe, but ſomehow his friends they perſuaded him there was no need of it; ſo, Sir, he called me, and bid me, that I ſhould deliver the meſſage to you, about his not coming, the ſooneſt I poſſibly could: and ſo, Sir, I ſet off directly, and he told me to ſay that he ſhould write in a very little time; and he hoped he ſaid, that I would make haſte, to prevent your honor’s waiting for him.

I had at this moment occaſion to recollect, how nearly Waverly was related to Geraldine; to prevent my feeling ſome degree of anger and reſent- 1046 C11v 46 reſentment towards him.—I ſent, however, his poor haraſſed ſervant to my lodgings, where I ordered him to refreſh himſelf by eating and ſleeping; and then went to ſee about my paſſage to France.

I afterwards ſauntered into one of the libraries, and took up a book; but my attention was ſoon diverted, by a plump, ſleek, ſhort, and, altogether, a moſt orthodox figure; whoſe enormous white wig, deeply contraſted by his peony-coloured face, and conſequential air, declared him to be a dignitary, very high, at leaſt in his own eſteem.—On his entrance he was very reſpectfully ſaluted by a thin little man in black; whoſe ſnug well-powdered curls, humble demeanor, and cringing addreſs, made me ſuppoſe him either a dependent on the plump doctor, or one who thought he might benefit by his influence—for he not only reſigned the newſpaper he was reading, but buſtled about to procure others;—while his ſuperior, noticing him but little, ſettled himſelf in his ſeat, with a magiſterial air—put on his ſpectacles, and took out his ſnuff-box; and having made theſe arrangements, he began to look over the paper of the day; but ſeeing it full of intelligence from France, he laid it down, and, As who ſhould ſay I am Sir Oracle, he began an harangue, ſpeaking ſlowly and through his noſe.

’Tis an uneaſy thing, ſaid he, a very uneaſy thing, for a man of probity and principles to look in theſe days into a newſpaper.— Greatly muſt every ſuch man be troubled to read of the proceedings that are going forward in 1047 C12r 47 in France.—Proceedings, which muſt awaken the wrath of heaven; and bring down upon that perfidious and irreverent people its utmoſt indignation.

The little man took the opportunity the ſolemn cloſe of this pompous oration gave him to cry—very true, Doctor, your obſervation is perfectly juſt; things to be ſure have juſt now a very threatening appearance. Sir, reſumed the grave perſonage, it is no appearance, but a very ſhocking reality. They have done the moſt unjuſt and wicked of all actions in depriving the church of its revenues.— ’Twere as reaſonable, Sir, for them to take my birth-right or your’s.

I thought, Doctor, ſaid a plain looking man, who had attended very earneſtly to the beginning of this dialogue—I thought, that the revenues and lands of the church, being the property of the ſtate, they might be directed by it into any channel more conducive, on the opinion of that ſtate, to its general good; and that it appearing to the National Aſſembly of France, that this their property was unequally divided; and that their biſhops lived like princes, while their curates Curées-rectors had hardly the means of living like men,—I imagined—

You imagined, Sir?—And give me leave to aſk what right you have to imagine?—or what you know of the ſubject!—The church lands and revenues the property of the ſtate!— No, Sir—I affirm that they are not—That they are the property of the poſſeſſors, as much, Sir, as your land and houſes, if you happen to have any, are your’s.

Not quite ſo, ſurely, my good Doctor, replied the gentleman mildly—My houſes and 1048 C12v 48 and lands—if, as you obſerve, I happen to have any, were probably either acquired by my own induſtry, or were my birth-right.— Now Sir—He would have proceeded, but the Divine, in an angry and ſupercilious manner interrupted him—Sir, I wont argue, I wont commit myſelf, nor endeavour to convince a perſon whoſe principles are, I ſee, fundamentally wrong.—But no man of ſenſe will deny, that when the preſent body of French clergy took upon them their holy functions— that they then became, as it were, born again —and—and—and by their vows—

But, my worthy Sir, thoſe vows were vows of poverty.—They were vows, by which, far from acquiring temporal goods; the means of worldly indulgencies, they expreſsly renounced all terreſtrial delights, and gave themſelves to a life of mortification and humility.— Now, it is very certain, that many of them not only poſſeſſed immenſe revenues, wrung from the hard hands of the peaſant and the artificer, but actually expended thoſe revenues.—Not in relieving the indigent, or encouraging the induſtrious; but in gratifications more worthy the diſſolute followers of the meretricious ſcarletclad lady of Babylon, than the mortified diſciples of a ſimple and pure religion. Then, as if diſdaining to carry farther an argument in which he had ſo evidently the advantage againſt the proud petulance of his adverſary, the gentleman walked calmly away, while the Doctor, ſwelling with rage, cried, I don’t know who that perſon is, but he is very ignorant, and very ill-bred.’Tis but little worth your while, Doctor, cried the acquieſcent young man, to enter into controverſial diſcourſe with perſons ſo 1049 D1r 49 ſo unworthy of the knowledge and literature which you ever throw into your converſation.

It is not, Sir, anſwered the Doctor; it were indeed a woeful waſte of the talent with which it has pleaſed heaven to entruſt me, to contend with the atheiſtical pretenders to philoſophy, that obtrude themſelves but too much into ſociety.—However, Sir, a little time will ſhew that I am right, in aſſerting, that a nation that pays no more regard to the ſacred order, can never proſper:—but, that ſuch horrible ſacrilegious robbery, as that wretched anarchy, for I cannot call it government, has been guilty of, will draw down calamities upon the miſerable people; and that the evil ſpirit, which is let looſe among them, will prompt them to deluge their country with blood, by deſtroying each other.

So much the better, Doctor, cried a fat, bloated figure, in a brown riding wig, a red waiſtcoat, and boots—ſo much the better—I heartily, for my part, wiſh they may. This philanthropic perſonage, who had till now been talking with an old lady about the price of ſoals and mackarel that morning at market, now quitted his ſeat, and ſquatting himſelf down near the two reverend gentlemen, proceeded briſkly in his diſcourſe, as if perfectly conſcious of its weight and energy.—Yes Doctor, I vote for their cutting one anothers throats, and ſo ſaving us the trouble—The ſooner they ſet about it, the better I ſhall be pleaſed, for, as for my part, I deteſt a Frenchman, and always did. —You muſt know, that laſt ſummer, I went down to Brighton, for I always go every ſummer to ſome of theſe kind of watering places.— So, as I was obſerving, I went down to BrightonI. D ton 1050 D1v 50 ton in the month of Auguſt, which is the beſt part of the ſeaſon, becauſe of the wheat ears being plenty; but, I dont know how it happened, I had an ugly feel in my ſtomach: what was the meaning of it I could not tell: but, I quite loſt my reliſh for my dinner, and ſo I thought it proper to conſult a phyſician or two on the caſe; and they adviſed me to try if a little bit of a ſail would not ſet things to rights; and told me, that very likely, if I went over the water, I ſhould find my appetite.—So, Sir, I determined to go, for riding did me no good at all; and ſo of courſe I was a little uneaſy.—So, Sir, I even went over the herring pond.—I was as ſick as a horſe, to be ſure, all night; but however, the next morning, when we landed on French ground, there was I tolerably chirruping, and pretty well diſpoſed for my breakfaſt.—Oh, ho! thinks I, this will anſwer, I believe.—However, I thought I would lay by for dinner, for the Monſieur at the inn told us he could let us have game and fiſh.—But lord, Sir, moſt of their proviſions are nothing to be compared to ours; and what is good they ruin by their vile manner of dreſſing it.—Why, Sir, we had for dinner ſome ſoals—the fineſt I ever ſaw, but they were fried in bad lard; and then, Sir, for the partridges, there was neither game gravy, nor poiverade, nor even bread ſauce.—Faith, I had enough of them and their cookery in one day; ſo, Sir, the next morning I embarked again for old England. However, upon the whole, the thing itſelf anſwered well enough, for my appetite was almoſt at a par, as I may ſay, when I came home. But for your French, I never deſire to ſet eyes on any of them again—and indeed, for my part, I am free to ſay, that if the whole 1051 D2r 51 whole race was extirpated, and we were in poſſeſſion of their country, as in juſtice it is certain we ought to be, why, it would be ſo much the better—We ſhould make a better hand of it in ſuch a country as that a great deal.—I underſtand, that one of the things theſe fellows have done ſince they have got the notion of liberty into their heads, has been, to let looſe all the taylors and tinkers and friſſeurs in their country, to deſtroy as much game as they pleaſe. Now, Sir, what a pity it is, that a country where there is ſo much, is not ours, and our game-laws in force there.—And then their wine; I can’t ſay I ever ſaw a vineyard, becauſe, as I obſerved, I did not go far enough up the country: but, no doubt, we ſhould manage that matter much better; and, upon the whole, conſidering that we always were their maſters, my opinion is, that it would be right and proper for our miniſtry to take this opportunity of falling upon them, while they are weakening each other; and, if they will have liberty, give them a little taſte of the liberty of us Engliſhmen; for, of themſelves, they can have no right notion of what it is—and, take my word for it, its the meereſt folly in the world for them to think about it.—No, no; none but Engliſhmen, freeborn Britons, either underſtand or deſerve it.

Such was the volubility and vehemence with which this ſpeech was made, that the Doctor could not find any opportunity to interrupt it.— Whatever were his opinions of the politics of the orator, he ſeemed heartily to coincide with him in the notions he entertained on the important ſcience of eating. He therefore (though with an air of reſtraint, and as if he would cautiouſly D2 guard 1052 D2v 52 guard his dignity from the too great familiarity with which the other ſeemed to approach him) entered into another diſſertation on the French revolution, anathematiſing all its projectors and upholders, with a zeal which Ernulphus might envy; and, in ſcarce leſs charitable terms, branding them with the imputation of every hideous vice he could collect, and ending a very long oration with a pious and chriſtian denunciation of battle and murder, peſtilence and famine here, and eternal torments hereafter, for all who imagined, aided, or commended ſuch an abomination.

The gentleman who had viſited France for the reſtoration of his appetite (and who had formerly, as I learned afterwards, kept a tavern in London, and was now retired upon a fortune) ſeemed unable or unwilling to diſtinguiſh declamation from argument, or prejudice from reaſon—He appeared to be delighted by the furious eloquence of the churchman, whom he ſhook heartily by the hand.—Doctor, cried he, I am always rejoiced to meet with gentlemen of your talents and capacity; you are an honour to our eſtabliſhment; what you have ſaid is quite convincing indeed; ſtrong, unanſwerable argument: I heartily wiſh ſome of my acquaintance, who pretend to be advocates for French liberty, were to hear you—I believe they’d ſoon be put to a non-plus—You’d be quite too much for them, I’m ſure. Pray, Doctor, give me leave to aſk, what ſtay do you mean to make in this place? I ſhall be proud to cultivate the honour of your acquaintance; if you are here next week, will you do me the favour to dine with me on Wedneſday—I’ve a chicken-turtle, which promiſes well—the firſt I’ve 1053 D3r 53 I’ve received this ſeaſon, from what I call my Weſt-Indian farm; a little patch of property I purchaſed, a few years ſince, in Jamaica.—As to the dreſſing of turtles, I always ſee to that myſelf, for I am extremely particular; though, I muſt ſay, my negro fellow is a very excellent hand at it—I have lent him more than once to perform for ſome great people at t’other end of the town.—If you’ll do me the pleaſure, Doctor, to take a dinner with me I ſhall be glad; and, indeed, beſides the favour of your company, I would fain have the four or five friends that I’ve invited for that day, to hear a little of your opinion upon theſe ſaid French matters.

Though the Doctor had, till now, heſitated and ſeemed to doubt whether he did not deſcend too much from his elevated ſuperiority, in encouraging the forwardneſs of his new acquaintance; this propoſal, flattering at once his pride and his appetite, was irreſiſtible.— He, therefore, relaxing from the air of arrogant dignity he uſually wore, accepted very graciouſly of the invitation to aſſiſt in devouring the chicken-turtle, and then theſe two worthy champions of Britiſh faith and Britiſh liberty, entered into converſation on matters, which, ſeem as it ſhould, were neither laſt nor leaſt in their eſteem. This was an enquiry into the good things for the table, that were to be found in the neighbourhood; in praiſe of many of which, they were extremely eloquent.—The Doctor complained of the ſcarcity of veniſon, but added, that he expected an excellent haunch in a few days, from a nobleman, his friend and patron; of which, Mr. Sidebottom (for ſuch was the name of this newly acquired friend) was requeſted to partake.—This requeſt was, of 1054 D3v 54 of courſe, readily aſſented to, and they, at length left the ſhop together, having ſettled to ride to a neighbouring farm-houſe, where Mr. Sidebottom aſſured the Doctor, that he had diſcovered ſome delicate fat ducks and pigeons, of peculiar ſize and flavour.—I even queſtion, ſaid he, whether there will not be, in about a week’s time, ſome nice turkey powts.—The good woman is very clever about her poultry, and if ſhe has had tolerable luck ſince I ſaw her, they muſt now be nearly fit for the diſh.—In this pleaſing hope, the two gentlemen departed together; I followed them at a little diſtance, and ſaw them accoſted by a thin, pale figure of a woman, with one infant in her arms and another following her; her dreſs was not that of a beggar, yet it beſpoke extreme indigence; I fancied ſhe was a foreigner, and my idea was confirmed when I heard her ſpeak; ſhe ſtepped ſlowly, and, as it ſeemed, irreſolutely, towards the two proſperous men, who were going in ſearch of fat ducks and early turkeys; and, in imperfect Engliſh, began to relate, that ſhe was a widow, and in great diſtreſs. A widow, cried Mr. Sidebottom, why you are a Frenchwoman; what have you to do here? and why do you not go back to your own country? This is the time there for beggars—they have got the upper hand. Go, go, miſtreſs; get back to your own country.— The poor woman anſwered, that ſhe had travelled towards Dover with her two children, in hopes of getting a paſſage to France; but that they having been ill on the road, her little ſtock of money was exhauſted; and therefore, ſaid ſhe, I was adviſed to come hither, Sir, in hopes of procuring, by the generoſity of the 1055 D4r 55 the company who frequent this place, wherewithal to pay my paſſage to France; for unleſs I can produce enough for that purpoſe, no commander of a veſſel will take me.

And let me tell you, they very properly refuſe, ſaid Mr. Sidebottom, you had no buſineſs that I know of in England, but to take the bread out of the mouth of our own people; and now I ſuppoſe you are going to join the fiſh women, and ſuch like, who are pulling down the king’s palaces.—The unhappy woman caſt a look of anguiſh on her children, and was quietly relinquiſhing this hopeleſs application, when the Doctor, more alive to the tender ſolicitations of pity than Mr. Sidebottom, put his hand into his pocket, and then in a naſal voice and in a magiſterial manner, thus ſpoke:— Woman! though I have no doubt but that thou art a creature of an abandoned conduct, and that theſe children are baſe born; yet, being a ſtranger and a foreigner, I have ſo much univerſal charity, that, unworthy as I believe thee, I will not ſhut my heart againſt thy petition. If thou art an impoſtor, and wickedly impoſeſt upon that charity, ſo much the worſe for thee; I do my duty in beſtowing it, and the wrong reſts with thee! Here! Here is—ſixpence! which I give thee towards thy paſſage! Go, therefore, depart in peace; and let me not have occaſion to reprove thee to-morrow for lingering about the ſtreets of this place: where, as people of fortune and conſideration come for their health, they ought not to be diſturbed and diſguſted by the ſight of objects of miſery. I don’t love to ſee beggars in theſe places; their importunity is injurious to the nerves.—Let me hear of you no more—Our laws oblige us to provide for no poor but our own.

The 1056 D4v 56

The Doctor having thus fulfilled two great duties of his profeſſion, thoſe of giving advice, and giving alms, ſtrutted away with the worthy Mr. Sidebottom; who wiſely conſidered that the turnpike through which he muſt paſs in his tour after good diſhes, would demand the ſmall money he had about him, he therefore forebore to add to the bounty of the Doctor towards the unfortunate petitioner, who, feeling ſome degree of alarm from the remonſtrance ſhe imperfectly underſtood, remained for a moment gazing on the ſix-pence, which ſhe yet held in her hand. She then claſped the youngeſt of her children to her breaſt, took the hand of the other as he clung to her gown, and burſt into tears. In a moment, however, ſhe dried her eyes, and, leaning againſt the rails of the parade, ſhe caſt a deſpairing look towards the gay groups who were paſſing, yet ſeemed examining to which of them ſhe might apply with moſt hope of ſucceſs. At this moment I approached nearer to her; but ſhe did not ſee me till I ſpoke to her in French, and inquired, how I could aſſiſt her. The voice of kindneſs, in her own language, was ſo ſoothing, and I fear ſo new, that ſhe was for ſome moments unable to anſwer me; the ſimplicity of the narrative with which ſhe at length ſatisfied my inquiry, convinced me of the truth of all ſhe related.

She told me that her huſband, the ſon of a reputable tradeſman at Amiens, had married her, the daughter of a very inferior one, againſt his father’s poſitive injunctions, who had thereupon diſmiſſed him from the buſineſs to which he had been brought up, and left him to the world. That thus deſtitute, with a wife, and ſoon afterwards a child to ſupport, he had acceptedcepted 1057 D5r 57 cepted the offer of an Engliſh gentleman to accompany him to England, where he behaved ſo well, continued ſhe, that his maſter, who was a good man, became much his friend, and hearing he had in France a wife and child, whom he loved, he not only gave leave, but money to have us fetched over. Some months after, Sir, the gentleman married a very rich lady from the city, who wiſhed him to part with his French ſervant; but though he prevailed upon her to let him keep a perſon who had been very faithful to him, the lady never liked him. In leſs than a twelvemonth after his marriage, my huſband’s maſter was taken ill of a fever and died. My huſband ſat up with him many nights, and by the time his maſter was carried to the grave, he fell ill himſelf of the ſame diſtemper; and his lady being afraid of the infection, hurried him out of the houſe to the lodging where I and my children lived. There he lay dreadfully ill for three weeks, during which time the lady ſent a phyſician to him once or twice, but afterwards went into the country, and thought no more about him; ſo that we had nothing to ſupport this cruel illneſs, but what my huſband had ſaved in his ſervice; which, with a wife and two children to keep out of his wages, to be ſure, could not be much. He got through the fever, Sir, but it had ſo ruined his blood, that he went almoſt immediately into a decline; and it is now three weeks ſince he died, leaving me quite deſtitute with theſe two children. I applied for help, in this my utmoſt diſtreſs, to the widow of his late maſter, in whoſe ſervice he certainly loſt his life. After waiting a great while for an anſwer, ſhe ſent a gentleman to me with a guinea, which was, ſhe ſaid, all ſhe D5 ſhould 1058 D5v 58 ſhould ever do for me; and ſhe adviſed me to get back to France. This, by the aſſiſtance of the gentleman that brought me this money, who touched with pity for my ſituation, raiſed for me, among his friends, above a guinea more, I attempted to do; but on the road my children fell ſick, and my money was all expended in procuring them aſſiſtance: ſo that now I have no means of reaching France, where, if I could once get, I hope my parents, poor as they are, would receive me, and that I ſhould be able ſome way or other to earn my bread and my children’s.

I hope it is unneceſſary to ſay, that I immediately ſet the widow’s heart at eaſe on this ſcore; and undertook to pay for her’s and her children’s conveyance.

Yeſterday evening then I embarked. The wind was againſt us, and the ſea ran extremely high; but I was impatient to be gone; and though the maſter doubted whether he could croſs to Dunkirk, I was impatient, and preſſed him to get under weigh, which he did, notwithſtanding the unpromiſing appearance of the weather.

I ſat upon deck, looking towards the ſhore, when I ſaw, though we were by this time at a conſiderable diſtance from it, a group of people who ſeemed to be making ſignals to the men in the veſſel. I bade the maſter obſerve them, and he diſtinguiſhed, by his glaſs, a boat attempting to put off, in which he told me he imagined ſome other paſſengers, who had arrived after we had come on board, might be. He requeſted, therefore, that I would give him leave to lay to and wait for it, which I readily granted; and as the waves were now extremely high, we continued, with 1059 D6r 59 with ſome apprehenſions, to watch the boat, which was a very ſmall one, and which often entirely diſappeared.

At length by the great exertion of the fiſhermen who were in it, the boat came along ſide, and one of the men hailing the maſter, told him he had brought a gentleman and his two ſervants, who were but juſt arrived from London in great haſte, for a paſſage to France.

Three rueful figures did indeed appear in the boat; and in the firſt of them that was helped up the ſide of the veſſel, I recogniſed Waverly!

Sick to death, wet to the ſkin, and I believe, not a little frightened by the toſſing of the boat, he could not immediately anſwer the queſtions I put to him. At length he told me, that the day after he had ſent off Anthony he altered his mind, and ſet out poſt to overtake me before I ſailed. But now, ſaid he, I wiſh ſomehow I had not come till next week; for ſetting off in ſuch a hurry, I have not brought my horſes and carriages as I intended; and have only that portmanteau of cloaths with me. I was almoſt tempted to tell him he had then better return on ſhore, and wait for the accommodation he thus regretted; but I thought of Geraldine, and deteſting myſelf for my petulence, began to condole with, inſtead of blaming the halfdrowned Waverly, whom I immediately adviſed to change his cloaths and go to bed, for he ſuffered extremely from the motion of the veſſel, and again wiſhed himſelf on ſhore. On the ſhore, however, to which, in leſs turbulent weather, a little encouragement might have ſent him, he had now no inclination to venture, but took my advice and retired to the cabin; from whence Anthony came up in a few moments with a letter in his hand, which he ſaid his maſterter 1060 D6v 60 ter had forgot to give me. I looked at the direction—it was the writing, the elegant writing, of Geraldine. I opened it with trembling hands, and a palpitating heart. Heavens! does ſhe write to me? Dare I hope ſhe remembers me? —I have employed every moment ſince in reading and in copying it, that you may ſee how elegantly ſhe writes, though I cannot part with the original. With what delight I retrace every word ſhe has written; with what tranſport kiſs the ſpaces between the lines, where her fingers have paſſed. But you have no notion of all this, and will ſmile contemptuouſly at it, as boyiſh and romantic folly.——My dear Bethel, why ſhould we call folly that which beſtows ſuch happineſs, ſince, after all our wiſdom, our felicity depends merely on the imagination? I feel lighter and gayer ſince I have been in poſſeſſion of this dear letter, the firſt I ever received from her! Waverly’s little foibles diſappear before its powerful influence. It acts like a taliſman, and hides his faults, half of which I am ready to think virtues, ſince without his indeciſion I ſhould never have received it. Oh! with what zeal will I endeavour to execute the charge my angelic friend gives me to watch over the conduct of her brother. He is really not a bad young man; and I particularly rejoice at his being here, as I have learned from him, this morning, that the people with whom he went from Bath into Lincolnſhire are gamblers, who have won a conſiderable ſum of money of him. From ſuch adventures, I hope to ſave him in future; and admitting it poſſible that his unſettled temper may ſometimes occaſion me ſome trouble, I ſhall remember that he is the brother of my adorable Geraldine, and the taſk will 1061 D7r 61 will become a pleaſure.—Farewell, my friend, you know my addreſs at Paris. I ſhall go on this evening to Amiens, where I ſhall, perhaps, be detained a day by the affairs of my poor protegée and her children, who muſt be put into ſome way of ſubſiſtence before I leave them.

I am, ever, my dear Bethel,

Faithfully your’s,

Lionel Desmond.

Let 1062 D7v 62

Letter VII.

I have now, my dear Bethel, been ſome days in this capital, without having had time to write to you; ſo deeply has the animating ſpectacle of the 14th, and the converſation in which I have been ſince engaged, occupied my attention.—I can now, however, aſſure you—and with the moſt heart-felt ſatisfaction, that nothing is more unlike the real ſtate of this country, than the accounts which have been given of it in England: and that the ſanguinary and ferocious democracy, the ſcenes of anarchy and confuſion, which we have had ſo pathetically deſcribed and lamented, have no exiſtence but in the malignant fabrications of thoſe who have been paid for their miſrepreſentations.

That it has been an object with our government to employ ſuch men; men, whoſe buſineſs it is to ſtifle truths, which though unable to deny, they are unwilling to admit; is a proof, that they believe the deluſion of the people neceſſary to their own views; and have recourſe to theſe miſerable expedients, to impede a little the progreſs of that light which they ſee riſing upon the world. You know I was always intereſted in this revolution; (you ſometimes thought too warmly) and I own, that till I came hither, 1063 D8r 63 hither, I was not ſufficiently maſter of the ſubject, to be able to anſwer thoſe doubts which you often raiſed, as to the permanency of the new ſyſtem in France—But I think, that candid and liberal as you are; and with ſuch principles of univerſal philanthropy as you poſſeſs, I ſhall now have no difficulty in making you as warmly anxious, as I am, for the ſucceſs of a cauſe which, in its conſequence, involves the freedom, and, of courſe, the happineſs, not merely of this great people, but of the univerſe. I had letters of introduction to ſeveral gentlemen here; among others, to the ci devant Marquis de Montfleuri—A man, in whom the fire of that ardent imagination, ſo common among his countrymen, is tempered by ſound reaſon; and a habit of reflection, very unuſual at his time of life, to a native of any country, but particularly to one of this, where corruption has long been a ſyſtem, from the influenceinfluence of which, it was hardly poſſible for young men of property and title to eſcape.—Montfleuri, however, though born a courtier, is one of the ſteadieſt friends to the people—and it is from him that I have heard a detail of the progreſs of this great event, on which, I believe you may depend; and I will, in my two or three next letters, relate it in his own words.

In the mean-time, my friend, I have infinite pleaſure in deſcribing to you the real ſtate of Paris, and its neighbourhood—Where there is not only an excellent police, but where the natural gaiety of the people now appears without any reſtraint, and yet, certainly, without any diſorder.—Where the utmoſt care is taken of the lives of the commonalty, of whom a great number periſhed yearly in Paris, by the furious manner in which the carriages of the nobleſſe were 1064 D8v 64 were driven through the ſtreets, where there are no accommodations for the foot paſſenger—and where the proud and unfeeling poſſeſſors of thoſe ſplendid equipages (the diſappearance of which has been ſo much lamented in England) have been known to feel their rapid wheels cruſhing a fellow creature, with emotions ſo far from thoſe of humanity, as to have ſaid, tant mieux, il y à toujours aſſèz de ces gueux So much the better, there are always enough of thoſe ſhabby raſcals. I know not whether, in the numerous anecdotes of this kind, that have been collected, it has ever been related, that a very few years ſince, a young Frenchman of faſhion—one of the very firſt world, was driving through the ſtreets of Paris, with an Engliſhman, his acquaintance, in a cabriolet, in the rue St. Honoré, which is always extremely crowded, his horſe threw down a poor man, and the wheels going over his neck, killed him on the ſpot.—The Engliſhman, with all the emotions of terror, natural on ſuch an incident, cried out—Good God, you have killed the man!—The charioteer drove on; ſaying, with all poſſible ſang froidEh bien, tant pis pour lui—Well then, ſo much the worſe for him. Is it not natural for a people, who have been thus treated, to retaliate with even more ferocity than has been imputed to them?—and can it appear ſurprizing, that when the remark has been made, that there are now fewer magnificent carriages in the ſtreets of Paris than there were formerly, they have anſwered, mais il y en a encore trop. But there are ſtill too many.

One of the greateſt complaints which the diſcontented here have made—One, on which the eloquent declaimers among us have the moſt loudly inſiſted, is the levelling principle which the revolutioniſts have purſued.—Certainly, it is a great misfortune to the nobility to be deprived of the invaluable privilege of believing themſelves 1065 D9r 65 themſelves of a ſuperior ſpecies, and to be compelled to learn that they are men.

I was aſſured, in London, that I ſhould find Paris a deſert—How true ſuch an aſſertion is, let the public walks, and public ſpectacles witneſs; places, where ſuch numbers aſſemble, as are hardly ever ſeen collected in London (unleſs on very extraordinary occaſions;) yet, where even in the preſent hour, when the ferment of the public mind cannot have ſubſided, there is no diſorder, no tumult, nor even that degree of diſturbance, which the moſt trifling popular whim excites among us.

It is, however, at theſe places, the people are to be ſeen, and not their oppreſſors.—And if it is only theſe latter that conſtitutes an inhabited country, Paris will remain, perhaps, deſerted, in the eyes of thoſe who are deſcribed by General Wallingford and Mrs. Fairfax—as people of faſhionles gens comme il faut— While the philoſopher, the philanthropiſt, the citizen of the world; whoſe comprehenſive mind takes a more ſublime view of human nature than he can obtain from the heights of Verſailles or St. James’s, rejoices at the ſpectacle which every where preſents itſelf of newly-diffuſed happineſs, and hails his fellow man, diſencumbered of thoſe paltry diſtinctions that debaſed and diſguiſed him.

Such a man—with heart-felt ſatisfaction repeats that energetic, and in regard to this country, prophetic ſentence of our immortal poet.

Methinks I ſee in my mind a noble and puiſſant nation, rouſing herſelf like the ſtrong man after ſleep; and ſhaking her invincible locks.—Methinks I ſee her, an eagle mewing her 1066 D9v 66 her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam; purging and unſcaling her long abuſed ſight at the fountain itſelf of heavenly radiance, while the whole flock of timorous and noiſy birds, with thoſe that love the twilight, flutter about, amazed at what ſhe means, and in their envious gabble, would prognoſticate a year of ſects and ſchiſms.— Milton on the liberty of unlicenſed printing. After this, my friend, I will now add a word of my own.—My next letter will give you ſome of the converſation of Montfleuri. When ſhall I hear from you.—And when will you indulge me with ſome account of your neighbours.—Pray forget not what, even in this ſcene, is ſtill neareſt the heart

Of your’s,

L. Desmond.

Let- 1067 D10r 67

Letter VIII.

To Mr. Bethel

Montfleuri, with whom I have paſſed many pleaſant and inſtructive hours ſince I have been here, has deſired me to go with him to his eſtate on the banks of the Loire, about fifteen miles from Lyons, where buſineſs will ſoon call him. From thence, he propoſes taking me to the chateau of his uncle, the ci-devant Count d’Hauteville in Auvergne, where I am to witneſs the pangs of ariſtocracy, reluctantly and proudly yielding to a neceſſity which it execrates; and my friend, afterwards, accompanies me to Marſeilles, where, I believe, I ſhall embark for Italy, or, perhaps, for the Archipelago—I know not which—It depends on I know not what. (There is a ſentence a little in the Waverly ſtyle)—I was, however, going to ſay, that it depends on the ſtate of my mind, whether my abſence from England ſhall be longer or ſhorter:—If I could return to ſee Geraldine 1068 D10v 68 Geraldine happy, and not to regret that ſhe is happy with Verney.—If I could feel, when I behold her, all that diſintereſted affection, which the purity of her character ought to inſpire, without forming wiſhes and hopes that ſerve only to torment me, I would return through Italy in a few months to England. You tell me abſence will effect all this, and reſtore me to reaſon.— I rather hope it than believe it; and even, amidſt this intereſting ſcene, I catch myſelf continually carrying my thoughts to England; and imagining where Geraldine is—and enquiring whether ſhe has not new ſources of uneaſineſs in the encreaſing diſſipation of her huſband.

What attractions for me has her very name.— It is with difficulty I recall my pen, and my wandering ſpirits, to endeavour to recollect, whether I told you how much diſturbed poor Waverly was at the French poſt-horſes and carriages, with which we travelled from Dunkirk; and how often he curſed his improvident haſte, which had made him ſet out without his own horſes and carriages.—At Abbeville, he ſeemed ſtrongly diſpoſed to have ſent Anthony back to have fetched them; and, at Amiens, ſtill more inclined to return and bring them himſelf; nor had he quite ſettled the debate when I came back from an abſence, that was occaſioned by the ſettlement of my poor protegée and her children, which I managed with leſs difficulty than I expected.—All this trifling I could bear from Waverly, and forgive it as boyiſh folly.— But it provokes my ſpleen to ſee a fellow have no more idea of the importance of the preſent period in France—If ever he can be brought to think about it at all, it is only to raiſe a debate, whether he ſhould have reſigned his title calmly, had 1069 D11r 69 had he been a French nobleman?—which uſually terminates in the wiſe declaration, that he ſhould have thought it a little hard.

Now will you pique yourſelf upon your ſagacity in foreſeeing that I ſhould be ſometimes peeviſh at the foibles of my fellow-traveller; it is, however, merely a tranſitory diſpleaſure, and one thought of Geraldine diſſipates it at once.— Since we have been at Paris, there is ſo much to engage him, that he has been very little with me; and here are ſeveral Engliſhmen of his acquaintance, who have taken the trouble of deciding for him, off my hands; all my care being to help to keep him, as much as poſſible, from the gaming houſes, in obedience to his ſiſter’s wiſhes, which are my laws.

While he ſaunters away his time in a morning in the Palais Royal, and in the evening at the theatres, and in ſuppers with the actreſſes I am deeply, and more deeply intereſted by the politics of the country.—Montfleuri paſſes much of his time with me; and, therefore, I will give you a ſketch of his character and his hiſtory.

He is now about five-and-thirty, a fine manly figure, with a countenance ingenuous and commanding.—He has been a fop, and ſtill retains a ſomething of it in his dreſs and manner, but it is very little viſible, and not at all diſguſting; perhaps, leſs ſo than that negligence which many of his countrymen have lately affected, as if determined, in trifles, as well as in matters of more conſequence, to change characters with us. The father of Montfleuri died in America, and as an only ſon, he was the darling of his mother; who, being anxious that her daughters, of whom ſhe had four, might not 1070 D11v 70 not be an incumbrance on an eſtate which his father had left a good deal embarraſſed, compelled the ſecond and youngeſt of them to become nuns; and married the eldeſt and the third, who were remarkably beautiful, to the firſt men who offered—Montfleuri had no ſooner the power by the new regulations, than he took his youngeſt ſiſter, who is not yet eighteen, from the convent, where ſhe was on the point of taking the vows; and, to the ſecond, who has taken them, he offers an eſtabliſhment in his own houſe, if ſhe will leave her monaſtery, which is near his eſtate in the Lyonois.—To conquer her ſcruples and to prevail upon her to return to his houſe, is part of his immediate buſineſs in that country—His mother, whoſe miſtaken zeal he reveres, and for whoſe fondneſs, however unjuſt, he is grateful, has been dead a few months, and left him at liberty to follow the generous dictates of his heart.

It is not ſo eaſy for him to break the cruel bonds which that fatal partiality put on his other ſiſter; I mean the third, for the eldeſt is a widow.—This third ſiſter, who is called Madame de Boiſbelle, I have ſeen; and, in finding her a very lovely and intereſting woman, have, with extreme concern, heard that her huſband is one of the moſt worthleſs characters in France; where, however, he is not at preſent, being a fier ariſtocrate, and having quitted his country rather than behold it free.

Madame de Boiſbelle, is now, therefore, at the hotel of her brother, with Mademoiſelle Montfleuri, his younger ſiſter; and they are to go with us to Montfleuri in a few days.

I was yeſterday with Montfleuri at a viſit he made to a family of faſhion, where, in the evening,ing, 1071 D12r 71 ing, people of all parties aſſemble; and where the lady of the houſe piques herſelf upon being a bel eſprit, and giving to her gueſts the utmoſt freedom of converſation. When we went in, a young abbé, who ſeemed to have an excellent opinion of his own abilities, was deſcanting on the injuſtice of what had been done in regard to the clergy.—The ſneering tone in which he deſcribed the National Aſſembly, by the name of ces Meſſieurs qui ont pris la peine de nous reformer, Thoſe gentlemen who have taken the trouble to reform us. and the turn of his diſcourſe, made it evident, that under a conſtrained or, at leaſt, an affected moderation and candour, he concealed principles the moſt inimical and malignant to the revolution.—His diſcourſe was to this effect.

In every civilized country, there is no doubt of the ſupremacy of the church; more eſpecially in this, where, ever ſince the baptiſm of Clovis, it has made one of the great principles of the ſtate.—All ecceleſiaſtical property, therefore, ought undoubtedly to be ſacred; and, to invade it, is to commit ſacrilege. I will not go into ſcriptural proofs of this axiom, I will only ſpeak of the immorality and injuſtice of thoſe meaſures which have been taken againſt it. It is well known, that much of the revenues of the church ariſe from gifts; from legacies given by Clovis and his pious ſucceſſors; or, by other high and illuſtrious perſons, to raiſe houſes of piety, where the recluſe and religious might pray for the repoſe of the ſouls of theſe eminent perſons.—To fulfil theſe purpoſes, a certain number of men, renouncing the honours and emoluments of the world, have given 1072 D12v 72 given their lives to this holy occupation; and is it not juſt they ſhould enjoy the lot they have thus choſen in peace? Is it not juſt that, if they have reſigned the pleaſures of this world, they ſhould be allowed its neceſſaries, while they are ſmoothing the paſſage to, or ſecuring the happineſs of the other, for thoſe, who truſt to their ſanctity and their prayers?—Beſides, permit me to remark, that many of the monaſtic eſtates have been waſte lands, which have been cultivated and reclaimed by their former poſſeſſors; that, among the various ſocieties of religious men, many have well earned their ſupport, by undertaking the education of youth, while others have been employed in the charitable office of redeeming ſlaves from captivity.—Perhaps there might be ſome little diſproportion between the emoluments poſſeſſed by the ſuperior and inferior clergy; but it was always poſſible for theſe latter to riſe by their zeal and good conduct; and, I muſt be permitted to think, that meſſieurs nos reformateurs, have not enough conſidered what they were doing; when inſtead of rectifying, with a tender hand, any little errors in the eccleſiaſtical order, they have deſtroyed it; inſtead of pruning the tree, they have torn it up forcibly by the roots.—If the nation was diſtreſſed in its revenues, by—by—by I know not what cauſe, the clergy offered four hundred millions of livres Making upwards of ſixteen and an half millions ſterling. towards its aſſiſtance—a generous and noble offer, which ought to have been accepted.—The abbé ceaſed ſpeaking with the air of a man, who thought he had not only produced arguments, but ſuch as it would be impoſſible to 1073 E1r 73 to controvert.—Montfleuri, however, who ſeemed of another opinion, thus anſwered him.

You have aſſerted, Sir, that in all civilized countries, the church forms a ſupreme branch of the legiſlature.—This is ſurely not the fact: I will not, however, enter into a diſcuſſion of how far it is ſo in other countries, or how far it ought to be ſo in any, but reply to the arguments which you have deduced from its power in our own.—You muſt allow me to remark, that the antiquity of an abuſe is no reaſon for its continuance—And if the enormous wealth of the clergy be one, it ought not to be perpetuated, unleſs better reaſons can be brought in its favour, than that it commenced at the converſion and baptiſm of Clovis; who, guilty of horrible enormities, and ſtained with blood, was taught to hope, that, by erecting churches, and endowing monaſteries, the pardon of heaven might be obtained for his crimes: and, in doing ſo, he certainly did not make a bad bargain for himſelf; for it coſt him only that of which he robbed his ſubjects. It was with their toil and miſery he thus purchaſed the abſolution which the monks gave him for murder and oppreſſion —It was their tears, and their blood, that cemented the edifices he raiſed . Some ſentences here are drawn from a little French pamphlet, entitled Lettre aux Ariſto-theocrate Français. I believe the ſame may be ſaid of the foundations made by thoſe monarchs, whom you call his pious ſucceſſors. The weak bigot Louis the Seventh—the ferocious ſanguinary monſter Louis the Eleventh, are, I ſuppoſe, among the moſt emininent of the liſt.—Of what efficacy thoſe prayers might be, that were thus obtained, Vol. I E I ſhall 1074 E1v 74 I ſhall ſay nothing, ſince that is matter of opinion.—It is plain, however, that the nation does not now believe them uſeful to its welfare, and therefore, with great propriety, turns into another channel, that wealth, which it no longer deems beneficial in this. I think you will not deny that the moſt uſeful of the clergy are the curés, who live on their cures; whoſe time ſhould be given up to the really chriſtian and pious purpoſes of inſtructing the poor, viſiting the ſick, and relieving the temporal neceſſities of their pariſhioners, by ſuch means as they poſſeſs; though it too often happened that they had hardly wherewithal to ſupply themſelves with the neceſſaries their humble manner of life required.—An error, in the diſtribution of money appropriated to the church, which in the preſent ſyſtem, will, I apprehend, be remedied. I cannot agree with you, that the tree is torn up by the roots: I ſhould rather ſay, that its too luxuriant branches, which prevented the production of wholeſome fruit, are reformed; and the whole reduced nearer to the proportion, which may ſecure it from being deſtroyed by the ſtorms that paſs by, through the diſproportion of its head.—You have, Sir, declined entering into thoſe ſcriptural proofs of their ſacred nature, which you intimated were to be brought in ſupport of the ancient eſtabliſhments; a fortunate circumſtance for me, as on that ground I muſt have felt my inferiority.—But, from what I know of the ſubject, I have always ſuppoſed, that whatever ſpiritual reſemblance there might be between the primitive fathers of the church and their preſent ſucceſſors, there was certainly very little in their temporal conditions. It does not appear ever to have been the expectation of the 1075 E2r 75 the ſaints and martyrs, that thoſe who followed them in their holy calling, ſhould become temporal princes, or poſſeſs ſuch immenſe revenues as the higher clergy enjoyed in this country, of whom, you know, Sir, that there were ſome whoſe yearly incomes amounted to eighty, an hundred, two, three, four hundred thouſand livres a year. As to that rank of them who lived in convents, I will not enquire whether piety or idleneſs decided their vocation—I will believe that it may, in numerous inſtances, have been the former motive—and that in others, the unhappy, or the guilty, might ſeek, in theſe retreats, ſhelter from the miſeries of life, or leiſure to make their peace with heaven.—But men, carried into religious retirements by ſuch motives, would probably be content with mere neceſſaries of life, which are not taken from them; it is not therefore theſe men who complain.—To the monks, I am diſpoſed to allow all you can urge in their favour, as to thee ducationthe education of youth, and the redemption of priſoners, though theſe merits, and particularly the latter, have been much diſputed (probably from the miſrepreſentation that have been made of the manner of executing theſe charges)—I will go farther, and enumerate one obligation the world owes them, which you have over-looked, or do not think it of conſequence enough to mention.—I mean, that to them we are indebted for the preſervation of thoſe precious relicts of antiquity, which, but for the ſecurity which ſuperſtition enabled them to give, would have periſhed in the ferocious turbulence of the dark ages. But, Sir, with all the diſpoſition imaginable, to allow the monaſtic inſtitution all the honour they can aſſume, I ſtill E2 cannot 1076 E2v 76 cannot be of opinion that the good works they have given birth to, even in their utmoſt extent, balance the various evils which theſe communities occaſion to the nation that ſupports them. As to the mendicant orders, ſurely the ſuppreſſion of them cannot be complained of.— The vow of poverty taken by capucins, recollets, &c. &c. may now be executed in humble privacy, for which the ſtate will provide during the lives of thoſe have taken theſe vows, and they will no longer be in a degraded condition of life, which muſt be a continual tax to the pious, while it gave to the light-minded a ſubject of ridicule, and to the indifferent, of diſguſt. I need hardly inſiſt on the miſeries to which monaſtic vows, made at a time of life when no civil contract would be binding, have condemned individuals of both ſexes.—Wretches, who having thus thrown themſelves, yet living, into the tomb, have afterwards exiſted only to curſe their being.—I will not retouch the diſguſting pictures that have been ſo frequently exhibited, of the wretchedneſs, or the vices that have prophaned theſe dark receſſes, built for far other purpoſes; nor enlarge upon the deluges of blood, the variety of tortures by which the monks have eſtabliſhed their power over the ignorance and apprehenſions of mankind.—What then ſhould prevent a nation from re-aſſuming grants; which, admitting they were originally given to good purpoſes, have long ſince been perverted? Certainly, Sir, you cannot aſſert, that le haut clergé, the higher rank of eccleſiaſtics in our day, whoſe declined authority and leſſened revenues you regret, reſemble, in any inſtance, thoſe apoſtles who profeſſed poverty and humility, and went about doing good? 1077 E3r 77 good?—Though I am, on the other hand, ready to admit of their reſemblance to their more immediate, though ſtill remote predeceſſors, the biſhops who lived as long ago as the reign of Louis le Debonnair. One of our hiſtorians Millot. ſpeaks of them as being, at that period, men who were, for the moſt part, become great lords, poſſeſſing vaſt domains and many vaſſals; and, while they governed the minds of the people, entirely devoted to a court.—Men, whoſe ample revenues enabled them to gratify every worldly inclination, and to enjoy luxuries which ſoon made them loſe ſight of their ſpiritual duties, and neglect their original vocation.

A young man, whom I had not till now noticed, took advantage of a pauſe to interrupt Montfleuri.―Well, ſaid he, in Engliſh, and what then? it proves that thoſe worthies knew how to live; and, I am ſorry with all my ſoul, that their ſucceſſors, the old bucks of our own times, are thrown out as they are.—When I was at Paris laſt, I was always ſure of a couvert at the table of an archbiſhop, and an excellent table it was; then, at that time, there were many of the haut clergé who gave comfortable, and even elegant eſtabliſhments to two or three pretty women, to whoſe parties one was always welcome.—Now there is an end of all that— the poor biſhops are gone upon their travels, and their chere amies upon the town; which, in regard to its ſociety, I am ſure is very far from being improved; for, inſtead of the agreeable ſort 1078 E3v 78 ſort of people one uſed to converſe with, one now only meets queer fellows; who bore one to death with long preachments about their freedom, their conſtitution, and the rights of the people; and, after all, I don’t ſee that any of theſe things are much changed for the better.— As to people, that is, the canaille, of whoſe happineſs there is ſo much talk, I don’t think, myſelf, that they are ſo much happier than they were before; indeed, I have heard it affirmed by thoſe who are much more intereſted in the matter, and more acquainted with it than I am, that they are not at all happier ſince this boaſted revolution, nor at all better off.

Montfleuri, who had, I ſaw, conceived a very mean opinion of this individual, of a nation he loves and eſteems, anſwered very calmly —The objection you have made, Sir, to the reduction of the higher clergy; the evils you have deduced from it are certainly moſt convincing. —In regard, however, to the opinions which have, you ſay, been delivered by good judges of the ſubject on the happineſs of the people; perhaps, the beſt way of aſcertaining the juſtice of thoſe remarks, would be to refer you to the people themſelves, as being alone competent to decide.

Enquire of them, whether they are not better for being relieved from the taille, from the gabelle, from the impoſts levied at the gates of every town, on every neceſſary of life; for the relief they have obtained from thoſe burthens that were impoſed upon them, becauſe they were poor; while their illuſtrious compatriotstriots 1079 E4r 79 triots were exempt, becauſe they were noble. Ce gouvernement ſerait digne des Hottentots, ſays Voltaire, dans lequel il ſeroit permis à un certain nombre d’hommes de dire, c’eſt à ceux qui travaillent à payer—Nous ne devons rien payer, parceque nous ſommes oiſifs. Aſk the aged peaſant, who is no longer able to labour for his own ſubſiſtence; aſk the mother of a group of helpleſs children, if they are not the happier for being aſſured, that the ſon, the huſband, on whom their exiſtence depends, cannot now be torn from the paternal cottage; and, to execute ſome ambitious ſcheme of a weak king or a wicked miniſter, be enrolled againſt their inclination in a mercenary army?—Let the ſoldier, who is now armed for the defence of his country, a country ſenſible of the value of the blood he is ready to ſhed for its freedom, tell you whether he is not happier for the conſciouſneſs that he cannot be compelled to carry devaſtation into another land as a ſlave, but ſhall hereafter guard his own as a freeman; aſk the huſbandman, whoſe labours were coldly and reluctantly performed before, when the fermiers- general, and the intendants of the provinces, devoured two-thirds of their labour, if they do not proceed more willingly and more proſperouſly to cultivate a ſoil from whence thoſe locuſts are driven by the breadth of liberty? Enquire of the citizen, the mechanic, if he repoſes not more quietly in his houſe from the certainty that it is not now liable to be entered by the marechauſſées, and that it is no longer poſſible for him to be forcibly taken out of it by a lettre de cachet, in the power of a miniſter, or his ſecretary, his ſecretary’s clerk, or his miſtreſs? Let the voice of common ſenſe anſwer, whether the whole nation has gained nothing in its dignity,nity, 1080 E4v 80 nity, by obtaining the right of trial by jury, by the reform in the courts of judicature; where, it is well known, that formerly, every thing was given to money or to favour, and to equity and juſtice, nothing?—As to the prejudice that all theſe alterations have been to the manners of ſociety, to that, indeed, I have nothing to ſay. I muſt lament that, in ſhaking off the yoke, we have been ſo long reproached for wearing, we have not taken care to preſerve, unfaded, all thoſe elegant flowers with which it was decorated. The complaint, perhaps, is well founded, for I have heard it before; and, particularly from the ladies of your country, Sir; to whom, I am afraid, the name of a Frenchman will hereafter give no other idea than that of a ſavage; a misfortune which, as I greatly admire the Engliſh ladies, nobody can more truly regret than I ſhall.—But I ſhall tire you, Sir, by thus dwelling on a ſubject which you have juſt obſerved is very ennuyant; and, therefore, will leave you to Monſieur l’Abbé de Bremont, whoſe ideas, on public matters, ſeem more happily to meet your own.

Montfleuri then walked away, and, with me, joined the party of the lady of the houſe, who was at play in another room.—The converſation, round the table, took another turn, and we ſoon afterwards went away; and, as the evening was warm, ſtrolled into the Luxembourg Gardens, where my friend continued, as I will relate in a future letter, to ſpeak on the prediſpoſing cauſes of the revolution—and on its effects.

I am ſo late now, as to the poſt, that I have only time to entreat you to write to me immediately, that I may receive your letter before I leave 1081 E5r 81 leave Paris, which will be within theſe fifteen days.—The ten laſt have paſſed without my receiving a ſingle line from you.—Adieu! dear Bethel,

Your’s truly,

Lionel Desmond.

E5 Let- 1082 E5v 82

Letter IX.

To Mr. Bethel.

It is very uneaſy to me, my dear Bethel, to be ſo long without hearing from you.—I am willing to believe, that you are abſent from Hartfield, and wandering with my little friends, Harry and Louiſa, on one of your uſual ſummer tours; and that, therefore, you have not received my letters, and know not whither to direct.—I would, indeed, rather believe any thing than that you have forgotten me, unleſs it be, that illneſs has prevented your writing. Waverly has had only two letters from his youngeſt ſiſter ſince he left England; and they hardly mention the Verney family, as Fanny Waverly is with her mother at Bath, where they uſually reſide.

Were my heart leſs deeply intereſted for my friends in England, I ſhould be quite abſorbed in French politics; and, could thoſe friends be even for a little while ſupplied by foreign connections,nections, 1083 E6r 83 nections, the family of Montfleuri would be that where I ſhould chuſe to ſeek them.—But the tender intereſt I feel for ſome individuals in England, no time, no change of ſcene can weaken; my heart

Still to my country turns with ceaſeleſs pain, And drags at each remove a lengthening chain. Goldſmith.

I will not indulge this train of thought; it will be better to continue to relate the converſation I had with Montfleuri in the latter part of that evening, of which I deſcribed the beginning in my laſt letter.

As we walked together towards the Luxembourg Gardens, he aſked me if I knew the young Engliſhman, whoſe argument, in defence of the enormous revenues of the biſhops, was ſo very convincing. Not even by name, anſwered I; and ſo far I am from wiſhing to enquire, that I would I could forget having heard ſuch frivolous folly in my native language.Montfleuri ſmiled at the warmth with which I ſpoke. I can forgive, ſaid he, the ſhort view of an unexperienced boy juſt come from his college, or the trifling inconſequence of a mere petit maitre, who knowing nothing beyond what the ſaunterers in a coffeehouſe, or the matrons of a card-table have taught him to repeat by rote; talks merely as a child recites his leſſon, without being capable of affixing one idea to the ſentences he utters.—Such people are perfectly harmleſs, or rather bring into ridicule the cauſe they attempt to defend; but, when I meet, as too often I have done, Engliſh- 1084 E6v 84 Engliſhmen of mature judgment and ſolid abilities, ſo loſt to all right principles as to depreciate, miſrepreſent, and condemn thoſe exertions by which we have obtained that liberty they affect ſo ſedulouſly to defend for themſelves; when they declaim in favour of an hierarchy ſo ſubverſive of all true freedom, either of thought or action, and ſo inimical to the welfare of the people, and pretend to blame us for throwing off thoſe yokes, which would be intolerable to themſelves, and which they have been accuſtomed to ridicule us for enduring: I ever hear them with a mixture of contempt and indignation, and reflect with concern on the power of national prejudice and national jealouſy, to darken and pervert the underſtanding.

All, however, that I have ever heard from ſuch men, has ſerved only to prove to me, either that they fear for their own nation the too great political conſequence of ours, when our conſtitution ſhall be eſtabliſhed; or know and dread, that the light of reaſon thus rapidly advancing, which has ſhewn us how to overturn the maſſy and cumbrous edifice of deſpotiſm, will make, too evident, the faults of their own ſyſtem of government, which it is their particular intereſt to ſkreen from reſearch and reformation.—But how feeble are all the endeavours of this political jealouſy on one hand, and the yet obſtinate prejudices of papal ſuperſtition on the other, to obſcure this light in its irreſiſtible and certain progreſs; more rapid and more brilliant from the vain attempt to intercept and impede it.— Ne ſentez vous pas, ſays Voltaire very juſtly —Ne ſentez vous pas, que ce qui eſt juſte, clair, évident, eſt naturellement reſpecté de tout le monde, & que 1085 E7r 85 & que des chimeres ne peuvent pas tojours s’attirer la même vénération? Are you not ſenſible, that what is juſt, clear, and evident, muſt be naturally attended to—And that chimeras cannot always be held in veneration?

The ſudden change that has taken place in this country, from the moſt indolent ſubmiſſion to a deſpotic government, to the adoption of principles of more enlarged liberty than your nation has ever avowed, appeared ſo aſtoniſhing, and ſo unaccountable, to thoſe who beheld the event at a diſtance, that they believed it could not be permanent. Our national character, a character given us by Cæſar, and which we are ſaid ſtill to retain—That vehement, fierce, and almoſt irreſiſtible, in the beginning of an action, we are ſoon repulſed and diſmayed —Encouraged the perſuaſion, that the revolution would prove only a violent popular commotion; and that when our firſt ardour was abated, the ſpirit of our ancient government, taking advantage of this well-known diſpoſition of the French people, would gradually reſume its influence; and perhaps, by a few conceſſions of little conſequence, induce us to ſubmit again to that ſyſtem, which a momentary frenzy had ſuſpended. But I, who, though as diſſipated as moſt men, was neither an unobſerving or diſintereſted ſpectator of what was paſſing, have for ſome years ſeen, that our government was approaching rapidly to its diſſolution, and, that many cauſes unknown, and unſuſpected, were ſilently uniting to accelerate its ruin.

The advocates for deſpotiſm conſider the reigns of Henry the Fourth, and Louis the Fourteenth, as evidences in favor of their ſyſtem;tem; 1086 E7v 86 tem; but allowing, that the former was an excellent man, and worthy to be entruſted with the power of governing a great people (which can hardly be allowed to Louis the Fourteenth), what a black and hideous liſt of regal monſters may be brought to contraſt the moſt favourable pictures that can be drawn of theſe monarchs. The various murders and aſſaſſinations which ſtain the annals of the laſt princes of the Houſe of Valois; and, above all, the maſſacre of St. Bartholomew, reflect diſgrace on a nation, which, even at that dark period, could tolerate and obey ſuch forociousferocious tyrants, and ſtill more, on the ſanguinary ſuperſtition which gave them a pretence to commit theſe enormities. The ſame bigotry, however, delivered his inſulted country from the laſt of this odious race; Henry the Third. but it oppoſed, in his ſucceſſor, a man who ſeemed born for the political ſalvation of his people, and who became afterwards the beſt king that France ever boaſted.—Brought up like the mountaineers, over whom only it was once likely he ſhould reign, his heart had never been hardened, nor his frame enervated by the flatteries or luxuries of a court.—He had not been taught, that to be born a king is to be born ſomething more than man.

The admirable diſpoſitions he had received from nature, were ſo much improved in the rigid ſchool of adverſity, in which ſo many years of his life were paſſed, that his character was fixed, and proſperity and power could not deſtroy thoſe ſentiments of humanity and goodneſs which made him, throughout his whole reign (even amidſt the too liberal indulgence of ſome 1087 E8r 87 ſome weakneſſes and errors) conſider the happineſs of his people as the firſt object of his government. But his life was embittered, and his endeavours for the good of his ſubjects continually oppoſed, by the reſtleſs ſuſpicion, and encroaching ambition of the prieſts of that religion, to which, to ſave the effuſion of his people’s blood, he was a reluctant, and perhaps, not a very ſincere convert. Till at length the ſame execrable fanaticiſm raiſed againſt him the murderous hand of Ravaillac, and with him periſhed the hopes of France; a nation that, had he lived, would probably have poſſeſſed proſperity and happineſs, with a conſiderable portion of political liberty.

The treaſure that the wiſe œconomy of the Duc de Sully had amaſſed for him, to carry on his projects, which would have ſecured a long and univerſal peace, were inſtantly, on his death, diſſipated among the hungry and ſelfiſh nobility that ſurrounded his widow. Mary of Medicis.

The early part of the reign of the weak and peeviſh bigot his ſon, Louis the Thirteenth, was marked by a faint attempt to reſtore ſomething like a voice to the people, by a convocation of les etats généreaux. The laſt aſſembly of that deſcription that was called in France.

But this was rather an effort of the nobility againſt the hated power of the Italian favourites, the Conchinis, than meant to reſtore to the people any part of their loſt rights.

The whole of this reign was rendered odious by the continual wars on the ſubject of religion, which 1088 E8v 88 which deluged the country with blood; by the factions, which exiſted even in the family of the prince upon the throne; where the mother was armed againſt her ſon, the ſon againſt his mother; and the brothers againſt each other.—All practiſing, in turn, every artifice that perfidy and malignity could imagine; and ſacrificing every thing to their own worthleſs views.— When to theſe ruinous circumſtances was added an ambitious ariſtocracy, ready on every occaſion to take advantage of the weakneſs of the monarch, and the diſcord in his councils, it is eaſily ſeen that nothing but the reſolute courage, and ſtrong talents of Richelieu could have prevented the total deſtruction of France as a monarchy; it would, but for him, have been broken into ſmall republics, and ſmall principalities; the firſt would have been poſſeſſed by the Huguenots, and the latter by the principal nobility; who, whenever they oppoſed the court, and flew into rebellion, revolted not againſt meaſures, but men.—It was the favourites of Louis the Thirteenth that provoked them, and not the encreaſing oppreſſion of the people.—The unhappy and plundered people, who equally the victims of the monarch, the nobles, and the prieſts, were pillaged and deſtroyed by them all.

But the thick cloud of ignorance which covered Europe, was yet but ſlowly and partially rolling away: it was during this period that Galileo was impriſoned in Italy There I viſited, ſays Milton, the celebrated Galileo, then poor and old, and a long time a priſoner in the dungeon of the Inquiſition, for daring to think otherwiſe in aſtronomy than his Franciſcan and Dominican licenſers thought. for his diſcoveries in aſtronomy; and that the Deſcartes was accuſed of impiety and atheiſm.

“The 1089 E9r 89

The reign of Louis the Fourteenth was more propitious to knowledge.—His encouragement of ſcience and literature has, in the immortality it has conferred upon him, led many writers to forget the oſtentatious deſpot, in the munificent patron.—Faſcinated by his manners, dazzled by the magnificence of his public works, and elated by his victories, his people felt for him the moſt enthuſiaſtic attachment, and loved even his vices; vices which the ſervile crowd of nobles around him, found it their intereſt to imitate and applaud; while the prieſts alſo made their advantage of theſe errors, obtaining by them the means of dictating to a man who was at once a libertine and a devoté.—The revocation of the edict of Nantz; the cruel and abſurd perſecution of the Proteſtants, were among the follies that they led him to commit; and depopulated and impoveriſhed his country, which, at his death, ſoon after the cloſe of an unſucceſsful war, was in a ſtate of almoſt total bankruptcy; yet, ſo bigotted were we then to the ſyſtem of paſſive obedience, ſo attached to unlimited monarchy, that throughout the long reign of his great-grandſon, Louis the Fifteenth. the murmurs of the people were feeble and diſregarded; though their burthens were intolerable, though they were impoſed by a prince who, without any of the virtues of his predeceſſor, had more than his vices; and, though the ſums thus extorted from the hard hands of patient induſtry, were either expended in diſgraceful and ill-managed wars, or laviſhed in the debaucheries of the moſt profligate court See la Vie privée de Louis XV. that modern Europe has beheld. From 1090 E9v 90 From the infamous means that to ſupport all this, were then practiſed to raiſe money; from the heavy impoſts that were then laid on the country, France has never recovered; but perhaps, in the diſcontents which theſe oppreſſions created, ſilent and unmarked as they were, the foundation was laid for the univerſal ſpirit of revolt, to which ſhe is now indebted for her freedom.

In the mean-time, the progreſs of letters, which Louis the Fourteenth had encouraged, was inſenſibly diſpelling that ignorance that alone could ſecure this blind obedience.—The preſident, Monteſquieu had done as much as a writer, under a deſpot, dared to do, towards developing the ſpirit of the laws, and the true principles of government; and, though the multitude heeded not, or underſtood not his abſtract reaſoning, he taught thoſe to think, who gradually diſſeminated his opinions. Voltaire attacked deſpotiſm in all its holds, with the powers of reſiſtleſs wit.—Rouſſeau with matchleſs eloquence:—and, as theſe were authors who, to the force of reaſon, added the charms of fancy, they were univerſally read, and their ſentiments were adopted by all claſſes of men.

The political maxims and œconomical ſyſtems of Turgot, and the application of theſe principles by Mirabeau, excited a ſpirit of enquiry, the reſult of which could not fail of being favourable to the liberties of mankind; and ſuch was the diſpoſition of the people of France, when the ambitious policy of our miniſtry ſent our ſoldiers into America to ſupport the Engliſh coloniſts in their reſiſtance to the parent ſtate.

I here 1091 E10r 91

I here interrupted my friend, by remarking, that ſo deep is the reſentment which the Engliſh ſtill entertain againſt his nation for this interference, that I had heard many rejoicing over the moſt unpromiſing picture they could draw of the preſent ſtate of France; and, when they have imagined the country deluged with blood, and periſhing by famine, have ſaid—Oh! the French deſerve it all for what they did againſt us in America.

And yet, my dear Sir, anſwered Montfleuri, theſe good countrymen of your’s are a little inconſiderate and inconſiſtent: inconſiderate in not reflecting, that the interference which ſeems ſo unpardonable, was the act of the cabinet, not of the people, who had no choice, but went to be ſhot at for the liberties of America, without having any liberty of their own; and, inconſiſtent inaſmuch, as they now exclaim againſt the reſolution we have made to deprive our monarchs of the power of making war; a power which they thus complain has been ſo unwarrantably exerted—Theſe are ſome of the many abſurdities into which a reſolution to defend a pernicious ſyſtem, betrays its ableſt advocates. However, our court has found its puniſhment; blinded by that reſtleſs deſire of conqueſt, and their jealouſy of the Engliſh, which has ever marked its politics, our government did not reflect that they were thus tacitly encouraging a ſpirit ſubverſive of all their views; nor foreſee, that the men who were ſent out to aſſiſt in the preſervation of American freedom, would ſoon learn that they were degraded by being themſelves ſlaves; and would return to their native country to feel and to aſſert their right to be themſelves free.

“I was 1092 E10v 92

I was then a very young man; but my father, who was a colonel in the regiment of Naſſau, and who died in America, took me with him in deſpite of the tears and entreaties of my mother—I ſaw there ſuch ſcenes as have left an indelible impreſſion on my mind, and an utter abhorrence for all who, to gratify their own wild ambition, or from even worſe motives, can deliberately animate the human race to become butchers of each other.—Above all, it has given me a deteſtation of civil war, for the fierceſt animoſity with which the French and Engliſh armies have met in the field, was mildneſs and friendſhip in compariſon of the ferocity felt by the Engliſh and Americans, men ſpeaking the ſame language, and originally of the ſame country, in their encounters with each other. I ſaw, amidſt the almoſt undiſciplined Americans, many inſtances of that enthuſiaſtic courage which animates men who contend for all that is dear to them, againſt the iron hand of injuſtice; and, I ſaw theſe exertions made too often vain, againſt the diſciplined mercenaries of deſpotiſm; who, in learning to call them rebels, ſeemed too often to have forgotten that they were men. How little did I then imagine, that a country which ſeemed to be devoted to deſtruction, could ever be in ſuch a ſtate as that in which I have ſince beheld it.—Yes, my friend, I reviſited this country two years ſince, in which fourteen years before I had ſerved as an enſign, when it was the ſeat of war.—I ſee it now recovered of thoſe wounds, which its unnatural parent hoped were mortal, and in the moſt flouriſhing ſtate of political health.

What 1093 E11r 93

What then becomes of the political credit of thoſe who prognoſticated, that her productions would be unequal to her wants; her legiſlatures to her government.—I know not how far the mother-country is the worſe for this diſunion with her colonies—but, I am ſure, they are the better; and nothing is more falſe than that idea of the veteran ſtateſman, that a country under a new form of government, is deſtitute of thoſe who have ability to direct it.— That they may be unlearned in the deteſtable chicane of politics, is certain; but they are alſo uncorrupted by the odious and pernicious maxims of the unfeeling tools of deſpotiſm; honeſt miniſters then, and able negociators will ariſe with the occaſion.—They have appeared in America; they are riſing in France —they have, indeed, ariſen; and, when it is ſeen that talents and application, and not the ſmile of a miſtreſs, or a connection with a paraſite, give claims to the offices of public truſt; men of talents and application will never be wanting to fill them.

Montfleuri here pauſed a moment; and a ſentence of Milton’s, of whom you know I am an inceſſant reader, immediately occurred to me as extremely applicable to what he had been ſaying; I repeated it to him in Engliſh, which he underſtands perfectly well.

For, when God ſhakes a kingdom, with ſtrong and healthful commotions, to a general reforming, it is not untrue that many ſectaries and falſe teachers are then buſieſt in ſeducing: but yet more true it is, that God then raiſes, to his own work, men of rare abilities and more than common induſtry; not only to look back and reviſe what hath been taught heretofore,fore, 1094 E11v 94 fore, but to gain further, and go on ſome new and enlightened ſteps in the diſcovery of truth. Milton on the Liberty of unlicenſed Printing.

Here our conference was ended for this time, at leaſt, on politics. We took a few turns among the happy groups who were either walking, or ſitting, to enjoy the moſt beautiful moon-light evening I ever remember to have ſeen; and I then returned to my hotel, and went to my repoſe, determined to indulge the pleaſing hope of having letters from England on the morrow, as it was poſt day; but, I am again moſt ſeverely diſappointed.—Waverly, however, has letters from his ſiſters—they lay on the table in the room where we uſually ſit, for he is gone with, I know not what party, to Chantilly.—I ſee that one of them is directed by the hand of Geraldine.—I have taken it up an hundred times, and laid it down again— It is ſealed with an impreſſion of the Verney arms—It is heavy, and ſeems to contain more than one or two ſheets of paper; perhaps there is a letter in it for me.—Yet, why ſhould I flatter myſelf?—The other letter is from Fanny Waverly—I recollect her hand, for it a little reſembles her ſiſter’s.—Would to heaven Waverly was come back—He went on a ſudden, and named no time for his return; and my time, theſe laſt two days, has been waſted in the moſt uneaſy expectation; for I can think of nothing but the purport of theſe letters.—If they aſſure me of the health and content of Mrs. Verney, for I will try to break myſelf of calling her Geraldine (becauſe I always long to add my to that beloved name)—I will endeavour to account, dear 1095 E12r 95 dear Bethel, for your ſilence, by believing that you are travelling with your children; and ſet out as cheerfully as I can, with Montfleuri and his ſiſters, on Monday, which is the day fixed for our departure.—I hoped, a few days ago, that I had determined Waverly to go with us, but he has ſince made ſome new acquaintance, and has probably ſome new ſchemes.

Adieu! You know me to be ever moſt faithfully your’s,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1096 E12v 96

Letter X.

After being once more compelled to change my plan on account of the indeciſion of Waverly, who did not return to Paris till ſome days after he had written to me to ſay he ſhould be there; he arrived, and I ſaw theſe letters, which alone would have induced me to wait.— But I was extremely mortified to find, that inſtead of an account of Geraldine herſelf, it was only a long letter about health and prudence, which Mrs. Waverly, who has the gout herſelf, has employed her daughter to write for her to her ſon. In a poſtſcript, however, ſhe adds ſome trifling commiſſions on her own account, which, as Waverly ſet out the next day for Rheims, with the ſame ſcampering party with whom he was juſt returned from Chantilly, he left for me to execute: judge whether I did not undertake them with pleaſure, with delight, and whether I regretted the two days longer that were thus paſſed in her ſervice at Paris.—This circumſtance gave me an opportunity of writing to her.—And ſo, my dear Bethel, I ſhall have a letter from her before I quit this place, whither I have entreated her to direct. Do not now give me one of your grave, cold lectures— 1 and 1097 F1r 97 and blame me for the inconſiſtency of flying from my country to conquer a paſſion which I ſtill take every opportunity of cheriſhing.— Without this affection, I feel that my life would ſink into taſteleſs apathy; and I cannot, my rigid Mentor, diſcover the immorality of it, in its preſent form. On the contrary, I am convinced, that my apprehenſions of rendering myſelf unworthy of the eſteem, which, I now believe, Geraldine feels for me, acts upon me as a ſort of ſecond conſcience.—What ought not that man to attempt, who dares hope ever to become worthy of her heart?—But I dare not; nor do I ever truſt myſelf with ſo preſumptuous a thought.—Her friendſhip, her eſteem may be mine—But I am getting into regions, where your cold and calm philoſophy cannot, or will not follow me.

I return, therefore, to mere matter of fact; and to thank you for your long-expected and long wiſhed-for letter.—It is tolerably interſperſed with lectures, my good friend—but I thank you for them, becauſe I know they are the effuſions of anxious friendſhip—and ſtill more, I thank you for the account you give me of yourſelf, your children, and all other friends, for whom you think I am intereſted, except the Verneys, whom you cruelly leave out of the liſt—and relative to them, therefore, I form many uneaſy conjectures, ſo that, inſtead of ſaving me from pain, you have inflicted it; my apprehenſions, probably, go beyond the truth; but Geraldine is unhappy, I know ſhe is.—In every Engliſh newſpaper that I have ſeen ſince I left London, there is ſome account of Verney’s exploits upon the turf—and of his winning or his loſings.—Some of Waverly’s acquaintance,I. F quaintance, 1098 F1v 98 quaintance, whom I accidentally converſed with at Paris, ſpoke of him in terms of high approbation, as to uſe their own cant, a deviliſh daſhing fellow—a good fellow—and ſuch epithets as convinced me he is ſacrificing the happineſs of that lovely woman to the glory of being talked of——The only ſpecies of fame which ſeems to give him any pleaſure.

I am now at Montfleuri, in the Lyonois.— Had I not felt, as I travelled hither, a ſtrange, uneaſy ſenſation, which I acknowledged to be a weakneſs, in reflecting on the encreaſing diſtance between me and Geraldine; and had I not very uneaſy apprehenſions about her brother, who is gone with a ſet of very diſſipated boys, they hardly know whither themſelves, my journey to this place would have been one of the moſt agreeable I ever made.

I have twice before travelled the direct road from Paris to Lyons.—Montfleuri, who is the moſt cheerful companion in the world, has himſelf a great taſte for rural beauty, and therefore, though every part of this country is, of courſe, well known to him, he had particular pleaſure in turning out of the road to ſhew me any view, or building, which he thought worth my obſervation, Our journey, by this means, was of eight days continuance—and eight days have been ſeldom more pleaſantly paſſed.

I have ſaid very little hitherto of Montfleuri’s two ſiſters, who are with us; and who are by no means objects to be paſſed in ſilence, in the account you wiſh to have of my wanderings.— Though I, you know, bear a charmed heart, and therefore cannot, like our friend Melthrope, enliven my narrative with details of my own paſſions for a ſprightly French woman, or an elegant 1099 F2r 99 elegant Italian. I am perſuaded, that were I to be ſhewn, in ſucceſſion, the moſt celebrated beauties in all the kingdoms through which I ſhall paſs, I thus ſhould ſtill apoſtrophiſe Geraldine: I ſcorn the beauties common eyes adore, The more I view them—feel thy charms the more. But I am talking of her inſtead of Madame de Boiſbelle, who is very beautiful and very unhappy, two circumſtances that cannot fail to make her extremely intereſting; perhaps ſhe is rendered yet more ſo by the unfailing variety of her manner.—There are times when her naturally gay ſpirits ſink under the preſſure of misfortune; ſometimes her ill-aſſorted marriage, which has put her into the power of a man altogether unworthy of her; the embarraſſment of his affairs, and the uncertainty of her fate, recur to her in all their force; and ſhe eſcapes from company, if it be poſſible, to hide the languor and depreſſion ſhe cannot conquer.— During our journey, however, this was not eaſily done, and I often remarked with pain, theſe cruel reflections fill her fine eyes with tears, and force deep ſighs from her boſom.— But this diſpoſition was as a paſſing cloud obſcuring the brilliancy of the ſummer ſun.—The moment her attention is diverted from this mournful and uſeleſs contemplation, by ſome new object, or yields to the tender raillery of her brother, who is extremely fond of her, the gayeſt ſmiles return again to her expreſſive countenance; her eyes regain their luſtre, and ſhe paſſes almoſt inſtantaneouſly from languid dejection, to moſt brilliant vivacity.—Without F2 having 1100 F2v 100 having ever had what we call a good education, Joſephine (for I have learned from her brother, and at her own deſire, to drop the former appellation of Madame de Boiſbelle) Joſephine has much of that ſort of knowledge which makes her a pleaſant companion; and a fund of native wit, which, though it is rather ſparkling than impreſſive, renders her converſation very delightful.—She has a pretty voice, and plays well on the harp.—Yet all ſhe does has ſo much of national character in it, that it would become only a French woman, and I think I ſhould not admire one of my own countrywomen, who poſſeſſed exactly the perſon, talents and manners of my friend’s ſiſter.—I do not know whether you perfectly underſtand me, but I underſtand myſelf; though, perhaps, I do not explain myſelf clearly.

The little mild Julie is yet too young to have any very decided character.—The religious prejudices which ſhe received in her early infancy (for at nine years old her mother determined to make her a nun) have ſunk ſo deeply in her mind, that I much doubt whether they will ever be eraſed. This has given to her diſpoſition a melancholy caſt, which, though it renders her, perhaps, intereſting to ſtrangers, her brother ſees with concern.—I perceive that there is, at times, a very painful ſtruggle in her mind, between her wiſh to obey and gratify him in entering into the world, and her fears of offending Heaven by having failed to renounce it; and, I am afraid, there are moments which any abſurd bigot might take advantage of, to perſuade her, that ſhe ſhould yet return to that ſtate whither Heaven has ſummoned her.

Julie, 1101 F3r 101

Julie, however, is extremely pretty, though quite in another ſtyle of beauty from her ſiſter. —Waverly admired her, on firſt ſeeing her, as much as it is in his nature to admire any woman; and, for three days, I fancied it poſſible that the fair and penſive nun might fix this vagrant ſpirit. I even began to conſider, how (if the affair ſhould become more ſerious) Geraldine, as much as ſhe wiſhes her brother married, would approve of his chuſing a woman of another country, and another religion from his own; and, I had ſettled it with myſelf, to give no encouragement to the progreſs of his attachment, till I knew her ſentiments.— I might, however, have ſaved myſelf all my wiſe reſolutions, for Waverly immediately afterwards making ſome fortunate additions to his number of Engliſh acquaintance (Mr. Chetwood, the able advocate for epiſcopalian luxury is one) has ſince paſſed all his time among them; and ſeems to have loſt, in their company, every impreſſion that the gentle Julie, and her faſcinating, though very imperfect Engliſh, had made.—He has promiſed, either to come hither within ten days, or to meet me at Lyons in the courſe of a fortnight; but I do not expect that he will do either the one or the other.

I do not know whether you love the deſcription of places, or whether I am very well qualified to undertake it, if you do.—However, I will endeavour to give you an idea of the habitation of Montfleuri, and of the country round it, where his liberal and enlightened ſpirit has, ever ſince he became his own maſter, been occupied in ſoftening the harſh features of that ſyſtem of government, to which only the poverty and miſery 1102 F3v 102 miſery of ſuch a country as this could, at any time, be owing.

The chateau of Montfleuri is an old building, but it is neither large nor magnificent—for having no predilection for the gothic gloom in which his anceſtors concealed their greatneſs, he has pulled down every part of the original ſtructure, but what was actually uſeful to himſelf; and brought the houſe, as nearly as he could, into the form of one of thoſe houſes, which men of a thouſand or twelve hundred a year inhabit in England.

Its ſituation is the moſt delicious that luxuriant fancy could imagine.—It ſtands on a gentle riſe, the river there, rather broad than deep, makes almoſt a circuit round it at the diſtance of near half a mile.—The oppoſite banks riſe immediately on the ſouth ſide into ſteep hills of fantaſtic forms, clothed with vines.—They are naturally indeed, little more than rocks; but wherever the ſoil was deficient, the induſtry of the labourers, who are in that diſtrict the tenants of Montfleuri, has ſupplied it; and the wine produced in this little mountainous tract is particularly delicious. Theſe pointed hills ſuddenly ſink into a valley, or rather a narrow paſs, which thro’ tufts of cyprus that grow among the rocks, gives a very ſingular view into the country beyond them.—Another chain of hills then riſe; and theſe laſt were the property of a convent of monks, whoſe monaſtery is not more than a mile from the houſe of my friend.—In the culture of theſe two adjoining ridges of vineyards, may be ſeen the effects of the management of the different maſters to whom they belong.—The peaſants on the domain of Montfleuri are happy and proſperous, while in the line 1103 F4r 103 line of country immediately adjoining to his, though the good fathers have taken tolerable care of their vineyards, has every where elſe the appearance of being under a languid and reluctant cultivation.—On the top of one of the higheſt of theſe hills is the ruin of a large ancient building, of which the country people tell wonderful legends. I have never yet explored it, but it is a fine object from the windows of this houſe; and I rejoice, that Montfleuri, who has purchaſed the eſtate of the convent, will now be able to preſerve it in its preſent romantic form, from the farther depredations of the neighbouring hinds, who, whenever their fears yielded to their convenience, were in habits of carrying away the materials for their own purpoſes; and have, by thoſe means, done more than time towards deſtroying this monument of antiquity.—I, who love, you know, every thing ancient, unleſs it be ancient prejudices, have entreated my friend to preſerve this ſtructure in its preſent ſtate—than which, nothing can be more pictureſque: when of a fine glowing evening, the almoſt perpendicular hill on which it ſtands is reflected in the unruffled boſom of the broad river, crowned with theſe venerable remains half mantled in ivy, and other paraſytical plants, and a few cypreſſes, which grow here as in Italy, mingling their ſpiral forms among the maſſes of ruin.

The whole of the ground between the houſe and the river, is the paternal eſtate of Montfleuri.—It is now divided, the lower grounds into meadows, and the higher into corn incloſures, nearly as we ſeparate our fields in England.—The part moſt immediately adjoining to the houſe he has thrown into a paddock, and cut thoſe long avenues, which in almoſt every direction 1104 F4v 104 direction pointed towards the houſe into groups of trees: breaking as much as poſſible the lines they would yet deſcribe, by young plantations of ſuch trees as are the moſt likely, by their quick growth, to overtake them in a few years. —But, I am not quite ſure, that I do not wiſh he had left one viſta of the beautiful and graceful Spaniſh cheſtnut remaining.—I know this betrays a very gothic and exploded taſte, but ſuch is the force of early impreſſions, that I have ſtill an affection for the bowed roof— the cathedral-like ſolemnity of long lines of tall trees, whoſe topmoſt boughs are interlaced with each other.—I do not, however, defend the purity of my taſte in this inſtance; for nature certainly never planted trees in direct lines.—But I account for my predilection, by the kind of penſive and melancholy pleaſure I uſed to feel, when in my childhood and early youth, I walked alone, in a long avenue of arbeal, which led from a very wild and woody part of the weald of Kent, to an old houſe my father, at that period of my life, inhabited. I remember the cry of the wood peckers, or yaffils, as we call them in that country, going to rooſt in a pale autumnal evening, anſwered by the owls, which in great numbers inhabit the deep foreſt-like glens that lay behind the avenue.—I ſee the moon riſing ſlowly over the dark maſs of wood, and the oppoſite hills, tinged with purple from the laſt reflection of the ſun, which was ſunk behind them.—I recall the ſenſations I felt, when, as the ſilver leaves of the aſpins trembled in the loweſt breeze, or ſlowly fell to the ground before me, I became half frightened at the encreaſing obſcurity of the objects around me, and have almoſt perſuaded myſelf that the grey trunks 1105 F5r 105 trunks of theſe old trees, and the low murmur of the wind among their branches, were the dim forms, and hollow ſighs of ſome ſupernatural beings; and at length, afraid of looking behind me, I have hurried breathleſs into the houſe.

No ſuch ſombre tints as theſe, however, ſhade the environs of Montfleuri’s habitation. Ever ſince he became maſter of this place, which, till then had been very much neglected, he has been endeavouring to bring it as near as poſſible to thoſe plans of comfort and convenience which he ſaw were followed in England, and of which, it muſt be acknowledged, the French, in general, have not hitherto had much idea. In this purſuit, he has ſucceeded much better than I ever ſaw it done in France before; and were it not for a few obſtinate and prominent features that belong to French buildings, which it is almoſt impoſſible for him to remove, it would be eaſy for me to imagine myſelf in ſome of the moſt beautiful parts of England.— A little fancy would convert the vineyards into hop-gardens (if hops could be ſuppoſed to grow on ſuch eminences); nor would they be much injured by the compariſon; for, when the vine of either is in leaf, the hop, ſeen at a diſtance has the moſt agreeable appearance.—At other times, neither the one or the other are, as far as the beauty of the landſcape is conſidered, very deſirable objects.

At this ſeaſon, however, when the peaſantry around the chateau of Montfleuri are preparing for the vintage—when the people, happy from their natural diſpoſition, the effect of ſoil and climate—happy in a generous and conſiderate maſter; (and now more rationally happy, from the certainty they enjoy, that no changes F5 can 1106 F5v 106 can put them, as once it might have done, into the power of one who may not inherit his virtues) when they are making ready to avail themſelves of this joyous ſeaſon. The expreſſion of exultation and content on their animated faces, is one of my moſt delicious ſpeculations.

Montfleuri, whoſe morality borders, perhaps, a little on epicuriſm, imagines, that in this world of ours, where phyſical and unavoidable evil is very thickly ſown, there is nothing ſo good in itſelf, or ſo pleaſing to this Creator of the world, as to enjoy and diffuſe happineſs.— He has therefore, whether he has reſided here or no, made it the buſineſs of his life to make his vaſſals and dependents content, by giving them all the advantages their condition will allow.—The effect of this is, that inſtead of ſqualid figures inhabiting cabins built of mud, without windows or floors, which are ſeen in too many parts of France (and which muſt continue to be ſeen, till the benign influence of liberty is generally felt). The peaſantry in this domain reſemble both in their own appearance, and in the comfortable look of their habitations, thoſe whoſe lot has fallen in thoſe villages of England, The Engliſh have a cuſtom of arrogantly boaſting of the fortunate ſituation of the common people of England—But let thoſe, who, with an opportunity of obſervation, have ever had an enquiring eye and a feeling heart on this ſubject, ſay whether this pride is well founded. At the preſent prices of the requiſites of mere exiſtence, a labourer, with a wife and four or five children, who has only his labour to depend upon, can taſte nothing but bread, and not always a ſufficiency of that. —Too certain it is, that (to ſay nothing of the miſeries of the London poor, too evident to every one who paſſes through the ſtreets) there are many, very many parts of the country, country, where the labourer has not a ſubſiſtence even when in conſtant work, and where, in caſes of ſickneſs, his condition is deplorable indeed—realized in the melancholy, but juſt picture, drawn in Knox’s Eſſay, No. 150, entitled, A Remedy for Diſcontent.—Yet we are always affecting to talk of the miſery and beggary of the French—And now impute that miſery, though we well know it exiſted before, to the revolution.——To the very cauſe that will in a very few years remove it. where, the advantages of a good landlord 1107 F6r 107 landlord, a favourable ſituation for employment, or an extenſive adjoining common, enable the labourers to poſſeſs ſomething more than the mere neceſſaries of life, and happily counteract the effects of thoſe heavy taxes with which all thoſe neceſſaries of life are loaded.

Oh! my friend! let thoſe of our ſoidiſant great men who love power, and who are, with whatever reluctance, compelled at length to ſee, and the hour is very rapidly approaching, when uſurped power will be tolerated no longer:— Let them, if nothing but the delight of governing will ſatisfy them, have recourſe to the method Montfleuri has purſued; and then, the beſt and ſincereſt of all homage, the homage of grateful hearts may be theirs.—I am convinced, that not even the family pride which, in feudal times, actuated the Iriſh and Scottiſh clans, could produce, in the cauſe of their chieftains, a zeal ſo ardent and ſo ſteady, as that with which the dependants of Montfleuri would defend him at home, or follow him into the field, were there occaſion for either.

It is, indeed, a ſingular ſight, to obſerve the mutual attachments that exiſt between this gay and volatile man, and his neighbours, whom he will not allow to be called dependents, ſince no beings, he ſays, capable of procuring their own ſubſiſtence are dependent.—He enters, however, 1108 F6v 108 however, with rational but warm ſolicitude into the intereſts of the humbleſt of them, and ſhould not, he ſays, be happy if there was among them an aching heart which he had neglected to put at eaſe, whenever it depended on him.

The neighbourhood, however, of the ſeignory which belongs to the monks, was, till now, a great impediment to all the plans which his benevolence ſuggeſted to him.—Theſe reverend fathers encouraged in idleneſs, thoſe whom Montfleuri was endeavouring to render induſtrious; and, the alms given away at the gates of the convent, without affording a ſufficient or permanent ſupport to the poorer claſs of his people, was yet enough to give them an excuſe for indolence, and a habit of neglecting to ſeek their own ſubſiſtence; in many other inſtances too, the influence of the monks has counteracted that of Montfleuri.—It is not quite three years ſince he loſt near a third of the adults, and a fourth of the children of his villages, by a malignant ſmall-pox that broke out among them; for the monks had taught the people to believe, that inoculation, which he had long earneſtly wiſhed to introduce, was an impious preſumption offenſive to heaven.

Theſe men, however, are now diſperſed; thoſe who adhere to the monaſtic vows, are gone into other communities; others have taken advantage of the late change to return to that world which they had reluctantly renounced; and one only, among two-and-twenty, accepted the offer which Montfleuri made to thoſe whom he thought the moſt reſpectable among them; and whom he, therefore, wiſhed to ſave from any inconveniencies that might attend an involuntary removal—This propoſal was to fit up 1109 F7r 109 up one of the wings of the houſe (which he had deſtined for other purpoſes) for the reception of thoſe who choſe to ſtay; and of ſupplying to them, at his own expence, every gratification to which they had been accuſtomed, that their reduced income did not enable them to enjoy.— Moſt of thoſe to whom this generous offer was made, treated it either with reſentment or ſcorn: father Cypriano, a Portugueſe, who has loſt all attachment to his own country, or for ſome reaſon or other does not wiſh to return to it, accepted the propoſed accommodation, with ſome little changes, according to a plan of his own.—He told Montfleuri, that though he had no great attachment to any of the members of the ſociety, yet that there would be ſomething particularly comfortleſs in reſiding alone, where he had been accuſtomed to ſee ſo many of his brethren around him; and that, though he in reality courted ſolitude in preference to ſociety, it was not exactly there he wiſhed to enjoy it; but, that if Montfleuri would allow the workmen employed about the houſe to raiſe for him, in a ſequeſtered ſpot which he pointed out, a ſort of hermitage after a plan of his own, he would be happy to avail himſelf of his bounty, and to end his days on his eſtate.—I need hardly ſay, that my friend moſt readily acceded to his wiſhes; and, during his late abſence, father Cypriano has, on the rocky borders of the river, which are there concealed by ſome of the thickeſt woods I have ſeen in France, built an hermitage exactly correſponding to the ideas I had formed of thoſe ſort of habitations from Don Quixote or Gil Blas.—It is partly an excavation in the hard ſand rock that riſes above the river; it is ſituated about two hundred yards from it, and is partly 1110 F7v 110 partly compoſed of hard wood, which ſupports the roof, and enlarges the ſcite of the building (if building it may be called.) The outward room is paved with flat ſtones, and the inner is boarded; there, is his little bed, his crucifix, and two chairs.—The other apartment contains only a table; the ſeats of turf and moſs, that ſurround it, and a ſort of receſs where he puts his proviſions, which are furniſhed him daily from Montfleuri, with an attentive liberality, of which the good anchoret even complains, though he never refuſes it.—Montfleuri tells me that there is ſomething ſingular in the hiſtory of this venerable man, with which he is not acquainted; but that, as he ſeems very communicative, he will endeavour, ſome day when we are together, to engage him in an account of his life.

This anchoret, as a being to which we are never accuſtomed (unleſs it be to a hired or to a wax hermit in ſome of our gardens) has led me away ſtrangely from what I was going to tell you of the uſe to which Montfleuri has deſtined the diſſolved monaſtery.

He has fitted it up as a houſe of induſtry; not to confine the poor to work, for he abhors the idea of compulſion, but to furniſh with eaſy and uſeful employment, ſuch as by age, or infirmity, or infancy, are unfitted for the labour of the fields.—And here he alſo means that the robuſt peaſant may, when the rigour of the ſeaſon, or any other circumſtance deprives him of occupation abroad, find ſomething to do within; nothing, however, in the way of manufactures is to be attempted, farther than ſtrong coarſe articles, uſeful to themſelves, or in the culture of the eſtate.—I think the ſketch Montfleuri has 1111 F8r 111 has given me of his plan an admirable one; it is yet only in its firſt infancy; but, if it ſucceeds, as I am ſure it muſt, I will eſtabliſh ſuch an houſe on my own eſtate, whenever I ſettle there.

Whenever I ſettle there!—Ah! Bethel, that expreſſion recalls a thouſand painful ideas from which I have been vainly trying to eſcape.— Alas; I ſhall never ſettle there! or, if ever I do, it will be as a ſolitary and inſulated being, whoſe pleaſures will ſoon become merely animal and ſelfiſh, becauſe there will be none to ſhare them.—A being who, though weary of the world, will find no happineſs in quitting it.— Methinks I ſee myſelf rambling at four or fiveand-fifty, over grounds which I ſhall have none to inherit; and ſurveying, with the dull eye of torpid apathy, improvements which, when I am gone, there will be none to admire; and which will then, perhaps, Paſs to a ſcrivener, or a city knight.

Yes, I ſhall be, I doubt not, that forlorn and ſelfiſh being, an old batchelor; one, who having no dearer ties to ſweeten his weary exiſtence, is ſurrounded by hungry paraſitical relations, or is governed in his ſecond childhood by his houſe-keeper.

You will ſmile, I ſuppoſe, at this apoſtrophe, and would even laugh, when you know the moment at which it occurs—when the lovely, the bewitching Joſephine herſelf, is waiting for me to walk with her; and, in theſe ſportive plains, under this genial ſun, where, at this inſtant, all fleſh is running out, piping, fiddling, and dancing to the vintage, and every ſtep that’s taken, 1112 F8v 112 taken, the judgment is ſurpriſed by the imagination.— Sterne. How ſhall I reſiſt her?—The firſt grapes are to be gathered in a few days on the oppoſite hills; the peaſants ſinging the livelieſt airs, have been this evening carrying up their implements for this delightful operation;—Julie and her brother are gone already to ſee them; and Joſephine ſent me, a few moments ſince, a note, in which ſhe gaily reproaches me for want of gallantry in thus making her wait this lovely evening. Oh! were it but Geraldine who expected me!—were it Geraldine who waited for me, to lend her my arm in this little expedition. —I have once or twice, as Madame de Boiſbelle has been walking with me, tried to fancy her Geraldine, and particularly when ſhe has been in her plaintive moods. I have caught ſounds that have, for a moment, aided my deſire to be deceived.—But, as the lady herſelf could not gueſs what made me ſo ſilent and inattentive, ſome ſudden etourderie not at all in harmony with my feelings; ſome trait, in the character of her country has ſuddenly diſſolved the charm, and awakened me to a full ſenſe of the folly I was guilty of.

But I ſee, at this moment, Joſephine herſelf, who condeſcends to beckon to me, and to expreſs her impatience at my delay.—Farewell, my friend, I ſhall hardly write again from hence.

Ever your’s moſt faithfully,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1113 F9r 113

Letter XI.

To Mr. Desmond.

In thoſe ſportive plains, and under this genial ſun, where, at this inſtant, all fleſh is running out piping, fiddling, and dancing to the vintage; and every ſtep that is taken, the judgment is ſurpriſed by the imagination.— With the lovely Joſephine beckoning to you as you ſit at your window!—and reproaching you for want of gallantry!—

Bravo, my friend!—This will do—I ſee, that though my firſt advice did not ſucceed, my ſecond infallibly will.—Go, ſearch in England for ſome object worthy of thoſe affections which, placed as they are now, can only ſerve to render you miſerable—Or if that does not do —if you are become, through the influence of this romantic attachment, too faſtidious for reaſonable happineſs—go abroad, diſſipate your ideas, inſtead of ſuffering them to dwell continually on a hopeleſs purſuit; and you will find change of 1114 F9v 114 of place and variety of ſcenes are the beſt remedies for every diſeaſe of the mind.—Thus I preached; and I now value myſelf on the ſucceſs of my preſcription, though I did not foreſee this kind Joſephine, who will undoubtedly perfect the cure.—At your age, my good friend, a lovely and unfortunate woman—who probably tells you all her diſtreſſes—who leans on your arm, and whoſe voice you endeavour to fancy the tender accents of Geraldine—will, I will venture to prophecy, ſoon, ceaſe to pleaſe you, notwithſtanding you bear a charmed heart, only in the ſemblance of another.—And as to any engagements, you know, ſuch as her having a huſband, and ſo forth, thoſe little impediments make not the heart ſore in France. In ſhort, I look upon your cure as nearly perfected, and by the time this letter reaches you, I doubt not, but that you will have begun to wonder how you could ever take up ſuch a notion, as of an unchangeable and immortal paſſion, which is a thing never heard or thought of, but by the tender novel writer, and their gentle readers.—Madame de Boiſbelle ſeems the Woman in the world beſt calculated to win you from the abſurd ſyſtem you had built; and had you been a deſcendant of Lord Cheſterfield’s, and his ſpirit preſided over your deſtiny, he could hardly have led you to a ſcene ſo favourable to diſſultory gallantry, and ſo fatal to the immortality of your attachment, as the houſe of Montfleuri.

Thus, believing your cure certain, I venture to tell you what I know of Verney.—You will ſtill, perhaps, receive it with concern; but it will no longer awaken your quixotiſm.—You will not, I think, now offer Verney half your eſtate 1115 F10r 115 eſtate to ſave his wife from an uneaſy moment or ſtrip yourſelf of nine or ten thouſand pounds to ſupply his deficiencies at Newmarket, where the next meeting would probably create the ſame deficiency, and, of courſe, the ſame neceſſity.

Verney, then, I am ſorry to ſay, has at length parted with his eſtate in this country: I am more ſorry to ſay, that he has parted with it to Stamford, to whom, as I have been lately informed, it has been long mortgaged.

The final ſettlement of this matter, which has, I find, been ſometime in agitation, has happened only within this month; and in conſequence of it, Mr. Stamford, or, I ſhould rather ſay, Sir Robert Stamford, for he is almoſt as lately raiſed to the dignity of a Baronet, took poſſeſſion, about ten days ſince, of the houſe, which he bought ready furniſhed, and he is, for the preſent, living there with his family. I am not, as you will eaſily believe, much delighted with this, either on his own account, or becauſe of the ſtyle of living which he will introduce into the country. A very ſmall part of his grounds adjoins to my wood-lands.—He is ſaid to be a very great ſavage, in regard to game; and though I care very little myſelf about that perpetual ſubject of country contention, it will be very diſagreeable to me to have my tenant ſubject to the vexations of this petty tyrant.— I do not know whether I have told you of the places he now enjoys, nor how they have enabled him to encreaſe the ſplendor of his appearance, or the luxury of his table, by which he ſtrengthens his intereſt. In the latter, he is ſaid to excel, from talents and taſte; and that more good dinners have of late been eaten at his 1116 F10v 116 his houſe for the benefit of the Engliſh government, by thoſe who are intruſted to carry it on, than have ever before been prepared for the like purpoſes.—He is ſuppoſed to be one of thoſe fortunate perſons, who being deep in the ſecret, are enabled to take advantage of every fluctuation, to which the proceedings of miniſtry give riſe, in the value of the public funds; and by this means principally, to have ſecured beyond the reach of fortune, that wealth which he has ſo rapidly, and, in the apprehenſion of many people, ſo wonderfully accumulated.—He has already, ſince his immediate neighbourhood gives him a conſiderable degree of intereſt with the tradeſmen of W―, been courting their favor, with a meanneſs, equal to that arrogance with which he treats all who are, or may be, his equals; and from whom he expects nothing equal to the cringing ſervility with which he fawns upon his titled friends, and thoſe who have helped to raiſe him to his preſent ſeat; or the junto, by whoſe united ſtrength he means to keep it.—

I have forgot poor Verney’s affairs in my account of this great man: but I own the incident of his coming into the neighbourhood has vexed me, more, perhaps, than it ought to do.—I ſhall not feel it very pleaſant to abſent myſelf from thoſe public meetings, which, as a magiſtrate, I have thought it my duty to attend, becauſe Sir Robert will now take the chair on account of his new rank.—Yet, certainly, I ſhall as little like to meet a man, by whom I know I have been groſsly and irreparably injured; and whoſe private and public character are equally hateful to me.—To him, I may well addreſs the lines of Shakeſpeare,

—“Your 1117 F11r 117 Your heart Is crammed with arrogancy, ſpleen, and pride; You have by fortune, and your friends high favor, Gone lightly o’er low ſteps—and now are mounted Where powers are your retainers.

I believe, my friend, it is a weakneſs to be diſturbed at ſuch a man.—I will name him then no more; but proceed to tell you all I know farther of Verney, which is merely, that the money he received from Sir Robert, more than what his eſtate was already mortgaged for (which did not amount to above ſix thouſand pounds) was immediately paid away to ſatisfy debts of honor; and that he is now raiſing money on his northern eſtates, in which he finds ſome difficulties on account of his wife’s ſettlements. This I hear from ſuch authority, that I cannot doubt the truth of it.—I enquired of my informer, why, if Verney had diſcharged ſuch conſiderable debts of honor by this laſt tranſaction, he had immediate occaſion to encumber his Yorkſhire eſtates?—My acquaintance laughed at my calling ſix thouſand pounds a conſiderable debt, and told me, that if that ſum had paid all the demands that were the moſt immediately preſſing on his friend Verney, which he knew they did not, that he would have occaſion for at leaſt as much again for the October meeting; and therefore, was trying to raiſe all he wanted at once.— This was ſaid by no means in the way of a ſecret, or, as of a deſign of which Verney had any notion of being aſhamed; and the young man who related it to me, and who is one of the ſet to which he belongs, ſpoke of it rather as complaining, that it was a confounded ſhame, that as Verney had married a girl of no fortune, or next to none, he ſhould have been drawn in to 1118 F11v 118 to make ſuch an unreaſonable ſettlement upon her, as prevented his raiſing money upon his eſtates. I am very ſorry for Mrs. Verney, but I have long foreſeen this.—She will, undoubtedly, have too much firmneſs of mind, and attention to the intereſt of her children, to give up her ſettlement; and it will always afford the family a certain degree of affluence.—You may aſſure yourſelf, that were the whole treaſures of the Eaſt to find their way into the pocket of her huſband, he would finally poſſeſs no more, for there is nothing but the impoſſibility of parting with it, that can ever keep any property whatever in his poſſeſſion.

So much, dear Deſmond, for private news from England; as for public news, you probably receive it from thoſe who are better qualified than I am to ſpeak upon it.—You know I am not by any means partial to your preſent arrangements; yet, as I do not yet ſee the ſucceſs of the new modes of government that have been taken up in France, I am not ſanguinely looking out for changes, as you ſeem to be.—Perhaps this coldneſs is owing to the obſervations I made in my ſhort and unfortunate political career.—I ſaw then ſuch decided ſelfiſhneſs in all parties, ſo little ſincerity, ſo little real concern for the general good in any, that it impreſt me with an univerſal miſtruſt of all who profeſs the ſcience of politics.—Your friend, Montfleuri, however, ſeems to be ſincere.—But for many of thoſe whom the abbé termed meſſieurs les reformateurs, they appear to me to be wavering and divided in their councils, and breaking into parties, which occaſions me again to entertain ſome doubts of the permanency of the revolution.—I am certainly a warm friend to its principles.—I1 ciples. 1119 F12r 119 ciples.—I only heſitate to believe, that there is ſteadineſs and virtue enough exiſting among the leaders, to apply thoſe principles to practice.— I conclude, therefore, as I began, with a quotation from Sterne—and I ſay with uncle TobyI wiſh it may anſwer.

I have no expectation of hearing from you very ſoon again, as from your laſt letter, this ſeems likely to be long in reaching you.—But I am perſuaded, that the intereſt you take in French politics on one hand; and on the other, the intereſt the fair Joſephine takes in your’s, will reſtore to you your gay ſpirits—and to me my rational friend.

You know I remain, ever, Moſt faithfully your’s,

E. Bethel.

Let- 1120 F12v 120

Letter XII. Written before the receipt of the foregoing.

To Mr. Bethel.

Reluctantly—Oh! how reluctantly, I quitted, three days ſince, the cheerful abode of Montfleuri, where every countenance beamed with pleaſure and content, for this mournful reſidence.—A reſidence, where mortified and diſcomfited tyranny ſeems to have taken up its ſullen ſtation; and with impotent indignation to colour with its own gloomy hand every ſurrounding object.—The Comte d’Hauteville is the brother of Montfleuri’s mother: and though they are as oppoſite in their principles, and in their tempers, as light and darkneſs, Montfleuri has ſo much reſpect for his uncle, and ſo much goodneſs of heart, as to fulfil a promiſe he required of him, when the latter left Paris, that he would come to him for ten 1121 G1r 121 ten days.—Unable to endure a country, where his power, and as he believes, his conſequence is diminiſhed, Monſieur d’Hauteville is preparing to quit France.—His nephew thinks he can diſſuade him from this reſolution, and reconcile him to the terrible misfortune of being free among freemen, inſtead of being a petty tyrant among ſlaves—While the Comte himſelf entertained hopes that he could convert his nephew, or, at leaſt, leſſen his extravagant zeal for that odious democratic ſyſtem he has embraced.— That both will fail in theſe their expectations, is already very evident.—I muſt give you, however, a ſketch of our journey, and of our reception, to enable you to form ſome idea of this place, and of its poſſeſſor.

We ſet out in my chaiſe—neither of us in very gay ſpirits, though thoſe of Montfleuri are not very eaſily depreſſed. But our taking leave of Joſephine and Julie, who ſaw their brother depart with tears, though he is ſo ſoon to return;—the melancholy which he knew hung over this houſe, and perhaps the heavy atmoſphere, which juſt then prevailed, contributed to make him penſive, and from the ſame cauſes that render a Frenchman of his diſpoſition grave, an Engliſhman naturally feels diſpoſed to hang himſelf. I had, beſides the additional vexation of leaving the houſe of Montfleuri, without having received, as I expected, a letter from Mrs. Verney during my ſtay there.

The beginning of our journey, therefore, was diſmal enough.—Towards evening, we ſtopped at the convent where Montfleuri’s other ſiſter is a profeſſed nun. I was not permitted to ſee her; but he returned in worſe ſpirits than he ſet out, exclaiming againſt the odious ſuperſtition,I. G ſtition 1122 G1v 122 ſtition, that had condemned ſo amiable a young woman, to ſo many years of rigid confinement, (for ſhe is a Carmelite) and has given, he ſays, to her mind, a tincture of ſadneſs, which he fears it will always retain. When he comes back, it is to be decided, whether or no, ſhe quits her convent.—He has a ſmall property near the little town of Aique mont where, as he had ſome buſineſs to ſettle, we remained all night; and where, I have occaſion again to remark, the affection which all who are connected with him feel for Montfleuri.—We did not quit Aiquemont till late the following day.— The weather was ſo unuſually warm, that we travelled ſlowly, and it was the evening of yeſterday before we approached the end of our journey.

The country though which we travelled, was, in many parts, beautifully romantic; but, within about three leagues of the chateau d’Hauteville, it opens into one of thoſe extenſive plains that are very frequent in Normandy, though not ſo uſual in this part of France.— Over theſe dead flats, a ſtraight road uſually runs for many miles, and the dull uniformity of the proſpect is broken only by the rows of pear or apple trees, which are planted upon it in various directions.

A few plantations of vines had here an even leſs pleaſing effect.—In ſome of them, however, people were at work; but we no longer heard the cheerful ſongs, or ſaw the gay faces that we had been accuſtomed to hear and ſee in the Lyonois.—At length, Montfleuri pointed out to me, at the extremity of this extenſive plain, the woods, which he ſaid ſurrounded the habitation of his uncle.—The look of even ill managed cultivation ſoon after ceaſed; and over a piece 1123 G2r 123 piece of ground, which was graſs, where it was not mole-hills, and from whence all traces of a road were obliterated, we approached to the end of an avenue of beech trees; they were rather the ruins of trees; for they had loſt the beautiful and graceful forms nature originally gave them, by the frequent application of the ax; and were, many of them, little better than ragged pollards.

A few ſtraggling trees of other kinds, that had been planted and neglected, were mingled among the rows of beech on either ſide; but were, for want of protection, withering in leafleſs platoons.—Not a cottage aroſe to break the monotony of this long line of disfigured vegetation.—Nothing like a lodge, animated by the cheerful reſidence of a peaſant’s family, marked its termination; but the paling, which had once divided it from the plain, had either fallen down for want of repairing, or had been carried away by the country people for fuel, in a country where it ſeemed to be particularly ſcarce.

Slowly, and through a miſerable road, we traverſed this melancholy avenue, without ſeeing, for ſome time, a human creature.—It ſeemed to lengthen as we went, and had already laſted above a mile and a quarter, when we obſerved a figure quickly walking towards us, with a gun on his ſhoulder, whom I, at firſt, ſuppoſed to be the Count himſelf. The man ſeemed, by his ſtep and manner, to be in eager purſuit of ſomething; but I could perceive, by his action, that, on obſerving an Engliſh chaiſe, he changed the object of his attention, and advanced towards us in a ſort of trot, which, from G2 his 1124 G2v 124 his lank figure and groteſque habit, had a very ridiculous effect.

Under a full dreſs coat, of a reddiſh brown, and had once been lined with ſattin, appeared a waiſtcoat of gold-flowered brocade, the flaps reaching to his knees, and made, I am perſuaded, in the reign of Louis ci-devant le Grand.— What appeared of his breeches, under this magnificent juſte au-corps was of red velveret, forming a happy contraſt to a pair of black worſted ſtockings.—The little hair which grew on each ſide of his temples had been compelled, in deſpite of its reluctance and incapability, to aſſume the form of curls, but they ſeemd to have fled, d’un manière la plus opiniatre du monde from his ears; a little hat, like what I recollect having ſeen in caracature prints, under the name of Chapeau a le Nevernois, covered the reſt of his head; but this, as he approached us, was depoſited under his arm, notwithſtanding the incumbrance of his gun.

This is a curious fellow, ſaid Montfleuri to me as I approached him, he is my uncle’s confidential ſervant, and more ſingularly original than his maſter—A tremendous ariſtocrate, and miſerable at the loſs of dignity which he believes he has ſuſtained.—Then addreſſing himſelf to the man, who was by this time very near us, Aha! my old friend, La Maire, cried he, how are you?—How is Monſieur d’Hauteville?—The old man, not at all ſatisfied with the manner of this addreſs, ſtepped back, laid his hand on his breaſt, and, with a cold and formal bow, replied, that he had the honour to aſſure Monſieur le Marquis de Montfleuri, that Monſeigneur le Comte d’Hauteville was as well as, under the preſent 3 melancholy 1125 G3r 125 melancholy circumſtances of the kingdom, any true Frenchman could be.—There was ſomething ſo very ludicrous in the method and matter of this anſwer, that Montfleuri did not attempt to reſiſt his violent inclination to laugh— an impoliteneſs in which I could as little forbear to join.—Well, well, Monſieur le Maire, cried Montfleuri, I am glad to hear my uncle is only indiſpoſed from his national concerns— So open the chaiſe door, my old friend, and I will walk up to the houſe with this Engliſh gentleman, who has been ſo good as to accompany me.

Le Maire turned his little fierce black eyes upon me, as Montfleuri announced me to be an Engliſhman, and, with a look which I could not miſinterpret, muttered ſomething as with a jerk he ſhut the chaiſe door—Ah curſe thoſe Engliſh, no good ever comes where they are.

Well, but Le Maire, ſaid Montfleuri, what are you ſhooting at this time in the evening? what were you ſo eagerly purſuing when we firſt ſaw you?Partridges, Monſieur le Marquis, partridges; I ſaw a great number of them feeding round the houſe juſt now, young ones, hardly able to fly, and I was reſolved not one of them ſhould eſcape.

Mais à quoi bon cela? enquired Montfleuri, of what uſe will that be, ſince if they are ſo young they are unfit to eat?

A quoi bon Monſieur le Marquis? replied the old domeſtic, very indignantly; Mais c’eſt que je ne veux pas, qu’il y reſte, dans 1126 G3v 126 dans le domaine un ſeul perdrix pour ces gueux du village; qui ont la liberté infâme de chaſſer ſur les terres de Monſeigneur le Comte d’Hauteville—Ah! je les épargnerai bien, ces marauds, là, la peine de prendre le gibier, & ſi je les reconterai, je ferai bien leur affaire. Why is it, becauſe I would not have remain on the whole eſtate, one ſingle partridge for thoſe beggarly rogues of the village, who have the infamous liberty of killing the birds on my my lord’s grounds. I’ll ſpare them the trouble, raſcals as they are, of taking game, and, if I met them—I ſhould do their buſineſs. But how do their buſineſs? Why, Monſieur le Marquis, perhaps I might fire a few ſhot among thoſe ſcoundrels.You have, then, a decided call for exhibiting on the lanthorn poſt?Be it ſo: I had rather be hanged than live where thoſe fellows are my equals, and have the liberty of hunting.

Mais comment leur affaire? ſaid Montfleuri.—Eh! Monſieur le Marquis, anſwered Le Maire, c’eſt que je pourrais bien, donner quelque coups de fufil à ces coquins.

Tu as donc une vocation décidé pour la lanterne?Soit, Monſieur le Marquis, j’aimerai mieux être pendu par ces gens déteſtables, moi, que de vivre où ils ſont mes égaux, & où ils vont à la chaſſe. You ſee now, ſaid Montfleuri, turning to me, the ſtyle which even the domeſtics of the nobleſſe aſſumed towards the peaſantry and common people.— This fellow has imbibed all the inſolent conſequence of thoſe among whom he has lived; and though roturier himſelf conceives, that he derives from the honor of being the idle valet to a nobleman, a right to deſpiſe and trample on the honeſt man who draws his ſubſiſtence from the ground by independent induſtry. By this time we were arrived at the gate of the cour d’honneur, which is ſurrounded on three ſides by the chateau.—There had once been a ſtraight walk, leading from the termination of the avenue to the ſteps 1127 G4r 127 ſteps of the houſe, but it was now covered with thiſtles and nettles; the ſteps were overgrown with green moſs, and when the great door opened to let us in, it ſeemed an operation to which it was entirely unaccuſtomed.

Le Maire, however, extremely ſolicitous for the dignity of his maſter, had hurried in before us, and ſent one ſervant to wait at this door, and a ſecond to ſhew us the way to the apartment where Monſeigneur was to receive us.— This was in a ſalle à compagnie, on the firſt floor, where, after paſſing through three other cold and half furniſhed rooms, we, at length, arrived.—The Count, who is a handſome man, above ſixty, received me with cold politeneſs; his nephew with a ſort of ſullen kindneſs: it ſeemed as if he at once embraced him as a relation, and repulſed him as an enemy.—About half an hour after our arrival, I heard that the Count was to ſend, the next day, a courier to Clermont, by whom I might diſpatch letters to England.—I had this and two or three others to write; and, I thought that it was better to let the Count and his nephew begin their political controverſy without the preſence of a third perſon; for theſe reaſons, as ſoon as ſupper was over, which was very ill dreſſed, and ſerved in very dirty plate, I deſired to be conducted to my apartment. Having mounted a very broad ſtaircaſe of brick and wood, and paſſed through a long corridor, which ſeemed to lead to a part of the houſe very remote from that I had left, I was ſhewn into a ſort of ſtate bed-chamber; one of thoſe where comfort had formerly been ſacrificed to ſplendour, but which now poſſeſſed neither the one nor the other: and, on opening the door, I was ſenſible of that damp, muſty ſmell, 1128 G4v 128 ſmell, which is uſually perceived in rooms that have been long unfrequented.

The wainſcoting was of cedar, or ſome other brown wood, finely carved; the hangings of a dull and dark blue Lyon’s damaſk; a high canopy bed of the ſame, ſtood at one end of the room, and, at the other, was a very large glaſs reaching from the ceiling to the floor; but which, by the ſingle candle I had, ſerved only to reflect the deep gloom that every object offered.—A great projecting chimney of blood coloured marble, over which another mirror ſupported a large carved trophy, repreſenting the arms of the family; a red marble table, and four or five high-backed, ſtuffed chairs, covered with blue velvet, completed the furniture of the room; which, floored as it was with hexagon bricks, compoſed, altogether, one of the moſt funeral apartments I ever remember to have been in.

I ſat down, however, and wrote my letters; but having done them, I felt no inclination to ſleep, and therefore, opening the croiſée, I leaned upon the railing, which, in houſes built as this is, forms a clumſy ſort of balcony to every window.—The day had been unuſually cloſe and ſultry, and with the night, the thunder ſtorm, produced by the heated atmoſphere, approached. —I now heard it mutter at a diſtance, and ſoon after ſaw, from the ſouth-weſt, the moſt vivid lightening I ever remarked, breaking from thoſe majeſtic and deeply-loaden clouds, which the brightneſs of the moon above them made very viſible.—In a country ſo level as that is, for many miles round the chateau d’Hauteville, the horizon is, of courſe, great and uninterrupted, and I ſaw to advantage the progreſs of the ſtorm; 1129 G5r 129 ſtorm; a ſpectacle I have always had great pleaſure in contemplating.

When the imagination ſoars into thoſe regions, where the planets purſue each its deſtined courſe, in the immenſity of ſpace—every planet, probably, containing creatures adapted by the Almighty, to the reſidence he has placed them in; and when we reflect, that the ſmalleſt of theſe is of as much conſequence in the univerſe, as this world of our’s; how puerile and ridiculous do thoſe purſuits appear in which we are ſo anxiouſly buſied; and how inſignificant the trifles we toil to obtain, or fear to loſe. None of all the little cares and troubles of our ſhort and fragile exiſtence, ſeem worthy of giving us any real concern—and, perhaps, we never truly poſſeſs the reaſon we ſo arrogantly boaſt, till we can thus appreciate the real value of the objects around us.

Heaven knows, my dear Bethel, that I am far enough from enjoying this philoſophic tranquility—I have entruſted you with my waking reflections—Dare I aſk your indulgence for the wild wanderings of my mind, when reaſon reſigned her ſeat entirely to thick-coming fancies.

The hurricane had entirely ſubſided, and the rain-drops fell ſlowly from the roof, I ſtill continued at the window, for my thoughts were fled to England, and I had only a confuſed recollection of where I was; till I found myſelf extremely cold, and turning, ſaw my candle expiring in the ſocket. I then recollected, that it was time to go to my bed, and to ſeek in ſleep, relief againſt the uneaſy thoughts that had dwelt upon my mind about Geraldine. On looking, however, towards it, it again ſeemed G5 ſo 1130 G5v 130 ſo comfortleſs and gloomy, that I fancied it damp; and though no man poſſeſſes a conſtitution more fortified againſt ſuch accidents, or cares leſs about them, I had no inclination to undreſs myſelf, or, though I was weary, to ſleep; I wiſhed for a book, but I happened, contrary to my uſual cuſtom, not to have one in the ſmall portmanteau I had brought from Montfleuri; and having nothing to divert my attention from the cold gloom that ſurrounded me, I became tired of hearing the dull murmurs of the ſinking wind howl along the corridor— and I, at length, determined to try to ſleep.

Still, however, the notion of the dampneſs of the bed detering me from entering it, I took only my coat off, and wrapping myſelf in a flannel powdering gown, I threw myſelf on the embroidered counterpane, and ſoon after ſunk into forgetfulneſs. I know you will ſay I am as weakly ſuperſtitious as a boarding-ſchool miſs, or as the wiſest aunt telling the ſaddeſt tale to a circle of tired and impatient auditors. —I am conſcious of all this, yet I cannot help relating the ſtrange phantoms that haunted my imagination.

I believed myſelf at the ſame window as where I ſtood to obſerve the ſtorm; and, that in the Count’s garden, immediately beneath it, I ſaw Geraldine expoſed to all its fury.—Her huſband ſeemed at firſt to be with her, but he diſappeared, I know not how, and ſhe was left expoſed to the fury of the contending elements, which ſeemed to terrify her leſs on her own account, than on that of three children, whom ſhe claſped to her boſom, in all the agonies of maternal apprehenſion, and endeavoured to ſhelter from the encreaſing fury of the tempeſt.—I haſtened, 1131 G6r 131 haſtened, I flew, with that velocity we poſſeſs only in dreams, to her aſſiſtance: I preſſed her eagerly in my arms—I wrapt them round her children—I thought ſhe faintly thanked me; told me, that for herſelf, my care was uſeleſs, but that it might protect them.—She was as cold as marble, and I recollect having remarked, that ſhe reſembled a beautiful ſtatue of Niobe, done by an Italian ſculptor, which I had admired at Lyons.

While I was entreating her to accept of my protection, and to go into the houſe, I ſuddenly, by one of thoſe incongruities ſo uſual in ſleep, fancied I ſaw her extended, pale, and apparently dying on the bed, which I had objected to go into, with the leaſt of her children, a very young infant dead in her arms.—Diſtracted at ſuch a ſight, I ſeized her hand—I implored her to ſpeak to me—She opened languidly thoſe lovely eyes, which I have ſo often gazed on with tranſport—they were glazed and heavy— yet, I thought, they expreſſed tenderneſs and pity for me—while, in a low, tremulous voice —ſhe bade me adieu!—adieu, for ever!

I now ſhrieked in frantic terror—I tried to recall her to life by my wild exclamations—I would have warmed, in my boſom, the cold hand I held, when ſhe gently drew it from me, and pointing to her two children, whom I now ſaw ſtanding by the ſide of the bed, clinging to a young woman, who was, I fancied, Fanny Waverly, ſhe ſaid, in a yet lower and more mournful tone—Deſmond!—if you ever truly loved me, it is there you muſt ſhew your affection.—I then ſaw the laſt breath tremble on thoſe lovely lips—it was gone—Geraldine was loſt for ever!—And, in an agony of deſpair, ſuc 1132 G6v 132 ſuch as, thank Heaven, I never was conſcious of waking; I threw myſelf on the ground.— The violence of this ideal emotion reſtored me to myſelf.—I awoke—my face bathed in tears, and in ſuch confuſion of ſpirits, that it was long before I could recall myſelf to reaſon, and to a clear conviction, that all this was only a dream. So ſtrong was the impreſſion, that I dared not hazard feeling it again by ſleeping.—I therefore put on my great coat, and as the moon now ſhone in unclouded radiance, I went down into the garden, and wandered among the boſquets and treillage that make its formal ornaments.— Still the figure of Geraldine purſued me, ſuch as I had ſeen her in this diſtreſſing viſion—Still I heard her voice bidding me an eternal adieu! —I would have given the world to have had ſome human being to have ſpoken to, that theſe imaginary ſounds of plaintive ſorrow might have vibrated in my ears no longer, but I was aſhamed of awakening Montfleuri, had I known where to have found him—And my ſervant Warley, I had left at Montfleuri, to bring my letters after me.

I continued, therefore, to traverſe this melancholy garden—Sometimes reſolving to conquer my weakneſs, and return to my bed, and then ſhrinking for the apprehenſions of being again liable to the terror I had juſt experienced. At length, I heard the clock of the church ſtrike three—I followed the ſound for two or three hundred paces, through a cut walk that led from the garden towards it, and entering the church-yard, which is the cimetiére of a large village, I was again ſtruck with a circumſtance that had before appeared particularly diſmal.mal. 1133 G7r 133 mal. I mean, that there are in France no marks of graves, as in England, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap. Here all is level—and forgetfulneſs ſeems to have laid her cold oblivious hand on all who reſt within theſe encloſures.

No object appears in the mournful ſpot I was now contemplating, but a croſs, on which a dead Chriſt painted, and repreſenting life, as cloſely as poſſible, was ſuſpended; the moonbeams falling directly on this, added to the dreary horrors of the ſcene.—I ſtood a few moments looking on it, and then was rouſed from my mournful reverie by the ſound of human voices, and of horſes feet.—I liſtened, and found theſe ſounds came from the farm-yard, which was only two or three hundred paces before me. —Hither I gladly found my way, and ſaw the vine-dreſſers, and people employed in the making wine, preparing for their work, and going to gather the grapes while the dew was yet on them. Rejoiced to find ſomebody to ſpeak to, I entered into converſation with them, and for a moment diſſipated my ideas—I followed them to the vine-yard, aſſiſted in their labours, and was equally aſtoniſhed and pleaſed to hear, how rationally theſe unenlightened men conſidered the bleſſing of their new-born liberty, and with what manly firmneſs determined to preſerve it.

There was among them a Breton, who appeared to have more acuteneſs and knowledge than the reſt; with him, I ſhall take an opportunity of having farther diſcourſe.

It is now one o’clock at noon.—I have had an hour’s converſation with Montfleuri—I have paid 1134 G7v 134 paid my morning compliments to the Count— I have been amuſed with the ridiculous anger of Le Maire, whom Montfleuri has been provoking to diſplay it, on the ſubject of the aboliſhed titles—Yet, even after all this, the impreſſion I received in my ſleep is not diſſipated —Yet, I am certainly not ſuperſtitious.—I have, aſſuredly, no faith in dreams, which are, I know, but

The children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain phantaſy, And more inconſtant than the vagrant winds. Shakeſpeare.

I ſhall hear from England, perhaps, to-morrow, or Friday, and then be able to laugh at my weakneſs, as much as you have probably done in reading this. I hear the Count’s courier is ready to ſet out for Clermont. I muſt, therefore, haſtily bid you, dear Bethel, adieu!

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1135 G8r 135

Letter XIII. Written before the receipt of Bethel’s laſt letter.

To Mr. Bethel.

Montfleuri came into my room yeſterday morning with letters in his hand, which he had juſt received from his own houſe—I aſked eagerly for mine, but there were none, and my ſervant yet remains waiting for them.— I expreſſed, perhaps too forcibly, what I felt— impatience and diſappointment; when Montfleuri, as ſoon as theſe emotions had a little ſubſided, aſked me gaily, whether I had many near and dear relations in England, for whoſe health I was ſo extremely ſolicitous as to injure my own by my anxiety?—I replied, that though I had very few relations, and with thoſe few ſeldom correſponded, yet, that I had friends to whom I was warmly attached.And ſome lovely and fond woman alſo, I fancy, interrupted he; for, my dear Deſmondmond 1136 G8v 136 mond, the friendſhip, however great, that ſubſiſts between perſons of the ſame ſex, creates not theſe violent anxieties.—Ah! my good friend, I fancy you are a very fortunate fellow —As to my two ſiſters, they ſeem, by their letters, to be quite enchanted with you; and Joſephine (whoſe tears, indeed, at our parting, I did not before attribute all to my own account) declares in this letter, that if I do not ſoon return with my Engliſh friend, ſhe and Julie muſt rejoin us here, notwithſtanding their diſlike to this melancholy place; for, that ſince we have left Montfleuri, it is become ſo extremely trieſte, that they are half dead with laſſitude and ennui. You remember, I dare ſay, hearing fine ſentimental ſpeeches from Joſephine about the charms of ſolitude and the beauties of nature.— Now nature was never more beautiful than it is at this moment in the Lyonois, yet is my gentle Joſephine moſt marvellouſly diſcontent. Deſmond, do tell me how you manage to bewitch the women in this manner?

I was neither gay enough to enjoy this raillery, or coxcomb enough to believe that Madame de Boiſbelle regretted me at Montfleuri.— Indeed, I rather felt hurt at her brother’s ſpeaking of her thus lightly; but with him this vivacity is conſtitutional.—He has beſides, from education, habit, and principles, much freer notions than I have about women.—He again enquired of me of what nature was my Engliſh attachment—a queſtion I declined anſwering; for the name of Geraldine is not to be prophaned by his ſuſpicions, or even his conjectures.— Were I to ſay that my paſſion for her is as pure and holy as that of a fond brother for a lovely and amiable ſiſter, which I am almoſt ſure it is, he 1137 G9r 137 he would turn my Platoniſm into ridicule; or, if he could be perſuaded to believe that ſuch a paſſion exiſts, he would think that ſhe was a prude, and that I am an ideot; and to this, though I can forgive it, becauſe he does not know Geraldine, I will not expoſe myſelf.

I heartily wiſh the time fixed for our ſtay here was expired—I am weary of the place—The frigid magnificence in which we live is very dull, and the perpetual arguments between the Count and his Nephew, are ſometimes, at leaſt, diſtreſſing.—The former, with that haughty obſtinacy that endeavours to ſet itſelf above the reaſon it cannot combat, defends, with aſperity and anger, thoſe prejudices, in obedience to which he is about to quit his country—Though could he determine to throw them off, he might undoubtedly continue at home, as much reſpected, and more beloved than ever. he was in the meridian of his power.

The dialougesdialogues, which he is fond of holding with Montfleuri, have not unfrequently been carried on with ſo much warmth on his ſide, as to alarm me, leſt they ſhould produce an open rupture; for what the old Count wants in ſoundneſs of argument, he makes up in heat and declamation.—His nephew, however, has ſo much good temper, and ſuch an habitual reſpect for him, that he never ſuffers himſelf to be too much ruffled; and d’Hauteville, after the moſt violent of theſe contentions, is under the neceſſity of recollecting, that it is on his nephew he muſt depend for the care of his pecuniary concerns (a matter to which he is by no means indifferent) when he goes into the voluntary exile to which he chuſes to condemn himſelf. He alſo recollects, that he owes to Montfleurifleuri 1138 G9v 138 fleuri a conſiderable ſum of money, part of his mother’s fortune; which, together with the arrear of intereſt he has always evaded paying by the chicanery of the old laws; and, he now fears, that when equal juſtice is eſtabliſhed, this claim may be revived and enforced by Montfleuri.—Thus it is rather intereſt than affinity that prevents his breaking with his nephew; and that compels him, with averted and reluctant ears, to hear thoſe truths which Montfleuri ſpeaks to him, with the ſame coolneſs, and as much diveſted of conſiderations of perſonal intereſt, as his nephew would ſpeak before a conclave of cardinals, or, if it could be collected, of emperors.

To-day, after dinner, Montfleuri happened to be abſent, and the Count taking advantage of it, began to talk to me, whom he wiſhes to win over to his party, on the ſubject neareſt his heart—the abolition of all titular diſtinctions in France—He went back to the earlieſt records of the kingdom to prove what I never doubted —the antiquity of titles, as if that were an irrefragable proof of their utility.—My God, Sir! cried he, is it poſſible—that you—that you—who are, without doubt, yourſelf of noble bloodPardon me, Sir, ſaid I, for interrupting you, but if that be of any weight in the argument you are going to uſe, it is neceſſary to tell you, your ſuppoſition is erroneous —I am not noble.—My anceſtors, ſo far as I ever traced them, which is indeed a very little way, were never above the rank of plain country gentlemen; and, I am afraid, towards the middle of the laſt century, loſe even that dignity in a miller and a farmer.Well, Sir, continued the Count, in whoſe eſteem I had gained 1139 G10r 139 gained nothing by this humble diſcloſure of my origin.—Well, Sir, however that may have been—you are now, I underſtand, from the Marquis, my nephew, a man of large fortune and liberal education—and therefore, in your own country, where nobleſſe is not ſo much inſiſted upon, you have, undoubtedly, mixed much with men of high birth, and eminent conſideration.Really, Sir, you do me an honor in that ſuppoſition, to which I am not very well entitled. With us, it is true, that a conſiderable fortune is a paſſport to ſuch ſociety; and had I found any ſatisfaction in enliſting myſelf under the banners of either of thoſe parties, who are always contending for the good of old England, I might have been admitted among the old and middle aged, who are buſied in arranging the affairs of the public; or among the young, who are yet more buſy in diſarranging their own. But having no taſte for the ſociety of either the one or the other, I can boaſt of only one titled friend in my own country; and he is a man whom I love and honor for the virtues of his heart, not for the ſplendor of his ſituation.—Poſſeſſing an illuſtrious name and a noble fortune, he has a dignity of mind, and a ſenſibility of heart, which thoſe advantages not unfrequently deſtroy. Could we, among our numerous nobility, boaſt of many ſuch men, their conduct would be a ſtronger argument in favor of the advantages of a powerful ariſtocracy, than the moſt dazzling ſhew of a birthday exhibition, or the moſt plauſible vindication of titular diſtinctions that we have ever yet heard.—There may, for ought I know, be others equally reſpectable for their private virtues, but they have not fallen within my obſervation; and judging, therefore, of the greater part 1140 G10v 140 part of them through the medium of public report, I have felt no wiſh to approach them nearer. However you may think of individuals, Sir, ſaid the Count, you ſurely are not ſo blinded, ſo infatuated, by the doctrines that have obtained moſt unhappily for this country, as not to feel the neceſſity that this order of men ſhould exiſt.—You muſt know, that the wiſdom of our ancient kings created this diſtinction, that is to ſay, they thought it expedient to raiſe the brave and valiant above the common level of mankind, by giving them badges and titles of honor, in order to mark and perpetuate their glorious deeds, and ſtimulate, to emulation, their illuſtrious poſterity—now —if theſe well-earned rewards are taken from their deſcendants—if theſe ſacred diſtinctions be annihilated, and the names of heroes paſt, be eraſed from the records of mankind—I aſſert, that there is an end, not only of juſtice, but of emulation, ſubordination—all that gives ſafety to property, or grace to ſociety—and the world will become a chaos of confuſion and outrage. —What!—ſhall a man of trade, a negociant, an upſtart dealer in wine, or wood, or ſugar, or cloth, approach one in whoſe veins, perhaps, the blood of our Luſignans and Tancreds circulates.—The ſame blood which, in the defence of our holy religion, was ſhed in Paleſtine.—I ſay, ſhall a muſhroom, a fungus approach theſe illuſtrious deſcendants of honored anceſtors, and ſay, Behold, Oh! man of high deſcent, I am thy equal, my country declares it!

Indignation here arreſted the eloquence it had produced, and gave me an opportunity of ſaying, My dear Sir, the united voices of commonmon 1141 G11r 141 mon ſenſe, nature, and reaſon, declared all this long ago, though it is only now you are compelled to hear them. As to the degradation of Meſſieurs, the preſent deſcendants of your Luſignans and Tancreds, if it be a degradation to be accounted only men, I really am much concerned for them; but for the ill effects it otherwiſe produces, inaſmuch as ſuch motives fail as might excite them to equal theſe their great progenitors, I cannot underſtand that there is in that reſpect much to regret.—The days of chivalry will never, I apprehend, return; the ravings of a fanatic monk will never again prevail on the French to make a cruſade. —Nay, added I, ſmiling, there ſeems but little probability that they will ſoon be called upon to take arms, in a cauſe which has in later times appeared of greater moment—I mean, reſcuing what one of your writers calls le vain honneur du pavillon, The vain honor of the flag, which, till within a few years, the Engliſh have always inſiſted on having ſtruck to them in the Narrow Seas. from the arrogant ſuperiority of us preſumptuous iſlanders. The real value of both theſe objects, for which ſo much blood has been waſted, ſeems to be better underſtood, the real intereſt of humanity to appear in its proper light. Since, therefore, we no longer have occaſion to follow the example of thoſe heroes who have bled for either—Why contemplate them with ſuch blind reverence? I ſuppoſe, Sir, you will not ſay, that the frantic expeditions to the Holy Land, preached by Peter the Hermit, anſwered any other purpoſe than to depopulate and impoveriſh your country and mine. Nor will you maintain, that either France or England have gained any thing but taxes 1142 G11v 142 taxes and poverty by the continual wars with which we have been haraſſing each other, through a ſucceſſion of ages. Surely then it is time to recall our imaginations from theſe wild dreams of fanaticiſm and heroiſm—Time to remove the gorgeous trappings, with which we have dreſt up folly, that we might fancy it glory.—The tinſel ornaments we have borrowed as the livery of this phantom, are become tarniſhed and contemptible—Let not regret then, that the hand of ſober reaſon tears off theſe poor remaining ſhreds, with which virtue diſdains to attempt encreaſing its genuine luſtre; with which ſelfiſhneſs and folly muſt fail to hide their real deformity.—Have patience with me yet a moment—while I aſk—whether you really think, that a dealer in wine, or in wood, in ſugar, or cloth, is not endued with the ſame faculties and feelings as the deſcendant of Charlemagne; and whether the accidental advantages of being able to produce a long pedigree (which, notwithſtanding the infinite virtue aſcribed to matrons of antiquity, is, I fear, often very doubtful) ought to give to the noble who poſſeſſes it, a right to conſider every lower rank of men as being of an inferior and ſubordinante ſpecies

So, Sir,—angrily burſt forth the Count —So, Sir!—I muſt, from all this, conclude, that you conſider your footman upon an equality with yourſelf.—Why then is he your footman ? This argument has been called unanſwerable. ;

Becauſe—though my footman is certainly ſo far upon an equality with me, as he is a man, and a free-man; there muſt be a diſtinction in local 1143 G12r 143 local circumſtances; though they neither render me noble, or him baſe—I happen to be born heir to conſiderable eſtates; it is his chance to be the ſon of a labourer, living on thoſe eſtates.—I have occaſion for his ſervices, he has occaſion for the money by which I purchaſe them: in this compact we are equal ſo far as we are free.—I, with my property, which is money, buy his property, which is time, ſo long as he is willing to ſell it.—I hope and believe my footman feels himſelf to be my fellowman; but I have not, therefore, any apprehenſion that inſtead of waiting behind my chair, he will ſit down in the next.—He was born poor— but he is not angry that I am rich—ſo long as my riches are a benefit and not an oppreſſion to him.—He knows that he can never be in my ſituation, but he knows alſo that I can amend his.—If, however, inſtead of paying him for his ſervices, I were able to ſay to him, as has been done by the higher claſſes throughout Europe, and is ſtill in too many parts of it—you are my vaſſal—you were born upon my eſtate— you are my property—and you muſt come to work, fight, die for me, on whatever conditions I pleaſe to impoſe;—my ſervant, who would very naturally perceive no appeal againſt ſuch tyrannical injuſtice, but to bodily proweſs would, as he is probably the moſt athletic of the two, diſcover that ſo far from being compelled to ſtand on ſuch terms behind my chair, he was well able either to place himſelf in the next, or to turn me out of mine.— Ceux qui diſent 1144 G12v 144 diſent que tous les hommes ſont égaux, Thoſe who ſay that all men are equal, ſay that which is perfectly true, if they mean that all men have an equal right to perſonal and mental liberty; to their reſpective properties; and and to the protection of the laws: but they would be as certainly wrong in believing that men ought to be equal in truſts, in employments, ſince nature has not made them equal in their talents. ſays VoltaireCeux qui diſent que tous les hommes ſont égaux, diſent la plus grande vérité s’ils entendent que tous les hommes ont un droit égal à la liberté, à la propriété de leurs biens, & à la protection des loix.—Ils ſe tromperaient beaucoup, s’ils croyaient que les hommes, doivent être égaux par les emplois, puiſqu’ils ne le ſont pas par leurs talens. Thoſe who ſay that all men are equal, ſay that which is perfectly true, if they mean that all men have an equal right to perſonal and mental liberty; to their reſpective properties; and and to the protection of the laws: but they would be as certainly wrong in believing that men ought to be equal in truſts, in employments, ſince nature has not made them equal in their talents.

Voltaire! impatiently exclaimed the Count, why always Voltaire?—one is perfectly ſtunned with the falſe wit and inſiduous miſrepreſentations of that atheiſtical ſcribbler.

Againſt the defender of the family of Calas; the protector of the Sirvens; the benefactor of all mankind, whom he pitied, ſerved, and laughed at; the Count now moſt furiouſly declaimed, in a long and angry ſpeech, which, as it poſſeſſed neither truth or argument, I have forgot.—Towards the cloſe of it, however, he had worked himſelf into ſuch a ſtate of irritation, that he ſeemed on the point of forgetting that on which he ſo highly values himſelf— Les manières de la vieille cour.

The entrance of a man of the church, whoſe diminiſhed revenues had yet had no effect, either in reducing his figure, or ſubduing his arrogance, made a momentary diverſion in my favour.

But the Count was now heated by his ſubject: and, being reinforced with ſo able an auxiliary, he returned to the charge.—He related the ſubject of our controverſy to his friend, who, 1145 H1r 145 who, while he ſpoke, ſurveyed me with ſuch looks, as one of the holy brotherhood of the Inquiſition may be ſuppoſed to throw on the unhappy culprit whom he is about to condemn to the flames on the next auto de fé—In a manner peculiar, I truſt, to la vielle cour eccleſiaſtique, he gave me to underſtand, that he conſidered me as an ignorant atheiſtical boy; and, that his abhorrence of my principles was equalled only by his contempt for my country and myſelf. Voltaire, ſaid he, Voltaire, Monſieur l’Anglois, is a wretch with whoſe name I ſully not my mind; a monſter whoſe pernicious writings have overturned the religion and the government of his country. The manner in which this was ſaid, brought to my mind an expreſſion which Voltaire puts himſelf into the mouth of ſuch a character.—Ah! nous ſerions les maîtres du monde, ſans ces coquins de gens d’eſprit. Ah! we ſhould be maſters of the world, were it not for thoſe raſcally wits. I continued to liſten to the diſcourſe which the Count now reſumed; the purpotpurpose of which was to convince me, that the decree of the nineteenth of May, was ſubverſive of all order, and ruinous alike to the dignity and happineſs of a ſtate.—At length he ſtopped to recover his breath, and gave me an opportunity of ſaying, if, Sir, I might be once more permitted to quote ſo obnoxious an author Voltaire. as him of whom we have juſt been ſpeaking, I ſhould ſay, that Le nom eſt indifférent; il n’y a que le pouvoir qui ne le ſoit pas. The name is immaterial: it itis the power only that is of conſequence. —If the name of nobleſſe was ſo connected Vol. I. H with 1146 H1v 146 with the power of oppreſſion, that they could not be divided, the nation had a right to take away both; if otherwiſe, it might, perhaps, have been politic to have divided them, and have left to the French patricians, theſe ſounds on which they ſeem to feel that their conſequence depends; together with the invaluable privileges of having certain ſymbols painted on their coaches, or woven on their furniture; and of dreſſing their domeſtics in one way rather than in another.—A great people who had every thing on which its freedom and its proſperity depended to conſider, muſt ſurely have ſeen ſuch objects as theſe with ſo much indifference, that had they not been evidently obnoxious to the ſpirit of reform, they would have left them to the perſons who ſo highly value them; perſons who reſolve to quit their country becauſe they are no longer to be enjoyed in it.—The framers of the new conſtitution, had they not been well convinced of the inefficacy of mere palliation, would not, certainly, by deſtroying theſe diſtinctions (matters in themſelves quite inconſequential) have raiſed againſt the fabrick they were planning, the unextinguiſhable rage and hatred of a great body of men; but would have left them in quiet poſſeſſion of theſe baubles ſo neceſſary to their happineſs.

Hold, Sir, cried the Count, whoſe impatience could no longer be reſtrained—Hold, Sir, and do not ſpeak thus contemptuouſly I entreat you, of an advantage which it is very truly ſaid, no man undervalues who is poſſeſſed of it. —You, Sir, have owned that your family is roturier—How then, and at your time of life, when the real value of objects cannot have been taught you by experience; how then can you pretend 1147 H2r 147 pretend to judge of that which is appreciated by the wiſdom of ages, and has been held up as the reward of heroic virtues.—Baubles!—Is it thus you term the name a man derives from his illuſtrious anceſtors—Bauble!—are the honors handed down to me, from the firſt d’Hauteville, who lived under Louis le Gros, the ſixth in deſcent from Charlemagne, to be thus contumaciouſly deſcribed by the upſtart politics of modern reformers.

I was really concerned to ſee the poor man ſo violently agitated, and replied, My dear Sir—I allow much to the pride derived from anceſtry—Where the dignity of an houſe has been ſupported, as I doubt not, but that you have ſupported yours; but let me on the other ſide ſay, that there are but too many who certainly inherit not, with their names, the virtues of their progenitors. You recollect a maxim of Rochefaucault’s on this ſubject, which, as I remember to have heard, that he is a favourite author of your’s, you will allow me to bring forward in ſupport of my argument—Les grands noms abaiſſent au lieu d’élever, ceux qui ne ſavent pas les ſoutenir. Great names degrade, inſtead of raiſing, thoſe who know not how to ſupport them.—Maxime 94, de Rochefaucault. Beſides, how many are there, both in your country and mine, who are called noble, who cannot, in fact, refer to the examples of a long line of anceſtry, to animate them, by example, to dignified conduct.—How very many, who owe to money, and not hereditary merit, the right they aſſume to look down on the reſt of the world. It is true, that for the moſt part, that world repays their contempt; and it is from the vulgar only, H2 who 1148 H2v 148 who venerate a new coronet, which is generally twice as big as an old one—that they receive even the knee homage, this valued appendage gives them. Les Rois ſont des hommes commes des pieces de monnoie; ils les ſont valoir ce qu’ils veulent, & l’on eſt forcé de les recevoir, ſelon leurs cours, & non pas ſelon leur véritable prix. Kings give value to men as they do to coin; they mark them with what ſtamp they pleaſe; and the world receives them according to this imaginary eſtimate, and not according to their real value. Rochefaucault, Maxime 158.

Let ſuch men, then, ſaid Monſieur d’Hauteville, let ſuch be eraſed, with all my heart, from the catalogue of noble names.—Indeed, it is well known, that we never conſidered ſuch as belonging to our order.—I argue not about them—but for thoſe, whoſe blood gives them pretenſions to different treatment.—Ah! Monſieur Deſmond, if it were poſſible—but it is not—for you to underſtand my feelings, you would comprehend, how utterly impoſſible it is for me, at my time of life, to continue in this loſt and debaſed country, to drag on an exiſtence, from which every thing valuable is gone, and which is conſequently expoſed to indignity and ſcorn—Would they not eraſe my arms? change my deſcription? tear down the trophies of my houſe?—Theſe ideas ſeemed ſo deeply to affect the Count, that his reſpiration again became affected; his eyes appeared to be ſtarting from his head; and he aſſumed ſo much the look of a man on the point of becoming inſane, that I thought it more than time to conclude a converſation, that I ſhould not have continued ſo long, had he not ſeemed to deſire it.

With 1149 H3r 149

With inveterate prejudice, thus fondly nurſed from early youth, it were hopeleſs to contend—In the mind of Monſieur d’Hauteville, this notion of family conſequence is ſo interwoven, ſo aſſociated with all his ideas, that, as the ivy coeval with the tree, at length, deſtroys its vital principle, this ſentiment now predominates to the extinction of reaſon itſelf— Theſe prejudices, ſays an eminent living writer, Prieſtley’s Letters to a Philoſophical Unbeliever. ariſe from what are commonly called falſe views of things, or improper aſſociations of ideas, which, in the extreme, become delirium, or madneſs; and is conſpicuous to every perſon, except to him, who actually labours under this diſorder of mind.

I withdrew, therefore, as ſoon as I could, ing Monſieur d’Hauteville with his friend; who, I am ſure, had his looks poſſeſſed the power imputed to thoſe of the Baſiliſk, would then have concluded my adventures.—As I paſſed through the laſt anti-room, and turned my eyes on the drawing of a great genealogical tree, which covers one ſide of it, I could not help philoſophizing on the infinite variety of the modes of thinking among mankind—The difference between my conſideration of ſuch an object, and that beſtowed on it by Monſieur d’Hauteville, ſtruck me forcibly. Had I ſuch a yellow ſcroll, though it deſcribed my deſcent from Adam or Noah, from a knight of the flaming ſabre, or a king of the Weſt Saxons —I ſhould probably, on the firſt occaſion that ſuch a material was wanted, cut it into angular ſlips, and write directions on the back of theſe parchment ſhreds, for the pheaſants and hares that I ſend to my friends— While 1150 H3v 150 While Monſeigneur le Comte d’Hauteville is going to leave his native country, becauſe the viſionary honor he derives from this record, are not oſtenſibly allowed him in it—Exclaiming, poor man! to the National Aſſembly, Oh! ye have— From my own windows torn my houſhold coat; Raz’d out my impreſs; leaving me no ſign To ſhew the world I am a gentleman! Shakeſpeare’s Richard the Second.

I here conclude this long letter, though I ſhall not ſeal it to night, becauſe I have here much time on my hands, and cannot employ it better than in writing to you; and becauſe, I hope to diſpach by the ſame conveyance that takes this, an anſwer to thoſe which I hope to have from you—for ſurely, my ſervant will be here to-morrow or Tueſday, with the letters that I have ſo long expected to be directed to the chateau de Montfleuri, from England; and which I now await, with hourly and increaſing impatience.

Vale—Vale et me ama

,

L. Desmond.

Let- 1151 H4r 151

Letter XIV. Written before the receipt of Bethel’s laſt letter.

To Mr. Bethel.

Did I not name to you a Breton, who had ſomething in his air and manner unlike others of the peaſantry?—Whenever I have obſerved him, he ſeemed to be the amuſement of his fellow labourers; there was an odd quaint kind of pleaſantry about him; and I wiſhed to enter into converſation with him, which I had yeſterday evening an opportunity of doing.— You are not of this part of France, my friend? ſaid I—No, Monſieur—I am a Breton—And now, would return into my own country again, but that, in a fit of impatience, at the exceſſive impoſitions I laboured under, I ſold my little property about four years ago, and now muſt continue to courir le monde, & de vivre comme il plaroit à DieuSterne has, I think, tranſlated that to be upon nothing. My 1152 H4v 152 My acquaintance did not appear to be fond of ſuch meagre diet. But, pray, ſaid I, explain to me, what particular oppreſſions you had to complain of, that drove you to ſo deſperate, and as it has happened, ſo ill-timed a reſolution.

I believe, replied he, that I am naturally of a temper a little impatient, and it was not much qualified by making a campaign or two againſt the Engliſh; the firſt was in a ſhip of war, fitted out at St. Malo’s—or, in other words, Monſieur, a privateer; for though I was bred a ſailor, and loved fighting well enough, I was refuſed even as Enſigne de vaiſſeau, Anſwering, I believe, to our midſhipmen. on board a king’s ſhip, becauſe I was not a gentleman—My father, however, had a pretty little eſtate, which he inherited from his great, great grandfather—But he had an elder ſon, and I was to ſcramble through the world as well as I could—They wanted, indeed, to make me a monk; but I had a mortal averſion to that métier, Trade—profeſſion. and thought it better to run the riſque of getting my head taken off by a cannon ball, than to ſhave it—My firſt debut was not very fortunate—We fell in with an Engliſh frigate, with whom, though it was hopeleſs enough to contend, we exchanged a few ſhot, for the honor of our country; and one of thoſe we were favored with in return, tore off the fleſh from my right leg, without breaking the bone—The wound was bad enough, but the Engliſh ſurgeon ſewed it up, and before we landed, I was ſo well as to be ſent with the reſt of our crew to the priſon at Wincheſter—I had heard a great deal of the humanity 1153 H5r 153 humanity of the Engliſh to their priſoners, and ſuppoſed I might bear my fate without much murmuring; but we were not treated the better for belonging to a privateer.—The priſon was over-crowded, and very unhealthy—The proviſions, I believe, might be liberally allowed by your government, but they were to paſs through the hands of ſo many people, every one of which had their advantage out of them, that, before they were diſtributed in the priſon, there was but little reaſon to boaſt of the generoſity of your countrymen. To be ſure, the wiſdom and humanity of war is very remarkable in a ſcene like this, where one nation ſhuts up five or ſix thouſand of the ſubjects of another, to be fed by contract while they live; and when they die, which twothirds of the number ſeldom fail to do—to be buried by contract—Yes!—out of nine-andtwenty of us poor devils, who were taken in our little privateer, fourteen died within three weeks; among whom, was a relation of mine, a gallant fellow, who had been in the former wars with the Engliſh, and ſtood the hazards of many a bloody day—He was an old man, but had a conſtitution ſo enured to hardſhips, and the changes of climate, that he ſeemed likely to ſee many more—A vile fever that lurked in the priſon ſeized him—My hammock (for we were ſlung in hammocks, one above another, in thoſe great, miſerable rooms, which compoſe, what they ſay is, an unfiniſhed palace) was hung above his, and when he found himſelf dying, he called to me to come to him—’Tis all over with me, my friend, ſaid he—N’importe one muſt die at ſome time or other, but I ſhould have liked it better by a cannon ball—Nothing, however, vexes me more in this buſineſs, than H5 that 1154 H5v 154 that I have been the means of bringing you hither to die in this hole— (for, in fact, it was by his advice, I had entered on board the privateer) However, it may be, you will out-live this confounded place, and have another touch at theſe damned Engliſh. National hatred, that ſtrange and ridiculous prejudice in which my poor old friend had lived, was the laſt ſenſation he felt in death—He died quietly enough, in a few moments afterwards, and the next day I ſaw him tied up between two boards, by way of the coffin, which was to be provided by contract; and depoſited in the foſſe that ſurrounded our priſon, in a grave, dug by contract, and of courſe very ſhallow, in which he was covered with about an inch of mold, which was by contract alſo, put over him, and ſeven other priſoners, who died at the ſame time!—My youth, and a great flow of animal ſpirits, carried me through this wretched ſcene—And a young officer, who was a native of the ſame part of Britany, and who was a priſoner on parole, at a neighbouring town, procured leave to viſit the priſon at Wincheſter, and enquired me out— He gave me, though he could command very little money himſelf, all he had about him, to aſſiſt me in procuring food, and promiſed to try if he could obtain for me my parole, as he knew my parents, and was concerned for my ſituation —But his intentions, in my favor, were ſoon fruſtrated, for, on the appearance of the combined fleets in the Channel, the French officers, who were thought too near the coaſt, were ordered away to Northampton, while, very ſoon afterwards, a number of Spaniards, who had among them a fever of a moſt malignant ſort, were ſent to the priſon already over-crowded, and 1155 H6r 155 and death began to make redoubled havock among its wretched inhabitants—Of ſo dire a nature was the diſeaſe thus imported, that while the bodies that were thrown over-board from the Spaniſh fleet, and driven down by the tide on the coaſts of Cornwall and Devonſhire, carried its fatal influence into thoſe countries, the priſoners, who were ſent up from Plymouth, diſſeminated deſtruction in their route, and among all who approached them; thus becoming the inſtruments of greater miſchief, than the ſword and the bayonet could have executed.— Not only the miſerable priſoners of war, who were now a mixture of French, Spaniſh, and Dutch periſhed by dozens every day; but the ſoldiers who guarded them, the attendants of the priſon, the phyſical men who were ſent to adminiſter medicines, and ſoon afterwards, the inhabitants of the town, and even thoſe of the neighbouring country began to ſuffer—Then it was that your government perceingperceiving this bleſſing of war likely to extend itſelf rather too far, thought proper to give that attention to it, which the calamities of the priſoners would never have excited. A phyſician was ſent down by Parliament, to examine into the cauſes of this ſcourge; and in conſequence of the impoſſibility of ſtopping it while ſuch numbers were crowded together, the greater part of the French, whom ſickneſs had ſpared, were diſmiſſed, and I, among others, returned to my own country. I, ſoon after, not diſcouraged by what had befallen me, entered on board another privateer, which had the good fortune to capture two Weſt-India ſhips, richly laden, and to bring them ſafely into l’Orient, where we diſpoſed of their cargoes; and my ſhare was ſo conſiderable,ble, 1156 H6v 156 ble, that I determined to quit the ſea, and return to my friends—When, in purſuance of this reſolution, I arrived at home, I found my father and elder brother had died during my abſence; and I took poſſeſſion of the little eſtate to which I thus became heir, and began to think myſelf a perſon of ſome conſequence. In commencing country gentleman, I ſat myſelf down to reckon all the advantages of my ſituation —An extenſive tract of waſte land lay on one ſide of my little domain—On the other, a foreſt —My fields abounded with game—a river ran through them, on which I depended for a ſupply of fiſh; and I determined to make a little warren, and to build a dove-cote. I had undergone hardſhips enough to give me a perfect reliſh for the good things now within my reach; and I reſolved moſt piouſly to enjoy them—But I was ſoon diſturbed in this agreeable reverie— I took the liberty of firing one morning at a covey of partridges, that were feeding in my corn; and having the ſame day caught a brace of trout, I was ſitting down to regale myſelf on theſe dainties, when I received the following notice from the neighbouring ſeigneur, with whom I was not at all aware that I had any thing to do.

The moſt high and moſt powerful ſeigneur, Monſeigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexandre-Cæſar Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi, ſignifies to Louis-John de Merville, that he the ſaid ſeigneur is in quality of Lord Paramount, is to all intents and purpoſes inveſted with the ſole right and property of the river running through his fief, together with all the fiſh therein; the ruſhes, reeds, and willows that grow in or near the ſaid river; all trees and plants 1157 H7r 157 plants that the ſaid river waters; and all the iſlands and aits within it—Of all and every one of which the high and mighty lord, Raoul-Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexander-Cæſar Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi, is abſolute and only proprietor —Alſo, of all the birds of whatſoever nature or ſpecies, that have, ſhall, or may, at any time fly on, or acroſs, or upon, the ſaid fief or ſeigneury —And all the beaſts of chaſe, of whatſoever deſcription, that have, ſhall, or may be found upon it.—In ſhort, Sir, it concluded with informing me, the ſaid Louis-Jean, that if I, at any time, dared to fiſh in the river, or to ſhoot a bird upon the ſaid fief, of which it ſeems my little farm unluckily made part, I ſhould be delivered into the hands of juſtice, and dealt with according to the utmoſt rigor of the offended laws. To be ſure, I could not help enquiring within myſelf how it happened, that I had no right to the game thus fed in my fields, nor the fiſh that ſwam in the river? and how it was, that heaven, in creating theſe animals, had been at work only for the great ſeigneurs!— What! is there nothing, ſaid I, but inſects and reptiles, over which man, not born noble, may exerciſe dominion?—From the wren to the eagle; from the rabbit to the wild-boar; from the gudgeon to the pike—all, all, it ſeems, are the property of the great. ’Twas hard to imagine where the power originated, that thus deprived all other men of their rights, to give to thoſe nobles the empire of the elements, and the dominion over animated nature!—However, I reflected, but I did not reſiſt; and ſince I could no longer bring myſelf home a dinner with my gun, I thought to conſole myſelf as well as I could, with the produce of my farm-yard; and I con- 1158 H7v 158 I conſtructed a ſmall encloſed pigeon-houſe, from whence, without any offence to my noble neighbour, I hoped to derive ſome ſupply for my table—But, alas! the comfortable and retired ſtate of my pigeons attracted the ariſtocratic envy of thoſe of the ſame ſpecies, who inhabited the ſpacious manorial dove-cote of Monſeigneur; and they were ſo very unreaſonable as to cover, in immenſe flocks, not only my fields of corn, where they committed infinite depredations, but to ſurround my farm-yard, and monopolize the food with which I ſupplied my own little collection, in their incloſures. As if they were inſtinctively aſſured of the protection they enjoyed as belonging to the ſeigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexander-Cæſar Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi; my menaces, and the ſhouts of my ſervants, were totally diſregarded; till, at length, I yielded too haſtily to my indignation, and threw a ſtone at a flight of them, with ſo much effect, that I broke the leg of one of theſe pigeons; the conſequence of which was, that in half an hour, four of the gardes de chaſſe Game-keepers. of Monſeigneur appeared, and ſummoned me to declare, if I was not aware, that the wounded bird which they produced in evidence againſt me, was the property of the ſaid ſeigneur; and without giving me time either to acknowledge my crime, or apologize for it, they ſhot, by way of retaliation, the tame pigeons in my encloſures, and carried me away to the chateau of the moſt high and puiſſant ſeigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexander- Cæſar Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi, to anſwer for the aſſault I had thus committed on the perſonſon 1159 H8r 159 ſon of one of his pigeons—There I was interrogated by the Fiſcal, who was making out a proces verbal; and reproved ſeverely for not knowing or attending to the fact, ſo univerſally acknowledged by the laws of Britany, that pigeons and rabbits were creatures peculiarly dedicated to the ſervice of the nobles; and that for a vaſſal, as I was, to injure one of them, was an unpardonable offence againſt the rights of my lord, who might inflict any puniſhment he pleaſed for my tranſgreſſion—That indeed, the laws of Beauvoiſis pronounced, that ſuch an offence was to be puniſhed with death; but that the milder laws of Britany condemned the offender only to corporal puniſhment, at the mercy of the lord—In ſhort, Sir, I got off this time by paying a heavy fine to Monſeigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexander-Cæſar, Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi, who was extremely neceſſitous, in the midſt of his greatneſs.—Soon afterwards, Monſeigneur diſcovered that there was a certain ſpot upon my eſtate, where a pond might be made, for which he found that he had great occaſion; and he very modeſtly ſignified to me, that he ſhould cauſe this piece of ground to be laid under water, and that he would either give me a piece of ground of the ſame value, or pay me for it according to the eſtimation of two perſons whom he would appoint; but, that in caſe I refuſed this juſt and liberal offer, he ſhould, as Lord Paramount, and of his own right and authority, make his pond by flooding my ground according to law.

I felt this propoſal to be inconſiſtent with every principle of juſtice—In this ſpot was an old oak, planted by the firſt de Merville, who had bought the eſtate—It was under its ſhade 2 that 1160 H8v 160 that the happieſt hours of my life had paſſed, while I was yet a child, and it had been held in veneration by all my family—I determined then to defend this favourite ſpot; and I haſtened to a neighbouring magiſtrate, learned in the law —He conſidered my caſe, and then informed me, that, in this inſtance, the laws of Britany were ſilent, and that therefore, their deficiency muſt be ſupplied by the cuſtoms and laws of the neighbouring provinces—The laws of Maine and Anjou, ſaid he, decide, that the ſeigneur of the fief, may take the grounds of his vaſſal to make ponds, or any thing elſe, only giving him another piece of ground, or paying what is equivalent in money—As precedent, therefore, decides, that the ſame thing may be done in Britany, I adviſe you, Louis-Jean de Merville, to ſubmit to the laws, and on receiving payment, to give up your land to Monſeigneur Raoul- Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexander-Cæſar Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi.

It was in vain I repreſented that I had a particular taſte, or a fond attachment to this ſpot. My man of law told me that a vaſſal had no right to any taſte or attachment, contrary to the ſentiments of his lord—And, alas!—in a few hours, I heard the hatchet laid to my beloved oak—My fine meadow was covered with water, and became the receptacle for the carp, tench, and eels of Monſeigneur—And remonſtrances and complaints were in vain!—Theſe were only part of the grievances I endured from my unfortunate neighbourhood to this powerful Baron, to whom, in his miſerable and half furniſhed chateau, I was regularly ſummoned to do homage upon faith and oath—Till my oppreſſions becoming more vexatious and inſupportable,able, 1161 H9r 161 able, I took the deſperate reſolution of ſelling my eſtate, and throwing myſelf again upon the wide world—Paris, whither I repaired with the money for which I ſold it, was a theatre ſo new, and ſo agreeable to me, that I could not determine to leave it till I had no longer the means left of playing there a very brilliant part; when that unlucky hour arrived, I wandered into this country, and took up my abode with a relation, a farmer, who rents ſome land of Monſeigneur the Count d’Hauteville, and here I have remained, at times, working, but oftener philoſophizing, and not unfrequently regretting my dear oak, and the firſt agreeable viſions that I indulged on taking poſſeſſion of my little farm, before I was aware of the conſequences of being a vaſſal of Monſeigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joſeph-Alexander-Cæſar Eriſpoé, Baron de Kermanfroi, and indeed ſometimes repenting that I did not wait a little longer, when the revolution would have protected me againſt the tyranny of my very illuſtrious neighbour.

De Merville here ended his narrative, every word of which I found to be true; and I could not but marvel at the ignorance or effrontery of thoſe who aſſert that the nobleſſe of France either poſſeſſed no powers inimical to the general rights of mankind, or poſſeſſing ſuch, forbore to exert them. The former part of his life bears teſtimony to the extreme benefits accruing from war, and cannot but raiſe a wiſh, that the power of doing ſuch extenſive good to mankind, and renewing ſcenes ſo very much to the honor of reaſonable beings, may never be taken from the princes and potentates of the earth. I thus endeavour, dear Bethel, by entering into the intereſts of thoſe I am with, to call off my thoughts from my own, or I ſhould find 1162 H9v 162 find this very long ſpace of time, in which I have failed to receive letters from England, almoſt inſupportable.

At the very moment I complain, I ſee my ſervant Warham approaching the houſe—I fly, impatiently, to receive news of Geraldine, of you, of all I love; and hope to have a long, a very long letter to write, in anſwer, to-morrow, to thoſe I expect from you—We go back to Montfleuri the next day, this will therefore be the laſt pacquet you will receive from hence.

Lionel Desmond.

Note The latter part of this narrative is a ſort of free tranſlation of parts of a little pamphlet, entitled, Hiſtoire d’un malheureux Vaſſal de Bretagne, écrite par lui-même, in which the exceſſive abuſes to which the feudal ſyſtem gave birth, are detailed.
Let- 1163 H10r 163

Letter XV. Anſwer to letter XI.

To Mr. Bethel.

What did I ſay to you, dear Bethel, in my letter of the 1790-08-2929th of Auguſt, that has given you occaſion to rally me ſo unmercifully about Madame de Boiſbelle; and to predict my cure, as you call it—I cannot now recollect the contents of that letter, but of this I am ſure, that I never was more fondly attached to the lovely woman, from whom my deſtiny has divided me, than at this moment; or ever ſaw the perfections of other women with more indifference— Were it poſſible for you, my friend, to comprehend the anguiſh of heart which I have felt ever ſince your laſt letters gave me ſuch an account of the ſituation of Verney’s affairs—You might be convinced, that time, abſence, and diſtance, have had no ſuch effect in altering my ſentiments;ments; 1164 H10v 164 ments; and that the ſiſter of my friend Montfleuri, were ſhe even as partial to me, as ſome trifling occurrences I have related, may have led you to imagine, can never be to me more than an agreeable acquaintance—far from being able to detach my mind from the idea of Geraldine’s ſituation—I have undergone continual raillery from Montfleuri, for my extreme dejection, ever ſince I heard it—If theſe diſtreſſing ſcenes ſhould become yet more alarming, I ſhall return to England—There I ſhall, at leaſt, learn the progreſs of that ruin, which, though I cannot wholly prevent, I may, perhaps, ſoften to her, for whoſe ſake alone, I deprecate its arrival— Reſtleſs and wretched, I left Hauteville, hardly conſcious of the progreſs of my journey; and ſince I came hither, have had a return of that lurking fever which made my health one pretence for my quitting England.

Montfleuri is not here, but was detained by buſineſs at Aiguemont—I expect him to-morrow; and ſhall then determine whether to bend my courſe ſouthward with him, or northward, on my return to England. I cannot deſcribe to you how wretched I am—Surely, you never loved, or you would not ridicule feelings ſo acute as mine—Nor would you ſuppoſe that I ſhould think about my fortune, if the ſacrifice of any part of it could ſecure the peace and competence of a being for whom I could lay down my life. I intended to have continued a little narrative of all that happens to me—of the perſons I meet—and of the converſation I hear —but your raillery has changed my purpoſe. Of whom can I ſpeak here, but of Joſephine and Julie; and if I tell you that they wept with pleaſure on my arrival, and have ſince exerted them- 1165 H11r 165 themſelves, with unceaſing ſolicitude, to divert the melancholy they cannot but perceive—You would again renew that ſtrain of ridicule about the former, which I ſo little like to hear—This prevents my telling you of a walk which Joſephine engaged me to take with her laſt night to the ruin on the hill, of which, I believe, I gave a ſlight deſcription in ſome former letter— nor will I, for the ſame reaſon, relate the converſation that paſſed there—When ſeating herſelf on a piece of a fallen column, ſhe began, after a deep ſigh, and with eyes ſwimming in tears, to relate to me the occurrences of her unfortunate life.

Could I help liſtening to ſuch a woman?— Could I help ſympathizing in ſorrows which ſhe ſo well knows how to deſcribe?—Alas! when ſhe complains that her mother betrayed her into marriage with a man, for whom it was impoſſible ſhe ever could either feel love or eſteem— When ſhe dwells on all the miſeries of ſuch a connection, on the bitterneſs with which her life is irrecoverably daſhed—The ſimiliarity of her fate to that of Geraldine, awakens in my mind a thouſand ſubjects of painful recollection, and fruitleſs regret—My tears flow with hers; and ſhe believes thoſe emotions ariſe from extreme ſenſibility, which are rather excited by the ſituation of my own heart.

This kind of converſation ſo entirely engroſſed us laſt night, that I heeded not the progreſs of time; and the ſun had been for ſome time ſunk behind thoſe diſtant mountains that bound the extenſive proſpect from the eminence we were upon, before I recollected that we had a river to croſs, and a very long walk home.

When 1166 H11v 166

When theſe circumſtances occurred to me, I ſuddenly propoſed to Madame de Boiſbelle to return—She had then been ſhedding tears in ſilence, for ſome moments, and ſtarting from the melancholy attitude in which ſhe ſat, ſhe took my hand, and gently preſſing it, ſaid, as I led her among the maſſes of the fallen buildings that impeded our path—To the unhappy, ſympathy and tenderneſs, like your’s, is ſo ſeducing, that I have even treſpaſſed on the indulgence your pity ſeems willing to grant me— I, perhaps, have too tediouſly dwelt on incurable calamities, and called off your thoughts too long from pleaſanter ſubjects and happier women!—I anſwered—(not, I own, without more emotion than I wiſhed to have ſhewn) that I had indeed liſtened. . . .

Dear Bethel, I here broke off, on receiving intelligence that a meſſenger from Marſeilles had a pacquet to deliver to me. I hurried to meet him, and received from a man ſent expreſs, the letter I encloſe, from Anthony, Waverly’s old ſervant.

As I am not ſure that my preſence in England can be uſeful to Geraldine, and have ſome hopes that at Marſeilles, it may yet ſave her brother, I ſhall therefore haſten thither; but, at the earneſt entreaty of the ladies of this family, I ſhall wait till noon to-morrow, by which time Montfleuri will certainly be returned. I have therefore diſpatched my ſervant to the next poſt houſe to order four horſes hither to-morrow—I have no hope that Waverly will yield to reaſon, but his fluctuating character, which is uſually ſo much againſt him, is here my only reliance—Direct your letters, till you hear from me again, to the care of Meſſieurs Duhamel 1167 H12r 167 Duhamel and Bergot, at Marſeilles; and do not, I beſeech you, my dear friend, trifle with my unhappineſs, but give me as exact an account as you can collect of Verney’s affairs. As ſoon as poſſible I hope to hear from you.

Your’s affectionately, ever,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1168 H12v 168

Letter XVI. Incloſed in the foregoing.

To Lionel Desmond, Esquire.

Sir.

Hoping you will excuſe this freedom— this is to let you know, that Maſter changed his mind as to joining your honors party at my lord the Count of Hottevills as he promiſed faithfully, and inſtead thereof, ſet out with the gentlemen as he was with for this place; where they have introduced him to a family as is come to ſettle near here ſince the troubles in the capitol; which is, a mother, a ſon, and two daughters. And maſter have lived with this family all’s one as if it were his home—I know no harm of the females—they are handſome young women—that is the two daughters: but the ſon, tho he appears ſo grand and faſhinable, is as I hear a ſort of ſharping chap—or what we call in 1 1169 I1r 169 in England a black legs—He has won a good deal of money of maſter, as I have reaſon to think; but that does not altogether ſignify ſo much as the intention they have perſuaded him into amongſt them, to marry one of the mamſelles; which if ſomething does not happen to make him change his mind he will certainly do out of hand—I can aſſure you honour’d Sir, I never knew maſter ſo long in the ſame mind ever ſince I have been in his ſervice as upon this occaſion—And I thought proper to let you know, becauſe I am certain that my old lady, nor no part of his relations could like of this thing, and particularly his ſiſter Mrs. Verney, who ſaid ſo much to him in my hearing about being drawn in to marry, and adviſed him by all means to conſult you, before ever he reſolved upon any ſcheme whatever—I was ſo bold as to tell this to my maſter, who was not angry indeed with me, as he is a very good natured gentleman: but he aſk’d if ſo be I thought that he was to be always a child in leading ſtrings.

I thought it beſt, ſeeing this affair is ſtill going on to advertiſe your honor of it; and if you think it proper to put an end thereto by your hinterference I think there is no time to be loſt.

From Sir Your dutiful humble ſervant to command

Anthony Booker.

Vol. I. I Let- 1170 I1v 170

Letter XVII.

To Miss Waverly at Bath.

Why did I flatter myſelf, deareſt Fanny, that the numberleſs diſtreſſes which have lately ſurrounded me, would either bring with them that calm reſignation which ſhould teach me to bear, or that total debility of mind that ſhould make me forget to feel all their poignancy.—Is it, that I ſat out in life with too great a ſhare of ſenſibility? or is my lot to be particularly wretched?—Every means I take to ſave myſelf from pain—to ſave thoſe I love—on whom, indeed, my happineſs depends, ſerves only to render me more miſerable.—How ill I have ſucceeded in regard to my brother, the encloſed letter will too well explain!

Why did I ever involve Deſmond in the hopeleſs taſk of checking his conduct.—I am ſo diſtreſſed, ſo hurt, that it is with the utmoſt difficulty I write.—However, as the generous exertions 1171 I2r 171 exertions of this excellent young man have, for the preſent, reſcued my brother from the actual commiſſion of the folly he meditated, though perhaps at the expence of a moſt valuable life, you will communicate to my mother this very unfortunate affair, and deſire her directions in regard to recalling her ſon.

Perhaps I ought to ſay all this to her myſelf; but I am really ſo ſhaken by this intelligence, that it is not without great difficulty I can write to you.—My fortitude, which you have of late been accuſtomed to compliment, has, I know not why, quite forſaken me now: and, methinks, I could bear any thing better, than that ſuch a man as Deſmond ſhould be ſo great a ſufferer from his generous attention to a part of my family.

I have been very ill ever ſince the receipt of this melancholy letter; and, it is only to-day, though I received it on Thurſday, that I have had ſtrength enough to forward it to you.—I am now ſo near being confined, that the people who are collected about me, weary me with their troubleſome care, and will not let me have a moment to myſelf.

It would have been a comfort to me, my Fanny, to have had your company at this time; but I know that this incident will add to the reluctance with which my mother would have before borne your abſence from her; and, therefore, I will not again name it, nor ſuffer myſelf to make thoſe complaints, in which we (I mean the unhappy) too frequently indulge ourſelves, without conſidering that this querulous weakneſs is painful to others; and, to ourſelves, unavailing:—for, alas! it cures not the evils it deſcribes.

I2 As 1172 I2v 172

As to Mr. Verney, he has never been at home ſince the October meeting, nor have I ever heard from him.—His friend, Colonel Scarſdale, called at my door on Tueſday, and was, by accident, admitted.—He made a long viſit, and talked, as uſual, in a ſtyle which I ſuppoſe I might admire (ſince all the world allows him to be very charming) if I could but underſtand what he means. However, though I am ſo taſteleſs as not to diſcover the perfections of this wonderful being, I endured his converſation from three o’clock till half paſt five; in hopes, that as he is ſo much connected with Mr. Verney, I might learn from him where my huſband is—But he laughed off all my enquiries unfeelingly enough; and, all I could collect was, that Mr. Verney is now, or at leaſt was a few days ſince, at the houſe of one of their mutual friends in Yorkſhire.—I anticipate the remark you will make upon this—You who are ſo little inclined to ſpare his follies, or, indeed, thoſe of any of your acquaintance; and, it is too true, that when he is at home, it makes no other difference to me than that of deſtroying my peace without promoting my happineſs. —I check my pen, however—and when I look at my two lovely children, I blame myſelf for being thus betrayed into complaints againſt their father.—Alas! why are our pleaſures, our taſtes, our views of life ſo different?—But I will ſtifle theſe murmurs; and, indeed, I would moſt willingly drop this hopeleſs ſubject for ever. Let me return to one that gives, at leaſt, more favourable ideas of human nature, though it can only be productive of pain to me—I mean—to poor Deſmond.—Oh! Fanny, what a heart is his!—How noble is that diſdain of perſonal danger, 1173 I3r 173 danger, when mingled with ſuch manly tenderneſs—ſuch generous ſenſibility for the feelings of others!—When we ſaw ſo much of him in Kent the firſt year of my marriage, we uſed, I remember, to have little diſputes about him— but they were childiſh. Do you not recollect that when I contended for Lavater’s ſyſtem, I introduced him in ſupport of my argument?— His was the moſt open, ingenuous countenance I had ever ſeen; and his manners, as well as all I could then know of his heart and his temper, were exactly ſuch as that countenance indicated. You then, in the mere ſpirit of contradiction, uſed to ſay, that this ingenuous expreſſion was often loſt in clouds for whole hours together; and that you believed this paragon was a ſulky ſort of an animal.—Did you ever believe that ſuch a ſtriking inſtance of diſintereſted kindneſs towards your own family would ſo confirm my opinion?—Yet while I write he ſuffers—perhaps dies! the victim of that generous and exalted ſpirit which led him to hazard his life, that he might fulfil a promiſe I, who have ſo little a right to his friendſhip drew from him— A promiſe that he would flawed-reproduction2-3 characters attentive to the conduct of my brother!

Indeed, Fanny, when my imagination ſets him before me wounded, in pain, perhaps in danger (and it is an image I have hardly loſt for a moment ſince the receipt of this cruel intelligence) I am ſo very miſerable, that all other anxieties of my life, multiplied as they have lately been, are unheeded and unfelt.—But why ſhould I write thus—why hazard communicating to you, my dear ſiſter, a portion of that pain from which I cannot myſelf eſcape?

I will 1174 I3v 174

I will bid you good night, my Fanny. It is now ſix-and-thirty hours ſince I have cloſed my eyes—I will try to ſleep, and to forget how very very long it will be before I can hear again from Marſeilles.

Write to me I conjure you—tell me what are my mother’s intentions as to ſending for my brother home. And be aſſured of the tender affection of your

Geraldine Verney.

P. S. Did you ever hear of this Madame de Boiſbelle? and do you know whether ſhe is a widow or married?—Young, middle aged or old?—She is ſiſter to Mr. Deſmond’s favourite French friend, Montfleuri; and, if ſhe has any heart, muſt have exquiſite pleaſure in ſoftening, to ſuch a man as Deſmond, the long hours of pain and confinement.—I ſuppoſe he has forgotten that I read French tolerably; however, perhaps, it was better to let the ſurgeon write. —How miſerable is the ſuſpence I muſt endure till the arrival of the next letters.

Let- 1175 I4r 175

Letter XVIII. Encloſed in the foregoing to Miſs Waverly.

To Mrs. Verney.

Madam,

It is at the requeſt of Mr. Deſmond, that I take the liberty of addreſſing you. His anxiety, on your account, has never forſaken him in the midſt of what have been certainly very acute ſufferings; not unattended with danger.

It may be neceſſary to enter into a detail of the cauſes that prevent his writing himſelf, on a ſubject, which nothing but the impracticability of his doing, would, I am ſure, induce him to entruſt to a ſtranger.

It is now four days ſince I received a ſummons to attend, at the diſtance of three miles from 1176 I4v 176 from the city, an Engliſh gentleman, who had, on that morning, been engaged in an affair of honor. I had not till then the honor of knowing Mr. Deſmond—whom I found terribly wounded by a piſtol ſhot in the right arm.— The ball entering a little below the elbow, had not only broken, but ſo ſhattered the bone, that I am afraid the greateſt ſkill cannot anſwer the conſequences.—Beſides this, there was a bullet, from the firſt brace of piſtols which were fired, lodged in the right ſhoulder, which, though it was ſo ſituated as to be extracted without much difficulty, greatly encreaſes the inflammation, and of courſe, the hazard of the other wound, where the ſinews are ſo torn, and the bone in ſuch a ſtate, that the ball could not be taken out without great pain. I did all that could be done, and Mr. Deſmond bore the operation with the calmeſt fortitude. I left him at noon, in what I thought as favourable a way, as was poſſible, under ſuch circumſtances; yet I found, on my return in the evening, that he had a great deal of fever; and I am concerned to ſay, this ſymptom has ever ſince been encreaſing.— Though much is certainly to be hoped for, from the youth, conſtitution, and patience of the ſufferer—I can by no means ſay I am certain of a fortunate event.

The diſpute, in conſequence of which this diſagreeable accident happened, originated, I find, about your brother, Mr. Waverly; who, entangled by the artifices of a family well known in this country, had engaged to marry one of the young ladies—a ſtep which was thought, by Mr. Deſmond, as indeed it was univerſally, very indiſcreet.—The interference of Mr. Deſmond 1177 I5r 177 Deſmond to prevent it, brought upon him the reſentment of the ladies brother, the young Chevalier de St. Eloy; and the duel enſued.

I found, very early in the courſe of my attendance, that the mind of my patient was as much affected as his body; and that the greateſt pain he felt, was from being rendered incapable of writing to you, madam.—He at length aſked if I would be ſo good as to write what he would dictate, as it was the only way by which he could communicate his ſituation to you. His advice is, that the relations of Mr. Waverly recall him immediately to England. He is now at Avignon, but notwithſtanding what has happened, Mr. Deſmond ſeems to think him by no means ſecure from the artifices of a family that has gained ſuch an aſcendancy over him.—I made notes with my pencil, as I ſat by his bedſide, and indeed promiſed to adhere to the words he dictated; but I think it my duty, madam, in this caſe, to tell you my real ſentiments, and not to palliate or diſguiſe my apprehenſions.—As ſoon as the affair happened, I ſent, by Mr. Deſmond’s deſire, an account of it to his friend, whoſe houſe, in the Lyonois, he had, I found, recently left; and to day this friend, Monſieur de Montfleuri, arrived here expreſs, with his ſiſter, Madame de Boiſbelle.—They both ſeem extremely intereſted for the health of my patient, and have attended him, ever ſince their arrival, with unceaſing aſſiduity.—He appears pleaſed and relieved by their preſence; and indeed I imagined that he would rather have employed one of them to have the honor of writing to you; but he ſaid Monſieur de Montfleuri could write but little Engliſh, and his ſiſter none.

I5 I believe, 1178 I5v 178

I believe, madam, that to receive the honor of your commands, would be particularly gratifying to my patient, of whom I moſt ſincerely wiſh that I may be enabled, in a few days, to ſend you a better account.

I am, madam, Your moſt obedient, and moſt humble ſervant,

William Carmichael.

Let- 1179 I6r 179

Letter XIX.

To Mr. Desmond.

I never was ſo diſtreſſed in my life, my dear Deſmond, as I was at the account of your accident; which I received yeſterday from Miſs Waverly.—I came hither about ten days ago by the advice of my friend Banks, who thinks the waters will decide, whether the ſomething I have about me is gout or no; and thought of nothing leſs than of receiving intelligence here, that you lie dangerouſly wounded at or near Marſeilles, in a quarrel about Waverly.—This is no time to preach to you.—But I beg, that immediately upon the receipt of this letter, you will let me know if I can be of any uſe to you; and, if I can, be aſſured that nothing ſhall prevent 1180 I6v 180 prevent my coming to you inſtantly. I hope you know, that I am not one of thoſe who can, with great compoſure, talk over and lament their friends misfortunes, without ſtirring a finger to help them.—My life, which has long afforded me no enjoyment worth the trouble of living for, is only of value to me, as it may be uſeful to my children, and the very few friends I love.—You once, I remember, on an occaſion of much leſs importance, ſcrupled to ſend for me becauſe you ſaid you knew it was in the midſt of harveſt:—it is now in the midſt of the wheat ſeaſon; yet, you ſee, I am at Bath; and, if a trifling, half-formed complaint, which is not ſerious enough to have a name, could bring me thus far from home, ſurely the ſervice of my friend Deſmond would carry me much— much farther.

I ſhall be extremely uneaſy till I hear from you, and would, indeed, ſet out directly, if I could imagine you are as ill as Miſs Waverly repreſents you.—But beſides that, her account is inconſiſtent and incoherent. I know all miſſes love a duel, and to lament over the dear gallant creature who ſuffers in it.—This little wild girl ſeems half frantic, and does nothing but talk to every body about you, in which ſhe ſhews more gratitude than diſcretion.—Your uncle, Danby, who is here on his uſual autumnal viſit, has heard of your fame; and came buſtling up to me in the coffee-houſe this morning, to tell me, that all he had foreſeen as the conſequence of your imprudent journey to France, was come to paſs; that you were aſſaſſinated by a party whom your politics had offended; and would probably loſe your life in conſequence of your fooliſh rage for a fooliſh revolu- 1181 I7r 181 revolution.—I endeavoured, in vain, to convince him that the affair happened in a mere private quarrel—a quarrel with an avanturier, in which you had engaged to ſave a particular friend from an improper marriage.—The old Major would not hear me.—He at length granted, that inſtead of being aſſaſſinated, you might have fought, but that ſtill it muſt have been about politics; and, to do him juſtice, he judges of others by himſelf, which is the only way a man can judge.—Very certain it is, nay, he openly profeſſes it, that he never loved any body well enough in his life, to give himſelf, on their account, one quarter of an hour’s pain.—The public intereſts him as little—he declares, that he is perfectly at eaſe, and therefore, cares not who is otherwiſe; and as to all revolutions, or even alterations, he has a mortal averſion to them.—Miſs Waverly tells me ſhe has written to you, by deſire of her mother, to thank you for your very friendly interpoſition, and has given you an account of all your connexions in England.—This I am very ſorry for, becauſe I am afraid ſhe can give you no account of the Verney family that will not add to the preſent depreſſion of your ſpirits; indeed ſhe cannot, with truth, ſpeak of their ſituation favourably; and, if truth could ſay anything good of Verney, Miſs Waverly ſeems little diſpoſed to repeat it.—She is naturally ſatirical, and hates Verney, to whom ſhe thinks her ſiſter has been ſacrificed; ſo, that whenever they meet, it is with diſpleaſure on her ſide, and with contemptuous indifference on his:—but Fanny, whenever ſhe has an opportunity of ſpeaking of him, takes care that the dark ſhades of his character ſhall have all their force.—Allow, my 2 dear 1182 I7v 182 dear Deſmond, ſomething for this in the account you may, perhaps, hear.—Let me have early intelligence of you I conjure you; and I again beg you to remember, that you may command the preſence, as in any other way, the beſt ſervices of

Your’s moſt faithfully,

E. Bethel.

Let- 1183 I8r 183

Letter XX.

To Mr. Bethel.

I use another hand, my dear friend, to thank you for your letter of the fourteenth, which reached me yeſterday.—Your attentive kindneſs in offering to come to me, I ſhall never forget: though I do not avail myſelf of it, becauſe I know ſuch a journey can be neither convenient or agreeable to you; and becauſe it is in your power, and in yours only, to act for me in England, in an affair on which the tranquility of my mind depends. Tranquillity— without which, the progreſs of my cure will be ſlow; and that ſingle reaſon will, I am perſuaded, be enough to reconcile you in the taſk I now ſolicit you to engage in.

A letter from Miſs Waverly, which I received by the ſame poſt that brought yours, 1 has 1184 I8v 184 has rendered me more than ever wretched.— Good heavens! in what a ſituation is the woman, ſo juſtly adored by your unhappy friend, at a moment when he cannot fly to her aſſiſtance!—She had lain-in only ten days, when her ſiſter wrote to me.—There are two executions in the houſe, one for ſixteen hundred, the other for two thouſand three hundred pounds. Verney is gone, nobody knows whither. And Geraldine, in ſuch a ſituation, has no father, brother, or friend to ſupport her.—Yet the natural dignity of her mind has, it ſhould ſeem, never forſaken her.

A little before her confinement ſhe wrote to thank me for my friendſhip to her brother, and to deplore its conſequences—(Oh, Bethel! for how much more ſuffering would not her tender gratitude overpay me) but of herſelf, of her own uneaſineſs, ſhe ſaid nothing; nor ſhould I have known it but for Fanny Waverly; whom her mother has, at length, ſent to the ſuffering angel, and who has given me a dreadful detail of the ſuppoſed ſituation of Verney’s affairs—I ſay ſuppoſed, becauſe there is nothing certainly known from himſelf; and theſe debts were only diſcovered by the entrance of the ſheriff’s officers. I cannot reſt, my dear Bethel, whilſt Geraldine is thus diſtreſſed. My thoughts are conſtantly employed upon the means of relieving her; but a cripple as I am, and ſo far from England, I muſt depend on you to aſſiſt me.—Since then you were ſo good as to offer to come hither, I hope and believe you will not heſitate to take a ſhorter journey, much more conducive to my repoſe, even than the ſatisfaction of ſeeing you.—Go, I beſeech you, to London—enquire into the nature of theſe debts; 1185 I9r 185 debts; and, at all events, diſcharge them; but concealing carefully at whoſe entreaty you take this trouble; even concealing yourſelf, if it be poſſible—I ſend you an order, on my banker, for five thouſand pounds, and if twice the ſum be wanted to reſtore to Geraldine her houſe, and a little, even tranſient repoſe, I ſhould think it a cheap purchaſe.

Do not argue with me, dear Bethel, about this—but hear me, when I moſt ſolemnly aſſure you, that far from meaning to avail myſelf of any advantage which grateful ſenſibility might give me over ſuch a mind as her’s, it is not my intention ſhe ſhall ever know of the tranſaction; and I entreat you to manage it for me accordingly. While I find her riſe every moment in my eſteem, I know that I am becoming—alas! am already become unworthy hers. —Do not aſk me an explanation; I have ſaid more than I intended—but let it go.—The greateſt favor you can do me, Bethel, is to execute this commiſſion for me as expeditiouſly as poſſible, and it will give you pleaſure to hear, that I am ſo much better than my ſurgeon expected, from the early appearances of my wound, that it is probable I ſhall be able to thank you with my own hand, for the friendly commiſſion I now entreat you to undertake. I am already able to move my fingers, though not to guide a pen. My arm however, is yet in ſuch a ſtate, as renders it very imprudent, if not impoſſible for me, to leave the ſkilful man, who has, contrary to all probability and expectation, ſaved it from amputation; which, at firſt, ſeemed almoſt unavoidable. Montfleuri wiſhes that I may remove to his houſe, in the Lyonois, as a ſort of firſt ſtage towards England; but I have 1186 I9v 186 have been already too much obliged to him, and his ſiſter, Madame de Boiſbelle. He attended me himſelf day and night, while there was ſo much danger, as Mr. Carmichael apprehended, for many days after the accident; and ſince he has been abſent, his ſiſter, has with too much goodneſs given me her conſtant attention.—Montfleuri has been to Paris, and returned only yeſterday. He ſees my uneaſineſs ſince the receipt of Miſs Waverly’s letter— Madame de Boiſbelle too ſees it, and what is worſe, my medical friends perceive it, from the ſtate of my wound; ſo that as it is impoſſible for me, my dear friend, either to conceal or conquer it, my ſole dependence for either peace of mind, or bodily health, is on your friendly endeavours to remove it.

How long, how very long, will the hours ſeem that muſt intervene before I can hear that this is done; and what ſhall I do to beguile them? Montfleuri talks to me of politics, and exults in the hope that all will be ſettled advantageouſly for his country, and without bloodſhed; I rejoice, moſt ſincerely rejoice, in this proſpect, ſo favourable to the beſt intereſts of humanity; but I can no longer enter with eagerneſs into the detail of thoſe meaſures by which it is to be realized.—One predominant ſenſation, excludes for the preſent, all the lively intereſt I felt in more general concerns, and while Mrs. Verney is――but it is not neceſſary, ſurely, to add more on this topic— No, my dear Bethel, you will, on ſuch an occaſion, enter into my feelings from the generoſity of your own heart, and what ever that little touch of miſanthropy, which you have acquired, mymay lead you to think of human natureture 1187 I10r 187 ture in general—you will after my aſſeverations on this ſubject, and I hope, after what you know of me, do juſtice as well to the diſintereſted nature of my love, as to the ſincerity of that friendſhip, with which,

I ever remain, moſt affectionately yours,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1188 I10v 188

Letter XXI.

To Mr. Desmond.

The moment I received your letter, I haſtened from Bath, where I then was, to London; determined to execute your commiſſion to the beſt of my power, though I neither approved it, or knew very well how to ſet about it.―---Do not imagine, however, my dear Deſmond, that I have a mind ſo narrowed by a long converſe with the world, or an heart ſo hardened by too much knowledge of its inhabitants, as to blame the liberality of your ſentiments, or be inſenſible to the pleaſure of indulging them.—But here there is a fatal and inſeparable bar to the ſucceſs of every attempt you can make to befriend Mrs. Verney and her children; and the facility with which Verney finds himſelf delivered from one difficulty, only ſerves to encourage him to plunge into others, till total and irretrievable ruin ſhall overtake him.

I was 1189 I11r 189

I was aware of all the difficulties of the taſk you ſet me; for it was by no means proper that the ſmalleſt ſuſpicion ſhould ariſe as to the quarter from whence the money came that paid off thoſe demands, which muſt otherwiſe have brought all the effects Verney had at his townhouſe to ſale within a very ſhort time.—I have a friend in the law who, to great acuteneſs, adds that moſt rare quality, in an attorney, of ſtrict integrity.—To him I confided the buſineſs, and he has managed it ſo well, that Mrs. Verney is again in an uninterrupted poſſeſſion of her houſe; and believes, as does Verney himſelf, that Mrs. Waverly advanced the money; but keeps it concealed leſt it ſhould ſubject her to future demands. Of the means by which all this was done, I need not enter into a detail— You will be ſatisfied to know it is done, and that the pride and delicacy of Geraldine have not ſuffered.—You will be better pleaſed, perhaps, to hear ſomething of herſelf.—I thought I might call there as an acquaintance; and though I received intelligence at the door, that Mrs. Verney was not well, and ſaw no company but her own family, I ſent up my name, and was immediately admitted.

I found her in her dreſſing-room, ſo pale, ſo languid, ſo changed from the lovely blooming Geraldine of four years ſince, that I beheld her with extreme concern.—Yet however unwilling I am, my friend, to encourage in you the growth of a paſſion productive on all ſides of miſery, I am compelled to own, that this charming woman, in the pride of early beauty, never appeared to me ſo intereſting, ſo truly lovely, as at the moment I ſaw her.—In her lap lay ſleeping the little infant of a month old—The boy of which 1190 I11v 190 which I have heard you ſpeak with ſo much fondneſs, ſat on the carpet at her feet, and the girl on the ſopha by her.—In anſwer to my compliments, ſhe ſaid with a ſweet, yet melancholy ſmile—This is very good indeed, Mr. Bethel, and like an old friend.---How are your two ſweet children—are they in town with you?—It would give me great pleaſure to ſee them.—I anſwered her enquiries about Harry and Louiſa in the uſual way; and ſhe then, with a ſort of anxiety in her manner, for which I could eaſily account, talked for a moment on the common topics of the day; which almoſt unavoidably led me to ſpeak of France.—She ſighed when I firſt named it; and, with a faint bluſh, exclaimed—Ah! Mr. Bethel! how can I think of France without feeling the acuteſt pain, when it inſtantly brings to mind what has ſo lately happened there to our excellent friend, Mr. Deſmond?—A deeper colour wavered for a moment on her cheek; her voice trembled; but ſhe ſeemed, by an effort, to repreſs her emotion, and continued—Were you not a moſt candid and generous minded man, Mr. Bethel, I ſhould fear that you would almoſt hold me in averſion, for having been, however unintentionally, the cauſe of your friend’s very dreadful accident: believe me, nothing in my whole life (and it has not certainly been a fortunate life,) has ever given me ſo much concern as this event. All who love Mr. Deſmond (and there are few young men ſo univerſally and deſervedly beloved) muſt deteſt the very name of thoſe who were the means of hazarding a life ſo valuable, and of expoſing him to ſuffer ſuch pain and confinement; perhaps ſuch laſting inconvenience—for I fearand 1191 I12r 191 and her voice faultered ſo as to become almoſt inarticulate—I fear it is far from being certain that he will ever be reſtored to the uſe of his hand.

That idea ſeemed ſo diſtreſſing to her, that ſhe looked as if ſhe was ready to faint.—I haſtened, you may be aſſured, to relieve her apprehenſions; and aſſured her, that not only your hand would be well, but that you thought yourſelf infinitely overpayed for the inconvenience you had ſuſtained in your rencounter with the Chevalier de St. Eloy, ſince you had been the means of ſaving her brother from a marriage ſo extremely improper: then, to detach her thoughts from what I ſaw they moſt painfully dwelt upon, your hazard and ſufferings, I gave her an account I had learned from Mr. Carmichael In a letter that does not appear. of the family of St. Eloy; and, as I found this ſtill affected her too much, becauſe it excited her gratitude anew, towards you, by whoſe interference Waverly had eſcaped from a connexion with it, I made a tranſition to the affairs of France: and knowing how well ſhe could talk on every ſubject, had a wiſh to draw her out on this.

The little I could obtain from her would have convinced me, had I needed ſuch conviction, of the ſtrength of her underſtanding, and that rectitude of heart, which is ſo admirable and ſo rare. Yet, with all this, there is no preſumption; none of that anxiety to be heard, or that dictatorial tone of converſation that has ſo often diſguſted and repulſed me, in women who either have, or affect to have, a ſuperiority of underſtanding.—Geraldine affects nothing: and, 1192 I12v 192 and, far from appearing ſolicitous to be conſidered as an oracle, ſhe ſaid, with an enchanting ſmile, towards the cloſe of our converſation—I know not how I have ventured, Mr. Bethel, to ſpeak ſo much on a ſubject, which I am very willing to acknowledge, I have had no opportunity of knowing well.—Mr. Verney, you know, is no politician, or if he were, he would hardly deign to converſe on that topic with a woman—for of the underſtandings of all women he has the moſt contemptible opinion; and ſays, that we are good for nothing but to make a ſhew while we are young, and to become nurſes when we are old.—I know that more than half the men in the world are of his opinion; and that by them, what ſome celebrated author has ſaid, is generally allowed to be true—that a woman even of talents is only conſidered by a man with that ſort of pleaſure with which they contemplate a bird who ſpeaks a few words plainly—I believe it is not exactly the expreſſion, but, however, it is the ſenſe of it; and, I am afraid, is the general ſenſe of the world.

I could not forbear interrupting here, to aſſure her that if ſuch an opinion was general, mine was an exception; for that I was convinced, ignorance and vanity were much more fatal to that happineſs which every man ſeeks, or ought to ſeek, when he marries, than that knowledge which has inſidiouſly been called unbecoming in women.—I was going on, for I found myſelf abſolutely unable to quit her, when her huſband and the Lord Newminſter, whom you deſcribed to me at Margate ſome months ſince, entered the room together.

Verney, 1193 K1r 193

Verney, who has naturally a wild, unſettled look, really ſhocked me.—To an emaciated figure and unhealthy countenance, were added the diſguſting appearance of a debauch of liquor not ſlept off; and clothes not ſince changed.—The other man was in even a worſe ſtate; but as he was not married to Geraldine, I looked at him only with pity and diſguſt; while, towards Verney I felt ſomething like horror and deteſtation.

Geraldine turned pale when he was announced; and ſaid, in a low voice, as he came into the room—This is very unexpected, I have ſeen Mr. Verney only once for theſe laſt five weeks—I would have retired, but ſhe added, with an half-ſtifled ſigh—Oh! no! do not go, you hear he has his friend Newminſter with him, and probably will not ſtay five minutes.—But if he ſhould, added ſhe, as if fearing ſhe had ſpoken too much in a tone of regret and complaint—if he ſhould, he will, I am ſure, be happy to ſee his old friend Mr. Bethel.

At this inſtant, Lord Newminſter, followed by Verney, entered.—The former appeared ſtupid from the effects of his laſt night, or rather morning’s carouſal; but Verney, who had juſt heard that the creditors, who had the executions in his houſe, were paid, and the bailiffs withdrawn, was not in a humour to be reſerved, or even conſiderate.—Without ſpeaking to his wife, he ſhook hands with me, and cried— Damme, Bethel, how long is it ſince I ſaw you laſt? I thought you were gone to kingdom come.—Here’s Newminſter and I, we came only laſt night from his houſe in Norfolk.— Damme, we came to raiſe the wind together; Vol. I. K for 1194 K1v 194 for I have had the Philiſtines in my houſe, and be curſed to them, who had laid violent hands on all my goods and chattels, except my wife and her brats; but ſome worthy ſoul, I know not who, has ſent them off.—I wiſh I could find out who is ſo damned generous, I’d try to touch them a little for the ready I want now.

Oh! could you have ſeen the countenance of Geraldine, while this ſpeech was uttering! —ſhe was paler than ever; and was, I ſaw, quite unable to continue in the room—ſhe therefore roſe, and ſaying her little boy was awake, who had continued to ſleep in her lap during our converſation, ſhe walked apparently with very feeble ſteps out of the room; the two other children following her—away with ye all, cried the worthleſs brute their father, there, get ye along to the nurſery, that’s the proper place for women and children.—The look that Geraldine gave him, as ſhe paſſed to the door, which I held open for her, is not to be deſcribed—it was contempt, ſtifled by concern—it was indignation ſubdued by ſhame and ſorrow.—Good morning to you, Mr. Bethel, ſaid ſhe, as ſhe went by me—I know not how to thank you enough for this friendly viſit, or can I ſay how much my obligation will be increaſed, if you will have the goodneſs to repeat it; pray let me ſee you again before you leave London.—I aſſured her I would wait on her with pleaſure; and I felt extremely unhappy as the door cloſed after her, and I ſaw her no more.—

Well, now Bethel, ſaid the huſband, let me talk to you a little; tell me—are not your horſes at Hall’s, at Hyde Park Corner? I anſwered, yes;aye? then you’re the man 1195 K2r 195 man I want;—you’ve got a helliſh clever trotting mare, one of the niceſt things I’ve ſeen a long time;—have you a mind to ſell her?

Certainly no.

I am ſorry for it, for I want juſt ſuch a thing. Don’t you remember a famous trotting galloway I had, two years ago, that I bought at Tatterſal’s, that would go fifteen miles within the hour—I’ve loſt him by a curſed accident, and I want one as ſpeedy—damme, Bethel, I’ll give you a hundred for your little mare, and I’ll be curſ’d if that is not fifty more than ſhe’s worth.

I ſhall not ſell the mare, Mr. Verney, anſwered I, very coldly, ſo let us talk of ſomething elſe.—Pray tell me, what is this ſtory which you touched upon, a little unfeelingly I thought, before your wife, of an execution in your houſe.

An execution—by heaven I’d two, and that old twaddler, mother Waverly, for the firſt time in her life, has done a civil thing, for ſhe paid them off the other day—If my wife had not lain-in though I ſuppoſe, and been ſo much alarmed as they told me ſhe was, ſo that the good old goſſip, was afraid of the conſequences, I believe ſhe’d have ſeen me at the devil before ſhe’d have drawn her purſe-ſtrings; ſo ’twas well timed, and now I only wiſh ſhe’d keep the child, for I’d encumbrances enough of ſmall children before.

Good God, Sir, ſaid I, is it poſſible that having married ſuch a woman as Mrs. Verney, and having ſuch lovely and promiſing children, you can neglect the one, and call the other encumbrances.

K2 “Poh,” 1196 K2v 196

Poh, replied he careleſsly, I don’t neglect her—but children—when one has a houſe full of them, as I think I am likely to have, pull confounded hard; and as to their promiſing, I know nothing that they promiſe, but to grow up, to pull harder ſtill, and find out that I am in their way before I have any mind to relinquiſh the enjoyments of this life.

Why then, ſince you muſt have been aware of all theſe contingencies, did you marry?

Why what a ſenſeleſs queſtion! becauſe I was a green-horn, drawn in by a pretty face, and a fine figure. The old woman, her mother, had the art of Jezebel, and I was a raw boy from College, and fancied it very knowing to marry a girl that all the young fellows of my acquaintance reckoned ſo confounded handſome; beſides, a man muſt marry at ſome time or other.

That, ſaid the Peer, who ſeemed ſuddenly awaked from his ſtupor, by a poſition ſo contrary to his ſentiments—that I deny—’tis a damned folly, and nobody in his ſenſes will commit it. He then talked in a manner too groſs, and too offenſive, for me to repeat upon paper; and concluded with expreſſing his pity for poor Verney; and proteſting, that for his own part, though he ſaw half the faſhionable girls in town angling for him, he ſhould keep his neck out of ſuch a damned yoke.

I repreſſed the contempt and indignation which it was impoſſible to help feeling; and addreſſing the illuſtrious orator—It is unfortunate, my Lord, ſaid I, that theſe are your ſentiments, ſince by them, the world is likely to be deprived of the worth you might tranſmit for 1197 K3r 197 for its general benefit, and your country, in particular, of talents, which might adorn its legiſlature.—Your Lordſhip’s cotemporariescontemporaries muſt, I am ſure, reflect with concern on the little proſpect there thus remains, that your virtues and abilities will not deſcend to dignify the future annals of the Britiſh ſenate.

Oh! the devil may take the Britiſh ſenate for me, anſwered he, I never put my head into it, but when I am ſent for on ſome points that there are doubts about; and then, indeed, I go, if miniſtry deſire it: but otherwiſe, I don’t care a curſe for their damned politics.— As long as I keep up the reverſion of the ſinecures my father got for me, and two or three little ſnug additions I’ve had given me ſince for the borough intereſt I’m able to carry them; not one ſingle guinea do I care for their parties or their projects.—Then ſuddenly diſmiſſing the ſubject, this hereditary patriot turned to his friend Verney and ſaid—Well, but Dicky boy, what’s the hour—as you’ve paid your humble duty to Madam, ſhould we not be off? —I’ve ordered my horſes to be at my own door at ſix, and I have promiſed Caversfield to be with him at half paſt ſeven to dinner—We muſt not bilk him, as he has made the party on purpoſe for us. I am ready, replied Verney, for I ſhall not dreſs at home. He then aroſe, as if he was going, but Miſs Waverly, who had been out the former part of the morning, now entered, and while I ſpoke to her, Mr. Verney called to his ſervant to give him ſome directions about his clothes, and Lord Newminſter ſtretched himſelf on the ſopha and went very compoſedly to ſleep.

To 1198 K3v 198

To any young woman, however ſlight may be her pretenſions, the marked neglect of a man of Lord Newminſter’s age is uſually ſufficiently mortifying; but to Fanny Waverly, who has been accuſtomed to exceſſive flattery and adulation ever ſince ſhe left the nurſery, this rude inattention muſt have appeared inſupportably inſulting, and I forgave the little aſperity there was in her manner, when ſhe ſaid to me with a ſmile of indignant contempt, and pointing to Newminſter, who was, I really believe, in a ſound ſleep—An admirable ſpecimen of the manners of a modern man of faſhion.

Verney, who had been giving directions to his ſervant at the door of the room, now returned to it—Aha! little Fanny, ſaid he, are you there?—How doſt do, child?—Hohoop, hohoop, Newminſter, it is time to go, my lad —come, let us be off.

Have you ſeen your wife, Sir? ſaid Miſs Waverly very gravely—Yes, my dear Miſs Frances, replied he in a drawling tone of mimickry, I have ſeen my wife, looking for all the world like Charity and her three children over the door of an hoſpital.—

She ſhould not only look Charity, retorted Fanny ſmartly, but feel it, or ſhe would never be able to endure your monſtrous behaviour.

Pretty pettiſh little dear, cried he how this indignation animates your features—Anger, Miſs Fanny, renders you abſolutely piquant— My wife now—my grave, ſolemn, ſage ſpouſe, is not half ſo agaçant with her charity and all her virtues.

“That 1199 K4r 199

That ſhe poſſeſſes all virtues, Sir, muſt be her merit ſolely, for never woman had ſo poor encouragement to cheriſh any—When one conſiders that ſhe ſuffers you, her charity cannot be doubted: her faith, in relying upon you, is alſo exemplary; and one laments that ſo connected, ſhe can have nothing to do with Hope

Fanny Waverly then left the room, and as I was going before ſhe came in, I now bowed ſlightly to the two friends and went out at the ſame time.—When we came into the next room ſhe ſtopped, and would have ſpoke, but her heart was full—ſhe ſat down, took out her handkerchief, and burſt into tears.

I beg your pardon, Mr Bethel, ſaid ſhe, ſobbing, but I cannot command myſelf, when I reflect on the ſituation of my poor ſiſter and her children; when I meet that unfeeling man, and know, too well, what muſt be the conſequence of his conduct.

She was prevented by her emotion from proceeding, and I took that opportunity of ſaying, There is nothing new I hope, my dear Miſs Waverly? nothing, juſt at this moment, to give you deeper concern, or more uneaſy apprehenſions for Mrs. Verney?

Oh! no, replied ſhe, nothing very new—ſince the two executions which have been here this fortnight, cannot be called very recent circumſtances; they were paid off by I know not what means; and the officers who were in poſſeſſion of the effects, diſmiſſed only yeſterday, yet to-day this unhappy man returns; and returns with an avowed intention, as his confidential ſervant has been ſaying below, to raiſe more money. Oh! Mr. Bethel, could you imagine all 1200 K4v 200 all my ſiſter has endured in this frightful period, during which ſhe has only once ſeen her huſband—could you imagine what ſhe has endured, and have witneſſed the fortitude, the patience, the courage ſhe has ſhewn, while ſuffering not only pain and weakneſs, but all the horrors of dreading the approach of ruin for her children! you would have ſaid, that the remembrance of that perſonal beauty, for which ſhe has been ſo celebrated, was loſt and eclipſed in the admiration raiſed by her underſtanding.

In my ſhort conference with her, anſwered I, all this was indeed viſible, and could not eſcape the obſervation of one already impreſſed with the higheſt opinion of your ſiſter from the report of Mr. Deſmond.

At the name of Deſmond, a deep bluſh overſpread the face of the fair Fanny. Not ſuch as that which wavered for a moment on the faded cheek of her lovely ſiſter, when the blood, for a moment, forſaking the heart, was recalled thither by a conſciouſneſs that it ſhould not expreſs too warmly the ſentiments that ſent it forth—Fanny’s bluſh ſpoke a different, though not leſs expreſſive language, and the tears that were trembling in her eyes, were a moment checked while ſhe claſped her hands together, and cried eagerly—Deſmond!— Oh! how I adore the very name of Deſmond! —To him—to your noble friend it is owing, Mr. Bethel, that while I lament the fate of a ſiſter, I do not weep over the equally miſerable deſtiny of a brother.

I have ſeen Fanny Waverly in the ball-rooms at Bath admired by the men, and envied by the women; and, with all the triumphant conſciouſneſs of beauty, enjoying the voluntary and involun- 1201 K5r 201 involuntary tribute thus paid to her; but I never till now thought her ſo handſome, for I never till now thought her intereſting—So much more attraction does unaffected ſenſibility lend to perſonal perfection, than it acquires from the giddy fluttering airs, inſpired by ſelfiſh vanity—Yes, indeed, my friend, Fanny Waverly is a very charming young woman, and I was ſo much pleaſed with every thing ſhe ſaid of you, and of her own family during the reſt of our ſhort converſation, that I have ſince indulged myſelf in fancying that it is not at all impoſſible for you to transfer to her the affection, which while you feel it for her ſiſter, cannot fail to render you unhappy, and which, perhaps, may be attended with fatal conſequences to the object of your love.—If your attachment to Geraldine is really as pure and diſintereſted as you have often called it, it might equally exiſt were you the huſband of her ſiſter, and ſuch an alliance would put it much more in your power than it can ever be otherwiſe, to befriend and aſſiſt her and her children—But I know this is an affair in which you will tell me the heart is not to be commanded, and therefore I will no longer dwell upon it, than to repeat, that were you to ſee Fanny Waverly now, you would think her not inferior to her ſiſter in perſonal beauty, (though I own it is of a different character,) and you would be convinced that ſhe is not as you once believed, deſtitute of that feminine tenderneſs, without which I agree with you, that mere beauty is powerleſs.

And now, my dear Deſmond, let me ſpeak of the thick-coming fancies, with which you ſo ſtrangely tormented yourſelf at Hauteville—I have been ſo much alarmed by your K5 accident 1202 K5v 202 accident ſince, and have had ſo many ſubjects on which to think and write, that I have not touched upon your dream, which you ſurely are not ſuperſtitious enough to dwell upon— You, who are ſo little ſubject to the indulgence of prejudice, and who are not unfrequently ridiculing others for being too deeply impreſſed With all the nurſe and all the prieſt has taught. But why is it that the ſtrongeſt minds—thoſe who dare examine whatever is offered to them with acute reaſon, and who reject all, however it may be ſanctioned by cuſtom, or rendered venerable by time, that reaſon refuſes to accede to, ſhall yet ſink under the influence of images impreſſed on the brain by a diſturbed digeſtion, or a quickened circulation? Alas! my friend, there appears to be a ſtrange propenſity in human nature to torment itſelf, and as if the phyſical inconveniencies with which we are ſurrounded in this world of ours were not enough, we go forth conſtantly in ſearch of mental and imaginary evils—This is no where ſo remarkable as among thoſe who are in what we call affluence and proſperity—How many of my acquaintance who have no wiſh, which it is not immediately in their power to gratify, ſuffer their imaginations to play ſuch tricks with them, (I uſe an expreſſion of Dr. Johnſon’s, whoſe imagination was ſurely not exempt from the charge) that they are really more unhappy and more truly objects of compaſſion than the labourer, who lives only to work, and works only to live?—I do not however, my dear friend, mean to ſay, that you are one of theſe— Your active ſpirit and feeling heart, ſecures you 1203 K6r 203 you for ever againſt this palſy of the mind—but perhaps, from the charge of indulging other extravagancies, you are not wholly exempt— This attachment to Mrs. Verney, which has given a peculiar colour to your life for three years, and which you ſtill cheriſh as if your exiſtence were to become inſipid without it, is ſurely a weakneſs and an impropriety, which ſuch an underſtanding as yours ought to ſhake off.—But I will ſay no more on a topic that is, I know, irkſome to you, and indeed, I am too apt to offer advice to thoſe I eſteem, without ſufficiently conſidering, that we none of us love to take what we are all ſo eager to give—I cannot however, drop the ſubject without remarking, that when in the ſame letter you deſcribe your reflections on the puerility and inconſequence of the objects that mankind are ſo anxiouſly occupied in obtaining, and in the next page relate the terrors occaſioned by a dream, the fainteſt ſhadow of thoſe fleeting ſhades, which it ſeems ſo abſurd to be moved by; I can only repeat, as one is continually compelled to do—Alas! poor human nature!

You have obliged me very much by the ſketches you have ſent me of the people you have converſed with, and the ſcenes to which you have been witneſs.—In anſwer to your remarks and narratives, I obſerve, that it is an incontrovertible truth allowed even by thoſe who have written profeſſedly againſt it, that a revolution in the government of France was abſolutely neceſſary; and, that it has been accompliſhed at leſs expenſe of blood, than any other event, I will not ſay of equal magnitude, (for I know of none ſuch in the annals of mankind) but of ſuch a nature, ever coſt before, is alſo 1204 K6v 204 alſo a poſition that the hardeſt prejudice muſt, in deſpite of miſrepreſentations, allow; but while I contemplate, with infinite ſatisfaction, this great and noble effort for the univerſal rights of the human race, I behold, with aprehenſion and diſquiet, ſuch an hoſt of foes ariſe to render it abortive, that I hardly dare indulge thoſe hopes in which you are ſo ſanguine, that uncemented by blood, the noble and ſimply majeſtic temple of liberty will ariſe on the ſcite of the barbarous ſtructure of gothic deſpotiſm.

To ſay nothing of thoſe doubts which have ariſen from the want of unanimity and ſteadineſs among thoſe who are immediately entruſted with its conſtruction, I reflect with fear on the force that is united to impede its completion, or deſtroy it when complete. Not only all the deſpots of Europe, from thoſe dealers in human blood, the petty princes of Germany, to the ſanguinary witch of all the Ruſſias, but the governments, which are yet called limitted monarchies, and even thoſe which ſtill paſs as republics—in every one of theſe the governments, will we know, pay the venal pen, and the mercenary ſword againſt it—ſome openly; the others as far as they dare, without rouſing, too dangerouſly, the indignation of their own ſubjects —In all theſe ſtates, there are great bodies of people, whoſe intereſt, which is what wholly decides their opinion, is diametrically oppoſite to all reform, and, of courſe, to the reception of thoſe truths which may promote it—Theſe bodies are formed of the ariſtocracies, their relations, dependents, and paraſites, a numerous and formidable phalanx—Hierarchies, whoſe learning and eloquence are naturally exerted in a cauſe 1205 K7r 205 cauſe which involves their very exiſtence. An immenſe number of placemen and penſioners, who ſee that the diſcuſſion of political queſtions, leads inevitably to ſhew the people the folly and injuſtice of their paying by heavy taxes for imaginary and non-exiſting ſervices—Crowds of lawyers, who, were equal juſtice once eſtabliſhed, could not be enriched and ennobled by explaining what they have themſelves continued to render inexplicable—And laſt, not leaſt, a very numerous deſcription of people, who, being from their participation of theſe emoluments, from family poſſeſſions, or from ſucceſsful commerce, at eaſe themſelves, indolently acquieſce in evils which do not affect them, and who, when miſery is deſcribed, or oppreſſion complained of, ſay, What is all this to us, we ſuffer neither? and why ſhould we be diſturbed for thoſe who do?Chi ben ſta, non ſi mouve, Thoſe who are well ſituated deſire not to move. ſays the Italian proverb.—In ſhort, my friend, I do not, as ſome politicians have affected to do, doubt the virtue of the French nation, and ſay they are too corrupt to be regenerated—I doubt rather that European ſtates in general, will not ſuffer them to throw off the corruption, but unite to perpetuate to them what they either do ſubmit to, or are willing to ſubmit to themſelves—I rather fear, that liberty having been driven away to the new world, will eſtabliſh there her glorious empire—and to Europe, ſunk in luxury and effeminacy—enervated and degenerate Europe will return no more.

Let me, dear Deſmond, hear ſoon from your own hand, that you are content with the ſucceſsceſs 1206 K7v 206 ceſs of my negotiation, and with this long account of thoſe for whom you are intereſted.— Let me learn alſo your future deſigns, as to returning to England, or ſtaying on the Continent, and above all, that you continue to believe me, with ſincere attachment,

Your’s, affectionately,

E. Bethel.

Continue, I beg of you, to write by another hand till you can uſe your own, and let me have the ſketches of ſuch converſation as you may have during your convaleſcence—I mean thoſe on political or general topics, and not, of courſe, the more refined and ſentimental dialogues which you may hold with Madame de Boiſbelle—By the way, I do not quite underſtand what you mean by ſaying in your laſt letter, that you become every day more unworthy the eſteem of GeraldineYou ſurely think very humbly of yourſelf.

Let- 1207 K8r 207

Letter XXII.

The firſt letter I was able to write, was to Geraldine—This, my dear Bethel, is the ſecond; and it is with extreme pleaſure I thank you for your immediate attention to my requeſt, and the propriety with which you ſeem to have conducted ſo troubleſome a commiſſion—I thank you too for your long letter, and the account, painful as it is, of the ſcene you ſaw at Verney’s —Gracious heaven! why is it, that ſuch a cruel ſacrifice was ever made? But I dare not truſt myſelf on this ſubject, and have made an hundred reſolutions never to mention it more; yet, how avoid writing on what conſtantly occupies my mind?—how diſmiſs from thence, even for a moment, what weighs ſo heavy on my heart? Let me, however, aſſure you Bethel, that though I have no hope, I had almoſt ſaid no wiſh, ever to be more to this lovely, injured woman, than a fond, affectionate brother— yet, that I will never marry Fanny Waverly. I believe 1208 K8v 208 I believe that the advantageous picture you have drawn of her is not a flattering one—I admire her perſon, and think well of her underſtanding —The ſymptoms of ſenſibility and of attachment to her ſiſter which you diſcovered in her, certainly add thoſe attractions to her character, in which, I know not why it appeared to me to be defective—If I had a brother whom I loved, and whom I wiſhed to ſee happily married, it would be to Fanny Waverly I ſhould wiſh to direct his choice—But for myſelf— No, Bethel, it is now out of the queſtion; we will ſpeak of it then no more; but I will haſten to thank you for thoſe parts of your long and welcome letter that were meant to detach my thoughts from thoſe ſources of painful and fruitleſs regret, which I am, perhaps, too fond of cheriſhing—Fain, very fain would I ſhake them off, my friend, but I cannot—nay, I am denied the conſolation of talking to you on paper of all I feel—I have often been very unhappy, but I never was quite ſo wretched as I am at this moment. My anxiety for the fate of Geraldine tears me to pieces, and I cannot return to England immediately, where I ſhould, at leaſt, be relieved from the long and inſupportable hours of ſuſpence which the diſtance now obliges me to undergo—If I could not ſee her, at leaſt I could hear once or twice a week of her ſituation, and might, perhaps, be ſo fortunate as to ward off ſome of thoſe miſfortunes to which from her huſband’s conduct ſhe is hourly expoſed. Do not, however, be alarmed on account of my health; I believe I could now travel without any hazard, but there are circumſtances which render it difficult for me to quit this part of France immediately.— My friend Montfleuri preſſes me extremely to return 1209 K9r 209 return for ſome time to his houſe, and I once propoſed doing ſo, but now I cannot do that, but ſhall, I believe, as ſoon as I am quite well enough to be diſmiſſed from the care of Mr. Carmichael, go by ſlow journies towards Switzerland, and from thence to Italy—This, however, depends upon events; and you will ſee by the manner in which this is written, that I do not at preſent boaſt of ſo perfect a reſtoration to health as to make any immediate determination neceſſary.

I perfectly agree with you in the ſtatement you have made of thoſe cauſes which has made many of the Engliſh behold the French revolution with reluctance, and even abhorrence.—To thoſe cauſes you might have added the miſrepreſentations that have been ſo induſtriouſly propagated; all the tranſient miſchief has been exaggerated; and we have in the overcharged picture loſt ſight of the great and permanent evils that have been removed—All the good has been concealed or denied, and the former government, which we uſed to hold in abhorrence, has been ſpoken of with praiſe and regret—This is by no means wonderful, when we conſider how many among ourſelves are afraid of enquiry, and tremble at the idea of innovation—How many of the French, with whom we converſe in England, are avanturiers, who ſeize this opportunity to avail themſelves of imaginary conſequence, and deſcribe themſelves as men ſuffering for their loyal adherence to their king; and as having loſt their all in the cauſe of injured loyalty— We believe and pity them, taking all their lamentable ſtories for granted—whereas the truth is, that no property has been forcibly taken from its poſſeſſors—none is intended to be taken —and 1210 K9v 210 —and theſe men who deſcribe themſelves as robbed, had, many of them, nothing to loſe— Half the Engliſh, however, who hear of thoſe fictitious diſtreſſes, are intereſted in having them credited, and cry Theſe are the bleſſed effects of a revolution!—Theſe private injuries ariſe from the raſhneſs and folly of touching the ſettled conſtitution of a country!—While others, too indolent to aſk even the ſimple queſtion— Is this true?—are the individuals thus injured? ſhrink into themſelves, and ſay, Well! I am ſure we have reaſon to be thankful that there is no ſuch thing among us.

But though I have long been thoroughly aware, both of the intereſted prejudice, and indolent apathy, which exiſts in England. I own I never expected to have ſeen an elaborate treatiſe in favor of deſpotiſm written by an Engliſhman, who has always been called one of the moſt ſteady, as he undoubtedly is one of the moſt able of thoſe who are eſteemed the friends of the people—You will eaſily comprehend that I allude to the book lately publiſhed by Mr. Burke, which I received three days ſince from England, and have read once.

I will not enter into a diſcuſſion of it, though the virulence as well as the miſrepreſentation with which it abounds, lays it alike open to ridicule and contradiction—Abuſive declamation can influence only ſuperficial or prepoſſeſſed underſtanding—Thoſe who cannot, or who will not ſee, that fine ſounding periods are not arguments—that poetical imagery is not matter of fact. I foreſee that a thouſand pens will leap from their ſtandiſhes (to parody a ſublime ſentence of his own) to anſwer ſuch a book—I foreſee that will call forth all the talents that are 1211 K10r 211 are yet unbought (and which, I truſt, are unpurchaſeable) in England, and therefore I rejoice that it has been written, ſince, far from finally injuring the cauſe of truth and reaſon againſt which Mr. Burke is ſo inveterate, it will awaken every advocate in their defence.

One of the moſt ſtriking of thoſe well-dreſſed abſurdities with which he inſults the underſtanding of his country, is that which forcibly reminds me of the arguments in favor of abſolute power, brought by Sir Robert Filmer in that treatiſe, of which Locke deigned to enter into a refutation—This advocate of unlimited government derives the origin of monarchies from Adam, and aſſerts, that Man, not being born free, could never have the liberty to chuſe either governors or forms of government. He carries, however, his notion of this incapacity farther than Mr. Burke; according to him, man, in general, having been born in a ſtate of ſervitude ſince Adam, can never in any caſe have had a right to chuſe in what way he would be governed—Mr. Burke ſeems to allow that ſome ſuch right might have exiſted among Engliſhmen, previous to the year 16881688, but that then they gave it up for themſelves and their poſterity for ever.

It was mightily the faſhion when I left England, for the enemies of the revolution in France, to treat all that was advanced in its favor, as novelties—as the flimſy ſpeculations of unpractiſed politicians—or the artful miſrepreſentations of men of deſperate fortunes and wild ambition.——Precedent, however, which ſeems gaining ground, and uſurping the place of common ſenſe in our courts, may here be united with ſound reaſon—if reaſon be allowed to thoſe 1212 K10v 212 thoſe great men towards whom we have been taught to look with acquieſcence and veneration.

When faſhion, ſays Locke, has once ſanctioned what folly or craft began, cuſtom makes it ſacred, and it will be thought impudence or madneſs to contradict or queſtion it. This impudence and madneſs ſeems by the venal crew, whoſe intereſt it is that no queſtions ſhould ariſe, to be imputed to all who venture to defend the conduct of the patriots ſtruggling for the liberties of France; Mr. Burke now loads them with the imputation, not only of impudence and madneſs, but with every other crime he can imagine, and involves in the ſame cenſure, thoſe of his own countrymen, who have dared to rejoice in the freedom of France, and to ſupport the cauſe of political and civil liberty throughout the world. Now, without committing myſelf to enter into any thing like an argument with ſo redoubtable an adverſary; and with a view ſolely to eſcape the cenſure of broaching novelties, let me quote a ſentence in Locke on Civil Government, which among the few books I have acceſs to, I happen to have procured. In ſpeaking of conqueſt, he ſays,

This concerns not their children, (the children of the conquered) for ſince a father hath not in himſelf a power over the life and liberty of his child, no act of his own can poſſibly forfeit it; ſo that the children, whatever may have happened to the fathers, are free men; and the abſolute power of the conquered reaches no farther than the perſons of the men who were ſubdued by him, and dies with them, and ſhould he govern them as ſlaves, ſubjected to 1213 K11r 213 to his abſolute power, he has no ſuch right of dominion over their children—he can have no power over them but by their own conſent; and he has no lawful authority while force, not choice, compels them to ſubmiſſion.

If conqueſt does not bind poſterity, ſo neither can compact bind it. Mr. Burke does not directly aſſert whatever diſpoſition he ſhews to do ſo, that nothing can be changed or amended in the conſtitution of England, becauſe the family who are now on the throne derive their ſacred right (through a bloody and broken ſucceſſion) from William the baſtard of Normandy; but he maintains, that every future alteration, however neceſſary, is become impoſſible, ſince the compact made for all future generations, between the Prince of Orange, and the ſelf-elected Parliament who gave him the crown in 16881688—So, that if at any remote period it ſhould happen, what cannot indeed be immediately apprehended, that the crown ſhould deſcend to a prince more profligate than Charles the Second, without his wit; and more careleſs of the welfare and proſperity of his people than James the Second, without his piety; the Engliſh muſt ſubmit to whatever burthens his vices ſhall impoſe—to whatever yoke the tyranny of his favourites ſhall inflict, becauſe they are bound by the compact of 16881688, to alter nothing that the conſtitution then framed, bids them and their children ſubmit to ad infinitum.

I have been two days writing this letter, with a weak and trembling hand, I now, therefore, dear Bethel, bid you adieu! I entreat you to write to me as often as poſſible, for if I quit this place, your letters will follow me.—I recommend to you, as the moſt eſſential kindneſs you 1214 K11v 214 you can do me, to attend to that intereſt, which is infinitely dearer to me than my own, and with repeated acknowledgments of all your kindneſs on a thouſand other occaſions, but above all on the laſt. I entreat you ever to believe me

Your’s moſt gratefully and affectionately,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1215 K12r 215

Letter XXIII.

To Mrs. Verney.

I was uneaſy, my dear Siſter, at your not writing, and ſince you have written, I am more uneaſy ſtill. The account you give me of yourſelf and the baby frighten me—Dreary as the ſeaſon is, I now join with you in wiſhing you in the country—I beg your pardon if my frankneſs offends you; but I cannot help ſaying, you know too well, that your huſband really cares not where you are, and will not oppoſe your going if you deſire it, but will, probably, be glad to have you out of the way— My dear Geraldine, it gives me the ſevereſt pain to be compelled to write thus, and to break the injunction you have ſo often laid on me, not to ſpeak my thoughts ſo freely of Verney— Your health is at ſtake, and I forget every thing elſe. After all, what do I ſay, that you have not yourſelf ſaid internally a thouſand times, though your delicate ſenſe of duty (duty to ſuch a man!) 1216 K12v 216 a man!) makes you acquieſce in patient ſilence, under injuries that would have made nineteen women in twenty fly out of his houſe, and play the deuce in abſolute deſperation?—How is it poſſible that you can help being conſcious of your perfections, and of his deſerving them ſo little?—Can you fail to feel, and to compare? —It is impoſſible but that you muſt at That fate repine Which threw a pearl before a ſwine.

There is a quotation from me, which you will allow to be, at leaſt, a novelty. It will hardly, however, procure my pardon for its pertneſs, and therefore, I pray you, my dear Geraldine, to forgive me; or, if you are a little hungry, I will learn to bear it, if you will but exert yourſelf (if exertion be neceſſary) to go into the country and be well.

You do not ſay a word of Mr. Deſmond, and I can think and talk of nobody elſe—In hopes of hearing ſomething of him, I have endured the miſery of long converſation with that odd old animal his uncle Major Danby—The formal twaddler loves to tell long ſtories, and can ſeldom get any body to hear them, unleſs he can ſeize upon ſome ſtranger who does not know him, and theſe becoming every day more ſcarce, he has taken quite a fancy to me, becauſe he finds I liſten to him with uncommon patience, and do not yawn above once in ten minutes. The goſſipping people here (of which heaven knows there are plenty) have already obſerved our tête-à-tête, and begin to whiſper to each other that Miſs Waverly has hook’d the rich old Major—I like of all things that they ſhould believe it, and am in hopes of being in 1 the 1217 L1r 217 the London papers very ſoon, among the treaties of marriage.—What do you think Deſmond would ſay to it?—Do you think he would like ſuch a ſmart young aunt?—Poor fellow!— I have not been able to get at much intelligence about him, and what I have heard is very painful—His uncle has only heard lately, that his health is much impaired by long confinement, and that he is yet unable to travel towards England; but I hope the old croker made the worſt of it to me—He perſiſts in ſaying, that his nephew could not have met with ſuch an accident in England, as if people here did not ſhoot one another every day, for reaſons of much leſs moment, or for no reaſon at all—But though I have attempted, whenever he would hear me, to repreſent this, and to explain and dwell upon the generoſity of Deſmond’s conduct, I have not yet ſucceeded in convincing him, that it was friendſhip to my brother, and not any political matter that involved his nephew in this diſpute—The good Major, indeed, cannot comprehend how friendſhip ſhould lead another to incur danger, for he had never in his life that ſort of feeling, which ſhould make him go half a mile out of his way to ſerve any body. This I have frequently heard from thoſe who knew him as a young man; and I believe ſenſibility and philanthropy are qualities that do not encreaſe with years—He retains now nothing of the ingenuous freedom of the ſoldier, but all the hardneſs which a military life ſometimes gives, and in quitting it, he keeps only the worſt part of a profeſſion, that is ſaid to make bad men worſe—I don’t know why I have ſaid ſo much about him, unleſs it is becauſe I have nothing to ſay of Deſmond, and yet cannot Vol. I. L entirely 1218 L1v 218 entirely quit the ſubject—He provoked me this morning in the pump-room, by ſtanding up, and in his ſharp, loud voice, giving an account, to two or three people that were ſtrangers to him, of the accident that had happened to his nephew in France. An old, upright woman, who was, I immediately ſaw, a titled goſſip, liſtened for ſome time very attentively, and then enquired, in a canting ſort of whine, if the affair had not been owing to the troubles?— The Major, delighted to have a Lady Bab Frightful intereſt herſelf in his ſtory, began it again, and I ran out of the place, half determined, that not even the wiſh I cannot help feeling to hear now and then of Deſmond from him, ſhould tempt me again to enter into converſation with this ſtory-telling old bore.

My mother, who generally agrees to the opinion of her acquaintance, if they happen to be rich, and who is not unwilling to have the obligation Deſmond has laid us all under, lightened by ſuppoſing ſome of the quarrel with the Chevalier de St. Eloy, to have originated in a difference of political opinion, really encourages the Major in his notion, and when they get together, I loſe my patience entirely. To your enquiry, how my mother is in health, I can aſſure you, I have not ſeen her ſo well theſe laſt eighteen months, and ſhe is now ſo often in company, is at ſo many card parties abroad, and has ſo many parties at home, that, without having been much miſſed, I might have ſtaid with you much longer; however, I did what appeared to us to be my duty in returning, and I muſt not regret it, though very certain it is, that all the maternal affections of my mother are more than ever engroſſed by her ſon—She is now 1219 L2r 219 now impatiently expecting his arrival, and queſtioning every body ſhe ſees, about the probable length of his voyage from Leghorn——It is amazing to me, that with all this tenderneſs and anxiety for him, ſhe feels no gratitude, or ſo little, towards the man, without whoſe interpoſition, he would never have returned at all —I alſo wonder it does not occur to her, that it is far from being certain he did embark at Leghorn the time he propoſed to do ſo—For myſelf, I ſhould not be at all ſurprized to hear from him at Rome, nor indeed, to learn that he was again the captive of Mademoiſelle de St. Eloy—Let me not, however, my ſiſter, add anticpitatedanticipated to the real evils with which you ſeem deſtined to contend—All will yet be well—Deſmond will return in perfect health, and brighter days await us. Let me hear from you at leaſt twice a week, and believe me ever, with true affection, your

Fanny.

Letter XXIV.

To Miss Waverly.

I have delayed anſwering your letter, my Fanny, till to-day, though I have been in poſſeſſion of it above a week, languor alone would not have cauſed this omiſſion, but I have been buſied in my little removal to a lodging I have taken here, as Dr. Warren declared it to be neceſſary, both on my own account, and on that of the infant I ſuckle, that I ſhould remove from London. Mr. Verney, I know not why, reſolutely oppoſed my going into Yorkſhire, L2 nor 1220 L2v 220 nor could my entreaties, or the opinion of the phyſician, obtain any other anſwer than that my going thither would be inconvenient to him —I have, alas! no longer the houſe in Kent to which I was ſo attached, and therefore, rather becauſe it is my duty to try to live than becauſe I wiſh to live—rather for the ſake of my poor children than my own—I employed a friend in this neighbourhood to look out for apartments for me, where I could have accommodations for my three children, three ſervants, and myſelf—ſuch he fortunately found in a tolerably pleaſant ſituation, and at a reaſonable price, a conſideration to which I muſt no longer be indifferent.

Small, however, as the difference is, between my living here or in Seymour-ſtreet, and careleſs of my being either at one place or another, as you too juſtly obſerve Mr. Verney to be; I own I remarked, and remarked with redoubled anguiſh of heart, that this additional expence, though pronounced to be abſolutely neceſſary to my exiſtence, and that of his child, is ſubmitted to with reluctance by Mr. Verney —I check myſelf, Fanny—I will not murmur —and I will even reprove you, my ſiſter, for encouraging me in thoſe repinings, which, though I cannot always repreſs, I know it is wrong to indulge—Do not, my love, teach me to yield too eaſily to a ſenſibility of evils, which, ſince they are without remedy, it is better to bear with equality of mind, and with reſignation of heart—Alas! mine is but too apt to feel all the miſeries of its deſtiny—but my children and my duty muſt and ſhall teach me to ſubmit unrepiningly to fulfil the latter, for the ſake of the former—Their innocent ſmiles repay me for many hours of anxiety, and while 1 they 1221 L3r 221 they are well around me, I believe I can bear any thing.

You conclude your letter cheerfully, my Fanny, as if you would diſſipate the concern which the former part of it muſt give me on account of Mr. Deſmond—Alas! the former part is all real, and the latter only the prophetic hope of a ſanguine imagination—Deſmond will return in perfect health, and brighter days await us.—If he ſhould not return, or not return in perfect health!—Amiable as Mr. Deſmond is, and intereſting as he muſt be to every one of his acquaintance, I certainly ſhould not feel ſo extremely anxious about him, (as my ſolicitude for my children, is as much as I am well able to bear) were it not for the unhappy circumſtance that continually haunts me—I mean, that I involved him in this fatal affair, and that whatever ill conſequences finally attend it, will be imputable ſolely to me—It is this, and this only, that renders me more unhappy about him than you or any of his other friends have reaſon to be, however great your regard for him, and it is this, that, if the event ſhould in any way be injurious to him, will overcaſt my days with regret and anguiſh that muſt be all my own, for none can ſhare, becauſe none can feel it as I ſhall—How lightly you can talk, my dear girl, of his uncle, even a moment after naming the intelligence you have collected from him about Deſmond, but you have no reaſon to reproach yourſelf for his misfortune—your heart is not weighed down by any of your own—You cannot, and indeed ought not to look forward as I do, to ſcenes of future ſorrow—long, very long, may it be, before you may be compelled to do it—or, rather, may 1222 L3v 222 may nothing but rich and luxuriant proſpects ever offer themſelves to the eyes of my Fanny.

But I beſeech you to check your vivacity when you meet Mr. Danby, and be content to liſten to his tireſome ſtories a little longer, if liſtening to them is the tax you muſt pay for hearing of his nephew, I could attend to the moſt tedious legend with which ſelf-conſequence ever perſecuted patience, were I but ſure that ſome authentic information, as to the real ſtate of Deſmond’s health, would cloſe the narrative; ſuch information, without any tax being demanded for it, I uſed to obtain from his friend Mr. Bethel, but I have now no means of ſeeing him, as he is gone back to his houſe in Kent, that houſe ſo near the place which I cannot help regretting—Had it not been ſold, I could have gone thither now, I might have ſeen Mr. Bethel continually, he is an excellent man, and is ſo much attached to Deſmond, that it is pleaſant to hear him ſpeak of him, indeed he is the only perſon who does juſtice to thoſe noble qualities of heart and underſtanding that Deſmond ſo eminently poſſeſſes, but of which three parts of the world know not the value.

Yet I know not whether it was only my being myſelf in dreadfully low ſpirits, when I laſt ſaw Mr. Bethel, or whether he was himſelf in a diſtreſſed ſtate of mind, but methought he ſpoke in a very reluctant and deſponding way about Deſmond, though he aſſured me that he was entirely out of danger of any kind from the wound, and that the loſs of the uſe of his hand was no longer apprehended—But I found Mr. Bethel knows nothing certainly of Deſmond’s future intentions; and if he did not deceive me about his health, there is aſſuredly ſome other circum- 1223 L4r 223 circumſtance relating to him that makes Bethel uneaſy—He ſaid much of the friendſhip Monſieur de Montfleuri had ſhewn to Deſmond in attending him, and of his ſiſter too; that Madame de Boiſbelle, who has, it is ſaid, been his nurſe the whole time. I ſuppoſed, when I firſt heard of her attendance on Mr. Deſmond, that ſhe had been a widow, as it ſeemed unlikely ſhe could otherwiſe have been ſufficiently at liberty for ſuch an exertion of friendſhip, but Mr. Bethel informed me ſhe is married, but very unhappily, and that her huſband, a bankrupt both in fame and fortune, is an emigrant, and is either in Germany or EnglandMr. Bethel ſays the lady, who is extremely beautiful, is now entirely dependent on the Marquis de Montfleuri her brother, whom ſhe cannot oblige more than by the attention ſhe has ſhewn to his friend—How fortunate ſhe is in having ſuch a brother, how doubly fortunate in being allowed to ſhew her gratitude to him, by giving her ſiſterly attendance to ſuch a man as Deſmond—Beautiful and accompliſhed as Mr. Bethel deſcribes her to be, methinks I envy her nothing but the opportunity ſhe has had to ſoothe his hours of pain and confinement. I uſed to think once, that Deſmond had a very friendly regard for me, but now, in how different a light he muſt conſider us—I have been the cauſe of his ſufferings—it has been the enviable lot of Madame de Boiſbelle to ſoften and alleviate them—Mr. Bethel ſays he calls her Joſephine—If her good fortune ſhould ſtill prevail, and her huſband ſhould not return from the hazardous exploits in which, it is ſaid, his political principles are likely to engage him, ſhe will, perhaps, become his Joſephine, for I have perſuaded myſelf that his long ſtay in France is now 1224 L4r 224 now more owing to the tender gratitude he muſt feel for this lady, than to any neceſſity he is in, on account of indiſpoſition, to remain there.

And now, my Fanny, indeed, I cannot conclude without availing myſelf of my elderſhip once more, to entreat that you would conſider whether it would not be better to check that flippancy with which you are too apt to accuſtom yourſelf to ſpeak of our mother. Admitting that ſhe has the foibles you repreſent, of courting the rich—of being too partial to her ſon, it is not her children who ſhould point them out to the obſervation and ridicule of others—Believe me, my ſiſter, there is nothing ſo injurious to that delicate ſenſibility which you really poſſeſs, as indulging this petulance —By degrees, it will become habitual, and the little aſperities, which you now give way to only, perhaps, in writing or in ſpeaking to me, will ſoon be ſo much matter of courſe that you will forget their tendency, and be inſenſible of their impropriety—It is true, that I have not lived ſo much longer in the world as to be able to ſpeak from much experience; but, from the little I have ſeen of that world more than you have, I think I may venture to aſſert, that where families are divided among themſelves— I mean, where the father or mother diſagree with the children, or the brothers and ſiſters with each other, there is ſomething very wrong among them all, and I proteſt to you, that were I a man, not beauty, wit, and fortune united, ſhould engage me to marry a woman who ſhewed a want of duty and gratitude towards either of her parents, but particularly towards her mother—Were I madly in love, I am convinced, that any thing like the ridicule of a daughter 1225 L5r 225 daughter ſo directed, would produce a radical and immediate cure.

Here let me drop the ſubject, I hope for ever, and to begin one that, I truſt, will make amends for any little pain this may have inflicted; let me tell you, that ſince I have been here, I have found my health and that of my baby, ſenſibly amend, and that I now hope I ſhall not be compelled to wean him, though I am not happy, though I know I never can be ſo, I have, at leaſt, obtained a tranſient calm. The agitation occaſioned by the late painful events, is gradually, though ſlowly ſubſiding; I can now return to my books with attention leſs diſtracted, and have been reading a deſcription of ſome of the ſouthern parts of Europe, particularly of the Lyonois, &c;—I ſhould like extremely to ſee thoſe accounts which I find Mr. Deſmond ſends to his friend Bethel, becauſe he has ſo much taſte, and is ſo intelligent a traveller—There was no poſſibility you know of aſking in plain terms for this indulgence, I hinted it as much as I dared, though Bethel did not, or perhaps would not underſtand me— But to return to myſelf, and what you would think melancholy, though it is not to me an unpleaſing way of paſſing my time—Dreary as the ſeaſon yet is, I have betaken myſelf to my ſolitary walks in the fields that ſurround this houſe, which, for a ſituation ſo near London, is extremely pleaſant, and quite retired—I find the perfect ſecluſion, the uninterrupted tranquillity I enjoy now, ſoothing to my ſpirits, and of courſe, beneficial to my health, if I do but hear favourable accounts from the continent, and nothing new happens embarraſſing in the pecuniary affairs of Mr. Verney, I ſhall be ſoon reſtored to as cheerful a ſtate as I am now likely L5 ever 1226 L5v 226 ever to enjoy—Aſſiſt the progreſs of my reſtoration, my deareſt Fanny, by frequent letters, ſince I cannot have the delight of your company, and cheer with your vivacity, which I love (even in reproving its wildeſt ſallies.)

Your affectionate

Geraldine.

I had but juſt ſealed my letter, when a pacquet was brought me from Deſmond himſelf— Yes, my Fanny, a letter written with his own hand, and not with ſo much apparent weakneſs as one would imagine—I hope there is nothing improper in the exceſſive pleaſure this letter gives me—Gratitude can ſurely never be wrong, or if it can be carried to exceſs, its exceſs is here pardonable—I know not what I would ſay, my ſpirits are ſo fluttered—This welcome letter has been very long in coming, I will ſend you a copy of it in a poſt or two—Heaven bleſs you, my Fanny.

Letter XXV.

To Mr. Desmond.

I was in hopes, my dear Deſmond, that long before this, I ſhould have ſpoken to you once more in England, inſtead of directing to you in Switzerland. Your letter of the 1791-01-3030th January, Which does not appear. bade me ſanguinely hope this, I therefore forbore to write; but inſtead of ſeeing you reſtored to health, to tranquillity, and your country, I receive a melancholy letter from the pays de Vaud—Yet you aſſure me that your 1227 L6r 227 your arm no longer reminds you of your accident, and I truſt to your aſſurances, as well as to the evidence of your handwriting—You tell me alſo, that your health is much amended, why then, my friend, this extraordinary depreſſion of ſpirits?—I own I am made uneaſy, extremely uneaſy, in obſerving it, and cannot help lamenting that your time, your talents, and your temper, are thus waſted and deſtroyed —Is it, that this fatal paſſion ſtill obſcures your days? or is there, as indeed I ſtrongly ſuſpect, is there ſome other ſource of uneaſineſs more recent, to which I am a ſtranger? It has been a rule with me, even while you were, in ſome meaſure, under my guardianſhip, never, dear Deſmond, to intrude upon you with officious enquiries, nor to aſk more of your confidence than you choſe to give me—Friendſhip, like the ſervice of heaven, ſhould be perfect freedom; yet forgive me, if for once I intrude upon your reſerve with curioſity that ariſes ſolely from my regard for you—Is there in this any circumſtance, the pain of which I can remove? if there is, I will be ſatisfied with ſuch a partial communication as may enable me to be of uſe to you, without enquiring into particulars you may wiſh to conceal.

I ſend you, with other books, one that now engroſſes all the converſation of this country, which, from its boldneſs and ſingularity alone, and, written as it is, by an obſcure individual, Paine. calling himſelf the ſubject of another government, could never have attracted ſo much attention, or have occaſioned to the party whoſe principles it decidedly attacks, ſuch general alarm, if there had not been much ſound ſenſe in it, however bluntly delivered—As I had ratherther 1228 L6v 228 ther hear your opinion of it, than give you my own, I will leave the diſcuſſion of politics, to tell you of what paſſes among your acquaintance—This neighbourhood is almoſt wholly occupied by the improvements which Sir Robert Stamford is making at Linwell, the place ſo regretted by Mrs. Verney—The beautiful little wood which overſhadowed the clear and rapid rivulet, as it haſtens through theſe grounds to join the Medway, has been cut down, or at leaſt a part of it only has been ſuffered to remain, as what he calls a collateral ſecurity againſt the north-eaſt wind, to an immenſe range of forcing and ſucceſſion houſes, where not only pines are produced, but where different buildings, and different degrees of heat, are adapted to the ripening cherries in March, and peaches in April, with almoſt every other fruit out of its natural courſe—The hamadryades, to whom I remember, on your firſt acquaintance with the Verney family, you addreſs ſome charming lines of poetry, becauſe it was under their protection you firſt beheld Geraldine; the hamadryades are driven from the place which is now occupied by culinary deities—The water now ſerves only to ſupply the gardeners, or to ſtagnate in ſtews for the fattening of carp and tench; heaps of manure pollute the turf, and rows of reed fences divide and disfigure thoſe beautiful grounds, that were once lawns and coppices—Every thing is ſacrificed to the luxuries of the table; and the country neighbours, though many of them poſſeſſed the uſual elegancies and ſuperfluities of modern life before, are compelled to hide their diminiſhed heads, when Sir Robert Stamford gives an entertainment—Riches, however, unworthily acquired, are a ſure paſſport to the mouth honor, not only 1229 L7r 229 only of the common herd of thoſe who are called gentlemen and ladies, but to the titled and the high born, who, while they court newriſen opulence, envy, and yet deſpiſe the upſtart who has obtained it—I never meet this great man myſelf, as our former connections, and our preſent eſtrangement, are ſo generally known, that we are never invited together, but he is almoſt always the ſubject of diſcourſe, at parties where I do go, and always ſpoken of with wonder; for hardly a week paſſes in which ſome new improvement in luxury does not excite admiration at his boundleſs expence, which, from ſuch a man, is ſuppoſed to be ſupported by a great fortune, for, as he has raiſed himſelf, it ſeems unlikely that he ſhould ſo little underſtand the value of money, as to ſquander it thus profuſely, if he had not a great deal of it. To thoſe, who are more in the ſecret, all this ought not perhaps to be wonderful; yet, though I know the very extent of Stafmord’sStamford’s abilities, and know that he has nothing like eminent talents, though perhaps an acute and active mind; I have, I own, now and then been tempted to wonder at his extraordinary and rapid riſe, and have joined the old ladies, who talk him over, in pronouncing him a wonderfully lucky man— When I hear of the oſtentation with which he diſplays thoſe acquiſitions, which are beyond the reach of others—When I am told, that men of the firſt rank come to eat his good things, and praiſe his ſkill in collecting them—When I learn that the Miniſter ſends for him expreſs, and that no reſolution of importance is adopted without conſulting him—And recollect how very few years are paſſed ſince he was a country AtrorneyAttorney, and rode more miles for half-acrowncrown 1230 L7v 230 crown than a poſtillion—I cannot always repreſs a degree of aſtoniſhment, and ſay. We know the thing is neither new nor rare, But wonder how the devil it got there! Pope

It is pleaſant enough to hear the converſation that ſometimes paſs about this man at the dinner and tea tables—The awe that the ſuperiority of riches creates, repreſſes the malignity that envy engenders, though with ſo much difficulty repreſſes it, that it is every moment obliquely appearing—For my own part, I regard this man with ſo much contempt, that the only pain I now feel from his reſiding in my immediate neighbourhood, ariſes from my regret for the loſs of Mrs. Verney, whoſe ſociety indeed, I had not learned to reliſh when I was deprived of it. This confeſſion is imprudent, perhaps, my friend, and encouraging that unhappy prepoſſeſſion which I have always blamed, but truth extorts it from me, and the more I ſee of the uſual dull round of country viſits and country converſation, the more I regret the time, when I was ſure to find at Linwell, a woman, who, to the ſoftneſs of manners of her own ſex, unites a ſtrength of underſtanding, which we believe peculiar to ours, and who, with ſo capable a head, has a heart ſo admirably tender —You will be alarmed, perhaps, Deſmond, at the warmth of my panegyric, and fancy, that in endeavouring to cure you, I have myſelf caught the infection—But be at peace, my friend, on that ſcore—though Geraldine, in the two laſt converſations I had with her, has made me a ſincere convert to an aſſertion of your’s, which I uſed to deny, that he, who has once ſeen and loved her, could never diveſt himſelf of his attachment, yet, I am no longer liable 1231 L8r 231 liable to feel this fatal infatuation in the exceſs you do, and am only ſenſible of ſuch regard for her, as a father or brother might feel—I own, that even the depreſſion of ſpirit which her unhappy marriage occaſions, is not without its charms—but when I ſee her ſtruggling to palliate what he will not allow her to conceal, the wild abſurdities and ruinous follies of her huſband—when I ſee her mild endurance of injuries, and that her patience and ſweetneſs are vainly endeavouring To ſpread A guardian glory round her ideot’s head. Hayley.

I feel reſpect bordering on adoration, and ſet her above Octavia, or any of the fair examples in ancient ſtory—Yes! my dear Deſmond, I not only acquit you of folly, but have more than once caught myſelf building for your delightful chateaux en Eſpagne, which, however, I will not feed your ſick fancy by ſketching, for Verney’s life, notwithſtanding its irregularities, is a very good one, and it were therefore much wiſer in me to direct your thoughts to the former and more rational advice I gave you, when I expreſſed my hopes, that you might in time carry your affections to the very lovely and animated Fanny Waverly, who, if I am any judge of the female heart, from the countenance, and the manner, would not let you deſpair, and who, as ſhe is very far from ſuſpecting your partiality to her ſiſter, perhaps, puts down to her own account the extraordinary exertions of friendſhip which you have made for her family, in becoming the travelling friend of her brother.

I do not hear that Waverly has yet made his appearance in England, though I have enquired of ſeveral of my acquaintance, who are lately come 1232 L8v 232 come from Bath, and who tell me that his mother, Mrs. Waverly, is diſtreſſed by his long delay, and the uncertainty of what is become of him; that ſhe is compelled to have a party with her all day, who engage her at cards, in order to detach her mind from this inſupportable anxiety—Fortunate reſource!—How theſe good folks are to be envied, who can, in tranquillity ſolace, in affliction, conſole themſelves with a rubber! A bleſſing on him, quoth Sancho, who firſt invented the thing called ſleep, it covers a man over like a cloak—A bleſſing, ſay I, on him who firſt invented thoſe two-and-fifty ſquares of painted paper—They blunt the arrows of affliction, and reconcile man to his lot. Cowper.

While the elder lady of the Waverly family is thus diverting the pangs of maternal diſquietude, and the younger trying to think leſs of a certain ſentimental wanderer, by flirting, to uſe her own phraſe, with all the ſmarteſt men at Bath, who aſſiduouſly ſurround her—Geraldine remains in perfect retirement at a lodging near Richmond, with her children, and only two ſervants—ſhe has no carriage with her, and never goes out butt obut to walk with her little ones; and having, wiſely, declined all viſitors, ſhe has not, I hope, yet learned that all Verney’s town-carriages and horſes, except only a poſtchaiſe, which ſomebody re-purchaſed for him, are lately ſold—He is himſelf gone into Yorkſhire, whither he abſolutely refuſed to ſuffer her to go, when country air was preſcribed for her health, and it is reported, and I fear with truth, that he has eſtabliſhed an hunt there, of which he bears the greateſt ſhare of the expence, though it is ſaid to be at the joint charge of himſelf, 1233 L9r 233 himſelf, Lord Newminſter, and Sir James Deybourne. The arrangement at Mooreſly Park, is ſaid (and ſtill I believe with too much foundation) to conſiſt of three of the moſt celebrated courtezans, who are at this time the moſt faſhionable, and of courſe, the moſt expenſive—Every one of theſe illuſtrious perſonages apppropriating one of theſe ladies for the time of their reſidence. This has been going on ever ſince the month of January, and is to end only with the hunting ſeaſon—You will wonder, perhaps, how I got at all this intelligence, but my ſolicitude for Geraldine conquers the diſlike I have to enter into that ſort of converſation which is called goſſipping, and I happen to have an acquaintance at W―, a ſpinſter, ſomewhat paſſed the bloom of life, and who, very much againſt her inclinations, has hitherto remained unſapped by careſſes, unbroken in upon by tender ſalutations, Sterne. but, though without fortune, ſhe is of a good family, and being allied to ſome great people, and having contrived to make herſelf uſeful to others, ſhe is received alternately at ſeveral faſhionable houſes, where ſhe flatters the lords and ladies; ſits with the young miſſes while their maſters are with them; and reads aloud to the blind or ſick dowager, who loves a newſpaper or a novel; but though ſhe is thus three parts of the year among her illuſtrious friends, ſhe chuſes always to reſerve a home, which happens to be a ſmall, neat lodging at W―, where ſhe has been many years an occaſional inhabitant.

Now it chanced, that when firſt Geraldine was married, and came a lovely, blooming creature of eighteen into this neighbourhood, this 1234 L9v 234 this Miſs Elford, was among her earlieſt viſitors.—It is ſaid, that a young and handſome married woman is generally an object of diſlike to ladies who are Withering on the virgin thorn, In ſingle bleſſedneſs. Shakeſpeare. but Miſs Elford, as if to contradict ſo invidious an aſſertion, was ſeen to take a peculiar and lively intereſt in the welfare of her dear friend Mrs. Verney (for a dear friend ſhe ſoon became), and her good humour, which had before been but little remarked, became now very eminent—the change was accounted for partly by the acquiſition ſhe had made of ſo pleaſant an acquaintance as Mrs. Verney, whoſe houſe within a mile of the town, was extremely convenient to her, and whoſe coach and ſervants were always at her command, and partly by the ſuppoſed attention of a very handſome clergyman, who having two years before given up a fellowſhip at Oxford to marry a very pretty woman, whom he paſſionately loved, had, within twelve months loſt her, and now had accepted a curacy at a diſtance from the ſcene of his paſt happineſs and misfortune, and in attempting to diſſipate his grief, had mixed much in the ſociety of the neighbourhood, and had appeared particularly pleaſed in that of Miſs Elford, who paſſed for a moſt ſenſible woman.—When Verney ſettled at Linwell, this gentleman, Mr. Mulgrave, was continually at the houſe where Miſs Elford frequently reſided alſo, and where (eſpecially after Verney gave him a living, which happened to fall at that time) it was ſuppoſed that their intended union was rapidly advancing to its concluſion; when ſuddenly, Mr. Mulgrave grew cold and reſerved, and the mortifiedtified 1235 L10r 235 tified Miſs Elford loſt once more the proſpect of an immediate and fortunate eſtabliſhment.

Though, till then, Mrs. Verney had been, in her eſtimation, the beſt, ſweeteſt, deareſt creature in the world, the exceſſive fondneſs of Miſs Elford declined from this moment; and as ſhe could not ſuffer herſelf to think that ſhe had been premature in reckoning on the impreſſion ſhe had made on Mr. Mulgrave, or that ſhe wanted the captivating talents neceſſary to fix that impreſſion when it was made; ſhe took it into her head that Mr. Mulgrave had conceived an improper affection for Mrs. Verney, and though there was probably not the leaſt grounds for this idea, ſhe has cheriſhed it ever ſince, and conſequently hates Geraldine, with an inveterate malignity, which no other cauſe could raiſe, or could ſuſtain—Still, however, ſhe conceals this hateful ſentiment under the ſemblance of friendſhip—She laments, moſt pathetically, the hard fate of that ſweet woman—Sheds crocodile tears over the ruinous extravagancies of Verney (of which, however, ſhe has always the earlieſt intelligence), and tells every body how long ſhe foreſaw theſe fatal propenſities in the huſband of her charming friend before they broke out—talks of the vanity of all ſublunary plans of happineſs, and thanks her good God! —for having placed her lot, where ſhe is not expoſed to theſe heart-rending viciſſitudes.—This good little gentlewomengentlewoman, then, great part of whoſe life, I really believe, paſſes in collecting and diſperſing accounts of the failures, failings, faults, and follies of her acquaintance, has been of late more than uſually active; and as ſhe finds I liſten to her with a greater degree of attention than I uſed to afford her, and is not aware of the motive I have for doing ſo, I ſee ſhe 1236 L10v 236 ſhe entertains a thouſand wandering fancies relative to my aſſiduity, and eagerly exerts herſelf to obtain its continuance—I am a widower, about her own age—I have children who may want the care of ſuch a diſcreet perſon—I may myſelf deſire a rational companion—Of all theſe conſiderations, it is really wonderful to remark the effect, and to obſerve how amiable, diſcreet, and reaſonable my prude affects to be—I am ſorry to encourage hopes, which I am afraid I cannot even for your ſervice, my dear Deſmond, realize, but as I have no other means of obtaining ſuch intelligence as you want, and ſuch as indeed appears to me abſolutely neceſſary to enable either of us to aſſiſt in diſperſing thoſe heavy clouds of calamity that are continually hanging over her, for whom we are both ſo anxious—I hope I am juſtified in availing myſelf of the information ſo readily given me by my neighbour—I wiſh I could add that the picture I have drawn of Verney’s conduct, owes its darkeſt touches to the ſharp hands of malignant envy, through which it has paſſed—But on enquiring of other people, who are quite diſintereſted, and who really admire and regret the lovely victim of his follies, the circumſtances and proceedings of Verney are repreſented in the ſame way.

I have had within this laſt week ſome ſymptoms that threaten a return of the gout (if gout it be) that has ſo long hung about me, and as my friend Banks, on whoſe ſkill I have a great reliance, perſiſts in ſaying, that my future enjoyment of life depends on my having a regular ſit, I ſhall, if theſe flying complaints are not ſoon diſſipated, go again to Bath, as ſoon as my lent corn is in the ground, which three weeks will complete—We have hitherto had a remarkablemarkable 1237 L11r 237 markable fine ſeaſon, and my farming is likely to go on moſt proſperouſly—Harry is doing well at Wincheſter, and the maſters aſſure me he will be a very clever fellow—I ſhall take Louiſa with me, and put her to ſchool at Bath for the time I continue there, which will probably be three months—Long, long before that time, my dear Deſmond, I hope to hail your return to England, and to tell you perſonally, how truly I am

Your attached and faithful

,

Erasmus Bethel.

Letter XXVI.

To Mr. Bethel.

Your letter, with a packet of books, reached me here, my friend, by the hands of our old acquaintance Aſhby, who took them up on his way, and delivered them ſafely to me three days ago—How ſhall I, how ought I to reply to ſuch friendly enquiries, ſuch generous offers as your’s?—I can find no words that anſwer my idea of all I ought to ſay to thank you—none that ſeem adequate to excuſe that want of confidence, perhaps you will think of gratitude, which I muſt ſeem to ſhew, when I ſay, that though I am very certainly moſt unhappy, it is impoſſible for me to avail myſelf of your friendſhip towards the alleviation of my unhappineſs, impoſſible for me even to communicate its ſource—Notice not, therefore, my deſpondence, my dear Bethel, its cauſe cannot be 1238 L11v 238 be removed, and whatever may be its conſequences, be aſſured that I deſerve them all— Every word I write on this ſubject gives me inexpreſſible pain, and therefore, I know you will pardon my beſeeching you not to renew the topic, aſſuring yourſelf, that if at any future time, I can properly take advantage of your counſel, and your friendſhip, there is not on earth the man to whom I would ſo readily apply.

I will not, however, in any inſtance deceive you. My late accident, my preſent ſtate of health, are neither of them the cauſe of my remaining abroad—The uneaſineſs I ſuffer is not ſolely on account of Geraldine, though your laſt letter has encreaſed and rendered almoſt inſupportable the ſolicitude I feel for her—yet amidſt all the anguiſh with which my mind dwells on the calamities that ſurround her, it is moſt ſoothing and conſolatory to hear from yourſelf that ſhe has found a friend in you; and that, being a convert to the united power of goodneſs, underſtanding, and beauty, you have been taught by their invincible attraction, to pity, and even to approve the attachment you were ſo lately diſpoſed to condemn and ridicule, and which you ſo lately and undeſervedly gave me credit for having conquered.

In lodgings at Sheen, with only her children with her!—one of the houſes, that in which ſhe uſed to delight, ſold—the other, the ancient houſe of her huſband’s family, inhabited by his courtezans, and his diſſolute companions!

Yet, amid all this, inſtead of returning evil for evil, what is her conduct?—ſhe goes to a cheap retirement; ſhe is occupied only in the care of her children; inſtead of the retaliation which we ſee ſo uſually adopted by young and beautiful 1239 L12r 239 beautiful women, whoſe huſbands neglect and ill treat them, it ſeems as if her patient ſweetneſs encreaſed in proportion to the provocation ſhe receives. Accurſed be he, who ſhall attempt to degrade a character ſo noble, to ſully a mind ſo angelic—Never will I be that man— But if I continue in this ſtrain, I ſhall get into thoſe regions of heroics, that are, you ſay, beyond the reach of your reaſonable and calm comprehenſion; ſo we will talk of ſomething elſe; and in order to convince you that I can occaſionally play the Mentor, inſtead of being always your Telemachus, I am going to give you ſomething very like a lecture—My dear Bethel, why do you ſuffer that Sir Robert Stamford to occupy and inflame to reſentment a mind like your’s—When you regret, that the place where I firſt ſaw Geraldine, and where I have ſo often repeated Benedetto fia ’l giorna, e’l meſe, e l’anno E la ſtagion e’l tempo, e l’ora e’l punto, E’l bel paeſe, e’l loco ov’io fui giunto Da duo begli occhi, che legato m’hanno. Petrarch.

I underſtand all your friendly emotions, and rejoice that you enter with ſuch enthuſiaſm into thoſe feelings which, till you were more acquainted with Geraldine, you treated as romantic puerilities—but when the fungus growth of this arrogant upſtart has ſo much ſhare in your indignation, I am hurt, that the elevated ſpirit of my friend can be ruffled by a being ſo utterly contemptible. Small things make mean men proud. Shakeſpeare.

Can 1240 L12v 240

Can you then wonder, that to ſuch a man, his ſudden, and, as he well knows, his undeſerved exaltation is matter of oſtentatious triumph? but does it make him reſpectable in the world? and does not even the baſeſt part of that world, while it courts, deſpiſe him?—Leave him then, my friend, to waſte in ſwiniſh exceſs, ſums, which he has earned by doing dirty work, at the expence of thoſe who are now called the ſwiniſh multitude, * Vide Mr. Burke’s deſcription of the people. hundreds of whom might be fed by the ſuperfluities of his luxurious table—Leave him to the wretched adulation of the fawning paraſite, who can ſtoop to admire his fine places, and be repaid by the delicacies of his table. Leave him to be an example of how little merit is required in our country to reach the higheſt poſts of profit and confidence —an example of a placeman filling uſeleſs places —of a penſioner paid for the miſchief he has aſſiſted in doing to the nation, whoſe governors have thus rewarded him—But let not your mind, poſſeſſing, as it does, all the upright principles, the generous independence, that once characteriſed the Engliſh gentleman, be diſturbed by the diſguſting inſolence of ſuch a being, while you feel, that the humbleſt labourer who cultivates your ground, is a more honeſt and a more reſpectable man.

In reading the book you ſent me, which I have yet had only time to do ſuperficially, I am forcibly ſtruck with truths, that either were not ſeen before, or were (by men, who did not wiſh to acknowledge them) carefully repreſſed; they are bluntly, ſometimes coarſely delivered, but it is often impoſſible to refuſe immediate aſſent to 1241 M1r 241 to thoſe which appear the boldeſt; impoſſible to deny, that many others have been acceded to, when they were ſpoken by men, to whoſe authority we have paid a kind of preſcriptive obedience, though they have now called forth ſuch clamour and abuſe againſt the author of the Rights of Man.—My other letters from England are filled with accounts of the rage and indignation which this publication has excited —I pique myſelf, however, on having, in my former letter, cited againſt Burke a ſentence of Locke, which contradicts as forcibly as Paine has contradicted one of his moſt abſurd poſitions —I know, that where ſound argument fails, abuſive declamation is always ſubſtituted, and that it often ſilences where it cannot convince— I know too, that where the politics are obnoxious, recourſe is always had to perſonal detraction; I therefore wonder not, that on your ſide the water, thoſe who are averſe to the politics of Paine, will declaim inſtead of arguing; and thoſe who feel the force of his abilities, will villify his private life, as if that was any thing to the purpoſe; I do, however, wonder, that theſe angry antagoniſts do not recollect, that the clamour they raiſe, ſerves only to prove their fears; and that if the writings of this man are, as they would repreſent, deſtitute of truth and ſound argument, they muſt be quickly conſigned to contempt and oblivion, and could neither be themſelves the ſubject of alarm, or render their author an object of inveſtigation and abhorrence; but the truth is that, whatever may be his private life, (with which I cannot underſtand, that the public have any concern) he comes as a political writer, under the deſcription given of a controvertiſt by the acute author, Vol. I. M to 1242 M1v 242 to whom Monſieur d’Hauteville has ſo terrible an averſion.

A t’on jamais vu un plus abominable homme? il expoſe les choſes avec un fidelité ſi odieuſe; il met ſous les yeux le pour & le contre avec un impartialité ſi lâche; il eſt d’un clairté ſi intolerable, qu’il met les gens qui n’ont que le ſens commun, en etat de douter, & même de juger. Was there ever ſuch an abominable fellow? he expoſes the truth ſo odiouſly; he ſets before our eyes the arguments on both ſides with ſuch horrible impartiality; he is ſo intolerably clear and plain, that he enables people who have only common ſenſe, to doubt, and even to judge.—Voltaire.

I frequent no ſociety here willingly, as I find my mind by no means in a ſtate to attend to the common occurrences of life without fatigue; and that both my ſpirits and health ſuffer, by the exertion which a man is obliged to make in company for which he does not care a ſtraw. However, as Aſhby had been very obliging to me in bringing my pacquets from Marſeilles, and depended on me for introduction here, I went with him yeſterday to the houſe of a man of ſome conſideration, where there is generally the beſt company of the place aſſembled, and where there then happened to be, among many others, French and Swiſs, two Engliſhmen, one, a Mr. Cranbourne, who has accompanied, in their travels, ſeveral men of rank, and now is returning to England with a Lord Fordingbridge, whoſe minority is juſt ended, and who is returning to England to take his ſeat in the houſe of peers.

Mr. Cranbourne, who was, I find, bred to the law, has all that ſupercilious and dogmatical manner, which an education for the bar very frequently 1243 M2r 243 frequently gives—He aſſerts with violence, and maintains with obſtinacy; and though the world doubted either of the profundity of his judgment, or the power of his eloquence, ſo that he was unfeed and unretained during the courſe of thoſe years that he called himſelf a counſellor, he is ſo perfectly convinced of his eminence in both, that he is on all occaſions, not a pleader, but a decider, and ſits ſelf-elected on the judgment ſeat, on every occaſion of controverſy— His travels, without diveſting him of the querulous aſperity of the bar, have made him a ſolemn coxcomb in every other ſcience; and he prides himſelf on having formed his preſent pupil on his own model, and declares, that he will make a ſuperior figure as an orator in the Britiſh ſenate.

The boy, who has thus been taught to conſider himſelf as a miracle of elegance and erudition, unites the flippant airs of a young man of a certain rank―with the ſententious pertneſs of an attorney’s clerk juſt out of his time—I found him, on our entrance, ſtanding in the midſt of a circle, declaiming againſt the French government; and pouring forth a warm eulogium on Mr. Burke—The lordling affects an Italian accent, and to have forgotten the harſh tones of his native language, when he deigns to ſpeak it—Pray, ſaid he, tell me you, who know, what is this other book—This anſwer to Burke, that I have been bored with— ſomebody wanted me to read it, but I had neither patience nor inclination—It ſeems from the account other people have given me, to be very ſeditious; I wonder they don’t puniſh the author, who, they ſay, is quite a low ſort of fellow―What does he mean by his Rights of M2 Man, 1244 M2v 244 Man, and his equality?—What wretched and dangerous doctrine to diſſeminate among the lazzaroni Lazzaroni, a word deſcriptive of people reduced to the utmoſt poverty and wretchedneſs. of England, where they are always ready enough to murmur againſt their betters? I hope our government will take care to ſilence ſuch a demagogue, before he puts it into the heads of les gens ſans culotes, in England, to do as they have done in France, and even before he gets ſome of the ragged rogues hanged—They rights! poor devils, who have neither ſhirts nor breeches!

You have accuſed me of laying by in company, even where the converſation has turned on topics that intereſt me moſt. I own I had done ſo now, partly from depreſſion of ſpirits, and partly from the reluctance I felt to engage in wordy war againſt prejudice and abſurdity.—I now, however, ventured to enquire of Lord Fordingbridge, whether theſe men whom he called lazzaroni, might not be urged to revolt by thoſe very miſeries which expoſed them to his contempt? and whether ſuch extreme poverty and wretchedneſs did not ſhew the neceſſity of ſome alteration in the government where they exiſted?—If government be allowed to be for the benefit of the governed, not the governors, ſurely theſe complaints ſhould be heard. Why, what would you have government do? anſwered he—How can it prevent ſuch ſort of things?―Our’s, for example, againſt which theſe ſtupid dogs are complaining in libellous pamphlets and papers, by what means can it obviate theſe diſcontents?—Would you have the Miniſter keep a ſlop-ſhop, to ſupplyply 1245 M3r 245 ply the ſans culotes with thoſe neceſſaries gratis? —This convincing argument, which the whole company applauded with a loud laugh, gave my right honourable adverſary ſuch confidence in his own powers, that, without permitting me to reply, he proceeded.—I inſiſt upon it, that there is no cauſe of complaint in England; nobody is poor, unleſs it be by their own fault; and nobody is oppreſſed; as to the common people, the mob, or whatever you pleaſe to call them; what were they born for but to work? And here comes a fellow and tells them about their rights—They have no rights—they can have none, but to labour for their ſuperiors, and if they are idle, ’tis their own faults, and not the fault of the conſtitution, in which there are no imperfections, and which cannot by any contrivance be made better.

Your lordſhip, anſwered I, whoſe comprehenſive mind probably looks forward to the time when you will yourſelf make one of that illuſtrious body that Mr. Burke deſcribes as the Corinthian pillar of poliſhed ſociety, has, I dare ſay, in travelling through other countries, made the government of your own your peculiar ſtudy, and by contraſting it with thoſe you have ſeen, you have learned to appreciate its value—That it is ſuperior to moſt, perhaps, to all of them, I am willing to allow, yet I cannot pronounce it to be without imperfections, where I obſerve ſuch dreadful contraſts in the condition of the people under it—Who can walk through the ſtreets of London without being ſhocked with them?—Here, a man, who poſſeſſes an immenſe income which has been given him for his ſervile attendance, or his venal voice, an income, which is paid from the burthenſome impoſtspoſts 1246 M3v 246 poſts laid on the people, is ſeen driving along in a ſplendid equipage; his very ſervants cloathed in purple and fine linen, and teſtifying, by their looks, that they fare ſumptuouſly every day—There, extended on the pavement, lies one of thoſe very people whoſe labour has probably contributed to the ſupport of this luxury, begging wherewithal to continue his degraded exiſtence, of the diſguſted paſſenger, who turns from the ſpectacle of his ſqualid wretchedneſs —In our daily prints, this ſhocking inequality is not leſs ſtriking—In one paragraph, we are regaled with an eulogium on the innumerable bleſſings, the abundant proſperity of our country; in the next, we read the melancholy and mortifying liſt of numberleſs unhappy debtors, who, in vain, ſolicit, from time to time, the mercy of the legiſlature, and who are left by the powers who can relieve them, to linger out their unprofitable lives, and to periſh, through penury and diſeaſe, in the moſt loathſome confinements, condemned to feel The horrors of a gloomy gaol, Unpitied and unheard, where miſery moans; Where ſickneſs pines; where thirſt and hunger burn, And poor misfortune, feels the laſh of guilt. Thomſon. To-day, we ſee diſplayed in tinſel panegyric, the ſuperb trappings, the gorgeous ornaments, the jewels of immenſe value, with which the illuſtrious perſonages of our land amaze and delight us—To-morrow, we read of a poor man, an ancient woman, a deſerted child, who were found dead in ſuch or ſuch alleys or ſtreet, ſuppoſed to have periſhed through want, and the 1247 M4r 247 the inclemency of the weather; and is it poſſible to help exclaiming, take phyſic pomp— Expoſe thyſelf to feel what wretches feel; So ſhalt thou ſhake the ſuperflux to them, And ſhew the heavens more juſt. Shakeſpeare.

The young peer, who had ſhewn more patience than I expected, now interrupted me— All this is very fine, Sir, ſaid he, but give me leave to ſay, that it is all common place declamation, (that was true enough) and does not go to prove, that the form of our government is defective—miſery exiſts every where, and is intended to exiſt; even according to your own quotation, it is allowed— And ſhew the heavens more juſt. It is heaven ſo decides then, and by no means the fault of government—It is the lot of humanity, and cannot be changed. Thus it is, anſwered I, that we dare to arraign our God for the crimes and follies of man—that God, who certainly made none of his creatures to be miſerable, nor called any into exiſtence only to live painfully, and periſh wretchedly; but when the blind ſelfiſhneſs of man diſtributes what Providence has given; when avarice accumulates, and power uſurps, ſome have ſuperfluities, which contribute nothing to their happineſs, others hardly enough to give them the means of a tolerable exiſtence—Were, there, indeed, a ſure appeal to the mercies of the rich, the calamities of the poor might be leſs intolerable;lerable; 1248 M4v 248 lerable; but it is too certain, that high affluence and proſperity have a direct tendency to harden the temper. How few do we meet with who can feel for miſeries they cannot imagine, and are ſure they can never experience?―How many, who have hearts ſo indurated by their own ſucceſs or fortune, that they are inſenſible to generoſity, and even to juſtice?—How many more, who would, perhaps, be in ſome degree alive to the ſenſations of humanity, if their buſineſs, or their pleaſures allowed them time to think, but who are ſo occupied by either the one or the other, and ſo little in the habit of attending to diſagreeable ſubjects, that they ſhrink from the detail of poverty and ſorrow, and would be diſguſted with thoſe who ſhould attempt to intrude with ſuch images On ears polite?

Well, Sir, cried my lord, in whoſe hands the reſt of the company continued to leave an argument in which they thought he had greatly the advantage—Well, Sir! and what then? —Have we not laws, by which our poor are amply, magnificently provided for?

That they were intended to be ſo, I believe, anſwered I, but how thoſe laws are perverted, let the frequent, the meritorious, but unſucceſsful attempts to amend them, bear witneſs―Their abuſe; the heavineſs with which they preſs on one part of the community, without relieving the other, is one of the greateſt evils we complain of; but here, as in twenty other inſtances, every attempt at redreſs is ſilenced by the noli me tangere, which our conſtitution has been made to ſay, and which has been 1249 M5r 249 been echoed, without enquiry, by all who have either intereſt in preſerving the inviolability even of its acknowledged defects, or who have been brought up in prejudices, that make them believe that our anceſtors were ſo much wiſer than we are; that it is a ſort of ſacrilege to doubt the perfection of the ſtructure they raiſed, and to imagine an edifice of greater ſtrength and ſimplicity—If theſe prejudices are enforced and continued—if every attempt to repair what time has injured, or amend what is acknowledged to be defective, is oppoſed as dangerous, and execrated as impious; let us go on till the building falls upon our heads, and let thoſe who eſcape the ruins, continue to meditate on the prodigious advantage of this holy reverence, and to boaſt of the happineſs of being Engliſhmen!

I ſhould be glad, Sir, ſince you, at leaſt, ſeem to have none of this reſpect, ſaid the young lawyer, and who now thought he had been ſilent long enough—I ſhould be glad if your ſagacity would point out ſome of thoſe other defects in the ſtructure of the Engliſh conſtitution, which, doubtleſs, you have diſcovered.

That is not very difficult, I replied, and I ſhould begin by ſaying, that its very foundation is defective, from the inequality of repreſentation; (were that aſſertion not allowed by every one as an incontrovertible truth; and had not there been ſuch repeated mockeries, ſuch frequently renewed farces acted, to amuſe us with pretended efforts at a reform, which never were intended, nor can ever be carried into effect, but by the unanimous and determined perſeverance of the people)—To drop the metaphor,M5 phor, 1250 M5v 250 phor, let me turn to another very common ſubject of acknowledged complaint—I mean the penal laws—laws, by which the property and the life of the individual is put on an equal footing, and by which murder, or a robbery to the amount of forty ſhillings, are offences equally puniſhed with death—Is it poſſible to reflect without horror, on the numbers that are every year executed, while every year’s experience evinces, that this prodigality of life renders the puniſhment familiar, and prevents not crimes?—Is there a ſeſſion at the Old Bailey, where boys, from fifteen to twenty are not condemned?—boys, who, deſerted from their infancy, have been driven, by ignorance and want, to violate the laws of that ſociety, which Shakes her encumbered lap, and throws them out. Cowper. Why do we boaſt of the mildneſs and humanity of laws, which provides puniſhment inſtead of prevention? And can we avoid feeling, that while they give up yearly to the hands of the executioner greater numbers than die the victims of public juſtice in all the other European countries reckoned together; we muſt, in ſpite of our national vanity, acknowledge, either, that the Engliſh are the worſt, and moſt unprincipled race of men in Europe, or, that their penal laws are the moſt ſanguinary of thoſe of any nation under heaven―Attempts have been made to remedy this enormity, which I cannot help calling a national diſgrace; but, like every other endeavour at partial correction of abuſes, theſe humane efforts have been baffledfled 1251 M6r 251 fled on the uſual principle, that nothing muſt be touched, nothing muſt be changedReally, Sir, ſaid Mr. Cranbourne, you are a moſt able advocate for beggars and thieves.

At leaſt, Sir, I am a diſintereſted one, for I plead for thoſe who cannot ſee me—but it is not for beggars and thieves, as you are pleaſed to ſay, that I plead—it is for the honor of my country—for the reform of the laws, which occaſion beggars and thieves to exiſt in ſuch numbers; while we oſtentatiouſly boaſt, that thoſe laws are the beſt in the world. Nor is it only the penal laws that ſeem to want alteration; allow me to obſerve, that from the continual complaints of the defects of our law, as it relates to the protection of property, it does not ſeem to deſerve the praiſe of ſuperiority which we arrogantly claim—We hear every day of ſuits in which even ſucceſs is ruin; and we know, that far from being able to obtain in our courts, that ſpeedy, clear, deciſive, and impartial juſtice, which, from their inſtitution they are deſigned to give, a victory (obtained, after being ſent through them all) is often much worſe than a retreat—the remedy more fatal than the diſeaſe—So conſcious are even the lawyers themſelves of this, that if one of them (as may happen) has a perſonal regard for his client, and is willing to waive pecuniary advantage in his favor, ſuch a lawyer will ſay—Do anything—ſubmit to any compromiſe—put up with any loſs, rather than go to law—One of our courts is called that of Equity, where the widow, the orphan, the deſerted and unhappy of every deſcription (who have money) are to find protection and redreſs; yet it is too certain,tain, 1252 M6v 52252 tain, that ſuch are the delays, ſuch the expences in this court, that the ruinous tediouſneſs of a Chancery ſuit is become proverbial—the oppreſſed may periſh, before they can obtain the remedy they ſeek; and where, under the direction of this court, litigated property is to be divided, it continually happens, that, by the time a deciſion is obtained, there is nothing to divide—The poet I juſt now quoted, ſays, In this rank age, Much is the patriot’s weeding hand required. Thomſon. But alas!—eſpecial care is taken, that neither reaſon nor patriotiſm ſhall touch too rudely The toils of law, where dark, inſidious men, Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth, And lengthen ſimple juſtice into trade. Ibid. And yet How glorious were the day that ſaw theſe broke, And every man within the reach of right Ibid.

As to your poets, cried Mr. Cranbourne ſuperciliouſly—There is no bringing argument againſt their flowery declamation; fine ſounding words about rights and liberties, are impoſing to ſuperficial underſtandings, but cannot convince others—fine flouriſhing words are not arguments.

Nor does there, ſaid I, need arguments, on what I have aſſerted—they are matters of fact, and not of ſpeculation or opinion—truths, which cannot be denied, and which it would require ſome ſkill to palliate.

“As 1253 M7r 253

As to truth, Sir, it is not always proper to ſpeak it, nay, it is not always ſafe to the well-being of a ſtate—The queſtion, I think is, not whether a thing be exactly conformable to your Utopian and impracticable ſchemes, but whether it be expedient—We know that truth is not expedient, and that it is the buſineſs of government to enforce obedience, without which it would not go on; not to liſten to the reaſoning of every wild dogmatiſt, who fancies himſelf a philoſopher, and able to mend what is already good—all ſuch ſhould be prevented from diſſeminating their pernicious doctrines, which ſerve only to make men diſcontent with their ſituation, to raiſe murmurs, and to clog the wheels of government.

This ſentence, which was moſt conſequentially delivered, was applauded by all the party, as I had nothing to offer againſt it, but that truth which had juſt been pronounced to be inexpedient, I declined the conteſt, ſaying only, If truth is not to be ſpoken, Sir, in a government, calling itſelf free, leſt it ſhould be underſtood by the people, who are governed; and prevent their freely ſupplying the oil, that facilitates the movement of the cumbrous machine—If facts, which cannot be denied, be repreſſed; and reaſon, which cannot be controverted, be ſtifled; the time is not far diſtant, when ſuch a country may ſay, adieu liberty!— Let them, therefore, if they are content to do ſo, begin with expelling thoſe who dare ſpeak truth, and are ſo impudent as to reaſon—Tous ces gens qui raiſonent ſont la peſte d’un etat. VoltaireAll theſe reaſoning people are the very curſes of a government. I then 1254 M7v 254 I then left my adverſary to enjoy the triumph of his imaginary ſuperiority, and wandered away alone, indulging contemplations, mournful contemplations, on far other ſubjects.—The moment I am in ſolitude, the image of Geraldine in diſtreſs, Geraldine contending with irremediable misfortunes, recurs to me; and other ſubjects of regret, add bitterneſs to my reflections; perhaps, therefore, I ſhould do wiſely, to mix more in ſociety, where I muſt, of courſe Diſguiſe the thing I am,By ſeeming otherwiſe. But I am ſo poor at diſſimulation, that the pain of attempting it, is more haraſſing than the thoughts I would fly from.

Write to me very frequently, my friend; and remember as he wiſhes to be remembered,

Your’s ever, moſt affectionately,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 1255 M8r 255

Letter XXVII.

To Mrs. Verney.

I am not ſurpriſed, my dear ſiſter, but I am very ſorry you have had a viſit from your huſband, and his foreign and Engliſh companions—I foreſee no poſſible good that can ariſe from it, though I will not affect ſo much preſcience as to point out exactly the evils I apprehend; one of which, however, you muſt yourſelf ſee, I mean the expences that Verney will be drawn into to give himſelf conſequence among theſe, his new friends; but, perhaps, he may be content to exhibit his Yorkſhire-houſe, with ſome of the inhabitants he had lately there, to do its honors, and may ſpare you, notwithſtanding what he ſaid about your going down thither—Believe me, I would not have named this circumſtance, as you have ſo often reproved me for ſpeaking with aſperity of Verney, could I have ſuppoſed it poſſible that you can be ignorant of the party who were ſo lately collected there, 1256 M8v 256 there, or of the real reaſon which made him oppoſe your going thither with your children, when the country was pronounced abſolutely neceſſary for you by your phyſicians; forgive me, pray, if I thus renew diſagreeable recollections, but I do not love you ſhould now go where ſuch people held ſo lately their profligate ſocieties―I do not love that my Geraldine ſhould appear a neglected and unhappy wife, preſiding in the ſame ſcenes that ſo recently witneſſed the orgies of Verney, Scarſdale, Deybourne, and Newminſter, with abandoned proſtitutes—Shall I go farther, and add, that I do not love my Geraldine ſhould be where Scarſdale is at all—you have often yourſelf obſerved his behaviour; and, as he knows you cannot fail to underſtand it, ſurely it is inconſiſtent with your character to allow him an opportunity of repeating it; do not go to Moorſly Park, my ſiſter, if you can avoid it; and if it cannot otherwiſe be evaded, without a violation of what you think your duty—obedience!—unqualified obedience!—I will contrive, that my mother ſhall make a point of your coming hither; a requeſt which Verney will not refuſe, ſince he believes that he owes to her the diſcharge of thoſe two moſt troubleſome debts; (though it certainly was not by her they were diſcharged) nor, were ſome little gratitude out of the queſtion, (which, perhaps, with him it might be,) would he, however politic he is, hazard offending my mother, while he feels the daily probability of his being under the neceſſity of aſking other pecuniary favors.

Let me hear, by an early poſt, that you determine on this, or ſome other equally proper ſcheme—Again let me aſk your forgiveneſs, if I have 1257 M9r 257 I have ſaid too much, and I entreat you to impute it to the tender affection I bear you, which is, you know, inherent, and has grown up with me from my firſt conſciouſneſs of exiſtence— Alas! if I did not love you, what elſe ſhould I have to love in the world? My other ſiſter is ſo much older, that I have always had my affection for her, chaſtiſed by fear, and ſhe is enemies, even to the ties of blood—My brother! —alas! does he care for any of us, and is it poſſible to waſte one’s affection on apathy and indeciſion?—My mother—! I truſt, I venerate and regard her, as my only parent; I think myſelf indebted to her for the trouble ſhe has taken during my infancy and my childhood, and for that portion of regard which ſhe is able to ſpare me (ſince I believe the affections are involuntary) from her ſon; but I have felt too much awe, to be ſenſible towards her, of that ſympathetic and gentle affection which unites me to you—to you, my Geraldine, whoſe ſoft temper is ever ready, even amidſt your friendly chidings, to plead for your flippant Fanny, while her heart finds reſpondent ſentiments only in your’s— Ah! would to heaven I dared entruſt you with one, which is―but no: you have too many troubles of your own—Never, never may your tenderneſs for me add to their number.

Your uneaſineſs about my brother is now, I hope, relieved, at leaſt ſo far as depends on knowing where he is—My mother, however, is ſo far from feeling herſelf contented at the accounts he has ſent her of his journey to the Archipelago, and his Grecian importations, that ſhe is, if poſſible, more uneaſy and more reſtleſs than ſhe has been ſince his abſence; for my 1258 M9v 258 my part, I think he is quite as well at Venice, with his Cypriot, as he would be at Paris, or in London, with any connection of the ſame ſort, that he might form at either of thoſe places; and certainly we have much leſs reaſon to be diſſatisfied, than if he had added to our family alliances, by a union with that of the illuſtrious houſe of St. Eloy.

That name brings to my mind, or rather to the end of my pen, another name, I mean, that of Deſmond. His uncle, who is ſtill here, is grown quite coy upon that ſubject, though willing enough to talk to me upon any other; or if I continue, at any time, to oblige him to ſpeak upon it, his anſwers are peeviſh, ſhort, and unſatisfactory—I proteſt I am half inclined to believe the venerable veteran is in love with me himſelf, and is jealous of my grateful recollection of his nephew—Oh! how I ſhould be delighted to have the power of teizing this old petrifaction. But, alas! my dear ſiſter, is all exerted in vain, the heart of the Major is compoſed of ſuch impenetrable ſtuff, that, I believe, there is no plaguing him any way.

Now do I long to tell you a little of what is paſſing here; but, I know, the goſſip of this place is rather irkſome than pleaſing to you; and I am often rather reproved than thanked, for endeavouring to amuſe you with the events, real or imaginary, which occupy us here, and gives us the requiſite ſupplies of converſation for the tea and card parties; but indeed, my Geraldine, if you deprive me, by your rigid averſion to what you call detraction, of ſuch a reſource I know not what there will remain for me to write about, and to fill thoſe long letters which alone ſatisfy you; I muſt not ſay much of any of our own 1259 M10r 259 own family, becauſe you ſay it is pert, and undutiful, and I know not what; if I could repeat only good of the people I am among, you would let me fill quires of paper about them; but, as it is, if I report only what I hear, you accuſe me of being as ſpitefully ſcandalous as the dowagers, who ſit in tremendous committees on the reputations of the week—You know, I never am allowed to converſe with any of the literary people I meet, as my mother has a terrible averſion to every thing that looks like a deſire to acquire knowledge; and for the ſame reaſon, ſhe proſcribes every ſpecies of reading, and murmurs, when ſhe cannot abſolutely prohibit the faſhionable, inſipid novel.

There is ſo much enquiry of the ſage, matronly gentlewomen of her acquaintance, who are, as ſhe believes, deep in the ſecret, as to what books are proper, who are the authors, and whether there be any offence in them; that, by the time theſe voices are collected, I find, more than half I propoſe reading, abſolutely forbidden—Novels, it is decided, convey the poiſon of bad example in the ſoft ſemblance of refined ſentiment—One contains an oblique apology for ſuicide; a ſecond, a lurking palliation of conjugal infidelity; a third, a ſneer againſt parental authority; and a fourth, againſt religion; ſome are diſliked for doctrines, which, probably, malice only, aſſuming the garb of wiſdom, can diſcover in them; and others, becauſe their writers have either, in their private, or political life, given offence to the prudery, or the party of ſome of theſe worthy perſonages, whom my mother, relying on their reputation for ſanctity and ſagacity, chuſes to conſult; and thus I am reduced to practiſe the fineſſe 1260 M10v 260 fineſſe of a boarding-ſchool miſs, and to hide theſe objectionable pages, from an inquiſition not leſs ſevere than that which the lovely Serena Triumphs of temper. ſuſtained, or I muſt confine myſelf to ſuch mawkiſh reading, as is produced, in a rivulet of text running through a meadow of margin, in the ſoft ſemblance of letters, from Miſs Everilda Evelyn, to Miſs Victorina Villars— How then, my ſiſter, am I to find any thing to ſay but of living characters? or how can I help being ſatirical againſt thoſe who will not let me be ſentimental?—I might, indeed, read hiſtory; but whenever I attempt to do ſo, I am, to tell you the truth, driven from it by diſguſt—What is it, but a miſerably mortifying detail of crimes and follies?—of the guilt of a few, and the ſufferings of many, while almoſt every page offers an argument in favor of what I never will believe—that Heaven created the human race only to deſtroy itſelf; and that in placing the various ſpecies of it, in various climates, whence they acquired various complexions, habits, and languages; their Creator meant theſe men ſhould become the natural enemies of each other, and apply the various portions of reaſon he has allotted them, only in ſtudying how to annoy and murder each other.

But I am wandering, in my wild way, from the point; and, in my complaints, that the pretty, ſoothing tales of imagination are prohibited, while the hideous realities of human life affright me, I had nearly forgotten what I was going to ſay, which is not at all ſcandalous —Oh no!—it is, on the contrary, an event at which you will rejoice—Your old friend, Miſs Elford, 1261 M11r 261 Elford, has, at laſt, met with a lover, who really purpoſes to become her huſband—He is a phyſician; very well looking, and twelve or fourteen years younger than herſelf—She is in love!—Oh! undeſcribably in love—And the Doctor foreſees, in her extenſive connexions, advantages likely to ariſe to him in his profeſſion, that will, he thinks, more than counterbalance the trifling wants of fortune, beauty, and youth—I dare not paint to you the ridiculous love ſcenes that this tender pair exhibit— You have ſeen Miſs Elford in love once before, and can, perhaps, imagine how ſhe expreſſes now a ſtill more ardent paſſion; and with what airs of antiquated coquetry ſhe recalls the Doctor to his allegiance, if, peradventure, ſhe detects his eyes wandering towards any of the younger and handſomer part of the company— The idea here is, that they are to be married very ſoon, and I really wiſh they may, if it be only in the hope, that Miſs Elford, in having a huſband of her own, will be ſo engaged by her own unexpected good fortune, as to let the reſt of the world remain for ſome time unmoleſted. I cannot help it, my dear ſiſter if, in deſpite of your gentle admonitions, I do hate this little, ſhrivelled, ſatirical Sybil—It was from her I find, that the hiſtory of my brother’s adventures with the St. Eloy family got abroad here, with numberleſs additional circumſtances that never happened; and it is of her, that my mother learned what I wiſhed to conceal from her, the parties that Verney lately had in Yorkſhire.— Oh! if you could have heard how ſhe canted about her dear, her amiable Mrs. Verney; while ſhe could not diſguiſe the pleaſure ſhe took in deſcribing your huſband’s foibles—you would have 1262 M11v 262 have been convinced of what I always told you; that under uncommon hypocriſy, ſhe conceals uncommon malignity—As to myſelf, I find ſhe goes about talking of me in ſuch terms as theſe: Did you ſee dear Miſs Waverly at the ball laſt night?—Was ſhe not charming?—I think ſhe never looked ſo well; and really I begin to be a convert to the opinion of thoſe, who ſaid, laſt year, when ſhe firſt came out, that ſhe was quite as handſome as her ſecond ſiſter Mrs. Verney, the celebrated beauty—Mrs. Verney, poor, dear creature!—(I have an amazing regard for her, and have loved her from our childhood, though ſhe is two or three years younger than I am!) Mrs. Verney is a little altered, though ſtill ſo very young—Poor thing!—troubles, like her’s, are great enemies to beauty, which is but as the flower of the morning; but however ſhe may be changed in appearance, ſhe is ſtill moſt amiable—indeed, more ſo, as to gentleneſs of temper, than Miſs Waverly, though ſhe is a ſweet girl, and has no fault, except, perhaps, a little, a very little too much vivacity, which, it is the great object of my worthy friend, her mother, to check; judging, indeed, very truly that a young perſon, ſo much followed and admired, cannot be too reſerved and cautious. —Yes! and, in conſequence of this impertinent opinion, this odious tabby (who ſays ſhe is only a year or two younger than you, though ſhe will never ſee forty again) has made my mother ſo full of fears and precautions, that I am neither to read any books but thoſe that are ordered by the Divan, of which ſhe is deputy chair-woman, or to ſpeak to any men but old fograms, ſuch as Major Danby; or men of large fortune—My mother need not be ſo apprehenſive;ſive; 1263 M12r 263 ſive; firſt, becauſe I have not the leaſt inclination to ſet out for Scotland with any of the inſignificant butterflies, whom I like well enough to have flutter about me in public; and ſecondly, becauſe, if I had ſuch a fancy, there is not one of them who has the leaſt notion of marrying a young woman without a fortune, or with a very ſmall one—Even the fortunate beings who are not proſcribed, men who can make a ſettlement, have, for the moſt part, but little inclination to encumber themſelves with a portionleſs wife; and among them all, I know none who anſwer my ideas of what a man ought to be—Alas! there is but one in the world whom I ſhould ſelect as the hero of my Romance, if I were in haſte to make one.

But you muſt give me leave to deteſt Miſs Elford a little; though, indeed, I have not in my heart room for many other ſentiments than thoſe of anxiety and tenderneſs for you, my dear Geraldine. Write ſoon, and explicitly, of your intentions, to

Your affectionate and faithful,

Fanny Waverly

Let- 1264 M12v 264

Letter XXVIII.

Yes! my ſiſter, I knew of the way in which Mr. Verney lived when he was laſt in Yorſhire, though I never mentioned it, and had ſome hope it might have eſcaped my mother’s knowledge and your’s—Alas! Fanny! I cannot be ignorant, however I deſire to appear ſo, of the extreme bitterneſs of the lot to which I am condemned; but while you love me— while my charming children are well—while my mother thinks of me with ſome intereſt—and let me add, while I have a few friends, whoſe regard is ſo well worth poſſeſſing, I will not ſink under it; but will ſupport myſelf by the reflexion, that I do my duty, and, at leaſt, deſerve a better fate—I now haſten to the other parts of your letter—You will ſee, by the date of this, that I am returned to London—and you well know how much againſt my inclination— However, it was thought better than going into Yorkſhire; and fortunately for me, the Duc de Romagnecourt, who is become Mr. Verney’s moſt intimate friend, diſcovered, that he had no inclination to go at this ſeaſon into ſo remote a part of England—However, Mr. Verney determinestermines 1 1265 N1r 265 termines to entertain him here in a ſtyle which may do honor to his hoſpitality; and as frequent dinners are to be given, and the Duke profeſſes himſelf diſſatisfied, even with the moſt luxurious table, where ladies do not preſide, I have been compelled to quit my quiet lodging, and am to remain here till―indeed, I know not till when, for Mr. Verney is as unſettled in his plans, even as my poor brother himſelf, and without the docility which Waverly has, who will generally allow ſome other perſon to decide for him, and then believes, for a few hours, that he has followed his own inclination.

All you ſay about Col. Scarſdale is very true —It is impoſſible not to ſee, however I have endeavoured to miſunderſtand him; that his pretended friendſhip for Verney, does not prevent his forming deſigns, which you may aſſure yourſelf, excite only my contempt, and add abhorrence of his principles to perſonal averſion—I now ſee a great deal more of him than I do of Mr. Verney; for though we have apparently inhabited the ſame houſe theſe three days, we have met only once, even at table, and that was yeſterday, when a magnificent dinner was given to his friends—Col. Scarſdale, however, is very obligingly willing not to conſign me to ſolitude; but, ſince he is always admitted by Mr. Verney’s direction, and knows I am never out, he takes the opportunity of ſauntering up to my dreſſing-room, where he plays with the children, picks up my thread-paper, inſiſts upon bringing me new muſic, and on reading to me ſome novel or poem, with which he is generally furniſhed—If coldneſs, and apparent diſguſt, could have put an end to attendance ſo improper, and ſo uneaſy to me, it certainlyI N tainly 1266 N1v 266 tainly would not have continued beyond the ſecond morning, but to-day is the third, on which, in dſepitedeſpite of myſelf, I ſhall probably be condemned to endure it—He affects extreme uneaſineſs at the ſtate of Verney’s affairs, (though, till lately, he has endeavoured to laugh off my ſolicitude about them, whenever I ventured to expreſs it) and has given ſeveral intimations, that his friend has formed an attachment to ſome expenſive woman—hints, that I determine never to underſtand—But, when I thus evade the ſubject I wiſh not to hear of, he ſighs, walks about the room, and, as if unable to expreſs his emotions, cries, I love Verney from my ſoul; but, in this inſtance, I cannot excuſe him, though I pity him, for being ſo inſenſible of his own happineſs!—I believe he is the only man in England who has ſo little taſte.

This, they ſay, is ſuch a common fineſſe, and has been uſed ſo often, that I rather wonder the Colonel, who piques himſelf on his peculiar talents in gallantry, has not recourſe to ſome leſs hackneyed expedient—I muſt put an end to ſuch ſort of converſation, however, though I do not know how to do it; as my ſpeaking to Verney, (if he did not laugh at it, as he probably would) might be attended with unpleaſant conſequences. To-morrow the whole party dine here again; and I have promiſed Mr. Verney to go to Ranelagh with them, and Miſs Ayton, who is ſo good as to come to me whenever theſe engagements are made, that I may not be the only woman—Oh! my Fanny, would you were with me—Nothing could ſo ſoothe my ſufferings, as having you, to whom I might weep at night, when I have been compelled to conceal 1267 N2r 267 conceal all day under affected tranquillity, the anguiſh of a breaking heart—I ſhall own to you, my dear ſiſter, that notwithſtanding the reſolutions I made at the beginning of my letter, to be patient and tranquil, there are moments, when I moſt ſincerely wiſh that I and my babies were all dead together—What will become of us? If, as I greatly fear, there will ſoon be nothing left but my ſettlement, between their father and utter ruin—If it ever does come to that, of which, from the hints dropped by Scarſdale, I expect every day to hear, I ſhall, if I have any ſuch power, give it up to him, for I cannot bear his diſtreſs, while I have the means of relieving it—However, perhaps, it may not be ſo bad as Scarſdale, with ſome very unworthy view of his own, ſeems inclined to repreſent it—But, from him, I have heard of ſuch loſſes at play, upon the turf, and in bets of other ſorts, that if only half of what he ſays be true, it is impoſſible this poor infatuated man can go on long—I need not ſay how greatly his expences are encreaſed by the preſent ſet of acquaintance he has got into—I have ſpoken of it to him at the only moment I had an opportunity, and his anſwer was—Pooh! don’t give yourſelf any concern about that—I know what I am about, and ſhall take care to be no loſer, but very much otherwiſe.—This, I ſuppoſe, meant, that he doubted not his ſucceſs at play againſt the French noblemen, two of whom are men of very large fortune—But how degrading is ſuch a ſcheme!—how unworthy of a man profeſſing any honor or principle!—Enough, my Fanny, perhaps too much on this cruel topic—I will try to talk of other things.

N2 I cannot 1268 N2v 268

I cannot help ſmiling at your account of my old acquaintaneacquaintance Miſs Elford, whom I have heartily forgiven, not only for the ſtories ſhe once ſent forth about Mr. Mulgrave, which I never knew ſhe had done till lately; but for the little air of triumph ſhe aſſumes in relating, that poor, dear Mrs. Verney is already altered in her appearance, though ſo young!—Ah! it is very true, indeed, my love—I not only forgive her, but am really very glad ſhe is at length likely to enter happily into that ſtate which has always been the great object of her laudable ambition—She will now, I truſt, bear leſs enmity towards her young married friends, (how ſeldom, alas! the objects of well-founded envy) or towards thoſe whoſe youth and charms ſeemed to give them a chance which ſhe herſelf deſpaired of—I wiſh, however, ſhe would not beſet my mother with ſtories of Mr. Verney, which ſerve only to make her uneaſy, without producing any benefit to us.

You ſay, that my mother certainly did not pay off thoſe two debts that ſo ſadly diſtreſſed us five months ago—Who then could it be?— Since I have been convinced it was none of my own family, I have been, I own, very ſolicitous to diſcover to whom ſuch an obligation is owing; and in the indiſcretion of my curioſity, I have applied to Colonel Scarſdale, who, without directly aſſerting it, has given ſuch anſwers, as would (if I did not believe him incapable of ſuch an action, even from intereſted motives) have led me to imagine it might be himſelf— Surely this cannot be?—I wiſh it were poſſible to know.

You aſk me, my Fanny, after Mr. Deſmond—Alas! I know nothing ſatisfactory of him; 1269 N3r 269 him; and have ſometimes been ſo anxious to hear from him, as to think of writing to Mr. Bethel—Yet a fear of its having a ſingular and improper appearance, has always deterred me. What is your ſecret, my dear ſiſter, which you will not communicate, leſt it ſhould add to my troubles?—Does it, as I gueſs, relate to Deſmond?—Oh! how happy, how enviable, would the lot of that woman be, who, inſpiring ſuch a man with eſteem and affection, ſhould be at liberty to return it—Need I ſay, that it is the wiſh of my heart, my Fanny, might be that fortunate creature; yet, let me not aſſiſt in cheriſhing an hope that may ſerve only to embitter her life—I have heard it hinted, (but it is long ſince, and, perhaps, came from no very good authority) that he is already attached, with the moſt ardent affection, to that Madame de Boiſbelle, who ſo aſſiduouſly attended him in his illneſs; and that his continuing ſo long abroad, is owing to his unwillingneſs to leave her—I have collected this intelligence partly from Colonel Scarſdale, who has ſome correſpondence abroad, and partly from my ſervant Manwaring, whoſe huſband is an old friend of Warham’s, Mr. Deſmond’s ſervant, and now and then has a letter from him—Upon putting all the circumſtances together, I am compelled to give that credit to their united evidence, which I ſhould not have given to the Colonel alone, who ſeemed to triumph mightily in being able to relate, that my excellent and virtuous friend, as he ſneeringly calls Deſmond, is entangled in an adventure with a married woman—Perhaps, however, this is all the invention of malice, or the painting of ignorance—Malice, that will not allow it probable mere friendſhip ſhould exiſt N3 between 1270 N3v 270 between two perſons of different ſexes; and groſs ignorance, that connotcannot imagine it poſſible —May heaven bleſs Deſmond, whatever are his proſpects and connexions! and may he be as happy as he deſerves to be!—I feel, too ſenſibly, the weight of our obligation to him whenever his name is mentioned, whenever I think of him—Perhaps, I feel it the more, becauſe (you only excepted) none of my family ſeem to feel it at all—My brother, I fear, never writes to him; and has probably committed follies as great, though not ſo irretrievable, as thoſe from which Deſmond delivered him.―Mr. Verney is continually making Deſmond’s quixotiſm the ſubject of his ridicule; (a talent which he manages generally ſo as to attract ridicule himſelf) and my mother ſeems rather ſorry that Deſmond is wiſer than her ſon, than obliged to him for having exerted that wiſdom in his behalf. How long, my dear Fanny, has your reading been under proſcription?—We uſed to read what we would, when we were girls together, and I never found it was prejudicial to either of us; but my mother ſeems to have been liſtening (notwithſtanding her diſlike of women’s knowledge) to ſome of thoſe good ladies, who, by dint of a tolerable memory, and being accuſtomed to aſſociate with men of letters, have collected ſome phraſes and remarks, which they retail in leſs enlightened ſocieties, and immediately obtain credit for an uncommon ſhare of penetration and ſcience—But if every work of fancy is to be prohibited in which a tale is told, or an example brought forward, by which ſome of theſe ladies ſuppoſe, that the errors of youth may be palliated, or the imagination awakened—I know no book of amuſement that 1271 N4r 271 that can eſcape their cenſure; and the whole phalanx of novels, from the two firſt of our claſſics, in that line of writing, Richardſon and Fielding, to the leſs exceptionable, though certainly leſs attractive inventors of the preſent day, muſt be condemned with leſs mercy, than the curate and the barber ſhewed to the collecttion of the Knight of the ſorrowful Countenance; and tenthen, I really know not what young people (I mean young women) will read at all —But let me aſk theſe ſevere female cenſors, whether, in every well-written novel, vice, and even weakneſſes, that deſerve not quite ſo harſh a name, are not exhibited, as ſubjecting thoſe who are examples of them, to remorſe, regret, and puniſhment—And ſince circumſtances, more inimical to innocence, are every day related, without any diſguiſe, or with very little, in the public prints; ſince, in reading the world, a girl muſt ſee a thouſand very ugly blots, which frequently paſs without any cenſure at all—I own, I cannot imagine, that novel reading, can, as has been alledged, corrupt the imagination, or enervate the heart; at leaſt, ſuch a deſcription of novels, as thoſe which repreſent human life nearly as it is; for, as to others, thoſe wild and abſurd writings, that deſcribe in inflated language, beings, that never were, not ever will be, they can (if any young woman has ſo little patience and taſte as to read them) no more contribute to form the character of her mind, than the groteſque figures of ſhepherdeſſes, on French fans and Bergamot boxes, can form her taſte in dreſs—Who could, for a moment, feel any impreſſion from the peruſal of ſuch ſtuff as this, though every diurnal print puffed its excellence, and every petit maître 3 ſwore 1272 N4v 272 ſwore it was quite the thing—exquiſite—pathetic—intereſting.

The beautiful, the ſoft, the tender Iphigenia, cloſed not, during the tedious hours, her beauteous eyes while the glorious flambeau of ſilver-ſlippered day ſunk beneath the encrimſoned couch of coral-crowned Thetis, giving up the dormant world to the raven-embrace of all over-clouding night—When, however, the matin loving lark, or ruſſet pinions, floating amid the tiffany clouds, that variegated, in fleecy undulation, the grey-inveſted heavens, hailed with his ſoul-reviving note, the radiant countenance of returning morn; the ſweet, the mild, the elegantly unhappy maid, turned towards the roſeate-ſtreaming Eaſt, thoſe ſapphire meſſengers, that expreſſed, in language of ſuch exquiſite ſenſibility, every emotion of her delicate ſoul; and, with a palpitating ſigh, aroſe —She clad her graceful form in a cloſe jacket of Nakara ſatin, trimmed with ſilver, and the bloſſoms of the ſweet-ſcented pea, intermixed; her petticoat was of white ſattin, with a border of the ſame; and on her head, half hiding, and half diſcovering her hyacinthine locks, ſhe careleſsly bound a glowing wreath of African marygolds, and purple China-aſter, ſurmounting the whole with a light kerchief of pink Italian gauze, embroidered by herſelf in lilies of the valley—She then approached the window, and in a voice, whoſe dulcet gurglings emulated the cooings of the enamoured pigeon of the woods, ſhe ſighed forth the following exquiſitively expreſſive ode.

Now do you think, my dear Fanny, that either good or harm can be derived from ſuch a book as this?—Loſs of time may be, with juſtice,tice, 1273 N5r 273 tice, objected to it, but no other evil—A ſenſible girl would certainly throw it away in diſguſt: a weak one (who would probably not underſtand half of it, could it be underſtood at all) cries, Dear!—how ſweet!—charming creature!—A light kerchief of pink Italian gauze, embroidered with lilies of the valley!—Her voice, the dulcit gurglings of the enamoured pigeon of the woods!—And then, meaning only to enquire, whether this amiable Iphigenia was happy or no?—She ſits down to have her hair curled—reads as faſt, as the roſeate rays, and azure adventures, will let her, to the end, and forgetting them all—dreſſes herſelf and goes to Ranelagh, or the opera, where ſhe tells ſome little cream-coloured beau what a dear, divine novel ſhe has been reading; but of which, in fact, ſhe has forgotten every word.

I own it has often ſtruck me as a ſingular inconſiſtency, that, while novels have been condemned as being injurious to the intereſt of virtue, the play-houſe has been called the ſchool of morality—The comedies of the laſt century are almoſt, without exception, ſo groſs, that with all the alterations they have received, they are very unfit for that part of the audience to whom novel reading is deemed pernicious, nor is the example to be derived from them very conducive to the intereſts of morality; for, not only the rake and the coquette of the piece are generally made happy, but thoſe duties of life, to which novel-reading is believed to be prejudicial, are almoſt always violated with impunity, or rendered ridiculous by the trick of the ſcene—Age which ought to be reſpected, is invariably exhibited, as hateful and contemptible—To cheat an old father, or laugh at a fat 1274 N5v 274 fat aunt, are the ſupreme merits of the heroes and heroines; and though nothing is more out of nature than the old man of the ſtage—I cannot be of opinion, that the ſcene is a ſchool of morality for youth, which teaches them, that age and infirmity, are ſubjects of laughter and ridicule—Such, however, is the taſte of the Engliſh in their theatrical amuſements—And now, when the very offenſive jeſt is no longer admitted, portraits of folly, exaggerated till they loſe all reſemblance, harlequin tricks, and pantomimical eſcapes, are ſubſtituedſubſtituted to keep the audience awake, and are accepted in place of genuine wit, of which it muſt be owned, there is a plentiful lack (with ſome ſtrong exceptions, however) in our modern comedy—All this is very well, if we take it as mere amuſement; but, what I quarrel with, is the canting fallacy of calling the ſtage the ſchool of morality— Rouſſeau ſays, very juſtly, Il n’y a que la raiſon qui ne ſoit bonne a rien ſur le ſcene It is reaſon only that is worth nothing on the ſtage. —A reaſonable man would be a character inſupportably flat and inſipid even on the French ſtage, and on the Engliſh, would not be endured to the end of the firſt ſcene—Even thoſe charming pieces, which are called drames, ſuch as le Père de famille, l’Indigent, le Philoſophe ſans le ſcavoir, would, however well they might be tranſlated, adapted to our manners, and repreſented, lull an Engliſh audience to ſleep, though they exhibit domeſtic ſcenes, by which morality and virtue are moſt forcibly inculcated; and ſuch, as by coming home to the buſineſs and boſoms of the younger part of the audience, might 1275 N6r 275 might be, indeed, leſſons in that ſchool, which our theatre certainly does not form; though the careful mothers, wh odreadwho dread the evil influence of novels, carry their daughthersdaughters to its moſt exceptionable repreſentations.

In regard to novels, I cannot help remarking another ſtrange inconſiſtency, which is, that the great name of Richardſon, (and great it certainly deſerves to be) makes, by a kind of hereditary preſcriptive deference, thoſe ſcenes, thoſe deſcriptions paſs uncenſured in Pamela and Clariſſa, which are infinitely more improper for the peruſal of young women, than any that can be found in the novels of the preſent day; of which, indeed, it may be ſaid, that, if they do no good, they do no harm; and that there is a chance, that thoſe who will read nothing, if they do not read novels, may collect from them ſome few ideas, that are not either fallacious, or abſurd, to add to the very ſcanty ſtock which their uſual inſipidity of life has afforded them —As to myſelf, I read, you know, all ſorts of books, and have done ſo ever ſince I was out of the nurſery, for my mother had then no notion of reſtraining me—Novels, of courſe, and thoſe very indifferent novels, were the firſt that I could obtain; and I ran though them with extreme avidity, often forgetting to practiſe my leſſon on the harpſichord, or to learn my French taſk, while I got up into my own room, and devoured with an eager appetite, the mawkiſh pages that told of a damſel, moſt exquiſitely beautiful, confined by a cruel father, and eſcaping to an heroic lover, while a wicked Lord laid in wait to tear her from him, and carried her to ſome remote caſtle—Thoſe delighted me moſt that ended miſerably; and having tortured me 1276 N6v 276 me through the laſt volume with impoſſible diſtreſs, ended in the funeral of the heroine— Had the imagination of a young perſon been liable to be much affected by theſe ſorts of hiſtories, mine would, probably, have taken a romantic turn, and at eighteen, when I was married, I ſhould have heſitated whether I ſhould obey my friends directions, or have waited till the hero appeared, who would have been imprinted on my mind, from ſome of the charming fabulous creatures, of whom I had read in novels —But, far from doing ſo, I was, you ſee, obedient—very obedient; and, in the four years that have ſince paſt, I have thought only of being a quiet wife, and a good nurſe, and of fulfilling, as well I can, the part which has been choſen for me—I know not how I have ſlid into all this egotiſm, from a defence of novel-reading—It has, however, ſerved to detach my thoughts from ſubjects of ſad import; and I have written myſelf into ſome degree of cheerfulneſs; before I relapſe, therefore, I will bid you, my beloved Fanny, adieu!

Geraldine Verney.

End of Vol. I.

i A1r

Desmond,

A
Novel,
in Two Volumes.

By Charlotte Smith.

Volume II.

Dublin: Printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Moore,
W. McKenzie, H. Colbert, A. Grueber, J. Jones,
B. Dornin, J. Rice, W. Jones, J. Mehain,
G. Draper, R. M Allister,
G. Folingsby
. 1792M,DCC,XCII.

ii A1v 2001 B1r

Desmond.

Letter I.

To Mr. Desmond.

In purſuance of my promiſe, which, though it was, perhaps, indiſcreet to give it, I hold ſacred now that it is given; I write to you, my dear friend, to relate an hiſtory that cannot but wound you moſt cruelly, and add to that melancholy deſpondence too viſible in your laſt letters—I believe I told you In a letter which does not appear. that Geraldine was ſuddenly returned to London, at the requeſt of her huſband, and that his ſtyle of living at his houſe in Seymour-ſtreet, far from having been reduced by the late untoward circumſtances that befel him there, was more extravagant and profuſe than before—He was ſuppoſed to have won conſiderable ſums of money from the Duke de Romagnecourt, and ſome other Frenchmen of Vol. II. B fortune, 2002 B1v 2 fortune, emigrants in England; and it was to do the honours of his houſe to theſe new friends, that his wife, who could no longer plead the excuſe of ill health, was compelled, in obedience to his wiſhes, to leave her quiet retirement at Sheen, and return to witneſs follies ſhe could not check, and to ſee the progreſs of ruin, it was impoſſible for her to prevent.

In maymy way through London, about three weeks ago, I called at her door, merely to make an enquiry after her, and not expecting to ſee her—The ſervant, however, whom I ſpoke to, informed me ſhe had been ſome days in London, was then at home, and would, he believed, ſee me. I ſent up my name, and, on entering the room, was gratified by the expreſſion of pleaſure, which I ſaw on the countenance of Geraldine, who, inſtead of receiving me with the formality of mere acquaintance, held out her hand to me, and called me her good friend.

The features of a gentleman, who was ſitting with her, wore, I thought, a very different meaning—This was Colonel Scarſdale, who looked at me as if he at once contemned me as a rural Squire, and diſliked me as an unwelcome intruder—while the evident preference that Geraldine gave me by addreſſing all her converſation to me, and enquiring ſolicitouſly about you, ſeemed every moment to encreaſe his diſpleaſure; ſtill, however, he ſtaid—now humming an air— and now making a violent noiſe with the little boy, for whom he affects the moſt extravagant fondneſs; and though I wiſhed very much to have ſome converſation with Geraldine, in which, notwithſtanding her reſerve, I might have learned more of her real ſituation, than I can gather from public report—I found the Colonel determined 2003 B2r 3 determined to ſtay too; and that he was ſo much domeſticated in the houſe, that he dreſſed there, and was, that day, to make one of a large party that were coming to dinner—As I was under the neceſſity of leaving London early the next morning, I had no opportunity of attempting another interview with her; but as ſoon as I arrived at Bath, I waited on her mother and her ſiſter, and fortunately found the latter at home alone.

Fanny Waverly received me with great pleaſure, and was not leſs early and eager in her enquiries after you, than Geraldine had been two days before—When I told her that you were, from your own account, ſo far recovered of your accident, that you talked of leaving off the ſling in which your arm had been confined —her eyes ſparkled with pleaſure; but when I added, that you ſpoke leſs favourably of your general health, and had no thoughts of returning ſoon to England, ſhe evidently drooped in dejection; and when I led the diſcourſe towards Geraldine, as I immediately did, ſhe diſſolved in tears.

She told me, that the ſituation of her ſiſter gave her the moſt cruel alarms; that Verney was moſt undoubtedly ruined beyond remedy; and that ſhe feared his real reaſon for having brought back Geraldine to his houſe, was, a hope of perſuading her to give up her ſettlement, and enable him to ſell his Yorkſhire eſtate, which, ſaid ſhe, I have too much reaſon to believe my ſiſter will conſent to—Nor is this all my fear—Geraldine is young, and very lovely— Every man of intrigue, who ſees ſuch a woman neglected, or even worſe treated by her huſband, is ready to form deſigns for himſelf—I know B2 there 2004 B2v 4 there are, at this time, many ſuch ſurrounding my ſiſter; and though the purity of her heart, the excellence of her underſtanding, and her exceſſive tenderneſs for her children, are ſecurities for her conduct, which I cannot a moment doubt; yet, I have ſuch an opinion of Verney, that I am not certain he is not capable of the moſt infamous proceedings, even towards his wife, if, by ſuch, he could obtain the means of ſupporting a little longer the wild career, which his mad infatuation repreſents as the only one worthy of a man of faſhion.

This remark added to what I had made in town on the behaviour of Colonel Scarſdale, and my opinion of Verney, which is not at all better than that Fanny entertains of him, ſtartled me extremely—If ſuch, my dear Miſs Waverly, ſaid I, are your apprehenſions for your ſiſter, ſurely your mother, or your brother, ought to interfere, before they can be realized—Surely, they ought to reſcue this excellent and lovely woman from the power of a huſband, of whom ſuch horrors can be ſuſpected.Alas! Mr. Bethel, replied ſhe, how can I mention ſuch dreadful ideas to my mother? who, conſcious, I believe, that Geraldine was the victim of duty, and married only in compliance with her and my father’s wiſhes, now endeavours to eſcape the conviction, that ſhe has condemned her to the moſt dreadful of all deſtinies, and will not ſee or hear, if ſhe can by any means eſcape it, what is, unhappily, too evident to the reſt of the world—Wrapt up, as her whole ſoul has ever been in my brother, ſhe has always thought, that in marrying her daughters, in what is called, a prudent way, that is, to men of large fortune, ſhe had taken ſufficient trouble 2005 B3r 5 trouble about them; ſhe never conſidered whether there were any other ſources of unhappineſs than want of money; nor did it ever occur to her, that in giving Geraldine to a man of fortune and family, ſhe overlooked circumſtances in the character of Verney, (though, when he married, his character was not developed) that might make her daughter liable to all the diſtreſſes and inconveniencies of poverty—To be convinced that it is ſo, is to be convinced, that ſhe has wanted either judgment or tenderneſs, and ſhe takes refuge in cards and company againſt the reproaches of her own heart—I have ventured, however, ſince I received ſome hints of the probability there was, that Geraldine ſhould be perſuaded to part with her ſettlement, to implore my mother’s attention to a circumſtance ſo deſtructive, but ſhe impatiently anſwered, that I talked nonſenſe; for that the truſtees to her marriage-articles, would take eſpecial care to prevent her committing ſuch a folly —As to any other fears I entertain, ſuch as thoſe I have juſt now mentioned, my mother would treat them as a romantic chimera of mine, and reſent my ſuppoſing them probable or poſſible— How then I can venture to make repreſentations to my mother, which would, probably, be ill received and fruitleſs? or which, were ſhe to attend to them a moment, ſhe would, perhaps, find ſome occaſion to condemn as futile, becauſe ſhe would diſlike to do that, which, if ſhe allows them well founded, ſhe ought to do—I mean, to take her daughter to her own houſe, as the only proper aſylum, if ſhe is compelled to quit that of her huſband—This, however, I know my mother will avoid, for Geraldine will never leave her children, and my mother diſlikes their 2006 B3v 6 their noiſe, and the trouble they occaſion in an houſe; and ſhe is, in ſhort, for why may I not ſpeak the truth to you? juſt at that period of life, when the character retains little that is feminine, but a love of trifles, and a redoubled attachment to ſome one weakneſs that has long been cheriſhed—Such is her violent partiality to my brother, for whom (notwithſtadningnotwithſtanding the little encouragement his entrance into the world has given to ſuch hopes) ſhe looks forward towards titles and dignities, which ſhe imagines his fortune will command, and his merit deſerve—There are ſome hearts, Mr. Bethel, that have not room for more than one ſtrong affection—Such, I ſuppoſe, is my mother’s—The reſt of it, which her daughters might have occupied, is filled with trifling objects—and—but I believe, you will think me very wrong, continued ſhe, and, perhaps, I have already ſaid too much—I meant, however, to account to you for omitting to do, what certainly appears moſt rational under the apprehenſions I have ventured to expreſs to you.

I was ſo much ſtruck by the manner, as well as the purport of this anſwer—ſo concerned for the ſituation of Geraldine—and ſo affected by the tender intereſt her ſiſter thus expreſſed, that I could neither find words, immediately to do juſtice to my feelings, nor, in my mind, any remedy, for the unhappy circumſtances that excited them—Your charge, my dear Deſmond, to uſe your fortune without ſcruple, in the ſervice of Geraldine, cannot here be executed; for to her, it would be worſe than uſeleſs, while her huſband would derive from it the means of continuing his career of vice and folly yet ſomething ſhould be done, and done immediately,diately, 2007 B4r 7 diately, to ſave her ſenſible heart from the anguiſh it muſt endure for her children—to ſpare her the mortification and miſery ſhe muſt feel in ſeeing herſelf at the mercy of a wretch, who is believed capable of ſuch actions as Fanny Waverly, I fear with too much reaſon, repreſents him as likely to practiſe. As I wiſhed to have time to reflect on what meaſures were the moſt proper, ſince of her own family there ſeemed ſo little to hope, I took leave of Miſs Waverly, and returned to my lodgings; but my thoughts dwelt in vain on the ſubject—I ſaw no way in which it was proper, or even poſſible, for the moſt diſintereſted friendſhip to interfere between a man and his wife—If Verney is determined to ruin himſelf and her, I ſee not by what means it can be prevented, or on what pretence, even her own family, can ſeparate them, while he chuſes ſhe ſhould remain the victim of his diſſipation, or hopes to derive, from the admiration ſhe excites, the power of continuing it; for to ſuch a plan Fanny Waverly undoubtedly alluded; and I have ſince heard, that Scarſdale, who has been long trying to recommend himſelf to the favour of Geraldine in vain, has found it much eaſier to embarraſs her huſband’s affairs ſo much, as to have a proſpect of obtaining that influence over her, from neceſſity, which, from any other motive he could never obtain—But, I think, if I know any thing of the ſpirit and temper of that in comparableincomparable woman; ſhe will ſpurn, with deteſtation, a monſter, who purſues the gratification of his paſſions by perfidy ſo atrocious— There was a time, when new to the world, and unhackneyed in the ways of men, I ſhould have felt indignation at the mere repreſentation of ſuch characters of thoſe as Verney and Scarſdaledale, 2008 B4v 8 dale, and ſhould have thought it a miſanthropic libel on human nature—But, alas! I know that ſuch men do exiſt; and I know that it is very difficult to ſave Geraldine from them, if they unite in deſtroying her peace and her reputation —I here break off, to keep an appointment I have made with Fanny Waverly, to meet at a bookſellor’s ſhop, and walk together—You will ſmile, or rather, you would ſmile, at any other time, in figuring to yourſelf, your ſage Mentor, making an aſſignation with a ſprightly girl of nineteen or tweneytwenty—But this is the only way, by which I can obtain an opportunity of talking with her alone—And I am one of the favored few, whom her diſcreet mother allows to converſe with her—Louiſa, who is a great favorite, and who loves Miſs Waverly extremely, is, however, to make a third in our party.

Well! my friend—I am returned from my tête-à-tête with this young beauty, and with an aching heart, but aching from other motives than thoſe of love—The week that has elapſed ſince I laſt converſed with her about Geraldine, has produced ſome of the events ſhe then expected, and others, of which ſhe had no apprehenſion.

Waverly, your travelling companion, is ſuddenly returned to England, while his mother and his ſiſter thought him at Venice, with a nymph whom he had brought from the Iſle of Cypreſs, whither he went with ſome other young Engliſhmen—Some miſadventure, by which he loſt the lady, diſguſted him with their ſociety, and meeting at Genoa, with a Captain of a merchantman,chantman, 2009 B5r 9 chantman, juſt coming to England, he embarked, after half-an-hour’s debate, with only one of his ſervants, leaving the others with his baggage to follow; and having a very quick paſſage, he landed near London; and in fourteen hours arrived at Bath, to the extreme ſatisfaction of his mother, who received him, as if the whole time of his abſence had been paſſed in refining his manners, and cultivating his underſtanding—I believe (though Fanny does not ſay ſo) that there is no very viſible improvement in either; but that he has picked up, at every place, ſome ſmall ſpecimen of the reigning follies, without having dropped thoſe that he had acquired before he ſet out—But his mother, who believes he has completed the courſe of ſtudy and education which is requiſite to a man of fortune, and of a certain ſtyle, is now moſt eagerly ſolicitous to have him married; and Fanny tells me, that, from every appearance, at preſent, it is highly probable, that, by the mutual endeavours of the two elder ladies, Mrs. Fairfax and Mrs. Waverly, this great event may be accompliſhed—The eldeſt Miſs Fairfax (your fair ariſtocrate, at Margate) is the lady whoſe happy deſtiny it will be, to fix this fluctuating lover.

This is a matter of importance no otherwiſe, than, as it oocupiesoccupies entirely the maternal feelings of Mrs. Waverly, and prevents her giving any attention to the ſituation of her daughter Verney, and will as certainly be a reaſon againſt her affording her,,, even that pecuniary aſſiſtance, which I greatly fear ſhe may now want, for the cataſtrophe of Verney’s affairs, ſo long foreſeen, is at length arrived—The ſudden encreaſe of expence which he ruſhed into in London, ended B5 in 2010 B5v 10 in his giving up the leaſe of the houſe, and all its furniture, to his creditors; and it is advertiſed for ſale on the 30th inſtant—Geraldine, and her children, have, of courſe, left it; but not to go to Mooreſly Park, which is made over for a term of years, with the furniture and ſtock, to Colonel Scarſdale, as is ſaid, towards the diſcharge of a conſiderable debt, of what is called honor— Verney himſelf, who ſeems totally inſenſible to the ſufferings of his wife, and has left her to ſtruggle againſt them alone, is either gone, or going to Germany with the Duke de Romagnecourt, and his party, who are about to join the exiled French Princes—Fanny Waverly told me, with many tears, that her ſiſter was gone into a ſmall lodging at Kenſington, for thoſe at Sheen, humble as they once appeared, ſhe now thought too expenſive for her; that ſhe did not intend to remain ſo near London, but to find ſome cheap retirement in a diſtant country, where ſhe might conceal her ſorrows from thoſe, to whom the ſight of them would be oppreſſive. —Thus, my dear Deſmond, I have executed the moſt uneaſy taſk I ever undertook, that of relating the calamities that ſeem likely to everwhelmoverwhelm our charming friend—Be not, however, in pain about her immediate ſituation, as to money—I have ſettled with Fanny Waverly the means of being, for the preſent, her banker, without her knowing that any but her own family execute this office—And I have entreated this amiable girl to endeavour to obtain leave of her mother to go to her ſiſter in this hour of bitter diſtreſs —This, however, is a permiſſion that Fanny has already ſolicited in vain; nor can ſhe obtain of Mrs. Waverly any other attention to the cruel ſituation of Geraldine, than what the old lady thinks 2011 B6r 11 thinks neceſſary, to prevent the circumſtances ſhe is under, from bringing any ſort of diſgrace on the reſt of the family, and injuring her preſent projects, in regard to her ſon, which are alone near her heart.

I direct this to St. Germains, where your laſt letter tells me you will, by this time, be arrived, to remain ſome time, I cannot imagine why, and do not aſk, as if you had choſen I ſhould know, you would probably have told me—However, my buſineſs is to forward this letter to you, by as quick a conveyance as poſſible—I luckily have an opportunity of doing ſo, by a ſervant belonging to an acquaintance of mine, who is going to rejoin his maſter at Paris. I ſhall be impatient to hear from you—Let me ſoon have that ſatisfaction; and let me hear that the deſpondence is gone, which, at your age, and with your character, is a weakneſs you ought not to indulge.—Adieu!

Moſt faithfully your’s,

E. Bethel.

Let- 2012 B6v 12

Letter II.

To Miss Waverly.

At length my Fanny, I begin to recover—It is now three dayedays ſince I have been ſettled at my new abode, and returning tranquillity—I mean, outward tranquillity, (for that of the heart and ſpirit can never more be mine) gives me a little time to collect my troubled thoughts— And on the heat and flame of my endurance, Sprinkle cool patience. Shakeſpeare. But be not uneaſy about me—I am not ill—I am only languid from the ſeverity of my paſt ſufferings, and that languor is every day decreaſing.

My two eldeſt children are quite well; and my little George is as gaily playing on the turf here, as he uſed to be on that of the lawn at Linwellwell, 2013 B7r 13 well, or the park at Mooreſly—places, of which I once hoped, he would be the inheritor—But, of my diſappointed hopes, my lovely boy is unconſcious!—yet he continually brings tears into my eyes, by aſking, why we came hither?— what is become of his papa, of the ſervants, and the horſes, whoſe names they had taught him, and of the maid who uſed to wait upon me?— I endeavour to divert theſe infantine enquiries as much as I can, for they affect me more than even my own melancholy reflections—Fortunately it is a ſeaſon when he is eaſily amuſed— I ſend him out with his ſiſter and his maid into the ſurrounding meadows, where, after their maid has dreſſed their hats with cowſlips, orchiſſes, cuckoo-flowers, and golden-cups—my Harriet brings home her lap full of theſe gay children of the May, and, in her imperfect language, ſays, they are for dear mama.

While my little prattlers are abſent, I hang over the cradle of my infant William, whoſe health has again been ſadly diſordered by all the anxiety I have endured; yet, for his ſake, I endeavoured to repreſs thoſe acute feelings with which my heart was torn in pieces; but ſuch were their nature, that it was impoſſible my health ſhould not be affected, and, of courſe, that of the child, who, under ſuch circumſtances, I have, perhaps, done wrong to continue nouriſhing at my breaſt, eſpecially as I think he has never recovered the firſt ſhock he received, when, at his birth, I firſt knew ſo much, and ſo ſuddenly, of the diſarranged ſtate of Mr. Verney’s circumſtances—Compared with the loſs of my child, every other evil would be as nothing; yet, perhaps, I ought not to wiſh him to live, ſince to live is but to ſuffer.—But again, my 2014 B7v 14 my dear ſiſter, I check theſe mournful thoughts, with which I ought not to oppreſs you; and again I aſſure you, that when none of theſe apprehenſions aſſail my heart, I am not ſo unhappy as you ſay you fear I am—If I obtain reſolution enough to look calmly at the change which has befallen me, I ſee much leſs to regret than moſt people would diſcover—The only pleaſure I have loſt in loſing high affluence, is that of having the power to befriend the unhappy, to whom I can now give only my tears; but, for the reſt, what have I loſt, that I ought to lament?—The turbulent and joyleſs ſocieties which Mr. Verney loved, were to me only fatiguing and diſagreeable—The parties of faſhionable men that he continually collected, offered me neither rational converſation, nor permanent friendſhip—and the women, with whom I was, in conſequence of theſe connections, compelled to aſſociate, were ſo inſipid, or ſo vain; ſo devoted to the card-table, or occupied by the rage of being admired, that their acquaintance gave me as little pleaſure as mine ſeemed to give them; and our intercourſe was, after two or three formal dinners, reduced to the ſlight civility of ſending cards to each other four or five times in a winter. The fineries in which Mr. Verney’s vanity dreſſed me out, (he called it love, I think, for a little time) never gave me a moment’s pleaſure: and when laſt year, Colonel Scarſdale perſuaded him, that I ought to be preſented, and appear ſometimes at court, I was perfectly convinced that ſuch ceremonies were for me the heavieſt puniſhments that could be deviſed; and, indeed, few of thoſe whoſe pride or intereſt made their attendance on them more frequent, were apparently more delighted than I was, for they 2015 B8r 15 they ſeemed univerſally to feel under all the apparent gaiety and ſplendor the influence of the Dæmon ennui

That realm he rules, and in ſuperb attire, Viſits each earthly palace. Hayley.

Now, I believe, my Fanny, I am for ever exempt from being a viſitor where this hideous phantom holds his eternal reign; and he will not, I truſt, ſeek me in the farm houſe I now inhabit, and which I am going to deſcribe to you.

The ſituation of it is charming—It ſtands on a riſing ground among meadows, of which poetry, in the moſt flowery language, could hardly exaggerate the beauty—Through theſe yellow meads, the Wye takes its ſinous courſe, till its progreſs is concealed by projecting hills, or rather mountains, riſing beyond the meadows; their ſummits bare and rocky, their ſides clothed with woods, which, at this time, exhibit every varied tint of vivid and early vegetation— Forgive me, if I borrow here the aid of a poet, whoſe powerful pen, with more than the magic of the pencil, brings whatever he deſcribes immediately before the eye.

No tree in all the grove but has its charms, Tho’ each its hue peculiar; paler ſome, And of a wanniſh grey, the willow ſuch; And poplar, that with ſilver lines his leaf; And aſh, far ſtretching his umbrageous arm; Of deeper green the elm; and deeper ſtill, Lord of the woods, the long-ſurviving oak; Some gloſſy-leaved and ſhining in the ſun, The maple, and beech of oily nuts Prolific; and the lime at dewy eve Diffuſing odours. Cowper Beneath 2016 B8v 16

Beneath theſe varied woods are a tract of orchards, now covered with bloom, giving completely the idea of the Primavera candida e vermiglia. Petrarch.

A cottage or two, almoſt emboſomed among the trees, are marked rather by the ſmoke ariſing from their chimney’s, than by their concealed thatch; but thus dimly ſeen, they give cheerfulneſs to the landſcape—Behind the houſe, the country wears quite another aſpect—It riſes abruptly into ſmall knolls, too ſteep for the plough, and, from the nature of the ſoil, not much worth cultivation; ſince it is in the lower part a black moor, and the hillocks are of yellow ſand, producing little but the heath and the whortle-berry— Whortle-berry, or hurts. Vaccinium Myrtillus. The higher ridges, furze, or thorns, with here and there, in the hollows, tufts of ſelf-planted oaks.

From this rude tract of country, the garden of this houſe is divided, in ſome parts, by an old wall, in others, by a thick hedge of yew and holly, the growth of centuries; for this is an old manorial reſidence; and beſides the long row of firs, of very ancient date, that ſhade part of the garden, has many marks of having been once the abode of opulent poſſeſſors, who ornamented it in the taſte of the days in which they lived. The laſt improvements in the houſe appear to have been made in the time of Elizabeth and James the Firſt; but thoſe in the garden are rather, perhaps, in the ſtyle that was imported from 2017 B9r 17 from Holland by William, when he was ſent for to ſecure the liberty of Engliſhmen, and teach them to curtail that of their trees—I mean the taſte which decorated our gardens with rows of evergreens, formally planted, and cut into the imagined ſhapes of men, peacocks, and ſundry other forms— Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.

The laſt inhabitant of the houſe, was an old and rich farmer, who had no reliſh for theſe monuments of former elegance; but the wife of him who now rents it, and of whom I hire my apartments, told me, with great exultation, that ſhe had cauſed one of the men, at his leiſure hours, to clip them into their former beauty, and make them fit to be ſeen, all’s one, as folks ſay, they uſed to be in the old Squire’s time.—But, as this ruſtic ſculptor, of vegetables is not very expert in his art, the box, the holly, and the yew, have loſt all reſemblance to themſelves, without finding any other—In the borders beneath them, however, there are a great many flowers, whoſe roots have ſurvived thoſe who planted them, and theſe are even ſcattered over the rough parts of the encloſure, which is given up to the culinary productions, or left wholly uncultivated Along the waſte, where once the garden ſmiled. And where ſtill many a garden flower grows wild. Goldſmith. And it is among theſe, which are now peeping through the graſs, or blooming, unſeen, among the 2018 B9v 18 the thyme, balm, and lavender, that I, in my melancholy meditations, repeat The tender roſe which ſeems in winter dead, Revives in Spring, and lifts its dewy head: But we—the great, the glorious, and the wiſe! When once the hand of death has clos’d our eyes— Idyllium of Moſchus on the death of Bion. Or rather, the lighter comment of a very agreeable French authoreſs on this text, which concludes with Mais hélas!—pour vouloir revivre, La vie eſt il un bien ſi doux? Quand nous l’aimons tant, ſongeons nous De combien de chagrins, ſa perte nous delivre? Elle n’eſt qu’un amas de craintes, de douleurs, De travaux, de ſoucis, de peines. Pour qui connoit les miſeres humaines; Mourir n’eſt pas le plus grands des malheurs. Les fleurs, Idylle par Madame des-Houlieres.

But I am getting again into reflections, which I blame myſelf for indulging, and moralizing, when I undertook to give you a picture of my abode.

The houſe itſelf is very old; wide, projecting caſements, divided by heavy ſtone work, a great brick hall, and Paſſages that lead to nothing. May give you ſome idea, and perhaps a dreary idea of the ſort of houſe.—The farmer, and his family, inhabit the northern end of it, which was once the ſervants apartments, kitchen, and buttery 2019 B10r 19 buttery—The rooms, however, which I have taken, are not ſo forlorn, as from the general air of the houſe you would ſuppoſe—I have a parlour wainſcotted and carpetted—The chimney, indeed, is very large, but, at this time of the year, is With flowers and fennel gay, Goldſmith. And will I dare ſay, look very well with a blazing wood fire in it—Above, I have a very good bed-chamber for myſelf, and one, ſtill better, immediately adjoining, for my children; theſe are papered, and though not in a very modern ſtyle, perhaps, they are clean, and warm—I have deſired ſome great, old, family pictures, with which both theſe and the parlour were disfigured, might be removed, and I ſhall ſupply the places of theſe heroes, who bled in the civil wars, (as I gueſs, by their wigs and their armour) and the dames, whoſe ſimpering charms rewarded their proweſs, but whoſe very names are now forgotten, (ſad leſſon to human vanity!) with rude brackets of wood, on which I ſhall put flowers, and between them ſhelves for the books I have brought with me—Theſe little arrangements ſerve to occupy my mind; and I forget the conveniencies and luxuries of which I am deprived, in contriving how I may ſtill obtain thoſe few, which (perhaps, from ſingularity of taſte) are more neceſſary to my content, than the ſideboard of plate, the elegant furniture, and handſome carriages, I have parted with.

I think more of their late thoughtleſs owner, poor Verney! yet why do I ſpeak of him in a tone of pity, when he is, probably, much happierpier 2020 B10v 20 pier than I am?—I have had no other letter from him ſince our haſty parting in London, than that, wherein he very briefly aſſented to my propoſed retirement; and ſaid, though not in direct terms, that if I did not embarraſs him about money, I was at liberty to do with myſelf and my children whatever I thought good—I will not comment on this—I will endeavour not to think of it—I turn always with painful pleaſures, to ſome other ſubjects; but to one I think with pleaſure only. I am happy to hear Mr. Bethel is at Bath, that you have ſuch long and pleaſant converſations with him, and that his charming girl is ſo much with you—He is a man whom I have always regarded and eſteemed for his own ſake, as well as becauſe he was ſo excellent a guardian, and is ſo warm a friend to Mr. Deſmond.—You hear that Deſmond is at St. Germains, that place is, I ſuppoſe, the reſidence of Madame de Boiſbelle, when ſhe is not with her brother.—But Mr. Bethel tells you that Deſmond is quite reſtored to health, and only occaſionally wears his arm in a ſling—may he ſoon loſe even that recollection of his painful adventure!—I muſt now, my Fanny, bid you adieu! my letter is very long, yet I have written it all while my little William has been ſleeping, and my other charmers walking with their maid in the ſhade of one of the woods, which a ruſtic bridge thrown acroſs the river, puts within our reach—It is now near their hour of dinner, and I ſee them from my window croſſing the meadow; I go to meet them, and help to bring them home, as I ſee, by his actions, that George complains of being tired, and ſolicits his Peggy to carry him as well as his 2021 B11r 21 his ſiſter. I will ſeal my letter on my return, as it cannot go to the poſt till to-morrow.

I did not imagine, my Fanny, in leaving my letter unſealed this morning, that I ſhould have to add to its contents, the hiſtory of a circumſtance that has ſurpriſed me a good deal.

On my meeting my children in the field below the houſe, their maid told me, that Maſter George had tired himſelf ſo by playing with a gentleman whom they had met, and with a great dog he had with him, that ſhe could hardly get him home. I enquired who the gentleman was; and heard, that they had ſeen him reading in the wood, and that the dog, which was a large water-ſpaniel, having ran towards the children, and ſomewhat alarmed the little girl, his maſter, who was, as Peggy deſcribed him, one of the moſt handſome gentlemen ſhe ever ſet eyes upon, had come up to them, and aſked very eagerly, whoſe children they were; and hearing that their names were Verney, he had taken them both up and kiſſed them—That the little boy looked earneſtly at him, and then returned his fondneſs; and that once, in playing with him, the gentleman, called him George, as if he had known him before—I deſired the maid to deſcribe the figure of this gentleman, that I might know if it were any of my acquaintance—She ſaid, that he was a tall, and, (according to her phraſe) quite a grand looking man, though not luſty, but rather thinniſh; he had dark eyes, brighter than any diamonds, and brown hair; but that he looked a little pale, as if he was ſick; and though he ſeemed 2022 B11v 22 ſeemed in his way ſomehow like an officer, that he was left-handed.—Till now, I had formed, I own, a vague, and yet a very uneaſy idea, that this ſtranger, who knew the name of my little boy ſo well, might be Colonel Scarſdale; but this deſcription did not at all anſwer his perſon; and then I recollected, that if it had been him, George would have known him, and indeed the maid alſo, who has been ſo lately accuſtomed to ſee him every day—I then ſuppoſed it might be ſome of the neighbouring gentlemen, and bade Peggy deſcribe him to the farmer’s wife and ſervants, which ſhe has juſt done, and tells me that there is no ſuch perſon in this country that they know of, and that the neareſt gentleman’s ſeat is above ſeven miles off—I have again been queſtioning Peggy, as this ſtranger’s having ſo much noticed the children, has made a great impreſſion on my mind—She ſays, ſhe is ſure, from his manner, that it is ſome gentleman who had been acquainted in the family, becauſe he ſeemed ſo fond of them, and ſomehow glad to ſee them, and that he aſked George if he often walked in that wood, and whether his mama ever walked there?—And to be ſure, Ma’am, remarks Peggy, it muſt be ſomebody that knows you, or how ſhould he enquire after the children’s mama, for I never told him whether they had a mama or a papa, or who belonging to them.

The more queſtions I aſk, the more I wiſh to know who this is, and whether it is really any man whom I have formerly known who happens accidentally to be in this country?—If it is, he will, probably, ſince he knows where I am, call upon me; and if it is not, of what importance is the circumſtance at all?—Thus I have endeavoured to reaſon myſelf out of the reſtleſs 2 curioſity 2023 B12r 23 curioſity that has diſturbed me, perhaps, fooliſhly enough the whole of the remaining day—It is now night—a calm, a lovely night, without a moon indeed, but with the canopy of heaven illuminated with countleſs miriads of planetary fires—Such a night, my Fanny, as ſome of thoſe in which we uſed, during the firſt year of my marriage, to be induced by Deſmond to wander in the coppice-walks and ſhrubberies, that ſurrounded the Lawn at Linwell—Alone, as I am here, I muſt not venture ſo far from the houſe; but I may traverſe the graſs-plat before it, and liſten to the nightingales, of which numbers ſalute me every evening with their ſong from the oppoſite woods; their delicious notes, ſoftened and prolonged by the echos from the bridge and the water; one only one, ſeems to have taken up his lonely abode in the garden here—Alas! I could be romantic enough to fancy it the ſpirit of ſome ſolitary and deſerted being like myſelf, that comes ſympathetically to hear and ſoothe my ſorrows.

Let me tell them then to this viſionary viſitant, rather than to my Fanny; and now, in wiſhing her a good night, wiſh too, that her ſlumbers may bring to her mind, without diſturbing it, the image of, her

Geraldine.

Let- 2024 B12v 24

Letter III.

To Miss Waverly.

The opportunities I have of ſending to the poſt are ſo few, my dear ſiſter, that though I write whenever I have any thing to ſay, which I imagine you wiſh to hear, or whenever it relieves my heavy heart, to pour out its ſorrows to you, yet I know my letters do not reach you regularly, and I have, from the ſame cauſe, the mortification of waiting ſome days for your’s, after they arrive at the poſt-office of the neighbouring town.

You may, perhaps, be anxious to know if I have again heard of the ſtranger, whoſe notice of my children ſeemed ſo extraordinary, and I own, for the following day or two, gave me ſome uneaſineſs—He was probably, however, only a traveller of taſte, invited by the beauty of this part of the country at this ſeaſon, to make an abode of a day or two at ſome little neighbouring public-houſe, or cottage, a circumſtance which, my landlord here, tells me, is not unfrequent—Itquent 2025 C1r 25 quent—It was, perhaps, the lovelineſs of my little ones that attracted his attention, and not any previous acquaintance with their family; and for the familiarity with which he ſeemed to treat them, much of it poſſibly in the mere fancy of Peggy, who, though a very good girl, is as likely as any other, to add to a ſtory ſhe tells from a natural love of the marvellous.—I ſay thus much about this adventure, leaſt what I told you in my laſt letter ſhould raiſe any uneaſy ideas in your mind; for I know you have a hundred fancies about Colonel Scarſdale, and ſuppoſe that he is a ſort of modern Lovelace; but, believe me, my Fanny, that character does not exiſt now; there is no modern man of faſhion, who would take a hundredth part of the trouble that Richardſon makes Lovelace take, to obtain Helen herſelf, if ſhe were to return to earth—And Scarſdale is a man ſo devoted to the acquiſition of fame in his own ſtyle of life, that with my change of fortune, his purſuit ends—It would have added ſomething to the glories he already boaſts in the annals of gallantry, if he could have carried off Verney’s wife from her huſband, her children, and her fame; but now that ſhe is baniſhed from the circles where ſhe was talked of and followed—now, that ſhe is forgotten by the idle flutterers who ſurrounded her for a few months; ſhe is too humble, and too inconſiderable, to be any object to ſuch a man, and is, ſhe thanks heaven, ſheltered by her obſcurity from his inſolent pretenſions.

I have little more to ſay to-day, but that my precious William is better, and my apprehenſionsII. C henſions 2026 C1v 26 henſions about him ſubſide again—I impatiently wait to hear how my brother’s love affair proceeds, though, in my laſt letter, I omitted to mention his name, engaged, as I was, by the multiplicity of trifles; but this is not owing to any indifference about him—I love my brother, and ſhould rejoice in his being happily married, though he ſeems to have forgotten that he has a ſiſter, whoſe comfortleſs deſtiny ſhould, at leaſt, ſecure to her the common civilities of life from her own family, if they cannot ſpare her any ſhare of their affections—Alas! how eaſily do common minds make to themſelves excuſes for forſaking and forgetting the unhappy—Were I again to appear (which heaven forbid) in thoſe ſocieties, whoſe members now think me ſunk below them—what inſulting pity!—what contemptuous condolences I ſhould receive!—In proportion as I was once thought the object of envy, ſhould I now be that of ill concealed triumph, and malignant ſcorn, under the ſemblance of ſympathy and concern—When theſe thoughts ariſe, you cannot imagine how well pleaſed I am that I am here— Are not theſe woods More free from peril than the envious court? Shakeſpeare. And, as I hide myſelf in them, I regret nothing but your company, my ſiſter, and yet, I ought not to wiſh you with me, when you are where the young and happy ought to be, amid that world which has, at your age, and with your unblighted proſpects, ſo many charms.

Farewell, 2027 C2r 27

Farewell, for the preſent—it is a delicious evening, and I will now venture to walk out and enjoy it—How forcibly every ſuch ſcene brings to my mind our morning walks, our evening rambles in Kent, and the pleaſant little trios we uſed to make with Mr. Deſmond, who has ſo much taſte, and ſo much genuine enthuſiaſm—I wonder whether he is as much gratified by the charms of Spring at St. Germains, as he uſed to be in England? I ſhould rather fear not; at leaſt, that he is leſs likely there to find companions who underſtand him and can participate his pleaſure; for the French ladies in general have, I believe, very little notion of that ſpecies of delight, that ariſes from contemplating the ſimple beauties of nature—A few days will ſoon make it a twelvemonth ſince I ſaw Deſmond, and of that time, he has ſacrificed more than half to his diſintereſted friendſhip to my brother— But I have repeated this ſo often to myſelf, that, perhaps, I have as often obtruded it upon your recollection.

I have found in the oppoſite woods one of the moſt ſingular, and moſt beautiful ſpots that I ever ſaw—It is a little hill, or rather three or four hills that ſeem piled together, though the inequality of their forms is concealed and adorned by the variety of trees with which they are covered; many of theſe are ever-greens, ſuch as holly and yew; and juſt where their ſhade is the darkeſt, they ſuddenly recede, and from a ſtoney excavation, burſts forth a ſtrong and rapid ſtream of pure and brilliant water, which pours directly down the precipice, and is loſt in the trees C2 that 2028 C2v 28 that crowd over it―A few paces higher up from a bare projection of rock, darts forth another current equally limpid, and having made itſelf a little baſon, which it fills, it haſtens over the rugged ſtones, that are thus worn by its courſe, and daſhing down the hill for ſome time in a different direction, meets the former ſtream; united they make a conſiderable brook, and haſten to join the Wye; not, however, till two or three other little wandering currents, that ariſe ſtill nearer the ſummit of this rocky eminence, which ſeems to abound in ſprings, have found their way to the ſame courſe—Of theſe unexpected guſhes of water, you hear the murmurs often without ſeeing from whence they ariſe; ſo thickly is the wood interwoven over the whole ſurface of the wild hill; a narrow, and hardly viſible path, however, winds around it, quite to its ſummit, which is leſs clothed than the reſt, and where, on two roots, that the hand of time, rather than the art of man, has twiſted into a ſort of groteſque, ruſtic chair, I ſit―and liſtening to the ſoothing ſounds of the water, as it either ſteals or ruſhes beneath―I can ſee through the boughs great part of the farm-houſe I inhabit, and nearer, the grey ſmoke of cottages without the wood, curling among the mingled foilagefoliage —It is, my dear ſiſter, in this ſequeſtered nook, that I am going to wander, and to think of you as the moſt pleaſing contemplation, in which I can indulge myſelf; oncemoreonce more, then, a good night.

Gracious heaven!—Am I in the delirium of one of thoſe feveriſh viſions, which, with undeſcrib- 2029 C3r 29 undeſcribable ſenſations of pain, pleaſure and wonder, reconcile, for a moment, impoſſibilities, or am I really awake?—I have ſeen him.—Deſmond, whom I believed to be in France!—Whom I had not the leaſt idea of meeting in this remote country! whom I even doubted, whether I ſhould ever ſee again! That I might ſay, how truly ſenſible I was of the debt of gratitude I owed him!—But I will try to recollect myſelf enough to relate, inſtead of exclaiming!―Yeſterday evening, I had finiſhed as I believed, my letter to you, and had ſeen my children put to bed—It was not yet eight o’clock, and the ſun, though ſunk beneath the oppoſite hills, tinged the whole landſcape with that roſy light, which it is impoſſible to deſcribe—I did not take a book with me, as I uſually do, when I walk alone, becauſe it was ſo late, that I meant, inſtead of ſauntering, as I love to do, to take my walk and return; however, when I reached the wood, I was tempted, by the perfect tranquillity of every thing around me—the fragrant ſcents that floated in the air—the ſoothing ſong of innumerable birds, and the low murmurs of the water, to gratify myſelf with a view of my favourite little hill, which I had never yet ſeen in an evening—I reached the top; when ſtretched on the ground, his head reſting on his arm, (from which a book ſeemed to have fallen) as it hung over the branch of the rude chair I before deſcribed to you, I ſaw a gentleman who appeared to be ſleeping—I had no idea of his face, for his hat and his hair concealed it, nor did I ſtay to ſee if I recollected his figure, but concluding that this was the ſame 2030 C3v 30 ſame perſon who had been met by the children, I was returning very haſtily from an impulſe that had more of fear in it than his general appearance ought to have raiſed; when his dog which lay by him, ran forward towards me at the ſame moment, the gentleman raiſed his head—I ſaw Deſmond leap from the ground, and, though in as much confuſion as I was, he inſtantly approached me—Mrs. Verney! was all he ſaid, and even to that I had nothing, for a moment, to reply—till he added—I am afraid I have alarmed youyou have indeed, anſwered I—for to meet any one here, was very unexpected—to meet you!— I did not know what I would ſay—but he ſeemed now to have recovered himſelf, and finiſhed the ſentence for me—was more unexpected ſtill?It was indeed, for I thought you were in France.

He gave no anſwer to this, nor did he account for his being in a part of the country, where I don’t remember to have heard he had any acquaintance or connexions, but ſimply begging of me to forgive the momentary alarm he had involuntarily been the occaſion of, he ſaid, ſince I have had, however unexpectedly, the happineſs of meeting you, Madam, will you allow me to have the honour of attending you to your home?—I heſitated—I know not why, and then ſaid, certainly—We began ſlowly to deſcend the winding and ſteep path, which is croſſed by roots, and interrupted by pieces of rocks—It was now, from the lateneſs of the hour, alſo obſcure; and he, of courſe, offered me his arm, which I accepted indeed, but 2031 C4r 31 but not with that eaſy confidence I uſed to have in our early rambles, three years ago—It was now, that I firſt obſerved a black crape round his neck, in which he ſlung his right arm, while he aſſiſted me to deſcend with his left— I ſhuddered, but I could make no remark on that circumſtance—He ſeemed no more diſpoſed to converſe than I was, and we were ſilent till we reached the orchard, ſurrounding a cottage, through which the path leads, by a ſtile through the meadows and over the bridge —He ſeemed to know the way, as if he had been long accuſtomed to it—I then diſengaged my arm and he went firſt, but, in reaching the other ſide of the ſtile, my foot ſlipped, and I ſhould have fallen, but Deſmond, who had advanced three or four ſteps, flew back and caught me―He trembled ſo, that it was impoſſible to help remarking it—I feared, that, in endeavouring to ſave me, he had hurt his arm; and I almoſt, involuntarily, expreſſed my apprehenſions—He aſſured me he had not received the ſlighteſt injury, and again offered me his left arm, on which I again leant, and with very little converſation, and that little conſiſting of broken and incoherent ſentences, we, at length reached the houſe.

There were candles in my little parlour, and the table was prepared for my ſimple ſupper; I aſked him, of courſe, to partake of it; he replied, in a low voice, that he ſeldom ſupped at all, but could not refuſe to ſit down—Peggy came into wait, and he placed himſelf oppoſite to me.

It 2032 C4v 32

It was then, and not till then, my Fanny that I obſerved the extraordinary alteration in the countenance of Deſmond; he has loſt all that look of health and vivacity which we uſed to remark―pale, thin, almoſt to emaciation; his eyes ſtill radient indeed, but expreſſing dejection; or if they for a moment, aſſumed any other look, it was that of anxiety —He ſpoke ſometimes very low, at others, with that ſort of quickneſs, which is obſervable, when people wiſh to end embaraſſing converſation―And when I mentioned his wanderings, or his friends in France, (which I at length collected courage to do) he gave me ſlight anſwers, and changed the converſation as ſoon as poſſible.

As this evaſion of every topic that led him to ſpeak of his foreign connexions, was every moment more ſtriking, the cauſe of it, at length, occurred to me―I truſt I am not ſuſpicious, or inquiſitive; and certainly am neither deſirous of prying into the actions of my friends, nor diſpoſed to blame thoſe of Deſmond, to whom I owe ſo much; but I have now no doubt, that this reſerve ariſes from his having been accompainedaccompanied to England by Madame de Boiſbelle; and having taken, in this neighbourhood, ſome reſidence for her, on account of its being ſo retired—If this is the caſe, he was probably hurt and diſtreſſed in meeting here, one of his acquaintance; and it accounts at once for his manner, which though I cannot well deſcribe it, appears very extraordinary.

This idea no ſooner ſtruck me, than I felt hurt at the pain I thus unintentionally had given 2033 C5r 33 given him, and particularly at having aſked him, as I had done ſome minutes before, and merely for ſomething to ſay, how long he propoſed ſtaying in this part of England? an enquiry which he anſwered after ſome heſitation, by ſaying, it was uncertain.

As I now dreaded that every queſtion, however apparently inconſequential, might lead him to ſuppoſe me impertinently curious, we both ſat ſilent, and I believe, he was meditating how to put an end to an interview, which was, perhaps, at once tedious and diſtreſſing to him; yet, I obſerved, when I dared obſerve his countenance, that he looked at me with eyes full of concern and pity, which I impute to the goodneſs of his nature—He felt ſorry to ſee me in a ſituation ſo different from that which I was placed in, when our acquaintance began―An acquaintance, that I cannot endure to think, has been productive to him only of perſonal and mental uneaſineſs.

At length, after an hour and a half, the only time of my life that I ever paſſed in Deſmond’s company unpleaſantly, he aroſe to go, and with a ſolemnity that yet had more dejection than formality in it; he ſaid he muſt wiſh me a good night—I was on the point of aſking him a very natural queſtion, If he had far to go home? But I checked myſelf, and did not encreaſe, by any queiſtonqueſtion, the embarraſſment he ſeemed to be under, when, heſitating and faltering, he ſaid, May I be permitted, Madam, to pay my reſpects to you once more before I ―May I be allowed the honor of waiting C5 on 2034 C5v 34 on you once again?—I had ſurely no pretence to refuſe this—He knows I am never engaged; and he knows that I am, or ought to be, more obliged to him than to any other human being —I could not, aſſuredly, therefore decline or evade, what I, however, wiſhed he had not aſked; as I not only ſee him ſo changed, as he is, both in appearance and in ſpirits, with concern: but fear, from his deportment, that the attention which he, perhaps, thinks himſelf under the neceſſity of ſhewing me, may put him into difficulties with the lady to whom he has attached himſelf—I have other uneaſy ſenſations about it; but, however, I could only ſay, in anſwer to the permiſſion he requeſted, that I ſhould always be glad of Mr. Deſmond’s company, whenever he would ſo far honor me —He ſighed, and thanked me; but added, I ſhall not, Madam, intrude much on your indulgence, for in a very few days—he heſitated again, and I could not help repeating, in a few days? Do you leave the neighbourhood in a few days?I believe ſo, ſaid he —Yes! I believe I muſt go within a few days; will you then ſuffer me to call to-morrow? and may I be gratified with a ſight of your children?—I ſaid, yes, and then, without naming the hour at which he would call, he left me.

Thus, my Fanny, ended this very extraordinary interview, for extraordinary it certainly is.―I know not from whence Mr. Deſmond laſt came, or whether he is going―I know not where he has taken up his preſent abode―I could not, however forbear marking from my window the way he took when he left 2035 C6r 35 left me; and, as long as I could diſcern his figure through the obſcurity of the night, he ſeemed to return through the fields, and over the bridge, the ſame road as he came with me—I left the window—(from whence, I hope, there was nothing wrong in my thus obſerving him) I left it, only to retire to my pillow and my tears; which flowed more than uſual this evening, yet I know not why; unleſs they ſuddenly meeting an acquaintance, a friend, who has certainly a great claim to my gratitude and good wiſhes, had more than uſually fatigued my ſpirits, for, as to the reſt, why ſhould I be thus agitated by a circumſtance in which I have no immediate intereſt?—Whether Mr. Deſmond be travelling through this country alone, or whether he is retired hither with any companion, what have I to do with it? or why ſhould I think of him farther than ever to follow him with my grateful wiſhes?

It is now eleven o’clock—I have left my bed ſince a quarter paſt five, for to ſleep was impoſſible; ever ſince the hour when I thought it probable Mr. Deſmond (who knows I am an early riſer) might come—I have been expecting him, but, perhaps, he has changed his mind, or his friend may have engaged him.—It is market-day at the neighbouring town, and I have an opportunity of ſending this letter, or rather this enormous pacquet, to the poſt, by my honeſt farmer, who has juſt ſent in to ſay he is going —I therefore ſeal it, and will endeavour to reaſon away this ridiculous flutter, which the idea of a viſitor gives me, (probably, becauſe I have been of late ſo little uſed to company) and ſit quietly down to finiſh a view I am doing for you, 2036 C6v 36 you, of the proſpect from my windows; in the progreſs of which, hitherto, I have, contrary to my uſual cuſtom, pleaſed myſelf.

Farewell, my dear ſiſter—perhaps my commiſſioner may, on his return from town, bring me what would now be the moſt ſoothing and conſoling to my ſpirits, a letter from my Fanny.

Geraldine Verney.

Let- 2037 C7r 37

Letter IV

To Mr. Bethel.

When a man knows, my dear Bethel, that he is acting like a fool, the moſt uſual way is to keep it to himſelf, and to endeavour to perſuade the world that he is actually performing the part of a wiſe man; but I, who am, as you have often ſaid, a ſtrange, eccentrick being, and not much like any other, amgoingam going to do juſt the reverſe of this, and to acknowledge my folly without even trying at palliation; nay, I accuſe myſelf of having the appearance of ſomething much worſe than folly, which is in gratitude to you; but, as this is in appearance only, it is the former accuſation alone to which I ſhall plead; and much eloquence will be neceſſary to ſupply the defect of reaſon, which I know you will think my conduct betrays, when you ſee my letter dated from ſuch a place, and are told that it is within half a mile of the reſidence of Geraldine—Have patience, however, till I can relate the cauſe of all this, and, though I was neither bred to the bar, where, for money, our learned in the laws undertake To make the worſer ſeem the better reaſon. Milton.

Nor am naturally endowed with the faculty of doing ſo, I ſhall, at leaſt, be able, I think, to 2038 C7v 38 to convince you, that no motive injurious either to my friendſhip towards you, or my more tender affection for Geraldine, has led me to viſit her in a way that may be called clandeſtine, or to conceal from you my journey and my intentions; though, to ſay the truth, I did not mean to inform you of it till I ſaw you, nor ſhould I have done ſo, but for the accidental circumſtances of having firſt met her lovely children, and then her lovely ſelf.—

How then, you aſk, were you concealed in her immediate neighbourhood, without any intention of either?—Incredible folly!― Such, however, were my intentions—I allow, if you pleaſe, all the folly, but, I inſiſt upon it, that there was no ſort of harm in ſuch a gratification as I propoſed to myſelf, by which myſelf only (if romaticromantic attachment can hurt a man) was alone likely to be hurt; and, for which, therefore, I ſhould hold myſelf accountable to no one, my dear friend; not even to you, if I did not feel that your ſincere and generous attachment to me, deſerves all that confidence which I can repoſe in you, in matters that relate only to myſelf.—Your laſt letter deſcribing the total ruin of Verney, and the diſperſion of his family, completed the meaſure of that uneaſineſs I had long ſuſtained on account of Geraldine—It was in vain I endeavoured to reaſon myſelf out of it—I find, that ſeven-andtwenty is not the age of reaſon, or, at leaſt, where the heart is ſo deeply concerned—There were a hundred cauſes why I had rather have gone at the moment I ſet out, to Nova-Scotia, or even to Nova-Zembla, than to England—But the 2039 C8r 39 the idea of Geraldine deſerted in diſtreſs!—Of Geraldine in poverty and ſorrow! obliterated every other conſideration in the world; and within four-and-twenty hours after the receipt of your laſt letter, which found me at St. Germains, I ſet out poſt, without taking even Warham with me, or ſaying whither I was going; and in ſix-and-thirty hours afterwards was at Dover, from whence I made my way, as quickly as I could, to the poſt-town in Herefordſhire, near which I had learned, (it matters not by what means) that Geraldine had, with her children, fixed her humble abode.

I told the people at the inn where I put up, that, being in an ill ſtate of health, (an aſſertion, to the truth of which, my figure and countenance bears ſome teſtimony) I was directed by my phyſicians to travel; and had been adviſed to bend my way towards Wales, ſtaying ſome little time at any place where the face of the country appeared agreeable, or the air ſalubrious—I added, that I ſhould ſtay, perhaps, a week or ten days in this neighbourhood; but as it was not for their intereſt to find out a private lodging for me, I applied, for that purpoſe, to the hairdreſſer, who profeſſed, over his ſhop window, to dreſs ladies and gentlemen in the very neweſt London faſhion.

This very intelligent perſonage informed me, that what I wanted was, at preſent, ſomewhat hard to be met with; for that the pleaſanteſt and almoſt only lodging near that town, which was, however, about ſix miles off, or rather better, was lately taken, by a lady and her children, for a year certain—I affected to be ſtruck with the deſcription thehe gave 2040 C8v 40 gave of the pleaſantneſs of the ſituation on the banks of the Wye; and aſked, if he thought any cottage in the neighbourhood of the houſe he deſcribed, could afford me a bed-chamber? I cared not how humble and plain, if it were merely clean; ſaying farther, that, as health was my purſuit, money was no object to me; and that, therefore, I would give any perſon, who could find ſuch an accommodation for me, a handſome preſent for their trouble; and would hire the apartment for a month certain, though I poſſibly might not remain in it a week.

My honeſt barber, whoſe zeal for my ſervice was now completely awakened, ſet forth immediately to ſee what could be done for me; and, in the afternoon, returned to ſay, that, in a very clean cottage, he had found a decent bed-chamber, which I inſtantly ſet off, on foot, to ſee—walking not much like an invalid. I found the humble thatched cottage was one among a group of five or ſix, which are ſituated among orchards, at the foot of that range of woody hills, which are immediately oppoſite the farm-houſe inhabited by Geraldine—There was no ceiling to the room but the thatch and rafters, and no curtains to the bed, yet the chamber was clean, and I determined to take immediate poſſeſſion of it— I therefore ratified my bargain to the great delight of the old man and his wife, who alone inhabited the cottage; and having ſatisfied my conductor, even beyond his expectation, I engaged him to return to the town for my baggage, and to attend me every day with a lad 2041 C9r 41 lad from the inn, from whence I am ſupplied with proviſions.

I then retired to my lowly couch, and ſlept better than I have done ſince the receipt of your letter, in the certainty that, by the riſing ſun of the next morning, I ſhould ſee the houſe where the lovelieſt and moſt injured woman on the earth hides her undeſerved miſfortunes.

You will believe me, my friend, when I proteſt to you, that this ſatisfaction, and that of witneſſing her real ſituation, (which I hoped to do, without her knowing I was near her) were the only gratifications I propoſed to myſelf; for many days I enjoyed it, and was content; nor did I voluntarily ſeek any other ſatisfaction.

There are, ſays St. Preux, in thoſe enchanting letters of the incomparable Rouſſeau, but two diviſions of the world, that where Julie is, and that where ſhe is not—I forget the French, and I have not the book here—To the force of the ſentiment, however, I bear witneſs: to me the world is divided into only two parts; or rather, to me, it is all a blank where Geraldine is not—Yet, my friend, is this declaration no contradiction to what I often, and particularly, of late, aſſerted, that I have now (if indeed I ever was weak enough to indulge it) not the remoteſt hope of her ever rewarding an attachment, with which, as I know it is wrong, I wiſh not that ſhe ſhould even be acquainted—But, if you have ever truly loved, can you, Bethel, blame me for indulging that delicious, and ſurely that blameleſs ſenſation, which is derived from watching 2042 C9v 42 watching over the peace and ſafety of a beloved object, from whom we do not even hope a return? While I could open my eyes in a morning and ſee the ſun’s firſt beams enlighten the oppoſite heath, and fall on the roof of Geraldine’s habitation, making its high cluſters of heavy, antique chimneys, viſible, among the firs and elms that ſurround it—I uſed to ſay to myſelf, there ſhe is!—There, ſhe will ſoon awaken to fulfil her maternal duties; to cultivate, to ſtrengthen, or adorn, the pureſt of minds, by ſome uſeful or elegant occupation.—She is, if not happy, at leaſt tranquil; and now and then, perhaps, beſtows a thought, and a kind wiſh, on her friend Deſmond.

Indeed, Bethel, with this ſatisfaction, (romantic, and even ridiculous as it would, I know, be thought by thoſe who could not underſtand the nature of my affection for Geraldine) I ſhould have been perfectly content, and having for a little while indulged myſelf in it, I ſhould have ſought you at Bath, have made you a confeſſion of my folly, and then, after having given a few days to friendſhip, have again gone back to France; for England is not my country, when I can hear only, in whatever company I go into, of Geraldine’s unhappineſs, and the folly, extravagancies, and utter ruin of her huſband.

This was my project; I lingered however, from day to day, finding happineſs, I could not eaſily determine to relinquiſh, in catching, now and then, at a window, which I fancied to be that of the room where ſhe ſlept, the diſtant view of a figure, which I perſuaded myſelfſelf 2043 C10r 43 ſelf was her’s—The window was only partly ſeen; the tall elms, which grow round a ſort of court, immediately before the houſe, hid it half, and though, when the ſetting ſun played on the caſement, I could more diſtinctly ſee it; I found, that if I would really ſatisfy myſelf with the certain view of Geraldine, I muſt ſeek ſome ſpot, where from its elevation, I could, by means of a ſmall pocket teleſcope, have an uninterrupted view of theſe windows.

I confined myſelf, however, to the houſe all day—you know I never am weary of ſolitude, nor am ever deſtitute of employment; theſe days, therefore, appeared neither tedious nor unpleaſant, ſince, at their cloſe, I was to be engaged in ſeeking for the means of ſatisfying my wiſhes; and ſince I could, as they paſſed, look out of my low and narrow caſements towards the habitation of Geraldine, and whiſper to myſelf—She is there.

At length, in the woods that ſkirt the feet of theſe hills, which would, about London, be accounted inacceſſible mountains, I found a little, ſhady knoll, to which the guſh of innumerable ſtreams of water attracted me—I aſcended by the almoſt perpendicular path, which ſeems to have been traced only by boys in their excurſions after birds, or by the ſheep that ſometimes feed here; and reaching the top, I had the ſatisfaction to find, that though it was ſurrounded on all ſides by trees, ſo as to form the moſt perfect concealment, they were low towards the top; and that a little rocky crag, that hung over the twiſted roots of an old thorn and a blighted daſh, afforded me 2044 C10v 44 me a view of many of the windows of Geraldine’s reſidence; at a greater diſtance, indeed, than from my cottage, but much leſs obſcured by the intervening objects―Here, then, I reſolved to paſs ſome part of all the few days that I had determined to ſtay here.

Four days ſince, I was returning, about one o’clock, from this my morning occupation, when the heat of the morning, and the freſhneſs of the graſs in that part of the wood, through which I was paſſing, induced me to throw myſelf on the ground, and continue the peruſal of a book I had with me, on which I was extremely intent, when I heard the prattle of children, but as I had often ſeen ſuch little ruſtic wanderers in the woods, I heeded not the circumſtance; till ſuddenly, Flora running forward, I heard an infant ſcream at her approach—I raiſed my eyes and ſaw a maid-ſervant with the two elder children of Geraldine!—I ſtarted up to prevent the little girl’s being more alarmed by the dog, and as I wiſhed not to betray myſelf, I enquired the name of the children, yet, in a way ſo confuſed, that, I believe, the ſervant thought my manner very ſtrange—I ſuppoſed it impoſſible, after an abſence of twelve months, that George could recollect me, but he certainly did, though my name was no longer familiar to him; for, after looking at me earneſtly a moment, he returned my embraces, and even hung round my neck—What delight! to preſs to my heart this lovely little fellow, ſo dear to me on account of his mother—I was ſo charmed with him, and with the eagerneſs he ſhewed to continue with me, that 2045 C11r 45 that I am afraid, I more than once forgot my precaution; however, the children, at length, left me. I imagined the ſervant would conclude, that it was ſome perſon of the neighbourhood, and would think no more about it —I continued my uſual rambles therefore in the woods, but not at thoſe hours when it was probable I ſhould again meet them.

Convinced that Geraldine was leſs uncomfortable in her new ſituation than my fears had led me to ſuppoſe; having been now above a week in the neighbourhood, and fearing my remaining there much longer might raiſe ſome ſuſpicions, that I would not for millions of worlds excite—I began to think of quitting it, and had once or twice determined to ſtay only one day longer; yet when the day of departure came, put it ofoff till the next —But, on Thurſday, I reſorted to the ſpot, where I uſually paſſed the evening; the weather was uncommonly lovely—I had, during the preceding, day, taken my walk, at an hour when I fancied GerandileGeraldine was at her dinner, round her garden, and was effectually concealed by a thick hedge of cut evergreens; but I was happy enough to be miſtaken, as to her hour of dining—She came out with her children— I ſaw her within ten paces of me—She ſpoke cheerfully—I heard once more that enchanting voice—I dared ha rdlyhardly breathe, leſt ſhe ſhould be alarmed; but, as ſoon as I could eſcape unperceived, I croſſed among the high furze and hollow ways of the common, and returned home by a road remote from that which led from her reſidence to my cottage.

The 2046 C11v 46

The delicious impreſſion, however, which the ſight of Geraldine had left on my mind, the uncommon beauty of the evening, united to that of the ſcene, contributed to ſoothe my mind—I ſat down, and began to read; but every thing that took my thoughts from her was inſipid—I let my book fall, and fell into a reſverie—But I own, my dear friend, that the pleaſing dreams in which I was indulging myſelf were interrupted by the recollection of your frequent remonſtrances, and particularly by that queſtion which you have ſo often repeated—What I meant by all this?—My heart, however, could anſwer without heſitation, that I meant no injury to any human being—Nor, unworthy and undeſerving as Verney is, would I wiſh to rob him of the affections of his wife, admitting it poſſible he could poſſeſs them —Thus far my conſcience clearly acquitted me; (would to heaven it could do ſo in every other circumſtance of my life) and I had ſettled it with myſelf, that while I avoided giving any ſuch evidence of my attachment to her, as might tend to caſt a reflection on the fair and unimpeached fame of the lovely woman for whom I felt it; I might yield to its influence with impunity—I know you will declare againſt any ſuch inference; but I had convinced myſelf I was right, and lamented that I had ever left England, under the idea of curing myſelf of a paſſion, which conſtituted the charm of my exiſtence; ſince by doing ſo, I have without loſing whatever uneaſineſs may occaſionlyoccaſionally embitter that attachment created for myſelf others, which will not ſoon be diſſipated.—In theſe ſort of con- 2047 C12r 47 contemplations, I had ſome time been loſt, when ſuddenly my dog rouſed me—I looked up, and ſaw Geraldine herſelf, who, having perceived me, was haſtily retreating from the ſight of a ſtranger in a place ſo remote.

Could I, Bethel, then avoid ſpeaking to her?—It was impoſſible—I flew forwards to meet her—I apologized for the alarm I had occaſioned her—I entreated leave to attend her home, though, when ſhe accepted my aſſiſtance to conduct her down the declivity on the ſummit of which we met, I trembled ſo, that I could with difficulty ſupport myſelf—She ſeemed amazed at meeting me; but after ſome time recovered herſelf, and aſked, in the way of converſation, ſeveral of thoſe queſtions, which, from any other perſon, or in any other ſituation, would have been indifferent; but I could not anſwer them with the eaſe ſhe put them; and I am ſure I behaved like an ideot, for on a ſudden, ſhe grew cold, and reſerved, and, I fancied wiſhed me away, though I could not collect courage enough to go—At length conſcious of the fooliſh figure I made, ſitting ſilently oppoſite to her, and afraid of entering into any converſation leſt it ſhould lead to topics I could not determine to ſpeak upon, I collected reſolution enough to wiſh her a good night, and aſk leave to ſee her again to-day— This ſhe granted in the ſame diſtant way that ſhe would have granted it to a common acquaintance, and I left her, half frantic, to think that I am perfectly indifferent to her, though, three hours before, I was declaring to 2048 C12v 48 to myſelf that I harboured not a wiſh to be otherwiſe.

It is now near eleven o’clock—I find I have an opportunity of ſending this to the poſt—I diſpatch it therefore and haſten to take one look, one laſt look, for ſuch, indeed, I mean it ſhould be; and if I can gain courage to talk to her as to a ſiſter, who can feel for, and pity my errors and my weakneſs, I think, that whatever I ſuffer in tearing myſelf from her, I ſhall yet, after I have once got over the pangs of an interview, which may be the laſt I ſhall enjoy for years, be more eaſy than I have been for many months.—Adieu, dear Bethel—I feel as anxious as if the fate of my whole life depended on the next three hours; but perhaps it does.

Your’s faithfully,

Lionel Desmond.

P. S. I ſhall not, certainly, ſtay here above a day longer—I think not—As after I have taken leave of her, upon what pretence can I linger in the neighbourhood? yet, as I have not determined, whether I ſhall reach you at Bath, by the croſs-country road, or go firſt to London, and for a day or two into Kent; in ſhort, as I have not determined what I ſhall do; and, probably, ſhall fluctuate à la Waverly, till the hour of my ſetting forth—You may as well direct hither; becauſe I ſhall leave orders at the poſt-houſe, whither my letters are to be forwarded. Who ſaid, that ſorrow had anticipated the injury of time; and that 2049 D1r 49 that the beautiful and once admired Geraldine had loſt all her perſonal attractions?—To me, ſhe appears a thouſand times lovelier than ever; and was it merely her form and face, to which my heart yields homage, it would be more than ever her captive.

Vol. II. D Let- 2050 D1v 50

Letter V.

To Miss Waverly.

I have ſeen Mr. Deſmond again, my Fanny; and if he had before a claim to my regard, it is now heightened into as much eſteem as I can feel for any human being—Yes! he is unhappy; and it is to me, as to a ſiſter and a friend, he communicates his unhappineſs—Ah! what would I not do to relieve from its ſolicitude, that noble and ingenuous heart, which places ſuch confidence in me?—But, of this, enough—I only ſay thus much, to vindicate him from my unjuſt and improper ſuſpicions, of having come here clandeſtinely, on account of the foreign lady, of whom we heard ſo many idle reports.—Deſmond is alone; and quits this neighbourhood to-day.—He talks of viſiting his friend, Bethel, who is at Bath; and ſoon afterwadsafterwards, of returning to France—If he goes to Bath you will ſee him; but I, perhaps, ſhall ſee him no more for ſome years―As thoſe years, with me, are, probably, to paſs in this remote ſolitude; where, it would be violating the common rules, which the world expects us to obſerve, were I to receive his viſits, how innocent and brotherly ſoever, they would aſſuredly be.

While I yet write, he croſſes the bridge on horſeback, and George, who is aſtoniſhingly fond of him, has run out, with his maid, to meet him—Deſmond gets off; he puts the dear little boy on his horſe; and, with one arm round 2051 D2r 51 round him, he makes Peggy lead the horſe forward—I hear the laugh of infantine delight even hither―There is nothing, Fanny, in my opinion, ſo graceful, ſo enchanting, in a young man, as this tenderneſs towards children—It becomes every man, but none more than Deſmond; who is never ſo amiable in my eyes, as when he is playing with George —And my little girl, ſhe now liſps out his name; and though ſhe has ſeen him only twice, is a candidate for a ſeat on his knee; and turns towards him, thoſe ſweet blue eyes, without that penſive look that her delicate countenance generally expreſſes; as if ſhe knew, even in babyhood, her fate to be marked with ſorrow— But my noiſy boy, and his friend, are at the door. I hear Deſmond ſay, he is come to bid him goodby; and the child enquires, why he goes, and when he will come again.—I muſt go to wiſh him a good journey, and deliver him from the little, wild interrogatories of his playfellow.

He is gone! and I feel ridiculouſly low— I ſay, ridiculouſly, though, I truſt, I do not give way to an improper ſentiment—But why ſhould it be wrong to admire and eſteem an excellent and amiable man, from whom I have received more than brotherly kindneſs?—Why, indeed, ſhould I queſtion the propriety of this regard, becauſe I am married?—Does that prevent our ſeeing and loving excellence whereever found?—and why ſhould it?—To diſguiſe theſe ſentiments, would be to acknowledge them to be criminal—I rather glory in avowing them, becauſe I am conſcious they are juſt, pure, and honourable.—Why, indeed,D2 deed, 2052 D2v 52 deed, ſhould I hide or apologize, for the tears I even now, ſhed, when I think that I may never ſee Deſmond again?—What a treaſure is a friend, ſo diſintereſted, ſo nobleminded, as he is? And why ſhould I not regret him?—How ſoothing, to a ſick heart in ſolitude and ſadneſs, is the voice of kindneſs, adminiſtering the conſolations of reaſon and good ſenſe, dignified with all the graces of a poliſhed mind—Such have I heard from Deſmond, in our laſt conferrence; and can I help regretting, that I ſhall hear them no more?

But it is not to you, my Fanny, I ought to excuſe myſelf, (if, indeed, it could be neceſſary at all,) for my regard; nay, I will call it my affection, for our admirable friend —Nor, though I feel his departure as a privation, juſt at this moment, can I lament having ſeen him.—I find that there is a poſſibility that I may be of uſe to one of his friends, in ſome diſagreeable circumſtance; and with what delight ſhall I embrace an opportunity of being uſeful to any of his acquaintance or connexions.—Farewell, my dear ſiſter—I am unable to write a long letter to day—I will go to my books, and to my walk in the wood; for thoſe are reſources that, I find, ſoothe me to tranquillity; while the complaints of George, that Mr. Deſmond is gone, and that he ſhall not ride any more, and his little innocent queſtions, when he will come again? and if he is gone to ſee pappa? quite overcome my ſpirits. I will write a longer letter in a day or two, though I ſhall have now very little to ſay.

June 2053 D3r 53

What is to become of me now?—An expreſs from the neighbouring poſt-town, accompanied by a French ſervant, has juſt delivered me the encloſed letter from Mr. Verney —I encloſe it; for I have not ſtrength or time to copy it—Oh! Fanny, what ſhall I—ought I to do? In truth, I know not!—How unfortunate, that Deſmond is gone; and that I cannot have the benefit of his advice.—Gracious heaven! What does fate intend to do with this miſerable, perſecuted being?

Let- 2054 D3v 54

Letter VI. Encloſed in the foregoing.

My dear,

My very worthy friends, Monſieur le Duc de Romagnecourt, and Monſieur le Chevalier de Boiſbelle, are, this day, ſetting off for England on a journey, relative to the affairs of the King of France, their maſter —They are returning to Paris directly; and having heard me expreſs a wiſh to ſee you here, have undertaken to eſcort you over; and the Duke himſelf attends you with this—I deſire, therefore, that you will ſet off with him, as ſoon as you conveniently can—As to the children, I think, travelling with them will be inconvenient to you; and ſhould ſuppoſe your mother would take them for the time you are abroad; or, perhaps, you might leave them very ſafe in the care of their ſervants.—You will do as you like about bringing ſervants for yourſelf; but, I think, you will find Engliſh women only encumbrances, and may hire French maid ſervants here; as to men, as we ſhall live altogether at the Duc de Romagnecourt’s, his ſuite of ſervants will be ours. I ſhall expect the pleaſure of your arrival with impatience, where all things are going on well for the ſuppreſſion of the preſent vile proceedings.

I am, my dear, Your’s affectionately,

Richard Verney.

I repeat 2055 D4r 55

I repeat my queſtion, my ſiſter—What ought I to do?—Good heaven! what an inconſiderate man is Mr. Verney; and, I am ſorry to add, how unfeeling!—Leave my children!—Accompany ſtrangers to Paris!—The former I will not do; and ſurely I ought not to do the latter; but on ſomething I muſt determine; for, I underſtand, from the French ſervant, to whom I have been ſpeaking, that this Duke is actually waiting at the inn, at the neighbouring town, and expects to be aſked hither—What wildneſs—what madneſs, in Mr. Verney, to propoſe ſuch a ſcheme!— Whither can I turn me?—Oh! would to heaven Deſmond was not gone!—Write to me inſtantly—Yet how ſhall I put off my determination till I receive your anſwer?—How evade going?—For ſurely I ought not to go.— I believe it will be beſt to write a letter of excuſe to this French nobleman; ſaying, how impoſſible it is for me to undertake a journey ſo ſuddenly.—Surely Mr. Verney cannot mean —But I will not diſtract myſelf with uſeleſs conjectures, with ſuppoſitions more tormenting than the miſerable realities. I ſend this to the town, on purpoſe to have it reach you by the earlieſt poſt; but I tremble ſo, that I fear it is hardly legible. The Chevalier de Boiſbelle has not, I find, taken the trouble to come down hither with his noble friend. Surely he cannot be gone in ſearch— But, again, I am bewildered and diſtracted. —Pity, and inſtantly relieve your very unhappy,

Geraldine.

Let- 2056 D4v 56

Letter VII.

To Mr. Bethel.

By this time, my friend, you expect me at Bath; and there I ſhould certainly have been on Monday next, if I had not been, by a moſt ſingular and unexpected accident, ſtopped here.

I took leave of Geraldine yeſterday morning—I left her ſituated in a place, where if ſhe enjoyed not that affluence and proſperity to which ſhe has been accuſtomed, ſhe was, I thought, tranquil and content.—She bade me adieu with the tendereſt friendſhip, yet with that guarded expreſſion of it that her ſituation demanded. I bleſſed her for the generous kindneſs ſhe ſhewed me; I reſpected the reſerve her circumſtances made it proper for her to adopt.—I thought by her eyes— and were there ever eyes more expreſſive? that ſhe was ſorry to ſee me depart, yet knew that it was proper I ſhould go.—Such ſenſations, in a more violent degree, I alſo felt—To tear myſelf from her was now more difficult than I ever yet found it; but I knew it would be injurious to her to ſtay; and never yet did my propenſity to ſelf-indulgence conquer my ſenſe of what I owed to the diſintereſted tenderneſs I bear her.

It was neceſſary then to go—and I dared not tell her how cruelly I felt the neceſſity; I affected ſome degree of cheerfulneſs; I playeded 2057 D5r 57 ed with her lovely boy, and tried to diſguiſe, though I believe ineffectually, the contending ſenſations with which I was agitated―at length I left her. As I looked back, I beheld her at the window as long as ſhe could ſee me, for the little fellow would not be content to quit it while I was in ſight; and ſhe held him in her arms.—At length the deſcent of the bridge hid her from my view.—I then haſtened on to this place, which is about ten miles from her habitation, for hither I had directed my portmanteau-trunk to be ſent from my cottage; and here an horſe, I had purchaſed ſome days before waited for me—As I found it eaſier and pleaſanter to have an horſe of my own, now that I am able to ride, than to go in a poſt-chaiſe or by any other conveyance. I was then giving ſome directions about the forwarding my trunk, and was juſt going to mount my new purchaſe in the yard of the inn; when a berlin, apparently belonging to a foreigner of diſtinction, attended by three French or Swiſs ſervants, drove to the door— an appearance, which though about the affairs of others I have not much curioſity, I own excited it ſtrongly.—I ſtopped therefore, and ſaw alighting from the carriage, a man about three or four-and-forty; he ſeemed to be a perſon of rank; but he wore, with ſome ſtrong ſymptoms of his own conſequence, that bewildered look which I have often obſerved in travellers who are unacquainted with the language and manners of the people they are among.—He ſpoke French to the landlord and the waiter, who not having the leaſt idea of what he ſaid, were as much diſtreſſed as he D5 was; 2058 D5v 58 was; a perſon, however, ſoon after made his appearance, who ſeemed to be a ſort of travelling companion, and who undertook to be his interpreter; but ſo miſerably did he execute this office, that the honeſt Welchman and his people, were more puzzled by his incomprehenſible Engliſh, than they had before been by the French of his ſuperior.—The ſhewy equipage, and the number of attendants, however, raiſed ſo much reſpect in the breaſts of the landlord and his houſehold, that they were extremely deſirous of accommodating their great cuſtomers, if they could but find out what they wiſhed for.

The firſt idea that occurs to an Engliſhman, on ſuch an occaſion, is a good ſubſtantial dinner; this, therefore, by ſuch ſigns as he thought moſt likely to elucidate his meaning, the maſter of the inn propoſed; and as there is a language in all countries by which eating or loving may be expreſſed, this was at length aſſented to. The gentleman attendant, or as the landlord called him, t’other Monſieur, was ſhewn into the larder; which, though it was not quite ſo well furniſhed as that of the Bear at Bath, or ſome others of equal fame, yet appeared very ſatisfactory; and a certain number of diſhes were ordered to be prepared, to the ſatisfaction of both parties.

As there was ſomething exceſſively comique in the diſtreſs of the landlord and his wife, who could get no more intelligence from the ſtrange ſervants than from their maſter, I could not forbear ſtaying a little to be amuſed with it. I had nothing to do better, and was indifferent whether I ſatſet out before dinner or afterwards, on my ſolitary journey: but I had yet 2059 D6r 59 yet another motive for ſtaying than to witneſs this odd ſcene; I thought I might be of ſome uſe to theſe foreigners, by explaining to the people what they really wanted, or what houſe they came in ſearch of; for they enquired for ſome place or perſon in the neighbourhood, about whom or which, the people could comprehend nothing.

The landlord, however, ſeemed fully perſuaded, that after ſo good a dinner as had been ordered, matters muſt clear up; infinite, therefore, was the buſtling and fuſſing to have this ready.—The weather was hot; and the landlord, with his wig half off, a good round, plump Welch head, a fiery red waiſtcoat, and his pompadour Sunday coat, exerted his broad ſquat figure to the utmoſt; while his wife put on her beſt plated cap with pink ribands; a fine flouriſhed ſhawl; and a pea-green flounced ſtuffed petticoat, under a flowered cotton gown, drawn up; and, notwithſtanding this elegance (all to do honour to the Britiſh females before outlandiſh gentlemen,) ſhe was as anxiouſly ſuperintending the roaſting and boiling, as if ſhe was providing in her common array for the ordinary of a market day, on which the cuſtom of her houſe depended.

At length the dinner was ready, and the landlord marched in with it; but he had not remained long in the room before he left it, and came puffing into that where I ſat, in redoubled conſternation.—Oh lord, Sir, ſaid he, do you underſtand French?—Lord, Sir, if I ben’t quite, as one may ſay, at a nonpluſh; not one ſyllable more can I make out from that there gentleman that fancies how he talk 2060 D6v 60 talk Engliſh, than that he is come to fetch away ſome lady, that he calls Madam ſomething, and will have it that ſhe’s here.—Lord, Sir, I’m quite floundered for my ſhare, and knows no more what he’d be at, than the little Nan there in the cradle.—I wiſh for my ſhare, folks would ſpeak Engliſh; for why?—ſuch lingo as theſe foreigners uſe is of no ſervice in the world, and only confounds people, ready to drive them crazy—Then they gabble ſo plaguy faſt, that there’s no catching a word by the way, even to gueſs a little by what they would be at.—Sir, if your honour has a ſmattering of their tongue, and would not think it too great a condeſcenſion, ſeeing they are Frenchmen, to make yourſelf known to them, ’twould be doing me a great ſervice, if ſo be you’d juſt give me an item of their intentions—for my wife ſhe’s teizing me like a crazy woman, to know if they want beds made up, and if they do, whether their beds are to be made like as ours are?—I ſays to her, why how the murrain now Jenn, ſhould I know, but I’ll go aſk yon gentleman, perhaps he can let us in to the right of the thing, which to be ſure I ſhould be glad of; for, Sir, they ſay that one of theſe is a duke.—To ſtop this harangue, which ſeemed not otherwiſe to be near its concluſion, I aſſured my landlord that I knew a little of their tongue; and if he would order one of their ſervants to me, I would ſend them in a meſſage, expreſſive of my wiſh to be of uſe to them if in my power.

In conſequence of this, their anſwer informed me, that the Duc de Romagnecourt was much honoured and flattered by my attention, and requeſted 2061 D7r 61 requeſted the happineſs of ſeeing me.—Judge, dear Bethel, of the aſtoniſhment, the mixture of wonder, indignation and confuſion, with which I learned that Mr. Verney is become the intimate friend of this Duc de Romagnecourt; that it is with him he reſides at Paris; and, that it is under his eſcort he has ſent for Geraldine to join him there.

If I had heard that I was, at one blow, reduced from affluence, to depend on the bounty of upſtart greatneſs—dependence which of all other ſpecies is moſt hideous to my imagination; if I had been told that I had no longer a friend in the world; nay, that Bethel himſelf had forſaken me, I think I ſhould not have felt a ſenſation of greater anguiſh and amazement.—Monſieur D’Auberval enquired of me if I knew Madame Verney; though I ſaw by the Duke’s manner, that he was the perſon intereſted. I knew not what to anſwer; and my embarraſſment muſt have been viſible, if they had not imputed part of it, to my natural diffidence as an Engliſhman; and (as they thought) an Engliſhman of inferior rank; for they ſaw I had no ſervants with me, and ſeemed to wonder how a perſon who travelled in his own country without a ſuite, ſhould be ſo perfectly verſed in the language of their’s.—I now, however, underſtood the purpoſes of their journey; and under pretence of making ſome enquiries, I withdrew to conſider of what I ought to do.

To interfere between Geraldine and her huſband (I cannot write his name, with patience) was, at leaſt, improper—To give her notice that I was ſtill near her, was impertinent; and making myſelf ridiculouſly of conſequence, in an affair 2062 D7v 62 affair where my protection was not, perhaps, requiſite.—This Duc de Romagnecourt, tho’ he had the air of a veteren debauché; and though his converſation, little as I heard of it, confirmed the idea his appearance impreſſed— might be a married man; a man of reſpectability and honour; at leaſt he was one to whom it was evident Mr. Verney choſe to entruſt his wife; and what right had I to interfere? How could I indeed do ſo, without its being known that I had been privately reſiding in her immediate neighbourhood; and encouraging a belief, that I had ſome fancied authority, to exert that influence which only a brother or ſome very near relation, is ſuppoſed to have a right to exert.—The more I conſidered the man, this Duc de Romagnecourt, his behaviour, his converſation; the more improper, nay, impoſſible it ſeemed for Geraldine to ſet out with him on ſuch a journey; yet I did not ſee how I could, with propriety, ſave her from it by my direct interference. I therefore determined to give the Duc de Romagnecourt the direction he requeſted me to procure for him; to truſt to the firſt reception of ſuch a propoſal to the ſenſe and prudence of Geraldine, and to await where I was the event of the letter which, by a ſervant of his own, he ſent to her from her huſband.—It contained, as the Duke informed me, an injunction to ſet off immediately with him for Paris.—I affected merely to know there was ſuch a lady as Madame Verney in the neighbourhood; and, having now made up my mind, I returned to theſe worthy friends of Verney’s; gave them the addreſs they deſired, and ſaw the French valet ſet out accompaniedpanied 2063 D8r 63 panied by a guide from the inn.—It is impoſſible to deſcribe to you what I felt while theſe men were abſent; nor the effort with which I ſupported the converſation that the Duc de Romagnecourt invited me to engage in.—However, I commanded myſelf as much as poſſible, as it was abſolutely neceſſary to prevent any ſuſpicion of my being particularly intereſted for Mrs. Verney; and I wiſhed to lead him to ſpeak of her, which he perhaps would not have done with ſo little reſerve, if he had ſuſpected that I was acquainted with her.

It is not very difficult, after having ſeen a good deal of this beſt of all poſſible worlds, to enter into much of a man’s character, even from a firſt interview.—I ſoon learned that the Duc de Romagnecourt, was a man of very high faſhion, and very great fortune in France; that he was very much confided in by the court, and of courſe extremely averſe to the claims of the people; that he execrated the ſtruggle they had ſo ſucceſsfully made for their liberties, and now viſited England with a view to engage in favour of an oppoſite ſyſtem, which he ſaid, would ſoon have le deſſus The upper hand. again;) thoſe, among us whoſe intereſt it was moſt effectually to cruſh every attempt at reform.—He hinted that in his way through London, he had ſucceeded in this negociation beyond his hopes; and that he was to have a farther confirmation of the ſupport that had been promiſed him on his return, which he propoſed immediately, avec la charmante femme, whom he expected to conduct.

Proud, 2064 D8v 64

Proud, profligate, and perfidious, accuſtomed to entertain high ideas of ſelf-importance; and ſeldom finding any of his inclinations reſiſted becauſe he had power and money to purchaſe their indulgence, the Duc de Romagnecourt was but little diſpoſed to conceal his principles or his views.—I learned that when he was in England ſome few months ſince, he ſaw and admired Geraldine, to whom he had then been introduced by her huſband.—I underſtood that Verney was under very great pecuniary obligations to this man, who now actually ſupports him in France; and the inference I drew from the knowledge I thus obtained of the character of the one, and the neceſſities of the other, was too dreadful; I recoiled with abhorrence from its immediate impreſſion, but ſtill it returned with undiminiſhed anguiſh, and every word uttered by the Duc de Romagnecourt, ſerved only to confirm my apprehenſions, and encreaſe my uneaſineſs.

I determined that, whatever might be the conſequence, no conſideration upon earth ſhould induce me to quit the country, while this moſt illuſtrious perſonage remained in it; and having made that reſolution, I awaited, with as little viſible anxiety as poſſible, the return of the meſſengers who were ſent to Geraldine.

I had indeed very little occaſion for any other exertion, than that of patience; for the Duke, with all the forward conſequence of which we accuſe (and ſometimes juſtly accuſe) his countrymen, entered, nothing doubting my approbation, into a hiſtory of himſelf 2065 D9r 65 himſelf—His rank, his fortune, his feats, were deſcribed—nor was he more guarded on the ſubjects of his politics, or his amours.

In regard to the firſt, he was, I found, a moſt inveterate enemy to the revolution— Deprecated the idea of any degree of freedom being allowed to the inferior ranks of men in any country; yet owned that he had with the duplicity that was adopted by many of his compatriots, appeared to yield to a torrent they could not reſiſt; but while they ſeemed to go with the ſtream, he hinted, that meaſures were taking effectually to turn its courſe; and he triumphed in the diſcomfiture of the reptiles, who had thus dared to aſpire to the privilege of freemen and ſaw, in his mind’s eye, the leaders of this obnoxious cannaille languiſhing out their miſerable lives in the moſt dreary dungeons of the new-erected Baſtile—Such was the colour of his politics. His love ever ſucceſsful, and without thorns, was, as he repreſented it, toujours couleur de roſe―He ſcrupled not to hint, in terms that could not be miſunderſtood, that he had been very highly favoured by ſome of the moſt exalted ladies of the French court; that he was an univerſal favourite; and that there was no woman in this country, or his own, who could long remain inſenſible of his powers of pleaſing, when he choſe to make a point of gaining their favours. In this ſtyle― (and I liſtened to him with contempt that ſtifled my indignation)—he ran on for ſome time; till the wine he drank, much heavier than that he was uſually accuſtomed to, begangan 2066 D9v 66 gan to have a very viſible effect on him― His companion, a Monſieur d’Auberval, (though I underſtand another perſon came over with him) was even more inebriated than himſelf—And I learned, from what they together diſcourſed, that Verney had no intention of meeting his wife at Paris, but was going to Metz with ſome other French noblemen deeply embarked in the cauſe, whatever it is, that now engages their intriguing ſpirit; and that Mrs. Verney was, after ſome ſtay at a magnificent ſeat of the Duc de Romagnecourt’s, about five leagues from Paris, to follow her huſband to Metz —In ſhort, dreadful as the confirmation of my fears was, I had no longer to doubt but that Geraldine was ſold by the wretch who dares call her his wife.

Nothing but the reflection of what I owed to Geraldine, could have reſtrained me from expreſſing the indignation I felt—It was, however, neceſſary to diſſemble—I am a wretched hyprocritehypocrite; nor could I even in this emergency have ſucceeded, if my companions had been very accurate obſervers— At length after ſome hours of ſuch tortures as I thought it hardly poſſible to feel and exiſt; the men, who had been ſent to Geraldine with her huſband’s letter, returned, and brought to Monſieur de Romagnecourt a note written in French, of which this is the ſubſtance.

Mrs. Verney preſents her compliments to the Duc de Romagnecourt; and, as it is quite out of her power, on account of ill health, and from other circumſtances, to 2067 D10r 67 to leave England immediately; and equally ſo, to quit her children, who muſt neceſſarily be very inconvenient companions to him; ſhe muſt beg leave to decline the honor he intends her of a place in his carriage on his return to Paris; and the letter with which ſhe takes the liberty of troubling him to Mr. Verney, will account to him for her delaying her journey. Mrs. Verney is ſorry the ſmall houſe and eſtabliſhment ſhe has here, makes it impoſſible for her to receive the Duc de Romagnecourt at her preſent reſidence; and obliges her to take this method of thanking him for the civility he intended her. Bridge-foot Manor-farm, 1791-06-11June 11th, 1791.

Though the purport of this note was exactly what I expected from the preſence of mind and good ſenſe of Geraldine; and though I was relieved from my firſt anxious apprehenſions, as to the terror ſhe would be in on receiving it, I had yet but too many fears to contend with. I ſaw that Monſieur de Romagnecourt was mortified for the moment, but by no means ſo much diſcouraged as to deſiſt from his purſuit; and after reading the note over twice or thrice, admiring the elegance of the writing, and the purity of the French, which, he ſaid, was ſuch, as not one in a thouſand of his countrywomen could have produced, he fluttered about the room, though with ſomewhat leſs dignity than uſual, for he could hardly ſtand; and then calling her a lovely prude, he determined to try, the next morning, what his own irreſiſtible preſence could do towards thawing the ice of 2068 D10v 68 of this cold Engliſh beauty; and, in this diſpoſition, I left him at one in the morning.

I ſaw that any attempt to diſuade him from ſuch a ſcheme, would be fruitleſs; and, indeed, I thought it beſt to let her poſitive and perſonal refuſalconvincerefuſal convince him at once, that his preſumptuous and inſolent propoſal muſt be abortive—Still it was painful to me, to think that Geraldine muſt be inſulted by hearing it.—I knew, that elevated as her mind is, above thoſe frivolous and unworthy apprehenſions, to which women fancy it an amiable weakneſs to yield; yet, that ſuch an addreſs, from ſuch a man, in a place where ſhe was entirely unprotected; and the application coming from her huſband, could not but be altogether moſt diſtreſſing to her.—Though I could not ſave her from it, it was poſſible to ſoften the ſhock, by giving her notice of it; and aſſuring her, that there was within her reach, a man who would lay down his life, rather than ſee her expoſed to any unworthy treatment.

Sleep was with me entirely out of the queſtion.—At the earlieſt dawn of the morning, I was on horſeback, and directed my courſe to my former reſidence, the cottage. My ancient hoſt and his wife were juſt making their homely breakfaſt, on brown bread and cyder, when I entered their kitchen; they were rejoiced, yet amazed, to ſee me; and I was compelled, once more, to have recourſe to ſtratagem, to conceal the real motive of my ſecond viſit.―I told them, I had found myſelf not ſo well after I left their houſe, and had, therefore, returned from Roſs, to abide with them a few days longer.

I then 2069 D11r 69

I then conſidered in what way I ſhould announce to Geraldine the viſit ſhe was to expect; and I concluded, that I would go to the houſe and ſend up my name―Slowly and penſively I began this ſhort walk—I dreaded for her the uneaſineſs I was about to inflict—I dreaded for myſelf, that I ſhould betray in a way; too unequivocally expreſſive of my ſentiments, all I felt.―To tell her that I apprehended her huſband had conſigned her to another, was to intimate to her a degree of infamy, almoſt too ſhocking to be imagined, and that of a man, with whom ſhe was, perhaps, to paſs her life, and who was the father of her children; yet, to let her, for a moment, think of obeying him, which, it was poſſible, ſhe might do, if it ſtruck her as being her duty, was ſtill more dreadful; and I ſaw there was nothing to be hoped for, but from the rectitude of underſtanding, which I have always remarked in her; but I even dreaded the exceſs of thoſe ſtrict principles, which I have often known to impel her, contrary to her own wiſhes, and her own ſenſe of propriety, to follow the dictates of thoſe, who, conſcious as ſhe muſt be, of their mental inferiority, had, ſhe thought, a right to her compliance.

As ſoon as I could diſtinctly diſcern the windows, I ſaw they were already open, though it was yet early—The morning was lovely; but my mind was too much occupied to ſuffer me to enjoy it. I knew Geraldine uſed to walk early in the little court that is before her apartments; but now there was no traces of her having been out; nor did I hear the voice of my little playfellow cheerfully greeting my return, as, I own, I had fondly anticipated—All ſeemed 2070 D11v 70 ſeemed mournfully ſilent; yet I thought I heard ſome footſteps moving ſoftly about the houſe. I tapped at the old, thick, carved door with my ſtick; for there is no knocker— Nobody anſwered—I repeated it—Still no anſwer―At length, after waiting near a quarter of an hour at the door, I lifted up the iron latch, and opened it―I croſſed the brick hall, but ſaw nobody―The door of the parlour, where Geraldine uſually ſits, was a-jar; I puſhed it gently open, and was ſtruck with a groupe of figures, which exactly brought to my mind that which had been ſo forcibly and painfully impreſſed on it, by my dream at Hauteville.―

Geraldine was extended on an old faſhion cane ſopha, or what is, I think, called a ſettee, ſuported by cuſhions of green ſtuff, and with her right arm ſhe claſped the youngeſt of her children, who appeared to my terrified imagination to be dying, as its head repoſed on her boſom, while her tears fell ſlowly on the little pallid face; the girl, unconſcious of her mother’s anguiſh, ſat upon the pillow behind her, playing with ſome flowers, and the eldeſt boy had ſeated himſelf by her in his own little chair, and was holding her left hand and looking mournfully at her, and his brother. Fixed to the ſpot by grief and amazement, I dared hardly breathe leſt I ſhould too ſudenly alarm her. Her eyes were ſhut, and I only ſaw by the tears that fell from them, that ſhe was not in a ſtate of inſenſibility, for my entrance did not ſeem to diſturb her—ſhe ſuppoſed it to be the maid.

In a moment, however, the little boy turned round and ſaw me, and ſcreaming my name in an 2071 D12r 71 an accent of tranſport, as he eagerly ran towards me. Geraldine opened her eyes, and repeated, Deſmond! gracious heaven! Deſmond!

As ſoon as I could diſengage myſelf from the careſſes of the child I approached― I am deſtined ſaid I, in faultering accents, I am deſtined to diſturb and alarm you, can you forgive me for this intruſion?—I heſitated—I hardly knew what I would ſay. She gave me however her hand as ſhe roſe; involuntarily I could have preſſed it, for the firſt time in my life, to my trembling lips, but I dared not; and I remained holding it ſtill in mine, while ſhe ſaid, after a pauſe of a moment—Never was the ſight of a friend more truly welcome.

The cordiality of this reception, (for her eyes, heavy as they were, confirmed the purport of her words) reſtored me to ſome degree of confidence and compoſure. I took a chair, unbidden; ſhe begged I would forgive her for attending to her child, who was, ſhe apprehended, dangerouſly ill.—I enquired how long it had been ſo, and ſhe replied—

I am grown ſo very weak, Mr. Deſmond, I mean, that I am ſo much diſpoſed to be what the fine ladies call nervous, that I am no longer fit for a nurſe; every fooliſh accident diſcompoſes me, and of courſe injures my nurſing—I have been extremely alarmed for the life of this ill-ſtarred baby, within theſe few hours, but I hope my fears have exaggerated the danger. I had no need to aſk what it was that had ſo much diſtreſſed her, yet I did not like abruptly to tell her, that 2072 D12v 72 that I was already acquainted with it; ſhe did not however, lead to it, and we remained for ſome moments ſilent, while little George clung about me, and ſaid he loved me dearly for coming back.

Aſk Mr. Deſmond, my love, ſaid Geraldine, as if glad to have the means of thus queſtioning me.—Aſk him, why he came back when we were afraid he was quite gone.

It was, anſwered I, to prevent your being alarmed by the ſuddenneſs of a viſit from another perſon, which will, even when you are prepared for it, be, I believe, diſa- greeable enough. She grew more pale at theſe words—you mean the Duke de Romagnecourt? I anſwered, yes; and relating briefly what had paſſed, except that part of our converſation that raiſed my ſuſpicions about her huſband’s having literally ſold her, (with which it was impoſſible for me to overwhelm her) I aſked what ſhe would do to evade the importunities of a man, who ſeemed to ſuppoſe his wiſhes were not to be counteracted, and to believe he need only appear, to obtain them.

The dignity of conſcious worth, thus deſerted by its protector, gave ſpirit for a moment to her languid countenance. If Mr. Verney, ſaid ſhe—but ſhe checked herſelf, and heſitating a moment, ſaid, with leſs vivacity— if this nobleman gives himſelf the trouble to come hither, which, however, I moſt earneſtly wiſh he may not, my anſwer will be very poſitive, and very ſhort—I am extremely obliged to you for giving me noticetice 2073 E1r 73 tice of his intentions; but if you could prevent his coming—

It did not, at that moment, appear to her that my interference was liable to a thouſand miſconſtructions―but before ſhe had finiſhed the ſentence, this occurred to her very forcibly; and ſhe added—but I beg your pardon for my inconſiderate folly—this cannot be―he muſt come—I muſt undergo, unfit as I am, the irkſome ceremony of ſeeing him and of giving him my poſitive refuſal.

And if he ſhould afterwards perſiſt?

Impoſſible—he ſurely cannot intend it.

I then gave her a ſpecimen of his converſation, which I had, till now, mentioned only in general terms.―She was much affected at the idea, that the ſtrange and unmanly conduct of Verney had expoſed her to a ſcene ſo improper and ſo extraordinary―And I ſaw her turn her eyes, expreſſive of the moſt acute maternal anguiſh, and filled with tears, on her children, particularly on the little one in her arms; but even in this moment ſhe uttered no complaint againſt their cruel father, though I ſaw her boſom heave as bitter reflections on his conduct, ſwelled her heart almoſt to burſting.

Oh! Bethel! why could I not, at that moment, have taken this lovely, injured woman and her children openly under my protection? —Why could I not aver that ardent, yet ſacred paſſion I feel for her?―Alas! inſtead of daring to own it, and to offer her my life, I was ſtruggling, perhaps inefficaciouſly ſtruggling, to make all I ſaid, all I propoſed, appear as the dictates of mere friendſhip; Vol. II. E and 2074 E1v 74 and to perſuade her, that, from a mere friend, ſhe might, nay, ought to accept my counſel, if ſhe could not my offers of ſervice.―After a farther conference of half an hour, during which, I ſaid all that might, without too much alarming her, put her upon her guard againſt the Duc de Romagnecourt’s projects —I was preparing to take my leave, when ſhe aſked me if I had breakfaſted—I never once recollected that I had not—She ordered breakfaſt to be brought; and, I ſaw, made an effort to be cheerful, but it was evidently forced; her eyes anxiouſly followed the child, as the maid carried it out of the room—I remarked, that notwithſtanding the particular converſation in which we were engaged during breakfaſt, ſhe liſtened to every noiſe above ſtairs, and went out twice to enquire after it.—It was proper I ſhould go— for, I knew, I muſt be an inconvenient interruption to her; yet I had not ſaid all I wiſhed to ſay, and could not determine to depart.

On her return the laſt time into the room, ſhe ſmiled on me with angelic ſweetneſs, and aſked if I forgave her abrupt rudeneſs?—She then ſat down again—endeavoured once more to regain her compoſure; and enquired at what time I thought it probable ſhe might be oppreſſed by the honor that threatened her? —As ſhe thus again introduced the ſubject, I collected reſolution enough to tell her that my fears of her ſufferings did not end with this viſit―for that I thought the noble foreigner very likely to perſevere in his entreaties, and leave nothing unattempted to enforce them.—At the word enforce, on which I laid 2075 E2r 75 I laid a ſtrong emphaſis, ſhe ſmiled, and aſked me if I thought he would really enact a French Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, and carry her to Paris without her own conſent?—I anſwered very gravely, that though that could hardly be done; yet, that ſhe might, and I was afraid, would find the Duke a viſitor of great perſeverance, and one who would not, without great difficulty, be diſſuaded to recede from a point which, he thought, he had her huſband’s authority to perſiſt in.

She looked at me, as if to examine whether I meant more than I ſaid—I ſuppoſe I looked as if I did—But again ſhe endeavoured to laugh off the fears which ſhe would willingly believe groundleſs.—I cannot imagine, ſaid ſhe, why you have taken it into your head, that this man would give himſelf ſo much trouble—------I dare ſay he will make a fine ſpeech or two, be au deſſeſpoir, that he cannot have the happineſs of my company, and content himſelf with ſhrugging up his ſhoulders at my want of common ſenſe, in preferring this pays triſte & morne, with my children, to the delights of a journey to Paris with him.

I wiſh, replied I, it may end ſo, my dear Madam.

But you doubt it?

I do indeed.—I then gave her ſome ſtronger reaſons, drawn from my obſervations of the preceding evening, why I doubted it —You are, ſaid I, quite unprotected here; you have not even a man-ſervant who might ſhut your doors againſt impertinent intruſion.—She allowed this; and when I E2 aſked 2076 E2v 76 aſked her whether I had her permiſſion to remain at the cottage, I had before inhabited, till I ſaw the event of this viſit, a faint bluſh, which ſpoke a thouſand grateful, yet fearful ſenſations, was viſible on her cheek ―But checking her fear, her pure and noble mind yielded only to gratitude, ſhe gave me once more her lovely hand—It is worthy of you, ſaid ſhe, with enchanting frankneſs, to make ſo generous an offer, I accept it rather to quiet your apprehenſions than my own; but it muſt be upon condition, that you run no riſk of embroiling yourſelf with this extraordinary viſitor of mine. ―I aſſured her I would not; and having obtained permiſſion to wait on her for half an hour in the evening, I took my leave.

And now, my dear friend, I have written this volume ſince―I have ſeen from my windows the carriage of Romagnecourt go to her houſe—Impatiently I awaited its return, which was not for an hour and a half; and now I go to enquire the reſult; and as I ſhall ſend this immenſe packet away to day, and ſhall have no opportunity to write again for ſome time, I leave you to comment on the ſtrange ſtory I have related, and to blame, for ſo I doubt not but you will, (ſince chivalry is no more) this romantic knight-errantry

Of your faithful,

Lionel Desmond.

.

You ſee I conclude cheerfully, which I account for by telling you, that whenever I am 2077 E3r 77 am to ſee Geraldine, I feel in heaven; and I hope to ſee her this evening reſtored to quiet, for her child was better when I left her; (indeed, I believe her tenderneſs greatly exaggerated his danger) and I hope the noble Duke has departed peaceably with his final anſwer; yet, till I am aſſured that ſhe is completely relieved from his inſolent importunities, my heart, I find, muſt be ſubject to frequent fits of anxieties and indignation.

Let- 2078 E3v 78

Letter VIII.

To Mr. Bethel.

Though there has not been time for you to anſwer my former letters, I am growing extremely impatient to hear from you; but till I do, though I fear you will blame all I have done, I muſt beguile the anxiety of the ſituation I am now in, by continuing my narrative.

I went on the evening of yeſterday, at the time Geraldine had appointed, to her houſe. ―So far from rejoicing in the final diſmiſſion of her importunate French viſitor, as I hoped to have found her, ſhe appeared extremely alarmed at his determined perſeverance; and under the greateſt apprehenſions of another viſit from him on the following morning.—She repeated with ſymptoms of great diſquiet, the converſation ſhe had held with him; and his eager remonſtrances, on her poſitively refuſing to accompany him; mingled with what he believed the moſt irreſiſtible adulation, left me no doubt as to his views; nor of the compact made with Verney, by which he aſſured himſelf he ſhould carry them into effect.—Though the whole of this odious tranſaction did not ſeem to have ſtruck Geraldine as it had done me, I ſee that ſhe ſuſpects but too much of it; and ſuch, indeed, was the language the Duc de Romagnecourt held, that of his deſigns ſhe 2079 E4r 79 ſhe could not be ignorant.—She evaded, however, repeating the extravagant ſpeeches which made them ſo evident, with modeſt dignity; but, as this was no time to conceal from her any part of my apprehenſions, I ventured to aſk her—whether ſhe could be blind to the real motive of this importunate interference; and, if it was not very viſible that the Duke’s pretended friendſhip for Mr. Verney, was only a paſſion for her perſonal charms.—She owned that it appeared ſo; and then added, that during the time ſhe was under the cruel neceſſity of remaining in London, where the acquaintance begun, ſhe perceived that this foreigner had conſidered the ſums he loſt to Verney, as a ſort of paſſport to her favour; and had then addreſſed her in a ſtyle, which only the lighter manners of his country, and his total ignorance of her real character, could have induced her to tolerate a moment: but ſhe had believed, that on returning to France he had thought no more about her.

I could have told her, that the impreſſions ſhe made, even when thoſe impreſſions were only thoſe of her perſonal lovelineſs, were not eaſily eraſed; but I was in ſuch a ſtate of mind, that I dared hardly ſpeak at all, leſt I ſhould too evidently betray, what in her preſent ſituation would have been doubly improper.—Her diſtreſs diſtracted me; and I knew not how to relieve it but by a direct addreſs to the Duke, from whence I ſaw many ill conſequences, and ſhe others; to which I ſhould have been entirely indifferent ―I underſtood that this unfeeling ſuitor, had 2080 E4v 80 had dared not only to expreſs his contempt for all thoſe ties which ſhe held ſacred, but to ridicule Verney; judging, perhaps, that it was impoſſible ſhe could love him; and that her ſhewing ſhe deſpiſed him, (which was a ſentiment he thought ſhe could not conceal,) would be a very important point in his favour.—It is now, ſaid ſhe, it is now that I feel in all its bitterneſs, that humiliation to which the conduct of Mr. Verney has reduced me—This man dares thus addreſs me, becauſe I am fallen from the ſituation in which I once moved, and he ſuppoſes that my mind is humbled with my fortune.—She had hitherto reſtrained her tears, but they now fell on her boſom—Had ſo many drops of blood been drawn from my heart, I ſhould have felt them leſs painfully―Blame me not too ſeverely if the ſenſe of what Geraldine ſuffered (ſhe, at whoſe feet the world ſhould be proſtrate) my curſed ſituation which rendered my attempting to relieve her ſo hazardous to her fame—the dread of her continuing defenceleſs and unprotected as ſhe was, to be expoſed to propoſals ſo inſufferably inſolent; the effect which I ſaw this ſtate of uneaſineſs had on her health, and a thouſand other reflexions, crowding together into my mind, threw me off my guard.—By heaven, Bethel! I was in a momentary phrenzy—and forgetting that to avoid encreaſing her diſcomfort was the object neareſt my heart, I yielded to the violence of ſuch mingled and diſtracting emotions; and I believe, looked and behaved like a madman.

I was 2081 E5r 81

I was almoſt immediately checked, however, by the effect this ſally of ungovernable paſſion had on Geraldine—She ſeemed atas one thunderſtruck for a moment; then recovering her preſence of mind, ſhe put her hand gently on my arm; and, with a countenance where what ſhe felt for herſelf, was loſt in the expreſſion of ſolicitude for me; ſhe ſaid—My good friend! what is the meaning of all this?—Do not ſuffer your concern for me to overcome you thus—Above all things, you muſt promiſe me that you do not perſonally appear in this affair—Give me your advice―I know it will be that of the kindeſt and moſt brotherly friendſhip, and I will follow it: but I muſt inſiſt upon your relinquiſhing every idea of ſpeaking to Monſieur de Romagnecourt—to any other propoſal you ſhall make, I ought to attend.— The manner in which this was uttered, reſtored me inſtantly to myſelf; I was aſhamed of the expreſſions of vengeance againſt Romagnecourt, and of rage at my own ſituation, that I had uſed.—I felt all their impropriety, and regretted that I had uttered them: yet the emotions which gave them birth were as ſtrong as ever, and, while I repented, I could not apologize for them—I remained ſilent, till Geraldine, in a voice yet more ſoothing, enquired, what I would adviſe her to do, ſince it was too certain that no common means of repreſſing, unwelcome importunity, had any effect on the arrogant perſeverance of Monſieur de Romagnecourt— For he had told her, that he ſhould remain at leaſt a week in the neighbourhood, in expectation,E5 pectation, 2082 E5v 82 pectation, that ſhe would change in his favour, a reſolution ſo haſtily adopted.

Good God! exclaimed I, is it impoſſible to eſcape ſeeing this man? is it impoſſible to deny yourſelf? On what pretence does he exclaim a right to moleſt you?On that, ſhe replied, of being ſent by Mr. Verney.

But has he no ſenſe or propriety, none of the reſpect he owes you?

Alas! anſwered ſhe, it is, I think, too certain that I ſhall ſuffer much more perſecution before I am releaſed from him; but be that as it may, you may be aſſured, Deſmond, that the idea of your perſonal danger, which could not fail to ariſe from any application to Mr. De Romagnecourt, is infinitely more terrifying to me, than any apprehenſions I entertain for myſelf; and after all, why ſhould I be thus uneaſy at impertinence which cannot laſt many days; and which can only haraſs and fatigue my ſpirits, but not do me any material injury.

And is it not then (Geraldine, I had nearly ſaid) is it not a material injury, dear Madam, to be ſubjected for hours and days to hear ſuch ſort of converſation as that with which this man preſumed to addreſs you? and is not your deigning to admit a ſecond and a third viſit, giving him reaſon to hope you will finally be leſs inexorable than you declare yourſelf?―Preſuming as he is, a very little of what he will interpret as encouragement, will render his inſolence inſupportable.― I own, that if I, who have not the happineſs to be allied to you, and have certainly no right 2083 E6r 83 right to influence you, ſhould interfere on this occaſion to deliver you from his importunity; (which, I believe, it would not be difficult to do) ſuch an interference might give occaſion to diſagreeable miſconſtructions; but ſurely it were better to hazard thoſe, which, perhaps, in this remote place, might not happen, than to leave you a day, an hour, expoſed to the intruſion of this aſſuming and arrogant foreigner—Would it be conſiſtent with the friendſhip, the eſteem, you are ſo good as to allow me to profeſs; and I hope I need not ſay how ſincerely I profeſs it) to leave you in a predicament, in which, were you my ſiſter, I could not bear that you ſhould remain a moment?

I ſaw this argument had a viſible effect on Geraldine—but, ſhall I own, that at this moment my ſelfiſh heart bounded with delight at the idea that I was not indifferent to her; and regardleſs of the additional pain ſhe muſt feel from a preference againſt the indulgence of which her principles would revolt—I dared to taſte delight, which no conſideration had, for a moment, power to reſtrain.—She remained ſilent; and then ſaid with a deep ſigh—I thank you moſt truly, Deſmond, for ſuppoſing me your ſiſter—Ah! would to God I were indeed ſo! Had I ſuch a brother, I could not be expoſed to a ſituation ſo cruel —I ſhould then have a protector! But as it is, (and her tears fell faſt) I am deſerted by all thoſe on whoſe guardianſhip I have a claim. —To your generous—your more than brotherly friendſhip, I am already but too much indebted—Were there not an infinite numberber 2084 E6v 84 ber of objections, I could not bear to encreaſe this debt; but, as it is, the bare idea of any interview, on the ſubject of his viſits here, between you and Monſieur de Romagnecourt, is intolerably dreadful; and I entreat you never to name it again.

Something, however muſt be done, ſaid I; for unauthoriſed, as I am, to ſpeak to Monſieur de Romagnecourt, I can as little bear his inſults to you—inſults, from which it is the indiſpenſible duty of every man of honor and feeling to defend you.

You terrify me to death! anſwered ſhe —Promiſe me—I inſiſt upon your promiſe, that of ſuch a meaſure as applying to this French man yourſelf, you wilwill think no more.

Promiſe me then, ſaid I, that you will think of ſome way of avoiding his future viſits.

I know of but one, and that—that is, at preſent, impracticable.

Name it, however, for heaven’s ſake.

It is, ſaid ſhe, heſitating—to go to Bath to my mother; but beſides other conſiderations, which render ſuch a journey, at preſent, almoſt impoſſible—I have reaſon to fear that I ſhould be at this time an unwelcome viſitor—My brother is, as Fanny’s laſt letters tell me, on the point of being married into a family, whoſe favour, proſperity alone can conciliate.—For this deſired union my mother has long been labouring; and ſhould my preſence, depreſſed and humbled as I am, impede it—I know, too well, that I ſhould be a moſt unwelcome viſitor—Unwelcome to every one but my Fanny.

This 2085 E7r 85

This cruel reflection conquered, for a moment, her equality of mind; deep ſighs and tears choaked her. Oh! Bethel! to behold the woman I adore in ſuch a ſtate, without daring to relieve, or even to participate her ſorrows!—There is on earth no condition ſo painful.—I internally curſed her deteſtable relations; (of whom all but her ſiſter are ſo unworthy of her) and, for a little time, was too much affected by her anguiſh, to be able to ſpeak.—At length, I ſaid—But is it not poſſible for you to be in lodgings where you need not be under the neceſſity of meeting this ridiculous Fairfax family—You may eſcape from hence, for a time, to return again when your purſuer is baffled.

A journey, with ſuch a family, to Bath, ſaid ſhe mournfully, and lodgings, when I arrive there, are expences which my mother would aſſuredly murmur at. Perhaps you are not aware, that though it was found impracticable for me to give up my ſettlement, as I moſt willingly would have done; yet, that I have nothing during Mr. Verney’s life, but a trifling allowance by way of pin-money, which I have never aſked for, and he has never paid. Though he could not ſell his eſtate with my jointure ſecured upon it, yet it is ſequeſtered—Colonel Scarſdale inhabits the houſe for a certain number of years; and the income is his—Verney has therefore, left himſelf deſtitute, and thus improvident, on his own account—Is it wonderful he ſhould be ſo on mine and his children?

Oh! thought I, had he been only improvident—equally improvident, it were well!— but 2086 E7v 86 but for himſelf he thinks but too much; and you, Geraldine, are the deſtined ſacrifice!

But this, though I thought it, I dared not ſay. I ſhall make my letter endleſs, if I relate all that afterwards paſt.—Alas! my friend! I found, that notwithſtanding the precaution with which you promiſed to ſupply her, by means of her ſiſter, ſhe had been of late ſo inadequately furniſhed with money, that ſhe had not enough to pay what muſt be paid for her apartments, were ſhe to quit them, and to anſwer the expences of her journey. At length, ſhe conſented to my ſupplying her with what was neceſſary for this purpoſe, to be repaid, as ſhe believes, by her mother; and the apartments, (having paid for the preſent half-year,) ſhe ſtill retains; and thus it is ſettled, that if ſhe cannot to-morrow diſmiſs this very improper and importunate viſitor, ſhe quits this place, and you will ſee her, my friend, at Bath. On my part, that no remarks may be made on our being in this retired ſpot, or travelling together, I ſhall ſee her only to a place of ſafety, probably as far as Glouceſter, and then go into Kent for a few days; after which, there will ſurely be no impropriety in my joining you at Bath, (as I have always intended to do) even though Geraldine ſhould be there.—She has promiſed to write to me―(I truſt there is no harm in that) I ſhall hear how long her ſtay is likely to be—If Waverly’s marriage takes place, and all her own family look as cool upon her, as there is reaſon to fear they will, ſhe will, perhaps, haſten to bury herſelf again in her beloved ſolitude: at all events, my ſtay at Bath 2087 E8r 87 Bath muſt be ſhort, as ſome buſineſs, from which I cannot diſengage myſelf, will abſolutely require my preſence in France early in July; and then, perhaps, ſhall take leave of England for ever.

The breath of ſcandal has never yet injured the ſpotleſs character of Geraldine. You, who know, that my love for her has a juſt claim to be called true love, becauſe it ſeeks only her good―You, my friend, before you condemn me, will aſk yourſelf, whether I am likely to commit any indiſcretion that will really injure her fame?―You will not, after having ſo reflected, blame me for what has paſſed ſince I have been here―I could not act otherwiſe―And after all, who is to report my being here at all?―Thoſe foreigners do not know me even by name― They do not know that I am acquainted with Geraldine―Her departure cannot be imputed to me; and though I foreſee that you will now find a hundred reaſons to condemn me—I value myſelf on having acted, as you would have acted had you been ſo ſituated.

Farewell, dear Bethel, till I meet you.― You will, perhaps, ſee the lovely ſubject of this letter almoſt as ſoon as you receive it. From you, and from her ſiſter, ſhe will hear the ſoothing voice of friendſhip and tenderneſs―And I recommend her to thoſe good offices from you, which, from her own family, I am afraid ſhe will not receive.

Ever your’s, faithfully,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 2088 E8v 88

Letter IX.

To Miss Waverly.

I stay here a day, my Fanny, to recruit my exhauſted ſpirits, after the variety of agitations I have been expoſed to. You have, by this time, received my two laſt letters; and know the ſtrange viſit that has driven me from my peacablepeaceable abode; though I would have continued there in deſpite of importunities and impertinence, which could not have laſted long, if I had not dreaded Mr. Deſmond’s interference, which ſeemed hourly probable; and which nothing but my determining to put myſelf under the protection of my family, could have long prevented.

My account of the ſecond and third viſits of the Duc de Romagnecourt, In a letter which does not appear. would convince you that he was not eaſily to be repulſed; nor would Deſmond be perſuaded that I ought patiently to endure this tranſient evil—I ſaw conſequences attending his applying to Monſieur de Romagnecourt, of which I could not bear the idea without terror —Any meaſure, therefore, was to be adopted rather than hazard it; and yet I foreſee, that if even his preſent interference, and his friendly attention to me, be known, inferences may be drawn as falſe towards him, as unfavourable to me. Alas! my Fanny, the proſpect every way 2089 E9r 89 way around me is darkening; and in the ſtorms that are on all ſides gathering, I ſhall probably periſh. Deſmond was ſo good as to inſiſt on accompanying me as far as this place on horſeback—He then immediately left me; and is gone into Kent. I am very ſure, my ſiſter, by your laſt letter, Which does not appear. that you blame me for the circumſtances that have occured ſince Mr. Deſmond’s reſidence in the neighbourhood of my retirement; and I own that ſuch adventures befalling a married woman, ſeparated from her huſband, are very likely to raiſe, even in the moſt candid minds, ſuſpicions of her conduct.—---You, however, ſurely know me too well to harbour them a moment; and if I were not bound by all the ties of honour and gratitude to ſecrecy, I could at once convince you, that no improper attachment to me, has been the cauſe of Mr. Deſmond’s journey hither.―Still as it is impoſſible that this can at preſent be explained, I wiſh that as little may be ſaid of it as poſſible.

I know not how I find reſolution to proceed from day to day in this career of miſery.---My children, for whom I ought to live, alone ſupport me; nor have I in the world another motive to wiſh my exiſtence prolonged, unleſs it be your affection, my dear Fanny.―Do not therefore, now when I moſt want it, do not let it fail. You will receive this letter a few hours before my arrival—Let me find at the Bear at Bath, a note from you, to ſay where you have taken lodgings for me; when I ſhall ſee you, and when I may be permitted to pay my duty to my mother.―Surely, how- 2090 E9v 90 however ſhe may be occupied with the approaching feſtivities which are intended for the more beloved and more proſperous part of her family, ſhe will not refuſe ſome maternal kindneſs to her unfortunate child, whoſe unhappineſs is not of her own creating―and who, though ſhe returns poor and deſolate, like the Prodigal in Scripture, has nothing wherewith to reproach herſelf; nor occaſion to ſay, Lo I have ſinned againſt heaven, and in thy ſight.

Perhaps, my dear Fanny, your ill-ſtarred Geraldine will not long trouble you.—There certainly is ſuch a diſtemper, ſays Fielding, as a broken heart; though it is not mentioned in the bills of mortality.—Till that calamity robs mine of every ſenſation, it will be fondly attached to you.

Geraldine Verney.

Let- 2091 E10r 91

Letter X.

To Mr. Desmond.

I am again undertaking to execute a very unpleaſant taſk―But my friendſhip for you Deſmond, is of a nature which withſtands even—what ſhall I call it? not unkindneſs, nor duplicity; for I believe, from my ſoul, you are incapable of either.―But that want of confidence which ought to ſubſiſt between us, and in which you certainly failed when you came to England, and went into Herefordſhire without informing me of your intentions.— The conſequences of this imprudence, for ſuch it ſurely was, have been more uneaſy to the object of your ſolicitude than you are aware of; but though I am ſtill vexed, and a little angry with you, becauſe I think you acted unlike yourſelf, it is impoſſible to ſee her, without feeling ſo much intereſted, that every other conſideration is abſorbed in axietyanxiety for her.—Geraldine is, indeed, an excuſe for every failure towards me; but when that failure has injured her, I cannot allow of the apology; and the taſk of chiding you for your indiſcretions, and relating their effects, falls on me moſt unwelcomely.

Early yeſterday, I received a hurried and confuſed note from Miſs Waverly, beſeeching me to ſee her, by ſome means or other, in the courſe of the morning.―I anſwered that I would be at a bookſeller’s, where we ſometime have 2092 E10v 92 have, you know, made theſe aſſignations, within an hour.—I was punctual to my appointment, and in a few moments after, Fanny arrived, wrapped in a large morning cap, and a cloak, tied round her neck, which were, however, inſufficient, even with the deep veil that depended from her bonnet, to conceal that her eyes were ſwollen with weeping, and that her whole frame was in extreme agitation. She ſeemed unable to ſpeak when ſhe came in, but recovering herſelf, ſhe aſked if I would walk with her, as ſhe had much to ſay to me. We took the ſhorteſt way to get out of town, and proceeded in profound ſilence, till we reached the fields.—She then put into my hands her ſiſter’s laſt letter, dated from Glouceſter, and told me, that ſhe had obeyed, as well as ſhe dared, her directions, and had provided a lodging for her; but that her mother was extremely diſpleaſed with the journey, and had heard, by ſome means or other, for which it was very difficult to account, that Mr. Deſmond had been ſome time concealed in the neighbourhood of her reſidence at Bridgefoot, and was the perſon who had adviſed her to quit it for Bath, inſtead of complying with Mr. Verney’s wiſhes, and going to France, with a nobleman of very high rank, a married man, a man of the very firſt faſhion and conſequence, under whoſe protection ſhe might not only have travelled with utmoſt eaſe and elegance, but, ſince ſhe was directed to do ſo, by her huſband, with the greateſt propriety.—Such, ſaid Miſs Waverly, is the repreſentation that has been made to my mother, and which, added to her own diſlike of Geraldine’s coming hither at this time, 2093 E11r 93 time, has irritated her ſo much againſt my ſiſter, that ſhe will hear nothing I can ſay in her excuſe—She has even forbidden me to ſee her; I ſhall not, however, obey her in that reſpect; but I dare not ſo directly violate my mother’s cruel injunctions, as to meet her on her arrival— Yet how will her already, half broken heart, be wounded, when inſtead of a friendly reception from a ſiſter, who fondly loves her, from a mother who ought to protect her, ſhe finds, awaiting her arrival, a harſh letter from that mother, filled with remonſtrances and complaints.

She ſhall at leaſt ſaid I, as ſoon as I could recover from the pain this intelligence gave me, ſhe ſhall at leaſt find one friend ready to receive her; I will wait myſelf her coming, and ſoften as much as I can, the inhuman conduct of Mrs. Waverly; forgive me Miſs Fanny, I think it moſt inhuman.

I was about, anſwered ſhe, to ſolicit that friendly aſſiſtance which you now ſo generouſly offer—Without ſome ſuch interference, the blow will quite overwhelm my unhappy ſiſter.—By what means my mother has got ſuch intelligence, I cannot imagine.—Her uſual informer, one whoſe viſits I always dreaded, is no longer here, and if ſhe were, I cannot diſcover how Deſmond’s abode in England, which was a ſecret to his moſt intimate friends, ſhould be known to her.—I own, Mr. Bethel, I wiſh he had forborne to viſit the country, where Geraldine reſides, with an air of ſecrecy; for though ſhe aſſures me, (and ſhe is truth and candour itſelf, that in doing ſo, he was actuated by very different motives from thoſe which my mother’s informer has dared to impute to him; yet 2094 E11v 94 yet aſſuredly, ſuch a circumſtance happening to a young and beautiful woman, apart from her huſband, will receive, from the generality of the world, a very different interpretation.

It would be difficult to deſcribe with the pen, the manner and voice in which Fanny Waverly uttered this—her countenance I could not ſee, for ſhe turned from me, and had her handkerchief to her eyes—Her emotion was however extremely affecting; I did all I could to re-aſſure her, and promiſed, that I would ſee Geraldine compoſed and eaſy, before I left her, in her new lodgings, (where ſhe was expected that afternoon,) and give early intelligence of her ſtate of health and ſpirits to the anxious Fanny.

Alas ſaid ſhe, it is all the comfort I ſhall have about her to day, for my mother has made an engagement with the Fairfax’s, from which, I have in vain attempted to excuſe myſelf―pardon me, Mr. Bethel— they are relations of yours, and are ſoon to become relations of mine, but I ſhall never love them, for I deteſt pride and ſelfiſhneſs wherever I meet them; above all, I deteſt them, when they are poorly concealed under the ill-managed affectation of refined ſentiment, and ſuperior information.

I could not forbear a ſmile at the little aſperity, with which this ſarcaſm, (you will call it truth) was uttered; and ſoon after, as Fanny had made ſome excuſe to her mother, which ſhe feared, would be detected as an excuſe, if ſhe ſtaid too long, we parted, and I prepared for the painful ſcene I was to go through in the afternoon; I thought it howeverever 2095 E12r 95 ever beſt, as I was known to be ſo much connected with you, not to wait her arrival at the inn; but to leave a note for her, entreating permiſſion to attend her, as early as ſhe could admit me.

About half paſt five o’clock, I received from her, the following card.

Mrs. Verney is infinitely obliged to Mr. Bethel, for his early and moſt welcome attention; being unable from indiſpoſition, to remain at the Bear without great inconveniences, ſhe is already removed to her lodgings in Milſom-ſtreet, where ſhe expects, with impatience, the ſatisfaction of ſeeing Mr. Bethel.

I haſtened thither inſtantly; and was ſhewn into a ſmall dining-room, where I ſaw the two eldeſt of her lovely children playing on the carpet; the door of the adjoining room was a-jar, and I had hardly ſpoken to George, before Geraldine entered.

Such an expreſſion of deſpondence and woe was on her countenance, that I ſtarted as I ſaw her—She forced, however, a melancholy ſmile, as ſhe held out her hand to me; and ſaid, in a faultering voice, This is kind indeed, and like my friend Mr. Bethel.

I endeavoured, in my turn, to ſpeak cheerfully; but it would not do—She waved her hand for me to take a chair, but ſeemed afraid of truſting her voice with another ſentence.— There was evidently ſuch a painful ſtruggle to conceal her agitation and check her tears, that to have ſeen her weep would have been leſs affecting.—I expreſſed my fears, that ſhe was a good deal fatigued by her journey― She anſwered, I am indeed; travelling with three 2096 E12v 96 three very young children, with only one ſervant, and in ſome uneaſineſs of mind, has been altogether a little too much for me—The ſight of a friend like you, Mr. Bethel, is, however, reviving; and makes me as much amends as any thing can now make me, for the want of kindneſs I experience from my own family. This cruel reflection was inſupportable—her voice failed her; and ſhe drew her handkerchief from her pocket, to conceal the tears ſhe could no longer reſtrain.

After yielding to them a moment, however, ſhe endeavoured again to repreſs them; and ſaid inarticulately, I beg your pardon, for attempting to conceal any thing from you; and to diſtreſs you by the ſight of ſorrow that muſt appear extravagant—but read this letter from my mother—from my only parent—from her in compliance with whoſe wiſhes— She could not go on—I took the letter from her hand, which I could willingly have preſſed to my heart—I was too much agitated to read it very diſtinctly then; but I encloſe it to you, for ſhe gave me leave to put it in my pocket.

You ſee, Mr. Bethel, ſaid ſhe, when ſhe regained her voice—You ſee, that the coldneſs of my family is not judged puniſhment enough; but that they accuſe that moſt generous and noble-minded of men, your friend Deſmond, of attachments—of views, which I am ſure, he never entertained; and thus rob me of the only friend, except yourſelf, that my cruel deſtiny has left me—But I will ſubmit to it in ſilence—I will not trouble my mother with the unwelcome ſight of a daughter, whoſe misfortunes are her faults—I will go— but 2097 F1r 97 but yet I know not whither!―they will allow me, I hope, a ſhort reſpite here till I can determine.

I need not, ſurely, ſay to you, that I ſaid every thing I could imagine, to conſole this lovely, injured mourner―I told her that her ſiſter had ſent me, to aſſure her of her unfailing tenderneſs, and of her determination, that no injunctions from her mother, ſhould prevent her ſeeing her the next day. I endeavoured to perſuade her, that the ideas Mrs. Waverly had taken up about you, were owing to the forgeries of malice and malignity―that ſhe would ſoon be convinced of their falſehood―and that all would be well.―She ſhook her head.— Ah! never! ſaid ſhe, in this world for me—my deſtiny cannot be changed—it muſt, therefore, be ſupported—But, however, no ſtate of mind, ſo cruelly painful as that I have endured ſince I received, two hours ago, my mother’s letter can laſt long.

A ſilence of ſome moments enſued, for I had exhauſted every proper topic of conſolation. At length, ſhe ſaid—Notwithſtanding all this, I am ſo conſcious of the rectitude of my own heart; and ſo perfectly convinced of Mr. Deſmond’s honor and integrity towards me, that I ſhall not affect to have any reſerve about naming him; for to do ſo might intimate that I bluſhed at knowing how highly he honours me with his eſteem, which I rather glory in. Have you heard from him, Mr. Bethel, ſince he has been in Kent? Is he well?—And does he talk of returning ſoon to France?—I replied, that I was not, at preſent, informed of your intentions; but Vol. II. F ſhould, 2098 F1v 98 ſhould, probably, ſoon ſee you at your own houſe; where, I imagined, you would ſtay, at leaſt, a month—She ſighed—We ſhall loſe you then, ſaid ſhe to me; that loſs will be irreparable. I aſſured her, that, as long as my continuing at Bath would be of uſe to her, in the ſmalleſt degree, I would not ſuffer even my wiſh to ſee you, after ſo long an abſence, to have any weight with me. —I could have added, that I knew I could not oblige you ſo much as in remaining where my preſence could contribute to her ſatisfaction.

She was not able to thank me; or, for ſome time, to ſpeak—Recovering herſelf, ſhe ſaid —you are too good, Mr. Bethel!—The voice of kindneſs and ſympathy, overcomes me more than the cold and cruel reſerve of my family, becauſe I cannot help making continual compariſons!—My Fanny!—ſhe too forſakes me!—yet I would not have her diſobey my mother, however I may languiſh to ſee her.

Again I aſſured her, her ſiſter would fly to her, at all hazards, the moment it was poſſible; and after ſome farther converſation, I had, at length, the pleaſure of leaving her much more compoſed than I had found her. —She ſpoke, however, with extreme anxiety, about her youngeſt child, whoſe conſtitution is, ſhe fears, quite ruined by the uneaſineſs that has been preying upon her own, while ſhe has been nurſing him.

As to Geraldine herſelf, ſhe looks moſt beautiful—leſs dazzling than ſhe once was—ſhe is a thouſand times more intereſting than in the moſt luxuriant bloom of early beauty—I never ſaw 2099 F2r 99 ſaw a face that gave me ſo much pleaſure in the contemplation of it, as her’s does; and yet I have ſeen many more regular—The reaſon of this, I believe, is, that there is ſo much ſenſe blended with ſo much ſweetneſs in every expreſſion of her countenance. —I have often ſeen both ſeparately; but, in faces, where one predominates, there is frequently a want of the other―Her form, too, is, in my opinion, the very perfection of feminine lovelineſs; yet it ſeems to owe all its charms to her mind —the dignity of the one heightens every grace of the other. See! if your inexorable Mentor, as you have often called me, is not writing an eulogium on the very charms for which he condemns your adoration—But I am now too well convinced that nothing can diveſt you of your attachment; and the juſtice of my praiſes cannot encreaſe it— All I ſhall henceforward attempt to do, will be to keep it within thoſe bounds of prudence, which you cannot paſs without doing the moſt fatal injury to its object.— Prudence in which, my friend, you moſt cruelly failed in your journey into Wales.

I own I am much diſturbed at the information Mrs. Waverly has obtained of the circumſtances of your abode in a place, where I thought it quite improbable that you could be known. I am ſtill more diſturbed at the conſtruction ſhe has been taught to put on your viſit.

I have juſt had a note from Miſs Waverly, ſhe will be with her ſiſter to-morrow morning at ſeven o’clock—This evening, F2 her 2100 F2v 100 her mother has taken care to render it impoſſible.

I will write again in a few days, till when and ever I remain,

My dear friend, your’s faithfully,

E. Bethel.

Let- 2101 F3r 101

Letter XI.

To Mrs. Verney.

Daughter Verney,

I hear, with great concern, and indeed amazement, of your intended arrival in this place. I wiſh you had acted more prudently, as well as properly; and am ſurpriſed, that in your ſituation, you ſhould think it right or becoming, to receive viſits from Mr. Deſmond, or any other perſon, not authoriſed by your family; and, at the ſame time, refuſe to comply with your huſband’s requeſt, in going abroad, under the care of the nobleman, whom he had engaged to ſee you ſafe to him ―I am very much alarmed for the conſequences of all this; and, indeed, thoſe of my particular friends, whoſe judgment I rely on, have given me great reaſon to be ſo, by the repreſentations they have made to me of the opinion the world will form upon ſuch conduct―Encouragement or countenance from me, it will not receive; and, as to ſupporting the expence, it is quite out of my power—You will do well, therefore, to conſider, whether you had not better determine to go to France, where, I underſtand, your huſband is likely to be handſomely ſupported, till his affairs can be ſettled; and to accept the polite and handſome offer made by the foreign Duke, before it is too late—You remember, to be ſure, as you are fond of poetry, the line your poor father, on former occaſions, 2102 F3v 102 occaſions, has quoted from Milton or Shakeſpeare, or ſome of your favorite authors— The wife, where danger or diſhonor lurks, Seemlieſt and ſafeſt by her huſband ſtays.

At preſent, your ſeparation from Mr. Verney is altogether voluntary, and, therefore, highly improper; and quite inconſiſtent with the prudent line of behaviour, which I expect from a daughter of mine—ſuch, indeed, as lays me under the neceſſity of ſaying to you, though it may appear harſh, that I cannot let my daughter Frances ſee you, nor conſent to receive you myſelf, till I find you have determined to embrace the proper conduct of going to your huſband—as to do otherwiſe, would be to encourage both, in what is in my own opinion, quite wrong; and give freſh occaſion for ſcandal, which has begun to be too buſy already.

I hope Mr. Deſmond will oblige me in forbearing, for the future, to interfere in the affairs of my family; and that I may not hear him named again in the ſame breath with any of them, unleſs on quite a different footing.

I deſire your ſpeedy determination, as to going abroad; and when you have taken a becoming reſolution, you ſhall not find me backward in kindneſs—My circumſtances are, at preſent, much circumſcribed, by the neceſſity I am under to do my beſt in figure and appearance for your brother’s approaching marriage with a woman, whoſe fortune and connexions are ſo proper and deſirable for him —Nevertheleſs, I will ſtrain a point to grant you 2103 F4r 103 you any little accommodation for your journey—though, certainly, not to ſupport you in a wilful ſeparation from your huſband, which nothing can excuſe, and no mother, who has a due ſenſe of propriety will encourage.

As to your three children, I am glad to hear from Frances, that you have weaned the little one, as that takes off one objection to your travelling. You may leave them all very properly, with ſome careful perſon; and, if they are near this place, I will ſee now and then, that they are well looked after.

I am (if ſo your conduct ſhall allow me to ſubſcribe myſelf) Your affectionate mother,

Elizabeth Waverly.

Let- 2104 F4v 104

Letter XII.

To Mr. Bethel.

With what calmneſs, my dear Bethel, do you recount a ſcene, that I cannot read, without feeling ſomething like frenzy. With how few remarks do you encloſe me a letter that deprives me of all patience and— But it is the mother of Geraldine that writes it, (at leaſt, ſhe has always paſſed for ſuch, though one would be tempted to fancy there was an exchange made in her infancy) and I will not exclaim againſt her; but only entreat you to let me know, by the return of the poſt, whether the lovely perſecuted being to whom it is addreſſed, has taken any reſolution in conſequence of it. I dread, leſt that tender and dutiful ſweetneſs of character, to which her wretched marriage was owing, ſhould again betray her into this deteſted meaſure; and that her ideas of obedience to her odious mother, and her worthleſs huſband ſhould precipitate her into the very abyſs of wretchedneſs.—My hope is, that the propoſal—ſo cool a propoſal too, that ſhe ſhould leave her children, will rouſe that proper ſpirit of reſiſtance againſt uſurped and abuſed authority which, for herſelf, ſhe would not, perhaps, exert―To leave her children, to go herſelf to ſuch a huſband, eſcorted by a man to whom, I am perſuaded, he has ſold her; and all this, by the authority of an unfeeling old woman, who is ſolicitous for her fame, for- 2105 F5r 105 forſooth!—and diſpleaſed at my having called at her door, when I happened to be in a ſame neighbourhood.

One is half tempted to fly out of the world in a fit of deſpair, when one conſiders how the farce of it is carried on, and what wretches exiſt in it, whoſe whole buſineſs ſeems to be to deſtroy the few comforts, and embitter the few pleaſures which it affords. —I am totally unable to gueſs to whoſe curſed officiouſneſs it is owing, that this prudiſh, narrow-minded old woman (I cannot keep my temper with her) is ſo well informed of my having been at Bridge-foot; a ſecret I kept even from you, and fancied was unknown to all the world; ſince I had the precaution not to take even a ſervant with me ―I could execrate with a moſt hearty good will, her informers whoever they may be; and wiſh I could draw a drop of blood from their hearts for every tear this diabolical buſineſs has drawn from the eye of Geraldine —But a heart that can wantonly injure her, can have no warm blood in it―It muſt be ſome diſappointed prude, or uncharitable pedant. I know none of either deſcription at all likely to interfere with me—yet, if I could diſcover them, I ſhould be tempted to expoſe them to ſomething worſe than this apoſtrophe—

I tell thee, damned prieſt, A miniſtering angel ſhall my ſiſter be When thou lieſt howling!— Shakeſpeare.

It is in vain, my dear Bethel, for me to attempt calling off my mind a moment from F5 Geraldine; 2106 F5v 106 Geraldine; and were it not that my preſence might expoſe her to a repetition of theſe odious ſuſpicions, I ſhould be now at Bath; whither you knew it was fully my purpoſe to go when I quitted Herefordſhire, had not ſhe been driven thither, and made my going juſt at the ſame time improper; though I was then far from dreaming of all the occaſion there exiſted for my precaution.

As it is, I muſt remain here, at leaſt, till I have your anſwer; which I entreat you to forward to me as ſoon as poſſible; for, till it comes, I can determine on nothing —and there is no ſituation ſo irkſome as the ſtate of ſupenceſuſpence I am now in; certain, that however it terminates, I muſt be wretched, but dreading what is of infinitely greater moment, that Geraldine mymay be yet more miſerable.

Do not encourage me, Bethel, in the idea of her having for me perſonal regard ―I, who know and adore the unſullied purity of her mind, know, that the admiſſion of ſuch a ſentiment, however involuntary, would render her unhappy; and I would not obtain all the happineſs imagination can conceive, at the expence of giving her heart one reproachful pang.―You think this aſſeveration inconſiſtent with my raſhneſs, in concealing myſelf in the neighbourhood of her late reſidence―But beſides that I had other motives for my journey thither, than it is in my power to communicate to you; I proteſt to you that had not chance thrown me in her way, I ſhould not have then ſeen her.—This appears contradictory and 2107 F6r 107 and ridiculous, but I muſt be content to let you call it ſo.

How tedious, how irkſome is the ſort of life I have led the little time I have been here.―I find that the locality of our attachments depend upon the perſons that ſurround us, rather than the places where we are happy―I have preferred this ſmalſmall eſtate as a reſidence, from my infancy; and here the moſt joyous hours of my life were paſt.―When I became my own maſter, I haſtened hither; and, as I repaired the old houſe, and ſaw the roads mended and the fences got in order, as I planted my ſhrubs, and gave directions for the care of my timber, procured modern comforts within the houſe, and put every thing without in order, a thouſand agreeable images returned of my former pleaſures; and with the ſanguine eye of youthful expectation, I looked forward to greater pleaſures yet to come.

I ſhall meet, ſaid I to myſelf, as I indulged theſe charming illuſions, with ſome lovely and amiable young woman, whoſe taſte is congenial with my own―One, who will be more pleaſed with this place, becauſe I love it, than with my other houſe; which, though larger and handſomer, is not in ſo beautiful a country, and to which I have no particular attachment. —That, therefore, I will let, and reſide here altogether; and, when the naturally delicious ſituation is gradually improved, and a new room built for my books, I think, that with ſuch a woman as my imagination has formed, I ſhall here find happineſs—ifpineſs 2108 F6v 108 pineſs—if happineſs be ever the lot of humanity.

While I was looking out, therefore, for this laſt beſt gift of heaven, I was as buſy in my improvements, and as delighted with my future paradiſe, as ever projector was with ſome favourite ſcheme that was to procure him millions.—Alas! deſtiny, inexorable deſtiny, was at work not only to deſtroy my lovely viſions, but to embitter their deſtruction by ſhewing me that they might have been all realized.—At this period —near four years ago, I firſt ſaw Mrs. Verney; then only a few months married, and brought down by her huſband, for the firſt time, to his Kentiſh villa.—The beauty of her perſon, though that perſon is exactly what my fancy would form as the moſt lovely and perfect, made no immediate or deep impreſſion.—She was a married woman, and her beauty was not, therefore, to be conſidered by a man, looking out, as I was, for a wife, and who never harboured an idea of ſeducing the wife of another—Yet, perhaps, I liſtened with more pleaſure to her ſentiments, becauſe ſhe was eminently handſome.—I had liſtened but a little, before I diſcovered, to my utter confuſion, that ſhe was exactly the woman with whom I could be happy; and, in a few months, I found that I could never now be happy at all, for that ſhe could not be mine, and I could think with pleaſure of no other woman.

For above two years, under pretence of trying to reaſon myſelf out of this prepoſſeſſion, I cheriſhed it.—The unaffected eaſe 2109 F7r 109 eaſe and innocent freedom with which ſhe treated me, fed the flame that was conſuming me; but ſhe was totally unconſcious of it— And, though I could ſee that Mr. Verney was altogether unworthy of her, that ſhe was but too ſenſible of it; and had been married to him merely becauſe it was the will of her family. Believe me, Bethel, that I honoured highly that noble reſolution with which I ſaw ſhe not only bore, but tried to make the beſt of her lot; and never, in any one inſtance, attempted to raiſe a ſentiment in my own favour, to the prejudice of the affection which ſhe believed ſhe ought, and which ſhe tried to feel, for her huſband—That huſband, who valued ſo little the bleſſing he poſſeſſed, that, after he had once gratified his pride, by ſhewing to his libertine friends the moſt beautiful woman of the time, as his wife, was accuſtomed to leave her for weeks and months together; and, while he was diſſipating his fortune in every ſpecies of extravagant folly, ſhe was either alone at Linwell, or had no other companion than Fanny Waverly, then a wild girl, between ſixteen and ſeventeen—juſt emerging from the nurſery into the delights of ſucceeding her ſiſter as a beauty: and who, though heartily rejoiced to eſcape from her mother, ſeemed then not to be ſo advanced in underſtanding, as to be a companion for her, though there was not the difference of two years in their ages.

It was at theſe periods when Geraldine was ſo much in ſolitude at Linwell, that my attachment took ſo deep root.—I found by her pre- 2110 F7v 110 preferring the country even at ſeaſons when ſhe might have been in London—I found by her taſte for reading, for drawing, for domeſtic pleaſures, that ſhe was, in every reſpect, the very woman my imagination had formed.—The more I ſaw of her, the more I felt this—yet could I not determine to quit her, till your remonſtrances and ſome fears, leſt with Verney’s encreaſing follies, my regret and murmurings might encreaſe alſo, and to her prejudice, determined me to go abroad—How ſucceſsleſs that expedient has been in regard to curing me of my paſſion for her, you know too well—What ill conſequences have otherwiſe attended it, I hope you will never know at all.

But I was about to relate the effect that my former friendly and innocent intercourſe with this lovely woman, has on my preſent frame of mind; and how it touches, with peculiar ſadneſs, every object around me.

This place, though more than ſix miles from Linwell, and almoſt as far again from Hartfield, is yet, you know at that diſtance, which in the country conſtitutes near neighbourhood.—I was at ſchool at Eaton with Verney, and though on our entrance into life, his purſuits and mine were ſo different, that no intimacy could ſubſiſt between us, yet our acquaintance was of courſe renewed, when we both came teto ſettle in this country.----—I viſited equally at the houſe, whether he was at home or no; and, at length, I was reſtrained only by my fears of injuring the reputation of Geraldine, from ſeeing her every day; for all other ſociety was inſipid or diſguſting.

At 2111 F8r 111

At that time Geraldine rode on horſeback, or drove her ſiſter in a cabriole; and, as ſhe was fond of gardening, I ſometimes uſed to ſolicit her opinion on the alterations I was making—----and when ſhe approved what I had directed, or gave me any idea of her own, I purſued my plans of improvement with redoubled alacrity.—---Her preſence gave to every object a charm which I now look for in vain!—And the groups of ſhrubs which were then planted by her direction, now grow and flouriſh, as if to remind me only of the happineſs I have loſt—a happineſs which one half the world would call chimerical, and the other half abſurd and ridiculous— but which nevertheleſs was comparative happineſs; for when I knew I could ſee her at any time in an hour, and that I ſhould paſs an hour or two near her, twice or thrice in the courſe of the week; I repreſſed, if I could not entirely deſtroy, the regret which aroſe on reflecting that her life was dedicated to another.

I have been moſt decidedly miſerable ever ſince I have been here; every body tires me, and buſineſs or converſation alike diſguſt and teize me.—I fancied that after an abſence of twelve months, the former might, for a time, occupy my mind; but Beſt, who you know I left as a ſteward, is ſo intolerably ſlow and ſtupid, that it is quite impoſſible for me to attend to his accounts and his details—however he is very honeſt, and all ſeems right enough— and I have given him his diſcharges.—The good folks of the neighbourhood have perſecuted me every morning—poſt chaiſes and whiſkies, 2112 F8v 112 whiſkies, and cavaliers, have beſet my door. —Some of theſe worthy people I have ſeen, becauſe I happened to meet them in the grounds, and they were ſo happy at my return, and ſo full of obliging hopes that I was coming to live among them, and be a good neighbour, that really I was concerned to diſappoint them; eſpecially certain amiable gentlewomen between fifty and ſixty, who have daughters between twenty and thirty, and who are ſo good as to be particularly ſolicitous for my ſettling in their neighbourhood.—One of theſe, an acquaintance it ſeems of my mother’s, came in a ſolemn embaſſy, like a dowager queen of Sheba, to viſit me, whom ſhe praiſed quite into a Solomon; but, as ſhe piques herſelf upon ſpeaking her mind freely (and is of courſe the terror of all her acquaintance) ſhe told me ſhe ſhould not ſpare my faults; for ſhe loved me for the ſake of her old friend, my dear mother, and knew I had too much ſenſe not to underſtand ſhe ſpoke out of ſincere regard; when ſhe pointed out ſome errors in my conduct, which ſo good and promiſing a young man, one who was ſuch a credit to the times, would do well to correct.

I cannot ſay I much liked this exordium— Conſcience told me I had committed errors enough, which ſuch a ſybil might ſtrike at; but I felt the moſt uneaſy in a matter where my conſcience totally acquitted me.—I figured to myſelf that ſhe might allude to my journey into Wales; and, I believe, my countenance betrayed my apprehenſions, for ſhe cried— Oh! but my dear Sir, don’t bluſh ſo—I ſhall 2113 F9r 113 ſhall not touch upon family ſecrets (nodding ſignificantly)—No, no—I only mean to aſk you, how you can like to go ſo often to that odious France, which, at all times, was the ruin of all the fine young men that ever went there in my memory, and now muſt be much worſe; for, I underſtand, they have neither church nor king—neither money nor bread —a ſad race of people always; and nothing ever ſeemed to me ſo abſurd as ſending an Engliſh gentleman among them.—As to you, I don’t, indeed, ſee any great change in you yet, except that you have loſt your Engliſh complexion—but I heartily hope you’ll go no more—but ſit down quietly and creditably at home, with a good diſcreet young woman for your wife, and have no hankerings after theſe foreign doings.—There was a report got about, that you had either been married in France, or got a French miſtreſs—I am heartily glad to find there’s no truth in ſuch a rumour—Indeed I always ſaid—No, no, ſays I, Mr. Deſmond, if I underſtand him at all, has better notions—Take my word for it, who have known him ever ſince he was an infant, that he has good ſound honeſt Engliſh principles at bottom, and loves his own country, and his own country folks, and we ſhall ſee him come and ſettle among us—a yeoman of Kent: which is better than any French duke or marquis, or grandee of them all.—To the truth of this poſition I heartily aſſented; and felt relieved that nothing had alarmed this Truly Britiſh matron, more than a friendly dread of my having imported a French miſtreſs.—She did not, 2114 F9v 114 not, however, end her very long viſit, till ſhe had again moſt ſeriouſly exhorted me to put away all foreign vanities, and come to ſee her.—She aſſured me her daughter, Dorothy, was returned from viſiting her aunt in the North, quite altered for the better in her health, and longing to ſee her old play-fellow, Mr. Deſmond—and that her youngeſt, Marianne, was grown out of my knowledge, and quite a fine young woman.—What could defend a heart thus ſtrongly beſet, but a predilection, againſt which neither Dorothy nor Marianne can contend?

My dear Bethel, I expect your next letter with impatience, that is beyond the power of words to deſcribe; five days muſt paſs before I can be relieved—but keep me not in ſuſpence an hour longer.—Day after day I linger here in tortures, even greater than you are aware of; I riſe in a morning only to count the moments, till the return of the meſſenger I ſend for letters; and then to become ſplenetic for the reſt of the day, if he does not bring me letters from you or from ſome other perſon who can name the ſituation of Geraldine.

She did, indeed, promiſe to write to me herſelf; and I have expected her performance of that promiſe with torturing inquietude— But now I can too well account for her having failed in it; and, ſince theſe infernal goſſips have raiſed ſuch ſuſpicions, I ſhall not hear from her at all.—Oh! I could curſe them— but you will have no patience if I ſuffer myſelf to relapſe into the uſeleſs execrations of impotent rage.

I wander 2115 F10r 115

I wander about like a wretched reſtleſs being—now trying to ſit down to books of which I know not one word, though I pore over them for hours; now hiding myſelf in the woods from the horrible importunity of viſitors whoſe kindneſs I cannot return.

Relieve me ſoon, dear BehelBethel, from this miſerable ſtate, or in a fit of deſperation, I may ſet out for Bath.

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 2116 F10v 116

Letter XIII.

To Mr. Desmond.

I have this moment your letter of the 1791-06-2424th, which diſtreſſes, but does not amaze me. I expect to have you enacting very ſoon the part of an Engliſh Werter; for you ſeem far gone in his ſpecies of inſanity; and I fear what I have to ſay to you to-day, will only feed this unhappy frenzy.—You tell me, however, that if you do not hear from me exactly at the time you expect,) (without ever conſidering that many circumſtances, quite immaterial to the cauſe of your ſolicitude, may prevent my being ſo very punctual) you may, perhaps, ſet off for Bath, in a fit of deſperation―I write, therefore; for though ſure to inflict pain, by all I have to ſay, it will (if you have yet a ſhadow of reaſon left) prevent a greater evil—Your coming now to Bath would be abſolute madneſs; and abſolutely uſeleſs as to any ſervice you could render Geraldine—If, in this diſpoſition of mind, you can attend to the moſt extraordinary events, that do not immediately belong to its cauſe, you, perhaps, may have heard the news of the flight of the King of France and his family, which arrived here yeſterday—The ſame poſt brought letters to Geraldine from her huſband, written in great haſte, and with great exultation.—He ſeems to doubt, from the purport of de Romagnecourt’s letter, after his firſt interview, whether ſhe would accompany him; and thereforefore 2117 F11r 117 fore ſends to the Duke’s agent, in London, a letter to her, containing more poſitive injunctions; and bills for ſixty pounds, with which, in caſe the Duke ſhould be departed, he directs her inſtantly to ſet out for Paris, by way of Dieppe and Rouen; and, if ſhe muſt have it ſo, to bring her children; but, at all events, to begin her journey immediately.— He tells her, that though he is, at preſent, in Auſtrian Flanders, meaſures are ſo arranged, that his friends will, in a very ſhort time, return in triumph to Paris, where he is aſſured of a ſplendid ſupport; and the immediate means of retrieving his affairs—This letter, which is couched in the moſt poſitive and forcible terms he could deviſe, was forwarded by the agent of the Duke, who, it appears, knew that Geraldine was at Bath.—On the receipt of it, ſhe ſent for me; and putting the letter into my hands, ſat down, and fell into an agony of tears.

I aſked her, as ſoon as I recovered a little from my ſurpriſe and concern, what ſhe meant to do?—I go, replied ſhe—I have now no longer a reaſon againſt it—at leaſt, none that will be attended to; and I muſt obey—

Good God! exclaimed I, in diſtreſs I could not conceal, is this a time to order you, unguarded and alone, to undertake ſuch a journey; and to enter a capital, which muſt, from the preſent circumſtances, be in conſternation and confuſion?—If you muſt go, I cannot bear the thoughts of your going unprotected.And yet, ſaid ſhe, that is the very circumſtance that determines me; for, with ſuch protection as Mr. Verney had before choſen for me, I would not have gone.” 2118 F11v 118 gone.—She ſighed deeply, but dried her eyes.—It is over, added ſhe—I took the liberty of troubling you to come to me, Mr. Bethel, to aſk your friendly advice; but I now ſee, on a moment’s farther conſideration, that I have but one part to take; and that I have done wrong to heſitate.

Pardon me, replied I—I rather think, my dear Madam, you will be more wrong, ſhould you determine too haſtily. Does your ſiſter—does your mother know of this letter; and the command it contains?

My ſiſter does; for ſhe was here when I received it half an hour ago—She left me to acquaint my mother with it, whom I have not yet been permitted to ſee—But, as ſhe has kept me at a diſtance from her, becauſe ſhe conceived diſpleaſure at my not conſenting to go before, ſhe will, undoubtedly, have a ſtronger reaſon to inſiſt on my going now.— My brother, Mr. Waverly, has, at laſt, determined on all the preliminaries and preparations for his marriage, which has been ſo long in ſuſpence—It is to be concluded on immediately—I am, I know, in the way; they can neither invite me to the joyous feſtivity with pleaſure, or leave me out with decency.—I have now money to go abroad, which my mother will inſiſt upon my uſing for the purpoſe my huſband deſigned it; and ſhe will be relieved from the apprehenſions which I know ſhe has been under, leſt ſhe ſhould be compelled to advance money for my ſupport here—Againſt all theſe reaſons on her part, which ſhe will enforce by the powerful words, duty and obedience—What have I to offer?—My fears; they will be treated as chimerical—nor, in fact 2119 F12r 119 fact do I entertain any) My reluctance! that will be imputed to very unworthy and very falſe motives—In a word, though I will await Fanny’s return, before I begin to make actual preparations for my immediate journey, I am perfectly aſſured, that my mother’s orders will enforce thoſe of Mr. Verney; and that I muſt go.

At this inſtant, Fanny Waverly, her eyes ſwoln, and the tears ſtill ſtreaming down her cheeks, entered the room; and throwing herſelf into the arms of Geraldine, ſobbed aloud, and hid her face in her boſom—Geraldine, by a glorious effort of reſolution, inſtead of yielding to the anguiſh, under which I could ſee ſhe was ill able to ſupport herſelf, tried to ſoothe and tranquillize her ſiſter.—Come, come, my Fanny, ſaid ſhe, be compoſed —I knew, before you went, the meſſage with which you would return—I, therefore, am prepared for it; and I entreat you not to let it thus affect you.

The agonizing grief of the one, and the tender fortitude of the other, were, to me, equally affecting; and, as I contemplated one ſiſter weeping in the arms of the other, who, by a painful reſtraint, exerted that fortitude, not to add to her afflictions; I was on the point of taking them both in my arms, and ſwearing to defend and protect them with my life and fortune.—The ſcene however, was too diſtreſſing to be endured long—Fanny continued weeping too much to be able to deliver her mother’s meſſage; and Geraldine, who had led her to a chair, hung over her, ſupporting her head, and holding her 2120 F12v 120 her hands, with ſuch a look!—She, however, did not now ſhed a tear; but her paleneſs, her trembling, and the expreſſive look ſhe threw towards me, explained, too clearly, what paſſed in her heart.—At this moment, the ſervant, who was not aware of this afflicting interview, entered with the three children— At the ſight of them, I ſaw that Geraldine’s reſolution was about to forſake her; and when the little boy ran up to Fanny, and entreated her not to cry, ſhe became abſolutely convulſed; and Geraldine, after an ineffectual ſtruggle of a moment, haſtily left the room, and waved her hand for the maid and the children to follow her.

I was then alone with Fanny Waverly; but I knew not how to attempt pacifying the violence of her emotions—She ſeemed, indeed, incapable of hearing me—I approached her, however, and took her hand.

You injure yourſelf, ſaid I, and your ſiſter, by thus giving way to immoderate ſorrow—Command yourſelf, my dear Miſs Waverly, for her ſake; and tell me, I beſeech you, if I can be of any uſe in mitigating diſtreſs, which, from my ſoul, I lament.

Oh! Mr. Bethel! anſwered ſhe inarticulately, my mother is ſo cruel—ſo very cruel to Geraldine, that it breaks my heart— She has heard the purport of Verney’s letter; and ordered me back to ſay, that it was not only her opinion that ſhe ought to ſet out, but her command that ſhe ſhould inſtantly prepare for doing ſo; on which condition alone ſhe will receive, and give her her bleſſing. —I own I remonſtrated rather earneſtly with my mother, but I was ſo far from obtaining any 2121 G1r 121 any mitigation, that I was very ſeverely reproved for daring to queſtion the propriety of her deciſion; and bade to obſerve, that if I preſumed to attempt influencing my ſiſter to act contrary to her duty, ſo clearly pointed out, it would be at my own peril; and that I muſt, in that caſe, be content to ſhare the fate that muſt ſoon overwhelm my ſiſter; but, indeed, Mr. Bethel, continued ſhe, it is not that threat that ſhould deter or frighten me, if I were not too ſure that I ſhould be a burthen to Geraldine, and only encreaſe her difficulties.

Do not, however, encreaſe them now, my amiable friend, ſaid I, by theſe deep expreſſions of anguiſh—I do aſſure you, that your ſiſter had anticipated all the purport of the meſſage that diſtreſſes you; and that it will ſhock her leſs than you imagine—Try therefore, to recover yourſelf—tell her the truth, and aſſiſt her in forming ſuch a reſolution as is beſt—I own I think that is, to brave the worſt that can happen by ſtaying; and to refuſe to ſet out at leaſt, till ſhe hears Mr. Verney is at Paris to receive her.

As if relieved, by hearing that this was my opinion, and in the hope that it would influence her ſiſter, Fanny now flew to her—She and her ſervant were only in the next room with the children; I waited, a moment, the iſſue of the conference, and a violent burſt of weeping aſſured me, too well, that it would be moſt affecting—This, however, was from Fanny Waverly; for, in five or ſix minutes, Geraldine re-entered the dining-room, with forced ſerenity; ſhe even tried to ſmile, when ſhe ſaid, this dear girl is ſo unfortunately Vol. II. G full 2122 G1v 122 full of ſenſibility and affection, that it is impoſſible to pacify her.—She fancies I go to meet anarchy and murder in France; and on ſeeing me packing up mine and my children’s clothes, that I may be ready to ſet out to-morrow, ſhe has relapſed into the wildeſt expreſſions of ſorrow—I wiſh you would try, Mr. Bethel, ſince ſhe will liſten to and believe you, to reaſon hereher out of theſe groundleſs apprehenſions.

I wiſh, ſaid I, that I could ſet about that without forfeiting my ſincerity, but, upon my honor, I do not think, and therefore cannot ſay, her apprehenſions are groundleſs.

I, however, have no fears, Mr. Bethel —The French, of whatſoever party I may fall among, will not hurt a woman and children!—On admitting it poſſible, that in ſome of thoſe popular commotions, that are, certainly, likely to convulſe, for ſome time, a kingdom juſt burſting into freedom from the graſp of the moſt oppreſſive tyranny, I might be involved; (which is extremely unlikely) Good God! what have I to fear?—Not death! aſſuredly; for there is hardly one ſituation, in which I can now be placed, to which death would not be preferable.—I will be very ſincere, my good friend, and ſay honeſtly, that after what I know, and what I ſuſpect of Mr. Verney, I had rather meet death than be in his power—I had rather meet it than my mother’s unkindneſs—infinitely rather, than to know that I and my poor little ones (her voice almoſt failed her) ſhould be a burthen to her, who is ſo unwilling to bear it, even for a little while.—Has then death any terrors for me? and can one who fears not death 2123 G2r 123 death ſhrink from danger?—If I get among the wildeſt collection of thoſe people, whoſe ferocity ariſes not from their preſent liberty, but their recent bondage, is it poſſible to ſuppoſe they will injure me, who am myſelf a miſerable ſlave, returning with trembling and reluctant ſteps, to put on the moſt dreadful of all fetters?—Fetters that would even deſtroy the freedom of my mind. I was exceſſively ſtruck with the manner in which ſhe ſpoke this; nor did I imagine that her ſoft features and dove-like eyes, could have aſſumed ſuch an expreſſion of ſpirit—She ſaw, I believe, I was ſurpriſed—Why, ſaid I, do you put on theſe fetters, if you feel them to be ſo inſupportable?

Becauſe, returned ſhe, it is my duty; and while I fulfil that, I can always appeal to a judge, who will not only acquit, but reward me, if I act up to it—The more terrible the taſk, the greater the merit I aſſume in fulfilling it; beſides that, my mother’s inhumanity has leſſened its horrors. Thou’dſt ſhun a bear; But if thy flight lay towards the roaring ſea, Thou’dſt meet the bear in the mouth. Shakeſpeare.

Well! but, ſaid I, not to ſpeak of Mr. Verney, whoſe conduct is in every way unpardonable; not to ſpeak of the dangers that may attend journeying towards Paris, at preſent; and which may perhaps, be partly imaginary—Give me leave to aſk, how are you able, with three young children, and only a maid ſervant, to encounter the fatigues of G2 2124 G2v 124 ſo long a journey?—I have heard you ſay you are exceſſively affected by ſea ſickneſs; and that nothing overcomes you more than hurry; yet here are you about to encounter both the one and the other, with only a young, helpleſs Engliſh girl as a ſervant, who will be terrified to death every ſtep ſhe takes.

Ah! Mr. Bethel! replied Geraldine, ſhaking her head mournfully, you oblige me again to uſe a quotation— When the mind’s free, The bodys delicate; the tempeſt in my mind, Doth from my ſenſes take all feeling elſe, Save what beats there. *Shakeſpeare.

What then, ſaid I, for God’s ſake tell me—what is your reſolution? and in what way can I render more eaſy, any that you will abſolutely adopt?

My reſolution, my good friend, is, to ſet out very early to-morrow for France, by the route Mr. Verney has directed—If there is a poſſibility of getting, by that time, a female ſervant, who ſpeaks a little French; and of hiring a man ſervant, on whom I can depend, I will do both; in theſe inſtances, perhaps, your friendly aſſiſtance may be exerted.

And you are poſitively determined to go?

So poſitively, that I have ſent to enquire whether I can have a coach here; if not I muſt have two poſt chaiſes, which will be much leſs convenient; and if I cannot here procure the ſervants I want, I muſt take the chance of getting them either from London, whither I ſhall write this evening, or at Brighthelmſtone, where 2125 G3r 125 where I ſhall embark; and to which place I ſhall go, by way of Saliſbury and Chicheſter, without going round by London.

I now ſaw, that the moſt eſſential ſervice I could render our lovely, unhappy friend, was to ſet out inſtantly in queſt of ſuch perſons and accommodations as ſhe wanted; I knew that it was abſolutely neceſſary for her to have a coach, and not to truſt to French vehicles—It was equally neceſſary to procure for her a truſty man ſervant.—Theſe, therefore, I ſet about finding; and by a ſingular piece of good fortune, I found, at the livery-ſtable where I applied, a very good coach, that was left there to be ſold, by the executors of a gentleman, who had it made new for his journey to Bath, where he died ſoon after his arrival—It was fitted up with many conveniences for an invalid under the neceſſity of travelling; and was exactly ſuited to carry ſuch a family as that for whoſe uſe I now purchaſed it; ordering the man, who had the ſale of it, to tell Mrs. Verney, that he had directions to let it at the price he named; which was to be paid on returning it; for that I had otherwiſe managed the matter, was, of neceſſity, a ſecret.

It was infinitely more difficult to procure her a ſervant, and it was near one o’clock in the morning when I gave up the hope of ſatisfying myſelf in this reſpect.—I could not however, determine to let her go either without one, or with one with whoſe character I was not perfectly ſatisfied; and therefore, after ſome deliberation, I reſolved to ſend my own man, Thomas Wrightſon, with her; as I can do very well without him, till I can find ſome proper perſon to ſend over to her, or hear of her havinging 2126 G3v 126 ing provided herſelf with one there—Thomas, indeed, does not ſpeak any French to ſignify, though he was once at Paris with me; but he is very honeſt and active; and, upon my propoſing it to him, he ſaid—that though upon no other account whatever he would quit me, unleſs my honour was pleaſed to diſcharge him; yet, for ſuch a lady as Mrs. Verney, in ſuch a time to be ſure, he would go through fire and water, by night or by day.—I aſſured him there would be very little water, and, I believed, no fire whatever to go through; and having ſettled the terms which made it a matter of profit, as well as chivalry to honeſt Thomas, I diſpatched, late as it was, a note to Geraldine, to inform her how this was ſettled; and had the pleaſure to hear, in an anſwer written by herſelf, that ſhe was extremely well ſatisfied with the arrangements I had made for her; and had, in the mean time, been lucky in her own endeavours; having made a fortunate diſcovery of a perſon between forty and fifty, who had been a governeſs at a ſchool at Bath, and was deſirous of attending any lady to Mante, of which place ſhe was a native, for the conſideration of the expences of her journey.—Geraldine added, that as ſhe had been indefatigable in her preparations, every thing would be ready, and ſhe ſhould depart at eight o’clock the next morning; when ſhe intended driving to the door of her mother, to take leave of her, and receive the promiſed bleſſing; and that ſhe begged of me to meet her a little without the town, to walk back with Fanny (who was to go ſo far in the coach with her) and to receive her laſt 2127 G4r 127 laſt acknowledgments, for what ſhe termed my unexampled friendſhip.

I knew that much was yet to be done of which ſhe was not aware.—I aroſe therefore, at five o’clock, and had my banker here called; who gave me a letter of credit on Paris for an hundred pounds; and another to a gentleman at Rouen, to entreat his attention to the travellers, in regard to exchanging their money, or any other little office of kindneſs; and, thus prepared I waited impatiently for the hour, when the coach which contained our lovely exile, was to overtake me on the road. —I had proceeded near a mile beyond the place of appointment, when it appeared—It ſtopped on approaching me—I found only Geraldine, Fanny and the children in it, for that her laſt conference with her ſiſter and with me might not be interrupted, the two female attendants were ordered to follow ſo far on foot, and the coach was to ſtay for them.

I trembled as I drew near the ſcene I was to paſs through—Fanny, her face covered with her handkerchief, was ſobbing bitterly—Geraldine was pale and trembling, but an artificial compoſure, ſeemed to be the effect of the effort ſhe was obliged to make to ſupport herſelf, ſoothe her ſiſter, and attend to her children—The moment I ſaw her countenance, I ſaw too plainly written there, the cruel harſhneſs of her mother, but ſhe tried to ſpeak with ſteadineſs, when ſhe begged of me to get into the coach.—I obeyed: but I was infected with the tender ſorrows of the party I found there, and could ſay nothing to conſole them.

I had, however, no time to loſe in indulging uſeleſs ſympathy; I took, therefore, out of 2128 G4v 128 of my pocket, the letters I had obtained.— I told her, that by one, ſhe would find herſelf entitled to a ſmall credit, in caſe ſhe ſhould want it, which would be no inconvenience to me; and her taking it was the only proof I required of that friendſhip which ſhe had ſo often declared ſhe favoured me with—That the other letter was to a gentleman at Rouen, who might be ſerviceable to her on her way—And now, dear Mrs. Verney, ſaid I, unleſs any thing more can be deviſed for your ſervice, Miſs Waverly and I will ſay farewell; for this parting, this ſad parting will hurt you too much; and I fearIt is true, ſaid ſhe, interrupting me, that it is wiſer to part while we are yet able.—Fanny, my moſt beloved ſiſter, have pity upon yourſelf and me, and do not deſtroy me quite by your affection, which is now almoſt cruelty.

Poor Fanny threw her arm round her ſiſter’s neck, and, with a deep and convulſive ſigh, kiſſed her, but could not ſpeak.― At the ſame moment Geraldine gave me her hand, on which fell, as I preſſed it to my lips the only tear I have ſhed for ſome years; it was cruel to prolong this ſcene, and, indeed, almoſt impoſſible to bear it—I therefore opened the coach door, leaped out, and Fanny Waverly, diſengaging herſelf from the children with a ſort of deſperate reſolution, followed me. —Geraldine was totally ſilent, and I dared not look towards her—but the little boy continued to call to his aunt Fanny, and to entreat her not to go from him, till the two women who had, by this time, come up with the coach, were helped in by Thomas; one of them very wiſely 2129 G5r 129 wiſely drew up the coach-window, and on a ſignal from me, it drove very rapidly away.

I remained ſtanding in the road, ſupporting Miſs Waverly, who was drowned in tears, and choaked by ſpeechleſs ſorrow.— I ſpoke to her, entreating her to bear, with as much fortitude as ſhe could, a ſeparation that, however painful, would probably be ſhort―She replied, in a voice broken by ſobs—God knows how that may be, Mr. Bethel, but if I dared follow my inclinations, it ſhould be ſhort indeed.

We muſt none of us, ſaid I, follow our inclinations, when they are in oppoſition to ourdutyour duty, my dear young friend.

And yet, cried ſhe, indignantly, ſuch behaviour as I have juſt now witneſſed from Mrs. Waverly towards my ſiſter, ought, methinks, to diſſolve all ties of duty. —I was glad that her anger reſtored her to herſelf—I knew it was juſtly excited, but how juſtly I could not have believed, if Fanny had not by degrees deſcribed to me the whole ſcene between her mother and Geraldine.—I will not irritate your mind by relating it; ſuffice it to ſay, that pride, avarice, and inſenſibility, never more effectually united to render a woman deteſtable; nor did ever angel ſhew a more decided contraſt to an evil ſpirit, than Geraldine at that trying moment formed to her mother.

Well, my dear Deſmond, it is over!— Geraldine is gone―To night ſhe propoſed being at Saliſbury, to morrow at Chicheſter, and on Saturday at BritghthelmſtoneBrighthelmſtone, G5 time 2130 G5v 130 time enough for the packet, which is advertiſed to ſail on the evening of that day.

Before you receive this, therefore, ſhe will be embarked; and however you may execrate the cruel neceſſity that has compelled her to ſuch a ſtep, or reprobate as chimerical and ill-founded, that ſenſe of duty which urged her to obey this compulſatory mandate of Verney’s, you will, now the die is thrown, ſubmit to what is inevitable—and perhaps the certainty that your misfortune is without remedy, (for Geraldine’s return to her huſband you will certainly conſider as a misfortune,) is the only thing that could teach you to bear, or induce you to attempt conquering your regret.—Aſſure yourſelf, that as to her journey, ſhe has every accommodation to render it as tolerable as, under ſuch circumſtances, it could be made—The pain of her mind I could not remove, but hope and believe I have exempted her from ſuffering much perſonal inconvenience.

And now, Deſmond, ſince I have as gradually as I could, diſcloſed this ſudden and painful tranſaction, let me ſpeak a word or two from, and of myſelf.―You are by this time convinced, that to come hither could anſwer no purpoſe as to Geraldine, but it would certainly alarm the old lady, who has got it moſt invincibly fixed in her imagination that you have a deſign upon her daughter, and have influenced her to refuſe going to her huſband the firſt time he ſent for her.—Fanny Waverly has in vain tried to diſcover from whom this intelligence came; her mother hears not your name mentioned with patience, and ſhould you now appear here, it is very likely in 2131 G6r 131 in her imprudent prudence, to call it purſuing her daughter and inſulting the family. It will be cruel too to poor Fanny, who could only ſee you either by ſtealth or by chance— one would be extremely improper, and the other by no means conducive to the reſtoration of her tranquillity; for it is eaſy to ſee ſhe has entertained a partiality for you, which her good ſenſe and her pride have aſſiſted her to conquer, on the conviction that you are in love with her ſiſter—for that you certainly are ſo, ſhe is, I can perceive, perfectly aware, though ſhe carefully avoids ever hinting at it to me.

Coming hither to meet me, is now quite out of the queſtion, as I ſhall only be here about ſix days more—long enough, however, to receive a letter from you, which I hope will tell me, that your mind is more ſubdued to your fortune, than it was when you wrote laſt; however, that fortune may have become more perverſe, and that you have determined to ſit down for ſome months, at leaſt, quietly in Kent, where I hope you will recover your reaſon.—Receive for that and every good, the moſt ſincere wiſhes of,

Your’s moſt truly,

E. Bethel.

P. S. I ſhall leave Louiſa here, as both ſhe and Miſs Waverly deſire it—and ſhall return in the Autumn—and then ſhe will go back with me to Hartfield.

Let- 2132 G6v 132

Letter XIV

To Mr. Bethel.

Geraldine ſo ſuddenly gone! and to meet her huſband, who, when ſhe arrives at Paris, will probably not be there as he propoſed—as the event that has ſince happened, the King of France’s return, muſt inevitably make an alteration in thoſe plans, whatever they were, that his noble foreign friends had projected for him—I am in ſuch a ſtate of mind that I know not what I write—But do not, my dear Bethel, hurry from Bath one day ſooner on my account, as I have buſineſs which will inevitably call me from hence— and I ſhall ſet out to-morrow on an abſence of a few weeks, perhaps; but as I do not know exactly where I ſhall be, and ſhall have my letters ſent after me as ſoon as I do know, continue to direct hither.—I am extremely intereſted for Fanny Waverly (though I am perſuaded you are miſtaken as to her honouring me with her partial eſteem) and moſt heartily do I wiſh that you could ſee her in the ſame light as you wiſh me to do—She deſerves a better fate than ſhe will probably meet with, if her hateful mother is to diſpoſe of her.—Oh! where at this moment is Geraldine?—to what fatigues and perils may ſhe not be expoſed?—I thank you, however, for all your friendly attention to her—Would to heaven I could have been apprized of her going—but that was certainly impoſſible— and again I thank you for doing all that could be 2133 G7r 133 be done on ſuch ſhort notice.—Good God! what would have been her ſituation had you not been at Bath?—I ſhould never have retained my ſenſes, had ſhe departed on ſuch a journey without the accommodations you contrived to collect for her.

If I could divert my mind a moment from this uneaſy ſubject, I ſhould call upon you to rejocerejoice with me, my friend, at the calmneſs and magnanimity ſhewn by the French people, on the re-entrance of the King into Paris—This will ſurely convince the world, that the bloody democracy of Mr. Burke, is not a combination of the ſwiniſh multitude, for the purpoſes of anarchy, but the aſſociation of reaſonable beings, who determine to be, and deſerve to be, free.—I would aſk the tender-hearted perſonages who affect to be deeply hurt at the misfortunes of royalty, whether if this treachery, this violation of oaths ſo ſolemnly given, had been ſucceſsful, and the former government reſtored by force of arms, the then triumphant monarch and his ariſtocracy, would, with equal heroiſm, have beheld the defeat and captivity of the leaders of the people—and whether any indignities would have been thought too degrading, any puniſhment too ſevere for them—Then would the King’s caſtles Mr Burke’s name for the Baſtile. have been rebuilt, and lettres de cachet have re-peopled the dungeons!

I rejoice as a man, that it is otherwiſe— and I believe and hope, from the preſent diſpoſition of the people, that a permanent conſtitution will now ſoon be eſtabliſhed, in which all the power to do good ſhall be left in the hands of the chief magiſtrate, but none illegible1-2 letterso become a deſpot.—Some evils, however, muſt 2134 G7v 134 muſt be felt before this great work can be completed—and, perhaps, ſome blood ſtill ſhed; but when all the ill that has yet happened (allowing even the moſt exaggerated accounts of it to be as true) is compared with the calamities of only one campaign in America, for a point which at laſt we did not carry, and ought not to have attempted; I own I am aſtoniſhed at the effrontery of our miniſterial declaimers, who having ſupported the one, have dared to execrate the other.

Shall you hear of Geraldine?—Are there any hopes of her writing to me?—Did ſhe mention me on the day of her departure?—Oh! what would I not give for one, only one line from her, to ſay ſhe is ſafe in France—Yet how can ſhe be ſafe any where while in the power of ſuch a man as Verney?—And how could her mother compel her to put herſelf into it a ſecond time?

You need not apprehend my now viſiting Bath, againſt which, at the beginning of your letter, you remonſtrate as gravely as if you ſuppoſed I ſhould really ſet out to ſee where Geraldine had been—the evil conſequences of it I own I cannot imagine; for, as it is known ſhe is not there, it could hardly be ſuppoſed I came after her.— However, as you are ſo ſoon leaving it, as I have really buſineſs elſewhere, and may, perhaps, ſoon ſee you in this part of the world, a journey thither now is quite out of the queſtion.

If you write by the return of the poſt, perhaps your letter may ſtill find me here, for 2135 G8r 135 for I am not at all well; and though I have had ſometimes thoughts of ſetting out tomorrow, as I mentioned in the beginning of my letter, yet I now believe it as likely I may defer my journey for ſome days.

Adieu, my dear Bethel, Your’s ever,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- 2136 G8v 136

Letter XV.

To Mr. Desmond.

Are you quite candid with me, Deſmond?—And are you really going, you know not when, you know not whither?— Is it quite like my friend, even under the influence of this unhappy paſſion, to be ſo very unſettled in his plans?—It is however, more unlike him to be diſingenuous!—More unlike him, to take a ſtep the moſt injurious, that can be deviſed, to Geraldine!—I mean going to France in purſuit of her—You ſurely cannot be ſo indiſcreet, nay, I will call it ſo cruel as to meditate this.—You tell me, that if I write by the return of the poſt, you ſhall, on ſecond thoughts probably receive, my letter at Sedgewood—I write, therefore; and I conjure you if you read it in England, let nothing induce you to croſs the Channel till you are aſſured that Geraldine is with her huſband, and till there is no longer any danger of thoſe reports gaining ground, which, (I cannot conjecture how,) have certainly got into circulation here of your attachment to her.

On the ſuppoſition, therefore, that you foreſee all this, and that the indeciſion and confuſion of your laſt letter, aroſe, not from any project of this kind, but merely from the painful ſenſations occaſioned by the firſt ſhock of Geraldine’s departure I write as you 2137 G9r 137 you deſire, by the return of the poſt, and direct my letter to Sedgewood.

To anſwer firſt your queſtions—Geraldine has not yet written to me; but ſhe aſſured me ſhe would write the moment her embarkation was certain, and again from Dieppe, by the return of the packet.—Theſe letters, therefore, I hourly expect—I have very anxiouſly watched the wind ever ſince the day, when it was probable, ſhe would reach the coaſt, and till Thurſday it has been exactly contrary, and ſo high that I am perſuaded ſhe did not ſail before that day, though, from the change ſince, I have no doubt but that ſhe is by this time far on her way to Paris.

You enquire, whether, on the day of her departure, Geraldine ſpoke of you?—Yes! my friend; but it was with that guarded propriety her ſituation demanded.—She ſpoke of her obligations to you; ſhe expreſſed the moſt earneſt wiſhes for your happineſs, and ſaid, When I am ſettled in France, if, indeed, I am to be ſettled, I ſhall take the liberty of troubling Mr. Deſmond with a letter.—A faint bluſh trembled on her cheek, and her voice faultered as ſhe added, He ſpoke I think, of being ſoon in France himſelf, do you think he intends it.

I replied, that you had talked of it to me in your letter, but that I knew nothing certainly.—I ſaw that all the conſequences of your going when ſhe did, occurred to her, yet, perhaps, ſhe ſecretly, and without daring to avow it even to herſelf, wiſhed you might, while ſhe perſuaded herſelf ſhe feared it—To me, however, ſhe ſpoke of it no more; but ſimply 2138 G9v 138 ſimply deſired her compliments and good wiſhes to you almoſt the moment ſhe bade adieu to me and her ſiſter—This I did not mention to you before, nor ſhould I have done it now, but that it is neceſſary to be ſincere when you queſtion me: yet, as you ſometimes proteſt, though I think, you are not uniformly conſiſtent in your declarations, that you do not even wiſh ſhe ſhould feel for you a partiality which, by the conſciouſneſs of its impropriety, might render her more unhappy; I wonder you ſhould aſk what you do not deſire to know.

I thank you for your wiſhes to promote me to the favor of Miſs Waverly, but have you ſufficiently conſidered the difference of our ages—I am, alas! in my fortieth year —I believe Fanny is not two and twenty; and if I did not greatly ſuſpect that her little fluttering heart has felt more than mere friendſhip for you, I could never hope to become acceptable to a young woman ſurrounded as ſhe is, with flattery and admiration; or, admitting it probable, would it be very diſcreet in me to give Louiſa a mother-in-law not above eleven years older than herſelf—No, my dear Deſmond, I muſt not think of nymphs of twenty-one.

Your uncle Danby, who is the moſt profound politician that frequents the coffee-houſes of this news-demanding and news-affording city, has, within this laſt fortnight, been very ſolicitouſly enquiring of me about you; nor could his curioſity relative to your motions, have been ſuperceded by any thing but his greater anxiety about the motions of the King of France—Now he is ſo entirely engroſſedgroſſed 2139 G10r 139 groſſed by his lamentations over diſappointed treachery, and ſo concerned that the intended evaſion of Louis XVI which would have plunged France, if not all Europe, into an immediate war, has failed, that he has not a mind capacious enough to attend to your intereſts too, and therefore is content to let you be as romantic and abſurd as you pleaſe, till it is decided whether the French will receive their king again, or immediately declare the nation a republic.

It is, indeed, a ſpeculation important enough to occupy a more enlarged and enlightened underſtanding than that of the good Major; and never were the eyes of the European nations fixed on a more intereſting ſpectacle.

The Major and I differ leſs on the ſubject of politics than on any other, though on that we are far from thinking alike; it is, however, the only kind of converſation I can long hold with him; becauſe in all that relates to common life, there is in his ideas and expreſſions, a hardneſs and coarſeneſs that ſometimes