i A1r

The
Old Manor Houſe.

A
Novel.

ii A1v iii A2r

The
Old Manor House.

A
Novel,
In Four Volumes.

By Charlotte Smith.

Vol. I.

Nè fune intorto crederò che ſtringa Soma coſi, nè coſi legno chiodo, Come la fe, che una bella alma cinga Del ſuo tenace, indiſſolubil nodo. Arioſto—Cant xxi. Stanza I

London:
Printed For J. Bell, No. 148, Oxford-Street.
1793MDCCXCIII.

iv A2v 1001 B1r

The Old Manor House.

Chap. I.

In an old Manor Houſe in one of the moſt ſouthern counties of England, reſided ſome few years ſince the laſt of a family that had for a long ſeries of years poſſeſſed it. Mrs. Rayland was the only ſurvivor of the three co-heireſſes of Sir Hildebrand Rayland; one of the firſt of thoſe to whom the title of Baronet had been granted by James the Firſt. The name had been before of great antiquity in the county— and the laſt baronet having only daughters to ſhare his extenſive poſſeſſions, theſe Vol. I. B ladies 1002 B1v 2 ladies had been educated with ſuch very high ideas of their own importance, that they could never be prevailed upon to leſſen, by ſharing it with any of thoſe numerous ſuitors, who for the firſt forty or fifty years of their lives ſurrounded them; and Mrs. Barbara the eldeſt, and Mrs. Catharine the youngeſt, died ſingle—one at the age of ſeventy, and the other at that of ſixty-eight: by which events the ſecond, Mrs. Grace, ſaw herſelf at the advanced age of ſixty-nine ſole inheritor of the fortunes of her houſe, without any near relation, or indeed any relation at all whom ſhe choſe to conſider as entitled to poſſeſs it after her death.

About four miles from the ancient and ſplendid ſeat ſhe inhabited, dwelt the only perſon who could claim any affinity with the Rayland family: this was a gentleman of the name of Somerive; who was conſidered by the people of the country as heir at law, as he was the grandſon of one of the ſiſters of Sir Hildebrand: but Mrs. 1003 B2r 3 Mrs. Rayland herſelf, whoſe opinion was more material, ſince it was all at her own diſpoſal, did not by any means ſeem to entertain the ſame idea.

The venerable lady, and her two ſiſters, had never beheld this their relation with the eyes of friendly intereſt; nor had they ever extended towards him that generous favour which they had ſo much the power to afford, and which could not have failed to prove very acceptable; ſince he had married early in life, and had a family of two ſons and four daughters to ſupport on the produce of an eſtate, which, though he farmed it himſelf, did not bring in a clear five hundred pounds a year.

Various reaſons, or rather prejudices, had concurred to occaſion this coolneſs on the part of the ladies towards their couſin.— Their aunt, who had married his anceſtor, had, as they had always been taught, degraded herſelf extremely, by giving herſelf to a man who was a mere yeoman.—The ſon of this union had however been receivedB2 ceived 1004 B2v 4 ceived and acknowledged as the couſin of the illuſtrious heireſſes of the houſe of Rayland; but following moſt plebeian- like the unaſpiring inclination of his own family, he had fallen in love with a young woman, who lived with them as companion; when it was believed that, as he was a remarkably handſome man, he might have lifted his eyes with impunity to one of the ladies, his couſins: this occaſioned an eſtrangement of many years, and had never been forgiven.—The recollection of it returned with acrimonious violence, when the ſon of this imprudent man imitated his father, five-and-twenty afterwards, and married a woman, who had nothing to recommend her but beauty, ſimplicity, and goodneſs.

However, notwithſtanding the repeated cauſes of complaint which this luckleſs family of Somerive had given to the auſtere and opulent inhabitants of Rayland Hall, the elder lady had on her death-bed recollected, that, though debaſed by 1005 B3r 5 by the alloy of unworthy alliances, they carried in their veins a portion of that blood which had circulated in thoſe of the auguſt perſonage Sir Orlando de Rayland her grandfather; and ſhe therefore recommended Mr. Somerive and his family, but particularly his youngeſt ſon (who was named, by reluctantly obtained permiſſion, after Sir Orlando), to the conſideration of her ſiſters, and even gave to Mr. Somerive himſelf a legacy of five hundred pounds; a gift which her ſiſters took ſo much amiſs (though they poſſeſſed between them a yearly income of near twice five thouſand), that it had nearly rendered her injunction abortive; and they treated the whole family for ſome time afterwards with the greateſt coolneſs, and even rudeneſs; as if to convince them, that though Mrs. Rayland had thus acknowledged their relationſhip, it gave them no claim whatever on the future kindneſs of her ſurviving ſiſters.

For ſome years afterwards the dinners, to B3 which 1006 B3v 6 which in great form the whole family were invited twice a year, were entirely omitted, and none of them admitted to the honour of viſiting at the Hall but Orlando, then a child of nine or ten years old; and even his introduction was principally owing to the favour of an old lady, the widow of a clergyman, who was among the ancient friends of the family, that ſtill enjoyed the privilege of being regularly ſent for in the old family coach, once a year; a cuſtom which, originating in the days of Sir Hildebrand, was ſtill retained.

flawed-reproduction1-2 words lady was a woman of ſenſe and benevolence, and had often attempted to do kind offices to the Somerive family with their rich maiden relations; but the height of her ſucceſs amounted to no more, than obtaining a renewal of the very little notice that had ever been taken of them, after thoſe capricious fits of coldneſs which ſometimes happened; and once, ſome time after the death of the elder Mrs. Rayland, bringing Orlando to the Hall in her hand 1007 B4r 7 hand (whom ſhe had met by chance fiſhing in a ſtream that ran through their domain), without being chidden for encouraging an idle child to catch minnows, or for leading him all dirty and wet into their parlour, at a time when the beſt embroidered chairs, done by the hands of dame Gertrude Rayland, were actually unpapered, and uncovered for the reception of company.

There was indeed in the figure, face and manner of the infant Orlando, ſomething ſo irreſiſtible, that if Meſdames Alecto, Tiſiphone, and Megara had ſeen him, they would probably have been ſoftened in his favour—And this ſomething had always ſo pleaded for him with the three equally formidable ladies his relations, that notwithſtanding the oppoſition of their favourite maid, who was in perſon and feature well worthy to make the fourth in ſuch a group, the tales of their old and confidential butler, who did not admire the introduction of any competitor whatever, Orlando had always been in ſome B4 degree 1008 B4v 8 degree of favour—even when his father, mother and ſiſters were ſhut out, and his elder brother entirely diſclaimed as a wild and incorrigible boy, how had been caught in the fact of hunting divers cats, and ſhooting one of their guinea hens—Orlando, though not at all leſs wild than his brother, and too artleſs to conceal his vivacity, was ſtill endured—A new half crown from each of the ladies was preſented to him on every return to ſchool, together with abundance of excellent advice; and if any one obſerved that he was a remarkably handſome boy, the ladies never contradicted it; though, when the ſame obſervation was made as to the reſt of the family, it was declared to be moſt abſurd and utterly unfounded in truth.—To the beauty indeed of any female the ladies of Rayland Hall had a particular objection, but that of the Miſs Somerives was above all obnoxious to them—Nor could they ever forget the error the grandfather of theſe children had committed in marrying for her beauty the 1009 B5r 9 the young woman, whoſe poverty having reduced her to be their humble companion, they had conſidered as an inferior being, and had treated with ſupercilious inſolence and contempt.—To thoſe therefore to whom her unlucky beauty was tranſmitted, they bore irreconcileable enmity, even in the ſecond generation; and had any one been artful enough to have ſuggeſted that Orlando was like his grandmother, it would probably have occaſioned the loſs of even the ſlight ſhare of favour he poſſeſſed.

When Orlando was about twelve years old, the younger of the three antique heireſſeſs died: ſhe left not however even a ſmall legacy to the Somerive family, but gave every thing ſhe poſſeſſed to her ſurviving ſiſter. Yet even by this lady, though the coldeſt and moſt unſociable tempered of the three, Orlando was not entirely forgotten—ſhe left him the bible ſhe always uſed in her cloſet, and ten pounds to buy mourning: the other members of his family were not even named.

B5 One 1010 B5v 10

One only of the Mrs. Raylands now remained; a woman, who, except regularly keeping up the payment of the annual alms, which had by her anceſtors been given once a year to the poor of her pariſh, was never known to have done a voluntary kindneſs to any human being: and though ſhe ſometimes gave away money, it was never without making the wretched petitioner pay moſt dearly for it, by many a bitter humiliation—never, but when it was ſurely known, and her great goodneſs, her liberal donation to ſuch and ſuch people, were certainly related with exaggeration, at the two market towns within four or five miles of her houſe.

With a very large income, and a great annual ſaving, her expences were regulated exactly by the cuſtoms of her family.―― She lived, generally alone, at the Old Hall, which had not received the ſlighteſt alteration, either in its environs or its furniture, ſince it was embelliſhed for the marriage of her father Sir Hildebrand, in 1698.

Twice 1011 B6r 11

Twice a year, when courts were held for the manors, there were tenants feaſts—and twice there was a grand dinner, to which none were admitted but a neighbouring nobleman, and the two or three titled people who reſided within ten miles.―― Twice too in the courſe of the year the family of Somerive were invited in form; but Mrs. Rayland generally took the ſame opportunity of aſking the clergy of the ſurrounding country with their wives and daughters, the attorneys and apothecaries of the adjoining towns with theirs, as if to convince the Somerives that they were to expect no diſtinction on account of the kindred they claimed to the houſe of Rayland.—And indeed it was on theſe occaſions that Mrs. Rayland ſeemed to take peculiar pleaſure in mortifying Mrs. Somerive and her daughters; who dreaded theſe dinner days as thoſe of the greateſt penance; and who at Chriſtmas, one of the periods of theſe formal dinners, have bleſt more than once the propitious ſnow; through which B6 that 1012 B6v 12 that important and magiſterial perſonage, the body coachman of Mrs. Rayland, did not chooſe to venture himſelf, or the ſix ſleek animals of which he was ſole governor; for on theſe occaſions it was the eſtabliſhed rule to ſend for the family, with the ſame ſolemnity and the ſame parade that had been uſed ever ſince the firſt ſullen and reluctant reconciliation between Sir Hildebrand and his ſiſter; when ſhe dared to deviate from the faſtidious arrogance of her family, and to marry a man who farmed his own eſtate—and who, though long ſettled as a very reſpectable landowner, had not yet written Armiger after his name.

But when the ſnow fell not, and the ways were paſſable; or when in ſummer no excuſe was left, and the rheumatiſm of the elder, or the colds of the younger ladies could not be pleaded; the females of the family of Somerive were compelled to endure in all their terrific and tedious forms the grand dinners at the Hall. And though on 1013 B7r 13 on theſe occaſions the mother and the daughters endeavoured, by the ſimplicity of their dreſs, and the humility of their manners, to diſarm the haughty diſlike which Mrs. Rayland never took any pains to conceal, they never could obtain from her even as much common civility as ſhe deigned to beſtow on the ladies who were not connected with her; and Mr. Somerive had often been ſo much hurt by her ſupercilious behaviour towards his wife and daughters, that he had frequently reſolved they ſhould never again be expoſed to endure it. But theſe reſolutions his wife, hateful as the ceremony was to her, always contrived to prevail upon him to give up, rather than incur the hazard of injuring her family by an unpardonable offence againſt a capricious and ill-natured old woman, who, however oddly ſhe behaved, was ſtill by many people believed to intend giving all her fortune to thoſe who had undoubtedly the beſt claim to it: others indeed thought, with more appearance of probability,bability 1014 B7v 14 bability, that ſhe would endow an hoſpital, or divide it among public charities.

When the young Orlando was at home, and accompanied his family in theſe viſits, the auſtere viſage of Mrs. Rayland was alone ſeen to relax into a ſmile—and as he grew older, this partiality was obſerved evidently to increaſe, inſomuch that the neighbours obſerved, that whatever averſion the old lady had to feminine beauty, ſhe did not deteſt that which nature had very liberally beſtowed on Orlando.—He was now ſeventeen, and was not only one of the fineſt looking lads in that country, but had long ſince obtained all the knowledge he could acquire at a neighbouring grammar ſchool; from whence his father now took him, and began to conſider of plans for his future life.—The eldeſt ſon, who would, as the father fondly hoped, ſucceed to the Rayland eſtate, he had ſent to Oxford, where he had been indulged in his natural turn to expence; and his father had ſuffered him to live ratherther 1015 B8r 15 ther ſuitably to what he expected than to what he was ſure of.—In this Mr. Somerive had acted extremely wrong; but it was from motives ſo natural, that his error was rather lamented than blamed.—An error however, and of the moſt dangerous tendency, he had now diſcovered it to be; young Somerive had violent paſſions, and an underſtanding very ill ſuited to their management.—He had early in life ſeized with avidity the idea, which ſervants and tenants were ready enough to communicate, that he muſt have the Rayland eſtate; and had very thoughtleſſly expreſſed this, to thoſe who failed not to repeat it to their preſent miſtreſs, tenacious of her power, and jealous of every attempt to encroach on her property.—He had beſides treſpaſſed on ſome remote corners of her manors; and her game-keeper had repreſented him as a terrible depredator among her partridges, pheaſants, and hares. Theſe offences, added to the cat chaſes, and tieing caniſters to the tails of certain dogs, of which 1016 B8v 16 which he had been convicted in the early part of his life, had made ſo deep an impreſſion againſt him, that now, whenever he was at home, the family were never aſked; and inſenſibly, from calling now and then to enquire after her while ſhe lay ill of a violent fit of the gout, Orlando had been admitted to drink his tea at the Hall, then to dine there; and at laſt, as winter came on with ſtormy evenings and bad roads, he had been allowed to ſleep in a little tapeſtry room, next to the old library at the end of the north wing—a diviſion of the houſe ſo remote from that inhabited by the female part (or indeed by any part) of the family, that it could give no ideas of indecorum even to the iron prudery of Mrs. Rayland herſelf.

Though Orlando was of a temper which made it impoſſible for him to practiſe any of thoſe arts by which the regard of ſuch a woman could be ſecured; and though the degree of favour he had obtained was long rather a miſery than a pleaſure to him; his 6 brother 1017 B9r 17 brother beheld the progreſs he made with jealouſy and anger; and began to hate Orlando for having gained advantages of which he openly avowed his diſdain and contempt.—As his expences, which his father could no longer ſupport, had by this time obliged him to quit the univerſity, he was now almoſt always at home; and his ſneering reproaches, as well as his wild and unguarded converſation, rendered that home every day leſs pleaſant to Orlando— while the quiet aſylum he had obtained at the Hall, in a room adjoining to that where a great collection of books were never diſturbed in their long ſlumber by any human being but himſelf, endeared to him the gloomy abode of the Sybil, and reconciled him to the penance he was ſtill obliged to undergo; for he was now become paſſionately fond of reading, and thought the uſe of ſuch a library cheaply earned by acting as a ſort of chaplain, reading the pſalms and leſſons every day, and the ſervice in very bad weather; with a 1018 B9v 18 a ſermon on Sunday evening. And he even gradually forgot his murmurings at being impriſoned on Sundays and on Fridays in the great old long-bottomed coach, while it was dragged in a moſt ſolemn pace either to the next pariſh church, which was indeed at but a ſhort diſtance from the manſion, or to that of a neighbouring town, whither, on ſome propitious and ſunny days of ſummer, the old lady loved to proceed in ſtate, and to diſplay to her ruſtic or more enlightened neighbours a ſpecimen of the magnificence of the laſt century. But as hiſtory muſt conceal no part of the truth, from partiality to the hero it celebrates, it muſt not be denied that the young Orlando had, though inſenſibly and almoſt unknown to himſelf, another motive for ſubmitting with a good grace to paſs much of his time in a way, for which, thinking as he thought, the proſpect of even boundleſs wealth could have made him no compenſation.—To explain this, it may be neceſſary to deſcribe the perſons who 1019 B10r 19 who from his ninth year, when he became firſt ſo much diſtinguiſhed by Mrs. Rayland, till his eighteenth, compoſed the houſehold, of which he, during that period, occaſionally made a part.

CHAP. 1020 B10v 20

Chap. II.

The confidential ſervant, or rather companion and femme de charge, of Mrs. Rayland, was a woman of nearly her own age, of the name of Lennard.—This perſon, who was as well as her miſtreſs a ſpinſter, had been well educated; and was the daughter of a merchant who loſt the fruits of a long courſe of induſtry in the fatal year 17201720. He died of a broken heart, leaving his two daughters, who had been taught to expect high affluence, to the mercy of the world. Mrs. Rayland, whoſe pride was gratified in having about her the victim of unſucceſsful trade, for which ſhe had always a moſt profound contempt, received Mrs. Lennard as her own ſervant. She was however ſo much ſuperiorperior 1021 B11r 21 perior to her miſtreſs in underſtanding, that ſhe ſoon governed her entirely; and while the mean pliability of her ſpirit made her ſubmit to all the contemptuous and unworthy treatment, which the paltry pride of Mrs. Rayland had pleaſure in inflicting, ſhe ſecretly triumphed in the conſciouſneſs of ſuperior abilities, and knew that ſhe was in fact the miſtreſs of the ſupercilious being whoſe wages ſhe received.

Every year ſhe became more and more neceſſary to Mrs. Rayland, who, after the death of both her ſiſters, made her not only governeſs of her houſe, but her companion. Her buſineſs was to ſit with her in her apartment when ſhe had no company; to read the newſpaper; to make tea; to let in and out the favourite dogs (the taſk of combing and waſhing them was transferred to a deputy); to collect and report at due ſeaſons intelligence of all that happened in the neighbouring families; to give regular returns of the behaviour of all the ſervants, except the old butler and the 1022 B11v 22 the old coachman, who had each a juriſdiction of their own; to take eſpecial care that the footmen and helpers behaved reſpectfully to the maids (who were all choſen by herſelf, and exhibited ſuch a group, as ſecured, better than her utmoſt vigilance, this decorous behaviour from the male part of the family); to keep the keys; and to keep her miſtreſs in good humour with herſelf, and as much as poſſible at a diſtance from the reſt of the world; above all from that part of it who might interfere with her preſent and future views; which certainly were to make herſelf amends for the former injuſtice of fortune, by ſecuring to her own uſe a conſiderable portion of the great wealth poſſeſſed by Mrs. Rayland.

Of the accompliſhment of this ſhe might well entertain a reaſonable hope; for ſhe was ſome few years younger than her miſtreſs (though ſhe artfully added to her age, whenever ſhe had occaſion to ſpeak of it), and was beſides of a much better conſtitution, 1023 B12r 23 conſtitution, poſſeſſing one of thoſe frames, where a good deal of bone and no fleſh ſeem to defy the gripe of diſeaſe. The ſiſter of this Mrs. Lennard had experienced a very different deſtiny—She had been taken at the time of her father’s miſfortunes into the family of a nobleman, where ſhe had married the chaplain, and retired with him on a ſmall living, where ſhe died in a few years, leaving ſeveral children; among others a daughter, to whom report imputed uncommon beauty; and ſcandal a too intimate connexion with the noble patron of her father. Certain it is, that on his marriage he gave her a ſum of money, and ſhe married a young attorney, who was a kind of ſteward, by whom ſhe had three children; of which none ſurvived their parents but a little girl born after her father’s death; and whoſe birth occaſioned that of her mother. To this little orphan, her great aunt Mrs. Lennard, who with all her ſtarched prudery had a conſiderable ſhare of odd romantic whim in 1024 B12v 24 in her compoſition, had given the dramatic and uncommon name of Monimia— Such at leaſt was the hiſtory given in Mrs. Rayland’s family of an infant girl, which at about four years old had been by the permiſſion of her patroneſs taken, as it was ſaid, from nurſe, at a diſtant part of the county, and received by Mrs. Lennard at Rayland Hall; where ſhe at firſt never appeared before the lady but by accident, but was the inhabitant of the houſe-keeper’s room, and under the immediate care of the ſtill-room maid, who was a perſon much devoted to Mrs. Lennard.

Mrs. Rayland had an averſion to children, and had conſented to the admiſſion of this into her houſe, on no other condition, but that ſhe ſhould never hear it cry, or ever have any trouble about it.— Her companion eaſily engaged for that; as Rayland Hall was ſo large, that les enfans trouvés at Paris might have been the inhabitants of one of its wings, without alarming 1025 C1r 25 alarming a colony of ancient virgins at the other. The little Monimia, though ſhe was deſcribed as having been The child of miſery, baptized in tears, Langhorn. was not particularly diſpoſed to diſturb, by infantine expreſſions of diſtreſs, the chaſte and ſilent ſolitudes of the Hall; for though her little fair countenance had at times ſomething of a melancholy caſt, there was more of ſweetneſs than of ſorrow in it; and if ſhe ever ſhed tears, they were ſo mingled with ſmiles, that ſhe might have ſat to the painter of the Seaſons for the repreſenttative of infant April. Her beauty however was not likely to recommend her to the favour of her aunt’s affluent patroneſs; but as to recommend her was the deſign of Mrs. Lennard, ſhe ſaw that a beauty of four or five years old would be much leſs obnoxious than one of fifteen, or even nine or ten; and therefore ſhe contrived to introduce her by degrees; that when ſhe grew older, her charms, by being long ſeen, might loſe their power to offend.

Vol. I. C She 1026 C1v 26

She contrived that Mrs. Rayland might firſt ſee the little orphan as by chance; then ſhe ſent her in, when ſhe knew her miſtreſs was in good humour, with a baſket of fruit; an early pine; ſome preſerves in brandy, or ſomething or other which was acceptable to the lady’s palate; and on theſe occaſions Monimia acquitted herſelf to a miracle; and preſented her little offering, and made her little curtſey, with ſo much innocent grace, that Hecate in the midſt of her rites might have ſuſpended her incantations to have admired her. At ſix years old ſhe had ſo much won upon the heart of Mrs. Rayland, that ſhe became a frequent gueſt in the parlour, and ſaved her aunt the trouble of opening the door for Bella, and Pompey, and Julie. From the tenderneſs of her nature ſhe became an admirable nurſe for the frequent litters of kittens, with which two favourite cats continually increaſed the family of her protectreſs; and the numerous daily applications from robins and ſparrows under the windows, 1027 C2r 27 windows, were never ſo well attended to as ſince Monimia was entruſted with the care of anſwering their demands.

But her name—Monimia—was an inceſſant occaſion of reproach—Why, ſaid Mrs. Rayland, why would you, Lennard, give the child ſuch a name? As the girl will have nothing, why put ſuch romantic notions in her head, as may perhaps prevent her getting her bread honeſtly?— Monimia!—I proteſt I don’t love even to repeat the name; it puts me ſo in mind of a very hateful play, which I remember ſhocked me ſo when I was a mere girl, that I have always deteſted the name. Monimia!—’tis ſo very unlike a Chriſtian’s name, that, if the child is much about me, I muſt inſiſt upon having her called Mary.

To this Mrs. Lennard of courſe conſented, excuſing herſelf for the romantic impropriety of which her lady accuſed her, by ſaying, that ſhe underſtood Monimia ſignified an orphan, a perſon left alone and deſerted; and therefore had given it to a C2 child 1028 C2v 28 child who was an orphan from her birth— but that, as it was diſpleaſing, ſhe ſhould at leaſt never be called ſo. The little girl then was Mary in the parlour; but among the ſervants, and with the people around the houſe, ſhe was ſtill Monimia.

Among thoſe who fondly adhered to her original name was Orlando; who, when he firſt became a frequent viſitor as a ſchool- boy at the Hall, ſtole often into the ſtill- room to play with the little girl, who was three years younger than himſelf—and inſenſibly grew as fond of her as of one of his ſiſters. Mrs. Lennard always checked this innocent mirth; and when ſhe found it impoſſible wholly to prevent two children who were in the ſame houſe from playing with each other, ſhe took every poſſible precaution to prevent her lady’s ever ſeeing them together; and threatened the ſevereſt puniſhment to the little Monimia, if ſhe at any time even ſpoke to Maſter Somerive, when in the preſence of Mrs. Rayland.――But nothing could be ſo 2 irkſome 1029 C3r 29 irkſome to a healthy and lively child of nine or ten years old, as the ſort of confinement to which Monimia was condemned in conſequence of her admiſſion to the parlour; where ſhe was hardly ever ſuffered to ſpeak, but ſat at a diſtant window, where, whether it was winter or ſummer, ſhe was to remain no otherwiſe diſtinguiſhed from a ſtatue than by being employed in making the houſehold linen, and ſometimes in ſpinning it with a little wheel which Mrs. Rayland, who piqued herſelf upon following the notable maxims of her mother, had bought for her, and at which ſhe kept her cloſely employed when there was no other work to do.—When any company came, then and then only ſhe was diſmiſſed; but this happened very rarely; and many many hours poor Monimia vainly prayed for the ſight of a coach or chaiſe at the end of the long avenue, which was to her the bleſſed ſignal of tranſient liberty.

Her dreſs, the expence of which Mrs. Rayland very graciouſly took upon herſelf, C3 was 1030 C3v 30 was ſuch as indicated to all who ſaw her, at once the charity and prudence of her patroneſs, who repeatedly told her viſitors, that ſhe had taken the orphan niece of her old ſervant Lennard, not with any view of making her a gentlewoman, but to bring her up to get her bread honeſtly; and therefore ſhe had directed her to be dreſſed, not in gauzes and flounces, like the flirting girls ſhe ſaw ſo tawdry at church, but in a plain ſtuff; not flaring without a cap, which ſhe thought monſtrouſly indecent for a female at any age, but in a plain cap, and a clean white apron, that ſhe might never be encouraged to vanity by any kind of finery that did not become her ſituation.—Monimia, though dreſſed like a pariſh girl, or in a way very little ſuperior, was obſerved by the viſitors who happened to ſee her, and to whom this harangue was made, to be ſo very pretty, that nothing could conceal or diminiſh her beauty. Her dark ſtuff gown gave new luſtre to her lovely complexion; and her thick muſlin cap could not 1031 C4r 31 not confine her luxuriant dark hair. Her ſhape was ſymmetry itſelf, and her motions ſo graceful, that it was impoſſible to behold her even attached to her humble employment at the wheel, without acknowledging that no art could give what nature had beſtowed upon her.

Orlando, who had loved her as a playfellow while they were both children, now began to feel a more tender and more reſpectful affection for her; though unconſcious himſelf that it was her beauty that awakened theſe ſentiments. On the laſt of his holidays, before he entirely left ſchool, the vigilance of Mrs. Lennard was redoubled, and ſhe ſo contrived to confine Monimia, that their romping was at an end, and they hardly ever ſaw each other, except by mere chance, at a diſtance, or now and then at dinner, when Monimia was ſuffered to dine at table; an honour which ſhe was not alway allowed, but which Mrs. Lennard cautiouſly avoided entirely ſuſpending when Orlando was at the Hall, as there was nothingC4 thing 1032 C4v 32 thing ſhe ſeemed to dread ſo much as alarming Mrs. Rayland with any idea of Orlando’s noticing her niece. This however never happened at that time to occur to the old lady; not only becauſe Mrs. Lennard took ſuch pains to lead her imagination from any ſuch probability, but becauſe ſhe conſidered them both as mere children, and Monimia as a ſervant.

It was however at this time that a trifling incident had nearly awakened ſuch ſuſpicions, and occaſioned ſuch diſpleaſure, as it would have been very difficult to have ſubdued or appeaſed. Mrs. Rayland had been long confined by a fit of the gout; and the warm weather of Whitſuntide had only juſt enabled her to walk, leaning on a crutch on one ſide, and on Mrs. Lennard on the other, in a long gallery which reached the whole length of the ſouth wing, and which was hung with a great number of family pictures.— Mrs. Rayland had peculiar ſatiſfactionfaction 1033 C5r 33 faction in relating the hiſtory of the heroes and dames of her family, who were repreſented by theſe portraits.—Sir Roger De Coverley never went over the account of his anceſtors with more correctneſs or more delight. Indeed, the reflections of Mrs. Rayland were uninterrupted by any of thoſe little blemiſhes in the hiſtory of her progenitors, that a little bewildered the good knight; for ſhe boaſted that not one of the Rayland family had ever ſtooped to degrade himſelf by trade; and that the marriage of Mrs. Somerive, her aunt, was the only inſtance in which a daughter of the Raylands had ſtooped to an inferior alliance.—The little withered figure, bent down with age and infirmity, and the laſt of a race which ſhe was thus arrogantly boaſting—a race, which in a few years, perhaps a few months, might be no more remembered—was a ridiculous inſtance of human folly and human vanity, at which Lennard had ſenſe enough to ſmile internally, while ſhe affected to liſten with intereſtC5 reſt 1034 C5v 34 reſt to ſtories which ſhe had heard repeated for near forty years. It was in the midſt of her attention to an anecdote which generally cloſed the relation, of a ſpeech made by Queen Anne to the laſt Lady Rayland on her having no ſon, that a ſudden and violent bounce towards the middle of the gallery occaſioned an interruption of the ſtory, and equal amazement in the lady and her confidante; who both turning round, not very nimbly indeed, demanded of Monimia, who had been ſitting in one of the old- faſhioned bow-windows of which the caſement was open, what was the matter?

Monimia, covered with bluſhes, and in a ſort of ſcuffle to conceal ſomething with her feet, replied, heſitating and trembling, that ſhe did not know.

Mrs. Lennard, who probably gueſſed the truth, declared loudly that ſhe would immediately find out.—But it was not the work of a moment to ſeat her lady ſafely on one of the leathern ſettees, while ſhe herſelf haſtened to the window to diſcover, if 1035 C6r 35 if poſſible, who had from the court below thrown in the ſomething that had thus alarmed them. Before ſhe reached the window, therefore, the court was clear; and Monimia had recovered her confuſion, and went on with her work.

Mrs. Lennard now thought proper to give another turn to the incident. She ſaid, it muſt have been ſome accidental noiſe from the wainſcot’s cracking in dry weather —though I could have ſworn at the moment, cried ſhe, that ſomething very hard, like a ſtone or a ſtick, had been thrown into the room. However, to be ſure, I muſt have been miſtaken, for certainly there is nobody in the court: and really one does recollect hearing in this gallery very odd noiſes, which, if one was ſuperſtitious, might ſometimes make one uneaſy.――Many of the neighbours ſome years ago uſed to ſay to me, that they wondered I was not afraid of croſſing it of a night by myſelf, when you, Ma’am, uſed to ſleep in the worked bed- chamber, and I lay over the houſe-keeper’s room. But I uſed to ſay, that you had ſuch C6 an 1036 C6v 36 an underſtanding, that I ſhould offend you by ſhewing any fooliſh fears; and that all the noble family that owned this houſe time out of mind, were ſuch honourable perſons, that none of them could be ſuppoſed likely to walk after their deceaſe, as the ſpirits of wicked perſons are ſaid to do. But, however, they uſed to anſwer in reply to that, that ſome of your anceſtors, Ma’am, had hid great ſums of money and valuable jewels in this houſe, to ſave it from the wicked rebels in the time of the bleſſed Martyr; and that it was to reveal theſe treaſures that the appearances of ſpirits had been ſeen, and ſtrange noiſes heard about the houſe.

This ſpeech was ſo exactly calculated to pleaſe the lady to whom it was addreſſed, that it almoſt obliterated the recollection of the little alarm ſhe had felt, and blunted the ſpirit of enquiry, which the twinges of the gout alſo contributed to diminiſh; and fortunately the arrival of the apothecary, who was that moment announced, and whoſe viſits 1037 C7r 37 viſits were always a matter of importance, left her no longer any time to interrogate Monimia. But Mrs. Lennard, having led her down to her great chair, and ſeen her ſafely in conference with her phyſical friend, returned haſtily to the gallery, where Monimia ſtill remained demurely at work; and peremptorily inſiſted on knowing what it was that had bounced into the room, and ſtruck againſt the picture of Sir Hildebrand himſelf; who in armour, and on a white horſe whoſe flanks were overſhadowed by his ſtupendous wig, pranced over the great gilt chimney-piece, juſt as he appeared at the head of a county aſſociation in 17071707.

Monimia was a poor diſſembler, and had never in her life been guilty of a falſehood. She was as little capable of diſguiſing as of denying the truth; and the menaces of her aunt frightened her into an immediate confeſſion, that it was Mr. Orlando, who, paſſing through the court to go to cricket in the park, had ſeen her ſitting at the window, and, not thinking any harm, had 1038 C7v 38 had thrown up his ball only in play, to make her jump; but that it had unluckily gone through the window, and hit againſt the picture.

And what became of it afterwards? angrily demanded Mrs. Lennard.

It bounded, anſwered the innocent culprit, it bounded acroſs the floor, and I rolled it away with my feet, under the chairs.

And how dared you, exclaimed the aunt, how dared you, artful little huſſey, conceal the truth from me? how dared you encourage any ſuch abominable doings? —A pretty thing indeed to have happen! —Suppoſe the good-for-nothing boy had hit my lady or me upon the head or breaſt, as it was a mercy he did not!—there would have been a fine ſtory!—Or ſuppoſe he had broke the windows, ſhattered the panes, and cut us with the glaſs!—Or what if he had beat the ſtained glaſs of my lady’s coat of arms, up at top there, all to ſmaſh— 6 what 1039 C8r 39 what d’ye think would have become of you, you worthleſs little puſs! what puniſhment would have been bad enough for you?

My dear aunt, ſaid the weeping Monimia, how could I help it? I am ſure I did not know what Mr. Orlando was going to do; I ſaw him but a moment before; and you know that, if I had known he intended to throw the ball up, I dared not have ſpoken to him to have prevented it.

Have ſpoken to him, indeed!—No, I think not; and remember this, girl, that you have come off well this time, and I ſhan’t ſay any thing of the matter to my lady: but if I ever catch you ſpeaking to that wicked boy, or even daring to look at him, I will turn you out of doors that moment—and let this teach you that I am in earneſt. Having thus ſaid, ſhe gave the terrified trembling girl a violent blow, or what was in her language a good box on the ear, which forcing her head againſt the ſtone window-frame almoſt ſtunned her; ſhe 1040 C8v 40 ſhe then repeated it on the lovely neck of her victim, where the marks of her fingers were to be traced many days afterwards; and then flounced out of the room, and, compoſing herſelf, went down to give her ſhare of information, as to her lady’s complaint, to the apothecary.

The unhappy Monimia, who had felt ever ſince her earlieſt recollection the miſery of her ſituation, was never ſo ſenſible of it as at this moment. The work fell from her hands—ſhe laid her head on a marble ſlab, that was on one ſide of the bow window, and gave way to an agony of grief.—Her cap had fallen from her head, and her fine hair concealed her face, which reſting on her arms was bathed in tears.— Sobs, that ſeemed to rend her heart, were the only expreſſion of ſorrow ſhe was able to utter; ſhe heard, ſhe ſaw nothing—but was ſuddenly ſtartled by ſomething touching her hand as it hung lifeleſſly over the table. She looked up—and beheld, with mingled emotions of ſurpiſe and fear, Orlandolando 1041 C9r 41 lando Somerive; who with tears in his eyes, and in a faltering whiſper, conjured her to tell him what was the matter.—The threat ſo recently uttered yet vibrated in her ears—and her terror, leſt her aunt ſhould return and find Orlando there, was ſo great, that, without knowing what ſhe did, ſhe ſtarted up and ran towards the door; from whence ſhe would have fled, diſordered as ſhe was, down ſtairs, and through the very room where Mrs. Rayland, her aunt, and the apothecary were in conference, if Orlando with ſuperior ſtrength and agility had not thrown himſelf before her, and, ſetting his back againſt the door, inſiſted upon knowing the cauſe of her tears before he ſuffered her to ſtir.

Gaſping for breath, trembling and inarticulately ſhe tried to relate the effects of his indiſcretion, and that therefore her aunt had threatened and ſtruck her. Orlando, whoſe temper was naturally warm, and whoſe generous ſpirit revolted from every kind of injuſtice, felt at once his indignationtion 1042 C9v 42 tion excited by this act of oppreſſion, and his anger that Mrs. Lennard ſhould arraign him for a childiſh frolic, and thence take occaſion ſo unworthily to treat an innocent girl; and being too raſh to reflect on conſequences, he declared that he would go inſtantly into the parlour, confeſs to Mrs. Rayland what he had done, and appeal againſt the tyranny and cruelty of her woman.

It was now the turn of poor Monimia to entreat and implore; and ſhe threw herſelf half frantic on her knees before him, and beſought him rather to kill her, than to expoſe her to the terrors and diſtreſs ſuch a ſtep would inevitably plunge her into.— Indeed, dear Orlando, cried ſhe, you would not be heard againſt my aunt. Mrs. Rayland, if ſhe forgave you, would never forgive me; but I ſhould be immediately turned out of the houſe with diſgrace; and I have no friend, no relation in the world but my aunt, and muſt beg my bread. But it is not ſo much that, added ſhe, while ſobs broke her utterance, it is not ſo much 1043 C10r 43 much that I care for—I am ſo unfortunate that it does not ſignify what becomes of me: I can work in the fields, or can go through any hardſhip; but Mrs. Rayland will be very angry with you, and will not ſuffer you to come to the Hall again, and I ſhall never—never ſee you any more!

This ſpeech, unguarded and ſimple as it was, had more effect on Orlando than the moſt ſtudied eloquence. He took the weeping, trembling Monimia up in his arms, ſeated her in a chair; and drying her eyes, he beſought her to be comforted, and to aſſure herſelf, that whatever he might feel, he would do nothing that ſhould give her pain.—Oh! go then, for Heaven’s ſake go from hence inſtantly! replied Monimia.—If my aunt ſhould come to look for me, as it is very likely ſhe will, we ſhould both be undone!

Good God! exclaimed Orlando, why ſhould it be ſo?—Why are we never to meet? and what harm to any one is done by my friendſhip for you, Monimia?

Alas 1044 C10v 44

Alas! anſwered ſhe, every moment more and more apprehenſive of the arrival of her aunt, alas! Orlando, I know not, I am ſure it was once, before my aunt was ſo enraged at it, all the comfort I had in the world; but now it is my greateſt miſery, becauſe I dare not even look at you when I happen to meet you.—Yet I am ſure I mean no hurt to any body; nor can it do my cruel aunt any harm, that you pity a poor orphan who has no friend upon earth.

I will, however, replied he warmly, pity and love you too—love you as well as I do any of my ſiſters—even the ſiſter I love beſt—and I ſhould hate myſelf if I did not. But, dear Monimia, tell me, if I cannot ſee you in the day-time, is it impoſſible for you to walk out of an evening, when theſe old women are in bed?—When I am not at the Hall they would ſuſpect nothing; and I ſhould not mind walking from home, after our people are in bed, to meet you for half an hour any where about theſe grounds.

Ignorant of the decorum required by the world 1045 C11r 45 world, and innocent, even to infantine ſimplicity, as Monimia was, at the age of ſomething more than fourteen ſhe had that natural rectitude of underſtanding, that at once told her theſe clandeſtine meetings would be wrong. Ah no, Mr. Orlando, ſaid ſhe ſighing, that muſt not be; for if it ſhould be known――

It cannot, it ſhall not be known, cried he, eagerly interrupting her.

But it is impoſſible, my good friend, if it were not wrong; for you remember that to-day is Saturday, and your ſchool begins on Monday.

Curſe on the ſchool! I had indeed forgot it.—Well, but promiſe me then, Monimia, promiſe me that you will make yourſelf eaſy now; and that when I come from ſchool entirely, which I ſhall do at Chriſtmas, we ſhall contrive to meet ſometimes, and to read together, as we uſed to do, the Fairy Tales and the Arabian Nights laſt year, and the year before.—Will you promiſe me, Monimia?

Monimia 1046 C11v 46

Monimia, whoſe apprehenſions every moment increaſed, and who even fancied ſhe heard the ruſtle of Mrs. Lennard’s gown upon the private ſtair-caſe that led down from the gallery, was ready to promiſe any thing. —Oh! yes, yes, Orlando!—I promiſe— do but go now, and we ſhall not perhaps be ſo unhappy: my aunt may not be ſo very ill-humoured when you come home again.

And ſay you will not cry any more now.

I will not, indeed I will not—but for God’s ſake go!—I’m ſure I hear ſomebody.

There is nobody, indeed; but I will go to make you eaſy.—He then, trembling as much as ſhe did, haſtily kiſſed the hand he held; and gliding on tip-toe to the other end of the gallery, went through the apartments that led down the great ſtair-caſe, and taking a circuit round another part of the houſe, entered the room where Mrs. Rayland was ſitting, as if he had been juſt come from cricket in the park.

He 1047 C12r 47

He had not left the gallery a moment before Mrs. Lennard came to look for Monimia, whom ſhe found in greater agitation than ſhe had left her, and ſtill drowned in tears. She again began in the ſevereſt terms to reprove her; and as the ſobs and ſighs of the ſuffering girl deprived her of the power of anſwering her invectives, ſhe violently ſeized her arm; and, dragging rather than leading her to her own room, ſhe bade her inſtantly undreſs and go to bed—that you may not, ſaid ſhe, expoſe your odious blubbered face.

Poor Monimia was extremely willing to obey.—She ſat down and began to undreſs, liſtening as patiently as ſhe could to the violent ſcolding which her indefatigable aunt ſtill kept up againſt her; who having at length exhauſted her breath, bounced out and locked the door.

Monimia, then left alone, again began to indulge her tears; but her room was in a turret1048C12v48 turret over a ſort of lumber-room, where the game-keeper kept his nets and his rods, and where Orlando uſed to depoſit his bow, his cricket-bats, and other inſtruments of ſport, with which he was indulged with playing in the park. She now heard him come in, with one of the ſervants; for ſuch an effect had his voice, that ſhe could diſtinguiſh it amid a thouſand others, and when it did not ſeem to be audible to any one elſe.—Though ſhe could not now diſtinguiſh the words, ſhe heard him diſcourſing as if he ſeemed to be bidding the place farewell for that time. She got upon a chair (for the long narrow window was ſo far from the ground, that ſhe could not ſee through it as ſhe ſtood); and ſhe perceived Orlando croſs the park on foot, and ſlowly and reluctantly walk towards that part of it that was next to his father’s houſe. She continued to look at him till a wood, through which he had to paſs, concealed him from her view. She then retired to her 1049 D1r 49 her bed, and ſhed tears. Orlando left his home the next day, for his laſt half year at the ſchool (having that evening taken leave of Mrs. Rayland); and it was ſix months before Monimia ſaw him again.

Vol. I. D CHAP. 1050 D1v 50

Chap. III.

However trifling the incident was that is related in the foregoing chapter, it ſo much alarmed the prudent ſagacity of Mrs. Lennard, that when on the following Chriſtmas Mr. Orlando returned to his occaſional viſits at the Hall, ſhe took more care than before to prevent any poſſibility of his ever having an opportunity of meeting Monimia alone; and, as much as ſhe could without being remarked by her lady, from ſeeing her at all. But while ſhe took theſe precautions, ſhe began to think them uſeleſs. Orlando was no longer the giddy boy, eager at his childiſh ſports, and watching with impatience for a game of blindman’s buff in the ſervantſ’ hall, or a romp with any one who would play with him 1051 D2r 51 him. Orlando was a young man as uncommonly grave, as he was tall and handſome. There was ſomething more than gravity, there was dejection in his manner; but it ſerved only to make him more intereſting. He now ſlept oftener than before at the Hall, but he was ſeen there leſs; and paſſed whole days in his own room, or rather in the library; where, as this quiet and ſtudious temper recommended him more than ever to Mrs. Rayland, ſhe allowed him to have a fire, to the great comfort and benefit of the books, which had been without that advantage for many years.

Mrs. Lennard, who now beheld him with peculiar favour, though ſhe had formerly done him ill offices, ſeemed willing to oblige him in every thing but in allowing him ever to converſe with her niece, who was ſeldom ſuffered to appear in the parlour, but was kept to work in her own room. Mrs. Rayland’s increaſing infirmities, though not ſuch as threatened her life, threw the management of every thing D2 about 1052 D2v 52 about her more immediately into the hands of Mrs. Lennard; and, occupied by the care of her own health, Mrs. Rayland’s attention to what was paſſing around her was leſs every day, and the imbecility of age hourly more perceptible. She therefore made no remark on this change of ſyſtem; but if ſhe happened to want Monimia, or, as ſhe choſe to call her, Mary, ſhe ſent for her, and diſmiſſed her when her ſervice was performed, without any farther enquiry as to how ſhe afterwards paſſed her time.

Orlando, however, though he had, ſince his laſt return, never ſpoken a word to Monimia, and though, in their few and ſhort meetings, the preſence of Mrs. Lennard prevented their exchanging even a look, was no longer at a loſs to diſcriminate thoſe ſentiments which he felt for the beautiful orphan, whoſe charms, which had made almoſt in infancy an impreſſion on his heart, were now opening to a perfection even beyond their early promiſe. Her impriſonment,ment 1053 D3r 53 ment, the harſhneſs of her aunt towards her, and her deſolate ſituation, contributed to raiſe in his heart all that the moſt tender pity could add to the ardency of a firſt paſſion. Naturally of a warm and ſanguine temper, the ſort of reading he had lately purſued, his ſituation, his very name, all added ſomething to the romantic enthuſiaſm of his character; but in the midſt of the fairy dreams which he indulged, reaſon too often ſtepped in to poiſon his enjoyments, and repreſented to him, that he was without fortune and without poſſeſſion— that far from ſeeing at preſent any probability of ever being able to offer an eſtabliſhment to the unfortunate Monimia, he had to procure one for himſelf. It was now he firſt felt an earneſt wiſh, that the hopes his relations had ſometimes encouraged might be realized, and that ſome part of the great wealth of the Rayland family might be his: but with this he had no new reaſon to flatter himſelf; for Mrs. Rayland, though ſhe ſeemed to become every day D3 more 1054 D3v 54 more fond of his company, never took any notice of the neceſſity there was, that now in his nineteenth year he ſhould fix upon ſome plan for his future eſtabliſhment in the world.

This neceſſity however lay heavy on the heart of his father, who had long felt with anguiſh, that the miſconduct of his eldeſt ſon had rendered it impoſſible for him to do juſtice to his younger. With a ſmall income and a large family, he had never, though he lived as economically as poſſible, been able to lay by much money; and what he had ſaved, in the hope of accumulating ſmall fortunes for his daughters, had been paid away for his eldeſt ſon in the firſt two years of his reſidence at Oxford; the third had nearly devoured the five hundred pounds legacy given to the family by the elder Mrs. Rayland; and the firſt half- year after he left the univerſity, and which he paſſed between London and his father’s houſe, entirely exhauſted that reſource; while Mr. Somerive in vain repreſented to him 1055 D4r 55 him, that, in continuing ſuch a career, he muſt ſee the eſtate mortgaged, which was the ſole dependence of his family now, and his ſole dependence hereafter.

So deep, and often ſo fatal, are early impreſſions in minds where reaſon ſlowly and feebly combats the influence of paſſion, that though nothing was more certain that that Mrs. Rayland’s fortune was entirely at her own diſpoſal, and nothing more evident than her diſlike to him, he never could be perſuaded that, as he was the heir at law, he ſhould not poſſeſs the greater part of the eſtate; and he was accuſtomed, in his orgies among his companions, to drink to their propitious meeting at the Hall, when the old girl ſhould be in Abraham’s boſom, and not unfrequently to her ſpeedy departure. He ſettled with himſelf the alterations he ſhould make, and the ſtud he ſhould collect; propoſed to refit in an excellent ſtyle the old kennel, and to reſtore to Rayland Hall the praiſe it had formerly boaſted, of having the beſt pack of foxhoundsD4 hounds 1056 D4v 56 hounds within three counties. When it was repreſented that the poſſiblity of executing theſe plans was very uncertain, ſince the old lady certainly preferred Orlando, he anſwered—Oh! damn it, that’s not what I’m afraid of—No, no; the old hag has been, thanks to my fortunate ſtars, brought up in good old-faſhioned notions, and knows that the firſt-born ſon is in all Chriſtian countries the head of the houſe, and that the reſt muſt ſcramble through the world as well as they can—As for my ſolemn brother, you ſee nature and fortune have deſigned him for a parſon. The tabby may like him for a chaplain, and means to qualify him by one of her livings for the petticoats; but take my word for it, that however ſhe may ſet her weazen face againſt it, juſt to impoſe upon the world, ſhe likes at the bottom of her heart a young fellow of ſpirit—and you’ll ſee me maſter of the Hall. Egad, how I’ll make her old hoards ſpin again! Down go thoſe woods that are now every year the worſe for ſtanding.ing 1057 D5r 57 ing. Whenever I hear ſhe’s fairly off, the ſquirrels will have notice to quit.

It was in vain that the mild and paternal arguments of Mr. Somerive himſelf, or the tears and tender remonſtrances of his wife, were employed, whenever their ſon would give them an opportunity, to counteract this unfortunate prepoſſeſſion. He by degrees began to abſent himſelf more and more from home; and when he was there, his hours were ſuch as put any converſation on ſerious topics out of their power. He was never indeed ſullen, for that was not his diſpoſition; but he was ſo thoughtleſs, ſo volatile, and ſo prepoſſeſſed that he had a right to do as other young men did with whom he had been accuſtomed to aſſociate, that his father gave up as hopeleſs every attempt to bring him to his ſenſes.

The greater the uneaſineſs to which Mr. Somerive was thus ſubject by the conduct of his eldeſt ſon, the more ſolicitous he became for the future eſtabliſhment of the younger. But he knew not how to proceed D5 to 1058 D5v 58 to obtain it. He had now no longer the means of ſending him to the univerſity, of which he had ſometimes thought, in the hope that Mrs. Rayland might, if he were qualified for orders, give him one of the livings of which ſhe was patroneſs; nor could he, exhauſted as his ſavings were by the indiſcretion of his eldeſt ſon, command money enough to purchaſe him a commiſſion, which he once intended. Sometimes he fancied that, if he were to apply to Mrs. Rayland, ſhe would aſſiſt in ſecuring an eſtabliſhment in future for one about whom ſhe appeared ſo much intereſted at preſent; but he oftener apprehended, from the oddity and caprice of her temper, that any attempt to procure more certain and permanent favours for Orlando, might occaſion her to deprive him of what he now poſſeſſed.

Mrs. Somerive, though a woman of an excellent underſtanding, had contracted ſuch an awe of the old lady, that ſhe was poſitively againſt ſpeaking to her about her ſon; 1059 D6r 59 ſon; while maternal partiality, which was indeed well juſtified by the good qualities and handſome perſon of her ſon, continually ſuggeſted to her that Mrs. Rayland’s prepoſſeſſion in his favour, if left to take its courſe, would finally make him the heir of at leaſt great part of her property.

Thus his father, from uncertainty how to act for the beſt, ſuffered weeks and months to paſs away, in which he could not determine to act at all; and as more than half thoſe weeks and months were paſſed at the Hall, his mother fondly flattered herſelf, that he was making rapid advances in ſecuring to his family the poſſeſſions they had ſo good a claim to.

Neither of them ſaw the danger to which they expoſed him, of loſing himſelf in an imprudent and even fatal attachment to a young woman, while they ſuppoſed him wholly given up to acquire the favour of an old one; for in fact Mrs. Lennard had ſo artfully kept her niece out of ſight, that neither of them knew her—they barely D6 knew 1060 D6v 60 knew that there was a young perſon in the houſe who was conſidered in the light of a ſervant; but whether ſhe was well or ill looking, it had never occurred to them to enquire, becauſe they never ſuppoſed her more acquainted with their ſon than any other of the female domeſtics.

Poor Orlando, however, was cheriſhing a paſſion, which had taken entire poſſeſſion of his heart before he was conſcious that he had one, and which the reſtraints that every way ſurrounded him ſerved only to inflame. Monimia now appeared in his eyes, what ſhe really was, infinitely more lovely than ever. She was on his account a priſoner, for he learned that when he was not in the country ſhe was allowed more liberty. She was friendleſs, and harſhly treated; and, with a form and face that he thought would do honour to the higheſt rank of ſociety, ſhe ſeemed to be condemned to perpetual ſervitude, and he feared to perpetual ignorance; for he knew that Mrs. Rayland had, with the abſurd prejudice of narrow minds, declared 1061 D7r 61 declared againſt her being taught any thing but the plaineſt domeſtic duties, and the plaineſt work. She had however taught herſelf, with very little aid from her aunt, to read; and lately, ſince ſhe had been ſo much alone, ſhe had tried to write; but ſhe had not always materials, and was frequently compelled to hide thoſe ſhe contrived to obtain: ſo that her progreſs in this was ſlow, and made only by ſnatches, as the ill humour of her aunt allowed or forbade her to make theſe laudable attempts at improvement.

Her apartment was ſtill in the turret that terminated one wing of the houſe, and Orlando had been at the Hall the greater part of a fortnight, without their having exchanged a ſingle word. They had indeed met only twice by mere accident, in the preſence of the lady of the manſion and of Mrs. Lennard; once when ſhe croſſed the hall when he was leading the lady to her chair out of the gallery; and a ſecond time when ſhe was ſent for, on an acceſſion of 1062 D7v 62 of gout, to aſſiſt in adjuſting the flannels and cuſhions, which Mrs. Rayland declared ſhe managed better than any body.

As ſhe knelt to perform this operation, Orlando, who was reading a practical diſcourſe on faith in oppoſition to good works, was ſurpriſed by her beautiful figure in her ſimple ſtuff gown, which had ſuch an effect on his imagination that he no longer knew what he was reading: but, after half a dozen blunders in leſs than half a dozen lines, he became ſo conſcious of his confuſion that he could not proceed at all, but, affecting to be ſeized with a violent cough, got up and went out. Again, however, this ſymptom eſcaped Mrs. Rayland, who, tho’ ſhe read good books as a matter of form, and to impreſs people with an idea of her piety and underſtanding, cared very little about their purport, and was juſt then more occupied with the care of her foot than with abſtract reaſonings on the efficacy of faith.

In 1063 D8r 63

In the mean time Monimia, who bluſhed if ſhe even beheld the ſhadow of Orlando at a diſtance, and whoſe heart beat at the ſound of his voice, as if it would eſcape from her boſom, had never an opportunity of hearing it, unleſs he accidentally ſpoke to ſome perſon in the room under hers, where ſhe knew he often went, and particularly at this ſeaſon, which was near the end of February, when the ponds were drawn, and the nets and poles in frequent uſe: but the door by which this room opened to the court was on the other ſide. Monimia had only one high long window in a very thick wall, that looked into the park: whenever therefore, as ſhe ſat alone in her turret, ſhe heard any perſon in the room beneath her, ſhe liſtened with an anxious and palpitating heart, and at length fancied that ſhe could diſtinguiſh the ſtep of Orlando from that of the game-keeper or any of the other ſervants.

If ſhe was thus attentive to him, without any other motive than to enjoy the pleaſure of 1064 D8v 64 of fancying he was near her, Orlando was on his ſide ſtudying how to obtain an opportunity of ſeeing her; not in the intention of communicating to her thoſe ſentiments which he now too well underſtood, but in the hope of finding means to make her amends for the injuſtice of fortune. If there was any dependence to be placed on expreſſion of countenance, the animation and intelligence that were viſible in the ſoft features of Monimia promiſed an excellent underſtanding. What pity that it ſhould not be cultivated! What delight to be her preceptor, and, in deſpite of the malignity of fortune, to render her mind as lovely as her form! This project got ſo entirely the poſſeſſion of Orlando’s imagination, that he thought, he dreamed, of nothing elſe; and, however difficult, or even impracticable it ſeemed, he determined to undertake it.

Mrs. Lennard ſlept at ſome diſtance; but there was no other way of Monimia’s going into any part of the houſe but by a paſſage which 1065 D9r 65 which led through her room; for every other avenue was cloſed up, and the laſt thing ſhe did every night was to lock the door of the room where her niece lay, and to take away the key.

The window was equally well ſecured, for it was in effect only a loop; and of this, narrow as it was, the ſmall ſquare of the caſement that opened was ſecured by iron bars. The Raylands had been eminent royaliſts in the civil wars, and Rayland Hall had held out againſt a party of Fairfax’s army that had cloſely beſieged it. Great part of the houſe retained the ſame appearance of defenſive ſtrength which had then been given it; and no knight of romance ever had ſo many real difficulties to encounter in achieving the deliverance of his princeſs, as Orlando had in finding the means merely to converſe with the little impriſoned orphan. Months paſſed away, in which his moſt watchful diligence ſerved only to prove that theſe difficulties were almoſt inſurmountable; nor would he perhaps, with all 1066 D9v 66 all the enthuſiaſm of love and romance, have ever conquered them, if chance had not befriended him.

Mrs. Rayland had given him, under reſtrictions that he ſhould uſe it only while he was at the Hall, a very fine colt, which was a breed of racers, the property of the Raylands, and very eminent in the days of Sir Hildebrand. Out of repſect to its ancient proweſs, the breed was ſtill kept up, though the deſcendants no longer emulated the honours of their progenitors on the turf: but the produce was generally ſold by the coachman, who had the management of the ſtable, and who was ſuppoſed to have profited very conſiderably by his dealings.

Orlando, highly gratified by this mark of Mrs. Rayland’s favour, undertook to break the young horſe himſelf, and to give it among other accompliſhments that of leaping. There was no leaping-bar about the grounds; but in the lumber-room on the ground floor of one of the turrets he had ſeen 1067 D10r 67 ſeen the timber of one that had formerly ſtood in the park. To this place, therefore, he repaired; and in removing the large poſts, which were very little injured by time, ſome other ſlabs of wood, boards, and pieces of ſcaffolding were moved alſo, and Orlando ſaw that they had concealed a door, formerly boarded up, but of which the boards were now broken and decayed: he forced away a piece of the rotten wood, and ſaw a flight of broken ſtone ſteps, juſt wide enought to admit one perſon with difficulty. His heart bounded with tranſport: he knew that this ſtair-caſe muſt lead to the top of the turret, and conſequently wind round the room occupied by Monimia, which it was probable had a communication alſo with the ſtairs. But, unable to determine in a moment how he ſhould avail himſelf, or acquaint her, of this fortunate diſcovery, and trembling leſt it ſhould be known, and his hopes at once deſtroyed, he haſtily replaced the ſpars of wood that had concealed the door, before the 1068 D10v 68 the return of the gardener and the under game-keeper, who had been aſſiſting him in his operations about the leaping-bar; and haſtily following them to the ſpot where they were putting it up, he affected to be intereſted in its completion, while his mind was really occupied only by plans for ſeeing without fear of diſcovery his adored Monimia.

CHAP. 1069 D11r 69

Chap. IV.

Love rendered Orlando ſo politic, that he determined rather to defer the happineſs he hoped for, in gaining unmoleſted acceſs to Monimia for two or three days, than to riſk by precipitancy the delightful ſecret of the concealed door, and to watch the motion of the dragon whoſe unwearied vigilance might at once render it uſeleſs. He therefore ſet himſelf to obſerve the hours when Mrs. Lennard was moſt certainly engaged about her miſtreſs; and he found, that as ſhe indulged very freely in the pleaſures of a good table, of which ſhe was herſelf directreſs, ſhe became frequently unwilling to encounter much exertion after dinner; and generally left Monimia (who either did not dine below, or retired with the table-cloth) unmoleſtedleſted 1070 D11v 70 leſted till ſix o’clock, when, if he was not there, ſhe was called down to make tea.

Theſe hours therefore ſeemed moſt propitious for the experiment he muſt of neceſſity make, which was to aſcend the ſtair- caſe, and ſeek for the door that probably, though now blocked up, had originally led from it into the room inhabited by Monimia; from whence, as it was perhaps only boarded up, he hoped to make her hear, and to prevail upon her to aſſiſt in forcing a paſſage through it.

He knew Mrs. Lennard was leſs upon the qui vive? when he was not about the houſe; and therefore, the evening before that when he intended to put his project in execution, he took leave of Mrs. Rayland, and told her that he was going home for a few days, when with her permiſſion he would return. Mrs. Rayland, who now thought the houſe melancholy without him, bade him come back to the Hall as ſoon as he could, which he promiſed with a beating heart, and departed.

1 The 1071 D12r 71

The next day, however, having taken the precaution to get a letter of compliment from his father to Mrs. Rayland, the better to acount for his quick return, if to account for it ſhould be neceſſary, he ſet out on foot after dinner; and as he arrived at Rayland Hall juſt as the ſervants of that family were eating theirs, which was always a long and momentous buſineſs, he had the good fortune not to meet any one, but to enter the lower room of the turret; and as he had often the key, he now locked the door, and liſtening very attentively heard Monimia walking above, and convinced himſelf that ſhe was alone.

As ſilently as he could he removed the planks and timber that concealed the door; and having ſo placed them that, without diſcovering the aperture, they leaned ſo hollow from the wall that he could get under them, he tore away the remaining impediments that obſtructed him, and entered the low ſtair-caſe, of which about fourteen broken and decayed ſteps led, as he expected,pected, 1072 D12v 72 pected, to another door which was alſo boarded up, and then wound up to the top of the turret. He ſtopped a moment and liſtened; he diſtinctly heard Monimia ſigh deeply, and open a drawer. He conſidered a moment what way of accoſting her would be leaſt likely to alarm her too ſuddenly, and at length he determined to ſpeak.

After another pauſe, and finding all was ſilent in her room, he tapped ſoftly againſt the boarded door; and lowering his voice he called, Monimia, Monimia!

The affrighted girl exclaimed, Good God! who is there? who ſpeaks? Be not affrighted, replied he, ſpeaking louder, it is Orlando. Orlando! and from whence, dear ſir, do you ſpeak? I know not, for I cannot tell what part of your room this door opens to; tell me, where do you hear the ſound I now make? Againſt the head of my bed. Cannot you then remove the bed, and ſee if there is not a door? I can, replied Monimia, if my trembling does not preventvent 1073 E1r 73 vent me, for my bed goes upon caſters; but indeed I tremble ſo! if my aunt ſhould come! She will not come, replied Orlando impatiently: do not give way to groundleſs fears, Monimia; but, if ever you had any friendſhip for me, exert yourſelf now, to procure the only opportunity we ſhall ever have of meeting—remove your bed, and ſee what is behind it.

Monimia, trembling and amazed as ſhe was, found in the midſt of her alarm a ſenſation of joy that was undeſcribable. It lent her ſtrength to remove the bed, which it was not difficult to do; but the room was hung with old-faſhioned glazed linen, when many years before it had been fitted up as a bed-chamber: this kind of arras entirely hid the door. Ah! cried Monimia, there is no door, Mr. Orlando. The hangings are juſt the ſame here as about the reſt of the room. Cut them, cried he, with your ſciſſars, and you will find there is a door. But if my aunt ſhould diſcover that they are cut? Oh heavens, Vol. I. E exclaimed 1074 E1v 74 exclaimed Orlando, if you are thus apprehenſive, Monimia, we ſhall never meet; but if you have any regard for me―― The adjuration was too powerful: Monimia forgot the dread of her aunt in the ſuperior dread of offending Orlando. She took her ſciſſars, and, cutting the hangings, which through time were little more than tinder, diſcovered the door, which was very thin, and only nailed up, ſtrengthened on the outſide by a few ſlight deals acroſs it. Orlando, who, like another Pyramus, watched with a beating heart the breach through which he now ſaw the light, forced away theſe ſlight barriers with very little difficulty; and then, ſetting his foot againſt the door, it gave way, and the remnant of tattered hanging made no reſiſtance. He found himſelf in the room with Monimia, who from mingled emotions of pleaſure and fear could hardly breathe. At length, cried he, I have found you, Monimia! at length I have got to you. But we ſhall both be utterly ruined, interrupted ſhe, if 1075 E2r 75 if my aunt ſhould happen to come: ſpeak low, for heaven’s ſake, ſpeak low. I ſhould die upon the ſpot, if ſhe ſhould happen to find you here.

Let us conſider, ſaid Orlando, how we may meet for the future. I do not mean to ſtay now; but you ſee this door gives us always an opportunity of ſeeing each other. But how ſhall I dare? cried the trembling Monimia: my aunt watches me ſo narrowly, that I am never ſecure of being alone a moment: even now, perhaps, ſhe may be coming.

So great was the terror which this idea impreſſed on the timid Monimia, that Orlando ſaw there was no time to be loſt in ſettling their more ſecure meetings. Have you, ſaid he, have you, Monimia, courage enough to make uſe of this door, to come down into the ſtudy to me when we are ſure all the houſe is quiet? You know there is a paſſage to that end of the houſe, without croſſing either of the courts or any of the apartments, by going through the E2 old 1076 E2v 76 old chapel, and nobody can hear you. I only propoſe this, becauſe I ſuppoſe you are afraid of letting me come up here.

Oh! either is very wrong, replied ſhe, and I ſhall be ſadly blamed.

Well, then, Monimia, I am deceived, cruelly deceived. I did believe that you had ſome regard for me, and I proteſt to heaven that I mean nothing but the pureſt friendſhip towards you. I want you to read, which I know you have now no opportunity of doing. I would find proper books for you; for you may one day have occaſion for more knowledge than you can acquire in the way in which you now live. Perhaps clandeſtine meetings might not be right in any other caſe; but, perſecuted as you are, Monimia, we muſt meet clandeſtinely, or not meet at all. Alas! my dear friend, it may not be long that I may be here to aſk this favour of you, or to requeſt you to oblige me for your own good. My father is conſidering how to ſettle me in life.

To 1077 E3r 77

To ſettle you! ſaid Monimia, faintly.

Yes—I mean, to put me into ſome profeſſion in the world; and whatever it is, it will of courſe carry me quite away from hence. As ſoon as it is determined upon, therefore, Monimia, I ſhall go—and perhaps we ſhall never meet again: yet you now refuſe to grant me the only happineſs that poſſibly my deſtiny will ever ſuffer me to taſte—I mean that of being of ſome little ſervice to you. What harm can there really be, Monimia, in what I requeſt? Have we not lived from children together, like brother and ſiſter? and why ſhould we give up the ſweet and innocent pleaſure of loving each other, becauſe your aunt is of a temper ſo deteſtably ſevere and ſuſpicious?

Indeed I know not, ſaid Monimia, whoſe tears now ſtreamed down her cheeks; but I know, Orlando, that I cannot refuſe what you aſk; for, indeed, I do not believe you would deſire me to act wrong.

No, I would die firſt.

E3 Tell 1078 E3v 78

Tell me then, what would you have me do? I tremble ſo that I am really ready to ſink, leſt my aunt ſhould come: tell me, dear Orlando, what would you have me do?

Replace your bed as ſoon as I am gone, and I will take care that no ſigns ſhall remain below of the diſcovery I have made. As ſoon as the family are all in bed, and you are ſure your aunt is gone for the night, I will come up and fetch you into the ſtudy; where, whenever I am here, we can read for an hour or two every night: tell me, Monimia, do you agree to this?

I do, replied ſhe; and now, dear Orlando, go; it will ſoon be tea-time, my aunt will come to call me.

You will be ready then to-night, Monimia?

To-night?

Yes; for why ſhould we loſe an hour, when perhaps ſo few are left me? When I am gone to ſome diſtant part of the world, you may be ſorry for me, Monimia, and repent 1079 E4r 79 repent that when we could ſee each other you refuſed.

The idea of his going, perhaps for ever, was inſupportable, and the timid doubts of Monimia vaniſhed before it. She thought at that moment, that to paſs one hour with him were well worth any riſk—even though her aunt ſhould diſcover and kill her. She heſitated therefore no longer, but promiſed to be ready in the evening, and to liſten for his ſignal. Having thus gained his point, Orlando no longer refuſed to quit her, but returned by his propitious ſtair-caſe; and replacing the boards, at its entrance below, as nearly as poſſible as he found them, he went out unſeen by any body; and going back to the road which led through the park, he walked haſtily acroſs that part of it that was immediately before the windows of the apartment where Mrs. Rayland ſat; and then went into the houſe, and ſent up, as was his cuſtom, to know if he might be admitted. She ordered him to be ſhewn up, and received him E4 with 1080 E4v 80 with pleaſure; for ſhe juſt then was in very ill humour, and wanted ſomebody in whom ſhe could find a patient liſtener, while ſhe related the cauſe of it, and declaimed againſt the perſons who had occaſioned it—which was thus:

The eſtates in this country were very large, and that poſſeſſed by the houſe of Rayland yielded in extent to none, but was equal to that of its neareſt neighbour, a nobleman, who owned a great extent of country which immediately adjoined to the manors and farms of Mrs. Rayland, and on which there was alſo a fine old houſe, ſituated in the midſt of the domain, at the diſtance of about five miles from Rayland Hall, a river dividing the two eſtates, which was the joint property of both.

Lord Carloraine, the laſt poſſeſſor of this property, was a man very far advanced in life. Many years had paſſed ſince the world in which he had lived had diſappeared; and being no longer able or deſirous to take part in what was paſſing about a court, 1081 E5r 81 a court, to him wholly unintereſting, and being a widower without children, he had retired above thirty years before to his paternal ſeat; where he lived in ſplendid uniformity, receiving only the nobility of the county and the baronets (whom he conſidered as forming an order that made a very proper barrier between the peerage and the ſquirality), with all the maſſive dignity and magnificent dulneſs that their fathers and grandfathers had been entertained with ſince the beginning of the century. Filled with high ideas of the conſequence of ancient blood, he ſuffered no conſideration to interfere with his reſpect for all who had that advantage to boaſt; while, for the upſtart rich men of the preſent day, he felt the moſt ineffable contempt; and while ſuch were, in neighbouring counties, ſeen to figure away on recently acquired fortunes, Lord Carloraine uſed to pique himſelf upon the inviolability of that part of the world where he lived—and ſay, that very fortunately for the morals and manners of E5 the 1082 E5v 82 the country, it had not been choſen by nabobs and contractors for the diſplay of their wealth and taſte. And that none ſuch might gain any footing in the neighbourhood, he purchaſed every farm that was to be ſold; and contrived to be ſo much of a deſpot himſelf, that thoſe who were only beginning to be great, ſhunned his eſtabliſhed greatneſs as inimical to their own.

Mrs. Rayland perfectly agreed with him in theſe ſentiments; and had the moſt profound reſpect for a nobleman, who acknowledged, proud as he was of his own family, that it had no other ſuperiority over that of Rayland, than in poſſeſſing an higher title. He had been, though a much younger man, acquainted with the late Sir Hildebrand; and whenever Mrs. Rayland and Lord Carloraine met, which they did in cumbrous ſtate twice or thrice a year, their whole converſation conſiſted of eulogiums on the days that were paſſed, in expreſſing their diſlike of all that was now 1083 E6r 83 now acting in a degenerate world, and their contempt of the actors.

But the winter preceding the period of which this hiſtory is relating the events, had carried off this ancient and noble friend at the age of ninety-ſix, to the regret of nobody ſo much as of Mrs. Rayland. His eſtate fell to the grandſon of his only ſiſter, a man of three-and-twenty, who was as completely the nobleman of the preſent day, as his uncle had been the repreſentative of thoſe who lived in the reign of George the Firſt. He cared nothing for the ancient honours of his family; and would not have paſſed a fortnight in the gloomy ſolitude of his uncle’s caſtle, to have been maſter of ſix times its revenue. His paternal property and parliamentary intereſt lay in a northern county; and therefore, as ready money was a greater object to him than land in another part of England, he offered the eſtate of Lord Carloraine to ſale, as ſoon as it came into his poſſeſſion; and in E6 a few 1084 E6v 84 a few months it was bought by the ſon of a rich merchant—a young man, lately of age, of the name of Stockton; whoſe father having had very lucrative contracts in that war which terminated in 17631763, had left his ſon a minor with a fortune, which at the end of a ten years minority amounted to little ſhort of half a million.

The purchaſe of Carloraine Caſtle by ſuch a man had given Mrs. Rayland inexpreſſible concern and mortification, which every circumſtance that came to her knowledge had contributed to increaſe. She had already heard enough to foreſee all the inconveniencies of this exchange of neighbours; on which ſhe dwelt continually, yet ſeemed to take ſtrange pains to irritate her own uneaſineſs by daily enquiries into the alterations and proceedings of Mr. Stockton; who, even before the purchaſe was generally known to be completed, had begun, under the auſpices of modern taſte, to new model every thing. He came down to Carloraine Caſtle 1085 E7r 85 Caſtle twice or thrice a week, every time with a new ſet of company; almoſt every one of his viſitors was willing to aſſiſt him in his plan of improvements, and he liſtened to them all—ſo that what was built up to- day, was pulled down to-morrow. All the workmen, ſuch as bricklayers, &c. &c. in the neighbourhood, for many miles, were engaged to work at the Caſtle; and the delicacies which uſed to be ſupplied by the neighbouring country, and in which Mrs. Rayland had uſually a preference, were now offered firſt to his honour, ’Squire Stockton:—and his honour’s ſervants, to whom the regulation of his houſe was entruſted, were ſo willing to do credit to their maſter’s large fortune, that they gave London prices for every thing; and the vicinity of affluent luxury was ſeverely felt by thoſe to whom it was of much more real conſequence than to Mrs. Rayland.

To her, however, this circumſtance was particulary grating. She complained bitterly to every body ſhe ſaw, that poultry, if 1086 E7v 86 if ſhe had by any accident occaſion to buy it, was doubled in price; that the prime ſea fiſh was carried to the Caſtle; and more money demanded for the refuſe, than ſhe was accuſtomed to give for the fineſt. But with the beginning of September more aggravating offences began alſo. An army of ſportſmen came down to the Caſtle, who had no reſpect for the hitherto inviolate manors, nor for the preſerved grounds around Rayland Hall, which not even the game-keepers ever alarmed with an hoſtile ſound. Her park—even her park, where no profane foot had ever been ſuffered to enter, was now invaded; and on the ſecond of September, the day of which the occurrences have been here related, five young men and two ſervants, with a whole kennel of pointers, had croſſed the park, and killed three brace of partridges within its encloſure, laughing at the threats, and threatening in their turns the keepers who had attempted to oppoſe them.

No injury or affront that could be deviſedviſed 1087 E8r 87 viſed could have made ſo deep an impreſſion on Mrs. Rayland’s mind, as ſuch a treſpaſs. She was yet in the firſt paroxyſm of her diſpleaſure, though the occaſion of it happened early in the morning, when Orlando was admitted; whoſe mind, attuned to the harmonizing hope of being indulged with the frequent ſight of Monimia, was but little in uniſon with the petulant and querulous complaints of Mrs. Rayland; while ſhe for above an hour held forth with unwearied invective againſt the new inhabitant of Carloraine. Theſe, cried ſhe, theſe are modern gentlemen!—Gentlemen! a diſgrace to the name!—City apprentices, that uſed to live ſoberly at their ſhops, are turned ſportſmen, forſooth, and have the impudence to call themſelves gentlemen. I hear, and I ſuppoſe ’tis true enough, that Mr. Philip Somerive thinks proper to be acquainted with this muſhroom fellow—and to be one of his party!—Pray, child, can you tell me—is it true?

I believe, madam, my brother has ſome 1088 E8v 88 ſome acquaintance, but I fancy only a ſlight acquaintance, with Mr. Stockton.

Oh! I have very little curioſity—I dare ſay he is one of the ſet, and it is very fit he ſhould. Birds of a feather, you know, flock together. But this I aſſure you, Mr. Orlando—take this from me—that if you ſhould ever think proper to know that perſon, that Stockton, your viſits here will from that time be diſpenſed with.

Orlando, conſcious that he had never exchanged a word with any inhabitant or viſitant of Carloraine, and conſcious too that all his wiſhes were centred in what the Hall contained, aſſured Mrs. Rayland with equal warmth and ſincerity, that he never had, nor ever would have, any connexion with the people who aſſembled there. So far from my wiſhing to hold with ſuch people any friendly converſe, I ſhall hardly be able to refrain from remonſtrating with them on their very improper and unhandſome manner of acting towards you, madam; and if I meet them on your grounds, I ſhall, 1089 E9r 89 I ſhall, unleſs you forbid me, very freely tell them my opinion of their conduct.

Mrs. Rayland had never in her life been ſo pleaſed with Orlando as ſhe was at that moment. The readineſs with which he entered into her injuries, and the ſpirit with which he undertook to check the aggreſſors, placed him higher in her favour than he had ever yet been; but her way of teſtifying this her ſatisfaction, conſiſted in what of all others was at this moment the moſt mortifying; for ſhe invited him to ſtay to ſupper in her apartment, which was a favour ſhe hardly did him twice a year. Orlando, wretched as it made him, could not make any excuſe to eſcape; and it was near an hour later than uſual, before Mrs. Rayland, retiring, diſmiſſed Orlando to watch for the ſilence of the houſe, which was a ſignal for his going to the beloved turret.

Chap. 1090 E9v 90

Chap. V.

The clock in the ſervantſ’ hall ſtruck twelve, and was anſwered by that in the north gallery. With yet deeper tone the hour was re-echoed from the great clock in the cupola over the ſtables; when Orlando, liſtening a moment to hear if all was quiet, proceeded through an arched paſſage which led from the library to the chapel, and then through the chapel itſelf, whoſe principal entrance was from a porch which opened to a ſort of triangular court on the back of the houſe next the park. He had previouſly unbarred the chapel door, which was ſlightly ſecured by an iron rod: the lock had long ſince been ruſted by time, and the key loſt; for, ſince the death of Sir Hildebrand, who was buried with 1091 E10r 91 with his anceſtors in the chancel, the ladies his daughters had found themſelves too much affected to enter the chapel (which was alſo the church of the ſmall pariſh of Rayland), and had removed the parochial ſervice to that of the next pariſh, within a mile: and as both belonged to them, the livings were united, and the people of either were content to ſay their prayers wherever their ladies choſe to appoint.

Orlando, till he found it opened his way to Monimia without going through or near any inhabited part of the houſe, had never explored the chapel; but the night before that on which the experiment was to be made, he had taken care to ſee that in his paſſage through it he had no impediment to fear; for of thoſe ſuperſtition might have raiſed to deter a weaker mind, or one engaged in a leſs animating cauſe, he was inſenſible.

He now, having convinced himſelf that all the family were retired, walked ſoftly through the aiſle; and having without any difficulty 1092 E10v 92 difficulty opened the door of the porch, that adjoined the pavement around the eaſt or back front, he ſtepped with light feet along it, entered the lower room of the turret which was nearly oppoſite, and aſcended ſtill as ſilently as he could the narrow ſtair-caſe.

Monimia! Monimia! cried he in a half whiſper, Monimia, are you ready? I am, replied a low and faltering voice. Remove the hangings then, ſaid Orlando. Slowly the faltering hands of the trembling girl removed them. Orlando eagerly received her as ſhe came through the door-way. Are you here at laſt? cried he vehemently. Shall I be at liberty at laſt to ſee you? But how cold you are! how you tremble! Ah! Mr. Orlando, anſwered Monimia, half ſhrinking from him, ah! I am ſo certain that all this is wrong, I ſo dread a diſcovery, that it is impoſſible to conquer my terrors: beſides, I have recollected that one of the windows of my aunt’s cloſet up ſtairs looks this way. 1093 E11r 93 way. If ſhe ſhould be in it, if ſhe ſhould ſee us!

How can ſhe be in it without a light? She hardly ſits there in the dark for her amuſement. You know it is impoſſible ſhe can have any ſuſpicion; yet you torment yourſelf, and deſtroy all my happineſs by your timidity. Ah, Monimia! you are cruel to me. I would not be cruel to you for a thouſand worlds, Orlando, you know I would not. But, if I were to die, I cannot conquer my terrors. I tremble too with cold as well as with fright; for I have waited ſo long paſt my hour of going to bed, that I am half frozen.

And yet you are not glad to ſee me, Monimia, when at laſt I am come?

Indeed I am glad, Orlando; but huſh! hark, ſurely I heard a noiſe. Liſten a moment, for heaven’s ſake, before we go down.

It is nothing, ſaid Orlando, after a pauſe, it is nothing, upon my ſoul, but the 1094 E11v 94 the wind that ruſhes up the narrow ſtair- caſe to the top of the tower.

Speak low, however, replied Monimia, as ſhe gave him her cold tremulous hand to lead her ſlowly down the ruined ſteps; ſpeak very low; or rather let us be quite ſilent, for you remember what an echo there is in the court.

They then proceeded ſilently along the flag-ſtones that ſurrounded the court opening on one ſide to the park, and entered the porch of the chapel; where when Monimia arrived, ſhe ſeemed ſo near fainting, that, as they were now ſheltered from all obſervation, Orlando entreated her to ſit down on one of the thick old worm-eaten wooden benches that were fixed on either ſide.

Unable to ſupport herſelf, Orlando made her lean againſt him, as endeavouring to re-aſſure her, he beſought her to conquer an alarm, for which, ſaid he, Monimia, I cannot account. What do you fear, my ſweet friend? Do you already 6 repent 1095 E12r 95 repent having entruſted yourſe lf with me?

Oh! no indeed, ſighed Monimia, but the chapel! What of the chapel? cried Orlando impatiently. It is haunted, you know, every night by the ſpirit of one of the Lady Raylands, who I know not how long ago died for love, and whoſe ghoſt now ſits every night in the chancel, and ſometimes walks round the houſe, and particularly along the galleries, at midnight, groaning and lamenting her fate.

Orlando, laughing at her ſimplicity, cried, And who, my dear Monimia, who has violated thy natural good ſenſe by teaching thee theſe ridiculous ſtories? Believe me, none of the Lady Raylands, as you called them, ever died for love; indeed I never heard that any of them ever were in love but my grandmother, who ſaved herſelf the abſurdity of dying, by marrying the man ſhe liked, in deſpite of the oppoſing pride of her family; and as ſhe was very happy, and never repented her diſobedience, I do not 1096 E12v 96 not believe her ſpirit walks: or if it ſhould, Monimia, if it were poſſible that it ſhould, could you not face a ghoſt with me for your protector?

Any living creature I ſhould not fear, Orlando, if you were with me; but there is ſomething ſo dreadful in the idea of a ſpirit!

This is not a place, ſaid Orlando with quickneſs, this is not a place to argue with your prejudices, Monimia, for you ſeem half dead with cold; but come, I beſeech you, into the library, where there is a fire, and truſt to my arm to defend you from all ſupernatural beings at leaſt on the way.

He then drew her arm within his, and puſhed open the door of the chapel. When Monimia felt the cold damp that environed her as he ſhut it after them, and found herſelf in ſuch a place without any other light than what was afforded by two gothic windows half blocked with ſtone work, and almoſt all the reſt by ſtained glaſs, at midnight,4 night, 1097 F1r 97 night, in a night of September, ſhe again ſhuddered, and ſhrunk back: but Orlando again encouraging her, and ridiculing her fears, ſhe moved on; and paſſing the ſtone paſſage, he at length ſeated her ſafely by the ſtudy fire, which he now repleniſhed with wood. As ſhe was ſtill pale and trembling, he brought her a glaſs of wine (of which Mrs. Rayland allowed him whatever he choſe), which he inſiſted on her drinking, and then, ſeating himſelf by her, enquired, with a gay ſmile, how ſhe did after her encounter with the lady who died for love?

You think me ridiculous, Orlando, and perhaps I am ſo; but my aunt has often told me, that ghoſts always appeared to people who were doing wrong, to reproach them; and, alas! Orlando, I am too ſenſible that I am not doing right.

Curſe on her prudiſh falſehood! cried the impetuous Orlando. If ghoſts, as you call them, were always on the watch to perſecute evil doers, I believe from my ſoul that ſhe would have been beſet by thoſe Vol. I. F of 1098 F1v 98 of all the Raylands that are packed togegether in the chancel.

Such was the awe of her aunt in which Monimia had been brought up, that the little reſpect and vehement manner in which Orlando ſpoke of her had in it additional terror. She did not ſpeak; ſhe was not able: but the tears which had till then trembled in her eyes now ſtole down her cheeks. Orlando was tempted to kiſs them away before they reached her boſom; but he remembered that ſhe was wholly in his power, and that he owed her more reſpect than it would have been neceſſary to have ſhewn even in public.

Let us talk no more of your old aunt, re-aſſumed Orlando; but tell me, Monimia, all that has happened in theſe long, long months of abſence.

Happened, Mr. Orlando! repeated Monimia.

Nay, interrupted he, let me not be Mr. Orlando, my lovely friend, but call me Orlando, and try to fancy me your brother.ther. 1099 F2r 99 ther. Tell me, Monimia, how have you paſſed your time ſince I was allowed to ſee you laſt? What an age it is ago! Have you practiſed your writing, Monimia, and has Lennard allowed you the uſe of any books?

A few I got at by the aſſiſtance of Betty Richards, who has the key of this room to clean it when you are abſent, Orlando; but if my aunt had found it out, ſhe would never have forgiven either of us. I was forced therefore to hide the books ſhe took out for me with the greateſt care, and to read only by ſnatches. And as to writing, I have done a little of it becauſe you deſired me; but it has been very difficult; for my aunt Lennard never would allow me to have pens and ink; and Betty Richards has given me theſe too by ſtealth, when ſhe was able to procure them, as if they were for herſelf, of Mr. Pattenſon the butler, who was always very kind to her about ſuch things, till a week or two ago; when he was ſo croſs at her aſking for more paper, F2 that 1100 F2v 100 that we thought it better to let alone applying to him again for ſome time.

The old thief was jealous, I ſuppoſe, anſwered Orlando. I believe he was, ſaid Monimia; for he has a liking, I fancy, to Betty, though to be ſure he is old enough to be her father.

Orlando was now ſtruck with an apprehenſion which had never before occurred to him: he feared that, in the gratitude of her unadulterated heart for the kindneſs ſhe received from this Betty Richards, ſhe might betray to her the ſecret of their nocturnal viſits; and he knew that the love of goſſiping, the love of finery, the love of nice morſels which the butler had it in his power to give, or even the love of ſhewing ſhe was entruſted with a ſecret, were any of them ſufficient to overſet all the fidelity which this girl (the under houſe-maid) might feel or profeſs to feel for Monimia.

Againſt this therefore it was neceſſary to put her on her guard; which Orlando endeavoureddeavoured 1101 F3r 101 deavoured to do in the moſt impreſſive manner poſſible, and even urged her with warmth to give him her ſolemn promiſe that ſhe never would entruſt this ſervant with any ſecret, or mention to her his name on any account whatever.

Indeed, Orlando, replied Monimia, when he had finiſhed this warm exhortation, indeed you need not be uneaſy or anxious about it; for there is one reaſon that, if I had no other, would never permit me to tell this poor girl that I meet you unknown to my aunt.

And what is that?

It is, that Betty is, like myſelf, a very friendleſs orphan, a poor girl that my aunt has taken from the pariſh; and as I know very well that all our meetings will one day or other be diſcovered, it would entirely ruin her, and occaſion the loſs of her place and her character, if Betty were ſuppoſed to know any thing about it; therefore you may be aſſured, Orlando, that ſhe never ſhall: for whatever miſery it may be my fate to F3 ſuffer 1102 F3v 102 ſuffer myſelf, I ſhall not ſo much mind, as I ſhould being the cauſe of ruining and injuring another perſon, eſpecially a friendleſs girl, who has always been as kind to me as her ſituation allowed her to be.

Enchanted with her native rectitude of heart and generoſity of ſpirit, Orlando rapturouſly exclaimed, Charming girl! how every ſentence you utter, every ſentiment of your pure and innocent mind delight me! No, Monimia, I am very ſure that ſuch a ſecurity as you have given me is of equal force, perhaps ſuperior, as it ought to be, even to your faith to me—ſuperior, Monimia, to the wiſh which I am ſure you have, to ſpare me any ſort of unhappineſs. The fine eyes of Monimia were ſwimming in tears, as, tenderly preſſing her hand between his, Orlando ſaid this. You do me juſtice, ſaid ſhe in a faltering voice, and I thank you. I do not know, Orlando, why I ſhould be aſhamed to ſay that I love you better than any body elſe in the world; for indeed who is there in it that 1103 F4r 103 that I have to love? If you were gone, it would be all a deſert to me; for, though I hope I am grateful, and not undutiful to my aunt Lennard, I find I do not love her as I love you. But indeed I do believe ſhe would not have me feel affection for anybody; for ſhe is always telling me, that it is the moſt diſgraceful and odious thing imaginable, for a young woman, dependent as I am, to think about any perſon, man, woman, or child; and that, if I would not be an undone and diſgraced creature, I muſt mind nothing but praying to God, which I hope I never neglected, and learning to earn my bread by my hands. And then ſhe tells me continually how much I owe her for taking me into her lady’s family, and what a wicked wretch I ſhould be if I were ungrateful.

Don’t tell me any more about your aunt, do not, I entreat you, cried Orlando impatiently. I ſhould be ſorry to ſay any thing that ſhould ſtain, even with the moſt remote ſuſpicion of ingratitude, F4 that 1104 F4v 104 that unadulterated mind. But――I cannot――no, it is impoſſible to reſiſt ſaying, that, like all other uſurped authority, the power of your aunt is maintained by unjuſt means, and ſupported by prejudices, which if once looked at by the eye of reaſon would fall. So ſlender is the hold of tyranny, my Monimia!

Dear Orlando, ſaid Monimia ſmiling through her tears, you talk what is by me very little underſtood. No! replied he, ſhe has taken care to fetter you in as much ignorance as poſſible; but your mind riſes above the obſcurity with which ſhe would ſurround it. She has however brought in ſupernatural aid; and, fearful of not being able to keep you in ſufficient awe by her terrific ſelf, ſhe has called forth all the deceaſed ladies of the Rayland family, and gentlemen too for aught I know, and beſet you with ſpirits and hobgoblins if you dare to walk about the houſe.

Ah! Orlando, anſwered Monimia timidly, and throwing round the room a half fearful 1105 F5r 105 fearful glance, I do believe you injure my aunt Lennard in that notion; for I am almoſt ſure ſhe believes what ſhe tells me.

Pooh! replied he, ſhe has too much ſenſe. A good bottle of Barbadoes water, or ratafia, would call your pious aunt in the darkeſt night, and juſt as the clock ſtrikes twelve, into the very chancel of the chapel itſelf, or even into the vaults under it.

Do not laugh at ſuch things, Orlando, do not, pray! unleſs you are very ſure they are all fooliſh and ſuperſtitious fancies. I aſſure you, Orlando, that having been uſed to walk about this great old rambling houſe by myſelf, at all times of the day, and ſometimes, at a night, I cannot have been much uſed to indulge fear; for, frightened or not frightened, I muſt have gone if my lady or my aunt had ordered me. But though I am not the leaſt afraid, or uſed not to be afraid, when I was aſſured in my own heart F5 that 1106 F5v 106 that I had never done or intended any harm, yet I have ſeen and heard――

Nay then, Monimia, tell me what you have ſeen and heard, cried he, fixing his eyes eagerly on her face, and pulling his chair nearer to hers, and let us draw round the fire and have a diſcourſe upon apparitions.

You will laugh at me, Orlando, ſaid ſhe, looking ſmilingly and yet grave; but what I have to tell you is true nevertheleſs.

Tell it then, Monimia—If any proofs have power to make me a convert, they muſt be yours.

Well then, Orlando, I aſſure you it is no fancy, but abſolutely true, that ſome time laſt February, at which time my aunt was very ill by the fall ſhe had down ſtairs, ſhe uſed to intruſt me with the keys, and to ſend me all about the houſe for things ſhe wanted. You know that when Mr. Patettenſon is out, ſhe always inſiſts upon having the keys of the great cellars, as well as all the reſt, left with her; and that, after quarrelling8 relling 1107 F6r 107 relling ſome years about it, ſhe has got the better; and, though he will not give her his keys, has my lady’s leave to have keys of her own, which ſhe always takes particular pleaſure in uſing when he is out (which he happened to be that night at the chriſtening of Mr. Butterworth’s child), whether ſhe really wants the things ſhe ſends for or no. It was a terrible ſtormy night and very dark, when my aunt, who was but juſt got well enough to ſit in my lady’s room, took it into her head, after everybody was gone to bed but Betty Richards and I, that ſhe wanted ſome hot ſhrub and water. She ſent me to look for ſhrub in her cloſet, where I believe ſhe knew there was none; and when I came back to ſay there was none, ſhe bade me go into the eaſt-wing cellar, which goes, you know, under the houſe towards this end of it, and fetch half a dozen bottles; and ſhe gave me the key and a baſket. I ſtood trembling with fear; for had I been ſure of being killed even at that moment, I am very certain I could not have determined to venture alone. F6 What 1108 F6v 108 What is the fooliſh girl afraid of? ſaid my aunt. Of going alone ſo far, Ma’am, ſaid I, at this time of night. And is not this time of night, ſaid my aunt angrily, or is not any time of night, or any time of day, the ſame thing to you? Idiot!—and do you dare to affect any choice, how and when you ſhall obey my commands? Oh! no indeed, my dear dear aunt, anſwered I trembling, no indeed; but remember—remember, before you are ſo angry with me, that an hundred and an hundred times you have told me, that all the galleries and paſſages about this houſe are haunted; and that you have yourſelf ſeen ſtrange ſights and heard frightful noiſes, though you never would tell me what they were: how ſhall I, my dear aunt, encounter that which has terrified you?—Pray, forgive me! or, if you will not, inflict upon me any puniſhment you pleaſe: only be aſſured, my dear aunt, that, terrible as your anger is to your poor girl, ſhe had rather4 ther 1109 F7r 109 ther endure it than go into thoſe paſſages and vaults alone. Why, thou art a driveller, a perfect idiot, anſwered Mrs. Lennard, and art fit only for a cap and bells, clean ſtraw, and a whirligig.—Apparitions, you ſtupid fool! But tell me, will you go for what I want, if this other moppet, who looks as white as a cheeſe-curd, will go with you? The offer of going with Betſy Richards had ſomehow quite a charm with it, compared with the terrors of going alone; and therefore I readily agreed to the propoſal, flattering myſelf that Betty would refuſe, and that I ſhould ſo be excuſed. But poor Betſy had, like myſelf, a moſt terrible awe of my aunt, whom ever ſince ſhe could remember ſhe had been taught to fear. To be ſure, I will go, ſaid poor Betſy; to be certain, I will go, if madam ſhe deſires it; though for certain―― None of your ifs, you ſilly baggage, but here, take the candle; and do you, you nonſenſical ninnyhammer, take the baſket, and 1110 F7v 110 and fetch inſtantly what I want. The old ſhrub ſtands in a bin, quite at the lower end of the fartheſt arched vault, next the chapel wing: put your hands elbow deep in the ſaw-duſt, and you will feel it; bring half a dozen bottles, and mind you take care of your candle—for the whole family of Rayland are piled up in their velvet coffins within two or three feet of you; and it would be a very unhandſome thing to ſet their old dry bones in a blaze on their own premiſes. Neither Betſy nor I dared anſwer; for, as my aunt ſpoke theſe laſt words, ſhe waved her hands for us to go. After we were out of hearing, I, who held Betſy faſt by the arm, expreſſed my apprehenſion at what had paſſed. I did this more particularly, becauſe I had never heard my aunt talk ſo freely before. Betſy, frightened as ſhe was at the thought of the expedition we were undertaking, could not help tittering at the ſurpriſe I expreſſed, and ſaid, Lord! why, the old woman has been ſitting ſo long after 1111 F8r 111 after ſupper with Madam, that ſhe has been taking care to keep the cold out of her ſtomach:—meaning that Mrs. Lennard had been drinking too much, which till then I had never any notion of. I am ſure, replied I to my trembling companion, as we went down the cellar ſtairs, and were frightened by the echo of our feet, I am ſure, Beſſy, we want ſomething to keep the cold of fear out of ours.—Do I tremble as much as you do, and do I look as pale? Oh! huſh, ſaid ſhe, huſh! I ſhall drop if I hear a voice—it ſounds ſo among theſe hollow doors. Her teeth chattered in her head, and ſhe held the candle in her hand ſo unſteadily that I was afraid it would have gone out. In this manner we proceeded to the bottom of the ſtairs, which you know are very long, and had got half a dozen paces along the paſſage, which is, you may remember, very high and narrow and long, when we heard a loud ruſhing noiſe at the other end of it. Something came ſweep along; but Betſy let fall the candle, and 1112 F8v 112 and fell herſelf againſt the wall, where I endeavoured in vain to ſupport her. She ſunk quite down; and, as I ſtooped to aſſiſt her, ſomebody certainly bruſhed by me. I know not what I heard afterwards, for fear deprived me of my ſenſes. This, however, laſted but a moment; for, my recollection returning, I was ſenſible that, whatever there was to hurt us, we ſhould do more wiſely to endeavour to return back to my aunt’s room than to remain in that diſmal place. With great difficulty, by rubbing her hands within mine, and reaſoning with her as ſoon as ſhe ſeemed able to hear it, I prevailed upon Betſy Richards to try to walk. The apprehenſion that this frightful apparition might return (which ſhe whiſpered me had the figure of a tall man in a white or light- coloured gown), had more effect upon her than any thing I could ſay; and ſhe conſented to try to return up the ſtairs. It was ſo dark, however, that we were obliged to feel our way with our hands; and I own I every moment expected to put them againſt the 1113 F9r 113 the frightful figure which my companion had ſeen.

But you were wrong there, ſaid the incredulous Orlando; for, if it were a ghoſt, Monimia, you know a ghoſt is only air, and of courſe you could not have touched it.—But tell me how your aunt received you.

It was, I am ſure, almoſt half an hour before we got back, more dead than alive, to the oak parlour. She aſked us very impatiently, what we had been ſo long about? but neither of us was preſently able to anſwer. She ſaw how it was by our faces, but very ſharply bade us tell her that moment what was the matter. Betſy had then more courage than I had; for I was more afraid of my aunt, if poſſible, than of the ghoſt, and ſo ſhe related as well as ſhe could all ſhe ſaw, or fancied ſhe ſaw. Mrs. Lennard was extremely angry with us both, and ſcolded us for a quarter of an hour; which I thought a little unreaſonable towards me, ſince ſhe was angry with me now for being afraid of the 1114 F9v 114 the very things ſhe had been teaching me to fear. However, as there was no chance of perſuading us to make another attempt that night, and ſhe was diſabled by lameneſs from going herſelf, ſhe was forced to be content with ſome other of the cordials ſhe had in her cloſet; and afterwards ſhe rather wiſhed to have the ſtory huſhed up and forgotten, for ſomehow or other that key of the cellar was never found after that night. The baſket and the candle remained where they were dropped; yet the key, which was a very great heavy key, and which I had in my hand, was gone; and Mr. Patterſon would have made ſuch a racket about it, that my aunt, as ſhe had another, let the ſtory drop, and contrived an excuſe a week or two afterwards, when ſhe was able to get about herſelf, to have the lock changed.

And this is all the reaſon you have, my Monimia, from your own obſervation, to believe in ſpirits? ſaid Orlando.

All! 1115 F10r 115

All! replied ſhe, and is it not then enough?

Not quite, I fear, to convince the ſcepticiſm of the preſent day. I do not, however, wiſh to prejudice your mind on the other ſide, by bringing arguments againſt the poſſibility of their exiſtence; but I will give your reaſon an opportunity of deciding for itſelf. Againſt to-morrow night, when we ſhall meet again, I will look out and mark for you all thoſe ſtories of ſupernatural appearances that are related by the moſt reaſonable people, and are the beſt authenticated. You ſhall fairly enquire whether any of thoſe viſits of the dead were ever found to be of any uſe to the living. We are told that they have been ſeen (as is reported of that viſion which Clarendon tells of), to warn the perſons to whom they appeared, or ſome others to whom they were to repeat their miſſion, of impending danger. But the danger, however foretold, has never been avoided; and ſhall we therefore believe, that an all-wiſe and all- 1116 F10v 116 all-powerful Being ſhall ſuffer a general law of nature to be ſo uſeleſſly violated, and ſhall make the dead reſtleſs, only to terrify the living?

Oh! but in caſes of murder you know what ſpectres have appeared!

Yes, Monimia, to the conſcience of the guilty; but even that is not always ready to raiſe hideous ſhadows to perſecute the ſanguinary monſters who are ſtained with crimes; for if it were, Monimia, I am afraid not one of our kings or heroes could have ſlept in their beds.

And yet, ſaid Monimia ſhuddering, and yet, Orlando, you ſometimes talk of being a ſoldier!

Ah! my ſweet friend, replied Orlando, I have no choice, but muſt be what they would have me. Yet believe me, Monimia, if I had a choice, it would be to paſs all my life in ſome quiet retirement with you. We ſhould not want either of us to be very rich, for we ſhould certainly be very happy.

To 1117 F11r 117

To this poor Monimia felt herſelf quite unable to anſwer; but ſighing deeply, from the fear that it could never be, ſhe tried to turn the diſcourſe: Is it not very late, Orlando, ſaid ſhe, and had I not better go?

If you inſiſt upon going yet, I ſhall be half tempted to let you travel through the chapel alone, replied he ſmiling, and, to revenge myſelf for your deſertion, expoſe you to meet the tall man in the white dreſs. He then led the converſation to other ſubjects, gave her ſome books he had ſelected for her reading, and ſome materials for writing; and, after inſiſting upon her promiſe to meet him the next night, he conſented that ſhe ſhould return to her aunt. As, with his arm round her waiſt, he conducted her through the chapel, and ſtill found her tremble, he gently reproached her with it. Ah! ſaid ſhe, Orlando, you are ſurely unreaſonable, if you expect me to be as courageous as you are! Not at all, anſwered he; for you may derive your 1118 F11v 118 your confidence from the ſame ſource, and ſay, as I do, I fear no evil angel, and have offended no good one.

Monimia promiſed to do all ſhe could towards conquering her apprehenſions. They were by this time arrived at the door of her chamber, where tenderly kiſſing her hand, he again bade her good night, or rather good morning, for it was near three o’clock; and waiting till he heard the door ſafely concealed by her bed, and hearing that all was ſecure, he returned to his own room, and went to reſt in ſpirits diſpoſed to indulge delicious dreams of happineſs to come.

Chap. 1119 F12r 119

Chap. VI.

Another and another evening Orlando attended at the turret, and the apprehenſions of Monimia decreaſed in proportion as her reaſon, aided by her confidence in him, taught her that there was in reality little to fear from the interpoſition of ſupernatural agency. The dread of being diſcovered by the people in the houſe, however, ſtill interrupted the hours which paſſed with imperceptible rapidity while they were together. This might happen a thouſand wayſ, which Monimia was ingenious in finding out; while Orlando was ſometimes ſucceſsful, and ſometimes failed, in ridiculing thoſe apprehenſions which he could not always help ſharing.

The 1120 F12v 120

The mind of the innocent Monimia had been till now like that of Miranda in her deſert iſland. To her, the world that was paſt and that which was now paſſing were alike unknown; and all the impreſſions that her infant underſtanding had received, tended only to confirm the artificial influence which her aunt endeavoured to eſtabliſh over her imagination. Her poverty, her dependence, the neceſſity of her earning a ſubſiſtence by daily labour, had been the only leſſons ſhe had been taught; and the only hope held out to her, that of paſſing through life in an obſcure ſervice.

But ſhe had learned now that, abject and poor as ſhe was, ſhe was an object of affection to Orlando, who ſeemed in her eyes the repreſentation of divinity. The reading he had directed her to purſue, had aſſiſted in teaching her ſome degree of ſelf- value. She found that to be poor was not diſgraceful in the eye of Heaven, or in the eyes of the good upon earth; and that the great 1121 G1r 121 great teacher of that religion which ſhe had been bid to profeſs, though very little inſtructed in it, was himſelf poor, and the advocate and friend of poverty. In addition to all this knowledge, ſo ſuddenly acquired, ſhe had lately made another diſcovery. Her aunt had always told her that ſhe was a very plain girl, had a bad perſon, and was barely fit to be ſeen; but ſince the marriage of the ſervant who had lived at the Hall during the infancy of Monimia, Betty Richards, the under houſe-maid, had been ordered to do the little that Monimia was allowed to have done in her room. Mrs. Lennard had taken her from the pariſh officers as an apprentice; and having long ſeen her only in her coarſe gown and nailed ſhoes, and obſerved in her manner only a great deal of ruſtic ſimplicity, had not the leaſt idea that under that ſemblance ſhe concealed the cunning and the vanity of a country coquet; and that the firſt week ſhe paſſed in Mrs. Rayland’s family had called forth theſe latent qualities. She Vol. I. G was 1122 G1v 122 was a ruddy, ſhewy girl, with a large but rather a good figure; and her face was no ſooner waſhed, and her hair combed over a roll, than ſhe became an object which attracted the attention of the great Mr. Pattenſon himſelf; who, proceeding in the uſual way by which he had won the favour of ſo many of the ſubaltern nymphs in Mrs. Rayland’s kitchen, began to make her many preſents, and to talk of her beauty; and as ſhe could not forbear repeating all theſe extravagant expreſſions of his admiration, Monimia could as little help reflecting, though ſhe was ſomehow humbled as ſhe made the compariſon, that if Betty was ſo handſome, ſhe could not herſelf be ſo ugly as her aunt had always repreſented her. The fineries which her new friend received Monimia beheld without any wiſh to enjoy ſuch herſelf; though on Betty, a poor girl bred in a workhouſe, they had a moſt intoxicating effect. They were given under the ſtricteſt injunctions of ſecrecy, which was tolerably well obſerved towards the reſt of the 1123 G2r 123 the houſe; and the finery, which at firſt conſiſted only of beads and ribbands was reſerved for Sunday afternoons, and put on at a friend’s cottage near a diſtant church. But it was not in female nature to conceal theſe acquiſitions from Monimia; and it was in her drawers that they were often depoſited, when there was reaſon to apprehend that the little deal box, which had till lately been amply ſufficient for the check apron and linſey-woolſey gown of Betty, might not ſafely conceal the ribbands colour of emperorſ’ eyes, the flowered ſhawls, the bugle necklaces, and caps with new edging to them, which ſhe now poſſeſſed.

Sometimes, when Betty obtained leave to go out, and thought that, Mrs. Lennard being engaged with her lady, and the other ſervants gone different ways, ſhe ſhould eſcape unnoticed acroſs the park, ſhe perſuaded Monimia, who knew not how to refuſe her any thing, to let her dreſs at her little glaſs; and there the progreſs of rural G2 coquetry 1124 G2v 124 coquetry had full power to diſplay itſelf. She tried on her various topknots, diſpoſed her hair in a thouſand fanciful ways, and called to Monimia for her opinion, which of them was moſt becoming; appealing for the authority of theſe variations to a certain pocket-book, preſented her alſo from the ſame quarter, which repreſented in one of its leaves ſix young ladies in the moſt faſhionable head-dreſſes for 17761776.

Monimia, with all her ingenuous ſimplicity, had ſenſe enough to ſmile at the ridiculous vanity of the girl; and to know, that her accepting all this finery from the old butler was quite wrong. But ſhe felt alſo, that to reprove her for it would look like envy, and that to remonſtrate would probably be vain. She contented herſelf therefore with keeping as much out of her confidence as ſhe could; and had reaſons enough of her own, which were continually ſtrengthened by the exhortations of Orlando, for keeping her from being a too frequent viſitor in her room.

But 1125 G3r 125

But the remarks ſhe made upon all this, and upon numberleſs circumſtances in the houſe which Betty related to her, no longer left her in her original ignorance. In a great houſe there are among the ſervants as many cabals, and as many ſchemes, as among the leaders of a great nation; and few exhibited a greater variety of intereſts than did the family of Mrs. Rayland. Mrs. Lennard at once hated, feared, and courted Pattenſon, who, having been taken a boy from the plough, had been gradually promoted till he became the favourite footman of the elder Mrs. Rayland, who, on the death of an old man who had long occupied that poſt, made him butler; where he was ſuppoſed to have accumulated in the courſe of five-and-twenty years a great deal of money, was known to have ſeveral ſums out at intereſt, and had bought two or three ſmall farms in the county, with the approbation of his lady, whoſe favour had never once failed him, though various attempts had been made to injure him in her opinion G3 by 1126 G3v 126 by complaints of his amours. Though he was a perfect Turk in morals, and though in his advanced life he rather indulged than corrected this propenſity to libertiniſm, he had hitherto contrived to eſcape his lady’s wrath; and indeed knew that nobody but Mrs. Lennard or the old coachman had, among the domeſtics, intereſt enough to ſhake her good opinion of him; and of both the one and the other, though aware that neither of them bore him any good will, he was tolerably ſecure.

How the prudent and guarded Mrs. Lennard came to be in his power was never fully underſtood; but in his power ſhe certainly felt herſelf: for though they were in habits of frequent ſquabbling about trifles, which indeed with the lady ſeemed neceſſary to break the tedious uniformity of her life, yet whenever ſhe found Mr. Pattenſon really angry, ſhe, albeit unuſed to the condeſcending mood, began to palliate and apologize—and peace was generally made over ſome nice thing, and ſome fine old wine, 1127 G4r 127 wine, by way of a petit ſouper in Mr. Pattenſon’s parlour, after Mrs. Rayland was gone to bed.

The old coachman, who was the other favourite ſervant, was always a third in theſe peace-making meetings. He was a man grown unwieldy from exceſs of good living, and more than ſeventy years old; but he poſſeſſed an infinite deal of cunning, and knew how to get and how to keep money, with which it was his ambition to portion his two daughters, and to marry them to gentlemen; and his dealings in contraband goods, as Rayland Hall was only five miles from the coaſt, his having the management of the great farms in hand, and his concern in buying and ſelling horſes, were together ſuppoſed to have rendered this object of ambition of eaſy attainment. Of deeper ſagacity than the other two, he foreſaw that the time could not be far diſtant when Rayland Hall, and all the wealth that belonged to it, muſt change its poſſeſſor. It was a plan of Mrs. Lennard and PattenſonG4 ſon 1128 G4v 128 ſon to enjoy and to ſecure all they could now, and to be well aſſured of a very conſiderable legacy hereafter. But old Snelcraft had farther hopes; and for that reaſon, though he had at firſt oppoſed as much as he could the reception of Orlando, and ſince expreſſed diſpleaſure towards him, he of late had in his head floating viſions of the probability there was that, if Orlando came to the eſtate, he might marry his favourite daughter, Miſs Patty Snelcraft, who would have ſuch a fine fortune, and was, as her father believed, the very extract of all beauty. Ridiculous and chimerical as ſuch a project was, the old man, in the dotage of his purſe- proud vanity, believed it not only poſſible but probable: for, though he knew that Mrs. Rayland would have diſinherited her own ſon for entertaining ſuch an idea for a moment, yet he ſaw that Mr. Orlando had no pride at all; and he was pretty ſure, from the arrangements that he believed were made as to money, that, great as the ſum of ready money would perhaps be that Mrs. Rayland 1129 G5r 129 Rayland might leave behind her, none of it would be ſuffered to go to Mr. Orlando. Miſs Patty Snelcraft was, as this precious plan got more entirely the poſſeſſion of her father’s imagination, taken from a boarding- ſchool at a neighbouring town, and one luckleſs day brought to church in all the finery which ſhe had there been accuſtomed to wear. But the effect was very far from that her parents intended, who expected that Madam would have ſent for her to the Hall, as ſhe uſed to do at breaking-up, and have commended her beauty and elegance; inſtead of which, Mrs. Rayland no ſooner arrived at home than ſhe ſent for Robin, as ſhe ſtill called her old ſervant, who now was ſeldom able to mount the box himſelf, and aſked, if it was poſſible that the tawdry thing ſhe had ſeen with his wife was his daughter? He anſwered in all humility that it was his eldeſt daughter, who, as ſhe had now finiſhed her learning, he had taken home from boarding-ſchool.

Finiſhed her learning! exclaimed the G5 old 1130 G5v 130 old lady; and is that what ſhe has learned, to dreſs herſelf out like a ſtage-player, like a mountebank’s doxy? Upon my word, Robin, I am ſorry for you. I though you and your wife had more ſenſe. What! is that a dreſs for a ſober girl, who ought to be a help to her mother, and to take care of her father in his old age?

She does, Ma’am, do both, I’ll aſſure you, anſwered Robin, terribly ſtung by this reproof, and is a very good and dutiful child. And as to her fineries, Ma’am, and ſuch like, you are ſenſible that I’m not myſelf no judge of them there things; and my wife I believe thought, that ſeeing how by your goodneſs and my long and faithful ſervice we are well to paſs, for our condition and circumſtances and ſuch like, there would not be no offence whatſumdever in dreſſing our poor girls, being we have but two, a little deſſent and neat, juſt to ſhew that one is no beggar after having ſerved in ſuch a good family ſo many years.

The lady, a little ſoftened by this ſpeech, which 1131 G6r 131 which was made in almoſt a crying tone of voice, replied, Well well, good Robin, I know how to make allowances; but do you and your wife learn for the future to make a more modeſt uſe of the means you are bleſſed with, and never encourage your girls to vanity and extravagance. Here’s Mary here, Lennard’s niece, whom I give leave to be in the houſe (Monimia ſtood waiting all this time with the chocolate, which the old lady always ſwallowed as ſoon as ſhe came in from her devotions), ſhe, I aſſure you, comes of parents that many people would call genteel; and yet you ſee, as it has pleaſed Providence to make her a dependent and a ſervant, I never ſuffer her to ſtick herſelf out in feathers and flowers like a May-day girl.

The lecture ended, and the old coachman withdrew, extremely diſcontent that his Patty had been compared to the houſekeeper’s niece, who was, as he muttered to himſelf, a mere pauper; and Monimia was not at all flattered by being brought forward as G6 a com- 1132 G6v 132 a compariſon for Miſs Snelcraft, whom the ſervants, and particularly Betty, had been turning into ridicule for her awkward finery and airs of conſequence—nor did the expreſſion, that ſhe was born of parents whom ſome people would call genteel, at all ſweeten the bitterneſs of this compariſon. Monimia, who had before in the courſe of the day received a ſevere mortification from her aunt, in being refuſed leave to go to church, now, as ſoon as her ſervice in waiting on Mrs. Rayland with the chocolate was performed, withdrew to her own room, and indulged her tears. At length ſhe recollected that, though all the reſt of the world might deſpiſe and contemn her, the heart of Orlando was hers; ſhe was ſecure of his affection; he would repeat it to her at night, when he had promiſed to fetch her to his room: and theſe reflections dried her eyes, and diſſipated her ſorrows: they even lent her force to bear, without betraying her impatience, the intruſion of Betty Richards, who ſoon after aſked leave to come 1133 G7r 133 come in. Oh, laud! my dear miſs, cried ſhe, as ſoon as ſhe entered the room, how we be ſhut up in this here old place like two little ſinging birds in a cage!—I’ve been trying to perſuade old Jenny to let me take her turn this a’ternoon to go to church, and have promiſed to give her two turns for one; but the croſs old witch ſays indeed ſhe chooſes to go herſelf.—Oh lud lud! I’d give a little finger to go.

And why are you ſo eager to go to-day, Betty, more than any other afternoon?

Oh gad! replied the girl, for five hundred reaſons:—firſt, becauſe it’s ſo early that I could get away to Weſt Wolverton church with all the eaſe in the world, and ’tis ſuch a ſweet afternoon, and winter will be here now ſo ſoon; beſides that—but you muſt not tell for an hundred pounds—my good old fat ſweetheart brought me home laſt night the moſt beautifulleſt bonnet, ſuch as the millener told him was worn by the tip-top quality in Lonnon—and I die to wear it, and to go to Weſt Wolverton church 1134 G7v 134 church in it this very afternoon; for at ours, you know, I dares as well jump into the fire as put it on.

But why do your bonnet and your piety conſpire to carry you ſo far juſt this very evening, Betty, ſaid Monimia ſmiling, when both Eaſt Wolverton and Bartonwick have an evening church, and are not much more than half as far?

Oh! thereby hangs a tale—What! you han’t heard then, I ſuppoſe, of all the great doings at Weſt Wolverton?

This was the name of the village in which was ſituated the houſe of Mr. Somerive.— Great doings! repeated Monimia, changing colour; no, I have heard of nothing.

Why then you muſt know, Miſs, that Mr. Orlando, who was not here laſt night――

(Monimia knew it well, for they had agreed two nights before not to meet till the preſent evening)—

Mr. Orlando, I ſay, came over about an hour ago, juſt as my Lady came from church, and after walking backwards and forwards 1135 G8r 135 forwards in his melancholy faſhion, with a book in his hand, upon the broad pavement in the chapel court, which really oft-times rives one’s very heart to ſee him, he went away to his ſtudy. For my part, I was ſitting in the window up ſtairs for a moment, for I had juſt been making up my Lady’s fire before ſhe came from church—when all of a ſudden I ſaw John Dickman, ’Squire Somerive’s groom, come riding up; ſo down I went to ſpeak to him. He gived me a letter, which I carried in to Orlando, who ſeemed monſtrous ſurpriſed at it, as he was but that minute as ’twere come from home; and when I went back to the kitchen John told me, he was ordered to wait for his young maſter—for that Madam Somerive’s brother, the London merchant, was come down, with ſome of his family, ſons and daughters, and the gentleman from ſome part beyond the ſea, who was to marry the eldeſt Miſs Somerive, for he had got his father’s conſent, and the wedding was to take place out of hand. And ſo, added Betty 1136 G8v 136 Betty, who had almoſt talked herſelf out of breath, as Mr. Phil. is out, gone as he always is upon a viſit to they newcomers up at Caſtle, the ’Squire he ordered John to fetch our Orlando out of hand home to entertain all this grand company.

And he went! ſaid Monimia in a faint voice, who had changed colour a dozen times during this narration.

Oh, Lord! yes, to be ſure he went, replied Betty; yet ſomehow he look’d to me as if he had rather of ſtay’d, and hung about for ſome time, as thos unwilling to go. Lord! ſir, ſaid I, as I went to ſhut up his windows before he lock’d the ſtudy door—Lord, how ſtrange it is that you are not like other young men, and never cares nothing for company and ſuch like! He only ſighed, a ſweet creature!—when I’m ſure, if all the grand lords and dukes, and even the King, and the Prince of Wales, and the Archbiſhop of Oſnabig, and all his Majeſty’s court, were to be collected together, there’s not one of them to be 1137 G9r 137 be compared to young ’Squire Orlando.―― Lord! what would I give to ſee all theſe gentlefolks together at Weſt Wolverton church, and that dear ſweet Orlando outſhining them all!

And that was the reaſon, ſaid Monimia in a ſtill fainter voice, that you are ſatisfied with no church but Weſt Wolverton? But after all, Betty, pray are you ſure theſe ladies and gentlemen will be there?

As ſure as five pence—for John Dickman told me ſo. Oh! that I could but go!—for Orlando, you know, Miſs, who is the ſweeteſt temperd good-naturdeſt cretur in all England, would never tell if he ſaw one ever ſo ſmartly dreſs:—No, egollys! he’s more like to give one ſome trifle or other to help one out, than to blab to get one anger.

Has he ever given you any thing, Betty? ſaid Monimia, in a voice the tremor of which ſhe could not diſguiſe; for, mingled with numberleſs other ſenſations, ſomething like a half-formed jealouſy and ſuſpicious apprehenſion 1138 G9v 138 apprehenſion now entered her heart— tell me, Betty, what has he ever given you?

Why I aſſure you, replied the girl pertly, not above a month ago neither, a’ter he had been here for almoſt a fortnight, he called me to him as I was a duſting of them there guns and arrows and what d’yecallums, as hangs over the chimney in that parlour as you goes through to get to his ſtudy—And ſo, ſays he, Betty, you’ve a good deal of trouble in cleaning of my room and making my fire, and perhaps your lady may not recollect it, and ſo may not make you a conſideration for it; and therefore, Betty, I beg you’ll accept this, and I wiſh I had it in my power to do better.—And if you’ll believe me, Miſs, it was a brand new crown, quite new, a crown piece they told me it was.—I would have given any thing not to have changed it, but to have laid it up as a keepſake—But there! —I had not money enough without it to buy my new cotton gown, when Alexander Macgill the Scotchman called here; and ſo away 1139 G10r 139 away went my poor dear crown, though I had leverer have partered with one of my fingers.

You did right, however, ſaid Monimia coldly; the gown you wanted, and the crown, I dare ſay, Mr. Orlando meant you ſhould uſe.

I ſuppoſe he did, a dear ſweet creature! —Lord a mercy! what would I give to have a peep at his ſweet face this afternoon! I’ll tell you what, Miſs, though you cannot go to church, nor I neither, we might ten to one ſee theſe gentlefolks ride by, if we could but ſteal up to the upper park, and ſo through the little common. ’Tis not much better than three miles, and we might not be miſſ’d.

No, ſaid Monimia drily, I ſhall run no ſuch riſk indeed of making my aunt angry; and beſides, what would Mr. Somerive, or Mr. Orlando, or any other of them think if they ſaw us there?

Hang their thoughts! replied Betty; what would it ſignify to us what any body thought 1140 G10v 140 thought, if we pleaſed ourſelves? I’ll go and ſee how the land lays, and if the two old girls have done their dinner, and are ſet down together to take their afternoon’s doſe.

Do not come back then, Betty, ſaid Monimia; for I certainly will not go out without leave, and you know it nonſenſe to aſk it—therefore, if you like it, go; but I aſſure you I ſhall not.

Having thus releaſed herſelf from her importunate viſitor, Monimia ſat down to conſider all ſhe had told her. That Orlando ſhould quit the houſe without telling her, gave her at firſt extreme pain; yet a moment’s reflection convinced her that, unleſs he had made a confidante of Betty, of which ſhe now ſaw all the danger, there was no poſſible way of his conveying to her intelligence of the ſudden ſummons he had received from his father; for Mrs. Lennard was at home, and had ſhut herſelf up in her own room to do twenty little ſervices which ſhe frequently choſe to have performed on Sunday 1141 G11r 141 Sunday mornings. A thouſand doubts now aroſe in the mind of Monimia, whether he would be able to call for her at night; a thouſand apprehenſions left the people he was with, particularly his uncle’s daughters, who he had ſaid were very pretty women, ſhould eſtrange his thoughts from her, and rob her of his affections. Theſe fears were ſo acute, that ſhe was trying to drive them from her, when Betty returned, and, finding the door of her room faſtened, tapped ſoftly at it, and cried, Miſs, miſs! who will refuſe to go into the park now?

You have not ſurely got leave!

No, nor I have not aſked it; but the old ladies are hard ſet in to their good things. Madam has had a gouty feel in her ſtomach all day, ſhe ſays, and that’s always a ſymptom for a double doſe; and as to your aunt, ſhe has been ailing too, and will not flinch her ſhare, you know very well.

Monimia, alarmed at the loud whiſper, had opened the door before the end of this ſpeech, and let in her unwelcome companion,nion 1142 G11v 142 nion, who now repeated, that every body was ſafely beſtowed who could interrupt them; and that, as it was ſtill very early, they might have a good chance of ſeeing ſome of theſe comers, and above all Orlando, in their evening ride. But Monimia, who was diſpleaſed with the familiar way in which the girl named Orlando, and knew that he would object to her walking with her, aſſumed a virtue when ſhe had it not; and though ſhe believed they might ſafely go the way ſhe propoſed, and return before the hour when it was likely her aunt would want her; though ſhe would have given half the world only for the chance of ſeeing Orlando at a diſtance, he poſitively refuſed —and had the reſolution to ſee Betty ſet out by herſelf, with her new moſt beautifulleſt bonnet pinned under her petticoat, which ſhe propoſed putting on when ſhe got clear of the houſe; and then Monimia, forcing her attention from what had the laſt few hours engaged it, ſat down to the ſort of leſſon which Orlando had laſt marked for 1143 G12r 143 for her, and which ſhe had promiſed to make herſelf miſtreſs of before ſhe ſaw him again;—though, alas! while ſhe read, the idea of the ſuperior advantages enjoyed by the Miſs Woodfords, his couſins, their beauty, and the probability there was that one of them might be intended for him, too frequently diſtracted her thoughts, and impeded her good intentions.

The 1144 G12v 144

Chap. VII.

The day had been unuſually warm; but towards evening a thunder-ſtorm came on, and, as it grew later, a tempeſt of wind, with heavy and continual rain.

Betty, ſulky that Monimia refuſed, and ſtill more ſulky that ſhe had got nothing by her long walk, but nearly ſpoiling all her finery, had not come to Monimia’s room any more; but ſhe recieved, at the uſual hour, the uſual ſummons for tea. She thought both Mrs. Lennard and her aunt uncommonly peeviſh and tedious, and that the ſermon one was reading, while the other fell aſleep, was moſt unreaſonably long. At length ſhe was diſmiſſed, and, retiring to her turret, began to liſten to the wind, that howled in tremendous guſts among the trees 1145 H1r 145 trees, and to the rain falling in torrents, the ruſhing of which was redoubled by the leaden pipes that, from the roof of her turret, threw the water in columns on the pavement below. Would Orlando come? Through ſuch a tempeſt it were hardly to be wiſhed he ſhould. Having been abſent all day, there would be no fire in his room, he would be drenched with rain, and half dead with cold. Monimia then could not deſire he ſhould come; yet ſhe felt, in deſpite of her reaſon, that ſhe ſhould be very unhappy if he did not; for, though ſo many cauſes might combine to detain him, her humble ideas of herſelf, and the pictures ſhe had made of the beauty and attractions of the Miſs Woodfords, added another which rendered her wretched. Alas! cried ſhe, Orlando, among them, will be too happy to think of me; and it is quite ridiculous to ſuppoſe, that he will quit theſe ladies to come through the ſtorm almoſt five miles to poor Monimia. No, no! Orlando will not come.

Vol. I. H Still 1146 H1v 146

Still however ſhe could not determine to go to bed, at leaſt till the hour was paſt for which he had made the appointement. At the uſual time her aunt, who now frequently omitted to come herſelf, ſent Betty for her candle, and her door was locked as uſual, for that was a ceremony which either in perſon or proxy was always performed. But Monimia now no longer paſſed the long interval, between half after nine o’clock and the hour when Orlando uſually called her, in darkneſs; for he had furniſhed her with the means of procuring a light, and with ſmall wax candles. One of theſe ſhe now lit, and endeavoured to ſit down to read— but the violence of the wind, which ſhe fancied every moment increaſed, and the flaſhes of lightning which ſhe ſaw through her narrow caſement, to which there was no ſhutter, diſtracted her attention; and ſhe could only ſit in miſerable anxiety, liſtening to the various noiſes which in ſuch a tempeſtuous night are heard around an old building, and eſpecially ſuch a part of it as ſhe 1147 H2r 147 ſhe inhabited; where, around the octagon tower or turret, the wind roared with violence from every point; while, in the long paſſages which led from thence to her aunt’s apartments, it ſeemed yet more enraged, from being confined. She now traverſed her ſmall room with fearful ſteps; now ſat down on her bed, near the door, that ſhe might the more readily hear Orlando if he ſhould come; and now got on a chair, and opened her caſement to obſerve if there ſeemed any probability of the ſtorm’s abating: but ſtill, though the thunder had ceaſed, the clouds, driven againſt each other by violent and varying guſts of wind, produced vivid flaſhes of lightning, which ſuddenly illuminated the whole park. But Orlando came not, and it was now near an hour paſt his uſual time. Again the poor anxious Monimia, now half deſpairing of his coming, and trying to perſuade herſelf that ſhe did not wiſh he ſhould come, traverſed her room, again went to her window. Another and another hour paſſed: amidſt the heavy H2 guſts 1148 H2v 148 guſts and mournful howlings of the wind, ſhe had counted the clock, that, with a more than uſually hollow ſound, told twelve, one, two!—Orlando certainly did not mean to come—no! it was unreaſonable to ſuppoſe he would; unreaſonable to flatter herſelf that he would quit a cheerful circle of his relations, to traverſe the extenſive commons and lanes, and all the park, that lay between Weſt Wolverton and the Hall, in ſuch a night, when no perſon would think of going out but on life and death. Yet, while ſhe thus argued with herſelf, a few tears involuntarily ſtole from her eyes; and as ſhe gave up all hopes of his comin, and lay down in her clothes on her bed (for ſhe had not the reſolution to undreſs herſelf), ſhe ſighed deeply, and ſaid to herſelf: And yet, if it had been me who was expected, I do not believe any ſtorm could have hindered me from trying to ſee Orlando! and I am ſure no company would.—Yet he is quite in the right, I know, and I do not blame him.

She 1149 H3r 149

She could not, however fatigued and weary, cloſe her eyes for ſome time. The clock at length ſtruck three; and ſoon after, wearied with watching and anxiety, ſhe fell into an unquiet repoſe.

Suddenly, without being conſcious how long ſhe had indulged in, ſhe ſtarted from her ſleep, and fancied ſhe heard the well- known ſignal: ſhe liſtened a moment; it was repeated. Trembling with joy, yet equally agitated by fear, ſhe aroſe and anſwered it; and removing the impediments that were between them, and again lighting her candle, Orlando ſtepped into the room.

His clothes and his hair were ſtreaming with water, and he ſaid haſtily, as he came through the hangings, You had given me over, my Monimia, had you not?Long ago, replied ſhe, with an apprehenſive countenance, which yet was lightened up with pleaſure. And now I am come, Monimia, reaſſumed he, you muſt ſuffer me to remain here, for I cannot H3 get 1150 H3v 150 get into my own room: the chapel doors, you know, are faſtened within ſide, and by the uſual way at this hour of the night it is impoſſible. I can ſtay but a moment; but I could not bear to be ſo many hours without ſeeing you; and beſides, I had no means of letting you know why I went ſo ſuddenly from hence, and I fear you have been unhappy.

I ſhould have been unhappy indeed, if Betty, who heard it from the ſervant who came for you, had not told me as a piece of news, that company had arrived unexpectedly at Weſt Wolverton.—And in ſuch a night, Orlando, was it poſſible to expect you could leave them to come ſo far? How good it is of you!—And yet you will ſuffer, I fear, from your wet clothes. Good God! what can I do to prevent your ſuffering?

Be not uneaſy about that, my angel friend, replied Orlando; ſuch trifles I never attend to, and never ſuffer from: if you will let me ſit down here with you, I will take off my great coat, and my other clothes 1151 H4r 151 clothes are not ſo very wet. At this hour there will ſurely be nothing to apprehend from ſtaying here.

I hope not, ſaid Monimia, I hope not, if we ſpeak low. The wind is ſo high, that any trifling noiſe could hardly be ehard by my aunt if ſhe were upon the watch, which I hope ſhe is not. You are generous to indulge me, anſwered Orlando; and I muſt be a monſter to dream of injuring ſuch innocence and candour. But, Monimia, there are a thouſand uneaſy thoughts continually crowding upon me about you. This Betty Richards—I am afraid ſhe is a bad girl; I am ſure ſhe is an artful one; and there is an alliance of ſome ſort or other between her and the old butler: you will never truſt her, Monimia.

Never indeed, replied Monimia; for though ſhe is of late much thrown in my way ſince my aunt has become more indolent from her accident, I never willingly am with her; nor do I indeed like her ſo well as I uſed to do.

H4 Continue 1152 H4v 152

Continue to keep yourſelf then from much intimacy, Monimia; for the converſation of ſuch a girl, to a mind pure and unſullied like yours, is to be dreaded. It is coarſe at leaſt, if not vicious; and, if it be not dangerous, is at all events improper. Diſcourage therefore her talking to you as much as you can, even about the tittle tattle of the houſe. Monimia moſt readily promiſed to obey him:—and then obſerving that he looked at her with a peculiar expreſſion of uneaſineſs in his countenance, ſhe ſaid, But is that all, Orlando? Is there not ſomething elſe that gives you concern? Yes, replied he; I will not conceal from you that there are many things. This wedding of my ſiſter’s, though I moſt ſincerely rejoice that ſhe is likely to be happily ſettled, ſeems to teem with troubles for me.

Monimia turned pale, but only claſped her hands together as ſhe ſat by him, and did not interrupt him. He went on.

My uncle Woodford piques himſelf extremely 1153 H5r 153 extremely upon having brought about this marriage; for the father of the young man (a merchant at Corke in very great buſineſſ) for ſome time poſitively refuſed his conſent, becauſe of Philippa’s want of fortune. My uncle, you know, or rather you do not know, is juſt the reverſe of my mother, and is as buſtling and ſpirited as ſhe is mild and tranquil. Having got his money himſelf, he has no notion that any thing but money is worth thinking about, and that the money is beſt that is made in trade; and therefore, as he has only one ſon, who does nto chooſe to take up his buſineſs, but is ſtudying at the Temple, he has adopted a notion, that it would be much better for me to go with him to London, and learn his buſineſs of a wine merchant, to which I may ſucceed.

And marry one of your couſins, ſaid Monimia in a faint voice, who are, you have told me, ſuch pretty women! If that is part of his plan, anſwered Orlando, my Monimia, he has kept it to himſelf.— H5 But 1154 H5v 154 But I do not believe it is, as one of them is engaged, and the other would not think me either ſmart or rich enough. Whatever may be Mr. Woodford’s plan, however, that part of it will certainly never take effect; nor indeed will any of it, for I feel a total diſinclination to it.

Why then are you ſo diſtreſt, Orlando, at the propoſal?

Becauſe I ſee it makes my father reſtleſs――not exactly the propoſal, ſo much as the converſation my uncle has held with him.— He has been declaiming againſt the folly of my dreaming away my time in waiting for a legacy from Mrs. Rayland; which after all, ſaid he, the whimſical old woman may not give him—and what if ſhe does? If ſhe acts as ſhe ought, the eſtate, you know, brother Somerive, ought to be your eldeſt ſon Phil’s; and if ſhe gives the reſt of your family three or four thouſand pounds each, what will that do for your youngeſt ſon? Why, not give him ſalt for his porridge.

Dear papa, ſaid Maria, what an expreſſion! 1155 H6r 155 expreſſion!Well, well, child, anſwered my uncle, I can’t ſtand to pick my words, when I am as anxious about a thing as I am about this—I ſay, and every man who knows the world will agree with me— I ſay, that a fine young fellow like my nephew here ought not to waſte his life nailed to the gouty chair of a peeviſh old woman, who ten to one dies and bilks him at laſt. Let him be put into ſome way of doing for himſelf—every man who knows the world will agree with me—let him be put into ſome way of doing for himſelf; and then, if Mrs. Rayland has a mind to be a friend to him, take my word for it ſhe’ll do it ſo much the ſooner. I’m ſure of it, for I’ve remarked it in my dealings among mankind, and every man who knows the world will agree with me, that people are always more ready to help thoſe who are in a way of doing well, than thoſe that hang about helpleſs. If Orlando here was in a way of getting forward in the world, why you’d ſee that the old girl would be twice as kind H6 to 1156 H6v 156 to him—or, if ſhe was not, why he need not ſo much care.

I found, continued Orlando, that this diſcourſe, though my father did not perfectly aſſent to the juſtice of all its arguments, made a deep impreſſion on his mind, which had long been diſturbed by the difficulty of finding for me ſome proper line of conduct for my future eſtabliſhment: and the determination is, that Mrs. Rayland is to be applied to for her opinion as to my ſiſter’s marriage, by way of compliment; and in regard to me, by way of ſounding her intentions. It appears to me to be all very bad policy; and I foreſee nothing but vexation, perhaps my removal from hence.

Orlando pauſed a moment; and Monimia, with a deep and tremulous ſigh, repeated, From hence! Alas! Orlando, I have foreſeen that the happineſs I have ſo little while enjoyed of ſeeing you would not laſt long!

I know not, replied he. I may be too 1157 H7r 157 too eaſily alarmed; but, with the buſtle and fuſs my uncle makes about every thing he purſues, he ſeldom fails of carrying his point; and he is now elated with his ſucceſs over the prudent and worldly-minded Mr. Fitz-Owen, and believes his interpoſition would every where prove as infallible as it has done in hurrying up this marriage for Philippa.

Do you think it then too much hurried? ſaid Monimia.

I hardly know, replied he, how to think it otherwiſe. Mr. Fitz-Owen is a very young man: he only ſaw Philippa half a dozen times when ſhe was in town laſt ſpring with my uncle; and he has inſiſted upon this match with as much vehemence as he could have done, had he known all her good qualities.

That, ſaid Monimia, is a very grave reflection. If Philippa has the good qualities of which the gentleman is ignorant, the diſcovery that beauty is her leaſt perfection will increaſe his happineſs.

But 1158 H7v 158

But what does ſhe know of him, Monimia? What opportunity can ſhe have had to judge of a man with whom ſhe is engaged to paſs her life? Surely the acquaintance of a fortnight is very inſufficient to form her judgment of a character on which the happineſs of her whole life is to depend. Mr. Fitz-Owen may be a very good-tempered and worthy man; but, as he is the native of another country, it is impoſſible we ſhould know whether he is or no. However, I keep all theſe reflections to myſelf; for the affair is ſettled, and my father ſeems pleaſed with it. Philippa too ſeems to become attached to Mr. Fitz-Owen. There is ſomething very flattering to a young woman in the attention and perſeverance he has ſhewn. He has a good perſon, and ſhe really I believe likes him.

But you do not, Orlando?

I do not diſlike him—I only wiſh I knew more of his temper; and I wiſh too that my buſtling buſy uncle had not contrived to connect my affairs with thoſe of this 1159 H8r 159 this wedding, and to hurry every thing with a precipitation that hardly gives one time to breathe. It was only on Thurſday evening that Fitz-Owen arrived from Dublin with his father’s conſent: on Friday he delivered his credentials; and on Saturday the impetuous Mr. Woodford whirled him, with his own daughters and his officious ſelf, down to us, where he purſues his plan with the ſame vehemence, for he has already ſettled with my father, that the letter to Mrs. Rayland is to be written to-morrow, and on Wedneſday Philippa and Iſabella, and, if Mrs. Rayland conſents, I alſo, return with them to London, (Monimia ſhuddered, and checked an involuntary emotion ſhe felt to implore Heaven aloud that Mrs. Rayland might be inexorably averſe to this ſcheme) where, continued Orlando, the marriage is to take place as ſoon as the uſual forms can be gone through —Philippa is to ſet off to Ireland with her huſband, and Iſabella is to remain the winter with the Woodfords; my uncle being ſure 1160 H8v 160 ſure, he ſays, of getting her married as well as he has done Philly.

Alas! Orlando, you will go then: for Mrs. Rayland, however ſhe may diſlike ſuch a propoſal, will not, I am afraid, oppoſe it: there is ſomething ſo odd in her temper, that, though ſhe is offended if her advice is not aſked, ſhe will ſeldom give it when it is, eſpecially if ſhe believes any other perſon has been conſulted firſt.

I underſtand her perfectly, my Monimia, and I ſee nothing but vexation gathering for me in every quarter. Alas! it is not one of the leaſt, that, while theſe people remain, my father expects me to ſtay at home; though, as my brother is ſo good as to promiſe to come thither to-morrow, I think I might be ſpared.

And has your brother, ſaid Monimia, been conſulted on this plan of your going into buſineſs with your uncle?

Oh, yes! It was opened to him after dinner, while I had left the room a moment to conſider by what means I could get to you 1161 H9r 161 you; and I found him eagerly promoting it for reaſons which I heartily forgive, while I thank God I feel myſelf incapable of harbouring ſuch ſentiments towards him, could we change ſituations. I muſt follow my deſtiny, Monimia, whatever it may be; for I muſt not make my poor father, and ſtill leſs my mother, unhappy. They have too many uneaſy hours about Philip; and while the marriage of Philippa gives them ſome ſatisfaction, it ſhall not be embittered by any oppoſition of mine to what they may think right for me—and yet I own, Monimia, I own, that to go with Mr. Woodford, to be confined to that ſort of buſineſs, would make me moſt completely wretched. He ſaid this in a tone of voice ſo expreſſive of deſpondence, that Monimia, oppreſſed as ſhe was before, could conceal the anguiſh ſhe felt no longer. Still, however, ſhe tried to check the exceſs of her ſorrow, while he tenderly ſoothed her, aſſuring her that, whatever might be his fate, he ſhould love her to the end of his life; and 1162 H9v 162 and if he thought that the drudgery of a few years at any buſineſs, however irkſome to him, would enable him to paſs the reſt of his life in moderate competence with her, he would ſubmit to it, not only as a duty, but as a bleſſing. And now, my Monimia, let us conſider how we can meet to-morrow night—by that time ſomething may more decidedly be known.—I will come then early in the morning, before this letter, of which I dread the event, is ſent; and, under pretence of enquiring how Mrs. Rayland does, and then of going into the ſtudy for ſome of my clothes, which I often leave there, I can open the chapel door, and prepare every thing for our going to the ſtudy the next evening; for to live without ſeeing you, Monimia, is impoſſible, and I fear to meet here often might be too hazardous.

It would indeed, replied Monimia, and even now I have been in miſery the whole time—Yet it was ſo late, Orlando, before you came!

It 1163 H10r 163

It was two o’clock before I could leave the company; for my uncle is a man who loves to ſit long over his wine, to tell what he thinks good ſtories, and calls for toaſts and ſongs, ſuffering nobody to quit the room as long as they can diſtinguiſh the glaſs from the candle. My father, very little uſed to this ſort of conviviality, was tired, and left us to manage him as we could. —My brother would have remained with him till now, I dare ſay, moſt willingly; but he had promiſed to be at Stockton’s, with whom he now almoſt entirely lives, to a great hunting party this morning; and he daſhed through the rain about one o-clock. Fitz-Owen got extremely drunk, and was extremely noiſy; and I at length found there was no way for me to eſcape but by feigning to be in the ſame ſituation; by which ſtratagem I was at length releaſed, and flew, Monimia, with impatience to thee, dear ſource of all the happineſs I have, or ever hope to have, on earth!

It 1164 H10v 164

It was now ſo near the dawn of day, that Monimia beſought him to conſider the danger there was, if he ſtaid longer, of being obſerved in his departure by the labourers coming to their work. Orlando owned there was ſomething to fear, yet felt unuſually reluctant to go, and lingered till the break of day was very viſible through the caſement. He then tore himſelf away, and excaped from the turret without obſervation; but in croſſing the park he was ſeen at a diſtance by the footman, who was up on ſome ſcheme of his own. As great rewards were offered for the detection of poachers, and the fellow concluded Orlando to be one, he haſtily called one of the grooms; and they went round together to another part of the park, by which they thought the intruder muſt paſs; and, as Orlando was mounting the ſtile, he was amazed to find himſelf ſuddenly collared by one man, and rudely ſeized by the arm by another. His uncommon ſtrength and activity enabled him 1165 H11r 165 him to diſengage himſelf inſtantly from both. They as inſtantly diſcovered their miſtake, and with a thouſand apologies returned to the houſe: but this unlucky rencounter was afterwards talked of in the family; and, though the conjectures to which it gave riſe were remote from the truth, they yet failed not to diſturb the tranquility of the young lovers.

Mr. 1166 H11v 166

Chap. VIII.

Mr. Somerive, after many debates with himſelf, and many conſultations with his wife, at length determined to write to Mrs. Rayland: it was indeed neceſſary to pay her the compliment of conſulting her on the marriage of his daughter; and he thought it not an improper opportunity to try what were her intentions in regard to Orlando, by hinting, than an occaſion now offered to eſtabliſh him advantageouſly in trade.

The arguments of Mr. Woodford had not on this point ſo much influence as to prevent his fearing the experiment he was about to make; but the conduct of his eldeſt ſon, which nothing could reſtrain, made him look forward with fear to the future.ture 1167 H12r 167 ture. He found his own health very much injured by the uneaſineſs he had lately undergone; and he knew that, ſhould he die, the only dependence of his wife and his unmarried daughters muſt be on Orlando, and on the friendſhip of Woodford. To put his ſon therefore into buſineſs with his wife’s brother was certainly a very deſirable plan, if Mrs. Rayland did not intend better to provide for him; and it was certainly time to know whether ſhe had or had not any ſuch intentions in his favour.

The letter then which Orlando ſo dreaded, was written, after great precautions in chooſing the words. It requeſted her approbation of his eldeſt daughter’s marriage with Mr. Fitz-Owen, the only ſon of an eminent merchant at Corke; and ſaid, that as Orlando was now of an age in which it became neceſſary to think of his future eſtabliſhment, thoughts were entertained of putting him into buſineſs with his uncle; but that nothing would be concluded upon without the entire approbation of Mrs. Rayland 1168 H12v 168 Rayland, to whoſe notice and protection he was ſo much obliged.

A ſervant was ſent with this letter about noon. It was received and read in due form and a verbal meſſage returned, that Mrs. Rayland would at her leiſure write an anſwer, and ſend one of her own ſervants with it.

On this occaſion Mrs. Rayland talked to Lennard—not to conſult her, for it was an affair in which ſhe thought herſelf alone competent to judge—but to give vent to her ſpleen, and to expreſs her diſlike of all people in trade, and particularly of poor Mrs. Somerive. Thoſe vulgar mundugus folks, ſaid ſhe, will not ſuffer the family to better by their chance connection with a gentleman—let them marry their girls, if they will, to dealers and chapmen; I ſhall never interfere: they are all like the mother, and may make good tradeſmen’s wives; though, if Mr. Somerive had not, like his fooliſh father, had a low taſte, his daughters might have married men of family,mily 1169 I1r 169 mily, who would have been proud to be allied, though diſtantly, to ours. As it is, they muſt carry their cherry cheeks to a lower market—I ſhall never oppoſe it. But for Orlando, there was ſomething of an air of good blood about him, that almoſt made me doubt at times his birth by his mother’s ſide. However, if he gets theſe buying and ſelling notions in his head, and chooſes his mother’s low origin ſhould continue to be remembered, I have done. I ſuppoſe he’s got among them—a fine flahſy ſet of trades- folks—and enters into their amuſements and views; and if ſo, I ſhall never diſturb him, let him go his own way; only I ſhall not chooſe to have a ſhopkeeper an inmate at Rayland Hall.

Monimia, who was called down a moment before to aſſiſt in cutting out linen, was preſent during this harangue, for they conſidered her as a mere cypher. She found herſelf terribly affected by the opening of it; but when it proceeded to ſpeak of Orlando, ſhe meaſured four times inſteadI. I ſtead 1170 I1v 170 ſtead of two, notched a piece of Iriſh cloth in the wrong place, and was beginning to uſe her ſciſſars the wrong way, when a ſevere look from Mrs. Lennard, who ſnatched it out of her hand with What are you about, mope? reſtored her to her recollection. She begged pardon; and another look from her aunt bade her beware that ſhe did not offend a ſecond time—when Mrs. Rayland thus went on:

After a taſte for ſuch company, this place muſt be very dull: drinking and jollity, I ſuppoſe, are ſoon learned. And ſo Mr. Orlando has not been here theſe two days! Mighty well; he is his own maſter— Lennard! he has not called this morning, has he?

Monimia, by a glance of her eye, ſaw him at that moment penſively and dejectedly croſſing the park on foot. She dared not however ſay ſo; but finding herſelf quite unequal to the miſery of being preſent at an interview, in which ſhe foreſaw that, in conſequence of this fatal letter, he would 1171 I2r 171 would be forbidden the houſe, and ſeeing that her aunt determined ſhe ſhould ſtay, ſhe hung her foot as if by accident in the long roll of linen that was on the ground, and, in pretending to diſengage it, fell with ſome violence againſt an old heavy gilt leather ſcreen that went acroſs one ſide of the large room, and ran the ſharp-pointed ſciſſars, with which ſhe was cutting the linen, into her arm a little above the wriſt.

Her aunt, however, did not perceive it, till the blood ſtreamed from her arm, round which, without any complaint, ſhe wrapped her handkerchief. The paleneſs and faintneſs, which ſhe could not diſguiſe, were accounted for when Mrs. Lennard ſaw the handkerchief bathed in blood. Monimia, who was actually ſinking to the earth, though not from the wound, was then diſmiſſed, while Betty was called to take care of the careleſs girl, and ordered to put ſome friar’s balſam to the cut; and ſhe juſt tottered out of one door as Orlando, after ſending up I2 for 1172 I2v 172 for permiſſion, entered at the other. This was fortunate; for, had he beheld her in ſuch a ſituation, and had ſhe at that moment ſeen him, their intelligence could hardly have been concealed. The looks Mrs. Lennard had caſt on her, when ſhe firſt appeared confuſed, had impreſſed her with terror, and, ſhe fancied, menaced all that was dreadful. With difficulty, and leaning on Betty’s arm, ſhe reached her turret; where, under pretence that the accident of having hurt her arm had turned her ſick, ſhe begged a glaſs of water, and lay down, being otherwiſe unable to conceal from Betty the agitation of her ſpirits, and the terror ſhe was in for the reception of Orlando.

Mrs. Rayland, inſtead of the kindneſs ſhe was uſed to ſhew him, now received him with the moſt cold and repulſive formality. Your ſervant, Mr. Orlando— Pleaſe to take a chair, was all ſhe ſaid; and in the manner of her ſaying it, Orlando ſaw abundant cauſe to fear that his father’sther’s 1173 I3r 173 ther’s letter had undone him with Mrs. Rayland.

I find we are to loſe you, Sir!―― you are going to turn merchant, or ſhopkeeper!

Not, Madam, replied Orlando, if you think my doing ſo a wrong meaſure.

Oh! Sir, I never pretend to dictate. Every one knows their own affairs beſt; and by all means you ought to follow your father’s orders and your own inclinations.

Alas, dear Madam! replied Orlando, with a ſort of ſpirited humility that well became him, my father’s orders would, I believe, in this caſe, be given with reluctance; and though I ſhould obey them, ti would be with reluctance indeed!

What, Sir! (relaxing a little of her vinegar aſpect) is it not your own deſire then that you ſhould be put apprentice or journeyman to this perſon, this brother of your mother’s? I thought, for my part, that finding perhaps, like your brother and other gay I3 young 1174 I3v 174 young men, that the country was very dull, you choſe probably to figure in London; for it is trades-people now that can beſt afford to ſhew away, as witneſs the new comers at poor Lord Carloraine’s fine place —thoſe what d’ye callums—they were trades-people—yet nobody can attempt to live as they do. If ſuch things can be done by trade, no wonder young men are eager to begin. The Hall, Mr. Orlando, muſt be a dull place, when once you have got theſe fine doings in your head.

Madam, ſaid Orlando trembling, for he now found that his fate depended on the event of this dialogue— Madam, I have always avoided the meanneſs of adulation, nor will I uſe it now; you ought to deſpiſe me if I did; and I know you have generoſity enought to have beſtowed all the favours I have received from you, without expecting me to ſacrifice my integrity or my freedom.

Mrs. Rayland did not very clearly comprehend this ſentence. It was partly complimentary,plimentary 1175 I4r 175 plimentary, and therefore to her taſte; but the words ſacrifice and freedom, at the end, on which a ſtrong emphaſis was laid, ſounded a little like rebellion. She therefore ſcrewed up her viſage to its former aſperity, and anſwered, No, indeed, Sir, I expect no ſacrifices from any body; and as to freedom—every body is free to do as they like beſt in their own affairs, as i told you before.

You will not then, Madam, ſuſpect me of meanneſs unworthy equally of my reſpect for you and what I owe myſelf, if I declare to you, that I have no wiſh to enter into trade, for which I am very certian I have no talents; and that, though I muſt obey my father if he inſiſts upon it, yet I ſhall be very unhappy, and had rather, infinitely rather, if you will have the goodneſs to permit it, remain at home, with the advantage of being allowed ſometimes, in paying my reſpects to you, to have, as I have had for ſome months, the uſe of your library; where I hope I am qualifying myſelfI4 ſelf 1176 I4v 176 ſelf for one of the liberal profeſſions againſt the time when my father can find an opportunity to place me in one: and in the mean time I call God to witneſs, that to aſſociate with ſuch people as Mr. Stockton, or to emulate his ſplendour, is ſo far from being my wiſh, that to be compelled to do it would be the greateſt puniſhment that could be inflicted upon me.

I believe, couſin Orlando, I believe— and I am pleaſed to ſee it—you have ſome underſtanding; and indeed, young man, I think too well of you to wiſh to ſee you a tradeſman. Couſin Orlando, were, he well knew, words that always portended good humour, and were never uſed but on days of high favour. They now ſounded moſt ſoothingly in the ears of Orlando.— Will you then, Madam, be ſo very good, when you take the trouble to anſwer my father’s letter, to expreſs your ſentiments on this matter? and I am ſure he will then preſs it no farther.

I ſhall tell him, child, replied ſhe, that 1177 I5r 177 that I think you may do better; and for the preſent, as you are not idle, that you may go on with your ſtudies at the Hall.

Orlando, in raptures at having carried his point, thanked his venerable couſin a thouſand times. He never thought her ſo reaſonable before: ſhe never fancied him ſo much like her grandfather Sir Orlando; and ſo many civilities paſſed between them, that, before they parted, ſhe gave him a bank-note of ten pounds, and he was admitted to the honour of kiſſing her hands. In this excellent humour, which Mrs. Lennard did not diſcourage, he left her, went into the ſtudy to ſecure his admittance in the evening, and to recover himſelf of the extreme perturbation he was in, before he returned to the party with whom he was to dine at home.

Mrs. Rayland then, having called for her writing materials, which ſeldom ſaw the ſun, and being placed in form at her roſe-wood writing-box, lined with green velvet and mounted in ſilver, produced, at the end of I5 four 1178 I5v 178 four hours, the following letter, piquing herſelf on ſpelling as her father ſpelt, and diſdaining thoſe idle novelties by which a few ſuperfluous letters are ſaved.

Sir, my kinſman,

I have received youre letter, and am oblidged by youre taking the troubbel to informe me of youre famely affaires, to the wich I am a ſinceer goode wiſher. In reſpecte to youre daughter Philippa muſt begge to be excuſed from givving my oppinion, not haveing the pleaſure to knowe the gentlemen, and being from my retired life no judge of the perſonnes charractere, who are remote and in biſneſs, as I underſtande this perſonne is; wherefore I can onelye there upon ſaie, that doubtleſſe you, being as you are a goode and carefulle father, will take due care and precaution that youre daughtere ſhall not, by her marriage, be expoſed to the miſchances of becoming reduced 1179 I6r 179 reduced by bankruptcies and other accidents, whereby peopel in trade are oft times grate ſufferers.—But your care herein for your daughter’s ſecuritye is not to be queſtionned. Furthermore, reſpecting youre youngeſt ſonne, Mr. Orlando, he is very certainelye at youre diſpoſal alſo, and you are, it may be, the moſt competent judge of that which is ſitting to bee done for his future goode and advantage. I wiſh him very well; he ſeeming to me to be a ſober, promiſing, and well-conditioned youthe; and ſuch a one as, were I his neerer relation, I ſhoulde thinke a pitye to put to a trade. I am at preſent alwaies glad of his companie at the Hall, and willinge to give anye littel encourragement to his defier of learninge in the liberal ſciences fitting for a gentleman, the wich his entring on a ſhoppe or warehouſe would diſtroye and put an ende to. However that maye bee, I ſaie again, that you, being his father, are to be ſure the proppereſt perſonne to determine for him, and he is dutiefullie inclined, and willinge I6 to 1180 I6v 180 to obey you. Yet by the diſcourſe I have had with him there-uponne, it doth not appeare that the youthe himſelf is inclined to become a dealer, as you purpoſe.

Heartilie recommending you in my prayers to the Diſpoſer of all goode giftes, and hoping he will directe you in all thinges for the well-doing of your famely, I remaine,

Sir, my kinſman, youre well-wiſher and humbel ſervant,

Grace Raylande.

This letter was received at Wolverton while Mr. Somerive, his two ſons, Mr. Woodford and Mr. Fitz-Owen were yet over their wine. The anxious father opened it with a palpitating heart, nor were the younger part of the audience leſs ſolicitious to know its contents. As there were none of them towards whom ſecrecy was abſolutely neceſſary, though it might have been more prudent, Mr. Somerive, at the requeſt of his eldeſt ſon, put it acroſs the table to him— 1181 I7r 181 him—who, with that thoughtleſs indiſcretion which marked his character, read it aloud, with comments ſerving to turn into ridicule the writer, and the ſentiments it contained. The deſcription of Orlando— under that of a ſober, promiſing, and well- conditioned youth—was read with a burſt of laughter; while the ſlighting way in which trade was mentioned, and the contempt thrown on ſhopkeepers, under which Mrs. Rayland ſeemed to deſcribe wine-merchants and every perſon in buſineſs, raiſed the indignation of Mr. Woodford and Mr. Fitz- Owen, who both agreed in declaring that the opinion of ſuch an old crone was not worth conſulting; that ſhe was in a perfect dotage, as well from pride as old age; and that it was a condeſcenſion in Mr. Somerive to have conſulted her at all. Orlando, however, ſaw all this with concern mingled with joy. He was pretty ſure, from the countenance of his father, which he ſolicitouſly watched as he perſued the letter, that the part of it which related to himſelf was kinder than he expected 1182 I7v 182 expected; that it had turned the fluctuating and undecided opinion of his father in his favour; and that he ſhould not now, by being ſent with his uncle Woodford, be condemned to the double miſery of quitting Monimia, and aſſociating with perſons whoſe manners and ideas were ſo different from his own, that it was a perpetual puniſhment to him to be in their company. The diſpleaſure of his brother at the partiality Mrs. Rayland expreſſed for him was eaſily accounted for; and Orlando had long accuſtomed himſelf to bear his rough jokes, and even his ſarcaſtic reproaches, which he vented whenever they met, without much uneaſineſs.

As ſoon as Mr. Somerive could diſengage himſelf from his company, he withdrew to conſult with his wife on the purport of Mrs. Rayland’s letter, and made a ſign to Orlando to follow him in a few moments. —He did ſo, and found his father and mother in conſultation in the garden. The mother, whoſe heart was half broken at the idea 1183 I8r 183 idea of parting with her daughter ſo ſuddenly, was weeping with joy to find that Orlando would not yet leave her: flattering herſelf, from the purport of the letter, that the affluent fortune of Mrs. Rayland would at laſt centre with Orlando, and putting the moſt favourable conſtruction on every expreſſion that related to him, ſhe agreed with Mr. Somerive, that nothing would be ſo imprudent as to think of removing him; and it was even determined, that Mr. Somerive ſhould that evening write to her again, thanking her for her advice about his daughter, and leaving the future fate of Orlando wholly to her diſpoſal; that Orlando ſhould himſelf carry the letter, and aſk leave to take his former apartments for ſome time—only returning once again to Wolverton to take leave of his eldeſt ſiſter, whom he was to ſee no more before ſhe went to Ireland—and of his ſecond ſiſter Iſabella, who was to accompany her to London, and to paſs ſome time with her uncle and aunt Woodford.

Never 1184 I8v 184

Never did Orlando obey his father with more alacrity than on this occaſion; and on his return Mrs. Rayland never received him more kindly. He was now again invited to partake of her ſupper: without putting much force on himſelf, he ſhewed her exactly that ſort of attention which was the moſt agreeable to her, and appeared grateful without being ſervile. At length he was diſmiſſed; and, when the houſe was perfectly quiet, he flew to Monimia, who accompanied him to the ſtudy; and when he related how much more happily the events of the day had paſſed than he had at its beginning expected, ſhe ſhed tears of delight; and the ſweet ſenſations of hope, which they now dared to indulge more than there ever yet appeared reaſon to indulge them, made this one of the happieſt evenings they had ever paſſed together.

The following day Orlando returned to the houſe of his father, and found that, in regard to ſome parts of his family, a new arrangement had taken place. Mrs. Somerive,rive 1185 I9r 185 rive, as the hour approached for her two eldeſt daughters to leave her—one to be ſeparated from her perhaps for years, and to enter into another family—found herſelf ſo much affected, that her huſband, who was very indulgent to her, agreed ſhe ſhould accompany the party to London, be preſent at the wedding of her daughter, and return in a fortnight, bringing Iſabella back with her, if the idea of leaving her was at the end of that time uneaſy to her. This being ſettled, Orlando took leave of his mother and ſiſters that evening: the former rejoicing that he would remain in the country; and the latter, but particularly the eldeſt, lamenting their ſeparation with many tears: for Orlando, who was tenderly attentive to his ſiſters, was fondly beloved by them all; though to Selina, the third, who was a year younger than himſelf, he was more attached than to the reſt.

Penſively he returned back to the Hall after this melancholy parting: it was the firſt time the family had been thus ſeparated;ed; 1186 I9v 186 ed; for, except the unhappy eccentricities of his eldeſt ſon, the union of Mr. Somerive’s children, and the promiſe they all gave of excellence, had hitherto made him amends for much of the difficulty he found in ſupporting them. But Orlando ſaw that the hour was now come when his father felt equal pain for the fate of thoſe who were about to be what is called eſtabliſhed in the world, and for thoſe whom he knew not how to eſtabliſh, or, in caſe of his death, to provide for. All that filial tenderneſs and good ſenſe could ſuggeſt to his ingenuous and generous mind, he ſaid to conſole his father; but with infinite concern he obſerved, that the wounds inflicted by the profligacy of his brother feſtered more deeply every day, and that all he could do had too little power to aſſuage the conſtant pain ariſing from this ſource; from which, though his father did not complain, Orlando thought it but too evident that his health was gradually impaired.

Againſt the uneaſineſs theſe obſervations gave 1187 I10r 187 gave him he found the only reſpite in his books, to which he aſſiduouſly applied himſelf—and in his evening conferences with Monimia, who every hour became more dear to him, and whoſe perſonal charms ſeemed every hour heightened by the progreſs of her underſtanding. As the nights became longer, and more obſcure, they met earlier, and with leſs apprehenſion of detection; and as Mrs. Lennard ſeemed to become more and more remiſs in her office of duenna, the opportunities they had of ſeeing each other in the courſe of the day (though they rarely ventured to hold any converſation) ſweetened the tedious hours between their meetings.

Thus almoſt a fortnight paſſed after the departure of Mrs. Somerive and her daughters for London; Orlando remaining conſtantly at the Hall, except dining occaſionally with his father, or riding over in a morning to enquire after him, Mrs. Rayland ſeeming every day more fond of his company; and every body about the houſe, even 1188 I10v 188 even the old ſervants, who had hitherto had ſuch an aſcendency, appearing to conſider him as the future maſter of the domain, where he was now inveſted with powers he had never before enjoyed. The game- keeper was ordered to ſuffer no other perſon to have the liberty of ſhooting on the extenſive manors; and Mrs. Rayland was pleaſed when the game that was brought to her table was killed by Orlando; while, whatever diminution of conſequence the confidential ſervants might ſuffer by this growing fondneſs of their miſtreſs for him, there was ſomething in his manner ſo faſcinating, that their jealouſy and anger were inſenſibly converted into attachment; and all, even the auſtere Mrs. Lennard herſelf, ſeemed to wiſh him well; except Mr. Pattenſon, who, in proportion as he became in favour with others, appeared to diſlike him. —Orlando had ſome time before remarked his rudeneſs, and often fancied that he watched him, and had ſome ſuſpicion of his evening converſations with Monimiayet 1189 I11r 189 yet if he had, it was more likely he would ſpeak of what he knew, than ſecretly reſent what he had in fact nothing to do with: but ſome reſentment he appeared to harbour; and, whenever he met Orlando, ſurveyed him with looks which expreſſed anger, ſcorn, and apprehenſion. Orlando, conſcious of never having injured him, and fearful only in one point, endeavoured to guard againſt any miſchief he could do by diſcovering his evening viſits to the turret, or thoſe of Monimia to the library; and, for the reſt, deſpiſed his wrath too much to attempt appeaſing or reſenting it.

Mrs. Lennard, to whom the conſtant reſidence of Orlando at the Hall might be ſuppoſed to be diſagreeable, was much more civil to him, now that he was a fine young man, than ever ſhe had been during his childhood: to her he was always extremely obliging; and though he diſdained to ſtoop to the meanneſs of flattering Mrs. Rayland, where money might be ſuppoſed to be his ſole object, he did not think 1190 I11v 190 think it equally unworthy to uſe a little art to promote the intereſt of his love. Mrs. Lennard was remarkably open to two ſorts of adulation—She loved to be thought a woman of ſenſe, and to hear how fine her perſon muſt have been in her younger days. She was even now accuſtomed to ſay, that though not ſo well to meet, ſhe was ſtill well to follow; for ſhe fancied her tall perpendicular figure exhibited ſtill a great deal of dignity and grace. Theſe foibles were ſo evident, and whenever ſhe was not with Mrs. Rayland ſhe took ſo little pains to conceal them, that Orlando, who thought it too probable that on her the future happineſs of his life depended, believed it not wrong to take advantage of them to acquire her favour; and he ſucceeded ſo well by adroitly adminiſtering now and then a little well-timed flattery, that Mrs. Lennard not only held him in high eſteem, but endeavoured to ſecure his, by cultivating the graces he had remarked. She entered on a new courſe of reading, and a little moderniſed her 1191 I12r 191 her appearance. To have made too many and too rapid improvements in the latter reſpect, would have been attended with the hazard of diſpleaſing Mrs. Rayland; hers therefore were confined to that ſort of emendations which ſhe was not likely to perceive.

It happened that, in the progreſs of theſe refinements, Mrs. Lennard had occaſion for ſome articles which Betty Richards (who was a very great favourite, from the aſſiduity which ſhe affected in her ſervice particularly) was commiſſioned to buy. The place ſhe was to go to was rather a large village than a town, and was about three miles and a half from the Hall; the way to it leading partly through the park, and partly through ſome hanging woods and coppices which belonged to Mrs. Rayland. Monimia happened to be in the room when Mrs. Lennard was giving Betty this commiſſion for the next morning; and as her aunt had promiſed her a few articles for herſelf, for which ſhe had immediate occaſion, ſhe ventured to ſolicit leave to 1192 I12v 192 to go with Betty to make theſe purchaſes. Dear Madam, ſaid ſhe, do indulge me this once. I have hardly been out of the park twice in my life; and though I have no deſire to go any where when you diſapprove of it, ſurely there can be no harm in my walking to ſuch a place with Betty, juſt to buy what you are ſo good as to allow me. We ſhall not be gone above two hours and a half, for I will go as early as you pleaſe in the morning.

Mrs. Lennard, who happened to be in a better humour than uſual when this requeſt was made, agreed to it under ſome reſtrictions. She ſaid, that if Monimia did go, ſhe muſt be back by nine o’clock at the very lateſt, and not go into any houſe but that of the univerſal dealer with whom her buſineſs was; that ſhe muſt make no acquaintance, and enter into converſation with nobody. To all this Monimia moſt willingly agreed; and ſhe believed that Orlando, whom ſhe determined to conſult in the evening, would not object to her going, on 1193 K1r 193 on ſuch an occaſion, ſo little a way, whatever diſlike he had to her aſſociating much with Betty.

To Orlando, therefore, ſhe communicated her deſign as ſoon as they met, who did not ſeem much pleaſed with it; but to a matter apparently ſo trifling he was aſhamed of making any ſerious oppoſition, when ſhe ſaid that ſhe really wanted the articles her aunt had given her leave to buy, which no other opportunity might afford her. He therefore, after expreſſing his hopes that ſhe would continue upon her guard againſt Betty, whom he told her he ſaw more and more cauſe to miſtruſt and diſlike, conſented to the little expedition ſhe meditated, and directed her the neareſt way through the woods and the preſerved pheaſant-grounds of Mrs. Rayland. I ſhall be out with my gun to-morrow, ſaid he; but I ſuppoſe I muſt not venture to meet you as if it were by chance?

I think, anſwered Monimia, you had better not. Were we to meet, it would Vol. I. K perhaps 1194 K1v 194 perhaps look like deſign; and as we could not venture to enter into converſation, it is hardly worth the riſk of Betty’s talking about it, ſince we ſhould only juſt paſs each other in the woods.

I believe, replied Orlando, it will be better not; eſpecially as I told Mrs. Rayland at dinner yeſterday, and while your aunt was preſent, that I ſhould walk with my gun to my father’s, and try round his lands for ſome game to ſend up to my mother and ſiſter.

Mrs. Lennard had probably recollected this circumſtance when ſhe ſo eaſily gave Monimia the permiſſion ſhe aſked, her walk lying quite on the oppoſite ſide of the country. It was agreed, therefore, that Orlando ſhould not incur any ſuſpicion of a correſpondence between them, by changing his plan for the next day; and after that was ſettled, Orlando read to her a letter he had that day received from his mother. It related the marriage of Philippa, and her immediate departure for Ireland— deſcribed 1195 K2r 195 deſcribed the ſtate of her own mind on bidding adieu to her daughter—and ſaid, that Mr. Woodford had inſiſted on her ſtaying another week in town to recover her ſpirits; which however ſhe ſhould rather do to indulge Iſabella, who had never been in town before, with the ſight of the play- houſes and other public places; for that her own ſpirits would be infinitely more relieved by collecting around her the reſt of her children. But, added ſhe, while a tear had bliſtered the paper where the ſentence was written, why do I thus fondly flatter myſelf, and forget that your brother, my Orlando, is almoſt a ſtranger to us, and is, I much fear, by his thoughtleſs conduct, ſlowly deſtroying the invaluable life of your dear father? Alas! while I remember this, I know not how I ſhould ſupport myſelf if I did not find comfort in thinking of you.

Orlando’s tears, while he read this letter, fell where the paper was marked by thoſe of this beloved parent. The delightful viſions he had been indulging but the moment K2 before 1196 K2v 196 before, diſappeared; and he hardly dared think of Monimia, if it muſt be at the expence of wounding the peace and detroying the hopes of his parents. One look, however, from her, the ſound of her voice as ſhe ſoothingly ſpoke of his mother, diſſipated theſe mournful thoughts; and, as he led her to her turret, he fancied that, if his mother could ſee her, ſhe would love her as much as he did, and be happy to add to the family ſhe wiſhed to collect around her, ſo amiable and intereſting a creature.

Early 1197 K3r 197

Chap. IX.

Early on the following morning, Monimia, awaking from her ſhort repoſe, prepared herſelf for her little journey, which, unuſed as ſhe was to go farther than about the park or in the walled gardens, was to be an event of ſome importance. The beſt dreſs ſhe had was a white gown, which ſhe put on to make her appearance in the village, with a little ſtraw hat tied under her chin with blue ribband. Her fine hair, which ſhe had never attempted to diſtort with irons, or change by powder, was arranged only by the hands of nature; and a black gauze handkerchief, which her aunt had given her from her own wardrobe, was tied over her ſhoulders. Nothing could be more ſimple than her whole appearance;K3 pearance 1198 K3v 198 pearance; but nothing could conceal the beautiful ſymmetry of her figure, or leſſen the grace which accompanied her motions. Her companion Betty, as eager as ſhe was for the walk, entered her room before ſhe was quite ready, dreſſed in all the finery ſhe dared ſhew at home, while ſhe reſerved her moſt ſplendid ornaments to put on at the park-ſtile, and to be reſtored to her pocket at the ſame place on their return.

It was a clear morning in the middle of October when they ſet out. They happily executed their commiſſion; but Betty had ſo much to ſay, ſo many things to look at, and ſo many wiſhes for the pretty things ſhe ſaw—and the man and his wife, who kept the ſhop, were ſo glad to ſee the ladies, as they called them both, and ſo willing to ſhew all the neweſt things from the next provincial town, as very faſhionable, and preſſed them ſo earneſtly to go into their parlour, and eat ſome cake and drink ſome of their currant wine, that Betty had quite forgot Mrs. Lennard’s injunctiontion 1199 K4r 199 tion to return at nine o’clock; nor could the repeated remonſtrances of Monimia prevail upon her to leave the houſe till the clock ſtruck eleven. Monimia, very much alarmed, and fearing that her aunt would, in conſequence of this diſobedience, never allow her to go out again, then prevailed upon her companion to ſet out; and to ſave as much time as they could, they walked as faſt as poſſible up the path which led from the village, through a copſe that clothed the ſteep acclivity of a hill, which, at the end of about three quarters of a mile, led to Mrs. Rayland’s woods. They paſſed with equal ſpeed through the firſt of theſe woods, the path ſtill aſcending; but when they came to the ſecond, Monimia, from the unuſal exertion, from the heat (for the ſun had yet great power and force), and the apprehenſions of her aunt’s anger, was quite exhauſted, and begged Betty to let her reſt a moment on the ſteps of the ſtile; to which ſhe, who feared Mrs. Lennard’s diſpleaſure much leſs than Monimia, readily aſſented.

K4 Lord 1200 K4v 200

Lord, Miſs, cried ſhe, as they ſat down, how frighted you be at nothing! Why, what can your aunt do, child? She can’t kill you; and as for a few angry words, I’ve no notion of minding ’em, not I: ’tis hard indeed if one’s to be always a ſlave, and never dares to ſtir ever ſo little; —one might as well be a negur.

I would not for the world, anſwered Monimia, offend my aunt when ſhe is kind to me; and it was very good in her to give me money to buy theſe things, and to let me go for them.

I ſee no mighty manner of goodneſs in it, cried the other: who is to provide for you, if ſhe does not, who is your own natural relation? Egollys! Miſs, if I was you, I ſhould be very apt to ſhew her the difference. Why, very often ſhe uſes you like a dog, and I’m ſure ſhe makes you work like a ſervant. There’s Mr. Pattenſon always a-telling me, that handſome girls have no occaſion to be drudges as I be, or as I have been; for that in London they may make their 1201 K5r 201 their fortunes, and live like the fineſt ladies of the land. Thus ſhe ran on, while Monimia, hardly hearing, and not at all attending to her converſation, ſat ſilent, conſidering how extraordinary Orlando would think it, if by any accident he ſhould know ſhe was out ſo long—and trying to recover her breath that they might proceed—when ſuddenly ſeveral ſpaniels ran out of the wood, a pheaſant flew up near them, and the report of two guns was heard ſo near, that Monimia ſtarted in ſome degree of terror; while Betty, whoſe nerves were much ſtronger, clapped her hands, and, laughing aloud, cried: Oh jingo! if here ben’t ſome gentlemen ſhooting—let’s ſtay and ſee who they be!

No, no! ſaid Monimia, let us go.

She then aroſe to walk on; but the voices of the perſons who were ſhooting were now heard immediately before them, and ſhe turned pale when ſhe thought ſhe diſtinguiſhed that of Orlando. Inſtantaneouſly, however, the ſportſmen broke out of K5 the 1202 K5v 202 the thick underwood into the path before them, and Monimia beheld a young man, whom, from his diſtant reſemblance to Orlando, ſhe immediately knew to be his elder brother. With him were two other gentlemen, and a ſervant who carried their nets. Oh ho! cried the elder Somerive; what have we here! two curſed pretty wenches—hey, Stockton? Here’s a brace of birds that it may be worth while to mark, damme! He then approached Monimia, who ſhrunk back terrified behind her companion; while Betty, far from feeling any apprehenſion, advanced with a curtſey and a giggle, and Pray, Sir, let us paſs.

Not ſo quickly, my little dear, ſaid Mr. Stockton; I am a new comer into this country, and have a great inclination to be acquainted with all my pretty neighbours—By Heaven, you are as handſome as an angel—Pray, my dear, where do you live?

With Mrs. Rayland, Sir, ſaid Betty, dropping 1203 K6r 203 dropping another curtſey; and I beg your honour will not ſtop us, for my Lady will be very angry.

Damn her anger, cried Stockton; does ſhe think to ſhut up all the beauty in the country in her old fortification? If ſhe’s angry, you pretty little rogue, leave her to vent it on her jolly favourite butler, that fellow who looks like the confeſſor to the convent, and do you come to me—I keep open houſe for the reception of all pretty damſels diſtreſs—and bring your companion here with you.

He then looked forward towards Monimia, and ſaw her in an agony of tears; for the converſation of Philip Somerive and his companion, to whom he gave the title of Sir John, had terrified her ſo much that ſhe could no longer command herſelf.— Why, what the devil’s the matter? cried Stockton. Why, Sir John――why, Somerive, what have you ſaid to that ſweet girl?

K6 We’ve 1204 K6v 204

We’ve been aſking her who ſhe is, replied Sir John; and it ſeems ſhe does not know.

You are the houſekeeper’s niece, are you not? ſaid Somerive.

Tell me, my dear, addreſſing himſelf to Betty, is not this little ſimpleton, that falls a-crying ſo prettily, the reputed niece of that old formal piece of hypocriſy, Lennard? Come, tell us—you have more ſenſe than to cry becauſe one aſks a civil queſtion.

Lord, Sir, replied Betty, to be ſure you are ſuch another wild gentleman that I don’t wonder you’ve frighted our Miſs, who, poor thing! has ſcarcely ever been out of our houſe all her life.――Yes, Sir, ’tis Miſs Monimee, Sir, Madam Lennard’s kinſwoman; and I hope, Sir, you’ll pleaſe to give us leave to paſs, for we ſhall have a deal of anger for being out ſo much longer than Madam Lennard ſhe gived us leave to ſtay.

Tell 1205 K7r 205

Tell us then, ſaid Sir John, taking both Monimia’s hands, which ſhe in vain endeavoured to diſengage from his graſp— tell us where and when we can ſee you again, and then you ſhall go.Yes, cried Stockton, addreſſing himſelf to Betty, tell us, my dear girl, when can we ſee you again? We ſhall not eaſily relinquiſh the acquaintance, interrupted Somerive; and if you are to be met with only at the Hall, I ſhall contrive to get into favour again with that immortal old frump, and I can tell you that’s no ſmall compliment.

Oh! dear Sir, giggled Betty, I vow and declare you put me all in a twitter with your wild ways. Indeed, Sir, you can’t ſee us no where; for, as to Miſs, ſhe never goes out, not at all.—For my ſhare, to be ſure, I now and tan be at church, and ſuch like; but for all that, it’s morally impoſſible for us to ſee you nohow at all.

Well then, cried Stockton, we’ll have a kiſs a-piece ſomehow at all, now we do ſee you.

Yes 1206 K7v 206

Yes, yes, ſaid Somerive, that we will.

Well, gentlemen, replied Betty, I am ſure this is very rude behaviour (Lord, Miſs, why d’ye cry ſo? I warrant they won’t do no harm); and if you inſiſt upon it, I hope you’ll let us go then.

Yes, anſwered Somerive, we’ll let you go then.

Betty went through the ceremony without making many difficulties; but when Stockton advanced towards Monimia, to whom Sir John had all this time been making profeſſions of violent love, ſhe retreated from him; and her alarm was ſo evidently unaffected that Sir John ſtopped him.—Don’t, Stockton, cried he; Miſs is apparently very new to the world, and we have diſtreſſed her. Well, well, anſwered Stockton, we won’t diſtreſs her then. Come, Somerive, we ſhall meet theſe charming girls ſome other time; I ſee you are taking care of that, for he continued whiſpering Betty; ſo let us now 1207 K8r 207 now go on to beat the wood. Somerive, who ſeemed to have made, during his momentary converſation, ſome arrangement with Betty, now agreed to this; and, as he paſſed Monimia, looked earneſtly under her hat, and ſaid in a half whiſper, Upon my honour! that ſober well-conditioned young man, Mr. Orlando, has a fine time of it—theſe are his ſtudies at the Hall! Poor Monimia, ſinking with terror and confuſion, now endeavoured to diſengage herſelf from Sir John, and to follow Betty, who, making more half curtſeys, and looking ſmilingly after the gentlemen, was walking on; but he, who had attached himſelf to Monimia, was not ſo eaſily ſhaken off. He told Stockton and Somerive, that he ſhould go home another way, and ſhould ſhoot no more. Good morrow, therefore, added he, I ſhall wait upon theſe ladies through the woods; and as you do not want Ned (ſpeaking of his ſervant), he may as well go with me and take home the birds. To this the other two 1208 K8v 208 two aſſenting departed; while Sir John, giving his ſervant a hint to enter into converſation with Betty, and diſcover as much as he could relative to Monimia, again joined her, though ſhe had walked forward as quickly as poſſible, and deſired her, as he ſaid ſhe ſeemed tired, to accept of his arm. Monimia, more terrified every ſtep ſhe took, and dreading leſt he ſhould inſiſt upon following her to the Hall, now acquired courage to entreat that he would leave her; while he, regardleſs of the diſtreſs ſo evident in her countenance, endeavoured to prevail upon her to liſten to him: and in this manner they had proceeded nearly to the part of the woods which open directly into the park, when ſuddenly, at a ſharp turn of the path, Orlando, with his gun upon his ſhoulder, ſtood before them.

Amazement and indignation were pictured in his countenance when he beheld a ſtranger walking cloſe to Monimia, and ſeeming to have his arm round her waiſt. Thrown 1209 K9r 209 Thrown totally off his guard by an appearance ſo ſudden and ſo extraordinary, he cried, Pray, who is this gentleman?— Pray, what does this mean? Betty, who had been detained ſome paces behind, now approached; and Orlando, recollecting himſelf, took no other notice of Monimia, who would, had ſhe dared, have flown to him for protection: but, ſlightly touching his hat, he advanced to Sir John, and ſaid, I ſuppoſe, Sir, you have Mrs. Rayland’s permiſſion to ſhoot in theſe preſerved grounds?

I always ſhoot, Sir, anſwered Sir John haughtily, in all grounds that happen to ſuit me, whether they are preſerved or no, and take no trouble to aſk leave of any body.

Then, Sir, ſaid Orlando with quickneſs, you muſt allow me to ſay that you do a very unhandſome thing.

And I, rejoined the other, ſay, whether you allow it or no, that you are a very impertinent fellow.

The 1210 K9v 210

The blood ruſhed into the face of Orlando; and even the pale and terrified countenance of Monimia, who caught hold of Betty for ſupport, did not deter him from reſenting this inſolence. Who are you, cried he, ſeizing Sir John by the collar, that thus dare to inſult me?

And who are you, ſcoundrel, anſwered his antagoniſt, endeavouring to diſengage himſelf, who dare to behave with ſuch confounded inpudence to a man of my conſequence?

Curſe on your conſequence! exclaimed the enraged Orlando, throwing him violently from him: If you are a gentleman, which I doubt, give me an opportunity of telling you properly who I am.

If I am a gentleman? cried the other. Am I queſtioned by a park-keeper? or by ſome dirty valet?

Sir John, who was quite the modern man of faſhion, did not much approve of the ſpecimen Orlando had given him of athletic powers:—he liked him ſtill leſs when 1211 K10r 211 when he replied—My name is Somerive—my uſual reſidence at Weſt Wolverton, or Rayland Hall. Now, Sir, as you ſpeak neither to a park-keeper nor a valet, you muſt tell me from whom I have received this brutal inſult.

My ſervant will tell you, replied he; and, if you are likely to forget his information, you ſhall hear it properly from me to-morrow. In the mean time, my dear girl, added he, turning familiarly to Monimia, let us leave this fierce drawcanſir to watch the old lady’s pheaſants; and as you ſeem much alarmed by his ridiculous fury, let me have the pleaſure of ſeeing you ſafe home.

He would then have taken the arm of the trembling Monimia within his; but ſhe ſhrunk from him, and would have paſſed on. He ſtill inſiſted, however, on being permitted to attend her home; when Orlando, quite unable to command himſelf, ſprung forward, and, ſeizing the arm of Monimia, cried, This young lady, being 1212 K10v 212 being under the protection of Mrs. Rayland, is under mine; and I inſiſt on her not being troubled with your impertinent familiarity. Come, Madam, if you will give me leave, I will conduct you to your aunt. He then, without waiting for any farther reply, walked haſtily away; while Sir John, filled with rage and contempt, bade his ſervant follow him, and inform him that the perſon whom he had thus groſſly affronted was Sir John Berkely Belgrave, baronet, of Belgrave Park in Suffolk, brother-in-law to the Earl of Glenlyon of Scotland, and member of parliament. Orlando heard this liſt of dignities with contemptuous coolneſs; and then, as he continued to walk on, bade the ſervant tell his maſter, Sir John Berkely Belgrave, of Belgrave Park in Suffolk, brother-in-law to the Earl of Glenlyon of Scotland, and member of parliament, that he expected to hear from him.

They were no ſooner out of ſight, than Orlando, addreſſing himſelf to Betty (for Monimia 1213 K11r 213 Monimia was quite unable to anſwer him), ſaid: Where did you meet this man? and how came you to be with him?

Lord, ſaid Betty, pertly, how could we help it? and pray where was the harm? For my part, I always ſpeak to gentlefolks that ſpeak to me; I’ve no notion of ſitting mum chance, when gentlemen are ſo civil as to ſpeak genteel to one. Here’s a fuſs, indeed, about nothing! And ſo you’ve gone and made a fine piece of work, and had a mind for to have fit that baron knight—I ſuppoſe there will be a pretty to do!

But where did you meet him? repeated Orlando impatiently.

Don’t bite one’s noſe off, ſaid Betty: Gemini! what a paſſion you puts yourſelf into—Met him!—why we met him, and two more very obliging civil gentlemen as I ever wiſh to ſee; your brother was one of them, and what then? I’m ſure it’s waſt ridiculous to quarrel and fall out about a few naſty pheaſants, with all the gentlefolks about. That’s the reaſon that Miſtreſs never 1214 K11v 214 never has nobody come to ſee her at the Hall; and one may as well live in a priſon. I’m quite ſick of it, for my ſhare.

As nothing but mutterings were to be obtained form Betty, Orlando no longer queſtioned her; but as his firſt emotion of ſomething like anger mingled with vexation towards Monimia had now ſubſided, he ſaid to her, in a low and mournful voice, This is all very diſagreeable; would to God you had never gone this unlucky walk!

Would to God I never had! for now I ſee nothing but miſery will ariſe from it. But let us part here: (they were now in the park) it is quite enough for me to have gone through what has paſſed within this hour; there is no occaſion to add to my terror, by letting my aunt ſee us together. I thought I ſhould ſuffer enough by being ſo late home; but, good God! what is that fear in compariſon of what I ſuffer now about this quarrel?

The quarrel, as you call it, will be of no 1215 K12r 215 no conſequence, Monimia: I ſhall probably hear no more of it;—or, if I do, Mrs. Rayland will not be diſpleaſed at my having ſpoken to theſe men, who have ſo long impertinently treſpaſſed on her manors.

But who, ſaid Monimia, who ſhall enſure your ſafety, Orlando, if you do hear more of it?

I muſt take my chance about that. Do not, my Monimia, whiſpered he, make yourſelf uneaſy about it: I ſhall ſee you at night; and now, perhaps, it will be better to part. He then ſaid aloud, that Betty might hear, who was a few paces behind, Since you ſeem now to be delivered from the perſecution of this impertinent ſtranger, I wiſh you good morning. Orlando then walked another way, as if purſuing his diverſion of ſhooting; and Betty joining Monimia, they proceeded together towards the houſe.

As they went, Betty, who was very much diſpleaſed wtih Orlando, becauſe he ſeemed to 1216 K12v 216 to have given all that attention to Monimia which ſhe had herſelf a great inclination to monopolize, began again to exclaim againſt the folly of his having driven away and quarrelled with a baron knight, as ſhe emphatically termed it. Why one would have thof, cried ſhe, actually that the gentleman, who is in my mind a pretty gentleman, had done ſome great harm. If Mr. Orlando had been your ſweetheart, Miſs, he couldn’t have bruſtled up a greater paſſion.

My ſweetheart! ſaid Monimia faintly; how can he be my ſweetheart, when you know, Betty, I have hardly exchanged ten words with him in my whole life?

Well, Miſs, you nid not colour ſo about it—Lord, I ſuppoſe people have had ſweethearts before now; and the better’s their luck:—not that I ſay Mr. Orlando is yours, for I knows to the contrary.

I believe, ſaid Monimia, making an effort to command herſelf, I believe, Betty, it will be as well, on many accounts, not to ſay 1217 L1r 217 ſay any thing about all this at home. If this unlucky quarrel ſhould go any farther, which I hope it will not, it will make my aunt very angry if ſhe knows we were preſent at it;—and, upon the whole, I wiſh you would make a reſolution not to ſpeak of it.

Not I, anſwered Betty, I ſhan’t ſpeak of it, not I.—I’m none of your blabs —and ſcorn to ſay any thing to make miſchief;—beſides, we ſhall have anger enough for ſtaying ſo much later than we were bid to ſtay. Yes; we ſhall have a fine rattle; and there ſtands Madam Lennard at the window, watching for us. They were now near the houſe, and poor Monimia, looking up, ſaw her aunt indeed watching their return. She trembled ſo much, that ſhe could hardly find ſtrength to get into the houſe; where as ſoon as Betty arrived, ſhe was haſtening to the kitchen; but Monimia finding it impoſſible to meet, alone, the firſt rage of her aunt, entreated her to go up ſtairs.

Vol. I. L Do 1218 L1v 218

Do not leave me, dear Betty, ſaid the timid Monimia; I am in ſuch terror already, that if my aunt is very violent againſt me, I really believe I ſhall die on the ſpot. You have more courage than I have—for Heaven’s ſake, do not leave me.

I don’t know any good I can do, replied Betty; but however, if I muſt go, I muſt. They then aſcended the ſtairs together, and entered the room where Mrs. Lennard waited for them in the diſpoſition of an hungry tigreſs who has long been diſappointed of her prey. She ſcolded with ſuch vehemence for near half an hour, that ſhe abſolutely exhauſted every form of invective and reproach which her very fertile genius, and the vocabulary of Billingſgate, could furniſh her with; and then taking Monimia rudely by the arm, ſhe led her to that turret, and locked her in, proteſting that, ſo far from ever ſuffering her to go junketing out again to the village, ſhe ſhould not leave her room for a week. With 1219 L2r 219 With this threat ſhe left her weeping niece, and turned the key upon her: but Monimia, ſomewhat relieved by her departure, felt with ſecret delight that it was not in her power to confine her—and that at night ſhe ſhould ſee Orlando. Yet the danger he had run into recurred to her with redoubled force; and never did ſhe paſs ſuch miſerable hours as thoſe that intervened between her aunt’s fierce remonſtrance, and that when ſhe expected the ſignal from Orlando.

L2 The 1220 L2v 220

Chap. X.

The unfortunate rencontre which promiſed to produce ſo much uneaſineſs, was occaſioned by the impatience of Orlando at Monimia’s long abſence. He had gone early in the morning to his father’s, as he had the preceding evening propoſed: and returning about ten-o’clock, anxious to know if Monimia was come back from her walk, he enquired among the ſervants for Betty; and was told that ſhe was not yet come home from the village, whither Mrs. Lennard had ſent her early in the morning. What do you want with Betty, ſir? ſaid Pattenſon, who heard the enquiry. To make the fire up in my room, replied Orlando. Any other of the maids can do that as well, I ſuppoſe, anſwered the butler, ſullenly: and then, from 1221 L3r 221 from his manner, Orlando was firſt ſtruck with the idea, that Pattenſon, being an admirer of Betty, was apprehenſive of his acquiring too much of her favour. This obſervation was a great relief to him, and diſſipated the fears he had long entertained, that the old butler ſuſpected his ſtolen interviews with Monimia.

Uneaſy, however, at her ſtaying ſo much later than the hour when he knew ſhe was ordered to return, he could not forbear making a circuit round the wood-walks of the park, where he could not be obſerved, and paſſing towards the preſerved pheaſant- grounds, through which her path lay; where he had not waited long before the appearance of Monimia, attended by Sir John Belgrave, produced the alarming converſation which the laſt chapter related.

When Orlando parted from Monimia, and began coolly to conſider what had happened, he felt no other uneaſineſs than that which aroſe from his apprehenſion that her name might be brought in queſtion; for he L3 was 1222 L3v 222 was a ſtranger to all perſonal fear, and was totally indifferent to the reſentment of Sir John Belgrave, which he thought it probable he might think it wiſe to lay aſide; for he did not appear to be one of thoſe who are eager to acquire fame by perſonal danger. However that might be, Orlando’s principal concern was, how to appeaſe the fears of Monimia; and as early as it was ſafe to go to the turret, he repaired thither; but this happened almoſt an hour later than uſual. Pattenſon had viſitors, ſome tradeſmen from a neighbouring town, to ſup with him; and Orlando, who was upon the watch, had the mortification to hear them ſinging in the butler’s room at half after eleven, and to find it near one o’clock when they betook themſelves to their horſes, and departed. It was yet near half an hour longer before the lights about the houſe were extinguiſhed, and all was quiet.

The night, dark and tempeſtuous, added to the gloomy appearance of all that ſurrounded Monimia; while her imagination, filled 1223 L4r 223 filled with images of horror, repreſented to her, that his delay was owing to the conſequences of his morning’s adventure: and theſe apprehenſions, added to the fatigue and anxiety ſhe had gone through during the day, almoſt overcame her, before the well known, long wiſhed for ſignal was heard.

At length Orlando had ſafely placed her by the fire, and began to ſpeak as cheerfully as he could of what had paſſed; but he ſaw her pale, dejected, and ready to ſink—her eyes ſwollen with weeping—and her whole frame languid, depreſſed by the uneaſy circumſtances of the day, and the uneaſy ſuſpenſe of the night. For the latter he had eaſily accounted; and he endeavoured to diſſipate her dread as to the conſequences of the former. This fine gentleman, ſaid he, who could perſecute with his inſulting attentions a young and defenceleſs woman, my Monimia, can never have much proper and ſteady courage; or, if he has, he will, if he has a ſhadow of underſtanding,L4 ing 1224 L4v 224 ing, be aſhamed of exerting it in ſuch a cauſe. Beſides, after all the applications that have with great civility been made to Mr. Stockton, entreating him to forbear, either by himſelf, his friends or ſervants, treſpaſſing on thoſe woods, where Mrs. Rayland is ſo fond of preſerving the game, nothing can be more ungentleman-like than to perſiſt in it: it looks like taking advantage of Mrs. Rayland’s being without any man about her who has a right to enforce her wiſhes, which, whether capricious and abſurd or no, ſhould ſurely be repſected. I feel myſelf perfectly juſtified for having ſpoken as I did, and only regret that you were preſent. Relate to me, Monimia, what paſſed before I met you. Did not Betty ſay, that my brother was one of the people who were with this Sir John Belgrave?

Monimia then related all that had paſſed, as well as the alarm ſhe had been in had allowed her to obſerve it; and in the behaviour of his brother, particularly in the ſpeech 1225 L5r 225 ſpeech he had made to Monimia as he paſſed her, Orlando found more cauſe of vexation than in any other circumſtance of the morning. He foreſaw that the beauty of Monimia, which had hitherto been quite unobſerved, would now become the topic of common converſation; his father and his family would be alarmed, and his ſtay at the Hall imputed to motives very different from his love of ſolitude and ſtudy. Hitherto Monimia had ſeemed a beautiful and unique gem, of which none but himſelf had diſcovered the concealment, or knew the value. He had viſited it with fonder idolatry, from alone poſſeſſing the knowledge where it was hid. But now half his happineſs ſeemed to be deſtroyed, ſince his treaſure was diſcovered, and particularly by his brother, who was ſo looſe in his principles, and ſo unfeeling in his conduct. As theſe painful reflections paſſed through his mind, he ſat a while ſilent and dejected, till, being awakened from his mournful reverie by a deep ſigh from Monimia, he L5 ſaw 1226 L5v 226 ſaw her face bathed in tears. Ah! Orlando, ſaid ſhe, in a tremulous voice, I ſee that you feel as I do. All our little happineſs is deſtroyed; perhaps this is the laſt night we ſhall ever meet: ſomething tells me, that the conſequence of this luckleſs day will be our eternal ſeparation. The ſobs that ſwelled her boſom as ſhe ſaid this impeded her utterance. Orlando, with more than uſual tenderneſs, endeavoured to ſooth and re-aſſure her—when ſuddenly, as he hung fondly over he, ſpeaking to her in a low voice, ſhe ſtarted, and ſaid, in a whiſper, Huſh, huſh—for heaven’s ſake—I hear a noiſe in the chapel. Orlando liſtened a moment. No—it is only the wind, which is very high to-night. But liſtening again a moment, he thought, as ſhe did, that it was ſomething more; and before he had time to imagine what it might be, the old heavy lock of the ſtudy door, that opened from the paſſage to the chapel, was moved ſlowly; the door as ſlowly opened, and at it a human face faſt appeared. Starting up, Orlando 1227 L6r 227 Orlando, whoſe fears were ever alive for Monimia, blew out the ſingle candle which ſtood at ſome diſtance from them; and then ſpringing towards the door he demanded fiercely who was there. Monimia, whoſe terror almoſt annihilated her faculties, would have thrown herſelf into his arms, and there have waited the diſcovery which appeared more dreadful than death: but he was inſtantly gone, and purſued through the chapel a man, whom however he could not overtake, and who ſeemed at the door to vaniſh—though the night was ſo dark, that it was impoſſible to diſtinguiſh any object whatever. Through the chapel he had heard the ſound of feet; but when he got to the porch, and from thence liſtened for the ſame ſound to direct his purſuit along the flag-ſtones, it was heard no more. All was profoundly ſilent, unleſs the ſtillneſs was interrupted by the howling of the wind roudn the old buildings.

Orlando, after a moment’s pauſe, was diſpoſed to faſten the chapel door before he L6 returned 1228 L6v 228 returned; but he recollected that perhaps he might encloſe an enemy within it, or impede the eſcape of his Monimia to her turret. Uncertain therefore what to do, but too certain of the agonizing fears to which he had left her expoſed, he haſtily went back; and ſecuring that door which led from the chapel to the paſſage as well as he could (for there was no key to it, and only a ſmall ruſty bar), and then faſtening the door of the ſtudy, he approached, by the light of the wood fire which was nearly extinguiſhed, the fainting Monimia, who, unable to ſupport herſelf, had ſunk on the ground, and reſted her head on the old tapeſtry chair on which ſhe had been ſitting.

Orlando found her cold, and almoſt inſenſible; and it was ſome moments before he could reſtore her to ſpeech. Terror had deprived her of the power of ſhedding tears; nor had ſhe ſtrength to ſit up: but when he had placed her in her chair, he was compelled to ſupport her, while he endeavoureddeavoured 1229 L7r 229 deavoured to make light of a circumſtance that overwhelmed him with alarm for her, and with vexation beyond what he had ever yet experienced.

They had both diſtinctly beheld the face, though neither had the leaſt idea to whom it belonged. Orlando had as diſtinctly heard the footſteps along the hollow ground of the chapel; it was not therefore one of thoſe ſupernatural beings, to whoſe exiſtence Monimia had been taught to give credit. Orlando would willingly have ſheltered himſelf under ſuch a prejudice, had it been poſſible; for all the ghoſts in the Red Sea would have terrified him leſs than the diſcovery of Monimia by any of the family: yet, that ſuch a diſcovery was made, he could not doubt; and the more he thought of even its immediate conſequences, and the impoſſiblity there might be to reconvey his lovely trembling charge to her own room, the greater his diſtraction became; while all he could make Monimia ſay, was, Deareſt Orlando, let me ſtay and die 1230 L7v 230 die here. A few hours longer of ſuch extreme pain, as I at this moment ſuffer, will certainly kill me: and if I die in your preſence, my death will be happier than my life has been, or than now it ever can be.

Orlando being thus under the neceſſity of conquering his own extreme diſquiet, that he might appeaſe hers, began to make various conjectures as to this man, tending to encourage the hope that it was ſome accidental intruder, and not one whoſe buſineſs was to diſcover her. But even if the villain came with that deſign, ſaid he, I do not believe he could diſtinguiſh you, ſo inſtantly I blew out the candle: or, if he ſaw a female figure, he could not know it to be you; it might as well be any other woman. Theſe ſuppoſitions had little power to quiet the fears with which Monimia was tormented: but when Orlando ſeemed ſo deeply affected by her ſituation; when he declared to her that he was unequal to the ſight of her terror; and that not even the diſcovery 1231 L8r 231 diſcovery they dreaded, could make him ſo wretched as ſeeing her in ſuch a ſituation; ſhe made an effort to recover herſelf; and at length ſucceeded ſo well as to regain the power of conſulting with him, as to what was beſt to be done.

It was now early morning, but ſtill very dark, with rain and wind. It was however time to conſider of Monimia’s return; for within two hours the ſervants would be up, and in even leſs time the labourers in the gardens would come to their work. It was at length agreed, taht Orlando ſhould go through the chapel firſt, and try if he could diſcover any traces of their alarming viſitor; and if, after his reconnoitring, all appeared ſafe, that Monimia ſhould return as uſual to her apartment.

Orlando then, directing her to faſten herſelf the ſtudy door within ſide, went through the chapel with a candle in his hand, which he ſhaded with his hat to prevent the light being ſeen from the windows. He looked carefully among the broken boards which had 1232 L8v 232 had once formed two or three pews, and then went into the chancel, but ſaw nothing. He paſſed through the porch, leaving his candle behind the door on one of the benches, but nobody appeared: and by the very faint light of the firſt dawn, on a ſtormy October morning, which ſerved only to make the darkneſs viſible, he could juſt ſee round the whole chapel court, and was ſatisfied nobody was there. Thus convinced, he returned to Monimia; aſſured her that the wretch, whoever he was, was gone; and that there ſeemed to be no danger in her returning to her apartment. He endeavoured again to perſuade her that her alarm, however juſt, would end without any of the conſequences they dreaded; made her ſwallow a large glaſs of wine; and then taking one of her hands in his, he put his other arm round her waiſt; and with uncertain ſteps himſelf, while through fear her feet almoſt refuſed to move, they proceeded ſlowly and lightly through the chapel; neither of them ſpoke; Monimia hardly 1233 L9r 233 hardly breathed; when arriving about the middle of it, they were ſtruck motionleſs by a ſudden and loud craſh, which ſeemed to proceed from the chancel; and a deep hollow voice pronounced the words, Now —now.

There was a heavy ſtone font in the middle of the chapel, with a ſort of bench under it. Orlando, unable at once to ſupport and defend Monimia, placed her on this bench; and imploring her to take courage, he darted forward into the chancel, from whence he was ſure the voice had iſſued, and cried aloud, Who is there? Speak this moment. Who are you?

The words re-echoed through the vaulted chancel, but no anſwer was returned: again, and in a yet louder voice, he repeated them, and again liſtened to hear if any reply was made. A ſlight and indiſtinct noiſe like the ſhutting a diſtant door, and a low murmur which ſoon died away, left every thing in profound ſilence. He remained however yet an inſtant liſtening, while Monimia, reſting 1234 L9v 234 reſting againſt the ſtone a cheek almoſt as cold, was petrified with exceſs of fear; and in the dread pauſe between Orlando’s queſtion and his awaiting an anſwer, the old banners which hung over her head, waving and ruſtling with the current of air, ſeemd to repeat the whiſpers of ſome terrific and inviſible being, foretelling woe and deſtruction; while the ſame wind by which theſe fragments were agitated hummed ſullenly among the helmets and gauntleſt, trophies of the proweſs of former Sir Orlandos and Sir Hildebrands, which were ſuſpended from the pillars of the chapel.

When Orlando returned to her, he found her more dead than alive. He ſoothed, he ſupported her, and earneſtly beſought her to exert herſelf againſt the fear that oppreſſed her.

What ſhall we do, Monimia? ſaid he. For my own part, rather than ſee you ſuffer thus, I will take you in my hand, and declare at once to theſe people, whoever they are, that we cannot live apart. And 1235 L10r 235 And ſhould we, by ſuch an avowal, forfeit the protection of our friends, what is there in that ſo very dreadful? I am young and ſtrong, and well able to work in any way for a ſubſiſtence for us both. Tell me, Monimia, ſhould you fear poverty, if we could but live together?

No, replied Monimia, acquiring courage from this exceſs of tenderneſs in her lover— no, Orlando, I ſhould be too happy to be allowed to beg with you round the world. What then have we to fear? whiſpered he. Come, let us go and face theſe people, if, as their expreſſion Now ſeems to intimate, they are waiting for us without. In the chapel they are not, however the ſound ſeemed to come from thence. I fear they way-lay us at the door. But if we are thus prepared againſt the worſt that can befall us, why ſhould we ſhrink now, only to be expoſed a ſecond time to alarms that ſeem to threaten your life, from your extreme timidity? Tell me, Monimia, have you 1236 L10v 236 you courage to brave the diſcovery at once, which ſooner or later muſt be made?

I have courage, anſwered ſhe; let us go while I am able. She aroſe, but could hardly ſtand. Orlando however led her forward, liſtening ſtill every ſtep they took. They heard nothing either in the chapel or in the porch; and being now on the pavement without, they ſtopped and looked around them, expecting that the perſon or perſons whoſe words had alarmed them would appear: but there was nobody to be ſeen, yet it was now light enough to diſcern every part of the court. This is wonderful, ſaid Orlando; but ſince there ſeems to be nothing to prevent it, let me ſee you, my Monimia, ſafe to your room; and let me hope to have the comfort of knowing, that after the fatigues and terrors of ſuch a day and night, you obtain ſome repoſe. How can you know it, Orlando, anſwered ſhe, ſince it will be madneſs, if we eſcape now, to think of venturingturing 1237 L11r 237 turing a meeting to-morrow night? I would not have you venture it; but, Monimia, I have thought of a way, by which I can hear from you and write to you in the courſe of the day, which, under our preſent circumſtances, muſt be an infinite ſatisfaction. As I have at all hours acceſs to the turret, I can put a letter at your door behind your bed; and there you can depoſit an anſwer. To this expedient Monimia readily aſſented. Without any alarm they paſſed the reſt of their ſhort walk. Monimia promiſed to go immediately to bed, and to endeavour to compoſe herſelf; and Orlando, having ſeen her ſecured in her turret, returned to the chapel, determined to diſcover, if poſſible, what it was that had ſo cruelly alarmed them. Again he went over every part, but could diſcover nothing. He then determined to go round the houſe; and reſolute not to ſpare any wretch who might be lurking about it with evil deſigns, he went into a large uninhabited parlour that opened into the ſtudy from the body 1238 L11v 238 body of the houſe, where, over the chimney, ſeveral ſorts of arms were diſpoſed, which for many years had never been uſed. He tood down an hanger, and a pair of horſe piſtols: both were ſomewhat injured by neglect, and of the latter he knew he could make no uſe till they had been cleaned; but drawing the hanger from its ſcabbard, he ſallied forth in eager expectation of finding ſome means to diſcover, and at leaſt to terrify from future intruſion, the man he had ſeen and heard: but after wandering round the houſe, through the gardens, and even over the adjoining offices, for above an hour, he ſaw nothing that could lead him to gueſs who it could be. The workmen and ſervants were all at their uſual employments. He talked to ſome of them, but obſerved no conſciouſneſs of any thing extraordinary in any of them. He then returned, not leſs uneaſy than before his ſearch. Sometimes the idea of Sir John Belgrave preſented itſelf; but that he ſhould have ventured to viſit the Hall at ſuch an hour 1239 L12r 239 hour, he ſoon rejected as an impoſſibility. Had Mrs. Rayland diſcovered his intelligence with Monimia, ſhe would have ſignified her diſpleaſure openly and at once. At length, he ſuppoſed it might be his brother. This, as Philip Somerive knew the houſe, appeared the leaſt improbable of all his conjectures. But ſtill it was hardly to be ſuppoſed that he would leave his jovial companions on ſuch a night for the pleaſure of perſecuting him, when ſo many other means were now in his power, by which he might diſturb the happineſs of Orlando. Diſſatiſfied with every ſuppoſition, but becoming every inſtant more reſtleſs and anxious, he waited with impatience for the cuſtomary time of viſiting Mrs. Rayland. It came, and ſhe behaved to him juſt as uſual. Some hours, therefore, were ſtill paſſed in fruitleſs conjectures and tormenting ſuſpenſe.

Orlando 1240 L12v 240

Chap. XI.

Orlando left Mrs. Rayland about twelve o’clock, convinced that, whatever diſcovery had been made, ſhe was yet perfectly unacquainted with it. He thought it beſt to tell her as much of what had happened the preceding day, as he was ſure ſhe would not diſapprove: he therefore mentioned to her, in the preſence of Lennard, who ſeemed as ignorant of any miſadventure as ſhe was, that he had gone roudn the park with his gun, after his return from his father’s in the morning, and, hearing ſeveral ſhot fired in the copſes, he had followed the ſound. I met, madam, ſaid he, Mrs. Lennard’s niece and your ſervant Betty, and almoſt at the ſame moment a gentleman ſhooting, and a ſervant following 1241 M1r 241 following him with ſeveral pheaſants. I thought it neceſſary to ſpeak to him; and we had rather high words. I found he had two companions with him, whom I did not ſee: Stockton himſelf was one of them (Orlando always carefully avoided naming his brother). The man to whom I ſpoke, was, I found from his ſervant, a baronet.

A baronet, child! ſaid Mrs. Rayland. Impoſſible! at leaſt if he is, it muſt be one of the new-made baronets: theſe, as well as new-created lords, ſpring up like muſhrooms, from nobody knows where, every year. A man of family could not behave ſo. This perſon is ſome enriched tradeſman, who has bought his title. Belgrave!—Belgrave!—I don’t recollect the name. No; he cannot be a man of any family.

Orlando ſaw that Mrs. Rayland had not the leaſt idea of the circumſtances likely to follow his dialogue with Sir John Belgrave, and only dwelt upon the improbability that a man whoſe title was above two years old, Vol. I. M could 1242 M1v 242 could commit ſo great an indecorum as he had been guilty of. Unwilling, therefore, to awaken in her mind thoſe apprehenſions of future conſequences, of which ſhe ſeemed quite ignorant, he ſoon after turned the diſcourſe; and, leaving her and Mrs. Lennard both in perfect good humour, he returned to his ſtudy, and ſat down to give Monimia the ſatisfaction of knowing, that, to whomſoever the affright of the preceding evening was owing, Mrs. Rayland and her aunt had certainly no ſhare in it, and as yet no ſuſpicion of their intercourſe.

He had been employed thus near half an hour, and had juſt finiſhed his letter, when Betty bounced into his room.

There’s one without vants to ſpeak to you, cried ſhe: pouting and ſullenly ſhe ſpoke; and then, ſhutting the door as haſtily as ſhe had opened it, was going: but Orlando, following her, ſaid, Betty! who is it? If the perſon has a letter for me, let it be ſent in; if not, beg to know his name. (A letter or a meſſage from 1243 M2r 243 from Sir John Belgrave was what he expected.)

I ſhan’t carry none of your meſſages, indeed, replied the girl: but I ſuppoſe the perſon without is your father; I never ſee him but once or twice, but I’m pretty ſure ’tis he.

Good God! exclaimed Orlando; and why, then, if you knew him, would you let my father wait without?

’Twas no buſineſs of mine, Mr. Orlando, to ſhew him in; and beſides, folks ſometimes has company with them in their rooms, you know; and then an old father may be one too many, Mr. Orlando.

What do you mean by that? cried Orlando eagerly.

Nay, never mind what I means—I knows what I knows; but I think you mid as well take care not to get other folks into bad bread, that are as innocent as the child unborn.

I inſiſt upon your telling me, ſaid Orlando, ſeizing her hand――I inſiſt, M2 nay 1244 M2v 244 nay I implore you, dear Betty, to tell me――

At this moment the old butler appeared at the door of the parlour in which they were ſtanding; and ſeeing Orlando apparently interceding with Betty, he ſaid roughly,

Inſtead of pulling the wenches about, and behaving in this rakiſh ſort of way in my miſtreſſ’s houſe, it would be more becoming of you to go ſpeak to your father, who is waiting in the ſtable-yard.

You are impertinent, Mr. Pattenſon! anſwered Orlando; and I beg you will underſtand that impertinence from any one I am not diſpoſed to endure.

Orlando then went haſtily out—Pattenſon muttering as he paſſed, I don’t know how you’ll help yourſelf.

In the ſtable-yard Orlando found Mr. Somerive. He had not diſmounted, having made it a rule for many years never to enter Mrs. Rayland’s houſe unleſs he was invited. Orlando ſaw by his countenancenance 1245 M3r 245 nance that he was under great concern; and reſpectfully approaching him, he ſaid, Dear Sir, is all well at home? Is my mother returned? Is ſhe well?

Your mother is not returned, Orlando, replied Mr. Somerive in a grave and melancholy tone; but ſhe is well, and all is well at home.

I hope then, Sir, that I owe this viſit merely to your kindneſs. Will you get off your horſe, and come in?—I have a fire in the library—or ſhall I let Mrs. Rayland know you are here?

Neither the one or the other, replied Mr. Somerive. But get your horſe immediately, and come with me; I have buſineſs with you.

I have only ſlippers on, Sir; will you walk in while I put on my boots?

You will not need them—I ſhall not detain you long. Your horſe is already ſaddled by my deſire—You have your hat, and therefore haſten to follow me.

Orlando would have given half a world M3 to 1246 M3v 246 to have an opportunity of depoſiting his letter to Monimia, which he had put haſtily into his pocket; but there was now no poſſibility of eſcaping to do it: and in the hope that his father would ſoon diſmiſs him, yet foreſeeing that what he had to ſay was of a very painful nature, he mounted his horſe, which one of the grooms brought out, and followed his father acroſs the park. Mr. Somerive was ſilent till they had got at ſome diſtance from the houſe. Orlando rode by his ſide a foot pace. He obſerved that his father ſighed deeply two or three times, and at length ſaid: Orlando, I deſire you will give me a faithful detail of all that paſſed yeſterday.

The events of the night dwelt more upon him mind than thoſe of the day; and believing therefore that his father alluded to them, he bluſhed deeply, and repeated, All that paſſed yeſterday, Sir?

Yes, replied the father; you certainly don’t mean to affect miſunderſtanding me. You have got into a quarrel with one 1247 M4r 247 one of the gueſts of Mr. Stockton: I have heard of it from one quarter; let me now have your account of it.

That is very eaſily given, my dear Sir, anſwered Orlando, relieved by finding that the adventures of the night were not meant. I met a gentleman ſhooting in thoſe woods, where, you know, it has been for years the particular whim of Mrs. Rayland, as it was, they tell me, of her father, to preſerve the pheaſants. You know that Mr. Stockton has often been entreated to forbear; and you will allow that it is unhandſome to perſiſt in doing what is offenſive to a defenceleſs woman: therefore, upon meeting this Sir John Something, with his ſervant carrying a net full of birds, I ſpoke to him on the impropriety of his ſhooting in thoſe woods, and indeed almoſt within the park. He anſwered me very inſolently, and I collared him; after which ſome rather high words paſſed between us. He ſent his ſervant after me M4 with 1248 M4v 248 with his addreſs; and I expected to have heard farther from him to-day.

And was that all, Orlando? ſaid Mr. Somerive, looking ſteadily, and ſomewhat ſternly, in his face. That was all that paſſed, Sir, replied Orlando, heſitating, and bluſhing again.

And was there no other perſon preſent when this quarrel happened? Was there no other cauſe for your diſpleaſure againſt this gentleman, than what aroſe from his having killed theſe birds?—Orlando, I uſed in your infancy and early youth to have the firmeſt reliance on your veracity; ſhall I have the infinite mortification now to find myſelf miſtaken?

No, Sir, anſwered Orlando, nor now, nor ever: I have no reaſon to be aſhamed of ſaying the truth, when called upon—though I ſhould—

Come, come, Orlando! cried his father; you would not tell it, if you could, without being guilty of the meanneſs of a direct falſehood, conceal it. There were two 1249 M5r 249 two young women preſent; and you thought it neceſſary to reſent the behaviour of this Sir John Belgrave to one of them.

Yes, I thought him very impertinent. The young woman was terrified, and I conſidered myſelf bound to protect her from him. I am ſure, Sir, you would yourſelf have done the ſame thing.

Perhaps I might. You are acquainted then with this girl, for whom you exerciſed your chivalry?

Certainly, ſaid Orlando, again bluſhing ſo much that his father could not but perceive it—certainly I am—am acquainted with her; that is—I know her, to be ſure, a little;—indeed, as I live ſo much under the ſame roof, it would be odd, and ſtrange, if I did not.

Very odd and ſtrange indeed, Orlando, replied Mr. Somerive drily—very odd and very ſtrange!—eſpecially as your brother tells me that the damſel is remarkably handſome.

M5 Well 1250 M5v 250

Well, Sir, cried Orlando with quickneſs, admitting it to be ſo: does my brother think to do me an ill office with you, by telling you that I admire beauty; or that I defended a woman, for whom, if ſhe had been ugly, I ſhould equally have interpoſed, from the impudent perſecutions of a coxcomb?

I do not believe that your brother intended to do you an ill office. On the contrary, he came to me this morning, at an hour when a viſit from him was very unexpected, to tell me that he was very uneaſy at the reſentment expreſſed by Sir John Belgrave; and to deſire I would prevent this diſagreeable affair from going farther, by prevailing on you to make ſome proper apology.

And if that was my brother’s ſole intention, I ſee no neceſſity for his having named the lady; there was otherwiſe ground enough for the quarrel, if a quarrel it can be called. However, I heartily forgive Philip; and am only ſorry that he thinks he 1251 M6r 251 he has cauſe to do me every diſſervice in his power.

Do you call his anxiety for your ſafety a diſſervice? He hopes to prevent any riſk of it, by telling me what has happened, and procuring, before it is too late, an apology.

Orlando checked his tears: And does my father really think, ſaid he, that I ought to make an apology?

If the affair paſſed as Philip repreſented it to me, I think you ought; for you ſeem by that account to have been the aggreſſor.

No, Sir, cried Orlando: in every thing elſe your commands ſhould be my law; but here I hope you will not lay them upon me, becauſe I feel that, for the firſt time in my life, I muſt diſobey them.

And your mother, ſaid Mr. Somerive, your mother, on her return, is to hear that you are engaged in a duel; that you have either killed a man, who is a ſtranger to you, for the ſake of a few paltry pheaſants, or have yourſelf fallen? Oh raſh and M6 headlong 1252 M6v 252 headlong boy!—if you did not feel deeper reſentment that what a treſpaſs on Mrs. Rayland’s grounds occaſioned, you would not thus have engaged in a diſpute ſo alarming. I greatly fear your attachment to that girl.

Orlando, without denying or aſſenting to the truth of this accuſation, related diſtinctly the very words that had paſſed.— You ſee, Sir, continued he, that it was about no girl the quarrel began; for, upon my ſoul! theſe were the very words.

I think ſtill, ſaid his father, that it is a very fooliſh affair; and, ſhould Sir John Belgrave inſiſt upon it, that you ought to make an excuſe.

Never, ſaid Orlando; and do not, dear Sir, do not, I conjure you, lay me under the cruel neceſſity of diſobeying you. You cannot, with all the ſpirit you poſſeſs yourſelf, deſire me to act like a coward; you muſt deſpiſe me if I did: and even my dear, my tender mother would bluſh for her ſon, if ſhe thought him afraid of any 1253 M7r 253 any man when he is conſcious of a good cauſe.

What is to be done, then? cried Somerive in great perplexity. You will certainly receive a challenge, Orlando.

And then I muſt certainly accept it. But indeed, dear Sir, you are needleſſly diſtreſſed: if this warlike Sir John muſt vindicate his injured honour by firing a brace of piſtols at me, I have as good a chance as he has; and at all events, if I fall, you will be delivered from the anxiety of providing for me, and I ſhall die lamented, which is better than to live diſgraced. But after all (ſeeing his father’s diſtreſs increaſe), I am much miſtaken if this moſt magnanimous baronet had not rather let it alone—A few hours will determine it; and before my mother’s return, whom I ſhould be very ſorry to terrify, it will be over, one way or other.

You will not then, Orlando, ſettle it by an apology?

Never, indeed, my dear Sir.

Nor 1254 M7v 254

Nor give me your word that there is no attachment between you and this girl, this niece of Lennard’s?

Why, my dear father, replied Orlando gaily, if I am to be ſhot by Sir John Belgrave, my attachments are of little conſequence; it will therefore be time enough to talk of that when I find myſelf alive after our meeting.

Young man, ſaid Somerive, with more ſternneſs than he almoſt ever ſhewed towards Orlando before, you were once accuſtomed to obey implicitly all my commands. At hardly twenty, it is rather early to throw off all parental authority. But I ſee that the expectations you have formed of poſſeſſing the Rayland eſtate, have made you fancy yourſelf independent.

Pardon me, dear Sir! if I ſay you greatly miſtake me. If I were to-morrow to find myſelf, by Mrs. Rayland’s will, the owner of this property, which is of all the things the moſt unlikely, I ſhould not be at all more independent than I am now; for 1255 M8r 255 for, while my father lived, I ſhould be conſcious that he alone had a right to the Rayland eſtate; nor ſhould I then conſider myſelf otherwiſe than as a dependent on his bounty.

There is no contending with you, Orlando, ſaid Mr. Somerive, burſting into tears; I cannot bear this!—You muſt do, my ſon, as your own ſenſe and ſpirit dictate; and I muſt leave the event to Heaven, to whoſe protection I commit you!—Yet remember your mother, Orlando: remember your ſiſters, whoſe protector you will, I truſt, live to be; and do not, more raſhly than theſe unlucky circumſtances require, riſk a life ſo precious to us all.

Orlando threw himſelf off his horſe, and, ſeizing his father’s hand, bathed it with his tears. Neither of them ſpoke for ſome moments. At length Orlando, recovering himſelf, ſaid: My father! I would die rather than offend you—If I could, or if I can without cowardice and meanneſs evade 1256 M8v 256 evade a meeting which may give you pain, I will. In the mean time let us ſay nothing about this ſquabble to alarm my mother, if ſhe returns, as you ſay you expect ſhe will, to-morrow. If any thing happens worth your knowing, you ſhall inſtantly hear of it: and in the mean time let me entreat you not to make yourſelf uneaſy; for I am well convinced all will end without any of thoſe diſtreſſing events which your imagination has painted.

Mr. Somerive ſhook his head and ſighed. As he found nothing could be done with Orlando, he had determined to try to put a ſtop to the further progreſs of the affair, by his own interpoſition with Sir John Belgrave; and therefore, bidding Orlando tenderly adieu, he told him to go back to the Hall, while he himſelf went to his own houſe to conſider how he might beſt ward off the impending evil from a ſon whom he every day found more cauſe to love and admire. He ſaw too evidently that Orlando had an affection for Mrs. Lennard’s niece 1257 M9r 257 niece; for which, though it might be productive of the loſs of Mrs. Rayland’s favour, he knew not how to blame him. But theſe diſcoveries added new bitterneſs to the reflections he often made on the ſituation of Orlando; with which, notwithſtanding the flattering proſpect held out by Mrs. Rayland’s late behaviour to him, his father could not be ſatisfied while it remained in ſuch uncertainty. The anxiety however that he felt for theſe circumſtances immediately ſuſpended his ſolicitude for what was to come. A few hours might perhaps terminate that life, about the future diſpoſition of which he was ſo continually meditating.

Orlando, deeply concerned at the diſtreſs of his father, and too much confirmed in his opinion of his brother’s treachery and malice, returned to the Hall filled with diſquiet. He had now much to add to his letter to Monimia, for he reſolved to keep nothing a ſecret from her; and he went impatiently to his own room to finiſh his letter 1258 M9v 258 letter, when, upon the table, he found the following billet:

Sir, As I find, on enquiry, you are by birth a gentleman, you cannot believe I can paſs over the very extraordinary language and conduct you choſe to make uſe of yeſterday. Yet, in conſideration of your youth, and of your relation to Mr. Somerive, the friend of my friend Stockton, I ſhall no otherwiſe notice it than by deſiring you will write ſuch an apology as it becomes you to make, and me to receive. I am, Sir, Your humble ſervant, J. B. Belgrave.

To this letter, which Orlando was told was delivered a few moments before by a ſervant who waited, he, without heſitation, returned the following anſwer:

Sir,

Not conſcious of any impropriety in my conduct, I ſhall aſſuredly make no apology for 1259 M10r 259 for it; and I beg that neither your indulgence to my youth, or my relationſhip to Mr. Philip Somerive, may prevent your naming any other ſatisfaction which your honour may require, and which I am immediately ready to give.

I am, Sir, Your humble ſervant,

Orlando Somerive.

Having diſpatched this billet, he continued very coolly to conclude his letter to Monimia; and this laſt circumſtance was the only one he concealed from her. Having done it, he went to the turret, and ſoftly mounted the ſtair-caſe, flattering himſelf that, if he heard no noiſe, and could be quite ſecure that no perſon was with her, he might venture to ſee Monimia for a few moments. He liſtened therefore impatiently; but, to his infinite mortification, heard Betty talking with more than her uſual volubility; and as his name was repeated,peated 1260 M10v 260 peated, he could not help attending to her harangue.

Oh! to be ſure, ſaid ſhe, in anſwer to ſomething Monimia had ſaid; to be ſure, I warrant Orlando is a ſaint and an angel in your eyes—but I know ſomething.

Tell me, Betty, ſaid Monimia tremulouſly, tell me what you know.

Why I know—that though he looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, cheeſe won’t choke him. I can tell you what, Miſs, he’s ſlyer than his brother, but not a bitter gooder—What’s more, he lets women into his room at night.

Women! cried Monimia, what women? How ſhould he do that? and who ſhould they be?

That’s more than I can tell; but ſome huſſy or other he does let in, I tell you, for I know they as have ſeen her. There’s Pattenſon has been as mad as fury with me, ſaying as how it was me; and all I can ſay won’t perſuade him to the contrary.— Egollys! if it had been me, I ſhould not have 1261 M11r 261 have gone to have denied it, in ſpite of Pattenſon; but he’s as mad as a dog, and won’t hear nothing I can ſay, but ſwears he’ll tell my Lady—though I can bring Jenny to prove that, at that very time as he ſays I was ſitting along with ’Squire Orlando in his own ſtudy, I was faſt aſleep up ſtairs—And ſo if Pattenſon does make a noiſe about it, Jenny offers to take her bible oath before the Juſtice.

I think, ſaid Monimia, acquiring a little courage from the hope ſhe now entertained that ſhe had not been diſtinguiſhed, I think it is much better to ſay nothing about it.

So I tells him, anſwered Betty; but he is ſo crazy anger’d with me that he won’t hear nothing I can ſay—and there to be ſure I owns I ſhould like to know who this puſs is.

Why, replied Monimia, what can it ſignify, Betty, to you?

It ſignifies to every body, I think, Miſs, eſpecially to us poor ſervants, who may loſe our 1262 M11v 262 our characters. You ſee that I’m blamed about it already, and Pattenſon is always a telling me that Mr. Orlando has a liking for me, and that I keeps him company.— Not I, I’m ſure!—but it’s very hard to be brought into ſuch a quandary as this, when one’s quite as ’twere as innocent as can be. I’d give my ears to ſee this ſlut.

Why, who did ever ſee her? enquired Monimia.

Oh! that’s neither here nor there—ſhe was ſeen, and that’s enough.

I think it’s impertinent in any body to pry into Mr. Orlando’s room, and I dare ſay it is all a miſtake――

Pleaſe the Lord, I’ll find out the miſtake, ſaid Betty, and, I warrant, know who this dear friend of Orlando’s is before I’m two days older—and I know ſomebody elſe that won’t be ſorry to know.

Who is that?

Why his brother—a dear ſweet man— He came up to our houſe laſt night, Miſs, after ’twas dark, on purpoſe to ſpeak to me. I 1263 M12r 263 I won’t tell you half he ſaid; but he’s a noble generous gentleman, and has a more genteeler taſte too than Orlando; and for my ſhare, I think he’s as handſome.

Monimia now ſeemed to let the diſcourſe drop, and to be conſidering what ſhe ought to do. Orlando waited yet a little, in hopes that Betty would go, and that he might have an opportunity of ſeeing Monimia: but immediately the dinner bell ran; and as he now generally dined with Mrs. Rayland, he was afraid of being enquired for, and retired ſilently to his room, ſomewhat eaſier, from the ſtrong reaſon he now had to believe, that, whoever it was whoſe curioſity brought them the preceding evening to his door, they were actuated by no ſuſpicion in regard to Monimia, and that they had not even diſtinguiſhed her countenance and figure; and he meditated how to prevent any ſuſpicion concerning her— content to be accuſed himſelf of any other folly or error, if Monimia could but eſcape.

CHAP. 1264 M12v 264

Chap. XII.

It was probable that Sir John Belgrave’s meſſenger would immediately return, fixing the time and place where he would meet Orlando, who debated with himſelf whether he ſhould ſend the billet he had received, and that he expected, to his father. He had not yet determined how he ought to act, and was traverſing the flagſtones which went around the houſe conſidering of it, when his father’s ſervant appeared, and delivered to him the following letter:

My dear Orlando, I have juſt ſeen Sir John Belgrave at Mr. Stockton’s, who, on my account, as this affair really gives me great pain, is willing 1265 N1r 265 willing to drop any farther reſentment, if you will only ſay to me, that you are ſorry for your raſhneſs. I entreat you to gratify me in this—I will not ſay I command you, becauſe I hope that I need not; but this unlucky buſineſs muſt be ſettled before the return of your mother, from whom I have to-day heard that ſhe will be at home to-morrow with Iſabella, ſince ſhe cannot determine to leave her in London.—I have alſo a letter from my old friend General Tracy, of whom you recollect hearing me ſpeak as one of my early friends. He is much acquainted with your uncle Woodford, and has been very obliging in promoting his intereſt among his connnections, which are with people of the firſt rank.— Having met your mother and ſiſters at Mr. Woodford’s, he has renewed that friendſhip which time and diſtance, and our different modes of life, have for ſome years interrupted; and as he is fond of field ſports, and your mother has ſaid how happy I ſhall be to ſee him, he intends coming hither tomorrowI. N morrow 1266 N1v 266 morrow for ten days or a fortnight, and brings your mother and Iſabella down in his poſt-chaiſe. This intelligence has put Selina, who is now my houſe-keeper, into ſome little hurry, as you know we are little uſed to company; and it prevents my coming to you myſelf, as I ſhould otherwiſe have done.—But I repeat, Orlando, that this uneaſineſs muſt be removed from my mind. Write to me therefore ſuch a letter as I may ſhew to this Sir John Belgrave, and let us hear no more of it. I beg that you will inform Mrs. Rayland that I expect company, and that you will obtain her leave to be here to-morrow to receive them. Robert waits for your anſwer, which I am perſuaded will be ſatisfactory to your affectionate father, P. Somerive.

To this letter, which was extremely diſtreſſing to Orlando, ſince it impoſed upon him what he had he thought with propriety refuſed, he knew not what to anſwer. To ſuffer 1267 N2r 267 ſuffer his father to ſay to Sir John Belgrave that he was ſorry for what had paſſed, ſeemed to him even more humiliating than to ſay it himſelf――he could not bear to owe his ſafety to his father’s fears; yet it gave him infinite pain to diſobey him, and was the firſt time in his life that he had been tempted to act for himſelf, in oppoſition to his father: and the apprehenſions of what his mother would feel were ſtill more diſtreſſing to him; yet his high ſpirit could not ſtoop to apologize for what he knew was not wrong, nor to ſay he was concerned for having acted as he ſhould certainly act again were the ſame occaſion to ariſe. After much and uneaſy deliberation, he at length diſpatched to his father the following lines:

My dear Sir,

Again I muſt entreat your pardon for the diſobedience I am compelled to be guilty of. Indeed it is impoſſible for me, highly as I honour your commands, and greatly as I feel the value of your tenderneſs,N2 neſs 1268 N2v 268 neſs, quite impoſſible for me to make any apology to Sir John Belgrave: for, were I to ſay that I am ſorry for what paſſed, I ſhould ſay what is falſe, which ſurely my father will never inſiſt upon. It would grieve my very ſoul to alarm my mother; but ſurely there is no neceſſity for her knowing any thing of this ſilly buſineſs. As you expect General Tracy to-morrow, of whoſe military character I have often heard you ſepak with applauſe, I entreat that you will rather entruſt him with the affair, and aſk him whether I ought, all circumſtances fairly related, to make the ſubmiſſion required of me; and as I am ſure I may leave it to him to decide for me, I promiſe that I will abide by his determination, and will not till then meet Sir John Belgrave if he ſhould in the mean time ſend me an appointment; though even this delay is, I own, imcompatible with my ideas of that ſpirit which, in a proper cauſe, ſhould be exerted by a ſon of yours. Let this promiſe, however, of a reference to 1269 N3r 269 to General Tracy make you eaſy at preſent, my dear and honoured Sir! and be aſſured in every other inſtance of the obedience, and in every inſtance of the affection of your

Orlando.

Having diſpatched this letter, Orlando diſmiſſed the affair of Sir John Belgrave from his mind for the preſent, and gave all his thoughts to Monimia. The circumſtance of the man’s appearing at his door, thought much leſs alarming than it ſeemd at firſt, was yet ſuch as threatened to put an end to all thoſe delicious converſations which had ſo long been the charm of his exiſtence. Not to have an opportunity of ſeeing Monimia, was death to him; yet to ſee her, were ſhe expoſed to ſuch terrors as ſhe had undergone at their laſt interview, was impoſſible. In order to turn all ſuſpicion from her, he would very willingly have N3 been 1270 N3v 270 been ſuſpected of a penchant for Betty, and have encouraged her flippant forwardneſs; but that, as it awakened the envy and jealouſy of Pattenſon, was likely to put him upon the watch, and to bring on the very evil he dreaded. During the day, indeed, he had now frequent opportunities of ſeeing Monimia, who was now, unleſs under her aunt’s diſpleaſure, leſs rigorouſly confined than formerly; but thoſe interviews were never but in the preſence of a third perſon; and after what his father had ſaid, and what had happened on the alarming evening, he was compelled to be more than ever cautious. Tormented by uncertainty, and perplexed by apprehenſions, he paſſed a wretched afternoon; impatiently waiting till he could aſcend the turret, and at leaſt, if he could not ſee Monimia, obtain a letter from her. The hour at length came when he believed every one in the houſe were occupied with their own affairs; and having excuſed himſelf from drinking tea with Mrs. 1271 N4r 271 Mrs. Rayland, under pretence of being buſied in writing for his father, he ſtole ſoftly to the room under that of Monimia, and for thence up the ſtairs.

He liſtened, fearful of again hearing the indefatigable clack of Betty; but every thing was profoundly ſilent. The letter, which he had depoſited there, was gone; but there was no anſwer. He feared Monimia was ill—the terror, the fatigue of the preceding night, had been too much for her. It was dreadful to be within two or three paces of her, and yet not dare to enquire.

Still liſtening ſome time in breathleſs anxiety, he at length determined to tap gently at the door; for he was pretty well convinced ſhe was alone. Monimia, who was really ill, had lain down; but, ſtarting at the well-known ſignal, ſhe approached cloſe to the door, and ſaid, Orlando!— Gracious Heaven! are you there?

Yes, yes! replied he; is it impoſſibleN4 ble 1272 N4v 272 ble you can admit me for a moment? I am miſerable, and ſhall hardly keep my ſenſes if I cannot ſee you.

Monimia, without replying, moved her bed and admitted him. It was already dar, but ſhe had a candle on her table, and Orlando was ſhocked to ſee how ill ſhe looked. He ſpoke of it tenderly to her: ſhe aſſured him it was only owing to her having been ſo much fatigued and frightened, and that a night’s reſt, if ſhe could obtain it, would entirely reſtore her. But you muſt not ſtay, Orlando! ſaid ſhe―― indeed you muſt not.

Why? anſwered he—Is not your door faſtened? Who is likely to interrupt us?

My aunt or Betty, replied ſhe; for, though my aunt is at her tea, there is no being ſecure of her. I have ſaid I am ill, in which it can hardly be ſaid I am guilty of a falſehood; and as I am under her diſpleaſure on account of my unluckily ſtaying beyond her orders, yet ſhe may perhapshaps 1273 N5r 273 haps be ſeized by ſome whim, and even the voice of Betty would terrify me to death.

Orlando, promiſing to go, yet finding it impoſſible to tear himſſelf from her, began to ſpeak of what he had heard from Betty in the morning, while he waited at the door of Monimia’s room after depoſiting his letter. You ſee, my angel, ſaid he, you ſee you are not ſuſpected; and that the impertinent brute, whoever it was that dared intrude upon us, did not diſtinguiſh you. Make yourſelf eaſy, therefore, I conjure you, and let us think no more of this alarm, for which, though I cannot yet diſcover how, I am ſure I ſhall in a few days be able to account.

But I ſhall never again have courage to venture to your room, Orlando.

You will, replied he, ſurely, when I am able to convince you that ſuch an interruption will happen no more, and till then I do not wiſh you to venture.

Huſh, deareſt Orlando! whiſpered N5 Monimia 1274 N5v 274 Monimia; Speak very low! I heard the door at the end of the paſſage open.

They both liſtened; and inſtantly Betty, by attempting to open the door, convinced them their fears were not groundleſs.―― Lud, Miſs, cried ſhe, puſhing againſt the door, what have you lock’d yourſelf in for? Open the door—I want ſpeak to you.

Don’t ſpeak! whiſpered Orlando: let me out as ſoftly as you can, and then tell her you were ſleeping.

She has the ears of a mole, ſaid Monimia, and I ſhall be undone.

Quickly and ſoftly, however, as her trembling hands would let her, ſhe aſſiſted in Orlando’s evaſion—Betty ſtill thumping at the door—I muſt come in, Miſs, this minute.

I am laid down for my headach, replied Monimia as ſoon as Orlando was gone: It is ſtrange that I can never have any repoſe! I was juſt aſleep, Betty, and ſhould be very glad not to be diſturbed.

Glad 1275 N6r 275

Glad or not glad, replied the other, I muſt come in. ’Tis an odd thing, I think, for people to puſh their chairs and tables about in their ſleep! If you can do that, I ſuppoſe you can open the door?

Monimia now opened the door, and tremuluouſly aſked Betty, who flounced into the room, what was the matter?

Matter! ſaid ſhe—why there’s a fine to do below—There’s your favourite young ’Squire; he, as never does no wrong, has got into a fine ſcrape—juſt as I thought!

Good God! replied ſhe, in a voice hardly articulate, tell me what you mean.

Why this great gentleman, as he affronted ſo, has determined to kill him outright—He have been writing to him about it this morning, and Orlando he is ſo ſtomachful he won’t aſk the gentleman’s pardon, and ſo now they be to fight.

And how, ſaid Monimia, ſpeaking with difficulty—how did you hear all this?

N6 Why 1276 N6v 276

Why, from Sir John’s own man, a ſmart ſervant as ever I ſee, who is juſt come with a letter to fix the time and place where they be to meet; and he have been telling us how it is to be: and ſo my miſtreſs ſhe have heard of it, and there’ll be fine to do I can tell you. They have been going for to find young ’Squire Orlando, but he is out ſomewhere or another. Miſtreſs is in a fine quandary, but ſhe ſays how Orlando was quite in the right.

Betty, having thus unburthened herſelf of news which ſhe was ſo anxious to tell returned to ſee a little more of the ſmart ſervant; but not till Orlando, who had heard enough at the beginning of her converſation, had flown down to receive a letter which he had long expected, and now prepared to anſwer; though he was convinced that, by the buſtle Sir John Belgrave choſe to make, there was very little probability that he deſired to be very much in earneſt. The anxious night that this would occaſion to his Monimia was his chief concern. He determined 1277 N7r 277 determined to attempt ſeeing her again, in hopes to alleviate her uneaſineſs, but he was firſt compelled to attend to Mrs. Rayland, who ſent for him, and to whom he now related what had paſſed before, and read the letter which he had juſt received from Sir John Belgrave, which ran thus:

Sir, In conſideration of your reſpectable father, I did hope that you might have ſpared me the diſagreeable taſk of chaſtiſing your improper behaviour. I ſhall be, on Thurſday at twelve o’clock, in the meadow adjoining to Weſt Wolverton, with a brace of piſtols, of which you ſhall take your choice. I am, Sir, your humble ſervant, John Berkeley Belgrave.

To 1278 N7v 278

To this billet Orlando anſwered thus――

Sir,

I will aſſuredly attend you at the time and place appointed; and have only to regret, that the perſons to whom this affair has moſt unneceſſarily been communicated, have ſo long an interval of uneaſineſs thus impoſed upon them. I am, Sir,

your humble ſervant,

Orlando Somerive.

Mrs. Rayland, who entered into this buſineſs with an earneſtneſs of which ſhe ſeemed on moſt occaſions incapable, approved of his letter, and admired the ſpirit he exerted in a cauſe which ſhe conſidered as her own. Her fears for his ſafety ſeemed to be abſorbed in the pleaſure ſhe felt in having found a champion who was ſo ready to take up her quarrel againſt thoſe whoſe inroads had long diſturbed her, and whom ſhe hoped to mortify and humble.

Orlando 1279 N8r 279

Orlando, therefore, never was ſo high in her favour; but his own heart was torn with anguiſh, in reflecting on the ſituation of Monimia. As ſoon the houſe was quiet he returned to the turret, made deſperate by reflecting on her diſtreſs, and thinking it better to hazard a diſcovery than to leave her a whole night in ſolicitude ſo alarming.

Monimia, who little expected his return, admitted him as ſoon as ſhe heard his ſignal. He found her in that ſtate of mind which allows not the ſufferer to ſhed tears; pale, and almoſt petrified, ſhe ſat on the ſide of her bed, with claſped hands and fixed eyes, while he related to her the whole of a tranſaction which he wiſhed he could have concealed from her till the event could be known. But it was long before he could perſuade her that the danger was infinitely leſs than it appeared. It was evident that Sir John Belgrave, by poſtponing to Thurſday what he might as well have ſettled on Wedneſday, had no objection to the interferenceference 1280 N8v 280 ference of the family he had taken care to alarm; and rather wiſhed to have the honour of appearing a man of nice honour and dauntleſs courage at little expence, than to run the hazard of maintaining that character by needleſs raſhneſs. When Orlando therefore had repreſented his conduct in the ridiculous light it deſerved, and ſhewn her how probable it was that his father and General Tracy would contrive to prevent a meeting, the fears of Monimia were in ſome degree ſubdued; and at day- break Orlando left her, having inſiſted on her promiſing to endeavour to ſleep, and to make herſelf as eaſy as under ſuch circumſtances was poſſible.

End of the Firſt Volume.

i A1r

The
Old Manor House.

A
Novel,

In Four Volumes.

By Charlotte Smith.

Vol. II.

Ah me! for aught that I could ever read, Could ever hear from tale or hiſtory, The courſe of true love ever did run ſmooth; But either it was different in blood, Or elſe miſgrafted in reſpect of years, Or elſe it ſtood upon the choice of friends; Or, if there were a ſympathy in choice, War, death, or ſickneſs, did lay ſiege to it. Shakesp.Midſummer Night’s Dream.

London: Printed for J. Bell, No. 148, Oxford-Street. 1793MDCCXCIII.

ii A1v 2001 B1r

The Old Manor House.

Chap. I.

On the following morning Orlando received an early ſummons from his father, requeſting him to be at home by two o’clock, when his mother, his ſiſter, and General Tracy were expected; for, as the General travelled with his own four horſes, which were very fine ones, and of which he was particularly fond, the ladies had agreed to remain one night on the road, and reach home early the ſecond day; though the journey was otherwiſe eaſily performed in one, Weſt Wolverton being only about ſixty five miles from London.

Vol. II. B Orlando 2002 B1v 2

Orlando having informed Mrs. Rayland of the reaſon of his abſence; having ſeen Monimia for a moment, again whiſpered to her to be leſs apprehenſive for his ſafety, and promiſing to ſee her at night, he proceeded to obey his father. On his arrival, he found him walking with the General on the graſs plot before the door; and, ſpringing from his horſe, paid his duty to him, was introduced in form to the General, and then eagerly aſked for his mother and his ſiſter.

They were within; and Orlando, flying to them, was ſurpriſed by his mother’s throwing her arms around him, and falling into an agony of tears, in which his three ſiſters, who ſtood around her, accompanied her. He entreated an explanation; and learned from Iſabella, who alone was able to ſpeak, that the ſervants had been telling them, inſtantly on their arrival at home, that he was about to fight a duel, in which it was the opinion of the informers that he muſt certainly be killed.

Orlando, 2003 B2r 3

Orlando, execrating the folly of the ſervants, or rather the paltry conduct of Sir John Belgrave, who had apparently made all this buſtle on purpoſe, endeavoured to re-aſſure and conſole his mother; but her alarm for his ſafety was too great to allow her to liſten patiently to any thing he could ſay, ſince the fact of his having received and accepted a challenge from Sir John Belgrave he did not attempt to deny. The anxious mother, now that ſhe ſaw him before her, thought only of preventing the meeting which might deprive her of that comfort for ever. She ſeemed afraid of his ſtirring from her ſight, as if Sir John Belgrave had lurked in every corner of the houſe; and deſired he would remain with her in her own room, while ſhe ſent Iſabella to entreat that Mr. Somerive would come to her.

When he ſaw her, her tears and agitation ſufficiently explained to him, that thoſe whom he had expreſsly ordered to be ſilent had found it impoſſible to obey him. To B 2 Selina 2004 B2v 4 Selina and Emma, the two youngeſt girls, who had remained at home, it had been known almoſt as ſoon as to himſelf, but he had enjoined them to conceal it from their mother; and knew that, whatever it coſt them to be ſilent on ſuch a ſubject, neither of them would diſobey him. It was, however, too late, or at leaſt uſeleſs, to declaim againſt the folly of thoſe who had; and he found ſufficient employment in appeaſing the diſtreſs of his wife and daughters, while he ſent Orlando to entertain the General.

General Tracy was the ſecond brother of a noble family; and, having entered very young into the army, had paſſed through the inferior ranks with that rapidity which intereſt always ſecures. At five-and-thirty he had a regiment; and as ſome of the fortunes of uncles and aunts had centred in him, he was now, at near ſixty, a man of very large fortune, and ſeemed to want nothing to complete his happineſs, but the power of perſuading others, as he had almoſtmoſt 2005 B3r 5 moſt perſuaded himſelf, that he was but five-and-thirty ſtill.

To effect this, and maintain that favour which he had always been in among the ladies, was the great object of his life. His perſon had been celebrated for beauty; and he deſired to preſerve a pre-eminence, which was in his opinion ſuperior to any fame he could derive from his bravery in the field, or his ability in the ſenate, where he had long been a member, certainly voting with the miniſter of the day. He had a place about the court, at which he was a conſtant attendant, and where the ſoftneſs and elegance of his manners, the pliability of his political attachments, and his very considerable intereſt and property, rendered him a great favourite.—All the time he could ſpare from his duty there, he ſeemed to devote to the ſervice of thoſe faſhionable women who give the ton, and whoſe favour he diſputed with the riſing heroes of the faſhionable world. But he felt in reality only diſguſt and ſatiety in their company; B 3 and 2006 B3v 6 and had no taſte but for youth and beauty, of which he was continually in ſearch—and with his fortune his ſearch could not be unſucceſsful. He had no ſcruples to deter him from decoying any young woman whom he liked, that chance might throw into his power; but he uſually avoided with care any ſcheme which was likely to be interrupted by the unpleaſant remonſtrances of a father or a brother, and generally purſued only the indigent and the defenceleſs.

As he purchaſed his wine of Mr. Woodford, he had occaſionally been at his houſe. His daughters were rather handſome, and very lively girls; and though they did not come exactly under the deſcription of thoſe whoſe preference the General could without much trouble ſecure, he found himſelf pleaſed with their company, becauſe they were greatly flattered by the admiration of ſuch a faſhionable man, and never ſo happy as when the General ſent his ſuperb coach for them, and gallanted them to ſome public place, or drove them in his phaeton through 2007 B4r 7 through Hyde Park to Kenſington Gardens. Their father, who thought more of the good cuſtomer which the General was himſelf, and the great families he had recommended him to, than of any neceſſity for reſerve in his daughters, encouraged this acquaintance (which their mother was as well pleaſed with as the young women) till the neighbourhood talked loudly of their indiſcretion, and till the youngeſt Miſs Woodford, who was his peculiar favourite, was declared by many ladies to have conſiderably injured her reputation. This ſhe herſelf conſidered only as a teſtimony of their envy, and her own ſuperior attractions; and the more ſhe heard of their malignant remarks, the more eagerly ſhe endeavoured to ſhew her contempt of their opinion, and her power over the General, who, on the return of the family to town after their viſit to Weſt Wolverton, was more than uſual at the houſe. But thither he was no longer attracted by the charms of Miſs Eliza Woodford. The moment he beheld B 4 Iſabella 2008 B4v 8 Iſabella Somerive, he had no eyes for any other perſon; and though he ſoon learned that ſhe was in a ſituation of life which placed her above thoſe temptations which he generally found infallible, and had a father and two brothers to protect her, the impreſſion ſhe had made was ſuch that he could not determine to loſe ſight of her; and as the diſcovery of the preference he gave her had made both her couſins very little deſirous of her company in London during the winter, where ſhe ſeemed too likely to rob them of all their conqueſts, he found ſhe was to return home with her mother—and thither he reſolved to follow her.

An opportunity of introducing himſelf into the family of Somerive was eaſily obtained, when he recollected that, in the preceding war, Somerive, in whoſe own county there was at that time no militia, had, being then an active man, procured a commiſſion in that of a neighbouring county, and ſerved in a camp then formed for the 2009 B5r 9 the defence of the coaſt, where he himſelf was a captain. They had at that time been frequently together, and afterwards kept up ſome degree of intimacy, till Somerive’s marriage fixing him wholly in retirement, the gay and faſhionable ſoldier thought of him no more.

The General, however, no ſooner knew who the viſitors at Woodford’s were, than he moſt aſſiduouſly and ſucceſsfully paid his court to Mrs. Somerive; talked to her continually of her huſband, whoſe merits he affected to remember with infinite regard, and for whoſe intereſt he appeared to feel the warmeſt concern. It was a theme of which Mrs. Somerive, who adored her huſband, was never weary; and while General Tracy ſo pathetically lamented the interruption of their friendſhip, nothing was more natural than her entreaties to him that he would renew it.

That was the point he had laboured to gain, and he accepted the invitation ſhe gave him, adding the opportunity of the B 5 ſhooting 2010 B5v 10 ſhooting ſeaſon to his other inducements, the better to colour ſo unexpected a viſit. He had found it convenient to pretend a great paſſion for field ſports—partly becauſe it was faſhionable, and partly becauſe it ſhewed that his powers of enduring fatigue were equal to the youthful appearance he aſſumed; and to ſupport this, he now and then went through, what was to him moſt miſerable drudgery, that of a day’s hunting or ſhooting; but he more uſually contrived, when he was at the houſes of his friends for theſe purpoſes, to ſprain his ancle in the firſt excurſion he made, or to hurt himſelf by the recoil of his gun: and by ſuch methods he generally managed to be left without ſuſpicion at home with the ladies; with whom he was ſo univerſal a favourite, and to whom he had ſo many ways of recommending himſelf, by deciding on their dreſs, reading to them books of entertainment, and relating anecdotes collected in the higher circles where he moved in the winter, that he found no loſs of attention 5 from 2011 B6r 11 from the progreſs of years—a progreſs indeed which he took the utmoſt pains to conceal. His clothes, which were always made by the moſt eminent taylor, were cut with as much care as thoſe of the moſt celebrated beauty on her firſt appearance at court; and he had ſeveral contrivances, of his own invention, to make them fit with advantage to his perſon. His hands were more delicate than thoſe of any lady; and though he could not ſo totally baffle the inexorable hands of time as to eſcape a few wrinkles, he ſtill maintained a conſiderable ſhare of the bloom of youth, not without ſuſpicion of Olympian dew, cold cream, and Spaniſh wool. Certain it is that he was very long at his toilet every day, to which no perſon, not even his valet-de- chambre, was admitted. With all this he was a man of the moſt undoubted bravery; and had not only ſerved in Germany with great credit, but had been engaged in ſeveral affairs of honour, in which he had always acquitted himſelf with courage and B 6 propriety. 2012 B6v 12 propriety. Such was the man who was now, from no very honourable motives, become an inmate in the houſe of Mr. Somerive.

When Mr. Somerive had appeaſed the diſtreſs into which his wife was thrown by the intelligence ſhe had ſo abruptly received about Orlando, and had prevailed upon her to compoſe herſelf and appear at dinner, he returned back to his friend, whom he found in converſation with Orlando; and he determined that he would, over their wine, relate to him what had paſſed between Sir John Belgrave and his ſon (who had put Sir John’s laſt letter into his hands), and take the General’s opinion as to what was fit to be done.

Dinner was announced, and the ladies of the family appeared;—the mother, with ſwollen eyes, which ſhe could not a moment keep from Orlando; and the daughters appearing to ſympathize with her; particularly Selina, who was fondly attached to Orlando, and who, from the terror in which ſhe 2013 B7r 13 ſhe ſaw her mother, having caught redoubled apprehenſion, could hardly command her tears; and though the General failed not to compliment her on her beauty, which even exceeded that of her ſiſter, and to ſpeak in the warmeſt terms to Mr. and Mrs. Somerive of their lovely family, Selina heeded him not. He obſerved that Iſabella was leſs inſenſible of his ſtudied eulogiums, and from thence drew a favourable omen. Emma, the youngeſt of the girls, was only between twelve and thirteen.

As ſoon as the table-cloth was removed, Mrs. Somerive, under pretence of being a good deal fatigued with her journey, and ſomewhat indiſpoſed, withdrew with her daughters: Mr. Somerive ſoon after gave Orlando a hint to go alſo; and then he opened to General Tracy the affair which lay ſo heavy on his heart, and entreated his advice how to act.

I am glad, anſwered the General, to learn the cauſe of Mrs. Somerive’s concern, 2014 B7v 14 concern, which was ſo evident at dinner, as well as that of her amiable daughters, that I was afraid ſome very diſagreeable incident had happened in the family.

And is not, ſaid Mr. Somerive, what I have related diſagreeable enough?

No, upon my honor! I ſee nothing in it but what is rather a matter of exultation. Your ſon is one of the fineſt and moſt ſpirited young men I ever ſaw. If he was a ſon of my own, I ſhould rejoice that he had acted ſo properly, and be very proud of him.

But you would not riſk his life, ſurely? ſaid Mr. Somerive.

Why, as to that, replied the General, in theſe caſes there is ſome little riſk, to be ſure; but I ſhould never check a lad of ſpirit. I know Belgrave, added he, ſmiling.

And what is his reputation for courage? enquired Mr. Somerive.

Oh! he is quite the fine man of the day,” 2015 B8r 15 day, anſwered the General careleſsly.— He will fight, if he muſt—but I believe is quite as willing to let it alone.

It will break my wife’s heart, ſaid Mr. Somerive dejectedly, and amazed at the different light in which two people, from their different modes of life, conſider the ſame object; it will certainly break my wife’s heart, if any evil befalls Orlando.

General Tracy now ſaw that an opportunity offered by which he might confer an obligation on the family, which muſt ſecure their endleſs gratitude, and he reſolved to embrace it.

If it makes you all ſo uneaſy, replied he, after a moment’s pauſe, and eſpecially if her fears make Mrs. Somerive ſo very wretched, ſuppoſe we try what can be done to put an end to the affair without a meeting. I dare ſay Belgrave will eaſily be induced, on the ſlighteſt apology, to drop the affair entirely.

But even the ſlighteſt apology Orlando will 2016 B8v 16 will not be perſuaded to make, ſaid Mr. Somerive.

He is right, anſwered the General; and I honour him for his reſolution. It is a thouſand pities, continued he, again pauſing, that ſuch a gloriouſly ſpirited young fellow ſhould waſte his life in ſecluſion, waiting on the caprices of an old woman――What do you intend to do with him?

That, ſaid Somerive, is what I have long been in doubt about. I had thoughts once of putting him into trade; but to that project Mrs. Rayland’s objections, and Orlando’s little inclination to follow it, put an end.

I am glad they did; for it would have been a ſad ſacrifice, I think, to have ſet ſo fine a young man down to a comptinghouſe deſk for the reſt of his life.

And at other times, re-aſſumed Mr. Somerive, I have thought of the church. Mrs. Rayland has very conſiderable patronage; but though I have hinted very frequently6 quently 2017 B9r 17 quently to her my wiſhes on this ſubject, ſhe never would underſtand me, to give me any aſſurance that ſhe would ſecure him a living; or made any offer of aſſiſtance to ſupport him at the univerſity, which ſhe knows that it is quite impoſſible for me, circumſtanced as I am at preſent, to do.

She was in the right of it, cried the General. The old lady has more ſagacity than I ſuſpected, and knows that it would be abſolutely a ſin to make him a parſon, and bury all that ſenſe and ſpirit in a country vicarage. Why, my good friend, do you not put your ſon into the army?— that ſeems to be the profeſsion for which nature has deſigned him.

Becauſe, anſwered Somerive, I have, in the firſt place, no money to buy him a commiſſion; and, if I had, there are two great objections to it:—it would half kill his mother, and take him out of the way of Mrs. Rayland, which appears to be very impolitic.

What if a commiſſion were found for him,” 2018 B9v 18 him, ſaid General Tracy, do you think the other objections ought to weigh much? Conſider it, my good friend; and if you think ſuch a plan would be eligible, and the young man himſelf likes it, perhaps it may be in my power to be of ſome uſe to you.

Mr. Somerive warmly expreſſed his gratitude for the intereſt that his friend ſeemed to take in the welfare of his Orlando; and then, after a ſhort ſilence, ſaid: But, my dear General, we forget, while we are planning ſchemes for the future life of Orlando, it may be terminated to-morrow.

Well, replied he, ſince I ſee you cannot conquer your alarm about this matter, and as I am ſtill more concerned for Mrs. Somerive, I will go over early in the morning to Belgrave, who has wiſely appointed the meeting at twelve o’clock, and ſomehow or other we will get it ſettled.— If I ſay to the doughty baronet, that his honour will ſuffer nothing by dropping it, I am pretty well aſſured that he will be content 2019 B10r 19 content to let it go no farther. Make yourſelf eaſy therefore, and go tell your wife that I will take care of her little boy, while I pay my reſpects to the young ladies whom I ſee walking in the garden.

Somerive, whoſe heart was agonized by the diſtreſs of his wife, haſtened to relieve her; and the General went off at a quick march to overtake the three Miſs Somerives, to whom he related ſome part of the converſation that had paſſed between him and their father, and the taſk he had undertaken of ſettling the affair with Sir John Belgrave.

The ſenſible hearts of theſe charming girls were filled with the livelieſt emotions towards the General, who, if he could ſave their brother from danger, which their timidity had dreadfully magnified, they believed would be entitled to their everlaſting gratitude. The brilliant eyes of Iſabella ſparkled with pleaſure, while the ſofter blue eyes of Selina were turned towards him filled with tears of pleaſure; and little- Emma 2020 B10v 20 Emma longed to embrace him, as ſhe uſed to do her father when he had granted any of her infantine requeſts. While every one alternately expreſſed her thanks, Tracy whiſpered to Iſabella, by whoſe ſide he was walking: To give the ſlighteſt pleaſure to my lovely Iſabella, I would do infinitely more; and, rather than ſhe ſhould be alarmed, take myſelf the chance of Sir John Belgrave’s fire.

Iſabella, too ignorant of the ways of the world to be either offended or alarmed by ſuch a ſpeech, and naturally pleaſed by flattery and admiration, ſmiled on the enamoured General in a manner ſo faſcinating as overpaid him for all the trouble he had taken or propoſed to take: and while he meditated againſt his old friend the greateſt injury he could commit, he reconciled himſelf to it, by determining to do ſuch ſervices to the other part of the family, as would more than compenſate for the inroads he might make on its peace by carrying off Iſabella; for to carry her off he was reſolved,ed, 2021 B11r 21 ed, if his art could effect it. His eagerneſs, however, to ſerve Orlando, had another motive than this of retribution. He foreſaw that ſo ſpirited a young man might prevent, or, not being able to do that, would very ſeriouſly reſent his deſigns upon a ſiſter: the character of the elder brother, of which he had by this time formed a pretty clear idea, left him little to apprehend from him; but the fiery and impetuous Orlando would, he thought, be much better out of the way.

His converſation with the Miſs Somerives now took a gayer turn; and ſo happy did he feel himſelf with three ſuch nymphs around him, that he regretted the ſummons which called them in to attend the tea-table.

Mrs. Somerive, who had now been long in conference with her huſband, and afterwards with Orlando, appeared much more cheerful than at dinner, and ſurveyed the General with thoſe looks of complacency which expreſſed how much ſhe was obliged to 2022 B11v 22 to him for the interference he had promiſed. The evening paſſed off pleaſantly. Orlando stayed to ſupper; but then told his father, that he had ſome buſineſs to do for Mrs. Rayland early the next day (which was true), and therefore he would return to the Hall that evening. Mr. Somerive, who ſtill felt a dread which he could not conquer, entreated him to give his word of honour, that he would not throw himſelf in the way of Sir John Belgrave till the hour of that gentleman’s appointment. This Orlando (who was ignorant of the plans in agitation to prevent that appointment from taking place at all) thought himſelf obliged to comply with: on which condition his father, though reluctantly, ſuffered him at midnight to mount his horſe and return to Rayland Hall, where he had deſired Betty to sit up for him; fearful of entering through the chapel, leſt his doing ſo ſhould lead to thoſe ſuſpicions he was ſo deſirous of avoiding. As ſoon as he left his father’s door, he 2023 B12r 23 he put his horſe into a gallop, impatient to be with Monimia; and as he croſſed the park, he ſaw a light in her turret, and pleaſed himſelf with the idea of her fondly expecting his arrival.

Chap.
2024 B12v 24

Chap. II.

Orlando, on his entering the ſervants’ hall, found Betty waiting for him as ſhe had promiſed. Lord, Sir, cried ſhe as ſoon as he appeared, I thoft as you’d never come! Why it’s almoſt half paſt one o’clock, and I be frighted out of my ſeven ſenſes ſitting up ſo all alone. I beg your pardon, dear Betty! replied he; but I could not get away ſooner. I’ll never detain you ſo long again; and now ſuffer me to make you what amends I can, by deſiring your acceptance of this. He preſented her with a crown, which ſhe looked at a moment, and then, archly leering at him, ſaid, Humph! if you give folks a crown for ſitting up for you in the kitchen, I ſuppoſe they as bides with you in your ſtudy have double price.

“Come, 2025 C1r 25

Come, come, Betty, ſaid Orlando, impatient to eſcape from her troubleſome enquiries, let me hear no more of ſuch nonſenſe. I have nobody ever in my ſtudy, as you know very well. It is very late— I wiſh you a good night.

He then, without attending to her farther, as ſhe ſeemed ſtill diſpoſed to talk, took his candle and went to his own apartment; where after waiting about a quarter of an hour, till he thought her retired and the whole houſe quiet, he took his way to the turret.

Monimia had long expected him, and now received him with joy chaſtiſed by the fear which ſhe felt on enquiring into the events of the day. Orlando related to her all that he thought would give her pleaſure, and endeavoured that ſhe ſhould underſtand the affair of the next day ſettled, for he would not violate truth by poſitively aſſerting it: and Monimia, apprehenſive of teaſing him by her enquiries, ſtifled as much as ſhe could the pain ſhe endured Vol. II. C from 2026 C1v 26 from this uncertainty. This ſhe found it better to do, as ſhe obſerved Orlando to be reſtleſs and diſſatisfied: he complained of the miſery he underwent in his frequent abſences, and of the unworthy excuſes he was compelled to make. He expreſſed impatiently the long unhappineſs he had in proſpect, if he could never ſee her but thus clandeſtinely, and riſking every moment her fame and her peace. Monimia, however, ſoothed him, by bidding him remember how lately it was that they both thought themſelves too happy to meet upon any terms; and would very fain have inſpired him with hopes that they might ſoon look forward to fairer proſpects, hopes which he had often tried to give her. But, alas! ſhe could not communicate what ſhe did not feel; and whichever way they caſt their eyes, all was deſpair as to their ever being united with the conſent of thoſe friends on whom they were totally dependent.

Orlando, moſt ſolicitous for the peace of Monimia, 2027 C2r 27 Monimia, had never been betrayed before into theſe murmurings in her preſence; but ſeemed to forget the threatening aſpect of the future, while he enjoyed the happineſs that was preſent. But all that had paſſed during the day, had aſſiſted in making him diſcontented. His mother’s tears and diſtreſs, the tender fears of his ſiſters, and the leſs evident but more heavy anxiety which he ſaw oppreſſed his father, all contributed to convince him that, in being of ſo much conſequence to his family, he loſt the privilege of pleaſing himſelf; that his duty and his inclination muſt be for ever at variance; and that, if he could reſign the hopes of being ſettled in affluence by Mrs. Rayland, he ſtill could not marry Monimia without making his family unhappy—unleſs indeed he had the means of providing for her, of which at preſent there appeared not the leaſt probability. Mrs. Rayland ſeemed likely to live for many years; or, if ſhe died, it was very uncertain whether ſhe would give him more than a trifling legacy. C 2 When 2028 C2v 28 When he reflected on his ſituation, he became aſhamed of thus ſpending his life, of waſting the beſt of his days in the hope of that which might never happen; while Monimia, almoſt a priſoner in her little apartment, paſſed the day in ſervitude, and divided the night between uneaſy expectation, hazardous conference, and fruitleſs tears.

It was theſe thoughts that gave to Orlando that air of impatience and anxiety, which even in the preſence of Monimia he could not ſo far conquer but that ſhe obſerved it, even before he broke through the reſtraint he had hitherto impoſed on himſelf, and indulged thoſe fears which he had ſo often entreated her to check.

At length, however, the hope ſhe affected to feel, the charm of finding himſelf ſo fondly beloved, and that his Monimia was prepared to meet any deſtiny with him, reſtored him to that temper which he was in when he propoſed to brave the diſcovery of their attachment. With difficulty ſhe perſuaded 2029 C3r 29 perſuaded him to leave her about three o’clock. He glided ſoftly down ſtairs; and when he came out of the lower room of the turret, he found the night ſo very dark that he could not ſee his hand. He knew the way, however, ſo well, that he walked ſlowly but fearleſsly on, and had nearly reached the chapel-door when he found his feet ſuddenly entangled; and before he could either diſengage himſelf, or diſcover what it was that thus impeded his way, ſomebody ran againſt him, whom he ſeized, and loudly demanded to know who it was.

And who are you? replied a deep ſurly voice: let me go, or it ſhall be the worſt day’s work you ever did in your life.

Orlando, now convinced that he had taken the fellow who had ſo inſolently intruded upon him, and ſo cruelly alarmed Monimia, felt himſelf provoked to puniſh him for his paſt inſolence, and deter him from repeating it: he therefore firmly C 3 graſped 2030 C3v 30 graſped his priſoner, who ſeemed a very ſtout fellow, and who ſtruggled violently for his releaſe—ſo violently indeed that Orlando, exerting all his ſtrength, threw him down; but in doing ſo, the rope which he had at firſt trod upon being in the way, he fell alſo: ſtill however he held his antagoniſt faſt, and, kneeling upon him, ſaid reſolutely, Whoever you are, I will detain you here till day-light, unleſs you inſtantly tell me your name and buſineſs.

Curſe your ſtrength! replied the fallen foe; if I was not a little boozy, I’d be d—d before you ſhould have the better of me.

Who are you? again repeated Orlando.

Why, who the plague ſhould I be, cried the man, but Jonas Wilkins?—Ah! Master Orlando, I knows you too now well enough—Come, Sir, let a body go: I know you’d ſcorn to do a poor man no harm.

Jonas Wilkins! exclaimed Orlando, who knew that to be the name of an outlawedlawed 2031 C4r 31 lawed ſmuggler, famous for his reſolution, and the fears in which he was held by the cuſtom-houſe officers—Jonas Wilkins! And pray, enquired Orlando, releaſing him, what may have brought you here, Mr. Jonas Wilkins?

Why, I’ll tell you, replied the fellow, for I knows you to be a kind-hearted gentleman, and won’t hurt me. The truth of the matter then is this—The butler of this here houſe, Maſter Pattenſon, is engaged a little matter in our buſineſs; and when we gets a cargo, he ſtows it in Madam’s cellars, which lays along-ſide the houſe, and he have the means to open that door there in the wall, under that there old fig-tree, which nobody knows nothing about. So here we brings our goods till ſuch time as we can carry it ſafely up the country, and we comes on dark nights to take it away.

And you were here on Monday night, were you not? and came into my room through the chapel?

Yes, that I did, ſure enough. Aha! C 4 Maſter 2032 C4v 32 Maſter Orlando! I think we’ve cotch’d one another.

If that be the caſe, replied Orlando, it would have been well if we had kept one another’s ſecrets. Why did you ſpeak of having ſeen one in my room?

Egod, Old Pattenſon was down in the cellar himſelf, for we were helping up ſome heavy goods that night; I don’t know what a devil ail’d me, but I thought I’d juſt give a look into your room, where, you muſt know, before you comed to live, we uſed now and then to put a few kegs or ſo upon a pinch—and, d—n it! there was you with a pretty girl. Ah, Maſter Orlando! who’d think you was ſuch a ſly one?

Well, but, ſaid Orlando, what occaſion was there, Jonas, for your telling Pattenſon?

To teaſe the old ſon of a b――, anſwered Jonas. Why, don’t you know that he’s after Betty Richards, and as jealous as poiſon?—So I made him believe ’twas ſhe.

You made him believe!

“Aye, 2033 C5r 33

Aye, for it might be ſhe, or another— Curſe me if I ſaw who it was! for you blow’d out the candle, whiſk! in a minute.

Orlando, heartily glad to hear this, purſued his enquiry farther. Pray, reſumed he, tell me why ſome perſon a little while after cried out, Now! now!

Why, we thought that all was quiet; and as I and a comrade of mine was waiting for the goods, we were going to heave them up, and that was the ſignal—but you were plaguy quick-eared, and began to holla after us; ſo we were forced to let the job alone till to-night, and Pattenſon let us out through the t’other part of the houſe. We’ve done the buſineſs now, and my comrades they all be off with the goods— I only ſtaid to gather up our tools, becauſe I be going another way.

Orlando, now finding himſelf thus unexpectedly relieved from the difficulty of accounting for the circumſtance of the night of alarm, was far from reſenting the reſiſtance5 ance 2034 C5v 34 ance his new acquaintance had made, or heeding the pain he felt from ſome bruiſes which he had received in the ſtruggle; but being rather pleaſed at this rencontre, and wiſhing to know how far the trade of the worſhipful Mr. Pattenſon was likely to impede his future meetings with Monimia, he invited Jonas into his room, and told him he could give him, late as it was, a glaſs of wine.

Jonas accepted his invitation, but deſired he might ſtay to coil up his ropes, which he depoſited in the porch, and then followed Orlando, who had taken his hanger from the chimney where it uſually hung, and put his piſtols, which were both loaded, by him. Theſe precautions were not meant againſt his gueſt, whom he did not ſuſpect of any immediate intention to injure him, but to let him ſee that he was prepared againſt intruſion, from whatever motive it might be made, at any other time.

When the man made his appearance, Orlando, prepared as he was for the ſight of a ruffian, 2035 C6r 35 ruffian, felt ſomething like horror. His dark countenance ſhaded by two immenſe black eyebrows, his ſhaggy hair, and the fierce and wild expreſſion of his eyes, gave a complete idea of one of Shakeſpeare’s well-painted aſſaſſins; while, in contemplating his athletic form, Orlando wondered how he had been able a moment to detain him. He wore a dirty round frock ſtained with ochre which looked like blood, and over it one of thoſe thick great coats which the vulgar call raſcal-wrappers. Orlando poured him out a tumbler of wine, and bade him ſit down. The fellow obeyed, drank off his wine; and then, after ſurveying the room, ſaid, turning with a ſly look to Orlando, What, Maſter, ſhe ben’t here then to-night?

Pooh, pooh! cried Orlando, let’s forget that, good Jonas!—your eyes deceived you, there was nobody here: and I aſſure you it was well you diſappeared as you did, or you would have paid for your peeping, ſhewing one of his piſtols.

C 6 “Aye, 2036 C6v 36

Aye, aye, answered Jonas, you’ve got a pair of bull-dogs, I ſee!――and I, added he, pulling a pocket-piſtol from under his frock, I’ve a terrier or two about me; and ’twas ten to one, Mr. Orlando, if I had not a given a pretty good gueſs who it was, that I had not taken you for an officer, and treated you with more ſugar-plums than would have ſat eaſy upon your ſtomach.

We are good friends now, however, ſaid Orlando, ſo drink, Jonas, to our better acquaintance.

He then plied him with another full tumbler of wine, and began to queſtion him on his exploits. He found him one of thoſe daring and deſperate men, who, knowing they are to expect no mercy, diſclaim all hope, and reſolutely prey upon the ſociety which has ſhaken them off. He had been drinking before Orlando met him; and now the wine with which Orlando plied him, and the voice of kindneſs with which he ſpoke to him, contributed to open his heart. Jonas diſcloſed to Orlando all their manœvres; 2037 C7r 37 manœvres; and it was not without aſtoniſhment that he found both Snelcraft the coachman and Pattenſon ſo deeply engaged among the ſmugglers, and deriving very conſiderable ſums from the ſhelter they afforded them, and the participation of their illicit gains. Orlando found, that during the whole winter, in weather when no other veſſels kept the ſea, theſe adventurous men purſued their voyages, and carried their cargoes through the country, in weather when one’s enemy’s dog would hardly be turned from the door.

Orlando, after ſome conſideration on the means of eſcaping that interruption which this combination amon the ſervants in the houſe ſeemed to threaten, told the man, as if in confidence, that under the reſtraint he was in, in Mrs. Rayland’s houſe, he ſometimes found it convenient to go out after the family were in bed, to ſee at a neighbouring town ſome friends whom Mrs. Rayland diſliked he ſhould ſee; and therefore, ſaid he, I wiſh, Jonas, that, as I ſhould 2038 C7v 38 ſhould not wiſh to interrupt you, you would give me ſome ſignal on thoſe nights when you are at work in the cellar.

This the ſmuggler readily promiſed, and they agreed upon the ſign which ſhould signify the importation or exportation of the merchandiſe of Mr. Pattenſon from the cellars of his miſtreſs.

Orlando, poſſeſſing this ſecret, flattered himſelf that his very extraordinary acquaintance would keep his word, and that the communication between the ſtudy and the apartment of Monimia might once more be open, without making her liable to thoſe terrors from which ſhe had ſuffered ſo much.

The man, whom Orlando continued to behold with a mixture of horror and pity, was now nearly overcome with the wine he had drank, and began to relate long proſing ſtories of his eſcapes and his exploits, in which he related inſtances of dauntleſs courage, tarniſhed however by brutiſh ferocity. At length Orlando reminded him that day was 2039 C8r 39 was ſoon approaching, and ſaw him out of the chapel-door, repeating his aſſurances that nothing of what he had himſelf that night diſcovered ſhould tranſpire. Orlando then faſtened the chapel and the other doors, and betook himſelf to his repoſe— thinking leſs about the meeting that was to take place, as he believed, on the morrow, than on the recent diſcovery he had made, which nearly quieted his terrors in regard to Monimia’s having been ſeen; and he impatiently longed for an opportunity to communicate to her the ſatisfaction which he hoped ſhe would derive from this aſſurance.

The late hour at which he had gone to bed, and the fatigue of mind he had experienced the preceding day, occaſioned it to be later than uſual when Orlando awoke. He ſtarted up; and recollecting that he had ſome writing to finiſh for Mrs. Rayland, and that he was to meet Sir John Belgrave at twelve o’clock, he haſtened to dreſs himſelf, and had hardly done ſo before he receivedceived 2040 C8v 40 ceived a ſummons to attend his father, who waited for him as uſual in the ſtable-yard.

He found Mr. Somerive again on horſeback, and eaſily underſtood that his purpoſe was to keep him from his appointment, to which however he was poſitively determined to go. While his father, in a peculiar ſtrain of dejection and concern, was yet talking to him as he leaned on the horſe, Mrs. Lennard ſaw them from one of the windows; and having acquainted her lady, ſhe, contrary to her uſual reſerved treatment of Mr. Somerive, ſent down a very civil meſſage requeſting his company with Orlando to breakfaſt.

This invitation, ſo flattering becauſe ſo unuſual, was of courſe accepted. Somerive knew that Mrs. Rayland was acquainted with the affair which hung over him with an aſpect ſo threatening, and hoped that ſhe would unite with him in perſuading Orlando to thoſe conceſſions which might yet afford the means of evading it, if the General’s interpoſition ſhould fail: inſtead of which, 2041 C9r 41 which, he found her elated with the idea of puniſhing the audacity of Sir John, fearleſs of any danger which in the attempt might happen to Orlando, and piqueing herſelf on the ſuppoſition that in him had revived a ſpark of that martial and dauntleſs ſpirit which ſhe had been taught to believe characteriſed the men of her family. She ſeemed ſurpriſed, and ſomewhat offended, at the alarm Mr. Somerive expreſſed; and hinted, in no very equivocal terms, that this timidity was the effect of that mixture of plebeian blood, from the alloy of which only Orlando, of all the family, ſeemed exempt: while Mr. Somerive, in his turn, beheld, with a degree of horror and diſguſt, a woman who, to gratify her pride, or revenge her quarrel, on ſo trifiling a ſubject, was ready to promote perhaps the death of one for whom ſhe had appeared to feel ſome degree of affection.

With views and opinions ſo different, their conference was not likely to be either very long or very ſatisfactory. Mr. Someriverive 2042 C9v 42 rive knew, that when Mrs. Rayland had once taken up an opinion, argument againſt it offended, but never convinced her; and that in proportion as her reaſoning was feeble, her reſolution was firm. Thus baffled in his hopes of her effectual interpoſition, and ſeeing that Orlando was bent upon keeping his appointment, of which the hour was now at hand, Mr. Somerive ſat awhile ſilent, mortified and wretched— hoping, yet fearing, for the ſucceſs of the General’s interpoſition, and conſidering what he ſhould do if it failed.

He had juſt determined to obtain a warrant immediately, and to put both parties under arreſt, when a ſervant brought to him the following letter:

My Dear Sir, I am now with Sir John Belgrave; and as I know the very natural and tender ſolicitude which you and your amiable family are under, I loſe not a moment in doing myſelf the pleaſure to aſſure you, that 2043 C10r 43 that Sir John conſents to give the matter up, and that without any conceſſions from your ſon that may be derogatory to his honour. If Sir John allows me to ſay that he is ſorry for what has paſſed, it can ſurely not be too much for Mr. Orlando to make to him the ſame conceſſion. I have great ſatiſfaction in communicating to you the ſucceſs of my ſincere endeavours to be ſerviceable, and have the honour to be, My dear Sir, Your moſt devoted ſervant, Charles-Ferdinand Tracy.

Mr. Somerive read this billet with a beating heart, apprehenſive that the interpoſition of Mrs. Rayland would prevent Orlando from making even the ſlight apology which General Tracy dictated; and ſeeing him reſtleſs, and meditating how to eſcape, he haſtily bade Mrs. Rayland good morning; and ordering, in a more peremptory voice than he generally aſſumed, Orlando to follow him, he left the room; and, as ſoon 2044 C10v 44 ſoon as he was alone with his ſon, put into his hands the letter he had received, at the ſame time telling him that he muſt be obeyed in the command he laid upon him, to make immediately the conceſſion required.

Orlando, convinced that he ought to do ſo, after the appeal he had himſelf conſented to make to the General, aſſured his father of his obedience. They found, on enquiry, that General Tracy’s ſervant had been ſent firſt to Weſt Wolverton; from whence Mrs. Somerive had, in the moſt terrifying ſtate of ſuſpenſe, haſtened him to Rayland Hall, where he now waited. Orlando therefore attended his father into his own room; where being furniſhed with pen and ink, Mr. Somerive wrote to the General in thoſe terms that appeared requiſite, and to which Orlando did not object. The letter was then inſtantly diſpatched by the ſervant: and thus ended an affair which had ſo much diſturbed the peace of the Somerive 2045 C11r 45 Somerive family, and threatened conſequences ſtill more painful. Somerive now ordered his ſon to return to Mrs. Rayland, ſhew her the General’s letter, and inform her that the buſineſs was ended as much to his honour, as her higheſt notions of what was due to a deſcendant of Sir Hildebrand (whoſe blood was leſs alloyed than that of the reſt of his family) could exact. Somerive ſaid this with ſome degree of aſperity; for, though pleaſed with the partiality of Mrs. Rayland for Orlando, he could not but feel the contempt ſhe expreſſed towards himſelf. He told Orlando he expected him to dinner, and then returned home; his mind relieved from an intolerable load, and his heart ſwelling with gratitude towards his excellent friend General Tracy.

Chap. 2046 C11v 46

Chap. III.

Every one of the party who met at dinner, at Mr. Somerive’s, were ready to worſhip the General, except Orlando, who ſtill felt himſelf diſſatiſfied, and much diſpoſed to enquire by what converſation an accommodation had been ſo eaſily brought about. This enquiry, however, he, at his father’s requeſt, forbore to make, and the General was perfectly ſatiſfied with the gratitude expreſſed by the reſt of the family; and in the diſtant, but polite behaviour of Orlando, saw, what confirmed him in his original idea, that it would be much better if he was out of the way.— The charms of Iſabella had now ſuch an aſcendency in his imagination, that he determined nothing ſhould impede his deſigns;ſigns; 2047 C12r 47 ſigns; and he believed that the ſtraitened circumſtances of Somerive, of which he was no longer ignorant, would give him the means of obtaining his daughter.

Somerive had indeed communicated to him, as a friend, the uneaſy ſituation of his affairs, and deplored the conduct of his eldeſt ſon. At their next conference therefore alone, Tracy contrived, without forcing the converſation, to bring it round to that point; and when Somerive ſpoke of the diſtreſs which aroſe from the miſconduct of his ſon Philip, the General took occaſion to ſay, It is indeed, my friend, a circumſtance extremely to be lamented— and, in my opinion, renders the ſituation of your youngeſt ſon much more critical. —I heartily wiſh he was in ſome profeſſion. Have you conſidered what I ſaid to you about the army?—I believe I could be of very material ſervice to you in that line.

Dear General, exclaimed Somerive, how much I feel myſelf indebted to you! 2 Yes, 2048 C12v 48 Yes, I certainly have thought of it; and the reſult of my reflections is, that if his mother conſented, if Mrs. Rayland did not object――

My good friend, interrupted the General, can a man of your underſtanding, when the well-doing of ſuch a ſon is in queſtion, think that theſe ifs ſhould have any weight?—Mrs. Somerive, all tender as ſhe is, has too much ſenſe to indulge her fondneſs at the expence of her ſon’s eſtabliſhment; and as to Mrs. Rayland—I have not indeed the honour to know her—but the only queſtion ſeems to be, will ſhe, or will ſhe not, provide for Orlando?—If ſhe will, why will ſhe not ſay ſo?—If ſhe will not, are not you doing your ſon an irreparable injury, in ſuffering him to waſte, in fruitleſs expectation, the beſt of his days?

It is very difficult, replied Mr. Somerive after muſing a moment, very difficult to know how to act: Mrs. Rayland has a temper ſo peculiar, that if ſhe is once offended, it is for ever. Perhaps, however, 8 ſince 2049 D1r 49 ſince I ſee ſhe piques herſelf on the military honours of her family, perhaps ſhe may not be diſpleaſed at Orlando’s entering on the profeſſion of arms. She ſeemed much more eager to promote than to check his ardour in this affair with Sir John Belgrave: and as the Britiſh nation is now engaged in a quarrel with people whom ſhe conſiders as the deſcendents of the Regicides, againſt whom her anceſtors drew their ſwords, it is not, I think, very unlikely that ſhe might approve of her young favourite’s making his firſt eſſay in arms againſt thoſe whom ſhe terms the Rebels of America.

As to that, anſwered the General coldly, it may be very well, in ſtarting the idea, to give her that notion; but in fact this campaign will end the unworthy conteſt.—Of this I have the moſt poſitive aſſurances from my military friends on the ſpot, as well as the firmeſt reliance on the meaſures adopted by Miniſters; and I am convinced that thoſe wretched, ragged fellows,II. D lows, 2050 D1v 50 lows, without diſcipline, money, clothes, or arms, will be unable longer to ſtruggle for their chimerical liberty. Probably they are by this time cruſhed; and therefore, as no more troops will be ſent out, your ſon will not, if you adopt this plan, be ſeparated from his family, and may ſtill occaſionally viſit this capricious old gentlewoman, who, unleſs ſhe differs much from the reſt of her ſex, of all ages and deſcriptions, will not like a handſome young fellow the leſs for having a cockade in his hat.

Ah, General! returned Somerive ſmiling, I fancy your own experience among the women well juſtifies that remark. Since you really are ſo ſure that Orlando would not be ſent abroad, which will make a great difference certainly in his mother’s feelings on this point, and perhaps in thoſe of Mrs. Rayland, I will take an immediate opportunity of ſpeaking of it to my wife, and we will conſider of the ſafeſt method of taking Mrs. Rayland’s opinion upon it. As to Orlando himſelf, 4 there 2051 D2r 51 there can be little doubt of his concurrence;—at leaſt I hope not. And there are other reaſons, my friend, beſides thoſe that I have named to you, why his preſent ſituation is utterly improper, and why it ſeems to me that he cannot too ſoon be removed from it.

Mr. Somerive, in ſpeaking thus, was thinking of Monimia, who, ever ſince he had firſt heard her deſcribed, had occurred to him continually. The neceſſity there was for attending immediately to the affair of the threatened duel, had hitherto prevented his ſpeaking of her to Orlando, in that ſerious manner which he thought the affair merited: but he had repeatedly touched on it; and finding Orlando ſhrink from the inveſtigation, he laid in wait for an occaſion to probe him more deeply—an occaſion which, perceiving his father ſought it, Orlando as ſolicitouſly endeavoured to avoid giving him, by contriving to be always buſied in attending on his ſiſters or his mother; but while he thus got out of D 2 the 2052 D2v 52 the way of his father, he was very much in that of the General, who could hardly ever get an opportunity of whiſpering to Iſabella thoſe ſentiments which daily acquired new force. For, the week following that when the affair with Sir John Belgrave was ſettled, Orlando could find no excuſe for returning to Rayland Hall of a night: he was therefore reduced to the neceſſity of going thither after his own family were in bed; and as the way through the chapel was not open to him, he could only ſee Monimia in her own room, and their meetings were therefore very ſhort, and ſo hazardous, that the impatience and diſcontent of Orlando could no longer be repreſſed or concealed.

The greater his attachment to Monimia became (and every hour it ſeemed to gather ſtrength), the more terrible appeared her ſituation, and his own. They were both ſo young that he thought he might eaſily obtain an eſtabliſhment, and that the noon of their lives might paſs in felicity together, were 2053 D3r 53 were he, inſtead of remaining in a ſtate of uncertain dependence, to be allowed to go forth into the world. Sanguine and romantic in the extreme, and feeling within himſelf talents which he was denied the power of exerciſing, his mind expatiated on viſionary proſpects, which he believed might eaſily be realized. When to provide for paſſing his life with Monimia was in queſtion, every thing ſeemed poſſible; and as he heard much of the rapid fortunes made in India, and had never conſidered, or perhaps heard of the means by which they were acquired, he fancied that an appointment there would put him in the high road to happineſs; and various were the projects of this and of many other kinds, on which his thoughts continually dwelt.

General Tracy, who had long read mankind, eaſily penetrated into the mind of a man ſo new to the world as Orlando; and though he ſaw that his young friend did not greatly eſteem him, he was not by that obſervation deterred from conciliating D 3 as 2054 D3v 54 as much as poſſible his good opinion, till at length Orlando communicated his diſcontent at being at his time of life ſo inactive and uſeleſs; and the General, having brought him to that confeſſion, ſtarted the ſcheme he had before propoſed only to his father, of procuring him a commiſſion, and lending him all the intereſt which he was known to poſſeſs, to promote his fortune in the army.

A propoſal ſo friendly, and ſo much adapted to the warm and ardent temper of Orlando, was acknowledged with gratitude, and without farther conſideration embraced, on condition that his family did not oppoſe it. The General told him, that it was in conſequence of his father’s apparent inclinations that he had at firſt thought of it; that his mother had certainly too much ſenſe to reject ſuch an advantageous offer for him; eſpecially, added he, as from the preſent ſtate of the war, there is not the leaſt likelihood of your being ſent abroad. —You know beſt, however, my dear Sir, continued 2055 D4r 55 continued the General, with ſomething on his countenance between a ſmile and a ſneer— you know beſt how far your campaigns againſt the game on the Raylands’ manors may anſwer better than the ſervices of a ſoldier, or whether the old lady’s hands can beſtow a more fruitful prize than the barren laurels you may gather in bearing arms for your country.

There was in this ſpeech ſomething that conveyed to Orlando an idea that he was deſpiſed; and that there was meanneſs in his attending on Mrs. Rayland like a legacy hunter—of all characters the moſt deſpicable. The blood that ruſhed into his cheeks, ſpoke the painful ſenſations this impreſſion brought with it. He could not, however, expreſs them with propriety to a man whoſe only purpoſe ſeemed to be that of befriending him, by rouſing him from indolence, and even from a ſpecies of ſervitude. The General ſaw that what he ſaid had the effect he wiſhed; and Orlando left him, determined to avail himſelf D 4 of 2056 D4v 56 of the opportunity that now offered for obtaining what he believed would be a degree of independence. He began to conſider how he might prevail on Mrs. Rayland to aſſiſt, inſtead of oppoſing this ſcheme; and how he might thus obtain a certain portion of liberty, without offending one to whom gratitude and intereſt contributed to attach him. A deep and painful ſigh, raiſed by the reflection of the miſery of parting from Monimia, followed the reſolution he adopted; but he recollected that by no other means he could remove the cruel obſtacles between them, and that reſolution became confirmed.

He had not yet, however, the courage to communicate to her the probability there was that they muſt ſoon part. Their ſhort conferences, in every one of which they incurred the hazard of diſcovery, paſſed, on her ſide, in mournful preſentiments of future ſorrow, which ſhe yet endeavoured to conceal; and on his, in trying, now to conſole her, and now in acknowledging that there was 2057 D5r 57 was but too much cauſe for her fears: projects were conſidered, however, for their future meetings with leſs riſk. She told him, that during the time he was ſo much at home, her aunt confined her leſs ſtrictly through the day; that in proportion as ſhe found herſelf become more neceſſary to Mrs. Rayland, and more ſecure of a proviſion after her death, Mrs. Lennard became more indolent, and more addicted to her own gratifications. Betty, who was a very great favourite, had little elſe to do than to wait upon her; an employment in which Monimia herſelf was often engaged, though ſhe was now more uſually employed about the perſon of Mrs. Rayland, who found her ſo tender and attentive that ſhe began to look upon her with ſome degree of complacency. This taſk, while it added a heavy link to her fetters, ſhe yet went through, not only with patience, but with pleaſure; for ſhe hoped that by making herſelf uſeful to Mrs. Rayland, ſhe might not only have more frequent opportunities D 5 of 2058 D5v 58 of ſeeing Orlando during the winter, which ſhe imagined he would paſs at the Hall, but perhaps obtain from her ſuch a ſhare of recollection at her death, as might remove the neceſſity of an entire dependence on Mrs. Lennard; a dependence which ſome late obſervations had made her believe as precarious as ſhe felt it to be painful.

In conſequence of General Tracy’s viſit to Sir John Belgrave at the houſe of Mr. Stockton, he received from the maſter of it an invitation, which he accepted; Mr. Stockton firſt waiting upon him at Weſt WolvertonSir John, and Philip Somerive, with ſeveral others of the late viſitants at the Caſtle, were gone into Scotland on a ſhooting party; but Mr. Stockton had a ſucceſſion of viſiters.—His magnificent ſtyle of living, which it was known he had a fortune to ſupport, attracted not only all his London friends by turns to his houſe, but from every part of the country acquaintance poured in upon him; acquaintancequaintance 2059 D6r 59 quaintance who deſired nothing better, in the way of entertainment, than his French cook and his well furniſhed cellars afforded them.—The Clergy were his very conſtant gueſts; and he loved to have two or three of them always about him, at whom he might lanch thoſe ſhafts of wit which he had picked up here and there, and which conſiſted of common-place jokes upon religion; well knowing, that with theſe ſelect few, orthodox as they were, the excellence of the entertainment he gave them ſecured their ſilence and complaiſance.

The General, who was in manners really a man of faſhion, was by no means delighted with the groſs and noiſy ſociety he found at Stockton: but he ſaw that if he would eſcape ſuſpicion, he muſt not make his viſit at Somerive’s too long; and, therefore, was glad to be aſſured that there was an houſe in the immediate neighbourhood, where he might remain a fortnight or three weeks, after prudence dictated his departure from D 6 that 2060 D6v 60 that of Mr. Somerive; which he now feared muſt happen before his hopes with Iſabella were ſucceſsful, for he found it much more difficult to obtain any degree of favour than his own vanity and her giddineſs had at firſt led him to ſuppoſe.

Iſabella Somerive was not naturally a coquette: but ſhe had a greater flow of ſpirits than any of her family, except her elder brother, whom ſhe greatly reſembled in the thoughtleſs vivacity of his diſpoſition; but, from her ſex and education, what was in him attended with dangerous errors, was in her only wild but innocent gaiety, becoming enough to youth, health, and beauty. Of that beauty ſhe had early learned the value: ſhe had heared it praiſed at home, and found her father and mother were pleaſed to hear of it. But during her ſhort ſtay in London ſhe had been intoxicated with the incenſe that was offered her; and, notwithſtanding the good humour inherent in her diſpoſition, ſhe failed not to enjoy, with ſome degree of feminine triumph, the preferenceference 2061 D7r 61 ference that was given her over her couſins, whoſe admirers ſeemed all diſpoſed to deſert them on the firſt appearance of this ruſtic beauty; and ſhe felt, too, the pleaſure of retaliation for all the airs of conſequence which the Miſs Woodfords had aſſumed in their viſits to Weſt Wolverton, from their ſuperior knowledge of faſhions, public places, and great people. But, above all, Iſabella was delighted by the preference given her by a judge ſo diſcerning as General Tracy—whoſe taſte in beauty was ſo univerſally allowed, that his admiration had given eminence to ſeveral pretty women, who would never otherwiſe have been noticed. Far however from thinking of him as a lover, Iſabella, who was, with all her vivacity, as innocent as little Emma herſelf, thought of him merely as her father’s friend, and would have applied to him for advice, in as much expectation of receiving it with diſintereſted wiſdom, as to her father himſelf. The fine ſpeeches he took every opportunity of making, ſhe conſidered partly 2062 D7v 62 partly as ariſing from habit, and partly as proofs of his admiration; which ſhe believed perfectly harmleſs, though it ſometimes ſtruck her as ridiculous. And in converſation with her ſiſters, and ſometimes with her mother, ſhe laughingly called the General—her old beau—her venerable admirer, and ſaid ſhe wiſhed he was thirty years younger. Mrs. Somerive ſometimes checked her; but oftener ſmiled at the deſcription ſhe gave of the General’s ſolemn gallantry, and of the trouble ſhe knew his toilet coſt him; which really, cried ſhe grieves one’s very heart. Poor man! it muſt be exceſſively fatiguing; and after all, I think he would be a thouſand times more agreeable, if he could be perſuaded to appear as my father and other men do, of the ſame age.—Inſtead of putting on toupees and curls, which it requires ſo much art and time to make ſit ſnug and look natural, how preferable would a good comfortable wig be to his poor old head! which I am ſure muſt ache ſadly every day, before Beaumielle 2063 D8r 63 Beaumielle has patched up the gaps that time has made!—and, beſides, I know he is always in fear of ſome of this borrowed chevelure’s coming off, and diſgracing him; I have abſolutely ſeen him nervous about it.Dear Iſabella, ſaid Mrs. Somerive, who was preſent at this deſcription, how you run on! The General, I dare ſay, has no falſe hair; and if he has, how does it materially differ from a wig?

Oh mamma! replied her daughter, I believe it differs ſo much in the General’s opinion, that he had rather have his head cut off than his hair.—A wig! I have ſeen him ſhudder at the idea.

You have ſeen him! ſaid Mrs. Somerive: pray when?

The other day, when he rode out with us. There was a terrible high wind, and I knew the ancient beau would be ten times more diſcompoſed by it than we were—So, as ſoon as we got upon the downs, I ſet off with a briſk canter directly againſt it; and the 2064 D8v 64 the poor dear General was obliged, you know, to follow us.

Well?

Well—and ſo he buttoned up the cape of his great coat round his ears, and ſet off after us; but as ill fortune would have it, this cape, I ſuppoſe, looſened the ſtrings of his curls, and the wind blew ſo unmercifully that he did not hear of their defection from his ears; but as he came gallopping up to me and Selina, who were a good way before him, theſe ill behaved curls deſerted, and were flying like two ſmall birds tied by the leg, half a yard behind him; and if he had been commander of a town ſuddenly blown up by the enemy, he could not have looked more amazed and diſmayed, than he did when I called out to him—General! General! your curls are flying away!—He put up his hand to his two ears alternately, and finding it too true that theſe cowardly curls had left their poſt, and were retained only 2065 D9r 65 only by a bit of black twiſt, he gave them a twitch, and thruſt them into his pocket— while he ſaid moſt dolorouſly, Ever since that fever I got laſt year by overheating myſelf walking with the King at Windſor, I have loſt my hair in ſome degree; and till it is reſtored I am under the neceſſity of wearing theſe awkward contrivances. Dear General, ſaid I, as if I pitied his diſtreſs, I am afraid you will catch cold without them. Had you not better wrap a handkerchief about your head?—I am ſure you muſt feel a difference—I am in pain for you!—It is, indeed, an awkward contrivance; and I ſhould think you would find more comfortable and certain accommodation in a wig. A wig! exclaimed he—a military man in a wig!—like a turtle-eating cit, or a Stock Exchange broker!—Impoſſible!—No! lovely Iſabella, you can never ſuppoſe I ought to make myſelf ſuch a figure; and I aſſure you I have, when not hurt 2066 D9v 66 hurt by illneſs, a very tolerable head of hair. For your time of life, General! ſaid I, —This completed the poor good man’s diſmay; and he ſet about aſſuring me, that the military hardſhips he had gone through in the younger part of his life, and perhaps a little irregularity ſince, made him look at leaſt fifteen years older than he was, and ſo went on making ſuch fine ſpeeches as he thinks becoming in ſo young a man.

Upon my word, Iſabella, remarked Mrs. Somerive, you will offend the General by all this flippancy; and your father, I aſſure you, would not be at all pleaſed if you ſhould.

No, indeed, my dear mamma! anſwered ſhe, there is no danger of my offending him. The rattling ſpeeches I make to him, and even my turning him into ridicule when only Selina and I are by, is ſo far from offending him, that he ſeems to like it.—Does not he, Selina?

“It 2067 D10r 67

It is not right, however, in my opinion, ſaid Selina.

Why not, if you pleaſe, my Lady Graveairs?

Because I do not think a perſon’s age, replied Selina, a proper ſubject of ridicule.

No, anſwered Iſabellanot if they do not make it ſo, by attempting to appear young; but how is it poſſible to help laughing at a man who fancies that, at ſixty, he can paſs for ſix-and-twenty?

If it is the General’s foible, ſaid Mrs. Somerive gravely, it ſeems to be the only one; and it makes him happy, and hurts nobody. He is ſo worthy a man that it is immaterial whether he is ſixty or ſix-and-twenty; and if he has the weakneſs to prefer being thought the latter, which, however, Iſabella, you know is not true, he ſhould not be rudely reminded that nobody elſe thinks ſo.

Well, if this worthy man will flirt with and make love to girls young enough to be 2068 D10v 68 be his grand-daughters, I muſt laugh, if it be wrong, cried Iſabella.

Make love! exclaimed Mrs. Somerive: What do you mean, child?

Why—only, mamma, that if he were a young man, the marvellouſly fine ſpeeches he ſtudies would ſeem like love-making ſpeeches. I told him the other day, that ſince he thought me ſo very charming a creature, I wiſhed he would perſuade his nephew to be of the ſame opinion, for there would be ſome ſenſe in that.

His nephew!—Who is his nephew? enquired her mother.

I never ſaw him, replied Iſabella; but Eliza Woodford has often, and ſays he is the moſt elegant and the handſomeſt young man about town.

Do you mean, ſaid Mrs. Somerive, one of the ſons of his elder brother, Lord Taymouth?

Oh! not at all—they are both miſerable looking mortals:—No, this nephew, as Eliza tells me, is the only ſon of his ſiſter, Lady 2069 D11r 69 Lady Something Tracy, who married a Mr. Warwick, who, though a gentleman, her family thought was a match ſo much beneath her, that they never forgave her; and as ſhe and her huſband both died young, this young man, who was their only child, and had a very ſmall fortune, was brought up by the General, who means to make him his heir.

He is a good creature, ſaid Mrs. Somerive; and every thing I hear encreaſes my eſteem for him.

You would conſent then, my dear mamma, replied Iſabella, to my having Captain Warwick?

Alas! anſwered her mother mournfully, Captain Warwick, my dear girl, heir to the fortune of General Tracy, will never, I fear, aſk my conſent. Young women without fortune, though their merit be indiſputable, are not likely now to marry at all; very unlikely, indeed, to meet with ſuch high fortune.

I don’t 2070 D11v 70

I don’t ſee that at all, cried Iſabella. Selina and Emma may determine to die old maids if they pleaſe; but, for my part, I’ll try, as long as I am young and good looking, for a huſband; and as to this Warwick, I am bent upon ſetting my cap at him without mercy, if his uncle would but give me an opportunity. That he will not do; for though he is ſo good to him, and gives him ſuch an handſome allowance, he hardly ever ſees him; and has bought him a company in another regiment, rather than have him in his own, and ſo he is ſent off to America—and――

You have no chance then, interrupted Mrs. Somerive, of trying your power, Iſabella?

No! cried ſhe; but it is excellent ſport to teize his uncle about him, who always avoids talking of him, juſt like a coquettiſh Mamma, who hates to hear that Miſs is tall and handſome.

Mrs. Somerive, again gently reproving her daughter for ſpeaking thus of the General,neral, 2071 D12r 71 neral, put an end to the converſation by ſending her daughters away to dreſs for dinner; while ſhe meditated alone on what her huſband had that morning ſaid to her on the ſubject of Orlando’s entering the army. He had now, for the firſt time, explained to her all the reaſons he had for wiſhing his ſon removed from Rayland Hall; and had communicated the principal of theſe, his ſuſpicions of an attachment to Monimia. Mrs. Somerive felt all the truth of what her huſband urged in favour of this plan; and, particularly uneaſy at the information he had given her about Monimia, ſhe now tried to reaſon herſelf out of thoſe fears for his perſonal ſafety, which yet led her to wiſh he might remain, on whatever terms, near her and his family.

Chap. 2072 D12v 72

Chap. IV.

The family of Somerive was almoſt the only one in the county, or at leaſt within five and twenty miles, who had not waited on Mr. Stockton after his purchaſing the eſtates of Lord Carloraine. For this Mr. Somerive had ſeveral reaſons. Though he diſdained any mean compliances with the caprices of Mrs. Rayland, he thought it wrong to connect himſelf with a man who, on his firſt appearance in the country, had offended her unhandſomely enough; and he knew it would not only be impolitic in regard to her, but to the economy of his own family. His ſervants, plain and laborious, were at preſent content with their portion of work and of wages; but were they once introduced into ſuch a ſervants hall as that of the Caſtle, where the 2073 E1r 73 the ſame profuſion reigned as was cuſtomary in the parlour, he knew they would immediately become diſcontented, and of courſe troubleſome and uſeleſs. The people whom he found were generally aſſembled at the Caſtle, moſt of them young men, celebrated for their diſſolute manners, were not ſuch as he wiſhed to have introduced to his daughters. And theſe cauſes cooperating to make him wiſh to avoid every acquaintance with Mr. Stockton, he had taken ſome pains to prevail on his eldeſt ſon to avoid it alſo; but Philip Somerive, who had ſome ſlight knowledge of Stockton in London, haſtened, in ſpite of his father’s remonſtrances, to renew and ſtrengthen it as ſoon as he ſettled in the neighbourhood, and was very ſoon more at Stockton than at home. The ſimple economy of his father’s houſe appeared to him a total deprivation of all that a gentleman ought to enjoy; and when contraſted with the voluptuous epicuriſm that reigned in the ſplendid manſion of his new friend, he had Vol. II. E not 2074 E1v 74 not the courage to return to it oftener than want of money compelled him to do; and he forgot that to theſe temporary gratifications he was ſacrificing the peace of his father, his mother, and his ſiſters; and laying up for himſelf all the miſeries of indigence, and all the meaneſſes of dependence.

It was here he confirmed, by indulgence, that paſſion for play which he had acquired at college. The party at Carloraine Caſtle paſſed whole nights in gaming, where young Somerive often loſt, but, alas! ſometimes won; and in the triumph of his ſucceſs, the pain and inconvenience of his ill fortune was forgotten. He learned ſome of thoſe modes of aſcertaining the matter, which he ſaw ſo happily practiſed by others; and, after ſome time, became, in ſome meaſure, one of the initiated, and had, in conſequence, ſeldom occaſion to apply to his father for money—therefore he ſeldom went near him; and ſometimes whole months paſſed, during which his family never ſaw him, 2075 E2r 75 him, though they knew that much of his time was paſſed with Mr. Stockton, whom this circumſtance contributed to render odious to Mr. Somerive.

After the acquaintance, however, commenced between Stockton and the General, Somerive found it very difficult to keep the ſame diſtance; and Stockton, who had a great inclination to ſee Somerive’s handſome daughters, of whom he had heard ſo much, was ſo importunately civil, while General Tracy, on the other hand, promoted the acquaintance ſo warmly, that Somerive and Orlando engaged to dine with Stockton on one of thoſe days when he had invited half the county. The latter went with extreme reluctance; not only becauſe what he had heard of the man himſelf, and of the people who ſurrounded him, gave no favourable idea of the society; but becauſe he thought it wrong to hazard offending Mrs. Rayland, in a point which to purſue, afforded no pleaſure either to his father or himſelf. Neither of theſe E 2 reaſons 2076 E2v 76 reaſons for refuſing, however, could be urged to the General, who he thought already deſpiſed him for his aſſiduity about the old lady; and as his father had been induced to conſent, Orlando could not refuſe to accompany him.

The table was furniſhed with all that modern luxury has invented, or money could purchaſe: the greateſt variety of expenſive wines; and a ſuperb deſſert finiſhed a repaſt, at which were collected a group as various as their enterntainment, though not ſo well choſen. The beginning of the dinner was paſſed in that ſort of talk which relates ſolely to eating: when that exerciſe relaxed, ſomething like an attempt at converſation was made. The laſt news from America was diſcuſſed; but as they all agreed in one ſentiment—that the rebellious coloniſts ought to be extirpated—there was no room for argument, and the diſcourſe ſoon languiſhed; and then again revived on topics nearer home—game, poachers, and turnpikes: the wine had by that time circulated 2077 E3r 77 circulated enough to give their converſation, if converſation it might be called, another turn. They grew noiſy and offenſive; and Orlando, who was never before among ſuch a ſet of people, nor had ever in his life heard ſuch language, was unable to conceal his diſguſt, though he only ſhewed it by ſilence, and by paſſing from him the bottle which he ſaw had ſo affected the little underſtanding that the majority of the company had poſſeſſed.

This was at length perceived by Mr. Stockton, who, accuſtomed to indulge himſelf in what he fancied ſhrewd ſayings, and to expect that every man not ſo rich as himſelf ſhould ſubmit to be his butt, began to attack Orlando on the ſcore of his being a milk-ſop, and living always in the lap of the old lady at the Hall.—To this Orlando anſwered with good humour, perfectly indifferent what ſuch a man as Stockton thought of him; but the latter ſeeing how well he bore this firſt attack, could not reſiſt the temptation of purſuing his blow. E 3 “Why, 2078 E3v 78 Why, damn it now! cried he, we knew very well, Sir Rowland (that was the name which Philip Somerive gave to his brother in deriſion), we know very well that you are no more of a ſaint than your neighbours; and that though you are in waiting on an old woman all day, you makes yourſelf amends at night with a young one— aye, and a deviliſh pretty wench ſhe is too as ever I ſaw.—Egad! Belgrave was half mad about her for a week, and had a mind to have ſtormed the tower where this dulcinea lives, notwithſtanding its being guarded by the fierce Sir Rowland.—I don’t know her name.—Tell me, Sir Knight, how is your goddeſs called? and by the Lord we’ll drink her health in a bumper!

Mr. Somerive, who ſaw in the changes of Orlando’s expreſſive countenance, that his anſwer would inevitably bring on another quarrel, aroſe haſtily, and, addreſſing himſelf to Mr. Stockton, while he commanded Orlando to be ſilent, he ſaid, After what paſſed, Mr. Stockton, in regard to Sir John Belgravegrave 2079 E4r 79 grave and my ſon, this mention of the affair can but be conſidered as an inſult to us both. If that be your purpoſe, ſome other place than your own houſe ſhould have been found for it. We will now quit it, in order to give you an opportunity of purſuing it, without adding the breach of the laws of hoſpitality to thoſe of decency and good manners.

Somerive then taking Orlando by the arm, inſiſted on his going with him; while the General, and ſome other men in the room, who were yet in poſſeſſion of their ſenſes, got round Stockton, who was very drunk, and repreſented how wrong it was to renew the converſation on Sir John Belgrave; an affair which had been ſettled with ſo much difficulty, and had threatened ſuch ſerious conſequences. The profeſſion, birth, and riches of General Tracy, gave him great authority in the opinion of even the wealthy and inſolent Stockton himſelf; and as he loved his eaſe, even beyond the E 4 indulgence 2080 E4v 80 indulgence of his purſe-proud arrogance, he ſaw at once, that in gratifying the one, he had more than he intended riſked the other. He therefore ſent one of his dependents to apologize to the two Somerives, who had already left the room: General Tracy too went to aſſure them of Stockton’s concern for what had paſſed; excuſed it by alledging his inebriety, and declared that he ſhould think both Mr. Somerive and his ſon wrong to take any further notice of the idle words of a man who was himſelf convinced of their impropriety. We will talk of all this at our leiſure, dear General, replied the elder Somerive: at preſent you muſt allow me to take Orlando from an houſe, into which I am heartily concerned that either of us ever entered.

I will go with you, my dear friend, cried the General; but firſt allow me to return to poor Stockton, who is extremely concerned for what has happened, and to tell him――

“Any 2081 E5r 81

Any thing you pleaſe from yourſelf, Sir, ſaid Orlando interrupting him; but nothing from me, unleſs it be――

Leave the matter to me, Orlando, cried Somerive ſternly. You know, General, added he, addreſſing himſelf to his friend, how little it can be my wiſh to have this ridiculous matter go any farther; but as I never yet bore a premeditated inſult myſelf, ſo I will not aſk Orlando to do it, be the conſequences what they may.

Good God! exclaimed the General, this was no premeditated inſult; it was merely the folly of a man in a condition which diſarms reſentment, even from thoſe of the moſt quick feelings.

He muſt tell me ſo himſelf, then, ſaid Orlando.

I will undertake that he ſhall, anſwered the General; and ſo you leave the houſe ſatisfied, I hope?

To this the elder Somerive anſwered drily: Bleſſed are the peacemakers, my good General! and then, leaving him to E 5 return, 2082 E5v 82 return, if he pleaſed, to his new friends, he mounted his horſe, which, with that of Orlando’s, his ſervants had brought to the door, and they proceeded homeward together.

This was the opportunity of ſpeaking to Orlando, that his father had been ſome days watching for; and the ſcene that had juſt paſſed, awakening all his fears about Monimia, was an additional motive to him not to neglect it.

Orlando, whoſe heart was burſting with indignation at the inſult offered to her name, rode ſilently by his ſide, expecting, with a mixture of concern and confuſion, that his father would again preſs him on his attachment. He was ſtudying, without being able to determine, how he ſhould anſwer. He had never been guilty of a falſehood; and could he now reconcile himſelf to the meanneſs of attempting one, he believed it would be fruitleſs; yet, to betray the tender, truſting, timid Monimia—to acknowledge their clandeſtine meetings, which his 2083 E6r 83 his father might not be perſuaded were innocent—and to render himſelf liable to be forbidden ever again to ſee her—how was it poſſible to determine on riſking it, by an avowal of the truth? There was not much time for this painful debate. Mr. Somerive put his horſe into a walk, and then ſaid, in that grave and earneſt manner which always affected his ſon—

You ſee, Orlando, all the miſchief to which this boyiſh and indiſcreet love of yours has expoſed, not only yourſelf, but the young woman who is, unluckily for her, the object of it.

Love, Sir! ſaid Orlando, not knowing very well what to ſay.

Nay, Sir, cried Somerive more ſternly, don’t affect ignorance; you have been playing the fool with that young girl that Lennard paſſes for her niece. Anſwer me honeſtly—have you not?

No, Sir—never.

Have a care, young man—I can pardon6 don 2084 E6v 84 don the follies of youth, but premeditated falſehood I never will forgive.

Be ſo good then, my dear father, to explain preciſely your meaning; and when I perfectly underſtand the charge, I will anſwer it as truly as if I were on oath.

The girl is handſome? ſaid Somerive.

Certainly, anſwered Orlando.

And you have informed her of it, no doubt?

Pardon me, Sir, I never have; and I believe ſhe is at this moment unconſcious of it.

Really! that is wonderful.—She is employed, I think, in the houſe as a kind of under houſekeeper.

No, Sir; but ſhe ſometimes undertakes part of her aunt’s buſineſs when ſhe is engaged or indiſpoſed, and ſometimes attends Mrs. Rayland.

And lives, I ſuppoſe, as Lennard does, in the parlour with the Lady?

Very rarely, Sir, and as a matter of great favour ſhe dines there, and rather 4 oftener, 2085 E7r 85 oftener, though ſtill not regularly, is allowed to drink tea in the parlour.

Humph!—and at other times, I ſuppoſe, ſhe takes her ſeat at the table allowed Snelcraft and Pattenſon: the latter worthy man is celebrated, I think, for his various and ſucceſsful amours under the roof of my very pious kinſwoman. This poor girl, I ſuppoſe, is in the way of adding to the trophies of that excellent and faithful ſervant. Upon my word, Orlando, you may find him a very formidable rival.

Gracious Heaven, Sir! cried Orlando, who could not bear even the ſuppoſition, what miſtaken notions you have formed of Monimia!

Monimia! exclaimed Somerive, who, ſerious as the matter was, could not help ſmiling:—Monimia!—why thou art far gone, my poor boy, ſince thou haſt found ſuch a name for thy nymph—Monimia! I muſt be allowed, ſince we are talking plainly of the matter, to call her Mary.

You may call her what you pleaſe, Sir,” 2086 E7v 86 Sir, replied Orlando very impatiently, ſo as you do juſtice to her innocence and goodneſs. Suffer me to ſpeak, Sir, added he, finding his father about to interrupt him—ſuffer me to declare to you, that not one of your own daughters, my ſiſters, whom I ſo tenderly love, are more innocent, or more worthy of reſpect and eſteem, and, let me add, of admiration, than this young woman.

Indeed! is that your opinion?—Pray, Orlando, what means have you had of being ſo well informed of all theſe perfections, which you are ſo willing to put in compariſon with thoſe of your own family?

Continual experience, amounting to perfect conviction.

Truly that is marvellous, conſidering this young perſon, according to your own account a ſervant, ſo ſeldom drinks tea, and ſo much ſeldomer dines with Mrs. Rayland, where, I ſuppoſe, ſhe is not allowed any great ſhare of the converſation, even when ſhe is admitted;—though you 5 are 2087 E8r 87 are willing to put her on a level with your ſiſters, I ſuppoſe you hardly ſo practiſed this levelling principle on yourſelf, as to purſue your ſtudies of this miracle to the table of the great Snelcraft, and greater Pattenſon.

No, Sir, retorted Orlando warmly; nor does Monimia ever ſit at that table.

May I then aſk, without offending this lady, whoſe nom de guerre is I find ſettled to be Monimia—where you have ſeen enough of her to form a judgment ſo much in her favour?

That may be done by ſeeing her once. You yourſelf, my dear father! added Orlando extremely moved, if you were once to ſee her, would not blame me for what I have ſaid. Indeed you would not: you would own that ſhe is all I have deſcribed.

Poor boy! cried Mr. Somerive with a deep ſigh; at your age I remember thinking juſt the ſame over a very handſome girl. I too have had my Monimia! my Celinda, my Leonora; and many were the heart- 2088 E8v 88 heart-achs theſe beauties gave me. I ſhould, therefore, continued he, in a more ſolemn tone— I ſhould, therefore, my dear Orlando! paſs over this juvenile paſſion, and not even enquire about it, if, from the peculiarity of your ſituation, and that of the young woman, as well as from your tendency to romantic quixotiſm, which perhaps I have too much encouraged, I did not fear that it may end more ſeriouſly. She is very pretty! and you are very young, and very much in love! If ſhe is innocent――

If!—Good God, Sir, what ſhall I ſay to convince you of it?

Nothing, Orlando, ſpeak ſimply the truth, and I will attend to you: allow me to finiſh the ſentence—If ſhe is innocent and amiable, as you believe her to be, you would not certainly deſtroy that innocence? you would not render her unamiable?

Not for a million of worlds! cried Orlando eagerly.

Well, then, Orlando, in order to reconcileconcile 2089 E9r 89 concile your honour with that love which it ſeems you do not affect to deny, it follows that you would marry her?

Moſt undoubtedly, Sir, I would.

To throw yourſelf out for ever from every hope of favour on the part of Mrs. Rayland; and, while you render your own family miſerable, to entail poverty for life, on the woman you love, and her children?

I know it all but too well: permit me, however, Sir, to ſay, that as to my family, I do not ſee why they ſhould make themſelves miſerable about it, ſince the morals, the manners, the perſon of my wife, could be no diſgrace to them; and if I choſe to work for her, ſurely I have a right to live with whom I pleaſe.

To work! cried Somerive angrily. ldquoHow work?—you who are in no profeſſion, and could not even ſupport yourſelf?

Pardon me, Sir, anſwered Orlando, and let it not offend you, if I ſay, that a young man of almoſt one and twenty, ſix feet high, and in perfect health, muſt be a very 2090 E9v 90 a very contemptible wretch, indeed, if he is unable to obtain a proviſion for himſelf, and to provide for his wife.

Wild and ridiculous! exclaimed Somerive. If you were twelve feet high, and had as many hands as Briareus, how could you employ them? you who have been brought up to nothing, who know nothing――

That, Sir, is my misfortune—ſurely not my fault.

I allow it. It is a misfortune to which I ſee other misfortunes are annexed, if a remedy be not inſtantly found. I perceive, Orlando, that this matter, on which it is plain you have thought deeply, is likely to be even more ſerious than I apprehended. I muſt find a profeſſion for you, which ſhall take you out of a ſituation ſo hazardous. I underſtood General Tracy, that if a commiſſion could be obtained, you expreſſed no diſinclination to enter the army?

Certainly I do not.—And let my readineſs, 2091 E10r 91 readineſs, or rather my eagerneſs to embrace that offer convince you, Sir, that whatever may be my future hopes, I do not mean to involve Monimia in my preſent difficulties, nor to aſpire to happineſs till I have earned it. Put me, Sir, inſtantly to the proof. Procure for me a commiſſion, or ſend me out a volunteer. You ſhall not find me ſhrink from any taſk you may impoſe upon me. But, in return, I expect not to be compelled to reſign the hope that will alone animate me—I love Monimia paſſionately; I ſhall always love her; and I will not promiſe to reſign her for ever.

I ſhall leave all that to time and abſence, anſwered Somerive; and inſiſt on nothing but that you will join with me in prevailing on Mrs. Rayland to hear of your entering into the army without diſſatisfaction. Though I wiſh you to have the means of being in ſome degree independent, it were folly to forfeit needleſsly your expectations from her. Try, therefore, ſo to manage this as to obtain her conſent.

“Mrs. 2092 E10v 92

Mrs. Rayland will not, I really believe, oppoſe it, ſaid Orlando.

Try her, anſwered his father; on your ſincerity in doing ſo I ſhall rely: and remember Orlando, that if from any other artful quarter attempts are made to perſuade her againſt conſenting to this plan, I have only to inform her of your curious plan of marrying her houſekeeper’s niece, and put her upon enquiring into the intrigue you are carrying on, and you would be baniſhed for ever from Rayland Hall.

There would be as little wiſdom in that, Sir, ſaid Orlando with great warmth, as there is truth in imputing an intrigue or art to Monimia. However, you are to do as you pleaſe.

And you, Sir, retorted Somerive warmly, ſeem to think yourſelf authoriſed to ſay what you pleaſe.—Let not my indulgence, which has ruined your brother, and now I ſee is likely to be your deſtruction; let not my indulgence hitherto, lead you to depend too much upon it. You ſhall 2093 E11r 93 ſhall find, Sir, that if you are ungrateful and undutiful, I can be harſh, and can make myſelf obeyed. But here, for the preſent, I deſire to end the diſcourſe. We are near home, and I will not have your mother made uneaſy, either by the report of what happened to-day at dinner, or by any knowledge of your folly, which has not yet reached her. I ſhall go immediately to my ſtudy; and I recommend it to you to go to your own room, and not appear to- night; for your mother, you know well, is is ſo accuſtomed to penetrate into my thoughts and yours, that ſhe will not fail to perceive that ſomething is wrong—and ſhe ſhall not be rendered unhappy.

Orlando, moſt willing to obey his father in this reſpect, made no other anſwer than wiſhing him a good night; and as ſoon as he diſmounted at home, he retired to his own room, and, with mingled ſenſations of reſentment and ſorrow, of anger and deſpondency, began to reflect on what had paſſed 2094 E11v 94 paſſed during the day. The inſolent language uſed by Stockton ſtung him to the ſoul. He ſaw too evidently, that his nightly meetings with Monimia were ſuſpected, if not known—known to the unprincipled and profligate Stockton, who had put the moſt odious conſtruction on the conduct of the innocent Monimia. Yet he was compelled alſo to allow, that whatever might be the ſuſpicions or opinions concerning her, he could not avenge or defend her, without being too well aſſured that conſequences muſt enſue ſtill more fatal to her. If their intercourſe was once ſuſpected by Mrs. Rayland, he knew that Monimia would be diſmiſſed with diſgrace; that ſhe would probably be abandoned by her aunt, and thrown upon the world, where he had not the power of protecting her from poverty, though he might guard her from inſult. The only comfort he had was, that his father, when his interrogatories ſeemed moſt hardly to preſs him to declare how and 2095 E12r 95 and where he met Monimia, had been diverted to other diſcourſe; that he had, therefore, not been reduced either to tell him a falſehood, or to betray the ſecret of the door which admitted him to the turret; a ſecret of which he yet hoped to avail himſelf, in the interval that muſt occur between the time of his returning to the Hall and his departure for the army, which he now ſaw was certain. He now felt no wiſh more ardent than that of reconciling his Monimia to his going, exchanging with her mutual vows of eternal affection, and ſetting forth in the certainty of her remaining under the protection of Mrs. Lennard, and in the hope that he ſhould return in a ſituation that might enable him to aſk her hand, and to render her ſubſequent life as happy as the fondeſt love and competent fortune could make it. But Orlando ſaw too plainly, that if his evening conferences were known to his father, he would, at whatever riſk of ruining him for ever with Mrs. Rayland, put an end to them; and therefore, as 2096 E12v 96 as more caution than ever was requiſite, he determined, for one night, to refrain from the ſhort and dangerous indulgence he had ſnatched by travelling from Wolverton to the Hall in the middle of the night; and, though Monimia expected him, to forbear ſeeing her till the next evening, when he hoped to have arranged in his mind what it was the moſt neceſſary to ſay, to make her ſubmit with compoſure to their ſeparation. Then too he hoped to know ſomething certain of this commiſſion, of which the General hourly expected intelligence from London; and that he ſhould not, by ſpeaking with uncertainty, add ſuſpenſe to the other uneaſy ſenſations he muſt inflict on Monimia. He flattered himſelf alſo, that he ſhould hear of the General’s having fixed the day of his departure. He had now been a fortnight at Weſt Wolverton; and though his ſtay ſeemed, the more it was prolonged, to yield to the reſt of the family encreaſed ſatisfaction, Orlando, whom 2097 F1r 97 whom it detained from the Hall, began to think it the moſt tedious and unconſcionable viſit that ever one friend paid to another; and, far from ſuſpecting the real motive, thought with aſtoniſhment on General Tracy’s living ſo long among people ſo unlike his uſual aſſociates, and ſo much out of his way.

Vol. II. F Chap. 2098 F1v 98

Chap. V.

To reconcile Monimia to his departure, to hide from her the anguiſh of his own heart at the knowledge that he muſt go, were no light taſks to Orlando: they were ſuch as all his courage, all his ſenſe of propriety, were nearly unequal to. What would become of her when he was gone? From his earlieſt remembrance, the certainty of ſeeing Monimia at the Hall had conſtituted his principal happineſs: yet he had many other amuſements abroad; he had many relations whom he loved, and who tenderly loved him; he had ſeveral purſuits to engage his mind, and ſeveral amuſements to occupy his time.—Monimia! alas! what had Monimia? Almoſt alone in the world, ſhe had no connection but her 2099 F2r 99 her aunt, whoſe reluctant kindneſs and cold friendſhip anſwered but ill to the affectionate temper of the lovely girl, who would have been attached to her, all repulſive as her manners were, from gratitude and becauſe ſhe believed her the only relation ſhe had, if Mrs. Lennard had given her leave.—But, ſelfiſh, narrow-minded, and overbearing, it was impoſſible for Monimia to love her; and ſhe once remarked, when ſhe ſtole for five minutes (while her aunt attended Mrs. Rayland to a morning viſit) into the garden with Orlando, that ſhe reſembled a paſſion-flower, that having once been ſupported by a ſort of eſpalier, the wood had decayed, and, nothing being put in its place, the plant crept along the ground, withering, from the dampneſs to which it was expoſed. See, cried Monimia, this plant reſembles me! It ſeems abandoned to its fate. Orlando remembered what he then ſaid to drive from her mind ſuch gloomy ideas; but now they were about to be verified. If Monimia F 2 was 2100 F2v 100 was to him all that hitherto ſweetened his exiſtence, he was at leaſt as neceſſary to hers; and a thouſand painful fears aſſailed his heart, as to what ſhe muſt feel at parting, and what would be her fate when he was gone.

No overture on the affair of his accepting a commiſſion had yet been made to Mrs. Rayland. Mr. Somerive wiſhed Orlando to manage it himſelf.—Orlando, conſcious that much depended upon it, and unwilling to take any deciſive ſtep, however neceſſary, as long as he could avoid it, had ſtill put it off from hour to hour; ſaying, what was indeed true, that he was now ſo ſeldom at the Hall at hours when it was proper to ſpeak of buſineſs, that he had found no opportunity.

The next day, however, but one after dinner at Stockton’s, the family were much ſurpriſed by the unexpected return of Philip Somerive; who, arriving late in the evening, told his father and mother that he was come, with their permiſſion, to paſs 2101 F3r 101 paſs ſome months at home. Tenderly anxious about him as they all were, and ever flattering themſelves that a change of conduct would reſtore him to them, his family received him with ſuch expreſſions as evinced that they were ready to kill the fatted calf: Orlando felt even more pleaſure than the reſt at his return; and the younger, unlike the elder brother in the parable, murmured not that there was joy and feaſting when he who had been loſt was found. Yet this did not ariſe altogether from the diſintereſted generoſity of his nature. He would at any time have rejoiced that his brother’s appearance gave comfort to the hearts of his father and his mother: he now doubly rejoiced, becauſe the preſence of Philip Somerive at home diſmiſſed Orlando, almoſt as a matter of courſe, to the Hall. He had at this time inhabited the apartment ſet aſide for his brother; his own was occupied by the ſervant of the General, who was too fine a gentleman to be ſent into the attic ſtory. F 3 Weſt 2102 F3v 102 Weſt Wolverton houſe was not a large one; and Orlando, not ſo well diſguiſing his impatience as he attempted to do, ſaid to his mother as ſoon as tea was over, that he knew his ſtay that night muſt be attended with ſome inconveniencies and removals, and therefore he would, with her permiſſion and his father’s, go back to the Hall. Mrs. Somerive immediately aſſented, and ſaid, And you had better, if your father pleaſes, ſet out directly, Orlando, or you will not have your bed aired; and I am ſure that little tapeſtry room where you ſleep, as it is on the ground floor, and has windows only to the north, and thoſe windows only long old-faſhioned caſements, muſt be horribly damp.

If you will have the goodneſs then to ſay to my father that I am gone, and why gone ſo early, ſaid Orlando, it will be better than my diſturbing the company with the ceremony of—Good-night!

To this Mrs. Somerive aſſenting, Orlando left the room to get his horſe, but as he 2103 F4r 103 he paſſed through the hall, he met his ſiſter Selina. Good night, ſweet girl! ſaid he, kiſſing her hand as he paſſed her.

Whither are you going, then, Orlando? enquired ſhe.

To the Hall—You know there is no convenient room for me now; and ſince Philip is come back, I am leſs wanted.

At this moment Mr. Somerive paſſed through the hall, and, catching ſome of theſe words, he put the ſame queſtion to Orlando; who anſwered, that his mother had agreed to his going to the Hall, to make room for his brother; and promiſed, Sir, to name it to you, added he.

Mr. Somerive pauſed a moment—To the Hall, ſaid he, Orlando! You are in great haſte, I ſee. Surely you might have ſtaid to ſupper, as you have not ſeen your brother ſo long.

Orlando then gave his mother’s reaſon for his going earlier. That, ſaid his father gravely, is a very good reaſon for your mother; and you, I have no doubt, F 4 have 2104 F4v 104 have ſome of ſtill greater weight:—but remember, Orlando, continued he more ſternly, remember I will not be trifled with. Go—I wiſh you a good night, and as much repoſe as your conſcience will let you taſte when you render your father unhappy!

Mr. Somerive then paſſed on; and Selina, who had hardly ever in her life heard him ſpeak as if half angry to her brother Orlando, remained amazed and trembling, clinging to his arm. Good God! cried ſhe as ſoon as her father had ſhut the parlour-door, what is all this, my dear brother? what does my father mean?

Can you, Selina, ſaid Orlando in a low and mournful voice—can you be very faithful, very guarded on a point where my life depends on ſecrecy? Can you, Selina, be ſecret as the grave, if I truſt you?

Can you doubt it? anſwered the ſtill more alarmed Selina.—Well, then, to- morrow, perhaps—for to-morrow I muſt be here again—to-morrow, Selina, if I obtain permiſſion 2105 F5r 105 permiſſion from another perſon yet more intereſted than I am, I will perhaps tell you. In the mean time adieu, my dear ſiſter!—If you hear Philip mention me at ſupper to my father, try to remember what he ſays.

Orlando then haſtened away, fearful of being detained; and as the weather was ſerene, he determined to go on foot, that, if he found all quiet around the apartment of Monimia, he might glide up for a moment to appriſe her that they might without interruption meet in his ſtudy that evening. There was a late moon, and the night promiſed to be beautifully clear; he knew therefore that there was little or no hazard of brandy and tea-merchants being abroad: and as to the hint dropt by Stockton, which had at firſt given him ſo much pain, he now fancied it was merely the random folly of a drunkard, and that he knew nothing of Monimia but what he might have collected from Philip Somerive F 5 after 2106 F5v 106 after their firſt unlucky meeting in the woods.

Had he now taken his horſe, he muſt of neceſſity have made his return known to the ſtable-ſervants at the Hall, before he could have a moment’s converſation with Monimia: he proceeded therefore quickly on foot, meditating as he went on what had juſt paſſed with his father and his ſiſter.

He had often thought of entruſting Selina with the ſecret of his paſſion for Monimia. He had often wiſhed they were known to each other. Equally innocent, amiable, and gentle, with a perfect reſemblance in temper and in years, he believed that they would fondly love each other; and that if he could ſee them attached to each other, it would be the happieſt circumſtance of his life. He hoped too, that the ſociety and the ſoothing ſweetneſs of Selina would be a reſource of comfort to his Monimia when he was far from her. But how he could bring them together, he had yet 2107 F6r 107 yet no idea—Selina being never admitted but on days of ceremony at Rayland Hall; and Monimia being ſo nearly a priſoner, that the unlucky excurſion which occaſioned them all ſo much trouble, was almoſt the firſt, and was, in conſequence of her ſtay, which had given ſo much offence, likely to be the laſt her aunt would allow her to make. He propoſed, however, to conſult Monimia upon it, and to conſider whether ſome ſafe means of their meeting could be found.

Between that gate of the park that lay towards Weſt Wolverton, and the houſe, there were two paths. The upper one was over an eminence where the park paling encloſed part of the down, under which it ſpread a verdant boſom, with coppices and tall woods interſperſed. The other path, which in winter or in wet ſeaſons was inconvenient, wound down a declivity, where the furze and fern were ſhaded by a few old hawthorns and ſelf-ſown firs: out of the hill ſeveral ſtreams were filtered, which uniting at its foot, formed a large and clear F 6 pond 2108 F6v 108 pond of near twenty acres, fed by ſeveral imperceptible currents from other eminences which ſheltered that ſide of the park; and the baſon between the hills and the higher parts of it being thus filled, the water found its way over a ſtony boundary, where it was paſſable by a foot-bridge unleſs in time of floods; and from thence fell into a lower part of the ground, where it formed a conſiderable river; and, winding among willows and poplars for near a mile, again ſpread into a ſtill larger lake, on the edge of which was a mill, and oppoſite, without the park paling, wild heaths, where the ground was ſandy, broken, and irregular, ſtill however marked by plantations made on it by the Rayland family. It was along the lower road, which went through woods to the edge of what was called the upper pond, that Orlando took his way. Juſt as he arrived at the water, from the deep gloom of the tall firs through which he paſſed, the moon appeared behind the oppoſite coppices, and threw her long 2109 F7r 109 long line of trembling radiance on the water. It was a cold but clear evening, and, though early in November, the trees were not yet entirely ſtripped of their diſcoloured leaves:—a low wind ſounded hollow through the firs and ſtone-pines over his head, and then faintly ſighed among the reeds that crowded into the water: no other ſound was heard, but, at diſtant intervals, the cry of the wild fowl concealed among them, or the dull murmur of the current, which was now low. Orlando had hardly ever felt himſelf ſo impreſſed with thoſe feelings which inſpire poetic effuſions: —Nature appeared to pauſe, and to aſk the turbulent and troubled heart of man, whether his ſilly purſuits were worth the toil he undertook for them? Peace and tranquillity ſeemed here to have retired to a tranſient abode; and Orlando, as ſlowly he traverſed the narrow path over ground made hollow by the roots of theſe old trees, ſtepped as lightly as if he feared to diſturb them. Inſenſibly he began to compare this ſcene, 2110 F7v 110 ſcene, the ſcenes he every day ſaw of rural beauty and rural content, with thoſe into which his deſtiny was about to lead him— Oh, Monimia!, ſighed he, why cannot I remain with thee in this my native country? How happy ſhould I be to be allowed to cultivate one of the ſmalleſt of thoſe farms which belong to the Rayland eſtate, and, compriſing in thy ſociety and that of my family all my felicity, have no wiſh but to live and die without reading that great book which they call the World!— Alas! ſhall I ever underſtand its language? ſhall I ever become an adept in the principles it teaches? and ſhall I be happier if I do?—But they tell me, that a young man ſhould not be idle; that he muſt be ſomething, a lawyer or a ſoldier; and yet, to aſſiſt men in ruining each other, and ſpoiling the ſimple dignity of juſtice, ſeems the buſineſs of the firſt; and to learn the art of deſtroying honourably our fellowmen, the whole concern of the ſecond.— There are, however, other profeſſions, it is true— 2111 F8r 111 true—I might be a clergyman, and remain here, with little to do but to ride twenty or thirty miles of a Sunday, to execute, with the hurry of a poſtman, the duties I ſhould have ſworn to fulfil: and can I conſcientiouſly do what I ſee done every day? Impoſſible!—I might too be a merchant: but that I have no talents for a profeſſion, honourable as I allow it to be, where the mind is continually chained to the calculation of profit and loſs; and if I am to enter into active life, let it be rather in any line than that which ſhall confine my activity to a compting-houſe—For then, Monimia! I muſt equally leave thee, and live among thoſe who value nothing but money, and who would ridicule a paſſion like mine. —He pauſed, and again looked around him. How beautiful a ſcene! continued he; I would that Monimia were here to enjoy it!—But never am I allowed to point out to her theſe lovely proſpects, never permitted to cultivate that pure and elegant taſte which ſhe has received from nature; 2112 F8v 112 nature; and I am now about to tell her that we are to part, never perhaps to meet more!—Yet the die is caſt: I have promiſed—nay, I ought to obey my father—and I go―― A deep and mournful reverie ſucceeded, as, walking onward, his rapid imagination deſcribed to him all the ſad poſſibilities that might ariſe between him and his happineſs. In this deſponding temper, but without meeting any one to interrupt him in his intended viſit to Monimia, he reached the turret, and ſoftly and ſilently aſcended the ſtair-caſe. He took the uſual precautions to aſcertain that Monimia was alone; and then, being admitted for a moment to ſpeak to her, he aſſured her that ſhe might, without any danger, venture to his room that evening. He told her he had much to ſay to her—much, on which their future happineſs depended, to offer to her conſideration; and therefore he beſought her to diveſt herſelf of her fears, and to oblige him. Monimia, confiding entirely in him, promiſed to be ready; 2113 F9r 113 ready; and Orlando, then going through the ſervants’ hall as if he had that moment arrived from Weſt Wolverton, deſired Betty to make up his fire and prepare his bed, ſaying, that he was come back to his own apartments, on the arrival of his brother at home. He then enquired of Pattenſon, if he thought Mrs. Rayland could be ſpoken to that evening? I know nothing of the matter, anſwered the old butler in a very ſullen tone; you may aſk the women-folks, as you’re always a-dangling after them.— When I ſaw Madam laſt, ſhe was not in a way very like to be troubled with company to-night.

Orlando, angry and diſguſted by this rudeneſs, now enquired of the cook, who, though ſhe rivalled in perſon and features the dame Leonarda of Gil Blas, was a great admirer of beauty in others, and had always beheld Orlando with partial eyes. Is Mrs. Rayland ill, then, Martha? ſaid he. Not that I knows on, replied the woman— Only a few twinges of the gout about 2114 F9v 114 about her feet, much as ordinary, that makes her, I reckon, a little peeviſh: and I underſtood that Madam was a little out of ſorts at hearing nothing of you yeſterday; and they’ve been a-telling her as how you dined out with them there gentlefolk at the Caſtle, as Madam hates worſe than any varmint.

So, thought Orlando, I am at length become of conſequence enough to be miſſed if I am longer abſent than uſual! but the officious malice of whoever it was that related our dinner party yeſterday, has probably ſpoiled my reception.—Can you tell me, Martha, whether your lady is likely to ſee me to-night, if I ſend up for leave?

Lord! I’ll anſwer for’t, anſwered the cook; ifackins, I believe Madam, if ſhe was fairly left to herſelf, is always as glad to ſee you as can be—I’ll go up now, if you pleaſe, and let her know you be here.

This courteous offer Orlando readily accepted; and in a few moments Martha returned. Well, Martha, may I go up? enquired 2115 F10r 115 enquired he. Yes, you may, replied Martha; but Madam’s not in one of her ſugar plum humours, I can tell you.— She’ve got the gout in her foot, and ſhe’ve got ſome vagaries in her head about your going to viſit her innimies: you’ll have a few ſour looks, I doubt—but, Lord! Maſter Orlando, you’ve ſuch a good-looking pleaſant countenance, that I’ll defy the witch of Endor to be anger’d long with you.

Then, thanking his ambaſſadreſs for the trouble ſhe had taken, and being ſomewhat encouraged by her opinion of the powers of his countenance, he walked up ſtairs.

He tapped at the door, as was his cuſtom; and was, by the ſhrill ſharp voice of Mrs. Lennard, directed to come in. He was ſtruck, on entering the room, by the ſight of Monimia, who ſtood near the fire watching the moment when a ſaucepan, in which ſome medicine Mrs. Rayland was cauſing to be made, ſhould be ready to remove.move. 2116 F10v 116 move. Without, however, noticing her, he approached his venerable couſin, in whoſe countenance, which ſeemed to have gained no additional ſweetneſs, he did not read a very favourable anſwer to his enquiry of—how ſhe found herſelf?

No matter how, replied ſhe with abrupt aſperity; if it had been of any conſequence to you, you would have aſked yeſterday, I ſuppoſe.

I was detained all day by my father, Madam; and I do moſt truly aſſure you (and never was any declaration more ſincere than this of Orlando), that I was very unhappy at being detained all day from the Hall.

Humph! cried Mrs. Rayland, your new friends no doubt made you amends. I thought, Sir, you had known that when people go there, I never deſire to ſee them here, not I. I wiſh, if you like ſuch acquaintance, you had taken the hint. But perhaps you thought that you might take to your brother’s courſes, and no harm done. For my 2117 F11r 117 my part, I ſhall waſh my hands of any concern about it, let what will be the end on’t.

Orlando now began with calmneſs, yet without any thing like ſycophant ſubmiſſion, to account for his father’s having been led by the entreaties of General Tracy, to whom he thought himſelf much obliged, to break through a reſolution he had taken never to viſit at Carloraine Caſtle:—a reſolution, added Orlando, that he now heartily wiſhes he had adhered to, as he found the ſociety ſuch as he neither approves for me, or can endure for himſelf. I aſſure you, Madam, he never intends to repeat an experiment, which nothing but his wiſhes to oblige the General made him conſent to now.

Well, ſaid Mrs. Rayland, a little appeaſed, it is very wonderful to me that General Tracy, a man of family, can aſſociate with theſe low-bred upſtarts—people who always will give one the notion of having got into the coaches they were deſigned to 2118 F11v 118 to drive—But ſo goes this world! Money does every thing—money deſtroys all diſtinctions!—Your Creoles and your Eaſt India people over-run every body—Money, money does every thing.

There is one thing, however, Madam, anſwered Orlando, that it does not ſeem to have done—It does not appear to me to have given to this Mr. Stockton, either the mind or the manners of a gentleman.

Indeed, child! cried the old lady: Well, I am glad that you learn to diſtinguiſh.—Poor wretch! I’ve heard that his father walked up out of Yorkſhire without ſhoes, and was taken by ſome rich packer to clean his warehouſe, and go on errands. Well, ſo it is in trade!—So you think him vulgar and ill-bred?—But I ſuppoſe you had a very profuſe entertainment: can you remember the diſhes?

Orlando could with difficulty help ſmiling at the pains Mrs. Rayland took to feed her diſquiet, by obtaining minute particulars of the man whoſe oſtentatious diſplay of 2119 F12r 119 of wealth ſo continually offended her. He aſſured her, however, that he was, in regard to the variety or ornaments of a table, ſo little of an adept, that, though he knew there was both turtle and veniſon, he could not tell the name of any other diſh. But I believe, Madam, ſaid he, there was almoſt every thing that at this time of the year comes to table, dreſſed every way that could be imagined.

Kickſhaws, and French frippery, ſpoiling wholeſome diſhes. If I had my health, cried Mrs. Rayland as if animated anew with a truly Britiſh ſpirit—if I had my health, I would aſk the favour of General Tracy to dine at Rayland Hall. Indeed I would requeſt his company to the tenants feaſt at my own table, and ſhew him, if he is too young a man to remember it, what an old Engliſh table was, when we were too wiſe to run after foreign gewgaws, and were content with the beſt of every thing dreſſed in the Engliſh faſhion by Engliſh people.

6 Orlando 2120 F12v 120

Orlando had a thouſand reaſons to promote a plan as unexpected as it was deſirable. Beſides the hope he had that the converſation of the General might reconcile Mrs. Rayland to a plan for his independence, and engage her to contribute to its being advantageouſly carried into execution, he was amuſed with the idea of ſeeing together two ſuch originals as Mrs. Rayland and General Tracy; and he knew, that as the latter was a man of family, and ſo very polite, he ſhould not riſk their mutually diſliking each other by bringing them together; or at leaſt that, if ſuch a circumſtance ſhould happen, thoſe manners, which both piqued themſelves on poſſeſſing, would prevent their ſhewing it.— For theſe, and for many other reaſons, he eagerly ſeized on the hint Mrs. Rayland had dropped. Dear Madam, cried he, I heartily hope you will be well enough. The General would be greatly flattered by ſuch a diſtinction! I know that nothing 1 would 2121 G1r 121 would oblige him ſo much. When is the tenants’ feaſt to be? I wiſh, if it is fixed, you would permit me to be your meſſenger to-morrow, and to carry him an invitation.

Truly, child, replied Mrs. Rayland, whoſe anger ſeemed to be quite evaporated, I am ſo out of the uſe of having company, that I don’t know well what to ſay to it. I find my people have fixed the tenants’ feaſt for Thurſday next, that is, this day week; and if I were ſure of being quite well――Lennard, what do you think of the matter?

Lennard, who loved nothing better than great dinners, in which ſhe was of ſo much conſequence, anſwered, Why, indeed, Ma’am, I think you’ll be quite well enough —nay, I could venture to ſay ſo poſitively. Your foot is getting better apace; and in other reſpects, when you have been free from pain for a while, I have not known you better theſe many years.

Vol. II. G “Well, 2122 G1v 122

Well, Orlando, then, reſumed the old lady, we’ll conſider of it, and let you know to-morrow.—You have taken to your bed below again, I find?

I have, Madam, with your permiſſion.

Well, then, you may come and breakfaſt with me; and for to-night, order what you pleaſe for your ſupper in your own room.

Orlando, rejoiced to be thus reconciled, now wiſhed her a good night, and retired; caſting, as he went, a melancholy glance toward Monimia, who, quite unnoticed by either of the ladies, had ſtood the whole time with her eyes fixed on the fire, and her beautiful arms expoſed to its ſcorching heat, while ſhe was employed in watching the important preparation that was boiling. But Monimia herſelf, far from feeling her ſituation, would have undergone infinitely more inconvenience, for as many hours as ſhe now had done minutes, to have enjoyed the ſatisfaction of hearing Orlando’s voice, 8 even 2123 G2r 123 even when his words were not addreſſed to her, and of obſerving the favour he was in with Mrs. Rayland; whoſe anger, however ſhe ſeemed deſirous of cheriſhing it, was put to flight on the firſt apology of her young favourite.

G 2 Chap. 2124 G2v 124

Chap. VI.

The meeting of the evening promiſed to be undiſturbed. It was long ſince Orlando had ſeen his Monimia quietly ſeated by the fire in the Study; and now that he was once more to enjoy that happineſs, he could not determine to embitter it by ſpeaking of the probability there was that he was ſoon to leave her, and enter on a new mode of life. He could, when they were actually together, the leſs reſolve to ſpeak of this, as Monimia appeared in unuſual ſpirits; and from what ſhe had obſerved of Mrs. Rayland’s behaviour to him, in the interview at which ſhe had been preſent, ſhe found reaſon for forming more ſanguine hopes than ſhe had ever yet indulged, that their delicious viſions 2125 G3r 125 viſions were not chimerical; and that Orlando, if not maſter of Rayland Hall, would yet be amply provided for by the favour of its preſent poſſeſſor.

Inſtead, therefore, of deſtroying theſe flattering viſions, which lent to the lovely features of Monimia the moſt cheerful animation, he endeavoured to diveſt his own mind of the painful reflections it had of late entertained; and inſtead of talking of what was to happen, he wiſhed to fortify the mind of Monimia againſt whatever might happen, by giving her a taſte for reading, and cultivating her excellent underſtanding. The books he had given her, the extracts ſhe had made from them, and her remarks, afforded them converſation, and gave to Orlando exquiſite delight. He had animated the lovely ſtatue, and, like another Prometheus, ſeemed to have drawn his fire from heaven. The ignorance and the prejudices in which Monimia had been brought up, now gave way to ſuch inſtruction as ſhe derived from Addiſon and other G 3 celebrated 2126 G3v 126 celebrated moraliſts. She underſtood, and had peculiar pleaſure in reading, the poets, which Orlando had ſelected for her; and when ſhe repeated, in a faſcinating voice, ſome of the paſſages ſhe particularly admired, Orlando was inſpired with the moſt ardent wiſh to become a poet himſelf.

Very different was the way in which his elder brother paſſed this evening. Tormented with fear and remorſe, that unfortunate young man had returned to his long-deſerted home, for no other reaſon than becauſe he had, during his northern expedition, loſt to his companions every guinea that he could by any means raiſe, and had beſides contracted with them a very conſiderable debt of honour. He knew not how to apply to his father, whom he had already impoveriſhed; yet his pride would not let him return to Mr. Stockton’s, whither ſome of the party were again gone, till he had the means of ſatisfying their demands againſt him. In this emergency he came home, in hopes of finding ſome pretence to procure the 2127 G4r 127 the money of his mother, whom he believed he could perſuade to borrow it for him of her brother Mr. Woodford, as ſhe had done a leſs conſiderable ſum once before; or at all events to gain a few days, in which he might conſider what to do.

It was to the dejection he felt on the awkward circumſtances to which he had reduced himſelf, that the gravity and ſteadineſs of manner was owing, which his father took for contrition and reformation. It laſted, however, no longer than till the next evening, when, after tea, Mrs. Somerive, as uſual, in order to amuſe the General, propoſed cards—Mr. Somerive, however, having a perſon with him upon buſineſs from whom he could not diſengage himſelf, and Orlando having returned to Rayland Hall immediately after dinner, there was not enough to make a whiſt table (as none of the young ladies played), and therefore young Somerive propoſed to the General to ſit down to piquet.

G 4 To 2128 G4v 128

To this propoſal he of courſe conſented, and, either from chance or deſign, the General loſt every party, and had preſently paid to his antagoniſt twelve guineas. Animated by this ſucceſs, eſpecially as it was againſt a man who was known to be in habits of paying at the firſt clubs, Philip Somerive again propoſed playing after ſupper. Fortune continued to be propitious; and when his father, mother and ſiſters retired, at a later hour than ordinary, he ſtill continued at the table, where he was now a winner of about fifty guineas.

They were no ſooner out of his way, than the true ſpirit of gaming, which their preſence had checked, broke out.

This is poor piddling work, General! exclaimed he: Do you not think hazard a better thing?

The General anſwered coolly, that it certainly was; but, added he, I ſuppoſe my good hoſt would think his houſe polluted by having the neceſſary inſtruments in it. 2129 G5r 129 it. He has no other dice, I dare ſwear, than thoſe in the back-gammon table.

Oh! as to that, anſwered young Somerive, I am always provided with an apparatus in caſe of emergency—there is no travelling without ſuch a reſource—I have the pretty creatures up ſtairs. What ſay you, General—ſhall we waſte an hour with them?

With all my heart, replied Tracy. Let us ſee if you are as much befriended by chance, as you have been by ſkill.

Young Somerive now produced from his travelling portmanteau a box and dice: he put a green cloth over the table, that the rattling of them might not be heard in the houſe; and then telling the ſervants that none need ſit up but the General’s ſervant, they began to play, and continued at it till morning broke, with various ſucceſs—But on quitting it, Somerive found himſelf a very conſiderable gainer, and retired to his bed fluſhed with the hope that the General, all veteran as he appeared, and calmly as he G 5 played, 2130 G5v 130 played, was a pigeon, from whoſe wings he might pluck the feathers which were wanting to repair his own.

The General, who only wanted a ſtudy of his character, and to whom hundreds were as nothing when he had any favourite project in view, was now perfectly aſſured that, by loſing money to him, or by ſupplying him with it when he loſt it to others, this young man would become wholly ſubſervient to his wiſhes, however contrary to honour or conſcience. He did not diſlike play, though he never regularly purſued it; and had one of thoſe cool heads in ſuch matters, which had prevented his ever ſuffering by it. He had generally been a winner, and particularly in betting:—he frequented, when he was in London, all the houſes where high play is carried on; and was ſo much accuſtomed to ſee thouſands paid and received at theſe places as matters of courſe, that he held the trifle he had paid to Philip Somerive the evening before as not worth remembering. It was therefore 2131 G6r 131 therefore with ſome ſurpriſe that he heard Mr. Somerive, who had called him apart the next morning, expreſs, in very forcible terms, his great concern that his ſon had won ſo large a ſum of him. If the General felt any concern, it was that Philip ſhould have been unguarded enough to ſpeak of it. He ſoon, however, learned that Mr. Somerive alluded ſolely to the fifty guineas he had won at piquet, and that of the ſubſequent tranſactions of the evening he knew nothing. This therefore he carefully concealed, and, aſſuring Mr. Somerive that he had almoſt forgot they played at all, conjured him not to be uneaſy about it.

I know, my dear General, ſaid Somerive, I know perfectly well that this is a mere trifle to you; but to my ſon it may, nay it will have the worſt conſequence. He is, I ſee with an aching heart, too much devoted to play—Succeſs only nouriſhes this ruinous paſſion—and diſtreſſed G 6 as 2132 G6v 132 as I have been, and indeed am, by his conduct, I ſhould rather have paid an hundred pounds for him than have ſeen him win fifty.

The General endeavoured to quiet, on this head, the apprehenſions of the unhappy father, by telling him that he ſaw nothing in the young man that was not at his age, and with his proſpects, very excuſable. It is ſurely, ſaid he, hazardous, my good friend, to check your ſon too much. If home is rendered utterly unpleaſant to him, his volatility ſeeks reſource abroad; and there you know how many deſigning people beſet a young man of his expectations.

Good God! exclaimed Somerive, what are his expectations? He has impreſſed you, I ſee, my dear Sir, with the ſame idea which has in fact undone him, and will undo us all. What expectations has he that can in the leaſt be relied upon, unleſs it be of this ſmall eſtate, which he is already 2133 G7r 133 already diſmembering, and which will ſoon diſappear—ah! very ſoon indeed, in the hands of a gameſter.

Tie it up, then, ſaid the General.

I cannot, anſwered Somerive; for it is entailed, and, except my wife’s jointure of an hundred a year, which with difficulty I contrived to ſettle upon her, he may diſſipate it all, and I have no doubt but he will.

You judge, I think, too hardly of him. Something is ſurely to be forgiven him, who has always been told that he muſt be heir to the great property of the Raylands, and poſſeſs one of the largeſt landed eſtates in the county.

O! would to heaven he never had been told ſo! ſaid Mr. Somerive with a deep ſigh. If ever, my dear General, he ſhould talk to you about it, pray endeavour to wean him from expectations ſo ruinous, and, I think, ſo fallacious. It is true that I am heir at law to all the eſtates of Sir Orlando Rayland my grandfather, in default of Sir Hildebrand’s 2134 G7v 134 Hildebrand’s daughters having iſſue, but not if the ſurvivor of them diſpoſes of it by will, for the whole is hers without any reſtriction; and there is not the leaſt chance of her dying without a will, for I know ſhe is never without one: and the people who ſurround her take eſpecial care that her own family ſhall be excluded from it.

You do not then ſuppoſe, ſaid the General, you do not believe it poſſible that theſe people, by whom I conclude you mean thoſe old ſervants of whom I have heard you ſpeak, have intereſt enough with her to ſecure to themſelves ſo large a property as Mrs. Rayland poſſeſſes. I ſhould think it more likely that, though ſhe will probably give them conſiderable legacies, ſhe will leave the eſtate to the next heir; her pride will urge her to this, perhaps, on the condition of his taking the name of Rayland.

I fear, not, anſwered Mr. Somerive. She has a very ſingular temper, and has always been taught that the ſiſter of her father 2135 G8r 135 father Sir Hildebrand diſgraced herſelf by marrying my father. She has on a thouſand occaſions given me to underſtand, that the ſmall portion of Rayland blood which I have the honour to boaſt, is much debaſed by having mingled with that of a plebeian; and that the blood of my children being ſtill a degree farther removed from the Raylands, ſhe cannot conſider them as belonging to the family, which is in her opinion extinct—She means therefore to perpetuate its remembrance by the only method in which ſhe believes ſhe can do it worthily; and, after giving her ſervants conſiderable legacies――perhaps ſomething to Orlando—to have recourſe to the common refuge of poſthumous pride, and, with her large landed eſtates, to endow an hoſpital, which ſhall be called after her name.

The General exclaimed loudly againſt ſuch a method of ſettling her property; but, after hearing on what Mr. Somerive founded 2136 G8v 136 founded his opinion, he agreed that it ſeemed but too probable. And yet, added he, it appears to be more the intereſt of theſe ſervants, by whom you ſay ſhe is governed, that the eſtate ſhould deſcend to an individual—particularly that of the old houſekeeper, who, from what I can make out of the ſcraps I have picked up here and there about this Monimia, ſeems to have a plan of drawing in your youngeſt ſon to marry her; and of courſe it muſt be her wiſh, that he ſhould be Mrs. Rayland’s heir.

I have not diſcovered, replied Somerive in all I have collected from Orlando, that the aunt is at all privy to their attachment. But that indeed may be her art—She poſſeſſes more than almoſt any woman I ever knew; and had ſhe much leſs, ſhe muſt know that the bare ſuſpicion of ſuch an intrigue, on the part of Mrs. Rayland, would occaſion the diſgrace of Orlando—the expulſion of the girl from the houſe— 2137 G9r 137 houſe—and perhaps the ruin of herſelf, if the leaſt idea occured of her being of their counſel.

Upon the whole, then, my friend, cried the General, I think that the putting Orlando into ſome profeſſion immediately ſeems the only prudent meaſure you can take. This will probably aſcertain Mrs. Rayland’s intentions, if they are in his favour; and, if they are not, will remove him from a ſituation which appears in my mind a thouſand times more likely to ruin him for life, then even thoſe imprudences of which you complain in his brother: for be aſſured, my dear Sir, a young fellow is never ſo completely ruined as when he has married fooliſhly—Every other folly is retrievable; but an engagement of that ſort blaſts a man’s fortune for ever: and the wiſeſt thing he can do afterwards is to hang himſelf.

Though Mr. Somerive, who was not a man of the world, and who had experienced many years of happineſs with a woman 2138 G9v 138 woman whom he married for love, was by no means of Tracy’s opinion as to marriages of affection in general, he ſaw the variety of evils ſuch a marriage would bring on Orlando, in as ſtrong a light as his friend could repreſent them. He therefore entirely acquieſced in the neceſſity of his being removed from Rayland Hall; and waited with impatience for Orlando’s account of what had paſſed in that conference which he had undertaken to hold with the old lady, on the ſubject of his entering the army.

Juſt as he parted from General Tracy, who about an hour and a half before dinner retired to his toilet, Orlando appeared on horſeback. His father met him; and bidding him join him in the garden as ſoon as he had put his horſe in the ſtable, he walked thither—Orlando in a moment attended him. Well, ſaid Mr. Somerive gravely, have you had an opportunity of converſing with Mrs. Rayland on this matter? I have it every hour more at heart, and am determined that you ſhall be removed 2139 G10r 139 removed from your preſent ſituation, unleſs, what is not to be expected, ſhe ſignifies her poſitive reſolution to make you very ample amends for your loſs of time, and gives me aſſurances of it.

Orlando, in this peremptory determination of his father, fancied he ſaw the machinations of his brother to get him away from the Hall; but, without expreſſing any part of the pain ſuch a ſuſpicion gave him, he anſwered, You know, my dear Sir, that in our laſt conference on this ſubject, I aſſured you of what I now deſire to repeat, that I live only to obey you: but I have had no opportunity of ſpeaking to Mrs. Rayland on this ſubject; for, when I ſaw her on the firſt evening of my return to the Hall, it was with great difficulty I could appeaſe the anger ſhe felt at our having dined with Stockton.

She knew it then?

Oh, yes!――Lennard and Pattenſon take care ſhe ſhall know every thing. At 2140 G10v 140 At length, however, I had the good fortune, not only to obtain a remiſſion of my offence, but to engage her to invite our family and the General to dine at her table on Thurſday, when the tenants’ feaſt is to be held at the Hall. Mrs. Rayland piques herſelf on ſhewing the General, whom ſhe reſpects as a man of family, a ſpecimen of old Engliſh hoſpitality, in oppoſition to the modern profuſion of the Caſtle—and her deſire to obtain his ſuffrage in favour of the ancient mode of living at Rayland Hall, has performed what no other conſideration would have effected. This unexpected project entered her head the moment I had deſcribed our viſit; and all yeſterday was paſſed in conſidering about it, and debating with Lennard whether ſhe ſhould be well enough. To-day it is decided that ſhe ſhall, and I am ſent with the invitation, which certainly you and my mother and ſiſters will accept; and I ſuppoſe General Tracy will oblige us by going alſo.

“Of 2141 G11r 141

Of that there can be no doubt, replied Mr. Somerive.

I thought, therefore, added Orlando, that you and the General might have an opportunity, during the courſe of the day, of introducing the converſation relative to my entering the army; and that it would be perhaps better than my abruptly diſcloſing what may, in ſome of her humours, appear to Mrs. Rayland as a deſire on my part to quit her.

You have certainly given my ancient couſin love powder, Orlando, ſaid Mr. Somerive ſmiling; for I never heard that, even in her younger days, ſhe ſhewed for any body as much affection as ſhe lately has done to you.

And yet, replied Orlando, I am almoſt certain that it goes no farther than a little preſent kindneſs, or perhaps a ſmall legacy.

Mr. Somerive, feeling that this was too probable, and was indeed what he had juſt before 2142 G11v 142 before been repeating to General Tracy, ſighed deeply—and bidding Orlando go with his meſſage of invitation to his mother and ſiſters, he ſent up the card to the General; and then went on his uſual circuit round his farm, deſiring Orlando to ſtay dinner.

2143 G12r 143

Chap. VII.

Orlando returned to Rayland Hall in the evening, carrying with him the moſt polite anſwer from General Tracy; and, from his own family, aſſurances of the grateful pleaſure with which they accepted Mrs. Rayland’s invitation for the following Thurſday. Poor Monimia too, though ſhe was to have no other part in this feſtivity than to aſſiſt her aunt in preparing for it, heard with ſatisfaction from Orlando that it was fixed, becauſe ſhe believed that this unuſual civility towards his family and their gueſt was an indubitable mark of Mrs. Rayland’s increaſing affection for him.

Orlando, however, who from his father’s laſt converſation, and from his perſuaſion that Mrs. Rayland would not oppoſe it, ſaw that his departure was certain, and would ſoon happen, thought it cruel to encouragerage 2144 G12v 144 rage the flattering impreſſions which the ſoft heart of Monimia ſo readily received, and which he had himſelf taught her to cheriſh when they were apparently much leſs likely to be realiſed. He therefore, when they met this evening, renewed, what he had ſometimes diſtantly touched upon before, the probability that he muſt ſoon enter the army, and quit, at leaſt for a time, the ſpot which, while ſhe remained on it, contained all that gave value to his life. The tender, timid Monimia, in whoſe idea every kind of danger was attendant on the name of ſoldier, was thunderſtruck with this intelligence: and it was not till Orlando had tried every argument to ſooth and conſole her, that ſhe was able to ſhed tears. Could we hope, my Monimia, ſaid he, when he found her compoſed enough to liſten to him—could we hope to continue as we are, and to converſe thus undiſcovered for years to come, tell me if there is not too much bitter mingled with the few tranſient moments of happineſs, to 1 make 2145 H1r 145 make us reaſonably wiſh to continue it? When we meet, is it not always in fear and apprehenſion? and are we not ever liable to the ſame alarm as that from which you ſuffered ſo cruelly three weeks ſince?— Alas! even now we are in the power of an unprincipled ruffian, who, though he appeared willing to engage for mutual ſecrecy, may, in a fit of drunkenneſs, betray us; or, through mere inſolence, tell—becauſe he has the power of telling. He did not ſee you; but he knows, and indeed ſo does Pattenſon, that ſomebody was with me; and the very jealouſy that miſleads the old rogue Pattenſon, will perhaps make him watch and diſcover us. I need not, Monimia, deſcribe all I ſhould ſuffer for you if that were to happen; nothing would remain for us but to fly together: and ſurely I need not add, that if I did not fear to expoſe you, my angel, to the miſeries of poverty, I would, without hazarding a diſcovery, fly to morrow; but I am, you know, under age, and we could not Vol. II. H marry 2146 H1v 146 marry in England. If I was thus to diſoblige my father, he would abandon me for ever, and from Mrs. Rayland I could expect nothing. Such is the melancholy train of thought I have been compelled to admit in reflecting on our preſent ſituation. Perhaps the line of life that is propoſed for me is the only one that we can with hope look forward to for the future. —He pauſed a moment: Monimia ſtifled the ſobs that convulſed her boſom; ſhe could not ſpeak, but ſat with her handkerchief to her eyes, and her head reſting on her hand, while he proceeded—It is certain that I muſt tear myſelf from you; that I muſt enter on a new ſcene of life, and perhaps encounter ſome difficulties and hardſhips; but would you not deſpiſe a man of my age, who would not ſo purchaſe independence? If I have a profeſſion, I ſhall have ſomething on which to depend, if Mrs. Rayland will not, and my father cannot provide for me; ſomething on which, if I have tolerable fortune, I may in 2147 H2r 147 in a few years be enabled to ſupport my Monimia. Can I, ought I with ſuch hopes to heſitate?

I allow, replied Monimia with a deep ſigh—I allow that you ought not.

While General Tracy lives, reſumed Orlando, he will be my friend; at leaſt ſuch are his promiſes to my father. He aſſures him that he will make a point of my ſpeedy promotion; and his intereſt is certainly ſuch as leaves no doubt of his having the power to do it.

Ah, Orlando! ſaid Monimia in a low and broken voice, you ſpeak only of the good, and forget or conceal the evil. What if you are maimed, or killed? What then becomes of Monimia, who could not die too, but muſt live perhaps the moſt deſolate and miſerable creature upon earth?

General Tracy, replied Orlando, has aſſured my father, that the regiment in which he means to procure me a commiſſion, and for which they are now recruiting, is about to be immediately recalled2 called 2148 H2v 148 called from America, where the war muſt very ſoon terminate in favour of England, and that therefore I ſhall certainly not be ſent abroad: he even ſays, that as ſoon as I have my commiſſion, it is highly probable that I ſhall be ordered into this country on a recruiting party, and may take up my quarters for two or three months in this neighbourhood.

Theſe reaſonable arguments, joined to the flattering hope that Orlando might, though entered on a profeſſion by which he would, ſhe believed, become independent, ſtill remain in England, and even be occaſionally in his native county, added to the conviction that they could not long continue to ſee each other without being diſcovered, reconciled Monimia to the thoughts of his accepting the commiſſion offered to him by the General; and ſhe became more calm, and able to talk of it with ſome degree of compoſure. Orlando, on their parting for that time, beſought her to aſſure him that ſhe would make herſelf2 ſelf 2149 H3r 149 ſelf eaſy, and learn to think if his deſtination rather as a matter of ſatisfaction than apprehenſion. Monimia promiſed all he deſired: but ſhe was no ſooner alone than her apprehenſions again returned, and the ſad poſſibilities that ſhe had before enumerated recurred in all their terrors to her imagination. To theſe many were added, of which ſhe dared not ſpeak to Orlando: the fears that he might forget her; and that when once entered on new ſcenes, and among all the beauty, elegance, and accompliſhments which ſhe read of in magazines and newſpapers, the humble Monimia would be remembered no longer. This ſeemed to her ſo probable, and was ſo diſtreſſing to her heart, that ſhe thought ſhe could better endure almoſt every other evil. Sleep refuſed to baniſh theſe cruel ideas from her mind; and the morning broke, and called her from her reſtleſs bed to her taſk of attending on her aunt in the houſe-keeper’s room, before ſhe could find any comfort in any of her reflections, unleſs it was the H 3 hope 2150 H3v 150 hope that Mrs. Rayland might oppoſe the ſcheme of ſending Orlando away, ſince Monimia perſuaded herſelf that ſhe every day became fonder of his company.

Monimia appeared before her aunt ſo pale, from want of ſleep, and from the acute uneaſineſs ſhe had undergone, that Mrs. Lennard, notwithſtanding her uſual inſenſibility, took notice of it.

Hey day, girl! cried ſhe, why what’s the matter now? Why you look, I proteſt, as if you had been up all night! Pray what have you been about?

About, aunt! ſaid Monimia, while a faint bluſh, excited by fear and conſciouſneſs, wavered a moment on her cheek— I have been about nothing.

That is what you generally are about, I think, replied Mrs. Lennard harſhly. But I ſuppoſe you have been ſitting up after ſome nonſenſe or other—with your books or your writing. I ſhall put an end to Madam Betty’s career, I promiſe you; I know ſhe lets you have candles, and gets books 2151 H4r 151 books for you out of the Study, though I have time after time forbidden her to do any ſuch thing.

Monimia, willing to let it be thought that Betty did do ſo, rather than excite any other ſuſpicion by denying it, only ſaid mildly—I hope, dear aunt, there is no harm in my trying to improve myſelf, if I do not therefore neglect what you order me to do?

Improve yourſelf!—Yes, truly, a pretty improvement—Your chalky face and padded eyes are mighty improvements: and I’d be glad to know what good your reading does you, but to give you a hankering after what you’ve no right to expect? An improved lady will be above helping me, I ſuppoſe, very ſoon.

When I am, my dear aunt, anſwered Monimia, it will be time enough for you to forbid my reading; but, till then, pray don’t be angry if I endeavour to obtain a little common inſtruction.

Don’t be impertinent, exclaimed Mrs. H 4 Lennard; 2152 H4v 152 Lennard; don’t be inſolent—for if you are, Miſs, this houſe is no place for you.—I ſee already the bleſſed effects of your reading—you fancy yourſelf a perſon of conſequence: but I ſhall take care to put an end to it; for, if Betty ſupplies you with candles, I’ll diſcharge her.

She has not indeed, my dear aunt, ſaid Monimia, whoſe generous mind could not bear that another ſhould ſuffer for her.

She has not!—what has ſhe not? enquired Mrs. Lennard.

She has not lately ſupplied me with candles, replied Monimia.

How is it, then, cried Mrs. Lennard, fixing on her a ſtern and enquiring eye, that light is ſometimes, aye and very lately too, ſeen from your window, at hours when your own candle is taken away, and when you ought to be in bed?

To this Monimia could anſwer nothing, but that it was true ſhe had now and then ſaved a piece of wax candle herſelf; but, in 2153 H5r 153 in order to put an end to an enquiry which had already made her tremble with the moſt cruel apprehenſions, ſhe endeavoured leſs to account for what had happened, and which ſhe could not deny, than to appeaſe her aunt by very earneſt aſſurances that what offended her ſhould happen no more, and that, ſince ſhe ſo much diſliked her reading of a night, ſhe would never again practiſe it.

Mrs. Lennard ſeemed to be ſomewhat ſatisfied by theſe proteſtations—though, while Monimia was with many tears repeating them, her fierce eyes were fixed on the countenance of her trembling niece with a look of queſtioning doubt, which made Monimia ſhrink with dread—for it ſeemed to intimate that more was ſuſpected than was expreſſed.

At length, however, ſhe condeſcended to appear pacified; and ſummoning Betty and another of the maid-ſervants, ſhe gave them their employments in preparing for the next day’s dinner: then ordering Monimia to take her ſhare, and the ſuperintendence5 tendence 2154 H5v 154 tendence of the whole, ſhe returned to the parlour; and poor Monimia, glad to be relieved from her preſence, proceeded as cheerfully in her taſk as her melancholy reflections on what had paſſed with Orlando the preceeding night, and her newly- awakened dread of her aunt’s ſuſpicions, would allow her to do.

Mr. Somerive was much at a loſs to know how to act in regard to his eldeſt ſon: fondly flattering himſelf that this beloved ſon had ſeen the dangerous errors of his former conduct, he could not bear the idea of ſhewing any reſentment at what was paſſed, or that, by his being left out of the party going to Rayland Hall, he ſhould be conſidered as an exile from the favour of Mrs. Rayland; yet, to let him go without an invitation, he knew, would give offence, and he knew not how to ſet about obtaining one. Orlando, who paſſed a few moments with him in the courſe of the preceding Wedneſday, ſaw his father’s uneaſineſs, becauſe he had felt ſomething of the ſame kind himſelf about his brother; and 2155 H6r 155 and he generouſly, though without making any merit of it, undertook to remove this ſource of vexation, by engaging Mrs. Rayland to invite him. This was an arduous taſk, as the old Lady had not ſeen him for more than two years, and during that time had heard only evil reports of his conduct. The offence he had given her by aſſociating with the Stockton ſet, and even joining in thoſe treſpaſſes of which ſhe believed ſhe had ſo much reaſon to complain, had embittered her mind againſt him, even more than his gaieties and extravagance:—yet Orlando, by aſſuring Mrs. Rayland that he was now ſenſible of his error, that he was come home with a reſolution to remain with his family, and that it would diſcourage him in the career of reformation if ſhe did not ſeem ready to forgive, and again conſider him as a part of it, ſo flattered her ſelf-conſequence, and ſoothed her reſentment, that ſhe agreed to receive Philip as one of her gueſts, and commiſſioned Orlando to carry an invitation H 6 to 2156 H6v 156 to his brother: nor could ſhe, with all her natural ſeverity of temper, and little ſenſibility to great or generous actions, help being affected by the noble diſintereſtedneſs of her young favourite, who thus laboured to reconcile to her a brother who would have been conſidered by moſt young men as a formidable rival in her favour, and have been aſſiduouſly kept at the diſtance to which he had thrown himſelf. This exalted goodneſs of heart ſhe put down immediately to the account of the Rayland blood; and in praiſing Orlando to Mrs. Lennard, to whom ſhe now often ſpoke of him with pleaſure, ſhe remarked, that he every day became more and more like the Rayland familyWhat fine eyes the young man has! cried ſhe; and how they flaſhed fire when he was pleading for that ſad brother of his with ſo much earneſtneſs!—And then when I ſeemed willing to oblige him, what a fine countenance! I could almoſt have fancied it was my grandfather’s picture walked out of its frame, if 2157 H7r 157 if it had not been for the difference of dreſs!

Mrs. Lennard aſſented, and encouraged every favourable idea her Miſtreſs entertained of Orlando; but all this while a mine was proceeding againſt him, of which the ſucceſs would inevitably ruin all his hopes.

This originated in the jealouſy of Pattenſon, who, whatever favour he obtained by dint of preſents and money from his coquettiſh dulcinea, could never diveſt himſelf of his apprehenſions that Orlando was a ſucceſsful rival. This cruel fear had taken poſſeſſion of his mind long before the diſcovery of Jonas Wilkins; and notwithſtanding the girl’s ſolemn proteſtations that ſhe was in her own bed at the time ſhe was accuſed of being with Orlando in his Study, and the offers of the woman who lived in the ſame room to confirm this by her Bible oath, Pattenſon could never be perſuaded but that it was Betty herſelf; becauſe, having not the ſlighteſt ſuſpicion of Monimia, who was, he 2158 H7v 158 he knew, locked in by her aunt every night, he believed that it was impoſſible it could be any other perſon. Betty, in order to teaſe him, ſometimes affected to be conſcious that the accuſation was true, while ſhe perſiſted in denying it; and Orlando rather encouraged than repreſſed a notion that prevented any conjectures which might have glanced towards Monimia.

For three weeks, therefore, this uneaſy ſuſpicion had corroded the boſom of the amorous though venerable Mr. Pattenſon, who, greatly as he loved his eaſe, reſigned it to the gratification of his revenge; and who determined to detect Betty, and in doing ſo thought he ſhould have an opportunity of ruining Orlando with his Lady, and thus getting out of his way a rival who might one day be his Maſter; and whom he hated, not only on account of his love, but of his intereſt; for ſo highly had he been in favour with all the three ladies, that each had, in dying, given 2159 H8r 159 given him a very conſiderable legacy, and recommended him to the ſurvivor; and he did not doubt but that, on the deceaſe of his preſent Miſtreſs, he ſhould find his property inferior to that of few gentlemen in the county.

The gradual increaſe, therefore, of the favour ſhewn to Orlando did not at all pleaſe him; but his attempts to injure him with Mrs. Rayland had never ſucceeded, and began to be diſpleaſing to her. Still, however, he knew that, if Orlando were detected of an intrigue with one of her women-ſervants, it was an offence which Mrs. Rayland would never pardon; and though this diſcovery would certainly occaſion the diſcharge of the fair Helen for whom he ſighed, Pattenſon knew that Orlando could not take her into his protection for want of money; while, being diſmiſſed without a character by the two inexorable veſtals, his Lady and her companion, the girl would be glad to make terms with him; and he was quite rich enough 2160 H8v 160 enough to undertake to keep her in ſome of the neighbouring towns, till ſhe might be ſupplanted by ſome newer object.

Such were the ſpeculations of the politic Pattenſon; but, like many other politicians, he purſued, among the many crooked paths before him, that which led him from his purpoſe. Inſtead of watching Orlando, he ſet himſelf to watch Betty, who never went in even with a meſſage to him in his Study without Pattenſon following her; and on the night he engaged her to ſit up for him, the butler was concealed in a cloſet within the ſervants’ hall, and heard all their converſation; and though what then paſſed tended directly to prove to Pattenſon that he was in an error, he perſuaded himſelf that they ſuſpected his concealment, and had agreed upon what they ſhould ſay to miſlead him.

Inſtead, therefore, of rejoicing to find his ſuſpicions were not confirmed, he was only irritated to find that his attempts to detect the ſuppoſed lovers were baffled; and 2161 H9r 161 and he redoubled his vigilance in watching Betty, and engaged one of the footmen in the ſame office. This was the ſame man who had ſeen Orlando croſs the park one morning at a very early and unuſual hour, and who then taking him at a diſtance for a poacher, had purſued and ſtopped him; circumſtances which the fellow, who was the mere creature of Pattenſon, had afterwards related to him, with conjectures as to the reaſon of Orlando’s appearance that had helped to raiſe higher thoſe ſuſpicions Pattenſon had before entertained.

That Mrs. Rayland had determined to have company at her own table, and particularly the family of Somerive, on the day of the tenants’ feaſt, was a terrible vexation to Pattenſon—who, inſtead of preſiding like the maſter of the houſe in the hall, would now be only the butler at the ſide-board in the great dining-room; and to chagrin for the conſequence he thus loſt, was added the mortification of knowing that while he ſhould be buſied in attending on 2162 H9v 162 on his Lady up ſtairs, Orlando, who on theſe occaſions, which happened twice a year, always mingled with the young farmers, would have all the ladies of the hall to himſelf.

It had been the cuſtom of the Hall, time immemorial, for the landlord, on receiving his Michaelmas rents, to give the moſt numerouſly-attended entertainment of the year, and to allow the tenants’ ſons and daughters, their friends, and the ſervants of the family, to have a fiddle in the hall. The Mrs. Raylands, notwithſtanding the ſtate in which they had been educated, had been always, during their youth, led to the company by their father, and accompanied by Lady Rayland, and had each gone down one dance with ſome neighbouring gentleman who was invited on purpoſe, or with the chaplain of the family. Thoſe days, though long ſince paſt, with almoſt all the witneſſes of their feſtivity, were ſtill recollected by Mrs. Rayland with ſome degree of pleaſure; and as ſhe adheredhered 2163 H10r 163 hered moſt ſcrupulouſly to old cuſtoms, however unlike her uſual mode of life, this ſort of ruſtic ball given to the tenants had always been kept up, except in thoſe two years that were marked by the death of two of the ladies. Mrs. Lennard and Mr. Pattenſon, who had long preſided at them, loved the gaiety of the ſcene, and the conſequence they had in it, as they were conſidered as the maſter and miſtreſs of the feaſt; for, though Mrs. Rayland once uſed to go down to honour it with her preſence for ten minutes, ſhe had now left off that cuſtom, from age and infirmity; and her ſervants, to whom it was attended with ſome trouble and loſs of time, had perſuaded her that ſhe was always ill after ſuch an exertion. It was, therefore, uſual with her to ſup on this anniverſary ſomewhat earlier than ordinary, and to go to her bed, diſmiſſing Lennard to her poſt of miſtreſs of the revel, with a ſtrict charge to her to watch aſſiduouſly againſt the intruſion of drunkenneſs or impropriety; to ſee 2164 H10v 164 ſee that all the gueſts withdrew in due ſeaſon, and quite ſober; and to ſettle every thing after their departure for the decorum and tranquillity of the next day.

Mrs. Lennard had in general adhered to theſe good rules, though ſhe thought herſelf at liberty a little to vary from them in the detail. Thus ſhe deemed it no breach of the regularity her Lady recommended, if ſhe acceded to the earneſt ſolicitations of a handſome young farmer, who, as ſhe was perſuaded, left the buxom damſel his partner, purely for the gratification of going down a dance with her; though it ſometimes happened that her intereſt in the renewal of a leaſe, of ſome building wanting on the farm, for which ſhe could effectually intercede, were more powerful motives than even the honour or the pleaſure thus obtained—notwithſtanding Mrs. Lennard’s aſſertion, which was probably true, that ſhe had learned to dance of the dancing-maſter who taught the firſt Duke of Cumberland and all the Princeſſes, and that 2165 H11r 165 that ſhe was celebrated for her excellence in that accompliſhment, particularly her great agility in the rigadoon.

This rigadoon, like all early and pleaſing acquirements, was ſtill recollected with gratitude for the fame it had obtained for her; and notwithſtanding the lapſe of years, and ſome rheumatic complaints, ſhe could occaſionally introduce ſome of its original graces into her country-dance. It is true ſhe never performed above one or two at moſt; but what ſhe did, ſhe piqued herſelf upon executing with a degree of ſpirit, which made all the operators in cotillon ſteps, and allemands, hide their diminiſhed heels. But, now alas! a fall ſhe got a few months before, and the cruel and cowardly attack of the rheumatiſm on the limb while it was in a diſabled ſtate, had put an end to the exhibition of this rigadoon ſtep for ever. Yet, with the true ſpirit of perſeverance, Mrs. Lennard, though ſhe danced no more, loved to overlook the dancers, and, not having the ſame reaſons as Pattenſontenſon 2166 H11v 166 tenſon had to diſlike the party propoſed, had with all her intereſt promoted it—feeling, probably, that the pleaſure ſhe reſigned in the country-dance with her rigadoon ſtep, would be amply made up to her in her appearing no longer as only houſe-keeper and attendant, but in the capacity of a companion and friend to Mrs. Rayland; for, now her Lady was ſo infirm, ſhe was introduced in that character whatever company might be in the houſe. Far as ſhe was advanced in years, to adorn her perſon was her foible; and ſhe reflected with ſome pleaſure on the ſmart and well-fancied dreſs with which ſhe intended, on this important Thurſday, to aſtoniſh and outſhine the Somerive family. Of this vanity, however, poor Monimia was the victim; for, after many debates about what ſhe ſhould wear, Mrs. Lennard found ſomething to do to every article of her dreſs. Theſe alterations were entruſted to Monimia; and at night when Orlando ſought her, as uſual, in the hope that he might paſs an 1 hour 2167 H12r 167 hour with her in her own room, he found her not only indulged with candles, which had been the night before prohibited, but weeping over a taſk which ſhe doubted whether it would be poſſible for her to finiſh in the time aſſigned her, to her aunt’s ſatiſfaction.

Orlando had a particular intereſt in her appearing to advantage the next day; for, though he knew ſhe would not be allowed, nor did he wiſh her to be ſeen among the gueſts, he had imagined a project to introduce her and his ſiſter Selina to each other while every other perſon was engaged. The more he reflected on this ſcheme, the more practicable it appeared, and the more it flattered his imagination. He, therefore, could not bear to think that, between fatigue and fretting, the beauty he had ſaid ſo much of to Selina ſhould not be ſeen in all its brilliancy. You ſhall not, ſaid he, Monimia, go with me tonight, but you ſhall go to bed; and if thoſe 2168 H12v 168 thoſe curſed things muſt be done, you may finiſh them in the morning.

Ah, no! replied Monimia, wiping away the tears, which on ſo ſlight an occaſion ſhe was aſhamed on letting him ſee— no, Orlando, not ſo—I muſt neither paſs theſe next four or five hours with you, or in my bed; but muſt ſit up and finiſh this: for I am very ſure that, with the dawn of the morning, my aunt, without conſidering how little time ſhe has allowed me for this buſineſs, will ſummon me to that which muſt go forward in the houſe-keeper’s room; and that, to-morrow, I ſhall have the jellies and ſyllabubs to make, to give out every thing to the cook, and to help in all the made diſhes: perhaps I ſhall never ſit down ten minutes from the time I get up till dinner is ſent in; and therefore what I have to do of this ſort, muſt be done to-night.

Curſe on the ridiculous, oſtentatious old woman! exclaimed Orlando. I can nonot 2169 I1r 169 not bear to think of your being ſo fatigued!

Do not, ſaid Monimia with an angelic ſmile—do not let us, my dear friend, be rendered uneaſy by trifles, when it is but too probable that we ſhall have ſo many real ſorrows ſo ſoon to contend with. What is the loſs of a few hours reſt? and of how many hours have not I voluntarily deprived myſelf! Beſides, added ſhe, ſeeing him gaze on her with a look of deep concern, to finiſh the whole is not ſo great an effort as I fooliſhly, from low ſpirits, owing perhaps to thinking too much on the converſation of laſt night, at firſt repreſented it to myſelf. However, Orlando, inſtead of going down to your room, I muſt ſit here.

And I muſt not remain with you? cried he.

A little while you may, replied Monimia; but ſpeak low—I ſhall not do my millinery the worſe for your ſitting by me, if you will but be calm and reaſonable.

Vol. II. I They 2170 I1v 170

They then began to conſult on the propoſed meeting of the next day. Monimia trembled as it was talked of; yet pleaſure was mingled with the apprehenſion with which ſhe thought of being made acquainted with any of his relations, particularly with his beloved Selina, whom he repreſented as a ſecond ſelf. It was ſettled, after ſome litle debate on the ſubject, that when every part of the family were engaged in the hall, Monimia ſhould, at an hour fixed upon, find her way in the dark to the Study; not through the chapel, but by the uſual way through the houſe; and that Selina ſhould be brought there by her brother immediately afterwards, where they might remain half an hour unſuſpected, and with much leſs hazard than in Monimia’s room. This being arranged, Orlando entreated her to ſpare herſelf as much as poſſible; and having extorted a promiſe from her, that when ſhe found herſelf fatigued ſhe would endeavour to ſleep, he reluctantly left her.

8 Chap. 2171 I2r 171

Chap. VIII.

Monimia, ſecure of the tendereſt affection of her lover, bore, without more repining, the little hardſhips to which her ſituation expoſed her:—but her mind looked forward, in mournful anticipation, to the time when ſhe ſhould no longer hear that ſoothing voice lending her courage againſt every tranſient evil; no longer receive continual aſſurances of the ardour and generoſity of his attachment; and find in his diſintereſted love, his attentive friendſhip, ſufficient conſolation againſt her uncertain or uneaſy deſtiny.

To obey him, was the firſt wiſh of her life; ſhe therefore endeavoured to drive from her mind the melancholy reflections I 2 that 2172 I2v 172 that prevented her repoſe, and put off the finiſhing her taſk till the next day. As ſoon as it glimmered through her caſement, ſhe aroſe to her taſk; which having ſoon finiſhed, ſhe awaited with a lightened heart the other orders of her aunt.

The whole houſe was in a buſtle—and Mrs. Rayland not only in unuſual health, but as anxious for the ſplendour and excellence of her entertainment, as if ſhe had a deeper deſign than merely to outſhine the newer elegancies of Carloraine Caſtle. All the operations of Mrs. Lennard and her attendants ſucceeded happily. By half after two all the gueſts were aſſembled: by half after three all the tables groaned under the weight of veniſon and beef. About ſeventy people were aſſembled in the hall. In the dining-parlour the party conſiſted of General Tracy, who was placed at Mrs. Lennard’s right hand; on her left Mrs. Hollybourn, the wife of the archdeacon of that diſtrict, a lady of a moſt preciſe, and indeed formidable demeanour: oppoſite to her, 2173 I3r 173 her, and next to Mrs. Somerive, ſat the Doctor himſelf, a dignified clergyman, of profound erudition, very ſevere morals, and very formal manners; who was the moſt orthodox of men, never ſpoke but in ſentences equally learned and indiſputable, and held almoſt all the reſt of the world in as low eſtimation as he conſidered highly his own family, and above all himſelf.

Between her mother and Mrs. Somerive, on the other ſide, was placed their only daughter and heireſs, Miſs Ann-Jane-Eliza Hollybourn, who, equally reſembling her father and her mother, was the pride and delight of both: poſſeſſing ſomething of each of their perſonal perfections, ſhe was conſidered by them a model of lovelineſs; and her mind was adorned with all that money could purchaſe. The wainſcot complexion of her Mamma was ſet off by the yellow eyebrows and hair of the Doctor. His little pug noſe, diveſted of its mulberry hue, which, on the countenance I 3 of 2174 I3v 174 of his daughter, was pronounced to be le petit nez retrouſſé, united with the thin lips drawn up to make a little mouth, which were particular to his better half, as he facetiouſly called his wife. The worthy archdeacon’s ſhort legs detracted leſs from the height of his amiable daughter, as ſhe had the long waiſt of her mother, fine ſugar-loaf ſhoulders that were pronounced to be extremely genteel, and a head which looked as if the back of it had by ſome accident been flattened, ſince it formed a perpendicular line with her back. To dignify with mental acquirements this epitome of human lovelineſs, all that education could do had been laviſhed; maſters for drawing, painting, muſic, French, and dancing, had been aſſmbeled around her as ſoon as ſhe could ſpeak; ſhe learned Latin from her father at a very early period, and could read any eaſy ſentence in Greek; was learned in aſtronomy, knew ſomething of the mathematics, and, in relief of theſe more abſtruſe ſtudies, read Italian and 2175 I4r 175 and Spaniſh. Having never heard any thing but her own praiſes, ſhe really believed herſelf a miracle of knowledge and accompliſhments; and it muſt be owned, that an audience leſs partial than thoſe before whom ſhe generally performed, might have allowed that ſhe performed very long concertos, and ſolos without end, with infinite correctneſs, and much execution. Then ſhe made moſt inveterate likeneſſes of many of her acquaintance; and painted landſcapes, where very green trees were reflected in very blue water. Her French was moſt grammatically correct, though the accent was ſomewhat defective; and ſhe knew all manner of hiſtory—could tell the dates of the moſt execrable actions of the moſt execrable of human beings—and never had occaſion to conſult, ſo happy was her memory, Truſler’s Chronology. As it was believed, ſo it was aſſerted by the Doctor and his wife, that their daughter was the moſt accompliſhed woman of her age and country; and by moſt of their acquaintance4 quaintance 2176 I4v 176 quaintance it was taken for granted. The gentlemen, however, whom all theſe elegancies were probably deſigned to attract, ſeemed by no means ſtruck with them: ſome of them, who had approached her on the ſuggeſtion of her being an heireſs, had declared that her fortune made no amends for her want of beauty; and others had been alarmed by the acquiſitions which went ſo much beyond thoſe they had made themſelves. Thus, at ſix-and-twenty (though the lady and her parents, for ſome reaſons of their own, called her no more than twenty-two), Miſs Hollybourn was yet unmarried! for, of thoſe lovers who had offered, ſome had been rejected by the Doctor, and ſome by herſelf. She affected a great indifference, and talked of the pleaſures of purſuing knowledge in an elegant retirement. But it was obſerved, that whenever any young men of preſent fortune, or of future expectation, were in the country, Dr. Hollybourn’s family returned the viſits of the ladies to whom theſe 2177 I5r 177 theſe gentlemen belonged, with unuſual punctuality.

While they were in this part of the world, they always dined once or twice at Rayland Hall, where the Doctor was well received as a moſt pious worthy man, his Lady a very good kind of woman, and Miſs as a mighty pretty ſort of a young perſon. Of late the whole family had riſen into higher favour; for the Doctor was the only clergyman in the country around who had reſiſted the good entertainment ſo profuſely given at Carloraine Caſtle, and had refuſed to viſit a man who kept a miſtreſs. He had even gone farther, and preached a ſermon which all his congregation ſaid pointed immediately at Mr. Stockton; but as Mr. Stockton did not hear it, and having heard it would not have cared for it, the reproof only edified his hearers, and raiſed the Doctor in the eſteem of the Lady of the Hall.

The lower part of the table was filled by the four Miſs Somerives and their two I 5 brothers; 2178 I5v 178 brothers; Orlando, at the requeſt of Mrs. Rayland, taking his ſeat at the bottom.

The plenty and excellence of the table, which was furniſhed almoſt entirely from the park, farm, warren, gardens, and ponds of Rayland Hall, were highly commended by the gueſts, and by none with more zeal than the General and the Doctor, who vied with each other in applying that ſort of flattery of which their venerable hoſteſs was moſt ſuſceptible. The General ſpoke in terms of the higheſt reſpect of her ancient family, and of the figure made in hiſtory by the name of Rayland. The Doctor, while he did juſtice to the excellent diſhes before him, launched out in very ſincere praiſe of the domain which produced them: the beautiful park which, he averred, fed the very beſt veniſon in the country; the woods abounding in game; the extenſive ponds, whoſe living ſtreams contained all manner of fiſh; the rich meadows below, that fatted ſuch exquiſite beef; the fine ſheep walks on the downs above, which ſent 2179 I6r 179 ſent to table mutton that rivalled the Welch mutton itſelf!—then, ſuch gardens for fruit! ſuch convenient poultry yards!―― Mrs. Rayland, who loved to hear her place praiſed, could have liſtened to ſuch eulogiums for ever; and ſeemed totally to have forgotten that, according to the courſe of nature, ſhe ſhould be miſtreſs of theſe good things but a very little time longer, and that, when a little ſpace in the chancel of the adjoining church would be all ſhe could occupy, they muſt paſs into the poſſeſſion of another.

Who that other was to be, appeared an enquiry which the Doctor had much at heart. From ſome late circumſtances he had reaſon to ſuppoſe that Orlando would be the fortunate poſſeſſor of all the excellent accommodations which impreſſed him with ſo much veneration:—but he now ſaw the elder brother again received, and when he conſidered the advantages which primogeniture might give him in the mind of Mrs. I 6 Rayland, 2180 I6v 180 Rayland, he doubted to which of the Somerives it would be politic to pay court.

Some ideas were floating in his mind, that whichever of theſe young men became maſter of Rayland Hall, could not fail to be a very proper match for the moſt accompliſhed Miſs Hollybourn. It was certain that he had always reckoned upon a title for her; but ſuch a deficiency might eaſily be made up by the ſucceſſor to ſuch a fortune. What ſo eaſy as to change a name by the King’s moſt gracious licenſe? and to renew the old title of Baronet, which had been ſo long in the family?—Sir Philip Rayland! Sir Orlando Rayland! either ſounded extremely well. Both were very well looking young men, and the youngeſt remarkably handſome. The more the Doctor conſidered this project, the more feaſible it appeared; and he now began to ſtudy the chances, which he thought he could do from Mrs Rayland’s behaviour.

A very 2181 I7r 181

A very little obſervation determined him in favour of Orlando. He ſaw that Mrs. Rayland ſeemed to look upon him as her ſon, while towards his brother her manners were cold and ſtately. When dinner was over, the gentlemen, after a ſhort ſtay over their wine, followed the ladies to another apartment. General Tracy was, at the deſire of Mrs. Rayland, ſhewn into the gallery of portraits by Orlando—and the young ladies, at the requeſt of Miſs Hollybourn, who had never ſeen all the pictures in the houſe, were permitted by their mother to be of the party; while Philip Somerive, who went out under pretence of accompanying them, ſlipped away as ſoon as he left the drawing-room, and went after his own imagination.

It was now dark, and theſe portraits were to be ſhewn by candle-light to General Tracy, who cared not a ſtraw if the whole race of Raylands had been ſwept from the memory of mankind; though he had, partly by gueſs, and partly from recollection, been 2182 I7v 182 been inceſſantly talking to Mrs. Rayland about the glory of her anceſtors. By this he perceived he had made a very unexpected progreſs in her favour; which he would by no means forfeit by ſhewing any indifference to her propoſal of viſiting the repreſentations of the eminent men in whoſe praiſe he had been ſo eloquent. But a much ſtronger inducement was his hope to find an opportunity of ſpeaking to Iſabella, while he pretended to contemplate with admiration the picture of her great grandfather.

But this hope was rendered abortive by the preſence of Miſs Hollybourn, who, leaning on Iſabella’s arm, continued to queſtion Orlando as to the hiſtory of every portrait, and then made her remarks upon it—ſometimes addreſſing herſelf to the General, and ſometimes to Orlando, who were equally weary of her, and who would both have given the world for her abſence; for Orlando dreaded her detaining him beyond the time that he had fixed for the meeting between 2183 I8r 183 between his ſiſter Selina and Monimia; and the General deteſted her for being in the way when he fancied he could otherwiſe, by ſome means or other, have enjoyed that notice from Iſabella which he found it ſo very difficult to obtain in the houſe of Mr. Somerive; where, ſince he had ſpoke more plainly to her of his paſſion, ſhe had not only ſhunned him, but had aſſured him that ſhe would repeat his converſation to her father. Twice, therefore, he had been forced to apologize, and turn off his profeſſions as a joke, becauſe he could never find her long enough alone to allow of his uſing thoſe arguments that he thought muſt be ſucceſsful; and he had been eagerly ſolicitous to accept the invitation from Mrs. Rayland, becauſe he hoped that, in ſuch a great houſe, in a day of univerſal feſtivity, ſuch an opportunity would be found.

Miſs Hollybourn, having ſufficiently ſhewn her knowledge both in painting and hiſtory, and imagining her auditors were amazed and edified by both, requeſted to know 2184 I8v 184 know if the houſe did not furniſh many other portraits of remarkable perſons, or pictures by eminent hands. Orlando anſwered coldly, that there were ſome in other parts of the houſe, but none particularly worthy her attention. She deſired, however, he would have the goodneſs to ſhew her round that ſuit of rooms. It was the ſide of the houſe formerly ſet apart for company, but now was very rarely inhabited. The furniture was rich, but old faſhioned:—the beds were of cut velvet or damaſk, with high teſters, ſome of them with gilt cornices:—the chairs were worked, or of coloured velvets, fringed with ſilk and gold, and had gilt feet:—fine japanned cabinets, beautiful pieces of china, large glaſſes, and ſome valuable pictures, were to be ſeen in every room, which, though now ſo rarely inhabited, were kept in great order; and the oak floors were ſo nicely waxed, that to move upon them was more like ſkating than walking.

Miſs Hollybourn had ſomething to ſay noon 2185 I9r 185 on every object ſhe beheld. One beſpoke the grandeur, another the taſte, a third the antiquity of the family who were owners of the manſion; but ſtill, among all this common-place declamation, it was eaſy to ſee that the moſt amiable moveable in it at preſent was, in her opinion, the handſome, intereſting Orlando.

General Tracy, accuſtomed to ſtudy the fair, perceived this immediately. He perceived too, that Orlando diſliked her as much as ſhe ſeemed charmed with him, and that therefore this rich heireſs would not be the means of preventing the plan they had in agitation from taking effect. He therefore ventured to ſay to him, when he had an opportunity as they deſcended the great ſtair-caſe—You are a fortunate man, Sir!

Fortunate, Sir! ſaid Orlando, who had nothing in his head but his intended meeting with MonimiaHow do you mean fortunate?

Nay, replied the General, moſt young 2186 I9v 186 young men would, I believe, think it fortunate to be ſo highly approved of by ſuch a young lady!

What lady, Sir? cried Orlando, in increaſed alarm, and ſtill thinking of Monimia.

Miſs Hollybourn, replied the General— the accompliſhed Miſs Hollybourn.

Miſs Hollybourn! exclaimed Orlando with a contemptuous look; yet recollecting that he had no right to deſpiſe her, whether the General’s conjecture was juſt or not, he added, The approbation of ſuch a young lady is certainly what I neither deſire nor deſerve.

This paſſed as they waited on the ſtair- caſe, while Miſs Hollybourn explained to the two Miſs Somerives the Loves of Cupid and Pſyche, which were painted on the wall; though the picture was ſo little illuminated by the two wax-candles, carried by Orlando and a ſervant, that nothing but her paſſion to diſplay her univerſal knowledge,ledge, 2187 I10r 187 ledge, could have induced her to attempt clearing up the obſcurity in which the wavering and unequal light involved a ſtory not very clearly told by the painter. At length the diſſertation finiſhed; and the whole party returned to the drawing-room, where they found the good Doctor had ſupported the converſation during their abſence. In about half an hour afterwards Mr. Pattenſon came in great form to announce that the tenants were aſſembled in the hall, and requeſted to know if their Lady was well enough to oblige them with her preſence during their firſt dance. This was the eſtabliſhed etiquette. Mrs. Rayland anſwered, that ſhe would be there; and then addreſſing herſelf to the company, ſhe ſaid, That it had always been her cuſtom in the time of Sir Hildebrand, her father, to lead down, with her dear deceaſed ſiſters, the firſt dance at the tenants’ feaſt; that the cuſtom had been long ſince laid aſide; but if any of the friends whom I have now the pleaſure of ſeeing aſſembled, will condeſcenddeſcend 2188 I10v 188 deſcend to go down a dance with the tenantry and domeſtics――

The General and the Doctor eagerly interrupted her—

I am not a dancing man, Madam, cried the General: I never was fond of dancing. How much I now, in looking at that beautiful group of young ladies, have cauſe to regret it! and much I ſhall envy the young men, who no doubt will take advantage of ſuch an opportunity.

I, Madam, cried the Doctor, quitting his ſeat and waddling to her, am neither by nature or profeſſion a dancing man; but, to ſhew you how much I honour ſo excellent a cuſtom, there is my ſubſtitute (pointing to his daughter), and I will venture to ſay that few men ever boaſted a better.

Mrs. Rayland, then looking round the room, ſaid, Mr. Orlando Somerive, you will have the honour of beginning the dance with Miſs Hollybourn.

Orlando, 2189 I11r 189

Orlando, who would have heard of an impending earthquake with as much pleaſure, heſitated, and ſaid, My brother, Madam—my brother has a ſuperior claim to that happineſs.

No, no, child! cried Mrs. Rayland; not at all—you are, as it were, at home here, and therefore I will have you begin. Beſides, I don’t ſee your brother:—when he returns, he may take your eldest ſister; and the two youngeſt ladies may dance together, for I ſuppoſe you will all chooſe to dance.

Mrs. Somerive aſſented for her daughters, and ſaid, Perhaps, Madam, Philip is already below.

However that may be, replied Mrs. Rayland coldly, it is quite time to begin; the people are, no doubt, impatient. Therefore, if you General Tracy, and you Dr. Hollybourn, and you Mr. Somerive, will have the kindneſs to ſee the ladies to the hall, my people will help me thither in a few moments.

The 2190 I11v 190

The man of war, and the man of peace, now declared how happy they ſhould eſteem themſelves to be permitted the honour of being her attendants; but ſhe told them, only Pattenſon and Lennard had been uſed to it, and again deſired they would conduct the other ladies. The General, under the cruel neceſſity of offering his hand to Mrs. Somerive, or Mrs. Hollybourn, caſt a wiſtful look towards Iſabella, and took the hand of the latter on ſeeing Mrs. Somerive conducted by the Doctor; while Orlando, with a heavy heart, led Miſs Hollybourn, and his ſiſters followed. It was now within a quarter of an hour of the time that he had hoped to meet his Monimia; and he ſaw himſelf tied down to an engagement from which he feared there was little hope of eſ caping in time. Philip, to whom he moſt earneſtly wiſhed to transfer the little coveted honour deſigned him by his partner, appeared not; and poor Orlando ſtood awaiting his arrival at the head of the fifteen or sixteen couple who were going to dance, execrating 2191 I12r 191 execrating his ill fortune, which ſeemed to have brought this odious heireſs on purpoſe to diſappoint him of the exquiſite pleaſure with which he had on this night fondly flattered himſelf—that of forming a laſting and tender friendſhip between the ſiſter he ſo fondly loved, and his adored Monimia.

Chap. 2192 I12v 192

Chap. IX.

At length Mrs. Rayland was ſeated at the upper end of the hall, near the fire—the General placed himſelf by her, and the Doctor ſtrutted round her—the other ladies were oppoſite; and the dance began.

Poor Orlando, whoſe heart beat not reſponſive to the muſic, made, however, an effort to conceal his vexation. His partner, who had learned for many years of the moſt celebrated maſter, exerted all her knowledge of the art, and diſplayed all her graces to attract him; while he, hardly conscious of her exiſtence, proceeded mechanically in the dance; and ſo little penetration had the ſpectators, that his abſence, or diſtaſte to what he was about, was 4 wholly 2193 K1r 193 wholly unperceived, while Mrs. Rayland could not help obſerving to the Doctor how well Orlando performed—Is he not, ſaid ſhe, a fine young man?

Indeed he is, Madam, replied the Doctor, who had now the opening he ſo long wiſhed for; a very fine young man, I think; and he became an inch higher as he ſpoke. I think indeed that this iſland produces not a finer couple than your kinſman, Madam, and the daughter of your humble ſervant.

Mrs. Rayland, who loved not female beauty whether real or imaginary, did not ſo warmly aſſent to this as the Doctor expected; who, not diſcouraged, ſquatted himſelf down in the place the General had that moment vacated (who could not forbear walking Iſabella down the dance), and thus proceeded:

I aſſure you, dear Madam, I have often ſpoken moſt highly in praiſe of your ſagacity and diſcernment in electing the young Orlando as your favourite and protegéII. K tegé. 2194 K1v 194 tegé. He is a fine young man—good, prudent and ſenſible; and, I am ſure, grateful for your bounty. I dare ſay that he will do well; for, under your auſpices, there are few men even of conſideration and fortune, who, having daughters, would not be proud of an alliance with him.

Mrs. Rayland anſwered rather coldly, I believe Mr. Orlando has no thoughts of marrying.—He is yet too young.

He is young, to be ſure, Madam; but, for my own part, I muſt obſerve, that early marriages founded, as no doubt his would be, alike on prudence and inclination, generally turn out happily. As to my own girl, undone as I and Mrs. Hollybourn muſt to be ſure feel without her, I declare to you that, though ſhe is ſo young, I ſhould not heſitate to diſpoſe of her to a man of even her own age, if I were convinced that he was a prudent, ſober young man, unlike thoſe ſad examples of folly and extravagance that we ſee before our eyes every day; a young man who had had a virtuous education, which 2195 K2r 195 which in my opinion is a private one; a young man of family and of good expectations—I ſay, Madam, that on ſuch a one, though his preſent fortune be unequal to Miſs Hollybourn’s expectations, I ſhould not heſitate, young as ſhe is, and living as I do only by gazing on her, to beſtow her with twenty thouſand pounds down, and— I will ſay nothing of future expectations—I am, I bleſs the Father of all mercies, in a proſperous fortune— I have ſeventeen hundred a year in church preferment; my own property, which I have realiſed in land, is ſomewhat above twelve hundred. When I have given my girl her little marriage portion, I have ſtill ſomething handſome in the three per cents, and in India ſtock a trifle more. My brother-in-law, the biſhop, has no children, and my daughter will inherit the greateſt part of his fortune. So you ſee, Madam, that, to ſay nothing of her perſonal and mental accompliſhments, which to be ſure it ill becomes a father to inſiſt upon—I ſay, reckoning only her pecuniary2 cuniary 2196 K2v 196 cuniary advantages, there are few better matches in England.

The Doctor, who knew that Mrs. Rayland loved money, imagined ſhe could not fail of being attracted by this hiſtory of his wealth, nor miſunderſtand his meaning in giving it: but he had for once miſtaken his ground. Mrs. Rayland, though ſhe loved her own money, loved nobody the better for having or affecting to have as much. She knew that, rich as Doctor Hollybourn now was, he began his claſſical career as a ſervitor at Oxford; and that his brother-in-law the biſhop, from whoſe nepotiſm his wealth and conſequence had been in a great meaſure derived, was the son of an innkeeper. Though ſhe always ſpoke highly of his piety, and his highchurch principles, ſhe had ever contemned his efforts to make himſelf be conſidered as a man of family: nor did ſhe feel much diſpoſed to encourage any ſcheme to make Orlando independent of her by marriage, ſtill leſs an attempt to extort from her a deciſion 2197 K3r 197 deciſion concerning him; which, whatever her real ſentiments might be, ſhe was not of a temper to declare. For all theſe reaſons ſhe heard the converſation of Doctor Hollybourn very coldly, and only ſaid, that to be ſure Miſs was a very accompliſhed young lady; and, having ſuch a fine fortune, might expect to marry in high life.

Still the Doctor was not repulſed; and, fancying that he had not yet ſpoke plain enough, he went on to enlarge on his notions of happineſs, and on his views for his daughter. High life, he ſaid, in the common acceptation of the word, was not his ambition. It was real domeſtic happineſs, and not unneceſſary and unmeaning ſplendour, he deſired for his dear girl—a good huſband untainted with the vices and falſe philoſophy of a diſſolute age—an handſome country reſidence, where ſhe might be received into an ancient and religious family—were rather his objects. A title, added he, a title has its advantages no K 3 doubt, 2198 K3v 198 doubt, and eſpecially if it be an ancient title, one that brings to the mind the deeds of the glorious defenders of our country— men who have ſhed their honourable blood in defence of the Church of England, and their King—who bled in the cauſe for which Laud and his ſainted maſter died! When I hear ſuch names, and ſee their poſterity flouriſhing, I rejoice—When I learn that ſuch families, the honour of degenerate England, are likely to be extinct, my heart is grieved. And how ſhould I be thankful, how feel myſelf elevated, if my daughter, marrying into ſuch a family, ſhould reſtore it, while my intereſt might obtain a renewal in her poſterity of the fading honours of an illuſtrious race!

This was ſpeaking at once pompouſly and plainly. But Mrs. Rayland was more offended by the air of conſequence aſſumed by the Doctor, than flattered by the fine things he ſaid of her family; and ſhe ſo little concealed her diſpleaſure, that Mrs. Somerive, long weary of the parading and ſupercilious 2199 K4r 199 ſupercilious converſation of Mrs. Hollybourn, and who ſaw, by the Doctor’s frequently looking towards Orlando, that the diſcourſe was about him, and that Mrs. Rayland was diſpleaſed with it, aroſe and came towards them: ſhe ſaid ſomething to Mrs. Rayland merely with a view to break the diſcourſe, which was, however, immediately done much better by the General, who, afraid of being too particular, now left Iſabella; and returning to the ſeat Doctor Hollybourn had ſeized, he cried, Come, come, my good Doctor, we ſoldiers are a little proud of our favour with the ladies, and we do not patiently ſee ourſelves diſplaced by you churchmen. I ſhall not relinquiſh my ſeat by my excellent hoſteſs.

The Doctor then got up; and fancying, from the ſoftneſs and ſweetneſs of Mrs. Somerive’s manner, that he ſhould in her meet a willing auditor, and perhaps the very beſt he could find for a ſcheme which acquired every moment new charms in his K 4 imagination, 2200 K4v 200 imagination, he aſked if he ſhould attend her to the other end of the room to look at the dancers; to which, as ſhe was extremely reſtleſs and uneaſy by the long abſence of her eldeſt ſon, whom ſhe every moment hoped to ſee enter, ſhe readily aſſented.

The General then took poſſeſſion of the poſt the Doctor had quitted; and being more uſed to every kind of approach, he made infinitely more progreſs with Mrs. Rayland, in obtaining her conſent to Orlando’s entering the army, than the Doctor had effected for his ſcheme, notwithſtanding the ſplendour of his fortune, the accompliſhments of his daughter, or his mention of his brother the biſhop.

In the mean time the poor young man, who was rendered by Mrs. Rayland’s favour an object ſought for by the divine, and by his own ſpirit an object of dread to the ſoldier, was half diſtracted, and knew not what he was about. It was now paſt the hour when he had promiſed Monimia to bring Selina to her; for, not expecting the 2201 K5r 201 the unwelcome addition of the Hollybourn family, he concluded that, after going down a dance with one of the buxom daughters of the principal tenant, he could have ſlipped away at the end of it; and whiſpering his mother that he was going to ſhew Selina ſome of his drawings, and how he had ornamented his little tapeſtry room, that he might account for her abſence, he ſhould have had an uninterrupted hour with his moſt beloved ſiſter and his Monimia.

Inſtead of this, he now found himſelf fixed for the whole night to Miſs Hollybourn; who had already declared that ſhe found herſelf in ſuch a humour for dancing, and that really the whole ſet was ſo much more tolerable than ſhe expected, that ſhe ſhould not very ſoon wiſh to ſit down. Poor Orlando, who had no excuſe to offer for quitting her, had no hope but in the arrival of his brother, to whom he flattered himſelf he might reſign this unenvied honour at leaſt for one dance: but even this hope K 5 was 2202 K5v 202 was very uncertain; for Philip might perhaps return no more to the room, or, if he did, might be unwilling to accept the felicity of dancing with Miſs Hollybourn, for he was not of a humour to put himſelf out of the way for any one; and, as he very ſeldom danced at all, would now, if he did join the dancers, much more probably ſelect for his partner one of the handſome daughters of the tenants, with whom he could be more at home.

Thus the time which Orlando expected to have paſſed in ſo different a manner wore away. In vain he looked towards the door—no brother arrived to ſuccour him. The ſecond dance was already at an end; and Iſabella, who had, with her mother’s permiſſion, accepted the hand of a rich young farmer, while Selina and Emma danced together, had already called a third, and was flying down with a ſpirit and gaiety which quite enchanted her ancient lover; while Orlando, who on account of Miſs Hollybourn ſtill kept a place near the 2203 K6r 203 the top, was preparing with an heavy heart to follow her, when his father, with an expreſſion of extreme concern on his countenance, approached, and aſked him if he knew where his brother was?

No, Sir, indeed I do not, anſwered Orlando; I cannot even gueſs—but, for God’s ſake, give me leave to go look for him. I ſee you are very uneaſy at his abſence.

I am indeed, replied Mr. Somerive, and your mother much more ſo.

Let me go, dear Sir, then,, ſaid Orlando eagerly.

No, no, anſwered his father:—Go down this dance, and take no notice—if then he does not come, go ſee if you can find him. I have been in ſearch of him myſelf, but to no purpoſe.—I fancied he might be in your room. I went to the library door, for I could have ſworn I heard ſomebody walking there; but the door was locked, and I called and knocked at it in vain. If Philip was there, he had ſome K 6 reaſon 2204 K6v 204 reaſon—no good one, I fear—for not anſwering.

Orlando, now ready to ſink into the earth, yet unable to fly from his intolerable taſk, began the dance, after having been twice called upon by his partner; but thinking only of the terror Monimia muſt have been in, while ſhut up in the library ſhe heard his father at the door, and overwhelmed with vexation at being thus detained from her, he could no longer command that portion of attnetion that was requiſite even to the figure of the dance. But having blundered four or five times, turned the wrong women, and run againſt the men, then miſſed his time, and put every body out, he ſaid in a hurrying way to Miſs Hollybourn, who began to be much diſcompoſed by his miſtakes—I really beg a thouſand pardons, but Iſabella’s dance is ſo extremely difficult I cannot go down it—I ſhall only diſtreſs you, Madam, by my blunders; had we not better go to the bottom?

“Dear 2205 K7r 205

Dear Sir, cried the lady bridling, I can find no ſuch difficulty in it. If you would only take the trouble to attend a moment, I am ſure I could explain it to you, ſo that you could not make a miſtake. —Now only obſerve—We firſt paſs between the ſecond and third couples—and I lead out the two gentlemen, and you the two ladies—then meet and allemande— then le moulin at bottom—then I turn the third gentleman—thenyou――

Orlando, unable to command himſelf, ſaid, ſtill more confuſedly, No, upon my honour, I ſhall never do it. I am very ſorry to diſappoint you, Madam; and wiſh I could for this dance recommend you another partner. He then bowed, and was walking away, when ſhe bounced after him.

You don’t imagine there is any other perſon here, cried ſhe, biting the end of her fan—I hope you don’t imagine there is any body elſe here with whom I ſhall dance!

Pardon me, Madam, ſaid Orlando, taking 2206 K7v 206 taking her hand; here is my elder brother, who has even a better right to that honour than I have. At this moment his eyes were gratified by the ſight of Philip, to whom he, without waiting for Miſs Hollybourn’s anſwer, led her, and cried, Dear Phil, here am I in the moſt awkward diſtreſs imaginable; Miſs Hollybourn wiſhes to dance this dance down, and I am ſo ſtupid I cannot do the figure. I am ſure you will be very happy to ſupply my place.

Philip, who was never much diſpoſed to ſacrifice his own pleaſure to the gratification of others, and who had ſchemes of his own on foot, anſwered with leſs than his uſual ceremony (for he was never more polite for having drunk a good deal):

A-hey, Sir Rowland! who told you ſo? How the devil ſhould I, who am no dancer, execute what is too difficult for ſo perfect a caperer as thou art—Sir Knight?

Mortified beyond endurance at being thus rejected, Miſs Hollybourn, diſengaginging 2207 K8r 207 ing her hand with an angry jerk from Orlando’s, ſaid haughtily—Pray, Mr. Orlando, ſpare yourſelf this trouble; I am content to ſit ſtill. She then walked away; and Orlando, not giving himſelf time to conſider what he did, ſaid in a whiſper to PhilipIf you have any compaſſion, my dear Phil, take her for this dance—I will be grateful, believe me, and I will not deſire to puniſh you with her above half an hour.

D—n her, a little carroty, pug-noſed moppet!, cried Philip, as ugly and as inſolent as the devil—why ſhould I take the trouble to humour her?

It will oblige me beyond expreſſion, anſwered Orlando; it will oblige my father and mother.

Philip juſt then recollecting that he was upon his good behaviour, agreed, though with an ill grace; and Orlando eagerly carrying him up to Miſs Hollybourn, who ſat fanning herſelf and ſwelling at the top of the room, began a ſpeech, in which he 5 blundered 2208 K8v 208 blundered worſe than he had done in dancing; but Philip took it out of his hands, and ſaid—Madam, I am ſo much in an habit, in this houſe, of giving the pas to my brother here, Sir Rowland, that I really dared not aſpire to the honour of your fair hand, till I perfectly underſtood that he had relinquiſhed it for the preſent dance; but as he has now explained himſelf, if you will allow me the bliſs of being his double, I will acquit myſelf to the beſt of my poor abilities; and if you, charming Miſs Hollybourn, will deign to inſtruct me, you ſhall find, that under ſo lovely a preceptreſs I ſhall make up in docility for deficiency of practice.

Miſs Hollybourn had ſo little natural ſenſe among all her acquirements, that this ſpeech, which from its ſubſtance, and ſtill more from the manner of its delivery, was evidently meant in ridicule, ſeemed to her to be very polite, and made very much in earneſt. She therefore, caſting a look towards Orlando, much leſs ſweet than thoſe ſhe had favoured him with towards the beginningginning 2209 K9r 209 ginning of the evening, aſſented with a ſmirk to the propoſal of his brother—and immediately joined the dancers; while Orlando, trembling leſt ſome new interruption ſhould again deprive him of the ſight of Monimia, haſtened to find Selina, to whom he beckoned, and whiſpered to her to come round another way, where he would meet her, that their going out together might not be remarked. He changed his mind about ſpeaking to his mother, fearing leſt ſhe ſhould propoſe going too, if the object was only to ſhew Selina his room; and he thought it better to riſk an enquiry after Selina, which perhaps might not be made, or, if it were, might eaſily be anſwered.

It was the cuſtom on theſe occaſions for the inferior ſervants not to come into the hall till the Lady and her company, if ſhe happened to have any, were withdrawn. When the buſineſs of the dinner and tea tables was over, they became ſpectators from a railed gallery, which over the entrance to the hall 2210 K9v 210 hall made a communication between the principal apartments above. Here the upper houſe-maid, the footmen, and the cook had been ſtationed—Betty, moſt ſuperb in red ribbands, not quite ſo long as the reſt.

Monimia had been forbidden by Mrs. Lennard to appear at all during any part of the evening; an injunction which ſhe was not at all diſpoſed to diſobey. She was far, therefore, from envying Betty, who came into her room all in a flutter, as ſoon as ſhe was dreſſed, to ſhew her finery, and deſcant on the pleaſure ſhe expected in dancing when Madam was gone, and the gentlefolks, and boaſting how many ſolicitations ſhe had already had from the young men. Monimia, glad to get her out of the room, thought only of fulfilling her engagement with Orlando, and of the pleaſure and comfort of being made known to one of his ſiſters; yet her timidity and diffidence made her fear this interview as much as ſhe wiſhed it. Unconſcious of the 2211 K10r 211 the intereſting ſweetneſs of her countenance, and the ſimple graces of her form, ſhe feared leſt Selina might think her brother’s affection ill placed, and blame his attachment to an object of ſo little merit. Under theſe impreſſions, ſhe would have given herſelf all the advantages that dreſs afforded; but her ſcanty wardrobe left her very little choice, and ſhe had no means of varying her appearance from what it uſually was—a white muſlin gown being the utmoſt of her finery. She took care, however, to diſpoſe her hair in the moſt becoming manner ſhe could; and having finiſhed her little toilet, ſhe deſcended with a palpitating heart and a light ſtep to the part of the houſe through which ſhe was to paſs in going to the Study. It was now empty, for all the ſervants were in the gallery, waiting the departure of their Lady, to join the feſtivity of the night; and Monimia glided through the north wing, which was never at any time inhabited, and without any miſadventure reached the Study, where ſhe 2212 K10v 212 ſhe waited in trembling ſuſpenſe the arrival of Orlando and Selina.

Every body being engaged in the middle of the houſe, that part of it was as ſilent as if there was no buſtle in the other, except the diſtant ſound of the muſic in the great hall, to which Monimia, with the door of the Study a-jar, involuntarily liſtened; when ſhe was ſuddenly alarmed by a voice in the adjoining parlour, talking and laughing, and apparently romping, and a man’s voice anſwering in a half whiſper, and begging of the firſt perſon, whom ſhe knew to be Betty, to be more quiet. As her being diſcovered in Orlando’s Study would have ruined her peace for ever, ſhe ſhut-to the door as ſoftly as ſhe could, and turned the key. The converſation between the two people without appeared to be ſo animated, that ſhe flattered herſelf they did not hear her; but as ſhe ſtill remained liſtening at the door, hardly daring to breathe, her terror was increaſed by hearing them approach and attempt to open it. 2213 K11r 213 it. Egad! it is locked, cried a voice which Monimia then firſt diſcovered to be young Somerive:—Does Sir Rowland always lock his door?

Generally he does, replied the other, but I dare ſay among the houſe keys there’s one that will open it—yet, hang it, don’t let us try. He’ll come perhaps, and that you know will be very diſagreeable.

He come! ſaid PhilipNo, no, he’s ſafe enough—He dares as well jump into the fire as quit the poſt where the old woman has placed him—Come, come—ſee if there’s no other key will open this door. Beſides, as to his coming, what ſhould he come here for? ’Tis more likely, if he can get away, he’ll go to viſit Miſs in the turret.

Lord!, cried Betty, how you have that notion ſtuffed into your head—when I tell you again and again, he no more meets Miſs, as you calls her, than the child unborn. Sure I ſhould know――She! a poor innocent ſilly thing! I don’t believe 2 he 2214 K11v 214 he takes any account of her――But huſh! Oh gemini! who’s there?

The voice of the elder Somerive was now heard, calling aloud in the paſſage leading to the parlour they were in for his eldeſt ſon. Philip! cried he, Philip! —where are you?

’Tis my father, ſaid PhilipCannot we get out without meeting him?

Oh yes, replied Betty; follow me, and don’t ſpeak for all the world.

She then opened another door which led out into the garden, which, as Orlando uſually came in that way, was ſeldom locked; and as all this had paſſed in the dark, they glided away unperceived—not a moment however before Mr. Somerive, entering with a candle the room they had quitted, gave a new alarm to the terrified Monimia. Mr. Somerive, who had heard the footſteps of the fugitives as they left the parlour, imagined ſomebody was walking in the Study—He therefore tried the door on the other ſide of which poor Monimia ſtill 2215 K12r 215 ſtill ſtood trembling, and again loudly called on Philip Somerive; entreating him, if he was there, to anſwer him, and repreſenting all the ill conſequences of his thus diſappearing abruptly, after having been received into an houſe where he had before given offence, but where it was ſo material for him to be thought well of. No anſwer however was returned; and at length Monimia heard Mr. Somerive cloſe his fruitleſs remonſtrance with a deep ſigh, and depart.

Theſe repeated alarms now ſeemed to ſubſide, and a dead ſilence enſued, but ſtill Orlando came not.—Monimia, not daring to have a candle leſt the light ſhould be diſcerned under the door, ſat down in the window-ſeat which was the neareſt to it to liſten for his arrival, though doubting from what his brother had ſaid whether he would arrive at all. The large old library, half furniſhed with books and half hung with tapeſtry, and where the little light afforded by a waning moon gleamed faintly through the 2216 K12v 216 the upper parts of the high caſements which the window ſhutters did not reach, was perhaps the moſt gloomy apartment that fancy could imagine. Monimia looked round her, and ſhuddered—The affright ſhe had undergone in the chapel, though it was explained, ſtill dwelt upon a mind which had ſo early been rendered liable to the terrors of ſuperſtition; and ſhe looked towards the door that opened to the paſſage of the chapel, fancying ſome hideous ſpectre would appear at it: or ſhe reaſoned herſelf out of ſuch an idea, only to give way to one more horrid; and figured to herſelf that the ruffian whom Orlando had deſcribed to her, and whoſe name was held in dread by the whole country, might enter at it as he had once done before. Againſt this apprehenſion ſhe might have been ſecured by ſatiſfying herſelf that the door was locked; but ſhe had not courage to croſs the room.

Sitting therefore and liſtening to every ſound, ſhe again diſtinguiſhed the muſic in 2217 L1r 217 in the great hall, which, as the wind ſwelled or fell, floated through the reſt of the houſe; and ſhe could not help contraſting that ſcene of feſtive mirth with her dark and gloomy ſolitutde:—How happy, ſaid ſhe, are the Miſs Somerives, and this other young lady! They, under the ſanction of their parents, are gaily enjoying an innocent and agreeable amuſement; while I, a poor unprotected being, wander about in darkneſs and in dread, and, though I do nothing wrong, undergo the terrors and alarms of guilt.—But, do I not act wrong? Alas! I am afraid I do—It muſt be wrong to carry on a clandeſtine correſpondence, to meet by ſtealth a young man whom his friends would diſcard were they to know he met me at all—It muſt ſurely be wrong to incur imputations from which, if once they are believed, it is impoſſible I can ever be vindicated――wrong to let Orlando hazard, for me, the loſs of Mrs. Rayland’s favour—and wrong to put myſelf in the way of being believed no better than the ſervant,II. L vant, 2218 L1v 218 vant, of whoſe light conduct I have ſeen ſo many inſtances, beſides that which this moment happened, of her privately meeting Mr. Philip Somerive. How could I bear to be thought of by others as I think of her! and yet I ſeem to act as culpably. Oh Orlando! ſurely if you thought of this, you, who are ſo generous, ſo anxious for my happineſs, would never expoſe me to it. Yet we muſt meet thus, or never meet at all!—and could I bear to be deprived of ſeeing him for the little, the very little time that is yet to paſs before he is ſent from hence—never—never perhaps to return?

This ſad idea filled her eyes with tears; and ſhe was not recovered from the agony into which it threw her, when ſhe again heard footſteps in the parlour—Somebody trode lightly along. Monimia liſtened, and fancied there was more than one perſon— Immediately the lock was turned; and the door being faſtened, a voice, which ſhe recogniſed with joy for that of Orlando, ſaid, 2 in 2219 L2r 219 in a half-whiſper: Monimia! are you not there? It is Selina and I—open the door therefore without apprehenſion.Monimia remembered, with affright, that the two voices of the two brothers bore a great reſemblance to each other, and ſhe again heſitated.—But Orlando ſpeaking louder, and her recollecting that his brother could not know that Selina was to accompany him, ſhe, though with trembling apprehenſion, turned the key, and Orlando and his ſiſter appeared.

Let me, cried he, as he put Monimia into the arms of Selinalet me unite in bonds of everlaſting friendſhip the two lovelieſt and moſt beloved of beings! Selina tried to ſay, Whoever is dear to Orlando is ſo to me, and I rejoice in thus being allowed to ſay ſo. But, though ſhe had innocently ſtudied the ſentence, ſhe was too much confuſed to make it articulate; and Monimia was quite unable to ſpeak at all. In a moment, however, Orlando, attempting to hide the uneaſy flutter2 ter 2220 L2v 220 ter of his own thoughts, approached them with a candle which he had lit at the embers of his fire; and, reminding them how ſhort their interview muſt be, bade them both ſit down—and let us, added he, endeavour to enjoy moments ſo brief and ſo precious.

Chap. 2221 L3r 221

Chap. X.

Selina, as timid, and almoſt as new to the world as Monimia herſelf, was too much terrified at the riſk Orlando ran, and at what ſhe herſelf hazarded, to be ſoon compoſed. She could hardly, indeed, have been in greater trepidation had ſhe eſcaped from the company to have met a lover of her own. Her eyes, however, were occupied in examining the face and figure of Monimia; and no feminine envy induced her to deny the exiſtence of that beauty or ſweetneſs of which Orlando had ſaid ſo much. She even thought Monimia more lovely than her brother had deſcribed her, yet ſhe ſaw her to little advantage; for, the alarming ſituation ſhe had been in for almoſt an hour and a half, the apprehenſion3 ſion 2222 L3v 222 ſion leſt Orlando ſhould not come, the reflections which aroſe while ſhe waited for him, and the emotion with which ſhe now for the firſt time beheld hiſ ſiſter, had robbed her fair cheeks of their tender bloom; her eyes were ſwollen, and her voice was faltering and faint. Orlando ſeated her near Selina, and, ſitting down by them, threw one arm round each of them; and looking with a ſmile on both, ſaid, Why, what ſilent girls you are!—Selina! is it thus you greet your new friend? You who will talk to me of her for an hour, and never ceaſed ſoliciting of me to contrive this unhoped for meeting?—And you, Monimia! Come, come, I muſt have you more converſable.—Let us conſider, my dear girls, how you may meet hereafter; for, without accompliſhing that, the preſent meeting will only ſerve to tantalize us all.

The tears which ſhe had for a moment reſtrained, again filled the eyes of Monimia. —But, turning them tenderly on Orlando, ſhe ſighing ſaid, Ah! how can I hope your 2223 L4r 223 your ſiſter Selina, amiable and indulgent as ſhe ſeems, will again incur, for me, hazard which I ſee now makes her tremble, and fears which I myſelf can hardly endure?— Indeed, Orlando, if you did but know what I have ſuffered ſince I waited here in expectation of your coming!――I know it, cried Orlando, imagining ſhe alluded to his father’s having been at the door of the Study—But luckily you had taken the precaution to lock the door; which I, little ſuſpecting that this part of the houſe would be viſited, had neglected to deſire. So, as my father neither ſaw nor ſuſpected any thing but that my brother was in this room, there is no harm done, nor any thing to fear.

Monimia ſighed, but thought it was improper, before Selina, to repeat the dialogue that ſhe had heard between Mr. Philip Somerive and his female companion. She was far, however, from believing there was nothing to fear; and their ſhort conference was to her embittered with L 4 the 2224 L4v 224 the dread of a diſcovery, which ſhe could not conquer. Selina, however, truſting to the judgment of her brother, and deſirous of obliging him, ſucceeded better in conquering the reſtraint ſhe had at firſt felt; and, charmed with the voice, the manner and perſon of Monimia, ſhe eagerly entered into his views, and talked over the means by which they might ſometimes meet, if, as was too probable, invincible obſtacles continued to be oppoſed to their ſeeing each other by the conſent of Mr. and Mrs. Somerive—that of Mrs. Rayland could not be aſked, and that of Mrs. Lennard they were ſure would not be granted.

In this converſation Orlando ſpoke of what was to happen when he was gone, in terms that ſignified how certain he was that he ſhould go. Monimia’s heart ſunk as he repeated, When I am not here, I cannot ſee that there can be any objection to your openly ſeeing my ſiſters.Alas! thought ſhe, what wretched company ſhall we then be to each other! yet to ſee the 2225 L5r 225 the ſiſters of Orlando will always be a comfort to me. Selina too heard with extreme pain the frequent mention he made of his departure; and having, from many obſervations ſhe had made on the behaviour of General Tracy, during his reſidence of almoſt five weeks in her father’s houſe, conceived a very unfavourable opinion of him—her diſlike amounted almoſt to deteſtation when ſhe conſidered him as being the principal mover of the plan which was thus to rob her of her beloved brother. Whatever ſhe thought of his conduct in other reſpects, ſhe had the prudence to keep to herſelf, and affected to diſlike him only on account of Orlando.

Among the various little ſochemes which were conſidered for the future acquaintance of Selina and Monimia, none ſeemed ſufficiently ſafe to be adopted without farther conſideration; but Orlando promiſed to think of them all, and to acquaint them both with the reſult of his reflections. It was by this time neceſſary to part—Orlando L 5 propoſed 2226 L5v 226 propoſed leading his ſiſter back to the room, and carrying her immediately to his mother, to tell her that ſhe had been in his apartment, that any ſurprize excited by her abſence might be ended without farther enquiry; while Monimia hoped to find her way back to her own room, as ſafely as ſhe had before traverſed the houſe in her way from it.

They were then reluctantly bidding adieu, when they were thunderſtruck by an attempt from without to force open the door. Orlando, thrown for a moment entirely off his guard, turned pale; and, caſting towards Monimia a look of anguiſh and terror, he cried, Who can it be? what ſhall we do?—The tender timid Monimia had at this inſtant more preſence of mind than he had: Let me go, ſaid ſhe, into your bed-chamber—there I can lock myſelf in: then aſk who it is; and, if it is one who has a right to enquire into your actions, open the door, and let him ſee you are ſitting here with your ſiſter. There was not a moment to deliberate, for the 2227 L6r 227 the perſon without ſtill tried to open the door. Orlando waved his hand to Monimia to execute her project:—ſhe glided away, and ſhut after her the door, which was hung on both ſides with tapeſtry and ſhut without noiſe, while Orlando demanded, in a loud and angry voice, who was at the door, and what was their buſineſs? At firſt a feigned voice anſwered, Open the door, good friends, and you ſhall know our buſineſs. Orlando anſwered, I ſhall not open it till I know to whom;—and then a violent burſt of laughter diſcovered it to be Philip—who cried, Soho! have I caught you, Sir Roland? Is this my good, pious and immaculate brother? What folly is this! ſaid Orlando angrily as he opened the door—and is it not ſtrange that I cannot ſit a moment in my own room with Selina, but you muſt break in upon us like a drunken conſtable? Gently, Sir Knight! anſwered Philip Somerive as he ſtaggered into the room—fair and ſoftly, if you pleaſe! no hard words to your elders, L 6 moſt 2228 L6v 228 moſt valorous chevalier!—Selina is it?—By this light ſo it is! Well—I did not think, my good brother, you were ſo eager to put off your precious bargain upon me, only for the pleaſure of a tête-à-tête with our little ſimple Selina. I thought you had very different game in view—Egad, I’m not clear now that I have been miſtaken— Heh, child! added he turning to Selina, are you very ſure you are not a blind? why, my dear little whey face, what makes you look ſo pale?

Your ſtrange behaviour, brother, ſaid Selina, who tried to collect ſpirit enough to ſpeak without betraying the agitation ſhe was thrown into. Come, come, child! replied he, lectured as I am on all hands, I ſhall not let babes and ſucklings preach to me. Your mamma, miſs, won’t be very well pleaſed, I can tell you, if ſhe does not find you with the other miſſes; they are juſt going away, I believe. The old woman is gone up to her apartment, and the miſſes are ordered off. There’s the 2229 L7r 229 the General, like my mother’s gentleman- uſher, hunting the fair bevy together, and there will be a hue and cry after you in a moment.Very well! anſwered Selina; Mamma will not be angry when ſhe knows I am only with Orlando. And I, ſaid Orlando, ſhall take care of her back; therefore you need not, Philip, be under any concern about her.

Well, then, cried this tormentor, as I am curſed tired, my dear knight, and have got a deviliſh headach, prithee, when thou art gone, lend me thy apartment for half an hour’s quiet. I’ve promiſed George Green and half a dozen more of them, to meet them by and by in Pattenſon’s room, and make out the night according to good old cuſtom; and if I get a nap while the ſober party, the cats and their kittens, are trundling off, I ſhall eſcape all the plaguy formality of Wiſh you good night, dear ma’am!—hope you’ll catch no cold!—ſhall be glad to hear you got home ſafe!—moſt agreeable evening indeed!—wiſh we may meet 2230 L7v 230 meet here this time twelvemonth!—and ſuch mawkiſh cant; and I ſhall be as freſh as morning to meet the good fellows by and by—So, come, Sir Rowly, lend me your bed for a little. I’ll ſend in pretty Betty, added he leering, to make it for you before you come to bed.

Orlando, fearing, from this ſtrange propoſal, his brother was aware how impoſſible it was for him to grant it, now looked more confuſed than ever, and ſaid very peeviſhly, You are ſo drunk now, Philip, that it will be much wiſer and more decent for you to go home directly—I at leaſt will have nothing to do with your ſtay. Come, Selina, let us go—Philip, I will follow you.

No, indeed you will not! replied he, ſetting himſelf down by the fire. If you won’t lend me your bed, you will at leaſt let me have a chair.

I will leave nobody in my room, ſaid Orlando warmly.

What! haſt got any bank-notes? has thy old woman given thee a little hoard? Egad 2231 L8r 231 Egad ſhe has!—I’ve got a good mind to rummage, that I may know what brotherly help thou couldſt give in caſe of a bad run.

This is inſupportable! cried Orlando: —What ſhall I do with him? whiſpered he to Selina. Poor Selina, unable to adviſe, was in as great conſternation as the half diſtracted Orlando, who walked about the room a moment, conſidering by what means he could diſengage himſelf from this troubleſome viſitor; but unable to think of any, he was beginning, in mere deſpair, to expoſtulate with him anew, when the approach of other perſons was heard in the parlour; and Mr. Somerive himſelf, apparently in great diſpleaſure, entered the Library.

Orlando! cried he, Philip! Selina! what is all this? to what purpoſe are ye all here?—Selina! your mother is much amazed at your absence.

Orlando, then collecting his ſcattered thoughts, related, that he had merely brought 2232 L8v 232 brought Selina thither for a few moments to ſhew her his apartments, which ſhe had never ſeen; and that, while they were ſitting quietly together, Philip, whoſe ſituation, Sir, you ſee, ſaid he, came in, and I could not prevail upon him to leave us, or to ſuffer us to return altogether to the company.

Mr. Somerive, now ſpeaking with an air of authority and concern to his eldeſt ſon, received only an account of his requeſt to Orlando, which, he inſiſted upon it, was a very reaſonable one. You are indeed, ſaid his father, fit only to go to bed; but it muſt not be in Mrs. Rayland’s houſe— you muſt come, Sir, with me.

Young Somerive then aroſe to obey; for his father, when he was preſent, and had reſolution to be peremptory, ſtill retained ſome power over him. He ſtaggered however ſo much that he was unable to proceed. Mr. Somerive bade Orlando aſſiſt him, which he was willing enough to do; but as Philip leaned upon him he whiſpered, Sir Knight! 2233 L9r 233 Knight! if I can give the reverend ſenior the ſlip, I will ſtill have my nap, and finiſh the evening with thoſe joyous ſouls; d—me if I don’t!

This threat terrified Orlando more than ever: he knew how likely it was to be executed; and therefore, in the hope that he might be able preſently to return and releaſe Monimia, whoſe longer abſence from her room might be attended with the moſt alarming conſequences, he haſtily determined to lock the Study door, and thus convince his brother that his ſcheme of returning thither, to which he ſaw he adhered either with the ſtupid obſtinacy of intoxication, or diſguiſing, under its appearance, knowledge more deſtructive, was impracticable. He therefore, as ſoon as they were all out of the room, locked the door, and, ſaying aloud he had done ſo, he proceeded before his father, with a candle in his hand, to the apartment where Mrs. Rayland, much fatigued with the exertions of the evening, was taking leave 2234 L9v 234 leave of her gueſts. Philip, who ſeemed by no means in a condition to appear before her, had been conſigned, in the way, to the care of one of the men-ſervants, who had ſeated him by the fire in a paſſage- parlour, where he was in a few moments faſt aſleep.

Mrs. Somerive, to whom Selina’s abſence was eaſily accounted for, gently chid her for not ſaying whither ſhe was going; and the long ceremonies of good-night on all hands being at length over, Orlando handed to her coach the nymph whom he had, in her opinion, ſo ungallantly forſaken. He found her ſo much hurt at being made over to his brother, who probably had not acquitted himſelf to her ſatiſfaction, that he found it neceſſary to apologize, at which however he was extremely awkward, aſſuring her, with much heſitation, that he was not aware that ſhe would ſo ſoon quit the dancing-room, and that he flattered himſelf with the expectation of being 2235 L10r 235 being honoured with her hand in a dance, where he could acquit himſelf in a manner more worthy ſo excellent a partner.

The Lady received his excuſes with coldneſs and diſdain; but the Doctor, who heard, ſeemed more willing to accept them in good part. I never ſuſpected, Sir, cried the conſequential Divine, that, with your underſtanding, you could fail to appreciate the Lady whoſe hand you held—It is not the fond partiality of the father, but common candour, which leads me to ſay, that of equals ſhe has few in merit, ſuperiors none. I hope we ſhall meet here again, Mr. Orlando; and that we ſhall ſee you, with good Mr. and Mrs. Somerive, and their fine family, at Combe Park. Good Mrs. Rayland, I heartily hope, that moſt worthy lady, who bears her years ſurpriſingly well, will be able, before the winter’s rigorous advances lay an embargo on valetudinarians; I ſay, I hope my excellent old friend will fix on ſome day to grace our poor abode, and 2236 L10v 236 and ſacrifice with us to the hoſpitable deities.

Orlando bowed his aſſent to a ſpeech which he began to fear would laſt all night. —No effort of his, however, could have ſtopped the ſtream of the Doctor’s eloquence, when once it began to flow; but fortunately Mrs. Hollybourn found it cold, and ſaid peeviſhly, Dear Doctor! you keep Ann in a thorough air—Pray conſider —ſhe has been dancing, and I tremble for the effects of ſuch a current of air――

Bleſſings on your care! thought Orlando, who was in the moſt extreme uneaſineſs all this time, leſt Monimia, who he knew could not eſcape from his room, ſhould be miſſed in her own. The parade, however, that was yet made before this family were ſeated in their carriage, took up ſeveral minutes more; and even when Orlando had at length the ſatisfaction to ſee them driven from the door, he was compelled to attend to the diſpoſal of his father, his mother,ther, 2237 L11r 237 ther, his four ſiſters, and the General, who could not for ſome time ſettle how they ſhould return—the General being ſolicitous to take two of the young ladies in his poſt-chaiſe; to which Mrs. Somerive very peremptorily objected, to the amazement of her huſband, who, not having the leaſt idea of her motives, cried, Bleſs me, my dear! it will be better ſurely to put any two of the girls under the care of General Tracy, than to crowd him with me and Philip, who, if we can find him, is not, I fear, in a ſtate to travel without incommoding his companions.Well, then, replied Mrs. Somerive frightened at having ſaid more than ſhe intended, I will have the pleaſure of going in the General’s carriage, and Emma can ſit between us without inconvenience. In this arrangement the General was obliged to acquieſce, and even to appear pleaſed with it, though it baffled the ſchemes he had been laying the whole evening. This ſecond carriage then departed; and now Orlando, who could well 2238 L11v 238 well have left his ſiſters in the care of his father, would have flown to his impriſoned Monimia—But a new difficulty aroſe: his brother, for whom ſearch had been making, as well in the room where he had been left ſleeping, as in every other part of the houſe that had been opened for company, was no-where to be found.

The Somerive family had all taken their leave of Mrs. Rayland, and waited in a parlour near the hall. Mr. Somerive now expreſſed great alarm at the ill ſucceſs of thoſe inquiries that had been made after his eldeſt ſon. Perhaps, Sir, ſaid Orlandoperhaps my brother, finding himſelf, when he awoke, unfit to appear, is gone home on foot. Orlando had indeed very different conjectures; and, in the whole tenor of his behaviour that evening, found reaſon to fear that he had but too poſitive information relative to Monimia, and was determined to detect her. This apprehenſion, and the dread of her being miſſed by her aunt, who would in all probabilitybability 2239 L12r 239 bability viſit her room as ſoon as the company were diſperſed, gave to Orlando’s manner ſuch wildneſs and confuſion as increaſed the diſtreſs of his father. Orlando repeated, I am perſuaded, Sir, Philip is gone home—I dare ſay you may yourſelf return quite eaſy.

Are you ſo eaſy yourſelf then? anſwered Mr. SomeriveI think not, Orlando, from your countenance. Even admitting that my ſon has walked homeward, and will not commit any impropriety which ſhall expoſe him, or injure him in the opinion of Mrs. Rayland, is there nothing to fear for the ſafety of a man who has ſuch a road to travel, in ſuch a ſtate?

Let me, Sir, go then, and ſeek for him on that road; and do you, I entreat you, return home and make yourſelf eaſy. A longer delay will not only alarm my mother, but occaſion enquiries on the part of Mrs. Rayland, who will probably hear of it by her ſervants;—nor can it indeed anſwer any 2240 L12v 240 any purpoſe, ſince every ſearch that can be made has already been made within the houſe.

Have you the key of your own apartment?

I have, Sir, replied Orlando, trembling leſt his father was about to aſk for it. I locked the door of the Study when we all left it together.

He cannot therefore be there, ſaid Mr. Somerive, muſing—I cannot conjecture where he can be!

Pray, Sir, cried Orlando, pray be compoſed, and ſuffer me to go the parkway homeward—I am perſuaded my brother is ſafe.

He does not indeed, ſaid Mr. Somerive with a deep ſigh—he does not deſerve the ſolicitude I feel for him. Orlando, on you I depend for finding and conducting him home.

Orlando ſolemnly aſſured his father and his ſiſters that he would do ſo; and as their 2241 M1r 241 their remaining longer at the Hall contributed nothing towards relieving their uneaſineſs, they at length determined to go.

When they were gone, Orlando hoped that the alarms of the night were over, and that Mrs. Lennard, as the tenants and all the ſervants were ſtill dancing in the hall, would not have time to think of the uſual ceremony of locking Monimia’s door at ten o’clock. It was now however twelve.

With a palpitating heart then he went to find her. She was ſtill locked in his bedchamber, where, half diſtracted by fears of every kind, ſhe had had ſufficient time to reflect on all the hazards ſhe incurred by theſe clandeſtine meetings with Orlando; and ſometimes determined, if ſhe eſcaped detection this time, never to be prevailed upon to venture it again.—Then the ſad recollection, that he would ſoon ceaſe to aſk it, and that, if ſhe did not meet him thus, ſhe muſt relinquiſh the pleaſure of ever ſpeaking to him at all, ſhook the reſolution which fear and prudence united to Vol. II. M produce: 2242 M1v 242 produce:—and ſhe almoſt wiſhed, dreadful as it would at the moment be, that a diſcovery might compel them to the expedient Orlando once named—that of their flying together, and truſting to Providence for the reſt.

Chap. 2243 M2r 243

Chap. XI.

Orlando found Monimia alarmed and dejected; but hardly giving himſelf time to re-aſſure her, and account for his long abſence, he beſought her to haſten to her room—I hope, ſaid he, and believe the houſe is quite uninhabited on this ſide ſtill, for all the ſervants are in the hall. My brother is miſſing, and I have promiſed my father to find him and conduct him home. What a taſk! for I know not where to look for him: not a moment muſt be loſt, ſince my family are in ſuch cruel alarms. However, I will wait here, my Monimia, till I think you are ſafe in your turret, and then ſet out—I know not whither—on this ſearch.

M 2 Monimia 2244 M2v 244

Monimia haſtened to do as he deſired. But is Betty, ſaid ſhe, in the hall? I have reaſons, which I have not now time to explain, for believing they are together. I know not, anſwered Orlando, whoſe fears every moment increaſed; I care not what happens if you are but once in ſafety.

Monimia then with light and timid ſteps paſſed through the adjoining parlour. She found all that end of the houſe deſerted, and regained the long paſſage which led from her turret to the apartment of her aunt. All was quiet; and ſhe flattered herſelf that Mrs. Lennard, occupied by the attention neceſſary to be ſhewn to the gueſts, had for once omitted the ceremony of locking the doors of that part of the houſe, and particularly hers, at the uſual hour. In this hope ſhe tripped along the paſſage, and had juſt reached the door of her own room, when Mrs. Lennard, with a candle in her hand, appeared at the other end. There was no hope of eſcape—She ſtood 2245 M3r 245 ſtood trembling, unable to open the lock, which ſhe held in her hand; while her aunt with a haſty ſtep and an angry countenance advanced towards her—Hey-day, Madam! cried Mrs. Lennard, pray, what makes you here? ſo dreſſed too, I aſſure you! I thought I had ordered you not to leave your room. Pr’ythee, Miſs, where have you been? and how have you dared to diſobey my orders?

Dear aunt, cried the affrighted Monimia, in a voice almoſt inarticulate through fear—Dear aunt! be not ſo very angry —Every year till now you were ſo good as to give me leave to go into the hall-gallery to look at the dancers for a quarter of an hour. I dreſſed myſelf in hopes that ſome time in the evening I ſhould ſee you to aſk leave—it grew very late, you did not come to my room, and ſo――

And ſo, huſſey, you left it without, did you?Monimia, unwilling to advance another direct falſehood, remained ſilent; and Mrs. Lennard, fixing her fierce enquiring3 quiring 2246 M3v 246 quiring eyes upon her, ſaid ſternly, Monimia, there is ſomething in your conduct which I do not underſtand—I ſuſpect that you are a very wicked girl—I have had hints given me more than once, that you are impoſing upon me, and ruining your ſelf.

How can I impoſe upon you, Madam? ſaid Monimia, who, believing the criſis of her fate was now approaching, tried to collect a little ſpirit—How can I impoſe upon you? Do you not always confine me to my room, and have I any means of leaving it without your conſent?

That is what I am determined to diſ cover, cried Mrs. Lennard—(Monimia became paler than before)—You have a falſe key, or you have ſome other means of getting out—However, it is not now a time to enquire into this. Go now, Madam, to your room, and to your bed. Having ſeen you here is enough to convince me, that the intelligence I have had given me is not without grounds. Come, Miſs, as you may perhaps 2247 M4r 247 perhaps chooſe to ſet out again—if you have, as I ſuſpect, the means of opening the door—I ſhall wait here till you are in bed, and take away the candle.

Monimia, who dreaded nothing ſo much as that Orlando might aſcend the ſecret ſtairs, in order to enquire if ſhe was ſafe, while her aunt was yet with her, haſtened to undreſs herſelf; and as ſhe feared that, if all was ſilent in her room, Orlando might ſpeak without the door, which would inevitably diſcover them at once, ſhe wiſhed, for the firſt time in her life, that the copious ſtream of eloquence with which the pleaſure of ſcolding always ſupplied Mrs. Lennard might now continue in full force —ſhe therefore contrived to ſay ſomething which ſhe imagined would produce this, and ſhe ſucceeded. Provoked at Monimia’s attempt to excuſe or defend herſelf, and impatient at being kept from the party below, in which ſhe conſidered herſelf, now that her lady and the gueſts were withdrawn, as the firſt figure, Mrs. Lennard M 4 ſpared 2248 M4v 248 ſpared not her lungs, nor was ſhe very nice in the choice of thoſe epithets which moſt forcibly expreſſed her anger againſt her niece. In the midſt of this harangue, Orlando, impatient to know whether Monimia was ſafe, and unable to ſet out in ſearch of his brother till he had obtained this ſatiſfaction, ſoftly aſcended the narrow ſtairs, and in a moment was convinced that all their eſcapes, during this perilous evening, had ended in a complete diſcovery of their intelligence; for to nothing leſs could he impute the fury in which Mrs. Lennard appeared to be. Under this impreſſion, his ſpirits and temper quite exhauſted by the various perverſe accidents that had within a few hours befallen him—irritated by frequent diſappointment, and indignant at the inſults to which he believed Monimia was at the moment expoſed, he was on the point of burſting into her room, declaring his affection for her, and meeting at once the invectives of her aunt, the renunciation of all his hopes from Mrs. Rayland, and the 2249 M5r 249 the diſpleaſure of his own family. He blamed himſelf for not having before taken a ſtep which, whatever might be its future conſequence, would at leaſt be deciſive, and ſave Monimia from thoſe cruel alarms and diſtreſſing conflicts to which his love had ſo long made her liable. But at the moment that his hand was lifted to execute this raſh purpoſe, the ſtorm within ſeemed to abate: he heard Mrs. Lennard ſay—I aſſure you, that the very next time I ſee or hear the leaſt grounds for believing you are carrying on ſuch a correſpondence, that day ſhall be the laſt of your ſtay under this roof. This gave Orlando hope that they might not be abſolutely diſcovered; and at the ſame moment the idea of his father made more unhappy, and deploring the fate that gave him two ſons equally careleſs of their duty—of his beloved and affectionate mother weeping at the diſobedience of her children—aroſe forcibly to check his precipitate reſolution. He heſitated; he liſtened; Mrs. Lennard ſpoke M 5 lower, 2250 M5v 250 lower, but ſtill in a tone of remonſtrance and reproach. He determined to wait to ſpeak to Monimia after her departure, but ſhe ſeemed not likely to depart; and as he attentively liſtened to what he could not now very exactly diſtinguiſh, the terms in which ſhe expreſſed her indignation, he heard ſeveral voices calling him in the park. This was a new alarm—To iſſue from the lower part of the turret at ſuch an hour, when it was impoſſible he could have any buſineſs there, was not to be thought of: yet the door was not cloſed, and he believed it not improbable that the people who were he apprehended in ſearch of his brother, might at length ſeek him there; as his intoxication, when he was miſſing, might lead them to imagine that he might have gone into ſome of the buildings and have fallen aſleep. He deſcended therefore, and waited at the door. The voices were now at a diſtance; and apparently being near the apartment of Mrs. Rayland, the perſons who had before called aloud were afraid 2251 M6r 251 afraid of diſturbing her. He ſeized this opportunity of eſcaping; and, following the ſound, which was ſtill heard at intervals, he met at length the groom and the under footman, who told him that Mr. Philip Somerive had returned about a quarter of an hour before into the room, where he was now ſo extremely riotous that he had got into a quarrel with one of the young farmers; that he had ſtripped to box; and that every interpoſition of theirs only ſerved to enrage him more. They therefore beſought Orlando to return into the hall, that he might appeaſe and prevail upon his brother to go home; for that their Lady, already alarmed by the noiſe, had ſent down orders to have the houſe immediately ſhut up, and for the people to depart. A thouſand times during the courſe of this evening had poor Orlando execrated his own folly, that had thus brought his brother into an houſe, where, while he had been ſuch an unceaſing torment to him, he had probably effectually ruined himſelf. But M 6 there 2252 M6v 252 there was not now a moment to give way to theſe repentant reflections. He haſtened therefore into the room, where his brother, awakened from the ſtupor of drunkenneſs into its moſt extravagant phrenſy, had taken ſome offence at a young man of the company, and was now withheld only by the united ſtrength of three ſtout farmers from fighting. Orlando for ſome time argued and implored in vain. The fury of Philip only changed its object, and was directed againſt him. But with his opponent, whoſe blunt Engliſh ſpirit was not, as he declared, at all diſposed to yield tamely to the inſults of any ’ſquire, no not the biggeſt ’ſquire in the king’s dominions, the cool reaſoning of Orlando had more effect. He ſoothed then this juſtly offended ruſtic, and, promiſing that Philip ſhould hereafter acknowledge the impropriety of his behaviour, he prevailed on him to depart with Pattenſon and ſome other of the men into another room; and then his brother being almoſt exhauſted, and relapſing again into 2 ſtupidity, 2253 M7r 253 ſtupidity, Orlando wiſhed to conduct him home. This was however, on conſideration, found to be impoſſible; for he was equally unable to ride or walk, even with the aſſiſtance which Orlando was very ready to lend him. In this dilemma nothing remained but to put him into his own bed; where being at a great diſtance from Mrs. Rayland, there was no probability of her knowing the ſtate to which his intemperance had reduced him. This then he determined to do. Pattenſon and a party of the men who were in habits of drinking had already withdrawn: the women were huddling away to their reſpective homes; and Orlando, with the help of the groom, carried off the almoſt ſenſeleſs Philip to his own bed-chamber, where he left him on his bed; and then, haraſſed and unhappy as he was, fatigued with all that had happened, and torn to pieces with anxiety about Monimia, he yet had another taſk to perform, which he felt, however painful, to be neceſſary—and this was, to walk to Weſt 2254 M7v 254 Weſt Wolverton, that, by his account of Philip, he might quiet the fears of his father as to his perſonal ſafety.

He arrived there, quite worn out with uneaſineſs; and the pale countenance and diſhevelled hair with which he entered the parlour, ſeemed to confirm all the fears with which the unfortunate Somerive had been tormented on account of his eldeſt ſon. He found him walking backwards and fowards in the parlour, liſtening to every noiſe; and he had paſſed the whole interval in this manner, except that he had now and then gone up ſtairs to his wife, whom he had prevailed upon to go to bed, to perſuade her to mitigate thoſe fears under which he was himſelf agonized. At this juncture the appearance of Orlando, whoſe looks ſeemed to ſpeak only of ſome ſad cataſtrophe, deprived his father for a moment of the power of aſking what intelligence he brought; and when he could ſpeak, it was only to ſay—Orlando! your brother?He is ſafe, dear Sir, anſwered Orlando; 2255 M8r 255 Orlando; pray be not thus alarmed. Relate then, cried Mr. Somerive in an eager voice, relate where he is—wretched boy!Indeed, Sir, ſaid Orlando extremely ſhocked at the look and manner of his father, you conſider this matter more ſeriouſly than it deſerves, and are more alarmed than the occaſion ſeems to require. He then related what had happened, ſoftening however his brother’s folly as much as he could; and aſſured his father that he would take care Philip ſhould return in the morning, and that Mrs. Rayland ſhould be kept ignorant of the confuſion his intemperance had occaſioned.

You are a noble and excellent creature, Orlando, cried Somerive, with a ſigh as if his heart would break; but God knows what will become of your unhappy brother. This relapſe into debauchery, ſo degrading, awakens all my fears—fears, which a little ſubſided on his unexpected return home. But it is not an hour, my dear boy, to detain you with the miſery that I ſee awaits us 2256 M8v 256 us all. Since you have given up your bed to Philip, I deſire you will take one here, while I haſten to quiet the anxiety which has almoſt overcome your poor mother, who imagined nothing leſs than that her ſon was drowned, or that ſome other horrid calamity had befallen him.

Mr. Somerive then departed; and Orlando, though ſomewhat comforted by having the power to relieve the ſad ſolicitude of his parents, was infinitely too uneaſy to feel any inclination to ſleep, though he was so greatly fatigued. It was by this time daylight; and, after ſome reflection, he reſolved to return back to the Hall, and to await in the library the hour when he ſhould be delivered from the unwelcome inmate whom he had been compelled to admit. Every other anxiety however that aſſailed him was unfelt, when he thought of the ſituation in which he had left Monimia. The harſh tones in which the threats of Mrs. Lennard were delivered ſtill rung in his ears; and his fancy repreſented the lovely victim of her 2257 M9r 257 her ill humour drowned in tears, yielding to deſpair, and perhaps recollecting with anguiſh and regret the moments ſhe had given to his importunate love. It was broad day by the time he returned to the Hall, and the workmen and gardeners were diſperſed about the houſe. He dared not therefore indulge himſelf with another viſit to the turret; but having with ſome difficulty obtained admittance from the tired and ſleepy ſervants, he wrapped himſelf in his great coat, and ſat down in the Study, where he eaſily diſcovered, by the loud ſnoring from the adjoining room, that Philip was ſleeping away the effects of the powerful draughts of the preceding night. Orlando, half tempted to envy the ſtate of forgetfulneſs into which he had fallen, occupied himſelf in reflecting on the ſtrange and perverſe accidents of the evening, in which he and Monimia had trembled ſo often on the brink of diſcovery—perhaps were diſcovered, juſt at the time when they had flattered themſelves with the hope that they 2258 M9v 258 they might the more ſecurely meet. He revolved all that was likely to happen if Mrs. Lennard was really acquainted with their correſpondence; and heſitated not to reſolve, in that caſe, to go to his father, to declare his affection for Monimia, and to reſcue her from the tyranny of her aunt, whatever might enſue. On the other hand, if their acquaintance yet remained doubtful, or only ſuſpected, he ſaw that prudence and duty, his tenderneſs for Monimia, and his affection for his father, equally dictated their preſent ſeparation; and that, to whichever of theſe he liſtened, they agreed in pointing out his leaving Monimia now, to acquire ſome eſtabliſhment which might give them at leaſt a probability, without the breach of any duty, of being happily united hereafter. There was ſomething humiliating to his ingenuous mind, in all the arts and prevarications which their clandeſtine correſpondence compelled him to uſe himſelf, and to teach the innocent Monimia. A thouſand times he wiſhed that 2259 M10r 259 that he had been born the ſon of a day- labourer; that his parents, entertaining for him no views of ambition, had left him to purſue his own inclinations. A thouſand times he lamented that Monimia was not circumſtanced like Miſs Hollybourn, that he might openly have addreſſed her: and the image of the arrogant heireſs aroſe with redoubled diſguſt to his mind, when he compared her ſituation with that of his deſolate, orphan’d Monimia. More than three hours paſſed away while theſe thoughts were fluctuating in his mind. At the end of that time he was arouſed by the entrance of Betty, who pertly demanded if he did not chooſe any breakfaſt?

He deſired to have it brought. To which the girl replied, Perhaps you had rather breakfaſt with the old woman?Whom do you mean? enquired Orlando.

Mean! anſwered ſhe; why, who ſhould I mean, but miſtreſs, and mother Lennard? There’s no other old woman in the houſe as I knows on, nor there had not 2260 M10v 260 not need. They’ve been enquiring after you.

After me?

Yes, replied Betty. And Madam I ſuppoſe will tie you on to her apron-ſtring ſoon, for ſhe is never eaſy without you. Upon my word, Mr. Orlando, you look a little rakiſh though, I think, for ſuch a ſober young gentleman, and conſidering too that you did not demean yourſelf with dancing as you uſed to do with us ſervants, after the gentlefolks were gone. I warrant however that you did not paſs the time at prayers.

You give your tongue ſtrange licenſe, ſaid Orlando, who endeavoured to conceal his vexation, for he imagined that all alluded to Monimia. However, do tell me, if Mrs. Rayland wiſhes me to breakfaſt with her?

I knows nothing about her wiſhes, replied the girl; I only knows that Lennard have been aſking every ſervant in the houſe about you, and croſs-queſtioning one ſo that 2261 M11r 261 that I ſuppoſe ſhe thoft I had got you locked up in my cupboard, as they ſay ſhe uſed for to have the men-folk in her younger days in the houſekeeper’s ſtore-room. The old woman and the oven for that! Set a thief to catch a thief!

I do deſire, ſaid Orlando, that you would have done with all this, and tell me whether Mrs. Lennard expects me at breakfaſt? “However, added he, pauſing, I will alter my dreſs, and wait upon her at all events; and do be ſo good as to prepare in the mean time ſome breakfaſt for my brother.

Betty then left him apparently with pleaſure to execute this laſt commiſſion; and Orlando, after changing his clothes, went to Mrs. Lennard’s room, to enquire whether Mrs. Rayland wiſhed to ſpeak to him, and at what time he might wait upon her. This however was not his only motive; he thought he ſhould immediately diſcern by Mrs. Lennard’s reception of him, whether his fears of a partial or an entire diſcovery were 2262 M11v 262 were well founded. He fortunately found Mrs. Lennard in the houſekeeper’s room; and, accoſting her with his uſual intereſting addreſs, he enquired how Mrs. Rayland did after the fatigues of the evening, how ſhe was herſelf, and whether he might at any time that morning make a perſonal enquiry after Mrs. Rayland?

The ſage houſekeeper received his civilities with great coldneſs, and anſwered, even with ſome aſperity, that Mrs. Rayland was much better than ever ſhe could have expected after ſo much company. As to your enquiry after her, Sir, added ſhe, I don’t know indeed how that may be; perhaps (fixing on him her penetrating eyes) there are other people in the houſe after whom you would rather aſk.

Orlando, whoſe conſcious blood roſe into his cheeks at this ſpeech, felt them glow, and the ſenſation increaſed his confuſion. No, replied he, heſitating. No, certainly you cannot ...... ſuppoſe ... that there is any body ..... that I .... that 2263 M12r 263 that I wiſh to enquire after more than Mrs. Rayland ..... I was much afraid that the fatigue would be too much for her.

There are other people, replied the lady, who were fatigued alſo. I muſt beg the favour of you, Mr. Orlando, not to interfere with my niece. I ſuppoſe it was by your deſire or contrivance that ſhe took the liberty of leaving her room laſt night, contrary to my poſitive orders.

Orlando, a little recovered from his conſternation, endeavoured to laugh this off, and was proving to Mrs. Lennard that it was impoſſible for him to have occaſioned this diſobedience, when a ſummons came for her to attend Mrs. Rayland; and I was ordered, Sir, ſaid the footman, to deſire you would come up alſo, if you were about the houſe.

Mrs. Lennard now ſtalked away with great dignity, and Orlando followed her, more than ever alarmed for Monimia.

Chap. 2264 M12v 264

Chap. XII.

Instead of the reproaches Orlando expected to hear, Mrs. Rayland received him, if not with ſo much cordial kindneſs as uſual, at leaſt without any appearance of anger. After the uſual compliments on his part, and ſome enquiries on hers, whether all thoſe who were immediately her gueſts had gone as ſoon as they left her, Mrs. Lennard withdrew, and Orlando was left alone with the old Lady, and again trembled leſt ſome remonſtrances were to be made; for his mind was ſo entirely occupied by that ſubject, that he forgot it was poſſible for the attention of others to be differently engaged.

His apprehenſions increaſed, when Mrs. Rayland 2265 N1r 265 Rayland, after a ſolemn ſilence, thus began:

I believe, Mr. Orlando, I have given you abundant proof that I eſteem you above the reſt of my kinſman’s family.

Orlando bowed, and would have ſaid that he was ſenſible of and grateful for her kindneſs; but he could make nothing of the ſentence—but bluſhed and faltered while Mrs. Rayland went on.

Your father has once or twice propoſed ſending you out into the world, and has conſulted me upon the occaſion. I ſuppoſe you are not unacquainted with the plan he has lately thought proper to propoſe for you.

Orlando, relieved by hearing that her diſcourſe did not tend whither he feared it would, ſaid that he knew General Tracy had offered his father to procure him a commiſſion; an offer, Madam, continued he, of which I waited to hear your opinion before I myſelf ventured to form any wiſhes upon the ſubject.

Vol. II. N This 2266 N1v 266

This was carrying his complaiſance farther than he had ever yet done. But, confuſed and apprehenſive as he was, he ſaid any thing which might turn the diſcourſe from what he moſt dreaded, without having his mind enough at liberty to enquire rigorouſly into the truth or propriety of what he uttered; and even the independent ſpirit he had always prided himſelf on ſupporting, was loſt amid his fears for Monimia.

Mrs. Rayland looked at him ſteadily for a moment—

You are ready then, ſaid ſhe, to follow any line of life, Orlando, which your friends approve?

I am, Madam; and always have been.

And you do not diſlike the army?

Very far from it, Madam.

I have been accuſtomed from my youth, reaſſumed the old Lady after another pauſe, to conſider the profeſſion of arms as one of thoſe which is the leaſt derogatory to the name of a gentleman.

“It 2267 N2r 267

It is honourable, Madam, to any name.

My grandfather, continued Mrs. Rayland, after whom you were by the permiſſion of our family called—my grandfather, I ſay, Sir Orlando Rayland, appeared with diſtinguiſhed honour in the ſervice of his maſter in 16851685, againſt the rebel Monmouth, though not of his religion. My father Sir Hildebrand diſtinguiſhed himſelf under Marlborough, when he was a younger brother, and ſaw much ſervice in Flanders. Of remoter anceſtors, I could tell you of Raylands who bled in the civil wars; we were always Lancaſtrians, and loſt very great property by our adherence to that unhappy family during the reigns of Edward the Fourth and Richard the Third. Thy great great grandfather, who was alſo called Orlando .........

Mrs. Rayland had ſoon totally forgotten the young hero who was before her, while ſhe ran over the names and exploits of heroes paſt; and, loſt in their loyalty and N 2 their 2268 N2v 268 their proweſs, ſhe forgot that hardly any other record of them remained upon earth than what her memory and their pictures in the gallery above afforded. Orlando, however, heard her not only with patience but with pleaſure. In recurring thus to them when the queſtion of his profeſſional choice was before her, it appeared that ſhe had ſomehow aſſociated the idea of his future welfare with that of their paſt conſequence; and, beſides the ſatisfaction this diſcovery afforded him, he began to hope that his fears of any diſcovery were quite groundleſs.

Mrs. Rayland having at length completed the catalogue of the heroes of her family, and having no more to ſay, returned to the ſubject which had given riſe to this diſcuſſion.—Therefore, young kinſman, I ſay that, if this worthy General Tracy will favour you with his countenance, if your father and your relations approve of it, and if you yourſelf are diſpoſed for the profeſſion of arms, I ſhall be glad not only to 2269 N3r 269 to give you ſome aſſiſtance towards ſetting out, but to aid you from time to time in ſuch means of promotion as the General may point out to me.

Orlando, who now found the whole affair decided, felt one pang at the certainty which preſented itſelf, that he muſt quit, ſoon quit his beloved Monimia; it was ſevere, but momentary: and with equal warmth and ſincerity he thanked Mrs. Rayland for her goodneſs, and aſſured her that he was ready to avail himſelf of her generous intentions in his favour.

But are you ſure, Mr. Orlando, added Mrs. Rayland interrupting his acknowledgments— are you quite ſure that no unworthy connection, no improper attachment here, will make the departure for your regiment diſagreeable to you?

The blood that had ſo often been the treacherous emiſſary of conſcience before, now flew to the cheeks of Orlando; indeed his whole countenance changed ſo much that Mrs. Rayland, though not very clear- N 3 ſighted, 2270 N3v 270 ſighted, perceived it. Her brow took that ſevere look which it almoſt always loſt in the preſence of her young favourite—I ſee, cried ſhe, obſerving Orlando ſtill heſitate—I ſee that I have not been miſinformed.

Every thing ſeemed to depend on the preſence of mind which he was at this moment able to exert. He recovered himſelf, and ſaid, in a firm and calm tone, I know not, Madam, what information you have received; but this I know, and do moſt ſolemnly aſſure you, that I have no unworthy connection, no improper attachment—and, added he, animated by reflecting that his love for the innocent, amiable Monimia was neither――and when you diſcover that I deceive you, I am content to relinquiſh your favour for ever.

Indeed you will loſe it, anſwered Mrs. Rayland, a little relaxing of her ſeverity;— and that I may ſtill have the pleaſure of ſuppoſing you worthy my good opinion, 2271 N4r 271 opinion, and that well diſpoſed young man which I have always wiſhed to find you, your leaving this place awhile may not be amiſs. I know how to make ſome allowance for the arts of wicked girls; but I ſhall take care that no ſuch perſon diſgraces my family for the future. In regard to you, couſin, I hope you are above any ſuch unworthy thoughts. It muſt be my buſineſs to give proper directions for the reſt, and for the due regulation of my family. You will prepare, couſin, for your commiſſion, which the worthy General tells me he expects every day: he aſſures me it is worth upwards of four hundred pounds. Your father is very happy in having met with a real friend.Orlando, thunderſtruck by a ſpeech which he believed related to Monimia, ſtood like a ſtatue. It was fortunate for him that Mrs. Rayland, after the words wicked girls, continued to ſpeak; for, had ſhe not done ſo, Orlando would infallibly have betrayed himſelf by entering into a warm defence of Monimia; N 4 he 2272 N4v 272 he would indeed have confeſſed, without reſerve, their long attachment, and frequent interviews: but the reſt of her ſpeech, and the entrance of Mrs. Lennard, for whom ſhe rang juſt as ſhe concluded it, gave him time to recollect himſelf: yet when Mrs. Rayland, in her uſual way, diſmiſſed him, he doubted whether his honour and his love did not call upon him to come to an immediate explanation. The conſideration and kindneſs which Mrs. Rayland expreſſed for him, ſo unlike the uſual prudiſh aſperity of her diſpoſition, were offenſive and hateful to him, when he believed ſhe acquitted him at the expence of Monimia. He haſtened however to his own apartment, becauſe it was neceſſary to ſee what was become of his brother. It was ſome alleviation to his confuſion and diſtreſs to find Philip was gone; and he ſat down, endeavouring to collect his thoughts, and to determine on what was to be done.

That Monimia was on his account to be diſmiſſed from the houſe of Mrs. Rayland, and 2273 N5r 273 and the protection of her only relation, the circumſtances of the preceding night, added to what he had juſt heard, left him but little reaſon to doubt. What then was to become of her? and how could he make her any reparation for the injury he had done her, but by inſtantly declaring the truth, and relinquiſhing all proſpect of future proſperity, from which ſhe muſt be excluded?—Deſperate as he felt this ſtep to be, he was in a ſtate of mind that urged him to decide on any thing that might bring their fate to a criſis; and, believing himſelf finally determined, he ſtarted up from this ſhort counſel with himſelf, and was going haſtily to the apartment of Mrs. Rayland, when at the door he was ſtopped by Betty, who, with her hat on, and a ſmall bundle in her hand, dropped him a curtſey, and ſaid, with an arch ſmile, I’m come to take my leave of you, ’Squire, and to wiſh you well.

Whither are you going then, Betty? ſaid Orlando.

N 5 “Lord, 2274 N5v 274

Lord, Sir, cried the girl, you’re ſuch another hard-hearted gentleman!—What! I warrant you don’t know that Madam have ſent me down my wages, with orders to go out of her houſe directly, and all upon your account.

Upon my account!Pattenſon it ſeems have been telling more falſe lies to Madam. He won’t believe, ever ſince that night that ſomebody was ſeen in your room—I don’t know who, not I—that you and I be too great: Madam Lennard would never hear on’t till to-day; but now they’ve found out, by laying their old noddles together, that I was out of the houſe laſt night, and they ſays ’twas along a you. Knowing my own innocence, I bears it all; for I be clear of the charge, as you know very well: I wiſh every body could ſay as much; but I know what I know.

Orlando now inſtantly comprehended that it was of Betty Mrs. Rayland had ſpoken, and not of the innocent Monimia, whom his own raſh impatience was again on 2275 N6r 275 on the point of betraying. Senſible of his good fortune in having been thus prevented, he was ſtill confuſed and agitated. Whatever you know, Betty, ſaid he, of me, I am at leaſt very ſorry you have, by any miſtake relative to me, loſt your place, and Mrs. Lennard’s favour.

As to her favour, anſwered the girl pertly, I values it no more than that; and ſhe had better keep her tongue within her teeth about me, I can tell her that; and as for places, there’s more in the world. One ſhould have a fine time on’t, indeed, to paſs all one’s life in this here old dungeon, among rats, and ghoſts, and old women. However, young ’Squire, I adviſes you, as a friend, to take more care for the future: ſome people are very ſly; but for my part I ſcorn to betray ’um—but mayhap the next houſemaid mid’nt be ſo willing as I have been to bear the blame for things ſhe’s as innocent of as the child unborn.

I cannot tell to what you allude, replied Orlando in a hurried voice; but N 6 this 2276 N6v 276 this I know, that if I have done you any injury, I am very ſorry for it, and willing to make you any reparation in my power. He then took a guinea from his pocket— Accept of this, cried he, and be aſſured that I ſhall on any future occaſion be happy to ſerve you.—The girl took the guinea, but without expreſſing any gratitude either for that, or his apparent wiſhes to make her what amends he could for the loſs of her place:—ſhe flippantly told him, ſhe hoped, for all Madam’s injuſtice, and the malice of her enemies, ſhe had frinds who would not let her be beholden to nobody— She then left the houſe.

Orlando, thus relieved from the moſt acute uneaſineſs he had ever ſuffered, returned to his room. He moſt ardently wiſhed to communicate to Monimia the joy he felt in finding that the ſuſpicions excited by ſo many awkward circumſtances, had by ſome means or other fallen upon this ſervant; and apparently without doing her any injury, which would have conſiderablyderably 2277 N7r 277 derably leſſened his ſatisfaction. Far from regretting her diſmiſſion, ſhe ſeemed pleaſed with having had an opportunity given her to be diſmiſſed; and Orlando, who had long known her to be a very improper aſſociate for Monimia, found many reaſons to be glad of her departure. That ſhe knew, or very ſtrongly ſuſpected their meetings, ſeemed very evident; ſhe was much leſs dangerous any where than within the houſe—and as to what ſhe might ſay without, which might be prejudicial to the character of Monimia, he determined to prevent the ill effects of that where it might be moſt prejudicial, by confeſſing, before he left the country, the very extent of his fault to his father, who already ſuſpected ſo much of the truth.

However earneſtly he wiſhed to ſpeak to Monimia, and however uneaſy the idea of her ſuſpenſe and dejection made him, he could find no opportunity of ſpeaking to her during the morning, without hazard, which he had too recently ſuffered for, ſo immediately 2278 N7v 278 immediately to incur again. Though Mrs. Lennard had artfully made Betty the victim, there was ſtill reaſon to believe ſhe was not without ſuſpicions; and to irritate or increaſe them now, would be to preclude himſelf from the laſt pleaſure he was likely to taſte during the reſt of his ſhort reſidence at the Hall—the pleaſure of ſoothing his beloved Monimia, and, at the few interviews which they might yet obtain, reconciling her ſoft heart to the neceſſity of that ſeparation that was ſo ſoon to happen.

He was ſummoned to dinner with Mrs. Rayland, who ſeemed pleaſed to find he was ſtill at the Hall. Never did the old Lady appear in ſuch good humour with him, or ſo relaxed from the ſtarch prudery of her uſual character.—She gave way to her love of telling anecdotes and ſtories of her own family; and, pleaſed with the attention Orlando gave to her narratives, ſhe hinted to him, though ſtill with great ambiguity, that it would be his own fault if he was not one 2279 N8r 279 one day or other the repreſentative of a family ſo illuſtrious. She then ſpoke of his elder brother with anger and contempt, which Orlando generouſly tried to ſoften; of his mother with her uſual coldneſs and diſlike; and of his ſiſters as good, pretty-behaved girls—that is, I mean, the two youngeſt. As to Miſs Belle—ſhe’s a London lady already: I proteſt it hurts me to ſee young women ſo bold—but ſhe has been cried up for a beauty. ’Tis vanity ruins all girls—no good is ever to be expected from them when once they get conceited notions into their heads of being handſome.

Orlando undertook the defence of his ſiſter with more zeal than prudence; but Mrs. Rayland, though not to be convinced that Iſabella was not a vain coquet, which indeed her unguarded gaiety gave the old Lady very good reaſon to believe, was however in a humour to be pleaſed with all Orlando ſaid. Her attachment to him had been long inſenſibly increaſing; and though, like 2280 N8v 280 like another Elizabeth, ſhe could not bear openly to acknowledge her ſucceſſor, ſhe was as little proof as the royal ancient virgin, againſt the attractions of an amiable and handſome young man, whom ſhe loved to conſider as the child of her bounty, and the creature of her ſmiles. Though determined to keep him dependent during her life, and even to ſend him out a ſoldier of fortune, ſhe really meant to give him, at her death, the whole of her landed property; and the machinations of Pattenſon, whoſe jealouſy and avarice alike excited his hatred to Orlando, had hitherto had an effect ſo different from what he expected, that he found his politics entirely baffled, and more likely to loſe, by farther attempts, his Lady’s regard, that to ſhake that ſhe entertained for the young favourite.

A few years before, the very ſuſpicion of an intrigue would have ſhut for ever the doors of Rayland Hall againſt the ſuppoſed delinquent; but now the attempts to impute ſuch to Orlando had ended in nothing but the 2281 N9r 281 the diſmiſſing a ſervant—a circumſtance proving at once, that though ſome credit was given to the accuſation, no reſentment towards him was entertained.

Mrs. Lennard, who had more ſenſe and more art than Pattenſon, and who had opportunities more cloſely to obſerve her Lady, had long ſeen the progreſs of her affection for Orlando, and long ceaſed to counteract it.—She was not weak enough to imagine, as Pattenſon did, that ſuch great property as Mrs. Rayland poſſeſſed would be divided among her ſervants—but ſhe knew that ſhe ſhould herſelf poſſeſs a very conſiderable legacy; and ſhe thought it better that Orlando ſhould poſſeſs the bulk of the fortune, than either his father, who had always conſidered the old ſervants about her as his enemies, or any public charity—to ſome of which Mrs. Rayland had, in former fits of ill humour, expreſſed an intention to leave the Rayland eſtate.

Mrs. Rayland had, in common with many old people, a ſtrange averſion to ſpeaking 2282 N9v 282 ſpeaking of her will, or of what was to happen after her death; and, far advanced as ſhe was in life, ſhe ſpoke of future years as if ſhe believed herſelf immortal. Mrs. Lennard had, however, once ſeen part of a will—with which, in reſpect to herſelf, ſhe had great reaſon to be ſatisfied. She knew that Mrs. Rayland had lately made another, to which ſhe was not a witneſs;—for ſuch was the peculiarity of her Lady in this reſpect, that ſhe had ſent for a lawyer and witneſſes from London, that none of the neighbouring attorneys, or even her confidential ſervants, might know its contents. Mrs. Lennard did not doubt but that Orlando was in this made the heir of almoſt all the landed property; but ſhe had no reaſon, from Mrs. Rayland’s behaviour to her, to apprehend that this new will was at all prejudicial to herſelf.

Still, however, it was not her intereſt to encourage the affection which many circumſtances gave her reaſon to believe Orlando entertained for her niece. She knew that, 2283 N10r 283 that, if the raſhneſs of youth and paſſion ſhould urge them to marry, it would not only ruin Orlando, who would then be a beggar; but that ſhe ſhould herſelf be accuſed of having promoted this fatal indiſcretion, and loſe her own advantages without obtaining any for her niece, whom ſhe by no means wiſhed to ſee independent of her, even if independence could thus have been obtained; and whom ſhe treated with redoubled rigour, when ſhe found reaſon to believe that Orlando felt for her that attachment which ſhe had from their childhood foreſeen and attempted to prevent.

The more Orlando gained on the favour of Mrs. Rayland, the more apprehenſive Mrs. Lennard became of his affection for Monimia: ſhe had however perſuaded herſelf, that, with the precautions ſhe took, their clandeſtinely meeting or carrying on any correſpondence was impracticable; and, ſatisfied that Monimia was confined to her room, her vigilance had now 2284 N10v 284 now and then ſlumbered. But it awakened by the late reports that obtained in the houſe and about the country; reports which originated in the goſſip of Orlando’s nocturnal viſitor; of his being miſſing at unuſual hours, and from Betty’s hints. When, therefore, Pattenſon’s jealouſy was ſo far rouſed as to urge him to ſpeak to his Lady of a ſuppoſed intimacy between Orlando and this his faithleſs favourite, Mrs. Lennard let it make its impreſſion; and Betty’s pertneſs, who had before agreed with Philip Somerive to take the firſt opportunity of going off to him, gave her a pretence immediately to diſcharge her. Mrs. Rayland, content to part with her favourite Orlando, becauſe ſhe thought it for his advantage to ſee ſomething of the world in an honourable profeſſion—and becauſe ſhe believed, if youth and idleneſs had concurred with the art of the girl with whom he was accuſed, to lead him into any improper connection, this was the beſt way to break it—determined on his departureture, 2285 N11r 285 ture with ſatisfaction, ſince the General aſſured her there was at preſent no probability of his leaving England.

Mrs. Lennard, who thought herſelf fortunate in having all the ſuſpicions fall on Betty, kept as a profound ſecret thoſe ſhe entertained herſelf relative to Monimia, whom ſhe reſolved narrowly to watch till Orlando was gone. And Pattenſon, glad that the young minion was to go, as he termed it, for a ſoldier, reconciled himſelf by that reflection to the failure of his original plan, which had been totally to ruin him with Mrs. Rayland. As to the loſs of his fair one, he knew ſhe would not remove far; and that reſentment for his accuſations would not make her long relentleſs, while he had preſents and money to offer her.

Such were, at this juncture, the politics of Rayland Hall.

Chap. 2286 N11v 286

Chap. XIII.

The houſe of Weſt Wolverton too had its politicians; but none of them were ſo content with their paſt operations, or future proſpects, as the venerable group laſt deſcribed.

Iſabella, illegible1 letterild and coquettiſh as ſhe was, could no longer affect to miſunderſtand the language with which General Tracy ventured to addreſs her. For ſome time, however, ſhe affected to laugh it off; but at length reſolved, by the counſel of Selina, to ſpeak to her mother, and entreat that, if the General remained any longer their gueſt, ſhe might not be ſo often left to hear profeſſions ſo inſulting, which the preſence of her ſiſters did not always reſtrain. Mrs. Somerive, whoſe heart was half broken by 2 the 2287 N12r 287 the behaviour of Philip, and who ſaw, with inexpreſſible anguiſh, the ravage which the uneaſineſs ariſing from that ſource was hourly making on the conſtitution of her huſband, had been fondly flattering herſelf, during the firſt weeks of the General’s viſit, that in him Mr. Somerive had found a ſincere friend, and their children a powerful protector. The ſolicitude he expreſſed for Orlando, and the conſideration with which he treated Philip, made her ſanguinely believe that he would provide for one, and poſſibly reclaim the other. The ſums which the latter had won from him at play—Mrs. Somerive, who knew nothing of their nightly gambling, ſuppoſed the General had lent him; when her heart, overflowing with gratitude towards this generous friend, was ſuddenly ſtruck with the intelligence Iſabella gave her.

She at firſt fancied the vanity of Iſabella might have given meaning to his expreſſions which they were never meant to convey; but, upon queſtioning her and Selina repeatedly, 2288 N12v 288 repeatedly, and from the obſervations ſhe made the following days, ſhe was convinced that their repreſentations of his behaviour were juſt. This cruel certainty ſhe determined however to conceal from her huſband, and to guard, by her own prudent watchfulneſs, againſt the artifices of the General, without bringing on a rupture between him and Somerive, that might be attended with conſequences ſhe ſickened to think of.

The General, however, who paid her the moſt aſſiduous court, was ſoon ſenſible of a change in her manners; for ſhe was incapable of the diſſimulation which people of the world ſo ſucceſsfully practiſe. From hence, and from the behaviour of Iſabella, the General found that a longer ſtay would betray his inſidious deſigns without contributing at all to their succeſs, and he prepared to go; yet could not bear to relinquiſh for ever his hopes of gaining Iſabella, with whom he was more in love than ever. He lingered, therefore, notwithſtanding all the 2289 O1r 289 the diſcouragement he received; and Somerive, who believed him the beſt and moſt ſincere friend that ever man had, communicated to him all his affairs, and all his anxiety—by which the General perceived plainly, he was in ſuch a ſtate of mind as muſt haſten him to the grave; and he had learned that, impreſſed with ideas of his (the General’s) friendſhip for all his family, he had made him executor, and truſted the welfare of his wife and daughters entirely to him and to Orlando.

Though Tracy therefore could neither give up his purſuit, nor ſucceed in it at preſent, he believed that the death of the father, the indigence to which the whole family would be reduced, and the abſence of Orlando, would together make eaſy the project of obtaining Iſabella for a miſtreſs; and that patience and diſſimulation alone were neceſſary to keep up his influence in the family, till they ſhould be wholly in his power. He determined, therefore, to check himſelf; to make no more profeſſionsII. O ſions 2290 O1v 290 ſions with which Iſabella could be offended, but to expreſs his contrition that he had ſaid what ſhe conſtrued into want of reſpect; to hint remotely at honourable intentions; and thus, without engaging himſelf, or, as the faſhionable phraſe is, committing himſelf, to retain his influence over the whole family, as well as over the father; and to be aſſured that, whenever he choſe to return, he ſhould be received with pleaſure. As to any ſuſpicion that Iſabella might think him of an age ſo diſproportionate as to hear even his honourable offers with diſdain and ridicule, it never occurred to the General; and he was pretty well aſſured, from the pecuniary circumſtances of the family, that every other member of it would receive the remoteſt hint of an intended alliance with tranſport. The behaviour of Mrs. Somerive, on the evening of the tenant’s ball, convinced him that Iſabella had not merely threatened when ſhe proteſted ſhe would ſpeak to her mother of his behaviour; and he found that though Mr. 2291 O2r 291 Mr. Somerive, whenever he talked of going, preſſed his ſtay, it was time to depart.

The meſſenger, who was ſent to the poſt town on the following evening for letters, brought to General Tracy a large pacquet, arrived that day by the ſtage. On opening it, it was found to contain the commiſſion of an enſign for Orlando Somerive, executed in due form, from the War Office. This he haſtened to offer, with a ſtudied ſpeech, to Mrs. Somerive; who had hardly recovered from the emotions with which the ſight of it, and his peculiar and ſtudied manner of preſenting it, occaſioned, when Orlando, anxious to know at what time his brother had got home, and how his mother and ſiſters were after the fatigue and uneaſineſs of the night before, arrived.

On his firſt entrance, he enquired eagerly after his brother.—Your brother! cried Mr. Somerive; he is not at home, Orlando, nor have we ſeen him ſince laſt O 2 night: 2292 O2v 292 night:—believing he was with you, and indeed ſuppoſing it poſſible that he was not well enough to leave your apartment, I made myſelf tolerably eaſy about him.— But when did he leave you? and where is he now?

Orlando replied, that he had left his bed about eleven o’clock; and then, to quiet the uneaſineſs which he ſaw this unexpected abſence gave to them all, he added, But he is gone, I dare ſay, to Mr. Stockton’s, where he has talked ſome time of intending to paſs a day or two, and probably will not return home till to-morrow or next day.

Gone to Mr. Stockton’s! exclaimed Mrs. SomeriveWhat! without linen or change of clothes, though there is an houſe full of company?

Mr. Somerive, who ſaw how much his wife was alarmed and affected, endeavoured to ſpeak lightly of the abſence of her ſon—You know, my love, ſaid he, that Philip does not pique himſelf on being 2293 O3r 293 being a beau; and that the party at Mr. Stockton’s are only men. He can probably borrow any linen he wants of his friends; and, as he means to be at home ſo ſoon, and has no ſervant with him, perhaps preferred doing ſo to the trouble of ſending home for his own. Mrs. Somerive ſighed, and caſt a deſponding look on her huſband, who added, But, come, my dear Bella, you and I have ſomething to ſay to Orlando— we will go all together into my ſtudy for a few moments, and the girls will have tea ready againſt our return.—So ſaying, he took his wife’s hand, and, Orlando following them, they left the room.

Mrs. Somerive was no ſooner releaſed from the reſtraint which the preſence of the General impoſed, than ſhe threw herſelf into a chair, and fell into an agony of tears. Her huſband gently chid her for emotion which he endeavoured to perſuade her was much beyond the occaſion; and, having ſucceeded in rendering her ſomewhat more calm, he told Orlando that his commiſſion O 3 was 2294 O3v 294 was arrived, and enquired whether any converſation had paſſed between him and Mrs. Rayland in conſequence of what had been held between her and General Tracy the preceding evening? Orlando related it all as nearly as he could recollect it, ſave only that ſentence which related to ſome fancied attachment; and Mr. Somerive received, with great pleaſure, what appeared to him equal to a confirmation of the moſt ſanguine hopes he had ever entertained on his ſon’s behalf.—Mrs. Somerive however was leſs elated: ſhe could not comprehend how Mrs. Rayland, if ſhe had ſo much affection for Orlando, could not only bear to part with him, but promote his departure; or how, if ſhe meant to make him her heir, ſhe could determine to ſend him out in the world a ſoldier of fortune. The repreſentations of her huſband, however, and the content which Orlando expreſſed, reconciled her by degrees to what ſhe could not now recall. She gave him, but not without many tears, the commiſſion with 2295 O4r 295 with which General Tracy had juſt pre ſented her—but as ſhe tried to give him her bleſſing with it, ſhe relapſed into convulſive ſorrow. Mr. Somerive found it would only diſtreſs her to return to the parlour; he therefore bade Orlando lead his mother to her own room, while he, returning to where his daughters were ſitting with General Tracy, bade them go to her, and ſend their brother down to the parlour.

Orlando, on his entrance, addreſſed himſelf to Tracy, whom he thanked in the moſt graceful terms. The General anſwered his compliment with politeneſs, and the three gentlemen then began to diſcourſe of the departure of Orlando for that party of his regiment that were in England, which Tracy told him could not properly be deferred longer than till the following week. He adviſed therefore that Orlando ſhould ſet out for London on the following Mondaywhen, ſaid he, as I ſhall go thither myſelf, I can have the pleaſure of giving you a place in my poſt-chaiſe.

O 4 Mr. 2296 O4v 296

Mr. Somerive, while he expreſſed regret that the General was to leave him ſo ſoon (though his ſtay had been prolonged to almoſt six weeks), yet embraced this offer with avidity. He foreſaw, that in the equipment of Orlando, of which Mrs. Rayland was, he underſtood, to defray the expence, the directions of ſuch a friend could not fail of being extremely uſeful, and that his inſtructions might in a thouſand more material inſtances be of advantage to him.—It was therefore ſettled among them, that, on the evening of the following Sunday, Orlando ſhould take leave of his ancient benefactreſs, and repair to his father’s houſe, to be ready to attend General Tracy to town the next morning.

Orlando was now impatient to return to the Hall—He hoped to have a few moments converſation with Monimia that evening; alas! only one more was to intervene before his departure: and the painful taſk of reconciling her to his going ſo ſoon, and of taking a long—long leave, ſeemed to require 2297 O5r 297 require an age!—His reſtleſſneſs became ſo evident that his father noticed it—You will ſtay here to-night, Orlando? ſaid he. No, Sir, anſwered his ſon; I wiſh with your leave to return to the Hall.—Mrs. Rayland often aſks for me at breakfaſt, and you will allow that juſt at this period I ſhould not ſeem in the ſlighteſt degree to neglect her.You are right in returning, ſaid Mr. Somerive, fixing his eyes ſteadily on thoſe of his ſon, if that is your only motive.Orlando, not able to bear the penetrating looks of his father, turned away, and ſaid haſtily—Beſides, Sir, I wiſh to enquire after my brother— for, however I affected before my mother to believe he was at Stockton’s, I aſſure you I do not know he is there, nor have I any gueſs about him but what makes me uneaſy.Go, then, replied his father with a deep ſigh—but remember, Orlando, that from you I expect ſincerity.And you ſhall not be diſappointed, Sir, anſwered Orlando warmly; before I take O 5 my 2298 O5v 298 my leave of you, and aſk your laſt bleſſing, my heart ſhall be laid open to you, which I would rather pierce with my own hand than ſuffer it to harbour ingratitude or diſſimulation towards ſo good a father.— Tears were in the eyes of the father and the ſon.—Orlando! ſaid Somerive in a faltering voice, go to your mother before you leave the houſe, and give her all the comfort you can—the abſence of your brother overwhelms her with fear and diſtreſs; and before we ſee you to-morrow, my ſon――for I ſuppoſe we ſhall ſee you.......

Certainly, Sir! at any time you name.

Make that convenient to yourſelf, Orlando; only, before we do ſee you, endeavour to find your brother, and perſuade him to return, or at leaſt bring us ſome news of him.

Orlando promiſed he would; and then went to his mother, who had by this time reaſoned herſelf into a more calm ſtate of mind. Having taken leave of her and his 4 ſiſters 2299 O6r 299 ſiſters for the night, he ſet out on foot to return to the Hall.

The night was overcaſt and gloomy; chill and hollow the wind whiſtled among the leafleſs trees, or groaned amid the thick firs in the dark and ſilent wood;— the water falls murmured hollow in the blaſt, and only the owl’s cry broke thoſe dull and melancholy ſounds, which ſeemed to ſay—Orlando, you will reviſit theſe ſcenes no more! He endeavoured to reaſon himſelf out of theſe comfortleſs preſages. He tried to figure to himſelf the happier days, that never ſeemed ſo likely as now to be his, and at no very remote period. Though Mrs. Rayland was, from peculiarity of temper, averſe to naming her ſucceſſor, ſhe was not at all likely to hold out hopes ſhe never meant to realize, and certainly ſhe never gave any ſo ſtrong as what her converſation of that morning had offered. He endeavoured therefore to perſuade himſelf, that the time was not very far diſtant when, if he was not actually the O 6 poſſeſſor 2300 O6v 300 poſſeſſor of Rayland Hall, he ſhould at leaſt have ſuch a competency as ſhould enable him to ſettle in this native country with his beloved Monimia. He tried to animate his drooping ſpirits with the idea that, in the profeſſion into which he was now entering, he might find the means of accelerating this happy period. But then the frightful interval that muſt intervene occurred to him, with all the poſſibilities that might happen in it; and the deſtitute ſtate of Monimia, the ill health of his father (which, though he did not complain, was viſible to every body), the unhappy miſconduct of his brother, threatening the ruin and diſperſion of his family, and the poſſibility that Mrs. Rayland might diſappoint the expectations ſhe had raiſed, all combined to ſink and depreſs him, and again to lend to the well-known paths he was traverſing, horrors not their own, while every object repeated—Orlando will reviſit theſe ſcenes no more!

By the time he reached that part of the park 2301 O7r 301 park from whence the houſe was viſible at a diſtance, it was quite dark, and, had he not almoſt inſtinctively known his way, he could not have diſcerned it—for no light glimmered from the Gothic windows of the Hall, not even in that part of the houſe inhabited by the ſervants; and Orlando imagined that moſt of them, fatigued the night before, were gone earlier than uſual to bed. He fixed his eyes earneſtly on Monimia’s turret:—all was dark; and he doubted whether her aunt had not removed her, in conſequence of the ſuſpicions that originated in the circumſtances of the preceding evening. This apprehenſion made his ſpirits ſink ſtill more heavily; and when he was within an hundred yards of the houſe, he ſtopped, and gazed mournfully on the place, which perhaps no longer contained the object of his affection.

There is hardly a ſenſation more painful than the blank that ſtrikes on the heart, when, inſtead of the light we expect ſtreaming from ſome beloved ſpot where our affections 2302 O7v 302 affections are fondly fixed, all is ſilent and dark.—Ah! how often in life we feel this yet ſtronger, when the friend on whom we rely becomes ſuddenly cold and repulſive! Orlando, who was paſſionately fond of poetry, recollected the ſimply deſcriptive ſtanza in the ballad of Hardyknute: Theirs nae licht in my lady’s bowir,Theirs nae licht in the hall;Nae blink ſhynes round my fairly fair— And, like the diſmayed hero of the ſong, Black feir he felt, but what to fearHe wiſt not zit with dreid.

Quiet as every thing appeared round the houſe, he knew it was earlier than the hour when Mrs. Lennard uſually locked the door of Monimia’s apartment for the night; it was poſſible that ſhe might have detained her niece in her own room longer than was her general cuſtom.

In hopes that he might ſee the light at length glimmer through the caſement, which would aſſure him Monimia was there, he determined to watch for it a little longer, where he might not be himſelf obſerved.

It 2303 O8r 303

It was indeed ſo very dark that he was ſure it was impoſſible for any one to diſcern him from the houſe, or at leaſt to diſtinguiſh his figure from that of the deer who were feeding around him. He ſat down therefore on the turf; but the dreary moments paſſed, and ſtill no light appeared—though Orlando was ſure that if a light was in the room he muſt ſee it, becauſe of the want of ſhutters towards the upper part of this long window. A thouſand conjectures diſturbed him, and grew, as time wore away, more and more painful. Perhaps Monimia was indiſpoſed, and had gone early to bed; perhaps the alarms ſhe had ſuffered the preceding evening, and uneaſineſs at his not having ſeen her, might have overcome her tender ſpirits, and, together with the harſh reproaches of her aunt, have rendered her really ill. His warm and rapid imagination now repreſented her ſinking under anguiſh of mind which ſhe dared not communicate—and tenderly reproaching him for being the cauſe of all her ſufferings. It was 2304 O8v 304 was he who had diſturbed the innocent ſerenity of her boſom—and perſuaded her to grant him interviews, with which ſhe continually reproached herſelf. Or, if this was not the caſe, if her lovely frame was not overwhelmed by ſickneſs ariſing from ſorrow, perhaps ſhe was more ſtrictly confined in ſome part of the houſe where it would be impoſſible for him to ſee her; from whence it would be equally impoſſible for her to eſcape to him, to indulge him in the laſt ſad pleaſure of a parting interview. This laſt conjecture appeared highly probable, from what Mrs. Lennard had ſaid to him in the morning; and he found it too intolerable, even while it was but conjecture, to be ſupported with patience. The great clock now ſtruck eleven: every vibration ſeemed to fall on his heart.—He traverſed yet a little longer the turf immediately under the windows of the turret; and at length ſaw a light from the ſervants’ hall, whither he went, hoping, yet fearing, to gain ſome intelligence which he dreaded to aſk. He 2305 O9r 305 He entered, however; but found only Pattenſon there, who was putting out the fire. It was in vain Orlando addreſſed him with great civility. The ſulky old butler, who imputed to him the alacrity with which his favourite nymph had left the houſe, looked at him with a countenance cloudy and indignant, and deigned not even to give him the candle he aſked for.—There are candles, if you want them! was all he could obtain from him. He enquired if Mrs. Rayland was gone to her room? if he could ſpeak to Mrs. Lennard? To which Pattenſon, turning ſullenly away, replied, The women’s ſide of the houſe has been ſhut up theſe two hours—you’ll hardly get any admittance to make your ſlummering ſpeeches to any on ’em to-night.Orlando, already irritated by vexation, was ſo much provoked at this inſolence, that he was tempted to knock down the conſequential Mr. Pattenſon; but he fortunately recollected that he was an old man, and a ſervant, and that it was unworthy of him to ſtrike ſuch 2306 O9v 306 ſuch a perſon, whatever might be the provocation. He could not however help expreſſing his anger for this inſult, in terms ſtronger than he uſually allowed himſelf; and then, half frantic, went to his own room, merely becauſe he knew not what to do to obtain ſome intelligence of Monimia.

After a moment’s conſideration, he went through the chapel, and to the lower room of the turret. If Mrs. Lennard had diſcovered the door of communication, he thought he ſhould perceive it by ſome means or other—but all below was as he left it:—he then mounted the ſtairs, and liſtened at the door behind Monimia’s bed, but all was profoundly ſilent. He then ventured to tap ſoftly at the door, their uſual ſignal, which Monimia never failed, when ſhe was alone, to anſwer inſtantly; but now no anſwer was returned. He ſpoke— but no ſoft voice, in tremulous whiſpers, replied. Again he rapped, and ſpoke louder; but ſtill all was dead ſilence around him. 2307 O10r 307 him.—Yet he waited a moment or two— loſt in diſtracting conjectures—Monimia was certainly not in her room—what then was become of her, or whither was ſhe gone? He felt as if he ſhould never ſee her more, though it was impoſſible to ſuppoſe ſhe was removed from the houſe. At length he returned to his own apartment again, more wretched than he left it;—and not ſeeing any probability of diſcovering that night what could thus have robbed him of the ſight of Monimia, he went to his bed—but not to ſleep, though he had ſuffered ſo many hours of mental and bodily fatigue. He watched the earlieſt dawn of light; and as ſoon as he could diſcern the objects about the park, he dreſſed himſelf and went out—walking ſlowly round the houſe, and looking up at all the windows, in hopes that if Monimia was as reſtleſs as he was, ſhe might appear at that of the room ſhe was confined in, in the expectation of ſeeing him. But he made his melancholy tour repeatedly in vain. He then returned 2308 O10v 308 returned to his own room, furniſhed himſelf with materials for ſhooting, and then went into the kitchen under pretence of drying ſome powder; that, while he watched it carefully himſelf, he might have pretence for ſtaying to talk a little with the cook. This woman, whoſe admiration of Orlando’s beauty had made her much his friend, was willing enough to goſſip with him, and talked much of Betty’s being ſo ſuddenly diſcharged, declaimed againſt her, and hinted that it was pity ſuch a young ’ſquire ſhould undervalue himſelf ſo as to take a liking to ſuch a tawdry trollop.—Orlando, who cared very little what was thought of him in regard to Betty, rather humoured than denied the oblique charge; but endeavoured to lead the converſation towards Mrs. Lennard, whom ſhe called a covetous croſs old frump; and as for that, added the woman, ſhe uſes that ſweet child, her niece as they call her, no better than a dog.

“Why, 2309 O11r 309

Why, how does ſhe uſe her? cried Orlando faltering and in a hurried voice: What! has ſhe lately done any thing?

Not as I knows on; but I kno wsws ſhe is always rating her, ſo as the poor young thing have no peace of her life—and if ſhe offer for to come to ſpeak to any of us ſarvants, there’s a rare to-do!—Fine airs truly for mother Lennard to give herſelf—as if her niece was a bit better than we be!—If ſhe’s ſo proud that ſhe won’t let the girl ſpeak to no ſarvants, I think ſhe mid as well not make her work like one—which I’m ſure ſhe does, and ſhuts her up like as a felon in a jail.

Where, ſaid Orlando, does ſhe ſhut her up?

Why, in her own room, don’t ſhe? From morning to night, and from one year’s end to another, ſhe’s lock’d up in that there place, that’s juſt for all the world like a belfry.

And is ſhe there now? cried Orlando eagerly.

“Yes,” 2310 O11v 310

Yes, replied the cook, I ſuppoſe ſo—I think, ’ſquire, inſtead of running after ſuch a drab as Bet, you’d better help Miſs out of her cage.

This was ſaid merely at random; but Orlando’s confuſion was evident. He found that whatever removal Mrs. Lennard had projected and executed for her niece, ſhe had not communicated her intentions, or the motives of them, to this ſervant, and probably not to any of the others.—His diſtracting ſuſpenſe was now almoſt inſupportable. He had promiſed his father to enquire after Philip; he was under the neceſſity of ſeeing Mrs. Rayland; and muſt paſs ſome part of the day with his family. This circumſtanced, it was impoſſible, unleſs he gained ſome immediate intelligence of Monimia, that he could acquaint her with the deciſion made in the courſe of the preceding day in regard to his departure for London—impoſſible to contrive a meeting, on which his hopes had ſo long dwelt, when he might reconcile 2311 O12r 311 reconcile her to his going, and offer her thoſe vows of everlaſting attachment which he meant moſt religiouſly to keep. It now occurred to him, that he would take his gun, and fire it on that ſide of the houſe that was next Mrs. Lennard’s apartment, in hopes that Monimia might come to the window for the chance of ſeeing if it was he who fired.—Retiring therefore haſtily from the kitchen, without ſeeming to attend to the raillery of the ſervant with whom he had been talking, he ſaid there was a hawk about the park, which he had ſeen early that morning ſtrike a young hare; and that he would endeavour to ſhoot it. He went then almoſt under the windows of Mrs. Lennard’s room, and fired repeatedly, without obtaining what he wiſhed for. At length he ſaw through the caſement the figure of Monimia. He claſped his hands together, as if to entreat her ſtay, and to expreſs the anguiſh he laboured under. She looked fearfully behind her, as if dreading her aunt—and then beckoned to 2312 O12v 312 to him to approach. He flew under the window—ſhe opened the caſement, and ſaid, while fear made her voice almoſt inarticulate, My aunt ſuſpects us, and has removed me into her cloſet—Come after it is dark under the window, and I will tell you farther. Gracious Heaven! exclaimed Orlando, I go from hence on Monday, and we ſhall meet then no more.

I dare not ſtay, cried the trembling MonimiaPray, come as ſoon as it is dark!

To what purpoſe, exclaimed Orlando, if I am only to ſee you thus? By Heaven I ſhall loſe my ſenſes!

Oh! if you knew, ſaid Monimia, what I have ſuffered, you would not terrify me now—For mercy’s ſake, go! She then ſhut the window; and Orlando, not caring and hardly knowing what he did, went again round the houſe—half tempted to turn the mouth of his gun againſt himſelf. The wildneſs and diſtractiontraction 2313 P1r 313 traction of his countenance ſtruck one of the under keepers, who, believing he was really in purſuit of ſome bird of prey, came to offer his aſſiſtance. The impatience however of Orlando’s anſwers, ſo unlike his general obliging manners, convinced the fellow that the report he had heard in the family was true, and that Orlando was in deſpair, becauſe handſome Betty, as ſhe was called among the ſervants, had left the family on his account. The young man loved Orlando, as did indeed every creature who approached him; and he now endeavoured to conſole him—If I was you, Sir, ſaid he, as he walked after him, I would not take this to heart ſo much. What! cried Orlando peeviſhly, take what to heart?Why, about this young woman, anſwered the keeper: to be ſure you be parted, but perhaps all’s for the beſt; who knows?

Orlando, whoſe head and heart were full of Monimia, imagined that it was of her the Vol. II. P man 2314 P1v 314 man ſpoke; and turning haſtily to him, he ſaid in an eager, yet angry way—

What is it you mean, Jacob, and what is for the beſt?

Nay, Sir, anſwered Jacob, I only ſay, that worſe might have come of it; for to my knowledge there have been a deal ſaid, and the talk of the country ſure enough it have been. There was t’other night at the Three Horſe Shoes— there was three or four of us of the Hall, and John Dutton and Richard Williams at Mill, and Stokes and Smith, and ſome more—and ſo they were ſpeaking of this here young body; and Stokes, who is a free ſpoken man, he ſaid, ſays heWhat ſcoundrel, exclaimed Orlando, enraged and thrown wholly off his guard, what infamous lying ſcoundrel ſhall dare to traduce her?— I will tear the ſoul out of any raſcal, who ſhall breathe even a ſuſpicion againſt Monimia.

Monimia, Sir! cried the man, who 6 was 2315 P2r 315 was thunderſtruck by the violence of Orlando, Lord, I was ſpeaking of Betty— ſhe as went away this morning becauſe of your keeping company with her—I’m ſure, Sir, I never thought no harm of Miſs Monimmy, nor ſcarce ever ſee her twice in my life.

Orlando now repented him of his raſhneſs.— Well, well, ſaid he—I believe you, Jacob—I’m ſure you would not ſay or think any harm of an innocent young lady, eſpecially, Jacob, if you thought it would diſpleaſe me, and do me a great deal of harm.Jacob now moſt earneſtly proteſted not only his unwillingneſs to offend, but his deſire to oblige his honour.―― Orlando, whoſe ſpirits were yet in ſuch a tumult, that he could not arrange the ideas that crowded on his mind, now bade Jacob follow him into his ſtudy. Unwilling as he had always been to put Monimia into the power of ſervants, he knew that ſomething deciſive muſt be hazarded, or that he muſt reſign all hopes of ſeeing her before2 fore 2316 P2v 316 fore he went: he was the leſs ſcrupulous, as he was ſo ſoon to go, and he hoped he could make it this young man’s intereſt to be faithful to him.—It occurred to him, that even when he was gone, ſome perſon muſt be in his confidence, who would receive, and deliver to Monimia, the letters which he knew he dared not direct to her at the Hall. This miſtake therefore, which had for a moment vexed and confuſed him, he now thought a fortunate circumſtance, and, without farther reflection, diſcloſed to this young man his long affection for Monimia; the difficulties he was in at the preſent moment about ſeeing her; and his wiſh to find ſome means of correſponding with her hereafter. Jacob entered into his ſituation with an appearance of intelligence and intereſt with which Orlando was well ſatisfied. They agreed upon a plan for the evening—by which Orlando hoped to procure an interview with Monimia, inſtead of merely ſeeing her at the window; and elated with this hope, he forgot the hazard 2317 P3r 317 hazard and impropriety of the means he had uſed to obtain it.

Having however talked over and ſettled every thing with his new confident, he went to pay his compliments to Mrs. Rayland, to whom he reported the arrival of his commiſſion, and whom he found in the ſame diſpoſition as when he laſt ſaw her—Then having obtained her leave to dine at his father’s, he ſet out in purſuit of his brother, in hopes of carrying ſome intelligence to his family that might diſſipate their uneaſineſs, of which his own did not render him unmindful. He rode therefore to Mr. Stockton’s, where he learned from the ſervants, that Mr. Philip Somerive had been there about one o’clock; that he had borrowed linen of their maſter, with whom he ſtaid till after a late dinner, and then had ſet out in a poſt-chaiſe, as he ſaid, for London. This was information but little likely to quiet the uneaſineſs of his father and his family—with a heavy heart, therefore, Orlando proceeded to give it. 2318 P3v 318 it. Mr. Somerive received it with a deep ſigh, but without any comment; his wife with tears; while the General, from whom they concealed nothing, endeavoured to conſole them by making light of it. I am perſuaded, ſaid he, my good friends, that your extreme ſolicitude and anxiety for your children often carry you beyond the line that diſpaſſionate reaſon would mark for your conduct towards them.— Then addreſſing himſelf in his inſinuating way to Mrs. Somerive, he added—For example, now, my dear good friend—you no ſooner hear that it is right for you to part with your younger ſon for the army, than you imagine that he will be killed. No ſooner is you elder miſſing upon one of thoſe little excurſions, which a young man of high ſpirit, without any preſent employment, very naturally indulges himſelf in, than you figure to yourſelf I know not what evil conſequence. Believe me, Orlando will not ſleep in the bed of honour, nor our more eccentric Philip be devoureded 2319 P4r 319 ed by the Philiſtines. Make yourſelves eaſy, therefore, I beg of you. Your ſon is gone to London for four or five days perhaps—what then?—Here is your other ſon going with me—and we will make it our buſineſs to ſee Philip, if you will but make yourſelves eaſy—and I dare ſay you will have him with you again, before you eat your Chriſtmas dinner, ſafe and ſound.

Mr. Somerive, who ſaw from ſad experience the departure of Philip in a very different light, would not however dwell longer on a ſubject ſo affecting and ſo uſeleſs. It was no avail to diſcuſs now the reaſons he had to dread the conduct of his eldeſt ſon, in this unexpected abſence; nor did he wonder, for he had often ſeen it in others, at the compoſure with which General Tracy argued againſt the indulgence of uneaſineſs, which he himſelf could never feel; and he repeated to himſelf, as he longed to ſay to his friend, that it is eaſy to recommend patience with an untouched or inſenſible heart; patience in evils, 2320 P4v 320 evils, that either can never reach the preacher, or which he is incapable of feeling—Some lines of Shakeſpeare, applicable to the General’s remonſtrance, and the uneaſy ſtate of his thoughts, occurred to him as he walked into the garden to conceal thoſe thoughts from his wife. No, no! ’tis all men’s office to ſpeak patienceTo thoſe that wring under a load of ſorrow;But no man’s virtue or ſufficiencyTo be ſo moral, when he ſhall endureThe like himſelf. Therefore give me no comfort.

End of the second volume.

i

The
Old Manor House
A
Novel.

ii iii


The
Old Manor House.


A
Novel,
In Four Volumes.

ByCharlotte Smith.

Vol. III.

War is a game, which, were their ſubjects wiſe, Kings ſhould not play at. Nations would do well T’extort their truncheons from the puny hands Of heroes, whoſe infirm and baby minds Are gratified with miſchief, and who ſpoil, Becauſe men ſuffer it, their toy the world. Cowper.

London:
Printed for J. Bell, No. 148, Oxford-Street.
1793MDCCXCIII.

iv
1 B1r

The Old Manor House.

Chap. I.

Orlando could not, though he attempted it, conceal the anguiſh of his heart during the day: for though he had arranged with his new confident the means of ſeeing Monimia, it was far from certain theſe plans would ſucceed; or, could he be content with the means which he had uſed, however deſirable the end, Monimia, who while ſhe yielded to his earneſt entreaties had always felt, from the natural rectitude of her underſtanding, the impropriety of their clandeſtine correſpondence, would, he feared, be Vol. III. B more 2 B1v 2 more than ever ſenſible of her indiſcretion, when ſhe found that a ſervant was entruſted with it—and on thinking over what had paſſed between him and the under keeper, he found more reaſon to entertain a good opinion of his acuteneſs than of his integrity.—When to theſe reflections were added the certainty of his immediate departure, and the uncertainty of his return; the mournful looks of his mother, who could not behold him without tears; the deep, but more ſilent ſorrow marked on the countenance of his father, and the penſive expreſſion of regret on thoſe of his ſiſters; he could with difficulty go through the forms of a melancholy dinner, at which the General in vain attempted to call off the attention of his hoſts to topics of common converſation, and to divert them from private miſery by thoſe public topics which then intereſted none of them. The expulſion of the Americans from the province of Canada, which had happened the preceding Auguſt; and the victory gained by the 3 B2r 3 the Britiſh fleet near Crown Point againſt a ſmall number of their gondolas and galleys, in the courſe of the following October, ſucceſſes of which exaggerated official accounts were juſt received, were ſubjects whereon the General triumphantly deſcanted, and on which he obtained more attention from his audience, becauſe he aſſerted very poſitively that, in conſequence of theſe amazing advantages, the whole continent of America would ſubmit, and the troops of courſe return as ſoon as they had chaſtiſed the inſolent coloniſts ſufficiently for their rebellion.—Orlando then, he aſſured his family, was not at all likely to join his regiment, which would almoſt immediately be ordered home; but would be the ſafe ſoldier of peace, and perhaps return to them in a few weeks, no otherwiſe altered than by his military air and a cockade. The only ſmile that was ſeen the whole day on the faces of any of the family was viſible on that of Mrs. Somerive, on the General’s deſcription of an AmericanB2 can 4 B2v 4 can flight, though none had a more tender heart or a more liberal mind: but having heard only one ſide of the queſtion, and having no time or inclination to inveſtigate political matters, ſhe now believed that the Americans were a ſet of rebellious exiles, who refuſed on falſe pretences the tribute to Cæſar, which ſhe had been taught by ſcriptural authority ought to be paid. Thus conſidering them, ſhe rejoiced in their defeat, and was inſenſible of their miſery; though, had not the new profeſſion of Orlando called forth her fears for him, ſhe would probably never have thought upon the ſubject at all—a ſubject with which, at that time, men not in parliament and their families ſuppoſed they had nothing to do. They ſaw not the impoſſibility of enforcing in another country the very impoſts to which, unrepreſented, they would not themſelves have ſubmitted. Elate with national pride, they had learned by the ſucceſſes of the preceding war to look with contempt on the inhabitantshabitants 5 B3r 5 habitants of every other part of the globe; and even on their coloniſts, men of their own country—little imagining that from their ſpirited reſiſtance The child would rue that was unbornThe taxing of that day.

At length the hour arrived when Orlando obtained permiſſion to return to the Hall: he told his father, that as he meant to take leave of Mrs. Rayland that night, in order to paſs the greater part of Sunday with his family, it was neceſſary for him to pay her this laſt compliment. Mr. Somerive acceded to the neceſſity he urged; but, at parting from him, fixed his eyes on thoſe of his ſon, with a look which expreſſed ſolicitude, ſorrow, and pity. It queſtioned his ſincerity, and yet ſeemed not to reproach him. Orlando could not bear it: he hurried away, and rode as ſpeedily as he could to the Hall; where he ſent up for leave to wait on Mrs. Rayland to tea, and then went in ſearch of Jacob, who eaſily found a pretence for attending B3 him 6 B3v 6 him in his Study. Orlando with a palpitating heart queſtioned him: Have you, cried he, diſcovered any means by which I can obtain acceſs to Monimia, or get her down ſtairs, without the knowledge of Mrs. Lennard?

Faith, Sir, anſwered the man, ’tis no eaſy taſk as your honour have ſet me, I can tell you—However, I’ve contrived to ſpeak to Miſs—

Have you? cried Orlando eagerly: there’s an excellent fellow. And what does ſhe ſay?

Aye, Sir, replied Jacob, that’s the thing.—She was in a ſad twitter when ſhe know’d you had told me, and ſaid it was impoſſible to do what you deſired— for the room where ſhe ſleeps is a cloſet within Madam Lennard’s, hardly big enough to hold a bed: but it is an impoſſible thing to get out of a night after Madam’s in bed, by reaſon that her room doors are locked; and for the window, it is barred up with a long iron bar; ſo that if 7 B4r 7 if Miſs had courage to get down a ladder, ſhe could not get out—or if she did, ſhe could never get back again. Her aunt, ſhe ſays, finds her being there vaſtly inconvenient; and, as ſoon as you are gone, reckons to ſend her back to her own room.

I ſhall be driven out of my ſenſes, exclaimed Orlando, as he traverſed the room: if I cannot ſee her before I go, I ſhall be diſtracted—How did you obtain admittance to her? Cannot I ſpeak to her by the ſame means?Why hardly; for you muſt know that I was forced to get one of the maids to help me. The new houſe-maid that Madam have hired this morning upon trial, is an old acquaintance of mine; I gave her an item of the matter, and ſo ſhe contrived to take me up to mend the window-ſhutter, which ſhe had broke on purpoſe; and bid me I ſhould take a hammer and nails, and make a clatter if Madam Lennard came. I took care to make my job long enough; and when the old houſe-keeper ax’d me what I was a B4 doing, 8 B4v 8 doing, I had an excuſe you know pat, and it paſſed off very well; and not only ſo, but ſhe ſaid to me, ſays ſhe—When you have done that job, Jacob, I wiſh you would juſt look at the wainſcot under the window, and under them there drawers of mine; for it’s as rotten as touchwood, and the rats are for ever coming in, ſays ſhe; and ſays ſhe, I never ſaw the like of this old houſe—it will tumble about our ears, I reckon, one day or nother, and yet my lady is always repairing it, ſays ſhe; but the wainſcoting of this here end of the wing, ſays ſhe, has been up above an hundred years; and we may patch it, and patch it, and yet be never the nearer: but, for my part, I ſuppoſe it will laſt my time, ſays ſhe.

Orlando no ſooner heard that another perſon, the new houſe-maid, had been incautioſly admitted to participate a ſecret which he had hitherto ſo anxiouſly guarded, than his vexation conquered the pleaſure he had for a moment indulged, in learning that 9 B5r 9 that it was poſſible for another, and therefore for him, to ſee Monimia. To the latter part of the game-keeper’s oration he could not attend, occupied with the idea of the new uneaſineſs this circumſtance muſt give to Monimia; and agitated by innumerable fears and anxieties, he remained a moment ſilent after his companion had ceaſed to ſpeak, and then ſaid—She told you, I think, that after I was gone, her aunt would ſuffer her to return to her former apartment?

Yes, that was what ſhe ſaid.

Well, then, I will go. Indeed I am going by day-break to-morrow. Nay, I am going from this houſe to-night; and therefore I ſhall take leave of Mrs. Rayland this evening. He pauſed a moment, and then added, I ſuppoſe it is poſſible to convey a letter to Monimia, though I deſpair of ſeeing her.

O Lord! yes, Sir, that you may do for certain; for I told her, that if ſhe would let down a letter for you by a ſtring at B5 ſeven 10 B5v 10 ſeven o’clock, I would be there to take it; and you might ſend her one back the ſame way.

What is it o’clock now? cried Orlando.

Almoſt ſix, Sir.

It is time then for me to go to my appointment with Mrs. Rayland, whoſe tea I am afraid is ready. Do you be punctual to ſeven o’clock; and, if I can eſcape, I will be with you at the window. But I beſeech you, Jacob, to remember, that all the obligation I ſhall owe you on this occaſion will be cancelled, if you are not ſecret. I wiſh you had not mentioned this matter to any other perſon, eſpecially to a woman—You know they are not to be truſted.

Aye! that I know well enough; they’ll cackle, I know they will, if life and death depended upon it: but, Lord! Sir, how a-name of fortune was I to get at Miſs, unleſs I had done ſo? and I do believe Nanny is as truſty as moſt.

It 11 B6r 11

It was equally uſeleſs to argue on the neceſſity of the meaſure, or the diſcretion of Nanny. The die was caſt; and to meet Monimia ſafely after ſo much hazard had been incurred, was all that it would now anſwer any purpoſe to think of. Orlando, during his ſhort conference with his own thoughts, had determined to take that night his laſt leave of Mrs. Rayland, and to ſay to her before Mrs. Lennard, that he was to ſet out the next morning early, with General Tracy, for London. He hoped, by thus acting, to perſuade the aunt of Monimia that ſhe might ſafely ſend her back to her former apartment; and that by making an appointment with her for Sunday, when he would by the people at the Hall be believed on his way to London, he ſhould enjoy without interruption the melancholy pleaſure of bidding her adieu, and ſettling the ſafeſt method for their future correſpondence.

For this purpoſe he wrote to her; and ſealing the letter, he put it into his pocket B6 and 12 B6v 12 and repaired to Mrs. Rayland; who, underſtanding he was come to take his leave, received him with great ſolemnity, yet not with leſs kindneſs than uſual.

Her converſation conſiſted chiefly of good advice. She declaimed againſt the vitiated ſtate of modern manners, and related how much better things were in her time. She warned him to beware of the gameſters and bad women, who, ſhe ſaid, were the ruin of all young people; and gave him, though obliquely, to underſtand, that his future favour with her depended on his behaviour in this his firſt appearance in life.

With her the age of chivalry did not ſeem to be paſſed; for ſhe appeared to conſider Orlando as a Damoiſell, now about to make his firſt eſſay in arms. Indeed, while ſhe talked much of modern immorality and diſſipation, ſhe knew very little of modern manners, ſeldom ſeeing any of thoſe people who are what is called people of the world; and forming her ideas of 13 B7r 13 of what was paſſing in it, only from newſpapers and the Lady’s Magazine; or ſome ſuch publication, which excited only wonder and diſguſt—while her recollection came to her relief, and carried her back to thoſe days ſhe herſelf remembered—and with ſtill greater pleaſure to the relations her father had given of what paſſed in his. The freedom of modern life ſuited ſo ill with the ſolemnity of reſpect that was ſhown towards her in her youth, that ſhe ſhrunk from the uneaſineſs it gave her, and made around her a world of her own: and when Orlando became an inhabitant of it, all that regarded him was aſſimilated to her own antediluvian notions.

In anſwer to her long and ſage lecture, Orlando aſſured her, and with great ſincerity, that he had no wiſhes that were not centred in the ſpot and neighbourhood he was about to leave: that new as he was to the world, he yet believed it would offer him no objects that could a moment detach his affections from his family and his friends. 14 B7v 14 friends. There was ſo much earneſtneſs, and ſomething ſo impreſſive in the manner of his ſaying this, as not only enforced belief, but ſenſibly affected Mrs. Rayland. She almoſt repented that ſhe had ever conſented to his going; but to detain him now without acknowledging him as her heir (which ſhe had determined never to do), was not to be thought of; and General Tracy had ſucceeded in convincing her, not only that it was a juſtice due to her young relation to give him an opportunity of ſeeing more of mankind; but that, as he would not quit England, he would enjoy all the advantages of an honourable profeſſion, without loſing the advantage of her protection. Without giving implicit credit to the tales by which Pattenſon attempted to prejudice him in her favour, ſhe thought enough of them to let them influence in ſome degree her determination; and ſhe believed that, if he had formed any improper attachment, nothing was ſo likely to break it 15 B8r 15 it as ſending him from the country, and into ſcenes of life which would, ſhe ſuppoſed, occupy his mind without injuring his morals.

It ſeemed as if towards the cloſe of her life Mrs. Rayland had acquired, inſtead of loſing, her ſenſibility; for ſhe, who had hardly ever loved any body, now found that ſhe could not without pain part from Orlando. She felt her pride and pleaſure equally intereſted in exerting towards him that generoſity, which from the reſt of his family ſhe had withheld; and the apparent dejection of his ſpirits, the reluctance with which he left the Hall, made him appear to her more worthy than ever of her favour. When therefore ſhe had exhauſted every topic of advice ſhe could think of, and received, from the manly ſimplicity of his anſwers, all the aſſurances that words could give of his gratefully receiving it, ſhe preſented him with a bank note of two hundred and fifty pounds; which ſhe told him was for the purpoſe of purchaſing what he would 16 B8v 16 would have occaſion for on his firſt entrance into the army. She had, however, ſo little idea of modern expences, that ſhe really conſidered this as a very great ſum; and ſuch as it was an amazing effort of generoſity in her to part with: yet, while ſhe made this exertion, her kindneſs towards him was ſo far from being exhauſted, that ſhe told him he ſhould find her always his banker, ſo long as he continued to give her reaſon to think of him as ſhe thought now.

Orlando kiſſed the hand of his ancient benefactreſs; but the tears were in his eyes, and he was unable to ſpeak. He tried, however, to thank her for this laſt, and for all her former favours to him: but the words were inarticulate; and the old lady herſelf, albeit unuſed to the melting mood, was now ſo much affected, that ſhe could only faintly utter the bleſſing ſhe gave him. You had better not ſay any more, Sir, ſaid Mrs. Lennard, who ſeemed diſpoſed to weep too—much better not, for 17 B9r 17 for indeed it will make my lady quite out of ſpirits. Orlando, very willing to ſhorten ſuch a ſcene, turned to Mrs. Lennard, towards whom in a few hurried words he expreſſed his thanks for her paſt kindneſs, and his wiſhes for her health and happineſs; and then haſtened away, his heart oppreſſed by the ſcene that had paſſed, yet beating tumultuouſly with the thoughts of that which was to come.

He hardly dared, however, give himſelf time to think. He had told Mrs. Rayland a falſehood, for which his ingenuous heart already ſmote him. He was about to act in direct violation of all he had promiſed, and all ſhe expected of him. He knew that, were he detected lingering about the houſe, after what he had juſt ſaid of his intentions of leaving it immediately, he ſhould loſe for ever all the advantage of that favour which Mrs. Rayland now ſo openly avowed for him; and that, if his attachment to Monimia were known, it would excite more anger and reſentment than 18 B9v 18 than almoſt any of the errors againſt which ſhe had been warning him. But all theſe conſiderations, ſtrongly as they ought to have operated againſt any other indiſcreet indulgence, were powerleſs when put in competition with his tender affection for Monimia; and to leave her without being able to ſpeak to her and conſole her, was what he could not for a moment have endured to think of, if poverty, diſgrace, and exile from every other human being had been the alternatives.

On entering his room he found it wanted only a few moments of ſeven. He glided therefore round the houſe, and found his punctual confident already waiting for the ſignal. We need not both be here, ſaid Orlando: go, Jacob, and wait for me in my room: I have aſked leave for you to go with me to-night to carry a portmanteau to Weſt Wolverton. Jacob obeyed; and Orlando, almoſt breathleſs with fear leſt he ſhould be diſappointed in this his forlorn hope, waited under the window.

The 19 B10r 19

The caſement at length ſoftly opened, and Monimia appeared at it. He ſpoke to her, and bade her let down the ſtring for a letter, on the ſucceſs of which, ſaid he, more than my life depends.— Read it then, Monimia, read it quickly, and give me an anſwer.

The trembling girl, whoſe hurry of ſpirits alone ſupported her, now haſtened away with the letter; and, in an inſtant, threw down a piece of paper on which ſhe had written with a pencil—If I am ſuffered to go back to my own room to-night, I will be ready on the uſual ſignal; but, if I am not, I cannot write. If I am not, farewell, Orlando—farewell for ever; for I ſhall be too wretched to make it poſſible for me to live. Remember, dear Orlando, your poor friend; and may you be very happy, whatever becomes of me! Go, now, for heaven’s ſake!—I am ſure my aunt will be here in a few moments: and all depends upon her believing you gone.

As it was too dark for Orlando to diſcerncern 20 B10v 20 cern theſe words, he was compelled to go back to his own room to read them. The doubt they left upon his mind diſtracted him; but it was a doubt which, if he attempted to remove it, would become a certainty that would deſtroy this faint ray of hope. He went back, however, to the window, in hopes that he might yet ſpeak one word to Monimia; but he ſaw that there was now another candle in the room; and, retiring a little farther ſo as to be able to ſee more of it, he diſtinctly ſaw Mrs. Lennard walking in the room, and apparently buſied in the uſual occupations to which ſhe dedicated Saturday nights. To ſtay, therefore, was not only uſeleſs but dangerous; and he thought it better to make a great buſtle in going, that all the inhabitants of the Hall might be appriſed of his abſence. He ſent Jacob, therefore, into the kitchen to give ſome farther orders about forwarding his trunks and baggage to the next market town, as they were to be ſent to London by the waggon; and then, mourn- 21 B11r 21 mournfully and reluctantly, prepared to leave the room where he had paſſed ſo many happy hours—the room where his mind firſt taſted the charms of literature, and his heart of love. It was indeed poſſible that he might once more reviſit it, once more that evening with Monimia; but it was alſo poſſible, perhaps moſt probable, that he might not ſee her again.

A thouſand painful reflections preſented themſelves. He left her expoſed to numberleſs inconveniences; and his late raſhneſs had, perhaps, added to them by putting her into the power of ſervants. Yet he might be denied an opportunity to put her upon her guard againſt any of the circumſtances he foreſaw, or even to ſettle how ſhe might receive his letters.

He traverſed the library, yielding to theſe tormenting thoughts; and, by the light of the ſolitary candle he had ſet down in the window ſeat, every thing appeared gloomy and terrific. Every object and every ſound ſeemed to repeat the ſentence, that 22 B11v 22 that conſtantly occurred to him—Orlando will reviſit this houſe no more. It is difficult to ſay how long he would have indulged this mournful reverie (notwithſtanding his reſolution juſt before taken to quit the houſe with as much noiſe as poſſible), if he had not been alarmed by the ſound of a female ſtep in the adjoining parlour. He ſtarted. It was perhaps Monimia! He flew to the door; and there, with too evident marks of diſappointment in his countenance, he diſcovered it to be Mrs. Lennard herſelf, who with a candle in her hand, and much perpendicular dignity in her air, ſtalked into the Study—I am glad, Mr. Orlando, you are not yet gone, for I have a meſſage from my Lady. Orlando would have faced a cannon with leſs trepidation than he waited for this meſſage, which his conſcience told him might relate to Monimia. It proved, however, to be only that he would give to Lennard the keys of the rooms; and that ſhe might ſee the window ſafe and barred. To this, 6 though 23 B12r 23 though it diſappointed him wholly of his hopes of meeting Monimia there, it was impoſſible to object. The cautious houſekeeper, therefore, barricaded every avenue to this apartment, without forgetting the door that led to the chapel; and then, formally enquiring if Orlando had taken out every thing he wiſhed to have, to which he anſwered Yes (as his boxes had been moved the preceding day), ſhe ſaid ſhe would follow him; and he left the room with an additional pang, while Mrs. Lennard locked the door and marched ſolemnly after him.

Towards the middle of the great parlour, through which they were paſſing, he ſtopped, and ſaid in a voice that betrayed his emotion—You will be ſo good, dear Madam, to aſſure Mrs. Rayland of my grateful reſpects, and to accept yourſelf a repetition of my good wiſhes.

Thank you, Sir, anſwered the lady, I am ſure I wiſh you very well: but now, Mr. Orlando, ſince we part friends

“I hope 24 B12v 24

I hope we always were friends, Madam, ſaid Orlando, attempting to ſmile, and turn the diſcourſe, which he feared tended to the ſubject he moſt dreaded.

I hope ſo too, Sir; but I muſt ſay, that I am afraid in regard to that girl, my niece, there has been ſome wrong doings. It was not right in you, Mr. Orlando, I muſt ſay, to hold a ſecret correſpondence with her, which I am very ſure you did, by means of that ſad ſlut Betty, who latterly has been always giving me hints of it: but I, who did not think Monimia ſo cunning and artful, did not underſtand them; and, even to this day, I cannot imagine how you contrived ſo often to talk to her out of window, without being ſeen or heard. However, it’s all over now, I hope; and I am willing to let it be forgot as a childiſh frolic. When you return here, Sir, you will by that time have ſeen too much of the world to think about ſuch a chit as Monimia—if, indeed, ſhe ſhould happen to be here ſo long.

2 Orlando, 25 C1r 25

Orlando, divided between his joy to find that the real avenue by which they had converſed was unknown, and the pain the laſt hint gave him, knew not what to reply; but, confuſed and heſitating, he ſtammered out a ſentence which Mrs. Lennard did not give him time to finiſh—Come, come, Mr. Orlando, ſaid ſhe, I know you are above any falſe repreſentations: beſides, I aſſure you, you cannot take an old bird with chaff—However, as I ſaid before, there is an end of the matter—I ſhall take care of young Madam here; and I dare ſay you will find plenty of ladies where you are going, better worth looking after.

Orlando, utterly unable to anſwer this raillery, now wiſhed her once more health and happineſs; and ſaid (again vainly attempting to appear unconcerned) —I really do not love to contradict ladies, my dear Mrs. Lennard! ſo you muſt have your own way, however your ſuſpicions may wrong me. He then haſtenedIII. C ened 26 C1v 26 ened away to mount his horſe, with which Jacob waited for him at the door of the ſervants’ hall that opened towards the ſtables:—but as he paſſed through, he found all the ſervants aſſembled at it to take leave of him. Even Pattenſon was there; but, by the expreſſion of his air and countenance, with very different ſentiments from the reſt—for they all teſtified their concern; while the old butler, with a contemptuous ſneer on his countenance, appeared to be delighted by his departure.

At once flattered and pained by the good wiſhes and prayers for his proſperity with which they crowded around him, while moſt of the women ſhed tears, Orlando ſpoke kindly to each of them, aſſured them that he ſhould rejoice in any good that might befal them: But, added he, I hope, my kind friends, we do not part for a great length of time, and that on my return I ſhall find you all here, unleſs any of you laſſes ſhould be carried off by good huſbands. Then, again wiſhing them all well, he 27 C2r 27 he mounted his horſe; and Jacob following, he rode away from the Hall—but not with a deſign of going to the houſe of his father; he rather meant to linger about the woods till the hour when he thought there was a chance of his finding Monimia once more in the turret.

C2 Chap. 28 C2v 28

Chap. II.

Orlando, already repenting, though he hardly knew why, that he had told the game-keeper ſo much, was very unwilling to entruſt him with more. He had not ſo exactly deſcribed the way of his communication with Monimia, as to enable any other perſon to find it; and he wiſhed rather to recall than to increaſe the confidence he had placed in a man of whom he knew very little, and who might perhaps make an ill uſe of his confidence. A new difficulty therefore aroſe: he knew not what to do with Jacob and the horſes, which he now repented that he had uſed. If he ſent them on to his father’s, it would be ſuſpected by a family who were every hour looking out for him, that he had ſtaid behind with Monimia: 29 C3r 29 Monimia: if he left them in the wood, the man would probably be diſcontented; and if he ſent them to an alehouſe near the mill at the extremity of the park, Pattenſon (who was the great friend and patron of the man who kept it) or ſome of the other ſervants might be there, whoſe enquiries could neither be ſatisfied nor evaded. Determined however as he was to open his heart to his father before his laſt adieu, he, after ſome deliberation, reſolved to ſend them home; and he thought the enquiries his father would make, would give him a good opportunity to put an end (at leaſt as far as he could) to a myſtery of which he felt aſhamed, as unworthy of himſelf, and of the object of his affection.—Thus reſolved, he told the game-keeper he meant to return back to the Hall, in the hope of ſeeing Monimia for five minutes; and that he ſhould go to West Wolverton with his horſe and portmanteau, whither he would himſelf follow in about two hours, as he ſhould tell his father, if he aſked after him, on hearing or ſeeing the horſes arrive without him.

C3 The 30 C3v 30

The man obeyed; and Orlando, making a circuit through the woods, in order to return to the Hall by the leaſt frequented way, and to have as little of the open part of the park to croſs as poſſible, arrived once more at the manſion which he had ſo lately quitted as for the laſt time.—He walked very ſlowly on purpoſe; and his thoughts were ſuch as brought with them only dejection and ſorrow.

He could not help recollecting with regret, thoſe hours, now gone for ever, when, in his early youth, he traverſed theſe paths—happy in the preſent, and thoughtleſs of the future;—when he had no paſſion to torment, no fears for its object to depreſs him; but went to Monimia with the ſame ſimple eagerneſs as any of his ſiſters or his other playfellows, and was unconſcious that the reſt of their lives would be embittered with anxiety and diſappointment—perhaps remorſe.—Orlando already felt ſomething like it: with the moſt candid and ingenuous temper he had lived ſome 31 C4r 31 ſome time in a courſe of deception—he had taught it to the innocent, unſuſpecting Monimia, and had ſullied the native candour and integrity of her character. The ſophiſtry by which he had formerly prevailed upon her to conſent to their clandeſtine meetings, now ſeemed mean and contemptible; but perhaps, in thinking thus, Orlando was too much like other tranſgreſſors, who repent becauſe they can ſin no more.

He thought himſelf, however, firmly determined that, had he ſtaid at the Hall, he would, at whatever hazard, act with more openneſs; but as he was going from it, there could be no harm in this laſt adieu. In writing to Monimia there could be nothing wrong, eſpecially as he meant not to make a ſecret of it to his father and Selina, nor indeed to any of his own family: while the peculiarities of Mrs. Rayland, and the watchful malignity of Mrs. Lennard, ſeemed fully to juſtify his not revealing to them what would be ſo hazardous to Monimia and to himſelf.

C4 Amid 32 C4v 32

Amid theſe diſquieting and contradictory reflections, he at laſt reached the Hall. It was the darkeſt of December nights, but calm and ſtill. Orlando walked ſlowly round the houſe, which, ſave a glimmering light from the window of Mrs. Lennard’s room, bore no appearance of being inhabited. His longing eyes, which had anxiouſly watched for ſome conſoling beam from the turret, whither they had ſo often been turned with tranſport, now ſought for the propitious ray in vain. Still it was poſſible Monimia might be there, but, from her aunt’s late ſuſpicions, deprived of a light. As the houſe ſeemed perfectly quiet, he ventured up to the well-known door, and, liſtening awhile, tapped at it; no anſwer was given!—he repeated the ſignal louder; ſtill no delicious ſounds were heard in return!—and, convinced at length that his project had wholly failed, and Monimia was ſtill a priſoner, he became half frantic, from the reflection that he had hazarded their ſecret in vain: he had in vain imaginedgined 33 C5r 33 gined a fineſſe, and aſſerted a falſehood, and perhaps muſt at laſt go without ſeeing her, his heart torn at once by his own ſufferings and by the idea of hers.

In ſtepping back to return down the ſtairs, when after a long ſtay all hope had forſaken him, his foot ſtruck ſomething before him, which ſeemed to be a parcel: as not a ray of light entered the place where he was, he felt for this with his hands, and, at length finding it, he diſcovered it to be a ſmall book: it was tied with a packthread; and Orlando immediately ſuppoſed, what was indeed the truth, that Monimia, not being permitted to return that evening to ſleep in her former apartment, had, however, on ſome pretence or other entered it, and depoſited at the door that book, which contained a letter. He opened the book with trembling hands, and found what he expected by the ſeal; but to read it was impoſſible, where he had no means of procuring light: he therefore put it into his pocket as eagerly as if he was C5 afraid 34 C5v 34 afraid ſomebody would take it from him, and then ran towards home; where, hardly feeling the ground as he went, he arrived, in a ſtate of mind ſo uneaſy and confuſed, that he no longer was capable of caution or reſerve; but haſtening into the kitchen, where he firſt perceived a light, he ſnatched up a candle without ſpeaking, and was hurrying with it to his own room, when his father, who had been anxiouſly watching his arrival, opened the door through which he was preparing to paſs up ſtairs; and ſeeing him pale and breathleſs, his eyes wild, and his hair diſhevelled, he concluded that ſomething very terrible had happened to his brother.—The raſh, unthinking, and vehement character of Philip, his wild profuſion, and unſettled principles, had of late ſo haraſſed the imagination of his father, that he now thought only of his committing ſuicide; and the ſudden appearance of Orlando, in ſuch an agitated ſtate, ſtruck him with the idea that this fatal event had happened— Almighty God! cried he, as he ſeized the 35 C6r 35 the arm of Orlando, who, muttering ſomething, would have paſſed to his room—Almighty God! what I have dreaded has happened.Orlando, who thought at that moment only of Monimia, and was impatient at every interruption, was, however, ſo ſtruck with this exclamation, and with the look of anguiſh that accompanied it, that he ſtopped, and, with terror equal to that with which he had been addreſſed, cried, What, my dear Sir! for Heaven’s ſake what has happened? My mother, my ſiſters!Oh, your brother! interrupted Mr. Somerivetell me the worſt at once, it cannot be more dreadful than my fears repreſent it.Indeed, Sir, I know nothing of my brother; nothing has happened to him that I know of—I hope you have heard nothing?

No! cried Mr. Somerive, a little recovering from his apprehenſion. Speak low, Orlando; I would not for the world alarm your mother, who is in bed:—but your looks, your haſte, your ſtaying out, C6 and 36 C6v 36 and your ſudden appearance, gave me I know not what idea, that ſome dreadful accident had happened to poor Philip.

Dear Sir, replied Orlando, you will really deſtroy yourſelf, if you give way to ſuch horrible apprehenſions; Philip, I am perſuaded, is well.—Pray compoſe yourſelf; I am extremely ſorry I alarmed you, and beg you will make yourſelf eaſy.

Ah! Orlando, ſaid Mr. Somerive as he ſat down in the parlour, whither he deſired his ſon to follow him—ah, Orlando! you relieve me from one miſery only to plunge me into another, leſs inſupportable indeed, but ſtill moſt painful to me.—What is the meaning, my dear boy, of theſe haggard looks, of this diſordered manner, of theſe late walks, and this breathleſs return? Some myſtery hangs over your actions, which cannot but be injurious, ſince thoſe actions, were they not ſuch as your own conſcience condemns, need not be concealed from your family—from your father!

“They 37 C7r 37

They ſhall not, Sir! replied Orlando warmly—I will not leave you in doubt about my conduct; you will find nothing in it that need make you bluſh for your ſon: ſpare me but this one night, and to-morrow there ſhall not be a wiſh of my heart concealed from you.

Alas, poor boy! ſaid Mr. Somerive tenderly, I gueſs but too much of them already:—but, Orlando, I depend upon your integrity; I have never known it deceive me. Go, therefore, now—and let me not ſee to- morrow that wild and unſettled look, that pale countenance, and ſo many ſymptoms of ſuffering, which I, my ſon, ſee but too plainly, and yet dare hardly ſay I pity, for fear I ſhould encourage what I ought to condemn. Then, with a deep ſigh, he added, Good night, dear Orlando! I will go and endeavour to compoſe myſelf, or at leaſt conceal from your mother the uneaſineſs that devours me.—Ah, my child! many and many nights I do not cloſe my eyes: the ſad image of Philip, bringing ruin on 38 C7v 38 on himſelf, on my wife, and on my poor girls, haunts me eternally; and then, Orlando, when my expectation reſts on you, when I think that I have another ſon who will protect and ſupport them when I am gone—for I feel that I ſhall not live long— then the apprehenſion of ſome fatal entanglement that will ruin all our hopes, comes over my heavy heart; and I ſee nothing for my wife, and my dear girls, but poverty and deſpair.

Oh! this is too much, cried Orlando; I cannot indeed bear it—What ſhall I ſay —what ſhall I ſwear, to quiet theſe diſtracting apprehenſions?—Good God, Sir! what have I ever done, what ſelfiſh actions have I ever been guilty of, which could lead my father to ſuppoſe that, to gratify myſelf, I would abandon my dear—my affectionate mother, or forget the intereſt of my ſweet ſiſters?Nay, Orlando, you never have given me reaſon for ſuch a ſuppoſition; but let us talk of it no more—once more, good night! Orlando then kiſſed his father’s hand, 39 C8r 39 hand, and left him. Eagerly he tore open the letter, which had already, from his exceſſive impatience, occaſioned to him ſo much pain. It contained theſe few words:――

My aunt refuſed to let me return to my former room this night, and you well know I dared not preſs it; I could obtain no more than permiſſion to go thither for half an hour to put it to rights, as ſhe has told me I ſhall go back to it to-morrow; and I uſe that opportunity to leave this letter, incloſed in a book, which I hope you will not miſs. Orlando, if you go to-morrow, we ſhall meet no more!—But as you mention not ſetting out till Monday morning, I flatter myſelf that if that is ſo, you will not go without ſeeing me: at all events I will be in the great pond-wood between four and five to- morrow evening; and will wait on the old bench not far from the boat-houſe. I will not ſay what I ſhall ſuffer till you come, if indeed you do come: but be not uneaſy for me, for my aunt will have no doubt of your being quite out of the country by to-morrow,row, 40 C8v 40 row, and therefore will let me go out to walk without any queſtions. If you can come, I ſhall not expect to find an anſwer at my door.—If you cannot――But, indeed, Orlando, my trembling hand, and the tears that fall upon the paper, prevent my ſaying any more. I cannot write a farewell to you!—But if I never ſhould ſee you again, do not forget me, Orlando!—And may God bleſs you, and make you happy!

The paper was indeed bliſtered, and ſome of the words almoſt obliterated, by the tears that had mingled with the ink. Orlando kiſſed theſe marks of tender ſenſibility a thouſand and a thouſand times: he laid the precious paper to his heart, and believed the taliſman abated its throbbing; then took it to read again, and endeavoured to calm his ſpirits with the aſſurance that he ſhould meet the adored writer of it, and repeat an hundred times proteſtations of tenderneſs which he never felt more forcibly than now. But as ſoon as his diſquieting apprehenſions about Monimia, and his fears of 41 C9r 41 of not ſeeing her, were appeaſed, the ſcene he had juſt paſſed through with his father recurred with more acute pain to his mind: he had promiſed to reveal the ſecret which was already ſuſpected; but, though he firmly adhered to this reſolution, ſurely his father would not inſiſt upon his promiſe to give up all thoughts of Monimia—That he felt to be a promiſe which he could not make—his whole heart recoiled from it. Ah! why was it thus impoſſible to reconcile his duty and his love; and why ſhould his attachment to Monimia be inconſiſtent with the attention his family would have a right to—if—if his father ſhould die?— The very idea of his father’s death was inſupportable; and yet he was going from him, and could not watch his health, or contribute to his comfort. Thus wretched Orlando tried in vain to ſleep—his blood throbbed tumultuouſly in his veins; his heart ſeemed too big for his boſom; by carrying his thoughts to the dreadful parting of the next day, he was rendered incapable of taſting 42 C9v 42 taſting any preſent repoſe; and day appeared before his troubled thoughts had ſo wearied his frame as to allow him to fall into unquiet ſlumber. Even in his ſhort and diſturbed ſleep, tormenting viſions aſſailed him—he ſaw the funeral of his father, who yet appeared living, or at leaſt appearing to him, though dead—and pointing with one hand to his mother and his ſiſters, while with the other he waved him away from Monimia, who, at a diſtance, ſeemed to ſit dejected and alone, in a wild and dreary ſcene, where birds of prey ſcreamed around her—from which ſhe endeavoured to eſcape towards Orlando, and held out her hands to him for help in vain. A repetition of theſe unformed horrors took away all inclination to ſleep. At ſeven o’clock Orlando left his bed, more dejected than ever he felt before; and dreading the dialogue that muſt enſue, he joined his father, who was walking, melancholy and alone, in the garden.

Chap. 43 C10r 43

Chap. III.

Somerive received his ſon with tenderneſs; but his dejection was but too viſible. Orlando approached him with apprehenſion, and his voice trembled as he ſpoke the ſalutation of the morning. They traverſed a long gravel walk twice before either of them ſpoke again. At length Mr. Somerive asked Orlando, if he had ſeen his mother and ſiſters? He anſwered, that he believed they had not yet left their chambers; and another painful ſilence enſued, which neither of them ſeemed to have reſolution to break.

At length Mr. Somerive ſaid, This, Orlando, is the laſt day we ſhall paſs together for ſome time—let it not be clouded by diſſimulation on your part; it ſhall not be ſo 44 C10v 44 ſo with remonſtrance on mine; but my advice you will hear, ſince indeed, my ſon, it is for your ſake, not my own, I give it—I ſhall ſoon be out of the reach of all the evils of this world!

Do not talk ſo, dear Sir! exclaimed Orlando, ſeizing his father’s hand; do not, I beſeech you!—Such gloomy preſentiments will overcloud this day with more pain for me, than your ſevereſt remonſtrance. Pray think more cheerfully: you are yet but in the middle of life; you have a conſtitution naturally good; and you may yet many years ſee around you a family who idolize their father.

No, Orlando! cried Somerive interrupting him, it will not be—Your brother, on whom my firſt hopes were fixed, he has inflicted the wound which, from long irritation, is become incurable; and where—alas! where is this family ſo fondly beloved?—Philip is gone! for I ſee that nothing can ſave him—My eldeſt daughter is married into another kingdom, where I can 45 C11r 45 can never ſee her—And you, Orlando, you are now going from me: I am not ſuperſtitious, but I feel ſomething like an aſſurance that we part to-day for ever; or if I am ſo favoured by Providence as to embrace you again, will you be the ſame after having entered the world; will you bring back to me the excellent heart, the ingenuous temper, the integrity of principle that has hitherto made me glory in my ſon?

Orlando, who expected a very different opening to this converſation, warmly repeated his proteſtations, that nothing ſhould make him forget the duty he owed his father —the affection he felt for his family. Ah, Sir! cried he, if you knew how little is to be apprehended from the world, where the whole heart is already abſorbed in attachment, contracted in the early dawn of life, and interwoven with the very exiſtence, you would not feel theſe fears, nor wound me with theſe doubts.

I have lived near fifty years, Orlando; you have not yet finiſhed your twenty-firſt. I have 46 C11v 46 I have ſeen, though paſſing in obſcurity much of my time—I have ſeen young men ſet out in life uncorrupted, and apparently endowed with every noble principle that could render them honours to their country or their families; yet, in a few years, I have ſeen them, either hardened by ambition, or degraded by debauchery, not unfrequently combining both; and if they have intereſt, purſuing the one only as the means of indulging in the other.

It is very true, Sir, anſwered Orlando: but the ambition of a ſoldier is ſurely glorious ambition; it leads to honour through hardſhip and danger; and he who follows his profeſſion earneſtly, can have little time for the ſallies of irregularity.

You are to be a ſoldier of peace, Orlando; but I will do you juſtice, I do not believe you will diſappoint my hopes by becoming a gameſter or a libertine.

No, Sir! ſaid Orlando vehemently. To be the firſt I have no inclination, and for the ſecond you have a ſecurity which I am 47 C12r 47 I am ſure you will believe infallible—I promiſed you laſt night that I would open my whole heart to you; dare I now then ſolicit your patience, while I acquit myſelf of what I hold to be an indiſpenſable duty, and ſpeak with that ſincerity to you, which I have reproached myſelf for ever neglecting to obſerve, though indeed it was not always poſſible?

I attend, ſaid Mr. Somerive in a grave and low voice: I would not, Orlando, touch upon this ſubject, becauſe I wiſhed to ſee if you had candour and reſolution to ſpeak when you might have evaded it.

Orlando, whoſe momentary courage already failed him, now half repented that he had ſaid ſo much—now ſhrunk from the unworthy idea of concealing any thing. He began then in a low and tremulous tone; and while his heart throbbed with a thouſand painful emotions, he related to his father the whole progreſs of his paſſion, even from his firſt recollection of the time when 48 C12v 48 when he began to love Monimia better than any of his ſiſters; when, in going to the Hall, he thought more of ſeeing her than of the amuſements in which he was indulged, and often refuſed to ride out on a horſe Mrs. Rayland allowed him occaſionally to have when he was about eleven years old, or to go to play with the men in the park; becauſe, at the hours when theſe recreations were offered him, he had opportunities of ſitting with Monimia, who was employed by her aunt to pick cowſlips from their ſtalks, to collect roſe leaves, or dry flowers and herbs in the houſe-keeper’s room. He concealed nothing from his father that happened in the progreſs of his paſſion; and as his timidity gradually vaniſhed, he ſpoke of her with all the enthuſiaſm and all the tenderneſs of paſſion. His father ſighed more deeply than he did as he proceeded in his ſtory; when he ceaſed ſpeaking, remained a moment ſilent; and then, with another long-drawn ſigh, he ſaid, I have always ſuſpected ſomething of this 6 ſort; 49 D1r 49 ſort; but my conjectures were ſhort of the truth.—If I had known, Orlando, that the Hall contained ſo dangerous an inmate, not all the hopes that have been raiſed by Mrs. Rayland’s partiality to you, ſhould have induced me to have ſuffered your reſidence there.

Good God! Sir, exclaimed the young man, can you call an angel dangerous? Oh ſay rather that my Monimia will prove to me a guardian ſeraph!—In thinking of her, I find my mind elevated, and purified—I live only for her—I wiſh only to live worthy of her.

Juſt now, Orlando, you talked of living only for your family—for your mother—for your ſiſters; and now this angel is the only object of your future life!—An angel! every idle boy that reads ballads or writes them, every ſcribbler that ſends his rhymes to a magazine, calls the nymph who inſpires him an angel; and ſuch an angel is this Monimia of yours! and from ſuch ſort of reading you have learned to fancy Vol. III. D yourſelf 50 D1v 50 yourſelf in love with her. The niece of Lennard is the laſt perſon in the world whom I would wiſh you to elect, and…

And why the niece of Lennard, Sir? ſaid Orlando ſomewhat impatiently— ſurely my father is too liberal to confound their merits. Poor Mionimia! She is indeed the niece of Lennard; but, believe me, ſhe does not in any inſtance reſemble her—And what is her birth? does it render her leſs amiable, leſs lovely?

Oh, ſoftly! cried Somerive, interrupting him in his turn, I have not the leaſt doubt, Orlando, but that you could prove in a moment that this ſeraphic damſel is not only the moſt perfect of human beings, but the better for belonging to a woman who has always ſtood between me and the countenance of my relation; a woman who, in all probability, will finally rob me of my birth-right.—Unhappy, ill- ſtarred boy! Do you not ſee that, by this miſplaced attachment, you have put it into the power of Mrs. Lennard to deſtroy all 1 the 51 D2r 51 the hopes you have been cheriſhing? Do you not ſee that you have put yourſelf upon her mercy? that, under pretence of not knowing of this clandeſtine love, ſhe has ſuffered it to go on? ſecure of being able to ruin you at any time with her Lady by diſcovering it, and making a merit of her own diſintereſted conduct.

Orlando felt that there was too much truth in this obſervation; but the greater thoſe hazards were that he incurred for Monimia, the dearer ſhe became to him. Well, Sir, ſaid he, and if Mrs. Rayland’s favour can be held only by the ſacrifice of every honeſt affection, I will diſclaim it. Why ſhould ſhe diſcard me for loving an amiable, beautiful girl, who—?

Nay, nay! cried his father impatiently— Why has ſhe invincible pride, and obſtinate prejudice? Why has ſhe always held me at a diſtance, becauſe my father, though her only relation, was the ſon of a man who could diſtinctly count no more than two generation? Why has ſhe D2 always 52 D2v 52 always expreſſed her deteſtation of the memory of my mother, whom fortune reduced to be her companion? Why has ſhe ever deſpiſed your mother, becauſe ſhe was the daughter of a man in trade? It is of no uſe to inveigh againſt, or inveſtigate the cauſe of all theſe ſupercilious diſtinctions in the mind of our old couſin: we know that, unluckily for us, they exiſt; and we know they are invincible. How do you think a woman ſo haughty and arrogant would like to hear that the young man ſhe has been diſtinguiſhing by her favour, and to whom there is ſome reaſon to think ſhe may make up the injuſtice ſhe has done his family, has engaged himſelf to marry one of her domeſtics; a girl brought up in her houſe through charity, the daughter of a nobleman’s ſteward, and the niece of her houſekeeper?

If ſuch are her prejudices, Sir, exclaimed Orlando warmly, that I muſt make myſelf eternally wretched leſt I ſhould offend them, I had rather, much rather, 8 give 53 D3r 53 give up for ever all thoſe hopes, of which the reality would be too dearly purchaſed, if the beſt part of my life, and all that can render it valuable, is to be the price. I thank General Tracy more than ever for giving me a commiſſion, which, little as it will afford me, and weak as my hopes are of preferment, will at leaſt render me in ſome degree independent.

I am obliged to General Tracy too, ſaid Mr. Somerive, for you will now be taken out of the moſt perilous ſituation that it is poſſible for a young man of your temper and imagination to be in. If Lennard is ſatisfied with having got you out of the houſe (for I doubt not but it was ſhe who ſo much accelerated your going), it will be well;—a little more knowledge of the world will cure you of this romantic paſſion. I hope you are not engaged to this girl?

Engaged, Sir!

Aye, Orlando—engaged?

If I give you no more trouble, Sir, ſaid Orlando dejectedly, with what you are D3 pleaſed 54 D3v 54 pleaſed to term my romantic paſſion, I muſt be forgiven if I anſwer no queſtions as to my future conduct; it ſhall not be ſuch as ſhall diſgrace my family, or give you any reaſonable cauſe of uneaſineſs.

The emphaſis laid on the word reaſonable did not at all pleaſe Mr. SomeriveYou muſt give me leave, Sir, ſaid he rather ſternly, to judge of the reaſonableneſs of my feelings myſelf: you evade my queſtion, after all your profeſſions of ſincerity. Good God! what a fate is mine! One of my ſons is loſt to me; the other is going to throw himſelf away, if not as unworthily, at leaſt more irrecoverably:—your brother may be reclaimed by time and affection; but an unfortunate marriage, contracted ſo early in life, is certainly ruin.

This ſpeech was ill calculated to appeaſe the concern and impatience with which Orlando found that his father, generally ſo conſiderate and indulgent, ſuffered his diſlike to Mrs. Lennard to ſtifle every generous and liberal ſentiment of his heart; and 55 D4r 55 and he was on the point of anſwering with more warmth than he ever in his life ventured to uſe, when fortunately, to ſave him from repentance, which would inſtantly have followed if he had given his father greater pain, the General joined them, and, after a few common compliments, they were met, as they walked towards the houſe, by Mrs. Somerive with a ſummons to breakfaſt. Though the interpoſition of the General had a little relieved both, the enquiring eyes of Mrs. Somerive were not eaſily evaded or deceived: ſhe ſaw, and trembled to ſee, the emotions that ſhook the ſoul of her huſband; while, on the expreſſive features of Orlando, diſquiet and anguiſh, mingled with ſomething of diſappointment and reſentment, were too viſibly to be traced by maternal ſolicitude. The presence of the General, however, and of the three girls, prevented her ſpeaking of what ſo much affected her; by degrees the clouds upon her huſband’s brow ſeemed leſs heavy; but Orlando was penſive and ſilent: the D4 attempts 56 D4v 56 attempts he evidently made to ſhake off his concern, were quite ineffectual; and as ſoon as his haſty breakfaſt was over, he took his hat, and, turning to his mother, enquired whether the dinner hour was as uſual (for on Sundays the family were ſometimes accuſtomed to dine earlier)? ſhe anſwered that it was; and Orlando, then ſlightly bowing to the reſt, was leaving the room, when his father cried, I thought you were to paſs this laſt day of your ſtay in the country with us, Orlando!I ſhall be back to dinner, Sir, replied he as he ſhut the door.—Somerive, who, in the dread of his loſing Mrs. Rayland’s favour, and in his hatred to Mrs. Lennard, had ſpoken of Monimia with more aſperity than he felt, was now convinced that harſhneſs would have little influence on the warm impetuous ſpirit of his ſon; that he would have done better to have truſted to mildneſs and perſuaſion, and to have treated him in this inſtance, as he had hitherto always done, rather with the gentleneſs of a friend, than the authority of a parent.

Stung 57 D5r 57

Stung with regret, anguiſh, and diſappointment, Orlando wandered away from the houſe, hardly knowing why, or whither he was going. Inſtead of obtaining for Monimia his father’s protection, and the countenance of his family during his abſence, with which he had fondly flattered himſelf, he had heard what almoſt amounted to a prohibition againſt thinking of her any more; and his own candour and ſincerity, to which he had been taught ſo religiouſly to adhere, had apparently done him more miſchief than the hints which his brother had thrown out, who had (as he lately learned from Selina) never ceaſed attempting, during his laſt viſit at home, to impreſs his father and mother with a notion, that Orlando had not only a correſpondence, but a correſpondence of the moſt criminal nature, with Mrs. Lennard’s niece. Mrs. Somerive, always unwilling to ſee the faults of one ſon, or to hear of the ſuppoſed faults of another, had ſometimes evaded, and appeared, when ſhe was forced to hear it, D5 quite 58 D5v 58 quite indifferent to this information; while Somerive, whatever credit he might give to the exiſtence of what he thought ſuch a fooliſh and boyiſh inclination, diſcouraged this invidious diſpoſition in his eldeſt ſon; and though he ſometimes felt a good deal alarmed about Orlando, he thought ſo contemptibly of Mrs. Lennard, becauſe he had learned early in life to deſpiſe and diſlike her, that he could hardly imagine it poſſible for a relation of hers to make a laſting impreſſion on a young man of ſo much taſte and ſpirit. He was however often uneaſy, and particularly after the dinner party at Stockton’s, on this ſubject; but, upon enquiry, he could not find that Monimia was a girl likely long to captivate his ſon, or to engage him in a ſerious attachment. Some perſons told him, indeed, that ſhe was a pretty girl; others, that ſhe was a handſome girl; but more, that there was not any thing very extraordinary in her: while from other quarters he heard that her aunt treated her like a common ſervant, except that ſhe 59 D6r 59 ſhe never ſat in the kitchen or the ſervants hall; and that ſhe hardly ever was ſeen by any of the family, being employed in attending Mrs. Rayland only when ſhe was ſick, and at other times in waiting upon or working for Mrs. Lennard in her own room. Somerive therefore thought, that whatever childiſh affection his ſon might have felt for her, could hardly have any ſerious termination, or any that could injure him with Mrs. Rayland; and if now and then, on remarking ſome peculiarity in Orlando’s conduct or looks, he recollected Philip’s wild aſſertions about this fair maid of the Hall, as he was accuſtomed in ridicule to call her, the hope that ſuch childiſh love would be forgotten, and the idea he had taken up that Mrs. Lennard kept her niece quite out of Orlando’s way, and treated her as a mere ſervant, quieted his alarms; for which indeed he had no remedy, for he could not either object to any perſon whom Mrs. Rayland choſe ſhould inhabit her houſe, or remove OrlandoD6 lando 60 D6v 60 lando from it till the preſent period, when he had her conſent and aſſiſtance.

But to whatever motives the conduct of Mr. Somerive was really owing, Orlando had ſeen it in that view only that was the moſt flattering to his ſanguine hopes: they now appeared to be deſtroyed for ever, and he ſaw only deſpair before him. Far from being allowed to aſk his mother’s permiſſion for Selina to ſee his Monimia, he dared not name her again, leſt he ſhould receive an injunction which the certainty of immediate death would not compel him to obey; and his projected confeſſion that he was going in the evening to meet her for the laſt time, he now had not courage to make. Yet he could not diſguiſe it; for, ſince the General’s reſidence in this family, their ſimplicity of living, and their hours, had been entirely changed; and inſtead of dining at three, as had been always their cuſtom, they now called it four; but it was often, in compliance with the General’s habits, near an hour later; five was the hour Monimia named 61 D7r 61 named in her note; it was perhaps the only one in which ſhe had a chance of eſcaping: therefore, whatever might be the diſpleaſure it occaſioned to his father and his family, whatever might be their conjectures and remarks, he muſt either fail returning to dine with them, or break away perhaps before the removal of the table cloth; to do the former would have been leſs uneaſy to himſelf, but he feared it would be more offenſive to his family. Reſolutely determined to ſee Monimia at all events, he fixed upon the latter; but as he could bear no more of his father’s diſpleaſure than what he was ſure, he thought, of hearing when he returned from his laſt dear interview, he could not reſolve to go back to the houſe, but continued walking, almoſt mechanically, towards Rayland Hall, forgetting, in the extreme agitation of his ſpirits, how very material it was that he ſhould not be ſeen after he had taken his laſt leave of Mrs. Rayland, and ſhe believed him gone out of the country.

This 62 D7v 62

This never occurred to him till, under a hollow ſand cliff that bounded one ſide of the great pond, near the mill, on the verge of the park, he ſuddenly heard the rattle of a carriage, and, looking behind him, ſaw Mrs. Rayland’s coach ſtopping at the gate, within two hundred yards of him. He then recollected the contemptible figure he ſhould make, and the irreparable injury it would do him with her, if he were detected in a falſehood, accompanied too with apparent ingratitude; but it was almoſt too late to eſcape, for on one ſide was the water, and on the other a high and almoſt perpendicular bank, that in ſome places hung over the road:—he had not, however, a moment’s time to deliberate; but, seizing one of the roots that grew out of the ſides, he ſprang up, not without ſome hazard of pulling the crumbling looſe ſoil, of which the bank was formed, upon him:—two ſteps brought him to the top, where, however, he would have been in a more expoſed ſituation 63 D8r 63 ſituation than below, if the holly, hazle, broom, and branches of pollard oaks that clothed the top of the eminence, had not afforded him a friendly concealment:—he threw himſelf among them; and then, perfectly ſure that he could not be ſeen, he peeped among the withered leaves of the oak and the thicker green of the holly, and ſaw very diſtinctly the carriage approach, in which, with a palpitating heart, he ſaw Monimia ſitting backwards with her aunt, while Mrs. Rayland alone occupied the oppoſite ſeat. He then recollected, that this was the day on which Mrs. Rayland uſually went in ſtate to the church of a neighbouring pariſh; a ceremony that was performed four times a year, when the weather did not forbid it. He was amazed at his own thoughtleſs indiſcretion; and ſaw that he owed his eſcape from its conſequences to a mere accident. On theſe occaſions a footman went behind, and Mr. Pattenſon rode in great form by the coach ſide. 64 D8v 64 ſide. It happened that the man behind the coach had been ordered by his Lady, at the church-door, to call with a meſſage upon her tenant, the miller, whom not being immediately able to find, he ſtaid while he was enquired for; and Pattenſon was under the neceſſity of diſmounting to open the gate, which, as he was extremely unwieldy, and rode a ſpirited and well fed horſe, was by no means the work of a moment. Orlando, after his apprehenſions were at an end, found in this little incident ſomething from which he drew a favourable omen: he was pleaſed to ſee that, in conſequence of his ſuppoſed abſence, Monimia was indulged with a greater degree of liberty, and ſeemed much in favour with Mrs. Rayland and her aunt: and it ſeemed as if deſtiny, however remotely, was determined to favour him; for, in this laſt, as well as in innumerable preceding inſtances, he had trembled on the very brink of detection, and yet he had hitherto eſcaped; 65 D9r 65 eſcaped; at leaſt he had reaſon to reſt aſſured that Mrs. Rayland ſuſpected nothing, and was far from imagining that her young kinſman was devotedly attached to her little, humble Mary.

Chap. 66 D9v 66

Chap. IV

Sufficiently puniſhed by the alarm he had been in for his indiſcretion, Orlando no longer ventured to appear where any of the tenants or ſervants of the hall might probably meet him; but, as he was afraid of returning to the houſe of his father till the whole family were aſſembled, leſt he ſhould hear more of the reproof he could ſo ill bear, he lingered about the coppices; and as a chain of them led to a ſharp eminence clothed with wood, that overlooked a part of the park, where, among the venerable trees ſcattered around it, the Hall-houſe appeared, he ſat himſelf down on an old ſeat which had been placed here for the proſpect afforded by this woody knoll, and indulged reflections which, though 67 D10r 67 though far from pleaſant, were mournfully ſoothing. He recollected that, in this copſe, but a few years before, he had once been permitted with ſome other children to accompany Monimia in gathering the nuts with which it abounded—How gay and happy they were then! how unconſcious of evils to come!—Under that tuft of hazle Monimia ſat, while he threw the fruit into her lap; and there he purſued a ſquirrel for her, which eſcaped up that old beech tree!—The letters carved by the ruſtics, whoſe Sunday’s walk in ſummer ſometimes led them to this bench, remained: he remembered them well; and, for the firſt time in his life, felt diſpoſed to take his ſhare of this ſpecies of fame; So admirably deſcribed in the exquiſite poem of the Taſk, where he ſpeaks of the alcove Impreſs’dBy rural carvers, who with knives defaceThe pannels, leaving an obſcure, rude name,In characters uncouth, and ſpelt amiſs. and, with his knife, he engraved on that part of this 68 D10v 68 this covered ſeat which had ſuffered leaſt from The ſylvan penOf rural lovers, Thomson. the words—Orlando, 1776-12-099th December 1776—flattering himſelf that this rude memorial might be ſeen by Monimia, and draw from her ſoft boſom one ſigh more of tender recollection, in his abſence.

Thus paſſed the time till the hour nearly approached when he believed the whole family would be together, and when he ſhould therefore eſcape any farther converſation with his father. He made his way towards home over hedges and through the moſt pathleſs part of this woody country; and, entering the houſe by the kitchen, he enquired for his mother and ſiſters. The ſervants anſwered, that their miſtreſs was ill, and had lain down on the bed; but that the young ladies were in the parlour.

Concerned for his mother, whom he fondly loved, Orlando haſtened into the common parlour, where he ſaw Iſabella leaning 69 D11r 69 leaning her head on her hand, in which was an handkerchief, and Selina hanging over her, her eyes ſtreaming with tears. Orlando, imputing all to his mother’s illneſs, enquired eagerly how ſhe did, and how ſhe ſo ſuddenly became ill? Selina, in anſwer, exclaimed: O deareſt Orlando! how glad I am you are come back! we have been wiſhing and ſeeking for you.

But, my mother! cried Orlando, my dear mother!

She is only very much agitated, replied Selina, and I hope will be better preſently: but Iſabella――

What, for God’s ſake, has happened to you? ſaid he, interrupting one ſiſter, and addreſſing his hurried enquiry to the other. Tell him, Selina, ſaid Iſabella, and aſk him how he would act if he were ſituated as I am?—I will go to my own room.

What is all this, my dear girl? ſaid Orlando as ſoon as ſhe had left the room: Iſabella ſeems leſs affected than you are!

Selina then related to him, that ſoon after breakfaſt 70 D11v 70 breakfaſt her Father and General Tracy had walked out together, at the deſire of the latter: where the General had opened his intention of offering himſelf to Iſabella as an huſband—of making very great ſettlements if ſhe accepted of him—and, in in ſhort, ſaid Selina, he made the propoſal appear ſo advantageous to my father, that the diſparity of age ſeemed by no means a ſufficient objection againſt accepting it:—he therefore referred the General wholly to Iſabella herſelf, with whom he converſed as ſoon as he returned home, repreſenting his own ſituation, which certainly affords us all but a melancholy proſpect, Orlando. He even told Belle, in regard to our circumſtances, ſome particulars which have been owing to Philip’s expences, that my father ſays he has not ventured to tell even to my mother, becauſe they would half kill her.—It ſeems that we ſhall not have any proviſion in caſe of our poor father’s death, as Philip has ſtripped him of all he had ſaved; and as this eſtate would 71 D12r 71 would be Philip’s, we ſhould not have, to ſupport us all, above fourſcore pounds a year; my mother’s ſettlement, which, as ſhe had ſo ſmall a fortune, was all ſhe would let my father ſettle upon her.—This, you know, is not twenty pounds a piece for us; and Iſabella would not certainly be happy with ſuch a pittance, if it were poſſible for her to live upon it: only, therefore, conſider what a contraſt the General’s offers make—Beſides the power ſuch a match would give her to make our dear parents eaſy (which I own is the only circumſtance that would ſhake my reſolution were I in her place), ſhe would be raiſed ſo much in rank! and have ſuch a large fortune!—ſo much ſplendour round her! things which you know Belle has no diſlike to, that I believe ſhe will conſent, though ſhe has a hundred times ridiculed the General; and when he has been making love to her—

Making love to her! ſaid Orlando; has he long made love to her?

I think he has, replied Selina. I know 72 D12v 72 know very little how people make love; but I am ſure if that was not making love, I cannot gueſs what is. Belle, at firſt, only laughed at him, and uſed to ſay ſuch rude things about his wig and his falſe teeth, and the art he uſed to make himſelf look young, that I have wondered an hundred times how he bore it: but afterwards he grew more importunate, indeed I thought impertinent, and Belle threatened to ſpeak to my father. As for my mother, we agreed to tell her the ſort of language he held whenever he could get my ſiſter alone, or with only me and Emma; and my poor mother, afraid of diſobliging a man who ſhe thought had been ſuch a friend to you, and might be to the whole family, deſired we would not tell my father, who would certainly have reſented ſuch behaviour, and contented herſelf with keeping us out of his way, and never ſuffering us to be out of her ſight. So the poor General, not being able to ſucceed in carrying away Iſabella on his own terms――

“Curſe 73 E1r 73

Curſe on his inſolent preſumption! cried Orlando paſſionately; he never could dare to think of it.

My mother, anſwered Selina, believes he did:—but you ſee he repents of his evil intentions, and is determined to be generous and honeſt at laſt.

And does my ſiſter Belle accept of him then?

That is the matter now in debate. My father has repreſented the ſituation ſhe will be in, if he dies and leaves her unmarried. She knows all the pecuniary advantages that attend ſuch a ſituation as the General offers her: and the queſtion only is, whether, as ſhe has no attachment whatever, the charms of grandeur, the chance of being a Counteſs (for the General’s elder brother has but one ſon, a poor puny boy), and being called the honourable Mrs. Tracy, are not ſufficient temptations to make her forget that the huſband who is to give her all theſe advantages is a good deal older than her father?

Vol. III. E “And 74 E1v 74

And how do you think the debate will terminate? ſaid Orlando.

Iſabella has been crying about it, as you ſee; and my mother’s being ſo extremely affected made me cry: but I believe, Orlando, that the General need not deſpair. Iſabella, however, has deſired till this evening to conſider of it; when ſhe is to give him her anſwer herſelf. He ſaid that he could not go to town and leave undecided a matter on which the whole happineſs of his life depended: nor could he bear to be in the preſence of the adored object, till the hour when this deciſion was to be made: ſo as ſoon as he had made his fine ſpeeches, he mounted his horſe and is gone to dine at Stockton’s.

Selina, enquired Orlando, tell me honeſtly, my ſweet ſiſter, what you would do, were you in Iſabella’s place.

I am very glad I am not, Orlando; but I will tell you honeſtly as much as I know of my own heart—Were my father to ſay to me, as he has ſaid to my ſiſter Belle, that 75 E2r 75 that to ſee me ſo opulently married would make his latter days eaſy, and ſave him from thoſe hours of anguiſh that now torment him about the future fate of us all, I ſhould certainly marry this old man, if he were ten thouſand times more odious to me than he is. To make my father happy, Orlando, whom I now ſee often ſinking under a weight of anxiety that is deſtroying him—to ſecure to our dear indulgent mother the comforts of affluence if we ſhould loſe him—and to promote your intereſt, Orlando, and poor Philip’s, and my ſiſter’s, I would throw myſelf alive into the fire; or, what would be to me much more hateful, I would marry a man whom I abhor.

The fine blue eyes of Selina, on which thoſe of her brother were tenderly fixed, filled with tears as ſhe ſaid this—her voice failed her a moment—but her brother did not interrupt her and ſhe went on――

But were only myſelf in queſtion: then, were I to ſee poverty and even ſervitude on one ſide, and General Tracy with his brother’sE2 ther’s 76 E2v 76 ther’s coronet in one hand, and a ſettlement of ten thouſand a year in the other, I do aſſure you that I ſhould refuſe him.

Generous, charming girl! cried Orlando; I do believe you, my Selina; and I rejoice that you are not expoſed to the alternative. Belle, though I love her dearly, has not, I know, quite your heart; and I hope does not ſo much diſlike this man, if it is indeed ſo probable that ſhe will accept of him—Beſides, the ſituation in life which he can offer, has charms for her gayer and more ambitious mind, which my ſoft Selina cannot taſte.

What ſhall I ſay to my ſiſter is your opinion, Orlando?

That ſhe muſt conſult her own heart, my dear; for I cannot in ſuch an affair give any opinion. But now, Selina, as we ſhall not have half a moment longer together, tell me, could you contrive to go with me this evening to meet Monimia for the laſt time? Selina, at firſt, ſtarted ſome objections—If they both went out together 77 E3r 77 together their deſign in going could hardly be concealed; and ſhe ſhould perhaps incur the diſpleaſure of her father and mother, who would not be well content that Orlando, whom they probably wiſhed to conſult on the important affair in agitation, ſhould quit them immediately after dinner. It was however, after ſome debate, ſettled that he ſhould go firſt; and that Selina, to whom every thing was ſoon rendered eaſy that could contribute to the happineſs of her beloved brother, ſhould follow him; for ſhe ſaid that ſhe might then perhaps not be miſſed; becauſe it was often her cuſtom to ſit of an evening with Emma up ſtairs, as they had uſually a great deal of work to do for themſelves and their mother; and though this was not a day when they could make that excuſe, yet their habit of doing ſo would make their abſence little remarked on an evening when a buſineſs was in debate ſo momentous as Iſabella’s anſwer. The brother and ſiſter had hardly ſettled their little plan of operations,E3 rations, 78 E3v 78 rations, before they were told the dinner was ready; and on their entering the dining room the reſt of the family were already aſſembled there.

Mrs. Somerive, though ſhe had collected reſolution to appear at dinner, could not conceal the agitation of her mind—Orlando ſo ſoon to leave her, and the fate of Iſabella in ſuſpenſe!—Her dread leſt her daughter ſhould ſacrifice herſelf and be unhappy, oppoſed to her wiſhes that ſhe might be eſtabliſhed in ſuch high affluence, made her mind a chaos of contending emotions; while Somerive himſelf, reading in her countenance all that paſſed in her heart, and knowing, even better than ſhe did, how neceſſary ſuch an alliance was to the preſervation of all the family, was even more affected; but he had yet ſtrength of mind enough to conceal it better, and to appear calm, though thoughtful and melancholy, frequently turning his eyes on Iſabella, who ſeemed in a kind of elegant languor,guor, 79 E4r 79 guor, the effect of her debate between duty and indifference; though, in fact, it had been held much more between averſion and vanity, in which the latter hardly needed the aid of any other conſideration to come off conquerer.

In a family party ſo ſituated, there was not, of courſe, much converſation, and the dinner paſſed without any body’s eating, though each preſſed the other to eat, and affected to eat themſelves.—Orlando hardly ſpoke three words, and thoſe were addreſſed to his mother, the intereſting concern of whoſe ſtill beautiful countenance wounded his very ſoul. Diſtracted between the fear of adding to that concern by his abrupt departure, and of a failing in his appointment with Monimia, he believed this dinner, uſeleſs as it was, was the very longeſt he ever ſat down to. Juſt as the table-cloth was removed, he heard the clock ſtrike five; and, looking at his watch, which went by the great clock at the Hall, he found their own was ten minutes too ſlow.—Monimia E4 then 80 E4v 80 then was waiting for him in the wood, liſtening to every noiſe, and accuſing him of cruelty and delay! Before this idea, every other conſideration vaniſhed; and, ſtarting up, without even attempting an excuſe, he hurried away: nor had his father, who called to aſk whither he was going—nor the more tender voice of his mother, who cried, Orlando! my ſon! ſurely you will not leave us! power to detain him a moment. He ruſhed out of the houſe, and ran, with the ſwiftneſs of an Indian, to the great pond wood.

By the time he arrived there, it was almoſt dark; but he diſcerned between the ſtems of the tall firs the figure of Monimia ſitting on the ſeat he had marked to her as the place of their meeting. Never before did he ſeem to love her ſo ardently as at that moment; his heart was ſoftened by the thoughts of their immediate ſeparation, while, oppreſſed by the occurrences of the day, it ſeemed ready to burſt.—Breathleſs from the ſpeed with which he ran, and hardly knowing 81 E5r 81 knowing what he did, he threw himſelf on his knees before her, and, ſeizing her hands, bathed them with his tears.

The trembling girl, who had been there even earlier than her appointment, and who had, amid an hundred other fears, deſpaired of his coming, trembling, and unable immediately to weep, hung over him, as with frantic geſtures he ſpoke to her; and when ſhe would have reproached him for the apprehenſions in which he had left her, her words were inarticulate; and it was ſome time before either of them was able to congratulate the other that they thus met once more!

Alas! the bitter certainty that a long, long ſeparation muſt ſo ſoon follow, poiſoned the pleaſure of their meeting: neither knew how to ſpeak of it, yet it was impoſſible for either to think of any thing elſe.

You go to-morrow, Orlando? ſaid Monimia. Yes, anſwered he; and then relating what had paſſed in regard to Iſabella, E5 he 82 E5v 82 he added, that perhaps if his ſiſter determined to accept the offers of General Tracy, as he believed ſhe would, it might be in ſome reſpects advantageous to him; for I underſtand, ſaid he, that the enamoured old beau means, if his love is ſucceſsful, to return in a few weeks—perhaps three weeks or a month, in order to carry off his young bride; and that he has hinted to my father, that from thence forward, conſidering me rather as his brother than his protegée, he ſhall not only procure leave of abſence from the General of my regiment—for I am not in his, but in that where his nephew, Captain Warwick, has a company—but uſe his utmoſt endeavours to procure me immediate promotion. I own, Monimia, that though I think this marriage moſt prepoſterous, and that my ſiſter Iſabella is marrying merely for money; yet I am ſo weak, and I am afraid ſo ſelfiſh, that the idea of gaining by this alliance the advantage of ſeeing you, which I could not often do otherwiſe, makes me 2 half 83 E6r 83 half forget the diſparity of the ages, and overlook the abſurdity of a man of ſixty- five marrying a girl of twenty-one; indeed, whether I approved or diſapproved of it, would in this caſe make no difference; therefore, as I could not prevent the evil, if it be one, there is, I truſt, no meanneſs in my availing myſelf of the good.

Monimia felt a weight, heavy as the hand of death, taken off her heart, when he told her they were, in conſequence of this new family arrangement, likely ſo ſoon to meet again. Her mind, which had dwelt with horror on the idea of a ſeparation for months, perhaps for years, was now relieved, by ſuppoſing it might not be for more than three weeks; and knowing nothing of military rules, ſhe ſuppoſed that after the firſt forms of entering on his new profeſſion were gone through, he might return to the Hall; and that if ſhe could not, from that active watchfulneſs which her aunt might then renew, ſee him every day, ſhe ſhould at leaſt know that he was under the ſame E6 roof, 84 E6v 84 roof, or within a few miles of her; to know even that he was in the ſame county, was a ſatisfaction; ſhe ſhould hear Mrs. Rayland ſpeak of him, if ſhe was herſelf deprived of the happineſs of meeting him; ſhe ſhould ſee him in the park, and hear his voice ſpeaking to others, if he was not allowed to ſpeak to her. Perhaps Mrs. Lennard, convinced by this abſence that her ſuſpicions had been groundleſs, might leſs vigilantly oppoſe their future intercourſe. All theſe hopes—for the hopes of a young and inexperienced mind, are ſanguine and eaſily received—ſerved ſo far to aſſuage the pain Monimia had felt on their firſt meeting, that ſhe became ſoon able to converſe with calmneſs; and not only quieted her own troubled ſpirits, but endeavoured to ſoothe and compoſe thoſe of Orlando. Her voice had upon his heart the power of magic—deliciouſly ſoothing as it was, it excited that ſort of painful pleaſure which is only expreſſed by tears. From this ſtate of tender ſympathy they were 85 E7r 85 were ſoon awakened, by a voice calling at a diſtance for Orlando.—Monimia ſtarted, in terror; but her lover immediately appeaſed her fears, by telling her what his haſte and the tumult of his mind had made him before omit, that he had appointed Selina to meet them. They now therefore (as it was ſo nearly dark that they could hardly diſtinguiſh their way) haſtened together towards that part of the wood from whence the voice came; and they ſoon met the poor terrified Selina, who, almoſt ſpeechleſs with fear, on finding herſelf ſo far from home alone, and in a night that threatened impenetrable darkneſs, trembled like a leaf, and ſaid to Orlando, as he took her arm within his, that the whole world ſhould not have bribed her to venture what ſhe had now done for him.

He led again towards the bench by the boat-houſe, though Selina preſſed him to return home as ſoon as he could.—I tremble, ſaid ſhe, and am terrified to death, leſt I ſhould be miſſed: my father indeed 86 E7v 86 indeed is never very angry; but juſt at this time I would not for the world add to the many cauſes of uneaſineſs which he has about the reſt of us.

Nor would I, replied her brother; no Selina, there is not in the world any ſacrifice I would not make to both or either of my parents, except that of my affections for Monimia. He then, though both urged him to put an end to this interview, which ſeemed indeed only productive of needleſs pain, inſiſted upon their ſitting down by him; and, holding their hands, which he kiſſed as he united them, he beſought them to love each other when he was gone, and to conſider each other as more than ſiſters! He told Monimia, it was in cover of his letters to Selina he propoſed to write to her, and not by the means of the under game-keeper, as he had once propoſed; and he then enquired if they could not appoint ſome one day in the week when they might meet in that ſpot: I ſhall then be preſent with you, ſaid he, mournfully,fully 87 E8r 87 fully, at leaſt in imagination—yes, however diſtant my perſon may be, my ſoul will be here! I ſhall, in fancy at leaſt, enjoy the delight of ſeeing together the two beings whom I moſt fondly love, and of knowing they are occupied with the thoughts of their poor Orlando! There is a ſtory in one of the popular periodical publications, I believe in the Spectator, of two lovers, who agreed at a certain hour to retire, each from their reſpective engagements, to look at the moon; the romantic ſatisfaction they enjoyed in knowing that the eyes of the perſon beloved were, at the moment they were gazing on it, fixed on the ſame planet, will by this means be doubled to me; for I ſhall know that at ſuch an hour on ſuch a morning my Monimia and my Selina will be juſt in this place; I ſhall ſee them—I ſhall ſee the eagerneſs with which Monimia will aſk for news of me—the pleaſure with which Selina will give it.—Every object round this ſpot will be preſent to me; and wherever I may be, however occupied in 88 E8v 88 in my duty, my ſoul will at that moment be particularly here.

Selina, not leſs anxious to gratify him in this romantic fancy than Monimia herſelf, now named Monday, as the morning when this innocent aſſignation ſhould be made; and gave as her reaſon for it, that on that day her mother was leſs likely to miſs her, from her being then particularly engaged in ſettling her domeſtic concerns; and that as they did not always certainly receive letters from the neighbouring poſt town, except on Sundays, the morning of the following day of the week would be that in which it would be moſt likely ſhe ſhould have thoſe that were to be ſent her for Monimia.

Poor Monimia, with a deep ſigh, reflected, that if all this was neceſſary to ſoften a ſeparation of only three weeks (for Orlando had again aſſured her it would not be more), a longer would be quite inſupportable to them both. The deep ſound of the great clock at the Hall tolling ſix, ſullenly conveyed 5 towards 89 E9r 89 towards them by the water, rouſed her from her momentary dread of future ſorrow to a perfect ſenſe of that which was immediately before her. It was neceſſary to haſten this dreadful parting; there was not a moment to loſe; for at a quarter paſt ſix ſhe was to be in the parlour to make the tea for Mrs. Rayland and her aunt, and the neareſt way was near a mile to the houſe.—Falteringly ſhe ſpoke to Orlando of the danger of her ſtay—he heard her, but he could not anſwer.—Selina, who was almoſt as fearful of being miſſed as ſhe was, repeated it.—Come then, cried Orlando, dejectedly, ſince it muſt be ſo, let us go. —He took one under each arm, and was moving towards Rayland Hall, when Selina cried, Dear brother! you will not go to the Hall?No, anſwered he; but I will not ſuffer Monimia to go ſo far alone; therefore we will ſee her ſafe in ſight of the houſe, and then return.We muſt be very quick then, ſaid Selina.—As quick as you can walk, my ſiſter; anſweredſwered 90 E9v 90 ſwered he, ſtill in extreme agitation: for I care not how ſoon the pain I endure at this moment is at an end—I ſuffer the tortures of the damned! The poor girls, terrified at the vehemence with which he ſpoke, and the wild way in which he hurried on, made no reply, and only exerted themſelves to keep up with him. In ſilence they aſcended an high ſtile, which in one place ſeparated the park; and in ſilence aſcended the hill which aroſe behind the north front of the houſe.—Monimia then deſired him to ſtop—We are now, ſaid ſhe, within ſight of the houſe, and there can be no danger for me.Within ſight! ſaid Orlando: How is that, my Monimia, when it is ſo dark that we are hardly within ſight of each other?No, replied ſhe; but what I mean is, that there is nothing to fear in my croſſing the park alone.I ſhall go with you, however, ſaid Orlando, to the old thorn in the dell below.At the hazard, ſaid Monimia, trembling, of our being met 91 E10r 91 met by ſome of the ſervants at the Hall, or people going home from their Sunday’s viſits to them!At the hazard, added Selina, of ter rifying and diſpleaſing my father and mother?At the hazard of every thing! replied Orlando, with a degree of impetuoſity which neither of them had courage farther to oppoſe. They again became ſilent; and as they continued to walk very faſt, or rather to run, they preſently reached the place which Orlando had himſelf named for their parting; where Monimia again ſtopped, and diſengaging her arm from his before he could prevent her, ſhe ſaid, faintly, And now, Orlando, God bleſs you!――dear, dear Selina! She was quite unable to finiſh the ſentence; but, turning, would have left them, when Orlando, throwing his arms round her, wildly preſſed her to his boſom.—Be not ſo much concerned, ſaid ſhe, trying gently to diſengage herſelf; remember you have told me we ſhall meet ſoon—very ſoon again: Orlando! if you really love me—if you pity 92 E10v 92 pity me, do not, I implore you, detain me now.I will not, ſaid he: God forbid that I ſhould injure, deareſt, lovelieſt――! She was gone!—he ſtood a moment like a ſtatue, while her white cloaths made her diſtinguiſhable through the gloom.—Selina then entreated him to haſten home—No! he ſaid, dejectedly; No, I muſt ſtay here till I hear the door, by which I know ſhe will enter the houſe, ſhut after her; and then I ſhall be ſure ſhe is ſafe. Selina could not oppoſe this; it could indeed take up but a moment—Huſh! cried Orlando, do not ſpeak; let us liſten—ha! the door ſhuts!—Well, Selina, I will now go back with you; and a thouſand and a thouſand times I thank you, my beſt Selina, for your indulgence to me.

They then hurried back the way they came, and with as much haſte as the darkneſs of the night would permit: it was above three miles by the neareſt path; and Orlando, occupied ſolely by the anguiſhguiſh 93 E11r 93 guiſh of having parted with Monimia, uttered not a ſyllable; while Selina, exceſſively alarmed leſt her mother ſhould have miſſed her, felt her heart beat ſo much with apprehenſion, that it was with the utmoſt difficulty ſhe could keep pace with him.

Chap. 94 E11v 94

Chap. V.

On their arrival, however, at the houſe, Selina was agreeably ſurpriſed to find, from little Emma, who was reading in the room they ſhared above ſtairs, that ſhe had never been enquired for; that the General had arrived juſt before to tea, which was, on his account, ordered later than uſual; and that Iſabella, who had been below ever ſince dinner, with her father and mother, was now, ſhe believed, alone with the General, to whom ſhe was to give her anſwer.

The palpitating heart of Selina then became quieter: ſhe took off her hat and cloak, adjuſted her hair, and prepared for the ſummons ſhe expected to have to make the tea. Orlando a moment afterwards glided up 95 E12r 95 up to them: he ſaid there had been no enquiries for Selina, and all was right.—I went, ſaid he, as is my general cuſtom when I come home, into my father’s ſtudy, but I found nobody; and, from what I can gather from the ſervants, this important anſwer has been given, and our old brother is with his papa and mamma, and with his future bride; they are all ſettling the ceremony together.

How can you laugh, Orlando, ſaid Selina, at any thing ſo ſerious?

Nay, replied he, aſſuming a levity he was far from feeling, you would not have me cry, Selina! If Iſabella is happy in this match, ſurely her family have reaſon to be glad of it; but one cannot help thinking of January and May! Selina had read but little, and knew not to what he alluded; nor had ſhe time to reply, for at that moment Mrs. Somerive looked in upon them; ſhe ſmiled, as it ſeemed, through tears.— Orlando, ſaid ſhe, I am glad you are returned—Why did you leave us ſo abruptlyruptly 96 E12v 96 ruptly after dinner? But come, my children, we wait for you below.And are we to find there a new relation, Madam? ſaid Orlando. Is the General to compoſe hereafter a part of our family?Your ſiſter has decided that it ſhall be ſo, replied Mrs. Somerive, ſtifling a ſigh; and you, Orlando, will be pleaſed to ſee how much pleaſure this alliance (notwithſtanding there is certainly a too great diſparity of years) gives to your dear father. The difference of age is indeed the only objection: in every other reſpect General Tracy is a match infinitely ſuperior to what any of my daughters could have pretenſions to. Mrs. Somerive then led the way down ſtairs, and her children followed her.

During ſupper the General aſſumed, as well as he could, the triumphant air of a young ſucceſsful lover. Iſabella was ſilent, and affected reſignation to the will of her parents; while her father looked at her with eyes in which doubt and concern were mingled with hope and ſatisfaction. It ſeemed 97 F1r 97 ſeemed as if he at once rejoiced in having his daughter ſo well eſtabliſhed, and yet feared that to the dazzling advantages of rank and fortune ſhe might ſacrifice her happineſs. None of the party ſeemed much diſpoſed for converſation; and as the General and Orlando were to depart early the next morning, they ſeparated ſooner than uſual: Mrs. Somerive in better ſpirits than ſhe would have been, if the General had not aſſured her that he would himſelf bring Orlando down with him, when he returned to claim the happineſs of becoming allied to her, and might call himſelf the moſt fortunate of men.

Calmed by theſe promiſes, of which ſhe ſaw nothing that ſhould impede the execution, ſhe beheld her ſon depart on the following morning, without any of thoſe paroxyſms of grief which Orlando had ſo much dreaded, and which he was ſo ill able to bear. Before the travellers got into the chaiſe, in which they were to go poſt Vol. III. F to 98 F1v 98 to London, the General demanded an audience of his future bride; and Orlando was at the ſame time cloſeted by his father, who enjoined him to preſerve his morals, to attend to the cultivation of that good opinion with which the General honoured him (points which a little experience proved to be incompatible), and laſtly, to make enquiry after his brother, and, if he could find him, to endeavour by every poſſible means to perſuade him to return home.

Orlando promiſed to obey all theſe injunctions, to the utmoſt of his power; and glad to eſcape hearing any other charges, which he might have found it impoſſible to obey, he received the ſummons now ſent him to attend the General with pleaſure; for nothing is more painful than the ſenſations which ariſe at the moment of ſeparation from ſuch friends, even though the abſence be but tranſient. The General had paid his compliments all round, and Orlando now embraced all his family with tears in his eyes. His father wrung his hand, and 99 F2r 99 and once more gave him his bleſſing.—His mother could not utter the laſt adieu! but went back into the parlour with her daughters; while Orlando, ſeated by his military patron, left his paternal manſion as faſt as four poſt-horſes could carry him.

He was not diſpoſed to talk; but as the diſtance increaſed between him and Monimia—between him and his family, all he held dear in the world! the depreſſion of his ſpirits increaſed alſo; while his companion, as he approached the ſcene of his former habits, and thought of the raillery he ſhould encounter upon his new ſyſtem of reformation, became more ſilent and contemplative: the clamours of his miſtreſſes, of whom he had now three upon his hands, and the ridicule of his friends, aroſe to his imagination in a very formidable light; but then the beauty, youth, and vivacity of Iſabella Somerive ſeemed excuſes for a much greater folly than he was about to commit. He recollected many of his acquaintance, whom he was willing to ſuppoſeF2 poſe 100 F2v 100 poſe much older than himſelf, who had married young women without half her attractions. He fancied, that he was weary of the diſſipated life he had hitherto led; that as he would ſoon be no longer a young man, but be declining towards middle age, it was time to have ſomebody who ſhould be truly attached to him; while his being married did not at all preclude him from gallantries, which he ſaw every body elſe purſue whether they were married or not. The greateſt inconvenience he foreſaw, was what aroſe from the precipitate affection he had ſhewn towards his nephew, Captain Warwick, the orphan ſon of his ſiſter, whom he had taught to conſider himſelf as heir to his fortune, who would be much mortified at the diſappointment. However, he reconciled himſelf to this objection, by reflecting that it would be very hard indeed if his kindneſs to his nephew ſhould prevent his gratifying himſelf; and by reſolving to make young Warwick an immediate preſent of a thouſand pounds, and to ſettle a very 101 F3r 101 very handſome income upon him after his death, that he might not be quite thrown out of thoſe expectations to which he had been brought up, when the General ſhould have a family of his own.

Nothing was farther from the General’s intentions than to marry Iſabella Somerive, even when he had firſt changed his battery, and pretended to her honourable love; but he found ſo little proſpect of ſucceeding with her, even if all was to happen in her family as he had foreſeen, and he felt it ſo impoſſible to live without her, that what he had begun with the moſt inſidious deſigns, concluded at laſt in an honeſt, though an abſurd one: and having once taken the reſolution to commit matrimony, he endeavoured to reaſon himſelf out of every objection that pride, libertiniſm, or the fear of ridicule, continually raiſed againſt it. Iſabella, whoſe heart was perfectly free from every impreſſion in favour of any other man, had ſo behaved as to make the enamoured General believe, that only her charming reſerve, F3 owing 102 F3v 102 owing to her ruſtic education, prevented her avowing her attachment to his perſon; though, on a thouſand occaſions previous to his ſerious declaration, ſhe had placed his vanity and affectation of youth in the moſt ridiculous point of view, and had ſhewn him that ſhe did not care a ſtraw for him.

But ſuch power has vanity in obſcuring the beſt underſtandings, that her ancient lover really ſuppoſed he could inſpire her with ſincere affection for him. Still, however, he felt an awkward kind of ſenſation, when he thought of the numberleſs gay young men with whom his blooming Iſabella would be ſurrounded when ſhe was his wife. Above all, he reflected with diſquiet on his nephew, who was reckoned one of the handſomeſt men of the times— he was three-and-twenty; and the General felt no ſatisfaction in being called uncle— Uncle! it ſounded ſo antique. Warwick, indeed, was never admitted to live with him; and he now repented that he had procured leave for him to come home from America, 103 F4r 103 America, in conſequence of a wound he received there, and heartily wiſhed him back again; but his return thither was not, according the General’s own account, very likely to happen. If the preſence of Warwick at his own houſe in Groſvenor Place was not agreeable to him, that of Orlando was as little ſo; and, though not for quite the ſame reaſon, for another very ſimilar. Before the laſt conqueſt made by Iſabella Somerive over the ſuſceptible heart of General Tracy, at leaſt a third of it had been poſſeſſed by a young woman, whom he had purchaſed of her mother, and whoſe aſſumed virtue and great attractions had induced him to admit her into his houſe, where ſhe had reigned ever ſince very deſpotically. As he had not yet ſettled whether he ſhould part with her or not, or acquired courage to tell her his intentions, ſhe muſt, till he could make up his mind on this point, remain where ſhe was; and, whatever might be his future reſolution, he did not greatly like that the handſome, F4 young 104 F4v 104 young Orlando ſhould be introduced to her acquaintance. As he could not give this reaſon to Mr. Somerive for not aſking Orlando to take up his abode in his houſe, he had ſedulouſly avoided mentioning it at all. Orlando had never thought about it; but, occupied ſolely by what he had left, he conſidered not a matter ſo inconſequential as whither he was to go when he got to town. Tracy had once or twice led the converſation to topics which he thought would engage Orlando to say what he intended in this reſpect; but Orlando took no notice of it, till, at length, juſt as they croſſed Fulham Bridge, Tracy ſaid, Mr. Somerive, ſhall my chaiſe and horſes put you down in London?—You know I ſtop on this ſide the turnpike, at Hyde-Park Corner; but the chaiſe ſhall go with you wherever you pleaſe.

I am much obliged to you, Sir, anſwered Orlando, who never till that moment recollected that the General had not invited him to his houſe—but there is no ſort of occaſion 105 F5r 105 occaſion to take your carriage.—I ſhall go, added he, this evening to Mr. Woodford’s.

That was a plan that the General did not quite approve of: he knew that, if his intended marriage was once known at that houſe, it would be inſtantly ſpread among his friends by means of the communication Woodford had with many of their families, which was a circumſtance he was not yet prepared for. The ambition of Woodford himſelf, and the malice and diſappointment of the two young ladies, would buſy them all in circulating the report; and the General, in love as he was, and determined to marry, had not yet prepared himſelf to ſtand the ironical congratulations of his male or female friends, but particularly the latter, on his reſolution of uniting himſelf in holy matrimony to the niece of his wine merchant. Theſe thoughts made Orlando’s intentions of going to Woodford’s, which however he might eaſily have foreſeen, very unpleaſing to F5 him; 106 F5v 106 him; and he remained ſilent ſome time, conſidering how he might guard againſt the inconveniencies he apprehended.

His reaſons for not giving him an apartment in his own houſe kept their ground; but he would very fain have prevented his going to Woodford’s, at leaſt till he had himſelf taken ſome means to parry the firſt burſt of the ridicule he ſo much dreaded. He could not take one very obvious means to prevent the circulation of the news of his intended marriage, by requeſting Orlando not to ſpeak of it; for he had often remarked that he was quickſpirited, not without a conſiderable ſhare of pride, and affectionate ſolicitude for the honour of his ſiſters: to affect, therefore, making a ſecret in London of what he had ſo openly avowed in the country, could hardly fail of awakening the high-ſpirited Orlando to ſome degree of reſentment, if not of doubt in regard to the reality of his intentions. After a long debate on the ſubject, the General at laſt recollected that 107 F6r 107 that it was impoſſible to ſuppoſe Somerive himſelf would not write to a brother-in-law, whom he was ſo much accuſtomed to conſult, on a ſubject ſo intereſting and important; and that, therefore, any precautions he might take in regard to Orlando would be uſeleſs. It is true that his being by his intended marriage allied to his own wine- merchant, had before given him many ſevere qualms, which a glance from the arch and bright eyes of Iſabella had at once diſſipated: but now, as he approached his town- houſe, and ſaw thoſe bright eyes no longer, theſe fits of half repentance, originating in pride and prejudice, recurred with more force; and when he arrived at his own door, he ſtarted from one of the reveries thus brought on, and again ſaid to Orlando, Shall my ſervants get you a hackney coach?

There was ſomething in the abrupt manner of aſking this, which ſuddenly convinced Orlando that the General had no inclination to aſk him into his houſe. Piqued F6 by 108 F6v 108 by this obſervation, he anſwered coldly, that there was no occaſion to trouble his ſervants, for that he ſhould walk to the houſe of his uncle, and would ſend a porter for the ſmall portmanteau he had in the chaiſe. —By this time the General’s valet de chambre had opened the chaiſe-door, and Orlando, who was on that ſide, got out. He ſtopped; and the General, as he followed him, aſked, in a low voice, ſome queſtion of one of the footmen who had been left in town, and who came to the chaiſe-door alſo: to which queſtion the man anſwered aloud, No, Sir! ſhe is gone out. The General, turning to Orlando, who was coolly wiſhing him a good evening, ſaid— You will certainly do me the favour to walk in?

Orlando by this time comprehending that there was ſome lady uſually reſident with him who was not to be ſeen, and that he was only aſked in becauſe ſhe was at this time abſent, anſwered, that he would not then intrude upon him:—but as I ſhall 109 F7r 109 ſhall want the advantage of your inſtructions, Sir, ſaid he, on many things of which I am totally ignorant, I ſhall be obliged to you to tell me where I am to receive your orders.

There was a coldneſs, and indeed a haughtineſs, in the manner of Orlando’s ſaying this, that convinced the General he ſaw and was offended by the evident deſign he had himſelf formed of evading to give him an invitation. More diſconcerted than he had almoſt ever felt in his life, he again preſſed him to go into the houſe, which Orlando again refuſed; and then ſaying he hoped to hear from him at Mr. Woodford’s, when and where he might attend him for the purpoſe of receiving thoſe inſtructions relative to his future proceedings which he had promiſed his father to give him, he again wiſhed him a good evening, and walked away.

Orlando had never been in London but once when he was about ſixteen, and had then only attended his mother on a viſit for 110 F7v 110 for about a week in the ſpring, which ſhe had paſſed with her brother. He remembered that he never was ſo happy as when they left it, and, on a fine evening of May, returned from the ſmoke of the Strand, in one of the ſtreets of which Mr. Woodford lived, to his dear native county, where only there ſeemed to be any happineſs for him. Since that time he had never felt a wiſh to reviſit London; and in a melancholy mood he now proceeded along its ſtreets, recollecting little more than his way from Piccadilly to the Strand. Every object now wore a very different appearance from what they did when he ſaw them before. It was now a dreary, foggy evening in December, and juſt at the hour when the inhabitants of the part of the town he was in were at their deſſerts, ſo that hardly any carriages but a few ſtraggling hackney-coaches and drays were rumbling over the pavement. As he approached Charing-Croſs the buſtle became more; and the farther he advanced, the 6 throng 111 F8r 111 throng of coaches coming out of the city, and going towards the play-houſes from other parts of the town, deafened him with noiſe; but it was a mournful reflection, that, among all the human beings he ſaw around him, there was not one intereſted for him. While the dirt through which he waded, and the thickneſs of the air, filled him with diſguſt, his mind went back to the dear group at home: he ſaw them all aſſembled round the fire in the little parlour—his father trying to diſſipate with a book the various anxieties that aſſailed him for his children, now and then communicating ſome remarkable occurrence to his wife as ſhe ſat at her work-table:— he ſaw Iſabella employed in making ſome little ſmart article of dreſs, and fancying how well ſhe ſhould look in it—and Selina, while ſhe and Emma were aſſiſting his mother in completing ſome linen for him, more attentive to her father’s reading, often aſking queſtions, and ſoliciting information.

But when he had finiſhed this picture, his 112 F8v 112 his fancy, with more pain and more pleaſure, fled to the lovely figure of his Monimia in her ſolitary turret, ſighing over the tender recollection of thoſe hours which would never perhaps return, ſometimes wiſhing ſhe had never known them, but oftener regretting that they were now at an end. —He ſaw her ſtepping cautiouſly into the library, whenever ſhe could find it open, to take or to replace ſome book which they had read together—ſhe ſhed tears as ſhe read over the well-known paſſages he had particularly pointed out to her—ſhe dwelt on the pages where he had with a pencil marked ſome peculiar beauty in the poetry. He fancied he ſaw her take out the lock of his hair which he had given her in a little cryſtal locket, preſs it to her lips, and then, imagining ſhe heard the footſteps of her aunt, return it haſtily into her boſom, and place it near her heart. A thouſand tender images crowded on his mind; he quite forgot whither he was going, and was rouſed from this abſent ſtate of mind only by 113 F9r 113 by finding himſelf at Temple-Bar. Recalled then from the indulgence of his viſionary happineſs to the realities around him, he recollected that he had paſſed the ſtreet where his uncle lived: with ſome enquiries, however, he found his way back; and, on arriving at the houſe, he heard that Mr. Woodford was out, having dined in the city; and that his wife and her daughters were gone to the play with a party of friends who were to ſup with them. He was told, however, by the maid-ſervant who let him in, that he was expected, and that a bed had been prepared for him by direction of her maſter, who had received notice of his intended arrival by a letter from the country the day before. Orlando could not help remarking to himſelf, that he was likely to have but a cool reception in an houſe, the inhabitants of which could not one of them ſtay at home to receive him; but he was new to the world, and his heart open to all the generous ſympathies of humanity. He thought that 114 F9v 114 that relations loved one another as well in London as in the country; but he ſoon ſaw enough of theſe to make him reſign, with perfect compoſure, a too ſtrict adherence to old-faſhioned claims of kindred.

Chap. 115 F10r 115

Chap. VI.

Amoment’s reflection recalled the confuſed and diſſipated thoughts of Orlando back to the tranſactions of the day. He had never liked General Tracy much; and he now liked hi