SERIES of LETTERS.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Printed for T. CADELL, (Successor to Mr. MILLAR) in the Strand; and J. PAYNE, in Pasternoster-Row.
Lady MARY SUTTON, at the German Spaw, to Miss WARLEY, in England.
How distressing, how heart-rending, is my dear Fanny's mournful detail!—It lies before me; I weep over it!—I weep not for the departed saint: no; it is for you, myself, for all who have experienced her god-like virtues!—Was she not an honour to her sex? Did she not merit rewards too great for this world to bestow?—Could the world repay her innocence, her piety, her resignation? Wipe away, my best love, the mark of sorrow from your cheek. Perhaps she may be permitted to look down: if so, will she smile on those that grieve at her entering into the fullness of joy?—Here a sudden death cannot be called dreadful. A life like hers wanted not the admonitions of a sick-bed;—her bosom accounts always clear, always ready for inspection, day by day were they held up to the throne of mercy.—Apply those beautiful lines in the Spectator to her; lines you have so often admir'd.—How silent thy passage; how private thy journey; how glorious thy end! Many have I known more famous, some more knowing, not one so innocent.—Hope is a noble support to the drooping head of sorrow.—Though a deceiver, court her, I counsel you;—she leads to happiness;—we shall bless her deceptions:—baffling our enjoyments here, she teaches us to look up where every thing is permanent, even bliss most exquisite.
Mr. Whitmore you never knew, otherwise would have wonder'd how his amiable wife loiter'd so long behind.—Often she has wish'd to be reunited to him, but ever avoided the subject in your presence.
Keep not from me her rich bequest:—rich indeed,—her most valuable treasure.—That I could fold you to my arms!—But hear me at a distance;—hear me call you my beloved daughter,—and suppose what my transports will be when I embrace an only child:—yes, you are mine, till I deliver you up to a superior affection.
Lay aside, I conjure you, your fears of crossing the sea.—Mr. and Mrs. Smith intend spending part of this winter at Montpelier: trust yourself with them; I shall be there to receive you at the Hotel de Spence.
The season for the Spaw is almost at an end. My physicians forbid my return to England till next autumn, else I would fly to comfort,—to console my dearest Fanny,—We shall be happy together in France:—I can love you the same in all places.
My banker has orders to remit you three hundred pounds;—but your power is unlimited; it is impossible to say, my dear, how much I am in your debt.—I have wrote my housekeeper to get every thing ready for your reception:—consider her, and all my other servants, as your own.—I shall be much disappointed if you do not move to the Lodge immediately.—You shall not,—must not,—continue in a house where every thing in and about it reminds you of so great a loss.—Miss West, Miss Gardner, Miss Conway, will, at my request, accompany you thither.—The Menagerie,—plantations, and other places of amusement, will naturally draw them out;—you will follow mechanically, and by that means be kept from indulging melancholy.—Go an-airing every day, unless you intend I shall find my horses unfit for service:—why have you let them live so long idle?
I revere honest Jenkings—he is faithful,—he will assist you with his advice on all occasions.—Can there be a better resource to fly to, than a heart governed by principles of honour and humanity?
Write, my dear, to Mrs. Smith, and let me know if the time is fixed for their coming over.—Say you will comply with the request my heart is so much set on;—say you will be one of the party.
My health and spirits are better:—the latter I support for your sake;—who else do I live for?—Endeavour to do the same, not only for me, but others, that one day will be as dear to you as you are to
Your truly affectionate,
Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.
BARFORD ABBEY! Yes, my dearest Lady,—I date from Barford Abbey: a house I little thought ever to have seen, when I have listened hours to a description of it from Mr. Jenkings.—What are houses,—what palaces, in competition with that honour, that satisfaction, I received by your Ladyship's last letter!—The honour all must acknowledge;—the satisfaction is not on the surface,—it centers in the heart.—I feel too much to express any thing.—One moment an orphan; next the adopted child of Lady Mary Sutton.—What are titles, except ennobled by virtue! That only makes a coronet fit graceful on the head;—that only is the true ornament of greatness.
Pardon my disobedience.—Can there be a stronger command than your request?—But, my Lady, I must have died,—my life must have been the sacrifice, had I gone to the Lodge.—The windows opposite, the windows of that little mansion where I spent nineteen happy years with my angelic benefactress,—could it be borne?—Your Ladyship's absence too;—what an aggravation;—The young ladies you kindly propose for my companions, though very amiable, could not have shut my eyes, or deaden'd my other senses.
Now let me account for being at Barford Abbey.—Was Mr. Jenkings my father, I think I could not love him more; yet when he press'd me to return with him to Hampshire, I was doubtful whether to consent, till your Ladyship's approbation of him was confirmed in so particular a manner.—His son an only one;—the fine fortune he must possess;—these were objections not only of mine, but, I believe, of my dear, dear—Oh! my Lady, I cannot yet write her name.—Often has she check'd Mr. Jenkings, when he has solicited to take me home with him:—her very looks spoke she had something to fear from such a visit.—She loved me;—the dear angel loved me with maternal affection, but her partiality never took place of noble, generous sentiments.—Young people, she has frequently said, are, by a strict intimacy, endeared to each other. This, I doubt not, was her motive for keeping me at a distance.—She well knew my poor expectations were ill suited to his large ones.—I know what was her opinion, and will steadily adhere to it.
Edmund, to do him common justice, is a desirable youth:—such a one as I can admire his good qualities, without another with than to imitate them.—Monday, the tenth, I took my leave of Hillford Down, and, after a melancholy journey, arrived Tuesday evening at Mr. Jenkings's.—Nothing did I enjoy on the road;—in spight of my endeavours, tears stream'd from my eyes incessantly;—even the fine prospects that courted attention, pass'd unnotic'd.—My good conductor strove to draw me off from gloomy subjects, but in vain, till we came within a few miles of his house; then of a sudden I felt a serenity, which, for some time, has been a stranger to my breast;—a serenity I cannot account for.
Mrs. Jenkings!—never shall I forget her humanity. She flew to the chaise the instant it stopp'd, receiv'd me with open arms, and conducted me to the parlour, pouring out ten thousand welcomes, intermingled with fond embraces.—She is, I perceive, one of those worthy creatures, who make it a point to consider their husbands friends as their own; in my opinion, the highest mark of conjugal happiness.
Plac'd in a great chair next the fire, every one was busied in something or other for my refreshment.—One soul,—one voice,—one manner, to be seen in the father,—mother,—son:—they look not on each other but with a smile of secret satisfaction. To me their hearts speak the same expressive language;—their house,—their dress,—their words, plainly elegant.—Envy never stops at such a dwelling;—nothing there is fit for her service:—no pomp,—no grandeur,—no ostentation.—I slept sweetly the whole night;—sweetly!—not one disagreeable idea intruded on my slumbers.
Coming down in the morning, I found breakfast on the table, linen white as snow, a large fire,—every thing that speaks cleanliness, content, and plenty.—The first thing in a house which attracts my notice is the fire;—I conclude from that, if the hearts of the inhabitants are warm or cold.—Our conversation was interesting;—it might have lasted, for aught I know, till dinner, had it not been interrupted by the entrance of Sir James and Lady Powis.—I knew Mr. Jenkings was their steward, but never expected they came to his house with such easy freedom.—We arose as they entered:—I was surprised to see Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings appear confused;—in my opinion, their visitors accosted them more like equals than dependants.
Your Ladyship cannot imagine how greatly I was prepossessed in their favour even before they spoke.—In their manner was something that struck me excessively;—few—very few—can express the nameless beauties of grace,—never to be seen but in a carriage sweetly humble.
Lady Powis seated herself opposite to me.—We called, said she, addressing Mr. Jenkings, to inquire what was become of you, fearing your Oxfordshire friends had stolen you from us;—but you have made up for your long absence, if this is the young lady, bowing to me, your wife told us was to return with you.—A politeness so unexpected,—so deliver'd,—visibly affected me:—I sat silent, listening for the reply Mr. Jenkings would make.
Pardon me, my Lady! pardon me, Miss Warley! said the good man,—I am a stranger to punctilio;—I see my error:—I should have acquainted your Ladyship before with the name of this dear young Lady; I should have said she is an honour to her friends.—Need I tell Miss Warley, Sir James and Lady Powis are present:—I hope the deportment of their servant has confirmed it;—I hope it has.
Sir James kindly took his hand, and, turning to me, said, Don't believe him, Madam, he is not our servant;—he has been our friend forty years; we flatter ourselves he deems not that servitude.
Not your servant!—not your dependant!—not your servant, Sir James!—and was running on when her Ladyship interrupted him.
Don't make me angry, Jenkings;—don't pain me;—hear the favour I have to ask, and be my advocate:—it is with Miss Warley I want you to be my advocate.—Then addressing herself to me, Will you, Madam, give me the pleasure of your company often at the Abbey?—I mean, will you come there as if it was your home?—Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings have comforts, I have not,—at least that I can enjoy.—Here she sigh'd deeply;—so deep, that I declare it pierced through my heart;—I felt as if turn'd into stone;—what I suppose I was a true emblem of.—The silent friends that trickled down my cheeks brought me back from that inanimate state,—and I found myself in the embraces of Lady Powis, tenderly affectionate, as when in the arms of Mrs. Whitmore.—Judge not, Madam, said I, from my present stupidity, that I am so wanting in my head or heart, to be insensible of this undeserv'd goodness.—With Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings's permission, I am devoted to your Ladyship's service.—Our approbation! Miss Warley, return'd the former;—yes, that you have:—her Ladyship cannot conceive how happy she has made us.—Sir James seconded his Lady with a warmth perfectly condescending:—no excuse would be taken; I must spend the next day at the Abbey; their coach was to attend me.
Our amiable guests did not move till summoned by the dinner-bell, which is plainly to be heard there.—I thought I should have shed tears to see them going.—I long'd to walk part of the way, but was afraid to propose it, lest I should appear presumptuous.—Her Ladyship perceiv'd my inclinations,—look'd delighted,—and requested my company; on which Mr. Jenkings offer'd his service to escort me back.
How was I surpris'd at ascending the hill!—My feet seem'd leading me to the first garden—the sweet abode of innocence!—Ten thousand beauties broke on my sight;—ten thousand pleasures, before unknown, danced through my heart.—Behold me on the summit;—behold me full of surprise,—full of admiration!—How enchanting the park! how clear the river that winds through it!—What taste,—what elegance, in the plantations!—How charmingly are Nature's beauties rang'd by art!—The trees,—the shrubs,—the flowers,—hold up their heads, as if proud of the spot they grow on!—Then the noble old structure,—the magnificent mansion of this ancient family, how does it fire the beholder with veneration and delight! The very walls seem'd to speak; at least there was something that inform'd me, native dignity, and virtues hereditary, dwelt within them.
The sight of a chaise and four, standing at the entrance, hurried me from the charming pair of this paradise, after many good days ecchoed to me, and thanks respectful return'd them by the same messenger.
Mr. Jenkings, in our return, entertain'd me with an account of the family for a century past. A few foibles excepted in the character of Sir James, I find he possesses all the good qualities of his ancestors. Nothing could be more pleasing than the encomiums bestow'd on Lady Powis; but she is not exempt from trouble: the good and the bad the great and the little, at some time or other, feel Misfortune's touch. Happy such a rod hangs over us! Were we to glide on smoothly, our affections would be fixed here, and here only.
I could love Lady Powis with a warmth not to be express'd;—but—forgive me, my dear lady—I pine to know why your intimacy was interrupted.—Of Lady Mary's steadiness and integrity I am convinc'd;—of Lady Powis I have had only a transitory view.—Heaven forbid she should be like such people as from my heart I despise, whose regards are agueish! Appearances promise the reverse;—but what is appearance? For the generality a mere cheat, a gaudy curtain.
Pardon me, dear Lady Powis—I am distress'd,—I am perplex'd; but I do not think ill of you;—indeed I cannot,—unless I find—No, I cannot find it neither;—something tells me Lady Mary, my dear honour'd Lady Mary, will acquit you.
We were receiv'd by Mrs. Jenkings, at our return, with a chearful countenance, and conducted to the dining-parlour, where, during our comfortable, meal, nothing was talk'd of but Sir James and Lady Powis:—the kind notice taken of your Fanny mentioned with transport.
Thus honour'd,—thus belov'd,—dare I repine?—Why look on past enjoyments with such a wistful eye!—Mrs. Whitmore, my dear maternal Mrs. Whitmore, cannot be recall'd!—Strange perversenss!—why let that which would give me pleasure fleet away!—why pursue that which I cannot overtake!—No gratitude to heaven!—Gratitude to you, my dearest Lady, shall conquer this perverseness;—even now my heart overflows like a swoln river.
Good night, good night, dear Madam; I am going to repose on the very bed where, for many years, rested the most deserving of men!—The housekeeper has been relating many of his virtues;—so many, that I long to see him, though only in a dream.
Was it not before Mr. Powis went abroad, that your ladyship visited at the Abbey?—Yet, if so, I think I should have heard you mention him.—Merit like his could never pass unnotic'd in a breast so similar—Here I drop my pen, lest I grow impertinent.—Once again, good night,—my more than parent:—to-morrow, at an early hour, I will begin the recital to your Ladyship of this day's transactions—I go to implore every blessing on your head, the only return that can be offer'd by
Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON, in continuation.
I think I have told your Ladyship, I was to be honour'd with the coach to convey me to the Abbey.—About half an hour after one it arriv'd, when a card was deliver'd me from Lady Powis, to desire my friends would not be uneasy, if I did not return early in the evening, as she hop'd for an agreeable party at whist, Lord Darcey being at the Abbey.
Mrs. Jenkings informed me, his Lordship was a ward of Sir James's just of age;—his estate genteel, not large;—his education liberal,—his person fine,—his temper remarkably good.—Sir James, said she, is for ever preaching lessons to him, that he must marry prudently;—which is, that he must never marry without an immense fortune.—Ah! Miss Warley, this same love of money has serv'd to make poor Lady Powis very unhappy. Sir James's greatest fault is covetousness;—but who is without fault?—Lord Darcey was a lovely youth, continued she, when he went abroad; I long to see if he is alter'd by travelling.—Edmund and his Lordship were school-fellows:—how my son will be overjoy'd to hear he is at the Abbey!—I detain you, Miss Warley, or could talk for ever of Lord Darcey! Do go, my dear, the family will expect you.—Promise, said I, taking her hand,—promise you will not sit up late on my account.—She answer'd nothing, but pressing me to her bosom, seem'd to tell me her heart was full of affection.
The old coachman, as we drove up the lawn, eyed me attentively, saying to the footman, It will be so, John, you may depend upon it.—John answer'd only by a shrug.—What either meant, I shall not pretend to divine.—As I came near the house, I met Mr. Jenkings almost out of breath, and, pulling the string, he came to the coach-side. I was hurrying home, my dear young Lady, said he, to—to—to—Now faith I'm afraid you'll be angry.
Angry with you, Sir!—angry with you, Mr. Jenkings!—is it possible!
Then, to be plain, Madam, I was hurrying home, to request you would wear no cap.—Never shall I forget how pretty you look'd, when I saw you without one!—Of all things, I would this day wish you might look your best.
To satisfy him I had taken some little pains in honour to the family, I let back the hood of my cloke.—He examin'd the manner in which my hair was dress'd, and smiled his approbation;—which smile, though only seen in the eyes, was more expressive than a contraction of all the other features.—Wishing me a happy day, he bid the coachman drive on.
Coming within sight of the Abbey, my heart beat as if breaking from confinement.—I was oblig'd to call it to a severe trial,—to ask, Why this insurrection,—whence these tumults?—My monitor reply'd, Beware of self-sufficiency,—beware of its mortifying consequences.—
How seasonable this warning against the worst of foes!—a foe which I too much fear was stealing on me imperceptibly,—else why did I not before feel those sensations?—Could I receive greater honour than has been conferr'd on me by the noblest mind on earth!—by Lady Mary?—Could I behold greater splendor than Lady Mary is possess'd of!—What affection in another can I ever hope for like Lady Mary's!—Thus was I arguing with myself, when the coach-door open'd, and a servant conducted me to the drawing-room,—where, I was receiv'd by Sir James and Lady Powis with an air of polite tenderness;—a kind of unreserve, that not only supports the timid mind, but dignifies every word,—every action,—and gives to education and address their highest polish.
Lord Darcey was sitting in the window, a book in his hand;—he came forward as Sir James introduc'd me, who said, Now, my Lord, the company of this young Lady will make your Lordship's time pass more agreeably, than it could have done in the conversation of two old people.—My spirits were flutter'd; I really don't recollect his reply; only that it shew'd him master of the great art, to make every one pleas'd with themselves.
Shall I tell you, my dear Lady, what are my thoughts of this Lord Darcey?—To confess then, though his person is amazingly elegant, his manners are still more engaging.—This I look upon to be the natural consequence of a mind illumin'd with uncommon understanding, sweetness, and refinement.
A short time before dinner the chaplain made his appearance,—a venerable old man, with hair white as snow:—what renders his figure to be completely venerated, is the loss of sight.—Her Ladyship rising from her seat, led me towards him: Mr. Watson, said she, I am going to introduce a lady whose brightest charms will soon be visible to you.—The best man in the world! whisper'd she, putting my hand in his;—which hand I could not avoid putting to my lips.—Thank you, Miss Warley, said her Ladyship, we all revere this gentleman.—Mr. Watson was affected, some drops stole from their dark prisons, and he bless'd me as if I had been his daughter:—my pleasure was exquisite,—it seem'd as if I had receiv'd the benediction of an angel.
Our subjects turn'd more on the celestial than the terrestrial, till dinner was serv'd up,—when I found that good knight which has been so long banish'd to the side-board, replac'd in his original station.
How different this table from many others! where genteel sprightly conversations are shut out; where such as cannot feast their senses on the genius of a cook, must rise unsatisfied.
A similitude of manners between your Ladyship and Lady Powis, particularly in doing the honours of the table, struck me so much, that I once or twice call'd her Lady Mary.—Pray, Miss Warley, ask'd she, who is this Lady Mary?
What could occasion her confusion!—what could occasion the confusion of Sir James!—Never did I see any thing equal it, when I said it was Lady Mary Sutton!—The significant looks that were interchang'd, spoke some mystery;—a mystery it would be presumption in me to dive after. Her Ladyship made no reply,—Sir James was eager to vary the subject,—and the conversation became general.
Though autumn is far advanc'd, every thing here wears the face of spring.—The afternoon being remarkably fine Lady Powis, Lord Darcey, and myself, strolled out amongst the sweets.—We walk'd a considerable time; his Lordship was all gaiety, talk'd with raptures of the improvements; declar'd every thing he had seen abroad fell short of this delightful spot; and now, my dear Lady Powis, added he, with an air of gallantry, I can see nothing wanting.
Nothing wanting! return'd her Ladyship, sighing:—Ah! my Lord, you are not a parent!—you feel nothing of a parent's woe!—you do not hourly regret the absence of a beloved and only son! Don't look serious, my dear Lord, seeing him somewhat abash'd, you have hitherto tenderly loved me.—Perhaps I had a mind to augment your affection, by bringing to your recollection I was not happy.—His Lordship made no reply, but, taking her hand, lifted it respectfully to his lips.
Mr. Jenkings is this moment coming up the lawn. I see him from window;—excuse me, my dear Lady, whilst I step to ask him how he does.
I have been accounting to Mr. Jenkings for not coming home last night. Good man! every mark of favour I receive, enlightens his countenance.—The reasons I have given him, I shall now proceed to give your Ladyship.
I said we were walking;—I have said the conversation was interesting;—but I have not said it was interrupted by Sir James and Mr. Watson, who join'd us just as Lord Darcey had quitted the hand of Lady Powis.—A visit was propos'd to the Dairy-house, which is about a mile from the Abbey.—In our way thither, I was full of curiosity, full of inquiries about the neighbourhood, and whose seats such and such were, that enrich'd adjacent hills?—The neighbourhood, reply'd her Ladyship, is in general polite and hospitable.—Yes, said Sir James, and more smart young men, Miss Warley, than are to be met with in every county.—Yonder, continued he, live Mr. and Mrs. Finch,—very rich,—very prudent, and very worthy;—they have one son, a discreet lad, who seems to promise he will inherit their good qualities.
That which you see so surrounded with woods, is Sir Thomas Slater's, a batchelor of fifty-five; and, let me tell you, fair Lady, the pursuit of every girl in the neighbourhood;—his estate a clear nine thousand a-year, and—Hold, hold, interrupted Lord Darcey, in compassion to us young fellows, say no more of this redoubtable batchelor.
Well then, continued Sir James, since my Lord will have it so,—let me draw your eye, Miss Warley, from Sir Thomas Slater's, and fix it on Lord Allen's: Observe the situation!—Nothing can be more beautiful, the mind of its owner excepted.
That house on the left is Mr. Winter's.—Chance!—Strange chance!—has just put him in possession of an immense fortune, with which he is going to purchase a coronet for his daughter.—The fellow does not know what to do with his money, and has at last found an ape of quality, that will take it off his hands.
In this manner was Sir James characterising his neighbours, when a sudden and violent storm descended.—Half a mile from the Dairy-house, the rain fell in such torrents, that we were wet through, before a friendly oak offer'd us its shelter.—Never shall I forget my own or Lord Darcey's figure: he stripp'd himself of his coat, and would have thrown it over Lady Powis. Her Ladyship absolutely refusing it, her cloak being thick, mine the reverse, he forc'd it upon me. Sir James a assisting to put my arms into the sleeves.—Nor was I yet enough of the amazon:—they even compell'd me to exchange my hat for his, lapping it, about my ears.—What a strange metamorphose!—I cannot think of it without laughing!—To complete the scene, no exchange could be made, till we reach'd the Abbey.—In this droll situation, we waited for the coach; and getting, in, streaming from head to toe, it more resembled a bathing machine, than any other vehicle.
A gentleman, who, after a chace of ten hours, had taken shelter under the roof of Sir James, was, at our return, stamping up and down, the vestibule, disappointed both in his sport and dinner, shew'd an aspect cloudy as the heavens.—My mortification was scarce supportable, when I heard him roar out, in a voice like thunder, What the devil have we here?—I sprang to the top of the stairs in a moment,—there stopp'd to fetch breath; and again the same person, who had so genteelly accosted me, said to Lord Darcey,—Great improvements, upon my soul!—You are return'd a mighty pretty Miss.—What, is this the newest dress at Turin?—I heard no more; her Ladyship's woman came and shew'd me to an apartment,—bringing from her Lady's wardrobe a chints negligee, and a suit of flower'd muslin; in which I was soon equipp'd.
Lady Powis sent to desire I would come to her dressing room; and, embracing me as I entered, said, with, an air of charming freedom, If you are not hurt, my dear, by our little excursion, I shall be quite in spirits this evening.
I am only hurt by your Ladyship's goodness. Indeed, return'd she, I have not a close heart, but no one ever found so quick a passage to it as yourself.—Oh! Lady Mary, this is surely a heart like yours!—A heart like Mrs. Whitmore's!—Was you not surpris'd, my dear, continued her Ladyship, to be so accosted by the gentleman below?—Take no notice of what is said by Mr. Morgan.—that is his name;—he means well, and never goes into any person's house, but where his oddities are indulg'd.—I am particularly civil to him; he was an old school-fellow of Sir James's, one whose purse was always open to him.—Sir James, Miss Warley, was rather addicted to extravagance in the beginning of his life;—that, in some respects, is revers'd latterly.—I have been a sufferer,—yet is he a tender generous husband. One day you shall know more.—I had a son, Miss Warley—Here Sir James interrupted her.—I come to tell you, said he, that Lord Darcey and myself are impatient for our tea.
O fie! Sir James, return'd Lady Powis, talk of impatience before an unmarried Lady!—If you go on at this rate, you will frighten her from any connection with your sex.—Not at all,—not at all, said Sir James; you take us for better for worse.—See there, Miss Warley smiles.—I warrant she does not think my impatience unseasonable.—I was going to reply, but effectually stopped by her Ladyship, who said, taking my hand, Come, my dear, let us go down.—I am fond of finding excuses for Sir James; we will suppose it was not he who was impatient:—we will suppose the impatience to be Lord Darcey's.
Whilst regaling ourselves at the tea table, Mr. Morgan was in the dining-parlour, brightening up his features by the assitance of the cook and butler.—We were congratulating each other on the difference of our present and late situation, declaring there was nothing to regret, when Mr. Morgan enter'd.—Regret! cry'd he,—what do you regret?—Not, I hope, that I have made a good dinner on a cold sirloin and pickled oysters?—Indeed I do, said Lady Powis:—Had I thought you so poor a caterer, I should have taken the office on myself.—Faith then, reply'd he, you might have eat it yourself:—Forty years, my good Lady, I have made this house my home, and did I ever suffer you to direct what, or when, I should eat?—
Sir James laugh'd aloud; so did her Ladyship:—I was inclin'd to do the same,—but afraid what next he would say;—However, this caution did not screen me from particular notice.
What the duce have I here! said he, taking one of my hands,—a snow-ball by the colour, and feeling? and down he dropp'd it by the side of Lord Darcey's, which rested on the table.
I was never more confounded.
You are not angry, my pretty Lady, continued he:—we shall know one another better;—but if you displease me,—I shall thunder.—I keep all in subjection, except the muleish kind, making a low bow to Sir James. Saying this, he went in pursuit of Mr. Watson.—They soon re-enter'd together; a card-table was produc'd; and we sat down at it, whilst they solac'd themselves by a good fire.
My attention was frequently taken from the cards, to observe how it was possible such opposites as Mr. Watson and Mr. Morgan cou'd be entertain'd by one another's conversation.—Never saw I any two seemingly more happy!—The chearfulness of the former augmented;—the voice of the latter at least three notes lower.—This has been since explain'd to me by Lady Powis.—Mr. Morgan, she says, notwithstanding his rough appearance, is of a nature so compassionate, that, to people defective in person or fortune, he is the gentlest creature breathing.
Our party broke up at nine.—I sat half an hour after supper, then propos'd returning to Mr. Jenkings's.—Lady Powis would not hear me on this subject—I must stay that night at the Abbey:—venturing out such weather would hazard my health.—So said Sir James; so said Lord Darcey.—As for Mr. Morgan, he swore, Was he the former, his horses should not stir out for fifty pieces, unless, said he, Sir James chooses to be a fellow-sufferer with Lord Allen, who I have led such a chace this day, that he was forced to leave poor Snip on the forest.—Saying which, he threw himself back in the chair, and fell into a sound sleep.—About eleven I retir'd to my chamber;—a message first being sent to Mr. Jenkings.—Instead of going immediately to bed, I sat down and indulg'd myself with the satisfaction of writing to my beloved Lady Mary.—This morning I got up early to finish my packet; and though I have spent half an hour with Mr. Jenkings, shall close it before her Ladyship is stirring.
Your commands, my dear Lady, are executed.—I have wrote Mrs. Smith; and as soon as I receive her answer, shall, with a joyful heart, with impatient fondness, prepare to throw at your Ladyship's feet,
Your much honour'd,
Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.
Prepare your ten pieces, George!—Upon my honour, I was at Barford Abbey a quarter before three, notwithstanding a detention on the road by Lord Michell and Flecher, driving on Jehu for Bath, in his Lordship's phaeton and fix.—You have seen them before this,—and, I suppose, know their errand.—The girl is an egregious fool, that is certain.—I warrant there are a hundred bets depending.—I ask'd what he intended doing with her if he succeeded?—Do with her! said his Lordship; why, she is not more than eighteen; let her go to school: faith, Flecher, that's my advice.—Let her go to the devil after I am once sure of her, return'd the lover; and, whipping up the horses; drove away like lightning.
Be serious—Answer me one serious question,—Is it not possible,—very possible, to have a regard, a friendship, for an amiable girl, without endangering her peace or my own?—If I am further involv'd than friendship,—the blame is not mine; it will lie at the door of Sir James and Lady Powis.—Talk no more of Lady Elizabeth's smile, or Miss Grevel's hair—Stuff!—meer stuff! nor keep me up after a late evening, to hear your nonsense of Miss Compton's fine neck and shoulders, or Fanny Middleton's eyes.—Come here next week, I will insure you a sight of all those graces in one form. Come, I say, you will be welcome to Sir James and his Lady as myself.—Miss Warley will smile on you.—What other inducement can you want?—Don't be too vain of Miss Warley's smiles; for know, she cannot look without them.
Who is Miss Warley?—What is Miss Warley?—you ask.—To your first question I can only answer, A visitor at Jenkings's.—To the second,—She is what has been so much sought after in every age, perfect harmony of mind and person.—Such a hand, George—
Already have I been here eight days:—was I to measure time, I should call them hours.—My affairs with Sir James will take up longer in settling than I apprehended.—Come therefore this week or the next, I charge you.—Come as you hope to see Miss Warley. What do you think Sir James said to me the other day?—Was Miss Warley a girl of fortune, I should think her born for you, Darcey.—As that is not the case,—take care of your heart, my Lord.—She will never attempt to drag you into scrapes:—your little favourite robin, that us'd to peck from your hand, has not less guile.
No! he will never consent;—I must only think of friendship.
Lady Powis doats on this paragon of beauty: scarce within their walls,—when she was mention'd with such a just profusion of praises, as fill'd me with impatience.—Lady Powis is a heavenly woman.—You do not laugh;—many would, for supposing any of that sex heavenly after fifty.—The coach is this moment going for Miss Warley;—it waits only for me;—I am often her conductor.—Was you first minister of state,—I the humble suitor whose bread depended on your favour,—not one line more, even to express my wants.
Twelve o'clock, at night.
Our fair visitor just gone;—just gone home with Edmund.—What an officious fool, to take him in the carriage, and prevent myself from a pleasure I envy him for.—I am not in spirits;—I can write no more;—perhaps the next post:—but I will promise nothing.
I am, &c. &c.
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.
Confound your friendships!—Friendship indeed!—What! up head and ears in love, and not know it.—So it is necessary for every woman you think capable of friendship, to have fine eyes, fine hair, a bewitching smile, and a neck delicately turn'd.—Have not I the highest opinion of my cousin Dolly's sincerity?—Do I not think her very capable of friendship?—Yet, poor soul, her eyes are planted so deep, it requires good ones to discover she has any.—Such a hand, George!—Such a hand, Darcey!—Why, Lady Dorothy too has hands; I am often enough squeez'd by them:—though hard as a horse's hoof, and the colour of tanned leather, I hold her capable of friendship.—Neck she has none,—smile she has none! yet need I the determination of another, to tell me whether my regard for her proceeds from love or friendship?—Awake,—Awake, Darcey,—Awake:—Have you any value for your own peace?—have you any for that of Miss Warley's? If so, leave Barford Abbey.—Should you persist in loving her, for love her I know you do?—Should the quiet of such an amiable woman as you describe be at stake? To deal plainly, I will come down and propose the thing myself.—No sword,—no pistol. I mean not for myself, but one whose happiness is dear to me as my own.
Suppose your estate is but two thousand a-year, are you so fond of shew and equipage, to barter real felicity for baubles?—I am angry,—so angry, that it would not grieve me to see you leading to the altar an old hobbling dowager without a tooth.—Be more yourself,
And I am yours,
Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.
Angry!—You are really angry!—Well, I too am angry with myself.—I do love Miss Warley;—but why this to you?—Your penetration has already discover'd it.—Yet, O Molesworth! such insurmountable obstacles:—no declaration can be made,—at least whilst I continue in this neighbourhood.
Sir James would rave at my imprudence.—Lady Powis, whatever are her sentiments, must give them up to his opinion.—Inevitably I lose the affection of persons I have sacredly—promised to obey,—sacredly.—Was not my promise given to a dying father?—Miss Warley has no tye; yet, by the duty she observes to Sir James and Lady Powis, you would think her bound by the strongest cords of nature.
Scarce a moment from her:—at Jenkings's every morning;—on foot if good weather,—else in the coach for the convenience of bringing her with me.—I am under no constraint:—Sir James and her Ladyship seem not the least suspicious: this I much wonder at, in the former particularly.
In my tete-a-tetes with Miss Warley, what think you are our subjects?—Chiefly divinity, history, and geography.—Of these studies she knows more than half the great men who have wrote for ages past.—On a taste for the two latter I once prided myself.—An eager pursuit for the former springs up in my mind, whilst conversing with her, like a plant long hid in the earth, and called out by the appearance of a summer's sun.—This sun must shine at Faulcon Park;—without it all will be dreary:—yet how can I draw it thither?—Edmund—but why should I fear Edmund?
Will you, or will you not, meet your old friend Finch here next Wednesday?—Be determined in your answer.—I have suspence enough on my hands to be excused from any on your account.—Sir James thinks it unkind you have not called on him since I left England;—hasten therefore to make up matters with the baronet,—Need I say the pleasure I shall have in shaking you by the hand?
The Hon. GEORGE MOLESWORTH to Lord DARCEY.
Wednesday next you shall see me,—positively you shall.—Bridgman will be of the party.
I propose an immensity of satisfaction from this visit.—Forbid it, heaven! Miss Warley's opposite should again give me a meeting at the Abbey.—After the conversation I am made to expect, how should I be mortified to have my ears eternally dinn'd with catgut work,—painting gauze,—weaving fringes,—and finding out enigmas?—Setting a fine face, Miss Winter is out-done by Fletcher's Nancy.—A-propos, I yesterday saw that very wise girl step into a chaise and wheel off for Scotland, begging and praying we would make the best of it to her mamma.—Not the least hand had I in this affair; but, willing to help out people in distress, at the entreaties of Lord Michell, I waited on the old Lady at her lodging.
I found her in a furious plight,—raving at her servants,—packing up her cloaths, and reflecting on her relations who had persuaded her to come to Bath.—When I entered she was kneeling by a huge travelling trunk, stuffing in a green purse at one corner, which I supposed to be full of gold.
Where is Nancy?—riling from the ground, and accosting me with looks of fury;—Where is Nancy, Mr. Molesworth?
Really, Madam, that is a question I cannot positively answer;—but, to be sincere, I believe she is on the road to Scotland.
Believe!—So you would have me think you are not one of Fletcher's clan.—But, tell him from me, running to the trunk after her purse, and shaking it just at my ear,—tell him, he shall never be a penny the better for this.
I took my hat, and looked towards the door, as if going.
Stop, Mr. Molesworth, (her voice somewhat lowered) why in so great a hurry?—I once thought you my friend. Pray inform me if Nancy was forced away;—or, if me went willingly.
You have no right, Madam, after the treatment I have received, to expect an answer; but justice bids me declare her going off seemed a matter of choice.
Poor child!—You was certainly trapann'd (and she put a handkerchief to her eyes).
I solemnly protest, Madam, I have seen your daughter but twice since she came to Bath.—Last night, when coming from the Rooms, I saw her step into a chaise, followed by Mr. Fletcher.—They beckoned me towards them, whispered the expedition they were going upon, and requested me to break the matter to you, and intercede for their pardon.—My visit has not answered its salutary purpose—I perceive it has not. So saying I turned from her,—knowing, by old acquaintance, how I was to play my cards, me being one of those kind of spirits which are never quell'd but by opposition.
After fetching me from the door, she promised to hear calmly what I had to say;—and, tho' no orator, I succeeded so well as to gain an assurance, she would see them at their return from Scotland.
I left the old Lady in tolerable good humour, and was smiling to myself, recollecting the bout I had passed, when, who should come towards me but Lord Michell,—his countenance full-fraught with curiosity.
Well, George!—dear George!—what success in your embassy?—I long to know the fate of honest Fletcher.—Is he to loll in a coach and six?—or, is the coroner's inquest to bring in their verdict Lunacy?
A sweet alternative!—As your Lordship's assiduity has shewn the former is the highest pinnacle to which you would wish to lift a friend, I believe your most sanguine hopes are here answered.
Is it so!—Well, if ever Fletcher offers up a prayer, it ought to be for you, Molesworth.
Vastly good, my Lord.—What, before he prays for himself?—This shews your Lordship's very high notions of gratitude.
We have high notions of every thing.—Bucks and bloods, as we are call'd,—you may go to the devil before you will find a set of honester fellows.
To the Devil, my Lord!—That's true, I believe.
He was going to reply when the three choice spirits came up, and hurried him, away to the Tuns.
A word to you, Darcey.—Surely you are never serious in the ridiculous design.—Not offer yourself to Miss Warley, whilst she continues in that neighbourhood?—the very spot on which you ought to secure her,—unless you think all the young fellows who visit at the Abbey are blind, except yourself.—Why, you are jealous already;—jealous of Edmund.—Perhaps even I may become one of your tormentors.—If I like her I shall as certainly tell her so, as that my name is
[Here two Letters are omitted, one from Lady MARY to Miss WARLEY,—and one from Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY.]
Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.
From Mr. Jenkings's.
Ah! my dear Lady, how kind,—how inexpressibly kind, to promise I shall one day know what has put an end to the intimacy between the two Ladies I so much revere.
To find your Ladyship has still a high opinion of Lady Powis, has filled me with pleasure.—Fear of the reverse often threw a damp on my heart, whilst receiving the most tender caresses.—You bid me love her!—You say I cannot love her too well!—This is a command my heart springs forward to obey.
Unhappy family!—What a loss does it sustain by the absence of Mr. Powis?—No, I can never forgive the Lady who has occasioned this source of sorrow.—Why is her name concealed?—But what would it benefit me to come at a knowledge of it?
Pity Sir James should rather see such a son great than happy.—Six thousand a year, yet covet a fortune twice as large!—Love of riches makes strange wreck in the human heart.
Why did Mr. Powis leave his native country?—The refusal of a Lady with whom he only sought an union in obedience to his father, could not greatly affect him.—Was not such an overture without affection,—without inclination,—a blot in his fair character?—Certainly it was.—Your Ladyship seems to think Sir James only to blame.—I dare not have presumed to offer my opinion, had you not often told me, it betray'd a meanness to hide our real sentiments, when call'd upon to declare them.
Lady Powis yesterday obliged me with a sight of several letters from her son.—I am not mistress of a stile like his, or your Ladyship would have been spar'd numberless tedious moments.—Such extraordinary deckings are seldom to be met with in common minds.
I told Lady Powis, last evening, that I should devote this day to my pen;—so I shall not be sent for;—a favour I am sure to have conferr'd if I am not at the Abbey soon after breakfast.—Lord Darcey is frequently my escort.—I am pleased to see that young nobleman regard Edmund as if of equal rank with himself.
Heavens! his Lordship is here!—full-dressed, and just alighted from the coach,—to fetch me, I fear.—I shall know in a moment; Mrs. Jenkings is coming up.
Even so.—It vexes me to be thus taken off from my agreeable task;—yet I cannot excuse myself,—her Ladyship is importunate.—She sends me word I must come;—that I must return with Lord Darcey.—Mrs. Finch is accidentally dropp'd in with her son.—I knew the latter was expected to meet two gentlemen from Bath,—one of them an intimate friend of Lord Darcey.—Mrs. Finch is an amiable woman;—it is to her Lady Powis wants to introduce me.
Your Servant, my Lord.—A very genteel way to hasten me down—impatient, I suppose, to see his friend from Bath.—Well, Jenny, tell his Lordship it will be needless to have the horses taken out.—I shall be ready in a quarter of an hour.—Adieu, my dear Lady.
Eleven o'clock at night.
Every thing has conspired to make this day more than commonly agreeable.—It requires the pen of a Littelton to paint the different graces which shone in conversation.—As no such pen is at hand, will your Ladyship receive from mine a short description of the company at the Abbey?
Mrs. Finch is about seven and forty;—her person plain,—her mind lovely,—her bosom fraught with happiness.—She dispenses it promiscuously.—Every smile,—every accent,—conveys it to all around her.—A countenance engagingly open.—Her purse too, I am told, when occasions offer, open as her heart.—How largely is she repaid for her balsamic gifts,—by seeing those virtues early planted in the mind of her son, spring up and shoot in a climate where a blight is almost contagious!
Mr. Finch is the most sedate young man I have ever seen;—but his sedateness is temper'd with a sweetness inexpressible;—a certain mildness in the features;—a mildness which, in the countenance of that great commander I saw at Brandon Lodge, appears like mercy sent out from the heart to discover the dwelling of true courage.—There is certainly a strong likeness between the Marquis and Lord Darcey;—so strong, that when I first beheld his Lordship I was quite struck with surprize.
Mr. Molesworth and Mr. Bridgman, the two gentlemen from Bath, are very opposite to each other in person and manner; yet both in a different degree seem to be worthy members of society.
Mr. Molesworth, a most entertaining companion,—vastly chearful,—smart at repartee; and, from the character Lord Darcey has given me of him, very sincere.
Mr. Bridgman has a good deal the air of a foreigner; attained, I suppose, by his residence some years at the court of ——, in a public character.—Very fit he appears for such an employ.—Sensible,—remarkably polite,—speaks all languages with the same fluency as his own; but then a veil of disagreeable reserve throws a dark shade over those perfections.—Perhaps I am wrong to spy out faults so early;—perhaps to-morrow my opinion may be different.—First prepossessions—Ah! What would I have said of first prepossessions?—Is it not to them I owe a thousand blessings?—I, who have nothing to recommend me but being unfortunate.
Somthing lies at my heart.—Yet I think I could not sleep in quiet, was I to drop a hint in disfavour of Mr. Jenkings;—it may not be in his disfavour neither:—However, my dear Lady, you shall be the judge, after I have repos'd a few hours.
Seven o'clock in the morning.
Why should I blame Mr. Jenkings?—Is not Edmund his only son?—his only child?—Is he less my friend for suspecting?—Yes, my Lady, I perceive he does suspect.—He is uneasy.—He supposes his son encouraging an improper affection.—I see it in his very looks:—he must think me an artful creature.—This it is that distresses me.—I wish I could hit on a method to set his heart at rest.—If I barely hint a design of leaving the neighbourhood, which I have done once or twice, he bursts into tears, and I am oblig'd to sooth him like a child.
How account for this behaviour?—Why does he look on me with the eye of fatherly affection,—yet think me capable of a meanness I despise?
I believe it impossible for a human being to have more good nature, or more good qualities, than Edmund; yet had he the riches of a Mogul, I could never think of a connection with him.—He, worthy young man, has never given his father cause for suspicion.—I am convinced he has not.—Naturally of an obliging disposition, he is ever on the watch for opportunities to gratify his amiable inclinations:—not one such selfish motive as love to push him on.
A summons to breakfast.—Lord Darcey, it seems, is below;—I suppose, slid away from his friends to call on Edmund.—Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings are all smiles, all good humour, to their son,—I hope it is only I who have been suspicious.—Lord Darcey is still with Edmund.—They are at this moment under my window,—counselling perhaps, about a commission he wants his father to purchase for him in the Guards.—I should be glad to see this matter accommodated;—yet, I could wish, in so tender a point, his Lordship may not be too forward in advising.—Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings have such an opinion of him,—they pay such deference to what he says,—his advice must have weight;—and they may be unhappy by giving up their inclinations.
The praises of Lord Darcey are forever sounding in my ears.—To what a height would the partiality of Mrs. Jenkings lift me?—She would have me think,—I cannot tell your Ladyship what she would have me think.—My hopes dare not take such a flight.—No!—I can perceive what their fall must be;—I can perceive it, without getting on the top of the precipice to look down.
I shall order every thing for my departure, according to your Ladyship's directions, holding myself in readiness to attend Mr. and Mrs. Smith, at the time proposed.
Oxfordshire I must revisit,—for a few days only;—having some little matters to regulate.
The silks I have purchas'd for your Ladyship are slight, as you directed, except a white and gold, which is the richest and most beautiful I could procure.
How imperceptibly time slides on?—The clock strikes eleven,—in spight of the desire I have of communicating many things more.—An engagement to be with Lady Powis at twelve hastens me to conclude myself
Most honour'd and affectionate,
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.
What a sacrifice do you offer up to that old dog Plutus!—I have lost all patience,—all patience, I say.—Such a woman!—such an angelic woman!—But what has,—what will avail my arguments?—Her peace is gone,—if you persevere in a behaviour so particular,—absolutely gone.
Bridgman this morning told me, that unless I assured him you had pretensions to Miss Warley, he was determined to offer her his hand;—that nothing prevented him from doing it whilst at the Abbey, but your mysterious conduct, which he was at a loss how to construe. —Not to offend you, the Lady or family she is with, he apply'd, he said, to me, as a friend of each party, to set him right.
Surely, Bridgman, returned I, you wish to keep yourself in the dark; or how the duce have you been six days with people whose countenances speak so much sensibility, and not make the discovery you seek after?
Though her behaviour to us; continued I, was politeness itself, was there nothing more than politeness in her address to Lord Darcey?—Her smiles too, in which Diana and the Graces revel, saw you not them, how they played from one to another, like sun-beams on the water, until they fixed on him?—Is the nation in debt?—So much is Darcey in love;—and you may as well pay off one, as rival the other with success.
Observe, my friend, in what manner I have answered for you.—Keep her, therefore, no longer in suspence.—Delays of this sort are not only dangerous, but cruel.—Why delight to torture what we most admire?—From a boy you despised such actions.—Often have I known Dick Jones, when at Westminster, threshed by your hand for picking poor little birds alive.—His was an early point;—but for Darcey, accoutred with the breast-plate of honour, even before he could read the word that signifies its intrinsic value,—for him to be falling off,—falling off at a time too, when Virtue herself appears in person to support him!
Can you say, you mean not to injure her?—Is a woman only to be injured, but by an attempt on her virtue?—Is it no crime, no fault, to cheat a young innocent lovely girl out of her affections, and give her nothing in return but regret and disappointment?
Reflect, what a task is mine, thus to lay disagreeable truths plainly before you.—To hear it pronounced, that Lord and Lady Darcey are the happiest couple on earth, is the hope that has pushed me on to this unpleasing office.
Bridgman is just set out for town.—I am charg'd with a profusion of respects, thanks, &c. &c. &c. which, if you have the least oeconomy, will serve for him, and
Your very humble servant,
Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.
Bridgman!—Could Bridgman dare aspire to Miss Warley!—He offer her his hand!—he be connected with a woman whose disposition is diametrically opposite to his own!—No,—that would not have done, though I had never seen her.—Let him seek for one who has a heart shut up by a thousand locks.
After his own conjectures,—after what you have told him,—should he but attempt to take her from me, by all that is sacred, he shall repent it dearly.
Molesworth! you are my friend,—I take your admonitions well;—but, surely, you should not press thus hardly on my soul, knowing its uneasy situation.—My state is even more perplexing than when we parted:—I did not then know she was going to France.—Yes, she is absolutely going to France.—Why leave her friends here?—Why not wait the arrival of Lady Mary Sutton in England?
I have used every dissuasive argument but one.—That shall be my last.—If that fails I go—I positively go with her.—It is your opinion that she loves me.—Would it were mine!—Not the least partiality can I discover.—Why then be precipitate?—Every moment she is gaining ground in the affections of Sir James and Lady Powis.—Time may work wonders in the mind of the former.—Without his consent never can I give my hand;—the commands of a dying father forbid me.—Such a father!—O George! you did not know him;—so revered,—so honour'd,—so belov'd! not more in public than in private life.
My friend, behold your son!—Darcey, behold your father!—As you reverence and obey Sir James, as you consult him on all occasions, as you are guided by his advice, receive my blessing.—These were his parting words, hugg'd into me in his last cold embrace.—No, George, the promise I made can never be forfeited.—I sealed it on his lifeless hand, before I was borne from him.
Now, are you convinc'd no mean views with-hold me?—You despise not more than I do the knave and coxcomb; for no other, to satiate their own vanity, would sport away the quiet of a fellow-creature.—Well may you call it cruel.—Such cruelties fall little short of those practised by Nero and Caligula.
Did it depend on myself only, I would tell Miss Warley I love, every time I behold her enchanting face; every time I hear the voice of wisdom springing from the seat of innocence.
No shadow of gaining over Sir James!—Efforts has not been wanting:—I mean efforts to declare my inclination.—I have follow'd him like a ghost for days past, thinking at every step how I should bless this or that spot on which he consented to my happiness.—Pleasing phantoms!—How have they fled at sight of his determin'd countenance!—Methought I could trace in it the same obduracy which nature vainly pleaded to remove.—In other matters my heart is resolute;—here an errant coward.—No! I cannot break it to him whilst in Hampshire.—When I get to town, a letter shall speak for me.—Sometimes I am tempted to trust the secret to Lady Powis.—She is compassionate;—she would even risk her own peace to preserve mine.—Again the thoughts of involving her in fresh perplexities determines me against it.
Had my father been acquainted with that part of Sir James's character which concerned his son, I am convinc'd he would have made some restrictions in regard to the explicit obedience he enjoined.—But all was hushed whilst Mr. Powis continued on his travels; nor, until he settled abroad, did any one suspect there had been a family disagreement:—even at this time the whole affair is not generally known.—The name of the lady to whom he was obliged to make proposals, is in particular carefully concealed.—I, who from ten years old have been bred up with them, am an entire stranger to it.—Perhaps no part of the affair would ever have transpired, had not Sir James made some discoveries, in the first agitation of his passion, before a large company, when he received an account of Mr. Powis's being appointed to the government of ——. No secret can be safe in a breast where every passage is not well guarded against an enemy which, like lightning, throws up all before it.
Let me not forget to tell you, amongst a multiplicity of concerns crowding on my mind, that I have positively deny'd Edmund to intercede with his father regarding the commission.—A bare surmise that he is my rival, has silenced me.—Was I ungenerous enough to indulge myself in getting rid of him, an opportunity now offers;—but I am as averse to such proceedings as he ought to be who is the friend of Molesworth, and writes the name of
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to Lord DARCEY.
Believe me, my dear Lord, I never suspected you capable of designs you justly hold in abhorrence.—If I expressed myself warmly, it was owing to your keeping from me the knowledge of those particulars which have varied every circumstance.—I saw my friend a poor restless being, irresolute, full of perplexities.—I felt for him.—I rejoice now to find from whence this irresolution, those perplexities arose.—She is,—she must,—by heaven! she shall be yours:—A reward fit only for such great—such noble resolutions.
You talk of a last argument—Forbear that argument.—You must not use it before you have laid your intentions open to Sir James.—Neither follow her to France.—What, as you are situated, would that avail?—Prevent her going, if you can.—Such a woman, under the protection of Lady Mary Sutton, must have many advantageous proposals.
I understand nothing of features,—I know nothing of physiognomy, if you have any uneasiness from Bridgman.—It was not marks of a violent passion he betrayed;—rather, I think, an ambition of having his taste approved by the world;—but we shall know more of the matter when I meet him in town.
Stupidity!—Not see her partiality!—not see that she loves you!—She will some time hence own it as frankly with her lips, as her eyes have told you a thousand times, did you understand their language.—The duce a word could I get from them.—Very uncivil, I think, not to speak when they were spoke to,—They will be ready enough, I suppose, with their thanks and applauses, when I present her hand to be united with her heart. That office shall be mine:—Something tells me, there is to be an alteration in your affairs, sudden as unexpected.
I go to the rooms this evening for the last time.—To-morrow I set out for Slone Hall, in my way to London.—Here I shall spend two or three days happily with my good-natured cousin Lady Dorothy.—Perhaps we may take an airing together as far as your territories.—I shall now look on Faulcon-Park with double pleasure.—Neither that or the agreeable neighbourhood round it will be ever bridled over by a haughty dame.—(Miss Warley, forbid it.)—Some such we see in high as well as low life.—Haughtiness is the reverse of true greatness; therefore it staggers me to behold it in the former.
A servant with a white favour!—What can this mean?—
Upon my word, Mr. Flecher, you return with your fair bride sooner than I expected.—A card too.—Things must be finely accommodated with the old Lady.—Your Lordship being at too great a distance to partake of the feast, pray regale on what calls me to it.
"Mrs. Moor and Mr. and Mrs. Flecher's compliments to Mr. Molesworth.—My son and daughter are just return'd from Scotland, and hope for the pleasure of Mr. Molesworth's company with eight or ten other friends, to congratulate them this evening on their arrival.—Both the Ladies and Mr. Flecher will be much disappointed, if you do not accept our invitation."
True as I live, neither added or diminished a tittle,—and wrote by the hand of Flecher's Desdemona.—Does not a man richly deserve thirty thousand pounds with a wife like this?—Not for twice that sum would I see such nonsense come from her I was to spend my life with.
Pity Nature and Fortune has such frequent bickerings! When one smiles the other frowns.—I wish the gipsies would make up matters, and send us down their favours wrapp'd up together.
Considering the friendship you have honour'd Edmund with, I have no idea he can presume to think of Miss Warley, seeing what he must see.
I shall expect to find a letter on my arrival in St. James's Street.—Omit not those respects which are due at Barford Abbey.
Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.
I should be in a fine plight, truly, to let her go to France without me!—Why, I am almost besides myself at the thoughts of an eight days separation.—Was ever any thing so forgetful!—To bring no other cloaths here but mourning!—Did she always intend to encircle the sun with a sable cloud?—Or, why not dispatch a servant?—A journey into Oxfordshire is absolutely necessary.—Some other business, I suppose; but I am not enough in her confidence to know of what nature.—Poh! love!—Impossible, and refuse me so small a boon as to attend her!—requested too in a manner that spoke my whole soul.—Yes; I had near broke through all my resolutions.—This I did say, If Miss Warley refuses her dear hand, pressing it to my lips, in the same peremptory manner,—what will become of him who without it is lost to the whole world?—The reply ventur'd no further than her cheek;—there sat enthron'd in robes of crimson.—I scarce dar'd to look up:—her eyes darted forth a ray so powerful, that I not only quitted her hand, but suffered her to leave the room without my saying another word.—This happened at Jenkings's last evening; in the morning she was to set out with the old gentleman for Oxfordshire.—I did not attempt seeing her again 'till that time, fearing my presence might be unpleasing, after the confusion I had occasion'd.
Sick of my bed I got up at five; and taking a gun, directed my course to the only spot on earth capable of affording me delight.—The outer gate barr'd:—no appearance of any living creature, except poor Caesar.—He, hearing my voice, crept from his wooden-house, and, instead of barking, saluted me in a whining tone:—stretching himself, he jumped towards the gate, licking my hand that lay between the bars.—I said many kind things to this faithful beast, in hopes my voice would awaken some of the family.—The scheme succeeded.—A bell was sounded from one of the apartments; that opposite to which I stood.—A servant opening the window-shutters, I was tempted to keep my stand.—A white beaver with a green feather, and a riding-dress of the same colour, plainly told me this was the room where rested all my treasure, and caused in my mind such conflicts as can no more be described by me than felt by another.—Unwilling to encrease my tortures I reeled to an old tree, which lay on a bank near;—there sat down to recover my trembling.—The next thing which alarmed me was an empty chaise, driving full speed down the hill.—I knew on what occasion, yet could not forbear asking the post-boy.—He answered, To carry some company from yonder house.—My situation was really deplorable,—when I beheld my dear lovely girl walking in a pensive mood, attir'd in that very dress which I espied through the window.—Heavy was the load I dragged from head to heel; yet, like a Mercury, I flew to meet her.—She saw me,—started,—and cry'd, Bless me! my Lord! what brings you hither at this early hour?—The real truth was springing to my lips, when, recollecting her happiness might be the sacrifice, I said, examining the lock of my gun,—I am waiting, Miss Warley, for that lazy fellow Edmund:—he promised to shew me an eye of pheasants.—If you are not a very keen sportsman, returned she, what says your Lordship to a cup of chocolate?—It will not detain you long;—Mrs. Jenkings has some ready prepared for the travellers.
She pronounced travellers with uncommon glee;—at least I thought so,—and, nettled at her indifference, could not help replying, You are very happy, madam;—you part with your friends very unreluctantly, I perceive.
If any thing ever appeared in my favour, it was now.—Her confusion was visible;—even Edmund observed it, who just then strolled towards us, and said, looking at both attentively, What is the matter with Miss Warley?
With me, Edmund? she retorted,—nothing ails me.—I suppose you think I am enough of the fine lady to complain the whole day, because I have got up an hour before my usual time.
His tongue was now silent;—his eyes full of enquiries.—He fixed them on us alternately,—wanting to discover the situation of our hearts.—Why so curious, Edmund?—Things cannot go on long at this rate.—Your heart must undergo a strict scrutiny before I shall know what terms we are upon.
No words can paint my gratitude for worthy Jenkings.—He went to the Abbey, on foot, before breakfast was ended, to give me an opportunity of supplying his place in the chaise.—At parting he actually took one of my hands, joined it with Miss Warley's, and I could perceive petitions ascending from the seat of purity.—I know to what they tended.—I felt, I saw them.—The chaise drove off. I could have blessed him.—May my blessings overtake him!—May they light where virtue sits enshrin'd by locks of silver.
Yes, if his son was to wound me in the tenderest part, for the sake of such a father, I think,—I know not what to think.—Living in such suspence is next to madness.
She treats him with the freedom of a sister.—She calls him Edmund,—leans on his arm, and suffers him to take her hand.—The least favour conferred on me is with an air so reserved, so distant, as if she would say, I have not for you the least sentiment of tenderness.
Lady Powis sends to desire I will walk with her.—A sweet companion am I for a person in low spirits!—That her's are not high is evident.—She has shed many tears this morning at parting with Miss Warley.
Instead of eight days mortification we might have suffer'd twenty, had not her Ladyship insisted on an absolute promise of returning at that time.—Farewel till then.
Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.
From the Crown, at ——.
Here am I, ever-honour'd lady, forty miles on the road to that beloved spot, where, for nineteen years, my tranquility was uninterrupted.—Will a serene sky always hang over me?—It will be presumption to suppose it,—when thousands, perhaps, endowed with virtues the most god-like, have nothing on which they can look back but dark clouds,—nothing to which they can look forward but gathering storms.—Am I a bark only fit to sail in fair weather?—Shall I not prepare to meet the waves of disappointment?
How does my heart bear,—how throb,—to give up follies which dare not hide themselves where a passage is made by generosity, by affection unbounded.—Yes, my dear Lady, this is the only moment I do not regret being absent from you;—for could my tongue relate what my pen trembles to discover?—No!
Behold me at your Ladyship's feet!—behold me a supplicant suing for my returning peace!—You only, can restore it.—Command that I give up my preference for Lord Darcey, and the intruder is banished from my heart:—then shall I no more labour to deceive myself:—then shall I no more blindly exchange certain peace for doubtful happiness,—a quiet for a restless mind.—Humility has not fled me;—my heart has not fallen a sacrifice to title, pomp, or splendor.—Yet, has it not foolishly, unasked, given itself up?—Ah! my Lady, not entirely unask'd neither; or, why, from the first moment, have I seen him shew such tender, such respectful assiduities?—why so ardently solicit to attend me into Oxfordshire?—why ask, if I refused my hand in the same peremptory manner, what would become of the man who without it was lost to the whole world?—But am I not too vain?—Why should this man be Lord Darcey?—Rather one rising to his imagination, who he might possibly suppose was entrapped by my girlish years.—A few, a very few weeks, and I am gone from him forever.—If your Ladyship's goodness can pardon the confession I have made, no errors will I again commit of the kind which now lies blushing before you.
Next to your Ladyship Mr. Jenkings is the best friend I have on earth.—He never has suspected, or now quite forgets his suspicions.—Not all my entreaties could prevent him from taking this long journey with me.—His age, his connections, his business, every thing is made subservient to my convenience—Whilst I write he is below, and has just sent up to know if I will permit a gentleman of his acquaintance, whom he has met accidentally at this inn, to dine with us.—Why does he use this ceremony?—I can have no objection to any friend of his.—Dinner is served up.—I shall write again at our last stage this evening.
From the Mitre at ——.
Past twelve at night!—An hour I used to think the most silent of any:—but here so much the reverse, one reasonably may suppose the inhabitants, or guests, have mistaken midnight for mid-day.
I will ring and enquire, why all this noise?
A strange bustle!—Something like fighting!—Very near, I protest.—Hark! bless me, I shall be frightened to death!—The chambermaid not come! Would I could find my way to Mr. Jenkings's room!—Womens voices, as I live!—Begging!—praying!—Ah! ah! now they cry, Take the swords away!—Take the swords away!—Heaven defend us! to be sure we shall be all killed.
Not kill'd, but terrified out of my senses.—Well, if ever I stop at this inn again—
You remember, Madam, I was thrown into a sad fright by the hurry and confusion without.—I dropped my pen, and pulled the bell with greater violence.—No one came;—the noise increas'd.—Several people ran up and down by the door of my apartment.—I flew and double lock'd it.—But, good God! what were my terrors, when a voice cried out, She cannot be brought to life!—Is there no assistance at hand?—no surgeon near?—I rushed from my chamber, in the first emotions of surprize and compassion, to mix in a confused croud, unknowing and unknown.—I ventur'd no further than the passage. Judge my astonishment, to perceive there, and in a large room which open'd into it, fifty or sixty well dressed people of both sexes:—Women, some crying, some laughing:—Men swearing, stamping, and calling upon others to come down and end the dispute below.—I thought of nothing now, but how to retreat unobserv'd:—when a gentleman, in regimentals, ran so furiously up the stairs full against me, that I should have been instantly at the bottom, had not his extended arm prevented my flight.
I did not stay to receive his apologies, but hastened to my chamber, and have not yet recovered my trembling.—Why did I leave it?—Why was I so inconsiderate?
Another alarm!—Some one knocks at the door!—Will there be no end to my frights?
If one's spirits are on the flutter, how every little circumstance increases our consternation!—When I heard the tapping at my door, instead of enquiring who was there, I got up and stood against it.
Don't be afraid, Mame, said a voice without; it is only the chambermaid come with some drops and water.—With drops and water! replied I, letting her in—who sent you hither?
Captain Risby, Mame, one of the officers:—he told me you was frighten'd.
I am oblig'd to the gentleman;—but set down the drops, I do not want any.—Pray tell me what has occasioned this uproar in your house?
To be sure, Mame, here has been a terrifying noise this night.—It don't use to be so;—but our Town's Gentlemen have such a dislike to Officers, I suppose there will be no peace while they are in town.—I never saw the Ladies dress'd so fine in my life; and had the Colonel happen'd to ask one of the Alderman's daughters to dance, all would have gone on well.
You have an assembly then in the house?
O yes, Mame, the assembly is always kept here.—And, as I was saying, the Colonel should have danced with one of our Alderman's daughters:—instead of that, he engag'd a daughter of Esquire Light, and introduced the Major and a handsome Captain to her two sisters.—Now, to be sure, this was enough to enrage the best Trade's-People in the place, who can give their young Ladies three times as much as Mr. Light can his daughters.
I saw she was determin'd to finish her harangue, so did not attempt to interrupt her.
One of us chambermaids, Mame, continued she, always assist the waiters;—it was my turn this evening; so, as I was stirring the fire in the card-room, I could hear the Ladies whisper their partners, if they let strangers stand above them, they might dance with whom they could get for the future.—They were busy about the matter when the Colonel enter'd with Miss Light, who though she is very handsome, very sensible, and all that, it did not become her to wear a silver silk;—for what, as our Ladies said, is family without fortune?—But I am running on with a story of an hour long.—So Mame, as soon as the Colonel and his partner went into the dancing-room,—one cry'd, Defend me from French'd hair, if people's heads are to look like towers;—another, her gown sleeves were too large;—a third, the robeings too high;—a fourth, her ruff too deep:—in short, Mame, her very shoe-buckles shared the same fate.
This recital put me out of all patience:—I could not endure to see held up a picture, which, though out of the hands of a dauber, presented a true likeness of human nature in her most deprav'd state.—Enough, Mrs. Betty, said I, now pray warm my bed; it is late, and I am fatigued.
O! to be sure, Mame; but will you not first hear what was the occasion of the noise?—The country-dances, continued she, not waiting my reply, began; and our Town's Gentlemen ran to the top of the room, leaving the Officers to dance at the bottom.—This put them in so violent a passion, that the Colonel swore, if our Gentlemen persisted in their ill manners, not a soul should dance.—So, Mame, upon this our Gentlemen let some of the Officers stand above them;—and there was no dispute till after ten.—What they quarrelled about then I don't know;—but, when I came into the room, they were all going to fight;—and fight they certainly would, if they could have got our Gentlemen down stairs.—Not one of them would stir, which made the others so mad, that they would have pulled them down, had not the Ladies interfered.—Then it was, Mame, I suppose, you heard the cries and shrieks; for every one that had husbands, brothers, or admirers there, took hold of them; begging and praying they would not fight.—Poor Miss Peggy Turner will have a fine rub; for she always deny'd to her Mamma, that there was any thing in the affair between her and Mr. Grant the Attorney. Now she has discovered all, by fainting away when he broke from her to go to the other end of the room.
I hope there has been no blood shed?
None, I'll assure you, Mame, in this house; what happens out of it is no business of mine. Now, Mame, would you please to go to bed? By all means, Mrs. Betty.—So away went my communicative companion. Being much tired, I shall lay down an hour or two, then reassume my pen.
Four o'clock in the morning.
Not able to close my eyes, I am got up to have the pleasure of introducing to your Ladyship the Gentleman who I mention'd was to dine with us at the other inn. Judge my surprize, when I found him to be the worthy Dean of H—— going into Oxfordshire to visit his former flock;—I knew him before Mr. Jenkings pronounced his name, by the strong likeness of his picture.
I even fancied the beautiful pair stood before me, whose hands he is represented joining. It is much to be regretted so fine a piece should be hid from the world.—Why should not this be proportion? The other portraits which your Ladyship has drawn, are even allowed by Reynolds to be masterly.—Let me therefore entreat, next time he comes to the Lodge, my favourite may at least have a chance of being called from banishment.
The Dean was almost discouraged from proceeding on his journey, by hearing of your Ladyship's absence, and the death of Mrs. Whitmore.—He was no stranger to what concern'd me, tho' I could be scarce an inhabitant of Hillford-Down at the time he left it.—I suppose his information was from Mr. Jenkings; I could see them from the window deep in discourse, walking in the Bowling-Green, from the moment the Dean got out of his chaise till dinner.
The latter expressed infinite satisfaction when I joined them; looking with such stedfast tenderness, as if he would trace on my countenance the features of some dear friend.—His sincere regard for Mr. and Mrs. Whitmore, and the gratitude he owes your Ladyship, must make him behold me with a favourable eye, knowing how greatly I have been distinguish'd by the two latter.
He had a stool put into his chaise; assuring us we could fit three conveniently—We came from the last inn together, and are to travel so the remainder of the journey.
After your Ladyship's strict commands, that I look on Brandon-Lodge as my home, I shall make it such the few days I stay in Oxfordshire;—and have presumed on your indulgence, to request Mr. Jenkings will do the same.—The Dean's visit is to Mr. Gardener, which will be happy for me, as that Gentleman's house is so near the Lodge.—I hope to see the tops of the chimneys this evening.—
My heart would jump at the sight, if I expected your Ladyship to meet me with open arms.—Extatic thought!—unfit to precede those disappointments which must follow thick on one another. Can there be greater!—to pass the very house, once inhabited by—O my Lady!—Heaven! how will your and her image bring before me past happy scenes!
If this is the Dean's voice, he is got up, early. The horses putting to, and scarce five o'clock! Here comes a messenger, to say they are ready. So rest my pen, till; I again take it up at Brandon-Lodge.
I never saw such general joy as appeared through the village at sight of the Dean.—The first person who espy'd him ran with such speed into every house, that by the time we reached Mr. Gardener's gate, the chaise was surrounded by a hundred people.—Mr. and Mrs. Gardener stepping out, were saluted by the Dean. What, our old friend! cried they.—What, our old friend!—Good God!—and Miss Warley too!—This is a joyful surprize, indeed! and would have taken me out by force, if I had not persisted in going to the Lodge.—Your Ladyship is enough acquainted with these good people, to know they would part with any thing rather than their friends.—I have not yet seen Miss Gardener: she was gone on a walk with Miss West and Miss Conway.
The Dean showered a thousand marks of regard on all around him;—the meanest not escaping his notice.—In this tumult of pleasure I did not pass unregarded.—Your Ladyship and Mrs. Whitmore still live in their hearts; the pure air of Hillford-Down will not mix with the cold blast of ingratitude.
May the soft pillow I am going to repose on, shut not out from my mind the load of obligations which rest on it!—The remembrance is balm to my soul, either in my sleeping or waking hours.
Scarce out of my bed half an hour!—How have I over-slept myself! Mrs. Bennet has prevailed on Mr. Jenkings to have some breakfast.—Good, considerate woman!—indeed, all your Ladyship's domestics are good and considerate.—No wonder, when you treat them so very different from some people of high rank. Let those who complain of fraud, guilt, negligence, or want of respect from their dependants, look in here;—where they will see honesty, virtue, and reverence attend the execution of every command.—Flowers must be planted before they can take root.—Few, very few endeavour to improve an uncultivated soil, notwithstanding how great the advantage is to the improver.
I last night receiv'd pleasure inexpressible, by sending for the servants to acquaint them of your Ladyship's returning health; and feasted on the satisfaction they expressed.—In a moment all the live creatures were brought.—I am satisfied, my Lady, if any of them die in your absence, it must be of fat.—My old acquaintances Bell and Flora could hardly waddle in to pay their compliments; the parrot, which used to squall the moment she saw me, is now quite dumb; shewing no mark of her favour, but holding down her head to be scratched;—the turtle-doves are in the same case.—I have taken the liberty to desire the whole crew might be put to short allowance.
John said, he believed it was natural for every thing to grow fat here; and was much afraid, when I saw the coach-horses, I should pronounce the same hard sentence against them, desiring orders to attend me with the carriage this morning.—I told him my stay would be so short, I should have no time for an airing.
The gardener has just sent me a blooming nosegay; I suppose, to put me in mind of visiting his care, which I intend, after I have acquainted your Ladyship with an incident that till this moment had escaped my memory.—The Dean, Mr. Jenkings, and myself, were drinking a cup of chocolate before we sat out from the inn where I had been so much hurried, when captain Risby sent in his name, desiring we would admit him for a moment. His request being assented to, he entered very respectfully, said he came to apologize for the rudeness he was guilty of the last night.—The Dean and Mr. Jenkings presently guessed his meaning; I had been just relating the whole affair, which I was pleased to find did not disturb their rest.—I assured Captain Risby, far from deeming his behaviour rude, I was obliged to him for his solicitude in sending a servant to my chamber. He said he had not been in bed, determining to watch our setting out, in hopes his pardon would be sealed:—that to think of the accident he might have occasioned, gave him great pain.
Pardon me, Madam, addressing himself to me; and you, Sir, to Mr. Jenkings; if I ask one plain question: Have you, or at least has not that Lady, relations out of England? I have a friend abroad—I have heard him say his father is still living;—but then he has no sister;—or a certain likeness I discover would convince me.
Undoubtedly he took me for Mr. Jenkings's daughter:—what he meant further I cannot divine.
Mr. Jenkings reply'd, You are mistaken, Sir, if you think me the father of this Lady.—The chaise driving up that moment to the door, he shook him by the hand, and led me towards it; the Captain assisting me in getting in.
I wish I could have satisfied my curiosity.—I wish I had known to whom he likened me.—Perhaps his eyes misinformed him—perhaps he might have taken a cheerful glass after the last night's encounter:—yet he resembled not a votary of Bacchus;—his complexion clear;—hair nicely comb'd;—coat without a spot;—linen extremely fine and clean.—But enough of him.—Here comes the Dean, walking up the avenue escorting a party of my old acquaintances.
Adieu! dearest honour'd Lady, till my return to Hampshire.
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.
Was every any thing so forgetful, to bring no other clothes here but mourning?
Really, my Lord, this favours a good deal of the matrimonial stile. Was you, commenced Benedict, I should think you had received lessons from the famous L——, who takes such pains with his pupils, that those whose attendance is frequent, can, in, the space of three months after the knot is tied, bring their wives to hear patiently the words—forgetful,—ridiculous,—absurd,—pish—poh,—and a thousand more of the same significant meaning.—I hear you, my Lord:—it is true, I am in jest; and know you would scorn to say even a peevish thing to a wife.
Why fret yourself to a skeleton about an absence of eight days?—How could you suppose she would let you go into Oxfordshire?—Proper decorums must be observed by that sex.—Are not those despicable who neglect them?—What would you have said, had she taken Edmund with her?—Don't storm:—on reflection you will find you had no greater right to expect that indulgence.
I have this morning had a letter from Dick Risby, that unfortunate, but worthy cousin of mine, just returned from the West-Indies to take on him the command of a company in Lord ——'s regiment. What a Father his!—to abandon such a son.—Leave him to the wide world at sixteen,—without a shilling, only to gratify the pride and avarice of his serpent daughter,—who had art sufficient to get this noble youth disinherited for her waddling brat, whose head was form'd large enough to contain his mother's mischief and his own.—In vain we attempted to set aside the will:—my brother would not leave England whilst there remained the least hopes for poor Risby.
I always dreaded Dick's going abroad, well knowing what a designing perfidious slut his sister was, from her very infancy.—Her parents drew down a curse by their blind indulgence:—even her nurse was charg'd not to contradict her; she was to have every thing for which she shewed the least inclination.
Lord Eggom and myself being near of an age with our cousins, were sometimes sent to play with them in their nursery; and, though boys of tolerable spirit, that vixen girl has so worried us by her tyrannic and impatient temper, that we have often petitioned, at our return home, to be put to bed supperless.—If sweet-meats were to be divided, she would cry to have the whole; the same in regard to cards,—shells,—money, or whatever else was sent for our entertainment.—When she has pinched us black and blue,—a complaint to her mother has been made by Dick, who could not bear to see us so used, though he was obliged to take such treatment himself, the only redress we should receive was—Poh! she is but a baby.—I thought you had all known better than to take notice of what such a child as Lucy does—Once, when this was said before her, me flew at me, and cry'd, I will pinch again, if I please;—papa and mamma says I shall,—and so does nurse; and I don't mind what any body else says.—I waited only for my revenge, till the two former withdrew; when sending the latter for a glass of water, I gave Miss such a glorious tacking, as I believe she has never tasted the like before or since.—In the midst of the fray, I heard nurse running up, which made me hasten what I owed on my own account, to remind her of the favours she had conferred on Lord Eggom and her brother.—If such a termagant in her infant state,—judge what she must be at a time of life when her passions are in full vigour, and govern without controul!—I have just shewn the method of rearing this diabolical plant, that you may not wonder at its productions.—I shall see justice overtake her, notwithstanding the long strides she is making to escape.
Dick will be in town with us most part of the winter:—I have wrote him to that purpose, and mention'd your name. He will rejoice to see you:—I have often heard him regret your acquaintance was of so short standing.—Bridgman set out for York the day before I arrived; his servants inform me he is not expected back this three weeks.
I like our lodgings vastly; but more so as the master and mistress of the family are excessively clean and obliging; two things so material to my repose, that I absolutely could not dispense patiently with either.—This it was which made me felicitous about taking a house; I am now so happily situated, I wish not to have one in town whilst I remain a batchelor. Heaven knows how long that will be!—Your nonpareil has given me a dislike to all my former slight prepossessions.
Lady Elizabeth Curtis!—I did once indeed think a little seriously of her:—but such a meer girl!—Perhaps the time she has spent in France, Germany, and the Lord knows where, may have changed her from a little bewitching, smiling, artless creature—to a vain, designing, haughty,—I could call a coquet by a thousand names;—but Lady Elizabeth can-not, must not be a coquet.—Cupid, though, shall never tye a bandage over my eyes.—The charms that must fix me are not to be borrow'd;—I shall look for them in her affection to her relations;—in a condescending behaviour to inferiors;—above all, when she offers up her first duties.—If she shines here, I shall not follow her to the card-table, or play-house:—every thing must be right in a heart where duty, affection, and humility, has the precedence.
The misfortune of our sex is this: when taken with a fine face, we enquire no further than, Is she polite?—Is she witty? Does she dance well?—sing well?—in short, is she fit to appear in the Beau Monde; whilst good sense and virtues which constitute real happiness, are left out of the question.