[Transcriber's note: The spelling inconsistencies of the original have been retained in this etext.]
Colonel M——RS, and his Sister, Madam DU P——Y, the Issue of the Hon. CH——ES M——RS, Son of the late Duke of R—— L——D.
Many wonderful ACCIDENTS that befel them in their TRAVELS, and interspersed with the CHARACTERS and ADVENTURES of SEVERAL PERSONS of Condition, in the most polite Courts of Europe.
The Whole calculated for the Entertainment and Improvement of the Youth of both Sexes.
The many Fictions which have been lately imposed upon the World, under the specious Titles of Secret Histories, Memoirs, &c. &c. have given but too much room to question the Veracity of every Thing that has the least Tendency that way: We therefore think it highly necessary to assure the Reader, that he will find nothing in the following Sheets, but what has been collected from Original Letters, Private Memorandums, and the Accounts we have been favoured with from the Mouths of Persons too deeply concerned in many of the chief Transactions not to be perfectly acquainted with the Truth, and of too much Honour and Integrity to put any false Colours upon it.
_The Adventures are not so long passed as to be wholly forgotten by many_ Living Witnesses, _nor yet so recent as to give any Reason to suspect us of Flattery in the Relation given of them, the Motive of their Publication being only to_ encourage Virtue _in both Sexes, by showing the Amiableness of it in_ real Characters. _And if it be true (as certainly it is) that_ Example has more Efficacy than_ Precept, _we may be bold to say there are few fairer, or more worthy Imitation.—The Sons and Daughters of the greatest Families may give additional Lustre to their Nobility, by forming themselves by the Model here presented to them; and those of lower Extraction, attain Qualities to attone for what they want in Birth:—So that we flatter ourselves this Undertaking will not fail of receiving the Approbation of all who wish well to a Reformation of Manners, and more especially those who have Youth under their Care.—As for such who may take it up merely as an Amusement, it is possible they will find something, which, by interesting their Affections, may make them better without designing to be so.—Either way will fully recompense the Pains taken in the compiling by_
Contains the Manner in which a Gentleman found two Children: His Benevolence towards them, and what kind of Affection he bore to them as they grew up; with the Departure of one of them to the Army.
Relates the Offers made by Dorilaus to Louisa, and the Manner of her receiving them.
Dorilaus continues his Importunities, with some unexpected Consequences that attended them.
Louisa becomes acquainted with a Lady of Quality, Part of whose Adventures are also related, and goes to travel with her.
Horatio's Reception by the Officers of the Army: His Behaviour in the Battle: His being taken Prisoner by the French: His Treatment among them, and many other Particulars.
Describes the Masquerade at the Dutchess of Maine's: The Characters and Intrigues of several Persons of Quality who were there: The odd Behaviour of a Lady in regard to Horatio; and Charlotta's Sentiments upon it.
An Explanation of the foregoing Adventure, with a Continuation of the Intrigues of some French Ladies, and the Policy of Mademoiselle Coigney in regard of her Brother.
The parting of Horatio and Mademoiselle Charlotta, and what happened after she left St. Germains.
A second Separation between Horatio and Charlotta, with some other Occurrences.
The Reasons that induced Horatio to leave France: with the Chevalier St. George's Behaviour on knowing his Resolution. He receives an unexpected Favour from the Baron de Palfoy.
Horatio arrives at Rheines, finds Means to see Mademoiselle Charlotta, and afterwards pursues his Journey to Poland.
Continuation of the Adventures of Louisa: Her quitting Vienna with Melanthe, and going to Venice, with some Accidents that there befel them.
Louisa finds herself very much embarrassed by Melanthe's imprudent Behaviour. Monsieur du Plessis declares an honourable Passion for her: Her Sentiments and Way of acting on this Occasion.
The base Designs of the Count de Bellfleur occasion a melancholy Change in Louisa's Way of Life: The generous Behaviour of Monsieur du Plessis on that Occasion.
Louisa is in Danger of being ravished by the Count de Bellfleur; is providentially rescued by Monsieur du Plessis, with several other Particulars.
The Innkeeper's Scruples oblige Louisa to write to Melanthe: Her Behaviour on the Discovery of the Count's Falshood. Louisa changes her Resolution, and goes to Bolognia.
Horatio arrives at Warsaw; sees the Coronation of Stanislaus and his Queen: His Reception from the King of Sweden: His Promotion: Follows that Prince in all his Conquests thro' Poland, Lithuania and Saxony. The Story of Count Patkull and Madame de Eusilden.
King Stanislaus quits Alranstadt to appease the Troubles In Poland: Charles XII. gives Laws to the Empire: A Courier arrives from Paris: Horatio receives Letters, which give him great Surprize.
The King of Sweden leaves Saxony, marches into Lithuania, meets with an Instance of Russian Brutality, drives the Czar out of Grodno, and pursues him to the Borysthenes. Horatio, with others, is taken Prisoner by the Russians, and carried to Petersburg, where he suffers the extremest Miseries.
The Treachery of a Russian Lady to her Friend: Her Passion for Horatio: The Method he took to avoid making any Return, and some other entertaining Occurrences.
The Prisoners Expectations raised: A terrible Disappointment: Some of the chief carried to Prince Menzikoff's Palace: Their Usage there: Horatio set at Liberty, and the Occasion.
What befel Louisa in the Monastery: The Stratagem she put in Practice to get out of it: Her Travels cross Italy, and Arrival at Paris.
Shews by what Means Louisa came to the Knowledge of her Parents, with other Occurrences.
The History of Dorilaus and Matilda, with other Circumstances very important to Louisa.
Monsieur du Plessis arrives at Paris: His Reception from Dorilaus and Louisa: The Marriage agreed upon.
The Catastrophe of the Whole.
THE FORTUNATE FOUNDLINGS.
Contains the manner in which a gentleman found children: his benevolence towards them, and what kind of affection he bore to them as they grew up. With the departure of one of them to the army.
It was in the ever memorable year 1688, that a gentleman, whose real name we think proper to conceal under that of Dorilaus, returned from visiting most of the polite courts of Europe, in which he had passed some time divided between pleasure and improvement. The important question if the throne were vacated or not, by the sudden departure of the unfortunate king James, was then upon the tapis; on which, to avoid interesting himself on either side, he forbore coming to London, and crossed the country to a fine feat he had about some forty miles distant, where he resolved to stay as privately as he could, till the great decision should be made, and the public affairs settled in such a manner as not to lay him under a necessity of declaring his sentiments upon them.
He was young and gay, loved magnificence and the pomp of courts, and was far from being insensible of those joys which the conversation of the fair sex affords; but had never so much enslaved his reason to any one pleasure, as not to be able to refrain it. Hunting and reading were very favourite amusements with him, so that the solitude he now was in was not at all disagreeable or tedious to him, tho' he continued in it some months.
A little time before his departure an accident happened, which gave him an opportunity of exercising the benevolence of his disposition; and, tho' it then seemed trivial to him, proved of the utmost consequence to his future life, as well as furnished matter for the following pages.
As he was walking pretty early one morning in his garden, very intent on a book he had in his hand, his meditations were interrupted by an unusual cry, which seemed at some distance; but as he approached a little arbour, where he was sometimes accustomed to sit, he heard more plain and distinct, and on his entrance was soon convinced whence it proceeded.
Just at the foot of a large tree, the extensive boughs of which greatly contributed to form the arbour, was placed a basket closely covered on the one side, and partly open on the other to let in the air. Tho' the sounds which still continued to issue from it left Dorilaus no room to doubt what it contained; he stooped down to look, and saw two beautiful babes neatly dressed in swadling cloaths: between them and the pillow they were laid upon was pinned a paper, which he hastily taking off, found in it these words.
To the generous DORISLAUS:
'Irresistible destiny abandons these helpless infants to your care.—They are twins, begot by the same father, and born of the same mother, and of a blood not unworthy the protection they stand in need of; which if you vouchsafe to afford, they will have no cause to regret the misfortune of their birth, or accuse the authors of their being.—Why they seek it of you in particular, you may possibly be hereafter made sensible.—In the mean time content yourself with knowing they are already baptized by the names of Horatio and Louisa.'
The astonishment he was in at so unexpected a present being made him, may more easily be imagined than expressed; but he had then no time to form any conjectures by whom or by what means it was left there: the children wanted immediate succour, and he hesitated not a moment whether it would become him to bestow it: he took the basket up himself, and running as fast as he could with it into the house, called his maid-servants about him, and commanded them to give these little strangers what assistance was in their power, while a man was sent among the tenants in search of nurses proper to attend them. To what person soever, said he, I am indebted for this confidence, it must not be abused.—Besides, whatever stands in need of protection, merits protection from those who have the power to give it.
This was his way of thinking, and in pursuance of these generous sentiments he always acted. The report of what happened in his house being soon spread thro' the country, there were not wanting several who came to offer their service to the children, out of which he selected two of whom he heard the best character, and were most likely to be faithful to the trust reposed in them, giving as great a charge, and as handsome an allowance with them, as could have been expected from a father. Indeed he doubtless had passed for being so in the opinion of every body, had he arrived sooner in the kingdom; but the shortness of the time not permitting any such suggestion, he was looked upon as a prodigy of charity and goodness.
Having in this handsome manner disposed of his new guests, he began to examine all his servants, thinking it impossible they should be brought there without the privity of some one of them; but all his endeavours could get him no satisfaction in this point. He read the letter over and over, yet still his curiosity was as far to seek as ever.—The hand he was entirely unacquainted with, but thought there was something in the style that showed it wrote by no mean person: the hint contained in it, that there was some latent reason for addressing him in particular on this account, was very puzzling to him: he could not conceive why he, any more than any other gentleman of the county, should have an interest in the welfare of these children: he had no near relations, and those distant ones who claimed an almost forgotten kindred were not in a condition to abandon their progeny.—The thing appeared strange to him; but all his endeavours to give him any farther light into it being unsuccessful; he began to imagine the parents of the children had been compelled by necessity to expose them, and had had only wrote in this mysterious manner to engage a better reception: he also accounted in his mind for their being left with him, as, he being a batchelor, and having a large estate, it might naturally be supposed there would be fewer impediments to their being taken care of, than either where a wife was in the case, or a narrow fortune obliged the owner to preserve a greater oeconomy in expences.
Being at last convinced within himself that he had now explained this seeming riddle, he took no farther trouble about whose, or what these children were, but resolved to take care of them during their infancy, and afterwards to put them into such a way as he should find their genius's rendered them most fit for, in order to provide for themselves.
On his leaving the county, he ordered his housekeeper to furnish every thing needful for them as often as they wanted it, and to take care they were well used by the women with whom he had placed them; and delivered these commands not in a cursory or negligent manner, but in such terms as terrified any failure of obedience in this point would highly incur his displeasure.
Nothing material happening during their infancy, I shall pass over those years in silence, only saying that as often as Dorilaus went down to his estate (which was generally two or three times a year) he always sent for them, and expressed a very great satisfaction in finding in their looks the charge he had given concerning them so well executed: but when they arrived at an age capable of entertaining him with their innocent prattle, what before was charity, improved into affection; and he began to regard them with a tenderness little inferior to paternal; but which still increased with their increase of years.
Having given them the first rudiments of education in the best schools those parts afforded, he placed Louisa with a gentlewoman, who deservedly had the reputation of being an excellent governess of youth, and brought Horatio in his own chariot up to London, where he put him to Westminster School, under the care of doctor Busby, and agreed for his board in a family that lived near it, and had several other young gentlemen on the same terms.
What more could have been expected from the best of fathers! what more could children, born to the highest fortunes, have enjoyed! nor was their happiness like to be fleeting: Dorilaus was a man steady in his resolutions, had always declared an aversion to marriage, and by rejecting every overture made him on that score, had made his friends cease any farther importunities; he had besides (as has already been observed) no near relations, so that it was the opinion of most people that he would make the young Horatio heir to the greatest part of his estate, and give Louisa a portion answerable to her way of bringing up. What he intended for them, however, is uncertain, he never having declared his sentiments so far concerning them; and the strange revolutions happening afterwards in both their fortunes, preventing him from acting as it is possible he might design.
The education he allowed them indeed gave very good grounds for the above-mentioned conjecture.—Louisa being taught all the accomplishments that became a maid of quality to be mistress of; and Horatio having gone thro' all the learning of the school, was taken home to his own house, from whence he was to go to Oxford, in order to finish his studies in the character of a gentleman-commoner.
But when every thing was preparing for this purpose, he came one morning into the chamber of his patron, and throwing himself on his knees— Think me not, sir, said he, too presuming in the request I am about to make you.—I know all that I am is yours.—That I am the creature of your bounty, and that, without being a father, you have done more for me than many of those, who are so, do for their most favourite sons.—I know also that you are the best judge of what is fit for me, and have not the least apprehensions that you will not always continue the same goodness to me, provided I continue, as I have hitherto done, the ambition of meriting it.—Yet, sir, pardon me if I now discover a desire with which I long have laboured, of doing something of myself which may repair the obscurity of my birth, and prove to the world that heaven has endued this foundling with a courage and resolution capable of undertaking the greatest actions.
In speaking these last words a fire seemed to sparkle from his eyes, which sufficiently denoted the vehemence of his inward agitations. Dorilaus was extremely surprized, but after a little pause, what is it you request of me? said that noble gentleman, (at the same time raising him from the posture he was in) or by what means than such as I have already taken, can I oblige you to think that, in being my foundling, fortune dealt not too severely with you?
Ah! sir, mistake me not, I beseech you, replied the young Horatio, or think me wanting in my gratitude either to heaven or you.—But, sir, it is to your generous care in cultivating the talents I received from nature, that I owe this emulation, this ardor for doing something that might give me a name, which is the only thing your bounty cannot bestow.—My genius inclines me to the army.—Of all the accomplishments you have caused me to be instructed in, geography, fortification, and fencing, have been my darling studies.—Of what use, sir, will they be to me in an idle life? permit me then the opportunity of showing the expense you have been at has not been thrown away.—I know they will say I am too young to bear a commission, but if I had the means of going a volunteer, I cannot help thinking but I should soon give proofs the extreme desire I have to serve my country that way would well attone for my want of years.
The more he spoke, the more the astonishment of his patron increased: he admired the greatness of his spirit, but was troubled it led him to a desire of running into so dangerous a way of life.—He represented to him all the hardships of a soldier, the little regard that was sometimes paid to merit, and gave him several instances of gentlemen who had passed their youth in the service, and behaved with extreme bravery, yet had no other reward than their fears, and a consciousness of having done more than was their duty: in war, said he, the superior officers carry away all the glory as well as profits of the victory; whereas in civil employments it is quite otherwise: in physic, in law, in divinity, or in the state, your merits will be immediately conspicuous to those who have the power to reward you; and if you are desirous of acquiring a name, by which I suppose you mean to become the head of a family, any of these afford you a much greater prospect of success, and it lies much more in my power of assisting your promotion.
To these he added many other arguments, but they were not of the least weight with the impatient Horatio. He was obstinate in his entreaties, which he even with tears enforced, and Dorilaus, considering so strong a propensity as something supernatural, at last consented.—Never was joy more sincere and fervent than what this grant occasioned, and he told his benefactor that he doubted not but that hereafter he should hear such an account of his behaviour, as would make him not repent his having complied with his request.
The preparations for his going to Oxford were now converted into others of a different nature.—Several of our troops were already sent to Flanders, and others about to embark, in order to open the campaign; so that there was but a small space between the time of Horatio's asking leave to go, and that of his departure, which Dorilaus resolved should be in a manner befitting a youth whom he had bred up as his own. He provided him a handsome field-equipage, rich cloaths, horses, and a servant to attend him; and while these things were getting ready, had masters to perfect him in riding; and those other exercises proper for the vocation he was now entering into, all which he performed with so good a grace, that not only Dorilaus himself, who might be suspected to look on him with partial eyes, but all who saw him were perfectly charmed.
He was more than ordinarily tall for his years, admirably well proportioned, and had something of a grave fierceness in his air and deportment, that tho' he was not yet sixteen, he might very well have passed for twenty: he was also extremely fair, had regular features, and eyes the most penetrating, mixed with a certain sweetness; so that it was difficult to say whether he seemed most formed for love or war.
Dorilaus thinking it highly proper he should take his leave of Louisa, sent for her from the boarding-school, that she might pass the short time he had to stay with her brother at his house, not without some hopes that the great tenderness there was between them might put Horatio out of his resolution of going to the army, who being grown now extremely dear to him, he could not think of parting with, tho' he had yielded to it, without a great deal of reluctance.
It is certain, indeed, that when she first heard the motive which had occasioned her being sent for, her gentle breast was filled with the most terrible alarms for her dear brother's danger; but the little regard he seemed to have of it, and the high ideas he had of future greatness, soon brought her to think as he did; and instead of dissuading him from prosecuting his design, she rather encouraged him in it: and in this gave the first testimony of a greatness of soul, no less to be admired than the courage and laudable ambition which actuated that of her brother.
Dorilaus beheld with an infinity of satisfaction the success of his endeavours, in favour of these amiable twins, and said within himself, how great a pity would it have been, if capacities such as theirs had been denied the means of improvement!
After the departure of Horatio, he kept Louisa some time with him, under pretence of showing her the town, which before she had never seen; but in reality to alleviate that melancholy which parting from her brother had caused in him. He could not have taken a more effectual way; for there was such an engaging and sweet cheerfulness in her conversation, added to many personal perfections, that it was scarce possible to think of any thing else while she was present. She had also an excellent voice, and played well on the bass viol and harpsicord, so that it is hard to say whether he found most satisfaction in hearing her or discoursing with her.
But how dangerous is it to depend on one's own strength, against the force of such united charms! Dorilaus, who, in the midst of a thousand temptations, had maintained the entire liberty of his heart, and tho' never insensible of beauty, had never been enslaved by it, was now by charms he least suspected, and at an age when he believed himself proof against all the attacks of love, subdued without knowing that he was so.—The tender passion stole into his soul by imperceptible degrees, and under the shape of friendship and paternal affection, met with no opposition from his reason, till it became too violent to be restrained; then showed itself in the whole power of restless wishes, fears, hopes, and impatiences, which he had often heard others complain of, but not till now experienced in himself: all that he before had felt of love was languid, at best aimed only at enjoyment, and in the gratification of that desire was extinguished; but the passion he was possessed of for Louisa was of a different nature, and accompanied with a respect which would not suffer him to entertain a thought in prejudice of her innocence.
Many reasons, besides his natural aversion to marriage, concurred to hinder him from making her his wife; and as there were yet more to deter him from being the instrument of her dishonour, the situation of his mind was very perplexing.—He blushed within himself at the inclinations he had for a girl whom he had always behaved to as a child of his own, and who looked upon him as a father: not only the disparity of their years made him consider the passion he was possessed of as ridiculous, there was one circumstance, which, if at any time a thought of marrying her entered into his head, immediately extirpated it, which was, that there was a possibility of her being born not only of the meanest, but the vilest parents, who, on hearing her establishment, might appear and claim the right they had in her; and lo, said he, I shall ally myself to, perhaps, a numerous family of vagabonds; at least, whether it be so or not, the manner in which these children were exposed, being publicly known, may furnish a pretence for any wretch to boast a kindred.
He was therefore determined to suppress a passion, which, as he had too much honour to seek the gratification of by one way, his prudence and character in the world would not allow him to think of by the other: and as absence seemed to him the best remedy, he sent her down into the country again with a precipitation, which made her (wholly ignorant of the real motive) fear she had done something to offend him. At parting, she entreated him to let her know if he had been dissatisfied with any thing in her behaviour.—Wherefore do you ask? said he, with some emotion, which the poor innocent still mistook for displeasure; because, answered she, dropping some tears at the same time, that you banish me from your presence. Why would you be glad to continue with me always? again demanded he. Yes indeed, said she; and if you loved me as well as you do my brother, you would never part with me; for I saw with what regret you let him go.
This tender simplicity added such fewel to the fire with which Dorilaus was enflamed, that it almost consumed his resolution: he walked about the room some time without being able to speak, much less to quiet the agitation he was in. At last, Louisa, said he, I was only concerned your brother made choice of an avocation so full of dangers;—but I never intended to keep him at home with me:—he should have gone to Oxford to finish his studies; and the reason I send you again to the boarding-school is that you may perfect yourself in such things as you may not yet be mistress of:—as for any apprehensions of my being offended with you, I would have you banish them entirely, for I assure you, I can find nothing in you but what both merits and receives my approbation.
She seemed extremely comforted with these words; and the coach being at the door, went into it with her accustomed chearfulness, leaving him in a state which none but those who have experienced the severe struggles between a violent inclination and a firm resolution to oppose it, can possibly conceive.
Relates the offers made by Dorilaus to Louisa, and the manner of her receiving them.
Louisa was no sooner gone, than he wished her with him again, and was a thousand times about to send and have her brought back; but was as often prevented by the apprehensions of her discovering the motive.—He was now convinced that love does not always stand in need of being indulged to enforce its votaries to be guilty of extravagancies.
—He had banished the object of his affections from his presence; he had painted all the inconveniences of pursuing his desires in the worst colours they would bear; yet all was insufficient!—Louisa was absent in reality, but her image was ever present to him.—Whatever company he engaged himself in, whatever amusement he endeavoured to entertain himself with, he could think only of her.
—The Town without her seemed a desart, and every thing in it rather seemed irksome than agreeable; for several months did he endure this cruel conflict; but love and nature at last got the victory, and all those considerations which had occasioned the opposition subsided: he found it impossible to recover any tranquility of mind while he continued in this dilemma, and therefore yielded to the strongest side. All the arguments he had used with himself in the beginning of his passion seemed now weak and trifling: the difference of age, which he had thought so formidable an objection, appeared none in the light with which he at present considered it: he was now but in his fortieth year, and the temperance he had always observed had hindered any decay either in his looks or constitution.—What censures the world might pass on his marrying one of her age and obscure birth, he thought were of little weight when balanced with his internal peace.—Thus was he enabled to answer to himself all that could be offered against making her his wife; and having thus settled every thing, as he imagined, to the satisfaction of his passion, became no less resolute in following the dictates of it than he had been in combating it while there was a possibility of doing so.
To this end he went down to his country seat, and as soon as he arrived sent to let Louisa know he would have her come and pass some time with him. She readily obeyed the summons, and found by his manner of receiving her that she was no less dear to him than her brother. As she had always considered him as a father, tho' she knew all her claim in him was compassion, she was far from suspecting the motive which made him treat her with so much tenderness; but he suffered her not long to remain in this happy ignorance. As he was walking with her one day in the garden, he purposely led her on that side where he had found Horatio and herself in the manner already related; and as they came towards the arbour, It was here, said he, that heaven put into my power the opportunity of affording my protection to two persons whom I think will not be ungrateful for what I have done.—I hope, Louisa, continued he, you will not at least deceive my good opinion of you; but as you have always found in me a real friend, you will testify the sense you have of my good wishes, by readily following my advice in any material point.
I should be else unworthy, sir, answered she, of the life you have preserved; and I flatter myself with being guilty of nothing which should give you cause to call in question either my gratitude or duty.
I insist but on the former, resumed he; nor can pretend to any claim to the latter;—look on me therefore only as your friend, and let me know your sentiments plainly and sincerely on what I think proper to ask you. This she having assured him she would do, he pursued his discourse in these or the like terms:
You are now, said he, arrived at an age when persons of your sex ordinarily begin to think of marriage.—I need not ask you if you have ever received any addresses for that purpose; the manner in which you have lived convinces me you are yet a stranger to them; but I would know of you whether an overture of that kind, in favour of a man of honour, and who can abundantly endow you with the goods of fortune, would be disagreeable to you.
Alas! sir, replied she, blushing, you commanded me to answer with sincerity, but how can I resolve a question which as yet I have never asked myself?—All that I can say is, that I now am happy by your bounty, and have never entertained one wish but for the continuance of it.
On that you may depend, said he, while you continue to stand in need of it. But would it not be more pleasing to find yourself the mistress of an ample fortune, and in a condition to do the same good offices by others as you have found from me?—In fine, Louisa, the care I have taken of you would not be complete unless I saw you well settled in the world.—I have therefore provided a husband for you, and such a one as I think you can have no reasonable objection to.
Sir, it would ill-become me to dispute your will, answered she, modestly, but as I yet am very young, and have never had a thought of marriage, nor even conversed with any who have experienced that fate, I should be too much at a loss how to behave in it, without being allowed some time to consider on its respective duties.—I hope therefore, sir, continued she, you will not oblige me to act with too much precipitation in an affair on which the happiness or misery of my whole future life depends.
Your very thinking it of consequence, said he, is enough to make you behave so, as to allure your happiness with a man of honour; and indeed Louisa, I love you too well to propose one to you whose principles and humour I could not answer for as well as my own.
Yet, sir, replied she, I have read that a union of hearts as well as hands is necessary for the felicity of that state;—that there ought to be a simpathy of soul between them, and a perfect confidence in each other, before the indissoluble knot is tied:—and this, according to my notion, can only be the result of a long acquaintance and accompanied with many proofs of affection on both sides.
Were all young women to think as you do, said he with a smile, we would have much fewer marriages; they would indeed be happier; therefore I am far from condemning your precaution, nor would wish you should give yourself to one till well assured he was incapable of treating you with less regard after marriage than before:—no, no, Louisa, I will never press you to become a wife, till you shall yourself acknowledge the man I offer to you as a husband is not unworthy of that title, thro' a want of honour, fortune, or affection.
As Louisa thought this must be the work of time, the chagrin she felt at the first mention of marriage was greatly dissipated; and she told him, that when she was once convinced such a person as he described honoured her so far as to think she merited his affection, she would do all in her power to return it.
The enamoured Dorilaus having now brought her to the point he aimed at, thought it best to throw off the mark at once, and leave her no longer in suspence.—Behold then in me, said he, the person I have mentioned: nor think me vain in ascribing those merits to myself which I would wish to be the loadstone of your affection.—My honour, I believe, you will not call in question:—my humour you have never found capricious, or difficult to please; and as for my love, you cannot but allow the conquering that aversion, which myself, as well as all the world, believed unalterable for a marriage state; besides a thousand other scruples opposed my entering into it with you, is a proof greater than almost any other man could give you.—There requires, therefore, my dear Louisa, no time to convince you of what I am, or assure you of what I may be; and I hope the affection you bore me, as a faithful friend, and the protector of your innocence, will not be diminished on my making this declaration.
The confusion in which this speech involved her is even impossible to be conceived, much less can any words come up to its description: she blushed;—she trembled;—she was ready to die between surprize, grief and shame:—fain she would have spoke, but feared, lest what she should say would either lose his friendship or encourage his passion.—Each seemed equally dreadful to her:—no words presented themselves to her distracted mind that she could think proper to utter, till he pressing her several times to reply, and seeming a little to resent her silence—Oh! sir, cried she, how is it possible for me to make any answer to so strange a proposition!—you were not used to rally my simplicity; nor can I think you mean what you now mention. If there wanted no more, said he, than to prove the sincerity of my wishes in this point to gain your approbation of them, my chaplain should this moment put it past a doubt, and confirm my proposal:—but, pursued he, I will not put your modesty to any farther shock at present;—all I intreat is, that you will consider on what I have said, and what the passion I am possessed of merits from you. In concluding these words he kissed her with the utmost tenderness, and quitted her to speak to some men who were at work in another part of the garden, leaving her to meditate at liberty on this surprizing turn in her affairs.
It was indeed necessary he should do so, for the various agitations she laboured under were so violent, as to be near throwing her into a swoon.—She no sooner found herself alone, than she flew to her chamber, and locked herself in, to prevent being interrupted by any of the servants; and as in all emotions of the mind, especially in that of a surprize, tears are a very great relief, her's found some ease from the sources of her eyes.—Never had the most dutiful child loved the tenderest of fathers more than she did Dorilaus; but then it was only a filial affection, and the very thoughts of his regarding her with that sort of passion she now found he did, had somewhat in them terribly alarming.—All she could do to reconcile herself to what seemed to be her fate was in vain.—This generous man who offers me his heart, said she, is not my father, or any way of my blood:—he has all the accomplishments of his whole sex centered in him.—I could wish to be for ever near him.—All that I am is owing to his goodness.—How wretched must I have been but for his bounty!—What unaccountable prejudice is this then that strikes me with such horror at his love!—what maid of birth and fortune equal to his own but would be proud of his addresses; and shall I, a poor foundling, the creature of his charity, not receive the honour he does me with the utmost gratitude!—shall I reject a happiness so far beyond my expectation! —so infinitely above any merit I can pretend to!—what must he think of me if I refuse him!—how madly stupid, how blind to my own interest, how thankless to him must I appear!—how will he despise my folly!—how hate my ingratitude!
Thus did her reason combat with her prejudice, and she suffered much the same agonies in endeavouring to love him in the manner he desired, as he had done to conquer the inclination he had for her, and both alike were fruitless. Yet was her condition much more to be commiserated: he had only to debate within himself whether he should yield or not to the suggestions of his own passion: she to subdue an aversion for what a thousand reasons concurred to convince her she ought rather to be ambitious of, and which in refusing she run the risque of being cast off, and abandoned to beggary and ruin; and what was still more hateful to her, being hated by that person who, next to her brother, she loved above the world, tho' in a different way from that which could alone content him.
Dorilaus, who had taken the disorder he perceived in her for no other than the effects of a surprize, which a declaration, such as he had made, might very well occasion, was perfectly contented in his mind, and passed that night with much more tranquility than he had done many preceding ones, while he suffered his cruel reason to war against the dictates of his heart; but having now wholly given himself up to the latter, the sweet delusion filled him with a thousand pleasing ideas, and he thought of nothing but the happiness he should enjoy in the possession of the amiable Louisa. But how confounded was he, when the next day accosting her with all the tender transports of a lover, she turned from him, and burst into a flood of tears. How is this, Louisa, said he; do the offers I make you merit to be treated with disdain? has my submitting to be your lover forfeited that respect you were wont to pay me as a guardian? O do not, sir, accuse me of such black ingratitude, replied she; heaven knows with what sincere and humble duty I regard you, and that I would sooner die than wilfully offend you; but if I am so unfortunate as not to be able to obey you in this last command, impute it, I beseech you, to my ill fate, and rather pity than condemn me.
You cannot love me then? cried he, somewhat feircely. No otherwise than I have ever done, answered she. My heart is filled with duty, reverence and gratitude, of which your goodness is the only source: as for any other sort of love I know not what it is; were it a voluntary emotion, believe me, sir, I gladly would give it entrance into my soul, but I well see it is of a far different nature.
Yet is your person at your own disposal, resumed he; and when possessed of that, the flame which burns so fiercely in my breast, in time may kindle one in yours. In speaking these words he took her in his arms, and kissed her with a vehemence which the prodigious respect she bore to him, as the patron and benefactor of herself and brother, could alone have made her suffer.—Her eyes however sparkled with indignation, tho' her tongue was silent, and at last bursting from his embrace, this, sir, cried she, is not the way to make me think as you would have me. As in this action he had no way transgressed the rules of decency, he could ill brook the finding her so much alarmed at it; and would have testified his resentment, had not the excess of his love, which is ever accompanied with an adequate share of respect, obliged him to stifle it. Well, Louisa, said he, looking earnestly upon her, ungenerously do you requite what I have done for you; but I, perhaps, may bring myself to other sentiments.—None, interrupted she, emboldened by the too great freedom she thought he had taken with her, can be so dreadful to me as those you now seem to entertain.
The look he gave her on hearing her speak in this manner, made her immediately repent having been so open; and in the same breath, because; pursued she, I look on it as the worst evil could befal me that I am compelled to oppose them.
Come, said he, again softened by these last words, you will not always oppose them: the fervor and constancy of my passion, joined with a little yielding on your side, will by degrees excite a tender impulse in you; and whatever is disagreeable at present, either in my person or behaviour, will wear of.—Permit me at least to flatter myself so far, and refuse me not those innocent endearments I have been accustomed to treat you with; before you knew me as a lover, or I indeed suspected I should be so.
He then kissed her again; but tho' he constrained himself within more bounds than before, those caresses which she received with pleasure, when thinking them only demonstrations of friendship, were now irksome, as knowing them the effects of love: she suffered him however to embrace her several times, and hold one of her hands close pressed between his, while he endeavoured to influence her mind by all the tender arguments his passion, backed with an infinity of wit, inspired; to all which she made as few replies as possible; but he contented himself, as love is always flattering, with imagining she was less refractory to his suit than when he first declared it.
Every day, and almost the whole day, did he entertain her on no other subject, but gained not the least ground on her inclinations; and all he could get from her was the wish of being less insensible, without the least indication of ever being so.
In this manner did they live together near three weeks; and how much longer he would have been able to restrain his impatience, or she to conceal the extreme regret in being compelled to listen to him, is uncertain: a law-suit required his presence to town, and Louisa was in hopes of being relieved for some time; but his passion was arrived at such a height that he could not support the least absence from her, and therefore brought her to London with him, so that her persecution ceased not, he never stirring from her but when the most urgent business obliged him to it.
One night happening to have stayed pretty late abroad, and in company, which occasioned his drinking more plentifully than he was accustomed, Louisa was retired to her chamber in order to go to bed: his love, ever uppermost in his head, would not permit him to think of sleeping without seeing her; accordingly he ran up into her room, and finding she was not undressed, told her he had something to acquaint her with, on which the maid that waited on her withdrew. Tho' the passion he was inspired with could not be heightened, his behaviour now proved it might at least be rendered more ungovernable by being enflamed with wine: He no sooner was alone with her, than he threw himself upon her as she was sitting in a chair, crying, O when my angel, my dear adored Louisa, will you consent to make me blest.—By heaven, I can no longer wait the tedious formalities your modesty demands.—I cannot think you hate me, and must this night ensure you mine. While he spoke these words his lips were so closely cemented to her's, that had there been no other hindrance, it would have been impossible for her to have reply'd.—But terrified beyond measure at the wild disorder of his looks, the expressions he made use of, and the actions that accompanied them, she wanted even the power of repulsing, till seeing her almost breathless, he withdrew his arms which he had thrown round her neck, and contenting himself with holding one of her hands,—Tell me, pursued he, when may I hope a recompence for all I have suffered?—I must, I will have an end of all these fears of offending;—this cruel constaint;—this distance between us.—Few men, Louisa, in the circumstances we both are, would, like me, so long attend a happiness in my power to seize.—Trifle not therefore with a passion, the consequences of which there is no answering for.
O, sir! said she, with a trembling voice, you cannot, from the most generous, virtuous and honourable man living, degenerate into a brutal ravisher.—You will not destroy the innocence you have cherished, and which is all that is valuable in the poor Louisa. She ended these words with a flood of tears, which, together with the sight of the confusion he had occasioned, made him a little recollect himself; and to prevent the wildness of his desires from getting the better of those rules he had resolved to observe, he let go her hand, and having told her that he would press her no farther that night, but expected a more satisfactory answer the next day, went out of her chamber, and left her to enjoy what repose she could after the alarm he had given her.
Dorilaus continues his importunities, with some unexpected consequences that attended them.
Poor Louisa concealed the distraction she was in as much as possible she could from the maid, who immediately came into the room on Dorilaus having quitted it, and suffered her to undress, and put her to bed as usual; but was no sooner there, than instead of composing herself to sleep, she began to reflect on what he had said:—the words, that there was no answering for the consequences of a passion such as his, gave her the most terrible idea.—His actions too, this night, seem'd to threaten her with all a virgin had to fear.—She knew him a man of honour, but thought she had too much reason to suspect that if she persisted in refusing to be his wife, that passion which had influenced him, contrary to his character, to make her such an offer, would also be too potent for any consideration of her to restrain him from proceeding to extremities. Having debated every thing within her own mind, she thought she ought not to continue a day longer in the power of a man who loved her to this extravagant degree: where to go indeed she knew not;—she had no friend, or even acquaintance, to whom she might repair, or hope to be received.—How should she support herself then?—which way procure even the most common necessaries of life?—This was a dreadful prospect! yet appeared less so than that she would avoid: even starving lost its horrors when compared either to being compelled to wed a man whom she could not affect as a husband, or, by refusing him, run the risque of forfeiting her honour.—She therefore hesitated but a small time, and having once formed the resolution of quitting Dorilaus's house, immediately set about putting it into execution.
In the first place, not to be ungrateful to him as a benefactor, she sat down and wrote the following letter to be left for him on her table:
'Heaven having rendered me of a disposition utterly incapable of receiving the honour you would do me, it would be an ill return for all the unmerited favours you have heaped upon me to prolong the disquiets I have unhappily occasioned by continuing in your presence;—besides, sir, the education you have vouchsafed to give me has been such, as informs me a person of my sex makes but an odd figure while in the power of one of yours possessed of the sentiments you are.'
'These, sir, are the reasons which oblige me to withdraw; and I hope, when well considered, will enough apologize for my doing so, to keep you from hating what you have but too much loved; for I beseech you to believe a great truth, which is, that the most terrible idea I carry with me is, lest while I fly the one, I should incur the other; and that, wheresoever my good or ill stars shall conduct me, my first and last prayers shall be for the peace, health, and prosperity of my most generous and ever honoured patron and benefactor.'
'Judge favourably, therefore, of this action, and rather pity than condemn the unfortunate
Having sealed and directed this, she dressed herself in one of the least remarkable and plainest suits she had, taking nothing with her but a little linnen which she crammed into her pockets, and so sat waiting till she heard some of the family were stirring; then went down stairs, and being; seen by one of the footmen, she told him she was not very well, and was going to take a little walk in hopes the fresh air might relieve her; he offered to wait upon her, but she refused, saying, she chose to go alone.
Thus had she made her escape; but, when in the street, was seized with very alarming apprehensions.—She was little acquainted with the town, and knew not which way to turn in search of a retreat.—Resolving, however, to go far enough, at least, from the house she had quitted, she wandered on, almost tired to death, without stopping any where, till chance directed her to a retired nook, where she saw a bill for lodgings on one of the doors.—Here she went in, and finding the place convenient for her present circumstances, hired a small, but neat chamber, telling the people of the house that she was come to town in order to get a service, and till she heard of one to her liking, would be glad to do any needle-work she should be employed in.
The landlady, who happened to be a good motherly sort of woman, replied, that she was pleased with her countenance, or she would not have taken her in without enquiring into her character; and as she seemed not to be desirous of an idle life, she would recommend her to those that should find her work if she stayed with her never so long.
This was joyful news to our fair fugitive; and she blessed heaven for so favourable a beginning of her adventures. The woman was punctual to her promise; and being acquainted with a very great milliner, soon brought her more work than she could do, without encroaching into those hours nature requires for repose: but she seemed not to regret any fatigue to oblige the person who employed her, and sent home all she did so neat, so curious, and well wrought, that the milliner easily saw she had not been accustomed to do it for bread, and was very desirous of having her into the house, and securing her to herself. Louisa thinking it would be living with less care, agreed to go, on this condition, that she should be free to quit her in case any offer happened of waiting upon a lady. This was consented to by the other, who told her, that since she had that design, she could no where be so likely to succeed as at her house, which was very much frequented by the greatest ladies in the kingdom, she having the most Curiosities of any woman of her trade, which they came there to raffle for.
On this Louisa took leave of her kind landlady, who having taken a great fancy to her, and believing it would be for her advantage, was not sorry to part with her. A quite new scene of life now presented itself to her:—she found indeed the milliner had not made a vain boast; for her house was a kind of rendezvous, where all the young and gay of both sexes daily resorted.—It was here the marquis of W——r lost his heart, for a time, to the fine mrs. S——ge:—here, that the duke of G——n first declared his amorous inclinations for mrs. C——r:—here, that the seemingly virtuous lady B——n received the addresses of that agreeable rover mr. D——n:—here, that the beautiful dutchess of M—— gave that encouragement, which all the world had sighed for, to the more fortunate than constant mr. C——: in fine, it might properly enough be called the theatre of gallantry, where love and wit joined to display their several talents either in real or pretended passions.
Louisa usually sat at work in a back parlor behind that where the company were; but into which some of them often retired to talk to each other with more freedom.
This gave her an opportunity of seeing in what manner too many of the great world passed their time, and how small regard some of them pay to the marriage vow: everyday presented her with examples of husbands, who behaved with no more than a cold civility to their own wives, and carried the fervor of their addresses to those of other men; and of wives who seemed rather to glory in, than be ashamed of a train of admirers. How senseless would these people think me, said she to herself, did they know I chose rather to work for my bread in mean obscurity, than yield to marry where I could not love.—Tenderness, mutual affection, and constancy. I find, are things not thought requisite to the happiness of a wedded state; and interest and convenience alone consulted. Yet was she far from repenting having rejected Dorilaus, or being in the lead influenced by the example of others.—The adventures she was witness of made her, indeed, more knowing of the world, but were far from corrupting those excellent morals she had received from nature, and had been so well improved by a strict education, that she not only loved virtue for its own sake, but despised and hated vice, tho' disguised under the most specious pretences.
Her youth, beauty, and a certain sprightliness in her air, was too engaging to be in the house of such a woman as mrs. C——ge, (for so this court-milliner was called) without being very much taken notice of; and tho' most of the gentlemen who came there had some particular object in view, yet that did not hinder them from saying soft things to the pretty Louisa as often as they had opportunity. Among the number of those who pretended to admire her was mr. B——n, afterwards lord F——h; but his addresses were so far from making any impression on her in favour of his person or suit, that the one was wholly indifferent to her, and the other so distasteful, that to avoid being persecuted with it, she entreated mrs. C——ge to permit her to work above stairs, that she might be out of the way of all such solicitations for the future, either from him or any other. This request was easily complied with, and the rather because she, who knew not the strength of her journey-woman's resolution, nor the principles she had been bred in, was sometimes in fear of losing so great a help to her business, by the temptations that might be offered in a place so much exposed to sight. Mr. B——n no sooner missed her, than he enquired with a good deal of earnestness for her; and on mrs. C——ge's telling him she was gone away from her house, became so impatient to know where, and on what account she had left her, that this woman thinking it would be of advantage to her to own the truth, (for she did nothing without that view) turned off the imposition with a smile, and said, that perceiving the inclinations he had for her, she had sent her upstairs that no other addresses might be a hindrance to his designs.—This pleased him very well, and he ran directly to the room where he was informed she was, and after some little discourse, which he thought was becoming enough from a person of his condition to one of her's, began to treat her with freedoms which she could not help resisting with more fierceness than he had been accustomed to from women of a much higher rank; but as he had no great notion of virtue, especially among people of her sphere, he mistook all she said or did for artifice; and imagining she enhanced the merit of the gift only to enhance the recompence, he told her he would make her a handsome settlement, and offered, as an earnest of his future gratitude, a purse of money. The generous maid fired with a noble disdain at a proposal, which she looked on only as an additional insult, struck down the purse with the utmost indignation and cried, she was not of the number of those who thought gold an equivalent for infamy; and that mean as she appeared, not all his wealth should bribe her to a dishonourable action. At first he endeavoured to laugh her out of such idle notions as he called them, and was so far from being rebuffed at any thing she said, that he began to kiss and toy with her more freely than before, telling her he would bring her into a better humour; but he was wholly deceived in his expectations, if he had any of the nature he pretended, for she became so irritated at being treated in this manner, that she called out to the servants to come to her assistance, and protected she would not stay an hour longer in the house if she could not be secured from such impertinencies; on which he said she was a silly romantic fool, and flung out of the room.
Mrs. C——ge hearing there had been some bustle, came up soon after and found Louisa in tears: she immediately complained, of mr. B——n's behaviour to her, and said, tho' she acknowledged herself under many obligations to her for the favours she had conferred on her, she could not think of remaining in a place where, tho' she could not say her virtue had any severe trials, because she had a natural detestation to crimes of the kind that gentleman and some others had mentioned, yet her person was liable to be affronted. The milliner, who was surprized to hear her talk in this manner, but who understood her trade perfectly well, answered, that he was the best conditioned civil gentleman in the world;—that she did not know how it happened;—that she was certain indeed he loved her; and that it was in his power to make her a very happy woman if she were inclined to accept his offers;—but she would perswade her to nothing.
These kind of discourses created a kind of abhorrence in Louisa, as they plainly shewed her, what before she had some reason to believe, that she was in the house of one who would think nothing a crime that she found it her own interest to promote. However, she thought it would be imprudent to break too abruptly with her, and contented herself for the present with encasing her promise that neither mr. B——n, nor any other person should for the future give her the least interruption of the like sort.
From this day, however, she was continually ruminating how she should quit her house, without running the risque of disobliging her so far as not to be employed by her; for tho' she found herself at present free from any of those importunities to which both by nature and principles she was so averse, yet she could not answer to herself the continuing in a place where virtue was treated as a thing of little or no consequence, and where she knew not how soon she might again be subjected to affronts.
Amidst these meditations the thoughts of Dorilaus frequently intervened: she reflected on the obligations she had to him, and the mighty difference between the morals of that truly noble and generous man, and most of those she had seen at mrs. C——ge's: she wondered at herself at the antipathy she had to him as a husband, whom she so dearly loved and honoured as a friend; yet nothing could make her wish to be again on the same terms with him she had lately been. It also greatly added to her affliction that she knew not how to direct to her brother; for at the time of his departure, little suspicious of having any occasion to change the place of her abode, she had left the care of that entirely to Dorilaus. She was one morning very much lost in thought on the odd circumstances of her fortune, when a Gazette happening to lye upon the table, she cast her eye, without design, upon the following advertisement.
'Whereas a young gentlewoman has lately thought fit to abscond from her best friends, and with the most diligent search that could possibly be made after her has not yet been heard of, this is to acquaint her that if she pleases to return, she shall hereafter have no disturbance of that nature which it is supposed occasioned her withdrawing herself, but live entirely according to her own inclinations; and this the advertiser hereof gives his word and honour (neither of which she has any cause to doubt) faithfully to adhere to.'
'It shall also be at her choice to live either at the house she quitted, or to be again under the care of that gentlewoman who was entrusted with her education: she is therefore requested to conceal herself no longer, lest her youth, beauty, and inexperience of the town should betray her innocence into those very snares she fears to fall into.'
The very beginning of this paragraph gave her a conjecture it was meant for no other than herself; and the more she read, the more she grew convinced, of it.—It must be so, cryed she; every word,—every circumstance confirms it.—How unhappy am I that I cannot return so perfect an affection!—Instead of detesting my ingratitude, he only fears I should receive the punishment of it.—What man but Dorilaus would behave thus to the creature of his benevolence?—If I have any merits, do not I owe them to his goodness?—My brother and myself, two poor exposed and wretched foundlings, what but his bounty rear'd us to what we are?—Hard fate!—unlucky passion that drives me from his presence and protection.
Yet, would she say again, if he has indeed subdued that passion;—if he resolves to think of me as before he entertained it; if I were certain he would receive me as a child, how great would be, the blessing!
This confederation had so much effect on her, that she was half determined to comply with the advertisement; but when she remembered to have read that where love is sincere and violent, it requires a length of time to be erased, and that those possessed of it are incapable of knowing even their own strength, and, as he had said to her himself, that there was no answering for the consequences, she grew instantly of another mind, and thought that putting herself again into the power of such a passion was running too great a hazard.
The continual agitations of her mind, joined to want of air, a quite different way of life, and perhaps fitting more closely to work than she had been accustomed, threw her at length into a kind of languishing indisposition, which, tho' it did not confine her to her bed, occasioned a loss of appetite, and frequent faintings, which were very alarming to her. Mrs. C——ge was extremely concerned to observe this change in her, and would have the opinion of her own physician, who said that she had symptoms of an approaching consumption, and that it was absolutely necessary she should be removed into the country for some time.
Louisa readily complied with this advice, not only because she imagined it might be of service for the recovery of her health, but also as it furnished her with a pretence for leaving mrs. C——ge's house, to which she was determined to return no more as a boarder. The good woman with whom she had lodged at first recommended her to a friend of her's at Windsor, where she immediately went, and was very kindly received.
Louisa becomes acquainted with a lady of quality, part of whose adventures are also related, and goes to travel with her.
Change of place affords but small relief to those whose distempers are in the mind: Louisa carried with her too many perplexing thoughts to be easily shook off; tho' the queen and court being then at Windsor, she had the opportunity of seeing a great many of the gay world pass daily by her window.—There also lodged in the same house with her a young widow of quality, who was visited by persons of the first rank; but as she was not of a condition to make one in any of these conversations, she reaped no other satisfaction from them than what the eye afforded.
As she was not, however, of a temper to indulge melancholy, she made it her endeavour to banish, as much as possible, all ideas which were displeasing from her mind: to this end, a fine harpsicord happening to stand in the dining-room, whenever the lady was abroad, she went in and diverted herself with playing. She was one day entertaining the woman of the house with a tune, which she accompanied with her voice, when the lady returning sooner than was expected, and hearing the instrument before she came up stairs, would needs know who it was had been making use of it; for Louisa hurried out of the room before she came in: the landlady, as there was no occasion to disguise the truth, told her that it was a young woman, who not being very well, had come down into the country for air.
She has had an excellent education, I am certain, said the lady, (who henceforward we shall call Melanthe) for in my life I never heard any body play or sing better:—I must be acquainted with her; on which the other said she would let her know the honour she intended her.
That very evening, as great ladies no sooner think of any thing but they must have it performed, was Louisa sent for into her apartment; and her countenance and behaviour so well seconded the good impression her skill in music had begun, that Melanthe became charm'd with her, and from that time obliged her to come to her every morning; and whenever she was without company, made her dine and sup with her. Being curious to know her circumstances, Louisa made no scruple of acquainting her with the truth, only instead of relating how she had been exposed in her infancy, said, that having the misfortune to be deprived of her parents, it was her intention to wait on a lady, and till she heard of one who would accept her service, she had work'd at her needle.
Melanthe then asked if she would live with her; to which the other gladly answering, she should think herself happy in such a lady; but you must go abroad then, said she, for I am weary of England, and am preparing to travel: as it is a route of pleasure only, I shall stay just as long as I find any thing new and entertaining in one place, then go to another till I am tired of that, and so on, I know not how long; for unless my mind alters very much, I shall not come back in some years.
Louisa was perfectly transported to hear her say this; she had a great desire to see foreign parts, and thought she never could have a better opportunity: she expressed the pleasure she should take in attending her wherever she went with so much politeness and sincerity, that Melanthe told her, it should be her own fault if she ever quitted her, and withal assured her, she never would treat her in any other manner than a companion, and that tho' she would make her a yearly allowance for cloaths and card-money, yet she would expect no other service from her than fidelity to her secrets, and affection to her person.
From the moment this agreement was made, the young Louisa regained her complection and her appetite; and being now initiated into the family of this lady, had no longer any care to take than to oblige her, a thing not difficult, Melanthe being good-natured, and strongly prepossessed in favour of her new friend, for so she vouchsafed to call her, and to use her accordingly.
As a proof of it, she made her in a very short time the confident of her dearest secrets: they were one day sitting together, when accidentally some mention was made of the power of love. You are too young, Louisa, said Melanthe, to have experienced the wonderful effects of that passion in yourself, and therefore cannot be expected to have much compassion for what it can inflict on others.
Indeed, madam, answered she, tho' I never have yet seen a man who gave me a moment's pain on that score, yet I believe there are no emotions whatever so strong as those of love, and that it is capable of influencing people of the best sense to things which in their nature they are most averse to.
Well, my dear, resumed the other, since I find you have so just a notion of it, I will confide in your discretion so far as to let you know, that but for an ungrateful man, I had not looked on my native country as a desart, and resolved to seek a cure for my ill-treated and abused tenderness in foreign parts.
My quality, continued she, I need not inform you of; you have doubtless heard that my family yields to few in antiquity, and that there is an estate belonging to it sufficient to support the dignity of its title; but my father having many children, could not give very great portions to the daughters: I was therefore disposed of, much against my inclinations, to a nobleman, whom my unlucky charms had so much captivated as to make him not only take me with no other dowry than my cloaths and jewels, but also to settle a large jointure upon me, which, he being dead, I at present enjoy. I cannot say that all the obligations he laid upon me could engage a reciprocal regard:—I behaved with indifference to him while living, and little lamented him when dead: not that I was prepossessed in favour of any other man;—my heart, entirely free, was reserved to be the conquest of the too charming perfidious Henricus, who arriving soon after my lord's decease, and bringing with him all the accomplishments which every different court he had visited could afford, join'd to the most enchanting person nature ever formed, soon made me know I was not that insensible creature I had thought myself.
I happened to be at court when he came to kiss her majesty's hand on his return; and whether it was that my eyes testified too much the admiration this first sight of him struck me with, or that he really discovered something more attractive in me than any lady in the presence I know not, but he seemed to distinguish me in a particular manner, and I heard him say to my lord G——n in a whisper, that I was the finest woman he had ever seen; but what gave me more pleasure than even this praise, was an agreement I heard made between him and the same lord to go that evening to a raffle at mrs. C—rt-s—r's. I was one of those who had put in, tho' if I had not, I should certainly, have gone for a second sight of him, who when he went out of the drawing-room seemed to have left me but half myself.
In fine, I went, and had there wanted any thing to have entirely vanquished me, my conqueror's manner of address had done it with a form less agreeable.—O Louisa, pursued she with a sigh, if you have never seen or heard the charming Henricus, you can have no notion of what is excellent in man; such flowing wit;—such softness in his voice and air;—but there is no describing what he is. He seemed all transport at meeting me there; among a number of ladies I alone engrossed him: he scarce spoke to any other; and being so fortunate to win the raffle, which was a fine inlaid India cabinet, instead of sending it to his own house, he privately ordered his servant to leave it at mine, lord G——n having, as he afterwards told me, informed him where I lived, and also all the particulars he wanted to know concerning me.
I was prodigiously surprized when I came home and found the Cabinet, which my woman imagined I had won by its being brought thither. It was indeed a piece of gallantry I had no reason to expect from one so perfect a stranger to me; and this, joined with the many complaisant things he said to me at mrs. C—rt-f—r's, flattered my vanity enough to make me think he was no less charmed with me than I too plainly found I was with him. I slept little that night, and pretty early the next morning received a billet from him to this effect:
'I thought the cabinet we raffled for was more properly the furniture of a lady's closet than mine, especially one who must daily receive a great number of such epistles as it was doubtless intended by the maker to contain: happy should I think myself if any thing of mine might find room among those which, for their wit and elegance, may be more worthy of preferring, tho' none can be for their sincerity more so than those which are dictated by the eternally devoted heart of
You cannot imagine, my dear Louisa, how delighted I was with these few lines; I enclosed them indeed in the cabinet given me by the author of them, but laid up their meaning in my heart:—I was quite alert the whole day, but infinitely more so, when in the evening my admired Henricus made me a visit introduced by lord H——, who had been one of my late husband's particular friends, and had ever kept a good correspondence with me.
Henricus took, not the least notice either of the cabinet or letter before him; and as I imagined he had his reasons for it, I too was silent on that head; he took the opportunity, however, while lord H—— was speaking to a young lady who happened to be with me, to ask permission to wait on me with the hope of being received on his own score as he was now on that of his friend. I told him that merit, such as his, was sufficient to recommend him any where; and, besides, I had an obligation to him which I ought to acknowledge. This was all either of us had time to say; but it was enough to make me convinced he desired a more particular conversation, and him, that it would not be unwelcome to me.
Thus began an acquaintance equally fatal to my peace of mind and reputation; and having said that, it would be needless to repeat the circumstances of it, therefore shall only tell you I was so infatuated with my passion, that I never gave myself the trouble to examine into the nature of his pretensions, and lull'd with the vows he made of everlasting love, resented not that he forbore pressing to that ceremony which could alone ensure it:—yes, my Louisa, I will not wrong him so far as to say he deceived me in this point; for tho' he protested with the most solemn imprecations that he would never address any either woman than myself, yet he never once mentioned marriage to me.—Alass! he too well saw into my heart, and that all my faculties were too much his to be able to refuse him any thing:—even so it proved;—he triumphed over all in my power to yield;—nay, was so far subdued, that I neither regretted my loss, nor used any endeavours to conceal it;—vain of being his at any rate, I thought his love more glory to me than either fame or virtue; and while I was known to enjoy the one, despised whatever censures I incurred for parting with the other:—in the mall, the play-house, the ring, at Bath or Tunbridge, he was always with me; nor would any thing indeed have been a diversion to me had he been absent.
For upwards of a year I had no reason to complain of his want of assiduity to me, tho' I have since heard even in that time he had other amours with women who carried them on with more prudence than I was mistress of; but I had afterwards a stabbing proof of his insincerity and inconstancy.
Perceiving a great alteration in his behaviour, that he visited me less frequently, and when he came, the ardours he was accustomed to treat me with still more and more languid and enforced, I upbraided him in terms which, tho' they shewed more love than resentment, and had he retained any tolerable remains of tenderness for me, must have been rather obliging than the contrary, he affected to take extremely ill, and told me plainly, that nothing was so dear to him as his peace,—that he was not of a temper to endure reproaches, and that, if I desired the continuance of our amour, I must be satisfied with him as he was. These cool, and indeed insolent replies made me almost distracted; and beginning to suspect he had some new engagement, I talked to him in a manner as if I had been assured of it:—he, perhaps, imagining it was so, made no efforts to cure my jealousy, but behaved with so cruel an indifference as confirmed my apprehensions.
Resolving to be convinced whether I really had any rival or not, I employed spies to observe where-ever he went, and to whom; but alass, there required little pains to acquire the intelligence I fought.—I was soon informed that he was every day with the daughter of a little mechanic;—that he made her very rich presents, procured a commission in the army for one of her brothers, and in fine, that he was as much devoted to her as a man of his inconstant temper could be to any woman.
How severe a mortification was this to my pride! but it had this good attending it, that it very much abated my love:—to be abandoned for so mean a creature, and who had nothing but youth and a tolerable face to recommend her, shewed such a want of taste as well as gratitude, as rendered despicable in my eyes what had lately engrossed all my love and admiration.—The moment I received the information I sent for him;—and forcing my countenance to a serenity my heart was a stranger to, told him it was only to take a last leave of a person whom I had been so far mistaken in as to think deserving my affection: that I desired to see him once more, but having now seen my error, desired he would desist his visits for the future. He asked me with the same calmness he had lately behaved with, what whim I had got in my head now, I, who had before determined not to feed my rival's pride by shewing any jealousy of her, only replied, that as amours, such as ours had been, must have an end some time or other,—I thought none could be more proper than the present, because I believed both of us could do it without pain.
Answer for yourself, madam, cried he with some emotion, for I could perceive my behaviour had a little flung his vanity; and resolute to give him in my turn all the mortification in my power, nay, said I with a disdainful toss of my head, I do not enquire into your sentiments,—it is sufficient mine are to break entirely off with you;—neither is it any concern to me how you may resent this alteration in my conduct, or dispose of yourself hereafter; but I once more assure you, with my usual frankness, that I now can see none of those perfections my foolish fancy formerly found in you, and cannot be complaisant enough to counterfeit a tenderness I neither feel nor think you worthy of.
The surprize he was in kept him silent for some moments; but recovering himself as well as he could, he told me, that if the levity of my nature had made me cease to love him, he could not have expected endearments should be converted into affronts; that if I was determined to see him no more he must submit, and should endeavour to make himself as easy as he could under the misfortune.
These last words were uttered with a kind of sneer, which was very provoking, however, I restrained my passion during the little time he stayed; but as soon as I found myself alone gave it vent in tears and exclamations,—since which I have been mere at peace within myself; for tho' I cannot say I hate him, I am now far from loving him, and hope that time and absence may bring me to a perfect indifference.
Thus, Louisa, continued she, you see the beginning and end of an adventure which has made some noise in town, to be out of which I have taken a resolution to travel till the whole shall be forgotten, and I have entirely rooted out of my heart all manner of consideration for this ungrateful man.
Louisa thanked her for the condescension me had made her in entrusting her with so important a secret, and said every thing she could in praise of the resolution she had taken to leave England for a time, not only because it was exactly conformable to her own desires, but also that she thought it so laudable in itself. Melanthe then assured her that she was not capable of changing her mind in this particular, and that her equipage was getting ready at London for that purpose, so that she believed they should embark in a few days. Louisa, on hearing this, said, that she must then provide herself with some things it would be necessary for her to have in order to appear in the station her ladyship was pleased to place her; but the other, who, as may be seen by her history, never preserved a medium in any thing, would not suffer her to be at the least expence on that account, but took the care of furnishing her with every thing on herself; and accordingly sent a man and horse to town directly to her mercer's, draper's, milliner's, and other tradesmen, with orders to send down silks, laces, hollands, and whatever else was requisite; which being brought, were put to be made fit for wearing by workwomen at Windsor; so that now our Louisa made as good a figure, and had as great a variety of habits as when under the guardianship of Dorilaus, and, to complete her happiness, this new benefactress grew every day more, and more delighted with her company.
All being now prepared, they came to London, where they lay but one night before they took shipping for Helvoetsluys in Holland, where, being safely landed, they proceeded to Utrecht, and so to Aix-la-chappelle; there they stayed some weeks for the sake of the waters, air, and good company; and Louisa thought it so pleasant, that she would have been glad not to have removed for some time longer; but Melanthe was yet restless in her mind, and required frequent change of place. Here it was, however, that Louisa thought she might venture to write to Dorilaus, to ease him of that kind concern she doubted not but he was in for her welfare, by the advertisement already mentioned in the Gazette. The purport of her letter was as follows:
Ever Honoured Sir,
'Child of your bounty as I am, I flatter myself that, in spight of my enforc'd disobedience, it would be a trouble to you to hear I should do any thing unworthy of that education you were pleased to bestow on me: I therefore take the liberty of acquainting you, that heaven has raised me a protectress in a lady of quality with whom I now am, as you will see by the date of this, at Aix-la-chappelle. As all the favours I receive from her, or all the good that shall happen during my whole life is, and will be entirely owing to you as the fountain-head, it will be always my inclination, as well as duty, to pay you the tribute of grateful thanks.—Poor recompence, alas, for all you have done for me! yet those, with my incessant prayers to heaven, are all in the power of
Your most dutiful
She took no notice of the advertisement, not only as she could not be positive it related to herself, as also because she thought, if he were certain she had read it, he might resent her not answering it, as discovering a too great diffidence of his honour. She added, however, a postscript, entreating him to let her brother know, that whatever happened, he should have no reason to find fault with her conduct.
After they left Aix-la-chappelle, they took bye roads to avoid the armies; yet notwithstanding all their care, they now and then met parties who were out on foraging, but as it happened, they were always under the conduct of officers who prevented any ill accident, so that our travellers met with no manner of interruption, but arrived safely at the magnificent city of Vienna, where was at that time an extreme gay court, affording every thing capable of diverting a much more settled melancholy than either Melanthe or her fair companion were possessed of.
The arch-dutchesses, Mary Elizabeth, and Mary Anna Josepha, afterward queen of Portugal, had frequent balls and entertainments in their different drawing-rooms; to all which Melanthe, being a stranger and a woman of quality, was invited: she kept her promise with Louisa; and treating her as a young lady, whose friendship for her, and a desire of seeing the world had engaged to accompany her, she was received and respected as such; and by this means had an opportunity of shewing the skill she had in dancing, singing, music, and indeed all the accomplishments that a woman born and educated to the best expectations, is usually instructed in. As neither her lady nor herself understood the German language, and she spoke infinitely the best French, her conversation was the most agreeable, which, joined with a most engaging manner, and a peculiar sweetness in her voice, attracted all those civilities which the rank of the other demanded.
Possessed of so many charms, it would have been strange if, in a city throng'd like Vienna with young noblemen, who were continually coming from all parts of the empire, she had lived without some who pretended to somewhat more than mere admiration; but her heart had not refused the worthy Dorilaus to become the conquest of a German; nor was it here she was ordained to experience those anxieties in herself, she could but imperfectly conceive by the description she had from others.
Melanthe, however, whose sole aim was to drive all perplexing thoughts from her mind, encouraged a great number of visitors, so that her lodgings seemed a perfect theatre of gallantry; and Louisa having her share in all the amusements this lady prepared for the reception of those that came to see her, or were contrived for her entertainment by others, past her time in the most gay and agreeable manner imaginable, and by this means acquired the knowledge of almost the only thing she before was ignorant in, how to receive a multiplicity of company, yet to behave so is each should imagine themselves most welcome;—to seem perfectly open, without discovering any thing improper to be revealed;—to use all decent freedoms with the men, yet not encourage the least from them, and to seem to make a friend of every woman she conversed with, without putting truth in any;—and in fine, all the little policies which make up the art of what is called a polite address, and which is not to be attained without an acquaintance with the court and great world.
This, I say, our amiable foundling was now well vers'd in, and practised among those who she found made a practice of it; but yet retained the same sincerity of mind, love of virtue, and detestation of vice, she brought with her from the house of Dorilaus:—neither was her youth too much dazled with the exterior splendor she beheld; and tho' she was well enough pleased with it, yet it did not in the least take her off from the duties of religion, or inspire her with any ambitious or aspiring wishes to become what the remembrance of what she was forbid any probable expectation of. She knew the present fashion of her life was not an assured settlement, and therefore set not her heart upon it. Few at her years would have had the like prudence, or in time armed themselves, as she did, against any change that might befal her.
In this happy situation let us leave her for a while: the young Horatio claims his share of attention; and it is time to see what encouragement and success his martial ardor met with on the banks of the Danube.
Horatio's reception by the officers of the army; his behaviour in the battle; his being taken prisoner by the French; his treatment among them, and many other particulars.
The extreme graceful person of Horatio, his youth, handsome equipage, and the letters sent by Dorilaus to several of the principal officers in his favour, engaged him a reception answerable to his wishes: but none was of greater service than the recommendation he had to colonel Brindfield, who being in great favour with the duke of Marlborough, was highly respected by the whole army. This gentleman made him dine frequently with him, and testified the regard he had for Dorilaus, by doing all the good offices he could to a youth whom he perceived by his letter he had a great concern for. He not only introduced him to the acquaintance of many officers of condition, but took an opportunity of presenting him to the duke himself, giving at the same time his grace an account that he was a gentleman whose inclinations to arms, and the honour of serving under his grace, had made him renounce all other advantages for the hope of doing something worthy of his favour. The duke looked all the time he was speaking very attentively on the young Horatio, and finding something in his air that corroborated the colonel's description, was pleased to say, that he was charm'd with his early thirst after same; and then turning toward him, you will soon, pursued he, have an opportunity of seeing how the face of war looks, near at hand:—I can tell you, that you must not always expect smiles. No, my lord, replied he, without being at all daunted at the presence of so great a man; but where we love all countenances are agreeable.
He arrived indeed opportunely to be a witness of the dangers of that glorious campaign which brought such shame to the French, such honour to the English, and such real advantages to the empire. Prince Eugene of Savoy, and prince Lewis of Baden were come to the duke's quarters, which were then at Mondesheim, to consult on proper operations; the result was, that the duke and prince Lewis should join armies, and command each day alternately, and that prince Eugene should head a separate army and repair towards Philipsburg, to defend the passage of the Rhine, the lines of Stolhoffen, and the country of Wirtenberg.
The two armies joined at Westerstretton, thence proceeded by easy marches towards Donawert, between which and Scellenberg the enemy was encamped. Fatigued as they were, the duke made them pass over a little river and endeavour to force the intrenchments; which enterprize succeeded, notwithstanding all the disadvantages the confederate armies were in, and the others were obliged to retire with great precipitation, many of whom were drowned in endeavouring to pass the Danube.
In this action was our young soldier unlisted, and had the glory to be signalized by two remarkable accidents; one was, that pressing among the foremost in this hazardous attempt, he had his hat taken off by a cannon ball; and the other was, that seeing a standard about to be taken by the enemy, the person who carried it happening to be kill'd, he ran among those who were carrying it away, and being seconded by some others, retrieved that badge of English honour; and as this was done in sight of the duke, he rode up to him directly and presented it to him. Take it for your pains, cried he, you have ventured hard, and well deserve the prize. There was no time for thanks; the duke, who was almost every where at once, was immediately gone where he found his presence necessary, and Horatio returned to take the place of the dead cornet, doubly animated by the encouragement he had received.
This victory opening a way into the elector of Bavaria's dominions, that poor country was terribly ravaged, no less than 300 towns, villages and castles being utterly consumed by a detachment of horse and dragoons the duke sent for that purpose. Some old officers told Horatio that now would be the time to make his fortune if he went with these squadrons, there being many rich things which would fall to the share of the plunderers; to which he answered, that he came to fight for the honour of his country, and not to rob for its disgrace. This they laughed at, and endeavoured to make him sensible, that the taking away an enemy's treasure was to take away their strength; but all they could say was ineffectual; he was not to be perswaded out of what he thought reason and justice: and this conversation being afterward repeated to the duke, he smil'd and said, he was yet too young to know the value of money.
After this, prince Lewis of Baden dividing from the duke, in order to undertake the siege of Ingoldstadt, our young cornet attended his grace to the relief of prince Eugene, who expected to be attacked by the united army of Bavarians and French, then encamped near Hockstadt.
It would be needless to give any description of this famous battle, few of my readers but must be acquainted with it, so I shall only say, that among the number of those few prisoners the French had to boast of in attonement for so great a defeat, was the young brave Horatio, who fell to the lot of the baron de la Valiere, nephew to the marquis of Sille. This nobleman being extremely taken with his person and behaviour, treated him in the politest manner; and tho' he carried him with him into France, assured him, that it was more for the pleasure of entertaining him there than any other consideration. Horatio was not much afflicted at this misfortune, because it gave him an opportunity of seeing a country he had heard so much commended, and also to make himself master of a language, which, tho' he understood, he spoke but imperfectly.
The baron was not only one of the most gallant, but also one of the best humoured men in the world; he spared nothing during the whole time they tarried in his quarters, nor in their journey to Paris, which might contribute to make his prisoner easy under his present circumstances; and among other things, often said to him, if you and some others have fallen under the common chance of war, you have yet the happiness of knowing your army in general has been victorious, and that, there are infinitely a greater number of ours who, against their will, must see England, than, there are of yours conducted into France.
On their arrival, Horatio wrote an account to Dorilaus of all had happened to him, not doubting but he would use his interest to have him either mentioned when there should come an exchange of prisoners, or that he would randsom him himself; but receiving no answer, he concluded his letter, by some accident, had miscarried, and sent another, but that meeting the same fate as the former, he wrote a third, accompanied with one to his sister directed to the boarding-school, where he imagined she still was: to this last, after some time, he had the following return from the governess:
'A letter directed for miss Louisa coming to my house, I was in debate with myself what to do with it, that young lady having been gone from me last September, since which time I have never heard any thing of her:—at last I sent it to Dorilaus's country seat by a messenger, who brought it to me again, with intelligence that he was gone with some friends into the north of Ireland, and that it was probable they had taken miss with them:—I then thought proper to open it, believing she had no secrets I might not be entrusted with, and finding it came from you, could do no less than give you this information to prevent your being under any surprize for not receiving answers to your letters. I am sorry to find by yours that you have had such ill success in your first campaign; but would not have you be cast down, since you need not doubt but on the return of Dorilaus you will have remittances for your ransom, or whatever else you may have occasion for.'
I am, SIR, Your most humble and obedient Servant,
This letter made him perfectly contented; he had no reason to question the continuance of Dorilaus's goodness to him, nor that he should attend this new proof of it any longer than the return of that gentleman to England should make him know the occasion he now had for it. He therefore had no anxious thoughts to interrupt the pleasures the place he was in afforded in such variety; he was every evening with the baron, either at court, the opera, the comedy, or some other gay scene of entertainment; was introduced to the best company; and his young heart, charm'd with the politeness and gallantry of that nation, and the little vanity to which a person of such early years is incident, being flattered with the complaisance he was treated with, gave him in a short time a very strong affection for them; but there was yet another and more powerful motive which rendered his captivity not only pleasing, but almost destroyed in him an inclination ever to see his native country again.
The baron de la Valiere had long been passionately in love with a young lady, who was one of the maids of honour to king James's queen: he went almost every day to St. Germains, in order to prosecute his addresses, and frequently took Horatio with him. The motive of his first introducing him to that court was, perhaps, the vanity of shewing him that no reverse of fate could make the French regardless of what was due to royalty, since the Chevalier St. George seem'd to want no requisite of majesty but the power; but he afterwards found the pleasure he took in those visits infinitely surpassed what he could have expected, and that his heart had an attachment, which made him no sooner quit that palace than he would ask with impatience when they should go thither again. The baron had a great deal of penetration; and as those who feel the power of love in themselves can easily perceive the progress it makes in others, a very few visits confirmed him that Horatio had found something there more attractive than all he could behold elsewhere: nor was he long at a loss to discover, among the number or beauties which composed the trains of the queen and princess, which of them it was that had laid his prisoner under a more lasting captivity than war had done.