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Title: Damon and Delia - A Tale
Author: Godwin, William, 1756-1836
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Damon and Delia - A Tale" ***

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DAMON

AND

DELIA:

A TALE.

--NEQUE SEMPER ARCUM
TENDIT APOLLO.         HOR.

LONDON:
PRINTED  FOR T. HOOKHAM, AT HIS CIRCULATING
LIBRARY, NEW BOND-STEET, CORNER
OF BRUTON-STREET.
M,DCC,LXXXIV.


CONTENTS


PART the FIRST.


CHAPTER I.

_Containing introductory Matter._


CHAPTER II.

_A Ball_


CHAPTER III.

_A Ghost._


CHAPTER IV.

_A love Scene._


CHAPTER V.

_A Man of Humour._


CHAPTER VI.

_Containing some Specimens of Heroism._


CHAPTER VII.

_Containing that with which the Reader will be acquainted when he has
read it._


CHAPTER VIII.

_Two Persons of Fashion._


CHAPTER IX.

_A tragical Resolution._



CONTENTS.


PART the SECOND.


CHAPTER I.

_In which the Story begins over again_.


CHAPTER II.

_The History of Mr. Godfrey_.


CHAPTER III.

_A Misanthrope_.


CHAPTER IV.

_Much ado about nothing_.


CHAPTER V.

_A Woman of learning_.


CHAPTER VI.

_A Catastrophe_.


CHAPTER VII.

_Containing what will terrify the Reader_.


CHAPTER VIII.

_A Denouement_.


CHAPTER IX.

_Which dismisses the Reader_.



DAMON

AND

DELIA.


PART the FIRST.


CHAPTER I.

_Containing introductory matter_.


The races at Southampton have, for time immemorial, constituted a scene of
rivalship, war, and envy. All the passions incident to the human frame
have here assumed as true a scope, as in the more noisy and more tragical
contentions of statesmen and warriors. Here nature has displayed her most
hidden attractions, and art has furnished out the artillery of beauty.
Here the coquet has surprised, and the love-sick nymph has sapped the
heart of the unwary swain. The scene has been equally sought by the bolder
and more haughty, as by the timid sex. Here the foxhunter has sought a new
subject of his boast in the _nonchalance_ of _dishabille_; the
peer has played off the dazzling charms of a coronet and a star; and the
_petit maître_ has employed the anxious niceties of dress.

Of all the beauties in this brilliant circle, she, who was incomparably
the most celebrated, was the graceful Delia. Her person, though not
absolutely tall, had an air of dignity. Her form was bewitching, and her
neck was alabaster. Her cheeks glowed with the lovely vermilion of nature,
her mouth was small and pouting, her lips were coral, and her teeth whiter
than the driven snow. Her forehead was bold, high, and polished, her
eyebrows were arched, and from beneath them her fine blue eyes shone with
intelligence, and sparkled with heedless gaiety. Her hair was of the
brightest auburn, it was in the greatest abundance, and when, unfettered
by the ligaments of fashion, it flowed about her shoulders and her lovely
neck, it presented the most ravishing object that can possibly be
imagined.

With all this beauty, it Cannot be supposed but that Delia was followed by
a train of admirers. The celebrated Mr. Prattle, for whom a thousand fair
ones cracked their fans and tore their caps, was one of the first to
enlist himself among her adorers. Squire Savage, the fox-hunter, who, like
Hippolitus of old, chased the wily fox and timid hare, and had never yet
acknowledged the empire of beauty, was subdued by the artless sweetness of
Delia. Nay, it has been reported, that the incomparable lord Martin, a
peer of ten thousand pounds a year, had made advances to her father. It is
true, his lordship was scarcely four feet three inches in stature, his
belly was prominent, one leg was half a foot shorter, and one shoulder
half a foot higher than the other. His temper was as crooked as his shape;
the sight of a happy human being would give him the spleen; and no mortal
man could long reside under the same roof with him. But in spite of these
trifling imperfections, it has been confidently affirmed, that some of the
haughtiest beauties of Hampshire would have been proud of his alliance.

Thus assailed with all the temptations that human nature could furnish, it
might naturally be supposed, that Delia had long since resigned her heart.
But in this conjecture, however natural, the reader will find himself
mistaken. She seemed as coy as Daphne, and as cold as Diana. She diverted
herself indeed with the insignificant loquaciousness of Mr. Prattle, and
the aukward gallantry of the Squire; but she never bestowed upon either a
serious thought. And for lord Martin, who was indisputably allowed to be
the best match in the county, she could not bear to hear him named with
patience, and she always turned pale at the sight of him.

But Delia was not destined always to laugh at the darts of Cupid. Mrs.
Bridget her waiting maid, delighted to run over the list of her adorers,
and she was much more eloquent and more copious upon the subject than we
have been. When her mistress received the mention of each with gay
indifference, Mrs. Bridget would close the dialogue, and with a sagacious
look, and a shake of her head, would tell the lovely Delia, that the
longer it was before her time came, the more surely and the more deeply
she would be caught at last. And to say truth, the wisest philosopher
might have joined in the verdict of the sage Bridget. There was a softness
in the temper of Delia, that seemed particularly formed for the tender
passion. The voice of misery never assailed her ear in vain. Her purse was
always open to the orphan, the maimed, and the sick. After reading a
tender tale of love, the intricacies of the Princess of Cleves, the soft
distress of Sophia Western, or the more modern story of the Sorrows of
Werter, her gentle breast would heave with sighs, and her eye, suffused
with tears, confess a congenial spirit.

The father of Delia--let the reader drop a tear over this blot in our
little narrative--had once been a tradesman. He was naturally phlegmatic,
methodical, and avaricious. His ear was formed to relish better the hoarse
voice of an exchange broker, than the finest tones of Handel's organ. He
found something much more agreeable and interesting in the perusal of his
ledger and his day book, than in the scenes of Shakespeare, or the
elegance of Addison. With this disposition, he had notwithstanding, when
age had chilled the vigour of his limbs, and scattered her snow over those
hairs which had escaped the hands of the barber, resigned his shop, and
retired to enjoy the fruits of his industry. It is as natural for a
tradesman in modern times to desire to die in the tranquillity of a
gentleman, as it was for the Saxon kings of the Heptarchy to act the same
inevitable scene amidst the severities of a cloister.

The old gentleman however found, and it is not impossible that some of his
brethren may have found it before him, when the great transaction was
irretrievably over, that retirement and indolence did not constitute the
situation for which either nature or habit had fitted him. It has been
observed by some of those philosophers who have made the human mind the
object of their study, that idleness is often the mother of love. It might
indeed have been supposed, that Mr. Hartley, for that was his name, by
having attained the age of sixty, might have outlived every danger of this
kind. But opportunity and temptation supplied that, which might have been
deficient on the side of nature.

Within a little mile of the mansion in which he had taken up his retreat,
resided two ancient maiden ladies. Under cover of the venerable age to
which they had attained, they had laid aside many of those modes which
coyness and modesty have prescribed to their sex. The visits of a man were
avowedly as welcome to them, and indeed much more so, than those of a
woman. Their want of attractions either external or mental, had indeed
hindered the circle of their acquaintance from being very extensive; but
there were some, as well as Mr. Hartley, who preferred the company of
ugliness, censoriousness and ill nature to solitude.

Such were the Miss Cranley's, the name of the elder of whom was Amelia,
and that of the younger Sophia. Miss Amelia was nominally forty, and her
sister thirty years of age. Perhaps if we stated the matter more
accurately, we should rate the elder at fifty-six, and the younger
somewhere about fifty. They both of them were masculine in their
behaviour, and studious in their disposition. Miss Amelia, delighted in
the study of theology; she disputed with the curate, maintained a godly
correspondence with a neighbouring cobler, and was even said to be
preparing a pamphlet in defence of the dogmas of Mr. Whitfield. Miss
Sophia, who will make a much more considerable figure in this history, was
altogether as indefatigable in the study of politics, as her sister was in
that of theology. She adhered indeed to none of our political parties, for
she suspected and despised them all. My lord North she treated as stupid,
sleepy, and void of personal principle. Mr. Fox was a brawling gamester,
devoid of all attachments but that of ambition, and who treated the mob
with flattery and contempt. Mr. Burke was a Jesuit in disguise, who under
the most specious professions, was capable of the blackest and meanest
actions. For her own part she was a steady republican. That couplet of Dr.
Garth was continually in her mouth,


          _From my very soul I hate,
           All kings and ministers of state._



CHAPTER II.

_A Ball._


Thus much it was necessary to premise, in order to acquaint the reader
with the situation of our heroine, and that of some other personages in
this history. Having discharged this task, we will return to the point
from which we set out.

It was at one of the balls at the races at Southampton--the company was
already assembled. The card tables were set, and our maiden ladies,
together with many other venerable pieces of antiquity, were assembled
around them. In another and more spacious room, appeared all that
Southampton could boast of youth and beauty. The squire and his sister,
Mr. Prattle, and lord Martin, formed a part of the company. The first
bustle was nearly composed, when Damon entered the assembly.

He appeared to be a stranger to every body present. And, as he is equally
a stranger to our readers, we will now announce him in proper form. Damon
appeared to be about twenty years of age. His person was tall, and his
limbs slender and well formed. His dress was elegance itself. His coat was
ornamented with a profusion of lace, and the diamond sparkled in his shoe.
His countenance was manly and erect. There appeared in it a noble
confidence, which the spectator would at first sight ascribe to dignity of
birth, and a perfect familiarity with whatever is elegant and polite. This
confidence however had not the least alloy of _hauteur_, his eye
expressed the most open sensibility and the kindest sympathy.

There is something undescribably interesting in the figure we have
delineated. The moment our hero entered the room, the attention of every
person present was fixed upon him. The master of the ceremonies
immediately advanced, and escorted him to the most honourable seat that
yet remained vacant. While Damon examined with an eager eye the gay
parterre of beauty that appeared before him, a general whisper was excited
upon his account. "Who is he?" "Who is he?" echoed from every corner of
the room. But while curiosity was busy in his enquiries, there was not an
individual capable of satisfying them.

The business of every one was now the choice of a partner. But as one
object had engrossed the attention of all, they were willing to see the
election he would make, though every one feared to lose the partner he had
destined for himself. Damon was therefore, however unwilling to
distinguish himself in so particular a manner, constrained to advance the
foremost. He passed slightly along before a considerable number, who sat
in expectation. At length he approached the seat of Delia. He bowed to her
in the most graceful manner, and intreated to be honoured with her hand.
She smiled assent, and they crossed the room among a croud of envious
rivals. Besides the lovers we had mentioned, there were four others, who
had secretly determined to dance with Delia.

But if the gentlemen were disappointed, to whose eyes the beauty of Delia,
however unrivalled, was familiar, the disappointment and envy of the fair
sex upon the loss of Damon, whose external and natural recommendations had
beside the grace of novelty, were inexpressible. The daughter of Mr.
Griskin, an eminent butcher in Clare-market, who had indeed from nature,
the grace of being cross-eyed, now looked in ten thousand more various
directions than she ever did before. Miss Prim, agitated in every limb,
cracked her fan into twenty pieces. Miss Gawky, who had unfortunately been
initiated by the chamber maid in the art of snuff-taking, plied her box
with more zeal than ever. Miss Languish actually fainted, and was with
some difficulty conveyed into the air. Such was the confusion occasioned
in the ball at Southampton, by the election of Damon.

Affairs being now somewhat adjusted, the dances began. Damon at every
interval addressed himself to his lovely partner in the easiest and most
elegant conversation. He talked with fluency, and his air and manner gave
a grace and dignity to the most trifling topics. The heart of Delia,
acknowledged the charms of youthful beauty and graceful deportment, and
secretly confessed that it had never before encountered so formidable an
enemy.

When the usual topics of conversation had been exhausted, the behaviour of
Damon became insensibly more particular, he pressed her hand with the most
melting ardour, and a sigh ever and anon escaped from his breast. He paid
her several very elegant compliments, though they were all of them
confined within the limits of decorum. Delia, on the other hand, though
she apparently received them with the most gay indifference, in reality
drank deep of the poison of love, and the words of Damon made an
impression upon her heart, that was not easily to be erased.

But however delicious was the scene in which they were engaged, it
necessarily drew to a conclusion. The drowsy clocks now announced the hour
of three in the morning. The dances broke up, and the company separated.
Delia leaped into the chariot that was waiting, and quickly arrived at the
parental mansion. Fatigued with the various objects that had passed before
her, she immediately retired to rest. For some time however a busy train
of thoughts detained her from the empire of sleep. "How lovely a stranger!
How elegant his manners, and how brilliant his wit! How soft and engaging
the whole of his behaviour! But ah! was this the fruit of reverence and
admiration? Might it not be no more than general gallantry? Oh that I were
mistress of his heart! That he would lay his person at my feet! What a
contrast between him and my former admirers! How doubly hateful does lord
Martin, the lover favoured by my father now appear! But ah! who is this
Damon? What is his fortune, and what his pretensions? His dress surely
bespoke him a man of rank. His elegant manners could have been learned in
no vulgar circle. How sweet, methinks is suspence! How delightful the
uncertainty that hangs about him! And yet, how glad should I be to have my
doubts resolved."

Soothed with these and similar reflections, the lovely maid fell asleep.
But even in sleep she did not forget the impressions she had received. She
imagined that Damon now approached her pillow. But how unlike the Damon
she had seen! His eyes had something in them superior to a mortal. His
shoulders were adorned with wings, and a vest of celestial azure flowed
around him. He smiled upon her with the most bewitching grace. But the
gentle maid involuntarily stretched out her arms towards him, and the
pleasing vision vanished from her sight.

Again she closed her eyes, and again she endeavoured to regain her former
object. Damon indeed appeared, but in how different a manner! his
countenance was impressed with every mark of horror, and he seemed to fly
before some who inveterately pursued him. They appeared with the
countenances of furies, and the snakes hissed around their temples. Delia
looked earnestly upon them, and presently recollected the features of the
admirers we have already celebrated. The noble peer under the figure of
Tisiphone, led the troop. Damon stumbled and fell. Sudden as lightning
Tisiphone reached the spot, and plunged a dagger in his heart. She drew it
forth reeking with blood, and the lovely youth appeared in the agonies of
death. Terrified beyond measure, Delia screamed with horror and awoke.

In the midst of reveries like these, now agitated with apprehension, and
now soothed with pleasure, Delia passed the night. The sun appeared, her
gold repeater informed her that it was twelve, and, assisted by the fair
hands of Mrs. Bridget, she began to rise.



CHAPTER III.

_A Ghost._


Mr. Hartley had breakfasted and walked out in the fields, before Delia
appeared. She had scarcely begun her morning repast, ere Miss Fletcher,
the favourite companion and confidante of Delia, entered the room. "My
dearest creature," cried the visitor, "how do you do? Had not we not a
most charming evening? I vow I was fatigued to death: and then, lord
Martin, I think he never appeared to so much advantage. Why he was quite
covered with diamonds, spangles, and frogs." "Ah!" cried Delia, "but the
young stranger." "True," answered Miss Fletcher, "I liked him of all
things; so tall, so genteel, and so sweetly perfumed.--I cannot think who
he is. I called upon Miss Griskin, and I called upon Miss Savage, nobody
knows. He is some great man." "When did he come to town?" said Delia,
"Where does he lodge?" "My dear, he came to town yesterday in the evening,
and went away again as soon as the ball was over. But do not you think
that Mr. Prattle's new suit of scarlet sattin was vastly becoming? I vow I
could have fallen in love with him. He is so gay and so trifling, and so
fond of hearing himself talk. Why, does not he say a number of smart
things?" "It is exessively strange," said Delia. (She was thinking of the
stranger.) But Miss Fletcher went on--"Not at all, my life. Upon my word I
think he is always very entertaining. He cuts out paper so prettily, and he
has drawn me the sweetest pattern for an apron. I vow, I think, I never
showed you it." "What can be his name?" said Delia; "His name, my dear;
law, child, you do not hear a word one says to you. But of all things,
give me the green coat and pink breeches of Mr. Savage. But did you ever
hear the like? There will be a terrible to do--Lord Martin is in such a
quandary--He has sent people far and near." "I wish they may find him,"
exclaimed Delia. "Nay, if they do, I would not be in his shoes for the
world. My lord vows revenge. He says he is his rival. Why, child, the
stranger did not make love to you, did he?" "Mercy on us," cried Delia,
"then my dream is out." "Oh, bless us," said Miss Fletcher, "what dream,
my dear?" Her curiosity then prevailed upon her to be silent for a few
moments, while Delia related that with which the reader is already
acquainted.

In return, Delia requested of her friend to explain to her more
intelligibly what she hinted of the anger of lord Martin. "Why, my dear,
his lordship has been employed all this morning in writing challenges.
They say he has not writ less than a dozen, and has sent them by as many
messengers, like a hue and cry, all over the county--my lord is a little
man--but what of that--he is as stout as Hercules, and as brave as
what-d'ye call'um, that you and I read of in Pope's Homer. He is in such a
vengeance of a passion, that he cannot contain himself. He tells it to
every body he sees; and his mother and sister run about the house
screaming and fainting like so many mad things."

Delia, as we have already said, was endowed with a competent share of
natural understanding. She therefore easily perceived, that from an anger
so boisterous and so public, no very fatal effects were to be apprehended.
This reflection quieted the terrors that her dream had excited, and which
the young partiality she began to feel for the amiable stranger would
otherwise have confirmed. Her breast being thus calmed, she made about
half a dozen morning visits, among which, one to Miss Griskin, and another
to Miss Languish, were included. The conversation every where turned upon
the outrageousness of lord Martin. All but the gentle Delia, were full of
anxiety and expectation. The females were broken into parties respecting
the event of the duel. Many trembled for the fate of lord Martin, so
splendid, so rich, and consequently, in their opinion, so amiable and so
witty. Others, guided by the unadulterated sentiments of nature, poured
forth all their vows for the courteous unknown. "May those active limbs
remain without a wound! May his elegant blue and silver never be stained
with blood! Ah, what a pity, that eyes so bright, and teeth so white,
should be shrowded in the darkness of the grave."

The dinner, a vulgar meal, that passed exactly in the same manner as fifty
dinners had before it, shall be consigned to silence. The evening was
bright and calm. It was in the close of autumn; and every thing tempted
our lovely fair one to take the air. By the way she called upon her
inseparable friend and companion. They directed their course towards the
sea side.

Here they had not advanced far, before they entered a grove, a spot
particularly the favourite of Delia. In a little opening there was a bank
embroidered with daisies and butter-cups; a little row of willows bending
their heads forward, formed a kind of canopy; and directly before it,
there was a vista through the trees, which afforded a distant prospect of
the sea, with every here and there a vessel passing along, and the beams
of the setting sun quivered on the waves.

Delia and her companion advanced towards the well known spot. The mellow
voice of the thrush, and the clear pipe of the blackbird, diversified at
intervals with the tender notes of the nightingale, formed the most
agreable natural concert. The breast of Delia, framed for softness and
melancholy, was filled with sensations responsive to the objects around
her, and even the eternal clack of Miss Fletcher was still.

Presently, however, a new and unexpected object claimed their attention. A
note, stronger and sweeter than that of any of the native choristers of
the grove, swelled upon the air, and floated towards them. Having
approached a few paces, they stood still to listen. It seemed to proceed
from a flute, played upon by a human voice. The air was melancholy, but
the skill was divine.

The native curiosity of Miss Fletcher was not upon this occasion a match
for the sympathetic spirit of Delia. She pressed forward with an eager and
uncertain step, and looking through an interstice formed by two venerable
oaks, she perceived the figure of a young man sitting in her favourite
alcove. His back was turned towards the side upon which she was. Having
finished the air, he threw his flute carelesly from him, and folded his
arms in a posture the most disconsolate that can be imagined. He rose and
advanced a little with an irregular step. "Ah lovely mistress of my soul,"
cried he, "thou little regardest the anguish that must for ever be an
inmate of this breast! While I am a prey to a thousand tormenting
imaginations, thou riotest in the empire of beauty, heedless of the wounds
thou inflicted, and the slaves thou chainest to thy chariot. Wretch that I
am, what is to be done? But I must think no more." Saying this he snatched
up his flute, and thrusting it into his bosom, hurried out of the grove.

While he spoke, Delia imagined that the voice was one that she had heard
before though she knew not where. Her heart whispered her something more
than her understanding could disentangle. But as he stooped to take his
flute from the ground his profile was necessarily turned towards the inner
part of the grove. Delia started and trembled. Damon stood confessed. But
she scarcely recollected his features before he rushed away swifter than
the winged hawk, and was immediately out of sight.

Delia was too full of a thousand reflections upon this unexpected
rencounter to be able to utter a word. But Miss Fletcher immediately
began. "God bless us," cried she, "did you ever see the like? Why it is my
belief it is a ghost or a wizard. I never heard any thing so pretty--I
vow, I am terribly frightened."

Delia now caught hold of her arm. "For heaven's sake, let us quit the
grove. I do not know what is the matter--but I feel myself quite sick."
"Good God! good heavens! Well, I do not wonder you are all in a
tremble--But suppose now it should be nothing but Mr. Prattle--He is
always somewhere or other--And then he plays _God save the king_, and
_Darby and Joan_, like any thing." "Oh," said the lovely, trembling
nymph, "they were the sweetest notes!" "Ah," said her companion, "he is a
fine man. And then he is so modest--He will play at one and thirty, and
ride upon a stick with little Tommy all day long. But sure it could not be
Mr. Prattle--He always wears his hair in a queue you know--but the ghost
had a bag and solitaire." "Well," cried Delia, "let us think no more of
it. But did we hear anything?"--"Law, child, why he played the nicest
glee--and then he made such a speech, for all the world like Mr. Button,
that I like so to see in Hamlet." "True," said Delia,--"but what he said
was more like the soft complainings of my dear Castalio. Did not he
complain of a false mistress?" "Why he did say something of that kind.--If
it be neither a ghost nor Mr. Prattle. I hope in God he is going to appear
upon the Southampton stage. I do so love to see a fine young man come on
for the first time with

          _May this alspishus day be ever sacred!_
Or,
          _I am thy father's spirit._"



CHAPTER IV.

_A Love Scene._


In such conversation the moments passed till they reached the habitation
of Mr. Hartley. Miss Fletcher now took her leave. And after a supper as
dull, and much more tedious to Delia, than the dinner, she retired to her
chamber.

She retired indeed, but not to rest. Her brain was filled with a croud of
uneasy thoughts. "Alas," said she, "how short has been the illusion!--But
yesterday, I was flushed with all the pride of conquest, and busily framed
a thousand schemes of ideal happiness--Where are they now?--The lovely
youth, the only man I ever saw in whose favour my heart was prepossessed,
and with whom I should have felt no repugnance to have engaged in the
tenderest ties, is nothing to me--He loves another. He too complains of
slighted passion, and ill-fated love. Ah, had he made his happiness depend
on me, what would not I have done to reward him! Carefully I would have
soothed every anguish, and taught his heart to bound with joy. But what am
I saying?--Where am I going?--Am I that Delia that bad defiance to the art
of men,--that saw with indifference the havock that my charms had made!
With every opening morn I smiled. Each hour was sped with joy, and my
heart was light and frolic. And shall I dwindle into a pensive, melancholy
maid, the sacrifice of one that heeds me not, whose sighs no answering
sighs encounter!--let it not be said. I have hitherto asserted the
independence of my sex, I will continue to do so. Too amiable unknown, I
give thee to the winds! Propitious fate, I thank thee that thou hast so
soon discovered how much my partiality was misplaced. I will abjure it
before it be too late. I will tear the little intruder from my heart
before the mischief is become irretrievable."

The following evening Delia repaired again by a kind of irresistible
impulse to the grove. She asked not the company of her friend. She dared
alone hazard the encounter of that object, at which she had trembled so
much the preceding day. Unknown to herself she still imaged a kind of
uncertainty in her fate which would not permit her to lay aside all
thought of Damon. She determined at all events, to have her doubts
resolved. "When there is no longer," said she to herself, "any room for
mistake, I shall then know what to do."

As she drew near the alcove, she perceived the same figure stretched along
the bank, and with his eyes immoveably fixed upon a little fountain that
rose in a corner of the scene. He seemed lost in thought. Delia approached
doubtfully, but he heard her not. Advanced near to her object, she
reclined forward in a posture of wonder and attention. At this moment a
sigh burst from the heart of Damon, and he raised himself upon the seat.

His eyes caught the figure of Delia.------"Ah," said he, starting from his
trance, "what do I see? Art thou, lovely intruder, a mere vision, an
aerial being that shuns the touch?" "I beg ten thousand pardons. I meaned
not, sir, to interrupt you. I will be gone." "No, go not." Answered he.
"Thou art welcome to my troubled thoughts. I could gaze for ever."

Saying this he rose and advancing towards her, seized her hand. "Be not
afraid," said he, "gentle fair one, my breast is a stranger to violence
and rudeness. I have felt the dart of love. Unhappy myself, I learn to
feel for others. But you are happy." As he said this, a tear unbidden
stole into the eye of Delia, and she wiped it away with the hand which was
disengaged from his. "And dost thou pity me," said he. "And does such
softness dwell within thy breast? If you knew the story of my woes, you
would have reason to pity me. I am in love to destraction, but I dare not
disclose my passion. I am banished from the presence of her I love. Ah,
cruel fate, I am entangled, inextricably entangled." "And how, sir," said
Delia, "can I serve you?" "Alas," said he, in no way. My case is hopeless
and irretrievable. And what am I doing? Why do I talk, when the season
calls for action? Oh, I am lost."

"Dear Sir," answered Delia, "you terrify me to death." "Oh, no. I would
not for the world give you an uneasy moment. Let me be unhappy--but may
misfortune never disturb your tranquility. I return to seek her whose fate
is surely destined to mix with mine. Pardon, loveliest of thy sex, the
distraction in which I have appeared. I would ask you to forget me--I
would ask you to remember me--I know not what I am, or what to think."

With these words he took the hand which he still held in one of his, and
raising it to his lips, kissed it with the utmost fervour. Immediately he
caught up his hat, which lay beside him on the ground, and began to
advance along the path that led out of the grove on the side furthest from
the town. But his eyes were still fixed upon Delia. He heeded not the path
by which he went; and scarcely had he gone twenty paces, ere he changed
his mind and returned. Delia was seated on the bank and seemed lost in
reverie. Damon threw himself upon his knees before her.

"Ah, why," said he, "am I constrained to depart!--Why must I talk in
riddles! Perhaps we may never see each other more. Perhaps the time will
come when I shall be able to clear up the obscurity that at present I am
obliged to preserve. But no, it cannot be. I never was happy but for two
poor hours that I enjoyed your smiles, and, drinking in the poison of your
charms, I forgot myself. The time too soon arrived for bitter
recollection. My mistress calls, the mistress of my fate. I must be
gone--Farewel--for ever."

Saying this, he heaved a sigh that seemed almost to tear his breast
asunder, and with the utmost apparent violence he tore himself away, and
rushed along the path with incredible velocity.

Delia was now alone. But instead, as she had flattered herself of having
her doubts resolved, she was more uncertain, more perplexed than ever.
"What" cried she, "can all this mean? How strange, and how inexplicable!
Is it a real person that I have seen, or is it a vision that mocks my
fancy? Am I loved, or am I hated? Oh, foolish question! Oh, fond illusion!
Are we not parted for ever! Is he not gone to seek the mistress of his
soul! Alas, he views me not, but with that general complacency, which
youth, and the small pretensions I have to beauty are calculated to
excite! He had nothing to relate that concerned myself, he merely intended
to make me the confidante of his passion for another. Too surely he is
unhappy. His heart seemed ready to burst with sorrow. Probably in this
situation there is no greater or more immediate relief, than to disclose
the subject of our distress, and to receive into our bosom the sympathetic
tear of a simple and a generous heart. His behaviour today corresponds but
too well with the suspicions that yesterday excited. Oh, Delia! then,"
added she, "be firm. Thou shalt see the conqueror no more. Think of him no
more."

In spite however of all the resolution she could muster, Delia repaired
day after day, sometimes alone, and sometimes in company with her friend,
to that spot which, by the umbrage of melancholy it wore, was become more
interesting than ever. Miss Fletcher, could scarcely at first be persuaded
to direct her course that way, lest she should again see the ghost. But
she need not have terrified herself. No ghost appeared.

Disappointed and baffled on this side, Delia by the strictest enquiries
endeavoured to find out who the unknown person was, in whose fate she had
become so greatly interested. The result of these enquiries, however
diligent, was not entirely satisfactory. She learned that he had been for
a few days upon a visit to a Mr. Moreland, a gentleman who lived about
three miles from Southampton.

Mr. Moreland was a person of a very singular character. He had the
reputation in the neighbourhood of being a cynic, a misanthrope, and a
madman. He kept very little company, and was even seldom seen but by
night. He had a garden sufficiently spacious, which was carefully rendered
impervious to every human eye. And to this and his house he entirely
confined himself in the day-time. The persons he saw were not the
gentlemen of the neighbourhood. He had no toleration for characters that
did not interest him. When he first came down to his present residence, he
was visited by Mr. Hartley, Mr. Prattle, squire Savage, lord Martin, and
all the most admired personages in the country. But their visits had never
been returned. Mr. Prattle pronounced him a scoundrel; squire Savage said
he was a nincompoop; and lord Martin was near sending him a challenge. But
the censures of the former, and the threats of the latter, had never
reached his ears. His domestics were numerous, but they were hired from a
distance, and were permitted as little communication as possible with the
powdered lacquies of Southampton. Of consequence, however much the
unaccommodating conduct of Mr. Moreland disposed his neighbours to
calumniate him, scandal was deprived of that daily food which is requisite
for her subsistence, and the name of that gentleman was scarcely ever
heard.



CHAPTER V.

_A Man of Humour._


We will now return to lord Martin. All his messengers, from what cruel
fate we cannot exactly ascertain, miscarried; and it was not till Damon
had left the country, that he learned that he had been a visitor at the
house of Mr. Moreland. Finding that he had missed his expected vengeance,
he discharged his anger in unavailing curses, and for three days he
breathed nothing but daggers, death, and damnation. Having thus vapoured
away the paroxysm of his fury, he became tolerably composed.

But adverse fate had decreed a short duration to the tranquility of his
lordship. Scarcely had the field been cleared from the enemy he so greatly
dreaded, ere a new rival came upon the stage, to whose arms, though
without any great foundation, the whole town of Southampton had consigned
the charming Delia.

The name of this gentleman was Prettyman. He was just returned from his
travels, and was reckoned perfectly accomplished. He was six foot high,
his shoulders were broad, his legs brawny, and his whole person athletic.
The habits however he had formed to himself in foreign countries, will not
perhaps be allowed exactly to correspond with the figure which nature had
bestowed upon him. He generally spent two hours every morning at his
toilette. His face was painted and patched, his whole person strongly
perfumed, and he had continually in his hand a gold snuff-box set with
diamonds. His voice was naturally hoarse and loud, but with infinite
industry he had brought himself to a pronunciation shrill, piping, and
effeminate. His conversion was larded with foreign phrases and foreign
oaths, and every thing he said was accompanied with a significant shrug.

The same period which had introduced this new pretender to the heart of
Delia, had been distinguished by the arrival of a Sir William Twyford, who
paid his addresses to Miss Fletcher. Sir William was exactly the reverse
of Mr. Prettyman. With a genteel person, and an open and agreable
phisiognomy, his manners were perfectly careless and unstudied. A
predominant feature in his character was good nature. But this was not his
ruling passion. He had an infinite fund of wit and humour, and he never
was so happy as when he was able to place the foibles of affectation in a
whimsical and ridiculous light.

As it was vanity alone, that had induced Mr. Prettyman to pay his
addresses to the lady, who was universally allowed to surpass in beauty
and every elegant accomplishment in the place in which he was, he would
have been less pleased that his amour should have terminated in a
marriage, than that by his affectation and coquetry he might break the
heart of the simple fair one. Accordingly, it was his business to make the
affair as public as possible.

Lord Martin, had been sufficiently irritated by the pretensions of Damon.
The new intruder had wrought up his passion to the highest pitch. In the
mean time he had renewed an acquaintance which he had formerly made with
sir William Twyford. Sir William, upon all occasions, cultivated the
intimacy of such, as, by any striking peculiarities, seemed to furnish a
proper subject for his humour. He now contributed every thing in his power
to inflame his lordship against Mr. Prettyman. He offered to become the
bearer of a challenge, and to be his lordship's second in any future
combat.

Lord Martin broke off the conversation somewhat abruptly, and began to
reflect with himself upon what had passed. He had hitherto contrived, by
some means or other, though he dealt very largely in challenges, never to
have come to actual battle. But he had too much reason to think, that if
he made sir William his messenger, he should not be able with any degree
of honour to contrive an evasion. "It is true," said he, "I am in a most
confounded passion, but a wise general never proceeds to action without
having first deliberated. Zounds, blood and fire! would I could put an end
to the existence of so presumptuous a villain! But then it must be
considered that Mr. Prettyman is six foot high, and I am not five. He is
as athletic as Ajax, but to me nature has been unfavourable. It is true I
understand cart and terce, parry and thrust, but I have heard that
Prettyman studied under Olivier. Many a man has outlived the passage of a
bullet, or the thrust of a sword through him. But my constitution is so
delicate! Curse blast it, death and the devil, I do not know what to do."

Sir William, as soon as he had left lord Martin, repaired to the lodgings
of Mr. Prettyman. After a short general conversation, he began, "My dear
friend, here has happened the unluckiest thing in nature. You have made
some advances, you know, to the charming Delia." "True," cried Prettyman,
"I have bestowed upon her a few condescending glances. _C'est une
charmante fille_." "Well," added sir William, "and the whole town gives
her to you." "_Parbleu!_ the town is very impertinent. There will go
two words to that bargain." "My lord Martin, you know, has enlisted
himself amongst her admirers." "Pox take the blockhead, I suppose he would
marry her. _Bien_. After I have led her a dance, he shall do what he
pleases with her." "But," said sir William, "my lord intends to call you
to an account." "_Morbleu_," cried Prettyman, "I thought I had
been in a land of liberty." "But let me tell you, my lord is very
absolute. He has fought some half a dozen duels in his time, and every
body is afraid of him." "_J'en suis excèdè_. 'Pon honour, the girl is
not worth fighting for." "Oh," said the malicious wit, "but if you give
her up for a few threats, your reputation will be ruined for ever."
"_Mon Dieu!_ this reputation is a very expensive thing. _Je
crois_ that every girl is a Helen, never so happy as when people are
murdering one another, and towns are fired for her sake. Is this same
_milord_ absolutely inexorable?"

"I cannot tell," said sir William, "what may be done. If you were to fly,
he would pursue you to the ends of the earth. But suppose now you were
upon your knees, to retract your pretensions to this silly girl."
"_Pardi_" answered Prettyman, "that is damned hard! are you sure his
lordship is so compleat a master of the science of defence?" "Nay,"
replied sir William, "I cannot tell. I believe indeed he never received a
wound, but I think I remember to have heard of one duel he fought, in
which his antagonist came off with his life." "Ah, _diable
l'emporte!_ That will not do neither. These bullets are the aukwardest
things in the world. Do you think you could not prevail with his Lordship
to use only powder?" "Powder," cried sir William, "that is an excellent
jest. My lord always loads with six small slugs." "Six slugs! ah the
bloody minded villain! It is confounded hard that a gentleman cannot pass
through life, without being _degoutè_ with these unpolished Vandals.
_Ah, mon cher ami_, I will put the affair entirely into your hands:
do, _pour i'amour de Dieu_, bring me out of this scrape as well as
you can." "Well my dear Prettyman, I will exert myself on your account;
but, upon my soul, I had rather have an affair with half a regiment of
commissioned officers fresh imported from America."

Sir William Twyford, having thus brought the affair to some degree of
forwardness, now waited on his lordship. "My dear lord Martin," said he,
"what have you resolved upon? The affair is briefly thus--you must either
give up Delia, or fight Mr. Prettyman." "Give up Delia!" exclaimed the
little lord; "by all that is sacred I will sooner spill the last drop of
my blood. But," added he, "what necessity is there for the alternative you
propose? True, I fear no man. But to be continually engaged in quarrels
would acquire me the character of a desperado." "Indeed," said sir
William, "you have been somewhat lavish in those sort of affairs, but I do
not see how you can be off in the present instance. Prettyman has heard of
the bustle you made about the fellow at the ball, that tricked you of your
partner; and he will never pardon the affront, if you pay less attention
to him." "Pox take the blockhead, he is mighty nice, methinks, in his
temper. I have a great mind not to gratify him." "Oh," cried sir William,
"you never had such an opportunity to establish your character for ever.
And the fellow I believe is no better than a coward at bottom."

It would be endless to relate all the stratagems of sir William to bring
the business to the conclusion he wished. How he terrified the brawny
_petit maître_, and anon he animated the little peer. His lordship
felt the force of his friend's eloquence, but even his highest flights of
heroism were qualified with temporary misgivings. For poor Mr. Prettyman,
he feared to stay, and dared not fly. If he could have forgotten the
danger he apprehended, his good natured friend by the studied
exaggerations in which he was continually clothing it, would have
perfectly succeed in refreshing his memory. But in reality it was never
absent from his thoughts. His slumbers were short and disturbed. And he
could scarcely close his eyes, ere the enraged lord Martin, with his sword
drawn, and his countenance flaming with inexorable fury, presented himself
to his affrighted imagination.

At length sir William by his generous interposition affected a compromise.
It was agreed that Mr. Prettyman should fall upon his knees before lord
Martin in the public room in the presence of Delia, and, asking his
pardon, put a small cane into his hand. "My lord," said sir William to the
beau, "is as generous as he is brave. He will not make an improper use of
the advantage you put into his hands. He will raise you from the humble
posture you will have assumed, and, embracing you cordially, all that is
past will be forgotten. As his lordship will take you under his
protection, not an individual will dare to reflect upon you." "Mr.
Prettyman," said sir William to lord Martin, "unites the heart of a
chicken to the most absolute skill in the small sword that ever I saw. I
have been only capable of restraining him by representing your lordship as
the most furious and impracticable of mankind. If he once suspect that I
have misrepresented you, a duel, in which I am afraid your lordship would
be overmatched, must be the inevitable consequence. Might I therefore
presume to advise, your lordship should make use of the advantage I have
gained you without mercy."



CHAPTER VI.

_Containing some Specimens of Heroism._


The evening now approached, in which the scene sir William Twyford had
with so much pains prepared, was to be acted. An imperfect rumour had
spread that something extraordinary was to pass in the public room. Miss
Prim was of opinion that a duel would be fought. "I shall be frightened
out of my wits," said she. "But I must go, for one loves any thing new,
and I believe there is nothing in it that a modest woman may not see."
Miss Gawky thought it would be a boxing match. "Bless us, my dear lord
Martin could stand no chance with that great lubberly macaroni." But Miss
Griskin, with a look of more than common sagacity, assured the ladies that
she had penetrated to the very bottom of the matter. "Mr. Prettyman and
lord Martin have ordered two large rounds of beef to be set upon the table
at supper, and they mean to lay about them for a wager."

In this manner every one made her own conjecture, which she preferred to
that of all the rest. Curiosity was wrought up to the highest pitch, and
the uncertainty that prevailed upon the subject, rendered the affair still
more interesting. The rooms were early filled with an uncommon number of
spectators. About nine o'clock Mr. Prettyman entered, but instead of
exerting himself with his usual vivacity, he retired to one corner of the
room, and sat in a sheepish and melancholy posture. Not long after, sir
William Twyford and lord Martin came in, arm in arm.

The peer strutted immediately to the upper end of the room. Delia stood
near him. "My lovely girl," said he, with an air of vulgar familiarity, "I
am rejoiced to see you. I hope I shall one day prove myself worthy of your
favour."

While this passed Mr. Prettyman was by no means in an enviable condition.
From the operation of fear and vexation he perspired very profusely.
Vanity, as we have said, might almost be termed his ruling passion, and he
would never have sacrificed it so publicly to any consideration less
immediate than that of personal safety. Ardently did he long to have the
terrible scene concluded. But he had neither strength nor spirits to
advance a step, or even to rise from his seat.

Sir William Twyford now came up to him, and took hold of his hand. "My
dear friend," said he, "be not dispirited. It is no more than a flea-bite,
and it will be over in a moment. You will acquire the friendship of the
first personage in the county, and far from losing any thing in the public
esteem, you will be more respected than ever." "_Morbleu_," cried the
beau, "my shoulders ake for it already. But, _mon très cher & très
excellent ami_, do not desert me, and remind the peer of the generosity
you talked of."

Sir William now raised him from his seat, and led him to the middle of the
room. Lord Martin, with a stately air, advanced a few steps. In spite
however of all the heroism he could assume, as the important affair drew
towards a crisis, he began to tremble. Mr. Prettyman fell upon his knees,
and sir William put a cane into his hand. But in this posture the beau
remained still somewhat taller than his antagonist. "Most worthy lord,"
cried he in a tremulous voice, "I am truly sorry for the misunderstanding
that has happened, and I am filled with the most ardent"----While he was
yet speaking he advanced the cane in the attitude of presenting it.
"Villain," said lord Martin, who between fear and rage could no longer
contain himself, and snatched it from his hand. But he could scarcely
reach beyond the shoulder of his enemy, and blinded with emotion and
exertion, instead of directing his blows as he ought to have done, he
struck him two or three very severe strokes on the head and face. The beau
bore it as long as he could. But at length bellowing out, "_Mon Dîeu, je
suis meurtriè_, I am beaten to a jelly," he rose from his knees. His
antagonist being between him and the door, he fairly threw him upon his
back, and flying out of the room he stopped not till he arrived at the
inn, where, ordering his phaeton and six, he ascended without a moment's
pause, and drove off for London.

In the mean time, every thing in the public room was in confusion and
disorder. Sir William flew to support the discomfited hero, who had
received a grievous contusion in his shoulder. Miss Griskin giggled, the
other ladies screamed, and Miss Languish, as usual, fainted away. "Bless
me," cried Miss Fletcher, "it is the queerest affair"--"By my troth," said
Miss Gawky, "it is vastly fine." "But not half so fine," cried Miss
Griskin, "as the buttocks of beef."

By this time lord Martin had raised himself in a sitting posture and
uttered a deep groan. "Best of friends," said he, pressing the hand of sir
William, "tell me truly, am I victorious, or am I defeated?" "Oh
_victoria_!" cried sir William; "never heed a slight skin wound that
you received in the combat." His lordship stood up. "Damnation, pox
confound it!" said he, a little recovering himself, "what is become of the
rascal? I have not given him half what he deserved. But, ladies," added he
flourishing his cane, "it is my maxim, as I am strong to be merciful."

Saying this, he advanced towards Delia, and, with a flourish of importance
and conceit, laid the weapon, which he had so roundly employed, at her
feet. "Loveliest of women," said he, "to your shrine I devote myself. Upon
your altar, I lay the insignia of my prowess. Deign, gentlest of thy sex,
to accept thus publicly of those sighs which I have long poured forth upon
thy account."

Delia, though the native modesty of her character caused her whole face to
be suffused with blushes at having the eyes of the whole company thus
turned upon her, regarded the peer with a look of ineffable disdain, and
turned from him in silence.

Such were the transactions of an evening, which will doubtless long be
remembered by such as had the good fortune to be spectators. The natural
impertinence and insolence of lord Martin were swelled by the event to ten
times their natural pitch. He crowed like a cock, and cackled like a
goose. The vulgar of the other sex, who are constantly the admirers of
success, however unmerited, and conceit, however unfounded, thought his
lordship the greatest man in the world. The inequality of his legs was
removed by the proof he had exhibited of his prowess. The inequality of
his shoulders was hid under a rent-roll of ten thousand a year. And the
narrowness of his intellects, the optics of these connoisseurs were not
calculated to discern.

The peer, as we have already hinted, was the suitor most favoured by the
father of our heroine. The principal passion of the old gentleman was the
love of money. But at the same time he was not absolutely incapable of
relishing the inferior charms of a venerable title and a splendid
reputation. Perceiving that his client continually rose in the public
opinion, he was more eager than ever to have the match concluded. Lord
Martin, though his organs were not formed to delight in beauty at the
first hand, was yet tickled with the conceit of carrying off so fair a
prize from the midst of a thousand gaping expectants.

It will naturally be imagined that the situation of Delia at this moment
was by no means an enviable one. She was caught in the snares of love. And
the more she struggled to get free, she was only the more limed and
entangled. The recollection of the hopelessness of her love by no means
sufficed to destroy it. The recollection of her former carelessness and
gaiety was not able to restore her to present ease. In vain she summoned
pride and maiden dignity to support her. In vain she formed resolutions,
which were broken as soon as made. Every where she was haunted by the
image of her dear unknown. Her nights were sleepless and uneasy. The fire
and brightness of her eyes were tarnished. _She pined in green and
yellow melancholy._

The more dear were the ideal image that accompanied her, the more did she
execrate and detest her persecutor. "No," cried she, "I will never be his.
Never shall the sacred tie, which should only unite congenial spirits, be
violated by two souls, distant as the poles, jarring as contending
elements. My father may kill me. Alas, of what value is life to me! It is
a long scene of unvaried misfortune. It is a dreary vista of despair. He
may kill me, but never, never shall he force me to a deed my soul abhors."



CHAPTER VII.

_Containing that with which the reader will be acquainted when he has
read it_.


The cup of misfortune, by which it was decreed that the virtue and the
constancy of our heroine should be tried, was not yet ended. The
disposition of a melancholy lover is in the utmost degree variable. Now
the fair Delia studiously sought to plunge herself in impervious solitude;
and now, worn with a train of gloomy reflections, she with equal eagerness
solicited the society of her favourite companion.

By this time sir William Twyford and Miss Fletcher were become in a manner
inseparable. Of consequence the company of the one necessarily involved
that of the other. And the gaiety and good humour of sir William, tempered
as they were by an excellent understanding, and an unaffected vein of
sportive wit, were the sweetest medicine to the wounded heart of Delia.
When she had first chosen Miss Fletcher for her intimate friend, her own
faculties had not yet reached their maturity; and habit frequently renders
the most insipid amusements pleasurable and interesting. Southampton
itself did not afford the largest scope for selection. And however our
readers may decide respecting the merit of the easy, the voluble and the
good humoured Miss Fletcher, they will scarcely be disposed to deny that
of all the female characters we have hitherto exhibited, she was the most
amiable.

One evening, as these three friends were sitting together, sir William
took occasion to lament the necessity that was laid upon him to quit
Southampton for a few days, though he hoped very speedily to be able to
return. His inamorata, as usual, was very inquisitive to learn the
business that was to deprive her for a time of the presence of a lover, of
whom she was not a little ostentatious. Sir William answered that he was
under an engagement to be present at the marriage of one of his college
friends, and that he should set out in company with Mr. Moreland.

At that name our tender and apprehensive fair one involuntarily started.
"Mr. Moreland!" said she to herself, "Ah, it was at his house that my
unknown resided. It is very seldom that Mr. Moreland undertakes a journey.
Surely there must be something particularly interesting to him in the
affair. The strange combination of circumstances terrifies and perplexes
me. Would I were delivered from this state of uncertainty! Would to God I
were dead!"

The uncertainty which afflicted her was however of a very short duration.
Miss Fletcher, by an inexhaustible train of interrogatories, led sir
William to relate by degrees every thing he knew of the affair. The young
gentleman his friend was the nephew and heir of Mr. Moreland. The present
match had been long upon the carpet, and was a very considerable one in
point of fortune. "Did the nephew ever visit Mr. Moreland?" "Very
frequently," said sir William. "And he is visited" interposed Delia, "by
other young gentlemen from the university?" "No," answered sir William.
"Mr. Moreland, who is an old batchelor, full of oddities and sensibility,
has a general dislike of young collegians. He thinks them pert, dissolute,
arrogant, and pedantic. He therefore never receives any but his nephew,
for whom he has the most ardent affection, and sometimes by particular
grace myself who am his intimate friend." "And how long is it since the
young gentleman paid a visit to his uncle?" Sir William looked a little
surprized at so particular a question, but answered: "He was here not
above a fortnight ago to invite his uncle to the wedding. But he is rather
serious and thoughtful in his temper, so that he is seldom seen in
public."

It was now but too certain that the friend of sir William, and the amiable
unknown, who had made a conquest of the heart of Delia, were the same
person. The surprise at which she was taken, and the unwelcome manner in
which her doubts were now at once resolved, were too much for the delicate
frame of our heroine. She sat for a moment gazing with an eager and
unmeaning stare upon the face of sir William. But she presently
recollected herself, and, bursting out of the room, flew to her chamber in
the same instant, and was relieved by a flood of tears.

Sir William was inexpressibly surprised at this incident. Delia, he was
sure, did not even know the name of his friend, and he could scarcely
imagine that she had ever seen him. Miss Fletcher, though considerably
astonished herself, gave sir William an account of so many particulars of
what had passed between his friend and our heroine, as were perfectly
sufficient to solve the difficulty. In return the baronet explained to her
the exact situation of the affair of Damon, told her that he did not
believe the day was yet fixed, and assured her that Mr. Moreland and
himself waited for a farther summons, though it must be confessed that it
was expected every hour.

These particulars, when communicated to Delia by the indefatigable
assiduity of Miss Fletcher, afforded her but a very slender consolation.
"What avails it me," said she, "that the day is not fixed? Every
considerable circumstance, there is reason to believe, is determined. He
marries, with the approbation of all his friends, a lady, my superior in
rank and fortune, and who is probably every way worthy of him. Ah, why am
I thus selfish and envious? No, let me pine away in obscurity, let me be
forgotten. But may he live long and happy. Did he not tell me, that he
went to seek the _mistress of his fate_?--And yet," interrupted she,
"he accompanied the information with words of such sweet import, with so
much tenderness and gentleness, as will never be erased from my mind. Ah
foolish girl, wilt thou for ever delude thyself, wilt thou be for ever
extracting comfort from despair? No! Long enough hast thou been misguided
by the meteor of hope. Long enough hast thou been cheated by the visions
of youthful fancy. There is now no remedy left. Let me die."

There were two passions that predominated in the breast of sir William
Twyford. The first was that of a humourist, and to this almost every other
object was occasionally sacrificed. But he had likewise a large fund of
good nature. He perceived, that in two successive instances, however
unintentionally, his conduct had been the source of unhappiness to the
most amiable of her sex. The victory of lord Martin had put it more than
ever in his power to harrass Delia. She was incessantly importuned, now by
her father, and now by her inamorato. And her distress, if it had wanted
any addition, was rendered compleat by the expected marriage of one, whose
personal accomplishments had caught her unwary heart. He lamented the
undeserved misfortune of youth and beauty. His heart bled for her.

Thus circumstanced, his active benevolence determined him not to lose a
moment, in endeavouring to repair the mischief of which he had so
unfortunately been the author. He had never cordially approved of the
intended union between his friend and Miss Frampton. She was of the first
order of coquettes, and it might have puzzled even an anatomist to
determine, whether she had a heart. Descartes informs us that the soul
usually resides in the pineal gland, but the soul of this lady seemed to
inhabit in her eyes. She had been caught with the figure of Damon. And had
a figure more perfectly beautiful, if that had been possible, or an
equipage more brilliant, presented itself, he did not doubt but that it
would carry away the prize.

Miss Frampton was heiress to a fortune of fifty thousand pounds. The
father of Damon, whose soul, in union with some amiable qualities, which
served him for a disguise, had the misfortune to be exceedingly mercenary
at the bottom, had proposed the match to his son. Damon, who had never in
his life been guilty of an act of disobedience, received the
recommendation of his father with a prejudice in its favour. He waited
upon the young lady and found her beautiful, high spirited, accomplished,
and incensed by a thousand worshippers. Her disposition was not indeed
congenial to his own. But he was prejudiced by filial duty, dazzled by her
charms, and led on insensibly by the mildness and pliableness of his
character. In a word, every thing had been concluded, and the wedding was
daily expected to take place.



CHAPTER VIII.

_Two Persons of Fashion_.


In pursuance of the determination he had formed, sir William immediately
set out for Oxford, where his friend still resided. As he had lived with
him upon terms of the most unreserved familiarity, he made use of the
liberty of an intimate, and, without being announced, abruptly entered his
chamber. Damon was sitting in a melancholy posture, his countenance
dejected, and his eye languid. Upon the entrance of the baronet he looked
up, and struck with the sudden appearance of one to whom he was so
ardently attached, his visage for a moment assumed an air of gaiety and
pleasure.

"Ha," cried sir William, with his wonted spriteliness of accent, "methinks
the countenance of my Damon does not bespeak the sentiments that become a
bridegroom." "I am afraid not," answered Damon. "But tell me to what am I
indebted for this agreeable and unexpected visit?" "We will talk of that
another time. But when did you see my play-fellow, Miss Frampton?" "I have
not seen her," replied our hero with a sigh half uttered, and half
suppressed, "these ten days." "What" cried the baronet, "no
misunderstanding, eh?" "Not absolutely that. I saw her, I fear, without
all the rapture that becomes a lover, and she resented it with a coldness
that did not introduce an immediate explanation. Since that time I have
been somewhat indisposed, or probably affairs would now have been
settled." "And what," said sir William, "must we apply the old maxim, that
the falling out of lovers is the consolidating of love?"

Damon from the entrance of his friend had appeared a good deal agitated.
He was no longer able to contain himself. He eagerly seized the hand of
sir William and clasped it between both of his. "My dear baronet, I have
never concealed from you a thought of my heart. But my present situation
is so peculiarly delicate and distressing, that I can scarcely form any
sentiment of it, or even dare trust myself to recollect it. I have seen,"
continued he, "ah, that I could forget it! a woman, beauteous as the day,
before whom the charms of Miss Frampton disappear, as, before the rising
sun, each little star _hides its diminish'd head_. Her features, full
of sensibility, her voice such as to thrill the soul and all she says,
pervaded with wit and good sense." "And where," cried the baronet, in a
lively tone, "resides this peerless she?"

"Alas," answered the disconsolate Damon, "it matters not. I shall see her
no more. Virtue, honour, every thing forbids it. I may be unhappy, but I
will never deserve to be so. Miss Frampton has my vows. Filial duty calls
on me to fulfil them. Obstacles without number, Alps on Alps arise, to
impede my prosecution of a fond and unlicensed inclination. The struggle
has cost me something, but it is over. I have recovered my health, I have
formed my resolution. This very day, (you, my good friend, will accept the
apology) I had determined to repair to Beaufort Place. Doubt and
uncertainty nourish the lingering distemper that would undo me. I will
come to a decision."

Sir William was not of a temper to abdicate any affair in which he had
embarked, before success appeared absolutely unattainable. Like Caesar, it
was enough for him that the thing appeared possible to be done, to engage
him to persevere. He therefore begged leave to accompany his friend, and
they set out together that very afternoon.

Beaufort Place, the habitation of Miss Frampton, was only six miles from
Oxford. And, as he knew that Sir Harry Eustace, the son of that lady's
mother by a second husband, was now upon a visit to his sister, sir
William Twyford made no scruple of proceeding with his friend immediately
to the house.

After a short general conversation, sir William drew the young baronet
into the garden. In the mean time sir Harry's chariot was preparing, as he
had fixed the conclusion of his visit for that evening. After an interval
of half an hour the servant brought word that the carriage was ready. Sir
Harry, who was a young man of little ceremony, bowed _en passant_
before the parlour window, and immediately hurried away.

Sir William stood for some time at the door of the house after sir Harry
had driven away. Presently he observed another carriage advancing by the
opposite road. The liveries were flaunting and the attendants numerous.
They drew nearer, and he perceived that it was the equipage of lord
Osborne. Since therefore the lovers were to be so soon interrupted by the
entrance of a new visitant, he thought proper immediately to enter the
parlour.

He had only time to remark the air and countenance of Damon and the young
lady. They appeared mutually cold and embarassed. He could trace in his
friend the aukwardness and timidity of one who was unused to act a studied
part. Miss Frampton, with a countenance uninterested and inattentive,
affected the carriage of a person who thought herself insulted.

Lord Osborne was now announced. He was a young nobleman, that had spent a
considerable part of his fortune upon the continent. With a narrow
understanding and a contracted heart, he had been able by habitual cunning
and invincible effrontery, to acquire the reputation of a man of parts.
Courage was the only respectable quality, his possession of which could
not be questioned. He was a debauchee and a gamester. There was no
meanness he had not practised, there was no villainy of which he could not
boast. With this character, he was universally respected and courted by
all such as wished to acquire the reputation of men of gaiety and spirit.
The ladies were all dying for him, as for a man who had ruined more
innocence, and occasioned a greater consumption of misery, than any other
man in the kingdom.

The face of Miss Frampton visibly brightened the moment his name was
articulated. She was all spirits and agitation, though she seemed to feel
something aukward in her situation. When he entered the room, she flew
half way to meet him, but, suddenly recollecting herself, stopt short. "My
dear Miss Frampton," said his lordship, with a familiar and indifferent
air, "I cannot stop a moment. I am mortified to death. The most
unfortunate man! But I could not live a whole day without seeing you.
Believe me to be more impassioned, more ardent than ever." Saying this be
directed a slight glance and a half bow towards our two friends. "Farewel,
my charmer, my adorable!" said he, and kissed her hand. Miss Frampton
struck him a slight blow with her fan, and crying, with an easy wink,
"Remember!" she dropt him a profound curtesey and his lordship departed.

For a moment the whole company was silent. "By my soul," exclaimed sir
William, "this is the most singular affair!" "Oh, nothing at all,"
answered the young lady. "It is all _à la mode de Paris_. In France
no man of fashion can presume to accost a lady, whether young or old, but
in the language of love. But it means no more, than when a minister of
state says to his first clerk, _your humble servant_, or to the widow
of a poor seaman, _your devoted slave_." "Oh," cried sir William, "that
is all. And by my faith, it is mighty pretty. What think you Damon? I
hope, when you are married, you will have no objection to lord Osborne, or
any other person of fashion making love to your wife before your face."
"What an indelicate question!" said Miss Frampton. "I declare, baronet,
you are grown an absolute boor. Nobody ever talks of marriage now. A woman
of fashion blushes to hear it mentioned before a third person." "Why, to
say the truth, madam, I have been honoured with so great an intimacy by
Damon, that I thought that might excuse the impropriety. And now, pray
your ladyship, must I wait till we are alone, before I ask my friend
whether his happy day be fixed?" "Since you will talk," said Miss
Frampton, "of the odious subject, I believe I may tell you that it is not.
We are in no such hurry." "My dear sweet play-fellow," said the baronet,
"I must tell you once for all that I am no adept in French fashions. So
that you will give me leave to use the unceremonious language of an
Englishman. My friend here, you know, is a little sheepish, but I have
words at will. I thought matters had been nearer a termination." "And
pray, my good sir, let the gentleman speak for himself. If he is not
dissatisfied, why should you be in such haste?" "Indeed, madam,"
interposed Damon, "I am not perfectly satisfied. Perhaps indeed a lover
ought to think himself happy enough in being permitted to dance attendance
upon a lady of your charms. But I once thought, madam, that we had
advanced somewhat farther." "I cannot tell," answered the lady with an air
of levity. "Just as you please. But I cannot see why we should put
ourselves to any inconvenience. Lord Osborne"--"Lord Osborne!" interrupted
sir William with some warmth, "and pray what has his lordship to do with
the matter?" "Really sir William," replied Miss Frampton, "you are very
free. But his lordship is my friend, and I hope Damon has no objection to
his continuing so." "Look you," answered sir William, "I would neither
have lord Osborne for the rival of Damon now, nor for your
_chichisbee_ hereafter." "And yet I am not sure," cried she, "that he
may not be both." "Is there then," said the baronet, "no engagement
subsisting between you and Damon?" "I believe," cried Miss Frampton, a
little hesitating, "there may be something of the kind. But we may change
our minds you know, and I do not think that I shall prosecute upon it. Ha!
ha! ha!" "To say the truth," replied sir William, "I believe lord Osborne
is not only the rival of Damon, but a very formidable one too. But let me
tell you, Bella, a character so respectable as that of my friend, and so
true an Englishman, must not be allowed to dance attendance." "As he
pleases. I believe we understand one another. And to say the truth at
once, perhaps some time hence I may have no aversion to lord Osborne."

The reader will not suppose that the conversation continued much longer.
Damon and the young lady came to a perfect understanding, and parted
without any very ungovernable desire of seeing each other again. And thus
by the gay humour and active friendship of sir William Twyford, an affair
was happily terminated, which, from the timidity and gentleness of our
hero, might otherwise have lingered several months to the mutual
dissatisfaction of both parties. Damon quitted the house in raptures, and
was no sooner seated in the chariot, than he pressed his friend repeatedly
to his breast, and committed a thousand extravagancies of joy.



CHAPTER IX.

_A tragical Resolution._


Damon and his friend spent the evening together in the chambers of our
hero. They now discussed a variety of those subjects, which naturally
arise between friends who have been for any time separated. Damon threw
aside that reserve which the consciousness of a fault had hitherto
involuntarily imposed upon him, and related more explicitly who the lady
was of whom he was so much enamoured, and in what manner he had first seen
her. Recollecting that the baronet was just returned from the environs of
Southampton, he eagerly enquired into the health and situation of his
mistress.

Sir William related to him the adventure of Mr. Prettyman, as we have
already stated it to our readers, and deeply lamented the persecution to
which Delia was subjected from the haughty victor. "And is there," cried
Damon eagerly, "no prospect of his lordship's success?" "I believe,"
answered sir William, "that he is of all men her mortal aversion." "And is
there no happy lover in all her train, that she regards with a partial
eye?" "None," replied the baronet, "she is chaste as snow, and firm as
mountain oaks." "Propitious coldness!" exclaimed Damon, "for that may
heaven send down a thousand blessings on her head!"

"But you talked," added he, "of some occasion of your journey which you
deferred relating to me." "The occasion," answered sir William, determined
to preserve inviolate the secret of Delia, "is already fulfilled. I heard
from young Eustace of the appearance and addresses of Osborne, and
suspecting the rest, I determined to deliver you from the clutches of a
girl whom I always thought unworthy of you. And now" added he cheerfully,
"free as the winds, we can pursue uncontrolled the devices of our own
hearts."

The next morning the two friends proceeded to the house of lord Thomas
Villiers, the father of Damon. He had already learned something of the
visits of lord Osborne at Beaufort Place. He was not therefore much
surprised to hear of the scene, which had passed between his son and the
lady of that mansion. But there was something more to be done, in order to
gain the approbation of the father to the new project, in the prosecution
of which both these friends were equally sanguine.

Lord Thomas Villiers was, as we have already said, avaricious. He was not
therefore much pleased with the proposal of a match with a lady, whose
fortune was not the half of that of Miss Frampton. He was tinctured with
the pride of family, and he could not patiently think for a moment, of
marrying his only son to the daughter of a tradesman. Sir William employed
all his eloquence, and accommodated himself with infinite dexterity to the
humours of the person with whom he had to deal. Damon indeed said but
little, but his looks expressed more, than the baronet, with all his
abilities, and all his friendship, was able to suggest. In spite of both,
the father continued inexorable.

The mind of Damon was impressed with the most exalted ideas upon the
subject of filial duty. Had his heart been pre-engaged, before the affair
of Miss Frampton was proposed to him, he might not perhaps have carried
his complaisance so far, as to have married the indifferent person, in
spite of all his views and all his prepossessions. But in his estimate,
the actual entering into a connection for life in opposition to the will
of a parent, was a mode of conduct very different from, and far more
exceptionable than the refusing to unite oneself with a person in whose
society one had not the smallest reason to look for happiness.

There was another inducement that had much weight with Damon, and even
with his more sanguine friend, sir William Twyford. The fortune neither of
Damon nor Delia was independent. Lord Thomas Villiers was filled with too
many prepossessions and too much pride, easily to retract an opinion he
had once adopted, or to forgive an opposition to his judgment. The narrow
education of a tradesman it was natural to suppose had rendered the mind
of Mr. Hartley still more tenacious, and unmanageable. And neither would
sir William have been willing to see his friend, nor would the lover
readily have involved his mistress in circumstances of pecuniary distress.

The resolution of Damon was therefore speedily taken. Every motive that
could have weight, served to counteract the bias of his inclination. He by
no means wanted either firmness or spirit. He resolved to struggle, nor to
cease his efforts till he had conquered. With this design he entreated,
and, after some difficulties, obtained of his father leave to enter
himself in the army, and to make a campaign in America.

The character of his heart seemed particularly formed for military
pursuits. He was grave and thoughtful, he was generous and humane. To a
mind contemplative and full of sensibility, he united a temper, frank,
open, and undisguised. He was usually mild, gentle and pliant. But in a
situation, that called for determination and spirit, it was impossible to
appear more bold and manly, more cool and decided,--Affectionate was the
farewel of his father, and still more affectionate that of his friend.
Damon, though he endeavoured to summon all his resolution, could not
restrain a sigh when he considered himself as about to sail for distant
climates, and recollected, that probably, before his return, his beloved
mistress, _dearer than life and all its joys_, would be united,
irrevocably united to another. But here we must take leave of our hero,
and return to his fair inamorata.



DAMON

AND

DELIA.



PART the SECOND.



DAMON

AND

DELIA.

PART the SECOND.


CHAPTER I.

_In which the Story begins over again_.


Sir William Twyford had taken care to inform Miss Fletcher, and by her
means Delia herself, of every circumstance as it occurred. Delia was
indeed flattered by the breach that had taken place with Miss Frampton,
and the perfect elucidation, which the story of this lady afforded to the
most enigmatical expressions of Damon, in the interesting scene that had
passed between them in the alcove. She no longer doubted of the reality of
his attachment. Her heart was soothed, and her pride secretly flattered,
in recollecting that she had not suffered herself to be caught by one who
was perfectly indifferent to her.

But the information that stifled all her hopes, and gave her the prospect
of so long, and, too probably, an eternal absence, sat heavy upon her
spirits, and preyed upon her delicate constitution. From the persecutions
of lord Martin she had no respite. Her eye grew languid, the colour faded
in her damask cheek, and her health visibly decayed.

At this time Miss Fletcher proposed a journey to Windsor and other places,
and intreated to have her friend to accompany her. Mr. Hartley, with all
his foibles, was much attached to his only child, and deeply afflicted
with the alteration he perceived in her. He readily therefore gave his
consent to the proposed jaunt. "When she returns, it will be time enough,"
said he to lord Martin, "to bring things to the conclusion, so much
desired by both of us. I will not put my darling into your hands, but with
that health and gaiety, which have so long been the solace of my old age,
and which cannot fail to make any man happy that deserves her."

Delia set out without any other inclination, than to escape from
intreaties that were become in the highest degree disagreeable to her. She
was addressed no longer upon a topic, of which she wished never to hear.
Her eye was no longer wounded with the sight of her insolent admirer. This
had an immediate and a favourable effect upon her. The conversation of
Miss Fletcher was lively and unflagging, and the simplicity of her remarks
proved an inexhaustible source of entertainment to our heroine.

They travelled leisurely and visited a variety of parks and seats of
noblemen which lay in their way. The taste of Delia was delicate and
refined. A continual succession of objects; gardens, architecture,
pictures and statues soothed her spirits, and gradually restored her to
that gaiety and easiness of temper, which had long rendered her the most
lovely and engaging of her sex.

At length they arrived at Windsor. The simple dignity of the castle, its
commanding situation, and the beautiful effects of the river from below,
rendered it infinitely the most charming spot our heroine had yet seen.
Her spirits were on the wing, she was all life and conversation, and the
most constant heart, that nature had ever produced, for a moment, forgot
her hopes, her fears, her inclinations, and her Damon.

She was now standing at a window that commanded the terrace. The evening
was beautiful, and the walk crouded. There were assembled persons of all
sexes and of different ranks. All appeared gaiety and splendour. The
supple courtier and the haughty country gentleman seemed equally at their
ease. There was thoughtless youth and narrative old age. The company
passed along, and object succeeded object without intermission.

One of the last that caught the eye of Delia, was that of two gentlemen
walking arm in arm, and seeming more grave than the rest of the company.
They were both tall and well shaped; but one of them had somewhat more
graceful and unembarrassed in his manner than the other. The latter was
dressed in black, the former in colours, with much propriety and elegance.

As they turned at the end of the walk the eye of Delia caught in the
latter the figure of Damon. She was inexpressibly astonished, she trembled
in every limb, and could scarcely support herself to a seat. Miss Fletcher
had caught the same object at the same moment, and, though she probably
might not otherwise have been clear in her recollection, the disorder of
Delia put her conjecture out of doubt. She therefore, before our heroine
had time to recollect herself, dispatched her brother, who had attended
them in their journey, to inform Damon that a lady in the castle was
desirous to speak with him.

In an instant our hero and his companion, escorted by young Fletcher,
entered the room. The astonishment of Damon, at being so suddenly
introduced to a person, whom he had never expected to see again, was
immeasurable. He rushed forward with a kind of rapture; he suddenly
recollected himself; but at length advanced with hesitation. There was no
one present beside those we have already named. The castle was probably
familiar to every person except Delia and her companions. Every one beside
was therefore assembled upon the terrace.

Our heroine now gradually recovered from the disorder into which the
unexpected sight of Damon had thrown her. She was much surprised at
looking up to find him in her presence. "How is this," cried she, "how
came you hither?" "The meeting," said our hero, "is equally unexpected to
us both. But, ah, my charmer, whence this disorder? Why did you tremble,
why look so pale?" "Oh goodness," cried Miss Fletcher, "what should it be?
Why it was nothing in all the world, but her seeing you just now from the
window." "And were you," cried Damon eagerly, "so kind as to summon me to
your presence?" "No, no, my good sir," said the lively lady, "you must
thank me for that". "How then at least," said the lover, "must I interpret
your disorder?"

Delia was inexpressibly confused at the inconsiderate language of her
companion. "I cannot tell," said she, "you must not ask me. You must
forget it." "And can I," cried Damon with transport, "ever forget a
disorder so propitious, so flattering? Can I hope that the heart of my
charmer is not indifferent to her Damon!" "Oh sir, be silent. Do not use a
language like this." "Alas," cried he, "too long has my passion been
suppressed. Too long have I been obliged to act a studied part, and employ
a language foreign to my heart." "I thought," answered Delia, with
hesitation, "that you were going to leave the kingdom." "And did my fair
one condescend to employ a thought upon me? Did she interest herself in my
concern and enquire after my welfare? And how so soon could she have
learned my intention?"

This question, joined with the preceding circumstances, completed the
confusion of Delia. She blushed, stammered, and was silent. Damon, during
this interval, gazed upon her with unmingled rapture. Every symptom she
betrayed of confusion, was to him a symptom of something inexpressibly
soothing. "Ah," whispered he to himself, "I am beloved, and can I then
leave the kingdom? Can I quit this inestimable treasure? Can I slight so
pure a friendship, and throw away the jewel upon which all my future
happiness depends?"

The conversation, from the peculiar circumstances of the lovers, had so
immediately become interesting, that the gentlemen had not had an
opportunity of quitting them. During the short silence that prevailed the
friend of Damon took young Fletcher by the hand, and led him into the
garden. The lovers were now under less restraint. Delia, perceiving that
she could no longer conceal her sentiments, confessed them with ingenuous
modesty. Damon on the other hand was ravished at so unexpected a
discovery, and in a few minutes had lived an age in love.

He now began to recollect himself. "Where," said he, "are all my
resolutions? What are become of all the plans I had formed, and the
designs in which I had embarked? What an unexpected revolution? No," said
he, addressing himself to Delia, "I will never quit you. Do thou but
smile, and let all the world beside abandon me. Can you forgive the
sacrilegious intention of deserting you, of flying from you to the
extremities of the globe? Oh, had I known a thought of Damon had harboured
in one corner of your heart, I would sooner have died." "And do you
think," cried Delia, "that I will tempt you to disobedience? No. Obey the
precepts of your father and your own better thoughts. Heaven designed us
not for each other. Neither your friends nor mine can ever be reconciled
to the union. Go then and forget me. Go and be happy. May your sails be
swelled with propitious gales! May victory and renown attend your steps!"
"Ah cruel Delia, and do you wish to banish me? Do you enjoin upon me the
impracticable talk, to forget all that my heart holds dear? And will my
Delia resign herself to the arms of a more favoured lover?" "Never," cried
she with warmth. "I will not disobey my father. I will not marry contrary
to his inclinations. But even the authority of a parent shall not drag me
to the altar with a man my soul detests." "Propitious sounds! Generous
engagements! Thus let me thank thee."--And he kissed her hand with
fervour. "Thus far," cried Delia, "I can advance. I employ no disguise. I
confess to you all my weakness. Perhaps I ought to blush. But never will I
have this reason to blush, for that my love has injured the object it
aspires to bless. Go in the path of fortune. Deserve success and happiness
by the exemplariness of your duty. And may heaven shower down blessings
without number!"



CHAPTER II.

_The History of Mr. Godfrey_.


In expostulations like these our lovers spent their time without coming to
any conclusion, till the evening and Miss Fletcher warned them that it was
time to depart. Damon was to proceed for London early the next morning. He
therefore intreated of Delia to permit his friend Mr. Godfrey, who was
obliged to continue in the place some days longer, to wait upon her with
his last commands. He informed himself of the time when she was to return
to Southampton, and he trusted to be there not long after her. In the mean
time, as his situation was at present very precarious, he prevailed upon
her to permit him to write to her from time to time, and to promise to
communicate to him in return any thing of consequence that might happen to
herself.

During the remainder of the evening Miss Fletcher made several ingenious
observations upon what had passed. Delia gently blamed her for having so
strangely occasioned the interview, though in reality she was by no means
displeased by the event it had produced. "Bless us, child, you are as
captious as any thing. Why I would not but have seen it for ever so much.
Well, he is a sweet dear man, and so kind, and so polite, for all the
world I think him just such another as Mr. Prattle. But then he is grave,
and makes such fine speeches, it does one's heart good to hear him. I vow
I wish I had such a lover. Sir William never says any thing half so
pretty. Bless us, my dear, _he_ talks about love, just as if he were
talking about any thing else."

The next morning after breakfast, Mr. Godfrey appeared. He brought from
Damon a thousand vows full of passion and constancy. He had parted, he
said, more determined not to leave England, more resolute to prosecute his
love than ever.

Having discharged his commission, he offered his service to escort the
ladies in any party they might propose for the present day. He said, that
being perfectly acquainted with Windsor and its environs, he flattered
himself he might be able to contribute to their entertainment. The very
gallant manner in which this offer was made, determined Miss Fletcher, as
something singular and interesting in the appearance of Mr. Godfrey did
our heroine, cheerfully to close with the proposal.

The person of Mr. Godfrey as we have already said was tall and genteel.
There was a diffidence in his manner, that seemed to prove that he had not
possessed the most extensive acquaintance with high life; but he had a
natural politeness that amply compensated for the polish and forms of
society. His air was serious and somewhat melancholy; but there was a fire
and animation in his eye that was in the highest degree striking.

Delia engaged him to talk of the character and qualities of Damon. Upon
this subject, Mr. Godfrey spoke with the warmth of an honest friendship.
He represented Damon as of a disposition perfectly singular and
unaccommodated to what he stiled "the debauched and unfeeling manners of
the age." He acknowledged with readiness and gratitude, that he owed to
him the most important obligations. By degrees Delia collected from him
several circumstances of a story, which she before apprehended to be
interesting. She observed, that, as he shook off the embarrassment of a
first introduction, his language became fluent, elegant, pointed, and even
sometimes poetical. Since however he related his own story imperfectly and
by piece meal, we shall beg leave to state it in our own manner. And we
the rather do it, as we apprehend it to be interesting in itself, and as
we foresee that he will make a second appearance in the course of this
narrative. We will not however deprive our readers of the reflections he
threw out upon the several situations in which he had been placed. We will
give them without pretending to decide how far they may be considered as
just and well-founded.

Mr. Godfrey was not born to affluent circumstances. At a proper age he had
been placed at the university of Oxford, and here it was that he commenced
his acquaintance with Damon. At Oxford his abilities had been universally
admired. His public exercises, though public exercises by their very
nature ought to be dull, had in them many of those sallies, by which his
disposition was characterised, and much of that superiority, which he
indisputably possessed above his contemporaries. But though admired, he
was not courted. In our public places of education, a wide distance is
studiously preserved between young men of fortune, and young men that have
none. But Mr. Godfrey had a stiffness and unpliableness of temper, that
did not easily bend to the submission that was expected of him. He could
neither flatter a blockhead, nor pimp for a peer. He loved his friend
indeed with unbounded warmth, and it was impossible to surpass him in
generousness and liberality. But he had a proud integrity, that whispered
him, with, a language not to be controled, that he was the inferior of no
man.

He was destined for the profession of a divine, and, having finished his
studies, retired upon a curacy of forty pounds a year. His ambition was
grievously mortified at the obscurity in which he was plunged; and his
great talents, in spite of real modesty, forcibly convinced him, that this
was not the station for which nature had formed him. But he had an
enthusiasm of virtue, that led him for a time to overlook these
disadvantages. "I am going," said he, "to dwell among scenes of unvitiated
nature. I will form the peasant to generosity and sentiment. I will teach
laborious industry to look without envy and without asperity upon those
above them. I will be the friend and the father of the meanest of my
flock. I will give sweetness and beauty to the most rugged scenes. The
man, that banishes envy and introduces contentment; the man, that converts
the little circle in which he dwells into a terrestrial paradise, that
renders men innocent here, and happy for ever, may be obscure, may be
despised by the superciliousness of luxury; but it shall never be said
that he has been a blank in creation. The Supreme Being will regard him
with a complacency, which he will deny to kings, that oppress, and
conquerors, that destroy the work of his hands."

Such were the suggestions of youthful imagination. But Mr. Godfrey
presently found the truth of that maxim, as paradoxical as it is
indisputable, that the heart of man is naturally hard and unamiable. He
conducted himself in his new situation with the most unexceptionable
propriety, and the most generous benevolence. But there were men in his
audience, men who loved better to criticise, than to be amended; and
women, who felt more complacency in scandal, than eulogium. He displeased
the one by disappointing them; it was impossible to disappoint the other.
He laboured unremittedly, but his labours returned to him void. "And is it
for this," said he, "that I have sacrificed ambition, and buried talents?
Is humility to be rewarded only with mortification? Is obscurity and
retirement the favourite scene of uneasiness, ingratitude, and
impertinence? They shall be no longer my torment. In no scene can I meet
with a more scanty success."

He now obtained a recommendation to be private tutor to the children of a
nobleman. This nobleman was celebrated for the politeness of his manners
and the elegance of his taste. It was his boast and his ambition to be
considered as the patron of men of letters. With his prospect therefore in
this connection, Mr. Godfrey was perfectly satisfied. "I shall no longer,"
said he, "be the slave of ignorance, and the victim of insensibility. My
talents perhaps point me a step higher than to the business of forming the
minds of youth. But, at least, the youth under my care are destined to
fill the most conspicuous stations in future life. If propitious fortune
might have raised me to the character of a statesman; depressed by
adversity, I may yet have the honour of moulding the mind, and infusing
generosity into the heart, of a future statesman. I have heard the second
son of my patron celebrated for the early promises of capacity. To unfold
the springing germs of genius, to direct them in the path of general
happiness, is an employment by no means unworthy of a philosopher."

In this situation Mr. Godfrey however once more looked for pleasure, and
found disappointment. The nobleman had more the affectation of a patron,
than any real enthusiasm in the cause of literature. The abilities of Mr.
Godfrey were universally acknowledged. And so long as the novelty
remained, he was caressed, honoured, and distinguished. In a short time
however, he was completely forgotten by the patron, in the hurry of
dissipation, and the pursuits of an unbounded ambition. His eldest care
was universally confessed stupid and impracticable. And in the younger he
found nothing but the prating forwardness of a boy who had been flattered,
without sentiment, and without meaning. Her ladyship treated Mr. Godfrey
with superciliousness, as an intruder at her lord's table. The servants
caught the example, and showed him a distinction of neglect, which the
exquisiteness of his sensibility would not permit him to despise.

Mortified, irritated, depressed, he now quitted his task half finished and
threw himself upon the world. "The present age," said he, "is not an age
in which talents are overlooked, and genius depressed." He had heard much
of the affluence of writers, a Churchil, a Smollet, and a Goldsmith, who
had depended upon that only for their support. He saw the celebrated Dr.
Johnson caressed by all parties, and acknowledged to be second to no man,
whatever were his rank, however conspicuous his station. Full of these
ideas, he soon completed a production, fraught with the fire and
originality of genius, pointed in its remarks, and elegant in its style.
He had now to experience vexations, of which he had before entertained no
idea. He carried his work from bookseller to bookseller, and was every
where refused. His performance was not seasoned to the times, he was a
person that nobody knew, and he had no man of rank, by his importunities
and eloquence, to force him into the ranks of fashion. At length he found
a bookseller foolish enough to undertake it. But he presently perceived
that the gentlemen at the head of that profession were wiser than he. All
the motives they had mentioned, and one more, operated against him. The
monarchs of the critic realm scouted him with one voice, because his work,
was not written in the same cold, phlegmatic insupportable manner as their
own.

He had now advanced however too far to retreat. He had too much spirit to
resume either of those professions, which for reasons so cogent in his
opinion, he had already quitted. He wrote essays, squibs, and pamphlets
for an extemporary support. But though these were finished with infinite
rapidity, he found that they constituted a very precarious means of
subsistence. The time of dinner often came, before the production that was
to purchase it was completed; and when completed, it was frequently
several days before it could find a purchaser. And his copy money and his
taylor's bill were too little proportioned to one another.

He now recollected, what in the gaiety of hope he had forgotten, that
_many a flower_ only blows, with its sweetness to refresh the _air
of a desert_. He recollected many instances of works, raised by the
breath of fashion to the very pinnacle of reputation, that sunk as soon
again. He recollected instances scarcely fewer, of works, exquisite in
their composition, pregnant with beauties almost divine, that had passed
from the press without notice. Many had been revived by the cooler and
more deliberate judgment of a future age; and more had been lost for ever.
The instance of Chatterton, as a proof that the universal patronage of
genius was by no means the virtue of his contemporaries, flashed in his
face. And he looked forward to the same fate at no great distance, as his
own.

To Mr. Godfrey however, fortune was in one degree more propitious. Damon
was among the few whose judgment was not guided by the dictate of fashion.
Having met accidentally with the performance we have mentioned, he was
struck with its beauties. As he had heard nothing of it in the politest
circles, he concluded, with his usual penetration, that the author of it
was in obscure and narrow circumstances. _Open as day to sweet
humanity_, interested warmly in the fortune of the writer of so amiable
a performance, he flew to his bookseller's with the usual enquiries. The
bookseller stared, and had it not been for the splendour of his dress, and
his gilded chariot, would have been tempted to smile at so unfashionable
and absurd a question. He soon however obtained the information he
desired. And his eagerness was increased, when the name of Godfrey, and
the recollection of the talents by which he had been so eminently
distinguished, led him to apprehend that he was one, to whose abilities
and character he had been greatly attached.

He found some difficulty to obtain admission. But this was quickly
removed, as, from the dignity of his appearance, it was not probable that
he was a person, from whom Mr. Godfrey had any thing to apprehend. He
found him in a wretched apartment, his hair dishevelled and his dress
threadbare and neglected. Mr. Godfrey was unspeakably surprised at his
appearance. And it was with much difficulty that Damon prevailed upon him
to accept of an assistance, that he assured him should be but temporary,
if it were in the power of him, or any of his connections, to render him
respectable and independent, in such a situation as himself should chuse.

Disappointment and misfortune are calculated to inspire asperity into the
gentlest heart. Mr. Godfrey inveighed with warmth, and sometimes with
partiality, against the coldness and narrowness of the age. He said, "that
men of genius, in conspicuous stations, had no feeling for those whom
nature had made their brothers; and that those who had risen from
obscurity themselves, forgot the mortifications of their earlier life, and
did not imitate the generous justice which had enabled them to fulfil the
destination of nature." But though misfortune had taught him asperity upon
certain subjects, it had not corrupted his manners, debauched his
integrity, or narrowed his heart. He had still the same warmth in the
cause of virtue, as in days of the most unexperienced simplicity. He still
dreaded an oath, and reverenced the divinity of innocence. He still
believed in a God, and was sincerely attached to his honour, though he had
often been told, that this was a prejudice, unworthy of his comprehension
of thinking upon all other subjects.



CHAPTER III.

_A Misanthrope._


Such was the story, in its most essential circumstances, that Mr. Godfrey
related. Delia was exceedingly interested in the gaiety of his
imagination, the cruelty of his disappointments, and the acuteness, and
goodness of heart that appeared in his reflections. Miss Fletcher listened
to the whole with gaping wonder. But as soon as he was gone, she began
with her usual observations. "Well," said she, "I never saw an author
before. I could not have thought that he could have looked like a
gentleman. Why, I vow, I could sometimes have taken him for a beau. Ay,
but then he talked for all the world as if it had been written in a book.
Well, by my troth, it was a mighty pretty story. But I should have liked
it better, if there had been a sighing nymph, or a duel or two in it. But
do you think it was all of his own making?"

We will not trouble the reader to accompany our ladies from stage to stage
during the remainder of their journey. Nothing more remarkable happened,
and in ten days they arrived again at Southampton.

Damon met Mr. Moreland in London, and, with that simplicity and candour by
which he was distinguished, related to him every circumstance of his
story. Mr. Moreland had no predilection in favour of lord Thomas Villiers.
His sister, whom he esteemed in all respects an amiable woman, had by no
means lived happily with her husband. Avarice and pride of rank were the
farthest in the world from being the foibles of Mr. Moreland, and the
sensibility of his disposition did not permit him to treat the faults, to
which himself was a stranger, with much indulgence. He therefore
encouraged Damon to persevere in the pursuit of his inclination, and
invited him to return with him into the country. He promised himself to
propose the match to Mr. Hartley, and assured his nephew, that he should
never feel any narrowness in his circumstances, in case of his father's
displeasure, while it was in his power to render them affluent.

In pursuit of this plan, Damon, Mr. Moreland, and sir William Twyford,
whom they found in London, and whose goodness of humour led him heartily
to approve of the alteration in the plan of his friend, arrived, almost as
soon as our travellers, in the neighbourhood of Southampton. Sir William
and Damon, soon waited upon their respective mistresses, and in company so
mutually acceptable, time sped with a greater velocity than was usual to
him, and days appeared no more than hours.

It was impossible that such a connexion should pass long unnoticed. It
must be confessed however that it met with no interruption from lord
Martin. Perhaps it might have escaped his notice, though it escaped that
of no other person. Perhaps he was satiated with the glory he had
acquired, and having conquered one beau, would not, like Alexander, have
sighed, if there had remained no other beau to conquer. Perhaps the
countenance of Mr. Hartley, of which he considered himself as securer than
ever, led him, like a wise general, to reflect, that in staking his life
against that of a lover, whose chance of success was almost wholly
precluded, he mould make a very unfair and unequal combat.

Be this as it will, Mr. Hartley had no such motives to overlook this new
occurrence. Just however as he had begun to take it into his mature
consideration, he received the compliments of Mr. Moreland, with an
intimation of his design to make him a visit that very afternoon.

At this message Mr. Hartley was a good deal surprised. Mr. Moreland he had
never but once seen, and in that visit, he thought he had had reason to be
offended with him. If that gentleman treated the company of Mr. Prattle
and lord Martin, persons universally admired, as not good enough for him,
it seemed unaccountable that he should have recourse to him. He was
neither distinguished by the elegance of his accomplishments, nor did he
much pride himself in the attainments of literature. After many
conjectures, he at length determined with infinite sagacity, to suspend
his judgement, till Mr. Moreland mould solve the enigma.

This determination was scarcely made before his visitor arrived. That
gentleman, who, though full of sensibility and benevolence, was not a man
of empty ceremony, immediately opened his business. Mr. Hartley, drew
himself up in his chair, and, with the dignity of a citizen of London, who
thinks that the first character in the world, cried, "Well, sir, and who
is this nephew of yours? I think I never heard of him." "He is the son,"
answered Mr. Moreland, "of lord Thomas Villiers." "Lord Thomas Villiers!
Then I suppose he is a great man. And pray now, sir, if this great man has
a mind that his son should marry my daughter, why does he not come and
tell me so himself?" "Why in truth," said the other, "lord Thomas Villiers
has no mind. But my nephew is his only son, and therefore cannot be
deprived of the principal part of his estate after his death. In the mean
time, I will take care that he shall have an income perfectly equal to the
fortune of Miss Hartley." "You will sir! And so in the first place, this
young spark would have me encourage him in disobedience, which is the
greatest crime upon God's earth, and in the second, he thinks that I, Bob
Hartley, as I sit here, will marry my daughter into any family that is too
proud to own us." "As to that, sir," said Moreland, "you must judge for
yourself. The young gentleman is an unexceptionable match, and I, sir,
whose fortune and character I flatter myself are not inferior to that of
any gentleman in the county, shall always be proud to own and receive the
young lady." "Why as to that, to be sure, you may be in the right for
_auft_ that I know. But _howsomdever_, my daughter, do you see,
is already engaged to lord Martin." "I should have thought," replied
Moreland, "that objection might have been stated in the first instance,
without any reflexions upon the conduct and family of the young gentleman.
But are you sure that lord Martin is the man of your daughter's choice?"
"I cannot say that I ever _axed_ her, for I do not see what that has
to do with the matter. Lord Martin, do you see, is a fine young man, and a
fine fortune. And Delia is my own daughter, and if she should boggle about
having him, I would cut her off with a shilling." "Sir," answered
Moreland, with much indignation, "that is a conduct that would deserve to
be execrated. My nephew, without any sinister means, is master of your
daughter's affection; and lord Martin, I have authority to tell you, is
her aversion." "Oh, ho! is it so. Well then, sir, I will tell you what I
shall do. Your nephew shall never have my daughter, though she had but a
rag to her tail. And as for her affections and her aversion, I will lock
her up, and keep her upon bread and water, till she knows, that she ought
to have neither, before her own father has told her _what is what_."
Mr. Moreland, all of whose nerves were irritated into a fever by so much
vulgarity, and such brutal insensibility, could retain his seat no longer.
He started up, and regarding his entertainer with a look of ineffable
indignation, flung the door in his face, and retreated to his chariot.



CHAPTER IV.

_Much ado about nothing_.


Damon was inexpressibly afflicted at the success of his uncle's embassy.
When Mr. Moreland related to him the particulars of his visit, Damon
recollected the opposite tempers of the two gentlemen, and blamed himself
for not having foreseen the event. Mr. Hartley was infinitely exasperated
at the cavalierness with which he had been treated. He now discovered the
true cause of his daughter's pertinacity, and proceeded with more vigour
than ever.

"And so," cried he, "you have dared to engage your affections without my
privity, have you? A pretty story truly. And you would disgrace me for
ever, by marrying into the family of a lord, that despises us, and an old
fellow, that for half a word would knock your father's brains out."
"Indeed sir," replied Delia, "I never thought of marrying without your
consent. I only gave the young gentleman leave to ask it of you." "You
gave him leave! And pray who are you? And so you was in league with him to
send this fellow to abuse me?" "Upon my word, I was not. And I am very
sorry if Mr. Moreland has behaved improperly." "_If_ Mr. Moreland!
and so you pretend to doubt of it! But, let me tell you, I have provided
you a husband, worth fifty of this young prig, and I will make you think
so." "Indeed sir, I can never think so." "You cannot. And pray who told
you to object, before I have named the man. Why, child, lord Martin has
ten thousand pounds a year, and is a peer, and is not ashamed of us one
bit in all the world." "Alas, sir, I can never have lord Martin. Do not
mention him. I am in no hurry. I will live single as long as you please."
"Yes, and when you have persuaded me to that, you will jump out at window
the next day to this ungracious rascal." "Oh pray sir do not speak so. He
is good and gentle." "Why, hussey, am I not master in my own house? I
shall have a fine time of it indeed, if I must give you an account of my
words." "Sir," said Delia, "I will never marry without your consent."
"That is a good girl, no more you shall. And I will lock you up upon bread
and water, if you do not consent to marry who I please."

The despotic temper of Mr. Hartley led him to treat his daughter with
considerable severity. He suffered her to go very little abroad, and
employed every precaution in his power, to prevent any interview between
her and her lover. He tried every instrument in turn, threats, promises,
intreaties, blustering, to bend her to his will. And when he found that by
all these means he made no progress; as his last resource, he fixed a day
at no great distance, when he assured her he would be disappointed no
longer, and she should either voluntarily or by force yield her hand to
lord Martin.

During these transactions, the communication between Delia and her lover
was, with no great difficulty, kept open by the instrumentality of their
two friends. They scarcely dared indeed to think of seeing each other, as
in case this were discovered, Delia would be subject to still greater
restraint, and the intercourse, between her and Miss Fletcher, be rendered
more difficult. In one instance however, this lady ventured to procure the
interview so ardently desired by both parties.

Damon made use of this opportunity to persuade his mistress to an
elopement. "You have already carried," said he, "your obedience to the
utmost exremity. You have tried every means to bend the inflexible will of
your father. If not for my sake then, at least for your own, avoid the
crisis that is preparing for you. You detect the husband that your father
designs you. If united to him, you confess you must be miserable. But who
can tell, in the midst of persons inflexibly bent upon your ruin, no
friend at hand to support you, your Damon banished and at a distance, what
may be the event? You will hesitate and tremble, your father will
endeavour to terrify you into submission, the odious peer will force from
you your hand. If, in that moment, your heart should misgive you, if one
faultering accent belie the sentiments you have so generously avowed for
me, what, ah, what! may be the consequence? No, my fair one, fly,
instantly fly. No duty forbids. You have done all that the most rigid
moralist could demand of you. Put yourself into my protection. I will not
betray your confidence. You shall be as much mistress as ever of all your
actions. If you distrust me, at least chuse our common friends sir William
Twyford. Chuse any protector among the numerous friends, that your beauty
and your worth have raised you. I had rather sacrifice my own prospects of
felicity forever, than see the smallest chance that you should be
unhappy."

Such were the arguments, which, with all the eloquence of a friend, and
all the ardour of a lover, our hero urged upon his mistress. But the
gentleness of Delia was not yet sufficiently roused by the injuries she
had received, to induce her, to cast off all the ties which education and
custom had imposed upon her, and determine upon so decisive a step.
"Surely," said she, "there is some secret reward, some unexpected
deliverance in reserve, for filial simplicity. Oh, how harsh, how bold,
how questionable a step, is that to which you would persuade me!
Circumstanced in this manner, the fairest reputation might provoke the
tongue of scandal, and the most spotless innocence open a door to the
blast of calumny. I will not say that such a step may not be sometimes
justifiable. I will not say to what I may myself be urged. But oh, how
unmingled the triumph, how sincere the joy if, by persevering in a
conduct, in which the path of duty is too palpable to be mistaken,
propitious fate may rather grant me the happiness after which I aspire,
than I be forced, as it were, myself to wrest it from the hands of
providence!"

Such was the result of this last and decisive interview. Delia could not
be moved from that line of conduct, upon which she had so virtuously
resolved. And Damon having in vain exerted all the rhetoric of which he
was master, now gave way to the gloomy suggestions of despair, and now
flattered himself with the gleams of hope. He sometimes thought, that
Delia might yet be induced to adopt the plan he had proposed; and
sometimes he gave way to the serene confidence she expressed, and indulged
the pleasing expectation, that virtue would not always remain without its
reward.



CHAPTER V.

_A Woman of Learning_.


We are now brought, in the course of our story, to the memorable scene at
Miss Cranley's. "Miss Cranley's!" exclaims one of our readers, in a tone
of admiration. "Miss Cranley's!" cries another, "and pray who is she?"

I distribute my readers into two classes, the indolent and the
supercilious, and shall accordingly address them upon the present
occasion. To the former I have nothing more to say, than to refer them
back to the latter part of Chapter I., Part I. where, my dear ladies, you
will find an accurate account of the character of two personages, who it
seems you have totally forgotten.

To the supercilious I have a very different story to tell. Most learned
sirs, I kiss your hands. I acknowledge my error, and throw myself upon
your clemency. You see however, gentlemen, that you were somewhat
mistaken, when you imagined that I, like my fair patrons, the indolent,
had quite lost these characters from my memory.

To speak ingenuously, I did indeed suppose, as far as I could calculate
the events of this important narrative beforehand, that the Miss Cranleys
would have come in earlier, and have made a more conspicuous figure, than
they now seem to have any chance of doing. Having thus settled accounts
with my readers; I take up again the thread of my story, and thus I
proceed.

Mr. Hartley being now, as he believed, upon the point of disposing of his
daughter in marriage, began seriously to consider that he should want a
female companion to manage, his family, to nurse his ailments, and to
repair the breaches, that the hand of wintry time had made in his spirits
and his constitution. The reader will be pleased to recollect, that he had
already laid siege to the heart of the gentle Sophia. He now prosecuted
his affair with more alacrity than ever.

Alas, my dear readers! while we have been junketting along from
Southampton to Oxford, from Oxford to Windsor, and from Windsor to
Southampton back again, such is the miserable fate of human kind! Miss
Amelia Wilhelmina Cranley, the most pious of her sex, the flower of Mr.
Whitfield's converts, the wonder and admiration of Roger the cobler, has
given up the ghost. You will please then, in what follows, to represent to
yourselves the charms of Sophia as decked and burnished with a suit of
sables. Her exterior indeed was sable and gloomy, but her heart was far
superior to the attacks of wayward fate. She sat aloft in the region of
philosophy. She steeled her heart with the dignity of republicanism; for
her to drop one tear of sorrow would have been an eternal disgrace.

About this time--it was perhaps in reality a manoeuvre to forward the
affair, to which she had no aversion at bottom, with the father of
Delia--that Miss Cranley gave a grand entertainment, at which were present
Mr. Hartley, Mr. Prattle, sir William Twyford, lord Martin, most of the
ladies we have already commemorated, and many others.

The repast was conducted with much solemnity. The masculine character of
the mind of Sophia had rendered her particularly attached to the grace of
action. When she drank the health of any of her guests, she accompanied it
with a most profound _congè_. When she invited them to partake of any
dish, she pointed towards it with her hand. This action might have served
to display a graceful arm, but, alas! upon hers the hand of time had been
making depredations, and it appeared somewhat coarse and discoloured.

After dinner, the lady of the house, as usual, turned the conversation
upon the subject of politics. She inveighed with much warmth against the
effeminacy and depravity of the modern times. We were slaves, and we
deserved to be so. In almost every country there now appeared a king, that
puppet pageant, that monster in creation, miserable itself, a combination
of every vice, and invented for the curse of human kind. "Where now," she
asked, "was the sternness and inflexibility of ancient story? Where was
that Junius, that stood and gazed in triumph upon the execution of his
sons? Where that Fabricius, that turned up his nose under the snout of an
elephant? Where was that Marcus Brutus, who sent his dagger to the heart
of Cæsar? For her part, she believed, and she would not give the snap of
her fingers for him if it were otherwise, that he was in reality, as sage
historians have reported, the son of Julius."

In the very paroxysm of her oratory she chanced to cast her eyes upon Mr.
Prattle. With the character of Mr. Prattle, the reader is already partly
acquainted. But he does not yet know, for it was not necessary for our
story he should do so, that the honourable Mr. Prattle was a commoner and
a placeman. Good God, sir, represent to yourself with what a flame of
indignation our amazon surveyed him! She rose from her seat, and, taking
him by the hand, very familiarly turned him round in the middle of the
company. "This," said she, "is one of our Fabiuses, one of our Decii.
Good God, my friend, what would you do, if a brother officer shook a cane
over your shoulders as he did over those of the divine Themistocles? What
would you do, if the brutal lull of an Appius ravished from your arms an
only daughter? But I beg your pardon, sir. You are a placeman, mutually
disgracing and disgraced. You sell your constituents to the vilest
ministers, that ever came forward the champions of despotism. And those
ministers show us what is their insignificance, their impotence, their
want of discernment, in giving such a thing as you are, places of so great
importance, offices of so high emolument."

Mr. Prattle, unused to be treated so cavalierly, and arraigned before so
large a company, trembled in every limb: "My dear madam, my sweet Miss
Sophia, pray do not pinch quite so hard;" and the water stood in his eyes.
Unable however to elude her grasp he fell down upon his knees. "For God's
sake! Oh dear! Oh lack a daisy! Why, Miss, sure you are mad." Miss
Cranley, unheedful of his exclamations, was however just going to begin
with more vehemence than ever, when a sudden accident put a stop to the
torrent of her oratory. But this event cannot be properly related without
going back a little in our narrative, and acquainting the reader with some
of those circumstances by which it was produced.



CHAPTER VI.

_A Catastrophe_.


Sir William Twyford had gained great credit with lord Martin by his
conduct in the affair of Mr. Prettyman. He now imagined that he saw an
opening for the exercise of his humour, which he was never able to refill.
He communicated his plan to lord Martin. By his assistance he procured
that implement, which school-boys have denominated a cracker. This his
lordship found an opportunity of attaching to the skirt of Miss Cranley's
sack. At the moment we have described, when she was again going to enter
into the stream of her rhetoric, which, great as it naturally was, was now
somewhat improved with copious draughts of claret, the cracker was set on
fire.

Poor Sophia now started in great agitation. "Bounce, bounce," went the
cracker. Sophia skipped and danced from one end of the room to the other.
"Great gods of Rome," exclaimed she, "Jupiter, Minerva, and all the
celestial and infernal deities!" The force of the cracker was now somewhat
spent. "Ye boys of Britain, that bear not one mark of manhood about you!
Would Leonidas have fastened a squib to the robe of the Spartan mother?
Would Cimber have so unworthily used Portia, the wife of Brutus? Would
Corbulo thus have interrupted the heroic fortitude of Arria, the spouse of
Thrasea Paetus?"

"My dear madam," exclaimed lord Martin, his eyes glistening with triumph,
"with all submission, Corbulo I believe had been assassinated, before
Arria so gloriously put an end to her existence." "Thou thing," cried Miss
Cranky, "and hast thou escaped the torrent of my invective! Thou eternal
blot to the list, in which are inserted the names of a Faulkland, a
Shaftesbury, a Somers, and above all, that Leicester, who so bravely threw
the lie in the face of his sovereign!" "He! he!" cried lord Martin, who
could no longer refrain from boasting of his great atchievement. If I have
escaped your vengeance, let me tell you, madam, you have not escaped
"mine." "And was it thee, thou nincompoop? Hence, thou wretch! Avaunt!
Begone, or thou shalt feel my fury!" Saying this, she clenched her fist,
and closed her teeth, with so threatening an aspect, that the little peer
was very much terrified. He flew back several paces. "My dear Miss
Griskin," said he, "protect me! This barbarous woman does not understand
wit,"--and he precipitately burst out of the room. The lady too was so
much discomposed, that she thought proper to retire, assuring the company
that she would attend them again in a moment.

"Well," cried Miss Griskin, as soon as she had disappeared, "this was the
nicest fun!" "I was afraid," said Miss Prim, "it would have discomposed
Miss Cranley's petticoats." "Law, my dear!" said Miss Gawky, "by my
so, I like the music of a cracker, better than all the concerts in the
varsal world." We need not inform our readers, that Miss Languish, in the
very height and altitude of the confusion, had been obliged to retire.

Lord Martin, in the midst of his triumph and exultation, had not leisure
to recollect, nor perhaps penetration to perceive, the effect that this
little sally might have upon his interests. Despotic and boorish as was
the genius of Mr. Hartley, it cowred under that of Sophia with the most
abject servility. And that lady now vowed eternal war against the heroical
peer.

"Mr. Hartley," said she, in their next _tête a tête_, "let me tell
you, lord Martin, must never have Miss Delia." "My dearest life," said the
old gentleman, "consider, the day is fixed, my word is passed, and it is
too late to revoke now. Beside, lord Martin has ten thousand pounds a
year." "Ten thousand figs," said she, "do not tell me, it is never too
late to be wife. Lord Martin is a venal senator, and a little sniveling
fellow." "My dear," said Hartley, "I never differed from you before: do
let me have my mind now." "Have your mind, sir! Men should have no minds.
Tyrants that they are! And now I think of it, Miss Delia does not like
lord Martin." "Pooh," said Mr. Hartley, recovering spirit at such an
objection, "that is all stuff and nonsense." "Nonsense! Let me tell you,
sir, women are not _born to be controled_. They are queens of the
creation, and if they had their way, and the government of the world was
in their hands, things would go much better than they do." "I know they
would," replied her admirer, "if they were all as wise as you." "Child,"
returned Sophia, turning up her nose, "that is neither here nor there. The
matter in short is this. Damon loves Delia, and Delia loves Damon. And if
your daughter be not Mrs. Villiers, I will never be Mrs. Hartley."

From a decision like this there could be no appeal. Mr. Hartley told lord
Martin, the next time he came to his house to pay his devoirs to his
mistress, that he had altered his mind. His lordship was too much
surprised at this manoeuvre to make any immediate answer; so turned upon
his heel, and decamped.

The happy revolution, by the intervention of Miss Fletcher, was soon made
known to sir William and his friend. Damon now paid his addresses in form.
A reconciliation took place between Mr. Moreland and the father of our
heroine. The marriage was publicly talked of, the day was fixed, and every
thing prepared for the nuptials.

It is impossible to describe the happiness of our lovers, when they saw
every obstacle thus unexpectedly removed. Damon was beside himself with
surprise and congratulation. Delia, at intervals, rubbed her eyes, and
could scarcely be persuaded that it was not a dream. They saw each other
at least once every day. Together they wandered along the margin of the
ocean, and together they sought that delicious alcove, which now appeared
ten times more beautiful, from the recollection it suggested of the
sufferings they had passed.

Lord Martin was in the mean time most grievously disappointed. "The devil
damn the fellow!" said he, "he crosses me like my evil genius. I have a
month's mind to send him a challenge. He is a tall, big looking fellow to
be sure. But then if I could contrive to kill him. Ah, me! but fortune
does not always favour the brave. My reputation is established. I do not
want a duel for that. And for any other purpose, it is all a lottery. Fire
and furies, death and destruction! something must be done. Let me
think--_About my brain_."

But lord Martin was not the only one whose hopes were disappointed, by the
expected marriage of Delia. He loved her not, he felt not one flutter of
complacency about his heart. It was vanity that first prompted him to
address her. It was disappointed pride that now stung him. Even Mr.
Prattle viewed her with a more generous affection. His genius was not
indeed a daring one, but it was active and indefatigable. Squire Savage
did not feel the less, though he did not spend many words about it. He was
a blustering hector. He had the reputation of fearing nothing, and caring
for nothing, that stood in his way. There were also other lovers beside
these, _whom the muse knows not, nor desires to know_.

In this manner gins and snares seemed, on every side, to surround our
happy and heedless lovers. They sported on the brink. They sighed, and
smiled, and sang, and talked again. At length the eve of the day, from
which their future happiness was to be dated, arrived. They had but one
drawback, the continued averseness of lord Thomas Villiers. Damon was
however now obliged, together with Mr. Hartley, to attend the lawyers at
Mr. Moreland's, in order to complete the previous formalities.



CHAPTER VII.

_Containing what will terrify the reader._


At such a moment as this, a mind of delicacy and sensibility is fond of
solitude. Delia told Mrs. Bridget, that she would take her usual walk, and
be home time enough to superintend the oeconomy of supper, at which the
company of Damon and sir William Twyford was expected.

They accordingly arrived before nine o'clock. Mrs. Bridget expected her
mistress every moment. Damon and his friend would have gone out to meet
her, but they were not willing to leave Mr. Hartley alone. The clock
however struck ten, and no Delia appeared. Every one now began to be
seriously uneasy. Damon and sir William went in both her most favourite
walks to find her, but in vain. Messengers were dispatched twenty
different ways. The lover repaired to the mansion of Lord Martin. The
baronet immediately set out for the house of Mr. Savage.

Mr. Hartley, who, with the external of a bear, and the heart of a miser,
was not destitute of the feelings of a parent, was now exceedingly
agitated. He strided up and down the room with incredible velocity. He bit
his fingers with anxiety, and threw his wig into the fire. "As I am a good
man," said he, "Mr. Prattle lives but almost next door, and I will go to
him." Mr. Prattle was at home, and having heard his story, condoled with
him upon it with much apparent sincerity.

Damon met with the same success. Lord Martin received him with perfect
serenity. "Bless us," cried he, "and is Miss Delia gone? I never was more
astonished in my life. I do not know what to do," and he took a pinch of
snuff. "Mr. Villiers," said he, with the utmost gravity, "I have all
possible respect for you. Blast me! if I am not willing to forget all our
former rivalship. Tell me, sir, can I do you any service?" Damon had every
reason to be satisfied with his behaviour, and flew out of the house in a
moment.

Sir William Twyford did not however meet with the person he went in quest
of. Miss Savage informed him, that her brother, not two hours ago, had
received a letter, and immediately, without informing her of his design,
which indeed he very seldom did, ordered his best hunter out of the
stable. She added, that she had imagined, that he had received a summons
to a fox-chace early the next morning.

Such was the account brought by sir William to the anxious and distracted
Damon. "Alas," cried he, "it is but too plain? She is by this time in the
hands of that insensible boor. Oh, who can bear to think of it! He is
perhaps, at this moment, tormenting her with his nauseous familiarities,
and griping her soft and tender limbs! Oh, why was I born! Why was I ever
cheated with the phantom of happiness! Wretch, wretch that I am!"

With these words he burst out of the house, and flew along with surprising
rapidity. Sir William, having hastily ordered everything to be prepared
for a pursuit, immediately followed him. He found him, wafted, spent, and
almost insensible, lying beside a little brook that crossed the road. The
baronet raised him in his arms, and, with the gentlest accents that
friendship ever poured into a mortal ear, recovered him to life and
perception.

"Where am I?" said the disconsolate lover. "Who are you? ah, my friend, my
best, my tried friend! I know you now. How came I here? Has any thing
unfortunate happened? Where is my Delia?" "Let us seek her, my Villiers,"
said the baronet. "Seek her! What! is she lost? Oh, yes, I recollect it
now; she is gone, snatched from my arms. Let us pursue her! Let us
overtake her Oh that it may not be too late."

He now leaned upon the shoulder of his friend, and returned with painful
and irregular steps. His disorder was so great, that sir William thought
it best to have him immediately conveyed to a chamber. He was so much
exhausted, that this was easily accomplished, without his being perfectly
sensible what was done. The baronet, with three servants mounted on
horseback, immediately pursued the road towards London.--Having thus
related the confusion and grief that were occasioned by her sudden
disappearance, we will now return to our heroine.

She had advanced, according to the intention she had hinted to her
servant, towards the grove, where she had so often wandered with her
beloved. She was wrapped up and lost in the contemplation of her
approaching felicity. "And is every difficulty surmounted, and shall at
last my fate be twined with Damon's? Sure, it is too much, it cannot be!
Fate does not deal so partially with mortals. To bestow so vast a
happiness on one, while thousands pine in helpless misery. But let me not
be incredulous. Let me not be ungrateful. No, since heaven has thus
accumulated its favours on me, my future days shall all be spent in
raising the oppressed, and cheering the disconsolate. I will remember that
I also have tasted the cup of woe, that I have looked forward to
disappointment and despair. _Taught by the hand that pities me,_ I
will learn to pity others."

She was thus musing with herself, she was thus full of piety and virtuous
resolution, when, on a sudden, a trampling of horses behind her, roused
her from her reverie. Two persons advanced. But before she had time to
examine their features, or even to remove out of the path, by which they
seemed to be coming, the foremost of them leaping hastily upon the ground,
seized her by the waist, arid, in spite of all her struggling, placed her
on the front of the saddle, and instantly mounted with the utmost agility.
Cries and tears were vain. They were in a solitary path, little beaten by
the careful husbandman, or the gay votaries of fashion. She was now
hurried along, and generally at full speed, through a thousand bye paths,
that seemed capable of puzzling the most assiduous pursuit.

They had scarcely advanced two little miles, ere they arrived at a large
and broad highway. Here they found a chariot ready waiting for them, into
which Delia was immediately thrust. She now for the first time lifted up
her eyes. The first object to which she attended was the faces of her
ravishers. Of him who had been the most active, she had not the smallest
recollection. The other who was in a livery, she imagined she had seen
somewhere, though, in the present confusion of her mind, she could not fix
upon the place. She next looked round her with wildness and eagerness, as
far as her eye could reach, to see if there were no protector, no
deliverance near. But she looked in vain. All was solitude and stilness.
The murmurs, the activity of the day were past. And now, the silver moon
in radiant majesty shed a solemn serenity ever the whole scene. Serenity,
alas! to the heart at ease, but nothing could bring serenity to the
troubled breast of Delia.

As her last resource, she appealed to those who by brutal force had
carried her away. "Oh, if you have any hearts, any thing human that dwells
about you, pity a poor, forlorn, and helpless maid! Alas, in what have I
injured you? What would you do to me?" "Oh, pray, Miss, do not be
frightened," said the first ravisher with an accent of familiar vulgarity,
"we will do you no harm, we mean nothing but your good. You will make your
fortune. You never had such luck in your life. You will have reason to
thank us the longest day you can ever know."



CHAPTER VIII.

_A Denouement_.


At this moment, Delia with infinite transport, heard the sound of horses
at a distance. Every thing was quiet. Our heroine listened with eager
expectation, and those who guarded her looked out to see who it was that
approached. Suspense was not long on either side. The horsemen were up
with them in a moment. "Oh, whoever you are," cried Delia, in an agony of
distress, "pity and relieve the most miserable woman'"----She received no
answer, but the horses stopped, and lord Martin was in a moment at the
door of the carriage. "Oh, my lord," cried Delia, "is it you? Thanks,
eternal thanks, for this fortunate incident. If you had not come, heaven
knows what would have become of me! Those brutes, those wretches--But
conduct me, my lord, to my father's house. Without doubt, they must by
this time be in a terrible fright."

"Do not be uneasy," cried his lordship, endeavouring to assume an
harmonious, but missing his point, he spoke in the shrillest and most
squeaking accent that can be imagined. "Do not be uneasy, my charmer. You
are in the hands of a man, that loves you, as never woman was loved
before. But I will be with you in a minute," said he. And withdrawing
behind the carriage, he beckoned to the person who had conducted the
business of the rape. "Why, you incorrigible blockhead," said lord Martin,
"you have neglected half your instructions. Why, her hands are at
liberty." "I beg your honour's pardon," replied the pimp, "I had indeed
forgotten, but it shall be remedied in a moment." And saying this, he
pulled a strong ribband out of his pocket, and getting into the chariot,
fastened the soft and lily hands of our heroine behind her. She screamed,
and invoked the name of his lordship a thousand times. Her hair became
disentangled from its ligaments, and flowed in waving ringlets about her
snowy, panting bosom. Exhausted with continual agitation, and particularly
with the last struggle, she seemed ready to faint, but was quickly
restored by the assiduity of these sordid grooms.

Before she had completely recovered her recollection, lord Martin had
seated himself in the carriage, and was drawing up some of the blinds.
"Drive on," said he to the coachman, who was by this time mounted into the
box, "Drive, as if the devil was behind you." The cavalcade accordingly
went forward. There was a servant on each side of the carriage, beside the
commander in chief, who occasionally advanced in the front, and
occasionally brought up the rear.

"And whither," said the affrighted Delia, "whither are we going? This
cannot be the way to Southampton. What do you mean? But ah, it is too
plain! Why else this impotence of insult?" endeavouring to disengage her
hands. And she turned from him in a rage of indignation. "Ah," cried his
lordship, "do not avert those brilliant eyes! Turn them towards me, and
they will outshine the lustre of the morn, and I shall perceive nothing of
the sun, even when he gains his meridian height." "And thou despicable
wretch, is this thy shallow plan? And what dost thou think to do with me?
Mountains shall sooner bend their lofty summits to the earth, than I will
ever waste a thought on thee." "Do with thee, my fairest!" cried the peer,
"why, marry thee. Dost thou think that the paltry Damon shall get the
better of my eagle genius? No. Fortune now unfurls my standard, and I
drive the _frighted fates_ before me." "Boastful, empty coward! Thou
darest not even brave a woman's rage. If my hands were at liberty, I would
tear out those insolent eyes." "_Go on_, thou gentlest of thy sex,
_and charm me with that angel voice_! For though thou dealest in
threats, abuse, and proud defiance, _it is heaven to hear thee_."

Such was the courtship that passed between our heroine and her triumphant
admirer. They had new proceeded twenty miles, and the midnight bell had
tolled near half an hour. They had passed through one turnpike, and Delia
had endeavoured by cries and prayers to obtain some assistance. But the
person who opened to them was alone, and though ever so desirous, could
not have resisted such a cavalcade. Beside this, the pimp told him a
plausible story of a wanton wife, and an injured husband, with the
particulars of which we do not think it necessary to trouble our readers.
They had also seen one foot passenger, and two horsemen. But they were
eluded and amused by a repetition of the same stratagem.

Delia, having exhausted her first rage and astonishment, had now remained
for some time silent. She revolved in her mind all the particulars of her
situation. She had at first considered her ravisher in no other light than
as hateful and despicable, but she was now compelled to regard this
venomous little animal, as the arbiter of her fate, and the master of her
fortunes. She reflected with horror, how much she was in his power, what
ill usage he might inflict, and to what extremities he might reduce her.
She now seriously thought of exerting herself to melt him into pity, and
to persuade him, by every argument she could invent, to spare and to
release her. "Ah, where," thought she, "is my Damon? Why does not he
appear to succour me? Alas, what distresses, what agonies may he not even
now endure!"

Full of these, and a thousand other tormenting reflections, she burst into
a flood of tears. Lord Martin drew from his pocket a clean cambric
handkerchief, and, carefully unfolding it, wiped away the drops as they
fell. "Loveliest of creatures," said he, "by the murmuring of thy voice,
the heaving of thy bosom, the distraction of thy looks, and by these
tears, I should imagine thou wert uneasy." "Ah," cried Delia unheedful of
his words, "what shall I say to move him?" "Oh, talk for ever," replied
his lordship. "The winds shall forget to whistle, and the seas to roar.
Noisy mobs shall cease their huzzas, and the din of war be still; for
there is music in thy voice." "Oh," exclaimed our heroine, "let one touch
of compassion approach thy soul. Indeed, my lord, I can never have you.
Release me, and I will forgive what is past, and Damon shall never notice
it." "Zounds and fire!" cried the peer, "dost thou think to prevail with
me by the motives of a coward? But why dost thou talk of Damon? Look on
me. Behold this purple coat, and fine _toupèe_. Think on my estate,
and think on my title."

But at this moment the oratory of his lordship ceased to be heard. At a
small distance there appeared two persons, the one on foot, and whose air,
so far as it could be perceived by the imperfect light, was genteel, and
the other on horseback, engaged in earnest conference. As the carriage
drew towards them, Delia exclaimed, in a piercing, but pathetic voice,
"Help! help! for God's sake! Rape! Murder! Help!" The voice immediately
caught the young gentleman on foot, who approached the carriage.--But
before we proceed any farther we will inform our readers who these persons
were.

The gentleman on foot, was Mr. Godfrey. He was on a visit to a sister, who
lived very near the spot upon which he now stood. She was married to a
substantial yeoman, who rented an estate in this place, the property of
lord Thomas Villiers. The beautiful scenes of nature were particularly
congenial to the elegant said contemplative mind of Mr. Godfrey. And he
had now, as was frequently his custom, strolled out to enjoy the calm
serenity, and the splendid beauty, of a midnight scene. The man on
horse-back was a thief taker, who, just before the carriage had driven up,
had, without ceremony, accosted Mr. Godfrey with his enquiries, and a
description of the person of whom he was in pursuit.



CHAPTER IX.

_Which dismisses the Reader._


Mr. Godfrey, in a resolute tone, called out to the coachman to stop, and
not contented with a verbal mandate, he rushed before the horses, and
brandishing a club he held in his hand, bid the driver proceed at his
peril. "Drive on," said lord Martin, thrusting his head out at the
window--"Drive on, and be damned to you!" At this moment the pimp rode up.
"It is nothing," said he, "but a poor gentleman, who has just forced his
wife from the arms of a gallant." "Oh no!" cried Delia. "I am not his
wife. I am an innocent woman, whom he has forced from her father and her
lover."

The thief taker out of curiosity rode forward. "That," said he, fixing his
eye upon the pimp, "that is the very rascal I am in search of." The pimp,
who had only been borrowed by lord Martin of one of his more experienced
acquaintance, no sooner heard the sound, than, accounting for it with
infinite facility and readiness of mind, he turned about his horse, and
attempted to fly. One of the footmen, naturally a coward, and terrified at
these incidents, with the meaning of which he was unacquainted, imitated
his example. The other came forward to the assistance of his master, and
was laid prostrate upon the ground, by Mr. Godfrey with one blow. The
thief taker had the start of the pimp, and overtook him in a moment.

Mr. Godfrey now opened the door of the carriage. But the little peer was
prepared for this incident, and having his sword drawn, made a sudden pass
at our generous knight-errant. The latter, with infinite agility, leaped
aside, and lifting up his club, shivered the sword into a thousand pieces.

"Death and the devil! Pox confound you!" said lord Martin, and endeavoured
to draw a pistol from his pocket. But the unsuccessful pass he had made
had thrown him somewhat off his bias, and though he had employed more than
one effort, he had not been able to recover himself. At this instant, Mr.
Godfrey seized him by the collar, and with a sudden-whirl, threw him into
the middle of the road. "Fire and"--his lordship had not time to finish
his exclamation. The part of the road in which he fell was exceeding
dirty. The workmen had been employed the preceding day, in scraping the
mud together into a heap against the bank, and his lordship, unable to
overcome the velocity with which he trundled along, rolled into the midst
of it in an instant. He was entirely lost in this soft receptacle. The
colour of his purple coat, and his lily white _toupèe_, could no
longer be distinguished.

The coachman, perceiving the disaster of his lord, now leaped from the
box. Mr. Godfrey had scarcely had time to reduce this new antagonist to a
state of inactivity, before the footman, upon whom he had first displayed
his prowess, began to discover some signs of life. He might have been yet
overpowered in spite of all his valour and presence of mind, if the house
of his brother-in-law, had not fortunately been so near, that the shrieks
of Delia, and the altercation of her ravishers reached it. The honest
farmer was at the window in a moment, and perceiving that his brother was
engaged in the affray, he huddled on his clothes with all expedition, and
now appeared in the highway.

The victory was immediately decided. The footman perceiving this new
reinforcement, did not dare to act upon the offensive, and Mr. Godfrey
mounted into the chariot to assist our heroine. He now first perceived
that her hands were manacled. From this restraint however, he suddenly
disengaged her, and taking her in his arms out of the carriage, he
delivered her to his sister, who advanced at this moment.

The footman, assisted by the humanity of the farmer, was now employed in
raising his master. His lordship made the most pitiable figure that can be
imagined. His features, as well as his dress, wore an appearance perfectly
uniform. "Whither would you convey him?" said Mr. Godfrey, who was now
returned. "What shall we do with him?" "Oh, and please you, sir," said the
footman, "his lordship has a house about half a mile off." Lord Martin now
first discovered some marks of sensibility, and _shook his goary
locks_. "His lordship!" exclaimed the yeoman. "Sure it cannot be--yet
it is--by my soul I cannot tell whether it be lord Martin or no." The
coachman now rose from the ground, and began with a profound bow to his
master. "And please your honour," said he, "we have made a sad day's work
of it. Your worship makes but a pitiful figure. Faugh! I think as how, if
I dared say so much, begging your honour's pardon, that your lordship
stinks." "Put him into the carriage," cried Mr. Godfrey, "and drive him
home." Lord Martin, now first recovered his tongue, and wiping away the
mud from his eyes, "And so it was you, sir, I suppose," cried he, "to whom
I am obliged for this catastrophe. But pox take me, if you shall not hear
of it. Ten thousand curses on my wayward fate! The devil take it! Death
and damnation!" During this soliloquy, the servants were employed in
placing their lord in the chariot. The coachman mounted the box, and by
this time they were out of hearing.

Mr. Godfrey and his brother now entered the house. Delia was seated in a
chair, her hair dishevelled, her features disordered, and her dress in the
most bewitching confusion. But how much were both the deliverer and the
heroine surprised, when they mutually recognised each others features! Mr.
Godfrey made Delia a very polite compliment upon her escape, and
congratulated himself, in the warmest language, for having been the
fortunate instrument.

They now retired to rest. The next morning, Delia was much better
recovered from her terror and fatigue, than could have been expected. Mr.
Godfrey however had not thought it adviseable that she should be removed
that day, and had therefore set off early in the morning for Southampton,
that he might himself be the messenger of these happy tidings.

"I hope Miss," said Mrs. Wilson, who attended our heroine, "that you will
dress yourself as well as you can." "And why" cried Delia, "do you desire
that? I can see nobody, I can think of nothing, but my absent and anxious
Damon." "Let us hope," replied the other, "that he is very well. But,
Miss, we expect lord Thomas Villiers by dinner time." "Lord Thomas
Villiers!" exclaimed Delia, in the extremest surprise. "Yes," cried Mrs.
Wilson. "He is our landlord, and he always comes over once about this time
of the year." "Alas," said Delia, "I can see nobody. But I had rather meet
any person at this time, than lord Thomas Villiers." "Bless me, Miss! why
I am sure he is a very good sort of a gentleman." "I dare say he is,"
cried Delia. "But indeed, and indeed, Mrs. Wilson, I cannot see him. Pray
oblige me in this." "Law, well I cannot think what objection you can have!
There must be something very particular in it."

Such were the hints that Mrs. Wilson threw out for the satisfying of her
curiosity, but Delia was not disposed to be more communicative. The good
woman however, with the error of our heroine before her eyes, was
determined not to commit a similar fault. Lord Thomas was therefore
scarcely arrived, before she set open the flood gates of her eloquence, in
describing the rescue, and the unrivalled beauty of the lady under her
roof.

His lordship had long had a misunderstanding with lord Martin upon the
subject of their contiguous estates. As his temper was not the most
gentle, nor his memory upon these subjects the most treacherous, he
expressed his triumph in loud shouts, and repeated horse laughs, upon the
recent defeat of his antagonist. Nothing however would content him but a
sight of the lady. "That," said Mrs. Wilson, "my guess is too nice to
consent to. You must know, she has a particular dislike to your lordship."
"A dislike to me!" said the old gentleman, whose curiosity was now more
inflamed than even "Will you be contented," said his kind hostess, "with a
peep through the key hole!" and without waiting for an answer, she took
him by the hand, and led him up stairs. "By my foul!" said his lordship,
"she is the finest woman in the world. Devil take me, if I can contain
myself," and he burst into the room.

Lord Thomas advanced a few steps, and then stopping, clasped his hands;
"Why she is an angel of a woman! And did Martin, that dirty scoundrel,
think he could run away with you? Impudent, pot-bellied spider! Ah, if my
son had fallen in love with such a woman as you, I could forgive him any
thing." And seizing her hand he pressed it to his lips. "Forgive me,
charmer," cried he, "I am an old fellow. I will do you no harm."

Delia, though pleased with the behaviour of her intended father-in-law,
dared not yet discover herself to him. In the afternoon, Mr. Godfrey, and
Sir William Twyford, arrived. Damon, agitated as he was by the most
dreadful images that a troubled fancy could suggest, appeared in the
morning in a high fever. Instead of being able to hasten to the mistress
of his soul, he was confined to his bed, and attended by physicians.

"Ha," cried lord Thomas, as soon as he saw the baronet, "and who sent for
you? What do you want? I think, Sir, you are the gentleman to whom I am
obliged for telling my son, that duty to parents is a baby prejudice, that
obstinacy is a heroic virtue, and that fortune, fame, and friends, are all
to be sacrificed to the whining passion, which, I think, you call love."
"My lord," replied the baronet, "I have done nothing, of which I feel any
reason to be ashamed. But a subject more pressing calls for my immediate
attention." Then turning to Delia, "Give me leave to congratulate you,
madam, and heaven can tell how heartily I do it, upon the generous and
happy interposition of Mr. Godfrey." "And pray," interrupted lord Thomas,
"how came you acquainted with that lady?" "Oh, tell me," cried Delia, with
an impatience not to be restrained by modes and forms, "tell me, how does
my Damon? Why is he not here? Alas, I fear"--"Fear nothing," cried the
baronet. "He is safe. He is at your father's house, and impatient to see
you." "And is this the lady," cried lord Thomas, "of whom my son is
enamoured? But he shall not disobey me. I will never permit it. Sir, if
this be the lady, I will give her to him with my own hand. But where is
the ungracious rascal? Why does not he appear?" "Nothing, be assured,"
said the baronet, "but reasons of the last importance, could have kept him
back in so interesting a moment." "Alas, I fear," cried Delia, "since you
endeavour to conceal them from me, they are reasons of the most afflicting
nature." "It is in vain," replied Sir William, "to endeavour at
concealment." "Your son," turning to lord Thomas Villiers, "is confined to
his bed. The anxiety and fatigue that he suffered, in consequence of the
extraordinary step of lord Martin, have thrown him into a fever. But be
not uneasy, my Delia," taking her hand, "there is no danger. One sigh, one
look from you will restore him." "Ten thousand curses," exclaimed the
father, "upon the head of the contemptible, misbegotten ravisher! But let
us make haste. I am glad however that my rogue of a son is a little
punished for his impertinence. Let us make haste."

Saying this, he ordered the horses to his chariot, and the whole company
prepared to set out for Southampton immediately. The only business which
remained, was the dispatching a message, which was done by one of sir
William's servants, from Mr. Godfrey to lord Martin, announcing his name,
and informing his lordship, that he was to be met with any time in the
ensuing week at Mr. Moreland's.

Lord Martin was a good deal bruised and enfeebled with the adventure of
the preceding evening. He had been obliged to undergo a lustration of near
an hour, before he could be put to bed. He was just risen, when the
message was delivered. "Zounds!" cried the peer, "he is, is he? And so
this fellow, whom nobody knows, has the impudence to snub me! By my title,
and all the blood of my ancestors, he is not worthy of my sword. I will
have him assassinated. I will hire some blackguards to seize him, and bind
him in my presence, and I will bastinado him with my own hand. Furies and
curses! I do not know what to do. Oh, this confounded vanity! Not
contented with one disgrace, I have brought upon myself another, ten times
more mortifying than the first. By Tartarus, and all the infernal gods, I
believe I had better let it rest where it is! Wretch, wretch, that I am!"
And he threw himself on the bed in an agony of despair.

Damon had slept little the preceding night, and his slumbers had been
disturbed with a thousand horrible imaginations. The first person who
appeared in his chamber the next morning he addressed with "Where, where
is she? Where is my Delia? My life, my soul, the mistress of my fate? Ah,
why do you look so haggard, so unconsoling. You have heard nothing of her?
Give me my clothes. I will pursue her to the world's end. I will find her,
though she be hid deep as the centre." "Sir, be pacified," said the
servant, "she is safe." "Safe," cried our lover, "why then does she not
appear to comfort me? But haste, I will fly to her. I will clasp, I will
lock her, in my arms. No, nothing, not all the powers on earth, shall ever
part us more." "Sir, she is not in the house." "Not in the house," cried
Damon starting, "Ha! say. I will not be cheated. On thy life do not trifle
with my impatience."

At this moment Mr. Godfrey entered the room. "Who is there?" cried Damon,
starting at every whisper. "It is your friend," said Godfrey. "A friend
that owes you much, and would willingly pay you something back again." "I
do not understand you," replied our hero. "I can talk of nothing but my
Delia. Oh Delia! Delia! I will teach thy name to all the echoes. I will
send it with every wind to heaven. Ever, ever, shall it dwell upon my
lips." "Delia," replied the other, "is in safety. I have been so happy as
to rescue her." "Ha! sayest thou? let me look upon thee well. I am
somewhat disordered, but I think thy name is Godfrey. Thou shouldst not
deceive me. Thou art not old in falsehood." "I do not deceive thee. On my
life I do not!" exclaimed Godfrey, with emotion. "Compose thyself for a
few hours. Or ever thou shalt see the setting sun, I will put thy Delia
into thy arms again."

Damon was somewhat composed by these assurances. No voice like that of
Godfrey had power to sooth his mind to serenity. But though he sought to
restrain himself, he listened to every noise. He started at the sound of
every foot, and the rattle of a carriage in the street agitated his soul
almost to frenzy.

"Why does not she come? What can delay her? I have counted every moment.
I have waited whole ages. I see, I see, that every thing conspires to
cheat, and to distract me. Damon has not one friend left to whisper in his
ear--to whisper what? That Delia is no more? That all her beauties are
defaced, by some sacrilegious hand? That all her heaven of charms have
been rifled? Oh, no. I must not think of that. But hark! I thought I heard
a sound, but it is delirium all. Sure, sure it comes this way. I will
listen but this once."

The door of the chamber now flew open. But oh, what object caught the
raptured eye of Damon! He was just risen. "It is, it is my Delia!" and
they flew into each others arms. But having embraced for a moment, Damon
took hold of her hand, and held her from him. "Let me look at thee. And is
it Delia? And art thou safe, unhurt? I would not be mistaken." "Yes, I am
she, and ten times more my Damon's than ever." "It is enough. I am
contented. But hark! who comes there? Sure it is not the brutal ravisher?
No," cried he, in a voice of surprise, "it is my father."

Lord Thomas Villiers, who had been a witness of this scene, could restrain
himself no longer. "Come to my arms, thy father's arms," cried he, "and
let me bless thee." "Stay, stay," cried Damon. "Yes I know thee well. But
I will never be separated from her any more. I will laugh at the authority
of a parent. Tyranny and tortures shall not rend me from her." "The
authority of a parent," replied lord Thomas, "shall never more be employed
to counteract thy wishes. I myself will join your hands."

The constitution of Damon was so full of sensibility, that it was some
days before he was completely recovered. In the mean time, the amours of
Sir William Twyford, and Mr. Hartley, continually ripened, and it was
proposed, that the three parties should be united in the same day.

"And now," said Damon, "I have but one care more, one additional exertion,
to set my mind at ease. My Godfrey, I owe thee more than kingdoms can
repay. Tell me, instruct me, what can I do to serve you? Damon must be the
most contemptible of villains, if he could think his felicity complete,
when his Godfrey was unhappy."

"Think not of me," said Godfrey, "I am happy in the way that nature
intended, beyond even the power of Damon to make me. Since I saw you, a
favourable change has taken place in my circumstances. In spite of various
obstacles, I have brought a tragedy upon the stage, and it has met with
distinguished success. My former crosses and mortifications are all
forgotten. Philosophers may tell us, that reputation, and the immortality
of a name, are all but an airy shadow. Enough for me, that nature, from my
earliest infancy, led me to place my first delight in these. I envy not
kings their sceptres. I envy not statesmen their power. I envy not Damon
his love, and his Delia. Next to the pursuits of honour and truth, my soul
is conscious to but one wish, that of having my name enrolled, in however
inferior a rank, with a Homer, and a Horace, a Livy, and a Cicero."

The next day the proposed weddings took place. It is natural perhaps, at
the conclusion of such a narrative as this, to represent them all as
happy. But we are bound to adhere to nature and truth. Mr. Hartley and his
politician for some time struggled for superiority, but, in the end, the
eagle genius of Sophia soared aloft. Sir William, though he married a
woman, good natured, and destitute of vice, found something more insipid
in marriage, than he had previously apprehended. For Damon and his Delia,
they were amiable, and constant. Though their hearts were in the highest
degree susceptible and affectionate, the first ebullition of passion could
not last for ever. But it was succeeded by _the feast of reason, and the
flow of soul_. Their hours were sped with the calmness of tranquility.
When they saw each other no longer with transport, they saw each other
with complacency. And so long as they live, they will doubtless afford the
most striking demonstration, that marriage, when it unites two gentle
souls, and meaned by nature for each other, when it is blest of heaven,
and accompanied with reason and discretion, is the sweetest, and the
fairest of all the bands of society.


THE END.





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