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Title: Barford Abbey
Author: Gunning, Susannah Minific
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 "Barford Abbey" ***

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BARFORD ABBEY,


A NOVEL:

IN A

SERIES of LETTERS.

IN TWO VOLUMES.


VOL. I.

LONDON:

Printed for T. CADELL, (Successor to Mr. MILLAR) in the Strand; and J.
PAYNE, in Pasternoster-Row.

MDCCLXVIII.



BARFORD ABBEY.



LETTER I.

Lady MARY SUTTON, at the German Spaw, to Miss WARLEY, in England.


How distressing, how heart-rending, is my dear Fanny's mournful
detail!--It lies before me; I weep over it!--I weep not for the departed
saint: no; it is for you, myself, for all who have experienced her
god-like virtues!--Was she not an honour to her sex? Did she not merit
rewards too great for this world to bestow?--Could the world repay her
innocence, her piety, her resignation? Wipe away, my best love, the mark
of sorrow from your cheek. Perhaps she may be permitted to look down: if
so, will she smile on those that grieve at her entering into the
fullness of joy?--Here a sudden death cannot be called dreadful. A life
like hers wanted not the admonitions of a sick-bed;--her bosom accounts
always clear, always ready for inspection, day by day were they held up
to the throne of mercy.--Apply those beautiful lines in the Spectator to
her; lines you have so often admir'd.--How silent thy passage; how
private thy journey; how glorious thy end! Many have I known more
famous, some more knowing, not one so innocent.--Hope is a noble support
to the drooping head of sorrow.--Though a deceiver, court her, I counsel
you;--she leads to happiness;--we shall bless her deceptions:--baffling
our enjoyments here, she teaches us to look up where every thing is
permanent, even bliss most exquisite.

Mr. Whitmore you never knew, otherwise would have wonder'd how his
amiable wife loiter'd so long behind.--Often she has wish'd to be
reunited to him, but ever avoided the subject in your presence.

Keep not from me her rich bequest:--_rich_ indeed,--her most valuable
treasure.--That I could fold you to my arms!--But hear me at a
distance;--hear me call you my beloved daughter,--and suppose what my
transports will be when I embrace an only child:--yes, you are mine,
till I deliver you up to a superior affection.

Lay aside, I conjure you, your fears of crossing the sea.--Mr. and Mrs.
Smith intend spending part of this winter at Montpelier: trust yourself
with them; I shall be there to receive you at the Hôtel de Spence.

The season for the Spaw is almost at an end. My physicians forbid my
return to England till next autumn, else I would fly to comfort,--to
console my dearest Fanny,--We shall be happy together in France:--I can
love you the same in all places.

My banker has orders to remit you three hundred pounds;--but your power
is unlimited; it is impossible to say, my dear, how much I am in your
debt.--I have wrote my housekeeper to get every thing ready for your
reception:--consider her, and all my other servants, as your own.--I
shall be much disappointed if you do not move to the Lodge
immediately.--You shall not,--must not,--continue in a house where every
thing in and about it reminds you of so great a loss.--Miss West, Miss
Gardner, Miss Conway, will, at my request, accompany you thither.--The
Menagerie,--plantations, and other places of amusement, will naturally
draw them out;--you will follow mechanically, and by that means be kept
from indulging melancholy.--Go an-airing every day, unless you intend I
shall find my horses unfit for service:--why have you let them live so
long idle?

I revere honest Jenkings--he is faithful,--he will assist you with his
advice on all occasions.--Can there be a better resource to fly to, than
a heart governed by principles of honour and humanity?

Write, my dear, to Mrs. Smith, and let me know if the time is fixed for
their coming over.--Say you will comply with the request my heart is so
much set on;--say you will be one of the party.

My health and spirits are better:--the latter I support for your
sake;--who else do I live for?--Endeavour to do the same, not only for
me, but _others_, that one day will be as dear to you as you are to

Your truly affectionate,

M. SUTTON.



LETTER II.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.

_Barford Abbey_.


BARFORD ABBEY! _Yes_, my dearest Lady,--I date from Barford Abbey: a
house I little thought ever to have seen, when I have listened hours to
a description of it from Mr. Jenkings.--What are houses,--what palaces,
in competition with _that_ honour, _that_ satisfaction, I received by
your Ladyship's last letter!--The honour all must acknowledge;--the
satisfaction is not on the surface,--_it centers in the heart_.--I feel
too much to express any thing.--One moment an orphan; next the adopted
child of Lady Mary Sutton.--What are titles, except ennobled by virtue!
_That_ only makes a coronet fit graceful on the head;--_that_ only is
the true ornament of greatness.

Pardon my disobedience.--Can there be a stronger command than your
request?--But, my Lady, I must have died,--my life _must_ have been the
sacrifice, had I gone to the Lodge.--The windows opposite, the windows
of that little mansion where I spent nineteen happy years with my
angelic benefactress,--could it be borne?--Your Ladyship's absence
too;--what an aggravation;--The young ladies you kindly propose for my
companions, though very amiable, could not have shut my eyes, or
deaden'd my other senses.

Now let me account for being at Barford Abbey.--Was Mr. Jenkings my
father, I think I could not love him more; yet when he press'd me to
return with him to Hampshire, I was doubtful whether to consent, till
your Ladyship's approbation of him was confirmed in so particular a
manner.--His son an only one;--the fine fortune he must possess;--these
were objections not only of _mine_, but, I believe, of my dear,
dear--Oh! my Lady, I cannot yet write her name.--Often has she check'd
Mr. Jenkings, when he has solicited to take me home with him:--her very
looks spoke she had something to fear from such a visit.--She loved
me;--the dear angel loved me with maternal affection, but her partiality
never took place of noble, generous sentiments.--Young people, she has
frequently said, are, by a strict intimacy, endeared to each other.
This, I doubt not, was her motive for keeping me at a distance.--She
well knew my poor expectations were ill suited to his large ones.--I
know what was her opinion, and will steadily adhere to it.

Edmund, to do him common justice, is a desirable youth:--such a one as I
can admire his good qualities, without another with than to imitate
them.--Monday, the tenth, I took my leave of Hillford Down, and, after a
melancholy journey, arrived Tuesday evening at Mr. Jenkings's.--Nothing
did I enjoy on the road;--in spight of my endeavours, tears stream'd
from my eyes incessantly;--even the fine prospects that courted
attention, pass'd unnotic'd.--My good conductor strove to draw me off
from gloomy subjects, but in vain, till we came within a few miles of
his house; then of a sudden I felt a serenity, which, for some time, has
been a stranger to my breast;--a serenity I cannot account for.

_Mrs. Jenkings!_--never shall I forget her humanity. She flew to the
chaise the instant it stopp'd, receiv'd me with open arms, and conducted
me to the parlour, pouring out ten thousand welcomes, intermingled with
fond embraces.--She is, I perceive, one of those worthy creatures, who
make it a point to consider their husbands friends as their own; in my
opinion, the highest mark of conjugal happiness.

Plac'd in a great chair next the fire, every one was busied in something
or other for my refreshment.--One soul,--one voice,--one manner, to be
seen in the father,--mother,--son:--they look not on each other but with
a smile of secret satisfaction. _To me_ their hearts speak the same
expressive language;--their house,--their dress,--their words, plainly
elegant.--Envy never stops at such a dwelling;--nothing there is fit for
her service:--no pomp,--no grandeur,--no ostentation.--I slept sweetly
the whole night;--sweetly!--not one disagreeable idea intruded on my
slumbers.

Coming down in the morning, I found breakfast on the table, linen white
as snow, a large fire,--every thing that speaks cleanliness, content,
and plenty.--The first thing in a house which attracts my notice is the
fire;--I conclude from that, if the hearts of the inhabitants are warm
or cold.--Our conversation was interesting;--it might have lasted, for
aught I know, till dinner, had it not been interrupted by the entrance
of Sir James and Lady Powis.--I knew Mr. Jenkings was their steward, but
never expected they came to his house with such easy freedom.--We arose
as they entered:--I was surprised to see Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings appear
confused;--in my opinion, their visitors accosted them more like
_equals_ than _dependants_.

Your Ladyship cannot imagine how greatly I was prepossessed in their
favour even before they spoke.--In their manner was something that
struck me excessively;--few--very few--can express the nameless beauties
of grace,--never to be seen but in a carriage sweetly humble.

Lady Powis seated herself opposite to me.--We called, said she,
addressing Mr. Jenkings, to inquire what was become of you, fearing your
Oxfordshire friends had stolen you from us;--but you have made up for
your long absence, if this is the young lady, bowing to me, your wife
told us was to return with you.--A politeness so unexpected,--so
deliver'd,--visibly affected me:--I sat silent, listening for the reply
Mr. Jenkings would make.

Pardon me, my Lady! pardon me, Miss Warley! said the good man,--I am a
stranger to punctilio;--I see my error:--I should have acquainted your
Ladyship before with the name of this dear young Lady; I should have
said she is an honour to her friends.--Need I tell Miss Warley, Sir
James and Lady Powis are present:--I hope the deportment of their
_servant_ has confirmed it;--I hope it has.

Sir James kindly took his hand, and, turning to me, said, Don't believe
him, Madam, he is not our servant;--he has been our _friend_ forty
years; we flatter ourselves he deems not _that_ servitude.

Not your _servant!_--not your _dependant!_--not your _servant_, Sir
James!--and was running on when her Ladyship interrupted him.

Don't make me angry, Jenkings;--don't pain me;--hear the favour I have
to ask, and be my advocate:--it is with Miss Warley I want you to be my
advocate.--Then addressing herself to me, Will you, Madam, give me the
pleasure of your company often at the Abbey?--I mean, will you come
there as if it was your home?--Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings have comforts, I
have not,--at least that I can enjoy.--Here she sigh'd deeply;--so deep,
that I declare it pierced through my heart;--I felt as if turn'd into
stone;--what I suppose I was a true emblem of.--The silent friends that
trickled down my cheeks brought me back from that inanimate state,--and
I found myself in the embraces of Lady Powis, tenderly affectionate, as
when in the arms of Mrs. Whitmore.--Judge not, Madam, said I, from my
present stupidity, that I am so wanting in my head or heart, to be
insensible of this undeserv'd goodness.--With Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings's
permission, I am devoted to your Ladyship's service.--_Our_ approbation!
Miss Warley, return'd the former;--_yes, that_ you have:--her Ladyship
cannot conceive how happy she has made us.--Sir James seconded his Lady
with a warmth perfectly condescending:--no excuse would be taken; I must
spend the next day at the Abbey; their coach was to attend me.

Our amiable guests did not move till summoned by the dinner-bell, which
is plainly to be heard there.--I thought I should have shed tears to see
them going.--I long'd to walk part of the way, but was afraid to propose
it, lest I should appear presumptuous.--Her Ladyship perceiv'd my
inclinations,--look'd delighted,--and requested my company; on which Mr.
Jenkings offer'd his service to escort me back.

How was I surpris'd at ascending the hill!--My feet seem'd leading me to
the first garden--the sweet abode of innocence!--Ten thousand beauties
broke on my sight;--ten thousand pleasures, before unknown, danced
through my heart.--Behold me on the summit;--behold me full of
surprise,--full of admiration!--How enchanting the park! how clear the
river that winds through it!--What taste,--what elegance, in the
plantations!--How charmingly are Nature's beauties rang'd by art!--The
trees,--the shrubs,--the flowers,--hold up their heads, as if proud of
the spot they grow on!--Then the noble old structure,--the magnificent
mansion of this ancient family, how does it fire the beholder with
veneration and delight! The very walls seem'd to speak; at least there
was something that inform'd _me_, native dignity, and virtues
hereditary, dwelt within them.

The sight of a chaise and four, standing at the entrance, hurried me
from the charming pair of this paradise, after many good days ecchoed
to me, and thanks respectful return'd them by the same messenger.

Mr. Jenkings, in our return, entertain'd me with an account of the
family for a century past. A few foibles excepted in the character of
Sir James, I find he possesses all the good qualities of his ancestors.
Nothing could be more pleasing than the encomiums bestow'd on Lady
Powis; but she is not exempt from trouble: the _good_ and the _bad_ the
_great_ and the _little_, at some time or other, feel Misfortune's
touch. Happy such a rod hangs over us! Were we to glide on smoothly, our
affections would be fixed here, and here only.

I could love Lady Powis with a warmth not to be express'd;--but--forgive
me, my dear lady--I pine to know why _your_ intimacy was
interrupted.--Of _Lady Mary's_ steadiness and integrity I am
convinc'd;--of _Lady Powis_ I have had only a transitory view.--Heaven
forbid she should be like such people as from my heart I despise, whose
regards are agueish! Appearances promise the reverse;--but what is
appearance? For the generality a mere cheat, a gaudy curtain.

Pardon me, dear Lady Powis--I am distress'd,--I am perplex'd; but I do
not think ill of you;--indeed I cannot,--unless I find--_No_, I cannot
find it neither;--something tells me _Lady Mary_, my dear honour'd Lady
Mary, will acquit you.

We were receiv'd by Mrs. Jenkings, at our return, with a chearful
countenance, and conducted to the dining-parlour, where, during our
comfortable, meal, nothing was talk'd of but Sir James and Lady
Powis:--the kind notice taken of your Fanny mentioned with transport.

Thus honour'd,--thus belov'd,--dare I repine?--Why look on past
enjoyments with such a wistful eye!--Mrs. Whitmore, my dear maternal
Mrs. Whitmore, cannot be recall'd!--Strange perversenss!--why let that
which would give me pleasure fleet away!--why pursue that which I cannot
overtake!--No gratitude to heaven!--Gratitude to you, my dearest Lady,
shall conquer this perverseness;--even now my heart overflows like a
swoln river.

Good night, good night, dear Madam; I am going to repose on the very bed
where, for many years, rested the most deserving of men!--The
housekeeper has been relating many of his virtues;--so many, that I long
to see him, _though only in a dream_.

Was it not before Mr. Powis went abroad, that your ladyship visited at
the Abbey?--Yet, if so, I think I should have heard you mention
him.--Merit like his could never pass unnotic'd in a breast so
similar--Here I drop my pen, lest I grow impertinent.--Once again, good
night,--my more than parent:--to-morrow, at an early hour, I will begin
the recital to your Ladyship of this day's transactions--I go to implore
every blessing on your head, the only return that can be offer'd by

F. WARLEY.



LETTER III.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON, in continuation.

_Barford Abbey_.


I think I have told your Ladyship, I was to be honour'd with the coach
to convey me to the Abbey.--About half an hour after one it arriv'd,
when a card was deliver'd me from Lady Powis, to desire my friends would
not be uneasy, if I did not return early in the evening, as she hop'd
for an agreeable party at whist, Lord Darcey being at the Abbey.

Mrs. Jenkings informed me, his Lordship was a ward of Sir James's just
of age;--his estate genteel, not large;--his education liberal,--his
person fine,--his temper remarkably good.--Sir James, said she, is for
ever preaching lessons to him, that he must marry _prudently_;--which
is, that he must never marry without an immense fortune.--Ah! Miss
Warley, this same love of money has serv'd to make poor Lady Powis very
unhappy. Sir James's greatest fault is covetousness;--but who is without
fault?--Lord Darcey was a lovely youth, continued she, when he went
abroad; I long to see if he is alter'd by travelling.--Edmund and his
Lordship were school-fellows:--how my son will be overjoy'd to hear he
is at the Abbey!--I detain you, Miss Warley, or could talk for ever of
Lord Darcey! Do go, my dear, the family will expect you.--Promise, said
I, taking her hand,--_promise_ you will not sit up late on my
account.--She answer'd nothing, but pressing me to her bosom, seem'd to
tell me her heart was full of affection.

The old coachman, as we drove up the lawn, eyed me attentively, saying
to the footman, _It will be so, John, you may depend upon it_.--John
answer'd only by a shrug.--What either meant, I shall not pretend to
divine.--As I came near the house, I met Mr. Jenkings almost out of
breath, and, pulling the string, he came to the coach-side. I was
hurrying home, my dear young Lady, said he, to--to--to--Now faith I'm
afraid you'll be angry.

Angry with you, Sir!--angry with you, Mr. Jenkings!--is it possible!

Then, to be plain, Madam, I was hurrying home, to request you would wear
no cap.--Never shall I forget how pretty you look'd, when I saw you
without one!--Of all things, I would _this day_ wish you might look your
best.

To satisfy him I had taken some little pains in honour to the family, I
let back the hood of my cloke.--He examin'd the manner in which my hair
was dress'd, and smiled his approbation;--which _smile_, though only
seen in the eyes, was more expressive than a contraction of all the
other features.--Wishing me a happy day, he bid the coachman drive on.

Coming within sight of the Abbey, my heart beat as if breaking from
confinement.--I was oblig'd to call it to a severe trial,--to ask, Why
this insurrection,--whence these tumults?--My monitor reply'd, Beware of
self-sufficiency,--beware of its mortifying consequences.--

How seasonable this warning against the worst of foes!--a foe which I
too much fear was stealing on me imperceptibly,--else why did I not
before feel those sensations?--Could I receive greater honour than has
been conferr'd on me by the noblest mind on earth!--by _Lady
Mary?_--Could I behold greater splendor than _Lady Mary_ is possess'd
of!--What affection in another can I ever hope for like _Lady
Mary's!_--Thus was I arguing with myself, when the coach-door open'd,
and a servant conducted me to the drawing-room,--where, I was receiv'd
by Sir James and Lady Powis with an air of polite tenderness;--a kind of
unreserve, that not only supports the timid mind, but dignifies every
word,--every action,--and gives to education and address their highest
polish.

Lord Darcey was sitting in the window, a book in his hand;--he came
forward as Sir James introduc'd me, who said, _Now_, my Lord, the
company of _this_ young Lady will make your Lordship's time pass more
agreeably, than it could have done in the conversation of two old
people.--My spirits were flutter'd; I really don't recollect his reply;
only that it shew'd him master of the great art, to make every one
pleas'd with themselves.

Shall I tell you, my dear Lady, what are my thoughts of _this_ Lord
Darcey?--To confess then, though his person is amazingly elegant, his
manners are still more engaging.--This I look upon to be the natural
consequence of a mind illumin'd with uncommon understanding, sweetness,
and refinement.

A short time before dinner the chaplain made his appearance,--a
venerable old man, with hair white as snow:--what renders his figure to
be completely venerated, is the loss of sight.--Her Ladyship rising from
her seat, led me towards him: Mr. Watson, said she, I am going to
introduce a lady whose _brightest charms_ will soon be visible to
you.--The best man in the world! whisper'd she, putting my hand in
his;--which hand I could not avoid putting to my lips.--_Thank_ you,
Miss Warley, said her Ladyship, _we all_ revere this gentleman.--Mr.
Watson was affected, some drops stole from their dark prisons, and he
bless'd me as if I had been his daughter:--my pleasure was
exquisite,--it seem'd as if I had receiv'd the benediction of an angel.

Our subjects turn'd more on the celestial than the terrestrial, till
dinner was serv'd up,--when I found that good _knight_ which has been so
long banish'd to the side-board, replac'd in his original station.

How different _this table_ from many others! where genteel sprightly
conversations are shut out; _where_ such as cannot feast their senses on
the genius of a _cook_, must rise unsatisfied.

A similitude of manners between your _Ladyship_ and _Lady Powis_,
particularly in doing the honours of the table, struck me so much, that
I once or twice call'd her _Lady Mary_.--Pray, Miss Warley, ask'd she,
who is this Lady Mary?

What could occasion her confusion!--what could occasion the confusion of
Sir James!--Never did I see any thing equal it, when I said it was Lady
Mary Sutton!--The significant looks that were interchang'd, spoke some
mystery;--a mystery it would be presumption in me to dive after. Her
Ladyship made no reply,--Sir James was eager to vary the subject,--and
the conversation became general.

Though autumn is far advanc'd, every thing here wears the face of
spring.--The afternoon being remarkably fine Lady Powis, Lord Darcey,
and myself, strolled out amongst the sweets.--We walk'd a considerable
time; his Lordship was all gaiety, talk'd with raptures of the
improvements; declar'd every thing he had seen abroad fell short of this
delightful spot; and _now_, my dear Lady Powis, added he, with an air of
gallantry, I can see _nothing_ wanting.

_Nothing_ wanting! return'd her Ladyship, sighing:--Ah! my Lord, _you_
are not a parent!--you feel nothing of a parent's woe!--_you_ do not
hourly regret the absence of a beloved and only son! Don't look serious,
my dear Lord, seeing him somewhat abash'd, you have hitherto tenderly
loved me.--Perhaps I had a mind to augment your affection, by bringing
to your recollection I was not happy.--His Lordship made no reply, but,
taking her hand, lifted it respectfully to his lips.

Mr. Jenkings is this moment coming up the lawn. I see him from
window;--excuse me, my dear Lady, whilst I step to ask him how he does.

I have been accounting to Mr. Jenkings for not coming home last night.
Good man! every mark of favour I receive, enlightens _his
countenance_.--The reasons I have given him, I shall now proceed to give
your Ladyship.

I said we were walking;--I have said the conversation was
interesting;--but I have not said it was interrupted by Sir James and
Mr. Watson, who join'd us just as Lord Darcey had quitted the hand of
Lady Powis.--A visit was propos'd to the Dairy-house, which is about a
mile from the Abbey.--In our way thither, I was full of curiosity, full
of inquiries about the neighbourhood, and whose seats _such_ and _such_
were, that enrich'd adjacent hills?--The neighbourhood, reply'd her
Ladyship, is in general polite and hospitable.--_Yes_, said Sir James,
and more smart young men, _Miss Warley_, than are to be met with in
_every_ county.--Yonder, continued he, live Mr. and Mrs. Finch,--very
rich,--very prudent, and very worthy;--they have one son, a discreet
lad, who seems to promise he will inherit their good qualities.

_That_ which you see so surrounded with woods, is Sir Thomas Slater's, a
_batchelor_ of fifty-five; and, let me tell you, fair Lady, the pursuit
of _every_ girl in the neighbourhood;--his estate a clear nine thousand
a-year, and--Hold, hold, interrupted Lord Darcey, in compassion to _us_
young fellows, say no more of this _redoubtable_ batchelor.

Well then, continued Sir James, since my Lord _will_ have it so,--let me
draw your eye, Miss Warley, from Sir Thomas Slater's, and fix it on Lord
Allen's: Observe the situation!--Nothing can be more beautiful, the
mind of its owner excepted.

_That_ house on the left is Mr. Winter's.--Chance!--_Strange
chance!_--has just put him in possession of an immense fortune, with
which he is going to purchase a _coronet_ for his daughter.--The fellow
does not know what to do with his _money_, and has at last found an
_ape_ of quality, that will take _it_ off his hands.

In this manner was Sir James characterising his neighbours, when a
sudden and violent storm descended.--Half a mile from the _Dairy-house_,
the rain fell in such torrents, that we were wet through, before a
friendly oak offer'd us its shelter.--Never shall I forget my own or
Lord Darcey's figure: he stripp'd himself of his coat, and would have
thrown it over Lady Powis. Her Ladyship absolutely refusing it, her
cloak being thick, mine the reverse, he forc'd it upon me. Sir James a
assisting to put my arms into the sleeves.--Nor was I yet enough of the
amazon:--they even compell'd me to exchange my hat for his, lapping it,
about my ears.--What a strange _metamorphose!_--I cannot think of it
without laughing!--To complete the scene, no exchange could be made,
till we reach'd the Abbey.--In this droll situation, we waited for the
coach; and getting, in, streaming from head to toe, it more resembled a
bathing machine, than any other vehicle.

A gentleman, who, after a chace of ten hours, had taken shelter under
the roof of Sir James, was, at our return, stamping up and down, the
vestibule, disappointed both in his sport and dinner, shew'd an aspect
cloudy as the heavens.--My mortification was scarce supportable, when I
heard him roar out, in a voice like thunder, _What the devil have we
here?_--I sprang to the top of the stairs in a moment,--there stopp'd to
fetch breath; and again the same person, who had so genteelly accosted
me, said to Lord Darcey,--_Great_ improvements, upon my soul!--_You_ are
return'd a mighty pretty _Miss_.--What, is _this_ the newest dress at
Turin?--I heard no more; her Ladyship's woman came and shew'd me to an
apartment,--bringing from her Lady's wardrobe a chints négligée, and a
suit of flower'd muslin; in which I was soon equipp'd.

Lady Powis sent to desire I would come to her dressing room; and,
embracing me as I entered, said, with, an air of charming freedom, If
you are not hurt, my dear, by our little excursion, I shall be quite in
spirits this evening.

I am only hurt by your Ladyship's goodness. Indeed, return'd she, I have
not a close heart, but no one ever found so quick a passage to it as
yourself.--Oh! Lady Mary, _this_ is surely a _heart_ like yours!--A
_heart_ like Mrs. Whitmore's!--Was you not surpris'd, _my dear_,
continued her Ladyship, to be so accosted by the gentleman below?--Take
no notice of what is said by Mr. Morgan.--that is his name;--he means
well, and never goes into any person's house, but where his oddities are
indulg'd.--I am particularly civil to him; he was an old school-fellow
of Sir James's, one whose purse was always open to him.--Sir James, Miss
Warley, was rather addicted to extravagance in the beginning of his
life;--_that_, in some respects, is revers'd latterly.--I have been a
sufferer,--yet is he a tender generous husband. One day you shall know
more.--I _had_ a son, Miss Warley--Here Sir James interrupted her.--I
come to tell you, said he, that Lord Darcey and myself are impatient for
our tea.

O fie! Sir James, return'd Lady Powis, talk of impatience before an
unmarried Lady!--If you go on at this rate, you will frighten her from
any connection with your sex.--Not at all,--not at all, said Sir James;
you take us for better for worse.--See there, Miss Warley smiles.--I
warrant she does not think my _impatience_ unseasonable.--I was going to
reply, but effectually stopped by her Ladyship, who said, taking my
hand, Come, my dear, let us go down.--I am fond of finding excuses for
Sir James; we will suppose it was not he who was impatient:--we will
suppose the _impatience_ to be Lord Darcey's.

Whilst regaling ourselves at the tea table, Mr. Morgan was in the
dining-parlour, brightening up his features by the assitance of the cook
and butler.--We were congratulating each other on the difference of our
present and late situation, declaring there was nothing to regret, when
Mr. Morgan enter'd.--Regret! cry'd he,--what do you regret?--Not, I
hope, that I have made a good dinner on a cold sirloin and pickled
oysters?--Indeed I do, said Lady Powis:--Had I thought you so poor a
caterer, I should have taken the office on myself.--Faith then, reply'd
he, you might have eat it yourself:--Forty years, my good Lady, I have
made this house my home, and did I ever suffer you to direct _what_, or
_when_, I should eat?--

Sir James laugh'd aloud; so did her Ladyship:--I was inclin'd to do the
same,--but afraid what next he would say;--However, this caution did not
screen me from particular notice.

What the duce have I here! said he, taking one of my hands,--a snow-ball
by the colour, and feeling? and down he dropp'd it by the side of Lord
Darcey's, which rested on the table.

I was never more confounded.

You are not angry, my pretty Lady, continued he:--we shall know one
another better;--but if you displease me,--I shall thunder.--I keep all
in subjection, except the _muleish kind_, making a low bow to Sir James.
Saying this, he went in pursuit of Mr. Watson.--They soon re-enter'd
together; a card-table was produc'd; and we sat down at it, whilst they
solac'd themselves by a good fire.

My attention was frequently taken from the cards, to observe how it was
possible such opposites as Mr. Watson and Mr. Morgan cou'd be
entertain'd by one another's conversation.--Never saw I any two
seemingly more happy!--The chearfulness of the former augmented;--the
voice of the latter at least three notes lower.--This has been since
explain'd to me by Lady Powis.--Mr. Morgan, she says, notwithstanding
his rough appearance, is of a nature so compassionate, that, to people
defective in person or fortune, he is the gentlest creature breathing.

Our party broke up at nine.--I sat half an hour after supper, then
propos'd returning to Mr. Jenkings's.--Lady Powis would not hear me on
this subject--I must stay that night at the Abbey:--venturing out such
weather would hazard my health.--So said Sir James; so said Lord
Darcey.--As for Mr. Morgan, he swore, Was he the former, his horses
should not stir out for fifty pieces, unless, said he, Sir James chooses
to be a fellow-sufferer with Lord Allen, who I have led such a chace
this day, that he was forced to leave poor Snip on the forest.--Saying
which, he threw himself back in the chair, and fell into a sound
sleep.--About eleven I retir'd to my chamber;--a message first being
sent to Mr. Jenkings.--Instead of going immediately to bed, I sat down
and indulg'd myself with the satisfaction of writing to my beloved Lady
Mary.--This morning I got up early to finish my packet; and though I
have spent half an hour with Mr. Jenkings, shall close it before her
Ladyship is stirring.

Your commands, my dear Lady, are executed.--I have wrote Mrs. Smith; and
as soon as I receive her answer, shall, with a joyful heart, with
impatient fondness, prepare to throw at your Ladyship's feet,

Your much honour'd,

and affectionate,

F. WARLEY.



LETTER IV.

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


Prepare your ten pieces, George!--Upon my honour, I was at Barford Abbey
a quarter before three, notwithstanding a detention on the road by Lord
Michell and Flecher, driving on Jehu for Bath, in his Lordship's phaeton
and fix.--You have seen them before this,--and, I suppose, know their
errand.--The girl is an egregious fool, that is certain.--I warrant
there are a hundred bets depending.--I ask'd what he intended doing with
her if he succeeded?--_Do_ with her! said his Lordship; why, she is not
more than eighteen; let her go to school: faith, Flecher, that's my
advice.--_Let her go_ to the devil after I am once sure of her,
return'd the lover; and, whipping up the horses; drove away like
lightning.

Be serious--Answer me one serious question,--Is it not possible,--_very_
possible, to have a regard, a _friendship_, for an amiable girl, without
endangering her peace or my own?--If I am further involv'd than
_friendship_,--the blame is not mine; it will lie at the door of Sir
James and Lady Powis.--Talk no more of Lady Elizabeth's smile, or Miss
Grevel's hair--Stuff!--meer stuff! nor keep me up after a late evening,
to hear your nonsense of Miss Compton's fine neck and shoulders, or
Fanny Middleton's eyes.--Come here next week, I will insure you a sight
of all those graces in one form. Come, I say, you will be welcome to Sir
James and his Lady as myself.--Miss Warley will smile on you.--What
other inducement can you want?--Don't be too vain of Miss Warley's
smiles; _for know_, she cannot look without them.

Who is Miss Warley?--What is Miss Warley?--you ask.--To your first
question I can only answer, A visitor at Jenkings's.--To the
second,--She is what has been so much sought after in every age, perfect
harmony of mind and person.--Such a hand, George--

Already have I been here eight days:--was I to measure time, I should
call them hours.--My affairs with Sir James will take up longer in
settling than I apprehended.--Come therefore this week or the next, I
charge you.--Come as you hope to see Miss Warley. What do you think Sir
James said to me the other day?--Was Miss Warley a girl of fortune, I
should think her born for you, Darcey.--As that is not the case,--take
care of your heart, my Lord.--She will never attempt to drag you into
scrapes:--your little favourite robin, that us'd to peck from your hand,
has not less guile.

No! he will never consent;--I must only think of _friendship_.

Lady Powis doats on this paragon of beauty: scarce within their
walls,--when she was mention'd with such a just profusion of praises, as
fill'd me with impatience.--Lady Powis is a heavenly woman.--You do not
laugh;--many would, for supposing any of that sex _heavenly_ after
fifty.--The coach is this moment going for Miss Warley;--it waits only
for me;--I am often her conductor.--Was _you_ first minister of
state,--I the humble suitor whose bread depended on your favour,--not
one line more, even to express my wants.


Twelve o'clock, at night.

Our fair visitor just gone;--just gone home with Edmund.--What an
officious fool, to take him in the carriage, and prevent myself from a
pleasure I envy him for.--I am not in spirits;--I can write no
more;--perhaps the next post:--but I will promise nothing.

I am, _&c. &c._

DARCEY.



LETTER V.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.

_Bath_.


Confound your friendships!--_Friendship_ indeed!--What! up head and ears
in love, and not know it.--So it is necessary for every woman you think
capable of friendship, to have fine eyes, fine hair, a bewitching smile,
and a neck delicately turn'd.--Have not I the highest opinion of my
cousin Dolly's sincerity?--Do I not think her very capable of
_friendship?_--Yet, poor soul, her eyes are planted so deep, it requires
good ones to discover she has any.--Such a hand, George!--Such a hand,
Darcey!--Why, Lady Dorothy too has hands; I am often enough squeez'd by
them:--though hard as a horse's hoof, and the colour of tanned leather,
I hold her capable of _friendship_.--Neck she has none,--smile she has
none! yet need I the determination of another, to tell me whether my
regard for her proceeds from love or _friendship?_--Awake,--Awake,
Darcey,--Awake:--Have you any value for your own peace?--have you any
for that of Miss Warley's? If so, leave Barford Abbey.--Should you
persist in loving her, for love her I know you do?--Should the quiet of
such an amiable woman as you describe be at stake? To deal plainly, I
will come down and propose the thing myself.--No sword,--no pistol. I
mean not for _myself_, but one whose happiness is dear to me as my
_own_.

Suppose your estate is but two thousand a-year, are you so fond of shew
and equipage, to barter real felicity for baubles?--I am angry,--so
angry, that it would not grieve me to see you leading to the altar an
old hobbling dowager without a tooth.--Be more yourself,

And I am yours,

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER VI

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_,


Angry!--You are really angry!--Well, I too am angry with myself.--I do
love Miss Warley;--but why this to you?--Your penetration has already
discover'd it.--Yet, O Molesworth! such insurmountable obstacles:--no
declaration can be made,--at least whilst I continue in this
neighbourhood.

Sir James would rave at my imprudence.--Lady Powis, whatever are her
sentiments, must give them up to his opinion.--Inevitably I lose the
affection of persons I have sacredly--promised to obey,--sacredly.--Was
not my promise given to a dying father?--Miss Warley has no tye; yet, by
the duty she observes to Sir James and Lady Powis, you would think her
bound by the strongest cords of nature.

Scarce a moment from her:--at Jenkings's every morning;--on foot if good
weather,--else in the coach for the convenience of bringing her with
me.--I am under no constraint:--Sir James and her Ladyship seem not the
least suspicious: this I much wonder at, in the former particularly.

In my _tête-à-têtes_ with Miss Warley, what think you are our
subjects?--Chiefly divinity, history, and geography.--Of these studies
she knows more than half the great men who have wrote for ages past.--On
a taste for the two latter I once prided myself.--An eager pursuit for
the former springs up in my mind, whilst conversing with her, like a
plant long hid in the earth, and called out by the appearance of a
summer's sun.--This sun must shine at Faulcon Park;--without it all will
be dreary:--_yet_ how can I draw it thither?--_Edmund_--but why should I
fear _Edmund?_

Will you, or will you not, meet your old friend Finch here next
Wednesday?--Be determined in your answer.--I have suspence enough on my
hands to be excused from any on your account.--Sir James thinks it
unkind you have not called on him since I left England;--hasten
therefore to make up matters with the baronet,--Need I say the pleasure
I shall have in shaking you by the hand?

DARCEY.



LETTER VII.

The Hon. GEORGE MOLESWORTH to Lord DARCEY.

_Bath_.


Wednesday next you shall see me,--positively you shall.--Bridgman will
be of the party.

I propose an immensity of satisfaction from this visit.--Forbid it,
heaven! Miss Warley's opposite should again give me a meeting at the
Abbey.--After the conversation I am made to expect, how should I be
mortified to have my ears eternally dinn'd with catgut work,--painting
gauze,--weaving fringes,--and finding out enigmas?--Setting a fine
face, Miss Winter is out-done by Fletcher's Nancy.--A-propos, I
yesterday saw that very wise girl step into a chaise and wheel off for
Scotland, begging and praying we would make the best of it to her
mamma.--Not the least hand had I in this affair; but, willing to help
out people in distress, at the entreaties of Lord Michell, I waited on
the old Lady at her lodging.

I found her in a furious plight,--raving at her servants,--packing up
her cloaths, and reflecting on her relations who had persuaded her to
come to Bath.--When I entered she was kneeling by a huge travelling
trunk, stuffing in a green purse at one corner, which I supposed to be
full of gold.

Where is Nancy?--riling from the ground, and accosting me with looks of
fury;--Where is Nancy, Mr. Molesworth?

Really, _Madam_, that is a question I cannot positively answer;--but, to
be sincere, I believe she is on the road to Scotland.

_Believe!_--So you would have me think you are not one of Fletcher's
clan.--But, tell him from me, running to the trunk after her purse, and
shaking it just at my ear,--_tell him_, he shall never be a penny the
better for this.

I took my hat, and looked towards the door, as if going.

Stop, Mr. Molesworth, (her voice somewhat lowered) why in so great a
hurry?--I once thought you my friend. Pray inform me if Nancy was forced
away;--or, if me went willingly.

You have no right, Madam, after the treatment I have received, to expect
an answer; but justice bids me declare her going off seemed a matter of
choice.

Poor child!--You was certainly trapann'd (and she put a handkerchief to
her eyes).

I solemnly protest, Madam, I have seen your daughter but twice since she
came to Bath.--Last night, when coming from the Rooms, I saw her step
into a chaise, followed by Mr. Fletcher.--They beckoned me towards them,
whispered the expedition they were going upon, and requested me to break
the matter to you, and intercede for their pardon.--My visit has not
answered its salutary purpose--I perceive it _has not_. So saying I
turned from her,--knowing, by old acquaintance, how I was to play my
cards, me being one of those kind of spirits which are never quell'd but
by opposition.

After fetching me from the door, she promised to hear calmly what I had
to say;--and, tho' no orator, I succeeded so well as to gain an
assurance, she would see them at their return from Scotland.

I left the old Lady in tolerable good humour, and was smiling to myself,
recollecting the bout I had passed, when, who should come towards me but
Lord Michell,--his countenance full-fraught with curiosity.

Well, George!--dear George!--what success in your embassy?--I long to
know the fate of honest Fletcher.--Is he to loll in a coach and
six?--or, is the coroner's inquest to bring in their verdict Lunacy?

A sweet alternative!--_As_ your Lordship's assiduity has shewn the
former is the highest pinnacle to which you would wish to lift a
friend, I believe your most sanguine hopes are here answered.

Is it _so!_--Well, if ever Fletcher offers up a prayer, it ought to be
for you, Molesworth.

Vastly good, my Lord.--What, before he prays for himself?--_This_ shews
your Lordship's _very_ high notions of gratitude.

We have high notions of every thing.--Bucks and bloods, as we are
call'd,--you may go to the devil before you will find a set of honester
fellows.

To the _Devil_, my Lord!--That's true, I believe.

He was going to reply when the three choice spirits came up, and hurried
him, away to the Tuns.

A word to _you_, Darcey.--Surely you are never serious in the ridiculous
design.--Not offer yourself to Miss Warley, whilst she continues in that
neighbourhood?--the very spot on which you ought to secure her,--unless
you think all the young fellows who visit at the Abbey are blind, except
yourself.--_Why_, you are jealous _already_;--_jealous_ of
_Edmund_.--Perhaps _even I_ may become one of your tormentors.--If I
like her I shall as certainly tell her _so, as_ that my name is

MOLESWORTH.

[Here two Letters are omitted, one from Lady MARY to Miss WARLEY,--and
one from Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY.]



LETTER VIII.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.

From Mr. _Jenkings's_.


Ah! my dear Lady, how kind,--how inexpressibly kind, to promise I shall
one day know what has put an end to the intimacy between the two Ladies
I _so_ much revere.

To find your Ladyship has still a high opinion of Lady Powis, has filled
me with pleasure.--Fear of the reverse often threw a damp on my heart,
whilst receiving the most tender caresses.--You bid me love her!--You
say I cannot love her too well!--_This_ is a command my heart springs
forward to obey.

Unhappy family!--What a loss does it sustain by the absence of Mr.
Powis?--_No_, I can never forgive the Lady who has occasioned this
source of sorrow.--Why is her name concealed?--But what would it benefit
me to come at a knowledge of it?

Pity Sir James should rather see such a son _great_ than happy.--Six
thousand a year, _yet_ covet a fortune twice as large!--Love of riches
makes strange wreck in the human heart.

Why did Mr. Powis leave his native country?--The refusal of a Lady with
whom he only sought an union in obedience to his father, could not
_greatly_ affect him.--Was not such an overture _without_
affection,--_without_ inclination,--a blot in his fair
character?--Certainly it was.--Your Ladyship seems to think Sir James
only to blame.--I dare not have presumed to offer my opinion, had you
not often told me, it betray'd a meanness to hide our real sentiments,
when call'd upon to declare them.

Lady Powis yesterday obliged me with a sight of several letters from her
son.--_I_ am not mistress of a stile like _his_, or your Ladyship would
have been spar'd numberless tedious moments.--Such extraordinary
deckings are seldom to be met with in common minds.

I told Lady Powis, last evening, that I should devote this day to my
pen;--so I shall not be sent for;--a favour I am sure to have conferr'd
if I am not at the Abbey soon after breakfast.--Lord Darcey is
frequently my escort.--I am pleased to see that young nobleman regard
Edmund as if of equal rank with himself.

Heavens! his Lordship is here!--full-dressed, and just alighted from the
coach,--to fetch me, I fear.--I shall know in a moment; Mrs. Jenkings
is coming up.

Even so.--It vexes me to be thus taken off from my agreeable task;--yet
I cannot excuse myself,--her Ladyship is importunate.--She sends me word
I _must_ come;--that I _must_ return with Lord Darcey.--Mrs. Finch is
accidentally dropp'd in with her son.--I knew the latter was expected to
meet two gentlemen from Bath,--one of them an intimate friend of Lord
Darcey.--Mrs. Finch is an amiable woman;--it is to her Lady Powis wants
to introduce me.

_Your Servant, my Lord_.--A very genteel way to hasten me
down--impatient, I suppose, to see his friend from Bath.--_Well_, Jenny,
tell his Lordship it will be needless to have the horses taken out.--I
shall be ready in a quarter of an hour.--Adieu, my dear Lady.


Eleven o'clock at night.

Every thing has conspired to make this day more than commonly
agreeable.--It requires the pen of a Littelton to paint the different
graces which shone in conversation.--As no such pen is at hand, will
your Ladyship receive from _mine_ a short description of the company at
the Abbey?

Mrs. Finch is about seven and forty;--her person plain,--her mind
lovely,--her bosom fraught with happiness.--She dispenses it
promiscuously.--Every smile,--every accent,--conveys it to all around
her.--A countenance engagingly open.--Her purse too, I am told, when
occasions offer, open as her heart.--How largely is she repaid for her
balsamic gifts,--by seeing those virtues early planted in the mind of
her son, spring up and shoot in a climate where a blight is almost
contagious!

Mr. Finch is the most sedate young man I have ever seen;--but his
sedateness is temper'd with a _sweetness_ inexpressible;--a certain
mildness in the features;--_a mildness_ which, in the countenance of
that great commander I saw at Brandon Lodge, appears like _mercy_ sent
out from the heart to discover the dwelling of _true courage_.--There is
certainly a strong likeness between the Marquis and Lord Darcey;--_so
strong_, that when I first beheld his Lordship I was quite struck with
surprize.

Mr. Molesworth and Mr. Bridgman, the two gentlemen from Bath, are very
opposite to each other in person and manner; yet both in a different
degree seem to be worthy members of society.

Mr. Molesworth, a most entertaining companion,--vastly chearful,--smart
at repartee; and, from the character Lord Darcey has given me of him,
very sincere.

Mr. Bridgman has a good deal the air of a foreigner; attained, I
suppose, by his residence some years at the court of ----, in a public
character.--Very fit he appears for such an
employ.--Sensible,--remarkably polite,--speaks all languages with the
same fluency as his own; but then a veil of disagreeable reserve throws
a dark shade over those perfections.--_Perhaps_ I am wrong to spy out
faults so early;--_perhaps_ to-morrow my opinion may be
different.--First prepossessions--Ah! What would I have said of _first
prepossessions?_--Is it not to them I owe a thousand blessings?--I, who
have nothing to recommend me but being unfortunate.

Somthing lies at my heart.--Yet I think I could not sleep in quiet, was
I to drop a hint in disfavour of Mr. Jenkings;--it may not be in his
_disfavour_ neither:--However, my dear Lady, you shall be the judge,
after I have repos'd a few hours.


Seven o'clock in the morning.

Why should I blame Mr. Jenkings?--Is not Edmund his only son?--his only
child?--Is he less my friend for suspecting?--Yes, my Lady, I perceive
he does _suspect_.--He is uneasy.--He supposes his son encouraging an
improper affection.--I see it in his very looks:--he must think me an
artful creature.--This it is that distresses me.--I wish I could hit on
a method to set his heart at rest.--If I barely hint a design of leaving
the neighbourhood, which I have done once or twice, he bursts into
tears, and I am oblig'd to sooth him like a child.

How account for this behaviour?--Why does he look on me with the eye of
fatherly affection,--yet think me capable of a meanness I _despise?_

I believe it impossible for a human being to have _more_ good nature, or
_more_ good qualities, than Edmund; yet had he the riches of a Mogul, I
could never think of a connection with him.--_He_, worthy young man, has
never given his father cause for _suspicion_.--I am convinced he has
not.--Naturally of an obliging disposition, he is ever on the watch for
opportunities to gratify his amiable inclinations:--not _one_ such
selfish motive as love to push him on.

A summons to breakfast.--Lord Darcey, it seems, is below;--I suppose,
slid away from his friends to call on Edmund.--Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings are
_all_ smiles, _all_ good humour, to their son,--I hope it is only I who
have been _suspicious_.--Lord Darcey is still with Edmund.--They are at
this moment under my window,--counselling perhaps, about a commission
he wants his father to purchase for him in the Guards.--I should be glad
to see this matter accommodated;--yet, I could wish, in _so_ tender a
point, his Lordship may not be _too_ forward in advising.--Mr. and Mrs.
Jenkings have such an opinion of him,--they pay such deference to what
he says,--his advice _must_ have weight;--and they _may_ be unhappy by
giving up their inclinations.

The praises of Lord Darcey are forever sounding in my ears.--To what a
height would the partiality of Mrs. Jenkings lift me?--She would have me
think,--I cannot tell your Ladyship what she would _have me think_.--My
hopes dare not take _such_ a flight.--No!--I can perceive what their
fall _must_ be;--I can perceive _it_, without getting on the top of the
precipice to look down.

I shall order every thing for my departure, according to your Ladyship's
directions, holding myself in readiness to attend Mr. and Mrs. Smith, at
the time proposed.

Oxfordshire I must revisit,--for a few days only;--having some little
matters to regulate.

The silks I have purchas'd for your Ladyship are slight, as you
directed, except a white and gold, which is the richest and most
beautiful I could procure.

How imperceptibly time slides on?--The clock strikes eleven,--in spight
of the desire I have of communicating many things more.--An engagement
to be with Lady Powis at twelve hastens me to conclude myself

Your Ladyship's

Most honour'd and affectionate,

F. WARLEY.



LETTER IX.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.

_Bath_.


What a sacrifice do you offer up to that old dog Plutus!--I have lost
_all_ patience,--_all_ patience, I say.--_Such_ a woman!--_such_ an
angelic woman!--But what has,--what will avail my arguments?--Her peace
is gone,--if you persevere in a behaviour so _particular_,--absolutely
gone.

Bridgman this morning told me, that unless I assured him you had
_pretensions_ to Miss Warley, he was determined to offer her his
hand;--_that_ nothing prevented him from doing it whilst at the Abbey,
but your mysterious conduct, which he was at a loss how to construe.
--Not to offend _you_, the _Lady_ or _family_ she is with, he apply'd,
he said, to _me_, as a friend of each party, to set him right.

Surely, Bridgman, returned I, you wish to keep yourself in the dark; or
how the duce have you been six days with people whose countenances speak
so much sensibility, and not make the discovery you seek after?

Though her behaviour to us; continued I, was politeness itself, was
there nothing more than _politeness_ in her address to Lord Darcey?--Her
smiles _too_, in which Diana and the Graces revel, saw you not _them_,
how they played from one to another, like sun-beams on the water, until
they fixed on him?--Is the nation in debt?--So much is Darcey in
love;--and you may as well pay off one, as rival the other with
success.

Observe, my friend, in what manner I have answered for you.--Keep her,
therefore, no longer in suspence.--Delays of this sort are not only
dangerous, but cruel.--Why delight to torture what we most admire?--From
a boy you despised such actions.--Often have I known Dick Jones, when at
Westminster, threshed by your hand for picking poor little birds
alive.--_His_ was an early point;--but for _Darcey_, accoutred with the
breast-plate of honour, even before he could read the word that
signifies its intrinsic value,--_for him_ to be falling off,--falling
off at a time _too_, when Virtue herself appears in person to support
him!

Can you say, you mean not to injure her?--Is a woman only to be injured,
but by an attempt on her virtue?--Is it _no_ crime, _no_ fault, to cheat
a young innocent lovely girl out of her affections, and give her
nothing in return but regret and disappointment?

Reflect, what a task is mine, thus to lay disagreeable truths plainly
before you.--To hear it pronounced, that Lord and Lady Darcey are the
happiest couple on earth, is the hope that has pushed me on to this
unpleasing office.

Bridgman is just set out for town.--I am charg'd with a profusion of
respects, thanks, &c. &c. &c. which, if you have the least oeconomy,
will serve for him, and

Your very humble servant,

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER X.

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


Bridgman!--Could Bridgman dare aspire to Miss Warley!--_He_ offer her
his hand!--_he_ be connected with a woman whose disposition is
diametrically opposite to his own!--_No_,--that would not have done,
though I had never seen her.--Let him seek for one who has a heart shut
up by a thousand locks.

After his _own_ conjectures,--after what _you_ have told him,--should he
_but_ attempt to take her from me, by all that is sacred, he shall
repent it dearly.

Molesworth! _you_ are my friend,--I take your admonitions well;--but,
surely, you should not press thus hardly on my soul, knowing its uneasy
situation.--My state is even more perplexing than when we parted:--I did
not then know she was going to France.--_Yes_, she is absolutely going
to _France_.--Why leave her friends here?--Why not wait the arrival of
Lady Mary Sutton in England?

I have used every dissuasive argument _but one_.--That shall be my
last.--If _that_ fails I go--I positively go with her.--It is your
opinion that she loves me.--Would it were mine!--_Not_ the least
partiality can I discover.--Why then be precipitate?--Every moment she
is gaining ground in the affections of Sir James and Lady Powis.--_Time_
may work wonders in the mind of the former.--Without his consent never
can I give my hand;--the commands of a dying father forbid me.--_Such_ a
father!--O George! you did not know him;--_so_ revered,--_so_
honour'd,--_so_ belov'd! not more in public than in private life.

_My friend_, behold your son!--_Darcey_, behold your father!--_As_ you
reverence and obey Sir James, _as_ you consult him on all occasions,
_as_ you are guided by his advice, receive my blessing.--These were his
parting words, hugg'd into me in his last cold embrace.--No, George, the
promise I made can never be forfeited.--I sealed it on his lifeless
hand, before I was borne from him.

_Now_, are you convinc'd no mean views with-hold me?--You despise not
more than I do the knave and coxcomb; for no other, to satiate their own
vanity, would sport away the quiet of a fellow-creature.--Well may you
call it cruel.--_Such_ cruelties fall little short of those practised by
_Nero_ and _Caligula_.

Did it depend on myself only, I would tell Miss Warley I love, _every
time_ I behold her enchanting face; _every time_ I hear the voice of
wisdom springing from the seat of innocence.

No shadow of gaining over Sir James!--_Efforts_ has not been wanting:--I
mean _efforts_ to declare my inclination.--I have follow'd him like a
ghost for days past, thinking at every step how I should bless _this_ or
_that_ spot on which he consented to my happiness.--Pleasing
phantoms!--How have they fled at sight of his determin'd
countenance!--Methought I could trace _in it_ the same obduracy which
nature vainly pleaded to remove.--In _other_ matters my heart is
resolute;--_here_ an errant coward.--No! I cannot break it to him whilst
in Hampshire.--When I get to town, a letter _shall_ speak for
me.--Sometimes I am tempted to trust the secret to Lady Powis.--She is
compassionate;--she would even risk her own peace to preserve
mine.--Again the thoughts of involving her in fresh perplexities
determines me against it.

Had my father been acquainted with that part of Sir James's character
which concerned his son, I am convinc'd he would have made some
restrictions in regard to the explicit obedience he enjoined.--But all
was hushed whilst Mr. Powis continued on his travels; nor, until he
settled abroad, did any one suspect there had been a family
disagreement:--_even_ at _this_ time the whole affair is not generally
known.--The name of the lady to whom he was obliged to make proposals,
is in particular carefully concealed.--I, who from ten years old have
been bred up with them, am an entire stranger to it.--_Perhaps_ no part
of the affair would ever have transpired, had not Sir James made some
discoveries, in the first agitation of his passion, before a large
company, when he received an account of Mr. Powis's being appointed to
the government of ----. No secret can be safe in a breast where every
passage is not well guarded against an enemy which, like lightning,
throws up all before it.

Let me not forget to tell you, amongst a multiplicity of concerns
crowding on my mind, that I have positively deny'd Edmund to intercede
with his father regarding the commission.--A bare surmise that he is my
rival, has silenced me.--Was I ungenerous enough to indulge myself in
getting rid of him, an opportunity now offers;--but I am _as_ averse to
such proceedings as _he_ ought to be who is the friend of Molesworth,
and writes the name of

DARCEY.



LETTER XI.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to Lord DARCEY.

_Bath_.


Believe me, my dear Lord, I never suspected you capable of designs you
justly hold in abhorrence.--If I expressed myself warmly, it was owing
to your keeping from me the knowledge of those particulars which have
varied every circumstance.--I saw my friend a poor restless being,
irresolute, full of perplexities.--I felt for him.--I rejoice now to
find from whence this _irresolution_, those _perplexities_ arose.--She
is,--she must,--by heaven! she shall be yours:--A reward fit only for
_such_ great--_such_ noble resolutions.

You talk of a _last_ argument--Forbear _that_ argument.--You _must_ not
use it before you have laid your intentions open to Sir
James.--_Neither_ follow her to France.--What, as you are situated,
would _that_ avail?--Prevent her going, _if_ you can.--_Such_ a woman,
under the protection of Lady Mary Sutton, _must_ have many advantageous
proposals.

I understand _nothing_ of features,--I know _nothing_ of physiognomy, if
you have any uneasiness from Bridgman.--It was not marks of a violent
passion he betrayed;--rather, I think, an ambition of having his taste
approved by the world;--but we shall know more of the matter when I meet
him in town.

Stupidity!--Not see her partiality!--not see that she loves you!--She
will some time hence own it as frankly with her lips, as her eyes have
told you a thousand times, did you understand their language.--The duce
a word could _I_ get from them.--Very uncivil, I think, not to _speak_
when they were _spoke_ to,--They will be ready enough, I suppose, with
their _thanks_ and _applauses_, when I present her hand to be united
with her heart. That office shall be _mine_:--_Something_ tells me,
there is to be an alteration in _your_ affairs, sudden as unexpected.

I go to the rooms this evening for the last time.--To-morrow I set out
for Slone Hall, in my way to London.--Here I shall spend two or three
days happily with my good-natured cousin Lady Dorothy.--Perhaps we may
take an airing together as far as your territories.--I shall _now_ look
on Faulcon-Park with double pleasure.--Neither that or the agreeable
neighbourhood round it will be ever bridled over by a haughty
dame.--(Miss Warley, forbid it.)--Some such we see in _high_ as well as
_low_ life.--Haughtiness is the reverse of true greatness; therefore it
staggers me to behold it in the former.

A servant with a white favour!--What can this mean?--

Upon my word, Mr. Flecher, you return with your fair bride sooner than I
expected.--_A card too_.--Things must be _finely_ accommodated with the
old Lady.--Your Lordship being at too great a distance to partake of the
feast, pray regale on what calls me to it.

"Mrs. Moor and Mr. and Mrs. Flecher's compliments to Mr. Molesworth.--My
son and daughter are just return'd from Scotland, and hope for the
pleasure of Mr. Molesworth's company with eight or ten other friends, to
congratulate them this evening on their arrival.--Both the Ladies and
Mr. Flecher will be much disappointed, if you do not accept our
invitation."

True as I live, _neither added_ or _diminished_ a tittle,--and wrote by
the hand of Flecher's Desdemona.--Does not a man richly deserve thirty
thousand pounds with a wife _like this?_--Not for _twice_ that sum would
I see such nonsense come from her I was to spend my life with.

Pity Nature and Fortune has such frequent bickerings! When one smiles
the other frowns.--I wish the gipsies would make up matters, and send us
down their favours wrapp'd up together.

Considering the friendship you have honour'd Edmund with, I have no idea
he can presume to think of Miss Warley, _seeing_ what he must _see_.

I shall expect to find a letter on my arrival in St. James's
Street.--Omit not those respects which are due at Barford Abbey.

Yours,

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XII.

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


I should be in a fine plight, truly, to let her go to France without
me!--Why, I am almost besides myself at the thoughts of an eight days
separation.--Was ever any thing so forgetful!--To bring no other cloaths
here but mourning!--Did she always intend to encircle the sun with a
sable cloud?--Or, why not dispatch a servant?--A journey into
Oxfordshire is absolutely necessary.--Some _other_ business, I suppose;
but I am not enough in her confidence to know of what nature.--Poh!
love!--Impossible, and refuse me so small a boon as to attend
her!--requested too in a manner that spoke my whole soul.--Yes; I had
near broke through all my resolutions.--This I did say, If Miss Warley
refuses her dear hand, pressing it to my lips, in the same peremptory
manner,--what will become of him who without it is lost to the whole
world?--The reply ventur'd no further than her cheek;--there sat
enthron'd in robes of crimson.--I scarce dar'd to look up:--her eyes
darted forth a ray so powerful, that I not only quitted her hand, but
suffered her to leave the room without my saying another word.--This
happened at Jenkings's last evening; in the morning she was to set out
with the old gentleman for Oxfordshire.--I did not attempt seeing her
again 'till that time, fearing my presence might be unpleasing, after
the confusion I had occasion'd.

Sick of my bed I got up at five; and taking a gun, directed my course to
the only spot on earth capable of affording me delight.--The outer gate
barr'd:--no appearance of any living creature, except poor Caesar.--He,
hearing my voice, crept from his wooden-house, and, instead of barking,
saluted me in a whining tone:--stretching himself, he jumped towards the
gate, licking my hand that lay between the bars.--I said many kind
things to this faithful beast, in hopes my voice would awaken some of
the family.--The scheme succeeded.--A bell was sounded from one of the
apartments; that opposite to which I stood.--A servant opening the
window-shutters, I was tempted to keep my stand.--A white beaver with a
green feather, and a riding-dress of the same colour, plainly told me
this was the room where rested all my treasure, and caused in my mind
such conflicts as can no more be described by _me_ than felt by
_another_.--Unwilling to encrease my tortures I reeled to an old tree,
which lay on a bank near;--there sat down to recover my trembling.--The
next thing which alarmed me was an empty chaise, driving full speed
down the hill.--I knew on _what_ occasion, yet could not forbear asking
the post-boy.--He answered, To carry some company from yonder house.--My
situation was really deplorable,--when I beheld my dear lovely girl
walking in a pensive mood, attir'd in that very dress which I espied
through the window.--Heavy was the load I dragged from head to heel;
yet, like a Mercury, I flew to meet her.--She saw me,--started,--and
cry'd, Bless me! my Lord! what brings you hither at this early
hour?--The real truth was springing to my lips, when, recollecting her
happiness might be the sacrifice, I said, examining the lock of my
gun,--I am waiting, Miss Warley, for that lazy fellow Edmund:--he
promised to shew me an eye of pheasants.--If you are not a very keen
sportsman, returned she, what says your Lordship to a cup of
chocolate?--It will not detain you long;--Mrs. Jenkings has some ready
prepared for the travellers.

She pronounced _travellers_ with uncommon glee;--at least I thought
so,--and, nettled at her indifference, could not help replying, _You_
are _very_ happy, madam;--_you_ part with your friends _very_
unreluctantly, I perceive.

If any thing ever appeared in my favour, it was now.--Her confusion was
visible;--even Edmund observed it, who just then strolled towards us,
and said, looking at both attentively, What is the matter with Miss
Warley?

With me, Edmund? she retorted,--nothing ails me.--I suppose you think I
am enough of the fine lady to complain the whole day, because I have got
up an hour before my usual time.

His tongue was _now_ silent;--his eyes _full_ of enquiries.--He fixed
them on us alternately,--wanting to discover the situation of our
hearts.--Why so curious, Edmund?--Things cannot go on long at this
rate.--_Your_ heart must undergo a strict scrutiny before I shall know
what terms we are upon.

No words can paint my gratitude for worthy Jenkings.--He went to the
Abbey, on foot, before breakfast was ended, to give me an opportunity of
supplying his place in the chaise.--At parting he actually took one of
my hands, joined it with Miss Warley's, and I could perceive petitions
ascending from the seat of purity.--I know to what they tended.--I
_felt_, I _saw_ them.--The chaise drove off. I could have blessed
him.--May my blessings overtake him!--May they light where virtue sits
enshrin'd by locks of silver.

Yes, if his son was to wound me in the tenderest part, for the sake of
_such_ a father, I think,--I know not what to think.--Living in such
suspence is next to madness.

She treats him with the freedom of a sister.--She calls him
Edmund,--leans on his arm, and suffers him to take her hand.--The least
favour conferred on me is with an air _so_ reserved, _so_ distant, as if
she would say, I have not for you the least sentiment of tenderness.

Lady Powis sends to desire I will walk with her.--A sweet companion am I
for a person in low spirits!--That her's are not high is evident.--She
has shed many tears this morning at parting with Miss Warley.

Instead of eight days mortification we might have suffer'd twenty, had
not her Ladyship insisted on an absolute promise of returning at that
time.--Farewel till then.

Yours,

DARCEY.



LETTER XIII.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.

_From the Crown, at ----_.


Here am I, ever-honour'd lady, forty miles on the road to that beloved
spot, where, for nineteen years, my tranquility was uninterrupted.--Will
a serene sky always hang over me?--It will be presumption to suppose
it,--when thousands, perhaps, endowed with virtues the most god-like,
have nothing on which they can look _back_ but dark clouds,--nothing to
which they can look _forward_ but gathering storms.--Am I a bark only
fit to sail in fair weather?--Shall I not prepare to meet the waves of
disappointment?

How does my heart bear,--how throb,--to give up follies which dare not
hide themselves where a passage is made _by_ generosity, _by_ affection
unbounded.--Yes, my dear Lady, this is the only moment I do not regret
being absent from you;--for could my tongue relate what my pen trembles
to discover?--No!

Behold _me_ at your Ladyship's feet!--behold _me_ a supplicant suing for
my returning peace!--_You_ only, can restore it.--Command that I give up
my preference for Lord Darcey, and the intruder is banished from my
heart:--_then_ shall I no more labour to deceive myself:--_then_ shall I
no more blindly exchange certain peace for doubtful happiness,--a
_quiet_ for a _restless_ mind.--Humility has not fled me;--my heart has
not fallen a sacrifice to title, pomp, or splendor.--Yet, has it not
foolishly, unasked, given itself up?--Ah! my Lady, not entirely unask'd
neither; or, why, from the first moment, have I seen him shew _such_
tender, _such_ respectful assiduities?--why _so_ ardently solicit to
attend me into Oxfordshire?--why ask, if I refused my hand in the same
peremptory manner, what would become of the man who without it was lost
to the whole world?--But am I not too vain?--Why should this man be Lord
Darcey?--Rather one rising to his imagination, who he might possibly
suppose was entrapped by my girlish years.--A few, a very _few_ weeks,
and I am gone from him forever.--If your Ladyship's goodness can pardon
the confession I have made, no errors will I again commit of the kind
which now lies blushing before you.

Next to your Ladyship Mr. Jenkings is the best friend I have on
earth.--He _never_ has suspected, or _now_ quite forgets his
suspicions.--Not all my entreaties could prevent him from taking this
long journey with me.--His age, his connections, his business, every
thing is made subservient to my convenience--Whilst I write he is below,
and has just sent up to know if I will permit a gentleman of his
acquaintance, whom he has met accidentally at this inn, to dine with
us.--Why does he use this ceremony?--I can have no objection to any
friend of _his_.--Dinner is served up.--I shall write again at our last
stage this evening.


_From the Mitre at ----_.

Past twelve at night!--An hour I used to think the most silent of
any:--but _here_ so much the reverse, one reasonably may suppose the
inhabitants, or guests, have mistaken midnight for mid-day.

I will ring and enquire, why all this noise?

A strange bustle!--Something like fighting!--Very near, I
protest.--Hark! bless me, I shall be frightened to death!--The
chambermaid not come! Would I could find my way to Mr. Jenkings's
room!--Womens voices, as I live!--Begging!--praying!--Ah! ah! now they
cry, Take the swords away!--Take the swords away!--Heaven defend us! to
be sure we shall be all killed.


_One o'clock_.

Not kill'd, but terrified out of my senses.--Well, if ever I stop at
this inn again--

You remember, Madam, I was thrown into a sad fright by the hurry and
confusion without.--I dropped my pen, and pulled the bell with greater
violence.--No one came;--the noise increas'd.--Several people ran up and
down by the door of my apartment.--I flew and double lock'd it.--But,
good God! what were my terrors, when a voice cried out, She cannot be
brought to life!--Is there no assistance at hand?--no surgeon near?--I
rushed from my chamber, in the first emotions of surprize and
compassion, to mix in a confused croud, _unknowing_ and _unknown_.--I
ventur'd no further than the passage. Judge my astonishment, to perceive
there, and in a large room which open'd into it, fifty or sixty well
dressed people of both sexes:--_Women_, some crying, some
laughing:--_Men_ swearing, stamping, and calling upon others to come
down and end the dispute below.--I thought of nothing _now_, but how to
retreat unobserv'd:--when a gentleman, in regimentals, ran so furiously
up the stairs full against me, that I should have been instantly at the
bottom, had not his extended arm prevented my flight.

I did not stay to receive his apologies, but hastened to my chamber, and
have not yet recovered my trembling.--Why did I leave it?--Why was I so
inconsiderate?

Another alarm!--Some one knocks at the door!--Will there be no end to my
frights?

If one's spirits are on the flutter, how every little circumstance
increases our consternation!--When I heard the tapping at my door,
instead of enquiring who was there, I got up and stood against it.

Don't be afraid, _Mame_, said a voice without; it is only the
chambermaid come with some drops and water.--With drops and water!
replied I, letting her in--who sent you hither?

Captain Risby, _Mame_, one of the officers:--he told me you was
frighten'd.

I am oblig'd to the gentleman;--but set down the drops, I do not want
any.--Pray tell me what has occasioned this uproar in your house?

To be sure, _Mame_, here has been a terrifying noise this night.--It
don't use to be so;--but our _Town's_ Gentlemen have such a dislike to
_Officers_, I suppose there will be no peace while they are in town.--I
never saw the Ladies dress'd so fine in my life; and had the Colonel
happen'd to ask one of the _Alderman's_ daughters to dance, all would
have gone on well.

You have an assembly then in the house?

O yes, _Mame_, the assembly is always kept here.--And, as I was saying,
the Colonel should have danced with one of our Alderman's
daughters:--instead of that, he engag'd a daughter of Esquire Light, and
introduced the Major and a _handsome Captain_ to her two sisters.--Now,
to be sure, this was enough to enrage the best Trade's-People in the
place, who can give their _young Ladies_ three times as much as Mr.
Light can his daughters.

I saw she was determin'd to finish her harangue, so did not attempt to
interrupt her.

One of us chambermaids, _Mame_, continued she, always assist the
waiters;--it was my turn this evening; so, as I was stirring the fire in
the card-room, I could hear the Ladies whisper their partners, if they
let strangers stand above them, they might dance with whom they could
get for the future.--They were busy about the matter when the Colonel
enter'd with Miss Light, who though she is _very_ handsome, _very_
sensible, and all that, it did not become her to wear a silver
silk;--for what, as _our Ladies_ said, is family without fortune?--But I
am running on with a story of an hour long.--So _Mame_, as soon as the
Colonel and his partner went into the dancing-room,--_one_ cry'd, Defend
me from French'd hair, if people's heads are to look like
towers;--_another_, her gown sleeves were too large;--a _third_, the
robeings too high;--a _fourth_, her ruff too deep:--in short, _Mame_,
her very shoe-buckles shared the same fate.

This recital put me out of all patience:--I could not endure to see held
up a picture, which, though out of the hands of a dauber, presented a
true likeness of human nature in her most deprav'd state.--Enough, Mrs.
Betty, said I, now pray warm my bed; it is late, and I am fatigued.

O! to be sure, _Mame_; but will you not first hear what was the occasion
of the noise?--The country-dances, continued she, not waiting my reply,
began; and _our Town's Gentlemen_ ran to the top of the room, leaving
the _Officers_ to dance at the bottom.--This put them in _so_ violent a
passion, that the Colonel swore, if _our_ Gentlemen persisted in their
ill manners, not a soul should dance.--So, _Mame_, upon this _our_
Gentlemen let some of the Officers stand above them;--and there was no
dispute till after ten.--What they quarrelled about then I don't
know;--but, when I came into the room, they were all going to
fight;--and fight they certainly would, if they could have got _our_
Gentlemen down stairs.--Not one of them would stir, which made the
others so mad, that they would have pulled them down, had not the Ladies
interfered.--Then it was, _Mame_, I suppose, you heard the cries and
shrieks; for every one that had _husbands, brothers_, or _admirers_
there, took hold of them; begging and praying they would not
fight.--Poor Miss Peggy Turner will have a fine rub; for she always
deny'd to her _Mamma_, that there was any thing in the affair between
her and Mr. Grant the Attorney. Now she has discovered all, by fainting
away when he broke from her to go to the other end of the room.

I hope there has been no blood shed?

None, I'll assure you, _Mame_, in this house; what happens out of it is
no business of mine. Now, _Mame_, would you please to go to bed? By all
means, Mrs. Betty.--So away went my communicative companion. Being much
tired, I shall lay down an hour or two, then reassume my pen.


_Four o'clock in the morning_.

Not able to close my eyes, I am got up to have the pleasure of
introducing to your Ladyship the Gentleman who I mention'd was to dine
with us at the other inn. Judge my surprize, when I found him to be the
worthy Dean of H---- going into Oxfordshire to visit his former
flock;--I knew him before Mr. Jenkings pronounced his name, by the
strong likeness of his picture.

I even fancied the beautiful pair stood before me, whose hands he is
represented joining. It is much to be regretted so fine a piece should
be hid from the world.--Why should not _this_ be proportion? The _other_
portraits which your Ladyship has drawn, are even allowed by Reynolds to
be masterly.--Let me therefore entreat, next time he comes to the Lodge,
my favourite may _at least_ have a chance of being called from
banishment.

The Dean was almost discouraged from proceeding on his journey, by
hearing of your Ladyship's absence, and the death of Mrs. Whitmore.--He
was no stranger to what concern'd me, tho' I could be scarce an
inhabitant of Hillford-Down at the time _he_ left it.--I suppose his
information was from Mr. Jenkings; I could see them from the window deep
in discourse, walking in the Bowling-Green, from the moment the Dean got
out of his chaise till dinner.

The latter expressed infinite satisfaction when I joined them; looking
with such stedfast tenderness, as if he would trace on my countenance
the features of some dear friend.--His sincere regard for Mr. and Mrs.
Whitmore, and the gratitude he owes your Ladyship, must make him behold
me with a favourable eye, knowing how greatly I have been distinguish'd
by the two latter.

He had a stool put into his chaise; assuring us we could fit three
conveniently--We came from the last inn together, and are to travel so
the remainder of the journey.

After your Ladyship's strict commands, that I look on Brandon-Lodge as
my home, I shall make it such the few days I stay in Oxfordshire;--and
have presumed on your indulgence, to request Mr. Jenkings will do the
same.--The Dean's visit is to Mr. Gardener, which will be happy for me,
as that Gentleman's house is so near the Lodge.--I hope to see the tops
of the chimneys this evening.--

My heart would jump at the sight, if I expected your Ladyship to meet me
with open arms.--Extatic thought!--unfit to precede those
disappointments which must follow thick on one another. Can there be
greater!--to pass the very house, once inhabited by--O my Lady!--Heaven!
how will your and her image bring before me past happy scenes!

If this is the Dean's voice, he is got up, early. The horses putting to,
and scarce five o'clock! Here comes a messenger, to say they are ready.
So rest my pen, till; I again take it up at Brandon-Lodge.


_Brandon-Lodge_.

I never saw such general joy as appeared through the village at sight of
the Dean.--The first person who espy'd him ran with such speed into
every house, that by the time we reached Mr. Gardener's gate, the
chaise was surrounded by a hundred people.--Mr. and Mrs. Gardener
stepping out, were saluted by the Dean. What, our old friend! cried
they.--What, our old friend!--Good God!--and Miss Warley too!--This is a
joyful surprize, indeed! and would have taken me out by force, if I had
not persisted in going to the Lodge.--Your Ladyship is enough acquainted
with these good people, to know they would part with any thing rather
than their friends.--I have not yet seen Miss Gardener: she was gone on
a walk with Miss West and Miss Conway.

The Dean showered a thousand marks of regard on all around him;--the
meanest not escaping his notice.--In this tumult of pleasure I did not
pass unregarded.--Your Ladyship and Mrs. Whitmore still live in their
hearts; the pure air of Hillford-Down will not mix with the cold blast
of ingratitude.

May the soft pillow I am going to repose on, shut not out from my mind
the load of obligations which rest on it!--The remembrance is balm to my
soul, either in my sleeping or waking hours.


Nine o'clock.

Scarce out of my bed half an hour!--How have I over-slept myself! Mrs.
Bennet has prevailed on Mr. Jenkings to have some breakfast.--Good,
considerate woman!--indeed, all your Ladyship's domestics are good and
considerate.--No wonder, when you treat them so very different from
_some people_ of high rank. Let those who complain of fraud, guilt,
negligence, or want of respect from their dependants, look in
here;--where they will see honesty, virtue, and reverence attend the
execution of every command.--Flowers must be planted before they can
take root.--Few, very few endeavour to improve an uncultivated soil,
notwithstanding how great the advantage is to the improver.

I last night receiv'd pleasure inexpressible, by sending for the
servants to acquaint them of your Ladyship's returning health; and
feasted on the satisfaction they expressed.--In a moment all the live
creatures were brought.--I am satisfied, my Lady, if any of them die in
your absence, it must be of fat.--My old acquaintances Bell and Flora
could hardly waddle in to pay their compliments; the parrot, which used
to squall the moment she saw me, is now quite dumb; shewing no mark of
her favour, but holding down her head to be scratched;--the turtle-doves
are in the same case.--I have taken the liberty to desire the whole crew
might be put to short allowance.

John said, he believed it was natural for every thing to grow fat here;
and was much afraid, when I saw the coach-horses, I should pronounce the
same hard sentence against them, desiring orders to attend me with the
carriage this morning.--I told him my stay would be so short, I should
have no time for an airing.

The gardener has just sent me a blooming nosegay; I suppose, to put me
in mind of visiting his care, which I intend, after I have acquainted
your Ladyship with an incident that till this moment had escaped my
memory.--The Dean, Mr. Jenkings, and myself, were drinking a cup of
chocolate before we sat out from the inn where I had been so much
hurried, when captain Risby sent in his name, desiring we would admit
him for a moment. His request being assented to, he entered very
respectfully, said he came to apologize for the rudeness he was guilty
of the last night.--The Dean and Mr. Jenkings presently guessed his
meaning; I had been just relating the whole affair, which I was pleased
to find did not disturb their rest.--I assured Captain Risby, far from
deeming his behaviour rude, I was obliged to him for his solicitude in
sending a servant to my chamber. He said he had not been in bed,
determining to watch our setting out, in hopes his pardon would be
sealed:--that to think of the accident he might have occasioned, gave
him great pain.

Pardon me, Madam, addressing himself to me; and you, Sir, to Mr.
Jenkings; if I ask one plain question: Have _you_, or at least has not
_that Lady_, relations out of England? I have a friend abroad--I have
heard him say his father is still living;--but then he has no
sister;--or a certain likeness I discover would convince me.

Undoubtedly he took me for Mr. Jenkings's daughter:--what he meant
further I cannot divine.

Mr. Jenkings reply'd, You are mistaken, Sir, if you think me the father
of this Lady.--The chaise driving up that moment to the door, he shook
him by the hand, and led me towards it; the Captain assisting me in
getting in.

I wish I could have satisfied my curiosity.--I wish I had known to whom
he likened me.--Perhaps his eyes misinformed him--perhaps he might have
taken a cheerful glass after the last night's encounter:--yet he
resembled not a votary of Bacchus;--his complexion clear;--hair nicely
comb'd;--coat without a spot;--linen extremely fine and clean.--But
enough of him.--Here comes the Dean, walking up the avenue escorting a
party of my old acquaintances.

Adieu! dearest honour'd Lady, till my return to Hampshire.

F. WARLEY.



LETTER XIV.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.

London.


_Was every any thing so forgetful, to bring no other clothes here but
mourning?_

Really, my Lord, this favours a good deal of the matrimonial stile. Was
you, commenced Benedict, I should think you had received lessons from
the famous L----, who takes such pains with his pupils, that those whose
attendance is frequent, can, in, the space of three months after the
knot is tied, bring their wives to hear patiently the
words--_forgetful,--ridiculous,--absurd,--pish--poh_,--and a thousand
more of the same significant meaning.--I hear you, my Lord:--_it is
true_, I am in jest; and know you would scorn to say even a peevish
thing to a wife.

Why fret yourself to a skeleton about an absence of eight days?--How
could you suppose she would let you go into Oxfordshire?--Proper
decorums must be observed by that sex.--Are not those despicable who
neglect them?--What would you have said, had she taken Edmund with
her?--Don't storm:--on reflection you will find you had no greater right
to expect that indulgence.

I have this morning had a letter from Dick Risby, that unfortunate, but
worthy cousin of _mine_, just returned from the West-Indies to take on
him the command of a company in Lord ----'s regiment. What a Father
his!--to abandon _such_ a son.--Leave him to the wide world at
sixteen,--without a shilling, only to gratify the pride and avarice of
his serpent daughter,--who had art sufficient to get this noble youth
disinherited for her waddling brat, whose head was form'd large enough
to contain his mother's mischief and his own.--In vain we attempted to
set aside the will:--my brother would not leave England whilst there
remained the least hopes for poor Risby.

I always dreaded Dick's going abroad, well knowing what a designing
perfidious slut his sister was, from her very infancy.--Her parents drew
down a curse by their blind indulgence:--even her nurse was charg'd not
to contradict her; she was to have every thing for which she shewed the
least inclination.

Lord Eggom and myself being near of an age with our cousins, were
sometimes sent to play with them in their nursery; and, though boys of
tolerable spirit, that vixen girl has so worried us by her tyrannic and
impatient temper, that we have often petitioned, at our return home, to
be put to bed supperless.--If sweet-meats were to be divided, she would
cry to have the whole; the same in regard to cards,--shells,--money, or
whatever else was sent for our entertainment.--When she has pinched us
black and blue,--a complaint to her mother has been made by Dick, who
could not bear to see us so used, though he was obliged to take such
treatment himself, the only redress we should receive was--Poh! she is
but a baby.--I thought you had all known better than to take notice of
what _such_ a _child_ as Lucy does--Once, when this was said before her,
me flew at me, and cry'd, I will pinch again, if I please;--papa and
mamma says I shall,--and so does nurse; and I don't mind what any body
else says.--I waited only for my revenge, till the two former withdrew;
when sending the latter for a glass of water, I gave _Miss_ such a
glorious tacking, as I believe she has never tasted the like before or
since.--In the midst of the fray, I heard nurse running up, which made
me hasten what I owed on _my own_ account, to remind her of the
_favours_ she had conferred on Lord Eggom and her brother.--If such a
termagant in her infant state,--judge what she must be at a time of life
when her passions are in full vigour, and govern without controul!--I
have just shewn the method of rearing this diabolical plant, that you
may not wonder at its productions.--I shall see justice overtake her,
notwithstanding the long strides she is making to escape.

Dick will be in town with us most part of the winter:--I have wrote him
to that purpose, and mention'd your name. He will rejoice to see you:--I
have often heard him regret your acquaintance was of so short
standing.--Bridgman set out for York the day before I arrived; his
servants inform me he is not expected back this three weeks.

I like our lodgings vastly; but more so as the master and mistress of
the family are excessively clean and obliging; two things so material to
my repose, that I absolutely could not dispense patiently with
either.--This it was which made me felicitous about taking a house; I am
now so happily situated, I wish not to have one in town whilst I remain
a batchelor. Heaven knows how long that will be!--Your nonpareil has
given me a dislike to all my former slight prepossessions.

Lady Elizabeth Curtis!--I did once indeed think a little seriously of
her:--but _such_ a meer girl!--Perhaps the time she has spent in France,
Germany, and the Lord knows where, may have changed her from a little
bewitching, smiling, artless creature--to a _vain, designing,
haughty_,--I could call a coquet by a thousand names;--but Lady
Elizabeth _can_-not, _must_ not be a coquet.--Cupid, though, shall never
tye a bandage over my eyes.--The charms that must fix me are not to be
borrow'd;--I shall look for them in her affection to her relations;--in
a condescending behaviour to inferiors;--above all, when she offers up
her first duties.--If she shines here, I shall not follow her to the
card-table, or play-house:--every thing must be right in a heart where
duty, affection, and humility, has the precedence.

The misfortune of our sex is this: when taken with a fine face, we
enquire no further than, Is she _polite?_--Is she _witty?_ Does she
_dance_ well?--sing well?--in short, _is_ she fit to appear in the _Beau
Monde_; whilst good sense and virtues which constitute real happiness,
are left out of the question.

How does beauty,--politeness--wit,--a fine voice,--a graceful movement,
charm!--But how often are we deceiv'd by them.--An instance of which I
have lately seen in our old friend Sir Harry. No man on earth can pity
that poor soul more than I do; yet I have laughed hours to think of his
mistake. _So mild--so gentle_--said he, George, a week before his
marriage, I should have said _execution_,--it is impossible to put her
out of humour.--If I am not the happiest man breathing, it must be my
own fault.

What was my astonishment when I call'd on him in my way to town, and
found this mild _gentle mate_ of his, aided by a houseful of her
relations, had not only deprived him of all right and authority in the
_Castle_, but almost of his very speech!

I dropt in about one, told the Baronet I came five miles out of my way
for the pleasure of saluting his bride, and to drink a bottle of claret
with him.--He was extremely glad to see me; and ventured to say so,
_before_ I was introduced to the _Ladies_:--but I saw by his sneaking
look, no such liberty must be taken in _their_ presence.--My reception
was gracious enough, considering all communication is cut off between
him and his former acquaintance.

Scarce was I seated, before the old Dowager asked me, if her daughter
had not made _great_ alterations in the little time she had been at the
Castle.

_Alterations_, Madam! I reply'd;--upon my honour, they are _so_ visible,
no person can avoid being struck with them.--How could your father and
mother, Sir Harry, bear to live in such an wood? looking and speaking
disdainfully.--He smiled obsequious--hemm'd--trembled, and was
silent.--I hope, continued she, not to see a tree remaining near this
house before the next summer.--We want much, Mr. Molesworth, turning to
me with quite a different look and voice, to have the pleasure-ground
laid out:--but really her Ladyship has had so much to set in order
_within doors_, that it has taken off her attention a good deal from
what is necessary to be done _without_.--However, Sir, you shall see our
design; so, my dear, speaking to her daughter, let Sir Harry fetch the
plan.

It is in my closet, returned her Ladyship, and I don't chuse to send
_him_ there;--but I'll ring for Sally.

I had like that moment to have vow'd a life of celibacy--I saw him
redden;--how could he avoid it, if one spark of manhood remain'd?

The indignation I felt threw such a mist before my eyes, that when the
plan was laid on the table, I could scarce distinguish temples from
clumps of shrubs, or Chinese seats from green slopes.--Yet this
_reptile_ of a husband could look over my shoulder, hear the opinion of
every one present, without _daring_ to give his own.

I was more out of patience at dinner.--Bless me, says her Ladyship, how
_aukward_ you are when I _bid_ you cut up any thing!--the mother and
daughter echoing, _Never_ was there _such_ a carver as _Sir
Harry!_--Well, I vow, cry'd the latter, it is a strange thing you will
not remember, so often as I have _told you_, to lay the meat handsome in
the dish.

Good God! thought I, can this man live out half his days?--And, faith,
if I had not drank five bumpers of Madeira, I could not have stood the
sight of his fearful countenance.

He perceived I was distress'd, and whisper'd me as I mounted my
horse,--You see how it is, Molesworth; breeding women _must_ not be
contradicted.--

_I do, I do_ see how it is, return'd I; and could not for my soul
forbear saying, I shall rejoice to hear of a _delivery_.

This is the day when the important affairs of the m----y are to be
settled; the papers will inform you; but can a man in love have any
relish for politics?--Pray, divest yourself of that plague, when you
attend the house.--I should drop to hear you say you espouse _this_ or
_that_ cause, for the love of _Miss Warley_, instead of your _country_.

_Next Friday!_--Well, I long to see you after a dreadful, dreadful
absence of _eight days_.--There is something confounded ridiculous in
all this stuff; nor can I scarce credit that man should pine, fret, and
make himself unhappy, because he is loosed from the apron-strings of his
Phillida for a few days.--I see you shrug;--but my fate is not dependent
on your prognostications.--Was it so, I know where I should be,--down
amongst the _dead_ men;--down amongst the _dead_ men.--

However, I would consent to be rank'd in the number of Cupid's slain,
could I be hit by just such a dart as pierc'd you.

Vulcan certainly has none ready made that will do, unless he sharpens
the points of those which have already recoiled.

But hold; I must descend from the clouds, to regale myself on a fine
turtle at the Duke of R----d's. What an _epicure!_ Talk of feasting my
palate, when my eyes are to meet delicacies of a far more inviting
nature!--There _was_ a time I should have been envy'd _such_ a
repast:--_that_ time is fled;--_you_ are no longer a monopolizer of
beauty;--can sing but of _one_,--talk but of _one_--dream but of
_one_,--and, what is still more extraordinary, love but _one_.--

Give _me_ a heart at large;--such confin'd notions are not for

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XV.

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


I envy not the greatest monarch on earth!--She is return'd with my
peace;--my joy;--my very soul.--Had you seen her restorative smiles!
they spoke more than my pen can describe!--She bestow'd them on me, even
before she ran to the arms of Sir James and Lady Powis.--Sweet
condescension!--Her hand held out to meet mine, which, trembling, stopt
half way.--What checks,--what restraint, did I inflict on myself!--Yes,
that would have been the decisive moment, had I not perceiv'd the eyes
of Argus planted _before, behind_, on _every side_ of Sir James.--God!
how he star'd.--I suppose my looks made some discovery.--Once more I
must take thee up, uneasy dress of hypocrisy;--though it will be as hard
to girt on, as the tight waistcoat on a lunatic.

Never has a day appear'd to me so long as _this_.--_Full_ of
expectation, _full_ of impatience!--All stuff again.--No matter; it is
not the groans of a sick man, that can convey his pain to another:--to
feel greatly, you must have been afflicted with the same malady.

I suppose you would laugh to hear how often I have opened and shut the
door;--how often look'd out at the window,--or the multiplicity of times
examined my watch since ten this morning!--Needless would it likewise
be to recount the impatient steps I have taken by the road-side,
attentive to the false winds, which would frequently cheat me into a
belief, that my heart's treasure was approaching.--Hark! I should say,
that must be wheels;--stop and pause;--walk forwards;--stop again, till
every sound have died upon my ear.

Harrass'd by expectation, I saunter'd a back way to
Jenkings's;--enquired of Mrs. Jenkings, what time she thought her
husband might be home; and taking Edmund with me to my former walk,
determined to sound _his_ inclinations.--I waved mentioning Miss
Warley's name till we had gone near a quarter of a mile from the house;
still expecting he would begin the subject, which at this juncture I
suppose particularly engaged his attention; but perceiving he led to
things quite opposite, I drew him out in the following manner.

So you really think, Edmund, your father will not be out after it is
dark?

I have not known, my Lord, that he has for many years; rather than
venture, I believe, he would stop the night at Oxford. Very composedly
he said this, for I watched his looks narrowly.--

Edmund, confess, confess _frankly_, said I; has not _this_ day been the
longest you ever knew?

The longest I ever knew! Faith your Lordship was never more out: far
from thinking so, I am startled to find how fast the hours have flown;
and want the addition of at least three, to answer letters which my
father's business requires.

Business, _Edmund!_ and does _business_ really engross so much of your
attention, when you know _who_ is expected in the evening? Ah! _Edmund_,
you are a sly fellow: never tell me, you want to lengthen out the
tedious hours of _absence_.

_Tedious hours of absence!_ Ho! ho! my Lord, I see _now_ what you are
at; your Lordship can never suppose me _such_ a fool as to--

Fool!--My supposition, _Edmund_, pronounces you a man of sense; but you
mistake my meaning.

I do not mistake, my Lord; surely it must be the height of folly to lift
my thoughts to Miss Warley. Suppose my father can give me a few
thousands,--are these sufficient to purchase beauty, good sense, with
every accomplishment?--No, no, my Lord, I am not such a vain
fellow;--Miss Warley was never born for _Edmund Jenkings_--She told me
_so_, the first moment I beheld her.

_Told you so?_ what then, you have made pretensions to her, and she told
you _so?_

Yes, my Lord, she told, me _so_.--That is, her _eyes_, her whole
graceful _form_, spoke it.--Was I a man of family,--a man of title, with
a proper knowledge of the world,--I would not deliberate a moment.

How comes it then, Edmund, that you are so assiduous to oblige her?--You
would not run and fly for every young lady.--

True, my Lord, it is not every one would repay me with smiles of
condescension. Suffer me to assure your Lordship, when I can oblige Miss
Warley, my ambition is gratified.--Never, _never_ shall a more
presumptuous wish intrude to make me less worthy of the honour I receive
from your Lordship's notice.--

This he spoke with energy;--such energy,--as if he had come at the book
of my heart, and was reading its contents. I knew his regard for my dear
amiable girl, and the danger of betraying my secret, or should have
treated him with unbounded confidence:--I therefore only applauded his
sentiments;--told him a man who could think thus nobly,--honour'd me in
his friendship;--that mine to him should be unalterable; call'd him
brother; and by the joyful perturbations of my soul, I fear I gave him
some idea of what I strove to hide.

The curtain of night was dropping by slow degrees, when a distant sound
of wheels interrupted our conversation.--We stood listening a moment, as
it approach'd nearer. Edmund cry'd out,--They are come; I hear,
Caesar's voice; and, taking a hearty leave, ran home to receive them.--I
directed my course towards the Abbey, in hopes the chaise had proceeded
thither, and found I had steer'd right, seeing it stand at the entrance.

Mr. Jenkings did not get out; Lady Powis refused to part with Miss
Warley this night. Whilst I write, I hope she is enjoying a sweet
refreshing sleep. O! Molesworth! could I flatter myself she dreams of
me!--

To-morrow Lord and Lady Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Winter, dine here;
consequently Miss Winter, and her _fond_ admirer, Lord Baily.--How often
have I laugh'd to see that cooing, billing, pair? It is come home,
you'll say, with a vengeance.--Not so neither.--I never intend making
such a very fool of myself as Lord Baily.--Pray, Madam, don't sit
against that door;--and pray, Madam, don't sit against this window.--I
hear you have encreased your cold;--you speak hoarse:--indeed, Madam,
you speak hoarse, though you won't confess it.--In this strain has the
monkey ran on for two hours.--No body must help him at table but Miss
Winter.--He is always sure to eat whatever is next her.--She, equally
complaisant, sends her plate to him;--desires he will have a bit of the
same.--Excessively high, my Lord;--you never eat any thing so well
done.--The appearance of fruit is generally the occasion of great
altercation:--What! venture on peaches again, Miss Winter?--Indeed, my
Lord, I shall only eat this small one;--that was not half ripe which
made me sick yesterday.--No more nuts; I absolutely lay an embargo on
nuts,--No more, nonsense: I absolutely lay an embargo on nonsense, says
Molesworth to

DARCEY.



LETTER XVI.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.

_Barford Abbey_.


Once more, my dear Lady, I dispatch a packet from this place,--after
bidding adieu to the agreeable Dean,--Brandon Lodge,--and my friends in
that neighbourhood.

How long I shall continue here, God only knows.--If my wishes could
avail, the time would be short; very short, indeed.--I am quite out of
patience with Mr. and Mrs. Smith; some delay every time I hear from
them.--First, we were to embark the middle of this month;--then the
latter end;--now it is put off till the beginning of the next:--perhaps,
when I hear next, it will be, they do not go at all.--Such weak
resolutions are never to be depended on;--a straw, like a magnet, will
draw them from side to side.

I think I am as much an inhabitant of this house as of Mr.
Jenkings's:--I lay here last night after my journey, and shall dine here
this day; but as a great deal of company is expected, must go to my
_other_ home to dress.--To-morrow your Ladyship shall command me.


From Mr. _Jenkings's_.

Rejoice with me, my dear Lady.--You _will_ rejoice, I know, you _will_.
to find my eyes are open to my folly.--How could I be so vain; so
presumptuous!--Yes, it must be vanity, it must be presumption to the
highest,--gloss it over as I will,--to harbour thoughts which before
this your Ladyship is acquainted with.--Did you not blush for me?--did
you not in contempt throw aside my letter?--Undoubtedly you did.--Go,
you said.--I am sure, dear Madam, you _must_ let me not again behold the
weakness of that poor silly girl.--But this is my hope, you are not apt
to judge unfavourably, _even_ in circumstances that will scarce admit of
palliation.--Tell me, my dear Lady, I am pardoned; tell me so, and I
shall never be again unhappy.--How charming, to have _peace_ and
_tranquility_ restor'd, when I fear'd they were for _ever_ banish'd my
breast!--I welcomed the friends;--my heart bounded at their return;--I
smiled on them;--soothed them;--and promised never more to drive them
out.

Thank you, Lord Allen;--again, I thank you:--can I ever be too
grateful?--You have been instrumental to my repose.

The company that dined at the Abbey yesterday were Lord and Lady Allen,
Lord Baily, Mr. Mrs. and Miss Winter.--This was the first day I changed
my mourning;--a white lutestring, with the fine suit of rough garnets
your Ladyship gave me, was my dress on the occasion.--But let me proceed
to the incident for which I stand indebted for the secret tranquility,
the innate repose I now possess in a _superlative_ degree.--

When I went to Mr. Jenkings's to dress for dinner, Lord Darcey attended
me, as usual:--the coach was to fetch us.--I thought I never saw his
Lordship in such high good humour; what I mean is, I never saw him in
such spirits.--To speak the truth, his temper always appears
unruffled;--sometimes a little gloomy; but I suppose he is not exempted
from the common ills of life.--He entertained me on the way with a
description of the company expected, interlarding his conversation with
observations tending to raise my vanity. Notwithstanding his seeming
sincerity, I was proof against such insinuations.--If he had stopp'd
_there_,--well, if he had stop'd _there_;--what then?--Why then,
perhaps, I should not have betray'd the weakness of my heart.--But I
hope thy confusion pass'd unobserv'd;--I hope it was not seen before I
could draw my handkerchief from my pocket: if it should, heavens! the
very thought has dyed me scarlet.

I am running on as though your Ladyship had been present in Mr.
Jenkings's parlour,--in the coach,--and at table, whither I must conduct
you, my dear Lady, if your patience will bear a minute
_recital_.--First, then, to our conference in the parlour, after I was
dress'd.

My coming down interrupted a _tête-à-tête_ between his Lordship and
Edmund. The latter withdrew soon after I entered;--_it look'd some-how
as if designed;--it vexed me_;--mean it how he would, _it much_
disconcerted me:--I _hate_, I _despise_ the least appearance of
design.--In vain did I attempt to bring him back; he only answer'd he
would be with us instantly.

I was no sooner seated, than his Lordship placed himself by me; and
fetching a deep sigh, said, I wish it was in my power to oblige Miss
Warley as much as it is in hers to oblige me.--

My Lord, I cannot conceive how I have it in my power to oblige you. He
took my hand,--Yes, Madam, to make _me_ happy,--for ever happy,--to
make _Sir James_ and _Lady Powis happy_, you have only to determine not
to quit your native country.

Stop! my Lord, if you mean my going to _Montpellier_, I am
determin'd.--And are you _really_ determin'd, Miss Warley?--his face
overspread with a dreadful paleness.

I am, my Lord,

But what are you determin'd? Are you determined to distress your
friends?

I wish not to distress my friends: nothing would give me so much pain;
but I _must_ go;--indeed I _must_.

He rose up;--walk'd about the room,--came back to his seat again,
looking quite frantic,--Good God! why should that sex practise so many
arts? He pray'd,--intreated,--left no argument untried.

I cannot picture his countenance, when I declared myself resolved.--He
caught both my hands, fixed his eyes stedfastly upon me.

Then you are inflexible, Madam?--Nothing can move you to pity the most
wretched of his sex.--Know you the person living that could prevail?--If
you do,--say so;--I will bring him instantly on his knees.

There is not in the world, my Lord, one who could prevent me from paying
my _duty_, my _affection_, my _obedience_, to Lady Mary Sutton: if due
to a parent, how much more from me to _Lady Mary_;--a poor orphan, who
have experienced from her the most maternal fondness? The word _orphan_
struck him; he reeled from me and flung himself into a chair opposite,
leaning his head on a table which stood near.

I declare he distress'd me greatly;--I know not what my thoughts were at
that moment;--I rose to quit the room; he started up.

Don't leave me, Miss Warley;--don't leave me. I _will_ keep you no
longer in the dark: I _must_ not suffer in your opinion,--be the
consequence--

Here we were interrupted by Edmund.--I was sorry he just then
entered;--I would have given the world to know what his Lordship was
about to say.

When we were in the coach, instead of explaining himself, he assumed
rather a chearful air; and asked, if my time was fix'd for going to
France?

Not absolutely fix'd, my Lord; a month or two hence, perhaps. This I
said, that he might not know exactly the time when I shall set out.

_A month_ or _two!_ O! that will be just the thing, just as I could wish
it.--

What does your Lordship mean?

Only that I intend spending part of the winter in Paris; and if I should
not be deemed an _intruder_, perhaps the same yacht may carry us over.

I was never more at a loss for a reply.

Going to France, my Lord! in a hesitating voice.--I never heard,--I
never dreamt,--your Lordship had such an intention.

Well, you do not forbid it, Miss Warley? I shall certainty be of your
party:

_I forbid it_, my Lord! _I forbid it!_ What right have _I_ to controul
your Lordship's actions? Besides, we should travel so short a way
together, it would be very immaterial.

Give me Leave, Madam, in this respect to be the judge; perhaps every one
is not bless'd with that _happy_ indifference.--What may be very
_immaterial_ to _one_,--may be matter of the _highest_ importance to
_another_.

He pronounced the word _immaterial_, with some marks of displeasure. I
was greatly embarrass'd: I thought our conversation would soon become
too interesting.

I knew not what to do.--I attempted to give it a different turn; yet it
engrossed all my attention.--At length I succeeded by introducing my
comical adventure at the inn, in our way to Oxfordshire: but the
officer's name had escaped my memory, though I since recollect it to be
Risby.

This subject engaged us till we came within sight of the drawing-room
windows.--There are the visitors, as I live! said I. Your Lordship not
being dress'd, will, I suppose, order the coach to the other door.--To
be plain, I was glad of any excuse that would prevent my getting out
before them.--Not _I_, indeed, Miss Warley, reply'd he:--Dress is never
of consequence enough to draw me two steps out of my way.--If the
spectators yonder will fix their eyes on an old coat rather than a fine
young Lady, _why_ they have it for their pains.

By this time the door was open'd, and Sir James appearing, led me, with
his usual politeness, to the company. I was placed by her Ladyship next
Miss Winter, whose person I cannot say prejudiced me in her favour,
being entirely dispossessed of that winning grace which attracts
strangers at a first glance.

After measuring me with her eye from head to toe, she sent my dimensions
in a kind of half smile across the room to Lord Baily; then vouchsafed
to ask, how long I had been in this part of the world? which question
was followed by fifty others, that shewed she laboured under the violent
thirst of curiosity; a thirst never to be conquered; for, like dropsical
people, the more they drink in, the more it rages.

My answers were such as I always return to the inquisitive.--Yes,
Madam;--No, Madam;--very well;--very good;--not certain;--quite
undetermin'd.--Finding herself unsuccessful with _me_, she apply'd to
_Lady Powis_; but alas! poor maiden, she could drain nothing from that
fountain; the streams would not flow;--they were driven back, by
endeavouring to force them into a wrong channel.

These were not certainly her first defeats, by the clever way of hiding
her chagrin:--it is gone whilst she adjusts the flower in her bosom,--or
opens and shuts her fan twice.--How can _she_ be mortified by
trifles,--when the _Lord_ of _her heart_,--the sweet, simpering,
fair-faced, Lord Baily keeps his eyes incessantly fixed on her, like
centinels on guard?--They cannot speak, _indeed they cannot_, or I
should expect them to call out every half hour, "All is well."

I admire Lord and Lady Allen. I say, I admire them: their manners are
full of easy freedom, pleasing vivacity.--I cannot admire all the world;
I wish I could.--Mr. and Mrs. Winter happen not to suit my taste;--they
are a kind of people who look down on every one of middle
fortune;--seem to despise ancestry,--yet are always fond of mixing with
the great.--Their rise was too sudden;--they jump'd into life all at
once.--Such quick transitions require great equality of mind;--the blaze
of splendor was too much for their _weak_ eyes;--the _flare_ of surprise
is still visible.

It was some time before the conversation became general.--First, and
ever to have precedence,--the weather;--next, roads;--then
houses,--plantations,--fashions,--dress,--equipage;--and last of all,
politics in a thread-bare coat.

About ten minutes before dinner, Lord Darcey joined us, dress'd most
magnificently in a suit of olive velvet, embroider'd with gold;--his
hair without powder, which became him infinitely.--He certainly appear'd
to great advantage:--how could it be otherwise, when in company with
that tawdry, gilded piece of clay?--And to sit by him, of all
things!--One would really think it had been designed:--_some_ exulted,
_some_ look'd mortified at the contrast.--Poor Miss Winter's seat began
to grow very uneasy;--she tried every corner, yet could not vary the
light in which she saw the _two opposites_.--Why did she frown on
_me?_--why cast such contemptuous glances every time I turn'd my eye
towards her?--Did _I_ recommend the daubed coxcomb;--or represent that
her future joys depended on title?--No! it was vanity, the love of
grandeur,--that could make her give up fine sense, fine accomplishments,
a princely address, and all the noble requisites:--yes, my Lady, such a
one, Lord Darcey tells me, she has refused.--Refused, for what? For
folly, a total ignorance in the polite arts, and a meaness of manners
not to be express'd: yet, I dare say, she thinks, the sweet sounds of
_my Lady_, and _your Ladyship_ is _cheaply_ purchased by such a
sacrifice.

When we moved to go into the dining-parlour, Miss Winter bow'd for me to
follow Lady Allen and her mother; which after I had declined, Lady Powis
took me by the hand, and said, smiling, No, Madam, Miss Warley is one of
us.--If _so_, my Lady--and she swam out of the room with an air I shall
never forget.

Lord Darcey took his place at table, next Lord Allen;--I sat opposite,
with Miss Winter on my right, and Lord Baily on my left.--Sorry I was,
to step between the Lovers; but ceremony required it; so I hope they do
not hate me on that account.--Lord Allen has a good deal of archness in
his countenance, though not of the ill-natur'd kind.--I don't know how,
but every time he look'd across the table I trembled; it seem'd a
foreboding of what was to follow.

He admired the venison;--said it was the best he had ever tasted from
Sir James's park;--but declared he would challenge him next Monday, if
all present would favour him with their company.--Lady Allen seconded
the request so warmly, that it was immediately assented to.--

What think you, said his Lordship it is to the _young_ folks that I
address myself, of seeing before you a couple who that day has been
married twenty years, and never frown'd on one another?

Think! said Lord Darcey, it is very possible.

_Possible_ it certainly is, reply'd Lady Powis; but very few instances,
I believe--

What say you, Miss Warley? ask'd his Lordship: you find Lord Darcey
supposes it very possible.--Good God! I thought I should have sunk: it
was not so much the question, as the manner he express'd it in. I felt
as if my face was stuck full of needles: however, I stifled my
confusion, and reply'd, I was quite of Lady Powis's opinion.

Well, what say you, Miss Winter?

How I rejoiced! I declare I could hardly contain my joy, when he
address'd himself to her.

What say I, my Lord? return'd she; why, _truly_, I think it must be your
own faults, if you are not treated _civilly_.--The Devil! cry'd he.

O fie! O fie! my Lord, squeaked my left hand neighbour.--And why O fie!
retorted his Lordship: Is _civility_ all we have to expect?

We can _claim_ nothing else said the squeaker.--If the dear creatures
condescend to _esteem_ us, we ought to consider it a particular
indulgence.

And so, Miss Warley, cry'd Lord Allen, we are only to be _esteemed_
now-a-days. I thank God my good woman has imbibed none of those modern
notions. Her actions have convinced the world of that long ago.

Poh! my Lord, said Lady Allen, we are old-fashion'd people:--you must
not talk thus before Gentlemen and Ladies bred in the present age.

Come, come, let me hear Lord Darcey speak to this point, continued his
Lordship. He is soon to be _one of us_;--we shall shortly, I am told,
salute him _Benedick_.

On this Sir James threw down his knife and fork with emotion, crying,
This is news, indeed! This is what I never heard before! Upon my word,
your Lordship has been very secret! looking full at Lord Darcey. But you
are of _age_, my Lord, so I have no _right_ to be consulted; however, I
should be glad to know, who it is that runs away with your heart. This
was spoke half in jest, half in earnest.

In a moment my neck and face were all over crimson.--I felt the colour
rise;--it was not to be suppress'd.--I drew my handkerchief from my
pocket;--held it to my face;--hemm'd;--call'd for wine and
water;--which, when brought, I could scarcely swallow; spoke in a low
voice to Miss Winter;--said she had a poor stomach, or something like
it.

Lord Darcey too was confus'd.--Why did I look up to him?--He was pale,
instead of red.--I saw his lips move, but could not hear what he said
for more than a minute; occasion'd by an uncommon noise which just then
rush'd through my head:--at length sounds grew distinct, and I heard
this sentence--_every_ word is inscribed where it can _never_ be
erazed--

Upon my honour. Lord Allen, I have never made proposals to any woman;
and _further_, it is a matter of doubt, whether I ever shall.

By this time I had lost all my colour;--charming cool--and calm,--no
perturbation remaining.

Nothing disagreeable now hung on my mind, except a certain
thoughtfulness, occasion'd by the recollection of my folly.--

Miss Winter's eyes sparkled, if it is possible for grey ones to sparkle,
at the declaration Lord Darcey had just made; and, of a sudden, growing
very fond of _me_, laid her hand on mine, speaking as it were
aside,--Well, I was never _more_ surprized! I as _much_ believed him
engaged to a _certain_ young Lady,--squeezing my thumb,--as I think I am
living.--Nay, I would not have credited the contrary, had I not heard
him declare off with my _own_ ears.--I see how it is; Sir James must
chuse a wife for him.--

To all which I only answered, Lord Darcey, Madam, is certainly the best
judge of his actions:--I make no doubt but Sir James will approve his
Lordship's choice.

After what I have related, common subjects ensued:--the cloth being
removed, I withdrew to the Library, intending to sit with Mr. Watson
half an hour, who was confined by a cold. He holds out his hand to take
mine the moment he hears my footstep.--I look on him as an angel: his
purity, his mildness, his resignation speak him one.--

Lord Darcey entered as I was about to join the company; however, I staid
some minutes, that my quitting the room might not seem on _his_ account.

I am glad you are come, my Lord, said Mr. Watson; sitting with such a
poor infirm man has made Miss Warley thoughtful.--Upon my word, Sir,
returned I, it was only the fear of increasing your head-ach that me
silent.--I never was in higher spirits.--I could sing and dance this
very moment. Well then, dear Miss Warley, cried his Lordship, let me
fetch your _guitarre_.

With all my heart, my Lord; I am _quite_ in tune.--Taking leave of Mr.
Watson, I return'd to the company.--His Lordship soon followed. Again
repeating his request, in which every person join'd, I sung and play'd
several compositions.

Miss Winter was next call'd upon and the guitarre presented to her by
Lord Darcey.--A long time she absolutely refused it; declaring she had
not learnt any new music this year.--What does that signify, Miss
Winter? said her mother; you know you have a sweet voice.

Bless me! Madam! how can you say so?--To be sure, I should sing to great
advantage _now_.

Well, Nancy, you'll oblige _Papa?_--says the old Gentleman; I know
you'll oblige _Papa_,--stalking over to her on the tops of his toes.

Here the contest ended; _Miss_ taking the guitarre, condescended to
oblige her _Papa_.

She really sings and plays well:--if her manner had been less affected,
we should have been more entertain'd.--The company staid supper, after
which Lord Darcey came with me home.--I made _no_ objection:--of all
things, I would make _none_--after what pass'd at table. Fortunate
event! how I rejoice in my recovered tranquillity!

The thoughts, the pleasing thoughts of freedom have kept me from sleep;
I could not think of repose amidst my charming reflections. Happy, happy
change!

It is past two o'clock!--At all times and all seasons,

I am, my dear Lady,

Yours invariably,

F. WARLEY.



LETTER XVII.

Miss WARLEY to the same.

_From Mr. Jenkings's_.


Sent for before breakfast!--Nobody in the coach!--Well, I am glad of
that, however.--Something very extraordinary must have happen'd.--I hope
Lady Powis is not ill.--No other message but to desire I would come
immediately.--I go, my dear Lady; soon as I return will acquaint you
what has occasion'd me this _early_ summons.


Eight o'clock at Night.

No ill news! quite the reverse:--I am escaped from the house of
festivity to make your Ladyship a partaker.

My spirits are in a flutter.--I know not where to begin.--I have run
every step of the way, till I am quite out of breath.--Mr. Powis is
coming home,--absolutely coming home to settle;--married _too_, but I
cannot tell all at once.--Letters with an account of it have been this
morning receiv'd. He does not say _who_ his wife is, only one of the
best women in the world.

She will be received with affection;--I know she will.--Lady Powis
declares, they shall be folded together in her arms.

It was too much for Sir James, he quite roared again when he held out to
me the letter,--I don't believe he has eat a morsel this day.--I never
before saw a man so affected with joy.--Thank God! I left him pure and
calm.

The servants were like mad creatures, particularly those who lived in
the family before Mr. Powis left England.--He seems, in short, to be
considered as one risen from the dead.--

I was in such haste on receiving Lady Powis's message, that I ran down
to the coach, my hat and cloak in my hand.--Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings were
talking to the coachman.--I soon perceived by them something pleasing
had happen'd.--They caught me in their arms, and I thought would have
smother'd me in their embraces; crying out, Mr. Powis is coming home, my
dear;--Mr. Powis is coming home:--for God's sake, Madam, make haste up
to the Hall.

In getting into the coach, I stepp'd on my apron, and fell against the
opposite door.--My right arm was greatly bruis'd, which I did not
perceive till I drew on my glove.

The moment I alighted, I ran to the breakfast-parlour; but finding no
one there, went directly to her Ladyship's dressing-room.--She open'd
the door, when she heard me coming. I flew to her.--I threw my arms
about her neck, and all I could say in my hurry was, Joy, Joy, Joy!

I am all joy, my love, she return'd--I am made up of nothing else. I
quitted her to run to Sir James, who was sitting in a great chair with a
letter held out. I believe I kiss'd him twenty times before I took
it;--there could be no harm in that surely.--Such endearments I should
have shewn my father, on the like tender occasion. He wept, as I have
said, till he quite roared again.--I laid his head on my shoulder, and
it was some time before I would mention his son's name.

Lord Darcey held one of Sir James's hands: he was in the room when I
enter'd; but I declare I never saw him till he spoke. He is safe
_now_,--after what happened yesterday,--safe from any imputation on _my_
account--

Very kind and very civil, upon my word! O! your Ladyship never heard
such a fuss as he made about the scratch on my arm.--I affect to look
pleased when he speaks to me, that he might not take it into his head I
am mortified.

He must be the happiest creature in the world; I honour him for the
grateful affection he shews Sir James and Lady Powis.

Breakfast stood on the table: not a soul had broke their fast.--Her
Ladyship was here, there, and every where.--I was sadly afraid they
would be all sick; at length I prevailed on them to drink a cup of
chocolate.--

Mr. Watson, good man notwithstanding his indisposition, got up at
eleven.--I met him coming from his apartment, and had the pleasure of
leading him to the happy family.--

His congratulations were delivered with such serene joy,--such warmth of
affection,--as if he had cull'd the heart-felt satisfaction of both
_parents_.

The word _happy_ echoed from every mouth; each sentence began and ended
with it.--What the heart feels is seldom to be disguised.--Grief will
speak,--if not by the tongue, it will out;--it hangs on the features,
sallows the skin, withers the sinews, and is a galling weight that
pulls towards the ground.--Why should a thought of grief intrude at this
time?--Is not my dear Lady Mary's health returning?--Is not felicity
restor'd to this family?--Now will my regret at parting be
lessened;--now shall I leave every individual with minds perfectly at
ease.

Mr. Powis is expected in less than a month, intending to embark in the
next ship after the Packet.--How I long to see him!--But it is very
unlikely I should; I shall certainly have taken my leave of this place
before he arrives.--By your Ladyship's permission, I hope to look in
upon them, at our return to England.

What genteel freedoms men give themselves after _declaring off_, as Miss
Winter calls it?--I had never so many fine things said to me before;--I
can't tell how many;--quite a superabundance;--and before Sir James
_too!_--But no notice is taken; he has cleared himself of all
suspicion.--He may go to town as soon as he will.--His business is
done;--yes, he did it yesterday.

I wish I may not laugh out in the midst of his fine speeches.--

I wish your Ladyship could see this cool attention I give him.--But I
have nettled him to the truth this afternoon:--his pride was
alarm'd;--it could certainly proceed from _no other_ cause, after he has
_declared off_.

I was sitting at the tea-table, a trouble I always take from Lady Powis,
who with Sir James was walking just without the windows, when Lord
Darcey open'd the door, and said, advancing towards me with affected
airs of admiration,--How proud should I be to see my house and table so
graced!--Then leaning over the back of my chair, Well, my angel! how is
the bad arm? Come, let me see, attempting to draw off my glove.

Oh! quite well, my Lord; withdrawing my hand carelessly.

For heaven's sake, take more care of yourself, Miss Warley; this might
have been a sad affair.

Depend on that, my Lord, for my own sake.

For your _own sake!_ Not in consideration of any _other_ person?

Yes; of _Lady Mary Sutton, Sir James_ and _Lady Powis, good Mr.
Jenkings_ and _his wife_, who I know would be concerned was I to suffer
much from any accident.

Then there is no _other_ person you would wish to preserve your life
for?

Not that I know at present, my Lord,

Not that you know at _present!_ so you think you may one day or _other?_

I pretend not, my Lord, to answer for what _may_ happen; I have never
seen the _person_ yet. I was going to say something further, I have
really forgot what, when he turn'd from me, and walked up and down the
room with a seeming discomposure.

_If_ you are sincere in what you have said, _Miss Warley_; _if_ you are
_really_ sincere, I do pronounce--Here he burst open the door, and flew
out the instant Sir James and Lady Powis entered.

When the tea was made, a footman was sent to Lord Darcey; but he was no
where to be found.

This is very strange, said her Ladyship; Lord Darcey never used to be
out of the way at tea-time. I declare I am quite uneasy; perhaps he may
be ill.

Oh! cry'd Sir James, don't hurry yourself; I warrant he is got into one
of his old reveries, and forgets the time.

I was quite easy. I knew his abrupt departure was nothing but an
air:--an air of consequence, I suppose.--However, I was willing to be
convinced, so did not move till I saw the Gentleman sauntering up the
lawn. As no one perceived him but myself, I slid out to the housekeeper,
and told her, if her Lady enquir'd for me, I was gone home to write
Letters by to-morrow's post.

You have enough of it now, I believe, my dear Lady; two long letters by
the same packet:--but you are the repository of my joy, my grief, the
very inmost secrets of my soul.--You, my dear Lady, have the whole heart
of

F. WARLEY.



LETTER XVIII.

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


Ruin'd and undone, as I hope for mercy!--undone too by my own egregious
folly!--She is quite lost,--quite out of my power.--I wish Lord Allen
had been in the bottom of the sea;--he can never make me amends;--no, if
he was to die to-morrow and leave me his whole fortune.--

I told you he was to dine here yesterday.--I cannot be
circumstantial.--He did dine here;--to my utter sorrow he did.

Oh what a charming morning I spent!--Tho' my angel persisted in going to
France, yet it was in a manner that made me love her, if possible, ten
thousand times more than ever.--Good God! had you seen how she
look'd!--But no matter now;--I must forget her angelical
sweetness.--Forget did I say?--No, by heaven and earth--she lives in
every corner of my heart.--I wish I had told her my whole soul.--I was
going to tell her, if I had not been interrupted.--It is too late
now.--She would not hear me: I see by her manners she would not hear me.
She has learnt to look with indifference:--even smiles with
indifference.--Why does she not frown? That would be joy to what her
smiles afford.--I hate such smiles; they are darts dipp'd in poison.--

Lord Allen said he heard I was going to be marry'd:--_What was that to
him?_--Sir James look'd displeased. To quiet _his_ fears I assured
him--God! I know not what I assured _him_--something very foreign from
my heart.

She blushed when Sir James asked, to whom?--With what raptures did I
behold her blushes!--But she shrunk at my answer.--I saw the colour
leave her cheek, like a rose-bud fading beneath the hoary frost.

I _will_ know my fate.--Twill be with you in a few days,--if Sir James
should consent.--_What if he should consent?_--She is steeled against my
vows--my protestations;--my words affect her not;--the most tender
assiduities are disregarded:--she seems to attend to what I say, yet
regards it not.

Where are those looks of preference fled,--those expressive looks?--I
saw them not till now:--it is their loss,--it is their sad reverse that
tells me what they were. She turns not her head to follow my foot-steps
at parting;--or when I return, does not proclaim it by advancing
pleasure tip-toe to the windows of her soul.--No anxiety for my health!
No, she cares not what becomes of me.--I complain'd of my head, said I
was in great pain;--heaven knows how true! My complaints were
disregarded.--I attended her home. She sung all the way; or if she
talked, it was of music:--not a word of _my poor head_;--no charges to
draw the glasses up going back.

There was a time, Molesworth--there was a time, if my finger had but
ached, it was, My Lord, you look ill. Does not Lady Powis persuade you
to have advice? You are really too careless of your health.

Shall she be _another's?_--Yes; when I shrink at sight of what lies
yonder,--my sword, George;--that shall prevent her ever being
_another's_.

Tell me you believe she will be _mine_:--it may help to calm my
disturbed mind.--Be sure you do not hint she will be _another's_.

Have I told you, Mr. Powis is coming home?--I cannot recollect whether I
have or not;--neither can I pain myself to look back.

All the world has something to comfort them, but your poor
friend.--Every thing wears the face of joy, till I turn my eyes
inwards:--_there it is_ I behold the opposite;--_there it is_ where
Grief has fix'd her abode.--Does the fiend ever sleep? Will she be
composed by ushering in the happy prospects of others?--Yes, I will
feel, joy.--Joy did I say? Joy I cannot feel.--Satisfaction
then?--Satisfaction likewise is forbid to enter.--What then will
possess my mind; on recollecting peace is restor'd, where gratitude
calls for such large returns?--I'll pray for them;--I'll pray for a
continuance of their felicity.--I'll pray, if they have future ills in
store, they may light on the head of Darcey.--Yes, he can bear more
yet:--let the load be ever so heavy, he will stoop to take up the
burthen of his friends;--such friends as Sir James and Lady Powis have
been to

DARCEY.



LETTER XIX.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to LORD DARCEY.

London.


Well, give me the first salute of your fair bride;--_and for your bride_
I'll ensure Miss Warley.--Why there is not a symptom but is in your
favour.--She is nettled; can't you perceive it?--Once a studied
disregard takes place, we are safe:--nothing will hurt you _now_, my
Lord.--

You have been stuttering falsehoods.--From what I can gather, you have
been hushing the Baronet at the expence of your own and Miss Warley's
quiet.--If you have, never mind it; things may not be the worse.--Come
away, I advise you; set out immediately.--See how she looks at
parting.--But don't distress her;--I charge you not to distress
her.--Should you play back her own cards, I will not answer for the
pride of the sex.--

Sir James's consent once gained, and she rejects your proposals, lay all
your letters to me on the subject before her.--I have them by me.--These
cannot fail of clearing every doubt; she will be convinced then how
sincerely you have loved her.--

You surprise me concerning Mr. Powis:--I thought he was settled in his
government for life;--or rather, for the life of his father.--However, I
am convinced his coming over will be no bad thing for you;--he has
suffered too much from avarice, not to assist another so hardly beset.--

Was not his settling abroad an odd affair!--If he determined to remain
single till he had an opportunity of pleasing himself, why did he leave
England?--The mortification could not be great to have his overtures
refused, where they were made with such indifference.--

As he has lived so many years a batchelor, I suppose there will be now
an end to that great family.--

What a leveller is avarice! How does it pull down by attempting to
raise? How miserable, as Seneca says, in the desire?--how miserable in
attaining our ends?--The same great man alledges, that as long as we are
solicitous for the increase of wealth, we lose the true use of it; and
spend our time in putting out, calling in, and passing our accounts,
without any substantial benefit, either to the world, or to ourselves.--

If you had ever any uneasiness on Bridgman's account, it must be now at
an end.--Married, and has brought his bride to town.--What a false
fellow!--From undoubted authority, I am assured the writings have been
drawn six months:--so that every thing must be concluded between him and
his wife, at the very time he talked to me of Miss Warley.--I wash my
hands from any further acquaintance with concealed minds:--there must be
something very bad in a heart which has a dark cloud drawn before
it.--Virtue and innocence need no curtain:--they were sent to us
naked;--it is their loss, or never possessing them,--that makes caution
necessary, to hide from the world their destined place of
abode.--Without entering a house, and being conversant with its
inhabitants, how is it possible to say, if they are worthy or
unworthy:--so if you knock, and are not admitted, you still remain
doubtful.--But I am grown wise from experience;--and shall judge, for
the future, where a heart is closely shut up, there is nothing in it
worth enquiring after.

I go on Thursday to meet Risby, and conduct him to town. It would give
us great joy, at our return, to shake you by the hand.--What can avail
your staying longer in the midst of doubts, perplexities, racks,
tortures, and I know-not-what. Have you any more terms to express the
deadly disorder?--If you have keep them to yourself; I want not the
confounded list compleat:--no; no, not I; faith.--

I go this evening to see the new play, which is at present a general
subject of conversation.--Now, was I a vain fellow--a boaster--would I
mention four or six of the prettiest women about town, and swear I was
to escort them.--Being a lover of truth, I confess I shall steal alone
into an upper box, to fix my attention on the performance of the
piece.--Perhaps, after all is over, I may step to the box of some
sprightly, chatty girl, such as lady ----,--hear all the scandal of the
town, ask her opinion of the play, hand her to her chair, and so home,
to spend a snug evening with sir Edward Ganges, who has promised to meet
me here at ten.

Yours,

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XX.

Lady MARY SUTTON to Miss WARLEY.

_German Spaw_.


No, my dear, _Lord Darcey_ is not the man he appears.--What signifies a
specious outside, if within there's a narrow heart?--Such must be his,
to let a virtuous love sit imprisoned in secret corners, when it
delights to dwell in open day.

Perhaps, if he knew my intentions, all concealments would be thrown
aside, and he glory to declare what at present he meanly darkly
hints.--By my consent, you should never give your hand to one who can
hold the treasures of the mind in such low estimation.

When you mention'd your happy situation, the friendly treatment of Sir
James and Lady Powis, I was inclined to think for _many_ reasons, it
would be wrong to take you from them;--_now_ I am convinced, the pain
_that_ must occasion, or the danger in crossing the sea, is not to be
compared to what you might suffer in your _peace_ by remaining where you
are.--When people of Lord Darcey's rank weigh long a matter of this
nature, it is seldom the scale turns of the right side;--therefore, let
not _Hope_, my dear child, flatter you out of your affections.

Do not think you rest in security:--tender insinuations from a man such
as you describe Lord Darcey, may hurt your quiet.

I speak not from experience;--Nature, by cloathing me in her plainest
garb, has put all these hopes and fears far from me.

I have been ask'd, it is true, often, for my fortune;--at least, I look
upon asking for my heart to be the same thing.--Sure, I could never be
such a fool to part with the latter, when I well knew it was requested
only to be put in possession of the former!

_You_ think Jenkings suspects his son has a _too_ tender regard for
you;--_you_ think he is uneasy on that account.--Perhaps he is
uneasy;--but time will convince you his suspicions, his uneasiness,
proceed not from the _cause you imagine_.--He is a good man; you cannot
think too well of him.

I hope this letter will find you safe return'd to Hampshire. I am
preparing to leave the Spaw with all possible expedition: I should quit
it with reluctance, but for the prospect of visiting it again next
summer, with my dear Fanny.

At Montpelier the winter will slide on imperceptibly: many agreeable
families will there join us from the Spaw, whose good-humour and
chearful dispositions, together with plentiful draughts of the Pouhon
Spring, have almost made me forget the last ten years I have dragg'd, on
in painful sickness.

The family in which I have found most satisfaction, is Lord
Hampstead's:--every way calculated to make themselves and others
happy;--such harmony is observed through the whole, that the mechanism
of the individuals seem to be kept in order by one common wheel.--I
rejoice that I shall have an opportunity of introducing you to them.--We
have fixed to set out the same day for Montpelier.

Lady Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, has obligingly offer'd to travel in
my coach, saying, she thought it would be dull for me to go alone.

It is impossible to say which of the two sisters, was it left to my
choice, would be my companion, as both are superlatively pleasing.--They
possess, to a degree, what I so much admire in our sex;--a peculiar
softness in the voice and manner; yet not quite so sprightly, perhaps,
as may be thought necessary for some misses started up in this age; but
sufficient, I think, for those who keep within certain bounds.--It
requires an uncommon share of understanding, join'd with a great share
of wit, to make a very lively disposition agreeable. I allow, if these
two ingredients are happily blended, none can chuse but admire, as well
as be entertain'd with, such natural fine talents:--on the contrary,
where one sees a pert bold girl apeing such rare gifts, it is not only
the most painful, but most absurd sight on earth.

Lady Elizabeth, and her amiable sister Sophia strive to hide every
perfection they possess;--yet these I have just mention'd, with all
others, will on proper occasions, make their appearance through a croud
of blushes.--This timidity proceeds partly from nature,--partly from the
education they have received under the best of mothers, whose tenderness
for them would not suffer her to assign that momentous task to any but
herself; fearing, as she has often told me, they would have had a
thousand faults overlook'd by another, which her eye was ever on the
watch to discover. She well knew the most trivial might be to them of
the worst consequence:--when they were call'd to an account for what was
pass'd, or warn'd how to avoid the like for the future, her manner was
so determin'd and persuasive, as if she was examining her own
conscience, to rectify every spot and blemish in it.

Though Lady Hampstead's fondness for her daughters must cause her to
admire their good qualities, like a fine piece of perspective, whose
beauties grow upon the eye,--yet she has the art not only to conceal her
admiration, but, by the ascendency her tenderness has gain'd, she keeps
even from themselves a knowledge of those perfections.--To this is owing
the humility which has fortified their minds from the frequent attacks
flattery makes against the unstable bulwarks of title and beauty.

Matchless as these sisters appear, they are to be equalled in their own,
as well as the other sex.--I hope you will allow it in _one_, when you
see Lord Hallum: he is their brother as much by _virtue_ as _birth_.--I
could find in my heart to say a thousand things of this fine youth;--but
that I think such subjects flow easier from a handsome young woman than
a plain old one.--Yet don't be surpriz'd;--unaccountable things happen
every day;--if I _should_ lend a favourable ear to this
Adonis!--Something whispers me I shall receive his proposals.--An
excuse, on these occasions, is never wanting; mine will be a good
one:--that, at my death, you may be left to the protection of this
worthy Lord.--But, first, I must be assured you approve of him in that
light;--being so firmly attach'd to my dear Fanny, to your happiness,
my Love, that the wish of contributing to it is the warmest of your
ever affectionate

M. SUTTON.



LETTER XXI.

Lord DARCEY to the Hon. GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Alley_.


Five days more, and I am with you.--Saturday morning!--Oh that I may
support the hour of trial with fortitude!--I tremble at the thought;--my
blood freezes in my veins, when I behold the object I am to part from.--

I try in vain to keep out of her sight:--if I attempt to leave the room
where she is, my resolutions are baffled before I reach the door.--Why
do I endeavour to inflict so hard a penance!--Because I foolishly
suppose it would wean me.--Wean me _from what?_--From virtue.--No,
Molesworth, it is not _absence_;--it is not _time_ itself can deaden the
exalted image;--it neither sickens or dies, it blooms to immortality,

Was I only to be parted from beauty, _that_ I might meet again in every
town and village.--I want you to force me from the house.--Suppose I get
up early, and slip away without taking leave.--But that will not
do;--Sir James is ceremonious;--Lady Powis may deem it
disrespect;--above all, Miss Warley, _that dear, dear Miss Warley_,--if
_she_ should think me wanting in regard, all then must be at an end.

Ha! Sir James yonder on the terrace, and alone! Let me examine his
countenance:--I see no clouds;--this is the time, if ever!--Miss Warley
not yet come up from Jenkings's!--If successful, with what transports
shall I run to fetch her!--_Yes, I will_ venture;--_I will_ have one
trial, as I hope for mercy.--

       *       *       *       *       *

_As I hope for mercy_, I see, were my last words.--I do indeed hope for
it, but never from Sir James.

Still perplexed;--still miserable!--

I told you Miss Warley was not come from Jenkings's; but how I started,
when I saw her going to Lady Powis's dressing-room!

I was hurried about her in a dream, last night.--I thought I had lost
her:--I hinted it when we met;--that moment I fancied she eyed me with
regard;--she spoke _too_ in a manner very different from what she has
done some days past.--Then I'll swear it,--for it was not illusion,
George,--her whole face had something of a sweet melancholy spread over
it;--a kind of resignation in her look;--a melting softness that droop'd
on her cheek:--I felt what it expressed;--it fir'd my whole frame;--it
sent me to Sir James with redoubled eagerness.

I found him thoughtful and complaisant: we took several turns, before I
could introduce my intended subject; when, talking of my setting out, I
said, Now I have an opportunity, Sir James, perhaps I may not have
another before I go, I should be glad of your sentiments in regard to my
settling in life.--

How do you mean, my Lord; as to the choice of a wife?--

Why, I think, Sir, there's no other way of settling to one's
satisfaction.

To be sure, it is very necessary your Lordship should consider on those
matters,--especially as you are the last of a noble family:--when, you
do fix, I hope it will be _prudently_.

_Prudently_, Sir James! you may depend on it I will never settle my
affections _imprudently_.

Wall, but, my Lord, what are your notions of _prudence?_

Why, Sir, to make choice of a person who is virtuous, sensible, well
descended.--_Well descended Jenkings has assured me she is_.

You say nothing, my Lord, of what is _most_ essential to
happiness;--nothing of the _main point_.

Good-nature, I suppose you mean:--I would not marry an ill-natur'd
woman, Sir James, for the world. And is good-nature, with those you
have mention'd, the only requisites?

I think they are the chief, Sir.

You and I differ much, my Lord.--Your father left his estate encumbered;
it is not yet clear; you are of age, my Lord: pray, spare yourself the
trouble of consulting me, if you do not think of _fortune_.

Duty to the memory of my rever'd father, the affection and gratitude I
owe you, Sir James, calls for my obedience:--without _your_ sanction,
Sir, never shall my hand be given.

He seem'd pleas'd: I saw tears starting to his eyes; but still he was
resolv'd to distress me.

Look about you, my child; look about you, Darcey;--there's Lady Jane
Marshly, Miss Beaden, or--and was going on.

Pardon me, Sir James, for interrupting you; but really, I cannot take
any Lady on recommendation: I am very difficult, perhaps _perverse_ in
this point; my first attachment must be merely accidental.

Ah! these are the notions that ruin half the young fellows of this
age.--_Accidental likings_--_First love_,--and the devil knows what,
runs away with half the old family estates.--Why, the least thing men
ought to expect, even if they marry for _love_, is six-pence for a
shilling.--Once for all, my Lord, I must tell you, your _interest_ is to
be consulted before your _inclinations_.

_Don't_ be ruffled, Sir James; _don't_ let us talk warmly of a matter
which perhaps is at a great distance.

I wish it may be at a _great distance_, my Lord.--_If what I conjecture
is true_--Here he paus'd, and look'd so sternly, that I expected all
would out.

What do you _conjecture_, Sir?--Yes, I ask'd him what.--

Your Lordship must excuse my answering that question. _I hope_ I am
wrong;--_I hope_ such a thing never enter'd your thoughts:--if it
has--and he mutter'd something I could not understand; only I heard
distinctly the words _unlucky_,--_imprudent_,--_unforeseen_.--I knew
enough of their meaning to silence me.--Shaking him by the hand, I said,
Well, Sir James, if you please, we will drop this subject for the
present.--On which the conversation ended.

What a deal of patience and philosophy am I master of, to be here at my
pen, whilst two old men are sucking in the honey which I should lay up
for a winter's store?--Like Time, nothing can stand before her:--she
mows down all ages.--Even Morgan, that man who us'd to look on a fine
woman with more indifference than a horse or dog,--is now
new-moulded;--not one oath in the space where I have known twenty escape
him:--instead of following his dogs the whole morning, he is eternally
with the ladies.

If he rides out with my angel, for he's determin'd, he says, to make her
a complete horsewoman, I must not presume to give the least direction,
or _even_ touch the bridle.

I honour him for the tender regard he shews her:--yes, I go further;
_he_ and _Mr. Watson_ may _love_ her;--they do _love_ her, and glory in
declaring it.--I _love_ them in return;--but they are the only two, of
all the race of batchelors within my knowledge, that should make _such_
a declaration with impunity.

Let me see: I shall be in London Saturday evening;--Sunday, no
post;--Monday, _then_ I determine to write to Sir James;--Wednesday, I
may have an answer;--_Thursday_,--who knows but _Thursday!_--nothing is
impossible; who knows but _Thursday_ I may return to all my hopes?--How
much I resemble a shuttlecock! how am I thrown from side to side by hope
and fear; now up, now down; no sooner mounted by one hand than lower'd
by another!

This moment a gleam of comfort steals sweetly through my heart;--but it
is gone even before I could bid it welcome.--Why so fast!--to what spot
is it fled?--Can there be a wretch more in need, who calls louder for
its charitable ray than

DARCEY.



LETTER XXII.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON

_From Mr. Jenkings's_


Now, my dear Lady, the time is absolutely fix'd for our embarkation; the
22d, without fail.--Mr. Smith intends coming himself, to accompany me to
London.--How very good and obliging this!--I shall say nothing of it to
Lady Powis, till Lord Darcey is gone, which will be Saturday:--_he_ may
go to France, if he pleases, but not with _me_.--

When I received Mrs. Smith's letter, he was mighty curious to know who
it was from:--I found him examining the seal, as it lay on the table in
Mr. Jenkings's parlour.--Here is a letter for you, Miss Warley, a good
deal confus'd.--So I see, my Lord: I suppose from Lady Mary Sutton.

I fancy not;--it does not appear to be directed in the same hand with
that my servant brought you last from the post-office.--I broke the
seal; it was easy to perceive the contents gave me pleasure.

There is something, Miss Warley, which gives you particular
satisfaction.

You are right, my Lord, I never was better pleas'd.

Then it is from Lady Mary?

_No_, not from Lady Mary.

From Mrs. Smith, _then?_--Do I guess _now?_--You say nothing; oh, there
it is.--I could not forbear smiling.

Pray tell me, only _tell me_, and he caught one of my hands, if this
letter does not fix the _very_ day of your setting out for France?

I thought him possest with the spirit of divination.--What could I do,
in this case?--Falshoods I despise;--evasions are low, _very_ low,
indeed:--yet I knew he ought not to be trusted with the contents, even
at the expence of my veracity--I recollected myself, and looked grave.

My Lord, you must excuse me; this affair concerns only myself; even Lady
Powis will not be acquainted with it yet.

I have done, if Lady Powis is not to be acquainted with it.--I have no
right--I say _right_.--Don't look so, Miss Warley--_believe I did flare
a little_--Time will unfold,--will cast a different light on things from
that in which you now see them.

I was confus'd;--I put up my letter, went to the window, took a book
from thence, and open'd it, without knowing what I did.

_Complete Pocket-Farrier; or, A Cure for all Disorders in Horses_, read
his Lordship aloud, looking over my shoulder; for such was the title of
the book.

What have you here, my love?

_My love_, indeed! Mighty free, mighty free, was it not, my Lady? I
could not avoid laughing at the drollery of this accident, or I should
have given him the look he deserved.--I thank God I am come to a state
of _indifference_; and my time here is so short, I would willingly
appear as little reserv'd as possible, that he might not think I have
chang'd my sentiments since his _declaring off_: though I must own I
have; but my pride will not suffer me to betray it to him.

If he has distress'd me,--if he has led my heart a little astray,--I am
recovered now:--I have found out my mistake.--Should I suffer my eye to
drop a tear, on looking back, for the future it will be more
watchful;--it will guard, it will protect the poor wanderer.

He is very busy settling his affairs with Sir James:--three hours were
they together with Mr. Jenkings in the library;--his books all pack'd up
and sent away, to be sure he does not intend returning _here_ again
soon.

I suppose he will settle;--he talks of new furnishing his house;--has
consulted Lady Powis upon it.--If he did not intend marrying, if he had
no Lady in his eye--

But what is all this to me? Can he or his house be of any consequence to
my repose?--I enjoy the thoughts of going to France without him:--I
suppose he will think me very sly, but no matter.--

That good-natur'd creature Edmund would match me to a prince, was it in
his power.--He told me, yesterday, that he'd give the whole world, if I
was not to go to France.--Why so, Edmund?--I shall see you again, said
I, at my return to England.

Ay, but what will _somebody do_, in the mean time?

Who is _somebody?_

Can't you guess, Miss Warley?

I do guess, Edmund. But you was never more mistaken; the person you mean
is not to be distress'd by _my_ absence.

He is, upon my honour;--I know _he is_.--Lord Darcey loves you to
distraction.

Poh! Edmund; don't take such things into your head: I know _you_ wish me
well; but don't be so sanguine!--Lord Darcey stoop to think of _me!_

Stoop to think of _you_, Miss Warley!--I am out of all patience: stoop
to think of _you!_--I shall never forget _that_.--Greatly as I honour
his Lordship, if he conceals his sentiments, if he trifles in an affair
of such importance,--was he the first duke in the kingdom, I hold him
below the regard even of such a one as _I_ am.--Pardon my curiosity,
madam, I mean no ill; but surely he has made proposals to you.

Well, then, I will tell you, Edmund;--I'll tell you frankly, he never
_has_ made proposals:--and further, I can answer for him, he never
_will_.--His belief was stagger'd;--he stood still, his eyes fixed on
the ground.

Are you _really_ in earnest, Miss Warley?

Really, Edmund.

Then, for heaven's sake, go to France.--But how can you tell, madam, he
never intends to make proposals?

On which I related what passed at table, the day Lord Allen dined at the
Abbey.--Nothing could equal his astonishment; yet would he fain have
persuaded me that I did not understand him;--call'd it misapprehension,
and I know not what.

He _will_ offer you his hand, Miss Warley; he certainly _will_.--I've
known him from a school-boy;--I'm acquainted with every turn of his
mind;--I know his very looks;--I have observ'd them when they have been
directed to you:--he will, I repeat,--he will offer you his hand.

No! Edmund:--but if he _did_, his overtures should be disregarded.

Say not so, Miss Warley; for God's sake, say not so again;--it kills me
to think you _hate_ Lord Darcey.

I speak to you, Edmund, as a friend, as a brother:--never let what has
pass'd escape your lips.

If I do, madam, what must I deserve?--To be shut out from your
confidence is a punishment only fit for such a breach of trust.--But,
for heaven's sake, do not _hate_ Lord Darcey.

Mr. Jenkings appeared at this juncture, and look'd displeas'd.--How
strangely are we given to mistakes!--I betray'd the same confusion, as
if I had been really carrying on a clandestine affair with his son.--In
a very angry tone he said, I thought, Edmund, you was to assist me,
knowing how much I had on my hands, before Lord Darcey sets out;--but I
find business is not _your_ pursuit:--I believe I must consent to your
going into the army, after all.--On which he button'd up his coat, and
went towards the Abbey, leaving me quite thunderstruck. Poor Edmund was
as much chagrined as myself.--A moment after I saw Mr. Jenkings
returning with a countenance very different,--and taking me apart from
his son, said, I cannot forgive myself, my dear young Lady;--can you
forgive me for the rudeness I have just committed?--I am an old man,
Miss Warley;--I have many things to perplex me;--I should not,--I know I
should _not_, have spoke so sharply to Edmund, when you had honour'd him
with your company.

I made him easy by my answer; and since I have not seen a cloud on his
brow.--I shall never think more, with concern, of Mr. Jenkings's
suspicions.--Your Ladyship's last letter,--oh! how sweetly tender!
tells me _he_ has _motives_ to which _I_ am a stranger.

We spent a charming day, last Monday, at Lord Allen's. Most of the
neighbouring families were met there, to commemorate the happy
festival.--Mr. Morgan made one of the party, and return'd with us to the
Abbey, where he proposes waiting the arrival of his godson, Mr.
Powis.--If I have any penetration, most of his fortune will center
_there_,--For my part, I am not a little proud of stealing into his good
graces:--I don't know for what, but Lady Powis tells me, I am one of his
first favourites; he has presented me a pretty little grey horse,
beautifully caparison'd; and hopes he says, to make me a good
horsewoman.

As I have promis'd to be at the Abbey early, I shall close this letter;
and, if I have an opportunity, will write another by the same
packet.--Believe me ever, my dearest Lady, your most grateful and
affectionate

F. WARLEY.



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.



BARFORD ABBEY,

A NOVEL:

IN A

SERIES of LETTERS.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.


MDCCLXVIII.



BARFORD ABBEY.



LETTER XXIII.

Miss WARLEY to Lady MARY SUTTON.

_from Mr. Jenkings's_.


Oh what a designing man is Lord Darcey!--He loves me not, yet fain would
persuade me that he does.--When I went yesterday morning to the Abbey, I
met him in my way to Lady Powis's dressing-room.--Starting as if he had
seen an apparition, and with a look which express'd great importance, he
said, taking my hand, Oh! Miss Warley, I have had the most dreadful
night!--but I hope _you_ have rested well.

I have rested very well, my Lord; what has disturb'd your Lordship's
rest?

_What_, had it been _real_ as it was _visionary_, would have drove me to
madness.--I dreamt, Miss Warley,--I dreamt every thing I was possess'd
of was torn from me;--but now--_and here stopt_.

Well, my Lord, and did not the pleasure of being undeceiv'd overpay all
the pain which you had been deceiv'd into?

No, my angel!--_Why does he call me his angel?_

Why, no: I have such a sinking, such a load on my mind, to reflect it is
possible,--only possible it might happen, that, upon my word, it has
been almost too much for me.

Ah! my Lord, you are certainly wrong to anticipate evils; they come fast
enough, one need not run to meet them:--besides, if your Lordship had
been in reality that very unfortunate creature, you dreamt you were, for
no rank or degree is proof against the caprice of Fortune,--was nothing
to be preserv'd entire?--Fortune can require only what she gave:
fortitude, peace, and resignation, are not her gifts.

Oh! Miss Warley, you mistake: it was not riches I fancied myself
dispossess'd of;--it was, oh my God!--what my peace, my _very_ soul is
center'd in!--and his eyes turn'd round with so wild a stare, that
really I began to suspect his head.

I trembled so I could scarce reach the dressing-room, though just at the
door.--The moment I turn'd from him, he flew like lightning over the
stairs; and soon after, I saw him walking with Sir James on the terrace.
By their gestures I could discover their conversation was not a common
one.

Mr. Morgan comes this instant in sight;--a servant after him, leading my
little horse.--I am sorry to break off, but I must attend him;--he is so
good, I know your Ladyship would be displeas'd, was I to prolong my
letter at the expence of his favour.--Yours, my much honour'd,--my much
lov'd Lady,--with all gratitude, with all affection,

F. WARLEY.



LETTER XXIV.

Miss WARLEY to the same.

_From Mr. Jenkings's_.


Now, my dearest Lady, am I again perplex'd, doubting, and
embarrass'd:--yet Lord Darcey is gone,--gone this very morning,--about
an hour since.

Well, I did not think it would evermore be in his power to distress
me;--but I have been distress'd,--greatly distress'd!--I begin to think
Lord Darcey sincere,--that he has always been sincere--He talks of next
_Thursday_, as a day to unravel great mysteries:--but I shall be far
enough by that time; sail'd, perhaps.--Likely, he said, I might know
before Thursday.--I wish any body could, tell me:--I fancy Sir James and
Lady Powis are in the secret.

Mr. Jenkings is gone with his Lordship to Mr. Stapleton's,--about ten
miles this side London, on business of importance:--to-morrow he
returns; then I shall acquaint him with my leaving this place.--Your
Ladyship knows the motive why I have hitherto kept the day of my setting
out a secret from every person,--even from Sir James and Lady Powis.

Yesterday, the day preceding the departure of Lord Darcey, I went up to
the Abbey, determin'd to exert my spirits and appear chearful, cost what
it would to a poor disappointed heavy heart.--Yes, it was
disappointed:--but till then I never rightly understood its
situation;--or perhaps would not understand it;--else I have not
examin'd it so closely as I ought, of late;--Not an unusual thing
neither: we often stop to enquire, what fine feat _that?_--whose
magnificent equipage _this?_--long to see and converse with persons so
surrounded with splendor;--but if one happen to pass a poor dark
cottage, and see the owner leaning on a crutch at the door, we are apt
to go by, without making any enquiry, or betraying a wish to be
acquainted with its misery.--

This was my situation, when I directed my steps to the Abbey.--I saw not
Lord Darcey in an hour after I came into the house;--when he join'd us,
he was dress'd for the day, and in one hand his own hat, in the other
mine, with my cloak, which he had pick'd up in the Vestibule:--he was
dreadfully pale;--complain'd of a pain in his head, which he is very
subject to;--said he wanted a walk;--and ask'd, if I would give him the
honour of my company.--I had not the heart to refuse, when I saw how ill
he look'd;--though for some days past, I have avoided being alone with
him as much as possible.

We met Lady Powis returning from a visit to her poultry-yard.--Where are
my two runabouts going _now?_ she said.--Only for a little walk, madam,
reply'd Lord Darcey.

You are a sauce-box, said she, shaking him by the hand;--but don't go,
my Lord, _too far_ with Miss Warley, nodding and smiling on him at the
same time.--She gave me a sweet affectionate kiss, as I pass'd her; and
cried out, You are a couple of pretty strollers, are you not!--But away
together; only I charge you, my Lord, calling after him, remember you
are not to go _too far_ with my dear girl.

We directed our steps towards the walk that leads to the Hermitage,
neither of us seeming in harmony of spirits.--His Lordship still
complaining of his head, I propos'd going back before we had gone ten
paces from the house.

Would Miss Warley then prevent me, said he, from the last satisfaction!
might ever enjoy?--You don't know, madam, how long--it is impossible to
say how long--if ever I should be so happy again--I look forward to
Wednesday with impatience;--if that should be propitious,--_Thursday_
will unravel _mysteries_; it will clear up _doubts_;--it will perhaps
bring on an event which you, my dearest life, may in time reflect on
with pleasure;--you, my dearest life!--pardon the liberty,--by heaven! I
am sincere!

I was going to withdraw my hand from his: I can be less reserv'd when he
is less free.

Don't take your hand from me;--I will call you miss Warley;--I see my
freedom is depleasing;--but don't take your hand away; for I was still
endeavouring to get it away from him.

Yes, my angel, I will call you _Miss Warley_.

Talk not at this rate, my Lord: it is a kind of conversation I do not,
nor wish to understand.

I see, madam, I am to be unhappy;--I know you have great reason to
condemn me:--my whole behaviour, since I first saw you, has been one
riddle.

Pray, my Lord, forbear this subject.

No! if I never see you more, Miss Warley,--this is my wish that you
think the worst of me that appearances admit;--think I have basely
wish'd to distress you.

Distress me, my Lord?

Think so, I beseech you, if I never return.--What would the misfortune
be of falling low, even to the most abject in your opinion, compared
with endangering the happiness of her whole peace is my ardent
pursuit?--If I fail, I only can tell the cause:--you shall never be
acquainted with it;--for should you regard me even with pity,--cool
pity,--it would be taking the dagger from my own breast, and planting it
in yours.

Ah! my Lady, could I help understanding him?--could I help being
moved?--I was moved;--my eyes I believe betrayed it.

If I return, continued he, it is you only can pronounce me happy.--If
you see me not again, think I am tossed on the waves of adverse
fortune:--but oh think I again intreat _you_,--think me guilty. Perhaps
I may outlive--no, that will never do;--you will be happy long before
that hour;--it would be selfish to hope the contrary. I _wish_ Mr. Powis
was come home;--I wish--All my wishes tend to one great end.--Good God,
what a situation am I in!--That the Dead could hear my petitions!--that
he could absolve me!--What signifies, whether one sue to remains
crumbled in the dust, or to the ear which can refuse to hear the voice
of reason?

I thought I should have sunk to see the agony he was work'd up to.--I
believe I look'd very pale;--I felt the blood thrill through my veins,
and of a sudden stagnate:--a dreadful sickness follow'd;--I desir'd to
sit;--he look'd on every side, quite terrified;--cry'd, Where will you
sit, my dearest life?--what shall I do?--For heaven's sake speak,--speak
but one word;--speak to tell me, I have not been your murderer.

I attempted to open my mouth, but in vain; I pointed to the ground,
making an effort to sit down:--he caught me in his arms, and bore me to
a bench not far off;--there left me, to fetch some water at a brook
near, but came back before he had gone ten steps.--I held out my hand to
his hat, which lay on the ground, then look'd to the water.--Thank
God!--thank God! he said, and went full speed, to dip up some;--he knelt
down, trembling, before me;--his teeth chatter'd in his head whilst he
offer'd the water.

I found myself beginning to recover the moment it came to my lips.--He
fix'd his eyes on me, as if he never meant to take them off, holding
both my hands between his, the tears running down his face, without the
contraction of one feature.--If sorrow could be express'd in stone, he
then appear'd the very statue which was to represent it.

I attempted to speak.

Don't speak yet, he cried;--don't make yourself ill again: thank heaven,
you are better!--This is some sudden chill; why have you ventur'd out
without clogs?

How delicate,--how seasonable, this hint! Without it could I have met
his eye, after the weakness I had betrayed?--We had now no more
interesting subjects; I believe he thought I had _enough_ of them.

It was near two when we reach'd the Abbey. Sir James and Mr. Morgan were
just return'd from a ride;--Lady Powis met us on the Green, where she
said she had been walking some time, in expectation of her
strollers,--She examin'd my countenance very attentively, and then ask'd
Lord Darcey, if he had remember'd her injunctions?

What reason, my Lady, have you to suspect the contrary? he
returned--Well, well, said she, I shall find you out some day or
other;--but her Ladyship seem'd quite satisfied, when I assured her I
had been no farther than the Beach-walk.

Cards were propos'd soon after dinner: the same party as usual.--Mr.
Morgan is never ask'd to make one;--he says he would as soon see the
devil as a card-table.--We kept close at it 'till supper.--I could not
help observing his Lordship blunder'd a little;--playing a diamond for a
spade,--and a heart for a club,--I took my leave at eleven, and he
attended me home.

Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings were gone to bed,--Edmund was reading in the
parlour; he insisted on our having a negus which going out to order, was
follow'd by Lord Darcey:--I heard them whisper in the passage, but could
distinguish the words, _if she is ill, remember, if she is ill_--and
then Edmund answer'd, You may depend on it, my Lord,--as I have a soul
to be saved:--does your Lordship suppose I would be so negligent?

I guess'd at this charge;--it was to write, if I should be ill, as I
have since found by Edmund,--who return'd capering into the room,
rubbing his hands, and smiling with such significance as if he would
have said, Every thing is as it should be.

When his Lordship had wish'd us a good night, he said to
me,--_To-morrow_, Miss Warley!--but I will say nothing of
_to-morrow_;--I shall see you in the morning. His eyes glisten'd, and he
left the room hastily.--Whilst Edmund attended him out, I went to my
chamber that I might avoid a subject of which I saw his honest heart was
full.

On my table lay the Roman History; I could not help giving a peep where
I had left off, being a very interesting part:--from one thing I was led
to another, 'till the clock struck three; which alarm made me quit my
book.

Whilst undressing, I had leisure to recollect the incidents of the
pass'd day; sometimes pleasure, sometimes pain, would arise, from this
examination; yet the latter was most predominant.

When I consider'd Lord Darcey's tender regard for my future, as well as
present peace,--how could I reflect on him without gratitude?--When I
consider'd his perplexities, I thought thus:--they arise from some
entanglement, in which his heart is not engag'd.--Had he confided in me,
I should not have weaken'd his resolutions;--I would no more wish him to
be guilty of a breach of honour, than surrender myself to infamy.--I
would have endeavour'd to persuade him _she_ is amiable, virtuous, and
engaging.--If I had been successful, I would have _frown'd_ when he
_smil'd_;--I would have been _gay_ when he seem'd _oppress'd_--I would
have been _reserv'd, peevish, supercilicus_;--in short, I would have
counterfeited the very reverse of what was likely to draw him from a
former attachment.

To live without him must be my fate; since that is almost inevitable, I
would have strove to have secur'd his happiness, whilst mine had
remain'd to chance.--These reflections kept me awake 'till six; when I
fell into a profound sleep, which lasted 'till ten; at which time I was
awaken'd by Mrs. Jenkings to tell me Lord Darcey was below; with an
apology, that she had made breakfast, as her husband was preparing, in
great haste, to attend his Lordship.

This was a hint he was not to stay long; so I put on my cloaths with
expedition; and going down, took with me my whole stock of resolution;
but I carried it no farther than the bottom of the stairs;--there it
flew from me;--never have I seen it since:--that it rested not in the
breast of Lord Darcey, was visible;--rather it seem'd as if his and mine
had taken a flight together.

I stood with the lock of the door in my hand more than a minute, in
hopes my inward flutterings would abate.--His Lordship heard my
footstep, and flew to open it;--I gave him my hand, without knowing what
I did;--joy sparkled in his eyes and he prest it to his breast with a
fervour that cover'd me with confusion.

He saw what he had done,--He dropp'd it respectfully, and inquiring
tenderly for my health, ask'd if I would honour him with my commands
before he sat out for Town?--What a fool was I!--Lord bless me!--can I
ever forget my folly? What do you think, my Lady! I did not speak;--no!
I could not answer;--I was _silent_;--I was _silent_, when I would have
given the world for one word.--When I did speak, it was not to Lord
Darcey, but, still all fool, turn'd and said to Mr. Jenkings, who was
looking over a parchment, How do you find yourself, Sir? Will not the
journey you are going to take on horseback be too fatiguing? No, no, my
good Lady; it is an exercise I have all my life been us'd to: to-morrow
you will see me return the better for it.

Mrs. Jenkings here enter'd, follow'd by a servant with the breakfast,
which was plac'd before me, every one else having breakfasted.--She
desir'd I would give myself the trouble of making tea, having some
little matters to do without.--This task would have been a harder
penance than a fast of three days;--but I must have submitted, had not
my good genius Edmund appear'd at this moment; and placing himself by
me, desir'd to have the honour of making my breakfast.

I carried the cup with difficulty to my mouth. My embarrassment was
perceiv'd by his Lordship; he rose from his seat, and walk'd up and
down.--How did his manly form struggle to conceal the disorder of his
mind!--Every movement, every look, every word, discover'd Honour in her
most graceful, most ornamental garb: _when_ could it appear to such
advantage, surrounded with a cloud of difficulties, yet shining out and
towering above them all?

He laid his cold hand on mine;--with precipitation left the room;--and
was in a moment again at my elbow.--Leaning over the back of my chair,
he whisper'd, For heaven's sake, miss Warley, be the instrument of my
fortitude; whilst I see you I cannot--there stopt and turn'd from me.--I
saw he wish'd me to go first,--as much in compassion to myself as him.
When his back was turn'd, I should have slid out of the room;--but Mr.
Jenkings starting up, and looking at his watch, exclaim'd, _Odso_, my
Lord! it is past eleven; we shall be in the dark. This call'd him from
his reverie; and he sprang to the door, just as I had reached
it.--Sweet, generous creature! said he, stopping me; and you will go
_then?_--Farewell, my Lord, replied I.--My dear, good friend, to Mr.
Jenkings, take care of your health.--God bless you both I--My voice
faulter'd.

Excellent Miss Warley! a thousand thanks for your kind condescension,
said the good old man.--Yet one moment, oh God! yet one moment, said his
Lordship; and he caught both my hands.

Come, my Lord, return'd Mr. Jenkings; and never did I see him look so
grave, something of disappointment in his countenance;--come, my Lord,
the day is wasting apace. Excuse this liberty:--your Lordship has been
_long_ determin'd,--have _long_ known of leaving this country.--My
dearest young Lady, you will be expected at the Abbey.--I shall, indeed,
replied I;--so God bless you, Sir!--God bless you, my Lord! and,
withdrawing my hands, hasten'd immediately to my chamber.

I heard their voices in the court-yard:--if I had look'd out at the
window, it might not have been unnatural,--I own my inclinations led to
it.--Inclination should never take place of prudence;--by following one,
we are often plung'd into difficulties;--by the other we are sure to be
conducted safely:--instead, then, of indulging my curiosity to see how
he look'd--how he spoke at taking leave of this dwelling;--whether his
eyes were directed to the windows, or the road;--if he rid slow or
fast;--how often he turn'd to gaze, before he was out of sight:--instead
of this, I went to Mrs. Jenkings's apartment, and remain'd there 'till I
heard they were gone, then return'd to my own; since which I have wrote
down to this period. Perhaps I should have ran on farther, if a summons
from Lady Powis did not call me off. I hope now to appear before her
with tolerable composure.--I am to go in the coach alone.--Well, it will
seem strange!--I shall think of my _late_ companion;--but time
reconciles every thing.--_This_ was my hope, when I lost my best friend,
the lov'd instructress of my infant years.--_Time_, all healing _Time!_
to _that_ I fear I must look forward, as a lenitive against many evils.

Two days!--only two days!--and then, adieu, my dear friends at the
Abbey;--adieu, my good Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings!--and you _too_, my
friendly-hearted Edmund, adieu!

Welcome,--doubly welcome, every moment which brings me nearer to that
when I shall kiss the hands of my honour'd Lady;--when I shall be able
to tell you, in person, ten thousand things too much for my pen;--when
you will kindly say, Tell me all, my Fanny, tell me every secret of your
heart.--Happy sounds!--pleasing sounds! these will be to your grateful
and affectionate

F. WARLEY.



LETTER XXV.

Miss WARLEY to the same.

_From Mr. Jenkings's_.


Now, my dear Lady, am I ready for my departure:--Sir James and Lady
Powis reconciled to my leaving them;--yet how can I call it reconciled,
when I tear myself from their arms as they weep over me?--Heavens! how
tenderly they love me!--Their distress, when I told them the day was
absolutely fix'd; when I told them the necessity of my going, _their_
distress nothing could equal but my _own_.--I thought my heart would
have sunk within me!--Surely, my Lady, my affection for them is not a
common affection;--it is _such_ as I hear your dear self;--it is _such_
as I felt for my revered Mrs. Whitmore.--I cannot dwell on this
subject--indeed I cannot.

I almost wish I had not kept the day so long a secret.--But suppose I
had not,--would their concern have been lessen'd?

I would give the world, if Mr. Jenkings was come home:--his wife is like
a frantic woman; and declares, if I persist in going, I shall break the
heart of her and her husband.--Why do they love me so well?--It cannot
be from any deserts of mine:--I have done no more than common gratitude
demands;--the affection I shew them is only the result of their own
kindness.--Benevolent hearts never place any thing to their own
account:--they look on returns as presents, not as just debts:--so,
whether giving or receiving, the glory must be their's.

I fancy Mr. Smith will not be here 'till to morrow, his Lady having
wrote me, he intended spending the evening with an acquaintance of his
about six miles from the Abbey.

How I dread the hour of parting!--Poor Mr. Watson!--I fear I shall never
see _him_ more.--Mr. Morgan _too!_ but he is likely to live many
years.--There is something in this strange man excessively engaging.--If
people have roughness, better to appear in the voice, in the air and
dress, than in the heart: a want of softness _there_, I never can
dispense with.--What is a graceful form, what are numberless
accomplishments, without humanity? I love, I revere, the honest, plain,
well-meaning Mr. Morgan.

Hark! I hear the trampling of horses.--Mr. Jenkings is certainly
return'd.--I hasten down to be the first who shall inform him of my
departure.

How am I mortified to see Aaron return without his master!--Whilst Mrs.
Jenkings was busied in enquiries after the health of her good man, I was
all impatience for the contents of a letter she held in her hand,
unopen'd: having broke the seal, and run her eye hastily over it, she
gave it me.--I think my recollection will serve to send it verbatim to
your Ladyship.


Mr. JENKINGS to Mrs. JENKINGS.

"My Dear,

I dispatch Aaron to acquaint you it is impossible for me to be home till
Wednesday. Mr. Stapleton is gone to London: I am obliged to attend Lord
Darcey thither. I love his Lordship _more_ and _more_.--He has convinc'd
me _our_ conjectures were not without foundation.--Heaven grant it may
end to _our_ wishes!--There are, he thinks, difficulties to be overcome.
Let him think it:--his happiness will be more exquisite when he is
undeceiv'd.--Distribute my dutiful respects to Sir James, Lady Powis,
and Miss Warley; next to yourself and our dear Edmund, they are nearest
the heart of your truly affectionate husband

JENKINGS."

I will make no comments on this letter; it cannot concern _me_,--What
can I do about seeing Mr. Jenkings before I go?--

Lord bless me! a chaise and four just stopp'd; Mr. Smith in
it.--Heavens! how my heart throbs!--I did not expect him 'till
to-morrow: I must run to receive him.--How shall I go up to the
Abbey!--how support the last embrace of Sir James and Lady Powis!


Ten at Night, just come from the Abbey.

Torn in pieces!--my poor heart torn in pieces!--I shall never see them
more;--never again be strain'd to their parental bosoms.--Forgive me, my
dearest Lady, I do not grieve that I am coming to _you_; I grieve only
that I go from _them_.--Oh God! why must my soul be divided?

Another struggle too with poor Mrs. Jenkings!--She has been on her
knees:--yes, thus lowly has she condescended to turn me from my purpose,
and suffer Mr. Smith to go back without me,--I blush to think what pain,
what trouble I occasion.--She talks of some _important event_ at hand.
She says if I go, it will, end in the destruction of us all.--What can
she mean by an _important event?_--Perhaps Lord Darcey--but no matter;
nothing, my dear Lady, shall with-hold me from you.--The good woman is
now more calm. I have assured her it is uncertain how long we may be in
London: it is only that has calm'd her.--She says, she is _certain_ I
shall return;--she is _certain_, when Mr. Powis and his Lady arrives, _I
must_ return.--Next Thursday they are expected:--already are they
arrived at Falmouth:--but, notwithstanding what I have told Mrs.
Jenkings, to soften her pains at parting, I shall by Thursday be on my
voyage;--for Mr. Smith tells me the Packet will sail
immediately.--Perhaps I may be the messenger of my own letters:--but I
am determin'd to write on 'till I see you;--that when I look them over,
my memory may receive some assistance.--Good night, my dearest Lady;
Mrs. Jenkings and Mr. Smith expects me.

F. Warley.



LETTER XXVI.

Lord DARCEY to Sir JAMES POWIS.

London.


Even whilst I write, I see before me the image of my expiring father;--I
hear the words that issued from his death-like lips;--my soul feels the
weight of his injunctions;--_again_ in my imagination I seal the sacred
promise on his livid hand;--and my heart bows before Sir James with all
that duty which is indispensable from a child to a parent.

Happiness is within my reach, yet without _your_ sanction I _will_ not,
_dare_ not, bid it welcome;--I _will_ not hold out my hand to receive
_it_.--Yes, Sir, I love Miss Warley; I can no longer disguise my
sentiments.--On the terrace I should not have disguis'd them, if your
warmth had not made me tremble for the consequence.--You remember my
arguments _then_; suffer me now to reurge _them_.

I allow it would be convenient to have my fortune augmented by alliance;
but then it is not _absolutely_ necessary I should make the purchase
with my felicity.--A thousand chances may put me in possession of
riches;--one event only can put me in possession of content.--Without
_it_, what is a fine equipage?--what a splendid retinue?--what a table
spread with variety of dishes?

Judge for me, Sir James; _you_ who _know_, who _love_ Miss Warley, judge
for me.--Is it possible for a man of my turn to see her, to talk with
her, to know her thousand _virtues_, and not wish to be united to
them?--It is to your candour I appeal.--_Say_ I _am_ to be happy, _say_
it only in one line, I come immediately to the Abbey, full of reverence,
of esteem, of gratitude.

Think, dear Sir James, of Lady Powis;--think of the satisfaction you
hourly enjoy with that charming woman; then will you complete the
felicity of

DARCEY.



LETTER XXVII.

Sir JAMES POWIS to Lord DARCEY.

_Barford Abbey_.


I am not much surpris'd at the contents of your Lordship's letter, it is
_what_ Lady Powis and I have long conjectur'd; yet I must tell, you, my
Lord, notwithstanding Miss Warley's great merit, I should have been much
better pleas'd to have found myself mistaken.

I claim no right to controul your inclinations: the strict observance
you pay your father's last request, tempts me to give my opinion very
opposite to what I should otherwise have done.--Duty like yours ought to
be rewarded.--If you will content yourself with an incumber'd estate
rather than a clear one, why--why--why--faith you shall not have my
approbation 'till you come to the Abbey. Should you see the little
bewitching Gipsy before I talk with you, who knows but you may be wise
enough to make a larger jointure than you can afford?

I am glad your Lordship push'd the matter no farther on the terrace: I
did not then know how well I lov'd our dear girl.--My wife is _so_
pleas'd,--_so_ happy,--_so_ overjoy'd,--at what she calls your noble
disinterested regard for her Fanny, that one would think she had quite
forgot the value of _money_.--I expect my son to-morrow.--Let me have
the happiness of embracing you at the same time;--you are both my
children, &c. &c.:

J. Powis.



LETTER XXVIII.

Lord DARCEY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


Full of joy! full of surprize! I dispatch a line by Robert.--Fly,
Molesworth, to Mr. Smith's, in _Bloomsbury-Square_:--tell my dearest,
dear Miss Warley, but tell her of it by degrees, that Mr. Powis is her
_father!_--Yes! her _father_, George;--and the most desirable woman on
earth, her mother!--Don't tell her of it neither; you will kill her with
surprise.--Confounded luck! that I did not know she was in London.

I shall be with you in less than two hours, after Robert:--I send him
on, with orders to ride every horse to death, lest he should be set out
for Dover.

Jenkings is now on the road, but he travels too slow for my wishes.--If
she is gone, prepare swift horses for me to follow:--I am kept by force
to refresh myself.--What refreshment can I want!--Fly, I say, to Miss
Powis, now no longer Miss Warley.--Leave her not, I charge you;--stir
not from her;--by our friendship, Molesworth, stir not from her 'till
you see

DARCEY.



LETTER XXIX.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;

_Dover_.


Oh Dick! the most dreadful affair has happen'd!--Lord Darcey is
distracted and dying; I am little better--Good God! what shall I
do?--what can I do?--He lies on the floor in the next room, with half
his hair torn off.--Unhappy man! fatigue had near kill'd him, before the
melancholy account reach'd his ears.--Miss Warley, I mean Miss Powis, is
gone to the bottom.--She sunk in the yacht that sailed yesterday from
Dover for Calais.--Every soul is lost.--The fatal accident was confirm'd
by a boat which came in not ten minutes before we arriv'd.--There was no
keeping it from Lord Darcey.--The woman of the Inn we are at has a son
lost in the same vessel: she was in fits when we alighted.--Some of the
wreck is drove on shore.--What can equal this scene!--Oh, Miss Powis!
most amiable of women, I tremble for your relations!--But Darcey, poor
Darcey, what do I feel for you!--He speaks:--he calls for me:--I go to
him.

Oh, Risby! my heart is breaking; for once let it be said a man's heart
can break.--Whilst he rav'd, whilst his sorrows were loud, there was
some chance; but now all is over. He is absolutely dying;--death is in
every feature.--His convulsions how dreadful!--how dreadful the pale
horror of his countenance!--But then so calm,--so compos'd!--I repeat,
there can, be no chance.--

Where is Molesworth? I heard him say as I enter'd his apartment: come to
me, my friend,--_holding out his hand_--come to me, my friend.--Don't
weep--don't let me leave you in tears.--If you wish me well,
rejoice:--think how I should have dragg'd out a miserable number of
days, after--oh, George! after--Here he stopp'd.--The surgeon desir'd he
would suffer us to lift him on the bed.--No, he said, in a faultering
accent, if I move I shall die before I have made known to my friend my
last request.--Upon which the physician and surgeon retir'd to a distant
part of the room, to give him an opportunity of speaking with greater
freedom.

He caught hold of my hand with the grasp of anguish, saying, Go, go. I
entreat you, by that steady regard which has subsisted between us,--_go_
to the unhappy family:--if they can be comforted; ay, if they _can_, you
must undertake the task.--_I_ will die without you.--Tell them I send
the thanks, the duty, of a dying man;--that they must consider me as
their own. A few, a _very_ few hours! and I shall be their own;--I shall
be united to their angel daughter.--Dear soul, he cried, is it for
this,--for this, I tore myself from you!--But stop, I will not repine;
the reward of my sufferings is at hand.

_Now_, you may lift me on the bed;--_now_, my friend, pointing to the
door,--_now_, my dear Molesworth, if you wish I should die in--_there
fainted_.--He lay without signs of life so long, that I thought, all was
over.--

I cannot comply with his last request;--it is his last I am
convinc'd;--he will never speak more, Risby!--he will never _more_
pronounce the name of Molesworth.

Be yours the task he assign'd me.--Go instantly to the friends you
revere;--go to Mr. and Mrs. Powis, the poor unfortunate
parents.--Abroad they were to you as tender relations;--in England,
your first returns of gratitude will be mournful.--You have seen Miss
Powis:--it could be no other than that lovely creature whom you met so
accidentally at ----: the likeness she bore to her father startled you.
She was then going with Mr. Jenkings into Oxfordshire:--you admired
her;--but had you known her mind, how would you have felt for Darcey!

Be cautious, tender, and circumspect, in your sad undertaking.--Go first
to the old steward's, about a mile from the Abbey; if he is not
return'd, break it to his wife and son.--They will advise, they will
assist you, in the dreadful affair;--I hope the poor old gentleman has
not proceeded farther than London.--Write the moment you have seen the
family; write every melancholy particular: my mind is only fit for such
gloomy recitals.--Farewel! I go to my dying friend.

Yours,

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XXX.

Captain RISBY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH,

_Barford Abbey_.


What is the sight of thousands slain in the field of battle, compar'd
with the scene I am just escap'd from!--How can I be
circumstantial!--where am I to begin!--whose distress shall I paint
first!--can there be precedence in sorrow!

What a weight will human nature support before it sinks!--The distress'd
inhabitants of this house are still alive; it is proclaim'd from every
room by dreadful groans.--You sent me on a raven's message:--like that
ill-boding bird I flew from house to house, afraid to croak my direful
tidings.

By your directions I went to the steward's;--at the gate stood my dear
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Powis, arm in arm.--I thought I should have
sunk;--I thought I should have died instantly.--I was turning my horse
to go back, and leave my black errand to be executed by another.

They were instantly at my side;--a hand was seiz'd by each,--and the
words Risby!--captain Risby!--ecchoed in my ears.--What with their
joyous welcomes,--and transported countenances, I felt as if a flash of
lightning had just darted on my head.--Mrs. Powis first perceiv'd the
alteration and ask'd if I was well;--if any thing had happen'd to give
me concern?

Certainly there has, said Mr. Powis, or _you_ are not the same man you
_was_, Risby.--It is true, Sir, return'd I;--it is true, I am not _so_
happy as when I last saw _you_;--my mind is disagreeably
situated;--could I receive joy, it would be in knowing this amiable
woman to be Mrs. Powis.

You both surprise and affect us, replied he.

Indeed you do, join'd in his Lady; but we will try to remove your
uneasiness:--pray let us conduct you to the Abbey; you are come to the
best house in the world to heal grievances.--Ah, Risby! said my friend,
all there is happiness.--Dick, I have the sweetest daughter: but Lord
Darcey, I suppose, has told you every thing; we desir'd he would; and
that we might see you immediately.--Can _you_ tell us if his Lordship is
gone on to Dover?

He is, returned I.--I did not wait his coming down, wanting to discover
to you the reason of my perplexities.

What excuse after saying this, could I make, for going into the
steward's?--For my soul, I could not think of any.--Fortunately it
enter'd my head to say, that I had been wrong directed;--that a foolish
boy had told me this was the strait road to the Abbey.

Mr. and Mrs. Powis importun'd me to let the servant lead my horse, that
I might walk home with them.--_This_ would never do.--I could not longer
trust myself in _their_ company, 'till I had reconnoitred the
family;--'till I had examin'd who _there_ was best fitted to bear the
first onset of sorrow.--I brought myself off by saying, one of my legs
was hurt with a tight boot.

Well then, go on, Risby, said Mr. Powis: you see the Abbey just before
you; my wife and I will walk fast;--we shall be but a few minutes
behind.

My faculties were quite unhing'd, the sight of the noble structure.--I
stopp'd, paus'd, then rode on; stopp'd again, irresolute whether to
proceed.--Recollecting your strict injunctions, I reach'd the gate which
leads to the back entrance; there I saw a well-looking gentleman and the
game-keeper just got off their horses:--the former, after paying me the
compliment of his hat, took a brace of hares from the keeper, and went
into the house.--I ask'd of a servant who stood by, if that was Sir
James Powis?

No, Sir, he replied; but Sir James is within.

Who is that gentleman? return'd I.

His name is Morgan, Sir,

Very intimate here, I suppose--is he not?

Yes, very intimate, Sir.

Then _he_ is the person I have business with; pray tell him _so_.

The servant obey'd.--Mr. Morgan came to me, before I had dismounted; and
accosting me very genteely, ask'd what my commands were with him?

Be so obliging, Sir, I replied; to go a small distance from the house;
and I will unfold an affair which I am sorry to be the messenger of.

Nothing is amiss, Sir, I hope: you look strangely terrified; but I'll go
with you this instant.--On that he led me by a little path to a walk
planted thick with elms; at one end of which was a bench, where we
seated ourselves.--_Now_, Sir, said Mr. Morgan, you may _here_ deliver
what you have to say with secrecy.--I don't recollect to have had the
honour of seeing _you_ before;--but I wait with impatience to be
inform'd the occasion of this visit.

You are a friend, I presume, of Sir James Powis?

Yes, Sir, I am: he has _few_ of longer standing, and, as times go,
_more_ sincere, I believe.--But what of that?--do you know any harm,
Sir, of me, or of my friend?

God knows I do not;--but I am acquainted, Mr. Morgan, with an
unfortunate circumstance relative to Sir James.

Sir James! Zounds, do speak out:--Sir James, to my knowledge, does not
owe a shilling.

It is not money matters, Sir, that brought me here:--heaven grant it
was!

The devil, Sir!--tell me at once, what is this damn'd affair? Upon my
soul, you must tell me immediately.

Behold!--read, Sir--what a task is mine! (_putting your letter into his
hands_.)

Never was grief, surprize, and disappointment so strongly painted as in
him.--At first, he stood quite silent; every feature distorted:--then
starting back some paces, threw his hat over the hedge:--stamp'd on his
wig;--and was stripping himself naked, to fling his clothes into a pond
just by, when I prevented him.

Stop, Sir, I cried: do not alarm the family before they are
prepar'd.--Think of the dreadful consequences;--think of the unhappy
parents!--Let us consult how to break it to them, without severing their
hearts at one blow.

Zounds, Sir, don't talk to me of breaking it; I shall go mad:--you did
not know her.--Oh! she was the most lovely, gentle creature!--What an
old blockhead have I been!--Why did I not give her my fortune?--_then_
Darcey would have married her;--_then_ she would not have gone
abroad;--_then_ we should have sav'd her. Oh, she was a sweet, dear
soul!--What good will my curst estates do me _now?_--You shall have
them, Sir;--any body shall have them--I don't care what becomes of
_me_.--Do order my horse, Sir--I say again, do order my horse. I'll
never see this place more.--Oh! my dear, sweet, smiling girl, why would
you go to France?

Here I interrupted him.

Think not, talk not, Sir, of leaving the family in such a melancholy
situation.--Pray recollect yourself.--You _ought_ not to run from your
friends;--you _ought_ to redouble your affection at this hour of
trial.--Who _can_ be call'd friends, but those who press forward, when
all the satisfactions of life draw back.--You are not;--your feeling
heart tells me you are not one of the many that retire with such
visionary enjoyments.--Come, Sir, for the present forget the part you
bear in this disaster:--consider,--pray, consider her poor parents;
consider what will be their sufferings:--let it be our task to prepare
them.

What you say is very right, Sir, return'd he.--I believe you are a good
christian;--God direct us,--God direct us.--I wish I had a dram:--faith,
I shall be choak'd.--Sweet creature!--what will become of Lord
Darcey!--I never wanted a dram so much before.--Your name, Sir, if you
please.--I perceive we shall make matters worse by staying out so long.

I told him my name; and that I had the honour of being intimately
acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Powis.

He continued,--You will go in _with me_, Sir.--How am I to act!--I'll
follow your advice--We must expect it will be a dreadful piece of
work.--

Caution and tenderness, Mr. Morgan, will be absolutely necessary.

But where is my hat?--where is my wig?--have I thrown them into the
pond?

It is well the poor distress'd man recollected he had them not; or,
bare-headed as he was, I should have gone with him to the house.--I
pick'd them up, all over dirt; and, well as I could, clean'd them with
my handkerchief.

Now, Sir, said I, if you will wipe your face,--for the sweat was
standing on it in large drops,--I am ready to attend you.

So I must _really_ go in, captain.--I don't think I can stand it;--you
had better go without me.--Upon my soul, I had sooner face the mouth of
a cannon--If you would blow my brains out, it would be the kindest thing
you ever did in your life.

Poh! don't talk at this rate, Sir.--Do we live only for ourselves?--

But _will_ you not leave us, captain;--_will_ you not run from us, when
all is out?

Rather, Sir, suspect me of cowardice.--I should receive greater
satisfaction from administering the smallest consolation to people in
distress, than from whole nations govern'd by my nod.

Well, captain, I _will_ go;--I _will_ do any thing you desire me, since
you are so good to say you will not leave us.

But, notwithstanding his fair promise, I never expected to get him
within the doors.--He was shifting from side to side:--sometimes he
would stand still,--sometimes attempt to retreat.--When we were just at
the house, a servant appear'd:--of whom he enquir'd, if Mr. and Mrs.
Powis were return'd; and was inform'd the latter was within;--the former
gone out in pursuit of us. We likewise found the Ladies were with Sir
James in the library. I sent in my name: it was in vain for me to expect
any introduction from my companion.

Mrs. Powis flew to meet me at the door:--Mr. Morgan lifted up his eyes,
and shook his head.--I never was so put to it:--I knew not what to say;
or how to look.--Welcome, Mr. Risby, said the amiable, unfortunate,
unsuspecting mother;--doubly welcome at this happy juncture.--Let me
lead you to parents, introducing me to Sir James and Lady Powis, from
whom I have receiv'd all my felicity.

You need not be told my reception:--it is sufficient that you know Sir
James and her Ladyship.--My eyes instantly turn'd on the venerable
chaplin: I thought I never discover'd so much of the angel in a human
form.

Mrs. Powis ask'd me a thousand questions;--except answering _them_, I
sat stupidly silent.--It was not so with Mr. Morgan: he walk'd, or
rather ran up and down;--his eyes fix'd on the floor,--his lips in
motion.--The Ladies spoke to him: he did not answer; and I could
perceive them look on each other with surprize.

Mr. Powis enter'd:--the room seem'd to lift up:--I quite rambled when I
rose to receive his salute.--Mr. Morgan was giving me the slip.--I
look'd at him significantly,--then at Mr. Watson,--as much as to say,
Take him out; acquaint him with the sorrowful tidings.--He understood
the hint, and immediately they withdrew together.

Come, dear Risby, pluck up, said Mr. Powis:--do not you, my friend, be
the only low-spirited person amongst us.--I fear Mr. Risby is not well,
return'd Lady Powis.--We must not expect to see every one in high
spirits, because _we_ are:--_our_ blessings must be consider'd as _very_
singular.--You have not mention'd Fanny to your friends.

Indeed, Madam, I have, replied he.--Risby knows, I every minute expect
my belov'd daughter.--But tell me, Dick;--tell me, my friend;--all
present are myself;--fear not to be candid;--what accident has thrown a
cloud of sadness over your once chearful countenance?--Can I assist
you?--My advice, my interest, my purse are all your own.--Nay, dear
Risby, you must not turn from me.--I did turn, I could hold it no
longer.--

Pray Sir, said Mrs. Powis, do speak;--do command us; and she
condescended to lay her hand on mine--Lady Powis, Sir James too, both
intreated I would suffer them to make me happy.--Dear worthy creatures,
how my heart bled! how it still bleeds for them!--

I was attempting some awkward acknowledgment, when Mr. Watson enter'd,
led by Mr. Morgan.--I saw he had executed the task, which made me
shudder.--Never did the likeness of a being celestial shine more than in
the former! He mov'd gently forward,--plac'd himself next Lady
Powis;--pale,--trembling,--sinking.--Mr. Morgan retir'd to the window.--

Now,--now,--the dreadful discovery was at a crisis.--Mr. Watson
sigh'd.--Lady Powis eyed him with attention; then starting up, cried,
Bless me! I hear wheels: suppose, Mr. Watson, it should be Fanny!--and
after looking into the lawn resum'd her chair.

Pardon me, Lady Powis said. Mr. Watson in a low-voice; why _this_
impatience?--Ah Madam! I could rather wish you to check than encourage
_it_.

Hold, hold, my worthy friend, return'd Sir James; do you forget four
hours since how you stood listening at a gate by the road-side, saying,
you could hear, tho' not see?

We must vary our hopes and inclinations, reply'd Mr. Watson.--Divine
Providence--there stopp'd;--not another word.--He stopp'd;--he
groan'd;--and was silent.--Great God! cried Mr. Powis, is my child
ill?--Is my child dead? frantickly echoed Mrs. Powis--Heaven forbid!
exclaim'd Sir James and his Lady, arising.--Tell us, Mr. Watson;--tell
us, Mr. Ruby.

When you are compos'd,--return'd the former--Then, our child is
dead,--really dead! shriek'd the parents.--No, no, cried Lady Powis,
clasping her son and daughter in her arms,--she is, not dead; I am sure
she is not dead.

Mr. Watson, after many efforts to speak, said in a faultering
voice,--Consider we are christians:--let that bless'd name fortify our
souls.

Mrs. Powis fell on her knees before him,--heart-rending sight!--her cap
torn off,--her hair dishevell'd,--her eyes fix'd;--not a tear,--not a
single tear to relieve the bitter anguish of her soul.

Sir James had left the room;--Lady Powis was sunk almost senseless on
the sopha;--Mr. Powis kneeling by his wife, clasping her to his
bosom;--Mr. Morgan in a corner roaring out his affliction;--Mr. Watson
with the voice of an angel speaking consolation.--I say nothing of my
own feelings.--God, how great!--how inexpressible! when Mrs. Powis,
still on her knees, turn'd to me with uplifted hands,--Oh Mr. Risby!
cried she,--can _you,_--can _you_ speak comfort to the miserable?--Then
again addressing Mr. Watson,--Dear, saint, only say she lives:--I ask no
more; only say she lives.--My best love!--my life!--my Fanny! said Mr.
Powis, lifting her to the sopha;--live,--live,--for my
sake.--Oh!--Risby, are _you_ the messenger?--his head fell on my
shoulder, and he sobb'd aloud.

Lady Powis beckon'd him towards her, and, looking at Mrs. Powis with an
expressive glance of tenderness,--said Compose yourself, my son;--what
will become of _you, if_--He took the meaning of her words, and wrapping
his arms about his wife, seem'd for a moment to forget his own sorrow in
endeavours to.

What an exalted woman is Lady Powis!

My children, said she; taking a hand from each,--I am thankful: whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth.--Let us follow his great example of
patience,--of resignation.--What is a poor span?--_Ours_ will be
eternity.

I whisper'd Mr. Morgan, a female friend would be necessary to attend the
Ladies;--one whom they lov'd,--whom they confided in, to be constantly
with them in their apartments.--He knew just such a woman, he said; and
went himself to fetch Mrs. Jenkings.--Lady Powis being unable longer to
support herself, propos'd withdrawing.--I offered my arm, which she
accepted, and led her to the dressing-room.--Mrs. Powis follow'd; almost
lifeless, leaning on her husband: there I left them together, and
walk'd out for a quarter of an hour to recover my confus'd senses.

At my return to the library, I found Sir James and Mr. Watson in
conversation.--The former, with a countenance of horror and
distraction,--Oh Sir! said he, as I came near him,--do I see you
again?--are you kind enough not to run from our distress?

Run from it, Sir James! I reply'd;--no, I will stay and be a partaker.

Oh Sir! he continued, you know not _my_ distress:--death only can
relieve _me_--I am without _hope_, without _comfort_.

And is this, Sir James, what you are arriv'd at? said the good
chaplain--Is this what you have been travelling sixty years after?--Wish
for death yet say you have neither hope or comfort.--Your good Lady,
Sir, is full of both;--_she_ rejoices in affliction:--_she_ has long
look'd above this world.

So might I, he reply'd,--had I no more to charge myself with than she
has.--_You_ know, Mr. Watson,--_you_ know how faulty I have been.

Your errors, dear Sir James, said he, are not remember'd.--Look back on
the reception you gave your son and daughter.

He made no reply; but shedding a flood of tears, went to his afflicted
family.

Mr. Watson, it seems, whilst I had been out, acquainted him with the
contents of your letter;--judging it the most seasonable time, as their
grief could not then admit of increase.

Sir James was scarce withdrawn, when Lady Powis sent her woman to
request the sight of it.--As I rose to give it into her hand, I saw Mr.
Morgan pass by the door, conducting an elderly woman, whom I knew
afterward to be Mrs. Jenkings.--She had a handkerchief to her eyes, one
hand lifted up;--and I heard her say, Good God! Sir, what shall I
do?--how can I see the dear Ladies?--Oh Miss Powis!--the amiable Miss
Powis!

Mr. Morgan join'd us immediately, with whom and Mr. Watson I spent the
remainder of this melancholy evening: at twelve we retir'd.

So here I sit, like one just return'd from the funeral of his best
friend;--alone, brooding over every misery I can call together.--The
light of the moon, which shines with uncommon splendor, casts not one
ray on my dark reflections:--nor do the objects which present
themselves from the windows offer one pleasing idea;--rather an
aggravation to my heart-felt anguish.--Miserable family!--miserable
those who are interested in its sad disaster!--

I go to my bed, but not to my repose.


Nine o'clock in the morning.

How sad, how gloomy, has been the approach of morning!--About six, for I
had not clos'd my eyes,--somebody enter'd my chamber. I suppos'd it Mr.
Morgan, and drew aside my curtain.--It was not Mr. Morgan;--it _was_ the
poor disconsolate father of Miss Powis, more agitated, if possible, than
the preceding night.--He flung himself on my bed with agony not to be
express'd:--

Dear Risby, said he, _do_ rise:--_do_ come to my apartment.--Alas! my
Fanny--

What new misfortune, my friend? ask'd I, starting up.--My wife!
return'd! he!--she is in fits;--she has been in fits the whole
night.--Oh Risby! if I should lose _her_, if I should lose my
_wife!_--My parents _too_, I shall lose them!--

Words could not lessen his affliction. I was silent, making what haste I
could to huddle on my clothes;--and at his repeated intreaties follow'd
him to his wife,--She was sitting near the fire drowned; in tears,
supported by her woman. I was pleas'd to see them drop so
plentifully.--She lifted up her head a little, as I enter'd.--How
alter'd!--how torn to pieces with grief!--Her complexion once so
lovely,--how changed in a few hours.

My husband! said she, in a faint voice, as he drew near her.--Then
looking at me,--Comfort him, Mr. Risby;--don't let him sob so.--Indeed
he will be ill;--indeed he will.--Then addressing him, Consider, she who
us'd to be your nurse is now incapable of the task.--His agitation was
so much increas'd by her words and manner, that I attempted to draw him
into another apartment.--Your intentions are kind, said she, Mr.
Risby;--but I _must_ not lose my husband:--you see how it is, Sir,
shaking her head;--try to sooth him;--talk to him _here_ but do not take
him from _me_.--

Then turning to Mr. Powis,--I am better, my love,--don't frighten
yourself:--we must learn to be resign'd.--Set the example, and I will be
resign'd, said he,--wiping away the tears as they trickled down her
cheek;--if my Fanny supports herself, I shall not be quite miserable.
In this situation I left them, to close my letter.

What is become of poor Lord Darcey? For ever is he in my
thoughts.--_His_ death will be an aggravation to the general
sorrow.--Write instantly:--I wait your account with impatience; yet
dread to receive it.



LETTER XXXI.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;

_Dover_.


Say not a word of it;--no, not for the world;--the body of Miss Powis is
drove on shore.--If the family choose to have her brought down, it may
be done some time hence.--I have order'd an undertaker to get a lead
coffin, and will take care to have her remains properly deposited.--It
would be an act of cruelty at present to acquaint her friends with this
circumstance.--I have neither leisure or spirits to tell you in what
manner the body was found, and how I knew it to be miss Powis's.

The shore is fill'd with a multitude of people.--What sights will they
gaze on to satisfy their curiosity!--a curiosity that makes human
nature shrink.

I have got three matronly women to go with the undertaker, that the body
may be taken up with decency.

Darcey lives;--but _how_ does he live?--Without sense; almost without
motion.

God protect the good old steward!--the worthy Jenkings!--He is with you
before this;--he has told you everything. I could not write by him:--I
thought I should never be able to touch a pen again.--He had left Dover
before the body was found.--What conflicts did he escape! But as it is,
I fear his grey hairs will go down with sorrow to the grave.--God
support us all!

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XXXII

Captain RISBY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_Barford Abbey_.


My heart bleeds afresh--Her body found! Good heaven!--it _must_
not,--_shall_ not come to the knowledge of the family.--At present they
submit with a degree of resignation.--Who knows but a latent hope might
remain?--Instances have been known of many saved from wrecks;--but her
body is drove on shore.--Not a glimmering;--possibility is _now_ out of
the question.--The family are determin'd to shut themselves out from the
world;--no company ever more to be admitted;--never to go any where but
to the church.--Your letter was deliver'd me before them.--I was ask'd
tenderly for poor Lord Darcey.--What could I answer?--Near the same;
not worse, on the whole.--They flatter themselves he will recover;--I
encourage all their flattering hopes.

Mrs. Jenkings has never been home since Mr. Morgan fetch'd her;--Mr.
Jenkings too is constantly here;--sometimes Edmund:--except the unhappy
parents, never was grief like theirs.

Mr. Jenkings has convinc'd me it was Miss Powis which I saw at ----.
Strange reverse of fortune since that hour!

When the family are retir'd I spend many melancholy hours with poor
Edmund;--and from him have learnt the reason why Mr. Powis conceal'd his
marriage,--which is _now_ no secret.--Even Edmund never knew it till Mr.
and Mrs. Powis return'd to England,--Take a short recital:--it will help
to pass away a gloomy moment.

When Mr. Powis left the University, he went for a few months to Ireland
with the Lord-Lieutenant; and at his return intended to make the Grand
Tour.--In the mean time, Sir James and Lady Powis contract an intimacy
with a young Lady of quality, in the bloom of life, but not of
beauty.--By what I can gather, Lady Mary Sutton is plain to a
degree,--with a mind--But why speak of her mind?--let that speak for
itself.

She was independent; her fortune noble;--her affections disengag'd.--Mr.
Powis returns from Ireland: Lady Mary is then at the Abbey.--Sir James
in a few days, without consulting his son, sues for her alliance.--Lady
Mary supposes it is with the concurrence of Mr. Powis:--_his_
person,--_his_ character,--_his_ family, were unexceptionable; and
generously she declar'd her sentiments in his favour.--Sir James,
elated with success, flies to his son;--and in presence of Lady Powis,
tells him he has secur'd his happiness.--Mr. Powis's inclinations not
coinciding,--Sir James throws himself into a violent rage.--Covetousness
and obstinacy always go hand in hand:--both had taken such fast hold of
the Baronet, that he swore--and his oath was without reservation--he
would never consent to his son's marrying any other woman.--Mr. Powis,
finding his father determin'd,--and nothing, after his imprecation, to
expect from the entreaties of his mother,--strove to forget the person
of Lady Mary, and think only of her mind.--Her Ladyship, a little
chagrin'd Sir James's proposals were not seconded by Mr. Powis,
pretended immediate business into Oxfordshire.--The Baronet wants not
discernment: he saw through her motive; and taking his opportunity,
insinuated the violence of his son's passion, and likewise the great
timidity it occasion'd--he even prevail'd on Lady Powis to propose
returning with her to Brandon Lodge.

The consequence of this was, the two Ladies set out on their journey,
attended by Sir James and Mr. Powis, who, in obedience to his father,
was still endeavouring to conquer his indifference.--

Perhaps, _in time_, the amiable Lady Mary might have found a way to his
heart,--had she not introduc'd the very evening of their arrival at the
Lodge, her counter-part in every thing but person:--there Miss Whitmore
outshone her whole sex.--This fair neighbour was the belov'd friend of
Lady Mary Sutton, and soon became the idol of Mr. Powis's affections,
which render'd his situation still more distressing.--His mother's
disinterested tenderness for Lady Mary;--her own charming
qualifications;--his father's irrevocable menace, commanded him one
way:--Miss Whitmore's charms led him another.

Attached as he was to this young Lady, he never appear'd to take the
least notice, of her more than civility demanded;--tho' she was of the
highest consequence to his repose, yet the obstacles which surrounded
him seem'd insurmountable.

Sir James and Lady Powis retiring one evening earlier than usual,--Lady
Mary and Mr. Powis were left alone. The latter appear'd greatly
embarrass'd. Her Ladyship eyed him attentively; but instead of sharing
his embarrassment,--began a conversation of which Miss Whitmore was the
subject.--She talk'd _so_ long of her many excellencies, profess'd
_such_ sincerity, _such_ tenderness, _for her_, that his emotion became
visible:--his fine, eyes were full of fire;--his expressive features
spoke what she, had long wish'd to discover.--You are silent, Sir, said
she, with a smile of ineffable sweetness; is my lovely friend a subject
that displeases you?--

How am I situated! replied he--Generous Lady Mary, dare I repose a
confidence in your noble breast?--_Will_ you permit me that
honour?--_Will_ you not think ill of me, if I disclose--No, I
cannot--presumption--I _dare_ not. She interrupted him:

Ah Sir!--you hold me unworthy,--you hold me incapable of
friendship.--Suppose me your sister:--if you had a sister, would you
conceal any thing from _her?_--Give me then a _brother_;--I can never
behold _you_ in any other light.

No, my Lady;--no, return'd he, I deserve not _this_ honour.--If you
knew, madam,--if you knew all,--you _would_, you _must_ despise me.

Despise you, Mr. Powis!--she replied;--despise you for loving Miss
Whitmore!

Exalted goodness! said he,--approaching her with rapture: take my
heart;--do with it as you please;--it is devoted to your generosity.

Well then, said she, I command _it_,--I command _it_ instantly to be
laid open before me.--_Now_ let it speak,--_now_ let it declare if I am
not the bar to its felicity:--if--

No, my good angel, interrupted he, dropping on his knees,--and pressing
her hand to his lips;--I see it is through you,--through you only,--I am
to expect felicity.

Before Lady Mary could prevail on Mr. Powis to arise, Sir James, whom
they did not expect,--and who they thought was retir'd for the night,
came in quest of his snuff-box;--but with a countenance full of joy
retir'd precipitately, bowing to Lady Mary with the same reverence as if
she had been a molten image cast of his favourite metal.

In this conversation I have been circumstantial, that you might have a
full view of the noble, disinterested Lady Mary Sutton:--you may gather
now, from whence sprang her unbounded affection for the incomparable,
unfortunate Miss Powis.

You will not be surprised to find a speedy marriage took place between
Mr. Powis and Miss Whitmore, to which none were privy but the Dean of
H----, who perform'd the ceremony,--Lady Mary,--Mrs. Whitmore (the
mother of Mrs. Powis),--Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings.--Perhaps you think Lady
Powis ought to have been consulted:--I thought so _too_; but am _now_
convinc'd she would have been the wretchedest woman in the world, had
she known her son acting diametrically opposite to the will of his
father in so material a point.

To put it out of the power of every person intrusted with this momentous
secret to divulge it,--and to make Mr. Powis perfectly easy,--each bound
themselves at the altar where the ceremony was perform'd, never to make
the least discovery 'till Mr. Powis thought fit to declare his marriage.

What an instance have I given you of _female_ friendship!--Shew me such
another:--our sex are a test of _their_ friendships.

How many girls have I seen,--for ever together arm in arm,--whispering
their own, perhaps the secrets of all their neighbours;--when in steps a
young fellow of our cloth,--or any other, it signifies not the
colour,--and down tumbles the tottering basis.--Instead of _my dear_ and
_my love_, it is _sly creature, false friend_, could any one have
thought Miss Such-a-one possess'd of so much art?--then out comes
intrigues, family-affairs, losses at cards,--in short, every thing that
has been treasur'd up by two industrious fair ones seven years before.

Don't think me satyrical:--I am nice;--_too_ much so, perhaps.--The
knowledge of _such_ as constitute this little narrative, and _some_
other minds like _theirs_, has made me rather _too_ nice, as I said
before;--a matter of little consequence, as I am situated.--Can I look
forward to happy prospects, and see how soon the fairest felicity is out
of sight?--This afflicted family, Molesworth, has taught me to
forget,--that is, I ought to forget.--But no matter;--never again let me
see Lady Sophia;--never lead me a second time into danger:--she is
mortal; like Miss Powis.--Lord Darcey! poor Lord Darcey!

If recollection will assist me, a word or two more of Mr. and Mrs.
Powis.

Lady Sophia--the deuce is in me! you know who I mean;--why write I the
name of Lady Sophia?--upon my honour, I have given over all thoughts of
that divinity--Lady Mary I should have said, a few months after the
nuptials of her friends, wrote to Mr. Powis, who was then at Barford
Abbey, an absolute refusal, in consequence of a preconcerned plan of
operation.--Immediately after this, she set out with Mrs. Powis for
London, whose _situation_ made it necessary for her to leave Hillford
Down.

You will suppose, on the receipt of this letter, how matters were at the
Abbey:--Sir. James rav'd; even Lady Powis thought her son ill us'd;
but, in consideration of their former intimacy, prevail'd on Sir James
never to mention the affair, though from this time all acquaintance
ceas'd between the families.

In order to conceal the marriage, it was inevitable Mr. Powis must carry
his wife abroad;--and as he intended to travel before the match was
thought of with Lady Mary,--his father now readily consented that he
should begin his tour.--This furnish'd him with an excuse to go
immediately to town,--where he waited 'till the angel that we all weep
for, made her appearance.

But what, you ask, was Mrs. Powis's excuse to leave England, without
being suspected?--Why, I'll tell you: by the contrivance of Lady Mary,
together with Mrs. Whitmore, it was believ'd she had left the
world;--that she died in town of a malignant fever;--that--but I cannot
be circumstantial--Miss Powis, after her parents went abroad, was
brought down by Lady Mary, and consign'd to the care of her grandmother,
with whom she liv'd as the orphan child of some distant relation.

Whilst Mr. and Mrs. Powis were travelling through Italy, he apply'd to
his friend the Lord-Lieutenant,--and by _that_ interest was appointed to
the government of ----. It was here my acquaintance with them commenc'd:
not that I suspected Miss Glinn to be Mrs. Powis, though I saw her every
day.--_Glinn_ was a name she assum'd 'till she returned to England.--A
thousand little circumstances which render'd her character unsuspected,
I want spirits to relate.--Suffice it to say,--the death of Mrs.
Whitmore;--a daughter passing on the world for an orphan;--and the
absence of Lady Mary Sutton;--made them resolve to hazard every thing
rather than leave their child unprotected.--Alas! for what are they
come home?

Nothing is impossible with a Supreme Being.--Lord Darcey _may_
recover.--But why this ray of hope to make the horrors of my mind more
dreadful?--He is _past_ hope, you say.--

RISBY.



LETTER XXXIII.

The Honourable George Molesworth to Richard Risby, Esq;

_Dover_.


Risby, I am lifted above myself!--I am overcome with surprise!--I am mad
with joy!--Is it possible!--can it be!--But Lord Darcey's servant has
swore it;--yes, he has swore, a letter directed in Miss Powis's _own_
hand, lay on the counter in a banker's shop where he went to change a
bill: the direction was to Lady Mary Sutton:--he has put many for the
same Lady into the post-office.--I _run_, I _ride_ or rather _fly_ to
town.

You may jump, you may sing, but command your features before the
family.--Should it be a mistake of John's, we kill them twice.

If I live to see the resurrection of our hopes, John shall be with you
instantly.--On second thought, I will not dispatch this, unless we have
a bless'd certainty.

Molesworth.



LETTER XXXIV.

The Honourable George Molesworth to the same.

_London_.


Are you a mile from the Abbey, Dick?--Are you out of sight,--out of
hearing?--John, though you should offer to kill him, dare not deliver
letter or message 'till you are at a proper distance.

Miss Powis lives!--Restore peace within the walls.--As I hope to be
pardon'd for my sins, I have seen, I have spoke to her.--She
lives!--Heavenly sound! it should be convey'd to them from above.--She
lives! let me again repeat it.--Proclaim the joyful tidings:--but for
particulars have patience 'till I return to the man, to the friend my
life is bound up in.--I have seen him in every stage. Brightest has he
shone, as the taper came nearer to an end.--The rich cordial must be
administered one drop at a time.--Observe the caution.

Molesworth.



LETTER XXXV.

Captain Risby to the Honourable George Molesworth.

_Barford Abby_.


Well, Molesworth,--well--I can go no farther;--yet I _must;--John_, poor
faithful _John_, says I _must_;--says he shall be sent back again.--But
I have lost the use of my fingers:--my head bobs from side to side like
a pendulum. Don't stamp, don't swear: they have a few drops of your
cordial more than I intended.--It operates well.--I long to administer a
larger potion.--Could you see how I am shifted--now here--now there--by
the torrent of joy, that like a deluge almost drives reason before
it;--I say, could you see me, you would not wonder at the few
unconnected lines of

Yours,

Risby.



LETTER XXXVI.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;

_Dover_.


Darcey bears the joyful surprise beyond imagination:--it has brought him
from death to life.--

Hear in what manner I proceeded;--You may suppose the hurry in which I
left Dover:--I took no leave of my friend;--his humane apothecary
promis'd not to quit him in my absence:--I gave orders when his Lordship
enquir'd for me, that he should be told particular business of my _own_
had call'd me to town express.--It happen'd very convenient that I left
him in a profound sleep.

Away I flew,--agitated betwixt _hope_ and _fear_:--harrass'd by
fatigue;--not in a bed for three nights before;--nature was almost wore
out, when I alighted at the banker's.

I accosted one of the clerks, desiring to speak with Mr. or Mrs. Delves
[Footnote: The name of the banker.]:--the former not at home, I was
immediately conducted to the latter, a genteel woman, about forty.--She
receiv'd me politely; but before I could acquaint her with the occasion
of my visit, the door open'd, and in stepp'd a pretty sprightly girl,
who on seeing me was going to retire.--Do you want any thing, my love?
said Mrs. Delves. Only, Madam, she replied, if you think it proper for
Miss Warley to get up.



Miss Warley! exclaim'd I.--Great God! Miss Warley!--Tell me, Ladies, is
Miss Warley _really_ under your roof?--Both at once, for _both_ seem'd
equally dispos'd to diffuse happiness, answer'd to my wishes.

I threw myself back in my chair:--the surprise was more than I could
support.--Shall I tell you all my weakness?--I even shed tears;--yes,
Dick, I shed tears:--but they were drops of heart-felt gladness.

The Ladies look'd on each other,--Mrs. Delves said in a tone that shew'd
she was not without the darling passion of her sex,

Pardon me, Sir; I think I have heard Miss Warley has _no_ brother,--or I
should think _your_ emotion I saw him before me.--But whoever you are,
this humanity is noble.--Indeed, the poor young Lady has been extremely
ill.

I am not her brother, Madam, return'd I.--It is true, she has _no_
brother;--but _she has_ parents, _she has_ friends, who lament her
dead:--_their_ sorrow has been _mine_.

I fear, Sir, return'd she, it will not end here.--I grieve to tell you,
the Miss Warley you speak of is not with me;--I know nothing of that
Lady:--my Miss Warley has no parents.

I still persisted it was the same; and, to the no small gratification of
both mother and daughter, promis'd to explain the mystery.--But before I
began, Miss Delves was sent to desire Miss Warley would continue in bed
an hour longer, on account of some visitors that had dropp'd in
accidentally.

Soon as Miss Delves return'd, I related every particular.--I cannot tell
you half that pass'd;--I cannot describe their astonishment:--but let me
_tell_ you Miss Powis is just recover'd from the small-pox;--that this
was the second day of her sitting up:--let me _tell_ you _too_ her face
is as beautiful as ever.--On mature deliberation, it was determin'd, for
the sake of Miss Powis's health, she must some time longer think her
name Warley.

I din'd with my new acquaintance, on their promising to procure an
interview for me with Miss Powis in the afternoon.

It was about five when I was admitted to her presence.--I found her in
an elegant dressing-room, sitting on a sopha: her head a little
reclin'd.--I stepp'd slow and softly: she arose as I enter'd.--I wonder
not that Darcey adores her, never was a form so perfect!

My trembling knees beat one against another.--My heart,--my impatient
heart flew up to my face to tell its joyful sensations.--I ventur'd to
press her hand to my lips, but was incapable of pronouncing a
syllable.--She was confus'd:--she certainly thought of Darcey, when she
saw his friend.--I took a chair next her.--I shall not repeat our
conversation 'till it became interesting, which began by her asking, if
I had heard lately any accounts from Barford Abbey?--Lord Darcey, Madam,
I reply'd, has receiv'd a letter from Sir James.

Lord Darcey! she repeated with great emotion.--Is Sir James and Lady
Powis well. Sir?

His Lordship, reply'd I, awkwardly, did not mention particulars.--I
believe,--I suppose.--your friends are well.

I fear, said she sighing, they will think me an ungrateful creature.--No
person, Mr. Molesworth, had ever _such_ obligations to their friends as
_I have_--This family, looking at the two Ladies, must be rank'd with
my best.--Their replies were polite and affectionate--Can you tell me,
Sir, continued she, if Lord--here her face was all over
crimson--heavens! I mean, if Mr. Powis and his Lady are at the
Abbey?--Why did she not say Lord Darcey? I swear the name quiver'd on
her lips.

I answer'd in the affirmative;--and sitting silent a moment,--she ask'd
how I discover'd her to be still in England.--I said by means of a
servant:--true enough, Dick:--but then I was oblig'd to add, this
servant belonged to Mr. Delves, and that he accidentally happen'd a few
hours since to mention her name whilst I was doing business in the
shop.--She was fond of dwelling on the family at the Abbey;--on Mr. and
Mrs. Jenkings;--and once when I mention'd my friend, when I said how
happy I should make him at my return;--pleasure, the most difficult to
be conceal'd of any sensation, sprang to her expressive eyes.

I suppose she will expect a visit from his Lordship.--If she is angry at
being disappointed, no matter: the mistake will be soon clear'd up.

The moment I left her, I stepp'd into a chaise that waited for me at the
door, and drove like lightning from stage to stage, 'till I reach'd this
place;--my drivers being turn'd into Mercuries by a touch more
efficacious than all the oaths that can be swore by a first-rate blood.

I did not venture into Darcey's apartment 'till he was inform'd of my
return.--I heard him impatiently ask to see me, as I stood without the
door. This call'd me to him;--when pulling aside the curtain he ask'd,
Who is that?--Is it Molesworth?--Are you come, my friend? But what have
you seen?--what have you heard?--looking earnestly in face.--_I_ am
past joy,--past feeling pleasure even for you, George;--yet tell me why
you look not so sorrowful as yesterday.--

I ask'd what alteration it was he saw:--what it was he suspected.--When
I have griev'd, my Lord, it has been for you.--If I am now less
afflicted, you must be less miserable.--He started up in the bed, and
grasping both my hands in his, cry'd. Tell me, Molesworth, is there a
possibility,--a bare possibility?--I ask no more;--only tell me there is
a possibility.

My Lord,--my friend,--my Darcey, nothing is impossible.

By heaven! he exclaim'd, you would not flatter me;--by heaven she lives!

Ask me not farther, my Lord.--What is the blessing you most wish
for?--Suppose that blessing granted.--And you, Risby, suppose the
extasy,--the thankfulness that ensued.--He that is grateful to man, can
he be ungrateful to his Maker?

Yours,

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XXXVII.

Miss Powis to Lady Powis.

_London_.


Think me not ungrateful, my ever-honour'd Lady, that I have been silent
under the ten thousand obligations which I receiv'd at Barford
Abbey.--But indeed, my dear Lady, I have been _very_ ill.--I have had
the small-pox:--I was seiz'd delirious the evening after my arrival in
Town.--My God! what a wretch did I set out with!--Vile man!--Man did I
say?--_No_; he is a disgrace to _manhood_.--How shall I tell your
Ladyship all I have suffer'd?--I am weak,--_very_ weak;--I find myself
unequal to the task.--

This moment I have hit on an expedient that will unravel all;--I'll
recall a letter [Footnote: This was the same Lord Darcey's servant saw
on the counter.] which I have just sent down to be put into the
post-office;--a letter I wrote Lady Mary Sutton immediately on my
arrival here;--but was seiz'd so violently, that I could not add the
superscription, for which reason it has lain by ever since.--I am easy
on Lady Mary's account:--Mr. Delves has acquainted her of my
illness:--like wise the prospect of my recovery.



Consider then, dear Lady Powis, the inclos'd as if it was address'd to
yourself.

I cannot do justice to the affection,--the compassion,--the tender
assiduity I have experienc'd from Mr. Delves's family:--I shall always
love them; I hope too I shall always be grateful.

God grant, my dear Lady;--God grant, dear Sir James, that long ere this
you may have embrac'd Mr. and Mrs. Powis.--My heart is with _you_:--it
delights to dwell at Barford Abbey.

In a few days I hope to do myself the honour of writing to your Ladyship
again.--One line from your dear hand would be most gratefully receiv'd
by your oblig'd and affectionate

F. WARLEY.

_P.S._ My good friends Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings shall hear from me next
post.



LETTER XXXVIII.

Miss Powis to Lady MARY SUTTON.


Oh my dear Lady! what a villain have I escap'd from?--Could your
Ladyship believe that a man, who, to all appearance, has made a good
husband to your agreeable neighbour upwards of twelve years, and
preserv'd the character of a man of honour;--could you believe in the
decline of life he would have fallen off? No, he cannot have fallen:
such a mind as his never was exalted.--It is the virtues of his wife
that has hitherto made his vices imperceptible;--that has kept them in
their dark cell, afraid to venture out;--afraid to appear amidst her
shining perfections.--Vile, abandon'd Smith!--But for the sake of his
injur'd, unhappy wife, I will not discover his baseness to any but
yourself and Lady Powis.--Perhaps Mrs. Smith may not be unacquainted
with his innate bad principles;--perhaps she conceals her knowledge of
them knowing it vain to complain of a disorder which is past the reach
of medicine.--What cure is there for mischief lurking under the mask of
hypocrisy?--It must be of long standing before that covering can grow
over it:--like a vellum on the eye, though taken off ever skillfully, it
will again spread on the blemish'd sight.

How am I running on!--My spirits are flutter'd:--I begin where I should
end, and end where I should begin.--Behold me, dearest Madam, just
parted from my Hampshire friends,--silent and in tears, plac'd by the
side of my miscreant conductor.--You know, my Lady, this specious man
_can_ make himself vastly entertaining: he strove to render his
conversation particularly so, on our first setting out.

We had travell'd several stages without varying the subject, which was
that of our intended tour, when I said I hop'd it would conquer Mrs.
Smith's melancholy for the death of her brother.--How did his answer
change him in a moment from the _most_ agreeable to the _most_
disgustful of his sex!

My wife, Miss Warley, with a leer that made him look dreadful, wants
your charming sprightliness:--it is a curs'd thing to be connected with
a gloomy woman:--

_Gloomy_, Sir! casting at him a look of disdain; do you call mildness,
complacency, and evenness of temper, _gloomy?_

She is much altered, Madam;--is grown old and peevish;--her health is
bad;--she cannot live long.

Mrs. Smith can never be _peevish_, Sir;--and as to her _age_, I thought
it pretty near your _own_.

No, no, Madam, you are quite mistaken; I am at least five years younger.

Five years, Sir! what are five years at _your_ time of life!

Come, come, Miss Warley, laying his huge paw on my hand, and in a tone
of voice that shew'd him heartily nettled;--even at _my_ time of life I
can admire a beautiful young Lady.--If my wife should die,--_old as I
am_--men _older_ than myself, with half my estate, have married some of
the finest women in the kingdom.

Very likely, Sir;--but then it is to be suppos'd the characters of
_such_ men have been particularly amiable,--No man or woman of honour
can esteem another whose principles are doubtful.

This was a pretty home-thrust; it put him more on his guard for the
present; but had he behav'd like an angel, I must have hated him. He was
_very_ respectful, _very_ ceremonious, and _very_ thoughtful, 'till we
arrived at the inn where we were to stop the night; and had so much art
not to seem displeas'd, that I refus'd giving him my company at supper,
under pretence of indisposition.--Indeed, I was far from well: a child
which I had seen a few hours before fresh in the small-pox, a good deal
disconcerted me.--After fixing on my room, not to appear suspicious, I
went down at his request, to eat a bit of cake and drink a glass of
wine, before I retired for the night.--I had scarce swallow'd it when he
left me, as he said, to speak to the drivers. I wished him a good night
as he went out, and took an opportunity a few moments after to go to my
chamber.--When there I lock'd the door, and sat myself down to undress;
but I began to be greatly alarm'd by something that mov'd under the
bed.--Judge my surprize,--judge my horror,--on taking the candle and
examining, to see there a man!--But how was that surprize,--that horror
increased, on discovering, him to be the vile Smith!--I gave a loud
scream, and ran towards the door; but had not power to turn the key,
before he caught me in his arms.--

Be calm, Miss Warley, cried the monster;--hear what I have to
say.--Suffer me to tell you, that I love you to distraction;--that I
adore you.

_Adore_ me, vile man! said I, breaking from him:--leave me this
instant--begone:--leave me, I say, instantly.--Again I scream'd.

No, by heaven! he reply'd, I will not go 'till you have heard and
pardon'd me.--Here I stand _determin'd_ to be heard:--_hear_ me, or this
moment is my last.--With that he drew out a pistol, and held it to his
breast.

And _dare_ you, said I, collecting all my resolution,--_dare_ you rush
into eternity, without one virtue to offer up with your polluted
soul?--I pronounc'd these words with steadiness.--_He_ trembled, he
look'd like a criminal at the hour of execution.--Letting the pistol
drop from his hand, the base dissembler fell on his knees before
me.--Nobody hearing my cries,--nobody coming to my assistance, I was
oblig'd to hear, and pretend to credit his penitential protestations.
God knows how my ears might have been farther shock'd with his odious
passion;--what indignities I might have suffer'd,--had I not heard some
person passing by the door of my apartment:--on which I ventur'd to
give another scream.--The door was instantly burst open; and whilst an
elderly Gentleman advanc'd towards me, full of surprize, the detested
brute slipp'd away.--This Gentleman, my good deliverer, was no other
than your Ladyship's banker, who when he was acquainted with my name,
insisted on taking me to Town in his own coach, where he was returning
from a visit he had made at Salisbury--I did not ask, neither do I know
what became of Smith; but I suppose he will set out with his wife
immediately for Dover.--Thank God! I am not of the party--How I pity
poor Miss Frances Walsh, a young Lady who, he told me, was waiting at
his house in Town to go over with them.--I am but just arriv'd at Mr.
Delves's house.--Mr. and Mrs. Delves think with me, that the character
of the _unworthy_ Smith should not be expos'd for the sake of his
_worthy_ wife.--The family here are all amiable.--I could say a great
deal more; but my head aches dreadfully.--This I must add, I have
consented, at the tender intreaties of Mr. and Mrs. Delves, to remain
with them 'till a proper opportunity offers to throw myself at your
Ladyship's feet.--My head grows worse;--I must lay down my pen.--This
bad man has certainly frighten'd me into a fever.

[The following lines were added after Miss Powis's recovery]

I hope, my dear Lady, before this you have Mr. Delves's letter;--if so,
you know I have had the small-pox.--You know too I am out of
danger.--How can I be thankful enough for so many escapes!--This is the
first day I have been able to hold a pen.--I am permitted to write no
more than the name of your honour'd and affectionate

F. WARLEY.



LETTER XXXIX

Captain RISBY to the Honourable GEORGE

_Barford Abbey_.


Will all the thanks,--all the gratitude,--the parents blessings,--their
infinity of joy, be contain'd in one poor sheet?--No:--Was I to repeat
half,--only half of what they send, you, I might write on for ever.--One
says you shall be their son;--another, their brother;--a third, that you
are a man most favour'd of heaven--but all agree, as a reward for your
virtues you are impower'd to heal afflictions--in short, they want to
make me think you can make black white--But enough for the vanity of one
man.

I dread your coming to the Abbey.--We that are here already, shall only,
then, appear like pismires:--but let me caution my friend not to think
his head will touch the clouds.

What man can bear to be twice disinherited?--Mr. Morgan's estate, which
the other day I was solely to possess, is now to devolve on the
Honourable George Molesworth.--_But mark me_:--As I have been
disinherited for you,--_you_ as certainly will be disinherited for Lord
Darcey.

See what a man of consequence I am.--Does Captain Risby say
_this?_--Does Captain Risby say _that?_--Does Captain Risby think well
of it?

Expect, George, to behold me push'd into perferment against my
will;--all great people _say_ so, you know;--expect to behold me preside
as governor of this castle.--Let me enjoy it then,--let me plume myself
beneath the sun-beam.

If to witness the honours with I am surrounded, is insufficient to fill
your expanded heart;--if it looks out for a warmer gratification; you
shall see, you shall hear, the exulting parents?--you shall see Mr.
Morgan revers'd;--Mr. Watson restor'd to _more_ than sight--the steward
and his family worthy every _honour_ they receive from this _honourable
house_.

I hear my _shadow_.--Strange, indeed! to hear _shadows_;--but more so to
hear them swear.--Ha! ha! ha!--Ha! ha! ha!--I cannot speak to it for
laughing.--Coming, Sir!--coming, Mr. Morgan!--Now is he cursing me in
every corner of the house;--I suppose dinner is on the table.

This moment return'd from regaling myself with the happy family:--I mean
Sir James and Lady Powis, with their joyful inmates.--Mr. and Mrs. Powis
are set out for London.--As an addition to their felicity, Lady Powis
had a letter from her grand-daughter the instant they were stepping into
the chaise.

For one hour I am at your command:--take, then, the particulars which I
was incapable of giving you by John.--

I was sitting in the library-window, talking to Mr. Watson; the Ladies,
Sir James, and Mr. Morgan, in the dressing-room, when I saw John riding
down the great road a full gallop.--At first I thought Lord Darcey had
been dead; then, again, consider'd his faithful servant would not have
come post with the news:--however, I had not patience to go through the
house, but lifting up a sash, jump'd out before he could reach the
stable yard.--Without speaking, I enquired of his face what tidings; and
was answer'd by a broad grin. I had nothing to fear from his message.

Well, John, said I, running up to him,--how is your Lord? how is Mr.
Molesworth?--

Better, I thank God, Sir;--better, I thank God! With that he turned his
horse, and was riding across the lawn.--

Zounds, John, where are you going?--where are you going?

Follow me, Sir;--follow me (setting up a brisk trot). If you kill me, I
dare not deliver letter or message before we are at a distance from the
Abbey.

I thought him mad, but kept on by the side of his horse 'till we came to
the gate of a meadow, where he dismounted.

Now, Sir,' said he, with a look that bespoke his consequence,--have
patience, whilst I tie up my horse.

_Patience_, John! (and I swore at him) I am out of all _patience_.

With that he condescended to deliver your letters.--I rambled with
surprise at the contents, and fell against a hedge.--John, who by this
time had fasten'd his steed, came up to me just as I recover'd my
legs;--and speaking close to my ear,--'Twas _John Warren_, Sir, was the
_man_ who found out the Lady; 'twas I was the _man_, Sir.

I shook him heartily by the hand, but for my soul could not utter a
syllable.--I hope you are not ill, Sir, said the poor fellow, thinking
me seiz'd speechless.--

No, John;--no, reply'd I; it is only excess of pleasure.--You are a
welcome messenger:--you have made your fortune, John Warren, and please
your honour, has made his dear Lord happy;--that is more _pleasurable_
to him than all the riches in the world.

You are an honest, good creature, John.

Ay, Captain; but was it not very sensible to remember the young Lady's
hand-writing?--Would a powder-headed monkey have had the forecast?

Oh very sensible, John;--very sensible, indeed!--Now go the Abbey;--ask
for my servant;--say you was sent by Mr. Molesworth to enquire for the
family; but do not mention you have seen me:--I shall return by a
different way.

John mounted immediately, and I walk'd full speed towards the house. I
found Mr. Morgan taking long strides up and down the dining-parlour,
puffing, blowing, and turning his wig on every side.

Where have you been, Captain? I have sent to seek you.--Lord Darcey's
servant is without;--come to enquire how things are _here_.--I would not
let them send his message up;--but I have been out myself to ask for his
Lordship.

Well, Sir, and what says the servant?

Says!--Faith I hardly know what he says--something about hopes of
him:--to be plain, I should think it better if _hope_ was out of the
question.--If _he_ and all of _us_ were dead--But see John yourself; I
will send him to you.

As he was just without the door, I drew him back,--and turn'd the key.--

Come hither, Sir;--Come hither, Mr. Morgan:--I have something of
importance to communicate.

D----n ye, Captain, what's the matter now? (staring.)--I'll hear no more
bad news:--upon my soul, I'll run out of it (attempting to open the
door).

Hold, Sir; why this impatience?--Miss Powis _lives!_--Will you run from
me now?--Miss Powis _lives!_--With that he sent forth a horrid
noise;--something betwixt howling and screaming.--It reach'd the
dressing-room, as well it might:--had the wind sat that way, I question
if the village would not have been alarm'd.--Down ran Sir James and Mr.
Powis into the library;--out jump'd Mr. Morgan.--I held up my hand for
him to retreat:--he disregarding the caution, I follow'd.--Sir James was
inquiring of a servant whence the noise had proceeded.

It was I, said Mr. Morgan, rubbing his sides, and expressing the
agitation of joy by dumb shew;--it was I, beating one of my damn'd dogs
for running up stairs.

If that is all, said Mr. Powis,--let us return to my mother and wife,
who are much hurried.--Away we went together, and the affair of the dog
pass'd very well on the Ladies.

I sat musing for some moments how to introduce the event my heart
labour'd to give up.--_Every_ sigh that escap'd,--_every_ sorrowful look
that was interchang'd, I _now_ plac'd to my own account, because in _my_
power to reverse the scene.

Addressing myself to Mr. Powis, I ask'd if he knew Lord Darcey's servant
was below.--He shook his head;--No, he answer'd.--Then it is all _over_,
Risby, I suppose in a low voice?--I hardly wish for his _own_ sake he
may recover:--for _ours_, it would be selfish.

He was not worse, I reply'd:--there was hope,--great hope he would do
well.

Blessings attend him! cried Mrs. Powis.--tears starting afresh to her
swoln eyes;--then you really think, Mr. Risby, he may recover?

If he does, Madam, return'd! he is flatter'd into life.--Flatter'd! said
Mr. Powis eagerly;--how flatter'd?

Why, continued I, he has been told some persons are sav'd from the
wreck.

Up they all started, surrounding me on every side:--there seem'd but one
voice, yet each ask'd if I credited the report.

I said I did.--

Down they dropp'd on their knees, praying with uplifted hands their
dear,--dear child may be of the number.--Though nothing could equal the
solemnity of this scene, I could scarce command my countenance, when I
saw Mr. Morgan standing in the midst of the circle, his hat held up
before his face, and a cane under his arm.

As they rose from their knees,--I gave them all the consolation I
thought at that moment they were capable of sustaining;--and assur'd
them no vigilance would be wanting to come at particulars.--I was ask'd,
if there was any letter from Mr. Molesworth?--When answer'd in the
affirmative,--the next question was, if it related to what I had just
disclos'd?--I equivocated in my reply, and withdrew to write the few
unconnected lines sent by John.

After he was dispatch'd, I return'd immediately to the
hopeing,--fearing family.--Mr. Watson was sitting amidst them:--he
seem'd like a Being of purity presiding over hearts going to be rewarded
for resignation to the Divine will.

He heard me as I enter'd: he rose from his seat as I came near him, and
pressing one of my hands between both his, whisper'd, I have seen Mr.
Morgan.--Then raising his voice, You are the messenger of joy, Mr.
Risby;--complete the happiness you have begun:--all present, pointing
round, are prepar'd to receive it.

Here drops my pen.--I must not attempt this scene:--a Shakespeare would
have wrote it in tears.

How infinite,--how dazzling the beauty of holiness!--Affliction seems to
have threaten'd this amiable family, only to encrease their
love,--their reverence,--their admiration of Divine
Omnipotence.--Blessings may appear, as a certain great man remarks,
under the shape of pain, losses, and disappointments;--but let us have
patience, and we shall see them in their own proper figures.

If rewards even in this world attend the _virtuous_, who would be
_depraved?_--Could the loose, the abandon'd, look in on this happy
mansion, how would their sensual appetites be pall'd!--How would they
hate,--how detest the vanity,--the folly that leads to vice!--If
pleasure is their pursuit, here they might see it speaking at _mouth_
and _eyes_:--_pleasures_ that fleet not away;--_pleasures_ that are
carried beyond the grave.

What a family is this to take a wife from!--Lord Darcey's happiness is
insur'd:--in my conscience, there will not be such another couple in
England.

Preparations are making to welcome the lovely successor of this ancient
house;--preparations to rejoice those whose satisfactions are
scanty,--to clothe the naked,--to feed the hungry,--to let the stately
roof echo with songs and mirth from a croud of chearful, honest, old
tenants.

I often hear Mrs. Jenkings crying out in extasy,--My angel!--my sweet
angel!--As to the old gentleman and Edmund, they actually cannot refrain
from tears, when Miss Powis's name is mention'd.--Sir James and her
Ladyship are never easy without these good folks.--It has ever been an
observation of mine, that at an unexpected fortunate event, we are fond
of having people about us who feel on the same passion.

Mr. Morgan is quite his own man again:--he has been regaling himself
with a fine hunt, whilst I attended Sir James and my Lady in an airing
round the park.--After dinner we were acquainted with all his losses and
crosses in the dog and horse way.--He had not seen _Filley_ rubb'd down
this fortnight:--the huntsman had lost three of his best hounds:--two
spaniels were lame;--and one of his running horses glander'd.--He
concluded with swearing, as things turn'd out, he did not matter it
_much_;--but had it happen'd three weeks since; he should have drove all
his servants to the devil.--Enough of Mr. Morgan.--Adieu,
Molesworth!--Forget not my congratulations to your noble, happy, friend.

RISBY.



LETTER XL.

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH

to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;

_Dover_.


All is happiness, Dick!--I see nothing else; I hear of nothing else.--It
is the _last_ thing I take leave of at night;--the _first_ thing I meet
in the morning.--_Yesterday_ was full of it!--_yesterday_ I dined with
Mr. and Mrs. Powis and their charming daughter, at the Banker's.--To
look back, it seems as if I had gone through all the vexations of my
life in the last three weeks.

Darcey would not let me rest 'till I had been to congratulate them, or
rather to satisfy his own impatience, being distracted to hear how Miss
Powis bore the great discovery.--Her fortitude is amazing!--But Sir
James has had every particular from his son, therefore I shall be too
late on that subject.

The following short epistle I receiv'd from Mr. Powis, as I was setting
off for Town.


Mr. Powis to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.

_London_,


"The first moment I can tear myself from the tender embraces of all my
hopes;--the first moment I can leave my belov'd daughter, I come to
Dover;--I come to acknowledge my gratitude to the noble-minded
Molesworth--I come to testify my affection to the generous,
disinterested Lord Darcey.--We pray for the recovery of his. Lordship's
health.--When that is establish'd, not one wish will be wanting to
complete the felicity of

J. Powis."


The more I know of _this_ family, the more I admire them.--I _must_ be
their neighbour, that's certain--_Suppose_ I petition for a little spot
at one end of the park; _suppose_ you throw up your commission; and we
live together two snug batchelors.

Darcey vows he will go to Town next week.--If fatigue should cause him
to relapse, what will become of us _then?_--But I will not think of that
_now_.

We shall come down a joyful, cavalcade to the Abbey.--I long to see the
doors thrown open to receive us.--School-boy like, I shall first count
days;--next hours;--then minutes: though I am your's the same here,
there, and every where.

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XLI

The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to the same.

_London_.


Build in the park, and live batchelors!--Pish!--A horrid scheme!--I give
it up.--Over head and ears, Dick!

Last Monday arriv'd at his Lordship's house in _St. James's-Square_, the
Right Honourable the Earl and Countess of Hampstead,--Lord Hallum,--the
Ladies Elizabeth and Sophia Curtis.

_True_, as I hope to be sav'd;--and as _true_, that Lady Elizabeth and
Sophia _are_ blooming as angels.

Three times have I sat down, _pen_ in my hand, _paper_ folded, yet could
not tune my mind to write one word.--Over head and ears! I say.--


Past one in the morning!--All silent! Let me try if I can scribble now.

First, I must tell you the body drove on shore at Dover, which I
concluded was Miss Powis's, is discover'd to be a Miss Frances Walsh,
going over in the yacht which was unfortunately cast-away;--the corpse
much defac'd:--but what confirm'd it to be the body of Miss Powis, was a
handkerchief taken from the neck mark'd F W.--Poor young Lady! her
friends, perhaps are suffering the excesses of grief which _you_ and I
have so lately witness'd.--But _this_ is a subject I shall not dwell on.

I came to Town this evening with Darcey:--he bore the journey very
poorly;--sinking, fainting, all the way.--When we got to our lodgings,
and he was put into a bed, recovering a little, he press'd me to go to
the Banker's.--I saw his impatience, and went immediately.

My name was no sooner sent up, than Mr. Powis flew to receive
me.--Welcome, my friend! said he; you come opportunely. We have a noble
family with us that has been just wishing to see Mr. Molesworth.--He had
time for no more; the door open'd.--What was my surprize to be embrac'd
by Lord Hampstead and Lord Hallum, by them, led to the Countess and our
two divinities, _whose_ mild eyes,--_whose_ elegant deportment, told me
_Loves_ and _Graces_ had put a finishing stroke to the great work of
_virtue_ and _humility_.--Lady Mary Sutton,--yes, Lady Mary Sutton too
was there: she advanc'd towards me, Miss Powis in her hand.

I have the honour, said Mr. Powis, of presenting Lady Mary Sutton (the
source of all my felicity) to Mr. Molesworth.--Then addressing himself
to her Ladyship, Permit me, Madam, to introduce to you the friend I
love.

If ever I wish'd to shine, it was then--I would have given the world for
eloquence;--nay, common understanding.--The former I _never_
possessed:--A surprize and pleasure had flown away with the
latter.--Miss Powis has that looks through one's very soul--a sweet
compassionate eye: the dignity it expresses bespeaks your
confidence.--She perceived my embarrassment, and said, Come, Mr.
Molesworth, let me have the satisfaction of placing you next Lady Mary.
So down sat the stupid blockhead.--Her Ladyship is very chatty, and very
affable; she said a thousand obliging things; but half was lost upon
me, whilst I watch'd the lips of my fair Elizabeth.

Mr. Mrs. Powis, and Lady Mary, enquired affectionately after the health
of Lord Darcey. When I said he was come to Town, up flew the heart's
tell-tale to the face of Miss Powis.--Her father and mother ask'd, if
they might have the happiness of waiting on his Lordship next
morning.--I arose to assure them what joy their visit would occasion;
when having settled the hour, and so forth, I slid to a chair vacant
between Lady Elizabeth and Lady Sophia,--How enchanting _did_ they
look!--how enchanting _did_ they speak!--No reserve;--all
frankness;--the same innocence in their manners as at fifteen;--the
vivacity of the French,--the sedateness of the English, how charmingly
blended!

Risby, thou art a fortunate fellow: Lady Sophia speaks of thee with
esteem.

The sweet syrens--_syrens_ only by attraction--held me by the ear
upwards of an hour.--From them I learnt Lady Mary Sutton came to
England, on receiving an account from Mr. Delves that Miss Powis had the
small-pox.--Happy for us, Dick, they lov'd Lady Mary too well to stay
behind her!

As I was listening to their entertaining descriptions of places abroad,
we were join'd by Lord Hallum.--Molesworth, said his Lordship, I will
not suffer these girls to engage you solely:--My prating sisters are
grown so saucy that I am obliged to be a very tyrant.--

A spirited conversation ensued, in which the cherub sisters bore away
the palm.

More and more sick of my batchelor notions!--Yet I aver, that state
should be my choice, rather than swallow one grain of indifference in
the matrimonial pill, gilder'd over ever so nicely.--Think what _must_
be my friendship for Darcey, to tear myself from this engageing circle
before nine!--As I was taking my leave, Lady Mary stepp'd towards
me.--To-morrow, Mr. Molesworth, said her Ladyship, I bespeak the favour
of your company and Lord Darcey's to dine with me in _Pall-Mall_:--I
bow'd, and answer'd both for his Lordship and myself.

We shall rejoice, continued she, to congratulate your friend on his
recovery,--looking with peculiar meaning at Miss Powis.--I think by
_that_ look there will be an interview between the _lovers_, though I
did not say so much to Darcey.--He requires sleep: none would he have
had, if he knew my surmises.--I'll to bed, and dream of Lady
Elizabeth;--_so_ good night, Dick.


Twelve o'clock at noon.

Mr. and Mrs. Powis this moment gone;--Lord Darcey dressing to meet them
in _Pall-Mall_.--Yes, they are to be there;--and the whole groupe of
beauties are to be there;--Miss Powis,--Lady Elizabeth,--Lady
Sophia,--and the little sprightly hawk-eyed Delves.--Risby, _you_ know
nothing of _life_; you are _dead_ and _buried_.

I will try to be serious.--Impossible! my head runs round and round with
pleasure.--The interview was affecting to the last degree.--Between
whom?--Why Darcey, Mr. and Mrs.--faith I can write no more.

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XLII.

The Hon. GEORGE MOLESWORTH to the same.

_London_


The day of days is over!

I am too happy to sleep:--exquisite felicity wants not the common
supports of nature.--In such scenes as I have witness'd, the _soul_
begins to know herself:--she gives us a peep into futurity:--the
enjoyments of this day has been all her own.

Once more I regain the beaten path of narrative.

Suppose me then under the hands of hair-dressers, valets, &c. &c. &c. I
hate those fellows about me:--but the singularity of this visit made me
undergo their tortures with tolerable patience.--Now was the time when
Vanity, under pretence of respect, love, and decorum, usher'd in her
implements.

It was about two when we were set down at Lady Mary Sutton's.--Darcey
trembled, and look'd so pale at coming out of his chair, that I desir'd
a servant to shew us to a room, where we might be alone 'till Mr. Powis
was inform'd of our being in the house.--He instantly came with Lady
Mary.--Tender welcomes and affectionate caresses fill'd him with new
life.--Her Ladyship propos'd he should first see Miss Powis in her
dressing-room;--that none should be present but Mr. and Mrs. Powis, her
Ladyship, and your humble servant.

Judge how agreeable this must be to his Lordship, whose extreme weakness
consider'd, could not have supported this interview before so much
company as were assembled in the drawing-room.

The plan settled, Lady Mary withdrew to prepare Miss Powis for our
reception.--A footman soon came with a message from her Ladyship that
she expected us.

I was all compassionate at this moment:--the conflicts of my feeble
friend were not to be conceal'd.--We follow'd Mr. Powis;--the door
open'd;--Darcey turn'd half round, and laying his cold clammy hand on
mine, said, Oh Molesworth! my happiness is in view!--how can I meet it?

Inimitable creature!--Can I describe your reception of my friend?--can I
describe the dignity of beauty;--the melting softness of
sensibility;--the blushing emotion of surprize?--No, Risby;--impossible!

The Ladies stood to receive us; Miss Powis supported between her mother
and Lady Mary;--_she_ all graceful timidity;--_they_ all extasy and
rapture.--Do you not expect to see Darcey at the feet of his
mistress?--No; at Mrs. Powis's, at Lady Mary's, he fell.

The eyes of his Adorable glisten'd.--He was rais'd, and embrac'd
tenderly--by the parents,--by Lady Mary.--Mr. Powis said, presenting him
to his delighted daughter, _You_, my dear, must make _our_ returns of
gratitude to Lord Darcey;--giving him her more than passive hand, which
he press'd to his lips with fervor, saying, _This_ is the hour my soul
has flown up to petition--Dearest, best of women! tell me I am welcome.

She attempted to reply;--it was only an attempt.

She does bid you welcome, return'd Mr. Powis;--her _heart_ bids you
welcome.

Indeed, said she, I am not ungrateful:--_indeed_, my Lord, I am not
insensible to the obligations you have laid me under.

As these words escap'd her, you must certainly take in the whole
countenance of Darcey.

By this time we were seated, and Lady Mary return'd to the company.

Honour'd as I am, said his Lordship, addressing Miss Powis, will you
permit me, Madam, in presence of your revered parents,--in presence of
the friend to whom every wish of my heart has been confess'd;--will you
permit me to hope you are not offended by my application to Sir
James?--May I hope for your--

Friendship, my Lord (reply'd she, interrupting him); you may command my
friendship.

_Friendship!_ (retorted he) Miss Powis, starting up:--is that _all I_ am
to expect?--Can I accept your _friendship?_--No, Madam, the man who
would have died for you aspires to more than _friendship_;--he aspires
to your _love_.

I am no stranger, my Lord, return'd she, to the honour you intend me;--I
am no stranger to _your_ worth;--but I have scruples;--scruples that
seem to me insurmountable.

I never saw him so affected.

For heaven's sake, Madam, he answer'd, don't drive me to despair:--tear
not open the wound which the hand of Mercy has just clos'd:--my
shatter'd frame will not bear another rub from fortune.--_What
scruples?_--Tell me, Miss Powis, I conjure you.

You have none, my dear child, said Mrs. Powis. You have none, Fanny,
said Mr. Powis, but what his Lordship can remove.

Indeed, Sir!--indeed, Madam! replied she, I meant not to give Lord
Darcey pain.--Then turning to him in a tender, soothing accent,--Your
peace, my Lord, has never been lightly regarded by me.--Here he
brighten'd up,--and said, taking her hand, You know not, Miss Powis,
from the first moment I saw you, how ardent,--how steady has been my
love.

Why _then_ my Lord, resum'd she--_why_ endeavour to gain my affections,
yet hide your preference for me from the _world_;--even from
_myself?_--Think of the _day_ Lord Allen dined at the Abbey;--think what
pass'd in a walk preceding _that_ you set out for town:--on both
these,--on many others, how mysterious your conduct?--If you thought me
worthy your regard, my Lord, why _such_ mysteries?

For God's sake, my dear,--dear Miss Powis, said Darcey, suffer me to
vindicate myself.--Pardon me, my Lord (continued the angel that
harangued him) hear me patiently another moment, and I will listen to
your vindication.

She went on.

From whence can I suppose, my Lord, your embarrassments proceeded, if
not from _some_ entanglement grown irksome?--No; before I can promise
_myself_ happiness, I must be first satisfied I do not borrow that
_happiness_ from _another_.

_Another_, Madam! repeated he, throwing himself at her feet:--May all my
brighter prospects fly me;--may my youth be blighted by the loss of
reason if I have ever lov'd _another!_

She was affected with the solemnity of his air: one pearly drop stray'd
down her cheek;--one that escap'd the liquid body of tenderness
assembled in her eyes:--she could not speak, but held out her snowy
hand for him to be seated.

He obey'd; and placing himself next her, so clearly accounted for that
part of his conduct she call'd mysterious, that Mr. and Mrs. Powis both
at once exclaim'd, Now, my dear, complete our felicity;--now all your
_scruples must_ be over.

And do you, said she, my tender, my indulgent parents, rising and
throwing herself into their arms;--do you say it is in _my_ power to
complete your felicity?--_Will_ confessing a preference for Lord
Darcey;--_will_ declaring I wish you to prefer him to your
daughter;--will _that_ complete it?

My friend caught the blushing beauty from the arms of her parents, and,
frantic with joy, folded her to his bosom, standing as if he wonder'd at
his own happiness.

What innocence in the look of Miss Powis, when she greatly acknowledg'd
her heart!--How reverse from _this_ innocence, _this_ greatness, is the
_prudish hypocrite_, who forbids _even_ her features to say she is
susceptible of love! You may suppose a profusion of friendly
acknowledgments fell to _my_ share; but I am not vain enough to repeat
them.

It is well Lady Elizabeth stands portress at the door of my
heart:--there is such bustling and pushing to get in;--but,
notwithstanding her Ladyship's vigilance, Miss Powis has slipp'd by, and
sits perch'd up in the same corner with Darcey.

If you go back to Lady Mary's dressing-room, you will find nobody
_there_:--but give a peep into the dining-parlour, and you will see us
just set down at dinner;--_all_ smiling,--_all_ happy;--an inexhaustible
fountain of pleasure in every breast.

I will go down to Slope Hall;--give Lady Dorothy a hint that she has it
now in her power to make one man happy;--_a hint_ I believe she never
had before.--A snug twenty thousand added to my present fortune,--the
hand of Lady Elizabeth,--and then, Risby, get hold of my skirts, and you
mount with me.

Next Tuesday prepare, as governor of the castle, for a warm
siege.--_Such_ a battery of eyes,--_such_ bundles of darts,--_such_
stores of smiles,--_such_ a train of innocence will be laid before the
walls, as never was withstood!--No; I shall see you _cap-à-pée_ open the
gates to the besiegers.--Away goes my pen.--I write no more positively.

MOLESWORTH.



LETTER XLIII.

Miss DELVES to Mrs. DELVES.

_Barford Abbey_.


Are you well, Madam? Is my dear father well? Tell me you are, and never
was so happy a creature as your daughter. I tremble with pleasure,--with
joy,--with delight:--but I _must_--my duty, my affection, every thing
says I _must_ sit down to write.--You did not see how we were marshall'd
at setting out:--I wish you could have got up early enough:--never was
there such joyous party!

All in Lady Mary's dining-room by seven;--the fine equipages at the
door;--servants attending in rich new liveries, to the number of
twenty;--Lord Darcey and his heavenly bride that is to be,--smiling on
each other,--smiling on all around;--Lady Mary Sutton--yes, _she_ is
heavenly _too_;--I believe I was the only earthly creature amongst
them;--Lord and Lady Hampstead,--the angelic Ladies Elizabeth and
Sophia,--Mr. Molesworth,--the generous, friendly, open-hearted Mr.
Molesworth,--Lord Hallum.--But why mention him last?--Because, Bessy, I
suppose he was _last_ in your thoughts.--Dear Madam, how can you think
so?

In Lady Mary's coach went her Ladyship, Lord Darcey, Mrs. and Miss
Powis:--in Lord Hampstead's, his Lordship, Lady Hampstead, Lady
Elizabeth, and Mr. Molesworth:--in Lord Darcey's, Lady Sophia, Mr.
Powis, Lord Hallum, and your little _good-for-nothing_:--in Mr. Powis's,
the women-servants.--We lay fifty miles short of the Abbey, and the next
evening reach'd it at seven.

We reach'd Barford Abbey, I say--but what shall I say _now?_--I cannot
do justice to what I have seen of duty,--of affection,--of joy,--of
hospitality.--Do, dear Madam, persuade my father to purchase a house in
_this_ neighbourhood.

Servants were posted at the distance of six miles to carry intelligence
when we should approach.--I suppose in their way back it was proclaim'd
in the village:--men, women, and children, lined the road a mile from
the Abbey, throwing up their hats with loud huzzaing,--bells ringing in
every adjacent parish;--bonfires on every rising ground;--in short, we
were usher'd in like conquerors.--The coachmen whipp'd up their horses
full speed through the park;--thump, thump, went my heart, when by a
number of lights I discover'd we were just at the house.

What sensations did I feel when the carriages stopp'd!--At the entrance
stood Sir James and Lady Powis,--the Chaplain,--Mr. Morgan,--Captain
Risby,--you know their characters, Madam;--every servant in the house
with a light:--but who could have stay'd within at this juncture?

The first coach that drove up was Lady Mary's. Out sprang Lord Darcey,
Miss Powis in his hand; both in a moment lock'd in parental
embraces.--Good heaven, what extasy!--I thought Mr. Watson and Mr.
Morgan would have fought a duel which should first have folded Miss
Powis in his arms, whilst Sir James and Lady Powis quitted her to
welcome Lady Mary.--We were all receiv'd tenderly affectionate:--a
reception none can have an idea of, but those who have been at Barford
Abbey.

In my way to the house, I suppose I had a hundred kisses:--_God knows
from whom_.--What can I say of Lord Hampstead's family?--what of Mr.
Molesworth?--The general notice taken of him is sufficient.--Absolutely
that charming man will be spoil'd.--Pity to set him up for an idol!--I
hope he will not _always_ expect to be worshipp'd--Mr. Risby
_too_--Well, I'll mention you all, one after another, as fast as
possible.--Let me see, where did I leave off?--Oh! we were just out of
our carriages.--And now for the pathetics:--an attempt;--a humble
attempt only.

Lady Powis, Lady Mary, and their darling, had given us the slip.--What
could be done?--I mean with Mr. Morgan:--he was quite outrageous.--What
could be done? I repeat.--Why Sir James, to pacify him, said, we should
all go and surprize them in his Lady's dressing-room.--We did go;--we
did surprize them;--great God! in what an attitude!--The exalted Lady
Powis at the feet of Lady Mary;--Miss Powis kneeling by her;--she
endeavouring to raise them.--I said it would be an attempt at the
pathetics;--it must be an attempt:--I can proceed no farther.

To be sure, Mr. Morgan is a queer-looking man, but a great favourite at
the Abbey.--He took Miss Powis on his knee;--call'd her a hundred times
his dear, dear daughter;--and I could not forbear laughing, when he told
her he had not wore a tye-wig before these twenty years. This drew me to
observe his dress, which, unless you knew the man, you can have no idea
how well it suited him:--a dark snuff-colour'd coat with gold buttons,
which I suppose by the fashion of it, was made when he accustomed
himself to _tye-wigs_;--the lace a rich orrice; but then it was so
immoderately short, both in the sleeves and skirts, that whilst full
dress'd he appeared to want cloathing.

The _next_ morning,--ay, the _next_ morning, then it was I lost my
freedom.--Disrob'd of his gingerbread coat, I absolutely sell a
sacrifice to a plain suit of broad cloth,--or rather, to a noble, plain
heart.--Now pray, dear Madam, do not cross me in my _first_ love;--at
least, _see_ Mr. Morgan, before you command me to give him up:--and you,
sweet Sir, steal to a corner of your new possession, whilst I take
notice of those who are capering to my fingers ends.

You have seen Miss Powis, Madam, on Mr. Morgan's knee;--you have heard
him say enough to fill any other girl than myself with jealousy:--nay,
Madam, you may smile;--he really makes love to me.--But for a moment let
me forget my lover;--let me forget his _melting_ sighs,--his _tender_
protections,--his _persuasive_ eloquence,--his air _so_
languishing:--let me forget them _all_, I say, and lead you to the
library, where by a message flew Miss Powis.--A look from her drew me
after:--I suppose Lord Darcey had a touch from the same magnet.

A venerable pair with joy next to phrenzy caught her in their extended
arms, as the door open'd. My _kind_, my dear, _ever_ dear friends, said
the lovely creature,--and is it _thus_ we meet? is it _thus_ I return to
you?--Mr. Jenkings clasp'd her to him; but his utterance was quite
choak'd:--the old Lady burst into a flood of tears, and then cried
out,--How great is thy mercy, O God!--Suffer me to be grateful.--Again
she flew to their arms;--again they folded her to their bosoms.--Lord
Darcey too embrac'd them;--he condescendingly kiss'd their hands;--he
said, next to the parents of his Fanny,--next to Lady Mary, they were
most dear to him.--Miss Powis seated herself between them, and hung
about the neck of Mrs. Jenkings;--whilst his Lordship, full of
admiration, look'd as if his great soul labour'd for expression.--

Overcome with tender scenes, I left the library.--I acquainted Lady Mary
who was there, and she went to them immediately.--Mr. Watson and Mr.
Morgan for a quarter of an hour were all my own;--captain Risby, Mr.
Molesworth, Lady Elizabeth and Sophia, being engag'd in a conversation
at another part of the room:--you may _guess_ our subject, Madam;--but I
declare, whilst listening to Mr. Watson, I thought myself soaring above
earthly enjoyments.--

Sir James, who had follow'd Lady Mary, soon return'd with her Ladyship,
Miss Powis, Lord Darcey, and, what gave me heart-felt pleasure, the
steward and his wife;--an honour they with difficulty accepted, as they
were strangers to Lord Hampstead's family.--

Who says there is not in this life perfect happiness?--I say they are
mistaken:--such felicity as I here see and partake of, cannot be call'd
imperfect--How comes it that the domestics of _this_ family _so_ much
surpass those of _other_ people?--how is it _one_ interest governs the
whole?--I want to know a thousand mysteries.--I could write,--I could
think eternally,--of the first happy evening.--First happy evening do I
say? And can the days that crown that eve be forgot?--Heaven forbid! at
least whilst I have recollection.--My heart speaks so fast to my pen,
that fain my fingers would,--but cannot keep up with it.

The next morning Lord Darcey introduc'd to us the son of Mr.
Jenkings.--A finer youth I never saw!--Well might the old gentleman be
_suspicious_.--Few fathers would, like _him_, have sacrificed the
interest of a son, to preserve that of a friend.--To know the real rank
of Miss Powis;--her ten thousand virtues;--her great expectations; yet
act with so _much_ caution!--with an anxiety which the most sordid miser
watching his treasure, could not have exceeded! and for _what?_--Why
lest involuntarily she might enrich his belov'd son with _her_
affections.--Will you part with me to this extraordinary man?--Only for
an hour or two.--A walk is propos'd.--Our ramble will not be farther
than his house.--You say I may go. Thank you, Madam: I am gone.

Just return'd from the steward's, so cramm'd with sweet-meats, cake, and
jellies, that I am absolutely stupified.

I must tell you who led Miss Powis.--Lord Darcey, to be sure.--No,
Madam; I had the favour of his Lordship's arm:--it was Edmund.--I call
him Edmund;--every body calls him Edmund;--_yes_, and at Lord Darcey's
request _too_.--Never shall I forget in what a graceful manner!--But his
Lordship does every thing with grace.--He mention'd something of past
times, hinting he should not always have courted him to _such_ honour,
presenting the hand of his belov'd.

I wish I could send you her look at that moment; it was all love,--all
condescension.--I say I cannot send it.--Mortifying! I cannot even
borrow _it_.

Adieu, dear Madam!--Adieu, dear Sir!--Adieu, you best of parents--It is
impossible to say which is most dear to your ever dutiful and
affectionate

E. DELVES.



LETTER XLIV.

Miss DELVES to the same.

_Barford Abbey_.


Lost my heart _again!_--Be not surpriz'd, Madam; I lose and find it ten
times a day;--yet it never strays from Barford Abbey.--The last account
you had from me it was button'd inside Mr. Morgan's
hunting-frock:--since that, it has been God knows with whom:--sometimes
wrapt in a red coat;--sometimes in a blue;--sometimes in a green:--but
finding many competitors flew to black, where it now lies snug, warm,
and easy.--Restless creature! I will never take it home again.

What think you, Madam, of a _Dean_ for a son-in-law?

What do I think? you say.--Why the gentlemen of the church have too much
sense and gravity to take my madcap off my hands.--Well, Madam, but
suppose the Dean of H---- now you look pleas'd.--Oh, the Dean of
_H----!_ What the _Dean_, Bessy, that Lady Mary used to talk of:--the
_Dean_ that married Mr. and Mrs. Powis.

As sure as I live, Madam, the _very_ man:--and _to-morrow,--to-morrow at
ten_, he is to unite their lovely daughter with Lord Darcey.--Am I not
_very_ good,--_extremely_ good, _indeed_, to sit down and write,--when
every person below is solacing themselves on the approach of this happy
festival?

I would suffer shipwreck ten times;--ten times would I be drove on
uninhabited islands, for such a husband as Lord Darcey.--Miss Powis's
danger was only imaginary, yet _she_ must be _so_ rewarded.--Well, she
_shall_ be rewarded:--she _ought_ to be rewarded:--Lord Darcey shall
reward her.

But is it not _very_ hard upon your _poor_ girl, that _all_ the young
smarts we brought down, and _that_ which we found _here_, should have
dispos'd of their hearts?--_All_;--even Lord Hallum,--_he_ who used to
boast so much of freedom,--now owns he has dispos'd of his.--

But to whom?--Aye: that's a question.--

They think, perhaps, the _old_ stuff will do well enough for poor
me!--Thanks to my genius, I can set my cap at any thing.

Why there's something tolerable in the sound of a Dean's Lady--Let me
see if it will do.--"The _Deans's_ coach;--the _Dean's_
servants."--Something better this than a plain _Mr._

Here comes Miss Powis. Now shall I be forc'd to huddle this into my
pocket.--I am resolv'd she shall not see the preferment I have chalk'd
out for myself.--No, no; I must be secret, or I shall have it taken from
me.

_This_ Miss Powis,--_this_ very dutiful young Lady, that I used to have
set up for a pattern,--_now_ tells me that I _must_ write no more;
_that_ you will not expect to hear from me 'till the next post.--If I
_must_ take Miss Powis's advice in everything;--if I _must_ be guided by
_her_;--you know _who_ said this, Madam;--why then there is an end of my
scribbling for this night.--But remember it is not _my_ fault.--No,
indeed, I was sat down as sober sedate as could be.--Quite fit for a
Dean's Lady?--Yes;--quite fit, indeed.--Now comes Lady Elizabeth and
Lady Sophia.--Well, it is impossible, I find, to be dutiful in this
house.


Thursday, twelve o'clock at noon.

Bless my soul! one would think I was the bride by my shaking and
quaking! Miss Powis is--Lady Darcey.--Down drops my letter:--Yes, dear
Madam, I see you drop it to run and tell my father.

I may write on _now_;--I may do what I will;--Lord and Lady Darcey are
_every_ thing with _every_ body Well as I love them, I was not present
at the ceremony:--I don't know why neither.--Not a soul but attended,
except your poor foolish girl--At the window I stood to see them go, and
never stirr'd a step 'till they return'd.--Mr. Molesworth gave her
away.--I vow I thought near as handsome as the bridegroom.--But what
signifies my thinking him handsome?--I'll ask Lady Elizabeth by and bye
what she thinks.--Now for a little about it, before I ature myself with
implements of destruction.--The Dean is not quite dead yet; but if he
live out this day,--I say, he is invulnerable.

Let us hear no more of yourself:--tell us of Lord and Lady Darcey

Have patience, Madam, and I will,

Well, _their_ dress?--Why _their_ faces were dress'd in smiles of
love:--Nature's charms should always take place of art.--You see with
what order I proceed.

Lord Darcey was dress'd in white richly lac'd with gold;--Lady Darcey in
a white lutestring négligée nounc'd deep with a silver net;--no cap, a
diamond sprig; her hair without powder; a diamond necklace and
sleeve-knots;--bracelets set round with diamonds; and let me tell you,
her jewels are a present from my first Adorable;--on the knowledge of
which I discarded him.--No, no, Mr. Morgan; you are not a _jewel_ of
yourself neither.--Lady Darcey would have wore quite a morning
dishabille, if the vain old Gentleman had not requested the
contrary:--so forsooth, to humour him, we must be all put out of our
way.

There they are on the lawn, as I hope to live, going to invite in
Caesar.--Only an old dog, Madam, that lives betwixt this house and the
steward's.

Lady Elizabeth and Mr. Molesworth, Lady Sophia and Captain Risby,--Oh, I
long to be with you!--throw no more gravel to my window.--I _will_ be
dutiful;--in spite of your allurements, I _will_.

I left them in the library, inspecting a very charming piece, just
brought from Brandon Lodge, done by the hand of Lady Mary Sutton.--Upon
my word, they have soon conn'd it over:--but I have not told you it is
the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Powis;--my dear Dean too joining their
hands.--

God defend me! there he is, hopping out.--I wish he had kept
within.--Why, Sir, I should have been down in a moment: then we might
have had the most comfortable tête-à-tête.

Seriously, Madam--now I am _really_ serious--can you believe, after
beholding Lord and Lady Darcey, I will ever be content with a moderate
share of happiness?--No, I will die first.--To see them at this instant
would be an antidote for indifference.--Not any thing of foolish
fondness:--no; that will never be seen in Lord and Lady Darcey.--Their
happiness is not confin'd:--we are all refreshed by it:--it pours forth
from their homes like streams flowing from a pure terrain.--I think I
said I could not go to church:--no, not for the world would I have
gone:--I expected Miss Powis would be crying, fainting, and I know not
what.--Instead of all this fuss, not a tear was shed.--I thought every
body cried when they were married:--those that _had_, or had _not_
cause.--Well, I am determin'd to appear satisfied, however, if the yoke
is a little galling.

How charming look'd Miss Powis, when she smil'd on Lord Darcey!--On Lord
Darcey? On every body I mean.--And for him--But I must forget his
air,--his words,--his looks, if ever I intend to say love, honour, and
obey.--Once I am brought to say love,--honour and obey will slide off
glibly enough. I must go down amongst them. Believe me, Madam, I shut
myself up to write against intreaties,--against the most persuasive
eloquence.

This is the day when the Powis family are crown'd with felicity.--I
think on it with rapture.--I will set it down on the heart of your
dutiful and affectionate

E. Delves.



LETTER XLV.

Miss Delves to the same.

_Barford Abbey_


Surely I must smell of venison,--roast beef, and plumb-puddings.--Yes, I
smell of the Old English hospitality.--_You_, Madam, have no tenants to
regale so;--are safe from such troubles on my account.--Will you believe
me, Madam, I had rather see their honest old faces than go to the finest
opera ever exhibited.--What think you of a hundred-and-seven chearful
farmers sitting at long tables spread with every thing the season can
afford;--two hogsheads of wine at their elbows;--the servants waiting on
them with assiduous respect:--Their songs still echo in my ears.

I thought the roof would have come down, when Lord and Lady Darcey made
their appearance.--Some sung one tune,--some another;--some paid
extempore congratulations;--others that had not a genius, made use of
ballads compos'd on the marriage of the King and Queen.--One poor old
soul cried to the Butler, because he could neither sing or repeat a
verse.--Seeing his distress, I went to him, and repeated a few lines
applicable to the occasion, which he caught in a moment, and tun'd away
with the best of them.

Lord and Lady Hampstead are so delighted with the honest rustics, that
they declare every Christmas their tenants shall be regal'd at Hallum
Grove.

What can one feel equal to the satisfaction which arises on looking out
in the park?--Three hundred poor are there feasting under a shed erected
for the purpose;--cloath'd by Sir James and Lady Powis;--_so_
clean,--_so_ warm,--_so_ comfortable, that to see them at this moment,
one would suppose they had never tasted of poverty.

Lord Darcey has order'd two hundred guineas to be given amongst
them,--that to-morrow might not be less welcome to them than this day.

For my part, I have only two to provide for out of the number;--a pretty
little boy and girl, that pick'd me up before I came to the shed.--The
parents of those children were very good, and gave them to me on my
first application.

Here comes Mrs. Jenkings.--_Well_, what pleasing thing have you to tell
me, Mrs. Jenkings?

Five hundred pounds, as I live, to be given to the poor to-morrow from
Lady Mary Sutton.--

What blessings will follow us on our journey! I believe I have not told
you, Madam, we set out for Faulcum Park on Monday.--_Not_ to stay:--no,
I thank God we are _not_ to stay.--If Lord and Lady Darcey were to
inhabit Faulcum Park, yet it would not be to _me_ like Barford
Abbey,--Barford Abbey is to be their home whilst Sir James and Lady
Powis live.

Lord Hallum wants me to walk with him.--Not I, indeed:--I hate a
_tête-à-tête_ with heartless men.--On second thoughts, I will go.

Oh Madam! out of breath with astonishment!--What think you:--I am the
confidante of Lord Hallum's passion;--with permission too of the earl
and countess.--Heavens! and can you guess, Madam, who it is he
loves?--Adieu, my _dear,--dear_ Dean!--Need I say more?--Will you not
spare the blushes of your happy daughter,

E. DELVES.



FINIS.





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