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Title: Mary - A Fiction
Author: Wollstonecraft, Mary, 1759-1797
Language: English
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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.

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Transcriber's note: The author is Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797).



MARY,

A Fiction

L'exercice des plus sublimes vertus éleve et nourrit le génie.
                                                     ROUSSEAU.

London,
Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church-Yard.

MDCCLXXXVIII



ADVERTISEMENT.


In delineating the Heroine of this Fiction, the Author attempts to
develop a character different from those generally portrayed. This woman
is neither a Clarissa, a Lady G----, nor a[A] Sophie.--It would be vain
to mention the various modifications of these models, as it would to
remark, how widely artists wander from nature, when they copy the
originals of great masters. They catch the gross parts; but the subtile
spirit evaporates; and not having the just ties, affectation disgusts,
when grace was expected to charm.

Those compositions only have power to delight, and carry us willing
captives, where the soul of the author is exhibited, and animates the
hidden springs. Lost in a pleasing enthusiasm, they live in the scenes
they represent; and do not measure their steps in a beaten track,
solicitous to gather expected flowers, and bind them in a wreath,
according to the prescribed rules of art.

These chosen few, wish to speak for themselves, and not to be an
echo--even of the sweetest sounds--or the reflector of the most sublime
beams. The[B] paradise they ramble in, must be of their own creating--or
the prospect soon grows insipid, and not varied by a vivifying
principle, fades and dies.

In an artless tale, without episodes, the mind of a woman, who has
thinking powers is displayed. The female organs have been thought too
weak for this arduous employment; and experience seems to justify the
assertion. Without arguing physically about _possibilities_--in a
fiction, such a being may be allowed to exist; whose grandeur is derived
from the operations of its own faculties, not subjugated to opinion; but
drawn by the individual from the original source.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote A: Rousseau.]

[Footnote B: I here give the Reviewers an opportunity of being very
witty about the Paradise of Fools, &c.]



MARY



CHAP. I.


Mary, the heroine of this fiction, was the daughter of Edward, who
married Eliza, a gentle, fashionable girl, with a kind of indolence in
her temper, which might be termed negative good-nature: her virtues,
indeed, were all of that stamp. She carefully attended to the _shews_ of
things, and her opinions, I should have said prejudices, were such as
the generality approved of. She was educated with the expectation of a
large fortune, of course became a mere machine: the homage of her
attendants made a great part of her puerile amusements, and she never
imagined there were any relative duties for her to fulfil: notions of
her own consequence, by these means, were interwoven in her mind, and
the years of youth spent in acquiring a few superficial accomplishments,
without having any taste for them. When she was first introduced into
the polite circle, she danced with an officer, whom she faintly wished
to be united to; but her father soon after recommending another in a
more distinguished rank of life, she readily submitted to his will, and
promised to love, honour, and obey, (a vicious fool,) as in duty bound.

While they resided in London, they lived in the usual fashionable style,
and seldom saw each other; nor were they much more sociable when they
wooed rural felicity for more than half the year, in a delightful
country, where Nature, with lavish hand, had scattered beauties around;
for the master, with brute, unconscious gaze, passed them by unobserved,
and sought amusement in country sports. He hunted in the morning, and
after eating an immoderate dinner, generally fell asleep: this
seasonable rest enabled him to digest the cumbrous load; he would then
visit some of his pretty tenants; and when he compared their ruddy glow
of health with his wife's countenance, which even rouge could not
enliven, it is not necessary to say which a _gourmand_ would give the
preference to. Their vulgar dance of spirits were infinitely more
agreeable to his fancy than her sickly, die-away languor. Her voice was
but the shadow of a sound, and she had, to complete her delicacy, so
relaxed her nerves, that she became a mere nothing.

Many such noughts are there in the female world! yet she had a good
opinion of her own merit,--truly, she said long prayers,--and sometimes
read her Week's Preparation: she dreaded that horrid place vulgarly
called _hell_, the regions below; but whether her's was a mounting
spirit, I cannot pretend to determine; or what sort of a planet would
have been proper for her, when she left her _material_ part in this
world, let metaphysicians settle; I have nothing to say to her unclothed
spirit.

As she was sometimes obliged to be alone, or only with her French
waiting-maid, she sent to the metropolis for all the new publications,
and while she was dressing her hair, and she could turn her eyes from
the glass, she ran over those most delightful substitutes for bodily
dissipation, novels. I say bodily, or the animal soul, for a rational
one can find no employment in polite circles. The glare of lights, the
studied inelegancies of dress, and the compliments offered up at the
shrine of false beauty, are all equally addressed to the senses.

When she could not any longer indulge the caprices of fancy one way, she
tried another. The Platonic Marriage, Eliza Warwick, and some other
interesting tales were perused with eagerness. Nothing could be more
natural than the developement of the passions, nor more striking than
the views of the human heart. What delicate struggles! and uncommonly
pretty turns of thought! The picture that was found on a bramble-bush,
the new sensitive-plant, or tree, which caught the swain by the
upper-garment, and presented to his ravished eyes a portrait.--Fatal
image!--It planted a thorn in a till then insensible heart, and sent a
new kind of a knight-errant into the world. But even this was nothing to
the catastrophe, and the circumstance on which it hung, the hornet
settling on the sleeping lover's face. What a _heart-rending_ accident!
She planted, in imitation of those susceptible souls, a rose bush; but
there was not a lover to weep in concert with her, when she watered it
with her tears.--Alas! Alas!

If my readers would excuse the sportiveness of fancy, and give me credit
for genius, I would go on and tell them such tales as would force the
sweet tears of sensibility to flow in copious showers down beautiful
cheeks, to the discomposure of rouge, &c. &c. Nay, I would make it so
interesting, that the fair peruser should beg the hair-dresser to
settle the curls himself, and not interrupt her.

She had besides another resource, two most beautiful dogs, who shared
her bed, and reclined on cushions near her all the day. These she
watched with the most assiduous care, and bestowed on them the warmest
caresses. This fondness for animals was not that kind of
_attendrissement_ which makes a person take pleasure in providing for
the subsistence and comfort of a living creature; but it proceeded from
vanity, it gave her an opportunity of lisping out the prettiest French
expressions of ecstatic fondness, in accents that had never been attuned
by tenderness.

She was chaste, according to the vulgar acceptation of the word, that
is, she did not make any actual _faux pas_; she feared the world, and
was indolent; but then, to make amends for this seeming self-denial, she
read all the sentimental novels, dwelt on the love-scenes, and, had she
thought while she read, her mind would have been contaminated; as she
accompanied the lovers to the lonely arbors, and would walk with them by
the clear light of the moon. She wondered her husband did not stay at
home. She was jealous--why did he not love her, sit by her side, squeeze
her hand, and look unutterable things? Gentle reader, I will tell thee;
they neither of them felt what they could not utter. I will not pretend
to say that they always annexed an idea to a word; but they had none of
those feelings which are not easily analyzed.



CHAP. II.


In due time she brought forth a son, a feeble babe; and the following
year a daughter. After the mother's throes she felt very few sentiments
of maternal tenderness: the children were given to nurses, and she
played with her dogs. Want of exercise prevented the least chance of her
recovering strength; and two or three milk-fevers brought on a
consumption, to which her constitution tended. Her children all died in
their infancy, except the two first, and she began to grow fond of the
son, as he was remarkably handsome. For years she divided her time
between the sofa, and the card-table. She thought not of death, though
on the borders of the grave; nor did any of the duties of her station
occur to her as necessary. Her children were left in the nursery; and
when Mary, the little blushing girl, appeared, she would send the
awkward thing away. To own the truth, she was awkward enough, in a house
without any play-mates; for her brother had been sent to school, and she
scarcely knew how to employ herself; she would ramble about the garden,
admire the flowers, and play with the dogs. An old house-keeper told her
stories, read to her, and, at last, taught her to read. Her mother
talked of enquiring for a governess when her health would permit; and,
in the interim desired her own maid to teach her French. As she had
learned to read, she perused with avidity every book that came in her
way. Neglected in every respect, and left to the operations of her own
mind, she considered every thing that came under her inspection, and
learned to think. She had heard of a separate state, and that angels
sometimes visited this earth. She would sit in a thick wood in the park,
and talk to them; make little songs addressed to them, and sing them to
tunes of her own composing; and her native wood notes wild were sweet
and touching.

Her father always exclaimed against female acquirements, and was glad
that his wife's indolence and ill health made her not trouble herself
about them. She had besides another reason, she did not wish to have a
fine tall girl brought forward into notice as her daughter; she still
expected to recover, and figure away in the gay world. Her husband was
very tyrannical and passionate; indeed so very easily irritated when
inebriated, that Mary was continually in dread lest he should frighten
her mother to death; her sickness called forth all Mary's tenderness,
and exercised her compassion so continually, that it became more than a
match for self-love, and was the governing propensity of her heart
through life. She was violent in her temper; but she saw her father's
faults, and would weep when obliged to compare his temper with her
own.--She did more; artless prayers rose to Heaven for pardon, when she
was conscious of having erred; and her contrition was so exceedingly
painful, that she watched diligently the first movements of anger and
impatience, to save herself this cruel remorse.

Sublime ideas filled her young mind--always connected with devotional
sentiments; extemporary effusions of gratitude, and rhapsodies of
praise would burst often from her, when she listened to the birds, or
pursued the deer. She would gaze on the moon, and ramble through the
gloomy path, observing the various shapes the clouds assumed, and listen
to the sea that was not far distant. The wandering spirits, which she
imagined inhabited every part of nature, were her constant friends and
confidants. She began to consider the Great First Cause, formed just
notions of his attributes, and, in particular, dwelt on his wisdom and
goodness. Could she have loved her father or mother, had they returned
her affection, she would not so soon, perhaps, have sought out a new
world.

Her sensibility prompted her to search for an object to love; on earth
it was not to be found: her mother had often disappointed her, and the
apparent partiality she shewed to her brother gave her exquisite
pain--produced a kind of habitual melancholy, led her into a fondness
for reading tales of woe, and made her almost realize the fictitious
distress.

She had not any notion of death till a little chicken expired at her
feet; and her father had a dog hung in a passion. She then concluded
animals had souls, or they would not have been subjected to the caprice
of man; but what was the soul of man or beast? In this style year after
year rolled on, her mother still vegetating.

A little girl who attended in the nursery fell sick. Mary paid her great
attention; contrary to her wish, she was sent out of the house to her
mother, a poor woman, whom necessity obliged to leave her sick child
while she earned her daily bread. The poor wretch, in a fit of delirium
stabbed herself, and Mary saw her dead body, and heard the dismal
account; and so strongly did it impress her imagination, that every
night of her life the bleeding corpse presented itself to her when the
first began to slumber. Tortured by it, she at last made a vow, that if
she was ever mistress of a family she would herself watch over every
part of it. The impression that this accident made was indelible.

As her mother grew imperceptibly worse and worse, her father, who did
not understand such a lingering complaint, imagined his wife was only
grown still more whimsical, and that if she could be prevailed on to
exert herself, her health would soon be re-established. In general he
treated her with indifference; but when her illness at all interfered
with his pleasures, he expostulated in the most cruel manner, and
visibly harassed the invalid. Mary would then assiduously try to turn
his attention to something else; and when sent out of the room, would
watch at the door, until the storm was over, for unless it was, she
could not rest. Other causes also contributed to disturb her repose: her
mother's luke-warm manner of performing her religious duties, filled her
with anguish; and when she observed her father's vices, the unbidden
tears would flow. She was miserable when beggars were driven from the
gate without being relieved; if she could do it unperceived, she would
give them her own breakfast, and feel gratified, when, in consequence of
it, she was pinched by hunger.

She had once, or twice, told her little secrets to her mother; they were
laughed at, and she determined never to do it again. In this manner was
she left to reflect on her own feelings; and so strengthened were they
by being meditated on, that her character early became singular and
permanent. Her understanding was strong and clear, when not clouded by
her feelings; but she was too much the creature of impulse, and the
slave of compassion.



CHAP. III.


Near her father's house lived a poor widow, who had been brought up in
affluence, but reduced to great distress by the extravagance of her
husband; he had destroyed his constitution while he spent his fortune;
and dying, left his wife, and five small children, to live on a very
scanty pittance. The eldest daughter was for some years educated by a
distant relation, a Clergyman. While she was with him a young gentleman,
son to a man of property in the neighbourhood, took particular notice of
her. It is true, he never talked of love; but then they played and sung
in concert; drew landscapes together, and while she worked he read to
her, cultivated her taste, and stole imperceptibly her heart. Just at
this juncture, when smiling, unanalyzed hope made every prospect bright,
and gay expectation danced in her eyes, her benefactor died. She
returned to her mother--the companion of her youth forgot her, they took
no more sweet counsel together. This disappointment spread a sadness
over her countenance, and made it interesting. She grew fond of
solitude, and her character appeared similar to Mary's, though her
natural disposition was very different.

She was several years older than Mary, yet her refinement, her taste,
caught her eye, and she eagerly sought her friendship: before her return
she had assisted the family, which was almost reduced to the last ebb;
and now she had another motive to actuate her.

As she had often occasion to send messages to Ann, her new friend,
mistakes were frequently made; Ann proposed that in future they should
be written ones, to obviate this difficulty, and render their
intercourse more agreeable. Young people are mostly fond of scribbling;
Mary had had very little instruction; but by copying her friend's
letters, whose hand she admired, she soon became a proficient; a little
practice made her write with tolerable correctness, and her genius gave
force to it. In conversation, and in writing, when she felt, she was
pathetic, tender and persuasive; and she expressed contempt with such
energy, that few could stand the flash of her eyes.

As she grew more intimate with Ann, her manners were softened, and she
acquired a degree of equality in her behaviour: yet still her spirits
were fluctuating, and her movements rapid. She felt less pain on
account of her mother's partiality to her brother, as she hoped now to
experience the pleasure of being beloved; but this hope led her into new
sorrows, and, as usual, paved the way for disappointment. Ann only felt
gratitude; her heart was entirely engrossed by one object, and
friendship could not serve as a substitute; memory officiously retraced
past scenes, and unavailing wishes made time loiter.

Mary was often hurt by the involuntary indifference which these
consequences produced. When her friend was all the world to her, she
found she was not as necessary to her happiness; and her delicate mind
could not bear to obtrude her affection, or receive love as an alms, the
offspring of pity. Very frequently has she ran to her with delight, and
not perceiving any thing of the same kind in Ann's countenance, she has
shrunk back; and, falling from one extreme into the other, instead of a
warm greeting that was just slipping from her tongue, her expressions
seemed to be dictated by the most chilling insensibility.

She would then imagine that she looked sickly or unhappy, and then all
her tenderness would return like a torrent, and bear away all
reflection. In this manner was her sensibility called forth, and
exercised, by her mother's illness, her friend's misfortunes, and her
own unsettled mind.



CHAP. IV.


Near to her father's house was a range of mountains; some of them were,
literally speaking, cloud-capt, for on them clouds continually rested,
and gave grandeur to the prospect; and down many of their sides the
little bubbling cascades ran till they swelled a beautiful river.
Through the straggling trees and bushes the wind whistled, and on them
the birds sung, particularly the robins; they also found shelter in the
ivy of an old castle, a haunted one, as the story went; it was situated
on the brow of one of the mountains, and commanded a view of the sea.
This castle had been inhabited by some of her ancestors; and many tales
had the old house-keeper told her of the worthies who had resided there.

When her mother frowned, and her friend looked cool, she would steal to
this retirement, where human foot seldom trod--gaze on the sea, observe
the grey clouds, or listen to the wind which struggled to free itself
from the only thing that impeded its course. When more cheerful, she
admired the various dispositions of light and shade, the beautiful tints
the gleams of sunshine gave to the distant hills; then she rejoiced in
existence, and darted into futurity.

One way home was through the cavity of a rock covered with a thin layer
of earth, just sufficient to afford nourishment to a few stunted shrubs
and wild plants, which grew on its sides, and nodded over the summit. A
clear stream broke out of it, and ran amongst the pieces of rocks
fallen into it. Here twilight always reigned--it seemed the Temple of
Solitude; yet, paradoxical as the assertion may appear, when the foot
sounded on the rock, it terrified the intruder, and inspired a strange
feeling, as if the rightful sovereign was dislodged. In this retreat she
read Thomson's Seasons, Young's Night-Thoughts, and Paradise Lost.

At a little distance from it were the huts of a few poor fishermen, who
supported their numerous children by their precarious labour. In these
little huts she frequently rested, and denied herself every childish
gratification, in order to relieve the necessities of the inhabitants.
Her heart yearned for them, and would dance with joy when she had
relieved their wants, or afforded them pleasure.

In these pursuits she learned the luxury of doing good; and the sweet
tears of benevolence frequently moistened her eyes, and gave them a
sparkle which, exclusive of that, they had not; on the contrary, they
were rather fixed, and would never have been observed if her soul had
not animated them. They were not at all like those brilliant ones which
look like polished diamonds, and dart from every superfice, giving more
light to the beholders than they receive themselves.

Her benevolence, indeed, knew no bounds; the distress of others carried
her out of herself; and she rested not till she had relieved or
comforted them. The warmth of her compassion often made her so diligent,
that many things occurred to her, which might have escaped a less
interested observer.

In like manner, she entered with such spirit into whatever she read,
and the emotions thereby raised were so strong, that it soon became a
part of her mind.

Enthusiastic sentiments of devotion at this period actuated her; her
Creator was almost apparent to her senses in his works; but they were
mostly the grand or solemn features of Nature which she delighted to
contemplate. She would stand and behold the waves rolling, and think of
the voice that could still the tumultuous deep.

These propensities gave the colour to her mind, before the passions
began to exercise their tyrannic sway, and particularly pointed out
those which the soil would have a tendency to nurse.

Years after, when wandering through the same scenes, her imagination has
strayed back, to trace the first placid sentiments they inspired, and
she would earnestly desire to regain the same peaceful tranquillity.

Many nights she sat up, if I may be allowed the expression, _conversing_
with the Author of Nature, making verses, and singing hymns of her own
composing. She considered also, and tried to discern what end her
various faculties were destined to pursue; and had a glimpse of a truth,
which afterwards more fully unfolded itself.

She thought that only an infinite being could fill the human soul, and
that when other objects were followed as a means of happiness, the
delusion led to misery, the consequence of disappointment. Under the
influence of ardent affections, how often has she forgot this
conviction, and as often returned to it again, when it struck her with
redoubled force. Often did she taste unmixed delight; her joys, her
ecstacies arose from genius.

She was now fifteen, and she wished to receive the holy sacrament; and
perusing the scriptures, and discussing some points of doctrine which
puzzled her, she would sit up half the night, her favourite time for
employing her mind; she too plainly perceived that she saw through a
glass darkly; and that the bounds set to stop our intellectual
researches, is one of the trials of a probationary state.

But her affections were roused by the display of divine mercy; and she
eagerly desired to commemorate the dying love of her great benefactor.
The night before the important day, when she was to take on herself her
baptismal vow, she could not go to bed; the sun broke in on her
meditations, and found her not exhausted by her watching.

The orient pearls were strewed around--she hailed the morn, and sung
with wild delight, Glory to God on high, good will towards men. She was
indeed so much affected when she joined in the prayer for her eternal
preservation, that she could hardly conceal her violent emotions; and
the recollection never failed to wake her dormant piety when earthly
passions made it grow languid.

These various movements of her mind were not commented on, nor were the
luxuriant shoots restrained by culture. The servants and the poor adored
her.

In order to be enabled to gratify herself in the highest degree, she
practiced the most rigid oeconomy, and had such power over her
appetites and whims, that without any great effort she conquered them
so entirely, that when her understanding or affections had an object,
she almost forgot she had a body which required nourishment.

This habit of thinking, this kind of absorption, gave strength to the
passions.

We will now enter on the more active field of life.



CHAP. V.


A few months after Mary was turned of seventeen, her brother was
attacked by a violent fever, and died before his father could reach the
school.

She was now an heiress, and her mother began to think her of
consequence, and did not call her _the child_. Proper masters were sent
for; she was taught to dance, and an extraordinary master procured to
perfect her in that most necessary of all accomplishments.

A part of the estate she was to inherit had been litigated, and the heir
of the person who still carried on a Chancery suit, was only two years
younger than our heroine. The fathers, spite of the dispute, frequently
met, and, in order to settle it amicably, they one day, over a bottle,
determined to quash it by a marriage, and, by uniting the two estates,
to preclude all farther enquiries into the merits of their different
claims.

While this important matter was settling, Mary was otherwise employed.
Ann's mother's resources were failing; and the ghastly phantom, poverty,
made hasty strides to catch them in his clutches. Ann had not fortitude
enough to brave such accumulated misery; besides, the canker-worm was
lodged in her heart, and preyed on her health. She denied herself every
little comfort; things that would be no sacrifice when a person is well,
are absolutely necessary to alleviate bodily pain, and support the
animal functions.

There were many elegant amusements, that she had acquired a relish for,
which might have taken her mind off from its most destructive bent; but
these her indigence would not allow her to enjoy: forced then, by way of
relaxation, to play the tunes her lover admired, and handle the pencil
he taught her to hold, no wonder his image floated on her imagination,
and that taste invigorated love.

Poverty, and all its inelegant attendants, were in her mother's abode;
and she, though a good sort of a woman, was not calculated to banish, by
her trivial, uninteresting chat, the delirium in which her daughter was
lost.

This ill-fated love had given a bewitching softness to her manners, a
delicacy so truly feminine, that a man of any feeling could not behold
her without wishing to chase her sorrows away. She was timid and
irresolute, and rather fond of dissipation; grief only had power to make
her reflect.

In every thing it was not the great, but the beautiful, or the pretty,
that caught her attention. And in composition, the polish of style, and
harmony of numbers, interested her much more than the flights of genius,
or abstracted speculations.

She often wondered at the books Mary chose, who, though she had a lively
imagination, would frequently study authors whose works were addressed
to the understanding. This liking taught her to arrange her thoughts,
and argue with herself, even when under the influence of the most
violent passions.

Ann's misfortunes and ill health were strong ties to bind Mary to her;
she wished so continually to have a home to receive her in, that it
drove every other desire out of her mind; and, dwelling on the tender
schemes which compassion and friendship dictated, she longed most
ardently to put them in practice.

Fondly as she loved her friend, she did not forget her mother, whose
decline was so imperceptible, that they were not aware of her
approaching dissolution. The physician, however, observing the most
alarming symptoms; her husband was apprised of her immediate danger; and
then first mentioned to her his designs with respect to his daughter.

She approved of them; Mary was sent for; she was not at home; she had
rambled to visit Ann, and found her in an hysteric fit. The landlord of
her little farm had sent his agent for the rent, which had long been due
to him; and he threatened to seize the stock that still remained, and
turn them out, if they did not very shortly discharge the arrears.

As this man made a private fortune by harassing the tenants of the
person to whom he was deputy, little was to be expected from his
forbearance.

All this was told to Mary--and the mother added, she had many other
creditors who would, in all probability, take the alarm, and snatch from
them all that had been saved out of the wreck. "I could bear all," she
cried; "but what will become of my children? Of this child," pointing to
the fainting Ann, "whose constitution is already undermined by care and
grief--where will she go?"--Mary's heart ceased to beat while she asked
the question--She attempted to speak; but the inarticulate sounds died
away. Before she had recovered herself, her father called himself to
enquire for her; and desired her instantly to accompany him home.

Engrossed by the scene of misery she had been witness to, she walked
silently by his side, when he roused her out of her reverie by telling
her that in all likelihood her mother had not many hours to live; and
before she could return him any answer, informed her that they had both
determined to marry her to Charles, his friend's son; he added, the
ceremony was to be performed directly, that her mother might be witness
of it; for such a desire she had expressed with childish eagerness.

Overwhelmed by this intelligence, Mary rolled her eyes about, then, with
a vacant stare, fixed them on her father's face; but they were no longer
a sense; they conveyed no ideas to the brain. As she drew near the
house, her wonted presence of mind returned: after this suspension of
thought, a thousand darted into her mind,--her dying mother,--her
friend's miserable situation,--and an extreme horror at taking--at being
forced to take, such a hasty step; but she did not feel the disgust, the
reluctance, which arises from a prior attachment.

She loved Ann better than any one in the world--to snatch her from the
very jaws of destruction--she would have encountered a lion. To have
this friend constantly with her; to make her mind easy with respect to
her family, would it not be superlative bliss?

Full of these thoughts she entered her mother's chamber, but they then
fled at the sight of a dying parent. She went to her, took her hand; it
feebly pressed her's. "My child," said the languid mother: the words
reached her heart; she had seldom heard them pronounced with accents
denoting affection; "My child, I have not always treated you with
kindness--God forgive me! do you?"--Mary's tears strayed in a
disregarded stream; on her bosom the big drops fell, but did not relieve
the fluttering tenant. "I forgive you!" said she, in a tone of
astonishment.

The clergyman came in to read the service for the sick, and afterwards
the marriage ceremony was performed. Mary stood like a statue of
Despair, and pronounced the awful vow without thinking of it; and then
ran to support her mother, who expired the same night in her arms.

Her husband set off for the continent the same day, with a tutor, to
finish his studies at one of the foreign universities.

Ann was sent for to console her, not on account of the departure of her
new relation, a boy she seldom took any notice of, but to reconcile her
to her fate; besides, it was necessary she should have a female
companion, and there was not any maiden aunt in the family, or cousin of
the same class.



CHAP. VI.


Mary was allowed to pay the rent which gave her so much uneasiness, and
she exerted every nerve to prevail on her father effectually to succour
the family; but the utmost she could obtain was a small sum very
inadequate to the purpose, to enable the poor woman to carry into
execution a little scheme of industry near the metropolis.

Her intention of leaving that part of the country, had much more weight
with him, than Mary's arguments, drawn from motives of philanthropy and
friendship; this was a language he did not understand; expressive of
occult qualities he never thought of, as they could not be seen or
felt.

After the departure of her mother, Ann still continued to languish,
though she had a nurse who was entirely engrossed by the desire of
amusing her. Had her health been re-established, the time would have
passed in a tranquil, improving manner.

During the year of mourning they lived in retirement; music, drawing,
and reading, filled up the time; and Mary's taste and judgment were both
improved by contracting a habit of observation, and permitting the
simple beauties of Nature to occupy her thoughts.

She had a wonderful quickness in discerning distinctions and combining
ideas, that at the first glance did not appear to be similar. But these
various pursuits did not banish all her cares, or carry off all her
constitutional black bile. Before she enjoyed Ann's society, she
imagined it would have made her completely happy: she was disappointed,
and yet knew not what to complain of.

As her friend could not accompany her in her walks, and wished to be
alone, for a very obvious reason, she would return to her old haunts,
retrace her anticipated pleasures--and wonder how they changed their
colour in possession, and proved so futile.

She had not yet found the companion she looked for. Ann and she were not
congenial minds, nor did she contribute to her comfort in the degree she
expected. She shielded her from poverty; but this was only a negative
blessing; when under the pressure it was very grievous, and still more
so were the apprehensions; but when exempt from them, she was not
contented.

Such is human nature, its laws were not to be inverted to gratify our
heroine, and stop the progress of her understanding, happiness only
flourished in paradise--we cannot taste and live.

Another year passed away with increasing apprehensions. Ann had a hectic
cough, and many unfavourable prognostics: Mary then forgot every thing
but the fear of losing her, and even imagined that her recovery would
have made her happy.

Her anxiety led her to study physic, and for some time she only read
books of that cast; and this knowledge, literally speaking, ended in
vanity and vexation of spirit, as it enabled her to foresee what she
could not prevent.

As her mind expanded, her marriage appeared a dreadful misfortune; she
was sometimes reminded of the heavy yoke, and bitter was the
recollection!

In one thing there seemed to be a sympathy between them, for she wrote
formal answers to his as formal letters. An extreme dislike took root in
her mind; the found of his name made her turn sick; but she forgot all,
listening to Ann's cough, and supporting her languid frame. She would
then catch her to her bosom with convulsive eagerness, as if to save her
from sinking into an opening grave.



CHAP. VII.


It was the will of Providence that Mary should experience almost every
species of sorrow. Her father was thrown from his horse, when his blood
was in a very inflammatory state, and the bruises were very dangerous;
his recovery was not expected by the physical tribe.

Terrified at seeing him so near death, and yet so ill prepared for it,
his daughter sat by his bed, oppressed by the keenest anguish, which her
piety increased.

Her grief had nothing selfish in it; he was not a friend or protector;
but he was her father, an unhappy wretch, going into eternity, depraved
and thoughtless. Could a life of sensuality be a preparation for a
peaceful death? Thus meditating, she passed the still midnight hour by
his bedside.

The nurse fell asleep, nor did a violent thunder storm interrupt her
repose, though it made the night appear still more terrific to Mary. Her
father's unequal breathing alarmed her, when she heard a long drawn
breath, she feared it was his last, and watching for another, a dreadful
peal of thunder struck her ears. Considering the separation of the soul
and body, this night seemed sadly solemn, and the hours long.

Death is indeed a king of terrors when he attacks the vicious man! The
compassionate heart finds not any comfort; but dreads an eternal
separation. No transporting greetings are anticipated, when the
survivors also shall have finished their course; but all is black!--the
grave may truly be said to receive the departed--this is the sting of
death!

Night after night Mary watched, and this excessive fatigue impaired her
own health, but had a worse effect on Ann; though she constantly went to
bed, she could not rest; a number of uneasy thoughts obtruded
themselves; and apprehensions about Mary, whom she loved as well as her
exhausted heart could love, harassed her mind. After a sleepless,
feverish night she had a violent fit of coughing, and burst a
blood-vessel. The physician, who was in the house, was sent for, and
when he left the patient, Mary, with an authoritative voice, insisted on
knowing his real opinion. Reluctantly he gave it, that her friend was in
a critical state; and if she passed the approaching winter in England,
he imagined she would die in the spring; a season fatal to consumptive
disorders. The spring!--Her husband was then expected.--Gracious Heaven,
could she bear all this.

In a few days her father breathed his last. The horrid sensations his
death occasioned were too poignant to be durable: and Ann's danger, and
her own situation, made Mary deliberate what mode of conduct she should
pursue. She feared this event might hasten the return of her husband,
and prevent her putting into execution a plan she had determined on. It
was to accompany Ann to a more salubrious climate.



CHAP. VIII.


I mentioned before, that Mary had never had any particular attachment,
to give rise to the disgust that daily gained ground. Her friendship for
Ann occupied her heart, and resembled a passion. She had had, indeed,
several transient likings; but they did not amount to love. The society
of men of genius delighted her, and improved her faculties. With beings
of this class she did not often meet; it is a rare genus; her first
favourites were men past the meridian of life, and of a philosophic
turn.

Determined on going to the South of France, or Lisbon; she wrote to the
man she had promised to obey. The physicians had said change of air was
necessary for her as well as her friend. She mentioned this, and added,
"Her comfort, almost her existence, depended on the recovery of the
invalid she wished to attend; and that should she neglect to follow the
medical advice she had received, she should never forgive herself, or
those who endeavoured to prevent her." Full of her design, she wrote
with more than usual freedom; and this letter was like most of her
others, a transcript of her heart.

"This dear friend," she exclaimed, "I love for her agreeable qualities,
and substantial virtues. Continual attention to her health, and the
tender office of a nurse, have created an affection very like a maternal
one--I am her only support, she leans on me--could I forsake the
forsaken, and break the bruised reed--No--I would die first! I must--I
will go."

She would have added, "you would very much oblige me by consenting;" but
her heart revolted--and irresolutely she wrote something about wishing
him happy.--"Do I not wish all the world well?" she cried, as she
subscribed her name--It was blotted, the letter sealed in a hurry, and
sent out of her sight; and she began to prepare for her journey.

By the return of the post she received an answer; it contained some
common-place remarks on her romantic friendship, as he termed it; "But
as the physicians advised change of air, he had no objection."



CHAP. IX.


There was nothing now to retard their journey; and Mary chose Lisbon
rather than France, on account of its being further removed from the
only person she wished not to see.

They set off accordingly for Falmouth, in their way to that city. The
journey was of use to Ann, and Mary's spirits were raised by her
recovered looks--She had been in despair--now she gave way to hope, and
was intoxicated with it. On ship-board Ann always remained in the cabin;
the sight of the water terrified her: on the contrary, Mary, after she
was gone to bed, or when she fell asleep in the day, went on deck,
conversed with the sailors, and surveyed the boundless expanse before
her with delight. One instant she would regard the ocean, the next the
beings who braved its fury. Their insensibility and want of fear, she
could not name courage; their thoughtless mirth was quite of an animal
kind, and their feelings as impetuous and uncertain as the element they
plowed.

They had only been a week at sea when they hailed the rock of Lisbon,
and the next morning anchored at the castle. After the customary visits,
they were permitted to go on shore, about three miles from the city; and
while one of the crew, who understood the language, went to procure them
one of the ugly carriages peculiar to the country, they waited in the
Irish convent, which is situated close to the Tagus.

Some of the people offered to conduct them into the church, where there
was a fine organ playing; Mary followed them, but Ann preferred staying
with a nun she had entered into conversation with.

One of the nuns, who had a sweet voice, was singing; Mary was struck
with awe; her heart joined in the devotion; and tears of gratitude and
tenderness flowed from her eyes. My Father, I thank thee! burst from
her--words were inadequate to express her feelings. Silently, she
surveyed the lofty dome; heard unaccustomed sounds; and saw faces,
strange ones, that she could not yet greet with fraternal love.

In an unknown land, she considered that the Being she adored inhabited
eternity, was ever present in unnumbered worlds. When she had not any
one she loved near her, she was particularly sensible of the presence
of her Almighty Friend.

The arrival of the carriage put a stop to her speculations; it was to
conduct them to an hotel, fitted up for the reception of invalids.
Unfortunately, before they could reach it there was a violent shower of
rain; and as the wind was very high, it beat against the leather
curtains, which they drew along the front of the vehicle, to shelter
themselves from it; but it availed not, some of the rain forced its way,
and Ann felt the effects of it, for she caught cold, spite of Mary's
precautions.

As is the custom, the rest of the invalids, or lodgers, sent to enquire
after their health; and as soon as Ann left her chamber, in which her
complaints seldom confined her the whole day, they came in person to pay
their compliments. Three fashionable females, and two gentlemen; the
one a brother of the eldest of the young ladies, and the other an
invalid, who came, like themselves, for the benefit of the air. They
entered into conversation immediately.

People who meet in a strange country, and are all together in a house,
soon get acquainted, without the formalities which attend visiting in
separate houses, where they are surrounded by domestic friends. Ann was
particularly delighted at meeting with agreeable society; a little
hectic fever generally made her low-spirited in the morning, and lively
in the evening, when she wished for company. Mary, who only thought of
her, determined to cultivate their acquaintance, as she knew, that if
her mind could be diverted, her body might gain strength.

They were all musical, and proposed having little concerts. One of the
gentlemen played on the violin, and the other on the german-flute. The
instruments were brought in, with all the eagerness that attends putting
a new scheme in execution.

Mary had not said much, for she was diffident; she seldom joined in
general conversations; though her quickness of penetration enabled her
soon to enter into the characters of those she conversed with; and her
sensibility made her desirous of pleasing every human creature. Besides,
if her mind was not occupied by any particular sorrow, or study, she
caught reflected pleasure, and was glad to see others happy, though
their mirth did not interest her.

This day she was continually thinking of Ann's recovery, and encouraging
the cheerful hopes, which though they dissipated the spirits that had
been condensed by melancholy, yet made her wish to be silent. The music,
more than the conversation, disturbed her reflections; but not at first.
The gentleman who played on the german-flute, was a handsome, well-bred,
sensible man; and his observations, if not original, were pertinent.

The other, who had not said much, began to touch the violin, and played
a little Scotch ballad; he brought such a thrilling sound out of the
instrument, that Mary started, and looking at him with more attention
than she had done before, and saw, in a face rather ugly, strong lines
of genius. His manners were awkward, that kind of awkwardness which is
often found in literary men: he seemed a thinker, and delivered his
opinions in elegant expressions, and musical tones of voice.

When the concert was over, they all retired to their apartments. Mary
always slept with Ann, as she was subject to terrifying dreams; and
frequently in the night was obliged to be supported, to avoid
suffocation. They chatted about their new acquaintance in their own
apartment, and, with respect to the gentlemen, differed in opinion.



CHAP. X.


Every day almost they saw their new acquaintance; and civility produced
intimacy. Mary sometimes left her friend with them; while she indulged
herself in viewing new modes of life, and searching out the causes which
produced them. She had a metaphysical turn, which inclined her to
reflect on every object that passed by her; and her mind was not like a
mirror, which receives every floating image, but does not retain them:
she had not any prejudices, for every opinion was examined before it was
adopted.

The Roman Catholic ceremonies attracted her attention, and gave rise to
conversations when they all met; and one of the gentlemen continually
introduced deistical notions, when he ridiculed the pageantry they all
were surprised at observing. Mary thought of both the subjects, the
Romish tenets, and the deistical doubts; and though not a sceptic,
thought it right to examine the evidence on which her faith was built.
She read Butler's Analogy, and some other authors: and these researches
made her a christian from conviction, and she learned charity,
particularly with respect to sectaries; saw that apparently good and
solid arguments might take their rise from different points of view; and
she rejoiced to find that those she should not concur with had some
reason on their side.



CHAP. XI.


When I mentioned the three ladies, I said they were fashionable women;
and it was all the praise, as a faithful historian, I could bestow on
them; the only thing in which they were consistent. I forgot to mention
that they were all of one family, a mother, her daughter, and niece. The
daughter was sent by her physician, to avoid a northerly winter; the
mother, her niece, and nephew, accompanied her.

They were people of rank; but unfortunately, though of an ancient
family, the title had descended to a very remote branch--a branch they
took care to be intimate with; and servilely copied the Countess's
airs. Their minds were shackled with a set of notions concerning
propriety, the fitness of things for the world's eye, trammels which
always hamper weak people. What will the world say? was the first thing
that was thought of, when they intended doing any thing they had not
done before. Or what would the Countess do on such an occasion? And when
this question was answered, the right or wrong was discovered without
the trouble of their having any idea of the matter in their own heads.
This same Countess was a fine planet, and the satellites observed a most
harmonic dance around her.

After this account it is scarcely necessary to add, that their minds had
received very little cultivation. They were taught French, Italian, and
Spanish; English was their vulgar tongue. And what did they learn?
Hamlet will tell you--words--words. But let me not forget that they
squalled Italian songs in the true _gusto_. Without having any seeds
sown in their understanding, or the affections of the heart set to work,
they were brought out of their nursery, or the place they were secluded
in, to prevent their faces being common; like blazing stars, to
captivate Lords.

They were pretty, and hurrying from one party of pleasure to another,
occasioned the disorder which required change of air. The mother, if we
except her being near twenty years older, was just the same creature;
and these additional years only served to make her more tenaciously
adhere to her habits of folly, and decide with stupid gravity, some
trivial points of ceremony, as a matter of the last importance; of
which she was a competent judge, from having lived in the fashionable
world so long: that world to which the ignorant look up as we do to the
sun.

It appears to me that every creature has some notion--or rather relish,
of the sublime. Riches, and the consequent state, are the sublime of
weak minds:--These images fill, nay, are too big for their narrow souls.

One afternoon, which they had engaged to spend together, Ann was so ill,
that Mary was obliged to send an apology for not attending the
tea-table. The apology brought them on the carpet; and the mother, with
a look of solemn importance, turned to the sick man, whose name was
Henry, and said;

"Though people of the first fashion are frequently at places of this
kind, intimate with they know not who; yet I do not choose that my
daughter, whose family is so respectable, should be intimate with any
one she would blush to know elsewhere. It is only on that account, for I
never suffer her to be with any one but in my company," added she,
sitting more erect; and a smile of self-complacency dressed her
countenance.

"I have enquired concerning these strangers, and find that the one who
has the most dignity in her manners, is really a woman of fortune."
"Lord, mamma, how ill she dresses:" mamma went on; "She is a romantic
creature, you must not copy her, miss; yet she is an heiress of the
large fortune in ----shire, of which you may remember to have heard the
Countess speak the night you had on the dancing-dress that was so much
admired; but she is married."

She then told them the whole story as she heard it from her maid, who
picked it out of Mary's servant. "She is a foolish creature, and this
friend that she pays as much attention to as if she was a lady of
quality, is a beggar." "Well, how strange!" cried the girls.

"She is, however, a charming creature," said her nephew. Henry sighed,
and strode across the room once or twice; then took up his violin, and
played the air which first struck Mary; he had often heard her praise
it.

The music was uncommonly melodious, "And came stealing on the senses
like the sweet south." The well-known sounds reached Mary as she sat by
her friend--she listened without knowing that she did--and shed tears
almost without being conscious of it. Ann soon fell asleep, as she had
taken an opiate. Mary, then brooding over her fears, began to imagine
she had deceived herself--Ann was still very ill; hope had beguiled many
heavy hours; yet she was displeased with herself for admitting this
welcome guest.--And she worked up her mind to such a degree of anxiety,
that she determined, once more, to seek medical aid.

No sooner did she determine, than she ran down with a discomposed look,
to enquire of the ladies who she should send for. When she entered the
room she could not articulate her fears--it appeared like pronouncing
Ann's sentence of death; her faultering tongue dropped some broken
words, and she remained silent. The ladies wondered that a person of her
sense should be so little mistress of herself; and began to administer
some common-place comfort, as, that it was our duty to submit to the
will of Heaven, and the like trite consolations, which Mary did not
answer; but waving her hand, with an air of impatience, she exclaimed,
"I cannot live without her!--I have no other friend; if I lose her, what
a desart will the world be to me." "No other friend," re-echoed they,
"have you not a husband?"

Mary shrunk back, and was alternately pale and red. A delicate sense of
propriety prevented her replying; and recalled her bewildered
reason.--Assuming, in consequence of her recollection, a more composed
manner, she made the intended enquiry, and left the room. Henry's eyes
followed her while the females very freely animadverted on her strange
behaviour.



CHAP. XII.


The physician was sent for; his prescription afforded Ann a little
temporary relief; and they again joined the circle. Unfortunately, the
weather happened to be constantly wet for more than a week, and confined
them to the house. Ann then found the ladies not so agreeable; when they
sat whole hours together, the thread-bare topics were exhausted; and,
but for cards or music, the long evenings would have been yawned away in
listless indolence.

The bad weather had had as ill an effect on Henry as on Ann. He was
frequently very thoughtful, or rather melancholy; this melancholy would
of itself have attracted Mary's notice, if she had not found his
conversation so infinitely superior to the rest of the group. When she
conversed with him, all the faculties of her soul unfolded themselves;
genius animated her expressive countenance and the most graceful,
unaffected gestures gave energy to her discourse.

They frequently discussed very important subjects, while the rest were
singing or playing cards, nor were they observed for doing so, as Henry,
whom they all were pleased with, in the way of gallantry shewed them all
more attention than her. Besides, as there was nothing alluring in her
dress or manner, they never dreamt of her being preferred to them.

Henry was a man of learning; he had also studied mankind, and knew many
of the intricacies of the human heart, from having felt the infirmities
of his own. His taste was just, as it had a standard--Nature, which he
observed with a critical eye. Mary could not help thinking that in his
company her mind expanded, as he always went below the surface. She
increased her stock of ideas, and her taste was improved.

He was also a pious man; his rational religious sentiments received
warmth from his sensibility; and, except on very particular occasions,
kept it in proper bounds; these sentiments had likewise formed his
temper; he was gentle, and easily to be intreated. The ridiculous
ceremonies they were every day witness to, led them into what are termed
grave subjects, and made him explain his opinions, which, at other
times, he was neither ashamed of, nor unnecessarily brought forward to
notice.



CHAP. XIII.


When the weather began to clear up, Mary sometimes rode out alone,
purposely to view the ruins that still remained of the earthquake: or
she would ride to the banks of the Tagus, to feast her eyes with the
sight of that magnificent river. At other times she would visit the
churches, as she was particularly fond of seeing historical paintings.

One of these visits gave rise to the subject, and the whole party
descanted on it; but as the ladies could not handle it well, they soon
adverted to portraits; and talked of the attitudes and characters in
which they should wish to be drawn. Mary did not fix on one--when
Henry, with more apparent warmth than usual, said, "I would give the
world for your picture, with the expression I have seen in your face,
when you have been supporting your friend."

This delicate compliment did not gratify her vanity, but it reached her
heart. She then recollected that she had once sat for her picture--for
whom was it designed? For a boy! Her cheeks flushed with indignation, so
strongly did she feel an emotion of contempt at having been thrown
away--given in with an estate.

As Mary again gave way to hope, her mind was more disengaged; and her
thoughts were employed about the objects around her.

She visited several convents, and found that solitude only eradicates
some passions, to give strength to others; the most baneful ones. She
saw that religion does not consist in ceremonies; and that many prayers
may fall from the lips without purifying the heart.

They who imagine they can be religious without governing their tempers,
or exercising benevolence in its most extensive sense, must certainly
allow, that their religious duties are only practiced from selfish
principles; how then can they be called good? The pattern of all
goodness went about _doing_ good. Wrapped up in themselves, the nuns
only thought of inferior gratifications. And a number of intrigues were
carried on to accelerate certain points on which their hearts were
fixed:

Such as obtaining offices of trust or authority; or avoiding those that
were servile or laborious. In short, when they could be neither wives
nor mothers, they aimed at being superiors, and became the most selfish
creatures in the world: the passions that were curbed gave strength to
the appetites, or to those mean passions which only tend to provide for
the gratification of them. Was this seclusion from the world? or did
they conquer its vanities or avoid its vexations?

In these abodes the unhappy individual, who, in the first paroxysm of
grief flies to them for refuge, finds too late she took a wrong step.
The same warmth which determined her will make her repent; and sorrow,
the rust of the mind, will never have a chance of being rubbed off by
sensible conversation, or new-born affections of the heart.

She will find that those affections that have once been called forth and
strengthened by exercise, are only smothered, not killed, by
disappointment; and that in one form or other discontent will corrode
the heart, and produce those maladies of the imagination, for which
there is no specific.

The community at large Mary disliked; but pitied many of them whose
private distresses she was informed of; and to pity and relieve were the
same things with her.

The exercise of her various virtues gave vigor to her genius, and
dignity to her mind; she was sometimes inconsiderate, and violent; but
never mean or cunning.



CHAP. XIV.


The Portuguese are certainly the most uncivilized nation in Europe. Dr.
Johnson would have said, "They have the least mind.". And can such serve
their Creator in spirit and in truth? No, the gross ritual of Romish
ceremonies is all they can comprehend: they can do penance, but not
conquer their revenge, or lust. Religion, or love, has never humanized
their hearts; they want the vital part; the mere body worships. Taste is
unknown; Gothic finery, and unnatural decorations, which they term
ornaments, are conspicuous in their churches and dress. Reverence for
mental excellence is only to be found in a polished nation.

Could the contemplation of such a people gratify Mary's heart? No: she
turned disgusted from the prospects--turned to a man of refinement.
Henry had been some time ill and low-spirited; Mary would have been
attentive to any one in that situation; but to him she was particularly
so; she thought herself bound in gratitude, on account of his constant
endeavours to amuse Ann, and prevent her dwelling on the dreary prospect
before her, which sometimes she could not help anticipating with a kind
of quiet despair.

She found some excuse for going more frequently into the room they all
met in; nay, she avowed her desire to amuse him: offered to read to him,
and tried to draw him into amusing conversations; and when she was full
of these little schemes, she looked at him with a degree of tenderness
that she was not conscious of. This divided attention was of use to her,
and prevented her continually thinking of Ann, whose fluctuating
disorder often gave rise to false hopes.

A trifling thing occurred now which occasioned Mary some uneasiness. Her
maid, a well-looking girl, had captivated the clerk of a neighbouring
compting-house. As the match was an advantageous one, Mary could not
raise any objection to it, though at this juncture it was very
disagreeable to her to have a stranger about her person. However, the
girl consented to delay the marriage, as she had some affection for her
mistress; and, besides, looked forward to Ann's death as a time of
harvest.

Henry's illness was not alarming, it was rather pleasing, as it gave
Mary an excuse to herself for shewing him how much she was interested
about him; and giving little artless proofs of affection, which the
purity of her heart made her never wish to restrain.

The only visible return he made was not obvious to common observers. He
would sometimes fix his eyes on her, and take them off with a sigh that
was coughed away; or when he was leisurely walking into the room, and
did not expect to see her, he would quicken his steps, and come up to
her with eagerness to ask some trivial question. In the same style, he
would try to detain her when he had nothing to say--or said nothing.

Ann did not take notice of either his or Mary's behaviour, nor did she
suspect that he was a favourite, on any other account than his
appearing neither well nor happy. She had often seen that when a person
was unfortunate, Mary's pity might easily be mistaken for love, and,
indeed, it was a temporary sensation of that kind. Such it was--why it
was so, let others define, I cannot argue against instincts. As reason
is cultivated in man, they are supposed to grow weaker, and this may
have given rise to the assertion, "That as judgment improves, genius
evaporates."



CHAP. XV.


One morning they set out to visit the aqueduct; though the day was very
fine when they left home, a very heavy shower fell before they reached
it; they lengthened their ride, the clouds dispersed, and the sun came
from behind them uncommonly bright.

Mary would fain have persuaded Ann not to have left the carriage; but
she was in spirits, and obviated all her objections, and insisted on
walking, tho' the ground was damp. But her strength was not equal to her
spirits; she was soon obliged to return to the carriage so much
fatigued, that she fainted, and remained insensible a long time.

Henry would have supported her; but Mary would not permit him; her
recollection was instantaneous, and she feared sitting on the damp
ground might do him a material injury: she was on that account positive,
though the company did not guess the cause of her being so. As to
herself, she did not fear bodily pain; and, when her mind was agitated,
she could endure the greatest fatigue without appearing sensible of it.

When Ann recovered, they returned slowly home; she was carried to bed,
and the next morning Mary thought she observed a visible change for the
worse. The physician was sent for, who pronounced her to be in the most
imminent danger.

All Mary's former fears now returned like a torrent, and carried every
other care away; she even added to her present anguish by upbraiding
herself for her late tranquillity--it haunted her in the form of a
crime.

The disorder made the most rapid advances--there was no hope!--Bereft of
it, Mary again was tranquil; but it was a very different kind of
tranquillity. She stood to brave the approaching storm, conscious she
only could be overwhelmed by it.

She did not think of Henry, or if her thoughts glanced towards him, it
was only to find fault with herself for suffering a thought to have
strayed from Ann.--Ann!--this dear friend was soon torn from her--she
died suddenly as Mary was assisting her to walk across the room.--The
first string was severed from her heart--and this "slow, sudden-death"
disturbed her reasoning faculties; she seemed stunned by it; unable to
reflect, or even to feel her misery.

The body was stolen out of the house the second night, and Mary refused
to see her former companions. She desired her maid to conclude her
marriage, and request her intended husband to inform her when the first
merchantman was to leave the port, as the packet had just sailed, and
she determined not to stay in that hated place any longer than was
absolutely necessary.

She then sent to request the ladies to visit her; she wished to avoid a
parade of grief--her sorrows were her own, and appeared to her not to
admit of increase or softening. She was right; the sight of them did not
affect her, or turn the stream of her sullen sorrow; the black wave
rolled along in the same course, it was equal to her where she cast her
eyes; all was impenetrable gloom.



CHAP. XVI.


Soon after the ladies left her, she received a message from Henry,
requesting, as she saw company, to be permitted to visit her: she
consented, and he entered immediately, with an unassured pace. She ran
eagerly up to him--saw the tear trembling in his eye, and his
countenance softened by the tenderest compassion; the hand which pressed
hers seemed that of a fellow-creature. She burst into tears; and, unable
to restrain them, she hid her face with both her hands; these tears
relieved her, (she had before had a difficulty in breathing,) and she
sat down by him more composed than she had appeared since Ann's death;
but her conversation was incoherent.

She called herself "a poor disconsolate creature!"--"Mine is a selfish
grief," she exclaimed--"Yet; Heaven is my witness, I do not wish her
back now she has reached those peaceful mansions, where the weary rest.
Her pure spirit is happy; but what a wretch am I!"

Henry forgot his cautious reserve. "Would you allow me to call you
friend?" said he in a hesitating voice. "I feel, dear girl, the tendered
interest in whatever concerns thee." His eyes spoke the rest. They were
both silent a few moments; then Henry resumed the conversation. "I have
also been acquainted with grief! I mourn the loss of a woman who was not
worthy of my regard. Let me give thee some account of the man who now
solicits thy friendship; and who, from motives of the purest
benevolence, wishes to give comfort to thy wounded heart."

"I have myself," said he, mournfully, "shaken hands with happiness, and
am dead to the world; I wait patiently for my dissolution; but, for
thee, Mary, there may be many bright days in store."

"Impossible," replied she, in a peevish tone, as if he had insulted her
by the supposition; her feelings were so much in unison with his, that
she was in love with misery.

He smiled at her impatience, and went on. "My father died before I knew
him, and my mother was so attached to my eldest brother, that she took
very little pains to fit me for the profession to which I was destined:
and, may I tell thee, I left my family, and, in many different stations,
rambled about the world; saw mankind in every rank of life; and, in
order to be independent, exerted those talents Nature has given me:
these exertions improved my understanding; and the miseries I was
witness to, gave a keener edge to my sensibility. My constitution is
naturally weak; and, perhaps, two or three lingering disorders in my
youth, first gave me a habit of reflecting, and enabled me to obtain
some dominion over my passions. At least," added he, stifling a sigh,
"over the violent ones, though I fear, refinement and reflection only
renders the tender ones more tyrannic.

"I have told you already I have been in love, and disappointed--the
object is now no more; let her faults sleep with her! Yet this passion
has pervaded my whole soul, and mixed itself with all my affections and
pursuits.--I am not peacefully indifferent; yet it is only to my violin
I tell the sorrows I now confide with thee. The object I loved forfeited
my esteem; yet, true to the sentiment, my fancy has too frequently
delighted to form a creature that I could love, that could convey to my
soul sensations which the gross part of mankind have not any conception
of."

He stopped, as Mary seemed lost in thought; but as she was still in a
listening attitude, continued his little narrative. "I kept up an
irregular correspondence with my mother; my brother's extravagance and
ingratitude had almost broken her heart, and made her feel something
like a pang of remorse, on account of her behaviour to me. I hastened to
comfort her--and was a comfort to her.

"My declining health prevented my taking orders, as I had intended; but
I with warmth entered into literary pursuits; perhaps my heart, not
having an object, made me embrace the substitute with more eagerness.
But, do not imagine I have always been a die-away swain. No: I have
frequented the cheerful haunts of men, and wit!--enchanting wit! has
made many moments fly free from care. I am too fond of the elegant arts;
and woman--lovely woman! thou hast charmed me, though, perhaps, it would
not be easy to find one to whom my reason would allow me to be constant.

"I have now only to tell you, that my mother insisted on my spending
this winter in a warmer climate; and I fixed on Lisbon, as I had before
visited the Continent." He then looked Mary full in the face; and, with
the most insinuating accents, asked "if he might hope for her
friendship? If she would rely on him as if he was her father; and that
the tenderest father could not more anxiously interest himself in the
fate of a darling child, than he did in her's."

Such a crowd of thoughts all at once rushed into Mary's mind, that she
in vain attempted to express the sentiments which were most predominant.
Her heart longed to receive a new guest; there was a void in it:
accustomed to have some one to love, she was alone, and comfortless, if
not engrossed by a particular affection.

Henry saw her distress, and not to increase it, left the room. He had
exerted himself to turn her thoughts into a new channel, and had
succeeded; she thought of him till she began to chide herself for
defrauding the dead, and, determining to grieve for Ann, she dwelt on
Henry's misfortunes and ill health; and the interest he took in her fate
was a balm to her sick mind. She did not reason on the subject; but she
felt he was attached to her: lost in this delirium, she never asked
herself what kind of an affection she had for him, or what it tended to;
nor did she know that love and friendship are very distinct; she thought
with rapture, that there was one person in the world who had an
affection for her, and that person she admired--had a friendship for.

He had called her his dear girl; the words might have fallen from him by
accident; but they did not fall to the ground. My child! His child,
what an association of ideas! If I had had a father, such a father!--She
could not dwell on the thoughts, the wishes which obtruded themselves.
Her mind was unhinged, and passion unperceived filled her whole soul.
Lost, in waking dreams, she considered and reconsidered Henry's account
of himself; till she actually thought she would tell Ann--a bitter
recollection then roused her out of her reverie; and aloud she begged
forgiveness of her.

By these kind of conflicts the day was lengthened; and when she went to
bed, the night passed away in feverish slumbers; though they did not
refresh her, she was spared the labour of thinking, of restraining her
imagination; it sported uncontrouled; but took its colour from her
waking train of thoughts. One instant she was supporting her dying
mother; then Ann was breathing her last, and Henry was comforting her.

The unwelcome light visited her languid eyes; yet, I must tell the
truth, she thought she should see Henry, and this hope set her spirits
in motion: but they were quickly depressed by her maid, who came to tell
her that she had heard of a vessel on board of which she could be
accommodated, and that there was to be another female passenger on
board, a vulgar one; but perhaps she would be more useful on that
account--Mary did not want a companion.

As she had given orders for her passage to be engaged in the first
vessel that sailed, she could not now retract; and must prepare for the
lonely voyage, as the Captain intended taking advantage of the first
fair wind. She had too much strength of mind to waver in her
determination but to determine wrung her very heart, opened all her old
wounds, and made them bleed afresh. What was she to do? where go? Could
she set a seal to a hasty vow, and tell a deliberate lie; promise to
love one man, when the image of another was ever present to her--her
soul revolted. "I might gain the applause of the world by such mock
heroism; but should I not forfeit my own? forfeit thine, my father!"

There is a solemnity in the shortest ejaculation, which, for a while,
stills the tumult of passion. Mary's mind had been thrown off its poise;
her devotion had been, perhaps, more fervent for some time past; but
less regular. She forgot that happiness was not to be found on earth,
and built a terrestrial paradise liable to be destroyed by the first
serious thought: when, she reasoned she became inexpressibly sad, to
render life bearable she gave way to fancy--this was madness.

In a few days she must again go to sea; the weather was very
tempestuous--what of that, the tempest in her soul rendered every other
trifling--it was not the contending elements, but _herself_ she feared!



CHAP. XVII.


In order to gain strength to support the expected interview, she went
out in a carriage. The day was fine; but all nature was to her a
universal blank; she could neither enjoy it, nor weep that she could
not. She passed by the ruins of an old monastery on a very high hill she
got out to walk amongst the ruins; the wind blew violently, she did not
avoid its fury, on the contrary, wildly bid it blow on, and seemed glad
to contend with it, or rather walk against it. Exhausted she returned to
the carriage was soon at home, and in the old room.

Henry started at the sight of her altered appearance; the day before her
complexion had been of the most pallid hue; but now her cheeks were
flushed, and her eyes enlivened with a false vivacity, an unusual fire.
He was not well, his illness was apparent in his countenance, and he
owned he had not closed his eyes all night; this roused her dormant
tenderness, she forgot they were so soon to part-engrossed by the
present happiness of seeing, of hearing him.

Once or twice she essayed to tell him that she was, in a few days, to
depart; but she could not; she was irresolute; it will do to-morrow;
should the wind change they could not sail in such a hurry; thus she
thought, and insensibly grew more calm. The Ladies prevailed on her to
spend the evening with them; but she retired very early to rest, and sat
on the side of her bed several hours, then threw herself on it, and
waited for the dreaded to-morrow.



CHAP. XVIII.


The ladies heard that her servant was to be married that day, and that
she was to sail in the vessel which was then clearing out at the
Custom-house. Henry heard, but did not make any remarks; and Mary called
up all her fortitude to support her, and enable her to hide from the
females her internal struggles. She durst not encounter Henry's glances
when she found he had been informed of her intention; and, trying to
draw a veil over her wretched state of mind, she talked incessantly, she
knew not what; flashes of wit burst from her, and when she began to
laugh she could not stop herself.

Henry smiled at some of her sallies, and looked at her with such
benignity and compassion, that he recalled her scattered thoughts; and,
the ladies going to dress for dinner, they were left alone; and remained
silent a few moments: after the noisy conversation it appeared solemn.
Henry began. "You are going, Mary, and going by yourself; your mind is
not in a state to be left to its own operations--yet I cannot, dissuade
you; if I attempted to do it, I should ill deserve the title I wish to
merit. I only think of your happiness; could I obey the strongest
impulse of my heart, I should accompany thee to England; but such a step
might endanger your future peace."

Mary, then, with all the frankness which marked her character, explained
her situation to him and mentioned her fatal tie with such disgust that
he trembled for her. "I cannot see him; he is not the man formed for me
to love!" Her delicacy did not restrain her, for her dislike to her
husband had taken root in her mind long before she knew Henry. Did she
not fix on Lisbon rather than France on purpose to avoid him? and if Ann
had been in tolerable health she would have flown with her to some
remote corner to have escaped from him.

"I intend," said Henry, "to follow you in the next packet; where shall I
hear of your health?" "Oh! let me hear of thine," replied Mary. "I am
well, very well; but thou art very ill--thy health is in the most
precarious state." She then mentioned her intention of going to Ann's
relations. "I am her representative, I have duties to fulfil for her:
during my voyage I have time enough for reflection; though I think I
have already determined."

"Be not too hasty, my child," interrupted Henry; "far be it from me to
persuade thee to do violence to thy feelings--but consider that all thy
future life may probably take its colour from thy present mode of
conduct. Our affections as well as our sentiments are fluctuating; you
will not perhaps always either think or feel as you do at present: the
object you now shun may appear in a different light." He paused. "In
advising thee in this style, I have only thy good at heart, Mary."

She only answered to expostulate. "My affections are involuntary--yet
they can only be fixed by reflection, and when they are they make quite
a part of my soul, are interwoven in it, animate my actions, and form
my taste: certain qualities are calculated to call forth my sympathies,
and make me all I am capable of being. The governing affection gives its
stamp to the rest--because I am capable of loving one, I have that kind
of charity to all my fellow-creatures which is not easily provoked.
Milton has asserted, That earthly love is the scale by which to heavenly
we may ascend."

She went on with eagerness. "My opinions on some subjects are not
wavering; my pursuit through life has ever been the same: in solitude
were my sentiments formed; they are indelible, and nothing can efface
them but death--No, death itself cannot efface them, or my soul must be
created afresh, and not improved. Yet a little while am I parted from
my Ann--I could not exist without the hope of seeing her again--I could
not bear to think that time could wear away an affection that was
founded on what is not liable to perish; you might as well attempt to
persuade me that my soul is matter, and that its feelings arose from
certain modifications of it."

"Dear enthusiastic creature," whispered Henry, "how you steal into my
soul." She still continued. "The same turn of mind which leads me to
adore the Author of all Perfection--which leads me to conclude that he
only can fill my soul; forces me to admire the faint image-the shadows
of his attributes here below; and my imagination gives still bolder
strokes to them. I knew I am in some degree under the influence of a
delusion--but does not this strong delusion prove that I myself 'am _of
subtiler essence than the trodden clod_' these flights of the
imagination point to futurity; I cannot banish them. Every cause in
nature produces an effect; and am I an exception to the general rule?
have I desires implanted in me only to make me miserable? will they
never be gratified? shall I never be happy? My feelings do not accord
with the notion of solitary happiness. In a state of bliss, it will be
the society of beings we can love, without the alloy that earthly
infirmities mix with our best affections, that will constitute great
part of our happiness.

"With these notions can I conform to the maxims of worldly wisdom? can
I listen to the cold dictates of worldly prudence and bid my tumultuous
passions cease to vex me, be still, find content in grovelling pursuits,
and the admiration of the misjudging crowd, when it is only one I wish
to please--one who could be all the world to me. Argue not with me, I am
bound by human ties; but did my spirit ever promise to love, or could I
consider when forced to bind myself--to take a vow, that at the awful
day of judgment I must give an account of. My conscience does not smite
me, and that Being who is greater than the internal monitor, may approve
of what the world condemns; sensible that in Him I live, could I brave
His presence, or hope in solitude to find peace, if I acted contrary to
conviction, that the world might approve of my conduct--what could the
world give to compensate for my own esteem? it is ever hostile and armed
against the feeling heart!

"Riches and honours await me, and the cold moralist might desire me to
sit down and enjoy them--I cannot conquer my feelings, and till I do,
what are these baubles to me? you may tell me I follow a fleeting good,
an _ignis fatuus_; but this chase, these struggles prepare me for
eternity--when I no longer see through a glass darkly I shall not reason
about, but _feel_ in what happiness consists."

Henry had not attempted to interrupt her; he saw she was determined, and
that these sentiments were not the effusion of the moment, but well
digested ones, the result of strong affections, a high sense of honour,
and respect for the source of all virtue and truth. He was startled, if
not entirely convinced by her arguments; indeed her voice, her gestures
were all persuasive.

Some one now entered the room; he looked an answer to her long harangue;
it was fortunate for him, or he might have been led to say what in a
cooler moment he had determined to conceal; but were words necessary to
reveal it? He wished not to influence her conduct--vain precaution; she
knew she was beloved; and could she forget that such a man loved her, or
rest satisfied with any inferior gratification. When passion first
enters the heart, it is only a return of affection that is sought after,
and every other remembrance and wish is blotted out.



CHAP. XIX.


Two days passed away without any particular conversation; Henry, trying
to be indifferent, or to appear so, was more assiduous than ever. The
conflict was too violent for his present state of health; the spirit was
willing, but the body suffered; he lost his appetite, and looked
wretchedly; his spirits were calmly low--the world seemed to fade
away--what was that world to him that Mary did not inhabit; she lived
not for him.

He was mistaken; his affection was her only support; without this dear
prop she had sunk into the grave of her lost--long-loved friend;--his
attention snatched her from despair. Inscrutable are the ways of
Heaven!

The third day Mary was desired to prepare herself; for if the wind
continued in the same point, they should set sail the next evening. She
tried to prepare her mind, and her efforts were not useless she appeared
less agitated than could have been expected, and talked of her voyage
with composure. On great occasions she was generally calm and collected,
her resolution would brace her unstrung nerves; but after the victory
she had no triumph; she would sink into a state of moping melancholy,
and feel ten-fold misery when the heroic enthusiasm was over.

The morning of the day fixed on for her departure she was alone with
Henry only a few moments, and an awkward kind of formality made them
slip away without their having said much to each other. Henry was
afraid to discover his passion, or give any other name to his regard but
friendship; yet his anxious solicitude for her welfare was ever breaking
out-while she as artlessly expressed again and again, her fears with
respect to his declining health.

"We shall soon meet," said he, with a faint smile; Mary smiled too; she
caught the sickly beam; it was still fainter by being reflected, and not
knowing what she wished to do, started up and left the room. When she
was alone she regretted she had left him so precipitately. "The few
precious moments I have thus thrown away may never return," she
thought-the reflection led to misery.

She waited for, nay, almost wished for the summons to depart. She could
not avoid spending the intermediate time with the ladies and Henry; and
the trivial conversations she was obliged to bear a part in harassed her
more than can be well conceived.

The summons came, and the whole party attended her to the vessel. For a
while the remembrance of Ann banished her regret at parting with Henry,
though his pale figure pressed on her sight; it may seem a paradox, but
he was more present to her when she sailed; her tears then were all his
own.

"My poor Ann!" thought Mary, "along this road we came, and near this
spot you called me your guardian angel--and now I leave thee here! ah!
no, I do not--thy spirit is not confined to its mouldering tenement!
Tell me, thou soul of her I love, tell me, ah! whither art thou fled?"
Ann occupied her until they reached the ship.

The anchor was weighed. Nothing can be more irksome than waiting to say
farewel. As the day was serene, they accompanied her a little way, and
then got into the boat; Henry was the last; he pressed her hand, it had
not any life in it; she leaned over the side of the ship without looking
at the boat, till it was so far distant, that she could not see the
countenances of those that were in it: a mist spread itself over her
sight--she longed to exchange one look--tried to recollect the
last;--the universe contained no being but Henry!--The grief of parting
with him had swept all others clean away. Her eyes followed the keel of
the boat, and when she could no longer perceive its traces: she looked
round on the wide waste of waters, thought of the precious moments
which had been stolen from the waste of murdered time.

She then descended into the cabin, regardless of the surrounding
beauties of nature, and throwing herself on her bed in the little hole
which was called the state-room--she wished to forget her existence. On
this bed she remained two days, listening to the dashing waves, unable
to close her eyes. A small taper made the darkness visible; and the
third night, by its glimmering light, she wrote the following fragment.

"Poor solitary wretch that I am; here alone do I listen to the whistling
winds and dashing waves;--on no human support can I rest--when not lost
to hope I found pleasure in the society of those rough beings; but now
they appear not like my fellow creatures; no social ties draw me to
them. How long, how dreary has this day been; yet I scarcely wish it
over--for what will to-morrow bring--to-morrow, and to-morrow will only
be marked with unvaried characters of wretchedness.--Yet surely, I am
not alone!"

Her moistened eyes were lifted up to heaven; a crowd of thoughts darted
into her mind, and pressing her hand against her forehead, as if to bear
the intellectual weight, she tried, but tried in vain, to arrange them.
"Father of Mercies, compose this troubled spirit: do I indeed wish it to
be composed--to forget my Henry?" the _my_, the pen was directly drawn
across in an agony.



CHAP. XX.


The mate of the ship, who heard her stir, came to offer her some
refreshment; and she, who formerly received every offer of kindness or
civility with pleasure, now shrunk away disgusted: peevishly she desired
him not to disturb her; but the words were hardly articulated when her
heart smote her, she called him back, and requested something to drink.
After drinking it, fatigued by her mental exertions, she fell into a
death-like slumber, which lasted some hours; but did not refresh her, on
the contrary, she awoke languid and stupid.

The wind still continued contrary; a week, a dismal week, had she
struggled with her sorrows; and the struggle brought on a slow fever,
which sometimes gave her false spirits.

The winds then became very tempestuous, the Great Deep was troubled, and
all the passengers appalled. Mary then left her bed, and went on deck,
to survey the contending elements: the scene accorded with the present
state of her soul; she thought in a few hours I may go home; the
prisoner may be released. The vessel rose on a wave and descended into a
yawning gulph--Not slower did her mounting soul return to earth,
for--Ah! her treasure and her heart was there. The squalls rattled
amongst the sails, which were quickly taken down; the wind would then
die away, and the wild undirected waves rushed on every side with a
tremendous roar. In a little vessel in the midst of such a storm she
was not dismayed; she felt herself independent.

Just then one of the crew perceived a signal of distress; by the help of
a glass he could plainly discover a small vessel dismasted, drifted
about, for the rudder had been broken by the violence of the storm.
Mary's thoughts were now all engrossed by the crew on the brink of
destruction. They bore down to the wreck; they reached it, and hailed
the trembling wretches; at the sound of the friendly greeting, loud
cries of tumultuous joy were mixed with the roaring of the waves, and
with ecstatic transport they leaped on the shattered deck, launched
their boat in a moment, and committed themselves to the mercy of the
sea. Stowed between two casks, and leaning on a sail, she watched the
boat, and when a wave intercepted it from her view--she ceased to
breathe, or rather held her breath until it rose again.

At last the boat arrived safe along-side the ship, and Mary caught the
poor trembling wretches as they stumbled into it, and joined them in
thanking that gracious Being, who though He had not thought fit to still
the raging of the sea, had afforded them unexpected succour.

Amongst the wretched crew was one poor woman, who fainted when she was
hauled on board: Mary undressed her, and when she had recovered, and
soothed her, left her to enjoy the rest she required to recruit her
strength, which fear had quite exhausted. She returned again to view the
angry deep; and when she gazed on its perturbed state, she thought of
the Being who rode on the wings of the wind, and stilled the noise of
the sea; and the madness of the people--He only could speak peace to
her troubled spirit! she grew more calm; the late transaction had
gratified her benevolence, and stole her out of herself.

One of the sailors, happening to say to another, "that he believed the
world was going to be at an end;" this observation led her into a new
train of thoughts: some of Handel's sublime compositions occurred to
her, and she sung them to the grand accompaniment. The Lord God
Omnipotent reigned, and would reign for ever, and ever!--Why then did
she fear the sorrows that were passing away, when she knew that He would
bind up the broken-hearted, and receive those who came out of great
tribulation. She retired to her cabin; and wrote in the little book that
was now her only confident. It was after midnight.

"At this solemn hour, the great day of judgment fills my thoughts; the
day of retribution, when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed;
when all worldly distinctions will fade away, and be no more seen. I
have not words to express the sublime images which the bare
contemplation of this awful day raises in my mind. Then, indeed, the
Lord Omnipotent will reign, and He will wipe the tearful eye, and
support the trembling heart--yet a little while He hideth his face, and
the dun shades of sorrow, and the thick clouds of folly separate us from
our God; but when the glad dawn of an eternal day breaks, we shall know
even as we are known. Here we walk by faith, and not by sight; and we
have this alternative, either to enjoy the pleasures of life which are
but for a season, or look forward to the prize of our high calling, and
with fortitude, and that wisdom which is from above, endeavour to bear
the warfare of life. We know that many run the race; but he that
striveth obtaineth the crown of victory. Our race is an arduous one! How
many are betrayed by traitors lodged in their own breasts, who wear the
garb of Virtue, and are so near akin; we sigh to think they should ever
lead into folly, and slide imperceptibly into vice. Surely any thing
like happiness is madness! Shall probationers of an hour presume to
pluck the fruit of immortality, before they have conquered death? it is
guarded, when the great day, to which I allude, arrives, the way will
again be opened. Ye dear delusions, gay deceits, farewel! and yet I
cannot banish ye for ever; still does my panting soul push forward, and
live in futurity, in the deep shades o'er which darkness hangs.--I try
to pierce the gloom, and find a resting-place, where my thirst of
knowledge will be gratified, and my ardent affections find an object to
fix them. Every thing material must change; happiness and this
fluctating principle is not compatible. Eternity, immateriality, and
happiness,--what are ye? How shall I grasp the mighty and fleeting
conceptions ye create?"

After writing, serenely she delivered her soul into the hands of the
Father of Spirits; and slept in peace.



CHAP. XXI.


Mary rose early, refreshed by the seasonable rest, and went to visit the
poor woman, whom she found quite recovered: and, on enquiry, heard that
she had lately buried her husband, a common sailor; and that her only
surviving child had been washed over-board the day before. Full of her
own danger, she scarcely thought of her child till that was over; and
then she gave way to boisterous emotions.

Mary endeavoured to calm her at first, by sympathizing with her; and she
tried to point out the only solid source of comfort but in doing this
she encountered many difficulties; she found her grossly ignorant, yet
she did not despair: and as the poor creature could not receive comfort
from the operations of her own mind, she laboured to beguile the hours,
which grief made heavy, by adapting her conversation to her capacity.

There are many minds that only receive impressions through the medium of
the senses: to them did Mary address herself; she made her some
presents, and promised to assist her when they should arrive in England.
This employment roused her out of her late stupor, and again set the
faculties of her soul in motion; made the understanding contend with the
imagination, and the heart throbbed not so irregularly during the
contention. How short-lived was the calm! when the English coast was
descried, her sorrows returned with redoubled vigor.--She was to visit
and comfort the mother of her lost friend--And where then should she
take up her residence? These thoughts suspended the exertions of her
understanding; abstracted reflections gave way to alarming
apprehensions; and tenderness undermined fortitude.



CHAP. XXII.


In England then landed the forlorn wanderer. She looked round for some
few moments--her affections were not attracted to any particular part of
the Island. She knew none of the inhabitants of the vast city to which
she was going: the mass of buildings appeared to her a huge body without
an informing soul. As she passed through the streets in an
hackney-coach, disgust and horror alternately filled her mind. She met
some women drunk; and the manners of those who attacked the sailors,
made her shrink into herself, and exclaim, are these my fellow
creatures!

Detained by a number of carts near the water-side, for she came up the
river in the vessel, not having reason to hasten on shore, she saw
vulgarity, dirt, and vice--her soul sickened; this was the first time
such complicated misery obtruded itself on her sight.--Forgetting her
own griefs, she gave the world a much indebted tear; mourned for a world
in ruins. She then perceived, that great part of her comfort must arise
from viewing the smiling face of nature, and be reflected from the view
of innocent enjoyments: she was fond of seeing animals play, and could
not bear to see her own species sink below them.

In a little dwelling in one of the villages near London, lived the
mother of Ann; two of her children still remained with her; but they did
not resemble Ann. To her house Mary directed the coach, and told the
unfortunate mother of her loss. The poor woman, oppressed by it, and her
many other cares, after an inundation of tears, began to enumerate all
her past misfortunes, and present cares. The heavy tale lasted until
midnight, and the impression it made on Mary's mind was so strong, that
it banished sleep till towards morning; when tired nature sought
forgetfulness, and the soul ceased to ruminate about many things.

She sent for the poor woman they took up at sea, provided her a lodging,
and relieved her present necessities. A few days were spent in a kind of
listless way; then the mother of Ann began to enquire when she thought
of returning home. She had hitherto treated her with the greatest
respect, and concealed her wonder at Mary's choosing a remote room in
the house near the garden, and ordering some alterations to be made, as
if she intended living in it.

Mary did not choose to explain herself; had Ann lived, it is probable
she would never have loved Henry so fondly; but if she had, she could
not have talked of her passion to any human creature. She deliberated,
and at last informed the family, that she had a reason for not living
with her husband, which must some time remain a secret--they stared--Not
live with him! how will you live then? This was a question she could not
answer; she had only about eighty pounds remaining, of the money she
took with her to Lisbon; when it was exhausted where could she get more?
I will work, she cried, do any thing rather than be a slave.



CHAP. XXIII.


Unhappy, she wandered about the village, and relieved the poor; it was
the only employment that eased her aching heart; she became more
intimate with misery--the misery that rises from poverty and the want of
education. She was in the vicinity of a great city; the vicious poor in
and about it must ever grieve a benevolent contemplative mind.

One evening a man who stood weeping in a little lane, near the house she
resided in, caught her eye. She accosted him; in a confused manner, he
informed her, that his wife was dying, and his children crying for the
bread he could not earn. Mary desired to be conducted to his
habitation; it was not very distant, and was the upper room in an old
mansion-house, which had been once the abode of luxury. Some tattered
shreds of rich hangings still remained, covered with cobwebs and filth;
round the ceiling, through which the rain drop'd, was a beautiful
cornice mouldering; and a spacious gallery was rendered dark by the
broken windows being blocked up; through the apertures the wind forced
its way in hollow sounds, and reverberated along the former scene of
festivity.

It was crowded with inhabitants: som were scolding, others swearing, or
singing indecent songs. What a sight for Mary! Her blood ran cold; yet
she had sufficient resolution to mount to the top of the house. On the
floor, in one corner of a very small room, lay an emaciated figure of a
woman; a window over her head scarcely admitted any light, for the
broken panes were stuffed with dirty rags. Near her were five children,
all young, and covered with dirt; their sallow cheeks, and languid eyes,
exhibited none of the charms of childhood. Some were fighting, and
others crying for food; their yells were mixed with their mother's
groans, and the wind which rushed through the passage. Mary was
petrified; but soon assuming more courage, approached the bed, and,
regardless of the surrounding nastiness, knelt down by the poor wretch,
and breathed the most poisonous air; for the unfortunate creature was
dying of a putrid fever, the consequence of dirt and want.

Their state did not require much explanation. Mary sent the husband for
a poor neighbour, whom she hired to nurse the woman, and take care of
the children; and then went herself to buy them some necessaries at a
shop not far distant. Her knowledge of physic had enabled her to
prescribe for the woman; and she left the house, with a mixture of
horror and satisfaction.

She visited them every day, and procured them every comfort; contrary to
her expectation, the woman began to recover; cleanliness and wholesome
food had a wonderful effect; and Mary saw her rising as it were from the
grave. Not aware of the danger she ran into, she did not think of it
till she perceived she had caught the fever. It made such an alarming
progress, that she was prevailed on to send for a physician; but the
disorder was so violent, that for some days it baffled his skill; and
Mary felt not her danger, as she was delirious. After the crisis, the
symptoms were more favourable, and she slowly recovered, without
regaining much strength or spirits; indeed they were intolerably low:
she wanted a tender nurse.

For some time she had observed, that she was not treated with the same
respect as formerly; her favors were forgotten when no more were
expected. This ingratitude hurt her, as did a similar instance in the
woman who came out of the ship. Mary had hitherto supported her; as her
finances were growing low, she hinted to her, that she ought to try to
earn her own subsistence: the woman in return loaded her with abuse.

Two months were elapsed; she had not seen, or heard from Henry. He was
sick--nay, perhaps had forgotten her; all the world was dreary, and all
the people ungrateful.

She sunk into apathy, and endeavouring to rouse herself out of it, she
wrote in her book another fragment:

"Surely life is a dream, a frightful one! and after those rude,
disjointed images are fled, will light ever break in? Shall I ever feel
joy? Do all suffer like me; or am I framed so as to be particularly
susceptible of misery? It is true, I have experienced the most rapturous
emotions--short-lived delight!--ethereal beam, which only serves to shew
my present misery--yet lie still, my throbbing heart, or burst; and my
brain--why dost thou whirl about at such a terrifying rate? why do
thoughts so rapidly rush into my mind, and yet when they disappear
leave such deep traces? I could almost wish for the madman's happiness,
and in a strong imagination lose a sense of woe.

"Oh! reason, thou boasted guide, why desert me, like the world, when I
most need thy assistance! Canst thou not calm this internal tumult, and
drive away the death-like sadness which presses so sorely on me,--a
sadness surely very nearly allied to despair. I am now the prey of
apathy--I could wish for the former storms! a ray of hope sometimes
illumined my path; I had a pursuit; but now _it visits not my haunts
forlorn_. Too well have I loved my fellow creatures! I have been wounded
by ingratitude; from every one it has something of the serpent's tooth.

"When overwhelmed by sorrow, I have met unkindness; I looked for some
one to have pity on me; but found none!--The healing balm of sympathy is
denied; I weep, a solitary wretch, and the hot tears scald my cheeks. I
have not the medicine of life, the dear chimera I have so often chased,
a friend. Shade of my loved Ann! dost thou ever visit thy poor Mary?
Refined spirit, thou wouldst weep, could angels weep, to see her
struggling with passions she cannot subdue; and feelings which corrode
her small portion of comfort!"

She could not write any more; she wished herself far distant from all
human society; a thick gloom spread itself over her mind: but did not
make her forget the very beings she wished to fly from. She sent for the
poor woman she found in the garret; gave her money to clothe herself
and children, and buy some furniture for a little hut, in a large
garden, the master of which agreed to employ her husband, who had been
bred a gardener. Mary promised to visit the family, and see their new
abode when she was able to go out.



CHAP. XXIV.


Mary still continued weak and low, though it was spring, and all nature
began to look gay; with more than usual brightness the sun shone, and a
little robin which she had cherished during the winter sung one of his
best songs. The family were particularly civil this fine morning, and
tried to prevail on her to walk out. Any thing like kindness melted her;
she consented.

Softer emotions banished her melancholy, and she directed her steps to
the habitation she had rendered comfortable.

Emerging out of a dreary chamber, all nature looked cheerful; when she
had last walked out, snow covered the ground, and bleak winds pierced
her through and through: now the hedges were green, the blossoms adorned
the trees, and the birds sung. She reached the dwelling, without being
much exhausted and while she rested there, observed the children
sporting on the grass, with improved complexions. The mother with tears
thanked her deliverer, and pointed out her comforts. Mary's tears flowed
not only from sympathy, but a complication of feelings and recollections
the affections which bound her to her fellow creatures began again to
play, and reanimated nature. She observed the change in herself, tried
to account for it, and wrote with her pencil a rhapsody on sensibility.

"Sensibility is the most exquisite feeling of which the human soul is
susceptible: when it pervades us, we feel happy; and could it last
unmixed, we might form some conjecture of the bliss of those
paradisiacal days, when the obedient passions were under the dominion of
reason, and the impulses of the heart did not need correction.

"It is this quickness, this delicacy of feeling, which enables us to
relish the sublime touches of the poet, and the painter; it is this,
which expands the soul, gives an enthusiastic greatness, mixed with
tenderness, when we view the magnificent objects of nature; or hear of a
good action. The same effect we experience in the spring, when we hail
the returning sun, and the consequent renovation of nature; when the
flowers unfold themselves, and exhale their sweets, and the voice of
music is heard in the land. Softened by tenderness; the soul is
disposed to be virtuous. Is any sensual gratification to be compared to
that of feelings the eves moistened after having comforted the
unfortunate?

"Sensibility is indeed the foundation of all our happiness; but these
raptures are unknown to the depraved sensualist, who is only moved by
what strikes his gross senses; the delicate embellishments of nature
escape his notice; as do the gentle and interesting affections.--But it
is only to be felt; it escapes discussion."

She then returned home, and partook of the family meal, which was
rendered more cheerful by the presence of a man, past the meridian of
life, of polished manners, and dazzling wit. He endeavoured to draw Mary
out, and succeeded; she entered into conversation, and some of her
artless flights of genius struck him with surprise; he found she had a
capacious mind, and that her reason was as profound as her imagination
was lively. She glanced from earth to heaven, and caught the light of
truth. Her expressive countenance shewed what passed in her mind, and
her tongue was ever the faithful interpreter of her heart; duplicity
never threw a shade over her words or actions. Mary found him a man of
learning; and the exercise of her understanding would frequently make
her forget her griefs, when nothing else could, except benevolence.

This man had known the mistress of the house in her youth; good nature
induced him to visit her; but when he saw Mary he had another
inducement. Her appearance, and above all, her genius, and cultivation
of mind, roused his curiosity; but her dignified manners had such an
effect on him, he was obliged to suppress it. He knew men, as well as
books; his conversation was entertaining and improving. In Mary's
company he doubted whether heaven was peopled with spirits masculine;
and almost forgot that he had called the sex "the pretty play things
that render life tolerable."

He had been the slave of beauty, the captive of sense; love he ne'er had
felt; the mind never rivetted the chain, nor had the purity of it made
the body appear lovely in his eyes. He was humane, despised meanness;
but was vain of his abilities, and by no means a useful member of
society. He talked often of the beauty of virtue; but not having any
solid foundation to build the practice on, he was only a shining, or
rather a sparkling character: and though his fortune enabled him to
hunt down pleasure, he was discontented.

Mary observed his character, and wrote down a train of reflections,
which these observations led her to make; these reflections received a
tinge from her mind; the present state of it, was that kind of painful
quietness which arises from reason clouded by disgust; she had not yet
learned to be resigned; vague hopes agitated her.

"There are some subjects that are so enveloped in clouds, as you
dissipate one, another overspreads it. Of this kind are our reasonings
concerning happiness; till we are obliged to cry out with the Apostle,
_That it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive in what it
could consist_, or how satiety could be prevented. Man seems formed for
action, though the passions are seldom properly managed; they are
either so languid as not to serve as a spur, or else so violent, as to
overleap all bounds.

"Every individual has its own peculiar trials; and anguish, in one shape
or other, visits every heart. Sensibility produces flights of virtue;
and not curbed by reason, is on the brink of vice talking, and even
thinking of virtue.

"Christianity can only afford just principles to govern the wayward
feelings and impulses of the heart: every good disposition runs wild, if
not transplanted into this soil; but how hard is it to keep the heart
diligently, though convinced that the issues of life depend on it.

"It is very difficult to discipline the mind of a thinker, or reconcile
him to the weakness, the inconsistency of his understanding; and a
still more laborious task for him to conquer his passions, and learn to
seek content, instead of happiness. Good dispositions, and virtuous
propensities, without the light of the Gospel, produce eccentric
characters: comet-like, they are always in extremes; while revelation
resembles the laws of attraction, and produces uniformity; but too often
is the attraction feeble; and the light so obscured by passion, as to
force the bewildered soul to fly into void space, and wander in
confusion."



CHAP. XXV.


A few mornings after, as Mary was sitting ruminating, harassed by
perplexing thoughts, and fears, a letter was delivered to her: the
servant waited for an answer. Her heart palpitated; it was from Henry;
she held it some time in her hand, then tore it open; it was not a long
one; and only contained an account of a relapse, which prevented his
sailing in the first packet, as he had intended. Some tender enquiries
were added, concerning her health, and state of mind; but they were
expressed in rather a formal style: it vexed her, and the more so, as it
stopped the current of affection, which the account of his arrival and
illness had made flow to her heart--it ceased to beat for a moment--she
read the passage over again; but could not tell what she was hurt
by--only that it did not answer the expectations of her affection. She
wrote a laconic, incoherent note in return, allowing him to call on her
the next day--he had requested permission at the conclusion of his
letter.

Her mind was then painfully active; she could not read or walk; she
tried to fly from herself, to forget the long hours that were yet to run
before to-morrow could arrive: she knew not what time he would come;
certainly in the morning, she concluded; the morning then was anxiously
wished for; and every wish produced a sigh, that arose from expectation
on the stretch, damped by fear and vain regret.

To beguile the tedious time, Henry's favorite tunes were sung; the books
they read together turned over; and the short epistle read at least a
hundred times.--Any one who had seen her, would have supposed that she
was trying to decypher Chinese characters.

After a sleepless night, she hailed the tardy day, watched the rising
sun, and then listened for every footstep, and started if she heard the
street door opened. At last he came, and she who had been counting the
hours, and doubting whether the earth moved, would gladly have escaped
the approaching interview.

With an unequal, irresolute pace, she went to meet him; but when she
beheld his emaciated countenance, all the tenderness, which the
formality of his letter had damped, returned, and a mournful
presentiment stilled the internal conflict. She caught his hand, and
looking wistfully at him, exclaimed, "Indeed, you are not well!"

"I am very far from well; but it matters not," added he with a smile of
resignation; "my native air may work wonders, and besides, my mother is
a tender nurse, and I shall sometimes see thee."

Mary felt for the first time in her life, envy; she wished
involuntarily, that all the comfort he received should be from her. She
enquired about the symptoms of his disorder; and heard that he had been
very ill; she hastily drove away the fears, that former dear bought
experience suggested: and again and again did she repeat, that she was
sure he would soon recover. She would then look in his face, to see if
he assented, and ask more questions to the same purport. She tried to
avoid speaking of herself, and Henry left her, with, a promise of
visiting her the next day.

Her mind was now engrossed by one fear--yet she would not allow herself
to think that she feared an event she could not name. She still saw his
pale face; the sound of his voice still vibrated on her ears; she tried
to retain it; she listened, looked round, wept, and prayed.

Henry had enlightened the desolate scene: was this charm of life to fade
away, and, like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a wreck
behind? These thoughts disturbed her reason, she shook her head, as if
to drive them out of it; a weight, a heavy one, was on her heart; all
was not well there.

Out of this reverie she was soon woke to keener anguish, by the arrival
of a letter from her husband; it came to Lisbon after her departure:
Henry had forwarded it to her, but did not choose to deliver it
himself, for a very obvious reason; it might have produced a
conversation he wished for some time to avoid; and his precaution took
its rise almost equally from benevolence and love.

She could not muster up sufficient resolution to break the seal: her
fears were not prophetic, for the contents gave her comfort. He informed
her that he intended prolonging his tour, as he was now his own master,
and wished to remain some time on the continent, and in particular to
visit Italy without any restraint: but his reasons for it appeared
childish; it was not to cultivate his taste, or tread on classic ground,
where poets and philosophers caught their lore; but to join in the
masquerades, and such burlesque amusements.

These instances of folly relieved Mary, in some degree reconciled her
to herself added fuel to the devouring flame--and silenced something
like a pang, which reason and conscience made her feel, when she
reflected, that it is the office of Religion to reconcile us to the
seemingly hard dispensations of providence; and that no inclination,
however strong, should oblige us to desert the post assigned us, or
force us to forget that virtue should be an active principle; and that
the most desirable station, is the one that exercises our faculties,
refines our affections, and enables us to be useful.

One reflection continually wounded her repose; she feared not poverty;
her wants were few; but in giving up a fortune, she gave up the power of
comforting the miserable, and making the sad heart sing for joy.

Heaven had endowed her with uncommon humanity, to render her one of His
benevolent agents, a messenger of peace; and should she attend to her
own inclinations?

These suggestions, though they could not subdue a violent passion,
increased her misery. One moment she was a heroine, half determined to
bear whatever fate should inflict; the next, her mind would recoil--and
tenderness possessed her whole soul. Some instances of Henry's
affection, his worth and genius, were remembered: and the earth was only
a vale of tears, because he was not to sojourn with her.



CHAP. XXVI.


Henry came the next day, and once or twice in the course of the
following week; but still Mary kept up some little formality, a certain
consciousness restrained her; and Henry did not enter on the subject
which he found she wished to avoid. In the course of conversation,
however, she mentioned to him, that she earnestly desired to obtain a
place in one of the public offices for Ann's brother, as the family were
again in a declining way.

Henry attended, made a few enquiries, and dropped the subject; but the
following week, she heard him enter with unusual haste; it was to inform
her, that he had made interest with a person of some consequence, whom
he had once obliged in a very disagreeable exigency, in a foreign
country; and that he had procured a place for her friend, which would
infallibly lead to something better, if he behaved with propriety. Mary
could not speak to thank him; emotions of gratitude and love suffused
her face; her blood eloquently spoke. She delighted to receive benefits
through the medium of her fellow creatures; but to receive them from
Henry was exquisite pleasure.

As the summer advanced, Henry grew worse; the closeness of the air, in
the metropolis, affected his breath; and his mother insisted on his
fixing on some place in the country, where she would accompany him. He
could not think of going far off, but chose a little village on the
banks of the Thames, near Mary's dwelling: he then introduced her to his
mother.

They frequently went down the river in a boat; Henry would take his
violin, and Mary would sometimes sing, or read, to them. She pleased his
mother; she inchanted him. It was an advantage to Mary that friendship
first possessed her heart; it opened it to all the softer sentiments of
humanity:--and when this first affection was torn away, a similar one
sprung up, with a still tenderer sentiment added to it.

The last evening they were on the water, the clouds grew suddenly black,
and broke in violent showers, which interrupted the solemn stillness
that had prevailed previous to it. The thunder roared; and the oars
plying quickly, in order to reach the shore, occasioned a not
unpleasing sound. Mary drew still nearer Henry; she wished to have
sought with him a watry grave; to have escaped the horror of surviving
him.--She spoke not, but Henry saw the workings of her mind--he felt
them; threw his arm round her waist--and they enjoyed the luxury of
wretchedness.--As they touched the shore, Mary perceived that Henry was
wet; with eager anxiety she cried, What shall I do!--this day will kill
thee, and I shall not die with thee!

This accident put a stop to their pleasurable excursions; it had injured
him, and brought on the spitting of blood he was subject to--perhaps it
was not the cold that he caught, that occasioned it. In vain did Mary
try to shut her eyes; her fate pursued her! Henry every day grew worse
and worse.



CHAP. XXVII.


Oppressed by her foreboding fears, her sore mind was hurt by new
instances of ingratitude: disgusted with the family, whose misfortunes
had often disturbed her repose, and lost in anticipated sorrow, she
rambled she knew not where; when turning down a shady walk, she
discovered her feet had taken the path they delighted to tread. She saw
Henry sitting in his garden alone; he quickly opened the garden-gate,
and she sat down by him.

"I did not," said he, "expect to see thee this evening, my dearest Mary;
but I was thinking of thee. Heaven has endowed thee with an uncommon
portion of fortitude, to support one of the most affectionate hearts in
the world. This is not a time for disguise; I know I am dear to
thee--and my affection for thee is twisted with every fibre of my
heart.--I loved thee ever since I have been acquainted with thine: thou
art the being my fancy has delighted to form; but which I imagined
existed only there! In a little while the shades of death will encompass
me--ill-fated love perhaps added strength to my disease, and smoothed
the rugged path. Try, my love, to fulfil thy destined course--try to add
to thy other virtues patience. I could have wished, for thy sake, that
we could have died together--or that I could live to shield thee from
the assaults of an unfeeling world! Could I but offer thee an asylum in
these arms--a faithful bosom, in which thou couldst repose all thy
griefs--" He pressed her to it, and she returned the pressure--he felt her
throbbing heart. A mournful silence ensued! when he resumed the
conversation. "I wished to prepare thee for the blow--too surely do I
feel that it will not be long delayed! The passion I have nursed is so
pure, that death cannot extinguish it--or tear away the impression thy
virtues have made on my soul. I would fain comfort thee--"

"Talk not of comfort," interrupted Mary, "it will be in heaven with thee
and Ann--while I shall remain on earth the veriest wretch!"--She grasped
his hand.

"There we shall meet, my love, my Mary, in our Father's--" His voice
faultered; he could not finish the sentence; he was almost
suffocated--they both wept, their tears relieved them; they walked
slowly to the garden-gate (Mary would not go into the house); they could
not say farewel when they reached it--and Mary hurried down the lane; to
spare Henry the pain of witnessing her emotions.

When she lost sight of the house she sat down on the ground, till it
grew late, thinking of all that had passed. Full of these thoughts, she
crept along, regardless of the descending rain; when lifting up her eyes
to heaven, and then turning them wildly on the prospects around, without
marking them; she only felt that the scene accorded with her present
state of mind. It was the last glimmering of twilight, with a full moon,
over which clouds continually flitted. Where am I wandering, God of
Mercy! she thought; she alluded to the wanderings of her mind. In what a
labyrinth am I lost! What miseries have I already encountered--and what
a number lie still before me.

Her thoughts flew rapidly to something. I could be happy listening to
him, soothing his cares.--Would he not smile upon me--call me his own
Mary? I am not his--said she with fierceness--I am a wretch! and she
heaved a sigh that almost broke her heart, while the big tears rolled
down her burning cheeks; but still her exercised mind, accustomed to
think, began to observe its operation, though the barrier of reason was
almost carried away, and all the faculties not restrained by her, were
running into confusion. Wherefore am I made thus? Vain are my
efforts--I cannot live without loving--and love leads to madness.--Yet
I will not weep; and her eyes were now fixed by despair, dry and
motionless; and then quickly whirled about with a look of distraction.

She looked for hope; but found none--all was troubled waters.--No where
could she find rest. I have already paced to and fro in the earth; it is
not my abiding place--may I not too go home! Ah! no. Is this complying
with my Henry's request, could a spirit thus disengaged expect to
associate with his? Tears of tenderness strayed down her relaxed
countenance, and her softened heart heaved more regularly. She felt the
rain, and turned to her solitary home.

Fatigued by the tumultuous emotions she had endured, when she entered
the house she ran to her own room, sunk on the bed; and exhausted
nature soon closed her eyes; but active fancy was still awake, and a
thousand fearful dreams interrupted her slumbers.

Feverish and languid, she opened her eyes, and saw the unwelcome sun
dart his rays through a window, the curtains of which she had forgotten
to draw. The dew hung on the adjacent trees, and added to the lustre;
the little robin began his song, and distant birds joined. She looked;
her countenance was still vacant--her sensibility was absorbed by one
object.

Did I ever admire the rising sun, she slightly thought, turning from the
Window, and shutting her eyes: she recalled to view the last night's
scene. His faltering voice, lingering step, and the look of tender woe,
were all graven on her heart; as were the words "Could these arms
shield thee from sorrow--afford thee an asylum from an unfeeling world."
The pressure to his bosom was not forgot. For a moment she was happy;
but in a long-drawn sigh every delightful sensation evaporated.
Soon--yes, very soon, will the grave again receive all I love! and the
remnant of my days--she could not proceed--Were there then days to come
after that?



CHAP. XXVIII.


Just as she was going to quit her room, to visit Henry, his mother
called on her.

"My son is worse to-day," said she, "I come to request you to spend not
only this day, but a week or two with me.--Why should I conceal any
thing from you? Last night my child made his mother his confident, and,
in the anguish of his heart, requested me to be thy friend--when I shall
be childless. I will not attempt to describe what I felt when he talked
thus to me. If I am to lose the support of my age, and be again a
widow--may I call her Child whom my Henry wishes me to adopt?"

This new instance of Henry's disinterested affection, Mary felt most
forcibly; and striving to restrain the complicated emotions, and sooth
the wretched mother, she almost fainted: when the unhappy parent forced
tears from her, by saying, "I deserve this blow; my partial fondness
made me neglect him, when most he wanted a mother's care; this neglect,
perhaps, first injured his constitution: righteous Heaven has made my
crime its own punishment; and now I am indeed a mother, I shall loss my
child--my only child!"

When they were a little more composed they hastened to the invalide; but
during the short ride, the mother related several instances of Henry's
goodness of heart. Mary's tears were not those of unmixed anguish; the
display of his virtues gave her extreme delight--yet human nature
prevailed; she trembled to think they would soon unfold themselves in a
more genial clime.



CHAP. XXIX.


She found Henry very ill. The physician had some weeks before declared
he never knew a person with a similar pulse recover. Henry was certain
he could not live long; all the rest he could obtain, was procured by
opiates. Mary now enjoyed the melancholy pleasure of nursing him, and
softened by her tenderness the pains she could not remove. Every sigh
did she stifle, every tear restrain, when he could see or hear them. She
would boast of her resignation--yet catch eagerly at the least ray of
hope. While he slept she would support his pillow, and rest her head
where she could feel his breath. She loved him better than herself--she
could not pray for his recovery; she could only say, The will of Heaven
be done.

While she was in this state, she labored to acquire fortitude; but one
tender look destroyed it all--she rather labored, indeed, to make him
believe he was resigned, than really to be so.

She wished to receive the sacrament with him, as a bond of union which
was to extend beyond the grave. She did so, and received comfort from
it; she rose above her misery.

His end was now approaching. Mary sat on the side of the bed. His eyes
appeared fixed--no longer agitated by passion, he only felt that it was
a fearful thing to die. The soul retired to the citadel; but it was not
now solely filled by the image of her who in silent despair watched for
his last breath. Collected, a frightful calmness stilled every turbulent
emotion.

The mother's grief was more audible. Henry had for some time only
attended to Mary--Mary pitied the parent, whose stings of conscience
increased her sorrow; she whispered him, "Thy mother weeps, disregarded
by thee; oh! comfort her!--My mother, thy son blesses thee.--" The
oppressed parent left the room. And Mary _waited_ to see him die.

She pressed with trembling eagerness his parched lips--he opened his
eyes again; the spreading film retired, and love returned them--he gave
a look--it was never forgotten. My Mary, will you be comforted?

Yes, yes, she exclaimed in a firm voice; you go to be happy--I am not a
complete wretch! The words almost choked her.

He was a long time silent; the opiate produced a kind of stupor. At
last, in an agony, he cried, It is dark; I cannot see thee; raise me up.
Where is Mary? did she not say she delighted to support me? let me die
in her arms.

Her arms were opened to receive him; they trembled not. Again he was
obliged to lie down, resting on her: as the agonies increased he leaned
towards her: the soul seemed flying to her, as it escaped out of its
prison. The breathing was interrupted; she heard distinctly the last
sigh--and lifting up to Heaven her eyes, Father, receive his spirit, she
calmly cried.

The attendants gathered round; she moved not, nor heard the clamor; the
hand seemed yet to press hers; it still was warm. A ray of light from
an opened window discovered the pale face.

She left the room, and retired to one very near it; and sitting down on
the floor, fixed her eyes on the door of the apartment which contained
the body. Every event of her life rushed across her mind with wonderful
rapidity--yet all was still--fate had given the finishing stroke. She
sat till midnight.--Then rose in a phrensy, went into the apartment, and
desired those who watched the body to retire.

She knelt by the bed side;--an enthusiastic devotion overcame the
dictates of despair.--She prayed most ardently to be supported, and
dedicated herself to the service of that Being into whose hands, she had
committed the spirit she almost adored--again--and again,--she prayed
wildly--and fervently--but attempting to touch the lifeless hand--her
head swum--she sunk--



CHAP. XXX.


Three months after, her only friend, the mother of her lost Henry began
to be alarmed, at observing her altered appearance; and made her own
health a pretext for travelling. These complaints roused Mary out of her
torpid state; she imagined a new duty now forced her to exert herself--a
duty love made sacred!--

They went to Bath, from that to Bristol; but the latter place they
quickly left; the sight of the sick that resort there, they neither of
them could bear. From Bristol they flew to Southampton. The road was
pleasant--yet Mary shut her eyes;--or if they were open, green fields
and commons, passed in quick succession, and left no more traces behind
than if they had been waves of the sea.

Some time after they were settled at Southampton, they met the man who
took so much notice of Mary, soon after her return to England. He
renewed his acquaintance; he was really interested in her fate, as he
had heard her uncommon story; besides, he knew her husband; knew him to
be a good-natured, weak man. He saw him soon after his arrival in his
native country, and prevented his hastening to enquire into the reasons
of Mary's strange conduct. He desired him not to be too precipitate, if
he ever wished to possess an invaluable treasure. He was guided by him,
and allowed him to follow Mary to Southampton, and speak first to her
friend.

This friend determined to trust to her native strength of mind, and
informed her of the circumstance; but she overrated it: Mary was not
able, for a few days after the intelligence, to fix on the mode of
conduct she ought now to pursue. But at last she conquered her disgust,
and wrote her _husband_ an account of what had passed since she had
dropped his correspondence.

He came in person to answer the letter. Mary fainted when he approached
her unexpectedly. Her disgust returned with additional force, in spite
of previous reasonings, whenever he appeared; yet she was prevailed on
to promise to live with him, if he would permit her to pass one year,
travelling from place to place; he was not to accompany her.

The time too quickly elapsed, and she gave him her hand--the struggle
was almost more than she could endure. She tried to appear calm; time
mellowed her grief, and mitigated her torments; but when her husband
would take her hand, or mention any thing like love, she would instantly
feel a sickness, a faintness at her heart, and wish, involuntarily, that
the earth would open and swallow her.



CHAP. XXXI.


Mary visited the continent, and sought health in different climates; but
her nerves were not to be restored to their former state. She then
retired to her house in the country, established manufactories, threw
the estate into small farms; and continually employed herself this way
to dissipate care, and banish unavailing regret. She visited the sick,
supported the old, and educated the young.

These occupations engrossed her mind; but there were hours when all her
former woes would return and haunt her.--Whenever she did, or said, any
thing she thought Henry would have approved of--she could not avoid
thinking with anguish, of the rapture his approbation ever conveyed to
her heart--a heart in which there was a void, that even benevolence and
religion could not fill. The latter taught her to struggle for
resignation; and the former rendered life supportable.

Her delicate state of health did not promise long life. In moments of
solitary sadness, a gleam of joy would dart across her mind--She thought
she was hastening to that world _where there is neither marrying_, nor
giving in marriage.





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