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Title: Memoirs of Emma Courtney
Author: Hays, Mary
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of Emma Courtney" ***

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  Preface xvii

  Volume I           1

  Chapter I          6
  Chapter II         8
  Chapter III       11
  Chapter IV        14
  Chapter V         16
  Chapter VI        18
  Chapter VII       20
  Chapter VIII      24
  Chapter IX        26
  Chapter X         28
  Chapter XI        31
  Chapter XII       33
  Chapter XIII      37
  Chapter XIV       41
  Chapter XV        46
  Chapter XVI       52
  Chapter XVII      55
  Chapter XVIII     59
  Chapter XIX       62
  Chapter XX        65
  Chapter XXI       68
  Chapter XXII      71
  Chapter XXIII     73
  Chapter XXIV      76
  Chapter XXV       79
  Chapter XXVI      84
  Chapter XXVII     88
  Chapter XXVIII    92

  Volume II         95

  Chapter I         98
  Chapter II       102
  Chapter III      105
  Chapter IV       109
  Chapter V        112
  Chapter VI       118
  Chapter VII      121
  Chapter VIII     129
  Chapter IX       133
  Chapter X        137
  Chapter XI       141
  Chapter XII      144
  Chapter XIII     151
  Chapter XIV      154
  Chapter XV       157
  Chapter XVI      162
  Chapter XVII     164
  Chapter XVIII    167
  Chapter XIX      171
  Chapter XX       173
  Chapter XXI      176
  Chapter XXII     181
  Chapter XXIII    184
  Chapter XXIV     187
  Chapter XXV      190
  Chapter XXVI     192
  Chapter XXVII    196


The most interesting, and the most useful, fictions, are, perhaps, such,
as delineating the progress, and tracing the consequences, of one
strong, indulged, passion, or prejudice, afford materials, by which the
philosopher may calculate the powers of the human mind, and learn the
springs which set it in motion--'Understanding, and talents,' says
Helvetius, 'being nothing more, in men, than the produce of their
desires, and particular situations.' Of the passion of terror Mrs
Radcliffe has made admirable use in her ingenious romances.--In the
novel of Caleb Williams, curiosity in the hero, and the love of
reputation in the soul-moving character of Falkland, fostered into
ruling passions, are drawn with a masterly hand.

For the subject of these Memoirs, a more universal sentiment is chosen--a
sentiment hackneyed in this species of composition, consequently more
difficult to treat with any degree of originality;--yet, to accomplish
this, has been the aim of the author; with what success, the public
will, probably, determine.

Every writer who advances principles, whether true or false, that have a
tendency to set the mind in motion, does good. Innumerable mistakes have
been made, both moral and philosophical:--while covered with a sacred and
mysterious veil, how are they to be detected? From various combinations
and multiplied experiments, truth, only, can result. Free thinking, and
free speaking, are the virtue and the characteristics of a rational
being:--there can be no argument which mitigates against them in
one instance, but what equally mitigates against them in all; every
principle must be doubted, before it will be examined and proved.

It has commonly been the business of fiction to pourtray characters, not
as they really exist, but, as, we are told, they ought to be--a sort of
_ideal perfection_, in which nature and passion are melted away, and
jarring attributes wonderfully combined.

In delineating the character of Emma Courtney, I had not in view these
fantastic models: I meant to represent her, as a human being, loving
virtue while enslaved by passion, liable to the mistakes and weaknesses
of our fragile nature.--Let those readers, who feel inclined to judge
with severity the extravagance and eccentricity of her conduct, look
into their own hearts; and should they there find no record, traced by
an accusing spirit, to soften the asperity of their censures--yet, let
them bear in mind, that the errors of my heroine were the offspring
of sensibility; and that the result of her hazardous experiment is
calculated to operate as a _warning_, rather than as an example.--The
philosopher--who is not ignorant, that light and shade are more
powerfully contrasted in minds rising above the common level; that,
as rank weeks take strong root in a fertile soil, vigorous powers not
unfrequently produce fatal mistakes and pernicious exertions; that
character is the produce of a lively and constant affection--may,
possibly, discover in these Memoirs traces of reflection, and of
some attention to the phænomena of the human mind.

Whether the incidents, or the characters, are copied from life, is of
little importance--The only question is, if the _circumstances_, and
situations, are altogether improbable? If not--whether the consequences
_might_ not have followed from the circumstances?--This is a grand
question, applicable to all the purposes of education, morals, and
legislation--_and on this I rest my moral_--'Do men gather figs of
thorns, or grapes of thistles?' asked a moralist and a reformer.

Every _possible_ incident, in works of this nature, might, perhaps, be
rendered _probable_, were a sufficient regard paid to the more minute,
delicate, and connecting links of the chain. Under this impression, I
chose, as the least arduous, a simple story--and, even in that, the
fear of repetition, of prolixity, added, it may be, to a portion of
indolence, made me, in some parts, neglectful of this rule:--yet, in
tracing the character of my heroine from her birth, I had it in view.
For the conduct of my hero, I consider myself less responsible--it was
not _his_ memoirs that I professed to write.

I am not sanguine respecting the success of this little publication. It
is truly observed, by the writer of a late popular novel[1]--'That an
author, whether good or bad, or between both, is an animal whom every
body is privileged to attack; for, though all are not able to write
books, all conceive themselves able to judge them. A bad composition
carries with it its own punishment--contempt and ridicule:--a good one
excites envy, and (frequently) entails upon its author a thousand

      [Footnote 21: The Monk.]

To the feeling and the thinking few, this production of an active
mind, in a season of impression, rather than of leisure, is presented.

_Memoirs of Emma Courtney_



Rash young man!--why do you tear from my heart the affecting narrative,
which I had hoped no cruel necessity would ever have forced me to
review?--Why do you oblige me to recall the bitterness of my past life,
and to renew images, the remembrance of which, even at this distant
period, harrows up my soul with inconceivable misery?--But your happiness
is at stake, and every selfish consideration vanishes.--Dear and sacred
deposit of an adored and lost friend!--for whose sake I have consented
to hold down, with struggling, suffocating reluctance, the loathed
and bitter portion of existence;--shall I expose your ardent mind to
the incessant conflict between truth and error--shall I practise the
disingenuousness, by which my peace has been blasted--shall I suffer
you to run the wild career of passion--shall I keep back the recital,
written upon my own mind in characters of blood, which may preserve the
child of my affections from destruction?

Ah! why have you deceived me?--Has a six months' absence obliterated from
your remembrance the precept I so earnestly and incessantly laboured to
inculcate--the value and importance of unequivocal sincerity? A precept,
which I now take shame to myself for not having more implicitly observed!
Had I supposed your affection for Joanna more than a boyish partiality;
had I not believed that a few months' absence would entirely erase it
from your remembrance; had I not been assured that her heart was devoted
to another object, a circumstance of which she had herself frankly
informed you; I should not now have distrusted your fortitude, when
obliged to wound your feelings with the intelligence--that the woman,
whom you have so wildly persecuted, was, yesterday, united to another.


I resume my pen. Your letter, which Joanna a few days since put into my
hands, has cost me--Ah! my Augustus, my friend, my son--what has it not
cost me, and what impressions has it not renewed? I perceive the vigour
of your mind with terror and exultation. But you are mistaken! Were it
not for the insuperable barrier that separates you, for ever, from your
hopes, perseverance itself, however active, however incessant, may fail
in attaining its object. Your ardent reasoning, my interesting and
philosophic young friend, though not unconsequential, is a finely
proportioned structure, resting on an airy foundation. The science of
morals is not incapable of demonstration, but we want a more extensive
knowledge of particular facts, on which, in any given circumstance,
firmly to establish our data.--Yet, be not discouraged; exercise your
understanding, think freely, investigate every opinion, disdain the rust
of antiquity, raise systems, invent hypotheses, and, by the absurdities
they involve, seize on the clue of truth. Rouse the nobler energies of
your mind; be not the slave of your passions, neither dream of eradicating
them. Sensation generates interest, interest passion, passion forces
attention, attention supplies the powers, and affords the means of
attaining its end: in proportion to the degree of interest, will be that
of attention and power. Thus are talents produced. Every man is born
with sensation, with the aptitude of receiving impressions; the force of
those impressions depends on a thousand circumstances, over which he
has little power; these circumstances form the mind, and determine the
future character. We are all the creatures of education; but in that
education, what we call chance, or accident, has so great a share, that
the wisest preceptor, after all his cares, has reason to tremble: one
strong affection, one ardent incitement, will turn, in an instant, the
whole current of our thoughts, and introduce a new train of ideas and

You may perceive that I admit the general truths of your reasoning;
but I would warn you to be careful in their particular application; a
long train of patient and laborious experiments must precede our
deductions and conclusions. The science of mind is not less demonstrative,
and far more important, than the science of Newton; but we must proceed
on similar principles. The term _metaphysics_ has been, perhaps, justly
defined--the first _principles of arts and sciences_.[2] Every discovery
of genius, resulting from a fortunate combination of circumstances, may
be resolved into simple facts; but in this investigation we must be
patient, attentive, indefatigable; we must be content to arrive at truth
through many painful mistakes and consequent sufferings.--Such appears
to be the constitution of man!

      [Footnote 2: Helvetius.]

To shorten and meliorate your way, I have determined to sacrifice every
inferior consideration. I have studied your character: I perceive, with
joy, that its errors are the ardent excesses of a generous mind. I loved
your father with a fatal and unutterable tenderness: time has softened
the remembrance of his faults.--Our noblest qualities, without incessant
watchfulness, are liable insensibly to shade into vices--but his virtues
and _misfortunes_, in which my own were so intimately blended, are
indelibly engraven on my heart.

A mystery has hitherto hung over your birth. The victim of my own ardent
passions, and the errors of one whose memory will ever be dear to me, I
prepare to withdraw the veil--a veil, spread by an importunate, but, I
fear, a mistaken tenderness. Learn, then, from the incidents of my life,
entangled with those of his to whom you owe your existence, a more
striking and affecting lesson than abstract philosophy can ever afford.


The events of my life have been few, and have in them nothing very
uncommon, but the effects which they have produced on my mind; yet, that
mind they have helped to form, and this in the eye of philosophy, or
affection, may render them not wholly uninteresting. While I trace them,
they convince me of the irresistible power of circumstances, modifying
and controuling our characters, and introducing, mechanically, those
associations and habits which make us what we are; for without outward
impressions we should be nothing.

I know not how far to go back, nor where to begin; for in many cases,
it may be in all, a foundation is laid for the operations of our minds,
years--nay, ages--previous to our birth. I wish to be brief, yet to omit
no one connecting link in the chain of causes, however minute, that I
conceive had any important consequences in the formation of my mind, or
that may, probably, be useful to your's.

My father was a man of some talents, and of a superior rank in life, but
dissipated, extravagant, and profligate. My mother, the daughter of a
rich trader, and the sole heiress of his fortunes, allured by the
specious address and fashionable manners of my father, sacrificed to
empty shew the prospect of rational and dignified happiness. My father
courted her hand to make himself master of her ample possessions:
dazzled by vanity, and misled by self-love, she married him;--found,
when too late, her error; bitterly repented, and died in child bed the
twelfth month of her marriage, after having given birth to a daughter,
and commended it, with her dying breath, to the care of a sister (the
daughter of her mother by a former marriage), an amiable, sensible, and
worthy woman, who had, a few days before, lost a lovely and promising
infant at the breast, and received the little Emma as a gift from
heaven, to supply its place.

My father, plunged in expence and debauchery, was little moved by these
domestic distresses. He held the infant a moment in his arms, kissed it,
and willingly consigned it to the guardianship of its maternal aunt.

It will here be necessary to give a sketch of the character, situation,
and family, of this excellent woman; each of which had an important
share in forming the mind of her charge to those dispositions, and
feelings, which irresistibly led to the subsequent events.


Mr and Mrs Melmoth, my uncle and aunt, married young, purely from
motives of affection. Mr Melmoth had an active, ardent mind, great
benevolence of heart, a sweet and chearful temper, and a liberal manner
of thinking, though with few advantages of education: he possessed,
also, a sanguine disposition, a warm heart, a generous spirit, and an
integrity which was never called in question. Mrs Melmoth's frame
was delicate and fragile; she had great sensibility, quickness of
perception, some anxiety of temper, and a refined and romantic manner
of thinking, acquired from the perusal of the old romances, a large
quantity of which, belonging to a relation, had, in the early periods of
her youth, been accidentally deposited in a spare room in her father's
house. These qualities were mingled with a devotional spirit, a little
bordering on fanatacism. My uncle did not exactly resemble an Orlando,
or an Oroondates, but he was fond of reading; and having the command of
a ship in the West India trade, had, during his voyages in fine weather,
time to indulge in this propensity; by which means he was a tolerable
proficient in the belles lettres, and could, on occasion, quote
Shakespeare, scribble poetry, and even philosophize with Pope and

Mr Melmoth was one-and-twenty, his bride nineteen, when they were
united. They possessed little property; but the one was enterprizing and
industrious, the other careful and oeconomical; and both, with hearts
glowing with affection for each other, saw cheering hope and fairy
prospects dancing before their eyes. Every thing succeeded beyond their
most sanguine expectations. My uncle's cheerful and social temper, with
the fairness and liberality of his dealings, conciliated the favour of
the merchants. His understanding was superior, and his manners more
courteous, than the generality of persons in his line of life: his
company was eagerly courted, and no vessel stood a chance of being
freighted till his had its full cargo.

His voyages were not long, and frequent absences and meetings kept alive
between him and my aunt, the hopes, the fears, the anxieties, and the
transports of love. Their family soon increased, but this was a new
source of joy to Mr Melmoth's affectionate heart. A walk or a ride in
the country, with his wife and little ones, he accounted his highest
relaxation:--on these occasions he gave himself up to a sweet and lively
pleasure; would clasp them alternately to his breast, and with eyes
overflowing with tears of delight, repeat Thomson's charming description
of the joys of virtuous love--

  'Where nothing strikes the eye but sights of bliss,
   All various nature pressing on the heart!'

This was the first picture that struck my young imagination, for I was,
in all respects, considered as the adopted child of the family.

This prosperity received little other interruption than from my uncle's
frequent absences, and the pains and cares of my aunt in bringing into
the world, and nursing, a family of children. Mr Melmoth's successful
voyages, at rather earlier than forty years of age, enabled him to leave
the sea, and to carry on an extensive mercantile employment in the
metropolis.--At this period his health began to be injured by the
progress of a threatening internal disorder; but it had little effect
either on his spirits or activity. His business every day became wider,
and his attention to it was unremitted, methodical, and indefatigable.
His hours of relaxation were devoted to his family and social enjoyment;
at these times he never suffered the cares of the counting-house to
intrude;--he was the life of every company, and the soul of every

He at length assumed a more expensive style of living; took a house in
the country (for the charms of which he had ever a peculiar taste) as
a summer residence; set up an equipage, increased the number of his
servants, and kept an open and hospitable, though not a luxurious,

The hours fled on downy pinions; his wife rested on him, his children
caught sunshine from his smiles; his domestics adored him, and his
acquaintance vied with each other in paying him respect. His life,
he frequently repeated, had been a series of unbroken success. His
religion, for he laid no stress on forms, was a sentiment of grateful
and fervent love.--'_God is love_,' he would say, 'and the affectionate,
benevolent heart is his temple.'


It will now be necessary, for the development of my own particular
character, again to revert to earlier periods.--A few days before my
birth, my aunt had lost (as already related) a lovely female infant,
about four months old, and she received me, from the hands of my dying
mother, as a substitute.--From these tender and affecting circumstances
I was nursed and attended with peculiar care. My uncle's ship (it being
war time) was then waiting for a convoy at Portsmouth, where he was
joined by his wife: she carried me with her, and, tenderly watchful over
my safety, took me on all their little excursions, whether by sea or
land: I hung at her breast, or rested in her arms, and her husband, or
attendant, alternately relieved her.--Plump, smiling, placid, happy, I
never disturbed her rest, and the little Emma was the darling of her
kind guardians, and the plaything of the company.

At the age at which it was thought necessary to wean me, I was sent
from my tender nurse for that purpose, and consigned to the care of a
stranger, with whom I quickly pined myself into a jaundice and bilious
fever. My aunt dare not visit me during this short separation, she was
unable to bear my piercing cries of anguish at her departure. If a
momentary sensation, at that infantine period, deserve the appellation,
I might call this my first affectionate sorrow. I have frequently
thought that the tenderness of this worthy woman generated in my infant
disposition that susceptibility, that lively propensity to attachment,
to which I have through life been a martyr. On my return to my friends,
I quickly regained my health and spirits; was active, blythsome, ran,
bounded, sported, romped; always light, gay, alert, and full of glee.
At church, (whither on Sunday I was accustomed to accompany the family)
I offended all the pious ladies in our vicinity by my gamesome tricks,
and avoided the reprimands of my indulgent guardians by the drollery and
good humour which accompanied them.

When myself and my little cousins had wearied ourselves with play, their
mother, to keep us quiet in an evening, while her husband wrote letters in
an adjoining apartment, was accustomed to relate (for our entertainment)
stories from the Arabian Nights, Turkish Tales, and other works of
like marvellous import. She recited them circumstantially, and these I
listened to with ever new delight: the more they excited vivid emotions,
the more wonderful they were, the greater was my transport: they became
my favourite amusement, and produced, in my young mind, a strong desire
of learning to read the books which contained such enchanting stores of

Thus stimulated, I learned to read quickly, and with facility. My uncle
took pleasure in assisting me; and, with parental partiality, thought
he discovered, in the ardour and promptitude with which I received his
instructions, the dawn of future talents. At six years old I read aloud
before company, with great applause, my uncle's favourite authors, Pope's
Homer, and Thomson's Seasons, little comprehending either. Emulation was
roused, and vanity fostered: I learned to recite verses, to modulate my
tones of voice, and began to think myself a wonderful scholar.

Thus, in peace and gaiety, glided the days of my childhood. Caressed
by my aunt, flattered by her husband, I grew vain and self-willed; my
desires were impetuous, and brooked no delay; my affections were warm,
and my temper irascible; but it was the glow of a moment, instantly
subsiding on conviction, and when conscious of having committed
injustice, I was ever eager to repair it, by a profusion of caresses and
acknowledgements. Opposition would always make me vehement, and coercion
irritated me to violence; but a kind look, a gentle word, a cool
expostulation--softened, melted, arrested, me, in the full career of
passion. Never, but once, do I recollect having received a blow; but the
boiling rage, the cruel tempest, the deadly vengeance it excited, in my
mind, I now remember with shuddering.

Every day I became more attached to my books; yet, not less fond of
active play; stories were still my passion, and I sighed for a romance
that would never end. In my sports with my companions, I acted over what
I had read: I was alternately the valiant knight--the gentle damsel--the
adventurous mariner--the daring robber--the courteous lover--and the
airy coquet. Ever inventive, my young friends took their tone from me.
I hated the needle:--my aunt was indulgent, and not an hour passed
unamused:--my resources were various, fantastic, and endless. Thus, for
the first twelve years of my life, fleeted my days in joy and innocence.
I ran like the hind, frisked like the kid, sang like the lark, was full
of vivacity, health, and animation; and, excepting some momentary bursts
of passion and impatience, awoke every day to new enjoyment, and retired
to rest fatigued with pleasure.


At this period, by the command of my father, I was sent to boarding
school.--Ah! never shall I forget the contrast I experienced. I was an
alien and a stranger;--no one loved, caressed, nor cared for me;--my
actions were all constrained;--I was obliged to sit poring over needle
work, and forbidden to prate;--my body was tortured into forms, my mind
coerced, and talks imposed upon me, grammar and French, mere words, that
conveyed to me no ideas. I loved my guardians with passion--my tastes
were all passions--they tore themselves from my embraces with difficulty.
I sat down, after their departure, and wept--bitter tears--sobbed
convulsively--my griefs were unheeded, and my sensibility ridiculed--I
neither gave nor received pleasure. After the rude stare of curiosity,
ever wounding to my feelings, was gratified, I was left to sob alone.

At length, one young lady, with a fair face and a gentle demeanour,
came and seated herself beside me. She spoke, in a soft voice, words of
sympathy--my desolate heart fluttered at the sound. I looked at her--her
features were mild and sweet; I dried my tears, and determined that she
should be my friend.--My spirits became calmer, and for a short time I
indulged in this relief; but, on enquiry, I found my fair companion had
already a selected favourite, and that their amity was the admiration
of the school.--Proud, jealous, romantic--I could not submit to be the
second in her esteem--I shunned her, and returned her caresses with

The only mitigation I now felt to the anguish that had seized my
spirits, was in the hours of business. I was soon distinguished for
attention and capacity; but my governness being with-held, by an infirm
constitution, from the duties of her office, I was consigned, with my
companions, to ignorant, splenetic, teachers, who encouraged not my
emulation, and who sported with the acuteness of my sensations. In the
intervals from school hours I fought and procured books.--These were
often wantonly taken from me, as a punishment for the most trivial
offence; and, when my indignant spirit broke out into murmurs and
remonstrance, I was constrained to learn, by way of penance, chapters in
the Proverbs of Solomon, or verses from the French testament. To revenge
myself, I satirized my tyrants in doggrel rhymes: my writing master also
came in for a share of this little malice; and my productions, wretched
enough, were handed round the school with infinite applause. Sunk in
sullen melancholy, in the hours of play I crept into corners, and
disdained to be amused;--home appeared to me to be the Eden from which
I was driven, and there my heart and thoughts incessantly recurred.

My uncle from time to time addressed to me--with little presents--kind,
pleasant, affectionate notes--and these I treasured up as sacred relics.
A visit of my guardians was a yet more tumultuous pleasure; but it
always left me in increased anguish. Some robberies had been committed
on the road to town.--After parting with my friends, I have laid awake
the whole night, conjuring up in my imagination all the tragic accidents
I had ever heard or read of, and persuading myself some of them must
have happened to these darling objects of my affection.

Thus passed the first twelvemonth of my exile from all I loved; during
which time it was reported, by my school-fellows, that I had never been
seen to smile. After the vacations, I was carried back to my prison with
agonizing reluctance, to which in the second year I became, however,
from habit, better reconciled. I learned music, was praised and encouraged
by my master, and grew fond of it; I contracted friendships, and
regained my vivacity; from a forlorn, unsocial, being, I became, once
more, lively, active, enterprising,--the soul of all amusement, and the
leader of every innocently mischievous frolic. At the close of another
year I left school. I kept up a correspondence for some time with a few
of my young friends, and my effusions were improved and polished by my
paternal uncle.


This period, which I had anticipated with rapture, was soon clouded by
the gradual decay, and premature death, of my revered and excellent
guardian. He sustained a painful and tedious sickness with unshaken
fortitude;--with more, with chearfulness. I knelt by his bedside on the
day of his decease; and, while I bathed his hand with my tears, caught
hope from the sweet, the placid, serenity of his countenance, and could
not believe the terrors of dissolution near.

'The last sentiment of my heart,' said he, 'is gratitude to the Being
who has given me so large a portion of good; and I resign my family into
his hands with confidence.'

He awoke from a short slumber, a few minutes before his death.--'Emma,'
said he, in a faint voice, (as I grasped his cold hand between both
mine) turning upon me a mild, yet dying, eye, 'I have had a pleasant
sleep--Be a good girl, and comfort your aunt!'--

He expired without a groan, or a struggle--'His death was the serene
evening of a beautiful day!' I gazed on his lifeless remains, the day
before their interment, and the features still wore the same placid,
smiling benignity. I was then about fourteen years of age,--this first
emotion of real sorrow rent my heart asunder!

The sensations of Mrs Melmoth were those of agonizing, suffocating
anguish:--the fair prospect of domestic felicity was veiled for ever!
This was the second strong impression which struck my opening mind.
Many losses occurred, in consequence of foreign connections, in the
settlement of Mr Melmoth's affairs.--The family found their fortunes
scanty, and their expectations limited:--their numerous fair-professing
acquaintance gradually deserted them, and they sunk into oeconomical
retirement; but they continued to be respectable, because they knew how
to contract their wants, and to preserve their independence.

My aunt, oppressed with sorrow, could be roused only by settling the
necessary plans for the future provision of her family. Occupied with
these concerns, or absorbed in grief, we were left for some time to run
wild. Months revolved ere the tender sorrows of Mrs Melmoth admitted of
any mitigation: they at length yielded only to tender melancholy. My
wonted amusements were no more; a deep gloom was spread over our
once cheerful residence; my avidity for books daily increased; I
subscribed to a circulating library, and frequently read, or rather
devoured--little careful in the selection--from ten to fourteen novels
in a week.


My father satisfied himself, after the death of my beloved uncle,
with making a short and formal visit of condolence to the family, and
proposing either my return to school, or to pay an annual stipend (which
Mr and Mrs Melmoth had hitherto invariably refused) for defraying the
expences of my continuance and board with the amiable family by which I
had been so kindly nurtured. I shrunk from the cold and careless air
of a man whom I had never been able to teach my heart either to love
or honour; and throwing my arms round the neck of my maternal aunt,
murmured a supplication, mingled with convulsive sobs, that she would
not desert me. She returned my caresses affectionately, and entreated
my father to permit me to remain with her; adding, that it was her
determination to endeavour to rouse and strengthen her mind, for the
performance of those pressing duties--the education of her beloved
children, among whom she had ever accounted her Emma--which now devolved
wholly upon her.

My father made no objection to this request; but observed, that
notwithstanding he had a very favourable opinion of her heart and
understanding, and considered himself indebted to her, and to her
deceased husband, for their goodness to Emma, he was nevertheless
apprehensive that the girl had been weakened and spoiled by their
indulgence;--that his own health was at present considerably
injured;--that it was probable he might not survive many years;--in
which case, he frankly confessed, he had enjoyed life too freely to be
able to make much provision for his daughter. It would therefore, he
conceived, be more judicious to prepare and strengthen my mind to
encounter, with fortitude, some hardships and rude shocks, to which
I might be exposed, than to foster a sensibility, which he already
perceived, with regret, was but too acute. For which purpose, he desired
I might spend one day in every week at his house in Berkley-square, when
he should put such books into my hands [he had been informed I had a
tolerable capacity] as he judged would be useful to me; and, in the
intervals of his various occupations and amusements, assist me himself
with occasional remarks and reflections. Any little accomplishments
which Mrs Melmoth might judge necessary for, and suitable to, a young
woman with a small fortune, and which required the assistance of a
master, he would be obliged to her if she would procure for me, and call
upon him to defray the additional expence.

He then, looking on his watch, and declaring he had already missed an
appointment, took his leave, after naming Monday as the day on which he
should constantly expect my attendance in Berkley-square.

Till he left the room I had not courage to raise my eyes from the
ground--my feelings were harrowed up--the tone of his voice was
discordant to my ears. The only idea that alleviated the horror of my
weekly punishment (for so I considered the visits to Berkley-square)
was the hope of reading new books, and of being suffered to range
uncountroled through an extensive and valuable library, for such I
had been assured was Mr Courtney's. I still retained my passion for
adventurous tales, which, even while at school, I was enabled to gratify
by means of one of the day-boarders, who procured for me romances from a
neighbouring library, which at every interval of leisure I perused with
inconceivable avidity.


The following Monday I prepared to attend Mr Courtney. On arriving at
his house, and announcing my name, a servant conducted me into his
master's dressing-room. I appeared before him with trembling steps,
downcast eyes, and an averted face.

'Look up, child!' said my father, in an imperious tone. 'If you are
conscious of no crime, why all this ridiculous confusion?'

I struggled with my feelings: the tone and manner in which I was
addressed gave me an indignant sensation:--a deeper suffusion than that
of modesty, the glow of wounded pride, burnt in my cheeks:--I turned
quick, gazed in the face of Mr Courtney with a steady eye, and spoke a
few words, in a firm voice, importing--that I attended by his desire,
and waited his direction.

He regarded me with somewhat less _hauteur_, and, while he finished
dressing, interrogated me respecting the books I had read, and the
impression they had left on my mind. I replied with simplicity, and
without evasion. He soon discovered that my imagination had been left
to wander unrestrained in the fairy fields of fiction; but that, of
historical facts, and the science of the world, I was entirely ignorant.

'It is as I apprehended,' said he:--'your fancy requires a _rein_ rather
than a _spur_. Your studies, for the future, must be of a soberer
nature, or I shall have you mistake my valet for a prince in disguise,
my house for a haunted castle, and my rational care for your future
welfare for barbarous tyranny.'

I felt a poignant and suffocating sensation, too complicated to bear
analyzing, and followed Mr Courtney in silence to the library. My heart
bounded when, on entering a spacious room, I perceived on either side
a large and elegant assortment of books, regularly arranged in glass
cases, and I longed to be left alone, to expatiate freely in these
treasures of entertainment. But I soon discovered, to my inexpressible
mortification, that the cases were locked, and that in this intellectual
feast I was not to be my own purveyor. My father, after putting into
my hands the lives of Plutarch, left me to my meditations; informing
me, that he should probably dine at home with a few friends, at five
o'clock, when he should expect my attendance at the table.

I opened my book languidly, after having examined through the glass
doors the titles of those which were with-held from me. I felt a kind
of disgust to what I considered as a task imposed, and read a few
pages carelessly, gazing at intervals through the windows into the
square.--But my attention, as I proceeded, was soon forcibly arrested,
my curiosity excited, and my enthusiasm awakened. The hours passed
rapidly--I perceived not their flight--and at five o'clock, when
summoned to dinner, I went down into the dining-room, my mind pervaded
with republican ardour, my sentiments elevated by a high-toned
philosophy, and my bosom glowing with the virtues of patriotism.

I found with Mr Courtney company of both sexes, to whom he presented me
on my entrance. Their easy compliments disconcerted me, and I shrunk,
abashed, from the bold and curious eyes of the gentlemen. During the
repast I ate little, but listened in silence to every thing that passed.

The theatres were the first topic of conversation, Venice Preserved had
been acted the preceding evening, and from discussing the play, the
conversation took a political turn. A gentleman that happened to be
seated next me, who spoke fluently, looking around him every moment for
approbation, with apparent self-applause, gave the discourse a tone of
gallantry, declaring--'Pierre to be a noble fellow, and that the loss
of a mistress was a sufficient excuse for treason and conspiracy,
even though the country had been deluged in blood and involved in

'And the mistresses of all his fellow citizens destroyed of course;'--said
a gentleman coolly, on the opposite side of the table.

Oh! that was not a consideration, every thing must give place when put
in competition with certain feelings. 'What, young lady,' (suddenly
turning to me) 'do you think a lover would not risque, who was in fear
of losing you?'

Good God! what a question to an admirer of the grecian heroes! I
started, and absolutely shuddered. I would have replied, but my words
died away upon my lips in inarticulate murmurs. My father observed and
enjoyed my distress.

'The worthies of whom you have been reading, Emma, lived in ancient
times. Aristides the just, would have made but a poor figure among our
modern men of fashion!'

'This lady reads, then,'--said our accomplished coxcomb--'Heavens,
Mr Courtney! you will spoil all her feminine graces; knowledge and
learning, are unsufferably masculine in a woman--born only for the soft
solace of man! The mind of a young lady should be clear and unsullied,
like a sheet of white paper, or her own fairer face: lines of thinking
destroy the dimples of beauty; aping the reason of man, they lose
the exquisite, _fascinating_ charm, in which consists their true
empire;--Then strongest, when most weak--

                  "Loveliest in their fears--
  And by this silent adulation, soft,
  To their protection more engaging man."

'Pshaw!' replied Mr Courtney, a little peevishly--'you will persuade
Emma, that the age of chivalry is not yet over; and that giants and
ravishers are as common now, as in the time of Charlemagne: a young
woman of sense and spirit needs no other protection; do not flatter the
girl into affectation and imbecility. If blank paper be your passion,
you can be at no loss; the town will supply quires and reams.'

'There I differ from you,' said the gentleman on the opposite side of
the table; 'to preserve the mind a blank, we must be both deaf and
blind, for, while any inlet to perception remains, your paper will
infallibly contract characters of some kind, or be blotted and

'For God's sake! do not let us begin to philosophise,' retorted his
antagonist, who was not to be easily silenced.

'I agree with you,'--rejoined the other--'_thinking_ is undoubtedly
very laborious, and _principle_ equally troublesome and impertinent.'

I looked at him as he finished speaking, and caught his eye for a
moment; its expression methought was doubtful. The man of fashion
continued to expatiate in rhetorical periods--He informed us, that he
had fine feelings, but they never extended beyond selfish gratification.
For his part, he had as much humanity as any man, for which reason he
carefully avoided the scene or the tale of distress. He, likewise, had
his opinions, but their pliability rendered them convenient to himself,
and accommodating to his friends. He had courage to sustain fatigue and
hardship, when, not his country, but vanity demanded the exertion. It
was glorious to boast of having travelled two hundred miles in eight and
forty hours, and sat up three nights, to be present, on two succeeding
evenings, at a ball in distant counties.

'This man,' I said to myself, while I regarded him with a look of
ineffable scorn--'takes a great deal of pains to render himself
ridiculous, he surely must have a vile heart, or a contemptible opinion
of mankind: if he be really the character he describes, he is a compound
of atrocity and folly, and a pest to the world; if he slanders himself,
what must be that state of society, the applause of which he persuades
himself is to be thus acquired?' I sighed deeply;--in either case the
reflection was melancholy;--my eyes enquired--'Am I to hate or to
despise you?' I know not whether he understood their language, but he
troubled me no more with his attentions.

I reflected a little too seriously:--I have since seen many a prating,
superficial coxcomb, who talks to display his oratory--_mere words_
--repeated by rote, to which few ideas are affixed, and which are
uttered and received with equal apathy.


During three years, I continued my weekly visits to Berkley square; I
was not always allowed to join the parties who assembled there, neither
indeed would it have been proper, for they were a motley groupe; when
permitted so to do, I collected materials for reflection. I had been
educated by my aunt, in strict principles of religion; many of Mr
Courtney's friends were men of wit and talents, who, occasionally,
discussed important subjects with freedom and ability: I never ventured
to mingle in the conversations, but I overcame my timidity sufficiently
to behave with propriety and composure; I listened attentively to all
that was said, and my curiosity was awakened to philosophic enquiries.

Mr Courtney now entrusted me with the keys of the bookcases, through
which I ranged with ever new delight. I went through, by my father's
direction, a course of historical reading, but I could never acquire a
taste for this species of composition. Accounts of the early periods of
states and empires, of the Grecian and Roman republics, I pursued with
pleasure and enthusiasm: but when they became more complicated, grew
corrupt, luxurious, licentious, perfidious, mercenary, I turned from
them fatigued, and disgusted, and sought to recreate my spirits in the
fairer regions of poetry and fiction.

My early associations rendered theology an interesting subject to me; I
read ecclesiastical history, a detail of errors and crimes, and entered
deeply into polemic divinity: my mind began to be emancipated, doubts
had been suggested to it, I reasoned freely, endeavoured to arrange and
methodize my opinions, and to trace them fearlessly through all their
consequences: while from exercising my thoughts with freedom, I seemed
to acquire new strength and dignity of character. I met with some of the
writings of Descartes, and was seized with a passion for metaphysical
enquiries. I began to think about the nature of the soul--whether it
was a composition of the elements, the result of organized matter, or
a subtle and etherial fire.

In the course of my researches, the Heloise of Rousseau fell into my
hands.--Ah! with what transport, with what enthusiasm, did I peruse this
dangerous, enchanting, work!--How shall I paint the sensations that were
excited in my mind!--the pleasure I experienced approaches the limits of
pain--it was tumult--all the ardour of my character was excited.--Mr
Courtney, one day, surprised me weeping over the sorrows of the tender
St Preux. He hastily snatched the book from my hand, and, carefully
collecting the remaining volumes, carried them in silence to his chamber:
but the impression made on my mind was never to be effaced--it was even
productive of a long chain of consequences, that will continue to
operate till the day of my death.

My time at this period passed rapidly and pleasantly. My father never
treated me with affection; but the austerity of his manner gradually
subsided. He gave me, occasionally, useful hints and instructions.
Without feeling for him any tenderness, he inspired me with a degree of
respect. The library was a source of lively and inexhaustible pleasure
to my mind; and, when admitted to the table of Mr Courtney, some new
character or sentiment frequently sharpened my attention, and afforded
me subjects for future enquiry and meditation. I delighted to expatiate,
when returning to the kind and hospitable mansion of my beloved aunt,
(which I still considered as my home) on the various topics which I had
collected in my little emigrations. I was listened to by my cousins with
a pleasure that flattered my vanity, and looked up to as a kind of
superior being;--a homage particularly gratifying to a young mind.


The excellent woman, who had been my more than mother, took infinite
pains to cure the foibles, which, like pernicious weeds, entangled
themselves with, and sometimes threatened to choak, the embryo blossoms
of my expanding mind. Ah! with what pleasure do I recall her beloved
idea to my memory! Fostered by her maternal love, and guided by her mild
reason, how placid, and how sweet, were my early days!--Why, my first,
my tenderest friend, did I lose you at that critical period of life,
when the harmless sports and occupations of childhood gave place to the
pursuits, the passions and the errors of youth?--With the eloquence of
affection, with gentle, yet impressive persuasion, thou mightest have
checked the wild career of energetic feeling, which thou hast so often
remarked with hope and terror.

As I entered my eighteenth year, I lost, by a premature death, this
tender monitor. Never shall I forget her last emphatic, affectionate,

'Beware, my dear Emma,' said this revered friend, 'beware of
strengthening, by indulgence, those ardent and impetuous sensations,
which, while they promise vigour of mind, fill me with apprehension
for the virtue, for the happiness of my child. I wish not that the
canker-worm, Distrust, should blast the fair fruit of your ripening
virtues. The world contains many benevolent, many disinterested,
spirits; but civilization is yet distempered and imperfect; the
inequalities of society, by fostering artificial wants, and provoking
jealous competitions, have generated selfish and hostile passions.
Nature has been vainly provident for her offspring, while man, with
mistaken avidity, grasping more than he has powers to enjoy, preys on
his fellow man:--departing from simple virtues, and simple pleasures,
in their stead, by common consent, has a wretched semblance been
substituted. Endeavour to contract your wants, and aspire only to
a rational independence; by exercising your faculties, still the
importunate suggestions of your sensibility; preserve your sincerity,
cherish the ingenuous warmth of unsophisticated feeling, but let
discernment precede confidence. I tremble even for the excess of those
virtues which I have laboured to cultivate in your lively and docile
mind. If I could form a wish for longer life, it is only for my children,
and that I might be to my Emma instead of reason, till her own stronger
mind matures. I dread, lest the illusions of imagination should
render those powers, which would give force to truth and virtue, the
auxiliaries of passion. Learn to distinguish, with accuracy, the good
and ill qualities of those with whom you may mingle: while you abhor the
latter, separate the being from his errors; and while you revere the
former, the moment that your reverence becomes personal, that moment,
suspect that your judgment is in danger of becoming the dupe of your

Would to God that I had impressed upon my mind--that I had recalled to
my remembrance more frequently--a lesson so important to a disposition
like mine!--a continual victim to the enthusiasm of my feelings;
incapable of approving, or disapproving, with moderation--the most
poignant sufferings, even the study of mankind, have been insufficient
to dissolve the powerful enchantment, to disentangle the close-twisted
associations!--But I check this train of overwhelming reflection, that
is every moment on the point of breaking the thread of my narration, and
obtruding itself to my pen.


Mr Courtney did not long survive the guardian of my infancy:--his
constitution had for some years been gradually impaired; and his death
was hastened by a continuance of habitual dissipation, which he had not
the resolution to relinquish, and to which his strength was no longer
equal. It was an event I had long anticipated, and which I contemplated
with a sensation of solemnity, rather than of grief. The ties of blood
are weak, if not the mere chimeras of prejudice, unless sanctioned by
reason, or cemented by habits of familiar and affectionate intercourse.
Mr Courtney refusing the title of father, from a conviction that his
conduct gave him no claim to this endearing appellation, had accustomed
me to feel for him only the respect due to some talents and good
qualities, which threw a veil over his faults. Courage and truth were
the principles with which he endeavoured to inspire me;--precepts, which
I gratefully acknowledge, and which forbid me to adopt the language of
affection, when no responsive sympathies exist in the heart.

My eyes were yet moist with the tears that I had shed for the loss of my
maternal friend, when I received a hasty summons to Berkley-square. A
servant informed me, that his master was, at length, given over by his
physicians, and wished to speak to Miss Courtney, before his strength
and spirits were too much exhausted.

I neither felt, nor affected, surprize at this intelligence, but threw
myself, without reply, into the carriage which had been dispatched for
my conveyance.

On entering the house, a gloomy silence seemed to reign throughout the
late festive apartments; but, as I had seldom been a partaker of the
festivity, the contrast struck me less forcibly than it might otherwise
have done. My name was announced, and I was conducted, by the housekeeper,
to the chamber of her dying master, who, supported on pillows, breathed
with difficulty, but appeared to be free from pain, and tolerably
composed. I met the physician in the ante-chamber; who, on my requesting
earnestly to know the situation of his patient, informed me--That an
internal mortification had taken place, and that he could not survive
many hours.

Approaching the bed, considerably shocked at the intelligence I had
received, Mr Courtney, in a low and faint voice, desired me to draw a
chair near him. I obeyed in silence.

'Emma,' said he, 'I am about to quit a world, in which I have
experienced little sincere enjoyment; yet, I leave it reluctantly. Had I
been more temperate in my pleasures, perhaps, they might have been less
destructive, and more protracted. I begin to suspect, that I have made
some great mistakes; but it is now too late for retraction, and I will
not, in my last moments, contradict, by my example, the lesson of
fortitude, with which it has been a part of my plan to inspire you.
You have now, unprotected, the world to encounter; for, I will frankly
confess, that my affection for you has not been strong enough to induce
me to forego my own more immediate gratification: but I have never
deceived you. Your mother, when she married, reserved for her private
expences a thousand pounds, which, on her deathbed, she desired might
be invested in the funds on your account. This request I religiously
complied with, and there it has remained untouched; and, being purchased
in your name, you may claim it whenever you please. I have appointed
you no guardians; for, already in your nineteenth year and possessing
an understanding superior to your sex and age, I chose to leave you
unfettered, and at your own discretion. I spared from my pleasures what
money was requisite to complete your education; for having no fortune to
give you, and my health being precarious, I thought it just to afford
you every advantage for the improvement of those talents which you
evidently possess, and which must now enable you to make your way in the
world; for the scanty pittance, that the interest of your fortune will
produce, is, I doubt, insufficient for your support. Had I lived, it was
my intention to have established you by marriage; but that is a scheme,
to which, at present, I would not advise you to trust. Marriage,
generally speaking, in the existing state of things, must of necessity
be an affair of _finance_. My interest and introduction might have
availed you something; but mere merit, wit, or beauty, stand in need of
more powerful auxiliaries. My brother, Mr Morton[3], called on me this
morning:--he has agreed, for the present, to receive you into his
family, where you must endeavour to make yourself useful and agreeable,
till you can fix on a better and more independent plan. Finding me in so
low a state, your uncle would have waited a few days in town, to have
seen the result, and in case of the worst, to have taken you down with
him, but pressing business urged his departure. I would advise you,
immediately after my decease, to set out for Morton Park. Proper persons
are appointed to settle my affairs:--when every thing is turned into
money, there will, I trust, be sufficient to discharge my just debts;
but do not flatter yourself with the expectation of a surplus. Your
presence here, when I am no more, will be equally unnecessary and

      [Footnote 3: Mr Courtney's brother had taken the name of
      Morton, to qualify himself for the inheritance of an estate,
      bequeathed to him by a distant relation.]

This was said at intervals, and with difficulty; when, seeming quite
exhausted, he waved his hand for me to leave the room, and sunk into a
sort of dose, or rather stupor, which continued till within some minutes
of his decease.

Mr Courtney had been, what is called, a man of pleasure:--he had passed
thro' life without ever loving any one but himself--intent, merely,
on gratifying the humour of the moment. A superior education, and
an attentive observance, not of rational, but, of social man, in an
extensive commerce with the world, had sharpened his sagacity; but he
was inaccessible to those kindlings of the affections--those glowings of
admiration--inspired by real, or fancied, excellence, which never fail
to expand and advance the minds of such as are capable of sketching,
with a daring hand, the dangerous picture:--or of those philosophic and
comprehensive views, which teach us to seek a reflected happiness in
benevolent exertions for the welfare of others. My mother, I suspected,
had been the victim of her husband's unkindness and neglect: wonder not,
then, that my heart revolted when I would have given him the tender
appellation of father! If he coldly acknowledged any little merits which
I possessed, he regarded them rather with jealousy than approbation; for
he felt that they tacitly reproached him.

I will make no comment on the closing scene of his life. Among the
various emotions which had rapidly succeeded each other in my mind,
during his last address, surprize had no place; I had not then his
character to learn.


The small pittance bequeathed to me was insufficient to preserve me
from dependence.--_Dependence!_--I repeated to myself, and I felt my
heart die within me. I revolved in my mind various plans for my future
establishment.--I might, perhaps, be allowed to officiate, as an
assistant, in the school where I had been placed in my childhood, with
the mistress of which I still kept up an occasional correspondence; but
this was a species of servitude, and my mind panted for freedom, for
social intercourse, for scenes in motion, where the active curiosity of
my temper might find a scope wherein to range and speculate. What could
the interest of my little fortune afford? It would neither enable me
to live alone, nor even to board in a family of any respectability. My
beloved aunt was no more; her children were about to be dispersed, and
to form various connections.

Cruel prejudices!--I exclaimed--hapless woman! Why was I not educated
for commerce, for a profession, for labour? Why have I been rendered
feeble and delicate by bodily constraint, and fastidious by artificial
refinement? Why are we bound, by the habits of society, as with an
adamantine chain? Why do we suffer ourselves to be confined within a
magic circle, without daring, by a magnanimous effort, to dissolve the
barbarous spell?

A child in the drama of the world, I knew not which way to turn, nor on
what to determine. I wrote to Mr Morton, to enquire on what terms I was
to be received by his family. If merely as a visitor for a few weeks,
till I had time to digest my plans, I should meet, with pleasure, a
gentleman whose character I had been taught to respect; but I should not
consider myself as subject to controul. I ought, perhaps, to have been
satisfied with Mr Morton's answer to my interrogatories.

He wished to embrace the daughter of his brother, his family would be
happy to render Morton Park agreeable to her, as long as she should
think proper to favour them by making it her residence. The young
ladies expected both pleasure and improvement from the society of
their accomplished kinswoman, &c.

I believe I was unreasonable, the style of this letter was civil, nay
kind, and yet it appeared, to me, to want the vivifying principle--what
shall I say?--dictated merely by the head, it reached not the heart.

The trials of my mind, I foreboded, were about to commence, I shrunk
from the world I had been so willing to enter, for the rude storms of
which I had been little fitted by the fostering tenderness of my early
guardians. Those ardent feelings and lively expectations, with all the
glowing landscapes which my mind had sketched of the varied pleasures
of society, while in a measure secluded from its enjoyments, gradually
melted into one deep, undistinguished shade. That sanguine ardour of
temper, which had hitherto appeared the predominant feature of my
character, now gave place to despondency. I wept, I suffered my tears
to flow unrestrained: the solemnity of the late events had seized my
spirits, and the approaching change filled me with solicitude. I
wandered over the scenes of my past pleasures, and recalled to my
remembrance, with a sad and tender luxury, a thousand little incidents,
that derived all their importance from the impossibility of their
renewal. I gazed on every object, _for the last time_--What is there in
these words that awakens our fanaticisms? I could have done homage to
these inanimate, and, till now, uninteresting objects; merely because I
should _see them no more_.

How fantastic and how capricious are these sentiments! Ought I, or
ought I not, to blush while I acknowledge them? My young friends, also,
from whom I was about to separate myself!--how various might be our
destinies, and how unconscious were we of the future! Happy ignorance,
that by bringing the evils of life in succession, gradually inures us to
their endurance.

  'Had I beheld the sum of ills, which one
   By one, I have endured--my heart had broke.'


The hour at length came, when, harrassed in body and in mind, I set out
for Morton Park. I travelled alone, and reached the end of my journey at
close of day. I entreated Mr Morton, who hastened to hand me from the
carriage, and welcome my arrival, that I might be permitted to retire
to my apartment, pleading fatigue, and wishing to wave the ceremony of
an introduction to the family till the next morning. My request was
obligingly granted, and a servant ordered to attend me to my chamber.

Many years had elapsed since I had seen this family, and my judgment
was then so immature, that our meeting at the breakfast table had with
each of us, I believe, the force of a first impression. You know my
_fanaticism_ on these occasions. I will attempt an imperfect sketch of
the groupe, assembled in the saloon, to whom I was severally presented
on my entrance, by the lord of the domain. Mr Morton, himself, to whom
precedence is due, seemed to be about fifty years of age, was of the
middle stature, his features regular, and his countenance placid: he
spoke but little, but that little was always mild and often judicious.
He appeared not to be void of benevolent affections, and had the
character of a humane landlord, but his virtues were, in a great
measure, sunk in an habitual indolence of temper; he would sometimes
sacrifice his principles to his repose, though never to his interest.
His lady--no, I will not describe her; her character will, it may be,
unfold itself to you in future--Suffice it to say, that her person
was gross, her voice loud and discordant, and her features rugged:
she affected an air of openness and pleasantry; It may be prejudiced,
perhaps she did not _affect it_. Sarah Morton, the eldest of the
daughters, was about my age, she was under the middle height, fair,
plump, loquacious; there was a childish levity in her accent and
manners, which impressed strangers with an unfavourable opinion of her
understanding, but it was an acquired manner, for she was shrewd and
sensible. Ann, the second daughter was a little lively brunette, with
sharp features and sparkling black eyes; volatile, giddy, vain and
thoughtless, but good humoured and pretty. The other children were much

Two gentlemen joined us at our repast, visitors at Morton park. Mr
Francis, the elder, was in his fortieth year, his figure slender and
delicate, his eye piercing, and his manner impressive. It occurred to
me, that I had somewhere seen him before, and, after a few minutes
recollection, I recognized in him a gentleman who had occasionally
visited at my father's, and whom I have already mentioned as the
antagonist of the man of fashion, whose sentiments and volubility
excited my youthful astonishment and indignation. Mr Montague the
younger, the son of a medical gentleman residing in a neighbouring
county, seemed about one and twenty, tall, elegantly formed, full of
fire and vivacity, with imperious manners, an impetuous temper, and
stubborn prejudices.

The introduction of a stranger generally throws some kind of restraint
over a company; a break is made in their usual topics and associations,
till the disposition and habits of the intruder have, in some degree,
unfolded themselves. Mrs Morton took upon herself to entertain; she
exhibited her talents on various subjects, with apparent self-approbation,
till a few keen remarks from Mr Francis arrested the torrent of her
eloquence. The young ladies scrutinized me with attention; even the
lively Ann, while she minutely observed me, ceased to court play from
Mr Montague, who attended to me with the air, and addressed me in the
language of gallantry. I sometimes caught the penetrating eye of Mr
Francis, and his glance seemed to search the soul.

After breakfast, Mr Morton having retired to his dressing-room, and the
younger part of the company strolling into the pleasure grounds, whither
I declined accompanying them, I took an opportunity, being ever desirous
of active and useful employment, of offering my assistance to Mrs Morton,
in the education of her younger children; proposing to instruct them
in the rudiments either of music, drawing, French, or any other
accomplishment, for which my own education had capacitated me. Mr
Francis remained standing in a window, his back towards us, with a book
in his hand, on which he seemed intent.

'If,' replied Mrs Morton, 'it is your wish, Miss Courtney, to procure
the situation of governess in any gentleman's family, and it is
certainly a very laudable desire in a young woman of your _small
fortune_, Mr Morton will, I have no doubt, have it in his power
to recommend you: but in the education of my family, I desire no
interference; it is an important task, and I have my peculiar notions
on the subject: their expectations are not great, and your _elegant_
accomplishments might unfit them for their future, probable, stations.'

The manner in which this speech was uttered spoke yet more forcibly than
the words.--I felt my cheeks glow.

'I was not asking favours, Madam, I was only desirous of being useful.'

'It is a pity, then, that your discernment had not corrected your

The housekeeper entering, to consult her mistress on some domestic
occasion, Mrs Morton quitted the room. Mr Francis closed his book,
turned round, and gazed earnestly in my face: before sufficiently
mortified, his observation, which I felt at this moment oppressive, did
not relieve me. I attempted to escape, but, seizing my hand, he detained
me by a kind of gentle violence.

'And why this confusion, my dear Miss Courtney; do you blush for having
acted with propriety and spirit?' I burst into tears--I could not help
it--'How weak is this, how unworthy of the good sense you have just

'I confess it, but I feel myself, at this moment, a poor, a friendless,
an unprotected being.'

'What prejudices! poverty is neither criminal, nor disgraceful; you
will not want friends, while you continue to deserve them; and as for
protection,' (and he smiled) 'I had not expected from Emma Courtney's
spirited letter to Mr Morton, and equally proper retort to his lady's
impertinence, so plaintive, so feminine a complaint.--You have talents,
cultivate them, and learn to rest on your own powers.'

'I thank you for your reproof, and solicit your future lessons.'

'Can you bear the truth?'

'Try me.'

'Have you not cherished a false pride?'

It is too true, thought I, and I sighed.

'How shall I cure this foible?'

'By self-examination, by resolution, and perseverance.'

'Be to me instead of a conscience.'

'What, then, is become of your own?'

'Prejudice, I doubt, has blinded and warped it.'

'I suspect so; but you have energy and candor, and are not, I hope, of a
temper to despond.'

The return of the family terminated this singular conversation.
The young ladies rallied me, on being found _tête-à-tête_ with the
philosopher; Mr Montague, I thought looked displeased. I stole out;
while the party were dressing for dinner, and rambled into the gardens,
which were extensive, and laid out with taste.


I judged my visit here would not be very long. I scarcely knew whether I
was most inclined to like or to fear Mr Francis, but I determined, if
possible, to cultivate his friendship. I interrogated myself again and
again--From whence this restlessness, this languor, this disgust, with
all I hear and see?--Why do I feel wayward, querulous, fastidious? Mr
Morton's family had no hearts; they appeared to want a _sense_, that
preyed incessantly on mine; I could not love them, and my heart panted
to expand its sensations.

Sarah and Ann became jealous of me, and of each other; the haughty, yet
susceptible, Montague addressed each in turn, with a homage equally
fervent for the moment, and equally transient. This young man was bold,
ardent, romantic, and enterprizing, but blown about by every gust of
passion, he appeared each succeeding moment a different character: with
a glowing and rapid imagination, he had never given himself time to
reason, to compare, to acquire principles: following the bent of a
raised, yet capricious fancy, he was ever in pursuit of meteors, that
led him into mischief, or phantoms, that dissolved at his approach.

Had my mind been more assured and at ease, I could have amused myself
with the whimsical flights of this eccentric being--One hour, attracted
by the sportive graces of Ann, he played with and caressed her, while
the minutes flew rapidly on the light wing of amusement, and, till
reminded by the grave countenance of Mr Morton, seemed to forget
that any other person was present. The next minute, disgusted by her
frivolity, all his attention was absorbed by the less fascinating, but
more artful and ingenious, Sarah. Then, quitting them both, he would
pursue my steps, break in upon my meditations, and haunt my retreats,
from whence, when not disposed to be entertained by his caprice, I
found it not difficult to drive him, by attacking some of his various
prejudices:--accustomed to feel, and not to reason, his tastes and
opinions were vehement and uncontroulable.

From this society, so uncongenial to my reflecting, reasoning, mind,
I found some resource in the conversation of Mr Francis. The pride of
Montague was evidently piqued by the decided preference which I gave to
the company of his friend; but his homage, or his resentment, were alike
indifferent to me: accustomed to speak and act from my convictions,
I was but little solicitous respecting the opinion of others. My
understanding was exercised by attending to the observations of Mr
Francis, and by discussing the questions to which they led; yet it
was exercised without being gratified: he opposed and bewildered me,
convicted me of error, and harrassed me with doubt.

Mr Francis soon after prepared to return to town. I was affected at the
idea of his departure; and felt, that in losing his society, I should be
deprived of my only rational recreation, and should again be exposed to
Mrs Morton's illiberal attacks, who appeared to have marked me out for
her victim, though at present restrained by the presence of a man, who
had found means to inspire, even her, with some degree of respect.

Mr Francis, on the evening preceding the day on which he purposed
leaving Morton Park, passing under the open window of my chamber, in
which I was sitting with a book to enjoy the refreshing breeze, invited
me to come down, and accompany him in a ramble. I immediately complied
with his request, and joined him in a few minutes, with a countenance
clouded with regret at the idea of his quitting us.

'You are going,' said I, as I gave him my hand (which he passed under
his arm), 'and I lose my friend and counsellor.'

'Your concern is obliging; but you are capable of standing alone, and
your mind, by so doing, will acquire strength.'

'I feel as if this would not be the case: the world appears to me a
thorny and pathless wilderness; I step with caution, and look around me
with dread.--That I require protection and assistance is, I confess, a
proof of weakness, but it is nevertheless true.'

'Mr Montague,' replied he, with some degree of archness in his tone and
manner, 'is a gallant knight, a pattern of chivalry, and appears to be
particularly calculated for the defender of distressed damsels!'

'I have no inclination to trust myself to the guidance of one, who seems
himself entangled in an inextricable maze of error, and whose versatile
character affords little basis for confidence.'

'Tell me what it is you fear;--are your apprehensions founded in

'Recollect my youth, my sex, and my precarious situation.'

'I thought you contemned the plea of _sex_, as a sanction for weakness!'

'Though I disallow it as a natural, I admit it as an artificial, plea.'

'Explain yourself.'

'The character, you tell me, is modified by circumstances: the customs
of society, then, have enslaved, enervated, and degraded woman.'

'I understand you: there is truth in your remark, though you have given
it undue force.'

I hesitated--my heart was full--I felt as if there were many things
which I wished to say; but, however paradoxical, the manners of Mr
Francis repressed, while they invited, confidence. I respected his
reason, but I doubted whether I could inspire him with sympathy, or
make him fully comprehend my feelings. I conceived I could express
myself with more freedom on paper; but I had not courage to request a
correspondence, when he was silent on the subject. That it would be a
source of improvement to me, I could not doubt, but prejudice with-held
me from making the proposal. He looked at me, and perceived my mind
struggling with a suggestion, to which it dared not give utterance: he
suspected the truth, but was unwilling to disturb the operations of my
understanding. We walked for some time in silence:--my companion struck
into a path that led towards the house--listened to the village clock as
it struck nine--and observed, the hour grew late. He had distinguished
me, and I was flattered by that distinction; he had supported me against
the arrogance of Mrs Morton, retorted the sly sarcasms of Sarah, and
even helped to keep the impetuous Montague in awe, and obliged him to
rein in his offensive spirit, every moment on the brink of outrage. My
heart, formed for grateful attachment, taking, in one instant, a hasty
retrospect of the past, and a rapid glance into futurity, experienced at
that moment so desolating a pang, that I endeavoured in vain to repress
its sensations, and burst into a flood of tears. Mr Francis suddenly
stopped, appeared moved, and, with a benevolent aspect and soothing
accents, enquired into the cause of an emotion so sudden and unexpected.
I wept a few minutes in silence, and my spirits seemed, in some measure,

'I weep,' (said I), 'because I am _friendless_; to be esteemed and
cherished is necessary to my existence; I am an alien in the family
where I at present reside, I cannot remain here much longer, and to
whom, and whither, shall I go?'

He took my hand--'I will not, at present, say all that it might be
proper to say, because I perceive your mind is in a feeble state;--My
affairs call me to London;--yet, there is a method of conversing at a

I eagerly availed myself of this suggestion, which I had wished, without
having the courage to propose.

'Will you, then, allow me, through the medium of pen and paper, to
address, to consult you, as I may see occasion?'

'Will I? yes, most cheerfully! Propose your doubts and state your
difficulties, and we shall see,' (smiling) 'whether they admit of a

Thanking him, I engaged to avail myself of this permission, and we
proceeded slowly to the house, and joined the party in the supper room.
I never once thought of my red and swoln eyes, till Sarah, glancing a
look half curious, half sarcastic, towards me, exclaimed from
Shakespear, in an affected tone,

  'Parting is such sweet sorrow!'

Mr Francis looked at her sternly, she blushed and was silent; Mr
Montague was captious; Ann mortified, that she could not by her little
tricks gain his attention. Mrs Morton sat wrapped in mock dignity; while
Mr Morton, and his philosophic friend, canvassed the principles upon
which an horizontal mill was about to be constructed on the estate of
the former. After a short and scanty meal, I retired to my apartment,
determined to rise early the next morning, and make breakfast for my
friend before his departure.


Mr Francis had ordered his horse to be ready at five o'clock. I left
my chamber at four, to have the pleasure of preparing for him the last
friendly repast, and of saying _farewel_. He was serene and chearful as
usual, I somewhat more pensive; we parted with great cordiality, he
gave me his address in town, and engaged me to write to him shortly.
I accompanied him through the Park to the porter's lodge, where the
servant and horses waited his coming. My eyes glistened as I bade him
adieu, and reiterated my wishes for his safety and prosperity, while his
features softened into a more than usual benignity, as he returned my

I wandered thoughtfully back towards the house, but the rich purple
that began to illumine the east, the harbinger of the rising sun, the
freshness of the morning air, the soft dews which already glittered on
every fragrant plant and flower, the solemn stillness, so grateful to
the reflecting mind, that pervaded the scene, induced me to prolong my
walk. Every object appeared in unison with my feelings, my heart swelled
with devotional affections, it aspired to the Author of nature. After
having bewildered ourselves amid systems and theories, religion, in such
situations, returns to the susceptible mind as a _sentiment_ rather than
as a principle. A passing cloud let fall a gentle, drizzling shower;
sheltered beneath the leafy umbrage of a spreading oak, I rather heard
than felt it; yet, the coolness it diffused seemed to quench those
ardent emotions, which are but too congenial with my disposition, while
the tumult of the passions subsided into a delicious tranquillity.

How mutable are human beings!--A very few hours converted this sublime
complacency into perturbation and tumult. Having extended my walk beyond
its accustomed limits, on my return, I retired, somewhat fatigued to my
apartment, and devoted the morning to my studies. At the dinner hour
I joined the family, each individual of which seemed wrapped up in
reserve, scarcely deigning to practise the common ceremonies of the
occasion. I was not sufficiently interested in the cause of these
appearances to make any enquiries, and willingly resigned myself, in
the intervals of the entertainment, to meditation.

When the table was cleared, and the servants had withdrawn, perceiving
the party not sociably inclined, I was about to retire--when Mrs Morton
observed, with features full of a meaning which I did not comprehend,

'Their guest, Mr Francis, had, no doubt, left Morton Park gratefully
impressed by the _kindness_ of Miss Courtney.'

Montague reddened--bit his lips--got up--and sat down again. The young
ladies wore an air not perfectly good-humoured, and a little triumphant.
Mr Morton looked very solemn.

'I hope so, Madam,' I replied, somewhat carelessly. 'I felt myself
indebted to Mr Francis for his civilities, and was solicitous to make
him all the return in my power--I wish that power had been enlarged.'

She held up her hands and eyes with an affected, and ridiculous,

'Mr Francis,' said Montague, abruptly, 'is very happy in having inspired
you with sentiments _so partial_.'

'I am not partial--I am merely just. Mr Francis appeared to me a
rational man, and my understanding was exercised and gratified by his

I was about to proceed, but my uncle (who seemed to have been tutored
for the occasion) interrupted me with much gravity.

'You are but little acquainted, Emma, with the customs of society; there
is great indecorum in a young lady's making these distinctions.'

'What distinctions, my dear Sir!--in prefering a reasonable man to fools
and coxcombs.'

'Forgive me, my dear--you have a quick wit, but you want experience. I
am informed, that you breakfasted with Mr Francis this morning, and
attended him through the Park:--this, with your late walk yesterday
evening, and evident emotion on your return, let me tell you, child,
wears an indecorous appearance:--the world is justly attentive to the
conduct of young women, and too apt to be censorious.'

I looked round me with unaffected surprize--'Good God!--did I suppose,
in this family, it was necessary to be upon my guard against malicious

'Pray,'--interrupted Sarah, pertly--'would you not have expressed some
surprize, had I shewed Mr Montague similar attentions?'

I looked at her, I believe, a little too contemptuously.--'Whatever
sentiments might have been excited in my mind by the attentions of Miss
Morton to Mr Montague, _surprize_, assuredly, would not have been among

She coloured, and Montague's passions began to rise. I stopped him at
the beginning of an impertinent harangue, by observing--

'That I did not think myself accountable to him for my conduct;--before
I should be solicitous respecting his opinions, he must give me better
reasons, than he had hitherto done, to respect his judgment.'

Ann wept, and prattled something, to which nobody thought it worth while
to attend.

'Well, Sir,' continued I, turning to Mr Morton, 'be pleased to give me,
in detail, what you have to alledge, that I may be enabled to justify

'Will you allow me to ask you a question?'

'Most certainly.'

'Has Mr Francis engaged you to correspond with him?'

I was silent a few moments.

'You hesitate!'

'Only, Sir, _how_ to answer your question.--I certainly intend myself
the pleasure of addressing Mr Francis on paper; but I cannot strictly
say _he engaged_ me so to do, as it was a proposal he was led to make,
by conjecturing my wishes on the subject.'

Again, Mrs Morton, with uplifted hands and eyes--'What effrontery!'

I seemed not to hear her.--'Have you any thing more to say, my dear

'You are a strange girl. It would not, perhaps, be proper before this
company to enquire'--and he stopped.

'Any thing is proper, Sir, to enquire of me, and in any company--I have
no reserves, no secrets.'

'Well, then, I think it necessary to inform you, that, though a
sensible, well educated, liberal-minded, man, Mr Francis has neither
estate nor fortune, nor does he practise any lucrative profession.'

'I am sorry for it, on his own account; and for those whom his
generosity might benefit. But, what is it to me?'

'You affect to misunderstand me.'

'I _affect_ nothing.'

'I will speak more plainly:--Has he made you any proposals?'

The purport of this solemn, but ludicrous, preparation, at once flashed
upon my mind, the first time the thought had ever occurred. I laughed--I
could not help it.

'I considered Mr Francis as a _philosopher_, and not as a _lover_. Does
this satisfy you, Sir?'

My uncle's features, in spite of himself, relaxed into a half-smile.

'Very platonic--sweet simplicity!'--drauled out Mrs Morton, in ironical

'I will not be insulted, Mr Morton!' quitting my seat, and rising in
temper.--'I consider myself, merely, as your visitant, and not as
responsible to any one for my actions. Conscious of purity of intention,
and superior to all disguise or evasion, I was not aware of these
feminine, indelicate, unfriendly suggestions. If this behaviour be a
specimen of what I am to expect in the world--the world may do its
will--but I will never be its slave: while I have strength of mind
to form principles, and courage to act upon them, I am determined to
preserve my freedom, and trust to the general candour and good sense
of mankind to appreciate me justly. As the brother of my late father,
and as entitled to respect from your own kind intentions, I am
willing to enter into any explanations, which _you_, _Sir_, may think
necessary:--neither my motives, nor my actions, have ever yet shrunk
from investigation. Will you permit me to attend you in your library? It
is not my intention to intrude longer on your hospitality, and I could
wish to avail myself of your experience and counsels respecting my
future destination.'

Mr Morton, at my request, withdrew with me into the library, where I
quickly removed from his mind those injurious suspicions with which Mrs
Morton had laboured to inspire him. He would not hear of my removal from
the Park--apologized for what had passed--assured me of his friendship
and protection--and entreated me to consider his house as my home. There
was an honest warmth and sincerity in his manner, that sensibly affected
me; I could have wept; and I engaged, at his repeated request, not to
think, at present, of withdrawing myself from his protection. Thus we

How were the virtues of this really good man tarnished by an unsuitable
connection! In the giddy hours of youth, we thoughtlessly rush into
engagements, that fetter our minds, and affect our future characters,
without reflecting on the important consequences of our conduct. This is
a subject on which I have had occasion to reflect deeply; yet, alas! my
own boasted reason has been, but too often, the dupe of my imagination.


Nothing, here, occupied my heart--a heart to which it was necessary to
love and admire. I had suffered myself to be irritated--the tumult of my
spirits did not easily subside--I was mortified at the reflection--I had
believed myself armed with patience and fortitude, but my philosophy was
swept before the impetuous emotions of my passions like chaff before the
whirlwind. I took up my pen to calm my spirits, and addressed myself to
the man who had been, unconsciously, the occasion of these vexations.--My
swelling heart needed the relief of communication.


      'I Sought earnestly for the privilege of addressing you on
      paper. My mind seemed to overflow with a thousand
      sentiments, that I had not the courage to express in words;
      but now, when the period is arrived, that I can take up my
      pen, unawed by your penetrating glance, unchecked by your
      poignant reply, and pour out my spirit before you, I feel
      as if its emotions were too wayward, too visionary, too
      contradictory, to merit your attention.

      'Every thing I see and hear is a disappointment to
      me:--brought up in retirement--conversing only with
      books--dwelling with ardour on the great characters, and
      heroic actions, of antiquity, all my ideas of honour and
      distinction were associated with those of virtue and
      talents. I conceived, that the pursuit of truth, and the
      advancement of reason, were the grand objects of universal
      attention, and I panted to do homage to those superior
      minds, who, teaching mankind to be wise, would at length
      lead them to happiness. Accustomed to think, to feel, to
      kindle into action, I am at a loss to understand the
      distinction between theory and practice, which every one
      seems eager to inculcate, as if the degrading and melancholy
      intelligence, which fills my soul with despondency, and
      pervades my understanding with gloom, was to them a subject
      of exultation.

      'Is virtue, then, a chimera--does it exist only in the
      regions of romance?--Have we any interest in finding our
      fellow creatures weak and miserable?--Is the Being who
      formed them unjust, capricious, impotent, or tyrannical?

      'Answer these questions, that press heavily on my mind, that
      dart across it, in its brightest moments, clouding its
      sun-shine with a thick and impenetrable darkness. Must the
      benevolent emotions, which I have hitherto delighted to
      cherish, turn into misanthropy--must the fervent and social
      affections of my heart give place to inanity, to
      apathy--must the activity of a curious and vigorous mind
      sink into torpor and abhorred vacuity?

      'While they teach me to distrust the existence of virtue,
      they endeavour to impose on me, in its stead, a fictitious
      semblance; and to substitute, for the pure gold of truth, a
      paltry tinsel. It is in vain I ask--what have those to do
      with "_seeming_," who still retain "that which _passeth
      shew_?" However my actions may be corrupted by the
      contagious example of the world, may I still hold fast my
      integrity, and disdain to wear the _appearance_ of virtue,
      when the substance shall no longer exist.

      'To admire, to esteem, to love, are congenial to my
      nature--I am unhappy, because these affections are not
      called into exercise. To venerate abstract perfection,
      requires too vigorous an exertion of the mental powers--I
      would see virtue exemplified, I would love it in my fellow
      creatures--I would catch the glorious enthusiasm, and rise
      from created to uncreated excellence.

      'I am perplexed with doubts; relieve the wanderings of my
      mind, solve the difficulties by which it is agitated,
      prepare me for the world which is before me. The prospect,
      no longer beaming with light, no longer glowing with a
      thousand vivid hues, is overspread with mists, which the
      mind's eye vainly attempts to penetrate. I would feel,
      again, the value of existence, the worth of rectitude, the
      certainty of truth, the blessing of hope! Ah! tell me
      not--that the gay expectations of youth have been the
      meteors of fancy, the visions of a romantic and distempered
      imagination! If I must not live to realize them, I would not
      live at all.

      'My harrassed mind turns to you! You will not ridicule its
      scruples--you will, at least, deign to reason with me, and,
      in the exercise of my understanding, I shall experience a
      temporary relief from the sensations which devour me, the
      suspicions that distress me, and which spread over futurity
      a fearful veil.


I walked to the next market town, and left my letter at the post-house,--I
waited impatiently for a reply; my mind wanted _impression_, and sunk
into languor. The answer, which arrived in a few days, was kind, because
it was prompt, my sickly mind required a speedy remedy.


      'Why will you thus take things in masses, and continually
      dwell in extremes? You deceive yourself; instead of
      cultivating your reason, you are fostering an excessive
      sensibility, a fastidious delicacy. It is the business of
      reason to compare, to separate, to discriminate. Is there no
      medium--extraordinary exertions are only called forth by
      extraordinary contingences;--because every human being is
      not a hero, are we then to distrust the existence of virtue?

      'The mind is modified by the circumstances in which it
      is placed, by the accidents of birth and education; the
      constitutions of society are all, as yet, imperfect; they
      have generated, and perpetuated, many mistakes--the
      consequences of those mistakes will, eventually, carry with
      them their antidote, the seeds of reproduction are, even,
      visible in their decay. The growth of reason is slow,
      but not the less sure; the increase of knowledge must
      necessarily prepare the way for the increase of virtue and

      'Look back upon the early periods of society, and, taking
      a retrospective view of what has been done, amidst the
      interruptions of barbarous inroads, falling empires, and
      palsying despotism, calculate what yet may be achieved:
      while the causes, which have hitherto impeded the progress
      of civilization, must continue to decrease, in an
      accelerated ration, with the wide, and still wider,
      diffusion of truth.

      'We may trace most of the faults, and the miseries of
      mankind, to the vices and errors of political institutions,
      their permanency having been their radical defect. Like
      children, we have dreamt, that what gratifies our desires,
      or contributes to our convenience, to-day, will prove
      equally useful and satisfactory to-morrow, without
      reflecting on the growth of the body, the change of humours,
      the new objects, and the new situations, which every
      succeeding hour brings in its train. That immutability,
      which constitutes the perfection of what we (from the
      poverty of language) term the _divine mind_, would
      inevitably be the bane of creatures liable to error; it is
      of the constancy, rather than of the fickleness, of human
      beings, that we have reason to complain.

      'Every improvement must be the result of successive
      experiments, this has been found true in natural science,
      and it must be universally applied to be universally
      beneficial. Bigotry, whether religious, political, moral, or
      commercial, is the canker-worm at the root of the tree of
      knowledge and of virtue. The wildest speculations are less
      mischievous than the torpid state of error: he, who tamely
      resigns his understanding to the guidance of another,
      sinks at once, from the dignity of a rational being, to a
      mechanical puppet, moved at pleasure on the wires of the
      artful operator.--_Imposition_ is the principle and support
      of every varied description of tyranny, whether civil or
      ecclesiastical, moral or mental; its baneful consequence is
      to degrade both him who is imposed on, and him who imposes.
      _Obedience_, is a word, which ought never to have had
      existence: as we recede from conviction, and languidly
      resign ourselves to any foreign authority, we quench the
      principle of action, of virtue, of reason;--we bear about
      the semblance of humanity, but the spirit is fled.

      'These are truths, which will slowly, but ultimately,
      prevail; in the splendour of which, the whole fabric of
      superstition will gradually fade and melt away. The world,
      like every individual, has its progress from infancy to
      maturity--How many follies do we commit in childhood? how
      many errors are we precipitated into by the fervour and
      inexperience of youth! Is not every stable principle
      acquired through innumerable mistakes--can you wonder, that
      in society, amidst the aggregate of jarring interests and
      passions, reformation is so tardy? Though civilization has
      been impeded by innumerable obstacles, even these help to
      carry on the great work: empires may be overturned, and the
      arts scattered, but not lost. The hordes of barbarians,
      which overwhelmed ancient Rome, adopted at length the
      religion, the laws, and the improvements of the vanquished,
      as Rome had before done those of Greece. As the stone,
      which, thrown into the water, spreads circles still more
      and more extended;--or (to adopt the gospel similitude) as
      the grain of mustard seed, growing up into a large tree,
      shelters the fowls of heaven in its branches--so will
      knowledge, at length, diffuse itself, till it covers the
      whole earth.

      'When the minds of men are changed, the system of things
      will also change; but these changes, though active and
      incessant, must be gradual. Reason will fall softly,
      and almost imperceptibly, like a gentle shower of dews,
      fructifying the soil, and preparing it for future harvests.
      Let us not resemble the ambitious shepherd, who, calling for
      the accumulated waters of the Nile upon his lands, was, with
      his flock, swept away in the impetuous torrent.

      'You ask, whether--because human beings are still
      imperfect--you are to resign your benevolence, and to
      cherish misanthropy? What a question! Would you hate the
      inhabitants of an hospital for being infected with a
      pestilential disorder? Let us remember, that vice originates
      in mistakes of the understanding, and that, he who seeks
      happiness by means contradictory and destructive, _is
      emphatically the sinner_. Our duties, then, are obvious--If
      selfish and violent passions have been generated by the
      inequalities of society, we must labour to counteract them,
      by endeavouring to combat prejudice, to expand the mind,
      to give comprehensive views, to teach mankind their true
      interest, and to lead them to habits of goodness and
      greatness. Every prejudice conquered, every mistake
      rectified, every individual improved, is an advance upon the
      great scale of virtue and happiness.

      'Let it, then, be your noblest ambition to co-operate with,
      to join your efforts, to those of philosophers and sages,
      the benefactors of mankind. To waste our time in useless
      repinings is equally weak and vain; every one in his sphere
      may do something; each has a little circle where his
      influence will be availing. Correct your own errors, which
      are various--weeds in a luxuriant soil--and you will have
      done something towards the general reformation. But you are
      able to do more;--be vigilant, be active, beware of the
      illusions of fancy! I suspect, that you will have much to
      suffer--may you, at length, reap the fruits of a wholesome,
      though it should be a bitter, experience.

                                                  '---- FRANCIS.'

I perused the letter, I had received, again and again; it awakened a
train of interesting reflections, and my spirits became tranquillized.


Early one fine morning, Ann tapped gently at the door of my chamber; I
had already risen, and invited her to enter.

'Would I accompany her to breakfast, with a widow lady, who resided in a
village about two miles from Morton Park, an occasional visitant in the
family, a lady with whom, she was certain, I should be charmed.'

I smiled at her ardour, thanked her for her kindness, and readily agreed
to her proposal. We strolled together through an adjacent wood, which,
by a shady and winding path, conducted us towards the residence of this
vaunted favourite of my little companion.

On our way, she entertained me with a slight sketch of the history of
Mrs Harley and her family. She was the widow of a merchant, who was
supposed to possess great property; but, practising occasionally as an
underwriter, a considerable capture by the enemy (during war time) of
some rich ships, reduced his fortune; and, by the consequent anxiety,
completely destroyed a before debilitated constitution. He died in a few
weeks after the confirmation of his loss, and, having neglected to make
a will, a freehold estate of some value, which was all that remained of
his effects, devolved of course to his eldest son; his two younger sons
and three daughters being left wholly unprovided for. Augustus Harley,
the heir, immediately sold the estate, and divided the produce, in equal
shares, between each individual of the family. His brothers had been
educated for commerce, and were enabled, through the generous kindness
of Augustus, to carry on, with advantage and reputation, their
respective occupations; the sisters were, soon after, eligibly married.
Augustus, who had been educated for the law, disgusted with its
chicanery, relinquished the profession, content to restrain his expences
within the limits of a narrow income. This income had since received an
increase, by the bequest of a distant relation, a man of a whimsical
character, who had married, early in life, a beautiful woman, for love;
but his wife having eloped from him with an officer, and, in the course
of the intrigue, practised a variety of deceptions, he had retired
disgusted from society, cherishing a misanthropical spirit: and, on his
decease, bequeathed an annual sum of four hundred pounds to Augustus
Harley (to whom in his childhood he had been particularly attached) on
condition of his remaining unmarried. On his marriage, or death, this
legacy passed into another branch of the family. On this acquisition
Augustus determined on making the tour of Europe; and, after travelling
on the continent for three years, on his return to his native country,
alternately resided, either in the village of----, with his mother, or
in the metropolis, where he divided his time, between liberal studies,
and rational recreation. His visits to the country had, of late,
been shorter and less frequent: he was the idol of his mother, and
universally respected by his acquaintance, for his noble and generous
conduct.--'Ah!' (added the lively narrator) 'could you but see Augustus
Harley, you would, infallibly, lose your heart--so frank, so pleasant,
so ingenuous are his manners, so intrepid, and yet so humane! Montague
is a fine gentleman, but Augustus Harley is more--_he is a man!_'

She began to grow eloquent on this, apparently, exhaustless theme, nor
did she cease her panegyric till we came in view of Mrs Harley's

'You will love the mother as well as the son,' continued this agreeable
prattler, 'when you come to know her; she is very good and very

Drawing near the house, she tripped from me, to enquire if its mistress
had yet risen.

A small white tenement, half obscured in shrubbery, on a verdant lawn,
of dimensions equally modest, situated on the side of a hill, and
commanding an extensive and variegated prospect, was too interesting
and picturesque an object, not to engage for some moments my attention.
The image of Augustus, also, which my lively companion had pourtrayed
with more than her usual vivacity, played in my fancy--my heart paid
involuntary homage to virtue, and I entered the mansion of Mrs Harley
with a swelling emotion, made up of complicated feelings--half
respectful, half tender--sentiments, too mingled to be distinctly
traced. I was introduced into a room that overlooked a pleasant garden,
and which the servant called a library. It was hung with green paper,
the carpet the same colour, green venetian blinds to the windows, a
sopha and chairs covered with white dimity; some drawings and engravings
hung on the walls, arranged with exact symmetry; on one side of the room
stood a grand piano-forte, opposite to which, was a handsome book-case,
filled with books, elegantly bound; in the middle of the apartment was
placed a table, covered with a green cloth, on which was a reading desk,
some books and pamphlets, with implements for writing and drawing.
Nothing seemed costly, yet neatness, order, and taste, appeared through
the whole apartment, bespeaking the elegant and cultivated mind of the

After amusing myself for a short time, in this charming retirement, I
was summoned by Ann to the breakfast room, where Mrs Harley awaited
me. I was interested, at the first glance, in favour of this amiable
woman--she appeared to be near fifty, her person agreeable, her
countenance animated, her address engaging, and her manners polished.
Mutually pleased with each other, the hours passed rapidly; and, till
reminded by a significant look from my little friend, I was unconscious,
that I had made my visit of an unreasonable length.

Mrs Harley spoke much of her son, he was the darling and the pride of
her heart; she lamented the distance that separated them, and wished,
that her health, and his tenderness, would allow of her residence with
him in London. When conversing on this favourite topic, a glow enlivened
her countenance, and her eyes sparkled with a humid brightness. I
was affected by her maternal love--tender remembrances, and painful
comparisons, crouded into my mind--a tear fell, that would not be
twinkled away--she observed it, and seemed to feel its meaning; she held
out her hand to me, I took it and pressed it to my lips. At parting,
she entreated me speedily to renew my visit, to come often without
ceremony--I should cheer her solitude--my sympathy, for she perceived I
had a feeling heart, would help to console her in the absence of her


On our way home, Ann was in high spirits, congratulating herself upon
her sagacity.

'Mrs Harley,' (said she, archly leering in my face) 'will console you
for the departure of Mr Francis.'

I smiled without replying. At dinner our visit of the morning was
canvassed (Ann had wished me to conceal it, but this I positively
refused). Mr Morton spoke of Mrs Harley and her son with great respect,
Mrs Morton with a sarcastic sneer, accompanied with a reprimand to her
daughter, for the improper liberty she had taken.

I quitted the table, immediately after the desert, to stifle my disgust,
and, taking a book, wandered into the pleasure grounds, but incapable of
fixing my attention, I presently shut my book, and, sauntering slowly
on, indulged in a reverie. My melancholy reflections again returned--How
could I remain in a house, where I was every day marked out for insult
by its mistress--and where was I to dispose of myself? My fortune was
insufficient to allow of my boarding in a respectable family. Mrs Harley
came across my mind--Amiable woman!--Would she, indeed, accept of my
society, and allow me to soften her solitude!--But her income was little
less limited than my own--it must not be thought of. I reflected on the
inequalities of society, the source of every misery and of every vice,
and on the peculiar disadvantages of my sex. I sighed bitterly; and,
clasping my hands together, exclaimed, unconsciously--

'Whither can I go--and where shall I find an asylum?'

'Allow me to propose one,' said a voice, in a soft accent, suddenly,
behind me.

I started, turned, and beheld Mr Montague. After some expressions of
sympathy for the distress which he had witnessed, apologies for his
intrusion, and incoherent expressions of respect and regard, he somewhat
abruptly offered his hand and heart to my acceptance, with the impetuosity
which accompanied all his sentiments and actions; yet, he expressed
himself with the air of a man who believes he is conferring an obligation.
I thanked him for his generous proposal--

But, as my heart spake not in his favour--'I must be allowed to decline

'That heart,' said he, rudely, 'is already bestowed upon another.'

'Certainly not, Mr Montague; if it were, I would frankly tell you.'

He pronounced the name of Mr Francis--

'Mr Francis is a man for whom I feel a sincere respect and veneration--a
man whom I should be proud to call my friend; but a thought beyond that,
I dare venture to say, has never occurred to either of us.'

He knew not how to conceive--that a woman in my situation, unprepossessed,
could reject so advantageous an establishment!

This, I told him, was indelicate, both to me and to himself. Were my
situation yet more desolate, I would not marry any man, merely for an
_establishment_, for whom I did not feel an affection.

Would I please to describe to him the model of perfection which I should
require in a husband?

It was unnecessary; as I saw no probability of the portrait bearing any
resemblance to himself.

He reddened, and turned pale, alternately; bit his lips, and muttered to
himself.--'Damned romantic affectation!'

I assumed a firmer tone--methought he insulted me.--'I beg you will
leave me, Sir--I chuse to be alone--By what right do you intrude upon my

My determined accent abashed him:--he tried, but with an ill grace, to
be humble; and entreated me to take time for consideration.

'There is no need of it. It is a principle with me, not to inflict a
moment's suspence on any human being, when my own mind is decided.'

'Then you absolutely refuse me, and prefer the being exposed to the mean
and envious insults of the vulgar mistress of this mansion!'

'Of the two evils, I consider it as the least, because it involves no
permanent obligation.'

His countenance was convulsed with passion. His love, he told me, was
converted into vengeance by my scorn: he was not to be contemned with
impunity; and he warned me to beware.

I smiled, I believe, a little too contemptuously. 'You love me not, Sir;
I am glad, for your own sake, that you never loved me.'

'My hatred may be more terrible!'

'You cannot intimidate me--I am little accustomed to fear.'

I turned from him somewhat disdainfully: but, instantly recollecting
myself, I stepped back, and apologized for the harsh manner into which I
had been betrayed by his abrupt address, vehement expostulation, and the
previous irritated state of my mind.

'I acknowledge,' said I, 'the disinterestedness of your proposal, and
the _distinction_ which it implies. Will you allow my own wounded
feelings to be an excuse for the too little consideration with which I
have treated _your's_? Can you forgive me?' added I, in a conciliating
tone, holding out my hand.

The strong emotions, which rapidly succeeded each other in his mind,
were painted in his countenance. After a moment's hesitation, he
snatched the hand I offered him, pressed it to his lips, and, murmuring
a few incoherent words, burst into tears. My spirits were already
depressed--affected by these marks of his sensibility, and still more
distressed by the recollection of the pain I had occasioned him by my
inconsiderate behaviour, I wept with him for some minutes in silence.

'Let us no more,' resumed I, making an effort to recover myself, 'renew
these impressions. I thank you sincerely for the sympathy you have
manifested for my situation. I am sensible that I have yielded to weak
and wayward feelings.--I have youth, health, and activity--I ought
not--neither do I despair.--The mortifications I have experienced, since
my residence here, will afford me a useful lesson for the future--they
have already taught me, what I before merely conjectured, _the value of

'Why, then,' interrupted he with quickness, 'do you reject an opportunity
of placing yourself out of the reach of insult?'

'Stop, my good friend,' replied I, smilingly looking in his face; 'there
is a possibility of exchanging evils. You are yet too young, and too
unstable, maturely to have weighed the importance of the scheme you
propose. Remember, likewise, that you are, yourself, in a great measure,
dependent on the will of your father; and that much reflection is
requisite before we fetter ourselves with engagements, that, once
entered into, are not easily dissolved.'

'You allow me, then, to hope!'

'Indeed I meant not to imply any such thing. I wish to soften what I
have already expressed--but, there are a variety of reasons which oblige
me to assure you, that I see no probability of changing my sentiments on
the subject.'

'Why, then, this cruel ostentation? I would either love or hate, bless
or curse you.'

'You shall do neither, if I can prevent it. If my esteem is of any value
to you, you must learn to respect both me and yourself.'

'Esteem!--Is that to be my frigid reward!'

'If _mine_ be worthless, propose to yourself _your own_ as a

'I have already forfeited it, by seeking to move a heart, that triumphs
in its cold inflexibility.'

'Is this just--is it kind? Is it, indeed, _my welfare_ you seek, while
you can thus add to the vexations and embarrassment, which were before
sufficiently oppressive? I would preserve you from an act of precipitation
and imprudence;--in return, you load me with unmerited reproaches. But
it is time to put an end to a conversation, that can answer little other
purpose than vain recrimination.'

He was about to speak--'Say no more--I feel myself, again, in danger
of losing my temper--my spirits are agitated--I would not give you
pain--Allow me to retire, and be assured of my best wishes.'

Some of the family appearing in sight, as if advancing towards us,
favoured my retreat. I quitted the place with precipitation, and retired
to my chamber, where I sought, by employing myself, to calm the
perturbation of my heart.


In a few days I renewed my visit to Mrs Harley:--a strong sympathy
united us, and we became almost inseparable. Every day I discovered in
this admirable woman a new and indissoluble tie, that bound me to
her. Her cultivated understanding afforded an inexhaustible fund of
instruction and entertainment; and her affectionate heart spread a charm
over her most indifferent actions. We read, we walked, we conversed
together; but, with whatever subjects these conversations commenced,
some associated idea always led them to terminate in an eulogium on the
virtues and talents, or an expression of regret, for the absence of
Augustus. There was a portrait of him (drawn by a celebrated artist,
which he had lately sent from town as a present to his mother) hung up
in the library. I accustomed myself to gaze on this resemblance of a
man, in whose character I felt so lively an interest, till, I fancied,
I read in the features all the qualities imputed to the original by a
tender and partial parent.

Cut off from the society of mankind, and unable to expound my
sensations, all the strong affections of my soul seemed concentrated to
a single point. Without being conscious of it, my grateful love for Mrs
Harley had, already, by a transition easy to be traced by a philosophic
mind, transferred itself to her son. He was the St Preux, the Emilius of
my sleeping and waking reveries. I now spent almost my whole time in the
cottage of my friend, returning to Morton Park late in the evening, and
quitting it early in the morning, and sometimes being wholly absent for
weeks together.

Six months thus passed away in tranquillity, with but little variation.
Mr Montague, during this period, had several times left Mr Morton's, and
returned again abruptly: his manners became sullen, and even, at times,
ferocious. I carefully avoided encountering him, fearful of exasperating
a spirit, that appeared every moment on the verge of excess.

Hastening one evening to my friend, after a longer separation than
common, (having been prevailed on by Mr Morton and his daughters to
accompany them on a distant visit, where business of Mr Morton's
detained us for some days) I ran into the library, as usual, and threw
myself into the arms of Mrs Harley, that opened spontaneously to receive

'Ah! you little truant,' said she, in a voice of kindness, 'where have
you been so long? My son has visited me in your absence; he passed
through this part of the country, in his way to the seat of a friend.
He staid with me two days, during which I sent half a dozen messages to
Morton Park, but you were flown away, it seems, nor could I learn any
tidings of you. Augustus,' continued she, without observing the emotions
she excited, 'had scarcely quitted the house an hour when you arrived.'

I made no reply; an unaccountable sensation seized, and oppressed, my
heart--sinking on the sopha, I burst into a convulsive flood of tears.

My friend was struck: all the indiscretion of her conduct (as she
has since told me) flashed suddenly into her mind; she felt that, in
indulging her own maternal sensations, she had, perhaps, done me an
irreparable injury, and she shuddered at the probable consequences. It
was some moments before either of us recovered;--our conversation was
that evening, for the first time, constrained, reserved, and painful;
and we retired at an early hour to our respective apartments.

I spent the night in self-examination. I was compelled to acknowledge,
to myself, that solitude, the absence of other impressions, the previous
circumstances that had operated on my character, my friendship for Mrs
Harley, and her eloquent, affectionate, reiterated, praises of her son,
had combined to awaken all the exquisite, though dormant, sensibilities
of my nature; and, however romantic it might appear to others, and did
appear even to myself, I felt, that I loved an ideal object (for such
was Augustus Harley to me) with a tender and fervent excess; an excess,
perhaps, involving all my future usefulness and welfare. 'People, in
general,' says Rousseau, 'do not sufficiently consider the influence
which the first attachments, between man and woman, have over the
remainder of their lives; they do not perceive, that an impression so
strong, and so lively, as that of love, is productive of a long chain of
effects, which pass unobserved in a course of years, yet, nevertheless,
continue to operate till the day of their deaths.' It was in vain I
attempted to combat this illusion; my reason was but an auxiliary to
my passion, it persuaded me, that I was only doing justice to high
and uncommon worth; imagination lent her aid, and an importunate
sensibility, panting after good unalloyed, completed the seduction.

From this period Mrs Harley was more guarded in her conduct; she
carefully avoided the mention of her son.--Under pretence of having an
alteration made in the frame, she removed his picture from the library;
but the constraint she put upon herself was too evident and painful;
we no longer sought, with equal ardour, an interchange of sentiment,
reserve took place of the tender confidence of friendship; a thousand
times, while I gazed upon her dear averted countenance, I yearned to
throw myself upon her bosom, to weep, to unfold to her the inmost
recesses of my mind--that ingenuous mind, which languished for
communication, and preyed upon itself! Dear and cruel friend, why did
you transfix my heart with the barbed and envenomed arrow, and then
refuse to administer the only healing balsam?

My visits to Mrs Harley became less frequent; I shut myself up whole
days in my apartment, at Morton Park, or wandered through its now
leafless groves, absorbed in meditation--fostering the sickly
sensibility of my soul, and nursing wild, improbable, chimerical,
visions of felicity, that, touched by the sober wand of truth, would
have 'melted into thin air.' 'The more desires I have' (observes an
acute, and profound French Philosopher[4]) 'the less ardent they are.
The torrents that divide themselves into many branches are the least
dangerous in their course. A strong passion is a solitary passion, that
concentrates all our desires within one point.'

      [Footnote 4: Helvetius.]


I had not seen my friend for many days, when, on a dark and stormy
night, in the month of January, between nine and ten o'clock, the family
at Morton Park were alarmed, by a loud and violent knocking at the hall

On opening it, a servant appeared--and a chaise, the porter having
unbolted the great gates, drew up to the door. The man delivered a note
addressed to Miss Courtney. I was unacquainted with the handwriting, and
unfolded it with trepidation. It contained but a few lines, written in a
female character, and signed with the name of a lady, who resided about
twelve miles from Morton Park, at whose house Mrs Harley sometimes made
a visit of a few days. It stated--

'That my friend was seized at the mansion of this lady with an
apoplectic fit, from which she had been restored, after some hours
of insensibility: that the physicians were apprehensive of a relapse,
and that Mrs Harley had expressed a desire of seeing Miss Courtney--A
carriage and servants were sent for her conveyance.'

Mr Morton was from home, his lady made no offer of any of her own
domestics to accompany me. Montague, who had been at the Park for some
days past, solicited permission to be my escort. I hesitated a moment,
and would willingly have declined this proposal, but he repeated and
enforced it with a vehemence, that, in the present hurried state of
my mind, I had not spirits to oppose. Shocked, alarmed, distressed, I
wrapped a shawl round me, and sprang into the chaise. Montague stepped
in after me, and seated himself by my side; the horses galloped, or
rather flew down the avenue, that led to the high road.

We travelled with great swiftness, and in uninterrupted silence for
some miles: the darkness was so thick and profound, that I could not
discover the road we took, and I began to feel very impatient to arrive
at the place of our destination. I questioned my companion respecting
his knowledge of our situation, and expressed an apprehension, that we
might possibly have missed the way. He made no reply to my interrogation,
but, starting as if from a reverie, seized my hand, while his own
trembled with a visible agitation, and began once more to urge a suit,
which I had hoped the steadiness and consistency of my conduct had
induced him entirely to relinquish.

'Is this a time, Mr Montague, for an address of this nature--do
you believe, that my favour is to be gained by these proofs of
inconsideration? Have some respect for the claims of humanity and
friendship, and, in seeking my affection, do not forfeit my esteem.'

He was about to reply, and I could perceive by the few words which he
uttered, and by the tone of his voice, that he struggled, in vain, to
rein in his quick and irascible spirit; when, in turning a sharp angle
of the road, the horses took fright at some object, indistinctly seen,
and ran precipitately down a steep hill, with a velocity that threatened
immediate destruction.

My companion, forcing open the door, seemed inclined to leap from the
carriage, but hesitated, as if unwilling to desert me in so imminent a
danger; I exhorted him to think only of providing for his own safety,
and, letting down the glasses on the side on which I sat, I resigned
myself to my fate. In springing from the chaise, by some means, Montague
entangled his coat in the step--he fell, without clearing it, and I
felt, with a horror that congealed my blood, the wheel go over him. In
a few minutes, I perceived a traveller, at the risque of his own life,
endeavouring to stop the horses--the pole of the chaise striking him
with great force, he was obliged to relinquish his humane efforts--but
this impediment occasioning the restive animals to turn out of the road,
they ran furiously up a bank, and overset the carriage. I felt it going,
and sitting, with my arms folded, close in the lower corner, fell with
it, without attempting to struggle, by which means I escaped unhurt.

The stranger, once more, came to our assistance, and, the mettle of the
horses being now pretty well exhausted, my deliverer was enabled to cut
the traces, and then hastened to extricate me from my perilous situation.
It was some time before I recovered myself sufficiently to thank him for
his humanity, and to assure him, that I had received no other injury
than from my fears. I then mentioned to him, my apprehensions for the
fate of my fellow traveller, entreating that he would return with me in
search of him. With this request he immediately complied, leaving the
horses in the care of the servants, neither of which had received any
material hurt.

We soon discovered the unfortunate Montague, lying in the road, in a
melancholy situation: the wheel had gone over one of his legs, the bone
of which was broken and splintered in a terrible manner, and, having
fainted from the pain, we were at first apprehensive that he was already
dead. Turning from this shocking spectacle, a faint sickness overspread
my heart, the stranger supported me in his arms, while a violent burst
of tears preserved me from swooning. My companion examining the body,
perceived signs of life, and, by our united efforts, sense and
recollection were soon restored.

I remained with Montague while the stranger returned to the carriage, to
enquire what damages it had received, and whether it was in a condition
to proceed to the next village, which, the postilion informed him, was
near two miles from the spot where the accident had happened, and we were,
yet, five miles from the place whither we were going. The axle-tree and
one of the hind wheels, upon examination, were found broken, the traces
had been cut in pieces, and the horses, had the chaise been in a better
condition, were so unmanageable, in consequence of their late fright,
that it would have been dangerous to have attempted putting them again
into harness.

With this intelligence, our kind friend came back to us--We held a short
consultation, on the means most proper to be adopted, and, at length it
was determined, that, after placing Montague in the carriage, where he
should be sheltered from the inclemency of the elements, and leaving him
in the charge of the servants, the traveller and myself should walk
onward to the village, and send a chaise, or litter, for the conveyance
of our unfortunate companion.

To this proposal Montague assented, at the same time, declaring it to be
his intention, to proceed directly across the country, to the house of
his father, which could not, he conjectured, be at any great distance,
and where he should be assured of meeting with greater attention, and
more skilful assistance, than at a petty inn, in a paltry village.
Having thus adjusted our plan, and, with the help of the servants,
carefully placed Montague in the chaise, we proceeded towards the


The night was tempestuous, and, though the moon was now rising, her
light was every moment obscured by dark clouds, discharging frequent
and heavy showers of rain, accompanied by furious gusts of wind. After
walking near a mile we entered upon a wide heath, which afforded no
shelter from the weather. I perceived my companion's steps began to grow
feeble, and his voice faint. The moon suddenly emerging from a thick
cloud, I observed his countenance, and methought his features seemed
familiar to me; but they were overspread by a pallid and death-like hue.
He stopped suddenly--

'I am very ill,' said he, in a tone of voice that penetrated into my
soul, 'and can proceed no further.'

He sunk upon the turf. Seating myself beside him, while his head fell
on my shoulder, I threw around him my supporting arms. His temples were
bedewed with a cold sweat, and he appeared to be in expiring agonies. A
violent sickness succeeded, followed by an hemorrhage.

'Gracious God!' I exclaimed, 'you have broken a blood vessel!'

'I fear so,' he replied. 'I have felt strangely disordered since the
blow I received from the pole of the carriage; but, till this moment, I
have not been at leisure to attend to my sensations.'

'Do not talk,' cried I, wildly; 'do not exhaust yourself.'

Again the clouds gathered; an impetuous gust of wind swept over the
heath, and the rain fell in torrents. Unconscious of what I did, I
clasped the stranger to my throbbing bosom,--the coldness of death
seemed upon him--I wrapped my shawl around him, vainly attempting
to screen him from the piercing blast. He spake not; my terrified
imagination already represented him as a lifeless corpse; I sat
motionless for some minutes, in the torpor of despair.

From this horrible situation, I was, at length, roused, by the sound
of a distant team: breathless, I listened for a few moments; I again
distinctly heard it wafted upon the wind; when, gently reclining my
charge on the grass, I started from the ground, and ran swiftly towards
the highway. The sound approached, and the clouds once more breaking,
and discovering a watery moon-light gleam, I perceived, with joy, a
waggon loaded with hay. I bounded over a part of the turf that still
separated me from the road, and accosting the driver, explained to
him, in a few words, as much of my situation as was necessary; and,
entreating his assistance, allured him by the hope of a reward.

We returned to my patient; he raised his head on my approach, and
attempted to speak; but, enjoining him silence, he took my hand, and, by
a gentle pressure, expressed his sense of my cares more eloquently than
by words. I assisted the countryman in supporting him to the road. We
prepared for him, in the waggon, a soft bed of hay, upon which we placed
him; and, resting his head on my lap, we proceeded gently to the nearest
village. On our arrival at an indifferent inn, I ordered a bed to be
immediately prepared for him, and sent a man and horse express, to the
next town, for medical assistance: at the same time, relating in brief
the accidents of the night, I dispatched a carriage for the relief of
Montague, who was conveyed, according to his wishes, to the house of his

Notwithstanding all my precautions, the moving brought on a relapse of
the alarming symptoms; the discharge of blood returned with aggravated
violence, and, when the physician arrived, there appeared in the
unfortunate sufferer but little signs of life; but by the application of
styptics and cordials he once more began to revive; and, about five in
the morning, I was prevailed on, by the joint efforts of the landlady
and the humane Dr----, to resign my seat at the bed's head to a careful
servant, and to recruit my exhausted strength by a few hours' repose.

The vivid impressions, which had so rapidly succeeded each other in my
mind, for some time kept me waking, in a state of feverish agitation;
but my harrassed spirits were at length relieved by wearied nature's
kind restorer, and I slept for four hours profoundly.

On waking, my first enquiry was after my companion, in whose state I
felt an unusual degree of interest; and I heard, with pleasure, that
the hemorrhage had not returned; that he had rested with apparent
tranquillity, and appeared revived. I dressed myself hastily, and
passed into his apartment: he faintly smiled on perceiving my approach,
and gave me his hand.--The physician had ordered him to be kept quiet,
and I would not suffer him to speak; but, contemplating more attentively
his countenance, which had the night before struck me with a confused
recollection--what were my emotions, on tracing the beloved features of
Augustus Harley! His resemblance, not only to the portrait, but to his
mother, could not, as I thought, be mistaken. A universal trembling
seized me--I hastened out of the apartment with tottering steps, and
shutting myself into my chamber, a tide of melancholy emotions gushed
upon my heart. I wept, without knowing wherefore, tears half delicious,
half agonizing! Quickly coming to myself, I returned to the chamber of
my patient, (now more tenderly endeared) which, officiating as a nurse
for five days, I never quitted, except to take necessary rest and

I had written to Mr Morton a minute account of all that happened, merely
suppressing the name of my deliverer: to this letter I received no reply;
but had the pleasure of hearing, on the return of my messenger (who was
commissioned to make enquiries), that Mrs Harley had suffered no return
of her disorder, and was daily acquiring health and strength--I feared,
yet, to acquaint her with the situation of her son; not only on the
account of her own late critical situation, but, also, lest any sudden
agitation of spirits from the arrival of his mother, might, in his
present weak state, be fatal to Augustus.

I now redoubled for him my cares and attentions: he grew hourly better;
and, when permitted to converse, expressed in lively terms his grateful
sense of my kindness. Ah! why did I misconstrue these emotions, so
natural in such circumstances--why did I flatter my heart with the
belief of a sympathy which did not, could not, exist!


As my patient began to acquire strength, I demanded of him his name
and family, that I might inform his friends of his situation. On his
answering 'Harley,' I enquired, smiling--

If he remembered hearing his mother speak of a little _Protegé_, Emma
Courtney, whom she favoured with her partial friendship?

'Oh, yes!'--and his curiosity had been strongly awakened to procure a
sight of this lady.

'Behold her, then, in your nurse!'

'Is it possible!' he exclaimed, taking my hand, and pressing it with his
lips--'My sister!--my friend!--how shall I ever pay the debt I owe you?'

'We will settle that matter another time; but it is now become proper
that I should inform your excellent mother of what has happened, which I
have hitherto delayed, lest surprise should be prejudicial to you, and
retard your recovery.'

I then recounted to him the particulars of the late occurrences, of
which he had before but a confused notion; adding my surprise, that I
had neither seen, nor heard, any thing from Mr Morton.

He informed me, in his turn, that, having received an express, informing
him of his mother's alarming situation, he immediately quitted the seat
of his friend, where he was on a visit, to hasten to her; that, for this
purpose, riding late, he by some means bewildered himself through the
darkness of the evening, by which mistake he encountered our chaise, and
he hoped was, in some measure, notwithstanding the accidents which ensued,
accessary to my preservation.

I quitted him to write to my friend, whom I, at length, judged it
necessary to acquaint with his situation. On the receipt of my letter,
she flew to us on the wings of maternal tenderness--folded her beloved
Augustus, and myself, alternately to her affectionate bosom, calling us
'her children--her darling children!--I was her guardian angel--_the
preserver of her son!_--and _he_ only could repay my goodness!' I
ventured to raise my eyes to him--they met his--mine were humid with
tears of tenderness: a cloud passed over his brow--he entreated his
mother to restrain her transports--he was yet too enfeebled to bear
these emotions. She recollected herself in an instant; and, after again
embracing him, leaning on my arm, walked out into the air, to relieve
the tumultuous sensations that pressed upon her heart.

Once more she made me recite, minutely, the late events--strained me in
her arms, repeatedly calling me--

'Her beloved daughter--the meritorious child of her affections--the
preserver of her Augustus!'

Every word she uttered sunk deep into my soul, that greedily absorbed
the delicious poison, prepared for me by the cruel hand of more than
maternal fondness.

I mentioned to her my having written to Mr Morton, and my astonishment
at his silence.

He had not yet returned, she informed me, to Morton Park; and intimated,
that some malicious stories, respecting my sudden disappearance, had
been circulated by Mrs Morton through the neighbourhood. She had herself
been under extreme solicitude on my account. It was generally believed,
from the turn Mrs Morton's malice had given to the affair, that I had
eloped with Mr Montague:--the accident which had befallen him had been
rumoured; but the circumstances, and the occasion of it, had been
variously related. Confiding in my principles, she had waited with
anxiety for the elucidation of these mysterious accounts; lamenting
herself as the innocent occasion of them, yet assured they would,
eventually, prove to my honour. She commended the magnanimity, which her
partial friendship imputed to my behaviour, with all the enthusiasm of
affection, and execrated the baseness of Mrs Morton, who, having
received my letter, must have been acquainted with the real truth.

Her narration gave me many complicated, and painful, sensations; but the
good opinion of the world, however desirable it may be, as connected
with our utility, has ever been with me but a secondary consideration.
Confiding in the rectitude of my own conduct, I composed my spirits;
depending on that rectitude, and time, for removing the malignant
aspersions which at present clouded my fame. The tale of slander, the
basis of which is falsehood, will quietly wear away; and should it
not--how unfounded, frequently, are the censures of the world--how
confused its judgments! I entreated my friend to say nothing, at
present, to her son on this subject; it was yet of importance that his
mind should be kept still and tranquil.

We rejoined Augustus at the dinner hour, and spent the day together in
harmony and friendship. The physician calling in the evening, Mrs Harley
consulted him, whether it would be safe to remove her son, as she was
impatient to have him under her own roof. To this the doctor made no
objection, provided he was conveyed in an easy carriage, and by short
stages. On Mrs Harley's thanking him for his polite and humane attention
to his patient, smilingly pointing to me, he replied--'Her thanks were
misplaced.' His look was arch and significant; it called a glow into
my cheeks. I ventured, once more, to steal a glance at Augustus: his
features were again overspread with a more than usual seriousness, while
his eyes seemed designedly averted. Mrs Harley sighed, and, abruptly
changing the subject, asked the physician an indifferent question, who
soon after took his leave.


In a few days we returned to the peaceful mansion of my maternal friend.
Augustus seemed revived by the little journey, while every hour brought
with it an increase of health and spirits. Mrs Harley would not suffer
me to speak of going to Morton Park in the absence of its master;
neither could Augustus spare his kind nurse:--'I must stay,' he added,
and methought his accents were softened, 'and complete my charitable
purpose.' My appearance again in the village, the respectability, and
the testimony, of my friends, cleared my fame; and it was only at Morton
Park, that any injurious suspicions were affected to be entertained.

The hours flew on downy pinions:--my new _brother_, for so he would
call himself, endeavoured to testify his gratitude, by encouraging and
assisting me in the pursuit of learning and science: he gave us lectures
on astronomy and philosophy--

      'While truths divine came mended from his tongue.'

I applied myself to the languages, and aided by my preceptor, attained
a general knowledge of the principles, and philosophy, of criticism and
grammar, and of the rules of composition. Every day brought with it
the acquisition of some new truth; and our intervals from study were
employed in music, in drawing, in conversation, in reading the _belles

      'The feast of reason, and the flow of souls.'

The spring was advancing:--we now made little excursions, either on
horseback, in a chaise, or in a boat on the river, through the adjacent
country. The fraternal relation, which Augustus had assumed, banished
restraint, and assisted me in deceiving myself. I drank in large and
intoxicating draughts of a delicious poison, that had circulated through
every vein to my heart, before I was aware of its progress. At length,
part of a conversation, which I accidentally overheard between Mrs Harley
and her son, recalled me to a temporary recollection.

I was seeking them in the garden, towards the dusk of the evening, and a
filbert hedge separated us. I heard the voice of my friend, as speaking
earnestly, and I unconsciously stopped.

'It would be a comfort to my declining years to see you the husband of
a woman of virtue and sensibility: domestic affections meliorate the
heart; no one ought to live wholly to himself.'

'Certainly not, neither does any one; but, in the present state of
society, there are many difficulties and anxieties attending these
connections: they are a lottery, and the prizes are few. I think,
perhaps, nearly with you, but my situation is, _in many respects,
a peculiar one_,'--and he sighed deeply:--Need I enumerate these
peculiarities to you? Neither do I pretend to have lived so long in
the world without imbibing many of its prejudices, and catching the
contagion of its habits.'

'They are unworthy of you.'

'Perhaps so--but we will, if you please, change the subject; this to me
is not a pleasant one. What is become of my pupil? It is likely to be a
clear night; let us go in, and prepare for some astronomical

My heart reproved me for listening, I crept back to my chamber--shed
one tear--heaved a convulsive, struggling, sigh--breathed on my
handkerchief, applied it to my eyes, and joined my friends in the

Four months had rapidly passed--'the spot of azure in the cloudy
sky'--of my destiny. Mr Morton, I was informed, had returned to the
Park, and Augustus, whose health was now thoroughly restored, talked of
quitting the country. I advised with my friends, who agreed with me,
that it was now become proper for me to visit my uncle, and, explaining
to him the late events, justify my conduct. Mrs Harley and her son
offered to accompany me; but this, for many reasons, I declined; taking
my leave of them with a heavy heart, and promising, if I were not kindly
received, an immediate return.


On my arrival at Mr Morton's, the porter informed me, he was ordered
by his lady, to deny my entrance. My swelling heart!--a sentiment of
indignation distended it almost to suffocation.--At this moment, Anne
tripped lightly through the court-yard, and, seeing me, ran to embrace
me. I returned her caresses with warmth.

'Ah!' said she, 'you are not, you cannot be, guilty. I have been longing
to see you, and to hear all that has happened, but it was not permitted
me.' She added, in a whisper, 'I cannot love my mother, for she torments
and restrains me--my desire of liberty is stronger than my duty--but I
shall one day be able to outwit her.'

'Will not your father, my love, allow me to speak with him? I have a
right to be heard, and I demand his attention.'

'He is in his dressing-room,' said Ann, 'I will slide softly, to him,
and tell him you are here.'

Away she flew, and one of the footmen presently returned, to conduct me
to his master. I found him alone, he received me with a grave and severe
aspect. I related to him, circumstantially, the occurrences which had
taken place during his absence. My words, my voice, my manner, were
emphatic--animated with the energy of truth--they extorted, they
commanded, they, irresistibly, compelled assent. His features softened,
his eyes glistened, he held out his hand, he was about to speak--he
hesitated a moment, and sighed. At this instant, Mrs Morton burst into
the room, with the aspect of a fury--her bloated countenance yet more
swelled and hideous--I shrunk back involuntarily--she poured forth a
torrent of abuse and invective. A momentary recollection reassured
me--waiting till she had exhausted her breath, I turned from her, and
to her husband, with calm dignity--

'I thank you, Sir, for all the kindness I have received from you--I am
convinced you do me justice--_for this I do not thank you_, it was a
duty to which I had a claim, and which you owed, not only to me, but,
to yourself. My longer continuance in this house, I feel, would be
improper. For the present, I return to Mrs Harley's, where I shall
respectfully receive, and maturely weigh, any counsels with which you
may in future think proper to favour me.'

Mr Morton bowed his head; poor man! his mild spirit was overborne, he
dared not assert the dictates of his own reason. I hurried out of
the apartment, and hastily embracing Ann, who awaited me in the hall,
charging myself with a hundred kisses for Mrs Harley, I took the way to
the hospitable mansion of my friend.

I had proceeded about half a mile, when I beheld Augustus, advancing
towards me; he observed my tremulous emotions, and pallid countenance;
he took my hand, holding it with a gentle pressure, and, throwing
his other arm round me, supported my faultering steps. His voice
was the voice of kindness--his words spake assurance, and breathed
hope--_fallacious hope!_--My heart melted within me--my tremor
encreased--I dissolved into tears.

'A deserted outcast from society--a desolate orphan--what was to become
of me--to whom could I fly?'

'Unjust girl! have I then forfeited all your confidence--have you not a
mother and a friend, who love you--' he stopped--paused--and added 'with
maternal, with _fraternal_, tenderness? to whom would you go?--remain
with us, your society will cheer my mother's declining years'--again
he hesitated,--'I am about to return to town, assure me, that you will
continue with Mrs Harley--it will soften the pain of separation.'

I struggled for more fortitude--hinted at the narrowness of my fortune--at
my wish to exert my talents in some way, that should procure me a less
dependent situation--spoke of my active spirit--of my abhorrence of a
life of indolence and vacuity.

He insisted on my waving these subjects for the present. 'There would
be time enough, in future, for their consideration. In the mean while,
I might go on improving myself, and whether present or absent, might
depend upon him, for every assistance in his power.'

His soothing kindness, aided by the affectionate attentions of my
friend, gradually, lulled my mind into tranquillity. My bosom was
agitated, only, by a slight and sweet emotion--like the gentle
undulations of the ocean, when the winds, that swept over its ruffled
surface, are hushed into repose.


Another month passed away--every hour, I imbibed, in large draughts, the
deceitful poison of hope. A few days before that appointed for the
departure of Augustus, I received a visit from Mr Montague, of whose
situation, during his confinement, I had made many enquiries, and it
was with unaffected pleasure that I beheld him perfectly restored to
health. I introduced him to my friends, who congratulated him upon his
recovery, and treated him with that polite and cordial hospitality which
characterized them. He was on his way to Morton Park, and was particular
in his enquiries respecting the late conduct of the lady of the mansion,
of which he had heard some confused reports. I could not conceal from
him our final separation, but, aware of his inflammable temper, I
endeavoured to soften my recital as far as was consistent with truth and
justice. It was with difficulty, that our united persuasions induced him
to restrain his fiery spirit, which broke out into menaces and
execrations. I represented to him--

'That every thing had been already explained; that the affair had now
subsided; that a reconciliation was neither probable nor desirable; that
any interference, on his part, would only tend to mutual exasperation,
from which I must eventually be the sufferer.'

I extorted from him a promise--that, as he was necessitated to meet Mr
Morton on business, he would make no allusions to the past--I should be
mortified, (I added) by having it supposed, that I stood in need of a
_champion_.--Mr Morton had no doubts of the rectitude of my conduct, and
it would be barbarous to involve him in a perpetual domestic warfare.

Mr Montague, at the request of Augustus, spent that day, and the next,
with us. I thought, I perceived, that he regarded Mr Harley with a
scrutinizing eye, and observed my respect for, and attention to, him,
with jealous apprehension. Before his departure, he requested half an
hour's conversation with me alone, with which request I immediately
complied, and withdrew with him into an adjoining compartment. He
informed me--

'That he was going to London to pursue his medical studies--that, on his
return, his father had proposed to establish him in his profession--that
his prospects were very favourable, and that he should esteem himself
completely happy if he might, yet, hope to soften my heart in his
favour, and to place me in a more assured and tranquil position.'

I breathed a heavy sigh, and sunk into a melancholy reverie.

'Speak to me, Emma,' said he, with impatience, 'and relieve the anxiety
I suffer.'

'Alas! What can I say?'

'Say, that you will try to love me, that you will reward my faith and

'Would to God, I could'--I hesitated--my eyes filled with tears--'Go to
London,' resumed I; 'a thousand new objects will there quickly obliterate
from your remembrance a romantic and ill-fated attachment, to which
retirement, and the want of other impression, has given birth, and which
owes its strength merely to opposition.'

'As that opposition,' retorted he, 'is the offspring of pride and

I looked at him with a mournful air--'Do not reproach me, Montague, my
situation is far more pitiable than yours. _I am, indeed, unhappy_,'
--added I, after a pause; 'I, like you, am the victim of a raised, of, I
fear, a distempered imagination.'

He eagerly entreated me to explain myself.

'I will not attempt to deceive you--I should accuse myself, were I to
preserve any sentiment, however delicate its nature, that might tend
to remove your present illusion. It is, I confess, with extreme
reluctance--with real pain'--I trembled--my voice faultered, and I felt
my colour vary--'that I constrain myself to acknowledge a hopeless, an
extravagant'--I stopped, unable to proceed.

Fire flashed from his eyes, he started from his seat, and took two or
three hasty strides across the room.

'I understand you, but too well--Augustus Harley shall dispute with me a

'Stop, Sir, be not unjust--make not an ungenerous return to the
confidence I have reposed in you. Respect the violence which, on your
account, I have done to my own feelings. I own, that I have not been
able to defend my heart against the accomplishments and high qualities
of Mr Harley--I respected his virtues and attainments, and, by a too
easy transition--at length--_loved his person_. But my tenderness is a
secret to all the world but yourself--It has not met with'--a burning
blush suffused my cheek--'It has little hope of meeting, a return. To
your _honor_ I have confided this cherished _secret_--dare you betray my
confidence? I know, you dare not!'

He seemed affected--his mind appeared torn by a variety of conflicting
emotions, that struggled for victory--he walked towards me, and again to
the door, several times. I approached him--I gave him my hand--

'Adieu, Montague,' said I, in a softened accent--'Be assured of my
sympathy--of my esteem--of my best wishes! When you can meet me with
calmness, I shall rejoice to see you--_as a friend_. Amidst some excesses,
I perceive the seeds of real worth in your character, cultivate them,
they may yield a noble harvest. I shall not be forgetful of the
distinction you have shewn me, _when almost a deserted orphan_--Once
again--farewel, my friend, and--may God bless you!'

I precipitately withdrew my hand from his, and rushed out of the room. I
retired to my chamber, and it was some hours before my spirits became
sufficiently composed to allow me to rejoin my friends. On meeting
them, Mrs Harley mentioned, with some surprize, the abrupt departure of
Montague, who had quitted the house, without taking leave of its owners,
by whom he had been so politely received.

'He is a fine young man,' added she, 'but appears to be very eccentric.'

Augustus was silent, but fixed his penetrating eyes on my face, with an
expression that covered me with confusion.


The day fixed for the departure of Mr Harley, for London, now drew
near--I had anticipated this period with the most cruel inquietude. I
was going to lose, perhaps for ever, my preceptor, my friend! He, from
whom my mind had acquired knowledge, and in whose presence my heart had
rested satisfied. I had hitherto scarcely formed a wish beyond that of
daily beholding, and listening to him--I was now to gaze on that beloved
countenance, to listen to those soothing accents, no longer. He was
about to mix in the gay world--to lose in the hurry of business, or of
pleasure, the remembrance of those tender, rational, tranquil, moments,
sacred to virtue and friendship, that had left an indelible impression
on my heart. Could I, indeed, flatter myself, that the idea of the timid,
affectionate, Emma, would ever recur to his mind in the tumultuous
scenes of the crouded metropolis, it would doubtless quickly be effaced,
and lost in the multiplicity of engagements and avocations. How should
I, buried in solitude and silence, recall it to his recollection, how
contrive to mingle it with his thoughts, and entangle it with his
associations? Ah! did he but know my tenderness--_the desire of being
beloved_, of inspiring sympathy, is congenial to the human heart--why
should I hesitate to inform him of my affection--why do I blush and
tremble at the mere idea? It is a false shame! It is a pernicious system
of morals, which teaches us that hypocrisy can be virtue! He is well
acquainted with the purity, and with the sincerity, of my heart--he will
at least regard me with esteem and tender pity--and how often has 'pity
melted the soul to love!' The experiment is, surely, innocent, and
little hazardous. What I have to apprehend? Can I distrust, for a
moment, those principles of rectitude, of honour, of goodness, which
gave birth to my affection? Have I not witnessed his humanity, have I
not experienced his delicacy, in a thousand instances? Though he should
be obliged to wound, he is incapable of insulting, the heart that loves
him; and that, loving him, believed, alas! for a long time, _that it
loved only virtue_!

The morning of our separation, at last, arrived. My friend, too much
indisposed to attend the breakfast table, took leave of her son in her
own apartment. I awaited him, in the library, with a beating heart, and,
on his departure, put into his hands a paper.--

'Read it not,' said I, in a low and almost inarticulate tone of voice,
'till arrived at the end of your journey; or, at least, till you are ten
miles from hence.'

He received it in silence; but it was a silence more expressive than

      'Suffer me,' it said, 'for a few moments, to solicit your
      candour and attention. You are the only man in the world, to
      whom I could venture to confide sentiments, that to many
      would be inconceivable; and by those, who are unacquainted
      with the human mind, and the variety of circumstances by
      which characters are variously impressed and formed--who are
      accustomed to consider mankind in masses--who have been used
      to bend implicitly, to custom and prescription--the deviation
      of a solitary individual from _rules_ sanctioned by usage, by
      prejudice, by expediency, would be regarded as romantic. I
      frankly avow, while my cheeks glow with the blushes of
      _modesty_, not of shame, that your virtues and accomplishments
      have excited in my bosom an affection, as pure as the motives
      which gave it birth, and as animated as it is pure.--This
      ingenuous avowal may perhaps affect, but will scarcely (I
      suspect) surprise, you; for, incapable of dissimulation,
      the emotions of my mind are ever but too apparent in my
      expressions, and in my conduct, to deceive a less penetrating
      eye than yours--neither have I been solicitous to disguise

      'It has been observed, that,' "the strength of an affection
      is generally in the same proportion, as the character of the
      species, in the object beloved, is lost in that of the
      individual,"[5] and, that individuality of character is the
      only fastener of the affections. It is certain, however
      singular it may appear, that many months before we became
      personally acquainted, the report of your worth and high
      qualities had generated in my mind, an esteem and reverence,
      which has gradually ripened into a tenderness, that has, at
      length, mixed itself with all my associations, and is become
      interwoven with every fibre of my heart.

         [Footnote 5: Wolstonecraft's Rights of Woman.]

      'I have reflected, again and again, on the imprudence of
      cherishing an attachment, which a variety of circumstances
      combine to render so unpromising, and--What shall I say?--So
      peculiar is the constitution of my mind, that those very
      circumstances have had a tendency directly opposite to what
      might reasonably have been expected; and have only served to
      render the sentiment, I have delighted to foster, more
      affecting and interesting.--Yes! I am aware of the tenure
      upon which you retain your fortunes--of the cruel and
      unnatural conditions imposed on you by the capricious
      testator: neither can I require a sacrifice which I am unable
      to recompence. But while these melancholy convictions
      deprive me of hope, they encourage me, by proving the
      disinterestedness of my attachment, to relieve my heart by
      communication.--Mine is a whimsical pride, which dreads
      nothing so much as the imputation of sordid, or sinister
      motives. Remember, then--should we never meet again--if in
      future periods you should find, that the friendship of the
      world is--"a shade that follows wealth and fame;"--if,
      where you have conferred obligations, you are repaid
      with ingratitude--where you have placed confidence, with
      treachery--and where you have a claim to zeal, with coldness!
      Remember, _that you have once been beloved, for yourself
      alone_, by one, who, in contributing to the comfort of your
      life, would have found the happiness of her own.

      'Is it possible that a mind like yours, neither hardened by
      prosperity, nor debased by fashionable levity--which vice has
      not corrupted, nor ignorance brutalized--can be wholly
      insensible to the balmy sweetness, which natural,
      unsophisticated, affections, shed through the human heart?

       "Shall those by heaven's own influence join'd,
        By feeling, sympathy, and mind,
        The sacred voice of truth deny,
        And mock the mandate of the sky?"

'But I check my pen:--I am no longer--

        "The hope-flush'd enterer on the stage of life."

      'The dreams of youth, chaced by premature reflection, have
      given place to soberer, to sadder, conclusions; and while I
      acknowledge, that it would be inexpressibly soothing to me
      to believe, that in happier circumstances, my artless
      affection might have awakened in your mind a sympathetic
      tenderness:--this is the extent of my hopes!--I recollect you
      once told me "It was our duty to make our reason conquer the
      sensibility of our heart." Yet, why? Is, then, apathy the
      perfection of our nature--and is not that nature refined and
      harmonized by the gentle and social affections? The Being who
      gave to the mind its reason, gave also to the heart its

      'I make no apologies for, because I feel no consciousness of,
      weakness. An attachment sanctioned by nature, reason, and
      virtue, ennoble the mind capable of conceiving and cherishing
      it: of such an attachment a corrupt heart is utterly

      'You may tell me, perhaps, "that the portrait on which my
      fancy has dwelt enamoured, owes all its graces, its glowing
      colouring--like the ideal beauty of the ancient artists--to
      the imagination capable of sketching the dangerous
      picture."--Allowing this, for a moment, _the sentiments it
      inspires are not the less genuine_; and without some degree
      of illusion, and enthusiasm, all that refines, exalts,
      softens, embellishes, life--genius, virtue, love itself,
      languishes. But, on this subject, my opinions have not been
      lightly formed:--it is not to the personal graces, though
      "the body charms, because the mind is seen," but to the
      virtues and talents of the individual (for without intellect,
      virtue is an empty name), that my heart does homage; and,
      were I never again to behold you--were you even the husband
      of another--my tenderness (a tenderness as innocent as it is
      lively) would never cease!

      'But, methinks, I hear you say,--"Whither does all this tend,
      and what end does it propose?" Alas! this is a question I
      scarcely dare to ask myself!--Yet, allow me to request, that
      you will make me one promise, and resolve me one
      question:--ah! do not evade this enquiry; for much it imports
      me to have an explicit reply, lest, in indulging my own
      feelings, I should, unconsciously, plant a thorn in the bosom
      of another:--_Is your heart, at present, free?_ Or should
      you, in future, form a tender engagement, tell me, that I
      shall receive the first intimation of it from yourself; and,
      in the assurance of your happiness, I will learn to forget my

      'I aspire to no higher title than that of the most faithful
      of your friends, and the wish of becoming worthy of your
      esteem and confidence shall afford me a motive for
      improvement. I will learn of you moderation, equanimity, and
      self-command, and you will, perhaps, continue to afford me
      direction, and assistance, in the pursuit of knowledge and

      'I have laid down my pen, again and again, and still taken it
      up to add something more, from an anxiety, lest even you, of
      whose delicacy I have experienced repeated proofs, should
      misconstrue me.--"Oh! what a world is this!--into what false
      habits has it fallen! Can hypocrisy be virtue? Can a desire
      to call forth all the best affections of the heart, be
      misconstrued into something too degrading for expression?"[6]
      But I will banish these apprehensions; I am convinced they
      are injurious.

      'Yes!--I repeat it--I relinquish my pen with reluctance. A
      melancholy satisfaction, from what source I can scarcely
      define, diffuses itself through my heart while I unfold to
      you its emotions.--Write to me; be _ingenuous_; I desire, I
      call for, truth!


         [Footnote 6: Holcroft's Anna St Ives.]


I had not courage to make my friend a confident of the step I had taken;
so wild, and so romantic, did it appear, even to myself--a false pride,
a false shame, with-held me. I brooded in silence over the sentiment,
that preyed on the bosom which cherished it. Every morning dawned with
expectation, and every evening closed in disappointment. I walked
daily to the post-office, with precipitate steps and a throbbing heart,
to enquire for letters, but in vain; and returned slow, dejected,
spiritless. _Hope_, one hour, animated my bosom and flushed my cheek;
the next, pale despair shed its torpid influence through my languid
frame. Inquietude, at length, gradually gave place to despondency, and
I sunk into lassitude.

My studies no longer afforded me any pleasure. I turned over my books,
incapable of fixing my attention; took out my drawings, threw them
aside; moved, restless and dissatisfied, from seat to seat; sought, with
unconscious steps, the library, and, throwing myself on the sopha, with
folded arms, fixed my eyes on the picture of Augustus, which had lately
been replaced, and sunk into waking dreams of ideal perfection and
visionary bliss. I gazed on the lifeless features, engraven on my heart
in colours yet more true and vivid--but where was the benignant smile,
the intelligent glance, the varying expression? Where the pleasant
voice, whose accents had been melody in my ear; that had cheered me in
sadness, dispelled the vapours of distrust and melancholy, and awakened
my emulation for science and improvement? Starting from a train of
poignant and distressing emotions, I fled from an apartment once so
dear, presenting now but the ghosts of departed pleasures--fled into the
woods, and buried myself in their deepest recesses; or, shutting myself
in my chamber, avoided the sight of my friend, whose dejected
countenance but the more forcibly reminded me--

  'That such things were, and were most dear.'

In this state of mind, looking one day over my papers, without any known
end in view, I accidentally opened a letter from Mr Francis (with whom I
still continued, occasionally, to correspond), which I had recently
received. I eagerly seized, and re-perused, it. My spirits were weakened;
the kindness which it expressed affected me--it touched my heart--it
excited my tears. I determined instantly to reply to it, and to
acknowledge my sense of his goodness.

My mind was overwhelmed with the pressure of its own thoughts; a gleam
of joy darted through the thick mists that pervaded it; communication
would relieve the burthen. I took up my pen; and, though I dared not
betray the fatal secret concealed, as a sacred treasure, in the bottom
of my heart, I yet gave a loose to, I endeavoured to paint, its

After briefly sketching the events that had driven me from Morton Park
(of which I had not hitherto judged it necessary to inform him), without
hinting the name of my deliverer, or suffering myself to dwell on the
services he had rendered me, I mentioned my present temporary residence
at the house of a friend, and expressed an impatience at my solitary,
inactive, situation.

I went on--

      'To what purpose should I trouble you with a thousand
      wayward, contradictory, ideas and emotions, that I am,
      myself, unable to disentangle--which have, perhaps, floated
      in every mind, that has had leisure for reflection--which
      are distinguished by no originality, and which I may express
      (though not feel) without force? I sought to cultivate my
      understanding, and exercise my reason, that, by adding
      variety to my resources, I might increase the number of my
      enjoyments: for _happiness_ is, surely, the only desirable
      _end_ of existence! But when I ask myself, Whether I am
      yet nearer to the end proposed?--I dare not deceive
      myself--sincerity obliges me to answer in the negative. I
      daily perceive the gay and the frivolous, among my sex,
      amused with every passing trifle; gratified by the insipid
      _routine_ of heartless, mindless, intercourse; fully
      occupied, alternately, by domestic employment, or the
      childish vanity of varying external ornaments, and "hanging
      drapery on a smooth block." I do not affect to despise, and
      I regularly practise, the necessary avocations of my sex;
      neither am I superior to their vanities. The habits acquired
      by early precept and example adhere tenaciously; and are
      never, perhaps, entirely eradicated. But all these are
      insufficient to engross, to satisfy, the active, aspiring,
      mind. Hemmed in on every side by the constitutions of
      society, and not less so, it may be, by my own prejudices--I
      perceive, indignantly perceive, the magic circle, without
      knowing how to dissolve the powerful spell. While men pursue
      interest, honor, pleasure, as accords with their several
      dispositions, women, who have too much delicacy, sense,
      and spirit, to degrade themselves by the vilest of all
      interchanges, remain insulated beings, and must be content
      tamely to look on, without taking any part in the great,
      though often absurd and tragical, drama of life. Hence the
      eccentricities of conduct, with which women of superior
      minds have been accused--the struggles, the despairing
      though generous struggles, of an ardent spirit, denied a
      scope for its exertions! The strong feelings, and strong
      energies, which properly directed, in a field sufficiently
      wide, might--ah! what might they not have aided? forced
      back, and pent up, ravage and destroy the mind which gave
      them birth!

      'Yes, I confess, _I am unhappy_, unhappy in proportion as I
      believe myself (it may be, erringly) improved. Philosophy,
      it is said, should regulate the feelings, but it has added
      fervor to mine! What are passions, but another name for
      powers? The mind capable of receiving the most forcible
      impressions is the sublimely improveable mind! Yet, into
      whatever trains such minds are accidentally directed, they
      are prone to enthusiasm, while the vulgar stupidly wonder at
      the effects of powers, to them wholly inconceivable: the
      weak and the timid, easily discouraged, are induced, by the
      first failure, to relinquish their pursuits. "They make the
      impossibility they fear!" But the bold and the persevering,
      from repeated disappointment, derive only new ardor and
      activity. "They conquer difficulties, by daring to attempt

      'I feel, that I am writing in a desultory manner, that I am
      unable to crowd my ideas into the compass of a letter, and,
      that could I do so, I should perhaps only weary you. There
      are but few persons to whom I would venture to complain, few
      would understand, and still fewer sympathise with me. You
      are in health, they would say, in the spring of life, have
      every thing supplied you without labour (so much the worse)
      nature, reason, open to you their treasures! All this is,
      partly, true--but, with inexpressible yearnings, my soul
      pants for something more, something higher! The morning
      rises upon me with sadness, and the evening closes with
      disgust--Imperfection, uncertainty, is impressed on every
      object, on every pursuit! I am either restless or torpid, I
      seek to-day, what to-morrow, wearies and offends me.

      'I entered life, flushed with hope--I have proceeded but a
      few steps, and the parterre of roses, viewed in distant
      prospect, nearer seen, proves a brake of thorns. The few
      worthy persons I have known appear, to me, to be struggling
      with the same half suppressed emotions.--Whence is all this?
      Why is intellect and virtue so far from conferring happiness?
      Why is the active mind a prey to the incessant conflict
      between truth and error? Shall I look beyond the disorders
      which, _here_, appear to me so inexplicable?--shall I
      expect, shall I demand, from the inscrutable Being to whom I
      owe my existence, in future unconceived periods, the _end_
      of which I believe myself capable, and which capacity, like
      a tormenting _ignis fatuus_, has hitherto served only to
      torture and betray? The animal rises up to satisfy the
      cravings of nature, and lies down to repose, undisturbed by
      care--has man superior powers, only to make him pre-eminently
      wretched?--wretched, it seems to me, in proportion as he
      rises? Assist me, in disentangling my bewildered ideas--write
      to me--reprove me--spare me not!


To this letter I quickly received a kind and consolatory reply, though
not unmingled with the reproof I called for. It afforded me but a
temporary relief, and I once more sunk into inanity; my faculties rusted
for want of exercise, my reason grew feeble, and my imagination morbid.


A pacquet of letters, at length, arrived from London--Mrs Harley, with
a look that seemed to search the soul, put one into my hands--The
superscription bore the well known characters--yes, it was from
Augustus, and addressed to Emma--I ran, with it, into my chamber, locked
myself in, tore it almost asunder with a tremulous hand, perused its
contents with avidity--scarce daring to respire--I reperused it again
and again.

      'I had trusted my confessions' (it said) 'to one who had
      made the human heart his study, who could not be affected
      by them improperly. It spoke of the illusions of the
      passions--of the false and flattering medium through which
      they presented objects to our view. He had answered my
      letter earlier, had it not involved him in too many thoughts
      to do it with ease. There was a great part of it to which he
      knew not how to reply--perhaps, on some subjects, it was not
      necessary to be explicit. And now, it may be, he had better
      be silent--he was dissatisfied with what he had written,
      but, were he to write again, he doubted if he should please
      himself any better.--He was highly flattered by the
      favourable opinion I entertained of him, it was a grateful
      proof, not of his merit, but of the warmth of my friendship,
      &c. &c.'

This letter appeared to me vague, obscure, enigmatical. Unsatisfied,
disappointed, I felt, I had little to hope--and, yet, had no _distinct_
ground of fear. I brooded over it, I tortured its meaning into a hundred
forms--I spake of it to my friend, but in general terms, in which she
seemed to acquiesce: she appeared to have made a determination, not to
enquire after what I was unwilling to disclose; she wholly confided
both in my principles, and in those of her son: I was wounded by what,
entangled in prejudice, I conceived to be a necessity for this reserve.

Again I addressed the man, whose image, in the absence of all other
impressions, I had suffered to gain in my mind this dangerous


      'I, once more, take up my pen with a mind so full of
      thought, that I foresee I am about to trespass on your time
      and patience--yet, perhaps, to one who makes "the human
      heart his study," it may not be wholly uninteresting to
      trace a faithful delineation of the emotions and sentiments
      of an ingenuous, uncorrupted, mind--a mind formed by
      solitude, and habits of reflection, to some strength of

      'If to have been more guarded and reserved would have been
      more discreet, I have already forfeited all claim to this
      discretion--to affect it now, would be vain, and, by
      pursuing a middle course, I should resign the only advantage
      I may ever derive from my sincerity, the advantage of
      expressing my thoughts and feelings with freedom.

      'The conduct, which I have been led to adopt, has been the
      result of a combination of peculiar circumstances, _and is
      not what I would recommend to general imitation_--To say
      nothing of the hazards it might involve, I am aware,
      generally speaking, arguments might be adduced, to prove,
      that certain customs, of which I, yet, think there is reason
      to complain, may not have been unfounded in nature--I am led
      to speak thus, because I am not willing to spare myself, but
      would alledge all which you might have felt inclined to
      hint, had you not been with-held by motives of delicate

      'Of what then, you may ask, do I complain?--Not of the laws
      of nature! But when mind has given dignity to natural
      affections; when reason, culture, taste, and delicacy, have
      combined to chasten, to refine, to exalt (shall I say) to
      sanctity them--Is there, then, no cause to complain of rigor
      and severity, that such minds must either passively submit
      to a vile traffic, or be content to relinquish all the
      endearing sympathies of life? Nature has formed woman
      peculiarly susceptible of the tender affections. "The voice
      of nature is too strong to be silenced by artificial
      precepts." To feel these affections in a supreme degree,
      a mind enriched by literature and expanded by fancy
      and reflection, is necessary--for it is intellect and
      imagination only, that can give energy and interest to--

        "The thousand soft sensations--
         Which vulgar souls want faculties to taste,
         Who take their good and evil in the gross."

      'I wish we were in the vehicular state, and that you
      understood the sentient language;[7] you might then
      comprehend the whole of what I mean to express, but find too
      delicate for _words_. But I do you injustice.

         [Footnote 7: See Light of Nature pursued. An entertaining
         philosophical work.]

      'If the affections are, indeed, generated by sympathy, where
      the principles, pursuits, and habits, are congenial--where
      the _end_, sought to be attained, is--

        "Something, than beauty dearer,"

      'You may, perhaps, agree with me, that it is almost
      indifferent on which side the sentiment originates. Yet, I
      confess, my frankness has involved me in many after thoughts
      and inquietudes; inquietudes, which all my reasoning is, at
      times, insufficient to allay. The shame of being singular,
      it has been justly observed,[8] requires strong principles,
      and much native firmness of temper, to surmount.--Those who
      deviate from the beaten track must expect to be entangled in
      the thicket, and wounded by many a thorn--my wandering feet
      have already been deeply pierced.

         [Footnote 8: Aikin's Letters.]

      'I should vainly attempt to describe the struggles, the
      solicitudes, the doubts, the apprehensions, that alternately
      rend my heart! I feel, that I have "put to sea upon a
      shattered plank, and placed my trust in miracles for
      safety." I dread, one moment, lest, in attempting to awaken
      your tenderness, I may have forfeited your respect; the
      next, that I have mistaken a delusive meteor for the sober
      light of reason. In retirement, numberless contradictory
      emotions revolve in my disturbed mind:--in company, I start
      and shudder from accidental allusions, in which no one but
      myself could trace any application. The end of doubt is the
      beginning of repose. Say, then, to me, that it is a
      principle in human nature, however ungenerous, to esteem
      lightly what may be attained without difficulty.--Tell me to
      make distinctions between love and friendship, of which I
      have, hitherto, been able to form no idea.--Say, that the
      former is the caprice of fancy, founded on external graces,
      to which I have little pretension, and that it is vain to
      pretend, that--

        "Truth and good are one,
         And beauty dwells with them."

      'Tell me, that I have indulged too long the wild and
      extravagant chimeras of a romantic imagination. Let us walk
      together into the palace of Truth, where (it is fancifully
      related by an ingenious writer,[9] that) every one was
      compelled by an irresistible, controuling, power, to reveal
      his inmost sentiments! All this I will bear, and will still
      respect your integrity, and confide in your principles; but
      I can no longer sustain a suspense that preys upon my
      spirits. It is not the Book of Fate--it is your mind, only,
      I desire to read. A sickly apprehension overspreads my
      heart--I pause here, unable to proceed.'


         [Footnote 9: Madame de Genlis's Tales of the Castle.]


Week after week, month after month, passed away in the anguish of
vain expectation: my letter was not answered, and I again sunk into
despondency.--Winter drew near. I shuddered at the approach of this
dreary and desolate season, when I was roused by the receipt of a letter
from one of the daughters of the maternal aunt, under whose care I had
spent the happy, thoughtless, days of childhood. My cousin informed me--

      'That she had married an officer in the East India service;
      that soon after their union he was ordered abroad, and
      stationed in Bengal for three years, during which period she
      was to remain in a commodious and pleasant house, situated
      in the vicinity of the metropolis. She had been informed of
      my removal from Morton Park, and had no doubt but I should
      be able to give a satisfactory account of the occasion of
      that removal. She purposed, during the absence of her husband,
      to let out a part of her house; and should I not be fixed
      in my present residence, would be happy to accommodate me
      with an apartment, on terms that should be rather dictated
      by friendship than interest. She also hinted, that a
      neighbouring lady, of respectable character, would be glad to
      avail herself of the occasional assistance of an accomplished
      woman in the education of her daughters; that she had
      mentioned me to her in advantageous terms, conceiving that I
      should have no objection, by such a means, to exercise my
      talents, to render myself useful, and to augment my small

This intelligence filled me with delight: the idea of change, of
exertion, of new scenes--shall I add, _of breathing the same air with
Augustus_, rushed tumultuously through my imagination. Flying eagerly to
my friend, to impart these tidings, I was not aware of the ungrateful
and inconsiderate appearance which these exultations must give me in her
eyes, till I perceived the starting tear.--It touched, it electrified,
my heart; and, throwing myself into her arms, I caught the soft
contagion, and wept aloud.

'Go, Emma--my daughter,' said this excellent woman; 'I banish the
selfish regret that would prompt me to detain you. I perceive this
solitude is destructive to thy ardent mind. Go, vary your impressions,
and expand your sensations; gladden me only from time to time with an
account of your progress and welfare.'

I had but little preparation to make. I canvassed over, with my friend,
a thousand plans, and formed as many expectations and conjectures; but
they all secretly tended to one point, and concentrated in one object. I
gave my cousin notice that I should be with her in a few days--settled
a future correspondence with my friend--embraced her, at parting, with
unfeigned, and tender, sorrow--and, placing myself in a stage-coach,
that passed daily through the village, took the road, once more, with
a fluttering heart, to London. We travelled all night--it was cold and
dreary--but my fancy was busied with various images, and my bosom
throbbing with lively, though indistinct sensations.

The next day, at noon, I arrived, without accident, at the residence of
my relation, Mrs Denbeigh. She received me with unaffected cordiality:
our former amity was renewed; we spent the evening together, recalling
past scenes; and, on retiring, I was shewn into a neat chamber, which
had been prepared for me, with a light closet adjoining. The next day,
I was introduced to the lady, mentioned to me by my kind hostess, and
agreed to devote three mornings in the week to the instruction of the
young ladies (her daughters), in various branches of education.

_Memoirs of Emma Courtney_



      'My friend, my son, it is for your benefit, that I have
      determined on reviewing the sentiments, and the incidents,
      of my past life. Cold declamation can avail but little
      towards the reformation of our errors. It is by tracing, by
      developing, the passions in the minds of others; tracing
      them, from the seeds by which they have been generated,
      through all their extended consequences, that we learn, the
      more effectually, to regulate and to subdue our own.

      'I repeat, it will cost me some pain to be ingenuous in the
      recital which I have pledged myself to give you; even in the
      moment when I resume my pen, prejudice continues to struggle
      with principle, and I feel an inclination to retract. While
      unfolding a series of error and mortification, I tremble,
      lest, in warning you to shun the rocks and quicksands amidst
      which my little bark has foundered, I should forfeit your
      respect and esteem, the pride, and the comfort, of my
      declining years. But you are deeply interested in my
      narrative, you tell me, and you entreat me to proceed.'


Change of scene, regular employment, attention to my pupils, and the
conscious pride of independence, afforded a temporary relief to my
spirits. My first care, on my arrival in town, was to gladden the mind
of my dear benefactress, by a minute detail of the present comforts and

She had charged me with affectionate remembrance and letters to her son.
I enclosed these letters; and, after informing him (in the cover) of
the change of my situation, and the incident which had occasioned it,
complained of the silence he had observed towards my last letter.

      --'If,' said I, 'from having observed the social and
      sympathetic nature of our feelings and affections, I
      suffered myself to yield, involuntarily, to the soothing
      idea, that the ingenuous avowal of an attachment so tender,
      so sincere, so artless, as mine, could not have been
      unaffecting to a mind with which my own proudly claimed
      kindred:--if I fondly believed, that simplicity, modesty,
      truth--the eye beaming with sensibility, the cheek mantling
      with the glow of affection, the features softened, the
      accents modulated, by ineffable tenderness, might, in the
      eyes of a virtuous man, have supplied the place of more
      dazzling accomplishments, and more seductive charms: if I
      over-rated my own merit, and my own powers--surely my
      mistakes were sufficiently humiliating! You should not,
      indeed you should not, have obliged me to arrive at the
      conviction through a series of deductions so full of
      mortification and anguish. You are too well acquainted with
      the human heart not to be sensible, that no certainty can
      equal the misery of conjecture, in a mind of ardour--the
      agonizing images which _suspense_ forces upon the tender
      and sensible heart! You should have written, in pity to the
      situation of my mind. I would have thanked you for being
      ingenuous, even though, like Hamlet, you had _spoke
      daggers_. I expected it, from your character, and I had a
      claim to your sincerity.

      'But it is past!--the vision is dissolved! The barbed arrow
      is not extracted with more pain, than the enchantments of
      hope from the ardent and sanguine spirit! But why am I to
      lose your friendship? My heart tells me, I have not deserved
      this! Do not suspect, that I have so little justice, or so
      little magnanimity, as to refuse you the privilege, the
      enviable privilege, of being master of your own affections.
      I am unhappy, I confess; the principal charm of my life is
      fled, and the hopes that should enliven future prospects are
      faint: melancholy too often obscures reason, and a heart,
      perhaps too tender, preys on itself.

      'I suspect I had formed some vain and extravagant
      expectations. I could have loved you, had you permitted it,
      with no mean, nor common attachment.--My words, my looks, my
      actions, betrayed me, ere I suffered my feelings to dictate
      to my pen. Would to God, I had buried this fatal secret in
      the bottom of my soul! But repentance is, now, too late. Yet
      the sensible heart yearns to disclose itself--and to whom
      can it confide its sentiments, with equal propriety, as to
      him who will know how to pity the errors, of which he feels
      himself, however involuntarily, the cause? The world might
      think my choice in a confident singular; it has been my
      misfortune seldom to think with the world, and I ought,
      perhaps, patiently to submit to the inconveniences to which
      this singularity has exposed me.

      'I know not how, without doing myself a painful violence, to
      relinquish your society; and why, let me again ask, should
      I? I now desire only that repose which is the end of doubt,
      and this, I think, I should regain by one hour's frank
      conversation with you; I would compose myself, listen to
      you, and yield to the sovereignty of reason. After such an
      interview, my mind--no longer harrassed by vague suspicion,
      by a thousand nameless apprehensions and inquietudes--should
      struggle to subdue itself--at least, I would not permit it
      to dictate to my pen, not to bewilder my conduct. I am
      exhausted by perturbation. I ask only certainty and rest.


A few days after I had written the preceding letter, Mr Harley called on
me. Mrs Denbeigh was with me on his entrance; I would have given worlds
to have received him alone, but had not courage to hint this to my
relation. Overwhelmed by a variety of emotions, I was unable for some
time to make any reply to his friendly enquiries after my health, and
congratulations on my amended prospects. My confusion and embarrassment
were but too apparent; perceiving my distress, he kindly contrived to
engage my hostess in discourse, that I might have time to rally my
spirits. By degrees, I commanded myself sufficiently to join in the
conversation--I spoke to him of his mother, expressed the lively sense
I felt of her goodness, and my unaffected regret at parting with her.
Animated by my subject, and encouraged by the delicacy of Augustus, I
became more assured: we retraced the amusements and studies of H----shire,
and two hours passed delightfully and insensibly away, when Mrs Denbeigh
was called out of the room to speak to a person who brought her letters
and intelligence from the India House. Mr Harley, rising at the same
time from his seat, seemed about to depart, but hesitating, stood a few
moments as if irresolute.

'You leave me,' said I, in a low and tremulous tone, 'and you leave me
still in suspense?'

'Could you,' replied he, visibly affected, 'but have seen me on the
receipt of your last letter, you would have perceived that my feelings
were not enviable--Your affecting expostulation, added to other
circumstances of a vexatious nature, oppressed my spirits with a burthen
more than they were able to sustain.'

He resumed his seat, spoke of his situation, of the tenure on which
he held his fortune,--'I am neither a stoic nor a philosopher,' added
he,--'I knew not how--_I could not answer your letter_. What shall
I say?--I am with-held from explaining myself further, by reasons
--_obligations_--Who can look back on every action of his past life
with approbation? Mine has not been free from error! I am distressed,
perplexed--_Insuperable obstacles_ forbid what otherwise'--

'I feel,' said I, interrupting him, 'that I am the victim of my own
weakness and vanity--I feel, that I have been rushing headlong into
the misery which you kindly sought to spare me--I am sensible of your
delicacy--of your humanity!--And is it with the full impression of
your virtues on my heart that I must teach that heart to renounce
you--renounce, for ever, the man with whose pure and elevated mind my
own panted to mingle? My reason has been blinded by the illusions of my
self-love--and, while I severely suffer, I own my sufferings just--yet,
the sentiments you inspired were worthy of you! I understand little
of--I have violated common forms--seeking your tenderness, I have
perhaps forfeited your esteem!'

'Far, _very far_, from it--I would, but cannot, say more.'

'Must we, then, separate for ever--will you no longer assist me in the
pursuit of knowledge and truth--will you no more point out to me the
books I should read, and aid me in forming a just judgment of the
principles they contain--Must all your lessons be at an end--all my
studies be resigned? How, without your counsel and example, shall I
regain my strength of mind--to what _end_ shall I seek to improve
myself, when I dare no longer hope to be worthy of him--'

A flood of tears checked my utterance; hiding my face with my hands,
I gave way to the kindly relief, but for which my heart had broken.
I heard footsteps in the passage, and the voice of Mrs Denbeigh as
speaking to her servant--covered with shame and grief, I dared not in
this situation appear before her, but, rushing out at an opposite door,
hid myself in my chamber. A train of confused recollections tortured
my mind, I concluded, that Augustus had another, a prior attachment.
I felt, with this conviction, that I had not the fortitude, and that
perhaps I ought not, to see him again. I wrote to him under this
impression; I poured out my soul in anguish, in sympathy, in fervent
aspirations for his happiness. These painful and protracted conflicts
affected my health, a deep and habitual depression preyed upon my
spirits, and, surveying every object through the medium of a distempered
imagination, I grew disgusted with life.


I began, at length, to think, that I had been too precipitate, and
too severe to myself.--Why was I to sacrifice a friend, from whose
conversation I had derived improvement and pleasure? I repeated this
question to myself, again and again; and I blushed and repented. But
I deceived myself. I had too frequently acted with precipitation, I
determined, now, to be more prudent--I waited three months, fortified
my mind with many reflections, and resumed my pen--


      'Near three months have elapsed, since I last addressed you.
      I remind you of this, not merely to suppress, as it arises,
      any apprehension which you may entertain of further
      embarrassment or importunity: for I can no longer afflict
      myself with the idea, that my peace, or welfare, are
      indifferent to you, but will rather adopt the sentiment of
      Plato--who on being informed, that one of his disciples,
      whom he had more particularly distinguished, had spoken ill
      of him, replied, to the slanderer--"I do not believe you,
      for it is impossible that I should not be esteemed by one
      whom I so sincerely regard."

      'My motive, for calling to your remembrance the date of my
      last, is, that you should consider what I am now about to
      say, as the result of calmer reflection, the decision of
      judgment after having allowed the passions leisure to
      subside. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to premise, that I am
      not urged on by pride, from an obscure consciousness of
      having been betrayed into indiscretion, to endeavour to
      explain away, or to extenuate, any part of my former
      expressions or conduct. To a mind like yours, such an
      attempt would be impertinent; from one like mine, I hope,
      superfluous. I am not ashamed of being a human being, nor
      blush to own myself liable to "the shakes and agues of his
      fragile nature." I have ever spoken, and acted, from the
      genuine dictates of a mind swayed, at the time, by its own
      views and propensities, nor have I hesitated, as those
      views and propensities have changed, to avow my further
      convictions--"Let not the coldly wise exult, that their
      heads were never led astray by their hearts." I have all
      along used, and shall continue to use, the unequivocal
      language of sincerity.

      'However _romantic_ (a vague term applied to every thing we
      do not understand, or are unwilling to intimate) my views
      and sentiments might appear to many, I dread not, from you,
      this frigid censure. "The ideas, the associations, the
      circumstances of each man are properly his own, and it is a
      pernicious system, that would lead us to require all men,
      however different their circumstances, to act in many of the
      common affairs of life, by a precise, general rule."[10]
      The genuine effusions of the heart and mind are easily
      distinguished, by the penetrating eye, from the vain
      ostentation of sentiment, lip deep, which, causing no
      emotion, communicates none--Oh! how unlike the energetic
      sympathies of truth and feeling--darting from mind to mind,
      enlightening, warming, with electrical rapidity!

         [Footnote 10: Godwin's Political Justice.]

      'My ideas have undergone, in the last three months, many
      fluctuations. My _affection_ for you (why should I seek
      for vague, inexpressive phrases?) has not ceased, has not
      diminished, but it has, in some measure, changed its nature.
      It was originally generated by the report, and cemented by
      the knowledge, of your virtues and talents; and to virtue
      and talents my mind had ever paid unfeigned, enthusiastic,
      homage! It is somewhere said by Rousseau--"That there may
      exist such a suitability of moral, mental, and personal,
      qualifications, as should point out the propriety of an
      union between a prince and the daughter of an executioner."
      Vain girl that I was! I flattered myself that between us
      this sympathy really existed. I dwelt on the union between
      mind and mind--sentiments of nature gently insinuated
      themselves--my sensibility grew more tender, more
      affecting--and my imagination, ever lively, traced the
      glowing picture, and dipped the pencil in rainbow tints!
      Possessing one of those determined spirits, that is not
      easily induced to relinquish its purposes--while I conceived
      that I had only your pride, or your insensibility, to
      combat, I wildly determined to persevere.--A further
      recapitulation would, perhaps, be unnecessary:--my
      situation, alas! is now changed.

      'Having then examined my heart, attentively and
      deliberately, I suspect that I have been unjust to
      myself, in supposing it incapable of a disinterested
      attachment.--Why am I to deprive you of a faithful friend,
      and myself of all the benefits I may yet derive from your
      conversation and kind offices? I ask, why? And I should,
      indeed, have cause to blush, if, after having had time for
      reflection, I could really think this necessary. Shall I,
      then, sign the unjust decree, that women are incapable of
      energy and fortitude? Have I exercised my understanding,
      without ever intending to apply my principles to practice?
      Do I mean always to deplore the prejudices which have,
      systematically, weakened the female character, without
      making any effort to rise above them? Is the example
      you have given me, of a steady adherence to honour and
      principle, to be merely respected, without exciting in my
      bosom any emulation? Dare I to answer these questions in the
      affirmative, and still ask your esteem--the esteem of the
      wise and good?--I dare not! No longer weakened by alternate
      hopes and fears, like the reed yielding to every breeze, I
      believe myself capable of acting upon firmer principles;
      and I request, with confidence, the restoration of your
      friendship! Should I afterwards find, that I have over-rated
      my own strength, I will frankly tell you so, and expect
      from your humanity those allowances, which are but a poor
      substitute for respect.

      'Believe, then, my views and motives to be simply such as I
      state them; at least, such, after severely scrutinizing my
      heart, they appear to myself; and reply to me with similar
      ingenuousness. My expectations are very moderate: answer me
      with simplicity--my very soul sickens at evasion! You have
      undoubtedly, a right to judge and to determine for yourself;
      but it will be but just to state to me the reasons for, and
      the result of, that judgment; in which case, if I cannot
      obviate those reasons, I shall be bound, however reluctantly,
      to acquiesce in them. Be assured, I will never complain of
      any consequences which may ensue, even, from the utterance
      of all truth.



This letter was succeeded by a renewal of our intercourse and studies.
Mrs Denbeigh, my kind hostess, was usually of our parties. We read
together, or conversed only on general topics, or upon subjects of
literature. I was introduced by Mr Harley to several respectable
families, friends of his own and of his mother's. I made many indirect
enquiries of our common acquaintance, with a view to discover the
supposed object of my friend's attachment, but without success. All that
he had, himself, said, respecting such an engagement, had been so vague,
that I began to doubt of the reality of its existence.--When, in any
subsequent letters (for we continued occasionally to correspond) I
ventured to allude to the subject, I was warned 'not to confound my own
conceptions with real existences.' When he spoke of a susceptibility
to the tender affections, it was always in the past time,--'I _have_
felt,'--'I _have_ been--'Once he wrote--'His situation had been rendered
difficult, by a combination of _peculiar circumstances_; circumstances,
with which but few persons were acquainted.' Sometimes he would affect
to reflect upon his past conduct, and warn me against appreciating him
too highly. In fine, he was a perfect enigma, and every thing which he
said or wrote tended to increase the mystery.

A restless, an insatiable, curiosity, devoured me, heightened by
feelings that every hour became more imperious, more uncontroulable.
I proposed to myself, in the gratification of this curiosity, a
satisfaction that should compensate for all the injuries I might suffer
in the career. This inquietude prevented my mind from resting; and, by
leaving room for conjecture, left room for the illusions of fancy, and
of hope. Had I never expressed this, he might have affected ignorance of
my sensations; he might have pleaded guiltless, when, in the agony of
my soul, I accused him of having sacrificed my peace to his
disingenuousness--but vain were all my expostulations!

'If,' said I, 'I have sought, too earnestly, to learn the state of your
affections, it has been with a view to the more effectually disciplining
of my own--of stifling every _ignis fatuus_ of false hope, that making,
even, impossibilities possible, will still, at times, continue to mislead
me. Objects seen through obscurity, imperfectly discerned, allow to the
fancy but too free a scope; the mind grows debilitated, by brooding over
its apprehensions; and those apprehensions, whether real or imaginary,
are carried with accumulated pain to the heart. I have said, on this
subject, you have a right to be free; but I am, now, doubtful of this
right: the health of my mind being involved in the question, has
rendered it a question of _utility_--and on what other basis can morals

I frequently reiterated these reasonings, always with encreased fervor
and earnestness: represented--'that every step I took in advance would
be miles in return--every minute that the blow was suspended, prepared
it to descend with accumulated force.' I required no particulars, but
merely requested to be assured of _a present, existing, engagement_. I
continued, from time to time, to urge this subject.

      'Much,' said I, 'as I esteem you, and deeply as a thousand
      associations have fixed your idea in my heart--in true
      candour of soul, I, yet, feel myself your superior.--I
      recollect a sentiment of Richardson's Clarissa that always
      pleased me, and that may afford a test, by which each of us
      may judge of the integrity of our own minds--"I should be
      glad that you, and all the world, knew my heart; let my
      enemies sit in judgment upon my actions; fairly scanned,
      I fear not the result. Let them ask me my most secret
      thoughts; and, whether they make for me, or against me, I
      will reveal them."

      'This is the principle, my friend, upon which I have acted
      towards you. I have said many things, I doubt not, which
      make against me; but I trusted them to one, who told me,
      that he had made the human heart his study: and it is only
      in compliance with the prejudices of others, if I have taken
      any pains to conceal all I have thought and felt on this,
      or on any other, subject, from the rest of the world. Had I
      not, in the wild career of fervent feeling, had sufficient
      strength of mind to stop short, and to reason calmly, how
      often, in the bitterness of my spirit, should I have accused
      you of sporting with my feelings, by involving me in a
      hopeless maze of conjecture--by leaving me a prey to the
      constant, oppressive, apprehension of hearing something,
      which I should not have had the fortitude to support with
      dignity; which, in proportion as it is delayed, still
      contributes to harrass, to weaken, to incapacitate, my mind
      from bearing its disclosure.

      'I know you might reply--and more than nine-tenths of the
      world would justify you in this reply--"That you had already
      said, what ought to have been sufficient, and would have
      been so to any other human being;--that you had not sought
      the confidence I boast of having reposed in you;--and
      that so far from affording you any satisfaction, it has
      occasioned you only perplexity. If my own destiny was not
      equivocal, of what importance could it be to me, and what
      right had I to enquire after circumstances, in which,
      however affecting, I could have no real concern."

      'You may think all this, perhaps--I will not spare
      myself--and it may be reasonable. _But could you say
      it_--and have you, indeed, studied the human heart--_have
      you, indeed, ever felt the affections?_--Whatever may be the
      event--and it is in the mind of powers only that passions
      are likely to become fatal--and however irreproachable every
      other part of your conduct may have been, I shall, _here_,
      always say, you were culpable!'

I changed my style.

      'I know not,' said I, 'the nature of those stern duties,
      which oblige you to with-hold from me your tenderness;
      neither do I any longer enquire. I dread, only, lest I
      should acquire this knowledge when I am the least able to
      support it. Ignorant, then, of any reasons which should
      prevent me from giving up my heart to an attachment, now
      become interwoven with my existence, I yield myself up to
      these sweet and affecting emotions, so necessary to my
      disposition--to which apathy is abhorrent. "The affections
      (truly says Sterne) must be exercised on something; for, not
      to love, is to be miserable. Were I in a desart, I would
      find out wherewith in it to call forth my affections. If I
      could do no better, I would fasten them upon some sweet
      myrtle, or seek some melancholy cypress to connect myself
      to--I would court their shade, and greet them kindly for
      their protection. I would cut my name upon them, and swear
      they were the loveliest trees throughout the desart. If
      their leaves withered, I would teach myself to mourn; and,
      when they rejoiced, I would rejoice with them."

      'An attachment, founded upon a full conviction of worth,
      must be both safe and salutary. My mind has not sufficient
      strength to form an abstract idea of perfection. I have ever
      found it stimulated, improved, advanced, by its affections.
      I will, then, continue to love you with fervor and purity; I
      will see you with joy, part from you with regret, grieve in
      your griefs, enter with zeal into your concerns, interest
      myself in your honour and welfare, and endeavour, with
      all my little power, to contribute to your comfort and
      satisfaction.--Is your heart so differently constituted from
      every other human heart, that an affection, thus ardent and
      sincere, excites in it no grateful, and soothing, emotions?
      Why, then, withdraw yourself from me, and by that means
      afflict, and sink into despondency, a mind that entrusts its
      peace to your keeping.


We met the next day at the house of a common friend. My accents,
involuntarily, were softened, my attentions pointed.--Manifestly
agitated, embarrassed, even distressed, Augustus quitted the company
at an early hour.

It would be endless to enumerate all the little incidents that occurred;
which, however trifling they might appear in the recital, continued to
operate in one direction. Many letters passed to the same purport. My
curiosity was a consuming passion; but this inflexible, impenetrable,
man, was still silent, or alternately evaded, and resented, my
enquiries. We continued, occasionally, to meet, but generally in


During the ensuing summer, Mr Harley proposed making a visit to his
mother, and, calling to take his leave of me, on the evening preceding
his journey, accidentally found me alone.--We entered into conversation
on various subjects: twilight stole upon us unperceived. The obscure
light inspired me with courage: I ventured to resume a subject, so often
discussed; I complained, gently, of his reserve.

'Could I suppose,' he asked, 'that he had been without _his share_ of

I replied something, I scarce know what, adverting to his stronger mind.

'Strength!' said he, turning from me with emotion, 'rather say,

I reiterated the important, the so often proposed, enquiry--'Had he, or
had he not, a _present, existing, engagement_?'

He endeavoured to evade my question--I repeated it--He answered, with
a degree of impatience, '_I cannot tell you_; if I could, do you think
I would have been silent so long?'--as once, before, he spoke of the
circumstances of his past life, as being of '_a singular, a peculiar,

At our separation, I asked, if he would write to me during his absence.
'Certainly, he would.' The next morning, having some little commissions
to execute for Mrs Harley, I sent them, accompanied by a few lines, to
her son.

'Why is it,' said I, 'that our sagacity, and penetration, frequently
desert us on the most interesting occasions? I can read any mind with
greater facility than I can read your's; and, yet, what other have I
so attentively studied? This is a problem I know not how to solve. One
conclusion will force itself upon me--if a mistaken one, whom have you
to blame?--That an _honourable_, suitable, engagement, could have given
no occasion for mystery.' I added, 'I should depend on hearing from him,
according to his promise.'

Week after week, month after month, wore away, and no letter arrived.
Perturbation was succeeded by anxiety and apprehension; but hearing,
through my maternal friend, Mrs Harley, of the welfare of this object
of our too tender cares, my solicitude subsided into despondency. The
pressure of one corroding train of ideas preyed, like a canker-worm,
upon my heart, and destroyed all its tranquillity.

In the beginning of the winter, this mysterious, inexplicable, being,
again returned to town. I had undertaken a little business, to serve
him, during his absence--I transmitted to him an account of my
proceedings; subjoining a gentle reproach for his unkind silence.

'You promised you would write to me,' said I, 'during your residence
in ----shire. I therefore depended upon hearing from you; and, yet, I
was disappointed. You should not, indeed you should not, make these
experiments upon my mind. My sensibility, originally acute, from having
been too much exercised, has become nearly morbid, and has almost
unfitted me for an inhabitant of this world. I am willing to believe,
that your conduct towards me has originated in good motives, nevertheless,
you have made some sad mistakes--you have _deeply_, though undesignedly,
wounded me: I have been harrassed, distressed, mortified. You know not,
neither will I attempt to describe, all I have suffered! language would
be inadequate to paint the struggles of a delicate, susceptible, mind,
in some peculiar and interesting situations.

'You may suspect me of wanting resolution, but strong, persevering
affections, are no mark of a weak mind. To have been the wife of a man
of virtue and talents was my dearest ambition, and would have been my
glory: I judged myself worthy of the confidence and affection of such a
man--I felt, that I could have united in his pursuits, and shared his
principles--aided the virtuous energies of his mind, and assured his
domestic comforts. I earnestly sought to inspire you with tenderness,
from the conviction, that I could contribute to your happiness, and to
the worth of your character. And if, from innumerable associations, I
at length loved your person, it was the magnanimity of your conduct, it
was your virtues, that first excited my admiration and esteem. But you
have rejected an attachment originating in the highest, the purest,
principles--you have thrown from you a heart of exquisite sensibility,
and you leave me in doubt, whether you have not sacrificed that heart
to prejudice. Yet, contemned affection has excited in my mind no
resentment; true tenderness is made up of gentle and amiable emotions;
nothing hostile, nothing severe, can mix with it: it may gradually
subside, but it will continue to soften the mind it has once subdued.

'I see much to respect in your conduct, and though, it is probable, some
parts of it may have originated in mistaken principles, I trust, that
their source was pure! I, also, have made many mistakes--have been
guilty of many extravagances. Yet, distrust the morality, that sternly
commands you to pierce the bosom that most reveres you, and then to call
it virtue--_Yes! distrust and suspect its origin!_' I concluded with
expressing a wish to see him--'_merely as a friend_'--requesting a line
in reply.

He wrote not, but came, unexpectedly came, the next evening. I expressed,
in lively terms, the pleasure I felt in seeing him. We conversed on
various subjects, he spoke affectionately of his mother, and of the
tender interest she had expressed for my welfare. He enquired after my
pursuits and acquirements during his absence, commending the progress I
had made. Just before he quitted me, he adverted to the reproach I had
made him, for not having written to me, according to his engagement.

'Recollect,' said he, 'in the last letter I received from you, before I
left London, you hinted some suspicions--' I looked at him, 'and what,'
added he, 'could I reply?'

I was disconcerted, I changed colour, and had no power to pursue the


From this period, he continued to visit me (I confess at my solicitation)
more frequently. We occasionally resumed our scientific pursuits, read
together, or entered into discussion on various topics. At length he
grew captious, disputatious, gloomy, and imperious--the more I studied
to please him, the less I succeeded. He disapproved my conduct, my
opinions, my sentiments; my frankness offended him. This change
considerably affected me. In company, his manners were studiously cold
and distant; in private capricious, yet reserved and guarded. He seemed
to overlook all my efforts to please, and, with a severe and penetrating
eye, to search only for my errors--errors, into which I was but too
easily betrayed, by the painful, and delicate, situation, in which I had
placed myself.

We, one day, accompanied Mrs Denbeigh on a visit of congratulation to
her brother (eldest son of my deceased uncle Mr Melmoth), who had, when
a youth, been placed by his father in a commercial house in the West
Indies, and who had just returned to his native country with an ample
fortune. His sister and myself anticipated the pleasure of renewing our
early, fraternal, affection and intimacy, while I felt a secret pride in
introducing to his acquaintance a man so accomplished and respectable as
Mr Harley. We were little aware of the changes which time and different
situations produce on the character, and, with hearts and minds full of
the frank, lively, affectionate, youth, from whom we had parted, seven
years since, with mutual tears and embraces, shrunk spontaneously,
on our arrival at Mr Melmoth's elegant house in Bedford square, from
the cold salutation, of the haughty, opulent, purse-proud, Planter,
surrounded by ostentatious luxuries, and evidently valuing himself upon
the consequence which he imagined they must give him in our eyes.

Mr Harley received the formal compliments of this favourite of fortune
with the easy politeness which distinguishes the gentleman and the man
of letters, and the dignified composure which the consciousness of worth
and talents seldom fails to inspire. Mr Melmoth, by his awkward and
embarrassed manner, tacitly acknowledged the impotence of wealth and
the real superiority of his guest. We were introduced by our stately
relation to his wife, the lady of the mansion, a young woman whom he had
accidentally met with in a party of pleasure at Jamaica, whither she had
attended a family in the humble office of companion or chief attendant
to the lady. Fascinated by her beauty and lively manner, our trader had
overlooked an empty mind, a low education, and a doubtful character,
and, after a very few interviews, tendered to her acceptance his hand
and fortune; which, though not without some affectation of doubt and
delay, were in a short time joyfully accepted.

A gentleman joined our party in the dining-room, whom the servant
announced by the name of Pemberton, in whom I presently recognized,
notwithstanding some years had elapsed since our former meeting, the man
of fashon and gallantry who had been the antagonist of Mr Francis, at
the table of my father. He had lately (we were informed by our host)
been to Jamaica, to take possession of an estate bequeathed to him, and
had returned to England in the same vessel with Mr and Mrs Melmoth.
After an elegant dinner of several courses had been served up and
removed for the desert, a desultory conversation took place.

Mr Pemberton, it appeared, held a commission in the militia, and
earnestly solicited Mrs Melmoth, on whom he lavished a profusion of
compliments, to grace their encampment, which was to be stationed in the
ensuing season near one of the fashionable watering places, with her

This request the lady readily promised to comply with, expressing, in
tones of affected softness, her admiration of military men, and of the

  'Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!'

'Do you not think, Miss Courtney,' said she, turning to me, 'that
soldiers are the most agreeable and charming men in the world?'

'Indeed I do not, Madam; their trade is _murder_, and their trappings,
in my eyes, appear but as the gaudy pomp of sacrifice.'

'_Murder_, indeed! What a harsh word--I declare you are a shocking
creature--There have always been wars in the world, and there always
must be: but surely you would not confound the brave fellows, who
fight to protect their King and Country, and _the ladies_, with common
ruffians and housebreakers!'

'All the difference between them is, that the one, rendered desperate
by passion, poverty, or injustice, endeavours by _wrong_ means to do
himself _right_, and through this terrible and pitiable mistake destroys
the life or the property of a fellow being--The others, wantonly and in
cold blood, cut down millions of their species, ravage whole towns and
cities, and carry devastation through a country.'

'What _odd notions_! Dear, Mr Pemberton, did you ever hear a lady talk
so strangely?'

Thus called upon, Mr Pemberton thought it incumbent upon him to
interfere--'_Courtney_, I think, Madam, your name is! The daughter of an
old friend of mine, if I am not mistaken, and who, I remember, was, when
a very young lady, a great admirer of _Roman virtues_.'

'Not of _Roman virtues_, I believe, Sir; they had in them too much of
the destructive spirit which Mrs Melmoth thinks so admirable.'

'Indeed, I said nothing about _Roman virtues_, nor do I trouble myself
with such subjects--I merely admired the soldiers because they are so
brave and so polite; besides, the military dress is so elegant and
becoming--Dear, Mr Pemberton, how charmingly you must look in your

Mr Pemberton, bowing in return to the compliment, made an animated
eulogium on the taste and beauty of the speaker.

'Pray, Sir,' resumed she, addressing herself to Mr Harley, whose
inattention seemed to pique her, and whose notice she was determined to
attract, 'are you of Miss Courtney's opinion--do you think it right to
call soldiers _murderers_?'

'Upon my word, Madam,' with an air of irony, 'you must excuse me from
entering into such _nice distinctions_--when _ladies_ differ, who shall
presume to decide?'

Mr Melmoth interposed, by wishing, 'that they had some thousands
more of these _murderers_ in the West Indies, to keep the slaves in
subordination, who, since absurd notions of liberty had been put into
their heads, were grown very troublesome and refractory, and, in a short
time, he supposed, would become as insolent as the English servants.'

'Would you believe it, Mrs Denbeigh,' said the Planter's lady,
addressing the sister of her husband, 'Mr Melmoth and I have been in
England but a month, and have been obliged three times to change our
whole suit of servants?'

'This is a land of freedom, my dear sister; servants, here, will not
submit to be treated like the slaves of Jamaica.'

'Well, I am sure it is very provoking to have one's will disputed by
such low, ignorant, creatures. How should they know what is right? It
is enough for them to obey the orders of their superiors.'

'But suppose,' replied Mrs Denbeigh, 'they should happen to think their
superiors unreasonable!'

'_Think!_ sister,' said the lordly Mr Melmoth, with an exulting laugh,
'what have _servants_, or _women_, to do with _thinking_?'

'Nay, now,' interrupted Mr Pemberton, 'you are too severe upon the
ladies--how would the elegant and tasteful arrangement of Mrs Melmoth's
ornaments have been produced without thinking?'

'Oh, you flatterer!' said the lady. 'Let them think only about their
dress, and I have no objection, but don't let them plague us with

'Mrs Melmoth,' said I, coolly, 'does not often, I dare say, offend
_in this way_. That some of the gentlemen, present, should object to a
woman's exercising her discriminating powers, is not wonderful, since
it might operate greatly to their disadvantage.'

'A blow on the right cheek, from so fair a hand,' replied Mr Pemberton,
affectedly bending his body, 'would almost induce one to adopt the
christian maxim, and turn the left, also. What say you, Mr Harley?'

'Mr Harley, I believe, Sir, does not feel himself included in the

'He is a happy man then.'

'No, Sir, merely a _rational one_!'

'You are pleased to be severe; of all things I dread a female wit.'

'It is an instinctive feeling of self-preservation--nature provides weak
animals with timidity as a guard.'

Mr Pemberton reddened, and, affecting a careless air, hummed a tune. Mr
Melmoth again reverted to the subject of English servants, which gave
rise to a discussion on the Slave Trade. Mr Harley pleaded the cause of
freedom and humanity with a bold and manly eloquence, expatiating warmly
on the iniquity as well as impolicy of so accursed a traffic. Melmoth
was awed into silence. Mr Pemberton advanced some trite arguments in
opposition, respecting the temporary mischiefs which might ensue, in case
of an abolition, to the planters, landholders, traders, &c. Augustus
explained, by contending only for the gradual emancipation, after their
minds had been previously prepared, of the oppressed Africans. The
conversation grew interesting. Pemberton was not devoid of talents when
he laid aside his affectation; the subject was examined both in a moral
and a political point of view. I listened with delight, while Augustus
exposed and confuted the specious reasoning and sophistry of his
antagonist: exulting in the triumph of truth and justice, I secretly
gloried--'with more than selfish vanity'--in the virtues and abilities
of my friend. Though driven from all his resources, Mr Pemberton was too
much the courtier to be easily disconcerted, but complimenting his
adversary on his eloquence, declared he should be happy to hear of his
having a seat in Parliament.

Mrs Melmoth, who had yawned and betrayed various symptoms of weariness
during the discussion, now proposed the adjournment of the ladies into
the drawing-room, whither I was compelled, by a barbarous and odious
custom, reluctantly to follow, and to submit to be entertained with a
torrent of folly and impertinence.

'I was ill-natured,' she told me.--'How could I be so severe upon the
_charming_ and _elegant_ Mr Pemberton?'

It was in vain I laboured to convince her, that to be treated like
ideots was no real compliment, and that the men who condescend to
flatter our foibles, despised the weak beings they helped to form.

My remonstrances were as fatiguing, and as little to be comprehended
by this _fine lady_, as the arguments respecting the Slave Trade:--she
sought refuge from them in interrogating Mrs Denbeigh respecting the
last new fashions, and in consulting her taste on the important
question--whether blue or violet colour was the most becoming to a
brunette complexion? The gentlemen joined us, to our great relief, at
the tea-table:--other company dropped in, and the evening was beguiled
with cards and the chess-board;--at the latter Mr Melmoth and Mr Harley
were antagonists;--the former was no match for Augustus. I amused myself
by observing their moves, and overlooking the game.

During our return from this visit, some conversation occurred between Mr
Harley, my cousin, and myself, respecting the company we had quitted. I
expressed my disappointment, disgust, and contempt, in terms, it may be,
a little too strong.

'I was _fastidious_,' Augustus told me, 'I wanted a world made on
purpose for me, and beings formed after one model. It was both amusing,
and instructive, to contemplate varieties of character. I was a romantic
enthusiast--and should endeavour to become more like an inhabitant of
the world.'

Piqued at these remarks, and at the tone and manner in which they were
uttered, I felt my temper rising, and replied with warmth; but it was
the glow of a moment; for, to say truth, vexation and disappointment,
rather than reason, had broken and subdued my spirit. Mrs Denbeigh,
perceiving I was pained, kindly endeavoured to give a turn to the
conversation; yet she could not help expressing her regret, on observing
the folly, levity, and extravagance, of the woman whom her brother had
chosen for a wife.

'No doubt,' said Augustus, a little peevishly, 'he is fond of her--she
is a fine woman--there is no accounting for the _caprices_ of the

I sighed, and my eyes filled with tears--'Is, then, affection so
_capricious_ a sentiment--is it possible to love what we despise?'

'I cannot tell,' retorted Mr Harley, with quickness. 'Triflers can give
no _serious_ occasion for uneasiness:--the humours of superior women are
sometimes still less tolerable.'

'Ah! how unjust. If gentleness be not _the perfection of reason_, it is
a quality which I have never, yet, properly understood.'

He made no reply, but sunk into silence, reserve, and reverie. On our
arrival at my apartments, I ventured (my cousin having left us) to
expostulate with him on his unkind behaviour; but was answered with
severity. Some retrospection ensued, which gradually led to the subject
ever present to my thoughts.--Again I expressed a solicitude to be
informed of the real state of his heart, of the nature of those
mysterious obstacles, to which, when clearly ascertained, I was ready
to submit.--'Had he, or had he not, an attachment, that looked to, as
its _end_, a serious and legal engagement?' He appeared ruffled and
discomposed.--'I ought not to be so urgent--he had already sufficiently
explained himself.' He then repeated to me some particulars, apparently
adverse to such a supposition--asking me, in his turn, 'If these
circumstances bespoke his having any such event in view?'


For some time after this he absented himself from me; and, when he
returned, his manners were still more unequal; even his sentiments, and
principles, at times, appeared to me equivocal, and his character seemed
wholly changed. I tried, in vain, to accommodate myself to a disposition
so various. My affection, my sensibility, my fear of offending--a
thousand conflicting, torturing, emotions, threw a constraint over my
behaviour.--My situation became absolutely intolerable--time was murdered,
activity vain, virtue inefficient: yet, a secret hope inspired me, that
_indifference_ could not have produced the irritations, the inequalities,
that thus harrassed me. I thought, I observed a conflict in his mind;
his fits of absence, and reflection, were unusual, deep, and frequent:
I watched them with anxiety, with terror, with breathless expectation.
My health became affected, and my mind disordered. I perceived that it
was impossible to proceed, in the manner we had hitherto done, much
longer--I felt that it would, inevitably, destroy me.

I reflected, meditated, reasoned, with myself--'That one channel, into
which my thoughts were incessantly impelled, was destructive of all
order, of all connection.' New projects occurred to me, which I had
never before ventured to encourage--I revolved them in my mind, examined
them in every point of view, weighed their advantages and disadvantages,
in a moral, in a prudential, scale.--Threatening evils appeared on all
sides--I endeavoured, at once, to free my mind from prejudice, and from
passion; and, in the critical and _singular_ circumstances in which I
had placed myself, coolly to survey the several arguments of the case,
and nicely to calculate their force and importance.

'If, as we are taught to believe, the benevolent Author of nature be,
indeed, benevolent,' said I, to myself, 'he surely must have intended
the _happiness_ of his creatures. Our morality cannot extend to him, but
must consist in the knowledge, and practice, of those duties which we
owe to ourselves and to each other.--Individual happiness constitutes
the general good:--_happiness_ is the only true _end_ of existence;
--all notions of morals, founded on any other principle, involve in
themselves a contradiction, and must be erroneous. Man does right,
when pursuing interest and pleasure--it argues no depravity--this is
the fable of superstition: he ought to only be careful, that, in seeking
his own good, he does not render it incompatible with the good of
others--that he does not consider himself as standing alone in the
universe. The infraction of established _rules_ may, it is possible, in
some cases, be productive of mischief; yet, it is difficult to state any
_rule_ so precise and determinate, as to be alike applicable to every
situation: what, in one instance, might be a _vice_, in another may
possibly become a _virtue_:--a thousand imperceptible, evanescent,
shadings, modify every thought, every motive, every action, of our
lives--no one can estimate the sensations of, can form an exact
judgment for, another.

'I have sometimes suspected, that all mankind are pursuing phantoms,
however dignified by different appellations.--The healing operations of
time, had I patience to wait the experiment, might, perhaps, recover my
mind from its present distempered state; but, in the meanwhile, the bloom
of youth is fading, and the vigour of life running to waste.--Should I,
at length, awake from a delusive vision, it would be only to find myself
a comfortless, solitary, shivering, wanderer, in the dreary wilderness
of human society. I feel in myself the capacities for increasing the
happiness, and the improvement, of a few individuals--and this circle,
spreading wider and wider, would operate towards the grand end of
life--_general utility_.'

Again I repeated to myself--'Ascetic virtues are equally barbarous as
vain:--the only just morals, are those which have a tendency to increase
the bulk of enjoyment. My plan tends to this. The good which I seek
does not appear to me to involve injury to any one--it is of a nature,
adapted to the disposition of my mind, for which every event of my life,
the education both of design and accident, have fitted me. If I am now
put out, I may, perhaps, do mischief:--the placid stream, forced from
its channel, lays waste the meadow. I seem to stand as upon a wide
plain, bounded on all sides by the horizon:--among the objects which I
perceive within these limits, some are so lofty, my eyes ache to look
up to them; others so low, I disdain to stoop for them. _One_, only,
seems fitted to my powers, and to my wishes--_one, alone_, engages my
attention! Is not its possession worthy an arduous effort: _Perseverance_
can turn the course of rivers, and level mountains! Shall I, then,
relinquish my efforts, when, perhaps, on the very verge of success?

'The mind must have an object:--should I desist from my present pursuit,
after all it has cost me, for what can I change it? I feel, that I am
neither a philosopher, nor a heroine--but a _woman, to whom education
has given a sexual character_. It is true, I have risen superior to the
generality of my _oppressed sex_; yet, I have neither the talents for a
legislator, nor for a reformer, of the world. I have still many female
foibles, and shrinking delicacies, that unfit me for rising to arduous
heights. Ambition cannot stimulate me, and to accumulate wealth, I am
still less fitted. Should I, then, do violence to my heart, and compel
it to resign its hopes and expectations, what can preserve me from
sinking into, the most abhorred of all states, _languor and inanity_?
--Alas! that tender and faithful heart refuses to change its object--it
can never love another. Like Rousseau's Julia, my strong individual
attachment has annihilated every man in the creation:--him I love
appears, in my eyes, something more--every other, something less.

'I have laboured to improve myself, that I might be worthy of the
situation I have chosen. I would unite myself to a man of worth--I would
have our mingled virtues and talents perpetuated in our offspring--I
would experience those sweet sensations, of which nature has formed my
heart so exquisitely susceptible. My ardent sensibilities incite me to
love--to seek to inspire sympathy--to be beloved! My heart obstinately
refuses to renounce the man, to whose mind my own seems akin! From the
centre of private affections, it will at length embrace--like spreading
circles on the peaceful bosom of the smooth and expanded lake--the whole
sensitive and rational creation. Is it virtue, then, to combat, or to
yield to, my passions?'

I considered, and reconsidered, these reasonings, so specious, so
flattering, to which passion lent its force. One moment, my mind seemed
firmly made up on the part I had to act;--I persuaded myself, that I had
gone too far to recede, and that there remained for me no alternative:--the
next instant, I shrunk, gasping, from my own resolves, and shuddered at
the important consequences which they involved. Amidst a variety of
perturbations, of conflicting emotions, I, at length, once more, took up
my pen.



      'I blush, when I reflect what a weak, wavering, inconsistent
      being, I must lately have appeared to you. I write to you on
      important subjects--I forbid you to answer me on paper; and,
      when you seem inclined to put that period to the present,
      painful, high-wrought, and trying, state of my feelings,
      which is now become so necessary, I appear neither to hear,
      nor to comprehend you. I fly from the subject, and thicken
      the cloud of mystery, of which I have so often, and, I still
      think, so justly complained.--These are some of the effects
      of the contradictory systems, that have so long bewildered
      our principles and conduct. A combination of causes, added
      to the conflict between a thousand delicate and nameless
      emotions, have lately conspired to confuse, to weaken,
      my spirits. You can conceive, that these acute, mental,
      sensations, must have had a temporary effect on the state
      of my health. To say truth (and, had I not said it, my
      countenance would have betrayed me), I have not, for some
      time past, been so thoroughly disordered.

      'Once more, I have determined to rally my strength; for I
      feel, that a much longer continuance in the situation,
      in which my mind has been lately involved, would be
      insupportable:--and I call upon you, _now_, with a
      resolution to summon all my fortitude to bear the result,
      for the _written_ state of your mind, on the topic become so
      important to my future welfare and usefulness.

      'You may suppose, that a mind like mine must have,
      repeatedly, set itself to examine, on every side, all that
      could possibly have a relation to a subject affecting it so
      materially. You have hinted at _mysterious_ obstacles to the
      wish, in which every faculty of my soul has been so long
      absorbed--the wish of forming with you, a connection,
      nearer, _and more tender_, than that of friendship. This
      mystery, by leaving room for conjecture (and how frequently
      have I warned you of this!), left room for the illusions of
      imagination, and of hope--left room for the suspicion, that
      you might, possibly, be sacrificing _your own feelings_ as
      well as mine, to a mistaken principle. Is it possible that
      you were not aware of this--you, who are not unacquainted
      with the nature of the mind! Still less were you ignorant
      of the nature of my mind--which I had so explicitly, so
      unreservedly, laid open! I had a double claim upon your
      confidence--a confidence, that I was utterly incapable of
      abusing, or betraying--a confidence, which must have stopped
      my mind in its career--which would have saved me the bitter,
      agonizing, pangs I have sustained. Mine were not common
      feelings--it is _obscurity_ and _mystery_ which has wrought
      them up to frenzy--_truth_ and _certainty_ would, long ere
      this, have caused them temporarily to subside into their
      accustomed channels. You understand little of the human
      heart, if you cannot conceive this--"Where the imagination
      is vivid, the feelings strong, the views and desires not
      bounded by common rules;--in such minds, passions, if not
      subdued, become ungovernable and fatal: where there is much
      warmth, much enthusiasm, there is much danger.--My mind is
      no less ardent than yours, though education and habit may
      have given it a different turn--it glows with equal zeal to
      attain its end."[11] Yes, I must continue to repeat, there
      has been in your conduct _one grand mistake_; and the train
      of consequences which may, yet, ensue, are uncertain, and
      threatening.--But, I mean no reproach--we are all liable to
      errors; and my own, I feel, are many, and various. But to

         [Footnote 11: Holcraft's Anna St Ives.]

      'You may suppose I have revolved, in my thoughts, every
      possible difficulty on the subject alluded to; balancing
      their degrees of probability and force:--and, I will frankly
      confess, such is the sanguine ardour of my temper, that I
      can conceive but one obstacle, that would be _absolutely
      invincible_; which is, supposing that you have already
      contracted a _legal, irrecoverable_, engagement. Yet, this I
      do not suppose. I will arrange, under five heads, (on all
      occasions, I love to class and methodize) every other
      possible species of objection, and subjoin all the
      reasonings which have occurred to me on the subjects.

      'And, first, I will imagine, as the most serious and
      threatening difficulty, that you love another. I would,
      then, ask--Is she capable of estimating your worth--does she
      love you--has she the magnanimity to tell you so--would she
      sacrifice to that affection every meaner consideration--has
      she the merit to secure, as well as accomplishments to
      attract, your regard?--You are too well acquainted with the
      human heart, not to be aware, that what is commonly called
      love is of a fleeting nature, kept alive only by hopes and
      fears, if the qualities upon which it is founded afford no
      basis for its subsiding into tender confidence, and rational
      esteem. Beauty may inspire a transient desire, vivacity
      amuse, for a time, by its sportive graces; but the first
      will quickly fade and grow familiar--the last degenerate
      into impertinence and insipidity. Interrogate your own
      heart--Would you not, when the ardour of the passions, and
      the fervor of the imagination, subsided, wish to find the
      sensible, intelligent, friend, take place of the engaging
      mistress?--Would you not expect the economical manager of
      your affairs, the rational and judicious mother to your
      offspring, the faithful sharer of your cares, the firm
      friend to your interest, the tender consoler of your
      sorrows, the companion in whom you could wholly confide, the
      discerning participator of your nobler pursuits, the friend
      of your virtues, your talents, your reputation--who could
      understand you, who was formed to pass the ordeal of honour,
      virtue, friendship?--Ask yourself these questions--ask them
      closely, without sophistry, and without evasion. You are
      not, now, an infatuated boy! Supposing, then, that you are,
      at present, entangled in an engagement which answers not
      this description--Is it virtue to fulfil, or to renounce,
      it? Contrast it with my affection, with its probable
      consequences, and weigh our different claims! _Would you
      have been the selected choice, of this woman, from all
      mankind_--would no other be capable of making her equally
      happy--would nothing compensate to her for your loss--are
      you the only object that she beholds in creation--might not
      another engagement suit her equally well, or better--is her
      whole soul absorbed but by one sentiment, that of fervent
      love for you--is her future usefulness, as well as peace, at
      stake--does she understand your high qualities better than
      myself--will she emulate them more?--Does the engagement
      promise a favourable issue, or does it threaten to wear
      away the best period of life in protracted and uncertain
      feeling--_the most pernicious, and destructive, of all state
      of mind?_ Remember, also, that the summer of life will
      quickly fade; and that he who has reached the summit of the
      hill, has no time to lose--if he seize not the present
      moment, age is approaching, and life melting fast away.--I
      quit this, to state my second hypothesis--

      'That you esteem and respect me, but that your heart has
      hitherto refused the sympathies I have sought to awaken
      in it. If this be the case, it remains to search for the
      reason; and, I own, I am at a loss to find it, either in
      moral, or physical, causes. Our principles are in unison,
      our tastes and habits not dissimilar, our knowledge of, and
      confidence in, each other's virtues is reciprocal, tried,
      and established--our ages, personal accomplishments, and
      mental acquirements do not materially differ. From such an
      union, I conceive, mutual advantages would result. I have
      found myself distinguished, esteemed, beloved by, others,
      where I have not sought for this distinction. How, then, can
      I believe it compatible with the nature of mind, that so
      many strong efforts, and reiterated impressions, can have
      produced no effect upon yours? Is your heart constituted
      differently from every other human heart?--I have lately
      observed an inequality in your behaviour, that has whispered
      something flattering to my heart. Examine yourself--Have you
      felt no peculiar interest in what concerns me--would the
      idea of our separation affect you with no more than a slight
      and common emotion?--One more question propose to yourself,
      as a test--Could you see me form a new, and more fortunate,
      attachment, with indifference? If you cannot, without
      hesitation, answer these questions, I have still a powerful
      pleader in your bosom, though unconscious of it yourself,
      that will, ultimately, prevail. If I have, yet, failed of
      producing an unequivocal effect, it must arise from having
      mistaken the _means_ proper to produce the desired _end_.
      My own sensibility, and my imperfect knowledge of your
      character may, here, have combined to mislead me. The first,
      by its suffocating and depressing powers, clouding my
      vivacity, incapacitating me from appearing to you with
      my natural advantages--these effects would diminish as
      assurance took the place of doubt. The last, every day would
      contribute to correct. Permit me, then, _to hope for_, as
      well as to seek your affections, and if I do not, at length,
      gain and secure them, it will be a phenomenon in the history
      of mind!

      'But to proceed to my third supposition--The peculiar,
      pecuniary, embarrassments of your situation--Good God!
      did this barbarous, insidious, relation, allow himself
      to consider the pernicious consequences of his absurd
      bequest?--threatening to undermine every manly principle, to
      blast every social virtue? Oh! that I had the eloquence to
      rouse you from this tame and unworthy acquiescence--to
      stimulate you to exercise your talents, to trust to the
      independent energies of your mind, to exert yourself to
      procure the honest rewards of virtuous industry. In
      proportion as we lean for support on foreign aid, we lose
      the dignity of our nature, and palsey those powers which
      constitute that nature's worth. Yet, I will allow, from my
      knowledge of your habits and associations, this obstacle its
      full force. But there remains one method of obviating, even
      this! I will frankly confess, that could I hope to gain
      the interest in your heart, which I have so long and
      so earnestly sought--my confidence in your honour and
      integrity, my tenderness for you, added to the wish of
      contributing to your happiness, would effect, what no lesser
      considerations could have effected--would triumph, not over
      my principles, (_for the individuality of an affection
      constitutes its chastity_) but over my prudence. I repeat, I
      am willing to sacrifice every inferior consideration--retain
      your legacy, so capriciously bequeathed--retain your present
      situation, and I will retain mine. This proposition, though
      not a violation of modesty, certainly involves in it very
      serious hazards--_It is, wholly, the triumph of affection!_
      You cannot suppose, that a transient engagement would
      satisfy a mind like mine; I should require a reciprocal
      faith plighted and returned--an after separation, otherwise
      than by mutual consent, would be my destruction--I should
      not survive your desertion. My existence, then, would be in
      your hands. Yet, having once confided, your affection should
      be my recompence--my sacrifice should be a cheerful and a
      voluntary one; I would determine not to harrass you with
      doubts nor jealousies, I would neither reflect upon the
      past, nor distrust the future: I would rest upon you, I
      would confide in you fearlessly and entirely! but, though I
      would not enquire after the past, my delicacy would require
      the assurance of your present, undivided, affection.

      'The fourth idea that has occurred to me, is the probability
      of your having formed a plan of seeking some agreeable woman
      of fortune, who should be willing to reward a man of merit
      for the injustice of society. Whether you may already have
      experienced some disappointments of this nature, I will not
      pretend to determine. I can conceive, that, by many women,
      a coxcomb might be preferred to you--however this may be,
      the plan is not unattended with risque, nor with some
      possible degrading circumstances--and you may succeed, and
      yet be miserable: happiness depends not upon the abundance
      of our possessions.

      'The last case which I shall state, and on which I shall
      lay little comparative stress, is the possibility of an
      engagement of a very inferior nature--a mere affair of the
      senses. The arguments which might here be adduced are too
      obvious to be repeated. Besides, I think highly of your
      refinement and delicacy--Having therefore just hinted, I
      leave it with you.

      'And now to conclude--After considering all I have urged,
      you may, perhaps, reply--That the subject is too nice and
      too subtle for reasoning, and that the heart is not to
      be compelled. These, I think, are mistakes. There is no
      subject, in fact, that may not be subjected to the laws
      of investigation and reasoning. What is it that we
      desire--_pleasure_--_happiness_? I allow, pleasure is the
      supreme good: but it may be analyzed--it must have a stable
      foundation--to this analysis I now call you! This is
      the critical moment, upon which hangs a long chain of
      events--This moment may decide your future destiny and
      mine--it may, even, affect that of unborn myriads! My spirit
      is pervaded with these important ideas--my heart flutters--I
      breathe with difficulty--_My friend_--_I would give myself
      to you_--the gift is not worthless. Pause a moment, ere you
      rudely throw from you an affection so tried, so respectable,
      so worthy of you! The heart may be compelled--compelled
      by the touching sympathies which bind, with sacred,
      indissoluble ties, mind to mind! Do not prepare for yourself
      future remorse--when lost, you may recollect my worth, and
      my affection, and remember them with regret--Yet mistake me
      not, I have no intention to intimidate--I think it my duty
      to live, while I may possibly be useful to others, however
      bitter and oppressive may be that existence. I will live
      _for duty_, though peace and enjoyment should be for ever
      fled. You may rob me of my happiness, you may rob me of my
      strength, but, even, you cannot destroy my principles. And,
      if no other motive with-held me from rash determinations, my
      tenderness for you (it is not a selfish tenderness), would
      prevent me from adding, to the anxieties I have already
      given you, the cruel pang, of feeling yourself the occasion,
      however unintentionally, of the destruction of a fellow

      'While I await your answer, I summon to my heart all its
      remaining strength and spirits. Say to me, in clear and
      decisive terms, that the obstacles which oppose my affection
      _are absolutely, and altogether, insuperable_--Or that
      there is a possibility of their removal, but that time and
      patience are, yet, necessary to determine their force. In
      this case, I will not disturb the future operations of your
      mind, assuring myself, that you will continue my suspence no
      longer than is proper and requisite--or frankly accept, and
      return, the faith of her to whom you are infinitely dearer
      than life itself!

      'Early to-morrow morning, a messenger shall call for the
      paper, which is to decide the colour of my future destiny.
      Every moment, that the blow has been suspended, it has
      acquired additional force--since it must, at length,
      descend, it would be weakness still to desire its
      protraction--We have, already, refined too much--_I promise
      to live--more, alas! I cannot promise_.

      '_Farewel!_ dearest and most beloved of men--whatever may be
      my fate--_be happiness yours!_ Once more, my lingering,
      foreboding heart, repeats _farewel!_


It would be unnecessary to paint my feelings during the interval in
which I waited a reply to this letter--I struggled to repress hope, and
to prepare my mind for the dissolution of a thousand air-built fabrics.
The day wore tediously away in strong emotion, and strong exertion. On
the subsequent morning, I sat, waiting the return of my messenger,
in a state of mind, difficult even to be conceived--I heard him
enter--breathless, I flew to meet him--I held out my hand--I could not

'Mr Harley desired me to tell you, _he had not had time to write_.'

Gracious God! I shudder, even now, to recall the convulsive sensation! I
sunk into a chair--I sat for some time motionless, every faculty seemed
suspended. At length, returning to recollection, I wrote a short
incoherent note, entreating--

'To be spared another day, another night, like the preceding--I asked
only _one single line_! In the morning I had made up my mind to
fortitude--it was now sinking--another day, I could not answer for the

Again an interval of suspense--again my messenger returned with
a verbal reply--'_He would write to-morrow._' Unconsciously, I
exclaimed--'_Barbarous, unfeeling, unpitying, man!_' A burst of tears
relieved--no--_it did not relieve me_. The day passed--I know not
how--I dare not recollect.

The next morning, I arose, somewhat refreshed; my exhausted strength and
spirits had procured me a few hours of profound slumber. A degree of
resentment gave a temporary firmness to my nerves. 'What happiness (I
repeated to myself) could I have expected with a man, thus regardless of
my feelings?' I composed my spirits--_hope was at an end_--into a sort
of sullen resignation to my fate--a half stupor!

At noon the letter arrived, coldly, confusedly written; methought there
appeared even a degree of irritation in it.

'_Another, a prior attachment_--His behaviour had been such, as
necessarily resulted from such an engagement--unavoidable circumstances
had prevented an earlier reply.' My swollen heart--but it is enough--'He
blamed my impatience--he would, in future, perhaps, when my mind had
attained more composure, make some remarks on my letter.'


To write had always afforded a temporary relief to my spirits--The next
day I resumed my pen.


      'If, after reflecting upon, and comparing, many parts of
      your past conduct, you can acquit yourself, at the sacred
      bar of humanity--it is well! How often have I called
      for--urged, with all the energy of truth and feeling--but in
      vain--such a letter as you have at length written--and,
      _even now_, though somewhat late, I thank you for it. Yet,
      what could have been easier, than to repeat so plain and so
      simple a tale? The vague hints, you had before given, I had
      repeatedly declared to be insufficient. Remember, all my
      earnestness, and all my simplicity, and _learn the value of
      sincerity_! "Oh! with what difficulty is an active mind,
      once forced into any particular train, persuaded to desert
      it as hopeless!"[12]

         [Footnote 12: Godwin's Caleb Williams.]

      'This recital, then, was not to be confirmed, till the whole
      moral conformation of my mind was affected--till the barbed
      arrow had fixed, and rankled in, and poisoned, with its
      envenomed point, every vein, every fibre, of my heart. This,
      I confess, is now the case--Reason and self-respect sustain
      me--but the wound you have inflicted _is indelible_--it will
      continue to be the corroding canker at the root of my peace.
      My youth has been worn in anguish--and the summer of life
      will probably be overshadowed by a still thicker and darker
      cloud. But I mean not to reproach you--it is not given me to
      contribute to your happiness--the dearest and most ardent
      wish of my soul--I would not then inflict unnecessary
      pain--yet, I would fix upon your mind, the value of
      _unequivocal sincerity_.

      'Had the happiness of any human being, the meanest, the
      vilest, depended as much upon me, as mine has done on you, I
      would have sacrificed, for their relief, the dearest secret
      of my heart--the secret, even upon which my very existence
      had depended. It is true, you did not directly deceive
      me--but is that enough for the delicacy of humanity? May the
      past be an affecting lesson to us both--it is written upon
      my mind in characters of blood. I feel, and acknowledge, my
      own errors, in yielding to the illusion of vague, visionary,
      expectation; but my faults have originated in a generous
      source--they have been the wild, ardent, fervent, excesses,
      of a vigorous and an exalted mind!

      'I checked my tears, as they flowed, and they are already
      dried--uncalled, unwished, for--why do they, thus, struggle
      to force their way? my mind has, I hope, too much energy,
      utterly to sink--I know what it is to suffer, and to combat
      with, if not to subdue, my feelings--and _certainty_,
      itself, is some relief. I am, also, supported by the
      retrospect of my conduct; with all its mistakes, and all its
      extravagances, it has been that of a virtuous, ingenuous,
      uncorrupted, mind. You have contemned a heart of no common
      value, you have sported with its exquisite sensibilities--but
      it will, still, know how to separate your virtues from
      your errors.

      'You reprove, perhaps justly, my impatience--I can only say,
      that circumstanced as you were, I should have stolen an hour
      from rest, from company, from business, however, important,
      to have relieved and soothed a fellow-creature in a
      situation, so full of pain and peril. Every thought, during
      a day scarcely to be recollected without agony, _was a
      two-edged sword_--but some hours of profound and refreshing
      slumber recruited my exhausted spirits, and enabled me,
      yesterday, to receive my fate, with a fortitude but little
      hoped for.

      'You would oblige me exceedingly by the remarks you allow me
      to hope for, on my letter of the ----th. You know, I will
      not shrink from reproof--that letter afforded you the last
      proof of my affection, and I repent not of it. I loved you,
      first, for what, I conceived, high qualities of mind--from
      nature and association, my tenderness became personal--till
      at length, I loved you, not only rationally and
      tenderly--_but passionately_--it became a pervading and a
      devouring fire! And, yet, I do not blush--my affection
      was modest, if intemperate, _for it was individual_--it
      annihilated in my eyes every other man in the creation. I
      regret these natural sensations and affections, their
      forcible suppression injures the mind--it converts the mild
      current of gentle, and genial sympathies, into a destructive
      torrent. This, I have the courage to avow it, has been one
      of the miserable mistakes in morals, and, like all other
      partial remedies, has increased the evil, it was intended
      to correct. From monastic institutions and principles have
      flowed, as from a polluted source, streams, that have
      at once spread through society a mingled contagion of
      dissoluteness and hypocrisy.

      'You have suddenly arrested my affections in their full
      career--in all their glowing effervescence--you have taken

                                      "The rose
        From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
        And placed a blister there."

      'And, yet, I survive the shock, and determine to live, not
      for future enjoyment--that is now, for ever, past--_but for
      future usefulness_--Is not this virtue?

      'I am sorry your attachment has been and I fear is likely
      to be, protracted--I know, too well, the misery of
      these situations, and I should, now, feel a melancholy
      satisfaction in hearing of its completion--In that
      completion, may you experience no disappointment! I do not
      wish you to be beloved, as I have loved you; this, perhaps,
      is unnecessary; such an affection, infallibly, enslaves the
      heart that cherishes it; and slavery is the tomb of virtue
      and of peace.

      'I believe it would not be proper for us to meet again--at
      least at present--should I hear of sickness, or calamity,
      befalling you, I shall, I suspect, be impelled, by an
      irresistible impulse to seek you--but I will no more
      interrupt your repose--Though you have contemned my
      affection, my friendship will still follow you.

      'If you really _love_, I think you ought to make some
      sacrifices, and not render yourself, and the happy
      object of your tenderness, the victims of factitious
      notions.--Remember--youth and life will quickly
      fade. Relinquish, call upon her to relinquish, her
      prejudices--should she refuse, she is unworthy of you, and
      you will regret, too late, the tender, faithful, ingenuous
      heart, that you have pierced through and through--_that
      you have almost broken_! Should she make you happy, I will
      esteem, though I may never have an opportunity of thanking,
      her--Were she informed of my conduct, she might rejoice in
      the trial of your affection--though I should not.

      'The spirits, that had crouded round my heart, are already
      subsiding--a flood of softness, a tide of overwhelming
      affection, gushes upon it--and I feel sinking into helpless,
      infantine, distress! Hasten to me your promised remarks--they
      will rouse, they will strengthen, me--_Truth_ I will never
      call indelicate or inhuman--it is only the virtuous mind
      can dare to practise, to challenge, it:--simplicity is true

      'Let us reap from the past all the good we can--a close, and
      searching, knowledge of the secret springs and foldings of
      our hearts. Methinks, I could wish you justified, _even at
      my own expence_.--I ask, unshrinkingly, a frank return.

      'A heart-rending sigh accompanies my _farewel_--the last
      struggles of expiring nature will be far less painful--but
      my philosophy, now, _sternly_ calls upon me to put its
      precepts in practice--trembling--shuddering--I obey!


Perhaps it cost me some effort to make the preceding letter so
moderate--yet, every victory gained over ourselves is attended with
advantages. But this apparent calm was the lethargy of despair--it was
succeeded by severer conflicts, by keener anguish. A week passed, and
near a second--I received no answer.


A letter from the country made it necessary for me, again, to address Mr
Harley, to make some enquiries which respected business of his mother's.
It may be, that I felt a mixture of other motives;--it is certain, that
when I wrote, I spoke of more than business.

      'I had hoped,' I told him, 'ere this, to have received the
      promised letter--Yet, I do not take up my pen,' said I,
      'either to complain of, or to importune, you. If I have
      already expressed myself with bitterness, let the harrassed
      state of my mind be my excuse. My own conduct has been too
      erroneous, too eccentric, to enable me to judge impartially
      of your's. Forgive me, if by placing you in an embarrassing
      situation, I have exposed you to consequent mistake or
      uneasiness. I feel, that whatever errors we may either of
      us have committed, _originated only with myself_, and I am
      content to suffer all the consequences. It is true, had you
      reposed in me an early, generous, confidence, much misery
      would have been avoided--I had not been wounded

         "There, where the human heart most exquisitely

      'You had been still my friend, and I had been comparatively
      happy. Every passion is, in a great measure, the growth of
      indulgence: all our desires are, in their commencement,
      easily suppressed, when there appears no probability of
      attaining their object; but when strengthened, by time and
      reflection, into habit, in endeavouring to eradicate them,
      we tear away part of the mind. In my attachments there is a
      kind of savage tenacity--they are of an elastic nature,
      and, being forced back, return with additional violence.

      'My affection for you has not been, altogether, irrational
      or selfish. While I felt that I loved you, as no other
      woman, I was convinced, would love you--I conceived, could I
      once engage your heart, I could satisfy, and even, purify
      it. While I loved your virtues, I thought I saw, and I
      lamented, the foibles which sullied them. I suspected you,
      perhaps erroneously, of pride, ambition, the love of
      distinction; yet your ambition could not, I thought, be of
      an ignoble nature--I feared that the gratifications you
      sought, if, indeed, attainable, were factitious--I even
      fancied I perceived you, against your better judgment,
      labouring to seduce yourself!' "He is under a delusion,"
      said I, to myself;--"reason may be stunned, or blinded, for
      awhile; but it will revive in the heart, and do its office,
      when sophistry will be of no avail." I saw you struggling
      with vexations, that I was assured might be meliorated by
      tender confidence--I longed to pour its balms into your
      bosom. My sensibility disquieted you, and myself, only
      _because it was constrained_. I thought I perceived a
      conflict in your mind--I watched its progress with attention
      and solicitude. A thousand times has my fluttering heart
      yearned to break the cruel chains that fettered it, and to
      chase the cloud, which stole over your brow, by the tender,
      yet chaste, caresses and endearments of ineffable affection!
      My feelings became too highly wrought, and altogether
      insupportable. Sympathy for your situation, zeal for your
      virtues, love for your mind, tenderness for your person--a
      complication of generous, affecting, exquisite, emotions,
      impelled me to make one great effort.--"[13] The world might
      call my plans absurd, my views romantic, my pretensions
      extravagant--Was I, or was I not, guilty of any crime, when,
      in the very acme of the passions, I so totally disregarded
      the customs of the world?" Ah! what were my sensations--what
      did I not suffer, in the interval?--and you prolonged that
      cruel interval--and still you suffer me to doubt, whether,
      at the moment in my life when I was actuated by the highest,
      the most fervent, the most magnanimous, principles--whether,
      at that moment, when I most deserved your respect, I did not
      for ever forfeit it.

         [Footnote 13: Holcroft's Anna St Ives.]

      'I seek not to extenuate any part of my conduct--I confess
      that it has been wild, extravagant, romantic--I confess,
      that, even for your errors, I am justly blameable--and yet
      I am unable to bear, because I feel they would be unjust,
      your hatred and contempt. I cherish no resentment--my spirit
      is subdued and broken--your unkindness sinks into my soul.


Another fortnight wore away in fruitless expectation--the morning
rose, the evening closed, upon me, in sadness. I could not, yet, think
the mystery developed: on a concentrated view of the circumstances,
they appeared to me contradictory, and irreconcileable. A solitary
enthusiast, a child in the drama of the world, I had yet to learn, that
those who have courage to act upon advanced principles, must be content
to suffer moral martyrdom.[14] In subduing our own prejudices, we have
done little, while assailed on every side by the prejudices of others.
My own heart acquitted me; but I dreaded that distortion of mind, that
should wrest guilt out of the most sublime of its emanations.

      [Footnote 14: This sentiment may be just in some particular
      cases, but it is by no means of general application, and
      must be understood with great limitations.]

I ruminated in gloomy silence, on my forlorn, and hopeless, situation.
'If there be not a future state of being,' said I to myself, 'what is
this!--Tortured in every stage of it, "Man cometh forth like a flower,
and is cut down--he fleeth, as a shadow, and continueth not!"--I looked
backward on my past life, and my heart sickened--its confidence in
humanity was shaken--I looked forward, and all was cheerless. I had
certainly committed many errors!--Who has not--who, with a fancy as
lively, feelings as acute, and a character as sanguine, as mine? "What,
in fact," says a philosophic writer,[15] "is character?--the production
of a lively and constant affection, and consequently, of a strong
passion:"--eradicate that passion, that ferment, that leaven, that
exuberance, which raises and makes the mind what it is, and what
remains? Yet, let us beware how we wantonly expend this divine, this
invigorating, power. Every grand error, in a mind of energy, in its
operations and consequences, carries us years forward--_precious years,
never to be recalled_!' I could find no substitute for the sentiments
I regretted--for that sentiment formed my character; and, but for the
obstacles which gave it force, though I might have suffered less
misery, I should, I suspect, have gained less improvement; still
adversity _is a real evil_; and I foreboded that this improvement had
been purchased too dear.

      [Footnote 15: Helvetius.]


Weeks elapsed ere the promised letter arrived--a letter still colder,
and more severe, than the former. I wept over it, bitter tears!
It accused me 'of adding to the vexations of a situation, before
sufficiency oppressive.'--Alas! had I known the nature of those
vexations, could I have merited such a reproof? The Augustus, I had so
long and so tenderly loved, no longer seemed to exist. Some one had,
surely, usurped his signature, and imitated those characters, I had been
accustomed to trace with delight. He tore himself from me, _nor would
he deign to soften the pang of separation_. Anguish overwhelmed me--my
heart was pierced. Reclining my head on my folded arms, I yielded myself
up to silent grief. Alone, sad, desolate, no one heeded my sorrows--no
eye pitied me--no friendly voice cheered my wounded spirit! The social
propensities of a mind forbidden to expand itself, forced back, preyed
incessantly upon that mind, secretly consuming its powers.

I was one day roused from these melancholy reflections by the entrance
of my cousin, Mrs Denbeigh. She held in her hand a letter, from my only
remaining friend, Mrs Harley. I snatched it hastily; my heart, lacerated
by the seeming unkindness of him in whom it had confided, yearned to
imbibe the consolation, which the gentle tenderness of this dear,
maternal, friend, had never failed to administer. The first paragraph
informed me--

      'That she had, a few days since, received a letter from the
      person to whom the legacy of her son devolved, should he
      fail in observing the prescribed conditions of the testator:
      that this letter gave her notice, that those conditions had
      already been infringed, Mr Harley having contracted a
      marriage, three years before, with a foreigner, with whom
      he had become acquainted during his travels; that this
      marriage had been kept a secret, and, but very lately, by an
      accidental concurrence of circumstances, revealed to the
      person most concerned in the detection. Undoubted proofs of
      the truth of this information could be produced; it would
      therefore be most prudent in her son to resign his claims,
      without putting himself, and the legal heir, to unnecessary
      expence and litigation. Ignorant of the residence of Mr
      Harley, the writer troubled his mother to convey to him
      these particulars.'

The paper dropped from my hand, the colour forsook my lips and
cheeks;--yet I neither wept, nor fainted. Mrs Denbeigh took my
hands--they were frozen--the blood seemed congealed in my veins--and I
sat motionless--my faculties suspended, stunned, locked up! My friend
spake to me--embraced, shed tears over, me--but she could not excite
mine;--my mind was pervaded by a sense of confused misery. I remained
many days in this situation--it was a state, of which I have but a
feeble remembrance; and I, at length, awoke from it, as from a
troublesome dream.

With returning reason, the tide of recollection also returned. Oh!
how complicated appeared to me the guilt of Augustus! Ignorant of his
situation, I had been unconsciously, and perseveringly, exerting myself
to seduce the affections of a _husband_ from his _wife_. He had made
me almost criminal in my own eyes--he had risqued, at once, by a
disingenuous and cruel reserve, the virtue and the happiness of three
beings. What is virtue, but a calculation of _the consequences of our
actions_? Did we allow ourselves to reason on this principle, to reflect
on its truth and importance, we should be compelled to shudder at many
parts of our conduct, which, _taken unconnectedly_, we have habituated
ourselves to consider as almost indifferent. Virtue can exist only in a
mind capable of taking comprehensive views. How criminal, then, is

During this sickness of the soul, Mr Francis, who had occasionally
visited me since my residence in town, called, repeatedly, to enquire
after my welfare; expressing a friendly concern for my indisposition. I
saw him not--I was incapable of seeing any one--but, informed by my kind
hostess of his humane attentions, soothed by the idea of having yet
a friend who seemed to interest himself in my concerns, I once more
had recourse to my pen (Mrs Denbeigh having officiously placed the
implements of writing in my way), and addressed him in the wild and
incoherent language of despair.


      'You once told me, that I was incapable of heroism; and you
      were right--yet, I am called to great exertions! a blow that
      has been suspended over my head, days, weeks, months, years,
      has at length fallen--still I live! My tears flow--I
      struggle, in vain, to suppress them, but they are not tears
      of blood!--My heart, though pierced through and through, is
      not broken!

      'My friend, come and teach me how to acquire fortitude--I
      am wearied with misery--All nature is to me a blank--an
      envenomed shaft rankles in my bosom--philosophy will not
      heal the festering wound--_I am exquisitely wretched!_

      'Do not chide me till I get more strength--I speak to you of
      my sorrows, for your kindness, while I was yet a stranger to
      you, inspired me with confidence, and my desolate heart
      looks round for support.

      'I am indebted to you--how shall I repay your goodness? Do
      you, indeed, interest yourself in my fate? Call upon me,
      then, for the few incidents of my life--I will relate them
      simply, and without disguise. There is nothing uncommon in
      them, but the effect which they have produced upon my
      mind--yet, that mind they formed.

      'After all, my friend, what a wretched farce is life! Why
      cannot I sleep, and, close my eyes upon it for ever? But
      something whispers, "_this would be wrong_."--How shall
      I tear from my heart all its darling, close twisted,
      associations?--And must I live--_live for what?_ God only
      knows! Yet, how am I sure that there is a God--is he
      wise--is he powerful--is he benevolent? If he be, can
      he sport himself in the miseries of poor, feeble,
      impotent, beings, forced into existence, without their
      choice--impelled, by the iron hand of necessity, through
      mistake, into calamity?--Ah! my friend, who will condemn the
      poor solitary wanderer, whose feet are pierced with many a
      thorn, should he turn suddenly out of the rugged path, seek
      an obscure shade to shrowd his wounds, his sorrows, and
      his indignation, from the scorn of a pitiless world, and
      accelerate the hour of repose.[16] Who would be born if they
      could help it? You would perhaps--_you may do good_--But on
      me, the sun shines only to mock my woes--Oh! that I had
      never seen the light.

      [Footnote 16: This is the reasoning of a mind distorted by
      passion. Even in the moment of disappointment, our heroine
      judged better. See page 38.]

      'Torn by conflicting passions--wasted in anguish--life is
      melting fast away--A burthen to myself, a grief to those
      who love me, and worthless to every one. Weakened by long
      suspence--preyed upon, by a combination of imperious
      feelings--I fear, I greatly fear, the _irrecoverable blow
      is struck_! But I blame no one--I have been entangled in
      error--_who is faultless?_

      'While pouring itself out on paper, my tortured mind has
      experienced a momentary relief: If your heart be inaccessible
      to tender sympathies, I have only been adding one more to my
      numberless mistakes!

Mr Francis visited me, and evinced for my situation the most humane and
delicate consideration. He reminded me of the offer I had made him, and
requested the performance of my engagement. In compliance with this
request, and to beguile my melancholy thoughts, I drew up a sketch of
the events of my past life, and unfolded a history of the sentiments of
my mind (from which I have extracted the preceding materials) reserving
only any circumstance which might lead to a detection of the name and
family of the man with whom they were so intimately blended.


After having perused my manuscript, Mr Francis returned it, at my
desire, accompanied by the following letter.


      'Your narrative leaves me full of admiration for your
      qualities, and compassion for your insanity.

      'I entreat however your attention to the following passage,
      extracted from your papers. "After considering all I have
      urged, you may perhaps reply, that the subject is too nice,
      and too subtle, for reasoning, and that the heart is not
      to be compelled. This, I think, is a mistake. There is no
      topic, in fact, that may not be subjected to the laws of
      investigation and reasoning. What is it we desire? pleasure,
      happiness. What! the pleasure of an instant, only; or that
      which is more solid and permanent? I allow, pleasure is the
      supreme good! but it may be analysed. To this analysis I now
      call you."

      'Could I, if I had studied for years, invent a comment on
      your story, more salutary to your sorrows, more immoveable
      in its foundation, more clearly expressed, or more
      irresistibly convincing to every rational mind?

      'How few real, substantial, misfortunes there are in the
      world! how few calamities, the sting of which does not
      depend upon our cherishing the viper in our bosom, and
      applying the aspic to our veins! The general pursuit of all
      men, we are frequently told, is happiness. I have often been
      tempted to think, on the contrary, that the general pursuit
      is misery. It is true, men do not recognize it by its
      genuine appellation; they content themselves with the
      pitiful expedient of assigning it a new denomination. But,
      if their professed purpose were misery, could they be more
      skilful and ingenious in the pursuit?

      'Look through your whole life. To speak from your own
      description, was there ever a life, in its present period,
      less chequered with substantial _bona fide_ misfortune? The
      whole force of every thing which looks like a misfortune
      was assiduously, unintermittedly, provided by yourself. You
      nursed in yourself a passion, which, taken in the degree
      in which you experienced it, is the unnatural and odious
      invention of a distempered civilization, and which in
      almost all instances generates an immense overbalance of
      excruciating misery. Your conduct will scarcely admit of any
      other denomination than moon-struck madness, hunting after
      torture. You addressed a man impenetrable as a rock, and
      the smallest glimpse of sober reflection, and common sense,
      would have taught you instantly to have given up the

      'I know you will tell me, and you will tell yourself, a
      great deal about constitution, early association, and the
      indissoluble chain of habits and sentiments. But I answer
      with small fear of being erroneous, "It is a mistake to
      suppose, that the heart is not to be compelled. There is no
      topic, in fact, that may not be subjected to the laws of
      investigation and reasoning. Pleasure, happiness, is the
      supreme good; and happiness is susceptible of being
      analysed." I grant, that the state of a human mind cannot be
      changed at once; but, had you worshipped at the altar of
      reason but half as assiduously as you have sacrificed at
      the shrine of illusion, your present happiness would have
      been as enviable, as your present distress is worthy of
      compassion. If men would but take the trouble to ask
      themselves, once every day, Why should I be miserable? how
      many, to whom life is a burthen, would become chearful and

      'Make a catalogue of all the real evils of human life;
      bodily pain, compulsory solitude, severe corporal labour,
      in a word, all those causes which deprive us of health, or
      the means of spending our time in animated, various, and
      rational pursuits. Aye, these are real evils! But I should
      be ashamed of putting disappointed love into my enumeration.
      Evils of this sort are the brood of folly begotten upon
      fastidious indolence. They shrink into non-entity, when
      touched by the wand of truth.

      'The first lesson of enlightened reason, the great fountain
      of heroism and virtue, the principle by which alone man can
      become what man is capable of being, is _independence_. May
      every power that is favourable to integrity, to honour,
      defend me from leaning upon another for support! I will use
      the word, I will use my fellow men, but I will not abuse
      these invaluable benefits of the system of nature. I will
      not be weak and criminal enough, to make my peace depend
      upon the precarious thread of another's life or another's
      pleasure. I will judge for myself; I will draw my support
      from myself--the support of my existence and the support
      of my happiness. The system of nature has perhaps made me
      dependent for the means of existence and happiness upon my
      fellow men taken collectively; but nothing but my own
      folly can make me dependent upon individuals. Will these
      principles prevent me from admiring, esteeming, and loving
      such as are worthy to excite these emotions? Can I not have
      a mind to understand, and a heart to feel excellence,
      without first parting with the fairest attribute of my

      'You boast of your sincerity and frankness. You have
      doubtless some reason for your boast--Yet all your
      misfortunes seem to have arisen from concealment. You
      brooded over your emotions, and considered them as a sacred
      deposit--You have written to me, I have seen you frequently,
      during the whole of this transaction, without ever having
      received the slightest hint of it, yet, if I be a fit
      counsellor now, I was a fit counsellor then; your folly was
      so gross, that, if it had been exposed to the light of day,
      it could not have subsisted for a moment. Even now you
      suppress the name of your hero: yet, unless I know how much
      of a hero and a model of excellence he would appear in my
      eyes, I can be but a very imperfect judge of the affair.

                                                  '---- FRANCIS.'


To the remonstrance of my friend, which roused me from the languor into
which I was sinking, I immediately replied--


      'You retort upon me my own arguments, and you have cause. I
      felt a ray of conviction dart upon my mind, even, while I
      wrote them. But what then?--"I seemed to be in a state, in
      which reason had no power; I felt as if I could coolly
      survey the several arguments of the case--perceive, that
      they had prudence, truth, and common sense on their
      side--And then answer--I am under the guidance of a director
      more energetic than you!"[17] I am affected by your
      kindness--I am affected by your letter. I could weep over
      it, bitter tears of conviction and remorse. But argue with
      the wretch infected with the plague--will it stop the tide
      of blood, that is rapidly carrying its contagion to the
      heart? I blush! I shed burning tears! But I am still
      desolate and wretched! And how am I to stop it? The force
      which you impute to my reasoning was the powerful frenzy of
      a high delirium.

         [Footnote 17: Godwin's Caleb Williams.]

      'What does it signify whether, abstractedly considered, a
      misfortune be worthy of the names real and substantial, if
      the consequences produced are the same? That which embitters
      all my life, that which stops the genial current of health
      and peace is, whatever be its nature, a real calamity to me.
      There is no end to this reasoning--what individual can limit
      the desires of another? The necessaries of the civilized man
      are whimsical superfluities in the eye of the savage. Are
      we, or are we not (as you have taught me) the creatures of
      sensation and circumstance?

      'I agree with you--and the more I look into society, the
      deeper I feel the soul-sickening conviction--"The general
      pursuit is misery"--necessarily--excruciating misery, from
      the source to which you justly ascribe it--"_The unnatural
      and odious inventions of a distempered civilization._" I am
      content, you may perceive, to recognize things by their
      genuine appellation. I am, at least, a reasoning maniac:
      perhaps the most dangerous species of insanity. But while
      the source continues troubled, why expect the streams to run

      'You know I will tell you--"about the indissoluble chains of
      association and habit:" and you attack me again with my own
      weapons! Alas! while I confess their impotence, with what
      consistency do I accuse the flinty, impenetrable, heart, I
      so earnestly sought, in vain, to move? What materials does
      this stubborn mechanism of the mind offer to the wise and
      benevolent legislator!

      'Had I, you tell me, "worshipped at the altar of reason, but
      half as assiduously as I have sacrificed at the shrine of
      illusion, my happiness might have been enviable." But do
      you not perceive, that my reason was the auxiliary of my
      passion, or rather my passion the generative principle of my
      reason? Had not these contradictions, these oppositions,
      roused the energy of my mind, I might have domesticated,
      tamely, in the lap of indolence and apathy.

      'I do ask myself, every day--"Why should I be  miserable?"--and
      I answer, "Because the strong, predominant, sentiment of my
      soul, close twisted with all its cherished associations, has
      been rudely torn away, and the blood flows from the lacerated
      wound. You would be ashamed of placing disappointed love in
      your enumeration of evils! Gray was not ashamed of this--

        'And pining love shall waste their youth,
         And jealousy, with rankling tooth,
         That inly gnaws the secret heart!'

         *       *       *       *       *

        'These shall the stings of falsehood try,
         And hard unkindness' alter'd eye,
         That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow.'"

      'Is it possible that you can be insensible of all the mighty
      mischiefs which have been caused by this passion--of the
      great events and changes of society, to which it has
      operated as a powerful, though secret, spring? That Jupiter
      shrouded his glories beneath a mortal form; that he
      descended yet lower, and crawled as a reptile--that Hercules
      took the distaff, and Sampson was shorn of his strength, are
      in their spirit, no fables. Yet, these were the legends of
      ages less degenerate than this, and states of society less
      corrupt. Ask your own heart--whether some of its most
      exquisite sensations have not arisen from sources, which, to
      nine-tenths of the world, would be equally inconceivable:
      Mine, I believe, is a _solitary madness in the eighteenth
      century: it is not on the altars of love, but of gold, that
      men, now, come to pay their offerings_.

      'Why call woman, miserable, oppressed, and impotent,
      woman--_crushed, and then insulted_--why call her to
      _independence_--which not nature, but the barbarous and
      accursed laws of society, have denied her? _This is
      mockery!_ Even you, wise and benevolent as you are, can mock
      the child of slavery and sorrow! "Excluded, as it were, by
      the pride, luxury, and caprice, of the world, from expanding
      my sensations, and wedding my soul to society, I was
      constrained to bestow the strong affections, that glowed
      consciously within me, upon a few."[18] Love, in minds of
      any elevation, cannot be generated but upon a real, or
      fancied, foundation of excellence. But what would be a
      miracle in architecture, is true in morals--the fabric can
      exist when the foundation has mouldered away. _Habit_ daily
      produces this wonderful effect upon every feeling, and every
      principle. Is not this the theory which you have taught me?

         [Footnote 18: Godwin's Caleb Williams.]

      'Am I not sufficiently ingenuous?--I will give you a
      new proof of my frankness (though not the proof you
      require).--From the miserable consequences of wretched moral
      distinctions, from chastity having been considered as a
      sexual virtue, all these calamities have flowed. Men are
      thus rendered sordid and dissolute in their pleasures; their
      affections vitiated, and their feelings petrified; the
      simplicity of modest tenderness loses its charm; they become
      incapable of satisfying the heart of a woman of sensibility
      and virtue.--Half the sex, then, are the wretched, degraded,
      victims of brutal instinct: the remainder, if they sink not
      into mere frivolity and insipidity, are sublimed into a
      sort of--[what shall I call them?]--refined, romantic,
      factitious, unfortunate, beings; who, for the sake of the
      present moment, dare not expose themselves to complicated,
      inevitable, evils; evils, that will infallibly overwhelm
      them with misery and regret! Woe be, more especially, to
      those who, possessing the dangerous gifts of fancy and
      feeling, find it as difficult to discover a substitute for
      the object as for the sentiment! You, who are a philosopher,
      will you still controvert the principles founded in truth
      and nature? "Gross as is my folly," (and I do not deny it)
      "you may perceive I was not wholly wandering in darkness.
      But while the wintry sun of hope illumined the fairy
      frost-work with a single, slanting ray--dazzled by the
      transient brightness, I dreaded the meridian fervors
      that should dissolve the glittering charm." Yes! it was
      madness--but it was the pleasurable madness which none but
      madmen know.

      'I cannot answer your question--Pain me not by its
      repetition; neither seek to ensnare me to the disclosure.
      Unkindly, severely, as I have been treated, I will not
      risque, even, the possibility of injuring the man, whom I
      have so tenderly loved, in the esteem of any one. Were I to
      name him, you know him not; you could not judge of his
      qualities. He is not "a model of excellence." I perceive it,
      with pain--and if obliged to retract my judgment on some
      parts of his character--I retract it with agonizing
      reluctance! But I could trace the sources of his errors, and
      candour and self-abasement imperiously compel me to a mild
      judgment, to stifle the petulant suggestions of a wounded

      'Ought not our principles, my friend, to soften the asperity
      of our censures?--Could I have won him to my arms, I thought
      I could soften, and even elevate, his mind--a mind, in which
      I still perceive a great proportion of good. I weep for him,
      as well as for myself. He will, one day, know my value,
      and feel my loss. Still, I am sensible, that, by my
      extravagance, I have given a great deal of vexation
      (possibly some degradation), to a being, whom I had no right
      to persecute, or to compel to chuse happiness through a
      medium of my creation. I cannot exactly tell the extent of
      the injury I may have done him. A long train of consequences
      succeed, even, our most indifferent actions.--Strong
      energies, though they answer not the end proposed, must yet
      produce correspondent effects. Morals and mechanics are here
      analogous. No longer, then, distress me by the repetition of
      a question I ought not to answer. I am content to be the
      victim--Oh! may I be the only victim--of my folly!

      'One more observation allow me to make, before I conclude.
      That we can "admire, esteem, and love," an individual--(for
      love in the abstract, loving mankind collectively, conveys
      to me no idea)--which must be, in fact, depending upon that
      individual for a large share of our felicity, and not lament
      his loss, in proportion to our apprehension of his worth,
      appears to me a proposition, involving in itself an
      absurdity; therefore demonstrably false.

      'Let me, my friend, see you ere long--your remonstrance has
      affected me--save me from myself!'


[In continuation.]

      'My letter having been delayed a few days, through a
      mistake--I resume my pen; for, running my eye over what I
      had written, I perceive (confounded by the force of your
      expressions) I have granted you too much. My conduct was
      not, altogether, so insane as I have been willing to allow.
      It is certain, that could I have attained the end proposed,
      my happiness had been encreased. "It is necessary for me to
      love and admire, or I sink into sadness." The behaviour
      of the man, whom I sought to move, appeared to me too
      inconsistent to be the result of _indifference_. To be
      roused and stimulated by obstacles--obstacles admitting
      hope, because obscurely seen--is no mark of weakness.
      Could I have subdued, what I, _then_, conceived to be the
      _prejudices_ of a worthy man, I could have increased
      both his happiness and my own. I deeply reasoned, and
      philosophized, upon the subject. Perseverance, with little
      ability, has effected wonders;--with perseverance, I felt,
      that, I had the power of uniting ability--confiding in that
      power, I was the dupe of my own reason. No other man,
      perhaps, could have acted the part which this man has
      acted:--how, then, was I to take such a part into my

      'Do not misconceive me--it is no miracle that I did not
      inspire affection. On this subject, the mortification I have
      suffered has humbled me, it may be, even, unduly in my own
      eyes--but to the emotions of my pride, I would disdain to
      give words. Whatever may have been my feelings, I am too
      proud to express the rage of slighted love!--Yet, I am
      sensible to all the powers of those charming lines of

        "Unequal talk, a passion to resign,
         For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost, as mine!
         Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
         How often must it love, how often hate;
         How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
         Conceal, disdain, _do all things but forget_!"

      'But to return. I pursued, comparatively, (as I thought) a
      certain good; and when, at times, discouraged, I have
      repeated to myself--What! after all these pains, shall I
      relinquish my efforts, when, perhaps, on the very verge of
      success?--To say nothing of the difficulty of forcing an
      active mind out of its trains--if I desisted, what was to be
      the result? The sensations I now feel--apathy, stagnation,
      abhorred vacuity!

      'You cannot resist the force of my reasoning--you, who are
      acquainted with, who know how to paint, in colours true to
      nature, the human heart--you, who admire, as a proof of
      power, the destructive courage of an Alexander, even the
      fanatic fury of a Ravaillac--you, who honour the pernicious
      ambition of an Augustus Cæsar, as bespeaking the potent,
      energetic, mind!--why should _you_ affect to be intolerant
      to a passion, though differing in nature, generated on the
      same principles, and by a parallel process. The capacity of
      perception, or of receiving sensation, is (or generates) the
      power; into what channel that power shall be directed,
      depends not on ourselves. Are we not the creatures of
      outward impressions? Without such impressions, should we be
      any thing? Are not passions and powers synonimous--or can
      the latter be produced without the lively interest that
      constitutes the former? Do you dream of annihilating the
      one--and will not the other be extinguished? With the
      apostle, Paul, permit me to say--"I am not mad, but speak
      the words of truth and soberness."

      'To what purpose did you read my confessions, but to trace
      in them a character formed, like every other human
      character, by the result of unavoidable impressions, and the
      chain of necessary events. I feel, that my arguments are
      incontrovertible:--I suspect that, by affecting to deny
      their force, you will endeavour to deceive either me or
      yourself.--I have acquired the power of reasoning on this
      subject at a dear rate--at the expence of inconceivable
      suffering. Attempt not to deny me the miserable, expensive,
      victory. I am ready to say--(ungrateful that I am)--Why did
      you put me upon calling forth my strong reason?

      'I perceive there is no cure for me--(apathy is, not the
      restoration to health, but, the morbid lethargy of the soul)
      but by a new train of impressions, of whatever nature,
      equally forcible with the past.--You will tell me, It
      remains with myself whether I will predetermine to resist
      such impressions. Is this true? Is it philosophical? Ask
      yourself. What!--can _even you_ shrink from the consequences
      of your own principles?

      'One word more--You accuse me of brooding in silence over my
      sensations--of considering them as a "sacred deposit."
      Concealment is particularly repugnant to my disposition--yet
      a thousand delicacies--a thousand nameless solicitudes, and
      apprehensions, sealed my lips!--He who inspired them was,
      alone, the depositary of my most secret thoughts!--my heart
      was unreservedly open before him--I covered my paper with
      its emotions, and transmitted it to him--like him who
      whispered his secret into the earth, to relieve the burden
      of uncommunicated thought. My secret was equally safe, and
      received in equal silence! Alas! he was not then ignorant of
      the effects it was likely to produce!


Mr Francis continued his humane and friendly attentions; and, while he
opposed my sentiments, as conceiving them destructive of my tranquillity,
mingled with his opposition a gentle and delicate consideration for my
feelings, that sensibly affected me, and excited my grateful attachment.
He judged right, that, by stimulating my mind into action, the sensations,
which so heavily oppressed it, might be, in some measure, mitigated--by
diverting the course of my ideas into different channels, and by that
means abating their force. His kindness soothed and flattered me, and
communications relieved my thoughts.


The period which succeeded these events, though tedious in wearing away,
marked by no vicissitude, has left little impression behind. The tenor
of my days resembled the still surface of a stagnant lake, embosomed
in a deep cavern, over which the refreshing breezes never sweep. Sad,
vacant, inactive--the faculties both of mind and body seemed almost
suspended. I became weak, languid, enervated--my disorder was a lethargy
of soul. This was gradually succeeded by disease of body:--an inactivity,
so contrary to all the habits of my past life, generated morbid humours,
and brought on a slow, remitting, fever. I recovered, by degrees,
from this attack, but remained for some time in a debilitated, though
convalescent, state. A few weeks after my disorder returned, lasted
longer, and left me still more weakened and depressed. A third time it
assailed me, at a shorter interval; and, though less violent, was more
protracted, and more exhausting.

Mrs Denbeigh, alarmed by my situation, wrote to Mrs Harley, expressing
the apprehensions which she entertained. From this dear friend, who was
herself in a declining state of health, I received a pressing invitation
to visit, once more, the village of F----; and to seek, from change of
air, change of scene, and the cordial endearments of friendship, a
restoration for my debilitated frame, and a balm for my wounded mind.

My relation, at this period, had letters from her husband, informing
her, that the term of his residence in India was prolonged; pressing her
to join him there, and to come over in the next ship. To this request
she joyfully acceded; and, hearing that a packet was about to sail for
Bengal, secured her passage, and began immediately to make preparations
for her departure. I no longer hesitated to comply with the entreaties
of my friend; besides the tie of strong affection, which drew me to her,
I had, at present, little other resource.

After affectionately embracing Mrs Denbeigh, wishing a happy issue to
her voyage, thanking her for all her kindness, and leaving a letter of
grateful acknowledgement for Mr Francis, I quitted the metropolis, with
an aching heart, and a wasted frame. My cousin accompanied me to the
inn, from whence the vehicle set out that was to convey me to Mrs
Harley. We parted in silence--a crowd of retrospective ideas of the
past, and solicitudes respecting the future, occupied our thoughts--our
sensations were too affecting for words.

The carriage quitted London at the close of the evening, and travelled
all night:--it was towards the end of the year. At midnight we passed
over Hounslow and Bagshot heaths. 'The moon,' to adopt the language of
Ossian, 'looked through broken clouds, and brightened their dark-brown
sides.' A loud November blast howled over the heath, and whistled
through the fern.--There was a melancholy desolation in the scene, that
was in unison with my feelings, and which overwhelmed my spirits with a
tide of tender recollections. I recalled to my imagination a thousand
interesting images--I indulged in all the wild enthusiasm of my character.
My fellow-travellers slept tranquilly, while my soul was awake to
agonizing sorrow. I adopted the language of the tender Eloisa--'Why,'
said I, 'am I indebted for life to his care, whose cruelty has rendered
it insupportable? Inhuman, as he is, let him fly from me for ever,
and deny himself the savage pleasure of being an eye-witness to my
sorrows!--But why do I rave thus?--He is not to be blamed--_I, alone,
am guilty_--I, alone, am the author of my own misfortunes, and should,
therefore, be the only object of anger and resentment.'[19]

      [Footnote 19: Rousseau.]

Weakened by my late indisposition, fatigued by the rough motion of the
carriage, and exhausted by strong emotion, when arrived at the end of my
journey, I was obliged to be lifted from the coach, and carried into the
cottage of my friend. The servant led the way to the library--the door
opened--Mrs Harley advanced, to receive me, with tottering steps. The
ravages of grief, and the traces of sickness, were visible in her dear,
affectionate, countenance. I clasped my hands, and, lifting up my
eyes, beheld the portrait of Augustus--beheld again the resemblance
of those features so deeply engraven on my heart! My imagination was
raised--methought the lively colours of the complexion had faded, the
benignant smile had vanished, and an expression of perplexity and
sternness usurped its place. I uttered a faint shriek, and fell lifeless
into the arms of my friend. It was some time before I returned to sense
and recollection, when I found myself on the bed, in the little chamber
which had formerly been appropriated to my use. My friend sat beside me,
holding my hand in her's, which she bathed with her tears. 'Thank God!'
she exclaimed, in a rapturous accent, (as, with a deep sigh, I raised my
languid eyes, and turned them mournfully towards her)--'she lives!--My
Emma!--child of my affections!'--sobs suppressed her utterance. I drew
the hand, which held mine, towards me--I pressed it to my bosom--'_My
mother!_'--I would have said; but the tender appellation died away upon
my lips, in inarticulate murmurs.

These severe struggles were followed by a return of my disorder. Mrs
Harley would scarcely be persuaded to quit my chamber for a moment--her
tenderness seemed to afford her new strength;--but these exertions
accelerated the progress of an internal malady, which had for some time
past been gaining ground, and gradually undermining her health.

Youth, and a good constitution, aided by the kind solicitudes of
friendship, restored me, in a few weeks, to a state of convalescence.
I observed the declining strength of my friend with terror--I accused
myself of having, though involuntarily, added to these alarming symptoms,
by the new fatigues and anxieties which I had occasioned her. Affection
inspired me with those energies, that reason had vainly dictated. I
struggled to subdue myself--I stifled the impetuous suggestions of my
feelings, in exerting myself to fulfil the duties of humanity. My mind
assumed a firmer tone--I became, once more, the cheerful companion, the
tender consoler, the attentive nurse, of this excellent woman, to whose
kindness I was so much indebted--and, if I stole a few moments in the
day, while my friend reposed, to gaze on the resemblance of Augustus,
to weep over the testimonies of his former respect and friendship,
I quickly chased from my bosom, and my countenance, every trace of
sadness, when summoned to attend my friend.


The winter came on severe and cold. Mrs Harley was forbidden to expose
herself to the frosty air, which seemed to invigorate my languid frame.
I was constituted her almoner, to distribute to the neighbouring poor
the scanty portion, which she was enabled, by a rigid oeconomy, to spare
from her little income: yet the value of this distribution had been
more than redoubled, by the gentler charities of kind accents, tender
sympathy, and wholesome counsels. To these indigent, but industrious,
cottagers, I studied to be the worthy representative of their amiable
benefactress, and found my reward in their grateful attachment, and the
approving smiles of my friend.

By degrees, she ventured to converse with me on the subject nearest her
heart--the situation of her son. He had been obliged to yield to the
proofs produced of his marriage, which he had, at first, seemed desirous
of evading. He had written, with reserve, upon the subject to his
mother; but, from the enquiries of a common friend, she had reason to
apprehend, that his engagement had been of an imprudent nature. Two
children, were, already the fruits of it: the mother, with a feminine
helplessness of character, had a feeble constitution. The small fortune,
which Augustus had originally shared with his family, was greatly
reduced. His education and habits had unfitted him for those exertions
which the support of an encreasing family necessarily required:--his
spirits (her friend had informed her) seemed broken, and his temper
soured. Some efforts had been made to serve him, which his lofty spirit
had repelled with disdain.

This narration deeply affected my heart--I had resigned myself to his
loss--but the idea of his suffering, I felt, was an evil infinitely
severer. It was this conviction that preyed incessantly on the peace
and health of his mother. My fortitude failed, when I would have tried
to sustain her; and I could only afford the melancholy satisfaction of
mingling my sorrows with her's.

The disorder of my friend rapidly increased--her mind became weakened,
and her feelings wayward and irritable. I watched her incessantly--I
strove, by every alleviating care, to soften her pains. Towards the
approach of spring the symptoms grew more threatening; and it was judged,
by her physician, necessary to apprize her family of her immediate
danger. What a trial for my exhausted heart! I traced, with a trembling
hand, a line to this melancholy purpose--addressed it to Mr Harley, and
through him to his younger brothers and sisters.

In a few days they arrived in the village--sending from the inn a
servant, to prepare their mother for their approach. I gently intimated
to her the visitants we might expect. The previous evening, a change had
taken place, which indicated approaching dissolution; and her mind (not
uncommon in similar cases) seemed, almost instantaneously, to have
recovered a portion of its original strength. She sighed deeply, while
her eyes, which were fixed wistfully on my face, were lighted with a
bright, but transient, lustre.

'My dear Emma,' said she, 'this is a trying moment for us both. I shall
soon close my eyes, for ever, upon all worldly cares.--Still cherish, in
your pure and ingenuous mind, a friendship for my Augustus--the darling
of my soul! He may, in future, stand in need of consolation. I had
formed hopes--vain hopes!--in which you and he were equally concerned.
In the happiness of this partially-favoured child--this idol of my
affections--all mine was concentrated. He has disappointed me, and I
have lost the desire of living--Yet, he has noble qualities!--Who, alas!
is perfect? Summon your fortitude, collect your powers, my child, for
this interview!'

She sunk on her pillow--I answered her only with my tears. A servant
entered--but spoke not--her look announced her tidings--It caught the
eye of Mrs Harley--

'Let them enter,' said she; and she raised herself, to receive them, and
assumed an aspect of composure.

I covered my face with my handkerchief--I heard the sound of footsteps
approaching the bed--I heard the murmurs of filial sorrow--The voice
of Augustus, in low and interrupted accents, struck upon my ear--it
thrilled through my nerves--I shuddered, involuntarily--What a moment!
My friend spoke a few words, in a faint tone.

'My children,' she added, 'repay to this dear girl,' laying her hand
upon mine, 'the debt of kindness I owe her--she has smoothed the pillow
of death--she is an orphan--she is tender and unfortunate.'

I ventured to remove for a moment the handkerchief from my eyes--they
met those of Augustus--he was kneeling by the bed-side--his countenance
was wan, and every feature sunk in dejection; a shivering crept through
my veins, and chilled my heart with a sensation of icy coldness--he
removed his eyes, fixing them on his dying mother.

'My son,' she resumed, in still fainter accents, 'behold in Emma,
your sister--_your friend!_--confide in her--she is worthy of your
confidence!'--'Will you not love him, my child,'--(gazing upon
me,)--'with a sisterly affection?'

I hid my face upon the pillow of my friend--I threw my arms around
her--'Your request is superfluous, my friend, my more than parent, _ah,
how superfluous_!'

'Forgive me, I know the tenderness of your nature--yielding, in these
parting moments, to the predominant affection of my heart--I fear, I
have wounded that tender nature.' 'Farewell, my children! Love and
assist each other--Augustus, where is your hand?--my sight fails me--God
bless you and your little ones--_God bless you all_!--My last sigh--my
last prayer--is yours.'

Exhausted by these efforts, she fainted--Augustus uttered a deep groan,
and raised her in his arms--but life was fled.

At the remembrance of these scenes, even at this period, my heart is
melted within me.

What is there of mournful magic in the emotions of virtuous sorrow, that
in retracing, in dwelling upon them, mingles with our tears a sad and
sublime rapture? Nature, that has infused so much misery into the cup of
human life, has kindly mixed this strange and mysterious ingredient to
qualify the bitter draught.


After the performance of the last melancholy duties, this afflicted
family prepared to separate. I received from them, individually,
friendly offers of service, and expressions of acknowledgment, for my
tender attentions to their deceased parent. I declined, for the present,
their invitations, and profferred kindness, though uncertain how to
dispose of myself, or which way to direct my course. Augustus behaved
towards me with distant, cold, respect. I observed in his features,
under a constrained appearance of composure, marks of deep and strong
emotion. I recalled to my mind the injunctions of my deceased friend--I
yearned to pour into his bosom the balm of sympathy, but, with an aspect
bordering on severity, he repressed the expression of those ingenuous
feelings which formed my character, and shunned the confidence I so
earnestly sought. Unfortunate love had, in my subdued and softened mind,
laid the foundation of a fervent and durable friendship--But my love, my
friendship, were equally contemned! I relinquished my efforts--I shut
myself in my chamber--and, in secret, indulged my sorrows.

The house of my deceased friend was sold, and the effects disposed of.
On the day previous to their removal, and the departure of the family
for London, I stole into the library, at the close of the evening, to
view, for _the last time_, the scene of so many delightful, so many
afflicting emotions. A mysterious and sacred enchantment is spread over
every circumstance, even every inanimate object, connected with the
affections. To those who are strangers to these delicate, yet powerful
sympathies, this may appear ridiculous--but the sensations are not the
less genuine, nor the less in nature. I will not attempt to analyse
them, it is a subject upon which the language of philosophy would
appear frigid, and on which I feel myself every moment on the verge of
fanaticism. Yet, affections like these are not so much weakness, as
strength perhaps badly exerted. Rousseau was, right, when he asserted,
that, 'Common men know nothing of violent sorrows, nor do great passions
ever break out in weak minds. Energy of sentiment is the characteristic
of a noble soul.'

I gazed from the windows on the shrubbery, where I had so often wandered
with my friends--where I had fondly cherished so many flattering, so
many visionary, prospects. Every spot, every tree, was associated with
some past pleasure, some tender recollection. The last rays of the
setting sun, struggling from beneath a louring cloud, streamed through
its dark bosom, illumined its edges, played on the window in which I was
standing, and gilding the opposite side of the wainscot, against which
the picture of Augustus still hung, shed a soft and mellow lustre over
the features. I turned almost unconsciously, and contemplated it with a
long and deep regard. It seemed to smile benignly--it wore no traces of
the cold austerity, the gloomy and inflexible reserve, which now clouded
the aspect of the original. I called to my remembrance a thousand
interesting conversations--when

      'Tuned to happy unison of soul, a fairer world of which the
       vulgar never had a glimpse, displayed, its charms.'

Absorbed in thought, the crimson reflection from the western clouds
gradually faded, while the deep shades of the evening, thickened by the
appearance of a gathering tempest, involved in obscurity the object on
which, without distinctly perceiving it, I still continued to gaze.

I was roused from this reverie by the sudden opening of the door. Some
person, whom the uncertain light prevented me from distinguishing,
walked across the room, with a slow and solemn pace, and, after taking
several turns backwards and forwards, reclined on the sopha, remaining
for some time perfectly still. A tremor shook my nerves--unable either
to speak, or to move, I continued silent and trembling--my heart felt
oppressed, almost to suffocation--at length, a deep, convulsive sigh,
forced its way.

'My God!' exclaimed the person, whose meditations I had interrupted,
'what is that?'

It was the voice of Mr Harley, he spoke in a stern tone, though with
some degree of trepidation, and advanced hastily towards the window
against which I leaned.

The clouds had for some hours been gathering dark and gloomy. Just as
Augustus had reached the place where I stood, a flash of lightning,
pale, yet vivid, glanced suddenly across my startled sight, and
discovered to him the object which had alarmed him.

'Emma,' said he, in a softened accent, taking my trembling and almost
lifeless hand, 'how came you here, which way did you enter?'

I answered not--Another flash of lightning, still brighter, blue and
sulphurous, illuminated the room, succeeded by a loud and long peal of
thunder. Again the heavens seemed to rend asunder and discover a sheet
of livid flame--a crash of thunder, sudden, loud, short, immediately
followed, bespeaking the tempest near. I started with a kind of
convulsive terror. Augustus led me from the window, and endeavoured, in
vain, to find the door of the library--the temporary flashes, and total
darkness by which they were succeeded, dazzled and confounded the sight.
I stumbled over some furniture, which stood in the middle of the room,
and unable to recover my feet, which refused any longer to sustain me,
sunk into the arms of Augustus, suffering him to lift me to the sopha.
He seated himself beside me, the storm continued; the clouds, every
moment parting with a horrible noise, discovered an abyss of fire, while
the rain descended in a deluge. We silently contemplated this sublime
and terrible scene. Augustus supported me with one arm, while my
trembling hand remained in his. The tempest soon exhausted itself by its
violence--the lightning became less fierce, gleaming at intervals--the
thunder rolled off to a distance--its protracted sound, lengthened by
the echoes, faintly died away; while the rain continued to fall in a
still, though copious, shower.

My spirits grew calmer, I gently withdrew my hand from that of Mr
Harley. He once more enquired, but in a tone of greater reserve, how I
had entered the room without his knowledge? I explained, briefly and
frankly, my situation, and the tender motives by which I had been

'It was not possible,' added I, 'to take leave of this house _for ever_,
without recalling a variety of affecting and melancholy ideas--I feel,
that I have lost _my only friend_.'

'This world,' said he, 'may not unaptly be compared to the rapids on the
American rivers--We are hurried, in a frail bark, down the stream--It is
in vain to resist its course--happy are those whose voyage is ended!'

'My friend,' replied I in a faultering voice, 'I could teach my heart
to bear your loss--though, God knows, the lesson has been sufficiently
severe--but I know not how, with fortitude, to see you suffer.'

'Suffering is the common lot of humanity--but, pardon me, when I say,
your conduct has not tended to lessen my vexations!'

'My errors have been the errors of _affection_--Do they deserve this

'Their source is not important, their consequences have been the
same--you make not the allowances you claim.'

'Dear, and severe, friend!--Be not unjust--the confidence which I
sought, and merited, would have been obviated'--

'I know what you would alledge--that confidence, you had reason to
judge, was of a painful nature--it ought not to have been extorted.'

'If I have been wrong, my faults have been severely expiated--if
the error has been _only mine_, surely my sufferings have been in
proportion; seduced by the fervor of my feelings; ignorant of your
situation, if I wildly sought to oblige you to chuse happiness through a
medium of my creation--yet, to have assured _yours_, was I not willing
to risque all my own? I perceive my extravagance, my views were equally
false and romantic--dare I to say--they were the ardent excesses of a
generous mind? Yes! my wildest mistakes had in them a dignified mixture
of virtue. While the institutions of society war against nature and
happiness, the mind of energy, struggling to emancipate itself, will
entangle itself in error'--

'Permit me to ask you,' interrupted Augustus, 'whether, absorbed in your
own sensations, you allowed yourself to remember, and to respect, the
feelings of others?'

I could no longer restrain my tears, I wept for some moments in
silence--Augustus breathed a half-suppressed sigh, and turned from me
his face.

'The pangs which have rent my heart,' resumed I, in low and broken
accents, 'have, I confess, been but too poignant! That lacerated
heart still bleeds--we have neither of us been guiltless--_Alas!
who is?_ Yet in my bosom, severe feelings are not more painful than
transient--already have I lost sight of your unkindness, (God knows how
little I merited it!) in stronger sympathy for your sorrows--whatever
be their nature! We have both erred--why should we not exchange mutual
forgiveness? Why should we afflict each other? Friendship, like charity,
should suffer all things and be kind!'

'My mind,' replied he coldly, 'is differently constituted.'

'_Unpitying man!_ It would be hard for us, if we were all to be judged
at so severe a tribunal--you have been a _lover_,' added I, in a softer
tone, 'and can you not forgive the faults of _love_?'

He arose, visibly agitated--I also stood up--my bosom deeply wounded,
and, unknowing what I did, took his hand, and pressed it to my lips.

'You have rudely thrown from you a heart of exquisite sensibility--you
have contemned my love, and you disdain my friendship--is it brave, is
it manly,' added I wildly--almost unconscious of what I said--forgetting
at the moment his situation and my own--'thus to triumph over a spirit,
subdued by its affections into unresisting meekness?'

He broke from me, and precipitately quitted the room.

I threw myself upon the floor, and, resting my head on the seat which
Augustus had so lately occupied, passed the night in cruel conflict--a
tempest more terrible than that which had recently spent its force,
shook my soul! The morning dawned, ere I had power to remove myself
from the fatal spot, where the measure of my afflictions seemed filled
up.--Virtue may conquer weakness, but who can bear to be despised
by those they love. The sun darted its beams full upon me, but its
splendour appeared mockery--hope and joy were for ever excluded from my
benighted spirit. The contempt of the world, the scoffs of ignorance,
the contumely of the proud, I could have borne without shrinking--but to
find myself rejected, contemned, scorned, by him with whom, of all
mankind, my heart claimed kindred; by him for whom my youth, my health,
my powers, were consuming in silent anguish--who, instead of pouring
balm into the wound he had inflicted, administered only corrosives!--_It
was too painful!_ I felt, that I had been a lavish prodigal--that I had
become a wretched bankrupt; that there was but _one way_ to make me
happy and _a thousand_ to make me miserable! Enfeebled and exhausted, I
crawled to my apartment, and, throwing myself on the bed, gave a loose
to the agony of my soul.


Under pretence of indisposition, I refused to meet the family. I heard
them depart. Too proud to accept of obligation, I had not confided to
them my plans, if plans they could be called, where no distinct end was
in view.

A few hours after their departure, I once more seated myself in a stage
coach, in which I had previously secured a place, and took the road to
London. I perceived, on entering the carriage, only one passenger, who
had placed himself in the opposite corner, and in whom, to my great
surprize, I immediately recognized Mr Montague. We had not met since the
visit he had paid me at Mrs Harley's, the result of which I have already
related: since that period, it had been reported in the village, that he
addressed Sarah Morton, and that they were about to be united. Montague
manifested equal surprize at our meeting: the intelligence of my
friend's death (at which he expressed real concern) had not reached him,
neither was he acquainted with my being in that part of the country. He
had not lately been at Mr Morton's, he informed me, but had just left
his father's, and was going to London to complete his medical studies.

After these explanations, absorbed in painful contemplation, I for some
time made little other return to his repeated civilities, than by cold
monosyllables: till at length, his cordial sympathy, his gentle accents,
and humane attentions, awakened me from my reverie. Ever accessible
to the soothings of kindness, I endeavoured to exert myself, to prove
the sense I felt of his humanity. Gratified by having succeeded in
attracting my attention, he redoubled his efforts to cheer and amuse
me. My dejected and languid appearance had touched his feelings, and,
towards the end of our journey, his unaffected zeal to alleviate the
anxiety under which I evidently appeared to labour, soothed my mind and
inspired me with confidence.

He respectfully requested to know in what part of the town I resided,
and hoped to be permitted to pay his respects to me, and to enquire
after my welfare? This question awakened in my bosom so many complicated
and painful sensations, that, after remaining silent for a few minutes,
I burst into a flood of tears.

'I have no home;' said I, in a voice choaked with sobs--'I am an alien
in the world--and alone in the universe.'

His eyes glistened, his countenance expressed the most lively, and
tender, commiseration, while, in a timid and respectful voice, he made
me offers of service, and entreated me to permit him to be useful to me.

'I then mentioned, in brief, my present unprotected situation, and
hinted, that as my fortune was small, I could wish to procure a humble,
but decent, apartment in a reputable family, till I had consulted one
friend, who, I yet flattered myself, was interested in my concerns, or
till I could fix on a more eligible method of providing for myself.'

He informed me--'That he had a distant relation in town, a decent,
careful, woman, who kept a boarding house, and whose terms were very
reasonable. He was assured, would I permit him to introduce me to her,
she would be happy, should her accommodation suit me, to pay me every
attention in her power.'

In my forlorn situation, I confided, without hesitation, in his
recommendation, and gratefully acceded to the proposal.

Mr Montague introduced me to this lady in the most flattering terms, she
received me with civility, but, I fancied, not without a slight mixture
of distrust. I agreed with her for a neat chamber, with a sitting room
adjoining, on the second floor, and settled for the terms of my board,
more than the whole amount of the interest of my little fortune.


I took an early opportunity of addressing a few lines to Mr Francis,
informing him of my situation, and entreating his counsel. I waited a
week, impatiently, for his reply, but in vain: well acquainted with his
punctuality, and alarmed by this silence, I mentioned the step I had
taken, and my apprehensions, to Montague, who immediately repaired,
himself, to the house of Mr Francis; and, finding it shut up, was
informed by the neighbours, that Mr Francis had quitted England, a
short time before, in company with a friend, intending to make a
continental tour.

This intelligence was a new shock to me. I called on some of my former
acquaintance, mentioning to them my wish of procuring pupils, or of
engaging in any other occupation fitted to my talents. I was received by
some with civility, by others with coldness, but every one appeared too
much engrossed by his own affairs to give himself the trouble of making
any great exertion for others.

I returned dispirited--I walked through the crowded city, and observed
the anxious and busy faces of all around me. In the midst of my fellow
beings, occupied in various pursuits, I seemed, as if in an immense
desart, a solitary outcast from society. Active, industrious, willing
to employ my faculties in any way, by which I might procure an honest
independence, I beheld no path open to me, but that to which my spirit
could not submit--the degradation of servitude. Hapless woman!--crushed
by the iron hand of barbarous despotism, pampered into weakness, and
trained the slave of meretricious folly!--what wonder, that, shrinking
from the chill blasts of penury (which the pernicious habits of thy
education have little fitted thy tender frame to encounter) thou
listenest to the honied accents of the spoiler; and, to escape the
galling chain of servile dependence, rushest into the career of infamy,
from whence the false and cruel morality of the world forbids thy
return, and perpetuates thy disgrace and misery! When will mankind
be aware of the uniformity, of the importance, of truth? When will
they cease to confound, by sexual, by political, by theological,
distinctions, those immutable principles, which form the true basis of
virtue and happiness? The paltry expedients of combating error with
error, and prejudice with prejudice, in one invariable and melancholy
circle, have already been sufficiently tried, have already been
demonstrated futile:--they have armed man against man, and filled the
world with crimes, and with blood.--How has the benign and gentle nature
of Reform been mistated! 'One false idea,' justly says an acute and
philosophic writer,[20] 'united with others, produces such as are
necessarily false; which, combining again with all those the memory
retains, give to all a tinge of falsehood. One error, alone, is
sufficient to infect the whole mass of the mind, and produce an infinity
of capricious, monstrous, notions.--Every vice is the error of the
understanding; crimes and prejudices are brothers; truth and virtue
sisters. These things, known to the wise, are hid from fools!'

      [Footnote 20: Helvetius.]

Without a sufficiently interesting pursuit, a fatal torpor stole over my
spirits--my blood circulated languidly through my veins. Montague, in
the intervals from business and amusement, continued to visit me. He
brought me books, read to me, chatted with me, pressed me to accompany
him to places of public entertainment, which (determined to incur no
pecuniary obligation) I invariably refused.

I received his civilities with the less scruple, from the information
I had received of his engagement with Miss Morton; which, with his
knowledge of my unhappy attachment, I thought, precluded every idea
of a renewal of those sentiments he had formerly professed for me.

In return for his friendship, I tried to smile, and exerted my spirits,
to prove my grateful sensibility of his kindness: but, while he appeared
to take a lively interest in my sorrows, he carefully avoided a
repetition of the language in which he had once addressed me; yet, at
times, his tender concern seemed sliding into a sentiment still softer,
which obliged me to practise more reserve: he was not insensible of
this, and was frequently betrayed into transient bursts of passion and
resentment, which, on my repelling with firmness, he would struggle to
repress, and afterwards absent himself for a time.

Unable to devise any method of increasing my income, and experiencing
the pressure of some daily wants and inconveniencies, I determined, at
length, on selling the sum invested, in my name, in the funds, and
purchasing a life annuity.

Recollecting the name of a banker, with whom my uncle, the friend of my
infancy, had formerly kept cash, I learned his residence, and, waiting
upon him, made myself known as the niece of an old and worthy friend;
at the same time acquainting him with my intentions.--He offered to
transact the affair for me immediately, the funds being, then, in a
very favourable position; and to preserve the money in his hands till
an opportunity should offer of laying it out to advantage. I gave him
proper credentials for the accomplishing of this business, and returned
to my apartment with a heart somewhat lightened. This scheme had
never before occurred to me. The banker, who was a man of commercial
reputation, had assured me, that my fortune might now be sold out with
little loss; and that, by purchasing an annuity, on proper security, at
seven or eight per cent, I might, with oeconomy, be enabled to support
myself decently, with comfort and independence.


Some weeks elapsed, and I heard no more from my banker. A slight
indisposition confined me to the house. One evening, Mr Montague, coming
to my apartment to enquire after my health, brought with him a newspaper
(as was his frequent custom), and, finding me unwell, and dispirited,
began to read some parts from it aloud, in the hope of amusing me. Among
the articles of home intelligence, a paragraph stated--'The failure of
a considerable mercantile house, which had created an alarm upon the
Exchange, as, it was apprehended, some important consequences would
follow in the commercial world. A great banking-house, it was hinted,
not many miles from ----, was likely to be affected, by some rumours, in
connection with this business, which had occasioned a considerable run
upon it for the last two or three days.'

My attention was roused--I eagerly held out my hand for the paper, and
perused this alarming paragraph again and again, without observing the
surprize expressed in the countenance of Montague, who was at a loss to
conceive why this intelligence should be affecting to me.--I sat, for some
minutes, involved in thought, till a question from my companion, several
times repeated, occasioned me to start. I immediately recollected myself,
and tried to reason away my fears, as vague and groundless. I was about
to explain the nature of them to my friend--secretly accusing myself for
not having done so sooner, and availed myself of his advice, when a
servant, entering, put a letter into his hand.

Looking upon the seal and superscription, he changed colour, and opened
it hastily. Strong emotion was painted in his features while he perused
it. I regarded him with anxiety. He rose from his seat, walked up and
down the room with a disordered pace--opened the door, as if with an
intention of going out--shut it--returned back again--threw himself
into a chair--covered his face with his handkerchief--appeared in great
agitation--and burst into tears. I arose, went to him, and took his
hand--'_My friend!_' said I--I would have added something more--but,
unable to proceed, I sunk into a seat beside him, and wept in sympathy.
He pressed my hand to his lips--folded me wildly in his arms, and
attempted to speak--but his voice was lost in convulsive sobs. I gently
withdrew myself, and waited, in silence, till the violence of his
emotions should subside. He held out to me the letter he had received. I
perused it. It contained an account of the sudden death of his father,
and a summons for his immediate return to the country, to settle the
affairs, and to take upon him his father's professional employment.

'You leave me, then!' said I--'I lose my only remaining friend!'

'_Never!_'--he replied, emphatically.

I blushed for having uttered so improper, so selfish, a remark;
and endeavoured to atone for it by forgetting the perils of my own
situation, in attention to that of this ardent, but affectionate, young
man.--His sufferings were acute and violent for some days, during which
he quitted me only at the hours of repose--I devoted myself to sooth and
console him. I felt, that I had been greatly indebted to his friendship
and kindness, and I endeavoured to repay the obligation. He appeared
fully sensible of my cares, and, mingled with his acknowledgments
expressions of a tenderness, so lively, and unequivocal, as obliged me,
once more, to be more guarded in my behaviour.

In consideration for the situation of Mr Montague--I had forgotten
the paragraph in the paper, till an accidental intelligence of the
bankruptcy of the house, in which my little fortune was entrusted,
confirmed to me the certainty of this terrible blow. Montague was
sitting with me when I received the unwelcome news.

'Gracious God!' I exclaimed, clasping my hands, and raising my eyes to
heaven--'What is to become of me now?--The measure of my sorrows is
filled up!'

It was some time before I had power to explain the circumstances to my

'Do not distress yourself, my lovely Emma,' said he; 'I will be your
friend--your guardian--' (and he added, in a low, yet fervent, accent)
--'_your husband_!'

'No--no--no!' answered I, shaking my head, 'that must not, cannot, be!
I would perish, rather than take advantage of a generosity like yours. I
will go to service--I will work for my bread--and, if I cannot procure
a wretched sustenance--_I can but die_! Life, to me, has long been

My countenance, my voice, my manner, but too forcibly expressed the
keen anguish of my soul. I seemed to be marked out for the victim of a
merciless destiny--_for the child of sorrow_! The susceptible temper of
Montague, softened by his own affliction, was moved by my distress. He
repeated, and enforced, his proposal, with all the ardour of a youthful,
a warm, an uncorrupted, mind.

'You add to my distress,' replied I. 'I have not a heart to bestow--I
lavished mine upon one, who scorned and contemned it. Its sensibility is
now exhausted. Shall I reward a faithful and generous tenderness, like
yours, with a cold, a worthless, an alienated, mind? No, no!--Seek an
object more worthy of you, and leave me to my fate.'

At that moment, I had forgotten the report of his engagement with
Miss Morton; but, on his persisting, vehemently, to urge his suit, I
recollected, and immediately mentioned, it, to him. He confessed--

'That, stung by my rejection, and preference of Mr Harley, he had, at
one period, entertained a thought of that nature; but that he had fallen
out with the family, in adjusting the settlements. Mrs Morton had
persuaded her husband to make, what he conceived to be, ungenerous
requisitions. Miss Morton had discovered much artifice, but little
sensibility, on the occasion. Disgusted with the apathy of the father,
the insolence of the mother and the low cunning of the daughter, he had
abruptly quitted them, and broken off all intercourse with the family.'

It is not necessary to enlarge on this part of my narrative. Suffice it
to say, that, after a long contest, my desolate situation, added to the
persevering affection of this enthusiastic young man, prevailed over my
objections. His happiness, he told me, entirely depended on my decision.
I would not deceive him:--I related to him, with simplicity and truth,
all the circumstances of my past conduct towards Mr Harley. He listened
to me with evident emotion--interrupted me, at times, with execrations;
and, once or twice, vowing vengeance on Augustus, appeared on the verge
of outrage. But I at length reasoned him into greater moderation, and
obliged him to do justice to the merit and honour of Mr Harley. He
acquiesced reluctantly, and with an ill grace, yet, with a lover-like
partiality, attributed his conduct to causes, of which I had discerned
no traces. He assured himself that the affections of a heart, tender as
mine, would be secured by kindness and assiduity--and I at last yielded
to his importunity. We were united in a short time, and I accompanied my
husband to the town of ----, in the county of ----, the residence of his
late father.


Mr Montague presented me to his relations and friends, by whom I was
received with a flattering distinction. My wearied spirits began now
to find repose. My husband was much occupied in the duties of his
profession. We had a respectable circle of acquaintance: In the
intervals of social engagement, and domestic employment, ever thirsting
after knowledge, I occasionally applied myself to the study of physic,
anatomy, and surgery, with the various branches of science connected
with them; by which means I frequently rendered myself essentially
serviceable to my friend; and, by exercising my understanding and
humanity, strengthened my mind, and stilled the importunate suggestions
of a heart too exquisitely sensible.

The manners of Mr Montague were kind and affectionate, though subject,
at times, to inequalities and starts of passion; he confided in me,
as his best and truest friend--and I deserved his confidence:--yet, I
frequently observed the restlessness and impetuosity of his disposition
with apprehension.

I felt for my husband a rational esteem, and a grateful affection:--but
those romantic, high-wrought, frenzied, emotions, that had rent my heart
during its first attachment--that enthusiasm, that fanaticism, to which
opposition had given force, the bare recollection of which still shook
my soul with anguish, no longer existed. Montague was but too sensible
of this difference, which naturally resulted from the change of
circumstances, and was unreasonable enough to complain of what secured
our tranquillity. If a cloud, sometimes, hung over my brow--if I
relapsed, for a short period, into a too habitual melancholy, he would
grow captious, and complain.

'You esteem me, Emma: I confide in your principles, and I glory in your
friendship--but, you have never _loved_ me!'

'Why will you be so unjust, both to me, and to yourself?'

'Tell me, then, sincerely--I know you will not deceive me--Have you ever
felt for me those sentiments with which Augustus Harley inspired you?'

'Certainly not--I do not pretend to it--neither ought you to wish it.
My first attachment was the morbid excess of a distempered imagination.
Liberty, reason, virtue, usefulness, were the offerings I carried to
its shrine. It preyed incessantly upon my heart, I drank up its vital
spirit, it became a vice from its excess--it was a pernicious, though a
sublime, enthusiasm--its ravages are scarcely to be remembered without
shuddering--all the strength, the dignity, the powers, of my mind, melted
before it! Do you wish again to see me the slave of my passions--do you
regret, that I am restored to reason? To you I owe every thing--life,
and its comforts, rational enjoyments, and the opportunity of usefulness.
I feel for you all the affection that a reasonable and a virtuous mind
ought to feel--that affection which is compatible with the fulfilling
of other duties. We are guilty of vice and selfishness when we yield
ourselves up to unbounded desires, and suffer our hearts to be wholly
absorbed by one object, however meritorious that object may be.'

'Ah! how calmly you reason,--while I listen to you I cannot help loving
and admiring you, but I must ever hate that accursed Harley--No! _I am
not satisfied_--and I sometimes regret that I ever beheld you.'

Many months glided away with but little interruptions to our
tranquillity.--A remembrance of the past would at times obtrude itself,
like the broken recollections of a feverish vision. To banish these
painful retrospections, I hastened to employ myself; every hour was
devoted to active usefulness, or to social and rational recreation.

I became a mother; in performing the duties of a nurse, my affections
were awakened to new and sweet emotions.--The father of my child
appeared more respectable in my eyes, became more dear to me: the
engaging smiles of my little Emma repayed me for every pain and every
anxiety. While I beheld my husband caress his infant, I tasted a pure, a
chaste, an ineffable pleasure.


About six weeks after my recovery from childbed, some affairs of
importance called Mr Montague to London. Three days after he had quitted
me, as, bending over the cradle of my babe, I contemplated in silence
its tranquil slumbers, I was alarmed by an uncommon confusion in the
lower part of the house. Hastening down stairs, to enquire into the
cause, I was informed--that a gentleman, in passing through the town,
had been thrown from his horse, that he was taken up senseless, and, as
was customary in cases of accident, had been brought into our house,
that he might receive assistance.

Mr Montague was from home, a young gentleman who resided with us, and
assisted my husband in his profession, was also absent, visiting a
patient. Having myself acquired some knowledge of surgery, I went
immediately into the hall to give the necessary directions on the
occasion. The gentleman was lying on the floor, without any signs of
life. I desired the people to withdraw, who, crowding round with
sincere, but useless sympathy, obstructed the circulation of air.
Approaching the unfortunate man, I instantly recognised the well-known
features, though much altered, wan and sunk, of _Augustus Harley_.
Staggering a few paces backward--a death-like sickness overspread my
heart--a crowd of confused and terrible emotions rushed through my
mind.--But a momentary reflection recalled my scattered thoughts. Once
before, I had saved from death an object so fatal to my repose. I
exerted all my powers, his hair was clotted, and his face disfigured
with blood; I ordered the servants to raise and carry him to an
adjoining apartment, wherein was a large, low sopha, on which they laid
him. Carefully washing the blood from the wound, I found he had received
a dangerous contusion in his head, but that the scull, as I had at first
apprehended, was not fractured. I cut the hair from the wounded part,
and applied a proper bandage. I did more--no other assistance being at
hand, I ventured to open a vein: the blood presently flowed freely, and
he began to revive. I bathed his temples, and sprinkled the room with
vinegar, opened the windows to let the air pass freely through, raised
his head with the pillows of the sopha, and sprinkled his face and
breast with cold water. I held his hand in mine--I felt the languid and
wavering pulse quicken--I fixed my eyes upon his face--at that moment
every thing else was forgotten, and my nerves seemed firmly braced by my

He at length opened his eyes, gazed upon me with a vacant look, and
vainly attempted, for some time, to speak. At last, he uttered a few
incoherent words, but I perceived his senses were wandering, and I
conjectured, too truly, that his brain had received a concussion. He
made an effort to rise, but sunk down again.

'Where am I,' said he, 'every object appears to me double.'

He shut his eyes, and remained silent. I mixed for him a cordial and
composing medicine, and entreating him to take it, he once more raised
himself, and looked up.--Our eyes met, his were wild and unsettled.

'That voice,'--said he, in a low tone, 'that countenance--Oh God! where
am I?'

A strong, but transient, emotion passed over his features. With a
trembling hand he seized and swallowed the medicine I had offered, and
again relapsed into a kind of lethargic stupor. I then gave orders for a
bed to be prepared, into which I had him conveyed. I darkened the room,
and desired, that he might be kept perfectly quiet.

I retired to my apartment, my confinement was yet but recent, and I had
not perfectly recovered my strength. Exhausted by the strong efforts I
had made, and the stronger agitation of my mind, I sunk into a fainting
fit, (to which I was by no means subject) and remained for some time
in a state of perfect insensibility. On my recovery, I learnt that Mr
Lucas, the assistant of my husband, had returned, and was in the chamber
of the stranger; I sent for him on his quitting the apartment, and
eagerly interrogated him respecting the state of the patient. He shook
his head--I related to him the methods I had taken, and enquired whether
I had erred? He smiled--

'You are an excellent surgeon,' said he, 'you acted very properly, but,'
observing my pallid looks, 'I wish your little nursery may not suffer
from your humanity'--

'I lay no claim,' replied I with emotion--'to extraordinary humanity--I
would have done the same for the poorest of my fellow creatures--but
this gentleman is an old acquaintance, _a friend_, whom, in the early
periods of my life, I greatly respected.'

'I am sorry for it, for I dare not conceal from you, that I think him in
a dangerous condition.'

I changed countenance--'There is no fracture, no bones are broken.'--

'No, but the brain has received an alarming concussion--he is also,
otherwise, much bruised, and, I fear, has suffered some internal

'You distress and terrify me,' said I, gasping for breath--'What is to
be done--shall we call in further advice?'

'I think so; in the mean time, if you are acquainted with his friends,
you would do well to apprize them of what has happened.'

'I know little of them, I know not where to address them--Oh! save him,'
continued I, clasping my hands with encreased emotion, unconscious of
what I did, 'for God's sake save him, if you would preserve me from

A look penetrating and curious from Lucas, recalled me to reason.
Commending his patient to my care, he quitted me, and rode to the next
town to procure the aid of a skilful and experienced Physician. I walked
up and down the room for some time in a state of distraction.

'He will die'--exclaimed I--'die in my house--fatal accident! Oh,
Augustus! _too tenderly beloved_, thou wert fated to be the ruin of my
peace! But, whatever may be the consequences, I will perform, for thee,
the last tender offices.--I will not desert my duty!'

The nurse brought to me my infant, it smiled in my face--I pressed it to
my bosom--I wept over it.--How could I, from that agitated bosom, give
it a pernicious sustenance?


In the evening, I repaired to the chamber of Mr Harley, I sat by his
bed-side, I gazed mournfully on his flushed, but vacant countenance--I
took his hand--it was dry and burning--the pulse beat rapidly, but
irregularly, beneath my trembling fingers. His lips moved, he seemed to
speak, though inarticulately--but sometimes raising his voice, I could
distinguish a few incoherent sentences. In casting my eyes round the
room, I observed the scattered articles of his dress, his cloaths were
black, and in his hat, which lay on the ground, I discovered a crape
hatband. I continued to hold his burning hand in mine.

'She died,'--said he--'and my unkindness killed her--unhappy Emma--thy
heart was too tender!'--I shuddered--'No, no,'--continued he, after a
few minutes pause, 'she is not married--she dared not give her hand
without her heart, _and that heart was only mine_!' he added something
more, in a lower tone, which I was unable to distinguish.

Overcome by a variety of sensations, I sunk into a chair, and, throwing
my handkerchief over my face, indulged my tears.

Sometimes he mentioned his wife, sometimes his mother.--At length,
speaking rapidly, in a raised voice--'My son,'--said he, 'thou hast no
mother--but Emma will be a mother to thee--she will love thee--_she
loved thy father_--her heart was the residence of gentle
affections--yet, I pierced that heart!'

I suspected, that a confused recollection of having seen me on
recovering from the state of insensibility, in which he had been
brought, after the accident, into our house, had probably recalled the
associations formerly connected with this idea. The scene became too
affecting: I rushed from the apartment. All the past impressions seemed
to revive in my mind--my thoughts, with fatal mechanism, ran back into
their old and accustomed channels.--For a moment, conjugal, maternal,
duties, every consideration _but for one object_ faded from before me!

In a few hours, Mr Lucas returned with the physician;--I attended
them to the chamber, heedfully watching their looks. The fever still
continued very high, accompanied with a labouring, unsteady pulse, a
difficult respiration, and strong palpitations of the heart. The doctor
said little, but I discovered his apprehensions in his countenance. The
patient appeared particularly restless and uneasy, and the delirium
still continued. On quitting the apartment, I earnestly conjured the
gentlemen to tell me their opinion of the case. They both expressed an
apprehension of internal injury.

'But a short time,' they added, 'would determine it; in the mean while
he must be kept perfectly still.'

I turned from them, and walked to the window--I raised my eyes to
heaven--I breathed an involuntary ejaculation--I felt that the crisis
of my fate was approaching, and I endeavoured to steel my nerves--to
prepare my mind for the arduous duties which awaited me.

Mr Lucas approached me, the physician having quitted the room. '_Mrs
Montague_,' said he, in an emphatic tone--'in your sympathy for a
_stranger_, do not forget other relations.'

'I do not need, sir, to be reminded by you of my duties; were not the
sufferings of a fellow being a sufficient claim upon our humanity, this
gentleman has _more affecting claims_--I am neither a stranger to him,
nor to his virtues.'

'So I perceive, madam,' said he, with an air a little sarcastic, 'I
wish, Mr Montague were here to participate your cares.'

'I wish he were, sir, his generous nature would not disallow them.' I
spoke haughtily, and abruptly left him.

I took a turn in the garden, endeavouring to compose my spirits, and,
after visiting the nursery, returned to the chamber of Mr Harley. I
there found Mr Lucas, and in a steady tone, declared my intention of
watching his patient through the night.

'As you please, madam,' said he coldly.

I seated myself in an easy chair, reclining my head on my hand. The bed
curtains were undrawn on the side next me. Augustus frequently started,
as from broken slumbers; his respiration grew, every moment, more
difficult and laborious, and, sometimes, he groaned heavily, as if in
great pain. Once he suddenly raised himself in the bed, and, gazing
wildly round the room, exclaimed in a distinct, but hurried tone--

'Why dost thou persecute me with thy ill-fated tenderness? A fathomless
gulf separates us!--Emma!' added he, in a plaintive voice, '_dost thou,
indeed, still love me?_' and, heaving a convulsive sigh, sunk again on
his pillow.

Mr Lucas, who stood at the feet of the bed, turned his eye on me. I
met his glance with the steady aspect of conscious rectitude. About
midnight, our patient grew worse, and, after strong agonies, was seized
with a vomiting of blood. The fears of the physician were but too well
verified, he had again ruptured the blood-vessel, once before broken.

Mr Lucas had but just retired, I ordered him to be instantly recalled,
and, stifling every feeling, that might incapacitate me for active
exertion, I rendered him all the assistance in my power--I neither
trembled, nor shed a tear--I banished the _woman_ from my heart--I
acquitted myself with a firmness that would not have disgraced the most
experienced, and veteran surgeon. My services were materially useful,
my solicitude vanquished every shrinking sensibility, _affection had
converted me into a heroine_! The hæmorrhage continued, at intervals,
all the next day: I passed once or twice from the chamber to the
nursery, and immediately returned. We called in a consultation, but
little hope was afforded.

The next night, Mr Lucas and myself continued to watch--towards morning
our exhausted patient sunk into an apparently tranquil slumber. Mr Lucas
intreated me to retire, and take some repose, on my refusal, he availed
himself of the opportunity, and went to his apartment, desiring to be
called if any change should take place. The nurse slept soundly in her
chair, I alone remained watching--I felt neither fatigue nor languor--my
strength seemed preserved as by a miracle, so omnipotent is the
operation of moral causes!

Silence reigned throughout the house; I hung over the object of my
tender cares--his features were serene--but his cheeks and lips were
pale and bloodless. From time to time I took his lifeless hand--a low,
fluttering, pulse, sometimes seeming to stop, and then to vibrate with a
tremulous motion, but too plainly justified my fears--his breath, though
less laborious, was quick and short--a cold dew hung upon his temples--I
gently wiped them with my handkerchief, and pressed my lips to his
forehead. Yet, at that moment, that solemn moment--while I beheld the
object of my virgin affections--whom I had loved with a tenderness,
'passing the love of woman'--expiring before my eyes--I forgot not that
I was a wife and a mother.--The purity of my feelings sanctified their

The day had far advanced, though the house still remained quiet, when
Augustus, after a deep drawn sigh, opened his eyes. The loss of blood
had calmed the delirium, and though he regarded me attentively, and with
evident surprize, the wildness of his eyes and countenance had given
place to their accustomed steady expression. He spoke in a faint voice.

'Where am I, how came I here?'

I drew nearer to him--'An unfortunate accident has thrown you into the
care of kind friends--you have been very ill--it is not proper that you
should exert yourself--rely on those to whom your safety is precious.'

He looked at me as I spoke--his eyes glistened--he breathed a half
smothered sigh, but attempted not to reply. He continued to doze at
intervals throughout the day, but evidently grew weaker every hour--I
quitted him not for a moment, even my nursery was forgotten. I sat, or
knelt, at the bed's head, and, between his short and broken slumbers,
administered cordial medicines. He seemed to take them with pleasure
from my hand, and a mournful tenderness at times beamed in his eyes. I
neither spake nor wept--my strength appeared equal to every trial.

In the evening, starting from a troubled sleep, he fell into
convulsions--I kept my station--our efforts were successful--he again
revived. I supported the pillows on which his head reclined, sprinkled
the bed cloaths, and bathed his temples, with hungary water, while I
wiped from them the damps of death. A few tears at length forced their
way, they fell upon his hand, which rested on the pillow--he kissed them
off, and raised to mine his languid eyes, in which death was already

The blood forsaking the extremities, rushed wildly to my heart, a strong
palpitation seized it, my fortitude had well nigh forsaken me. But I
had been habituated to subdue my feelings, and should I suffer them
to disturb the last moments of him, _who had taught me this painful
lesson_? He made a sign for a cordial, an attendant offering one--he
waved his hand and turned from her his face--I took it--held it to
his lips, and he instantly drank it. Another strong emotion shook my
nerves--once more I struggled and gained the victory. He spoke in feeble
and interrupted periods--kneeling down, scarce daring to breathe, I

'I have a son,' said he,--'I am dying--he will have no longer a
parent--transfer to him a portion of--'

'I comprehend you--say no more--_he is mine_--I adopt him--where shall I

He pointed to his cloaths;--'a pocket book'--said he, in accents still

'Enough!--I swear, in this awful moment, never to forsake him.'

He raised my hand to his lips--a tender smile illumined his countenance
--'Surely,' said he, 'I have sufficiently fulfilled the dictates of
a rigid honour!--In these last moments--when every earthly tie is
dissolving--when human institutions fade before my sight--I may,
without a crime, tell you--_that I have loved you_.--Your tenderness
early penetrated my heart--aware of its weakness--I sought to shun
you--I imposed on myself those severe laws of which you causelessly
complained.--Had my conduct been less rigid, I had been lost--I had been
unjust to the bonds which I had voluntarily contracted; and which,
therefore, had on me indispensible claims. I acted from good motives,
but no doubt, was guilty of some errors--yet, my conflicts were,
even, more cruel than yours--I had not only to contend against my own
sensibility, but against yours also.--The fire which is pent up burns
the fiercest!'--

He ceased to speak--a transient glow, which had lighted up his
countenance, faded--exhausted, by the strong effort he had made, he sunk
back--his eyes grew dim--they closed--_their last light beamed on
me_!--I caught him in my arms--and--_he awoke no more_. The spirits,
that had hitherto supported me, suddenly subsided. I uttered a piercing
shriek, and sunk upon the body.


Many weeks passed of which I have no remembrance, they were a blank in
my life--a long life of sorrow! When restored to recollection, I found
myself in my own chamber, my husband attending me. It was a long time
before I could clearly retrace the images of the past. I learned--

'That I had been seized with a nervous fever, in consequence of having
exerted myself beyond my strength; that my head had been disordered;
that Mr Montague on his return, finding me in this situation, of which
Mr Lucas had explained the causes, had been absorbed in deep affliction;
that, inattentive to every other concern, he had scarcely quitted my
apartment; that my child had been sent out to nurse; and that my
recovery had been despaired of.'

My constitution was impaired by these repeated shocks. I continued
several months in a low and debilitated state.--With returning reason,
I recalled to my remembrance the charge which Augustus had consigned to
me in his last moments. I enquired earnestly for the pocket-book he had
mentioned, and was informed, that, after his decease, it had been found,
and its contents examined, which were a bank note of fifty pounds, some
letters, and memorandums. Among the letters was one from his brother,
by which means they had learned his address, and had been enabled to
transmit to him an account of the melancholy catastrophe, and to request
his orders respecting the disposal of the body. On the receipt of this
intelligence, the younger Mr Harley had come immediately into ----shire,
had received his brother's effects, and had his remains decently and
respectfully interred in the town where the fatal accident had taken
place, through which he was passing in his way to visit a friend.

As soon as I had strength to hold a pen, I wrote to this gentleman,
mentioning the tender office which had been consigned to me; and
requesting that the child, or children, of Mr Augustus Harley, might be
consigned to my care. To this letter I received an answer, in a few
days, hinting--

'That the marriage of my deceased friend had not been more imprudent
than unfortunate; that he had struggled with great difficulties and many
sorrows; that his wife had been dead near a twelve-month; that he had
lost two of his children, about the same period, with the small-pox, one
only surviving, the younger, a son, a year and a half old; that it was,
at present, at nurse, under his (his brother's) protection; that his
respect for me, and knowledge of my friendship for their family, added
to his wish of complying with every request of his deceased brother,
prevented him from hesitating a moment respecting the propriety of
yielding the child to my care; that it should be delivered to any person
whom I should commission for the purpose; and that I might draw upon him
for the necessary charges towards the support and education of his

I mentioned to Mr Montague these particulars, with a desire of availing
myself of his counsel and assistance on the occasion.

'You are free, madam,' he replied, with a cold and distant air, 'to act
as you shall think proper; but you must excuse me from making myself
responsible in this affair.'

I sighed deeply. I perceived, but too plainly, that _a mortal blow was
given to my tranquillity_; but I determined to persevere in what I
considered to be my duty. On the retrospect of my conduct, my heart
acquitted me; and I endeavoured to submit, without repining, to my fate.

I was, at this period, informed by a faithful servant, who attended me
during my illness, of what I had before but too truly conjectured--That
in my delirium I had incessantly called upon the name of Augustus Harley,
and repeated, at intervals, in broken language, the circumstances of our
last tender and fatal interview: this, with some particulars related
by Mr Lucas to Mr Montague on his return, had, it seems, at the time,
inflamed the irascible passions of my husband, almost to madness. His
transports had subsided, by degrees, into gloomy reserve: he had watched
me, till my recovery, with unremitting attention; since which his
confidence and affection became, every day, more visibly alienated.
Self-respect suppressed my complaints--conscious of deserving, even more
than ever, his esteem, I bore his caprice with patience, trusting that
time, and my conduct, would restore him to reason, and awaken in his
heart a sense of justice.

I sent for my babe from the house of the nurse, to whose care it had
been confided during my illness, and placed the little Augustus in its
stead. 'It is unnecessary, my friend, to say, that you were that lovely
and interesting child.--Oh! with what emotion did I receive, and press,
you to my care-worn bosom; retracing in your smiling countenance the
features of your unfortunate father! Adopting you for my own, I divided
my affection between you and my Emma. Scarce a day passed that I did
not visit the cottage of your nurse. I taught you to call me by the
endearing name of _mother_! I delighted to see you caress my infant with
fraternal tenderness--I endeavoured to cherish this growing affection,
and found a sweet relief from my sorrows in these tender, maternal,


My health being considerably injured, I had taken a young woman into my
house, to assist me in the nursery, and in other domestic offices. She
was in her eighteenth year--simple, modest, and innocent. This girl had
resided with me for some months. I had been kind to her, and she
seemed attached to me. One morning, going suddenly into Mr Montague's
dressing-room, I surprised Rachel sitting on a sopha with her master:--he
held her hand in his, while his arm was thrown round her waist; and they
appeared to be engaged in earnest conversation. They both started, on my
entrance:--Unwilling to encrease their confusion, I quitted the room.

Montague, on our meeting at dinner, affected an air of unconcern; but
there was an apparent constraint in his behaviour. I preserved towards
him my accustomed manner, till the servants had withdrawn. I then mildly
expostulated with him on the impropriety of his behaviour. His replies
were not more unkind than ungenerous--they pierced my heart.

'It is well, sir, I am inured to suffering; but it is not of _myself_
that I would speak. I have not deserved to lose your confidence--this
is my consolation;--yet, I submit to it:--but I cannot see you act in a
manner, that will probably involve you in vexation, and intail upon you
remorse, without warning you of your danger. Should you corrupt the
innocence of this girl, she is emphatically _ruined_. It is the strong
mind only, that, firmly resting on its own powers, can sustain and
recover itself amidst the world's scorn and injustice. The morality of
an uncultivated understanding, is that of _custom_, not of reason: break
down the feeble barrier, and there is nothing to supply its place--you
open the flood-gates of infamy and wretchedness. Who can say where the
evil may stop?'

'You are at liberty to discharge your servant, when you please, madam.'

'I think it my duty to do so, Mr Montague--not on my own, but on _her_,
account. If I have no claim upon your affection and principles, I would
disdain to watch your conduct. But I feel myself attached to this young
woman, and would wish to preserve her from destruction!'

'You are very generous, but as you thought fit to bestow on me your
_hand_, when your _heart_ was devoted to another--'

'It is enough, sir!--To your justice, only, in your cooler moments,
would I appeal!'

I procured for Rachel a reputable place, in a distant part of the
county.--Before she quitted me, I seriously, and affectionately,
remonstrated with her on the consequences of her behaviour. She answered
me only with tears and blushes.

In vain I tried to rectify the principles, and subdue the cruel
prejudices, of my husband. I endeavoured to shew him every mark of
affection and confidence. I frequently expostulated with him, upon
his conduct, with tears--urged him to respect himself and me--strove
to convince him of the false principles upon which he acted--of the
senseless and barbarous manner in which he was sacrificing my peace, and
his own, to a romantic chimera. Sometimes he would appear, for a moment,
melted with my tender and fervent entreaties.

'Would to God!' he would say, with emotion, 'the last six months of my
life could be obliterated for ever from my remembrance!'

He was no longer active, and chearful: he would sit, for hours, involved
in deep and gloomy silence. When I brought the little Emma, to soften,
by her engaging caresses, the anxieties by which his spirits appeared
to be overwhelmed, he would gaze wildly upon her--snatch her to his
breast--and then, suddenly throwing her from him, rush out of the house;
and, inattentive to the duties of his profession, absent himself for
days and nights together:--his temper grew, every hour, more furious and

He by accident, one evening, met the little Augustus, as his nurse was
carrying him from my apartment; and, breaking rudely into the room,
overwhelmed me with a torrent of abuse and reproaches. I submitted
to his injustice with silent grief--my spirits were utterly broken.
At times, he would seem to be sensible of the impropriety of his
conduct--would execrate himself and entreat my forgiveness;--but
quickly relapsed into his accustomed paroxysms, which, from having
been indulged, were now become habitual, and uncontroulable. These
agitations seemed daily to encrease--all my efforts to regain his
confidence--my patient, unremitted, attentions--were fruitless. He
shunned me--he appeared, even, to regard me with horror. I wept in
silence. The hours which I passed with my children afforded me my only
consolation--they became painfully dear to me. Attending to their little
sports, and innocent gambols, I forgot, for a moment, my griefs.


Some months thus passed away, with little variation in my situation.
Returning home one morning, early, from the nurse's, where I had left my
Emma with Augustus (whom I never, now, permitted to be brought to my own
house) as I entered, Mr Montague shot suddenly by me, and rushed up
stairs towards his apartment. I saw him but transiently, as he passed;
but his haggard countenance, and furious gestures, filled me with
dismay. He had been from home the preceding night; but to these absences
I had lately been too much accustomed to regard them as any thing
extraordinary. I hesitated a few moments, whether I should follow him.
I feared, lest I might exasperate him by so doing; yet, the unusual
disorder of his appearance gave me a thousand terrible and nameless
apprehensions. I crept toward the door of his apartment--listened
attentively, and heard him walking up and down the room, with hasty
steps--sometimes he appeared to stop, and groaned heavily:--once I
heard him throw up the sash, and shut it again with violence.

I attempted to open the door, but, finding it locked, my terror
increased.--I knocked gently, but could not attract his attention. At
length I recollected another door, that led to this apartment, through
my own chamber, which was fastened on the outside, and seldom opened.
With trembling steps I hurried round, and, on entering the room,
beheld him sitting at a table, a pen in his hand, and paper before
him. On the table lay his pistols--his hair was dishevelled--his
dress disordered--his features distorted with emotion--while in his
countenance was painted the extreme of horror and despair.

I uttered a faint shriek, and sunk into a chair. He started from his
seat, and, advancing towards me with hurried and tremulous steps,
sternly demanded, Why I intruded on his retirement? I threw myself
at his feet,--I folded my arms round him--I wept--I deprecated his
anger--I entreated to be heard--I said all that humanity, all that the
most tender and lively sympathy could suggest, to inspire him with
confidence--to induce him to relieve, by communication, the burthen
which oppressed his heart.--He struggled to free himself from me--my
apprehensions gave me strength--I held him with a strenuous grasp--he
raved--he stamped--he tore his hair--his passion became frenzy! At
length, forcibly bursting from him, I fell on the floor, and the blood
gushed from my nose and lips. He shuddered convulsively--stood a few
moments, as if irresolute--and, then, throwing himself beside me, raised
me from the ground; and, clasping me to his heart, which throbbed
tumultuously, burst into a flood of tears.

'I will not be thy _murderer_, Emma!' said he, in a voice of agony,
interrupted by heart-rending sobs--'I have had enough of blood!'

I tried to sooth him--I assured him I was not hurt--I besought him to
confide his sorrows to the faithful bosom of his wife! He appeared
softened--his tears flowed without controul.

'Unhappy woman!--you know not what you ask! To be ingenuous, belongs
to purity like yours!--Guilt, black as hell!--conscious, aggravated,
damnable, guilt!--_Your fatal attachment_--my accursed jealousy!--Ah!
Emma! I have injured you--but you are, indeed, revenged!'

Every feature seemed to work--seemed pregnant with dreadful meaning--he
was relapsing into frenzy.

'Be calm, my friend--be not unjust to yourself--you can have committed
no injury that I shall not willingly forgive--you are incapable of
persisting in guilt. The ingenuous mind, that avows, has already made
half the reparation. Suffer me to learn the source of your inquietude! I
may find much to extenuate--I may be able to convince you, that you are
too severe to yourself.'

'Never, never, never!--nothing can extenuate--_the expiation must be
made_!--Excellent, admirable, woman!--Remember, without hating, the
wretch who has been unworthy of you--who could not conceive, who knew
not how to estimate, your virtues!--Oh!--do not--do not'--straining me
to his bosom--'curse my memory!'

He started from the ground, and, in a moment, was out of sight.

I raised myself with difficulty--faint, tottering, gasping for breath, I
attempted to descend the stairs. I had scarcely reached the landing-place,
when a violent knocking at the door shook my whole frame. I stood still,
clinging to the balustrade, unable to proceed. I heard a chaise draw
up--a servant opening the door--a plain-looking countryman alighted, and
desired instantly to speak to the lady of the house--his business was,
he said, of life and death! I advanced towards him, pale and trembling!

'What is the matter, my friend--whence came you?'

'I cannot stop, lady, to explain myself--you must come with me--I will
tell you more as we go along.'

'Do you come,' enquired I, in a voice scarcely articulate, 'from my

'No--no--I come from a person who is dying, who has somewhat of
consequence to impart to you--Hasten, lady--there is no time to lose!'

'Lead, then, I follow you.'

He helped me into the chaise, and we drove off with the rapidity of


I asked no more questions on the road, but attempted to fortify my mind
for the scenes which, I foreboded, were approaching. After about an
hour's ride, we stopped at a small, neat, cottage, embosomed in trees,
standing alone, at a considerable distance from the high-road. A
decent-looking, elderly, woman, came to the door, at the sound of the
carriage, and assisted me to alight. In her countenance were evident
marks of perturbation and horror. I asked for a glass of water; and,
having drank it, followed the woman, at her request, up stairs. She
seemed inclined to talk, but I gave her no encouragement--I knew not
what awaited me, nor what exertions might be requisite--I determined not
to exhaust my spirits unnecessarily.

On entering a small chamber, I observed a bed, with the curtains closely
drawn. I advanced towards it, and, unfolding them, beheld the unhappy
Rachel lying in a state of apparent insensibility.

'She is dying,' whispered the woman, 'she has been in strong
convulsions; but she could not die in peace without seeing Madam
Montague, and obtaining her forgiveness.'

I approached the unfortunate girl, and took her lifeless hand.--A
feeble pulse still trembled--I gazed upon her, for some moments, in
silence.--She heaved a deep sigh--her lips moved, inarticulately. She,
at length, opened her eyes, and, fixing them upon me, the blood seemed
to rush through her languid frame--reanimating it. She sprung up in the
bed, and, clasping her hands together, uttered a few incoherent words.

'Be pacified, my dear--I am not angry with you--I feel only pity.'

She looked wildly. 'Ah! my dear lady, I am a wicked girl--but not--Oh,
no!--_not a murderer!_ I did not--indeed, I did not--murder my child!'

A cold tremor seized me--I turned heart-sick--a sensation of horror
thrilled through my veins!

'My dear, my kind mistress,' resumed the wretched girl, 'can you forgive
me?--Oh! that cruel, barbarous, man!--It was _he_ who did it--indeed, it
was _he_ who did it!' Distraction glared in her eyes.

'I do forgive you,' said I, in broken accents. 'I will take care of
you--but you must be calm.'

'I will--I will'--replied she, in a rapid tone of voice--'but do not
send me to prison--_I did not murder it!_--Oh! my child, my child!'
continued she, in a screaming tone of frantic violence, and was again
seized with strong convulsions.

We administered all the assistance in our power. I endeavoured, with
success, to stifle my emotions in the active duties of humanity. Rachel
once more revived. After earnestly commending her to the care of the
good woman of the house, and promising to send medicines and nourishment
proper for her situation, and to reward their attentions--desiring
that she might be kept perfectly still, and not be suffered to talk on
subjects that agitated her--I quitted the place, presaging but too much,
and not having, at that time, the courage to make further enquiries.


On entering my own house my heart misgave me. I enquired, with
trepidation, for my husband, and was informed--'That he had returned
soon after my departure, and had shut himself in his apartment; that, on
being followed by Mr Lucas, he had turned fiercely upon him, commanding
him, in an imperious tone, instantly to leave him; adding, he had affairs
of importance to transact; and should any one dare to intrude on him,
it would be at the peril of their lives.' All the family appeared in
consternation, but no one had presumed to disobey the orders of their
master.--They expressed their satisfaction at my return--Alas! I was
impotent to relieve the apprehensions which, I too plainly perceived,
had taken possession of their minds.

I retired to my chamber, and, with a trembling hand, traced, and
addressed to my husband, a few incoherent lines--briefly hinting my
suspicions respecting the late transactions--exhorting him to provide
for his safety, and offering to be the companion of his flight. I
added--'Let us reap wisdom from these tragical consequences of _indulged
passion_! It is not to atone for the past error, by cutting off the
prospect of future usefulness--Repentance for what can never be
recalled, is absurd and vain, but as it affords a lesson for the time
to come--do not let us wilfully forfeit the fruits of our dear-bought
experience! I will never reproach you! Virtuous resolution, and time,
may yet heal these aggravated wounds. Dear Montague, be no longer
the slave of error; inflict not on my tortured mind new, and more
insupportable, terrors! I await your directions--let us fly--let us
summon our fortitude--let us, at length, bravely stem the tide of
passion--let us beware of the criminal pusillanimity of despair!'

With faultering steps, I sought the apartment of my husband. I listened
a moment at the door--and hearing him in motion, while profound sighs
burst every instant from his bosom, I slid my paper under the door,
unfolded, that it might be the more likely to attract his attention.
Presently, I had the satisfaction of hearing him take it up. After some
minutes, a slip of paper was returned, by the same method which I had
adopted, in which was written, in characters blotted, and scarcely
legible, the following words--

'Leave me, one half hour, to my reflections: at the end of that period,
be assured, I will see, or write, to you.'

I knew him to be incapable of falsehood--my heart palpitated with hope.
I went to my chamber, and passed the interval in a thousand cruel
reflections, and vague plans for our sudden departure. Near an hour
had elapsed, when the bell rang. I started, breathless, from my seat.
A servant passed my door, to take his master's orders. He returned
instantly, and, meeting me in the passage, delivered to me a letter.
I heard Montague again lock the door.--Disappointed, I re-entered my
chamber. In my haste to get at the contents of the paper, I almost tore
it in pieces--the words swam before my sight. I held it for some moments
in my hand, incapable of decyphering the fatal characters. I breathed
with difficulty--all the powers of life seemed suspended--when the
report of a pistol roused me to a sense of confused horror.--Rushing
forward, I burst, with preternatural strength, into the apartment of my
husband--What a spectacle!--Assistance was vain!--Montague--the impetuous,
ill-fated, Montague--_was no more--was a mangled corpse_!--Rash,
unfortunate, young, man!

But, why should I harrow up your susceptible mind, by dwelling on
these cruel scenes? _Ah! suffer me to spread a veil over this fearful
catastrophe!_ Some time elapsed ere I had fortitude to examine the paper
addressed to me by my unfortunate husband. Its contents, which were as
follows, affected me with deep and mingled emotions.


      'Amidst the reflections which press, by turns, upon my
      burning brain, an obscure consciousness of the prejudices
      upon which my character has been formed, is not the least
      torturing--because I feel the _inveterate force of habit_--I
      feel, that my convictions come too late!

      'I have destroyed myself, and you, dearest, most generous,
      and most unfortunate, of women! I am a monster!--I have
      seduced innocence, and embrued my hands in blood!--Oh,
      God!--Oh, God!--_'Tis there distraction lies!_--I would,
      circumstantially, retrace my errors; but my disordered mind,
      and quivering hand, refuse the cruel task--yet, it is
      necessary that I should attempt a brief sketch.

      'After the cruel accident, which destroyed our tranquillity,
      I nourished my senseless jealousies (the sources of
      which I need not, now, recapitulate), till I persuaded
      myself--injurious wretch that I was!--that I had been
      perfidiously and ungenerously treated. Stung by false pride,
      I tried to harden my heart, and foolishly thirsted for
      revenge. Your meekness, and magnanimity, disappointed me.--I
      would willingly have seen you, not only suffer the PANGS,
      but express the _rage_, of a slighted wife. The simple
      victim of my baseness, by the artless affection she
      expressed for me, gained an ascendency over my mind; and,
      when you removed her from your house, we still contrived, at
      times, to meet. The consequences of our intercourse could
      not long be concealed. It was, then, that I first began
      to open my eyes on my conduct, and to be seized with
      remorse!--Rachel, now, wept incessantly. Her father, she
      told me, was a stern and severe man; and should he hear of
      her misconduct, would, she was certain, be her destruction.
      I procured for her an obscure retreat, to which I removed
      the unhappy girl [Oh, how degrading is vice!], under false
      pretences. I exhorted her to conceal her situation--to
      pretend, that her health was in a declining state--and I
      visited her, from time to time, as in my profession.

      'This poor young creature continued to bewail the disgrace
      she anticipated--her lamentations pierced my soul! I
      recalled to my remembrance your emphatic caution. I foresaw
      that, with the loss of her character, this simple girl's
      misfortune and degradation would be irretrievable; and I
      could, now, plainly distinguish the morality of _rule_ from
      that of _principle_. Pursuing this train of reasoning, I
      entangled myself, for my views were not yet sufficiently
      clear and comprehensible! Bewildered, amidst contending
      principles--distracted by a variety of emotions--in seeking
      a remedy for one vice, I plunged (as is but too common),
      into others of a more scarlet dye. With shame and horror, I
      confess, I repeatedly tried, by medical drugs, to procure
      an abortive birth: the strength and vigour of Rachel's
      constitution defeated this diabolical purpose. Foiled in
      these attempts, I became hardened, desperate, and

      'Six weeks before the allotted period, the infant saw the
      light--for a moment--to close its eyes on it for ever!
      I, only, was with the unhappy mother. I had formed no
      deliberate purpose--I had not yet arrived at the acme of
      guilt--but, perceiving, from the babe's premature birth, and
      the consequences of the pernicious potions which had been
      administered to the mother, that the vital flame played
      but feebly--that life was but as a quivering, uncertain,
      spark--a sudden and terrible thought darted through my mind.
      I know not whether my emotion betrayed me to the ear of
      Rachel--but, suddenly throwing back the curtain of the bed,
      she beheld me grasp--with savage ferocity--_with murderous
      hands_!--Springing from the bed, and throwing herself upon
      me--her piercing shrieks--

      '_I can no more_--of the rest you seem, from whatever means,
      but too well informed!

      I need not say--protect, if she survive, the miserable
      mother!--To you, whose heavenly goodness I have so ill
      requited, it would be injurious as unnecessary! I read, too
      late, the heart I have insulted!

      'I have settled the disposal of my effects--I have commanded
      my feelings to give you this last, sad, proof of my
      confidence.--_Kneeling_, I entreat your forgiveness for the
      sufferings I have caused you! I found your heart wounded--and
      into those festering wounds I infused a deadly venom--curse
      not my memory--_We meet no more_.

      'Farewel! first, and last, and only, beloved of women!--a
      long--a long farewel!

These are the consequences of confused systems of morals--and thus it
is, that minds of the highest hope, and fairest prospect, are blasted!


The unhappy Rachel recovered her health by slow degrees. I had
determined, when my affairs were settled, to leave a spot, that had been
the scene of so many tragical events. I proposed to the poor girl to
take her again into my family, to which she acceded with rapture. She
has never since quitted me, and her faithful services, and humble,
grateful attachment, have repaid my protection an hundred fold.

Mr Montague left ten thousand pounds, the half of which was settled on
his daughter, the remainder left to my disposal. This determined me to
adopt you wholly for my son. I wrote to your uncle to that purport,
taking upon myself the entire charge of your education, and entreating,
that you might never know, unless informed by myself, to whom you
owed your birth. That you should continue to think me _your mother_,
flattered my tenderness, nor was my Emma, herself, more dear to me.

I retired in a few months to my present residence, sharing my heart and
my attentions between my children, who grew up under my fostering care,
lovely and beloved.

  'While every day, soft as it roll'd along,
   Shew'd some new charm.'

I observed your affection for each other with a flattering presage.
With the features of your father, you inherited his intrepidity, and
manly virtues--even, at times, I thought I perceived the seeds of his
inflexible spirit; but the caresses of my Emma, more fortunate than her
mother--yet, with all her mother's sensibility--could, in an instant,
soften you to tenderness, and melt you into infantine sweetness.

I endeavoured to form your young minds to every active virtue, to every
generous sentiment.--You received, from the same masters, the same
lessons, till you attained your twelfth year; and my Emma emulated, and
sometimes outstripped your progress. I observed, with a mixture of hope
and solicitude, her lively capacity--her enthusiastic affections; while
I laboured to moderate and regulate them.

It now became necessary that your educations should take a somewhat
different direction; I wished to fit you for a commercial line of life;
but the ardor you discovered for science and literature occasioned me
some perplexity, as I feared it might unfit you for application to
trade, in the pursuit of which so many talents are swallowed up, and
powers wasted. Yet, as to the professions my objections were still more
serious.--The study of law, is the study of chicanery.--The church, the
school of hypocrisy and usurpation! You could only enter the universities
by a moral degradation, that must check the freedom, and contaminate the
purity, of the mind, and, entangling it in an inexplicable maze of error
and contradiction, _poison virtue at its source_, and lay the foundation
for a duplicity of character and a perversion of reason, destructive
of every manly principle of integrity. For the science of physic you
expressed a disinclination. A neighbouring gentleman, a surveyor, a man
high in his profession, and of liberal manners, to whose friendship
I was indebted, offered to take you. You were delighted with this
proposal, (to which I had no particular objection) as you had a taste
for drawing and architecture.

Our separation, though you were to reside in the same town, cost us many
tears--I loved you with more than a mother's fondness--and my Emma clung
round the neck of her beloved brother, her Augustus, her playfellow, and
sobbed on his bosom. It was with difficulty that you could disentangle
yourself from our embraces. Every moment of leisure you flew to us--my
Emma learned from you to draw plans, and to study the laws of proportion.
Every little exuberance in your disposition, which, generated by a noble
pride, sometimes wore the features of asperity, was soothed into peace
by her gentleness and affection: while she delighted to emulate your
fortitude, and to rise superior to the feebleness fostered in her sex,
under the specious name of delicacy. Your mutual attachment encreased
with your years, I renewed my existence in my children, and anticipated
their more perfect union.

Ah! my son, need I proceed? Must I continually blot the page with the
tale of sorrow? Can I tear open again, can I cause to bleed afresh, in
your heart and my own, wounds scarcely closed? In her fourteenth year,
in the spring of life, your Emma and mine, lovely and fragile blossom,
was blighted by a killing frost--After a few days illness, she drooped,
faded, languished, and died!

It was now that I felt--'That no agonies were like the agonies of a
mother.' My broken spirits, from these repeated sorrows, sunk into
habitual, hopeless, dejection. Prospects, that I had meditated with
ineffable delight, were for ever veiled in darkness. Every earthly tie
was broken, except that which bound you to my desolated heart with a
still stronger cord of affection. You wept, in my arms, the loss of her
whom you, yet, fondly believed your sister.--I cherished the illusion
lest, by dissolving it, I should weaken your confidence in my maternal
love, weaken that tenderness which was now my only consolation.


      My Augustus, _my more than son_, around whom my spirit,
      longing for dissolution, still continues to flutter! I have
      unfolded the errors of my past life--I have traced them to
      their source--I have laid bare my mind before you, that the
      experiments which have been made upon it may be beneficial
      to yours! It has been a painful, and a humiliating
      recital--the retrospection has been marked with anguish. As
      the enthusiasm--as the passions of my youth--have passed in
      review before me, long forgotten emotions have been revived
      in my lacerated heart--it has been again torn with _the
      pangs of contemned love_--the disappointment of rational
      plans of usefulness--the dissolution of the darling hopes of
      maternal pride and fondness. The frost of a premature age
      sheds its snows upon my temples, the ravages of a sickly
      mind shake my tottering frame. The morning dawns, the
      evening closes upon me, the seasons revolve, without hope;
      the sun shines, the spring returns, but, to me, it is

      And is this all of human life--this, that passes like a tale
      that is told? Alas! it is a tragical tale! Friendship was
      the star, whose cheering influence I courted to beam upon my
      benighted course. The social affections were necessary to my
      existence, but they have been only inlets to sorrow--_yet,
      still, I bind them to my heart_!

      Hitherto there seems to have been something strangely wrong
      in the constitutions of society--a lurking poison that
      spreads its contagion far and wide--a canker at the root
      of private virtue and private happiness--a principle of
      deception, that sanctifies error--a Circean cup that lulls
      into a fatal intoxication. But men begin to think and
      reason; reformation dawns, though the advance is tardy.
      Moral martyrdom may possibly be the fate of those who
      press forward, yet, their generous efforts will not be
      lost.--Posterity will plant the olive and the laurel, and
      consecrate their mingled branches to the memory of such,
      who, daring to trace, to their springs, errors the most
      hoary, and prejudices the most venerated, emancipate the
      human mind from the trammels of superstition, and teach it,
      _that its true dignity and virtue, consist in being free_.

      Ere I sink into the grave, let me behold the _son of my
      affections_, the living image of him, whose destiny involved
      mine, who gave an early, but a mortal blow, to all my
      worldly expectations--let me behold my Augustus, escaped
      from the tyranny of the passions, restored to reason, to
      the vigor of his mind, to self controul, to the dignity of
      active, intrepid virtue!

      The dawn of my life glowed with the promise of a fair and
      bright day; before its noon, thick clouds gathered; its
      mid-day was gloomy and tempestuous.--It remains with thee,
      my friend, to gild with a mild radiance the closing evening;
      before the scene shuts, and veils the prospect in
      impenetrable darkness.


Punctuation, hyphenation and period spellings have been retained even
where not consistent. The latter includes the name Anne, which also
occurs without the final e.

The changes listed below have been made to the text (corrected version
follows original):

     but in this investigatation we must be patient
     but in this investigation we must be patient

     Arisides the just,
     Aristides the just

     knowledge and learning, are unsufferably masculine in a women
     knowledge and learning, are unsufferably masculine in a woman

     Why do we suffer ourselve to be confined
     Why do we suffer ourselves to be confined

     gratified by his covnersation
     gratified by his conversation

     at his repeated requst
     at his repeated request

     the degrading and melancholy intelligence, with fills my soul
     the degrading and melancholy intelligence, which fills my soul

     the acitivity of a curious and vigorous mind
     the activity of a curious and vigorous mind

     a temporary reflief
     a temporary relief

     Would she, inded, accept of my society,
     Would she, indeed, accept of my society,

     qutting it early in the morning
     quitting it early in the morning

     any suddent agitation of spirits
     any sudden agitation of spirits

     the distinction yo have shewn me
     the distinction you have shewn me

     so sincere, so artless, as mind
     so sincere, so artless, as mine

     such an attempt would be impertiment;
     such an attempt would be impertinent;

     their heads were never led astray by thir hearts.
     their heads were never led astray by their hearts.

     though peace and enjoymment should be for ever fled
     though peace and enjoyment should be for ever fled

     attended wtih advantages
     attended with advantages

     Persevervance, with little ability, has effected wonders;
     Perseverance, with little ability, has effected wonders;

     wtih the various branches of science
     with the various branches of science

     you have been very will
     you have been very ill

     the fruits of our dear-bought exerience
     the fruits of our dear-bought experience

     I would willing have seen you
     I would willingly have seen you

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