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Title: Tales and Novels — Volume 05
 - Tales of a Fashionable Life
Author: Edgeworth, Maria
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales and Novels — Volume 05
 - Tales of a Fashionable Life" ***

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By Maria Edgeworth

In Ten Volumes. With Engravings On Steel.




“And gave her words, where oily Flatt’ry lays The pleasing colours of
the art of praise.”--PARNELL.


“I am more grieved than I can express, my dearest Miss Walsingham, by
a cruel _contre-temps_, which must prevent my indulging myself in the
long-promised and long-expected pleasure of being at your _fête de
famille_ on Tuesday, to celebrate your dear father’s birthday. I
trust, however, to your conciliating goodness, my kind young friend, to
represent my distress properly to Mr. Walsingham. Make him sensible, I
conjure you, that my _heart_ is with you all, and assure him that this
is no common apology. Indeed, I never employ such artifices with my
friends: to them, and to you in particular, my dear, I always speak with
perfect frankness and candour. Amelia, with whom, _entre nous_, you
are more a favourite than ever, is so much vexed and mortified by this
disappointment, that I see I shall not be restored to favour till I can
fix a day for going to you: yet when that may be, circumstances, which I
should not feel myself quite justified in mentioning, will not permit me
to decide.

“Kindest regards and affectionate remembrances to all your dear
circle.--Any news of the young captain? Any hopes of his return from

“Ever with perfect truth, my dearest Miss Walsingham’s sincere friend,


“P.S.--Private--read to yourself.

“To be candid with you, my dear young friend, my secret reason for
denying myself the pleasure of Tuesday’s fête is, that I have just heard
that there is a shocking chicken-pox in the village near you; and I
confess it is one of my weaknesses to dread even the bare rumour of such
a thing, on account of my Amelia: but I should not wish to have this
mentioned in your house, because you must be sensible your father would
think it an idle womanish fear; and you know how anxious I am for his

“Burn this, I beseech you----

“Upon second thoughts, I believe it will be best to tell the truth, and
the whole truth, to your father, if you should see that nothing else
will do----In short, I write in haste, and must trust now, as ever,
entirely to your discretion.”

“Well, my dear,” said Mr. Walsingham to his daughter, as the young lady
sat at the breakfast table looking over this note, “how long do you mean
to sit the picture of The Delicate Embarrassment? To relieve you as far
as in me lies, let me assure you that I shall not ask to see this
note of Mrs. Beaumont’s, which as usual seems to contain some mighty

“No great mystery; only----”

“Only--some minikin mystery?” said Mr. Walsingham. “Yes, ‘_Elle est
politique pour des choux et des raves_.’--This charming widow Beaumont
is _manoeuvrer_.[1] We can’t well make an English word of it. The
species, thank Heaven! is not so numerous yet in England as to require
a generic name. The description, however, has been touched by one of our

     ‘Julia’s a manager: she’s born for rule,
     And knows her wiser husband is a fool.
     For her own breakfast she’ll project a scheme,
     Nor take her tea without a stratagem.’

Even from the time when Mrs. Beaumont was a girl of sixteen I remember
her manoeuvring to gain a husband, and then manoeuvring to manage him,
which she did with triumphant address.”

“What sort of a man was Colonel Beaumont?”

“An excellent man; an open-hearted soldier, of the strictest honour and

“Then is it not much in Mrs. Beaumont’s favour, that she enjoyed the
confidence of such a man, and that he left her guardian to his son and

“If he had lived with her long enough to become acquainted with her real
character, what you say, my dear, would be unanswerable. But Colonel
Beaumont died a few years after his marriage, and during those few years
he was chiefly with his regiment.”

“You will, however, allow,” said Miss Walsingham, “that since his death
Mrs. Beaumont has justified his confidence.--Has she not been a good
guardian, and an affectionate mother?”

“Why--as a guardian, I think she has allowed her son too much liberty,
and too much money. I have heard that young Beaumont has lost a
considerable sum at Newmarket. I grant you that Mrs. Beaumont is an
affectionate mother, and I am convinced that she is extremely anxious to
advance the worldly interests of her children; still I cannot, my dear,
agree with you, that she is a good mother. In the whole course of the
education of her son and daughter, she has pursued a system of artifice.
Whatever she wanted them to learn, or to do, or to leave undone, some
stratagem, sentimental or scenic, was employed; somebody was to hint
to some other body to act upon Amelia to make her do so and so.
Nothing--that is, nothing like truth, ever came directly from the
mother: there were always whisperings and mysteries, and ‘Don’t say that
before Amelia!’ and ‘I would not have this told to Edward,’ because it
might make him like something that she did not wish that he should like,
and that she had _her reasons_ for not letting him know that she did not
wish him to like. There was always some truth to be concealed for some
mighty good purpose; and things and persons were to be represented
in false lights, to produce on some particular occasion some partial
effect. All this succeeded admirably in detail, and for the management
of helpless, ignorant, credulous childhood. But mark the consequences
of this system: children grow up, and cannot always see, hear, and
understand, just as their mothers please. They will go into the world;
they will mix with others; their eyes will be opened; they will see
through the whole system of artifice by which their childhood was so
cleverly managed; and then, confidence in the parent must be destroyed
for ever.”

Miss Walsingham acknowledged the truth of what her father said; but
she observed that this was a common error in education, which had the
sanction of high authority in its favour; even the eloquent Rousseau,
and the elegant and ingenious Madame de Genlis. “And it is certain,”
 continued Miss Walsingham, “that Mrs. Beaumont has not made her children
artful; both Amelia and Mr. Beaumont are remarkably open, sincere,
honourable characters. Mr. Beaumont, indeed, carries his sincerity
almost to a fault: he is too blunt, perhaps, in his manner;--and Amelia,
though she is of such a timid, gentle temper, and so much afraid of
giving pain, has always courage enough to speak the truth, even in
circumstances where it is most difficult. So at least you must allow, my
dear father, that Mrs. Beaumont has made her children sincere.”

“I am sorry, my dear, to seem uncharitable; but I must observe, that
sometimes the very faults of parents produce a tendency to opposite
virtues in their children: for the children suffer by the consequences
of these faults, and detecting, despise, and resolve to avoid them. As
to Amelia and Mr. Beaumont, their acquaintance with our family has been
no unfavourable circumstance in their education. They saw amongst us
the advantages of sincerity: they became attached to you, and to my
excellent ward Captain Walsingham; he obtained strong power over young
Beaumont’s mind, and used it to the best purposes. Your friendship for
Amelia was, I think, equally advantageous to her: as you are nearly of
the same age, you had opportunities of winning her confidence; and your
stronger mind fortified hers, and inspired her timid character with the
courage necessary to be sincere.”

“Well,” persisted Miss Walsingham, “though Mrs. Beaumont may have used
a little _finesse_ towards her children in trifles, yet in matters of
consequence, I do think that she has no interest but theirs; and her
affection for them will make her lay aside all art, when their happiness
is at stake.”

Mr. Walsingham shook his head.--“And do you then really believe, my dear
Marianne, that Mrs. Beaumont would consider any thing, for instance, in
the marriage of her son and daughter, but fortune, and what the world
calls _connexion and establishments_?”

“Certainly I cannot think that these are Mrs. Beaumont’s first objects;
because we are people but of small fortune, and yet she prefers us to
many of large estates and higher station.”

“You should say, she professes to prefer us,” replied Mr. Walsingham.
“And do you really believe her to be sincere? Now, there is my ward,
Captain Walsingham, for whom she pretends to have such a regard, do you
think that Mrs. Beaumont wishes her daughter should marry him?”

“I do, indeed; but Mrs. Beaumont must speak cautiously on that subject;
this is prudence, not dissimulation: for you know that my cousin
Walsingham never declared his attachment to Miss Beaumont; on the
contrary, he always took the most scrupulous pains to conceal it
from her, because he had not fortune enough to marry, and he was too
honourable to attempt, or even to wish, to engage the affections of one
to whom he had no prospect of being united.”

“He is a noble fellow!” exclaimed Mr. Walsingham. “There is no sacrifice
of pleasure or interest he would hesitate to make to his duty. For his
friends there is no exertion, no endurance, no forbearance, of which he
has not shown himself capable. For his country----All I ask from Heaven
for him is, opportunity to serve his country. Whether circumstances,
whether success, will ever prove his merits to the world, I cannot
foretell; but I shall always glory in him as my ward, my relation, my

“Mrs. Beaumont speaks of him just as you do,” said Miss Walsingham.

“Speaks, but not thinks,” said Mr. Walsingham. “No, no! Captain
Walsingham is not the man she desires for a son-in-law. She wants to
marry Amelia to Sir John Hunter.”

“To Sir John Hunter!”

“Yes, to Sir John Hunter, a being without literature, without morals,
without even youth, to plead in his favour. He is nearly forty years
old, old enough to be Amelia’s father; yet this is the man whom Mrs.
Beaumont prefers for the husband of her beloved daughter, because he is
heir presumptive to a great estate, and has the chance of a reversionary
earldom.--And this is your modern good mother.”

“Oh, no, no!” cried Miss Walsingham, “you do Mrs. Beaumont injustice; I
assure you she despises Sir John Hunter as much as we do.”

“Yet observe the court she has paid to the whole family of the Hunters.”

“Yes, but that has been merely from regard to the late Lady Hunter, who
was her particular friend.”

“_Particular friend!_ a vamped-up, sentimental conversation reason.”

“But I assure you,” persisted Miss Walsingham, “that I know Mrs.
Beaumont’s mind better than you do, father, at least on this subject.”

“You! a girl of eighteen, pretend to know a manoeuvrer of her age!”

“Only let me tell you my reasons.--It was but last week that Mrs.
Beaumont told me that she did not wish to encourage Sir John Hunter,
and that she should be perfectly happy if she could see Amelia united to
such a man as Captain Walsingham.”

“Such a man as Captain Walsingham! nicely guarded expression!”

“But you have not heard all yet.--Mrs. Beaumont anxiously inquired from
me whether he had made any prize-money, whether there was any chance of
his returning soon; and she added, with particular emphasis, ‘You
don’t know how much I wish it! You don’t know what a favourite he is of

“That last, I will lay any wager,” cried Mr. Walsingham, “she said in a
whisper, and in a corner.”

“Yes, but she could not do otherwise, for Amelia was present. Mrs.
Beaumont took me aside.”

“Aside; ay, ay, but take care, I advise you, of her _asides_, and her
whisperings, and her cornerings, and her inuendoes, and semiconfidences,
lest your own happiness, my dear, unsuspecting, enthusiastic daughter,
should be the sacrifice.”

Miss Walsingham now stood perfectly silent, in embarrassed and
breathless anxiety.

“I see,” continued her father, “that Mrs. Beaumont, for whose mighty
genius one intrigue at a time is not sufficient, wants also to persuade
you, my dear, that she wishes to have you for a daughter-in-law: and yet
all the time she is doing every thing she can to make her son marry that
fool, Miss Hunter, merely because she has two hundred thousand pounds

“There I can assure you that you are mistaken,” said Miss Walsingham;
“Mrs. Beaumont dreads that her son should marry Miss Hunter. Mrs.
Beaumont thinks her as silly as you do, and complained to me of her
having no taste for literature, or for any thing, but dress, and
trifling conversation.”

“I wonder, then, that Mrs. Beaumont selects her continually for her

“She thinks Miss Hunter the most insipid companion in the world; but I
dare not tell you, lest you should laugh at me again, that it was for
the sake of the late Lady Hunter that Mrs. Beaumont was so kind to the
daughter; and now Miss Hunter is so fond of her, and so grateful, that,
as Mrs. Beaumont says, it would be cruelty to shake her off.”

“Mighty plausible! But the truth of all this, begging Mrs. Beaumont’s
pardon, I doubt; I will not call it a falsehood, but I may be permitted
to call it a _Beaumont_. Time will show: and in the mean time, my dear
daughter, be on your guard against Mrs. Beaumont’s art, and against
your own credulity. The momentary pain I give my friends by speaking
the plain truth, I have always found overbalanced by the pleasure
and advantage of mutual confidence. Our domestic happiness has arisen
chiefly from our habits of openness and sincerity. Our whole souls
are laid open; there is no management, no ‘_intrigue de cabinet_, no
‘_esprit de la ligue_.’”

Mr. Walsingham now left the room; and Miss Walsingham, absorbed in
reflections more interesting to her than even the defence of Mrs.
Beaumont, went out to walk. Her father’s house was situated in a
beautiful part of Devonshire, near the sea-shore, in the neighbourhood
of Plymouth; and as Miss Walsingham was walking on the beach, she saw
an old fisherman mooring his boat to the projecting stump of a tree. His
figure was so picturesque, that she stopped to sketch it; and as she
was drawing, a woman came from the cottage near the shore to ask
the fisherman what luck he had had. “A fine turbot,” says he, “and a

“Then away with them this minute to Beaumont Park,” said the woman; “for
here’s Madam Beaumont’s man, Martin, called _in a flustrum_ while you
was away, to say madam must have the nicest of our fish, whatsomever it
might be, and a john-doree, if it could be had for love or money, for
Tuesday.”--Here the woman, perceiving Miss Walsingham, dropped a curtsy.
“Your humble servant, Miss Walsingham,” said the woman.

“On Tuesday?” said Miss Walsingham: “are you sure that Mrs. Beaumont
bespoke the fish for Tuesday?”

“Oh, _sartin_ sure, miss; for Martin mentioned, moreover, what he had
heard talk in the servants’ hall, that there is to be a very _pettiklar_
old gentleman, as rich! as rich! as rich can be! from foreign parts,
and a great friend of the colonel that’s dead; and he--that is, the old
_pettiklar_ gentleman--is to be down all the way from Lon’on to dine at
the park on Tuesday for _sartin_: so, husband, away with the john-doree
and the turbot, while they be fresh.”

“But why,” thought Miss Walsingham, “did not Mrs. Beaumont tell us the
plain truth, if this is the truth?”


     “_Young Hermes next, a close contriving god,
     Her brows encircled with his serpent rod;
     Then plots and fair excuses fill her brain,
     And views of breaking am’rous vows for gain_.”

The information which Mrs. Beaumont’s man, Martin, had learned from the
servants’ hall, and had communicated to the fisherman’s wife, was more
correct, and had been less amplified, embellished, misunderstood, or
misrepresented, than is usually found to be the case with pieces of
news which are so heard and so repeated. It was true that Mrs. Beaumont
expected to see on Tuesday an old gentleman, a Mr. Palmer, who had been
a friend of her husband’s; he had lately returned from Jamaica, where he
had made a large fortune. It is true, also, that this old gentleman
was _a little particular_, but not precisely in the sense in which the
fisherman’s wife understood the phrase; he was not particularly fond
of john-dorees and turbots, but he was particularly fond of making his
fellow-creatures happy; particularly generous, particularly open and
honest in his nature, abhorring all artifice himself, and unsuspicious
of it in others. He was unacquainted with Mrs. Beaumont’s character, as
he had been for many years in the West Indies, and he knew her only
from her letters, in which she appeared every thing that was candid and
amiable. His great friendship for her deceased husband also inclined him
to like her. Colonel Beaumont had appointed him one of the guardians of
his children, but Mr. Palmer, being absent from England, had declined to
act: he was also trustee to Mrs. Beaumont’s marriage-settlement, and
she had represented that it was necessary he should be present at the
settlement of her family affairs upon her son’s coming of age; an event
which was to take place in a few days. The urgent representations of
Mrs. Beaumont, and the anxious desire she expressed to see Mr. Palmer,
had at last prevailed with the good old gentleman to journey down
to Beaumont Park, though he was a valetudinarian, and though he was
obliged, he said, to return to Jamaica with the West India fleet, which
was expected to sail in ten days; so that he announced positively that
he could stay but a week at Beaumont Park with his good friends and

He was related but distantly to the Beaumonts, and he stood in precisely
the same degree of relationship to the Walsinghams. He had no other
relations, and his fortune was completely at his own disposal. On this
fortune our cunning widow had speculated long and deeply, though in fact
there was no occasion for art: it was Mr. Palmer’s intention to leave
his large fortune to the Beaumonts; or to divide it between the Beaumont
and Walsingham families; and had she been sincere in her professed
desire of a complete union by a double marriage between the
representatives of the families, her favourite object would have been,
in either case, equally secure. Here was a plain, easy road to her
object; but it was too direct for Mrs. Beaumont. With all her abilities,
she could never comprehend the axiom that a right line is the shortest
possible line between any two points:--an axiom equally true in morals
and in mathematics. No, the serpentine line was, in her opinion, not
only the most beautiful, but the most expeditious, safe, and convenient.

She had formed a triple scheme of such intricacy, that it is necessary
distinctly to state the argument of her plot, lest the action should be
too complicated to be easily developed.

She had, in the first place, a design of engrossing the whole of Mr.
Palmer’s fortune for her own family; and for this purpose she determined
to prevent Mr. Palmer from becoming acquainted with his other relations,
the Walsinghams, to whom she had always had a secret dislike, because
they were of remarkably open, sincere characters. As Mr. Palmer proposed
to stay but a week in the country, this scheme of preventing their
meeting seemed feasible.

In the second place, Mrs. Beaumont wished to marry her daughter to Sir
John Hunter, because Sir John was heir expectant to a large estate,
called the Wigram estate, and because there was in his family a certain
reversionary title, the earldom of Puckeridge, which would devolve to
Sir John after the death of a near relation.

In the third place, Mrs. Beaumont wished to marry her own son to Miss
Hunter, who was Sir John’s sister by a second marriage, and above twenty
years younger than he was: this lady was preferred to Miss Walsingham
for a daughter-in-law, for the reasons which Mr. Walsingham had given;
because she possessed an independent fortune of two hundred thousand
pounds, and because she was so childish and silly that Mrs. Beaumont
thought she could always manage her easily, and by this means retain
power over her son. Miss Hunter was very pretty, and Mrs. Beaumont
had observed that her son had sometimes been struck with her beauty
sufficiently to give hopes that, by proper management, he might be
diverted from his serious, sober preference of Miss Walsingham.

Mrs. Beaumont foresaw many difficulties in the execution of these
plans. She knew that Amelia liked Captain Walsingham, and that Captain
Walsingham was attached to her, though he had never declared his love:
and she dreaded that Captain Walsingham, who was at this time at sea,
should return, just whilst Mr. Palmer was with her; because she was well
aware that the captain was a kind of man Mr. Palmer would infinitely
prefer to Sir John Hunter. Indeed, she had been secretly informed that
Mr. Palmer hated every one who had a title; therefore she could
not, whilst he was with her, openly encourage Sir John Hunter in his
addresses to Amelia. To conciliate these seemingly incompatible schemes,
she determined----But let our heroine speak for herself.

“My dearest Miss Hunter,” said she, “now we are by ourselves, let me
open my mind to you; I have been watching for an opportunity these two
days, but so hurried as I have been!--Where’s Amelia?”

“Out walking, ma’am. She told me you begged her to walk to get rid of
her head-ache; and that she might look well to-day, as Mr. Palmer is to
come. I would not go with her, because you whispered to me at breakfast
that you had something very particular to say to me.”

“But you did not give _that_ as a reason, I hope! Surely you didn’t tell
Amelia that I had something particular to say to you?”

“Oh, no, ma’am; I told her that I had something to do about my
dress--and so I had--my new hat to try on.”

“True, my love; quite right; for you know I wouldn’t have her suspect
that we had any thing to say to each other that we didn’t wish her to
hear, especially as it is about herself.”

“Herself!--Oh, is it?” said Miss Hunter, in a tone of disappointment.

“And about you, too, my darling. Be assured I have no daughter I
love better, or ever shall. With such a son as I have, and such a
daughter-in-law as I hope and trust I shall have ere long, I shall think
myself the most fortunate of mothers.”

Silly Miss Hunter’s face brightened up again. “But now, my love,”
 continued Mrs. Beaumont, taking her hand, leading her to a window, and
speaking very low, though no one else was in the room, “before we talk
any more of what is nearest my heart, I must get you to write a note
for me to your brother, directly, for there is a circumstance I
forgot--thoughtless creature that I am! but indeed, I never can _think_
when I _feel_ much. Some people are always so collected and prudent.
But I have none of that!--Heigho! Well, my dear, you must supply my
deficiencies. You will write and tell Sir John, that in my agitation
when he made his proposal for my Amelia, of which I so frankly approved,
I omitted to warn him, that no hint must be given that I do any thing
more than permit him to address my daughter upon an equal footing with
any other gentleman who might address her. Stay, my dear; you don’t
understand me, I see. In short, to be candid with you--old Mr. Palmer is
coming to-day, you know. Now, my dear, you must be aware that it is of
the greatest consequence to the interests of my family, of which I
hope you always consider yourself (for I have always considered you) as
forming a part, and a very distinguished part--I say, my darling, that
we must consider that it is our interest in all things to please and
humour this good old gentleman. He will be with us but for a week,
you know. Well, the point is this. I have been informed from undoubted
authority, people who were about him at the time, and knew, that the
reason he quarrelled with that nephew of his, who died two years ago,
was the young man’s having accepted a baronetage: and at that time
old Palmer swore, that _no sprig of quality_--those were the very
words--should ever inherit a shilling of his money. Such a ridiculous
whim! But these London merchants, who make great fortunes from nothing,
are apt to have their little eccentricities; and then, they have so
much pride in their own way, and so much self-will and mercantile
downrightness in their manners, that there’s no managing them but by
humouring their fancies. I’m convinced, if Mr. Palmer suspected that I
even wished Amelia to marry Sir John, he would never leave any of us a
farthing, and it would all go to the Walsinghams. So, my dear, do you
explain to your brother, that though I have not the least objection to
his coming here whilst Mr. Palmer is with us, he must not take umbrage
at any seeming coldness in my manner. He knows my heart, I trust; at
least, you do, my Albina. And even if I should be obliged to receive or
to go to see the Walsinghams, which, by-the-bye, I have taken means
to prevent; but if it should happen that they were to hear of Palmer’s
being with us, and come, and Sir John should meet them, he must not
be surprised or jealous at my speaking in the highest terms of Captain
Walsingham. This I shall be obliged to do as a blind before Mr. Palmer.
I must make him believe that I prefer a commoner for my son-in-law, or
we are all undone with him. You know it is my son’s interest, and yours,
as well as your brother’s and Amelia’s, that I consider. So explain all
this to him, my dear; you will explain it so much better, and make it so
much more palpable to your brother than I could.”

“Dear Mrs. Beaumont, how can you think so? You who write so well, and
such long letters about every thing, and so quick! But goodness! I shall
never get it all into a letter I’m afraid, and before Mr. Palmer comes,
and then it will soon be dressing-time! La! I could say it all to John
in five minutes: what a pity he is not here to-day!”

“Well, my love, then suppose you were to go to him; as you so prudently
remark, things of this sort are always so much easier and better said
than written. And now I look at my watch, I see you cannot have time to
write a long letter, and to dress. So I believe, though I shall grieve
to lose you, I must consent to your going for this one day to your
brother’s. My carriage and Williamson shall attend you,” said Mrs.
Beaumont, ringing the bell to order the carriage; “but remember you
promise me now to come back, positively, to-morrow, or next day at
farthest, if I should not be able to send the carriage again to-morrow.
I would not, upon any account, have you away, if it can possibly be
helped, whilst Mr. Palmer is here, considering you as I do [The carriage
to the door directly, and Williamson to attend Miss Hunter]--considering
you as I do, my dearest Albina, quite as my own daughter.”

“Oh, my dearest Mrs. Beaumont, you are so kind!” said the poor girl,
whom Mrs. Beaumont could always thus easily _pay with words_.

The carriage came to the door with such prompt obedience to Mrs.
Beaumont’s summons, that one of a more reflecting or calculating nature
than Miss Hunter might have suspected that it had been ordered to be in
readiness to carry her away this morning.

“Fare ye well, my own Albina! be sure you don’t stay long from us,”
 said Mrs. Beaumont, accompanying her to the hall-door. “A thousand kind
things to everybody, and your brother in particular. But, my dear Miss
Hunter, one word more,” said she, following to the carriage door, and
whispering: “there’s another thing that I must trust to your management
and cleverness;--I mentioned that Mr. Palmer was to know nothing of _the
approbation_ of Sir John’s suit.”

“Oh, yes, yes, ma’am, I understand perfectly.”

“But stay, my love; you must understand, too, that it is to be quite a
secret between ourselves, not to be mentioned to my son even; for you
know he is sudden in his temper, and warm and quite in the Walsingham
interest, and there’s no knowing what might be the consequence if
it were to be let out imprudently, and Sir John and Edward both so
high-spirited. One can’t be too cautious, my dear, to prevent mischief
between gentlemen. So caution your brother to leave it to me to break
it, and bring things about with Edward and Amelia,”--[stopping
Miss Hunter again as she made a second effort to get into the
carriage,]--“You comprehend, my dear, that Amelia is not in the
secret yet--so not a word from your brother to her about _my
approbation!_--that would ruin all. I trust to his honour; and
besides--” drawing the young lady back for the third whisper.--Miss
Hunter stood suspended with one foot in air, and the other on the
step; the coachman, impatient to be off, manoeuvred to make his
horses restless, whilst at the same time he cried aloud--“So! so!
Prancer--stand still, Peacock; stand still, sir!”

Miss Hunter jumped down on terra firma. “Those horses frighten me so
for you, my dear!” said Mrs. Beaumont. “Martin, stand at their heads. My
dear child, I won’t detain you, for you’ll be late. I had only to say,
that--oh! that I trust implicitly to your brother’s honour; but,
besides this, it will not be amiss for you to hint, as you know you can
delicately--_delicately_, you understand--that it is for his interest
to leave me to manage every thing. Yet none of this is to be said _as
if from me_--pray don’t let it come from me. Say it all from yourself.
Don’t let my name be mentioned at all. Don’t commit me, you understand?”

“Perfectly, perfectly, ma’am: one kiss, dear Mrs. Beaumont, and adieu.
Is my dressing-box in? Tell him to drive fast, for I hate going slow.
Dearest Mrs. Beaumont, good bye. I feel as if I were going for an age,
though it is only for one day.”

“Dear, affectionate girl! I love _heart_--Good bye--Drive fast, as Miss
Hunter desires you.”

Our fair politician, well satisfied with the understanding of her
confidante, which never comprehended more than met the ear, and secure
in a chargé d’affaires, whose powers it was never necessary to limit,
stood on the steps before the house-door, deep in reverie, for some
minutes after the carriage had driven away, till she was roused by
seeing her son returning from his morning’s ride.


     _“Will you hear a Spanish lady,
     How she woo’d an English man?
     Garments gay as rich as may be,
     Deck’d with jewels, she had on.”_

     THE SPANISH LADY’S LOVE. _Percy’s Reliques of Ancient Poetry_

Mr. Beaumont had just been at a neighbouring farm-house, where there
lived one of Mr. Walsingham’s tenants; a man of the name of Birch, a
respectable farmer, who was originally from Ireland, and whose son was
at sea with Captain Walsingham. The captain had taken young Birch under
his particular care, at Mr. Walsingham’s request.

Birch’s parents had this day received a letter from their son, which in
the joy and pride of their hearts they showed to Mr. Beaumont, who was
in the habit of calling at their house to inquire if they had heard any
news of their son, or of Captain Walsingham. Mr. Beaumont liked to
read Birch’s letters, because they were written with characteristic
simplicity and affection, and somewhat in the Irish idiom, which this
young sailor’s English education had not made him entirely forget.


“H.M.S. l’Ambuscade.


“I write this from sea, lat. N. 44.15--long. W. 9.45--wind N.N.E.--to
let you know you will not see me so soon as I said in my last, of the
16th. Yesterday, P.M. two o’clock, some despatches were brought to
my good captain, by the Pickle sloop, which will to-morrow, wind and
weather permitting, alter our destination. What the nature of them is I
cannot impart to you, for it has not transpired beyond the lieutenants;
but whatever I do under the orders of my good captain, I am satisfied
and confident all is for the best. For my own share, I long for an
opportunity of fighting the French, and of showing the captain _what
is in me_, and that the pains he has took to make a gentleman, and an
honour to his majesty’s service, of me, is not thrown away. Had he been
my own father, or brother, he could not be better, or _done more_.
God willing, I will never disgrace his principles, for it would be
my ambition to be like him in every respect; and he says, if I behave
myself as I ought, I shall soon be a lieutenant; and a lieutenant in his
majesty’s navy is as good a gentleman as any in England, and has a right
(tell my sister Kitty) to hand the first woman in Lon’on out of her
carriage, if he pleases, and if she pleases.

“Now we talk of ladies, and as please God we shall soon be in action,
and may not have another opportunity of writing to you this great while,
for there is talk of our sailing southward with the fleet to bring the
French and Spaniards to action, I think it best to send you all the news
I have in this letter. But pray bid Kate, with my love, mind this, that
not a word of the following is to take wind for her life, on account of
my not knowing if it might be agreeable, or how it might affect my good
captain, and others that shall be nameless. You must know then that when
we were at ----, where we were stationed six weeks and two days, waiting
for the winds, and one cause or other, we used to employ ourselves,
I and my captain, taking soundings (which I can’t more particularly
explain the nature of to you, especially in a letter); for he always
took me out to attend him in preference to any other; and after he had
completed his soundings, and had no farther use for me in that job, I
asked him leave to go near the same place in the evening to fish, which
my good captain consented to (as he always does to what (duty done) can
gratify me), provided I was in my ship by ten. Now you must know that
there are convents in this country (which you have often heard of,
Kitty, no doubt), being damnable places, where young _Catholic_ women
are shut up unmarried, often, it is to be reasonably supposed, against
their wills. And there is a convent in one of the suburbs which has a
high back wall to the garden of it that comes down near the strand; and
it was under this wall we two used to sound, and that afterwards I used
to be fishing. And one evening, when I was not thinking of any such
thing, there comes over the wall a huge nosegay of flowers, with a stone
in it, that made me jump. And this for three evenings running the same
way, about the same hour; till at last one evening as I was looking up
at the wall, as I had now learned to do about the time the nosegays
were thrown over, I saw coming down a stone tied to a string, and to the
stone a letter, the words of which I can’t particularly take upon me to
recollect, because I gave up the paper to my captain, who desired it of
me, and took no copy; but the sense was, that in that convent there was
shut up a lady, the daughter of an English gentleman by a Spanish
wife, both her parents being dead, and her Spanish relations and
father-confessor (or catholic priest of a man), not wishing she should
get to England, where she might be what she had a right to be by birth,
at least by her father’s side (a _protestant_), shut her up since she
was a child. And that there was a relative of hers in England, who with
a wicked lawyer or attorney had got possession of her estate, and made
every body believe she was dead. And so, it being seven years and more
since she was heard of, she is what is called dead in law, which sort of
death however won’t signify, if she appears again. Wherefore the letter
goes on to say, she would be particularly glad to make her escape, and
get over to old England. But she confesses that she is neither young nor
handsome, and may-be never may be rich; therefore, that whoever helps
her must do it for the sake of doing good and nothing else; for though
she would pay all expenses handsomely, she could not promise more. And
that she knew the danger of the undertaking to be great; greater for
them that would carry her off even than for herself. That she knows,
however, that British sailors are brave as they are generous (this part
of the letter was very well indited, and went straight to my heart
the minute ever I read it); and she wished it could be in the power of
Captain Walsingham to take her under his immediate protection, and
that she had taken measures so as she could escape over the wall of the
garden if he would have a boat in readiness to carry her to his ship;
and at the same hour next evening the stone should be let down as usual,
and he might fasten his answer to it, which would be drawn up in due
course. Concluding all this with, ‘That she would not go at all unless
Captain Walsingham came for her himself (certifying himself to be
himself, I suppose), for she knew him to be a gentleman by reputation,
and she should be safe under his protection, and so would her secret,
she was confident, at all events.’ This was the entire and sum total of
the letter. So when I had read to the end, and looked for the postscript
and all, I found for my pains that the lady mistook me for my captain,
or would not have written or thrown the nosegays. So I took the letter
to my captain; and what he answered, and how it was settled (by signals,
I suppose) between them after, it was not for me to inquire. Not a word
more was said by him to me or I to him on the topic, till the very night
we were to sail for England. It was then that our captain took me aside,
and he says, ‘Birch, will you assist me? I ask this not as your captain,
so you are at liberty to do as you please. Will you help me to rescue
this lady, who seems to be unjustly detained, and to carry her back safe
to her country and her friends?’ I told him I would do that or any thing
else he bid me, confident he would never ask me to do a wrong thing;
and as to the lady, I should be proud to help to carry her off to old
England and her lawful friends, only I thought (if I might be so bold)
it was a pity she was not young and handsome, for his sake. At that he
smiled, and only said, ‘Perhaps it was best for him as it was.’ Then
he settled about the boat, and who were to go, and when. It was twelve
o’clock striking by the great town clock when we were under the walls of
the convent, as appointed. And all was hush and silent as the grave for
our very lives. For it was a matter of life or death, I promise you, and
we all knew as much, and the sailors had a dread of the Inquisition upon
them that was beyond all terrible! So we watched and waited, and waited
and watched so long, that we thought something must have gone wrong,
or that all was found out, and the captain could not delay the ship’s
sailing; and he struck his repeater, and it was within a quarter of one,
and he said, ‘It is too late; we must put back.’ Just then, I, that was
watching with the lantern in my hand, gave notice, and first there comes
down a white bundle, fastened to the stone and cord. Then the captain
and I fixed the ladder of ropes, and down came the lady, as well as ever
she went up, and not a word but away with her: the captain had her in
a trice in our boat, safe and snug, and off we put, rowing for the bare
life, all silent as ever. I think I hear the striking of our oars
and the plashing of the water this minute, which we would have gladly
silenced, but could not any way in nature. But none heard it, or at
least took any notice against us. I can give you no idea of the terror
which the lady manifested when the boat stood out to sea, at the
slightest squall of wind, or the least agitation of the waves; for
besides being naturally cowardly, as all or most women are for the first
time at sea, here was a poor soul who had been watching, and may be
fasting, and worn out mind and body with the terror of perfecting her
escape from the convent, where she had been immured all her life, and as
helpless as a child. So it was wonderful she went through it as well as
she did and without screaming, which should be an example to Kate and
others. Glad enough even we men were when we reached the ship. There
was, at that time, a silence on board you could have heard a pin drop,
all being in perfect readiness for getting under way, the sails
ready for dropping, and officers and sailors waiting in the greatest
expectation of our boat’s return. Our boat passed swiftly alongside,
and great beyond belief was the astonishment of all at seeing a woman
veiled, hoisted out, and in, and ushered below, half fainting. I never
felt more comfortable in my life than when we found her and ourselves
safe aboard l’Ambuscade. The anchor was instantly weighed, all sail
made, and the ship stood out to sea. To the lady the captain gave up his
cabin: double sentries were placed, and as the captain ordered,
every precaution that could shield her character in such suspicious
circumstances were enforced with the utmost punctilio. I cannot
describe, nor can you even conceive, Kate, the degree of curiosity shown
about her; all striving to get a sight of her when she first went down,
and most zealous they were to bring lights; but that would not do, for
they could not see her for her veil. Yet through all we could make out
that she was a fine figure of a woman at any rate, and something more
than ordinary, from the air she had with her. The next day when she was
sitting on deck the wind by times would blow aside her veil so as to
give us glimpses of her face; when, to our surprise, and I am sure to
the captain’s satisfaction, we found she was beyond all contradiction
young and handsome. And moreover I have reason to believe she has fine
jewels with her, besides a ring from her own finger, which with a very
pretty action she put on his, that next day on deck, as I noticed, when
nobody was minding. So that no doubt she is as much richer as she is
handsomer than she made believe, contrary to the ways of other women,
which is in her favour and my good captain’s; for from what I can judge,
after all he has done for her, she has no dislike nor objection to him.

“I have not time to add any thing more, but my love to Kitty, and Nancy,
and Tom, and Mary, and little Bess; and, honoured parents, wishing you
good health as I am in, thank God, at this present,

“I am your dutiful and loving son,


“P.S. I open my letter to tell you we are going southward immediately,
all in high spirits, as there is hopes of meeting the French and
Spaniards. We have just hoisted the nun-lady on board an English packet.
God send her and this letter safe to England.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Beaumont might perhaps have been amused by this romantic story, and
by the style in which it was told, if he had not been alarmed by the
hint at the conclusion of the letter, that the lady was not indifferent
to her deliverer. Now Mr. Beaumont earnestly wished that his friend
Captain Walsingham might become his brother-in-law; and he began to have
fears about this Spanish lady, with her gratitude, her rings, and the
advantages of the great interest her misfortunes and helpless condition
would excite, together with the vast temptations to fall in love that
might occur during the course of a voyage. Had he taken notice of the
postscript, his mind would have been somewhat relieved. On this subject
Mr. Beaumont pondered all the way that he rode home, and on this subject
he was still meditating when he saw his mother standing on the steps,
where we left her when Miss Hunter’s carriage drove away.


“I shall in all my best obey you, madam.” HAMLET.

“Did you meet Miss Hunter, my dear son?” said she.

“Yes, ma’am, I just passed the carriage in the avenue: she is going
home, is not she?” said he, rather in a tone of satisfaction.

“Ah, poor thing! yes,” said Mrs. Beaumont, in a most pathetic tone: “ah,
poor thing!”

“Why, ma’am, what has happened to her? What’s the matter?”

“Matter? Oh, nothing!--Did I say that any thing was the matter? Don’t
speak so loud,” whispered she: “your groom heard every word we said;
stay till he is out of hearing, and then we can talk.”

“I don’t care if all the world hears what I say,” cried Mr. Beaumont
hastily: but, as if suppressing his rising indignation, he, with a
milder look and tone, added, “I cannot conceive, my dear mother, why you
are always so afraid of being overheard.”

“Servants, my dear, make such mischief, you know, by misunderstanding
and misrepresenting every thing they hear; and they repeat things so
oddly, and raise such strange reports!”

“True--very true indeed, ma’am,” said Mr. Beaumont. “You are quite
right, and I beg pardon for being so hasty--I wish you could teach me a
little of your patience and prudence.”

“Prudence! ah! my dear Edward, ‘tis only time and sad experience of the
world can teach that to people of _our_ open tempers. I was at your age
ten times more imprudent and unsuspicious than you are.”

“Were you, ma’am?--But I don’t think I am unsuspicious. I was when I was
a boy--I wish we could continue children always in some things. I hate
suspicion in any body--but more than in any one else, I hate it in
myself. And yet--”

Mr. Beaumont hesitated, and his mother instantly went on with a fluent
panegyric upon the hereditary unsuspiciousness of his temper.

“But, madam, were you not saying something to me about Miss Hunter?”

“Was I?--Oh, I was merely going to say, that I was sorry you did not
know she was going this morning, that you might have taken leave of her,
poor thing!”

“Take leave of her! ma’am: I bowed to her, and wished her a good
morning, when I met her just now, and she told me she was only going to
the hall for a day. Surely no greater leave-taking was requisite, when I
am to see the lady again to-morrow, I presume.”

“That is not quite so certain as she thinks, poor soul! I told her
I would send for her again to-morrow, just to keep up her spirits at
leaving me. Walk this way, Edward, under the shade of the trees, for I
am dead with the heat; and you, too, look so hot! I say I am not so sure
that it would be prudent to have her here so much, especially whilst Mr.
Palmer is with us, you know--” Mrs. Beaumont paused, as if waiting for
an assent, or a dissent, or a leading hint how to proceed: but her son
persisting in perverse silence, she was forced to repeat, “You know,
Edward, my dear, you know?”

“I don’t know, indeed, ma’am.”

“You don’t know!”

“Faith, not I, ma’am. I don’t know, for the soul of me, what Mr.
Palmer’s coming has to do with Miss Hunter’s going. There’s room enough
in the house, I suppose, for each of them, and all of us to play our
parts. As to the rest, the young lady’s coming or going is quite a
matter of indifference to me, except, of course, as far as politeness
and hospitality go. But all that I leave to you, who do the honours for
me so well.”

Mrs. Beaumont’s ideas were utterly thrown out of their order by this
speech, no part of which was exactly what she wished or expected: not
that any of the sentiments it contained or suggested were new to her;
but she was not prepared to meet them thus clothed in distinct words,
and in such a compact form. She had drawn up her forces for battle in
an order which this unexpectedly decisive movement of the enemy
discomfited; and a less able tactician might have been, in these
circumstances, not only embarrassed, but utterly defeated: yet, however
unprepared for this sudden shock, with admirable generalship our female
Hannibal, falling back in the centre, admitted him to advance impetuous
and triumphant, till she had him completely surrounded.

“My being of age in a few days,” continued Mr. Beaumont, “will not make
any difference, surely; I depend upon it, that you will always invite
whomever you like to this house, of which I hope, my dear mother, you
will always do me the favour to be the mistress--till I marry, at least.
For my wife’s feelings,” added he, smiling, “I can’t engage, before I
have her.”

“And before we know who she is to be,” said Mrs. Beaumont, carelessly.
“Time enough, as you say, to think of that. Besides, there are few women
in the world, I know scarcely one, with whom, in the relation of mother
and daughter-in-law, I should wish to live. But wherever I live, my dear
son, as long as I have a house, I hope you will always do me the justice
and the pleasure to consider yourself as its master. Heaven knows
I shall never give any other man a right to dispute with you the
sovereignty of my castle, or my cottage, whichever it may be. As to the
rest,” pursued Mrs. Beaumont, “you cannot marry against my wishes, my
dear Edward; for your wishes on this, as on all other subjects, will
ever govern mine.”

Her son kissed her hand with warm gratitude.

“You will not, I hope, think that I seek to prolong my regency, or to
assume undue power or influence in affairs,” continued Mrs. Beaumont,
“if I hint to you in general terms what I think may contribute to your
happiness. You must afterwards decide for yourself; and are now, as you
have ever been, master, to do as you please.”

“Too much--too much. I have had too much liberty, and have too little
acquired the habit of commanding my will and my passions by my reason.
Of this I am sensible. My excellent friend, Captain Walsingham, told me,
some years ago, that this was the fault of my character, and he charged
me to watch over myself; and so I have; but not so strictly, I fear, as
if he had watched along with me.----Well, ma’am, you were going to give
me some advice; I am all attention.”

“My dear son, Captain Walsingham showed his judgment more, perhaps, in
pointing out causes than effects. The weakness of a fond mother, I am
sensible, did indulge you in childhood, and, perhaps, more imprudently
in youth, with an unlimited liberty to judge and act for yourself. Your
mother’s system of education came, alas! more from her heart than her
head. Captain Walsingham himself cannot be more sensible of my errors
than I am.”

“Captain Walsingham, believe me, mother, never mentioned this in
reproach to you. He is not a man to teach a son to see his mother’s
errors--if she had any. He always spoke of you with the greatest
respect. And since I must, at my own expense, do him justice, it was,
I well remember, upon some occasion where I spoke too hastily, and
insisted upon my will in opposition to yours, madam, that Captain
Walsingham took me aside, and represented to me the fault into which my
want of command over myself had betrayed me. This he did so forcibly,
that I have never from that hour to this (I flatter myself) on any
material occasion, forgotten the impression he made on my mind. But,
madam, I interrupt you: you were going to give me your advice about--”

“No, no--no advice--no advice; you are, in my opinion, fully adequate to
the direction of your own conduct. I was merely going to suggest, that,
since you have not been accustomed to control from a mother, and since
you have, thank Heaven! a high spirit, that would sooner break than
bend, it must be essential to your happiness to have a wife of a
compliant, gentle temper; not fond of disputing the right, or attached
to her own opinions; not one who would be tenacious of rule, and
unseasonably inflexible.”

“Unseasonably inflexible! Undoubtedly, ma’am. Yet I should despise a
mean-spirited wife.”

“I am sure you would. But compliance that proceeds from affection, you
know, can never deserve to be called mean-spirited--nor would it so
appear to you. I am persuaded that there is a degree of fondness, of
affection, enthusiastic affection, which disposes the temper always to
a certain softness and yieldingness, which, I conceive, would be
peculiarly attractive to you, and essential to your happiness: in short,
I know your temper could not bear contradiction.”

“Oh, indeed, ma’am, you are quite mistaken.”

“Quite mistaken! and at the very moment he reddens with anger, because
I contradict, even in the softest, gentlest manner in my power, his
opinion of himself!”

“You don’t understand me, indeed, you don’t understand me,” said Mr.
Beaumont, beating with his whip the leaves of a bush which was near him.
“Either you don’t understand me, or I don’t understand you. I am much
more able to bear contradiction than you think I am, provided it be
direct. But I do not love--what I am doing at this instant,” added he,
smiling--“I don’t love beating about the bush.”

“Look there now!--Strange creatures you men are! So like he looks to his
poor father, who used to tell me that he loved to be contradicted, and
yet who would not, I am sure, have lived three days with any woman who
had ventured to contradict him directly. Whatever influence I obtained
in his heart, and whatever happiness we enjoyed in our union, I
attribute to my trusting to my observations on his character rather than
to his own account of himself. Therefore I may be permitted to claim
some judgment of what would suit your hereditary temper.”

“Certainly, ma’am, certainly. But to come to the point at once, may I
ask this plain question--Do you, by these reflections, mean to allude
to any particular persons? Is there any woman in the world you at this
instant would wish me to marry?”

“Yes--Miss Walsingham.”

Mr. Beaumont started with joyful surprise, when his mother thus
immediately pronounced the very name he wished to hear.

“You surprise and delight me, my dear mother!”

“Surprise!--How can that be?--Surely you must know my high opinion of
Miss Walsingham. But----”

“But--you added _but_----”

“There is no woman who may not be taxed with a _but_--yet it is not
for her friend to lower her merit. My only objection to her is--I shall
infallibly affront you, if I name it.”

“Name it! name it! You will not affront me.”

“My only objection to her then is, her superiority. She is so superior,
that, forgive me, I don’t know any man, yourself not excepted, who is at
all her equal.”

“I think precisely as you do, and rejoice.”

“Rejoice? why there I cannot sympathize with you. I own, as a mother, I
should feel a little--a little mortified to see my son not the superior;
and when the comparison is to be daily and hourly made, and to last
for life, and all the world to see it as well as myself. I own I have a
mother’s vanity. I should wish to see my son always what he has hitherto
been--the superior, and master in his own house.”

Mr. Beaumont made no reply to these insinuations, but walked on in
silence; and his mother, unable to determine precisely whether the
vexation apparent in his countenance proceeded from disapprobation of
her observations, or from their working the effect she desired upon his
pride, warily waited till he should betray some decisive symptom of his
feelings. But she waited in vain--he was resolved not to speak.

“There is not a woman upon earth I should wish so much to have as a
daughter-in-law, a companion, and a friend, as Miss Walsingham. You must
be convinced,” resumed Mrs. Beaumont, “so far as I am concerned, it is
the most desirable thing in the world. But I should think it my duty to
put my own feelings and wishes out of the question, and to make myself
prefer whomsoever, all things considered, my judgment tells me would
make you the happiest.”

“And whom would your judgment prefer, madam?”

“Why--I am not at liberty to tell--unless I could explain all my
reasons. Indeed, I know not what to say.”

“Dear madam, explain all your reasons, or we shall never understand one
another, and never come to an end of these half explanations.”

Here they were interrupted by seeing Mr. Twigg, a courtly clergyman,
coming towards them. Beaumont was obliged to endure his tiresome
flattery upon the beauties of Beaumont Park, and upon the judicious
improvements that were making, had been made, and would, no doubt,
be very soon made. Mrs. Beaumont, at last, relieved his or her own
impatience by commissioning Mr. Twigg to walk round the improvements by
himself. By himself she insisted it should be, that she might have his
unbiassed judgment upon the two lines which had been marked for the new
belt or screen; and he was also to decide whether they should call it a
belt or a screen.--Honoured with this commission, he struck off into the
walk to which Mrs. Beaumont pointed, and began his solitary progress.

Mr. Beaumont then urged his mother to go on with her explanation. Mrs.
Beaumont thought that she could not hazard much by flattering the vanity
of a man on that subject on which perhaps it is most easily flattered;
therefore, after sufficient delicacy of circumlocution, she informed her
son that there was a young lady who was actually dying for love of him;
whose extreme fondness would make her live but in him; and who, besides
having a natural ductility of character, and softness of temper, was
perfectly free from any formidable superiority of intellect, and had the
most exalted opinion of his capacity, as well as of his character and
accomplishments; in short, such an enthusiastic adoration, as would
induce that belief in the infallibility of a husband, which must secure
to him the fullest enjoyment of domestic peace, power, and pre-eminence.

Mr. Beaumont seemed less moved than his mother had calculated that the
vanity of man must be, by such a declaration--discovery it could not
be called. “If I am to take all this seriously, madam,” replied he,
laughing, “and if, _au pied de la lettre_ my vanity is to believe that
this damsel is dying for love; yet, still I have so little chivalry in
my nature, that I cannot understand how it would add to my happiness to
sacrifice myself to save her life. That I am well suited to her, I am
as willing as vanity can make me to believe; but how is it to be proved
that the lady is suited to me?”

“My dear, these things do not admit of logical proof.”

“Well--moral, sentimental, or any kind of proof you please.”

“Have you no pity? and is not pity akin to love?”

“Akin! Oh, yes, ma’am, it is akin; but for that very reason it may not
be a friend--relations, you know, in these days, are as often enemies as

“Vile pun! far-fetched quibble!--provoking boy!--But I see you are not
in a humour to be serious, so I will take another time to talk to you of
this affair.”

“Now or never, ma’am, for mercy’s sake!”

“Mercy’s sake! you who show none--Ah! this is the way with you men; all
this is play to you, but death to us.”

“Death! dear ma’am; ladies, you know as well as I do, don’t die of love
in these days--you would not make a fool of your son.”

“I could not; nor could any other woman--that is clear: but amongst us,
I am afraid we have, undesignedly indeed, but irremediably, made a fool
of this poor confiding girl.”

“But, ma’am, in whom did she confide? not in me, I’ll swear. I have
nothing to reproach myself with, thank God!--My conscience is clear; I
have been as ungallant as possible. I have been as cruel as my
nature would permit. I am sure no one can charge me with giving false
promises--I scarcely speak--nor false hopes, for I scarcely look at the
young lady.”

“So, then, you know who the young lady in question is?”

“Perhaps I ought not to pretend to know.”

“That would be useless affectation, alas! for I fear many know, and have
seen, and heard, much more than you have--or I either.”

Here Mrs. Beaumont observed that her son’s colour changed, and that he
suddenly grew serious: aware that she had now touched upon the right
chord, she struck it again “with a master’s hand and prophet’s fire.”
 She declared that all the world took it for granted that Miss Hunter was
to be married to Mr. Beaumont; that it was talked of every where; that
she was asked continually by her correspondents, when the marriage was
to take place?--in confirmation of which assertion, she produced bundles
of letters from her pockets, from Mrs. and Miss, and from Lady This, and
Lady That.

“Nay,” continued she, “if it were confined even to the circle of one’s
private friends and acquaintance, I should not so much mind it, for one
might contradict, and have it contradicted, and one might send the poor
thing away to some watering-place, and the report might die away, as
reports do--sometimes. But all that sort of thing it is too late to
think of now--for the thing is public! quite public! got into the
newspapers! Here’s a paragraph I cut out this very morning from my
paper, lest the poor girl should see it. The other day, I believe you
saw it yourself, there was something of the same sort. ‘We hear that, as
soon as he comes of age, Mr. Beaumont, of Beaumont Park, is to lead
to the altar of Hymen, Miss Hunter, sister to Sir John Hunter, of
Devonshire.’ Well,--after you left the room, Albina took up the paper
you had been reading; and when she saw this paragraph, I thought she
would have dropped. I did not know what to do. Whatever I could say, you
know, would only make it worse. I tried to turn it off, and talked of
twenty things; but it would not do--no, no, it is too serious for that:
well, though I believe she would rather have put her hand in the fire,
she had the courage to speak to me about it herself.”

“And what did she say, ma’am?” inquired Mr. Beaumont, eagerly.

“Poor simple creature! she had but one idea--that you had seen it! that
she would not for the world you had read it. What would you think of
her--she should never be able to meet you again--What could she do? It
must be contradicted--somebody must contradict it. Then she worried me
to have it contradicted in the papers. I told her I did not well know
how that could be done, and urged that it would be much more prudent not
to fix attention upon the parties by more paragraphs. But she was _not_
in a state to think of prudence;--_no_. What would you think was the
only idea in her mind?--If I would not write, she would write that
minute herself, and sign her name. This, and a thousand wild things, she
said, till I was forced to be quite angry, and to tell her she must be
governed by those who had more discretion than herself. Then she was so
subdued, so ashamed--really my heart bled for her, even whilst I scolded
her. But it is quite necessary to be harsh with her; for she has no more
foresight, nor art, nor command of herself sometimes, than a child of
five years old. I assure you, I was rejoiced to get her away before
Mr. Palmer came, for a new eye coming into a family sees so much one
wouldn’t wish to be seen. You know it would be terrible to have the poor
young creature _commit_ and expose herself to a stranger so early
in life. Indeed, as it is, I am persuaded no one will ever think of
marrying her, if you do not.----In worldly prudence--but of that she
has not an atom--in worldly prudence she might do better, or as well,
certainly; for her fortune will be very considerable. Sir John means to
add to it, when he gets the Wigram estate; and the old uncle, Wigram,
can’t live for ever. But poor Albina, I dare swear, does not know
what fortune she is to have, nor what you have. Love! love! all for
love!--and all in vain. She is certainly very much to be pitied.”

Longer might Mrs. Beaumont have continued in monologue, without danger
of interruption from her son, who stood resolved to hear the utmost sum
of all that she should say on the subject. Never interrupting her, he
only filled certain pauses, that seemed expectant of reply, with the
phrases--“I am very sorry, indeed, ma’am”--and, “Really, ma’am, it is
out of my power to help it.” But Mrs. Beaumont observed that the latter
phrase had been omitted as she proceeded--and “_I am very sorry indeed,
ma’am,_” he repeated less as words of course, and more and more as if
they came from the heart. Having so far, successfully, as she thought,
worked upon her son’s good-nature, and seeing her daughter through the
trees coming towards them, she abruptly exclaimed, “Promise me, at all
events, dearest Edward, I conjure you; promise me that you will not
make proposals _any where else_, without letting me know of it
beforehand,--and give me time,” joining her hands in a supplicating
attitude, “give me but a few weeks, to prepare my poor little Albina for
this sad, sad stroke!”

“I promise you, madam, that I will not, directly or indirectly, make an
offer of my hand or heart to any woman, without previously letting you
know my determination. And as for a few weeks, more or less--my mother,
surely, need not supplicate, but simply let me know her wishes--even
without her reasons, they would have been sufficient with me. Do I
satisfy you now, madam?”

“More than satisfy--as you ever do, ever will, my dear son.”

“But you will require no more on this subject--I must be left master of

“Indubitably--certainly--master of yourself--most certainly--of course.”

Mr. Beaumont was going to add something beginning with, “It is better,
at once, to tell you, that I can never--” But Mrs. Beaumont stopped him
with, “Hush! my dear, hush! not a word more, for here is Amelia, and I
cannot talk on this subject before her, you know.----My beloved Amelia,
how languid you look! I fear that, to please me, you have taken too
long a walk; and Mr. Palmer won’t see you in your best looks, after
all.--What note is that you have in your hand?”

“A note from Miss Walsingham, mamma.”

“Oh! the chickenpox! take care! letters, notes, every thing may convey
the infection,” cried Mrs. Beaumont, snatching the paper. “How could
dearest Miss Walsingham be so giddy as to answer my note, after what I
said in my postscript!--How did this note come?”

“By the little postboy, mamma; I met him at the porter’s lodge.”

“But what is all this strange thing?” said Mrs. Beaumont, after having
read the note twice over.--It contained a certificate from the parish
minister and churchwardens, apothecary, and surgeon, bearing witness,
one and all, that there was no individual, man, woman, or child, in the
parish, or within three miles of Walsingham House, who was even under
any suspicion of having the chickenpox.

“My father desires me to send Mrs. Beaumont the enclosed _clean bill
of health_--by which she will find that we need be no longer subject
to quarantine; and, unless some other reasons prevent our having the
pleasure of seeing her, we may hope soon that she will favour us with
her long promised visit.

“Yours, sincerely,


“I am delighted,” said Mrs. Beaumont, “to find it was a false report,
and that we shall not be kept, the Lord knows how long, away from the
dear Walsinghams.”

“Then we can go to them to-morrow, can’t we, mamma? And I will write,
and say so, shall I?” said Amelia.

“No need to write, my dear; if we promise for any particular day, and
are not able to go, that seems unkind, and is taken ill, you see. And as
Mr. Palmer is coming, we can’t leave him.”

“But he will go with us surely,” said Mr. Beaumont. “The Walsinghams are
as much his relations as we are; and if he comes two hundred miles to
see us, he will, surely, go seven to see them.”

“True,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “but it is civil and kind to leave him to
fix his own day, poor old gentleman. After so long a journey, we must
allow him some rest. Consider, he can’t go galloping about as you do,
dear Edward.”

“But,” said Amelia, “as the Walsinghams know he is to be in the country,
they will of course come to see him immediately.”

“How do they know he is to be in the country?”

“I thought--I took it for granted, you told them so, mamma, when
you wrote about not going to Walsingham House, on Mr. Walsingham’s

“No, my dear; I was so full of the chickenpox, and terror about you, I
could think of nothing else.”

“Thank you, dear mother--but now that is out of the question, I had best
write a line by the return of the postboy, to say, that Mr. Palmer is to
be here to-day, and that he stays only one week.”

“Certainly! love--but let me write about it, for I have particular
reasons. And, my dear, now we are by ourselves, let me caution you not
to mention that Mr. Palmer can stay but one week: in the first place it
is uncivil to him, for we are not sure of it, and it is like driving him
away; and in the next place, there are reasons I can’t explain to you,
that know so little of the world, my dear Amelia--but, in general, it is
always foolish to mention things.”

“Always foolish to mention things!” cried Mr. Beaumont, smiling.

“Of this sort, I mean,” said Mrs. Beaumont, a little disconcerted.

“Of what sort?” persisted her son.

“Hush! my dear; here’s the postboy and the ass.”

“Any letters, my good little boy? Any letters for me?”

“I has, madam, a many for the house. I does not know for who--the bag
will tell,” said the boy, unstrapping the bag from his shoulders.

“Give it to me, then,” said Mrs. Beaumont: “I am anxious for letters
always.” She was peculiarly anxious now to open the post-bag, to put
a stop to a conversation which did not please her. Whilst seated on a
rustic seat, under a spreading beech, our heroine, with her accustomed
looks of mystery, examined the seals of her numerous and important
letters, to ascertain whether they had been opened at the post-office,
or whether their folds might have been pervious to any prying eye. Her
son tore the covers off the newspapers; and, as he unfolded one, Amelia
leaned upon his shoulder, and whispered softly, “Any news of the fleet,

Mrs. Beaumont, than whom Fine-ear himself had not quicker auditory
nerves, especially for indiscreet whispers, looked up from her letters,
and examined, unperceived, the countenance of Amelia, who was searching
with eagerness the columns of the paper. As Mr. Beaumont turned over the
leaf, Amelia looked up, and, seeing her mother’s eyes fixed upon her,
coloured; and from want of presence of mind to invent any thing better
to say, asked if her mother wished to have the papers?

“No,” said Mrs. Beaumont, coldly, “not I, Amelia; I am not such a
politician as you are grown.”

Amelia withdrew her attention, or at least her eyes, from the paper,
and had recourse to the beech-tree, the beautiful foliage of which she
studied with profound attention.

“God bless me! here’s news! news of the fleet!” cried Beaumont, turning
suddenly to his sister; and then recollecting himself, to his mother.
“Ma’am, they say there has been a great engagement between the French
and Spaniards, and the English--particulars not known yet: but, they
say, ten sail of the French line are taken, and four Spaniards blown
up, and six Spanish men-of-war disabled, and a treasure-ship taken.
Walsingham must have been in the engagement--My horse!--I’ll gallop over
this minute, and know from the Walsinghams if they have seen the papers,
and if there’s any thing more about it in their papers.”

“Gallop! my dearest Edward,” said his mother, standing in his path; “but
you don’t consider Mr. Palmer--”

“Damn Mr. Palmer! I beg your pardon, mother--I mean no harm to the old
gentleman--friend of my father’s--great respect for him--I’ll be back by
dinner-time, back ready to receive him--he can’t be here till six--only
five by me, now! Ma’am, I shall have more than time to dress, too, cool
as a cucumber, ready to receive the good old fellow.”

“In one short hour, my dear!--seven miles to Walsingham House, and
seven back again, and all the time you will waste there, and to dress
too--only consider!”

“I do consider, ma’am; and have considered every thing in the world. My
horse will carry me there and back in fifty minutes, easily, and five to
spare, I’ll be bound. I sha’n’t light--so where’s the paper? I’m off.”

“Well--order your horse, and leave me the paper, at least, while he is
getting ready. Ride by this way, and you will find us here--where is
this famous paragraph?”

Beaumont drew the paper crumpled from the pocket into which he had
thrust it--ran off for his horse, and quickly returned mounted. “Give me
the paper, good friends!--I’m off.”

“Away, then, my dear; since you will heat yourself for nothing. But only
let me point out to you,” said she, holding the paper fast whilst
she held it up to him, “that this whole report rests on no authority
whatever; not a word of it in the gazette; not a line from the
admiralty; no official account; no bulletin; no credit given to the
rumour at Lloyd’s; stocks the same.--And how did the news come? Not
even the news-writer pretends it came through any the least respectable
channel. A frigate in latitude the Lord knows what! saw a fleet in a
fog--might be Spanish--might be French--might be English--spoke another
frigate some days afterwards, who heard firing: well--firing says
nothing. But the frigate turns this firing into an engagement, and
a victory; and presently communicates the news to a collier, and the
collier tells another collier, and so it goes up the Thames, to some
wonder-maker, standing agape for a paragraph, to secure a dinner. To the
press the news goes, just as our paper is coming out; and to be sure we
shall have a contradiction and an apology in our next.”

“Well, ma’am; but I will ask Mr. Walsingham what he thinks, and show him
the paper.”

“Do, if you like it, my dear; I never control you; but don’t overheat
yourself for nothing. What can Mr. Walsingham, or all the Walsinghams in
the world, tell more than we can? and as to showing him the paper, you
know he takes the same paper. But don’t let me detain you.--Amelia, who
is that coming through the gate? Mr. Palmer’s servant, I protest!”

“Well; it can’t be, I see!” said Beaumont, dismounting.

“Take away your master’s horse--quick--quick!--Amelia, my love, to
dress! I must have you ready to receive your godfather’s blessing.
Consider, Mr. Palmer was your father’s earliest friend; and besides, he
is a relation, though distant; and it is always a good and prudent thing
to keep up relationships. Many a fine estate has come from very
distant relations most unexpectedly. And even independently of all
relationships, when friendships are properly cultivated, there’s no
knowing to what they may lead;--not that I look to any thing of that
sort here. But before you see Mr. Palmer, just as we are walking home,
and quite to ourselves, let me give you some leading hints about this
old gentleman’s character, which I have gathered, no matter how, for
your advantage, my dear children. He is a humourist, and must not
be opposed in any of his oddities: he is used to be waited upon, and
attended to, as all these men are who have lived in the West Indies. A
_bon vivant_, of course. Edward, produce your best wines--the pilau and
currie, and all that, leave to me. I had special notice of his love for
a john-doree, and a john-doree I have for him. But now I am going to
give you the master-key to his heart. Like all men who have made
great fortunes, he loves to feel continually the importance his wealth
confers; he loves to feel that wealth does every thing; is superior to
every thing--to birth and titles especially: it is his pride to think
himself, though a commoner, far above any man who condescends to take a
title. He hates persons of quality; therefore, whilst he is here, not
a word in favour of any titled person. Forget the whole house of
peers--send them all to Coventry--all to Coventry, remember.--And, now
you have the key to his heart, go and dress, to be ready for him.”

Having thus given her private instructions, and advanced her secret
plans, Mrs. Beaumont repaired to her toilet, well satisfied with her
morning’s work.


“Chi mi fa piu carezze che non sole; O m’ha ingannato, o ingannar me

“By St. George, there’s nothing like Old England for comfort!” cried Mr.
Palmer, settling himself in his arm-chair in the evening; “nothing after
all in any part of the known world, like Old England for comfort. Why,
madam, there’s not another people in the universe that have in any of
their languages a name even for comfort. The French have been forced to
borrow it; but now they have got it, they don’t know how to use it, nor
even how to pronounce it, poor devils! Well, there’s nothing like Old
England for comfort.”

“Ah! nothing like Old England for comfort!” echoed Mrs. Beaumont, in a
sentimental tone, though at that instant her thoughts were far distant
from her words; for this declaration of his love for Old England alarmed
her with the notion that he might change his mind about returning
immediately to Jamaica, and that he might take root again and flourish
for years to come in his native soil--perhaps in her neighbourhood, to
the bane of all her favourite projects. What would become of her scheme
of marrying Amelia to the baronet, and her son to the docile Albina?
What would become of the scheme of preventing him from being acquainted
with the Walsinghams? For a week it might be practicable to keep them
asunder by _policising_, but this could never be effected if he were to
settle, or even to make any long stay, in the country. The Walsinghams
would be affronted, and then what would become of their interest in the
county? Her son could not be returned without that. And, worse than all
the rest, Mr. Palmer might take a fancy to see these Walsinghams, who
were as nearly related to him as the Beaumonts; and seeing, he might
prefer, and preferring, he might possibly leave half, nay, perhaps
the whole, of his large fortune to them,--and thus all her hopes and
projects might at once be frustrated. Little aware of the long and
perplexing trains of ideas, which his honest ejaculation in favour
of his native country had raised, Mr. Palmer went on with his own
comfortable thoughts.

“And of all the comforts our native land affords, I know of none so
grateful to the heart,” continued he, “as good friends, which are to be
found nowhere else in such perfection. A man at my time of life misses
many an old friend on his return to his native country; but then he
sees them still in their representatives, and loves them again in
their children. Mr. Beaumont looked at me at that instant, so like his
father--he is the image of what my friend was, when I first knew him.”

“I am rejoiced you see the likeness,” said Mrs. Beaumont. “Amelia, my
dear, pour out the coffee.”

“And Miss Beaumont, too, has just his expression of countenance, which
surprises me more, in her delicate features. Upon my word, I have reason
to be proud of my god-daughter, as far as appearances go; and with
English women, appearances, fair as they may be, seldom are even so good
as the truth. There’s her father’s smile again for me--young lady, if
that smile deceives, there’s no truth in woman.”

“Do not you find our coffee here very bad, compared with what you have
been used to abroad?” said Mrs. Beaumont.

“I do rejoice to find myself here quiet in the country,” continued Mr.
Palmer, without hearing the lady’s question; “nothing after all like
a good old English family, where every thing speaks plenty and
hospitality, without waste or ostentation; and where you are received
with a hearty welcome, without compliments; and let do just as you
please, without form, and without being persecuted by politeness.”

This was the image of an English country family impressed early upon
the good old gentleman’s imagination, which had remained there fresh and
unchanged since the days of his youth; and he now took it for granted
that he should see it realized in the family of his late friend.

“I was afraid,” resumed Mrs. Beaumont, “that after being so long
accustomed to a West-Indian life, you would find many things unpleasant
to your feelings here. But you are so kind, so accommodating. Is
it really possible that you have not, since your return to England,
experienced any uncomfortable sensations, suffered any serious injury to
your health, my dear sir, from the damps and chills of our climate?”

“Why, now I think of it, I have--I have a cough,” said Mr. Palmer,

Mrs. Beaumont officiously shut the window.

“I do acknowledge that England is not quite so superior to all other
countries in her climate as in every thing else: yet I don’t ‘damn the
climate like a lord.’ At my time of life, a man must expect to be a
valetudinarian, and it would be unjust to blame one’s native climate
for that. But a man of seventy-five must live where he can, not where
he will; and Dr. Y---- tells me that I can live nowhere but in the West

“Oh, sir, never mind Dr. Y----,” exclaimed young Beaumont: “live with us
in England. Many Englishmen live to a great age surely, let people say
what they will of the climate.”

“But, perhaps, brother,” interposed Amelia, “those who, like Mr. Palmer,
have lived much in a warm climate, might find a return to a cold country
dangerous; and we should consider what is best for him, not merely what
is most agreeable to ourselves.”

“True, my dearest Amelia,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “and to be sure, Dr.
Y---- is one of our most skilful physicians. I could not be so rash
or so selfish as to set my private wishes, or my private opinion, in
opposition to Dr. Y----‘s advice; but surely, my dear sir, you won’t let
one physician, however eminent, send you away from us all, and banish
you again from England? We have a very clever physician here, Dr.
Wheeler, in whom I have the greatest confidence. In my own case, I
confess, I should prefer his judgment to any of the London fashionable
physicians, who are so fine and so hurried, that they can’t take time
to study one’s particular constitution, and hear all one has to say to
them. Now that is Wheeler’s great excellence--and I should so like to
hear his opinion. I am sure, if he gives it against me, I will not say
a word more: if he decide for Jamaica, I may be vexed, but I should make
it a point of conscience to submit, and not to urge my good friend to
stay in England at his own peril. Happy they who can live where they
please, and whose fortune puts it in their power to purchase any
climate, and to combine the comforts and luxuries of all countries!”

Nothing more was said upon the subject: Mrs. Beaumont turned the
conversation to the different luxuries of the West and East Indies. Mr.
Palmer, fatigued by his journey, retired early to rest, little dreaming
that his kind hostess waked, whilst he slept, for the purpose of
preparing a physician to give a proper opinion upon his case. Mrs.
Beaumont left a note to her favourite Dr. Wheeler, to be sent very early
in the morning. As if by accident, the doctor dropped in at breakfast
time, and Mrs. Beaumont declared that it was the luckiest chance
imaginable, that he should happen to call just when she was wishing
to see him. When the question in debate was stated to him, he, with
becoming gravity of countenance and suavity of manner, entered into a
discussion upon the effect of hot and cold climates upon the solids and
fluids, and nervous system in general; then upon English constitutions
in particular; and, lastly, upon _idiosyncrasies_.

This last word cost Mr. Palmer half his breakfast: on hearing it he
turned down his cup with a profound sigh, and pushed his plate from him;
indications which did not escape the physician’s demure eye. Gaining
confidence from the weakness of the patient, Dr. Wheeler now boldly
pronounced, that, in his opinion, any gentleman who, after having
habituated himself long to a hot climate, as Jamaica, for instance,
should come late in life to reside in a colder climate, as England, for
example, must run very great hazard indeed--nay, he could almost venture
to predict, would fall a victim to the sudden tension of the lax fibres.

Though a man of sound good sense in most things, Mr. Palmer’s weakness
was, on medical subjects, as great as his ignorance; his superstitious
faith in physicians was as implicit as either Dr. Wheeler or Mrs.
Beaumont could desire.

“Then,” said Mr. Palmer, with a sigh still deeper than the first--for
the first was for himself, and the second for his country--“then
England, Old England! farewell for ever! All my judges pronounce
sentence of transportation upon me!”

Mr. Beaumont and Amelia, in eager and persuasive tones of remonstrance
and expostulation, at once addressed the doctor, to obtain a mitigation
or suspension of his sentence. Dr. Wheeler, albeit unused to the
imperative mood, reiterated his _dictum_. Though little accustomed to
hold his opinion against the arguments or the wishes of the rich and
fair, he, upon this occasion, stood his ground against Miss and Mr.
Beaumont wonderfully well for nearly five minutes; till, to his
utter perplexity and dismay, he saw Mrs. Beaumont appear amongst his

“Well, I said I would submit, and not say a word, if Dr. Wheeler was
against me,” she began; “but I cannot sit by silent: I must protest
against this cruel, cruel decree, so contrary too to what I hoped and
expected would be Dr. Wheeler’s opinion.”

Poor Dr. Wheeler twinkled and seemed as if he would have rubbed his
eyes, not sure whether he was awake or in a dream. In his perplexity, he
apprehended that he had misunderstood Mrs. Beaumont’s note, and he now
prepared to make his way round again through the solids and the fluids,
and the whole nervous system, till, by favour of _idiosyncrasy_, he
hoped to get out of his difficulty, and to allow Mr. Palmer to remain
on British ground. Mrs. Beaumont’s face, in spite of her powers of
simulation, lengthened and lengthened, and darkened and darkened, as
he proceeded in his recantation; but, when the exception to the general
axiom was fairly made out, and a clear permit to remain in England
granted, by such high medical authority, she forced a smile, and joined
loudly in the general congratulations. Whilst her son was triumphing
and shaking hands with Mr. Palmer, she slipped down stairs after Dr.

“Ah, doctor! What have you done! Ruined me! ruined me! Didn’t you read
my note? Didn’t you _understand_ it?--I thought a word to the wise was

“Why!--then it was as I understood it at first? So I thought; but then
I fancied I must be mistaken afterwards; for when I expected support, my
dear madam, you opposed my opinion in favour of Jamaica more warmly than
any one, and what was I to think?”

“To think! Oh, my dear doctor, you might have guessed that was only a
sham opposition.”

“But, my dear ma’am,” cried Dr. Wheeler, who, though the mildest of men,
was now worked up to something like indignation, “my dear ma’am--sham
upon sham is too much for any man!”

The doctor went down stairs murmuring. Thus, by excess of hypocrisy, our
heroine disgusted even her own adherents, in which she has the honour
to resemble some of the most wily politicians famous in English history.
But she was too wise ever to let any one who could serve or injure her
go discontented out of her presence.

“My dear, good Dr. Wheeler, I never saw you angry before. Come, come,”
 cried Mrs. Beaumont, sliding a _douceur_ into his hand, “friends must
not be vexed for trifles; it was only a mistake _de part et d’autre_,
and you’ll return here to-morrow, in your way home, and breakfast with
us; and now we understand one another. And,” added she, in a whisper,
“we can talk over things, and have your cool judgment best, when only
you, and I, and Mr. Palmer, are present. You comprehend.”

Those who practise many manoeuvres, and carry on many intrigues at
the same time, have this advantage, that if one fails, the success of
another compensates for the disappointment. However she might have been
vexed by this slight _contre-temps_ with Dr. Wheeler, Mrs. Beaumont
had ample compensation of different sorts this day; some due to her own
exertions, some owing to accident. Her own exertions prevented her dear
Albina Hunter from returning; for Mrs. Beaumont never sent the promised
carriage--only a note of apology--a nail had run into one of the
coach-horse’s feet. To accident she owed that the Walsinghams were not
at home when her son galloped over to see them the next morning, and to
inquire what news from Captain Walsingham. That day’s paper also brought
a contradiction of the report of the engagement and victory; so that
Mrs. Beaumont’s apprehensions on this subject were allayed; and she had
no doubt that, by proper management, with a sufficient number of notes
and messages, misunderstandings, lame horses, and crossings upon the
road, she might actually get through the week without letting the
Walsinghams see Mr. Palmer; or at least without more than a _vis_, or
a morning visit, from which no great danger could be apprehended. “Few,
indeed, have so much character,” thought she, “or so much dexterity in
showing it, as to make a dangerous impression in the course of a formal
morning visit.”


“Ah! c’est mentir tant soit peu; j’en conviens; C’est un grand mal--mais
il produit un bien.” VOLTAIRE.

The third day went off still more successfully. Dr. Wheeler called at
breakfast, frightened Mr. Palmer out of his senses about his health, and
convinced him that his life depended upon his immediate return to the
climate of Jamaica:--so this point was decided.

Mrs. Beaumont, calculating justly that the Walsinghams would return
Mr. Beaumont’s visit, and come to pay their respects to Mr. Palmer this
morning, settled, as soon as breakfast was over, a plan of operations
which should keep Mr. Palmer out till dinner-time. He must see the
charming drive which her son had made round his improvements; and she
must have the pleasure of showing it to him herself; and she assured him
that he might trust to her driving.

So into Mrs. Beaumont’s garden-chair he got; and when she had him
fairly prisoner, she carried him far away from all danger of intruding
visitors. It may readily be supposed that our heroine made good use of
the five or six hours’ leisure for manoeuvring which she thus secured.

So frank and cordial was this simple-hearted old man, any one but Mrs.
Beaumont would have thought that with him no manoeuvring was necessary;
that she need only to have trusted to his friendship and generosity, and
have directly told him her wishes. He was so prepossessed in her favour,
as being the widow of his friend, that he was almost incapable of
suspecting her of any unhandsome conduct; besides, having had little
converse with modern ladies, his imagination was so prepossessed with
the old-fashioned picture of a respectable widow lady and guardian
mother, that he took it for granted Mrs. Beaumont was just like one of
the good matrons of former times, like Lady Bountiful, or Lady Lizard;
and, as such, he spoke to her of her family concerns, in all the
openness of a heart which knew no guile.

“Now, my good Mistress Beaumont, you must look upon me just as my friend
the colonel would have done; as a man, who has your family interests at
heart just as much as if I were one of yourselves. And let me in to all
your little affairs, and trust me with all your little plans, and let
us talk over things together, and settle how every thing can be done
for the best for the young people. You know, I have no relations in the
world but your family and the Walsinghams, of whom, by-the-bye, I know
nothing. No one living has any claim upon me: I can leave or give my
own just as I please; and you and yours are, of course, my first
objects--and for the how, and the what, and the when, I must consult
you; and only beg you to keep it in mind, that I would as soon _give_ as
_bequeath_, and rather; for as to what a man leaves to his friends, he
can only have the satisfaction of thinking that they will be the better
for him after he is dead and gone, which is but cold comfort; but what
he gives he has the warm comfort of seeing them enjoy whilst he is alive
with them.”

“Such a generous sentiment!” exclaimed Mrs. Beaumont, “and so unlike
persons in general who have large fortunes at their disposal! I feel so
much obliged, so excessively--”

“Not at all, not at all, not at all--no more of that, no more of
that, my good lady. The colonel and I were friends; so there can be no
obligation between us, nor thanks, nor speeches. But, just as if you
were talking to yourself, tell me your mind. And if there are any little
embarrassments that the son may want to clear off on coming of age;
or if there’s any thing wanting to your jointure, my dear madam; or if
there should be any marriages in the wind, where a few thousands, more
or less, might be the making or the breaking of a heart;--let me hear
about it all: and do me the justice to let me have the pleasure of
making the young folks, and the old folks too, happy their own way; for
I have no notion of insisting on all people being happy my way--no, no!
I’ve too much English liberty in me for that; and I’m sure, you, my
good lady, are as great a foe as I am to all family managements and
mysteries, where the old don’t know what the young do, nor the young
what the old think. No, no--that’s all nonsense and French convent
work--nothing like a good old English family. So, my dear Mistress
Beaumont, out with it all, and make me one of yourselves, free of the
family from this minute. Here’s my hand and heart upon it--an old friend
may presume so far.”

This frankness would have opened any heart except Mrs. Beaumont’s; but
it is the misfortune of artful people that they cannot believe others
to be artless: either they think simplicity of character folly; or else
they suspect that openness is only affected, as a bait to draw them into
snares. Our heroine balanced for a moment between these two notions. She
could not believe Mr. Palmer to be an absolute fool--no; his having
made such a large fortune forbad that thought. Then he must have thrown
himself thus open merely to _try her_, and to come at the knowledge of
debts and embarrassments, which, if brought to light, would lower his
opinion of the prudence of the family.

“My excellent friend, to be candid with you,” she began, “there is
no need of your generosity at present, to relieve my son from any
embarrassments; for I know that he has no debts whatever. And I am
confident he will make my jointure every thing, and more than every
thing, I could desire. And, as to marriages, my Amelia is so young,
there’s time enough to consider.”

“True, true; and she does well to take time to consider. But though I
don’t understand these matters much, she looks mightily like the notion
I have of a girl that’s a little bit in love.”

“In love! Oh, my dear sir! you don’t say so--in love?”

“Why, I suppose I should not say _in love_; there’s some other way of
expressing it come into fashion since my time, no doubt. And even then,
I know that was not to be said of a young lady, till signing and sealing
day; but it popped out, and I can’t get it back again, so you must even
let it pass. And what harm? for you know, madam, without love, what
would become of the world?--though I was jilted once and away, I
acknowledge--but forgive and forget. I don’t like the girl a whit the
worse for being a little bit tender-hearted. For I’m morally certain,
even from the little I have heard her say, and from the way she has been
brought up, and from her being her father’s daughter, and her mother’s,
madam, she could not fix her affections on any one that would not do
honour to her choice, or--which is only saying the same thing in other
words--that you and I should not approve.”

“Ah! there’s the thing!” said Mrs. Beaumont, sighing.

“Why now I took it into my head from a blush I saw this morning, though
how I came to notice it, I don’t know; for to my recollection I have not
noticed a girl’s blushing before these twenty years--but, to be
sure, here I have as near an interest, almost, as if she were my own
daughter--I say, from the blush I saw this morning, when young Beaumont
was talking of the gallop he had taken to inquire about Captain
Walsingham, I took it into my head that he was the happy man.”

“Oh! my dear sir, he never made any proposals for Amelia.” That was
strictly true. “Nor, I am sure, ever thought of it, as far as ever I

The saving clause of “_as far as ever I heard_,” prevented this last
assertion from coming under that description of falsehoods denominated
downright lies.

“Indeed, how could he?” pursued Mrs. Beaumont, “for you know he is no
match for Amelia; he has nothing in the world but his commission. No;
there never was any proposal from that quarter; and, of course, it is
impossible my daughter could think of a man who has no thoughts of her.”

“You know best, my good madam; I merely spoke at random. I’m the worst
guesser in the world, especially on these matters: what people tell me,
I know; and neither more not less.”

Mrs. Beaumont rejoiced in the simplicity of her companion. “Then, my
good friend, it is but fair to tell you,” said she, “that Amelia has an

“A lover, hey! Who?”

“Ah, there’s the misfortune; it is a thing I never can consent to.”

“Ha! then now it is out! There’s the reason the girl blushes, and is so
absent at times.”

A plan now occurred to Mrs. Beaumont’s scheming imagination which
she thought the master-piece of policy. She determined to account for
whatever symptoms of embarrassment Mr. Palmer might observe in her
daughter, by attributing them to a thwarted attachment for Sir John
Hunter; and Mrs. Beaumont resolved to make a merit to Mr. Palmer of
opposing this match because the lover was a baronet, and she thought
that Mr. Palmer would be pleased by her showing an aversion to the
thoughts of her daughter’s marrying _a sprig of quality_. This ingenious
method of paying her court to her open-hearted friend, at the expense
equally of truth and of her daughter, she executed with her usual

“Well, I’m heartily glad, my dear good madam, to find that you have the
same prejudices against sprigs of quality that I have. One good commoner
is worth a million of them to my mind. So I told a puppy of a nephew of
mine, who would go and buy a baronetage, forsooth--disinherited him! but
he is dead, poor puppy.”

“Poor young man! But this is all new to me,” said Mrs. Beaumont, with
well-feigned surprise.

“But did not you know, my dear madam, that I had a nephew, and that he
is dead?”

“Oh, yes; but not the particulars.”

“No; the particulars I never talk of--not to the poor dog’s credit. It’s
well he’s dead, for if he had lived, I am afraid I should have forgiven
him. No, no, I never would. But there is no use in thinking any more
of that. What were we saying? Oh, about your Amelia--our Amelia, let me
call her. If she is so much attached, poor thing, to this man, though
he is a baronet, which I own is against him to my fancy, yet it is to
be presumed he has good qualities to balance that, since she values
him; and young people must be young, and have their little foolish
prepossessions for title, and so forth. To be sure, I should have
thought my friend’s daughter above that, of such a good family as she
is, and with such good sense as she inherits too. But we have all our
foibles, I suppose. And since it is so with Amelia, why do let me see
this baronet-swain of hers, and let me try what good I can find out in
him, and let me bring myself, if I can, over my prejudices. And then
you, my dear madam, so good and kind a mother as you are, will make an
effort too on your part; for we must see the girl happy, if it is not
out of all sense and reason. And if the man be worthy of her, it is not
his fault that he is a sprig of quality; and we must forgive and forget,
and give our consent, my dear Mrs. Beaumont.”

“And would you ever give your consent to her marrying Sir John Hunter?”
 cried Mrs. Beaumont, breathless with amazement, and for a moment thrown
off her guard so as to speak quite naturally. The sudden difference
in her tone and manner struck even her unsuspicious companion, and he
attributed it to displeasure at this last hint.

“Why, my very dear good friend’s wife, forgive me,” said he, “for this
interference, and for, as it seems, opposing your opinion about your
daughter’s marriage, which no man has a right to do--but if you ask
me plump whether I could forgive her for marrying Sir John Hunter,
I answer, for I can speak nothing but the truth, I would, if he is a
worthy man.”

“I thought,” said Mrs. Beaumont, astonished, “you disinherited your own
nephew, because he took a baronet’s title against your will.”

“Bless you! no, my dear madam--that did displease me, to be sure--but
that was the least cause of displeasure I had. I let the world fancy
and say what they would, rather than bring faults to light.--But no more
about that.”

“But did not you take an oath that you would never leave a shilling of
your fortune to any _sprig of quality?_”

“Never! my dearest madam! never,” cried Mr. Palmer, laughing. “Never was
such a gander. See what oaths people put into one’s mouth.”

“And what lies the world tells,” said Mrs. Beaumont.

“And believes,” said Mr. Palmer, with a sly smile.

The surprise that Mrs. Beaumont felt was mixed with a strange and rapid
confusion of other sentiments, regret for having wasted such a quantity
of contrivance and manoeuvring against an imaginary difficulty. All this
arose from her too easy belief of _secret underhand information_.

Through the maze of artifice in which she had involved affairs, she now,
with some difficulty, perceived that plain truth would have served her
purpose better. But regret for the past was not in the least mixed with
any thing like remorse or penitence; on the contrary, she instantly
began to consider how she could best profit by her own wrong. She
thought she saw two of her favourite objects almost within her reach,
Mr. Palmer’s fortune, and the future title for her daughter: no obstacle
seemed likely to oppose the accomplishment of her wishes, except
Amelia’s own inclinations: these she thought she could readily prevail
upon her to give up; for she knew that her daughter was both of a
timid and of an affectionate temper; that she had never in any instance
withstood, or even disputed, her maternal authority; and that dread of
her displeasure had often proved sufficient to make Amelia suppress or
sacrifice her own feelings. Combining all these reflections with her
wonted rapidity, Mrs. Beaumont determined what her play should now be.
She saw, or thought she saw, that she ought, either by gentle or strong
means, to lure or intimidate Amelia to her purpose; and that, while
she carried on this part of the plot with her daughter in private, she
should appear to Mr. Palmer to yield to his persuasions by degrees,
to make the young people happy their own way, and to be persuaded
reluctantly out of her aversion to _sprigs of quality_. To be sure, it
would be necessary to give fresh explanations and instructions to Sir
John Hunter, through his sister, with the new parts that he and she were
to act in this domestic drama. As soon as Mrs. Beaumont returned from
her airing, therefore, she retired to her own apartment, and wrote
a note of explanation, with a proper proportion of sentiment and
_verbiage,_ to her dear Albina, begging to see her and Sir John Hunter
the very next day. The horse, which had been lamed by the nail, now, of
course, had recovered; and it was found by Mrs. Beaumont that she had
been misinformed, and that he had been lamed only by sudden cramp. Any
excuse she knew would be sufficient, in the present state of affairs, to
the young lady, who was more ready to be deceived than even our heroine
was disposed to deceive. Indeed, as Machiavel says, “as there are
people willing to cheat, there will always be those who are ready to be


“Vous m’enchantez, mais vous m’épouvantez; Ces pieges-là sont-ils bien
ajustés? Craignez vous point de vous laisser surprendre Dans les filets
que vos mains savent tendre?” VOLTAIRE.

To prepare Amelia to receive Sir John Hunter _properly_ was Mrs.
Beaumont’s next attempt; for as she had represented to Mr. Palmer that
her daughter was attached to Sir John, it was necessary that her manner
should in some degree accord with this representation, that at least it
should not exhibit any symptoms of disapprobation or dislike: whatever
coldness or reserve might appear, it would be easy to attribute to
bashfulness and dread of Mr. Palmer’s observation. When Amelia was
undressing at night, her mother went into her room; and, having
dismissed the maid, threw herself into an arm-chair, and exclaimed,
half-yawning, “How tired I am!--No wonder, such a long airing as we took
to-day. But, my dear Amelia, I could not sleep to-night without telling
you how glad I am to find that you are such a favourite with Mr.

“I am glad he likes me,” said Amelia; “I am sure I like him. What a
benevolent, excellent man he seems to be!”

“Excellent, excellent--the best creature in the world!--And so
interested about you! and so anxious that you should be well and soon
established; almost as anxious about it as I am myself.”

“He is very good--and you are very good, mamma; but there is no occasion
that I should be _soon established_, as it is called--is there?”

“That is the regular answer, you know, in these cases, from every young
lady that ever was born, in or out of a book within the memory of man.
But we will suppose all that to be said prettily on your part, and
answered properly on mine: so give me leave to go on to something more
to the purpose; and don’t look so alarmed, my love. You know, I am not a
hurrying person; you shall take your own time, and every thing shall
be done as you like, and the whole shall be kept amongst ourselves
entirely; for nothing is so disadvantageous and distressing to a young
woman as to have these things talked of in the world long before they
take place.”

“But, ma’am!--Surely there is no marriage determined upon for me,
without my even knowing it.”

“Determined upon!--Oh dear, no, my darling. You shall decide every thing
for yourself.”

“Thank you, mother; now you are kind indeed.”

“Indubitably, my dearest Amelia, I would not decide on any thing without
consulting you: for I have the greatest dependence on your prudence and
judgment. With a silly romantic girl, who had no discretion, I should
certainly think it my duty to do otherwise; and if I saw my daughter
following headlong some idle fancy of fifteen, I should interpose my
authority at once, and say, It must not be. But I know my Amelia so
well, that I am confident she will judge as prudently for herself as I
could for her; and indeed, I am persuaded that our opinions will be now,
as they almost always are, my sweet girl, the same.”

“I hope so mamma--but----”

“Well, well, I’ll allow a maidenly _but_--and you will allow that Sir
John Hunter shall be the man at last.”

“Oh, mamma, that can never be,” said Amelia, with much earnestness.

“_Never_--A young lady’s _never_, Amelia, I will allow too. Don’t
interrupt me, my dear--but give me leave to tell you again, that
you shall have your own time--Mr. Palmer has given his consent and

“Consent and approbation!” cried Amelia. “And is it come to this?
without even consulting me! And is this the way I am left to judge for
myself?--Oh, mother! mother! what will become of me?”

Amelia, who had long had experience that it was vain for her to attempt
to counteract or oppose any scheme that her mother had planned, sat down
at this instant in despair: but even from despair she took courage;
and, rising suddenly, exclaimed, “I never can or will marry Sir John
Hunter--for I love another person--mother, you know I do--and I will
speak truth, and abide by it, let the consequences be what they may.”

“Well, my dear, don’t speak so loud, at all events; for though it may
be very proper to speak the truth, it is not necessary that the whole
universe should hear it. You speak of another attachment--is it possible
that you allude to Captain Walsingham? But Captain Walsingham has never
proposed for you, nor even given you any reason to think he would; or if
he has, he must have deceived me in the grossest manner.”

“He is incapable of deceiving any body,” said Amelia. “He never gave me
any reason to think he would propose for me; nor ever made the slightest
attempt to engage my affections. You saw his conduct: it was always
uniform. He is incapable of any double or underhand practices.”

“In the warmth of your eulogium on Captain Walsingham, you seem, Amelia,
to forget that you reflect, in the most severe manner, upon yourself:
for what woman, what young woman especially, who has either delicacy,
pride, or prudence, can avow that she loves a man, who has never given,
even by her own statement of the matter, the slightest reason to believe
that he thinks of her?”

Amelia stood abashed, and for some instants incapable of reply: but at
last, approaching her mother, and hiding her face, as she hung over
her shoulder, she said, in a low and timid voice, “It was only to my
mother--I thought that could not be wrong--and when it was to prevent a
greater wrong, the engaging myself to another person.”

“Engaging yourself, my foolish child! but did I not tell you that you
should have your own time?”

“But no time, mother, will do.”

“Try, my dear love; that is all I ask of you; and this you cannot, in
duty, in kindness, in prudence, or with decency, refuse me.”

“Cannot I?”

“Indeed you cannot. So say not a word more that can lessen the high
opinion I have of you; but show me that you have a becoming sense
of your own and of female dignity, and that you are not the poor,
mean-spirited creature, to pine for a man who disdains you.”

“Disdain! I never saw any disdain. On the contrary, though he never gave
me reason to think so, I cannot help fancying----”

“That he likes you--and yet he never proposed for you! Do not believe
it--a man may coquet as well as a woman, and often more; but till he
makes his proposal, never, if you have any value for your own happiness
or dignity, fancy for a moment that he loves you.”

“But he cannot marry, because he is so poor.”

“True--and if so, what stronger argument can be brought against your
thinking of him?”

“I do not think of him--I endeavour not to think of him.”

“That is my own girl! Depend upon it, he thinks not of you. He is all in
his profession--prefers it to every woman upon earth. I have heard him
say he would not give it up for any consideration. All for glory, you
see; nothing for love.”

Amelia sighed. Her mother rose, and kissing her, said, as if she took
every thing she wished for granted, “So, my Amelia, I am glad to see you
reasonable, and ready to show a spirit that becomes you--Sir John Hunter
breakfasts here to-morrow.”

“But,” said Amelia, detaining her mother, who would have left the room,
“I cannot encourage Sir John Hunter, for I do not esteem him; therefore
I am sure I can never love him.”

“You cannot encourage Sir John Hunter, Amelia?” replied Mrs. Beaumont.
“It is extraordinary that this should appear to you an impossibility the
very moment the gentleman proposes for you. It was not always so. Allow
me to remind you of a ball last year, where you and I met both Sir
John Hunter and Captain Walsingham; as I remember, you gave all your
attention that evening to Sir John.”

“Oh, mother, I am ashamed of that evening--I regret it more than
any evening of my life. I did wrong, very wrong; and bitterly have I
suffered for it, as people always do, sooner or later, by deceit. I was
afraid that you should see my real feelings; and, to conceal them, I,
for the first and last time of my life, acted like a coquette. But if
you recollect, dear mother, the very next day I confessed the truth
to you. My friend, Miss Walsingham, urged me to have the courage to be

“Miss Walsingham! On every occasion I find the secret influence of these
Walsinghams operating in my family,” cried Mrs. Beaumont, from a sudden
impulse of anger, which threw her off her guard.

“Surely their influence has always been beneficial to us all. To me,
Miss Walsingham’s friendship has been of the greatest service.”

“Yes; by secretly encouraging you, against your mother’s approbation, in
a ridiculous passion for a man who neither can nor will marry you.”

“Far from encouraging me, madam, in any thing contrary to your
wishes--and far from wishing to do any thing secretly, Miss Walsingham
never spoke to me on this subject but once; and that was to advise me
strongly not to conceal the truth from you, and not to make use of any
artifices or manoeuvres.”

“Possibly, very possibly; but I presume you could conduct yourself
properly without Miss Walsingham’s interference or advice.”

“I thought, mamma, you liked Miss Walsingham particularly, and that you
wished I should cultivate her friendship.”

“Certainly; I admire Miss Walsingham extremely, and wish to be on the
best terms with the family; but I will never permit any one to interfere
between me and my children. We should have gone on better without

“I am sure her advice and friendship have preserved me from many faults,
but never led me into any. I might, from timidity, and from fear of your
superior address and abilities, have become insincere and artful; but
she has given me strength of mind enough to bear the present evil, and
to dare at all hazards to speak the truth.”

“But, my dearest Amelia,” said Mrs. Beaumont, softening her tone, “why
so warm? What object can your mother have but your good? Can any Miss
Walsingham, or any other friend upon earth, have your interest so much
at heart as I have? Why am I so anxious, if it is not from love to you?”

Amelia was touched by her mother’s looks and words of affection, and
acknowledged that she had spoken with too much warmth.

Mrs. Beaumont thought she could make advantage of this moment.

“Then, my beloved child, if you are convinced of my affection for you,
show at least some confidence in me in return: show some disposition to
oblige me. Here is a match I approve; here is an establishment every way

“But why, mamma, must I be married?” interrupted Amelia. “I will not
think, at least I will try not to think, of any one of whom you do not
approve; but I cannot marry any other man while I feel such a partiality
for--. So, dear mother, pray do not let Sir John Hunter come here any
more on my account. It is not necessary that I should marry.”

“It is necessary, however,” said Mrs. Beaumont, withdrawing her hand
haughtily, and darting a look of contempt and anger upon her daughter,
“it is necessary, however, that I should be mistress in my own house,
and that I should invite here whomever I please. And it is necessary
that you should receive them without airs, and with politeness. On this,
observe, I insist, and will be obeyed.”

Mrs. Beaumont would receive no reply, but left the room seemingly in
great displeasure: but even half her anger was affected, to intimidate
this gentle girl.

Sir John Hunter and his sister arrived to breakfast. Mrs. Beaumont
played her part admirably; so that she seemed to Mr. Palmer only to
be enduring Sir John from consideration for her daughter, and from
compliance with Mr. Palmer’s own request that she would try what could
be done to make the young people happy; yet she, with infinite address,
_drew Sir John out_, and dexterously turned every thing he said into
what she thought would please Mr. Palmer, though all the time she seemed
to be misunderstanding or confuting him. Mr. Palmer’s attention, which
was generally fixed exclusively on one object at a time, had ample
occupation in studying Sir John, whom he examined, for Amelia’s sake,
with all the honest penetration which he possessed. Towards Amelia
herself he scarcely ever looked; for, without any refinement of
delicacy, he had sufficient feeling and sense to avoid what he thought
would embarrass a young lady. Amelia’s silence and reserve appeared
to him, therefore, as her politic mother had foreseen, just what was
natural and proper. He had been told that she was attached to Sir John
Hunter; and the idea of doubting the truth of what Mrs. Beaumont had
asserted could not enter his confiding mind.

In the mean time, our heroine, to whom the conduct of a double intrigue
was by no means embarrassing, did not neglect the affairs of her dear
Albina: she had found time before breakfast, as she met Miss Hunter
getting out of her carriage, to make herself sure that her notes of
explanation had been understood; and she now, by a multitude of scarcely
perceptible inuendoes, and seemingly suppressed looks of pity, contrived
to carry on the representation she had made to her son of this damsel’s
helpless and lovelorn state. Indeed, the young lady appeared as much in
love as could have been desired for stage effect, and rather more than
was necessary for propriety. All Mrs. Beaumont’s art, therefore, was
exerted to throw a veil of becoming delicacy over what might have been
too glaring, by hiding half to improve the whole. Where there was
any want of management on the part of her young coadjutrix, she, with
exquisite skill, made advantage even of these errors by look? and sighs,
that implied almost as emphatically as words could have said to her
son--“You see what I told you is too true. The simple creature has not
art enough to conceal her passion. She is undone in the eyes of the
world, if you do not confirm what report has said.”

This she left to work its natural effect upon the vanity of man. And in
the midst of these multiplied manoeuvres, Mrs. Beaumont sat with ease
and unconcern, sometimes talking to one, sometimes to another; so that
a stranger would have thought her a party uninterested in all that was
going forward, and might have wondered at her blindness or indifference.

But, alas! notwithstanding her utmost art, she failed this day in
turning and twisting Sir John Hunter’s conversation and character so as
to make them agreeable to Mr. Palmer. This she knew by his retiring
at an early hour at night, as he sometimes did when company was not
agreeable to him. His age gave him this privilege. Mrs. Beaumont
followed, to inquire if he would not wish to _take something_ before he
went to rest.

“By St. George, Madam Beaumont, you are right,” said Mr. Palmer,
“you are right, in not liking this baronet. I’m tired of him--sick of
him--can’t like him!--sorry for it, since Amelia likes him. But what can
a daughter of Colonel Beaumont find in this man to be pleased with? He
is a baronet, to be sure, but that is all. Tell me, my good madam, what
it is the girl likes in him?”

Mrs. Beaumont could only answer by an equivocal smile, and a shrug, that
seemed to say--there’s no accounting for these things.

“But, my dear madam,” pursued Mr. Palmer, “the man is neither handsome
nor young: he is old enough for her father, though he gives himself the
airs of a youngster; and his manners are--I can allow for
fashionable manners. But, madam, it is his character I don’t
like--selfish--cold--designing--not a generous thought, not a good
feeling about him. You are right, madam, quite right. In all his
conversation such meanness, and even in what he means for wit, such
a contempt of what is fair and honourable! Now that fellow does not
believe that such a thing as virtue or patriotism, honour or friendship,
exists. The jackanapes!--and as for love! why, madam, I’m convinced he
is no more in love with the girl than I am, nor so much, ma’am, nor half
so much!--does not feel her merit, does not value her accomplishments,
does not Madam! madam! he is thinking of nothing but himself, and her
fortune--fortune! fortune! fortune! that’s all. The man’s a miser.
Madam, they that know no better fancy that there are none but old
misers; but I can tell them there are young misers, and middle-aged
misers, and misers of all ages. They say such a man can’t be a
miser, because he is a spendthrift; but, madam, you know a man can be
both--yes, and that’s what many of your young men of fashion are, and
what, I’ll engage, this fellow is. And can Amelia like him? my poor
child! and does she think he loves her? my poor, poor child! how can she
be so blind? but love is always blind, they say. I’ve a great mind to
take her to task, and ask her, between ourselves, what it is she likes
in her baronet.”

“Oh, my dear sir! she would sink to the centre of the earth if you were
to speak. For Heaven’s sake, don’t take her to task, foolish as she is;
besides, she would be so angry with me for telling you.”

“Angry? the gipsy! Am not I her godfather and her guardian? though I
could not act, because I was abroad, yet her guardian I was left by
her father, and love her too as well as I should a daughter of her
father’s--and she to have secrets, and mysteries! that would be worse
than all the rest, for mysteries are what I abhor. Madam, wherever there
are secrets and mysteries in a family, take my word for it, there is
somethings wrong.”

“True, my dear sir; but Amelia has no idea of mysteries or art. I only
meant that young girls, you know, will be ashamed on these occasions,
and we must make allowances. So do not speak to her, I conjure you.”

“Well, madam, you are her mother, and must know best. I have only her
interest at heart: but I won’t speak to her, since it will so distress
her. But what shall be done about this lover? You are quite right about
him, and I have not a word more to say.”

“But I declare I think you judge him too harshly. Though I am not
inclined to be his friend, yet I must do him the justice to say, he has
more good qualities than you allow, or rather than you have seen yet. He
is passionately fond of Amelia. Oh, there you’re wrong, quite wrong; he
is passionately in love, whatever he may pretend to the contrary.”

“Pretend! and why should the puppy pretend not to be in love?”

“Pride, pride and fashion. Young men are so governed by fashion, and so
afraid of ridicule. There’s a set of _fashionables_ now, with whom love
is a _bore, _you know.”

“I know! no, indeed, I know no such thing,” said Mr. Palmer. “But this
I know, that I hate pretences of all sorts; and if the man is in love, I
should, for my part, like him the better for showing it.”

“So he will, when you know him a little better. You are quite a
stranger, and he is bashful.”

“Bashful! Never saw so confident a man in any country.”

“But he is shy under all that.”

“Under! But I don’t like characters where every thing is under something
different from what appears at top.”

“Well, take a day or two more to study him. Though I am his enemy, I
must deal fairly by him, for poor Amelia’s sake.”

“You are a good mother, madam, an indulgent mother, and I honour
and love you for it. I’ll follow your example, and bear with this
spendthrift-miser-coxcomb sprig of quality for a day or two more, and
try to like him, for Amelia’s sake. But, if he’s not worthy of her, he
sha’n’t have her, by St. George, he shall not--shall he, madam?”

“Oh, no, no; good night, my good sir.”

What the manoeuvres of the next day might have effected, and how far Sir
John Hunter profited by the new instructions which were given to him in
consequence of this conversation, can never be accurately ascertained,
because the whole united plan of operations was disturbed by a new and
unforeseen event.


“Un volto senza senno, Un petto senza core, un cor senz’ alma, Un’ alma
senza fede.” GUARINI.

“Here’s glorious news of Captain Walsingham!” cried young Beaumont; “I
always knew he would distinguish himself if he had an opportunity; and,
thank God! he has had as fine an opportunity as heart could wish. Here,
mother! here, Mr. Palmer, is an account of it in this day’s paper! and
here is a letter from himself, which Mr. Walsingham has just sent me.”

“Oh, give _me_ the letter,” cried Mrs. Beaumont, with affected

“Let me have the paper, then,” cried Mr. Palmer. “Where are my

“Are there any letters for _me?_” said Sir John Hunter. “Did my
newspapers come? Albina, I desired that they should be forwarded here.
Mrs. Beaumont, can you tell me any thing of _my_ papers?”

“Dear Amelia, how interesting your brother looks when he is pleased!”
 Albina whispered, quite loud enough to be heard.

“A most gallant action, by St. George!” exclaimed Mr. Palmer. “These are
the things that keep up the honour of the British navy, and the glory of

“This Spanish ship that Captain Walsingham captured the day after the
engagement is likely to turn out a valuable prize, too,” said Mrs.
Beaumont. “I am vastly glad to find this by his letter, for the money
will be useful to him, he wanted it so much. He does not say how much
his share will come to, does he, Edward?”

“No, ma’am: you see he writes in a great hurry, and he has only time, as
he says, to mention _the needful_.”

“And is not the money _the needful?_” said Sir John Hunter, with a
splenetic smile.

“With Walsingham it is only a secondary consideration,” replied
Beaumont; “honour is Captain Walsingham’s first object. I dare say he
has never yet calculated what his prize-money will be.”

“Right, right!” reiterated Mr. Palmer; “then he is the right sort. Long
may it be before our naval officers think more of prize-money than
of glory! Long may it be before our honest tars turn into calculating

“They never will or can whilst they have such officers as Captain
Walsingham,” said Beaumont.

“By St. George, he seems to be a fine fellow, and you a warm friend,”
 said Mr. Palmer. “Ay, ay, the colonel’s own son. But why have I never
seen any of these Walsinghams since I came to the country? Are they
ashamed of being related to me, because I am a merchant?”

“More likely they are too proud to pay court to you because you are
so rich,” said Mr. Beaumont. “But they did come to see you, sir,--the
morning you were out so late, mother, you know.”

“Oh, ay, true--how unfortunate!”

“But have not we horses? have not we carriages? have not we legs?” said
Mr. Palmer. “I’ll go and see these Walsinghams to-morrow, please God I
live so long: for I am proud of my relationship to this young hero;
and I won’t be cast off by good people, let them be as proud as they
will--that’s their fault--but I will not stand on idle ceremony: so, my
good Mistress Beaumont, we will all go in a body, and storm their castle
to-morrow morning.”

“An admirable plan! I like it of all things!” said Mrs. Beaumont. “How
few, even in youth, are so active and enthusiastic as our good friend!
But, my dear Mr. Palmer--”

“But I wish I could see the captain himself. Is there any chance of his
coming home?”

“Home! yes,” said Beaumont: “did you not read his letter, sir? here it
is; he will be at home directly. He says, ‘perhaps a few hours after
this letter reaches you, you’ll see me.’”

“See him! Odds my life, I’m glad of it. And you, my little Amelia,”
 said Mr. Palmer, tapping her shoulders as she stood with her back to him
reading the newspaper; “and you, my little silent one, not one word have
I heard from you all this time. Does not some spark of your father’s
spirit kindle within you on hearing of this heroic relation of ours?”

“Luckily for the ladies, sir,” said Sir John Hunter, coming up, as he
thought, to the lady’s assistance--“luckily for young ladies, sir, they
are not called upon to be heroes; and it would be luckier still for
us men, if they never set themselves up for heroines--Ha! ha! ha! Miss
Beaumont,” continued he, “the shower is over; I’ll order the horses out,
that we may have our ride.” Sir John left the room, evidently pleased
with his own wit.

“Amelia, my love,” said Mrs. Beaumont, who drew up also to give
assistance at this critical juncture, “go, this moment, and write a note
to your friend Miss Walsingham, to say that we shall all be with them
early to-morrow: I will send a servant directly, that we may be sure to
meet with them at home this time; you’ll find pen, ink, and paper in my
dressing-room, love.”

Mrs. Beaumont drew Amelia’s arm within hers, and, dictating kindest
messages for the Walsinghams, led her out of the room. Having thus
successfully covered her daughter’s retreat, our skilful manoeuvrer
returned, all self-complacent, to the company. And next, to please
the warm-hearted Mr. Palmer, she seemed to sympathize in his patriotic
enthusiasm for the British navy: she pronounced a panegyric on the
_young hero,_ Captain Walsingham, which made the good old man rub his
hands with exultation, and which irradiated with joy the countenance of
her son. But, alas! Mrs. Beaumont’s endeavours to please, or rather to
dupe all parties, could not, even with her consummate address, always
succeed: though she had an excellent memory, and great presence of mind,
with peculiar quickness both of eye and ear, yet she could not always
register, arrange, and recollect all that was necessary for the various
parts she undertook to act. Scarcely had she finished her eulogium on
Captain Walsingham, when, to her dismay, she saw close behind her Sir
John Hunter, who had entered the room without her perceiving it. He
said not one word; but his clouded brow showed his suspicions, and his
extreme displeasure.

“Mrs. Beaumont,” said he, after some minutes’ silence, “I find I
must have the honour of wishing you a good morning, for I have an
indispensable engagement at home to dinner to-day.”

“I thought, Sir John, you and Amelia were going to ride?”

“Ma’am, Miss Beaumont does not choose to ride--she told me, so this
instant as I passed her on the stairs. Oh! don’t disturb her, I beg--she
is writing to Miss Walsingham--I have the honour to wish you a good
morning, ma’am.”

“Well, if you are determined to go, let me say three words to you in the
music-room, Sir John: though,” added she, in a whisper intended to be
heard by Mr. Palmer, “I know you do not look upon me as your friend,
yet depend upon it I shall treat you and all the world with perfect

Sir John, though sulky, could not avoid following the lady; and as soon
as she had shut all the doors and double-doors of the music-room, she
exclaimed, “It is always best to speak openly to one’s friends. Now, my
dear Sir John Hunter, how can you be so childish as to take ill of me
what I really was forced to say, for _your_ interest, about Captain
Walsingham, to Mr. Palmer? You know old Palmer is the oddest, most
self-willed man imaginable! humour and please him I must, the few days
he is with me. You know he goes on Tuesday--that’s decided--Dr. Wheeler
has seen him, has talked to him about his health, and it is absolutely
necessary that he should return to the West Indies. Then he is perfectly
determined to leave all he has to Amelia.”

“Yes, ma’am; but how am I sure of being the better for that?”
 interrupted Sir John, whose decided selfishness was a match for Mrs.
Beaumont’s address, because it went without scruple or ceremony straight
to his object; “for, ma’am, you can’t think I’m such a fool as not to
see that Mr. Palmer wishes me at the devil. Miss Beaumont gives me no
encouragement; and you, ma’am, I know, are too good a politician to
offend Mr. Palmer: so, if he declares in favour of this young _hero,_
Captain Walsingham, I may quit the field.”

“But you don’t consider that Mr. Palmer’s young hero has never made any
proposal for Amelia.”

“Pshaw! ma’am--but I know, as well as you do, that he likes her, and
propose he will for her now that he has money.”

“Granting that; you forget that all this takes time, and that Palmer
will be gone to the West Indies before they can bring out their
proposal; and as soon as he is gone, and has left his will, as he means
to do, with me, you and I have the game in our own hands. It is very
extraordinary to me that you do not seem to understand my play, though I
explained the whole to Albina; and I thought she had made you comprehend
the necessity for my _seeming,_ for this one week, to be less your
friend than I could wish, because of your title, and that odd whim of
Palmer, you know: but I am sure we understand one another now.”

“Excuse me,” said the invincible Sir John: “I confess, Mrs. Beaumont,
you have so much more abilities, and _finesse_, and all that sort
of thing, than I have, that I cannot help being afraid of--of not
understanding the business rightly. In business there is nothing like
understanding one another, and going on sure grounds. There has been so
much going backwards and forwards, and explanations and manoeuvres,
that I am not clear how it is; nor do I feel secure even that I have the
honour of your approbation.”

“What! not when I have assured you of it, Sir John, in the most
unequivocal manner?”

It was singular that the only person to whom in this affair Mrs.
Beaumont spoke the real truth should not believe her. Sir John Hunter
continued obstinately suspicious and incredulous. He had just heard that
his uncle Wigram, his rich uncle Wigram, was taken ill, and not likely
to recover. This intelligence had also reached Mrs. Beaumont, and
she was anxious to secure the baronet and the Wigram fortune for her
daughter; but nothing she could say seemed to satisfy him that she was
not double-dealing. At last, to prove to him her sincerity, she gave
him what he required, and what alone, he said, could make his mind
easy, could bring him to make up his mind--_a written assurance_ of her
approbation of his addresses to Amelia. With this he was content; “for,”
 said he, “what is written remains, and there can be no misunderstandings
in future, or changing of minds.”

It was agreed between these confidential friends, that Sir John should
depart, _as it were_, displeased; and she begged that he would not
return till Mr. Palmer should have left the country.

Now there was a numerous tribe of _hangers-on_, who were in the habit of
frequenting Beaumont Park, whom Mrs. Beaumont loved to see at her
house; because, besides making her feel her own importance, they were
frequently useful to carry on the subordinate parts of her perpetual
manoeuvres. Among these secondary personages who attended Mrs. Beaumont
abroad to increase her consequence in the eyes of common spectators, and
who at home filled the stage, and added to the bustle and effect, her
chief favourites were Mr. Twigg (the same gentleman who was deputed to
decide upon the belt or the screen) and Captain Lightbody. Mr. Twigg was
the most, elegant flatterer of the two, but Captain Lightbody was
the most assured, and upon the whole made his way the best. He was a
handsome man, had a good address, could tell a good story, sing a good
song, and _make things go off_ well, when there was company; so that he
was a prodigious assistance to the mistress of the house. Then he danced
with the young ladies when they had no other partners; he mounted guard
regularly beside the piano-forte, or the harp, when the ladies were
playing; and at dinner it was always the etiquette for him to sit beside
Miss Beaumont, or Miss Hunter, when the gentlemen guests were not such
as Mrs. Beaumont thought entitled to that honour, or such as she deemed
_safe_ companions. These arrangements imply that Captain Lightbody
thought himself in Mrs. Beaumont’s confidence: and so he was to a
certain degree, just enough to flatter him into doing her high or low
behests. Whenever she had a report to circulate, or to contradict,
Captain Lightbody was put in play; and no man could be better calculated
for this purpose, both from his love of talking, and of locomotion. He
galloped about from place to place, and from one great house to
another; knew all the lords and ladies, and generals and colonels,
and brigade-majors and aides-de-camp, in the land. Could any mortal
be better qualified to fetch and carry news for Mrs. Beaumont?
Besides news, it was his office to carry compliments, and to speed the
intercourse, not perhaps from soul to soul, but from house to house,
which is necessary in a visiting country to keep up the character of
an agreeable neighbour. Did Mrs. Beaumont forget to send a card of
invitation, or neglect to return a visit, Lightbody was to set it to
rights for her, Lightbody, the ready bearer of pretty notes, the maker
always, the fabricator sometimes, of the civilest speeches imaginable.
This expert speechifier, this ever idle, ever busy scamperer, our
heroine dispatched to engage a neighbouring family to pay her a morning
visit the next day, just about the time which was fixed for her going to
see the Walsinghams. The usual caution was given. “Pray, Lightbody, do
not let my name be used; do not let me be mentioned; but take it upon
yourself, and say, as if from yourself, that you have reason to believe
I take it ill that they have not been here lately. And then you can
mention the hour that would be most convenient. But let me have nothing
to do with it. I must not appear in it on any account.”

In consequence of Captain Lightbody’s faithful execution of his secret
instructions, a barouche full of morning visitors drove to the door,
just at the time when Mrs. Beaumont had proposed to set out for
Walsingham House. Mrs. Beaumont, with a well-dissembled look of
vexation, exclaimed, as she looked out of the window at the carriage,
“How provoking! Who can these people be? I hope Martin will say I am not
at home. Ring--ring, Amelia. Oh, it’s too late, they have seen me! and
Martin, stupid creature! has let them in.”

Mr. Palmer was much discomfited, and grew more and more impatient when
these troublesome visitors protracted their stay, and proposed a walk to
see some improvements in the grounds.

“But, my good Mistress Beaumont,” said he, “you know we are engaged to
our cousin Walsingham this morning; and if you will give me leave, I
will go on before you with Mr. Beaumont, and we can say what detains

Disconcerted by this simple determination of this straight-forward,
plain-spoken old gentleman, Mrs. Beaumont saw that farther delay on her
part would be not only inefficacious, but dangerous. She now was eager
to be relieved from the difficulties which she had herself contrived.
She would not, for any consideration, have trusted Mr. Palmer to pay
this visit without her: therefore, by an able counter-movement, she
extricated herself not only without loss, but with advantage, from this
perilous situation. She made a handsome apology to her visitors for
being obliged to run away from them. “She would leave Amelia to have the
pleasure of showing them the grounds.”

Mrs. Beaumont was irresistible in her arrangements. Amelia, disappointed
and afraid to show how deeply she felt the disappointment, was obliged
to stay to do the honours of Beaumont Park, whilst her mother drove off
rejoicing in half the success, at least, of her stratagem; but even as
a politician she used upon every occasion too much artifice. It was said
of Cardinal Mazarin, he is a great politician, but in all his politics
there is one capital defect--“_C’est qu’il veut toujours tromper_.”

“How tiresome those people were! I thought we never should have got
away from them,” said Mrs. Beaumont. “What possessed them to come this
morning, and to pay such a horrid long visit? Besides, those Duttons, at
all times, are the most stupid creatures upon the face of the earth;
I cannot endure them; so awkward and ill-bred too! and yet of a good
family--who could think it? They are people one must see, but they are
absolutely insufferable.”

“Insufferable!” said Mr. Palmer; “why, my good madam, then you have the
patience of a martyr; for you suffered them so patiently, that I never
should have guessed you suffered at all. I protest I thought they were
friends and favourites of yours, and that you were very glad to see

“Well, well, ‘tis the way of the world,” continued Mr. Palmer; “this
sort of--what do you call it? double-dealing about visitors, goes on
every where, Madam Beaumont. But how do I know, that when I go away, you
may not be as glad to get rid of me as you were to get away from these
Duttons?” added he, in a tone of forced jocularity. “How do I know,
but that the minute my back is turned, you may not begin to take me to
pieces in my turn, and say, ‘That old Palmer! he was the most tiresome,
humoursome, strange, old-fashioned fellow; I thought we should never
have got rid of him?”

“My dear, dear sir, how can you speak in such a manner?” cried Mrs.
Beaumont, who had made several vain attempts to interrupt this speech.
“You, who are our best friend! is it possible you could suspect? Is
there no difference to be made between friends and common acquaintance?”

“I am sure I hope there is,” said Mr. Palmer, smiling.

There was something so near the truth in Mr. Palmer’s raillery, that
Mrs. Beaumont could not take it with as much easy unconcern as the
occasion required, especially in the presence of her son, who maintained
a provoking silence. Unhappy indeed are those, who cannot, in such
moments of distress, in their own families, and in their nearest
connexions, find any relief from their embarrassments, and who look
round in vain for one to be _responsible_ for their sincerity. Mrs.
Beaumont sat uneasy and almost disconcerted. Mr. Palmer felt for his
snuff-box, his usual consolation; but it was not in his pocket: he
had left it on his table. Now Mrs. Beaumont was relieved, for she had
something to do, and something to say with her wonted politeness: in
spite of all remonstrance from Mr. Palmer, her man Martin was sent back
for the snuff-box; and conjectures about his finding it, and his being
able to overtake them before they arrived at Walsingham house, supplied
conversation for a mile or two.

“Here’s Martin coming back full gallop, I vow,” said Miss Hunter, who
could also talk on this topic.

“Come, come, my good lady,” said Mr. Palmer, (taking the moment when the
young lady had turned her back as she stretched out of the carriage
for the pleasure of seeing Martin gallop)--“Come, come, my good Mrs.
Beaumont, shake hands and be friends, and hang the Duttons! I did not
mean to vex you by what I said. I am not so polite as I should be, I
know, and you perhaps are a little too polite. But that is no great
harm, especially in a woman.”

Martin and the snuff-box came up at this instant; and all was apparently
as well as ever. Yet Mrs. Beaumont, who valued a reputation for
sincerity as much as Chartres valued a reputation for honesty, and
nearly upon the same principle, was seriously vexed that even this
transient light had been let in upon her real character. To such
_accidents_ duplicity is continually subject.


“Led by Simplicity divine, She pleased, and never tried to shine; She
gave to chance each unschool’d feature, And left her cause to sense and

Arrived at Walsingham Park, they met Miss Walsingham walking at some
distance from the house.

“Is Captain Walsingham come?” was the first question asked. “No, but
expected every hour.”

That he had not actually arrived was a comfortable reprieve to Mrs.
Beaumont. Breathing more freely, and in refreshed spirits, she prepared
to alight from her carriage, to walk to the house with Miss Walsingham,
as Mr. Palmer proposed. Miss Hunter, who was dressed with uncommon
elegance, remonstrated in favour of her delicate slippers: not that she
named the real object of her solicitude--no; she had not spent so much
time with Mrs. Beaumont, that great mistress of the art of apologizing,
without learning at least the inferior practices of the trade. Of course
she had all the little common arts of excuse ever ready: and instead of
saying that she did not like to walk because she was afraid to spoil her
shoes, she protested she was afraid of the heat, and could not walk so
far. But Mr. Beaumont had jumped out of the carriage, and Mrs.
Beaumont did not wish that he should walk home _tête-à-tête_ with Miss
Walsingham; therefore Miss Hunter’s remonstrances were of no avail.

“My love, you, will not be heated, for our walk is through this charming
shady grove; and if you are tired, here’s my son will give you his arm.”

Satisfied with this arrangement, the young lady, thus supported, found
it possible to walk. Mr. Palmer walked his own pace, looking round at
the beauties of the place, and desiring that nobody might mind him. This
was his way, and Mrs. Beaumont never teased him with talking to him,
when he did not seem to be in the humour for it. She, who made something
of every thing, began to manage the conversation with her other
companions during the walk, so as to favour her views upon the several
parties. Pursuing her principle, that love is in men’s minds generally
independent of esteem, and believing that her son might be rendered
afraid of the superiority of Miss Walsingham’s understanding, Mrs.
Beaumont took treacherous pains to _draw her out_. Starting from chance
seemingly, as she well knew how, a subject of debate, she went from
talking of the late marriage of some neighbouring couple, to discuss
a question on which she believed that Miss Walsingham’s opinion would
differ from that of her son. The point was, whether a wife should
or should not have pin-money. Miss Walsingham thought that a wife’s
accepting it would tend to establish a separate interest between married
people. Mr. Beaumont, on the contrary, was of opinion, that a wife’s
having a separate allowance would prevent disputes. So Miss Hunter
thought, of course, for she had been prepared to be precisely of Mr.
Beaumont’s opinion; but reasons she had none in its support. Indeed, she
said with a pretty simper, she thought that women had nothing to do
with reason or reasoning; that she thought a woman who really loved _any
body_ was always of that person’s opinion; and especially in a wife she
did not see of what use reasoning and _all that_ could be, except to
make a woman contradict, and be odd, and fond of ruling: that for her
part she had no pretensions to any understanding, and if she had ever so
much, she should be glad, she declared upon her honour, to get rid of it
if she could; for what use could it possibly be of to her, when it must
be the husband’s understanding that must always judge and rule, and a
wife ought only to obey, and be always of the opinion of the man of her
choice?--Having thus made her profession of folly in broken sentences,
with pretty confusion and all-becoming graces, she leaned upon Mr.
Beaumont’s arm with a bewitching air of languid delicacy, that solicited
support. Mrs. Beaumont, suppressing a sigh, which, however, she took
care that her son should hear, turned to Miss Walsingham, and, in a
whisper, owned that she could not help loving abilities, and spirit too,
even in her own sex. Then she observed aloud, that much might be urged
on her side of the question with regard to pin-money; for not only, as
Miss Walsingham justly said, it might tend to make a separate interest
between husband and wife, but the wife would probably be kept in total
ignorance of her husband’s affairs; and _that_ in some cases might
be very disadvantageous, as some women are more capable, from their
superior understanding, of managing every thing than most men, indeed,
than any man she could name.

Even under favour of this pretty compliment, which was plainly directed
by a glance of Mrs. Beaumont’s eye, Miss Walsingham would not accept of
this painful pre-eminence. She explained and made it clear, that she had
not any ambition to rule or manage.

“That I can readily believe,” said Mr. Beaumont; “for I have observed,
that it is not always the women who are the most able to decide who are
the most ambitious to govern.”

This observation either was not heard or was not understood by Miss
Hunter, whose whole soul was occupied in settling some fold of her
drapery: but Mr. Beaumont’s speech had its full effect on Mrs. Beaumont,
who bit her lip, and looked reproachfully at her son, as if she thought
this an infringement of his promised truce. A moment afterwards she felt
the imprudence of her own reproachful look, and was sensible that she
would have done better not to have fixed the opinion or feeling in her
son’s mind by noticing it thus with displeasure. Recovering, herself,
for she never was disconcerted for more than half a minute, she passed
on with easy grace to discuss the merits of the heroine of some new
novel--an historic novel, which gave her opportunity of appealing to
Miss Walsingham on some disputed points of history. She dexterously
attempted to draw her _well-informed_ young friend into a display of
literature which might alarm Mr. Beaumont. His education had in some
respects been shamefully neglected; for his mother had calculated that
ignorance would ensure dependence. He had endeavoured to supply, at a
late period of his education, the defects of its commencement; but he
was sensible that he had not supplied all his deficiencies, and he
was apt to feel, with painful impatient sensibility, his inferiority,
whenever literary subjects were introduced. Miss Walsingham, however,
was so perfectly free from all the affectation and vanity of a
bel-esprit, that she did not alarm even those who were inferior to her
in knowledge; their self-complacency, instead of being depressed by the
comparison of their attainments with hers, was insensibly raised, by the
perception that notwithstanding these, she could take pleasure in
their conversation, could appreciate their good sense or originality of
thought, without recurring to the authority of books, or of great names.
In fact, her mind had never been overwhelmed by a wasteful torrent of
learning. That the stream of literature had passed over, it was apparent
only from its fertility. Mrs. Beaumont repented of having drawn her
into conversation. Indeed, our heroine had trusted too much to some
expressions, which had at times dropped from her son, about _learned
ladies_, and certain _conversaziones_. She had concluded that he would
never endure literature in a wife; but she now perceived her mistake.
She discerned it too late; and at this moment she was doubly vexed, for
she saw Miss Hunter _produce_ herself in most disadvantageous contrast
to her rival. In conformity to instructions, which Mrs. Beaumont had
secretly given her, not to show too much sense or learning, because
gentlemen in general, and in particular Mr. Beaumont, disliked it; this
young lady now professed absolute ignorance and incapacity upon all
subjects; and meaning to have an air of pretty childish innocence or
timidity, really made herself appear quite like a simpleton. At the
same time a tinge of ineffectual malice and envy appeared through her
ill-feigned humility. She could give no opinion of any book--oh, she
would not give any judgment for the whole world! She did not think
herself qualified to speak, even if she had read the book, which indeed
she had not, for, really, she never read--she was not a _reading lady_.

As Miss Hunter had no portion of Mrs. Beaumont’s quick penetration, she
did not see the unfavourable impression these words made: certain that
she was following exactly her secret instructions, she was confident of
being in the right line; so on she went, whilst Mrs. Beaumont sighed in
vain; and Miss Walsingham, who now saw and understood her whole play,
almost smiled at the comic of the scene.

“O dear, Mrs. Beaumont,” continued Miss Hunter, “how can you ever
appeal to me about books and those sorts of things, when you know I know
nothing about the matter? For mercy’s sake, never do so any more, for
you know I’ve no taste for those sorts of things. And besides, I own,
even if I could, I should so hate to be thought a blue-stocking--I would
not have the least bit of blue in my stockings for the whole world--I’d
rather have any other colour, black, white, red, green, yellow, any
other colour. So I own I’m not sorry I’m not what they call a genius;
for though genius to be sure’s a very fascinating sort of thing in
gentlemen, yet in women it is not so becoming, I think, especially in
ladies: it does very well on the stage, and for artists, and so on; but
really now, in company, I think it’s an awkward thing, and would make
one look so odd! Now, Mr. Beaumont, I must tell you an anecdote--”

“Stop, my dear Miss Hunter, your ear-ring is coming out. Stay! let me
clasp it, love!” exclaimed Mrs. Beaumont, determined to stop her in the
career of nonsense, by giving her sensations, since she could not give
her ideas, a new turn.

“Oh, ma’am! ma’am! Oh! my ear! you are killing me, dearest Mrs.
Beaumont! pinching me to death, ma’am!”

“Did I pinch, my dear? It was the hinge of the ear-ring, I suppose.”

“I don’t know what it was; but here’s blood, I declare!”

“My love, I beg you a thousand pardons. How could I be so awkward! But
why could not you for one moment hold your little head still?”

Miss Walsingham applied a patch to the wound.

“Such a pretty ear as it is,” continued Mrs. Beaumont; “I am sure it was
a pity to hurt it.”

“You really did hurt it,” said Mr. Beaumont, in a tone of compassion.

“Oh, horridly!” cried Miss Hunter--“and I, that always faint at the
sight of blood!”

Afraid that the young lady would again spoil her part in the acting, and
lose all the advantages which might result from the combined effect of
the pretty ear and of compassion, Mrs. Beaumont endeavoured to take off
her attention from the wound, by attacking her ear-rings.

“My love,” said she, “don’t wear these ear-rings any more, for I assure
you there is no possibility of shutting or opening them, without hurting

This expedient, however, nearly proved fatal in its consequences.
Miss Hunter entered most warmly into the defence of her ear-rings; and
appealed to Mr. Beaumont to confirm her decision, that they were the
prettiest and best ear-rings in the world. Unluckily, they did not
particularly suit his fancy, and the young lady, who had, but half an
hour before, professed that she could never be of a different opinion
in any thing from that of the man she loved, now pettishly declared that
she could not and would not give up her taste. Incensed still more by a
bow of submission, but not of conviction, from Mr. Beaumont, she went
on regardless of her dearest Mrs. Beaumont’s frowns, and vehemently
maintained her judgment, quoting, with triumphant volubility,
innumerable precedents of ladies, “who had just bought _the very same_
ear-rings, and whose taste she believed nobody would dispute.”

Mr. Beaumont had seen enough, now and upon many other occasions, to be
convinced that it is not on matters of consequence that ladies are apt
to grow most angry; and he stood confirmed in his belief that those who
in theory professed to have such a humble opinion of their own abilities
that they cannot do or understand any thing useful, are often, in
practice, the most prone to insist upon the infallibility of their taste
and judgment. Mrs. Beaumont, who saw with one glance of her quick
eye what passed at this moment in her son’s mind, sighed, and said to
herself--“How impossible to manage a fool, who ravels, as fast as one
weaves, the web of her fortune!”

Yet though Mrs. Beaumont perceived and acknowledged the impracticability
of managing a fool for a single hour, it was one of the favourite
objects of her manoeuvres to obtain this very fool for a
daughter-in-law, with the hope of governing her for life. So
inconsistent are cunning people, even of the best abilities; so ill do
they calculate the value of their ultimate objects, however ingeniously
they devise their means, or adapt them to their ends.

During this walk Mr. Palmer had taken no part in the conversation; he
had seemed engrossed with his own thoughts, or occupied with observing
the beauties of the place. Tired with her walk--for Mrs. Beaumont always
complained of being fatigued when she was vexed, thus at once concealing
her vexation, and throwing the faults of her mind upon her body--she
stretched herself upon a sofa as soon as she reached the house, nor
did she recover from her exhausted state till she cast her eyes upon a
tamborine, which she knew would afford means of showing Miss Hunter’s
figure and graces to advantage. Slight as this resource may seem,
Mrs. Beaumont well knew that slighter still have often produced great
effects. Soon afterward she observed her son smile repeatedly as he
read a passage in some book that lay upon the table, and she had the
curiosity to take up the book when he turned away. She found that it
was Cumberland’s Memoirs, and saw the following little poem marked with
reiterated lines of approbation:

      “Why, Affectation, why this mock grimace?
      Go, silly thing, and hide that simp’ring face.
      Thy lisping prattle, and thy mincing gait,
      All thy false mimic fooleries I hate;
      For thou art Folly’s counterfeit, and she
      Who is right foolish hath the better plea;
      Nature’s true idiot I prefer to thee.

      Why that soft languish?
      Why that drawling tone?
      Art sick, art sleepy?
      Get thee hence: begone.
      I laugh at all thy pretty baby tears,
      Those flutt’rings, faintings, and unreal fears.

      Can they deceive us?
      Can such mumm’ries move,
      Touch us with pity, or inspire with love?
      No, Affectation, vain is all thy art!
      Those eyes may wander over ev’ry part;
      They’ll never find their passage to the heart.”

“Why, Affectation, why this mock grimace? Go, silly thing, and hide that
simp’ring face. Thy lisping prattle, and thy mincing gait, All thy false
mimic fooleries I hate; For thou art Folly’s counterfeit, and she Who
is right foolish hath the better plea; Nature’s true idiot I prefer to

Why that soft languish? Why that drawling tone? Art sick, art sleepy?
Get thee hence: begone. I laugh at all thy pretty baby tears, Those
flutt’rings, faintings, and unreal fears.

Can they deceive us? Can such mumm’ries move, Touch us with pity, or
inspire with love? No, Affectation, vain is all thy art! Those eyes may
wander over ev’ry part; They’ll never find their passage to the heart.”

Mrs. Beaumont, the moment she had read these lines, perceived why her
son had smiled. The portrait seemed really to have been drawn from Miss
Hunter, and the lines were so _à propos_ to the scene which had just
passed during the walk, that it was impossible to avoid the application.
Mrs. Beaumont shut the book hastily as her dear Albina approached, for
she was afraid that the young lady would have known her own picture.
So few people, however, even of those much wiser than Miss Hunter, know
themselves, that she need not have been alarmed. But she had no longer
leisure to devote her thoughts to this subject, for Mr. Walsingham,
who had been out riding, had by this time returned; and the moment he
entered the room, Mrs. Beaumont’s attention was directed to him and to
Mr. Palmer. She introduced them to each other, with many expressions of
regret that they should not sooner have met.

Characters that are free from artifice immediately coalesce, as metals
that are perfectly pure can be readily cemented together. Mr. Palmer
and Mr. Walsingham were intimate in half an hour. There was an air of
openness and sincerity about Mr. Walsingham; a freedom and directness in
his conversation, which delighted Mr. Palmer.

“I am heartily glad we have met at last, my good cousin Walsingham,”
 said he: “very sorry should I have been to have left the country without
becoming acquainted with you: and now I wish your gallant captain was
arrived. I am to set off the day after to-morrow, and I am sadly afraid
I shall miss seeing him.”

Mr. Walsingham said, that as they expected him every hour, he hoped
Mr. Palmer would persuade Mrs. Beaumont to spend the day at Walsingham

Mrs. Beaumont dared not object. On the contrary, it was now her policy
to pretend the fondest friendship for all the Walsingham family: yet,
all the time, pursuing her plan of preventing Mr. Palmer from discerning
their real characters and superior merit, she managed with great
dexterity to keep the conversation as much as possible upon general
topics, and tried to prevent Mr. Palmer from being much alone with
Mr. Walsingham, for she dreaded their growing intimacy. After dinner,
however, when the ladies retired, the gentlemen drew their chairs close
together, and had a great deal of conversation on interesting subjects.
The most interesting was Captain Walsingham: Mr. Palmer earnestly
desired to hear the particulars of his history.

“And from whom,” said young Beaumont, turning to Mr. Walsingham, “can he
hear them better than from Captain Walsingham’s guardian and friend?”


     _“Yet never seaman more serenely brave
     Led Britain’s conquering squadrons o’er the wave.”_

“Friends are not always the best biographers,” said Mr. Walsingham; “but
I will try to be impartial. My ward’s first desire to be a sailor was
excited, as he has often since told me, by reading Robinson Crusoe. When
he was scarcely thirteen he went out in the Resolute, a frigate, under
the command of Captain Campbell. Campbell was an excellent officer,
and very strict in all that related to order and discipline. It was his
principle and his practice never to forgive _a first offence_; by which
the number of second faults was considerably diminished. My ward was not
much pleased at first with his captain; but he was afterwards convinced
that this strictness was what made a man of him. He was buffeted about,
and shown the rough of life; made to work hard, and submit to authority.
To reason he was always ready to yield; and by degrees he learned that
his first duty as a sailor was implicit obedience. In due time he was
made lieutenant: in this situation, his mixed duties of command and
obedience were difficult, because his first-lieutenant, the captain’s
son, was jealous of him.

“Walsingham found it a more difficult task to win the confidence of
the son than it had been to earn the friendship of the father. His
punctuality in obeying orders, and his respectful manner to the
lieutenant, availed but little; for young Campbell still viewed him with
scornful yet with jealous eyes, imagining that he only wanted to show
himself the better officer.

“Of the falsehood of these suspicions Walsingham had at last an
opportunity of giving unquestionable proof. It happened one day that
Lieutenant Campbell, impatient at seeing a sailor doing some work
awkwardly on the outside of the vessel, snatched the rope from his hand,
and swore he would do it himself. In his hurry, Campbell missed his
footing, and fell overboard:--he could not swim. Walsingham had
the presence of mind to order the ship to be put about, and plunged
instantly into the water to save his rival. With much exertion he
reached Campbell, supported him till the boat was lowered down, and got
him safe aboard again.”

“Just like himself!” cried young Beaumont; “all he ever wanted was
opportunity to show his soul.”

“The first-lieutenant’s jealousy was now changed into gratitude,”
 continued Mr. Walsingham; “and from this time forward, instead of
suffering from that petty rivalship by which he used to be obstructed,
Walsingham enjoyed the entire confidence of young Campbell. This good
understanding between him and his brother officer not only made their
every day lives pleasant, but in times of difficulty secured success.
For three years that they lived together after this period, and during
which time they were ordered to every quarter of the globe, they never
had the slightest dispute, either in the busiest or the idlest times. At
length, in some engagement with a Dutch ship, the particulars of which
I forget, Lieutenant Campbell was mortally wounded: his last words
were--‘Walsingham, comfort my father.’ That was no easy task. Stern as
Captain Campbell seemed, the loss of his son was irreparable. He never
shed a tear when he was told it was all over, but said, ‘God’s will be
done;’ and turning into his cabin, desired to be left alone. Half an
hour afterwards he sent for Walsingham, who found him quite calm. ‘We
must see and do our duty together to the last,’ said he.

“He exerted himself strenuously, and to all outward appearance was, as
the sailors said, the same man as ever; but Walsingham, who knew him
better, saw that his heart was broken, and that he wished for nothing
but an honourable death. One morning as he was on deck looking through
his glass, he called to Walsingham; ‘Your eyes are better than mine,’
said he; ‘look here, and tell me, do you see yonder sail--she’s French?
Le Magnanime frigate, if I’m not mistaken. ‘Yes,’ said Walsingham, ‘I
know her by the patch in her main sail.’--‘We’ll give her something
to do,’ said Campbell, ‘though she’s so much our superior. Please God,
before the sun’s over our heads, you shall have her in tow, Walsingham.’
‘_We_ shall, I trust,’ said Walsingham.--‘Perhaps not _we_; for I own
I wish to fall,’ said Campbell. ‘You are first-lieutenant now; I can’t
leave my men under better command, and I hope the Admiralty will give
you the ship, if you give it to his Majesty.’--Then turning to the
sailors, Captain Campbell addressed them with a countenance unusually
cheerful; and, after a few words of encouragement, gave orders to clear
decks for action. ‘Walsingham, you’ll see to every thing whilst I step
down to write.’ He wrote, as it was afterwards found, two letters, both
concerning Walsingham’s interests. The frigate with which they had to
engage was indeed far superior to them in force; but Campbell trusted to
the good order and steadiness as well as to the courage of his men. The
action was long and obstinate. Twice the English attempted to board the
enemy, and twice were repulsed. The third time, just as Captain Campbell
had seized hold of the French colours, which hung in rags over the side
of the enemy’s ship, he received a wound in his breast, fell back into
Walsingham’s arms, and almost instantly expired. The event of this day
was different from what Campbell had expected, for _Le Succès_ of fifty
guns appeared in sight; and, after a desperate engagement with her, in
which Walsingham was severely wounded, and every other officer on board
killed or wounded, Walsingham saw that nothing was left but to make a
wanton sacrifice of the remainder of his crew, or to strike.

“After a contest of six hours, he struck to _Le Succès_. Perfect silence
on his deck; a loud and insulting shout from the enemy!

“No sooner had Walsingham struck, than La Force, the captain of _Le
Succès_ hailed him, and ordered him to come in his own boat, and to
deliver his sword. Walsingham replied, that ‘his sword, so demanded,
should never be delivered but with his life.’[2] The Frenchman did not
think proper to persist; but soon after sent his lieutenant on board
the Resolute, where the men were found at their quarters with lighted
matches in their hands, ready to be as good as their word. La Force,
the captain of _Le Succès_, was a sailor of fortune, who had risen by
chance, not merit.”

“Ay, ay,” interrupted Mr. Palmer, “so I thought; and there was no great
merit, or glory either, in a French fifty gun taking an English frigate,
after standing a six hours’ contest with another ship. Well, my dear
sir, what became of poor Walsingham? How did this rascally Frenchman
treat his prisoners?”

“Scandalously!” cried Beaumont; “and yet Walsingham is so generous that
he will never let me damn the nation, for what he says was only the
fault of an individual, who disgraced it.”

“Well, let me hear and judge for myself,” said Mr. Palmer.

“La Force carried the Resolute in triumph into a French port,” continued
Mr. Walsingham. “Vain of displaying his prisoners, he marched them up
the country, under pretence that they would not be safe in a sea-port.
Cambray was the town in which they were confined. Walsingham found the
officers of the garrison very civil to him at first; but when they saw
that he was not fond of high play, and that he declined being of their
parties at billiards and _vingt-un_, they grew tired of him; for without
these resources they declared they should perish with _ennui_ in a
country town. Even under the penalty of losing all society, Walsingham
resisted every temptation to game, and submitted to live with the
strictest economy rather than to run in debt.”

“But did you never send him any money? Or did not he get your
remittances?” said Mr. Palmer.

“My dear sir, by some delays of letters, we did not hear for two months
where he was imprisoned.”

“And he was reduced to the greatest distress,” pursued Beaumont; “for
he had shared all he had, to the utmost farthing, with his poor

“Like a true British sailor!” said Mr. Palmer. “Well, sir, I hope he
contrived to make his escape?”

“No, for he would not break his parole,” said Beaumont,

“His parole! I did not know he was on his parole,” said Mr. Palmer.
“Then certainly he could not break it.”

“He had two tempting opportunities, I can assure you,” said Beaumont;
“one offered by the commandant’s lady, who was not insensible to his
merit; the other, by the gratitude of some poor servant, whom he had
obliged--Mr. Walsingham can tell you all the particulars.”

“No, I need not detail the circumstances; it is enough to tell you,
sir, that he withstood the temptations, would not break his parole, and
remained four months a prisoner in Cambray. Like the officers of the
garrison, he should have drunk or gamed, or else he must have died of
vexation, he says, if he had not fortunately had a taste for reading,
and luckily procured books from a good old priest’s library. At the end
of four months the garrison of Cambray was changed; and instead of a set
of dissipated officers, there came a well-conducted regiment, under the
command of M. de Villars, an elderly officer of sense and discretion.”

“An excellent man!” cried Beaumont: “I love him with all my soul,
though I never saw him. But I beg your pardon for interrupting you, Mr.

“A prattling hairdresser at Cambray first prepossessed M. de Villars in
Walsingham’s favour, by relating a number of anecdotes intended to
throw abuse and ridicule upon the English captain, to convict him of
misanthropy and economy; of having had his hair dressed but twice since
he came to Cambray; of never having frequented the society of Madame
la Marquise de Marsillac, the late commandant’s lady, for more than a
fortnight after his arrival, and of having actually been detected in
working with his own hand with smiths’ and carpenters’ tools. Upon
the strength of the hairdresser’s information, M. de Villars paid the
English captain a visit; was pleased by his conversation, and by all
that he observed of his conduct and character.

“As M. de Villars was going down stairs, after having spent an evening
with Walsingham, a boy of twelve years old, the son of the master of
the lodging-house, equipped in a military uniform, stood across the
landing-place, as if determined to, stop him. ‘Mon petit militaire,’
said the commandant, ‘do you mean to dispute my passage?’ ‘Non, mon
général,’ said the boy; ‘I know my duty too well. But I post myself
here to demand an audience, for I have a secret of importance to
communicate.’ M. de Villars, smiling at the boy’s air of consequence,
yet pleased with the steady earnestness of his manner, took him by
the hand into an antechamber, and said that he was ready to listen
to whatever he had to impart. The boy then told him that he had
accidentally overheard a proposal which had been made to facilitate the
English captain’s escape, and that the captain refused to comply with
it, because it was not honourable to break his parole. The boy, who
had been struck by the circumstance, and who, besides, was grateful
to Walsingham for some little instances of kindness, spoke with much
enthusiasm in his favour; and, as M. de Villars afterwards repeated,
finished his speech by exclaiming, ‘I would give every thing I have
in the world, except my sword and my honour, to procure this English
captain his liberty.’

“M. de Villars was pleased with the boy’s manner, and with the fact
which he related; so much so, that he promised, that if Walsingham’s
liberty could be obtained he would procure it. ‘And you, my good little
friend, shall, if I succeed,’ added he, ‘have the pleasure of being the
first to tell him the good news.’

“Some days afterwards, the boy burst into Walsingham’s room, exclaiming,
‘Liberty! liberty! you are at liberty!’--He danced and capered with
such wild joy, that it was some time before Walsingham could obtain any
explanation, or could prevail on him to let him look at a letter which
he held in his hand, flourishing it about in triumph. At last he showed
that it was an order from M. de Villars, for the release of Captain
Walsingham, and of all the English prisoners, belonging to the Resolute,
for whom exchanges had been effected. No favour could be granted in a
manner more honourable to all the parties concerned. Walsingham arrived
in England without any farther difficulties.”

“Thank God!” said Mr. Palmer. “Well, now he has touched English ground
again, I have some hopes for him. What next?”

“The first thing he did, of course, was to announce his return to the
Admiralty. A court-martial was held at Portsmouth; and, fortunately for
him, was composed of officers of the highest distinction, so that
the first men in his profession became thoroughly acquainted with the
circumstances of his conduct. The enthusiasm with which his men bore
testimony in his favour was gratifying to his feelings, and the minutes
of the evidence were most honourable to him. The court pronounced, that
Lieutenant Walsingham had done all that could be effected by the most
gallant and judicious officer in the defence of His Majesty’s ship
Resolute. The ministry who had employed Captain Campbell were no longer
in place, and one of the Lords of the Admiralty at this time happened
to have had some personal quarrel with him. A few days after the trial,
Walsingham was at a public dinner, at which Campbell’s character became
the subject of conversation. Walsingham was warned, in a whisper, that
the first Lord of the Admiralty’s private secretary was present, and was
advised to be _prudent_; but Walsingham’s prudence was not of that sort
which can coolly hear a worthy man’s memory damned with faint praise;
his prudence was not of that sort which can tamely sit by and see a
friend’s reputation in danger. With all the warmth and eloquence of
friendship, he spoke in Captain Campbell’s defence, and paid a just and
energetic tribute of praise to his memory. He spoke, and not a word
more was said against Campbell. The politicians looked down upon their
plates; and there was a pause of that sort, which sometimes in a company
of interested men of the world results from surprise at the imprudent
honesty of a good-natured novice. Walsingham, as the company soon
afterwards broke up, heard one gentleman say of him to another, as they
went away, ‘There’s a fellow now, who has ruined himself without knowing
it, and all for a dead man.’ It was not without knowing it: Walsingham
was well aware what he hazarded, but he was then, and ever, ready to
sacrifice his own interests in the defence of truth and of a friend. For
two long years afterwards, Walsingham was, in the technical and elegant
phrase, _left on the shelf, and the door of promotion was shut against

“Yes, and there he might have remained till now,” said Beaumont, “if it
had not been for that good Mr. Gaspar, a clerk in one of their offices;
a man who, though used to live among courtiers and people hackneyed in
the political ways of the world, was a plain, warm-hearted friend, a man
of an upright character, who prized integrity and generosity the
more because he met with them so seldom. But I beg your pardon, Mr.
Walsingham; will you go on and tell Mr. Palmer how and why Gaspar served
our friend?”

“One day Walsingham had occasion to go to Mr. Gaspar’s office to search
for some papers relative to certain charts which he had drawn, and
intended to present to the Admiralty. In talking of the soundings of
some bay he had taken whilst out with Captain Campbell, he mentioned
him, as he always did, with terms of affection and respect. Mr. Gaspar
immediately asked, ‘Are you, sir, that Lieutenant Walsingham, of
the Resolute, who at a public dinner about two years ago made such a
disinterested defence of your captain? If it is in my power to serve
you, depend upon it I will. Leave your charts with me; I think I may
have an opportunity of turning them to your advantage, and that of the
service.’ Gaspar, who was thoroughly in earnest, took a happy moment to
present Walsingham’s charts before the Admiralty, just at a time when
they were wanted. The Admiralty were glad to employ an officer who had
some local information, and they sent him out in the Dreadnought, a
thirty-six gun frigate, with Captain Jemmison, to the West Indies.”

“And what sort of a man was his new captain?” said Mr. Palmer.

“As unlike his old one as possible,” said Beaumont.

“Yes,” continued Mr. Walsingham; “in every point, except courage,
Captain Jemmison was as complete a contrast as could be imagined to
Captain Campbell. Whatever else he might be, Jemmison was certainly a
man of undaunted courage.”

“That’s of course, if he was a captain in the British navy,” said Mr.

“From his appearance, however, you would never have taken him for a
gallant sailor,” said Mr. Walsingham: “abhorring the rough, brutal,
swearing, grog-drinking, tobacco-chewing, race of sea-officers, the Bens
and the Mirvans of former times, Captain Jemmison, resolving, I suppose,
to avoid their faults, went into the contrary extreme of refinement and
effeminacy. A superlative coxcomb, and an epicure more from fashion than
taste, he gloried in descanting, with technical precision, on the merits
of dishes and of cooks. His table, even on shipboard, was to be equalled
in elegance only by his toilet.”

“The puppy!” exclaimed Mr. Palmer. “And how could Captain Walsingham go
on with such a coxcomb?”

“Very ill, you may be sure,” said Beaumont; “for Walsingham, I’ll answer
for it, never could conceal or control his feelings of contempt or

“Yet, as Captain Jemmison’s lieutenant, he always behaved with perfect
propriety,” said Mr. Walsingham, “and bore with his foppery and
impertinence with the patience becoming a subordinate officer to his
superior. Jemmison could not endure a lieutenant whose character and
manners were a continual contrast and reproach to his own, and he
disliked him the more because he could never provoke him to any
disrespect. Jemmison often replied even to Walsingham’s silent contempt;
as a French pamphleteer once published a book entitled, _Réponse au
Silence de M. de la Motte_. On some points, where duty and principle
were concerned, Walsingham, however, could not be silent. There was a
lad of the name of Birch on board the Dreadnought, whom Walsingham had
taken under his immediate care, and whom he was endeavouring to train
up in every good habit. Jemmison, to torment Walsingham, made it his
pleasure to counteract him in these endeavours, and continually did all
he could to spoil Birch by foolish indulgence. Walsingham’s indignation
was upon these occasions vehement, and his captain and he came to
frequent quarrels. Young Birch, who had sense enough to know which
was his true friend, one day threw himself on his knees to beseech his
lieutenant not to hazard so much on his account, and solemnly swore that
he would never be guilty of the slightest excess or negligence during
the remainder of the voyage. The young man was steady to his promise,
and by his resolution and temper prevented Walsingham and his captain
from coming to a serious rupture. When they arrived at their place of
destination, Jamaica, Captain Jemmison went on shore to divert himself,
and spent his time in great dissipation at Spanish Town, eating,
dressing, dancing, gallanting, and glorying in its being observed by
all the ladies that he had nothing of a sea-captain about him. The other
officers, encouraged by his precept and example, left the ship; but
Walsingham stayed on board, and had severe duty to perform, for he could
not allow the crew to go on shore, because they got into riots with the
townspeople. Soon after their arrival, and even during the course
of their voyage, he had observed among the sailors something like
a disposition to mutiny, encouraged probably by the negligence and
apparent effeminacy of their captain. Though they knew him to be a man
of intrepidity, yet they ridiculed and despised his coxcombry, and his
relaxation of discipline gave them hopes of succeeding in their mutinous
schemes. Walsingham strongly and repeatedly represented to Captain
Jemmison the danger, and remonstrated with him and the other officers
upon the imprudence of leaving the ship at this juncture; but Jemmison,
in a prettily rounded period, protested he saw no penumbra of danger,
and that till he was called upon by Mars, he owned he preferred the
charms of Venus.

“This was vastly elegant; but, nevertheless, it happened one night,
when the captain, after having eaten an admirable supper, was paying his
court to a Creole lady of Spanish Town, news was brought him, that the
crew of the Dreadnought had mutinied, and that Lieutenant Walsingham
was killed. One half of the report was true, and the other nearly so. At
midnight, after having been exhausted during the preceding week by his
vigilance, Walsingham had just thrown himself into his cot, when he
was roused by Birch at his cabin-door, crying, ‘A mutiny! a mutiny on
deck!’--Walsingham seized his drawn cutlass, and ran up the ladder,
determined to cut down the ringleader; but just as he reached the top,
the sailors shut down the hatchway, which struck his head with such
violence, that he fell, stunned, and, to all appearance, dead. Birch
contrived, in the midst of the bustle, before he was himself seized
by the mutineers, to convey, by signals to shore, news of what had
happened. But Captain Jemmison could now be of no use. Before he could
take any measures to prevent them, the mutineers weighed anchor, and
the Dreadnought, under a brisk breeze, was out of the bay; all the other
vessels in the harbour taking it for granted that her captain was on
board, and that she was sailing under orders. In the mean time, whilst
Walsingham was senseless, the sailors stowed him into his cabin, and set
a guard over him. The ringleader, Jefferies, a revengeful villain, who
bore malice against him for some just punishment, wanted to murder him,
but the rest would not consent. Some would not dip their hands in blood;
others pleaded for him, and said that he was never cruel. One man urged,
that the lieutenant had been kind to him when he was sick. Another
suggested, that it would be well to keep him alive to manage the ship
for them, in case of difficulties. Conscious of their ignorance, they
acceded to this advice; Jefferies’ proposal to murder him was overruled:
and it was agreed to keep Walsingham close prisoner till they should
need his assistance. He had his timekeeper and log-book locked up with
him, which were totally forgotten by these miscreants. Never seaman
prayed more fervently for fair weather than Walsingham now did for
a storm. At last, one night he heard (and he says it was one of the
pleasantest sounds he ever heard in his life) the wind rising. Soon it
blew a storm. He heard one of the sailors say--‘A stiff gale, Jack!’ and
another--‘An ugly night!’ Presently, great noise on deck, and the pumps
at work. Every moment he now expected a deputation from the mutineers.
The first person he saw was the carpenter, who came in to knock in the
dead lights in the cabin windows. The man was surly, and would give no
answer to any questions; but Walsingham knew, by the hurry of his work,
that the fellow thought there was no time to be lost. Twice, before he
could finish what he was about, messages came from _Captain Jefferies,_
to order him to something else. Then a violent crash above from the fall
of a mast; and then he heard one cry--‘I’ll be cursed if I should care,
if we did but know where-abouts we are.’ Then all was in such uproar,
that no voices could be distinguished. At last his cabin-door unlocked,
and many voices called upon him at once to come upon deck that instant
and save the ship. Walsingham absolutely refused to do any thing for
them till they returned to their duty, delivered up to him their arms,
and their ringleader, Jefferies. At this answer they stood aghast. Some
tried entreaties, some threats: all in vain. Walsingham coolly said,
he would go to the bottom along with the ship rather than say a word
to save them, till they submitted. The storm blew stronger--the danger
every moment increasing. One of the mutineers came with a drawn cutlass,
another levelled a blunderbuss at Walsingham, swearing to despatch him
that instant, if he would not tell them where they were. ‘Murder me,
and you will be hanged; persist in your mutiny, you’ll be drowned,’
said Walsingham. ‘You’ll never make me swerve from my duty--and you know
it--you have my answer.’ The enraged sailors seized him in their arms,
and carried him by force upon deck, where the sight of the danger,
and the cries of ‘Throw him overboard!--over with him!’ only seemed to
fortify his resolution. Not a word, not a sign could they get from him.
The rudder was now unshipped! At this the sailors’ fury turned
suddenly upon Jefferies, who between terror and ignorance was utterly
incapacitated. They seized, bound, gave him up to Walsingham, returned
to their duty; and then, and not till then, Walsingham resumed his
command. Walsingham’s voice, once more heard, inspired confidence, and
with the hopes revived the exertions of the sailors. I am not seaman
enough to tell you how the ship was saved; but that it was saved, and
saved by Walsingham, is certain. I remember only, that he made the ship
manageable by some contrivance, which he substituted in the place of the
rudder that had been unshipped. The storm abating, he made for the first
port, to repair the ship’s damages, intending to return to Jamaica, to
deliver her up to her captain; but, from a vessel they spoke at sea, he
learned that Jemmison was gone to England in a merchantman. To England
then Walsingham prepared to follow.”

“And with this rebel crew!” cried Beaumont; “think, Mr. Palmer, what a
situation he was in, knowing, as he did, that every rascal of them would
sooner go to the devil than go home, where they knew they must be tried
for their mutiny.”

“Well, sir, well!” said Mr. Palmer. “Did they run away with the ship a
second time? or how did he manage?”

He called them all one morning together on deck; and pointing to the
place where the gunpowder was kept, he said--‘I have means of blowing up
the ship. If ever you attempt to mutiny again, the first finger you lay
upon me, I blow her up instantly.’ They had found him to be a man of
resolution. They kept to their duty. Not a symptom of disobedience
during the rest of the voyage. In their passage they fell in with an
enemy’s ship, far superior to them in force. ‘There, my lads!’ said
Walsingham, ‘if you have a mind to earn your pardons, there’s your best
chance. Take her home with you to your captain and your king.’ A loud
cheer was their answer. They fought like devils to redeem themselves.
Walsingham--but without stopping to make his panegyric, I need only tell
you, that Walsingham’s conduct and intrepidity were this time crowned
with success. He took the enemy’s ship, and carried it in triumph into
Portsmouth. Jemmison was on the platform when they came in; and what a
mortifying sight it was to him, and what a proud hour to Walsingham, you
may imagine! Having delivered the Dreadnought and her prize over to his
captain, the next thing to be thought of was the trial of the mutineers.
All except Jefferies obtained a pardon, in consideration of their return
to duty, and their subsequent services. Jefferies was hanged at the
yard-arm. The trial of the mutineers brought on, as Jemmison foresaw it
must, many animadversions on his own conduct. Powerful connexions, and
his friends in place, silenced, as much as possible, the public voice.
Jemmison gave excellent dinners, and endeavoured to drown the whole
affair in his choice Champagne and _London particular Madeira_; so his
health, and success to the British navy, was drunk in bumper toasts.

“Ay, ay, they think to do every thing now in England by dinners, and
bumper toasts, and three times three,” said Mr. Palmer.

“But it did not do in this instance,” said Beaumont, in a tone of
exultation: “it did not do.”

“No,” continued Mr. Walsingham; “though Jemmison’s dinners went
down vastly well with a party, they did not satisfy the public. The
opposition papers grew clamorous, and the business was taken up so
strongly, and it raised such a cry against the ministry, that they were
obliged to bring Jemmison to a court-martial.”

“The puppy! I’m glad of it, with all my soul. And how did he look then?”
 said Mr. Palmer.

“Vastly like a gentleman; that was all that even his friends could say
for him. The person he was most afraid of on the trial was Walsingham.
In this apprehension he was confirmed by certain of his friends, who
had attempted to sound Walsingham as to the nature of the evidence he
intended to give. They all reported, that they could draw nothing out
of him, and that he was an impracticable fellow; for his constant answer
was, that his evidence should be given in court, and nowhere else.”

“Even to his most intimate friends,” interrupted Mr. Beaumont, “even to
me, who was in the house with him all the time the trial was going on,
he did not tell what his evidence would be.”

“When the day of trial came,” pursued Mr. Walsingham----

“Don’t forget Admiral Dashleigh,” said Mr. Beaumont.

“No; who can forget him that knows him?” said Walsingham: “a warm,
generous friend, open-hearted as he is brave--he came to Captain
Walsingham the day before the court-martial was to sit. ‘I know,
Walsingham, you don’t like my cousin Jemmison (said he), nor do I much,
for he is a puppy, and I never could like a puppy, related to me or not;
be that as it may, you’ll do him justice, I’m sure; for though he is
a puppy he is a brave fellow--and here, for party purposes, they
have raised a cry of his being a coward, and want to shoot him _pour
encourager les autres_. What you say will damn or save him; and I have
too good an opinion of you to think that any old grudge, though you
might have cause for it, would stand in his way.’ Walsingham answered
as usual, that his opinion and his evidence would be known on the day
of trial. Dashleigh went away very ill-satisfied, and persuaded that
Walsingham harboured revenge against his relation. At last, when he was
called upon in court, Walsingham’s conduct was both just and generous;
for though his answers spoke the exact truth, yet he brought forward
nothing to the disadvantage of Jemmison, but what truth compelled him
to state, and in his captain’s favour; on the contrary, he spoke so
strongly of his intrepidity, and of the gallant actions which in former
instances he had performed in the service, as quite to efface the
recollection of his foppery and epicurism, and, as much as possible,
to excuse his negligence. Walsingham’s evidence absolutely confuted the
unjust charge or suspicion of cowardice that had been raised against
Jemmison; and made such an impression in his favour, that, instead of
being dismissed the service, or even having his ship taken from him, as
was expected, Jemmison got off with a reprimand.”

“Which I am sure he well deserved,” said Mr. Palmer.

“But certainly Walsingham was right not to let him be run down by a
popular cry, especially as he had used him ill,” said Mr. Beaumont.

“Well, well!--I don’t care about the puppy,” cried Mr. Palmer; “only go

“No sooner was the trial over, and the sentence of the court made known,
than Admiral Dashleigh, full of joy, admiration, and gratitude,
pushed his way towards Walsingham, and stretching out his hand,
exclaimed--‘Shake hands, Walsingham, and forgive me, or I can’t forgive
myself. I suspected you yesterday morning of bearing malice against that
coxcomb, who deserved to be laughed at, but not to be shot. By Jove,
Walsingham, you’re an honest fellow, I find.’ ‘And have you but just
found that out, admiral?’ said Walsingham, with a proud smile. ‘Harkee,
my lad,’ said Dashleigh, calling after him, ‘remember, I’m _your_
friend, at all events.--Take it as you will, I’ll make you mine yet,
before I’ve done with you.’ Walsingham knew that at this time Admiral
Dashleigh’s friends were in power, and that Dashleigh himself had great
influence with the Admiralty; and he probably treated the admiral thus
haughtily, to show that he had no interested views or hopes. Dashleigh
understood this, for he now comprehended Walsingham’s character
perfectly. Immediately after the trial, Walsingham was made commander,
in consequence of his having saved the Dreadnought, and his having taken
l’Ambuscade. With this appointment Dashleigh had nothing to do. But he
never ceased exerting himself, employing all the interest of his high
connexions, and all the personal influence of his great abilities, to
have Walsingham made post, and to get him a ship. He succeeded at last;
but he never gave the least hint that it was done by his interest; for,
he said, he knew that Walsingham had such nice notions, and was such a
proud principled fellow, that he would not enjoy his promotion, if
he thought he owed it to any thing upon earth but his own merit. So a
handsome letter was written by the secretary of the Admiralty to
Captain Walsingham, by their lordships’ desire, informing him, ‘that in
consideration of his services and merit, his majesty had been pleased to
make him post-captain, and to appoint him to the command of l’Ambuscade
(the prize he took), which would be sent out on the first occasion.’ The
secretary ‘begged leave to add expressions of his private satisfaction
on an appointment so likely to be advantageous to the public,’ &c.
In short, it was all done so properly and so plausibly, that even
Walsingham never suspected any secret influence, nor did he find out the
part Dashleigh had taken in the business till several months afterwards,
when a _discreet_ friend mentioned it by accident.”

“I was that discreet friend,” said Mr. Beaumont.

“Well, all this is very good, but there’s no love in this Story,” said
Mr. Palmer. “I hope your hero is not too proud to fall in love?”

“Too proud!--We are told, you know, that the greatest hero, in the
intervals of war, resigned

     ‘To tender passions all his mighty mind.’”

“Tender passions!--Captain Walsingham is in love, then, hey?” said Mr.
Palmer. “And may I ask--Bless me! I shall be very sorry if it is with
any body but--may I ask to whom he is attached?”

“That is a question that I am not quite at liberty perhaps to answer,”
 said Mr. Walsingham. “During the interval between his return in the
Dreadnought and his being appointed to l’Ambuscade, an interval of about
eighteen months, which he spent in the country here with me, he had time
to become thoroughly acquainted with a very amiable young lady--”

“A very amiable young lady! and in this neighbourhood?” interrupted Mr.
Palmer; “it must be the very person I mean, the very person I wish.”

“Do not ask me any more,” said Mr. Walsingham; “for my friend never
declared his attachment, and I have no right to declare it for him. He
was not, at the time I speak of, in circumstances to marry; therefore he
honourably concealed, or rather suppressed, his passion, resolving not
to attempt to engage the young lady’s affections till he should have
made a fortune sufficient to support her in her own rank in life.”

“Well, now, that’s all done, thank Heaven!” cried Palmer: “he has
fortune enough now, or we can help him out, you know. This is excellent,
excellent!--Come, is it not time for us to go to the ladies? I’m
impatient to tell this to Mrs. Beaumont.”

“Stay, my good Mr. Palmer,” said Mr. Walsingham. “What are you going to

“Let me alone, let me alone--I’ll only tell what I guess--depend upon
it, I guess right--and it may do a great deal of good to tell it to Mrs.
Beaumont, and it will give her a great deal of pleasure--trust me--trust

“I do trust _you_--but perhaps you may be mistaken.”

“Not at all, not at all, depend upon it; so let me go to her this

“But stop, my dear sir,” cried Mr. Beaumont, “stop for another reason;
let me beg you to sit down again--I am not clear that Captain Walsingham
is not at this instant in love with--perhaps, as it is reported, married
to a Spanish lady, whom he has carried off out of a convent at ----, and
whom I understand he is bringing home with him.”

“Heyday! a Spanish lady!” said Mr. Palmer, returning slowly to his seat
with a fallen countenance. “How’s this?--By St. George, this is unlucky!
But how’s this, I say?”

“You did not let us finish our story,” said Mr. Beaumont, “or we should
have told you.”

“Let me hear the end of it now,” said Mr. Palmer, sitting down again,
and preparing himself with several pinches of snuff. But just at this
instant a servant came to say that coffee was ready.

“I will never stir from this spot for coffee or any thing else,” said
Mr. Palmer, “till I know the history of the Spanish lady.”

“Then the shortest and best way I have of telling it to you is, to beg
you to read this letter, which contains all I know of the matter,” said
Mr. Beaumont. “This letter is from young Birch to his parents; we have
never heard a syllable directly from Walsingham himself on this subject.
Since he reached Lisbon, we have had no letters from him, except
that short epistle which brought us an account of his taking the
treasure-ship. But we shall see him soon, and know the truth of this
story; and hear whether he prefers his Spanish or his English mistress.”

“‘Fore George! I wish this Spanish woman had stayed in her convent,”
 said Mr. Palmer; “I don’t like runaway ladies. But let us see what this
letter says for her.”

The letter is the same that Mr. Beaumont read some time ago, therefore
it need not here be inserted. Before Mr. Palmer had finished perusing
it, a second message came to say that the ladies waited tea, and that
Mrs. Beaumont wished not to be late going home, as there was no moon.
Mr. Palmer, nevertheless, finished the letter before he stirred: and
then, with a heavy sigh, he rose and said, “I now wish, more than ever,
that our captain would come home this night, before I go, and clear up
this business. I don’t like this Spanish plot, this double intrigue. Ah,
dear me!--I shall be obliged to sail--I shall be in Jamaica before the
fifth act.”

“How expectation loads the wings of time!” exclaimed Mrs. Beaumont,
as the gentlemen entered the drawing-room. “Here we have been all
day expecting our dear Captain Walsingham, and the time has seemed so
long!--The only time I ever found long in this house.”

“I should like to know,” said Mr. Walsingham, after a bow of due
acknowledgment to Mrs. Beaumont for her compliment, “I should like to
know whether time appears to pass more slowly to those that hope, or
those that fear?”

Mrs. Beaumont handed coffee to Mr. Palmer, without attempting to answer
this question.

“To those that hope, I should think,” said Mr. Palmer; “for hope long
deferred maketh the heart sick; and time, I can answer for it, passes
most slowly to those who are sick.”

     “‘Slow as the year’s dull circle seems to run,
     When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one,’”

said Mr. Walsingham, smiling, as he looked at young Beaumont. “But I
think it is the mixture of fear with hope that makes time appear to pass

“And is hope ever free from that mixture?” said Miss Walsingham. “Does
not hope without fear become certainty, and fear without hope despair?
Can hope ever be perfectly free from some mixture of fear?”

“Oh, dear me! yes, to be sure,” said Miss Hunter; “for hope’s the most
opposite thing that ever was to fear; as different as black and white;
_for_, surely, every body knows that hope is just the contrary to fear;
and when one says, _I hope_, one does not ever mean _I fear_--surely,
you know, Mrs. Beaumont?”

“I am the worst metaphysician in the world,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “I have
not head enough to analyze my heart.”

“Nor I neither,” said Miss Hunter: “Heigho!” (very audibly.)

“Hark!” cried Mr. Beaumont, “I think I hear a horse galloping. It is he!
it is Walsingham!”

Out ran Beaumont, full speed, to meet his friend; whilst, with, more
sober joy, Mr. Walsingham waited on the steps, where all the company
assembled, Mr. Palmer foremost, with a face full of benevolent pleasure;
Mrs. Beaumont congratulating every body, but nobody listening to her;
luckily for her, all were too heartily occupied with their own feelings
to see how ill her countenance suited her words. The sound of the
galloping of the horse ceased for a minute--then recommenced; but before
it could be settled whether it was coming nearer or going farther away,
Mr. Beaumont returned with a note in his hand.

“Not Walsingham--only Birch--confound him!” said Mr. Beaumont, out of
breath. “Confound him, what a race I took, and how disappointed I was
when I saw Birch’s face; and yet it is no fault of his, poor lad!”

“But why did not he come up to the house? Why did not you let us see
him?” said Mr. Walsingham.

“I could not keep him, he was in such a hurry to go home to his father
and mother, he would only stop to give this note.”

“From Walsingham? Read, quick.”

“Plymouth, 5 o’clock, A.M. just landed.

“Dear friends, I cannot have the pleasure of seeing you, as I had hoped
to do, this day--I am obliged to go to London instantly on business that
must not be delayed--Cannot tell when I can be with you--hope in a few
days--Well and happy, and ever yours, H. WALSINGHAM.”

All stood silent with looks of disappointment, except Mrs. Beaumont, who
reiterated, “What a pity! What a sad pity! What a disappointment! What a
terrible disappointment!”

“Business!” said Mr. Beaumont: “curse his business! he should think of
his friends first.”

“Most likely his business is for his friends,” said Miss Walsingham.

“That’s right, my dear little defender of the absent,” said Mr.

“Business!” repeated Mr. Palmer. “Hum! I like business better than
pleasure--I will be patient, if it is really business that keeps him
away from us.”

“Depend upon it,” said Miss Walsingham, “nothing but business can keep
him away from us; his pleasure is always at home.”

“I am thinking,” said Mr. Palmer, drawing Mr. Walsingham aside, “I am
thinking whether he has really brought this Spanish lady home with him,
and what will become of her--of--him, I mean. I wish I was not going to

“Then, my dear sir, where is the necessity of your going?”

“My health--my health--the physicians say I cannot live in England.”

Mr. Walsingham, who had but little faith in physicians, laughed, and
exclaimed, “But, my dear sir, when you see so many men alive in England
at this instant, why should you believe in the impossibility of your
living even in this pestiferous country?”

Mr. Palmer half smiled, felt for his snuff-box, and then replied, “I am
sure I should like to live in England, if my health would let me; but,”
 continued he, his face growing longer, and taking the hypochondriac cast
as he pronounced the word, “_but, _Mr. Walsingham, you don’t consider
that my health is really--really--”

“Really very good, I see,” interrupted Mr. Walsingham, “and I am
heartily glad to see it.”

“Sir! sir! you do not see it, I assure you. I have a great opinion of
your judgment, but as you are not a physician--”

“And because I have not taken out my diploma, you think I can neither
see nor understand,” interrupted Mr. Walsingham. “But, nevertheless,
give me leave to feel your pulse.”

“Do you really understand a pulse?” said Mr. Palmer, baring his wrist,
and sighing.

“As good a pulse as ever man had,” pronounced Mr. Walsingham.

“You don’t say so? why the physicians tell me--”

“Never mind what they tell you--if they told you the _truth_, they’d
tell you they want fees.”

Mrs. Beaumont, quite startled by the tremendously loud voice in which
Mr. Walsingham pronounced the word _truth_, rose, and rang the bell for
her carriage.

“Mr. Palmer,” said she, “I am afraid we must run away, for I dread the
night air for invalids.”

“My good madam, I am at your orders,” answered Mr. Palmer, buttoning
himself up to the chin.

“Mrs. Beaumont, surely you don’t think this gentleman an invalid?” said
Mr. Walsingham.

“I only wish he would not think himself such,” replied Mrs. Beaumont.

“Ah! my dear friends,” said Mr. Palmer, “I really am, I certainly am a

“Hypochondriac,” said Mr. Walsingham. “Pardon me--you are indeed, and
every body is afraid to tell you so but myself.”

Mrs. Beaumont anxiously looked out of the window to see if her carriage
was come to the door.

“Hypochondriac! not in the least, my dear sir,” said Mr. Palmer. “If you
were to hear what Dr. ---- and Dr. ---- say of my case, and your own Dr.
Wheeler here, who has a great reputation too--shall I tell you what he

In a low voice, Mr. Palmer, holding Mr. Walsingham by the button,
proceeded to recapitulate some of Dr. Wheeler’s prognostics; and at
every pause, Mr. Walsingham turned impatiently, so as almost to twist
off the detaining button, repeating, in the words of the king of Prussia
to his physician, “_C’est un âne! C’est un âne! C’est un âne!_”--“Pshaw!
I don’t understand French,” cried Mr. Palmer, angrily. His warmth
obliged him to think of unbuttoning his coat, which operation (after
stretching his neckcloth to remove an uneasy feeling in his throat) he
was commencing, when Mrs. Beaumont graciously stopped his hand.

“The carriage is at the door, my dear sir:--instead of unbuttoning your
coat, had not you better put this cambric handkerchief round your throat
before we go into the cold air?”

Mr. Palmer put it on, as if in defiance of Mr. Walsingham, and followed
Mrs. Beaumont, who led him off in triumph. Before he reached the
carriage-door, however, his anger had spent its harmless force;
and stopping to shake hands with him, Mr. Palmer said, “My good Mr.
Walsingham, I am obliged to you. I am sure you wish me well, and I thank
you for speaking so freely; I love honest friends--but as to my being a
hypochondriac, believe me, you are mistaken!”

“And as to Dr. Wheeler,” said Mrs. Beaumont, as she drew up the glass
of the carriage, and as they drove from the door, “Dr. Wheeler certainly
does not deserve to be called _un âne,_ for he is a man of whose medical
judgment I have the highest opinion. Though I am sure I am very candid
to acknowledge it in the present case, when his opinion is so much
against my wishes, and all our wishes, and must, I fear, deprive us so
soon of the company of our dear Mr. Palmer.”

“Why, yes, I must go, I must go to Jamaica,” said Mr. Palmer in a more
determined tone than he had yet spoken on the subject.

Mrs. Beaumont silently rejoiced; and as her son imprudently went on
arguing in favour of his own wishes, she leaned back in the carriage,
and gave herself up to a pleasing reverie, in which she anticipated the
successful completion of all her schemes. Relieved from the apprehension
that Captain Walsingham’s arrival might disconcert her projects, she
was now still further re-assured by Mr. Palmer’s resolution to sail
immediately. One day more, and she was safe. Let Mr. Palmer but sail
without seeing Captain Walsingham, and this was all Mrs. Beaumont asked
of fortune; the rest her own genius would obtain. She was so absorbed
in thought, that she did not know she was come home, till the carriage
stopped at her door. Sometimes, indeed, her reverie had been interrupted
by Mr. Palmer’s praises of the Walsinghams, and by a conversation which
she heard going on about Captain Walsingham’s life and adventures:
but Captain Walsingham was safe in London; and whilst he was at that
distance, she could bear to hear his eulogium. Having lamented that she
had been deprived of her dear Amelia all this day, and having arranged
her plan of operations for the morrow, Mrs. Beaumont retired to rest.
And even in dreams her genius invented fresh expedients, wrote notes of
apology, or made speeches of circumvention.


“And now, as oft in some distempered state, On one nice trick depends
the general fate.”--POPE.

That old politician, the cardinal of Lorraine, used to say, that “a lie
believed but for one hour doth many times in a nation produce effects of
seven years’ continuance.” At this rate what wonderful effects might
our heroine have produced, had she practised in public life, instead of
confining her genius to family politics! The game seemed now in her own
hands. The day, the important day, on which all her accounts with her
son were to be settled; the day when Mr. Palmer’s will was to be
signed, the last day he was to stay in England, arrived. Mr. Beaumont’s
birthday, his coming of age, was of course hailed with every possible
demonstration of joy. The village bells rang, the tenants were invited
to a dinner and a dance, and an ox was to be roasted whole; and the
preparations for rejoicing were heard all over the house. Mr. Palmer’s
benevolent heart was ever ready to take a share in the pleasures of his
fellow-creatures, especially in the festivities of the lower classes. He
appeared this morning in high good humour. Mrs. Beaumont, with a smile
on her lips, yet with a brow of care, was considering how she could make
pleasure subservient to interest, and how she could get _business_ done
in the midst of the amusements of the day. Most auspiciously did her
day of business begin by Mr. Palmer’s declaring to her that his will was
actually made; that with the exception of certain legacies, he had left
his whole fortune to her during her life, with remainder to her son
and daughter. “By this arrangement,” continued he, “I trust I shall
ultimately serve my good friends the Walsinghams, as I wish: for though
I have not seen as much of that family as I should have been glad to
have done, yet the little I have seen convinces me that they are worthy

“The most worthy people upon earth. You know I have the greatest regard
for them,” said Mrs. Beaumont.

“I am really sorry,” pursued Mr. Palmer, “that I have not been able to
make acquaintance with Captain Walsingham. Mr. Walsingham told me his
whole history yesterday, and it has prepossessed me much in his favour.”

“He is, indeed, a charming, noble-hearted young hero,” said Mrs.
Beaumont; “and I regret, as much as you do, that you cannot see him
before you leave England.”

“However,” continued Mr. Palmer, “as I was saying, the Walsinghams will,
I trust, be the better sooner or later by me; for I think I foresee that
Captain Walsingham, if a certain Spanish lady were out of the question,
would propose for Amelia, and would persuade her to give up this foolish
fancy of hers for that baronet.”

Mrs. Beaumont shook her head, as if she believed this could not possibly
be done.

“Well, well, if it can’t be, it can’t. The girl’s inclination must not
be controlled. I don’t wonder, however, that you are vexed at missing
such a husband for her as young Walsingham. But, my good madam, we
must make the best of it--let the girl marry her baronet. I have left a
legacy of some thousands to Captain Walsingham, as a token of my esteem
for his character; and I am sure, my dear Mrs. Beaumont, his interests
are in good hands when I leave them in yours. In the mean time, I wish
you, as the representative of my late good friend, Colonel Beaumont, to
enjoy all I have during your life.”

Mrs. Beaumont poured forth such a profusion of kind and grateful
expressions, that Mr. Palmer was quite disconcerted. “No more of this,
my dear madam, no more of this. But there was something I was going
to say, that has gone out of my head. Oh, it was, that the Walsinghams
will, I think, stand a good chance of being the better for me in another


“Why you have seen so much more of them than I have--don’t you, my
dear madam, see that Miss Walsingham has made a conquest of your son? I
thought I was remarkably slow at seeing these things, and yet I saw it.”

“Miss Walsingham is a prodigious favourite of mine. But you know Edward
is so young, and men don’t like, now-a-days, to marry young,” said Mrs.

“Well, let them manage their affairs their own way,” said Mr. Palmer;
“all I wish upon earth is to see them happy, or rather to hear of their
happiness, for I shall not see it you know in Jamaica.”

“Alas!” said Mrs. Beaumont, in a most affectionate tone, and with a sigh
that seemed to come from her heart; “alas! that is such a melancholy

Mr. Palmer ended the conversation by inquiring whom he had best ask
to witness his will. Mrs. Beaumont proposed Captain Lightbody and Dr.
Wheeler. The doctor was luckily in the house, for he had been sent for
this morning, to see her poor Amelia, who had caught cold yesterday, and
had a slight feverish complaint.

This was perfectly true. The anxiety that Amelia had suffered
of late--the fear of being forced or ensnared to marry a man she
disliked--apprehensions about the Spanish incognita, and at last the
certainty that Captain Walsingham would not arrive before Mr. Palmer
should have left England, and that consequently the hopes she had formed
from this benevolent friend’s interference were vain--all these things
had overpowered Amelia; she had passed a feverish night, and was really
ill. Mrs. Beaumont at any other time would have been much alarmed; for,
duplicity out of the question, she was a fond mother: but she now was
well contented that her daughter should have a day’s confinement to her
room, for the sake of keeping her safe out of the way. So leaving poor
Amelia to her feverish thoughts, we proceed with the business of the

Dr. Wheeler, Captain Lightbody, and Mr. Twigg witnessed the will; it was
executed, and a copy of it deposited with Mrs. Beaumont. This was one
great point gained. The next object was her jointure. She had employed
her convenient tame man[3], Captain Lightbody, humbly to suggest to her
son, that some increase of jointure would be proper; and she was now in
anxiety to know how these hints, and others which had been made by more
remote means, would operate. As she was waiting to see Mr. Lightbody
in her dressing-room, to hear the result of his _suggestions_, the door

“Well, Lightbody! come in--what success?”

She stopped short, for it was not Captain Lightbody, it was her son.
Without taking any notice of what she said, he advanced towards her, and
presented a deed.

“You will do me the favour, mother, to accept of this addition to your
jointure,” said he. “It was always my intention to do this, the moment
it should be in my power; and I had flattered myself that you would not
have thought it necessary to suggest to me what I knew I ought to do, or
to hint to me your wishes by any intermediate person.”

Colouring deeply, for it hurt her conscience to be found out, Mrs.
Beaumont was upon the point of disavowing her emissary, but she
recollected that the words which she had used when her son was coming
into the room might have betrayed her. On the other hand, it was not
certain that he had heard them. She hesitated. From the shame of a
disavowal, which would have answered no purpose, but to sink her lower
in her son’s opinion, she was, however, saved by his abrupt sincerity.

“Don’t say any thing more about it, dear mother,” cried he, “but pardon
me the pain I have given you at a time when indeed I wished only to give
pleasure. Promise me, that in future you will let me know your wishes
directly, and from your own lips.”

“Undoubtedly--depend upon it, my dearest son. I am quite overpowered.
The fact was, that I could not, however really and urgently necessary
it was to me, bring myself to mention with my own lips what, as a direct
request from me, I knew you could not and would not refuse, however
inconvenient it might be to you to comply. On this account, and on this
account only, I wished you not to know my wants from myself, but from an
intermediate friend.”

“Friend!”--Mr. Beaumont could not help repeating with an emphasis of

“_Friend_, I only said by courtesy; but I wished you to know my wants
from an intermediate person, that you might not feel yourself in any way
bound, or called upon, and that the refusal might be implied and tacit,
as it were, so that it could lead to no unpleasant feelings between us.”

“Ah! my dear mother,” said Mr. Beaumont, “I have not your knowledge
of the world, or of human nature; but from all I have heard, seen,
and felt, I am convinced that more unpleasant feelings are created in
families, by these false delicacies, and managements, and hints, and
go-between friends by courtesy, than ever would have been caused by the
parties speaking directly to one another, and telling the plain truth
about their thoughts and wishes. Forgive me if I speak too plainly at
this moment; as we are to live together, I hope, many years, it may
spare us many an unhappy hour.”

Mrs. Beaumont wiped her eyes. Her son found it difficult to go on, and
yet, upon his own principles, it was right to proceed.

“Amelia, ma’am! I find she is ill this morning.”

“Yes--poor child!”

“I hope, mother--”

“Since,” interrupted Mrs. Beaumont, “my dear son wishes always to
hear from me the plain and direct truth, I must tell him, that, as the
guardian of his sister, I think myself accountable to no one for
my conduct with respect to her; and that I should look upon any
interference as an unkind and unjustifiable doubt of my affection for my
daughter. Rest satisfied with this assurance, that her happiness is, in
all I do, my first object; and as I have told her a thousand times, no
force shall be put on her inclinations.”

“I have no more to say, no more to ask,” said Mr. Beaumont. “This is a
distinct, positive declaration, in which I will confide, and, in future,
not suffer appearances to alarm me. A mother would not keep the word of
promise to the ear, and break it to the hope.”

Mrs. Beaumont, feeling herself change countenance, made an attempt to
blow her nose, and succeeded in hiding her face with her handkerchief.

“With respect to myself,” continued Mr. Beaumont, “I should also say,
lest you should be in any doubt concerning my sentiments, that though I
have complied with your request to delay for a few weeks--”

“_That_ you need not repeat, my dear,” interrupted Mrs. Beaumont. “I
understand all that perfectly.”

“Then at the end of this month I shall--and, I hope, with your entire
approbation, propose for Miss Walsingham.”

“Time enough,” said Mrs. Beaumont, smiling, and tapping her son
playfully on the shoulder, “time enough to talk of that when the end of
the month comes. How often have I seen young men like you change their
minds, and fall in and out of love in the course of one short month!
At any rate,” continued Mrs. Beaumont, “let us pass to the order of the
day; for we have time enough to settle other matters; but the order of
the day--a tiresome one, I confess--is to settle accounts.”

“I am ready--”

“So am I.”

“Then let us go with the accounts to Mr. Palmer, who is also ready, I am

“But, before we go,” said Mrs. Beaumont, whispering, “let us settle what
is to be said about the debts--_your_ debts you know. I fancy you’ll
agree with me, that the less is said about this the better; and that, in
short, the best will be to say nothing.”

“Why so, madam? Surely you don’t think I mean to conceal my debts from
our friend Mr. Palmer, at the very moment when I profess to tell him all
my affairs, and to settle accounts with him and you, as my guardians!”

“With him? But he has never acted, you know, as one of the guardians;
therefore you are not called upon to settle accounts with him.”

“Then why, ma’am, did you urge him to come down from London, to be
present at the settlement of these accounts?”

“As a compliment, and because I wish him to be present, as your father’s
friend; but it is by no means essential that he should know every

“I will do whichever you please, ma’am; I will either settle accounts
with or without him.”

“Oh! _with_ him, that is, in his presence, to be sure.”

“Then he must know the whole.”

“Why so? Your having contracted such debts will alter his opinion of
your prudence and of mine, and may, perhaps, essentially alter--alter--”

“His will? Be it so; that is the worst that can happen. As far as I am
concerned, I would rather a thousand times it were so, than deceive him
into a better opinion of me than I deserve.”

“Nobly said! so like yourself, and like every thing I could wish: but,
forgive me, if I did for you, what indeed I would not wish you to do for
yourself. I have already told Mr. Palmer that you had no embarrassments;
therefore, you cannot, and I am sure would not, unsay what I have said.”

Mr. Beaumont stood fixed in astonishment.

“But why, mother, did not you tell him the whole?”

“My dear love, delicacy prevented me. He offered to relieve you from
any embarrassments, if you had any; but I, having too much delicacy and
pride to let my son put himself under pecuniary obligations, hastily
answered, that you had no debts; for there was no other reply to be
made, without offending poor Palmer, and hurting his generous feelings,
which I would not do for the universe: and I considered too, that as all
Palmer’s fortune will come to us in the end--”

“Well, ma’am,” interrupted Mr. Beaumont, impatient of all these glosses
and excuses, “the plain state of the case is, that I cannot contradict
what my mother has said; therefore I will not settle accounts at all
with Mr. Palmer.”

“And what excuse _can_ I make to him, after sending for him express from

“That I must leave to you, mother.”

“And what reason _can_ I give for thus withdrawing our family-confidence
from such an old friend, and at the very moment when he is doing so much
for us all?”

“That I must leave to you, mother. I withdraw no confidence. I have
pretended none--I will break none.”

“Good Heavens! was not all I did and said for _your_ interest?”

“Nothing can be for my interest that is not for my honour, and for
yours, mother. But let us never go over the business again. Now to the
order of the day.”

“My dear, dear son,” said Mrs. Beaumont, “don’t speak so roughly, so
cruelly to me.”

Suddenly softened, by seeing the tears standing in his mother’s eyes, he
besought her pardon for the bluntness of his manner, and expressed his
entire belief in her affection and zeal for his interests; but, on
the main point, that he would not deceive Mr. Palmer, or directly or
indirectly assert a falsehood, Mr. Beaumont was immoveable. In the midst
of her entreaties a message came from Mr. Palmer, to say that he was
waiting for the accounts, which Mrs. Beaumont wished to settle. “Well,”
 said she, much perplexed, “well, come down to him--come, for it is
impossible for me to find any excuse after sending for him from
London; he would think there was something worse than there really is.
Stay--I’ll go down first, and sound him; and if it won’t do without the
accounts, do you come when I ring the bell; then all I have for it is
to run my chance. Perhaps he may never recollect what passed about your
debts, for the dear good old soul has not the best memory in the world;
and if he should obstinately remember, why, after all, it’s only a bit
of false delicacy, and a white lie for a friend and a son, and we can
colour it.”

Down went Mrs. Beaumont to sound Mr. Palmer; but though much might
be expected from her address, yet she found it unequal to the task of
convincing this gentleman’s plain good sense that it would fatigue him
to see those accounts, which he came so many miles on purpose to
settle. Perceiving him begin to waken to the suspicion that she had some
interest in suppressing the accounts, and hearing him, in an altered
tone, ask, “Madam, is there any mystery in these accounts, that I must
not see them?” she instantly rang the bell, and answered, “Oh, none;
none in the world; only we thought--that is, I feared it might fatigue
you too much, my dear friend, just the day before your journey, and I
was unwilling to lose so many hours of your good company; but since you
are so very kind--here’s my son and the papers.”


      _“A face untaught to feign; a judging eye,
      That darts severe upon a rising lie,
      And strikes a blush through frontless flattery.”_

To the settlement of accounts they sat down in due form; and it so
happened, that though this dear good old soul had not the best memory
in the world, yet he had an obstinate recollection of every word Mrs.
Beaumont had said about her son’s having no debts or embarrassments.
And great and unmanageable was his astonishment, when the truth came
to light. “It is not,” said he, turning to Mr. Beaumont, “that I am
astonished at your having debts; I am sorry for that, to be sure;
but young men are often a little extravagant or so, and I dare
say--particularly as you are so candid and make no excuses about it--I
dare say you will be more prudent in future, and give up the race-horses
as you promise. But--why did not Madam Beaumont tell me the truth? Why
make a mystery, when I wanted nothing but to serve my friends? It was
not using me well--it was not using yourself well. Madam, madam, I am
vexed to the heart, and would not for a thousand pounds--ay, fool as I
am, not for ten thousand pounds, this had happened to me from my good
friend the colonel’s widow--a man that would as soon have cut his hand
off. Oh, madam! Madam Beaumont! you have struck me a hard blow at my
time of life. Any thing but this I could have borne; but to have one’s
confidence and old friendships shaken at my time of life!”

Mrs. Beaumont was, in her turn, in unfeigned astonishment; for Mr.
Palmer took the matter more seriously, and seemed more hurt by this
discovery of a trifling deviation from truth, than she had foreseen, or
than she could have conceived to be possible, in a case where neither
his interest nor any one of his passions was concerned. It was in
vain that she palliated and explained, and talked of delicacy, and
generosity, and pride, and maternal feelings, and the feelings of a
friend, and all manner of fine and double-refined sentiments; still
Mr. Palmer’s sturdy plain sense could not be made to comprehend that a
falsehood is not a falsehood, or that deceiving a friend is using him
well. Her son suffered for her, as his countenance and his painful and
abashed silence plainly showed.

“And does not even my son say any thing for me? Is this friendly?” said
she, unable to enter into his feelings, and thinking that the part of
a friend was to make apologies, right or wrong.--Mr. Palmer shook hands
with Mr. Beaumont, and, without uttering a syllable, they understood one
another perfectly. Mr. Beaumont left the room; and Mrs. Beaumont burst
into tears. Mr. Palmer, with great good-nature, tried to assuage that
shame and compunction which he imagined that she felt. He observed,
that, to be sure, she must feel mortified and vexed with herself, but
that he was persuaded nothing but some mistaken notion of delicacy could
have led her to do what her principles must condemn. Immediately she
said all that she saw would please Mr. Palmer; and following the lead
of his mind, she at last confirmed him in the opinion, that this was an
accidental not an habitual deviation from truth. His confidence in her
was broken, but not utterly destroyed.

“As to the debt,” resumed Mr. Palmer, “do not let that give you a
moment’s concern; I will put that out of the question in a few minutes.
My share in the cargo of the Anne, which I see is just safely arrived in
the Downs, will more than pay this debt. Your son shall enter upon his
estate unencumbered. No, no--don’t thank me; I won’t cheat you of your
thanks; it is your son must thank me for this. I do it on his account.
I like the young man. There is an ingenuousness, an honourable frankness
about him, that I love. Instead of his bond for the money, I shall
ask his promise never to have any thing more to do with race-horses or
Newmarket; and his promise I shall think as good as if it were his bond.
Now I am not throwing money away; I’m not doing an idle ostentatious
thing, but one that may, and I hope will, be essentially useful. For,
look you here, my good--look here, Mrs. Beaumont: a youth who finds
himself encumbered with debt on coming to his estate is apt to think of
freeing himself by marrying a fortune instead of a woman; now instead of
freeing a man, this fetters him for life: and what sort of a friend must
that be, who, if he could prevent it, would let this be done for a few
thousand pounds? So I’ll go before I take another pinch of snuff, and
draw him an order upon the cargo of the Anne, lest I should forget it
in the hurry of packing and taking leave, and all those uncomfortable

He left _Madam_ Beaumont to her feelings, or her reflections; and, in
a few minutes, with an order for the money in his hand, went over
the house in search of his young friend. Mr. Beaumont came out of his
sister’s room on hearing himself called.

“Here,” said Mr. Palmer, “is a little business for you to do. Read this
order over; see that it is right, and endorse it--mind--and never let
me hear one word more about it--only by way of acknowledgment--ask your
mother what you are to give me. But don’t read it till you are out of my
sight--Is Amelia up? Can I see her?”

“Yes; up and in her dressing-room. Do, dear sir, go in and see her, for
my mother says she is too feverish to leave her room to-day; but I am
sure that it will make her ten times worse to be prevented from seeing
you the last day you are with us.”

“Does the little gipsy then care so much for me?--that’s fair; for I
am her friend, and will prove it to her, by giving up my own fancies to
hers: so trust me with her, _tête-à-tête_,--young gentleman; go off, if
you please, and do your own business.”

Mr. Palmer knocked at Amelia’s door, and fancying he heard an answer of
admittance, went in.

“Oh, Mr. Palmer, my good Mr. Palmer, is it you?”

“Yes; but you seem not above half to know whether you are glad or sorry
to see your good Mr. Palmer; for while you hold out your hand, you turn
away your face from me.--Dear, dear! what a burning hand, and how the
pulse goes and flutters! What does Dr. Wheeler say to this? I am a bit
of a physician myself--let me look at you. What’s this? eyes as red
as ferret’s--begging your eyes’ pardon, young lady--What’s this about?
Come,” said he, drawing a chair and sitting down close beside her, “no
mysteries--no mysteries--I hate mysteries--besides, we have not time for
them. Consider, I go to-morrow, and have all my shirts to pack up: ay,
smile, lady, as your father used to do; and open your whole heart to me,
as he always did. Consider me as an old friend.”

“I do consider you as a sincere, excellent friend,” said Amelia; “but--”
 Amelia knew that she could not explain herself without disobeying, and
perhaps betraying, her mother.

“No _buts_,” said Mr. Palmer, taking hold of her hand. “Come, my little
Amelia, before you have put that ring on and off your pretty finger
fifty times more, tell me whom you would wish to put a ring on this
finger for life?”

“Ah! that is the thing _I cannot_ tell you!” said Amelia. “Were I alone
concerned, I would tell you every thing; but--ask me no more, I cannot
tell you the whole truth.”

“Then there’s something wrong somewhere or other. Whenever people tell
me they cannot speak the truth, I always say, then there’s something
wrong. Give me leave, Amelia, to ask--”

“Don’t question me,” said Amelia: “talk to my mother. I don’t know how I
ought to answer you.”

“_Not know how!_ ‘Fore George! this is strange! A strange house,
where one can’t get at the simplest truth without a world of
difficulty--mother and daughter all alike; not one of ‘em but the son
can, for the soul of ‘em, give a plain answer to a plain question. _Not
know how!_ as if it was a science to tell the truth. Not know how! as
if a person could not talk to me, honest old Richard Palmer,
without _knowing how!_ as if it was how to baffle a lawyer on a
cross-examination--_Not know how_ to answer one’s own friend! Ah! this
is not the way your father and I used to go on, Miss Beaumont. Nay, nay,
don’t cry now, or that will finish oversetting the little temper I have
left, for I can’t bear to see a woman cry, especially a young woman like
you; it breaks my heart, old as it is, and fool that I am, that ought
to know your sex better by this time than to let a few tears drown my
common sense. Well, young lady, be that as it may, since you won’t tell
me your mind, I must tell you your mind, for I happen to know it--Yes, I
do--your mother bid me spare your delicacy, and I would, but that I have
not time; besides, I don’t understand, nor see what good is got, but
a great deal of mischief, by these cursed new-fashioned delicacies:
wherefore, in plain English, I tell you, I don’t like Sir John Hunter,
and I do like Captain Walsingham; and I did wish you married to Captain
Walsingham--you need not start so, for I say _did_--I don’t wish it now;
for since your heart is set upon Sir John Hunter, God forbid I should
want to give Captain Walsingham a wife without a heart. So I have only
to add, that notwithstanding my own fancy or judgment, I have done my
best to persuade your mother to let you have the man, or the baronet, of
your choice. I will go farther: I’ll make it a point with her, and bring
you both together; for there’s no other way, I see, of understanding
you; and get a promise of her consent; and then I hope I shall leave you
all satisfied, and without any mysteries. And, in the mean time,” added
Mr. Palmer, taking out of his coat pocket a morocco leather case, and
throwing it down on the table before Amelia, “every body should be made
happy their own way: there are some diamonds for Lady Hunter, and God
bless you.”

“Oh, sir, stay!” cried Amelia, rising eagerly; “dear, good Mr. Palmer,
keep your diamonds, and leave me your esteem and love.”

“That I can’t, unless you speak openly to me. It is out of nature. Don’t
kneel--don’t. God bless you! young lady, you have my pity; for indeed,”
 turning and looking at her, “you seem very miserable, and look very

“If my mother was here!--I _must_ see my mother,” exclaimed Amelia.

“Where’s the difficulty? I’ll go for her this instant,” said Mr. Palmer,
who was not a man to let a romance trail on to six volumes for want of
going six yards; or for want of somebody’s coming into a room at the
right minute for explanation; or from some of those trivial causes by
which adepts contrive to delude us at the very moment of expectation.
Whilst Mr. Palmer was going for Mrs. Beaumont, Amelia waited in terrible
anxiety. The door was open; and as she looked into the gallery which
led to her room, she saw Mr. Palmer and her mother as they came along,
talking together. Knowing every symptom of suppressed passion in her
mother’s countenance, she was quite terrified, by indications which
passed unnoticed by Mr. Palmer. As her mother approached, Amelia hid
her face in her hands for a moment, but gaining courage from the
consciousness of integrity, and from a determination to act openly,
she looked up; and, rising with dignity, said, in a gentle but firm
voice--“Mother, I hope you will not think that there is any impropriety
in my speaking to our friend, Mr. Palmer, with the same openness with
which I have always spoken to you?”

“My dear child,” interrupted Mrs. Beaumont, embracing Amelia with a
sudden change of manner and countenance, “my sweet child, I have tried
you to the utmost; forgive me; all your trials now are over, and you
must allow me the pleasure of telling our excellent friend, Mr. Palmer,
what I know will delight him almost as much as it delights me--that the
choice of Amelia’s heart, Mr. Palmer, is worthy of her, just what we all

“Captain Walsingham?” exclaimed Mr. Palmer, with joyful astonishment.

“Sit down, my love,” said Mrs. Beaumont, seating Amelia, who, from the
surprise at this sudden change in her mother, and from the confusion of
feelings which overwhelmed her at this moment, was near fainting: “we
are too much for her, I have been too abrupt,” continued Mrs. Beaumont:
“Open the window, will you, my good sir? and,” whispering, “let us not
say any more to her at present; you see it won’t do.”

“I am well, quite well again, now,” said Amelia, exerting herself.
“Don’t leave, don’t forsake me, Mr. Palmer; pray don’t go,” holding out
her hand to Mr. Palmer.

“My dear Amelia,” said Mrs. Beaumont, “don’t talk, don’t exert yourself;
pray lie still on the sofa.”

“Her colour is come back; she looks like herself again,” said Mr.
Palmer, seating himself beside her, regardless of Mrs. Beaumont’s
prohibitory looks. “Since my little Amelia wished me to stay, I’ll not
go. So, my child--but I won’t hurry you--only want one sign of the head
to confirm the truth of what your mother has just told me, for nobody
can tell what passes in a young lady’s heart but herself. So then, it
is not that sprig of quality, that selfish spendthrift, that Sir John
Hunter, who has your heart--hey?”

“No, no, no,” answered Amelia; “I never did, I never could like such a

“Why, I thought not--I thought it was impossible; but--”

Mrs. Beaumont, alarmed beyond conception, suddenly put her hand before
Mr. Palmer’s mouth, to prevent him from finishing his sentence, and
exposing the whole of her shameful duplicity to her daughter.

“Absolutely I must, and do hereby interpose my maternal authority, and
forbid all agitating explanations whilst Amelia is in her present state.
Dr. Wheeler says she is terribly feverish. Come, Mr. Palmer, I must
carry you off by force, and from me you shall have all the explanations
and all the satisfaction you can require.”

“Well,” said Mr. Palmer, “good bye for the present, my little Amelia,
my darling little Amelia! I am so delighted to find that Captain
Walsingham’s the man, and so glad you have no mysteries: be well, be
well soon. I am so pleased, so happy, that I am as unruly as a child,
and as easily managed. You see, how I let myself be turned out of the

“Not turned out, only carried out,” said Mrs. Beaumont, who never, even
in the most imminent perils, lost her polite presence of mind. Having
thus carried off Mr. Palmer, she was in hopes that, in the joyful
confusion of his mind, he would he easily satisfied with any plausible
explanation. Therefore she dexterously fixed his attention on the
future, and adverted as slightly as possible to the past.

“Now, my good sir, congratulate me,” said she, “on the prospect I have
of happiness in such a son-in-law as Captain Walsingham, if it be indeed
true that Captain Walsingham is really attached to Amelia. But, on the
other hand, what shall we do if there is any truth in the story of the
Spanish lady? Oh, there’s the difficulty! Between hope and fear, I am in
such a distracted state at this moment, I hardly know what I say. What
shall we do about the Spanish lady?”

“Do, my dear madam! we can do nothing at all in that case: but I will
hope the best, and you’ll see that he will prove a constant man at last.
In the mean time, how was all that about Sir John Hunter, and what are
you to do with him?”

“Leave that to me; I will settle all that,” cried Mrs. Beaumont.

“But I hope the poor man, though I don’t like him, has not been jilted?”

“No, by no means; Amelia’s incapable of that. You know she told you just
now that she never liked him.”

“Ay; but I think, madam, you told me, that she _did_,” said Mr. Palmer,
sticking to his point with a decided plainness, which quite disconcerted
Mrs. Beaumont.

“It was all a mistake,” said she, “quite a mistake; and I am sure you
rejoice with me that it was so: and, as to the rest--past blunders, like
past misfortunes, are good for nothing but to be forgotten.”

Observing that Mr. Palmer looked dissatisfied, Mrs. Beaumont continued
apologizing. “I confess you have to all appearance some cause to be
angry with me,” said she: “but now only hear me. Taking the blame upon
myself, let me candidly tell you the whole truth, and all my reasons,
foolish perhaps as they were. Captain Walsingham behaved so honourably,
and had such command over his feelings, that I, who am really the most
credulous creature in the world, was so completely deceived, that I
fancied he never had a thought of Amelia, and that he never would think
of her; and I own this roused both my pride and my prudence for my
daughter; and I certainly thought it my duty, as her mother, to do
every thing in my power to discourage in her young and innocent heart
a hopeless passion. It was but within these few hours that I have
been undeceived by you as to his sentiments. That, of course, made an
immediate change, as you have seen, in my measures; for such is my high
opinion of the young man, and indeed my desire to be connected with the
Walsinghams is so great, that even whilst I am in total ignorance of
what the amount or value may be of this prize that he has taken, and
even whilst I am in doubt concerning this Spanish incognita, I have not
hesitated to declare, perhaps imprudently, to Amelia, as you have just
heard, my full approbation of the choice of her heart.”

“Hum!--well--hey!--How’s this?” said Mr. Palmer to himself, as he tried
to believe and to be satisfied with this apology. “Madam,” said he
aloud to Mrs. Beaumont, “I comprehend that it might not be prudent to
encourage Amelia’s partiality for Captain Walsingham till you were
sure of the young man’s sentiments; but, excuse me, I am a very slow,
unpractised man in these matters; I don’t yet understand why you told
_me_ that she was in love with Sir John Hunter?”

Mrs. Beaumont, being _somewhat in the habit of self-contradiction_, was
seldom unprovided with a concordance of excuses; but at this unlucky
moment she was found unprepared. Hesitating she stood, all subtle as she
was, deprived of ready wit, and actually abashed in the presence of a
plain good man.

“I candidly confess, my dear sir,” said she, apologizing to Mr. Palmer
as he walked up and down, “that my delicacy or pride,--call it what you
will,--my false pride for my daughter, led me into an error. I could not
bring myself to acknowledge to any man, even to you--for you know that
it’s contrary quite to the principles and pride of our sex--that she
felt any partiality for a man who had shown none for her. You must be
sensible it was, to say no more, an awkward, mortifying thing; and I
was so afraid even of your finding it out, that--forgive me--I did, I
candidly acknowledge, fabricate the foolish story of Sir John Hunter.
But, believe me, I never seriously thought of her marrying him.”

“‘Fore George! I don’t understand one word of it from beginning to end,”
 said Mr. Palmer, speaking aloud to himself.

Regardless of the profusion of words which Mrs. Beaumont continued
pouring forth, he seated himself in an arm-chair, and, deep in reverie
for some minutes, went on slowly striking his hands together, as he
leaned with his arms on his knees. At length he rose, rang the bell, and
said to the servant, “Sir, be so obliging as to let my man Crichton know
that he need not hurry himself to pack up my clothes, for I shall not go

Struck with consternation at these words, Mrs. Beaumont, nevertheless,
commanded the proper expression of joy on the occasion. “Delightful!
I must go this instant,” cried she, “and be the first to tell this
charming news to Amelia and Edward.”

“Tell them, then, madam, if you please, that I have gained such a
conquest over what Mr. Walsingham calls my hypochondriacism, that I am
determined, at whatever risk, to stay another year in Old England, and
that I hope to be present at both their weddings.”

Mrs. Beaumont’s quick exit was at this moment necessary to conceal her
dismay. Instead of going to Amelia, she hurried to her own room, locked
the door, and sat down to compose her feelings and to collect her
thoughts; but scarcely had she been two minutes in her apartment, when
a messenger came to summon her to the festive scene in the park. The
tenants and villagers were all at dinner, and Mr. Beaumont sent to let
her know that they were waiting to drink her health. She was obliged to
go, and to appear all radiant with pleasure. The contrast between their
honest mirth and her secret sufferings was great. She escaped as soon as
she could from their _senseless_ joy, and again shut herself up in her
own room.

This sudden and totally unexpected resolution of Mr. Palmer’s so
astonished her, that she could scarcely believe she had heard or
understood his words rightly. Artful persons may, perhaps, calculate
with expertness and accuracy what will, in any given case, be the
determinations of the selfish and the interested; but they are liable to
frequent mistakes in judging of the open-hearted and the generous: there
is no sympathy to guide them, and all their habits tend to mislead them
in forming opinions of the direct and sincere. It had never entered into
Mrs. Beaumont’s imagination that Mr. Palmer would, notwithstanding
his belief that he hazarded his life by so doing, defer a whole year
returning to Jamaica, merely to secure the happiness of her son and
daughter. She plainly saw that he now suspected her dislike to the
Walsinghams, and her aversion to the double union with that family: she
saw that the slightest circumstance in her conduct, which confirmed his
suspicions, would not only utterly ruin her in his opinion, but might
induce him to alter that part of his will which left her sole possessor
of his fortune during her life. Bad as her affairs were at this moment,
she knew that they might still be worse. She recollected the letter
of _perfect approbation_ which Sir John Hunter had in his power. She
foresaw that he would produce this letter on the first rumour of her
favouring another lover for Amelia. She had just declared to Mr. Palmer,
that she never seriously thought of Sir John Hunter for her daughter;
and, should this letter be brought to light, she must be irremediably
convicted of the basest duplicity, and there would be no escape from the
shame of falsehood, or rather the disgrace of detection. In this grand
difficulty, Mrs. Beaumont was too good a politician to waste time upon
any inferior considerations. Instead of allowing herself leisure to
reflect that all her present difficulties arose from her habits of
insincerity, she, with the true spirit of intrigue, attributed her
disappointments to some deficiency of artifice. “Oh!” said she to
herself, “why did I _write?_ I should only have _spoken_ to Sir John.
How could I be so imprudent as to _commit_ myself by writing? But what
can be done to repair this error?”

One web destroyed, she, with indefatigable subtlety, began to weave
another. With that promptitude of invention which practice alone can
give, she devised a scheme, by which she hoped not only to prevent Sir
John Hunter from producing the written proof of her duplicity, but by
which she could also secure the reversionary title, and the great Wigram
estate. The nature of the scheme shall be unfolded in the next chapter;
and it will doubtless procure for Mrs. Beaumont, from all proper
judges, a just tribute of admiration. They will allow our heroine to
be possessed not only of that address, which is the peculiar glory
of female politicians, but also of that masculine quality, which the
greatest, wisest, of mankind has pronounced to be the first, second, and
third requisite for business--“Boldness--boldness--boldness.”


“The creature’s at her dirty work again.”--POPE.

Amongst the infinite petty points of cunning of which that great
practical philosopher Bacon has in vain essayed to make out a list,
he notes that, “Because it worketh better when any thing seemeth to be
gotten from you by question than if you offer it of yourself: you may
lay a bait for a question, by showing another visage and countenance
than you are wont, to the end to give occasion to the party to ask what
the matter is of the change.”

“What is the matter, my dearest Mrs. Beaumont? I never saw you look so
sad before in all my life,” said Miss Hunter, meeting Mrs. Beaumont, who
had walked out into the park on purpose to be so met, and in hopes of
having the melancholy of her countenance thus observed. It was the more
striking, and the more unseasonable, from its contrast with the gay
scene in the park. The sound of music was heard, and the dancing had
begun, and all was rural festivity: “What is the matter, my dearest Mrs.
Beaumont?” repeated Miss Hunter; “at such a time as this to see you look
so melancholy!”

“Ah! my love! such a sad change in affairs! But,” whispered Mrs.
Beaumont, “I cannot explain myself before your companion.”

Mr. Lightbody was walking with Miss Hunter: but he was so complaisant,
that he was easily despatched on some convenient errand; and then Mrs.
Beaumont, with all her wonted delicacy of circumlocution, began to
communicate her distress to her young friend.

“You know, my beloved Albina,” said she, “it has been my most ardent
wish that your brother should be connected with my family by the nearest
and dearest ties.”

“Yes; that is, married to Amelia,” said Miss Hunter. “And has any thing
happened to prevent it?”

“Oh, my dear! it is all over! It cannot be--must not be thought of--must
not be spoken of any more; Mr. Palmer has been outrageous about it. Such
a scene as I have had! and all to no purpose. Amelia has won him over to
her party. Only conceive what I felt--she declared, beyond redemption,
her preference of Captain Walsingham.”

“Before the captain proposed for her! How odd! dear! Suppose he should
never propose for her, what a way she will be in after affronting my
brother and all! And only think! she gives up the title, and the great
Wigram estate, and every thing. Why, my brother says, uncle Wigram can’t
live three months; and Lord Puckeridge’s title, too, will come to my
brother, you know; and Amelia might have been Lady Puckeridge. Only
think! did you ever know any thing so foolish?”

“Never!” said Mrs. Beaumont; “but you know, my dear, so few girls have
the sense you show in taking advice: they all will judge for themselves.
But I’m most hurt by Amelia’s want of gratitude and delicacy towards
_me_,” continued Mrs. Beaumont; “only conceive the difficulty and
distress in which she has left me about your poor brother. Such a shock
as the disappointment will be to him! And he may--though Heaven knows
how little I deserve it--he may suspect--for men, when they are vexed
and angry, will, you know, suspect even their best friends; he might, I
say, suspect me of not being warm in his cause.”

“Dear, no! I have always told him how kind you were, and how much you
wished the thing; and of all people in the world he can’t blame you,
dearest Mrs. Beaumont.”

At this instant Mrs. Beaumont saw a glimpse of somebody in a bye-path
of the shrubbery near them. “Hush! Take care! Who is that lurking there?
Some listener! Who can it be?”

Miss Hunter applied her glass to her eye, but could not make out who it

“It is Lightbody, I declare,” said Mrs. Beaumont. “Softly,--let us not
pretend to see him, and watch what he will do. It is of the greatest
consequence to me to know whether he is a listener or not; so much as he
is about the house.”

An irresistible fit of giggling, which seized Miss Hunter at the odd
way in which Lightbody walked, prevented Mrs. Beaumont’s trial of his
curiosity. At the noise which the young lady made, Mr. Lightbody turned
his head, and immediately advancing, with his accustomed mixture of
effrontery and servility, said, that “he had executed Mrs. Beaumont’s
commands, and that he had returned in hopes of getting a moment to say a
word to her when she was at leisure, about something he had just learned
from Mr. Palmer’s man Crichton, which it was of consequence she should
know without delay.”

“Oh, thank you, you best of creatures; but I know all that already.”

“You know that Mr. Palmer does not go to-morrow?”

“Yes; and am so rejoiced at it! Do, my dear Lightbody, go to Amelia and
my son from me, and tell them that charming news. And after that, pray
have the compassion to inquire if the post is not come in yet, and run
over the papers, to see if you can find any thing about Walsingham’s

Mr. Lightbody obeyed, but not with his usual alacrity. Mrs. Beaumont
mused for a moment, and then said, “I do believe he was listening. What
could he be doing there?”

“Doing!--Oh, nothing,” said Miss Hunter: “he’s never doing any thing,
you know; and as to listening, he was so far off he could not hear a
word we said: besides, he is such a simple creature, and loves you so!”

“I don’t know,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “he either did not play me fair, or
else he did a job I employed him in this morning so awkwardly, that I
never wish to employ him again. He is but a _low_ kind of person, after
all; I’ll get rid of him: that sort of people always grow tiresome and
troublesome after a time, and one must shake them off. But I have not
leisure to think of him now--Well, my dear, to go on with what I was
saying to you.”

Mrs. Beaumont went on talking of her friendship for Sir John Hunter,
and of the difficulty of appeasing him; but observing that Miss Hunter
listened only with forced attention, she paused to consider what this
could mean. Habitually suspicious, like all insincere people, Mrs.
Beaumont now began to imagine that there was some plot carrying on
against her by Sir John Hunter and Lightbody, and that Miss Hunter
was made use of against her. Having a most contemptible opinion of her
Albina’s understanding, and knowing that her young friend had too little
capacity to be able to deceive her, or to invent a plausible excuse
impromptu, Mrs. Beaumont turned quick, and exclaimed, “My dear, what
could Lightbody be saying to you when I came up?--for I remember he
stopped short, and you both looked so guilty.”

“Guilty! did I?--Did he?--Dearest Mrs. Beaumont, don’t look at me so
with your piercing eyes!--Oh! I vow and protest I can’t tell you; I
won’t tell you.”

The young lady tittered, and twisted herself into various affected
attitudes; then kissing Mrs. Beaumont, and then turning her back with
childish playfulness, she cried, “No, I won’t tell you; never, never,

“Come, come, my dear, don’t trifle; I have really business to do, and am
in a hurry.”

“Well, don’t look at me--never look at me again--promise me that, and
I’ll tell you. Poor Lightbody--Oh, you’re looking at me!--Poor Lightbody
was talking to me of _somebody_, and he laid me a wager--but I can’t
tell you that--Ah, don’t be angry with me, and I will tell, if you’ll
turn your head quite away!--that I should be married to _somebody_
before the end of this year. Oh, now, don’t look at me, dearest, dearest
Mrs. Beaumont.”

“You dear little simpleton, and was that all?” said Mrs. Beaumont, vexed
to have wasted her time upon such folly: “come, be serious now, my dear;
if you knew the anxiety I am in at this moment--” But wisely judging
that it would be in vain to hope for any portion of the love-sick
damsel’s attention, until she had confirmed her hopes of being married
to _somebody_ before the end of the year, Mrs. Beaumont scrupled not to
throw out assurances, in which she had herself no further faith.
After what she had heard from her son this morning, she must have been
convinced that there was no chance of marrying him to Miss Hunter; she
knew indeed positively, that he would soon declare his real attachment,
but she could, she thought, during the interval retain her power over
Miss Hunter, and secure her services, by concealing the truth.

“Before I say one word more of my own affairs, let me, my dearest
child, assure you, that in the midst of all these disappointments and
mortifications about Amelia, I am supported by the hope--by something
more than the hope--that I shall see the daughter of my heart happily
settled soon: Lightbody does not want penetration, I see. But I am
not at liberty to say more. So now, my dear, help me with all your
cleverness to consider what I shall do in the difficulties I am in at
this moment. Your brother has a letter of mine, approving, and so forth,
his addresses to my daughter; now, if he, in the first rashness of his
anger, should produce this to Palmer, I’m undone--or to my son, worse
and worse! there would be a duel between them infallibly, for Beaumont
is so warm on any point of honour--Oh, I dread to think of it, my dear!”

“So do I, I’m sure; but, Lord, I’m the worst person to think in a
hurry--But can’t you write a letter? for you always know what to say so
well--And after all, do you know, I don’t think he’ll be half so angry
or _so disappointed_ as you fancy, for I never thought he was so much in
love with Amelia.”


“I know, if it was not a secret, I could tell you--”

“What? No secrets between us, my darling child.”

“Then I can tell you, that just before he proposed for Amelia, he was
consulting with me about proposing for Mrs. Dutton.”

“Mrs. Dutton, the widow! Mrs. Dutton! How you astonish me!” said Mrs.
Beaumont (though she knew this before). “Why she is older than I am.”

“Older! yes, a great deal; but then you know my brother is no chicken

“To be sure, compared with you, my dear, he is not young. There’s a
prodigious difference between you.”

“Above twenty years; _for,_ you know, he’s by another marriage.”

“True; but I can’t believe he proposed for Mrs. Dutton.”

“Not actually proposed, because I would not let him; for I should
have hated to have had such an unfashionable-looking woman for my
sister-in-law. I never could have borne to go into public with her, you
know: so I plagued my brother out of it; and luckily he found out that
her jointure is not half so great as it was said to be.”

“I could have told him that. Mrs. Dutton’s jointure is nothing nearly
so large as mine was, even before the addition to it which my son so
handsomely, and indeed unexpectedly, made to it this morning. And did I
tell you, my dear? Mr. Palmer, this day, has been so kind as to leave me
all his immense fortune for my own life. But don’t mention it, lest it
should get round, and make ill-will: the Walsinghams know nothing of it.
But to return to your poor brother--if I could any way serve him with
Mrs. Dutton?”

“La! he’d never think of her more--and I’m sure I would not have him.”

“You dear little saucy creature! indeed I cannot wonder that you don’t
like the thoughts of Mrs. Dutton for a _chaperon_ in town.”

“Oh, horrid! horrid!”

“And yet, would you condemn your poor brother to be an old bachelor,
after this disappointment with Amelia?”

“La, ma’am, can’t he marry any body but Mrs. Dutton?”

“I wish I could think of any person would suit him. Can you?’

“Oh, I know very well who I think would suit him, and one I like to go
into public with of all things.”


“And one who has promised to present me at court next winter.”

“My dearest child! is it possible that you mean me?”

“I do;--and why not?”

“Why not! My sweet love, do you consider my age?”

“But you look so young.”

“To be sure Mrs. Dutton looks older, and is older; but I could not bring
myself, especially after being a widow so long, to think of marrying a
young man--to be sure, your brother is not what one should call a very
young man.”

“Dear, no; you don’t look above three, or four, or five years older than
he does; and in public, and with dress, and rouge, and fashion, and all
that, I think it would do vastly well, and nobody would think it odd at
all. There’s Lady ----, is not she ten years older than Lord ----? and
every body says that’s nothing, and that she gives the most delightful
parties. Oh, I declare, dearest Mrs. Beaumont, you must and shall marry
my brother, and that’s the only way to make him amends, and prevent
mischief between the gentlemen; the only way to settle every thing
charmingly--and I shall so like it--and I’m so proud of its being my
plan! I vow, I’ll go and write to my brother this minute, and--”

“Stay, you dear mad creature; only consider what you are about.”

“Consider! I have considered, and I must and will have my own way,” said
the dear mad creature, struggling with Mrs. Beaumont, who detained her
with an earnest hand. “My love,” said she, “I positively cannot let you
use my name in such a strange way. If your brother or the world should
think I had any share in the transaction, it would be so indelicate.”

“Indelicate! Dear me, ma’am, but when nobody will know it, how can it
be indelicate? and I will not mention your name, and nobody will ever
imagine that you knew any thing of my writing; and I shall manage it
all my own way; and the plan is all my own: so let me go and write this

“Mercy upon me! what shall I do with this dear headstrong creature!”
 said Mrs. Beaumont, letting Miss Hunter go, as if exhausted by the
struggle she had made to detain her impetuous young friend. Away ran
Miss Hunter, sometimes looking back in defiance and laughing, whilst
Mrs. Beaumont shook her head at her whenever she looked back, but found
it impossible to overtake her, and vain to make further opposition. As
Mrs. Beaumont walked slowly homewards, she meditated her own epistle to
Sir John Hunter, and arranged her future plan of operations.

If, thought she, Miss Hunter’s letter should not succeed, it is only a
suggestion of hers, of which I am not supposed to know any thing, and
I am only just where I was before. If it does succeed, and if Sir
John transfers his addresses to me, I avoid all danger of his anger on
account of his disappointment with Amelia; for it must then be his play,
to convince me that he is not at all disappointed, and then I shall
have leisure to consider whether I shall marry Sir John or not. At all
events, I can draw on his courtship as long as I please, till I have by
degrees brought Mr. Palmer round to approve of the match.

With these views Mrs. Beaumont wrote an incomparable letter to Sir John
Hunter, in which she enveloped her meaning in so many words, and so
much sentiment, that it was scarcely possible to comprehend any thing,
except, “that she should be glad to see Sir John Hunter the next day,
to explain to him a circumstance that had given her, on his account,
heartfelt uneasiness.” Miss Hunter’s letter was carefully revised by
Mrs. Beaumont, though she was to know nothing of it; and such was the
art with which it was retouched, that, after all proper corrections,
nothing appeared but the most childish and imprudent simplicity.

After having despatched these letters, Mrs. Beaumont felt much anxiety
about the effect which they might produce; but she was doomed by her own
habits of insincerity to have perpetually the irksome task of assuming
an appearance contrary to her real feelings. Amelia was better, and
Mr. Palmer’s determination to stay in England had spread a degree of
cheerfulness over the whole family, which had not been felt for some
time at Beaumont Park. In this general delight Mrs. Beaumont was
compelled seemingly to sympathize: she performed her part so well, that
even Dr. Wheeler and Captain Lightbody, who had been behind the scenes,
began to believe that the actress was in earnest. Amelia, alas! knew
her mother too well to be the dupe even of her most consummate powers
of acting. All that Mrs. Beaumont said about her joy, and her hopes
that Captain Walsingham would soon appear and confirm her happy
_pre-sentiments_, Amelia heard without daring to believe. She had such
an opinion of her mother’s address, such a sublime superstitious dread
that her mother would, by some inscrutable means, work out her own
purposes, that she felt as if she could not escape from these secret
machinations. Amelia still apprehended that Sir John Hunter would not be
irrevocably dismissed, and that by some turn of artifice she should find
herself bound to him. The next morning Sir John Hunter, however, finally
relieved her from these apprehensions. After having been closeted for
upwards of two hours with Mrs. Beaumont, he begged to speak to Miss
Beaumont; and he resigned all pretensions to the honour which he had
so long and so ardently aspired to. It was his pride to show that his
spirits were not affected by this disappointment: he scarcely indeed
exhibited that decent appearance of mortification which is usually
expected on such an occasion; but with provoking haughtiness professed
himself sincerely obliged to Miss Beaumont for having, _however late
in the business_, prevented him, by her candour, from the danger of
crossing her inclinations. For this he could scarcely be sufficiently
thankful, when he considered how every day showed the consequences of
marrying young ladies whose affections were previously engaged. He had
only to add, that he hoped the world would see _the thing_ in the same
light in which he took it, and that Miss Beaumont might not find herself
blamed for breaking off _the matter_, after it had been so publicly
reported: that, for his part, he assured her, he would, as far as he was
concerned, do his utmost to silence unpleasant observations; and that,
as the most effectual means to do this, he conceived, would be to show
that he continued on an amicable footing with the family, he should
do himself the honour to avail himself of the permission--invitation,
indeed--he had just received from Mrs. Beaumont, to continue his visits
as usual at Beaumont Park.

To this Amelia could make no objection after the express declaration
which he had just made, that he renounced all pretensions to her favour.
However keenly she felt the implied reproach of having encouraged Sir
John as her admirer, while her affections were previously engaged, and
of having shown candour _late_ in this affair, she could not vindicate
herself without accusing her mother; therefore she attempted neither
excuse nor apology, submitted to let the unfeeling baronet enjoy her
confusion, whilst she said, in general terms, she felt obliged by his
assurance that she should not be the cause of any quarrel between two
families who had hitherto lived in friendship.


      _“Him no soft thoughts, no gratitude could move;
      To gold he fled, from beauty and from love!”_


All that passed in the two hours’ conversation between the discarded
baronet and the mother of his late mistress did not transpire; but Mrs.
Beaumont said that she had taken infinite pains to reconcile Sir John
to his fate, and his subsequent behaviour showed that she had
succeeded. His attention towards her also plainly proved that he was not
dissatisfied by the part she had acted, or rather by the part that he
thought she had acted. Thus all things went on smoothly. Mrs. Beaumont,
in confidence, told her friend, Miss Hunter, that Sir John had behaved
with the greatest propriety and candour (candour! that hackneyed word);
that he had acknowledged that his principal inducement to propose for
her daughter had been a desire to be connected with a family for which
he had such peculiar regard.

“This, my love,” continued Mrs. Beaumont, “was all, you know, that your
brother could, with propriety, say on such an occasion; all indeed that
I would permit him to say. As to the rest, on Amelia’s account, you
know, I could not refuse his request to continue his visits in this
family on the same footing of friendship as usual.”

Whether this was the truth and the whole truth, the mystery that
involves all cabinet-councils, and more especially those of female
politicians, prevents the cautious historian from presuming to decide.
But arguing from general causes, and from the established characters and
ruling passions of the parties concerned, we may safely conjecture that
the baronet did not at this time make any decisive proposal to the
lady, but that he kept himself at liberty to advance or recede, as
circumstances should render it expedient. His ruling passion was
avarice; and though he had been allured by the hints which his sister
had thrown out concerning Mrs. Beaumont’s increased jointure, and
vast expectancies from Mr. Palmer, yet he was not so rash as to act
decisively upon such vague information: he had wisely determined to
obtain accurate and positive evidence from Captain Lightbody, who
seemed, in this case, to be the common vouchee; but Lightbody happened
to be gone out to shoot _flappers_.[4]

Consequently Sir John wisely entrenched himself in general professions
of regard to Mrs. Beaumont, and reflections on the happiness of being
connected with such a respectable family. Mrs. Beaumont, who understood
the whole of the game, now saw that her play must be to take Captain
Lightbody again into her confidence.

Ever careful not to commit herself, she employed Miss Hunter to
communicate _her own scheme_ to the captain, and to prepare him on
the requisite points with proper answers to those inquiries which she
foresaw the baronet would make.

“You know, my love,” said Mrs. Beaumont, “you can find a proper moment
to say all you wish to Lightbody.”

“Oh, yes,” said Miss Hunter, “I will if I possibly can this day; but it
is so difficult to find a good time--”

“At dinner, suppose?” said Mrs. Beaumont.

“At dinner! surely, ma’am, that’s an awkward time, is not it, for
talking of secrets?”

“The best time in the world, my dear; you know we are to have the
Duttons, and the Lord knows whom besides, to-day. And when there’s a
large company, and every body talking at once, and eating, and drinking,
and carving, it is the best time in the world! You may say what you
please; your neighbours are all happily engaged, too busy to mind you.
Get near fat Mr. Dutton, and behind the screen of his prodigious elbow
you will be comfortably recessed from curious impertinents. My dear,
the most perfect solitude is not so convenient as one of these great

Whilst Mrs. Beaumont was demonstrating to Miss Hunter that the most
convenient and secure time for a _tête-à-tête_ is at a large dinner, she
happened to look out of the window, near which they were standing, and
she saw her son and daughter with Mr. Palmer walking in the park; they
sat down under a tree within view of the house.

“Come away from the window, my dear,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “they will
observe us, and perhaps think we are plotting something. I wonder what
they are talking of! Look how earnestly Amelia is stretching out her
neck, and Mr. Palmer striking his cane upon the ground. Come back a
little, my dear, come back; you can see as well here.”

“But I see a gentleman on horseback, galloping. Oh, ma’am, look! he has
stopped! he has jumped off his horse! Captain Walsingham it must be!”

“Captain Walsingham it really is!” said Mrs. Beaumont, pressing forward
to look out of the window, yet standing so, that she could not be seen
from without.

“Dear,” said Miss Hunter, “but how delighted Mr. Beaumont seems; and
how Mr. Palmer shakes Captain Walsingham’s hand, as if he had known him
these hundred years! What can make them so glad to see him? Do look at
them, ma’am.”

“I see it all!” said Mrs. Beaumont, with an involuntary sigh.

“But, dear Mrs. Beaumont,” pursued Miss Hunter, “if he has actually
come at last to propose for Amelia, don’t you think he is doing it in a
shabby sort of way? When he has been in London too--and if he has taken
such a treasure too, could not he have come down here a little more in
style, with some sort of an equipage of his own at least? But now only
look at him; would you, if you met him on the road, know him from any
common man?”

Another sigh, deep and sincere, was all the answer Mrs. Beaumont made.

“I am sure,” continued Miss Hunter, as Mrs. Beaumont drew her away from
the window, “I am sure, I think Amelia has not gained much by the change
of admirers; for what’s a captain of a ship?”

“He ranks with a colonel in the army, to be sure,” said Mrs. Beaumont;
“but Amelia might have looked much higher. If she does not know her own
interest and dignity, that is not my fault.”

“If she had such a fortune as I shall have,” said Miss Hunter, “she
might afford to marry for love, because you know she could make her
husband afterwards keep her proper equipages, and take her to town, and
go into parliament, and get a title for her too!”

“Very true, my darling,” said Mrs. Beaumont, who was at this instant
so absent, that she assented without having heard one syllable that her
darling said.

“But for Amelia, who has no such great fortune of her own, it is quite
another thing, you know, dearest Mrs. Beaumont. Oh, you’ll see how
she’ll repent when she sees you Lady Puckeridge, and herself plain
Mrs. Walsingham. And when she sees the figure you’ll make in town next
winter, and the style my brother will live in--Oh, then she’ll see what
a difference there is between Sir John Hunter and Captain Walsingham!”

“Very true, indeed, my dear,” said Mrs. Beaumont; and this time she did
not answer without having heard the assertion. The door opened.

“Captain Walsingham! dare I believe my eyes? And do I see our friend,
Captain Walsingham, again at last?”

“At last! Oh, Mrs. Beaumont, you don’t know how hard I have worked to
get here.”

“How kind! But won’t you sit down and tell me?”

“No; I can neither sit, nor rest, nor speak, nor think upon any subject
but one,” said Captain Walsingham.

“That’s right,” cried Mr. Palmer.

“Mrs. Beaumont--pardon my abruptness,” continued Captain Walsingham,
“but you see before you a man whose whole happiness is at stake. May I
beg a few minutes’ conversation with you?”

“This instant,” said Mrs. Beaumont, hesitating; but she saw that Mr.
Palmer’s eye was upon her, so with a smile she complied immediately; and
giving her hand graciously to Captain Walsingham, she accompanied him
into a little reading-room within the drawing-room.

“May I hope that we are friends?” said Captain Walsingham; “may I hope
so, Mrs. Beaumont--may I?”

“Good Heavens! Friends! assuredly; I hope so. I have always had and
expressed the highest opinion of you, Captain Walsingham.”

“I have had one, and, hitherto, but one opportunity of showing
myself, in any degree, deserving of your esteem, madam,” said Captain
Walsingham. “When I was in this country some years ago, you must have
seen how passionately I was in love with your daughter; but I knew that
my circumstances were then such that I could not hope to obtain Miss
Beaumont’s hand; and you will do me the justice to allow that I behaved
with prudence. Of the difficulty of the task I alone can judge.”

Mrs. Beaumont declared, that she admired Captain Walsingham’s conduct
inexpressibly, now that she understood what his feelings and motives had
been; but really he had kept his own secret so honourably, that she had
not, till within these few days, when it was _let out_ by Mr. Walsingham
to Mr. Palmer, had the most distant idea of his being attached to her

Captain Walsingham was too polite even to _look_ a doubt of the truth of
a lady’s assertion: he therefore believed, because it was impossible.

Mrs. Beaumont, determining to make her story consistent, repeated nearly
what she had said to Mr. Palmer, and went on to confess that she had
often, with a mother’s pride, perhaps, in her own secret thoughts
wondered at the indifference Captain Walsingham showed towards Amelia.

Captain Walsingham was surprised that Mrs. Beaumont’s penetration
should have been so strangely mistaken; especially as the symptoms of
admiration and love must be so well known to a lady who had so many and
such passionate admirers.

Mrs. Beaumont smiled, and observed, that Captain Walsingham, though a
seaman, had all the address of a courtier, and she acknowledged that she
loved address.

“If by address Mrs. Beaumont means politeness, I admire it as much as
she does; but I disclaim and despise all that paltry system of artifice,
which is sometimes called address. No person of a great mind ever
condescends to use _address_ in that sense of the word; not because they
cannot, but because they will not.”

“Certainly--certainly,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “there is nothing I love so
much as frankness.”

“Then, frankly, Mrs. Beaumont, may I hope for your approbation in
addressing Miss Beaumont?”

“Frankly, then, you have my full approbation. This is the very thing
I have long secretly wished, as Mr. Palmer can tell you. You have ever
been the son-in-law of my choice, though not of my hopes.”

Delighted with this frank answer, this full approbation, this assurance
that he had always been the son-in-law of her choice, Captain Walsingham
poured out his warm heart in joy and gratitude. All suspicions of Mrs.
Beaumont were forgotten; for suspicion was unnatural to his mind:
though he knew, though he had experience almost from childhood, of
her character, yet, at this instant, he thought he had, till now, been
always prejudiced, always mistaken. Happy those who can be thus duped by
the warmth of their own hearts! It is a happiness which they who smile
in scorn at their credulity can never enjoy.

Wakening a little to the use of his understanding, Captain Walsingham
disconcerted Mrs. Beaumont, by suddenly saying, “Then there was not any
truth in the report, which I have heard with horror, that you were going
to marry Miss Beaumont to Sir John Hunter?”

“Then there was not any truth in the report I heard with horror, that
you were going to marry yourself to a Spanish nun?” said Mrs. Beaumont,
who had learned from a veteran in public warfare, that the best way to
parry an attack is not to defend, but to make an assault.

“My dear Captain Walsingham,” added she, with an arch smile, “I really
thought you were a man of too much sense, and above all, too much
courage, to be terror-struck by every idle report. You should leave
such _horrors_ to us weak women--to the visionary mind. Now, I could not
blame poor Amelia, if she were to ask, ‘Then was there no truth in
the report of the Spanish incognita?’--No, no,” pursued Mrs. Beaumont,
playfully, refusing to hear Captain Walsingham; “not to me, not to
_me_, must your defence be made. Appear before your judge, appear before
Amelia; I can only recommend you to mercy.”

What a charming woman this Mrs. Beaumont would be, if one could feel
quite sure of her sincerity, thought Captain Walsingham, as he followed
the lady, who, with apparently playful, but really polite grace, thus
eluded all further inquiry into her secret manoeuvres.

“Here, my dearest Amelia,” cried she, “is a culprit, whom I am bringing
to your august tribunal for mercy.”

“For justice,” said Captain Walsingham.

“Justice! Oh, the pride of the man’s heart, and the folly! Who ever
talks of justice to a woman? My dear captain, talk of mercy, or cruelty,
if you will; we ladies delight in being called cruel, you know, and
sometimes are even pleased to be merciful--but to be just, is the last
thing we think of: so now for your trial; public or private, Captain

“Public! as I am innocent.”

“Oyes, oyes! all manner of men,” cried Mr. Beaumont.

“The Spanish cause coming on!” cried Mr. Palmer: “let me hear it; and
let me have a good seat that I may hear--a seat near the judge.”

“Oh, you shall be judge, Mr. Palmer,” said Amelia; “and here is the best
seat for our good judge.”

“And you will remember,” said Mr. Beaumont, “that it is the duty of a
good judge to lean towards the prisoner.”

“To lean! No, to sit bolt upright, as I will if I can,” said old Mr.
Palmer, entering into the pleasantry of the young people as readily as
if he had been the youngest man in the company. As he looked round, his
good countenance beamed with benevolent pleasure.

“Now, sir captain, be pleased to inform the court what you have done,
or mean to do, with a certain Spanish nun, whom, as it is confidently
asserted in a letter from one of your own men, you carried off from her
nunnery, and did bring, or cause to be brought, with you to England.”

“My lord judge, will you do me the favour, or the justice, to order that
the letter alluded to may be read in court?”

This was ordered, and done accordingly.

“My lord judge,” said Captain Walsingham, “I have nothing to object to
the truth of the main points of this story; and considering that it was
told by a very young man, and a traveller, it contains but a reasonable
share of _‘travellers’ wonders.’_ Considering the opportunity and
temptation for embellishments afforded by such a romantic tale, less
has been added to it by the narrator than the usual progress of strange
reports might have prepared me to expect. It is most true, as it has
been stated, that I did, by her own desire, carry away from a nunnery,
at ----, this lady, who was neither a nun nor a Spanish lady, nor, as I
am compelled by my regard to truth to add, young, nor yet handsome.
My lord judge, far be it from me to impeach the veracity of the
letter-writer. It is admitted by the highest and the lowest authorities,
that beauty is a matter of taste, and that for taste there is no
standard; it is also notorious, that to a sailor every woman is fair and
young, who is not as old as Hecuba, or as ugly as Caifacaratadaddera. I
can therefore speak only to my own opinion and judgment. And really, my
lord, it grieves me much to spoil the romance, to destroy the effect of
a tale, which might in future serve for the foundation of some novel,
over which belles and beaux, yet unborn, might weep and wonder:
it grieves me much, I say, to be compelled by the severity of this
cross-examination to declare the simple truth, that there was no love in
the case; that, to the very best of my belief and judgment, the lady was
not in love with any body, much less with me.”

“As you have admitted, sir,” said the judge, “as you have voluntarily
stated, that to a sailor every woman is fair and young, who is not as
old as Hecuba, or as ugly as that other woman with the unspeakable name,
you will be pleased to inform the court how it happened, or how it was
possible, that in the course of a long voyage, you could avoid falling
in love with the damsel whom you had thus rescued and carried off.
Experience shows us, sir, that at land, and, I presume, at sea,
proximity is one of the most common causes of love. Now, I understand,
she was the only woman you saw for some months; and she had, I think
you allow, possession of your cabin, to and from which you had of course
constant egress and regress. Sir, human nature is human nature; here is
temptation, and opportunity, and circumstantial evidence enough, in our
days, to hang a man. What have you to offer in your defence, young man?”

“The plain fact, my lord, is, that instead of three months, I was but
three days in the dangerous state of proximity with the Spanish lady.
But had it been three months, or three years, there is my defence, my
lord,” said Captain Walsingham, bowing to Amelia. “At the first _blush_,
you allow it, I see, to be powerful; but how powerful, you cannot feel
as I do, without having looked, as I have done, into the mind.”

“I have looked into the mind as well as you, sir. You have a great deal
of assurance, to tell me I cannot feel and judge as well as you can.
But, nevertheless, I shall do you justice. I think your defence is
sufficient. I believe we must acquit him. But, pray--the plain matter of
fact, which I wanted to hear, I have not yet got at. What have you done
with this lady? and where is she?”

“She was carried safely to her friends--to her friend, for she has but
one friend, that I could find out, an old aunt, who lives in an obscure
lodging, in a narrow street, in London.”

“And, upon honour, this is all you know about her?” said Mrs. Beaumont.

“All--except that she is in hopes of recovering some property, of which
she says she has been unjustly defrauded by some of her relations. After
I had paid my respects at the Admiralty, I made it my business to see
the lady, and to offer my services; but into her lawsuits, I thank God,
it was not my business to inquire, I recommended to her a good honest
lawyer, and came here as fast as horses could carry me.”

“But was not there some giving of diamonds, and exchanging of rings, one
day, upon deck?” said Mrs. Beaumont.

“None,” said Captain Walsingham; “that was a mere fable of poor Birch’s
imagination. I recollect the lady showed me a Spanish motto upon her
ring; that is all I can remember about rings.--She had no diamonds,
and very few clothes. Now,” cried Captain Walsingham, growing a little
impatient of the length of his trial, for he had not yet been able to
speak for more than an instant to Amelia, “now, I hope, my trial is
ended; else its length will be, as in some other cases, the worst of

“Acquitted! acquitted! honourably acquitted!” said Mr. Palmer.

“Acquitted, acquitted, honourably acquitted by general acclamation,”
 cried Mr. Beaumont.

“Acquitted by a smile from Amelia, worth all our acclamations,” said
Mrs. Beaumont.

“Captain Walsingham,” said Miss Hunter, “did the lady come to England
and go to London in a Spanish dress and long waist?”

She spoke, but Captain Walsingham did not hear her important question.
She turned to repeat it, but the captain was gone, and Amelia with him.

“Bless me! how quick! how odd!” said Miss Hunter, with a pouting look,
which seemed to add--nobody carries me off!

Mr. Beaumont looked duller than was becoming.

Mrs. Beaumont applied herself to adjust the pretty curls of Miss
Hunter’s hair; and Mr. Palmer, in one of his absent fits, hummed aloud,
as he walked up and down the room,

     “‘And it’s, Oh! what will become of me?
     Oh! what shall I do?
     Nobody coming to marry me,
     Nobody coming to woo.’”


      “True love’s the gift which God has giv’n
      To man alone, beneath the heav’n;
      It is the secret sympathy,
      The silver link, the silken tie,
      Which heart to heart, and mind to mind,
      In body and in soul can bind.”

Happy love, though the most delightful in reality, is the most
uninteresting in description; and lovers are proverbially bad company,
except for one another: therefore we shall not intrude on Captain
Walsingham and Amelia, nor shall we give a journal of the days of
courtship; those days which, by Rousseau, and many people, have been
pronounced to be the happiest; by others, the only happy days of
existence; and which, by some privileged or prudent few, have been found
to be but the prelude to the increasing pleasures of domestic union.

Now that Mr. Beaumont saw his sister and his friend thus gratified in
their mutual esteem and affection,--now that he saw all obstacles to
their union removed, he became uncontroulably impatient to declare his
own attachment to Miss Walsingham.

“My dear mother, I can bear it no longer. Believe me, you are mistaken
in the whole romance you have imagined to yourself about Miss Hunter.
She is no more in love with me than I am with her. Since you fixed my
attention upon her, I have studied the young lady. She is not capable of
love: I don’t mean that she is not capable of wishing to be married, but
that is quite a different affair, which need not give me any peculiar
disturbance. My dear mother, find another husband for her, and my life
for it, her heart will not break; especially if you give her bales of
wedding finery enough to think and talk about for a calendar year.

“You abominably malicious monster of cruelty, I will not smile, nor will
I allow you to indulge your humour in this manner at the expense of your
poor victim.”

“Victim! never saw a girl look less like a victim, except, indeed, as
to her ornaments. I believe it is the etiquette for victims to appear
dressed out with garlands, and ribands, and flowers.”

“Positively, Edward, I won’t allow you to go on in this style;--do
you know you seriously hurt and offend me? do you consider that Miss
Hunter’s mother was my most intimate friend, and this match I have
anxiously wished, in consequence of an agreement made between us at your
birth and Albina’s?”

“Oh, ma’am, those agreements never turned out well, from the time of the
Arabian tales to the present moment. And you must pardon me if, after
having tried all that reason and patience would do, in vain, I now come
to impatience, and a little innocent ridicule. Except by laughing, I
have no other way left of convincing you that I never can or will marry
this young lady.”

“But so pretty a creature! Surely you _have thought_ her pretty.”

“Extremely pretty. And I acknowledge that there have been moments when
the influence of her--beauty, I can’t call it--prettiness, joined to
the power of my mother’s irresistible address, have almost lapped me
in elysium--a fool’s paradise. But, thank Heaven and Miss Walsingham!
I unlapped myself; and though the sweet airs took my fancy, they never
imprisoned my soul.”

“Vastly poetical! quite in the blue-stocking style.”

“Blue-stocking! Dear mother, that expression is not elegant enough
for you. That commonplace taunt is unworthy of my mother,” said Mr.
Beaumont, warmly, for he was thrown off his guard by the reflection
implied on Miss Walsingham. “Ignorant silly women may be allowed to
sneer at information and talents in their own sex, and, if they have
read them, may talk of _‘Les Précieuses Ridicules_,’ and _‘Les Femmes
Savantes_,’ and may borrow from Molière all the wit they want,
to support the cause of folly. But from women who are themselves
distinguished for talents, such apostasy--but I am speaking to my
mother--I forbear.”

“Great forbearance to your mother you have shown, in truth,” cried Mrs.
Beaumont, reddening with genuine anger: “Marry as you please! I
have done. Fool that I have been, to devote my life to plans for the
happiness and aggrandizement of my children! It is now time I should
think of myself. You shall not see me the defeated, deserted, duped,
despised mother--the old dowager _permitted_ in the house of which
she was once the mistress! No, no, Mr. Beaumont,” cried she, rising
indignantly, “this shall never, never be.”

Touched and astonished by a burst of passion, such as he scarcely had
ever before seen from his mother, Mr. Beaumont stopped her as she rose;
and taking her hand in the most affectionate manner, “Forgive me, my
dear mother, the hasty words I said just now. I was very much in the
wrong. I beg your pardon. Forgive your son.”

Mrs. Beaumont struggled to withdraw the hand which her son forcibly

“Be always,” continued he, “be always mistress of this house, of me,
and mine. The chosen wife of my heart will never torment you, or degrade
herself, with paltry struggles for power. Your days shall be happy and
honoured: believe me, I speak from my heart.”

Mrs. Beaumont looked as if her anger had subsided; yet, as if struggling
with unusual feelings, she sat silent. Mr. Beaumont continued, “Your
son--who is no sentimentalist, no speech-maker--your son, who has
hitherto perhaps been too rough, too harsh--now implores you, by these
sincere caresses, by all that is tender and true in nature, to believe
in the filial affection of your children. Give us, simply give us your
confidence; and our confidence, free and unconstrained, shall be given
in return. Then we shall be happy indeed.”

Touched, vanquished, Mrs. Beaumont leaned her head on her son, and said,
“Then we shall be happy indeed!” The exclamation was sincere: at this
moment she thought as she spoke. All her schemes were forgotten: the
reversionary title, the Wigram estate--all, all forgotten: miraculous
eloquence and power of truth!

“What happiness!” said Mrs. Beaumont: “I ask no other. You are right,
my dear son; marry Miss Walsingham, and we have enough, and more than
enough, for happiness. You are right; and henceforward we shall have but
one mind amongst us.”

With true gratitude and joy her son embraced her; and this was the most
delightful, perhaps the only really delightful, moment she had felt for
years. She was sincere, and at ease. But this touch of nature, strong
as it was, operated only for a moment: habit resumed her influence; art
regained her pupil and her slave! Captain Lightbody and Miss Hunter came
into the room; and with them came low thoughts of plots, and notes,
and baronets, and equipages, and a reversionary title, and the Wigram
estate. What different ideas of happiness! Her son, in the mean time,
had started up, mounted his horse, and had galloped off to realize some
of his ideas of felicity, by the immediate offer of his hand to the lady
who possessed his whole heart. Cool as policy, just recovered from the
danger of imprudent sensibility, could make her, Mrs. Beaumont was now
all herself again.

“Have you found much amusement shooting this morning, Lightbody?” said
she, carelessly.

“No, ma’am; done nothing--just nothing at all--for I met Sir John in the
grounds, and could not leave him. Poor Sir John, ma’am; I tell him we
must get him a crook; he is quite turned despairing shepherd. Never saw
a man so changed. Upon my soul, he is--seriously now, Mrs. Beaumont, you
need not laugh--I always told Sir John that his time of falling in love
would come; and come it has, at last, with a vengeance.”

“Oh, nonsense! nonsense, Lightbody! This to me! and of Sir John Hunter!”

Though Mrs. Beaumont called it, and thought it nonsense, yet it
flattered her; and though she appeared half offended by flattery so
gross, as to seem almost an insult upon her understanding, yet her
vanity was secretly gratified, even by feeling that she had dependents
who were thus obliged to flatter; and though she despised Captain
Lightbody for the meanness, yet he made his court to her successfully,
by persisting in all the audacity of adulation. She knew Sir John Hunter
too well to believe that he was liable to fall in love with any thing
but a fair estate or a fine fortune; yet she was gratified by feeling
that she possessed so great a share of those charms which age cannot
wither; of that substantial power, to which men do not merely feign
in poetical sport to submit, or to which they are slaves only for a
honey-moon, but to which they do homage to the latest hour of life,
with unabating, with increasing devotion. Besides this sense of pleasure
arising from calculation, it may be presumed that, like all other female
politicians, our heroine had something of the woman lurking at her
heart; something of that feminine vanity, which inclines to believe in
the potency of personal charms, even when they are in the wane. Captain
Lightbody’s asseverations, and the notes Sir John Hunter wrote to his
sister, were at last listened to by Mrs. Beaumont with patience, and
even with smiles; and, after it had been sufficiently reiterated,
that really it was using Sir John Hunter ill not to give him some more
decisive answer, when he was so unhappy, so impatient, she at length
exclaimed, “Well, Lightbody, tell your friend Sir John, then, since
it must be so, I will consult my friends, and see what can be done for

“When may I say? for I dare not see Sir John again--positively I dare
not meet him--without having some hope to give, something decisive. He
says the next time he comes here he must be allowed to make it known to
the family that he is Mrs. Beaumont’s admirer. So, when may I say?”

“Oh, dearest Mrs. Beaumont,” cried Miss Hunter, “say to-morrow.”

“To-morrow! impossible!”

“But when?” said Miss Hunter: “only look at my brother’s note to me
again; you see he is afraid of being cast off at last as he was
before about Amelia, if Mr. Palmer should object; and he says this
disappointment would be such a very different affair.”

“Indeed,” said Captain Lightbody, “I, who am in Sir John’s confidence,
can vouch for that; for I have reason to believe, that--that _the
connexion_ was the charm, and that the daughter would not have been
thought of. Stop, I was charged not to say this. But _when_ Mrs.
Beaumont, to return to my point--”

“Oh! name an early day,” cried Miss Hunter, in a fondling tone; “name
an early day for my brother’s coming; and then, you know, it will be so
_nice_ to have the wedding days fixed for both marriages. And, dearest
Mrs. Beaumont, remember I am to be your bride’s-maid; and we’ll have a
magnificent wedding, and I shall be bride’s-maid!”

“The dear innocent little creature, how mad she is with spirits! Well,
you shall be my bride’s-maid, if the thing takes place.”

“_If.--If_ to the winds!--Captain Lightbody, tell my brother--No, I’ll
write myself, and tell him he may come.”

“How she distresses me! But she is so affectionate, one does not know
how to be angry with her. But, my dear, as to naming the day when he may
publicly declare himself, I cannot; for, you know, I have to break the
affair to Mr. Palmer, and to my son and daughter, and I must take my own
time, and find a happy moment for this; so name a day I cannot; but
in general--and it’s always safest to use general terms--you may say,

This was Mrs. Beaumont’s ultimatum. The note was written accordingly,
and committed to the care of the confidential captain.

This business of mysterious note-writing, and secret negotiations[5],
was peculiarly suited to our heroine’s genius and taste. Considering
the negotiation to be now in effect brought within view of a happy
termination, her ambassador, furnished with her ultimatum, having now
actually set out on his ostensible mission of duck-shooting, our fair
negotiatrix prepared to show the usual degree of gratitude towards those
who had been the principal instruments of her success. The proper time,
she thought, was now arrived, when, having no further occasion for Miss
Hunter’s services, she might finally undeceive her young friend as to
any hopes she might retain of a union with Mr. Beaumont; and she felt
that it was now indispensably necessary to disclose the truth, that her
son had declared his attachment to Miss Walsingham.

Mrs. Beaumont opened the delicate case with a sigh, which claimed the
notice of her young confidante.

“What a deep sigh!” said Miss Hunter, who was perfect, to use a musical
term, in her lessons, _pour observer les soupirs_: “What a sigh! I hope
it was for my poor brother?”

“Ah, no, my love! for one nearer my heart--for you.”

“For me!--dear me!”

“You see before you a mother, all of whose fondest wishes and plans are
doomed to be frustrated by her children. Amelia would have her way: I
was forced to yield. My son follows her example, insists upon marrying
without fortune, or extraordinary beauty, or any of the advantages which
I had fondly pointed out in the daughter-in-law of my heart. You turn
away from me, my darling! How shall I go on? how shall I tell you all
the terrible truth?”

“Oh, ma’am, pray go on; pray tell me all.”

“Miss Walsingham; that’s all, in one word. These Walsinghams have forced
themselves into my family,--fairly outwitted me. I cannot tell you how
much, how deeply I am mortified!”

“Thank Heaven! I am not mortified,” cried Miss Hunter, throwing back her
head with pettish disdain.

Mrs. Beaumont, who had prepared herself for a fainting fit, or at least
for a flood of tears, rejoiced to see this turn in the young lady’s

“That’s right, my own love. Hew I admire your spirit! This pride becomes
you, and is what I expected from your understanding. Set a just value
upon yourself, and show it.”

“I should set but little value on myself, indeed, if I did not think
myself equal to Miss Walsingham; but Mr. Beaumont knows best.”

“Not best, I fear,” said Mrs. Beaumont; “but, from a child he was ever
the most self-willed, uncontrollable being; there was no moving, no
persuading him. There was no power, no appeal, my love, I did not try.”

“Dear ma’am, I am excessively sorry you did.”

“Why, my dear, I could not refrain from doing all I could, not only for
my son’s sake, but for yours, when I saw your affections, as I feared,
so deeply engaged. But your present magnanimity gives me hopes that the
shock will not be irrecoverable.”

“Irrecoverable! No, really, ma’am. If Mr. Beaumont expects to see me
wear the willow for him all my life, his vanity will be mistaken.”

“Certainly, my dear,” replied Mrs. Beaumont, “you would not be so weak
as to wear the willow for any man. A young lady of your fortune should
never wear the weeping but the golden willow. Turn your pretty little
face again towards me, and smile once more upon me.”

Miss Hunter had sat with her face turned from Mrs. Beaumont during the
whole of this dialogue--“as if by hiding her face, she could conceal the
emotions of her mind from me,” thought her penetrating observer.

“Spare me, spare me, dearest Mrs. Beaumont,” cried Miss Hunter, hiding
her face on the arm of the sofa, and seeming now disposed to pass from
the heights of anger to the depths of despair.

Mrs. Beaumont, less hard-hearted than some politicians, who care not who
dies or lives, provided they attain their own objects, now listened
at least with seeming commiseration to her young friend, who, with
intermitting sighs, and in a voice which her position or her sobs
rendered scarcely audible, talked of dying, and of never marrying any
other man upon the earth.

Not much alarmed, however, by the dying words of young ladies, Mrs.
Beaumont confined her attention to the absurdity of the resolution
against marriage in general, and at this instant formed a plan of
marrying Miss Hunter to one of her nephews instead of her son. She had
one unmarried nephew, a young man of good figure and agreeable manners,
but with only a younger brother’s portion. To him she thought Miss
Hunter’s large fortune would be highly convenient; and she had reason to
believe that his taste in the choice of a wife would be easily governed
by her advice, or by his interest. Thus she could, at least, prevent her
young friend’s affections and fortune from going out of the family.
In consequence of this glimpse of a new scheme, our indefatigable
politician applied herself to prepare the way for it with her wonted
skill. She soothed the lovelorn and pettish damsel with every expression
that could gratify pride and rouse high thoughts of revenge. She
suggested that instead of making rash vows of celibacy, which would only
show forlorn constancy, Miss Hunter should abide by her first spirited
declaration, never to wear the willow for any man; and that the best way
to assert her own dignity would be to marry as soon as possible. After
having given this consolatory advice, Mrs. Beaumont left the young
lady’s grief to wear itself out. “I know, my love,” added she, “a friend
of mine who would die for the happiness which my obstinate son does not,
it seems, know how to value.”

“Who, ma’am?” said Miss Hunter, raising her head: “I’m sure I can’t
guess whom you can possibly mean--who, ma’am?”

“Ah! my dear, excuse me,” said Mrs. Beaumont, “that is a secret I cannot
tell you yet. When you are ‘fit to hear yourself convinced,’ may be, I
may obtain leave to tell you your admirer’s name. I can assure you, he’s
a very fashionable and a very agreeable man; a great favourite with our
sex, a particular friend of mine, and an officer.”

“Lord bless me!” exclaimed Miss Hunter, starting quite up, “an officer!
I can’t imagine whom you mean! Dear Mrs. Beaumont, whom can you mean?”

Mrs. Beaumont walked towards the door.

“Only tell me one thing, dearest Mrs. Beaumont--did I ever see him?”

Mrs. Beaumont, wisely declining to answer any more questions at present,
quitted the room, and left Miss Hunter dying--with curiosity.

The new delight of this fresh project, with the prospect of bringing to
a happy termination her negotiation with Sir John Hunter, sustained Mrs.
Beaumont’s spirits in the midst of the disappointments she experienced
respecting the marriages of her son and daughter; and enabled her, with
less effort of dissimulation, to take apparently a share in the general
joy which now pervaded her family. Her son expressed his felicity
with unbounded rapture, when he found his proposal to Miss Walsingham
graciously received by the object of his affections, and by all her
family: his gratitude to his mother for no longer opposing his wishes
gave a tenderness to his manner which would have touched any heart but
that of a politician. Amelia, also, even in the midst of her love for
Captain Walsingham, was anxiously intent upon showing dutiful attention
to her mother, and upon making her some amends for the pain she had
caused her of late. Whenever the brother and sister were together,
in all their views of future happiness their mother was one of their
principal objects; and these dispositions both Miss Walsingham and
Captain Walsingham were earnest to confirm. No young people could have
higher ideas than they had of the duty of children towards parents, and
of the delight of family confidence and union. In former times, when Mr.
Beaumont had been somewhat to blame in the roughness of his sincerity
towards his mother, and when he had been disposed to break from her
artful restraints, Captain Walsingham, by his conversation, and by his
letters, had always used his power and influence to keep him within
bounds; and whenever he could do so with truth, to raise Mrs. Beaumont
in his opinion. She now appeared in a more advantageous light to her
family, and they were more disposed to believe in her sincerity than
they had ever been since the credulous days of childhood. The days of
love and childhood are perhaps, in good minds, almost equally credulous,
or, at least, confiding. Even Mr. Walsingham was won over by the
pleasure he felt in the prospect of his daughter’s happiness; and good
Mr. Palmer was ten times more attentive than ever to Madam Beaumont.
In his attention, however, there was something more ceremonious than
formerly; it was evident, for he was too honest to conceal his feelings,
that his opinion of her was changed, and that his attention was paid
to her rather as the widow of his old friend than on her own account.
Amelia, who particularly remarked this change, and who feared that it
must be severely painful to her mother, tried by every honest art of
kindness to reinstate her in his regard. Amelia, however, succeeded only
in raising herself in his esteem.

“Do not disturb yourself, my dear young lady,” said he to her, one day,
“about your mother and me. Things are on their right footing between us,
and can never be on any other. She, you see, is quite satisfied.”

Mrs. Beaumont, indeed, had not Amelia’s quick sensibility with regard
to the real affections of her friends, though she was awake to every
external mark of attention. She was content, as Mr. Palmer before others
always treated her with marked deference, and gave her no reason
to apprehend any alteration in his testamentary dispositions. When
settlements were talked of for the intended marriages, Mr. Palmer seemed
to consider Mrs. Beaumont first in all their consultations, appealed for
her opinion, and had ever a most cautious eye upon her interests.
This she observed with satisfaction, and she was gratified by the
demonstrations of increased regard from her son and daughter, because
she thought it would facilitate her projects. She wished that her
marriage with Sir John Hunter should appear well to the world; and for
this reason she desired that it should _seem_ to be liked by all her
family--seem, for as to their real opinions she was indifferent.

Things were in this situation, when Mrs. Beaumont _caused herself to be
surprised_[6] one morning by Mr. Palmer, with a letter in her hand, deep
in reverie.

“Oh! my dear Mr. Palmer, is it you?” cried she, starting very naturally;
“I was really so lost in thought--”

Mr. Palmer hoped that he did not disturb her.--“Disturb me! no, my good
friend, you are the very person I wished to consult.” Her eye glanced
again and again upon the letter she held in her hand, but Mr. Palmer
seemed provokingly destitute of curiosity; he however took a chair,
and his snuff-box, and with a polite but cold manner said he was much
honoured by her consulting him, but that of course his judgment could be
of little service to a lady of Mrs. Beaumont’s understanding.

“Understanding! Ah!” said she, “there are cases where understanding is
of no use to women, but quite the contrary.”

Mr. Palmer did not contradict the assertion, nor did he assent to it,
but waited, with a pinch of snuff arrested in its way, to have the cases

“In love affairs, for instance, we poor women,” said Mrs. Beaumont,
looking down prettily; but Mr. Palmer afforded no assistance to her
bashful hesitation; she was under the necessity of finishing her
sentence, or of beginning another, upon a different construction.
The latter was most convenient, and she took a new and franker
tone:--“Here’s a letter from poor Sir John Hunter.”

Mr. Palmer still sat bending forward to listen with the most composed
deference, but pressed not in the slightest degree upon her confidence
by any question or look down towards the letter, or up towards the
lady’s face, but straightforward looked he, till, quite provoked by his
dulness, Mrs. Beaumont took the matter up again, and, in a new tone,
said, “To be candid with you, my dear friend, this is a subject on which
I feel some awkwardness and reluctance in speaking to you--for of all
men breathing, I should in any important action of my life wish for your
approbation; and yet, on the present occasion, I fear, and so does Sir
John, that you will utterly disapprove of the match.”

She paused again, to be asked--What match? But compelled by her
auditor’s invincible silence to make out her own case, she proceeded:
“You must know, my good sir, that Sir John Hunter is, it seems,
unconquerably bent upon a connexion with this family; for being refused
by the daughter, he has proposed for the mother!”

“Yes,” said Mr. Palmer, bowing.

“I thought you would have been more surprised,” said Mrs. Beaumont: “I
am glad the first sound of the thing does not, as I was afraid it would,
startle or revolt you.”

“Startle me, it could not, madam,” said Mr. Palmer, “for I have been
prepared for it some time past.”

“Is it possible? And who could have mentioned it to you--Captain

“Captain Lightbody!” cried Mr. Palmer, with a sudden flash of
indignation: “believe me, madam, I never thought of speaking to Captain
Lightbody of your affairs, I am not in the habit of listening to such

“But still, he might have spoken.”

“No, madam, no; he would not have dared to bring me secret information.”

“Honourable! quite honourable! But then, my dear sir, how came you to
know the thing?”

“I saw it. You know, madam, those who stand by always see more than the

“And do you think my son and daughter, and Captain Walsingham, know it

“I fancy not; for they have not been standers by: they have been deeply
engaged themselves.”

“That’s well--for I wished to have your opinion and advice in the first
place, before I hinted it even to them, or any one else living. As I
feared the match would not meet your approbation, I told Sir John so,
and I gave him only a provisional consent.”

“Like the provisional consent of that young Irish lady,” said Mr.
Palmer, laughing, “who went through the marriage service with her
lover, adding at the end of each response, ‘provided my father gives
his consent.’[7] But, madam, though I am old enough certainly to be your
father, yet even if I had the honour to be so in reality, as you are
arrived at years of discretion, you know you cannot need my consent.”

“But seriously, my excellent friend,” cried she, “I never could be happy
in marrying against your approbation. And let me, in my own vindication,
explain to you the whole of the affair.”

Here Mr. Palmer, dreading one of her long explanations, which he knew
he should never comprehend, besought her not to invest him with the
unbecoming character of her judge. He represented that no vindication
was necessary, and that none could be of any use. She however persisted
in going through a sentimental defence of her conduct. She assured
Mr. Palmer, that she had determined never to marry again; that her
inviolable respect for her dear Colonel Beaumont’s memory had induced
her to persist in this resolution for many years. That motives of
delicacy and generosity were what first prevailed with her to listen to
Sir John’s suit; and that now she consoled and supported herself by
the proud reflection, that she was acting as her dear Colonel Beaumont
himself, could he know the circumstances and read her heart, would wish
and enjoin her to act.

Here a smile seemed to play upon Mr. Palmer’s countenance; but the smile
had vanished in an instant, and was followed by a sudden gush of tears,
which were as suddenly wiped away; not, however, before they reminded
Mrs. Beaumont to spread her handkerchief before her face.

“Perhaps,” resumed she, after a decent pause, “perhaps I am doing wrong
with the best intentions. Some people think that widows should never, on
any account, marry again, and perhaps Mr. Palmer is of this opinion?”

“No, by no means,” said Mr. Palmer; “nor was Colonel Beaumont. Often
and often he said in his letters to me, that he wished his wife to marry
again after he was gone, and to be as happy after his death as she
had been during his life. I only hope that your choice may fulfil--may
justify--” Mr. Palmer stopped again, something in Shakspeare, about
preying on garbage, ran in his head; and, when Mrs. Beaumont went on
to some fresh topics of vindication, and earnestly pressed for his
_advice_, he broke up the conference by exclaiming, “‘Fore Jupiter,
madam, we had better say nothing more about the matter; for, after all,
what can the wit of man or woman make of it, but that you choose to
marry Sir John Hunter, and that nobody in the world has a right to
object to it? There is certainly no occasion to use any management
with me; and your eloquence is only wasting itself, for I am not so
presumptuous, or so unreasonable, as to set myself up for the judge of
your actions. You do me honour by consulting me; but as you already know
my opinion of the gentleman, I must decline saying any thing further on
the subject.”

Mrs. Beaumont was left in a painful state of doubt as to the main point,
whether Mr. Palmer would or would not alter his will. However, as she
was determined that the match should be accomplished, she took advantage
of the declaration Mr. Palmer made, that he had no right to object to
her following her own inclinations; and she told Sir John Hunter that
Mr. Palmer was perfectly satisfied; and that he had indeed relieved
her mind from some foolish scruples, by having assured her that it was
Colonel Beaumont’s particular wish, often expressed in his confidential
letters, that his widow should marry again. So far, so good. Then the
affair was to be broken to her son and daughter. She begged Mr. Palmer
would undertake, for her sake, this delicate task; but he declined it
with a frank simplicity.

“Surely, madam,” said he, “you can speak without difficulty to your own
son and daughter; and I have through life observed, that employing
one person to speak to another is almost always hurtful. I should not
presume, however, to regulate your conduct, madam, by my observations;
I should only give this as a reason for declining the office with which
you proposed to honour me.”

The lady, compelled to speak for herself to her son and daughter, opened
the affair to them with as much delicacy and address as she had used
with Mr. Palmer. Their surprise was great; for they had not the most
remote idea of her intentions. The result of a tedious conversation of
three hours’ length was perfectly satisfactory to her, though it would
have been to the highest degree painful and mortifying to a woman of
more feeling, or one less intent upon _an establishment_, a reversionary
title, and the Wigram estate. How low she sunk in the opinion of her
children and her friends was comparatively matter of small consequence
to Mrs. Beaumont, provided she could keep fair appearances with the
world. Whilst her son and daughter were so much ashamed of her intended
marriage, that they would not communicate their sentiments even to each
other,--they, with becoming duty, agreed that Mrs. Beaumont was very
good in speaking to them on the subject; as she had an uncontroulable
right to marry as she thought proper.

Mrs. Beaumont now wrote letters innumerable to her extensive circle of
connexions and acquaintance, announcing her approaching nuptials, and
inviting them to her wedding. It was settled by Mrs. Beaumont, that
the three marriages should _take place_ on the same day. This point
she laboured with her usual address, and at last brought the parties
concerned to give up their wishes for a private wedding, to gratify
her love for show and parade. Nothing now remained but to draw the
settlements. Mrs. Beaumont, who piqued herself upon her skill in
business, and who thought the sum of wisdom was to excel in cunning,
looked over her lawyer’s drafts, and suggested many nice emendations,
which obtained for her from an attorney the praise of being a vastly
clever woman. Sir John was not, on his side, deficient in attention
to his own interests. Never was there a pair better matched in this
respect; never were two people going to be married more afraid that
each should _take the other in_. Sir John, however, pressed forward
the business with an eagerness that surprised every body. Mrs. Beaumont
again and again examined the settlements, to try to account prudentially
for her lover’s impatience; but she _saw_ that _all_ was right there on
her part, and her self-love at last acquiesced in the belief that
Sir John’s was now the ardour of a real lover. To the lady’s
entire satisfaction, the liveries, the equipages, the diamonds, the
wedding-clothes were all bought, and the wedding-day approached. Mrs.
Beaumont’s rich and fashionable connexions and acquaintance all promised
to grace her nuptials. Nothing was talked of but the preparations for
Mrs. Beaumont and Sir John Hunter’s marriage; and so full of business
and bustle, and mysteries, and _sentimentalities_, and vanities was she,
that she almost forgot that any body was to be married but herself. The
marriages of her son and daughter seemed so completely to merge in the
importance and splendour of her own, that she merely recollected them as
things that were to be done on the same day, as subordinate parts that
were to be acted by inferior performers, whilst she should engross the
public interest and applause. In the mean time Miss Hunter was engaged,
to Mrs. Beaumont’s satisfaction and her own, in superintending the
wedding-dresses, and in preparing the most elegant dress imaginable for
herself, as bride’s-maid. Now and then she interrupted these occupations
with sighs and fits of pretty sentimental dejection; but Mrs. Beaumont
was well convinced that a new lover would soon make her forget her
disappointment. The nephew was written to, and invited to spend some
time with his aunt, immediately after her marriage; for she determined
that Miss Hunter should be her niece, since she could not be her
daughter. This secondary intrigue went on delightfully in our heroine’s
imagination, without interfering with the main business of her own
marriage. The day, the long-expected day, that was to crown all her
hopes, at length arrived.


“On peut étre plus fin qu’un autre, mais pas plus fin que tous les

The following paragraph[8] extracted from the newspapers of the day,
will, doubtless, be acceptable to a large class of readers.


“Yesterday, Sir John Hunter, of Hunter Hall, Devonshire, Bart., led to
the hymeneal altar the accomplished Mrs. Beaumont, relict of the late
Colonel Beaumont, of Beaumont Park. On the same day her son and daughter
were also married--Mr. Beaumont to Miss Walsingham, daughter of E.
Walsingham, Esq., of Walsingham House;--and Miss Beaumont to Captain
Walsingham of the navy, a near relation of Edward Walsingham, Esq., of
Walsingham House.

“These nuptials in the Beaumont family were graced by an overflowing
concourse of beauty, nobility, and fashion, comprehending all the
relations, connexions, intimate friends, and particular acquaintances
of the interesting and popular Mrs. Beaumont. The cavalcade reached
from the principal front of the house to the south gate of the park, a
distance of three-quarters of a mile. Mrs. Beaumont and her daughter,
two lovely brides, in a superb landau, were attired in the most elegant,
becoming, fashionable, and costly manner, their dress consisting of the
finest lace, over white satin. Mrs. Beaumont’s was point lace, and she
was also distinguished by a long veil of the most exquisite texture,
which added a tempered grace to beauty in its meridian. In the same
landau appeared the charming brides’-maids, all in white, of course.
Among these, Miss Hunter attracted particular attention, by the felicity
of her costume. Her drapery, which was of delicate lace, being happily
adapted to show to the greatest advantage the captivating contour of
her elegant figure, and ornamented with white silk fringe and tassels,
marked every airy motion of her sylph-like form.

“The third bride on this auspicious day was Miss Walsingham, who, with
her father and bride’s-maids, followed in Mr. Walsingham’s carriage.
Miss Walsingham, we are informed, was dressed with simple elegance,
in the finest produce of the Indian loom; but, as she was in a covered
carriage, we could not obtain a full view of her attire. Next to the
brides’ equipages, followed the bridegrooms’. And chief of these Sir
John Hunter sported a splendid barouche. He was dressed in the height of
the ton, and his horses deserved particular admiration. After Sir John’s
barouche came the equipage belonging to Mr. Beaumont, highly finished
but plain: in this were the two bridegrooms, Mr. Beaumont and Captain
Walsingham, accompanied by Mr. Palmer (the great West-Indian Palmer),
who, we understand, is the intimate friend and relative of the Beaumont
family. Then followed, as our correspondent counted, above a hundred
carriages of distinction, with a prodigious cavalcade of gentry. The
whole was closed by a long line of attendants and domestics. The moment
the park gates were opened, groups of young girls of the Beaumont
tenantry, habited in white, with knots of ribands, and emblematical
devices suited to the occasion, and with baskets of flowers in their
hands, began to strew vegetable incense before the brides, especially
before Mrs. Beaumont’s landau.

     ‘And whilst the priests accuse the bride’s delay,
     Roses and myrtles still obstruct her way.’

“The crowd, which assembled as they proceeded along the road to the
church, and in the churchyard, was such that, however gratefully
it evinced the popularity of the amiable parties, it became at last
evidently distressing to the principal object of their homage--Mrs.
Beaumont, who could not have stood the gaze of public admiration but
for the friendly and becoming, yet tantalizing refuge of her veil.
Constables were obliged to interfere to clear the path to the church
door, and the amiable almost fainting lady was from the arms of
her anxious and alarmed bride’s-maids lifted out of her landau, and
supported into the church and up the aisle with all the marked gallantry
of true tenderness, by her happy bridegroom, Sir John Hunter.

“After the ceremony was over, Sir John and Lady Hunter, and the two
other new-married couples, returned to Beaumont Park with the _cortège_
of their friends, where the company partook of an elegant collation. The
artless graces and fascinating affability of Lady Hunter won all hearts;
and the wit, festive spirits, and politeness of Sir John, attracted
universal admiration--not to say envy, of all present. Immediately after
the collation, the happy couple set off for their seat at Hunter Hall.

“Mr. Beaumont, and the new Mrs. Beaumont, remained at Beaumont Park.
Captain and Mrs. Walsingham repaired to Mr. Walsingham’s.

“It is a singular circumstance, communicated to us by the indisputable
authority of one of the bride’s-maids, that Miss Walsingham, as it was
discovered after the ceremony, was actually married with her gown the
wrong side outwards. Whether this be an omen announcing good fortune to
_all_ the parties concerned, we cannot take upon us to determine; but
this much we may safely assert, that never distinguished female in the
annals of fashion was married under more favourable auspices than the
amiable Lady Hunter. And it is universally acknowledged, that no lady
is better suited to be, as in the natural course of things she will soon
be, Countess of Puckeridge, and at the head of the great Wigram estate.”

       *       *       *       *       *

So ends our newspaper writer.

Probably this paragraph was sent to the press before the _fashionable
hymeneals_ had actually taken place. This may in some measure account
for the extraordinary omissions in the narrative. After the three
marriages had been solemnized, just when the ceremony was over, and Lady
Hunter was preparing to receive the congratulations of the brilliant
congregation, she observed that the clergyman, instead of shutting his
book, kept it open before him, and looked round as if expecting another
bride. Mrs. Beaumont, we should say Lady Hunter, curtsied to him,
smiled, and made a sign that the ceremony was finished; but at this
instant, to her astonishment, she saw her bride’s-maid, Miss Hunter,
quit her place, and beheld Captain Lightbody seize her hand, and lead
her up towards the altar. Lady Hunter broke through the crowd that was
congratulating her, and reaching Miss Hunter, drew her hack forcibly,
and whispered, “Are you mad, Miss Hunter? Is this a place, a time for
frolic? What are you about?”

“Going to be married, ma’am! following your ladyship’s good example,”
 answered her bride’s-maid, flippantly,--at the same time springing
forward from the detaining grasp, regardless even of the rent she made
in her lace dress, she hurried, or was hurried on by Captain Lightbody.

“Captain Lightbody!” cried Lady Hunter; but, answering only with a
triumphant bow, he passed on with his bride.

“Heavens! will nobody stop him?” cried Lady Hunter, over-taking them
again as they reached the steps. She addressed herself to the clergyman.
“Sir, she is a ward in chancery, and under my protection: they have
no licence; their banns have not been published: you cannot, dare not,
surely, marry them?”

“Pardon me, Lady Hunter,” said Captain Lightbody; “I have shown Mr.
Twigg my licence.”

“I have seen it--I thought it was with your ladyship’s knowledge,”
 replied Mr. Twigg. “I--I cannot object--it would be at my own peril. If
there is any lawful impediment, your ladyship will make it at the proper

A friend of Captain Lightbody’s appeared in readiness to give the young
lady away.

“The ceremony must go on, madam,” said the clergyman.

“At your peril, sir!” said Lady Hunter. “This young lady, is a ward of
chancery, and not of age!”

“I am of age--of age last month,” cried the bride.

“Not till next year.”

“Of age last month. I have the parish register,” said Captain Lightbody.
“Go on, sir, if you please.”

“Good Heavens! Miss Hunter, can you bear,” said Lady Hunter, “to be the
object of this indecent altercation? Retire with me, and only let me
speak to you, I conjure you!”

No--the young lady stood her ground, resolute to be a bride.

“If there is any lawful impediment, your ladyship will please to make it
at the proper response,” said the chaplain. “I am under a necessity of

The ceremony went on.

Lady Hunter, in high indignation, retired immediately to the vestry-room
with her bridegroom. “At least,” cried she, throwing herself upon a
seat, “it shall never be said that I countenanced, by my presence, such
a scandalous marriage! Oh! Sir John Hunter, why did you not interfere to
save your own sister?”

“Save her! Egad, she did not choose to be saved. Who can save a woman
that does not choose it? What could I do? Is not she your ladyship’s
pupil?--he! he! he! But I’ll fight the rascal directly, if that will
give you any satisfaction.”

“And he shall have a lawsuit too for her fortune!” said Lady Hunter;
“for she is not of age. I have a memorandum in an old pocket book. Oh!
who would have thought such a girl could have duped me so!”

Lady Hunter’s exclamations were interrupted by the entrance of her
son and daughter, who came to offer what consolation they could. The
brilliant congregation poured in a few minutes afterwards, with their
mingled congratulations and condolence, eager, above all things, to
satisfy their curiosity.

Captain Lightbody, with invincible assurance, came up just as Lady
Hunter was getting into her carriage, and besought permission to present
his bride to her. But Lady Hunter, turning her back upon him without
reply, said to her son, “If Captain Lightbody is going to Beaumont Park,
I am not going there.”

Mrs. Lightbody, who was now emancipated from all control, and from all
sense of propriety, called out from her _own_ carriage, in which she was
seated, “That, thank Heaven! she had a house of her own to go to,
and that nothing was farther from her thoughts than to interrupt the
festivities of Lady Hunter’s more mature nuptials.”

Delighted with having made this tart answer, Mrs. Lightbody ordered
her husband to order her coachman to drive off as fast as possible.
The captain, by her particular desire, had taken a house for her at
Brighton, the gayest place she could think of. We leave this amiable
bride rejoicing in the glory of having duped a lady of Mrs. Beaumont’s
penetration; and her bridegroom rejoicing still more in the parish
register, by the help of which he hoped to obtain full enjoyment of what
he knew to be his bride’s most valuable possession--her portion, and to
defy Lady Hunter’s threatened lawsuit.

In the mean time, Lady Hunter, in her point lace and beautiful veil,
seated beside her baronet, in his new barouche, endeavoured to forget
this interruption of her triumph. She considered, that though Miss
Hunter’s fortune was lost to her family, yet the title of countess,
and the Wigram estate, were _secure_: this was solid consolation; and
recovering her features from their unprecedented discomposure, she
forced smiles and looks suitable to the occasion, as she bowed to
congratulating passengers.

Arrived at Beaumont Park, she prepared, without appetite, to partake of
the elegant collation, and to do the honours with her accustomed grace:
she took care to seat Mr. Palmer beside her, that she might show the
world on what good terms they were together. She was pleased to see,
that though two younger brides sat near her, she engaged by far the
largest share of public admiration. They were so fully content and
engrossed by their own feelings, that they did not perceive that they
were what is called _thrown into the shade_. All the pride, pomp, and
circumstance of these glorious hymeneals appeared to them but as a
dream, or as a scene that was acting before them, in which they were
not called to take a part. Towards the end of the collation, one of the
guests, my Lord Rider, a nobleman who always gave himself the air of
being in a prodigious hurry, declared that he was under the necessity of
going off, for he expected a person to meet him at his house in town, on
some particular business, at an appointed day. His lordship’s travelling
companion, who was unwilling to quit so prematurely the present scene of
festivity, observed that the man of business had engaged to write to his
lordship, and that he should at least wait till the post should come in.
Lady Hunter politely sent to inquire if any letters had arrived for his
lordship; and, in consequence of his impatience, all the letters for
the family were brought: Lady Hunter distributed them. There was one for
Captain Walsingham, with a Spanish motto on the seal: Lady Hunter, as
she gave it to him, whispered to Amelia, “Don’t be jealous, my dear, but
that, I can tell you, is a letter from his Spanish incognita.” Amelia
smiled with a look of the most perfect confidence and love. Captain
Walsingham immediately opened the letter, and, looking at the signature,
said, “It is not from my Spanish incognita,--it is from her aunt; I will
read it by and by.”

“A fine evasion, indeed!” exclaimed Lady Hunter: “look how coolly he
puts it into his pocket! Ah! my credulous Amelia, do you allow him to
begin in this manner?” pursued she, in a tone of raillery, yet as if
she really suspected something wrong in the letter; “and have you no
_curiosity_, Mrs. Walsingham?”

Amelia declared that she had none; that she was not one of those who
think that jealousy is the best proof of love.

“Right, right,” said Mr. Palmer; “confidence is the best proof of love;
and yours, I’ll venture to say, is, and ever will be, well placed.”

Captain Walsingham, with a grateful smile, took his letter again out of
his pocket, and immediately began to read it in a low voice to Amelia,
Lady Hunter, and Mr. Palmer.

       *       *       *       *       *


“Though almost a stranger to you, I should think myself wanting in
gratitude if I did not, after all the services you have done my family,
write to thank you in my niece’s name and in my own: and much I regret
that my words will so ill convey to you the sentiments of our hearts.
I am an old woman, not well accustomed to use my pen in the way of
letter-writing; but can say truly, that whilst I have life I shall be
grateful to you. You have restored me to happiness by restoring to me my
long-lost niece. It will, I am sure, give you satisfaction to hear, that
my niece--”

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain Walsingham stopped short, with a look which confirmed Lady
Hunter in all her suspicions,--which made Mr. Palmer take out his
snuff-box,--which startled even Mr. Beaumont; but which did not raise
in the mind of Amelia the slightest feeling of doubt or suspicion. She
smiled, and looked round at her alarmed friends with a manner which
seemed to say, “Can you suppose it possible that there can be any thing

“Pray go on, Captain Walsingham,” said Lady Hunter, “unless--unless you
have particular, very particular reasons.”

“I have particular, very particular reasons,” said Captain Walsingham;
“and since,” turning to Amelia, “this confiding lady does not insist
upon my going on--”

“Oh!” said Lady Hunter, gaily, snatching the letter, “I am not such a
credulous, or, as you call it, confiding lady.”

“I beg of your ladyship not to read it,” said Captain Walsingham, in an
earnest tone.

“You beg of me not to read it, and with that alarmed look--Oh!
positively, I must, and will read it.”

“Not at present, then, I entreat you!”

“This very instant,” cried Lady Hunter, affecting all the imperious
vivacity of a young bride, under favour of which she determined to
satisfy her malicious curiosity.

“Pray, Lady Hunter, do not read it,” repeated Captain Walsingham, laying
his hand over the letter. “It is for your own sake,” added he, in a low
and earnest voice, “it is for your own sake, not mine, that I beg of you
to forbear.”

Lady Hunter, imagining this to be only a subterfuge, drew the letter
from beneath Captain Walsingham’s hand, exclaiming, “For _my sake!_ Oh,
Captain, that is a charming _ruse de guerre_, but do not hope that it
shall succeed!”

“Oh! mother, believe him, believe him,” cried Amelia: “I am sure he
tells you the truth, and he speaks for your sake, not for his own.”

Amelia interceded in vain.

Mr. Palmer patted Amelia’s shoulder fondly, saying, “You are a dear good

“A dear credulous creature!” exclaimed Lady Hunter. She had now
undisturbed possession of the letter.

Captain Walsingham stood by with a face of great concern; in which
Amelia and Mr. Beaumont, without knowing the cause, seemed to

The contest had early attracted the attention of all within hearing
or view of her ladyship, and by this time had been pointed out and
accounted for in whispers, even to the most remote parts of the room; so
that the eyes of almost every individual in the assembly were now fixed
upon Lady Hunter. She had scarcely glanced her eye upon the letter, when
she turned pale as death, and exclaimed, “He knew it! he knew it!” Then,
recollecting herself, she made a struggle to conceal her dismay--the
forced smile quivered on her lip,--she fell back in a swoon, and was
carried out of the room by her son and daughter. Sir John Hunter was at
another table, eating eel-pie, and was the last person present who was
made to understand what had happened.

“It is the damned heat of the room, I suppose,” said he, “that made her
faint;” and swallowing the last morsel on his plate, and settling his
collar, he came up to Captain Walsingham. “What’s this I hear?--that
Lady Hunter has fainted? I hope they have carried her into the air. But
where’s the letter they say affected her so?”

“In my pocket,” said Captain Walsingham, coolly.

“Any thing new in it?” said Sir John, with a sulky, fashionable

“Nothing new to you, probably, Sir John,” said Captain Walsingham,
walking away from him in disgust.

“I suppose it was the heat overcame Lady Hunter,” continued Sir John,
speaking to those who stood near him. “Is any body gone to see how she
is now? I wonder if they’ll let me in to see her.”

With assumed carelessness, but with real embarrassment, the bridegroom
went to inquire for his bride.

Good Mr. Palmer went soon afterwards, and knocked softly at the lady’s
door. “Is poor Lady Hunter any better?”

“Oh! yes; quite well again now,” cried Lady Hunter, raising herself from
the bed, on which she had been laid; but Mr. Palmer thought, as he
saw her through the half-opened door, she still looked a deplorable
spectacle, in all her wedding finery. “Quite well again, now: it was
nothing in the world but the heat. Amelia, my love, go back to the
company, and say so, lest my friends should be uneasy. Thank you, kind
Mr. Palmer, for coming to see me: excuse my not being able to let you
in now, for I must change my dress. Sir John sends me word his barouche
will be at the door in ten minutes, and I have to hurry on my travelling
dress. Excuse me.”

Mr. Palmer retired, seeing clearly that she wished to avoid any
explanation of the real cause of her fainting. In the gallery, leading
from her room, he met Captain Walsingham, who was coming to inquire for
Lady Hunter.

“Poor woman! do you know the cause of her fainting?” said Captain

“No; and I believe she does not wish me to know it: therefore don’t tell
it me,” said Mr. Palmer.

“It is a secret that must be in the public papers in a few days,” said
Captain Walsingham. “This lady that I brought over from Lisbon--”

“Well, what can she have to say to Mrs. Beaumont?”

“Nothing to Mrs. Beaumont, but a great deal to Lady Hunter. You
may remember that I mentioned to you that some of her relations had
contrived to have her kept in that convent abroad, and had spread a
report of her death, that the heir-at-law might defraud her of her
property, and get and keep possession of a large estate, which fell to
him in case of her death. Of further particulars, or even of the name of
this estate, I knew nothing till this morning, when that letter from
the aunt--here it is--tells me, that the estate to which her niece
was entitled is the great Wigram estate, and that old Wigram was the
rascally heir-at-law. The lawyer I recommended to the lady was both an
honest and a clever fellow; and he represented so forcibly to old Wigram
the consequences of his having his fraud brought to light in a court of
equity, that he made him soon agree to a private reference. The affair
has been compromised, and settled thus:--The possession of the estate is
given up, just as it stands, to the rightful owner; and she forbears
to call the old sinner to an account for past arrears. She will let him
make it out to the world and to his own conscience, if he can, that he
bona-fide believed her to be dead.”

“So,” said Mr. Palmer, “so end Madam Beaumont’s hopes of being at
the head of the Wigram estate, and so end her hopes of being a
countess!--And actually married to this ruined spendthrift!--Now we see
the reason he pressed on the match so, and urged her to marry him before
the affair should become public. She is duped, and for life!--poor Madam

At this moment Lady Hunter came out of her room, after having changed
her dress, and repaired her smiles.

“Ready for my journey now,” said she, passing by Mr. Palmer quickly. “I
must show myself to the world of friends below, and bid them adieu. One
word, Captain Walsingham: there’s no occasion, you know,” whispered she,
“to say any thing _below_ of that letter; I really don’t believe it.”

Too proud to let her mortification be known, Lady Hunter constrained
her feelings with all her might. She appeared once more with a pleased
countenance in the festive assembly. She received their compliments
and congratulations, and invited them, with all the earnestness of
friendship, to favour Sir John and her, as soon as possible, with their
company at Hunter Hall. The company were now fast departing; carriages
came to the door in rapid succession. Lady Hunter went through with
admirable grace and variety the sentimental ceremony of taking leave;
and when her splendid barouche was at the door, and when she was to bid
adieu to her own family, still she acted her part inimitably. In all the
becoming mixed smiles and tears of a bride, she was seen embracing by
turns her beloved daughter and son, and daughter-in-law and son-in-law,
over and over again, in the hall, on the steps; to the last moment
contriving to be torn delightfully from the bosom of her family by her
impatient bridegroom. Seated beside him in his barouche, she kissed her
hand to Mr. Palmer,--smiled: all her family, who stood on the steps,
bowed; and Sir John drove away with his prize.

“He’s a swindler!” cried Mr. Palmer, “and she is--”

“Amelia’s mother,” interrupted Captain Walsingham.

“Right,” said Mr. Palmer; “but Amelia had a father too,--my excellent
friend, Colonel Beaumont,--whom she and her brother resemble in all that
is open-hearted and honourable. Well, well! I make no reflections; I
hate moral reflections. Every body can think and feel for themselves, I
presume. I only say,--Thank Heaven, we’ve done with _manoeuvring!_”


John Hodgkinson was an eminent and wealthy Yorkshire grazier, who had
no children of his own, but who had brought up in his family Almeria
Turnbull, the daughter of his wife by a former husband, a Mr. Turnbull.
Mr. Turnbull had also been a grazier, but had not been successful in the
management of his affairs, therefore he could not leave his daughter any
fortune; and at the death of her mother, she became entirely dependent
on her father-in-law. Old Hodgkinson was a whimsical man, who, except in
eating and drinking, had no inclination to spend any part of the
fortune he had made; but, enjoying the consequence which money confers,
endeavoured to increase this importance by keeping all his acquaintance
in uncertainty, as to what he called his “_testamentary dispositions_.”
 Sometimes he hinted that his step-daughter should be a match for the
proudest riband in England; sometimes he declared, that he did not know
of what use money could be to a woman, except to make her a prey to
a fortune-hunter, and that his girl should not be left in a way to be

As to his daughter’s education, that was an affair in which he did not
interfere: all that he wished was, that the girl should be kept humble,
and have no fine notions put into her head, nor any communication with
fine people. He kept company only with men of his own sort; and as he
had no taste for any kind of literature, Almeria’s time would have
hung rather heavy upon her hands, had she been totally confined to his
society: but, fortunately for her, there lived in the neighbourhood
an elderly gentleman and his daughter, whom her father allowed her
to visit. Mr. Elmour was a country gentleman of a moderate fortune,
a respectable family, and of a most amiable character: between his
daughter Ellen and Miss Turnbull there had subsisted an intimacy
from their earliest childhood. The professions of this friendship had
hitherto been much the warmest on the part of Almeria; the proofs
were, perhaps, the strongest on the side of Ellen. Miss Elmour, as
the daughter of a gentleman, whose family had been long settled in the
country, was rather _more considered_ than Miss Turnbull, who was the
daughter of a grazier, whose money had but lately raised him to the
level of gentility. At Mr. Elmour’s house Almeria had an opportunity
of being in much better company than she could ever have seen at her
father’s; better company in every respect, but chiefly in the popular,
or more properly in the aristocratic sense of the term: her visits had
consequently been long and frequent; she appeared to have a peculiar
taste for refinement in manners and conversation, and often deplored the
want she felt of these at home. She expressed a strong desire to acquire
information, and to improve herself in every elegant accomplishment;
and Ellen, who was of a character far superior to the little meanness
of female competition and jealousy, shared with her friend all the
advantages of her situation. Old Hodgkinson never had any books in his
house, but such as Almeria borrowed from Mr. Elmour’s library. Ellen
constantly sent Miss Turnbull all the new publications which her father
got from town--she copied for her friend the new music with which
she was supplied, showed her every new drawing or print, gave her the
advantage of the lessons she received from an excellent drawing master,
and let her into those little mysteries of art which masters sometimes
sell so dear.

This was done with perfect readiness and simplicity: Ellen never seemed
conscious that she was bestowing a favour; but appeared to consider
what she did as matters of course, or as the necessary consequences of
friendship. She treated her friend at all times, and in all companies,
with that uniform attention and equality of manner, which most people
profess, and which so few have strength of mind to practise. Almeria
expressed, and probably at this time felt, unbounded gratitude and
affection for Ellen; indeed her expressions were sometimes so vehement,
that Miss Elmour rallied her for being romantic. Almeria one day
declared, that she should wish to pass all the days of her life at
Elmour Grove, without seeing any other human creatures but her friend
and her friend’s father.

“Your imagination deceives you, my dear Almeria,” said Ellen, smiling.

“It is my heart, not my imagination, that speaks,” said Almeria, laying
her hand upon her heart, or upon the place where she fancied her heart
ought to be.

“Your understanding will, perhaps, speak a different language by and by,
and your heart will not be the worse for it, my good young lady,” said
old Mr. Elmour.

Almeria persisted even to tears; and it was not till young Mr. Elmour
came home, and till she had spent a few weeks in his company, that she
began to admit that three was the number sacred to friendship. Frederick
Elmour was a man of honour, talents, spirit, and of a decided character:
he was extremely fond of his sister, and was prepossessed in favour
of every thing and person that she loved. Her intimate friend was
consequently interesting to him; and it must be supposed, that Miss
Elmour’s praises of Almeria were managed more judiciously than eulogiums
usually are, by the effect which they produced. Frederick became
attached to Miss Turnbull, though he perceived that, in firmness and
dignity of character, she was not equal to his sister. This inferiority
did not injure her in his opinion, because it was always acknowledged
with so much candour and humility by Almeria, who seemed to look up to
her friend as to a being of a superior order. This freedom from envy,
and this generous enthusiasm, first touched young Mr. Elmour’s heart.
Next to possessing his sister’s virtues and talents, loving them was,
in his opinion, the greatest merit. He thought that a person capable
of appreciating and admiring Ellen’s character, must be desirous
of imitating her; and the similarity of their tastes, opinions,
and principles, seemed to him the most secure pledge for his future
happiness. Miss Turnbull’s fortune, whatever it might be, was an object
of no great importance to him: his father, though not opulent, was in
easy circumstances, and was “willing,” he said, “to deprive himself of
some luxuries for the sake of his son, whom he would not controul in the
choice of a wife--a choice on which he knew, from his own experience,
that the happiness of life so much depends.”

The benevolent old gentleman had peculiar merit in this conduct; because
if he had a weakness in the world, it was a prejudice in favour of what
is called _good family and birth_: it had long been the secret wish of
his heart that his only son might marry into a family as ancient as his
own. Frederick was fully sensible of the sacrifice that his father made
of his pride: but that which he was willing to make of what he called
his luxuries, his son’s affection and sense of justice forbade him
to accept. He could not rob his father of any of the comforts of his
declining years, whilst in the full vigour of youth it was in his power,
by his own exertions, to obtain an independent maintenance. He had
been bred to the bar; no expense had been spared by his father in his
education, no efforts had been omitted by himself. He was now ready
to enter on the duties of his profession with ardour, but without

Our heroine must be pardoned by the most prudent, and admired by the
most romantic, for being desperately in love with a youth of such a
character and such expectations. Whilst the young lady’s passion was
growing every hour more lively, her old father was growing every hour
more lethargic. He had a superstitious dread of making a will, as if
it were a preparation for death, which would hasten the fatal moment.
Hodgkinson’s friends tried to conquer this prejudice: but it was in vain
to reason with a man who had never reasoned during the whole of his life
about any thing except bullocks. Old Hodgkinson died--that was a matter
of no great consequence to any body--but he died without a will, and
that was a matter of some importance to his daughter. After searching in
every probable and improbable place, there was, at length, found in his
own handwriting a memorandum, the beginning of which was in the
first leaf of his cookery-book, and the end in the last leaf of his
prayer-book. There was some difficulty in deciphering the memorandum,
for it was cross-barred with miscellaneous observations in inks of
various colours--red, blue, and green. As it is dangerous to garble law
papers, we shall lay the document before the public just as it appeared.

_Copy from first leaf of the Cookery-look_.

I John Hodgkinson of Vetch-field, East Riding of Yorkshire, Grazier and
so forth, not choosing to style myself Gentleman, though entitled so to
do, do hereby certify, that when I can find an honest attorney, _it is
my_ intention to make my will and to leave--

[_Here the testator’s memorandum was interrupted by a receipt in a
diminutive female hand, seemingly written some years before_.]

Mrs. Turnbull’s recipe, infallible for all aches, bruises, and strains.

Take a handful of these herbs following--Wormwood, Sage, Broom-flowers,
Clown’s-All-heal, Chickweed, Cumphry, Birch, Groundsell, Agremony,
Southernwood, Ribwort, Mary Gould leaves, Bramble, Rosemary, Rue,
Eldertops, Camomile, Aly Campaigne-root, half a handful of Red
Earthworms, two ounces of Cummins-seeds, Deasy-roots, Columbine, Sweet
Marjoram, Dandylion, Devil’s bit, six pound of May butter, two pound of
Sheep suet, half a pound of Deer suet, a quart of salet oil beat well in
y’ boiling till the oil be green--Then strain--It will be better if you
add a dozen of Swallows, and pound all their Feathers, Gizzards, and
Heads before boiling--It will cure all aches--[9]

[_Beneath this valuable recipe, Mr. Hodgkinson’s testamentary
dispositions continued as follows_.]

All I am worth in the world real or personal--

To Collar a Pig.

Take a young fat pig, and when he is well scalded, cut off his head,
then slit him down the back, take out his bones, lay him in a dish of
milk and water, and shift him twice a day--for the rest, turn to page

To my step-daughter Almeria, who is now at Elmour Grove in her
eighteenth year--

[_Written across the above in red ink_.]

Mem’m--I prophecy this third day of August, that the man from Hull will
be here to-morrow with _fresh_ mullets.

And as girls go, I believe a good girl, considering the times--but if
she disoblige me by marriage, or otherwise, I hereby revoke the same.

[_Written diagonally in red ink_.]

Mem’m--Weight of the Big Bullock, 90 score, besides offal.

[_The value was so pale it could not be deciphered_.]

And I further intend to except out of my above bequest to my daughter
Almeria, the sum of ...

A fine method to make Punch of Valentia dram. v. page 7.

Ten thousand pounds, now in Sir Thomas Stock’s my banker’s hands as a
token of remembrance to John Hodgkinson of Hull, on account of his being
my namesake, and, I believe, relation--

       *       *       *       *       *

[_Continuation in the last leaf of the prayer-book_.]

It is my further intention (whenever I find said honest attorney fit
for my will) to leave sundry mourning rings with my hair value
(_blank_)--one in particular to Charles Elmour, sen. esquire, and also--

[_Upside down, in red ink_.]

Mem’m--Yorkshire Puddings--Knox says good in my case.

Hodgkinson late Hannah A Turnbull (my wife) her prayer book, born Dec’r
5th, 1700, died Jan’y 4th, 1760; leaving only behind her, in this world,
Almeria Turnbull (my step daughter).

Also another mourning ring to Frederick, the son of Charles Elmour, Esq.
and ditto to Ellen his daughter, if I have hair enough under my wig.

[_Diagonal in red ink_.]

Mem’m--To know from Dr. Knox by return of post what is good against
sleep--in my case--

This is the short of my will--the attorney (when found) will make it
long enough.--And I hereby declare, that I will write no other will with
my own hand, for man, woman, or child--And that I will and do hereby
disinherit any person or persons--male or female--good--bad--or
indifferent--who shall take upon them to advise or speak to me about
making or writing my will--which is no business of theirs--This my last
resolution and memorandum, dated, this 5th of August--reap to-morrow,
(glass rising)--1766, and signed with my own hand, same time.

John Hodgkinson, grazier & so forth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now it happened, that Mr. Hodgkinson’s namesake and relation disdained
the ten thousand pounds legacy, and claimed the whole property as
heir-at-law. Almeria, who was utterly unacquainted with business,
applied to Mr. Elmour in this difficulty, and he had the goodness to
undertake the management of her affairs. Frederick engaged to carry
on her law-suit, and to plead her cause against this rapacious Mr.
Hodgkinson of Hull.--Whilst the suit was pending, Miss Turnbull had
an opportunity of seeing something of the ways of the world; for the
manners of her Yorkshire acquaintance, of all but Ellen and the Elmours,
varied towards her, according to the opinion formed of the probable
event of the trial on which her fortune depended. She felt these
variations most keenly. In particular, she was provoked by the conduct
of Lady Stock, who was at this time _the_ fashionable lady of York: Sir
Thomas, her husband, was a great banker; and whenever she condescended
to visit her friends in the country, she shone upon them in all the
splendour and pride of wealth. Miss Turnbull, immediately after her
father’s death, went, accompanied by old Mr. Elmour, to Sir Thomas
Stock, to settle accounts with him: she was received by his lady as a
great heiress, with infinite civility; her visit punctually returned,
and an invitation to dinner sent to her and the Elmours with all due
expedition. As she seemed to wish to accept of it, her friends agreed to
accompany her, though in general they disliked fine dinners; and though
they seldom left their retirement to mix in the gaieties of York.
Miss Turnbull was received in rather a different manner from what she
expected upon this occasion; for between the sending and the accepting
of the invitation, Lady Stock had heard that her title to the fortune
was disputed, and that many were of an opinion that, instead of having
two hundred thousand pounds, she would not have a shilling. Almeria was
scarcely noticed, on her entrance, by the lady of the house; she found
herself in a formidable circle, where every body seemed to consider
her as being out of her place. At dinner she was suffered to go to a
side-table. From the moment she entered the house till she left it, Lady
Stock never deigned to speak to her, nor for one instant to recollect
that such a person existed. Not even Madame Roland, when she was sent
to the second table at the fermier general’s, expressed more indignation
than Almeria did, at the insolence of this banker’s lady. She could
think and speak of nothing else, all the time she was going home in
the evening to Elmour Grove. Ellen, who had more philosophy than our
heroine, did not sympathize in the violence of her indignation: on the
contrary, she was surprised that Almeria could feel so much hurt by the
slights of a woman, for whom she had neither esteem nor affection, and
with whom she was indeed scarcely acquainted.

“But does not her conduct excite your indignation?” said Miss Turnbull.

“No: it rather deserves my contempt. If a friend--if you, for instance,
had treated me in such a manner, it would have provoked my anger, I dare

“I! Oh, how impossible!” cried Almeria. “Such insufferable pride! Such
downright rudeness!--She was tolerably civil to you, but me she never
noticed: and this sudden change, it seems, Frederick, arises from her
doubts of my fortune.--Is not such meanness really astonishing?”

“It would be astonishing, perhaps,” replied Frederick, “if we did not
see similar instances every day.--Lady Stock, you know, is nothing but a
mere woman of the world.”

“I hate mere women of the world,” cried Almeria.

Ellen observed, that it was not worth while to hate, it was sufficient
to avoid them.--Almeria grew warmer in her abhorrence; and Ellen at
last expressed, half in jest, half in earnest, some fear, that if Miss
Turnbull felt with such exquisite sensibility the neglect of persons
of fashion, she might in a different situation be ambitious, or vain of
their favour. Almeria was offended, and was very near quarrelling with
her friend for harbouring such a mean opinion of her character.

“Do you imagine that _I could_ ever make a friend of such a person as
Lady Stock?”

“A friend! far from it. I am very sure that you could not.”

“Then how could I be ambitious of her favour? I am desirous only of the
favour, esteem, and affection of my friends.”

“But people who live in what is called the world, you know, my dear
Almeria, desire to have acquaintance as well as friends,” said Ellen;
“and they value those by their fashion or rank, and by the honour which
may be received from their notice in public places.”

“Yes, my dear,” interrupted Almeria; “though I have never been in
London, as you have, I understand all that perfectly well, I assure
you; but I only say, that I am certain I should never judge, and that I
should never act, in such a manner.”

Ellen smiled, and said, “It is difficult to be certain of what we should
do in situations in which we have never been placed.”--Almeria burst
into tears, and her friend could scarcely pacify her by the kindest

“Observe, my dear Almeria, that I said _we,_ not _you_: I do not pretend
that, till I have been tried, I could be certain of my own strength of
mind in new situations: I believe it is from weakness, that people are
often so desirous of the notice of persons for whom they have no esteem.
If I were forced to live among a certain set of company, I suppose I
should, in time, do just as they do; for I confess, that I do not think
I could bear every day to be utterly neglected in society, even such as
we have been in to-day.”

Almeria wondered to hear her friend speak with so little confidence of
her own spirit and independence; and vehemently declared that she was
certain no change of external circumstances could make any alteration in
her sentiments and feelings. Ellen forbore to press the subject farther,
although the proofs which Almeria had this day given of her stoicism
were not absolutely conclusive.

About a month after this conversation had passed, the suit against Miss
Turnbull, to set aside Mr. Hodgkinson’s will, was tried at York. The
court was crowded at an early hour; for much entertainment was expected,
from the oddity of old Hodgkinson’s _testamentary dispositions_:
besides, the large amount of the property at stake could not fail to
make the cause interesting. Several ladies appeared in the galleries;
among the rest, Lady Stock--Miss Elmour was there also, to accompany
Almeria--Frederick was one of her counsel; and when it came to his turn
to speak, he pleaded her cause with so much eloquence and ability, as to
obtain universal approbation. After a trial, which lasted many hours,
a verdict was given in Miss Turnbull’s favour. An immediate change
appeared in the manners of all her acquaintance--they crowded round her
with smiles and congratulations; and persons with whom she was scarcely
acquainted, or who had, till now, hardly deigned to acknowledge her
acquaintance, accosted her with an air of intimacy. Lady Stock, in
particular, recovered, upon this occasion, both her sight and speech:
she took Almeria’s hand most graciously, and went on chattering with the
greatest volubility, as they stood at the door of the court-house. Her
ladyship’s handsome equipage had drawn up, and she offered to carry Miss
Turnbull home: Almeria excused herself, but felt ashamed, when she saw
the look of contempt which her ladyship bestowed on Mr. Elmour’s old
coach, which was far behind a number of others, and which could but ill
bear a comparison with a new London carriage. Angry with herself for
this weakness, our heroine endeavoured to conceal it even from her own
mind; and feelings of gratitude to her friends revived in her heart the
moment she was out of the sight of her fine acquaintance. She treated
Ellen with even more than usual fondness; and her acknowledgments of
obligation to her counsel and his father were expressed in the strongest
terms. In a few days, there came a pressing invitation from Lady Stock;
Mr. Elmour had accounts of Miss Turnbull’s to settle with Sir Thomas,
and, notwithstanding the air of indifference with which she read the
cards, Almeria was not sorry to accept of the invitation, as she knew
that she should be received in a very different manner from that in
which she had been treated on her former visit. She laughed, and said,
“that she should be entertained by observing the change which a few
thousand pounds more or less could produce in Lady Stock’s behaviour.”
 Yet, such is the inconsistency or the weakness of human wishes, that the
very attentions which our heroine knew were paid merely to her fortune,
and not to her merit, flattered her vanity; and she observed, with a
strange mixture of pain and pleasure, that there was a marked difference
in Lady Stock’s manner towards her and _the Elmours_. When the evening
was over, and when she “had leisure to be good,” Almeria called herself
severely to account for this secret satisfaction, of which she had been
conscious from the preference given her over her friends--she
accused herself of ingratitude, and endeavoured to recover her own
self-complacency by redoubled professions of esteem and affection
for those to whom she had so much reason to be attached. But fresh
invitations came from Lady Stock, and the course of her thoughts again
changed. Ellen declined accompanying her; and Miss Turnbull regretted
this exceedingly, because it would be so distressing and awkward for her
to go _alone_.

“Then why do you go at all, my dear?” said Ellen; “you speak as if there
were some moral necessity for your visit.”

“Moral necessity! oh, no,” said Almeria, laughing; “but I really think
there is a _polite_ necessity, if you will allow me the expression.
Would it not be rude for all of us to refuse, when Lady Stock has made
this music party, as she says, entirely on my account--on our account,
I mean? for you see she mentions your fondness for music; and if she had
not written so remarkably civilly to you, I assure you I would neither
go myself, nor think of pressing you to go.”

This oratory had no effect upon Ellen: our heroine went alone to
the music meeting. The old coach returned to Elmour Grove at night,
empty--the servant brought “Lady Stock’s compliments, and she would
send her carriage home with Miss Turnbull early the next morning.” After
waiting above an hour and a half beyond their usual time, the family
were sitting down to dinner the next day, when Miss Turnbull, in Lady
Stock’s fine carriage, drove up the avenue--Frederick handed her out
of the carriage with more ceremony and less affection than he had ever
shown before. Old Mr. Elmour’s manner was also more distant, and Ellen’s
colder. Almeria attempted to apologize, but could not get through her
speech:--she then tried to laugh at her own awkwardness; but her
laugh not being seconded, she sat down to dinner in silence, colouring
prodigiously, and totally abashed. Good old Mr. Elmour was the first
to relent, and to endeavour, by resuming his usual kind familiarity, to
relieve her painful confusion. Ellen’s coolness was also dissipated when
Miss Turnbull took her aside after dinner, and with tears in her eyes
declared, “she was sorry she had not had sufficient strength of mind
to resist Lady Stock’s importunities to stay all night;--that as to the
carriage, it was sent back without her knowledge; and that this morning,
though she had three or four times expressed her fears that she should
keep her friends at Elmour Grove waiting for dinner, yet Lady Stock
would not understand her hints;” and she declared, “she got away the
very instant her ladyship’s carriage came to the door.” By Ellen’s kind
interposition, Frederick, whose pride had been most ready to take the
alarm at the least appearance of slight to his father and sister, was
pacified--he laid aside his ceremony to _Miss Turnbull_; called her
“Almeria,” as he used to do--and all was well again. With difficulty and
blushes, Almeria came out with an after-confession, that she had been so
silly as to make half a promise to Lady Stock, of going to her ball, and
of spending a few days with her at York, before she left the country.

“But this promise was only conditional,” said she: “if you or your
father would take it the least ill or unkindly of me, I assure you I
will not go--I would rather offend all the Lady Stocks in the world than
you, my dearest Ellen, or your father, to whom I am so much obliged.”

“Do not talk of obligations,” interrupted Ellen; “amongst friends there
can be no obligations. I will answer for it that my father will not be
offended at your going to this ball; and I assure you I shall not take
it unkindly. If you would not think me very proud, I should tell you
that I wish for our sakes, as well as your own, that you should see as
much of this Lady Stock, and as many _Lady Stocks_, as possible; for I
am convinced that, upon _intimate_ acquaintance, we must rise in your

Almeria protested that she had never for an instant thought of
comparing Ellen with Lady Stock. “A friend, a bosom friend, with an
acquaintance--an acquaintance of yesterday!--I never thought of making
such a comparison.”

“That is the very thing of which I complain,” said Ellen, smiling:
“I beg you will make the comparison, my dear Almeria; and the more
opportunities you have of forming your judgment, the better.”

Notwithstanding that there was something rather humiliating to Miss
Turnbull in the dignified composure with which Ellen now, for the first
time in her life, implied her own superiority, Almeria secretly rejoiced
that it was at her friend’s own request that the visits to her fine
acquaintance were repeated. At Lady Stock’s ball Miss Turnbull was
much _distinguished,_ as it is called--Sir Thomas’s eldest son was her
partner; and though he was not remarkably agreeable, yet his attentions
were flattering to her vanity, because the rival belles of York vied for
his homage. The delight of being taken notice of in public was new to
Almeria, and it quite intoxicated her brain. Six hours’ sleep afterwards
were not sufficient to sober her completely; as her friends at Elmour
Grove perceived the next morning--she neither talked, looked, nor moved
like herself, though she was perfectly unconscious that in this delirium
of vanity and affectation she was an object of pity and disgust to the
man she loved.

Ellen had sufficient good-nature and candour to make allowance for
foibles in others from which her own character was totally free; she
was clear-sighted to the merits, but not blind to the faults, of her
friends; and she resolved to wait patiently till Almeria should return
to herself. Miss Turnbull, in compliance with her friend’s advice,
took as many opportunities as possible of being with Lady Stock. Her
ladyship’s company was by no means agreeable to Almeria’s natural taste;
for her ladyship had neither sense nor knowledge, and her conversation
consisted merely of common-place phrases, or the second-hand affectation
of fashionable nonsense: yet, though Miss Turnbull felt no actual
pleasure in her company, she was vain of being of her parties, and even
condescended to repeat some of her sayings, in which there was neither
sense nor wit. From having lived much in the London world, her
ladyship was acquainted with a prodigious number of names of persons of
consequence and quality; and by these our heroine’s ears were charmed.
Her ladyship’s dress was also an object of admiration and imitation,
and the York ladies begged patterns of every thing she wore. Almeria
consequently thought that no other clothes could be worn with propriety;
and she was utterly ashamed of her past self for having lived so long
in ignorance, and for having had so bad a taste, as ever to have thought
Ellen Elmour a model for imitation.

“Miss Elmour,” her ladyship said, “was a very sensible young woman, no
doubt; but she could hardly be considered as a model of fashion.”

A new standard for estimating merit was raised in Almeria’s mind; and
her friend, for an instant, sunk before the vast advantage of having
the most fashionable mantua-maker and milliner in town. Ashamed of this
dereliction of principle, she a few minutes afterwards warmly pronounced
a panegyric on Ellen, to which Lady Stock only replied with a vacant,
supercilious countenance, “May be so--no doubt--of course--the Elmours
are a very respectable family, I’m told--and really more genteel than
the country families one sees: but is not it odd, they don’t _mix
more?_ One seldom meets them in town any where, or at any of the
watering-places in summer.”

To this charge, Almeria, with blushes, was forced to plead guilty for
her friends: she, however, observed, in mitigation, “that when they
were in town, what company they did see was always the best, she
believed--that she knew, for one person, the Duchess of A---- was a
friend of the Elmours, and corresponded with Ellen.”

This judicious defence produced an immediate effect upon Lady Stock’s
countenance; her eyebrows descended from the high arch of contempt: and
after a pause, she remarked, “it was strange that they had not accepted
of any of the invitations she had lately sent them--she fancied they
were, as indeed they had the character of being, very proud people--and
very odd.”

Almeria denied the pride and the oddity; but observed, “that they were
all remarkably fond of _home_.”

“Well, my dear Miss Turnbull, that’s what I call odd; but I am sure I
have nothing to say against all that--it is the fashion now to let every
body do as they please: if the Elmours like to bury themselves alive,
I’m sure I can’t have the smallest objection; I only hope they don’t
insist upon burying you along with them--I’m going to Harrowgate for a
few days, and I must have you with me, my dear.”

Our heroine hesitated. Lady Stock smiled, and said, she saw Miss
Turnbull was terribly afraid of these Elmours; that for her part, she
was the last person in the world to break through old connexions; but
that really some people ought to consider that other people cannot
always live as they do; that one style of life was fit for one style of
fortune, and one for another; and that it would look very strange to the
world, if an heiress with two hundred thousand pounds fortune, who if
she produced herself might be in the first circles in town, were to be
boxed up at Elmour Grove, and precluded from all advantages and offers
that she might of course expect.

To do our heroine justice, she here interrupted Lady Stock with more
eagerness than strict politeness admitted, and positively declared that
her friends never for one moment wished to confine her at Elmour Grove.
“On the contrary,” said she, “they urged me to go into company, and to
see something of the world, before I--” marry, she was going to say--but

Lady Stock waited for the finishing word; but when it did not come, she
went on just as if it had been pronounced. “The Elmours do vastly right
and proper to talk to you in this style, for they would be very much
blamed in the world if they acted otherwise. You know, young Elmour
has his fortune to make--very clever certainly he is, and will rise--no
doubt--I’m told--in his profession--but all that is not the same as a
ready-made fortune, which an heiress like you has a right to expect. But
do not let me annoy you with my reflections. Perhaps there is nothing
in the report--I really only repeat what I hear every body say. In what
every body says, you know there must be something. I positively think
you ought to show, in justice to the Elmours themselves, that you are
at liberty, and that they do not want to monopolize you--in this
unaccountable sort of way.”

To this last argument our heroine yielded, or to this she chose to
attribute her yielding. She went to Harrowgate with Lady Stock;
and every day and every hour she became more desirous of appearing
fashionable. To this one object all her thoughts were directed. Living
in public was to her a new life, and she was continually sensible of her
dependence upon the opinion of her more experienced companion. She
felt the _awkwardness_ of being surrounded by people with whom she was
unacquainted. At first, whenever she appeared she imagined that every
body was looking at her, or talking about her, and she was in perpetual
apprehension that something in her dress or manners should become
the subject of criticism or ridicule: but from this fear she was soon
relieved, by the conviction that most people were so occupied with
themselves as totally to overlook her. Sometimes indeed she heard the
whispered question of “Who is that with Lady Stock?” and the mortifying
answer, “I do not know.” However, when Lady Stock had introduced her to
some of her acquaintance as a great heiress, the scene changed, and
she found herself treated with much _consideration_; though still the
fashionable belles took sufficient care to make her sensible of her
inferiority. She longed to be upon an equal footing with them. Whilst
her mind was in this state, Sir Thomas Stock, one morning, when he
was settling some money business with her, observed that she would in
another year be of age, and of course would take her affairs into her
own hands; but in the mean time it would be necessary to appoint a
guardian; and that the choice depended upon herself. She instantly named
her friend Mr. Elmour. Sir Thomas insinuated that old Mr. Elmour, though
undoubtedly a most unexceptionable character, was not exactly the most
eligible person for a guardian to a young lady, whose large fortune
entitled her to live in a fashionable style. That if it was Miss
Turnbull’s intention to fix in the country, Mr. Elmour certainly was
upon the spot, and a very fit guardian; but that if she meant to appear,
as doubtless she would, in town, she would of course want another

“To cut the matter short at once, my dear,” said Lady Stock, “you
must come to town with me next winter, and choose Sir Thomas for your
guardian. I’m sure it will give him the greatest pleasure in the world
to do any thing in his power--and you will have no difficulties with
him; for you see he is not a man to bore you with all manner of advice;
in short, he would only be your guardian for form’s sake; and that, you
know, would be the pleasantest footing imaginable. Come, here is a pen
and ink and gilt paper; write to old Elmour this minute, and let me have
you all to myself.”

Almeria was taken by surprise: she hesitated--all her former
professions, all her obligations to the Elmour family, recurred to her
mind--her friendship for Ellen--her love, or what she had thought love,
for Frederick:--she could not decide upon a measure that might offend
them, or appear ungrateful; yet her desire of going to town with Lady
Stock was ardent, and she knew not how to refuse Sir Thomas’s offer
without displeasing him. She saw that all future connexion with _the
Stocks_ depended on her present determination--she took a middle course,
and suggested that she might have two guardians, and then she should be
able to avail herself of Sir Thomas’s obliging offer without offending
her old friends. In consequence of this convenient arrangement, she
wrote to Mr. Elmour, enclosing her letter in one to Ellen, in which the
embarrassment and weakness of her mind were evident, notwithstanding all
her endeavours to conceal them. After a whole page of incomprehensible
apologies, for having so long delayed to write to her dearest Ellen; and
after professions of the warmest affection, esteem, and gratitude,
for her friends at Elmour Grove; she in the fourth page of her epistle
opened her real business, by declaring that she should ever, from the
conviction she felt of the superiority of Ellen’s understanding,
follow her judgment, however repugnant it might sometimes be to her
inclinations; that she therefore had resolved, in pursuance of Ellen’s
advice, to take an opportunity of seeing the gay world, and had accepted
of an invitation from Lady Stock to spend the winter with her in
town--that she had also accepted of Sir Thomas Stock’s offer to become
one of her guardians, as she thought it best to trouble her good friend
Mr. Elmour as little as possible at his advanced age.

In answer to this letter, she received a few lines from Mr. Elmour,
requesting to see her before she should go to town: accordingly upon her
return to York, she went to Elmour Grove to take leave of her friends.
She was under some anxiety, but resolved to carry it off with that
ease, or affectation of ease, which she had learnt during her six weeks’
apprenticeship to a fine lady at Harrowgate. She was surprised that no
Frederick appeared to greet her arrival; the servant showed her into Mr.
Elmour’s study. The good old gentleman received her with that proud
sort of politeness, which was always the sign, and the only sign, of his
being displeased.

“You will excuse me, Miss Turnbull,” said he, “for giving you the
trouble of coming here; it was my business to have waited on you, but
I have been so far unwell lately, that it was not in my power to leave
home; and these are papers,” continued he, “which I thought it my duty
to deliver into your own hands.”

Whilst Mr. Elmour was tying up these papers, and writing upon them,
Almeria began two sentences with “I hope,” and “I am afraid,” without in
the least knowing what she hoped or feared. She was not yet sufficiently
perfect in the part of a fine lady to play it well. Mr. Elmour looked up
from his writing with an air of grave attention when she began to speak,
but after waiting in vain for an intelligible sentence, he proceeded.

“You have judged very wisely for me, Miss Turnbull, in relieving my
declining years from the fatigue of business: no man understands the
management or the value of money better than Sir Thomas Stock, and
you could not, madam, in this point of view, have chosen a more proper

Almeria said, “that she hoped Mr. Elmour would always permit her
to consider him as her best friend, to whose advice she should have
recourse in preference to that of any person upon earth;” recovering her
assurance as she went on speaking, and recollecting some of the hints
Lady Stock had given her, about the envy and jealousy of the Elmours,
and of their scheme of monopolizing her fortune; she added a few
commonplace phrases about respectability--gratitude--and great
obligations--then gave a glance at Lady Stock’s handsome carriage,
which was waiting at the door--then asked for Miss Elmour--and hoped she
should not be so unfortunate as to miss seeing her before she left the
country, as she came on purpose to take leave of her--then looked at her
watch:--but all this was said and done with the awkwardness of a novice
in the art of giving herself airs. Mr. Elmour, without being in the
least irritated by her manner, was all the time considering how he
could communicate, with the least possible pain, what he had further to
say--“You speak of me, Miss Turnbull, as of one of your guardians, in
the letter I had the favour of receiving from you a few days ago,” said
he; “but you must excuse me for declining that honour. Circumstances
have altered materially since I first undertook the management of your
affairs, and my future interference, or perhaps even my advice, might
not appear as disinterested as formerly.”

Miss Turnbull here interrupted him with an exclamation of astonishment,
and made many protestations of entire dependence upon his disinterested
friendship. He waited with proud patience till she had finished her

“How far the generous extent of your confidence, madam, reaches, or may
hereafter reach,” said he, “must be tried by others, not by me--nor yet
by my son.”

Almeria changed colour.

“He has left it to me, madam, to do that for him, which perhaps he
feared he might not have sufficient resolution to do for himself--to
return to you these letters and this picture; and to assure you that he
considers you as entirely at liberty to form any connexion that may be
suited to your present views and circumstances.”

Mr. Elmour put into her hand a packet of her own letters to Frederick,
and a miniature picture of herself, which she had formerly given to her
lover. This was an unexpected stroke. His generosity--his firmness of
character--the idea of losing him for ever--all rushed upon her mind at

Artificial manners vanish the moment the natural passions are touched.
Almeria clasped her hands in an agony of grief, and exclaimed, “Is he
gone? gone for ever?--I have deserved it!”--The letters and picture fell
from her hand, and she sunk back quite overpowered. When she recovered,
she found herself in the open air on a seat under Mr. Elmour’s study
windows, and Ellen beside her.

“Pity, forgive, and advise me, my dear, my best, my only real friend,”
 said Almeria: “never did I want your advice so much as at this moment.”

“You shall have it, then, without reserve,” said Ellen, “and without
fear that it should be attributed to any unworthy motive. I could almost
as soon wish for my brother’s death as desire to see him united to any
woman, let her beauty and accomplishments be what they might, who had
a mean or frivolous character, such as could consider money as the
greatest good, or dissipation as the prime object of life. I am firmly
persuaded, my dear Almeria, that however you may be dazzled by the first
view of what is called fashionable life, you will soon see things as
they really are, and that you will return to your former tastes and

“Oh! I am, I am returned to them!” cried Almeria; “I will write directly
to Lady Stock and to Sir Thomas, to tell them that I have changed my
mind--only prevail upon your father to be my guardian.”

“That is out of my power,” said Ellen; “and I think that it is much
better you should be as you are, left completely at liberty, and
entirely independent of us. I advise you, Almeria, to persist in your
scheme of spending the ensuing winter in town with Lady Stock--then you
will have an opportunity of comparing your own different feelings,
and of determining what things are essential to your happiness. If
you should find that the triumphs of fashion delight you more than the
pleasures of domestic life; pursue them--your fortune will put it
in your power; you will break no engagements; and you will have no
reproaches to fear from us. On the contrary, if you find that your
happiness depends upon friendship and love, and that the life we
formerly led together is that which you prefer, you will return to
Elmour Grove, to your friend and your lover, and your choice will not be
that of romance, but of reason.”

It was with difficulty that Almeria, in her present fit of enthusiasm,
could be brought to listen to sober sense and true friendship. Her
parting from Ellen and Mr. Elmour cost her many tears, and she returned
to her fashionable friend with swollen eyes and a heavy heart. Her
sorrow, however, was soon forgotten in the bustle and novelty of a
new situation. Upon her arrival in London, fresh trains of ideas were
quickly forced upon her mind, which were as dissimilar as possible from
those associated with love, friendship, and Elmour Grove. At Sir Thomas
Stock’s, every thing she saw and heard served to remind, or rather to
convince her, of the opulence of the owner of the house. Here every
object was estimated, not for its beauty or elegance, but by its
costliness. Money was the grand criterion, by which the worth of animate
and inanimate objects was alike decided. In this society, the worship of
the golden idol was avowed without shame or mystery; and all who did not
bow the knee to it were considered as hypocrites or fools. Our heroine,
possessed of two hundred thousand pounds, could not fail to have a large
share of incense--every thing she said, or looked, was applauded in Sir
Thomas Stock’s family; and she would have found admiration delightful,
if she had not suspected that her fortune alone entitled her to all this
applause. This was rather a mortifying reflection. By degrees, however,
her delicacy on this subject abated; she learned philosophically to
consider her fortune a thing so immediately associated with herself
as to form a part of her personal merit. Upon this principle, she soon
became vain of her wealth, and she was led to overrate the consequence
that riches bestow on their possessor.

In a capital city, such numerous claimants for distinction appear, with
beauty, birth, wit, fashion, or wealth to support their pretensions,
that the vanity of an individual, however clamorous, is immediately
silenced, if not humbled. When Miss Turnbull went into public, she
was surprised by the discovery of her own, nay even of Lady Stock’s
insignificance. At York her ladyship was considered as a personage high
as human veneration could look; but in London she was lost in a crowd of

It is, perhaps, from this sense of humiliation, that individuals combine
together, to obtain by their union that importance and self-complacency,
which separately they could never enjoy. Miss Turnbull observed, that
a numerous acquaintance was essential to those who lived much in
public--that the number of bows and curtsies, and the consequence of the
persons by whom they are given or received, is the measure of merit and
happiness. Nothing can be more melancholy than most places of public
amusement, to those who are strangers to the crowds which fill them.

Few people have such strength of mind as to be indifferent to the
opinions of numbers, even considered merely as numbers; hence those who
live in crowds, in fact surrender the power of thinking for themselves,
either in trifles or matters of consequence. Our heroine had imagined
before she came to town, that Lady Stock moved in the highest circle
of fashion; but she soon perceived that many of the people of rank who
visited her ladyship, and who partook of her sumptuous entertainments,
thought they condescended extremely whilst they paid this homage to

One night at the Opera, Almeria happened to be seated in the next box to
Lady Bradstone, a proud woman of high family, who considered all whose
genealogy could not vie in antiquity with her own as upstarts that ought
to be kept down. Her ladyship, either not knowing or not caring who was
in the next box to her, began to ridicule an entertainment which had
been given a few days before by Lady Stock. From her entertainment, the
transition was easy to her character, and to that of her whole family.
Young Stock was pronounced to have all the purse-proud self-sufficiency
of a banker, and all the pertness of a clerk; even his bow seemed as if
it came from behind the counter.

Till this moment Almeria had at least permitted, if not encouraged, this
gentleman’s assiduities; for she had hitherto seen him only in
company where he had been admired: his attentions, therefore, had been
flattering to her vanity. But things now began to appear in quite a
different light: she saw Mr. Stock in the point of view in which Lady
Bradstone placed him; and felt that she might be degraded, but could not
be elevated, in the ranks of fashion by such an admirer. She began to
wish that she was not so intimately connected with a family which was
ridiculed for want of taste, and whose wealth, as she now suspected, was
their only ticket of admittance into the society of the truly elegant.
In the land of fashion, “Alps on Alps arise;” and no sooner has the
votary reached the summit of one weary ascent than another appears
higher still and more difficult of attainment. Our heroine now became
discontented in that situation, which but a few months before had been
the grand object of her ambition.

In the mean time, as Mr. Stock had not overheard Lady Bradstone’s
conversation at the Opera, and as he had a comfortably good opinion of
himself, he was sure that he was making a rapid progress in the lady’s
favour. He had of late seldom heard her mention any of her friends
at Elmour Grove; and he was convinced that her romantic attachment to
Frederick must have been conquered by his own superior address. Her
fortune was fully as agreeable to him as to his money-making father:
the only difference between them was, that he loved to squander, and
his father to hoard gold. Extravagance frequently produces premature
avarice--young Mr. Stock calculated Miss Turnbull’s fortune, weighed
it against that of every other young lady within the sphere of his
attractions, found the balance in her favour by some thousands, made his
proposal in form, and could not recover his astonishment, when he found
himself in form rejected. Sir Thomas and Lady Stock used all their
influence in his favour, but in vain: they concluded that Almeria’s
passion for Frederick Elmour was the cause of this refusal; and they
directed their arguments against the folly of marrying for love. Our
heroine was at this time more in danger of the folly of marrying for
fashion: not that she had fixed her fancy upon any man of fashion in
particular, but she had formed an exalted idea of the whole species--and
she regretted that Frederick was not in that magic circle in which
all her hopes of happiness now centred. She wrote kind letters to Miss
Elmour, but each letter was written with greater difficulty than the
preceding; for she had lost all interest in the occupations which
formerly were so delightful. She and Ellen had now few ideas in common;
and her epistles dwindled into apologies for long silence--promises
of being a better correspondent in future--reasons for breaking these
promises--hopes of pardon, &c. Ellen, however, continued steady in her
belief that her friend would at last prove worthy of her esteem, and of
her brother’s love. The rejection of Mr. Stock, which Almeria did not
fail to mention, confirmed this favourable opinion.

When that gentleman was at length with some difficulty convinced that
our heiress had decided against him, his manners and those of his
family changed towards her from the extreme of civility to that of
rudeness--they spoke of her as a coquette and a jilt, and a person who
gave herself very extraordinary airs. She was vexed, and alarmed--and in
her first confusion and distress thought of retreating to her friends
at Elmour Grove. She wrote a folio sheet to Ellen, unlike her late
apologetic epistles, full of the feelings of her heart, and of a
warm invective against fashionable and interested _friends_. After a
narrative of her quarrel with the Stocks, she declared that she would
immediately quit her London acquaintance and return to her best friend.
But the very day after she had despatched this letter she changed her
mind, and formed a new idea of a _best friend_.

One morning she went with Lady Stock to a bookseller’s, whose shop
served as a fashionable _lounge_. Her ladyship valued books, like all
other things, in proportion to the money which they cost: she had
no taste for literature, but a great fancy for accumulating the most
expensive publications, which she displayed ostentatiously as part of
the costly furniture of her house. Whilst she was looking over some
literary luxuries, rich in all the elegance of hot-press and vellum
binding, Lady Bradstone and a party of her friends came into the room.
She immediately attracted and engrossed the attention of all present.
Lady Stock turned over the leaves of the fine books, and asked their
prices; but she had the mortification to perceive that she was an object
rather of derision than of admiration to the new comers. None are so
easily put out of countenance by airs, as those who are most apt to
play them off on their inferiors. Lady Stock bit her lips in evident
embarrassment, and the awkwardness of her distress increased the
confidence and triumph of her adversary. She had some time before
provoked Lady Bradstone by giving a concert in opposition to one of
hers, and by engaging, at an enormous expense, a celebrated performer
for _her night_: hostilities had thenceforward been renewed at every
convenient opportunity, by the contending fair ones. Lady Bradstone now
took occasion loudly to lament her extreme poverty; and she put this
question to all her party, whether if they had it in their power they
should prefer having more money than taste, or more taste than money?
They were going to decide _par acclamation_, but her ladyship insisted
upon taking each vote separately, because this prolonged the torments of
her rival, who heard the preference of taste to money reiterated half a
dozen times over, with the most provoking variety of insulting emphasis.
Almeria’s sufferings during this scene were far more poignant than those
of the person against whom the ridicule was aimed: not that she pitied
Lady Stock--no; she would have rejoiced to have seen her humbled to the
dust, if she could have escaped all share in her mortification: but as
she appeared as her ladyship’s acquaintance, she apprehended that she
might be mistaken for her friend. An opportunity offered of marking the
difference. The bookseller asked Lady Stock if she chose to put her name
down in a list of subscribers to a new work. The book, she saw, was to
be dedicated to Lady Bradstone--and that was sufficient to decide her
against it.

She declared that she never supported such things either by her name
or her money; that for her part she was no politician; that she thought
female patriots were absurd and odious; and that she was glad none of
that description were of her acquaintance.

All this was plainly directed against Lady Bradstone, who was a zealous
patriot: her ladyship retorted, by some reflections equally keen, but
rather more politely expressed, each party addressing their inuendoes
to the bookseller, who afraid to disoblige either the rich or the
fashionable, preserved, as much as it was in the power of his muscles, a
perfectly neutral countenance. At last, in order to relieve himself from
his constraint, he betook himself to count the subscribers, and Miss
Turnbull seized this moment to desire that her name might be added to
the list. Lady Bradstone’s eyes were immediately fixed upon her with
complacency--Lady Stock’s flashed fire. Regardless of their fire,
Almeria coolly added, “Twelve copies, sir, if you please.”

“Twelve copies, Miss Turnbull, at a guinea a-piece! Lord bless me, do
you know what you are about, my dear?” said Lady Stock.

“Perfectly well,” replied our heroine; “I think twelve guineas, or
twenty times that sum, would be well bestowed in asserting independence
of sentiment, which I understand is the object of this work.”

A whisper from Lady Bradstone to one of the shopmen, of “Who is that
charming woman?” gave our heroine courage to pronounce these words. Lady
Stock in great displeasure walked to her carriage, saying, “You are to
consider what you will do with your twelve copies, Miss Turnbull; for I
am convinced your guardian will never let such a parcel of inflammatory
trash into his house: he admires female patriotism, and _all that sort
of thing_, as little as I do.”

The rudeness of this speech did not disconcert Almeria; for she was
fortified by the consciousness that she had gained her point with Lady
Bradstone. This lady piqued herself upon showing her preferences and
aversions with equal enthusiasm and _éclat_. She declared before a large
company at dinner, that notwithstanding Miss Turnbull was _nobody_ by
birth, she had made herself _somebody_ by spirit; and that for her part,
she should, contrary to her general principle, which she confessed was
to keep a strong line of demarcation between nobility and mobility,
take a pride in bringing forward merit even in the shape of a Yorkshire
grazier’s daughter.

Pursuant to this gracious declaration, she empowered a common friend to
introduce Miss Turnbull to her, on the first opportunity. When people
really wish to become acquainted with each other, opportunities are
easily and quickly found. The parties met, to their mutual satisfaction,
that very night in the waiting-room of the Opera-house, and conversed
more in five minutes than people in town usually converse in five months
or years, when it is their wish to keep on a merely civil footing. But
this was not the footing on which Miss Turnbull desired to be with Lady
Bradstone; she took the utmost pains to please, and succeeded. She owed
her success chiefly to the dexterous manner in which she manifested
her contempt for her late dear friend Lady Stock. Her having refused an
alliance with the family was much in her favour; her ladyship admired
her spirit, but little suspected that the contemptuous manner in which
she had once been overheard to speak of this _banker’s son_ was the
real and immediate cause of his rejection. The phrase--“_only_ Stock
the banker’s son”--decided his fate: so much may be done by the mere
emphasis on a single word from fashionable lips! Our heroine managed
with considerable address in bringing her quarrel with one friend to
a crisis at the moment when another was ready to receive her. An
ostensible pretext is never wanting to those who are resolved on war.
The book to which Miss Turnbull had subscribed was the pretext upon this
occasion: nothing could be more indifferent to her than politics; but
Lady Bradstone’s party and principles were to be defended at all events.
Sir Thomas Stock protested that he might be hurt essentially in the
opinion of those for whom he had the highest consideration if a young
lady living under his roof, known to be his ward, and probably presumed
to be guided by him, should put her name as subscriber to twelve copies
of a work patronized by Lady Bradstone. “The mere circumstance of its
being dedicated to her ladyship showed what it _must_ be,” Sir Thomas
observed; and he made it a point with Miss Turnbull that she should
withdraw her name from the subscription. This Miss Turnbull absolutely
refused. Lady Bradstone was her confidante upon the occasion, and
half-a-dozen notes a day passed between them: at length the affair
was brought to the long wished-for crisis. Lady Bradstone invited Miss
Turnbull to her house, feeling herself, as she said, bound in honour to
_bear her out_ in a dispute of which she had been the original occasion.
In this lady’s society Almeria found the style of dress, manners, and
conversation, different from what she had seen at Lady Stock’s: she had
without difficulty imitated the affectation of Lady Stock, but there
was an ease in the decided tone of Lady Bradstone which could not be
so easily acquired. Having lived from her infancy in the best company,
there was no heterogeneous mixture in her manners; and the consciousness
of this gave an habitual air of security to her words, looks, and
motions. Lady Stock seemed forced to beg or buy--Lady Bradstone
accustomed to command or levy admiration as her rightful tribute. The
pride of Lady Bradstone was uniformly resolute, and successful; the
insolence of Lady Stock, if it were opposed, became cowardly and
ridiculous. Lady Bradstone seemed to have, on all occasions, an
instinctive sense of what a person of fashion ought to do; Lady Stock,
notwithstanding her bravadoing air, was frequently perplexed, and
anxious, and therefore awkward: she had always recourse to precedents.
“Lady P---- said so, or Lady Q---- did so; Lady G---- wore this, or Lady
H---- was there, and therefore I am sure it is proper.”

On the contrary, Lady Bradstone never quoted authorities, but presumed
that she was a precedent for others. The one was eager to follow, the
other determined to lead, the fashion.

Our heroine, who was by no means deficient in penetration, and whose
whole attention was now given to the study of externals, quickly
perceived these shades of difference between her late and her present
friend. She remarked, in particular, that she found herself much more
at ease in Lady Bradstone’s society. Her ladyship’s pride was not so
offensive as Lady Stock’s vanity: secure of her own superiority, Lady
Bradstone did not want to measure herself every instant with inferiors.
She treated Almeria as her equal in every respect; and in setting her
right in points of fashion never seemed to triumph, but to consider her
own knowledge as a necessary consequence of the life she had led from
her infancy. With a sort of proud generosity, she always considered
those whom she honoured with her friendship as thenceforward entitled to
all the advantages of her own situation, and to all the respect due to
a part of herself. She now always used the word _we_, with peculiar
emphasis, in speaking of Miss Turnbull and herself. This was a signal
perfectly well understood by her acquaintance. Almeria was received
every where with the most distinguished attention; and she was
delighted, and absolutely intoxicated, with her sudden rise in the world
of fashion. She found that her former acquaintance at Lady Stock’s were
extremely ambitious of claiming an intimacy; but this could not be done.
Miss Turnbull had now acquired, by practice, the power of looking at
people without seeming to see them, and of forgetting those with whom
she was perfectly well acquainted. Her opinion of her own consequence
was much raised by the court that was paid to her by several young
men of fashion, who thought it expedient to marry two hundred thousand

How quickly ambition extends her views! Our heroine’s highest object had
lately been to form an alliance with a man of fashion; she had now three
fashionable admirers in her train, but though she was flattered by their
attention, she had not the least inclination to decide in favour of any
of these candidates. The only young man of her present acquaintance who
seemed to be out of the reach of her power was Lord Bradstone; and upon
the conquest of his heart, or rather his pride, her fancy was fixed.
He had all his mother’s family pride, and he had been taught by her to
expect an alliance with a daughter of one of the first noble families in
England. The possibility of his marrying a grazier’s daughter had never
entered into his or Lady Bradstone’s thoughts: they saw, indeed, every
day, examples, among the first nobility, of such matches; but they saw
them with contempt. Almeria knew this, and yet she did not despair of
success: nor was she wrong in her calculations. Lord Bradstone was fond
of high play--his taste for gaming soon reduced him to distress--his
guardian was enraged, and absolutely refused to pay his lordship’s
debts. What was to be done?--He must extricate himself from his
difficulties by marrying some rich heiress. Miss Turnbull was the
heiress nearest at hand. Lord Bradstone’s pride was compelled to yield
to his interest, and he resolved to pay his addresses to the Yorkshire
grazier’s daughter: but he knew that his mother would be indignant at
this idea; and he therefore determined to proceed cautiously, and to
assure himself of the young lady’s approbation before he should brave
his mother’s anger.

The winter was now passed, and her ladyship invited Miss Turnbull to
accompany her to Cheltenham;--her son was of the party. Our heroine
plainly understood his intentions, and her friendship for Lady Bradstone
did not prevent her from favouring his views: neither was she deterred
by her knowledge of his lordship’s taste for play, so ardent was her
desire for a coronet. The recollection of Frederick Elmour sometimes
crossed her imagination, and struck her heart; but the pang was soon
over, and she settled her conscience by the reflection, that she
was not, in the least degree, bound in honour to him--he had set her
entirely at liberty, and could not complain of her conduct. As to
Ellen--every day she determined to write to her, and every day she put
it off till to-morrow. At last she was saved the trouble of making and
breaking any more resolutions: for one evening, as she was walking with
Lady Bradstone and her noble admirer, in the public walk, she met Miss
Elmour and her brother.

She accosted Ellen with great eagerness; but it was plain to her
friend’s discerning eyes that her joy was affected. After repeating
several times that she was quite delighted at this unexpected meeting,
she ran on with a number of commonplace questions, commencing and
concluding with, “When did you come?--How long do you stay?--Where do
you lodge?”

“We have been here about a fortnight, and I believe we shall stay about
a month longer.”

“Indeed!--A month!--So long!--How fortunate!--But where are you?”

“We lodge a little out of the town, on the road to Cirencester.”

“How unfortunate!--We are at such a shocking distance!--I’m with Lady
Bradstone--a most charming woman!--Whom are you with?”

“With my poor father,” said Ellen; “he has been very ill lately, and we
came here on his account.”

“Ill!--Old Mr. Elmour!--I’m extremely concerned--but whom have you to
attend him?--you should send to town for Dr. Grant--do you know he is
the only man now?--the only man Lady Bradstone and I have any dependence
on--if I were dying, he is the man I should send for. Do have him for
Mr. Elmour, my dear--and don’t be alarmed, above all things--you know
it’s so natural, at your father’s age, that he should not be as well as
he has been--but I distress you--and detain you.”

Our heroine, after running off these unmeaning sentences, passed on,
being ashamed to walk with Ellen in public, because Lady Bradstone had
whispered, “_Who is she?_”--Not to be known in the world of fashion is
an unpardonable crime, for which no merit can atone. Three days elapsed
before Miss Turnbull went to see her friends, notwithstanding her
extreme concern for poor Mr. Elmour. Her excuse to her conscience was,
that Lady Bradstone’s carriage could not sooner be spared. People in
a certain rank of life are, or make themselves, slaves to horses
and carriages; with every apparent convenience and luxury, they are
frequently more dependent than their tradesmen or their servants.
There was a time when Almeria would not have been restrained by these
imaginary _impossibilities_ from showing kindness to her friends; but
that time was now completely past. She was, at present, anxious to avoid
having any private conversation with Ellen, because she was ashamed
to avow her change of views and sentiments. In the short morning
visit which she paid her, Almeria talked of public places, of public
characters, of dress and equipages, &c. She inquired, indeed, with a
modish air of infinite sensibility, for poor Mr. Elmour; and when she
heard that he was confined to his bed, she regretted most excessively
that she could not see him; but a few seconds afterwards, with a
suitable change of voice and countenance, she made an easy transition
to the praise of a new dress of Lady Bradstone’s invention. Frederick
Elmour came into the room in the midst of the eulogium on her ladyship’s
taste--she was embarrassed for a moment; but quickly recovering the tone
of a fine lady, she spoke to him as if he had never been any thing to
her but a common acquaintance. The dignity and firmness of his manner
provoked her pride; she wished to coquet with him--she tried to excite
his jealousy by talking of Lord Bradstone: but vain were all her airs
and inuendoes; they could not extort from him even a sigh. She was
somewhat consoled, however, by observing in his sister’s countenance the
expression, as she thought, of extreme mortification.

A few days after this visit, Miss Turnbull received the following note
from Miss Elmour:


“If you still wish that I should treat you as a friend, show me that you
do, and you will find my affection unaltered. If, on the contrary, you
have decided to pursue a mode of life, or to form connexions which make
you ashamed to own any one for a friend who is not a fine lady, let
our intimacy be dissolved for ever--it could only be a source of mutual
pain. My father is better to-day, and wishes to see you. Will you spend
this evening with him and with Your affectionate ELLEN ELMOUR?”

It happened that the very day Miss Turnbull received this note, Lady
Bradstone was to have a concert, and Almeria knew that her ladyship
would be offended if she were to spend the evening with the Elmours:
it was, as she said to herself, _impossible_, therefore, to accept of
Ellen’s invitation. She called upon her in the course of the morning,
to make an apology. She found Ellen beside her father, who was seated
in his arm-chair: he looked extremely pale and weak: she was at first
shocked at the change she saw in her old friend, and she could not utter
the premeditated apology. Ellen took it for granted that she was come,
in consequence of her note, to spend the day with her, and she embraced
her with affectionate joy. Her whole countenance changed when our
heroine began at last to talk of Lady Bradstone and the concert--Ellen
burst into tears.

“My dear child,” said Mr. Elmour, putting his hand upon his daughter’s,
which rested upon the arm of his chair, “I did not expect this weakness
from you.”

Miss Turnbull, impatient to shorten a scene which she had neither
strength of mind to endure nor to prevent, rose to take leave.

“My dear Ellen,” said she, in an irresolute tone, “my dearest creature,
you must not distress yourself in this way--I must have you keep up your
spirits. You confine yourself too much, indeed you do; and you see you
are not equal to it. Your father will be better, and he will persuade
you to leave him for an hour or two, I am sure, and we must have you
amongst us; and I must introduce you to Lady Bradstone--she’s a charming
woman, I assure you--you would like her of all things, if you knew her.
Come--don’t let me see you in this way. Really, my dear Ellen, this is
so unlike you--I can assure you that, whatever you may think, I love you
as well as ever I did, and never shall forget my obligations to _all_
your family; but, you know, a person who lives in the world, as I do,
must make such terrible sacrifices of their time--one can’t do as one
pleases--one’s an absolute slave. So you must forgive me, dear Ellen,
for bidding you farewell for the present.”

Ellen hastily wiped away her tears, and turning to Almeria with an air
of dignity, held out her hand to her, and said, “Farewell for ever,
Almeria!--May you never feel the want of a sincere and affectionate
friend!--May the triumphs of fashion make you amends for all you
sacrifice to obtain them!”

Miss Turnbull was abashed and agitated--she hurried out of the room to
conceal her confusion, stepped into a carriage with a coronet, drove
away, and endeavoured to forget all that had passed. The concert in the
evening recalled her usual train of ideas, and she persuaded herself
that she had done all, and more than was necessary, in offering to
introduce Ellen to Lady Bradstone. “How could she neglect such an

A few days after the concert, Almeria had the pleasure of being
introduced to Lady Bradstone’s four daughters--Lady Gabriella, Lady
Agnes, Lady Bab, and Lady Kitty. Of the existence of these young ladies
Almeria had scarcely heard--they had been educated at a fashionable
boarding-school; and their mother was now under the disagreeable
necessity of bringing them home to live with her, because the eldest was
past seventeen.

Lady Gabriella was a beauty, and determined to be a Grace--but which of
the three Graces, she had not yet decided.

Lady Agnes was plain, and resolved to be a wit.

Lady Bab and Lady Kitty were charming hoydens, with all the _modern_
simplicity of fourteen or fifteen in their manners. Lady Bab had a fine
long neck, which was always in motion--Lady Kitty had white teeth, and
was always laughing;--but it is impossible to characterize them, for
they differed in nothing from a thousand other young ladies.

These four sisters agreed in but one point--in considering their mother
as their common enemy. Taking it for granted that Miss Turnbull was her
friend, she was looked upon by them as being naturally entitled to a
share of their distrust and enmity. They found a variety of causes of
complaint against our heroine; and if they had been at any loss, their
respective waiting-maids would have furnished them with inexhaustible
causes of quarrel.

Lady Bradstone could not bear to go with more than four in a
coach.--“Why was Miss Turnbull always to have a front seat in the
coach, and two of the young ladies to be always left at home on
her account?”--“How could Lady Bradstone make such a favourite of a
grazier’s daughter, and prefer her to her own children as a companion?”

The young ladies never discouraged their attendants from saying all the
ill-natured things that they could devise of Miss Turnbull, and they
invented a variety of methods of tormenting her. Lady Gabriella found
out that Almeria was horridly ugly and awkward; Lady Agnes _quizzed_ her
perpetually; and the Ladies Bab and Kitty played upon her innumerable
practical jokes. She was astonished to find in high life a degree of
vulgarity of which her country companions would have been ashamed: but
all such things in high life go under the general term _dashing_.
These young ladies were _dashers_. Alas! perhaps foreigners and future
generations may not know the meaning of the term!

Our heroine’s temper was not proof against the trials to which it was
hourly exposed: perhaps the consciousness that she was not born to the
situation in which she now moved, joined to her extreme anxiety to be
thought genteel and fashionable, rendered her peculiarly irritable
when her person and manners were attacked by ladies of quality. She
endeavoured to conciliate her young enemies by every means in her
power, and at length she found a method of pleasing them. They were
immoderately fond of baubles, and they had not money enough to gratify
this taste. Miss Turnbull at first, with great timidity, begged Lady
Gabriella’s acceptance of a ring, which seemed particularly to catch her
fancy: the facility with which the ring was accepted, and the favourable
change it produced, as if by magic, in her ladyship’s manners towards
our heroine, encouraged her to try similar experiments upon the
other sisters. She spared not ear-rings, crosses, brooches, pins, and
necklaces; and the young ladies in return began to show her all the
friendship which can be purchased by such presents--or by any presents.
Even whilst she rejoiced at the change in their behaviour, she could
not avoid despising them for the cause to which she knew it must be
attributed; nor did she long enjoy even the temporary calm procured by
these peace-offerings; for the very same things which propitiated the
daughters offended the mother. Lady Bradstone one morning insisted
upon Lady Gabriella’s returning a necklace, which she had received from
Almeria; and her ladyship informed Miss Turnbull, at the same time, with
an air of supreme haughtiness, that “she could not possibly permit
_her_ daughters to accept such valuable presents from any but their own
relations; that if the Lady Bradstones did not know what became them, it
was her duty to teach them propriety.”

It was rather late in life to begin to teach, even if they had been
inclined to learn. They resented her last lesson, or rather her last act
of authority, with acrimony proportioned to the value of the object;
and Miss Turnbull was compelled to hear their complaints. Lady Gabriella
said, she was convinced that her mother’s only reason for making her
return the necklace was because she had not one quite so handsome. Lady
Agnes, between whom and her mamma there was pending a dispute about a
pair of diamond ear-rings, left by her grandmother, observed, that her
mother might, if she pleased, call _jealousy, propriety_; but that she
must not be surprised if other people used the old vocabulary; that her
mamma’s pride and vanity were always at war; for that though she
was proud enough to see her daughters _show well_ in public, yet she
required to have it said that she looked younger than any of them, and
that she was infinitely better dressed.

Lady Bab and Lady Kitty did not fail in this favourable moment of
general discontent to bring forward their list of grievances; and in the
discussion of their rights and wrongs they continually appealed to our
heroine, crowding round her whilst she stood silent and embarrassed.
Ashamed of them and of herself, she compared the Lady Bradstones with
Ellen--she compared the sisters-in-law she was soon to have with the
friend she had forsaken. The young ladies mistook the expression of
melancholy in Almeria’s countenance at this instant, for sympathy in
their sorrows; and her silence, for acquiescence in the justice of their
complaints. They were reiterating their opinions with something like
plebeian loudness of voice, when their mother entered the room. The ease
with which her daughters changed their countenances and the subject of
conversation, when she entered, might have prevented all suspicion but
for the blushes of Almeria, who, though of all the party she was the
least guilty, looked by far the most abashed. The necklace which hung
from her hand, and on which in the midst of her embarrassment her eyes
involuntarily fell, seemed to Lady Bradstone proof positive against her.
Her ladyship recollected certain words she had heard as she opened the
door, and now applied them without hesitation to herself. Politeness
restrained the expression of her anger towards Miss Turnbull, but it
burst furiously forth upon her daughters; and our heroine was now as
much alarmed by the violence of her future mother-in-law as she had
been disgusted by the meanness of her _intended_ sisters. From this
day forward, Lady Bradstone’s manner changed towards Almeria, who could
plainly perceive, by her altered eye, that she had lost her confidence,
and that her ladyship considered her as one who was playing a double
part, and fomenting dissensions in her family. She thought herself
bound, in honour to the daughters, not to make any explanation that
could throw the blame upon them; and she bore in painful silence the
many oblique reproaches, reflections upon ingratitude, dissimulation,
and treachery, which she knew were aimed at her. The consciousness that
she was treating Lady Bradstone with insincerity, in encouraging the
addresses of her son, increased Miss Turnbull’s embarrassment; she
repented having for a moment encouraged his clandestine attachment; and
she now urged him in the strongest manner to impart his intentions to
his mother. He assured her that she should be obeyed; but his obedience
was put off from day to day; and, in the mean time, the more Almeria saw
of his family, the more her desire to be connected with them diminished.
The affair of the necklace was continually renewed, in some shape or
other, and a perpetual succession of petty disputes occurred, in which
both parties were in the wrong, and each openly or secretly blamed her
for not taking their part. Her mind was so much harassed, that all
her natural cheerfulness forsook her; and the being obliged to assume
spirits in company, and among people who were not worth the toil of
pleasing, became every hour more irksome. The transition from these
domestic miseries to public dissipation and gaieties made her still more

When she calmly examined her own heart, she perceived that she felt
little or no affection for Lord Bradstone, though she had been flattered
by his attentions, when the assiduity of a man of rank and fashion was
new to her; but now the joys of being a countess began to fade in her
imagination. She hesitated--she had not strength of mind sufficient to
decide--she was afraid to proceed; yet she had not courage to retract.

Ellen’s parting words recurred to her mind--“May you never feel the want
of a sincere and affectionate friend! May the triumphs of fashion make
you amends for all you sacrifice to obtain them!”--“Alas!” thought
she, “Ellen foresaw that I should soon be disgusted with this joyless,
heartless intercourse; but how can I recede? how can I disengage
myself from this Lord Bradstone, now that I have encouraged his
addresses?--Fool that I have been!--Oh! if I could now be advised by
that best of friends, who used to assist me in all my difficulties!--But
she despises, she has renounced me--she has bid me farewell for ever!”

Notwithstanding this “farewell for ever,” there was still at the bottom
of Almeria’s heart, even whilst she bewailed herself in this manner, a
secret hope that Ellen’s esteem and friendship might be recovered, and
she resolved to make the trial. She was eager to put this idea into
execution the moment it occurred to her; and after apologizing to the
Lady Bradstones for not, as usual, accompanying them in their morning
ride, she set out to walk to Miss Elmour’s lodgings. It was a hot
day--she walked fast from the hurry and impatience of her mind. The
servant who attended her knocked twice at Mr. Elmour’s door before any
one answered; at last the door was opened by a maid-servant, with a
broom in her hand.

“Is Miss Elmour at home?”

“No, sir, she left Cheltenham this morning betimes, and we be getting
the house ready for other lodgers.”

Almeria was very much disappointed--she looked flushed and fatigued;
and the maid said, “Ma’am, if you’ll be pleased to rest a while, you’re
welcome, I’m sure--and the parlour’s cleaned out--be pleased to sit
down, ma’am.”--Almeria followed, for she was really tired, and glad to
accept the good-natured offer. She was shown into the same parlour where
she had but a few weeks before taken leave of Ellen. The maid rolled
forward the great arm-chair, in which old Mr. Elmour had been seated;
and as she moved it, a gold-headed cane fell to the ground.

Almeria’s eyes turned upon it directly as it fell; for it was an old
friend of hers: many a time she had played with it when she was a child,
and for many years she had been accustomed to see it in the hand of
a man whom she loved and respected. It brought many pleasing and some
painful associations to her mind--for she reflected how ill she had
behaved to the owner of it the last time she saw him.

“Ay, ma’am,” said the maid, “it is the poor old gentleman’s cane, sure
enough--it has never been stirred from here, nor his hat and gloves,
see, since the day he died.”

“Died!--Good Heavens!--Is Mr. Elmour dead?”

“Yes, sure--he died last Tuesday, and was buried yesterday. You’d better
drink some of this water, ma’am,” said the girl, filling a glass that
stood on the table. “Why! dear heart! I would not have mentioned it
so sudden in this way, but I thought it could no way hurt you. Why, it
never came into my head you could be a friend of the family’s, nor more,
may be, at the utmost, than an acquaintance, as you never used to call
much during his illness.”

This was the most cutting reproach, and the innocence with which it was
uttered made it still more severe. Almeria burst into tears; and the
poor girl, not knowing what to say next, and sorry for all she had said,
took up the cane, which had fallen from Almeria’s hands, and applied
herself to brightening the gold head with great diligence. At this
instant there was a double knock at the house-door.

“It’s only the young gentleman, ma’am,” said the maid, as she went
towards the door.

“What young gentleman?” said Almeria, rising from her seat.

“Young Mr. Elmour, ma’am: he did not go away with his sister, but stayed
to settle some matters. Oh, they have let him in!”

The maid stood with the parlour-door half open in her hand, not being
able to decide in her own fancy whether the lady wished that he should
come into the room or stay out; and before either she, or perhaps
Almeria, had decided this point, it was settled for them by his walking
in. Almeria was standing so as to be hid by the door; and he was so
intent upon his own thoughts, that, without perceiving there was any
body in the room, he walked straight forward to the table, took up
his father’s hat and gloves, and gave a deep sigh. He heard his sigh
echoed--looked up, and started at the sight of Almeria, but immediately
assumed an air of distant and cold respect. He was in deep mourning, and
looked pale, as if he had suffered much. Almeria endeavoured to speak;
but could get out only a few words, expressive of _the shock and
astonishment_ she had just felt.

“Undoubtedly, madam, you must have been shocked,” replied Frederick, in
a calm voice; “but you could not have reason to be much astonished. My
father’s life had been despaired of some time--you must have seen how
much he was changed when you were here a few weeks ago.” Almeria could
make no reply; the tears, in spite of all her efforts to restrain them,
rolled down her cheeks: the cold, and almost severe, manner, in which
Frederick spoke, and the consciousness that she deserved it, struck her
to the heart. He followed her, as she abruptly quitted the room, and
in a tone of more kindness, but with the same distant manner, begged to
have the honour of attending her home. She bowed her head, to give that
assent which her voice could not at this instant utter; and she was
involuntarily going to put her arm within his; but, as he did not seem
to perceive this motion, she desisted, coloured violently, adjusted
the drapery of her gown to give employment to the neglected hand, then
walked on with precipitation. Her foot slipped as she was crossing the
street; Frederick offered his arm--she could not guess, from the way in
which it was presented, whether her former attempt had been perceived or
not. This trifle appeared to her a point of the utmost importance; for
by this she thought she could decide whether his feelings were really
as cold towards her as they appeared, whether he felt love and anger, or
contempt and indifference. Whilst she was endeavouring in vain to form
her opinion, all the time she leant upon his arm, and walked on in
silence, a carriage passed them; Frederick bowed, and his countenance
was suddenly illuminated. Almeria turned eagerly to see the cause of the
change, and as the carriage drove on she caught a glimpse of a beautiful
young lady. A spasm of jealousy seized her heart--she withdrew her
arm from Frederick’s. The abruptness of the action did not create any
emotion in him--his thoughts were absent. In a few minutes he slackened
his pace, and turned from the road towards a path across the fields,
asking if Miss Turnbull had any objection to going that way to Lady
Bradstone’s instead of along the dusty road. She made no objection--she
thought she perceived that Frederick was preparing to say something of
importance to her, and her heart beat violently.

“Miss Turnbull will not, I hope, think what I am going to say
impertinent; she may be assured that it proceeds from no motive but the
desire to prevent the future unhappiness of one who once honoured my
family with her friendship.”

“You are too good--I do not deserve that you should be interested in
my happiness or unhappiness--I cannot think you impertinent--pray speak

“And quickly,” she would have added, if she dared. Without abating any
of his reserve from this encouragement, he proceeded precisely in the
same tone as before, and with the same steady composure.

“An accidental acquaintance with a friend of my Lord Bradstone’s, has
put me in possession of what, perhaps, you wish to be a secret, madam,
and what I shall inviolably keep as such.”

“I cannot pretend to be ignorant of what you allude to,” said Almeria;
“but it is more than probable that you may not have heard the exact
state of the business; indeed it is impossible that you should, because
no one but myself could fully explain my sentiments. In fact they were
undecided; I was this very morning going to consult your sister upon
that subject.”

“You will not suppose that I am going to intrude my counsels upon you,
Miss Turnbull; nothing can be farther from my intention: I am merely
going to mention a fact to you, of which I apprehend you are ignorant,
and of which, as you are circumstanced, no one in your present society,
perhaps no one in the world but myself, would choose to apprize you.
Forgive me, madam, if I try your patience by this preface: I am very
desirous not to wound your feelings more than is necessary.”

“Perhaps,” said Almeria, with a doubtful smile, “perhaps you are under
a mistake, and imagine my feelings to be much more interested than they
really are. If you have any thing to communicate to Lord Bradstone’s
disadvantage, you may mention it to me without hesitation, and without
fear of injuring my happiness or his; for, to put you at ease at once,
I am come to a determination positively to decline his lordship’s

“This assurance certainly puts me at ease at once,” said Frederick. But
Almeria observed that he neither expressed by his voice nor countenance
any of that joy which she had hoped to inspire by the assurance: on
the contrary, he heard it as a determination in which he was personally
unconcerned, and in which pure benevolence alone could give him an
interest. “This relieves me,” continued he, “from all necessity of
explaining myself further.”

“Nay,” said Almeria, “but I must beg you will explain yourself. You do
not know but it may be necessary for me to have your antidote ready in
case of a relapse.”

No change, at least none that betrayed the anxiety of a lover, was
visible in Frederick’s countenance at this hint of a relapse; but he
gravely answered, that, when so urged, he could not forbear to tell
her the exact truth, that Lord Bradstone was a ruined man--ruined
by gaming--and that he had been so indelicate as to declare to his
_friend_, that his sole object in marrying was money. Our heroine’s
pride was severely hurt by the last part of this information; but
even that did not wound her so keenly as the manner in which Frederick
behaved. She saw that he had no remains of affection for her lurking
in his heart--she saw that he now acted merely as he declared, from a
desire to save from misery one who had formerly honoured his family
with her friendship. Stiff, cold words--she endeavoured to talk upon
indifferent subjects, but could not--she was somewhat relieved when they
reached Lady Bradstone’s door, and when Frederick left her. The moment
he was gone, however, she ran up stairs to her own apartment, and looked
eagerly out of her window to catch the last glimpse of him. Such is
the strange caprice of the human heart, that a lover appears the
most valuable at the moment he is lost. Our heroine had felt all her
affection for Frederick revive with more than its former force within
this last hour; and she thought she now loved with a degree of passion
of which she had never before found herself capable. Hope is perhaps
inseparable from the existence of the passion of love. She passed
alternately from despair to the most flattering delusions: she fancied
that Frederick’s coldness was affected--that he was acting only from
honour--that he wished to leave her at liberty--and that as soon as he
knew she was actually disengaged from Lord Bradstone, he would fly
to her with all his former eagerness. This notion having once taken
possession of her mind, she was impatient in the extreme to settle her
affairs with Lord Bradstone. He was not at home--he did not come in till
late in the evening. It happened, that the next day Almeria was to be of
age; and Lord Bradstone, when he met her in the evening, reminded her
of her promise not “to prolong the torments of suspense beyond that
period.” She asked whether he had, in compliance with her request,
communicated the affair to Lady Bradstone? No; but he would as soon as
he had reasonable grounds of hope. Miss Turnbull rejoiced that he had
disobeyed her injunctions--she said that Lady Bradstone might now be for
ever spared hearing what would have inevitably excited her indignation.
His lordship stared, and could not comprehend our heroine’s present
meaning. She soon made it intelligible. We forbear to relate all that
was said upon the occasion: as it was a disappointment of the purse
and not of the heart, his lordship was of course obliged to make
a proportional quantity of professions of eternal sorrow and
disinterestedness. Almeria, partly to save her own pride the
mortification of the repetition, forbore to allude to the confidential
speech in which he had explained to _a friend_ his motives for marrying;
she hoped that he would soon console himself with some richer heiress,
and she rejoiced to be disencumbered of him, and even of his coronet;
for in this moment coronets seemed to her but paltry things--so much
does the appearance of objects vary according to the medium through
which they are viewed!

Better satisfied with herself after this refusal of the earl, and in
better spirits than she had been for some months, she flattered herself
with the hopes that Frederick would call upon her again before he left
Cheltenham; he would then know that Lord Bradstone was no longer her

She fell asleep full of these imaginations--dreamed of Frederick and
Elmour Grove--but this was only a dream. The next day--and the next--and
the next--passed without her seeing or hearing any thing of Frederick;
and the fourth day, as she rode by the house where the Elmours had
lodged, she saw put up in the parlour window an advertisement of
“_Lodgings to be let_.” She was now convinced that Frederick had left
Cheltenham--left it without thinking of her or of Lord Bradstone. The
young Lady Bradstones observed that she scarcely spoke a word during
the remainder of her morning’s ride. At night she was attacked with a
feverish complaint: the image of the beautiful person whom she had seen
in the coach that passed while she was walking with Frederick, was now
continually before her eyes. She had made all the inquiries she could,
to find out who that young lady might be; but this point could not be
ascertained, because, though she described the lady accurately, she was
not equally exact about the description of the carriage. The arms and
livery had totally escaped her observation. The different conjectures
that had been made by the various people to whom she had applied, and
the voices in which their answers were given, ran in her head all this
feverish night.

“Perhaps it was Lady Susanna Quin--very likely it was Lady Mary
Lowther--very possibly Miss Grant; you know she goes about with old Mrs.
Grant in a yellow coach--but there are so many yellow coaches--the arms
or the livery would settle the point at once.” These words, _the arms
and the livery would settle the point at once,_ she repeated to herself
perpetually, though without annexing any ideas to the words. In
short, she was very feverish all night; and in the morning, though she
endeavoured to rise, she was obliged to lie down again. She was
confined to her bed for about a week: Lady Bradstone sent for the best
physicians; and the young ladies, in the intervals of dressing and going
out, whenever they could remember it, came into Miss Turnbull’s room
to “hope she found herself better.” It was obvious to her that no one
person in the house cared a straw about her, and she was oppressed with
the sense of being an encumbrance to the whole family. Whilst she was
alone she formed many projects for her future life, which she resolved
to execute as soon as she should recover. She determined immediately
to go down to her own house in the country, and to write to Ellen a
recantation of all her fine lady errors. She composed, whilst she lay on
her feverish pillow, twenty letters to her former friend, each of them
more eloquent and magnanimous than the other: but in proportion as her
fever left her, the activity of her imagination abated, and with it her
eloquence and magnanimity. Her mind, naturally weak, and now enfeebled
by disease, became quite passive, and received and yielded to the
impressions made by external circumstances. New trains of ideas,
perfectly different from those which had occupied her mind during her
fever, and in the days preceding her illness, were excited during her
convalescence. She lay listening to, or rather hearing, the conversation
of the young Lady Bradstones. They used to come into her room at night,
and stay for some time whilst they had their hair curled, and talked
over the events of the day--whom they had met--what dresses they had
worn--what matches were on the tapis, &c. They happened one night to
amuse themselves with reading an old newspaper, in which they came to
an account of a splendid masquerade, which had been given the preceding
winter in London by a rich heiress.

“Lord! what charming entertainments Miss Turnbull might give if she
pleased. Why, do you know, she is richer than this woman,” whispered
Lady Bab; “and she is of age now, you know. If I were she, I’m sure I’d
have a house of my own, and the finest I could get in London. Now such a
house as my aunt Pierrepoint’s--and servants--and carriages--and I would
make myself of some consequence.”

This speech was not lost upon our heroine; and the whisper in which it
was spoken increased its effect. The next day, as Lady Bab was sitting
at the foot of Almeria’s bed, she asked for a description of “my aunt
Pierrepoint’s house.” It was given to her _con amore_, and a character
of “my aunt Pierrepoint” was added gratis. “She is the most charming
amiable woman in the world--quite a different sort of person from mamma.
She has lived all her life about court, and she is connected with all
the great people, and a prodigious favourite at court--and she is of
such consequence!--You cannot imagine of what consequence she is!”

Lady Gabriella then continued the conversation, by telling Miss Turnbull
a great secret, that her aunt Pierrepoint and her mother were not on
the best terms in the world: “for mamma’s so violent, you know, about
politics, and quite on a contrary side to my aunt. Mamma never goes to
court; and, between you and me, they say she would not be received.
Now that is a shocking thing for us; but the most provoking part of the
business is, that mamma won’t let my aunt Pierrepoint present us. Why,
when she cannot or will not go to the drawing-room herself, what
could be more proper, you know, than to let us be presented by Lady
Pierrepoint?--Lady Pierrepoint, you know, who is such a prodigious
favourite, and knows every thing in the world that’s proper at court,
and every where: it really is monstrous of mamma! Now if you were in
our places, should not you be quite provoked? By-the-bye, you never were
presented at court yourself, were you?”

“Never,” said Almeria, with a sudden feeling of mortification.

“No, you could not--of course you could not, living with mamma as you
do; for I am sure she would quarrel with an angel for just only talking
of going to court. Lord! if I was as rich as you, what beautiful
birthday dresses I would have!”

These and similar conversations wrought powerfully upon the weak mind of
our poor heroine. She rose from her bed after her illness wondering what
had become of her passion for Frederick Elmour: certainly she was now
able to console herself for his loss, by the hopes of being presented at
court, and of being dressed with uncommon splendour. She was surprised
at this change in her own mind; but she justified it to herself by the
reflection, that it would show an unbecoming want of spirit to retain
any remains of regard for one who had treated her with so much coldness
and indifference, and who in all probability was attached to another
woman. Pride and resentment succeeded to tenderness; and she resolved
to show Frederick and Ellen that she could be happy her own way. It
is remarkable that her friendship for the sister always increased or
decreased with her love for her brother. Ambition, as it has often been
observed, is a passion that frequently succeeds to love, though love
seldom follows ambition. Almeria, who had now recovered her strength,
was one morning sitting in her own room, meditating arrangements for the
next winter’s campaign, when she was roused by the voices of Lady Bab
and Lady Kitty at her room door.

“Miss Turnbull! Miss Turnbull! come! come!--Here’s the king and queen
and all the royal family, and my aunt Pierrepoint--come quick to our
dressing-room windows, or they will be out of sight.”

The fair hoydens seized her between them, and dragged her away.

“Mamma says it’s horribly vulgar to run to the windows, but never mind
that. There’s my aunt Pierrepoint’s coach--is not it handsome?--Oh!
everything about her is so handsome!--you know she has lived all her
life at court.”

The eulogiums of these young ladies, and the sight of Lady Pierrepoint’s
entry in to Cheltenham in the wake of royalty, and the huzzas of the
mob, and the curiosity of all ranks who crowded the public walks in
the evening, to see the illustrious guest, contributed to raise our
heroine’s enthusiasm. She was rather surprised afterwards to observe
that Lady Pierrepoint passed her sister and nieces, on the public walk,
without taking the slightest notice of them; her head was turned indeed
quite another way when she passed, and she was in smiling conversation
with one of her own party.

Lady Gabriella whispered, “My aunt Pierrepoint cannot _know_ us now,
because we are with mamma.”

Miss Turnbull now, for the first time, saw Lady Bradstone in a situation
in which she was neglected; this served to accelerate the decline and
fall of her ladyship’s power over her mind. She began to consider her
not as a person by whom she had been brought into notice in the circles
of fashion, but as one by whom she was prevented from rising to a higher
orbit. Lady Bradstone went to see her sister the day after her arrival,
but she was _not at home_. Some days afterwards Lady Pierrepoint
returned her visit: she came in a sedan chair, because she did not wish
that her carriage should be seen standing at Lady Bradstone’s door. It
was incumbent upon her to take every possible precaution to prevent the
suspicion of her being biassed by sisterly affection; her sister and
she were unfortunately of such different opinions in politics, and her
sister’s politics were so much disapproved of, where Lady Pierrepoint
most wished for approbation, that she could not, consistently with her
principles or interest, countenance them, by appearing in public with
one so obnoxious.

Miss Turnbull observed, with the most minute attention, every word and
gesture of Lady Pierrepoint. At first view, her ladyship appeared all
smiling ease and affability; but in all her motions, even in those of
her face, there was something that resembled a puppet--her very smiles,
and the turns of her eyes, seemed to be governed by unseen wires. Upon
still closer observation, however, there was reason to suspect that this
puppet might be regulated by a mind within, of some sort or other; for
it could not only answer questions by a voice of its own, and apparently
without being prompted, but moreover it seemed to hesitate, and to take
time for thought, before it hazarded any reply. Lady Pierrepoint spoke
always as if she thought her words would be repeated, and must _lead to
consequences_; and there was an air of vast circumspection and mystery
about her, which appeared sublime or ridiculous according to the light
in which it was considered. To our heroine it appeared sublime. Her
ladyship’s conversation, if a set of unmeaning phrases be deserving of
that name, at length turned upon the concern she felt that it had not
been in her power to procure an increase of pension for a certain Mrs.
Vickars. “Such a respectable character!--the widow of a distant relation
of the Pierrepoints.” There was no probability, after all the interest
and influence she had used, she said, that Mrs. Vickars could ever
be gratified in the line she had attempted; that therefore it was her
ladyship’s advice to her to look out for some situation of an eligible
description, which might relieve her from the distressing apprehension
of appearing burdensome or importunate.

As well as her ladyship’s meaning could be made out, cleared from the
superfluity of words with which it was covered, she wished to get rid of
this poor widow, and to fasten her as an humble companion upon any body
who would be troubled with _such a respectable character!_ Miss Turnbull
foresaw the possibility of obliging her ladyship by means of Mrs.
Vickars: for as she proposed to purchase a house in town, it would be
convenient to her to have some companion; and this lady, who was of a
certain age, and who had always lived in the best company, would be well
suited to serve as her chaperon. To do our heroine justice, considering
that she was unpractised in manoeuvring with court ladies, she conducted
her scheme with a degree of address worthy of her object. Through the
medium of Lady Bab and Lady Gabriella, she opened a correspondence with
Lady Pierrepoint. Mrs. Vickars was introduced to Miss Turnbull--liked
her prodigiously; and Lady Pierrepoint was most happy in the prospect
of her relation’s being so eligibly situated. In proportion as Miss
Turnbull advanced in the good graces of Lady Pierrepoint, she receded
from Lady Bradstone. This lady’s indignation, which had been excited
against Almeria by her not siding with her against her daughters, now
rose to the highest pitch, when she perceived what was going on. No
crime could in her eyes be greater than that of seceding from her party.
Her violence in party matters was heightened by the desire to contrast
herself with her sister Pierrepoint’s courtly policy. Lady Bradstone,
all the time, knew and cared very little about politics, except so
far as they afforded her opportunities for the display of spirit
and eloquence. She had a fine flow of words, and loved to engage in
argument, especially as she had often been told by gentlemen that her
enthusiasm became her extremely, and that, even if a man could resist
the force of her arguments, he must yield to the fire of her eyes. It
happened that Miss Turnbull was present one day when Lady Bradstone had
been unusually warm in a political argument, and Lady Pierrepoint as
cool and guarded as her sister was eager. Almeria was appealed to, and
gave judgment in favour of Lady Pierrepoint, who happened to be in the
right. Regardless of right or wrong, Lady Bradstone became more and more
vehement, whilst Lady Pierrepoint sat in all the composed superiority
of silence, maintaining the most edifying meekness of countenance
imaginable, as if it were incumbent on her to be, or at least to seem,
penitent for a sister’s perversity. She sighed deeply when the _tirade_
was finished, and fixed her eyes upon her beautiful niece Gabriella.
Lady Gabriella immediately filled up the pause by declaring that she
knew nothing of politics and hoped she never should, for that she did
not know of what use they were to women, except to prevent them from
going to court.

Lady Bradstone expressed high indignation at perceiving that her
daughters thought more of dancing at a birthnight ball than of the good
of the nation.

Mrs. Vickars, who was present, now interposed a word as mediatrix,
observing, that it was natural for the young ladies at their age: and
Miss Turnbull, catching or imitating something of the tone of Lady
Pierrepoint, ventured to add, that “it was a pity that Lady Bradstone’s
daughters did not enjoy all the advantages of their high rank, and that
she really wished Lady Bradstone could be prevailed upon to enter into
conciliatory measures.”

On hearing this speech, Lady Bradstone, no longer able to restrain her
anger within the bounds of politeness, exclaimed, “I am not surprised at
receiving such advice from you, Miss Turnbull; but I own I am astonished
at hearing such sentiments from my daughters. High sentiments are to be
expected from high birth.”

How Lady Bradstone contrived to make her aristocratic pride of birth
agree with her democratic principles, it may be difficult to explain;
but fortunately the idea of preserving consistency never disturbed her
self-complacency. Besides, to keep her ladyship in countenance, there
are so many examples of persons who live as royalists and talk as

Almeria could not brook the affront implied by Lady Bradstone’s last
speech; and matters were now brought to a crisis: she resolved not to
remain longer in a house where she was exposed to such insults. She was
of “age, and, thank Heaven! independent.”

Lady Bradstone made no opposition to her determination; but
congratulated her upon the prospect of becoming independent.

“I agree with you, Miss Turnbull, in thanking Heaven for making me
independent. Independence of mind, of course,” added she, “I value above
independence of purse.”

Whatever vexation our heroine might feel from this speech, and from
the perfect indifference with which Lady Bradstone parted from her,
was compensated by the belief that she had by her conduct this evening
ingratiated herself with Lady Pierrepoint. She was confirmed in this
opinion by Mrs. Vickars, who said that her ladyship afterwards spoke of
Miss Turnbull as a very judicious and safe young person, whom she should
not scruple to protect. She was even so condescending as to interest
herself about the house in town, which Miss Turnbull talked of
purchasing: she knew that a noble friend of hers, who was going on a
foreign embassy, had thoughts of parting with his house; and it would
certainly suit Miss Turnbull, if she could compass the purchase. Almeria
felt herself highly honoured by her ladyship’s taking a concern in any
of her affairs; and she begged of Mrs. Vickars to say, that “expense was
no object to her.” She consequently paid a few hundred guineas more
than the value of the house, for the honour of Lady Pierrepoint’s
interference. Her ladyship saw into the weakness of our heroine’s
character, and determined to make advantage of it. It was a maxim of
hers, that there is no person so insignificant, but some advantage may
be made of them; and she had acted upon this principle through life,
sometimes so as to excite in the minds of the ignorant a high admiration
of her affability. It is said, that when Lady Pierrepoint was asked why
she married, she replied, “To increase my consequence, and strengthen my

Perhaps this speech was made for her by some malicious wit; but it
is certain that she never upon any occasion of her life neglected an
opportunity of acting upon this principle. She was anxious with this
view to have as many dependents as possible: and she well knew that
those who were ambitious of a curtsy from her at the playhouse, or
a whisper at the opera, were as effectually her dependents as the
mendicants at her door, who are in want of a shilling. The poor may be
held in the iron fetters of necessity, but the rich are dragged behind
the car of fashion by the golden chains of vanity.

The summer in the life of a fine lady is a season comparatively of so
little consequence, that the judicious historian may pass over some
months of it without their being missed in the records of time. He
hastens to the busy and important season of winter.

Our heroine took possession of her magnificent house in town: and Mrs.
Vickars was established as _arbitratrix elegantiarum_.

This lady deemed herself a judge in the last appeal of every thing that
became a person of fashion; and her claim to infallibility upon those
points was established by her being fourth cousin to Lady Pierrepoint.
Almeria soon discovered in her companion an inordinate love of power,
and an irritability of temper, which misfortunes and ill health had
increased to such a degree that it required more than the patience of
a female Job to live with her upon good terms. Martyrs in the cause of
vanity certainly exhibit wonderful, if not admirable, fortitude, in the
midst of the absurd and extravagant torments which they inflict upon
themselves. Our heroine endured for a whole season, without any outward
complaint, but with many an inward groan, the penance which she had
imposed upon herself: the extent of it can be comprehended only by those
who have been doomed to live with a thoroughly ill-tempered woman. The
reward was surely proportioned to the sufferings. Miss Turnbull received
a smile, or a nod, or something like a curtsy from Lady Pierrepoint,
whenever she met her in public; her ladyship’s cards were occasionally
left at the Yorkshire heiress’s door; and she sometimes honoured Miss
Turnbull’s crowded rooms, by crowding them still more with her august
presence. There was further reason to hope, that her ladyship might be
induced to present Almeria at court before the next birthday. All
these advantages were to be attributed to Mrs. Vickars, for she was the
connecting link between two beings of inferior and superior order.
We forbear to describe, or even to enumerate, the variety of balls,
suppers, dinners, déjeunés, galas, and masquerades, which Miss Turnbull
gave to the fashionable world during this winter. The generous public
forget these things the week after they are over; and the consequence
they bestow endures no longer than the track of a triumphal chariot.

Our heroine was never fully convinced of this truth till it was
confirmed by her own experience. She found it necessary continually to
renew her expensive efforts, to keep herself alive in the memory of her
great acquaintance. Towards the time when she expected to be presented
at court by Lady Pierrepoint, a sudden coolness was apparent in her
ladyship’s manner; and one morning Almeria was surprised by a note from
her, regretting, in the most polite but positive terms, that it would
be absolutely out of her power to have the honour of presenting Miss
Turnbull at St. James’s. In the utmost consternation, Almeria flew for
an explanation to Mrs. Vickars. Mrs. Vickars was in a desperate fit of
_the sullens_, which had lasted now upwards of eight-and-forty hours,
ever since her advice had not been taken about the placing of certain
bronze figures, with antique lamps in their hands, upon the great
staircase. It was necessary to bring the lady into a good humour in
the first place, by yielding to her uncontrolled dominion over the
_candelabras_. This point being settled, and an unqualified submission
in all matters of taste, past, present, or to come, declared or implied
on the part of our heroine, Mrs. Vickars on her part promised to set out
immediately on an embassy to Lady Pierrepoint, to discover the cause of
the present discontent. After making sundry ineffectual attempts to
see her noble relation, she was at last admitted; and after one hour’s
private audience, she returned to the anxious Almeria with a countenance
lengthened to the utmost stretch of melancholy significance.

“What _is_ the matter, Mrs. Vickars?”

It was long before this question was answered; but after many friendly
lamentations, Mrs. Vickars could not help observing, that Miss Turnbull
had nobody to blame in this business but herself. This, or any thing
else, she was willing to admit, to get at the point, “But what have I
done? I dare say it is, as you say, all my own fault--but tell me how?”

“How!--Can you, my dearest Miss Turnbull, forget that you did the most
imprudent and really unaccountable thing, that ever woman did?--Lady
Pierrepoint _had it_ from Stock the banker. Now you must be certainly
conscious to what I allude.”

Almeria still looked innocent till Mrs. Vickars produced the book
dedicated to Lady Bradstone, for twelve copies of which Miss Turnbull
had subscribed. Her name was printed among the list of subscribers, and
there was no palliating the fact. When her companion saw that she was
quite overwhelmed with the sense of this misfortune, she began to hint,
that though the evil was great, it was not without remedy; that in her
own private opinion, Lady Pierrepoint might have passed over the thing,
if she had not heard it at a most unlucky moment. The provoking banker
mentioned it to her ladyship just after he had disappointed her of
certain moneys, for which she was negotiating. From her situation and
means of obtaining secret and early intelligence, she had it frequently
in her power to make money by selling in or out of the stocks. Such an
opportunity at present occurred; and “it was a great pity,” Mrs. Vickars
observed, “that the want of a little ready money should preclude her
from the possibility of profiting by her situation.” Miss Turnbull,
who was not deficient in quickness of comprehension, upon this hint
immediately said, “that her ladyship might command some thousands which
she had in Sir Thomas Stock’s bank.” Lady Pierrepoint the next day found
that it would be best to hush up the affair of the subscription to
the fatal pamphlet. She said, “that she had with infinite satisfaction
ascertained, that the thing had not been noticed in the quarter where
she feared it would have created an insuperable prejudice--that there
were other Turnbulls, as she was happy to understand, in the world,
besides Mrs. Vickars’s friend; and that as, in the list of subscribers,
she was mentioned only as _Miss_ Turnbull, not as Almeria Turnbull, all
was safe, and nobody would suspect that a lady presented at court by my
Lady Pierrepoint could be the same person that subscribed to a book of
such a description.”

This affair being adjusted, the league was tacitly formed between
interest and vanity. Miss Turnbull was presented at court by Lady
Pierrepoint, and her ladyship bought into the stocks with the Yorkshire
heiress’s money. The gratification of Almeria’s ambition, however, did
not complete her happiness. When she was at the summit of the Alps of
fashion, she saw how little was to be seen.

Though she liked to have it to say that she was a great deal with Lady
Pierrepoint, yet the time always passed most heavily in her company;
nor was the inferiority of this lady’s understanding compensated by
an affectionate heart. Her smoothly polished exterior prevented all
possibility of obtaining any hold over her. She had the art at once
to seem to be intimate with people, and to keep them at the greatest
distance; as, in certain optical deceptions, an object which appears
close to us, eludes our hand if we attempt to grasp it. Almeria felt the
want of that species of unreserved confidence and friendship which she
had formerly enjoyed with Ellen. In judging of what will make us happy,
we are apt to leave time out of the account; and this leads to most
important errors. For a short period we may be amused or gratified by
what will fatigue and disgust us if long continued. The first winter
that she spent in dissipation she was amused; but winter after winter
passed; and the recurrence of the same public diversions, and the
same faces, and the same common-place conversation, wearied instead of
interesting her. But as the pleasure of novelty declined, the power
of habit increased; and she continued the same course of life for six
years--six long years! against both her judgment and her feelings, the
absolute slave of an imaginary necessity. Thus the silly chicken remains
prisoner in a circle of chalk: even when the hand by which it was held
down is removed, it feels an imaginary pressure, from which it dares not
even attempt to escape.

Almeria, however, was now arrived at an age when she could no longer,
with any propriety, be called a chicken: she was seven-and-twenty; and
the effect of keeping late hours, and the continual petty irritations
to which she had been subject, were sufficiently visible in her
countenance. She looked in a morning so faded and haggard, that any one
not used to the _wear and tear_ of fashionable faces would have guessed
Almeria’s age to be seven-and-thirty instead of seven-and-twenty. During
her six campaigns in London, she or her fortune had made many conquests;
but none of her London captives had ever obtained any power over her
affections, and her ambition could not decide upon the pretensions of
her several suitors. Lady Pierrepoint, who was her prime adviser, had an
interest in keeping her unmarried; because during this time her ladyship
employed most advantageously certain moneys, which she had borrowed
from our heiress. This female politician made some objection to
every proposal; continually repeating, that Miss Turnbull might do
better--that she might look higher--that with her pretensions, there
could be no doubt that she would have a variety of advantageous
offers--and that her _play_ should be to raise her value by rejecting,
without hesitation, all pretenders but those of the first distinction.
Lady Pierrepoint, who usually spoke with all the ambiguity of an oracle,
seemed on this subject more than usually mysterious. She dropped half
sentences, then checked herself, hinted that she was not at liberty to
speak out; but that she had her own private reasons for advising her
friend Miss Turnbull not to be precipitate in her choice. Her ladyship’s
looks said more than her words, and Almeria interpreted them precisely
as she wished. There was a certain marquis, whom she sometimes met at
Lady Pierrepoint’s, and whom she would have been pleased to meet more
frequently. He was neither young, nor handsome, nor witty, nor wise.
What was he then?--He was a marquis--and is not that enough?--Almeria
saw that he was looked up to as a person of great influence and
importance, and she now had the habit of trusting to the eyes and ears
of others. She now considered what people were _thought of_, not what
they really were; and according to this mode of estimation she could
not fail to form a high opinion of this exalted personage. He paid her
distinguished, but not decisive attention; and perhaps the uncertainty
in which she was kept as to his views increased her interest upon the
subject. There was always some obstacle, which seemed to prevent him
from declaring himself:--at one time he was suddenly obliged to go
ambassador to some foreign court; he went, and stayed a year; at his
return he was immersed in politics, and deplored his hard fate in terms
which Almeria thought it was impossible not to construe favourably
to her wishes. She thought she was upon the point of becoming a
marchioness, when his lordship was again sent into what he called
banishment. Lady Pierrepoint had constantly letters from him, however;
passages from which she from time to time read to Almeria, in whose weak
mind this kept alive an indistinct hope, for which she had no rational
foundation. She was confirmed in her belief that the marquis had serious
thoughts of her, by the opinion of Mrs. Vickars, who she thought was
in the secret, and who certainly would not speak decidedly without
sufficient reason. Indeed, nothing but the pleasure she received from
Mrs. Vickars’s favourable prognostics upon this subject could have in
any degree balanced the pain she daily endured from this lady’s fretful
temper. Almeria submitted to her domineering humour, and continued to
propitiate her with petty sacrifices, more from fear than love--from
fear that her adverse influence might be fatal to her present scheme of
aggrandizement. Weak minds are subject to this apprehension of control
from secret causes utterly inadequate to their supposed effects; and
thus they put their destiny into the hands of persons who could not
otherwise obtain influence over their fate.

The time at length arrived when our heroine was to be confirmed in her
expectations, or wakened from her state of self-delusion. The
marquis returned from abroad, and Lady Pierrepoint wrote a note more
mysteriously worded than usual, signifying that she “wished to have
a conference with Miss Turnbull on a subject of some importance; and
begged to know at what hour in the morning she might be secure of the
pleasure of finding her at home.” Almeria named her hour, and waited
for its arrival with no small impatience. Lady Pierrepoint’s thundering
knock at the door was heard; her ladyship was shown up stairs; and she
entered the room with a countenance that seemed to promise well. She
preluded with many flattering phrases--declared that ever since she had
been first acquainted with Miss Turnbull at Cheltenham, she had always
considered her with sentiments of esteem, of which she had since given
indeed the most convincing proofs, by accepting of obligations from her.

“Obligations!” exclaimed Almeria, with an air of polite astonishment.

“Yes, my dear Miss Turnbull,” continued her ladyship, with still more
polite humility, “I am under obligations to you assuredly. Things of a
pecuniary nature ought not to be named, I confess, in the same sentence
with friendship; yet for the sake of one’s family it is, whilst we
remain in this world, the duty of every one to pay a certain degree of
attention to such points; and a person who has, like me, advantages of
situation and connexions, would not be justifiable in neglecting, under
due limitations, to make use of them.”

Miss Turnbull readily assented to these guarded truisms, but wondered to
what all this was to lead.

“The money which you have had the goodness to trust in my hands,”
 continued her ladyship, “has, without in the least impoverishing, or, I
hope, _inconveniencing_ you, been of the most material advantage to me.”

Almeria comprehended that her ladyship referred to her speculations
in the stocks, and she congratulated her upon her success; and added
assurances, that for her own part she had not been in the slightest
degree _inconvenienced_. Whilst Miss Turnbull uttered these assurances,
however, she was not sorry to see Lady Pierrepoint take out of her
pocket-book bank notes to the amount of her debt; for in plain truth,
the interest of this loan had never been punctually paid; and Almeria
had often regretted that she had placed so much of her fortune out of
her own power. “Let me now return these to you with a thousand thanks,”
 said her ladyship. “Indeed, my niece Gabriella has more reason even than
I have to thank you; for you must know, my dear Miss Turnbull, that all
my speculations have been for her. From the time that she came to live
with me, I was determined that she should be properly established; and
you must be sensible that, for a young lady’s establishment in our days,
money is as essential as beauty. La belle Gabrielle is now provided for
as she ought to be, and of course the consequence will be a suitable
alliance.” Miss Turnbull expressed her satisfaction at finding that
her money had been instrumental in attaining so happy a purpose, and
presumed to ask if her ladyship had any immediate alliance in view.

“It is a secret as yet; but I have no secrets for you, my dear Miss
Turnbull: indeed, I came here this morning by our dear Gabriella’s
particular desire to communicate it to you. I flatter myself you will
approve of her choice--our favourite marquis.”

Almeria was so much astonished and shocked by these words, that she
turned as pale as if she were going to faint. “Our favourite marquis!”
 she repeated in a faltering voice; “I thought----”

The fear of becoming ridiculous restrained her anger, and she
paused.--“You thought, perhaps,” resumed the perfectly-composed Lady
Pierrepoint, “you thought, perhaps, my dear, that there was too great a
disparity of age between Gabriella and the marquis.”

“Oh! no.”

“Why, that is an objection, I confess; at least it would be to some
young ladies: but as Gabriella is satisfied, we may waive that.”

“Oh! yes, certainly.”

“One cannot help being interested for him; he is such a respectable
character--and so much in love! It would really surprise you, my dear;
for you know he was a man, one would have imagined, so much immersed in
politics--I protest I never had a suspicion of his having a thought of
Gabriella, till the proposal was absolutely made.”

“I am sure _I_ never suspected the marquis’s attachment to Lady
Gabriella,” said Miss Turnbull: “on the contrary--”

“On the contrary,” pursued Lady Pierrepoint, “he paid her always, as I
remember, less attention than to twenty others, who were indifferent to

The struggle was still violent in our heroine’s mind between rage and
the dread of exposing herself to ridicule. Lady Pierrepoint saw this,
and coolly held her in this dilemma.

“Now,” continued her ladyship, “men are such unaccountable creatures,
one never can understand them. Do you know, my dear Miss Turnbull, I
had, till his lordship explained himself unequivocally to me, a notion
that he was in love with you.”

“Really!” said our heroine, forcing a laugh.

“Did your friend Mrs. Vickars never tell you so?”

“Yes, she did--frequently.”

“Both of us mistaken, you see, my dear. Mortifying! to find one’s
judgment so fallible. I tell the marquis, he might absolutely have been
privately married to Gabriella without my finding him out--it is so easy
now, the easiest thing in the world, to impose upon me. Well, I must bid
you adieu for the present, my dear Miss Turnbull--you may imagine I have
a world of business on my hands.”

With the utmost appearance of cordiality Lady Pierrepoint shook our
heroine’s receding hand; and, without seeming to notice the painful
emotions visible in Almeria’s countenance, departed smiling, and
perfectly composed.

The moment that her ladyship had left the room, our heroine retired to
her own apartment, and hastily bolted the door to prevent the intrusion
of Mrs. Vickars, whose curiosity and condolence, whether real or
affected, she was not in a humour to endure. She walked up and down the
room in great agitation, by turns angry with Lady Pierrepoint, with the
marquis, with Lady Gabriella, with Mrs. Vickars, and with herself.
After her anger had spent itself, the sorrowful certainty that it
was unavailing remained; the disappointment was irremediable, and her
mortification was the more poignant, because she had no human being to
sympathize in her feelings, no one to whom she could complain.

“So this is fashionable friendship!” said she to herself. “This is the
end of all Lady Pierrepoint’s and Lady Gabriella’s professions of regard
for me!--Fool that I have been, to become their dupe!--With my eyes
open I saw nothing that was going forward, though now I can recollect
a thousand and a thousand circumstances, by which I might have been
undeceived. But I trusted implicitly--idiot that I was!--to the
friendship of this treacherous, unfeeling courtier. Once I had a friend,
to whom I might trust implicitly--I never, never, shall find her equal.”

A transient recollection of former times crossed her mind--but those
times could not be recalled; and the present pressed upon her most
forcibly. Frustrated in all her ambitious schemes, she was sensible that
all that now remained for her was to conceal her disappointment, and
to avoid the contempt to which she would be exposed in the world, if it
were whispered that Miss Turnbull had fancied that the Marquis of ----
was in love with her, whilst he was all the while paying his addresses
to Lady Gabriella Bradstone. This powerful fear of ridicule conquered,
or suppressed, all other feelings. With all the resolution she could
assume, Almeria went to Mrs. Vickars, and congratulated her upon the
happy event which was soon likely to take place in her family: she even
constrained herself so far, as, without expressing either suspicion or
resentment, to hear her companion disclaim all knowledge of the affair,
and declare that she had, that morning, for the first time, heard of it
from Lady Pierrepoint, with a degree of astonishment from which she had
not yet recovered.

In a few weeks afterwards Lady Gabriella’s marriage took place. Our
heroine’s mortification was much increased by the splendour in which the
bride appeared, and by the great share of the public attention which
the fair marchioness seemed for some days to engross. Miss Turnbull
was weary of hearing the praises of her equipages and dress; and the
dissimulation she was continually obliged to practise towards Mrs.
Vickars became intolerable. Nothing but a pretext for quarrelling with
this lady was wanting to Almeria, and nothing but an excuse for leaving
Almeria was now desired by Mrs. Vickars, who had received an invitation
from the marchioness, which she was impatient to accept. The ladies one
morning after breakfast fell into a dispute upon the comparative
merits of blue and green. It was not to all appearance a very dangerous
subject, but in certain situations every subject becomes dangerous.

“This riband is a beautiful blue,” said Miss Turnbull.

“I confess I do not think so,” said Mrs. Vickars; “it is a very
unbecoming shade of blue.”

“Unbecoming!--I have been told by twenty people, that it is remarkably
becoming to me. Mrs. Ingoldsby told me yesterday, that she never saw so
beautiful a blue.”

“Mrs. Ingoldsby’s taste is not infallible, I imagine,” said Mrs.
Vickars, with a contemptuous smile.

“It may not be infallible,” replied our heroine, “but it is at least as
much to be relied upon as other people’s.”

“I am sure I do not pretend to compare my taste to Mrs. Ingoldsby’s;
but I may be permitted to have an opinion of my own, I hope: and in my
opinion it is a frightful blue, and shockingly unbecoming. And at all
events I like green infinitely better than blue; and I beseech you, Miss
Turnbull, not to wear this hideous riband.”

“I am sure I don’t pretend to set my taste in competition with Mrs.
Vickars’s, but I must confess I cannot think this a frightful blue, or
shockingly unbecoming; nor can I agree with any body in preferring
green to blue; and for once I shall take the liberty of following my own

“For once!--I am sorry I ever presumed to offer an opinion upon this or
any other subject to Miss Turnbull--I shall be more cautious in future;
but I candidly own I did think I might prefer green to blue without
giving offence.”

“It gives me no offence, I assure you, Mrs. Vickars, that you should
prefer green to blue; I am not so ridiculous. But people who cannot bear
to be contradicted themselves are always apt to fancy that others have
the same strange sort of domineering temper.”

“People who can bear nothing but flattery, Miss Turnbull, should have
such a friend as Mrs. Ingoldsby, who would swear that blue is green,
and black white, I make no doubt,” said Mrs. Vickars; “for my part, I am
sorry I cannot get rid of my troublesome sincerity.”

“Sincerity! Sincerity!--To do you justice, Mrs. Vickars, whatever I may
have felt about trifles, in affairs of importance I have never found
your _sincerity_ troublesome.”

The ironical accent upon the word _sincerity_ sufficiently marked Miss
Turnbull’s meaning.

The irritable temper of Mrs. Vickars put it out of her power to act a
part with that “exquisite dissimulation,” for which some of her sex have
been celebrated by the judicious Davila. Thrown off her guard by the
last sarcastic insinuation, Mrs. Vickars burst into an angry defence
of her own sincerity with respect to the affair of the marquis and Lady
Gabriella. Almeria observed, that this “defence was quite unnecessary,
as she had not made any accusation; and these apologies could be
prompted only by Mrs. Vickars’s own _tenderness_ of conscience.” Mrs.
Vickars replied with increasing acrimony. She said, that her “conduct
needed no apologies, and that she should not stoop to make any, to
soothe the disappointed ambition of any person whatever.” Reproach
succeeded reproach--sarcasm produced sarcasm--till at last Mrs. Vickars
declared, that after what had passed it was impossible she should remain
another day in Miss Turnbull’s house. This declaration was heard
by Almeria with undisguised satisfaction. The next day Mrs. Vickars
accepted of an invitation from the marchioness; and our heroine
afterwards protested that she was as much rejoiced to be freed from the
encumbrance of such a companion as Sinbad the sailor was to get rid of
the old man of the sea, who fastened himself upon his shoulders with
such remorseless tenacity.

She resolved to be more cautious in choice of her next companion. There
were many candidates for the honour of supplying the place of Mrs.
Vickars; amongst these was Mrs. Ingoldsby, a lady who was perfect
mistress of the whole art of flattery, by means of which she had so
far ingratiated herself with Miss Turnbull, that she felt secure of a
preference over all competitors. Almeria had indeed almost decided in
her favour, when she received a note from a Mrs. Wynne, an old lady with
whom she had formerly been acquainted in Yorkshire, and who, being just
come to town, was eager to renew her intimacy with Miss Turnbull.
She was a woman of an excellent heart, and absolutely incapable of
suspecting that others could be less frank or friendly than herself. She
was sometimes led into mistakes by this undistinguishing benevolence;
for she imagined that all which appeared wrong would prove right, if
properly understood; that there must be some good reason for every thing
that seemed to be bad; that every instance of unkindness or insolence
was undesigned; and that every quarrel was only a misunderstanding.
Possessed by this good-natured kind of wrong-headedness, she frequently
did the most provoking, by way of doing the most obliging things

Upon this principle she would place contending parties by surprise in
the very situation which of all others they most wished to avoid, and
then give the signal for a pitched battle, by begging the enemies would
shake hands with one another. Now she had heard it reported in Yorkshire
that there was some coolness between the Elmours and Miss Turnbull; but
she was morally certain there could be no truth in this report, for a
variety of the very best reasons in the world.

“In the first place,” argued Mrs. Wynne, “to my certain knowledge, Miss
Turnbull was, from her infancy, always the greatest favourite at Elmour
Grove, the pupil of the good old gentleman, and the intimate friend of
the daughter. During that odd Hodgkinson’s lifetime, Almeria was always
with Miss Ellen Elmour, who treated her quite like a sister. I am sure
I remember, as if it was yesterday, her introducing Miss Turnbull to me,
and the affectionate way in which she spoke of her--and I particularly
recollect hearing Almeria Turnbull, amongst other grateful things, say,
that she should wish to live and die with her friends at Elmour Grove.
Then she had stronger reasons afterwards for being attached to them--you
know it was Mr. Frederick Elmour who gained her large fortune for her. I
was in the court-house in York the very day the cause was decided, and
I never heard a man speak with more energy and eloquence than Frederick
Elmour did in her defence. It was plain, indeed, that the eloquence came
from his heart--as to the law part of the business, I know my nephew,
who understands those things, said it was a very nice question, and that
if her cause had not been managed as ably as it was, she would not have
gained her fortune. Now of course this was a thing that never could be
forgotten. I own, I expected that there would have been a match between
Miss Turnbull and Mr. Elmour; but Sir Thomas Stock, her guardian, took
her away from us, and Mr. Elmour fell in love with another lady. But all
this time Miss Turnbull has never married, though she has been so much
in the great world, and from her large fortune must have had so many
offers. I heard it said yesterday, that she had refused Sir Thomas
Stock’s eldest son, and my Lord Bradstone, and some others; now it is
plain she would not marry merely for money or title. My nephew, who is
so amiable and sensible, is just the man for her, and he had used to
admire her very much in former times, when he met her at Elmour Grove.”
 Mrs. Wynne hinted her wishes to her nephew, but he seemed not much
inclined towards Miss Turnbull, “because,” said he, “though Frederick
and his sister never uttered a syllable to her disadvantage, I cannot,
from circumstances, help imagining, that she has not behaved well to
them; and besides, after five or six years spent in the great world, and
in all the dissipation in which she has lived, her disposition cannot
probably be the same as it was when I knew her in the country.”

Mrs. Wynne could not, with her good-natured eyes, see the force of any
of these objections, and she was determined to convince her nephew of
their futility. With this view she formed a scheme which was to be kept
a profound secret from the parties concerned, till the moment when it
should be ripe for execution. She heard that Miss Turnbull was in want
of a companion; and she knew that Mrs. Henry Elmour, a very amiable
young widow, distantly related to the Elmour family, and who had
formerly been a friend of Almeria’s, was at this moment in great
distress. She had no doubt that Miss Turnbull would be delighted with an
opportunity of serving any one connected with a family to whom she
owed such obligations. Mrs. Wynne fancied that this would be the finest
occasion imaginable to prove to her nephew, that, notwithstanding
Almeria had lately lived so much in the fashionable world, she had the
same grateful heart as formerly.

Eager to come to this demonstration, Mrs. Wynne wrote immediately to
the distressed widow, begging her to come to town with all possible
expedition; “for I have found, or at least I am morally sure of finding,
the most charming situation your heart can desire. I say no more, that I
may not deprive you of the pleasure of the surprise.”

The same day that she sent this letter to the post, she despatched the
following note to Almeria:


“I am too well persuaded of the goodness of your heart to fear that you
should think my present interference impertinent. We used to be very
good friends in Yorkshire, and I am sure shall be just the same in
London; therefore I write without ceremony, as friends should. I called
upon you twice, but found you were, unluckily, not at home. Now I have a
matter very near my heart to speak to you about, that perhaps will turn
out as much to your satisfaction as to mine. I cannot express myself so
well as I could wish in writing, but am sure you will not repent your
kindness, if you will do us the honour of dining with us in a family
way on Friday next; and in the mean time, let me beg you will not decide
your choice of a companion. I cannot be more explicit, lest (as I have
said once before to-day) I should deprive you of the pleasure of the
surprise. Dear madam, forgive this freedom in one who most sincerely
wishes you well (as Friday will prove). My nephew, Henry Wynne (whom you
may remember a great admirer of yours), desires his best respects; and
with every good wish I remain, Dear Miss Turnbull’s

“Affectionate humble servant,


This letter at first surprised our heroine, and afterwards afforded
subject for much ridicule to Mrs. Ingoldsby, to whom Almeria showed
it. She laughed at the odd freedom of the Yorkshire dame, at the
old-fashioned plainness of the style--parenthesis within parenthesis--at
last concluding with respects and best wishes, and _remaining_ dear Miss
Turnbull’s humble servant. She opined, however, upon the third perusal
of the letter, that Mrs. Wynne was anxious to present her nephew to Miss
Turnbull, and that this was the real meaning of her curious note--that
probably she wished to surprise her with the sight of some Yorkshire
damsel, who had formed the reasonable expectation, that because Miss
Turnbull had done her the honour to notice her ages ago in the country,
she was to be her companion in town. Mrs. Ingoldsby further observed,
that Mrs. Wynne, though she had not practised at court, was no bad
politician in thus attempting to recommend a companion to Miss Turnbull,
who would, of course, be entirely in her nephew’s interests. Almeria’s
vanity was indirectly flattered by these insinuations, which tended
to prove her vast consequence, in being thus the object of plots
and counterplots; and she the more readily believed this, from the
experience she had had of Lady Pierrepoint’s manoeuvres. “It is really
a dreadful thing,” said she, “to be a great heiress. One must be so
circumspect--so much upon one’s guard with all the world. But poor Mrs.
Wynne shows her cards so plainly, one must be an idiot not to guess her
whole play.”

To “mistake reverse of wrong for right” is one of the most common errors
in the conduct of life. Our heroine being sensible that she had been
ridiculously credulous in her dealings with Lady Pierrepoint, was now
inclined to be preposterously suspicious. She determined with her next
admirer to pursue a system diametrically opposite to that which she had
followed with the marquis; she had shown him attractive complaisance;
she was now prepared to display the repulsive haughtiness becoming
the representative of two hundred thousand pounds: she had completely
adopted Lady Pierrepoint’s maxim. _That a lady should marry to increase
her consequence and strengthen her connexions_. Her former ideas, that
love and esteem were necessary to happiness in a union for life, seemed
obsolete and romantic; and the good qualities of her admirers, though
they were always to be mentioned as the ostensible reasons for her
choice, were never in reality to influence her decision.

To stoop at once from a marquis to a private gentleman would be
terrible; yet that private gentleman was worthy of some little
consideration, not because he was, as Almeria remembered, a man of
excellent sense, temper, and character, but because he had a clear
estate of eight thousand pounds a-year, and was next heir to an earldom.

Miss Turnbull cannot properly be called a female fortune-hunter; but,
to coin a new name for our heroine, which may be useful to designate
a numerous class of her contemporaries, she was decidedly a female

She accepted of the invitation to dinner, and, accompanied by a proper
supporter in Mrs. Ingoldsby, went to Mrs. Wynne’s, dressed in the utmost
extravagance of the mode, blazing in all the glory of diamonds, in hopes
of striking admiration even unto awe upon the hearts of all beholders.
Though she had been expressly invited to a _family party_, she
considered that only as an humble country phrase to excuse, beforehand,
any deficiency of magnificence. She had no doubt that the finest
entertainment, and the finest company, Mrs. Wynne could procure
or collect, would be prepared for her reception. She was somewhat
surprised, especially as she came fashionably late, to find in the
drawing-room only old Mrs. Wynne, her nephew, and a lady, who, from her
dress and modest appearance, was evidently _nobody_. Miss Turnbull swept
by her, though she had a disagreeable recollection of having somewhere
seen this figure in a former state of existence. Mrs. Wynne, good
soul! did not believe in wilful blindness, and she therefore said, with
provoking simplicity, “Miss Turnbull, this is your good friend, Mrs.
Henry Elmour--poor thing! she is sadly altered in her looks since you
saw her, a gay rosy lass at Elmour Grove! But though her looks are
changed, her heart, I can answer for it, is just the same as ever; and
she remembers you with all the affection you could desire. She would not
be like any other of her name, indeed, if she did otherwise. The Elmours
were all so fond of you!”

The name of Elmour, instead of having that irresistible charm, which
Mrs. Wynne expected, over Almeria’s heart, produced a directly contrary
effect. It recalled many associations that were painful to her pride;
she was vexed to perceive that obligations and intimacies which she had
forgotten, or which she wished to forget, were remembered so obstinately
by others. All this passed in her mind whilst Mrs. Wynne was speaking.
With a look of ill-humoured surprise, Almeria half rose from her seat,
and, as Mrs. Henry Elmour was presented to her, uttered some phrases
in an unintelligible voice, and then sunk back again on the sofa. Mrs.
Wynne made room for the widow between her and Miss Turnbull--Mr. Wynne
kept aloof--a dead silence ensued--and Miss Turnbull, seeing that in her
present position there was nothing else to be done, condescended to hope
that all Mrs. Henry Elmour’s friends in Yorkshire were well when she
left them. Mrs. Wynne’s countenance brightened up, and she now addressed
her conversation to Mrs. Ingoldsby, in order to leave the pair, whom she
had destined to be friends, at perfect liberty to talk over “old times.”

Mrs. Henry Elmour naturally spoke of the happy days which they had spent
together at Elmour Grove; but Miss Turnbull was so much occupied in
clasping one of her diamond bracelets, that half of what was said to her
seemed not to be heard, and the other half to create no interest. She
looked up, when she had at length adjusted her bracelet, and with an
insipid smile (learnt from Lady Pierrepoint) seemed to beg pardon for
her fit of absence. The unfortunate Mrs. Elmour recommenced all she had
said; but though Miss Turnbull’s eyes were at this time directed towards
the widow’s face, they wandered over her features with such insolent
examination, that she was totally abashed. Having gained her point,
our heroine now looked round as the door opened, in expectation of the
entrance of some persons who might be worthy of her attention; but,
lo! it was only a servant, who announced that dinner was served. Miss
Turnbull’s surprise could be equalled only by her indignation, when she
found that it was literally to a _family party_ she was invited. “Miss
Turnbull,” said Mrs. Wynne, as they were sitting down to dinner, “I
have been much disappointed in not having the company of some friends of
yours, who I expected would dine with us to-day; but they will be with
us, I hope, to-night--they were unluckily engaged to dine with the
Duchess of A----.”

Miss Turnbull vouchsafed to appear interested, when the name of
a duchess was mentioned; but her countenance again changed to an
expression of almost angry vexation, when Mrs. Wynne explained, that
these friends were Mr. and Mrs. Elmour, and Mr. Charles Wynne and his
lady. “Miss Ellen Elmour, you know: she was----“--“Very true, I saw
her marriage in the papers, I remember, some time ago,” replied Miss
Turnbull; “a year, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Two years ago, madam,” said Mrs. Wynne.

“Was it two?--I dare say it might--you know it is so impossible to keep
a register of deaths and marriages in one’s head. Pray, are you at all
acquainted, Mrs. Wynne, with the Duchess of A----? She was always a
prodigious friend of the Elmours, as I remember. How is that?--Are they
any way related, I wonder?”

“Yes; they are now related by marriage,” said Mr. Wynne; “Mrs. Elmour is
a niece of the duchess.”


“She is a charming woman,” said Mr. Wynne; “so beautiful and yet so
unaffected--so sensible, yet so unassuming.”

“Pray,” interrupted Mrs. Ingoldsby, “has not her grace conversaziones,
or reading parties, or something in that style every week?--She is quite
a learned lady, I understand. There was always something odd about her,
and I cannot help being afraid of her.”

“I assure you,” said Mrs. Wynne, “that there is nothing odd or strange
about the Duchess of A----. She has always the most agreeable society
that London can afford.”

Miss Turnbull and Mrs. Ingoldsby interchanged looks of affected
contempt: but Mr. Wynne added, “Her grace has, you know, a taste
for literature and for the arts; and the most celebrated literary
characters, as well as those who have distinguished themselves in active
life, assemble at her house, where they can enjoy the most agreeable
conversation--that in which a knowledge of books and of the world is
happily blended.”

“And as to being afraid of her grace,” resumed Mrs. Wynne, “that is
quite impossible; she has such affable, engaging manners. I am sure,
even I am not in the least afraid of her.”

“But you know,” said Miss Turnbull, with a malicious look of mock
humility, “there is a difference between you and me.--I would not meet
her grace for the world, for I am persuaded I should not be able to
articulate a syllable in her classical presence--I have not been used to
that style of company, by any means. I assure you I should be, as Mrs.
Ingoldsby says, horribly afraid of your witty duchess.”

“She has none of the airs of a wit, believe me,” said Mrs. Wynne,
growing more and more earnest; “and if you will not believe me, ask your
friend Ellen.”

“Oh, excuse me, I beseech; I shall ask no questions--I only beg leave to
keep myself well when I am well. The Elmours who are so clever, and have
such merit and so on, are all vastly better suited to her grace than I

No contradiction ensued--our heroine was mortified beyond the power of

After dinner, when the ladies retired, Mrs. Wynne, though somewhat
alarmed and puzzled by Miss Turnbull’s behaviour, summoned all the
resolution which benevolence could inspire, and resolved at once to come
to the point with our heroine. She flattered herself that all in Miss
Turnbull that appeared inauspicious to her hopes was only _her manner,_
that sort of manner which people, who live much in high life, catch and
practise, without meaning to give themselves airs, or to humble their

Many persons will perhaps think good Mrs. Wynne almost an idiot: but she
was a woman of abilities; and if she did not exert them in discovering
with promptitude the follies of others, she enjoyed much happiness in
her benevolent scepticism. This evening, however, she was doomed to
be absolutely convinced, against her will, that she had formed too
favourable an opinion of one of her fellow-creatures.

She was eager to explain herself to Almeria before Ellen and Mr.
Frederick Elmour should arrive; she therefore took her aside, and
began without any preface:--“My dear Miss Turnbull, here is a charming
opportunity for you to do a kind, and generous, and grateful action.
This poor Mrs. Henry Elmour!--She has told you how she has been reduced
to distress without any imprudence of hers. Now you could not, I am
sure, prove the goodness of your own heart better to your friends
(who will be here in half an hour) than by showing kindness to this
unfortunate widow. I cannot presume to say more than that I think she
would make a most agreeable companion to an amiable, sensible young
lady--and you have not decided your choice, have you?”

“Pardon me, I have decided, beyond a possibility of retracting,” replied
Miss Turnbull, haughtily.

“I am very sorry,” said Mrs. Wynne, with an expression of real concern
in her countenance. “I have been very imprudent.”

“Really I am infinitely distressed that it is out of my power to oblige
her; but the lady who is with me now, Mrs. Ingoldsby, has a prior

Prior claim!--prior to that of the Elmour family! thought Mrs. Wynne.

The decisive manner in which Miss Turnbull spoke precluded all further

“Well, I did think it would have been such a pleasure to Miss Turnbull
to meet Mrs. Henry Elmour, and all her old friends the Elmours here
to-day; and I fancied, that if there had been any little coolness or
misunderstanding, it would quite have passed off, and that I should have
had the joy of seeing you all shake hands--I thought it would have been
such an agreeable surprise to you to see all the Elmour family, and
Ellen’s charming little girl, and Mr. Frederick Elmour’s boy!”

A more disagreeable surprise could scarcely have been imagined for
our heroine. She informed Mrs. Wynne, coldly, that there was not the
slightest quarrel between her and any of the Elmours; and that therefore
there was no necessity, or possible occasion, for any shaking of hands
or reconciliation scenes: that undoubtedly the style of life she
had been thrown into had entirely separated her from her Yorkshire
acquaintance; and time had dissolved the sort of intimacy that
neighbourhood had created: that she should always, notwithstanding, be
most particularly happy to meet any of the Elmour family; though, from
her situation, it was a good fortune she had not often enjoyed, nor
indeed could in future expect: but that she wished it to be understood,
and repeated, that she always in all companies properly acknowledged the
obligations she had to Mr. Frederick Elmour as a lawyer. Her cause, she
believed, was the first in which he had distinguished himself; and
she was rejoiced to find that he had since risen so rapidly in his
profession.--As to Miss Ellen Elmour, she was a very charming, sensible
young woman, no doubt; and Miss Turnbull assured Mrs. Wynne she was
delighted to hear she was so suitably married in point of understanding
and temper, and all that sort of thing--and besides, to a gentleman of
a reasonable fortune, which she was happy to hear Mr. Charles Wynne

Here she was interrupted in her speech--the door opened, and the Duchess
of A----, Mr. and Mrs. Elmour, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wynne, were
announced. Our heroine was not prepared for the sight of the duchess;
and her grace’s appearance made her receive her old friends in a manner
very different from that in which she had determined to meet them.
Practised as she was, she stood irresolute and awkward, whilst Ellen,
with easy, graceful kindness, accosted her, and immediately introduced
her to the Duchess of A----. As Mr. Frederick Elmour approached, and as
his beautiful wife was presented to Miss Turnbull, not all her efforts
could conceal the mortification she endured, whilst she pronounced that
she was vastly happy--quite delighted--that all this was really such an
agreeable and _unexpected surprise_ to her--for she did not even know
any of her Yorkshire friends were in town.

Mrs. Ingoldsby came up to her assistance. Miss Turnbull rallied her
spirits, and determined to make her stand upon the exclusive ground of
fashion. Those who comprehend the rights of the privileged orders of
fashion are aware that even a commoner, who is in a certain _set_, is
far superior to a duchess who is not supposed to move in that magic
circle, Almeria, upon this principle, began to talk to the duchess
of some of her acquaintance, who were of the highest _ton_; and then
affectedly checked herself, and begged pardon, and looked surprised at
Mrs. Ingoldsby, when she found that her grace was not acquainted with
them. Much as Miss Turnbull had reason to complain of Lady Pierrepoint
and the young bride the marchioness, she now thought that their names
would do her honour; and she scrupled not to speak of them as her
best friends, and as the most amiable creatures existing.--Such is the
meanness and insufficiency of vanity!

“Poor Lady Pierrepoint,” said the Duchess of A----: “with her
independent fortune, what could tempt her to enslave herself, as she has
done, to a court life?”

“Her ladyship finds herself suited to her situation, I believe,” said
Miss Turnbull. “Lady Pierrepoint is certainly formed, more than most
people I know, to succeed and shine in a court; and she is in favour,
and in power, and in fashion.”

“Does it follow of course that she is happy?” said Ellen.

“Oh! happy--of course; I suppose so.”

“No doubt,” said Mrs. Ingoldsby; “she has every reason to be happy: has
not she just made her niece marchioness?”

Miss Turnbull repeated “_Happy!_ to be sure Lady Pierrepoint is happy,
if any body in the world is happy.”--A short sigh escaped from our

Ellen heard the sigh, and attended to it more than to her words;
she looked upon her with compassion, and endeavoured to change the

“We spend this winter in town; and as I think I know your _real_ tastes,
Almeria,” said she, taking Almeria’s hand, “we must have the pleasure of
introducing you to some of her grace’s literary friends, who will, I am
sure, please and suit you particularly.”

Mr. Frederick Elmour, who now really pitied Almeria, though in his
pity there was a strong mixture of contempt, joined his sister in her
kindness, and named and described some of the people whom he thought
she would be most desirous of knowing. The names struck Miss Turnbull’s
ears, for they were the names of persons distinguished in the
fashionable as well as in the literary world; and she was dismayed and
mortified by the discovery that her _country friends_ had by some means,
incomprehensible to her, gained distinction and intimacy in society
where she had merely admission; she was vexed beyond expression when she
found that _the Elmours_ were superior to her even on her own ground.
At this instant Mrs. Wynne, with her usual simplicity, asked Mrs. Elmour
and Ellen why they had not brought their charming children with them;
adding, “You are, my dears, without exception, the two happiest mothers
and wives I am acquainted with. And after all, what happiness is there
equal to domestic happiness?--Oh! my dear Miss Turnbull, trust me,
though I am a silly old woman, there’s nothing like it--and friends at
court are not like friends at home--and all the Lady Pierrepoints that
ever were or ever will be born, are not, as you’ll find when you come to
try them, like one of these plain good Ellens and Elmours.”

The address, simple as it was, came so home to Almeria’s experience,
and so many recollections rushed at once upon her memory, that all her
factitious character of a fine lady gave way to natural feeling, and
suddenly she burst into tears.

“Good heavens! my dear Miss Turnbull,” cried Mrs. Ingoldsby, “what
is the matter?--Are not you well?--Salts! salts!--the heat of the
room!--Poor thing!--she has such weak nerves.--Mr. Elmour, may I
trouble you to ring the bell for our carriage? Miss Turnbull has such
sensibility! This meeting, so unexpected, with so many old friends, has
quite overcome her.”

Miss Turnbull, recalled to herself by Mrs. Ingoldsby’s voice, repeated
the request to have her carriage immediately, and departed with Mrs.
Ingoldsby as soon as she possibly could, utterly abashed and mortified;
mortified most at not having been able to conceal her mortification.
Incapable absolutely of articulating, she left Mrs. Ingoldsby to cover
her retreat, as well as she could, with weak nerves and sensibility.

Even the charitable Mrs. Wynne was now heard to acknowledge that she
could neither approve of Miss Turnbull’s conduct, nor frame any apology
for it. She confessed that it looked very like what she of all things
detested most--_ingratitude_. Her nephew, who had been a cool observant
spectator of this evening’s performance, was glad that his aunt’s mind
was now decided by Almeria’s conduct. He exclaimed that he would not
marry such a woman, if her portion were to be the mines of Peru.

Thus Miss Turnbull lost all chance of the esteem and affection of
another man of sense and temper, who might even at this late period of
her life have recalled her from the follies of dissipation, and rendered
her permanently happy.

And now that our heroine must have lost all power of interesting the
reader, now that the pity even of the most indulgent must be utterly
sunk in contempt, we shall take our leave of her, resigning her to that
misery which she had been long preparing for herself. It is sufficient
to say, that after this period she had some offers from men of fashion
of ruined fortunes; but these she rejected, still fancying that with
her wealth she could not fail to make a splendid match. So she went on
coquetting; and coquetting, rejecting and rejecting, till at length she
arrived at an age when she could reject no longer. She ceased to be an
object to matrimonial adventurers, but to these succeeded a swarm of
female legacy-hunters. Among the most distinguished was her companion,
Mrs. Ingoldsby, whose character she soon discovered to be artful and
selfish in the extreme. This lady’s flattery, therefore, lost all its
power to charm, but yet it became necessary to Almeria; and even when
she knew that she was duped, she could not part with Mrs. Ingoldsby,
because it was not in her power to supply the place of a flatterer with
a _friend_.--A friend! that first blessing of life, cannot be bought--it
must be deserved.

Miss, or as she must now be called, _Mrs_. Almeria Turnbull, is still
alive--probably at this moment haunting some place of public amusement,
or stationary at the card-table. Wherever she may be, she is despised
and discontented; one example more amongst thousands, that wealth cannot
purchase, or fashion bestow, real happiness.

“See how the world its veterans rewards--youth of folly, an old age of

_Edgeworth’s-Town_, 1802.



Miss Edgeworth’s general views, in these stories, are explained in the
preface to the first volume. I cannot, however, omit repeating, that
public favour has not yet rendered her so presumptuous as to offer hasty
effusions to her readers, but that she takes a longer time to revise
what she writes than the severe ancients required for the highest
species of moral fiction.

Vivian exposes one of the most common defects of mankind. To be “infirm
of purpose” is to be at the mercy of the artful or at the disposal of
accident. Look round, and count the numbers who have, within your own
knowledge, failed from want of firmness.

An excellent and wise mother gave the following advice with her dying
breath: “My son, learn early how to say, No!”--This precept gave the
first idea of the story of Vivian.

THE ABSENTEE is not intended as a censure upon those whose duties, and
employments, and superior talents, lead them to the capital; but to warn
the thoughtless and the unoccupied from seeking distinction by frivolous
imitation of fashion and ruinous waste of fortune.

A country gentleman, or even a nobleman, who does not sit in parliament,
may be as usefully and as honourably employed in Yorkshire, Mid Lothian,
or Ireland, as at a club-house or an assembly in London.

Irish agents are here described as of two different species. That there
have been bad and oppressive Irish agents, many great landed English
proprietors have felt; that there are well-informed, just, and
honourable Irish agents, every-day experience can testify.

MADAME DE FLEURY points out some of the means which may be employed
by the rich for the real advantage of the poor. This story shows that
sowing gold does not always produce a golden harvest; but that knowledge
and virtue, when early implanted in the human breast, seldom fail to
make ample returns of prudence and felicity.

EMILIE DE COULANGES exposes a fault into which the good and generous are
liable to fall.

Great sacrifices and great benefits cannot frequently be made or
conferred by private individuals; but, every day, kindness and attention
to the common feelings of others is within the power, and may be the
practice, of every age, and sex, and station. Common faults are reproved
by all writers on morality; but there are errors and defects that
require to be treated in a lighter manner, and that come, with
propriety, within the province of essayists and of writers for the

R. L. EDGEWORTH. _May_, 1812.


“To see the best, and yet the worse pursue.”

“Is it possible,” exclaimed Vivian, “that you, Russell, my friend, my
best friend, can tell me that this line is the motto of my character!--’
To see the best, and yet the worse pursue.--Then you must think me
either a villain or a madman.”

“No,” replied Russell, calmly; “I think you only weak.”

“Weak--but you must think me an absolute fool.”

“No, not a fool; the weakness of which I accuse you is not a weakness
of the understanding. I find no fault either with the logical or the
mathematical part of your understanding. It is not erroneous in either
of the two great points in which Bacon says that most men’s minds be
deficient in--the power of judging of consequences, or in the power of
estimating the comparative value of objects.”

“Well,” cried Vivian, impatiently, “but I don’t want to hear just now
what Bacon says--but what _you_ think. Tell me all the faults of my

“All!--unconscionable!--after the fatigue of this long day’s journey,”
 said Russell, laughing.

These two friends were, at this time, travelling from Oxford to Vivian
Hall (in ----shire), the superb seat of the Vivian family, to which
Vivian was heir. Mr. Russell, though he was but a few years older than
Vivian, had been his tutor at college; and by an uncommon transition,
had, from his tutor, become his intimate friend.

After a pause, Vivian resumed, “Now I think of it, Russell, you are to
blame, if I have any faults. Don’t you say, that every thing is to
be done by education? And are not you--though by much too young, and
infinitely too handsome, for a philosopher--are not you my guide,
philosopher, and friend?”

“But I have had the honour to be your guide, philosopher, and friend,
only for these three years,” said Russell. “I believe in the rational,
but not in the magical, power of education. How could I do, or undo, in
three years, the work of the preceding seventeen?”

“Then, if you won’t let me blame you, I must blame my mother.”

“Your mother!--I had always understood that she had paid particular
attention to your early education, and all the world says that Lady
Mary Vivian, though a woman of fashion, is remarkably well-informed and
domestic; and, judging from those of her letters which you have shown
me, I should think that, for once, what all the world says is right.”

“What all the world says is right, and yet I am not wrong:--my mother
is a very clever woman, and most affectionate, and she certainly paid
particular attention to my early education; but her attention was too
particular, her care was too great. You know I was an only son--then
I lost my father when I was an infant; and a woman, let her be ever
so sensible, cannot well educate an _only_ son, without some manly
assistance; the fonder she is of the son the worse, even if her fondness
is not foolish fondness--it makes her over-anxious--it makes her do too
much. My mother took too much, a great deal too much, care of me; she
over-educated, over-instructed, over-dosed me with premature lessons of
prudence: she was so afraid that I should ever do a foolish thing, or
not say a wise one, that she prompted my every word, and guided my every
action. So I grew up, seeing with her eyes, hearing with her ears, and
judging with her understanding, till, at length, it was found out that
I had not eyes, ears, or understanding of my own. When I was
between twelve and thirteen, my mother began to think that I was not
sufficiently manly for my age, and that there was something too yielding
and undecided in my character. Seized with a panic, my mother, to make
a man of me at once, sent me to ---- school. There I was, with all
convenient expedition, made ashamed of every thing good I had learned at
home; and there I learned every thing bad, and nothing good, that could
be learned at school. I was inferior in Latin and Greek; and this was a
deficiency I could not make up without more labour than I had courage to
undertake. I was superior in general literature, but this was of
little value amongst my competitors, and therefore I despised it; and,
overpowered by numbers and by ridicule, I was, of course, led into all
sorts of folly, by mere _mauvaise honte_. Had I been in the habit of
exercising my own judgment, or had my resolution been strengthened by
degrees; had I, in short, been prepared for a school, I might, perhaps,
have acquired, by a public education, a manly, independent spirit. If
I had even been wholly bred up in a public school, I might have been
forced, as others were, by early and fair competition, to exercise my
own powers, and by my own experience in that microcosm, as it has been
called, I might have formed some rules of conduct, some manliness
of character, and might have made, at least, a good schoolboy. Half
home-bred, and half school-bred, from want of proper preparation,
one half of my education totally destroyed the other. From school, of
course, I went to college, and at college, of course, I should have
become one of the worst species of college lads, and should have had
no chance, in my whole future life, of being any thing but a dissipated
fool of fashion, one of the _Four-in-Hand Club_, or the _Barouche Club_,
or the _Tandem Club_, or the _Defiance Club_, had not I, by the greatest
good fortune, met with such a friend as you, and, by still greater good
fortune, found you out for myself; for if my mother had recommended you
to me, I should have considered you only as a college tutor; I should
never have discovered half your real merit; I doubt whether I should
have even seen that you are young and handsome: so prejudiced should I
have been with the preconceived notion of a college tutor, that I am not
certain whether I should have found out that you are a gentleman as well
born and well bred as myself; but, be that as it may, I am positive that
I never should have made you my companion and friend; I should never
have thrown open my whole soul to you, as I have done; nor could you
ever have obtained such wondrous power as you possess over my mind, if
you had been recommended to me by my mother.”

“I am sorry,” said Russell, smiling, “that, after so many wise
reflections, and so many fine compliments, you end by proving to me that
my wondrous power is founded on your wondrous weakness. I am mortified
to find that your esteem and friendship for me depended so much upon my
not having had the honour of your mother’s recommendation; and have not
I reason to fear, that now, when I have a chance of becoming acquainted
with Lady Mary Vivian, and, perhaps, a chance of her thinking me a fit
companion and friend for her son, I must lose his regard and
confidence, because I shall labour under the insuperable objection of an
affectionate mother’s approbation?”

“No, no,” said Vivian; “my wilful folly does not go quite so far as
that. So that I maintain the privilege of choosing my friends for
myself, I shall always be pleased and proud to find my mother approve my

After a few moments’ pause, Vivian added, “You misunderstand, quite
misunderstand me, if you think that I am not fond of my mother. I
respect and love her with all my soul:--I should be a most ungrateful
wretch if I did not. I did very wrong to speak as I did just now, of
any little errors she may have made in my education; but, believe me, I
would not have said so much to any one living but yourself, nor to you,
but in strict confidence; and, after all, I don’t know whether I ought
not to lay the blame of my faults on my masters more than on my poor

“Lay the blame where we will,” said Russell, “remember, that the
punishment will rest on ourselves. We may, with as much philosophic
justice as possible, throw the blame of our faults on our parents and
preceptors, and on the early mismanagement of our minds; yet, after we
have made out our case in the abstract, to the perfect satisfaction of a
jury of metaphysicians, when we come to _overt_ actions, all our judges,
learned and unlearned, are so awed, by the ancient precedents and
practice of society, and by the obsolete law of common sense, that they
finish by pronouncing against us the barbarous sentence, that every man
must suffer for his own faults.”

“‘I hope I shall be able to bear it, my lord,’ as the English sailor
said when the judge----But look out there! Let down that glass on your
side of the carriage!” cried Vivian, starting forward. “There’s Vivian

“That fine old castle?” said Russell, looking out of the window.

“No; but farther off to the left, don’t you see amongst the trees that
house with wings?”

“Ha! quite a new, modern house: I had always fancied that Vivian Hall
was an old pile of building.”

“So it was, till my father threw down the old hall, and built this new

“And a very handsome one it is.--Is it as good within as without?”

“Quite, I think; but I’ll leave you to judge for yourself.--Are not
those fine old trees in the park?”

From this time till the travellers arrived at Vivian Hall, their
conversation turned upon trees, and avenues, and serpentine
_approaches_, and alterations that Vivian intended to make, when he
should be of age, and master of this fine place; and he now wanted but a
twelvemonth of being at legal years of discretion. When they arrived at
the hall, Lady Mary Vivian showed much affectionate joy at the sight of
her son, and received Mr. Russell with such easy politeness that he was
prepossessed at first in her favour. To this charm of well-bred manners
was united the appearance of sincerity and warmth of feeling. In
her conversation there was a mixture of excellent sense and general
literature with the frivolities of the fashionable world, and the
anecdotes of the day in certain high circles, of which she seemed to
talk more from habit than taste, and to annex importance more from the
compulsion of external circumstances than from choice. But her son,--her
son was the great object of all her thoughts, serious or frivolous.
She was delighted by the improvements she saw in his understanding
and character; by the taste and talents he displayed, both for fine
literature and for solid information: this flattered her hope that he
would both shine as a polished gentleman and make a figure in public
life. To his friend Russell she attributed these happy improvements;
and, though he was not a tutor of her own original selection, yet
her pride, on this occasion, yielded to gratitude, and she graciously
declared, that she could not feel jealous of the pre-eminent power he
had obtained over her son, when she saw the admirable use he made of
this influence. Vivian, like all candid and generous persons, being
peculiarly touched by candour and generosity in others, felt his
affection for his mother rapidly increased by this conduct; nor did his
enthusiasm for his friend in the least abate, in consequence of the high
approbation with which she honoured him, nor even in consequence of her
ladyship’s frequent and rather injudicious expressions of her hopes,
that her son would always preserve and show himself worthy of such a

He joined in his mother’s entreaties to Russell to prolong his visit;
and as her ladyship declared she thought it of essential consequence to
her son’s interest and future happiness, that he should, at this _turn
of his life_, have such a companion, Russell consented to remain with
him some time longer. All parties were thus pleased with each other, and
remained united by one common interest about the same objects, during
several weeks of a delightful summer. But, alas! this family harmony,
and this accord of reason and _will_, between the mother and son, were
not of longer duration. As usual, there were faults on both sides.

Lady Mary Vivian, whose hopes of her son’s distinguishing himself by his
abilities had been much exalted since his last return from Oxford, had
indulged herself in pleasing anticipations of the time when he should
make his appearance in the fashionable and in the political world. She
foresaw the respect that would be paid to her, on his account, both by
senators and by matrons; by ministers, who might want to gain a rising
orator’s vote, and by mothers, who might wish to make an excellent match
for their daughters: not only by all mothers who had daughters to marry,
but by all daughters who had hearts or hands to dispose of, Lady
Mary felt secure of having her society courted. Now, she had rather
extravagant expectations for her son: she expected him to marry, so as
to secure domestic happiness, and, at the same time, to have fashion,
and beauty, and rank, and high connexions, and every amiable quality in
a wife. This vision of a future daughter-in-law continually occupied her
ladyship’s imagination. Already, with maternal _Alnascharism_, she had,
in her reveries, thrown back her head with disdain, as she repulsed the
family advances of some wealthy but low-born heiress, or as she rejected
the alliance of some of the new nobility. Already she had arranged
the very words of her answers to these, and determined the degrees and
shades of her intimacies with those; already had she settled

“To whom to nod, whom take into her coach, Whom honour with her hand;”

when one morning, as she sat at work, absorbed in one of these reveries,
she was so far “rapt into future times,” that, without perceiving that
any body was present, she began to speak her thoughts, and said aloud to
herself, “As if my son could possibly think of her!”

Her son, who was opposite to her, lying on a sofa, reading, or seeming
to read, started up, and putting down his book, exclaimed, in a
voice which showed at once that he was conscious of thinking of some
particular person, and determined to persist in the thought, “As if your
son could possibly think of her!----Of whom, ma’am?”

“What’s the matter, child? Are you mad?”

“Not in the least, ma’am; but you said----”

“What!” cried Lady Mary, looking round; “What did I say, that has
occasioned so much disturbance?--I was not conscious of saying any
thing. My dear Selina,” continued her ladyship, appealing to a young
lady, who sat very intent upon some drawing beside her, “my dear Selina,
you must have heard; what did I say?”

The young lady looked embarrassed; and the colour which spread over her
face, brought a sudden suspicion into Lady Mary’s mind: her eye darted
back upon her son--the suspicion, the fear was confirmed; and she grew
instantly pale, silent, and breathless, in the attitude in which she was
struck with this panic. The young lady’s blush and embarrassment had a
very different effect on Vivian; joy suddenly sparkled in his eyes, and
illumined his whole countenance, for this was the first instant he had
ever felt any hope of having obtained an interest in her heart. He was
too much transported at this moment to think either of prudence or
of his mother; and, when he recollected himself, he was too little
practised in dissimulation to repair his indiscretion. Something he did
attempt to say, and blundered, and laughed at his blunder; and when his
mother looked up at him, in serious silence, he only begged pardon for
his folly, confessed he believed he was mad, and, turning away abruptly,
left the room, exclaiming that he wondered where Russell had been all
the morning, and that he must go and look for him. A long silence
ensued between Vivian’s mother and the young lady, who were left alone
together. Lady Mary first broke the silence, and, in a constrained tone,
asked, as she took up the newspaper, “Whether Miss Sidney had found any

“I don’t know, ma’am,” answered Miss Sidney, in a voice scarcely

“I should have imagined there must be some news from the continent:
but you did not find any, I think you say, Miss Sidney;” continued Lady
Mary, with haughty, averted eyes. After turning over the pages of the
paper, without knowing one word it contained, she laid it down, and rose
to leave the room. Miss Sidney rose at the same time.

“Lady Mary, one instant; my dear Lady Mary.”

Lady Mary turned, and saw Selina’s supplicating eyes full of tears; but
her ladyship, still retaining her severity of manner, coldly said, “Does
Miss Sidney desire that I should stay?--Does Miss Sidney wish to speak
to me?”

“I do--as soon as I can,” said Selina in a faltering voice; but, raising
her eyes, and perceiving the contemptuous expression of Lady Mary’s
countenance, her own instantly changed. With the firm tone of conscious
innocence, she repeated, “I do wish to speak to your ladyship, if you
will hear me with your usual candour; I do not expect or solicit your
usual indulgence.”

“Miss Sidney,” replied Lady Mary, “before you say more, it becomes me to
point out to you, that the moment is past for confidence between us two;
and that in no moment could I wish to hear from any person, much less
from one whom I had considered as my friend, confessions, extorted by
circumstances, degrading and unavailing.”

“Your ladyship need not be apprehensive of hearing from me any degrading
confessions,” said Miss Sidney; “I have none to make: and since, without
any just cause, without any cause for suspicion, but what a blush,
perhaps, or a moment’s embarrassment of manner may have created, you
think it becomes you to point out to me that the moment for confidence
between us is past, I can only lament my mistake in having believed that
it ever existed.”

Lady Mary’s countenance and manner totally changed. The pride of rank
yielded before the pride of virtue; and perhaps the hope that she had
really no cause for suspicion at once restored her affection for her
young friend. “Let us understand one another, my dear Selina,” said she;
“if I said a hasty or a harsh word, forgive it. You know my affection
for you, and my real confidence; in actions, not in words, I have shown
it.--In thought, as well as in actions, my confidence in you has been
entire; for, _upon my word,_ and you know this is not an asseveration I
lightly use, _upon my word,_ till that unfortunate moment, a suspicion
of you never crossed my imagination. The proof--if there could need any
proof to you of what I assert--the proof is, the delight I take in your
society, the urgent manner in which I have so frequently, this summer,
begged your company from your mother. You know this would have not only
been the height of insincerity, but of folly and madness, if I had
not felt a reliance upon you that made me consider it as an absolute
impossibility that you could ever disappoint my friendship.”

“I thank your ladyship,” said Selina, softened by the kind tone in which
Lady Mary now spoke, yet still retaining some reserve of manner;
“I thank your ladyship for all your kindness--it has flattered me
much--touched me deeply--commanded my gratitude, and influenced my
conduct uniformly--I can and do entirely forgive the injustice of a
moment; and I now bid you adieu, my dear Lady Mary, with the conviction
that, if we were never to meet again, I should always hold that place in
your esteem and affection with which you have honoured me, and which, if
it be not too proud an expression, I hope I have deserved----Won’t you
bid me farewell?”

The tears gushed from Lady Mary’s eyes. “My dear, charming, and prudent
Selina, I understand you perfectly--and I thank you: it grieves me to
part with you--but I believe you are right--I believe there is no other
safety--no other remedy. How, indeed, could I expect that my son could
see and hear you--live in the house with you, and become intimately
acquainted with such a character as yours, without danger! I have
been very imprudent, unaccountably imprudent, to expose him to such
a temptation; but I hope, I trust, that your prudence will repair, in
time, the effects of my rashness--and again and again I thank you, my
dear young friend--but, perhaps it might be still better that you should
not leave us abruptly. Still better than your absence, I think, would be
the conviction you might impress on his mind of the impossibility of
his hopes: if you were to stay a day or two, and convince him by your
indifference that----” “Excuse me, that is what I cannot undertake,”
 said Selina, blushing, and conscious of blushing. Lady Mary was too
polite and too delicate to seem to observe her confusion, but, embracing
her, said--“If we must part, then take with you my highest esteem,
affection, and gratitude; and this much let me add, that my most
sanguine expectations for my son’s happiness would be realized, if
amongst the women to whom family interests must restrict his choice, he
could meet with one of half your merit, and half your attractions.”

“_Amongst the women to whom family interests must restrict his choice_,”
 repeated Selina to herself many times, as she journeyed homewards; and
she pondered much upon the meaning of this phrase. Vivian was sole
heir to a very large property, without encumbrances of any kind; what,
therefore, was the necessity that restricted his choice? The imaginary
necessity of ambition, which confined him to a certain circle of
fashionable, or _highly connected_ people. Selina Sidney, though she was
not rich, was of a very good gentleman’s family; her father had been a
colonel in the British army: during his life, Mrs. Sidney had been in
the habit of living a great deal in what is called _the world,_ and
in the best company; and though, since his death, she had lived in
retirement, Miss Sidney had received an education which put her upon a
footing with young ladies of the highest accomplishments and refinement
in the kingdom. With every solid and amiable quality, she had all those
external advantages of appearance and manner which Lady Mary Vivian
valued most highly. Selina, who was convinced that Lady Mary appreciated
her character, and was peculiarly fond of her company and conversation,
could not but feel surprise, mixed with some indignation, perhaps with a
little resentment, when she perceived that her ladyship’s prejudices
and ambition made her act so completely in contradiction to her better
judgment, to her professions, and to her feelings of affection. Whatever
Miss Sidney thought upon this subject, however, she determined to
continue to avoid seeing Vivian any more--an excellent resolution, in
which we leave her, and return to her lover.

A walk with Russell had brought him back in the full determination of
avowing his attachment sincerely to his mother, and of speaking to her
ladyship in the most respectful manner; but, when he found that Miss
Sidney was gone, anger and disappointment made him at once forget his
prudence, and his intended respect; he declared, in the most passionate
terms, his love for Selina Sidney, and his irrevocable determination
to pursue her, to the end of time and space, in spite of all opposition
whatsoever from any person whatever. His mother, who was prepared for a
scene of this sort, though not for one of this violence, had sufficient
command of temper to sustain it properly; her command of temper was,
indeed, a little assisted by the hope that this passion would be
transitory in proportion to its vehemence, much by the confidence she
had in Miss Sidney’s _honour_, and in her absence: Lady Mary, therefore,
calmly disclaimed having had any part in persuading Miss Sidney to that
measure which had so much enraged her lover; but her ladyship avowed,
that though it had not been necessary for her to suggest the measure,
she highly approved of it, and admired now, as she had ever admired,
that young lady’s prudent and noble conduct.

Softened by the only thing that could, at this moment, soften
him--praise of his mistress--Vivian, in a most affectionate manner,
assured his mother that it was her warm eulogiums of Miss Sidney which
had first turned his attention to the perfections of her character; and
he now inquired what possible objections she could make to his choice.
With the generous enthusiasm of his disposition, heightened by all the
eloquence of love, he pleaded, that his fortune was surely sufficient to
put him above mercenary considerations in the choice of a wife; that in
every point, except this one of _money_, Selina Sidney was, in his own
mother’s opinion, superior to every other woman she could name, or wish
for, as a daughter-in-law.

“But my tastes are not to blind me to your interests,” said Lady Mary;
“you are entitled to look for rank and high connexion. You are the
representative of an ancient family, have talents to make a figure in
public; and, in short, prejudice or not, I confess it is one of the
first wishes of my heart that you should marry into a noble family, or
at least into one that shall strengthen your political interest, as well
as secure your domestic happiness.”

Vivian, of course, cursed ambition, as all men do whilst they are in
love. His arguments and his eloquence in favour of a _private station_,
and of the joys of _learned leisure, a competence, and domestic bliss_,
were worthy of the most renowned of ancient or modern philosophers.
Russell was appealed to with much eagerness, both by mother and son,
during their debates. He frankly declared to Lady Mary, that he thought
her son perfectly right in all he now urged, and especially in his
opinion of Miss Sidney; “but at the same time,” added Russell, “I
apprehend that he speaks, at this moment, more from passion than from
reason; and I fear that, in the course of a few months, he might,
perhaps, entirely change his mind: therefore, I think your ladyship is
prudent in refusing, during the minority of your son, your consent to a
hasty union, of which he might afterwards repent, and thus render both
himself and a most amiable woman miserable.”

Russell, after having given his opinion with the utmost freedom, when
it was required by Lady Mary, assured her that he should no farther
interfere; and he trusted his present sincerity would be the best pledge
to her of his future discretion and honour. This equitable judgment and
sincerity of Russell’s at first displeased both parties, but in time
operated upon the reason of both; not, however, before contests had gone
on long and loud between the mother and son--not before a great deal
of nonsense had been talked on both sides. People of the best abilities
often talk the most nonsense where their passions are concerned, because
then the whole of their ingenuity is exercised to find arguments in
favour of their folly. They are not, like fools, content to say, _This
is my will_; but they pique themselves on giving reasons for their
will; and their reasons are the reasons of madmen, excellent upon
false premises. It happened here, as in most family quarrels, that the
disputants did not allow sufficiently for the prejudices and errors
incident to their different ages. The mother would not allow for the
romantic notions of the son, nor could the son endure the worldly views
of the mother. The son, who had as yet no experience of the transitory
nature of the passion of love, thought his mother unfeeling and
barbarous, for opposing him on the point where the whole happiness of
his life was concerned; the mother, who had seen the decline and fall of
so many _everlasting loves_, considered him only as a person in a fever;
and thought she prevented him, by her calmness, from doing that which he
would repent when he should regain his sober senses. Without detailing
the daily disputes which now arose, it will be sufficient to mark the

Vivian’s love had been silent, tranquil, and not seemingly of any great
consequence, till it was opposed; but, from the instant that an obstacle
intervened, it gathered strength and force, and it presently rose
rapidly, with prodigious uproar, threatening to burst all bounds, and to
destroy every thing that stopped its course. Lady Mary was now inclined
to try what effect lessening the opposition might produce. To do her
justice, she was also moved to this by some nobler motives than fear;
or, at least, her fears were not of a selfish kind: she dreaded that her
son’s health and permanent happiness might be injured by this violent
passion; she was apprehensive of becoming an object of his aversion;
of utterly losing his confidence, and all power over his mind; but,
chiefly, her generous temper was moved and won by Selina Sidney’s
admirable conduct. During the whole time that Vivian used every means
to see her, to write to her, and to convince her of the fervour of his
love, though he won all her friends over to his interests, though she
heard his praises from morning till night from all who surrounded her,
and though her own heart, perhaps, pleaded more powerfully than all
the rest in his favour; yet she never, for one instant, gave him the
slightest encouragement. Lady Mary’s esteem and affection were so much
increased by these strong proofs of friendship and honour, that
her prejudices yielded; and she at length declared, that if her son
continued, till he was of age, to feel the same attachment for this
amiable girl, she would give her consent to their union. But this, she
added, she promised only on one condition--that her son should abstain
from all attempts, in the interval, to see or correspond with Miss
Sidney, and that he should set out immediately to travel with Mr.
Russell. Transported with love, and joy, and victory, Vivian promised
every thing that was required of him, embraced his mother, and set out
upon his travels.

“Allow,” said he triumphantly to Russell, as the chaise drove from the
door, “allow, my good friend, that you were mistaken, in your fears of
the weakness of my character, and of the yielding facility of my temper.
You see how firm I have been--you see what battle I have made--you see
how I have _stood out_.”

“I never doubted,” said Russell, “your love of your own free will--I
never doubted your fear of being governed, especially by your mother;
but you do not expect that I should allow this to be a proof of strength
of character.”

“What! do you suppose I act from love of my own free will merely?--Do
you call my love for Selina Sidney weakness?--Oh! take care, Russell;
for if once I find you pleading my mother’s cause against your

“You will never find me pleading any cause against my conscience. I have
told your mother, as I have told you, my opinion of Miss Sidney--my firm
opinion--that she is peculiarly calculated to make the happiness of your
life, provided you continue to love her.”

“Provided!--Oh!” cried Vivian, laughing, “spare your musty provisoes, my
dear philosopher! Would not any one think, now, you were an old man of
ninety? If this is all you have to fear, I am happy indeed.”

“At present,” said Russell, calmly, “I have no fear, as I have just
told your mother, but that you should change your mind before you are of

Vivian grew quite indignant at this suggestion. “You are angry with me,”
 said Russell, “and so was your mother: she was angry because I said, I
_feared,_ instead of I _hoped,_ you would change your mind. Both parties
are angry with me for my sincerity.”

“Sincerity!--no; but I am angry with you for your absurd suspicions of
my constancy.”

“If they are absurd, you need not be angry,” said Russell; “I shall be
well pleased to see their absurdity demonstrated.”

“Then I can demonstrate it this moment.”

“Pardon me; not this moment; you must take time into the account. I make
no doubt but that, at this moment, you are heartily in love with Miss
Sidney; but the thing to be proved is, that your passion will not
decline in force, in proportion as it meets with less resistance. If it
does, you will acknowledge that it was more a love of your own free will
than a love of your mistress that has actuated you, which was the thing
to be proved.”

“Hateful Q.E.D.!” cried Vivian; “you shall see the contrary, and, at
least, I will triumph over you.”

If Russell had ever used art in his management of Vivian’s mind, he
might have been suspected of using it in favour of Miss Sidney at this
instant; for this prophecy of Vivian’s inconstancy was the most likely
means to prevent its accomplishment. Frequently, in the course of their
tour, when Vivian was in any situation where his constancy was tempted,
he recollected Russell’s prediction, and was proud to remind him how
much he had been mistaken. In short, the destined time for their return
home arrived--Vivian presented himself before his mother, and claimed
her promise. She was somewhat surprised, and a little disappointed, by
our hero’s constancy; but she could not retract her word; and, since
her compliance was now unavoidable, she was determined that it should be
gracious. She wrote to Selina, therefore, with great kindness, saying,
that whatever views of other connexions she might formerly have had for
her son, she had now relinquished them, convinced, by the constancy
of her son’s attachment, and by the merit of its object, that his own
choice would most effectually ensure his happiness, and that of all his
friends. Her ladyship added expressions of her regard and esteem, and of
the pleasure she felt in the thoughts of finding in her daughter-in-law
a friend and companion, whose society was peculiarly agreeable to her
taste and suited to her character. This letter entirely dissipated
Selina’s scruples of conscience; Vivian’s love and merit, all his good
and all his agreeable qualities, had now full and unreproved power to
work upon her tender heart. His generous, open temper, his candour,
his warm attachment to his friends, his cultivated understanding,
his brilliant talents, his easy, well-bred, agreeable manners, all
heightened in their power to please by the charm of love, justified,
even in the eyes of the aged and prudent, the passion he inspired.
Selina became extremely attached to him; and she loved with the
delightful belief that there was not, in the mind of her lover, the
seed of a single vice which threatened danger to his virtues or to their
mutual happiness. With his usual candour, he had laid open his whole
character to her, as far as he knew it himself; and had warned her of
that vacillation of temper, that easiness to be led, which Russell
had pointed out as a dangerous fault in his disposition. But of this
propensity Selina had seen no symptoms; on the contrary, the steadiness
of her lover in his attachment to her--the only point on which she had
yet seen him tried--decided her to trust to the persuasive voice of love
and hope, and to believe that Russell’s friendship had in this instance,
been too harsh or too timorous in its forebodings.

Nothing now delayed the marriage of Vivian and Selina but certain legal
rites, which were to be performed on his coming of age, and before
marriage settlements could be drawn;--and the parties were doomed to
wait for the arrival of some trustee who was with his regiment abroad.
All these delays Vivian of course cursed: but, upon the whole, they
were borne by him with heroic patience, and by Selina with all the
tranquillity of confiding love, happy in the present, and not too
anxious for the future.


“My dear Russell,” said Vivian, “love shall not make me forget
friendship; before I marry, I must see you provided for. Believe me,
this was the first--one of the first pleasures I promised myself, in
becoming master of a good fortune. Other thoughts, I confess, have
put it out of my head; so now let me tell you at once. I hate paltry
surprises with my friends: I have, you know--or rather, probably, you do
not know, for you are the most disinterested fellow upon earth--I have
an excellent living in my gift; it shall be yours; consider it as such
from this moment. If I knew a more deserving man, I would give it to
him, upon my honour; so you can’t refuse me. The incumbent can’t live
long; he is an old, very old, infirm man; you’ll have the living in a
year or two, and, in the mean time, stay with me. I ask it as a favour
from a friend, and you see how much I want a friend of your firm
character; and I hope you see, also, how much I can value, in others,
the qualities in which I am myself deficient.”

Russell was much pleased and touched by Vivian’s generous gratitude, and
by the delicacy, as well as kindness of the manner in which he made
this offer; but Russell could not consistently with his feelings or his
principles live in a state of dependent idleness, waiting for a rich
living and the death of an old incumbent. He told Vivian that he had too
much affection for him, and too much respect for himself, ever to run
the hazard of sinking from the rank of an independent friend. After
rallying him, without effect, on his pride, Vivian acknowledged that he
was forced to admire him the more for his spirit. Lady Mary, too, who
was a great and sincere admirer of independence of character, warmly
applauded Mr. Russell, and recommended him, in the highest terms, to a
nobleman in the neighbourhood, who happened to be in want of a preceptor
for his only son. This nobleman was Lord Glistonbury: his lordship was
eager to engage a person of Russell’s reputation for talents; so the
affair was quickly arranged, and Lady Mary Vivian and her son went
to pay a morning visit at Glistonbury Castle, on purpose to accompany
Russell on his first introduction to the family. As they approached the
castle, Vivian was struck with its venerable Gothic appearance; he had
not had a near view of it for some years, and he looked at it with new
eyes. Formerly he had seen it only as a picturesque ornament to the
country; but now that he was himself possessor of an estate in the
vicinity, he considered Glistonbury Castle as a point of comparison
which rendered him dissatisfied with his own mansion. As he drove up
the avenue, and beheld the towers, turrets, battlements, and massive
entrance, his mother, who was a woman of taste, strengthened, by her
exclamations on the beauty of Gothic architecture, the wish that was
rising in his mind to convert his modern house into an _ancient_ castle:
she could not help sighing whilst she reflected that, if her son’s
affections had not been engaged, he might perhaps have obtained the
heart and hand of one of the fair daughters of this castle. Lady
Mary went no farther, even in her inmost thoughts. Incapable of
double-dealing, she resolved never even to let her son know what her
wishes had been with respect to a connexion with the Glistonbury family.
But the very reserve and _discretion_ with which her ladyship spoke--a
reserve unusual with her, and unsuited to the natural warmth of
her manner and temper--might have betrayed her to an acute and cool
observer. Vivian, however, at this instant, was too much intent upon
castle-building to admit any other ideas.

When the carriage drove under the great gateway and stopped, Vivian
exclaimed, “What a fine old castle! how surprised Selina Sidney would
be, how delighted, to see my house metamorphosed into such a castle!”

“It is a magnificent castle, indeed!” said Lady Mary, with a sigh: “I
think there are the Lady Lidhursts on the terrace; and here comes my
Lord Glistonbury with his son.”

“My pupil?” said Russell; “I hope the youth is such as I can become
attached to. Life would be wretched indeed without attachment--of some
sort or other. But I must not expect,” added he, “to find a second time
a friend in a pupil; and such a friend!”

Sentiment, or the expression of the tenderness he felt for his friends,
was so unusual from Russell, that it had double effect; and Vivian was
so much struck by it, that he could scarcely collect his thoughts in
time to speak to Lord Glistonbury, who came to receive his guests,
attended by three _hangers on_ of the family--a chaplain, a captain,
and a young lawyer. His lordship was scarcely past the meridian of life;
yet, in spite of his gay and debonair manner, he looked old, as if he
were paying for the libertinism of his youth by premature decrepitude.
His countenance announced pretensions to ability; his easy and affable
address, and the facility with which he expressed himself, gained him
credit at first for much more understanding than he really possessed.
There was a plausibility in all he said; but, if it were examined,
there was nothing in it but nonsense. Some of his expressions appeared
brilliant; some of his sentiments just; but there was a want of
consistency, a want of a pervading mind in his conversation, which to
good judges betrayed the truth, that all his opinions were adopted, not
formed; all his maxims commonplace; his wit mere repetition; his sense
merely _tact_. After proper thanks and compliments to Lady Mary and
Mr. Vivian, for securing for him such a treasure as Mr. Russell, he
introduced Lord Lidhurst, a sickly, bashful boy of fourteen, to his new
governor, with polite expressions of unbounded confidence, and a rapid
enunciation of undefined and contradictory expectations.

“Mr. Russell will, I am perfectly persuaded, make Lidhurst every
thing we can desire,” said his lordship; “an honour to his country,
an ornament to his family. It is my decided opinion that man is but
a bundle of habits; and it’s my maxim, that education is _second_
nature--_first_, indeed, in many cases. For, except that I am staggered
about original genius, I own I conceive with Hartley, that early
impressions and associations are all in all: his vibrations and
vibratiuncles are quite satisfactory. But what I particularly wish for
Lidhurst, sir, is, that he should be trained as soon as possible into a
statesman. Mr. Vivian, I presume you mean to follow up public business,
and no doubt will make a figure. So I prophesy; and I am used to these
things. And from Lidhurst, too, under similar tuition, I may with reason
expect miracles--‘hope to hear him thundering in the house of commons in
a few years--‘confess ‘am not quite so impatient to have the young dog
in the house of incurables; for you know he could not be there without
being in my shoes, which I have not done with yet--ha! ha! ha!----Each
in his turn, my boy! In the mean time, Lady Mary, shall we join the
ladies yonder, on the terrace? Lady Glistonbury walks so slow, that she
will be seven hours in coming to us; so we had best go to her ladyship:
if the mountain won’t go to Mahomet--you know, of course, what follows.”

On their way to the terrace, Lord Glistonbury, who always heard
himself speak with singular complacency, continued to give his ideas on
education; sometimes appealing to Mr. Russell, sometimes happy to catch
the eye of Lady Mary.

“Now, my idea for Lidhurst is simply this:--that he should know every
thing that is in all the best books in the library, but yet that he
should be the farthest possible from a book-worm--that he should never,
except in a set speech in the house, have the air of having opened a
book in his life--mother-wit for me!--in most cases--and that easy style
of originality, which shows the true gentleman. As to morals--Lidhurst,
walk on, my boy--as to morals, I confess I couldn’t bear to see any
thing of the Joseph Surface about him. A youth of spirit must, you know,
Mr. Vivian--excuse me, Lady Mary, this is--_an aside_--be something of a
latitudinarian to keep in the fashion: not that I mean to say so exactly
to Lidhurst--no, no--on the contrary, Mr. Russell, it is our cue, as
well as this reverend gentleman’s,” looking back at the chaplain, who
bowed assent before he knew to what, “it is our cue, as well as this
reverend gentleman’s, to preach prudence, and temperance, and all the
cardinal virtues.”

“_Cardinal_ virtues! very good, faith! my lord,” said the lawyer,
looking at the clergyman.

“_Temperance!_” repeated the chaplain, winking at the officer; “upon my
soul, my lord, that’s too bad.”

“_Prudence!_” repeated the captain; “that’s too clean a cut at poor
Wicksted, my lord.”

Before his lordship had time to preach any more prudence, they arrived
within bowing distance of the ladies, who had, indeed, advanced at a
very slow rate. Vivian was not acquainted with any of the ladies of the
Glistonbury family; for they had, till this summer, resided at another
of their country seats, in a distant county. His mother had often met
them at parties in town.

Lady Glistonbury was a thin, stiffened, flattened figure--she was
accompanied by two other female forms, one old, the other young; not
each a different grace, but alike all three in angularity, and in a cold
haughtiness of mien. After reconnoitring with their glasses the party
of gentlemen, these ladies quickened their step; and Lady Glistonbury,
making her countenance as affable as it was in its nature to be,
exclaimed, “My dear Lady Mary Vivian! have I the pleasure to see your
ladyship?--They told me it was only visitors to my lord.”

Mr. Vivian had then the honour of being introduced to her ladyship, to
her eldest daughter, Lady Sarah Lidhurst, and to Miss Strictland, the
governess. By all of these ladies he was most graciously received;
but poor Russell was not so fortunate; nothing could be more cold and
repulsive than their reception of him. This did not make Lady Sarah
appear very agreeable to Vivian; he thought her, at this first view, one
of the least attractive young women he had ever beheld.

“Where is my Julia?” inquired Lord Glistonbury. “Ah! there she goes
yonder, all life and spirits.”

Vivian looked as his lordship directed his eye, and saw, at the farthest
end of the terrace, a young girl of about fifteen, running very fast,
with a hoop, which she was keeping up with great dexterity for the
amusement of a little boy who was with her. The governess no sooner saw
this than she went in pursuit of her young ladyship, calling after her,
in various tones and phrases of reprehension, in French, Italian, and
English; and asking whether this was a becoming employment for a young
lady of her age and rank. Heedless of these reproaches, Lady Julia still
ran on, away from her governess, “to chase the rolling circle’s speed,”
 down the slope of the terrace; thither Miss Strictland dared not pursue,
but contented herself with standing on the brink, reiterating her
remonstrances. At length the hoop fell, and the young lady returned, not
to her governess, but, running lightly up the slope of the terrace, to
her surprise, she came full in view of the company before she was aware
that any strangers were there. Her straw hat being at the back of her
head, Lady Glistonbury, with an indignant look, pulled it forwards.

“What a beautiful colour! what a sweet countenance Lady Julia has!”
 whispered Lady Mary Vivian to Lord Glistonbury: at the same time she
could not refrain from glancing her eyes towards her son, to see what
effect was produced upon him. Vivian’s eyes met hers; and this single
look of his mother’s revealed to him all that she had, in her great
prudence, resolved to conceal. He smiled at her, and then at Russell, as
much as to say, “Surely there can be no comparison between such a child
as this and Selina Sidney!”

A few minutes afterwards, in consequence of a sign from Lady
Glistonbury, Julia disappeared with her governess; and the moment was
unnoticed by Vivian, who was then, as his mother observed, looking up at
one of the turrets of the old castle. All its inhabitants were at this
time uninteresting to him, except so far as they regarded his friend
Russell; but the castle itself absorbed his attention. Lord Glistonbury,
charmed to see how he was struck by it, offered to show him over every
part of the edifice; an offer which he and Lady Mary gladly accepted.
Lady Glistonbury excused herself, professing to be unable to sustain
the fatigue: she deputed her eldest daughter to attend Lady Mary in her
stead; and this was the only circumstance which diminished the pleasure
to Vivian, for he was obliged to show due courtesy to this stiff
taciturn damsel at every turn, whilst he was intent upon seeing the
architecture of the castle, and the views from the windows of the towers
and loop-holes of the galleries; all which Lady Sarah pointed out with a
cold, ceremonious civility, and a formal exactness of proceeding, which
enraged Vivian’s enthusiastic temper. The visit ended: he railed half
the time he was going home against their fair, or, as he called her,
their petrified guide; then, full of the Gothic beauties of Glistonbury,
he determined, as soon as possible, to turn his own modern house into
a castle. The very next morning he had an architect to view it, and to
examine its capabilities. It happened that, about this time, several of
the noblemen and gentry, in the county in which Vivian resided, had been
seized with this rage for turning comfortable houses into uninhabitable
castles. And, however perverse or impracticable this retrograde movement
in architecture might seem, there were always at hand professional
projectors, to convince gentlemen that nothing was so feasible. Provided
always that gentlemen approve their estimates as well as their plans,
they undertake to carry buildings back, in a trice, two, or three,
or half a dozen centuries, as may be required, to make them Gothic or
Saracenic, and to “add every grace that time alone can give.” A few days
after Vivian had been at Glistonbury Castle, when Lord Glistonbury came
to return the visit, Russell, who accompanied his lordship, found his
friend encompassed with plans and elevations.

“Surely, my dear Vivian,” said he, seizing the first moment he could
speak to him, “you are not going to spoil this excellent house? It
is completely finished, in handsome modern architecture, perfectly
comfortable and convenient, light, airy, large enough, warm rooms, well
distributed, with ample means of getting at each apartment; and if you
set about to new-model and transform it into a castle, you must, I see,
by your plan, alter the proportions of almost every room, and spoil the
comfort of the whole; turn square to round, and round again to square;
and, worse than all, turn light to darkness--only for the sake of having
what is called a castle, but what has not, in fact, any thing of the
grandeur or solid magnificence of a real ancient edifice. These modern
baby-house miniatures of castles, which gentlemen ruin themselves to
build, are, after all, the most paltry, absurd things imaginable.”

To this Vivian was, after some dispute, forced to agree; but he said,
“that his should not be a baby-house; that he would go to any expense to
make it really magnificent.”

“As magnificent, I suppose, as Glistonbury Castle?”

“If possible:--that is, I confess, the object of my emulation.”

“Ah!” said Russell, shaking his head, “these are the objects of
emulation, for which country gentlemen often ruin themselves; barter
their independence and real respectability; reduce themselves to
distress and disgrace: these are the objects for which they sell either
their estates or their country; become placemen or beggars; and end
either in the liberties of the King’s Bench, or the slaveries of St.

“Impossible for me! you know my public principles,” said Vivian: “and
you know that I think the life of an independent country gentleman the
most respectable of all others--you know my principles.”

“I know your facility,” said Russell: “if you begin by sacrificing thus
to your taste, do you think you will not end by sacrificing to your

“Never! never!” cried Vivian.

“Then you imagine that a strong temptation will not act where a weak one
has been found irresistible.”

“Of this I am certain,” said Vivian: “I could never be brought to sell
my country, or to forfeit my honour.”

“Perhaps not,” said Russell: “you might, in your utmost need, have
another alternative; you might forfeit your love; you might give up
Selina Sidney, and marry for money--all for the sake of a castle!”

Struck by this speech, Vivian exclaimed, “I would give up a thousand
castles rather than run such a hazard!”

“Let us then coolly calculate,” said Russell. “What would the castle
cost you?”

The expense, even by the estimates of the architects, which, in
the execution, are usually doubled, was enormous, such as Vivian
acknowledged was unsuited even to his ample fortune. His fortune, though
considerable, was so entailed, that he would, if he exceeded his income,
be soon reduced to difficulties for ready money. But then his mother
had several thousands in the stocks, which she was ready to lend him to
forward this castle-building. It was a project which pleased her taste,
and gratified her aristocratic notions.

Vivian assured his friend at parting, that his reason was convinced:
that he would not yield to the whims of taste, and that he would
prudently give up his folly. So he determined; and he abided by his
determination till he heard numbers speak on the other side of the
question. With Vivian, those who spoke last frequently seemed to speak
best; and, in general, the number of voices overpowered the weight
of argument. By the persuasions of his mother, the example of his
neighbours, and the urgency of architects and men of taste who got about
him soon afterwards, he was convinced that there was no living without
a castle, and that the expense would be _next to nothing at all.
Convinced_, we should not say; for he yielded, against his conviction,
from mere want of power to resist reiterated solicitations. He had
no other motive; for the enthusiasm raised by the view of Glistonbury
Castle had passed away: he plainly saw, what Russell had pointed out to
him, that he should spoil the inside of his house for the sake of the
outside; and, for his own part, he preferred comfort to show. It was
not, therefore, to please his own taste that he ran into this imprudent
expense, but merely to gratify the taste of others.

Now the bustle of building began, and workmen swarmed round his house;
the foundations sank, the scaffolds rose; and many times did Vivian sigh
and repent, when he saw how much was to be undone before any thing could
be done; when he found his house dismantled, saw the good ceilings
and elegant cornices knocked to pieces, saw the light domes and modern
sashes give way; all taken out to be replaced, at profuse expense, by a
clumsy imitation of Gothic; how often did be sigh and calculate, when he
saw the tribes of workmen file off as their dinner bell rang! how often
did he bless himself, when he beheld the huge beams of timber dragged
into his yards, and the solid masses of stone brought from a quarry at
an enormous distance!--Vivian perceived that the expense would be treble
the estimate; and said, that if the thing were to be done again, he
would never consent to it; but now, as Lady Mary observed, it was too
late to repent; and it was, at any rate, best to go on and finish it
with spirit--since it was impossible (nobody knew why) to stop. He
hurried on the workmen with impatience; for he was anxious to have the
roof and some apartments in his castle finished before his marriage. The
dilatoriness of the lawyers, and the want of the trustee, who had not
yet arrived in England, were no longer complained of so grievously by
the lover. Russell, one day, as he saw Vivian overlooking his workmen,
and urging them to expedition, smiled, and asked whether the impatience
of an architect or of a lover was now predominant in his mind. Vivian,
rather offended by the question, replied, that his eagerness to finish
this part of his castle arose from his desire to give an agreeable
surprise to his bride; and he declared that his passion for Selina
was as ardent, at this moment, as it had ever been; but that it was
impossible to make lawyers move faster than their accustomed pace;
and that Miss Sidney was too secure of his affection, and he too well
convinced of hers, to feel that sort of anxiety, which persons who had
less confidence in each other might experience in similar circumstances.
This was all very true, and very reasonable; but Russell could not help
perceiving that Vivian’s language and tone were somewhat altered since
the time when he was ready to brave heaven and earth to marry his
mistress, without license or consent of friends, without the possibility
of waiting a few months till he was of age. In fact, though Vivian would
not allow it, this consent of friends, this ceasing of opposition, this
security and tranquillity of happiness, had considerably changed the
appearance, at least, of his love. Lady Mary perceived it, with a
resolution to say nothing, and see how it would end. Selina did not
perceive it for some time; for she was of a most unsuspicious temper;
and her confidence in Vivian was equal to the fondness of her love. She
began to think, indeed, that the lawyers were provokingly slow; and when
Vivian did not blame them as much as he used to do, she only thought
that he understood business better than she did--besides, the necessary
trustee was not come--and, in short, the last thing that occurred to her
mind was to blame Vivian.

The trustee at length arrived, and the castle was almost in the
wished-for state of forwardness, when a new cause of delay arose--a
county election: but how this election was brought on, and how it was
conducted, it is necessary to record. It happened that a relation of
Vivian’s was appointed to a new seventy-four gun ship, of which he came
to take the command at Yarmouth, which was within a few miles of him.
Vivian recollected that Russell had often expressed a desire to go on
board a man-of-war. Vivian, therefore, after having appointed a day
for their going, went to Glistonbury to invite Russell: his pupil, Lord
Lidhurst, begged to be permitted to accompany them: and Lady Julia,
the moment she heard of this new seventy-four gun ship, was, as her
governess expressed it, wild to be of the party. Indeed, any thing
that had the name of a party of pleasure, and that promised a transient
relief from the tedious monotony in which her days passed; any thing
that gave a chance of even a few hours’ release from the bondage
in which she was held between the restraints of the most rigid of
governesses and the proudest of mothers, appeared delightful to this
lively and childish girl. She persecuted her governess with entreaties,
till at last she made Miss Strictland go with her petition to Lady
Glistonbury; whilst, in the mean time, Lady Julia overwhelmed her father
with caresses, till he consented; and with much difficulty, prevailed
upon Lady Glistonbury to give her permission for the young ladies to go
with their governess, their brother, their father, and Lady Mary Vivian,
on this excursion. The invitation was now extended to all the company
then at the castle; including the representative of the county, who,
being just threatened with a fit of the gout, brought on by hard
drinking at the last election, expressed some reluctance to going with
this party on the water. But this gentleman was now paying his humble
devoirs to the Lady Sarah Lidhurst; and it was represented to him, by
all who understood the ground, that he would give mortal offence if he
did not go; so it was ruled, that, hot or cold, gout or no gout, he
must appear in the Lady Sarah’s train: he submitted to this perilous
necessity in the most gallant manner. The day proved tolerably
fine--Vivian had an elegant entertainment provided for the
company, under a marquee pitched on the shore--they _embarked_ in a
pleasure-boat--Lady Sarah was very sick, and her admirer very cold; but
Lady Julia was in extasies at every thing she saw and felt--she feared
nothing, found nothing inconvenient--was charmed to be drawn so easily
from the boat up the high side of the ship--charmed to find herself on
deck--charmed to see the sails, the ropes, the rigging, the waves, the
sea, the sun, the clouds, the sailors, the cook dressing dinner--all,
all indiscriminately charmed her; and, like a school-girl broke loose,
she ran about, wild with spirits, asking questions, some sensible, some
silly; laughing at her own folly, flying from this side to that, from
one end of the ship to the other, down the ladders and up again; whilst
Mr. Russell, who was deputed to take care of her, could scarcely keep
up with her: Lord Glistonbury stood by, holding his sides and laughing
aloud: Miss Strictland, quite disabled by the smell of the ship, was
lying on a bed in the state cabin; and Lady Sarah, all the time shaded
by an umbrella held by her shivering admirer, sat, as if chained upright
in her chair of state, upon deck, scorning her sister’s childish levity,
and proving herself, with all due propriety, incapable of being moved to
surprise or admiration by any object on land or sea.

Lady Mary Vivian, while she observed with a quick eye all that passed,
and read her son’s thoughts, was fully persuaded that neither of the
Lady Lidhursts would be likely to suit his taste, even if his affections
were disengaged: the one was too childish, the other too stiff. “Yet
their birth and connexions, and their consequence in the county,”
 thought Lady Mary, “would have made their alliance highly desirable.”
 Every body seemed weary at the close of this day’s entertainment, except
Lady Julia, who _kept it up_ with indefatigable gaiety, and could hardly
believe that it was time to go home, when the boat was announced to row
them to shore: heedless, and absolutely dizzy with talking and laughing,
her ladyship, escaping from the assistance of sailors and gentlemen,
made a false step in getting into the boat, and, falling over, would
have sunk for ever, but for Mr. Russell’s presence of mind. He
seized her with a strong grasp, and saved her. The fright sobered her
completely; and she sat wrapped in great-coats, as silent, as tractable,
and as wet as possible, during the remainder of the way to shore. The
screams, the ejaculations, the reprimands from Miss Strictland; the
questions, the reflections, to which this incident led, may possibly be
conceived, but cannot be enumerated.

This event, however alarming at the moment, had no serious consequence;
for Lady Julia caught neither fever nor cold, though Miss Strictland
was morally certain her ladyship would have one or the other; indeed she
insinuated, that her ladyship deserved to have both. Lady Sarah’s poor
shivering knight of the shire, however, did not escape so well. Obliged
to row home, in a damp evening, without his great-coat, which he had
been forced to offer to Lady Julia, in a pleasure-boat, when he should
have been in flannels or in bed, he had “cause to rue the boating of
that day.” His usual panacea of the gout did not come as expected, _to
set him up again_. The cold he caught this day killed him. Lady Sarah
Lidhurst was precisely as sorry as decorum required. But the bustle of a
new election was soon to obliterate the memory of the old member, in
the minds of his numerous friends. Lord Glistonbury, and several other
voices in the county, called upon Vivian to stand on the independent
interest. There was to be a contest: for a government candidate declared
himself at the same moment that application was made to Vivian. The
expense of a contested election alarmed both Vivian and his mother.
Gratified as she was by the honour of this offer, yet she had
the prudence to advise her son rather to go into parliament as
representative for a borough than to hazard the expense of a contest
for the county. Miss Sidney, also, whom he consulted upon this occasion,
supported his mother’s prudent advice, in the most earnest manner; and
Vivian was inclined to follow this counsel, till Lord Glistonbury came
one morning to plead the contrary side of the question: he assured
Vivian, that from his experience of the county, he was morally certain
they should carry it without trouble, and with no expense _worth
mentioning_. These were only general phrases, to be sure, not arguments;
but these, joined to her ambition to see her son member for the county,
at length overpowered Lady Mary’s better judgment: her urgent entreaties
were now joined to those of Lord Glistonbury, and of many loud-tongued
electioneerers, who proved to Vivian, by every thing but calculation,
that he must be returned if he would but stand--if he would only declare
himself. Russell and his own prudence strongly counselled him to resist
these clamorous importunities; the two preceding candidates, whose
fortunes had been nearly as good as his, had been ruined by the
contests. Vivian was very young, but just of age; and Russell observed,
“that it would be better for him to see something more of the world,
before he should embark in politics, and plunge into public business.”
 “True,” said Vivian; “but Mr. Pitt was only three-and-twenty when he was
minister of England. I am not ambitious; but I should certainly like to
distinguish myself, if I could; and whilst I feel in youth the glow of
patriotism, why should I not serve my country?”

“Serve it and welcome,” said Russell: “but don’t begin by ruining
yourself by a contested election; or else, whatever glow of patriotism
you may feel, it will be out of your power to be an honest member of
parliament. If you must go into parliament immediately for the good
of your country, go in as member for some borough, which will not ruin

“But the committee of our friends will be so disappointed if I decline;
and my mother, who has now set her heart upon it, and Lord Glistonbury,
and Mr. C----, and Mr. G----, and Mr. D----, who are such zealous
friends, and who urge me so much----”

“Judge for yourself,” said Russell, “and don’t let any persons who
happen to be near you persuade you to see with their eyes, and decide
with their wishes. Zealous friends, indeed!--because they love to
make themselves of consequence, by bawling and scampering about at an
election!--And you would let such people draw you on, to ruin yourself.”

“I will show you that they shall not,” cried Vivian, seizing a sheet
of paper, and sitting down immediately to write the copy of a circular
letter to his friends, informing them, with many thanks, that he
declined to stand for the county. Russell eagerly wrote copies of this
letter, which Vivian declared should be sent early the next morning.
But no sooner was Russell out of sight than Lady Mary Vivian resumed her
arguments in favour of commencing his canvass immediately, and before
his friends should cool. When she saw the letters that he had been
writing, she was excessively indignant; and, by a torrent of female and
maternal eloquence, he was absolutely overwhelmed. Auxiliaries poured
in to her ladyship on all sides; horsemen after horsemen, freeholders
of all degrees, now flocked to the house, hearing that Mr. Vivian had
thoughts of standing for the county. They were unanimously loud in their
assurances of success. Old and new copies of poll books were produced,
and the different interests of the county counted and recounted,
balanced and counterbalanced, again and again, by each person, after his
own fashion: and it was proved to Mr. Vivian, _in black and white, and
as plain as figures could make it_, that he had the game in his own
hands; and that, if he would but declare himself, the other candidate
would, the very next day, they would be bound for it, decline the
contest. Vivian had a clear head, and a competent knowledge of
arithmetic; he saw the fallacies and inaccuracies in their modes of
computation; he saw, upon examining the books, that the state of
the county interests was very different from what they pretended or
believed; and he was convinced that the opposite candidate would not
decline: but after Vivian had stated these reasons ten times, and his
mother and his electioneering partisans had reiterated their assertions
twenty times, he yielded, merely because they had said twice as much
as he had, and because, poor easy man! he had not power to resist
continuity of solicitation.

He declared himself candidate for the county; and was soon immersed in
all the toil, trouble, vexation, and expense, of a contested election.
Of course, his marriage was now to be postponed till the election should
be over. Love and county politics have little affinity. What the evils
of a contested election are can be fully known only to those by whom
they have been personally experienced. The contest was bitter. The
Glistonbury interest was the strongest which supported Vivian: Lord
Glistonbury and _his lordship’s friends_ were warm in his cause. Not
that they had any particular regard for Vivian; but he was to be _their
member_, opposed to the court candidate, whom his lordship was anxious
to keep out of the county. Lord Glistonbury had once been a strong
friend to government, and was thought a confirmed courtier, especially
as he had been brought up in high aristocratic notions; but he had
made it his great object to turn his earldom into a marquisate; and
government having delayed or refused to gratify him in this point,
he quitted them with disgust, and set up his standard amongst the
opposition. He was now loud and zealous on every occasion that could,
as he said, _annoy_ government; and merely because he could not be a
marquis, he became a patriot. Mistaken, abused name! how glorious in
its original, how despicable in its debased signification!--Lord
Glistonbury’s exertions were indefatigable.

Vivian felt much gratitude for this apparently disinterested friendship;
and, during a few weeks, whilst this canvass was going on, he formed
a degree of intimacy with the Glistonbury family, which, in any other
circumstances, could scarcely have been brought about during months
or years. An election, in England, seems, for the time, to level all
distinctions, not only of rank, but even of pride: Lady Glistonbury
herself, at this season, found it necessary to relax from her usual
rigidity.--There was an extraordinary freedom of egress and regress; and
the haughty code of Glistonbury lay dormant. Vivian, of course, was the
centre of all interest; and, whenever he appeared, every individual of
the family was eager to inquire, “What news?--What news?--How do things
go on to-day?--How will the election turn out?--Have you written to Mr.
Such-a-one?--Have you been to Mr. Such-a-one’s?--I’ll write a note for
you--I’ll copy a letter.”--There was one common cause--Miss Strictland
even deigned to assist Mr. Vivian, and to try her awkward hand to
forward his canvass, for it was to support the Glistonbury interest; and
“there was no impropriety could attach to the thing.” Russell’s extreme
anxiety made Vivian call more frequently even than it was necessary at
the castle, to quiet his apprehensions, and to assure him that things
were going on well. Young Lord Lidhurst, who was really good-natured,
and over whose mind Russell began to gain some ascendancy, used to stand
upon the watch for Vivian’s appearance, and would run up the back stairs
to Russell’s apartment, to give him notice of it, and to be the first
to tell the news. Lady Sarah--the icy lady Sarah herself--began to
thaw; and every day, in the same phrase, she condescended to say to
Mr. Vivian, that she “hoped the poll was going on as well as could be
expected.” It was, of course, reported, that Vivian was to succeed the
late representative of the county in all its honours. In eight days he
was confidently given to Lady Sarah by the generous public; and the day
of their nuptials was positively fixed. As the lady was, even by the
account of her friends, two or three years older than Mr. Vivian,
and four or five years older by her looks, and as she was peculiarly
unsuited to his taste, he heard the report without the slightest
apprehension for his own constancy to Selina. He laughed at the idea, as
an excellent joke, when it was first mentioned to him by Russell. Lord
Glistonbury’s manners, however, and the cordial familiarity with which
he treated Vivian, gave every day increasing credit to the report. “If
he were his son, my lord could not be more anxious about Mr. Vivian,”
 said one of the plain-spoken freeholders, in the presence of the Lady
Lidhursts.--Lady Sarah pursed up her mouth, and threw back her head; but
Lady Julia, archly looking at her sister, smiled. The vivacity of Lady
Julia’s manner did not appear excessive during this election time, when
all the world seemed mad; on the contrary, there was, in her utmost
freedom and raillery, that air of good-breeding and politeness, in which
vulgar mirth and liberty are always deficient. Vivian began to think
that she was become less childish, and that there was something of
a mixture of womanish timidity in her appearance, which rendered her
infinitely more attractive. One evening, in particular, when her father
having sent her for her morning’s work, she returned with a basket full
of _the Vivian cockade_, which she had made with her own delicate hands,
Vivian thought she looked “very pretty:” her father desired her to give
them to the person for whom they were intended, and she presented them
to Mr. Russell, saying, “They are for your friend, sir.”--Vivian thought
she looked “very graceful.”--Lady Mary Vivian suppressed half a sigh,
and thought she kept the whole of her mind to herself. These happy days
of canvassing, and this _freedom of election_, could not last for ever.
After polling the county to the last freeholder, the contest was at
length decided, and Vivian was declared duly elected. He was chaired,
and he scattered money with a lavish hand, as he passed over the heads
of the huzzaing populace; and he had all the honours of an election: the
horses were taken from his carriage, and he was drawn by men, who were
soon afterwards so much intoxicated, that they retained no vestige of
rationality. Not only the inferior, but the superior rank of electors,
as usual upon such occasions, thought proper to do honour to their
choice, and to their powers of judgment, by drinking their member’s
health at the expense of their own, till they could neither see, hear,
nor understand. Our hero was not by any means fond of drinking, but he
could not refuse to do as others did; and Lord Glistonbury swore, that
now he had found out that Vivian could be such a pleasant companion over
a bottle, he should never listen to his excuses in future.

A few days after this election, parliament met for the dispatch of
business; and as some important question was to come on, all the members
were summoned, by a peremptory call of the house. Vivian was obliged
to go to town immediately, and compelled to defer his marriage. He
regretted being thus hurried away from Selina; and with a thousand
tender and passionate expressions, assured her, that the moment his
attendance on public business could be spared, he should hasten to the
country to claim his promised happiness. The castle would be finished
by the time the session was over; the lawyers would also have completed
their settlements; and Vivian said he should make every other necessary
preparation whilst he was in town: therefore he urged Selina now to
fix the time for their marriage, and to let it be the first week of the
recess of parliament. But Miss Sidney, who had great delicacy of feeling
and dignity of character, thought that Vivian had of late shown some
symptoms of decreased affection, and that he had betrayed signs of
unsteadiness of character. In the whole affair of the castle-building
and of the election, he had evidently been led by others instead of
following his own conviction:--she wisely dreaded that he might, in more
important actions, yield his judgment to others; and then what security
could she have for his principles? He might, perhaps, be led into all
sorts of fashionable dissipation and vice. Besides these fears, she
considered that Vivian was the possessor of a large fortune; that his
mother had with difficulty consented to this match; that he was very
young, had seen but little of the world, and might, perhaps, in future,
repent of having made, thus early in life, a _love match_. She therefore
absolutely refused to let him now bind himself to her by any fresh
promises. She desired that he should consider himself as perfectly
at liberty, and released from all engagement to her. It was evident,
however, from the manner in which she spoke that she wished to restore
her lover’s liberty for his sake only; and that her own feelings,
however they might be suppressed, were unchanged. Vivian was touched and
charmed by her delicacy and generosity: in the fervour of his feelings
he swore that his affections could never change; and he believed what he
swore. Lady Mary Vivian was struck, also, with Miss Sidney’s conduct
at parting; and she acknowledged that it was impossible to show at once
more tenderness and dignity. No one, however, not even Vivian, knew how
much pain this separation gave Selina. Her good sense and prudence told
her indeed, that it was best, both for her happiness and Vivian’s, that
he should see something more of the world, and that she should have some
farther proof of the steadiness of his attachment, before she should
unite herself with him irrevocably: but whilst she endeavoured to
fortify her mind with these reflections, love inspired many painful
fears; and, though she never repented having set him free from his
promises and engagements, she trembled for the consequences of his being
thus at liberty, in such scenes of temptation as a London life would


When our hero arrived in London, and when he was first introduced into
fashionable society, his thoughts were so intent upon Selina Sidney,
that he was in no danger of plunging into dissipation. He was surprised
at the eagerness with which some young men pursued frivolous pleasures:
he was still more astonished at seeing the apathy in which others of his
own age were sunk, and the listless insignificance in which they lounged
away their lives.

The call of the house, which brought Vivian to town, brought Lord
Glistonbury also to attend his duty in the house of peers: with his
lordship’s family came Mr. Russell, whom Vivian went to see, as soon and
as often as he could. Russell heard, with satisfaction, the indignant
eloquence with which his friend spoke; and only wished that these
sentiments might last, and that fashion might never lead him to imitate
or to tolerate fools, whom he now despised.

“In the mean time, tell me how you go on yourself,” said Vivian; “how
do you like your situation here, and your pupil, and all the Glistonbury
family? Let me behind the scenes at once; for, you know, I see them only
on the stage.”

Russell replied, in general terms, that he had hopes Lord Lidhurst would
turn out well, and that therefore he was satisfied with his situation;
but avoided entering into particulars, because he was a confidential
person in the family. He thought that a preceptor and a physician
were, in some respects, bound, by a similar species of honour, to speak
cautiously of the maladies of their patients, or the faults of their
pupils. Admitted into the secrets of families, they should never make
use of the confidence reposed in them, to the disadvantage of any by
whom they are trusted. Russell’s strictly honourable reserve upon this
occasion was rather provoking to Vivian, who, to all his questions,
could obtain only the dry answer of--“Judge for yourself.”--The nature
of a town life, and the sort of intercourse which capital cities afford,
put this very little in Vivian’s power. The obligations he was under to
Lord Glistonbury for assistance at the election made him anxious to show
his lordship respect and attention; and the sort of intimacy which that
election had brought on was, to a certain degree, kept up in town. Lady
Mary Vivian was constantly one at Lady Glistonbury’s card parties;
and Vivian was frequently at his lordship’s dinners. Considering
the coldness and formality of Lady Glistonbury’s manners, she was
particularly attentive to Lady Mary Vivian; and our hero was continually
an attendant upon the ladies of the Glistonbury family to all public
places. This was by no means disagreeable to him, as they were persons
of _high consideration_; and they were sure of drawing into their circle
the very best company. Lady Mary Vivian observed that it was a great
advantage to her son to have such a house as Lord Glistonbury’s open to
him, to go to whenever he pleased. Besides the advantage to his morals,
her ladyship was by no means insensible to the gratification her pride
received from her son’s living in such high company. The report which
had been raised in the country during the election, that Mr. Vivian was
going to be married to Lady Sarah Lidhurst, now began to circulate
in town. This was not surprising, since a young man in London, of any
fortune or notoriety, can hardly dance three or four times successively
with the same young lady, cannot even sit beside her, and converse with
her in public half a dozen times, without its being reported that he
is going to be married to her. Of this, Vivian, during his noviciate in
town, was not perhaps sufficiently aware: he was soon surprised at being
asked, by almost every one he met, when his marriage with Lady Sarah
Lidhurst was to take place. At first he contented himself with laughing
at these questions, and declaring that there was no truth in the report:
but his asseverations were not to be believed; they were attributed to
motives of discretion: he was told by his companions, that he kept his
own counsel very well; but they all knew _the thing was to be_: he was
congratulated upon his good fortune in making such an excellent match;
for though, as they said, he would have but little money with Lady
Sarah, yet the connexion was so great, that he was the luckiest fellow
upon earth. The degree of importance which the report gave him among
the young men of his acquaintance, and the envy he excited, amused
and gratified his vanity. The sort of conversation he was now in the
constant habit of hearing, both from young and old, in all companies,
about the marriages of people in the fashionable world, where fortune,
and rank, and _connexion_, were always the first things spoken of or
considered, began insensibly to influence Vivian’s mode of speaking, if
not of judging. Before he mixed in this society, he knew perfectly
well that these were the principles by which _people of the world_ are
guided; but whilst he had believed this only on hearsay, it had not
appeared to him so entirely true and so important as when he saw and
heard it himself. The effect of the opinions of a set of fine people,
now he was actually in their society, and whilst all other society
was excluded from his perception, was very different from what he had
imagined it might be, when he was in the country or at college. To do
our hero justice, however, he was sensible of this _aberration_ in his
own mind, he had sense enough to perceive from what causes it arose, and
steadiness sufficient to adhere to the judgements he had previously and
deliberately formed. He did not in material points change his opinion of
his mistress; he thought her far, far superior to all he saw and heard
amongst the belles who were most admired in the fashionable world; but,
at the same time, he began to agree with his mother’s former wish, that
Selina, added to all other merits, had the advantage of high birth
and connexions, or at least, of belonging to a certain class of high
company. He determined that, as soon as she should be his wife, he would
have her introduced to the very _first society_ in town: he pleased
his imagination with anticipating the change that would be made in
her appearance, by the addition of certain elegancies of the mode:
he delighted in thinking of the sensation she would produce, and the
respect that would be paid to her as Mrs. Vivian, surrounded as he would
take care that she should be, with all those external signs of wealth
and fashion, which command immediate and universal homage from the great
and little world.

One day, when Vivian was absorbed in these pleasing reveries, Russell
startled him with this question: “When are you to be married to Lady
Sarah Lidhurst?”

“From you such a question!” said Vivian.

“Why not from me? It is a question that every body asks of me, because
I am your intimate friend; and I should really be obliged to you, if
you would furnish me with an answer, that may give me an air of a little
more consequence than that which I have at present, being forced to
answer, ‘I don’t know.’”

“You don’t know! but why do not you answer, ‘Never!’ as I do,” said
Vivian, “to all the fools who ask me the same question?”

“Because they say that is your answer, and only _a come off_.”

“I can’t help it--Is it my fault if they won’t believe the truth?”

“Why, people are apt to trust to appearances in these cases; and if
appearances are contrary to your assertions, you should not wonder that
you are not believed.”

“Well, time will show them their mistake!” said Vivian.--“But I don’t
know what appearances you mean.--What appearances are against me?--I
never in my life saw a woman I was less disposed to like--whom it would
be more impossible for me to love--than Lady Sarah Lidhurst; and I am
sure I never gave her, or any of her family, the least reason to imagine
I had a thought of her.”

“Very likely; yet you are at Lord Glistonbury’s continually, and you
attend her ladyship to all public places. Is this the way, do you think,
to put a stop to the report that has been raised?”

“I care not whether it stops or goes on,” said Vivian.--“How!--Don’t I
know it is false?--That’s enough for me.”

“It may embarrass you yet,” said Russell.

“Good Heavens!--Can you, who know me so well, Russell, fancy me so weak
as to be embarrassed by such a report? Look--I would rather put this
hand into that fire and let it be burned off, than offer it to Lady
Sarah Lidhurst.”

“Very likely.--I don’t doubt you think so,” said Russell.

“And I would do so,” said Vivian.

“Possibly.--Yet you might be embarrassed nevertheless, if you found that
you had raised expectations which you could not fulfil; and if you found
yourself accused of having jilted this lady, if all her friends were to
say you had used her very ill.--I know your nature, Vivian; these things
would disquiet you very much: and is it not better to prevent them?”

“But neither Lady Sarah nor her friends blame me: I see no signs in the
family of any of the thoughts or feelings you suppose.”

“Ladies--especially young and fashionable ladies--do not always show
their thoughts or feelings,” said Russell.

“Lady Sarah Lidhurst has no thoughts or feelings,” said Vivian, “any
more than an automaton. I’ll answer for her--I am sure I can do her the
justice to proclaim, that she has always, from the first moment I
saw her till this instant, conducted herself towards me with the same
petrified and petrifying propriety.”

“I do not know what _petrified propriety_ exactly means,” said Russell:
“but let it mean what it may, it is nothing to the present purpose;
for the question is not about the propriety of Lady Sarah Lidhurst’s
conduct, but of yours. Now, allowing you to call her ladyship a
petrifaction, or an automaton, or by whatever other name you please,
still, I apprehend, that she is in reality a human creature, and a
woman; and I conceive it is the duty of a man of honour or honesty not
to deceive her.”

“I would not deceive her, or any woman living, upon any account,” said
Vivian. “But how is it possible I can deceive her, when I tell you I
never said a word about love or gallantry, or any thing like it, to her
in my life?”

“But you know language is conventional, especially in gallantry,” said

“True; but I’ll swear the language of my looks has been unequivocal, if
that is what you mean.”

“Not exactly: there are certain signs by which the world JUDGES in these
cases--if a gentleman is seen often with the same lady in public.”

“Absurd, troublesome, ridiculous signs, which would put a stop to all
society; which would prevent a man from conversing with a woman,
either in public or private; and must absolutely preclude one sex from
obtaining any real knowledge of the characters and dispositions of the

“I admit all you say--I feel the truth of it--I wish this were changed
in society; it is a great inconvenience, a real evil,” said Russell:
“but an individual cannot alter a custom; and, as you have not, by
your own account, any particular interest in becoming more intimately
acquainted with the character and disposition of Lady Sarah Lidhurst,
you will do well not to expose yourself to any inconvenience on her
account, by neglecting common received forms and opinions.”

“Well! well!--say no more about it,” said Vivian, impatiently; “spare me
all farther logic and morality upon this subject, and I’ll do what you
please--only tell me what you would have me do.”

“Gradually withdraw yourself for some time from this house, and the
report will die away of itself.”

“Withdraw myself!--that would be very hard upon me!” cried Vivian; “for
this house is the most agreeable house in town to me;--because you live
in it, in the first place; and then, though the women are as stiff as
pokers, one is always sure of meeting all the pleasant and clever men
at Glistonbury’s good dinner. Let me tell you, good dinners, and good
company, and good conversation, and good music, make altogether a very
pleasant house, which I should be confoundedly sorry to be forced to
give up.”

“I don’t doubt it,” said Russell; “but we must often give up more even
than this for the sake of acting with consistency and honour; we must
sacrifice the less to the greater good; and it is on these occasions
that people show strength or weakness of mind.”

Vivian felt the justice of his friend’s observations--resolved to follow
his advice--and to withdraw himself gradually from the Glistonbury
circle. He had not, however, steadiness enough to persist in this
resolution; one engagement linked on another; and he would soon,
probably, have relapsed into his habit of being continually of their
parties, if accident had not for a time suspended this intimacy, by
leading him into another, which seemed to him still more attractive.

Among the men of talents and political consequence whom he met at Lord
Glistonbury’s was Mr. Wharton, whose conversation particularly pleased
Vivian, and who now courted his acquaintance with an eagerness which was
peculiarly flattering. Vivian knew him only as a man of great abilities;
with his real character he was not acquainted. Wharton had prepossessing
manners, and wit sufficient whenever he pleased to make the worse appear
the better reason. In private or in public debate he had at his command,
and could condescend to employ, all sorts of arms, and every possible
mode of annoyance, from the most powerful artillery of logic to the
lowest squib of humour. He was as little nice in the company he kept as
in the style of his conversation. Frequently associating with fools,
and willing even to be thought one, he made alternately his sport
and advantage of the weakness and follies of mankind. Wharton was
philosophically, politically, and fashionably profligate. After
having ruined his private fortune by unbounded extravagance, he lived
on--nobody knew how--in careless profusion. In public life he made a
distinguished figure; and seemed, therefore, to think himself raised
above the necessity of practising any of the minor virtues of economy,
prudence, or justice, which common people find essential to their
well-being in society. Far from attempting to conceal, he gloried in
his faults; for he knew full well, that as long as he had the voice of
numbers with him, he could bully, or laugh, or shame plain reason and
rigid principle out of countenance. It was his grand art to represent
good sense as stupidity, and virtue as hypocrisy. Hypocrisy was, in his
opinion, the only vice which merited the brand of infamy; and from this
he took sufficient care to prove, or at least to proclaim, himself free.
Even whilst he offended against the decencies of life, there seemed
to be something frank and graceful in his manner of throwing aside all
disguise. There appeared an air of superior liberality in his avowing
himself to be governed by that absolute selfishness, which other men
strive to conceal even from their own hearts. He dexterously led his
acquaintance to infer that he would prove as much better than his
professions, as other people are often found to be worse than theirs.
Where he wished to please, it was scarcely possible to escape the
fascination of his manner; nor did he neglect any mode of courting
popularity. He knew that a good table is necessary to attract even men
of wit; and he made it a point to have the very best cook, and the very
best wines. He paid his cook, and his cook was the only person he did
pay, in ready money. His wine-merchant he paid in words--an art in which
he was a professed and yet a successful adept, as hundreds of living
witnesses were ready to attest. But though Wharton could cajole, he
could not attach his fellow-creatures--he had a party, but no friend.
With this distribution of things he was perfectly satisfied; for he
considered men only as beings who were to be worked to his purposes; and
he declared that, provided he had power over their interests and their
humours, he cared not what became of their hearts. It was his policy
to enlist young men of talents or fortune under his banners; and
consequently Vivian was an object worthy of his attention. Such was
the disorder of Wharton’s affairs, that either ready money or political
power was necessary to his existence. Our hero could, at the same time,
supply his extravagance and increase his consequence. Wharton thought
that he could borrow money from Vivian, and that he might command his
vote in parliament; but, to the accomplishment of these schemes, there
were two obstacles--Vivian was attached to an amiable woman, and was
possessed of an estimable friend. Wharton had become acquainted with
Russell at Lord Glistonbury’s; and, in many arguments which they had
held on public affairs, had discovered that Russell was not a man who
ever preferred the expedient to the right, nor one who could be bullied
or laughed out of his principles. He saw also that Russell’s influence
over Vivian was so great, that it supplied him with that strength of
mind in which Vivian was naturally deficient; and, if our hero should
marry such a woman as Miss Sidney, Wharton foresaw that he should have
no chance of succeeding in his designs; therefore his first objects
were, to detach Vivian from his friend Russell and from Selina. One
morning he called upon Vivian with a party of his friends, and found him

“Poetry!” cried Wharton, carelessly looking at what he had, been
writing, “poetry, I protest!--Ay, I know this poor fellow’s in love;
and every man who is in love is a poet, ‘with a woeful ditty to his
mistress’s eyebrow.’ Pray what colour may Miss Sidney’s eyebrows
be?--she is really a pretty girl--I think I remember seeing her at some
races.--Why does she never come to town?--But of course she is not to
blame for that, but her fortune I suppose.--Marrying a girl without a
fortune is a serious thing in these expensive days; but you have fortune
enough for both yourself and your wife, so you may do as you please.
Well, I thank God, I have no fortune! If I had been a young man of
fortune I should have been the most unhappy rascal upon earth, for I
should have always suspected that every woman liked me for my wealth--I
should have had no pleasure in the smiles of an angel--angels, or their
mothers, are so venal now-a-days, and so fond of the pomps and vanities
of this wicked world!”

“I hope,” said Vivian, laughing, “you don’t include the whole sex in
your satire.”

“No--there are exceptions--and every man has his angel of an exception,
as every woman has her star:--it is well for weak women when these stars
of theirs don’t lead them astray; and well for weak men when these
angel exceptions before marriage don’t turn out very women or devils
afterwards. But why do I say all this? because I am a suspicious
scoundrel--I know and can’t help it. If other fellows of my standing in
this wicked world would but speak the truth, however, they would show
as much suspicion and more than I do. Bad as I am, and such as I am,
you see, and have the whole of me--nobody can say Wharton’s a hypocrite;
that’s some comfort. But, seriously, Vivian, I don’t mean to laugh at
love and angels--I can just remember the time when I felt all your
sort of romance--but that is in the preterpluperfect tense with
me--completely past--ambition is no bad cure for love. My head is, at
this present moment, so full of this new bill that we are bringing into
parliament, that Cupid might empty his quiver upon me in vain.--Look!
here is an impenetrable shield!” added he, wrapping round him a thick
printed copy of an act of parliament. “Come, Vivian, you must come along
with us to the house,

     ‘And, mix’d with men, a man you must appear.’”

Vivian felt much ashamed of having been detected in writing a sonnet,
especially as it afforded Wharton such a fine subject for raillery.
He accompanied the party to the House of Commons, where Wharton made a
brilliant speech. It gained universal applause. Vivian sympathized in
the general enthusiasm of admiration for Wharton’s talents, accepted
an invitation to sup with him, and was charmed by his convivial powers.
From this day, he grew every hour more intimate with Wharton.

“I can enjoy,” thought Vivian, “the pleasure of his society without
being influenced by his libertine example.”

Lady Mary Vivian saw the rise and progress of this intimacy, and was
not insensible to its danger; yet she was gratified by seeing her son
distinguished by a man of Wharton’s political consequence; and she
satisfied her conscience by saying, “He will bring my son forward in
public life; and, as to the rest, Charles has too good principles ever
to follow his example in private life.”

Wharton had too much address to alarm Vivian’s moral prejudices on
a first acquaintance. He contented himself with ridiculing only the
exaggeration of any of the virtues, still affecting to believe in
virtue, and to love it, wherever it could be found genuine. By the
success of his first petty attacks, he learned the power that ridicule
had over our hero’s mind; and he did not fail to make use of it
continually. After having, as he perceived, succeeded in making Vivian
ashamed of his sonnet to Selina, and of appearing as a romantic lover,
he doubted not but in time he should make _true_ love itself ridiculous;
and Wharton thought it was now the moment to hazard another stroke, and
to commence his attack against friendship.

“Vivian, my good fellow! why do you let yourself be ruled by that modern
stoic in the form of Lord Lidhurst’s tutor? I never saw any of these
cold moralists who were real, warm-hearted, good friends. I have a
notion I see more of Russell’s play in the house where he has got than
he thinks I do; and I can form a shrewd guess why he was so zealous in
warning you of the report about Lady Sarah Lidhurst--he had his own
snug reasons for wanting you away--Oh, trust me for scenting out
self-interest, through all the doublings and windings of your cunning

Reddening with indignation at this attack upon his friend, Vivian warmly
replied, that Mr. Wharton ought to restrain his wit where the feelings
of friendship and the character of a man of honour were concerned; that
he did not, in the least, comprehend his insinuations with regard to
Russell; but that, for his own part, he had such firm reliance upon
his friend’s attachment and integrity, that he was at any time ready to
pledge his own honour for Russell’s, and to answer for it with his life.

“Spare your heroics, my dear Vivian!” cried Wharton, laughing; “for we
are not in the days of Pylades and Orestes;--yet, upon my soul, instead
of being as angry with you as you are with me, at this instant I like
you a thousand times the better for your enthusiastic credulity. For
my part, I have, ever since I lived in the world and put away childish
things, regretted that charming instinct of credulity, which experience
so fatally counteracts. I envy you, my dear boy!--as to the rest, you
know Russell’s merits better than I do: I’ll take him henceforward upon
trust from you.”

“Thus Wharton, finding that he was upon dangerous ground, made a timely
retreat: the playful manner and open countenance with which he now
spoke, and the quick transition that he made to other subjects of
conversation, prevented Vivian from suspecting that any settled design
had been formed to detach him from Russell. From this time forward,
Wharton forbore raillery on love and friendship; and, far from seeming
desirous of interfering in Vivian’s private concerns, appeared quite
absorbed in politics. Avowing, as he did, that he was guided solely by
his interest in public life, he laughed at Vivian for professing more
generous principles.

“I know,” cried Wharton, “how to make use of a fine word, and to round a
fine sentence, as well as the best of you; but what a simpleton he must
be who is cheated by his own sophistry!--An artist, an enthusiastic
artist, who is generally half a madman, might fall in love with a statue
of his own making; but you never heard of a coiner, did you, who was
cheated by his own bad shilling? Patriotism and loyalty are counterfeit
coin; I can’t be taken in by them at my time of day.”

Vivian could not forbear to smile at the drollery and wit with which
this profligate defended his want of integrity; yet he sometimes
seriously and warmly asserted his own principles. Upon these occasions,
Wharton either overpowered him by a fine flow of words, or else
listened with the most flattering air of admiration, and silenced him by
compliments to his eloquence. Vivian thought that he was quite secure of
his own firmness; but the contagion of bad example sometimes affects
the mind imperceptibly; as certain noxious atmospheres steal upon the
senses, and excite the most agreeable sensations, while they secretly
destroy the principles of health and life. A day was fixed when a
question of importance was to come on in the House of Commons. Wharton
was extremely anxious to have Vivian’s vote. Vivian, according to the
parliamentary phrase, _had not made up his mind_ on the subject. A heap
of pamphlets on the question lay uncut upon his table. Every morning
he resolved to read them, that he might form his judgment, and vote
according to his unbiassed opinion; but every morning he was interrupted
by some of the fashionable idlers whom his facility of temper had
indulged in the habit of haunting him daily. “Oh, Vivian! we are going
to such and such a place, and you _must_ come with us!” was a mode of
persuasion which he could not resist.

“If I don’t do as they do,” thought he, “I shall be quite unfashionable.
Russell may say what he pleases, but it is necessary to yield to one’s
companions in trifles.

     ‘Whoever would be pleased and please,
     Must do what others do with ease.’”

This couplet, which had been repeated to him by Wharton, recurred to him
continually; and thus Wharton, by slight means, in which he seemed to
have no interest or design, prepared Vivian for his purposes, by working
gradually on the easiness of his disposition. He always argued, that it
could not possibly signify what he did with an hour or two of his day,
till at last Vivian found that he had no hours of his own, that his
whole time was at the disposal of others; and now that he really wanted
leisure to consider an important question,--when his credit, as a member
of the senate, and as a man just entering political life, depended on
this decision,--he literally could not command time to read over the
necessary documents. So the appointed day arrived before Vivian’s
opinion was formed; and, from mere want of time to decide for himself,
he voted as Wharton desired. Another and another political question came
on; the same causes operated, and the same consequences ensued. Wharton
managed with great address, so as to prevent him from feeling that he
gave up his freewill. Before Vivian was aware of it, whilst he thought
that he was perfectly independent of all parties, public opinion had
enrolled him amongst Wharton’s partisans. Of this Russell was the first
to give him warning. Russell heard of it amongst the political leaders
who met at Lord Glistonbury’s dinners; and, knowing the danger there is
of a young man’s _committing_ himself on certain points, he, with the
eagerness of a true friend, wrote immediately to put Vivian upon his

“My Dear Vivian,

“I am just going into the country with Lord Lidhurst, and perhaps may
not return for some time. I cannot leave you without putting you on your
guard, once more, against Mr. Wharton. I understand that you are thought
to be one of his party, and that he countenances the report. Take care
that you are not bound hand and foot, before you know where you are.

“Your sincere friend,

“H. Russell.”

With the natural frankness of his disposition, Vivian immediately spoke
to Wharton upon the subject.

“What! people say that you are one of my party, do they?” said Wharton:
“I never heard this before, but I am heartily glad to hear it. You are
in for it now, Vivian: you are one of us; and with us you must stand or

“Excuse me there!” cried Vivian; “I am not of any party; and am
determined to keep myself independent.”

“Do you remember the honest Quaker’s answer to the man of no party?”
 said Wharton.


“I think it was about the year ‘40, when party disputes about Whig
and Tory ran high--but no matter what year, it will do for any time. A
gentleman of undeviating integrity, an independent man, just such a man
as Mr. Vivian, offered himself candidate for a town in the east, west,
north, or south of England--no matter where, it will do for any place;
and the first person whose vote he solicited was a Quaker, who asked him
whether he was a Whig or Tory?--‘Neither. I am an independent, moderate
man; and when the members of administration are right, I will vote with
them--when wrong, against them.’ ‘And be these really thy principles?’
quoth the Quaker; ‘then a vote of mine thou shalt never have. Thou seest
my door, it leadeth into the street; the right hand side of which is for
the Tory, the left for the Whigs; and for a cold-blooded moderate man,
like thee, there is the kennel, and into it thou wilt be jostled, for
thou beest not _decided_ enough for any other situation.’”

“But why should the moderate man be condemned to the kennel?” said
Vivian. “Was there no middle to your Quaker’s road? A stout man cannot
be EASILY jostled into the kennel.”

“Pshaw! pshaw!” said Wharton: “jesting out of the question, a man is
nothing in public life, or worse than nothing, a _trimmer_, unless HE
JOINS a party, and unless he abides by it, too.”

“As long as the party is in the right, I presume, you mean,” said

“Right or wrong’” cried Wharton, “a man must abide by his party. No
power, and no popularity, trust me, without it!--Better stride on the
greasy heads of the mob than be trampled under their dirtier feet. An
armed neutrality may be a good thing, but an unarmed neutrality is fit
only for fools. Besides, in Russell’s grand style, I can bring down the
ancients upon you, and tell you that when the commonwealth is in danger
he cannot be a good man who sides with neither party.”

“If it be so necessary to join a party, and if, after once joining it, I
must abide by it, right or wrong, for life,” said Vivian, “it behoves
me to consider well, before I commit myself; and, before I go into the
ranks, I must see good reason to confide, not only in the abilities, but
in the integrity and public virtue of my leader.”

“Public virtue! sounds fresh from college,” said Wharton; “I would as
soon, and sooner, hear a schoolboy read his theme as hear a man begin to
prose about public virtue--especially a member of parliament. Keep that
phrase, my dear Vivian, till some of the treasury bench come to court
you; then look superb, like a French tragic actor, swelling out your
chest, and throwing the head over the left shoulder--thus--exclaim,
‘Public virtue forbid!’--practise! practise!--for if you do it well, it
may be worth a loud huzza to you yet; or better still, a snug place or
pension. But stay till you’re asked--stay till you’re asked--that’s the
etiquette; never till then let me hear public virtue come out of your
lips, else you’ll raise suspicion of your virtue, and lower your price.
What would you think of a pretty actress who began to talk to you of
her reputation before you put it in any danger? Oh, Vivian! my honest
fellow! unless you would make me think you no better than thousands that
have gone before you, never let me hear from your lips again, till the
_proper_ time, the hypocritical state phrase--public virtue.”

“I had always, till now, understood that it was possible to be a patriot
without being a hypocrite,” replied Vivian; “I always understood that
Mr. Wharton was a patriot.”

“A very fair sarcasm on me,” said Wharton, laughing. “But you know, I’m
a sad dog; never set myself up for a pattern man.--Come! let’s home to
dinner, and a truce with politics and morality. I find, Vivian, you’re a
sturdy fellow, and must have your own way; no bending, no leading you,
I see. Well! it is a good thing to have so much strength of mind: I envy

It must be recorded to the credit of our hero, that in defiance of
Wharton’s raillery, he talked, and--oh! still more wonderful!--thought
of public virtue, during nearly half of his first session in parliament.
But, alas! whilst his political principles thus withstood the force of
ridicule, temptation soon presented itself to Vivian in a new shape,
and in a form so seducing, as to draw his attention totally away from
politics, and to put his private, if not his public, honour, in the most
imminent peril.


One morning, as Vivian was walking with Mr. Wharton up Bond-street, they
were met by a party of fashionable loungers, one of whom asked whether
Mrs. Wharton was not come to town yet.

“Mrs. Wharton!” said Vivian, with an air of surprise.

“Yes, she came to town this morning,” said Wharton, carelessly; then
laughing, as he turned to look at Vivian, “Vivian, my good fellow! what
smites you with such surprise? Did not you know I was married?”

“I suppose I must have heard it; but I really forgot it,” said Vivian.

“There you had the advantage of me,” said Wharton, still laughing. “But
if you never heard of Mrs. Wharton before, keep your own secret; for
I can tell you she would never forgive you, though I might. Put a good
face on the matter, at any rate; and swear you’ve heard so much of
her, that you were dying to see her. Some of these gentlemen, who have
nothing else to do, will introduce you whenever you please.”

“And cannot I,” said Vivian, “have the honour of your introduction?”

“Mine! the worst you could possibly have. The honour, as you are pleased
to call it, would be no favour, I assure you. The honour!--honour of a
husband’s introduction! What a novice you are, or would make me believe
you to be! But, seriously, I am engaged to-day at Glistonbury’s: so,
good morning to you.”

Accustomed to hear Wharton talk in the freest manner of women and
marriage in general, and scarcely having heard him mention his own wife,
Vivian had, as he said, absolutely forgotten that Wharton was a married
man. When he was introduced to Mrs. Wharton, he was still more surprised
at her husband’s indifference; for he beheld a lady in all the radiance
of beauty, and all the elegance of fashion: he was so much dazzled by
her charms, that he had not immediately power or inclination to examine
what her understanding or disposition might be; and he could only repeat
to himself, “How is it possible that Wharton can be indifferent to such
a beautiful creature!”

Incapable of feeling any of what he, called the romance of love, the
passion, of course, had always been with Mr. Wharton of a very transient
nature. Tired of his wife’s person, he showed his indifference without
scruple or ceremony. Notorious and glorying in his gallantries, he
was often heard to declare, that no price was too high to be paid for
beauty, except a man’s liberty; but that was a sacrifice which he
would never make to any woman, especially to a wife. Marriage vows
and custom-house oaths he classed in the same order of technical
forms,--nowise binding on the conscience of any but fools and dupes.
Whilst the husband went on in this manner, the wife satisfied herself by
indulgence in her strongest passions--the passion for dress and public
admiration. Childishly eager to set the fashion in trifles, she spent
unconscionable sums on her pretty person; and devoted all her days, or
rather all her nights, to public amusements. So insatiable and restless
is the passion for admiration, that she was never happy for half an hour
together, at any place of public amusement, unless she fixed the gaze
of numbers. The first winter after her marriage she enjoyed the
prerogatives of a fashionable beauty; but the reign of fashion is more
transient even than the bloom of beauty. Mrs. Wharton’s beauty soon grew
familiar, and faded in the public eye; some newer face was this season
the mode. Mrs. Wharton appeared twice at the opera in the most elegant
and becoming dresses; but no one followed her lead. Mortified and
utterly dejected, she felt, with the keenest anguish, the first symptoms
of the decline of public admiration. It was just at this period, when
she was miserably in want of the consolations of flattery, that Vivian’s
acquaintance with her commenced. Gratified by the sort of delighted
surprise which she saw in his countenance the first moment he beheld
her, seeing that he was an agreeable man, and knowing that he was a man
of fortune and family, she took pains to please him by all the common
arts of coquetry. But his vanity was proof against these: the weakness
of the lady’s understanding and the frivolity of her character were, for
some weeks, sufficient antidotes against all the power of her personal
charms; so much so, that at this period he often compared, or rather
contrasted, Mrs. Wharton and Selina, and blessed his happy fate.
He wrote to his friend Russell soon after he was introduced to this
celebrated beauty, and drew a strong and just parallel between
the characters of these two ladies: he concluded with saying,
“Notwithstanding your well-founded dread of the volatility of my
character, you will not, I hope, my dear Russell, do me the injustice to
apprehend that I am in any danger from the charms of Mrs. Wharton.”

Vivian wrote with perfect sincerity; he believed it to be impossible
that he could ever become attached to such a woman as Mrs. Wharton, even
if she had not been married, and the wife of his friend. So, in all the
security of conscious contempt, he went every day to wait upon her, or
rather to meet agreeable company at her house,--a house in which
all that was fashionable and dissipated assembled; where beauty,
and talents, and rank, met and mingled; and where political or other
arrangements prevented the host and hostess from scrupulously excluding
some whose characters were not free from suspicion. Lady Mary Vivian
never went to Mrs. Wharton’s; but she acknowledged that she knew many
ladies of unblemished reputation who thought it no impropriety to
visit there; and Mrs. Wharton’s own character she knew was hitherto
unimpeached. “She is, indeed, a woman of a cold, selfish temper,” said
Lady Mary; “not likely to be led into danger by the tender passion, or
by any of the delusions of the imagination.”

Vivian agreed with his mother in this opinion, and went on paying
his devoirs to her every day. It was the fashion of the times, and
peculiarly the mode of this house, for the gentlemen to pay exclusive
attention to matrons. Few of the young men seemed to think it worth
while to speak to an unmarried woman in any company; and the few who
might be inclined to it were, as they declared, deterred by the danger:
for either the young ladies themselves, or their mothers, immediately
formed expectations and schemes of drawing them into matrimony--the
grand object of the ladies’ wishes and of the gentlemen’s fears. The men
said they could not speak to an unmarried woman, or even dance with her
more than twice, without its being reported that they were going to
be married; and then the friends and relatives of the young ladies
pretended to think them injured and ill-treated, if these reports were
not realized. Our hero had some slight experience of the truth of these
complaints in his own case with the Lady Sarah Lidhurst: he willingly
took the rest upon trust--believed all the exaggerations of his
companions--and began to think it prudent and necessary to follow
their example, and to confine his attentions to married women. Many
irresistible reasons concurred to make Mrs. Wharton the most convenient
and proper person to whom he could pay this sort of homage: besides,
she seemed to fall to his share by lot and necessity; for, at Wharton’s
house, every other lady and every other gentleman being engaged in
gallantry, play, or politics, Mrs. Wharton must have been utterly
neglected if Vivian had not paid her some attention. Common politeness
absolutely required it; the attention became a matter of course, and
was habitually expected. Still he had not the slightest design of going
beyond the line of modern politeness; but, in certain circumstances,
people go wrong a great way before they are aware that they have gone
a single step. It was presently repeated to Mr. Vivian, by some of Mrs.
Wharton’s confidantes, in whispers, and under the solemn promise of
secrecy, that he certainly was a prodigious favourite of hers. He
laughed, and affected to disbelieve the insinuation: it made its
impression, however; and he was secretly flattered by the idea of being
a prodigious favourite with such a beautiful young creature. In some
moments he saw her with eyes of compassion, pitying her for the neglect
with which she was treated by her husband: he began to attribute much
of her apparent frivolity, and many of her faults, more to the want of
a guide and a friend than to a deficiency of understanding or to defects
of character. Mrs. Wharton had just sufficient sense to be cunning--this
implies but a very small portion: she perceived the advantage which she
gained by thus working upon Vivian’s vanity and upon his compassion. She
continued her operations, without being violently interested in their
success; for she had at first only a general wish to attract his
attention, because he was a fashionable young man.

One morning when he called upon Wharton to accompany him to the House of
Commons, he found Mrs. Wharton in tears, her husband walking up and down
the room in evident ill-humour. He stopped speaking when Vivian entered;
and Mrs. Wharton endeavoured, or seemed to endeavour, to conceal her
emotion. She began to play on her harp; and Wharton, addressing himself
to Vivian, talked of the politics of the day. There was some incoherence
in the conversation; for Vivian’s attention was distracted by the air
that Mrs. Wharton was playing, of which he was passionately fond.

“There’s no possibility of doing any thing while there is such a cursed
noise in the room!” cried Wharton. “Here I have the heads of this bill
to draw up--I cannot endure to have music wherever I go--”

He snatched up his papers and retired to an adjoining apartment, begging
that Vivian would wait one quarter of an hour for him.--Mrs. Wharton’s
tears flowed afresh, and she looked beautiful in tears.

“You see--you see, Mr. Vivian--and I am ashamed you should see--how I am
treated.--I am, indeed, the most unfortunate creature upon the face of
the earth; and nobody in this world has the least compassion for me!”

Vivian’s countenance contradicted this last assertion most
positively.--Mrs. Wharton understood this; and her attitude of
despondency was the most graceful imaginable.

“My dear Mrs. Wharton”--(it was the first time our hero had ever called
her “his dear Mrs. Wharton;” but it was only a platonic dear)--“you take
trifles much too seriously--Wharton was hurried by business--a moment’s
impatience must be forgiven.”

“A moment!” replied Mrs. Wharton, casting up to heaven her beautiful
eyes--“Oh! Mr. Vivian, how little do you know of him!--I am the most
miserable creature that ever existed; but there is not a man upon earth
to whom I would say so except yourself.”

Vivian could not help feeling some gratitude for this distinction; and,
as he leaned over her harp with an air of unusual interest, he said
he hoped that he should ever prove himself worthy of her esteem and

At this instant Wharton interrupted the conversation, by passing hastily
through the room.--“Come, Vivian,” said he; “we shall be very late at
the house.”

“We shall see you again of course at dinner,” said Mrs. Wharton to
Vivian in a low voice. Our hero replied by an assenting bow.

Five minutes afterwards he repented that he had accepted the invitation,
because he foresaw that he should resume a conversation which was at
once interesting and embarrassing. He felt that it was not right to
become the depository of this lady’s complaints against her husband; yet
he had been moved by her tears, and the idea that he was _the only man
in the world_ to whom she would open her heart upon such a delicate
subject, interested him irresistibly in her favour. He returned in
the evening, and was flattered by observing, that amongst the crowd of
company by which she was surrounded he was instantly distinguished. He
was perfectly persuaded of the innocence of her intentions; and, as
he was attached to another woman, he fancied that he could become the
friend of the beautiful Mrs. Wharton without danger. The first time he
had an opportunity of speaking to her in private, he expressed this
idea in the manner that he thought the most delicately flattering to
her self-complacency. Mrs. Wharton seemed to be perfectly satisfied with
this conduct; and declared, that unless she had been certain that he was
not a man of gallantry, she should never have placed any confidence in
his friendship.

“I consider you,” said she, “quite as a married man:--by-the-bye, when
are you to be married, and what sort of a person is Miss Sidney?--I am
told she is excessively handsome, and amiable, and sensible.--What a
happy creature she is!--just going to be united to the man she loves!”
 Here the lady gave a profound sigh; and Vivian had an opportunity of
observing that she had the longest dark eyelashes that he had ever seen.

“I was married,” continued she, “before I knew what I was about. You
know Mr. Wharton can be so charming when he pleases--and then he was so
much in love with me, and swore he would shoot himself if I would not
have him--and all that sort of thing.--I protest I was terrified; and I
was quite a child, you know. I had been out but six weeks, and I thought
I was in love with him. That was because I did not know what love
was--_then_;--besides, he hurried and teased me to such a degree!--After
all, I’m convinced I married him more out of compassion than any
thing else; and now you see how he treats me!--most barbarously and
tyrannically!--But I would not give the least hint of this to any
man living but yourself. I conjure you to keep my secret--and--pity
me!--that is all I ask--pity me sometimes, when your thoughts are not
absorbed in a happier manner.”

Vivian’s generosity was piqued: he could not be so selfish as to be
engrossed exclusively by his own felicity. He thought that delicacy
should induce him to forbear expatiating upon Selina’s virtues and
accomplishments, or upon his passion. He carried this delicacy so far,
that sometimes for a fortnight or three weeks he never mentioned her
name. He could not but observe that Mrs. Wharton did not like him
the less for this species of sacrifice. It may be observed, that Mrs.
Wharton managed her attack upon Vivian with more art than could be
expected from so silly a woman; but we must consider that all her
faculties were concentrated on one object; so that she seemed to have an
instinct for coquetry. The most silly animals in the creation, from the
insect tribe upwards, show, on some occasions, where their interests
are immediately concerned, a degree of sagacity and ingenuity, which,
compared with their usual imbecility, appears absolutely wonderful. The
opinion which Vivian had early formed of the weakness of this lady’s
understanding prevented him from being on his guard against her
artifices: he could not conceive it possible that he should be duped
by a person so obviously his inferior. With a woman of talents and
knowledge, he might have been suspicious; but there was nothing in Mrs.
Wharton to alarm his pride or to awaken his fears: he fancied that he
could extricate himself in a moment, and with the slightest effort,
from any snares which she could contrive; and, under this persuasion, he
neglected to make even that slight effort, and thus continued from hour
to hour in voluntary captivity.

Insensibly Vivian became more interested for Mrs. Wharton; and, at the
same time, submitted with increased facility to the influence of her
husband. It was necessary that he should have some excuse to the
world, and yet more to his own conscience, for being so constantly at
Wharton’s. The pleasure he took in Wharton’s conversation was still a
sort of involuntary excuse to himself for his intimacy with the lady.
“Wharton’s wit more than Mrs. Wharton’s beauty,” thought he, “is the
attraction that draws me here--I am full as ready to be of his parties
as of hers; and this is the best proof that all is as it should be.”

Wharton’s parties were not always such as Vivian would have chosen; but
he was pressed on, without power of resistance. For instance, one night
Wharton was going with Lord Pontipool and a set of dissipated young
men, to the house of a lady who made herself fashionable by keeping a

“Vivian, you’ll come along with us?” said Wharton. “Come, we must have
you--unless you are more happily engaged.”

His eye glanced with a mixture of contempt and jealousy upon his wife.
Mrs. Wharton’s alarmed and imploring countenance at the same moment
seemed to say, “For Heaven’s sake, go with him, or I am undone.” In
such circumstances it was impossible for Vivian to say no: he followed
immediately; acting, as he thought, from a principle of honour and
generosity. Wharton was not a man to give up the advantage which he had
gained. Every day he showed more capricious jealousy of his wife, though
he, at the same time, expressed the most entire confidence in the honour
of his friend. Vivian still thought he could not do too much to convince
him that his confidence was not misplaced; and thus, to protect Mrs.
Wharton from suspicion, he yielded to all her husband’s wishes. Vivian
now felt frequently ashamed of his conduct, but always proud of his
motives; and, with ingenious sophistry, he justified to himself the
worst actions, by pleading that he did them with the best intentions.


By this time Lady Mary Vivian began to hear hints of her son’s
attachment to Mrs. Wharton; and, much alarmed, she repented having
encouraged him to form a political or fashionable intimacy with the
Whartons. Suddenly awakened to the perception of the danger, Lady
Mary was too vehement in her terror. She spoke with so much warmth and
indignation, that there was little chance of her counsels being of use.

“But, my dear madam, it is only a platonic attachment,” argued Vivian,
when his mother represented to him that the world talked loudly of his
intimacy with Mrs. Wharton.

“A platonic attachment!--Fashionable, dangerous sophistry!” said Lady

“Why so, ma’am?” said her son, warmly; “and why should we mind what the
world says? The world is so fond of scandal, that a man and woman cannot
have any degree of friendship for one another without a hue and cry
being immediately raised--and all the prudes and coquettes join at once
in believing, or pretending to believe, that there must be something
wrong. No wonder such a pretty woman as Mrs. Wharton cannot escape envy,
and, of course, censure; but her conduct can defy the utmost malice of
her enemies.”

“I hope so,” said Lady Mary; “and, at all events, I am not one of them.
I know and care very little about Mrs. Wharton, whom I have always been
accustomed to consider as a frivolous, silly woman; but what I wish to
say, though I fear I have lost your confidence, and that my advice will

“Frivolous! silly!” interrupted Vivian; “believe me, my dear mother, you
and half the world are, and have been, under a great mistake about her
understanding and character.”

“Her forming a platonic friendship with a young man is no great proof
of her sense or of her virtue,” said Lady Mary. “The danger of platonic
attachments, I thought, had been sufficiently understood. Pray, my
dear Charles, never let me hear more from you of platonics with married

“I won’t use the expression, ma’am, if you have any objection to it,”
 said Vivian; “but, mother, you wish me to live in the most fashionable
company, and yet you desire me not to live as they live, and talk as
they talk: now, that is next to impossible. Pardon me, but I should not
have thought,” added he, laughing, “that you, who like most things that
are fashionable, would object to _platonics_.”

“Object to them!--I despise, detest, abhor them! _Platonics_ have been
the ruin of more women, the destruction of the peace of more families,
than open profligacy ever could have accomplished. Many a married woman,
who would have started with horror at the idea of beginning an intrigue,
has been drawn in to admit of a platonic attachment. And many a man,
who would as soon have thought of committing murder as of seducing his
friend’s wife, has allowed himself to commence a platonic attachment;
and how these end, all the world knows.”

Struck by these words, Vivian suddenly quitted his air of raillery, and
became serious. Had his mother stopped there, and left the rest to his
good sense and awakened perception of danger, all would have been well;
but she was ever prone to say too much; and, in her ardour to prove
herself to be in the right, forgot that people are apt to be shocked, by
having it pointed out that they are utterly in the wrong.

“Indeed, the very word platonics,” pursued she, “is considered, by those
who have seen any thing of life, as the mere watchword of knaves or
dupes; of those who deceive, or of those who wish to be deceived.”

“Be assured, ma’am,” said Vivian, “that Mrs. Wharton is not one of those
who wish either to deceive or to be deceived; and, as to myself, I hope
I am as far from any danger of being a dupe as of being a knave. My
connexion with Mrs. Wharton is perfectly innocent; it is justified
by the example of hundreds and thousands every day in the fashionable
world; and I should do her and myself great injustice, if I broke off
our intimacy suddenly, as if I acknowledged that it was improper.”

“And what can be more improper? since you force me to speak plainly,”
 cried Lady Mary; “what can be more improper than such an intimacy,
especially in your circumstances?”

“My circumstances! What circumstances, ma’am?”

“Have you forgotten Miss Sidney?”

“By no means, ma’am,” said Vivian, colouring deeply; “Mrs. Wharton is
well apprized, and was, from the first moment of our friendship, clearly
informed of my----engagements with Miss Sidney.”

“And how do they agree with your attachment to Mrs. Wharton?”

“Perfectly well, ma’am--Mrs. Wharton understands all that perfectly
well, ma’am.”

“And Miss Sidney! do you think she will understand it?--and is it not
extraordinary that I should think more of her feelings than you do?”

At these questions Vivian became so angry, that he was incapable of
listening farther to reason, or to the best advice, even from a mother,
for whom he had the highest respect. The mother and son parted with
feelings of mutual dissatisfaction.

Vivian, from that spirit of opposition so often seen in weak characters,
went immediately from his mother’s _lecture_ to a party at Mrs.
Wharton’s. Lady Mary, in the mean time, sat down to write to Miss
Sidney. Whatever reluctance she had originally felt to her son’s
marriage with this young lady, it must be repeated, to her ladyship’s
credit, that Selina’s honourable and disinterested conduct had won her
entire approbation. She wrote, therefore, in the strongest terms to
press the immediate conclusion of that match, which she now considered
as the only chance of securing her son’s morals and happiness. Her
letter concluded with these words:--“I shall expect you in town
directly. Do not, my dear, let any idle scruples prevent you from coming
to my house. Consider that my happiness, your own, and my son’s, depend
upon your compliance. I am persuaded, that the moment he sees you, the
moment you exert your power over him, he will be himself again. But,
believe me, I know the young men of the present day better than you do:
their constancy is not proof against absence. If he lose the habit of
seeing and conversing with you, I cannot answer for the rest.--Adieu! I
am so much harassed by my own thoughts, and by the reports I hear, that
I scarcely know what I write. Pray come immediately, my dear Selina,
that I may talk to you of many subjects on which I don’t like to trust
myself to write. My feelings have been too long repressed.--I must
unburden my heart to you. _You_ only can console and assist me; and,
independently of all other considerations, you owe to my friendship
for you, Selina, not to refuse this first request I ever made
you.--Farewell! I shall expect to see you as soon as possible.

“Yours, &c.


“_St. James’s-street_.”

In this letter, Lady Mary Vivian had not explained the nature of her
son’s danger, or of her fears for him. Motives of delicacy had prevented
her from explicitly telling Miss Sidney her suspicions that Vivian was
attached to a married woman. “Selina,” said her ladyship to herself,
“must, probably, have heard the report from Mr. G----, who is so often
at her mother’s; therefore, there can be no necessity for my saying any
more than I have done. She will understand my hints.”

Unfortunately, however, Miss Sidney did not comprehend, or in the least
suspect, the most material part of the truth; she understood simply,
from Lady Mary’s letter, that Vivian’s affections wavered, and she
imagined that he was, perhaps, on the point of making matrimonial
proposals for some fashionable belle, probably for one of the Lady
Lidhursts; but the idea of his becoming attached to a married woman
never entered her thoughts. Many motives conspired to incline Selina to
accept of the invitation. The certainty that Lady Mary would be highly
offended by a refusal; the hint, that her influence over Vivian would
operate immediately, and in all its force, if he were to see and
converse with her; and that, on the contrary, absence might extinguish
his passion for ever; curiosity to learn precisely the nature of the
reports, which his mother had heard to his disadvantage; but, above
all, a fond wish to be nearer to the man she loved, and to have daily
opportunities of seeing him, prompted Selina to comply with Lady Mary’s
request. On the contrary, good sense and delicacy represented, that
she had released Vivian from all promises, all engagements; that, at
parting, she had professed to leave him perfectly at liberty: that it
would, therefore, be as indelicate as imprudent to make such an attempt
to reclaim his inconstant heart. She had told him, that she desired
to have proof of the steadiness, both of his character and of his
attachment, before she could consent to marry him. From this decision
she could not, she would not, recede. She had the fortitude to persist
in this resolution. She wrote to Lady Mary Vivian in the kindest, but,
at the same time, in the most decided terms, declining the tempting

It happened that Vivian was with his mother at the moment when Selina’s
answer arrived. In the firm belief that such a pressing invitation as
she had sent, to a person in Selina’s circumstances and of Selina’s
temper, could not be refused, her ladyship had made it a point with her
son to dine _tête-à-tête_ with her this day; and she had been talking to
him, in the most eloquent but imprudent manner, of the contrast between
the characters of Mrs. Wharton and Miss Sidney. He protested that his
esteem and love for Miss Sidney were unabated; yet, when his mother told
him that he would, perhaps, in a few minutes see his Selina, he
changed colour, grew embarrassed and melancholy, and thus by his looks
effectually contradicted his words. He was roused from his reverie by
the arrival of Selina’s letter. His mother’s disappointment and anger
were expressed in the strongest terms, when she found that Selina
declined her invitation; but such are the quick and seemingly perverse
turns of the human heart, Vivian grew warm in Selina’s defence the
moment that his mother became angry with her: he read her letter with
tender emotion, for he saw through the whole of it, the strength, as
well as the delicacy of her attachment. All that his mother’s praises
had failed to effect, was immediately accomplished by this letter;
and he, who but an instant before dreaded to meet Selina, now that
she refused to come, was seized with a strong desire to see her; his
impatience was so great, that he would willingly have set out that
instant for the country. Men of such characters as Vivian’s are
peculiarly jealous of their free will; and, precisely because they
know that they are easily led, they resist, in affairs of the heart
especially, the slightest appearance of control.

Lady Mary was delighted to hear her son declare his resolution to leave
town the next morning, and to see Miss Sidney as soon as possible; but
she could not forbear reproaching him for not doing what she wanted
precisely in the manner in which she had planned that it should be done.

“I see, my dear Charles,” cried she, “that even when you do right, I
must not flatter myself that it is owing to any influence of mine. Give
my compliments to Miss Sidney, and assure her that I shall in future
forbear to injure her in your opinion by my interference, or even by
expressing my approbation of her character. My anger, it is obvious, has
served her better than my kindness; and therefore she has no reason to
regret that my affection has been lessened, as I confess it has been, by
her late conduct.”

The next morning, when Vivian was prepared to leave town, he called upon
Wharton, to settle with him about some political, business which was to
be transacted in his absence. Wharton was not at home--Vivian knew that
it would be best to avoid seeing Mrs. Wharton; but he was afraid that
she would be offended, and he could not help _sacrificing a few minutes
to politeness_. The lady was alone; apparently very languid, and
charmingly melancholy. Before Vivian could explain himself, she poured
forth, in silly phrases, but in a voice that made even nonsense please,
a rariety of reproaches for his having absented himself for such a
length of time.--“Positively, she would keep him prisoner, now that
she had him safe once more.” To be kept prisoner by a fair lady was
so flattering, that it was full an hour before he could prevail
upon himself to assert his liberty--the fear of giving pain, indeed,
influenced him still more than vanity. At last, when Mrs. Wharton spoke
of her engagements for the evening, and seemed to take it for granted
that he would be of her party, he summoned resolution sufficient--Oh!
wonderful effort of courage!--to tell her, that he was under a necessity
of leaving town immediately.

“Going, I presume, to--”

“To the country,” said Vivian, firmly.

“To the country!----No, no, no; say at once, to Selina!--Tell me the
worst in one word!”

Astonished beyond measure, Vivian had not power to move. The lady fell
back on the sofa in violent hysterics. Our hero trembled lest any of her
servants should come in, or lest her husband should at his return find
her in this condition, and discover the cause. He endeavoured in vain to
soothe and compose the weeping fair one; he could not have the
barbarity to leave her in this state. By sweet degrees she recovered her
recollection--was in the most lovely confusion--asked where she was, and
what was going to happen. Vivian had not the rashness to run the risk
of a second fit of hysterics; he gave up all thoughts of his journey
for this day, and the lady recovered her spirits in the most flattering
manner. Vivian intended to postpone his journey only for a single
day; but, after he had yielded one point, he found that there was no
receding. He was now persuaded that Mrs. Wharton was miserable; that she
would never forgive herself for having betrayed the state of her heart.
His self-love pleaded powerfully in her favour: he considered that her
husband treated her with mortifying neglect, and provoked the spirit
of retaliation by his gallantries. Vivian fancied that Mrs. Wharton’s
attachment to him might render her wretched, but would never make her
criminal. With sophistical delicacy he veiled his own motives; and,
instead of following the plain dictates of reason, he involved his
understanding in that species of sentimental casuistry which confounds
all principles of right and wrong. But the dread that he felt lest
Wharton should discover what was going on might have sufficiently
convinced him that he was not acting honourably. The suspicions which
Mr. Wharton formerly showed of his wife seemed now to be completely
lulled asleep; and he gave Vivian continually such proofs of confidence
as stung him to the soul. By an absurd, but not an uncommon error of
self-love, Vivian was induced to believe, that a man who professed to
cheat mankind in general behaved towards him in particular with strict
honour, and even with unparalleled generosity. Honesty was too vulgar a
virtue for Wharton; but honour, the aristocratic, exclusive virtue of a
gentleman, he laid claim to in the highest tone. The very frankness with
which Wharton avowed his libertine principles with respect to women,
convinced Vivian that he had not the slightest suspicion that these
could be immediately applied to the ruin of his own wife.

“How can you, my dear Wharton, talk in this manner?” said Vivian once,
when he had been speaking with great _freedom_.

“But it is better,” added he, with a sigh, “to speak than to act like a

“Villain!” repeated Wharton, with a sarcastic laugh; “you are grown
quite ridiculous, Vivian: I protest, I don’t understand you. Women
now-a-days are surely able, if not willing enough, to take care of
themselves; and _villains_, though they were very common in the time
of Miss Clarissa Harlowe, and of all the tragedy queens of the last
century, are not to be heard of in these days. Any strange tales of
those male monsters called seducers could gain credit during the ages
of ignorance and credulity; but now, the enlightened world cannot
be imposed upon by such miracles; and a gentleman may be a man of
gallantry--nay, even a lady may be a woman of gallantry--without being
hooted out of society as a _monster_; at all events, the blame is, as it
should be, equally divided between the parties concerned; and if modern
lovers quarrel, they do not die of grief, but settle their differences
in a court of law, where a spinster may have her compensation for a
breach of contract of marriage; a father or a husband their damages for
the loss of the company, affection, solace, services, &c., as the case
may be, of his wife or daughter. All this is perfectly well understood;
and the terrors of law are quite sufficient, without the terrors of
sentiment. If a man punish himself, or let himself be punished, twice
for the same offence, once by his conscience, and once by his king and
his country, he is a fool; and, moreover, acts contrary to the spirit
of the British law, which sayeth--see Blackstone and others--that no
man shall be punished twice for the same offence.--Suffer your
risible muscles to relax, I beseech you, Vivian; and do not affect a
presbyterian rigidity, which becomes your face as ill as your age.”

“I affect nothing--certainly I do not affect presbyterian rigidity,”
 cried Vivian, laughing. “But, after all, Wharton, if you had a daughter
or a sister, what would you think of any man, your friend for instance,
who should attempt--”

“To cut your speech short at once,” interrupted Wharton, “I should not
think at all about the matter; I should blow his brains out, of
course; and afterwards, probably, blow out my own. But treachery from a
friend--from a man of honour--is a thing of which I can hardly form an
idea. Where I give my confidence, I give it without any paltry mental
reservation--I could not suspect a friend.”

Vivian suffered, at this instant, all the agony which a generous mind,
conscious of guilt, could endure. He thought that the confusion of his
mind must be visible in his countenance--his embarrassment was so great
that he could not utter a word. Wharton did not seem to perceive his
companion’s agitation, but passed on carelessly to other subjects of
conversation; and at length completely relieved Vivian from fear of
immediate detection, by asking a favour from him--a pecuniary favour.

“All is safe--Mrs. Wharton, at least, is safe, thank Heaven!” thought
Vivian. “Had her husband the slightest suspicion, he never would
condescend to accept of any favour from me.”

With eagerness, and almost with tears of gratitude, Vivian pressed
upon Wharton the money which he _condescended_ to borrow--it was no
inconsiderable sum.

“Wharton!” cried he, “you sometimes talk freely--too freely; but you
are, I am convinced, the most open-hearted, unsuspicious, generous
fellow upon earth--you deserve a better friend than I am.”

Unable any longer to suppress or conceal the emotions which struggled in
his heart, he broke away abruptly, hurried home, shut himself up in his
own apartment, and sat down immediately to write to Mrs. Wharton. The
idea that Mrs. Wharton loved him in preference to all the fashionable
coxcombs and wits by whom she was surrounded had insensibly raised our
hero’s opinion of her understanding so much, that he now imagined that
the world laboured under a prejudice against her abilities. He gave
himself credit for having discovered that this beauty was not a fool;
and he now spoke and wrote to her as if she had been a woman of sense.
With eloquence which might have moved a woman of genius, with delicacy
that might have touched a woman of feeling, he conjured her to fortify
his honourable resolutions; and thus, whilst it was yet time, to secure
her happiness and his own. “Instead of writing this letter,” added he
in a postscript, “I ought, perhaps, to fly from you for ever; but that
would show a want of confidence in you and in myself; and, besides, upon
the most mature reflection, I think it best to stay, and wait upon you
to-morrow as usual, lest, by my precipitation, I should excite suspicion
in Wharton’s mind.”

The weak apprehension that Mrs. Wharton should betray herself by another
fit of hysterics, if he should leave town, and if his departure
should be suddenly announced to her by her husband, or by some common
acquaintance, induced him to delay a few days longer, that he might
prepare her mind by degrees, and convince her of the necessity for their
absolute separation. When he had finished his letter to Mrs. Wharton, he
was sufficiently well pleased with himself to venture to write to Miss
Sidney. His letters to her had of late been short and constrained; but
this was written with the full flow of affection. He was now in hopes
that he should extricate himself honourably from his difficulties, and
that he might at last claim his reward from Selina.


After he had despatched his two letters, he became excessively anxious
to receive Mrs. Wharton’s answer. By trifling but unavoidable accidents,
it was delayed a few hours. At last it arrived; Vivian tore it open, and
read with surprise these words:

“Your letter is just what I wished, and makes me the happiest of
women--that is, if you are sincere--which, after all you’ve said, I
can’t doubt. I am so hurried by visitors, and annoyed, that I cannot
write more; but shall have time to talk to-night at the opera.”

At the opera Mrs. Wharton appeared in high spirits, and was dressed with
more than usual elegance. It was observed that she had never been seen
to look so beautiful. There was something in her manner that puzzled
Vivian extremely; this extraordinary gaiety was not what he had reason
to expect. “Is it possible,” thought he, “that this woman is a mere
coquette, who has been amusing herself at my expense all this time,
and can now break off all connexion with me without a moment’s regret?”
 Vivian’s pride was piqued: though he wished to part from the lady, he
could not bear that this parting should evidently cost her nothing.
He was mortified beyond expression by the idea that he had been duped.
After the opera was over, whilst Mrs. Wharton was waiting for her
carriage, he had an opportunity of speaking to her without being

“I am happy,” said he, with a constrained voice, “I am extremely happy
to see you, madam, in such charming spirits to-night.”

“But are not you a strange man to look so grave?” cried Mrs. Wharton. “I
vow, I don’t know what to make of you! But I believe you want to quarrel
for the pleasure of making it up again. Now that won’t do. By-the-bye,
I have a quarrel with you, sir.--How came you to sign your name to that
foolish stuff you wrote me yesterday? Never do so any more, I charge
you, for fear of accidents. But what’s the matter now?--You are a
strange mortal!--Are you going to die upon the spot?--What is the

“My letter to you was not signed, I believe,” said Vivian, in an altered

“Indeed it was,” said Mrs. Wharton. “It was signed Charles Vivian at
full length. But why are you in such tremors about it? I only mentioned
it to put you on your guard in future.--I’ve burnt the letter--people
always get themselves into scrapes if they don’t burn love-letters--as
I’ve often heard Mr. Wharton say,” added she, laughing.

To his unspeakable consternation, Vivian now discovered that he had
sent the letter intended for Selina to Mrs. Wharton; and that which was
designed for Mrs. Wharton he had directed to Miss Sidney. Vivian was
so lost in thought, that the cry of _“Mrs. Wharton’s carriage stops
the way!”_ was vociferated many times before he recovered sufficient
presence of mind to hand the lady out of the house. He went home
immediately, that he might reflect upon what was best to be done. His
servant presently gave him a letter which a messenger had just brought
from the country. The packet was from Selina.

“Enclosed, I return the letter which I received from you this morning. I
read the first three lines of it before I perceived that it could not be
intended for me--I went no farther.--I cannot help knowing for whom
it was designed; but you may be assured that your secret shall be kept
inviolably.--You have no reproaches to fear from me.--This is the last
letter I shall ever write to you.--Leave it to me to explain my own
conduct to my mother and to yours; if they think me capricious, I can
bear it. I shall tell them that my sentiments are totally changed: I am
sure I can say so with perfect truth.--Oh, Vivian, it is you who are to
be pitied; every thing may be endured except remorse. Would to Heaven, I
could save you from the reproaches of your own heart!--Adieu!


The feelings of Vivian’s mind, on reading this letter, cannot be
described. Admiration, love, tenderness, remorse, successively seized
upon his heart. Incapable of any distinct reflection, he threw himself
upon his bed, and closed his eyes, endeavouring to compose himself to
sleep, that he might forget his existence. But, motionless as he lay,
the tumult of his mind continued unabated. His pulse beat high; and
before morning he was in a fever. The dread that his mother should come
to attend him, and to inquire into the cause of his illness, increased
his agitation:--she came. Her kindness and anxiety were fresh torments
to her unhappy son. Bitterly did he reproach himself as the cause of
misery to those he loved and esteemed most in the world. He became
delirious; and, whilst he was in this state, he repeated Mrs. Wharton’s
name sometimes in terms of endearment, sometimes in accents of
execration. His mother’s suspicions of his intrigue were confirmed by
many expressions which burst from him, and which were thought by his
attendants to be merely the ravings of fever. Lady Mary had, at this
crisis, the prudence to conceal her doubts, and to keep every body, as
much as possible, out of her son’s apartment. In a few days his fever
subsided, and he recovered to the clear recollection of all that
had passed previously to his illness. He almost wished to be again
delirious. The first time he was left alone, he rose from his bed,
unlocked his bureau, and seized Selina’s letter, which he read again and
again, studying each line and word, as if he could draw from them every
time a new meaning.

“She read but three lines of my letter,” said he to himself; “then she
only guesses that I have an intrigue with Mrs. Wharton, without knowing
that in this very letter I used my utmost influence to recall Mrs.
Wharton to--herself.”

The belief that Selina thought worse of him than he deserved was
some consolation to Vivian. He was resolved to recover her esteem: he
determined to break off all connexion with Mrs. Wharton; and, full of
this intention, he was impatient till the physicians permitted him to go
abroad. When he was at last free from their dominion, had escaped from
his chamber, and had just gained the staircase, he was stopped by his

“Charles,” said she, “before you quit me again, it is my duty to say a
few words to you upon a subject of some importance.”

Lady Mary led the way to her dressing-room with a dignified air; Vivian
followed with a mixture of pride and alarm in his manner. From the bare
idea of a maternal lecture his mind revolted: he imagined that she was
going to repeat the remonstrance which she had formerly made against his
intimacy with Mrs. Wharton, and against _platonics_ in general; but he
had not the least apprehension that she had discovered the whole truth:
he was, therefore, both surprised and shocked, when she spoke to him in
the following manner:

“The libertinism of the age in which we live has so far loosened all
the bonds of society, and all the ties of nature, that I doubt not but
a mother’s anxiety for the morals of her son--her only son--the son over
whose education she has watched from his infancy, may appear, even in
his eyes, a fit subject for ridicule. I am well aware that my solicitude
and my counsels have long been irksome to him, I have lost his
affections by a steady adherence to my duty; but I shall persevere with
the less reluctance, since the dread of my displeasure, or the hope of
my approbation, cannot now touch his sensibility. During your illness,
you have betrayed a secret--you have reason to start with horror. Is
it possible that a son of mine, with the principles which I have
endeavoured to instil into his mind, should become so far depraved? Do
I live to hear, from his own lips, that he is the seducer of a married
woman--and that woman the wife of his friend?”

Vivian walked up and down the room in great agony: his mother continued,
with increased severity of manner, “I say nothing of your dissimulation
with me, nor of all your _platonic_ subterfuges--I know that, with a
man of intrigue, falsehood is deemed a virtue. I shall not condescend to
inquire farther into your guilty secrets--I now think myself fortunate
in having no place in your confidence. But I here declare to you, in the
most solemn manner, that I never will see you again until all connexion
between you and Mrs. Wharton is utterly dissolved. I do not advise--I
COMMAND, and must be obeyed--or I cast you off for ever.”

Lady Mary left the room as she uttered these words. Her son was deeply
struck with his mother’s eloquence: he knew she was right, yet his pride
was wounded by the peremptory severity of her manner:--his remorse and
his good resolutions gave place to anger. The more he felt himself
in the wrong, the less he could bear to be reproached by the voice
of authority. Even because his mother _commanded_ him to give up all
connexion with Mrs. Wharton, he was inclined to disobey--he could not
bear to seem to do right merely in compliance to her will. He went to
visit Mrs. Wharton in a very different temper from that in which, half
an hour before this conference with his mother, he had resolved to see
the lady. Mrs. Wharton knew how to take advantage both of the weakness
of his character and of the generosity of his temper. She fell into
transports of grief when she found that Lady Mary Vivian and Miss Sidney
were in possession of her secret. It was in vain that Vivian assured her
that it would be kept inviolably; she persisted in repeating, “that her
reputation was lost; that she had sacrificed every thing for a man who
would, at last, desert her in the most treacherous and barbarous
manner, leaving her at the mercy of her husband, the most profligate,
hard-hearted tyrant upon earth. As to her being reconciled to him,” she
declared, “_that_ was totally out of the question; his behaviour to her
was such, that she could not live with him, even if her heart were not
fatally prepossessed in favour of another.” Her passions seemed wrought
to the highest pitch. With all the eloquence of beauty in distress, she
appealed to Vivian as her only friend; she threw herself entirely upon
his protection; she vowed that she could not, would not, remain another
day in the same house with Mr. Wharton; that her destiny, her existence,
were at Vivian’s mercy. Vivian had not sufficient fortitude to support
this scene. He stood irresolute. The present temptation prevailed over
his better resolutions. He was actually persuaded by this woman, whom
he did not love, whom he could not esteem, to carry her off to the
continent--whilst, at the very time, he admired, esteemed, and loved
another. The plan of the elopement was formed and settled in a few
minutes;--on Mrs. Wharton’s part, apparently with all the hurry of
passion; on Vivian’s with all the confusion of despair. The same
carriage, the very same horses, that had been ordered to carry our hero
to his beloved Selina, conveyed him and Mrs. Wharton the first stage
of their flight towards the continent. The next morning the following
paragraph appeared in the newspapers:--

“Yesterday, the beautiful and fashionable Mrs. W----, whose marriage we
announced last year to the celebrated Mr. W----, eloped from his
house in St. James’s-street, in company with C---- V----, member for
----shire. This catastrophe has caused the greatest _sensation_ and
astonishment in the circles of fashion; for the lady in question had
always, till this fatal step, preserved the most unblemished reputation;
and Mr. and Mrs. W---- were considered as models of conjugal felicity.
The injured husband was attending his public duty in the House of
Commons; and, as we are credibly informed, was, with patriotic ardour,
speaking in his country’s cause, when this unfortunate event, which for
ever bereaves him of domestic happiness, took place. What must
increase the poignancy of his feelings upon the occasion remains to be
stated--that the seducer was his intimate friend, a young man, whom he
had raised into notice in public life, and whom he had, with all that
warmth and confidence of heart for which he is remarkable, introduced
into his house, and trusted with his beloved wife. Mr. W---- is, we
hear, in pursuit of the fugitives.”


In the modern fashionable code of honour, when a man has seduced or
carried off his friend’s wife, the next thing he has to do is to fight
the man whom he has injured and betrayed. By thus appealing to the
ordeal of the duel, he may not only clear himself from guilt; but, if
it be done with proper spirit, he may acquire celebrity and glory in the
annals of gallantry, and in the eyes of the fair and innocent. In our
hero’s place, most men of fashion would have triumphed in the notoriety
of his offence, and would have rejoiced in an opportunity of offering
the husband the satisfaction of a gentleman. But, unfortunately for
Vivian, he had not yet suited his principles to his practice: he had
acted like a man of fashion; but, alas! he still thought and felt like a
man of virtue--as the following letter will show.


“Indignant as you will be, Russell, at all you hear of me, you cannot
be more shocked than I am myself. I do not write to palliate or
apologize--my conduct admits of no defence--I shall attempt none,
private or public--I have written to my lawyer to give directions that
no sort of defence shall be set up on my part, when the affair comes
into Doctors’ Commons--as it shortly will; for I understand that poor
Wharton has commenced a prosecution. As to damages he has only to name
them--any thing within the compass of my fortune he may command. Would
to God that money could make him amends! But he is too generous, too
noble a fellow--profligate as he is in some things, how incapable would
he be of acting as basely as I have done! There is not, perhaps, at
this moment, a human being who has so high an opinion of the man I have
injured as I have myself:--he did not love his wife--but that is no
excuse for me--his honour is as much wounded as if I had robbed him of
her during the time he loved her most fondly:--he once doted upon her,
and would have loved her again, when he was tired of his gallantries;
and they might then have lived together as happily as ever, if I had
not been--. What was I?--What am I?--Not a villain--or I should glory in
what I have done--but the weakest of human beings--and how true it is,
Russell, that ‘all wickedness is weakness!’

“I understand that W----, wherever he goes, calls me a coward, as
well as a scoundrel; and says that I have kept out of the way to avoid
fighting him. He is mistaken. It is true, I had the utmost dread of
having his life to answer for--and nothing should have provoked me to
fire upon him;--but I had determined how to act--I would have met him,
and have stood his fire. I should not be sorry, at present, to be put
out of the world; and would rather fall by his hand than by any other.
But since this is out of the question, and that things have taken
another turn, I have only to live, as long as it shall please God, a
life of remorse--and, at least, to try to make the unfortunate woman who
has thrown herself upon my protection as happy as I can.

“If you have any remaining regard for a pupil who has so disgraced you,
do me one favour--Go to Miss Sidney, and give her what comfort you can.
Say nothing _for me_, or _of me_, but that I wish her to forget me
as soon as possible. She discarded me from her heart when she first
discovered this intrigue--before this last fatal step. Still I had
hopes of recovering her esteem and affection; for I had resolved--But no
matter what I resolved--all my resolutions failed; and now I am utterly
unworthy of her love. This, and all that is good and happy in life, all
the fair hopes and virtuous promises of my youth, I must give up. Early
as it is in my day, my sun has set. I truly desire that she should
forget me; for you know I am bound in honour--Honour! How dare I use the
word? I am bound, after the divorce, to marry the woman I have seduced.
Oh, Russell! what a wife for your friend!--What a daughter-in-law for my
poor mother, after all her care of my education--all her affection--all
her pride in me!--It will break her heart! Mine will not break. I shall
drag on, perhaps, to a miserable old age. I am of too feeble a nature to
feel these things as strong minds would--as you will for me; but do not
blame yourself for my faults. All that man could do for me, you did.
This must be some consolation to you, my dear and excellent friend! May
I still call you friend?--or have I no friend left upon earth?


From this letter some idea may be formed of what this unhappy man
suffered at this period of his life, from “the reflections of a mind not
used to its own reproaches.” The view of the future was as dreadful
as the retrospect of the past. His thoughts continually dwelt upon the
public trial which was preparing--before him he saw all its disgraceful
circumstances. Then the horror of marrying, of passing his whole future
existence with a woman whom he could not esteem or trust! These last
were secret subjects of anxiety and anguish, the more intensely felt,
because he could not speak of them to any human being. Such as Mrs.
Wharton was, she was to be his wife; and he was called upon to defend
her against reproach and insult,--if possible, from contempt. During
the course of six weeks, which they spent together in exile at Brussels,
Vivian became so altered in his appearance, that his most intimate
friends could scarcely have known him; his worst enemies, if he had had
any, could not have desired the prolongation of his sufferings.

One evening, as he was sitting alone in his hotel, ruminating bitter
thoughts, a letter was brought to him from Mr. Russell; the first he had
received since he left England. Every one, who has been absent from his
friends in a foreign country, must know the sort of emotion which
the bare sight of a letter from _home_ excites; but, in Vivian’s
circumstances, abandoned as he felt himself, and deserving to be
abandoned by his best friends, the sight of a letter from Russell so
struck him, that he gazed upon the direction for some minutes, almost
without power or wish to open it. At last he opened, and read, “Return
to your country, your friends, and yourself, Vivian! Your day is not
yet over! Your sun is not yet set!--Resume your energy--recover your
self-confidence--carry your good resolutions into effect--and you may
yet be an honour to your family, a delight to your fond mother, and
the pride of your friend Russell. Your remorse has been poignant and
sincere; let it be salutary and permanent in its consequences: this is
the repentance which religion requires. The part of a man of sense and
virtue is to make his past errors of use to his future conduct. Whilst
I had nothing to say that could give you pleasure, I forbore to answer
your letter; I forbore to overwhelm a mind sinking under remorse. My
sacred duty is to waken the sinner to repentance, not to shut the gates
of mercy on the penitent. Now, I can relieve your mind from part of the
load by which it has been justly oppressed. You know that nothing can
palliate your conduct in an intrigue with a married woman--from this I
had hoped your moral and religious education would have preserved you.
But of the premeditated guilt of deceiving the husband, and laying a
plan to seduce the wife, I never suspected you; and I may now tell you,
that you have not betrayed Mr. Wharton; he has betrayed you. You have
not seduced Mrs. Wharton; you have been seduced by her. You are not
bound to marry her--Wharton cannot obtain a divorce--he dare not bring
the affair to trial; if he does, he is undone. There has been collusion
between the parties. The proof of this you will find in the enclosed
paper, which will be sworn to, in due legal form, whenever it is
necessary. Even when you see them, you will scarcely believe these
‘damning proofs’ of Wharton’s baseness. But I always knew, I always told
you, that this pretence to honour and candour, frankness and friendship,
with this avowed contempt of all principle and all virtue, could not
be safe, could not be sincere, would not _stand the test_.--No--nothing
should make me trust to the private honour of a man so corrupt in public
life as Mr. Wharton. A man who sells his conscience for his interest
will sell it for his pleasure. A man who will betray his country will
betray his friend. It is in vain to palter with our conscience: there
are not two honours--two honesties. How I rejoice at this moment, in the
reflection that your character, as a public man, is yet untarnished
You have still this great advantage:--feel its value. Return, and
distinguish yourself among your countrymen: distinguish yourself by
integrity still more than by talents. A certain degree of talents is
now cheap in England: integrity is what we want--true patriotism, true
public spirit, noble ambition not that vile scramble for places and
pensions, which some men call ambition; not that bawling, brawling,
_Thersites_ character, which other men call public spirit; not that
marketable commodity with which Wharton, and such as he, cheat popular
opinion for a season;--but that fair virtue which will endure, and abide
by its cause to the last; which, in place or out, shall be the same;
which, successful or unsuccessful, shall sustain the possessor’s
character through all changes of party; which, whilst he lives, shall
command respect from even the most profligate of his contemporaries;
upon which, when he is dying, he may reflect with satisfaction; which,
after his death, shall be the consolation of his friends, and the glory
of his country. All this is yet in your power, Vivian.--Come, then, and
fulfil the promise of your early years! Come, and restore to your mother
a son worthy of her!--Come, and surpass the hopes of your true friend,


The rapid succession of feelings with which Vivian read this letter
can scarcely be imagined. The paper it enclosed was from a former
waiting-maid of Mrs. Wharton’s; a woman who was expected to be the
principal evidence on Mr. Wharton’s side. She had been his mistress; one
of those innumerable mistresses, to whom he had, of course, addressed
his transferable promises of eternal constancy. She too, of course, had
believed the vow, in spite of all experience and probability; and while
she pardoned his infidelities to her mistress, &c. all which she deemed
_very natural for a gentleman like him_, yet she was astonished and
outrageous when she found him faithless to her own charms. In a fit of
jealousy she flew to Mr. Russell, whom she knew to be Vivian’s friend;
and, to revenge herself on Wharton, revealed the secrets which she had
in her power; put into Russell’s hands the proofs of collusion between
Mr. Wharton and his wife; and took malicious pains to substantiate
her evidence, to a lawyer’s full satisfaction; knowing that she might
prevent the possibility of a divorce, and that she should thus punish
her perjured inconstant in the most sensible manner, by at once
depriving him of twenty thousand pounds damages, and by chaining him
again to a wife whom he abhorred.

The same post which brought Vivian this woman’s deposition and Russell’s
letter brought Mrs. Wharton notice that the whole plan of collusion
was discovered: she was therefore prepared for Vivian’s reproaches,
and received the first burst of his astonishment and indignation with a
studied Magdalen expression of countenance: then she attempted a silly
apology, laying all the blame on her husband, and vowing that she had
acted under terror, and that her life would not have been safe in his
hands if she had not implicitly obeyed and executed his horrid plans.
She wept and kneeled in vain. Finding Vivian immoveable in his purpose
to return immediately to England, she suddenly rose from her knees, and,
all beautiful as she was, looked in Vivian’s eyes like a fiend, whilst,
with an unnatural smile, she said to him, “You see, fool as I am thought
to be, I have been too clever for _some people_; and I can tell Mr.
Wharton that I have been too clever for him too. His heart is set upon
a divorce; but he can’t have it. He can’t marry Miss P----, nor yet
her fortune, nor ever shall! I shall remain at Brussels--I have friends
here--and friends who were my friends before I was forced to give my
hand to Mr. Wharton, or my smiles to you, sir!--people who will not
tease me with talking of remorse and repentance, and such ungallant,
ungentlemanlike stuff; nor sit bewailing themselves, like a country
parson, instead of dashing out with me here in a fashionable style, as
a man of any spirit would have done. But you!--you’re neither good nor
bad; and no woman will ever love you, nor ever did. Now you know my
whole mind.”

“Would to Heaven I had known it sooner!” said Vivian. “No--I rejoice
that I did not sooner know, and that I never could have suspected, such
depravity!--under such a form, too.”

Mrs. Wharton’s eye glanced with satisfaction upon the large mirror
opposite to her. Vivian left her in utter disgust and horror. “Drive
on!” cried he, as he threw himself into the chaise that was to carry him
away; “Faster! faster!”

The words, “and no woman will ever love you, nor ever, did,” rung upon
Vivian’s ear. “There she is mistaken, thank Heaven!” said he to himself:
yet the words still dwelt upon his mind, and gave him exquisite pain.
Upon looking again at Russell’s letter, he observed that Selina Sidney’s
name was never mentioned; that she was neither directly nor indirectly
alluded to in the whole letter. What omen to draw from this he could not
divine. Again he read it; and all that Russell said of public life, and
his exhortations to him to come and distinguish himself in public and in
the political world, struck him in a new light. It seemed as if Russell
was sensible that, there were no farther hopes of Selina, and that
therefore he tried to turn Vivian’s mind from love to ambition. Fourteen
times he read over this letter before he reached England; but he could
not discover from it any thing as to the point on which his heart was
most interested. He reached London in this, uncertainty.

“Put me out of suspense, my best friend,” cried he, the moment he saw
Russell: “tell me, is Selina living?”

“Yes--she has been very ill, but is now recovered--quite recovered, and
with your mother, who is grown fonder of her than ever she was.”

“Selina alive! well! and with my mother!--and may I--I don’t mean may I
_now_,--but may I _ever_ hope?--Believe me, I feel myself capable of any
exertions, any forbearance, to obtain her forgiveness--to merit--May I
ever hope for it?--Speak!”

Russell assured him that he need not dread Miss Sidney’s resentment, for
that she felt none; she had expressed pity more than anger--that she had
taken pains to sooth his mother; and had expressed sincere satisfaction
on hearing of his _release_ from his unworthy bondage, and at his return
home to his friends.

The tone in which Russell spoke, and the seriousness and embarrassment
of his manner, alarmed Vivian inexpressibly. He stood silent, and
dared not ask farther explanation for some minutes.--At length he broke
silence, and conjured his friend to go immediately to Miss Sidney and
his mother, and to request permission for him to see them both in each
other’s presence. Russell said, that if Vivian insisted, he would comply
with his request; but that he advised him not to attempt to see Miss
Sidney at present; not till he had been some time in London--till he
had given some earnest of the steadiness of his conduct--till he had
appeared again, and distinguished himself in public life. “This might
raise you again in her esteem; and,” continued Russell, “you must be
aware that her love depends on her esteem--at least, that the one cannot
exist without the other.”

“Will you deliver a letter to her from me?” said Vivian. “If you think
I had better not attempt to see her yet, you will deliver a letter for

After some hesitation, or rather some deliberation, Russell answered,
in a constrained voice, “I will deliver your letter, if you insist upon

Vivian wrote:--Russell undertook to deliver the letter, though with
evident reluctance. In the mean time Vivian went to see his mother,
whom he longed, yet dreaded to meet. Her manner was not now severe and
haughty, as when she last addressed him; but mild and benign: she held
out her hand to him, and said, “Thank God! my son is restored to me, and
to himself!”

She could say no more; but embraced him tenderly. Russell had shown Lady
Mary that her son had been the dupe of a preconcerted scheme to work
upon his passions. She deplored his weakness, but she had been touched
by his sufferings; and was persuaded that his remorse would guard him
against future errors. Therefore not a word or look of reproach escaped
from her. When he spoke of Selina, Lady Mary, with great animation of
countenance and warmth of eulogium, declared, that it was the first wish
of her heart to see her son married to a woman of such a noble character
and angelic temper; “_but_,” added her ladyship, her manner changing
suddenly, as she pronounced the word _but_--before she could explain
the _but_, Russell came into the room, and told Vivian that Miss Sidney
desired to see him. Vivian heard the words with joy; but his joy
was checked by the great gravity and embarrassment of his friend’s
countenance, and by a sigh of ill omen from his mother. Eager to relieve
his suspense, he hastened to Selina, who, as Russell told him, was in
Lady Mary’s dressing-room--the room in which he had first declared his
passion for her. Hope and fear alternately seized him--fear prevailed
the moment that he beheld Selina. Not that any strong displeasure
appeared in her countenance--no, it was mild and placid; but it was
changed towards him, and its very serenity was alarming. Whilst she
welcomed him to his native country and to his friends, and while she
expressed hopes for his future happiness, all hope forsook him, and,
in broken sentences, he attempted to stammer out some answer; then,
throwing himself into a chair, he exclaimed, “I see all future happiness
is lost for me--and I deserve it!”

“Do not reproach yourself,” said Selina in a sweet voice; but the voice,
though sweet, was so altered to him, that it threw him into despair. “It
is my wish, not to inflict, but to spare you pain. I have, therefore,
desired to see you as soon as possible, that you might not form false

“Then you no longer love me, Selina? Now, after all I have suffered, you
have the cruelty to tell me so? And you, who could form my character to
every thing that is good and honourable; you, who alone could restore me
to myself--you reject, you cast me from you for ever?”

“I have suffered much,” said Selina, in a trembling voice, “since we

Vivian’s eye quickly ran over her face and whole form as she spoke these
words; and he saw, indeed, traces of sickness and suffering: with the
idea of his power over her affections, his hopes revived; he seized the
feeble hand, which lay motionless; but she withdrew it decidedly,
and his hopes again forsook him, when she gently raised her head, and
continued to speak, “I have suffered much since we parted, Mr. Vivian;
and I hope you will spare me unnecessary and useless pain in this
interview: painful to a certain degree it must be to both of us; for I
cannot, even now that all feelings of passion have subsided, and that
the possibility of my being united to you is past, tell you so, with all
the composure which I had expected to do; nor with all the firmness of
voice and manner which is necessary, perhaps, to convince you of the
truth, and to restore your mind to itself.”

“The possibility of my being united to you is past!--Why?” interrupted
Vivian, incapable of understanding or listening to any thing else, till
this question was answered.

“Do not force me to what may seem like cruel reproach; but let it
suffice for me to say, that my sentiments have been so much altered by
a _year’s experience_, that it is impossible for me ever to become your
wife. My love was founded on esteem. I had, indeed, always fears of the
instability of your character; therefore, I put your resolution to the
proof: the event has proved to me that my fears were but too just. I
speak with difficulty; for I cannot easily give you so much pain as I
know that I am inflicting at this moment. But,” resumed she, in a more
resolute tone, “it is absolutely necessary for your future peace of
mind, as well as for my own, that I should convince you I am sincere,
perfectly sincere, at this moment; that I know my own heart; that my
determination has not been hastily formed, and cannot be altered. The
deliberate manner in which I now speak to you will, I hope, persuade you
of this truth. And if I have hesitated, or showed any agitation in this
interview, attribute it to its real cause--the weakness of my health;
feebleness of body, not of mind.”

She rose to leave the room; but Vivian detained her, beseeching her,
with all the eloquence of passion in despair, to hear him but for
one moment; whilst he urged that there was no probability of his ever
relapsing into errors from which he had suffered so much; that now his
character was formed by adversity; and that such was the power which
Selina possessed over his heart, that a union with her would, at this
crisis, decide his fate; that her steadiness would give stability to
his resolutions; and that his gratitude would so increase his affection,
that he should have the strongest possible motives to make her a good
husband; that when he was happy in domestic life, he should feel every
energy of his mind revive; that he should exert all his powers to
distinguish himself, and to justify the choice of the woman he adored.

In spite of the word _adored_, which has usually such power to confound
female judgment, Selina perceived that all he said was merely a
repetition of his former arguments, of which experience had proved the
insufficiency. She was aware that, if before marriage his resolution and
constancy had not been able to support the trial, it would be folly
or madness to marry him with the vague hope that she might reform his
character. She therefore continued steady to her resolution; and as she
found that Vivian’s disappointment was greater than she had expected,
she immediately withdrew from his mother’s house. The next morning, when
Vivian came to breakfast, after having spent a sleepless night, planning
new arguments or new intreaties in favour of his love, he found that
Miss Sidney was gone. His mother and his friend Russell joined in
representing to him that it would be useless to follow her, that it
would only give himself and Selina unavailing pain. Vivian felt this
stroke severely. His mind was, as it were, adrift again. After the first
violence of his feelings had spent itself, and when he sunk into that
kind of apathy which is the consequence of exhausted passion, his friend
Russell endeavoured to excite him to honourable ambition. Vivian caught
the idea, that if he distinguished himself in public life, and if he
there displayed any steadiness of character, he might win back Selina’s
esteem and affection. Fired with this hope, he immediately turned his
whole mind to the object; applied with indefatigable ardour, day and
night, to make himself master of the subjects likely to be discussed
in the ensuing session of parliament. At length his application and
his energy were crowned with success. On a question of considerable
political importance, which he had carefully considered, he made an
excellent speech; a speech which directly made him of consequence in
the house; which, in the language of the newspapers, “was received with
unbounded applause, was distinguished for strength of argument, lucid
order, and a happy choice of expression.” But what encouraged our hero
more than newspaper puffs or party panegyrics was the approbation of
his friend Russell. Russell never praised violently; but a few words,
or even a look of satisfaction from him, went farther than the most
exaggerated eulogiums from others. Vivian pursued his course for some
time with honour and increasing reputation. There was one man who never
joined in any of the compliments paid to the rising orator; there was
one man who always spoke of him with contempt, who pronounced that
“Vivian would never go far in politics--that it was not in him--that
he was too soft--_que c’étoit bâtir sur de la boue, que de compter sur
lui_.” This depreciator and enemy of Vivian was the man who, but a
few months before, had been his political _proneur_ and unblushing
flatterer, Mr. Wharton. Exasperated by the consciousness of his own
detected baseness, and provoked still more by his being frustrated in
all his schemes, Wharton now practised every art that a malicious and
unprincipled wit could devise to lower the opinion of Vivian’s talents,
and to prevent his obtaining either power or celebrity. Our hero was
stimulated by this conduct to fresh exertions. So far Wharton’s enmity
was of service to him; but it was of disservice, by changing, in some
measure, the purity of the motives from which he acted. With love and
honourable ambition now mixed hatred, thoughts of vengeance, views
of vulgar vanity and interest: he thought more of contradicting Mr.
Wharton’s prophecies than of fulfilling his own ideas of what was fair
and right. He was anxious to prove, that he could “_go far_ in politics,
that it was _in him_, that he was not too soft, and that it was not
building on mud to depend on him.” These indefinite expressions operated
powerfully and perniciously on his imagination. To prove that Wharton
was mistaken in his prognostics, it was necessary to our hero to obtain
the price and stamp of talents--it was essential to gain political
power; and this could not be attained without joining a party. Vivian
joined the party then in opposition. Wharton and he, though both in
opposition, of course, after what had passed, could never meet in any
private company; nor had they any communication in public, though on the
same side of the question: their enmity was so great, that not only
the business of the nation, but even the interests of their party, were
often impeded by their quarrels. In the midst of these disputes, Vivian
insensibly adopted more and more of the language and principles of the
public men with whom he daily associated. He began to hear and talk of
compensations and jobs, as they did; and to consider all measures
proved to be necessary for the support of his party as expedient, if
not absolutely right. His country could not be saved, unless he and his
friends could obtain the management of affairs; and no men, be found,
could gain parliamentary influence, or raise themselves into political
power, without _acting as a body_. Then, of course, all subordinate
points of right were to be sacrificed to the great good of promoting the
views of the party. Still, however, his patriotism was upon the whole
pure; he had no personal views of interest, no desire even to be in
place, independently of a wish to promote the good of his country.
Secret overtures were, about this time, made to him by government; and
inquiries were made if there was any thing which could gratify him, or
by which he could be induced to lay aside his opposition, and to assist
in supporting their measures. Many compliments to his talents and
eloquence, and all the usual _commonplaces_, about the expediency and
propriety of _strengthening the hands of government_, were, of course,
added. Something _specific_ was at length mentioned: it was intimated,
that as he was of an ancient family, it might gratify him that his
mother should be made a baroness in her own right. The offer was
declined, and the temptation was firmly withstood by our hero; his
credit was now at its _acme_ with his own coadjutors. Lady Mary
whispered the circumstance, as a state secret, to all her acquaintance;
and Russell took care that Miss Sidney should hear of it.

Vivian was now cited as an incorruptible patriot. Wharton’s malice, and
even his wit, was almost silenced; yet he was heard to say, amidst the
din of applause, “This is only the first offer; he is in the right
to make a show of resistance: he will coquet for a time, and keep
_philandering_ on till he suits himself, and then he’ll jilt us, you’ll

Such speeches, though they reached Vivian’s ear by the kind
officiousness of friends, were never made by Mr. Wharton so directly
that he could take hold of them; and Russell strenuously advised him
not to seek occasion to quarrel with a man who evidently desired only
to raise his own reputation by making Vivian angry, getting him in the
wrong, and forcing him into an imprudent duel.

“Let your actions continue to contradict his words, and they can never
injure you,” said Russell.

For some time Vivian adhered to his friend’s advice, and he proudly felt
the superiority of principle and character. But, alas! there was one
defence that his patriotism wanted--economy. Whilst he was thus active
in the public cause, and exulting in his disinterestedness, his private
affairs were getting into terrible disorder. The expense of building
his castle had increased beyond all his calculations--the expense of
his election--the money he had lost at play whilst he was in Wharton’s
society--the sums he had lent to Wharton--the money he had spent
abroad,--all these accumulated brought him to great difficulties: for
though his estate was considerable, yet it was so settled and tied
up that he could neither sell nor mortgage. His creditors became
clamorous--he had no means of satisfying or quieting them: an execution
was actually sent down to his castle, just as it was finished. Lady
Mary Vivian was in the greatest alarm and distress: she had no means of
extricating her son. As to his fashionable friends--no hopes from such
extravagant and selfish beings. What was to be done? At this critical
moment, the offers from _a certain quarter_ were renewed in another,
and, as it seemed, a more acceptable form,--a pension was proffered
instead of a title; and it was promised that the business should be so
managed, and the pension so held in another name, that nothing of the
transaction should transpire; and that his seceding from opposition
should be made to appear a change of sentiments from conviction, not
from interested motives. Vivian’s honourable feelings revolted from
these offers, and abhorred these subterfuges; but distress--pecuniary
distress! he had never before felt its pressure; he had never till
now felt how powerful, how compulsatory it is over even generous and
high-spirited souls. Whilst Vivian was thus oppressed with difficulties,
which his imprudence had brought upon him; whilst his mind was
struggling with opposing motives, he was, most fortunately for his
political integrity, relieved, partly by accident, and partly by
friendship. It happened that the incumbent of the rich living, of which
Vivian had the presentation, was dying just at this time; and Russell,
instead of claiming the living which Vivian had promised to him,
relinquished all pretensions to it, and insisted upon his friend’s
disposing of his right of presentation. The sum which this enabled
Vivian to raise was fully sufficient to satisfy the execution which had
been laid on his castle; and the less clamorous creditors were content
to be paid by instalments, annually, from his income. Thus he was saved
for the present; and he formed the most prudent resolves for the future.
He was most sincerely grateful to his disinterested friend. The full
extent of the sacrifice which Russell made him was not, however, known
at this time, nor for some years afterwards.

But, without anticipation, let us proceed with our story. Amongst those
fashionable and political friends with whom our hero had, since his
return to England, renewed his connexion, was my Lord Glistonbury. His
lordship, far from thinking the worse of him for _his affair_ with Mrs.
Wharton, spoke of it in modish _slang_, as “a new and fine feather in
his cap;” and he congratulated Vivian upon his having “carried off the
prize without paying the price.” Vivian’s success as a parliamentary
orator had still further endeared him to his lordship, who failed not to
repeat, that he had always prophesied Vivian would make a capital figure
in public life; that Vivian was his member, &c. At the recess, Lord
Glistonbury insisted upon carrying Vivian down to spend the holidays
with him at Glistonbury Castle.

“You must come, Vivian: so make your fellow put your worldly goods into
my barouche, which is at the door; and we are to have a great party at
Glistonbury, and private theatricals, and the devil knows what; and
you must see my little Julia act, and I must introduce you to _the
Rosamunda_. Come, come! you can’t refuse me!--Why, you have only a
bachelor’s castle of your own to go to; and that’s a dismal sort of
business, compared with what I have _in petto_ for you--‘the feast of
reason, and the flow of soul,’ in the first style, I assure you.
You must know, I always--even in the midst of the wildest of my wild
oats--had a taste for the belles-lettres, and philosophy, and the muses,
and the _literati,_ and so forth--always a touch of the Mecaenas about
me.--And now my boy’s growing up, it’s more particularly proper to bring
these sort of people about him; for, you know, clever men who have a
reputation can sound a flourish of trumpets advantageously before ‘a
Grecian youth of talents rare’ makes his appearance on the stage of
the great world--Ha! hey!--Is not this what one may call
prudence?--Ha!--Good to have a father who knows something of life, and
of books too, hey? Then, for my daughters, too--daughter, I mean; for
Lady Sarah’s Lady Glistonbury’s child: her ladyship and Miss Strictland
have manufactured her after their own taste and fashion; and I’ve
nothing to say to that--But my little Julia--Ah, I’ve got a different
sort of governess about her these few months past--not without family
battles, you may guess. But when Jupiter gives the nod, you know, even
Juno, stately as she is, must bend. So I have my Rosamunda for my little
Julia--who, by-the-bye, is no longer my _little_ Julia, but a prodigious
fine woman, as you shall see. But, all this time, is your fellow putting
your things up? No!--Hey? how? Oh, I understand your long face of
hesitation--you have not seen the ladies since the Wharton affair, and
you don’t know how they might look.--Never fear! Lady Glistonbury shall
do as I please, and look as I please. Besides, _entre nous_, I know she
hates the Whartons; so that her morality will have a loophole to creep
out of; and you’ll be safe and snug, whilst all the blame will be thrown
on them--Hey!--Oh, I understand things--pique myself on investigating
the human heart. Come, we have not a moment to lose; and you’ll have
your friend Russell, too--Come, come! to have and to hold, as the
lawyers say--”

Seizing Vivian’s arm, Lord Glistonbury carried him off before he had
half understood all his lordship had poured forth so rapidly; and before
he had decided whether he wished or not to accept of this invitation.


On his way to Glistonbury Castle, Vivian had full leisure to repent of
having accepted of this invitation, recollecting, as he did, all the
former reports about himself and Lady Sarah Lidhurst. He determined,
therefore, that his visit should be as short as possible; and the chief
pleasure he promised himself was the society of his friend Russell.

On his arrival at the castle, he was told that Mr. Russell was out
riding; and that every body else was in the theatre at a rehearsal,
except Lady Glistonbury, the Lady Sarah, and Miss Strictland. He found
these three ladies sitting in form in the great deserted drawing-room,
each looking like a copy of the other, and all as if they were deploring
the degeneracy of the times. Vivian approached with due awe; but, to his
great surprise and relief, at his approach their countenances exhibited
some signs of life. Lord Glistonbury _presented_ him on his return
from abroad: Lady Glistonbury’s features relaxed to a smile, though she
seemed immediately to repent of it, and to feel it incumbent upon her to
maintain her rigidity of mien. Whilst she, and of course Miss Strictland
and the Lady Sarah, were thus embarrassed between the necessity of
reprobating the sin, and the desire of pleasing the sinner, Lord
Glistonbury ran on with one of his speeches, of borrowed sense and
original nonsense, and then would have carried him off to the rehearsal,
but Lady Glistonbury called Vivian back, begging, in her formal manner,
“that her lord would do her the favour to leave Mr. Vivian with her for
a few minutes, as it was so long since she had the pleasure of seeing
him at Glistonbury.” Vivian returned with as good a grace as he could;
and, to find means of breaking the embarrassing silence that ensued,
took up a book which lay upon the table, “Toplady’s Sermons”--no hope
of assistance from that: he had recourse to another--equally unlucky,
“Wesley’s Diary:” another--“The Pilgrim’s Progress.” He went no farther;
but, looking up, he perceived that the Lady Sarah was _motioned_ by her
august mother to leave the room. Vivian had again recourse to “Toplady.”

“Very unfashionable books, Mr. Vivian,” said Miss Strictland, bridling
and smiling as in scorn.

“Very unfashionable books!” repeated Lady Glistonbury, with the
same inflection of voice, and the same bridling and smiling. “Very
different,” continued her ladyship, “very different from what you have
been accustomed to see on _some_ ladies’ tables, no doubt, Mr. Vivian!
Without mentioning names, or alluding to transactions that ought to be
buried in eternal oblivion, and that are so very distressing to your
friends here to think of, sir, give me leave to ask, Mr. Vivian, whether
it be true what I have heard, that the prosecution, and every thing
relative to it, is entirely given up?”

“Entirely, madam.”

“Then,” said Lady Glistonbury, glancing her eye at Miss Strictland,
“_we_ may welcome Mr. Vivian with safe consciences to Glistonbury; and
since the affair will never become public, and since Lady Sarah knows
none of the improper particulars; and since she may, and, from her
education, naturally will, class all such things under the head of
impossibilities and false reports, of which people, in our rank of life
especially, are subject every hour to hear so many; there cannot, as I
am persuaded you will agree with me in thinking, Miss Strictland, be any
impropriety in our and Lady Sarah’s receiving Mr. Vivian again on the
same footing as formerly.”

Miss Strictland bowed her formal assent: Vivian bowed, because he saw
that a bow was expected from him; and then he pondered on what might be
meant by the words, _on the same footing as formerly_; and he had just
framed a clause explanatory and restrictive of the same, when he was
interrupted by the sound of laughter, and of numerous, loud, and mingled
voices, coming along the gallery that led to the drawing-room. As
if these were signals for her departure, and as if she dreaded the
intrusion and contamination of the revel rout, Lady Glistonbury arose,
looked at her watch, pronounced her belief that it was full time for her
to go to dress, and retired through a Venetian door, followed by Miss
Strictland, repeating the same belief, and bearing her ladyship’s
tapestry work: her steps quickened as the door at the opposite end of
the room opened; and, curtsying (an unnecessary apology to Mr. Vivian)
as she passed, she left him _to himself_. And now,

     “He sees a train profusely gay,
     Come pranckling o’er the place.”

Some were dressed for comic, some for tragic characters; but all seemed
equally gay, and talked equally fast. There had been a dressed rehearsal
of “The Fair Penitent,” and of “The Romp;” and all the spectators and
all the actors were giving and receiving exuberant compliments. Vivian
knew many of the party,--some of them bel-esprits, some fashionable
amateurs; all pretenders to notoriety, either as judges or performers.
In the midst of this motley group, there was one figure who stood
receiving and expecting universal homage: she was dressed as “The Fair
Penitent;” but her affected vivacity of gesture and countenance was in
striking contrast to her tragic attire; and Vivian could hardly forbear
smiling at the _minauderies_ with which she listened and talked to the
gentlemen round her; now languishing, now coquetting; rolling her eyes,
and throwing herself into a succession of studied attitudes, dealing
repartees to this side and to that; and, in short, making the greatest
possible exhibition both of her person and her mind.

“Don’t you know her? Did you never see her before?--No!
you’ve been out of England; but you’ve heard of her,
certainly?--_Rosamunda_,”--whispered Lord Glistonbury to Vivian.

“And who is Rosamunda?” said Vivian; “an actress.”

“Actress!--Hush!--Bless you! no--but the famous poetess. Is it possible
that you hav’n’t read the poems of Rosamunda?--They were in every body’s
hands a few months ago; but you were abroad--better engaged, or as well,
hey? But, as I was going to tell you, that’s the reason she’s called
_The Rosamunda_--I gave her the name, for I patronized her from the
first. Her real name is Bateman; and Lady Glistonbury and her set call
her Miss Bateman still, but nobody else. She’s an amazing clever
woman, I assure you--more genius than any of ‘em since the time of
Rousseau!--Devil of a salary!--and devil of a battle I had to fight with
some of my friends before I could fix her here; but I was determined I
would follow my own ideas in Julia’s education. Lady Glistonbury had
her way and her routine with Lady Sarah; and it’s all very well, vastly

     ‘Virtue for her too painful an endeavour,
     Content to dwell in decencies for ever.’

You know the sort of thing! Yes, yes; but I was not content to have my
Julia lost among the _mediocres_, as I call them: so I took her out of
Miss Strictland’s hands; and the Rosamunda’s her governess.”

“Her governess!” repeated Vivian, with uncontrollable astonishment;
“Lady Julia Lidhurst’s governess!”

“Yes, you may well be surprised,” pursued Lord Glistonbury, mistaking
the cause of the surprise: “no one in England could have done it but
myself; she refused innumerable applications,--immense offers; and,
after all, you know, she does not appear as governess _titrée_--only
as a friend of the family, who directs Lady Julia Lidhurst’s literary
talents. Oh, you understand, a man of the world knows how to manage
these things--sacrifices always to the vanity of the sex, or the
pride, as the case may be, I never mind names, but things, as the
metaphysicians say--distinguish betwixt essentials and accidents--sound
philosophy that, hey? And, thank Heaven! a gentleman or a nobleman need
not apologize in these days for talking of philosophy before ladies,
even if any body overheard us, which, as it happens, I believe nobody
does. So let me, now that _you know your Paris_, introduce you to ‘The
Rosamunda.’--Mr. Vivian--the Rosamunda. Rosamunda--Mr. Vivian.”

After Vivian had for a few minutes acted audience, very little to his
own satisfaction, he was relieved by Lord Glistonbury’s exclaiming, “But
Julia! where’s Julia all this time?”

Rosamunda looked round, with the air of one interrupted by a frivolous
question which requires no answer; but some one less exalted, and more
attentive to the common forms of civility, told his lordship that Lady
Julia was in the gallery with her brother. Lord Glistonbury hurried
Vivian into the gallery. He was struck the moment he met Lady Julia
with the great change and improvement in her appearance. Instead of the
childish girl he had formerly seen flying about, full only of the frolic
of the present moment, he now saw a fine graceful woman with a striking
countenance that indicated both genius and sensibility. She was talking
to her brother with so much eagerness, that she did not see Vivian come
into the gallery; and, as he walked on towards the farther end, where
she was standing, he had time to admire her.

“A fine girl, faith! though she is my daughter,” whispered Lord
Glistonbury; “and would you believe that she is only sixteen?”

“Only sixteen!”

“Ay: and stay till you talk to her--stay till you hear her--you will be
more surprised. Such genius! such eloquence! She’s my own girl. Well,
Julia, my darling!” cried he, raising his voice, “in the clouds, as

Lady Julia started--but it was a natural, not a theatric
start--colouring at the consciousness of her own absence of mind. She
came forward with a manner that apologized better than words could do,
and she received Mr. Vivian so courteously, and with such ingenuous
pleasure in her countenance, that he began to rejoice in having accepted
the invitation to Glistonbury; at the same instant, he recollected a
look which his mother had given him when he first saw Lady Julia on the
terrace of the castle.

“Well, what was she saying to you, Lidhurst? hey! my boy?”

“We were arguing, sir.”

“Arguing! Ay, ay, she’s the devil for that!--words at will!--‘Persuasive
words, and more persuasive sighs!’ Ah, woman! woman for ever! always
talking us out of our senses! and which of the best of us would not
wish it to be so? ‘Oh! let me, let me be deceived!’ is the cream of
philosophy, epicurean and stoic--at least, that’s my creed. But to the
point: what was it about that she was holding forth so charmingly--a
book or a lover? A book, I’ll wager: she’s such a romantic little
fool, and so unlike other women: leaves all her admirers there in the
drawing-room, and stays out here, talking over musty books with her
brother. But come, what was the point? I will have it argued again
before me--Let’s see the book.”

Lord Lidhurst pointed out a speech in “The Fair Penitent,” and said that
they had been debating about the manner in which it should be recited.
Lord Glistonbury called upon his daughter to repeat it: she showed
a slight degree of unaffected timidity at first; but when her
father stamped and bid her let him see no vulgar bashfulness, she
obeyed--recited charmingly--and, when urged by a little opposition from
her brother, grew warm in defence of her own opinion--displayed in its
support such sensibility, with such a flow of eloquence, accompanied
with such animated and graceful, yet natural gesture, that Vivian was
transported with sudden admiration. He was astonished at this early
development of feeling and intellect; and if, in the midst of his
delight, he felt some latent disapprobation of this display of talent
from so young a woman, yet he quickly justified her to himself, by
saying that he was not a stranger; that he had formerly been received
by her family on a footing of intimacy. Then he observed farther, in her
vindication, that there was not the slightest affectation or coquetry in
any of her words or motions; that she spoke with this eagerness not to
gain admiration, but because she was carried away by her enthusiasm,
and, thoughtless of herself, was eager only to persuade and to make
her opinions prevail. Such was the enchantment of her eloquence and her
beauty, that after a quarter of an hour spent in her company, our hero
did not know whether to wish that she had more sedateness and reserve,
or to rejoice that she was so animated and natural. Before he could
decide this point, his friend Russell returned from riding. After the
first greetings were over, Russell drew him aside, and asked, “Pray, my
dear Vivian, what brings you here?”

“Lord Glistonbury--to whom I had not time to say no, he talked so fast.
But, after all, why should I say no? I am a free man--a discarded lover.
I am absolutely convinced that Selina Sidney’s refusal will never be
retracted; my mother, I know, is of that opinion. You suggested, that
if I distinguished myself in public life, and showed steadiness, I might
recover her esteem and affection; but I see no chance of it. My mother
showed me her last letter--no hopes from that--so I think it would
be madness, or folly, to waste my time, and wear out my feelings, in
pursuit of a woman, who, however amiable, is lost to me.”

“Of that you are the best judge,” said Russell, gravely. “I am far from
wishing--from urging you to waste your time. Lady Mary Vivian must know
more of Miss Sidney, and be better able to judge of the state of her
heart than I can be. It would not be the part of a friend to excite you
to persevere in a pursuit that would end in disappointment; but
this much, before we quit the subject for ever, I feel it my duty to
say--that I think Miss Sidney the woman of all others the best suited to
your character, the most deserving of your love, the most calculated to
make you exquisitely and permanently happy.”

“All that’s very true,” said Vivian, impatiently; “but, since I can’t
have her, why make me miserable about her?”

“Am I to understand,” resumed Russell, after a long pause, “am I to
understand that, now you have regained your freedom, you come here with
the settled purpose of espousing the Lady Sarah Lidhurst?”

“Heaven forfend!” cried Vivian, starting back.

“Then I am to go over again, on this subject, with indefatigable
patience and in due logical order, all the arguments, moral, prudential,
and conventional, which I had the labour of laying before you about a
twelvemonth ago.”

“Save yourself the trouble, my dear friend!” said Vivian; “I shall set
all that upon a right footing immediately, by speaking of the report
at once to some of the family. I was going to _rise to explain_
this morning, when I was with Lady Glastonbury; but I felt a sort of
delicacy--it was an awkward time--and at that moment somebody came into
the room.”

“Ay,” said Russell, “you are just like the hero of a novel, stopped from
saying what he ought to say by somebody’s coming into the room.--Awkward
time! Take care you don’t sacrifice yourself at last to these
_awkwardnesses_ and this sort of _delicacies_. I have still my fears
that you will get into difficulties about Lady Sarah.”

Vivian could not help laughing at what he called his friend’s absurd

“If you are determined, my dear Russell, at all events to fear for me,
I’ll suggest to you a more reasonable cause of dread. Suppose I should
fall desperately in love with Lady Julia!--I assure you there’s
some danger of that. She is really very handsome and very graceful;
uncommonly clever and eloquent--as to the rest, you know her--what is

“All that you have said, and more. She might be made any thing--every
thing; an ornament to her sex--an honour to her country--were she
under the guidance of persons fit to direct great powers and a noble
character; but yet I cannot, Vivian, as your friend, recommend her to
you as a wife.”

“I am not thinking of her as a wife,” said Vivian: “I have not had time
to think of her at all yet. But you said, just now, that in good hands
she might be made every thing that is good and great. Why not by a
husband, instead of a governess? and would not you call mine _good

“Good, but not steady--not at all the husband fit to guide such a woman.
He must be a man not only of superior sense, but of superior strength of

Vivian was piqued by this remark, and proceeded to compare the fitness
of his character to _such_ a character as Lady Julia’s. Every moment he
showed more curiosity to hear further particulars of her disposition; of
the different characters of her governesses, and of all her relations;
but Russell refused to say more. He had told him what he was called
upon, as his friend, to reveal; he left the rest to Vivian’s own
observation and judgment. Vivian set himself to work to observe and
judge with all his might.

He soon perceived that all Russell had told him of the mismanagement of
Lady Julia’s education was true. In this house there were two parties,
each in extremes, and each with their systems and practice carried to
the utmost excess. The partisans of the old and the new school were here
to be seen at daggers-drawing. Lady Glastonbury, abhorrent of what
she termed modern philosophy, and classing under that name almost
all science and literature, especially all attempts to cultivate the
understanding of women, had, with the assistance of her _double_, Miss
Strictland, brought up Lady Sarah in all the ignorance and all the
rigidity of the most obsolete of the old school; she had made Lady Sarah
precisely like herself; with virtue, stiff, dogmatical, and repulsive;
with religion, gloomy and puritanical; with manners, cold and automatic.
In the course of eighteen years, whilst Lady Glistonbury went on, like
clock-work, the same round, punctual to the letter but unfeeling of the
spirit of her duties, she contrived, even by the wearisome method of her
_minuted_ diary of education, to make her house odious to her husband.
Some task, or master, or hour of lesson, continually, and immitigably
plagued him: he went abroad for amusement, and found dissipation.
Thus, by her unaccommodating temper, and the obstinacy of her manifold
virtues, she succeeded in alienating the affections of her husband. In
despair he one day exclaimed,

     “Ah que de vertus vous me faites haïr;”

and, repelled by virtue in this ungracious form, he flew to more
attractive vice. Finding that he could not have any comfort or solace
in the society of his wife, he sought consolation in the company of a
mistress. Lady Glistonbury had, in the mean time, her consolation
in being a pattern-wife; and in hearing that at card-tables it was
universally said, that Lord Glistonbury was the worst of husbands, and
that her ladyship was extremely to be pitied. In process of time, Lord
Glistonbury was driven to his home again by the united torments of a
virago mistress and the gout. It was at this period that he formed the
notion of being at once a political leader and a Mecaenas; and it was
at this period that he became acquainted with both his daughters, and
determined that his Julia should never resemble the Lady Sarah. He saw
his own genius in Julia; and he resolved, as he said, to give her fair
play, and to make her one of the wonders of the age. After some months’
counteraction and altercation, Lord Glistonbury, with a high hand, took
_his_ daughter from under the control of Miss Strictland; and, in spite
of all the representations, prophecies, and denunciations of her mother,
consigned Julia to the care of a governess after his own heart--a Miss
Bateman; or, as he called her, _The Rosamunda_. From the moment this
lady was introduced into the family there was an irreconcileable breach
between the husband and wife. Lady Glistonbury was perfectly in the
right in her dread of such a governess as Miss Bateman for her daughter.
Her ladyship was only partially and accidentally right: right in point
of fact, but wrong in the general principle; for she objected to Miss
Bateman, as being of the class of literary women; to her real faults,
her inordinate love of admiration, and romantic imprudence, Lady
Glistonbury did not object, because she did not at first know them; and
when she did, she considered them but as necessary consequences of
the _cultivation and enlargement of Miss Bateman’s understanding_. “No
wonder!” her ladyship would say; “I knew it must be so; I knew it could
not be otherwise. All those clever women, as they are called, are the
same. This _comes_ of literature and literary ladies.”

Thus moralizing in private with Miss Strictland and her own small party,
Lady Glistonbury appeared silent and passive before her husband and
his adherents. After prophesying how it all must end in the ruin of her
daughter Julia, she declared that she would never speak on this subject
again: she showed herself ready, with maternal resignation, and in
silent obduracy, to witness the completion of the sacrifice of her
devoted child.

Lord Glistonbury was quite satisfied with having silenced opposition.
His new governess, established in her office, and with full and
unlimited powers, went on triumphant and careless of her charge; she
thought of little but displaying her own talents in company. The castle
was consequently filled with crowds of amateurs; novels and plays were
the order of the day; and a theatre was fitted up, all in open defiance
of poor Lady Glistonbury. The daughter commenced her new course of
education by being taught to laugh at her mother’s prejudices. Such was
the state of affairs when Vivian commenced his observations; and all
this secret history he learnt by scraps, and hints, and inuendoes, from
very particular friends of both parties--friends who were not troubled
with any of Mr. Russell’s scruples or discretion.

Vivian’s attention was now fixed upon Lady Julia; he observed with
satisfaction, that, notwithstanding her governess’s example and
excitement, Lady Julia did not show any exorbitant desire for
general admiration; and that her manners were free from coquetry and
affectation: she seemed rather to disdain the flattery, and to avoid
both the homage and the company of men who were her inferiors in mental
qualifications; she addressed her conversation principally to Vivian and
his friend Russell; with them, indeed, she conversed a great deal,
with much eagerness and enthusiasm, expressing all her opinions without
disguise, and showing on most occasions more imagination than reason,
and more feeling than judgment. Vivian perceived that it was soon
suspected by many of their observers, and especially by Lady Glistonbury
and the Lady Sarah, that Julia had a design upon his heart; but he
plainly discerned that she had no design whatever to captivate him; and
that though she gave him so large a share of her company, it was without
thinking of him as a lover: he saw that she conversed with him and Mr.
Russell, preferably to others, because they spoke on subjects which
interested her more; and because they drew out her brother, of whom
she was very fond. Her being capable, at so early an age, to appreciate
Russell’s character and talents; her preferring his solid sense and his
plain sincerity to the brilliancy, the _fashion_, and even the gallantry
of all the men whom her father had now collected round her, appeared
to Vivian the most unequivocal proof of the superiority of her
understanding and of the goodness of her disposition. On various
occasions, he marked with delight the deference she paid to his friend’s
opinion, and the readiness with which she listened to reason from
him--albeit unused and averse from reason in general. Impatient as
she was of control, and confident, both in her own powers and in her
instinctive moral sense (about which, by-the-bye, she talked a great
deal of eloquent nonsense), yet a word or a look from Mr. Russell would
reclaim her in her highest flights. Soon after Vivian commenced his
observations upon this interesting subject, he saw an instance of what
Russell had told him of the ease with which Lady Julia might be guided
by a man of sense and strength of mind.

The tragedy of “The Fair Penitent,” Calista by Miss Bateman, was
represented with vast applause to a brilliant audience at the
Glistonbury theatre. The same play was to be reacted a week afterwards
to a fresh audience--it was proposed that Vivian should play Lothario,
and that Lady Julia should play Calista: Miss Bateman saw no objection
to this proposal: Lord Glistonbury might, perhaps, have had the parental
prudence to object to his daughter’s appearing in public at her age,
in such a character, before a mixed audience: but, unfortunately, Lady
Glistonbury bursting from her silence at this critical moment, said so
much, and in such a prosing and puritanical manner, not only against her
daughter’s acting in this play, and in these circumstances, but against
all _stage plays_, playwrights, actors, and actresses whatsoever,
denouncing and anathematizing them all indiscriminately; that
immediately Lord Glistonbury laughed--Miss Bateman took fire--and it
became a trial of power between the contending parties. Lady Julia, who
had but lately escaped from the irksomeness of her mother’s injudicious
and minute control, dreaded, above all things, to be again subjected
to her and Miss Strictland; therefore, without considering the real
propriety or impropriety of the point in question, without examining
whether Miss Bateman was right or wrong in the licence she had granted,
Lady Julia supported her opinion warmly; and, with all her eloquence, at
once asserted her own liberty, and defended the cause of the theatre
in general. She had heard Mr. Russell once speak of the utility of
a well-regulated public stage; of the influence of good theatric
representations in forming the taste and rousing the soul to virtue: he
had shown her Marmontel’s celebrated letter to Rousseau on this subject;
consequently, she thought she knew what his opinion must be on
the present occasion: therefore she spoke with more than her usual
confidence and enthusiasm. Her eloquence and her abilities transported
her father and most of her auditors, Vivian among the rest, with
astonishment and admiration: she enjoyed, at this moment, what the
French call _un grand succès_; but, in the midst of the buzz of
applause, Vivian observed that her eye turned anxiously upon Russell,
who stood silent, and with a disapproving countenance.

“I am sure your friend, Mr. Russell, is displeased at this instant--and
with me.--I must know why.--Let us ask him.--Do bring him here.”

Immediately she disengaged herself from all her admirers, and, making
room for Mr. Russell beside her, waited, as she said, to hear from him
_ses vérités_. Russell would have declined speaking, but her ladyship
appealed earnestly and urgently for his opinion, saying, “Who will speak
the truth to me if you will not? On whose judgment can I rely if not
on yours?--You direct my brother’s mind to every thing that is wise and
good; direct mine: I am as desirous to do right as he can be: and you
will find me--self-willed and volatile, as I know you think me--you will
find me a docile pupil. Then tell me frankly--did I, just now, speak too
much or too warmly? I thought I was speaking your sentiments, and that I
_must_ be right. But perhaps it was not right for a woman, or so young
a woman as I am, to support even just opinions so resolutely. And yet
is it a crime to be young?--And is the honour of maintaining truth to
be monopolized by age?--No, surely; for Mr. Russell himself has not that
claim to stand forth, as he so often does, in its defence. If you think
that I ought not to act Calista; if you think that I had better not
appear on the stage at all, only say so!--All I ask is your opinion; the
advantage of your judgment. And you see, Mr. Vivian, how difficult it is
to obtain it!--But his friend, probably, never felt this difficulty!”

With a degree of sober composure, which almost provoked Vivian, Mr.
Russell answered this animated lady. And with a sincerity which,
though politely shown, Vivian thought severe and almost cruel, Russell
acknowledged that her ladyship had anticipated some, but not all of his
objections. He represented that she had failed in becoming respect to
her mother, in thus publicly attacking and opposing her opinions, even
supposing them to be ill-founded; and declared that, as to the case in
discussion, he was entirely of Lady Glistonbury’s opinion, that it would
be unfit and injurious to a young lady to exhibit herself, even on a
private stage, in the character in which it had been proposed that Lady
Julia should appear.

Whilst Russell spoke, Vivian was charmed with the manner in which Lady
Julia listened: he thought her countenance enchantingly beautiful,
alternately softened as it was by the expression of genuine humility,
and radiant with candour and gratitude. She made no reply, but
immediately went to her mother; and, in the most engaging manner
acknowledged that she had been wrong, and declared that she was
convinced it would be improper for her to act the character she had
proposed. With that cold haughtiness of mien, the most repulsive to
a warm and generous mind, the mother turned to her daughter, and said
that, for her part, she had no faith in sudden conversions, and starts
of good conduct made little impression upon her; that, as far as she
was herself concerned, she forgave, as in charity it became her, all
the undutiful insolence with which she had been treated; that, as to
the rest, she was glad to find, for Lady Julia’s own sake, that she had
given up her strange, and, as she must say, _scandalous_ intentions.
“However,” added Lady Glistonbury, “I am not so sanguine as to consider
this as any thing but a respite from ruin; I am not so credulous as to
believe in sudden reformations; nor, despicable as you and my lord do
me the honour to think my understanding--am I to be made the dupe of a
little deceitful fondling!”

Julia withdrew her arms, which she had thrown round her mother; and Miss
Strictland, after breaking her netting silk with a jerk of indignation,
observed, that, for her part, she wondered young ladies should go to
consult their brother’s tutor, instead of more suitable, and, perhaps,
as competent advisers. Lady Julia, now indignant, turned away, and was
withdrawing from before the triumvirate, when Lady Sarah, who had sat
looking, even more stiff and constrained than usual, suddenly broke from
her stony state, and, springing forward, exclaimed, “Stay, Julia!--Stay,
my dear sister!--Oh, Miss Strictland! do my sister justice!--When Julia
is so candid, so eager to do right, intercede for her with my mother!”

“First, may I presume to ask,” said Miss Strictland, drawing herself up
with starch malice; “first, may I presume to ask, whether Mr. Vivian,
upon this occasion, declined to act Lothario?”

“Miss Strictland, you do not do my sister justice!” cried Lady Sarah:
“Miss Strictland, you are wrong--very wrong!”

Miss Strictland, for a moment struck dumb with astonishment, opening
her eyes as far as they could open, stared at Lady Sarah, and, after
a pause, exclaimed, “Lady Sarah! I protest I never saw any thing that
surprised me so much in my whole life!----Wrong!--very wrong!--I?----My
Lady Glistonbury, I trust your ladyship----”

Lady Glistonbury, at this instant, showed, by a little involuntary
shake of her head, that she was inwardly perturbed: Lady Sarah,
throwing herself upon her knees before her mother, exclaimed,
“Oh, madam!--mother! forgive me if I failed in respect to Miss
Strictland!----But, my sister! my sister----!”

“Rise, Sarah, rise!” said Lady Glistonbury; “that is not a fit
attitude!--And you are wrong, very wrong, to fail in respect to Miss
Strictland, my second self, Sarah. Lady Julia Lidhurst, it is you who
are the cause of this--the only failure of duty your sister ever was
guilty of towards me in the whole course of her life--I beg of you to
withdraw, and leave me my daughter Sarah.”

“At least, I have found a sister, and when I most wanted it,” said Lady
Julia. “I always suspected you loved me, but I never knew how much till
this moment,” added she, turning to embrace her sister; but Lady Sarah
had now resumed her stony appearance, and, standing motionless, received
her sister’s embrace without sign of life or feeling.

“Lady Julia Lidhurst,” said Miss Strictland, “you humble yourself in
vain: I think your mother, my Lady Glistonbury, requested of you to
leave your sister, Lady Sarah, to us, and to her duty.”

“Duty!” repeated Lady Julia, her eyes flashing indignation: “Is this
what you call _duty_?--Never will I humble myself before you again--I
_will_ leave you--I do leave you--now and for ever--DUTY!”

She withdrew:--and thus was lost one of the fairest occasions
of confirming a young and candid mind in prudent and excellent
dispositions. After humbling herself in vain before a mother, this poor
young lady was now to withstand a father’s reproaches; and, after the
inexorable Miss Strictland, she was to encounter the exasperated Miss
Bateman. Whether the Gorgon terrors of one governess, or the fury
passions of the other, were most formidable, it was difficult to decide.
Miss Bateman had written an epilogue for Lady Julia to recite in the
character of Calista; and, with the combined irritability of authoress
and governess, she was enraged at the idea of her pupil’s declining to
repeat these favourite lines. Lord Glistonbury cared not for the lines;
but, considering his own authority to be impeached by his daughter’s
resistance, he treated _his Julia_ as a traitor to his cause, and a
rebel to his party.

But Lady Julia was resolute in declining to play Calista; and Vivian
admired the spirit and steadiness of her resistance to the solicitations
and the flattery with which she was assailed by the numerous hangers-on
of the family, and by the amateurs assembled at Glistonbury. Russell,
who knew the warmth of her temper, however, dreaded that she should
pass the bounds of propriety in the contest with her father and her
governess; and he almost repented having given any advice upon the
subject. The contest happily terminated in Lord Glistonbury’s having a
violent fit of the gout, which, as the newspapers informed the public,
“ended for the season the Christmas hospitalities and theatrical
festivities at Glistonbury Castle!”

Whilst his lordship suffered this fit of torture, his daughter Julia
attended him with so much patience and affection, that he forgave
her for not being willing to be Calista; and, upon his recovery, he
announced to Miss Bateman that it was his will and pleasure that his
daughter Julia should do as she liked on this point, but that he desired
it to be understood that this was no concession to Lady Glistonbury’s
prejudices, but an act of his own pure grace.

To celebrate his recovery, his lordship determined to give a ball; and
Miss Bateman persuaded him to make it a _fancy ball_. In this family,
unfortunately, every occurrence, even every proposal of amusement,
became a subject of dispute and a source of misery. Lady Glistonbury,
as soon as her lord announced his intention of giving this fancy ball,
declined taking the direction of an entertainment which approached,
she said, too near to the nature of a masquerade to meet her ideas of
propriety. Lord Glistonbury laughed, and tried the powers of ridicule
and wit:

“But on th’impassive ice the lightnings play’d.”

The lady’s cool obstinacy was fully a match for her lord’s petulance: to
all he could urge, she repeated, “that such entertainments did not meet
her ideas of propriety.” Her ladyship, Lady Sarah, and Miss Strictland,
consequently declared it to be their resolution, “to appear in their own
proper characters, and their own proper dresses, and no others.”

These three rigid seceders excepted, all the world at Glistonbury
Castle, and within its sphere of attraction, were occupied with
preparations for this ball. Miss Bateman was quite in her element,
flattered and flattering, consulting and consulted, in the midst
of novels, plays, and poetry, prints, and pictures, searching for
appropriate characters and dresses. This preceptress seemed to think
and to expect that others should deem her office of governess merely a
subordinate part of her business: she considered her having accepted
of the superintendence of the education of Lady Julia Lidhurst as a
prodigious condescension on her part, and a derogation from her rank
and pretensions in the literary and fashionable world; a peculiar and
sentimental favour to Lord Glistonbury, of which his lordship was bound
in honour to show his sense, by treating her as a member of his family,
not only with distinguished politeness, but by _deferring_ to her
opinion in all things, so as to prove to her satisfaction that she was
considered _only_ as a friend, and not at all as a governess. Thus she
was raised as much above that station in the family in which she could
be useful, as governesses in other houses have been sometimes depressed
below their proper rank. Upon this, as upon all occasions, Miss Bateman
was the first person to be thought of--her character and her dress were
the primary points to be determined; and they were points of no
easy decision, she having proposed for herself no less than five
characters--the fair Rosamond, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Sigismunda, and
Circe. After minute consideration of the dresses, which, at a fancy
ball, were to constitute these characters, fair Rosamond was rejected,
“because the old English dress muffled up the person too much; Joan of
Arc would find her armour inconvenient for dancing; Cleopatra’s diadem
and royal purple would certainly be truly becoming, but then her regal
length of train was as inadmissible in a dancing-dress as Joan of
Arc’s armour.” Between Sigismunda and Circe, Miss Bateman’s choice long
vibrated. The Spanish and the Grecian costume had each its claims on her
favour: for she was assured they both became her remarkably. Vivian was
admitted to the consultation: he was informed that there must be both a
Circe and a Sigismunda; and that Lady Julia was to take whichever of
the two characters Miss Bateman declined. Pending the deliberation, Lady
Julia whispered to Vivian, “For mercy’s sake! contrive that I may not be
doomed to be Circe; for Circe is no better than Calista.”

Vivian was charmed with her ladyship’s delicacy and discretion; he
immediately decided her governess, by pointing out the beautiful
head-dress of Flaxman’s Circe, and observing that Miss Bateman’s hair
(which was a wig) might easily be arranged, so as to produce the
same effect. Lady Julia rewarded Vivian for this able and successful
manoeuvre by one of her sweetest smiles. Her smiles had now powerful
influence over his heart. He rebelled against Russell’s advice, to take
more time to consider how far his character was suited to hers: he was
conscious, indeed, that it would be more prudent to wait a little longer
before he should declare his passion, as Lady Julia was so very young
and enthusiastic, and as her education had been so ill managed; but he
argued that the worse her education, and the more imprudent the
people about her, the greater was her merit in conducting herself with
discretion, and in trying to restrain her natural enthusiasm. Russell
acknowledged this, and gave all due praise to Lady Julia; yet still he
represented that Vivian had been acquainted with her so short time that
he could not be a competent judge of her temper and disposition, even
if his judgment were cool; but it was evident that his passions were now
engaged warmly in her favour. All that Russell urged for delay so far
operated, however, upon Vivian, that he adopted a half measure, and
determined to try what chance he might have of pleasing her before he
should either declare his love to her ladyship, or make his proposal to
her father. A favourable opportunity soon occurred. On the day appointed
for the fancy ball, the young Lord Lidhurst, who was to be Tancred, was
taken ill of a feverish complaint: he was of a very weakly constitution,
and his friends were much alarmed by his frequent indispositions. His
physicians ordered quiet; he was confined to his own apartment; and
another Tancred was of course to be sought for: Vivian ventured to offer
to assume the character; and his manner, when he made this proposal
to his fair Sigismunda, though it was intended to be merely polite and
gallant, was so much agitated, that she now, for the first time,
seemed to perceive the state of his heart. Colouring high, her ladyship
answered, with hesitation unusual to her, “that she believed--she
fancied--that is, she understood from her brother--that he had deputed
Mr. Russell to represent Tancred in his place.”

Vivian was not displeased by this answer: the change of colour and
evident embarrassment appeared to him favourable omens; and he thought
that whether the embarrassment arose from unwillingness to let any man
but her brother’s tutor, a man domesticated in the family, appear as her
Tancred, or whether she was afraid of offending Mr. Russell, by changing
the arrangement her brother had made; in either case Vivian felt ready,
though a man in love, to approve of her motives. As to the rest, he was
certain that Russell would decline the part assigned him; and, as Vivian
expected, Russell came in a few minutes to resign his pretensions, or
rather to state that though Lord Lidhurst had proposed it, he had never
thought of accepting the honour; and that he should, in all probability,
not appear at the ball, because he was anxious to stay as much as
possible with Lord Lidhurst, whose indisposition increased instead of
abating. Lord Glistonbury, after this explanation, came in high spirits,
and with much satisfaction in his countenance and manner, said he
was happy to hear that his Sigismunda was to have Mr. Vivian for her
Tancred. So far all was prosperous to our hero’s hopes.

But when he saw Lady Julia again, which was not till dinner time, he
perceived an unfavourable alteration in her manner; not the timidity
or embarrassment of a girl who is uncertain whether she is or is not
pleased, or whether she should or should not appear to be pleased by the
first approaches of a new lover; but there was in her manner a decided
haughtiness, and an unusual air of displeasure and reserve. Though he
sat beside her, and though in general her delightful conversation had
been addressed either to him or Mr. Russell, they were now both deprived
of this honour; whatever she said, and all she said, was unlike herself,
was directed to persons opposite to her, even to the captain, the
lawyer, and the family parasites, whose existence she commonly seemed
to forget. She ate as well as spoke in a hurried manner, and as if in
defiance of her feelings. Whilst the courses were changing, she
turned towards Mr. Vivian, and after a rapid examining glance at his
countenance, she said, in a low voice--“You must think me, Mr. Vivian,
very unreasonable and whimsical, but I have given up all thoughts of
being Sigismunda. Will you oblige me so far as not to appear in
the dress of Tancred to-night? You will thus spare me all farther
difficulty. You know my mother and sister have declared their
determination not to wear any fancy dress; and though my father is
anxious that I should, I believe it may be best that, in this instance,
I follow my own judgment.--May I expect that you will oblige me?”

Vivian declared his entire submission to her ladyship’s judgment: and
he now was delighted to be able to forgive her for all seeming caprice;
because he thought he saw an amiable motive for her conduct--the wish
not to displease her mother, and not to excite the jealousy of her

The hour when the ball was to commence arrived; the room filled with
company; and Vivian, who flattered himself with the pleasure of dancing
all night with Lady Julia, as the price of his prompt obedience, looked
round the room in search of his expected partner, but he searched
in vain. He looked to the door at every new entrance--no Lady Julia
appeared. Circe, indeed, was every where to be seen and heard, and an
uglier Circe never touched this earth; but she looked happily confident
in the power of her charms. Whilst she was intent upon fascinating
Vivian, he was impatiently waiting for a moment’s intermission of her
volubility, that he might ask what had become of Lady Julia.

“Lady Julia?--She’s somewhere in the room, I suppose.--Oh! no: I
remember, she told me she would go and sit a quarter of an hour with her
brother. She will soon make her appearance, I suppose; but I am so angry
with her for disappointing us all, and you in particular, by changing
her mind about Sigismunda!--Such a capital Tancred as you would have
made! and now you are no character at all! But then, you are only on a
par with certain ladies. Comfort yourself with the great Pope’s (I fear
too true) reflection, that

     ‘Most women have no characters at all.’”

Miss Bateman’s eye glanced insolently, as she spoke, upon Lady
Glistonbury’s trio, who passed by at this instant, all without fancy
dresses. Vivian shocked by this ill-breeding towards the mistress of the
house, offered his arm immediately to Lady Glistonbury, and conducted
her with Lady Sarah and Miss Strictland to their proper places, where,
having seated themselves, each in the same attitude precisely, they
looked more like martyrs prepared for endurance, than like persons in a
ball-room. Vivian stayed to speak a few words to Lady Glistonbury, and
was just going away, when her ladyship, addressing him with more than
her usual formality, said, “Mr. Vivian, I see, has not adopted the
fashion of the day; and as he is the only gentleman present, whose fancy
dress does not proclaim him engaged to some partner equally _fanciful_,
I cannot but wish that my daughter, Lady Sarah, should, if she dance at
all to-night, dance with a gentleman in his own proper character.”

Vivian, thus called upon, felt compelled to ask the honour of Lady
Sarah’s hand; but he flattered himself, that after the first dance he
should have done his duty, and that he should be at liberty by the time
Julia should make her appearance. But, to his great disappointment,
Mr. Russell, who came in just as he had finished the first two dances,
informed him that Lady Julia was determined not to appear at the ball,
but to stay with her brother, who wished for her company. So poor Vivian
found himself doomed to be Lady Sarah’s partner for the remainder of the
night. It happened that, as he was handing her ladyship to supper, in
passing through an antechamber where some of the neighbours of inferior
rank had been permitted to assemble to see _the show_, he heard one
farmer’s wife say to another, “Who _beas_ that there, that’s handing of
Lady Sarah?”--They were detained a little by the crowd, so that he had
time to hear the whole answer.--“Don’t you know?” was the answer. “That
there gentleman is Mr. Vivian of the new castle, that is to be married
to her directly, and that’s what he’s come here for; for they’ve been
engaged to one another ever since the time o’ the election.”

This speech disturbed our hero’s mind considerably; for it awakened a
train of reflections which he had wilfully left dormant. Will it, can it
be believed, that after all his friend Russell’s exhortations, after
his own wise resolutions, he had never yet made any of those explanatory
speeches he had intended?

“Positively,” said he to himself, “this report shall not prevail
four-and-twenty hours longer. I will propose for Lady Julia
Lidhurst before I sleep. Russell, to be sure, advises me not to be
precipitate--to take more time to study her disposition; but I am
acquainted with her sufficiently;” (he should have said, I am in
love with her sufficiently;) “and really now, I am bound in honour
immediately to declare myself--it is the best possible way of putting a
stop to a report which will be ultimately injurious to Lady Sarah.”

Thus Vivian made his past irresolution an excuse for his present
precipitation, flattering himself, as men often do when they are
yielding to the impulse of their passions, that they are submitting
to the dictates of reason. At six o’clock in the morning the company
dispersed. Lord Glistonbury and Vivian were the last in the ball-room.
His lordship began some raillery upon our hero’s having declined
appearing as Tancred, and upon his having devoted himself all night to
Lady Sarah. Vivian seized the moment to explain his real feelings,
and he made his proposal for Lady Julia. It was received with warm
approbation by the father, who seemed to rejoice the more in this
proposal, because he knew that it would disappoint and mortify Lady
Glistonbury. The interests of his hatred seemed, indeed, to occupy his
lordship more than the interests of Vivian’s love; but politeness threw
a decent veil over these feelings; and, after saying all that could be
expected of the satisfaction it must be to a father to see his daughter
united to a man of Mr. Vivian’s family, fortune, talents, and
great respectability; and after having given, incidentally and
parenthetically, his opinions, not only concerning matrimony, but
concerning all other affairs of human life, he wished his future
son-in-law a very good night, and left him to repose. But no rest could
Vivian take--he waited with impatience, that made every hour appear at
least two, for the time when he was again to meet Lady Julia. He saw her
at breakfast; but he perceived by her countenance that she as yet knew
nothing of his proposal. After breakfast Lord Glistonbury said, “Come
with me, my little Julia! it is a long time since I’ve had a walk and a
talk with you.” His lordship paced up and down the terrace, conversing
earnestly with her for some time: he then went on to some labourers,
who were cutting down a tree at the farther end of the avenue. Vivian
hastened out to meet Lady Julia, who, after standing deep in thought for
some moments, seemed returning towards the castle.


“Mr. Vivian, I trust that I am not deficient in maidenly modesty,”
 said Lady Julia, “when it is not incompatible with what I deem a higher
virtue--sincerity. Now and ever, frankness is, and shall be, my
only policy. The confidence I am about to repose in you, sir, is the
strongest proof of my esteem, and of the gratitude I feel for your
attachment.--My heart is no longer in my power to bestow. It is--young
as I am, I dare to pronounce the words--irrevocably fixed upon one who
will do honour to my choice. Your proposal was made to my father--Why
was it not made to me?--Men--all men but one--treat women as puppets,
and then wonder that they are not rational creatures!--Forgive me this
too just reproach. But, as I was going to say, your proposal has
thrown me into great difficulties--the greater because my father warmly
approves of it. I have a strong affection for him; and, perhaps, a
year or two ago, I should, in the ignorance in which I was dogmatically
brought up, have thought it my duty to submit implicitly to parental
authority, and to receive a husband from the hands of a father, without
consulting either my own heart or my own judgment. But, since my mind
has been more enlightened, and has opened to higher views of the dignity
of my sex, and higher hopes of happiness, my ideas of duty have altered;
and, I trust, I have sufficient courage to support my own idea of the
rights of my sex, and my firm conviction of what is just and becoming.”

Vivian was again going to say something; but, whether against or in
favour of the rights of the sex, he had not clearly decided; when her
ladyship saved him the trouble, by proceeding with the train of her

“My sincerity towards my father will, perhaps, cost me dear; but I
cannot repent of it. As soon as I knew the state of my own heart--which
was not till very lately--which was not, indeed, till you gave me reason
to think you seriously liked me--I openly told my father all I knew of
my own heart. Would you believe it?--I am sure I should not, unless
I had seen and felt it--my father, who, you know, professes the most
liberal opinions possible; my father, who, in conversation is ‘All for
love, and the world well lost;’ my father, who let Miss Bateman put the
Heloise into my hands, was astonished, shocked, indignant, at his own
daughter’s confession, I should say, assertion of her preference of a
man of high merit, who wants only the advantages, if they be advantages,
of rank and fortune.

“Mr. Vivian,” continued she, “may I hope that now, when you must be
convinced of the inefficacy of any attempt either to win or to control
my affections, you will have the generosity to spare me all unnecessary
contest with my father? It must render him more averse from the only
union that can make his daughter happy; and it may ruin the fortunes
of--the first, in my opinion, of human beings. I will request another
favour from you--and let my willingness to be obliged by you convince
you that I appreciate your character--I request that you will not only
keep secret all that I have said to you; but that, if accident, or
your own penetration, should hereafter discover to you the object of my
affection, you will refrain from making any use of that discovery to my
disadvantage. You see how entirely I have thrown myself on your honour
and generosity.”

Vivian assured her that the appeal was powerful with him; and that, by
mastering his own passions, and sacrificing his feelings to hers, he
would endeavour to show his strong desire to secure, at all events, her

“You are truly generous, Mr. Vivian, to listen to me with indulgence, to
wish for my happiness, whilst I have been wounding your feelings. But,
without any impeachment of your sincerity, or yet of your sensibility,
let me say, that yours will be only a transient disappointment. Your
acquaintance with me is but of yesterday, and the slight impression made
on your mind will soon be effaced; but upon my mind there has been time
to grave a deep, a first charactery of love, that never, whilst memory
holds her seat, can be erased.--I believe,” said Julia, checking
herself, whilst a sudden blush overspread her countenance--“I am
afraid that I have said too much, too much for a woman. The fault of
my character, I know, I have been told, is the want of what is called

Blushing still more deeply as she pronounced these last words, the
colour darting up to her temples, spreading over her neck, and making
its way to the very tips of her fingers, “Now I have done worse,” cried
she, covering her face with her hands. But the next moment, resuming,
or trying to resume her self-possession, she said, “It is time that I
should retire, now that I have revealed my whole heart to you. It has,
perhaps, been imprudently opened; but for that, your generosity, sir,
is to blame. Had you shown more selfishness, I should assuredly have
exerted more prudence, and have treated you with less confidence.”

Lady Julia quitted him, and Vivian remained in a species of amaze, from
which he could not immediately recover. Her frankness, her magnanimity,
her enthusiastic sensibility, her eloquent beauty, had altogether
exalted, to the highest ecstasy, his love and admiration. Then he walked
about, beating his breast in despair at the thought of her affections
being irrecoverably engaged,--next quarrelled with the boldness of the
confession, the _assertion_ of her love--then decided, that, with all
her shining qualities and noble dispositions, she was not exactly the
woman a man should desire for a wife: there was something too rash, too
romantic about her; there was in her character, as she herself had
said, and as Russell had remarked, too little _reserve_. Something like
jealousy and distrust of his friend arose in Vivian’s mind: “What!” said
he to himself, “and is Russell my rival? and has he been all this time
in secret my rival? Is it possible that Russell has been practising upon
the affections of this innocent young creature--confided to him too?
All this time, whilst he has been cautioning me against her charms,
beseeching me not to propose for her precipitately, is it possible that
he wanted only to get, to keep the start of me?--No--impossible! utterly
impossible! If all the circumstances, all the evidence upon earth
conspired, I would not believe it.”

Resolved not to do injustice, even in his inmost soul, to his friend,
our hero repelled all suspicion of Russell, by reflecting on his long
and tried integrity, and on the warmth and fidelity of his friendship.
In this temper he was crossing the castle-yard to go to Russell’s
apartment, when he was met and stopped by one of the domesticated
friends of the family, Mr. Mainwaring, the young lawyer: he was in the
confidence of Lord Glistonbury, and, proud to show it, he let Mr.
Vivian know that he was apprised of the proposal that had been made,
and congratulated him, and all the parties concerned, on the prospect of
such an agreeable connexion. Vivian was quite unprepared to speak to any
one, much less to a lawyer, upon this subject; he had not even thought
of the means of obeying Lady Julia, by withdrawing his suit; therefore,
with a mixture of vexation and embarrassment in his manner, he answered
in commonplace phrases, meant to convey no precise meaning, and
endeavoured to disengage himself from his companion; but the lawyer, who
had fastened upon him, linking his arm in Vivian’s, continued to walk
him up and down under the great gateway, saying that he had a word or
two of importance for his private ear. This man had taken much pains
to insinuate himself into Vivian’s favour, by the most obsequious and
officious attentions: though his flattery had at first been disgusting,
yet, by persevering in his show of civility, he had at length inclined
Vivian to think that he was too harsh in his first judgment, and to
believe that, “after all, Mainwaring was a good friendly fellow, though
his manner was against him.”

Mr. Mainwaring, with many professions of regard for Vivian, and with
sundry premisings that he hazarded himself by the communication, took
the liberty of hinting, that he guessed, from Mr. Vivian’s manner this
morning, that obstacles had arisen on the part of a young lady who
should be nameless; and he should make bold to add that, in his private
opinion, the said obstacles would never be removed whilst _a certain
person_ remained in the castle, and whilst the young lady alluded to
was allowed to spend so much of her time studying with her brother when
well, or nursing him when sick. Mr. Mainwaring declared that he was
perfectly astonished at Lord Glistonbury’s blindness or imprudence
in keeping this person in the house, after the hints his lordship had
received, and after all the proofs that must or may have fallen within
his cognizance, of the arts of seduction that had been employed. Here
Vivian interrupted Mr. Mainwaring, to beg that he would not keep him
longer in suspense by _inuendoes_, but that he would name distinctly
the object of his suspicions. This, however, Mr. Mainwaring begged to
be excused from doing: he would only shake his head and smile, and leave
people to their own sagacity and penetration. Vivian warmly answered,
that, if Mr. Mainwaring meant Mr. Russell, he was well assured that Mr.
Mainwaring was utterly mistaken in attributing to him any but the most
honourable conduct.

Mr. Mainwaring smiled, and shook his head--smiled again, and sighed, and
hoped Mr. Vivian was right, and observed that time would show; and that,
at all events, he trusted Mr. Vivian would keep profoundly secret the
hint which his friendship had, indiscreetly perhaps, hazarded.

Scarcely had Mr. Mainwaring retired, when Captain Pickering met and
seized upon Vivian, led to the same subject, and gave similar hints,
that Russell was the happy rival who had secretly made himself master of
Lady Julia’s heart. Vivian, though much astonished, finding that
these gentlemen agreed in their discoveries or their suspicions, still
defended his friend Russell, and strongly protested that he would be
responsible for his honour with his life, if it were necessary. The
captain shrugged his shoulders, said it was none of his business, that,
as Mr. Vivian _took it up so warmly,_ he should let it drop; for it was
by no means his intention to get into a quarrel with Mr. Vivian, for
whom he had a particular regard. This said, with all the frankness of a
soldier, Captain Pickering withdrew, adding, as the clergyman passed at
this instant, “There’s a man who could tell you more than any of us, if
he would, but _snug’s_ the word with Wicksted.”

Vivian, in great anxiety and much curiosity, appealed to Mr. Wicksted:
he protested that he knew nothing, suspected nothing, at least could
venture to say nothing; for these were very delicate family matters, and
every gentleman should, on these occasions, make it a principle to see
with his own eyes. Gradually, however, Mr. Wicksted let out his opinion,
and implied infinitely more than Captain Pickering or Mr. Mainwaring
had asserted. Vivian still maintained, in the warmest terms, that it was
impossible his friend Russell should be to blame. Mr. Wicksted simply
pronounced the word _friend_ with a peculiar emphasis, and, with an
incredulous smile, left him to his reflections. Those reflections were
painful; for, though he defended Russell from the attacks of others,
yet he had not sufficient firmness of mind completely to resist the
suggestions of suspicion and jealousy, particularly when they had been
corroborated by so many concurring testimonies. He had no longer the
courage to go immediately to Russell, to tell him of his proposal for
Lady Julia, or to speak to him of any of his secret feelings; but,
turning away from the staircase that led to his friend’s apartment, he
determined to observe Russell with his own eyes, before he should decide
upon the truth or falsehood of the accusations which had been brought
against him. Alas! Vivian was no longer in a condition to observe with
his own eyes; his imagination was so perturbed, that he could neither
see nor hear any thing as it really was. When he next saw Russell and
Lady Julia together, he wondered at his blindness in not having sooner
perceived their mutual attachment: notwithstanding that Lady Julia had
now the strongest motives to suppress every indication of her passion,
symptoms of it broke out continually, the more violent, perhaps, from
her endeavours to conceal them. He knew that she was passionately in
love with Russell; and that Russell should not have perceived what every
other man, even every indifferent spectator, had discovered, appeared
incredible. Russell’s calm manner and entire self-possession sometimes
provoked Vivian, and sometimes quelled his suspicions; sometimes he
looked upon this calmness as the extreme of art, sometimes as a proof of
innocence, which could not be counterfeit. At one moment he was so much
struck with Russell’s friendly countenance, that, quite ashamed of
his suspicions, he was upon the point of speaking openly to him; but,
unfortunately, these intentions were frustrated by some slight obstacle.
At length Miss Strictland, who had lately been very courteous to Mr.
Vivian, took an opportunity of drawing him into one of the recessed
windows; where, with infinite difficulty in bringing herself to speak
on such a subject, after inconceivable bridlings of the head, and
contortions of every muscle of her neck, she insinuated to him her
fears, that my Lord Glistonbury’s confidence had been very ill placed in
Lord Lidhurst’s tutor: she was aware that Mr. Russell had the honour of
Mr. Vivian’s friendship, but nothing could prevent her from speaking,
where she felt it to be so much her duty; and that, as from the
unfortunate circumstances in the family she had no longer any influence
over Lady Julia Lidhurst, nor any chance of being listened to on such a
subject with patience by Lord Glistonbury, she thought the best course
she could take was to apply to Mr. Russell’s friend, who might possibly,
by his interference, prevent the utter disgrace and ruin of one branch
of a noble family.

Miss Strictland, in all she said, hinted not at Vivian’s attachment to
Lady Julia, and gave him no reason to believe that she was apprised of
his having proposed for her ladyship: she spoke with much moderation and
candour; attributed all Lady Julia’s errors to the imprudence of her
new governess, Miss Bateman. Miss Strictland now showed a desire not to
make, but to prevent mischief; even the circumlocutions and stiffness
of her habitual prudery did not, on this occasion, seem unseasonable;
therefore what she suggested made a great impression on Vivian. He
still, however, defended Russell, and assured Miss Strictland that, from
the long experience he had himself had of his friend’s honour, he was
convinced that no temptation could shake his integrity. Miss Strictland
had formed her opinion on this point, she said, and it would be in vain
to argue against it. Every new assertion; the belief of each new person
who spoke to him on the subject; the combination, the coincidence of all
their opinions, wrought his mind to such a height of jealousy, that he
was now absolutely incapable of using his reason. He went in search of
Russell, but in no fit mood to speak to him as he ought. He looked for
him in his own, in Lord Lidhurst’s apartment, in every sitting-room in
the castle; but Mr. Russell was not to be found: at last Lady Sarah’s
maid, who heard him inquiring for Mr. Russell from the servants, told
him, “she fancied that if he took the trouble to go to the west walk,
he might find Mr. Russell, as that was a favourite walk of his.” Vivian
hurried thither, with a secret expectation of finding Lady Julia with
him--there they both were in earnest conversation: as he approached, the
trees concealed him from view; and Vivian heard his own name repeated.
“Stop!” cried he, advancing: “let me not overhear your secrets--I am not
a traitor to my friends!”

As he spoke, his eyes fixed with an expression of concentrated rage upon
Russell. Terrified by Vivian’s sudden appearance and strange address,
and still more by the fierce look he cast on Russell, Lady Julia started
and uttered a faint scream. With astonishment, but without losing his
self-command, Russell advanced towards Vivian, saying, “You are out of
your senses, my dear friend!--I will not listen to you in your present
humour. Take a turn or two with me to cool yourself. The anger of a
friend should always be allowed three minutes’ grace, at least,” added
Russell, smiling, and endeavouring to draw Vivian away: but Vivian stood
immoveable; Russell’s calmness, instead of bringing him to his senses,
only increased his anger; to his distempered imagination this coolness
seemed perfidious dissimulation.

“You cannot deceive me longer, Mr. Russell, by all your art!” cried he.
“Though I am the last to open my eyes, I have opened them. Why did you
pretend to be my counsellor and friend, when you were my rival?--when
you knew that you were my successful rival?----Yes, start and affect
astonishment! Yes--look, if you can, with _innocent_ surprise upon that
lady!--Say that you have not betrayed her father’s confidence!--say,
that you have not practised upon her unguarded heart!--say, that you do
not know that she loves you to distraction!”

“Oh! Mr. Vivian, what have you done?” cried Lady Julia: she could say
no more, but fell senseless on the ground. Vivian’s anger was at once
sobered by this sight.

“What have I done!” repeated he, as they raised her from the ground.
“Wretch! dishonourable villain that I am! I have betrayed her
secret--But I thought every body knew it!----Is it possible that _you_
did not know it, Russell?”

Russell made no reply, but ran to the river which was near them for
some water--Vivian was incapable of affording any assistance, or even of
forming a distinct idea. As soon as Lady Julia returned to her senses,
Russell withdrew; Vivian threw himself on his knees before her, and
said something about the violence of his passion--his sorrow--and
her forgiveness. “Mr. Vivian,” said Lady Julia, turning to him with a
mixture of despair and dignity in her manner, “do not kneel to me;
do not make use of any commonplace phrases--I cannot, at this moment,
forgive you--you have done me an irreparable injury. I confided a secret
to you--a secret known to no human being but my father and yourself--you
have revealed it, and to whom?--Sooner would I have had it proclaimed to
the whole world than to ----; for what is the opinion of the whole world
to me, compared to his?--Sir, you have done me, indeed, an irremediable
injury!--I trusted to your honour--your discretion--and you have
betrayed, sacrificed me.”

“Vile suspicions!” cried Vivian, striking his forehead: “how could I
listen to them for a moment!”

“Suspicions of Mr. Russell!” cried Julia, with a look of high
indignation--“Suspicions of your noble-minded friend!--What wickedness,
or what weakness!”

“Weakness!--miserable weakness!--the sudden effect of jealousy; and
could you know, Lady Julia, by what means, by what arts, my mind was
worked up to this insanity!”

“I cannot listen to this now, Mr. Vivian,” interrupted Lady Julia: “my
thoughts cannot fix upon such things--I cannot go back to the past--what
is done cannot be undone--what has been said cannot be unsaid.--You
cannot recall your words--they were heard--they were understood. I beg
you to leave me, sir, that I may have leisure to _think_--if possible,
to consider what yet remains for me to do. I have no friend--none, none
willing or capable of advising me! I begged of you to leave me, sir.”

Vivian could not, at this moment, decide whether he ought or ought not
to tell Lady Julia that her secret was known, or at least suspected, by
many individuals of the family.

“There’s a servant on the terrace who seems to be looking for us,” said
Vivian; “I had something of consequence to say--but this man--”

“My lady, Miss Bateman desired me to let you know, my lady, that
there is the Lady Playdels, and the colonel, and Sir James, in the
drawing-room, just come;--and she begs, my lady, you will be pleased to
come to them; for Miss Bateman’s waiting for you, my lady, to repeat the
verses, she bid me say, my lady.”

“Go to them, Mr. Vivian; I cannot go.”

“My lady,” persisted the footman, “my lord himself begged you to come;
and he and all the gentlemen have been looking for you every where.”

“Return to my father, then, and say that I am coming immediately.”

“Forced into company!” thought Lady Julia, as she walked slowly towards
the house; “compelled to appear calm and gay, when my heart is--what
a life of dissimulation! How unworthy of me, formed, as I was once
pronounced to be, for every thing that is good and great!--But I am no
longer mistress of myself--no soul left but for one object. Why did
I not better guard my heart?--No!--rather, why can I not follow its
dictates, and at once avow and justify its choice?”

Vivian interrupted Lady Julia’s reverie by pointing out to her, as they
passed along the terrace, a group of heads, in one of the back windows
of the castle, that seemed to be watching them very earnestly. Miss
Strictland’s face was foremost; half her body was out of the window; and
as she drew back, they heard her say--“It is not he!--It is not he!”--As
they passed another front of the castle, another party seemed to be
upon the watch at a staircase window;--the lawyer, the captain, the
clergyman’s heads appeared for a moment, and vanished.

“They seem all to be upon the watch for us,” said Vivian.

“Meanness!” cried Lady Julia. “To watch or to be watched, I know not
which is most degrading; but I cannot think they are watching us.”

“My dear Lady Julia!--yet let me call you dear this once--my hopes are
gone!--even for your forgiveness I have no right to hope--but let me do
you one piece of service--let me put your open temper on its guard. You
flatter yourself that the secret you confided to me is not known to
any body living but to your father--I have reason to believe that it
is suspected, if not positively known, by several other persons in this


“I am certain, too certain, of what I say.”

Lady Julia made a sudden stop; and, after a pause, exclaimed--

“Then farewell hope! and, with hope, farewell fear!”

“My lady, my lord sent me again, for my lord’s very impatient for you,
my lady,” said the same footman, returning. Lord Glistonbury met them in
the hall.--“Why, Julia! where have you been all this time?” he began, in
an imperious tone; but seeing Mr. Vivian, his brow grew smooth and his
voice good-humoured instantly.--“Ha!--So! so!--Hey! well!--All right!
all right!--Good girl! good girl!--Time for every thing--Hey! Mr.
Vivian?--‘Que la solitude est charmante!’ as Voltaire says--Beg
pardon for sending for you; but interruption, you know, prevents
_têtes-à-têtes_ on the stage from growing tiresome; and the stage, they
say, holds the mirror up to nature. But there’s no nature now left to
hold the mirror up to, except in a few odd instances, as in my Julia
here!--Where so fast, my blushing darling?”

“I thought you wished, sir, that I should go to Lady Playdel and Sir

“Ay, ay, I sent for you to repeat those charming verses for them that I
could not clearly remember.--Go up! go up!--We’ll follow you!--We have a
word or two to say about something--that’s nothing to you.”

Lord Glistonbury kept Vivian for a full hour in a state of considerable
embarrassment, talking to him of Lady Julia, implying that she was
favourably disposed towards him, but that she had a little pride, that
might make her affect the contrary at first. Then came a disquisition
on pride, with quotations and commonplaces;--then an eulogium, by his
lordship, on his lordship’s own knowledge of the human heart, and more
especially of that “moving toyshop,” the female heart; then anecdotes
illustrative, comprising the gallantries of thirty years in various
ranks of life, with suitable bon-mots and embellishments;--then a little
French sentiment, by way of moral, with some philosophical axioms,
to show that, though he had led such a gay life, he had been a deep
thinker, and that, though nobody could have thought that he had had time
for reading, his genius had supplied him, he could not himself really
tell how, with what other people with the study of years could not
master:--all which Vivian was compelled to hear, whilst he was the whole
time impatient to get away, that he might search for Mr. Russell, with
whom he was anxious to have an explanation. But, at last, when Lord
Glistonbury set him free, he was not nearer to his object. Mr. Russell,
he found upon inquiry, had not returned to the castle, nor did he return
to dinner; he sent word that he was engaged to dine with a party of
gentlemen at a literary club, in a country town nine miles distant.
Vivian spent the greatest part of the evening in Lord Lidhurst’s
apartment, expecting Russell’s return; but it grew so late, that Lord
Lidhurst, who was still indisposed, went to bed; and when Vivian quitted
his lordship, he met Russell’s servant in the gallery, who said his
master had been come in an hour ago: “but, sir,” added the man, “my
master won’t let you see him, I am sure; for he would not let me in, and
he said, that, if you asked for him, I was to answer, that he could not
see you to-night.”--Vivian knocked in vain at Russell’s door; he could
not gain admission; so he went reluctantly to bed, determined to rise
very early, that he might see his friend as soon as possible, obtain his
forgiveness for the past, and ask his advice for the future.


Suspense, curiosity, love, jealousy, remorse, any one of which is enough
to keep a person awake all night, by turns agitated poor Vivian so
violently, that for several hours he could not close his eyes; but at
last, when quite exhausted, he fell into a profound sleep. The first
image that came before his mind, when he awoke in the morning, was that
of Lady Julia; his next recollection was of Russell.

“Is Mr. Russell up yet?” said Vivian to his servant, who was bringing in
his boots.

“Up, sir! Oh, yes, hours ago!--He was _off_ at daybreak!”

“Off!” cried Vivian, starting up in his bed; “off!--Where is he gone?”

“I can’t say, sir. Yes, indeed, sir, I heard Mr. Russell’s man say, that
his master was going post to the north, to some old uncle that was taken
ill, which he heard about at dinner from some of those gentlemen where
he dined yesterday; but I can’t say positively. But here’s a letter he
left for you with me.”

“A letter!--Give it me!--Why didn’t you give it me sooner?”

“Why really, sir, you lay so sound, I didn’t care to waken you; and I
was up so late myself, too, last night.”

“Leave me now; I’ll ring when I want you.”


“I would not see you, after what passed yesterday, because I feared that
I should not speak to you with temper. Lest you should misinterpret any
thing I have formerly said, I must now solemnly assure you, that I never
had the slightest suspicion of the secret you revealed to me till the
moment when it was betrayed by your indiscretion. Still I can
scarcely credit what appears to me so improbable; but, even under this
uncertainty, I think it my duty to leave this family. Had the slightest
idea of what you suggested ever crossed my imagination, I should then
have acted as I do now. I say this, not to justify myself, but to
convince you, that what I formerly hinted about reserve of manners and
prudence was merely a _general reflection_.

“For my own part, I seem to act HEROICALLY; but I must disclaim that
applause to which I am not entitled. All powerful as the temptation must
appear to you, dangerous as it must have been, in other circumstances,
to me, I cannot claim any merit for resisting its influence. My safety I
owe neither to my own prudence or fortitude. I must now, Vivian, impart
to you a secret which you are at liberty to confide where and when you
think necessary--my heart is, and has long been, engaged. Whilst you
were attached to Miss Sidney, I endeavoured to subdue my love for
her; and every symptom of it was, I hope and believe, suppressed. This
declaration cannot now give you any pain; except so far as it may,
perhaps, excite in your mind some remorse for having unwarrantably,
unworthily, and weakly, suffered yourself to feel suspicions of a true
friend. Well as I know the infirmity of your character, and willing as I
have always been to make allowance for a fault which I thought time and
experience would correct, I was not prepared for this last stroke; I
never thought your weakness of mind would have shown itself in suspicion
of your best, your long-tried friend.--But I am at last convinced that
your mind is not strong enough for confidence and friendship. I pity,
but I see that I can no longer serve; and I feel that I can no longer
esteem you. Farewell! Vivian. May you find a friend, who will supply to
you the place of H. RUSSELL.”

Vivian knew Russell’s character too well to flatter himself that the
latter part of this letter was written in anger that would quickly
subside; from the tone of the letter he felt that Russell was deeply
offended. In the whole course of his life he had depended on Russell’s
friendship as a solid blessing, of which he could never be deprived by
any change of circumstances--by any possible chance in human affairs;
and now to have lost such a friend by his own folly, by his own
weakness, was a misfortune of which he could hardly believe the reality.
At the same moment, too, he learned how nobly Russell had behaved
towards him, in the most trying situation in which the human heart can
be placed. Russell’s love for Selina Sidney, Vivian had never till
this instant suspected. “What force, what command of mind!--What
magnanimity!--What a generous friend he has ever been to me!--and I--”

Poor Vivian, always sinning and always penitent, was so much absorbed by
sorrow for the loss of Russell’s friendship, that he could not for some
time think even of the interests of his love, or consider the advantage
which he might derive from the absence of his rival, and from that
rival’s explicit declaration, that his affections were irrevocably
engaged. By degrees these ideas rose clearly to Vivian’s view; his hopes
revived. Lady Julia would see the absolute impossibility of Russell’s
returning, or of his accepting her affection; her good sense, her pride,
would in time subdue this hopeless passion; and Vivian was generous
enough, or sufficiently in love, to feel that the value of her heart
would not be diminished, but rather increased in his opinion, by the
sensibility she had shown to the talents and virtues of his friend. _His
friend_, Vivian ventured now to call him; for with the hopes of love,
the hopes of friendship rose.

“All may yet be well!” said he to himself. “Russell will forgive me
when he hears how I was worked upon by those parasites and prudish
busybodies, who infused their vile suspicions into my mind. Weak as
it is, I never will allow that it is incapable of confidence or of
friendship!--No! Russell will retract that harsh sentence. When he is
happy, as I am sure I ardently hope he will be, in Selina’s love, he
will restore me to his favour. Without his friendship, I could not be
satisfied with myself, or happy in the full accomplishment of all my
other fondest hopes.”

By the time that hope had thus revived and renovated our hero’s soul;
by the time that his views of things had totally changed, and that the
colour of his future destiny had turned from black to white--from all
gloom to all sunshine; the minute-hand of the clock had moved with
unfeeling regularity, or, in plain unmeasured prose, it was now eleven
o’clock, and three times Vivian had been warned that breakfast was
ready. When he entered the room, the first thing he heard, as usual, was
Miss Bateman’s voice, who was declaiming upon some sentimental point, in
all “the high sublime of deep absurd.” Vivian, little interested in
this display, and joining neither in the open flattery nor in the secret
ridicule with which the gentlemen wits and amateurs listened to the
Rosamunda, looked round for Lady Julia. “She breakfasts in her own
room this morning,” whispered Lord Glistonbury, before Vivian had even
pronounced her ladyship’s name.

“So!” said Mr. Pickering, “we have lost Mr. Russell this morning!”

“Yes,” said Lord Glistonbury, “he was forced to hurry away to the north,
I find, to an old sick uncle.”

“Lord Lidhurst, I’m afraid, will break his heart for want of him,”
 cried the lawyer, in a tone that might either pass for earnest or irony,
according to the fancy of the interpreter.

“Lord Lidhurst, did you say?”--cried the captain: “are you sure you
meant Lord Lidhurst? I don’t apprehend that a young nobleman ever broke
his heart after his tutor. But I was going to remark----”

What farther the captain was going to remark can never be known to the
world; for Lord Glistonbury so startled him by the loud and rather angry
tone in which he called for the cream, which _stood_ with the captain,
that all his few ideas were put to flight. Mr. Pickering, who noticed
Lord Glistonbury’s displeasure, now resumed the conversation about Mr.
Russell in a new tone; and the lawyer and he joined in a eulogy
upon that gentleman. Lord Glistonbury said not a word, but looked
embarrassed. Miss Strictland cleared her throat several times, and
looked infinitely more rigid and mysterious than usual. Lady Glistonbury
and Lady Sarah, ditto--ditto. Almost every body, except such visitors
as were strangers at the castle, perceived that there was something
extraordinary going on in the family; and the gloom and constraint
spread so, that, towards the close of breakfast, nothing was uttered, by
prudent people, but awkward sentences about the weather--the wind--and
the likelihood of there being a mail from the continent. Still through
all this, regardless and unknowing of it all, the Rosamunda talked on,
happily abstracted, egotistically secured from the pains of sympathy
or of curiosity by the all-sufficient power of vanity. Even her patron,
Lord Glistonbury, was at last provoked and disgusted. He was heard,
under his breath, to pronounce a contemptuous _Pshaw!_ and, as he rose
from the breakfast table he whispered to Vivian, “There’s a woman, now,
who thinks of nothing living but herself!--All talkèe talkèe!--I begin
to be weary of her.----Gentlemen,” continued his lordship, “I’ve letters
to write this morning.----You’ll ride--you’ll walk--you’re for the
billiard-room, I suppose.----Mr. Vivian, I shall find you in my study, I
hope, an hour hence; but first I have a little business to settle.” With
evident embarrassment Lord Glistonbury retired. Lady Glistonbury,
Lady Sarah, and Miss Strictland, each sighed; then, with looks of
intelligence, rose and retired. The company separated soon afterwards;
and went to ride, to walk, or to the billiard-room, and Vivian to the
study, to wait there for Lord Glistonbury, and to meditate upon what
might be the nature of his lordship’s business. As Vivian crossed the
gallery, the door of Lady Glistonbury’s dressing-room opened, and was
shut again instantaneously by Miss Strictland; but not before he saw
Lady Julia kneeling at her father’s feet, whilst Lady Glistonbury and
Lady Sarah were standing like statues, on each side of his lordship.
Vivian waited a full hour afterwards in tedious suspense in the study.
At last he heard doors open and footsteps, and he judged that the family
council had broken up; he laid down a book, of which he had read the
same page over six times, without any one of the words it contained
having conveyed a single idea to his mind. Lord Glistonbury came in,
with papers and parchments in his hands.

“Mr. Vivian, I am afraid you have been waiting for me--have a thousand
pardons to ask--I really could not come any sooner--I wished to speak
to you--Won’t you sit down?--We had better sit down quietly--there’s no
sort of hurry.”

His lordship, however, seemed to be in great agitation-of spirits;
and Vivian was convinced that his mind must be interested in an
extraordinary manner, because he did not, as was his usual practice,
digress to fifty impertinent episodes before he came to the point. He
only blew his nose sundry times; and then at once said, “I wish to speak
to you, Mr. Vivian, about the proposal you did me the honour to make
for my daughter Julia. Difficulties have occurred on our side--very
extraordinary difficulties--Julia, I understand, has hinted to you,
sir, the nature of those difficulties.--Oh, Mr. Vivian,” said Lord
Glistonbury, suddenly quitting the constrained voice in which he spoke,
and giving way to his natural feelings, “you are a man of honour and
feeling, and a father may trust you!----Here’s my girl--a charming
girl she is; but knowing nothing of the world--self-willed, romantic,
open-hearted, imprudent beyond conception; do not listen to any of the
foolish things she says to you. You are a man of sense, you love her,
and you are every way suited to her; it is the first wish of my heart--I
tell you frankly--to see her your wife: then do not let her childish
folly persuade you that her affections are engaged--don’t listen to any
such stuff. We all know what the first loves of a girl of sixteen must
be--But it’s our fault--my fault, my fault, since they will have it so.
I care not whose fault it is; but we have had very improper people about
her--very!--very!--But all may be well yet, if you, sir, will be steady,
and save her--save her from herself. I would farther suggest----”

Lord Glistonbury was going on, probably, to have weakened by
amplification the effect of what he had said, when Lady Julia entered
the room; and, advancing with dignified determination of manner, said,
“I have your commands, father, that I should see Mr. Vivian again:--I

“That is right--that is my darling Julia; I always knew she would
justify my high opinion of her.” Lord Glistonbury attempted to draw her
towards him fondly; but, with an unaltered manner, that seemed as if
she suppressed strong emotion, she answered, “I do not deserve your
caresses, father; do not oppress me with praise that I cannot merit: I
wish to speak to Mr. Vivian without control and without witness.”

Lord Glistonbury rose; and growing red and almost inarticulate with
anger, exclaimed, “Remember, Julia! remember, Lady Julia Lidhurst! that
if you say what you said you would say, and what I said you should not
say--I--Lord Glistonbury, your father--I, as well as all the rest of
your family, utterly disclaim and cast you off for ever!--You’ll be a
thing without fortune--without friends--without a name--without a being
in the world--Lady Julia Lidhurst!”

“I am well aware of that,” replied Lady Julia, growing quite pale, yet
without changing the determination of her countenance, or abating any
thing from the dignity of her manner: “I am well aware, that on what
I am about to do depends my having, or my ceasing from this moment to
have, fortune, friends, and a father.”

Lord Glistonbury stood still for a moment--fixed his eyes upon her as if
he would have read her soul; but, without seeking to elude his inquiry,
her countenance seemed to offer itself to his penetration.

“By Heaven, there is no understanding this girl!” cried his lordship.
“Mr. Vivian, I trust her to your honour--to your knowledge of the
world--to your good sense;--in short, sir, to your love and constancy.”

“And I, sir,” said Lady Julia, turning to Vivian, after her father
had left the room, and looking at Vivian so as to stop him short as he
approached, and to disconcert him in the commencement of a passionate
speech; “and I, too, sir, trust to your honour, whilst I deprecate your
love. Imprudent as I was in the first confidence I reposed in you, and
much as I have suffered by your rashness, I now stand determined
to reveal to you another yet more important, yet more humiliating
secret--You owe me no gratitude, sir!--I am compelled, by the
circumstances in which I am placed, either to deceive or to trust you.
I must either become your wife, and deceive you most treacherously; or
I must trust you entirely, and tell you why it would be shameful that I
should become your wife--shameful to me and to you.”

“To me!--Impossible!” cried Vivian, bursting into some passionate
expressions of love and admiration.

“Listen to me, sir; and do not make any of those rash professions, of
which you will soon repent. You think you are speaking to the same
Lady Julia you saw yesterday--No!--you are speaking to a very different
person--a few hours have made a terrible change. You see before you,
sir, one who has been, till this day, the darling and pride of her
father; who has lived in the lap of luxury; who has been flattered,
admired, by almost all who approached her; who had fortune, and rank,
and fair prospects in life, and youth, and spirits, and all the pride of
prosperity; who had, I believe, good dispositions, perhaps some talents,
and, I may say, a generous heart; who might have been,--but that is all
over--no matter what she might have been--she is

     ‘A tale for ev’ry prating she.’

Fallen!--fallen! fallen under the feet of those who worshipped
her!--fallen below the contempt of the contemptible!--Worse! worse!
fallen in her own opinion--never to rise again.”

Lady Julia’s voice failed, and she was forced to pause. She sunk upon a
seat, and hid her face--for some moments she neither saw nor heard; but
at last, raising her head, she perceived Vivian.

“You are in amazement, sir! and I see you pity me; but let me beg of you
to restrain your feelings--my own are as much as I can bear. O that I
could recall a few hours of my existence! But I have not yet been able
to tell you what has passed. My father, my friends, wish to conceal it
from you: but, whatever I have done, however low I have sunk, I will not
deceive, nor be an accomplice in deceit. From my own lips you shall hear
all. This morning at daybreak, not being able to sleep, and having some
suspicion that Mr. Russell would leave the castle, I rose, and whilst I
was dressing, I heard the trampling of horses in the court. I looked out
of my window, and saw Mr. Russell’s man saddling his master’s horse. I
heard Mr. Russell, a moment afterwards, order the servant to take the
horses to the great gate on the north road, and wait for him there,
as he intended to walk through the park. I thought these were the last
words I should ever hear him speak.--Love took possession of me--I stole
softly down the little staircase that leads from my turret to one of
the back doors, and got out of the castle, as I thought, unobserved: I
hurried on, and waited in the great oak wood, through which I knew Mr.
Russell would pass. When I saw him coming nearer and nearer to me, I
would have given the world to have been in my own room again--I hid
myself among the trees--yet, when he walked on in reverie without
noticing me, taking me probably for one of the servants, I could not
bear to think that this was the last moment I should ever see him, and I
exclaimed--I know not what; but I know that at the sound of my voice
Mr. Russell started, and never can I forget the look--Spare me the
rest!--No!--I will not spare myself--I offered my heart, my hand,--and
they were rejected!--In my madness I told him I regarded neither
wealth, nor rank, nor friends, nor--That I would rather live with him
in obscurity than be the greatest princess upon earth--I said this
and more--and I was rejected--And even at this moment, instead of the
vindictive passions which are said to fill the soul of a woman scorned,
I feel admiration for your noble friend: I have not done him justice;
I cannot repeat his words, or describe his manner. He persuaded, by his
eloquence compelled, me to return to this castle. He took from me all
hope; he destroyed by one word all my illusions--he told me that he
loves another. He has left me to despair, to disgrace; and yet I love,
esteem, and admire him, above all human beings! Admire one who despises
me!--Is it possible? I know not, but it is so--I have more to tell you,
sir!--As I returned to the castle, I was watched by Miss Strictland. How
she knew all that had passed, I cannot divine; perhaps it was by means
of some spy who followed me, and whom I did not perceive: for I neither
saw nor heard any thing but my passion. Miss Strictland communicated
her discovery immediately to my father. I have been these last two hours
before a family tribunal. My mother, with a coldness a thousand times
worse than my poor father’s rage, says, that I have only accomplished
her prophecies; that she always knew and told my father that I should be
a disgrace to my family. But no reproaches are equal to my own; I stand
self-condemned. I feel like one awakened from a dream. A few words!--a
single look from Mr. Russell!--how they have altered all my views,
all my thoughts! Two hours’ reflection--Two hours, did I say?--whole
years--a whole existence--have passed to me in the last two hours: I
am a different creature. But it is too late--too late!--Self-esteem is
gone!--happiness is over for me in this world.”

“Happiness over for you!” exclaimed Vivian in a tone expressive of the
deep interest he felt for her; “Self-esteem gone!--No! Lady Julia;
do not blame yourself so severely for what has passed! Blame the
circumstances in which you have been placed; above all, blame me--blame
my folly--my madness; your secret never would have been known, if I had

“I thank you,” interrupted Lady Julia, rising from her seat; “but no
consolation can be of any avail. It neither consoles nor justifies me
that others have been to blame.”

“Permit me, at least,” pursued Vivian, “to speak of my own sentiments
for one moment. Permit me to say, Lady Julia, that the confidence with
which you have just honoured me, instead of diminishing my attachment,
has so raised my admiration for your candour and magnanimity, that no
obstacles shall vanquish my constancy. I will wait respectfully, and,
if I can, patiently, till time shall have effaced from your mind these
painful impressions; I shall neither ask nor accept of the interference
or influence of your father, nor of any of your friends; I shall rely
solely on the operation of your own excellent understanding, and shall
hope for my reward from your noble heart.”

“You do not think it possible,” said Lady Julia, looking at Vivian with
dignified determination, “you do not think it possible, after all that
has passed, after all that I have told you, that I could so far degrade
myself or you, as to entertain any thoughts of becoming your wife?
Farewell! Mr. Vivian.----You will not see me again. I shall obtain
permission to retire, and live with a relation in a distant part of the
country; where I shall no more be seen or heard of. My fortune will, I
hope, be of use to my sister.----My poor father!--I pity him; he loves
me: he loses his daughter for ever; worse than loses her! My mother,
too--I pity her! for, though she does not love me, she will suffer for
me; she will suffer more than my father, by the disgrace that would be
brought upon my family, if ever the secret should be publicly known. My
brother!--Oh, my beloved brother! he knows nothing yet of all this!--But
why do I grieve you with my agony of mind? Forget that Lady Julia
Lidhurst ever existed!--I wish you that happiness which I can never
enjoy--I wish you may deserve and win a heart capable of feeling real


Convinced that all farther pursuit of Lady Julia Lidhurst would be
vain, that it could tend only to increase her difficulties and his
mortification, Vivian saw that the best thing he could possibly do was
to leave Glistonbury. Thus he should relieve the whole family from the
embarrassment of his presence; and, by immediate change of scene and
of occupation, he had the best chance of recovering from his own
disappointment. If Lady Julia was to quit the castle, he could have
no inducement to stay; if her ladyship remained, his continuing in her
society would be still more dangerous to his happiness. Besides, he felt
offended with Lord Glistonbury, who evidently had wished to conceal from
him the truth; and, without considering what was just or honourable, had
endeavoured to secure, at all events, an establishment for his daughter,
and a connexion for his family. To the weight of these reasons must be
added a desire to see Mr. Russell, and to effect a reconciliation with
him. The accumulated force of all these motives had power to overcome
Vivian’s habitual indecision: his servant was surprised by an order to
have every thing ready for his journey to town immediately. Whilst his
man prepared to obey, or at least to meditate upon the cause of this
unusually decided order, our hero went in quest of Lord Glistonbury,
to pay his compliments to his lordship previous to his departure. His
lordship was in his daughter Julia’s dressing-room, and could not be
seen; but presently he came to Vivian in great hurry and distress of

“A sad stroke upon us, Mr. Vivian!--a sad stroke upon us all--but most
upon me; for she was the child of my expectations--I hear she has
told you every thing--you, also, have been very ill-used--Never was
astonishment equal to mine when I heard Miss Strictland’s story. I need
not caution you, Mr. Vivian, as to secrecy; you are a man of honour, and
you see the peace of our whole family is at stake. The girl is going
to a relation of ours in Devonshire.--Sha’n’t stay here--sha’n’t stay
here--Disgrace to my family--She who was my pride--and, after all, says
she will never marry.--Very well!--very well!--I shall never see her
again, that I am determined upon.--I told her, that if she did not
behave with common sense and propriety, in her last interview with you,
I would give her up--and so I will, and so I do.--The whole is Lady
Glistonbury’s fault--she never managed her rightly when she was a child.
Oh! I should put you on your guard in one particular--Miss Bateman knows
nothing of what has happened--I wish Miss Strictland knew as little--I
hate her. What business had she to play the spy upon my daughter? She
does well to be a prude, for she is as ugly as sin. But we are in her
power. She is to go to-morrow with Julia to Devonshire. It will make a
quarrel between me and Miss Bateman--no matter for that; for now, the
sooner we get rid of that Rosamunda, too, the better--she talks me dead,
and will let no one talk but herself. And, between you and me, all
this could not have happened, if she had looked after her charge
properly.--Not but what I think Miss Strictland was still less fit to
guide a girl of Julia’s genius and disposition. All was done wrong at
first, and I always said so to Lady Glistonbury. But, if the secret can
be kept--and _that_ depends on you, my dear friend--after six months’ or
a twelve-month’s _rustication_ with our poor parson in the country, you
will see how tamed and docile the girl will come back to us. This is my
scheme; but nobody shall know my whole mind but you--I shall tell her
I will never see her again; and that will pacify Lady Glistonbury, and
frighten Julia into submission. She says she’ll never marry.--Stuff!
Stuff!--You don’t believe her!--What man who has seen any thing of the
world ever believes such stuff?”

Vivian’s servant came into the room to ask his master some question
about horses.

“Going!--where? Going!--when? Going!--how?” cried Lord Glistonbury, as
soon as the servant withdrew. “Surely, you are not going to leave us,
Mr. Vivian?”

Vivian explained his reasons--Lord Glistonbury would not allow them any
weight, entreated and insisted that he should stay at least a few days
longer; for his going “just at this moment would seem quite like a
break up in the family, and would be the most unfriendly and cruel thing
imaginable.” Why Lord Glistonbury so earnestly pressed his stay, perhaps
even his lordship himself did not exactly know; for, with all the air of
being a person of infinite address and depth of design, his lordship was
in reality childishly inconsistent; what the French call _inconséquent_.
On any subject, great or small, where he once took it into his head, or,
as he called it, _made it a point_, that a thing should be so or so, he
was as peremptory, or, where he could not be peremptory, as anxious,
as if it were a matter of life and death. In his views there was no
perspective, no keeping--all objects appeared of equal magnitude; and
even now, when it might be conceived that his whole mind was intent upon
a great family misfortune, he, in the course of a few minutes, became
as eager about a mere trifle as if he had nothing else in the world to
think of. From the earnestness with which Lord Glistonbury urged him to
stay a few days, at least one day longer, Vivian was induced to believe
that it must be a matter of real consequence to his lordship--“And, in
his present state of distress, I cannot refuse such a request,” thought
Vivian. He yielded, therefore, to these solicitations, and consented to
stay a few days longer; though he knew the prolonging his visit would
be, in every respect, disagreeable.

At dinner Lord Glistonbury announced to the company that the physician
had advised change of air immediately for Lord Lidhurst; and that,
in consequence, his son would set out early the next morning for
Devonshire--that his daughter Julia wished to go with her brother, and
that Miss Strictland would accompany them. Lord Glistonbury apologized
for his daughter’s absence, “preparations for her journey so suddenly
decided upon,” &c. Lady Glistonbury and Lady Sarah looked terribly
grim whilst all this was saying; but the gravity and stiffness of their
demeanour did not appear any thing extraordinary to the greater part of
the company, who had no idea of what was going forward. The lawyer, the
captain, and the chaplain, however, interchanged significant looks; and
many times, during the course of the evening, they made attempts to draw
out Vivian’s thoughts, but they found him impenetrable. There was an
underplot of a quarrel between Miss Strictland and Miss Bateman,
to which Vivian paid little attention; nor was he affected, in the
slightest degree, by the Rosamunda’s declaration to Lord Glistonbury,
that she must leave his family, since she found that Miss Strictland had
a larger share than herself of his lordship’s confidence, and was, for
what reason she could not divine, to have the honour of accompanying
Lady Julia into Devonshire. Vivian perceived these quarrels, and heard
the frivolous conversation of the company at Glistonbury Castle without
interest, and with a sort of astonishment at the small motives by which
others were agitated, whilst his whole soul was engrossed by love and
pity for Lady Julia. In vain he hoped for another opportunity of seeing
and speaking to her. She never appeared. The next morning he rose at
daybreak that he might have the chance of seeing her: he begged Miss
Strictland to entreat her ladyship would allow him to say a few words
before she set out; but Miss Strictland replied, that she was assured
the request would be vain; and he thought he perceived that Miss
Strictland, though she affected to lament Lady Julia’s blindness to her
own interests and contumacy, in opposing her father’s wishes, was,
in reality, glad that she persisted in her own determination. Lord
Lidhurst, on account of the weak state of his health, was kept in
ignorance of every thing that could agitate him; and, when Vivian took
leave of him, the poor young man left many messages of kindness and
gratitude for Mr. Russell.

“I am sorry that he was obliged to leave me; for, ill or well, there is
no human being, I will not except any one but my sister Julia, whom I
should so much wish to have with me. Tell him so; and tell him--be
sure you remember my very words, for perhaps I shall never see him
again--tell him, that, living or dying, I shall feel grateful to him. He
has given me tastes and principles very different from those I had when
he came into this house. Even in sickness, I feel almost every hour
the advantage of my present love for literature. If I should live and
recover, I hope I shall do him some credit; and I trust my family
will join in my gratitude. Julia, my dear sister! why do you weep so
bitterly?--If I had seen you come into the room, I would not have spoken
of my health.”

Lord Glistonbury came up to tell them that Miss Strictland was ready.
“Mr. Vivian,” cried his lordship, “will you hand Julia into the
carriage?--Julia, Mr. Vivian is offering you his services.”

Vivian, as he attended Lady Julia, had so much respect for her feelings,
that, though he had been waiting with extreme impatience for an
opportunity _to say a few words_, yet now he would not speak, but handed
her along the gallery, down the staircase, and across the great hall, in
profound silence. She seemed sensible of this forbearance; and, turning
to him at a moment when they could not be overheard, said, “It was not
from unkindness, Mr. Vivian, I refused to see you again, but to convince
you that my mind is determined--if you have any thing to say, I am ready
to hear it.”

“Is there nothing to be hoped from time?” said Vivian. “Your father, I
know, has hopes that----All I ask is, that you will not make any rash

“I make none; but I tell _you_, for your own sake, not to cherish any
vain hope. My father does not know my mind sufficiently, therefore he
may deceive you; but I will not.----I thought, after the manner in which
I spoke to you yesterday, you would have had too much strength of mind
to have rendered this repetition of my sentiments necessary.----Attach
yourself elsewhere as soon as you can.--I sincerely wish your happiness.
Miss Strictland is waiting.--Farewell!”

She hurried forward to the carriage; and, when she was gone, Vivian
repented that he had seen her again, as it had only given them both
additional and fruitless pain.

What passed during some succeeding days at Glistonbury Castle he
scarcely knew; no trace remained in his mind of anything but the
confused noise of people, who had been talking, laughing, and diverting
themselves in a manner that seemed to him incomprehensible. He exerted
himself, however, so far as to write to Russell, to implore his
forgiveness, and to solicit a return of his friendship, which, in his
present state of unhappiness, was more necessary to him than ever. When
he had finished and despatched this letter, he sunk again into a sort of
reckless state, without hope or determination, as to his future life.
He could not decide whether he should go to his mother immediately on
leaving Glistonbury, or to Mr. Russell, or (which he knew was the best
course he could pursue) attend his duty in parliament, and, by plunging
at once into public business, change the course of his thoughts, and
force his mind to resume its energy. After altering his determination
twenty times, after giving at least a dozen contradictory orders about
his journey, his servant at last had his ultimatum, _for London_--the
carriage to be at the door at ten o’clock the next morning. Every thing
was ready at the appointed hour. Breakfast over, Vivian waited only to
pay his compliments to Lady Glistonbury, who had breakfasted in her own
apartment. Lady Sarah, with a manner as formal as usual, rose from the
breakfast-table, and said she would let her mother know that Mr.
Vivian was going. Vivian waited half an hour--an hour--two hours. Lady
Glistonbury did not appear, nor did Lady Sarah return. The company had
dispersed after the first half-hour. Lord Glistonbury began to believe
that the ladies did not mean to make their appearance. At length a
message came from Lady Glistonbury.--“Lady Glistonbury’s compliments to
Mr. Vivian--her ladyship was concerned that it was out of her power to
have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Vivian, as she was too much indisposed
to leave her room.--She and Lady Sarah wished him a very good journey.”

Vivian went up to his room for his gloves, which he missed at the moment
when he was going. Whilst he was opening the empty drawers one after
another, in search of his gloves, and, at the same time, calling
his servant to find them, he heard a loud scream from an adjoining
apartment. He listened again--all was silent; and he supposed that what
he had heard was not a scream: but, at that moment, Lady Sarah’s maid
flung open his door, and, running in with out-stretched arms, threw
herself at Vivian’s feet. Her sobs and tears prevented his understanding
one syllable she said. At last she articulated intelligibly, “Oh,
sir!--don’t be so cruel to go--my lady!--my poor lady! If you go, it
will kill Lady Sarah!”

“Kill Lady Sarah?--Why I saw her in perfect health this morning at

“Dear, dear sir! you know nothing of the matter!” said the maid, rising,
and shutting the door: “you don’t know what a way she has been in ever
since the talk of your going--fits upon fits every night, and my lady,
her mother, and I up holding her--and none in the house knowing it but
ourselves. Very well at breakfast! Lord help us! sir. How little you
know of what she has suffered! Lord have mercy upon me! I would not be
a lady to be so much in love, and left so, for any thing in the whole
world. And my Lady Sarah keeps every thing so to herself;--if it was not
for these fits they would never have knowed she cared no more for you
than a stone.”

“And, probably you are quite mistaken,” said Vivian; “and that I have
nothing to do with the young lady’s illness. If she has fits, I am
very sorry for it; but I can’t possibly----Certainly, you are quite

“Lord, sir!--mistaken! As if I could be mistaken, when I know my lady as
well as I know myself! Why, sir, I know from the time of the election,
when you was given to her by all the country--and to be sure when we
all thought it would be a match directly--and the Lord knows what put
it off!--I say, from that time, her heart was set upon you. Though she
never said a word to me, or any one, I knew how it was, through all her
coldness--And to be sure, when you was in Lon’on so much with us, all
the town said, as all the country did afore, that to be sure it was to
be a match--But then that sad affair, with that artfullest of women,
that took you off from all that was good, and away, the Lord knows
where, to foreign parts!--Well! to be sure, I never shall forget the day
you come back again to us!--and the night of the ball!--and you dancing
with my lady, and all so happy; then, to be sure, all were sarten it was
to be immediately----And now to go and break my poor lady’s heart at the
last--Oh, sir, sir! if you could but see her, it would touch a heart of

Vivian’s astonishment and dismay were so great, that he suffered
the girl, who was an unpractised creature, to go on speaking without
interruption: the warmth of affection with which she spoke of her lady,
also, surprised him: for, till this instant, he had no idea that any one
could love Lady Sarah Lidhurst; and the accounts she gave of the lady’s
sufferings not only touched his compassion, but worked upon his vanity.
“This cold, proud young lady that never loved none before, to think,”
 as her maid said, “that she should come to such a pass, as to be in fits
about him. And it was her belief that Lady Sarah never would recover it,
if he went away out of the castle this day.”

The ringing of a bell had repeatedly been heard, whilst Lady Sarah’s
maid was speaking; it now rang violently, and her name was called
vehemently from the adjoining apartment. “I must go, I _must_ go!--Oh,
sir! one day, for mercy’s sake! stay one day longer!”

Vivian, though he had been moved by this girl’s representations,
was determined to effect his retreat whilst it was yet in his power;
therefore he ran down stairs, and had gained the hall, where he was
shaking hands with Lord Glistonbury, when my Lady Glistonbury’s own
woman came in a great hurry to say, that her lady, finding herself a
little better now, and able to see Mr. Vivian, begged he would be so
good as to walk up to her dressing-room.

Vivian, with a heavy heart and slow steps, obeyed; there was no
refusing, no evading such a request. He summoned all his resolution, at
the same time saying to himself, as he followed his conductor along the
gallery, “It is impossible that I can ever be drawn in to marry Lady
Sarah.--This is a concerted plan, and I shall not be so weak as to be
the dupe of so gross an artifice.”

Lady Glistonbury’s maid showed him into her lady’s dressing-room and
retired. Lady Glistonbury was seated, and, without speaking, pointed to
a chair which was set opposite to her. “So! a preparation for a scene,”
 thought Vivian. He bowed, but, still keeping his hat in his hand, did
not sit down:--he was extremely happy to hear, that her ladyship found
herself something better--much honoured by her permitting him to pay
his respects, and to offer his grateful acknowledgments to her ladyship
before his departure from Glistonbury.

Her ladyship, still without speaking, pointed to the chair. Vivian
sat down, and looked as if he had “screwed his courage to the sticking
place.” Lady Glistonbury had sometimes a little nervous trembling of
her head, which was the only symptom of internal agitation that was ever
observable in her; it was now increased to a degree which Vivian had
never before seen.

“Are you in haste, sir, to be gone?” said Lady Glistonbury.

“Not if her ladyship had any commands for him; but otherwise, he had
intended, if possible, to reach town that night.”

“I shall not delay you many minutes, Mr. Vivian,” said her ladyship.
“You need not be under apprehension that Lady Glistonbury should seek to
detain you longer than your own inclinations induce you to stay; it is,
therefore, unnecessary to insult her with any appearance of haste or

Vivian instantly laid down his hat, and protested that he was not in
the slightest degree impatient: he should be very ungrateful, as well as
very ill-bred, if, after the most hospitable manner in which he had been
received and entertained at Glistonbury Castle, he could be in haste to
quit it. He was entirely at her ladyship’s orders.

Lady Glistonbury bowed formally--was again silent--the trembling of her
head very great--the rest of her form motionless.

“I have sent for you, Mr. Vivian,” said she, “that I might, before you
leave this castle, set you right on a subject which much concerns me.
From the representations of a foolish country girl, a maid-servant of my
daughter, Lady Sarah Lidhurst, which I have just discovered she has made
to you, I had reason to fear that you might leave Glistonbury with very
false notions----”

A cry was heard at this moment from the inner apartment, which made
Vivian start; but Lady Glistonbury, without noticing it, went on

“With notions very injurious to my daughter Sarah; who, if I know any
thing of her, would rather, if it were so ordained, go out of this
world, than condescend to any thing unbecoming her sex, her education,
and her family.”

Vivian, struck with respect and compassion for the mother, who spoke to
him in this manner, was now convinced that there had been no concerted
plan to work upon his mind, that the maid had spoken without the
knowledge of her lady; and the more proudly solicitous Lady Glistonbury
showed herself to remove what she called the false impression from his
mind, the more he was persuaded that the girl had spoken the truth. He
was much embarrassed between his good-nature and his dread of becoming a
sacrifice to his humanity.

He replied in general terms to Lady Glistonbury, that he had the highest
respect for Lady Sarah Lidhurst, and that no opinion injurious to her
could be entertained by him.

“Respect she must command from all,” said Lady Glistonbury; “_that_ it
is out of any man’s power to refuse her: as to the rest, she leaves you,
and I leave you, sir, to your own conscience.”

Lady Glistonbury rose, and so did Vivian. He hoped that neither her
ladyship nor Lady Sarah had any cause----He hesitated; the words, _to
reproach, to complain, to be displeased_, all came to his lips; but each
seemed improper; and, none other being at hand to convey his meaning,
he could not finish his sentence: so he began another upon a new
construction, with “I should be much concerned if, in addition to all my
other causes of regret in leaving Glistonbury Castle, I felt that I had
incurred Lady Glistonbury’s or Lady Sarah’s displea--disapprobation.”

“As to that, sir,” said Lady Glistonbury, “I cannot but have my own
opinion of your conduct; and you can scarcely expect, I apprehend, that
a mother, such as I am, should not feel some disapprobation of conduct,
which has----Sir, I beg I may not detain you--I have the honour to wish
you a good journey and much happiness.”

An attendant came from an inner apartment with a message! from Lady
Sarah, who was worse, and wished to see her mother--“Immediately!--tell
her, immediately!”

The servant returned with the answer. Vivian was retiring, but he
came back, for he saw at that moment a convulsive motion contract Lady
Glistonbury’s face: she made an effort to walk; but if Vivian had
not supported her instantly, she must have fallen. She endeavoured to
disengage herself from his assistance, and again attempted to walk.

“For God’s sake, lean upon me, madam!” said Vivian, much alarmed. With
his assistance, she reached the door of the inner room: summoning all
the returning powers of life, she then withdrew her arm from his, and
pointing back to the door at which Vivian entered, she said, “That is
your way, sir.”

“Pardon me--I cannot go--I cannot leave you at this moment,” said

“This is my daughter’s apartment, sir,” said Lady Glistonbury, stopping,
and standing still and fixed. Some of the attendants within, hearing her
ladyship’s voice, opened the door; Lady Glistonbury made an effort
to prevent it, but in vain: the chamber was darkened, but as the door
opened, the wind from an open window blew back the curtain, and some
light fell upon a canopy bed, where Lady Sarah lay motionless, her eyes
closed, and pale as death; one attendant chafing her temples, another
rubbing her feet: she looked up just after the door opened, and, raising
her head, she saw Vivian--a gleam of joy illumined her countenance, and
coloured her cheek.

“Sir,” repeated Lady Glistonbury, “this is my daughter’s----”

She could articulate no more. She fell across the threshold, struck with
palsy. Her daughter sprang from the bed, and, with Vivian’s assistance,
raised and carried Lady Glistonbury to an arm-chair near the open
window, drew back the curtain, begged Vivian to go to her father, and
instantly to despatch a messenger for medical assistance. Vivian sent
his own servant, who had his horse ready at the door, and he bid the man
go as fast as he could.

“Then you don’t leave Glistonbury to-day, sir?” said the servant.

“Do as I order you--Where’s Lord Glistonbury?”

His lordship, with the newspapers and letters open in his hand,
came up--but they dropped on hearing the intelligence that Vivian
communicated. His lordship was naturally humane and good-natured; and
the shock was greater, perhaps, to him, from the sort of enmity in which
he lived with Lady Glistonbury.

“I dread to go up stairs,” said he. “For God’s sake, Vivian, don’t
leave me in this distress!--do order your carriage away!----Put up Mr.
Vivian’s carriage.”

Lady Sarah’s maid came to tell them that Lady Glistonbury had recovered
her speech, and that she had asked, “if Mr. Vivian was gone?”

“Do come up with me,” cried Lord Glistonbury, “and she will see you are
not gone.”

“Here’s my lord and Mr. Vivian, my lady,” said the girl.

Then, turning to Lady Glistonbury’s woman, she added, in a loud whisper,
“Mr. Vivian won’t go to-day.”

Lady Sarah gave her maid some commission, which took her out of the
room. Lady Sarah, no longer the formal, cold, slow personage whom
Vivian detested, now seemed to him, and not only seemed but was, quite
a different being, inspired with energy, and quickness, and presence
of mind: she forgot herself, and her illness, and her prudery, and
her love, and every other consideration, in the sense of her mother’s
danger. Lady Glistonbury had but imperfectly recovered her recollection.
At one moment she smiled on Vivian, and tried to stretch out her hand to
him, as she saw him standing beside Lady Sarah. But when he approached
Lady Glistonbury, and spoke to her, she seemed to have some painful
recollection, and, looking round the room, expressed surprise and
uneasiness at his being there. Vivian retired; and Lord Glistonbury, who
was crying like a child, followed, saying, “Take me out with
you--Dr. G---- ought to be here before now--I’ll send for another
physician!--Very shocking--very shocking--at Lady Glistonbury’s time of
life, too--for she is not an old woman by any means. Lady Glistonbury
is eighteen months younger than I am!--Nobody knows how soon it may be
their turn!--It’s very shocking!--If I had known she was ill, I would
have had advice for her sooner. She is very patient--too patient--a
great deal too patient. She never will complain--never tells what she
feels, body or mind--at least never tells _me_; but that may be my fault
in some measure. Should be very sorry Lady Glistonbury went out of the
world with things as they are now between us. Hope to God she will get
over this attack!--Hey! Mr. Vivian?”

Vivian said whatever he could to fortify this hope, and was glad to see
Lord Glistonbury show feelings of this sort. The physician arrived, and
confirmed these hopes by his favourable prognostics. In the course
of the day and night her face, which had been contracted, resumed
its natural appearance; she recovered the use of her arm: a certain
difficulty of articulation, and thickness of speech, with what the
physician called hallucination of mind, and a general feebleness of
body, were all the apparent consequences of this stroke. She was not
herself sensible of the nature of the attack, or clear in her ideas of
any thing that had passed immediately previous to it. She had only an
imperfect recollection of her daughter’s illness, and of some hurry
about Mr. Vivian’s going away. She was, however, well enough to go into
her dressing-room, where Vivian went to pay his respects to her, with
Lord Glistonbury. By unremitting exertions, and unusual cheerfulness,
Lady Sarah succeeded in quieting her mother’s confused apprehensions on
her account. When out of Lady Glistonbury’s hearing, all the attendants
and the physicians repeatedly expressed fear that Lady Sarah would
over-fatigue and injure herself by this extraordinary energy; but her
powers of body and mind seemed to rise with the necessity for exertion;
and, on this great occasion, she suddenly discovered a warmth and
strength of character, of which few had ever before discerned even the
slightest symptoms.

“Who would have expected this from Sarah?” whispered Lord Glistonbury to
Vivian. “Why, her sister did not do more for me when I was ill! I always
knew she loved her mother, but I thought it was in a quiet, commonplace
way--Who knows but she loves me too?--or might--” She came into the
room at this moment--“Sarah, my dear,” said his lordship, “where are my
letters and yesterday’s papers, which I never read?--I’ll see if there
be any thing in them that can interest your mother.”

Lord Glistonbury opened the papers, and the first article of public news
was, “a dissolution of parliament confidently expected to take place
immediately.” This must put an end to Vivian’s scheme of going to town
to attend his duty in parliament. “But, may be, it is only newspaper
information.” It was confirmed by all Lord Glistonbury and Vivian’s
private letters. A letter from his mother, which Vivian now for the
first moment had time to peruse, mentioned the dissolution of parliament
as certain; she named her authority, which could not be doubted; and, in
consequence, she had sent down supplies of wine for an election; and she
said that she would “be immediately at Castle Vivian, to keep open house
and open heart for her son. Though not furnished,” she observed, “the
castle would suit the better all the purposes of an election; and
she should not feel any inconvenience, for her own part, let the
accommodations be what they might.”

Lord Glistonbury directly proposed and insisted upon Lady Mary
Vivian’s making Glistonbury her head-quarters. Vivian objected: Lady
Glistonbury’s illness was an ostensible and, he hoped, would be a
sufficient excuse for declining the invitation. But Lord Glistonbury
persisted: “Lady Glistonbury, he was sure, would wish it--nothing would
be more agreeable to her.” His lordship’s looks appealed to Lady Sarah,
but Lady Sarah was silent; and, when her father positively required her
opinion, by adding, “Hey! Sarah?” she rather discouraged than pressed
the invitation. She said, that though she was persuaded her mother
would, if she were well, be happy to have the pleasure of seeing Lady
Mary Vivian; yet she could not, in her mother’s present situation,
venture to decide how far her health might be able to stand any election

Lady Sarah said this with a very calm voice, but blushed extremely as
she spoke; and, for the first time, Vivian thought her not absolutely
plain; and, for the first time, he thought even the formality and
deliberate coolness of her manner were not disagreeable. He liked her
more, at this moment, than he had ever imagined it possible he could
like Lady Sarah Lidhurst; but he liked her chiefly because she did not
press him into her service, but rather forwarded his earnest wish to get
away from Glistonbury.

Lord Glistonbury appealed to the physician, and asked whether company
and amusement were not “the best things possible for his patient?
Lady Glistonbury should not be left alone, surely! Her mind should be
interested and amused; and an election would be a fortunate circumstance
just at present!”

The physician qualified the assent which his lordship’s peremptory tone
seemed to demand, by saying, “that certainly moderate amusement, and
whatever interested without agitating her ladyship, would be salutary.”
 His lordship then declared that he would leave it to Lady Glistonbury
herself to decide: quitting the end of the room where they were holding
their consultation, he approached her ladyship to explain the matter.
But Lady Sarah stopped him, beseeching so earnestly that no appeal might
be made to her mother, that Vivian was quite moved; and he settled the
business at once to general satisfaction, by declaring that, though
neither he nor Lady Mary Vivian could think of intruding as inmates
at present, yet that they should, as soon as Lady Glistonbury’s health
would permit, be as much at Glistonbury Castle as possible; and that the
short distance from his house would make it, he hoped, not inconvenient
to his lordship for all election business. Lord Glistonbury acceded, and
Lady Sarah appeared gratefully satisfied. His lordship, who always took
the task of explanation upon himself, now read the paragraph about the
dissolution aloud to Lady Glistonbury; informed her, that Lady Mary
Vivian was coming immediately to the country; and that they should hope
to see Lady Mary and Mr. Vivian almost every day, though he could
not prevail upon them to take up their abode during the election
at Glistonbury. Lady Glistonbury listened, and tried, and seemed to
understand--bowed to Mr. Vivian and smiled, and said she remembered he
was often at Glistonbury during the last election--that she was happy
to hear she should have the pleasure to see Lady Mary Vivian--that some
people disliked _election times_, but for her part she did not, when she
was strong. Indeed, the last election she recollected with particular
pleasure--she was happy that Lord Glistonbury’s interest was of
service to Mr. Vivian. Then “she hoped his canvass _to-day_ had been
successful?”--and asked some questions that showed her mind had become
confused, and that she was confounding the past with the present. Lady
Sarah and Mr. Vivian said a few words to set her right--she looked
first at one, and then at the other, listening, and then said--“I
understand--God bless you both.” Vivian took up his hat, and looked out
of the window, to see if his carriage was at the door.

“Mr. Vivian wishes you a good morning, madam,” said Lady Sarah: “he is
going to Castle Vivian, to get things ready for Lady Mary’s arrival.”

“I wish you health and happiness, sir,” said Lady Glistonbury,
attempting to rise, whilst some painful reminiscence altered her

“Pray do not stir, don’t disturb yourself, Lady Glistonbury. I shall pay
my respects to your ladyship again as soon as possible.”

“And pray bring me good news of the election, and how the poll stands
to-morrow, Mr. Vivian,” added her ladyship, as he left the room.


Vivian, who had felt oppressed and almost enslaved by his compassion,
breathed more freely when he at last found himself in his carriage,
driving away from Glistonbury. His own castle, and the preparations for
his mother’s arrival, and for the expected canvass, occupied him so much
for the ensuing days, that he had scarcely time to think of Lady Julia
or of Lady Sarah, of Russell or Selina: he could neither reflect on the
past, nor anticipate the future; the present, the vulgar present,
full of upholsterers, and paper-hangers, and butlers, and grooms, and
tenants, and freeholders, and parasites, pressed upon his attention with
importunate claims. The dissolution of parliament took place. Lady
Mary Vivian arrived almost as soon as the newspaper that brought this
intelligence: with her came a new set of thoughts, all centering in
the notion of her son’s consequence in the world, and of his
happiness--ideas which were too firmly associated in her mind ever to be
separated. She said that she had regretted his having made such a long
stay in the country during the last session, because he had missed
opportunities of distinguishing himself farther in parliament. The
preceding session her ladyship had received gratifying compliments on
her son’s talents, and on the figure he had _already_ made in public
life; she felt her self-love as well as her affection interested in
his continuing his political career with spirit and success. “As to the
present election,” she observed, “there could be little doubt that he
would be re-elected with the assistance of the Glistonbury interest;
and,” added her ladyship, smiling significantly, “I fancy your interest
is pretty strong in that quarter. The world has given you by turns to
Lady Julia and Lady Sarah Lidhurst; and I am asked continually which of
the Lady Lidhursts you are in love with. One of these ladies certainly
must be my daughter-in-law; pray, if you know, empower me to say which.”
 Lady Mary Vivian spoke but half in earnest, till the extraordinary
commotion her words created in her son, convinced her that the report
had not, now at least, been mistaken.

“Next to Miss Selina Sidney,” continued Lady Mary, “who, after her
positive and long persisted-in refusal, is quite out of the question, I
have, my dear son, always wished to see you married to one of the
Lady Lidhursts; and, of course, Lady Julia’s talents, and beauty, and

Vivian interrupted and hastily told his mother that Lady Julia Lidhurst
was as much out of the question as Miss Sidney could be; for that he had
offered himself, and had been refused; and that he had every reason to
believe that the determination of his second mistress against him would
be at least as absolute and unconquerable as that of his first. His
mother was in amazement. That her son could be refused by Lady Julia
Lidhurst appeared a moral and political impossibility, especially when
the desire for a connexion between the families had been so obvious on
the side of the Glistonburys. What could be the meaning of this? Lady
Julia was perhaps under an error, and fancied he was some way engaged to
Miss Sidney; “or, perhaps,” said Lady Mary, who had a ready wit for
the invention of delicate distresses, “perhaps there is some difficulty
about the eldest sister, Lady Sarah; for you know the first winter you
were given to her.--Ay, that must be the case. I will go to Glistonbury
to-morrow, and I will have Lady Julia to myself for five minutes: I
think I have some penetration, and I will know the truth.”

Lady Mary was again surprised, by hearing from her son that Lady
Julia was not at Glistonbury--that she was gone with her brother into
Devonshire. So there was a dead silence for some minutes, succeeded by
an exclamation from Lady Mary, “There is some grand secret here--I
must know it!” Her ladyship forthwith commenced a close and able
cross-examination, which Vivian stopped at last by declaring that he
was not at liberty to speak upon the subject: he knew, he said, that his
mother was of too honourable and generous a temper to press him farther.
His mother was perfectly honourable, but at the same time extremely
curious; and though she continually repeated, “I will not ask you
another question--I would not upon any account lead you to say a
syllable that could betray any confidence reposed in you, my dear son;”
 yet she indulged herself in a variety of ingenious conjectures: “I know
it is so;” or, “I am sure that I have guessed now, but I don’t ask
you to tell me.--You do right to deny it.”--Amongst the variety of her
conjectures, Lady Mary did not find out the truth; she was prepossessed
by the idea that Russell was attached to Selina Sidney--a secret which
her own penetration had discovered whilst her son was abroad with
Mrs. Wharton, and which she thought no mortal living knew but herself.
Pre-occupied with this notion, Russell was now omitted in all her
combinations. His having quitted Glistonbury did not create any
suspicion of the real cause of his sudden departure, because there was
a sufficient reason for his going to the north to see his sick relation;
and Lady Mary was too good a philosopher to assign two causes for the
same event, when she had found one that was adequate to the production
of the effect. She therefore quietly settled it in her imagination, that
Lady Julia Lidhurst was going to be married immediately to a certain
young nobleman, who had been lately at Glistonbury whilst they were
acting plays. The next day she went with Vivian to Glistonbury Castle;
for, waiving all the ceremonials of visiting, she was anxious to see
poor Lady Glistonbury, of whose illness she had been apprised, in
general terms, by her son. An impulse of curiosity, mixed perhaps with
motives of regard for her good friend Lady Glistonbury, hastened this
visit. They found Lady Glistonbury much better; she looked nearly as
well as she had done before this stroke; and she had now recovered her
memory, and the full use of her understanding. Vivian observed, that
she and Lady Sarah were both convinced, by Lady Mary Vivian’s curiosity,
that he had given no hint of any thing which they did not wish to be
known: and the pleasurable consciousness of his integrity disposed him
to be pleased with them. Lord Glistonbury, on his side, was convinced
that Vivian had behaved honourably with respect to his daughter Julia;
so all parties were well satisfied with each other. His lordship
answered Lady Mary Vivian’s inquiries after his son and his daughter
Julia by saying, that Miss Strictland had just returned to Glistonbury
with rather more favourable accounts of Lord Lidhurst’s health, and that
Julia and he were now at his brother the Bishop of ----‘s. Between this
brother and my Lord Glistonbury there had never been any great intimacy,
their characters and their politics being very different. The moment
Lady Mary Vivian heard Lord Glistonbury pronounce, with such unusual
cordiality, the words, “my brother the bishop,” she recollected that the
bishop had a very amiable, accomplished, and remarkably handsome son;
so she arranged directly in her imagination that this was the person to
whom Lady Julia was engaged. Being now thoroughly convinced that
this last conjecture was just, she thought no more about Lady Julia’s
affairs; but turned her attention to Lady Sarah, whose cold and guarded
manners, however, resisted her utmost penetration. Disappointed in all
her attempts to lead to sentiment or love, the conversation at last ran
wholly upon the approaching election, upon the canvass, and the strength
of the various interests of the county; on all which subjects Lady Sarah
showed surprisingly exact information. Presently Lord Glistonbury took
Vivian with him to his study to examine some poll-book, and then
put into his hands a letter from Lady Julia Lidhurst, which had been
enclosed in one to himself.

“I told you that I intended to _rusticate_ Julia,” said his lordship,
“with a poor parson and his wife--relations, distant relations of
ours in Devonshire; but this plan has been defeated by my foolish good
brother the bishop. On their journey they passed close by his palace;
I charged Miss Strictland to be incog.; but they stayed to rest in the
town, for Lidhurst was fatigued; and some of the bishop’s people found
them out, and the bishop sent for them, and at last came himself. He was
so sorry for Lidhurst’s illness, and, as Miss Strictland says, so much
charmed with Julia, whom he had not seen since she was a child, that he
absolutely took possession of them; and Julia has made her party good
with him, for he writes me word he cannot part with her; that I must
allow her to remain with him; and that they will take all possible care
of Lyndhurst’s health. I believe I must yield this point to the bishop;
for altogether it looks better that Julia should be at the palace than
at the parsonage; and, though my poor brother has not the knowledge of
the world one could wish, or that is necessary to bring this romantic
girl back to reason, yet--But I keep you from reading your letter, and
I see you are impatient--Hey?--very natural!--but, I am afraid, all in
vain--I’ll leave you in peace. At any rate,” added Lord Glistonbury,
“you know I have always stood your firm friend in this business; and you
know I’m discreet.”

Vivian never felt so grateful for any instance of his lordship’s
friendship and discretion as for that which he gave at this moment, by
quitting the room, and leaving him in peace to read his letter.


“Before you open this letter, you will have heard, probably, that my
uncle, the Bishop of ----, has taken me under his protection. I cannot
sufficiently regret that I was not a few years, a few months, sooner,
blessed with such a Mentor. I never, till now, knew how much power
kindness has to touch the mind in the moment of distress; nor did I
ever, till now, feel how deeply the eloquence of true piety sinks into
the heart. This excellent friend will, I hope, in time restore me to my
better self. From the abstraction, the selfishness of passion, I think
I am already somewhat recovered. After being wholly absorbed by one
sentiment, I begin to feel again the influence of other motives, and to
waken to the returning sense of social duty. Among the first objects to
which, in recovering from this trance, or this fever of the soul, I have
power to turn my attention, your happiness, sir, next to that of my
own nearest relations, I find interests me most. After giving you this
assurance, I trust you will believe that, to insure the felicity, or
even to restore the health and preserve the life of any relation
or friend I have upon earth, I should not think myself justified in
attempting to influence your mind to any thing which I did not sincerely
and firmly believe would be for your permanent advantage as well as for
theirs. Under the solemn faith of this declaration, I hope that you will
listen to me with patience and confidence. From all that I have myself
seen, and from all that I have heard of your character, I am convinced
that your wife should be a woman of a disposition precisely opposite, in
many respects, to mine. Your character is liable to vary, according to
the situations in which you are placed; and is subject to sudden but
transient impressions from external circumstances. You have hitherto had
a friend who has regulated the fluctuations of your passions; now that
he is separated from you, how much will you feel the loss of his cool
and steady judgment! Should you not, therefore, in that bosom friend, a
wife, look for a certain firmness and stability of character, capable
of resisting, rather than disposed to yield, to sudden impulse; a
character, not of enthusiasm, but of duty; a mind, which, instead of
increasing, by example and sympathy, any defects of your own--pardon the
expression--should correct or compensate these by opposite qualities?
And supposing that, with such sobriety and strength of character as I
have described, there should be connected a certain slowness, formality,
and coldness of manner, which might not at first be attractive to a man
of your vivacity, let not this repel you: when once you have learned
to consider this manner as the concomitant and indication of qualities
essential to your happiness, it would, I am persuaded, become agreeable
to you; especially as, on nearer observation, you would soon discover
that, beneath that external coldness, under all that snow and ice, there
is an accumulated and concentrated warmth of affection.

“Of this, sir, you must lately have seen an example in my own family.
At the moment when my poor mother was struck with palsy, you saw my
sister’s energy; and her character, probably, then appeared to you in a
new point of view. From this burst of latent affection for a parent, you
may form some idea what the power of the passion of love would be in her
soul; some idea, I say; for I am persuaded that none but those who
know her as well as I do can form an adequate notion of the strength of
attachment of which she is capable.

“You will be surprised, perhaps, sir, to hear me reason so coolly for
others on a subject where I have acted so rashly for myself; and you
may feel no inclination to listen to the advice of one who has shown so
little prudence in her own affairs: therefore, having stated my reasons,
and suggested my conclusions, I leave you to apply them as you think
proper; and I shall only add, that the accomplishment of my wishes, on
this subject, would give me peculiar satisfaction. It would relieve my
mind from part of a weight of self-reproach. I have made both my parents
unhappy. I have reason to fear that the shock my mother received, by my
means, contributed much to her late illness. An event that would
restore my whole family to happiness must, therefore, be to me the most
desirable upon earth. I should feel immediate relief and delight, even
in the hope of contributing to it by any influence I can have over your
mind. And, independently of the pleasure and pride I should feel
in securing my sister’s happiness and yours, I should enjoy true
satisfaction, sir, in that intimate friendship with you, which only the
ties of such near relationship could permit or justify. You will accept
of this assurance, instead of the trite and insulting, because unmeaning
or unsafe, offer of friendship, which ladies sometimes make to those who
have been their lovers.


“---- Palace:”

At the first reading of this letter, Vivian felt nothing but a renewal
of regret for having lost all chance of obtaining the affections of the
person by whom it was written: on a second perusal, he was moved by the
earnest expression of her wishes for his happiness; and the desire to
gratify her, on a point on which she was so anxious, influenced him much
more than any of her arguments. Whatever good sense the letter contained
was lost upon him; but all the sentiment operated with full force, yet
not with sufficient power to conquer the repugnance he still felt to
Lady Sarah’s person and manners. Lord Glistonbury made no inquiries
concerning the contents of his daughter Julia’s letter; but, as far
as politeness would permit, he examined Vivian’s countenance when he
returned to the drawing-room. Lady Glistonbury’s manner was as calm as
usual; but the slight shake of her head was a sufficient indication
of her internal feelings. Lady Sarah looked pale, but so perfectly
composed, that Vivian was convinced she, at least, knew nothing of
her sister’s letter. So great indeed was the outward composure, and so
immoveable was Lady Sarah, that it provoked Lady Mary past endurance;
and as they drove home in the evening, she exclaimed, “I never saw
such a young woman as Lady Sarah Lidhurst! She is a stick, a stone, a
statue--she has completely satisfied my mind on one point. I own that
when I found Lady Julia was out of the question, I did begin to think
and wish that Lady Sarah might be my daughter-in-law, because she
has really been so carefully brought up, and the connexion with the
Glistonbury family is so desirable: then I had a notion, before I saw
her this morning, that the girl liked you, and might be really capable
of attachment; but now, indeed, I am convinced of the folly of that
notion. She has no feeling--none upon earth--scarcely common sense!
She thinks of nothing but how she holds her elbows. The formality and
importance with which she went on cutting off ends of worsted from that
frightful tapestry work, whilst I talked of you, quite put me out of all
manner of patience. She has no feeling--none upon earth!”

“Oh, ma’am,” said Vivian, “you do her injustice: she certainly has
feeling--for her mother.”

“Ay, for her mother, may be! a kind of mechanical affection!”

“But, ma’am, if you had seen her at the time that her mother was struck
with palsy!”

Much to his own surprise, Vivian found himself engaged in a defence, and
almost in an eulogium upon Lady Sarah; but the injustice of his mother’s
attack, on this point, was, he knew, so great, that he could not join in
Lady Mary’s invective.

“Why, my dear Charles!” said she, “do you recollect, on this very road,
as we were returning from Glistonbury Castle, this time two years, you
called Lady Sarah a petrifaction?”

“Yes, ma’am; because I did not know her then.”

“Well, my dear, I must have time to analyze her more carefully, and
I suppose I shall discover, as you have done, that she is not a
petrifaction. So, then, Lady Sarah really is to be the woman after all.
I am content, but I absolutely cannot pretend to like her--I like the
connexion, however; and the rest is your affair.--You haven’t proposed

“Bless me! no, ma’am! God forbid! How fast your imagination goes, my
dear mother!--Is there no difference between saying, that a woman is not
a petrifaction, and being in love with her?”

“In love! I never said a word about being in love--I know that’s
impossible--I asked only if you had proposed for her?”

“Dear ma’am, no!”

Lady Mary expressed her satisfaction; and, perhaps, the injustice with
which she continued, for some days, to asperse Lady Sarah Lidhurst, as
being unfeeling, served her more, in Vivian’s opinion, than any other
mode in which she could have spoken of her ladyship. Still he felt glad
that he had not _yet proposed_. He had not courage either to recede or
advance; circumstances went on, and carried him along with them, without
bringing him to any decision. The business of the election proceeded;
every day Lord Glistonbury was with him, or he was at Glistonbury
Castle; every hour he saw more plainly the expectations that were
formed: sometimes he felt that he was inevitably doomed to fulfil these,
and at other times he cherished the hope that Lady Julia would soon
return home, and that, by some fortunate revolution, she might yet be
his. He had not now the advantage of Russell’s firmness to support
him in this emergency. Russell’s answer to his letter was so coolly
determined, and he so absolutely declined interfering farther in his
affairs, that Vivian saw no hopes of regaining his friendship, or of
benefiting by his counsels. Thus was Vivian in all the helplessness
and all the horrors of indecision, when an event took place, which
materially changed the face of affairs in the Glistonbury family. Just
at the time when the accounts of his health were the most favourable,
and when his friends were deceived by the most sanguine hopes of his
recovery, Lord Lidhurst died. His mother was the only person in
the family who was prepared for this catastrophe: they dreaded to
communicate the intelligence to her, lest it should bring on another
attack of her dreadful malady; but to their astonishment, she heard it
with calm resignation,--said she had long foreseen this calamity, and
that she submitted to the will of Heaven. After pity for the parents who
lost this amiable and promising young man, heir to this large fortune
and to this splendid title, people began to consider what change would
be made in the condition of the rest of the family. The Lady Lidhursts,
from _being very small fortunes_, became heiresses to a large
estate. The earldom of Glistonbury was to devolve to a nephew of Lord
Glistonbury, in case the Lady Lidhursts should not marry, or should not
have heirs male; but, in case they should marry, the title was to go
to the first son. All these circumstances were of course soon known and
talked of in the neighbourhood; and many congratulated Vivian upon the
great accession of fortune, and upon the high expectations of the lady
to whom they supposed him engaged.

On the first visit which Vivian and his mother paid after the death of
Lord Lidhurst at Glistonbury Castle, they found there a young man very
handsome, but of a dark, reserved countenance, whose physiognomy and
manner immediately prepossessed them against him; on his part, he seemed
to eye them with suspicion, and to be particularly uneasy whenever
Vivian either mentioned the election or approached Lady Sarah. This
young man was Mr. Lidhurst, Lord Glistonbury’s nephew and heir-at-law.
It was obvious, almost at first sight, that the uncle disliked the
nephew; but it was not so easy to perceive that the nephew despised the
uncle. Mr. Lidhurst, though young, was an excellent politician; and his
feelings were always regulated by his interests. He had more abilities
than Lord Glistonbury, less vanity, but infinitely more ambition. In
Lord Glistonbury, ambition was rather affected, as an air suited to
his rank, and proper to increase his consequence: Mr. Lidhurst’s was an
earnest, inordinate ambition, yet it was cold, silent, and calculating;
his pride preyed upon him inwardly, but it never hurried him into saying
or doing an extravagant thing. Those who were not actuated solely
by ambition, he always looked upon as fools, and those who were, he
considered, in general, as knaves: the one he marked as dupes, the other
as rivals. He had been at the Bishop of ----‘s, during Lord Lidhurst’s
illness, and at the time of his death. Ever since Lady Julia’s arrival
at the bishop’s, he had foreseen the probability of this event, and had,
in consequence of the long-sightedness of his views, endeavoured to make
himself agreeable to her. He found this impossible; but was, however,
easily consoled by hearing that she had resolved never to marry; he only
hoped that she would keep her resolution; and he was now at Glistonbury
Castle, in the determination to propose for his other cousin, Lady
Sarah, who would, perhaps, equally well secure to him his objects.

“Well! my dear Vivian,” said Lord Glistonbury, drawing him aside, “how
d’ye relish my nephew, Marmaduke Lidhurst? Need not be afraid to speak
the truth, for I tell you at once that he is no particular favourite
here; not _en bonne odeur_; but that’s only between you and me. He
thinks that I don’t know that he considers me as a shallow fellow,
because I haven’t my head crammed with a parcel of statistical tables,
all the fiscal and financiering stuff which he has at his calculating
fingers’ ends; but I trust that I am almost as good a politician as he
is, and I’m free to believe, have rather more knowledge of the world--

     ‘In men, not books, experienced was my lord’--

Hey? Hey, Vivian? and can see through him with half an eye, I can tell
him.--Wants to get Lady Sarah--Yes, yes; but never came near us till we
lost my poor boy--he won’t win Lady Sarah either, or I’m much mistaken.
Did you observe how jealous he was of you?--Right!--right!--he has
penetration!--Stay, stay! you don’t know Marmaduke yet--don’t know half
his schemes. How his brow clouded when we were talking of the election!
I must hint to you, he has been sounding me upon that matter; he has a
great mind to stand for this county--talks of starting at the first day
of the poll. I told him it could not do, as I was engaged to you. He
answered, that of course was only a conditional promise, in case none of
my own relations stood. I fought shy, and he pressed confoundedly.--Gad!
he would put me in a very awkward predicament, if he was really to
stand! for you know what the world would say, if they saw me opposing
my own nephew, a rising young man, and not for a relation either; and
Marmaduke Lidhurst is just your deep fellow to plan such a thing
and execute it, not caring at what or whose expense. I can tell him,
however, I am not a man to be bullied out of my interest, or to be
outwitted either.--Stand firm, Vivian, my good friend, and I’ll stand
by you; depend on me!--I only wish----” Here his lordship paused. “But
I cannot say more to you now; for here is my precious heir-at-law coming
to break up the confederacy. I’ll ride over and see you to-morrow;--now,
let us all be mute before Marmaduke, our master politician, as becomes
us--Hey! Vivian? Hey?”

Notwithstanding this sort of jealousy of Marmaduke, and the bravadoing
style in which Lord Glistonbury spoke of him, he spoke to him in a very
different manner: it was apparent to Vivian that his lordship was
under some awe of his nephew, and that, whilst he cherished this secret
dislike, he dreaded coming to any open rupture with a man who was, as
his lordship apprehended, so well able to make his own party good in the
world. When Marmaduke did emerge from that depth of thought in which he
generally seemed to be sunk, and when he did condescend to converse,
or rather to speak, his theme was always of persons in power, or his
sarcasms against those who never would obtain it; from any one thing he
asserted, it could never be proved, but, from all he said, it might
be inferred, that he valued human qualities and talents merely as they
could, or could not, obtain a price in the political market. The power
of speaking in public, as it is a means in England of acquiring all
other species of power, he deemed the first of Heaven’s gifts; and
successful parliamentary speakers were the only persons of whom he
expressed admiration. As Vivian had spoken, and had been listened to
in the House of Commons, he was in this respect an object of Marmaduke
Lidhurst’s envy; but this envy was mitigated by contempt for our hero’s
want of perseverance in ambition.

“There is that Mr. Vivian of yours,” said he to his uncle, whilst Vivian
was gone to talk to the ladies--“you’ll find he will be but a woman’s
man, after all!--Heavens! with his fluency in public, what I would
have done by this time of day! This poor fellow has no consistency of
ambition--no great views--no reach of mind. Put him in for a borough,
and he would be just as well content as if he carried the county. You’ll
see he will, after another session or two, cut out, and retire without a
pension, and settle down into a mere honest country gentleman. He would
be no connexion to increase the consequence of your family. Lady Sarah
Lidhurst would be quite lost with such a nobody! Her ladyship, I am
convinced, has too much discrimination, and values herself too highly,
to make such a _missy_ match.”

Lord Glistonbury coughed, and cleared his throat, and blew his nose,
and seemed to suffer extremely, but chiefly under the repression of his
usual loquacity. Nothing could be at once a greater proof of his respect
for his nephew’s abilities, and of his lordship’s dislike to him, than
this unnatural silence. Mr. Lidhurst’s compliments on Lady Sarah’s
discrimination seemed, however, to be premature, and unmerited; for,
during the course of this day, she treated all the vast efforts of her
cousin Marmaduke’s gallantry with haughty neglect, and showed, what
she had never before suffered to be visible in her manner, a marked
preference for Mr. Vivian’s conversation. The sort of emulation which
Mr. Lidhurst’s rivalship produced increased the value of the object;
she, for whom there was a contention, immediately became a prize. Vivian
was both provoked and amused by the alternate contempt and jealousy
which Mr. Lidhurst betrayed; this gentleman’s desire to keep him out
of the Glistonbury family, and to supplant him in Lady Sarah’s favour,
piqued him to prove his influence, and determined him to maintain
his ground. Insensibly, Vivian’s attentions to the lady became more
vivacious; and he was vain of showing the ease, taste, and elegance of
his gallantry; and he was flattered by the idea, that all the spectators
perceived both its superiority and its success. Lady Sarah, whose
manners had much improved since the departure of Miss Strictland, was
so much embellished by our hero’s attentions, that he thought her quite
charming. He had been prepared to expect fire under the ice, but he was
agreeably surprised by this sudden spring of flowers from beneath the
snow. The carriage was at the door in the evening, and had waited half
an hour, before he was aware that it was time to depart.

“You are right, my dear son!” Lady Mary began, the r moment they were
seated in the carriage; “you are quite right, and I was quite wrong,
about Lady Sarah Lidhurst: she has feeling, indeed--strong, generous
feeling--and she shows it at the proper time: a fine, decided character!
Her manners, to-day, so easy, and her countenance so animated, really
she looked quite handsome, and I think her a charming woman.--What
changes love can make!--Well, now I am satisfied: this is what I always
wished--connexion, family, fortune, every thing; and the very sort of
character you require in a wife,--the very person, of all others, that
is suited to you!”

“If she were but a little more like her sister--or Selina Sidney
_even!_” said Vivian, with a sigh.

“That very word _even_--your saying like Selina Sidney _even_--shows
that you have not much cause for sighing: for you see how quickly
the mere fancy in these matters changes--and you may love Lady Sarah
presently, as much as you loved _even_ Lady Julia.”

“Impossible! ma’am.”

“Impossible! Why, my dear Charles, you astonish me! for you cannot but
see the views and expectations of all the family, and of the young lady
herself; and your attentions to-day were such as could bear but one

“Were they, ma’am? I was not aware of that at the time--that is, I did
not mean to engage myself--Good Heavens! surely I am not engaged?--You
know a man is not bound, like a woman, by a few foolish words;
compliments and gallantry are not such serious things with us men. Men
never consider themselves engaged to a woman till they make an absolute

“I know that is a common maxim with young men of the present day, but I
consider it as dishonourable and base; and very sorry should I be to see
it adopted by my son!” cried Lady Mary indignantly. “Ask your friend
Mr. Russell’s opinion on this point: he long ago told you--I know he
did--that if you had not serious thoughts of Lady Sarah Lidhurst, you
would do very wrong, after all the reports that have gone abroad, to
continue your intimacy with the Glistonburys, and thus to deceive her
and her whole family--I only appeal to Mr. Russell;--will you ask your
friend Russell’s opinion?”

Vivian sighed again deeply for the loss of his friend Russell; but as he
could not, without touching upon Lady Julia’s affairs, explain the cause
of the coolness between him and his friend, he answered only, “that an
appeal to Mr. Russell was unnecessary when he had his mother’s opinion.”
 Lady Mary’s wish for the Glistonbury _connexion_ fortified her morality
at this moment, and she replied, “Then my decided opinion is, that
it would be an immoral and dishonourable action to break such a tacit
engagement as this, which you have voluntarily contracted, and which you
absolutely could not break without destroying the peace and happiness of
a whole family. Even that cold Lady Glistonbury grew quite warm to-day;
and you must see the cause.--And in Lady Glistonbury’s state of health,
who could answer for the consequences of any disappointment about her
favourite daughter, just after the loss of her son, too?”

“No more, mother, for Heaven’s sake! I see it all--I feel it all--I must
marry Lady Sarah, then.--By what fatality am I doomed, am I forced
to marry a woman whom I cannot love, whose person and manners are
peculiarly disagreeable to me, and when I’m half in love with another

“That would be a shocking thing, indeed,” said Lady Mary, retracting,
and alarmed; for now another train of associations was wakened, and she
judged not by her worldly, but by her romantic system.--“I am sure I
would not, upon any account, urge you to act against your feelings. I
would not be responsible for such a marriage, if you are really in love
with her sister, and if Lady Sarah’s person and manners are peculiarly
and absolutely disagreeable to you. I should do a very wicked
action--should destroy my son’s happiness and morals, perhaps, by
insisting on such a marriage--Heaven forbid!” (A silence of a mile and
a half long ensued.) “But, Charles, after all I saw to-day, how can I
believe that Lady Sarah is so disagreeable to you?”

“Ma’am, she happened not to be absolutely disagreeable to me to-day.”

“Oh! well! then she may not happen to be disagreeable to you to-morrow,
or the next day, or ever again!--And, as to the fancy for her sister,
when all hope is over, you know love soon dies of itself.”

So ended the conversation.--The next morning, at an unusual hour, Lord
Glistonbury made his appearance at Castle Vivian, with an air of great
vexation and embarrassment: he endeavoured to speak of trivial topics;
but, one after another, these subjects dropped. Then Lady Mary, who saw
that he was anxious to speak to her son, soon took occasion to withdraw,
not without feeling some curiosity, and forming many conjectures, as to
the object his lordship might have in view in this conference.

Lord Glistonbury’s countenance exhibited, in quick alternation, a look
of absolute determination and of utter indecision. At length, with
abrupt effort, he said, “Vivian, have you seen the papers to-day?”

“The newspapers?--yes!--no!--They are on the table--I did not look at
them--Is there any thing extraordinary?”

“Yes, faith!--extraordinary, very extraordinary!--But it is not here--it
is not there--this is not the right paper--it is not in your paper.
That’s extraordinary, too”--(then feeling in both pockets)--“I was a
fool not to bring it with me--May be I have it--Yes, here it is!--Not
public news, but private.”

Vivian was all expectation, for he imagined that something about Lady
Julia was coming. Lord Glistonbury, who, in his commerce with public
men, had learned the art of paying in words, to gain time when in danger
of a bankruptcy of ideas, went on, stringing sentences together, without
much meaning, whilst he was collecting his thoughts and studying the
countenance of his auditor.

“You recollect my suggestions the last time I had the honour of speaking
to you on a particular subject. I confess, Mr. Lidhurst’s conduct does
not meet my ideas of propriety; but other persons are free to form what
judgment they think fit upon the occasion. I shall submit the matter to
you, Mr. Vivian, feeling myself called upon to come forward immediately
to explain it to your satisfaction; and I do not fear to commit myself,
by stating at once my sentiments, and the light in which it strikes me;
for there must be some decision shown, somehow or other, and on some
side or other.----Decision is all in all in public business, as
the great Bacon or somebody says--and nobody knows that better than

Here his lordship grew warm, and quitting his parliamentary cant,
assumed his familiar style.

“Gad! he has stolen a march upon us--out-generalled us--but, in
my private opinion, not in the handsomest style possible--Hey,

“My dear lord, I have not heard the fact yet,” said Vivian.

“Oh! the fact is simply--Look here, he has without my encouragement
or concurrence--and, indeed, as he very well knew, contrary to my
approbation and wishes--gone, and declared himself candidate for this
county; and here’s his fine flourishing, patriotic, damned advertisement
in the paper--‘To the gentlemen, clergy, and freeholders of the
county.’----Gad! how it startled me this morning! When I first saw it
I rubbed my eyes, and could hardly believe it was Marmaduke. Though I
pique myself on knowing a man’s style at the first line, yet I could not
have believed it was his, unless I had seen his name at full
length in these great abominable characters--‘John Marmaduke
Lidhurst.’--‘Glastonbury Castle!’ too--as if I had countenanced the
thing, or had promised my support; when he knew, that but yesterday I
was arguing the point with him in my study, and told him I was engaged
to you. Such an ungentlemanlike trick!--for you know it reduces me
to the dilemma of supporting a man who is only my friend, against my
nearest relation by blood, which, of course, would have an odd and
awkward appearance in the eyes of the world!”

Vivian expressed much concern for his lordship’s difficulties; but
observed that the world would be very unjust if it blamed him, and he
was sure his lordship had too much decision of character.

“But, independently of the world,” interrupted his lordship, “even in
our own family, amongst all the Lidhursts and their remotest connexions,
there would be quite a league formed against me; and these family
quarrels are ugly affairs; for though our feudal times are done away,
party clanships have succeeded to feudal clanships; and we chiefs of
parties must keep our followers in good humour, or we are nothing in
the _field_--I should say _in the house_--Ha! ha! ha!----I laugh, but it
is a very serious business; for Marmaduke Lidhurst would be, in private
or public, an impracticable enemy. Marmaduke’s a fellow capable of
inextinguishable hatred; and he is everywhere, and knows every body,
of all the clubs, a rising young man, who is listened to, and who would
make his story credited. And then, with one’s nephew, one can’t settle
these things in _an honourable way_--these family quarrels must be
arranged amicably, not honourably; and that’s the difficulty: the laws
of honour are dead letters in these cases, and the laws of the land do
not reach these niceties of feeling.----But of the most important fact
you are still to be apprised.”

“Indeed!” cried Vivian.

“Yes, you have not yet heard Marmaduke’s master-stroke of policy!”

“No!--What is it, my lord?--I am all attention--pray explain it to me.”

“But there’s the delicacy--there’s the difficulty!--No, no, no.--Upon
my soul, I cannot name it!” cried Lord Glistonbury. “It revolts my
feelings--all my feelings--as a man, as a gentleman, as a father. Upon
my honour, as a peer, I would speak if I could; but, for the soul of me,
I cannot.”

“You know, my dear lord,” said Vivian, “there can be no delicacies
or difficulties with me; your lordship has done me the honour to live
always on such a footing of intimacy with me, that surely there is not
any thing you cannot say to me!”

“Why, that’s true,” said Lord Glistonbury, quitting his affected air
of distress, and endeavouring to throw off his real feeling of
embarrassment: “you are right, my dear Vivian! we are certainly upon
terms of such intimacy, that I ought not to be so scrupulous. But there
are certain things, a well-born, well-bred man--in short, it would look
so like--But, in fact, I am driven to the wall, and I must defend myself
as well as I can against this nephew of mine--I know it will look
like the most horrible thing upon earth, like what I would rather be
decapitated than do--I know it will look, absolutely, as if I came
here to ask you to marry my daughter,--which, you know, is a thing no
gentleman could have the most remotely in his contemplation; but, since
I am so pressed, I must tell you the exact truth, and explain to you,
however difficult, Marmaduke’s master-stroke----he has proposed for Lady
Sarah; and has had the assurance to ask me whether there is or is not
any truth in certain reports which he is pleased to affirm have gone
abroad--Heaven knows how or why!----And he urges me--the deep dog! for
his cousin’s sake, to contradict those reports, in the only effectual
manner, by a temporary cessation of the intimate intercourse between
Castle Vivian and Glistonbury Castle, whilst Lady Sarah remains
unmarried; or, if our master politician would speak plainly, till he has
married her himself.----At any rate, I have spoken frankly, Vivian, hey?
you’ll allow; and I am entitled both to a candid interpretation of my
motives, and to equal frankness of reply.”

Whilst his lordship had been speaking, compassion, gratitude, vanity,
rivalship, honour, Lady Mary Vivian’s conversation, Lady Julia’s letter,
then again the _connexion_, the earldom in future, the present triumph
or disappointment about the election, the insolent intrusion of Mr.
Lidhurst, the cruelty of abandoning a lady who was in love with him, the
dishonour, the impossibility of receding after _certain reports_; all
these ideas, in rapid succession, pressed on Vivian’s mind: and his
decision was in consequence of the feelings and of the embarrassment of
the moment. His reply to Lord Glistonbury was a proposal for Lady Sarah,
followed by as many gallant protestations as his presence of mind
could furnish. He did not very well know what he said, nor did Lord
Glistonbury scrupulously examine whether he had the air and accent of
a true lover, nor did his lordship inquire what had become of Vivian’s
late love for Lady Julia; but, quite content that the object should be
altered, the desire the same, he relieved Vivian by exclaiming, “Come,
come, all this sort of thing Lady Sarah herself must hear; and I’ve
a notion--but I can keep a secret. You’ll return with me directly to
Glistonbury. Lady Glistonbury will be delighted to see you; and I shall
be delighted to see Marmaduke’s face, when I tell him you have actually
proposed for Sarah--for now I must tell you all. Our politician
calculated upon the probability that you would not decide, you see,
to make a proposal at once, that would justify me to the world in
supporting my son-in-law against my nephew. As to the choice of the
son-in-law, Sarah settles that part of the business herself, you know;
for, when two proposals are made, both almost equally advantageous, in
the common acceptation of the word, I am too good a father not to
leave the decision to my daughter. So you see we understand one another
perfectly, and will make Marmaduke, too, understand us perfectly,
contrary to his calculations, hey, hey?----Mr. Politician, your
advertisement must be withdrawn, I opine, in the next paper--hey,
Vivian? my dear Vivian!”

With similar loquacity, Lord Glistonbury continued, in the fulness of
his heart, all the way they went together to Glistonbury Castle; which
was agreeable to Vivian, at least by saving him from all necessity of

“So!” said Vivian to himself, “the die is cast, and I have actually
proposed for Lady Sarah Lidhurst!--Who would have expected this two
years ago?--I would not have believed it, if it had been foretold to
me even two months ago. But it is a very--a very suitable match, and
it will please the friends of both parties; and Lady Sarah is certainly
very estimable, and capable of very strong attachment; and I like her,
that is, I liked her yesterday very much--I really like her.”

Upon those mixed motives, between convenience and affection, from which,
Dr. Johnson says, most people marry, our hero commenced his courtship of
the Lady Sarah Lidhurst. As the minds of both parties on the subject are
pretty well known to our readers, it would be cruel to fatigue them
with a protracted description of the formalities of courtship. It is
sufficient to say, that my Lord Glistonbury had the satisfaction of
seeing his nephew disappointed.


“And the marriage was solemnized with much pomp and magnificence, and
every demonstration of joy.”

Novelists and novel readers are usually satisfied when they arrive
at this happy catastrophe; their interest and curiosity seldom go any
farther: but, in real life, marriage is but the beginning of domestic
happiness or misery.

Soon after the celebration of Vivian’s nuptials, an event happened which
interrupted all the festivities at Glistonbury, and which changed the
bridal pomp to mourning. Lady Glistonbury, who had been much fatigued by
the multitude of wedding-visits she was obliged to receive and return,
had another stroke of the palsy, which, in a few hours, terminated
fatally. Thus, the very event which Vivian had dreaded, as the probable
consequence of his refusal to marry her daughter, was, in fact,
accelerated by the full accomplishment of her wishes. After the loss
of her mother, Lady Sarah Vivian’s whole soul seemed to be engrossed by
fondness for her husband. In public, and to all eyes but Vivian’s, her
ladyship seemed much the same person as formerly: but, in private, the
affection she expressed for him was so great, that he frequently asked
himself whether this could be the same woman, who, to the rest of
the world, and in every other part of her life, appeared so cold and
inanimate. On a very few occasions her character, before her marriage,
had, “when much enforced, given out a hasty spark, and straight was
cold again;” but now she permitted the steady flame to burn without
restraint. Duty and passion had now the same object. Before marriage,
her attachment had been suppressed, even at the hazard of her life; she
had no idea that the private demonstrations of unbounded love from a
married woman to her husband could be either blameable or dangerous: she
believed it to be her duty to love her husband as much as she possibly
could.--Was not he her husband? She had been taught that she should
neither read, speak, nor think of love; and she had been so far too much
restricted on this subject, that, absolutely ignorant and unconscious
even of her danger, she now pursued her own course without chart or
compass. Her injudicious tenderness soon imposed such restraint upon
her husband, as scarcely any lover, much less any husband, could have
patiently endured. She would hardly ever suffer him to leave her.
Whenever he went out of the house, she exacted from him a promise that
he would _be back again_ at a certain hour; and if he were even a
few minutes later than his appointment, he had to sustain her fond
reproaches. Even though he stayed at home all day, she was uneasy if
he quitted the room where she sat; and he, who by this time understood,
through all her exterior calmness, the symptoms of her internal
agitation, saw by her countenance that she was wretched if he seemed
interested in the conversation of any other person, especially of any
other woman.

One day when Vivian, after spending the morning _tête-à-tête_ with Lady
Sarah, signified to her his intention of dining abroad, she repeated her
fond request that he would be sure to come home early, and that he would
tell her at what o’clock exactly she might expect to see him again. He
named an hour at hazard, to free himself from her importunate anxiety;
but he could not help saying, “Pshaw!” as he ran down stairs; an
exclamation which fortunately reached only the ears of a groom, who was
thinking of nothing but the tops of his own boots. Vivian happened to
meet some agreeable people where he dined: he was much pressed to stay
to supper; he yielded to entreaty, but he had the good-natured attention
to send home his servant, to beg that Lady Sarah and his mother would
not sit up for him. When he returned, he found all the family in bed
except Lady Sarah, who was sitting up waiting for him, with her watch
in her hand. The moment he appeared, she assailed him with tender
reproaches, to which he answered, “But why would you sit up when I
begged you would not, my dear Lady Sarah?”

She replied by a continuity of fond reproach; and among other things she
said, but without believing it to be true, “Ah! I am sure you would have
been happier if you had married my sister Julia, or _that_ Miss Sidney!”

Vivian sighed deeply; but the next instant, conscious that he had
sighed, and afraid of giving his wife pain, he endeavoured to turn the
course of her thoughts to some other subject. In vain. Poor Lady Sarah
said no more, but felt this exquisitely, and with permanent anguish.
Thus her imprudence reverted upon herself, and she suffered
in proportion to her pride and to her fondness. By such slight
circumstances is the human heart alienated from love! Struggling to
be free, the restive little deity ruffles and impairs his plumage, and
seldom recovers a disposition to tranquillity. Vivian’s good-nature had
induced him for some time to submit to restraint; but if, instead of
weakly yielding to the fond importunity of his wife--if, instead of
tolerating the insipidity of her conversation and the narrowness of
her views, he had with real energy employed her capacity upon suitable
objects, he might have made her attachment the solace of his life.
Whoever possesses the heart of a woman, who has common powers of
intellect, may improve her understanding in twelve months more than
could all the masters, and lectures, and courses of philosophy, and
abridgments, and _documenting_ in the universe. But Vivian had not
sufficient resolution for such an undertaking: he thought only of
avoiding to give or to feel present pain; and the consequences were,
that the evils he dreaded every day increased.

Vivian’s mother saw the progress of conjugal discontent with anguish and

“Alas!” said she to herself, “I was much to blame for pressing this
match. My son told me he could never love Lady Sarah Lidhurst. It would
have been better far to have broken off a marriage at the church-door
than to have forced the completion of such an ill-assorted union.
My poor son married chiefly from a principle of honour; his duty and
respect for my opinion had also great weight in his decision; and I have
sacrificed his happiness to my desire that he should make what the world
calls a splendid alliance. I am the cause of all his misery; and Heaven
only knows where all this will end!”

In her paroxysm of self-reproach, and her eagerness to _set things to
rights_ between her daughter-in-law and her son, she only made matters
worse. She spoke with all the warmth and frankness of her own character
to Lady Sarah, beseeching her to speak with equal openness, and to
explain the cause of the _alteration_ in Vivian.

“I do not know what you mean, madam, by alteration in Mr. Vivian!”

“Is not there some disagreement between you, my dear?”

“There is no disagreement whatever, madam, as far as I know, between Mr.
Vivian and me--we agree perfectly,” said Lady Sarah.

“Well, the _misunderstanding_!”

“I do not know of any _misunderstanding_, madam. Mr. Vivian and I
understand one another perfectly.”

“The _coolness_, then--Oh! what word shall I use!--Surely, my dear Lady
Sarah, there is some _coolness_--something wrong?”

“I am sure, madam, I do not complain of any coolness on Mr. Vivian’s
part. Am I to understand that he complains to your ladyship of any thing
wrong on mine? If he does, I shall think it my duty, when he points out
the particulars, to make any alteration he may desire in my conduct and

“Complain!--My son!--He makes no _complaints_, my dear. You
misunderstand me. My son does not complain that any thing is wrong on
your part.”

“Then, madam, if no complaints are made on either side, all is as it
should be, I presume, at present; and if in future I should fail in any
point of duty, I shall hold myself obliged to your ladyship if you will
then act as my monitor.”

Hopeless of penetrating Lady Sarah’s sevenfold fence of pride, the
mother flew to her son, to try what could be done with his open and
generous mind. He expressed a most earnest and sincere wish to make
his wife happy. Conscious that he had given her exquisite pain, he
endeavoured to make atonement by the sacrifices which he thought
would be most grateful to her. He refrained often from company and
conversation that was agreeable to him, and would resign himself for
hours to her society. It was fortunate for Lady Julia Lidhurst that,
by continuing with her good uncle the bishop, she did not see the
consequences of the union which she had so strenuously advised. The
advice of friends is often highly useful to prevent an imprudent match;
but it seldom happens that marriages turn out happily which have been
made from the opinion of others rather than from the judgment and
inclinations of the parties concerned; for, let the general reasons
on which the advice is grounded be ever so sensible, it is scarcely
possible that the adviser can take in all the little circumstances
of taste and temper, upon which so much of the happiness or misery of
domestic life depends. Besides, people are much more apt to repent of
having been guided by the judgment of another than of having followed
their own; and this is most likely to be the case with the weakest
minds. Strong minds can decide for themselves, not by the opinions but
by the reasons that are laid before them: weak minds are influenced
merely by opinions; and never, either before or after their decision,
are firm in abiding by the preponderating reasons.

No letters, no intelligence from home, except a malicious hint now
and then from her cousin Marmaduke, which she did not credit, gave her
reason to suspect that the pair whom she had contributed to unite were
not perfectly happy. So Lady Julia exulted in the success of her past
counsels, and indulged her generous romantic disposition in schemes for
forwarding a union between Russell and Selina, determining to divide her
fortune amongst the children of her friends. She concluded one of her
letters to Lady Sarah Vivian about this time with these words:--

“Could I but see _one other person_,--whom I must not name, rewarded for
his virtues, as you are, by happy love, I should die content, and would
write on my tomb:--

     ‘Je ne fus point heureux, mais j’ai fait leur bonheur.” [10]

Far removed from all romance and all generosity of sentiment, Lord
Glistonbury, in the mean time, went on very comfortably, without
observing any thing that passed in his family. Whatever uneasiness
obtruded upon his attention he attributed to one cause, anxiety relative
to the question on which his present thoughts were exclusively fixed,
viz. whether Lady Sarah’s first child would be a boy or a girl. “Heaven
grant a boy!” said his lordship; “for then, you know, there’s an end
of Marmaduke as heir-at-law!” Whenever his lordship saw a cloud on the
brows of Lady Mary, of Lady Sarah, or of Vivian, he had one infallible
charm for dispelling melancholy;--he stepped up close to the patient,
and whispered, “It will be a boy!--My life upon it, it will be a boy!”
 Sometimes it happened that this universal remedy, applied at random,
made the patient start or smile; and then his lordship never failed to
add, with a nod of great sagacity, “Ah! you didn’t know I knew what you
were thinking of!--Well! well! you’ll see we shall cut out Marmaduke

With this hope of cutting out Marmaduke, Lord Glistonbury went on very
happily, and every day grew fonder of the son-in-law, who was the enemy
of his heir-at-law, or whom he considered as such. The easiness of
Vivian’s temper was peculiarly agreeable to his lordship, who enjoyed
the daily pleasure of governing a man of talents which were far superior
to his own. This easiness of temper in our hero was much increased by
the want of motive and stimulus. He thought that he had now lost his
chance of happiness; he cared little for the more or less pain of
each succeeding day; and so passive was his listlessness, that to
a superficial observer, like Lord Glistonbury, it looked like the
good-nature of perfect content.--Poor Vivian!--In this wreck of his
happiness, one saving chance, however, yet remained. He had still a
public character; he was conscious of, having preserved unblemished
integrity as a member of the senate; and this integrity, still more than
his oratorical talents, raised him far above most of his competitors,
and preserved him not only in the opinion of others, but in his own.
When parliament met, he went to town, took a very handsome house for
Lady Sarah, determining to do all he could to oblige and please the
wife whom he could not love. Lady Sarah had complete power, at home
and abroad, of her time and her expenses: her dress, her equipages,
her servants, her whole establishment, were above Vivian’s fortune, and
equal to her ladyship’s birth and rank. She was mistress of every thing
but of his heart. The less he liked her, the more he endeavoured to
compensate for this involuntary fault, by allowing her that absolute
dominion, and that external splendour, which he thought would gratify,
and perhaps fill her mind. As for himself, he took refuge in the House
of Commons. There he forgot for a time domestic uneasiness, and was
truly animated by what so many affect--zeal for the good of his country.
He was proud to recollect, that the profligate Wharton had failed in
the attempt to laugh him out of his public virtue; he was proud that
Wharton’s prophecies of his apostasy had never been accomplished; that,
as a public! character at least, he had fulfilled the promise of his
early youth, and was still worthy of himself, and of that friend whom he
had lost. He clung to this idea, as to the only hope left him in life.

One night, in a debate on some question of importance, he made an
excellent speech, which was particularly well received by the house,
because it came from one who had an unblemished character. When
Vivian went into the coffee-room to refresh himself, after he had done
speaking, several of his acquaintance crowded round him, complimenting
him upon his success--he broke from them all! for he saw, advancing
towards him with a smile of approbation, the friend on whose approbation
he set a higher value than he did even on the applauses of the
house--the friend whose lost affection he had so long and so bitterly
regretted. Russell stretched out his hand--Vivian eagerly seized
it; and, before they had either of them spoken one word, they both
understood each other perfectly, and their reconciliation was completely

“Yes,” said Russell, as they walked out arm in arm together, “yes, it
is fit that I should forget all private resentment, in the pride and
pleasure I feel, not merely in your public success, but in your public
virtue. Talents, even the rare talent of oratory, you know, I hold
cheap in comparison with that which is so far more rare, as well as more
valuable--political integrity. The abhorrence and contempt of political
profligacy, which you have just expressed, as a member of the senate,
and the consistent conduct by which you have supported your principles,
are worthy of you; and, allow me to say, of your education.”

Vivian felt exalted in his own opinion by such praise, and by these the
warmest expressions he had ever received of Russell’s regard. He forgot
even his domestic uneasiness; and this day, the first for many months he
had spent happily, he passed with his friend. They supped together, and
related mutually all that happened since their parting. Russell told
Vivian that he had lately been agreeably surprised by the gift of a
valuable living from the Bishop of ----, Lady Julia Lidhurst’s uncle;
that the bishop, whom he had till then never seen, had written to him
in the handsomest manner, saying that he knew the obligations his family
owed to Mr. Russell; that it had been the dying request of his nephew,
Lord Lidhurst, that some token of the family esteem and gratitude should
be offered to him, to whom they owed so much; but the bishop added, that
neither family gratitude nor private friendship could have induced him
to bestow church preferments upon any but the person whose character
best entitled him to such a distinction and such a trust.

This letter, as Vivian observed, was well calculated to satisfy
Russell’s conscience and his delicacy. The conversation next turned upon
Lady Julia Lidhurst. Russell was not aware that Vivian knew more of her
attachment to him than what had been discovered the day before he left
Glistonbury; and Vivian could not help admiring the honourable and
delicate manner in which his friend spoke of her, without any air of
mystery, and with the greatest respect. He told Vivian he had heard that
proposals had been lately made to her ladyship by a gentleman of great
talents and of high character; but that she had positively declined his
addresses, and had repeated her declaration that she would never marry.
Her good uncle left her, on this point, entirely at liberty, and did not
mention the proposal to Lord Glistonbury, lest she should be exposed to
any fresh difficulties. Russell expressed much satisfaction at this part
of the bishop’s conduct, as being not only the most kind, but the
most judicious, and the most likely to dispose his niece to change her
determination. He repeated his opinion that, united to a man of sense
and strength of mind, she would make a charming and excellent wife.
Vivian agreed with him; yet observed, that he was convinced she would
never marry--There he paused.--Could Lady Julia herself have overheard
the conversation which afterwards passed between these two gentlemen,
one of whom she had loved and the other of whom she had refused, not a
word would have hurt her feelings: on the contrary, she would have been
raised in her own opinion, and gratified by the strong interest they
both showed for her happiness. They regretted only that a young woman
of such talents, and of such a fine, generous disposition, had been so
injudiciously educated.

“And now, my dear Russell,” cried Vivian, “that we have finished the
chapter of Lady Julia, let us talk of Miss Sidney.”--Russell’s change
of countenance showed that it was not quite so easy for him to talk upon
this subject.--To spare him the effort, Vivian resumed, “As you are a
rich man now, my dear Russell, you will certainly marry; and I know,”
 added he, smiling, “that Miss Sidney will be your wife. If ever man
deserved such a prize, you do; and I shall be the first to wish you

“Stay, my good friend,” interrupted Russell; “your kindness for me,
and your imagination, are too quick in this anticipation of my
happiness.”--Russell then told him, that he never had declared his
attachment to Selina till Vivian’s marriage had put an end to all
probability of rivalship with his friend. She had expressed high esteem
for Russell, but had told him, that she had suffered so much from
a first unfortunate attachment, that she felt averse from any new

“Shall I assure you, as you assured me just now with regard to Lady
Julia,” said Vivian, “that Miss Sidney will he prevailed upon to alter
her determination; and shall I add, that, though I should like Lady
Julia the less, I should like Selina the better, for changing her
mind?”--He went on, generously expressing sincere hopes, that his friend
might obtain Selina Sidney’s affections, and might enjoy that domestic
happiness, which--Vivian was going to say, which he had himself
forfeited; but checking this regret, he only said--“that domestic
happiness, which I consider as the summit of human felicity, and which
no man can deserve better than you do, my dear Russell.”

Russell easily guessed that poor Vivian had not attained this summit
of human felicity by his own marriage, but never adverted to any of the
conversations they had held about Lady Sarah Lidhurst; never recalled
any of Vivian’s vehement declarations concerning the absolute
impossibility of his making such a match; never evinced the least
surprise at his marriage; nor inquired how he had conquered his passion
for Lady Julia. With friendly forgetfulness, he seemed to have totally
obliterated from his mind all that it could do no good to remember.
Vivian was sensible of this delicacy, and grateful for it; but to
imitate Russell’s reserve and silence upon certain subjects required
a force, a forbearance of which he was not capable. At first he had
determined not to say one word to Russell of domestic uneasiness; but
they had not been many hours together before Vivian poured forth all
his complaints, and confessed how bitterly he repented his marriage: be
declared that he had been persuaded, by the united efforts of her family
and of his mother, against his own judgment, or, at least, against his
taste and inclinations, to marry Lady Sarah.

“By whatever persuasions, or by whatever motives, your choice was
decided,” interrupted Russell, “reflect that it is decided for life;
therefore abide by it, and justify it. Above all, make yourself happy
with the means which are yet in your power, instead of wasting your mind
in unavailing regret. You are united to a woman who has every estimable
quality, as you candidly acknowledge: there are some particulars in
which she does not please your taste; but withdraw your attention from
these, and you will be happy with a wife who is so firmly attached to
you. Consider, besides, that--romance apart--love, though a delightful
passion, is not the only resource which a man of sense, virtue, and
activity may find for happiness. Your public duties, your success, and
your reputation as a public character, will--”

Russell was interrupted in this consolatory and invigorating speech, by
the entrance of a servant of Lord Glistonbury’s, who brought a note from
his lordship to Mr. Vivian, requesting to see him as soon as he could
make it convenient to come to Glistonbury House, as his lordship wanted
to speak to him on particular business of the greatest importance.
Vivian was provoked by being thus summoned away from his friend, to
attend to one of what he called Lord Glistonbury’s _important mysteries
about nothing_. Russell was engaged to go into the country the ensuing
day, to take possession of his new living; but he promised that he would
see him again soon; and, with this hope, the two friends parted.

Vivian went to Lord Glistonbury’s: he found his lordship in his study.
“Where have you been, Vivian?” exclaimed he: “I have sent messenger
after messenger to look for you, half over the town: I thought you were
to have dined with us, but you ran away, and nobody could tell where, or
with whom; and we have been waiting for you at our cabinet council here
with the utmost impatience.”--Vivian answered, that he had unexpectedly
met with his friend Russell; and was proceeding to tell his lordship
how handsomely the Bishop of----had provided for his friend; but Lord
Glistonbury, like many other great men, having the habit of forgetting
all the services of those from whom they have nothing more to expect,
cut short Vivian’s narration, by exclaiming, “True, true! well, well!
that’s all over now--Certainly, _that_ Russell did his duty by my poor
son; and acted as he ought to do--in all things; and I’m glad to hear
my brother has given him a good living; and I hope, as you say, he will
soon be married--so best--so best, you know, Vivian, for reasons of our
own--Well! well! I’m glad he is provided for--not but what that living
would have been of essential service, if it had been reserved for a
friend of mine--but my brother the bishop never can enter into any
political views--might as well not have a brother a bishop--But,
however, Mr. Russell’s a friend of yours--I am not regretting--not so
rude to you to regret----on the contrary, rejoice, particularly as Mr.
Russell is a man of so much merit--But all that’s over now; and I want
to talk to you upon quite another matter. You know I have always said I
should, sooner or later, succeed in my grand object, hey, Vivian?”

“Your lordship’s grand object?--I am not sure that I know it.”

“Oh, surely, you know my grand object. You my son-in-law, and forget my
grand object?--The marquisate, you know; the marquisate, the marquisate!
Did not I always tell you that I would make government, sooner or later,
change my earldom into a marquisate? Well! the thing is done--that is,
as good as done; they have sent to treat with me upon my own terms.”

“I give you joy, my dear lord!” said Vivian.

“Joy!--to be sure you do, my sober sir:--one would think you had no
concern or interest in the business. Joy! to be sure you give me joy;
but, I can tell you, you must give me something more than joy--you must
give me support.”

“How he looks!” continued Lord Glistonbury, “as if he did not know
what is meant by support. Vivian, did you never hear of parliamentary

“I hope, my dear lord,” replied Vivian, gravely, “that you have not
entered into any engagements, or made any promises for me, which I
cannot have it in my power to perform.”

Lord Glistonbury hesitated in some confusion; and then, forcing a look
of effrontery, in an assured tone, replied, “No. I have not made any
engagements or promises for you which you cannot perform, Vivian, I am
clear; nor any which I have not a right to expect my son-in-law will
confirm with alacrity.”

“What have you engaged?--what have you promised for me, my lord?” said
Vivian, earnestly.

“Only, my dear boy,” said Lord Glistonbury, assuming a facetious tone,
“only that you will be always one of us--And are not you one of us?--my
son-in-law?--the deuce is in it if he is not one of us!--In short, you
know, to be serious, a party must go together, that is, a family party
must go together; and, if a ministry do my business, of course I do
theirs. If I have my marquisate, they have my votes.”

“But not my vote--pardon me, my lord--my vote cannot be bartered in this

“But, you know, Mr. Vivian, you know it is for your interest as much as
for mine; for, you know, the marquisate will probably descend, in due
course of time, to your son. So your interest is full as much concerned
as mine; and besides, let me tell you, I have not forgotten your
immediate interest: I have stipulated that you should have the valuable
place which Mr. C---- was to have had.”

All that Russell had said of public virtue was fresh in our hero’s mind.
“I thank you, my dear lord,” said he; “for I am sure this was kindly
intended; but I am not one of those persons, who in public affairs think
only of their private interest--I am not thinking of my interest. But
if a man maintains certain public measures one day, and the next, for
_valuable consideration_, supports diametrically opposite opinions
and measures, he will lose, and deserve to lose, all reputation for

“Integrity! political integrity!” said Lord Glistonbury; “fine words,
which mean nothing. Behind the scenes, as we are now, Vivian, what use
can there be in talking in that strain?--Between you and me, you know
this is all nonsense. For who, of any party, now thinks, really and
truly, of any thing but getting power or keeping it? Power, you know,
stands for the measure of talent; and every thing else worth having is
included in that word power. I speak plainly. And as honour is merely
an affair of opinion, and opinion, again, an affair of numbers, and as
there are numbers enough to keep one in countenance in these things;
really, my dear Vivian, it is quite childish, quite boyish, smells of
the lamp. To declaim about political integrity, and all that, is not
the language of a man who knows any thing of business--any thing of the
world.--But why do I say all this?” cried Lord Glistonbury, checking
himself and assuming an air of more reserved displeasure.--“Mr.
Vivian certainly knows all this as well as I do; I know how my nephew
Marmaduke, who, with all his faults, is no fool, would interpret your
present language: he would say, as I have often heard him say, that
political integrity is only a civil _put off_.”

“Political integrity only a civil put off!” repeated Vivian, with
unfeigned astonishment. When he formerly heard similar sentiments from
the avowed profligate and hackneyed politician Mr. Wharton, he was
shocked; but to hear them repeated, as being coolly laid down by so
young a man as Mr. Lidhurst, excited so much disgust and contempt in
Vivian’s mind, that he could hardly refrain from saying more than either
prudence or politeness could justify.

“Now I am free to confess,” pursued Lord Glistonbury, “that I should
think it more candid and manly, and, I will add, more friendly, and more
the natural, open conduct of a son-in-law to a father-in-law, instead of
talking of political integrity, to have said, at once, I cannot oblige
you in this instance.”

“Surely, my lord, you cannot be in earnest?” said Vivian.

“I tell you, sir, I am in earnest,” cried his lordship, turning suddenly
in a rage, as he walked up and down the room; “I say, it would have
been more candid, more manly, more every thing,--and much more like a
son-in-law--much!--much!----I am sure, if I had known as much as I do
now, sir, you never should have been my son-in-law--never! never!--seen
Lady Sarah in her grave first!--I would!--I would!--yes, sir--I
would!----And you are the last person upon earth I should have expected
it from. But I have a nephew--I have a nephew, and now I know the
difference. No man can distinguish his friends till he tries them.”

Vivian in vain endeavoured to appease Lord Glistonbury by assurances
that he would do any thing in his power to oblige him, except what
he himself considered as dishonourable: his lordship reiterated, with
divers passionate ejaculations, that if Vivian would not oblige him in
this point, on which he had set his heart--where the great object of his
life was at stake--he could never believe he had any regard for him; and
that in short, it must come to an open rupture between them, for that
he should never consider him more as his son. Having uttered this
denunciation as distinctly as passion would permit, Lord Glistonbury
retired to rest.

Vivian went immediately to his mother, to tell her what had passed, and
he felt almost secure of her approbation; but though she praised him for
his generous spirit of independence, yet it was evident the hopes that
the title of marquis might descend to a grandson of her own weighed more
with her than any patriotic considerations. She declared, that indeed
she would not, for any title, or any thing upon earth, have her son
act dishonourably; but what was asked of him, as far as she could
understand, was only such a change of party, such compliances, as every
public man in his place would make: and though she would not have him,
like some she could name, a corrupt tool of government, yet, on the
other hand, it was folly to expect that he alone could do any thing
against the general tide of corruption--that it would be madness in
him to sacrifice himself entirely, without the slightest possibility of
doing any good to his country.

Vivian interrupted her, to represent that, if each public man argued
in this manner, nothing could ever be accomplished for the public good:
that, on the contrary, if every man hoped that something might be done,
even by his individual exertion, and if he determined to sacrifice a
portion of his private interest in the attempt, perhaps much might be

“Very likely!” Lady Mary said. She confessed she knew little of
politics: so from argument she went to persuasion and entreaties. She
conjured him not to quarrel with the Glistonburys, and not to provoke
Lord Glistonbury’s displeasure. “I see all that artful Marmaduke’s
schemes,” said she: “he knows his uncle’s pertinacious temper; and he
hopes that your notions of patriotism will prevent you from yielding on
a point, on which his uncle has set his heart. Marmaduke will know how
to take advantage of all this, believe me!”

Vivian was shaken in his resolution by his mother’s entreaties--by
the idea of all the family quarrels that would ensue, and of all the
difficulties in which he might be involved, if he persisted in his
generous determination.

“My dear son,” resumed she, “it would be absolute madness to refuse
the place that is now offered you: only consider the situation of your
affairs--consider, I beseech you, the distress you will be in by and
by, if you reject this offer--recollect the immense demands upon you;
recollect that heap of bills for the election, and for the buildings,
and all the poor workmen about the castle! and that coachmaker too! and
remember, the purchase money of the house in town must be paid in three
months. And the only possible means by which you can get out of debt, is
by accepting this place, which would put you at ease at once, and enable
you to continue in the style of life to which you have of late been

“As to that, I could alter my style of life--I would do any thing,”
 cried Vivian, “to pay my debts and preserve my independence. I will
alter my mode of living, and retrench decidedly and vigorously.”

“Well, my dear son, I admire your spirit, and, if you can do this, it
will certainly be best; but I fear that when it comes to the trial, you
will not be able to persevere.”

“I shall--I shall! Believe me, mother, I have resolution enough for
this--you do me injustice,” said Vivian.

“No, my dear Charles, I do you justice; for I do not doubt your
resolution, as far as your own privations are concerned; but, consider
your wife--consider Lady Sarah--consider the luxury in which she
has always been accustomed to live, and the high sphere in which her
relations move! How her pride would be hurt by their looking down
upon her! I have no doubt Lady Sarah would do her duty, and make
any sacrifices for her husband; and if you were--I must now speak
plainly--if you were passionately fond of her--an all-for-love
husband--you could, with honour and propriety, accept of such
sacrifices; but what would retirement be _to_ poor Lady Sarah, and
_with_ Lady Sarah?”

Vivian told his mother that he would take a night to reconsider the
matter coolly; and, satisfied with having gained so much, she suffered
him to go home. As he was quitting his own dressing-room, he paused,
to consider whether he should consult his wife, who was, as yet, in
ignorance of the whole transaction, and who knew nothing of the deranged
state of his affairs. He did her the justice to believe that she
would be willing to live with him in retirement, and to forego all the
luxuries and pride of her rank, for the sake of her duty and of her
love. He was convinced that, in any opposition between her father’s
interests and her husband’s honour, she would strongly abide by her
husband. He recollected all Lady Julia had said of the advantage that
her sister’s firmness of mind might be in steadying his vacillating
temper in any moment of trial. Here was the first _great occasion_,
since his marriage, where his wife’s strength of mind could be of
essential service to him: yet he hesitated whether he should avail
himself of this advantage; and every moment, as he approached nearer
to her apartment, he hesitated more and more; He did not, in the first
place, like to humble himself so far as to ask her counsel; then he
had not courage to confess those debts and embarrassments which he
had hitherto concealed. All that his mother had suggested about the
indelicacy of requiring or accepting great sacrifices from a woman whom,
though he esteemed, he could not love--the horror of retirement
with such a companion--the long years _tête-à-tête_--all these ideas
combined, but chiefly the apprehension of the immediate present pain of
speaking to her on a disagreeable subject, and of being obliged to hear
her speak with that formal deliberation which he detested; added to
this, the dread of her surprise, if not of her reproaches, when all his
affairs should be revealed, operated so irresistibly upon his weakness,
that he decided on the common resource--concealment. His hand was upon
the lock of his chamber-door, and he turned it cautiously and softly,
lest, in entering his apartment, he should waken Lady Sarah: but she was
not asleep.

“What can have kept you so late, Mr. Vivian?” said she.

“Business, my dear,” answered he, with some embarrassment.

“May I ask what sort of business?”

“Oh!--only--political business.”

“Political business!” She looked earnestly at her husband; but, as if
repressing her curiosity, she afterwards added, “our sex have nothing
to do with politics,” and, turning away from the light, she composed
herself to sleep.

“Very true, my dear,” replied Vivian--not a word more did he say:
content with this evasion of the difficulty, he thus, by his weakness,
deprived himself of the real advantage of his wife’s strength of mind.
Whilst Lady Sarah, in total ignorance of the distress of her husband,
slept in peace, he lay awake, revolving painful thoughts in the
silence of the night. All that his mother had said about the pecuniary
difficulties to which they must soon be reduced recurred with fresh
force; the ideas of the unpaid election bills, all the masons’,
carpenters’, painters’, glaziers’, and upholsterers’ bills, with
“thousands yet unnamed behind,” rose, in dreadful array, before him,
and the enthusiasm of his patriotism was appalled. With feverish
reiteration, he ran over and over, in his mind, the same circle of
difficulties, continually returning to the question, “_Then what can
be done?_” Bitterly did he this night regret the foolish expenses into
which he had early in life been led. If it were to do over again, he
certainly would not turn his house into a castle; if he had foreseen how
much the expense would surpass the estimates, assuredly nothing could
have tempted him to such extravagance. The architect, the masons, the
workmen, one and all, were knaves; but, one and all, they must be
paid. Then what could he do?--And the debts incurred by the contested
elections!--contested elections are cursed things, when the bills come
to be paid; but, cursed or not, they must be paid. Then what could he
do?--The distress in which he should involve his generous mother--the
sacrifices he should require from his wife--the family quarrels--all
that Lady Sarah would suffer from them--the _situation_ of his wife.
Then what could he do?--He MUST submit to Lord Glistonbury, and take the
place that was offered to him.

Vivian sighed--and turned in his bed--and sighed--and thought--and
turned--and sighed again--and the last sigh of expiring patriotism
escaped him!----To this end, to this miserable end, must all patriotism
come, which is not supported by the seemingly inferior virtues of
prudence and economy.

Poor Vivian endeavoured to comfort himself by the reflection that he
should not act from merely mercenary considerations, but that he
was compelled to yield to the solicitations of his mother and of his
father-in-law; that he was forced to sacrifice his own public opinions
to secure domestic peace, and to prevent the distress of his mother,
the misery, and perhaps danger, of his wife and child. Dereliction of
principle, in these circumstances, was something like an amiable, a
pardonable weakness. And then, see it in what light you will, as Lord
Glistonbury observed, “there are so many who will keep a patriot in
countenance now-a-days, for merely changing sides in politics. A man is
not even thought to be a man of talents till he gets something by his
talents. The bargain he makes--the price he gains--is, in most people’s
estimation, the value of the public man.”

All this Vivian said to himself to quiet his conscience; and all this,
he knew, would be _abundantly satisfactory_ to the generality of people
with whom he associated; therefore, from them he could fear neither
reproach nor contempt: but he could not bear even to think of
Russell--he felt all the pangs of remorse, and agony of shame, as the
idea of such a friend came into his mind. Again he turned in his bed,
and groaned aloud--so loud, that Lady Sarah wakened, and, starting up,
asked what was the matter; but receiving no answer, she imagined that
she had been in a dream, or that her husband had spoken in his sleep.
He groaned no more, nor did he even sigh: but fatigued with thinking and
with feeling, he at last fell into a sort of slumber, which lasted till
it was time to rise. Before Vivian was dressed, Lord Glistonbury called
upon him--he went into his dressing-room. His lordship came with his
best address, and most courteous face of persuasion; he held out his
hand, in a frank and cordial manner, as he entered, begging his dear
son’s pardon for the warmth and want of temper, he was free to confess,
he had shown last night; but he was persuaded, he said, that Vivian knew
his sincere regard for him, and convinced that, in short, they should
never _essentially_ differ: so that he was determined to come to talk
the matter over with him when they were both cool; and that he felt
assured that Vivian, after a night’s reflection, would always act so
as to justify his preference of his son-in-law to his nephew, hey,
Vivian?--Lord Glistonbury paused for an answer--Vivian cut himself as he
was shaving, and was glad of a moment’s reprieve; instead of answering,
he only exclaimed, “Cursed razor! cut myself!--My lord, won’t you sit
down? will you do me the honour to--”

Lord Glistonbury seated himself; and, in regular order, with his
tiresome parade of expletives, went through all the arguments that could
be adduced to prove the expediency of Vivian’s taking this place, and
assisting him, as he had taken it for granted his son-in-law would,
on such an occasion. The letters of the great and little men who had
negotiated the business of the marquisate were then produced, and
an account given of all that had passed _in confidence_; and Lord
Glistonbury finished by saying that the affair was absolutely concluded,
he having passed his word and pledged his honour for Vivian; that he
would not have spoken or acted for him if he had not felt that he was,
when acting for his son-in-law, in fact acting for himself--his second
self; that there had been no time to wait, no possibility of consulting
Vivian; that the whole plan was suggested yesterday, in two hours after
the house broke up, and was arranged in the evening; that search and
inquiries had been made every where for Vivian; but, as he could not be
found, Lord Glistonbury said he had ventured to decide for him, and, as
he hoped, for his interest and for that of the family; and the thing,
now done, could not be undone: his lordship’s word was sacred, and could
not be retracted.

Vivian, in a feeble, irresolute tone, asked if there was no possibility
of his being allowed to decline the place that was offered him, and
suggested that he could take a middle course; to avoid voting against
his lordship’s wishes, he could, and he believed that he would, accept
of the Chiltern Hundreds, and go out of parliament for the session.

Lord Glistonbury remonstrated against what he termed the madness of the

“A man like you, my dear Vivian, who have distinguished yourself so
much already in opposition, who will distinguish yourself so much more
hereafter in place and in power----”

“No,” said Vivian, rising as he finished shaving himself; “no, my lord,
I shall never more distinguish myself, if I abandon the principles I
believe to be just and true. What eloquence I have--if I have any--has
arisen from my being in earnest: I shall speak ill--I shall not be able
to speak at all--when I get up against my conscience.”

“Oh!” said Lord Glistonbury, laughing, “your romantic patriotism may be
very nice in its feelings; but, believe me, it will not deprive you of
the use of your speech. Look at every one of the fine orators of our
times, and name me one, if you can, who has not spoken, and spoken
equally well, on both sides of the house; ay, and on both sides of most
political questions. Come, come, you’ll find you will get on quite as
well as they got on before you, hey?”

“You will find that I shall be of no use to you--that I shall be a dead
weight on your hands.”

“You a dead weight! you, who are formed to be--now, really, without
flattery--you know there’s no occasion for flattery between you and
me--to be the soul, and, in time, the head of a party----Stay!--I know
all you are going to say, but give me leave to judge--You know there’s
my own nephew, a very clever young man, no doubt, he is allowed to be;
and yet, you see, I make no comparison between you. I assure you I am a
judge in these matters, and you see the house has confirmed my judgment;
and, what is more--for I can keep nothing from you--if it won’t make you
too vain, and make you set too high a price upon yourself, which will be
very troublesome in the present case; but, I say, be that as it may,
I will frankly own to you, that I believe you have been of essential
service in procuring me this great favourite object of my life, the

“I, my lord! impossible!--for I never took the slightest step toward
procuring it.”

“Pardon me, you took the most effectual step, without knowing it,
perhaps. You spoke so well in opposition, that you made it the interest
of ministry to _muzzle you_; and there was no way so effectual of
getting at you as through me, I being your father-in-law and you my
heir. You don’t see the secret concatenation of these things with a
glance as I do, who have been used to them so long. And there was no way
of coming to the point with me without the marquisate--that was my _sine
qua non_; and you see I gained my point--by your means, chiefly, I am
free to allow--though Marmaduke would gladly persuade me it was by his
negotiating. But I do you justice; I did you justice, too, in more than
words, when I stipulated for that place for you, which, in fact, I knew
you could not go on much longer without. So, my dear Vivian, all this
explained to our mutual satisfaction, we have nothing more to do but to
shake hands upon it and go down stairs; for I have engaged myself and
Secretary----to breakfast with you, and he has _full powers_, and is to
carry back our _capitulation_--and,” continued Lord Glistonbury, looking
out of the window, “here’s our friend’s carriage.”

“Oh, my lord, it is not yet too late!” cried Vivian; “it may yet be
arranged otherwise. Is there no way--no possibility----”

A loud knock at the house door.

“I wish to Heaven, my lord!----”

“So do I wish to Heaven, with all my soul, that you would finish this
nonsense, my dear Vivian, and come down to breakfast. Come, come,
come!--Hey, hey, hey!--This is absolutely too ridiculous, and I must go,
if you don’t. Only consider a political breakfast of this nature!”

Lord Glistonbury hurried down stairs:--reluctantly, and with a heavy
heart and repugnant conscience, Vivian followed. At this instant, he
wished for Russell, to prevent what he knew would be the consequence of
this interview. But Russell was absent--the keeper of his conscience,
the supporter of his resolution, was not at hand. Woe to him who is not
the keeper of his own conscience--the supporter of his own resolution!
The result of this political breakfast was just what every reader,
who knows the world but half as well as Lord Glistonbury knew it, has
probably long since anticipated. The capitulation of the patriots of
the Glistonbury band, with Vivian at their head, was settled. Lord
Glistonbury lost no character by this transaction, for he had none to
lose--he was quite at his ease, or quite callous. But Vivian bartered,
for a paltry _accommodation_ of his pecuniary difficulties, a reputation
which stood high in the public opinion--which was invaluable in his
own--which was his last stake of happiness. He knew this--he felt it
with all the anguish of exquisite but USELESS sensibility.

Lord Glistonbury and his new friend, Secretary ----, who was a man of
wit as well as a politician, rallied Vivian upon his gravity and upon
his evident depression of spirits.

“Really, my dear Vivian,” cried Lord Glistonbury, “my patience is now
exhausted, and I must not let you expose yourself here, before our
friend, as a novice--Hey! hey!--Why, will you never open your eyes, and
see the world as it is! Why! what!--Did you never read the fable of the
dog and his master’s meat?--Well! it is come to that now in England;
and he is a foolish dog, indeed, who, when he can’t save the meat, won’t
secure his share--hey?”

His lordship and the secretary laughed in concert.

“Look, how Vivian preserves his solemnity!” continued Lord Glistonbury;
“and he really looks as if he was surprised at us. My dear Vivian, it
requires all my knowledge of your _bonne foi_ to believe that you are in
earnest, and not acting the part of a patriot of _older_ times.”

“Oh!” cried the secretary, with a facetious air, “Mr. Vivian assuredly
knows, as well as we do, that--

‘A patriot is a fool in ev’ry age, Whom all lord chamberlains allow the

But off the stage we lay aside heroics, or how should we ever get
on?--Did you hear, my lord,” continued the secretary, turning to Lord
Glistonbury, “that there is another blue riband fallen in to us by the
death of Lord G----?”

“I had a great regard for poor Lord G----. Many applications, I suppose,
for the vacant riband?”

From the vacant riband they went on to talk over this man’s pension and
the other man’s job; and considered who was to get such and such a
place when such and such a person should resign or succeed to something
better. Then all the miserable mysteries of ministerial craft were
unveiled to Vivian’s eyes. He had read, he had heard, he had believed,
that public affairs were conducted in this manner; but he had never,
till now, actually seen it: he was really novice enough still to feel
surprise at finding that, after all the fine professions made on all
sides, the main, the only object of these politicians, was to keep their
own, or to get into the places of others. Vivian felt every moment his
disgust and his melancholy increase. “And it is with these people I
have consented to act! And am I to be hurried along by this stream of
corruption to infamy and oblivion! Then Russell--”

Vivian resolved to retract the engagement he had just made with Lord
Glistonbury and the secretary, and he waited only for a pause in their
conversation to explain himself. But, before any pause occurred, more
company came in,--the secretary hurried away, saying to Vivian, who
would have stopped him at the door, “Oh, my dear sir, every thing is
settled now, and you must be with us in the house to-night--and you will
find the whole business will go on as smoothly as possible, if gentlemen
will but act together, and strengthen the hands of government. I beg
pardon for breaking away--but so many people are waiting for me--and any
thing further we can settle when we meet in the house.”

Lord Glistonbury also refused to listen to farther explanations--said
that all was settled, and that it was impossible to make any


The hour of going to the House of Commons at length arrived; Lord
Glistonbury saw that Vivian was so much out of spirits, and in such
confusion of mind, that he began to fear that our hero’s own account
of himself was just, and that he would not be able to command ideas,
or even words, when he was to speak in opposition to what he called his
principles and his conscience. “This son of mine, instead of being our
great Apollo, will be a dead weight on our hands, unless we can contrive
to raise his spirits.”

So, to raise his spirits, Lord Glistonbury accompanied him to the
coffee-room of the house, and insisted upon his taking some refreshment
before he should attempt to speak. His lordship _fortified_ him with
bumper after bumper, till at last Vivian came up to the speaking point.
He took his seat in his new place in the house, and, endeavouring
to brave away the sense of shame, rose to speak. Notwithstanding the
assistance of the wine, and the example of Mr. Marmaduke Lidhurst, who
spoke before him with undaunted assurance, Vivian could scarcely get on
with a hesitating, confused, inconsistent speech, uttered in so low and
indistinct a voice, that the reporters in the gallery complained that
they could not catch this honourable member’s meaning, or that his words
did not reach them. Conscious of his failure, and still more conscious
of its cause, he retired again to the coffee-room as soon as he had
finished speaking, and again Lord Glistonbury plied him with wine,
saying that he would find he would _do very well in reply_ presently.
It happened that Lord Glistonbury was called away--Vivian remained. Mr.
Wharton, with a party of his friends, entered the coffee-room. Wharton
seemed much heated both with wine and anger--he was talking eagerly
to the gentlemen with him, and he pronounced the words, “Infamous
conduct!--Shabby!--Paltry fellow!” so loud, that all the coffee-room
turned to listen. Colonel S----, a gentleman who was one of Wharton’s
party, but who had a good opinion of Vivian, at this moment took him by
the arm, and, drawing him aside, whispered, in confidence, that he was
persuaded there had been some _mistake_ in the arrangements, which, as
it was reported, Lord Glistonbury had just made with the ministry, for
that Mr. Wharton and many of his lordship’s former party, complained of
having been shamefully deserted. “And to break our word and honour
to our party, is a thing no gentleman _can_ do. Wharton had a direct
promise from his lordship, that he never would _come in_ till he should
_come in_ along with him. And now it is confidently said, that Lord
Glistonbury has made his bargain for his own marquisate, and provided
only for himself, his nephew, and his son-in-law.”

Thrown into the utmost consternation by the idea of this double
forfeiture of honour, this breach both of public and private faith,
Vivian, after thanking Colonel S---- for his friendly manner of
communicating this information, and declaring that the transaction was
totally unknown to him, begged that the colonel would do him the favour
and the justice to be present when he should require an explanation from
Lord Glistonbury. To this Colonel S---- consented, and they hastened
in search of his lordship: his lordship was not to be found; but Mr.
Marmaduke Lidhurst was, however, in the coffee-room, and upon Vivian’s
referring to him, he could not deny the truth of the charge, though he
used all his powers of circumlocution to evade giving a direct answer.
The shame, the indignation, that rapidly succeeded to each other in
Vivian’s countenance, sufficiently convinced Colonel S---- that he had
no share in the _private_ part of this disgraceful transaction; and he
very handsomely assured Vivian, that he would set the matter in its
true point of view with his friends. Marmaduke soon found a pretence to
withdraw--some member was speaking in the house, whom he must hear, he
said, and away he went.

At this moment Mr. Wharton, who was walking down the room with his
friends, passed by Vivian, and, as he passed, said,

“That _private vices are public benefits_, we all know; but that public
vices are private benefits, some of us, alas! have yet to learn. But I’d
have that little, whiffling, _most noble and puissant prince_ expectant,
his majesty’s _right trusty and entirely beloved cousin_ elect, know,
that plain Bob Wharton is not a man to be duped and deserted with

“Whom does he mean?--What does he mean?” whispered some of the
bystanders. “What prince is he talking of?--Which of the princes?”

“Oh! none of the princes,” replied another. “You know _most noble and
puissant prince_ is the title of a marquis, and _our right trusty and
entirely beloved cousin_, the style in which the king writes to him.”

“But who is this marquis expectant?”

“Don’t you know?--Lord Glistonbury.”

“But some of his lordship’s friends ought to take it up, surely.”

“Hush!--his son-in-law will hear you.”


“There--don’t look!”

Vivian was, with reason, so much exasperated by the treacherous
duplicity of Lord Glistonbury’s conduct, that he was ill inclined to
undertake his lordship’s defence, and determined to leave it to himself,
or to his nephew; yet the whispers operated not a little upon his
weakness. Wharton, who was walking with his set up and down the room,
again came within Vivian’s hearing, and, as he passed, exclaimed,
“_Public vice!_ and _public virtue!_ precious, well-matched pair!”

“Who is _public vice_, and who is _public virtue_?” said one of
Wharton’s companions.

“Don’t you know?” replied Wharton: “the heir-at-law and the son-in-law.”

On hearing this speech, Vivian, who knew that he was one of the persons
to whom it alluded, started forward to demand an explanation from
Wharton: but Colonel S---- held him back. “You are not called upon, by
any means, to take notice of this,” said the colonel: “Wharton did not
address himself to you, and though he might mean what he said for you,
yet he speaks under a false impression; and besides, he is not quite
sober. Leave it to me, and I will settle it all to your satisfaction
before to-morrow.” Vivian listened unwillingly and uneasily to the
friendly counsel: he was more hurt than he had ever before felt himself
by any of Wharton’s sarcasms, because there was now in them a mixture of
truth; and a man seldom feels more irritable than when he is conscious
that he is partly to blame, and apprehensive that others will think him
more blameable than he really is. His irritability was increased by
the whispers he had heard, and the looks he now perceived among the
bystanders: the voice, the opinion of numbers, the fear of what others
would think or say, operated against his better judgment.

“Come,” said Colonel S----, “let us go and see what they are doing in
the house.”

Vivian refused to stir, saying that it would be leaving the field
to Wharton. Wharton at this instant repassed; and still running the
changes, with half-intoxicated wit, upon the same ideas, reiterated,
“_Public vice!_--We all knew where _that_ would end in these days--in
public honours; but none of you would believe me, when I told you where
_public virtue_ would end--in private treachery!”

“That’s neat!--that’s strong!--faith, that’s home!” whispered some one.

“Mr. Wharton!” cried Vivian, going up to him, “I could not help hearing
what you said just now--did you intend it for me?”

“You heard it, it seems, sir, and that is sufficient,” replied Wharton,
in an insolent tone: “as to what I meant, I presume it is pretty
evident; but, if you think it requires any explanation, I am as ready to
give as you can be to ask it.”

“The sooner the better, then, sir,” said Vivian. The two gentlemen
walked away together, whilst the spectators exclaimed, “Very spirited
indeed!--very right!--very proper!--Vivian could do no less than call
him out. But, after all, what was the quarrel about? Which of them was
to blame?”

Long before these points were settled, the challenge was given and
accepted. Colonel S----, who followed Vivian and Wharton, endeavoured
to set things to rights, by explaining that Vivian had been deceived
by Lord Glistonbury, and kept totally in the dark respecting the
negotiation for the marquisate. But Wharton, aware that by _taking up
the matter immediately in such a spirited way_ he should do himself
infinite honour with his party, and with that majority of the world who
think that the greatest merit of a man is to stand to be shot at,
was not at all willing to listen to these representations. Colonel
S----declared that, were he in Mr. Wharton’s place, he should, without
hesitation, make an apology to Mr. Vivian, and publicly acknowledge that
what he said in the coffee-room was spoken under a false impression,
which a plain statement of facts had totally removed: but Wharton
disdained all terms of accommodation; his policy, pride, and desire of
revenge, all conspired to produce that air of insolent determination
to fight, which, with some people, would obtain the glorious name of
COURAGE. By this sort of courage can men of the most base and profligate
characters often put themselves in a moment upon an equal footing with
men of principle and virtue!

It was settled that Mr. Wharton and Vivian should meet, at eight o’clock
the next morning, in a field near town. Colonel S---- consented to be
Vivian’s second. Russell was not yet returned--not expected till ten the
next day.

Left to his cool reflection, Vivian thought with horror of the misery
into which the event of this duel might involve all with whom he was
connected, and all who were attached to him. The affair was of course to
be kept a secret from all at Glistonbury House, where Vivian was engaged
to dine with a large ministerial party. He went home to dress, hoping
to have a quarter of an hour to himself; but, on entering his own
dressing-room, he, to his surprise and mortification, found his wife
seated there, waiting for him with a face of anxious expectation; a case
of newly-set diamonds on a table beside her. “I thought you were at your
father’s, my dear: are you not to be at Glistonbury House to-day?” said

“No,” replied Lady Sarah. “Surely, Mr. Vivian, you know that my father
gives a political dinner, and I suppose you are to be there?”

“Oh, yes!” cried Vivian; “I did not know what I was saying--I am to
be there, and must dress (looking at his watch), for I have no time to

“Be that as it may, I must intrude upon your time for a few minutes,”
 said Lady Sarah.

Vivian stood impatiently attentive, whilst Lady Sarah seemed to find it
difficult to begin some speech which she had prepared.

“Women, I know, have nothing to do with politics,” she began in
a constrained voice; but, suddenly quitting her air and tone of
constraint, she started up and exclaimed, “Oh, my dear, _dear_ husband!
what have you done?--No, no, I cannot, will not believe it, till I hear
it from your OWN lips!”

“What is the matter, my dear Lady Sarah?--You astonish and almost alarm
me!” said Vivian, endeavouring to preserve composure of countenance.

“I will not--Heaven forbid that I should alarm you as I have been
alarmed!” said Lady Sarah, commanding her voice again to a tone of
tranquillity. “I ought, and, if I were not weak, should be convinced
that there is no reason for alarm. There has been some mistake, no
doubt; and I have been to blame for listening to idle reports. Let
me, however, state the facts. Half an hour ago, I was at Gray’s the
jeweller’s, to call for my poor mother’s diamonds, which, you know, he
has reset----”


“And whilst I was in the shop, a party of gentlemen came in, all of them
unknown to me, and, of course, I was equally unknown to them; for they
began to speak of you in a manner in which none knowing me could venture
in my presence. They said--I cannot bear to repeat or to think of
what they said--you cannot have bartered your public reputation for
a marquisate for my father!--You cannot have done that which is
dishonourable--you cannot have deserted your party for a paltry place
for yourself!--You turn pale.--I wish, if it pleased God, that I was
this moment in my grave!”

“Heaven forbid, my dear Lady Sarah!” cried Vivian, forcing a smile, and
endeavouring to speak in a tone of raillery. “Why should you wish to
be in your grave, because your husband has just got a good warm place?
Live! live!” said he, raising her powerless hand; “for consider--as I
did--and this consideration was of no small weight with me--consider, my
dear Sarah, how much better you will live for it!”

“And you did consider me? And that _did_ weigh with you?”

“--Oh, this is what I dreaded most!” cried Lady Sarah.--“When will you
know my real character? When will you have confidence in your wife, sir?
When will you know the power, the unconquered, unconquerable power of
her affection for you?”

Vivian, much struck by the strength of her expression as she uttered
these words, was a moment silent in astonishment; and then could only,
in an incoherent manner, protest, that he did know--that he had always
done justice to her character--that he believed in her affection--and
had the greatest confidence in its power.

“No, sir, no!--Do not say that which I cannot credit!--You have not
confidence in the power of my affection, or you would never have done
this thing to save me pain. What pain can be so great to me as the
thought of my husband’s reputation suffering abasement?--Do you think
that, in comparison with this, I, your wife, could put the loss of a
service of plate, or house in town, or equipage, or servants, or such
baubles as these?” added she, her eyes glancing upon the diamonds; then,
snatching them up, “Take them, take them!” cried she; “they were my
mother’s; and if her spirit could look down from heaven upon us she
would approve my offer--she would command your acceptance. Then here on
my knees I conjure you, my beloved husband, take them--sell them--sell
plate, furniture, house, equipage, sell every thing rather than your

“It is sold,” said Vivian, in a voice of despair.

“Redeem it, redeem it at any price!” cried Lady Sarah. “No! I will kneel
here at your feet--you shall not raise me--till I have obtained this
promise, this justice to me, to yourself!”

“It is too late,” said Vivian, writhing in agony.

“Never too late,” cried Lady Sarah. “Give up the place.--Never too
late!--Give up the place--write this moment, and all will be well; for
your honour will be saved, and the rest is as nothing in my eyes!”

“High-minded woman!” cried Vivian: “why did not I hear you sooner? Why
did not I avail myself of your strength of soul?”

“Use it now--hear me now--let us waste no time in words--here is a pen
and ink--write, my dearest husband! and be yourself again.”

“You waste the energy of your mind on me,” cried Vivian, breaking from
Lady Sarah, and striking his forehead violently; “I am not worthy of
such attachment! It is done--it cannot be undone: I am a weak, ruined,
dishonoured wretch!--I tell you, it CANNOT be undone!”

Lady Sarah rose, and stood in despair. Then, looking up to heaven, she
was silent for some moments. After which, approaching her husband, she
said, in an altered, calm voice, “Since it cannot be undone, I will urge
you no more. But, whether in glory or in shame, you are secure that your
wife will abide by you.”

Vivian embraced her with a tenderness which he had never before felt.
“Excellent woman! in justice to myself, I must tell you,” cried he,
“that I was deceived into this situation. I CAN say no more!”

At this moment a servant knocked at the door, bringing a message from
Lord Glistonbury, to say that all the company were assembled, and that
dinner waited for Mr. Vivian.

“You are not in a fit state to go. Shall I send an apology to my

“Oh, no! I must go,” cried Vivian, starting up, “I must go, or it will
be thought--or it will be suspected--I can’t explain it to you, my dear;
but I must go--I must _appear_ to-day, and in spirits too, if possible.”

He hurried away. A servant delivered to Lady Sarah a number of notes
and cards. The notes were notes of congratulation, from many of her
acquaintance, upon the report in circulation, that her father was
immediately to be a marquis. The cards were from people who were to be
at her assembly that night. This was one of _her nights_, which were
usually crowded. Lady Sarah’s first wish was to write apologies, and to
say that she was not well enough to see company; but, recollecting
that her husband had said, “he must _appear_, and in spirits, too, if
possible,” she thought that it might be more for their interest, and
according to his wishes, that she should see company, and that no
appearance of dejection should be discerned in his wife. She prepared
herself accordingly, and, with a heavy heart, walked through her
splendid apartments, to see whether the decorations had been properly

In the mean time Vivian dined at Lord Glistonbury’s, with a large
ministerial party. As soon as he could, after dinner, Vivian got away;
and Lord Glistonbury attributed his retiring early to the awkwardness
he might feel in the company of men whom he had, till now, so violently
opposed. This his lordship thought a foolish _young man’s feeling,_
which would soon wear away. Vivian returned home, anxious to escape from
crowds, and to have some hours of leisure to pass alone; but, the moment
he entered his own house, he saw the great staircase lined with roses
and orange-trees; he found the rooms lighted up and prepared for
company; and Lady Sarah dressed, for the first time, in all her mother’s

“Good Heavens!--Do you see company to-night?” cried he.

“Yes; for I thought, my dear, that you would wish it.”

“I wish it!--Oh! if you knew how I wish to be alone!”

“Then, as no one is yet come, I can still shut my doors, and order them
to say that I am not well enough to see company--I am sure it is true.
Shall I?”

“No, my dear, it is too late,” said Vivian: “I am afraid it is
impossible for you to do that.”

“Not impossible, if you wish it.”

“Well, do as you please.”

“Which is most for your interest? I have no other pleasure.”

“You are too good to me, and I fear I shall never have it in my power to
show you any gratitude----”

“But decide which is best to be done, my dear,” said Lady Sarah.

“Why, my dear, I believe you judged rightly--see your friends, and make
the best of it: but I can appear only for a moment; I have business of
consequence--letters--papers--that must be finished to-night; and I must
go now to my study.”

“You shall not be interrupted,” said Lady Sarah: “I will exert myself as
much as possible.”

A tremendous knock at the door.--Vivian passed through the saloon,
and gained his study, where, after remaining for some time in painful
reflection, he was roused by hearing the clock strike twelve. He
recollected that he had several arrangements to make in his affairs
this night; and that it was incumbent on him to sign and execute a will,
which had been for some time in his possession, with certain blanks not
yet filled up. His wife was, by his marriage settlements, amply provided
for; but he inserted in his will some clauses which he thought would add
to her peculiar comfort, and took care to word them so that his respect
and esteem should be known hereafter to all the world; and that, if
he died, he should leave her the consolation of knowing that his last
feelings for her were those of gratitude and affection. To his mother
he left all that was in his power to contribute to the ease of her
declining years--often obliged to pause whilst he wrote, overcome by
the thoughts of what her grief would be if he died. He left his friend
Russell _in remainder_, to a considerable part of his estate; and he was
just adding the bequest of certain books, which they had read together
in his better days, when the door of the study suddenly opened, and his
mother entered.

“What is all this?” cried she: “immersed in papers at such a time as

“I so hate crowded assemblies,” said Vivian, huddling his papers
together, and advancing to meet his mother.

“So do I,” said Lady Mary; “but I have been waiting with exemplary
patience where I was stationed by Lady Sarah, at the card-table,
every instant expecting your arrival, that I might have a few minutes’
conversation with you, and inquire how matters went on at the house, and

Before she had finished the word _congratulate_, she stopped short; for
she had, by this time, a full view of her son’s countenance: and she
knew that countenance so well, that it was impossible to disguise it so
as to deceive her maternal penetration.

“My dear son!” said she, “something is going wrong: I conjure you, tell
me what is the matter!”--Her eye glanced upon the parchments, and she
saw that it was a will. Vivian forced a laugh; and asked her if she
had the weakness some people felt, of disliking to see a will, or of
fancying that a man was going to die if he made his will. Then, to quiet
her apprehensions, and to put a stop to her farther inquiries, he threw
aside his papers, and returned with her to the company, where he exerted
himself to appear as gay as the occasion required. Lord Glistonbury, who
had called in for a few moments, was now playing the great man, as well
as his total want of dignity of mind and manners would permit; he was
answering, in whispers, questions about his marquisate, and sustaining
with all his might his new part of the friend of government. Every thing
conspired to strike Vivian with melancholy--yet he constrained himself
so far, that his _charming spirits_ delighted all who were uninterested
in observing any but the external signs of gaiety; but his mother saw
that his vivacity was forced. She made inquiries from all the gentlemen
of her acquaintance about what had passed the preceding day both at the
House of Commons, and to-day at the dinner at Lord Glistonbury’s: but
those who had been at Lord Glistonbury’s dinner assured her that every
thing had been as amicable as could be; and his ministerial friends said
that every thing had gone on as smoothly as possible at the house:
of what had passed between Mr. Wharton and Vivian in the coffee-room
_nobody could_ give her an account. Baffled, but not satisfied, the
anxious mother sent to the hotel where Mr. Russell lodged, to inquire
whether he was returned to town, and to beg to see him immediately. From
him, she thought, she should learn the truth; or, by his influence over
her son, she hoped that, if there was any danger of a quarrel, it
might be in time prevented. Her servant, however, brought word that
Mr. Russell was not expected from the country till ten o’clock the
next morning; but that her note would be given to him directly on
his arrival. She applied herself next to the study of her daughter’s
countenance, whilst she asked two or three questions, calculated to
discover whether Lady Sarah was under any anxiety about Vivian. But
though Lady Sarah’s countenance exhibited not the slightest variation
under this trial, yet this tranquillity was by no means decisively
satisfactory; because, whatever might be her internal agitation, she
knew that Lady Sarah _could_ maintain the same countenance. Lady Sarah,
who plainly discerned her mother’s anxious curiosity, thought it her
duty to keep her husband’s secrets; and, imagining that she knew the
whole truth, was not farther alarmed by these hints, nor did they lead
her to suspect the real state of the case.

Lady Mary was at length tolerably well satisfied, by a conversation with
her son; during the course of which she settled in her imagination that
he had only been inserting in his will a bequest to his friend Russell;
and that the depression of his spirits arose from the struggle he had
had in determining to vote against his patriotic ideas. She rose to
depart; and Vivian, as he conducted her down stairs, and put her into
her carriage, could scarcely repress his feelings; and he took so tender
a leave of her, that all her apprehensions revived; but there was a
cry of “_Lady--somebody’s_ carriage!” and Lady Mary’s coachman drove
on immediately, without giving her time for one word more. After his
mother’s departure, Vivian, instead of returning to the company, went to
his study, and took this opportunity of finishing his will; but as the
servants were all in attendance at supper he could not get any body to
witness it; and for this he was obliged to wait till a very late hour,
when all the company at last departed. The rattle of carriages at length
died away; and when all was silence, just as he was about to ring for
his witnesses, he heard Lady Sarah’s step coming along the corridor
towards the study: he went out immediately to meet her, drew her arm
within his affectionately, and took two or three turns with her, up and
down the empty saloon, whilst a servant was extinguishing the lights.
Vivian’s mind was so full that he could not speak; and he was scarcely
conscious that he had not spoken, till Lady Sarah broke the silence by
asking if he had finished his business.

“No, my dear, I have more to do yet; but you will oblige me if you will
go to rest--you must be fatigued--mind and body.”

“_You_ seem fatigued almost to death,” said Lady Sarah: “and cannot you
finish the remainder of your business as well to-morrow?”

“No,” replied Vivian; “it must be finished before to-morrow. I am bound
in duty to finish it before to-morrow.”

“If it is a point of duty, I have no more to say,” replied Lady Sarah;
“but,” continued she, in a tone of proud humility, “but if I might so
far intrude upon your confidence, as to inquire----”

“Make no inquiries, my dear; for I cannot answer any, even of yours,”
 said Vivian. “And let me beg of you to go to rest; my mind will then
be more at ease. I cannot command my thoughts whilst I am anxious about
you; and I am anxious--more anxious than ever I was in my life--about
you at this moment. You will oblige me if you will go to rest.”

“I CANNOT rest, but I will leave you, since you desire it--I have no
idle curiosity--Good night!”

“Good night! and thank you once more, my excellent wife, for all your

“There cannot be a better woman!” said Vivian to himself as she retired.
“Why have I not loved her as she deserved to be loved? If I live, I will
do my utmost to make her happy--if I live, I will yet repair all. And,
if I die, she will have but little reason to deplore the loss of such a

Vivian now executed his will--wrote several letters of business--burnt
letters and arranged papers--regretted that Russell, who was to be his
executor, was not near him--made many bitter reflections on the past,
many good resolutions for the future, in case he should survive; then,
overpowered with fatigue of mind, slept for some time, and was awakened
by the clock striking seven. By eight o’clock he was at the place
appointed--Mr. Wharton appeared a few minutes afterwards. Their seconds
having measured out the distance, they took their ground. As Vivian
had given the challenge, Wharton had the first fire. He fired--Vivian
staggered some paces back, fired his pistol into the air, and fell.
The seconds ran to his assistance, and raised him from the ground. The
bullet had entered his chest. He stretched out his hand to Mr. Wharton
in token of forgiveness, and, as soon as he could speak, desired the
seconds to remember that it was he who gave the challenge, and that he
thought he deserved to bear the blame of the quarrel. Wharton, callous
as he was, seemed struck with pity and remorse: he asked what friends
Vivian would wish to have apprised of his situation. A surgeon was in
attendance. Vivian, faint from loss of blood, just pronounced Russell’s
name, and the name of the hotel where he was to be found, adding
“_nobody else_.” Wharton rode off, undertaking to find Mr. Russell;
and Vivian was carried into a little public-house, by the orders of the
surgeon, who thought that he could not bear the motion of a carriage.
Wharton met Mr. Russell, who was coming from town. He had come to London
earlier than he had intended, and, in consequence of Lady Mary Vivian’s
note, which he had received immediately on his arrival, had made such
inquiries as convinced him that her apprehensions were just; and having
discovered the place where the parties were to meet, he had hastened
thither, in hopes of preventing the fatal event. The moment he saw Mr.
Wharton he knew that he was too late. Without asking any other question
than, “Is Vivian alive?” he pressed forwards. The surgeon, who was the
next person he saw, gave him no hopes of his friend’s recovery, but said
he might last till night, or linger perhaps for a day or two. Vivian
had by this time recovered his senses and his speech; but when Russell
entered the room where he lay, he was so much struck by the grief in his
countenance that he could not recollect any one of the many things he
had to say. Russell, the firm Russell, was now quite overcome.

“Yes, my dear friend,” said Vivian; “this is the end of all your
care--of all your hopes of me!--Oh, my poor, poor mother! What will
become of her! Where can we find consolation for her!--You and Selina
Sidney! You know how fond my mother was of her--how fond she was of my
mother--till I, the cause of evil to all my friends, separated them.
You must reunite them. You must repair all. This hope--this hope of your
happiness, my beloved friend, will soothe my last moments!----How much
happier Selina will be with you than----”

Russell sobbed aloud.--“Yes, yield to your feelings, for I know how
strong they are,” said Vivian: “you, that have always felt more for me
than I have ever felt for myself! But it is well for you that my life
ends; for I have never been any thing but a torment and a disgrace to
you!--And yet I had good dispositions!--but there is no time for regret
about myself; I have others to think of, better worth thinking of.”

Vivian called for pen, ink, and paper, had himself raised in his bed,
and supported, whilst he wrote to Selina, and to his mother.

“Do not stop me,” cried he to Russell; “it is the only act of
friendship--the only thing I can do in this world now with pleasure, and
let me do it.”

His notes contained nearly what he had just said to Russell--he put them
open into his friend’s hand; then, good-natured to the last, Vivian took
up his pen again, with no small difficulty, and wrote a few affectionate
words to his wife. “She _well_ deserves this from me,” said he. “Be
a friend to her, Russell--when I am gone, she will, I know, want
consolation,” After Russell had assured him that he would do all he
desired, Vivian said, “I believe there is no one else in the world who
will regret my death, except, perhaps, Lady Julia Lidhurst. How
generous she was to forgive me!--Tell her, I remembered it when I was
dying!--Weakness, weakness of mind!--the cause of all my errors!----Oh,
Russell! how well you knew me from the first!--But all is over
now!--My experience can be of no use to me--Every thing swims before my
eyes.----One comfort is, I have not the blood of a fellow-creature
to answer for. My greatest error was making that profligate man my
friend--he was my ruin. I little thought, a few years ago, that I should
die by his hand--but I forgive him, as I hope to be forgiven myself! Is
the clergyman who was sent for come?--My dear Russell, this would be too
severe a task for you.--He is come? Then let me see him.”

Vivian was left for some time to his private devotions. The clergyman
afterwards summoned Russell to return:--he found his friend calmed and
resigned. Vivian stretched out his hand--thanked him once more--and

“Oh! worthy of a better fate!” thought Russell.--“With such a
heart!--With such talents!--And so young!--With only one fault of
character!--Oh, my friend! is it all over?--and all in vain?”

Vivian’s mother and widow arrived just at this moment; and Russell and
Lord Glistonbury, who followed breathless, could not stop them from
entering the apartment. The mother’s grief bordered on distraction; but
it found relief in tears and cries. Lady Sarah shed no tear, and uttered
no exclamation; but advancing, insensible of all opposition, to the bed
on which her dead husband lay, tried whether there was any pulse,
any breath left; then knelt down beside him in silent devotion. Lord
Glistonbury, striking his forehead continually, and striding up and down
the room, repeated, “I killed him!--I killed him!--I was the cause
of his death!--My victim!--My victim!--But take her away!--Take _her_
away--I cannot.--For mercy’s sake, force her away, Mr. Russell!”

“There is no need of force,” said Lady Sarah, rising, as her father
approached; “I am going to leave my husband for ever.”----Then, turning
to Mr. Russell, she inquired if his friend had left any message or
letter for her--desired to see the letter--retired with it--still
without shedding a tear--a few hours afterwards was taken ill, and,
before night, was delivered of a dead son.

Lady Sarah survived, but has never since appeared in what is called the


[1] It is to be regretted that a word, used in the days of Charles II.
and still intelligible in our times, should have become obsolete; _viz_.
the feminine for intriguer--an _intriguess_. See the Life of Lord Keeper
North, whose biographer, in speaking of Lord Keeper Bridgeman, says,
“And what was worst of all, his family was no way fit for that place (of
Chancellor), his lady being a most violent INTRIGUESS in business.”

Had Mr. Walsingham lived in Ireland, even there he might have found
in the dialect of the lower Irish both a substantive and a verb, which
would have expressed his idea. The editor once described an individual
of the Beaumont species to an Irish labourer, and asked what he would
call such a person--“I’d call her a policizer--I would say she was fond
of policizing.”

[2] Life of Admiral Roddam, Monthly Magazine.

[3] This reminds us of an expression of Charles the Second--“It is very
strange, that every one of my friends keeps a _tame knave_”--_Note by
the Editor_.

[4] Young wild ducks.

[5] _Note by the Editor_.--It is much to be regretted that the original
papers belonging to this correspondence, including all the notes and
letters, which Mrs. Beaumont either wrote herself, or those, still
more important, which she caused to be written by her confidential
amanuensis, which would doubtless form all together a body _of domestic
diplomacy equally curious and useful_, are irrecoverably lost to the
world. After the most diligent search, the Editor is compelled to
rest under the persuasion that they must all have been collected and
committed to the flames by the too great prudence of the principal party
concerned. Had they been trusted to the discretion of a _friend_, the
public would, doubtless, long since have been favoured with the whole.

[6] See Bacon on Cunning.

[7] See Annual Register, 1761, for an entertaining account of the trial
of Mr. M’Naughton.

[8] Supposed to be from the pen of Mr. Twigg, who was presented with a
living in the gift of Mrs. Beaumont.

[9] Literally copied from a family receipt-book in the author’s

[10] From some lines of Delille’s, on Rousseau, concluding with the

“Malheureux! le trépas est donc ton seule asile! Ah! dans la tombe, au
moins, repose enfin tranquille! Ce beau lac, ces flots purs, ces fleurs,
ces gazons frais, Ces pâles peupliers, tout t’invite à la paix. Respire,
donc, enfin, de tes tristes chimères. Vois accourir vers toi les époux,
et les mères. Contemple les amans, qui viennent chaque jour, Verser sur
ton tombeau les larmes de l’amour! Vois ce groupe d’enfans, se jouant
sous l’ombrage, Qui de leur liberté viennent te rendre hommage; Et dis,
en contemplant ce spectacle enchanteur, _Je ne fus point heureux, mais
j’ai fait leur bonheur_.”

Ill-fated mortal! doom’d, alas! to find The grave sole refuge from thy
restless mind. This turf, these flow’rs, this lake, this silent wave,
These poplars pale, that murmur o’er your grave, Invite repose.--Enjoy
the tranquil shore, Where vain chimeras shall torment no more. See to
thy tomb the wife and mother fly, And pour their sorrows where thy ashes
lie! Here the fond youth, and here the blushing maid, Whisper their
loves to thy congenial shade; And grateful children smiling through
their tears, Bless the loved champion of their youthful years: Then
cry, triumphant, from thy honour’d grave-- _Joyless I lived, but joy to
others gave_. C.S.E.


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